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Tear Jerker / Harry Potter

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The life of someone like Harry Potter is bound to be very sad at times. After all this time? Always.

WARNING: Spoilers are unmarked.


  • Harry's early childhood was not nice. Having to live with an aunt and uncle who were abusive at worst and didn't give a damn about him at best, enduring constant bullying from his cousin, his cousin's friends, and his uncle's Jerkass sister; all because his parents were murdered when he was barely a year old. It got to the point that when he stayed at the Burrow (i.e., a wizard house filled with all manner of fascinating magical stuff for the first time), the thing that came as the biggest shock was the fact that everyone he lived with liked him. It helps that most of the Wizarding World seems to view him as a fictional character instead of an actual person.
  • Frank and Alice Longbottom's story.
    • Just like the scene in Goblet of Fire where Dumbledore explains to Harry what happened to Frank and Alice, and Harry himself is so appalled that he thinks he was lucky to just have his parents dead, whereas Neville's parents still alive but can't even recognize their child, so damaged they were.
    • When Moody (actually Barty Crouch, Jr. using Polyjuice Potion) taught the Unforgivable Curses, it must have been having a hell of a moment for Harry and Neville.
    • It's actually both a Tear Jerker AND a Moral Event Horizon for Crouch, Jr. Think about it: HE is the one responsible for Alice and Frank's condition, along with Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange. Now look at that scene again. He is basically torturing Neville for A) his own ends, just to get a chance to revive his lord, and B) because he KNOWS how Neville would react.
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    • Worse so in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Ginny actually see Neville with his parents at St. Mungo's. Neville's grandmother tells him to throw away the wrapper Alice has given her son, but he instead slips it into his pocket.
    • It's made even worse by the fact that, in the middle of this fantasy series with all sorts of funny spell effects and whimsical noodle incidents, we get a very low-key and realistic depiction of a son visiting his mentally-shattered parents.
  • Everything that happens to Andromeda Tonks, especially in Deathly Hallows. First, her son-in-law Remus walks out on the family. He comes back, only for Andromeda's own husband Ted to die. She has her grandson Teddy, who is named after said husband, and it seems okay. But then there's the battle at Hogwarts. Remus leaves, and then so does Dora, and neither of them come back, leaving her with her grandson who has the same morphing abilities as her dead daughter. The woman barely appears in the book, but experiences as much loss as so many others.
    • Also, Sirius had died nearly two years beforehand, and a comment Sirius makes in Order of the Phoenix implies that they were closest to each other among their family members.
    • Not to mention the fact that she's the sister of Voldemort's right-hand woman Bellatrix. You see Harry's reaction to her when he doesn't initially realize who she is (or rather, who she isn't) and wonder if other strangers had given her that same reaction. And then you wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that she and her husband live in a secluded location, away from other wizards and witches.
    • And the fact that her own sister is the one who kills her daughter.
    • At least she still has Teddy to care for by the end, unlike many other survivors who are left with nothing but themselves. Judging by the epilogue, Teddy grows up A-okay.
  • Barty Crouch, Jr.'s story. His past is still depressing. He was a "Well Done, Son!" Guy with a father who loved work a great deal more than his own son. He did whatever he could to impress his father, who never let him know that he was impressed at his top grades in the OWLs and the NEWTs. The only family member who loved him died to give him freedom, which he never obtained because he spent the next thirteen years under the control of his father via Mind Rape, which drove him mad. He sided with Voldemort because he was more like a father to him than his own ever was.
  • Percy's Face–Heel Turn is quite sad, and it hits a few Adult Fear notes which have become more relevant in later years. Percy was raised by poor but progressive Arthur Weasley, who fully accepted Muggle-Borns as equals, disliked the enslavement of house-elves, and admired Muggles to the point of holding down a job protecting them. In the earlier books, we can see Percy has inherited these traits; he dated a Muggle-born and dislikes the Malfoys as much as the rest of his family. However, by Goblet of Fire, he becomes more involved with the Ministry and his attitude starts changing; he becomes blindly loyal to Ministry officials and disregards their shadier aspects, and starts parroting bigoted language towards house-elves and other races (and it's not clear if he's just saying the words to impress his higher-ups or if he's actually starting to believe it himself). By Order of the Phoenix, it's become very clear that Percy believes that the only way to get ahead in life is to be a bully and an ass-kisser. Thankfully, he is able to see sense by Deathly Hallows.
  • Ghosts are unable to move on from whatever they did in life. Moaning Myrtle is, and will always be, trapped in the mind of a suicidal teenager, forever.
    • It is a Fate Worse than Death the more you think about it. Someone who dies and refuses to move on will be trapped in the living world to the end of time, because there is no second chance if they decide to change their mind. Nearly Headless Nick muses to Harry after Sirius dies that it is a good thing the latter chooses not to linger and instead move on. Nick has had over five centuries to reflect that it's probably better to brave yourself for something new, rather than clinging to the same old thing forever.
    • The Grey Lady AKA Helena Ravenclaw's story is a sad one when you take into account that she parted from her mother on bad terms. Considering that we don't see Rowena Ravenclaw's ghost anywhere, Helena will never be able to apologize to her, no matter how much she wants to.


  • Pretty much everything in Lupin's backstory, from his dad being wracked with guilt after insulting Greyback results in Remus getting bit to the family having to move around all the time due to the stigma of werewolves to Remus himself refusing to live with his dad as an adult because he doesn't want to put the stress on him.


  • Wrock (Wizard-rock) has a few songs about Harry walking to his death, but The Butterbeer Experience's Chapter 34 tops all. "I know what I must do. And I am prepared. But, please stay here, so I'm not scared. No time to explain. No time for goodbyes. Only time for tears as I look into your eyes. So, hold my hand. Touch my heart. Know that really soon, I'll be where you are. I'll face him strong. Just...stay by my side. I want you there, when I, when I die."
    • Made worse when Lena, who's still singing, just breaks down and starts crying.
    • On that note, RiddleTM has a song of the same name that is equally heartbreaking; it's softer, mellower than TBE's Chapter 34. "I hold the ring in my hand, I'll be okay now I have the bitter truth at last. Help me through, strengthen my resolve. Help me face Voldemort, With courage and without fear..."
    • Oliver Boyd and the Rememberalls's Chapter 34 song "Open at the Close" has a heartbreaking chorus: "So I'll walk it alone and face this truth. Mum, I'm coming home, home to you. No goodbyes this time, and no kisses too. Ginny, please don't you cry. Know I'll always love you."
    • A lot of TBE's songs are sad, but the crown goes to "The Prince's Tale"...
  • Ministry of Magic's "Don't Leave", set around the time when Ron abandons Hermione and Harry in Deathly Hallows, is heart-wrenching as Harry begs Ron not to go because everything they're fighting for will come to naught if his best friend leaves. And Ron still left...
  • Oliver Boyd and the Remembralls "End of an Era." Really that entire song, but to be specific: "I will miss the train ride in, and the pranks pulled by the twins. And though it's nowhere I have been, I'll keep on smiling from the times we had with them."
  • The Split Seven Ways song "The Forest Again."
  • The end of the epilogue. It wasn't the end of the movie, no; it was the damn music: "Leaving Hogwarts." The very same cue that played at the very end of the first movie. It told us, really, everything ran full circle. It reminded us of the entire scope and tragedy of the whole series compered to the first book.
  • "The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well." It was like that feeling after you've gone through a long ordeal and it's all over and after so much time trying to hold it together, you just need a shoulder to cry on. And it wasn't just because the story had ended; it was the feeling of closure for a character who really, really had to earn that happy ending. And it was the implication that Harry's horrible childhood and seven (some would argue seventeen)-year struggle with Voldemort had left no lasting damage. He didn't end up going off the deep end. He didn't suffer from waking up in occasional cold sweats with hell itself exploding out of his forehead. He didn't have any worry about whether a fragment of Voldemort's soul would come bursting out of him at any moment to endanger the ones he loved. He grew into a man, married the one he loved (a miracle in and of itself, considering her proximity to the violence), had three healthy, happy children as well as a host of nieces and nephews; achieved his career goal and then somenote . And they all lived Happily Ever After. That's essentially what the last sentence says, but in a more beautiful and poignant way.
  • Alan Rickman was known to not only refuse to play certain scenes in certain ways because of information that J. K. Rowling had given him about Snape, but he also never revealed just what that information was. Respecting his wishes, Rowling never said either until after his death.
    @sarahrosefrank: Will you tell us the piece of information that you told Alan Rickman about Severus Snape? Or will that forever be a secret? :-)
    J.K. Rowling: I told Alan what lies behind the word 'always'.
    • And the passing of Rickman himself in 2016.