The saddest novel I ever read was Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler. It tells a story of suspense, true love and terrible heartache rolled into one. Ivy stopped believing in angels after her boyfriend, Tristan, died in a car accident. Due to her lost faith, Tristan, who had, in fact, returned as an angel, found it difficult to communicate with her.
I’m not sure if puberty was to blame but all I can remember is the pages having turned to waves because I cried so much while reading the book.
There’s nothing like enjoying a good cry while reading; just the way the words on the page starts blurring in your teary eyes… I love the feeling, it appeals to my melodramatic imagination. So, call it morbid or sentimental, I’ve decided to recap my top saddest moments in fictional history.
Now I’m going to issue a serious SPOILER WARNING so read this article at your own discretion. You also might want to grab a tissue or three.
Dobby’s Death – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling
“Such a beautiful place to be with friends. Dobby is happy to be with his friend… Harry Potter.”
As the Harry Potter series neared its end, we saw a lot of characters die yet none, to me, came close to the death of dear Dobby. J.K Rowling sketched the setting so exquisitely; the way he died in Harry’s arms in such beautiful and peaceful surroundings, the way his tennis ball eyes glowed and then his last words uttered. Forgive me if I take a moment…
Death of Khal Drogo – Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
“When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” she said sadly. “When the seas go dry and mountains blow in the wind like leaves. When my womb quickens again, and I bear a living child. Then you will return, my sun-and-stars, and not before.”
It is a crying shame that Khal Drogo got to live no longer than the first George R.R. Martin novel (pun intended). I will not only miss the way his gorgeous hair decorated with bells whipped when he rode his horse but also the gentle way in which he treated his wife, Daenerys Targaryen. I blame her for his death to this day.
Sirius Black’s death – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K Rowling
“When all this is over, we’ll be proper family, you’ll see.”
Although Sirius’ death was awfully sad, it is more the circumstances in which it happened that broke my heart. First of all, they could never recover his body from the strange magical portal through which he fell and secondly his death could’ve been prevented had Harry just used the magical mirror his godfather had given him to check if he was home.
It’s so frustrating yet so beautifully real because isn’t that life? Death can’t be prevented yet people always find themselves looking back, wondering what they could’ve done differently.
Everything about Augustus Waters – The Fault in our Stars by John Green
“That laundry basket?”
“No, next to it.”
“I don’t see anything next to it.”
“It’s my last shred of dignity. It’s very small.”
There are many stunning quotes in this novel yet it is this particular quote that set me bawling even as I’m writing this article. Why? During the entire novel, he is portrayed as this happy-go-lucky, positive character, even as his cancer flared up again. But, it is at exactly this moment, with this quote, that you realize that his spirit has finally fallen, that cancer has finally dragged him down to the ground. Augustus Waters’ fight was over.
Bruno & Shmuel – The Boy in Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
…Despite the mayhem that followed, Bruno found that he was still holding Shmuel’s hand in his own and nothing in the world would have persuaded him to let go.
I have a teensy confession to make. I only watched the movie, however, I do believe that the deaths of Bruno and Shmuel are twice as heart-wrenching in the novel as it was in the movie. In the novel, we meet a young boy, Bruno, who befriends a Jewish boy, Shmuel, through the fence of a concentration camp during the Holocaust.
Trying to make sense of this inexplicable segregation, they decided that Bruno should put on a concentration camp uniform and join his friend where Bruno, mistaken for a Jew, got bustled along with Shmuel into one of the gas chambers. I cannot explain in words how touching the meaning of this story is.
Leslie’s Death – Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
It was up to him to pay back to the world in beauty and caring what Leslie had loaned him in vision and strength.
Being a writer, this is by far the story I adore the most. Leslie came into Jess’ life and transformed it into a world of beauty and imagination which knew no bounds. The two children created their own magical place which could only be accessed by swinging on a rope across a river. Yes, sadly there was no actual bridge to Terabithia.
On one awful day when the river had reached a dangerous level due to heavy rainfall, Leslie had decided to cross on her own. The rope snapped and she drowned. There’s nothing more to say except that it sucked. Her death sucked so much.
Severus Snape – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
“Lily? After all this time?”
Ah, Snape. Some of you may have had a soft spot for him since Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Sadly for most of us, myself included, the truth came too late. Everything that had been revealed to Harry after Snape’s death felt like someone had inflicted the cruciatus curse on my heart.
Another sad revelation that came out of this chapter was Petunia’s story and how she had written to Dumbledore begging him to let her be a student of Hogwarts as well. I’d be a sour muggle too had I been in her shoes.
Rosalie – Goodnight Lady by Martina Cole
Putting his arms around her, he pulled her against his coat. He sat like that until the end of the Mass, holding back a great urge to cry for the woman who had known nothing of malice, of the world, who was still an innocent.
Sweet Rosalie was born intellectually challenged and couldn’t say anything beyond the words Bri-Bri, the name of her favorite sister, even as an adult. She thus couldn’t explain to anyone in words that her heart was failing her and her family was none the wiser until she died peacefully during Mass on Tommy’s shoulder looking for all the world as though she only fell asleep.
I can’t… I just can’t. I’m going to stop myself right there before my right eye joins the left one in a puddle of tears in the corner of our living room.
If there’s a fictional character whose death you just can’t quite get over, it’s okay to shed a tear every now and again. Do feel free to add to this list and share the names of other lost characters and unsung heroes.