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Wick Cleanup: Killed Off For Real get usage counts

 1 lu 127, Wed, 20th Feb '13 1:14:57 PM from the Capital of Light Relationship Status: Loves me...loves me not
Killed Off for Real, at the moment is too broadly used. It is used for any case where a character dies permanently.

The original incarnation of the trope applied only to comics and such continuities where Death Is Cheap and characters were not expected to ever stay dead. There is an expectation that characters who should have died don't stay dead. However, with time, it has decayed to "any time a character dies". That is almost meaningless—unless coming back from the dead is commonplac or expected, then of course a dead character is dead for real.

In short: this one needs narrowing back to applying to continuities where Death Is Cheap.

迷子の足音消えた 代わりに祈りの唄
A character dying in a story is a trope, but it's such a ridiculously common trope that there's no point in noting it. I favor limiting this to works that would otherwise easily reverse a death.

The name isn't helping either if the intention of the trope is to be a subversion of Death Is Cheap.

edited 20th Feb '13 1:21:30 PM by Arha

 3 Septimus Heap, Wed, 20th Feb '13 1:21:37 PM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
Wow, that was fast.

Name-wise, I see it's cited in Wikipedia and other sites so we probably can't rename it.

 4 Fighteer, Wed, 20th Feb '13 1:26:27 PM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
We were talking about this in mod chat. In summary, Killed Off for Real applies only where there is an expectation that characters who should have died don't stay dead.

This can take a variety of forms:
  • It can be explicit in the genre, as in a D&D setting where clerics have the power to resurrect people. (Back from the Dead)
  • It can be a genre convention that characters are never (or seldom) killed permanently, as in most comic books. (Death Is Cheap)
  • The work can have death, but Negative Continuity or a periodic Reset Button that reverses it.
  • It can be like a soap opera where anyone who dies can be brought back whenever the writers want to, with or without explanation. (First Law of Resurrection)
  • It can be a show with lots of violence, but where everyone is typically Made of Iron or otherwise never expires from their injuries.

In these cases, permanent death is both unusual and shocking. If the permanence of the death is not unusual, then it doesn't count.

What it is not:
  • In a work where Anyone Can Die and there is no resurrection, death may be shocking but it is not unusual (or atypical), and so does not qualify.
  • In a work that normally has no violence at all, but suddenly takes a Darker and Edgier turn. There is no expectation established at all regarding death, so the fact that it is permanent is not remarkable.
  • In a work that is Like Reality Unless Noted, where characters may or may not die all the time, but death is an accepted (and irreversible) phenomenon.

edited 20th Feb '13 1:35:17 PM by Fighteer

Neoclassicism, AKA the Tinkerbell school of economics.
 5 shimaspawn, Wed, 20th Feb '13 1:29:59 PM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
The name does make this clear. Being killed off "For Real" implies that people get killed off "Falsely" somehow. You can't have one without the other.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
 6 Septimus Heap, Wed, 20th Feb '13 1:30:23 PM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
I thought the first line of the description needs changing. And the image too - which is Image Pickin' job.

Okay, no renaming then. Is this just a matter of cleanup then? And I guess the description could use a rewrite.

edited 20th Feb '13 1:42:31 PM by Arha

 8 shimaspawn, Wed, 20th Feb '13 2:04:27 PM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
Description clarification, and clean up.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
Okay, well here's a writeup.

 10 Another Duck, Wed, 20th Feb '13 2:52:08 PM from Stockholm Relationship Status: In season
No, the other one.
What's the limit in games? Gameplay and Story Segregation does account for a lot of permanent deaths that otherwise aren't permanent or may be considered Non-Lethal K.O. (Aerith, to pick the most famous one). There are also games like Fire Emblem, Langrisser, and Valkyria Chronicles where characters who die die permanently (in the last only after you fail to rescue them with a few turns), but also have plotline deaths.

Something like Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha would probably fall under "excessive non-lethal violence is common, but deaths are rare", I'd think.

[up]Looks good. Any need to include the above point, which was Fighteer's last, or is "Maybe for some reason people just never die when they should, " enough?

edited 20th Feb '13 2:56:08 PM by AnotherDuck

Check out my fanfiction!
Fire Emblem definitely wouldn't be an example. All deaths are permanent unlike what you might expect in a game of that type, but the only revival magic I know of (admittedly I only played the first game) is pretty difficult to use and requires a special artifact.

The thing is, magical resurrection techniques are not to only was to undue character death. Even settings without it can do a All Just a Dream or a Never Found the Body to Hand Wave away death.

Maybe Killed Off for Real isn't that notable if you are talking about, say, the Body of the Week in Detective Fiction, but if it is a major recurring character, especially one of the main characters, it is notable. If Watson had bit the dust in the Sherlock Holmes series, it would be notable. Heck, the author tried his best to have Holmes Killed Off for Real, but even then it didn't stick in the long run. If a villain keeps coming back again and again after apparent death and is finally killed for good, it is notable.

edited 20th Feb '13 3:52:47 PM by Catbert

 13 Ironeye, Wed, 20th Feb '13 4:49:22 PM from SoCal Relationship Status: Falling within your bell curve
Cutmaster-san
We have an entire page full of Death Tropes for different ways characters can die in meaningful ways. We need to restrict this to cases where the permanence of the death subverts audience expectations. If a show regularly pulls All Just a Dream or Never Found the Body, then it should most certainly qualify for Killed Off for Real.

On the other hand, the death of a recurring character isn't automatically Killed Off for Real. It is if the show regularly pulls fake-outs on character death, or the character usually survives this sort of thing, or whatever, but this shouldn't just be "unexpected death". Watson biting the dust is notable, but that doesn't mean it has to be an example for this trope.

edited 6th Mar '13 2:23:11 AM by Ironeye

I'm bad, and that's good. I will never be good, and that's not bad. There's no one I'd rather be than me.
 14 Fighteer, Wed, 20th Feb '13 5:12:07 PM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Let's put it this way. If All Deaths Final is standard for the setting, then Killed Off for Real is Like Reality Unless Noted and therefore not tropable.

Neoclassicism, AKA the Tinkerbell school of economics.
Dragon Writer
^ I was going to pipe in with a nod to All Deaths Final, but I see you beat me to it. :)
Mutually exclusive with All Deaths Final seems to make good sense, I suppose.
Rhymes with "Protracted."
 17 shimaspawn, Wed, 20th Feb '13 8:35:21 PM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
Correct. You can only have one or the other.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
If that's the case, then is the sandbox good to go or is it still missing something?

 19 Fighteer, Thu, 21st Feb '13 8:48:09 AM from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
I tweaked it a bit.
Neoclassicism, AKA the Tinkerbell school of economics.
 20 Serocco, Sat, 2nd Mar '13 10:29:18 AM from Miami, Florida
Serocco
"Sometimes, even in these stories, a character dies and they stay dead. No magical return from the dead, no retcon and no copout. They're dead and they're staying that way."

How is this any different from Deader than Dead?

edited 2nd Mar '13 11:01:46 AM by Serocco

Men aren't men without women.
 21 shimaspawn, Sat, 2nd Mar '13 11:12:57 AM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
[up] That phrase has nothing to do with the trope definition of Deader than Dead. That trope is about not just killing them, but killing them and then pounding their soul into oblivion. Or killing them and then chopping up their body into little pieces and shipping every piece into a different country and shooting their head into the sun. It's about killing them after they're dead just to be sure.

You can shoot someone once and have them be Killed Off for Real, but that wouldn't make them Deader than Dead.

Likewise, someone can be Deader than Dead and still manage to come back from the dead. Dragon Ball Z pulled that at least once.

edited 2nd Mar '13 11:14:22 AM by shimaspawn

Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
 22 Serocco, Sat, 2nd Mar '13 11:37:56 AM from Miami, Florida
Serocco
Quit it with the convoluted descriptions.

Is Killed Off for Real not the same ultimate trope as Deader than Dead? If Deader than Dead involves people coming back from it, then it is not Deader than Dead and it needs rework.

edited 2nd Mar '13 11:38:11 AM by Serocco

Men aren't men without women.
 23 shimaspawn, Sat, 2nd Mar '13 11:43:02 AM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
Deader than Dead explicitly says in the definition that they can come back from it. It just involves characters killing them so thoroughly that they're sure they won't come back again. It doesn't mean that characters aren't wrong.
Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
 24 Serocco, Sat, 2nd Mar '13 11:44:22 AM from Miami, Florida
Serocco
So, what, getting sliced in half just before having your remains nuked is Deader than Dead, as long as it's clear the killer did that with Make Sure He's Dead in mind?

edited 2nd Mar '13 11:50:17 AM by Serocco

Men aren't men without women.
 25 shimaspawn, Sat, 2nd Mar '13 11:50:50 AM from Here and Now Relationship Status: In your bunk
And then having your soul eaten by a chihuahua, yes. It's basically the characters, or karma, or whatever making sure you're really dead by means of extreme overkill.

edited 2nd Mar '13 11:51:44 AM by shimaspawn

Reality is that, which when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.

-Philip K. Dick
Total posts: 177
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