The Dying Walk

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Also a way to ambiguously die.

"After three days of delerium, Lady Laena passed from this mortal coil. During her final hour, it is said, Lady Laena rose from her bed and made her way from her room, intent on reaching Vhagar that she might fly one last time before she died. Her strength failed her on the tower steps, however, and it was there she collapsed and died."

People react many different ways when they realize they're about to die. Some get angry, some go into denial, and some who are mortally injured will simply start walking away from whatever it was that they were doing before. Reasons for this vary, the most common ones are that the wounded person is in a haze of shock from the wound, that the person is hallucinating or having a genuine supernatural vision and are trying to reach it, are so determined to reach some sort of goal or object that they make one final attempt before they die, or simply want to go somewhere that they can die more peacefully. This trope can become quite symbolic of walking away from a conflict or the mundane complications of life when faced with faced with death staring them in the eyes, or a character walking away from one's life/past deeds, especially if the character regrets or would want to atone for those things.

This can be Truth in Television: many animals, at least if they're still able to walk, will go off to find a quiet place to die when they know their time is near.note  Naturally this can apply to humans as well.

Often occurs beside One Last Smoke. Likely to happen in the aftermath of a Gun Struggle. May overlap with tropes such as Secret Stab Wound or Mortal Wound Reveal if no one realized the character was so seriously injured, and Distracted from Death if no one notices their death until after they've died. If the walk is a particularly long one or the character manages to give a message to someone at the end of it, then it overlaps with Almost Dead Guy.

Compare and contrast Face Death with Dignity, Disappears into Light, No Body Left Behind, The Last Dance, You Are Already Dead, and all version of Time-Delayed Death.

As a death trope, there will be unmarked spoilers!

Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Trigun anime, Wolfwood essentially does this after being shot by his Evil Mentor (who was being controlled by the telepathic Dragon Legato). He has a short conversation with Vash, walks off alone (Vash doesn't know Wolfwood is injured until he walks off and sees the trail of blood Wolfwood is leaving behind) to a church, where he collapses and pours his heart out to God before dying.
  • Wolf's Rain:
    • Lord Darcia does this at the end of the OVA that concludes the series, as his multiple wounds and the poison in Cheza's blood get to him. In a confused haze, he suddenly breaks off from fighting Kiba and attempting to kill Cheza, and steps into the portal to Paradise, despite knowing that he cannot open it. It kills him instantly, leaving nothing but his Magic Eye behind.
    • Kiba also does this, after Cheza's apparent death, having crossed the Despair Event Horizon with her and the rest of his True Companions gone. He limps away from the site of their battle and then collapses, apparently the very last living thing in the world to die.
  • In the last episode of the Death Note anime, Light does this after being shot several times. He runs out of the warehouse he was in and collapses in another building a short distance away. Ryuk then keeps the promise he made to Light several years earlier and writes Light's name in a Death Note.
  • After the final battle with Father in Fullmetal Alchemist, a dying Hohenheim walks away from the battlefield to Trisha's grave and tells her how he wants to keep living before finally passing away.
  • After getting mortally wounded during the final space battle in Legend of Galactic Heroes, Schenkopp congratulates the soldier who got him, then walks up the nearest set of stairs (killing two last soldiers who try to finish him off on the way), and sits at the top so he can die looking down on everybody.
  • After Rudeus dies in Mushoku Tensei his soul appears before Hitogami one last time. His soul begins to naturally reduce into mana and his mind and body begin to fade away. After giving Hitogami some parting words, Rudeus walks past him and keeps walking until he disappears.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, after a fight with Ashitare, Nuriko is badly hurt and bleeding. He decides to walk up to the opening of the cave where the Shinzaho is located and use the last of his Super Strength to open it. Needless to say, this results in Nuriko hemorrhaging to death.

    Comics 
  • As with his mythological equivalent, Thor takes nine steps before dying after his battle with a serpent. Unlike the mythological Thor and with this being a comic book, he's done so twice, against two different serpents.... and returned both times.

    Film 
  • Before the climax of Once Upon a Time in the West the main villain Frank escapes a shootout with his former-parter Morton's hired goons and returns to Morton's train to confront him, only to find Morton dying of wounds he sustained during a run-in with the outlaw Cheyenne. Morton, lying pitifully in the dirt, ignores Frank's arrival and instead desperately crawls over to a nearby mud puddle representing a stand-in for the Pacific Ocean that he will never be able to reach.
  • Near the end of Young Guns II, Magical Half Native American Chavez, who was gutshot earlier in the film, suddenly gets up and walks away from the outlaw hideout so he can die alone.
  • Pat Garrett And Billy The Kid has a gunfight scene where Garrett, Sheriff Baker, and Baker's wife/deputy raid the hideout of some outlaws with links to Billy the Kid. After being shot several times in the fight, Baker (who had earlier told about how he was going to sail away on a boat he was building once he retied) walks away from the fight and staggers over to a tiny creek, where he watches the sunset until he dies. Easily the most famous scene from the movie, helped by the fact that Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (which was composed for the movie) plays in the background.
  • Big Bad Hatcher from The Rundown, like everyone else, takes the hard way when offered a The Easy Way or the Hard Way choice by Beck. At the end of the movie, his empire crumbled and his former slaves surrounding him, Hatcher has a Villainous Breakdown and starts screaming at the crowd until someone in the crowd shoots him. At that point Hatcher suddenly regains his calm, says that now he's ready to do things the easy way, and starts to walk away. He doesn't get far before he collapses and dies.
  • Kill Bill Vol. 2: When The Bride/Beatrix uses Pai Mei's Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique on Bill, which causes death after the victim takes five steps, their conversation continues a bit while they're seated. Then Bill cleans himself off a bit from their fight so he can Face Death with Dignity and asks "How do I look?" Beatrix replies, "You look ready." Bill then gets up and, in an understated Dying Moment of Awesome, walks six steps before dying.
  • In the 1954 film version of Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Nemo is shot and mortally wounded setting the bomb to blow up both his secret island base and the forces looking to conquer it and use it for themselves. After navigating the Nautilus clear of the island, he walks away from the steering wheel, walks back to his cabin, (with some help from his crew) and finally collapses in front of the window he used for undersea observation, looking out into his beloved ocean one last time.
  • At the end of the biopic Baby Face Nelson, Nelson is shot many times in a standoff with law enforcement agents. In something of an inversion of the common treatment of this trope, instead of walking off to find a place to die, he walks up to the agents and laughs in their face before dying.
  • In Badlands, Kit shoots his friend Cato after he realizes Cato is going to call the cops. Cato, who has taken a shotgun blast that went clean through his gut and out through his back, gets up, staggers back into his shack, and lies down on his bed to die.
  • The Informer: Gypo goes on a veritable dying stroll. After getting shot several times, he manages to stagger down the street into a church, where he confesses to Frankie's mom before collapsing in death.
  • The Ancient One in Doctor Strange projects their astral body and leaves their physical body lying on a hospital stretcher so they can admire a thunderstorm and pass on some last advice and encouragement to Strange.

    Literature 
  • In the Warrior Cats book Sunset, Brambleclaw stabs his half-brother Hawkfrost in the throat with a stake from a trap. Hawkfrost, despite struggling to breathe and speak, gets up, stumbles toward Brambleclaw to call him a fool, and then, for some reason, turns around and walks toward the lake, collapsing at its shore. His blood mingles with the water to complete the prophecy "Blood will spill blood and the lake will run red".
  • The A Song of Ice and Fire prequel detailing the life of Loveable Rogue Daemon Targaryen before the infamous civil war "The Dance of the Dragons" tells of this happening to his second wife, Laena, when she was ill after an extremely difficult child birth. After laying in bed and unable to rise for several days, Laena suddenly got up and attempted to reach the dragon she loved to ride, but collapsed on the way.
  • In Tehanu, Tenar helps her old friend Aihal (Ogion the Silent) walk from his deathbed to the meadow where he wants to die.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Breaking Bad loved this trope.
    • Gus got half his body blown to hell by an improvised bomb, but still managed to walk out of the room he was in and calmly straighten his tie before dying.
    • Mike does this after being shot by Walter in the aftermath of Mike's "Reason You Suck" Speech to Walter. Mike manages to get away from the area where he was shot, but all he does is find his way to a nice place to sit near a small river.
    • In the series finale, Walter does something similar, as he is mortally wounded in his final confrontation with the Neo-Nazis. After all the Nazis are dead and Jesse leaves, refusing to perform a Coup de Grâce on Walter, Walter limps off to the Nazi meth lab and begins fondly petting the equipment there before collapsing.
  • The climax of The 10th Kingdom has Virginia confronting the Evil Queen, and during the struggle, she manages to scratch the Queen with the Queen's own poisoned hairpin. The Queen stares at the wound for a bit, then turns around and walks away, falling to her knees after (at most) half a dozen steps.
  • At the end of Boardwalk Empire's fourth season, retired Hitman with a Heart Richard Harrow is called on to perform One Last Job, despite the fact that he's given up violence because of the terrible toll it's taking on his psychological well being. He botches it, is shot in the middle of a Heroic B.S.O.D., and staggers away to the spot he and his girlfriend Julia spent their first night together under the boardwalk, where he dies alone.

    Multiple Media 
  • Many productions of Romeo and Juliet have Mercutio doing this either as he's saying his Dying Curse or just afterward. This includes the 1996 movie version, where Mercutio storms away after his curse, and shoves Romeo off when Romeo tries to catch up to Mercutio. He collapses soon afterward.

    Mythology 
  • In Norse Mythology, Thor and Jormungandr clash. Thor eventually bashes in Jormungandr's skull with Mjölnir, but not before breathing in too much of Jormungandr's poisonous breath. Thor takes nine steps before dying.

    Video Games 
  • Auron from Final Fantasy X, who's been Dead All Along, tells about doing this when he died. In a grief-fueled rage, he confronted Yunalesca about the Senseless Sacrifice of Jecht and Braska, and how them giving their lives wouldn't make a damn bit of difference. She mortally wounded him, and somehow he climbed back out of Zanarkand and all the way down Mt. Gagazet, perhaps in a desperate attempt to return to Bevelle and take care of Braska's daughter Yuna, as he had promised Braska he would. After climbing down the mountain the last of his strength finally gave out, but he was able to send Kimhari, who he encounter along the way, to look after Yuna.
  • The True Final Boss of the Genocide Run for Undertale, Sans, does this after being struck a lethal blow, which does 9,999 damage to its One-Hit-Point Wonder target. He has just enough time to shuffle off-screen before the player hears the sound of a monster dying— mentioning the consequences of the player's actions and taking some time to briefly speak to his deceased brother Papyrus just before it happens.
    Sans: so… guess that's it, huh? just... don't say i didn't warn you. (he gets up, and starts to walk away) welp... i'm going to grillby's. papyrus, do you want anything?
  • In Persona 3, when Takaya fatally shoots Shinjiro, the victim's last action is get up and walk away like a badass before collapsing and dying of internal injuries.

    Western Animation 
  • A Captain Planet episode, "Heat Wave", features a non-lethal example. When the Planeteers are having trouble with getting through Dr. Blight's force field, Ma-Ti contacts Gaia to ask for help. Gaia then reveals she needs it herself, walks a few steps and collapses. She comes to shortly after, though.
  • In Exo Squad, after the liberation of Venus, some members of La Résistance turn villainous and plan to kill any and all Neosapiens they come across, including Marsala and any other Neos serving in Exo Fleet. Marsala's squad mate Nara recruits her brother James, the former head of the Venus Resistance, to save Marsala from his captors. James infiltrates the group, and is wounded just as a three way battle between the anti-Neo group, Neo guerrillas, and Able Squad breaks out. James manages to carry an unconscious Marsala out of there, and is so focused on getting Marsala to safety that he completely ignores the battle and Nara telling him he can stop. Finally he collapses and dies away from the battle site.
  • Bold's death in The Animals of Farthing Wood is a real Tearjerker. After making a long and grueling journey back to White Deer Park with his fox mate Whisper so their cubs can be born in the safety of the sanctuary, Bold collapses outside the park boundary. Knowing he's going to die, Bold waits until Whisper has gone to find food for him, and then painfully limps away so she won't find him when he dies.
    Whisper: [tearfully] I think he's going off to die...
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) Bad Future episode "Same as it Never Was", Leo is cut down from behind by Karai. Seeing this, Raph attacks Karai, but she mortally wounds him. With the last of his strength, Raph drags himself over to Leo and dies by his brother's side.

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