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The Order of the Stick might be the only comic in existence that can have some hilarious meta/Fourth Wall jokes (and a couple of Lampshadings) and then successfully pull off a heart-wrenching death scene in the same page.

Note: Please keep the examples sorted in chronological order, as to avoid repeats.


 Lirian: Dory? Dory, is that you?

Dorukan: Yes, my love. I've failed. It looks as if I am to share your prison forever now...

Lirian: No, no... not a prison anymore. (they embrace)

  • The climax of Start of Darkness, particularly Right-Eye's last words. "Goodbye, Brother." "Goodbye... Redcloak." Major Downer Ending.
    • Especially since he called him Brother or Big Brother throughout Start of Darkness. Until he lies dying as a result of his betrayal. Then it's just "Redcloak".
    • Also because throughout the story, Right-Eye criticizes Redcloak not correcting Xykon on his name, since he considered the nickname to be a demeaning sign of domination.
  • Lampshaded in #84 — although it doesn't show on the page, the title of the comic is: "Saddest. Comic. Ever."
  • For me it was always this one. Haley putting on her mask to the world...
  • Internal Dialogue:

 Haley: But I'm a rogue...

Haley: ...Hiding is my best skill.

    • Also here, with Haley battling with her own sense of self loathing as the countdown comes for Southern Continent New Year, debating whether to risk kissing Elan, and by the time she hesitantly reaches out to him, some random Azurite has already grabbed him. The last line of the strip is in her (at the time) custom cryptogram, but says, "happy new year."
  • This comic. Poor Durkon.
  • This does it for me. And then later this. D'Awww. It makes me a little misty every time.

 Elan: My Evil Twin brother is going to kill my-- my Haley! And she's all unsuspecting and defenseless and, and, and Haleyish!

  • Haley having to helplessly watch as Nale convinces Elan that she is evil. Well, until she gets her voice back, that is.
  • Played straight in #443.
    • As strange as it may seem, the line "Wait-- why do I feel like we were supposed to be somewhere?" in the last panel of #444 always makes this troper's eyes water up.
  • Three Words: "Oh Buddy Roy". Appropriately set to one of the most heartbreaking folk songs in human history.
    • "Oh Buddy Roy" is even more tear jerking if you read it while listening to this video. Read along with the flute that starts out at about 1:18. It's heartbreaking.
    • One of the forumites is an operatic tenor, and he recorded a rendition of the song which he posted on the site. It was gorgeous.
    • Here's a rendition.
  • Miko Miyazaki's last moments. Notably, out of the nearly 800 strips that exist as of this writing, this is the only one that doesn't have any jokes in it.
  • It was always Roy meeting his younger brother, who'd died very young, and playing blocks with him that did it for me.

 Eric: hi Roy! Wanna play blocks with me?

 Roy: (a tear running down his face) More than anything.

    • This troper doesn't usually get emotional about much, but I swear, that comic does it for me every time.
    • As the much-older sibling of a child who died around the same age as Eric, it just gets worse.
  • At first, this strip just looks like a gag involving Roy being frustrated as he tries to communicate with Haley. But then you think about it, and about how normal she treats the whole scenario, and you realize that for months, she's been fighting and struggling on her own, and keeping herself going by talking to all that remains of her former leader and friend, because she cares about him that much, misses him that much, and needs him that badly. It's kind of sweet and kind of horribly sad.
  • "Sweet Dreams, Monster-san." I am NOT crying over stick figures, it's just something in my eye, really...
  • "... I'll take my chances that the afterlife... won't have any punishment worse... than not being with you...."
    • #598. Elan's speech to Therkla. I felt like crying when I saw her tombstone. Therkla's Headstone: Here lies Therkla ???-1184 She would have made a pretty cool girlfriend, too.
    • And later, what Elan did in response.
  • Vaarsuvius keeping the soul splice and leaving his/her family behind to try and fix everything else.
  • O-Chul's final conversation with the Monster in the Darkness.
    • And O-Chul's escape from Xykon's prison, and MITD's reaction, finally calling him by his name.

 O-Chul: You may not know exactly what you are, but I do.

MITD: You do? Really? Then what am I?

O-Chul: A good man. Farewell, my gentle friend.

MITD: Wait, Mr. Stiffly! Come back! Mr. Stiffly! MR. STIFFLY! O-CHUL!

  • When O-Chul escapes, he takes out Redcloak's right eye. As punishment for his failure, Xykon forbids him from using Regenerate to restore his eye. So now he's got an eyepatch over his right eye and one working, left eye. In one comic, just before he gives a big speech, he is seen looking in a mirror. His reflection shows his face reversed, so he sees Right-Eye. His brother. And it dawns on you that that's who he'll see every time he looks at his own reflection. He just stands there looking at the mirror for a panel or two, and says, simply, "It'll all be worth it. You'll see."
  • Elan's one-two revelation that his father is not only evil, but also highly savvy.
    • Even worse, he's taking the rules of drama that Elan loves so much and twisting them to the evilest applications imaginable. The worst part is his last line, "we're going to tell the best story EVER!"
      • Because, going by the rules, it's 100% true.
  • Haley's reunion with her father Ian starts well, but then descends into letting his trust issues split them into separate ways.
    • Also, the death scene of Haley's mother that started the guilt complex of her father in failing to save an important life.
    • The last 3 panels of this page. No other comment necessary.

 "No, Dad. I didn't mean what I said. You raised me well."

    • The potion only works on lies.
  • What the hell is wrong with you, you stupid oaf? You moron! Kill me already!" Even Roy admits how wrong the scene is... and then Tarquin ends it.
    • "Enor...don't you see? It has to be you. It has to be. You have the Victory String." Remember that 6 strips prior to this, Gannji had given him the very same string so Enor would have the bravery to face his opponent. Little did either of them know that they would face each other.
    • And a little while later, it's revealed that even Belkar, the Order's Token Evil Teammate, was affected by it. Specifically, he released the arena's previously-featured dinosaur to disrupt the fight (which allowed Enor and Gannji to escape) because he heard Roy say that watching the two fight was like watching someone be forced to duel his own puppy. Cue Belkar's point of view, where he sees Enor's face replaced by Mr. Scruffy's head and his own head replacing Gannji's.
  • Thanh and Niu during the fall of the Resistance.

 Niu: ... You're the bravest man I've ever met.

Thanh: And you're the slowest woman. Run!


  "No! Stop! You don't have to do this, little ones! He just wants you to think you have to! You can- AAAGH!!- You can fight back! Resist! No! NO!! Don't you- AAAGH!!- Don't you understand? I love you all! I love you! Why don't... you love..... me?"

    • Then a couple of comics later when Xykon's rounding up Team Evil to go after the next Gate he casually asks where "what's her name, the chick with the pig tails" is. No matter how colossally misguided it was, she did love him, and it's a little heart-wrenching to realize how little he thought of her.
    • And when the rest of Team Evil finds out what happened to her, the only one actually upset about it is the Monster in the Darkness. When one of the Demon Roaches asks him why he's upset, he explains how sad it is that Tsukiko really just wanted to be loved.

 Demon Roach: So what? Who cares?

MitD: Exactly. That's why I'm sad.

      • It's also possibly a bit of the You Bastard to people who disliked her "thinks she's in a romance novel" character.
  • The consequences of the Familicide spell Dark Vaarsuvius used finally catch up with the Order: "The propensity of both dragons and humans to breed outside their species is well documented." the entire Draketooth family was related to a Black Dragon. Which will now prevent the Order of the Stick from directly finding the Gate. Even worse than that, Familicide did not only kill the Draketooths. It killed anyone that was related to them by blood. And the Draketooths happened to be scoundrels who propagated by seducing random bystanders and absconding with the resulting children. All those bystanders are now dead - along with every living member of their families! And there is no reason to believe that they're an isolated case. What really sells it is V's expression. The Order may forgive him or her, but s/he never will.
    • And throughout V's explanation of why Familicide was so awful, we see a montage of several bystanders and their families being slain by it.
    • When's the last time we ever saw V cry? Not when him or her mate was threatened, not when s/he was served divorce papers, not when s/he saw his or her children's legs broken, house burned down and mate crucified on a tree. This hit him or her hard.
    • What got me? If Elan's dad had had a child with wife #9, Elan would have shared blood, however indirectly, with the Black Dragons...