TOP TEN ON TUESDAY:- Literary Deaths

00:00 Jazz Blackwell 0 Comments

I feel that I should put a warning at the beginning of this top ten; it's obviously going to contain spoilers. If you haven't read any of the books listed and don't want to know who dies, then I recommend you do not check this list out. If you have read them, or simply don't care about spoilers, then I implore you to continue. Enjoy!

10. Dobby - Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows (JK Rowling) 
If you didn't cry, you're a liar.
Okay, okay. This is terribly cliché, I realise. The whole world and his wife got upset about Dobby's death. I considered some of the other many, many deaths in Harry Potter for the list, and eventually Dobby and Fred were battling it out for this spot. In the end, Dobby got it because he's the absolute epitome of goodness. Not that I think Fred is bad, but his loveable mischievous streak means he doesn't have quite the same innocence that Dobby does. Eternally selfless and recklessly brave, Dobby died a hero and I'm not ashamed to admit that I cried about it.

9. Johnny Cade - The Outsiders (SE Hinton) 
Oh dear lord, the pain,
Speaking of dying a hero and making me bawl my eyes out, let's talk about Johnny for a sec.

He died from burns that he got saving children. From a church. That was on fire. 

Let's reiterate that. This boy walked into a church that was on fire to save some children that he didn't even know and had zero emotional attachment too. Do they come any more heroic? I think not. The iconic line "Stay gold" as his final words make his death all the more upsetting.

8. Assef - The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini) 
I literally hate real people less than I hate Assef.
And on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, how much did this bastard have it coming? 

A truly glorious moment of comeuppance, I almost cheered out loud at the moment Sohrab, the wonderful, wonderful little thing that he is, put an end to Assef's sorry excuse for a life. A rapist, a pedophile, a terrorist and a bully, Assef has literally nothing at all good going for him. So when the kid he's been sexually abusing for the past few months puts the bastard's eye out with a brass ball, saving his half-uncle and fulfilling his late father's promise to change Assef's nickname from The Ear-Eater to One-Eyed Assef, I'd argue it's the best damn moment in the book.

7. Jodie - My Sister Jodie (Jacqueline Wilson) 
How in the world this made it into a children's
book, I'll never know.
So I know what you're thinking. Jacqueline Wilson is a children's author, Jazz. How tragic can her deaths be? 

How about a fourteen year old girl toppling from the top of a Gothic tower at her boarding school, and you never really quite know if it was an accident or suicide due to the horrible bullying she's suffered? 

Yeah. That's how tragic. 

I got this book when it first came out, back in 2008. I was eleven and decidedly precocious, but even still I gasped and had to put the book down and think about what had just happened for a good few minutes. A heartbreaking and tragic moment, I'm a little in shock how Wilson managed to make something so dark and upsetting suitable for children but, by George, she did it.

6. Charlie Peaceful - Private Peaceful (Michael Morpurgo) 
Oranges and lemons
Fun fact: we read this in class when I was in Year Seven, and my teacher cried at the end. 

I'm a long time fan of Morpurgo, having read My Friend Walter, Why the Whales Came and Kensuke's Kingdom in junior school. But Private Peaceful really does stand in a league of its own. A touching and often funny story following the lives of two brothers who end up being shipped off in the army to fight in World War One, it's a tale about brotherly love and loyalty. And it is that very love and loyalty that sees Charlie meet his heart-breaking end - he faces the firing squad for 'cowardice in the face of the enemy', after staying back to care for brother Tommo while he was injured. 

Yeah. It's sad shit.
5. Lennie Small - Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck)
If you're in Year Ten, I've probably just ruined your life.
Sorry about that.
I've read Of Mice and Men hundreds upon hundreds of times - and the last scene still manages to get me every time. Much like Dobby, Lennie doesn't have a single bad bone in his body. He's just a sweet, gentle, giant who doesn't know his own strength, leading to disastrous consequences. Not only that, but the fact that George - who quite obviously cares deeply for Lennie, no matter how much he tries to deny it with his tough exterior - decides to put the poor sod out of his misery before the lynch mob catch him, makes this one of the most heart-wrenchingly sad scenes in literary history.

4. Zach Wrench - Goodnight Mister Tom (Michelle Magorian)
Honesty time: I wanted that jumper like I wanted nothing else
when I was a kid.
Goodnight Mister Tom always has been and always will be one of my favourite books. I fell in love with it after watching the film starring the late and great John Thaw. Zach is one of those characters you can't help but love - although incredibly forwards and ever-so-slightly full of himself, he's got a heart of gold and is the first person in the novel to offer a genuinely warm hand of friendship to poor old Will. His death is shocking and heart-breaking not only because he's a child, or because of the suddenness of it, but because of how real it is - fact is, hundreds of children did die in the second world war, many of them as bright and brilliant as Zach was. It's a harrowing reminder of the fragility of life and the volatility of human nature, and was the first time I actually cried at a book.

3. King Lear - King Lear (William Shakespeare)
Painting by Benjamin West
The reason that I love this death is because of it's simplicity, and is best summed up by Dustin Hoffman's Mr Magorium: "When King Lear dies in Act V, do you know what Shakespeare has written? He's written 'he dies'. That's all, nothing more. No fanfare, no metaphor, no brilliant final words. The culmination of the most influential work of dramatic literature is 'he dies'. It takes Shakespeare, a genius, to come up with 'he dies'. And yet every time I read those two words, I find myself overwhelmed with dysphoria. And I know it's only natural to be sad, but not because of the words 'he dies'. But because of the life we saw prior to those words." 

2. Jude Jr./Little Father Time - Jude the Obscure (Thomas Hardy)
An artist's interpretation
Okay so this death ranked so highly purely because of the absolute shock factor it hits you with. 

I mean, from the beginning LFT is a damn serious kid - hence his slightly morbid sounding nickname. But even with his morose nature, I doubt many people saw his grim end coming. Still a boy when he begins to blame himself for the societal issues his father and stepmother has, LFT believes the best solution is to carry out a murder-suicide. 

That's right. A child murders his stepsiblings, and then hangs himself. Even more heartbreaking is his suicide note, reading simply 'Done because we are to menny.' 

Damn. Hardy must've had something going on psychologically. Dude was darker that Satan's asshole.

1. Dally Winston - The Outsiders (SE Hinton) 
Oh, my heart. 
Okay, so I know repeating two characters from the same book is probably greatly frowned upon but this had to be done. Anybody who knows me probably wasn't surprised to see this one - Dally Winston was, is, and always will the absolute love of my life. What can I say, I'm a sucker for the broken bad boy trope. Perhaps even more heartbreaking than Dally's method of suicide - that is to say, allowing himself to be gunned down by cops because he couldn't bear the thought of a life without Johnny - is narrator Ponyboy's sickening realisation that there is nothing to be done to save Dally. 

Because Dally Winston wanted to be dead, and he always got what he wanted. 


So those are my top ten deaths from literature. Do you guys have any favourites? Let me know in the comments! 

Happy reading, 
Jazz xo

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