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A Good Way to Die

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"And in the end, what was your reward?
You never said. But I think I know.
A family."

"It was a good death."
One Stab, Legends of the Fall

A character dies, but their death is exactly the way they wanted it to be. They have no regrets, they accomplished their goals, and while people may mourn their death, they know that it was not in vain. The character dies satisfied, with no unfinished business. They know that whoever they leave behind will be okay, or might even benefit from their death. They might not even have accomplished anything significant, but just lived a good life and believe that death is only the natural last step.

Of course, what the dying character's perfect death is like will vary wildly depending on said character's personality and outlook in life. A character who's in love might sacrifice themselves to save their love's life, or die so that they may go on living happily. Both The Unfettered and The Fettered might be willing to die as martyrs for their beliefs. A just Hero might do a Heroic Sacrifice for their friends or to save the world. A chronically depressed, Death Seeker or sick person might see death as a release and welcome it with open arms. A jaded Blood Knight might be happy about being defeated in fair combat. An Immoral Nihilist might just die happy in the knowledge of how much destruction and death they caused before dying.

An evil character who dies this way will always Face Death with Dignity, since their death is a culmination, and may lead to an Antagonist in Mourning. A heroic character who dies like this will always leave behind people inspired by their death. Also, note that this is not a pretty death: there might not be much of a body left, the character might get blown up, get murdered... The mechanism of the death is not important, it's the fact that the character dies without regrets. However, Cruel and Unusual Death rarely comes into play, and Undignified Death is unheard of. The character from a storyline perspective, is given a dignified death, even if it's not a neat one.

Tropes that have good synergy with this one include:

  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: Quite simply, the character reached the zenith of existence and become one with the universe. Pretty much could be considered the ultimate form of this trope.
  • Die Laughing: Usually the most benign form of this trope is the one at play: the character laughs because they die genuinely happy.
  • Died Happily Ever After: If the work in question has the element of the afterlife present, the character dying will always express their happiness beyond the wall of death.
  • Dying as Yourself: The character dies knowing they are free from the influence that held them in life, and is thankful and relieved, possibly smiling in their moment of death.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: The character dies happy in the knowledge that they were finally able to spit it out.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Very common with this trope.
  • Glorious Death: When one dies exactly how they want to die, they usually die without regret.
  • Go Out with a Smile: Almost universal with this trope.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: No trope invokes dying without regrets as much as a heroic sacrifice.
  • Honorable Warrior's Death: A society, usually a Proud Warrior Race one, where dying in battle brings honor and glory to your memory.
  • I Die Free: A character is free from bondage in death and welcomes it.
  • I Regret Nothing: The character accepts his fate with equanimity, perhaps because he always expected things to end this way sooner or later.
  • The Last Dance: This trope happens often in the lead-up to dying without regrets. Setting all your earthly affairs in order before dying is a good way to minimize any regret you might have in the end.
  • Last Stand: Many heroic (or even villainous) characters will rapturously enjoy their last moments of death in the middle of one of these.
  • Nothing Left to Do but Die: When an immortal character decides to kill themself, believing they have accomplished everything they want and have nothing left to live for
  • Peaceful in Death: As long as a body is left behind in a decent state, this trope will almost always be in effect.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Pretty self-explanatory: the character has finally been able to redeem themselves and dies content in that knowledge.
  • Together in Death: The character knows that their death will finally reunite them with their beloved.
  • Worthy Opponent: The character dies fighting against someone that they respect and consider worth fighting against.

IMPORTANT: We don't list aversions of this. If a death is not a Good Way To Die, it either belongs to a specific other trope, or isn't interesting at all.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Getter Robo: In "Shin Getter Robo vs Neo Getter Robo", Musashi has the most dignified death of all his incarnations, gleefully taking the Dinosaur Empire with him as he goes. This is actually the same way he goes out in the original Manga, only there he was melting and on fire at the time.
  • One Piece:
    • An interesting case where an inanimate object had a good death: the Going Merry, Luffy's first ship. It is revealed during the series that a wandering spirit had given the ship sentience, and it keeps sailing on willpower alone until it gives out, but not before letting Luffy find Franky, ensuring that Luffy would have another ship to command after it was gone.
    • Also from One Piece, and quite possibly the best case of a Rasputinian Death yet seen in Manga/Anime to date, Edward Newgate, also known as Whitebeard. His final action, after spending the previous several chapters being stabbed, shot, bombarded, and having half his face melted off by lava, was to fight Blackbeard one-on-one and own him so thoroughly that the entire Blackbeard Pirates crew had to jump in before he stomped their captain like a bug. Even though all of that finally killed him... it still wasn't enough to make him fall. His death is Rasputin for these reasons: Half his face melted off, slashed and stabbed 267 times, hit by more than 152 bullets and 46 cannon shots... but when the jacket came off, there was not a single wound on his back,note  as he never showed it to the enemy.
    • Whitebeard's crewman and surrogate son Portgas D. Ace also goes out this way, right before Whitebeard. Having taken a mortal blow from Akainu for his brother Luffy, the dying Ace spends his last moments tearfully thanking his friends and family for showing him the love he spent most of his life believing he did not deserve due to being the son of the infamous Gold Roger. He dies with a smile on his face.
    • Gol D. Roger himself set up his own execution when he realized he had an incurable disease that would inevitably kill him. So rather than die quietly on a bed after months of suffering, he decided to get himself executed in public, knowing the Government would broadcast it to the whole world, and dropped the bombshell that his treasure was there for any and all to find; thus he turned his execution into the birth of a new era of piracy, and flipped off the World Government one last time even as it finally managed to kill him.
  • At the end of Code Geass, Lelouch vi Britannia orders his friend Suzaku Kururugi to kill him in his staged public execution of his former allies, the Black Knights. This is after having become Emperor of Britannia and posed as a heartless tyrant to unite the world's hatred against him, so that he can break the constant cycle of animosity through his death. He does it by having Suzaku dress as his alter ego — Zero, the leader of the Black Knights — and stage a rescue in which Zero kills Lelouch and saves the Black Knights. His plan succeeds, and not only does he free the false death mates and the entire world from his rule, but he also lifts his own emotional burden as the "villain", knowing he has accomplished what he had to do. He even dies in the company of his beloved sister Nunnally, the person whom he'd begun his conquest for in the first place.
    Nunnally: (Has just realized the purpose of his Thanatos Gambit.) You mean...? Everything you've done until now...? (Tears up and grabs his hand.) Oh, Big Brother! I love you!
    Lelouch: Yes... I... I destroy... the world... and create it... anew.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Wamuu in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency dies fighting a Worthy Opponent in what was, if not a fair fight, a Gambit Pileup of a fight that he acknowledges his opponent did better at.
    • The Stand Rolling Stones in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind attempts to induce this with anyone whose death it predicts. One example is that it convinces a woman to commit suicide so that her organs will be harvested and donated to her suffering father. Anyone who bares their image in the stone that touches it also dies a peaceful death.
  • Discussedin Jujutsu Kaisen as one of the central theme of the story. The actions taken by the protagonist, Yuji Itadori, during the first chapter of the manga led to the Jujutsu Society to pronounce his death sentence by chapter 2. Considered a dead man pending from then on, he aims to make his death a meaningful one.
  • Godo in Berserk dies peacefully in bed of old age, with those who love him by his side, having seen his greatest work put to brilliant use. As Guts points out, in the horrible excuse for a Crapsack World they live in, this is everything you could ever ask for.
  • One-Punch Man: Boros feels this way about his loss against Saitama, since he got what he always wanted: a good fight against a Worthy Opponent.
  • Sonny Boy: Towards the end, Raj comes to learn that even in "This World", it's impossible for humans to live forever, as the human mind can't take it, but that in "This World", the students simply become different words and an artifact that holds their super power. In the final episode, Nagara and Mizuho learn that Raj himself has "died" and turned into a forest, home to various animal and plant life. Mizuho gives a small smile knowing that this is a good way for a Nature Lover like him to die.

    Comic Books 
  • In Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Flash and Supergirl die right like they wanted: saving their loved ones and the whole multiverse, via extremely badass self-sacrifice (Barry overclocked his power to the point where he sped himself out of reality, and Kara fistfought the Anti-Monitor and broke his armor). They get better... eventually.
  • Richard Dragon's (apparent) deathnote  during his duel with Lady Shiva is heavily implied to be this. He dies having A) sacrificed himself to save the life of a young boy in a hospital, B) Finally proven, at least to himself, that he could beat Shiva, and C) spent his last moments on Earth with the woman he loved most in the world. It comes with an absolutely beautiful internal monologue and a fantastic splash page as Shiva finishes him off with her trademark Leopard Blow, which only she and Dragon know how to use, Shiva having taught the technique to him when they were lovers years ago.
    Richard Dragon: The Leopard Blow. Her signature. Taken from the deadliest land animal on Earth. Used by the deadliest woman on Earth. No one sees it and lives. Not even Richard Dragon.
  • Transmetropolitan: Spider discusses death in a feedsite interview:
    Spider: How would I like to die? Well, I wouldn't. Okay, okay. I've got a place up in the mountains. Big compound. And behind it's a big garden. And one day I'm going to go back there for good. And I'm going to fix up that garden. And if I'm going to die anywhere... it'll be out there. Somewhere quiet, with flowers. I think I've earned that. Something quiet. Fuck off now, would you?
  • In All-New, All-Different Avengers, Sam Wilson expresses his concern that Jane Foster only became Thor so she can die this way and while he won't out who they were, he's not going to let them throw their life away for this sort of death.
  • Bruce Wayne's hunt for a worthy death is a recurrent theme in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. ("This would be a good death... but not good enough.") After all the things he's been up against, a battle with a weird Neo-Nazi wearing swastikas as pasties and firing guns makes him think, "This... would be a stupid death." In the end, he gets over the desire. "This will be a good life. Good enough."

    Fan Works 
  • Cheating Death: Those That Lived: Skinner Alceto spends his life hunting dangerous mutations that threaten the people of District 10 and enjoys both the thrill of the hunt and the sense of satisfaction in keeping District 10 safe. He kills tens of thousands of Mutts during his lifetime, many of them in the 69th Hunger Games. In the 3rd Quarter Quell, he's actually delighted to be pitted against a grotesque Mutt that's considered to be invincible, and which he wounded but failed to kill during the 69th Hunger Games. This ends in a Mutual Kill.
    Skinner: If this is how it has to end... If this is the final hunt I'll be taking part in... I can't think of a better conclusion to it all, old friend.
  • Chara's suicide at the end of you can only use your own is meant to be this. They're content with their life, they've made sure their family will be well provide for, they don't really want to go to the surface, and they finally figured out a painless, foolproof means of killing themself. Asriel's still not having it, though.
  • In Left Behind, when the Leviathan Rohvu needs a transfusion, Rohvu’s Pilot is willing to risk trying to find another Leviathan when he learns that the first Leviathan he contacted is Kala, one of the first Leviathans, as he feels they don’t have the right to ask a Leviathan as respected as Kala to basically die for Rohvu. However, Kala’s Pilot assures him that Kala is so close to death anyway that it would actually ease their suffering to know they are helping another.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Perfect Cell goes for this trope when it looks like Goku is willing to use an Earth-Shattering Kaboom just to defeat him.
    Cell: He... He can't be serious? Hu... Ha ha ha! I see! Yes, Goku! You're absolutely right! This is the only way it can end! This tournament, these fools, this planet; they mean nothing to men like you and I! We will go out together, in a ball of molten rock and death! YES!
    • It's promptly averted as Goku uses his Instant Transmission to fake-out an attack on Cell that doesn't destroy the planet. Cell (once he regenerates) is not pleased.
  • In Olive's Last Partner, Oscar hoists the shorter Olive up so she won't drown, but she tells him that his efforts are being wasted. Is he aware of this? Yes, but dying with the agent he loves while doing the job he loves, while confessing everything to Olive about his actions, is exactly how he would want to go. Ends up averted when they don't actually die and are saved at the last minute by Otto.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Legends of the Fall: The page quote is supplied by the narrator when a now-elderly Tristan grapples with the bear he's wounded decades ago. The line is said when the film ends on a freeze frame.
  • In The Petrified Forest, Alan demands this from Duke and gets it. Arguably, Duke later gets one of his own, ultimately being gunned down because he can't bear to give up on love.
  • In Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, the Evil Robot Bill and Ted go out like this, surprisingly enough, congratulating the "good human usses" for outwitting them, and die smiling.
    Evil Bill: Evil Ted, I think we may have met our match.
    Evil Ted: Kudos to you, Good Human Usses!
  • In The Crow, after being done with his Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Eric Draven lies against his tombstone dying, but right before death, he is visited by his lover Shelly's spirit, and he dies fully content that both his revenge is done and that he's reunited with his lost love.
  • In The Last Samurai, Katsumoto and his Samurai brethren choose to die the way they lived; with honour, as warriors fighting with traditional weapons in a hopeless battle against an overwhelmingly superior force.
  • V's death in the V for Vendetta film.
    Evey: I don't want you to die!
    V: That is the most beautiful thing you could have ever given me...
  • Kill Bill: Bill dies this way. Not only has Beatrix proved to him she's the better fighter, but he also dies with their business concluded and their daughter in good hands.
    Bill: How do I look?
    Beatrix: You look ready.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. You should know this one.
    Spock: Don't grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The Needs of the Many outweigh the needs... [of the] one. I never took The Kobayashi Maru test... until now. What do you think... of my solution? I have been and always shall be... your friend. Live long and prosper.
  • In 13 Assassins, most of the samurai protagonists willingly join a Suicide Mission, knowing that it's the only way to die a warrior's death in an era of peace.
  • The Avengers (2012): Before Phil Coulson dies, he tells Nick Fury:
    Coulson: It's okay, boss. This was never going to work... if they didn't have something to...
  • In Avengers: Endgame, when 2014 Thanos sees from the memory banks of Nebula that his future self eventually succeeds in his goal to kill off half the universe, but is executed by the Avengers. He completely takes his future demise in stride and prevents Ebony Maw from executing Nebula as a traitor. But he also gets other, less savory ideas from that.
  • In Resident Evil: Extinction, Carlos Olivera is bitten by an infected, so he decides to buy the other survivors some time and clear the way for them... Which he does by driving a tanker truck through a giant horde of zombies, crashing it, then triggering an explosion that takes out a large portion of the zombies surrounding the facility they are trying to break into. The best part? He finds a marijuana joint (after the whole survivor convoy ran out of cigarettes) and manages to take a puff just before he blows up!
  • Edward's death in Big Fish, both in the story Will tells of how he dies and in reality, knowing that his son finally understands him enough to tell that story.
  • In Stranger Than Fiction, Harold Crick initially refuses to die as required in Helen Eiffel's newest novel. However, after reading through the draft, he realizes that his death is not only required to truly make it a literary masterpiece but also to save the life of a young boy, and accepts his impending death as this trope.
  • The War Boys cult in Mad Max: Fury Road are built around this trope, wanting to die a spectacular death in battle before cancer or mutations take them, so that they may enter into the eternal gates of Valhalla. An example of this is shown early in the film where a War Boy, mortally wounded by a crossbow, is able to stand back up and suicide-bomb his attackers; every War Boy in attendance (except Slit) screams in enjoyment over witnessing such a glorious end.
    Nux: If I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die historic on the Fury Road!
  • At the climax of Logan, the titular character injects himself with a serum that turbocharges his healing factor long enough for him to take out most of the remaining bad guys before it wears off, but this results in his regenerative abilities shutting down completely as a side effect. It's then that X-24 (Wolverine's clone) lays into him before impaling the former X-Man on a tree stump and then stabbing him in the chest. Thankfully Laura kills the clone with an adamantium bullet, but it's too late; Logan's old age and severe injuries coupled wth his inability to heal quickly lead to him dying in his daughter's arms, but he passes on in the presence of his family knowing that he saved her from living as a weapon like he did, and this allows him to finally experience true peace in his last moments.
  • In Man of Steel, Faora says that "a good death is its own reward" and acknowledges Colonel Hardy as a Worthy Opponent for facing her with just a knife... despite being an entirely unpowered human against a Kryptonian. He says the same thing back to her later right before he rams the ship into Black Zero, causing the Kryptonians and himself to be sucked into the Phantom Zone.
  • War for the Planet of the Apes sees Caesar succumb to a crossbow wound as he has a final talk with his best friend Maurice, having finally made sure the apes are happy and free in their new home, and becoming a legendary hero to his people in the process.
  • The Magnificent Seven (2016): When Chisolm tells the others, the night before the big showdown, that they likely ride to their deaths and thus are free to leave if they so desire, Horne takes a moment to say how there's no other place that he'd like to die than facing such fearful odds alongside men he respects so deeply. The others silently nod and agree with his words. This later is proven when during his death, Horne becomes very calm and tranquil, almost happy that he could die in such a heroic manner.

  • Little Big Man: At the end of the novel, the Cheyenne chief Old Lodge Skins declares that "It is a good day to die." He asks Jack to accompany him to the summit of a nearby hill, where he lays down and promptly dies. Averted in the film adaptation, in which he doesn't die and instead just gets up and walks back down the hill.
    Old Lodge Skins: Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't.
  • In Xenocide, Ender refuses to Speak the death of Quim, not because the deceased would have disapproved (though he would have), but because Ender felt there was nothing to say — Quim's life was true and complete, and he died spreading the Gospel, as he'd have wished.
  • In The Last Hero, Cohen and his tribe die while saving the world, and are immortalized in song. This was their intention from the very beginning.
  • Les Misérables: When Valjean learns that he played a part in Fantine's suffering and death, he makes it his life's work to adopt and raise her daughter as a form of atonement. In the end, not only does he see Cosette grown up, well-educated, and married off to a decent guy, but she finds out about his unsavory past and doesn't hold it against him. His work complete, he's able to die content. The musical adaptation takes it a step further and has Fantine's spirit come to escort him to Heaven.
  • The Licanius Trilogy: Caedan's death on the final page of the final book, in which he simultaneously goes to join his long-lost beloved, pays the price for his countless murders pre Heel–Face Turn, starts off that same Heel–Face Turn due to time-travel shenanigans, destroys the last link holding open the portal by which the resident Satanic Archetype is trying to enter the world, and pulls off a Prophecy Twist that will spare a good friend from his prophesied death.
  • This trope is discussed in Fate/Zero after Lancer dies cursing his life, his luck and those responsible for his downfall. Saber, who had hoped to duel him to death in an honourable battle and let him die content, believes it is possible for someone to die a good death that prevents further suffering and anger in those left behind. Kiritsugu, who interrupted said duel by killing Lancer in a sneak move (and then followed it up by killing his master to prevent him from doing further harm), believes the trope is hypocrisy; in his eyes all deaths are equal and in the end only the amount of people who die or do not matters.
  • In Swordspoint Applethorpe dies fighting a worthy opponent which is considered the proper way for a swordsman to die. He dies happy.
  • In Immortality, Inc. Thomas Blaine, who dies to give the boy he murdered a second chance at life. He even thinks about how complete his life in 2100 was already.
  • In Tolkien's Legendarium, it's noted that such a death is very common for Numenoreans. They have vastly extended lifespans compared to normal humans (frequently living over 200 years, and those of the royal family made it past 400 at the kingdom's height), but once they cross a certain threshold, after centuries of looking in their prime, they then start to age rapidly. However, they also have the ability to simply will themselves to pass on, which they typically do when they sense the onset of aging, after having spent some years getting their affairs in order. Because of this, many a Numenorean dies peacefully in their sleep at an old age beyond the dreams of most mortals, their final years free of the pains of decrepitude or senility, entirely content with their feats on Earth—Aragorn, for instance, died in exactly this way, at the age of 210.
  • In Warbreaker, the trope is Invoked by the popular belief that if you die heroically in some fashion, you get to Return, which among other things gives you a god-like physique, total immunity to less-than-wellness, and the ability to recognize and differentiate two otherwise identical colors (the example given in the book is that a Returned could recognize the difference between red paint in a can, and the same paint after a drop of white is added), at the cost of you dying in 8 days if you don't get a second Breath. It turns out that dying heroically, while good for the track record, has nothing to do with Returning; the chosen newly-dead is given the choice to Return, after being shown a Bad Future that will involve them or their involvement, somehow. The two major Returned in the book, Lightsong and Blushweaver, were both shown a bird's-eye view of T'Telir's destruction, and naturally both Returned to help avert that destruction.
  • In The Unexplored Summon://Blood-Sign, the White Queen is satisfied when Kyousuke manages to finally kill her. This is because she (in her own twisted way) is in love with him, and the method he used showed that he truly understands her. But then it turns out that she somehow avoided dying.
  • This is why Aelle demands Derfel finish him off in The Warlord Chronicles. For an Odin-worshipping Saxon warlord, there can be no better end than to die in battle, struck down by a mighty enemy warlord who also happens to be your own long-lost son.
    "When a man dies in battle," he said, "he goes to a blessed home in the sky. But to reach that great feasting hall he must die on his feet, with his sword in his hand and with his wounds to the front." He paused, and when he spoke again his voice was much softer. "You owe me nothing, my son, but I should take it as a kindness if you would give me my place in that feasting hall."
  • In Gonna Be the Twin-Tail!!, when Tail Red mortally wounds Drag Guildy, he is satisfied because to be killed by a beautiful girl was exactly how he wanted to die.
  • Tiger in Juni Taisen: Zodiac War is mortally wounded saving Ox, and requests a Mercy Kill to escape becoming one of Rabbit's undead minions. She dies thinking that her end is better than she deserves, having earned the respect of the warrior that inspired her to get her life back on track. She is noted to be the first person in the history of the tournament to lose and still have their wish granted.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Edie Britt from Desperate Housewives.
    Edie: I died just like I lived — as the complete and utter center of attention.
  • The old Klingon warrior Kor in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Once More Into the Breach" dies via Heroic Sacrifice, as a Klingon should, rather than die forsaken from old age.
  • Grace and Frankie has Babe. Unlike many examples, hers was actually a suicide, but it was also exactly this. Knowing her cancer is spreading again and unwilling to go through the grueling treatment again, she asks Frankie's help to kill herself and throw a party. After throwing the biggest, most fun party surrounded by every one of her friends, she goes out peacefully with the titular character's help and support.
  • Defied as a concept by Greg House in House, M.D..
    Rebecca: I just want to die with a little dignity.
    House: There's no such thing! Our bodies break down, sometimes when we're 90, sometimes before we're even born, but it always happens and there's never any dignity in it! I don't care if you can walk, see, wipe your own ass... it's always ugly - ALWAYS! You can live with dignity; we can't die with it!
  • In Lexx, Kai led some of his fellow Brunnen-G in a doomed counterattack against His Divine Shadow rather than give up and accept death like the rest of their race. In the musical episode "Brigadoom", the song about the Brunnen-G's Last Stand is even called "A Good Way to Die".
    "And so the half a dozen little craft set out, against the mighty power of His Divine Shadow. Not really believing they would win, for the prophecy told them they would not, but knowing that they would die well!"
    • It's such an inspiring story that even Dirty Coward Stanley is finally persuaded to join Kai and Xev in confronting the seemingly invincible Mantrid.
      Kai: I found a good way to die, once. I am happy for you to join me.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the episode "The Poison Sky", Skorr's dying word is "Wonderful!!"
    • Averted in "A Good Man Goes To War". Strax didn't enjoy dying as much as he'd hoped.
    • "Mummy on the Orient Express": As the Foretold prepares to take Captain Quell, Quell remarks that as a former soldier, he can think of a lot worse ways to go than this... and that he's happy to die "blood pumping, enemy at the gates, that sort of thing."
  • In 1000 Ways to Die, death #1000 is called "Premature Endings". It involves an old man who had the intelligence to live sensibly and dies peacefully of old age after a full and rewarding life, with his daughter at his side.
  • In Stargate Atlantis, people in the Pegasus galaxy consider a death of old age a cause for celebration, not mourning, because with the Wraith around it does NOT happen often; dying of old age means you managed to escape the Wraith all your life.

  • The Loreena McKennit song "Skellig" is about a monk dying of old age after living a life doing exactly what he wanted to do and passing on his legacy to another monk to continue.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dwarf Troll Slayers from Warhammer Fantasy explicitly look for this trope — despite being Death Seekers, any death will not do: Each Slayer has a Doomnote , and that Doom must be met gloriously. This can mean anything from a Heroic Sacrifice or You Shall Not Pass! moment that saves Dwarfen lives to simply fighting a sufficiently fearsome foe in the hopes of at least wounding it so someone else can finish the job. In the Gotrek & Felix novels, the two characters explicitly join up because Gotrek wants Felix to record his Doom in song and thus immortalize his death, and a minor plot point in one of the books involves helping a brain-damaged Slayer remember the reason he became a Slayer in the first place because meeting one's Doom without knowing what you needed to atone for would be anathema.

  • Transformers: As a franchise based on warfare, this sometimes comes up.
    • Several characters are notable for averting this: they're been fighting for so long they just don't see any way for the war to end except for their burning wreckage to be left on the battlefield. Examples include the Targetmaster Pointblank, the Monster Pretender Slog and espionage expert Mirage.
    • G1 Sixshot's expanded bio mentions that he has a habit of challenging anyone he deems a Worthy Opponent to a one-on-one duel, but thanks to his status as a One-Man Army he's won each and every challenge. His single redeeming feature is the respect with which he mentions these fallen opponents, and it's mentioned that the reason for this is that he knows that someday even his skill and power might not save him and so hopes that he'll at least be remembered with honour.
    • The Pretender Bludgeon's various incarnations throughout the franchise are warriors through and through, and if they're destined to die their greatest hope is that it is in glorious battle. In the Marvel Comics, at one point he's defeated by a mixed team of Autobots and Decepticons who'd banded together after being abandoned by their respective factions, but rather than finishing him off the Decepticons convince their Autobot allies to keep Bludgeon alive instead as a form of Cruel Mercy. In The Transformers: Regeneration One, Rodimus Prime likewise refuses to finish Bludgeon off after defeating him in battle, and even worse for Bludgeon it's implied he was later Killed Offscreen alongside the vast majority of Cybertron's populace without being able to so much as fight back.
    • Transformers: Cybertron: Despite being an incarnation of The Starscream, Cybertron's version of Starscream expresses satisfaction when he's destroyed in a final clash with Galvatron over who would seize control of the universe. Galvatron himself offers Starscream words of praise for his final glorious battle, and later in the series Starscream's ghost manifests to give Galvatron a Rousing Speech, claiming that since Galvatron had defeated him he had no excuse for failing to conquer the universe.
      • When Galvatron himself is killed in a final duel with Optimus Prime at the end of the series, he smirks as his body disintegrates, satisfied that he fought for his dream of universal domination all the way up to the end.
    • The Transformers: Last Stand of the Wreckers: When the Wreckers learn that one of them has to sacrifice themselves in order to disable the security lock to the supercomputer that is their objective, Pyro (who thus far has attempted to emulate his personal hero Optimus Prime) bluntly refuses and demands one of the other rookies like Ironfist offer his life up instead. He elaborates that he already has the perfect death in mind: a glorious and heroic death in battle alongside Optimus, one so heroic and impressive even Optimus would recognise him as a kindred spirit. Human ally Verity Carlo (who actually met Optimus) retorts that with that kind of attitude he's absolutely nothing like Optimus. Pyro later volunteers to pull a You Shall Not Pass! to hold off a small army of Decepticons to buy the others time to complete their objective, and while his death wasn't as magnificent as he hoped (he was literally torn to pieces by the Decepticon mob) he was still honoured with a statue in the Wrecker orbital base for his sacrifice.

    Video Games 
  • Elden Ring: The whole point of the Radahn Festival. Radahn is dying of Scarlet Rot and has been reduced to a feral monster, so his loyal soldiers have organized an army of summons to let their beloved leader go out with the spectacular boss battle he deserves.
  • Mass Effect
    • Mass Effect 2:
      • Grunt's death during the Suicide Mission is this. His last words are "Good fight, Shepard. Good fight."
      • Zaeed's too: "Always figured it might end something like this."
    • Mass Effect 3:
      • Mordin's death as he cures the Genophage. If Shepard expresses regret he has to die to do it, he merely responds "Had to be me. Someone else might have gotten it wrong." And if you heard him sing his Major General Song, he'll reprise it as his last words.
      • Thane in his best ending, dying of a combination of his disease and wounds sustained saving the Citadel Council, with his son and Shepard (possibly a romantic partner) at his bedside.
  • The Legend of Dragoon: While Lavitz's actual physical death is a rather needless Heroic Sacrifice, his undead spirit ends up trapped in an ancient Wingly city. Once freed, he manages to use the last of his life energy to give the protagonists a way to avert The End of the World as We Know It, and passes to the afterlife after a warm reunion with his friends.
  • Psycho Mantis's death in Metal Gear Solid. He actually says so himself, stating that helping Snake before he dies feels "nice".
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater:
  • Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots: At the end, Big Boss tells Old Snake to live the rest of his life freely without the need to fight anymore, salutes the grave of his mentor, shares a final smoke with his "son", and passes away quietly.
    Big Boss: (smiles) This is good, isn't it?
  • Persona 3:
    • Chidori dies not only saving Junpei from death at the expense of her own life, but also declaring her love for him. She even shows her love beyond death, with her Persona fusing with Junpei's to form Trismegistus.
    • Prior to that, Shinjiro dies satisfied after Taking the Bullet for Ken, whose mother he'd accidentally killed two years before. In this case, he's satisfied not only because he's saved Ken, but because he was concerned about what effect it would have on Ken if Ken avenged his mother personally as he was planning to (and Shinjiro was prepared to let him) do. His last words sum it up: "This is the way it should be."
    • By the end, the Protagonist dies peacefully in Aigis' arms, waiting to meet their friends on the rooftop. It was by realizing the strength of bonds of friendship, and finding the answer to the meaning of their life, that the Protagonist was able to face not just the deity of Death, but also their own mortality, and gladly made the ultimate sacrifice to save humanity. So they were able to hang on to life just long enough for everyone else to restore the memories they lost with Nyx's defeat. The event is called "the Miracle" by all its witnesses.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: The DLC Honest Hearts gives us The Survivalist, who, after surviving The End of the World as We Know It (with extreme guilt issues), finds his way to Zion National Park. Afterwards, he 1) kills off a pack of ghouls alone, 2) kills almost 100 members of an expeditionary force from Vault 22 (and falls in love with one of the women that got caught in a bear trap of his, 3) watches his new wife and son both die during childbirth (more guilt), and 4) comes across a group of children that had wandered into the valley. After caring for them for many years, he was finally starting to wear out. After saying his good-byes, he tells them all to be good and climbs to the top of the Red Gate to finally pass. It's definitely believable that he had a smile on his face the whole time.
    "I wish them well. It's been a gift to me, at the end of it all, to behold innocence. Goodbye, Zion."
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim: A random encounter has you come across an "Old Orc" that is "waiting for a good death". He's too old to do much of anything else, so he has Nothing Left to Do but Die, and wants a Worthy Opponent to defeat him in combat since his god doesn't particularly approve of dying any other way. You can offer to give him the good death he desires, and as the legendary Dragonborn who may or may not be the chosen champion of his god (among others), you would certainly be a worthy enough opponent.
  • Bioshock 1: Pictured above: In the good ending, this is Jack's ultimate reward for saving the Little Sisters and bringing them to the surface. At the end of a long life full of love, his adopted daughters, all living their own happy lives, are at his side when he passes away.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: Strongly invoked when Arthur Morgan finally succumbs to tuberculosis in the High Honor ending. When all is said and done, Morgan lays down and dies watching the sunrise, at peace with himself for having helped John Marston survive to live with his family.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV: In the Massacre ending, Dagda disappears as Nanashi forms the new universe, happy that he'll no longer be Dagda and become simply just another aspect of a new universe where gods don't exist, which has been his entire goal throughout the game.
  • The Walking Dead: Season One: Lee can die with some measure of contentment knowing Clementine is at least safe and capable of surviving without him. He was bitten by a walker looking for her, and regardless of his final fate, he knows Clem has the tools to survive.
  • Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos: As he carries a message to the new orcish capital of Durotar, the orc warrior Mogrem gets ambushed by wild animals and has his stomach split open. He remarks that it would have been a good death if he hadn't failed in his task. Fortunately, a wanderer named Rexarr finds him before he dies and agrees to carry the message in his place.
  • The New Order Last Days Of Europe: After uniting all of Russia as the Kingdom of Rus, Rurik II (a former Soviet officer who claimed to be the reincarnation of the medieval King Rurik) lies on his deathbed, surrounded by his children... and as his final words says that perhaps the whole charade was Worth It.
    His children didn't question his final words. Perhaps assuming it was madness like others has done since the beginning. Perhaps it was madness, but that didn't matter. Russia was nearly whole again, united and strong. He had done all he could for the people, his heir would do so much more, of that he was certain. While he had his regrets, Rurik II, King of the Rus, was satisfied with what he had built.
    And so Nikolai Ivanovich Krylov closed his eyes for the last time, his duty finally ending.
    Applaud my exit.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa: Monokuma designs the executions to be painful and humiliating for maximum despair infliction, but sometimes people get one over him even if they don't survive.
    • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc: Sakura Oogami's death. She was Monokuma's fourth motive (he revealed that she had been The Mole, hoping that either she'd be killed or the discord the reveal caused would lead to someone dying). Instead, Sakura proceeded to both solve the problem by killing herself and put the first wrench in Monokuma's plan by breaking open the Headmaster's Office, dying on her own terms and completely de-railing the game to the point where Monokuma has to fake a murder to keep things moving.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony: Kaito Momota's execution. To start, he's dying to save his Love Interest Maki (who would've been the Blackened if he wasn't). In the actual execution, Monokuma's attempt at Death by Irony leads to him achieving his dream of seeing space, and he dies of his Incurable Cough of Death with a peaceful smile on his face before he could be executed.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: King Radical meets his death with some initial despair, but right as he actually thinks about it, he realizes his demise (getting struck with Dracula's teeth to vampirize him, then slammed with Pope Francis because he makes the ultimate holy weapon) is more radical than anything he could've asked for, and just leaves with a smile.
    King Radical: No... wait, yes. This will be so ra-

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama:
    I never thought I'd die like this... But I've always really hoped!
    • "A Pharaoh to Remember": When Bender is afraid he won't be remembered, trying to cheer him with a funeral gets off to a good start when he's apparently been crushed by "a semi driven by The Incredible Hulk". Bender's happy to hear Fry remembered his "favorite cause of death".
  • The titular monster from the Samurai Jack episode "Jack and the Lava Monster" was once a Viking warrior whose home was razed by Aku. The warrior challenged the demon, but Aku encased him in crystal and buried him in a mountain, denying him a warrior's death. After a time, he formed his current body and created a Death Course that only the strongest warrior could survive, hoping to fight and die so he could finally enter Valhalla. Jack obliges him.
  • In The Critic, Jay Sherman's boss comes down with a terminal illness, and comes right up against going through with assisted suicide from a Dr. Kevorkian knockoff. As part of the experience, he is offered headphones playing Stan Freberg, at which he deadpans, "A perfect end to a perfect life."
  • In The Simpsons "Treehouse of Horror X" segment "Desperately Xeeking Xena", the Collector's plan to encase the heroes in lucite backfires on him, and washed in the substance before he freezes, he expends the last of his strength to adopt the "classic Lorne Greene pose from Battlestar Galactica! Best... death... ever!"

Alternative Title(s): The Best Way To Die