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They Knew the Risks
A Stock Phrase used to make accepting someone's violent death easier, by pointing out that the dead person knew the risks before he or she signed up for them. Comes in two varieties:

  • Lieutenant Alex is blamed for the death of Private Bob under his command and says that Bob knew the risks when he volunteered.
  • Lieutenant Alex blames himself for Bob's death and is told that Bob knew the risks.

This is usually a Death Trope. Unmarked spoilers below!


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Film - Animated 
  • In Treasure Planet, Captain Amelia ends her eulogy for her second-in-command Mr. Arrow with this statement.

    Fan Works 
  • The second form of this trope is often given to the protagonist to help them get over their Pokémon's deaths in many a Nuzlocke Challenge.

    Film - Live Action 
  • Airplane!. "They bought their tickets. They knew what they were getting into. I say, let 'em crash!"
  • In the James Bond film Licence to Kill, M says this of Leiter when Bond is angry that M won't take action against the people who destroyed Leiter's life.
    • Though Bond promptly retaliates that Leiter's wife certainly didn't, to which M can only change the subject.
      • In Quantum of Solace this isn't stated outright with Matthis and James tries to handle the man's death as stoically as he can, subverted with Agent Fields' death as M explicitly stated that the agent was not meant to come in harms way because she had an office job.
  • Heat
    Neil McCauley: He knew the risks, he didn't have to be there. It rains... you get wet.
  • Dent says it about himself in The Dark Knight.
    Gordon: We're going after the mob's life savings. This could get ugly.
    Dent: I knew the risks when I took this job, lieutenant.
  • The first "Taking of Pelham 1-2-3" movie. "What do they want for 75 cents, to live forever?"
  • In Con Air, an antagonistic policeman justifies ordering the hijacked plane to be shot down by saying that the guards aboard understood the risks of the job and that the government does not negotiate with hostage takers.

    Literature 

    Live Action TV 
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Ship"
    Jadzia Dax: They chose a life in Starfleet; they knew the risks. And they died fighting for something that they believed in.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • One of the first Pearls Before Swine strips had Pig recount seeing a woman crushed by a ceiling tile at a bingo game, saying "She knew the risks of playing the game."

    Video Games 
  • In Last Scenario, Newick tries to downplay Selene's and Jord's deaths this way.
  • Freelancer: Lord Hakkerra invokes this after Ozu dies on a mission.
  • Metal Gear Solid:
    Snake: I sacrificed Meryl to save myself...
    Roy Campbell: Snake... She was a soldier. She knew the risks. Battlefield casualties are always tragic, but they're an unavoidable part of war.
  • Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Corners Of The Earth: J. Edgar Hoover says this about a field agent after the latter is horribly burned the slime of a Shoggoth. Made worse by the fact that Hoover just shot the agent himself as the agent was hysterical with pain.
  • In both video game adaptations of GoldenEye, this is said of 006's death at the Facility during the Runway mission. Only it turns out Alec's Not Quite Dead.
    • From the N64 version:
      M Briefing: 006 knew this was going to be a risky mission.
    • And from the remake:
      Bond: Bond to MI6. The base is destroyed. 006 is dead.
      Tanner: I... I'm sorry, James.
      Bond: Save it. He knew the risks.
  • Mass Effect 2 involves the security mechs on a space station going rogue and attacking people. The player character, having fought his or her way to the one escape shuttle, can express a desire to go back and search for other survivors, but the two with him/her state that the player character is more important, and everyone on that station signed on willing to die to save him/her.

    Webcomics 
  • Spoofed in 8-Bit Theater
    Black Mage: If this is the right place, then we will be completely justified in slaughtering the occupants within. If it isn't, it'll be a practice session. As we all know, practice sessions don't count, so we'll be absolved of any alleged crimes.
    Red Mage: But you're going to kill them even if they're innocent.
    Black Mage: And it's practice, so it won't count.
    Red Mage: But they'll be dead.
    Black Mage: Hey, they knew the risks when they took the job.
    Red Mage: Job?! Risks?! You're a mass murdering psycho!
    * Beat Panel*
    Black Mage: If you think about it, that's really their problem.

    Western Animation 

They Have the ScentStock PhrasesThicker Than Water
They Killed Kenny AgainDeath TropesThis Is Not My Life to Take

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