Goblin Slayer's tale is as full of heartbreak as it is full of badassery, laughs, and soul-scorching nightmares.
- In general, any time characters reflect on and grieve over the suffering and devastation the goblins have wrought and will continue to carry out.
- In Year One Newbie Swordsman seeing Half-Elf Shaman get eaten by the Rock Eater. When the surviving party make it out of the cave, he freaks out and insists on saving her until the Monk punches him to bring him back to reality. Next we see him he's so drunk he looks to be in an Angst Coma, and when the mass-quest gets announced he's clearly ready to kill or die in it. When the quest is over and he learns from Heavy Swordsman he didn't get the final blow before he fell, he's unsatisfied but forces himself to make peace with what he did manage.
- Goblin Slayer's Sister hiding him under the floorboards and telling him to stay still and quiet until it's all over, while smiling and telling him it will all be okay. The goblins have their way with her literally right on top of him as he stares horrified through the cracks, and it's three whole days of the goblins squatting in the dirt and gore before hunger forces the boy to move out regardless.
- Even worse, the manga shows a panel of her hands quivering as she places the board over her little brother, showing she knew what was to come but still tried to reassure her little brother while she could. Ouch.
- Goblin Slayer gets jumped by nine goblins at once while chasing a horde away from a hamlet, and as he lies in the mud being beaten senseless he sees that one of them has a hawk-patterned hunting knife tucked in his loincloth, one he recognizes as belonging to his father. His reaction to it is the final nail in the coffin that cements his vengeance-obsessed, nihilistic dissociation.Goblin Slayer: So one man dies. The world will keep turning. As it will when one village is destroyed. The dice will roll. But so what? So what? So what? So what?
- Priestess' first quest with the Greenhorn Team bears mention, where the young adventurers besides her were horrifically butchered and raped despite having high hopes and brief glimpses of their backstories. Poor Fighter is the only survivor of that team aside from Priestess, joining the girls she had joined the rest in trying to rescue in being taken to the church, her life as an adventurer over because of what she was put through at the goblins' hands.
- On top of this, Priestess finds out just how absolutely ruthless Goblin Slayer is toward his prey, having to listen to him clubbing the youngest of the goblins to death because he cannot afford to let any of them live. Poor Priestess has a breakdown as he's performing this grim task.
- The way the Female Party were all killed, but especially how the Knight was Forced to Watch the rest of her party get tortured to death throughout her rape, ultimately breaking her and making her bitterly regret ever accepting this quest, all because they wanted to spare a helpless village girl this exact fate.
- This scene in the light novel, where the description can clearly detail just how exhausted and broken Goblin Slayer is under his robotic monotone and obsessive work ethic."You're going to take them on alone?" the Elf said. "Are you insane?" Goblin Slayer stopped and exhaled slowly. "Yes." And without another word, he walked out of the meeting room. Which question he had meant to answer, they could not tell. There was no way they could know.
- Cow Girl ruminating on Goblin Slayer's mortality after the quest against the Ogre general that nearly killed him.He was human, after all. He would grow old, get hurt. When he was too tired, he would collapse. One day he would reach his limit. If he didnt die first, the day when he could no longer kill goblins would inevitably come. And what would he do then? He didnt know. Hes weaker than Id realized, she thought, watching him from the corner of her eye.
- The Goblin Lord's backstory flashback is chock-full of this for every adventurer he ever encountered, but most especially the Conan-styled Barbarian Hero who stormed his last nest to rescue a woman implied to be his lover. The craven wretch throws the girl into his arms and then runs them both through with a flamberge when he's tripped up by catching and checking her. The doomed pair exchange a final look as they fall to the floor as the ascendant Lord takes the hero's axe with a triumphant roar.
- In Chapter 25 of the manga, when Lizard Priest tells Goblin Slayer that as adventurer, he should follow the dictates of his friends. Goblin Slayer is left stunned being called a "friend". While this is a heartwarming moment, it is a little sad to think that Goblin Slayer believed that his party hasn't accepted him even after everything they have been through at this point.
- The penultimate scene of Volume 2 when Goblin Slayer confronts Sword Maiden about the false pretenses of her filing the goblin slaying quest. Sword Maiden is on the verge of breaking down when recounting the refusal of the Water Town residents to take the infestation seriously and how no help would come before she lied about the scope of the goblins movements, and she again recounts her own experiences at their hands in the hope that Goblin Slayer, if no one else, could understand her plight. Even he can't. Had it not been for Goblin Slayer's parting promise of future aid, Sword Maiden would have unquestionably crossed the Despair Event Horizon.
- The Harvest Festival is a time when everyone in town release paper lanterns in the night sky to honor the dead, guiding their way in the afterlife. Intellectually, Goblin Slayer knows it's a superstition and that the lanterns just become litter once they've finished burning, so he invested the prior days of preparation into crafting his anti-goblin measures instead. Then he actually sees the glowing lights and realizes what he missed out on. All he can do now is ashamedly hope the lost souls do find their way home.
- Guild Girl breaking down in tears when she thinks Goblin Slayer has died to the now-evil Rhea Scout, on a night of festivities when she had finally found the courage to attempt to advance their relationship.
- Chapter 6 of the Brand New Day manga introduces a dark-haired Priestess that worship the god of wisdom (a different Priestess than one we know). The girl is happily enjoying the beautiful day with her party on an escort mission, but is then grab by one of the Evil Wizard's gargoyles. The priestess terrified to the point of wetting herself, begs the monster to let her go, only for the gargoyle to respond by digging it claws into her shoulders. Her party try to save her by first shooting an arrow, which hits the poor girl in the thigh, and then casting a lighting spell, which caused the gargoyle to let the priestess go several stories above the ground. All the unfortunate girl can go at this point is cry and beg her god to save her as she falls before dying on impact.
- The flashback Noble Fencer had of the day she got captured by the goblins, not just what they put her through, but how her team unanimously blamed her for their current lack of adequate supplies, even though they all agreed with her plan to starve the goblins out initially. Noble Fencer is shocked and hurt by how all her companions, even the Half-Elf Rogue she thought she had a special connection with were so quick to make her a scapegoat for their shared shortsightedness, as how leery and tightfisted the villagers are towards her attempt to get more supplies out of them despite her really doing her best to complete this mission safely.
- The light novel contains a passage detailing a five-man party in the middle of a goblin-slaying quest. While mostly novices, they were properly equipped, well-rounded, mindful of their surroundings, and tightly-knit as a group. Then a troll comes into the scene, and the situation quickly devolves into a nightmare as people begin dying one-by-one, punctuated by a horde of goblins that finish the last two female adventurers off. All their hard work and their lives up to this point, gone in the span of minutes, something they recognize with bitter tears.
- And why did they have to meet such an unhappy end, despite being an otherwise effective team? Because Truth just decided to be extra dickish that day.
- The Sole Survivor of the party is an Acolyte who was eventually rescued by Goblin Slayer's party. It isn't just being dog-piled by goblins and witnessing the gruesome deaths of every one of her friends that will probably haunt her forever; one of said teammates was a Lizardman with whom she was in a relationship. She could do nothing but watch as he dies trying to protect her from a troll.
- Goblin Slayer goes out drinking with Heavy Warrior and Spearman, a normally good thing. But then they ask him what he dreamed of doing when he was younger; his answer was he wanted to be an Adventurer. While the two point out that it's one thing he can cross off the list, he confesses that he can't - he believes he is nothing more than an exterminator purposefully denying himself the joys of life, and can't see himself as anything else until all goblins are gone.
- Priestess unwittingly casting Purify on the goblin shaman, nearly killing him and causing him incredible agony. She is horrified when she realizes what she just did, doubly so when she sees that the Earth Mother herself cut off the spell. Later that night the goddess manifests physically to chastise her for breaking her edicts by nearly causing a Cruel and Unusual Death with her gifts, and threatens to reject her permanently should it ever happen again. Priestess can only fall to her knees and weep in contrition and fear.
- The ending theme's lyrics, depicting the titular character as he is under his armor: a broken man, with no hope of ever finding peace or happiness, and no goal in life beyond ruthlessly exterminating every goblin that lives and being haunted forever by the loved ones he lost.
- The opening theme's lyrics aren't much better. Upon examination, 'Rightfully' could be interpreted being from Goblin Slayer's perspective on his entire life. The full version includes the following lines, which can easily be Goblin Slayer's thoughts about his deceased sisterI still dream of you
Will you be disappointed that Im not who I used to be
Will you hold me tightly
- The opening theme's lyrics aren't much better. Upon examination, 'Rightfully' could be interpreted being from Goblin Slayer's perspective on his entire life. The full version includes the following lines, which can easily be Goblin Slayer's thoughts about his deceased sister
- The ending of Episode 7 of the anime, which plays as Goblin Slayer lies near death after his Heroic Second Wind from Volume 2. The theme heard is the absolutely beautiful "Though Our Paths May Diverge" from Mili.