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 lays dying. The hero (or sometimes even the villain, in the case that The Hero Dies
) will drop their weapons and sit down for a friendly chat. Maybe ask the soon-to-be-dead if they have a Last Request
. Or if they want One Last Smoke
. Or 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 & Manga
- Cowboy Bebop: After Spike killed Vicious, all the mooks simply let him walk down the steps unimpeded, knowing that he's about to die soon himself.
- When the stoic commander of the French Foreign Legion, Major Foster, falls to a cavalry bullet, his Arab adversaries cease fire in March Or Die. Their Arab chieftain, El Krim, approaches the French lines, is allowed passage, and honors his fallen foe. El Krim then gives the remaining French forces the opportunity to withdraw from their hopeless position.
- Subverted in íThree Amigos!. At the climax, after the villain El Guapo has been mortally wounded he calls Lucky Day over to him, saying he want to tell him something. When Lucky gets close enough, El Guapo shoots him in the foot as a joke.
- Shoot 'em Up: at the very end, when Smith and Hertz are both nearly dead, Smith lets Hertz answer his cellphone as he walks away. The truce breaks, though, and both of them attempt one final shot to really kill each other off.
- Unforgiven. William Munny shoots and mortally wounds the cowboy Davey Bunting. Davey becomes thirsty and begs one of his friends to bring him water. His friends are reluctant to do so due to fear of being shot themselves. Munny calls out to them to give Davey some water and promises not to shoot them. One of them believes him and goes to Davey with a canteen.
- In Skyfall, when Bond finishes off Silva with a thrown knife to the back, neither have any weapons left anyway. But neither of them attempt to fight or finish each other off more quickly, just staring each other down and allowing Bond to give a signature one-liner just before Silva finally keels over.
- The Last Samurai: A rarer example where the heroes are the ones dying and the antagonists are honourable. After the last remaining samurai are gunned down by gatling gun fire, the captain orders his men to cease fire (against the orders of his superior) to allow Katsumoto to commit seppuku and die with honour.
- Kill Bill: After having the Five Point Palm technique done on him, Bill knows he's a dead man walking. He has a last bit of conversation with The Bride before peacefully walking to his death.
- 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?)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.