Fair warning: Thinking about these Harry Potter deaths will make you cry at least once, if not more. While J.K. Rowling was writing the Harry Potter books, her intent probably wasn’t to make us weep buckets of tears over these characters upon their demise, but that’s what ended up happening. Every single character in the Harry Potter series is beloved by many, so when one of them finds themselves on the wrong side of an Unforgivable Cruse, it’s too much.
While all of these deaths are actually the worst, some of them do sting more than others. What we’ve got here are nine of the most tragic deaths from Harry Potter, in order from least devastating to most devastating. Most devastating means that even now, thinking about this death, we cry.
So grab a box of tissues, or nine, and read on for an overload of sad HP feels.
You can split Harry Potter fans in half by those who really love Dobby, and those who aren’t too fond of Dobby. Listen, just like S.P.E.W., not everyone is taken with the story of the house-elf. But, he still played an important role in Harry’s life, and though Harry even admitted at times that Dobby was a pain, he still loved him. The moment that really pulled on all the heart strings was when Harry dug Dobby’s grave without magic, and then wrote on his tombstone: “Here Lies A Free Elf.”
Tonks was so cool, and taken from us so fast.
7. Remus Lupin
OH THEN LUPIN DIES, TOO? The last of James’ friends from school, the last remaining father figure Harry had in his life. It only gets sadder when you think about Teddy Lupin growing up as an orphan, just like Harry (but, on the bright side, Harry was named Teddy’s godfather).
Though he wasn’t always there — as in, there at Hogwarts — Lupin was always there for Harry when he needed him. The two fought Voldemort together until the very end. Lupin was also one of the very few people to actually call You Know Who by his name, Voldemort.
6. Cedric Diggory
We only got to know Cedric for two books, Azkaban and Goblet of Fire. Harry wasn’t too fond of Cedric, because of their Quidditch rilvary. But, the rest of Hogwarts were quite taken with the attractive Hufflepuff seeker, and were thrilled when he was named as one of the Triwizard Champions.
Cedric was, plain and simple, a good kid. However, he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, and Voldemort had no use for him. In the moment, Voldemort says, “kill the spare,” and that is like way harsh, Voldemort. His death didn’t really sink in until Harry took Cedric’s body back to Hogwarts, and everyone freaked out. The real worst part was when Mr. Diggory cried, “my boy!”
Know how there are movies like Marley and Me and My Dog Skip about boys and their dogs, and in the end the boy grows up and the dog dies? Well, here’s a boy and his owl story, and Harry grows up and Hedwig dies as everyone is fleeing Privet Drive in Deathly Hallows. Rowling has commented that she killed Hedwig because the owl “represented a loss of innocence and security. She [had] been almost like a cuddly toy to Harry at times.” Oh, well when you put it like THAT, it’s even harder to handle.
4. Severus Snape
It might have taken us seven books to come around to liking Snape, and truly understanding him, but it was worth it. Learning that Snape hated Harry — yet still protected Harry — because of how much he loved Lily Potter? THE CHILLS. THE FEELS.
It downright sucks that Snape dies finally as Harry (and, by extension, the reader) was coming around to realizing Snape’s motivation throughout the whole saga. Everything he did, he did for love. It was his final undoing, too. It still makes us cry, after all this time. Always.
3. Sirius Black
Sirius’ death stings in a lot of ways. When he died, Harry lost all hope of ever finding himself in a true “home” during his childhood — remember when Sirius first asked Harry if he’d be interested in moving in with him, and it seemed like things were looking up for Harry? That was a good hour of Harry’s life, from the time it took everyone to leave the Shreiking Shack, to the time it took them to get back to Hogwarts.
Sirius’ death was also so sudden. It happened in an instant, and his death was (and still is) very confusing. But his death was written like that intentionally. Death is confusing. It doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t seem real at first. But it is real, and Harry loses another father figure and we all CRY.
2. Professor Dumbledore
Taking the second most tragic spot on this list, we have Dumbledore. You might want to argue that he should be the first, seeing as how he’s the the BIGGEST constant figure in Harry’s life, telling him that everything is going to be OK, day after day.
By the time we reach Half-Blood Prince, you know something’s up with Dumbledore. Though his death is still a huge shock (mostly because of the whole Snape thing), we’ve been given time to prepare for it. Dumbledore even prepared Harry for it. And it’s not like Dumbledore disappeared forever. He’s still very much alive inside Harry, and inside his Headmaster’s portrait at Hogwarts.
1. Fred Weasley
Here’s why Fred’s death hits the hardest: It affects everyone in a multitude of different ways, including the reader. Try going back and re-reading all of HP again, and not think about the fact that Fred and George make grand plans for their future together (running their own joke shop). Try not to think about the fact that Mrs. Weasley’s boggart is the two of them together — and what happens to Mrs. Weasley’s magical clock, the one that shows all their locations?
Fred was Harry’s friend. He was everyone’s friend. He was there from the very beginning, even more so than Dumbledour. To give him a literary trait, he’s the comic relief. The comic relief never dies because we need them around to lighten the mood! Well, Rowling wanted to show us that no one was safe at the Battle at Hogwarts, and Fred died. George would never be able to conjure a Patronus again; he also named his son Fred.
(Images via Warner Bros.)