Characters You Mourn

ETA: I’ve removed “Recent Comments” from the sidebar to avoid spoilers due to this topic. PLEASE make sure you follow the instructions on how to comment below—thank you!!

I asked this question a few days ago on Twitter, but I’ve been thinking about it more. Since today is Memorial Day in the US, a day of barbecue, the unofficial start of summer, and a day of remembering those who died in military service. According to the wikipedia entry, Memorial Day’s history begins in the Civil War: “Begun as a ritual of remembrance and reconciliation after the civil war, by the early 20th century, Memorial Day was an occasion for more general expressions of memory, as ordinary people visited the graves of their deceased relatives, whether they had served in the military or not.”

(Can I say, as an aside, “Happy” Memorial Day seems to be the most ludicrous thing to say to someone? Have a great funeral! Merry Yom Kippur! Festive Good Friday! Anyway.)

Because today is all about remembering people, I wanted to ask you a question, and I’ve been struggling with ways to do this, since the answers you provide may be incredibly spoiler-y for other readers.

Which characters from books that you’ve read do you still mourn? Whose deaths in fiction do you still think about?

Here’s how I’d like to politely request you format your answer. At the top of your comment, please put the book or series your comment is about, with or without the author name, and then hit the return key a bunch of time to drop your answer down. That way, if someone doesn’t want to read about that series or book, they can skip to the next one – or avoid the comment thread all together.

My answer is below the fold.

JR Ward, Black Dagger Brotherhood Series

 

 

One character I think about still, years later, is Wellsie from JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I probably should have known she wouldn’t survive the series because she was so strong a female (heh) but her kindness to John Matthew and her innate goodness left a profound impression on me when I read the series. I still remember the scene where she made rice with ginger in it for John Matthew, whose stomach was upset constantly, and my out-loud cry of “NO” when I read what happened to her.

 

What about you? Which deceased fictional characters do you still mourn?

 

 

Categorized:

Random Musings

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    jocelyn says:

    I have two, from Lois McMaster Bujold’s Cryoburn, and Mercedes Lackey’s Magic’s Price.

     

     

     

    Aral Vorkosigan (Cordelia’s husband and Miles’ dad).  I knew his death would come eventually, but I still froze up in dread when the messenger came to tell Miles.  And at the funeral scene I wished I could go hug Cordelia and cry with her.

    Vanyel’s death was also foreshadowed all the way through his trilogy, not to mention he’s famous for dying young in books that were published earlier but chronologically come later.  Yet I still go teary-eyed when he’s facing Leareth’s hordes and knows he has to leave Stefen behind, and when Stefen finds out he’s dead.  And then I cry again when they’re reunited at the end, but that’s more of a bittersweet thing – because they missed out on spending their whole lives together, but at least they can share their afterlife.

    I thought of one more, but I don’t think the Iliad needs a spoiler.  Hector is one of the few likeable people in the whole book, and not only does he die horribly, but his body is desecrated.  And the women’s laments send shivers down my spine.

  2. 2
    Overquoted says:

    Sara Donati, Wilderness series

     

     

    The end of the series features an epilogue that sort of ties up all the characters’ stories, including their deaths. I sobbed for ages after finishing it. I still vividly remember Nathaniel and Boots’ courtship, and reading about their deaths just hurt. I’m not sure if that’s worse than just leaving it up to the readers’ imagination.

  3. 3
    SheaLuna says:

    JR Ward Black Dagger Brotherhood

     

    I’ve got to ditto Wellsie.  To be honest, it’s the only one I can remember off the top of my head. So, I guess that counts for something.  Every time I read a new BDB book, I hope against hope she’ll somehow come back, and every time she’s mentioned I get irked all over again.  If I ever meet JR (Ward, not the guy from Dallas.) we will have words.

  4. 4
    ghn says:

    Vorkosigan series [Edited by SB Sarah]

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I love the Vorkosogan series – Bujold is such an exceptionally gifted author, and in every book she writes, she makes me both laugh and cry. And in this book, you know that it is truly a giant passing away. And those five viewpoints of his death at the end of the book encapsulated the experience of grief.

    I particularly loved Gregor’s comment, “The man has carried me since I was five years old – it’s my turn.” before he went to help carry the bier.

     

    Eon and Aide from the Belisarius books by Eric Flint and David Drake

     

    Eon – the mortally wounded young king slips away while Antonina reads to him in the midst of a fierce battle. This always makes the tears drip.
    Aide, at the very end. During the entire storyline, we see Aide develop into a person. And at the end, when he has has helped the Good Guys achieve their victory over Malwa, he is obliterated by that very victory.

     

    Persons34 – yes, when one of the persons the author brings to life dies, you will cry. But not all characters make the jump to persons!

  5. 5
    jcscot says:

    Little Women [Edited by SB Sarah]

     

     

    I wept buckets when Beth died in Little Women.  I also felt it hugely unfair that Andrei dies in War and Peace.  I know that Pierre is a good man but I still feel that Natasha would have been better off with Andrei.

  6. 6
    Sycorax says:

    Hmmm… I suspect I will be coming back to this thread.

    HIs Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman

     

     

    Philip Pullman is not shy about killing off his characters, but I can always accept their death even as I mourn them , which is perhaps the sign of a good writer. The one that got to me the most was Lee Scorseby and his daemon Hester. Their last stand always makes me cry, and I’ve read that series a hell of a lot of times.

     

     

     

    The Borribles: Across the Dark Metropolis, by Michael de Larrabeiti

     

     

    Chances are nobody else has read this, but oh god, Napoleon Boot! And the way Knocker guards his body! Scooter’s death makes me cry too. While he’s only been around for one book, while Napoleon has been a central character for three, the scene is a massive tearjerker.

     

     

    The Farseer and Tawny Man trilogies, by Robin Hobb

     

     

     

    Burrich. Need I say more? I go back and read his final scenes in Fool’s Fate over and over.

  7. 7
    An Goris says:

    Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

     

    Fred Weasley.
    “And Percy was shaking his brother, and Ron was kneeling beside them, and Fred’s eyes stared without seeing, the ghost of his last laugh still etched upon his face.”

    Gets me every time.

  8. 8
    SnarkInfestedWaters says:

    Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I cried so hard. I still cry any time I re-read that book. WHY DID HE HAVE TO DIE???????

  9. 9
    Laurel says:

    Harry Potter:

    Dittos on Sirius Black. That one hit me the hardest, but Fred Weasley and Dumbledore worked me over pretty good, too. Also

    THE BARTIMAEUS TRILOGY

    Nathaniel. He grew so much as a character, fleshing out into somebody noble instead of power-hungry. I loved those books and have not re-read them and I’m pretty sure that’s why.

  10. 10
    Laurel says:

    Oops. One more: ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.

    Matthew. Even my grown up self cries when I read the last chapters of AoGG.

  11. 11

    THE WARRIOR’S APPRENTICE, Lois McMaster Bujold

     

     

     

     

    Sgt. Bothari.  A deeply troubled man, whose life was given meaning and redemption by the birth of his daughter and his relationships with Cordelia, Miles and to an extent, Aral.

  12. 12
    Amanda says:

    Sabriel by Garth Nix.

    When Abhorsen (the father) dies, I have that “breath-caught-in my-throat” moment.  Especially since she thinks that she’s saving her dad, and he says that he can’t go with her, he’s just going to give her a chance to make a run for it because he has only “a hundred hundred heartbeats.”  Every time I read it, it takes me back to the first time when I was 11 on my mother’s couch in front of the windows, praying that nobody would bother me.

  13. 13
    Lynnd says:

    The Lions of Al Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay

     

    The death of Roderigo Belmonte.  If it had benn Ammar, I would have mourned as well. 

    I also weep buckets at Matthew’s death in Anne of Green Gables and at the news of Walter’s death in Rilla of Ingleside.

  14. 14
    Aziza says:

    Of all the deaths in the Sookie Stackhouse world, perhaps the most memorable for me is the “good death” of a minor character in the 10th book, Dead in the Family.
    .
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    “It wasn’t an occasion for tears; without a doubt, Caroline Bellefleur had had a long life—a life not devoid of sorrow, but at least full of moments of compensatory happiness.” Her last years are good ones, and at the end she is surrounded by her grandchildren and very pleasantly surprised to have Bill Compton revealed as her great-grandfather. And her last request? To leave her famous chocolate cake recipe to the whole town.

  15. 15
    Flo says:

    Robinton – The Dragonriders of Pern series by Anne McCaffery.

    The gentle kindness and strength he’s provided all int he series.  The moments where you see “Ah that could have happened…” and then the moments where things are revealed.  His beloved Zair and the moment the two slip away after giving so much of themselves to Pern and its people.  I cry every time.

  16. 16
    cayenne says:

    Guy Gavriel Kay’s Lions of Al-Rassan and The Fionavar Tapestry.

     

    Another author who doesn’t hesitate to kill off his principal characters.  In Lions, the death of Rodrigo Belmonte gets me every time, as do the deaths of Kevin and Diarmuid in Fionavar, especially Diar’s.

  17. 17
    Bookworm Airhead says:

    I agree with Sycorax…

     

    As soon as I read the title of the thread I knew for me it had to be Lee Scoresby and Hester.

    So brave, so loyal, and their indivisible togetherness makes me heartsick every time.

    been57: how rude, it’s nowhere near that many…

  18. 18
    Carolyn says:

    Warsworn by Elizabeth Vaughan

    The death of Epor. The way he cried out for his bonded, Isdra, as he lay dying of the plague. The heart wrenching grief of Isdra. They were the Warprize’s guards. They were part of the family that formed around Lara within the army, a little nucleus of people she loved and trusted.

    I admit I had tears in my eyes.

  19. 19
    Ashley says:

    Thank you for asking people to hide the spoilers, because there is a book I haven’t read because I’m afraid of who will die:  Cryoburn by Bujold.

    All the reviews talk about the sad loss in the book.  I am madly in love with Aral, and I want to be Cordelia, so I can’t stand the thought of either dying.  I’m emotionally stressed right now and I’ve decided to not even read Cryoburn until I think I can handle the loss.  I just don’t want to go there yet.  (not obsessive at all, right?  Mountains of Mourning almost killed me) Bujold’s a great writer, in part because she can cut to the bone.

    Of deaths I’ve read, I’m going with Lions of Al-Rassan.  My husband and I both cried over that one.

  20. 20
    Tia Sain says:

    Black Jewels Series

     

     

     

     

     

    Saetan SaDiablo
    His death crushed my soul and I cried over it for at least an hour straight.  I couldn’t even pick up the book for the rest of the day after he died.

  21. 21
    Clara says:

    The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

    When Rudy dies my heart genuinely broke! Such a touching book – so simple yet so heartbreaking,

    Philip Pullman and His Dark Materials

     

    I’m totally with everyone on Lee Scoresby and Hester. Such amazingly realistic characters, whose relationship really got me.

     

    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

     

     

    Case’s death is one which will stay with me a long time. Poor, poor preacher.

  22. 22
    bookstorecat says:

    @Clara
    The Book Thief is very appropriate for Memorial Day, as well.  There are many memorable parts to that story, but the bombing at the end was particularly vivid. I was much grieved.

  23. 23
    RKB says:

    I know this really doesn’t count, but I mourn the death of the original Anita Blake.  You know, the one who had a conscience, the one who didn’t screw everything in sight, the one who didn’t rape, the one who protected the weak, the one who truly loved a werewolf and probably would have been happy with him if Laurell K. Hamilton hadn’t screwed that relationship up.

    I’ve never regretted watching a character go down a villain’s journey in my life until now.

  24. 24
    KimberlyR says:

    Rilla of Ingleside

     

    Definitely Walter! I still think it isn’t fair that the one character who didn’t want to go to war, who was shamed into going by community, had to be the one to die. I wanted him to be there for Rilla and her children and to have his own family. His death still makes me sad and I read the book for the first time many, many years ago.

    The Hollows series by Kim Harrison

     

     

    Kistan-His death really made me lose interest in the series. I was getting there anyway, but I really liked him and thought he was a good match for Rachel. After he died, I stopped buying and reading the books.

    because69…hehehe

  25. 25
    LeslieB says:

    I have to second Cayenne’s Fionavar Tapestry.

     

     

    The only time I can remember spontaneously crying while reading a book is when Diarmuid dies. A guy in my writers’ group admits to being brought low by Kay as well (Sailing to Sarantium).

  26. 26
    JoanneF says:

    I am so in agreement with you, Sarah, about the death of that character in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  That couple was my favorite because they were so normal and kind in a world of WTF.  It still peeves me, especially since that seems to be the only character who actually stays dead in the series.

  27. 27
    Jen B. says:

    My first thought was Harry Potter.  The series, the characters that died and every character that lived.  Great Series!

    However, just the other day I was standing in front of my bookcase and was overwhelmed remembering The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson.  It’s a strange book but one of the main characters dies and it really moved me.  Even the death was strange.  It has stuck with me.

  28. 28
    Jen G. says:

    Sycorax—I’m with you on the Philip Pullman.  Although mine was Frederick Garland.  He and Sally Lockhart finally hook up in the second book of the series, only to die in a fire after doing the deed, leaving her alone and pregnant.  Ugghh…

    For all my frustration, I may have to reread the series.

  29. 29
    jcscot says:

    I have to third the GGK character deaths – always moving and they always make sense in the plots without ever feeling as though he’s killing them off just to be provocative.

  30. 30
    bungluna says:

    Several people have already mentioned the characters I’ve most mourned.  Bujold is the principal writer who has wrought vivid people whose passing has affected me.

    As well as the two mentioned from the Vorkosigan series, I’d like to mention Arhys from “Paladin of Souls”.  The realization of his death was very moving to me.

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