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[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/SpiderMan http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/gwendeath_4342.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[TheBronzeAgeOfComicBooks Things go downhill from here on...]]]]
->''"Returning to [[TakeItToTheBridge the bridge]] [[GraveMarkingScene where Gwen died]] had become an established ''Spider-Man'' cliché by that point -- and an overused one, at that. To this day, whenever a ''Spider-Man'' writer tries for dramatic irony or poignancy, it usually involves Spider-Man being at that bridge."''
-->-- '''Editor/Writer Glenn Greenberg''' on ''ComicBook/TheCloneSaga''

Often, a hero needs more of a reason to keep on fighting than just to save the day. He needs to know that it's fairly SeriousBusiness. That's why, on occasion, someone close to him will die for generally no other reason than for the hero to {{angst}} over his inability to save the loved one, driving him to protect everyone else he can.

Sometimes, this happens because the hero in question is carrying the IdiotBall for the day, in which case the hero has no reason to blame himself, but will do so anyway simply because it's "good for the hero."

The sacrificed character is frequently a DisposableWoman, but it could be a whole DoomedHometown. When the corpse is left for the hero to stumble upon, it's StuffedIntoTheFridge. When it happens over and over again to the same hero, it's the CartwrightCurse. See also CynicismCatalyst, MyGreatestFailure, and SurvivorGuilt. When they die during a hero's backstory or initial appearance, it's DeathByOriginStory.

Note: While many Gwen Stacys are also [[TheLostLenore Lost Lenores]], not every Lost Lenore is a Gwen Stacy. Whoever lost Lenore doesn't necessarily blame themselves for the death, but this feeling of self-blame and assumed responsibility is a key defining criterion for a Gwen Stacy.

!!'''Since this is a DeathTrope, all spoilers will be unmarked. Don't say we didn't warn you!'''
----
!!Examples

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* Kai goes through this in ''{{Beyblade}}'' V-Force after Wyatt's (version specific) fate at the hands of an unstable cyber bitbeast.
* Van and Ray Lundgren's would be wives are this in ''GunXSword''.
* Teresa's death in front of Clare in ''{{Claymore}}'' is the whole motivation that causes her to become a Claymore to begin with.
** Also a notable example of a Gwen Stacy who was most certainly ''not'' holding the IdiotBall.
** Undine is also a shining example with Deneve as the Hero, and all the other Claymore who died in Pieta can be considered this
* The Gundam meta-series has used this trope a LOT.
** Fllay Allster for [[TheHero Kira Yamato]] in ''GundamSEED'' and Stella Loussier for [[AntiVillain Shinn Asuka]] in ''GundamSEEDDestiny''. This is actually Shinn's second big loss as his entire family dies in episode 1 of ''SEED Destiny'', which seems to justify his extreme skill as a mobile suit pilot, and issues with rage for the entirety of the series. Of course, Stella's death just made him angrier.
** In the same show, [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds Rau Le Creuset]] may serve as a villainous example to [[WellIntentionedExtremist Gilbert Durandal]]. Durandal's flashbacks show that he in his capacity as Le Creuset's doctor and closest friend was well aware of the latter's [[SuicidalCosmicTemperTantrum suicidal]] and [[NietzscheWannabe nihilistic]] tendencies, but was unable to do anything about them, ultimately leading to Le Creuset's [[SanitySlippage descent into insanity]], and eventual death while attempting to [[OmnicidalManiac trigger the apocalypse]]. Durandal's DarkMessiah persona is based around ensuring that no one else ever has to suffer through the kind of pain, [[CloningBlues identity problems]], and self-loathing that Rau did, leading him to try and create a world where no one will ever feel lost through [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans any means necessary]]. Le Creuset's ghost even visits the Chairman repeatedly, nicely driving home the point. A rare case of one BigBad's death triggering the rise of another.
** Anew Returner for Lyle Dylandy in {{Gundam 00}}. Lyle goes into a {{Heroic BSOD}} after.
** And lest we forget, Yurin L'Ciel for Flit Asuno from the latest series ''GundamAge.'' [[UnstoppableRage Seeing Flit completely lose it]] afterwards makes this depressing scene worse. Her death haunts him for the next [[spoiler:''seventy years'', as he tries his hardest to slaughter all the Vagans he possibly can in revenge.]]
** Four Murasame is the most prominent in ''ZetaGundam'' for Kamille, although [[KillEmAll she wasn't the first or last death]] that would drive him forward in this series.
** And, of course, the original that all others usually nod to, Lalah Sune in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam''. She turns out to be an especially interesting case, since she died saving Char by [[TakingTheBullet throwing herself in front of Amuro's beam saber strike]], leading to Char and Amuro blaming each other for her death for almost the rest of their lives.
* Mary Magdalene's death in ''ChronoCrusade'' is the main event in Chrono's background that drives a lot of his actions in the present. In the manga, her role is fleshed out and she has much more of a personality, but the anime gives her nothing more than a flashback in one episode, which weakens her as a character and gives her little more to do than to give Chrono a reason to angst.
* While not a death per se, Kolulu in ''GashBell'' largely fits this trope since, within the scope of the series, getting your book burned is, for all intents and purposes, death. She provides the bulk of the motivation for the main character to strive on to become King of the demon world.
** Also worth noting that Kolulu, Fllay, Stellar, and Clare are all voiced by [[HoukoKuwashima the same seiyu]].
* Yoji of ''WeissKreuz'' is primarily motivated by the death of his partner and love interest Asuka. Ouka also becomes TheGwenStacy for Omi after she's killed by MurphysBullet.
* Luna in ''CasshernSins''. Casshern apparently killed her, causing the Ruin, and we are offered glimpses of his killing her at the beginning of every episode, although he doesn't remember any of it; his realization that he did it apparently causes a HeroicBSOD which leads him to try to make amends.
** Luna turns out to be alive later, but she also turns out to be a {{Jerkass}}, which leads the characters to question whether she is really Luna at all.
* In ''SwordArtOnline'', Kirito joins a guild of players, keeping the fact that he was a former beta tester and significantly higher in experience levels than his guildmates secret. This turns around to bite him in the ass when, while doing a dungeon run, he and his party get trapped in a room they can't warp away from, causing the death of the entire guild (his party members dying in battle and the leader being DrivenToSuicide). Kirito's guilt over letting his guildmates die drives him into IneffectualLoner / DeathSeeker territory for months afterward.
* In ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'' the accidental death of Kenshin's first wife Yukishiro Tomoe at his own hands was the prime motivator for him to swear his [[ThouShaltNotKill no-killing oath]] and become a wandering swordsman to [[TheAtoner atone for his past]].
* ''Anime/CowboyBebop'': Julia becomes a Gwen Stacy during the final episode, and it leads Spike to his own ([[ShrugOfGod possible]]) death in a fight with his arch-nemesis, who also dies in the process.
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'':
** Ichigo transformed from a crybaby who got beat up by girls into a badass protector of everyone due to the death of his mother Masaki which he spent years thinking was his fault. The real cause of her death becomes very important to his decisions and behaviour in the final arc.
** Uryuu's resolve to protect people from hollows and also to work with a quincy's traditional enemies, shinigami, comes from guilt at being unable to save his grandfather's life despite having been a young child at the time. His (and especially his father Ryuuken's) behaviour is also deeply connected to the death of his mother, Kanae Katagiri, whose mysterious death becomes extremely important in the final arc and is also linked to the real cause of Masaki's death.
* Kamui Shiro of ''{{X 1999}}'' gets one in the form of his love interest Kotori Monou, whose murder sends him into a {{Heroic BSOD}}. After he snaps out of it, he carries on with the oath to never let it happen to his friends ever again.
** And Subaru Sumeragi has his own Gwen Stacy in the form of [[AngstySurvivingTwin his twin sister Hokuto]], who dies at the end of [[TokyoBabylon their own series]] after Subaru falls into a massive HeroicBSOD of his own. Subaru actually helps Kamui out of his BSOD through their mutual experience.
* CanonForeigner Lily [=McGwire=] fills this role in the ''FatalFury'' anime specials and movie. Despite defeating her murderer in the first TV special, Terry is still haunted by her death in the second special and movie. Even when Lily's soul comes to him and explicitely tells him to not grieve for him.
* In ''TheSacredBlacksmith'', the titular Blacksmith, Luke, is burdened with guilt for directly or indirectly causing the death of his childhood friend Lisa (pronounced "Leeza", not "Leesa"...). Eventually he finds out the awful truth: He's angsting himself unnecessarily. Lisa voluntarily risked herself to protect him from BigBad Valbanill.
* The Sailor Team (Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Venus) in ''Anime/SailorMoon'' are unique in this aspect that they've actually literally died ''twice'' for Sailor Moon. The first time in the original series, Sailor Moon brings them back with the power of the Silver Crystal, but they lose their memories (anime-only). The second time, they actually die ''[[DeaderThanDead permanently]]'' at the hands of Galaxia, but... it gets complicated from there.
* Carrisford Radofrics in ''SoukouNoStrain'', the death of whom disturbingly mirrors Sara's previous loss of her friends at Grabera.
* Leomon, from ''Anime/DigimonTamers'', could fall under this as a male example. Juri blamed herself for his death, and how she coped with it led to the D-Reaper almost destroying the world. She later realises what Leomon meant in his dying words to her (whether this lesson is about destiny or her [[DubInducedPlotHole having a lion's heart]] depends on the region), and begins to fight back against the D-Reaper.
** Wizardmon from ''Anime/DigimonAdventure'' is probably this for Gatomon, as even by season 02 when his digital ghost reappears, it still haunts her and the rest of the chosen children from the first series to this day.
* Haku and Zabuza very much fill this role in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''. While their deaths weren't directly caused by Naruto or Team 7 (although it's arguable that Kakashi caused the death of Haku), they forced the three to realize the suffering that came with being a ninja, and inspired Naruto to create his own way of the ninja - to never go back on his words.
** Kakashi has lived a life full of regrets because he blames himself for both of his teammates' deaths. Unfortunately, only Rin died. Obito didn't, and let's just say [[UnderStatement he didn't take Rin's death too well...]]
* Kisara from the last arc of ''Anime/YuGiOh'' is a prime example. Seto's romantic interest, she sacrifices herself to protect him and gives him the power of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. This is what finally motivates him to reject the DarkSide.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' has at least Euphemia and Shirley, the latter eventually kick starts Lelouch's [[ThanatosGambit Zero Requiem]].
* ''LightNovel/KazeNoStigma'' had the main character's lover die which motivated him to form the pact and create the story.
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', Ace's HeroicSacrifice caused Luffy to suffer a massive [[HeroicBSOD shutdown]], to the point he had to be carried off the battlefield by his allies. It's Ace's death that makes Luffy see that conviction and willpower isn't enough to become King of the Pirates, and that he's far too weak to go to the New World yet.
* In ''{{Guyver}}'' Chronos kidnaps Sho's father and turns him into a Zoanoid who rips out the Guyver's brain, causing Sho to go unconscious which leads the Guyver killing Sho's father on autopilot. Sho doesn't remember this, but he develops a psychological block against transforming. He doesn't find out about what he did until later on, where his angst lasts for about a minute before his [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome CMoA]] ensues.
* Simon in ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' blames himself for the death of Kamina. He does get better by episode 11 but watching 3 episodes of depressed Simon is no fun at all. His return kicks all kinds of ass, though. Yoko also seems to feel a degree of this, but for different reasons.
* In ''VampireKnight'', you have the death of [[TheWoobie Fuuka]], who is slowly falling into a Level E vampire in the light novel. It's all the more of a {{Tearjerker}} when it's [[DeclarationOfProtection Aidou]] who kills Fuuka [[StakingTheLovedOne at Fuuka's request]].
* In ''Manga/ACertainScientificRailgun'', Mikoto starts going into a mix of HeroicBSOD and a rage when she sees [[spoiler:her clones]] get killed by Accelerator.
* Edward Elric has this in spades in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''. He was unable to revive his mother, the botched attempt to revive his mother cost his brother his body, and he wasn't able to do anything better than attaching his brother's soul to a suit of armor, and then he wasn't able to save Nina. On top of that, he has a considerable amount of SurvivorGuilt from Hughes' death.
* In ''GuiltyCrown'', Hare is killed off in an explosion mostly to make Shu feel bad. [[ForgottenFallenFriend She's promptly forgotten about by the next episode.]]
* Issei in ''HighSchoolDXD'' experienced this when Asia had "died" the second time, causing him to activate [[DeadlyUpgrade Juggernaut Drive]] and ''eating'' Shalba Beelzebub, the guy responsible, ''alive''. He would have died too if it weren't for Vali's BigDamnHeroes moment where it was revealed he and his group were able to get Asia out of the void dimension.
* The news of Katie's death hits hard ''Manga/{{Alyosha}}'', for the first time feeling anger and pain for the death of anyone. Fortunately, it was just a DisneyDeath.
* Eren Yeager from ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' seems to be collecting them. As a child, he was helpless to save his mother from being eaten by a Titan. Years later, he becomes TheSixthRanger to TheSquad, a team of exceptionally skilled soldiers known as the Special Operations Squad. On their first mission together, he's repeatedly asked to [[ThePowerOfTrust believe]] in them and not take on the Female Titan. He decides to do just that, leaving them to face the Female Titan alone and watches helplessly from a distance as the entire squad is wiped out. He immediately blames himself for making the wrong decision, and goes on a RoaringRampageOfRevenge.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]
* Gwendolyn "Gwen" Stacy of ''Franchise/SpiderMan'' is the TropeNamer. In the story "Comicbook/TheNightGwenStacyDied", after Gwen (Spidey's LoveInterest at the time) is thrown off a bridge by the GreenGoblin, Spidey tries to use his webbing to save her... but pulls too quickly and snaps her neck. Her death had a particular impact on comic book fans because it was a ''rare'' and early example of an important character dying (and a subversion of NotTheFallThatKillsYou to boot). In any case, as if the [[DeathByOriginStory death of Uncle Ben]], which Peter really could have prevented, wasn't enough, Gwen's death, which may or may not have been preventable, sent Spider-Man spiraling into a whole new level of {{Wangst}}, especially since her father, a cop that [[DeathBySecretIdentity found out Peter was Spider-Man]], was an earlier example during a fight he had with Doctor Octopus.
** There was a comic in the 1980s when Spidey found himself in the Gwen Stacy situation again. This time he let the webline play out a bit after snagging the rescuee and decelerated them gradually. His thought balloons specifically noted he had learned from his mistake.
** Similar to the 80s example, an issue of ''Marvel Knights Spider-Man'' had the Green Goblin pull it again, with Mary Jane as the victim. Spider-Man demonstrated having learned from his mistake by firing ''multiple'' web-lines so that every part of MJ would have support and she wouldn't be harmed. This example is interesting because Spidey's internal monologue reveals that, not only was he using multiple weblines to prevent the same mishap, but he was deliberately using ''several times more than needed'', because he wasn't going to risk a thing if he could.
** There's also the "What if...?" comic in which Peter managed to save her. He jumped down instead of using his webbing. In the ''Film/SpiderManTrilogy'' this is exactly how he saves Mary Jane and Aunt May, who's put in the same situation.
** [[ComicBook/UltimateSpiderman Ultimate Gwen Stacy]] died too, at the hands of Carnage this time. Spider-Man wasn't even around this time, but that doesn't stop him from kicking himself about it. [[spoiler:It's later revealed that Carnage ''absorbed'' Gwen when it killed her, so she's not entirely "dead" and instead has Carnage as her SuperpoweredEvilSide.]]
*** This trope is the reason Miles Morales from the [[UltimateMarvel same universe]] would become the second Spider-Man, but with Peter Parker in the role of Gwen Stacy this time.
** Some insight to Peter's mind was revealed in ''ComicBook/HouseOfM'' where he wakes up next to Gwen instead of M.J. in the world that Scarlet Witch created had everyone's deepest desire come true. The theory was put forward that Peter's deepest desire was a world in which Gwen never died, and since he was in love with Gwen when she died it's no stretch at all to think they would have ended up married. That same world has Uncle Ben and Gwen's father still alive for similar reasons. Interestingly, Parker is also shown flirting with MJ at an interview for a new Spider-Man movie that they both star in together. Their chemistry together is noticed and discussed off-hand by other characters; the implication being that they are having an affair.
** In the alternate-future mini-series ''Comicbook/SpiderManReign'' you have a somewhat similar scenario where Peter falls into a deep, long depression after accidentally causing the death of his wife Mary Jane. The depth and duration of his despair here by all appearances dwarfs what he went through when Gwen died (he got over that fairly soon in the 1970s, in no small part due to the unexpected emotional support from MJ).
*** In that example, he doesn't even get over it enough to put on his costume again until her ghost (or something like a ghost) tells him that her final words to him ("go…") were actually cut short. She really meant to say, "Go get 'em tiger" one more time so he would know she was proud of him and didn't blame him for her death.
* ''{{Franchise/Batman}}'': Jason Todd, the second Robin, who is [[ADeathInTheFamily beaten by the Joker]] to within an inch of his life with a crowbar, and later killed in an explosion. It's often mentioned as Batman's greatest defeat, and shaped his current personality to a significant degree. Ironically, when Todd comes back to life and Batman apologizes, Todd reveals that he forgave Bruce for letting him die. He was enraged, however, to discover that he had let the Joker live.
** This is referenced, of all places, in the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' episode "Emperor Joker". However since Todd's death doesn't fit the show either in continuity or theme, we can assume it was just part of Bat-Mite's ramblings (note how Batman doesn't react to it.)
** This scenario was repeated in recent comics by the death of the most current Robin, Damian Wayne. Bruce's son. However, he wasn't killed by the Joker, he was killed by the order of his own mother, Talia al Ghul. Damian's death has sent Bruce over an edge to the point where he tried to force Jason to remember how he came back to life, and even broke a girl's nose to dissuade her from helping him fight crime.
* [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome Awesomely]] subverted in ''[[ComicBook/RobinSeries Red Robin]]'' #10. Prudence (a former partner of Tim Drake in the League of Assassins) pulls a gun on the new Batgirl, Stephanie Brown, and says she was assigned to kill her. Tim has a time-slows-down/flashback monologue about how he can't possibly stop her in time and Steph is going to die and it's all his fault and he shouldn't have let her get involved in this... on the next page, Steph ("No, not Steph. ''Batgirl''.") immediately disarms and wipes the floor with Prudence. The look on Tim's face is priceless. That the gun wasn't loaded in the first place (Prudence was just testing Steph's reactions) doesn't diminish the awesome at all.
* In PreCrisis {{Superman}} stories, Superman felt guilt for the rest of his life because, despite being the most powerful person in the world, he wasn't able to save Ma and Pa Kent from the rare disease that killed them. In addition to being an additional source of angst for a guy who was already the poster child for SurvivorsGuilt, it was also an important lesson in humility for the man who can move planets, teaching him that even he has limits. Of course, after the PostCrisis reboot, Ma and Pa Kent never died.
** A later story had Lois and Lana infected with the same disease. The cure came from Superman's own blood.
* In the Marvel [[ComicBook/TheTransformers Transformers Generation One]] comics, Autobot spy Scrounge was Blaster's friend, even if he did have a tendency to report one too many false claims. However, Scrounge later died in a smelting pool trying to relay information about Optimus Prime's whereabouts, and with Blaster's help succeeded. Blaster was angsting ever since.
* In [[Creator/KaboomComics Boom! Kids]]' ''ComicBook/DarkwingDuck'' series, one of the alternate universe Darkwings fights with a bow and arrows, because, in his universe, his [[HappilyAdopted daughter]] Gosalyn pulled a HeroicSacrifice, and there was nothing he could do to save her. He took up her weapons and changed his name to Quiverwing Quack, in remembrance of her.
** Another alternate universe Darkwing lost his Gosalyn and it made an impact on him as well, but he tried to cope with it in an entirely different manner; by changing his name to Darkwarrior Duck and then [[KnightTemplar cleaning up his St. Canard by killing his enemies one by one]].
* In ''ElfQuest'', healer Leetah has never seen death before when her friend Thiro suddenly dies from an animal attack. She realizes that because of her healer magic, the villagers had grown careless; but also that because she was so confident of her abilities, she was never prepared to deal with serious injury. To understand death, she ends up stabbing herself on purpose and healing her own mortal wounds, and becomes a stronger and more responsible healer by doing so.
* SonicTheHedgehog went into a HeroicBSOD in ''SonicTheComic'' when Chaos killed Johnny.
* Deconstructed in the original ''ComicBook/MarshalLaw'' miniseries. Marshal Law's girlfriend Lynn is raped and murdered by superpowered SerialKiller the Sleepman. It is then revealed that [[spoiler:the Sleepman is actually Marshal Law's MissionControl, and that the influence of Marshal Law's ultraviolent and sadistic approach to law enforcement played a major role in corroding his fragile mental and moral state to the point that he started killing people.]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanworks]]
* Happens a lot in 'Regular Show' fanfics where Rigby becomes Mordecai's Gwen Stacy in the "Rigby dies and Mordecai suffers from it" fics.
* [[OriginalCharacter Tsukey]] is this for [[{{Homestuck}} Tavros]] in {{Fanfic/Hivefled}}. She was one of the members of the sufferist cult and his former palecrush; he couldn't convince her to come with the main cast, and she was later captured, tortured for information and eventually killed, [[spoiler: becoming one of the [[OurGhostsAreDifferent Kin]] along the way.]]
* Subverted in ''[[FanFic/UltimateSleepwalker Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams]]'' when the Green Goblin throws Gwen Stacy off the bridge and Spider-Man jumps after her to save her. He successfully manages to do so by spinning a full-fledged web net that cushions Gwen's entire body and prevents her from being hurt. Unfortunately, the Goblin had anticipated Spider-Man being able to save her, and plans to attack them while Spider-Man is getting Gwen to safety so they ''both'' fall to their deaths. [[spoiler:Luckily, he didn't anticipate Sleepwalker catching up to the scene and distracting him, giving Spider-Man the time he needs to get Gwen to safety...]]
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* After Captain George Stacy died helping Spider-Man stop the Lizard in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan'', Peter's guilt over this event essentially plays out in this manner in ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan2'', as he struggles with his love for Gwen and his fears that his being Spider-Man will lead to her dying. Towards the end of the film, Spider-Man finds himself trying to save Gwen from falling to her death in a clock tower whilst fighting off the Green Goblin; at the same time he knocks out the Goblin, however, the webline that Gwen is hanging from snaps and Spidey dives after her. Realising he won't reach Gwen before she hits the floor, Peter fires a webline to Gwen and grabs hold of a pole to stop their falls, the sudden stop causing the webline to go taut and the resulting recoil caused Gwen's head to hit the ground. Peter's guilt and depression over not being able to save Gwen sees him quit being Spider-Man for 5 months.
* ''Film/{{Superman}}'' (1978). There is a giant earthquake that threatens the very existence of California. Superman races against time to seal the fault before catastrophic damage is unleashed. While successful, several aftershocks occur, forcing Superman to complete several daring rescues (e.g., saving a school bus from falling over the railings of a crumbling Golden Gate Bridge and a train from falling into a hole in the tracks). While Superman is kept busy with rescue after rescue, Lois Lane is caught in one of the aftershocks while driving on a little-used road. The car - which stalls after running out of gas - begins to fall into a large crack, and the car is caught in an avalanche of debris and dirt before Lois can escape; she is eventually suffocated. Superman finally locates Lois' car, finds her dead and screams in {{angst}}.
** The trope is quickly reversed when the distraught Superman – ignoring Jor-El's admonition to not alter human history – reverses time to the point where Lex Luthor unleashed his evil plan (setting off the above ground nuclear explosion), and thus saves Lois.
* Deja in ''Film/HigherLearning'' has a relationship with main character Malik up until the end, where she is a victim of a campus shooting spree. This causes Malik to straighten up and fly right at the very end of the film.
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', Rachel becomes Batman's Gwen Stacy when her warehouse blows up. This takes an emotional toll on Batman for the rest of the movie and raises the stakes of his feud with the Joker. She could also be considered a Gwen Stacy for Harvey Dent, as he had been saved in her place, likely thinking Batman chose to save him because he was more important to Gotham (when actually it was because the Joker lied). This has the opposite effect of pushing Harvey down the path to villainy.
* Shmi Skywalker and Padme in the ''Franchise/StarWars'' prequels could be considered Anakin Skywalker's Gwen Stacys, as they both fed into his wangst that aided his FaceHeelTurn. The former's death he believed he could have prevented if he had stayed at home, while the latter he believed that he had accidentally killed (after all the trouble he went through [[LoveMakesYouEvil turning evil to save her]]).
* In the second ''Film/AustinPowers'', Vanessa becomes this for all of thirty seconds before Austin realizes that this means he's single and available. [[MoodWhiplash Cue theme song.]]
* This is the fate for Jean Grey at the end of ''Film/X2XMenUnited'' for both Cyclops and Wolverine - though Cyclops, being married to her, takes it a lot harder. Of course she comes back with an appropriate FaceHeelTurn.
* Piper Perabo's character in ''Film/ThePrestige'' who drowns during a botched escape trick, causing her husband to declare a vendetta against the man who tied the knots around her wrists.
* ''Film/SilenceOfTheLambs'' gives us a more symbolic Gwen Stacy: when Clarice Starling was young, she was woken up by lambs being led to a slaughter. This motivated her to try to save one, but she failed at this; at a later age, she went on to join the FBI, and while on the Buffalo Bill case, Hannibal Lecter gets her to relate this story. At the end, after Lecter escapes custody and Buffalo Bill is caught, he calls Clarice to ask her "Have the lambs stopped screaming?", driving the role of the lamb as a metaphorical Gwen Stacy.
* In ''Film/TheAvengers'', NickFury decides to enforce this trope in-universe, with Agent Phil Coulson as the Gwen Stacy of the situation, using Coulson's death to motivate the Avengers to assemble and save the Earth.
* Invoked in the Live-Action ''Manga/DeathNote'' movies. Light uses his Death Note to kill Naomi Misora...by ''having her kill his girlfriend'' and be so horrified at her actions she commits suicide (he can do this by detailing how they both die in the notebook). He then plays this card with L, talking about how his girlfriend is dead because of the Kira case and asking to be put on the case to catch Kira (really so he can get inside information on the people trying to stop him). L agrees, but makes it very clear he's not falling for it.
* In ''Disney/WreckItRalph'', this is Calhoun's tragic backstory is that her fiance was eaten by a Cy-Bug on their wedding day because she had forgotten to do a perimeter check. This whole "tragic backstory" is deliberately played up to absurd levels, as the bug comes out of nowhere, and she immediately pulls out a giant minigun from under her dress and starts shooting, screaming in terror. [[spoiler: She and the other soldiers have learned from this mistake, as seen in her and Felix's wedding]].
* ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'' has this for Joe Brody. Back in 1999, he had his wife Sandra go down to investigate the Janjira NPP's reactor in the wake of mysterious tremors. Not only did this put her in harm's way when there was a breach, he ends up having to close the blast doors on her and her team in order to keep radioactive gas from leaking into the rest of the city. His obsession with figuring out the cause of the breach that killed his wife leads to him discovering that [[{{Kaiju}} some large, strange entity]] is now active in the ruins of the facility.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* Susan Delgado for Roland in ''Franchise/TheDarkTower'' series.
** Not to mention his mother, who he was tricked into shooting to death.
* This trope has also happened to ''Literature/JamesBond''. In ''Literature/OnHerMajestysSecretService'', Bond ends up marrying the GirlOfTheWeek. She is then killed by Bond's enemies, leaving him emotionally distraught.
* Happens to Kethlun on Yali's account in ''[[Literature/CircleOfMagic Shatterglass]],'' combined with StuffedInTheFridge.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'', Lily Potter is this for Severus Snape.
-->'''Dumbledore''': After all this time?
-->'''Snape:''' Always.
** The seventh book loved this trope. First, played straight with [[KickTheDog Hedwig]]. Averted later, [[DroppedABridgeOnHim as many characters die]] and there isn't much {{Angst}} about it.
* In ''[[EndersGame Ender's Shadow]]'', Bean blames himself for not saving Poke's life from Achilles.
* In the Prologue of Literature/TheAlloyOfLaw, Bloody Tan manages to maneuver Wax into shooting and killing his girlfriend, Wax spends the rest of the book dealing with the trauma.
* In Creator/TomKratman's ''Literature/{{Caliphate}}'', Hamilton having to give the order to bomb the position where an already-wounded Laurie Hodge (his girlfriend) was surrounded by Filipino Muslim rebels and about to be raped is enough to push him to leave the military.
* Elizabeth in "Literature/{{Frankenstein}}"
* [[ASongOfIceAndFire Eddard Stark]] has never forgiven himself failing to rescue his sister and fulfills her LastRequest until he dies, though we don't know what it was and we can only suppose.
* Katniss never gets over not being able to save [[spoiler: Rue]] in ''TheHungerGames''.
* ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'': Chandra Nalaar explains in ''Literature/ThePurifyingFire'' that when she was young and first discovering her extraordinary talent for [[PlayingWithFire pyromancy]], she lit a large bonfire outside of her village. Soldiers from TheEmpire saw the flames and believed the village was training an army of pyromancers to overthrow the government. They barricaded all of the villagers inside their houses and let them burn to the ground. The trauma ignited Chandra's planeswalker spark, and she fled her home. She never returned, but she couldn't leave behind the guilt of inadvertently causing the death of all her friends and family.
* Zephyr in Literature/TheWindwaterPack never really gets over Cypress's death, or his mother's, and losing his pups just digs the wound deeper.
* Rachel's death at the end of the last Literature/{{Animorphs}} book breaks both Jake and Tobias completely. Tobias abandons all pretense of humanity and gives in to the hawk morph entirely for years, while Jake falls into a [[ShellShockedVeteran long depression]] that takes the rest of the Animorphs [[GetAHoldOfYourselfMan beating the crap out of him to snap him out of.]] Jake is the straighter example of the two since being the leader it's his orders which resulted in Rachel's death.
* The ''Casefiles'' version of ''Literature/TheHardyBoys'' has Joe angsting and seeking revenge against the Assassins through several books after his long-time girlfriend, Iola, accidentally sets off a car bomb meant for the brothers.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Many in ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', since this is a Joss Whedon show after all; Tara may be the most notable.
* In the ''DoctorWho'' mini-episode "The Night of the Doctor", the Eighth Doctor meets a prospective companion, Cass, who turns out to be a soldier in a war with his species. When he shows her the TARDIS, she realizes ''what'' he is and refuses to board, despite his lame protestations that he's "[[DamnedByFaintPraise one of the nice ones]]." Cass' ship goes down, she is killed in the crash. This turns out to be the lever which causes the Doctor to join the war effort: As an act of solidarity with Cass' cause, Eight takes her bandoleer [[spoiler:and regenerates into the War Doctor]], a soldier with no particular allegiance to either side in the war - only its victims.
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': There was absolutely nothing Brienne of Tarth could do to defend [[spoiler:her beloved king against Melisandre's black magic, but she nevertheless feels horrible that she couldn't save Renly Baratheon.]]
* On the reimagined ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'', President Roslin was forced to make a split-second decision to shoot down the ''Olympic Carrier'' (a commercial space liner) when it began a kamikaze maneuver. She reveals in a later episode that she carries around index cards as a reminder of her past mistakes. The latest one says "Olympic Carrier".
* {{Series/Angel}}'s very first client, a waitress with a stalker problem, ended up being murdered on his watch.
** The finale even featured a villain listing off all the people Angel failed to protect over the course of the show.
* ''Series/FamilyMatters'': The 1991 VerySpecialEpisode "I Should Have Done Something" sees Carl unusually apprehensive and crabby (even for him) as the one-year anniversary of a hostage situation gone wrong approaches. Carl blames himself for the hostage's murder, despite being told time and again that he and the other officers handled the situation correctly. Incidentally, it is only after Carl goes to the old man's grave and breaks down in tears as he begs for the victim's forgiveness that he is approached by the old man's widow, who helps Carl realize that he was not to blame for her husband's death.
* Josette [=DuPres=], fiance of Barnabas Collins in ''Series/DarkShadows''.
* Sam from ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' had prophetic dreams about girlfriend Jessica's murder, and felt he should have been able to save her; both she and his mother were targeted (and killed) because of their relationship to him. Cue self-hatred.
* Sha're becomes this for Daniel Jackson in ''Series/StargateSG1'' when she is kidnapped and possessed by a Goa'uld in the pilot. Many of the early seasons are spent with Daniel Jackson wangsting over not being yet able to save her. Eventually she is killed by Teal'c, nearly causing Daniel to quit the team. He doesn't and Status Quo returns because he find out she has a baby for him to rescue.
** After they're found, Skaara appears a few times, but Daniel hardly mentions his wife again. The child appears on two more occasions, outside of which ''he'' isn't mentioned again either.
* Caitlin almost becomes this for Peter in ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', except he quickly forgets she ever exists, and leaves her in a disease-stricken alternate reality (which no longer exists after solving the season's plot means that it won't come to pass.) [[PutOnABusToHell Oh well, that's life]]. Same for Simone in Season 1 when she is forgotten almost as quickly as she is killed. Charlie Andrews was Hiro's Gwen Stacy (which was even [[GenreSavvy mentioned within the show]]). Except now, thanks to Hiro's time-meddling, she's alive again, at least.
* ''{{Homeland}}'': One of Carrie's contacts dies due to her inability to protect the operative. She blames the person's death on herself and doesn't cope with it well. She and the rest of the CIA also treat 9/11 as this, though it more MyGreatestFailure.
* In ''Series/{{Torchwood}}: Children of Earth'', Ianto Jones is killed off (due to the Captain's actions), causing Jack huge amounts of angst.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'': Shannon for Sayid, Libby for Hurley, Juliet for Sawyer, and Charlotte for Daniel. Arguably Nadia for Sayid, once he leaves the island.
* In the ''HumanTarget'' episode "Christopher Chance" it's revealed that Chance left Katherine alone long enough for Baptiste to blow up the boat she was hiding in, a mistake that cemented his HeelFaceTurn and one he's still atoning for.
** It also reveals the reason for why he refuses to leave a client alone.
* Clark Kent on ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' {{Wangst}}s about any death that he fails to prevent, although [[spoiler:Jonathan]]'s death probably is the best example.
* Jesse Pinkman from ''Series/BreakingBad'' feels this way about his girlfriend Jane's death from a heroin overdose, and it takes him much of a season to finally overcome the guilt.
* Series/House has two: first, Amber "Cutthroat Bitch" Volakis, one of the candidates for House's diagnostic team in Season 4 who didn't make the cut, but later returned as Wilson's girlfriend. She was on a bus with House when she came to take him home after he went drinking when the bus crashed. Amber suffered injuries that, combined with flu medication, caused her to suffer multiple organ failure and die. House's guilt over her death remained seeded in him before manifesting in Season 5 as a Vicodin-induced hallucination. The second is Lawrence Kutner, a member of the team who committed suicide in Season 5. House convinced himself for some time that it was actually murder, since suicide would've meant that he never caught on to his problems. When House hallucinates both Amber and Kutner at the end of Season 5, he concedes that he needs help and checks himself into a psychiatric hospital. Both hallucinations [[BackForTheFinale return one last time for the series finale]] when House begins to ponder whether his own life is worth living.
* In ''Series/CriminalMinds'', Hotch spends most the episode "Omnivore" angsting about all of the people he could have saved if he hadn't given up on finding the Boston Reaper. Rossi snaps him out of it with the healing, healing power of caustic mockery.
--> '''Rossi''': So you think this is ''your'' fault?
--> '''Hotch''': ''(voice tight)'' It is.
--> '''Rossi''': Well, here, use mine. ''(offers Hotch his gun)'' No, really, you've convinced me. You hung up on him, practically killed them yourself. Go on, get it over with. Don't worry about us, we'll get this guy without you.
--> '''Hotch''': Dave, I had ten years to do something about this!
--> '''Rossi''': Shaughnessy made [[DealWithTheDevil the deal]]. The killing stopped, he closed the case and sent the BAU away. For ten years you worked on other cases, active cases-
--> '''Hotch''': But I kept coming back to this profile.
--> '''Rossi''': Hey, I was retired! Should I blame myself for every victim that got killed when I was on my book tour? Look, if you wanna end up like Shaughnessy, like [[LeavingYouToFindMyself Gideon]], blaming yourself for everything, you go ahead. But that voice in your head? It's not your conscience, it's your ''ego''. This isn't about us, Aaron, it's about the bad guys. That's why ''we'' profile ''them'', it's their fault. We're just guys doing a job, and when we stop doing it, someone else will. Trust me, I know.
--> '''Hotch''': ''(gesturing to the gun)'' You can put that away now.
--> '''Rossi''': You sure?
--> '''Hotch''': [[LampshadeHanging Yeah, it was a little dramatic, don't you think?]]
--> '''Rossi''': My wife always said I had a flair for the dramatic.
--> '''Hotch''': [[MoodWhiplash Which one?]]
--> '''Rossi''': [[MoodWhiplash All of 'em.]]
--> '''Hotch''': [[MoodWhiplash Thanks.]]
--> '''Rossi''': [[MoodWhiplash Anytime.]]
* An interesting version occurs for ''Series/{{Monk}}'': Although Monk does not continuously blame himself for his wife's death (although for the first season or two he does), he does blame his failure to locate the true murderer and bring them to justice, due to his excellent deductive skills. It is this reason why Monk feels he has to solve every crime and murder he comes across to make up for his failure.
* ''Series/PersonOfInterest'': Jessica called Reese for help, but he was on a mission and couldn't be there in time.
* Parodied (along with many other PoliceProcedural tropes) in the ''Series/ThirtyRock'' episode "Alexis Goodlooking and the Case of the Missing Whisky," where Jenna has a whodunit storyline in which she draws on her experience playing TV detective Alexis Goodlooking ([[DoubleMeaningTitle "who is also good-looking, and her special ability is being good at looking for clues"]]). From a clip of the failed pilot:
-->'''Alexis:''' Let's get forensics in here. Have the techs lift a latent print and run it against AFIS. Maybe the perp's in the system. ''[thousand-yard stare]'' [[ThatMakesMeFeelAngry Unlike my husband's killer, who got away and it haunts me.]]
* Happens to Hercules in Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys twice with both his wives. Both are killed by the Gods to spite him.
* [[spoiler: Allison's death]] in Teen Wolf. The fact that she was Scott's main love interest and his 'anchor', and the fact that Allison was the female lead probably doesn't help the case either.
--> '''Scott''': I can't take your pain!
--> '''Allison''': That's because it doesn't hurt...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* ''{{Bionicle}}'':
** Lhikan pulled a HeroicSacrifice to save Vakama, when Vakama tried to use the Mask of Time. This gave Vakama the extra determination he needed to cripple the Makuta, so he and the other [[{{FiveManBand/Toys}} Toa Metru]] could [[SealedEvilInACan seal him away]].
** Early in his career as a Toa, Lesovikk accidentally led his team into an group of [[EnemyToAllLivingThings Zyglak]] and, because of his hesitation, all of his teammates, including his [[strike: girlfriend]] [[NoHuggingNoKissing best friend]] Nikila, were killed. He spent the next several thousand years trying to redeem himself.
** While on the quest for the Seventh Toa, Jaller was killed while protecting Takua, which prompted the latter to don the mask and turn into Takanuva and fight Teridax. Unlike other examples, after Takanuva achieved this goal Jaller was revived (although he didn't know this would happen at the time).
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'': Aerith Gainsborough for Cloud. Actually, her example is to video game fans what Gwen's was for comic fans for the very same reasons. Her death provides the motive for Cloud to take down Sephiroth, but he is still angsting about it by the time [[AdventChildren the movie]] comes around, though ''AdventChildren Complete'' and other materials make it clear that his angst in the film also relates to his failure to find a cure for the Geostigma, afflicting himself and Denzel, a hefty dose of survivor's guilt towards Zack, and depression and anxiety are symptoms of Geostigma.
* Detective Badd blames himself for Cece Yew's death in ''VisualNovel/AceAttorney''.
** Played with in ''Trials and Tribulations''. Phoenix never blamed himself for Mia's death, but Godot sure did. [[spoiler:For clarity: while Godot ''outwardly'' blames Phoenix for most of the game, at the end of the game Godot admits that, more than anything, he blamed ''himself'' for not being able to be there, even though he was comatose and near death himself.]]
* ''BaldursGate2'' has a particularly interactive version of this trope. Half way through the game, your ally and party member Yoshimo, if traveling with you, reveals that he's been magically forced to spy on you, and fights you to the death. This is unlike most other forms of the trope where the main character is the target. This time it targets the player. It relies on the fact that the player has probably invested quite a bit of effort in building Yoshimo.
* Iris to Zero in ''VideoGame/MegaManX4''. Specifically, Zero was the one who accidentally killed her, and they were set up as a couple, even. Granted, she was already on her way out since she absorbed her brother's DNA, because the whole reason they're siblings is because the original reploid they were meant to be could not handle the stresses of being together. However, Zero does feel guilt over the fact that he had to be the one to [[ShootTheDog put her down]], to the point that he tries to avoid all attachment to prevent that kind of loss again.
** Zero drops a single line about this in ''VideoGame/MegaManX5'' right before he is mortally wounded and lost in a collapsing base. It bugged him until ''VideoGame/MegaManZero 4'' when he finally realized who [[WorldOfCardboardSpeech he was fighting for.]]
* Maria Robotnik serves this role for ''ShadowTheHedgehog''.
* Isara in ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'' gets shot at one point during the game, causing everyone to be depressed and then motivated to fight for her sake for the next couple of chapters. It can be a little jarring, though, because it's possible to [[AnyoneCanDie lose other members of Squad 7]] in ordinary battles. Even if you're acutely aware of GameplayAndStorySegregation, it's hard not to be upset at the main cast for dropping everything to mourn for Isara, but not batting an eye at your favorite squad member (who's been in just as many battles as they have) getting killed.
** But if you play like a lot of people do in game that have Final Deaths like Fire Emblem that would be the first death that happened to them so then they have a reason to be depressed and furthermore if I'm not mistaken it's canon that no-one minus Isara actually died during the game.
** In ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChroniclesIII'', not only the PowerTrio let their Gwen Stacy [[spoiler:Gusurg]] die, they even [[ShootTheDog shoot him himself]]. There's even a {{DLC}} specifically [[DeathNotification dealing]] with the psychological aftermath.
* Temporarily hit Lamia Loveless in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars OG Gaiden'', whereas although she was really just separated due to a shot that hit somewhere else, Kyosuke Nanbu thought she's dead and goes a bit of a {{Wangst}} followed by a HeroicBSOD about not letting anyone else suffer her fate. Until eventually she came back BrainwashedAndCrazy, and sets up for Axel Almer's HeelFaceTurn event.
** Kyosuke had a good reason for the {{Angst}}. He '''had''' rescued Lamia, was holding her in the palm of the Alt's (his Mech) hand and was talking to her. Unfortunately, he had also let his guard down (something he often warned others against), and the shot that was fired was aimed at the hand that was holding Lamia, causing him to ''throw'' her away and out of the reach of the others. And according to Axel, if he did not interfere, he predicts that Kyosuke would [[DespairEventHorizon fall into despair]] out of this trope... and turns into another world-destroying maniac like [[EvilTwin Beowulf]]. It's ''that'' bad.
** Also previously in ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWarsAlpha 3'', this hit Aya Kobayashi earlier when Ryusei launched a reckless attack against Balmar general Hazal Gozzo, and from that, not just Aya is thought to be dead, SRX is destroyed. Turns out she's just captured and the Balmar made a great use of her psychic power to make Mai's greater psychic power to run amok and threaten the party. But all is well when it turns out Aya has been rescued by both [[DefectorFromDecadence Luria Qayitz and]] [[BoisterousBruiser Baran Doban]].
* South Town, where Terry Bogard used to hang his hat, serves this role in the NESTS arc of ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters''. If ''Another Day'' is canon, it suggests that South Town is rebuilt by the time the events of the Ash saga roll around.
* Alice Elliot in the ''ShadowHearts'' series falls into this trope. Unless of course you get the good ending in the first game and ignore the second entirely.
* In ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'', if the player turns Heather into a ghoul, she will be killed by the Sabbat towards the end of the game. This is mainly to give player more of a reason to hate the Sabbat. It is possible to save her by just letting her go soon enough.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' has Rachel, who serves as TheGwenStacy for Locke. One day, while exploring a cave with Rachel, he was too slow to keep her from falling down a cliff, which led to her contracting amnesia. Her parents blamed Locke and drove him from the village, and while he was away, Rachel was killed in an Imperial attack. Locke fully blames himself for once again not being there to protect her, like he promised he would. This is why he makes it his mission to protect Terra and Celes.
* ''VideoGame/InFamous'': Trish. Her death not only teaches Cole that the lives of many outweigh the life of the few but is the final push for him to kill Kessler and complete the predestination paradox.
* ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha'' has Charlie, who is fated to die and drive Guile to destroy Shadaloo. His Alpha 3 ending offers a happier, if not more gratuitous ending where Charlie [[MoreDakka nukes the Shadaloo base and shoots up Bison with the guns of a harrier jet]].
** Don't worry, they fixed it when they added Guile's ending. HeroicSacrifice away!
* [[AntiHero Antiheroic]] example: [[VideoGame/GodOfWar Kratos']] wife and daughter.
* Arguably, Hinawa and Claus (The Latter of which CameBackWrong) for Lucas and Flint in ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}''.
* ''VideoGame/ShogoMobileArmorDivision'' has several in its backstory:
** For the main protagonist Sanjuro, his first girlfriend Kura, his brother Toshiro, and their friend Baku. Subverted that they were alive all along.
** Played more straight in the case of Sanjuro's commanding officer Admiral Akaraju. His wife was killed in during an earlier battle with the Fallen. He became [[WellIntentionedExtremist determined to wipe them out]] since then.
* ''Space Griffin VF9'' being a survival horror, has it in spades as EVERYONE wangsts each time one of the team dies, and boy is there a lot of dying! [[IdiotBall Most of the time]] it's [[GenreBlindness because one of them went off to explore on their own]]. Cue rest of team Gwen Stacying. Granted, they ARE in MacrossMecha, but it's an ABANDONED DERELICT SPACE STATION where so much blood is spilled the hangar looks like it came straight from Franchise/SilentHill on the hell side. [[TooDumbToLive You'd think they would know better]] even if they are in 20 foot tall death machines...
* In the first video game adaptation of ''VideoGame/TheDarkness'', Jackie is unable to prevent the death of his girlfriend Jenny.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' opens with this in a more minor example, as Shepard remarks feeling regret that they were unable to save a young boy from getting zapped by the Reapers on Earth, though the boy is actually just the face Shepard remembers when thinking about all the people dying on Earth to the Reaper invasion.
** Notably, the original game initially seems averts this with the death of either Kaidan or Ashley on Virmire, as Shepard is the one who rationalizes to the survivor that a choice had to be made. The second and third games, however, show that it was not a death that Shepard ordered lightly, and they regret that there was no other choice.
* Can happen two different ways in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV'' depending on the player's choice earlier to either go along with the deal with Dimitri or take the opportunity to exact revenge. In the former scenario, an assassin sent by Dimitri tries to kill Niko but, as Niko tries to wrestle the gun away, ends up shooting Niko's cousin Roman at his wedding instead. In the latter scenario, Niko's girlfriend Kate is gunned down at the same wedding when irate mob boss Jimmy Pegorino tries to off Niko in a driveby. In both scenarios, Niko blames himself for allowing other people to get close to him, knowing the risks of his criminal lifestyle. The death then provides the motivation for the final mission in the game.
* This is the reason for Lon'qu's aversion of women in ''FireEmblemAwakening'': his FirstLove, Ke'ri, pulled an HeroicSacrifice to save him from bandits, so his "aversion" is much more about him believing that [[CartwrightCurse he will bring women misfortune and death]]. His supports reveal that while the family of the girl who died has eventually forgiven him, he hasn't forgiven himself and has constant nightmares over it.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' does this several times. One of Hawke's sibling's dies to darkspawn at the start, with the other either falling to the taint or being forcibly recruited by the end of the first act. Later, the player's mother is also killed by a crazed murderer. None of these have any foreshadowing or plot implications, and the only emotional attachment felt by the player was probably to any equipment the second sibling happened to be wearing.
* [[spoiler: The entire town of Akzeriuth getting destroyed]] serves as this for [[spoiler: Luke]] in ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'', prompting a massive personality 180 as he tries to make up for it. Although he was manipulated into making it happen, the party still holds him partially responsible for [[PoorCommunicationKills keeping them in the dark about what was going on until it was too late to stop it.]]
* Part of the reason the plot of ''VideoGame/InjusticeGodsAmongUs'' happen: Superman got hit with a Fear Toxin by Joker and thought he was fighting Doomsday by taking him to space... only to reveal that he's actually taking ''Lois Lane and her unborn baby'' (he's the dad). They die, and her death triggered a nuclear explosion that levels down Metropolis. Most of it was Joker's fault, but part of Superman's descent of evil was because of the loss of Lois and Metropolis.
* ''{{Final Fantasy XIII}}'': No less than ''three'' people feel this way towards Serah. First and foremost, her sister Lightning and fiancé Snow, the former for not believing her at a key moment, the latter for accidentally getting her captured by a fal'Cie, both of them blaming themselves for her subsequent transformation into a human paperweight. In this iteration, she gets better, but after [[TheHeroDies dropping dead]] at the [[{{Final Fantasy XIII-2}} end of the second game]], Lightning, Snow ''and'' Noel get this trope in spades. [[spoiler:Again, she gets better, due to the universe being rebooted]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', Torg gets more than one. First, relatively early on, there's Valerie, whom he has to kill as a vampire and whom he later in the story (but chronologically earlier because of TimeTravel) fails to save from becoming one. Then, in 2004, an alternative version of Zoë whom he had promised to protect and was in a relationship with dies too. His well-grounded fear after that is that his dimension's Zoë will be the next (life-threatening situations ''have'' [[WeirdnessMagnet much more common in her life since befriending Torg]]). However, when Zoë is seemingly killed/left in a FateWorseThanDeath, Torg goes through a lot of mental gymnastics to convince himself she's alive and perfectly okay, [[AvertedTrope averting]] this trope.
* In ''OurLittleAdventure'', [[http://danielscreations.com/ola/comics/ep0190.html Julie is overwrought by Pauline's death when she was leader.]]
* In ''{{Webcomic/Freefall}}'', [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff2300/fc02274.htm Florence is distressed when she realizes that she is too late to save one robot, whose personality is irrevocably destroyed.]]
* After the Disney/Marvel merger was announced, ''Webcomic/SomethingPositive'' couldn't help but poke fun with a possible crossover - ''[[http://www.somethingpositive.net/sp08312009.shtml The Night Goof Stacy Died]]''.
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', the [[http://www.egscomics.com/index.php?id=518 revelation that Mr. Guyur, who Damien killed right in front of Grace, was her father]] is this for her as it leads her to [[http://www.egscomics.com/index.php?id=530 vow to never again let something like that happen again]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Originals]]
* ''WebVideo/ThereWillBeBrawl'': For Luigi, Daisy has this role.
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic ever since ''WebVideo/SuburbanKnights'' [[spoiler: where Ma-Ti sacrificed himself to defeat Malachite]] has been spiraling down the SanitySlippage.
* In ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'', Dr. Horrible's actions lead to the death of [[spoiler: Penny]] causing him to become cold, as shown at the end of the movie.
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* Morph in the 1990s ''WesternAnimation/{{X-Men}}'' series, a character created just so he could die in the first episode and give the characters (mostly {{Wolverine}}) a personal reason to fight. He came back later though, but as a bad guy, and it takes Wolvie a LOT to bring him back to the side of good...
** This is especially evident at the beginning of season 2. Morph had 'died' in part because Wolverine was forcefully prevented from going back to help him after he was severely injured on a mission. When Wolverine discovers he's still alive, but in bad shape and on the run, he initially ignores the others (that think Morph should be left alone to sort things out for himself), and chases Morph all the way to the Amazon, rather than "abandon" him again. He eventually does let him go...but he and Cyclops, who gave the order to leave him behind (and Jean), immediately fly off to what appears to be Australia as soon as Morph calls them for help in the season finale.
* Ironically enough, this was [[SparedByTheAdaptation averted with Gwen Stacy]] of ''TheSpectacularSpiderMan''. The question of whether or not she will die was one of the most frequently asked of the fandom. Viewers assumed she would be fine as long as she stayed away from bridges and the Green Goblin.
** She started dating Harry though.......She never got near a bridge at least.
** WordOfGod stated after the series ended that they hadn't intended to kill her.
** In ''{{Spider-Man the Animated Series}}'', Mary Jane instead received the Gwen Stacyesque treatment, but through the less permanent method of being dropped into a portal. Spider-Man goes through similar emotional torment. The adaption is taken even further: Mary Jane appears to return, and things proceed as normal and the two become HappilyMarried... and then MJ's revealed as a clone with the original's memories, and dies in that two-parter and there is nothing Peter can do (clones don't live very long). The same thing that happened some years after Gwen's death in the comics: she returned, and then revealed to be a clone made by the Jackal (meaning, the real Gwen was still dead and did not really return). At the final scene of the GrandFinale Madame Web took him along so that they can find her, as a reward for saving TheMultiverse; we don't see the actual reunion, but finding her is well within Madame Web's abilities.
*** WordOfGod said that if they'd done another season, he'd have found her in Victorian England. He was satisfied with the conclusion though, so no {{Wangst}} about that on his end.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', Aang angsts a LOT over running away from the Air Temple and believes himself to be the reason the Fire Nation was able to successfully raid and destroy the Air Temple.
** And a particularly good example, too. There's a possibility that if he'd been there during the attack, he could have re-enacted the Season One Finale with a hurricane or something. There's a ''much'' greater possibility that he'd have died as well, pretty much dooming the world. [[ThereAreNoCoincidences Running away was the right thing to do, even if he didn't know it at the time.]]
** There's also another possibility that while he could have fended off the war, there would have been nothing he could have done to save his friends, since the avatar state is a defense mechanism, not something he can call upon (at the time) at will.
** Sokka also goes through this. Since he was supposed to protect Yue, he blames himself for her death, even though she willingly sacrificed herself to save her tribe.
** Aang's situation kind of toys with it in numerous ways. For example had he died, there would most certainly have been another Avatar born in time to repel the Earth kingdom invasion, at least. This is why Sozin and Ozai needed him alive. But had he also died, there's no telling how his friends at the air temple may have taken it. [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation The series could have wound up with a completely different]] BigBad as any number of ripples could have expanded out from Aang's premature death defeating the Fire Nation armada.
* The Castle Wyvern clan in ''WesternAnimation/{{Gargoyles}}'' are a villainous Gwen Stacy for Demona, who has a [[HeroicBSOD meltdown]] when she realizes that she is responsible for their deaths and actually becomes immortal just so she can live long enough to kill all of humanity.
** Demona may be a subversion since she immediately backpedals and shifts ALL of the blame to humanity. The one time she admits culpability, it is under extreme duress and she backpedals again just as quickly.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'', #21 blames himself for #24's death at the end of the third season. As a result, #21 TookALevelInBadass.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'', Rodimus Prime's tenure as the new leader of the Autobots is tinged with his regret and guilt over his unfortunate role in the death of the previous leader Optimus Prime.
* Happens to Aquagirl in season 2 of ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice''. Aqualad blames his friends for allowing her to die during a dangerous mission, and ends up [[FaceHeelTurn betraying the team]] and joining his father, Black Manta.
** Subverted: As of the cliffhanger before the hiatus, it is revealed that Aqualad is acting as a double agent undercover in his father's organization. While this initially led to confusion on whether Aquagirl is really dead or not, Wally (who is in on the scheme) refers to her as someone Kaldur lost and a brief flashback to Aqualad and Nightwing forming the plan shows them shaking hands in front of Aquagirl's memorial.
** One fan theory for Nightwing's role in this same con, particularly the fact that he's become everything he said he didn't want to be, is that he was driven to it by the death of the second Robin.
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