So the hero is duking it out with the Final Boss
(or maybe just a Mini-Boss
). Either way, his opponent is most definitely his enemy. After striking a mortal blow, his foe is now too weak to even hold his weapon or be any threat as he lies dying. The hero (or sometimes even the villain, in the case that The Hero Dies
) will drop his weapons and sit down for a friendly chat, maybe ask the soon-to-be-dead if he has a Last Request
. Or wants One Last Smoke
. Or to just be philosophical.
This is a very good time for a Villain's Dying Grace
, Death Equals Redemption
, or My God, What Have I Done?
to be discussed. They may learn that the character was Good All Along
. Sometimes they might get very close by holding the victim
The truce is rarely ever spoken or negotiated. It usually only happens when the dying character is going to be Killed Off for Real
, and both parties know for sure that there's no way for them to survive. They just know there's no point in making a dead man dead-er, and are honourable enough to ensure they die more peacefully. Unless the defeated one is very good at faking it and taking advantage of the others party's honourable nature.
A key point of this trope is how the climax
of a final scene
is shifted. Normally it occurs when the villain dies in a grandiose way. However, when this trope is invoked, the actual act of dying is shifted over as a part of the falling action/conclusion.
Warning! This is a Death Trope. Spoilers ahoy!
Anime and Manga
- Cowboy Bebop: After Spike killed Vicious, all the mooks simply let him walk down the steps unimpeded.
- When There Was A Tomorrow: In the epilogue, Noble Six winds up facing down a Krogan, Kreave, who's bitter about losing his chance to kill Shepard, and decides to settle it with Six instead. After the Spartan wins, Kreave laments that now no one will remember him. Six tells him that they will as long as they remember Reach and what happened there. Kreave seems to accept this as he dies.
- Coronation Street: in the long-running soap opera, Ken Barlow and Mike Baldwin are lifelong rivals and bitter enemies. They drop their enmity twice. Once when both are taken prisoner by a desperate gunman who threatens to kill his hostages; a second time when Baldwin finally dies, the only other person present to make sure his death is not lonely and unremarked being Ken Barlow. (Tear Jerker?)
- In the Season 3 finale of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the wounded Lincoln sacrifices himself by flying the Quinnjet into space, along with Hive and the missile containing the Inhuman virus. As the warhead counts down, Lincoln remarks that he finally got to see the world, and Hive remarks that all he ever wanted to do was feel a connection with those around him.
- Robert A. Heinlein's Glory Road. After Oscar Gordon manages to mortally wound the Never-Born (AKA The Eater of Souls), he and it talk for a while before it dies.
- Near the end of David Gemmell's Legend, Druss The Legend is dying from poison and as his final action performs a You Shall Not Pass at a gate that is about to fall to the Nadir invaders besieging the fortress of Dross Delnoch. He kills numerous foes before he is too weak to hold his axe and falls down. The Nadir hold Druss in such reverence that the fighting immediately stops and a Nadir warrior picks up Druss's axe and puts it back in Druss's hands so the legendary warrior can die holding his weapon. When Druss dies, the Nadir take his body back to their camp and give him a funeral as if he was one of their own kings.
- The final duel scenes in The Elenium and The Tamuli both wrap up with Sparhawk delivering the fatal blow and then having a respectful (if short) conversation with the one he just killed.
- At the end of Summer Knight, Harry and the book's villain, the Summer Lady, Aurora, have a moment like this. Said villain is weakened and bleeding out as they tearfully explain their motive, and Harry talks quietly and holds them as they die.
- Assassin's Creed: All kills of official storyline targets end with a short sequence where the protagonist allows the assassinated to speak a few lines or say a few words before their death.
- Assassin's Creed II subverts the traditional "dying man utters his last words" scene when Rodrigo Borgia survives and attempts to fight off Ezio instead, and then again a bit later when Ezio refuses to kill him.
- Assassin's Creed III has an example with no words. Charles Lee has been badly wounded by Connor during their chase, and Connor is in only slightly better shape. When Connor finally tracks Lee down to a tavern, Charles doesn't even try to resist. Knowing he's finished, he simply enjoys one last drink before passing the battle to Connor. Connor accepts it, then ends Charles' suffering with a final stab.
- Knights of the Old Republic: At the end Revan manages to mortally wound Malak, after which the two of them have a short conversation about the choices they made and the consequences of them until Malak dies.