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Anime and Manga
- There was one of these in Kyo Kara Maoh!!.
- Shun Mitaka seemed intent on viewing Kyoko of Maison Ikkoku as one, (and himself as the hero of course).
- Male version: Faust VIII from Shaman King, a Necromantic whose goal in life is to revive his dead wife and Spirit partner Eliza.
- Suzumi Aogiri from Ayashi no Ceres doubles as this and Yamato Nadeshiko. After her husband died and she miscarried their child, she decided to bring herself back to her feet, help her husband's half-brother Yuuhi, and then join Aya's cause as a fellow Tennyo.
- The title character in The Legend of Mother Sarah lost her husband and her kids in a riot. Subverted in that her husband has actually survived the riot... only to die in the finale, making Sarah a widow for good.
- Though she didn't marry him, Hana from Wolf Children Ame and Yuki takes care of the two children she had with the Wolf Man without ever regretting it or giving up.
Films — Animated
- In The Secret of NIMH, Mrs. Brisby is a widowed mouse who's family has to move in order to avoid the farmer's plow but her son Timothy has come down with pneumonia and can't be moved for a few weeks. She will do whatever it takes to move her whole house in order to protect him.
Films — Live-Action
- Jill McBane from Once Upon a Time in the West, although she's somewhat of a deconstruction since she was a Hooker with a Heart of Gold looking for a new life and arrives on the scene after her new family is massacred.
- Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, however she is the (anti)hero. She doesn't take up the role of her husbands (she was widowed twice), but rather the role of her father as leader of the farm.
- Sarah McKlennar in Drums Along the Mohawk: when the Mohawks come to burn her house, she actually gets them to take her bed downstairs instead of setting it on fire. She also takes part in the climactic battle, suffering a fatal wound in the breast from an arrow.
- Rob's mother, Lady Margaret Campbell MacGregor, in Rob Roy The Highland Rogue, uses her kinship to the Duke of Argyll in terms of political influence. She also takes up a pistol to fight to defend her home against an attack by Montrose's men. She shoots a man dead, concealing her own wound in the side (or possibly breast — being Disney, the film avoids showing bleeding or bullet hole) so that Rob can get away. She then dies in her daughter-in-law's arms.
- Hannie Caulder.
- In Roger Corman's film Gunslinger (as seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000), Beverly Garland's heroine is the widow of a U.S. Marshal who takes up her husband's badge to keep hunting down the ones responsible for having her husband murdered.
- In Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Sarah Connor was a fighter who would do anything to protect her son, John, from the machines. She was only figuratively a widow (she and John's father never having had the benefit of clergy), but fits the trope in every other way.
- Used in the indie-western/horror film Shroud, the heroine discovers she's a widow after arriving in the titular town, and later literally takes up her husband's sword to fight evil.
- Rosanna Arquette in Silverado who, after her husband is killed, agrees to work her land with her neighbor. She realizes that, although she was pretty when she is young, that will "fade in time," but her farm will last.
- Edna in Places in the Heart, who finds herself in a lot of trouble after her husband is unexpectedly killed and she finds herself without a breadwinner, with two children to support, and with a heavily mortgaged farm. She proceeds to work her ass off to plant and harvest a field of cotton to save her farm.
- Catelyn Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin becomes this when her husband is killed, mostly as a result of Honor Before Reason, she is determined to get her revenge by waging war against the Lannister family and supporting her son as King of the North.
- Mary Breydon in The Cherokee Trail by Louis L'Amour.
- Judith from the book Judith of the Bible: when her village is under siege, she puts on some make-up, goes to Holofernes, the enemy general, takes him to his tent, makes him drunk, cuts off his head, sneaks out of the enemy camp and goes back into her village, with the head of Holofernes in her bag.
- Technically, the Princess Rennsaeler and the other princesses in A Brother's Price. They're part of a world where women are the people who fight and rule, so it's pretty well expected of them. Odelia does end up in distress and needing Jerin to rescue her at the start of the book.
- Mrs. Pemberton in the Temeraire novel Crucible of Gold. She is of the "Older advisor" variety - specifically, on tutoring Emily Roland on being a "proper lady." (Roland, for her part, would rather not bother).
- Victoria Lipan in Baltagul (The Axe/The Hatchet) chases her disappeared husband, backtracking his long trip obsessively. She finds his skeleton in a ravine and pursues his killers with equal stubbornness and success.
- In Star Wars: Kenobi, a Space Western, the Deuteragonist Annileen Calwell took over her husband's store after he was killed by Sand People, and manages her children, her customers, and her business partner Orrin Gault through sheer force of personality, even as she suppresses her own desires under the daily grind. Ben Kenobi provides a welcome breath of fresh air, but resists their growing feelings out of a combination of Jedi strictures against relationships and the need to protect his secret guardianship of Luke Skywalker.
- So Big: Selina, continuing to work her husband's farm after his unexpected death, and eventually making a success out of it. All the ignorant peasants of High Prairie are shocked and horrified when Selina, a woman, takes her produce to Haymarket herself for sale. She turns out to be a far better farmer than her late husband was.
- Alma Garrett from Deadwood.
- Game of Thrones: Drogo's death galvanizes Daenerys into action, first by hatching the eggs, and culminating (for now) in the conquest of Slaver's Bay.
- In Supernatural, they meet the widow of a hunter, Ellen Harvelle, who is running a bar for hunters. She is an adviser to the boys. Later Sheriff Jody Mills takes up the fight against the supernatural, after her husband's horrific death.
- Lily Bell from Hell on Wheels embodies this trope to a 'T' in every regard. She wants to see to the completion of the first Transcontinental Railway, a project which her late husband (a surveyor) had been working on.
- Mags Bennett from Justified is a villainous version. After her husband died she raised her three sons and built a massive marijuana growing operation. When Raylan returns to Kentucky she is one of the most feared and respected criminals in the area.
- Elizabeth Bryant from the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Murdoch of the Klondike" runs one of the two hotels in a formerly booming mining town in the Yukon. Murdoch returns to the town from his claim site to find she's been arrested for killing a rival hotel owner. She asserts her innocence, and when she learns he was once a police detective, she wants his help to clear her name—so much that when he initially refuses, she berates him from her cell, shouting "You're NOTHING!" at him as he leaves. Later, after he's bailed her out of jail and started to investigate, she learns he suspects a friend of the deceased who's buying up mining claims and she goes to physically confront the man in a local hotel barroom. Murdoch finally has her return to jail so he can investigate without her "help". In a quieter conversation, Murdoch asks her why she stays, and she cites the fact that her husband is buried there and insists the hotel provides enough of a living for her. She even flirts openly with Murdoch, hoping he'll stay with her, but he demurs.
- When Calls the Heart begins three months after a coal mine explosion created several dozen determined widows.
Religion and Myth
- Khadijah, the first wife of Muhammad, was a wealthy and successful businesswoman (having taken over her late husband's business). When she married Muhammad, she helped him out a lot financially, as well as in other ways, and continued to run her business.
- The entire point of the Planescape module for Neverwinter Nights 2 is for the PC (who must be female) to find a way into the Abyss and get her husband back.
- Ashelia B'Nargin Dalmasca of Final Fantasy XII is a widow while still in her teens and determined to ensure Archadia feels her wrath of justice.
- In The Gamer's Alliance, Marya becomes a dark version of this after her husband Kagetsu bites the dust. She doesn't take his death well, and after a long period of mourning she becomes fixated on making Kagetsu's dream become real, going so far as kidnapping and corrupting a prince to do her bidding while acting as his Evil Mentor, setting the stage for a brutal civil war in Maar Sul, and subtly opposing the Grand Alliance which she had once called friends. Once she has done all this and made sure that the prince will carry out her mission, she is overcome by guilt of all the horrible things she has done to achieve her husband's dream, and she commits suicide to be reunited with Kagetsu in the afterlife.
- Susan McSween, who after her husband and friends were murdered during the Lincoln County War, went on to become a prominent cattlewoman in New Mexico.
- Lillian Moller Gilbreth continued the time/motion and efficiency studies of her husband, Frank, after his death in the 1930s. While raising eleven children (all of whom eventually graduated college). The story is recounted in Belles On Their Toes, and was fictionalized in the 1950 novel and film Cheaper By the Dozen.
- Maria Corazon "Cory" Sumulong Cojuangco Aquino, wife and widow of Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr., and probably one of, if not THE most Determined Widow in recent history. Her husband was the primary political opponent of the dictator (though his official title was "President") of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos. Ninoy had been exiled to the United States, and on the day of his arrival back to the Philippines, he was assassinated via Boom, Headshot!. Ninoy's death was the catalyst that drove the people of the Philippines into a non-violent revolution against the oppressive regime of Ferdinand Marcos, led by Cory herself. Long story short, Marcos was booted out of office, and Cory became the 11th President of the Philippines, and returned the country back to "democracy"note . Ninoy later had the Manila International Airport renamed in his honor, and it is now officially known as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The anniversary of his death was made into a national holiday, and his portrait is on the 500 peso bill along with one of his most famous quotes "The Filipino is worth dying for." His wife's portrait later joined his in a reprinting of the bill after she passed away in 2009 (which in turn prompted their son—Benigno III, a.k.a. Noynoy—to run himself for president in 2010, which he won—in a way qualifying him for the title of "Determined Orphan", as both of his parents were now dead by this point).
- This trope is actually common in Philippine politics: the phenomenon of grieving wives or relatives running to supposedly "continue the legacy" of their dead loved onesnote , often regardless of whether they're competent to run or serve in office themselves. Current vice president Leni Robredo, as one example, decided to run for Congress in 2013 (and then the vice-presidency in 2016), after her husband, erstwhile Interior & Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo, died in a plane crash in 2012. Critics took to calling her a Generation Xerox of Cory Aquino (even if they weren't directly related) given all the parallels—a yellow motif, a grieving and very devoutly Catholic widow, and an association with the Philippine Liberal Party.