Inara:Being alone is bad
Mal, you don't have to die alone. Mal:
Everybody dies alone.
. But dying alone is horrible.
It may factor in on the scale of the Heroic Sacrifice
, that you must die alone. Sending someone away, so that you die alone, is often a generous gesture, and those who leave may be deeply criticized. When What You Are in the Dark
faces you, the villain may taunt you with not only dying, but dying alone.
Lonely at the Top
almost always carries the threat that the character will die alone. It is frequently suggested to the single and childless
that this may result from their actions.
Dying emotionally alone with other people physically present, as in the opposite of You Are Not Alone
, is just as bad.
The one exception when a character is performing a Heroic Sacrifice
, particularly after More Hero Than Thou
dispute: then, dying alone carries the consolation that the other characters have escaped with their lives.
Conversely, characters may go to great efforts to ensure that a dying character is not alone
to defy this trope, which is often explicitly invoked as the reason for staying. Particularly True Companions
— a You Are Not Alone moment of particular poignancy
— but The Rival
, the Worthy Opponent
, the Friendly Enemy may all be willing to stay with the dying Hero
, and he would do the same for them. Indifferent people don't count, but even a stranger willing to respond to Please Don't Leave Me
They may do this even if the dying person is apparently unaware of them. Similarly, the closest friend
in a group of people may insist on being the one
to deliver a Mercy Kill
. If death takes a long time, Unbroken Vigil
may result. Falling asleep by a deathbed is not always considered failure. Dying characters may try to force the issue if the other character is clearly on the verge of collapse.
When a character is Dying as Yourself
, it may allow the others to prevent this.
When a character dies alone, Meaningful Funeral
, To Absent Friends
, and Famed in Story
may ensue, to ironically point out that the character actually had friends, or underscore the value of his Heroic Sacrifice
. On the other hand, a funeral with no mourners reinforces the loneliness
Note that this trope is not only limited to heroic characters. If used on a villain, particularly the Big Bad
, it will serve to show us just what a miserable and horrible human being they really were, to the point where even their own supposedly loyal servants won't be bothered to accompany them as they die.
See also A Friend in Need
, and Secretly Dying
, which can lead to this. Distracted from Death
(where a person may not necessarily die alone but they do die unnoticed by others around them) can be a variant.
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Anime and Manga
- In Bakugan, this happens alot. Wavern warns Naga that his quest for power will end with this. Ironically, she inflicts this fate upon herself when she forces Drago to kill her. Naga winds up being trapped in the doom dimension, which was recently emptied when its inhabitants were freed.
- To spare his friends the displeasure of seeing him die a gory, undignified death, Rei locks himself in a shed to die alone. Definitely THE most tragic, heartbreaking death in Fist of the North Star.
- In Gundam 00, what makes the death of Saji's older sister, Hot Scoop Kinue Crossroads even sadder than it already is is that she bleeds to death completely alone in an alley, attempting to use a broken cellphone to call for help, weakly calling out to her loved ones with her dying breath. Also, the first Lockon Stratos, Neil Dylandy died alone... IN SPACE!.
- In Houshin Engi, this is probably the death Taikoubou AKA Fukki would have gotten if it weren't for Dakki. Jyoka, being afraid of dying alone, requests that Taikoubou accompany her, to which he agrees. After she dies, he is left to crumble and die alone, away from all his companions and friends. Thankfully for him, Dakki revives him.
- In Scrapped Princess, what is arguably the worst Tear Jerker in the series is the death of Fulle. He dies a slow death alone, crawling through the rain, attempting to reunite with Pacifica (with their happy memories together flashing through his mind).
- Here's one right up there: the death of the Queen, Pacifica's mother. She gets thrown in the dungeon cell adjacent an amnesia-ridden Pacifica. Neither recognizes each other. They talk for a while, and the Queen talks about the daughter she gave up, and at the end of the episode, the Queen succumbs to her injuries, all the while not realizing the daughter she longed to find was just feet away — Dramatic Irony at it cruelest.
- Nicholas D. Wolfwood from Trigun, who dies alone in the chapel after confessing that he's afraid.
- Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann might sort of count - although he does give touching final words to the group, it's done away and out of sight, and they aren't really by his side.
- Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust sees Leila admit her biggest fear is dying alone and unmourned. She and D make a deal - the one who lives longer will visit the other's grave, just to avert this. The ending shows Leila's grave, surrounded by her family - she died with those she loved tending to her. And D visits the grave, as promised.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Hughes death is sudden and lonely, bleeding out in a phone booth from a gunshot wound administered by someone in the guise of his beloved wife.
- In the first anime, this also happens to Scar. He ends up taking a lot of people with him shortly after.
- Invoked in Wolf's Rain when Blue expresses her wish to be with Hige "at the very end" because she can't stand the thought of dying alone. It's eventually averted as, when Blue is near death, Hige goes to her, despite being badly wounded himself, and tells her not to worry because he isn't going anywhere. Blue is able to Go Out with a Smile, and Hige convinces Tsume to ease his suffering soon after. One of the last shots is of the two of them lying side by side as the snow covers their bodies.
- Distressingly done with Kiba. Although he manages to drag himself over to Cheza for one last embrace, Cheza doesn't just die—she disintegrates into flower seeds. Not only is Kiba completely broken from this, it's implied that he's the last living thing in the entire world before he falls through the ice and drowns. You can't get much more alone than that.
- A flashback in XXX Holic has Watanuki standing alone in the rain cradling a dead kitten and saying, "I'll die like this too. Alone." This moment was also when Doumeki first saw him, which resulted in Doumeki deciding to protect him and stay by his side in order to ensure that this will never happen.
- Liechtenstein from Axis Powers Hetalia is just barely saved from this by her brother Switzerland after the war. "I would've loved to be a nation... a little longer..."
- Yagami Light from Death Note, after being outwitted by Near, flees, and dies after Ryuk writes his name in the Death Note.
- In the manga, he dies surrounded by his enemies, while desperately calling his mistresses, one of whom he has killed recently.
- It is prophesied that Ichise, the protagonist of Texhnolyze will die alone. In the end he does, with all of Lux except the Shapes (who will soon power down) dead, but a final vision of Ran's flower adds a note of ambiguity.
- In Toward the Terra, Jomy and Keith die together, but Jomy dies first, prompting Keith to invoke this trope with, "Even at the end, I'm alone."
- Jun Ushiro in the Bokurano TV series. Fitting, as his is the last fight of the series, all of the other pilots are dead, and his sister Kana is at home since he and Youko saved her from being the last in the list. Also in the anime, the aforementioned Youko Machi dies alone and in the snow, in front of her brother Koyemushi's lifeless body.
- In Cowboy Bebop, after spending most of the series being there for other people — both friends, foes and bounties — as they died, Spike dies alone, surrounded by non-friendly mooks. He died alone because he died last, he made sure his Arch-Enemy Vicious went first, making this a Taking You with Me ending.
- Bleach: It's a big issue in the manga that a person should, if possible, not die alone. As a result, it's a running theme that a dying person gives their heart to the person that was with them at the moment of their death. This is such a hugely important theme that, at times, it's a major plot point for certain characters.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Hayate notes in the introduction to Episode 9 that the thought of dying from her illness didn't scare her because she had been alone until the Wolkenritter came into their life, but now that they are depending on her, she wants to live and be there for them. Graham also suggests that if she were to be sealed away with the Book of Darkness, no one would have to mourn her.
- In subverted in Zombie Loan, Touhou nearly does so after carrying out his hidden rebellion against Xufu , but in the end, Shito arrives and stays with him.
- This is the sad fate of all Magical Girls in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, as they generally work alone and either die inside a Witch's Labyrinth or become a Witch themselves, also leaving no trace of themselves in the process. But it's Defied in episode 9; not wanting Sayaka (now a witch) to die alone, Kyouko performs a Mercy Kill/Heroic Sacrifice and dies with her.
- One of the most defining moments in Legend of Galactic Heroes is the death of Yang Wenli, who was shot and bled to death in an empty hallway with neither friend nor foe to either help him or finish him off.
- Defied in Ai no Kusabi. Iason has fallen victim to a trap: as a result he has lost his legs, is helplessly trapped in an exploding building, and now calmly waits for his end. Then his lover Riki comes to join him so he doesn't die alone.. And after One Last Smoke that doubles as an indirect Last Kiss, Iason and Riki go down together.
- Narrowly avoided by Shizuo from Durarara!!. He is apparently shot twice by Horada and left to bleed to death, alone in an alley, but his natural resistance to pain saves him from this.
- This is the fate of any jinchuuriki captured by Akatsuki in Naruto. Beaten into coma-like states, their beasts is torn from their bodies and they die alone and unmourned by their village. This is a big part of Naruto's motivation.
- Itachi Uchiha possibly comes close to this. He collapsed before Sasuke, but for all we know, he could have passed out and was slowly fading away due to the disease. Tobi then takes Sasuke to patch him up. Thus, Itachi is alone.
- Halo Legends: In "Homecoming": The Spartan Daisy runs away from her training facility to be with her parents, she finds them only to see them living with a clone the facility made of her, none the wiser to them taking her as a child. When the clone degenerates, she dies peacefully in a hospital room, loving parents crying at her side, and buried as the real Daisy would be. Her parents would never know the real Daisy finally expires years later, alone on a battlefield under an alien sky, her mission to rescue some soldiers a failure as they tried to stay behind and take her with the rescue crew, which gets them killed. Some times afterward Master Chief passes her body, closes her eyes and folders her hands across her chest and around a tragic keepsake.
- In Attack on Titan, the sheer anonymity of Marco Bott's death horrifies Jean - no one knows when or how he died, and until Jean identifies him he's just one of many nameless corpses.
- On The Galaxy Railways, much is made of the fact that Bruce dies alone, without the company of any of his shipmates to comfort him. It happens at a gas station, of all places.
- This is what happens to Kimie Shiroyuki in Akatsuki No Aria, when she falls victim to her tuberculosis in an hospital. For worse, her family is furious at her husband because he wasn't by her bedside and they mistakenly believe he was fooling around with the titular Aria, the student he secretly feels attracted to In reality Shiroyuki was trying to help Aria with her injured hand, and he feels horrible when he finds out Kimie died all alone.
- In Cerebus the Aardvark, it's prophesied that the title character will die "alone, unmourned, and unloved" - indeed, that's what happens in the final issue. It may be a pessimistic description of anyone's death as much as a curse on Cerebus.
- This became eerily prophetic as author Dave Sim descended into madness, and the few readers who trudged along to issue #300 mostly did so out of a perverse sense of finding out how this thing was finally going to end.
- Used for dark comedy in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac when Johnny, suicidally depressed from not being able to buy a slushie, tries to take the convenience store clerk with him in a murder/suicide so he won't have to die alone. Johnny kills the clerk first using a gun and turns it on himself... At which point his Contractual Immortality kicks in and he finds out the gun only has one bullet. And then his ADD kicks in before he can find something else to off himself with.
- The first chapter of The OMAC Project. With the rest of the heroes considering him worthless and his only friend in hospital Ted Kord manages to figure out what is going on, but with no back up, he is subdued easily. The issue ends with him being shot in the head. In OMAC Project issue one, it is revealed his remains were destroyed so no one could know he was dead.
- The infamous Garfield Halloween special deals with this.
- Many deaths in Sin City reflect this but John Hartigan has the most gut-wrenching as he has to commit suicide alone in the woods so "a young girl can live".
- During the Fantastic Four story arc "Wolf at the Door", Reed talks to a man who's about to commit suicide. His teenage son died in a car accident, he and his wife have divorced, and he just found out he has throat cancer, but the fact that he's going to die isn't what scares him - it's the idea of dying alone in a hospital bed with no-one there. Reed gives him a number to call and promises to be there for him, even if he's fighting a supervillain at the time.
- In "The List: Punisher #1", Frank Castle, after being beaten and torn apart by Wolverine's son Daken at Osborn's request, does die alone. He has alienated his only friend, Henry. To make matters worse, this comes after he has rekilled his family, whom the Hood had brought back to life. No one is there to cry for him save Henry, who is there in time for him to see Daken decapitate Frank, though he does not know this at the time. This set-up provides the breaking of the Punisher and leads up to his coming to terms with his actions in "Franken-Castle".
- The fate of Mr Sinister in Age of Apocalypse, giving the character a rare Tear Jerker moment. Despite having kicked the dog a LOT both in the AoA continuity and the normal Marvel comics, his final moments have him realising that there's no one left to even mourn him
- In Secret Warriors, an arc describes the last reunion of the Howling Commandos. As they go down the list of those who have fallen in battle, the life of each character is discussed. One particularly tearjerking one involves a man who was afraid of dying alone, but continuously put himself in danger to protect his friends and allies. As his death is described, he is mentioned to have died in his sleep with no family around him. But Dum Dum Dugan held his hand the entire time, ensuring that he would not die alone. Particularly poignant considering the conclusion of that arc...
- In the old Spider-Man graphic novel Hooky, Mandy tells Spidey that she doesn't truly believe it's possible for him to save her from the lethal curse that has sent the demonic assassin after her. The reason she wants him to come along is because she simply wants someone to know it happened, because otherwise, no-one would know she had died fighting it - or cared. Fortunately, it is possible to defeat it; to make a long story short, she misinterpreted the prophecy that made her believe its purpose.
- Sistah Spooky from Empowered ended up in this position near the end of vol. 8. She is literally in Hell, seriously wounded, short an arm, staring down an artillery-sized death ray, all alone... and she is happy. The love of her life is not suffering the Torments of the Damned, the woman whose life she helped wreck out of petty jealousy is tied up aboard a doomsday weapon auto-piloting itself to Earth, this is as good a death as she could hope for a better outcome than she thought she would get... then someone who would rather not be forced to leave someone to die again comes riding a doomsday weapon to the rescue.
- This is the fate that befalls the protagonist ofI Did Not Want To Die.
- Poor Nana from Nana's Everyday Life.
- Kristoph taunts Apollo with this in Dirty Sympathy, since Apollo has no friends nor family that would miss him.
- At the Final Battle of Yu-Gi-Oh the Thousand Year Door: Redux, when Iris is finally defeated for good, she tells the heroes right before she dies that before she became the Shadow Queen, so long ago, she was so far into a Despair Event Horizon that she had given up all hope that she would be rescued, that she would survive, or even that anyone would care. She only had one hope left, and one desire: She didn't want to die without anyone knowing she had lived, or that she had even been born. She didn't care if anyone comforted her or pitied her, she just wanted someone to know. The ironic part was, this one thing that was never included or even offered in the bargain she made with Graz'zt that made her the Shadow Queen, but ironically, as she tells them this, it seems she gets her wish after all.
Films — Animated
Films — Live-Action
- In Blood Diamond, Leonardo DiCaprio's character receives a severe bullet wound while escaping mercenaries in Sierra Leone, and tells the two people with him to move on and leave him there. He calls his love interest with a satellite phone and tells her "I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be". The line about him being where he was supposed to be wasn't about dying alone, but rather solidifying his love for Africa, despite what he went through in the movie.
- In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Kirk says that he's always known that he'll die alone. Oddly enough, in Star Trek: Generations he dies when Picard is with him - so he wasn't alone.
- Parodied by SF Debris who changes Kirk's line to "Or with a bald Frenchman. Which is basically the same thing if he's a waiter."
- Although considering he was with Spock and McCoy when he said it, it's possible he meant dying without either of them there.
- Shatner, who directed the film, went into greater detail in his Kirk novels.
- Because everyone present assumed Kirk was killed when he first encountered the Nexus Ribbon, for decades all Kirk's friends believed he had died alone—until Picard found him alive in the Nexus.
- Donnie Darko has a minor freakout over Grandma Death telling him that everybody dies alone. Both do, as does Sinister Minister Jim Cunningham (Cunningham's & Grandma Death's deaths were explained in the film's website). Gretchen & Frank each die with plenty of people around, but then Donnie prevents those events from happening, so they're both alive at the end anyway.
- Donnie himself dies alone, it is arguably one of the major themes of the movie.
- In Once Upon a Time in the West Cheyenne made an effort to return to Jill even asking her if he shouldn't stay, before leaving with Harmonica and collapsing just out of sight of everybody from a bullet he had caught a few hours ago, because he didn't want her to know.
- What drives Bridget Jones to get out of her funk and do something is her fear that she will die alone and her corpse will be eaten by wild Alsatians.
- Doc Holliday dies alone in Tombstone, only because he told Wyatt Earp to leave the room. Combines a Tear Jerker with a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.
Doc Holliday: What did you ever want?
Wyatt Earp: Just to live a normal life.
Doc Holliday: There's no normal life, Wyatt, it's just life. Get on with it.
Wyatt Earp: Don't know how.
Doc Holliday: Sure you do. Say goodbye to me. Go grab that spirited actress and make her your own. Take that beauty from it, don't look back. Live every second. Live right on to the end. Live, Wyatt. Live for me. Wyatt, if you were ever my friend - if ya ever had even the slightest of feelin' for me, leave now. Leave now... Please.
Wyatt Earp: ...Thanks for always being there, Doc. (Gets up and leaves)
- In Saw VI, William must decide between killing a young, healthy man with no family or friends but a hard worker in his insurance firm, or his older, faltering secretary who has a husband, children and tons of friends. He decides to kill the young man after much agonising because his loss wouldn't be felt as much as the secretary, and despite the secretary and William near him as he's killed he gets angry at them both for deciding he is worth less than them and stays emotionally cut off until the rather nasty end.
- Michael Corleone by the end of The Godfather, Part III, in contrast to his father, who died while playing with his grandson in his own tomato garden.
- Charles Foster Kane at the beginning of Citizen Kane.
- Godzilla at the end of Godzilla vs. Destoroyah.
- Tony Montana by the end of Scarface (1983).
- This is the fate of Doyle in Only The Lonely. In addition, only three people show up at his funeral. When Danny (played by John Candy) asks if they should wait for other mourners, he's told by Nick (played by Anthony Quinn) that there isn't anybody else.
- In X2: X-Men United, Jason Stryker's left behind as Dark Cerebro collapses around him.
- In Aarom Dembski-Bowden's Night Lords novel Void Stalker Talos Valcoran allows his brother Cyrion to die in his arms after Cyrion is fatally wounded and blinded by Jain Zar, and upholds Cyrion's final wish to not have his gene-seed harvested so that he can rest from the Eternal War.
- Weaponized in John Dies at the End. Occasionally, Dave, the narrator of the story, will go on nihilistic, cynical rants about how the true horror of living on Earth is dying alone, and dying slow, with no one to help you - either because they don't know you're dying, don't care, or don't know you existed in the first place, and dying can happen to anyone at anytime - just as simple as taking the wrong turn in your car. It turns out this is a worldview utilized by The Shadow Men, nihilistic multidimensional conquerors who spread misery and hate to add to their ranks.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Dead Sky Black Sun, the grieving Leonid laments that after he suffered so much, Ellard died alone; Uriel offers what consolation there was with Leonid's having been with him.
- Later, when Leonid realizes the woman the daemon freed is a member of his own regiment, he observes that may have happened so that he can die with his friends. Uriel looks at his fellow Space Marine and agrees that it is best not to die alone. When she shows some self-awareness and approval, it gives him the strength to make a Heroic Sacrifice.
- In The Killing Ground, Uriel kneels by the gravely wounded Lord of the Unfleshed and comforts him before shooting him.
- In Lois McMaster Bujold's Memory, Miles tells Elli Quinn that Taura will die soon and asks her to get him the news so that he can be with her.
- In John Barnes's One for the Morning Glory, the Duke remembers kneeling beside men he had just mortally wounded and holding their hands and assuring them in their last moments.
- In the Forgotten Realms novel Spellfire, Elminster says "If it falls within thy power, let no creature die alone.''
- In Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities, Sydney Carton talks with a seamstress on the tumbrel, confides the truth, and encourages her in facing death. He succeeds.
"I mind nothing while I hold your hand. I shall mind nothing when I let it go, if they are rapid."
"They will be rapid. Fear not!"
- In Watership Down, this is subverted, as rabbits will usually vanish before dying, so they can die alone.
- A villain in the X-Wing Series, Kirtan Loor, observes as he is dying that his most hated rival Corran Horn was right- there is nothing worse than dying alone.
- The series is one in which Anyone Can Die, and anytime one of the good guys die - well, any time when they can see it coming, which isn't always possible in a dogfight - his or her wingmates are there, desperately trying to prevent it, and it's always seen as tragic and heroic. Kell's effort to save Jesmin Ackbar earn him one of the highest awards in the New Republic, the Kalidor Crescent, which he sees as a Medal of Dishonor because, well, he failed. When Phanan is shot down over a planet in enemy territory and Face follows and refuses to leave his dying friend, abandoning the others despite leading a mission at the time, it's not seen as Honor Before Reason. And Word of God holds that Phanan died in part because he felt that cybernetics ate his future, and he had no one.
- In Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, the Big Bad has enslaved some bizarrely inhuman aliens and used their bodies to enslave and make puppets out of his Mook soldiers, lacing their brains so their minds are destroyed and they just try to berserker kill everything, screaming. Freeing the inhuman aliens triggers the deadman interlocks, killing the mooks. By going into the Big Bad's mind Luke can and does free all of the aliens - and he feels all of the mooks in the Force. None of them had signed up for this, had gone along with it, had even cooperated - it had been done to them with callous disregard, and so Luke stays with all of them, thousands, to feel them die, so they won't be alone - because it's all he can do for them.
- Rebel Force has Ferus Olin left mortally wounded by Darth Vader. Leia comes across him and holds his hand as he dies - and he has a vision of a long-dead friend and partner coming to him, and it's not until Ferus sees Roan and feels him holding his hand that he is ready to go.
- The Dresden Files:
- In Dead Beat, Harry has been death cursed by Cassius to suffer this. Then his father assures him that while death must be suffered alone, there is no need for him to be alone before, or after.
- Later in Turn Coat, Harry is with the dying Morgan and assures Luccio that he was there.
- Later in Changes, Harry dies alone. Mostly.
- In Ben Counter's Galaxy In Flames, Tarvitz hunts for his battle brothers, the Emperor's Children, in battle — partly in hopes of getting the battle back together, but partly so that he will not die alone but with battle brothers, in defiance of Horus's treachery. It succeeds; he reflects when he gathers with the last handful, whether Emperor's Children, Luna Wolves, or World-Eaters, that he knew their names now, men who had just been grime-streaked faces were now his brothers.
- In Lee Lightner's Warhammer 40,000 Space Wolf novel Wolf's Honour, Ragnar stays by the dying Haegr, holding his hand.
- In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel False Gods, when the Chaos taint leaves the mortally wounded Temba, his tears convince Horus of his sincerity, and so Horus kneels by him and tries to comfort him (and cries himself after Temba's death).
- In Graham McNeill's Fulgrim, Lucius walks away from the dying Captain Solomon Demeter, but in a complete inversion, Solomon is glad of it, finding it "peace", because he had betrayed them and tricked Solomon into killing men on his own side. On the other hand, the sun is setting, and he feels as if the world marked his passing.
- In Mystic River, Jimmy Marcus explains that he killed Ray Harris not as revenge for Ray ratting him out to the cops, but because it meant that Jimmy was in prison while his wife died alone.
What killed me about it was that she had to go through it completely alone. I know what you're thinking, we all die alone. True. That last stage when you've slipped away, yeah, you're alone. But my wife had skin cancer. She spent six months dying slow. And I could have been there for that. I could have helped her with that. Not the death part, but the dying.
- In Charlottes Web, Charlotte is too weak, after making her egg sac, to make the trip from the Fair back to the farm. Wilbur takes her eggs back with him, helping to raise her children the next spring.
Next day, as the Ferris wheel was taken apart and the race horses were being loaded into vans and the entertainers were packing up their belongings and driving away in their trailers, Charlotte died. The Fair Grounds were soon deserted. The sheds and buildings were empty and forlorn. The infield was littered with bottles and trash. Nobody, of all the hundreds of people that had visited the fair, knew that a grey spider had played the most important part of all. No one was with her when she died.
- However, it is subverted in the 1973 film version, when Wilbur stays long enough to watch her pass away before he cries.
- In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Blood Angels novel Deus Encarmine, Rafen hurries to the dying Koris on hearing he is asking for him. When Turcio pulls back — many Blood Angels fear that the Black Rage is contagious — Rafen is disgusted.
- Ironically enough, Koris had originally rejected Rafen for his failures at teamwork, and accepted him after Rafen had expressed his lesson as "He who fights alone dies alone, but those who battle as brothers will live forever" — but in the course of the duology, Rafen finds himself fighting and nearly dying alone and isolated.
- In Robert A. Heinlein's The Long Watch, Interplanetary Patrol Lieutenant John Dahlquist, after a superior attempts to recruit him into a coup attempt, instead makes a Heroic Sacrifice by barricading himself in the nuclear armory and manually disabling all the nuclear weapons, taking a fatal dose of radiation in the process. He dies alone, sitting by the door he barricaded. Radiation levels are so high that robots have to be used to recover his body for a hero's funeral.
He was not alone; there were comrades with him—the boy with his finger in the dike, Colonel Bowie, too ill to move but insisting that he be carried across the line, the dying Captain of the Chesapeake still with deathless challenge on his lips, Rodger Young peering into the gloom.
- In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Blood Pact, Gaunt muses on why Ayatani Zweil is their chaplain; a big reason is his care for the dying and the dead.
- A mark of Raistlin's cruelty in The Test of the Twins is his threat to leave Crysania to die alone in the Abyss and actually going through with it.
- The Stand has a few:
- There's a chapter dedicated to the deaths of people who are all alone because of the plague. Some are very depressing.
- After betraying the Free Zone Committee and murdering Nick Andros and Sue Stern, Harold escapes with Nadine only to hit a pot hole and crash. Once he gets back to his bike, he writes a letter of apology to the Free Zone and then puts his gun in his mouth.
- Inverted in Perfume, where Madame Gaillard, who runs a boarding house collects money so she could die alone in her own home, instead of a public hospital. However, she doesn't die soon enough, in the French Revolution her money becomes worthless, and she dies in the way she was trying to avoid in her whole life.
- Referenced by Eragon and Glaedr in Eldest, the second book of Inheritance Cycle. While tutoring Eragon in the ways of dragons and riders, Glaedr warns him against taking his partner's soul into his body, "as this will result in both your deaths." Eragon comments "How terrible, to die alone, separate from the one who is closest to you." To this, Glaedr responds "Everyone dies alone, Eragon. Whether you are a king on a battlefield or a lowly peasant lying in bed among your family, no one can accompany you into the void..."
- Defied in Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, when Katniss stays with Rue and sings her a song for her Last Request.
- Played straight with Foxface.
- In Eoin Colfer's "Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony", Captain Holly Short dies alone, but is only dead briefly (Hey, the author is the first person to point out (Through Artemis) that time-related words are flexible in a time field). Soon though, Artemis finds a way to use the chaotic nature of the time distortion around them to fix it.
- From "The Lay of the Last Minstrel" by Sir Walter Scott, the fate of "The wretch, concentred all in self":
Living, shall forfeit fair reknown,
And doubly dying, shall go down
To the vile dust, from whence he sprung,
Unwept, unhonoured and unsung.
- Following an argument with his brother, Robert in The Emigrants novels walks out into the woods and lies down by a stream, sick with yellow fever. He dies before anyone can find him.
- In Star Trek: Mirror Universe: The Sorrows of Empire, Mirror Spock and his wife, Marlena, have a conversation in which he promises her that they'll be together when they die, but notes that in the end, everyone is alone when they die.
- In The Pale King, Frederick Blumquist dies of a heart attack at his desk at an IRS office. He passes away on Tuesday, but no one noticed until Saturday evening when a janitor finds him sitting in the dark. It took over four days for any of 25 other employees in the room to realize that they were working with a corpse. Since he was a quiet person and died in his typical sitting position, everyone just assumed he was really absorbed in his work. His personality doesn't change when he comes back as a ghost.
- In The God Killer, a sorcerer sneaks away from his work to provide company to a dying deity, whose church became extinct many generations ago. He claims that even a god shouldn't be left to die alone. When the sorcerer is mortally wounded, the ephemeral god expends the last of its dwindling energy to join him, allowing both of them to avert this trope.
- According to The Bible, this is what happened to Jesus at his death. Not only is he betrayed by one of his disciples, but the others — who truly respect him — are unable to be with him as he enters his final hours. As he is praying in preparation for his eventual fate, the three disciples who he takes to wait with him fall asleep. Peter, one of his closest followers, denies he even knew Jesus in order to save his own skin. The whole atmosphere of alienation is a contrast to the traditional pictures of a triumphant messiah entering into glory. The worst of it? This abandonment by those nearest to him was a necessary part of his unglamorous death. No wonder even Jesus was apprehensive of what his end would entail.
- Moses dies alone as well. "Then Moses climbed Mount Nebo from the plains of Moab to the top of Pisgah, across from Jericho. There the Lord showed him the whole land...And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in Moab, as the Lord had said. He buried him[a] in Moab, in the valley opposite Beth Peor, but to this day no one knows where his grave is." (Deut 34:1-6)
- In Never Wipe Tears Without Gloves Reine is one of the first people in Sweden to die of AIDS. He doesn't tell his family that he's sick nor does he tell most of his friends. The one friend he does tell rarely visits him as he lays dying, on Reine's own request. He's too ashamed of having the disease to want people around to see him in that state.
- Given how often death comes in a setting where men and women pilot giant war machines, often in single combat, it is no surprise that the BattleTech Expanded Universe has this happen to many of its characters; for instance, it seems all too appropriate that this is the fate of selfish schemers like Pavel Ridzik and Aldo Lestrade in during the Warrior trilogy. However, this is also done in a heartwrenching fashion during The Dying Time to Lori Carlyle and The Hunters to Morgan Hasek-Davion.
- In Charles Logan's 1975 science-fiction novel Shipwreck, there is only one character, Isidore Tansis: well, only one human character at least: there is a nearly-intelligent computer without consciousness, and also alien creatures of unknown intelligence. Tansis is the sole survivor of a spaceship nuclear power disaster (a few fellow survivors are mentioned briefly as having died of radiation sickness before the novel starts). He manages to escape in a scout craft and land on a nearby planet, where he has to figure out his own survival for years to come, as there is no hope of anyone coming to rescue him (no other ships are within many light-years, and the story is set in a universe with no faster-than-light travel). This is very difficult, as the planet is not quite hostile to human life, but rather inhospitable, and the struggle to survive gets harder and harder over some years, and his health eventually starts to fail. It is hardly a spoiler that, at the end, Tansis dies, since it is the inevitable outcome of the situation right from page 1; but what is not quite so clear is whether he is in fact dying alone when in the company of several seal-like sea creatures with whom he cannot communicate, because they speak only by dilating their eye pupils in complex patterns, but with whom he somehow feels a mystical union.
- Sasha from The Tenets of Futilism is terrified of this fate. So terrified that, upon noticing a predator drone headed towards her, she ties up her two adopted 'children' next to her so they would all die together when the bombs come. The children's pleas were disregarded.
- Embrace of the Endless Ocean by Amon Amarth is about an escaped dying alone at sea when a storm hits him. Directly invokes this trope with the lyric "Father, I die alone".
- Space Oddity by David Bowie is about an astronaut who has a loving wife and celebrity-like status back on Earth. He is floating away in "a tin can" all along the way he continues to talk to ground control, not realizing that the connection was lost probably right away after the launch. In this context the very most unsettling line of the song is "This is Major Tom to ground control, I'm stepping through the door."
- "Rocket Man" by Elton John is eerily similar.
- "Deathbed" by Relient K:
But this is my deathbed
I lie here alone
And if I close my eyes tonight
I know I'll be home...
- Related to the Real Life example, there's Space Robot Five by Brave Saint Saturn
So very alone
So far from home
He has no home
He is... alone
- In "Adam's Song" by blink-182, the lyrics twice mention the words, "I never thought I'd die alone."
- Paul McCartney may be better known for his more upbeat tunes—"Silly Love Songs," "Got to Get You into My Life"—but let this track from The Beatles' album Revolver remind us that he was capable of some truly dark imagery (made all the more disturbing by a frantic string octet backing his vocals):
Eleanor Rigby died in the church
And was buried along with her name
Father McKenzie, wiping the dirt from his hands
As he walked from her grave
No one was saved
All the lonely people, where do they all come from?
All the lonely people, where do they all belong?
- "Afterlife" by Front Line Assembly seems to be about the last moments of a soldier dying on the battlefield. "No longing moments, no one goodbyes, what are we fighting for?", etc.
- "Cubicles" by My Chemical Romance contains the line "I think I'll love to die alone."
- "The Hell of It" by Paul Williams:
Love yourself as you love no other
Be no man's fool and be no man's brother
We're all born to die alone y'know
That's the Hell of it
- From "Dogs", which takes up nearly all of Side A of Pink Floyd's Animals:
And in the end you'll pack up
Fly down south
Hide your head in the sand
Just another sad old man
All alone and dying of cancer
...And it's too late to lose the weight you used to need to throw around
So have a good drown as you go down all alone
Dragged down by the stone
- "Videotape" by Radiohead, although the narrator is strangely okay with it:
This is my way of saying goodbye
'Cause I can't do it face to face
No matter what happens now
You shouldn't be afraid
Because I know today has been the most perfect day I've ever seen
- "W" by Van Der Graaf Generator.
You wake up, look to your left
And see no reassuring head
You stay in bed all day
At six o' clock, you realize you're dead.
- The song Jesus Christ by Brand New references this a few times
And I will die all alone
- Five Finger Deathpunch "Remember Everything" music video ends this way.
- Metallica uses examples of this. From "Disposible Heroes" you get:
Left to die with only friend
Alone I clench my gun
- In Dino Attack RPG, as punishment for all that he had done, Rex's intended fate for Dr. Rex was to rob him of the dignity of dying with others around him. As Dr. Rex lay on the ground dying, Rex told everyone gathered to leave him to die alone. Unfortunately, Baron Typhonus just had to step in with his Divine Intervention and prevent this from coming to fruition.
- Timon of Timon of Athens starts the play surrounded by friends and servants. Over the course of the play, he casts off all his friends (to be fair, they started it) and becomes a hermit. He ends up not only dying alone, but composing his own epitaph. Ouch.
- Discussed in Wicked. At the beginning, the Ozians sing "Goodness knows, the wicked die alone!" Elphaba isn't dead though, she's just gone from Oz. (And she wasn't actually alone either; she met with Glinda just before "dying" and left Oz with Fiyero.)
- The song "Mama, Look Sharp" in 1776. It's sung from the point-of-view of a young militiaman, mortally wounded at Lexington and Concord, as he calls for his mother to find him before he dies. She doesn't find him until after he's gone.
- The Mass Effect series features at least one example per game.
- The entire point of Fragile Dreams is for the main character, Seto, to avert this trope and find someone else just to talk to. He prevents several characters from falling to this fate like P.F, Crow and Chiyo and then finds the mysterious girl, Ren, thus averting this trope... until older, and possibly dead Seto mentions that something happened after many summers together and she's not there anymore, leaving him to die alone.
- It is all but spelled out in the ending sequence of Final Fantasy VI —as Kefka's Tower collapses from Magic vanishing from the world, Shadow silently breaks off from the party to hide in a secluded niche, and face Death both as penance as well as defiance. He even sends Interceptor away to spare him this fate.
- It's less obvious but implied that this is what happens to Shadow if you don't wait for him at the end of the floating continent panic sequence - and it's also implied that this happens to anyone you don't retrieve in the World of Ruin: all you get for their part of the ending is their portrait floating above their last known location. With a couple exceptions: Terra, who shows up regardless; and Sabin, who's mentioned in the scene he would normally share with Edgar - although he would likely survive regardless.
- In Kingdom Hearts II, this is what Roxas implies will happen to him when he talks with Axel as he's leaving Organization XIII. When Axel tries to convince him not to leave, telling him the Organization will kill him, Roxas says indifferently that "no one would miss me". And in a way, he did sort of end up dying alone. Or, at least, having the majority of his personality go dormant inside of Sora, with no one being there with him at the time when he returned to Sora's body.
- In Tales of the Abyss, that happens to Asch. Probably. The fandom is still mulling it over.
- Somewhat subverted in Mother 3, where Porky traps himself in the Absolutely Safe Chamber in a self-induced version of And I Must Scream. However Dr. Andronuts states that because he was at heart a lonely child who lived his life on the fact that everyone hates him, dying alone is perhaps the closest thing he can ever get to being happy at this point.
- Warcraft III:
- It was thought that Maiev the Warden had died on Outland some point during or after The Frozen Throne. A text from god-knows-where says that she died "alone on the red sand, unmourned, unsung, with none to remember her fall, her soul empty of all but rage". It was later retconned when she was brought back for the Burning Crusade expansion of World of Warcraft. And after defeating Illidan with the help of the players, she admits that she is empty now, and as she's never seen again, is possibly subject to this trope. Maiev reappears in the novel Wolfheart, which takes place back on Azeroth, and has become something of a police sergeant for Darnassus. until it's revealed she had gone mad without Illidan to chase, and was murdering the Highborne herself. Jarod hesitated and she escaped.
- Lilian Voss specifically requests this after she's possessed by Darkmaster Gandling and the players are forced to kill her. This has, of course, led to speculation that she survived.
- Kratos' ultimate fate in God of War III. Possibly.
- In Final Fantasy IX, Zidane goes back into the Iifa Tree to prevent Kuja from suffering this fate, defying the trope.
- In Halo: Reach, Noble Six, ironically enough, dies alone in an epic Last Stand, seemingly the only human (or even non-Covenant animal) still alive on his continent of the titular planet, Reach. Especially tragic, as Six had historically been a Lone Wolf, but recently became assigned to Noble Team, gaining some True Companions in the process. Throughout the game, Six watches every member of his team die (except Jun, possibly), one by one, and three of the occasions were Heroic Sacrifice's either directly or indirectly done to save Six's life. Still, given that he died amidst the fresh corpses of six Elite Ultras, it's perhaps slightly less alone.
- Left 4 Dead: Bill ends up dying alone in "The Passing", but just before he does, he takes comfort in the fact he saved the other three.
- Emil in NieR spends his last moments cowering in fear of his imminent death, wishing he could see his friends just one more time.
- The Masked King, too, who bleeds to death surrounded by the bodies of his fallen warriors and thinking about being reunited with his deceased wife.
- In Shadow of the Colossus, Wander is left to die in Dormin's temple alone during the final cutscene. He ends up getting resurrected in the form of a small horned baby.
- Defied twice in Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood: once when LeChuck fatally stabs Morgan in De Singe's laboratory and leaves her alone to die, yet she lives long enough for De Singe to discover the incident before he leaves, and for Guybrush to discover and hold her in her final moments as Jacques the Monkey sadly watches; and once at the end of the chapter, when it appears that LeChuck would leave Guybrush alone to die after stabbing him, with only Elaine right by his side, but then the villain returns as a transformed Demon Pirate at the last second to taunt him and watch him die in the arms of his grieving wife.
- Played for laughs inside the Developer's Room in Final Fantasy IV The After Years. One of the Developers asks if you'd help and if you refuse several of them will attack you. After defeating them, one will say his mom always wanted him to die alone.
- While subverted in that it doesn't actually happen in Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, when Sam is asked a question, he replies "we all die alone".
- The player character of nearly every game in the Falloutseries is heavily implied to die alone. The Vault Dweller of the original has it particularly bad, he is implied in the original game to wander the wastes alone forever. In the sequel you find out he did have a family (including you) but his wife died before him and he felt he had the leave the village so others could take his place as elder. He wandered of into the waste alone again, this time as frail old man with his life behind him. Ironically, The Lone Wander in Fallout3 averts this and will either die with a close friend near by (if Broken Steel isn't installed) or is shown to walk into the wastes with his loyal dog.
- In Fallout: New Vegas the only one of the Couriers loyal companions to stay with him to the end is ED-E, but this is only if the player makes certain choices in the game. If the wrong choices are made, and your companions haven't already died in your company, several of your loyal followers die alone and bitter.
- Assassin's Creed: Revelations reveal that this is the fate of Altair, who seals himself and the Apple of Eden in the Masyaf library in order to protect the Apple. However before he does the deed he at least shares one final moment with his son Darim.
- Shin Megami Tensei II has you find the corpse of The Hero of Shin Megami Tensei I alone, in a secluded cavern.
- E-102 Gamma in Sonic Adventure after being mortally wounded by his "brother" E-101 Beta who he previously "rescued", the only one to witness his Heroic Sacrifice is the little bird that escaped from it. Subverted in the Sonic X adaption where Amy puts two and two together about her bird Lily's parents just before finding him in time to watch him perish. She's pretty choked up about it.
- In MARDEK Mardek's best friend Deugan dies alone after fending off Moric's Dracelon, doubles as a heroic sacrifice, buying the Mardek time to escape. It is heavily hinted that Deugan survived and took the name "Lone Wolf" and wore green full body armour to conceal his identity.
- Ms. Yui from Corpse Party: Blood Covered performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Ayumi from dropping into a Bottomless Pit and being crushed by falling boulders, resulting her to slowly bleed to death alone in a hellishly depressing fashion.
- Drawn Together:
- In "Spelling Applebees", Foxxy mentions that her only fear is dying alone before hinting that she might want a boyfriend to ensure that doesn't happen.
- In Captain Heroe's Marriage Pact, the reason Unusually Flexible Girl is so desperate to get married is this trope, due to her grandmother dying alone and her being terrified of having the same fate. She gets her wish, as she is killed at the end of the episode when Toot's potato gun backfires, but she is with Hero and Wooldor at the time and doesnt die alone.
- In the 'epilogue' episode of Justice League Unlimited, Batman sits with Royal Flush Gang member Ace, who was dying specifically because of her powers, so that she wouldn't have to die alone, lest her death agony destroy the town. Quite the Tear Jerker.
- In King of the Hill, Peggy Hill suggests that Cotton Hill should do this as part of her Calling the Old Man Out routine.
- He had the last laugh though, since he died with her there.
- The Simpsons:
- Patty and Selma's maiden aunt warns them to have children or risk dying alone, prompting Selma to attempt to marry several times. When she finally hits menopause about 10 seasons later, she adopts a child from China. Patty's a lesbian.
- Mona also dies alone, watching TV in Homer's living room after she can't convince him to forgive her for being a Missing Mom. And he's the one who finds her lifeless body... right when he was about to tell her that could finally forgive her. Sniffff.
- Revealed to be the fate of Nox, the sympathetic Big Bad from Wakfu.
- Yumi was threatened with this in the Code Lyoko episode "Lost at Sea". A battle in the virtual sea had caused her craft to seperated from the others, and they couldn't find her. (What made this even more horrifying is that drowning in this place doesn't result in death, but something worse, probably even more terrifying for Yumi because she had to be rescued from it once before.) What made this more agonizing was the fact that Yumi had previously lost her temper with her younger brother and cussed him out, and all she could think about now was that they had parted company on that very bad note. (Fortunately for all involved, she survived, and made up with her brother.)
- The final fate of Mr Freeze as revealed in Batman Beyond, lethally poisoned by Blight's radiation powers and suicidal over the breakdown of his clone body, Freeze seals up the doorway into the lab he's in, preventing Batman from saving him, then tears down the building on top of himself.
- Joe Simpson says in his memoir Touching the Void that he thinks it was not so much the fear of dying but the fear of dying alone that kept him committed to the apparently hopeless task of crawling back to camp after he suffered a broken leg in the mountains and was left behind by a climbing partner who believed him already dead.
- According to her legend, Blessed Jacinta Marto said she'd die completely alone more than once, during her time as an Ill Girl affected with Spanish Influenza. Her chaplain and treating doctor/nurses told her that they'd be there for her... but the kid spent her last hours pleading for Holy Communion and Last Rites, because the chaplain didn't take her seriously and said he'd come back in the morning. A couple of hours after he left, she was dead.
- Accident on bluewater Solo Sailing... and there you go. With hundreds, perhaps thousands, of (nautical) miles to nearest human being. Most drowning victims in general die alone, mainly because if someone else was present, they wouldn't be a drowning victim. People who go out swimming alone in uncertain waters, people who go out fishing by themselves and fall overboard (often men, standing to relieve themselves and losing their balance), even children in backyard swimming pools.
- The fate of space probes and rovers sent out into the abyss of space. The scientists and engineers who build them often spend years dreaming, planning, constructing, and testing them, then wait years as they hurtle through the void towards their destinations, then see them shine in glory as they add to the sum of human knowledge. But, inevitably, and often all-too-soon, wires corrode, performance declines, and batteries fade. Then the people who have spent years together with both their colleagues and their creations must say goodbye as a chapter of their life closes. And far away, so far away that even their death is known only to themselves for minutes or hours because light itself is too slow to bring the news to their creators, a small, hardworking machine-made of materials that have known a single world for 4.5 billion years only to be sped away on plumes of smoke and thunder-has died while crushed under acid-soaked oceans of air or while the screech of thin, frosty winds swept about it, or in the dim starlight that breaks the eternal darkness to which it has been consigned...forever.
- Laika. First animal to die in orbit.
- Anyone who has worked in a hospital or hospice can testify to the fact that many people actually want to die alone. They may want to face the mystery of death on their own, or (more commonly) they might want to spare their families the anguish of witnessing the death. Some will ask the family to leave the room "for a minute" (if they're able to communicate at that point), while others will simply struggle to remain alive until the family leaves for the night. Unfortunately, this often causes unnecessary guilt among survivors who buy into this trope and who punish themselves for "selfishly" not having been there. In recent years, some hospitals have made efforts to avoid this for their more isolated patient populations by implementing programs where volunteers are brought in to befriend and comfort the terminally ill during their last weeks of life.
- In a veterinarian's personal account, though pet owners are given the option to leave the room when their pet is euthanized, he pleads for them not to. The pets always become scared and confused, desperately looking for their master right when they're about to die.
- Cats, if dying, have a tendency to find a secluded place in which to die. This can be inverted, as a cat with a loving family will continue living in pain because it can't die alone. Some dogs will do this too.
- Why does this link to Manitoba conservation and stewardship exist here? Look up the phrase "Lone Grave." A miner not only drowned alone, but is also buried alone, in the middle of a provincial park.
- The Last Moment Robot was built to examine the possibility of dying alone. In a way, its parting monologue is touching. On the other hand, its cold mechanistic appearance and GLaDOS style voice make it disturbing. A question that comes up is whether a cold, unfeeling companion in death is better than no companion at all. Which, according to its creator, is the point of the machine - to highlight that dichotomy and, hopefully, spur people to change.
- "I am just going outside and may be some time." Capt. Lawrence Oates, in a message to R. F. Scott during the return journey of the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition to the South Pole. Oates felt his injury was delaying his team mates and so walked out into an Antarctic blizzard and was never seen again. The rest of his team died anyway.