Created By: NoirGrimoirAugust 7, 2012 Last Edited By: DravencourJanuary 16, 2016

Mortality Phobia

The fear that you will die someday motivates people to do crazy, extreme things to escape it.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Hudson: Getting old terrifies you, doesn't it?
Xanatos: (Somewhat rattled) Nothing terrifies me. Because nothing is beyond my ability to change.
Gargoyles

Death comes to all humans, and while most of us don't especially like it, and want to postpone it as much as possible, some people will try to escape that fate at all costs. For them, there is no Fate Worse Than Death.

While not wanting to die is a great motivator to spring into action in the short term, some people take that to the extreme, plotting and scheming and searching for ways to hold it off indefinitely, even when the prospect of having to meet the reaper seems reasonably far off. Performing bizarre rituals, which are sometimes nothing more than personal superstitions, extreme paranoia and carefulness, disregard for the lives of others in favor of their own, and a willingness to buy into fantasy or myths that promise to extend their life are all side-effects of having such a phobia. This is often the motivation for an Immortality Seeker.

Why a character may have a Mortality Phobia is strangely not commonly went into, though went it is, it often has to do with a fear of having to pay for all the bad deeds they've done in the afterlife, or a fear that there isn't one at all. Such characters are generally secular, wealthy and powerful, so presumably they can't stand the possibility of losing all that and starting over, either.

The clinical term for 'fear of death' is actually "Thanatophobia", but it can have additional or altogether different symptoms or behaviors not represented in the trope.

A Hollywood Atheist might be accused of this (or play it straight if they're a villain) on the basis that they don't believe in life after death.

Contrast Who Wants To Live Forever, Not Afraid To Die, Death Seeker and We All Die Someday. Not to be confused with I Dont Want To Die.

See also Immortals Fear Death. Doesn't actually have anything to do with Dont Fear The Reaper.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Durarara: Izaya's primary goal is to avoid the Cessation Of Existence he believes will occur beyond death, and has driven him to form an extremely convoluted plan in attempt to prevent it: hypothesizing that Dullahan are actually Valkyries left dormant on Earth, he decides to start a massive gang war in the hopes of creating a conflict large enough to wake up resident Dullahan Celty and hitch a ride with her to whatever afterlife she returns to. He flatly states that he doesn't care whether or not it's a hellish place filled with nothing but pain, just as long as it's not nothing. Ironically, since Durarara and Baccano share a 'verse, there is a much simpler and more reliable (also arguably less insane) means for attaining Immortality that he just doesn't know about; which makes the brief appearance of Isaac and Miria, who are members of the Dollars no less, much more hilarious.
  • Morganna in Dot Hack Sign is a Rogue A.I. who became aware of her programming to self-terminate once The World's true god Aura was born. She goes to great lengths to make sure that she never is, and it takes the combined efforts of Tsukasa, Subaru, and all the others to stop her.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Dante's wish to never die is what runs the military agenda and what makes the homunculi do what they do.

Comic Books
  • In Seven Soldiers of Victory, Alix Harrower got her powers from an accident brought on by her husband's extreme obsession with his own mortality. Unable to cope with the thought of going grey or developing wrinkles, Lance Harrower tried to infuse his skin with a metal coating, but instead suffocated when the coating completely enveloped him. Alix herself became coated in the stuff after he grabbed her for help. Ironically, Lance ended up dying.

Film
  • The plot of The X Files I Want To Believe concerns a Russian who doesn't want to die, so he has his medial mooks kill people and graft his head onto their bodies so he can live a little bit longer. They've done this several times before the start of the film and a couple more times during the film before they're stopped in the end. It appears they're just doing it For Science, they don't especially care about the guy or payment.
  • Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. This trope is what enables Davy Jones a way of getting new recruits on The Flying Dutchman. He saves people from the brink of death and simply asks them: "Do you fear death?" If the answer is "yes", the rescuee will be saved but must in return work as a servant on the ship, eventually even becoming one with it.
  • In Love And Death, Boris lives in constant fear of dying, as a result of somehow meeting the Grim Reaper as a child, and this fear informs most of his acts of cowardice throughout the movie.

Folklore
  • The servant in "Appointment In Samarra" who, seeing Death, borrows a horse from his master and flees to Samarra in order to escape. The master confronts Death, asking why Death scared his servant. Death replies that he didn't mean to scare the servant, he was just startled to see the servant there, since they had an appointment in Samarra that evening.

Literature
  • Older Than Dirt: The Epic Of Gilgamesh is possibly the oldest example of this trope. It chronicles the life of Gilgamesh as a seeks a way to avert death following an act that angered the Sumerian gods. The title character goes to great lengths to gain immortality, including trying to stay awake for seven days, and swimming to the bottom of the ocean to get a magical weed. His quest for immortality ultimately ends in him having to accept that death cannot be subverted.
  • Harry Potter. Lord Voldemort split his soul into seven pieces in order to never die.
  • In Methuselahs Children. Mary Sperling, one of the oldest members of the Long Lived Howard family, allows herself to be assimilated into an alien Hive Mind because she's afraid of dying.
  • Discworld. Magic users can see Death and know when their time is up. However, where witches tend to Face Death With Dignity (due to serving as midwives and burial attendants, they see quite a lot of death), wizards usually try to cheat their way out (in one's case, moving his spirit into a staff, from which he orders his son around, while another gets into a box with all the sigils and wards he can think of, only to hear "Cramped in here, isn't it?").

Live Action TV
  • The Big Bang Theory. Sheldon plans to download his consciousness into a computer in order to live forever. When he gets concerned that the technology won't be available in his lifetime, he constructs a robot with a webcam and monitor so he can interact with others virtually while remaining sealed in his room away from anything that might harm him
  • In Community Jeff panics that he is going to die after learning he has high cholesterol.
  • Inverted on Northern Exposure. Chris's father and grandfather both died by the age of 40, so he figures that he will too - so he tends to do risky things, like take out loans and not pay them off. But then Joel diagnoses him with high blood pressure and gives him medication, stating that his father & grandfather probably had it too. Now that Chris is given a chance at a long life, he starts toning down his risky behavior.
  • The Twilight Zone Classic episode "Nothing in the Dark". A woman sees Death and becomes so frightened of dying that she shuts herself up in her apartment and remains there into her old age, refusing to let anyone else inside.
  • In Andy Richter Controls The Universe, Keith finds a single gray hair and realizes that he's going to eventually die (he's had such a fortunate life that the idea had never occurred to him), causing him to have a bit of a breakdown.
  • Chris in Parks And Recreation is such a health nut that finding any indication that he's aging (or even just not the peak of human perfection) is enough to send him into a downward spiral.
  • Supernatural. A Mad Scientist/Alchemist in the Season 3 episode "Time Is On My Side" went to length to take others' organs to prolong his own life. Though a subversion in that it was more to be comfortable than immortal, but Sam and Dean provide him a Fate Worse Than Death to truly punish him.
  • In The Outer Limits episode "White Light Fever", the 102-year old businessman Harlan Hawkes is permanently living on a reserved floor of a major hospital and has contracted a personal doctor to carry out research to keep him alive at all costs. This was explained by a severe Freudian Excuse where Hawkes witnessed his parents being murdered in front of him during a war when he was a kid and spending days hiding underneath their corpses to survive. The dilemma starts when he desires another heart transplant while an 18-year old girl also needs it, while The Grim Reaper himself starts hunting for Hawkes in the form of electricity.

Tabletop Games
  • Dungeons And Dragons
    • Liches are undead who were high level spellcasters in life. Many of them are stated to have achieved lichdom in order to avoid dying of old age.
    • Module OA7 Test of the Samurai. The Big Bad Za-Jikku is so determined to avoid death that he plans to turn the entire planet's atmosphere into a lethal gas that only he can breathe and which will grant him immortality. The fact that this will kill off all other creatures on the planet does not concern him.
  • In Mage The Ascension, one of the major villains is a death-obsessed euthanatos. In one of the finale scenarios he becomes the Big Bad, attempting to stop a mass ascension event, even at the risk of breaking reality, just to keep himself alive.

Video Games
  • In the expanded plot of Team Fortress 2, this is the primary motivation of Bluetarch; initially he had a life-extension machine built because he simply wanted to outlive his brother Redmond (who had his own built), however he still spends brief amounts of time dead and is now absolutly terrified of The Nothing After Death.
Every day I'm dead a little longer, Mister Conagher. I have seen the other side. There is nothing there.
  • Brutus the Warden in Path Of Exile let a bunch of necromancers subject himself to various experiments in an attempt to become immortal. Far from achieving it, said experiments merely turned him into a mindless monster.
  • In Final Fantasy III, the villain Xande's motivation is this. He wants to freeze the world into eternal darkness and stop time in order to prevent his death and mortality. This is because, in his Back Story, he was a pupil of the Magus Noah. His other two pupils were given the gift of great magical power, but Xande was instead given the "gift" of mortality. This was an honest gesture, but it caused him to go over the edge.
  • Marathon. The Rogue A.I. Durandal becomes obsessed with its own mortality, and searches the universe to try to find a way to escape its inevitable destruction known as the Big Crunch.
  • In Dwarf Fortress, this can be one of the motivations for an NPC to begin learning necromancy.

Web Video
  • After Hours. This is more or less Soren's hat. Whenever it comes to psychological fears or what the cast finds truly terrifying, it comes out that Soren fears growing old and dying. Oh, and clowns.

Western Animation
  • David Xanatos, the ridiculously rich and powerful Magnificent Bastard of Gargoyles embarks on all sorts of schemes to live forever, so that he and his wife Fox can enjoy being rich and powerful forever.
Xanatos: The Cauldron of Life. The legend says whoever bathes in it will live as long as the mountain stones.
Hudson: Ah you wish to be... immortal.
Xanatos: Of course, what good are all the riches on Earth, if Fox and I can't enjoy them forever?
  • Family Guy:
    • After getting hit by Peter's car as he's backing out of the driveway, and Lois inconsiderately reminds the family just how old he is, Brian takes to drinking his worries away because he knows that everyone can just randomly die at any moment. The combined efforts of Stewie and Frank Sinatra Jr. help him overcome his worries once and for all.
    • Another example: "Mom's the Word" has Stewie frightened by the prospect of him dying someday, and when Brian tells him he believes that there's nothing in the afterlife (being an atheist and all), he tries to kill himself. After several failed attempts at suicide, Brian convinces him to make his life worthwhile and fulfill his dreams, and Stewie decides to try stand-up comedy, but his act bombs and Brian tells him to kill himself.
  • In Rudolph's Shiny New Year, the Big Bad, Aeon, who is a creature that lives for exactly one eon, is nearing the end of his lifespan within a matter of days, so he kidnaps Baby New Year in order to stop time.
Community Feedback Replies: 68
  • August 7, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • Harry Potter: Lord Voldemort split his soul into seven pieces in order to never die.
    • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon plans to download his conciousness into a computer in order to live forever. When he gets concerned that the technology won't be available in his lifetime, he constructs a robot with a webcam and monitor so he can interact with others virtually while remaining sealed in his room away from anything that might harm him.
  • August 8, 2012
    LordGro
    Make sure this isn't becoming a duplicate of Immortality Immorality.
  • August 8, 2012
    Bisected8
    A Hollywood Atheist might be accused of this (or play it straight if they're a villain) on the basis that they don't believe in life after death.

    • In the expanded plot of Team Fortress 2, this is the primary motivation of Bluetarch; initially he had a life-extension machine built because he simply wanted to outlive his brother Redmond (who had his own built), however he still spends brief amounts of time dead and is now absolutly terrified of The Nothing After Death.
    Every day I'm dead a little longer, Mister Conagher. I have seen the other side. There is nothing there.
  • August 8, 2012
    Koveras
    • Brutus the Warden in Path Of Exile let a bunch of necromancers subject himself to various experiments in an attempt to become immortal. Far from achieving it, said experiments merely turned him into a mindless monster.

    Contrast also Who Wants To Live Forever.
  • August 8, 2012
    Wii
    I'd like to suggest a rename to "Motivated by Mortality"; Mortality Phobia sounds a bit too bland, in my opinion. Plus, Added Alliterative Appeal!

    • Durarara: Izaya's primary goal is to avoid the Cessation Of Existence he believes will occur beyond death, and has driven him to form an extremely convoluted plan in attempt to prevent it: hypothesizing that Dullahan are actually Valkyries left dormant on Earth, he decides to start a massive gang war in the hopes of creating a conflict large enough to wake up resident Dullahan Celty and hitch a ride with her to whatever afterlife she returns to. He flatly states that he doesn't care whether or not it's a hellish place filled with nothing but pain, just as long as it's not nothing. Ironically, since Durarara and Baccano share a 'verse, there is a much simpler and more reliable (also arguably less insane) means for attaining Immortality that he just doesn't know about; which makes the brief appearance of Isaac and Miria, who are members of the Dollars no less, much more hilarious.
  • August 8, 2012
    FlintlockWolfman
    In Community Jeff panics that he is going to die after learning he has high cholesterol.
  • August 8, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Inverted on Northern Exposure: Chris's father and grandfather both died by the age of 40, so he figures that he will too - so he tends to do risky things, like take out loans and not pay them off. But then Joel diagnoses him with high blood pressure and gives him medication, stating that his father & grandfather probably had it too. Now that Chris is given a chance at a long life, he starts toning down his risky behavior.
  • August 9, 2012
    morenohijazo
    ^^^ No, Mortality Phobia tells more of what the trope is about.
  • August 9, 2012
    TheWanderer
    • David Xanatos, the ridiculously rich and powerful Magnificent Bastard of Gargoyles embarks on all sorts of schemes to live forever, so that he and his wife Fox can enjoy being rich and powerful forever.

    Speaking of which, one episode has a few quotes that might make good page quotes:

    Xanatos: The Cauldron of Life. The legend says whoever bathes in it will live as long as the mountain stones.
    Hudson: Ah you wish to be... immortal.
    Xanatos: Of course, what good are all the riches on Earth, if Fox and I can't enjoy them forever?

    Hudson: Geting old terrifies you, doesn't it?
    Xanatos: (somewhat rattled) Nothing terrifies me. Because nothing is beyond my ability to change.
  • August 9, 2012
    NoirGrimoir
    ^I kind of like the second one, fear of dying is the key here, and the crazy things it makes people do.
  • August 13, 2012
    Quatic
    In the Star Wars prequel trilogy, it is Anikin Skywalker's fear of his wife's death which drives him to join the dark side (and, ultimately, giving him the increased force-power with which he accidentally kills her).
  • March 7, 2014
    DAN004
    Don't we already have I Dont Want To Die?
  • March 7, 2014
    Snicka
    • Older Than Dirt: The title character of The Epic Of Gilgamesh goes to great lengths to gain immortality, including trying to stay awake for seven days, and swimming to the bottom of the ocean to get a magical weed.
  • March 8, 2014
    ginsengaddict
    ^^ That isn't this. But I think that should be expanded to include this.
  • March 8, 2014
    ElectricNova
    In Final Fantasy III, the villain Xande's motivation is this. He wants to freeze the world into eternal darkness and stop time in order to prevent his death and mortality. This is because, in his backstory, he was a pupil of the Magus Noah. His other two pupils were given the gift of great magical power, but Xande was instead given the "gift" of mortality. This was an honest gesture, but it caused him to go over the edge.
  • March 8, 2014
    Arivne
    Live Action TV
    • The Twilight Zone Classic episode "Nothing in the Dark". A woman sees Death and becomes so frightened of dying that she shuts herself up in her apartment and remains there into her old age, refusing to let anyone else inside.

    Tabletop Games
    • Dungeons And Dragons
      • Liches are undead who were high level spellcasters in life. Many of them are stated to have achieved lichdom in order to avoid dying of old age.
      • Module OA7 Test of the Samurai. The Big Bad Za-Jikku is so determined to avoid death that he plans to turn the entire planet's atmosphere into a lethal gas that only he can breathe and which will grant him immortality. The fact that this will kill off all other creatures on the planet does not concern him.
  • March 8, 2014
    DAN004
    So I Dont Want To Die actually covers dilemma over doing a Heroic Sacrifice - way to waste a broad name on something that specific, methinks...

    Remind me to take it to the TRS.
  • March 8, 2014
    FerrousFaucet
    • Marathon: The Rogue A.I. Durandal becomes obsessed with its own mortality, and searches the universe to try to find a way to escape its inevitable destruction known as the Big Crunch.
  • March 9, 2014
    zarpaulus
    Literature

    Real Life
    • Everyone, with few exceptions.
  • March 9, 2014
    abateman
  • March 10, 2014
    DRCEQ
    • Morganna in Dot Hack Sign is a Rogue A.I. who became aware of her programming to self-terminate once The World's true god Aura was born. She goes to great lengths to make sure that she never is, and it takes the combined efforts of Tsukasa, Subaru, and all the others to stop her.

    • In Family Guy, after getting hit by Peter's car as he's backing out of the driveway, and Lois inconsiderately reminds the family just how old he is, Brian takes to drinking his worries away because he knows that everyone can just randomly die at any moment. The combined efforts of Stewie and Frank Sinatra Jr. help him overcome his worries once and for all.
  • March 10, 2014
    Larkmarn
    • In Andy Richter Controls The Universe, Keith finds a single gray hair and realizes that he's going to eventually die (he's had such a fortunate life that the idea had never occurred to him), causing him to have a bit of a breakdown.
    • Chris in Parks And Recreation is such a health nut that finding any indication that he's aging (or even just not the peak of human perfection) is enough to send him into a downward spiral.
    • After Hours: This is more or less Soren's hat. Whenever it comes to psychological fears or what the cast finds truly terrifying, it comes out that Soren fears growing old and dying. Oh, and clowns.
  • March 11, 2014
    Chabal2
    Discworld: Magic users can see Death and know when their time is up. However, where witches tend to Face Death With Dignity (due to serving as midwives and burial attendants, they see quite a lot of death), wizards usually try to cheat their way out (in one's case, moving his spirit into a staff, from which he orders his son around, while another gets into a box with all the sigils and wards he can think of, only to hear "Cramped in here, isn't it?").
  • March 21, 2014
    JesseMB27
    Live Action TV
    • Supernatural: A Mad Scientist/Alchemist in the Season 3 episode "Time Is On My Side" went to length to take others' organs to prolong his own life. Though a subversion in that it was more to be comfortable than immortal, but Sam and Dean provide him a Fate Worse Than Death to truly punish him.
  • March 21, 2014
    BaffleBlend
  • March 21, 2014
    randomsurfer
    The plot of The X Files I Want To Believe concerns a Russian who doesn't want to die, so he has his medial mooks kill people and graft his head onto their bodies so he can live a little bit longer. They've done this several times before the start of the film and a couple more times during the film before they're stopped in the end. It appears they're just doing it For Science, they don't especially care about the guy or payment.
  • March 23, 2014
    Morgenthaler
    Contrast Not Afraid To Die and We All Die Someday.

    The Circular Link in the description should also be removed before it gets launched.
  • March 23, 2014
    Arivne
  • March 23, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Film
  • March 24, 2014
    jupiterrocks24
    • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Dante's wish to never die is what runs the military agenda and what makes the homunculi do what they do.
  • March 25, 2014
    Morgenthaler
    • In The Outer Limits episode "White Light Fever", the 102-year old businessman Harlan Hawkes is permanently living on a reserved floor of a major hospital and has contracted a personal doctor to carry out research to keep him alive at all costs. This was explained by a severe Freudian Excuse where Hawkes witnessed his parents being murdered in front of him during a war when he was a kid and spending days hiding underneath their corpses to survive. The dilemma starts when he desires another heart transplant while an 18-year old girl also needs it, while The Grim Reaper himself starts hunting for Hawkes in the form of electricity.

  • March 28, 2014
    JesseMB27
    Religion and Mythology
    • The Epic Of Gilgamesh is possibly the oldest example of this trope. It chronicles the life of Gilgamesh as a seeks a way to avert death following an act that angered the Sumerian gods. His quest for immortality ultimately ends in him having to accept that death cannot be subverted.
  • March 28, 2014
    randomsurfer
    Folklore: The servant in "Appointment In Sumatra" who, seeing Death, borrows a horse from his master and flees to Sumatra in order to escape. The master confronts Death, asking why Death scared his servant. Death replies that he didn't mean to scare the servant, he was just startled to see the servant there, since they had an appointment in Sumatra that evening.
  • March 28, 2014
    DAN004
    Contrast Death Seeker. Not to be confused with I Dont Want To Die.
  • June 1, 2014
    Morgenthaler
  • June 11, 2014
    DAN004
    Bump
  • June 11, 2014
    HellKillUsAll
    • Another Family Guy example: "Mom's the Word" has Stewie frightened by the prospect of him dying someday, and when Brian tells him he believes that there's nothing in the afterlife (being an atheist and all), he tries to kill himself. After several failed attempts at suicide, Brian convinces him to make his life worthwhile and fulfill his dreams, and Stewie decides to try stand-up comedy, but his act bombs and Brian tells him to kill himself.
  • June 11, 2014
    FuzedBox
    Hold off on the launch. There are two terms out there that better name this trope: Existential Crisis and Death Anxiety.
  • June 12, 2014
    Arivne
    • Examples section formatting
      • Changed media section title(s) to our standard style and Blue Linked them.
    • Namespaced work name(s).
    • Corrected spelling (conciousness).
    • Blue Linked (backstory).
  • June 12, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ I believe Death Anxiety would work, but I guess our current title is enough.
  • June 12, 2014
    bitemytail
    In Dwarf Fortress, this can be one of the motivations for an NPC to begin learning necromancy.
  • July 21, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    I think it's "Appointment in Samarra."
  • July 21, 2014
    DAN004
  • July 21, 2014
    morenohijazo
    ^^ Fixed.
  • December 13, 2015
    Morgenthaler
    The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits have been disambiguated by year, and Pirates Of The Caribbean Dead Mans Chest has its own work page.
  • December 13, 2015
    DAN004
    Um, so this cover both the fear of your own death and someone else's death? Aren't they different
  • December 15, 2015
    Torchic65101
    In Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Time, Darkness, and Sky; this is why Dusknoir works with Primal Dialga to prevent the future from being changed.
  • December 15, 2015
    Mozgwsloiku
    In Mage The Ascension, one of the major villains is a death-obsessed euthanatos. In one of the finale scenarios he becomes the Big Bad, attempting to stop a mass ascension event, even at the risk of breaking reality, just to keep himself alive.
  • December 15, 2015
    DrNoPuma
    I'm not so sure about the Real Life example. Yes, many people are afraid of death, but most people don't do crazy things to try and get out of it.
  • December 15, 2015
    DAN004
    Answer my question plz?
  • December 15, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    Is someone managing this right now? If not I can pick it back up.

    ^It doesn't, generally. That's not really a thing anyway. These people are usually bad guys and only care about themselves. And it's not just "I don't want to die before my time" it's "I don't want to die ever."
  • December 15, 2015
    Prime32
    Touhou: In her Back Story, Byakuren Hijiri was an elderly Buddhist nun who witnessed her brother die of old age and became terrified of the same thing happening to her. This led her to give up her humanity in order to become an immortal youkai magician, and to focus all of her magical studies on physical enhancement spells which could be used to give herself an eternally youthful appearance.
  • December 15, 2015
    DAN004
    ^^ Then there's a misuse in the example section. Star Wars, to be specific.

    Technically though, fearing your loved one's death is really a thing.
  • December 15, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    ^Sure but fearing your loved one ever dying, even of good old age, with no respect to your own life-expectancy isn't really a thing in fiction. If a character wants their loved one to never get old and live forever, they basically 100% also want to live forever as well, so they count anyway.
  • December 15, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ so Protec Torate isn't a thing?

    Anyways, would "thanatophobia" be too mouthful for the name?
  • December 16, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    No one is going to search Thanataphopia for this trope. Also clinical Thanataphobia has actual symptoms not represented in the trope.

    And there is a difference between wanting to protect a person and wanting to make them immortal. Most Protectorates don't even consider such a thing.
  • December 16, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ Where does the "wanting to make them immortal" come from? Did a part of my word make you think I said it?

    I meant that the protector would rightfully fear the protectorate's death. It doesn't need to lead to them trying to make their protectorate immortal (it definitely doesn't happen in Star Wars above), but their fear can be exaggerated like in this trope.
  • December 16, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    This trope is not "perfectly valid fear that someone might be killed because they are in a dangerous situation leads them to try to protect them"

    It's "fear of the very existence of death as an inevitability, often without any justification for said fear" hence usually leading to Immortality Seeker or doing crazy psycho things to avoid death.
  • December 16, 2015
    Renoc
    This should be "Mortality Crisis" or "Mortality Panic" (or the suggested "Death Anxiety")

    The way it's written it's no different from Immortality Seeker, but there is a great theme of characters having personality shifts (short or long term) when they come to the realization that they will die one day.
  • December 16, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    "Crisis" and "Panic" make it sound temporary, and "Anxiety" doesn't imply the same level of fear as "Phobia".
  • December 16, 2015
    DAN004
    ^^^ I understand that very well. Just that the second part you said also fits Anakin's deal with Padme (but it's not this trope).
  • December 16, 2015
    Arutema
  • December 17, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    ^^You may be right, he's more of a Knight Templar than this. He doesn't go crazy because he doesn't want to die, he goes crazy trying to prevent others from dying.
  • December 17, 2015
    DAN004
    "he goes crazy trying to prevent others from dying."

    Now what trope would that be?
  • December 17, 2015
    NoirGrimoir
    ^It's a type of Knight Templar. Probably worth splitting off into it's own thing.
  • December 17, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    Comic Books
    • In Seven Soldiers of Victory, Alix Harrower got her powers from an accident brought on by her husband's extreme obsession with his own mortality. Unable to cope with the thought of going grey or developing wrinkles, Lance Harrower tried to infuse his skin with a metal coating, but instead suffocated when the coating completely enveloped him. Alix herself became coated in the stuff after he grabbed her for help. Ironically, Lance ended up dying.

    Film Live Action
    • In Love And Death, Boris lives in constant fear of dying, as a result of somehow meeting the Grim Reaper as a child, and this fear informs most of his acts of cowardice throughout the movie.
  • January 16, 2016
    Dravencour
    • Rachel Creed from the Stephen King novel Pet Sematary is so afraid of death that she freaks out whenever it is mentioned around her.
  • January 16, 2016
    Kartoonkid95
    • The Simpsons: In "Kill the Aligator and Run", Homer takes a personality quiz that says he'll only live to be 42 years old. He then becomes paranoid, just sitting on the couch worrying about his three years left, and even imagines the stars of Inside the Actors Studio threatening to kill him.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable