So it’s over. We’ve come to the end of Andrew Davies’ excellent BBC adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace — and it’s been a glorious, emotional journey. But the sixth episode was something else. Full of joy and tragedy, we’re still recovering from it now. So here are the 14 most tear-jerking moments…
1) When Natasha’s father died
But he was the good dad of the story! With his colourful hat and kind smile, why did he have to go? We had a bad feeling about his future as soon as he looked a bit peaky. When Natasha kissed him goodbye at the funeral and burst into tears, our vision went all blurry…
2) When a prisoner shared his last piece of food with Pierre
The old man’s kindness was just too much for us to cope with. And the way he shared his last morsel with Pierre and taught him how to make the best of their miserable existence…*runs off for a tissue*.
3) When Pierre held the dog
The dishevelled, starving Pierre took care of that bundle of joy on the torturous walk across Russia. Is there anything more emotional than humans connecting with animals in times of hardship?
4) When the elderly man was shot and the dog stayed by his side
That yelp, as he saw his beloved master killed for being too weak…
5) When Andrei and Natasha forgave each other
The moment they realised that her infidelity and his spurning her didn’t matter anymore, because they loved each other. They were back in each other’s lives and had a future together! Tears of joy all around. Or so we thought…
6) Andrei giving his son the token around his neck
Because it was all too late. Andrei was on his way out of this world, and his soon-to-be-orphaned son stood by staring at him with a blank look, as if he didn’t really understand what was about to happen. When Andrei asked his sister Maria to take the token from around his neck and hand it over to the little boy, we lost all control of our emotions.
7) When Andrei died. After all that.
Seriously, Tolstoy? WHY???????
8) When Natasha’s mother found out her son had been killed
Her terrible cries of grief about her little boy were so, so, SO sad
9) When Pierre and Dolokhov hugged on the battlefield
As the pair encountered each other on the battlefield, it was clear that war had stripped away all their anger. The look of hope in Pierre’s eyes as he hugged him and said “my friend, my friend” was heart-achingly profound. It also made us want to text everyone we’ve ever argued with to say, “it’s all cool, guys.”
10) Maria finally getting the man she’d waited so long for
Yes, we felt very, very sorry for Sonja, but Maria had had a seriously rubbish time of it in life, so this seemed like some sort of justice for her. And it was such a lovely moment when they got together. And she was such a good person, it couldn’t have happened to a nicer soul. Three cheers for the underdog!
11) Prince Kuragin desolate at the loss of his children
He was a sly gold-digger throughout most of the series, but his look of grief and confusion as he told Pierre both his children had been taken from him was truly tragic.
12) When Natasha and Pierre finally admitted they loved each other
Oh, the moment we’d all been waiting for but — those of us who haven’t read the epic novel — didn’t dare hope for. This certainly made Andrei’s death a little more bearable…
Pierre got the only woman he’d ever truly loved, despite not thinking himself worthy of her, and it floored us. Is this in the top 10 most romantic moments of all period dramas ever?
13) Sonya saying she’s used to being selfless and stepping aside
This really tugged our heartstrings to breaking point. The lovely Sonya, who had committed herself to Nikolai despite knowing he might not actually marry her, released him from his engagement to her. In what might be the most altruistic act ever, she told him to follow his heart and marry Maria. And then she had to sit there by herself at the end, while everyone else was happily coupled off and frolicking in the garden.
14) Natasha and Pierre in the future with their children
This scene pushed us over the emotional edge. Natasha and Pierre married! With babies! In the garden! Together! With all their family and friends! Looking blissfully happy! The relief of it all was so overwhelming.
Now pass us some Russian vodka to calm our shattered nerves.