Death Wail

"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 spoiler-heavy.


Anime and Manga
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch does this after Shirley dies.
  • 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 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.

Fan Fiction
  • 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.

  • Godzilla lets out a particularly heart-wrenching one at the end in Godzilla 1985 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.
  • 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 in was so agonizing that the audio of it was cut from the film.
  • In Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet forgoes her final speech for one of these.
  • In the Lord of the Rings film, 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.

  • right at 01:46 to say nothing of van helsing's greif redidled werewolf howl when he relaises that the one and only woman he would ever love in his life when anna died curing him of his werewolfism. hero in mourning does not even begin to describe the greiving saddened look in werewolf van helsing's eyes which rather oddly gives him a saddened puppy dog sort of look through the eyes and face in werewolf form.

  • The Hunger Games: The District 5 female screamed rather loud when the tidal wave hit in Catching Fire.

Live-Action TV
  • 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, 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 realises 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.
  • 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.
  • Twin Peaks: Sarah Palmer, upon learning of her daughter Laura's death.

  • 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...
  • 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.

Western 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.