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Sorting Algorithm Of Deadness / Literature

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Sorting Algorithm of Deadness

Using the scientifically Infallible power of the Sorting Algorithm of Deadness, who do you think is the next in line for being brought back from the great Bus in the sky?

To use the Algorithm, simply add the Column's "Death Value", and divide by the number of applicable rows.

Relative deadness factor Deader Than Dead Maybe Back Later Be Back Soon Death? What's That?
Death Value 4 3 2 1
Cause of death Irony, Bridge Drop, Overkill, Stuffed in the Fridge, Ret Gone Redemption, Sacrifice, Bus Crash, Mortal Wound Reveal No One Could Survive That!, just plain killed in battle Jumping
Audience Expectation Anyone Can Die, Kill 'Em All Killed Off for Real, Tonight, Someone Dies Disney Death Back from the Dead, Death Is Cheap, Nobody Can Die
Body Found? Dead and Buried
Only Bits And Pieces
At The Morgue Never Found, Frozen, Petrified Left for Dead
Reaction Montage, Bond One-Liner He's Dead, Jim It's Personal Faux Death
Last Words Crap, Killed Mid-Sentence, Carry on men, His Name Is... Catchphrase, Famous Last Words, Final Speech, Obi-Wan Moment "Fly, you fools!" "Piece of cake" "My Death Is Just the Beginning"
Characterization Red Shirt, Loved One, Mauve Shirt Recurring Character, C-List Fodder Regular Protagonist, Archvillain
When did they die? 10+ years ago, Series Finale 5-10 years ago Same year Same arc
"Died" and come back? Not yet Died once, but got better Twice I've lost count

If the character hasn't died yet (but seems likely to), see Sorting Algorithm of Mortality. All of this is trumped by the First Law of Resurrection.

Currently, Shirley from Code Geass and the real Caulder from Advance Wars: Days of Ruin have scored 4, the highest possible. The latter is more notable by having 4 in every category instead of getting the CLAMP bonus that the former got. No characters have got the lowest possible score of 1 yet, but Bowser is the leader of the death-defying derby at 1.5, even beating South Park's Kenny.

Baseline Example: The death of Superman.

  • Cause: Heroic Sacrifice, so he's not coming back from that too quickly, or the sacrifice will be cheapened. 3.
  • Genre: It's a comic book, so Death Is Cheap. 1.
  • The Body: Deader Than Dead, a Pietà Plagiarism too for supes sake! So no chance of Faking the Dead. 4.
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  • Reaction: Really Dead Montage, uh-oh. 4.
  • Characterization: Protagonist. 1.
  • When did he die: Same year, so 2.
  • Come Back?: This was a first, so 4.
  • Average: So add it up... we get a pretty high score, 19! Since it's not a videogame, divide by 7, and we get... 19/7 = 2.7, meaning supes isn't coming back for at least a few months, maybe even years. In actuality the Death Of Superman happened in January 1993 and he came back some time before May 1994.

Now let's make a prediction with the recent death of Batman in Final Crisis.

  • Cause: Heroic Sacrifice, give or take. 3.
  • Genre: Comic book, so Death Is Cheap. 1.
  • The Body: Dead and buried, but it's a little more complicated. Still, it's a 4.
  • Reaction: He's Dead Clark, plus "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?" probably counts as a Really Dead Montage. 3.5.
  • Advertisement:
  • Last Words: "Try Me." 3.
  • Characterization: It's The Goddamn Batman, people. 1.
  • When did he die: Same year, so 2.
  • Come Back?: This would be the first time, so 4.
  • Average: 21.5/8= 2.7. A semi-high score, and DC seems to be sticking to this one for a while. Still, he'll definitely be back, likely before the end of 2010 at the latest.CORRECT!

Note: This sub-page is for Literature examples only. Please ensure that you put new examples in the correct Sorting Algorithm of Deadness sub-page.

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    Artemis Fowl 

Commander Julius Root, offed in the fourth book.

  • Cause of death: Disintegrated by a bomb courtesy of Opal Koboi, genuine Tear Jerker (and invariably saves Holly's life), so both There Is No Kill Like Overkill and Heroic Sacrifice. 3.5
  • Genre: Initially, the only real death was Root (Killed Off for Real), but book 7 ups the stakes with tons more death. 3.5
  • Body Found?: Literally vaporized. Symbolic funeral at the end of the book makes it 4.
  • Reaction: Holly is seriously shocked. She would grieve, but Koboi had other targets to bomb, so she hightailed out to save their lives. 3.5
  • Last words: To Holly, "Be well". 3
  • Characterization: Not too big of a character, but gets enough moments and is loved by a lot in the fandom. 2
  • When did they die?: About 5 years pass after his death as the series continues (to book 7). 3
  • "Died and came back?": Nope. 4
  • Average: 3.3125 - Root ain't coming back any time soon...or ever.

    The Bartimaeus Trilogy 

Let's take a look at Nathaniel.

  • Definitely a Heroic Sacrifice for the kid. (3)
  • Anyone Can Die (4)
  • They'll be lucky if they find one of his teeth underneath all that glass and iron. (4)
  • Kind of hard to really categorize, mostly by acceptance and moving on. (3.5)
  • He told Bartimaeus to say hello to Kitty. (3)
  • He's the main protagonist! (1)
  • Series Finale. (4)
  • See above, he hasn't come back yet. (4)
  • 26.5/8 = 3.3125, Alas, your memory shall live on in the fanfics, Nathaniel. Farewell.

    Bridge to Terabithia 


  • Cause: Bridge Drop. Well, rope drop; the bridge wasn't there yet. 4.
  • Genre: Killed Off for Real (would probably be Anyone Can Die since it's a setting totally grounded in reality, but she's the only character to die): 3.
  • Body Found: This is where it gets suspicious. Neither the reader/viewer or Jess ever sees her body, and she's cremated on the same day she's found. 2.
  • Reaction: She's dead, Jess. 3.
  • Famous Last Words: The death is offscreen, so no score.
  • Characterization: Somewhere between Protagonist and Loved One, which are opposite ends of the spectrum; it's played similar to a Death by Origin Story a la Ben Parker, but it's not actually used as an origin for anything, and she's co-lead of the story. Split the difference, 2.5.
  • When did she die? 6 years since the movie, and 35 since the book. 4.
  • "Died" and come back? No. 4.
  • Average: 3.21. The back door is there, but still not likely, especially since she was based on a real person who actually died.


Granny Weatherwax in Lords and Ladies.

  • Cause: Resisting the Elf Queen to buy Magrat time to finish her off. Probably counts as Heroic Sacrifice: 3
  • Reader Expectation: Discworld has repeatedly shown that death is for keeps, but is sparing about it. Call it a 3.5
  • Body Found?: Yep, laid out in the castle morgue: 3
  • Reaction: Everyone pretty much thinks she's dead, are mourning and breaking open her will. 3
  • Last Words: Asks Magrat if she is ready to be Queen? Probably counts as an Obi Wan Moment, so 3.
  • Characterisation: Main character and series regular so 1.
  • When: Same book. 1
  • Died and came back: Granny has been counted as dead so often she even had a sign made saying "I aten't dead" so that is a 1.
  • Average it out and that is 1.48, back before the end of the book (and so she is).

    The Dresden Files 

Following the events of Small Favor, it looks like even Chess Master Nicodemus can have a very, very bad day. Let's see if you can keep a good Fallen down.

  • Cause of death: Choked out by an invulnerability noose? Death by Irony - 4
  • Genre: So far, the dead stay dead, but the core cast has been relatively safe - 3
  • Body found?: Dumped in a lake and immediately recovered by a subordinate? Uhoh - 1
  • Reaction: Not really applicable, Harry had to worry more about immediate survival.
  • Characterization: One of the few main villains to get more than one shot. However, only two real appearances. Somewhere between recurring character and archvillain, split the difference for - 2
  • When did they die?: Until we know when the next story is set, this one is uncertain, but given the average let's say a year - 2
  • Deaths so far: One, far more ambiguous death. - 3
  • Average: 3.16. The Nicodemus we knew is probably dead, but his coin lives on. His next host will be different.
    • Except, you know, Word of Jim says he is still alive, and has been saying since the book came out.

Now let's check on Lash, Harry's imaginary friend.

  • Cause of Death: Heroic Sacrifice and redemption. - 3
  • Genre: Again, dead are dead. - 3
  • Body found: This one is tricky. Nonphysical being, so there is no body to be found. Let's leave this one out.
  • Reaction: Physical holes in his brain where she used to be, confirmed by an MRI qualify as a He's Dead, Jim - 3
  • Characterization: Despite some gaps, definitely a Regular. - 2
  • When: Over a year, but not quite ten years: - 2
  • Died and come back: Not yet - 4
  • 3.4. Actually worse than Nicodemus. If she's going to come back, it will be in Turn Coat. Otherwise, she's gone for good.
    • Update: No appearance in Turn Coat, but Word of God says Lasciel's story isn't done yet...

    Harry Potter 

Harry Potter.

  • Cause: Sacrifice, definitely. 3.
  • Genre: Kill 'Em All. 4.
  • Body Found: Leftfor Dead, essentially. 1.
  • Reaction: Faux Death. 1.
  • Last Words: "Stay close to me." 3. *sniff sniff
  • Characterization: Kick-butt protagonist. 1.
  • When did they die? I'd say Series Finale. 4.
  • "Died" and come back? Well. . . .he survived the Killing Curse a few times. So I'm going with 2.
  • Average: 2.38 Be Back Soon!


  • Cause: Irony. He wouldn't be there if he wasn't trying to save Harry, contrasting the long line of Purebloods who had owned him. 4.
  • Genre: Everyone Will Die. 4.
  • Body Found: Dead and Buried. *sob* 4.
  • Reaction: Really Dead Montage. 4.
  • Last Words: "Harry. . . Potter. . ." 3.
  • Characterization: Recurring Character 3.
  • When did they die? Well, DH is the last book so - Series Finale 4.
  • "Died" and come back? 4.
  • Average? 3.75. Deader than Dobby.

Remus Lupin.

  • Cause of Death: I have no idea. Probably Avada Kedavra. 2.
  • Audience Expectation: Kill 'Em All. 4.
  • Body Found? Dead and Buried. 4.
  • Reaction: Its Personal 2.
  • Last Words: Not sure. 2.5.
  • Characterization: Regular. 2.
  • When did they die? Series Finale. 4.
  • "Died" and come back? 4.
  • Average is 3.0625. Maybe Back Later.

Fred Weasley.

  • Cause of Death: Technically, Exploded A Wall On Him. 4.
  • Audience Expectation: Kill 'Em All. 4.
  • Body Found?: Dead and Buried. 4.
  • Reaction? He's Dead, Jim 4.
  • Last Words: Killed Mid-Sentence. Aw, Perce. 4.
  • Characterization: Regular. 2.
  • When did they die? Final battle. 4.
  • "Died" and come back yet? I wish. 4.
  • Average: 3.75 We'll miss you, Fred!

Sirius Black.

  • Cause: Kind of a bizarre one, but we're told No One Could Survive That!, so 2.(Since very little is known about it, fans have been exploiting it.)
  • Genre: Anyone Can Die. 4.
  • Body found: Never Found, but since it's an unusual case of it, 2.5. (And this bit)
  • Reaction: It's Personal. 2.
  • Last Words: Killed Mid-Sentence (or mid-spell, rather), so 4.
  • Characterization: Regular. 2.
  • When: 5 years ago (2003). 3.
  • Died and Came Back: No. 4.
  • Average: 2.93. Maybe Back Later...but probably not.

Albus Dumbledore.

  • Cause: Heroic Sacrifice. 3
  • Genre: Anyone Can Die. 4.
  • Body found: Buried. 4.
  • Reaction: 3.
  • Characterization: Regular. 2.
  • When: Not too long ago. 2.5.
  • Died and Came Back: No. 4.
  • Average: 3.214287..... Not too likely to come back.

Severus Snape.

  • Cause: Redemption Equals Death / Heroic Sacrifice: 3.
  • Genre: Anyone Can Die: 4.
  • Body found: Left for Dead: 1. (Don't think the fans haven't been exploiting this loophole.)
  • Reaction: 4. (A montage composed by the Prince, no less.)
  • Characterization: Snape had been a complicated presence/antagonist throughout Harry's life (and Lily's before that): 1.
  • When: In the final book: 4.
  • Died and Came Back: No. 4. (The Tales of Beedle the Bard underscores the Potterverse principle that Dead is DEAD.)
  • Average: 3.00 (Put on a Bus). Snape could come back ("He had a bezoar up his sleeve!" "He had been dosing himself with snake venom in case something like this happened!" "Fawkes the Phoenix appeared just in time to shed his tears on the bite!"), but it would completely devalue the sacrifices he made throughout the series.


  • Cause: His own rebounding curse. 4.
  • Genre: Anyone Can Die. 4.
  • Body found: Buried. 4.
  • Last words: None, but his face is frozen in an Oh, Crap! expression. 4.
  • Reaction: 3.
  • Characterization: And how. 1.
  • When: 4 for the in-universe timeline.
  • Died and Came Back: Sort of. 3.
  • Average: 3.85. Very dead.

James Potter.

  • Cause: I'd say sacrifice. 3.
  • Genre: Anyone can/Everyone will die. 4.
  • Body Found: Only bits and pieces. 4.
  • Reaction: It's Personal. 2
  • Last Words: "I'll hold him off!" 3.
  • Characterization: Loved One. 4.
  • When did they die? Actually, 11 years ago. . . 4.
  • "Died" and come back? Nope. 4.
  • Average: 3.5.

Cedric Diggory.

  • Cause: Avada Kedavra curse, so No One Could Survive That!: 2.
  • Genre: Anyone Can Die / Kill 'Em All: 4.
  • Body Found: Yes, and it was mourned, so 4.
  • Reaction: Sort of a combo of It's Personal and Really Dead Montage, so averages to 3.
  • Famous Last Words: None, although when the wand-welding revived him he said "Take my body back", so probably a 3.
  • Characterization: Recurring Character, as he wasn't a part of the main cast but was important enough to affect the storyline from time to time, so 3.
  • When did he die? In the middle of the series, so 3.
  • "Died" and come back? No. 4.
  • Average: 3.25. Probably not coming back.

We're not leaving so many of the villains out, are we?

Bellatrix Lestrange.

Peter Pettigrew.

  • Cause: Death by Irony: 4
  • Expectation: Anyone Can Die: 4
  • Body Found: Yes: 4
  • Reaction: Oh, Crap!: 4
  • Characterization: R Egular: 2
  • Time: Final book: 4
  • "Died" and come back? Yes - he was presumed to be dead and it turned out he faked his death to frame Sirius, so: 3
  • Average: 3.13 - Maybe back later, most likely not.

    Matthew Reilly Novels 

Jack West from The Six Sacred Stones.

  • Cause: Sacrifice: 3
  • Genre: Killed off for Real: 3
  • Body: Fell into a bottomless pit: 3
  • Reaction: Reactions from entire cast: 4
  • Last Words: You're not...: 4
  • Role: Protagonist: 1
  • When: 2 years ago: 2
  • Come back before: twice: 2
  • Average: 2.75 Funny. His contractual immortality is the reason I don't have this series as Anyone Can Die...

Here's an attempt for the highest natural score, without arbitrarily adding constants. I'm looking at you Shirley.

Elizabeth Gant from Scarecrow.

  • Cause: Guillotine in a Shark Pit: 4
  • Genre: Anyone Can Die: 4
  • Body: Head leaves body. Described in detail. 4
  • Reaction: Montage. Protagonist tries to kill himself. 4
  • Last Words: Famous Last Words: 3
  • Role: Recently upgraded to loved one: 4
  • When: 6 years ago: (A little confusing, but this seems to be a 4)
  • Come back before: Never: 4
  • Avg. 3.875. It's a shame the bad guys were nice enough to let her finish, or she would have reached a perfect 4.

    Percy Jackson and the Olympians 

Bianca di Angelo.

  • Cause of death: Death by giant robot commandeering = bridge drop. 4
  • Genre: Killed Off for Real. 3
  • Body found?: Not technically, but there were a few encounters with her ghost. 4
  • Reaction?: It's Personal fits best. Nico was not happy. 2
  • Characterization?: Mauve Shirt, because she didn't live long enough to become a reg, but lived long enough to not be a Red Shirt. 3
  • When did she die?: Same arc (it's a book series, so this is a guess). 1
  • Died and come back?: Nope. 4
  • Grand total: 21/7 = 3. Might make a surprise comeback in Book 5, but she's most likely day-ud.

    Sherlock Holmes 

Sherlock Holmes.

  • Heroic Sacrifice = 3
  • Killed off for real = 3
  • Never found = 3
  • The collection of Strand short stories is stated in the last story to have been the Montage = 4
  • Protagonist = 1
  • 10 year gap = 4
  • Never come back = 4
  • 24/7 = 3.42. The return was unexpected, but the algorithm fails to take Real Life pressure into consideration.

    A Song of Ice and Fire 

Sandor Clegane, AKA the Hound.

  • Left to die of his wounds (2).
  • ASOIAF is notorious for its Anyone Can Die premise (4).
  • Left for Dead, but severely wounded (1).
  • One character in the next book claims to have buried him without witnesses, so there's a chance of Bedouin Rescue Service (1).
  • Not a POV character, but one of the most popular and complex ones (1.5).
  • He "died" in the third book, almost 8 years ago (4).
  • 13.5/6 = 2.25. He's Just Hiding!.

For contrast, Robb Stark.

  • Death by Bridge Drop (4).
  • Again, Anyone Can Die (4).
  • Body was mutilated (4).
  • Pretty obviously dead (3).
  • Not a POV character (2).
  • Died 8 years ago (4).
  • 21/6 equals... 3.5. Fandom has moved on.

And one of the first POV characters to die, Ned Stark.

  • Cause of death: Sacrifice (3)
  • And yet again, Anyone Can Die (4)
  • Decapitated in front of a crowd, head left to rot on a spike (4)
  • Skeleton sent back to Winterfell (4)
  • Last words: kind of a final speech (3)
  • Decoy Protagonist (2)
  • Died in the first book (4)
  • And hasn't died and came back before that (4)
  • That's 28/8 = 3.5. RIP, Ned.

And the last to "die", Jon Snow.

  • Stabbed 4 times, No One Could Survive That! (2)
  • Still ASOIAF, 4
  • Last seen falling down (3)
  • Reaction: "He didn't feel the fourth stab. Only cold." - Faux Death, (1)
  • Last words: "Ghost..." (2.5)
  • The closest the series has to a protagonist (1)
  • We haven't visited the Wall since his death (1)
  • Has yet to come back (4)
  • 18.5/8 = 2.3125, he'll be back in TWoW.

For the record, the books can surprise us a lot with resurrections. Let's see Cat.

  • The same wedding as Robb, (4)
  • 4
  • Last seen: rotting dead at the bank of the river, three-days dead (3.5)
  • Reaction, by Arya: acceptance of her death (3)
  • Last words: Oh, Crap! (4)
  • Regular, POV (1.5)
  • Died in the same book as she was resurrected (2)
  • Hasn't come back before that (4)
  • 26/8 = 3.25, it would be pretty high, except that she came back.

    Star Wars Legends 


  • Cause of Death: Heroic Sacrifice - 3
  • Genre: Anyone Can Die - 4
  • Body Found: No - 3
  • Reaction: The literary equivalent of a montage - 4
  • Characterization: Regular - 2
  • When: Ten years ago, RL time
  • "Died" and come back? No - 4
  • Average: 23/7=3.285714. In pace requiescat.

Tenn Graneet.

Feltipern Trevagg.

    Uncle Tom's Cabin 



Example of: