‘Sons of Anarchy’: Which Death Was the Most Tragic — Jax or Opie?

Sons of Anarchy may have featured more tragic deaths than any show in the history of television. Over the course of seven seasons, no character seemed safe from the reaper, and in the end, even the show’s main character, Jax Teller (Charlie Hunnam), got the ax. But was Jax’s death the most tragic one on Sons of Anarchy? Here is a look at all of the show’s major deaths for fans to decide.

Sons of Anarchy
The cast of ‘Sons of Anarchy’ | Don Kelsen/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Donna’s murder was the first ‘Sons of Anarchy’ tragedy

Donna’s (Sprague Grayden) death at the end of season 1 of Sons of Anarchy was pretty hard to stomach. Not only was she an unintended target of Clay’s (Ron Perlman) wrath, but her death forced Opie (Ryan Hurst) to go back to the club full-time. Not to mention that it left her children without a capable parent.


Killing Donna also sent Tig (Kim Coates) into a mental crisis that took several seasons to resolve. And when the club learned the truth about Donna’s death, it threatened to pull them apart.

Tig’s daughter

Speaking of Tig, his relationship with his daughter was very complicated. But her death in season 5 was one of the more brutal ones in the show’s history. And to make things even worse, she was an innocent bystander.

As fans will recall, Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau) was after revenge when he learned that Tig was the one who killed his daughter. In retaliation, he forced Tig to watch his daughter get burned alive.

Tig would eventually get his revenge thanks to Jax’s brilliant schemes, but the price he paid was too high.

Clay’s death

Clay’s death at the end of season 6 of Sons of Anarchy was not all that surprising. After all, this was the same man who ordered the hit on Donna, murdered Piney (William Lucking), and killed Jax’s father. But the manner in which he was dispatched was tragic.

In the episode titled “Aon Rud Persanta,” Clay’s story came to a fitting end inside a private hanger at an airport. Without missing a beat, Jax shot Clay in the head with his mom, Gemma Teller (Katey Sagal), and wife, Tara Knowles (Maggie Siff), close by.

Tara’s end shocked ‘Sons of Anarchy’ fans

Tara escaped death quite a few times until finally meeting her end in the final episode of season 6. At the time, Gemma suspected that Tara was going to rat on Jax and SAMCRO and murdered her via a carving fork to the head following a scrappy fight.

What made Tara’s death more tragic was how she and Jax had just ironed out an agreement to get her and their children out of Charming. Killing Tara also sealed Gemma’s fate and set up Jax for another disturbing confrontation.

Jax’s Vengeance

Having Jax kill his own mother is about as dark as Sons of Anarchy got over the course of its run. Fans always knew Gemma was going to meet an untimely end, especially after she killed Tara. But having Jax put her down was extra tragic.

To add another body to Jax’s kill count, Unser (Dayton Callie) did his best to play peacemaker between him and Gemma. But even Unser couldn’t stop Jax from murdering his own mom and died right alongside her.

Opie’s sacrifice

Most Sons of Anarchy fans have trouble getting over Opie’s death in season 5, mostly because nobody saw it coming. And if Opie hadn’t died, there is no telling what might have changed for Jax in later seasons.

In season 5, Opie found himself in prison alongside Jax, Tig, and Chibs (Tommy Flanagan). Once Pope ordered Jax to give up one of his members, Opie volunteered himself to make the ultimate sacrifice.

Jax’s offering in the ‘Sons of Anarchy’ finale

While the other deaths on this list are certainly tragic, it is hard to beat Jax’s ending. By the time the series finale rolled around, Jax had lost just about everything he held dear, and the only way to make things right was to give up his life.


But before he committed suicide by riding his motorcycle into a semi-truck, Jax made sure all of SAMCRO’s enemies were laid to rest. Although his death was tragic, it did serve a purpose in the end.

Fans can stream every season of Sons of Anarchy on Hulu.