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Often- lists about the ‘most tragic tv characters’ do not feature many speculative fiction entries. Whether we are talking about horror, science fiction or fantasy, you can be sure that there is alot of pain install for certain tragic TV characters. Yet which ones are the most tragic? In this article I will narrow down the TV characters whose arcs are filled with pain and misery.

It’s best if you’ve seen the shows indicated by the titles because I do give spoilers away.

Jessica Jones ~ AKA Jessica Jones

jessica jones- most tragic tv characters
Hello, pain.

She’s been raped, lost loved ones, felt guilty over other peoples deaths, has been betrayed by her best friend. She also has a vicious drinking problem, spent most of her life feeling like she doesn’t belong. Life has not been kind to Jessica Jones. We may laugh at her bitter, snide comebacks- but they often come from a place of pain. Because of that, her life seems to get worse and worse.

Tara Thornton ~ True Blood

It makes my blood boil how Tara was treated by the writers.

My heart breaks for Tara. Her life did not have a happy beginning, middle or end. True Blood was often a silly, trashy show yet when it come to Tara and how she was written- it felt like torture pornography. What Tara went through is so cruel and to be frank, ridiculous that it ruined the whole show for me. Because of that, my love of Tara is endless- she’s determined, vocal, witty, intelligent- yet my heart hurts over her. She deserved better.

John Locke ~ Lost

john one tragic tv characters
I’m going to cry now.

John Locke in the first few episodes is an enigma of a character- we don’t really understand him. Then we realise why in his first solo episode, and he gives the iconic line: ‘Don’t tell me what I can’t do.’ However, as we learn about his tragic and cruel relationship with his father, as well as the many trials he had to endure- John Locke’s arc is truly heartbreaking stuff.

Because of that (and Terry O’Quinn’s amazing performance)- John Locke is considered to be one of the best television characters of all time. I can see why.

Wesley Wyndam-Pryce ~ Angel The Series

You knew a Whedonverse show was going to be on here.

First appearing in season three of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Wesley is sort of a comic relief. However, as he goes on Angel’s solo show- we see nuance, depth and tragedy within the disgraced Watcher. Bad stuff always happens to him- whether it’s getting his throat slit, losing lovers (yes, I mean that in the plural sense) or having a jerk for a father.

Angel is actually my favourite television show, because it fuses LA misery with grand speculative elements. Adding onto that, Wesley is definately a highlight of that.

Maggie Greene ~ The Walking Dead

maggie rhee one of the tragic tv characters
I could fill this list up with Walking Dead characters

There are two things fans associate Maggie with. The first being her hard, tough attitude that takes no rubbish or being called ‘sweetheart.’ The second is the amount of agony she has had to endure since her appearance in early season 2. Her whole family- with the exception of her child- has been slaughtered in cruel ways, and many of her friends have died. When things look positive for Maggie, they just get worse.

Sansa Stark & Theon Greyjoy ~ Game of Thrones

I couldn’t pick between the two.

In the last two seasons of Game of Thrones, fans might have forgotten how cruel and twisted life was towards Theon and Sansa. From torture, to rape, to having loved ones murdered, to being people’s playthings- Sansa and Theon went through alot. However, they managed to form a meaningful bond with each other as if they were family. Because of that, they managed to bring lightness to a dark show.

Janine ~ The Handmaid’s Tale

She doesn’t deserve to be treated so horribly by the world.

Sure, I could have picked Moira, Emily or June herself. Yet it’s Janine, the naive character in Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale who breaks my heart the most. You get this sinking feeling watching her scenes that she’s not going to make it, that the world is simply too cruel. Janine’s lost an eye and a child, been raped over and over again, and had to deal with a huge amount of stress and disorder in her life. I hope she gets a happy ending- she deserves one.

So there you have it. The most tragic TV characters in speculative fiction! What do you think? Who should have I included? Comment below, I’d love to read your thoughts!

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