In all honesty, this week hasn’t been the nicest. Things seemed to have gone progressively south from beginning to end, so I thought I’d wallow in my sadness a little more before starting afresh by making a top five most heartbreaking deaths in young adult fiction!
Interestingly, this list consists of all male characters, so I’m not sure whether that says something about me, or the genre. I wracked my brain for some super emotional female deaths, yet came up blank; I’ve discovered that my reads are fairly male character dominated, who knew!
Gabriel Boutin | Half Bad Trilogy
Character’s Introduction: Half Bad
Character’s Death: Half Lost
Okay, there’s no way I can possibly create this list without mentioning Gabriel. This man’s death broke my heart! It was completely unpredictable in the series, him being unbeatable and wise since he was first introduced, meaning his death hit me hard in the final installment of the trilogy.
However, his death hurt Nathan the most, resulting in his own death in attempt to be near him. Queue more tears!
His love for Nathan was beautiful and inspiring since the first book, and it was incredible to read of their forming relationship until they made it official in the final one. However, less than two hundred pages later it came to a heartbreaking climax when Gabriel was shot by hunters. His character is impossible not to love, and as much as I hate his fate, it was the perfect ending for him.
Fred Weasley | The Harry Potter Series
Character’s Introduction: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Character’s Death: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
I will protect the Weasley Twins to my death. I adore these characters. They’ve been a huge part of my life since I was young and the one thing I hated more than anything about the film adaptations of the series was how anticlimactic Fred’s death was portrayed.
In the final book, Fred’s death was harrowing. Rowling’s language doubled with the interaction between Fred and Percy created one of the most heartbreaking moments of the series, and I adored that. Yes, Fred Weasley deserved better, yet he died doing something he wanted and was passionate about; mending relationships with his family and laughing. However, in the film, there was nothing. Literally nothing. There was no beautiful moment between Percy and him, yet we were granted a two second scene of the twins ‘comforting’ another in a humorous way. They were so much more than that! Don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing to do with the acting – James and Oliver Phelps owned those roles – it was the lack of screen time and poor writing.
Anyways, in short; I adore Fred Weasley, and his death physically broke me. I’m still not over it.
I can still recite his final paragraph word for word.
Jest | Heartless
Character’s Introduction: Heartless
Character’s Death: Heartless
Okay, so I know his death’s entire purpose in the story was to be the reason Cath lost her sanity and became the Queen of Hearts. However, that didn’t mean that Marissa Meyer had to make him so damn lovable. Jest made this book, his character was charming, funny, brave, and his love for Catherine was one of the most beautiful I’ve read in young adult fiction.
Yes, his death was predictable – like you could literally predict it from the moment Catherine began to have feelings for him – yet there was no possible way to avoid being hit with emotion at his death. He deserved better, and the fact he was adored by those around him made his fate so much harder to read. Jest was by far the best character in Heartless, the one with the most personality, development, and backstory, and the fact his death was necessary for the plot line hurts.
Newt | The Maze Runner
Character’s Introduction: The Maze Runner/The Fever Code
Character’s Death: The Death Cure
I should probably start by saying that I haven’t technically read The Death Cure yet; it’s something that I’ve been meaning to get around to doing, yet life and other series keeps getting in the way. However, I have read up a lot on it (and have read that section of the novel as research), and am basing it off fans reactions and the [inaccurate] film adaptation.
Since book one, Newt has been my favourite character. I adore him. Being Alby’s second-in command meant that he was well-respected in the glade, meaning it wasn’t long until Thomas felt the same. Considering it was his narrative we were following, it was hard not to agree with the protagonist. Newt never gave us any reason to go against that opinion either. This made his death incredibly heartbreaking to witness. Newt had become an inspiration to Thomas, having no memory prior to the glade meaning his mentors had become those more experienced of life in the maze than him; Newt was fairly high on that list. Reading Newt in such a vulnerable state was agonising, and Thomas’s painful reaction added to the trauma. Plus, having to kill someone you’ve come to see as family and has protected you since day one is not okay.
Shancus Von | The Saga of Darren Shan
Character’s Introduction: Lord of the Shadows
Character’s Death: Lord of the Shadows
This kid deserved better, okay?! Shancus is the eight-year-old son of Evra and Merla Von, and did nothing wrong throughout the entire series. Evra named his eldest son after Darren, having been his first and closest friend since welcoming him to the Cirque and the relationship between the pair was adorable. Darren accepted Evra since the beginning, and the welcoming of three children, two of which were also part snake, made no difference to Darren. For Shancus’s birthday, Darren bought him his own pet snake, one alike his father treasured since they met, and it was beautiful to read of their growing relationship. Until Steve destroyed the last light of the series.
Steve broke Shancus’s neck after kidnapping him, already causing trauma for his father as he previously experienced a similar scenario as a teen, in attempt to harm Darren. This event brought intense trauma on the family, leaving them to mourn over the death of their child whilst also attempting to protect Darren and battle alongside him. To add fuel to the fire whilst reading, Shancus’s corpse was also mentioned in the final installment, Sons of Destiny, hanging from a noose above Steve. If killing little Shancus wasn’t enough, Darren Shan felt the need to remind us of the painful event by literally hanging him over us. I’m still a complete wreck.