5 Fictional Characters Who Deserved Better Than They Got

C.S. Lewis's The Last BattleSometimes nasty characters get exactly what they deserve (here’s looking at you, Veruca Salt). And sometimes, they’re frustratingly under-punished (argh, Mr. and Mrs. Malfoy!). But sometimes, a character’s comeuppance outstrips their crimes, rocking our sense of fairness to its core. Here are a few characters I wish would’ve caught a break. To the fanfic forums, so that justice may prevail!

Susan Pevensie (The Chronicles of Narnia). The twisted fate of Susan Pevensie is one of the saddest and strangest in fiction. In The Last Battle, the final Narnia book, C.S. Lewis kills off Susan’s entire family—Lucy, Edmund, Peter, and their parents—leaving her alone on earth. And what did Susan, one-time queen at Cair Paravel, do to deserve this horrendous fate? She got too into parties and lipstick. Problem solved, Mr. Lewis: Susan may never go to a party again.

Severus Snape (Harry Potter). Pity Severus Snape, the only Death Eater to truly reform. Pity him for the fact that he was raised by parents who never bought him shampoo. Pity him for loving only one person his entire life, a person who married someone else and then died tragically. And pity him most of all for living a double life that allowed him to have no true friends. Couldn’t Rowling have written in just one person who enjoyed his company? Or a pet? Even Filch had Mrs. Norris. All Snape’s got is Professor Sprout’s incessant “winks” on Wizardmatch.com.

Maria Bertram (Mansfield Park). Yes, Maria treats her poor cousin and foster sister, the obnoxiously noble Fanny Price, like an unwanted glove. For her much-deserved ill rewards, we prescribe a stiff round of snubbing and a severe lack of new ribbon. But Bertram goes too far when she ditches her boring husband, Mr. Rushworth, for the handsome cad Henry Crawford. Adultery? Very bad. But in this case (and in the case of most cheating women in Austen’s day, we assume), the punishment is insanely harsh: Maria is forced to live out the remainder of her life in near-seclusion, in the home of her dreadful Aunt Norris. We bet Mr. Rushworth could’ve cheated without so much as a slap on the wrist.

Lydia Bennet (Pride and Prejudice). More unfairness from the pages of Austen, who we’re sure was only calling it like she saw it. Yes, Lydia’s a giggly twit, but who among us stands by every decision we made when we were 15? We’ve all crushed on somebody who ended up being so not worth it. Now think of being tied to that person for life, with hardly any money to boot. And that’s why we don’t understand the people who wish they could be transported back to Austen’s day. (Even though we’re totally addicted to this.)

Jess Aarons (Bridge to Terabithia). Jess didn’t really cause the heartbreaking death of his best friend, Leslie, but he’s left feeling responsible for life. After ditching Leslie without warning to spend time with his teacher crush, Jess returns home to learn that she drowned while waiting for him at their spot by the creek. Now poor Jess will forever associate romantic feelings with crushing guilt. But maybe we’re just bitter because of how hard we cried the first time we read this book.

What character’s fate do you most disagree with?

  • Lynzie Johnson

    Tess of the D’Ubervilles… That poor girl nothing ever ever went even just ok for her

  • Liir Ko

    I agree it was stupid what lewis did to susans character. And frankly Lydia deserved her fate with wickham.

  • William Robert Ryan

    wulfgar. he tried to save his future wife and adopted father and he ends up getting killed by a hand maiden of the spider queen.

  • John Patrick

    Oh come on what about poor Ned Stark? One of the only, truly good men in A Song of Ice and Fire and he gets his head loped off for trying to do the right thing.

  • Rebecca Hernandez

    Tris from Divergent, sirius remus Tonks Fred dobby and hedgwig from Harry Potter and Primrose from Hunger Games

  • Spigana

    Walter from Anne of Green Gables. I have never been able to forgive Montgomery his fate even though at the end he came to terms with his life.

  • Wendy

    Tris Pryor. As much as I understood her ending, I still wish for something different.

  • khek

    Definitely agree with Susan. When I finished The Last Battle, I wanted to go find CS Lewis and either lecture him on how girls who like being girls aren’t icky, or possibly just yell at him until he fixed the ending. But since I was ten and he was long dead, that wasn’t a possibility. Instead I tried to come up with ways for Susan to get to Narnia too. How sad is it that I was wishing for a loved character to die..?

  • Hope S.

    King Arthur.

    • Someone

      And the female characters in the story of King Arthur. Except maybe the Lady of the Lake.

  • Someone

    Well, definitely Violet, Klaus and Sunny from A Series of Unfortunate Events.

    • Emily

      Um, I think the series title clues you into how these characters will fare. Just sayin’ 🙂

  • Emily

    While I enjoy the light-heartedness of these posts, I have to forcefully disagree with two here.
    1) Adultery is a terrible, terrible thing and Maria Bertram’s punishment was justified. The same punishment would be justified for a man, even if he would never get said punishment. You can’t throw out her just punishment because there might have been a sexist stigma attached.
    2) Susan isn’t punished for being girly and liking makeup. The point is that she was so into worldly pleasures she forgot about Narnia. As everyone knows, the Chronicles are allegorical and Aslan is Christ. So in forgetting Narnia and Aslan, she abandons faith and truth. She was given a kingdom, but turned her back on it; therefore she is condemned. You don’t have to like it, but it is what it is.

  • Steph

    The ultimate character that deserved better has to be Richardson’s Clarissa. You start writing letters to a handsome rakish suitor. He’s smart and totally into you. You know it’s totally dodgy, virtue-wise, to enter into a correspondence, but you’re freaking desperate to resist your brother’s push to get you to marry a disgusting nasty slob who happens to be a great financial match for the family.

    Does that mean you deserve to by kidnapped, tortured, raped, confined for months, forced into marriage and slowly die of consumption in one of the longest novels in the English language? Now that’s harsh.

  • Joo Ken K

    That would be Charlie Gordon, from ‘Flowers for Algernon’ 🙁

  • Ella

    Tris from Divergent. Susan Pevensie. Violet,Klaus, and Sunny from Series of Unfortunate Events

  • Anas Binyamin

    I’m sure Susan managed to get on with her life. I don’t have that much sympathy for Maria Bertram to be honest, nor do I condone her punishment.
    I think Teresa “Tess” Durbyfield should definitely be here. It’s the most depressing book I’ve read, but it’s great. Poor girl is pressured to work for a “cousin” who’s a lech, with no one to protect her. He rapes her and gets her pregnant, but the child dies later. Tess runs home but eventually gets work rather than feel sorry for herself. She meets and marries a seemingly good man. When she tells him what happened to her, rather than trying to make his wife feel protected from that sort of thing, he freaks out that she isn’t a virgin and therefore not the woman he loved and abandons her! She has to go home, her family becomes destitute, her cousin keeps harassing her so she eventually agrees to become his mistress. Her husband finally sees sense and seeks her out after so long, but she’s a little angry he did this to her. Her cousin keeps on tormenting her after that, so she stabs him and runs with her husband. But just when you think she can finally be happy and loved, the police arrest her and she is later hanged for murder. 🙁
    Can anyone beat that?

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