Death comes for everyone — but it doesn't always come in style. Sometimes instead of a heroic death or a cool death, a fictional character will get kind of a crappy death. (Often literally.) Sometimes a beloved character will die in a totally motifying fashion.
Here are 10 of the most undigified deaths in science fiction and fantasy. To help us find the best list, we asked on our Facebook page, where tons of people weighed in. (Including some deaths that honestly weren't all that undignified — just unpopular.) Here's what you (and we) came up with!
10. John Locke, Lost
In retrospect, Locke's death was probably the turning point of the entire series — replacing one of the show's two poles with a coffin, and then later an evil imposter. And what a way to go. Locke was the true believer, the one guy who always believed that they were all on the Island for a reason. And then he becomes so despondent that he can't convince the Oceanic survivors to return to the island, he decides to kill himself. But Ben Linus first talks him out of suicide, and then murders him in a really horrible fashion right afterwards. And then he's impersonated by a monster who tears down everything he believed in. Thanks to Ben for suggesting this one!
9. Everyone in A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin
George R.R. Martin's rep for killing off characters is maybe a bit overstated — he actually tends to keep characters alive more than many authors, which is why he ends up with so many of them. But when he does kill people off, he makes it horrible and ungainly. There's Viserys, of course, who finally gets his crown of gold, in molten form. There's Khal Drogo, who dies of an infection rather than in battle. [Spoilers ahead...] There's everyone at the Red Wedding. And then there's a certain character who kills his father on the toilet. Thanks to Patsyann, Keelia, Brice and everyone else who suggested this!
8. Donald Gennaro, Jurassic Park
And speaking of being killed on the toilet... this is probably one of the most iconic undignified deaths in movie history, period. I love how the walls fall away and the toilet is revealed, out in the open — and then the T.Rex gives the attorney a once-over before chomping him. Thanks, William!
7. George, Dead Like Me.
Still speaking of toilets... She takes a crappy temp job after dropping out of college — and then on her very first day, she's hit by a falling toilet seat from the decomissioned Mir Space Station. She's not even allowed to pass on to the great beyond, but instead has to stick around being a Reaper. And everybody calls her "Toilet Seat Girl." Thanks to Vickie for suggesting this one!
6. Anya, Buffy: The Vampire Slayer
Says Vie, "It took me a good three-four watches for me to properly realise she was killed... Why do that Joss!?" She gets randomly slashed in half from behind by a Bringer, and then her body is never even recovered from the wreckage of the school. Her death literally feels like a throwaway in the show's final episode. Joss Whedon specializes in jarring deaths — but usually they come as the climax to a narrative arc.
5. Newt and Hicks, Alien 3
Says Scott, "Killed off in the first five minutes, with no screen time. Worst sequel opening ever." Actually, it could have been worse — in earlier script drafts, Hicks was randomly killed by a safety beam, and Newt was drowned in her cryo chamber. In any case, the supporting cast from the previous movie get written off in a random crash.
4. The Sixth Doctor, Doctor Who
Says Aengus, "He basically banged his head and woke up five inches shorter with a Scottish accent and a tendency to roll his "r"s. If his death was undignified, that was nothing compared to still being saddled with Mel as a companion in his new life." Although, really, as Troy points out, Doctor Who is full of undignified deaths, like Ingrid Pitt karate-chopping the Myrka, which was so dreadful the clip was shown as part of the case for cancelling the program.
3. Cyclops and Professor X in X-Men: The Last Stand
Like Newt and Hicks, the death of Cyclops is basically off-screen and feels like a throw-away. Unlike Newt and Hicks, though, Cyclops gets one final scene where he tries to talk to Jean Grey and profess his love for her, which obviously doesn't work. And then he's just... gone, except for a floating pair of glasses. It's like he's been reduced to the Doonesbury version of himself. Later, Xavier gets levitated and blasted into ash by Jean Grey/Phoenix, after we spend a lot of time learning how he warped her mind. (But he gets better.) Thanks to Stephen, Bri, Jared, Tim, Christopher and everyone else who suggested this one.
2. Padme, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Says Corban, "The only reason she croaked was an aneurysm from over-acting." We've written about the awfulness of Padme's death scene before, in which she basically a giant plot device and it's not even clear what kills her other than the needs of the storyline.
1. James T. Kirk, Star Trek: Generations.
As Patxi puts it, "Having survived photon torpedoes, evil twins, klingon firing squads, Gorns, cloaked Romulan warbirds, hyper-evolved Voyager probes, energy beings and some alien god-wannabe, being killed by a faulty walkway on some godforsaken planet is the apex of anticlimatic." Adds James, "He deserved better than having a bridge fall on him on a nameless planet trying to save another nameless planet from an utterly forgettable villain." Of course, it could have been worse — there were last minute reshoots to make this slightly less awful.