I think that I should call my particular problem “The Shakespearean disorder.” Fake name, but I'll go with it. My penchant for falling for the tragic characters with the saddest backstory and the need to be the one to die violently is the stuff of legends in my family. If ever I get attached to any character for their spunk, their need to try, their passion, whatever, the inevitable conclusion is a funeral. I don’t know why; may be I’m just blessed with the ability to spot the dead men walking.
I wanted to share some of my top picks for the most tragic characters in TV history. The ones that went down swinging, died trying, were hapless victims, or just had that huge and caring heart. Or heck…all of the above. If you haven’t seen them than be warned of spoilers for Charmed, Supernatural, Roswell, The Tribe, and The Walking Dead.
Of any character ever written I feel that Cole Turner gets my vote for the most tragic. The man is a piece of modern Shakespeare, with every hand he outstretched getting slapped away with extreme venom. The saddest part was that it wasn't even a story that started with a few good years of his life building up to a tragedy. His story of despair started from birth and ended with not just one, but multiple deaths.
Cole was the product of a human father and a demon mother. His tragic story started when his mother murdered his father right in front of him, taking him to the Underworld to raise, forcing his demonic side to be dominant. So right off the bat the man was given the short end; he was never given the choice to be human, being forced to think that his mother's way was the right and only way. When he finally decides to start thinking for himself after a century, the result to have his father's soul held hostage by the Underworld's leaders until he kills the Charmed Ones. Strike two. So he is sucked back in, being forced to continue along with the ruse of acting like a human in the regular world, blending in with society to get close the Charmed Ones. This only leads him to getting a little too close to the youngest sister of the trio, Phoebe. His human side becomes dominant, leading him to fall in love and finally realize that Good is the better choice. The result is a long history of more strikes against him. He loses the fight to save his father's soul, his love for Phoebe costs the Charmed Ones their oldest sister, the Source of all Evil possess Cole on his wedding day and despite Cole trying to fight it and expel him from his body the entity takes control of him. As a result of this the Charmed ones have to kill possessed Cole in order to save the world from The Source and that is just the start. When finally free of possession his human soul is trapped, yet able to absorb used demonic powers from demons that were vanquished to the wasteland. He uses these to return home, but sadly a human soul just isn't made to handle these powers, let alone hundreds of them. They drive him completely insane and the sisters are forced to put him down again. Even when he is able to return yet again to atone for his sins in the comic, able to move on from Phoebe with what looks to be the potential of a relationship with Prue, what happens? He dies yet again saving Pheobe's husband, Coop.
Cole Turner tried harder than any character in that show to find happiness, to be a good man, and to fit in as a regular person. Most of his time was spent trying to find himself and trying to be happy with Phoebe. Every single attempt he made resulted in a tragic reaction that was worthy of Oedipus. He was and always will be my favorite Charmed character.
Everyone in the Supernatural fandom has the ongoing debate of being a "Dean Girl" or a "Sam Girl," yadda yadda. I love them both to death, so I can't get in that argument in any healthy fashion. Besides, if I had to pick a favorite character on the show then it would have always been Bobby Singer. From the get-go he was a no-nonsense character. He took no crap, gave you loads of crap if you messed with him and his, and he certainly didn't tolerate any crap being delivered onto his property without a shotgun blast good and proper. Yet it took death for unresolved issues to be resolved for him. That isn't the way that things should ever have to go.
From the time of their introduction to Bobby, the boys were family to him. They always called him "Uncle," but over time it became clear that he was much more than that. They felt that he was more of a surrogate father and he darn sure considered himself as such; he was just as quick to slap them upside the head for their stupidity as he was to pat them on the back for their quick thinking. For someone who never considered himself worthy of being a father he turned out to be a marvelous one. The son of an abusive alcoholic that murdered his own father to protect his mother (who only chastised him for his actions) Bobby struggled from birth just as Cole did. He grew up with the complex his father threw gave him of emotional stunting and self-doubt, which carried into his marriage to make their discussions on having children volatile ones. His wife's death at his own hand due to the paranormal forced his own route as a hunter and his own path into his father's world of alcoholism, but he never took his father's penchant for violence against those he loved. And when John Winchester came into his life he took that man's boys under his wing, and we later find out his feelings towards them were much stronger than we ever believed when Bobby, dying from a gunshot to the head, confronted his dead father in the afterlife in a series of flashbacks through his life history:
"I adopted two boys. And they grew up great. They grew up heroes."
It took the man already being dead and in Heaven, for goodness sakes, to get a letter to one of the boys telling him "I'm proud of you, son." The ultimate partner, mentor, father figure, and he never got the chance to let them know how he felt. Honestly, however, I don't think they really ever had to hear it. They knew. By the way, if you have the time I highly recommend going to Youtube and looking up "Supernatural: Bobby, Losing Your Memory." It’s a fan-made music video and I promise you will cry like a teeny tiny girl.
Roswell is probably one of my favorite shows in history. It makes it coincidental that the shows resident "angry friend" Michael Guerin is my favorite character on the show and quite honestly my favorite character ever written in television history. I know what those of you who have watched the show are going to say: He doesn't count on your list because he never died! Au contraire:
Nicholas: "If I'm not mistaken, you must be the Kings' Second-In-Command. I killed you myself in your last life. Ready to die again?"
Michael: "Bring it on."
One of four human-alien hybrids from their planets’ royal family whose alien DNA was mixed with human to save their planet after the royals were executed by invaders, Michael at first seems like a typical angry teen. He is anything but. Stubborn, angry, driven, prone to hiding inside himself and never one to show how he feels unless it is about something he feels unfair or that makes him severely annoyed, Michael is a complex character that, while seeming to be very single-faceted, actually has more layers than an onion. A deep loyalty to his best friend/King is mirrored by the annoyance at having to follow his orders and sometimes feeling that he could do a better job as leader. Admiration of Max's human girlfriend Liz when seeing her devotion to him was constantly tempered with the annoyance of what bringing humans into their world of secrets had cost them. A constant need to let things go and pass by the minor problems of earthlings so the Royal Four could track their heritage and return home is constantly in battle with the need to protect those same humans and even fight his shock and rage when others hurt them. And his constant anger and need to push people away in an attempt to shut off feelings and be the strong Second-In-Command he should be only hides a little boy, battered and abused by an alcoholic foster father, who wanted and needed to cry. I could not imagine a more complex character that you love to be annoyed by and root for at the same time. His status as an anti-hero is cemented in the show, however he hides the need to love and worry for others so very well that if you blink you will miss it. You won't be disappointed in this show or in Michael. He's worth every minute of screen time.
A former friend introduced me to this great New Zealand show when helping me look for Avatars for a character on our Proboards writing RPG. When she realized I wasn't familiar with the show she immediately sent me on a quest to find it. Once I found The Tribe I never looked back. A virus strikes the world, rapidly aging all over the age of 18 and killing them in a matter of months. The children are all that is left to run the world. They form tribes in an attempt to survive and rebuild what is left of the world. One of those tribes is the Gaians. They live in the woods and off of the land, their motto "One Earth." They live off of what nature has provided, going back to the world's early days and roots of a mixture of tribal settling and early colonization. One of their own joins the city tribes to help rid them of an eminent threat. His name was Pride and he was by far my favorite character on the show.
Pride was a man well versed in the ways of nature. He knew what plants to eat and what not to eat, how to prepare the land to provide for his people. He was also a martial artist with a deep philosophy in regard to its existence as a way of life rather than a survival skill or sport. A calm man with a rationale for the details and the best course of action, his calming presence brought a soothing balm to the group in times when their resident guru and healer, Tai-San, was not there to lend that aid. Even in his later days when a tribe of technophiles addicted him to a virtual reality program which made him increasingly hostile, he was still the Pride that cared for everyone in the group and felt disgust over his action when suffering through his addiction. He was constantly torn between a need to stay and help in the city (as well as stay with his newly minted Fiance', Salene,) or leave with his girl back to the forests that he had called home since the world was basically reset. It was his concern for the people that he truly loved that brought out the anger and irrationality in him, and that alone. Sadly it was that very thing that cost this show the greatest character ever as he impulsively jumped the plan to save his kidnapped Fiance' and charged in for the rescue. I actually cried watching that episode and TV/movies just don't get me like that. His was a loss that just bothered me to no end and I still have trouble watching the episode where he passes away. It's hard to get through.
I had high hopes going into The Walking Dead. This wasn't due to its popularity or the geekdom acceptance. It was because I knew that since everyone dies regularly in that show I didn't have to worry about attachments. I could just sit back, enjoy the plot and the guns and the survival aspects...no harm no foul. Then here comes this older gentleman, sitting on top of an RV with a ridiculous fishing hat on his head.
Dale had me wondering when I first met him. Was he a wise older gentleman or was he the nefarious character we might hate later? But each episode he grew on me. His constant need to care for Andrea, his willingness to give it all up for others, and his dire insistence that regardless of the status of this new world they could not lower themselves to the level of monsters. When he purposely delayed the “hose issue” on his RV to give them more time for Sophia and smiled at T-Dog’s playful barb about that hose being a “funny thing,” I smiled that warm smile you would only give to a Grandfather. The second I smiled, I thought, “Well crap…you just got attached. He won’t make the season.” Of course…
It’s a curse that I am stuck with. I’m almost ready to give up watching TV altogether. Just don’t tell me who your favorite character is. If I happen to love them just as much, it just might kill em’. Then you'll hate me. Just sayin’.
Christina Sizemore is trained in only four things: writing, fighting, paranormal investigating, and being a mom. At this point in her life she truly feels that she is not qualified to attempt to learn any new field. A twenty year martial artist, mother of three, and writer who is working on the publication of her first book titled “Finding Your Way: A Guide To Your Path In The Martial Arts,” she spends her days working out, writing, making fanvids, going to DragonCon, and playing board games/video games/out in the yard with her kids and husband who are just as geeky as she is. She is convinced that one day her skills will be of assistance in the Zombie Apocalypse and that while she is of no use in the kitchen, she can Buffy that zombie for ya or teach you the best way to get the blood stains out of your clothes (Psst…the secret is mixing Crown Cleaner and Shout. Just sayin’.)