Top 10 Wen-sday: Top 10 Saddest deaths in Harry Potter

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About a week ago, I came up with a great idea for what to do this month’s Top 10 on. I’d been re-watching the first seasons of Black Mirror and decided that I would rank the episodes from best to worst. I mean it was perfect, 3 seasons plus the Christmas special equalled 10 episodes. Well, thanks to fucking Netflix, the 3rd series of Charlie Brooker’s amazing TV show had more episodes. There are, in fact 13 episodes of Black Mirror to date so doing a Top 10 didn’t seem right. It’d be okay if there were way more than 10 but leaving off 3 seemed unnecessary. “So why didn’t I just do a Top 13?” I hear you cry. Because that wouldn’t rhyme. So, I’ve spent the last hour or so despairing and trying desperately to come up with something else to write about. I’ve found something. It came about after I was taking some Instagram pictures today. I was looking through The Deathly Hallows for a quotation and ended up getting engrossed in the Battle of Hogwarts. I then found myself weeping at moments that I’d forgotten/blocked from my memory. So, in honour of the fallen, I’ve compiled a list of the worst deaths in the Harry Potter series. By the way, I’ve seen some lists that include Lily and James. I find this to be cheating because, though seen in memories or whatever, these don’t actually occur in the book’s narrative.

 Ten: Albus Dumbledore

Now, don’t get me wrong, Albus Dumbledore was a great guy and everything but, when you think about it, his death isn’t really that sad. There’s plenty of build-up in Book 5 and, let’s be honest, he’s already fucking old. Plus, as we find out in Book 7, he planned his death to fuck with Voldemort as much as possible so his death is actually a good thing. He’s pranking his mortal enemy from beyond the grave. Also, he was always kind of a shitty headmaster and a bit suspect. There’s some darkness beneath those eyes I tell ya. Darkness.

Nine: Cedric Diggory

I almost wasn’t going to include Cedric because I think my dislike of Robert Pattinson has had an adverse affect on my opinion of the character. Although, Cedric’s death was the first major “good guy” character to death up to that point (if I remember correctly). He was a student and he was killed because he wanted to share his victory with Harry. He was selfless, brave and intelligent. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time and shouldn’t have died. Also, I vividly remember being absolutely destroyed by these scenes when I first read them so I couldn’t ignore it.

Eight: Colin Creevy

Colin may have been a truly annoying character when he first appeared in the books but that doesn’t mean his death is any less sad. He was a young man and wasn’t supposed to be in the battle. He snuck back into Hogwarts to help Harry. Another case of Harry Potter fever causing people to sacrifice themselves in the name of the Boy Who Lived. The moment his body is carried in is just awful.

 Seven: Mad Eye Moody

I love Mad Eye Moody and I feel, after the whole Barty Crouch Jr. thing, that he got kind of a raw deal. He was epic and powerful. Gruff, yes, but the kind of guy you wanted on your side in a fight. So, when he was killed in such a forgettable and insignificant way it just seemed unfair. He was destined for great things and should have gone down fighting an army of Death Eaters in the Battle of Hogwarts. Not on a broomstick carrying a fake Harry Potter.

 Six: Tonks

Tonk’s death is sad, there can be no doubt, but I refuse to put it much higher because SHE DIDN’T NEED TO BE THERE. She was meant to be staying with her new born child. I know she was being noble and fighting the good fight. But she didn’t need to be there. She put her own need to fight before what was best for Teddy. When Lily and James were threatened by Voldemort they took Harry and hid. There was nothing ignoble in that act. Tonks did the opposite and went looking for the forces that were trying to kill her. And she left her son without a mother.

Five: Hedwig

I know there will be those who place Hedwig at number one because, quite frankly, it was a death that hit everybody hard. Hedwig had been Harry’s only companion in the Muggle world since his first year. She had been there for him and died to save his life. I’m a sucker for an honourable, sacrificing death and this was heartbreaking. However, the overall impact on others was less than with the people below. I’m sorry to have to be the one to say it but it’s true.

Four: Remus Lupin

I loved Remus from the moment he first appeared in the books. I’ve had a complicated relationship with him where I couldn’t decided if I wanted him to be my literary father or if I wanted him to do dirty things to me. In fact, I still can’t if I’m honest. It’s fucking weird. Remus was another of those wholly good characters who didn’t deserve to die. Plus, the only reason it happened was for literary mirroring. J K only killed Remus so the whole of the Marauders could die and so Teddy was left without parents. It’s bullshit I tell you. Bullshit. But I’ve had this argument before.

Three: Dobby

Oh my god, the amount of feels that this death caused. Dobby is such an innocent and purely good creature that it was immensely unfair that he was killed in such a horrible way. All he’d ever done was try and help Harry Potter and look what happened. I mean, Harry didn’t even respect Dobby enough if you ask me. I mean, yeah, he gave him his freedom and everything but he kind of stopper giving a shit about Dobby after that. He used Dobby’s help when he needed it but gave little back. Yes, his life with the Malfoy’s wasn’t great but at least he’d have lived through the battle.

Two: Sirius Black

Now, my feelings on Sirius Black are kind of mixed. Part of me loves him because he’s awesome and, you know, Gary Oldman. But the other part realises how terrible a role model he was for Harry. The man had been locked up for 13 years and was still basically his younger self. He was reckless and angry and saw Harry as a new James. As much as we all loved the idea of their happy ending, if the pair had ended up living together in familial bliss it would undoubtedly gone badly. Still, this death was heartbreaking mostly because it was Harry’s fault. If he’d been less of a dickhead and had any common sense he wouldn’t have gone to the Ministry alone. Therefore, Sirius wouldn’t have needed to rescue him and gotten killed. Fuck you, Harry.

One: Fred Weasley

This one’s kind of a given I suppose. Fred was the lovable twin who only ever wanted to make people laugh. It’s horrendously sad in the book to see Percy, who’s been a massive dick for since we met him, fall to pieces when he sees his brother. Plus, as a twin, I think this always had some deeper resonance than the others. The one thing guaranteed to get me in bits is seeing a film/TV show where a twin reacts to the death of their sibling.

Tuesday’s Reviews – A Monster Calls (2017)

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I’ve literally just got back from watching Logan and am desperately trying to finish today’s review. My original plan was to watch something yesterday and write it up ahead of time so I wasn’t rushed. Instead I spent most of my day off asleep and only just had time to watch today’s film. As I have such a small window here I’m waiting until next week to write up Logan because I want to do it justice. Although, spoiler alert, I fucking loved it! I knew I would but it was so good. Despite the fact the we waited for a post-credits scene and there wasn’t one. It was just nice to sit and take events in whilst listening to Johnny Cash. I guess it’s good that there wasn’t actually anything after the credits. It ensure that the ending was as powerful as it needed to be. Gah, it was an emotional experience which means after watching A Monster Calls yesterday means I’ve been emotionally drained for the past 2 evenings. I need to start watching some happier films.

I’ve only ever read one Patrick Ness book and, if I’m honest, I really didn’t think that highly of it. It was The Rest of Us Just Live Here, which has to be one of the most disappointing reads for me. It sounded like such a good concept but it was wasted. So I haven’t bothered with any more of Ness’ works because it just seemed like the type of YA nonsense that gives Young Adult fiction in general a bad name for me. I know there must be good YA out there but I haven’t had the pleasure of reading any of it. Anyway, as a keen member of the Bookstagram community I have heard plenty about his children’s book A Monster Calls. Certainly enough to get kind of excited when I saw the trailers for the film and heard Liam Neeson’s voice coming out of the titular monster. However, I knew it was going to be sad but I wasn’t prepared for just how bloody sad it is.

A Monster Calls is the story of a young boy, Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall), who is dealing with his mother’s (Felicity Jones) terminal cancer, his overbearing and stern grandmother (Sigourney Weaver), the school bully, and his absent father (Toby Kebbell). After waking from the same nightmare night after night, Connnor encounters a monster (Liam Neeson) that springs to life from the Yew tree that he can see from his bedroom window. The monster will visit Connor and tell him 3 true stories. After the third tale, Connor must tell his own story and reveal his truth. The stories help Connor come to terms with his situation and force him to face the awful truth that he has been trying to suppress.

A Monster Calls is such a simple and heartbreaking idea. What must it be life for a young boy who is watching his mother die of cancer? It deals with very dark and mature ideas but does so in such a tender and beautiful way. The fantastical elements and the Monster’s animated stories all work well against the bleak nature of the tale to make it a deeply engrossing and incredibly poignant film. Everything builds toward the final act and when the payoff comes it has the ability to absolutely destroy it’s audience. It may slightly hammer its point home but it never loses sight of what it’s trying to do. It is offering wisdom about an important and horrible topic whilst never losing it’s compassion for the character’s involved. It’s not quite perfect but it does what it needs to.

I think my only thoughts would be that the film is still slightly too dark for a very young audience but older members will be drawn in with the visual aspects and engrossing tale. The monster itself, played by Liam Neeson using motion capture, is incredibly realised. There can be no denying that the film is a technical marvel. Everything integrates together to create something that is very unique but perfect for the story it’s trying to tell. It is a tale about art, legacy, truth and humanity. It is the story of about the love between a mother and child and the impact that can have on the people involved. The visual aspects of the film help give this a sense of fairy tale and allow it to transcend reality.

However, thanks to the fantastic performances from the human characters, the harsh reality of Connor’s situation always remains. Connor is a boy who is having to grow up too fast and deal with emotions that he is not ready to deal with. He has nobody to turn to and is left unsure of where to turn. You can’t help but be drawn to him and Lewis MacDougall’s performance is vulnerable and hard to ignore. Something that works so well with Felicity Jones’ role as his mother. She is both strong and weak. A mother wishing to shield her son from pain but realising that she no longer can. It is a heartbreaking performance that, along with MacDougall’s, will have everyone weeping before the credits role.

A Monster Calls has a difficult job to do and a difficult story to tell. Whilst it doesn’t always manage to establish the type of tone it was striving for or achieve the purpose it wanted. However, it always manages to keep you guessing and always avoid being predictable. It is repetitive and unsubtle but is manages to be something that will keep you watching. It’s the kind of dark and creative kid’s that will no doubt be mostly appreciated by an older audience. I’m just glad that I didn’t watch it in the cinema. It would have been a pretty messy affair.