9 saddest deaths in RWBY, ranked from sad to heartbreaking (and 3 most satisfying ones)

In the world of RWBY, actions have consequences, heroes are made, villains are undone, and the audience is forever kept on the edge of their seat (and with tissues nearby).
RWBY - ©2024 Rooster Teeth
RWBY - ©2024 Rooster Teeth /
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RWBY - ©2024 Rooster Teeth /

5) Hazel Rainart

Hazel Rainart's death was a moment that struck a chord with many fans, and it's not hard to see why. Hazel wasn't quite a bad guy. He was a complex character with a meaningful backstory, with his descent into darkness fueled by the tragic loss of his sister, Gretchen, a promising young student who died during a training mission at Beacon Academy. This loss shattered Hazel's world, turning him against Ozpin, the headmaster at Beacon Academy, whom he held personally responsible for her death. Hazel's pain was palpable, making him more than just a villain - he was a man driven by grief and a thirst for vengeance. His actions, though often brutal, were underscored by this sorrow, adding layers to his character that compelled us to feel sympathy for him.

His final act in the series is a self-sacrificial one, during a crucial moment in the battle against Salem inside the Monstra, her massive Grimm whale-fortress-thing. In an attempt to stop Salem and give Ruby and her friends a chance to escape, Hazel chooses to fight Salem directly. He uses his semblance, which allows him to block out pain and enhance his strength, to inject himself with raw Dust crystals, dramatically increasing his power.

Hazel's death completes his redemption arc. While taking everything Salem has done in and accepting that he wasn't being lied to by Ozpin/Oscar, Hazel begins to understand that he needs to change sides. He accepts that his sister wouldn't have wanted him to live a life consumed by hate and violence. This was a pivotal moment for him, unearthing the goodness inside Hazel that had been overshadowed by his anger and thirst for vengeance. His final act, sacrificing himself to give Oscar and his friends a chance to escape, was both heroic and heartbreaking. It was a redemption earned through self-awareness and sacrifice, making his death not just sad, but also deeply meaningful. Hazel's end was a reminder of the cost of revenge and the redemptive power of forgiveness, leaving a lasting impact on the characters who witnessed his change of heart.