Disclaimer: Spoilers Galore.
Death is f*cking bullsh*t. Sure, it gives life its value and meaning and everything, but screw that. Life is great and the reality that it has to end one day is total garbage. The saddest part of it all is that it’s final, eternal, forever. Once someone is gone, they ain’t coming back.
The same goes for the film and television worlds. Even though they're fictional media, the deaths that occur in them can feel pretty real and can have the same emotional impact as many real life passings.
That is if the characters are well-written, well-rounded and feel like living, breathing humans.
I know that I’ve certainly felt sadness and loss after seeing favorite characters of mine die in a movie or an episode of TV. After the red wedding on “Game of Thrones,” I didn’t leave my room for a week. That was mostly because I started binge-watching “Deadwood,” but I was still pretty broken up about it.
The point is that sometimes fiction can feel just as, if not more, real as our everyday, waking lives. We form close bonds with these characters. We come to know them, and they come to represent a part of ourselves.
So when they get killed off (which happens all the time in “Game of Thrones”), it’s like a part of ourselves dies. It creates a hole that can’t be filled. It causes pain within us that we may never overcome.
So, here are the 17 fictional deaths that really hurt, the ones we still mourn, the fake dead who are gone but not forgotten. May they rest in peace.
1. Mufasa - "The Lion King"
Everything about Mufasa’s death is terribly depressing. He’s murdered by his own brother. His young son, Simba, pleads with his corpse to wake up. And Simba is tricked into believing that Mufasa’s death was his fault, and he carries that burden for his entire childhood.
Plus, Mufasa was like the Ned Stark of the animal kingdom. Speaking of which…
2. Ned Stark - “Game of Thrones”
Ned was the only decent father-figure in the whole of Westeros. But he was probably too good a man to be any good at playing the “Game of Thrones.”
In a truly terrifying sequence, that pissant Joffrey calls for Ned’s head and is too much of a coward to swing the sword himself.
3. John Proctor - "The Crucible"
Anytime someone is executed for integrity, it's hard to take. That's what happened to John Proctor (played brilliantly by Daniel Day-Lewis in the film version).
He refused to publicly confess to being a witch and was punished for it. Mostly because Winona Ryder is a little bitch in this movie. And also because 17th century New England was a horrible place to live.
4. Ellie - "Up"
This might be the saddest death in the history of animated film, and it happens like 10 minutes into the movie.
Not to mention, it's done in a wordless montage. Basically, Pixar can tell the sh*t out of a story and depress the hell out of an audience.
5. Zoe Barnes - "House of Cards"
This one was hard to swallow and came out of nowhere. The poor girl got killed off in the first episode of the second season for God's sake.
It's too bad too because not only is Kate Mara a total babe in this show, but she was also the only real legitimate threat to and source of tension for Frank Underwood.
6. Jenny - Forrest Gump
Jenny isn't exactly the nicest to Forrest throughout this movie. She kind of ignores him through most of the film and then leans on him when she gets sick. Still, though, Forrest loved her and their kid is really cute. So, of course, it's super sad when she dies.
7. Marissa Cooper - "The O.C."
This one was a doozy. For me, Marissa was the only real reason to watch "The O.C." When she died, I was pretty much done with the show.
Her death in Ryan's arms was tragic, especially since she was so close to getting out of that toxic environment known as Orange County.
8. Danny - "American History X"
Danny is obviously a troubled kid. It's not easy when your older brother is a devout neo-nazi. But when Derek gets out of jail, he vows to turn his life and his brother's life around.
He's on the path to accomplishing this goal when Danny is gunned down in a high school bathroom. Death is especially tragic when people are on the verge of making a positive life change.
9. Matt Kowalski - "Gravity"
When George Clooney dies in a movie, it's always going to be a major blow. In "Gravity," he dies in such a selfless way that it's doubly upsetting. Thankfully, Clooney is still alive and well in the real-world. So it could be much worse. But we still definitely miss astronaut Clooney.
10. Dr. King Schultz - "Django Unchained"
This one is particularly upsetting because it was totally avoidable. Schultz died through his own pride and arrogance.
I wouldn't want to shake hands with a slave-owning piece of sh*t like Calvin Candie either, but I don't think I'd die over it.
11. Tommy - "Goodfellas"
Since "Goodfellas" is in my top three favorite movies of all time, this one hit me pretty hard.
Tommy is a real psychopathic piece of work, but he's loyal and is responsible for one of the greatest exchanges in the history of cinema. So I definitely miss his presence, even if it's fictional.
12. Sonny Corleone - "The Godfather"
Sonny didn't really deserve to die, and I'm still reeling from his death. Carlo, an outsider and wife beater, betrayed him and helped organize his demise.
I just can't help but think that if he had an E-Z pass, Sonny would still be alive today.
13. Lester Burnham - "American Beauty"
Lester spends this whole movie rediscovering his joy for life and his masculinity. He was so enveloped by suburban ennui that he forgot who he was.
After he finally became the man he was meant to be, he was gunned down by a homophobic Chris Cooper who incorrectly thought he was having an affair with his son. Ugh, homophobes ruin everything.
14. Littlefoot's Mother - "The Land Before Time"
I think I actually shed tears when I first saw this one. Littlefoot's mom is killed by Sharptooth while protecting Littlefoot and Cera.
Littlefoot is left alone to wander through the big, bad prehistoric world. It's tragic and depressing and I don't want to think about it anymore, OK?
15. Dobby, Dumbledore and Fred Weasley - The "Harry Potter" Films
A lot of great characters die in these movies, but these three deaths are by far the saddest. Dumbledore died, in part, to keep up Snape's cover.
Fred died while fighting a death eater. And Dobby died trying to protect Harry from Bellatrix Lestrange. They all were terribly sad but I think Dobby's death is the one that stays with me most.
16. Marley - "Marley and Me"
Happy and healthy dogs are the best. Dead dogs are the worst. I hate to say it, but this whole movie is freaking manipulative.
You come to love and appreciate this adorable pup. And then they make him die at the end. It's not fair. But, at least, all dogs go to heaven.
17. Everybody - "The Departed"
A lot of people die in Scorsese movies, but everybody dies in "The Departed." Let's see... Matt Damon dies. Martin Sheen dies.
James Badge Dale dies. Ray Winstone dies. Anthony Anderson dies. DiCaprio dies. Jack Nicholson dies. JESUS CHRIST. THEY ALL DIE.
Except for Marky Mark. How is he the only one who survives this movie?
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