Not Afraid to Die
Davian Thule: We will send you back to your craftworld in a tomb!For whatever reason, whether it's because of everything they've experienced or lived through, this character lives without any fear of death. They don't actively look for it the way the Death Seeker does, but if it ever comes for them, they will face it graciously, without crying, whimpering, without trying to make a Deal with the Devil. They're going to face up to it. A prime trait of any Badass, Blood Knight, and pretty much anyone who makes a famous Last Stand, Heroic Sacrifice, decides to Face Death with Dignity or with some Famous Last Words. Also a trademark of the Shell-Shocked Veteran, and Old Soldier. When this character finally passes on, they will always have an Obi-Wan Moment; sometimes it will be a Dying Moment of Awesome, as well. Doing this at the wrong time may result in a Stupid Sacrifice, however. Compare Don't Fear the Reaper (which is about not fearing the personification of death, rather than death itself) and We All Die Someday (which is about the acceptance of your own mortality).
Farseer Taldeer: I have known my death for ten of your lifetimes, captain. Don't think to scare me with it.
Farseer Taldeer: I have known my death for ten of your lifetimes, captain. Don't think to scare me with it.
— Dawn of War: Dark Crusade
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Anime and Manga
- Bleach: According to Kenpachi Zaraki, every Soul Reaper captain except Gin Ichimaru and Kaname Tousen. Yamamoto later affirms that it is part of the oath and duty of being a Gotei 13 captain to not be afraid to sacrifice one's life for the greater good.
- Break Blade's Girge seems to be somewhat between seeking death and unafraid of death. He did prove that he's not afraid to die when he took the hero's place to be executed. But he also seek for it actively by jumping here and there in the battlefield without care of his own safety.
- In One Piece, this is a trademark of those with the "Will of D." (those with the middle initial D.). Other characters are baffled as to why they all Go Out with a Smile (including Luffy when he was almost executed by Buggy). The most prevalent example would have to be the late Pirate King Gold Roger (real name Gol D. Roger), who smiled at his execution. A young Smoker witnessed this, and it drove him to chase after Luffy into the Grand Line after the aforementioned Buggy incident, noting the disturbing parallels between the two pirates and the realization of how dangerous Luffy was going to be.
- Subverted, however, by Marshall D. Teach aka Blackbeard, who begs for his life as Whitebeard is about to smash his head open.
- In Cowboy Bebop, one of Spike's character traits is how blasé he is about the prospect of dying. He states several times that he's already died and is just watching a bad dream until he's ready to wake up and face the reality that he's dead. Encountering Tongpu temporarily drives the cool away from him, but in all other instances (including in several episodes and The Movie that took place chronologically later) Spike never seems afraid of death. Depending on how you interpret the ending, the last minutes of the series shows the crowning example.
- In The Familiar of Zero, Louise and the other nobles constantly say they are willing to give their lives to defend their kingdom, and will go on a Suicide Mission if commanded to by royalty. Saito constantly calls them out on how stupid this is. During Saito's Heroic Sacrifice in the season 2 finale (don't worry, he gets better) he fights not to die, but to live and see Louise and the others again.
- Eren from Attack on Titan is this, contrary to what his allies think of him. When he fights, he has no time to let the prospect of death get in his way. He has every intention of walking out of each fight alive and frequently encourages this in others, especially in face of cowardice, apathy or doubt.
Eren: "If you win, you live. If you lose, you die. If you don't fight, you can't win!"
- In A Certain Magical Index, Terra of the Left is unafraid of dying because he's completely confident that he will go to Heaven, despite his incredibly depraved actions. As Terra's dying, Acqua of the Back tells him he will obviously go to Hell for his sins, and Terra finally loses his smugness.
- Sailor Saturn from Sailor Moon is the "Soldier of Ruin and Birth", and holds the Power of Death, a double-edged sword that allows her to kill any enemy at the cost of her own life. She is also fiercely loyal to the titular character and her friends, and although she won't use this power frivolously, she will not hesitate to try and unleash it against the Big Bad if she thinks she can end the conflict right then and there.
- Many characters from Dragon Ball counts, but the most notable example would be Tenshinhan/Tien, who is willing to face enemies who killed countless people and are far beyond his league. At least, he's able to slow them down (or not).
- In All Fall Down: With her last words, Siphon proves she is this.
- In one Chick Tract, a man encounters a burglar in his home and is disconcertingly delighted that he will be murdered, because he's lived a good life and is assured a place in heaven, so he's got everything to gain by getting there early. A bit of an Family-Unfriendly Aesop there.
- In the Bleach/The Familiar of Zero crossover The Left Hand of the Death God, Tabitha's dragon Sylphid reveals in an Inner Monologue that it is not afraid of death because death is a law of nature and is inevitable. Sylphid adds that while it may not fear death, it is not stupid enough to seek it out.
- In the My Little Pony story Nightmares Are Tragic, the fact that Luna is willing to die to defeat her possessing Nightshadow (because she will at least die free and save those she loves) is a major plot point: the Nightshadow cannot comprehend that she means to expose them both to the Rainbow of Harmony if this is what it takes to win.
- In The Boy With The Magic Notebook, Battery doesn't care about Cauldron's hold over her anymore after Assault was killed by the Slaughterhouse 9. Yet they actually planned for this to have her do something different then in the original story canon...
- In the InuYasha Continuation Fic Beyond Tomorrow, Kikyo, while running from an explosion with Hanyuu, elects to jump off a cliff to escape it. Hanyuu rightfully questions her sanity and points out that they won't survive the fall. Kikyo reflects to herself that if she was alone, it wouldn't matter; having died twice , she doesn't fear death anymore, but since Hanyuu's there, she has no intention of killing her as well.
- As seen from the quote page, both Indiana Jones and minor character Kazim from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade count.
- In Predators, at one point mass murdering Serial Killer Stans catches Scary Black Man Mombasa by surprise and holds a knife to Mombasa's throat, demanding one of his guns. Mombasa calmly draws his pistol, puts it to Stans' head, and says that he isn't afraid to die, then asks if Stans can say the same. After a few seconds in a standoff, Stans backs down.
- In The Last Samurai, Katsumoto identifies Algren as not being afraid to die, but sometimes wishing for it. By the end of the movie, Algren has started to lose his death wish. Being good Samurai that they are, Katsumoto and his men are already like this.
- Half Past Dead: Lester, an inmate due to be executed for the accidental deaths of five federal agents in a Train Job gone wrong, is depicted as being bothered more by the waiting than by his impending death. He feels that he deserves the death penalty for what he caused.
- Heavily subverted in X-Men Origins: Wolverine when Victor Creed, aka Sabretooth comes to assassinate his ex-team member Bolt. This little exchange takes place:
Bolt: I'm not afraid of you, Victor. I'm not afraid of dying.Creed: How do you know? You've never tried it before.
- The Dark Knight Saga:
- The Joker in The Dark Knight doesn't even seem to care about the prospect of his death. In fact, it's almost what he's hoping to happen. He would love nothing more than for Batman to kill him to prove that in the end, everyone is just as monstrous as he is.
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Bruce isn't afraid of dying either, and that is the reason he can't escape the prison pit the first two times he tries. He eventually escapes by harnessing his fear of dying in the pit, helpless to save Gotham and climbs out without the safety rope, his fear spurring him to succeed.
- Subverted (maybe parodied) in If Looks Could Kill:
Michael Corben:I am not afraid to die. I am not afraid to die. Who am I kidding?
- In Kingdom of Heaven the hospitaller is told he will certainly die if he goes with the army. He replies, "All death is certain" and rides away.
- Parodied in Monty Python and the Holy Grail; Sir Robin's minstrel claims that Robin isn't afraid to die, but he very clearly is. Probably doesn't help that the minstrel keeps going on about the horrible things that could happen.
- In Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, Zoom is completely unafraid of dying. As long as Flash suffers and dies in the end, he is content.
- In Dragon Bones, Oreg has lost all fear of death, after being a slave for hundreds of years. He tried to commit suicide by provoking one of his masters to kill him (the only way he can die), but failed.
- Any number of soldiers and badasses from A Song of Ice and Fire ranging from the honorable to a fault Eddard Stark to amoral badass Jaime Lannister. By the end of A Dance with Dragons Theon Greyjoy, someone who in earlier books was desperately afraid of dying, states that death holds no fear for him because it's honestly better than what his life is now.
- Henry Istelyn in The Bishop's Heir, about to be hanged, drawn and quartered, his eyes "meeting the archbishop's frigid glare with a serenity and even compassion which made Loris drop the contact first, to gesture brusquely to the guards." The guards are also put off-balance when Istelyn stubs his toe on the scaffold steps and murmurs an apology.
- In Harry Potter, those who aren't afraid to die can't become ghosts. This includes Sirius and Dumbledore.
- This trope is also the ultimate difference between Harry and Voldemort. While Voldy has done everything to keep himself alive, Harry accepts, in the end, that he'll have to die to make Voldemort killable. This is why Harry is the true "Master of Death". He does not fear it, thus, when his death (seemingly) comes, he does not try to escape it. Voldy, however, cannot comprehend a Fate Worse Than Death, which ultimately leads to his defeat.
- Achimas Welde, the Implacable Man Professional Killer from Death of Achilles, is afraid of being crippled but not of pain or death. Ironically, he is crippled by Fandorin in the end of the book... and so he chooses to bleed out and die instead of accepting Fandorin's help.
- Galaxy of Fear has its protagonists gradually become much more stoic about facing death - they don't like it and they strive to not be killed, they are afraid, but they aren't particularly upset. In Ghost of the Jedi, after Tash's brother and uncle appear to die, Tash debates with herself, and then decides to go after what 'killed' them anyway. She's sure that they and her parents will be there, if she dies, and the thought causes some degree of Dissonant Serenity - which is a good state to be in if one is using The Force.
- Musashi, being about Japanese swordsmen, has a lot of this. One warrior temple actually has challengers sign a disclaimer. Musashi himself, although not particularly afraid of death, doesn't think too highly about samurai who brag about how much they don't fear it. They can die their heroic deaths if they want, as far as he's concerned, the only thing he'll settle for is heroic victory.
- Parodied several times in Discworld. In Interesting Times, Cohen meets a soldier who is ready to die for his Emperor. Cohen kills him, and asks if anyone else is also willing.
- One piece of advice General Tacticus gives in his memoirs is to welcome an enemy willing to die for his cause, as it means both of you have the same goal in mind.
- In The Zombie Knight, servants for the obvious reasons and Colt, because he knows he protected his children from Geoffry, and because he managed to not get his soul eaten
- Thoroughly subverted in the Animorphs franchise: Despite her inner Blood Knight tendencies and her reckless courage and all the savage battles she's fought through, Rachel, the strongest and fiercest member of the team, is still afraid to die before charging boldly into her last battle. In an earlier book she muses on how those who don't fear death are insane, and death is still portrayed as a Primal Fear to mostly everyone seen in the series, even the Yeerks, and one of the most basic traits all species shares.
- In Remnants, the Hetwans seem to have no individual wills outside of serving their god, Ka Anor. At several points in the series Hetwans are captured, threatened and then killed, but they never show emotion or give into interrogation.
"My death is irrelevant. I serve Ka Anor."
- Goes for both Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games.
- Invoked in Burn Notice. In one episode, Michael is pretending to be a dirty security guard who's going to help on a heist. The Villain of the Week is threatening to kill Michael if he doesn't help; Michael goes along with this because that's what he wants, as he intends to ensnare the villain in a trap. However, something happens that changes the situation, and Michael needs to have the heist called off. Michael, as the security guard, is pivotal to the heist, so he convinces the villain that the guilt he's feeling has caused him to have a Heel-Faith Turn and that he is no longer afraid of dying. The ploy works; the villain realizes that you can't threaten to kill someone if they're not afraid of death, so he backs off.
- Scrubs: In "My Old Lady", Mrs. Tanner quietly refuses dialysis, explaining that she has enjoyed her life and is ready to die. Later, it is shown that J.D. is much more afraid of death than she is, and she ends up comforting him.
- Another patient of J.D.'s, Elaine, contently imagined death as a Broadway musical. When she dies, J.D. ends up imagining it for her.
- In New Tricks Jack Halford admits to being one of these and explains it's the reason he tackled two armed criminals and why he doesn't want the commendation he's been awarded for it.
- In The Comic Strip Presents: Oxford the gun-toting bad guy is confronted by a group of elderly professors who aren't afraid to die because they're all over 60.
- In the Angel episode "I've Got You Under My Skin" the Ethros demon tells Angel that he does not fear dying at Angel's hands. The only thing he has ever feared is the horrible emptiness within his soulless former host.
- Years before Commander Shepard, John Sheridan had "been there, done that".
"I find it amazing that you think that threats still mean anything to me. 'Do this or you're a dead man.' Death! Been there, done thatContext - spoiler alert ."
- Standard for heroes in the Stargate Verse. Everyone volunteers for every suicide mission, everyone is willing to put their life on the line when the occasion calls for it.
- Doctor Who: River Song, "The Doctor's death doesn't frighten me. Nor does my own. There's a far worse day coming for me."
- In the "Demon With A Glass Hand" episode of The Outer Limits (1963), the hero Trent captures an alien invader who he can kill just by pulling off his protective amulet. The alien whispers "I'm not afraid to die.", to which Trent responds "Then why are you whispering?"
- Every single captain in the Star Trek franchise. Pick any of the shows and there are at least three episodes in which either Kirk or Janeway or Picard either engages self-destruct or tries to destroy the ship on something else in an effort (admittedly last-ditch) to stop the enemy of the week. Given that Starfleet Academy include Face Your Fears as part of its admission tests and then puts cadets through the Kobayashi Maru to gauge their reactions to certain-death scenarios, this might be true of every Starfleet captain period.
- One of the spoken word fragments on Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon (just as "The Great Gig In The Sky" starts) is Abbey Road doorman Gerry O'Driscoll admitting that he is not afraid to die.
Gerry O'Driscoll: And I am not frightened of dying. Any time will do, I don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There's no reason for it — you've all got to go sometime.
- "Ain't Afraid to Die" by Dir En Grey. Lampshaded during the outro, when vocalist Kyo abruptly stops singing the final lines of the song, implying that he died before he could finish.
- Robbie Williams' essay on self-loathing Come Undone contains the line "I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to."
- Invoked by name in the lyrics of Got A Reason by Crashdiet.
- In Nick Cave's song "The Mercy Seat," the song is sung from the perspective of a criminal being executed by the electric chair. He repeatedly proclaims "I'm not afraid to die," in the refrain of the song, until the very last line, "I'm afraid I told a lie."
- "Don't Fear the Reaper" from Agents Of Fortune makes this its basic message.
- George Carlin once cited this trope as a reason that applying the death penalty to drug dealers was doomed to failure.
"Drug dealers aren't afraid to die. They're already killing each other on the streets, every day, by the hundreds! Drivebys, gang shootings, they're not afraid to die. The death penalty doesn't mean anything [as a deterrent] unless you use it on people that are afraid to die. Like the bankers who launder the drug money! Forget the dealers, you want to slow down the drug traffic, start executing some of these bankers! White, middle class Republican bankers. ... I guarantee you one thing, you nail one white banker to a cross every week and you'll see that drug traffic slow down pretty fucking quick. You won't even be able to buy drugs in schools and prisons anymore!"
- Given the fact that Everything Is Trying to Kill You in Warhammer 40,000, not being afraid to die is a requirement for survival amongst all factions. Space Marines in particular have had the fear of death literally purged from their mind, but they do still feel abstract fears like failure.
- Orks have no fear of death, as Orks are a synthetic species that didn't exist when the C'Tan introduced fear of death into the primordial soup. In their own words "Orks is made for fightin' an' winnin'" and if they die in the course of that, it's regrettable, but nothing else.
- The title character of Julius Caesar is not afraid of dying even in light of all the ominous omens taking place in Rome throughout the night, telling those who try to counsel him not to go to the Senate that death "will come when it will come." But he is pretty bummed to find out that Brutus was among the conspirators against his life.
- The Girl Of The Golden West:
Johnson: Oh, I don't care what you do to me. I'm prepared for death. That's nothing new. The man who travels my path faces death every day—for a drink of water or ten minutes' sleep. You've got me, and I wouldn't care... but for the Girl.
- Wynne from Dragon Age: Origins has in fact already died, but was kept back by a benevolent Spirit of the Faith entering her body and using its own power to keep her alive. However the strain of this is weakening the Spirit, leading her to realize she can collapse and die at any moment. Nonetheless, she is perfectly fine with this because she has no regrets about the life she lived (except one, which you can help resolve in her personal sidequest), devoting her remaining time to aiding the Warden.
- This is brought to the point in the supplementary novel Asunder, where Wynne, without batting an eye, transfers the spirit that has kept her alive for eight years to the fallen Templar Evangeline, resurrecting her but dying herself.
- This is also embodied by the Grey Wardens, whose organization is based on the principle that they are willing to sacrifice their lives to defeat the Darkspawn. Furthermore, after they undergo the Joining ritual, their members have about thirty years left to live until they suffer ghoulification, whereupon they embark on their Calling, intending to end their days in the Deep Roads by performing a Last Stand against the horde, taking down as many as possible before they're finally slain.
- As ninja, all the characters from Senran Kagura clearly state several times that they are ready to lay down their lives for their mission's sake or to defeat an enemy.
- Jak X Combat Racing: Poisoned, receiving death threats and a bounty on his head, Jak states that he's not bothered by any it and that he's not afraid to die. Daxter on the other hand...
Daxter: Whoa! Freeze frame! I'd like to go on record right here that I'm firmly and officially against dying. In any way.
- Commander Shepard often displays this in Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3. Makes sense, since they've already done that, having been killed at the start of the second game.
Garrus: The Collectors already killed you once and all it did was piss you off...
- However, by Mass Effect 3 various dialogue options suggest that Commander Shepard has become a borderline Death Seeker, putting it in a grimmer light. While Shepard is not actively trying to kill themselves, they are emotionally exhausted and EDI mentions their armor records them as being under more stress in their normal resting state than during the Skyllian Blitz/Battle of Torfan/Thresher Maw attack, and it's greatly implied that Shepard would consider death a relief at this point.
- Mass Effect 3 also has Shepard's new shuttle pilot, Steve Cortez. Like Shepard, he's not actively trying to kill himself, but his husband's death during the events of the previous game wiped out his self-preservation instinct. Steve's survival depends on Shepard helping him get over this.
- Yeul in Final Fantasy XIII-2. Which makes Caius' centuries-long Xanatos Gambit to "save her" somewhat unnecessary—too bad he doesn't realize it until the end. Also, Serah by the end: when Caius tries to unnerve her by saying she'll die if she continues on her path, she says she doesn't care anymore, and that if the future is saved, she's not afraid to die.
- Ulthane from Darksiders. At one point War points a gun in his direction. Unimpressed, Ulthane simply shoves his face right into the muzzle.
Ulthane: Do I look like I'm afraid of death, Horseman?
- In the Final Battle of Warcraft III, Malfurion Stormrage comes up with a plan to defeat Archimonde by blowing up the World Tree right in his face. When Tyrande points out that this will rob the Night Elves of their immortality, Malfurion replies that if fear of death is enough to make them hesitate then maybe they have lived long enough.
- Jarvan IV from League of Legends exemplifies this, being the Crown Prince of Demacia, whose creed involve, aside of equally punishing everyone for any form of crimes, to always attack, never retreat or surrender. He boasts several quotes that shows complete fearlessness towards death, such as "We shall rest when we are dead!", "Ours is but to do and die!", "Today is a good day to die!", etc, and his skill kit shows this, emphasizing on charging onto the enemy and beating the crap out of them while also hindering their attempts to escape, but most notably his Ultimate, Cataclysm, where Jarvan creates an 'impassable' barrier and unless the enemy has an escape method, their escape route is blocked, and their option is just to fight, and either kill or be killed by Jarvan (and the former, he has no qualms about it). And for the record, most of the time, Jarvan doesn't intend to get out of it, especially when said move is more often used at the middle of enemy ranks and probably attracting enemies to wail on his tough body while his allies pick off the distracted.
- Shiki Tohno, the protagonist of Tsukihime, has very frail health and is perfectly at peace with the fact that any moment, his life can cease for no particular reason.
- It helps that he literally sees death everywhere (without his glasses) and has actually been killed before. Though he's not dead either. It's a little weird.
- In RWBY, Ruby Rose is described this way. She is a great warrior, but very naive and idealistic, so she is completely nonchalant about death.
- Max Steel has Psycho, as shown when he threatens to drop a canister with a deadly substance.
Jefferson: You drop that and we all die!Psycho: And yet, I don't seem to care. Must be why they call me PSYCHO!
- In Balto II: Wolf Quest, Nava claims that Niju does not fear death but change. Niju would rather face certain eventual death than leave his homeland.
- In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Day of the Samurai", evil ninja Kyodai Ken challenges Batman to a duel near a volcano. Eventually, the volcano erupts, and Batman suggests they postpone the match and get to safety. Kyodai roars, "It doesn't matter! Ninja do not fear death!" Sure enough, when he is about to die, Kyodai stoically bows to Batman before he is engulfed in lava.