"Blondes make the best victims. They're like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints."
There are many ideas associated with snow: Tranquility, purity, cleanliness, beauty...
So naturally, many people are shown dramatically dying in the snow. It may have something to do with how red blood contrasts so sharply with white snow, especially when gentle snowflakes are falling around a scene of carnage. It may have something to do with the way the snow seems to try washing away the unclean corpses and ruins. It may have something to do with how it looks like a beautiful and peaceful way to die, just letting the cold embrace you as you fall asleep. It may have something to do with how snow melts on living bodies, but coats those that have passed on.
And then there's the symbolism.
As beautiful as snow is, it also signifies winter, associated with the death of the year (in the temperate latitudes at least), the death of crops, and the death of the sun. Snow also covers the world with a blanket of white
, and in Eastern cultures, white is the color of death (as it was until a few hundred years ago in Slavic states as well).
Whatever the reason, using snow is a great way to portray a character on the verge of dying or a place torn by war in a very artful manner.
A sub-trope of Empathic Environment
. For a different interpretation of snow, see Snow Means Love
. See White Shirt of Death
and Blood-Splattered Wedding Dress
for a similar trope, only applied to clothing instead. May or may not be related to Grim Up North
Not to be confused with Snowy Screen of Death
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Anime and Manga
- In 07-Ghost, the first scene involves two hands (we are to assume they're Teito's) holding snow. Just as the line The snow was so beautiful...and so merciless appears, the snow immediately turns into blood. We later learn that this was foreshadowing to Teito's foster father's death.
- In 7 Seeds, Mitsuru dies when she wears her old dancing kimono and dances "The Evening Crane" in the snow and ends up freezing to death.
- In the 2006 version of Kanon, this trope is so prevalent that it's hard to pick out which examples fit it the best. The lyrics of the opening theme ("Last Regrets") practically announce it. Yuuichi's repressed memories are first hinted at in how much he hates snow. When Makoto dies, the illusion of a green field fades to show that the surroundings were covered in snow. Snow is practically a central theme for Yuuichi's meetings and conversations with Shiori, who is terminally ill. Snow is arguably the cause of the subverted Look Both Ways incident when Akiko's hit by a car that appears to be skidding out of control, and the imagery of the red strawberries thrown into the snow where it happened is painfully evocative. The same symbolism is made brutally real shortly after, when Yuuichi finally remembers what happened to Ayu years ago: she fell off a tree and was left comatose: unable to take any more, Yuuichi runs out into a snowstorm calling for Ayu; he runs past the place where they used to play without recognizing it because it's covered in snow. With the snow now falling furiously all around him (just as the deaths seem to be), he lays down and waits to die. The upbeat ending theme about someone trying to find their way home seems to contradict the trope, showing Ayu happily running through the snow - until you find out where she's been all along.
- CLANNAD, another anime by Key Visual Arts, makes use of this trope on several occasions. As a young child, Nagisa nearly dies in the snow, thus foreshadowing events years later in ~After Story~. She dies soon after giving birth to Ushio; not only is it snowing at the time, but the snow-clogged streets bring about her death in that they made it impossible to get her to the hospital or to get a doctor to her in time. A few episodes later, when Ushio dies, it is not because of the snow (most likely) — she's been ill for a long time — but the scene does take place in the snow, and immediately afterwards her stricken father Tomoya dies of grief. In addition, in the Illusionary World, the little girl (who is Ushio after her death, minus all her memories of the real world) essentially freezes herself to death in the snow.
- Pulled a third time by Key with Angel Beats! but on a smaller scale. Yuzuru Otonashi's sister Hatsune expires after her battle with an unknown illness on Christmas Eve.
- In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, the flashback origin story of Kuze takes place in the Korean winter. Let's just say it sufficiently explains how he became the terrorist leader.
- Pulled a 4th time by Key, though much earlier on with planetarian. In the finale, The closing scenes of the game reveal that the rain has stopped and the snow is finally falling which represents hope not only for the Junker, but for humanity.
- The incident in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S where Nanoha was unprepared for a sudden ambush. There was so much blood on her white Barrier Jacket and the snow-covered terrain, while Vita tried to keep her awake in the gently falling snow.
- And then there's Reinforce's last moments in Nanoha A's. Also snow.
- The first Mobile Suit Gundam Wing intro. A city in ruins and an Empathy Doll Shot, all covered in a sheet of falling snow. The Movie Endless Waltz actually shows how it happened (Heero accidentally blew up an apartment building during a mission... and a little girl and her puppy, whom he had befriended the day before, were among the victims); as the realization sinks in, snow starts to fall.
- The Death Note anime has this one. It starts snowing just as Naomi lets down her guard enough to reveal her real name to Light, who sentences her to suicide. The snow continues as she walks to her fate.
- Also doubles as a massive amount of luck on Light's part, as the snow makes Kira Investigation member Aizawa get out his umbrella, obscuring his vision. The guy literally walks right past Light and Naomi without noticing either of them. 'cause, you know, if he did see the two of them, Light's little reign would've ended then and there.
- In Naruto, the deaths of Zabuza and Haku are marked with the falling of snow. Though this is also partially because Haku's name means white, and he comes from a snowy village...
- The first Suzaku Seishi to die in Fushigi Yuugi—and by extension the Seiryuu Seishi he did the death-battle with—does so after a bloody battle in a field of snow.
- Also invoked when Suzuno and Tatara get Together in Death. It's snowing in both worlds as this happens, and their souls are reunited in a snowy forest.
- Snow falling in summer is taken as an omen of Happosai's impending death in Ranma 1/2. (He recovers, though.)
- The Happy Flashback to Sara meeting her brother Ralph in the snow in Soukou no Strain appears just before they prepare to fight to the death in the present.
- In Rurouni Kenshin, Tomoe dies in the snow. More exactly, she attempts to help Kenshin during a very unfair fight but he accidentally strikes her alongside the enemy, and she dies few afterwards in the snowy fields.
- In Full Moon o Sagashite, it's snowing once Mitsuki has learned of Eichi's death.
- Episode 13 of Cowboy Bebop, as Gren's ship crashes in a snowy field. He doesn't die there, but he starts coughing up blood and is clearly a goner.
- At the end of the Galaxian Wars arc of Saint Seiya, it starts to snow in the mountains where Phoenix Ikki has just been defeated by the other Bronze Saints. While Seiya and the others hold off Docrates' forces, preventing them from stealing the Sagittarius Gold Cloth, a dying Ikki regards the snow as a symbol of his purification... and then gets up and brings down the mountain on himself and Docrates to save the Saints' lives, burying everything and everyone in rock and snow. Then again, he IS the Phoenix Saint.
- The Asgard filler arc happens in a very snowy environment in the North of Europe. All but one of the Asgard Saints die in the snow. Saori herself almost kicks it too trying to sub in for the Brainwashed and Crazy Hilda, but she lives to tell.
- Similarly, another filler has the Crystal Saint dying in the middle of a snowy and icy scenario, with Hyoga desperately beggging him to live and Yakov and Seiya sadly watch over them. Later, Camus and Hyoga's duel in the Aquarius Temple leaves the whole place covered in ice - Camus dies, Hyoga almost kicks it too but Saori heals him.
- The winter scenes in Millennium Actress portend doom: when she first meets and falls in love with the artist he's bleeding; later during WWII she's imprisoned for helping him and he gets captured and executed; during the 50s she tries to find him in the snow fields of Hokkaido and nearly dies. During her actual death it's raining - close enough.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, the destruction of Negi's hometown occurred over the course of one snowy night.
- The last episode of Welcome to the N.H.K. combines this with Snow Means Love; for various reasons, Sato and Misaki both attempt to commit suicide at a snow-covered jetty and realise they love each other.
- At the end of Winter Cicada, the doomed lovers commit seppuku in the snow.
- In Wolfs Rain there's a scene where Quent, thinking Blue is dead, lies down in the snow to die. It's a subversion because Toboe saves him by sharing his body warmth. In the final two episodes they and others end up dead anyway, and snow covers their bodies before the titular rain finally shows up.
- The death of Tsukiyono's brother in Gamble Fish.
- The tear-jerking scene (which scarred many Latin American children in The Nineties) of Nobody's Boy Remi (Ie Naki Ko, based on French novel "Sans famille," by Hector Malot), when the performing monkey Jolie-Coeur dies of pneumonia after forcing itself to perform one last time on the snowy streets.
- It soon gets worse, since the already terminally ill Vitalis also dies in the snow few later, in an Heroic Sacrifice to save Remi and Cappi (the only survivor out of the animals) from perishing with him. Remi and Cappi ultimately survive since a local family finds Vitalis's lifeless body just in time before the offered protection isn't enough for them.
- Stella's burial in Gundam SEED Destiny. As Shinn carries her corpse around and then gently lets it sink to the bottom of a nearby lake, it's snowing.
- The Downer Ending to The Dog Of Flanders, which can be read about here.
- Kara no Kyoukai: the deaths of Souren Araya and Lio Shirazumi, both villains. Narrowly averted with Shiki Ryougi, who gives up on living right after revenge-killing the latter, thinking her boyfriend was dead.
- It snows in Bokurano during the deaths of Youko Machi and Kanji Yoshikawa.
- In the first Sailor Moon series, the final confrontation with the Dark Kingdom takes place at "D Point" near the North Pole, and the penultimate episode in which the Senshi all die facing the Doom and Gloom Girls is appropriately snow-covered. To fit with the theme, each one of them also happens to die on a mountain-like structure of spiked ice. Usagi herself battles the Metallia!empowered Queen Beryl while standing on a similar ice structure and defeats her, but dies as a consequence of releasing the whole potential of the Silver Crystal. They all get better when said Crystal, acting on Usagi's last wish, revives them (as well and Mamoru) but with temporal Trauma-Induced Amnesia.
- Sora No Woto's last three episodes happen in the middle of Winter. A minor secondary character commits suicide by walking out into a snowstorm, and the truce going on since the first episode is suddenly broken and war finally comes to the small town our heroines are deployed.
- In Sakura Gari, Sakurako dies this way, slitting her wrists open with a katana and then drowning self in a pond as the snow falls...
- Mai Hi ME: Immediately following Alyssa Searrs' defeat, the Searrs corporation ordered the "termination" of the project Alyssa had been created for due to her failure. This involves firing missiles at most of the main characters. No one actually dies from this, but it begins snowing immediately after. What happens next, you ask? Miyu, the robot girl, flees with a weakened Alyssa, who gets shot while Miyu is fetching water for her. So Miyu takes Alyssa's body, walks into a nearby pond with it, and freezes the two of them at the bottom.
- Shows up in episode 10 of Figure17 which deals with Sho's sudden death. Shot of falling snowflakes against night sky is used repeatedly.
- The Going Merry in One Piece.
- Mitsuru in 7 Seeds commits suicide by freezing to death in the snow.
- The entire Northern Campaign in Claymore ends this way. Most emotional was when Jean dies after helping and reassuring Clare.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist scenes at the Tucker house are often shown with the three kids playing in snow. Nina gets turned into a human/dog chimera with her pet Alexander by her father and subsequently killed by Scar, who also kills Shou.
- In Claudine, the main character kills himself in a snowy night. It also snows when his Unlucky Childhood Friend Rosemarie visits his grave.
- In Gundam AGE, as Yurin L'Ciel is dying, she shares a psychic vision of her time on Minsry with Flit. As the vision of Minsry's forest ends, the scenery changes and it starts to snow...
- As Detective Conan is a series where people fall dead in almost every episode, there are many murder cases that happen in the snow, and where footprints and other signals happen to be totally vital as clues to reveal who killed the victim of the week.
- One of the most emblematic cases is The Ski Lodge Mystery, where a Hot Teacher organizes a ski trip with her workmates... to murder two of them, in punishment for having killed one of their students for knowing too much about their dirty deals. Both murders happen during a snowy night... And then Conan finds out and unmasks her through Ran. (Poor, poor little Ran.)
- Also weaponized in a filler case, where the envious Body Double of a famous actress kills her boss via drugging her, putting her in a simple white kimono that offers no protection against the cold and burying her in the snow, thus causing her to die of hypothermia. The killer then impersonates her boss until it's time to discover the woman's body in the snow, trying to make everyone believe that she was Driven to Suicide... Until Conan (through Kogoro) discovered her trick.
- Even more meaningfully, said actress's Star-Making Role was the one of... a Yuki-Onna, who throws herself off a cliff. We even get to see bits of the movie at the start of the episode
- Invoked again when Officer Takagi, while he's visiting an old friend's grave in the very snowy Hokkaido prefecture, is captured and put in a very cruel Death Trap inside a construction site — where he will either freeze to death, be blown up by a timebomb or be strangled in a makeshift gallow. He spends almost two days like this, and while he's rescued in the nick of time, he's said to have suffered frostbite and thus had to stay in the hospital for some days. To make things even more anvilicious, when Satou, Megure and Conan arrive to rescue Takagi in an helicopter, it actually begins to snow. (And then it switches to Snow Means Love, as not only Satou is the one who rescues Takagi, but once he's saved she happily kisses him on the lips... forgetting about a certain camera...
- Kindaichi Case Files: There's a legend in a Hokkaido village about a woman and her baby who died in the snow after failing to find shelter. She is then reborn to take revenge during harsh snowstorms.
- Toube from Ginga Densetsu Weed freezes to death after fighting Kamikiri and his pack. The next day, the Ohu soldiers find him...literally frozen to death.
- Subverted in Marmalade Boy: the Ill Girl Anju Kitahara has a massive heart attack during a snowy Christmas, but she survives. (Barely).
- In the final episode of Eureka Seven Ao, it was snowing when Renton and Eureka were burying their firstborn infant daughter.
- In Kare Kano, the most severe beating that a tiny Soichirou Arima got from his evil mother Ryouko was during a snowy and cold day. She later threw him out of the house and the poor kid was found bleeding severely in the snow-covered streets by his father Reiji, who immediately took him to safety and then decided to Give Him a Normal Life with his older uncle and aunt.
- In Kimi ni Todoke, Ryu's mother died when he was young after her car crashed into an electric pole in a snowstorm. It goes on snowing for pretty much the whole chapter in which this takes place.
- Barely averted in Candy Candy. When Susanna crosses the Despair Event Horizon after the accident that took away both her leg and her dreams of being an actress, she goes to the rooftop of a building in the middle of a snowstorm and attempts to throw herself from it. Candy catches on her intentions, however, and she decides otherwise.
- In the Honoo No Alpen Rose manga, Toulonchamp's goons dump the injured Jeudi and her pet bird Printemps in the middle of a snowy and abandoned place, hoping she will freeze to death since she can't walk away due to her injured foot. She does her best but ultimately gets lost and then a snowstorm rages in. A kind villager and his family find Printemps and then Jeudi just in time, taking care of her until Lundi and General Guisan come for her. As Lundi and Jeudi hug happily, the trope becomes Snow Means Love.
- In Mawaru-Penguindrum, when it looks like Himari Takakura will actually be Killed Off for Real, her brother Shouma and his Love Interest Ringo quietly lean against each other in the snow.
- In Project K Mikoto kills the colorless king, and seemingly Shiro during the first snow of winter. Moments later Mikoto himself dies.
- The Snowdrift by Victorian sculptor Edward Onslow Ford. A reclinining female nude either asleep or dead in a bank of snow. Because this turned out to be Ford's last work (it was completed posthumously by an anonymous artist) it's often seen as foreshadowing his own early death in 1901 - possibly from suicide, which if true would never have been made public in those days.
- The most famous example of this trope in Argentina is Hector German Osterheld's magnum opus, El Eternauta. There, the first sign of the alien invasion of the Manos and the Ellos is glowing snow that kills within contact with the skin, forcing the protagonist, his friends and family to don radiation suits in order to survive.
- The Question in 52. Renee Montoya drags him through the snow, leaving a question-mark-shaped trail.
- The final chapters of Watchmen, for the big reveal on Laurie's past, and the final fate of one of the mains.
- Sin City. That Yellow Bastard.
- ElfQuest had a bloody elf-troll battle in the frozen north.
- In Gensokyo 20XX, this trope is fairly prevalent, as some major character deaths occur in the winter:
- In 20XXI, we have Flandre, who dies of hypothermia, after she sets out to find Chen, who had run away, and, later on, we have Eirin who commits suicide in the winter afterwards. It would be worth noting that Reimu was virtually dying of starvation during the winter before Flandre passed away.
- In 20XXIV, we have Sakuya's death of radiation sickness occurring in the nuclear winter and later on we have some of Ran's pups dying, as well as the fact that she also miscarries them. On that note, Ran almost died as a result of pregnancy complications during said nuclear winter.
- Played with to a degree with Ran and Chen during 20XXIV, in that both attempted suicide in the winter at different points but both survived through some intervention, however, though the latter wouldn't have otherwise.
- In the Hetalia doujinshii "Our house in the big snow field", Ukraine and Belarus's lands are attacked and they have to run away in the middle of the snow. A child!Belarus urges her adult older sister to leave her to die since Death Is Cheap for nations, and Ukraine apologizes as she buries her in the snow and keeps running to reach for Russia. She's ultimately caught and cornered by the enemy... and then the trope is subverted as an already unstable teenage Russia arrives in time to save his sisters's lives, but does so via a bloody Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the enemy. The three young nations ultimately survive, despite all the Break the Cutie.
"As he wept, my sweet little brother swung his sword. He was just like a winter storm... a winter storm that tahes everything".
- In the Joan of Arc miniseries starring Leelee Sobieski, it begins to snow at Joan's execution. Notable because her burning took place in the middle of May.
- In the movie Three Days Of The Condor, the protagonist, Joseph Turner (a.k.a. Condor), notices that Kathy Hale photographs and displays only scenes of winter (bare trees, lifeless snow). He comments to her that she is focusing on death, which she confirms.
- Not a straight example, but the snow globe in Citizen Kane should get an honorable mention.
- The Chinese movie Raise the Red Lantern has the servant Yan'er kneel outdoors in winter until she dies from the cold, while snow flakes fall around her.
- O-Ren in Kill Bill also enjoys picturesque death on the snow. Few consider getting the top of one's head lopped off anywhere near picturesque... but Quentin Tarantino would.
- The end of House of Flying Daggers went from brightly sunlit to a blizzard, just in time for the dramatic death scene.
- Moulin Rouge!! ends with the defeated Duke walking through a snowfall, leaving the theater in which the heroine Satine has just died
- Fargo, where several people die before a snowy background.
- Subverted in The Shining. Jack does freeze to death, but his expression is anything but peaceful!
- Played straight and subverted in The Day After Tomorrow. The first time, some survivors have fallen asleep and froze to death while sleeping. They look peaceful. The second time is the naysaying policeman, whose frozen expression is rather pained. But that's what you get for ignoring the expert.
- One segment of Akira Kurosawa's Dreams features the story of a mountain climber who, trapped in a blizzard and suffering from frostbite, either hallucinates or experiences a visit from a yuki-onna - a snow demon who takes the form of a beautiful woman.
- A yuki-onna figures in one of the stories in Kwaidan, an anthology film adapting several Japanese folk tales.
- In the 1989 film of Dangerous Liaisons, Valmont gets stabbed to death in a midwinter duel. This is pretty much entirely so the director can have a cool shot of his blood splattered across the snow.
- The Ice Storm is the cinematic tribute to this trope.
- The Sweet Hereafter depicts children in a horrific bus accident, caused and contrasted by the peacefulness of the snow around them. Snow and cold are used throughout the movie to symbolize the original serenity in the town.
- Sin City: John shoots himself in a snowy field.
- In Dead Poets Society, the boys are seen in a snowy feild after learning of Neil's death. The sense of hopelessness that scene brings the rest of the film really is incredible.
- A less obvious but more literal Snow Means Death moment in DPS is that you see through the window that it's snowing just before Neil shoots himself.
- Used somewhat more literally in when she uses a cannon to start an avalanche and wipe out the Hun army. Mostly.
- There's snow on the ground of the massacred village. It also starts snowing after Shang creates a memorial for his father.
- White Fang, in the film, after getting wounded in a skirmish between her pack and a group of humans, White Fang's mother limps to her den before collapsing in the entrance, her pup goes out and she gives a farewell lick to him, then it starts snowing.
- In Letter Never Sent, the last two survivors of an expedition to find diamonds in the Siberian forests are already in desperate straits as they are staggering toward the river that offers hope of safety. Then it starts snowing. Not only is the Siberian winter very bad in and of itself, Tanya notes that the winter might freeze the river. Soon after, Tanya dies of hypothermia.
- In The Fountain, where the scientist's wife's funeral is on a snowy day.
- The ending of anti-Western McCabe & Mrs. Miller in which John [Mc Cabe=], having been shot three times, manages to kill the assassins who are after him. Without the strength to drag himself indoors, he curls up in the snow and dies.
- Played with in the 2001 movie Cats And Dogs. Lou, the heroic beagle, is basically at ground zero right as the main storage tank in a Christmas flocking factory goes bang, generating an artificial snowstorm, and is dragged out of the factory by another dog, Butch...lying motionless on a Christmas Wreath. This movie being intended as a comedy, he got better.
- Used subtly in Sympathy for Lady Vengeance. The movie ends in the snow after the brutal murder of Mr. Baek. White is also used actively to symbolize purity, which is what Geum-ja is trying to move toward.
- Oldboy similarly ends in a field of snow after a similarly bloody climax. It may be used as a symbol for leaving the past behind or renewal.
- Dead Snow: is made of this trope, even if it's used for horror and comedy instead of explicit beauty.
- In Kunio Watanabe's 1958 version of The 47 Ronin, the whole film builds to the epic battle in a snow-covered courtyard.
- Let the Right One In is full of this. Considering it takes place in Sweden...
- In The Jacket, Jack and Jackie are visiting a snowed in graveyard.
- An interesting subversion in Its A Wonderful Life. The snow stops after George wishes that he'd never been born and only starts up again after he decides that he wants to live again.
- Vertical Limit takes this literally. The characters are climbing one of them most dangerous mountains in the world, and quite a few of them die, either in an avalanche or on the mission sent to rescue the first team. One of the points stressed by the movie is just how dangerous a thing climbing like that is.
- Averted in a Soviet movie The Needle: the protagonist is stabbed with a knife, falls to his knees in the blood-stained snow... but he sruggles to his feet and walks away, disappearing in the snowstorm, and we never see him dead. Word of God later stated that the protagonist survived.
- In The Patriot, a few battles set in winter, with corpses covered by snow.
- In Shutter Island: Dachau.
- In Orphan the entire movie takes place in snowy weather, and most of the films violent scenes happen outside in the snow.
- In A Single Man, George's lover, Jim, dies on a snowy road due to an accident.
- Both the deaths of a whole band of Shinsengumi and Hama in The Swordof Doom take place on snowy evenings.
- In Leafie A Hen Into The Wild, it starts snowing when Leafie sacrifices herself so the weasel could feed her young.
- As already mentioned, Malot's Sans Famille has Jolie-Coeur and Mr. Vitalis
- "To Build a Fire" by Jack London. The main character gradually falls asleep in the snow after his fire is put out and dies of hypothermia.
- The Little Match Girl, which makes dying from cold and starvation lovely, glorious, and filled with so much Glurge.
- The Little Match Girl version is deconstructed in Terry Pratchett's Hogfather, where Death (who's filling in for the local equivalent of Santa Claus) saves the archetypal Little Match Girl, dismissing her death as needlessly cruel, in the midst of his deconstructing a number of Christmastime tropes.
- In Discworld, the dark pagan origins of the Hogfather (the local expy of Santa Claus) explain the choice of colours in his clothing: red and white from blood on the snow, ultimately coming from druidic human sacrifices in midwinter to make the sun come back.
- James Joyce's "The Dead" (from Dubliners) may end with the definitive example of this trope. As the protagonist slowly drifts to sleep, thinking of the dead man his wife once loved, snow covers his window and his thoughts. The closing line: "His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead."
- Raptor Red and her pack encounter a whip-tailed sauropod on a snowy mountain near the end of the book. It doesn't end well.
- The death of Snowden obviously had quite the impact on the narrator of Catch-22, so much so that the first page of the book asks the question: "Where are the Snowdens of yesteryear?" (a reference to "Ballad of the Ladies of Bygone Times" by Francois Villon). Snowden's last words are, "It's cold." Considering everyone else's name is symbolic, it's fair to see this as an example of this trope.
- Harry Potter visits his parents' graves for the first time in Deathly Hallows, accompanied by Hermione. It so happens that they do this in December, and the graveyard is covered in snow. Harry, of course, cannot help but cry (and neither can many readers).
- Hunger Games implies this. The Big Bad of the series is President Snow.
- In Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market, Lizzie reminds her sister of Jeanie, who ate the goblin fruit, but sickened and "fell with the first snow" of winter. (Since Laura has already eaten the fruit, this lets readers know just how much time she has left.)
- In Bluestar's Prophecy, One of Bluefur's kits, Mosskit, freezes to death in the snow when Bluefur is taking them to Riverclan to stay with their father, Oakheart.
- In Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, Smilla sees Isaiah's body in the snow, and her description of his funeral is punctuated by her observations about the snowfall. Of course, the book takes place in Denmark, it's winter, and the narrator is a bit obsessed with snow in general.
- Nello and Patrasche in A Dog of Flanders freeze to death on Christmas Eve.
- In My Ántonia, Mr. Shimerda commits suicide during his first Nebraskan winter.
- In pretty much every adaptation of A Christmas Carol, there is snow in the churchyard when Scrooge discovers his (future) grave.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: "Winter is coming", along with the living dead. And seasons can last for years in Westeros.
- In Seeker Bears, Kallik had always thought that snow meant plenty of food (especially seals). But then she learns from Toklo that for the other bears, snow means less food.
Live Action TV
Myth And Legend
- Japanese legend speaks of the Yuki-onna, a female snow spirit that appears during the snow storm and leads travellers astray to die of exposure. Sometimes she might spare them, and once she fell for a young man and married him... but once he discovered her identity, she left in the middle of a snow storm.
- The Pokémon Froslass is based on this.
- The Greeks gave us Persephone, daughter of Demeter (goddess of the harvest), both kidnapped by her uncle Hades to be his bride in the Underworld. The rules stated that anyone who ate in the kingdom of death would be trapped there, so even though her mother successfully sued for her return, she had to spend some time there, having eaten some pomegranate seeds (four, five, seven, or eight; it varies). So each year she returns, and each time she does, Nature dies. Thus winter. When she comes back, Nature thrives. Thus spring.
- In most parts of ancient Greece, they considered Persephone to be gone during the hot, droughty summer, returning during the rainy winter.
- Researchers of Slavic Mythology believe that the winter was together with death and nightmares a domain of the goddess Morana, in a rather clear association of the snowy season with death in the mind of an inhabitant of central-eastern region of Europe. Inversely, coming of spring was (still is) celebrated with drowning an effigy thought to represent her.
- In the myth of Saint Eulalia of Barcelona, when she finally died after all the Cold-Blooded Torture she was subjected to, among other alleged miracles snow fell on her torn and mangled corpse to cover it from her executioners's eyes.
- One-Man Army Max Payne goes on his killing rampage while snow constantly falls down around him.
- In Tales of Symphonia, Zelos gives a detailed account of his childhood, culminating in him witnessing his mother's murder in the snow. You get a really clear mental picture from it.
- Elise Deauxnim, best known as Misty Fey, Mia and Maya's mother, in the fifth case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations.
- The series has a few cases set in the snowbound winter, and since Phoenix's cases are Always Murder...
- Sniper Wolf in Metal Gear Solid.
- The snow and fog used in the Silent Hill games (and the ice in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories) might be a use of this trope.
- The Undead Scourge of Warcraft make their base in the frozen north. Heck,just watch the new cinematic for the expansion that focuses on it
- In Kana: Little Sister, In one of the many endings that feature her death, Kana tells her brother that she will make it snow when she dies. And of course, the moment it starts to snow she's dead.
- White Len, the "evil" counterpart to Len in Melty Blood, specifically makes her zone snow with her dream powers.
- The prologue of Katawa Shoujo initially appears to be Snow Means Love. The main character, Hisao, meets his High School Sweetheart on a snowy day for a confession of love. Unknown to anyone, he has cardiac arrythmia and the excitement brings on a heart attack. He barely survives, but his old life is over.
- "For the first time in 120 years, snow had fallen on Santa Destroy."
- In Kessen II, if you beat the final stage of Liu Bei's scenario, Cao Cao is seen dying in the snow, with Diao Chan kneeling beside him. Though, there was never any snow on the battlefield before or after this sequence.
- Yuyuko of the Touhou is the Ghost Princess of the Netherworld and has the ability to induce death. Naturally, one of the things associated with her is snow, with her game taking place during a long winter. Even the weather effect assigned to her in Scarlet Weather Rhapsody is snow.
- In Mass Effect 2 the Normandy SR1 crashes onto the surface of an ice planet; in one of the DLC missions you can revisit the wreckage and walk through a chillingly beautiful snowscape littered with debris from the original Normandy while collecting the dogtags of soldiers lost in the crash and placing a memorial statue to commemorate the ship.
- It's not actually snow, but the way Shepard catches falling particles of the Genophage cure in Mass Effect 3 is clearly meant to evoke this as a memorial to Mordin, Eve, and/or the hopes and dreams of a species, depending on your choices during Priority: Tuchanka.
- Sunset Over Imdahl takes place over the course of four seasons. Spring and summer are relatively cheerful, fall is when The Plague hits, and winter is when nobody's left to clear the snow out of the streets.
- In the short adventure game Ulitsa Dimitrova, the Idle Animation is first a yawn, followed by a shiver, and falling asleep on the ground, before a localized snowfall starts. That's the only ending.
- In Professor Layton and the Unwound Future, just after Claire returns to 10 years in the past to die in the lab explosion, it begins snowing.
- Snow rather literally means death for everyone in Mystery Case Files: Dire Grove, where an ancient curse is going to freeze the entire world if it can't be stopped.
- Similarly, the broken heart of The Snow Queen threatens to turn the world to ice in the third game of the Dark Parables series.
- In Phantasmat: Crucible Peak, the player finds themselves in a resort that was emptied due to an unforseen avalanche. It turns out that Otto, one of the people you meet in the game, caused the avalanche via explosion.
- In Fire Emblem: Geneaology of the Holy War, Mahnya is killed during a battle in the snow.
- In Batman: Arkham City, it is discussed by The Joker when Batman, infected with the clown's poisoned blood, approaches the Steel Mill for a second time on his search for the cure. In his intercom speech, the Clown Prince of Crime says he's locked the Steel Mill, then says something along the lines of, "I dread having the thought of you lying dead in the sno-ho-ho-ho-ho-hoooooooowwwwwwww. That truly brings a smile to my face!" Given that it's winter in Arkham City, he seems to be making a point about it.
- In Dangan Ronpa, the official fanbook features the executions for all of the kids in the game (some of which were used in the game itself). In one of these prospect executions, Byakuya Togami, dressed up as a hobo, would've been in a snowy place after being stoned by Monokuma and ended up Dying Alone in the snow as a result of a combination of his wounds and the exposure to the freezing cold.
- Red is able to invoke this near the end of Transistor, getting admin privileges to a Weather Control Terminal that allows her to make it snow after the Process have pretty much wiped out all of Cloudbank.
- Averted repeatedly in Star Stealing Prince. The entire game takes place on a perpetually snowy island, and the main character nearly dies in the middle of the forest near the start of the game, but ultimately makes it through. Other than that, Snowe's parents are instead killed on a floating island paradise completely void of snow, and the bad ending where a possessed Snowe kills everyone happens on a ship fleeing the island (where, if you wanted to interpret the trope differently, Snowe really did mean death.) Then again, as you start uncovering people's backstories, you start finding out that the island has had a very dark and bloody history, possibly making it an indirect use of this trope.
- In This War Of Mine, if you do not build a heater when winter arrives, your survivors will die from the cold.
- Slightly Damned: Sakido's death occurs during wintertime on the surface.
- On the other hand Rhea, killed during the fall, is resurrected in winter.
- During Aggie's Near Death Experience dream in Penny and Aggie, snow falls. This is significant in that we never otherwise see snow in the comic.
- In Megatokyo, snow begins to fall just as Miho prepares to meet her death.
- Homestuck: When the deceased Vriska and alt!John meet for the first time in a dream bubble memory, they are outside John's house in winter with a light snowfall ongoing. In this case, both of them are dead.
- Aversion too; Jade dies well after her land thaws, despite it initially having been covered in the stuff.
- In the Rankin-Bass Stop Motion special Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey, the title character's mother dies after covering him with her body and keeping him warm for all night during a blizzard.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender plays with this - black snowfall, caused by the soot put out by their ships, heralds the arrival of Fire Nation forces at both the North and South Pole when they attack the Water Tribes.
- One of the more famous examples is from Bambi in which the titular character cries out for his mother during a heavy snowfall after she is shot dead.
- In Brother Bear, there is snow on the ground when Sitka and Koda's mother meet their ends. More poignant, however, is the scene where Kenai confesses to Koda that it was he who killed the cub's mother, and as he does so, the snowflakes being falling around them...
- The Battle of the Bulge in World War II.
- Captain Scott's ill-fated Antarctic expedition.
- Similarly, the various brave idiots looking for the Northwest Passage, most famously Sir John Franklin.
- Also Ernest Shackleton. Although he subverted it by being badass enough to get himself and all of his crew out alive.
- The day following the Halifax Explosion brought a huge blizzard that only helped to add to the the death toll.
- Every time someone invades Russia.
- Averted when Mongols invaded Russia.
- Or Russia invades Finland... Especially FOR the Russians.
- The Battle of Stalingrad started in August, but in movies and on pictures, you will almost always see the last weeks in January and Feburary, when snow only added to the bleakness of the whole situation.
- In Finland, mentioning a drunken person and snow in the same sentence is almost always interpreted as "froze to death", and it is regularly used as an example when explaining to teens why drinking outside during an arctic winter is a really bad idea.
- There is a proverb in Finland Tulis talvi ja tappais köyhät (Wish winter would come and kill the poor) which is effectively hoping misfortune for someone disadvantaged.
- The Wounded Knee massacre, which happened on a snowy December day in South Dakota.
- December 29, 1890, to be exact. And South Dakota is known for extreme weather, so when it's hot, it's really hot, and when it's cold, it's really cold.
- Heavy snow fell on rescue and relief operations in eastern Japan five days after the March 11, 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.
- Throughout much of history this trope was subverted in that when it snowed the armies couldn't march so countries at war would call an armistace in winter.
- "Starlight tours" in Saskatchewan. Sounds poetic. It's not.
- It's not a coincidence that two of the Dump Months, January and February, are in the middle of winter. Winter is where movies go to die at the box office.
- The Battle of Towton was fought during a snowstorm, with both armies wading through knee-deep snow drifts. Some estimates claim 28,000 people died there, at a time when that would account for 1% of England's entire population. It was perhaps one of the nastiest battles ever conducted by British soldiery; even the lower end casualty estimates of 9000 dead are higher than the Battle of Antietam, fought 400 years later with rifles and cannon. Towton, by contrast, was fought face-to-face, with swords and axes and fists.
- The Battle of Eylau in 1807, where the snow was also lethal to Marshal Augereau's VII Corps and both sides lost about 50,000 men altogether. Later on, as he came back on the same battlefield in spring, Captain Marbot found it hard to reconcile the beautiful greenery with his very vivid memories of the carnage, and the knowledge that he would have been one of the corpses buried under a bed of grass and flowers if not for a series of lucky coincidences.