May 2nd is an important day for Harry Potter fans, as it marks the date that the Battle of Hogwarts took place. It's also the event that led to some of the more heartbreaking deaths in J.K. Rowling's beloved, magical series. As that's what we're about to get into, I strongly suggest you exit this article if you're still working your way through the Harry Potter series. Major spoilers ahead!
There were quite a few major deaths to transpire during the Battle of Hogwarts. But I doubt many of us are shedding any tears for the wicked Bellatrix Lestrange, the obnoxious Vincent Crabbe, or the fully evil Lord Voldemort. So let's focus on the character exits that left us devastated to varying degrees.
Severus Snape had his faults, there can be no doubt about that. But running away from danger wasn't one of them, even when he was standing face to face with Lord Voldemort. He had a mission to fulfill and he was going to do it, whether he survived or not. That he was killed by Voldemort was far less heartbreaking than his final breaths, which took place as he stared into the green eyes of Harry Potter.
I'm less inclined to romanticize Snape's love for Lily as much as others might, but Snape still scores major points for his willingness to offer up some of his most personal memories to Harry Potter in his final moments. It was a crucial moment that would lead to Voldemort's undoing, and it adds to the sadness of Snape's death. Harry would go on to honor Snape's bravery by naming one of his son's after the former Potions Master.
Sweet Colin Creevey. Let's be honest. If any of us got our letter to Hogwarts, we'd likely be just as awestruck and enthusiastic as Colin was when he arrived at Hogwarts in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Colin didn't have the easiest run at Hogwarts, but it never seemed to get him down. Let's not forget, he was one of the kids to end up petrified after coming face-to-almost-face with the Basilisk. He was also a member of Dumbledore's Army, which was a fine demonstration of his character in his later years at Hogwarts. The same could be said for his final act, which was to sneak back in to the battle, though he wasn't supposed to be there because he was underage. He just had to fight. And if his loss wasn't sad by itself, it's made all the more heartbreaking when Harry notes, "He was tiny in death." RIP Colin.
Remus Lupin and Nymphadora Tonks
It seems only fitting to pair Remus Lupin with his wife, Nymphadora Tonks in this list, as they died like they lived in their final years, together. Lupin had a tough life. Likely among the toughest of the Harry Potter characters. As a werewolf, he was was an outcast among his fellow witches and wizards. He found friendship among the Mauraders. He found purpose among the Order of the Phoenix. And he found love with the brave and talented Tonks.
The two were able to have a brief marriage that included bringing a son into the world before they met their end during the Battle of Hogwarts. It's especially heartbreaking to know that they died together, but even more devastating when we consider that they wouldn't get to see their son, Teddy, grow up.
This one hurts. Perhaps the most, actually. It's been over a decade since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows released and it's still impossible to imagine a world where there's a George but no Fred. The duo were constantly at one another's side, offering some much-needed levity and comic relief, even in the darkest of times. That his final words were to tease his brother Percy seems tragically fitting, as Fred and George never could resist an opportunity to pester their brother. But it hurts nonetheless, especially when we consider the pain that George and the rest of the Weasleys would surely experience over his loss in the days, weeks, months and years that would follow.
Honorable Mention: Lavender Brown
Lavender's situation is left with a bit of uncertainty, as she may have technically been alive when Harry last saw her, though her situation looked grim. She was last scene being attacked by werewolf Fenrir Greyback. Harry noted that her body was "feebly stirring" after Hermione fought Fenrir off. However, she presumably died of her injuries. Though she was never a major character in the series, her death was likely devastating to her best friend, fellow Gryffindor, Parvati Patil.
In previous years, J.K. Rowling has offered up an apology for one major Harry Potter character in observance of the Battle of Hogwarts. However, this year, the author opted to forgo the tradition and instead, in recognition of the COVID-19 pandemic, announce a sizable donation to two charities: