Tear Jerker: Gunnerkrigg Court

  • From Chapter 6: A Handful Of Dirt
    • Given how Annie usually acts, seeing her break down emotionally like this is very upsetting. In this case, it's important that that's where her emotions (all of them) started flooding back, period. That's bound to go a little differently.
    • This page from Chapter 31 makes the penultimate page of this one even sadder.
  • From Chapter 8: Broken Glass and Other Things
    • Muut's worry about Annie's shunning the guides. It's a feeling familiar with most parents.
      "Still such anger."
  • From Chapter 13: A Week For Kat
  • From Chapter 18: S1
  • From Chapter 19: Power Station
  • From Chapter 21: Blinking
    • The idea that Annie had to be the Guide for her mother is highly sniffle-worthy. Kat's reaction on the next page helps somewhat. The fact that Tom Siddell didn't add a little snippet of wit at the bottom and instead just left it blank lends to how sad that page really is.
  • From Chapter 25: Sky Watcher And The Angel
    • Pretty much the entirety of the chapter, where we learn the details behind she died and we did nothing.
    • Skywatcher's monologue at the end of that chapter:
      "I continue to turn my face upwards, measuring the same temperature, the same humidity, radiation and thousands of other variables. But now a new metric has been added. The number of angels I have seen is "one". And I will keep watch for more."
    • The Bookends around the most directly depressing section do a good job of showing how context is the difference between Narm and Tearjerker.
    • Especially when coupled with Chapter 30.
  • From Chapter 26: The Old Dog's Tricks
    • There's something very quietly heartbreaking about Ysengrin's body, and the way it has withered away from the proud wolf he once was. And more than that, Ysengrin seems to be deeply resentful of his own physical weakness without the suit of bark armor he wears. To see such a proud figure filled with such self-loathing is, in its own way, quite painful. In Coyote's own words, he seems so... pathetic despite his anger, pride and hate.
  • From Chapter 30: The Coward Heart
  • From Chapter 31: Fire Spike
  • From Chapter 33: Give And Take
    • Kat "deactivating" the robot at his request at the end.
      • Then there's the next page after that...
        Robot: Let it be known. In this tomb of ancients, the angel called forth a spirit of the dead. You see how easily she gave life, and how easily she took it away.
  • From Chapter 35: Parley and Smitty Are In This One
    • Shadow 2 was kicked out of the forest by his own family for not hating the people of the court.
    • Robot, as he's laying damaged in Kat's workshop, unaware if Shadow is going to be okay or not
      Robot: Why didn't I realise it before? I love my good friend, Shadow.
  • From Chapter 37: Microsat 5
    • It starts right from the beginning, with Annie's reaction to being called by her father. Then, it gets worse when she learns that he was just using a code, with Annie's name as part of the code - in other words, he wasn't even calling her.
  • From Chapter 39: The Great Secret
    • While Annie was living in the forest, she formed what seems to be a pretty strong friendship with Ysengrin. Which makes it pretty heartbreaking that he's willing to do this as soon as he even suspects she might think of him as inferior to humans.
    • Made even worse when he finally calms down and is horrified by what he tried to do. And he won't remember any of it thanks to Coyote. It's one thing to have done something terrible and realize it, but he will never be able to make amends so long as the memory is gone.
  • From Chapter 40: The Stone
  • From Chapter 44: Crash Course
  • From Chapter 45: Thread
    • Annie admits why she ran away when she saw Kat and Paz kissing, and we again gain some insight into her... issues.
      Annie: That's when it really hit me... that you will one day leave me.
  • From Chapter 47: See Ya!
    • Mort expressing his desire to be taken to the ether, and how he seems to have long ago accepted the idea of this.
      Mort: I want to help you! And… I've had enough. You guys have been really great friends… But, you're getting older, and I never will. I think it's time for me to move on.
    • Jones went out to feel the might of the German bombs during the Blitz, which unintentionally resulted in a boy getting caught in the blast when he tried to help her find a shelter: Mortimer. Page 7 of the chapter is a technical diagram for an SC 50, the clear implication of the exploded diagram is that this image is a tasteful way of depicting his death.
    • "It is too late for you."
    • Annie leads him to the afterlife, and she kisses him goodbye. He blushes and says "Thank you...miss." He's already forgotten about Annie and Kat and the rest of his friends.
    • At the end, Kat, who had been fighting back tears, voices her admiration for the strength that Annie has displayed. Annie's response is to collapse into her arms.
    • Bonus page 47, The Stinger. Pro patria mori, Silenti, Dulce et decorum est. "To die for your country, be silent, it is sweet and fitting." After everything we learn about Mort the phrase just becomes all the more heartwrenching. Somehow, with just a few panels of props and hallways, Gunnerkrigg Court feels more haunted despite the fact it has one less ghost. Especially if you recognize the reference to Wilfred Owen's "Dulce et Decorum Est," a poem that condemns World War I. The entire point of the poem is that if more people witnessed the horrors of war, they "would not tell with such high zest / To children ardent for some desperate glory, / The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est / Pro patria mori."
  • From Chapter 51: The Tree
    • Starts in the first page and goes on from there after the reveal that Anthony Carver, Annie's father, has returned to the court and is teaching Annie and Kat's biology class. So what are the first words Tony says to his daughter after three years? "Go to the rest room and wash off that ridiculous makeup." It becomes worse when you remember that that's the same kind of make-up Surma used to wear. He continues to upbraid her in front of the class.
    • Annie stealing Kat's homework is finally revealed, and the shocked and dejected looks on Kat's face when she hears Anthony call Annie out on her behavior just proves that, no, Annie never asked Kat if it was okay for her to do that.
    • After class, the first proper conversation he has with his daughter—who is obviously desperate for some kind of affection given that he left without explanation almost immediately after her mother's death—is lecturing her about her school habits, and attempting to remove her from the life she's made for herself. The whole scene is drawn out by the comic schedule itself, and it's one of the most painful things that has happened so far.
    • If you take into account everything Anthony does – forcing her to not only move out of Kat's dorm, but room by herself for the sake of “less distractions,” cutting her off from the forest, and ordering her to pass control of Reynardine to him – it feels uncomfortably like he's isolating her, which is a common tactic of abusers.
    • The straw that breaks the camel's back (at least for Kat)? Seeing Annie's flowing mane — the one that can explode gloriously into flame — lopped off into the same haircut that Annie wore as a child. Her dad has completely and utterly undermined her confidence, and the strong minded young woman has regressed into being a lost little girl totally under her father's control. Annie's hair grew long and wild while she was in the forest...and now that he's "cut her off" from it, her hair reflects that.
    • After that tender moment between Kat and Annie? All of Annie's classmates come back to the dorm, seeing how much her father has changed her, and can only look on in sadness as Kat gives one sorrowful look, before Annie is taken to the Year 9 dorms.
    • The bonus page. No words, no panels, just a single image which encapsulates the tragedy of the entire chapter.
  • From Chapter 52: Sneak
    • Followed on from the previous chapter, Annie assumes immediately that the card the boys in her year made for her means they are making fun of her. One can only look on in sorrow to see how much Annie's self-esteem has fallen.
    • Furthermore, it turns out that she's now living in a completely blank white room, reminiscent of a hospital room, with nothing but a bed, a dresser and desk (all grey) and no decoration or personal adornment at all.
    • Annie's new opinion of herself. After years of her building her confidence, her pained smile as she talks about what she assumes is the opinions of her new classmates, is heart-wrenching. It's not even subtle at this point that her father has wrecked her confidence and reduced her back to the child who would never answer back.
    • Annie is wearing shoes in her room, when she's happily gone barefoot everywhere of late.
    • How ridiculously childish Annie looks next to Kat. A few weeks ago she was a confident young woman, expressing her individuality through her own unique style, with a sense of curiosity and purpose. Now she's a little girl in a smock, over-eager to please and desperate for daddy's approval. Any more "mature" aspects of her design are gone — even her facial expressions are more juvenile (up to and including avoiding eye contact). Up against the rather snazzily-dressed and assertive Kat, it's devastating. It's as though Annie's been put back far more than a single year — emotionally and physically.
    • When Kat mentions her parents, it's clear that their parent/child relationship is maturing and respectful; she can talk to them about her worries and they'll listen. Kat is able to speak to them with confidence, and we know they respect her skills and maturity. Anja and Donald have been present throughout the story, and their relationship with their daughter has evolved to accommodate Kat's new status as a young woman. Compare that to the effect Anthony has had on Annie.
    • Something about how Annie follows behind Anthony without saying a word and like a child is quietly heartbreaking.
    • It's long been established that Annie has somewhat of an insecurity when it comes to her intelligence, leading to her copying off of Kat's homework for such a long time. When they visited the Donlans for dinner contrast Anthony's criticizing Antimony's cheating with his politely paying Kat a compliment.
  • Sidecomic "The Traveller" deserves mention here. It features Pat taking a dog, whose back two legs are paralyzed, into her care. They go out into the ocean on a boat together, and the dog jumps out. Despite Paz's attempts to get him back, the dog swims into the distance and disappears from sight.
  • From Chapter 53: The fact that Annie was so traumatized from her father's unexpected return that she separated from her Fire Elemental self, because her emotions - primarily, her hurt and fury - were threatening to overwhelm her.
    • Another one from the latest comic: The Court knew where Anthony Carver was the whole time he was gone, and kept this information from Annie, choosing to let her think that she'd been abandoned by her father because of whatever work he was doing for them.