Random Ephemera

5 Characters They Killed Just to Make Children Cry

Look, sometimes children's entertainment involves death, and most of the times those deaths are necessary. Take Old Yeller, for instance. Sure, the shooting of the beloved family pet after he contracts rabies is heartbreaking and traumatizing, but that story is about the responsibilities we take on, even if it involves euthanizing a loved one who will otherwise die in madness and in pain. It's meant to show you what it means to hold a life in your hands.

Or maybe you read The Giver in school. It's a brilliant dystopian novel about a world where emotions, innovations and even colors are felt by only one designated person in a community, called the Giver. When the Giver takes on an apprentice named Jonas, Jonas finds out that his father is part of a system that kills children who are over the population controls, or who are otherwise undesirable for one reason or another. Nothing sets the scene better than flushing a baby down a garbage chute because he was the lighter one of a set of twins.

Horrible? Yes, of course, but obviously essential to the story. Then again, there are deaths that prove that sometimes the people behind entertaining children just want to watch them lose it.

Hedwig (Harry Potter)

Lots of people die over the course of the Harry Potter series, and lots of them die badly, too. After all, the whole point of the book is what horrible lengths people who hate and fear will go to in their derangement, and how those who can feel love and compassion must soldier on no matter how much it hurts. The body count across the books and films is huge. If Harry had wanted to immortalize the fallen with Old English tattoos like a gang member, he would've ended up looking like a freakin' medieval Bible.

But Hedwig, Rowling? Really? You had to kill the owl? We've heard it said that the purpose of having Harry's longtime snow white feathered companion eat it in the opening of the last book was to cement the fact that in the coming war, anybody could fall. We think they established that pretty well with Dumbledore and Sirius in the two previous novels. Taking out Hedwig was just low.

Raymond (Princess and the Frog)

In Disney's Jazz Age send-up of The Frog Prince, Raymond is a backwater Cajun firefly because they are still one of the groups you can stereotype without getting a letter ('Cause they can't read or write. Oh, snap!) He helps Tianna and Naveen as they search for a way to transform back into humans from frog form. In doing so, he tackles the voodoo witch doctor Facilier, who fatally injures Ray.

It's the first time we can remember a good guy dying in a Disney film in quite a while, and his death is completely pointless. It's not like you had to establish Facilier as any more of a villain, or instead of trying to beat much more powerful opponents he couldn't have just led them on a wild goose chase.

The film plays this off by having Ray ascend as a star near Evangeline, another star that he says he's in love with. That's sweet...do you have any idea how far away stars are from each other? Even a binary star system like Alpha Centauri has roughly the distance of Pluto to the Sun between them. He's still further away from Evangeline than any human has traveled from the Earth.

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner