Pre-Sacrifice Final Goodbye

Often times, a Heroic Sacrifice is performed with no fanfare, no comment. Sometimes there's no time for a farewell. Sometimes saying goodbye would mean nobody would let you go. Whatever the reason, there's no goodbye. The hero dies, saves the day, and there is no closure. The viewer might think, "What? They never got to say goodbye. They died for this and they couldn't even have a last moment with their Love Interest/True Companions/Loyal Animal Companion? What a gyp!"

The Pre-Sacrifice Final Goodbye is what happens when the sacrifice is given more pathos; in their final moments, the hero gets to say goodbye. A final reward and feel-good moment that allows them to die happy, and at least grants their loved ones some closure.

Compare If I Do Not Return, where the Hero's death is not certain and they're asking someone else to pass on a message to their loved one(s) if they die. Also related to Dead Man Writing (where the character leaves a final message behind rather than delivering it in person). See also It Has Been an Honor.

Tear Jerker is the Intended Audience Reaction.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Dragon Ball:
    • During a brief pause in his losing battle against Majin Buu, Vegeta hugs his son Trunks and tells him that he loves him and Bulma and then promptly knocks Trunks and Goten unconscious to prevent them from attempting to intervene. He also speaks with Piccolo who informs him that he will most likely be going to Hell rather than paradise as Goku did before him. Once Piccolo and Krillin get the boys away, Vegeta goes through with his self-destruction gambit in an attempt to take Fat Buu with him. Just before Vegeta takes his dying breath he gives a heartfelt dedication to Goku.
    • And speaking of Goku, he too also delivers a final goodbye his son, though it is downplayed in comparison to the prior example given that time was a factor, before transporting himself and Cell to King Kai's planet to prevent the latter from succeeding in a self-detonation attack to kill billions of people.

Film Animated
  • Inside Out: After Bing Bong and Joy attempt to get out of the memory dump using the "rocket" twice and fail both times, Bing Bong tells Joy to try just one more time, because said character thinks it'll work this time. Before the rocket can take off, they jump from it, lightening the load enough for Joy to make it out. By the time Joy realizes what has been done, she's out and said character is still stuck in the dump. The two share some final words before Bing Bong fades away, with said character encouraging her to fix things.
  • The Iron Giant. The Giant says farewell to Hogarth before stopping the nuke.

Film Live Action
  • The Abyss. After Bud uses the experimental liquid-breathing suit to descend to more than 17,000 feet underwater, he succeeds in de-fusing the nuclear warhead. He tells his ex-wife over the radio that he only has five minutes of oxygen left, so he can't possibly make it back alive, and she starts to lose it. His last words to her are "I love you, wife." The aliens do save him, but that was an unexpected development.
  • Armageddon. Harry Stamper, in lieu of allowing his daughter's fiancée to die on the asteroid, takes his place, with a final goodbye to Grace before.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger. The climax of the film, where Steve crashes the plane to prevent it from reaching its target. He and Peggy have some tearful banter over the radio.
  • Star Trek. The introduction, where Kirk Sr. goes Down With The Ship to ensure that his crew, along with his wife and newborn son, can escape alive. He gets to hear his son's voice and even gets to name him, before dying.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. After Spock exposes himself to a lethal dose of radiation to save the Enterprise from the detonation of the Genesis Device, he and Captain Kirk have a talk about their friendship with each other.
  • Independence Day. Downplayed. The alien ship is about to destroy Area 51 with its primary weapon and all of the attacking jets are out of missiles. Just before pilot Russell Casse performs a kamikaze attack to ram the ship and destroy it, he asks the ground controllers to tell his children that he loves them very much. His son is present in the control room and hears him.
  • The Dark Knight Rises. A villainous example; before departing with her minions to ensure the bomb detonates, Miranda gently places a hand on Bane's face and sadly says "Goodbye, my friend". As she leaves, Bane whispers "Goodbye" under his breath and turns his head away to hide the tears.

Literature
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward kisses Oreg on the forehead before killing him. Not as bad as it sounds; Oreg is magically bound to castle Hurog, which is being invaded at the moment. His existence had happy moments, but is overall more of a fate worse than death. He can't even commit suicide, which is why Ward has to do this for him.
  • In Polgara the Sorceress, Polgara is forced to abandon her lover Ontrose as Vo Wacune is burned to the ground, because her own duchy, Erat, will be the next target and she has to protect her subjects. Ontrose reminds her of her responsibilities as a Duchess, and they share a final kiss before parting. Later, Polgara is informed that Ontrose died in battle.
  • In The Short Victorious War, Captain Helen Zilwicki is escorting a civilian convoy which includes her husband and daughter when a vastly superior enemy force appears. She nearly skips the chance to say goodbye, because she knows that the rest of the crew also have loved ones they'll never see again and can't call, but her officers convince her that no one will mind, under the circumstances.
  • Before Harry Potter goes to make his Heroic Sacrifice, he says good-bye in his own way to Ron and Hermione, but doesn't say anything to Ginny because he's afraid he'll change his mind if he does.

Live-Action TV
  • In The Adventures of Superman episode "The Human Bomb", Jimmy Olsen calls his date Miriam to tell her he loves her and he may not be able to make their next date before trying to save Lois from the Villain of the Week.
  • Doyle says goodbye to Angel and Cordelia in Angel before sacrificing himself to turn off the Death Ray. He's later shown to have passed his visions to Cordelia when he kissed her.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer season 5 finale, before Buffy sacrifices herself by jumping into the portal, she whsipers her last words to her sister Dawn, and a message for the rest of the team, this being narrated after she dies.
  • Doctor Who: In "The End of Time" the 10th Doctor has received a lethal dose of radiation and will shortly regenerate (which he explicitly compares to dying), yet he finds the time to visit all his companions that are still in this reality one more time before he regenerates.
  • Stargate Atlantis: In the Season 1 finale battle John goes to fly a suicide mission but gets a final moment with his co-leader and friend Elizabeth who begs him not to do it. The pair spent the season protecting their city from every horror in the galaxy with only the other to depend on and you can literally see her break when she realizes his death is the only way to save their people. John waits and then...she lets him go. Major tearjerker.

Music
  • In the song "Space Oddity" by David Bowie, Major Tom asks Ground Control to "Tell my wife I love her very much."

Theatre
  • In Jesus Christ Superstar (and the Biblical account it was based on) Jesus is disappointed that He can't say good-bye to His disciples because they all fall asleep again every time He wakes them up (three).

Video Games
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, the Warden is given a chance to say goodbye to their teammates before heading off to battle the Archdemon. Unless certain measures are taken beforehand, the Warden dies during the final battle.
    • An additional one happens before the party delivers the killing blow to the Archdemon in the final battle. Alistair (or Loghain, if recruited) and the Warden must decide which of them is to die to neutralize the Archdemon's soul with their own. Whomever is chosen (unless Alistair is romanced, in which case he insists that it be him) gets a final goodbye in before charging the dragon. However, if you took Morrigan's deal before The Very Definitely Final Dungeon, no such scene takes place and the Warden always delivers the final strike.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Shepard gets the opportunity to talk to almost all of their past party members just before the last battle in London, and Shepard later gets a heart-to-heart with Anderson as the latter dies from his injuries. The Extended Cut also added a final Big Damn Kiss between Shepard and their love interest just before the part where Shepard is forced to limp towards the Citadel.
  • Subverted and Played for Laughs in the end of the Saints Row IV prologue: As the Boss climbs the nuclear missile to disarm it before it gains enough altitude, I Don't Want to Miss a Thing begins to play (in a direct homage to a similar Heroic Sacrifice scene from Armageddon) as the other Saints take turns to say tearful goodbyes to their leader. Completely unfazed, the Boss tears up the missile and leaps off, crashing through the roof into the Oval Office perfectly unharmed.
  • If certain dialogue options are taken during the final confrontation of Planescape: Torment, the Nameless One gets a chance to speak with his friends one last time and bid them farewell before going to Hell for all eternity to atone for his First Incarnation's horrendous crimes.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • In The Iron Giant The Giant, before flying into a Nuke to save the town of Rockwell from a radioactive death, says to Hogarth, "You stay, I go. No following". Also doubles as a Call Back to an earlier part of the movie, where Hogarth uses the same words towards the Giant.
  • In the South Park episode "Die, Hippie, Die", just as they are about to embark on a journey drilling through a dense hippie crowd, Randy Marsh says goodbye to Sharon, Linda Stotch says goodbye to Butters, Chef (the designated sacrificial black man) says goodbye to his women, and Cartman says goodbye to... his stuffed animal, Clyde Frog.


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