- To a large extent, the fact that Talion and Celebrimbor explicitly demonstrate that while evil and revenge looks and feels good to them (and the player), it ultimately accomplishes little. Their pride and hate blind them to the fact that Sauron cannot and will not be defeated by any of their efforts, either by killing their soldiers or attempting to use or forge a new Ring of Power, no matter how hard they try. There is only ONE Lord of the Rings, and they are not him. At best, they can buy some time and save a few lives. At worst, they are simply Sauron's puppets in the end, no matter how hard they try to deny it.
- The first playable portion of the game is a flashback to the moments leading up to the deaths of Talion and his wife and son. After enjoying a basic tutorial played out through a pair of happy memories (specifically, we learn basic combat by helping Talion train Dirhael, then learn stealth by having Talion sneak up on Ioreth to surprise her with a hug and a flower,) we're shoved into the attack on the Black Gate, where Talion and his family are swiftly and violently taken captive by the Enemy. They're later used as human sacrifices in an attempt to call the Wraith to the Black Hand of Sauron. Watching and listening as Talion frantically attempts to soothe his son's terror, and then again as Ioreth tearfully assures Talion that they will soon be together forever in death - both of which he's Forced to Watch - is an absolute Gut Punch that effectively sets the tone of the whole game and amps the player up to seek revenge just as ferociously as Talion.Talion: I had a family once; a wife and a son. And I buried them, along with everyone I've ever known.
- The ultimate fate of the Wraith's family, though viewed in a flashback, is heartwrenching to watch. After having his home invaded and being taken prisoner along with his wife and daughter, Celebrimbor is forced to assist Sauron in further shaping The One Ring, likely after being broken by a combination of Mind Rape and threats made against his family. Celebrimbor is able to snatch the One Ring and make his escape, only to later return and attempt to lead an army of enslaved Orcs against Sauron to rescue his wife and daughter. The battle spirals out of control as the Ring betrays Celebrimbor and returns to Sauron, who in turn delivers a devastating No-Holds-Barred Beatdown that renders Celebrimbor insensate. When the flashback resumes, a badly beaten Celebrimbor is chained on his knees, his hands chained to the wall behind him so that they rest at the level of his eyes. His wife has already been slain, and we're made to watch through Celebrimbor's eyes as Sauron - in his Dark Lord form, no less - stalks menacingly over to Celebrimbor's daughter. The girl screams twice before Sauron swings his mace at her, and our Gory Discretion Shot comes at the price of watching and hearing Celebrimbor scream out as his daughter is slain, then falling limb in his bindings as his features completely drain of all emotion. The voice acting and animation here are absolutely spot-on, nailing the scene down as one of the most tragic in the entire game.
- The confrontation between Talion and Celebrimbor after the Tower of Sauron reveals Celebrimbor deliberately took Talion as a host body, rather than them being bound together by coincidence, is this, particularly when Talion's voice falters when he accuses Celebrimbor's actions of denying him the chance to be reunited with Ioreth and Dirhael.Talion: You said we were cursed. You deceived me.Celebrimbor: It was Sauron's doing.Talion: [furious] This was YOUR doing! [voice breaking] I should have died with my family.
- Killing Ugakuga Graug Rider, one of the Beastmaster Warchiefs from the Lord of the Hunt DLC, is this. Mainly due to the fact that before you face him you have to kill his pet Graug Stompy. Doesn't seem too bad, but it's his reaction to his pet's death that makes it a Tear Jerker.Ugakuga: STOMPY! NO! My... ME ONLY FRIEND! I SMASH YOU FOR THIS! SMASH until DEAD!
- The Ship Tease between Talion and Lithariel. She's attracted to him, and he has to Shoo the Dog at Celebrimbor's insistence.
Tear Jerker / Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor