Follow TV Tropes


Impaled With Extreme Prejudice / Literature

Go To

  • The Bridge on the Drina features a slow, harrowing impalement, although in this case it's the Turks punishing a would-be saboteur.
    • Just to make this clear, they carefully inserted a long wooden spike trough the guy's rear end, while carefully avoiding all vital organs. He was then left dying in agony for days. The executioner's pay depended from the time the victim stayed alive. The longer, the better.
  • Worm contains this with Shielder. A building does the impaling. Leviathan helps.
  • Similar to the entry above, several examples of Turkish impalement are described in gruesome detail in 1453, which is a historical novel that chronicles the fall of Constantinople in that same year to the Ottoman Empire.
  • Advertisement:
  • Reversed in The Virgin Suicides, when the first daughter is impaled on the fence.
  • In Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos the Shrikenote  impales its victims on a vast tree of metal spikes - where they all remain indefinitely, incapable of escaping the pain. Mega ouch. It's hinted in a later scene that the tree of spikes is actually a virtual reality construct, but their agony is no less intense for being artificially induced. Oh and it's doing this because a group of A.I.s are using those people's brains for processing power to run an enormous interplanetary Portal Network.
  • Also note that most vampires die this way. The most famous one, however, was actually killed with knives.
    • Averted in J R Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood as the vampires kill their enemies, the Lessening Society, by stabbing them back to The Omega by staking the area where their heart used to be.
    • Advertisement:
    • Also averted in Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series, where the Dark Hunters destroy the Daimons that prey on human souls. When they are stabbed in the black spot on their chest, they explode into gold powder.
  • A very unfortunate man in one of Simon Scarrow's Eagle series gets impaled in a most brutal fashion in Where the Eagle Hunts. For clarification it was via the rectum piercing method from the Truth in Television examples.
  • Welkin Weasels: In the first book, Sylver is caught in a snare by Magellan, and attempts to attack him one last time before he dies. He manages to charge with enough momentum that the stake the snare is attached to is yanked out of the ground and spears Magellan, killing him.
  • In The Saga of Darren Shan, the Vampires' method of execution involves putting you in a cage and dropping you onto a pit of upright stakes until dead. The Big Bad also sets up a pit similar to that for a battle, intending to fight on a high platform above it, and a main character is killed by falling onto it.
  • Warrior Cats: Feathertail kills Sharptooth by impaling him with a stalactite, by leaping at it and knocking it loose from the cave roof.
    • Brambleclaw kills Hawkfrost by stabbing him with a metal spike from a fox trap.
  • John Nike from Jennifer Government ends up impaled on the sharp end of a Nike store's swoosh-shaped door handle.
  • In Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, the Lord Ruler gets this in a gory-poetic callback to the earlier incident when the same was done to finish off Kelsier. Impaling criminals through the neck with a hook and leaving them to hang somewhere visible is also the Steel Ministry's favourite method of execution. In the sequel, Well of Ascension, Lord Venture could be said to get this, except the sword in question is so big he may have been bisected.
  • According to Non Campus Mentis,note 
    An angry Martin Luther nailed ninety-five theocrats to a church door. The Pope's response was to declare Luther hereditary.
  • This was the over-the-top cause of death in the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of Black Peter", in which the retired sea captain is found pinned to the wall with a sealer's spear. Notably, at the beginning of the story, Holmes tried to do the same with a pig carcass (a century before the MythBusters did similar testing in their show), but despite being much stronger than he looked, he was unable to himself.
  • In The Last Dragon Chronicles, an ice spike through the chest is what does in David, the protagonist himself. Yes, it is gut-wrenching.
    • And let's not forget Hannah, a minor character in Dark Fire, who got impaled by Gawaine's claws.
  • In Le Morte Darthur, Thomas Malory's definitive rendition of Arthurian Legend, Arthur runs Sir Mordred through with Sir Lucas the Butler's spear. Unfortunately, with his last bit of strength, Mordred manages to cut Arthur in the head before collapsing dead.
  • The heroic demise of Oy the billy-bumbler in The Dark Tower.
  • A character in The Lost World finds skeletons of victims who were obviously thrown onto bamboo trees from the plateau.
  • Biblical examples:
    • In Numbers chapter 25, Phinehas son of Eleazar took a javelin and pierced through the bodies of Zimri son of Salu and Cozbi the Midianite woman as they were alone in his tent together, thus stopping the plague God sent upon the Israelites for their idolatry and sexual immorality by joining themselves with the Midianites at Baal-Peor.
    • In Judges 4, the enemy commander Sisera is fleeing a losing battle with the Israelites. Jael, wife of Heber, invites him into her tent, waits until he is asleep, and drives a tent peg straight through his temple.
    • In the book of Esther, some translations have Haman plotting to impale Mordecai on a sharp pole. After his treachery is discovered by the king, he is impaled on the pole. Remember Haman ordering a gallows built 50 cubits high? (or 22.86 METERS) That's Haman being impaled on a 22 meter high tree and hoisted up so he can slide......slowly......down.....
  • Count Olaf gets impaled by a harpoon in the last book of A Series of Unfortunate Events. Dewey died the same way in the preceding book as a heroic variant.
  • In the Belisarius Series, this is the Malwa Empire's favorite method of execution.
  • In the backstory of A Land Fit for Heroes, the Heteronormative Crusader government of Trelayne inflicts the Cruel and Unusual Death version on Ringil Eskiath's lover. In the first novel, one of the alternate selves whose memories Gil lives through while traveling with the Dwenda is also killed in this manner.
  • In Tom Kratman's Caliphate, Rustam, one of the instructors of the janissary group that included young Hans, says he hates the Greeks and Serbs, thanks to many of his fellow soldiers having been staked, castrated, and eyes gouged out when fighting in the Balkans.
  • Any form of dissent against The Draka is likely to result in any survivors suffering this. Then they plant them along the road.
  • In Stephen King's Salem’s Lot, Jimmy is killed when he falls into a basement onto an array of knife-blades driven through pieces of plywood, which are laid at the bottom of a wooden staircase with most of the stairs sawn away.
  • In Fate/Zero this is how Rider meets his end. Charging straight into curtain fire from Gilgamesh's Gate of Babylon he's skewered numerous times. The moment he's close enough to strike and brings down his sword he's captured by Enkidu with his blade barely an inch from Gilgamesh's head. Gilgamesh impales him through the chest with Ea shortly after.
  • Completely expected on Fate/Apocrypha, since the Lancer of Black is Vlad III. One of his Noble Phantasms is an entire field of spears that rise from the ground to impale foes.
  • This is constantly referred to in John Norman's Gor where impalement is described as the prominent method of execution in almost all Gorean cities. Despite this, very little impalement is actually showed on screen, though.
  • Both Nightrise chairmen in The Power of Five. The CEO, however, just gets normal-impaled.
  • Egil's Saga: In the Battle of Vinheid, Thorolf Skallagrimsson skewers the English defector Earl Hring through his chest with a spear, then raises him up and plants the spear shaft on the ground so both armies can see the earl dying. Not long after, the terrified Scots break into a general flight.
  • Somewhither: Happens to Ilya, courtesy of a spear-wielding soldier, soon after he gets aboard the Dark Tower's invasion ship. This is how Ilya finds out he's in fact immortal.
  • Exploited in Book 4 of Codex Alera; Fade/Araris is locked in a duel with another Master Swordsman, and needs to tie her down long enough for Tavi and the others to escape the ship they're on. So he lets his opponent nail him to the hull with a sword before ripping himself off and escaping. The move almost kills him, but the heroes escape and Isana is able to heal him once they get back to their own ship.
  • Nick Velvet: In "The Theft of the Blue-Ribbon Bass", Nick finds Razor Fitch - a bow fisherman Nick had employed to help him in his latest theft - nailed to the wall of his loft with an arrow from one of his own bows.
  • In the Joe Pickett novel Winterkill, the first murder victim is nailed to a tree by several broad-headed hunting arrows.
  • Parker: The Seventh opens with Parker arriving back at the apartment he is using as a hideout to find the girl he was sharing it with stabbed with a sword that has gone through her and the headboard of the bed to pin her to the wall.
  • A favoured tactic of Thibbledorf Pwent in Transitions. He has a spike on his helmet that is almost as tall as he is himself. He attacks foes by lowering his head like a bull and charging them, in one case leaving about half of a dead orc stuck on his head after a fight in The Orc King.
  • In the Discworld, Sam Vimes has combined dodgy external pipework, loose bricks, unexpected sharp pointy things installed just where climbing fingers will go for purchase, and a judicious application of grease in strategic places, with extremely sharp pointy railings directly underneath, as a deterrent to any visiting Assassins loooking to get into his home or Pseudopolis Yard. He has also let the Assassins' Guild know about this. in Night Watch, he deliberately places a board studded with lots of sharp and rusty upward-pointing nails just underneath a skylight where he expects nocturnal visitors will seek to gain access. A satisfying degree of perforation does indeed happen to an unwary secret policeman.
    • The Assassins' Guild, never ones to overlook a practical challenge, have in turn made Vimes' home and Pseudopolis Yard into training exercises. These exercises are in turn given to students who have grown dangerously overconfident.
  • In The Demon Breed, one of the rare plants in Ticos Cay's laboratory is known as a Harpooneer. It's harmless for as long as it's kept in suspended animation — and not a second longer. Ticos keeps it next to the platform where his interrogators stand.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, this is how Harry kills the basilisk that has been taking up residence in the titular Chamber of Secrets, by driving the Sword of Gryffindor up through the roof of its mouth and into its brain.
  • Below: After battling a group of goblins, Finch impales their priest lengthwise with one of the metal spikes that was set as a trap in their temple, in retaliation for the trap killing his best friend Harry.
  • The Silmarillion: Finduilas, a princess of the Noldor, is killed when the orcs holding her captive nail her to a tree with a spear.
  • The Elenium: Discussed when a Pandion Magic Knight and an Atan Action Girl talk about their respective fighting styles. The Atan thinks it's ridiculous to impale an enemy with a longsword, since the dramatic gesture doesn't get them any deader and forces the swordsman to yank all that steel out of the corpse again mid-battle.


Example of: