Skip To Content

    26 Characters Who Had Relentlessly Tragic Storylines

    These guys really couldn't catch a break.

    We recently asked members of the BuzzFeed Community which characters they though went through too much. Here's what they said.

    1. Bonnie Bennett from The Vampire Diaries.

    The CW

    "Not only was she constantly having to sacrifice herself for everyone around her, she lost pretty much everyone she loved. And worst of all no one around seemed to be grateful for all the sacrifices she was constantly making."




    2. Peyton from One Tree Hill.

    The CW

    "The poor girl had a hard life to begin with and they just kept piling on the tragedy."


    "I’ve been rewatching and the poor girl had two dead mums, an absent dad, got shot in a school shooting, a stalker pretended to be her brother then tried to kill her, then her actual brother didn’t stick around. For a character to be defined by the phrase ‘people always leave’ is tragic. Oh, and this was all before she finished high school."


    3. Cheryl Blossom from Riverdale.

    The CW

    "Not only did her twin brother who she was ridiculously close to die, so did her dad, who she found out actually killed her brother. Her mum turned her family home into a brothel and ended up working with a serial killer, and did everything she could to make her life miserable. She got sucked into a cult, and even tried to kill herself and it was brushed over after that episode like nothing happened, with no talk of therapy or anything! I know she was toxic to a lot of characters but she went through it!"


    "This girl needs to catch a break. please for god's sake give this woman a break!"


    4. Octavia from The 100.

    The CW

    "She was locked under the floor, her mum was killed, she separated from her brother and locked away again. Then when she was finally happy her boyfriend got killed!"


    5. Mike Delfino from Desperate Housewives.


    "They couldn't give the guy a break! Something terrible happened to him every season – from losing his wife, losing Zach, divorcing Susan, having mountains of debt, Orson trying to kill him – Mike really went through an awful lot. Just when he and Susan were finally happy, he got murdered when he was just trying to protect his friends from a loan shark!"


    6. Taystee from Orange is the New Black.


    "Not only did she have to watch her best friend murdered in front of her eyes, and then watch everyone in the riot screw up her chance to get justice for her, but then she got life in prison for a murder she didn’t commit! I cannot watch that show again knowing what happens to her, it breaks my heart."


    7. Eve from Killing Eve.


    "She was constantly being punished for trying to do the right thing, became obsessed with a manipulative assassin, lost her (admittedly boring) husband, lost one of her best friends, and let’s not even talk about her lack of character development in season three..."


    8. Dr. Spencer Reid from Criminal Minds.


    "Poor dude got judged for being younger than everyone, he battled drug addiction, abusive past lovers, and an anthrax poisoning scare. He even went to jail. Like seriously, give the boy a break!"


    9. Daenerys in Game of Thrones.


    "She suffered so much trauma and loss and they gave her a misogynistic ending. All she ever wanted was to go home, yet in Westeros, even though without her help and sacrifices everyone would have died, they mistrusted her for the simple reason that she didn't spend her life there. She watched the two people she loved most being killed right in front of her, and then her birthright threatened to slip out of her reach, because as soon as it became clear that there was the option of having a man on the throne, her advisors turned on her. In the end, the man who made her believe that he loved her chose to kill her. It's awful."


    10. Meredith Grey.


    "She had a bad relationship with both her dead beat parents, discovered two half-sisters at different times, almost drowned, was in a plane crash, lost many friends to death in tragic ways, had to pull the plug on Derek, the love of her life.

    The list goes on. Anyone who has gone through half of what she's dealt with would be TRAUMATISED."


    11. Jen from Dead to Me.


    "I felt bad for her the whole show – her hubby was murdered, her new bestie did it, and she finds out her husband was cheating on her for so long, because she had a double mastectomy and he basically resented her for it. Also they said her mum died of cancer when she was really young and she was sexually assaulted as well. Sis was really going through it."


    12. Jane from Jane the Virgin.

    The CW

    "I mean come on, she was a virgin who got accidentally artificially inseminated by a guy she met once while she was engaged to another guy... Then she fell for him and couldn't choose! Plus her husband got 'killed...' Not to mention all the other crazy crap that went down at the Marbella."


    13. And of course Petra from Jane the Virgin.

    The CW

    "Yes she was quite unlikeable throughout a fair bit of the series but she really did go through a lot in my opinion."


    "She was one of the best characters in the show but they always portrayed her as the bad guy, and her happy ending wasn’t really that great. Everyone loved Jane but honestly, Petra was so much better. She knew what she wanted and how to get it and I respect her for that."


    14. Prince Zuko from Avatar.


    "His father hated him as soon as he was born, his sister was always the favourite, he lost his mother when he was young, he got half of his face burned by his father and was banished for three years... All of that happened before the show even began!"


    15. Willow from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

    The WB / UPN

    "She was in love with her best friend Xander who only saw her as a friend, and had to deal with witchcraft without Buffy. And she literally watched her girlfriend die!! She is my favourite TV character of all time and I feel so bad for her."


    16. Maeve from Sex Education.


    "She had a rough time with both her mum and her brother, goes through an abortion, and was constantly used by her fellow students because she’s clever! I honestly hope she catches a break in season three because she’s so misunderstood, she’s such a badass but kind-hearted character that doesn’t deserve everything life throws at her."


    17. Kurt from Glee.


    "Three of his family members died or came close to death, he was bullied a lot, constantly underrated, and more. I think he deserved better, and one person should not have to go through all that."


    18. Elliot from Mr. Robot.

    USA Network

    "Hardly an episode went by without him getting physically and emotionally battered. Yet he kept going against the odds because he wanted to make the world a better place."


    19. Sarah from Orphan Black.


    "She witnessed a woman identical to herself kill herself, found out she was a clone of many, and she nearly died way too many times. Her daughter was kidnapped, and was hit by a car. Her birth mother died, adoptive mother died. Boyfriend died, friends died. Poor girl just wanted some cash and her daughter. 😅"


    20. Dana Scully from X-Files.


    Dana Scully without a doubt! She was abducted, had her ability to have children taken away from her, was beaten and abducted so many times. Then when she finally got her much longed-for child, she was made to give him up, which Scully would never do. She wanted that baby for such a long time. She was treated so badly, she deserved so much more. She deserved to run away with Mulder and raise their baby together and just be happy."


    "She literally went through everything!"


    21. Annalise Keating from How To Get Away With Murder.


    "She is one of the few main characters who didn’t actually kill anyone yet she gets blamed for everything because she was trying to protect people.

    She has had such a tragic life; molested as a child, the stillborn baby, her husband’s affair, her husband’s murder, spending time in prison, alcoholism, yet she keeps going because she wants to help people but she just keeps getting screwed over."


    22. Eric from Sex Education.


    "He definitely deserved a break. He was bullied and mocked by everyone relentlessly, and his best friend was hardly ever there for him. Eric was such a good friend to Otis and it definitely wasn't reciprocated IMO. Plus he was written to end up with his abuser, Adam. How is that fair?!"


    23. Vanya from Umbrella Academy.


    "I felt so bad for her, for trusting 'Lenard' and how her siblings were acting towards her. I just wanted things to work out for her."


    "100% Vanya. She was constantly ignored by her family and treated like she wasn't even a member of it. Even when having family meetings they told her that she didn't have a valid opinion because she didn't matter. All she wanted was love and validation which caused her to fall into an abusive relationship in the first season because the first person to give her love had their own agenda in the whole thing."


    24. Luke from The Haunting of Hill House.


    "The poor boy was haunted since he was young (along with the rest of family), then he grows up and struggles with addiction and his siblings (besides Nell) openly talk down to him after he began to recover. He deserved so much better throughout his life."


    25. Regina from Once Upon a Time.


    "At the start, she was a villain but over time she grew into a hero. Even though she became a hero she didn’t get the perfect happy ending she deserved. I loved her and Robin as a couple and absolutely bawled my eyes out during his death scene – he died to save her and even though other characters came back to life, Robin didn’t. Regina and Robin deserved better."


    26. Pearl from Steven Universe.

    Cartoon Network

    "She was basically lead on by Pink Diamond/Rose Quartz for THOUSANDS of years only for her to choose Greg, and then die soon after. Not only that but Pearl was one of the original Crystal Gems and had to see hundreds of her fellow friends become corrupted and shattered through the war for earth."


    Don't forget to tell us which characters you think had it rough, and be sure to follow the BuzzFeed Community on Facebook and Twitter if you want to be featured in similar posts!

    TV and Movies

    Get all the best moments in pop culture & entertainment delivered to your inbox.

    Newsletter signup form