->''"I will exercise caution when participating in the Hero's plans. Neither the depth of the Hero's anguish over my death nor the heat of his fury to avenge me makes any difference. I'll still be dead."''
-->-- '''[[http://www.oocities.org/evilsnack/innocent.htm The Normal Innocent Bystander's Survival Guide]]'''

The character most likely to die in any major series, regardless of genre, is the hero's best friend, girlfriend or most beloved relative, as he or she is a [[DoomMagnet prime target]] for the bad guys.

Speaking both [[WaitHere literally]] and [[SortingAlgorithmOfMortality metaphorically]], the most dangerous place that one can be is also the place that seems the safest: [[CartwrightCurse right next to the hero]]. It's not just spatial, but emotional; the [[BeleagueredChildhoodFriend best friend]], [[LoveInterests significant other]], little sister and [[DeadSidekick sidekick]] of the hero are all deeply at risk because that leaves them as prime targets for the villains, and their deaths act as fuel for HeroicResolve, UnstoppableRage or simply the sadness of losing such a beloved character. [[StuffedIntoTheFridge You die]], the hero [[PlayerPunch gets mad]], kills the baddie, and everyone wins... except you. And that's assuming that he [[ForgottenFallenFriend even remembers you next episode.]]

In any case, the death of such a character is [[EmotionalTorque meant to sadden the audience]] more than any other act of evil -- either a standard KickTheDog moment or a full-on crossing of the MoralEventHorizon -- that the villain does. If not to make a HeroicResolve, then the point is usually to encourage character development.

These friends are usually [[NiceGuy universally likable]], and always there for the hero. They will never {{betray|alTropes}} the hero, always know what to say, and basically help the hero in any way they can, the more eagerly the better. Basically, the closer to the hero the character is shown or implied to be, and the more the audience connects with the character, the lower his life expectancy. Whether it be a HeroicSacrifice, or simply being [[InnocentBystander caught in the crossfire]], these characters are easily brought down by their determination in helping their friend. Bonus points if the character, while being [[FriendlyEnemy the hero's best friend]], is also TheRival.

Note that this is a character type similar to TheMentor, though a friend rather than mentor. For the act of actually killing the friend, see StuffedIntoTheFridge. Similar to ObiWanMoment and {{Retirony}}. Often uses SacrificialLion. ItsNotYouItsMyEnemies is when the hero decides to cut a relationship short to avoid this.

This is a '''DeathTrope'''. '''Spoilers Ahoy!'''




* Yamagata in ''Manga/{{Akira}}'', who is killed by Tetsuo in the full throes of psychic megalomania, and which serves to get Kaneda good and mad at him.
* Krillin in ''Manga/DragonBall'' and both of its extensions the hero's best friend and his son's close friend, who also has the misfortune of living in a universe where DeathIsCheap, and thus is killed anywhere from five to seven times, depending on what all you consider to be canon:
** He was killed by Tambourine, a henchman of Piccolo Daimaou, when ''Dragon Ball'' [[CerebusSyndrome was first becoming something other than slapstick comedy]], thus motivating the plot action until the end of the arc.
** He was blown up by BigBad Freeza, an act which gave Goku the HeroicResolve that depopulating entire planets hadn't, and finally allowed him to [[PowerLevels go Super Saiyan]].
** He was [[TakenForGranite turned into stone]] by TheDragon, Dabura, during the Buu arc, basically killing him. He got revived after Dabura died.
** He committed a HeroicSacrifice when yet another BigBad, Buu, was destroying the Earth - it didn't work, and all of humanity had to be brought back after Gohan avenged his death.
** Then, in the ''second'' OddlyNamedSequel, he was killed by his wife's brother. Yeah - Krillin gets killed by the personal nemeses of three more powerful loved ones.
** In the BadFuture, Krillin was one of the first to be killed.
** ... And the DistantFinale featuring Goku's granddaughter and great-great-grandson pretty much confirms he eventually dies of old age. One can only assume that a future OAV will focus on Goku powering up and destroying death in response.
** Android Sixteen is also subject to this in a subverted manner, as he originally appears to be a FriendlyEnemy, later has a HeelFaceTurn by attempting to destroy Cell, and ultimately becomes a Friendly Target when Cell destroys him at his leisure, prompting Son Gohan's Super Saiyajin 2 Transformation.
* Kuwabara [[InvokedTrope fakes one of these]] against Toguro in ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' to get Yusuke mad.
** Later it features an inversion, followed by two subversions. Yusuke, the main character plans to pull this to activate the heroic resolve in his side kicks, so that they can finish off Sensui. The first subversion comes in the fact that even with this power up, it doesn't really help them much. The second is that Yusuke gets better.
* Usopp of ''Manga/OnePiece'' hasn't died (yet), but he does get pretty damn close to it on several occasions. And he shares the same voice actor as Krillin after Creator/FUNimation began dubbing.
** Lately, Hachi has been getting this. First, he gets kidnapped while trying to rescue Camie. Then, he was shot by a World Noble. During the Time Skip, he was getting beaten up by several people trying to get Thousand Sunny. And recently, when he tried to dissuade Hodi from destroying Fishman Island and overthrowing King Neptune, Van Der Decken impaled him with a hail of arrows.
* Maes Hughes, Roy Mustang's friend from ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''.
* Nicol and Tolle for Athrun and Kira, respectively, in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED''.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Is the entire point of the ''ComicBook/IdentityCrisis'' arc of the ''[[JusticeLeagueOfAmerica JLA]]'', which features a mysterious character attacking those close to superheroes, who is ultimately revealed to be intentionally [[InvokedTrope invoking this trope]] so that all heroes will spend more time with their loved ones. It spoils some without spoiling all!
* Inverted by John Constantine in ''ComicBook/{{Hellblazer}}''. His most dangerous enemies are from out of town, or from another world entirely. Someone who's [[AGodAmI reaching godlike levels of power]] will still give up if you put a gun to their mother's head. Also played straight; being a friend of Constantine's is basically a death sentence.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''FanFic/OriginStory'', Alex Harris's girlfriend Louise, along with Nico Minoru of ''ComicBook/TheRunaways'' (who is trying to help the two women get back home) are targeted by Bullseye when the ComicBook/{{Thunderbolts}} attack because a) they're helping Alex, b) they're softer targets than Alex, and c) because they're there and Bullseye just likes killing people.

* Biggs in ''StarWars'' Episode IV. He basically existed to die; Expanded Universe materials do flesh him out further, though.
* From the ''Film/DungeonsAndDragons'' movie, Snails dies the heroic death when facing off against the BigBad. Considering [[ClicheStorm what kind of movie this was]], his death surprised absolutely no one except the characters on screen.
* In ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan'', Spock dies saving the ''Enterprise'' and her crew. ([[Film/StarTrekIIITheSearchForSpock He gets better.]])
* Many, ''many'' of Film/JamesBond's allies end up dying to further the plot. To list:
** ''Film/DrNo'': Quarrel
** ''Film/FromRussiaWithLove'': Ali Kerim Bey
** ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}'': Both Jill and Tilly Masterson
** ''Film/{{Thunderball}}'': Paula Caplan
** ''Film/YouOnlyLiveTwice'': Aki. Ally ''and'' BondGirl, and actually got ''married'' to him? No way the girl was going to get to the end of the film alive.
** ''Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService'': Shaun Campbell, Tracy Draco (the latter being not only an ally and a BondGirl, and not only getting married to him, but is stated to be ''one of Bond's few {{True Love}}s''.)
** ''Film/TheManWithTheGoldenGun'': Andrea Anders
** ''Film/{{Moonraker}}'': Corinne Dufour
** ''Film/ForYourEyesOnly'': Luigi Ferrara
** ''Film/{{Octopussy}}'': Vijay Amritaj
** ''Film/AViewToAKill'': Sir Godfrey Tibbett, Chuck Lee
** ''Film/TheLivingDaylights'': Saunders
** ''Film/LicenceToKill'': Sharkey
** ''Film/GoldenEye'': Alec Trevelyan... Or is he?
** ''Film/TomorrowNeverDies'': Paris Carver
** ''Film/TheWorldIsNotEnough'': [[SuddenSequelDeathSyndrome Valentin Zukovsky]]
** ''Film/QuantumOfSolace'': Strawberry Fields, René Mathis
** ''Film/{{Skyfall}}'': Judi Dench's M
* A continuing trope of the ''Film/DirtyHarry'' movies -- his partners always end up dead or seriously injured. Even Harry warns them of this. One of them does make it, though... because he was smart enough to take Harry's advice to heart, and wear a bulletproof vest.
* Parodied in ''Film/LastActionHero'' when, in the movie-within-the-movie, they kill the hero's ''favorite second cousin''. After four or five sequels, he was just running out of significant family members...
* Two of Film/{{Constantine}}'s friends, Father Hennessy and Beeman, are murdered to prevent them from helping him in his investigation.
** His young sidekick, Chas, dies in the final battle. This tendency to get his friends killed is one of the few things the movie's John 'Cons-tan-''teen''' has with his inspiration, comic character John Cons-tan-''tie''-n. Amusingly, the original Chas, a cockney cabdriver, is notable for his longevity after becoming friends with John.

* Mason Ashford from ''Literature/VampireAcademy''. Rose's closest male friend and a target for Strigoi in-universe in ''Frostbite''. Unsurprisingly he is the first real casualty among her circle of friends.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* In ''Series/TwentyFour'', Kim's best friend dies partway through the first season. Saddening, yes... [[DamselScrappy it could have been Kim]]!
** In fact, ''24'' is full of these. Most notably, Jack Bauer's ''pregnant'' wife Teri gets killed at the end of Season One. Season five even did this twice in its first episode.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': despite most of the Scoobies fitting the archetype, only Tara ever really fulfilled her destiny and died of it. Willow, her girlfriend, [[SuperPoweredEvilSide didn't exactly get "heroic" resolve, though]].
* ''Series/SpartacusBloodAndSand'': Sura, Spartacus' wife, is killed because she would remind him about his previous free life. Varro, his best friend, is then targeted by Illythia and killed for the sole reason to make him suffer.
* An April 2012 episode of ''Series/{{Castle}}'' has the writer out on a case with another cop. Both the cop and Beckett's team warn him that 3 of his partners died because of the cop's actions/attitude/craziness.
* ''Series/TheXFiles'': Samantha Mulder. William Mulder. Melissa Scully. Deep Throat. Mr. X. The Well-Manicured Man. Diana Fowley. Cassandra Spender. It turns out Samantha Mulder, who was believed to be dead, was already dead.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the game ''TabletopGame/HongKongActionTheatre!'', one of the Signature Moves you can pick for your character is "Sacrificial Buddy." The films of a character with this signature always have an Extra who is a friend or relative of the role that the character plays, who is doomed to die at some point in the movie. The character must play one scene with the Extra to establish the relationship, and after the Buddy dies (usually at the hands of the BigBad or his [[TheDragon Dragon]]), the character can either completely replenish his Chi pool or get a +5 to hit whoever killed the Buddy for the rest of the movie. This is known as the "[[YouKilledMyFather You killed my]] (insert relationship here), PrepareToDie" motivation.
* In the Victorian Melodrama inspired [[http://www.forgottenfutures.com/game/ff6/worldbk6.htm "Victorian Villainy"]] supplement for ''Forgotten Futures'', it is noted that when a villain hates someone, they will ''always'' attempt to destroy the person's career, family, fortune, etc. before making any direct attacks upon the object of their hatred, with the typical mentality being "I want them to ''suffer'' first!" This is one of several reasons why it's often safer to be a hero than a hero's friend.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Due to the magic of RelationshipValues, you get to choose who gets to be this in ''VideoGame/ManaKhemiaAlchemistsOfAlRevis''. Isn't that great. No worries, they do get better, because it'd be downright cruel to [[KilledOffForReal kill off]] [[PlayerPunch the character you spent most of the game getting to like you and probably have an attachment to at this point.]]
* ''VideoGame/ExitFate'' has a variation. Every playable character (there are ''75'' of them) has up to three "relationships" with other characters (becomes available when they become playable) classified as A (significant friend or love), B (close friend), C (respected ally) and F (hates the person!). If (assuming both are in the party) the second person is knocked out, the first gets a boost. For example, if Vanrushal (a vampire) goes down, Luther (an exorcist) gets an uplifting morale boost from seeing his hated enemy go down. If Daniel is knocked out, [[BodyguardCrush Ayara]] is spurred to take revenge. Of course, being knocked out is only temporary unless [[GameOver the whole party is defeated]].
* In ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', Thane Krios' wife was killed by the associates of one of his targets as revenge. Being the best assassin in the galaxy, Thane was very effective at tracking them down and exacting vengeance.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'' is one hell of a bad time if your name is Hawke. One sibling dies less than ten minutes into the introduction; the other one is killed, enlisted by the Grey Wardens, or forced into the mage/templar conflict; and the matriarch of the family becomes the target of a serial killer that commits gruesome BodyHorror on her. It's a wonder that PlayerCharacter Hawke doesn't completely break down by the end of the game.
* Isara Gunther in ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'' is the hero's adopted and beloved sister, his tank driver, and a skilled tinkerer who constantly provides the keys to winning key battles. Her death ends up bringing the squad together just when the battles and the stakes are pushed through the roof. And that doesn't even account for the effect it has on both Welkin AND Rosie.
* Jackie Ma of ''VideoGame/SleepingDogs'' is impossible to dislike. He is Wei Shen's connection to his childhood along with much of the comic relief of the game, and also looked to be trying to turn his life around toward the end. So of course, they couldn't let him live.

* ''Webcomic/KidRadd'' plays this toward the end, where Bogey forces Radd to kill him, so that Radd can get the power-up inside his body.