Created By: coldacid on August 3, 2009
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Kill The Ones You Love

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Do We Have This? It seems obvious enough (to me) but no amount of searching has turned it up.

Sometimes, a character you care for is going to die. Rather than killed off by the bad guys or some cosmic whim, though, the murderer is another character who cares very much for the deceased. Perhaps your little sis has become a Tragic Monster, or maybe you have to Fight Your Friend to the death. Occasionally it's a case of Shoot the Dog or Mercy Kill. In any case, the characters know each other, as well as their relationship to each other. And the killer knows that the other has to die for anything to be resolved.

In video games, this is invariably a Player Punch. This trope usually doesn't villainize the killer, since the now-dead character generally has to be killed to right wrongs, or at least keep the story going. Doesn't stop him or her from feeling like crap afterwards, though.

Needs a Better Description I'll admit.

Obviously, this is a death trope, usual disclaimers apply, yadda yadda yadda.
Examples:

  • Baldr Force EXE: Tohru has to kill Ren to keep her from destroying everything in the Wired.
  • In House, Wilson does this when he turns off Amber's life support. For everybody else, though, it was Alas, Poor Scrappy.
  • Million Dollar Baby.
  • The end of Old Yeller.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji killing his only friend Kaworu, in order to save humanity.
    • And Kaworu actually smiles when he tells Shinji he has to die...
  • Bethany has to kill the old man God is inhabiting to stop the Apocalypse in Dogma.
  • In Torchwood: Children of Earth, Jack has to sacrifice his grandson.
  • Averted by Abraham & Isaac in The Bible.
    • However, aren't there any cases in ancient religion where someone had to sacrifice their firstborn and actually went through with it? This could be Older Than Dirt.
    • Another Biblical example: someone else can fill in the details, but a king promised he would sacrifice the first thing he saw when he got back home if God would grant him victory in a battle. He won and he got home, expecting his dog to run out the door and greet him...it was his daughter instead.
      • Filling in the details here: It was Jephthah who made the vow, and he was a Judge (this was before the establishment of the monarchy) and the text is actually ambiguous (probably intentionally) about whether he went through with it, since the law forbade human sacrifice. The Aesop of the story was supposed to be about not using vows as a bargaining tool.
  • Averted in Serenity: "bullet in the brainpan squish". Just enough to scare the audience into thinking that was the planned ending. It is easy to imagine the writer pulling that one.
  • In John Woo's The Killer, the title character has to put a bullet to Sidney, his best friend, in an I Cannot Self-Terminate moment, after he went through serious hell to get the money the Killer needs to have Jenny's eyes fixed to him and got shot by the bad guys.
  • In Outlander, Jamie has to kill his godfather, Murtagh, after he's grievously wounded at the battle of Culloden.
  • Subverted in the ending of Pan's Labyrinth.
  • Double Subverted in Kill Bill. At first, all we see of The Bride is her Roaring Rampage of Revenge against Bill, her ex-lover, but after she kills him, she breaks down sobbing for several moments.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3 has a huge one in the form of a Player Punch. The player, as Naked Snake, is actually forced to press the button and shoot The Boss while she's down. Let's just say that any player who's human felt as depressed as Snake doing that.
  • Code Geass: Lelouch (as Zero) is forced to shoot Euphie after she got geassed into going on a rampage. Just as he does it, he mentally bids her farewell, and even thinks to himself that she was his first love. He's later shown angsting over it.
    • And then there's the finale, where Suzaku, disguised as Zero, stabs Lelouch. He's shown crying while doing it.
Community Feedback Replies: 27
  • July 28, 2009
    thedreadednyondo
    In House, Wilson does this when he turns off Amber's life support. For everybody else, though, it was Alas Poor Scrappy.
  • July 28, 2009
    thedreadednyondo
    Million Dollar Baby.
  • July 28, 2009
    coldacid
    The end of Old Yeller.
  • July 28, 2009
    coldacid
    Neon Genesis Evangelion: Shinji killing his only friend Kaworu, in order to save humanity.
  • July 28, 2009
    jketchum 31
    Bethany has to kill the old man God is inhabiting to stop the Apocalypse in Dogma.
  • July 28, 2009
    Lee M
    And Kaworu actually smiles when he tells Shinji he has to die...
  • July 28, 2009
    Pinata
    In Torchwood: Children of Earth, Jack has to sacrifice his grandson.
  • July 28, 2009
    random surfer
    Averted by Abraham & Isaac in The Bible.
  • July 28, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Averted in Serenity: "bullet in the brainpan squish". Just enough to scare the audience into thinking that was the planned ending. It is easy to imagine the writer pulling that one.
  • July 28, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    In John Woo's The Killer, the title character has to put a bullet to Sidney, his best friend, in an I Cannot Self Terminate moment, after he went through serious hell to get the money the Killer needs to have Jenny's eyes fixed to him and got shot by the bad guys.
  • July 28, 2009
    Tomtitan
    Can this extend to unintentional examples? If so Herakles killed his family in a fit of rage induced by his spiteful stepmum Hera. Bowdlerise that, Disney!

    Oh, and Older Than Dirt blah blah blah.
  • July 28, 2009
    marjojo
    In Outlander, Jamie has to kill his godfather, Murtagh, after he's grievously wounded at the battle of Culloden.
  • July 28, 2009
    Kayube
    If the person being killed fights back, either because they really don't want to die or because the killing only helps if it's a fair fight, results in Fighting Your Friend.
  • July 29, 2009
    NigeriaLisa
    Kind of happens in Harry Potter when Snape ends up having to kill Dumbledore. It later becomes obvious that he didn't hate the latter, but was rather doing it on orders... given by the man himself.
  • July 29, 2009
    JenBurdoo
    Subverted in the ending of Pan's Labyrinth.
  • July 29, 2009
    coldacid
    Tomtitan: I'd argue that unintentional cases aren't really examples of this trope. In fact, in the case of Herakles, weren't the missions he went on supposed to be penance for the brutal murder of his family?

    Nigeria Lisa: I dunno... Throughout the series, Snape is shown as a villain, albeit a mild one, and it's only in the last book that his character really feels redeemed. Besides, the relationship between them wasn't close, certainly not the same level as all these other examples.
  • July 29, 2009
    Acgla
    Isn't this Shoot the dog or Mercy Kill?
  • July 29, 2009
    Ryusui
    With the additional twist that the dog being shot in this case is a loved one.

    Another Biblical example: someone else can fill in the details, but a king promised he would sacrifice the first thing he saw when he got back home if God would grant him victory in a battle. He won and he got home, expecting his dog to run out the door and greet him...it was his daughter instead.
  • July 29, 2009
    coldacid
    Acgla: Sometimes they're *this*. Well, sometimes Shoot The Dog is. Mercy Kill doesn't generally right any wrongs, it's just putting someone out of their misery.
  • July 30, 2009
    Ganondorfdude11
    Filling in the details here: It was Jephthah who made the vow, and he was a Judge (this was before the establishment of the monarchy) and the text is actually ambiguous (probably intentionally) about whether he went through with it, since the law forbade human sacrifice. The Aesop of the story was supposed to be about not using vows as a bargaining tool.
  • July 30, 2009
    Kazyan1
    Played with in Portal. You're not killing a character in the technical sense...but it feels like it.
  • July 30, 2009
    dotchan
  • July 30, 2009
    Seikai
    Metal Gear Solid 3 has a huge one in the form of a Player Punch. The player, as Naked Snake, is actually forced to press the button and shoot The Boss while she's down. Let's just say that any player who's human felt as depressed as Snake doing that.
  • July 30, 2009
    Seikai
    • Code Geass: Lelouch (as Zero) is forced to shoot Euphie after she got geassed into going on a rampage. Just as he does it, he mentally bids her farewell, and even thinks to himself that she was his first love. He's later shown angsting over it.
      • And then there's the finale, where Suzaku, disguised as Zero, stabs Lelouch. He's shown crying while doing it.
  • July 30, 2009
    coldacid
    Kazyan1: You're talking about destroying Gla DOS? Perhaps it's because Chell never says anything, but I never got the feeling that she ever felt all that close to Gla DOS. This trope is where the character feels sad, not the player.
  • July 31, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    Well, a Mercy Kill is given to spare pain for the person getting killed. This can be for the sake of another. For instance, "Bullet in the brainpan, squish" reflected suicidal tendancies-but it also reflected that she accepted that she might become an intolerable threat(I interpret that as in part a preemptory Mercy Kill of her brother's feelings, just in case).
  • July 31, 2009
    Unknown Troper
    This is quite launchable.
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