Tuesday I told you how to kill and how not to kill your characters. For fun, let’s look at some of the fantasy genre’s best deaths. Those that made us laugh and those that made us cry.
The Lord of the Rings: Boromir
Even though this list isn’t in a particular order, this one definitely belongs on the top of the list. Not only does the death of Boromir dissolve the fellowship, it proves the danger of the One Ring (for those of us who may have been questioning its power). Those who are tempted by it (Gollum, Isildur, Boromir, etc), ultimately meet their demise. All of that aside, who doesn’t enjoy a death scene where men hold and kiss each other. With all the pawing, kissing, and panting, this could have easily been a make-out scene if not for the arrows.
For a B movie, this death gets an A. Fans of the movie loved this movie for what it could have been if not for the poorly developed characters, bad acting, and bad writing. For what it’s worth, there’s emotional payoff at the end to make up for all that. You know the dragon is toast from the moment he performs the scientifically impossible feat of sharing half a heart with a human (so much wrong with this scenario). To kill the villain, he has to sacrifice himself. And worse, his best friend has to be the one to kill him. Heavy stuff. In the end, the sad, defeated Sr. Bowen ask his dead friend, “Where do we turn?” The response: “To the stars, Bowen. To the stars.” Best last words ever–delivered after death on top of that as Draco becomes a star constellation. Those words combined with the theme song made me sad and tricked me into thinking this was a good movie..
The Hobbit: Thorin Oakenshield
Ok, for those of you who hate any deviation from the books, I think Peter Jackson improved the final words of Thorin Oakenshield. Those tear-jerking last words are not only relevant to the story, but to modern society. “If more people valued home above gold, the world would be a merrier place.” Those final words left me crying and nodding in agreement. I was also very moved by Bilbo’s reaction to his death, but I don’t think enough time was spent on that or the other dwarves’ reactions. I also think they should have included his funeral. Regardless, I will remember this death as one of the highlights of the film. Not enough emotional payoff or closure for the Bilbo/Thorin friendship arc, but good never-the-less.
The Princess Bride: Westley
Well, this hardly counts. After all he was only mostly dead. But reading or watching this for the first time, who didn’t react like the little boy from the film. Fake deaths were sort of a specialty of Westley. After all, this wouldn’t be the first time he “died.” Buttercup loses him to pirates long before the pit of despair or the zoo (depending on the book or film. I prefer the movie). Another reason this is a great death. He’s topless. Notice he has a shirt in the next scene. So thoughtful of Inigo and Fezzik to remember to put a shirt on a dead guy before taking him to the house of Miracle Max. In all honesty, what really makes this a great death is because he doesn’t die, and why not? For love, of course. It cannot stop true love, only delay it a little while.
Braveheart: William and Murron
This is a two for one. I really couldn’t pick between the two. The entire story is the result of the death of Murron. William spends the entire movie fighting for freedom, which includes certain freedoms that married people are supposed to have (wink, wink) that are denied by the English. You feel the love for his deceased wife in every scene, especially in the last scene. As he’s dying he clutches her childhood gift to his last breath and thinks he sees her walking toward him out of the crowd. That was a good emotional cleanse after watching a guy get tortured. Good end to what could have been an overly gory scene.
A Game of Thrones: Ned Stark
I know Game of Thrones fans are very sensitive about spoilers, but at this point is Ned Stark’s death considered a spoiler? This happened in season one, people. Besides who was surprised. He was played by Sean Bean: most of his characters die! Who couldn’t love the honorable Ned Stark–except for maybe Jaime Lannister. He was a good father and husband . . . aside from the fact that he cheated on his wife. Not so honorable after all, are you Ned? Regardless who didn’t cry when they cut off his head, a scene that empowered Arya and Robb . . . and momentarily empowered Sansa. If she’d just pushed Joffrey off the building. Almost, Sansa.
A Game of Thrones: Viserys
For those of you not familiar with the name, maybe this picture will refresh your memory. This is one of those great deaths because of the irony. All he wanted was a crown . . . and he got one. Need I say more.
Star Trek: Spock
This is how great this death is. I haven’t even seen this movie yet, and I want to cry. That’s the power of this picture. That hand. That face. That noble sacrifice. I don’t even know what he died for. It’s particularly sad today considering as I was writing this post, Leonard Nimoy passed away. What a sad day for fantasy fans.
Star Wars: Qui Gon Jinn
Like DragonHeart, this wasn’t the best movie, but Qui Gon Jinn is sort of the Draco of this film. He’s noble and good–sort of Jesus like. I think his death is the highlight of this film (considering Jar Jar didn’t die). Obi Wan dramatically shouts NOOOOOOOOO!!! and then there’s that thing Qui Gon does with his finger where he just taps Obi Wan’s face. It’s got all the elements of the Boromir death/makeout scene.
Bridge to Terabithia: Leslie Burke
I think this one gets overlooked for several reasons. It’s not dramatic–heck it’s even off screen. The girl doesn’t get shot by a hundred arrows, beheaded, or drawn and quartered like our above heroes. She simply drowns. It’s so touching and sad because of how the characters react. I cried and cried while all the characters cried. I’ve only seen this movie once, and I’ll never watch it again. Too sad. Leslie is just a wonderful character you can’t help but like.
Share your thoughts. What is your favorite fantasy death? Which ones made you cry or laugh?