A Last Request
where the "MacGuffin" in I'm Dying, Please Take My MacGuffin
happens to be human. Someone dying asks someone to please take care of their kids/family. Often implies a strong level of trust and respect between the two parties.
Precedes Children Raise You
, Promotion to Parent
, and Parental Substitute
. Often an Ending Trope
but not always. It also works well simply at the end of a Story Arc
or in a Back Story
. Since this is a Death Trope
, there is of course a SPOILER WARNING!
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Anime and Manga
- Part of Crow's Back Story in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds: His father-figure Robert Pearson, while trapped in a burning building, told Crow to escape, take his bike and deck, and watch over the rest of the kids he'd taken in.
- After their Duel, a dying Bommer asked Crow to look after his younger siblings before crumbling to dust. However Crow didn't have to since Bommer was resurrected at the end of that story arc.
- Aiolos Sagittarius in Saint Seiya gave the baby Saori to Mitsumasa Kido. It wasn't his kid though, he was trying to protect her from the evil Pope who wanted to kill her because she was Athena's reincarnation, and got killed in the effort.
- In Ao No Fuuin Takao entrusts the entire Kimon family to Soko just before he dies by Akira's hands.
- Subverted in Full Metal Panic! when Sousuke's mother hands him off to Kalinin to raise... who then sends him off (albeit inadvertently) to the KGB. To be trained as a child assassin.
- In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S, one of the dying Zest's last requests to Signum was for her to take care of his charges.
- As revealed in a flashback, this was the dying request of Roy's alchemy teacher in Fullmetal Alchemist. Granted, "take care of my daughter" probably didn't mean "make her your personal assistant and bodyguard," but hey, the woman is damn good at what she does.
- In Noir, in a Flash Back, Mireille Bouquet's mother's request to a 5-year old Kirika; who just killed Mireille's father and is about to kill her; is to take care of Mireille.
- Rem's famous last words in Trigun are for Vash to take care of Knives. She probably didn't envision Knives to be the one who killed all her crew and tried to crash all the Seeds ships or that he would turn into a complete homicidal maniac but what can you do.
- On the other hand, maybe she did - in Japanese, her last words are "Vash, Knives wo..." "Wo" is an incredibly ambiguous word on its own, requiring other words to define it. She could be asking him anything from "Help Knives" to "Kill Knives". "Vash, take care of Knives" is an attempt to capture that ambiguity in English ("Take care of him" often meaning "Kill him").
- At the end of Tarzan, a dying Kerchak tells Tarzan to "take care of them," meaning the rest of their clan.
- In Toy Story, when Woody is grabbed by Sid's dog Scud, he tells Buzz to "take care of Andy for me." Buzz rescues him instead.
- A tweaked example in The Towering Inferno: An explosion knocked the scenic elevator off its track. Lisolette (Who had gone to lengths to save two children, a boy and a girl, in the tower) was holding the girl. She shoves her into someone else's arms before Lisolette falls from the glass elevator to her death.
- In the prologue of The Amazing Spider-Man, Richard and Mary Parker leave their young son Peter under the care of his uncle Ben and aunt May to keep him safe from harm when it becomes clear someone dangerous is after them. They don't survive to reunite with him.
- In The Lone Ranger Dan, after being fatally shot, asked his brother to take care of his family.
- Nod's father in EPIC asked Ronin to do this.
- At the end of Frozen River, Ray agrees to take the rap for running the smuggling operation, in exchange for Lila raising her kids while she's in jail.
- At the end of Pearl Harbor, as Danny is dying, Rafe encourages him stay alive, revealing that he's going to be a father. Danny replies "No, you are." The final scene is of Rafe and Evelyn, married and happily raising 'their' son.
- In the Fairy Tale "Babes in the Woods", this is a dying man's last request made to his brother. Instead, he leaves them to die in the woods. And....that's it. They die. No gingerbread house, no fairy godmother, no sleeping giant, nothing.
- Sense and Sensibility: The events of the novel are set in motion by the death of Henry Dashwood, who asks his wealthy son to take care of his stepmother and half-sisters. John promises he will... and doesn't.
- In V. C. Andrews' Midnight Whispers, Dawn apparently shouted this to her brother Philip before she burned to death with her husband. He does take Christie and her brother in, but...it doesn't go over well.
- When a rescue helicopter crewman is dying in Jack Ryan's arms in Clear and Present Danger, he mentions that he has seven (soon to be eight) kids, Jack volunteers to pay the college tuition for all of them. This brings unexpected complications in the next book, The Sum of All Fears.
- Kristina says this to her own husband in The Emigrants when they think she's going to die from scurvy.
- Happens no less than twice between Melly and Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. The first time Melly believes she's going to die while giving birth to Beau and she asks Scarlett to raise him. The second time she really is dying and asks the same thing, saying "I gave him to you once before, remember?"
- Averted in Les Misérables — M. Madeleine, once he takes the sick Fantine into his care, tries to bring her daughter Cosette to her, hoping that the joy of seeing Cosette again would restore her to full health. However, Javert intervenes, reveals that Madeleine is an ex-convict, and Fantine dies of shock. After her death, however, Valjean promises her he will raise Cosette like his own — and he does.
- This happens in A Series of Unfortunate Events with the Beaudelaire kids promising to raise Kit Snicket's daughter before Kit dies giving birth.
- A variation is mentioned in Book the 1st, when Violet remembers her parents charging her to always take care of Klaus and Sunny when each younger sibling was born, but this, of course, was years before the parents actually died. However, as they were both part of a secret organization combating vicious criminals and had already lost several comrades, they probably knew even then that there was a good chance that they might be killed and Violet would have to take over.
- In Tolkien's Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth, Rian asks Annael to look after the newborn Tuor before she goes to die at her husbands grave.
- From Childe Morgan: King Donal Haldane wants Alyce de Corwyn to trigger his son Brion's Haldane potential if he dies before her son Alaric is old enough to do it, and he implants a mental compulsion in her to make certain. On her deathbed in the same book, Alyce asks this of her husband Kenneth in re their children, four-year-old Alaric and the newborn Bronwyn.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince reveals Voldemort's back story, which includes his mother stopping at an orphanage to give birth. She suffers Death by Childbirth an hour later after requesting that the staff name him "Tom Marvolo Riddle" after his father and maternal grandfather.
- In Mercy Kill, Bhindi Drayson is fatally wounded on a mission, and urges her second-in-command, Piggy, to "get these kids home safe". In a subversion, Piggy realizes that this attitude contributed to Bhindi making mistakes that, ultimately, killed her; in order to survive, he has to treat the other Wraiths not as children to be protected, but allies who know the risks of their trade, and who have to be put in harm's way impartially.
Live Action TV
- A "friend" version in Smallville. Clark asks Oliver to take care of Chloe before he goes to face Doomsday.
- Merlin: Before Morgana's father died, he asked his good friend Uther to take care of Morgana. Subverted in that Morgana's "father" wasn't her real father, Uther is.
- On the same show is a non-parental example: when faced with impending death, both Arthur and Guinevere ask Merlin to look after the other if something happens to them.
- He wasn't planning on dying, but Dexter asked his sister Deb to take care of his son when he was getting ready to leave everything behind after Rita's death at the beginning of season five.
- In Babylon 5, a former friend of Londo's, on the outs with the current Centauri regime, arranges for Londo to look after his children and make them part of Londo's family, shielding them from his political misfortune, after their father's death. At Londo's hands, as part of a duel, which the friend arranged specifically for this purpose.
- A surprising version occurs in the Doctor Who episode "The Almost People". The "real" Jimmy dies trying to save everyone else and tells his ganger to take care of "their" son for him.
- Inverted in one episode of Top Gear. Jeremy finds himself at the mercy of a pack of hunting dogs and tells his kids to take care of their mother.
- In a flashback in The Almighty Johnsons the protagonists' mother has just told her 21-year old son Mike that their entire family are reincarnations of Norse gods. She then tells him that she is tired of her life and is leaving the care of his younger brothers to him. She is going into a forest to transform into a tree and finally have some peace and quiet.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Ethics," Worf asks Troi to raise Alexander if he dies during the experimental spinal surgery he's about to undergo. He pulls through, thanks to Contractual Immortality, but they do formalize the arrangement in a later episode.
- He tells her that this would make her, under Klingon law, the equivalent of his stepsister. She points out that this would make her mother his stepmother. The thought almost makes him back out.
- Used in The Adventures of Superman when the origin of Robin was given; in the radio version, Robin's father asked Bruce Wayne to take care of him.
- Used in Dino Attack RPG by Wallace Bishop. While he did not die, he knew that his self-induced lobotomy would leave him a mere shadow of the man he once was, so in his Video Will, he made it his Last Request that Frank Einstein would take care of his family, especially his young niece.
- Early in Final Fantasy XIII Hope's mother joins Snow (along with some other rebels). She's killed (along with pretty much every other volunteer, but they're not plot relevent) and she says this just before falling to her death. Since she didn't tell him who her son was, Snow has no idea who to protect and decides to protect all the children that were to be taken on The Purge. Meanwhile Hope witnessed this and blames him for it, follows him and ends up as a party member. The in-game synopsis notes that in a way, Snow managed to fulfill her request to protect her son by providing Hope with a target and thus a reason to persevere despite the odds.
- In Final Fantasy X Jecht told Auron to take care of his son for him, just before he sacrificed himself to become the Final Aeon. In an odd variation, Auron couldn't find Jecht's son until he was dead himself.
- And in Final Fantasy VII, Dyne asks Barret to take care of his daughter, Marlene after you defeat him.
- An ealier flashback sequence about Aerith's childhood has Elmyra finding Aerith at the train station next to her dying mother. Her mother's last request to Elmyra is to take care of Aerith.
- Yet another Final Fantasy example: in Final Fantasy XII, Judge Gabranth, in his deathbed, asks Basch to take care of his protectee, Lord Larsa Solidor, so that war may not erupt again. Being Gabranth's brother, Basch impersonates him to protect Larsa.
- In Jak 3: Wastelander, the dying Damas begs Jak to find his son Mar. He tells Jak that his son can be identified by a pendant. One identical to the amulet worn by Jak's past child self in the previous game. Tragically, Damas dies not knowing the truth.
- In Worldof Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria, right before the Battle of Razor Hill, Thrall asks Vol'jin to do this for his wife and new born son when Thrall decides to go into Orgrimmar to find any Orcs who are against Garrosh's rule despite knowing it's a suicide to go. Vol'jin obviously isn't very happy to hear this.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold: The original Black Canary's final speech exhorts Wildcat and the Justice Society to take care of her "little angel" (who then grows up to be the next Black Canary). They train her, but also tend to act overprotective of her even when she's an adult.
- Gargoyles: Right before allowing the Magus to put him under the same indefinite sleep spell as the rest of his clan, Goliath asks the Magus and the Princess to protect his clan's eggs. They do
- Implied in Galaxy Rangers "Psychocrypt" when Zach decides to make his suicide run. He asks his home AI to "take care of everything." Gee-Vee doesn't quite get it, but the audience does.
- After being shot by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914, considered the spark that started World War I, Archduke Franz Ferdinand's last words were (to his wife) "Sophie, Sophie! Don't die! Live for our children!"
- Ironically, Sophie died about ten minutes before Franz did. The children were deported after their kingdom was destroyed and eventually spent some time at a concentration camp. Eventually, they would receive their family's castle back and one of them lived until the 1990's.
- Recent example, September 11th. As many parents trapped in the doomed towers could contact their spouse/loved ones, they often made this their dying request.