Created By: Luigifan on July 6, 2012 Last Edited By: Luigifan on September 25, 2013
Nuked

I Will Haunt You To The Day You Die

The defeated villain uses his parting words to threaten and belittle the hero.

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Don't think this is the end, X! I will haunt you to the day you die...
--Vile's last words, Mega Man X 3

The Final Battle is over. The villain has lost to the hero, and they both know it. The villain might be mortally wounded, he may be backed into a corner (and/or being held at swordpoint or gunpoint), he may have just lost his good publicity, he may be getting helplessly sucked into his can... In any case, the villain has just enough time to leave the hero with a few parting words before he flees the scene or is taken to his doom. And he uses those parting words to blatantly insult the hero and promise to make him rue the day he started meddling in the villain's affairs.

This may or may not be coupled with an immediate Taking You with Me attempt, but either way, the effect is the same; not only is the villain unrepentant, he's making his hatred for the hero painfully clear, and he is going to do everything in his power to make the hero feel that pain -- even if he has to do it from within prison (or a can) or from beyond the grave. Whether or not the villain can actually carry out the threat is irrelevant, but it loses some impact if the villain really can't do anything to mess with the hero after his defeat. The trope is a lot more effective if the villain has minions who can carry his work out for him, or if he has some way to return to actively pester the hero.

This is related to Defiant to the End. Compare... well... quite a few of the Revenge Tropes, particularly Avenging the Villain, Best Served Cold, It's Personal, and This Means War!. See also Irrational Hatred and As Long as There Is Evil. As previously mentioned, this trope readily overlaps with Taking You with Me, where the villain tries to carry out his parting threat immediately. A villain who's going to pull this is also probably vicious enough to readily commit Revenge by Proxy, and Sins of Our Fathers may very well be invoked if the villain's return happens after the hero who originally bested him has already lived out the remainder of his days. This trope also naturally works hand-in-hand with the Paranoia Gambit. Contrast Villain's Dying Grace, where the villain actually helps the hero in his final moments.

This can (but does not strictly have to) be a Death Trope.

  • The Trope Namer comes from Mega Man X 3. When Vile dies -- either by being beaten in his secret lab using a weapon he's weak to, or by being defeated, period, in Dr. Doppler's fortress -- he takes his loss rather... poorly, providing the page quote as the capper to his dying speech. If he was beaten in his secret lab, he reveals that he rigged it with explosives, making it also a case of Taking You with Me as X has to reach the exit within a minute to avoid being blown to smithereens. However, Vile blows up the lab regardless of whether or not he dies in the lab fight. Vile eventually does return, too, but not until Mega Man X 8; while Vile does acknowledge that it's been a while since he and X last met, and that they're definitely going to clash again, nobody (not even Vile) specifically refers to the events of Mega Man X 3 in that game.
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • July 6, 2012
    NimmerStill
    Does it have to be a (true) villain? I could swear I've seen some Yandere examples as well, though I can't think of any off the top of my head.
  • July 6, 2012
    Luigifan
    ^I'd say that this trope has to imply one character's outright hatred of another. There's no reason why it couldn't be used by a Hero Antagonist, Well Intentioned Extremist, Knight Templar, or other "well-intentioned" antagonistic character, but if a character uses this trope, it probably means that they're evil through and through. It could also be used by a Villain Protagonist, but it'll usually be the antagonist using this trope. All in all, Yandere characters don't really fit in with the idea of this trope.
  • July 6, 2012
    NimmerStill
    ^If you say so; I don't see why haunting requires hatred. Many cases of haunting in fiction are about love or obsession, not hatred.
  • July 6, 2012
    surgoshan
    The title's awfully long and, as a dialog title, would be forbidden. Perhaps Threatened With Haunting.

    • I believe that Lily threatens Ted with haunting on How I Met Your Mother if he doesn't do something she wants him to.
  • July 10, 2012
    Luigifan
    The villain has to make some sort of post-defeat threat for this trope to work. Ideally, the threat is to carry out some sort of revenge from within prison or from beyond the grave. I should also mention that the trope isn't necessarily about literally haunting someone, as in a ghost causing trouble; I'm just using Vile's wording, and I think that when Vile says he'll "haunt" X, he may be lampshading that he's pulling a Paranoia Gambit.
  • July 10, 2012
    Luigifan
    Video Game
    • The Legend Of Zelda Skyward Sword: The final boss of the game, Demise, declares that the spirit of his hatred will follow Link and Zelda's descendants for eternity, just before he is sealed into the Master Sword. This spirit of hatred, of course, manifests itself within the Big Bad of the whole series, Ganondorf.

    Film - Animation
    • Tintin: Just as Red Rackham is left to die inside a burning, sinking ship, he places a curse on Sir Francis Haddock, saying that one day their descendants will meet again, and that time Red Rackham will get his revenge.
  • July 10, 2012
    Luigifan
    Inversion in the Lord of the Rings. Saruman uses his last words to tell Frodo that he will have neither long life nor happiness, but adds that he's not cursing him, just stating a fact.
  • July 16, 2012
    Luigifan
    I just read the article for Defiant To The End, and it's clear to me that this trope is related. It's either a Sub Trope or a Sister Trope, but I can't decide which. The main difference seems to be that Defiant To The End is more about insulting one's adversary in one's last moments, while I Will Haunt You To The Day You Die is about threatening them.

    Also, while I Will Haunt You To The Day You Die is a villain-specific relative of Defiant To The End, it isn't related to Villainous Valor; I Will Haunt You To The Day You Die makes it clear that the villain's an unrepentant jerkass, while Villainous Valor tends to bring out the villain's positive Hidden Depths.
  • July 16, 2012
    FastEddie
    This needs, at minimum, a name that does not sound like a line of dialog. Can't be launched with one, in fact.

    To be real clear: We don't not want articles about specific lines of dialog.
  • July 16, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    Villian Defeat Gloat?

    • In Hook, when Peter decides to leave after he's won, Hook says that he will go after every generation of his family unless Peter fights to the end.
  • September 13, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    BOOOOOMP, Seen It A Million Times. Trope Namer Syndrome, this is a stock phrase. seems to be an actual trope since it can be literally done.
  • September 13, 2013
    Generality
    This sounds like Dying Curse.
  • September 14, 2013
    DAN004
    Dying Curse, yeah. :/
  • September 14, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    this is a dying curse alright. but, is the idea of

    "a character, vowing to haunt someone/return as a ghost for revenge and actually does it"

    tropeable/distinct enough from Dying Curse?
  • September 14, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ Then the laconic should change. See, you're confused by the title. So it's a bad Trope Namer.

    From the description
    Whether or not the villain can actually carry out the threat is irrelevant, but it loses some impact if the villain really can't do anything to mess with the hero after his defeat. The trope is a lot more effective if the villain has minions who can carry his work out for him, or if he has some way to return to actively pester the hero.

    I don't just think it's "a lot more effective", I think, for this one to be tropable, it has to be a requirement. Think of a "karmic retribution" for the hero.
  • September 15, 2013
    MetaFour
    This overlaps quite a bit with We Will Meet Again.
  • September 15, 2013
    dalek955
    Actually, I think this just plain is We Will Meet Again.
  • September 16, 2013
    DAN004
    ^ But that trope implies that the villain doesn't die. Here, the villain does. :P
  • September 16, 2013
    FastEddie
    Dialog-like name, already covered.

  • September 25, 2013
    Paktra
    • Taken literally in the case of Sniper Wolf from Metal Gear Solid.
    "Sniper Wolf was capable of waiting for her targets for days, even weeks, without moving or even eating. She typically formed an emotional connection with her targets before killing them..." from Metal Gear Wikia.
    • Parodied in The Last Days Of Foxhound Stating the closest she really ever came to falling in love with a man (outside of Big Boss), is the compulsive, obsessive stalking of her targets before killing them, literally, the next day! Making it more like, "I Will Haunt You For The Next 24 Hours Until You Die!"
    First from Issue #20, and recalled in issue #124.
    • And that's only for Sniper Wolf! We haven't even started on the ninjas, evil twins, mad bombers, psychic serial killers, aka everyone else that I don't feel like looking up.

    Perhaps this goes under another, related trope but whatever, I just read the OP after I had already researched my case. X-l
    • In retrospect, "The Sorrow" from MGS3 in the literal sense. He, bear with me now, is already undead before you meet him, his spirit secretly stalks you throughout the game, he forces you to fight the restless spirits of everyone you've ever killed while you're trapped wandering the endless river of the dead until you "kill yourself" to "wake up" from your "dream".
      • Inverted by the fact that ALL of this was to help you complete your mission and avenge his death, in a way.
    • Also interesting to note, before he died (the first time), The Sorrow told his lover/mother of his child(who killed him), "the spirit of the warrior will always be with you."
      • Whether that means that his spirit will protect her (which he somewhat does), will stalk her body and haunt her memories (which he definitely does), or that he will "help" her in the future is up for interpretation.
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