Created By: Craver357 on December 20, 2012 Last Edited By: Craver357 on March 26, 2013

Tragic Romance

Two characters are lovers. One of them dies.

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The trope itself refers to a specific plot where in it, two characters are intensely close lovers. Unfortunately, the one who's not the main character dies during the course of the story. The death of the lover has a profound effect on the hero and changes their lives forever.

It's important to note that
  1. The both of them cannot be killed off, or that'll be a case of Together in Death. And
  2. The supporting lead's death have to be a huge turning point in the story and for the hero.

Related tropes include: The Lost Lenore, I Let Gwen Stacy Die, Stuffed into the Fridge, Crusading Widower, Too Good for This Sinful Earth.

Compare and contrast with Did Not Get the Girl, where the lover merely leaves the hero rather than outright being killed off, and Death of the Hypotenuse, that's when one of the two Love Interests in the Love Triangle for the hero is killed off.

Not to be confused with Star-Crossed Lovers, where the two lovers who wishes to be together are doomed to have their romance forbidden by circumstances of fate rather than resulting in one of them being killed off.

As a Death Trope, all spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


  • Bruce Wayne and Rachel Dawes in The Dark Knight Saga. During his career as a vigilante, Bruce develops a Guilt Complex and blames himself for everything that goes wrong, including Rachel's death in The Dark Knight when she was killed in the building set up to be detonated by The Joker.
  • The eponymous character of Forrest Gump had to deal with his wife, Jenny Gump née Curran, dying from her unknown (possibly fictional) disease. By the end of the film, Forrest promises to his deceased wife on her grave that he'll take care of their son, Forrest Jr.
  • Jason Bourne and Marie Helena Kreutz in The Bourne Series films. Marie in The Bourne Supremacy was killed by Kirill after she exchanged seats with Bourne himself in their car and while trying to escape from the assassin who was sent to kill Bourne.

  • Severus Snape and Lily Potter née Evans in the Harry Potter series. It's a rather twisted version, since Snape drove Lily away by calling her a "mudblood" because of embracing Fantastic Racism and joining the Death Eaters results in her being killed by Lord Voldermort. Snape never gets over her death, and had spent his years trying to protect her son, who is none other than the eponymous character himself.

Community Feedback Replies: 10
  • December 20, 2012
    • Hirokin and Orange in Hirokin: The Last Samurai.
  • December 20, 2012
    Seems a lot like Love Hurts But More Specific.
  • December 20, 2012
    These examples need context. So far, it's just a list of X and Y, from, [.....].

    The only exception is the Harry Potter example, and even that needs fleshing out, to explain how it fits the trope. All it says is, someone called her a mudblood, she joins some other group, then somehow gets killed. But it doesn't say how the events are related.

    • As in, was it the guy she was in love with who drove her away?
    • Was he forced to kill her himself, or did one of his friends spare him the grief by doing it for him?
    • Did he feel responsible for her leaving, or for her death?

    That sort of thing. To give a better idea of what I mean, I'll use Priss and Sylvie from Bubblegum Crisis. Keep in mind, this isn't an example, since their relationship was never actually confirmed, it was only implied.


  • December 21, 2012
  • March 8, 2013
    @MiinU I know. To answer those three questions you asked:

    • No. James Potter, the man Lily Evans was in love with (and later married) didn't drove her away from Severus Snape. It was Snape himself who drove Lily away by calling her a "mudblood", because of embracing Fantastic Racism and joining the Death Eaters.
    • No. Snape didn't kill Lily by himself, nor did he have any friends who killed her right behind his back. It was Lord Voldermort who killed Lily. Though Snape tries to tell the Death Eater leader to spare her life prior to her murder.
    • Yes. He realizes that his actions hurt the woman he loves, and had led to her being murdered by Voldermort.
  • March 23, 2013
    This seems a lot like Star Crossed Lovers in which Fate keeps them apart by killing one of them. If this trope really is different then it definitely needs to talk a bit about how it is actually different.
  • March 24, 2013
    @DunDun This trope is not to be confused with the trope you're talking about. The difference between the two aforementioned tropes is that Star Crossed Lovers keeps the two lovers apart, due to circumstances from Fate, while this trope have the hero (usually a protagonist) trying to deal with the death of his lover when she died, be she killed by a villain, dying from a terminal illness, or even sacrificing herself by saving the hero.
  • March 25, 2013
    I'm pretty sure The Lost Lenore, covers this, it's also known as the "dead love interest"

    in particular these parts from that page are very similar:

    • a love interest of a prominent character
    • their death has significant ongoing impact, consequences and relevance for the remainder of the story

    Lost Lenores can be divided into two categories.
    • Type A: A Posthumous Character like the trope namer, ie, dead before the story begins
    • Type B: Dies during the course of the story.

  • March 26, 2013
    @xanderiskander Are you sure? Is this trope that I'm creating is just like The Lost Lenore, albeit more specific?
  • March 26, 2013
    ^They're the same trope IMO. The only difference that I see is the way it's phrased.