We all die. Now, the deaths of real people are bad enough but what about fictional ones? People that never existed except on a page of a much-loved novel or in a scene of an amazing television show, yet their death really upset you. Here are some deaths that didn’t technically happen but definitely broke my heart.
Mufasa – Death by wildebeests in the “Lion King”
I know it’s a lion. I know it’s a cartoon. The equivalent of someone erasing a drawing with a rubber, but I remember it all so well.
Mufasa, king of the jungle was a beacon for all that is good. Scar, his dickhead brother was everything wrong with the world. Name anyone in history more evil than Scar? You can’t can you?
Who can forget the moment as Mufasa, having saved Simba his son, clings to a cliff face begging his brother for help? Scar, ignores this desperate plea and forces his nails deep into Mufasa’s paws tossing him down into the wildebeest stampede below. Dead. The king of the jungle is dead. Stop the clocks.
The real dreadfulness of this derives itself from what happens next, the reaction of his little son Simba. I remember the sick sense of foreboding as Simba moved toward his lifeless father. The sheer horror as a confused Simba nudged his dead dad desperately willing him back to life. Then the utter injustice as Scar puts the blame on Simba and the little fella runs away with a head and heart full of guilt. The good news is that many years later, Simba returns to the pride and stiches up Scar, which leads to him being eaten alive by Hyena’s. Hooray, more death.
Edgar – Death by nerve gas in “24”
Edgar embodied everything I warm to in a fictional character. He was a single, tubby, balding man with a lisp. To add insult to injury he had a job, as data analyst that he would probably struggle to pronounce at the parties I only imagined he went to. He was a vulnerable loser with a heart of gold and cholesterol.
Edgar appeared in only two series of the 8 series long legitimation of torture that was 24. In the first series he appeared in his mother died, a woman I assumed was his only friend bar the teenage like fellow analyst Chloe O’Brien. Prior to his mother’s death, Edgar had saved every nuclear reactor in America from meltdown yet the “system” still wouldn’t bring his mum to safety. He was my hero.
In the second series it happened. Unknown to him some ruddy terrorists had injected a deadly gas into the Counter Terrorism building that Edgar worked in. Edgar, ever the selfless team player went on a search for a missing fellow employee. It was too late. Whilst Jack Bauer and co had locked themselves in an airtight glass walled room; Edgar was still trying to run back to safety. The sight of the poor bastard running back into the gas field main room upsets me to this day. His face as he sees his coworkers’ safe in a room of clean oxygen is heartbreaking. Then, with his last breaths, Edgar then really puts the boot in emotionally by pitifully gasping “Chloe” as the never to be love of his life looks on.
Cold-hearted Chloe later helps hire her ex-husband to replace Edgar’s now vacant job. To handle his death, I like to pretend that he was just taking a well earned nap on the floor and has since retired to spend the rest of his days on a beach drinking Mai Tai’s.
Boxer - Death by glue makers in “Animal Farm”
Boxer was a bloody good horse that lived and worked on Animal Farm, the farmstead run by animals for animals. Boxer was a hardworking unquestioning worker who believed in what those above him told him to. After the animals rid the farm of Mr. Jones, the animals themselves set about creating a utopian farm under the phrase “All animals are equal” with the Pigs taking the lion share of the intellectual side of things. As the strongest animal on the farm, Boxer was the heartbeat of this revolution living by the mantra of “I will work harder.”
Sadly Boxer was cursed with the dumb naivety to believe that the ruling animals (A sort of Bullingdon Boys Club for pigs) wanted the best for everyone. Yet when the pigs became swines, the new leader, Napoleon squeezed as much out of Boxer’s efforts towards the Big Society as possible before sending him off to be turned into glue. This betrayal is made all the more tragic as before his death Boxer began to live by the mantra of “Napoleon is always right.” What a truly sad end to fiction’s finest horse and a humble beginning to some presumably highly adhesive glue. Poor old Boxer.
Dale – Death by Zombie in “The Walking Dead”
The oldest of the Atlanta survivors, Dale had spent more time than anyone else living under the traditional rule of law before the Zombies arrived. Sadly, the world had changed and everyone had changed except Dale. He was trying to maintain the standards of an extinct society. In the comics Dale had a decent run, he was not so lucky in the TV show where having fought and lost for the rule of law over what to do about a distrusted stranger, Dale walked off alone into the night. A classic Zombie error and he ends up torn apart by a "walker". Dales poor old face, still wearing his hat as Daryl puts him out of his misery is heartbreaking. RIP Dale, you are better off out of it Sir.
Some other fictional deaths that pain me: Charlie Pace in Lost, Sonny Corleone in The Godfather and Bambi’s mum in Bambi.
You can follow/console Tom on twitter: @twgreaney