Death Wail

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"A voice is heard in Ramah - Rachel, weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for they are no more."

The "Death Wail". For when words just don't cut it. It's that inarticulate scream of rage and grief when a beloved ally has just become an ex-beloved-ally. It is a sister trope of the Big "NO!", and if done poorly has an extremely good chance of becoming Narm. For the animal variant, see Howl of Sorrow.

See Also:

Being a death trope, this one's naturally spoiler-heavy, so proceed with caution


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch does this after Shirley dies.
    • So does Mrs. Fennette.
    • Nunnally ultimately does this for Lelouch himself at the end.
  • In Future War 198X when the U.S. President realizes that all of his negotiation efforts with the Soviets were for naught The American Secretary of Defense murders the Soviet Chief Secretary meaning the nukes will go flying.
  • In GaoGaiGar, Guy does this after his father Leo is killed.
  • In Death Note, Light fakes one when L dies. Good actor, that one.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, Kaneki does this after seeing a hallucination of Yamori killing Hide.
    • Done again by Juuzuo after Shinohara is severely wounded by the One-Eyed Owl.
  • In Winter Cicada, Kusaka does this when Akizuki commits suicide.
  • In Guilty Crown, Shu does this after Hare dies.
  • In Kazemakase Tsukikage Ran, Meow does this when her childhood friend turned drug dealer Mei dies.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann Kamina discovers that the skeleton that he and his partners are burying belonged to his father, who had left him behind. Kamina breaks down in tears and bellows:"DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDDDDDDD ! ! !"
  • In Scryed, Ryuho does this twice, once at the beginning after his family is killed and again when Scheris dies. Hikaru Midorikawa is excellent with such scenes.
  • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Homura does an absolutely heartbreaking one when she is forced to kill Madoka in one of the previous timelines.
  • In Bleach: Hell Chapter, Ichigo lets out a particularly heartwrenching one after he fails to save Yuzu and his friends from Hell.
  • Kiritsugu of Fate/Zero has one after he forces himself to kill his old mentor and mother figure, Natalia.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, Shinn screams in anguish twice when he lost his family and when Stella dies in his arms, both events traumatizing him to the same affect.
  • In Psycho-Pass, Akane gives a heartwrenching one as she watched her best friend, Yuki, died in the hands of Shogo Makishima.
  • In One Piece, Luffy gives a heartbreaking one after his adopted brother Ace dies, then suffers a Heroic B.S.O.D.. To emphasize the impact, the manga has no speech bubble or dialog to go with it, while the anime extends and intensifies it as he breaks down.
  • In Assassination Classroom, the Class 3-E students finally manage to kill their target and teacher Koro-sensei, fulfilling the goal they had been given. However, by that point they had grown extremely fond of him, as not only did he help them grow physically, mentally and emotionally, but he also gave them the love, support and warmth that the rest of the school and many of their families never gave them. As a result, the entire class breaks down crying, especially Nagisa who did the actual deed.
  • In Pandora Hearts, Sharon lets out one of these when Break dies in her and Reim's arms. It's particularly heartbreaking due to the fact that she is usually calm, composed, and ladylike.
    • And Leo does this repeatedly at random intervals while sobbing after Elliot dies.

    Fan Works 
  • In Ace Combat: The Equestrian War, Derpy does one after Carrot Top dies in her arms.
  • In My Little Unicorn, it isn't so much of a wail but more of a neigh. Much like with the Klingons, this is regarded as a tradition, being called the "Starfleet Mourn of Loss".
  • In The Vow, one is done after Lady Amelia passes away out of illness. In her grief, Lianne (Amelia's daughter) isn't sure if the cry comes from her or her father Lord Chang or both of them.
    • One of the last chapters ends with Lianne doing this when she's being informed that her newlywed husband Lord Shen has been defeated and apparently perished.
  • The Sanctuary Telepath: when James dies Janine screams mentally, both in grief and in the pain coming from the brutal disappearance of their Psychic Link.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Book of Life, all Manolo can do when Maria appears to die of a snake bite is throw his head back and howl in anguish.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Godzilla lets out a particularly heart-wrenching one at the end in The Return of Godzilla as he falls into the volcano. Unfortunately, it was cut in later releases because Toho apparently believed "Godzilla shouldn't scream"...even though his roar sounds a hell of a lot like a scream in most films!
  • Famously in Superman. Happens again in Man of Steel when Superman is forced to kill General Zod.
  • Michael Corleone's scream in The Godfather Part III when Mary dies was supposedly so primal and intense that the audio had to be cut from the movie, only keeping the tail end of it.
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: Harry's reaction to Sirius' death was so agonizing that the audio of it was cut from the film.
    • However, they kept the scene of Mr. Diggory's reaction to his son Cedric's death in the previous movie, a series of painful wails that dissipates into heaving sobs as the crowd around him just watches in silent despair. Also, Fleur is the first in the crowd to notice that Cedric is dead, and accordingly shrieks in horror.
  • In Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet forgoes her final speech for one of these.
  • Lord of the Rings
    • In The Two Towers, Aragorn lets out one when he finds Merry and Pippin's elven belts on the Orc funeral pyre. They're not actually dead though, as he later deduces from his Ranger tracking skills. In Real Life, it was because Viggo Mortensen had just broken his toe on the orc helmet.
    • In the Extended Edition, there is a Tear Jerker of a scene where Éomer lets out a howl of grief upon seeing Éowyn apparently dead on the Pelennor fields.
    • Also, Treebeard's reaction to the destruction of the woods around Isengard.
  • In A Mighty Heart (an adaptation of the memoirs of Mariane Pearl), there is an incredibly hard to watch scene of Mariane (portrayed by Angelina Jolie) howling in grief after she learns of her husband's death.
  • Seven Samurai features one from Katsushiro after the Pyrrhic Victory over the villains.
  • Van Helsing features one from Helsing himself. He accidentally kills Anna when she rushes to him with a silver stake in hand while Helsing was still in a combat high, causing him to make an Death Howl that transitions to a Dead Wail as he goes back to human form.
  • In Thor: The Dark World, Thor lets out one after Loki seemingly dies saving him.
    • There also was a scene where Loki lets out one after being told that his mother died. It was cut though for some reason.
  • The Amazing Spider-Man: Peter lets one out when Captain George Stacy dies from his injuries after fighting the Lizard.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Teen Wolf: In 3x23 Insatiable: Lydia's absolutely heartbreaking scream of Allison's name as Allison is killed by an Oni, Even more accurate with this trope, due to Lydia being a banshee and the realization that she left the message she did because she knew Allison - or at least someone- was going to die but was trying to prevent it.
  • Catelyn Stark gives a heartbreaking one after watching Robb get killed in front of her.
    • In Season 4, Ellaria Sand screams in anguish when she watched Oberyn Martell being brutally killed by Sir Gregor Clegane during Tyrion Lannister's trial by combat.
  • Young Bruce Wayne gives a chilling wail after the death of both of his parents by a gunman in an alleyway.
  • Seen above in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the standard practice when a Klingon dies in Star Trek is for his/her comrades to hold their eyes open while screaming loudly to the sky to warn those in the afterlife that a great warrior is on his/her way to join them.
    • Worf does one for his mate, K'Ehleyr, in "Reunion", despite her non-warrior status when he and Alexander find her dying. He howls in rage, then he tells his young son to look upon death and always remember, before going off to take bloody vengeance on her murderer.
  • Inverted in the Dune film of the book (2000 version), where Rabban does this when he realizes that he is about to become the metaphorical ex-beloved ally.
    • The sequel plays it straight, as Leto II screams over the corpse of his father, Paul Muad'Dib. It turns into a frightening Crowning Moment of Awesome when his scream suddenly morphs into a sandworm's roar.
  • Claudia does a heart breaking one in Warehouse 13 when she finds Steve's body.
  • Heartwrenching one when Nikki finds ET on Sea Patrol.
  • The Doctor does one after the Master dies in his arms.
    • And again after watching Amy get sent back in time by a Weeping Angel.
  • Twin Peaks: Sarah Palmer, upon learning of her daughter Laura's death.

    Music 
  • Andrej Bukas (Андрей Букас) gives a particularly heartbreaking example in Seryoga (Серега).
    По окнам лупят снайпера.
    It was a sniper in the window.
    Ну перестаньте ради Бога!
    Oh for the love of God, stop!
    Там под огнем лежит Серега.
    His fire hits Seryoga.
    Да будь ты проклята, война!
    Stop, you damned war!

    Video Games 
  • In Crisis Core, Cloud gives such a scream when Zack dies.
  • In a deleted scene from Meet the Medic the BLU Soldier does this for the BLU Sniper before they all get hit by a train.
  • In Warcraft III, Grom Hellscream is mortally wounded after slaying Mannoroth. As he lies dying, Grom notices that the demonic rage that had been a part of him ever since he and the other orc chieftains drank Mannoroth's blood is finally gone. He smiles at Thrall, satisfied that he was able to free himself before death. Thrall declares that Grom had freed all of the orcs from their demonic curse, and lets out a mighty roar of grief that echoes through the canyon.
  • In Jin Kazama's Tekken Tag Tournament 2 ending, after defeating his mother, Unknown/Jun, she fades away to nothingness in his arms. After a few moments of silence, Jin angrily transforms into Devil Jin and flies off screaming in rage.
  • Zero does this in Mega Man X4 when Iris dies.
    "What am I...
    What am I...
    Just what the heck am I...
    WHAT AM I FIGHTING FOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOR????!!!!"
  • In Dynasty Warriors 7, Liu Bei is quietly mourning for Guan Yu's death and is planning to attack Wu until a messenger came and told him that Zhang Fei was betrayed and murdered by his own men. Liu Bei's reaction to the death of his other sworn brother is so heartbreaking that he split his throne into half with sword, dropped to his knees and screamed in anguish.
  • Persona 4: Kanji punches the wall and lets out an anguished scream upon Nanako's death.
  • In Todo Takatora's story mode in Samurai Warriors 4-II, he went inside the burning castle to find his former master, Oichi. But when he reached her, she already committed suicide and her husband Shibata Katsuie gave him her last message which is to live on before killing himself. Then, Takatora cried in anguish as he watched the flames engulfed their bodies.

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