Characters come and characters go; it’s only fair to point out that you can’t always enjoy a character through to the end of a series. Indeed, some characters are simply put in to be fodder, or to be used as a way to leverage an episode, or as an ongoing plot device. Death may be final, but in our minds, these characters live on, as we check out our Top 10 Characters Who Died Too Soon.
WARNING: Before we get into this week’s Top 10, you must be warned that there will be various spoilers in this article.
10) Uriel Septim VII – Oblivion
Starting the list with a slight technicality, Uriel Septim VII died pretty early on in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. The technicality in question is that the game wouldn’t really get going if he didn’t die. In fact, you, the newly released prisoner, wouldn’t have anything to do, except for just wander the world aimlessly. However, it’s this very same issue that made us want to put Uriel into this list.
The emperor himself is the very reason you have a purpose in Oblivion, so early on in the game. He sort of acts as a simple voice to give you a motivation to go on to get through the game. But, I say he died too soon! After all, big voice actors are huge in video games, so when you actually manage to get Sir Patrick Stewart to voice a man who will be dead so soon, it’s just obscene!
Plus, he tells you what to do and where to go… But is that what your heart will tell you, once you leave the sewers?
9) Maes Hughes – Fullmetal Alchemist
The most lovable member of the State Alchemists, the Colonel is one of the friendliest people in the series. Naturally then, it’s unfortunate that not too deep into the series, he is met with an untimely ending, when Envy disguised as Maes wife, Garcia. The Colonel may die relatively early on compared to some of his compatriots, but the time we get to spend with him is always a warm moment.
Whether he’s showing you pictures of his daughter, or he’s telling you not to hurt his daughter, or he’s reminding you how wonderful his whole family is – Maes is one of those people you’d love to know for real. He just emanates love and warmth, something he extends out to the Elric brothers. Whilst a great plot device, no one can deny that they’d have loved it if Maes lasted longer than he did.
8) Odin Quincannon – Preacher
A death that went by quietly… in a fiery explosion that destroyed a whole town, a fart-fueled immolation that killed hundreds and wrapped up Preacher’s first season in real style, but in it we lost one of its greatest characters. Jackie Earle Haley may be one of my current favourite character actors, I’m even prepared to admit that I enjoyed Rorschach as a point of interest in an otherwise poor film, and as The Terror he’s really brought a throwaway villain to the fore in the Tick.
Here we have the passively villainous Odin Quincannon, a man who relaxes with a glass of whisky and a live audio-feed to his slaughterhouse floor. He exhibits as much empathy as a radish (known to be the most callous vegetable) and the same regard for his fellow man that one might hold for a woodlouse, and yet he is never boring, not for a moment. Just one character lost in a hellish blaze as the series continues. Roll on season 3.
7) Jonathan Joestar – JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure
The gentlemanly giant who started it all, Jonathan Joestar is one of the few characters in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure that I feel died too soon. This isn’t to say he didn’t have a good run, because the whole first arc is dedicated to him. Unfortunately, Jonathan doesn’t make it into a future arc – Well, not an alive Jonathan, anyway – More just the body of Jonathan gets to live on under that nefarious DIO’s command!
Jonathan wants to defend his honor, his friends and family and even people he doesn’t know that well. He stands up for what he believes in and he meets some amazing people along the way. A lot of people would suggest that his mentor, William Zappeli, also died far too soon. However, in terms of impact on the show as a whole, Jonathan should have survived, at least a bit longer.
At least it created some amazing stories!
6) Sayori – Doki Doki Literature Club
This one is really rough, so if you’ve never played Doki Doki Literature Club, this one is a major spoiler. If you really intend to play it and do not want it spoiled, skip past this part right now. You have been warned.
So, with the title of this article right at the top of your browser there, if you’ve never played the game, you may be surprised that a character actually dies in what appears to be a rather friendly looking dating sim. In fact, the death in question here is brutal – It lulls you in, thinking you’re going to see something sad and in return, you’re greeted with an incredible visual shock.
Doki Doki Literature Club is about a literature club that you’ve been invited to join, during after school activities. Sayori is your best friend and neighbor who you can choose to try to get romantically involved with. She doesn’t mention that she’s been battling depression for ages and with her growing closer to the main character, whether he reciprocates or not, she can’t bare it any longer.
She takes her own life, by hanging. This is a pretty sensitive subject, so I won’t link a video here, but there are plenty of videos relating to this scene on YouTube.
5) Aerith – Final Fantasy VII
Ah, the undisputed queen of “Why the heck did you take her away so soon?!” God damn it, Square Enix, you actually created one of the most rage-worthy, but simultaneously important moments in all of video game history with the one scene of Sephiroth dropping down and stabbing through Aerith, killing her in an instant. It’s quick, it’s brutal and all in all, it’s far, far too soon damn it.
When Final Fantasy VII first came out, a lot of long-standing fans of RPGs would try to grind her levels. So imagine their shock when the main antagonist of the game comes crashing in to just murder what you had worked so hard for. This time, not even a Phoenix Down would cure her.
However, without Aerith’s death, there’s no doubt that Final Fantasy VII would only be a fraction of the game it is. It’s impactful and in many ways it’s hurtful – It’s definitely one of video games most infamous moments and we hate Sephiroth for it.
4) Oberyn Martell – Game of Thrones
I don’t think any of us saw this one coming, and more fool us because it’s not like Martin had been pulling punches in the series up to this point. The only warning any of us got was reading the book in the first place, and even then it just meant feeling the gut-punch twice. The Viper of Dorne leapt to the rescue of crowd favourite Tyrion Lannister to sate his own thirst for vengeance and justice, believing that both his accuser and champion to be responsible for his – Oberyn’s – sister.
At first it seemed that Oberyn would do the impossible, bring down a mountain, and egg the implacable face of Tywin Lannister, his combat prowess and shameless use of poison giving him an edge against the enormous bulk of Gregor Clegane, but in the end arrogance brings him low, and his end is more grotesque than we could possibly have imagined.
3) Dr. Lawrence Kutner – House
Gregory House’s various team members often come to reflect some dark aspect of his personality, slowly being stripped of some important shred of humanity, and yet gaining some other asset. But the childish glee of Kutner seemed unassailable, he had the nerve to stand against House whenever they disagreed, but was also seriously into comic books.
His suicide came completely out of the blue, unless you were paying attention to the career of Kal Penn in which case you knew he’d be out of the show soon. The series took the opportunity to explore the subjects of depression, grief, and the impact of suicide in ways that were rather profound. There was no warning, and we lost one of the best characters the show ever produced. Thanks Obama!
2) Sirius Black – Harry Potter
One does not typically expect beloved and important characters to die in a children’s book, and certainly not so suddenly and chillingly. The Veil is some mysterious monolith, an archway hung with torn and shifting black fabric, believed to be a boundry between life and death, which has proven to be an apt decision, as anything that goes through does not come back alive.
No lingering, no sorrowful goodbyes, no operatic last gasps, it’s everything we know about the Killing Word, an absolute end of life, and as book five in the Harry Potter series rounds out we witness his last tenuous link to family simply erased before him and dragged into oblivion. It was masterfully done from a literary perspective, but no less shocking and terrible for it.
1) Montgomery Montgomery – A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Reptile Room
Just look away, look away!
Yes, with the Netflix spectacular still ongoing, we had a good think about who could make it onto our lists… And this was a suggestion that we put forward. Interestingly, we didn’t think of him right away, but that’s because he’s around for two episodes and then he’s gone (or, in terms of the actual books, he’s around for exactly one book. Not exactly an epic length to be alive.)
Montgomery Montgomery, or Monty for short, is one of the few people who actually cares for the Baudelaire children. He legitimately loves them to bits, even though he has a strange habit for looking after and raising deadly creatures. Monty keeps creatures such as the amusingly named Incredibly Deadly Viper (which wasn’t actually deadly at all). But, for a man with so much knowledge of poisons and snakes, it was a fitting way for him to die at the hands of Count Olaf – To meet a venomous end.
Not everyone dies equally, same as how we’re not all born equally. As such, when we really thought about it, we came to the conclusion that the next two deaths we talk about are more about the star power behind them… Well, especially when one of them is death after death after death. Read on!
It’s something of a running joke these days, despite the fact that there are a host of other actors who die in everything and we can cite a few titles in which Sean Bean never dies, not least of which being his famous Sharpe series in which he lasts for a surprising amount of time. Indeed there was a time when he was such a highly regarded actor that the very notion of his character dying would seem highly unlikely.
But the list of on screen deaths features some pretty huge titles, the biggest being Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, but also find Equilibrium, Patriot Games, and James Bond on the Sean Bean memorial wall. He’s been torn apart by horses, buried alive, and forced off a cliff by cows. Perhaps it’s his talent at portraying death? Or maybe it’s a running gag that’s too good to drop yet.
Russell Franklin – Deep Blue Sea
It’s fine right? Samuel L Jackson isn’t going to die, or at least he sure as hell isn’t dying firs-
You may recall this one from our Top 10 Funniest Death Scenes, because it came completely out of the… out of the blue, dammit I was trying to avoid a pun here. But by killing off it’s biggest star, Deep Blue Sea set a tone for the rest of the film, and while the rest of the film might not have been anything astounding, but it certainly did a great job of subverting expectations. The love interest almost made it to the end, the comic relief survived alongside the back-up lead actor, and a whole bunch of horror film cliches got a big Wes Craven-sized lens shone on them.
We considered putting Russell Franklin into the list, but the fact of the matter is that killing off Jackson mid-monologue when they did was an expression of intent. Of course it meant that we had to deal with Thomas Jane taking the lead roll, which is fine, just… not as good.
We’ve reached a conclusion at last and now it’s time to say our prayers for the deceased, even though we feel like they shouldn’t be gone yet. Alas, don’t be too sad about this, it just means that when you go back to rewatch, or replay, you’ll be happy the characters are back! Just like when you come back here next week, you should be happy with which Top 10 you’ll be reading, as you’ll have voted below, right?
It’s been a long one, filled with tears and in some cases maniacal laughter. However, we’ve had a good look back at characters who we felt deserved some more screen time, but now it’s over to you. Did you agree with our list, or did we get it completely wrong? Did Uncle Monty deserve to get first place? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, or over on Facebook and Twitter.