Created By: ayjazz on November 29, 2012 Last Edited By: HeroGal2347 on September 26, 2015

Rescued For Convenience

A character\'s life is spared, because their death would be inconvenient rather than tragic.

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Trope
Bob and Ted are best friends and tough, battle hardened soldiers. During a fray, Bob saves Ted's life in some fashion. Bob shrugs off his action saying that if Ted died, he would have to carry all of the supplies himself, not to mention a lot of paperwork back at base. Simply, his death would be inconvenient to him.

This is not to say that Bob saved his life simply out of pragmatism. Bob probably cares very much about Ted, however, in order to have a macho facade, he'll just shrug it off with this.

Other times, the trope is played completely straight, and Bob only saved Ted's life because he didn't want to carry all of the supplies himself, and go through a mountain of paperwork.

Compare to Can't Kill You, Still Need You.

Examples

Film

Literature
  • In John C. Wright's The Phoenix Exultant, Atkins comments that since Phaethon and Daphne survived, he gets to file a report of no civilian casualties.
  • Harry Potter. During an interrogation, Goyle is holding Neville in a very tight chokehold, suffocating him. Snape calmly tells him to loosen his grip, as if Neville dies, Snape will be stuck with a lot of paperwork and will be forced to mention his death to any future employer.

Video Games
  • Deus Ex: Human Revolution. Pritchard tells Adam to be careful towards the end of the game, showing that he has finally warmed up to Adam. When Adam jokingly points out how he cares now, Pritchard tries to cover his ass by saying he wants him alive simply because his death would be bad for the company.
  • Modern Warfare. One level has Griggs taken hostage by enemy troops. When you save him, he jokingly says that he believed that your squad had decided to leave him. Price mentions that he considered it, but saved him because his "arse had all the C4."
  • In Freelancer, as Trent and the other survivors of the Freeport 7 disaster arrive on Manhattan, a medical crew carry one of the survivors, Sam Lonnigan, out of the transport on a stretcher:
Trent: Make sure he lives! He owes me a million credits.
Medic: Your concern is touching. We'll do what we can.
  • At one point in Neverwinter Nights 2, you have to fight a powerful devil who bears a grudge against one of your companions. When the companion asks why you did it, you have the option of telling him that you only care about keeping him alive because he knows part of a ritual you'll eventually need to defeat the King of Shadows. The companion, one of your Token Evil Teammates, compliments you on your pragmatic attitude.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • An episode of Buzz Lightyear of Star Command has Darkmatter abandon Buzz to a group of Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who are trying to decide who to side with. Darkmatter comes back for Buzz, but reveals it was only because he needed someone to pilot the escape craft.
  • In DuckTales, "Magica's Shadow War", Scrooge saves Magica from her Living Shadow not because of any liking for her but because of the electrical bill if her shadow keeps running loose.

Real Life
  • One of the more recent arguments against the death penalty, at least in the United States, is that it's more expensive than life imprisonment.

Community Feedback Replies: 44
  • November 29, 2012
    Astaroth
    The character in the Harry Potter example is Goyle IIRC

    • In Freelancer, as Trent and the other survivors of the Freeport 7 disaster arrive on Manhattan, a medical crew carry one of the survivors, Sam Lonnigan, out of the transport on a stretcher:
    Trent: Make sure he lives! He owes me a million credits.
    Medic: Your concern is touching. We'll do what we can.

    • At one point in Neverwinter Nights 2, you have to fight a powerful devil who bears a grudge against one of your companions. When the companion asks why you did it, you have the option of telling him that you only care about keeping him alive because he knows part of a ritual you'll eventually need to defeat the King of Shadows. The companion, one of your Token Evil Teammates, compliments you on your pragmatic attitude.
  • November 29, 2012
    JusticeReaper
    The description sounds like a non-enemy variant of Cant Kill You Still Need You, to me.
  • November 29, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    Whenever a cop says something like "I don't want to kill you, the paperwork would be a bitch"--something I've heard in a few movies but can't remember specifics.
  • November 29, 2012
    StarSword
    Title suggestion to get around the No New Stock Phrases rule: Rescued For Convenience.
  • November 30, 2012
    captainpat
    You should rewrite the description without the hypothetical example. Example As A Thesis. You don't need as hypothetical example for a description when you have an example section right below it.
  • November 30, 2012
    ayjazz
    @captainpat Yeah, I plan to do that, it's just there until we got more examples.
  • November 30, 2012
    elwoz
    Did that HP example actually happen in one of the novels? It reads more like something that would happen in HP fanfic to me. (It's been a long time since I read the books, though.)
  • November 30, 2012
    ayjazz
    It did. Fifth book, it's when Dumbledore's Army gets busted since one of the students ended up turning them in.
  • December 1, 2012
    Astaroth
    In The Order Of The Stick, Belkar's reason for helping to Order rescue Elan from the bandits who kidnapped him is "If anyone is going to earn XP from him, it's going to be me. Plus, he makes me laugh."
  • December 2, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    This seems extremely similar to Cant Kill You Still Need You. Prefer that description was massaged a bit so these examples fit, instead of making a new page.
  • December 2, 2012
    Goldfritha
  • December 2, 2012
    Goldfritha
    Also a subtrope of Think Nothing Of It.
  • December 2, 2012
    ayjazz
    What separates this from Cant Kill You Still Need You is that the character who saved another life or is commenting on how it is good the other person survived, or why they should survive is that they aren't trying to kill them (usually)
  • December 2, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    I didn't say "it's the same please explain what separates it". It is very similar. They can be lumped together.
  • December 3, 2012
    ayjazz
    It seems to me that Cant Kill You Still Need you is when a character won't kill another because the other is still useful for them (they have information that is needed, they have an "in" with people that are useful to the other character, etc.)

    This trope should probably be renamed again, and the definition redone, but this trope is when another saves another person's life, or hopes for another person to survive not because their death would be tragic, or they care about them, but because their death would just be inconvenient. Here, there doesn't have to murder involved, whereas in Cant Kill You Still Need You, there can be.
  • December 3, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    Yes they are different. Nobody has said they're exactly the same.

    The question is: Are they different enough to have two separate articles? I think no. The existing one can be expanded instead of creating a new page.
  • December 3, 2012
    ayjazz
    Well, in that case, Cant Kill You Still Need You would have to be renamed.
  • December 3, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    "Would have to"? No it wouldn't. The description of a trope is frequently more broad or more narrow than its name implies. If the name is demonstrably causing misuse it might be renamed. That is a different problem.
  • January 18, 2013
    elwoz
    Bump for hats.
  • September 15, 2013
    DAN004
    I guess it's clear enough: Cant Kill You Still Need You has the word "kill" in it. And it implies an enemy relationship. This trope is usually between 2 guys in the same side.

    Compare I Was Just Passing Through.
  • June 2, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • June 2, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Also possibly related to Misplaced Sorrow.
  • June 3, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Real Life
    • One of the more recent arguments against the death penalty, at least in the United States, is that it's more expensive than life imprisonment.
  • June 3, 2014
    bitemytail
    • In Heavy Rain, Scott Shelby can save two people:
      • One is a woman attempting to commit suicide. You can take care of her baby and bandage her wrists where she cut herself.
      • Another is an old enemy of Scott's. He collapses and you can either give him his heart medication or leave him to die.
  • June 3, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ How?
  • June 3, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    In Frozen, when Kristoff has mixed feelings about going after Anna.
    Kristoff (as Sven): She'll die on her own.
    Kristoff (as himself): I can live with that.
  • June 21, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Rocky And Bullwinkle: Many times, but especially in the first serial "Jet Fuel Formula." Boris goes back and forth between trying to get the formula/secret ingredient/etc. from Bullwinkle, then having gotten it he tries to kill Bullwinkle, then realizing he doesn't have the whole thing so he has to rescue Bullwinkle, repeated ad nauseum.

    Compare You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.
  • June 21, 2014
    DAN004
    • Na Ruto: Orochimaru likes to rescue many people in need, especially those who he considers "worthy"... to become his new host every 3 years, and become his henchmen in the interim.
  • August 15, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • August 15, 2014
    DAN004
    Needs to mention Pragmatic Villainy.
  • August 15, 2014
    HeavyTony
    Films
    • Leo Getz in Lethal Weapon 2. Murtaugh and Riggs needs him for their investigation and it's their job to protect this federal witness.

    Live Action Tv
    • In Star Trek The Original Series, Spock will never net someone behind, but he uses this trope when he saves one of his crewmate to maintain his Vulcan facade.
      STILES: I'm alive, sir. But I wouldn't be. Mister Spock pulled me out of the phaser room. He saved my life. He risked his life after I..
      SPOCK: I saved a trained navigator so he could return to duty. I am capable of no other feelings in such matters.
      • He's more than relieved when he lears he didn't really killed his best friend at the end of "Amok Time"...no it would be illogical.
        MCCOY: There's just one thing, Mister Spock. You can't tell me that when you first saw Jim alive that you weren't on the verge of giving us an emotional scene that would have brought the house down. .
        SPOCK: Merely my quite logical relief that Starfleet had not lost a highly proficient captain.
  • August 23, 2014
    HeavyTony
    Live Action TV
    • In Dans Une Galaxie Pres De Chez Vous, a troutman saves Flavien and Pétrolia because they would have broke the new windshield of his spaceship if he had hit them in space. He then let them on an uninhabited to rejoin his girlfriend.
  • August 23, 2014
    DAN004
    Description needs fleshing.

    Btw add that this is common for Punch Clock Hero who thinks "saving teammates" is just part of the (paid) job.
  • August 23, 2014
    MorningStar1337
    I'm pretty sure this is related to keeping certain charters alive because they were already seen in prequels (Continuity Snarl can be pretty inconvenient when making prequels)
  • August 23, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ That's Out Of Universe convenient, not In Universe one.
  • August 25, 2014
    StarSword
    TV:
    • A variant in the Babylon Five first-season premiere "Midnight on the Firing Line". Garibaldi uses the threat of force to stop Londo from trying to kill G'Kar (thereby rescuing both of them). Afterwards:
      Londo: Mr. Garibaldi, just now, would you really have killed me?
      Garibaldi: Yes. Yes, I would have. But I'm just as glad I didn't have to. The paperwork's a pain in the butt.
  • August 28, 2014
    StarSword
    Webcomics:
    • Inverted in DM Of The Rings after Gimli rolls a natural 1 on his Diplomacy check and, being a role-player, plays along by calling Eomer "horse-fucker".
      DM (as Eomer): I would cut off your head, dwarf, but I don't want to have to look up the rules on mounted combat right now.
  • August 28, 2014
    RaisedByWolves
    Done a lot in Dragon Ball Z, where Death Is Cheap anyway but then you have to find the Dragon Balls anyway. For example, Majin Buu wasn't killed because later he had to stall Kid Buu, and Goku is this trope on several occasions, like when Cell had the chance to kill him but didn't. Then Gohan as a SSJ 2 spared Cell because Toriyama wanted Cell to kill Goku so Gohan could be the main character.
  • August 28, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Again, that's Out Of Universe convenient.
  • December 13, 2014
    Bisected8
  • April 16, 2015
    HeroGal2347
    In Duck Tales, "Magica's Shadow War", Scrooge saves Magica from her Living Shadow not because of any liking for her but because of the electrical bill if her shadow keeps running loose.
  • April 16, 2015
    DAN004
    Who's managing this?
  • July 11, 2015
    HeroGal2347
    Don't know.
  • September 26, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump
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