Monday, August 3, 2015

So Not Over It: Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

WARNING: this post contains spoilers for The Hunger Games Trilogy, NCIS, Les Miserables, The Hobbit, and Marvel Comics. Our spoilers are hidden, but proceed with caution. Highlight to read spoilers

When Sky and Mirriam wrote about fictional character deaths they were "so not over," we (Amanda and Jaime) knew we had a few more characters to add to the ever-growing list. But unlike them, we don't have a graveyard full of names; instead, we've each got a big room--think warehouse size--full of empty chairs at empty tables...

There's a grief that can't be spoken
There's a pain that goes on and on.
Empty chairs at empty tables,
Now my fictional friends are gone. 

Amanda Horn
The Hunger Games

Cinna is easily my favorite character from this series. He’s intense but gentle, and his spirit is one of quiet rebellion. SO WHY DID HE DIE??? He was lovely and kind, but he never ignored the issues of life and the slavery of the Capitol, even though he was a Capitol citizen. He was everything Katniss needed in a friend and that was ripped away from her.  Katniss needed a friend whose friendship she didn’t need to question or doubt, which is something she never got from Gale or Peeta.
But even though I can’t get over his death, I still admire his sacrifice. He knew that making that dress would probably get him killed, but he did it anyway. In a way, this makes it even harder to get over because it was his choice to rebel.

Kate Todd

One of the hardest characters for me to even try to get over dying is Kate. While I wouldn’t say that she was a favorite character (it’s not that she wasn’t, I just love a lot of characters in this fandom), her death hit me especially hard. Maybe it was the way she died (shot in the forehead while making a snarky comment) or maybe that there was just so much unresolved stuff surrounding her, but either way, I’m still so not over her death. (Also, I really ship her and Gibbs, but she’s dead now, so… *cries*)

Les Miserables

Some of you may have seen or heard me talk about Enjolras before. He’s one of my favorite characters of all time and he lives in one of my favorite stories of all time. But I think the worst, most painful part is that I think he knew he was going to die in those terrible fights on the barricades. I think he knew that they weren’t going to solve it all in that one small rebellion. This rebellion was merely a spark, but that didn’t stop him from fighting. He died a martyr’s death for the freedom of his people, and even though I realize why he did it and what it did for the story, it still hurts.

Jaime Heller
The Hobbit
Fili and Kili

I would be lying if I said I never cried over Tolkien’s masterpieces. I have cried too many tears, mainly because of multiple character deaths in Middle Earth’s history. But the one—or I guess two—deaths I’m never going to be over: Fili and Kili.
It’s tragic to think about their dwarf lives being taken away so soon. They were young for dwarves, the equivalent of teenagers really. In addition, they had so much potential for ruling Erebor. But I also quite admire how they died: defending Thorin, their uncle and king. They were heroes, despite their youth. They were heroes, despite how little the book paints their deaths or lives. In The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies, Fili's death is quite the same. He was slain so quickly I had no time to react, to cry, before his body fell to the snowy ground below and was given no other thought in the movie.
Fili would have made an honorable king.

The Hunger Games
Finnick Odair

If there is one death I've been mourning over for the last five years, it is the death of Finnick Odair. Upon his introduction in Catching Fire, he quickly moved to the top of my favorite characters of all time list. By the time Mockingjay rolled around, I was hook-line-and-sinker smitten with this trident-wielding, Aquaman from District 4 to the point I don't even bat an eye at Peeta or Gale anymore. He went crazy. So did I, after reading of his death during the Capitol raid. I had to pause while reading because I could not see past the tears. It was terrible. I fear Mockingjay Part 2 (I've whisper-yelled "no" in theaters when the trailer came on the screen).
Why does Finnick's death hurt so much? Because Finnick is the most likeable character. He is the smooth-talking, good looking guy, but he has a tragic past. He has depth to him beyond his looks and his ability to chuck tridents into people's chests. He is also a source of comfort and close companionship with Katniss. Some of the most profound lines in The Hunger Games Trilogy fall from Finnick's lips. He knows what it means to truly love someone (see Annie for example) and what it means to lose everything. His death is also sudden, uncalled for, and completely bewildering. A few sentences are all he got before his life is over. At least Katniss mentions him again later in the book as she lingers over his memory. But the most tragic reason about his death: Suzanne Collins (the author) stated she killed him off to reveal the casualties of war. Excuse me, but did the death of Boggs, Castor, Prim, and more not count for proof of casualties in war?
Which leaves me with: why Finnick?? 

Marvel Comics
Steve Rogers

In 2007, a tragedy beyond tragedy plagued the Marvel comics world: The Death of Captain America. What? Why? How? My thoughts exactly. But in the aftermath of the Marvel Civil War, Steve Rogers was assassinated by Crossbones and a brainwashed Sharon Carter (think they'll have that in the movie?). While this paves the way for peace between the two conflicting sides of the war and for Bucky to don the red-white-and-blue suit in order to be labeled a hero once more, it still hurts. 
Steve Rogers. Dead. How did the world ever survive? Somehow it did but not without high costs. There's an entire comic series called The Fallen Son, which focuses on various heroes like Spider-man, Ironman, Wolverine, who deal with Steve's death. Each one revolves around a step in the cycle of grief. It's heartbreaking to read. 
Steve Rogers led the wave of heroes we know together through his work during WWII. He returned from death to spark more hope in heroes and humans alike. He helped build up the Avengers team, he trained heroes, and he upheld what he believed in the entire time--not even backing down when it was one of his best friends standing against him. He is truly an admirable hero. And with the looming Civil War movie, I fear Steve Rogers will not only die in the comics but we'll see his death on the big screen. 
Let's just say: I'm not ready to say goodbye yet. 

Do you agree with our choices? What other fictional deaths still haunt you?


  1. The FEELS!!! I'm still not over these deaths. Above-mentioned-person from Les Mis made me cry my eyes out. Actually, I was probably crying for half of the movie (not kidding) but his death was really really sad. I think it's always the saddest when young people die, because they have so much potential and so much to look forward to and live for. I guess it makes the sacrifice all the greater. BUT STILL!

    1. I know! The feels are crazy, man. I love those boys.

      Enjolras' potential was crazy too! He's just so young and he already has that incredible leadership and charisma? wow. I just...I can't. *cries*