Television shows can be a little sadistic these days. Sometimes, you may ask yourself why you even bother to put yourself through the pain of watching a show; a show that will introduce you to your new favorite character, only for that very same character to be killed off. Of course, when you commit, you never know what will happen to these characters. Like in real life relationships, you simply fall in love and hope for the best.
Unfortunately for the characters on this list, the best was, well, their death. These deaths hit audiences very hard. As people were watching from the comfort of their couch, scoffing down pizza, they were also crying as their favorite fictional character just met their death. Yep, people cried real tears for these fictional character who have gone on to the fictional afterlife. For some characters, it is inevitable as they may live in a medieval land where everyone is vying for the throne, may be dating a mobster or may live in a world populated by zombies. For other characters, it can come as more of a shock, especially if they are just a handsome neurosurgeon or charming lawyer.
There is life after these deaths, even if your Thursday night may never feel the same again. We must go forth and prosper, because, well, that’s what our fictional friends would have wanted. Here are 10 TV deaths that made every fan cry (spoilers ahead, obviously):
Honorable Mention: Betty Draper on Mad Men
While Betty Draper is still alive and kickin’ at the end of Mad Men, her death is inevitable. While climbing the stairs at her college (Birdie was going for her Masters in Psychology!), Betty falls down the stairs and goes to the hospital, where she is informed that she has an aggressive form of lung cancer. I mean, duh, like six million cigarettes were smoked during the course of the show. Someone had to get lung cancer. It was just sad that it had to be Betty. Betty refuses to undergo chemotherapy and accepts this to be her end. She writes her daughter Sally a letter detailing what to do when she dies and goes on to say that she knows Sally’s life will be an adventure. If fan’s weren’t crying during the letter, the painful last phone call with her ex-husband Don Draper in the last episode certainly got them.
10. Adriana La Cerva on The Sopranos
Adriana certainly wasn’t the first to get whacked on The Sopranos but this death definitely hurt the worst. Proving to be more than just another mob wife who is only interested in shoes and jewelry, the ambitious Adriana eventually became the manager of her mobster fiance Christopher’s nightclub. This nightclub soon became her downfall as the FBI threatened Adriana with prosecution for the illegal activity in the club unless she became an informant. We all know the saying about informants: snitches get stitches. In Adriana’s case, snitches get shot, which is exactly how it ended for her as she begged for her life in the woods.
9. Ned Stark on Game of Thrones
During season one, Ned Stark was the moral center of Game of Thrones. He was a good father, a loving husband and best buds with the king. Who didn’t love Ned Stark? Unfortunately for people who didn’t read the books, they had no idea that Ned was about to lose his head. You see, people who didn’t read the books weren’t aware of the fact that Game of Thrones would be one of those shows that just kills off people willy nilly. Remember, at this point in the series, fans were living in a pre-Red Wedding world. So, in order to live, poor Ned goes against the honor he lives for and confesses to a treason that he did not commit. King Joffrey, the king who would never be forgiven for this by fans of the show, orders Ned to be beheaded, despite having fulfilled his side of the deal.
8. Sun-Hwa Kwon and Jin-Soo Kwon on Lost
In the beginning, Sun and Jin didn’t seem like they were going to be a fan favorite couple-wise. Remember when Jin yelled at Sun whenever she wasn’t wearing a cardigan, even though they were stranded on a super hot island without any air conditioning? Throughout the series, Sun and Jin became a couple to root for, as they both grow as characters in the island scenes and the audience is also shown the romantic beginnings of their relationship through flashbacks. After an explosion in a submarine, Sun is trapped in the submarine filling with water due to a metal pole. She urges Jin to go ahead and save himself but he stays in the submarine as water fills and fills. After one last kiss, the couple dies together.
7. Rita Morgan on Dexter
Dexter was show basically all about murder and death but the death of Rita, Dexter’s love interest for the first four seasons, still hit fans of the show hard. Being that Dexter is detached and has homicidal tendencies, it isn’t easy for him to form romantic relationships with members of the opposite sex. Rita, the wholesome mother of two, began as part of his disguise as a functioning human being but he later develops true feelings for her. Throughout the first four seasons of the series, Dexter finally commits to her, marries her, lives in a suburban house with her and has a son with her. During the fourth season, Dexter struggles with a serial killer, The Trinity Killer, who is able to seemingly also live a normal life while, you know, being a serial killer. Dexter eventually kills The Trinity Killer, only to come home and find The Trinity Killer’s last victim: Rita.
6. Beth Greene on The Walking Dead
Sure, The Walking Dead is one of those shows where no one is safe but little Beth Greene, a symbol of innocence and hope, seemed like she should be safe. She spent most of her time in the series singing songs to baby Judith, if that’s not hope inspiring, then nothing in this zombie ridden world is. What is so upsetting about Beth’s death is how painful it is for the other characters. After Beth is shot, it takes maybe, 2 seconds for Daryl to pull a gun and avenge his friend. After the showdown, the gang leaves the building, Daryl carrying Beth’s dead body. When they are reunited with the other members of the group, Beth’s sister Maggie falls to her knees upon seeing her dead little sister.
The Walking Dead Honorable Mention: Lori Grimes, because watching Carl shoot his mom was pretty rough, and Rick’s whole break when he finds out was even rougher.
5. Ygritte on Game of Thrones
Can’t we give Jon Snow a break? The kid was a bastard and then he finally falls in love with a cute redhead wildling named Ygritte and she dies. While pointing an arrow at Jon Snow (she was never going to shoot him though, let’s be real), Ygritte is struck with an arrow herself. The arrow was shot to save Jon Snow but by doing so, the arrow killed his one love. Jon rushes to Ygritte’s side, holding her as she dies. She tells Jon that they should have stayed in that cave, referring to the cave in which they made love. Jon Snow’s death may have made this list but, let’s all be honest, Jon Snow isn’t dead.
Game of Thrones Honorable Mention: Robb Stark, Talisa Stark and Catelyn Stark at the Red Wedding because that was, uh, bloody to say the least.
4. Charlie Pace on Lost
Technically, the entire cast of Lost could be included on this list because they were all dead the whole time, right? Well, anyways, some of the particular deaths were extremely heart-wrenching and one of those deaths was Charlie’s. Charlie was an unlikely hero on the show as he started out as a drug addict rock star. As the show went on, Charlie kicked his bad habits and started to grow up a bit. He developed a relationship with Claire, the resident pregnant lady on the island. Then he dies by sacrificing himself and writing “Not Penny’s Boat” on his hand to help save the rest of the gang. We’ll always have “You All Everybody.”
3. Hank Schrader on Breaking Bad
In Vince Gilligan’s masterpiece television show Breaking Bad, he managed to create characters with many facets, who won over our hearts in the unlikeliest of ways. I mean, he even managed to make the chemistry teacher turned villainous kingpin, Walter White, someone for whom the audience rooted. The series-long antagonist was Hank Schrader, Walter White’s brother-in-law DEA agent. In the beginning of the series, Hank comes across as abrasive and even emasculates Walt. Throughout the series, the audience comes to know Hank as a person and even understands his black and white version of morality. Little things like Hank’s home-brewed beer were just the cherry on top that made audiences everywhere love this guy. Poor Hank met an untimely death at the hand of some neo-Nazis. When Walt tells Hank to beg for his life, Hank responds by telling Walt, “You’re the smartest guy I ever met and you’re too stupid to see… He made up his mind 10 minutes ago.” With that, a shot is fired. Fans can just hope that Hank is looking down on everyone from fictional character heaven, where Shania Twain is finally giving him that “tuggie” he wanted.
2. Derek Shepherd on Grey’s Anatomy
Shonda Rhimes kills people off of her shows about as often as the average person clips their nails, meaning every few weeks someone is a goner on her show. That being said, the death of Derek Shepherd shouldn’t have felt like such a shock, but fans of McDreamy still went ballistic when he died after complications from a car accident. There was even a petition to bring back Derek Shepherd. You can’t blame the fan girls. Ol’ McDreamy had won them over for nearly a decade, being credited in a whooping 245 episodes, with his glorious head of hair and his romantic monologues.
1. Will Gardner on The Good Wife
Many fans thought that Alicia Florrick, the show’s protagonist, would end up with Will Gardner, the charmingly arrogant lawyer who has been carrying a torch for her since college. Being that The Good Wife was a show grounded in the reality (for the most part) and hadn’t seen any major characters die (for the most part) it shocked many fans when Will Gardner was shot and killed by his client in a courtroom. Now, fans have to deal with what could have been, as Will and Alicia’s relationship never quite fully played out because of bad timing, as Alicia and Will have said. This is not to mention the final voicemail that Will left Alicia in which he tells Alicia he’ll call her back, never stating his real reason for calling. This left fans everywhere fantasizing that he was calling to finally declare all his love to her forever and ever.