“I’ll Never Let Go” and 15 Other Heart-Wrenching Deaths From Fiction
WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD! Proceed with extreme caution.
Truth be told, Jack’s death scene from Titanic didn’t actually make it onto this list — that wasn’t sad, it was infuriating! He totally could have fit on that door.
But if you’re like me, sometimes sweatpants, a pint of ice cream, and 3 hours with the saddest book or movie you can find is just what you need on a Saturday night. There are too many tragic deaths from fiction to create a truly accurate list of the worst, but we’ve put together some that we found particularly sob-worthy.
Some interesting findings to mention from our research: Disney movies are a minefield of scarring death scenes; Tom Hanks is a freaking genius; robot deaths are sometimes sadder than human deaths; dog deaths are always sadder than human deaths; and William Shakespeare is arguably still the most relevant pop culture icon of all time.
Without further ado, KEEP READING for our picks of some of the saddest fictional deaths out there.
Artax The Horse in The Neverending Story
I just had to rewatch this scene from the movie to refresh myself and now I’m sobbing, so here we go. When Atreyu and Artax are making the perilous voyage across the Swamp Of Sadness in The Neverending Story, the heart-crippling sadness of the swamp becomes too much for the horse and he starts sinking.
“Come on Artax. What’s the matter? What’s wrong?” Any death in a kid’s movie is bound to leave you with some serious emotional battle scars, but after giving this movie another watch as an adult, Artax’s death seems to be a metaphor for the frustration of witnessing a friend suffer from depression.
Atreyu can’t understand why Artax can’t fight the sadness. The music swells, the yelling becomes more frantic, and BAM. #scarredforlife
Mufasa in The Lion King
I might be letting my status as a 90’s baby show by including this one, but I dare you to watch Simba’s dad get trampled by a stampede and not totally lose it.
What makes this death particularly sad is that Mufasa dies pretty close to the beginning of the movie — even as a kid, we expect that there might be a death somewhere near the climax, but right out the gate Disney had us emotionally distraught and wondering where we were going to go from here.
“Dad? Dad, we gotta go home.” Excuse me while I curl up into fetal position and cry myself to sleep.