Saved By The Slain YKTTW Discussion

Saved By The Slain
When a character is protected at a crucial moment by the spirits of those who have been killed by the enemy.
(permanent link) added: 2012-03-31 21:37:07 sponsor: TheFarnell (last reply: 2012-04-04 11:28:05)

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This is it. The final confrontation between the protagonist and the Big Bag is at hand, and things are not looking good for the protagonist. Perhaps he's pinned down, he's locked swords and can't hold on, or he's speeding down the trench with The Dragon on his tail. In any case, this is the crucial moment where the Hero's strength is about to fail.

All of a sudden, however, the Hero gets some unexpected help. For whatever reason, be it an Evil Weapon releasing the souls of those it claimed, the intense magical power of killed mentors, or the battle awakening some ancient magic, or a simple hallucination, the spirits of the hero's slain mentors and friends appear and provide some much needed assistance to the hero at a crucial moment. This can range from simple moral support to killing the Big Bad themselves. Either way, as soon as the Hero's mission is accomplished or his enemies are killed, they disappear, never to be seen again.

Related to Thanatos Gambit.

Spoilers aplenty.


  • During the final battle against the Lich King in World of Warcraft, he effortlessly kills your entire raid in order to turn all players into his next generation of Elite Mooks. You are saved when the souls of all the Lich King's previous victims (conveniently stored in the Lich King's Evil Weapon) make an appearance, resurrect your raid, and hold him in place while you deliver the final beatdown.

  • Happens in Star Wars A New Hope, when Obi-Wan's spirit (having previously been slain by Darth Vader) whispers to Luke to turn off his targeting computer and trust The Force in order to make the critical one-in-a-million shot that blows up the Death Star.
  • Harry Potter is saved from his first duel with Lord Voldemort when the spirits of his mother, father, Cedric Diggory, and others killed by Voldemort provide a few moments of distraction for Harry to teleport out.
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