Allow Us to Explain
Gluttons for punishment, aren't we? Only a week after writing an entire Grid about food, where we couldn't write more than a few sentences without a snack break, we decided to do a grid about Sad Animal Deaths. Well, let it never be said that we didn't share the pain, so here goes. While there are sad animal deaths all over fiction (especially young adult fiction) we decided to focus only on those that occurred in science fiction or fantasy, partly because, well, that's the mandate of the site, and partly because animal death tends to be connected to different themes in speculative fiction than in regular fiction. Pet death in young adult fiction, for example, is almost always used as a metaphor for personal growth on the part of the animal's owner, where here we'll see pet death and animal death run the gamut from the loss of parents and family, to the acceptance of the past, to the meaning of trust and friendship to even an incidence of I-Don't-Think-You-Meant-That-To-Be-As-Sad-As-It-Was. Some notes on the composition of the list: We tried as much as possible to focus on pet death, and pet death of actual animals, not talking animals, because we were more interested in how we use this trop to show human/animal interaction even in sci-fi/fantasy. However, this left us with some seriously obscure and significantly less meaningful entries hanging onto the end of the Grid, and so we let in some the most heartwrenching sentient animal deaths that we could think of (while trying to keep them to the least anthropomorphized characters). The following runners up may be a good way for you to judge if you should just give up now and go get some tissues. These are, after all, what we left out. All Dogs go to Heaven, the deer scene from The Iron Giant, Dragonheart (makes Susana tear up every time, shamefully enough), Charlotte's Web, the dogs in Watchmen, and Romo Lampkin's cat Lance from Battlestar Galactica. Oh, and the Rat Thing from Snow Crash.