Follow TV Tropes


A Death In The Limelight / Literature

Go To

  • Andersonville: Some of the Switching P.O.V. chapters feature as characters prisoners-of-war who are introduced, only to die in that chapter. One chapter features Eric Torrosian, a prisoner who successfully escapes the stockade by pretending to be dead, and then walks away from the corpse storage shed outside, only to blunder right into a guard and get shot through the heart.
  • Racing Tom Turkey: The entire story is set in a funeral and centers around describing the deceased.
  • Advertisement:
  • In the H.I.V.E. Series, Lucy Dexter suddenly becomes Otto's love interest, when she previously had only mild to moderate character development. Predictably, she dies in the same volume.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novels, individual Ghosts are brought forward, by name, with details for a scene or a few scenes before their deaths. This is not distinguishable from the characters who are named and developed to play more important roles in the books until the character dies. In other words, sometimes it's just a Day in the Limelight, and sometimes it's a Death.
  • The Honor Harrington novels have over 9000 characters, but if the narrative abruptly switches to an unknown character, then it isn't really that hard to tell how they're going to end up. A specific example being the Havenite soldier on leave in At All Costs whose total experience in the limelight is getting in his air car and crashing it into a plot-relevant character's vehicle.
  • Advertisement:
  • Goes all the way back to The Iliad, though technically inverted: Many characters (most relatively minor) are sometimes given some rather detailed obituaries in the narrative right after someone kills them.
  • The twenty-second Warrior Cats book Night Whispers focused on Ensemble Dark Horse Flametail's attempts to unravel a mysterious prophecy. At the end, he drowns.
    • Firestar comes back into the spotlight in The Last Hope only to die from his fight with Tigerstar at the very end of the book.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the POV character of every prologue and epilogue dies at the end of it. Granted, the series tends to practice Anyone Can Die in general.
  • Battle Royale has a few chapters like this. One notable one is Mizuho's, which is only three pages long and ends in her getting gunned down by Kazuo very shortly after her introduction.
  • Dragons of Requiem will sometimes have a POV chapter focusing on a Mauve Shirt instead of a main character. Typically, whenever this happens it means the character will die at the end.
  • Advertisement:
  • In Death series: If the book looks through the viewpoint of anyone who isn't Eve, Roarke, or one of the other recurring major characters, then there's a 90% chance this trope will occur. The viewpoint may be the killer, a victim, or sometimes both.
  • A common complaint about Steven King is that he will introduce a character, complete with backstory, only to kill that character off in the next chapter.
  • A chapter in The Malloreon focuses about a sailor carrying a deadly plague to Mal Zeth.
  • The Shaara (Michael and his son Jeffery) American Civil War novels do this:
    • In The Killer Angels, General Armistead only gets one chapter from his point-of-view in which he is mortally wounded.note 
    • In The Last Full Measure, J.E.B. Stuart gets the same thing that Armistead did: one chapter to himself at Yellow Tavern, where he is mortally wounded. A few enlisted men are also given scenes in which they quickly die.
  • Simpkin the foliet in The Bartimaeus Trilogy is the only character outside of the main three to have a chapter told entirely from his point of view. He dies at the end of it.
  • The final Age of Fire book, Dragon Fate, makes use of several A Day in the Limelight chapters, but only one has its focus character die: NiVom.
  • The Queen of the Damned gives Baby Jenks one chapter, which ends with Akasha killing her.
  • Joe Golem and the Drowning City: Joe and Molly get virtually all of the POV in the book's chapters. The exception are in four chapters, two for Felix Orlov the magician, and two for Simon Church the occult detective. At the end of his second chapter, Felix is overtaken by higher forces and he turns into a Eldritch Abomination, losing his humanity fovever. Meanwhile in his chapters, Church's organs are shutting down and both chapters are spent in his final actions before he kicks the bucket, which he does at the end of his second.
  • In Noob, the third novel gives development to General Helkazard, the Coalition's leader... only to explain why killing him off is necessary for the Big Bad's plans, that will work better with someone with more radical beliefs leading the Coalition.
  • Several times over in Gideon the Ninth:
    • In Chapter 15, the Fifth House pair host a dinner party for their anniversary, which is the first time Abigail, the necromancer of the Fifth, gets a chance to speak, and alludes to her and Magnus being unable to conceive, a manuscript about Lyctoral history that she's been working on, and her necromantic specialty. She and Magnus are the first to be killed by the end of the next chapter.
    • In Chapter 25, we finally spend more time with Jeannemary and Isaac, and get to learn more about their backstory. They're both dead by the end of the chapter.
    • Chapter 28 has Gideon actually sit down and talk to the Eighth House pair for the first time, revealing a lot about their house and the relationship between Column and Silas. A few chapters later, Chapter 34 is the first time the Eighth show their fighting skills, and then end up dead.
  • The Thebaid:
    • Book VIII focuses almost exclusively on Tydeus' vicious exploits in the war on Thebes and ends with him being abandoned to die after his goddess becomes disgusted by his savagery.
    • Book XI follows on Polynices and Eteocles moreso than any of the books dealing with the war. Of course, it ends with the two brothers crossing arms in unlawful war, as mentioned in the first words of the epic.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: