I like to read and I have read a lot of books over the years, so what are the five scenes from books I’ve read over the last few years that stick in my head?
Okay, so this post will contain spoilers for the following books: Maze Runner series, The Dark Artifices Series, Harry Potter, The Infernal Devices Series and Perks of Being a Wallflower. This is your final warning to turn back!
TW- discusses a character’s memories of sexual abuse in the Perks of Being a Wallflower bullet point.
- Maze Runner, book 3, Death Cure- Newts Death
I think this scene stayed with me for a number of reasons, firstly, the way the ‘Cranks”- people sick with the flare virus, are described in the books gives me goose bumps; the flare makes them go mad first, makes them irrational and insane, before they become the crazed, zombie like creatures you see in the films. Dashner just does a really good job of describing how eerie and frightening they are and it’s just close enough to reality to make you feel sick in your stomach.
This combined with the fact that last time Thomas left Newt behind, he found a note from him wishing that Thomas would kill him but he reads it too late to fulfil this request. So, when he meets Newt again, by then he is in the full throes of the virus and beginning to become insane himself.
So when it comes to the final moment, where an angry and betrayed feeling Newt with his gang of ‘crank’ cronies he’s teamed up with, chase Thomas and the others from the city; Thomas describes the sadness and hurt in Newt’s face, alongside the middle stages of the flare madness in his eyes. Newt stops pursuing him, so Thomas can’t just use self defence to bolster his courage, he has to look him in the eye and decide to shoot his best friend.
I don’t know why but it really haunted me and it was those things that stuck in my head after reading them. Plus, I really liked Newt as a character and I was devastated he wasn’t going to make it after they’d come so far.
2. The Dark Artifices, Livvy’s funeral
Livvy’s death at the end of the second book is more shocking than sad because it’s the big climatic ending. However, the next book opens the story around the time of her funeral and so there’s all this build up that takes place before the funeral but the moment at the funeral that made me sob both the first and second time around, was when Ty (Livvy’s twin sister) climbs up on the pyre beside her and Julian has to go get him down.
It turns out that he goes up there to retrieve her necklace from her body but there’s this whole long moment where it seems he’s climbing up to burn with her and it’s just heartbreaking- it’s a really well written scene. It shows a lot of the prejudices and stiffness of shadow hunter culture, in the way the crowd disapproves of how Ty chooses to mourn. Plus, as most of the scene is told from Emma’s POV, there’s this beautiful mix of her fierce pride and protectiveness of her found family, with her grief for Livvy.
- Perks of Being a Wallflower- the moment Charlie remembers
I won’t lie, I cried throughout most of this book. I loved Charlie’s character and I just wanted to wrap him in a big hug and defend him from the world.
The moment he realises, however, is just so real and gut wrenching, if I hadn’t seen the film first, there’s no way I would have seen it coming. Especially, as it’s the moment he and Sam finally get together and in one moment you’re celebrating and then the next you’re spiralling. For those that haven’t read it, when he and Sam start to become intimate, it brings fourth memories Charlie had repressed of his Aunt, who has been dead a few years now, sexually abusing him as a young child. The way it’s written so that you’re in his chain of thought is just incredible, you go through the flashbacks and his breakdown with him. It’s so, SO well done but also, incredibly sad.
- Harry Potter- The Deathly Hallows- when Harry walks to meet Voldemort
This scene probably holds the record for never failing to elicit a tear when I read it. It’s the moment after he finds out the truth, the truth about Dumbledor’s plans for him, the truth about Snape and his mother and the truth about what he truly has to do in order to defeat Voldemort permanently. Unlike in the films, book Harry chooses to take this walk alone, passing his loved ones under his invisibility cloak; watching all the death and destruction occurring in his name. He has to pass the girl he loves, whose holding the hand of a dying person calling for their mother but he has to leave to go die alone. He reflects on every adult who has died, trying to shield him from this inevitable fate. Just before entering the forest, he uses the resurrection stone to conjure those he has lost, to give him the courage to walk the rest of the way and they shield him one last time from the dementors. Whatever issues you might have with J.K. Rowling, or the many plot holes and problematic elements in HP, this scene never fails to make my heart hurt for Harry.
- The Infernal Devices- Clockwork Princess (book 3) – Will’s death
So, after all we’ve gone through within this series and losing Jem, we are rewarded with a happy ending where Will and Tessa get together. However, Cassandra Clare, being who she is, can’t leave it there. So the book ends by jumping ahead, too Will on his death bed, surrounded by his loved ones, his children and Tessa, who still looks 19. The saddest bit of all is when Jem, who is now a Silent Brother (monk like order, whose mouths are sewn shut, don’t age and lose some of their humanity) comes and Will, who had been holding on until Jem got there, slips away, with Jem and Tessa beside him… let me tell you, I SOBBED.
It’s all so unfair. It’s unfair that Will never got to be with his Parabatai for more than four years. It’s not fair that Jem misses out on Tessa and Will’s life together (although they do involve him as much as possible, it’s just that he can’t be because of what he is now). It’s not fair that Jem isn’t cured and turned back into an ordinary shadow hunter until 100 years later, even if it means Tessa gets to a have a lifetime with the second love of her life.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for Chain of Gold coming out, describing Will and Tessa’s children’s adventures, which gives you a window into their lives together. I would be having the biggest tantrum.
It’s a beautifully written scene about a life well lived and full of love but you honestly don’t expect to get punched in the gut like that right at the end.
So, that’s my top five. I guess you can say there’s a link between how memorable I found them and how much it traumatised me and made me cry but such is the burden of every book worm.
What are your most memorable scenes?
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