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Family-Unfriendly Death
"So the mother wiped the axe and laughed."

Normally, death is kept well away from children's sensitive eyes. If it can't be avoided all together, it is made family friendly. Heroes make miraculous recoveries, villains expire off-screen, and never a drop of blood is seen.

Sometimes though, writers break this rule in the grand style, depicting deaths so gruesome they leave adults shaken, and children quivering wrecks. Its a risky move employed just to make your work memorable, and done incorrectly or in poor taste, expect nothing less than Critical Backlash.

Sometimes caused by unrealistic expectations. Those familiar only with Bowdlerised Fairy Tales — and still more Disneyfied ones — may find the more explicit versions of fairy tales shocking. The Happily Ever After often lavishes considerably more detail on the death of the Wicked Stepmother or other villains than on the happiness of the hero and heroine. Psychologists hypothesize this is a way of assuring the children that the villain really is Deader Than Dead. (On the other hand, it does not necessarily preclude Back from the Dead for heroes.) Often used with major villains.

This is one type of Nightmare Fuel. For violence without death, see Family-Unfriendly Violence. For examples that come from less-than-family friendly fare, see Cruel and Unusual Death. Obviously Truth in Television.

This is a Death Trope, so expect spoilers.


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Family-Unfriendly AesopFairy Tale TropesFamily-Unfriendly Violence

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