Robin Hood, the legendary robber of the rich and giver-to of the poor, has been the star of so many books and movies that he's essentially his own genre. After all of his adventures, you'd probably expect Robin Hood to gently die in his sleep, in bed next to an elderly Maid Marian, having finally stolen everything there is to steal from the wealthy and paradoxically turning them into the poor (thus starting the whole cycle anew). Or, if a happy ending is simply out of the question, at the very least you'd think he'd be killed by the Sheriff of Nottingham or some other adversary who finally tracks him down and gets the best of him. As it turns out, neither of those things are correct. Robin Hood is killed by a nun during a routine medical checkup.
Walter Crane via Classics Illustrated
"Doctor, nun -- close enough."
In the story, Robin Hood is going in to get himself bled, a medical procedure wherein ancient people cured themselves of various ailments by having their blood drained from their bodies. It's fallen out of use since doctors realized it's fucking crazy, but at the time it was roughly the same as getting a flu shot. Anyway, Robin visits a local prioress to get his bleeding done, but the prioress is secretly evil (either that or she recently watched Robin Hood starring Russell Crowe and took it upon herself to destroy any future Robin Hood "reimaginings" before they could happen). She intentionally cuts Robin too deep, then slaps a shitty bandage on him and locks him in a room to bleed to death, which he does.
That's an anticlimactic way to die if you're a bike messenger, so for a legendary hero like Robin Hood, it's impossibly sad and pointless. The story must have seemed a little lame even centuries ago, so another writer came in and tried to fix it by adding a passage in which a dying Robin Hood fires an arrow into the sky, instructing his friends to bury him wherever it lands. However, rather than adding a romantic epilogue to the life of a famous hero, all this means is that on top of getting bled to death by an evil nurse, Robin Hood is presumably buried in some random guy's backyard.
"Hey Rob, you sure you don't want us to just put some pressure on the wound?"
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It turns out more fictional characters have bit the bullet than you realize. For proof, just check out 6 Movie Characters You Didn't Know Died Horrible Deaths. And then check out how some characters probably bit the dust in The Off-Screen Deaths Of 26 Famous Fictional Characters.
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