Our Favourite Deaths (Played by Patrick Malahide) – Part One

So as usual when Fearless Admin and I get to thinking, we come up with some interesting ideas.  And this idea had its basis in the fact that some – more than a few, actually – of Mr. Malahide’s characters die in the course of their stories, and in many different ways.  So we got to thinking about which deaths were the most interesting in various ways.  As it turns out, there were a lot of deaths to think about, so this will likely run to more than one post.  It sounds a bit morbid – okay, it is a bit morbid – but we did have a lot of fun thinking up the categories and which characters would fit into them.  And some characters might fit into more than one.

So, let’s begin, shall we?  😉

Balon Greyjoy  |  Lord Glendenning  |  Mark Binney  |  Mr. Hasymite  |  Cradoc  |
John Francis  |  Claude Howlett

Worst Death:

Balon Greyjoy
(“Game of Thrones“, 2012 – 2016)

How Does He Die?

Balon Greyjoy, Lord Reaper of Pyke

Balon Greyjoy, Lord Reaper of Pyke

RF:  Balon Greyjoy had a surprising  amount of longevity for a “Game of Thrones” character, probably because he was way out in the Iron Islands and was mostly ignored by the heavy hitters, like the Lannisters.   So while Balon was fomenting rebellion (again) and doing lots of sulking about Kids These Days, he mostly went unnoticed – except for Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane), who went to all the trouble of having him cursed (note:  Stannis ended up dying first anyway, HAAAA haaa!).

A rather ignominious end

A rather ignominious end

Despite the fact he actually came out the winner among the Five Kings, Balon is killed one very stormy evening by his brother Euron (Pilou Asbæk), who turns up at Pyke uninvited.  Actually, Balon had banished Euron years before, because Euron was too sociopathic even for the Greyjoys, which says something.  There’s a brief struggle (Balon certainly doesn’t go quietly; he puts up a heck of a fight and shouts in anger all the way down), but Euron manages to throw him off of one of Pyke’s very slippery, swaying bridges onto the rocks below.

So, What Makes This Death One of the Worst?

Might be time to put some of those non-skid strips on Pyke's bridges

Might be time to put some of those non-skid strip
on Pyke’s bridges

RF:  Well, mostly because Euron was such a terrible leader by contrast, and because it did seem rather ignominious to do away with Balon like that after he’d survived for so long.  Granted, “Game of Thrones” is known for killing off favourite characters, but still!  However, even though Admin and I knew full well that Balon’s death would be coming up sometime, I think we were hoping that it would mean a little more than it did.  And that Euron might actually be a fitting, or at least a scarier, victor.  But no, he was kind of a showboat narcissist, which doesn’t seem to go all that well with a pirate race that challenges, “Iron or gold?” when one has a particularly nice possession.   I will say that it made for a very cinematic confrontation, and it looked great on screen.  It’s even a bit gunslinger-y, if you think about it.

Euron, the least interesting Greyjoy

Euron, the least interesting Greyjoy

Admin:  That’s right, we knew it would happen eventually, so we weren’t exactly surprised.  While we were gratified his death took much longer than expected, allowing him to win the War of the Five Kings by default, it wound up ultimately being very disappointing.  Essentially, the more interesting Greyjoy was the one who fell of the bridge.  There has been plenty of press about fan disappointment concerning GoT’s final series, so I won’t get into all that, but part of that disappointment stems from their decision to portray Euron as something of a reprobate frat boy jock.  Give us old fashioned Balon and his Ironborn ways any day.

RF:  Yeah, Euron was supposed to be the Big Bad, but he turned out to be the Big Bust.  Mind you, I’m sure some fans feel that way about the end of the series in general.  It would’ve been very fitting (and satisfying) if Yara (Gemma Whelan) had been the one to dispatch Euron, but alas, it was not to be.  But… (SPOILER) at least she got to inherit the Iron Islands the way Balon wanted.

Admin:  And my choice is

Lord Glendenning 
(“The Paradise“, 2012 – 2013)

How Does He Die?

Elaine Cassidy Patrick Malahide: Katherine & Lord Glendenning,

Jilted!

Admin: Stuck somewhere in the Continent with his annoying daughter Katherine (Elaine Cassidy), Lord Glendenning,  a clear Brexiteer, pines away to an off-screen death.  Honestly, you’ve got to be kidding me.  Yep, he missed his home so much, he just kind of….died.  At least that was Katherine’s explanation.  I hope she felt really guilty about it because it was her own stupid fault that he got stuck in France or wherever the heck it was.  Moray (Emun Elliott), the local department store entrepreneur, had jilted her at the altar.  So, Lord G. took her off to Europe to recover from what strikes me more of a “near miss” than anything.  Why Lord G. had to go too, I don’t understand.  I thought Victorian bank tycoons hired spinster aunts for such tasks.  But, he went, died, and Katherine came back with a ghastly and abusive husband in the form of Tom Weston (Ben Daniels).  Ugh!

So, What Makes This Death One of the Worst?

Patrick Malahide: Lord Glendenning, The Paradise S01E08

I wanted more of this!

Admin:  Tom Weston mostly.  He is a terrible character, just awful.  He is mentally abusive towards Katherine which is horrible enough.  But, at the very end, the show-runners had the temerity to suggest that Katherine’s being pregnant with Weston’s child was somehow going to reform him.  Nevermind he was completely vile towards his daughter Flora (Edie Whitehead) and used her as a pawn in order to control Katherine.  So we lose a fine and interesting character for one that is, quite frankly, kind of offensive.

Patrick Malahide: Lord Glendenning, The Paradise S01E08

Blokes like that don’t pine; they get even.

The off-screen handling of Lord Glendenning’s ignominious death, combined with the introduction of vastly inferior characters certainly did nothing to improve “The Paradise”.  The previous series had ended on an exquisite note.  Lord Glendenning clearly had the upper-hand against Moray, and now he was given very ample reason to make the jumped-up shopkeeper’s life a pretty chaotic one.  But, instead, they go the turgid soapy route. Ugh again!

RF:  Oh, I totally agree. Tom Weston was absolutely dreadful.  Just horrible, both as a character and the way he fit into the series as a whole.  I guess they had to get rid of Lord G. somehow, because there was no way he’d countenance a bounder like that marrying Katherine, let alone sticking around long enough to be abusive to her.  Lord G. would’ve  probably shot him and had the remains quietly disposed of.  And yes, the explanation that Lord G. sort of… pined away and died off-screen was completely ridiculous.  They could’ve at least had him engaged in important banking business on the Continent or something, that would’ve somewhat been plausible.    I also have to agree that Bill Gallagher completely blew all the intriguing plot lines he set up at the end of series one; most of the plots for series two were recycled in some way.  Just overall disappointing.

Admin:  That’s right.  It was all set for a fine return, but then it just fizzled and started over some time later.

Most Deserved Death:

Mark Binney
(“The Singing Detective“, 1986)

How Does He Die?

The sort of end you might expect for Binney

The sort of end you might expect for Binney

RF:  A person or persons unknown stabs Binney in the throat.  He was definitely a bad ‘un, even though he was (mostly?) a creation of Marlow’s imagination, but Marlow put as much bad stuff into him as he could think of.  So Binney was a scheming traitor who’d probably sell out his grandmother for the right price, even if he did have a great wardrobe and a stylish home.   His modern counterpart, Mark Finney, also dies clutching a phone with knife in his neck, so it’s something of a theme.  They’re both unreliable, irredeemable cads, so Marlow seems to be getting in some vicarious revenge.

What Makes This Death So Deserved?

What do you mean, I'm only a metaphor?

What do you mean, I’m only a metaphor?

RF:  As mentioned, Binney is an unrepentant, untrustworthy, even sometimes cruel cad, who had no problem using and throwing away women when it suited him.   There were also more than a few hints that he was involved in some very shady, likely treasonous activities; he was only ever concerned with himself and his own interests.    Of course, his death is also rather meta, in that Marlow is symbolically killing off the more venal parts of his own personality – although it remains to be seen how permanent this is.  Even if persons unknown hadn’t killed Binney, if he existed in real life, one suspects it wouldn’t be long before someone did.

Admin: Yeah, it looks like he was maybe aiding and abetting some fleeing Nazis in order to indulge in his fondness for nice things.  That is a pretty good way to find yourself on the wrong side of a noose.  He got his just desserts in the end, but he was a lot of fun to watch while he lasted though. 🙂   And my choice is:

Mr. Hastymite
(“The December Rose“, 1986)

How Does He Die?

Rub-a-dub-dub…

Admin:  Hastymite and his Dickensian chum Lord Hobart (John Quarmby) are blown up in a row boat by a guilt ridden policeman named Inspector Creaker (Ian Hogg).  Due to the absurdity of all three of them being squashed up in the boat, it is also one of the funniest deaths…providing you have a morbid sense of humour like I do. 🙂  It was a case of “Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Bomb).”

What Makes This Death So Deserved?

Admin:  Hastymite is some sort of government minister who abuses his position horribly.  He tricks the poor policeman Inspector Creaker into killing innocent foreigners in the name of “national security” just so he and Lord Hobart can he steal their valuables. Hastymite then puts a hit on a young chimney sweep who accidentally came into possession of one of the stolen necklaces that was being used to con money from a dead Russian girl’s (one of Hastymite’s victims) father who believes her to be alive.  Well, that’s reason enough to deserve to be blown up in a boat.

Oh, he can totally come back to life!

When Creaker finds out that he is being played for a fool he lures Hastymite and his accomplice Lord Hobart into a rowboat for a nighttime rendezvous.  Once they are safely out in water, the rowboat explodes, killing all in it.

Hastymite might have looked like a particularly gorgeous vampire, but he totally deserved what he got.  Still, vampires are mighty hard to kill, so who knows if it really did the job. 😉

RF:  Oh yeah, Hastymite was a bad one, all right.  Terribly gorgeous and stylish, but a bad one.   I was a bit confused as to why he bothered to keep Hobart and Creaker around, since he seemed to be a perfectly competent villain on his own.  But maybe Lady Hobart found the contrast that much more alluring.  😉  He did indeed meet a spectacular end, but as you say, vampires are hard to kill, so he might be just biding his time.

Most Heroic Death:

Cradoc
(“Eagle of the Ninth“, 1977)

How Does He Die?

Cradoc: just your average Celtic chieftain and charioteer

Cradoc: just your average Celtic chieftain and charioteer

RF:  Cradoc, a Celtic chieftain, dies fighting the man who’d become his good friend, centurion Marcus Flavius Aquila (Anthony Higgins).  Aquila is part of the Roman force occupying Britannia, and it’s part of his duties to put down “uprisings” amongst the Caledonian tribes, one of which is Cradoc’s.   Aquila believes everything is going well with the occupation until a Druid shows up, creating unrest amongst the Celts who’ve been considered “friendly” up until this point, or at least non-threatening.  However, Cradoc’s wife, Guinhumara (Laura Graham), makes a few terse remarks to Aquila about how poor harvests have been lately, and how the Celts have been more or less forced to serve the Romans without receiving much in return, so it might not only be the Druid’s presence that’s riled them up.

What Makes This Death So Heroic?

Going to war for his people

Going to war for his people

RF:  Well, Cradoc has to know how bad the odds are; he knows the Romans better than most, and he probably has an idea of what their tactics are like.  After Aquila wins a bet with Cradoc over his (Aquila’s) ability to drive Cradoc’s chariot team, Aquila wins his choice from Cradoc’s best war spears – save one, which belonged to Cradoc’s father.  Cradoc is a man of few words, but he tries to tell Aquila, by recounting the spear’s history, that the spear has been used in war before.  The fact he’s so keen to retain it should tell Aquila that there’s more going on that he might know.  Cradoc is forced to choose between his friend and his people, and despite the long odds, he comes down on the side of leading his people in a fight for independence, which I think is pretty heroic.  Mind you, it likely isn’t intended to be, since Aqulia is the protagonist of the story.

Admin:  Indeed, Cradoc puts freedom and loyalty to his people before everything.  I loved watching him learn to respect and become friends with Aquila, but he remained true to his principles and died an honorable death. And my choice is:

John Francis
(“New Worlds“, 2013)

How Does He Die?

And Will smashes a bottle and uses it to cut John Francis' throat, thus sparing him Jeffreys' torture and making him technically not a suicide.

And Will smashes a bottle and uses it to cut John Francis’ throat, thus sparing him Jeffreys’ torture and making him technically not a suicide.

Admin:  Well, technically, it is a mercy killing.  But it is a mercy killing with a lot of build-up.  John Francis has been imprisoned on trumped-up charges accusing him of being involved in a Catholic plot to kill the King (Jeremy Northam).  Of course, he is completely innocent.  The man he had befriended, Will Blood (James McCardle), had (reluctantly) betrayed him by spying on him.   While imprisoned, John Francis opens up his heart.  He would rather die than be tortured because he genuinely fears he might betray his wife Angelica (Eve Best) and step-daughter Beth (Freya Mavor) .  He would rather commit suicide, but for a Catholic that would be an unforgivable sin.  So, Will Blood, after promising to get John’s family out of harms way, prays with him then suddenly breaks a bottle and slashes John Francis’ throat with the jagged glass.  It sounds brutal, but it was an act of compassion.

What Makes This Death So Heroic?

Will: "Shall we pray, my lord?" John Francis: "I cannot pray. God sees into my heart."

Will: “Shall we pray, my lord?”
John Francis: “I cannot pray. God sees into my heart.”

Admin:  John Francis is a heroic character.  He clings bravely to his faith despite the fact it would be much, much safer to renounce it and convert to the Church of England.  He provides shelter for those who need it regardless of politics.  He is even willing to consider suicide, an act he believes will damn his soul, in order to protect those he loves.  So, while the decision of his death is not ultimately his, it is still a heroic one.

RF:  Ooooohh, this was so sad!  John Francis had the odds stacked against him.  As you say, he tried to keep to his faith and he tried to remain strong, but Judge Jeffreys (Pip Carter) kept working on his vulnerabilities, namely, his concern for Angelica and Beth.  He was more or less being put through a form of slow, psychological torture and Jeffreys wasn’t going to stop until he got what he wanted.  In the end, John Francis took the only route available to him that he thought would ensure Angelica and Beth’s safety, so his death was heroic indeed.

RF:  And I thought of one more:

Capt. Claude Howlett
(“All the King’s Men“, 1999)

How Does He Die?

Howlett, trying to treat the wounded in the middle of battle

Howlett, trying to treat the wounded in the middle of battle

RF:  Capt. Howlett dies along with the other members of the Sandringham Company, when they suffered massive losses going into battle at Gallipoli in World War I.  Howlett was the battalion doctor and had been in battle before, during the Boer War, so he had a much better idea than most of the rest of the company what kind of circumstances they’d be facing.  The Sandringham Company is outgunned, out-supplied, and inexperienced, and essentially walks into an ambush.  Howlett knows this full well, but goes along with the company anyway.  Howlett is caught in an explosion and shoots himself rather than suffer horrific agony.

What Makes This Death So Heroic?

Trying to comfort Pvt. Dacre: "All right, lad. I'll be with you."

Trying to comfort Pvt. Dacre: “All right, lad.
I’ll be with you.”

RF:  As mentioned, Howlett is really the only one of the Sandringham Company with previous battle experience.  He knows how little following the rules and obeying orders means in the field, and he’s been trying to tell Capt. Frank Beck (David Jason) all along that nothing is going to be as easy, or as tidy, as he (Beck) thinks.  But even though he knows the company is likely doomed, Howlett tries to offer his skills and strength.  In an especially touching moment, he comforts a young soldier, Pvt. George Dacre (Danny Worters), who lied about his age to enlist because he didn’t want to be left behind.  Howlett, who started out incredibly cynical about going to war, still manages to find enough humanity and idealism in himself to try to help others – which seems pretty heroic to me.

A tragic end when he realizes he's beyond saving

A tragic end when he realizes he’s beyond saving

Admin:  His storyline is an incredible one both poignant and tragic.  Howlett goes there believing he has nothing to live for but then realizes he has a lot to live for.  The moment he comforts Dacre is a powerful one.  You see how truly compassionate he really is because he knows this is going to be a hopeless situation.  I agree he is definitely a hero.

RF:  And that’s it for Part One.  But stay tuned, there are more to come!

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