Literary Characters Who Died Too Soon

Last week, we were struck by the news that J.K. Rowling had considered offing our favorite grumbling redhead Ron Weasley in one of the Harry Potter books. And why? For “sheer spite,” she says. Though we have to admit that we’re overwhelmingly glad that Rowling left Ron well enough alone, the news got us to thinking about literary characters that were killed off by their authors, especially those that passed a little too soon for our liking. Authors kill beloved characters for many reasons — to advance the plot, to evoke an emotional response, or just to prove that they’re Not Kidding Around — and though we understand all of these, we can’t help but have an emotional reaction every once and a while that is akin to a child being relieved of its favorite toy. Read our list of literary characters who, at least in our estimation, died way too soon after the jump, and be sure to chime in with your own favorite characters that you wish had stuck around a little longer. But be warned: as with any post about character deaths, spoilers abound ahead.

Boromir, Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

Almost nobody dies in the Lord of the Rings trilogy — at least, almost nobody we care about. We were tempted to put Gandalf the Grey here, seeing as we think his depth as a character was sorely diminished after his return from the grave, but Boromir’s death was the more distressing. After all, he is the only member of the original fellowship that dies, and for what? To prove the power of the ring? At this point in the books, we’re already well convinced of that, so as far as we’re concerned Tolkien could have let them have the extra sword hand. Sigh.