Though there are so many hilarious, sweet, and magical moments in Harry Potter, there are also some soul-crushing, tear-jerking scenes. I'm talking about the ones in which the most beloved characters take their last breaths and leave us readers shaking our fists at the page.
Of course, in any good versus evil story, there will inevitably be some deaths, but Harry Potter was particularly brutal. Every time a new book in the series came out, we would race through the pages, all hoping that our favorite characters would make it through the book all right. And with just a flick of her quill, J.K. Rowling could either make us fans cry with happiness — or rip out our hearts and leave us rereading scenes with our favorites, pretending that everything was still OK and relying on alternate universe fanfiction to continue their stories.
Not every death scene in Harry Potter left me reaching for the tissue box, though. When it came to some of the more ~evil~ characters, certain death scenes felt more triumphant than heartbreaking. Naturally, there's a tinge of sadness in each death scene — it's just that the intensity of that sadness varies. So once and for all, here is a ranking of Harry Potter deaths, ordered from least to most heart breaking.
The only thing sad about Voldemort was his inability to understand love. His death was the end of a long struggle where good finally conquered evil, so any tears shed were happy ones after his demise.
15. Bellatrix Lestrange
This death scene wasn't sad at all; in fact it's one of the best moments of the book. Who could forget Mrs. Weasley intensely defending her family in a duel against Bellatrix?
I'm with Ron on this one; I wasn't sad to see this creepy spider go. However, Hagrid's crushed spirit gave this death a tiny tinge of sadness.
13. Peter Pettigrew
Though this death was omitted from the movies, it's a powerful scene in the books: Peter Pettigrew's magical hand turns against him when he shows mercy. It's a chilling reminder about who Voldemort is and what he stands for, but after Pettigrew betrayed his best friends and helped the dark lord rise again, he wasn't a very beloved character.
12. Frank Bryce
Poor Frank was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We didn't know much about his character, and his death was more foreboding than sad, but he deserves a mention nonetheless.
11. Alastor Moody
Moody was a strange character: we thought we knew him in book four, and then he turned out to be Barty Crouch Jr. using Polyjuice potion. The actual Moody was cool, vigilant, and inspiring, which made his death a disappointment. It was also chilling to see such a powerful man get taken down by the dark forces.
10. Colin Creevey
This death was a tearjerker for me. Colin was annoying, sure, but he was just a kid, and he left behind a brother who completely idolized him.
Hedwig's death marked the death of innocence, and the beginning of the end. She was a close companion to Harry, and as anyone who has a pet knows, they're truly part of your family. When she was killed, we all felt the darkness of the last book edging in.
8. Cedric Diggory
I was never obsessed with Cedric's character — after all, his family would never shut up about that one Quidditch match where he won UNFAIRLY against Harry. However, when Harry exited the maze holding Cedric's body, and Cedric's dad cried out, I definitely teared up. You have to admit that the scene was pretty agonizing, whether you loved Cedric or not.
7. Lupin And Tonks
Sorry I will never know him... but he will know why I died and I hope he will understand I was trying to make a world in which he could live a happier life.
JUST SO UNNECESSARY. SO SAD. SO AWFUL. Both Lupin and Tonks died just after having a son. I'm not sure if Lupin's heartbreaking quote above makes it better or worse.
Snape is a divisive character. Sometimes he's romanticized because of his unrequited love for Lily, others point out that he's unable to overcome his prejudice and obsession with dark magic. Either way, most of us spent the whole series hating him, only to find out his entire story just as he left us. And he gave everything up for Lily in the end. That's worth a few tears in my book... Always.
So, we probably should've guessed this one was coming, since most adventure stories have a "death of the mentor" scene. But I couldn't accept it at first — I was definitely one of those people holding out hope that beloved headmaster Albus Dumbledore was, somehow, still alive. By the last book, everything he did made sense, but his funeral was heartbreaking and Hogwarts didn't seem the same without him.
4. Sirius Black
It seemed that Harry would finally have what he wanted most: a family. He was supposed to live with Sirius, and then Sirius fell beyond the veil, locked in a duel with Bellatrix. That scene seemed to take place in slow motion, and I'm still not over it.
Dobby was the pinnacle of innocence to me, and his love for Harry Potter was beautiful and sweet. When Harry dug his grave by hand, trying to give him respect that most house-elves never saw, I dabbed my eyes once or twice (AKA the tears were flowing freely, and I tear up just thinking about it now).
2. James And Lily Potter
This is where it all began. Lily's sacrifice protected Harry, but his loss was deeply felt. To me, the saddest point was actually in the first book, when Harry sat in front of the Mirror of Erised staring at his family. Of everything in the world he could've desired, the only thing he really wanted was to have his parents by his side.
1. Fred Weasley
Will we ever get over this one? Nope.
Images: Warner Bros (17)