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Tear Jerker / His Dark Materials

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As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

Book Series:

     The Northern Lights / The Golden Compass 
  • Serafina Pekkala and Farder Coram's story: she would have renounced everything that made her a witch to become his wife and stay with him, but was unable to. When they have a son together, he dies from an epidemic and both of their hearts break. Then Farder Coram is crippled by poison and grows old and frail, while Serafina stays as young and beautiful as the day they meet, and he's too ashamed of himself to talk to her again.
  • Lyra finding out midway through Northern Lights what happens to all the kidnapped children. They are cut off from their daemons, by putting the child in one cage and the daemon in a cage close by and cutting between the two cages with a guillotine-like structure made of a special metal that can sever the connection between daemon and human. To wit, in this verse, daemons are halves of a person's soul manifested to help, aid, comfort and provide company.
    • Lyra's shock is half the feeling of tragedy and sympathy imagining what it would feel like if that were to happen to her, half reassuring herself that she will never be alone because she has Pan, half crying because Tony, the child she finds, has nobody anymore, and half disgust at the situation describing a daemon-less human as being as unnatural as one without a head, or without a face, or with his ribcage outside.
      • Pantalaimon for his is described as desperately wanting to comfort the child but unable to do anything due to the taboos ingrained in them.
      • When Tony dies, they prepare to burn him as the ground is too frozen for a grave. She sees his body one last time and notices the fish he had been using as a replacement for his daemon has been taken from him and freaks out- especially when it turns out the fish was given to the dogs.
  • The ending, wherein Roger dies. In particular, Lyra's kissing Roger's face before leaving his body behind as she goes onwards, and this line (particularly true of the audiobook version because the actress's voice breaks heartrendingly on 'helping'):
    Lyra: We got it wrong, though, Pan. We got it all wrong about Roger. We thought we were helping him.
     The Subtle Knife 
  • The saddest part in the whole trilogy for some people was Lee Scoresby's heroic death. It started off as sad when he realises he isn't going to live, but then when he's holding Hester and tells her not to go before he does. Made more poignant by the scene in The Amber Spyglass where his ghost dissipates to be reunited with the Dust of his 'beloved daemon Hester'.
  • John Parry's death. He's just gotten to see his son for the first time in years, and Will has no memory of his father at all... and the man's shot dead right afterwards.
    • His killer doesn't get it better either: it was the witch Juta Kamainen, who swore vengeance on him after he spurned her affections. When confronted by the furious son of the man she killed, she feels empty and finished. All she can say to Will is that she loved John, and that's enough. Then, without another word, she takes her own life.
     The Amber Spyglass 
A lot of this book will shoot you like how John Parry got shot.
  • The Boatman. Especially when he tells the children that he has "held crying babes in my arms," "those who hardly entered the world before they had to leave". Yeesh...
  • Pantalaimon's abandonment in the Land of The Dead. He becomes the textbook example of a woobie.
  • Lord Asriel and Marisa Coulter's suicide gambit against the Metatron, especially this:
    Marisa: "I lied and lied, Asriel... I wanted him to find no good in me, and he didn't. There is none."
    • This is followed by Marisa's choice to use her own weight to drag Metatron down into the abyss, and preventing him from throwing Asriel off and escaping.
    • It gets worse to think about - the abyss doesn't let the Dust that forms their souls or their daemons escape. While every other being who dies in any universe is allowed the freedom granted by the window left by Lyra and Will, Marisa and Asriel are left in the abyss, forever. Whether they're conscious of falling forever or the Dust that was once them is unable to be set free in the universe, they are the only beings in the multiverse to not become one with the universe again. What a Downer Ending for those two.
  • Balthamos pulling off a simultaneous tear jerker, CMOA and CMOH when he/she saves Will and Lyra by killing the priest stalking them with a scoped rifle, performing one final sacrifice before disintegrating from sheer grief at the death of Baruch.
  • Let's be honest, the goddamn ending is this.
    • Lyra and Will realize that the Dust is flowing out of the universe because of all the open holes in between worlds, left by the subtle knife. The angel they are talking to says that if they work their entire lives to promote good, there will be enough Dust regenerated to leave open one door. They are desperately in love, and because neither can live in the other's world for long (and because neither wants the other to sacrifice their lifespan just for ten years together, especially since they would keep living after that), they desperately want to leave one open between their worlds. The mother of all happy endings seems to be in sight... until they realize they can't shut the one that prevents departed souls from being trapped in the Underworld for eternity. Ouch.
      • Think about what this is implying; if they open any other doors through Will's knife, they will put the world in danger once again. Being good really does suck.
      • What makes it especially sad is that the love between Will and Lyra doesn't really fully blossom until shortly before they find out that they have to part.
      • The shattering of the subtle knife: Will's thoughts about his mother are unable to break the knife like the first time, so Will channels his grief over his final separation from Lyra, touching the teardrop she's left on his face and he shatters the only tool to connect their worlds.
    • Their promise to meet again at a bench that's in both their worlds, every year on Midsummer's Day, so they can be together somehow, just for an hour a year. The theater adaptation made this the Bookends of the show: Lyra and Will meet at the bench and tell the story of the play to each other; when the story ends, they get up from the bench and walk past each other, unseeing— they were never in the same world at all.

TV Series:

     Season 1 
  • "The Lost Boy" has several moments.
    • Fadar Coram and Serafina Pekkala's reunion. He breaks down crying when she has to leave, sobbing that there hasn't been a day in the decades they have been apart that he hasn't thought of her and their son.
    • Lyra finds Billy Costa (not Tony as in the book), and brings him back to the Gyptians is one long Tear Jerker from that point on. Unlike in the book, Billy in the series doesn't even talk; he just does nothing, and Lyra is so stunned and appalled by the spectacle of a child with no daemon that she basically has a Heroic BSoD all the way back to the camp, only breaking down and weeping when Billy has died and is on his funeral pyre.
     Season 2 
  • The abuse (physical and emotional) that Mrs. Coulter heaps on her daemon, which is a part of her, is far more apparent in the TV series than in the books. And yet her daemon still loves her and is just as devoted to her as any other daemon is to their person. Even though he flinches away from her touch on more than one occasion.
  • Even if they did previously try to murder Lyra and Will, it's impossible not to feel something when Paola, on the verge of tears, asks Mary "Miss, can I have a hug?" Mary obliges, and Paola flings herself into her arms as Angelica begs Mary to stay and look after the children. Mary declines, saying she's on a quest, and the two girls begin to leave, only for Mary to call them back and tell them she'll take them to their adults.
  • Mrs. Coulter's daemon comforting her after Lee forces her to relive her childhood trauma.
    • And Hester comforting Lee for exactly the same reason.
  • Two moments in last episode:
    • Lee's death. He stays back to hold off the Magisterium forces as Jopari continues on to find the knife bearer. He's wounded a few times during the fight, and then is finally fatally shot in the chest, and dies after having one last heartwrenching conversation with Hester.
    • John Parry's death. Unlike in the book (where he was murdered by a witch), here he's killed making a heroic sacrifice by Taking the Bullet for Will, who he had just found again after ten years. His daemon even kills the soldier's one before he succumbs to his wounds.
  • John Parry telling Will they'll go home after helping Asriel defeat the Authority...knowing full well that the chances of either of them surviving that war are slim, and that there is almost no way they'll be able to go home and return to the life they once had.

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