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TV Character Deaths We’re Still Not Over
While shows like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead pride themselves on a “no one is safe” approach to our favorite characters, that doesn’t make truly devastating TV deaths any more bearable.
Let’s take a look back on the deaths of beloved TV show characters we still can’t quite move on from. Consider yourself spoiler alerted.
Zeek Braverman | Parenthood: The beloved patriarch’s death in the series finale shocked fans, but his last words — “Boy, we did good, didn’t we, Camille?” — rang true.
Omar Little | The Wire: Of all the show’s deaths, none was as shocking — or frightening — as that of the seemingly invincible Omar Little, who was shot by a young drug dealer named Kenard.
Joyce summers | buffy the vampire slayer: in this supernatural show, buffy’s life is marked by death. but when joyce has a brain aneurysm, and buffy finds her mom’s lifeless body on the couch, the show underscores the devastation of real-life tragedy., coach ernie pantusso | cheers: after actor nicholas colasanto passed away suddenly due to a heart attack, showrunners wrote his character out of the show. nonetheless, characters often recall coach fondly., mr. hooper | sesame street: when actor will lee passed away, the show’s producers didn’t want to avoid the subject, seeing it as an opportunity to educate young viewers., michael cordero | jane the virgin: just when jane and michael had finally tied the knot, our leading man died from gunshot-related complications. well, until the final season, which saw him “resurrected” in true telenovela style., rayna james | nashville: actress connie britton felt it was time to move on, but fans were still shocked when the show’s main character survived her stalker only to die in a tragic car accident., lexa | the 100: following in buffy the vampire slayer’s footsteps, the 100 killed off commander lexa, a queer woman and fan favorite, moments after she and gal pal clarke finally got together. yet again, a stray bullet took down this seemingly invincible warrior., teri bauer | 24: honestly, after teri’s bout with soap opera-level amnesia, we didn’t think things could get worse. that is, until jack, having left his wife with a trusted friend, returned to find her lifeless body., ned stark | game of thrones: of all the show’s brutal deaths, perhaps none was quite as shocking as the first. although ned seemed to be our protagonist, we should have seen a sean bean death coming., poussey washington | orange is the new black: while trying to de-escalate a situation that erupts during a peaceful protest, poussey is restrained and subsequently suffocated by a correctional officer. heartbreaking and shocking, poussey’s death cast a spotlight on police brutality and reiterated the importance of the black lives matter movement., keith scott | one tree hill: although this cw show is all about teen drama, fans could rely on this father figure. in a heartbreaking school shooting episode, keith dies at the hands of his vengeful brother., rita morgan | dexter: dexter thinks he’s saved his wife from the trinity killer by telling her to skip town. but a voice message reveals rita ran home to grab her id — and when dexter finds her lifeless body in the bathtub, it’s heartbreaking., dr. romano | er: after a helicopter accident severed his arm in the show’s ninth season, a second (shockingly coincidental) helicopter incident ultimately led to dr. romano’s death in season 10., fred andrews | riverdale: after actor luke perry’s tragic passing in 2019, his character, archie andrews’ father, was given a touching on-screen sendoff. although the show is full of mystery and murder, fred’s death was more commonplace, underscoring the very real loss of perry., matthew crawley | downton abbey: beloved characters need to stay away from moving vehicles. after surviving world war i and the spanish influenza, matthew crawley died in a car accident — just after the birth of his son., jin & sun kwon | lost: in a show full of tragic, shocking deaths, the joint death of jin and sun might be the most devastating. the lovers promise to never leave each other — bad sign — and then drown together, holding hands., chet hunter | boy meets world: after owning up to his mistakes as a father and deciding to stay with his sons for good, chet hunter has a sudden heart attack and dies, leaving shawn and jack fatherless again., will gardner | the good wife: in a shocking twist, will’s distraught client grabs a courtroom cop’s weapon and initiates a panicked shootout. will tries to intervene — and takes a fatal bullet to the neck., tara maclay | buffy the vampire slayer: after witches-turned-lovers tara and willow (finally) get back together, tara is hit by a stray bullet. so stray that it just comes through the bedroom window — thus launching the frustrating trope of queer characters dying just after a moment of happiness., catelyn & robb stark | game of thrones: again, this show has a lot of brutal deaths, but the red wedding massacre potentially outdid the shock of ned’s season one death — upping the ante from a single stark death to two., george o’malley | grey’s anatomy: when an unidentifiable patient is hit by a bus, meredith grey only realizes it’s george when he writes “007” (his nickname) on her palm — just before dying., jack pearson | this is us: it wasn’t a matter of if jack would pass away, it was when — and how. after saving his family from a fire, jack seems okay, but then dies suddenly of cardiac arrest while his wife (mandy moore) is grabbing him a candy bar. truly brutal., william hill | this is us: to reconnect with his son randall (sterling k. brown), william embarks on a father-son road trip to his hometown. randall tells a cancer-stricken william “breathe with me” — and he does, until the end., jen lindley | dawson’s creek: the series finale flashes forward a few years, revealing that jen, a new mother, has a fatal heart condition. after she records a tearful video message for her young daughter, jen dies with grams by her side., dan conner | roseanne: in the series finale, roseanne revealed the series was a book she’d written about her life — with a few changes. namely, her husband dan actually died from his heart attack in season eight. evidently, the reboot ignored this tragic turn., lori grimes | the walking dead: even in a show where no one is safe, lori’s death is haunting. after an emergency c-section, she loses too much blood and her older son, carl, has to (literally) pull the trigger before she turns into a zombie., tara thornton | true blood: when tara is turned into a vampire — at the request of people she cares about — she’s understandably upset. once she acclimates to her vampiric lifestyle, this fan-favorite character is killed by — of course — yet another vamp., lane pryce | mad men: don draper’s world is seemingly one of little (to no) consequence — that is, until lane, the ad firm’s british partner, forges don’s signature. late at night, lane hangs himself in his office, which irrevocably changed the show and characters., adriana la cerva | the sopranos: if the godfather taught us anything, it’s that you never go against the family — especially if your family, chosen or blood, is the mob. when tony soprano discovers adriana’s double life as an fbi informant, he orders her death., delores landingham | the west wing: the wisecracking yet caring mrs. landingham was a true gem, and her loss still devastates viewers to this day. on her way to show president bartlet her new car, she’s struck and killed by a drunk driver., mitch leery | dawson’s creek: quintessential “good guy” mitch just wanted to enjoy a rousing chorus of “drift away” and an ice cream cone on his drive home. his fatal accident was a shock to fans., glenn rhee | the walking dead: we could pour one out for herschel, andrea, t-dog — so many early season favorites. glenn’s death — at the hands of a psycho playing russian roulette with a baseball bat — was the show’s last truly shocking moment., hale santiago | lost girl: this urban fantasy centers on a succubus named bo, but her friends, like hale, are equally important. shortly after proposing to kenzi (pictured), hale sacrifices himself to protect her. kenzi begs bo to take some of her life-force (chi) to revive hale, but bo refuses the life-threatening request., tenth doctor | doctor who: before his david tennant form vanishes, the doctor visits people important to him. he travels to the moments just before he met rose and, as he regenerates, says the heartbreaking words “i don’t want to go.”, edith bunker | archie bunker’s place: edith bunker (jean stapleton) became a beloved television show character in the 1970’s sitcom all in the family, but stapleton tragically suffered a fatal stroke prior to the spinoff, leaving archie to deliver a memorable speech., derek shepherd | grey’s anatomy: after 11 seasons of watching derek and meredith grey’s relationship grow, dr. mcdreamy dies from complications in the wake of — you guessed it — a car crash. in the end, meredith is tasked with pulling the plug., james evans | good times: at a time when shocking character deaths weren’t the norm, james’ passing was the most devastating in tv history. out of the blue, florida evans receives a telegram, which says james was killed in a car crash. no one got the chance to say goodbye, including fans., lt. col. henry blake | m*a*s*h: finally on his way home from war, henry’s plane is shot down. radar announces his death to hospital staff, who just have to keep working. this shocking moment served as a reminder: m*a*s*h is about the toll of war., nate fisher | six feet under: previously, nate had escaped death a few times, but he ultimately dies unexpectedly in the hospital following a brain hemorrhage. sure, the family business is a funeral home, but the characters’ reactions to his death are truly gut-wrenching., siobhan sadler | orphan black: battle-hardened siobhan — also known as mrs. s — always put family first, which is why she ultimately goes down in a fire fight after trying to help her loved ones. bleeding out, mrs. s clutches a photo of sarah and felix, her foster kids., barb holland | stranger things: it seems like there will never be #justiceforbarb, who was brutally slain in the upside down after her supposed best friend let her down — yet again. pro tip: if there’s a demogorgon on the loose, don’t try to shotgun a beer., seymour | futurama: when fry was accidentally cryogenically frozen, his canine pal seymour waits 12 years for fry in the spot they last saw one another. fry discovers seymour’s fossilized body a millennium later. woof..
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Why Do We Have to Die in Games - Essay Example
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This Indie Horror Game Made Me Confront My Fear of Death
I'm terrified of my body. The fat buildup on my abdomen. My tiny arms. I've always hated having to focus on it and especially hated interrogating its internal functions. Doctors scare me for this reason. I assume my body is trying to kill me; looking inside seems like excessive punishment. I've long searched for ways to improve my relationship with my body. Some of them have even worked. But this is still my default, when I look at my skin, when I think about my organs, my blood. Terror.
In The Space Between , Martin, the player character, is an architect. He imagines his buildings as bodies he can live inside of. The game, a short horror title by Christoph Frey that was recently nominated for the prestigious Nuovo Award at the Independent Games Festival, is rife with unease about the bodies Martin builds, and the one he lives inside of. In an early scene, repeated often in the game as a sort of motif, Martin and his friend Daniel play as children. Martin is in a blanket fort. He reaches out to touch the blanket and urges Daniel, who is outside the fort, to do the same thing. "What do you feel?" asks Martin. Him, or the blanket? Daniel says both. It's this odd, disembodied sort of intimacy—touching without touching. In the scene, though you play as Martin, you never see his arm or his hand. So far as the game's code is concerned, he doesn't have a body at all.
Being terrified of one's body really means being terrified of death. I used to get into spirals when I was a kid, usually when trying to go to sleep. I would imagine death and becoming nothing, and I would feel this creeping terror take hold of me. I would run to my mom, but she'd have no idea how to comfort me. I'd curl up in her arms and ask her what came after death, and why we had to die, and she'd have no answer. There's no escaping it. If I concentrate, I can feel that terror coming back. I don't want to die. I don't want the void. I mostly try not to think about it.
Martin's afraid of intimacy, which is a lot like being terrified of dying, too. Fearing closeness is almost always about fearing loss. He has another friend in the story, Clara. They meet each other after a mutual round of people watching. Martin brings her to a theater he's building—his latest creation, a vast deformed piece cut out of concrete and metal. He shows her his room under the stage, where he has apparently been living while the structure is being built. He points out that people sometimes call the space under the stage "hell." There, Clara and Martin almost touch, almost share intimacy. But they never quite get there. And then the game's reality falls apart.
I'm writing about The Space Between indirectly because it's an indirect game. It's slow and unsteady. Much of it is taken up with elliptical, heavily thematic dialog about walls, and boundaries, bodies and performances. But all the dialog is doled out as incredibly slow-moving text, with no real indication of who is talking. It tries the player's patience, creates a constant sense of unease. The rest of the game is spent moving through environments Frey has created with distorted PlayStation 1–style art, which gives the whole thing a feeling of moving through a fuzzy VHS surveillance tape. Everything in this game is distant and uncomfortable. The whole creation is suffused with the dread and pain of a body you don't understand, and a hand you can't touch.
In one of the game's discomfiting vignettes, Martin visits Daniel's grave as he is cremated. Martin's friend is dead. Martin reaches out to touch the casket. No one is left to reach back. The horror of The Space Between is that they never touched in the first place.
I don't want to spoil the experience of playing the back half of The Space Between , a game that to play in its entirety only takes about 45 minutes. But I will say that it feels purgatorial. The hell underneath the theater's stage feels increasingly damned, and there's a sense that a line has been crossed, as if Martin's desire for intimacy has pushed against his terror, and the resulting discord has thrown him, and the player, entirely across the lines separating life and death. It's all a fragmented, unsettling mess with no clear series of events. Only unsettledness and fear. The shadows in the game's world, which its graphical style renders uniquely impenetrable, suddenly seem to be carrying monsters.
Lily Hay Newman
My ideal form of intimacy probably wouldn't include my body. If my body wasn't involved—if I could just commune with people through mental contact or some sort of spiritual communion—I wouldn't have to be afraid. I could forget death and the danger that lurks inside my own skin. Martin wants that, too, and his creations are built around articulating that desire. Within his theater's hell, he's buried under that desire. Because it's not a healthy one, is it? The Space Between suggests we should be afraid of desires like that. I think it might be right.
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Gaining A Closer Connection To Death & Dying With Spiritfarer
Aptly coined "a cozy management game about dying," Spiritfarer takes a much similar approach to gameplay like that of Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
Before Spiritfarer , Thunder Lotus has proven themselves with jaw-dropping and timeless expanses, like Jotun and Sundered . Now, however, the Montreal-based developer with a passion for indie games wants to take players on a whole new adventure, course-correcting themselves so as to tackle the experience of death and loss via a more original avenue.
If anything can be said of it, Spiritfarer is releasing at a time most precious and necessary for such an emphatic approach to death - though there is still a book's worth of knowledge left to glean from this untimely adventure.
Overcoming Loss Through Tranquility
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Few games - if any - capture the same level of sentimentality blended most beautifully with gorgeous settings like that of Spiritfarer . It evokes this certain feeling within the player, bridging interactions in-game with many real-world emotions. In Spiritfarer , it's merely but the player and the open, tranquil seas before them, gaining friends along the way, and accepting their soon-to-be departures with ease and meaning.
The entire premise of Spiritfarer is more so punctuating discoveries in oneself and from what is outside the game. Coming to grips with loss, overcoming emotional barriers, reshaping oneself to become better at being resilient to things that must happen by way of turning off the mind and tuning into something special, something extraordinary. That is what this game offers, a world of wonder far away from the current world now riddled in despair and depravity.
Bringing this to life wasn't an easy task, as Thunder Lotus's Marketing and Communications Specialist, Rodrigue Duperron, explains:
"There are a whole lot of systems and mechanics under the hood of this game that had to be built from scratch, and that make Jotun and Sundered look pretty darn simple in comparison. More moving parts means so much more work to get it all working seamlessly together, it's meant that everyone has had to learn to work not harder, but smarter as a team than we ever have before."
Herein lies the backbone of this game: teamwork. As a team effort, Spiritfarer shines, but even for what is under the hood, Thunder Lotus has devised something truly captivating and moving for its players.
Building a Better Tomorrow
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Aptly coined "a cozy management game about dying," Spiritfarer takes a much similar approach to gameplay like that of Animal Crossing: New Horizons and even the newly explosive hit of Fall Guys . Yet, it morphs these same techniques of feel-good fun overlying everyday mundane tasks into far more spiritual heights by way of the themes and messages underpinning this brilliant experience. From what can be gleaned by way of the most recent gameplay trailer , it's not so much about being the best at any particular task or acquiring as much money as is possible. It's about timing, building, and knowing where best to next set coarse at the most crucial moment.
As mentioned during a Twitch indie showcase, mirroring in some aspects the building mechanics of Townscaper , Spiritfarer tasks players with constructing various parts of their ship, including a lodge section for wayward spirits, a kitchen, garden, and so much more. All of this is to personalize the experience, as weaving these various buildings into motion on the ship is the art and flavor behind the seemingly mundane chores that come with them.
Cooking and gardening, on the surface, may not sound all that appetizing, until the moment of clarity hits you, blended beautifully on a backdrop of the open sea. As shown above, fishing too is a mainstay activity in Spiritfarer , wherein most may find the abstract clarity needed following a long day at work. It's these very moments, tiny self-glimpses, and escapes into the mind, that make Thunder Lotus's next outing a surefire treasure in indie gaming.
Rodrigue explains it best himself:
"I'm excited for the fans to discover the depth and breadth of Spiritfarer - I think it's a deceptively ambitious game in many ways. Many people queued into the theme and the art of the game from day one, but the team's been working so hard for almost three years now, and we've got something of a solid 30+ hour game on our hands over here. The characters are great, for sure, but the work the team's done to weave the management and narrative together, in an attempt to infuse a little meaning into what's usually sort of... solely efficiency-focused management genre - I think that's trying something new."
Originality is at the heart of this experience. Its uniqueness and uniform beauty make it stand out amongst all the rest, making light the act of dying and allowing those who may be suffering tremendously from loss grow to find new avenues for success.
A Triple-A Indie With Heart And Soul
As mentioned previously, the various gameplay trailers show just how extraordinary the visuals are by way of capturing towns and the open sea in this brilliant, spiritual glow. It's also simply the art direction of Spiritfarer , as the game feels almost like a living comic overlayed with this astounding audio. While some might be taken aback by the loss of voice acting, this only works in favor of the game. Characters live and breathe inside of this world all on their own, without the help of a special voice or tone. Instead, much like Dragon's Eye , the player's imagination is what draws their personalities into existence, all while learning more about the characters the further they sail through the experience.
Although I may have been likening it to a number of different games, Spiritfarer still stands on its own as a wholly unique and unreplicable video game. It attempts to draw out the very best in its developers and, upon release, its players, as the game itself warrants nothing more than success for whoever takes control. It's a rather interesting take for a game, yet completely works in its favor. Think almost on par with that of a spiritual guide, a loved one lost to time, as they are always watching over you, protecting you in moments of need.
This is Spiritfarer , a new kind of adventure that prides itself on feel-good activities and loving relationships, punctuated with brilliant art and music.
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The Best Death Ever
Children cannot differentiate between what is fun and what is serious. In the short story “The Best Death Ever” by Niall Griffiths four boys are playing a game where they have to fake a death. The boy whoever fakes the best death wins the game. The four boys do not understand what they are doing and see the game, The Best Death Ever, as a fun game. Until one moment, when one of the boys misjudges the distance to ground and almost hang himself meanwhile his friends where shooting at him with their toy guns.
The story is narrated by a first person narrator who looks back at a specific incidence. The narrator technique is very post modernistic. Niall Griffiths uses a lot of humor which makes the story fun to read. For instance, when the boys are shooting with their toy guns they make these funny noises. Niall Griffiths also uses the boys non existing knowledge about death to make the readers laugh “– That was rubbish! Yer meant ter die, not just fall over like a fart. Since when have did you see anyone die like that? (Page 94 line 1-2) Niall Griffiths takes a serious subject like death and turns it funny by saying Mick fell like a fart. The slang that is used also makes the atmosphere more relaxed. Niall Griffiths also points out a child’s innocence. “Soft lad. How can you hurt yerself if yer dead? ” (Page 94 line 7) For the children it is simple logic, because why should Mick not be able to fall properly, if he is dead? Irony is also well used. The title of the story is “The Best Death Ever” and it is the same name as the game the four boys play. The irony occurs because when Gavin tries to make the best death ever, he almost dies trying.
Another significant post modernistic is the open ending because it leaves the reader confused. The story is also a fix point of the narrator’s life, where he is very nostalgic. It takes place in the yard of the narrator’s house in Netherley, Liverpool. The setting does not really matter, but as often in post modernistic stories it is in an urban environment. The story is a flashback of roughly 45-60 minutes of his life. The narrator looks back at that special episode of his life and he turns all nostalgic. The boys are strongly inspired by war movies and war stories told by the elderlies.
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The narrator has received a toy gun from his granddad. He knows a lot about it because of his big interest in war. As almost every other boy, they play games with guns and death involved. The problem is not that the boys play war, but that they cannot differentiate between where the fun stops. In this game Gavin almost killed himself, but it was not on purpose. A problem is, when the mom notices Gavin, she immediately saves him. Then she slaps the narrator. By slapping the narrator she punishes him for something that he does not know is wrong.
The narrator is angry, because they have to award Gavin the price of the best death. “I would shock and shake them all with the violence of my going. But we never played the game again. ” Because his mother hit him and did not tell him what they did wrong, he does not understand consequences. Therefore he still wants to win the game next time and he wants to put even more violence in than Gavin did. Luckily they never played the game again, because nobody knows what would have happened then. This story is a perfect example to show that taking extra care of your children is highly necessary.
If you do not teach your kid what is dangerous and what is not, it will have serious consequences. As in this story, the boys cannot see what they have done wrong and therefore they continue their games. The narrator has no intentions to stop he even wants to surpass the other boys by doing more dangerous stunts. The parents must teach their children what is wrong and what is not. They shall not slap the children if they do not hurt someone like in the story, but instead tell them what they did wrong because the children cannot differentiate between right and wrong.
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The Best Death Ever
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