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Tear Jerker / Gunnerkrigg Court

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Moment Subpages are Spoilers Off. You Have Been Warned.
See ya!

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  • 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
    • How Jeanne was trapped in the ravine.
  • 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
  • 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 sobbing 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.
  • 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.
    • Something that only becomes noticeable after Chapter 53 is the state of Anthony's house. The only pieces of furniture are an armchair and a desk and the only thing on the desk is schoolwork he's grading. Reynardine says that he spends his evenings in silence. Between the death of Surma and his accidental almost murder of Annie, Anthony has become dead inside.
  • 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.
    • The fact that Antimony considers lopping off parts of her personality rather than deal with her emotions in a productive manner, like looking for a sympathetic party with which to share her woes, to be a valid idea certainly counts.
    • Another one: 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.
    • Seeing Anthony remove his fake hand and become visibly relaxed and somewhat happy around Donald. From the way Annie stares, it's obvious that she's never seen this side of her father in her life.
      • After he leaves, Donald even tells her that using her blinker stone was the only way she would be able to see her father like that.
    • "How could she live with the man who killed her mother?" Anthony reveals that he's never blamed Annie for Surma's death- just the opposite, in fact.
    • The desperation on Anthony's face when he's talking about seeing Surma again. He truly loved her, and the implication is that the psychopomps are going to use that love against him.
      • Anthony stating that he was unable to answer Annie directly when relaying his message. All he could do was listen to her repeatedly ask him where he was.
    • The fact that Anthony considers lopping off parts of his body rather than deal with his emotions in a productive manner, like looking for a sympathetic party with which to share his woes, to be a valid idea certainly counts. Like father, like daughter, in the most tragic way possible. Now he is permanently maimed, unable to do the things that he prided himself on.
    • The worst part? It was a trick. The 'antenna' didn't really bring Surma back. It just tore out the fire that was reincarnated in Antimony and reshaped it to look like Surma. This was worse than a failure — he not only failed to bring Surma back, he nearly killed their daughter in the process.
    • And then, this is said.
      Anthony: Haha! My daughter! My own daughter! I almost... I never wanted to come back... I didn't deserve to see her again. Her father died out there, in those caves.
  • And the real knife in the gut: The Court knew about all of Annie's activities, even the ones in the Forest. They were going to kick her out upon graduation, and used that to force Anthony to come back.
    • There's also the flip-side to this situation: the fact that Anthony was so guilt-ridden about his actions that he was willing to die in the wilderness. If the Court hadn't been tracking him, Annie would have lost both of her parents in the span of just three years.
    • His admission that when he saw Annie again, she looked so much like Surma that "I almost lost my mind right there." And then he starts crying because he knows what he did to Annie afterward was terrible.
    • In a harsh call-back to this page, Annie is still justifying Anthony's actions toward her in the previous chapters, despite Donald's argument that having reasons for doing the things he's done doesn't excuse or justify them in the slightest.
  • From Chapter 54: Ysengrin's well-intended but brutal style of mentoring leads him to seemingly destroy Annie's blinker stone, to prevent her from using it as a crutch. He has a point...however, when you consider where that particular item came from in the first place, the implications are pretty tragic. The stone was a gift from the now- Deader than Dead Mort — you know, the little boy who couldn't even recall who Annie was the last time she saw him? Annie just lost her last physical reminder of him, and another trace of his existence has now been erased since she helped him cross into the ether.
  • Funny as it was that Chapter 55 was so short, there's something quite heartbreaking about Anthony's abrupt ending to the conversation, especially seeing how tense Annie was to approach with the request to give back Renard.
  • In Chapter 57, Annie explains her current problems with the Ether - it used to be a beautiful world for her, "like being underwater", but without her blinker stone, it now feels like she's "swimming in ink". It's clear that she feels cut off from something that gave her such joy, and is fearful that she might not get that world back. Luckily, Reynard is more than reassuring.
    • Annie tearfully apologizes to Rey for "giving him up so easily" to Kat. Rey forgives her — he already forgave her — but she clearly needs to forgive herself too.
  • Chapter 59:
    • The revelation that Jeanne's lover didn't die, but instead had his soul bound to the ether arrow, trapping him just like Jeanne.
    • Jeanne's shock and heartbreak when her "friend George" attacks her.
  • Chapter 60:
    • Andrew's taken a knife in the chest. Deep in the chest. Unless Parley can bip him out in time, or Tom Siddell is going to pull another 'gotcha!' on the fanbase, it doesn't look good.
      • Worse, the knife was meant for Parley. Andrew used his powers to save the girl he loves from being stabbed by Jeanne.
    • No. That's what makes it so bad. Andrew is probably lying. Jeanne didn't have the main gaiche to use it on Parley. She deliberately went after Smitty because his strings of fate were tipping the odds in Parley's favor. She kept cutting the strings, but they just grew back moments later. Jeanne cut the strings again, severing Smitty's probability field, then stabbed him while he was unprotected to keep them from coming back. Andrew is trying to convince Parley that his probability field saved her when she was never at risk in the first place because of Smitty's strings. As long as they were active, Parley was safe, but Jeanne couldn't sever the strings and act fast enough to hurt Parley before they came back. She could cut them at the source AND cut the source at the same time. In this case, Smitty got his strings cut and a knife in his chest from one swing of a dagger.
  • Chapter 61: Red's Friend Gets A Name Too I Suppose:
    • As much as Anne's more dubious actions in the preceding two chapters (arguably) needed calling out, Red's "Reason You Suck" Speech is harsh - capped off by her requesting the Annie never talk to her or Ayilu again. Kat's response to this mitigates it a little as she calls Red out on being the one to tag along in the first place even if she wasn't entirely needed. [1]
  • Chapter 63: The Shadow Men:
    • Though initially humorous, it quickly becomes saddening when Annie simply cannot accept that Kat could be getting along with Anthony. Thanks to the Court using him as their instrument in punishing her and his own personality flaws, Anthony's relationship with his daughter has deteriorated to the point that she finds the idea that he brainwashed Surma more believable than that people could actually like him as a person. Tom's comment just adds to the sadness.
    Tom: Hating Tony is considered normal to Annie.
  • Chapter 64: Get Lost
    • The absolute irony of young Tony telling Donny and Anja that "family comes first." Anja received devastating news about her parents and Donny should be there for her rather than join Tony on their Brazil expedition. It's a stark difference between the stoic and awkward young man and the broken shell of a man in the present day.
    • Watching Surma falling for Tony and subsequently cheating on James is especially painful when the audience knows that down the line, she and Tony end up leaving the Court. She dies, Tony's a broken shell of a man, and their daughter is left to cope with the traumatic and abusive ramifications of his actions.
    • After a whole chapter of Anja reassuring Annie that her parents truly loved each other, and even Kat admitting that Tony can be a pretty nice and funny person if you get to know him one on one, Annie cuts straight to the point...and all the previous explanations/excuses for Tony's behaviour go up in a puff of smoke:
      Annie: But I've been alone with him many times. So why does he act differently for everyone but me?
    • The bonus page afterwards shows Anja and Kat scrambling for an explanation, only for Annie to rather coolly inform them that it was a rhetorical question, and she doesn't expect an answer. It's not clear if she's resigned herself to the fact that Antony's behaviour towards her will remain a mystery...or she's beginning to think that she's on her own when it comes to her troubles with her father, since he manages to win even her best friend over to his side.
    • As Donald said, none of what Anthony says excuses his actions.
  • Chapter 70: Dealing with HER
    • Court!Annie is more than a little peeved with Forest!Annie, and lays into her, accusing her of not cherishing their mother's memory by leaving her necklace behind.
      Court!Annie: Excuses, excuses! If you really cared for it, you'd never lose it. And now I have the only one.
      Forest!Annie: That's not fair! I didn't want to lose it! (Tearing up) It's - it's my necklace!
  • In Chapter 80 called "The Mind Cage", Antimony has become one again, and Anthony - who had been warm towards Forest!Annie - has emotionally closed off again. In an interview with Jones, he reveals that he has 'a cage around [his] mind' that makes him unable to communicate with the outside world, and that this 'cage' is also what keeps him from bonding with Annie despite how much he loves her.
    • And then there's Annie's response to learning this. She decides to continue loving her father, even though he may never be able to express his own paternal feelings to her, essentially becoming a Love Martyr for him because he's alienated almost everyone else in the Court due to his behaviour towards her.


  • Sidecomic "The Traveller". It features Paz 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. Word of Tom says the dog, whose name is Traveler, didn't die in the end. The cynical/black comedy side of Something Awful took the Exact Words to mean "the dog died near the end" or maybe even was Dead to Begin With. The more hopeful members disagree — he swam to Italy and was rescued!
  • Every October, the Gunnerkrigg Court twitter account becomes Gunnerkrigg Mort, and is written as though the content is being posted by Mort. Before chapter 47, it was funny and endearing. After chapter 47, it became heartbreaking, especially since the change hasn't stopped even though Mort's gone.