Boromir in The Fellowship Of The Ring
Lord Of The Rings is one of those trilogies where any number of the dozen tragic deaths could be on this list, but Boromir’s always seemed to get me right in the feelies.
Boromir wasn’t perfect. He was selfish and crude, and he was prone to the temptation of the ring. But everyone loves a story of redemption, and in Boromir’s death he acknowledges that Aragorn is everything a true leader of Gondor needs to be.
“I would have followed you, my brother… My captain… My king.”
Samantha in I Am Legend
Let me preface this entry with the unfalsifiable fact that if a dog dies in a movie, it is automatically more devastating than any other human death. And there are dozens, HUNDREDS, maybe even THOUSANDS of dog deaths that could have made it onto this list, believe me. Yeller, Marley. I feel you.
But something about Sam being Will Smith’s only connection to the old world, to his family, to a sense of reality and purpose in a zombie apocalypse makes her death so jarring.
Not to mention the fact that Will Smith literally cradles her as she breaths her last breath, singing “Three Little Birds.” Goodbye forever, happiness.
Lennie in Of Mice And Men
Every high school freshman in America had the same experience reading this book. Probably what makes Lennie’s death so gut-wrenchingly awful is that there’s no way to cut it black-and-white, right and wrong. I mean, the man was killed by his best friend, the only person in the world who cares about him.
On one hand, George has to kill Lennie because if he doesn’t, Lennie will be tortured by Curley. It’s a mercy killing.
But on the other hand, George knows that in killing Lennie he’s ridding himself of a HUGE burden. It seems like Lennie’s innocence and uncontrollable strength had finally outpaced George’s ability to keep his outbursts under control, and so Lennie’s life came to a tragic end that was more than most 14-year-olds can wrap their heads around.
“No, Lennie. I ain’t mad. I never been mad, an’ I ain’t now. That’s a thing I want ya to know.” BANG.