: He was me best mate. I'll never forget him. Ah, well. Onwards and upwards. Helena
: Did you know him long? Valentine
Heroes often have to be motivated to pick up The Call
, or are simply forced to by chilling events. An all too common way for this to happen is to have their friends and loved ones become Friendly Targets
and suffer Death by Origin Story
to kick start their quest.
They will thrash and wail
, swear bloody vengeance
on their killer and go on a multi-season quest to avenge... who was it again? Bob? Alice?
This trope is about the tendency of a narrative to have heroes forget their fallen friends and loved ones with worrying
ease. This is both mental and emotional; heroes will rarely reflect on these losses, or even use them in an "And This Is for...
" speech, and the emotional impact of the loss is rarely ever shown afterward. (And not because they are bottling it up
This can manifest as a husband avenging his murdered wife by hooking up with the Action Girl
without the smallest bit of guilt, or an orphaned son
who quickly puts his parents' smoldering remains out of mind to have fun with his new Five-Man Band
. The hero might even easily forgive
the culprit without batting an eye. Depends On The Writer
, especially on a Long Runner
where there are often Loads And Loads
of them; if the writer
can't remember a character, there's no chance in hell that the characters
Granted, a character can't be moody and depressed forever, it would get really old, really fast
, but in moderate doses it's actually compelling drama to see them bury their grief and perhaps even forgive (or at least not want to murder) the killer and instead bring them to justice. However, when the dearly departed's loss has all the emotional impact of a Red Shirt
or Disposable Woman
dying, it can nudge uncomfortably outside of the Willing Suspension of Disbelief
This trope is also useful for killing a Sacrificial Lamb
off in the beginning that the author doesn't want to appear as a main character in the rest of the work, whether to avoid Fridge Logic
, or to lessen the burden of the hero on their Heroic Journey.
Taken further, the character may be killed off before the story starts and get referenced only in a Troubled Backstory Flashback
In episodic series, this will always happen to Remember the New Guy
if they die. Just as how they were never mentioned before the episode despite being close friends with one of the main characters, their tragic death will never be mentioned again after the episode.
Contrast Dead Guy Junior
, To Absent Friends
and see also Death by Origin Story
. When a character simply goes missing, with their ultimate fate unrevealed (to the other characters or
to the audience,) yet nobody (in the story) seems to care, it's What Happened to the Mouse?
or Chuck Cunningham Syndrome
. When it's the villain
who can't remember... whoever it was he killed that has made The Hero
mad at him, it's But for Me, It Was Tuesday
. Compare Present Absence
, when this is averted.
open/close all folders
- The Appendix To The Marvel Universe site is loaded with examples of previously important dead sidekicks, teammates, lovers, friends, and relatives (far too many to list here), complete with heroic tears shed, Big No's no'd, and vengeance vowed, who were relegated to obscure footnoteitude once the Revolving Door of Writers made its next quarter-turn. No doubt any other comics publisher with more than a single Story Arc's worth of issues under their belts could draw up similar rolls of "Who's that again?"'s recognizable only to the most scholarly of comic geeks.
- Averted, at least, by Warpath of X-Force fame. The only times he ever joins a team are when he's looking for revenge. Of course, he's lost a lot of people to the mutant wars, probably more than anyone else, but he's never forgotten his brother or his mother. In fact, he still has yet to forgive Xavier completely for Thunderbird's death, and he chased the man who killed his mother and slaughtered his entire tribe until the guy died. And even that wasn't good enough, so he followed him down to hell to beat on him one more time.
- During the "Winter Soldier" story arc in Captain America, the title villain killed Jack Monroe, Cap's former partner Nomad. Though Cap did briefly express anger at Jack's murder, he mostly moved past it pretty quickly.
- A similar situation happened with another one of Cap's ex-sidekicks, D-Man, who was shot and killed by Sharon Carter after being turned Brainwashed and Crazy. D-Man's death briefly put a strain on the relationship between Sharon and Steve, but they got over it soon enough.
- In general, this can be expected with any big-time crossover. A few C-Listers or supporting characters will get killed to establish the threat, create a sense of higher stakes, or to add emotional tension and drama. The big name heroes can then grieve and be motivated to avenge their "friends", who are then promptly forgotten once the story is over.
- On a meta level, this could be said for the characters who were killed and or retconned out of existence in DC's reality-warping stories such as Crisis on Infinite Earths and Flashpoint. They are literally forgotten by everyone, including former friends.
- In the indie comic book Dreamkeepers, in the first issue the main protagonist Mace is attacked by a monster, and shortly thereafter finds his little sister stand-in literally ripped to pieces and splattered all over the walls. Despite a trauma that would send a hardened Marine into an emotional tailspin, he barely mentions her twice in the entire time since and shrugs off her death like he was made of iron. Take note, the protagonist is a thirteen year old orphan. lampshaded at the end of volume two where he wonders if he's a bad person because of it. Of course, Lilith has proven to be a good distraction for him.
- One of the elements of Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom's Backstory is that he wants to accumulate enough power to free his mother from Mephisto's Hell stand-in. Many writers seem to completely ignore this, though it was referenced in the original Secret Wars.
- That is partially because he already did that. Then again, whether or not it happened again depends on the writers!
- This is one of the many tropes parodied in Adam Warren's Gen13 story "Grunge: The Movie":
The Hero (Grunge):
For what you
did, you're gonna pay
, big time! (Psst! H-hey... D'you remember exactly what
he did? I kinda forgot
Shaolin Warrior Nun (Caitlin):
(whispering) He wiped out your beloved peasant village
and murdered everyone in it, including your beloved bro Bobby
- A meta example occurs in the Justice League of America tie-ins to Blackest Night. A villain tells C-list heroine Doctor Light that once he kills her, the superhero community will briefly mourn but quickly forget about her. He then cites several superheroes (such as Triumph) who were all quickly forgotten about by both writers and fans after their deaths.
- Lampshaded and discussed in the Teen Titans tie-in to Infinite Crisis. Pantha, Baby Wildebeest, and Bushido all end up getting slaughtered to show off how powerful Superboy-Prime is, and Beast Boy laments that nobody is going to remember them since they were all fairly obscure.
- In general, anyone who has to Die for Our Ship will be swiftly forgotten.
- In Christian Humber Reloaded, the main character tends to forget about many of the people he's lost, such as his parents, his brother, the little girl who took him in and her father.
- This has happened so much to Ron in Harry Potter fanfic, probably from authors that weren't interested in having him in the story, that it was noted in Rugi and Gwena's Tough Guide to Harry Potter that killing Ron off "provides an opportunity for tragedy, weeping, and little need to mention him afterwards."
- This happens fairly often in The Prayer Warriors, such as when Percy Jackson converts Chiron to Christianity, only for Chiron to get killed and eaten by the residents of Camp Half-Blood. After avenging Chiron's death by killing Grover (for the third time), and mourning his death in the next chapter, Percy forgets about him until he returns in The Evil Gods Part II.
- Inverted in Summer Days And Evening Flames to great effect to show Gilda's Character Development. She watches Officer Sunset, who she considered at best a friendly acquaintance, die from an arrow right in front of her. However, she starts to show Survivors Guilt when considering Gilda was the intended target, and attends Sunset's funeral for closure.
- Defied in Pony POV Series. As one of the main themes is 'there are no background characters', any death is treated very seriously and has long lasting effects on the other characters in intentional defiance of this trope. Most notably, Starlight's death in the G2 Apocalypse causing Patch to spend most of her life in denial over it and Sunset and Ranger's deaths in the Shining Armor arc are continually brought up, grieved, and referenced even a few seasons later. A scene in the Wedding Arc even has the latter two's grave be visited by their surviving friends before they head off to the Final Battle of the arc.
- At the beginning of the second Austin Powers movie, Austin's wife Vanessa reveals herself to be a Fembot apropos of nothing and promptly explodes. His boss drops a line like "Sadly, yes, we knew it all the time" and the matter is never brought up again.
- Played for serious drama in Bent. By the end of the movie Max has forgotten the names of the people he knew and cared about before entering the camp.
- In the newsreel at the start of Citizen Kane, it's revealed that Kane's first ex-wife and their son were killed in a car crash. They are never mentioned in any flashback that takes place after they died. No one ever suggests that among Kane's many personal problems, losing his only child might be among them.
- The supporting cast in the Evil Dead trilogy all tend to suffer this fate as the hero Ash survives each night and moves from one sequel to the next (each movie begins just a few seconds after the last one's cliffhanger ending), with his dead girlfriend Linda remaining relevant the longest. But the most brazen example is his sister Cheryl from The Evil Dead (1981), who was the first one possessed by the demons. Her existence, along with two other friends, was skipped right over by the second movie's opening recap, and a comic book adaptation of the first movie relegated her from his sibling to a friend-of-a-friend whose Demonic Possession merely annoys Ash. The musical's version of the story elevates her back to being his sister, mostly so she can spout off Incredibly Lame Puns about being his sibling...
Evil Cheryl: I'll get you Ash! I'm like a literal Hulk Hogan - I'll get you, brother!
- In John Woo’s first film, Heroes Shed No Tears, The first member of the protagonists’ group gets shot at the beginning while they’re capturing the general. Everyone forgets about him soon after.
- In the Peter Pan Fan Sequel film Hook, the mourning period for Rufio is criminally short. Possibly because the Lost Boys— and Peter, before he grew up— don't really seem to comprehend death.
- Orlando Bloom's wife in Kingdom of Heaven probably counts. He goes on Crusade partly out of the hope that his wife who committed suicide (an unforgivable sin) will be let out of Hell and into Heaven because of his actions here on Earth. But at the end of the film he gets to ride off into the sunset with Sibylla, his one true love. Um hello? Do you remember why you went on Crusade originally?
- Bing, Valentine's juggler in MirrorMask. This is lampshaded, and he doesn't even pretend to miss his anonymous violinist for a moment.
- Tatum Riley in Scream (1996). Not only was she the closest friend Sidney ever had in the franchise, but she was also Dewey's sister. And no one mourned her much in the sequels.
- Sidney's girlfriend in Scream 2, uh... what was her name again?
- Keanu Reeves' character in Speed learns that his friend and partner Harry has been blown up. He quickly gets over it because there's Sandra Bullock to romance. Or maybe it's just hard to tell what emotion Keanu is trying to portray.
- Star Trek: All the cadets not assigned to the Enterprise in the first film and most of Harrison's victims in the second. Starfleet being decimated twice over isn't as important as a handful of named characters' deaths.
- In Star Wars:
- Luke Skywalker at first Refuses The Call. Then stormtroopers kill his uncle Owen and his aunt Beru, the people who raised him. He then "has nothing more for me here" and goes on to start the adventure, but he barely thinks of them or the old moisture farm. This makes their death a case of Death by Origin Story as well.
- Luke's best friend Biggs Darklighter, whom we meet during the initiation to destroy the Death Star, gets killed by Darth Vader during the ensuing battle, and after a very brief moment of mourning he is never mentioned again.
- Leia seemingly manages to forget her entire PLANET! Although, one could understand why she wouldn't want to talk it; and it is also referenced in the Expanded Universe. She was also rather short during her escape from the Death Star which fits somewhat.
- The 2007 Transformers series.
- "So sad, Jazz is dead. Oh well, we have new friends!".
- Jetfire didn't get so much as a mention after he rips his own spark out to give Optimus his parts to fight The Fallen and is more or less forgotten after Optimus kills The Fallen.
- In Dark of the Moon, Ironhide is barely even acknowledged as having been killed. Even Que/Wheeljack was given a better, albeit brief eulogy by Bumblebee before Bee went back to kicking ass.
- In the Wing Commander film,
- The characters deliberately tried to pretend that their comrades who had died never existed.
Lt. Cmdr. Devereaux: "Who in the hell do you think you are? Let me give you a reality check. In all likelihood, you're going to die out here. We're all going to die out here - but none of us need to be reminded of that fact. So you die, you never existed. Understand?"
- Later on, after Rosie dies, Blair tries to do this to Maniac, who immediately tells him that it's a bullshit game. In the next scene, Blair tells the same thing to Devereaux, as if he wasn't just playing the same game.
- In X-Men: First Class, nobody comments on The Man in Black’s death or mourns him despite his benign nature and generous actions.
- In The Wolverine, in Logan's mind, Jean is "all alone" where she is, and wants him to join her... except Logan knows that she loves Cyclops, who is also dead... and Xavier, who, while not her lover, was still a mentor and good friend, who, as far as Logan knew, was also dead. It's a Justified Trope in that if she was an actual ghost, Logan's guilt could have been keeping her from moving on. And if she wasn't, and merely a manifestation of his guilt, then it's perfectly understandable that she would focus on Logan and play on his secret fear that she couldn't move on for whatever reason. Still, the fact that he views his relationship with Jean as being very clearly romantic makes this trope sting a little.
- Notably avoided in Stephen King's The Dark Tower saga. Roland's defining feature is that he just keeps going, but he frequently angsts about all his companions who have died so he could continue his quest, and when he makes it to the Tower, he shouts all the names of his fallen comrades.
- In the web-novel Domina, Adam comes to the city to go to college with his friend Dale, and promptly forgets about him. Derek (who never even met the guy) angsts about it more. Not that Derek is much better; in Simon's introductory chapter, Simon mentions that one of their oldest friends died in a shootout, and no one offers any more sympathy than "Ooh, that sucks." Probably comes from living in a Wretched Hive.
- Justified in Dragon Lance's Dragons of Summer Flame: when Chaos' shadow demons kill someone, they erase that person's existence from everyone's memory.
- In Emberverse, Odard Liu is one of the nine members of the Quest and travels three thousand miles from one side of the United States to the other, saving his companions' lives and fighting alongside them the whole time. Once there, he makes his last stand protecting his friends' flank, his sword breaking as he kills dozens of enemy fighters, is mortally wounded, and dies in his friends' arms...and then they continue on their way without a moment of mourning and never mention him again.
- Older Than Dirt: Averted (and gives a moral on why this trope is necessary) in The Epic of Gilgamesh, as Gilgamesh's entire quest for immortality was to overcome death and bring his only friend Enkidu back to life, as he continuously reminded the reader and everybody he met. In the end, he asks a random person if he knows who Enkidu was, only to be told "no" — which gives Gilgamesh the epiphany that he cannot force his grief on anybody else anymore, and needs to accept it, get over it, and move on with life — and that being famous could be one form of immortality. He then went on to become the god of the dead so the message isn't quite that clear cut.
- In the H.I.V.E. Series, Lucy Dexter is mentioned exactly twice after her death. And both mentions are in the book that immediately follow the event.
- Starkly and pointedly averted in David Weber's Honor Harrington series. Any prominent supporting character killed over the course of the story — and there are a lot of them — will still be remembered even a dozen books later. For instance, Honor's First Love, Paul Tankersley, killed in Field of Dishonor — book four of the series — is name-checked in A Rising Thunder, which is book thirteen. And over a year (in story time) after Javier Giscard's death in At All Costs, his lover, President Eloise Pritchart, still grieves for him intensely.
- Double Subverted in Robert A. Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. Near the beginning of the novel, a two meter tall black guy named Shorty gets killed by the Warden's guards while helping Mannie and Wyoh escape. Later, while they're lying low in a hotel, Wyoh explains that she hasn't grieved for Shorty yet because she has more urgent things she needs to focus on, and she'll grieve when she gets a chance. Later, Mannie hears her crying in her sleep, presumably about Shorty. He gets mentioned in the novel one more time shortly after that, and never comes up again.
- In Twenty Years After, the heroes spend half the book trying to save Charles I from Cromwell and eventually fail to prevent his execution (the bad guys weren't quite as stupid as they thought.) Before the king's death, the musketeers are determined to save him or die trying, since he's such a noble person; afterwards they mourn him for about a chapter.
- Justified and subverted, somewhat, in The Program. James and Sloane's best friend Miller kills himself halfway through Part One, and his death looms over the rest of Part One and the first few chapters of Part Two, constantly discussed and affecting James and Sloane. However, since the Program causes Laser-Guided Amnesia, Sloane and James literally cannot remember Miller by the book's end.
Live Action TV
- In Babylon 5, Talia's personality is wiped by the Psi Corp. Everyone is very upset about it at the time, but, by the next episode, she might as well not have existed, as far as all of the crew aside from Garibaldi and Ivanova were concerned.
- Although this is actually in line with the character's on-screen relationships, she barely interacted with anyone other than the above, The commander who was already gone at that point, and the Captain who'd only been talking to her for a few episodes.
- Invoked in Battlestar Galactica (Reimagined). Apollo complains that he is barely able to remember the pilots that have lost their lives over the course of the series. He makes an effort to remember a few but not all. Starbuck cynically retorts that she doesn't remember any of them and doesn't bother trying. Later, she averts the trope and shows she was lying before, raising a toast to fallen comrades and listing every single one until she breaks down in tears and can't continue...
- Apollo's pregnant fiancée is a played-straight example. He barely thinks about the fact that he left her to be nuked, aside from one episode.
- Arguably, Peter Laird though people could be forgiven due to the fact that he dies at the start of a mutiny that takes the lives of over a hundred other people including the entire Quorum.
- Billy. Only Laura seems to shed any tears over him.
- Felix Gaeta is never mentioned again after he and Zarek are executed for the mutiny. No one is shown placing a photo on the memorial wall, either, not even Baltar, who was with him shortly before he was executed.
- The original 1978 Battlestar Galactica (Classic) has one or two examples as well. Apollo's brother Zac dies in the first episode, and is almost never even mentioned again in later episodes.
- Averted in the new series, where Zac died much earlier and plays a significant part in several subplots.
- Played for laughs in Black Adder. Whenever a character loses the woman they love, their mourning lasts for about five seconds.
"Amy! Oh, Amy! ...What's for breakfast?"
- By the second or third episode, Krista in Blade The Series appears to have forgotten completely that Marcus van Sciver put a bullet in her brother's head. In fact, her whole motivation in the pilot was to put a silver slug through van Sciver for this. Then she gets turned by him and, a few episodes later, starts sleeping with him, her dead brother forgotten. Yes, she's secretly working for Blade, but that's only because she's not too big on the whole "vampire" thing, even though she's one herself (and van Sciver made sure she couldn't be cured by throwing her off the roof after turning her).
- Xander, Willow and Jesse were set up in the pilot episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer as best friends since a young age, but once Jesse was Killed Off for Real to prove Anyone Can Die in the pilot, no one mentions him again. Sure, he’s hardly the last casualty of the series. However, even the writers seem to have utterly forgotten about him when Season 3's Alternate Universe What If? episode came around and no mention was made of his existence.
- His form is also never assumed by The First, who worked really hard to dredge up memories of departed loved ones. Minor characters were brought back, but Xander & Willow's best friend for 10 years is never mentioned. Having said that, original draft of "Conversations With Dead People" would have seen The First taking Jesse's form and angrily accuse Xander of forgetting about him. However, this was scrapped due to Eric Balfor being unavailable.
- It's probably safe to say that Xander's hatred of vampires - always noticeably stronger than that of the other characters, as seen by his relentless dislike of Angel and Spike during even their good periods - can be attributed to his statement in Episode 2 (after he and Buffy found that Jesse's been killed and turned):
Willow: Well, at least you two are alright.
Xander: (*kicks trash can in library*) I don't like vampires. I'm gonna take a stand and say that they're not good.
- One could argue that Xander's super-hatred of vampires (never trusting "good guys" Angel, Spike, etc.) stems from Jesse. Or it could be hots-for-Buffy stuff, because he approved of Riley.
- In fact, Jesse was initially to appear in the opening titles for the pilot. The network refused; Whedon finally pulled the same trick on a different network in season 6 when Tara was killed. Torchwood did the same thing in its own first episode, but did return to the Fallen Friend for one episode later.
- Buffy's original Watcher, Merrick, killed himself in a Heroic Sacrifice to save Buffy from the vampire Lothos shortly before the series began. He's rarely mentioned at all outside of the prequel comics. Ironically, when Faith was introduced in season 3, her Watcher's death did have a heavy impact on her.
- Averted on Angel however with the death of Doyle. He is mentioned sporadically throughout the remainder of the series as a fallen comrade and friend. One villain in the last season even earns a special beatdown from Angel when he sort of tries to use Doyle's identity as a cover.
- In the third arc of After The Fall, when Illyria gets angry about everyone she cares about dying; a few panels later, a sign is shown with Doyle's name on it.
- In Doctor Who, the Doctor's companion Nyssa had her father taken over by the Master in the Shocking Swerve ending of The Keeper of Traken. In the following story, Logopolis, the Doctor met Tegan, whose aunt the Master killed. Subsequently, the Master destroys Nyssa's planet and she discovers that he has stolen her father's body. After Four to Doomsday, though, Nyssa never mentions it at all.
- Nyssa does, however, have a slight moment of shock and outrage in Time-Flight when she learns that the Master is there (having assumed he'd died at Castrovalva). The Doctor even says, "Yes, I'm sorry Nyssa," when she gives her response.
- Likewise, Adric made no direct mention of his brother following the latter's death in Full Circle, the closest he got being the scene where he told Romana: "One of my family's died for your lot already." Indeed, the only person to mention Adric's brother by name in any subsequent adventure is the Doctor in Time-Flight, by which time Adric has himself been killed.
- Apparently, actor Matthew Waterhouse was also upset about this not being brought up at all (his own brother had died by this time). However, there's a subtle hint towards the death for the observant viewers, seen in Earthshock - Adric, aware of his impending fate, is holding onto his brother's belt (given to him after Varsh's death) like a security blanket, as though to reassure himself in his final moments. It's not something everyone would pick up (given the belt looks like a thick rope), but for those that do ... Oh, Adric.
- The Doctor himself is prone to this. If you're not a companion, he'll be very upset to see you die, but probably have forgotten you minutes (or even seconds) after the fact. It's implied this is a coping mechanism for him to deal with the fact that everyone he knows eventually dies.
- Even when one of the Doctor's companions is permanently killed off, he or she is not exempt from this trope. Adric, for example, is only mentioned directly in a handful of post-Earthshock episodes, the last being Part Four of The Caves of Androzani, where the Doctor whispers Adric's name moments before regenerating into his sixth incarnation.
- Extreme example in "The Girl in the Fireplace" where the Doctor has an (allegedly passionate) love affair with Mme de Pompadour. By the next episode she's been forgotten, and is never mentioned again. In "Human Nature" he left Martha with instructions but never said what to do if he falls in love, implying he didn't consider it a real possibility though "The Girl in the Fireplace" was just a year ago.
- Near the end of Farscape, after Crichton finally gets back to Earth, an assassin tortures and kills his two best friends and is only mentioned once after that, when Scorpius asks his Old Master about the assassin's species and origin. Though it's clear that Crichton was having a something of a falling-out with said friends over his sharing of alien technologies.
- Grey's Anatomy is also doing this with George. He was a main character for five seasons, then after the first two episodes of season six, has only been mentioned twice.
- Heroes: Caitlin who? Never heard of any Simone. Yaeko? Charlie? Possible Lampshade/Subversion of Charlie's death in Season 4 Who are these people? Conveniently, with Simone dead, there's nobody to cry for Isaac.
- There’s possible exception of
Alixander Alejandro Dead Twin: the only people who knew of him on the show are Sylar (his killer) and Molly and Maya, the last two having been Put on a Bus.
- The trope was lampshaded later by Sylar. It went something like this: "What was his name again? Ted...Ted something. Ted... It's on the tip of my tongue." A few moments later... "Sprague! Ted Sprague! That was his name."
- Matt Parkman reunites with his ex-wife after discovering he has a son and apparently forgets all about his deceased girlfriend Daphne Millbrook, whose murder nearly led him to exact Revenge by Proxy on the girlfriend of Daphne's killer, Emil Danko, and basically sapped him of the will to live.
- Highlander had its share of such problems. While Duncan held rivalries with other Immortals ongoing for centuries, he rarely went after mortals. Regardless of what they did to him or his loved ones. From 1980 to 1993, Duncan's love interest was mortal Tessa Noel. A main character until early in the second season, Tessa was killed by a junkie over some petty change. Duncan never bothers to search for the killer. When Richard Ryan, a student of Duncan, managed to locate the junkie, Duncan refuses to lift a finger against him. Ryan eventually lets the guy go, once convinced the junkie has quit the habit and is now a struggling father. After that Tessa rarely gets mentioned. Similarly, a number of killed lovers or best friends such as Mei-Ling Shen, Brian Cullen or Nefertiri are greatly mourned in the single episode featuring them. Then never mentioned again, even in episodes summarizing the key moments of the character.
- Actually, the Series Finale features a case of It's a Wonderful Plot in which Duncan finds himself in a world in which he had never existed. For Want of a Nail all characters live miserable lives or are evil, and Duncan wants to undo what has happened. Until he discovers that in this reality Tessa is very much alive.
- On the same note, several episodes have Duncan trying to get other Immortals to quit their quest of vengeance against mortals. With several of them having some pretty good reasons to seek revenge. Ceirdwyn going after the people who killed her mortal husband, Kamir killing the people who smuggled India's cultural treasures to American museums, Muhammad ibn Kassim targeting the dictator of his country, Katya of Greenhil struggling to avenge the murder of her adoptive daughter, Jacob Galati hunting the people who butchered his wife, William Kingsley wanting to punish whoever killed his wife and those covering for them, Ingrid Henning going after any would-be dictator and hatemonger in hope of preventing a new Holocaust, and Everett Bellian waging war against the rapist of his adoptive daughter. Apparently they should have all forgotten their foes and let go. Somehow, this would seem rather difficult.
- Archie Kennedy dies a heroic death in the Horatio Hornblower episode "Retribution" ... then is never mentioned again for the rest of the series. Similarly, in the first episode, Clayton sacrifices himself to save Horatio's life; Horatio seems to remember him and mourn his death but Archie, his former shipmate, seems to forget him entirely almost immediately.
- A number of Knights of Camelot have died in Merlin but are never mentioned again. This includes some relatively famous names, including Sir Pellinore and Sir Bedivere. In one episode Merlin's childhood friend Will is killed saving Arthur's life, and he hasn't been mentioned since.
- Lancelot died twice, first at the beginning of the fourth season, only to be resurrected and killed off again in the ninth episode. Each time he died, no one ever mentioned him again in subsequent episodes - which was especially strange the second time around given the ramifications of the Arthurian Love Triangle. Yet instead of referencing him by name, all the other characters only obliquely mention a "betrayal."
- In Misfits, Nikki, Curtis' grilfriend is shot by a mugger after he sold the time travel power to Seth. Curtis mourns after her and go back to Seth. Curtis learned his ability has been sold to an old Jewish man hoping to kill Hitler, leaving Curtis unable to help Nikki. She is never mentioned after and two episodes later, Curtis is around a new love interest. It became egregious later in season 3 when Seth in order to bring back his dead girlfriend Shannon, gives Curtis the power of Resurecion, the later seems to forget he also has a deceased girlfriend.
- Averted in NCIS. Deceased characters are oft referenced and never forgotten. At one point, an entire episode was used to show that (six years later!) Kate Todd is still on the minds of her True Companions co-workers.
- Sheriff Graham in Once Upon a Time fits this to a tee. He dies in the seventh episode, is mourned in the eigth, and then never spoken of again, although his incarnation as the Huntsman occasionally appears in Enchanted Forest flashbacks.
- In the fourth episode of Robin Hood, Roy is killed off in a Redemption Equals Death moment. Despite John mentioning earlier that he was like a son to him and all of the outlaws mourning him at the end of the episode, he hasn't been mentioned since.
- Even worse was Marian's death at the end of the second season. Granted, she is name-dropped occasionally, but Robin bounces back from her death with astounding ease, hardly ever mentions her again, and eventually addresses her killer as "my friend." The other outlaws never bother mentioning her at all, and Robin manages to nab himself two girlfriends within a year of her death.
- Persistently and conspicuously averted in the second season of Sanctuary. Following Ashley's Heroic Sacrifice, Magnus is shown grieving in nearly every episode, with her attempts to cope driving the plot in some instances.
- Also, Clara Griffin is mentioned several times by Will but only when it is absolutely necessary (such as telling his new girlfriend about his exes).
- Smallville has always been very bad about this. In the earliest episodes, the "Freak of the Week" would often be a a longtime friend the main cast would've known for years prior to Kryptonite radiation turning them evil. More often than not, they'd die. The main cast would spend absolutely no time mourning their loss or what they had become even in the episode where they died.
- In later years this would extend to recurring characters and several cases of series regulars Whitney Fordman, Jason Teague, Davis Bloome, and Jimmy Olson who'd be Killed Off for Real, might be mourned in the episode they died, and then either never mentioned again or mentioned in only the briefest most casual way for plot purposes. Most egregious examples are Ryan James and Alicia Baker.
- Grant Gabriel. Lionel does mourn him. For one episode. He is his biological son. Which is one more episode than Lois ever mourned for him, even though she knew him longer.
- Gina. Granted the only one who'd care would be Lex, and it's Lex were talking about here. Still, you'd think he'd spend at least a moment wondering who the Hell murdered his most loyal and devoted assistant.
- Season two, Clark had a passionately romantic attachment to this Native American shapeshifter with a meaningful bracelet and prophecy saying she was his soul mate, and in the end she tragically dies. Next episode it was like it never happened, except she had been the device for the 'caves' setting to be introduced, and those stuck around. What was her name, anyway? Kyla Willowbrook.
- Downplayed with Lionel Luthor, who's mentioned quite a bit after his death. However most of his mentions are of the evil bastard he was at the start of the series and not as the ally he became in the show's second half.
- Averted in the best way when it comes to Jonathan Kent.
- Averted in Stargate Atlantis. At several points all the deaths they've experienced are shown to have worn heavily on the main characters. John Sheppard in particular is secretly self-loathing and guilt-ridden because of all the people he couldn't save. Elizabeth Weir, when allowed a chance to send one last message back home, instead opts to speak of each specific Red Shirt and how she feels personally responsible for their deaths. Carson Beckett and Elizabeth Weir are often mentioned and mourned after their deaths, and when they eventually 'come back' to some degree, it's not treated lightly.
- Captain Kirk suffers (in the first episode in which he appears,) the loss of a friend he's had for many years, whom he himself was forced to kill. Further along in the series, he also suffers the loss of his brother. And yet, the only death that seemed to affect him long term was the death of main, recurring character Spock (which didn't even stick.) Although Kirk has had and lost many love interests over the course of the show, he doesn't seem all that affected by their passing. (Granted, in at least two cases, he was made to forget that they had ever existed, but one would think he would at least remember and dwell upon Edith Keeler from time to time...)
- The death of his son sure had a lasting effect.
- The Spock thing can be defended with that it gets dragged up in the movie after he died by the possibility of him coming back to life appearing, with the effects in the movie after that mostly being centred around Spock not being entirely back to his old self. The movies after that didn't really bring up the 'Spock was dead' thing.
- Averted on Star Trek: The Next Generation with Tasha Yar. Data sometimes remembers their...encounter from "The Naked Now", the crew runs into her sister Ishara...and the show brings up an alternate universe her in "Yesterday's Enterprise"...which eventually gives us her half-Romulan daughter Sela.
- A version of this occurs in Supernatural. As far as the main characters are concerned, deceased friends are often mentioned and grieved on the show. However, there are a huge number of one-episode characters who watch their family and friends die in horrible ways, are traumatised for the majority of the episode, and then miraculously recover toward the end. One particularly noticeable example is the body-swap episode, where two teenagers are partially responsible for the gruesome death of their best friend, but by the end of the episode are too distracted by their love lives to remember that his body is still lying in his basement.
- The Winchesters do react this way in one particularly glaring instance regarding their brother, Adam. Ever since the fifth season finale he's been rotting in hell being tortured by Lucifer and Michael. Dean only mentioned him once but then seems to have forgotten about him completely. Apparently the Winchesters are perfectly content to leave him in hell for all eternity, despite their "family comes first" motto and both of them having been traumatized by their own trips to hell.
- This was finally arcknowledged in the 200th episode, in which Sam and Dean assist in a musical adaptation of the in-universe book series based on their lives. In the finale, when the Winchester familly sings "Carry On My Wayward Son", Sam fails to recognize a character and asks one girl who he is. She replies "Oh, that's Adam. John Winchester's other kid. He's still trapped in the cage, in Hell. With Lucifer." Sam and Dean immediately look at each other with discomfort.
- Played with when it comes to Jessica. Her death motivated Sam to go back to hunting, but after that, her mentions are few and far between.
- In full effect on Todd and the Book of Pure Evil.
- Aside from the sheer number of classmates and recurring characters killed off unceremoniously, regular character Jenny lost her long-time best friend in the third episode, never to mention her again. True to form, after spending a season trying to track down her long-lost father, Jenny seemingly forgets he ever existed after dear old dad dies after using the Book of Pure Evil(co-incidentally in the following season's third episode).
- Averted with the death of recurring villain the Hooded Leader at the hands of his own son, Atticus Murphy, who spends the next season carting around his dad's head believing it's talking to him. Said character is also one of the few to react with any emotion to the murder of one of the Crowley High student body, granted the student in question was a Satan Worshiper and prospective cult member, and the desperately lonely Atticus mistakenly believed they'd already become Best Friends Forever.
- Janet York, Kim's best friend in Season One of 24, is murdered by a terrorist pretending to be her father, though she doesn't recognize him anyway. This reveals that Ira Gaines was also planning to kidnap Teri, not just Kim. Teri, who is murdered by Nina Myers in the season finale, is mentioned in later seasons and it affects Kim's relationship with her father, but neither she nor anyone else even bring up that her best friend was murdered in the rest of the series.
- In The Vampire Diaries Anna dies at the end of the first season. She is then not mentioned again. In fact some people who started watching in the second season asked why Jeremy was so unfriendly to his uncle, because the fact that he murdered his girlfriend never comes up. What makes this more bizarre is that a season later Anna returns as a ghost. After she passes on, Elena attributes Jeremy's downward spiral to Bonnie breaking up with him, apparently forgetting they broke up because he was still in love Anna who, as far as Jeremy knows, is still trapped totally alone in the ghost world, unwilling or unable to appear to him again. Not that this is the only death where the dead person is quickly not mentioned again, but it's made particularly obvious because it happens twice to the same character.
- Despite only appearing in one episode, Lexi has been mentioned by Stefan several times since her death. He admits the reason he doesn't talk about her much is that it brings up memories of her death. However, he still forgave Damon rather easily for it.
- Handled oddly in The Wire. It seems as though Wallace has been pretty well forgotten by Poot and Bodie after season one, but the mention of his name in season four provokes Bodie into panicked alarm.
- Also soundly averted in the case of Brandon; Omar's Roaring Rampage of Revenge lasts two and a half seasons, and he never forgets who it is that he's trying to avenge. He does pick up a new boyfriend, Dante, in the two years afterwards but he splits with Dante at the same time as he finally gets closure for Brandon, meaning he can put it all behind him and enter his next relationship unencumbered.
- It's odd because Omar didn't treat his following boyfriends the same way he treated Brandon. Especially his third boyfriend, whom he barely touches, although this may be a case of But Not Too Gay.
- Poppy's death midway through Series 1 of Bleak Expectations is met with a typically Victorian melodramatic reaction: her siblings and friends are inconsolable with grief (as are the people listening to the story several decades later). But despite dying in the climactic scene of an episode, she's never mentioned once for the rest of the series, and even her parents don't think to ask where she is after her conspicuous absence during their reunion with their other two children. Other than a single, brief mention three series later, her name never comes up again once she's dead. Of course, the show being what it is, this is probably an example of this trope being subtly Played for Laughs.
- Eponine gets her drawn-out dramatic death scene in Marius' arms. As soon as she drops, he's back to mooning over Cosette, and Eponine is never mentioned again.
- Romeo is heartbroken about his friend Mercutio's death...at least during the scene where Mercutio actually died. After Romeo kills Tybalt to avenge him, Mercutio is pretty much forgotten. Romeo expresses far more grief over Tybalt's death than Mercutio's.
- Sluggy Freelance is usually pretty good about this (Val and Alt-Zoe have been referenced a fair bit after their deaths), but this applies in full force to anyone who died during the Horror parodies "KITTEN" and "KITTEN II." Unless their ghosts come back to haunt their main characters, any friends who fall during those stories seem to be completely forgotten.
- Whenever a character dies in Sonichu, someone says something to the effect of "I know it's sad, but we have to move on" and everybody goes about their business like nothing even happened. Most likely because the webcomic's author does the same thing.
- Averted in Simonla's case, however, as it led to an issue ending with the Asperpedia Four getting arrested for her death, given the most unfair trial ever, and then brutally executed. And then she's forgotten quicker than most of these examples.
- Homestuck has this appear to be the case for Feferi and Nepeta, who both haven't been mentioned or seen in-universe for a while.
- Until Fefetasprite is created, and then dies around 20 pages after her introduction.
- In Commander Kitty Zenith is transformed from malfunctioning Big Bad to enthusiastic assistant-slash-fashion designer as easily as rebooting her in 'Safe Mode.' She's rewarded for trying to repair the damage she caused (and making a spiffy new outfit for one of the characters) with a Logic Bomb that fries her brain completely. No one has yet to acknowledge the overall dickishness of this, or the fact that "Good Zenith" is now little more than an ambulate robot corpse.
- This may also be a bit of Truth in Television. It doesn't seem that unlikely that a crusade started for one reason may continue on its own momentum. See some people's feelings about the post-9/11 wars, or The Onion's story in Our Dumb Century where Archduke Franz Ferdinand was found alive and WWI was called off as a result.
- The actual Crusades began when the Byzantine Empire asked for Western help against the encroaching Muslim Turks. A little over a century later, the Fourth Crusade attacked and heavily damaged the Empire, and nowadays Turkey still controls Byzantium (Istanbul).
- Also, there's a pretty good chance that the person whose friend/relative/whoever died could be subconsciously using the crusade as a substitute for their fallen friend, which prevents them from feeling the full impact of the loss, or even thinking of the person at all, even though the bottled up grief will keep them going. Remember that keeping themselves occupied so that it gives them something to do other than mourn is a quite common occurrence among people who have lost loved ones.