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Age Without Youth

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One of the things that sucks about being a vampire.

But thy strong Hours indignant work'd their wills,
And beat me down and marr'd and wasted me,
And tho' they could not end me, left me maim'd
To dwell in presence of immortal youth,
Immortal age beside immortal youth,
And all I was in ashes.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "Tithonus"

So someone wishes to be Immortal—well, he'd better be careful what he wishes for. Whereas some characters may be Older Than They Look and actually several hundred years old, other characters look exactly how old they are... they simply keep aging without dying. The most simple definition of "immortality" is "unending life." There's nothing about youth in there.

The Trope Maker is possibly the Greek myths of Tithonus, whose lover and abductor, the dawn goddess Eos, asked Zeus for immortality for him. Because of a curse Aphrodite laid upon Eos, she forgot to ask Zeus to also simultaneously bless the man with eternal youth. As a result of Eos' thoughtlessness, poor Tithonus eventually ended up an immobile old man, squeaking endlessly, but still living forever, making this Older Than Feudalism. (Zeus eventually took pity on him, though, and let the living fossil find a fulfilling career as the first cricket.) There is also the myth of Sibyl, a mortal prophetess, who wished to the gods for immortality, and was granted it. However, she forgot to wish for eternal youth, and thus, did not receive it. Eventually, she withered down to tiny size, and was placed in a tree by children, who would ask her what she wished for. She would answer, "I wish to die".

This is a(n ugly) sister trope to Vain Sorceress, who hides her aging with magic. Compare Immortality Immorality and Who Wants to Live Forever?. Compare and contrast Elderly Immortal, where the immortal character looks like an old person but doesn't continue to age. Immortality Begins at Twenty is an aversion; the character was made immortal while young and retains their youth. May be a punishment Death levies on its enemies, or a result of being defeated. It may also be the price of a Deal with the Devil for immortality. The inversion of this trope is Not Growing Up Sucks.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Master Roshi of Dragon Ball is immortal, (though he can still be killed through violent means,) but perpetually elderly. There are various explanations for how he attained immortality, but all agree that he was already old by the time he found it and that it only prevented him from aging further rather than restoring his youth.
  • Jujutsu Kaisen: Master Tengen has the cursed technique of immortality, but has continued to age in such a way that he doesn't look human—his head is cylindrical and he has four eyes. He states that any human who has lived as long as him would look this way.
  • The vampires in Suehiro Maruo's The Laughing Vampire age faster than mortals, and suffer an unending senility.
  • The main character of the "Future" segment of Osamu Tezuka's Phoenix is forced to live forever to restore life after a nuclear holocaust. He continues to age at a slowed rate (and outlives everything else that could have possibly given him company), until eventually his physical body crumbles to dust and he becomes a god.
  • In The Twelve Kingdoms, those who become rulers or sennin (immortals) remain at the age they were at when their change in status took place. (Which means that some sennin are children and others are elderly, etc..) The elderly-looking sennins presumably have the same resistance to illness and injury that the other types of sennins have, and none of those we see in the series appear to be suffering (unless they've been deprived of food for a long while, as sennins can't starve, but can still lose body fat and feel hunger.)

    Comic Books 
  • Ra's al Ghul from Batman becomes this if he doesn't periodically rejuvenate himself in the Lazarus Pits.
  • Doom Patrol: Brotherhood of Evil member General Immortus is an example of this trope, having aged incredibly over the years while he was immortal, thanks to the use of a potion that grants longevity but not youth to go with it. Unusual for this trope, Immortus doesn't seem to mind his aged state all that much, and while not exactly physically capable, he seems to be able to move around just fine despite being at least as old as Ancient Egypt. His age also hasn't affected his mind at all, as he's a master strategist, alchemist and occultist with centuries of experience and knowledge.
  • Marvel Comics moved in this direction for a few characters. Cosmic Ghost Rider was a rather old Frank Castle who looked late 50s or early 60s when he made the deal with Mephisto. Centuries after that he made a deal with Galactus for the Power Cosmic and then he hung with Thanos for millions of years, so now he lost muscle mass and looks like an Amish grandpa. The Incredible Hulk is immortal but it took less than a century (despite being in suspended animation) to get a bunch of wrinkles and watch his hair go as the Maestro. Jason Aaron's The Mighty Thor will live well into the ending of the universe, when most stars have collapsed and almost every other god is dead, and he's looking older than his father.
  • Vampirella has a recurring enemy by the name of Gustav Von Kreist, who so happens to be a former Prussian baron and soldier who won a card game against the Devil that granted him immortality. Of course, the Devil gave him the Exact Words interpretation of "unending life", causing Von Kreist's body to eventually decay but never being able to die.
  • X-Men: Amanda Mueller, alias "Black Womb" for her part in a secret mutant-breeding program, was very long-lived, but slowly aged into a shriveled form that didn't quite look like a normal elderly woman, more like someone mummified but still alive (that could simply be the artist's style).
  • A classic horror comic had a peddler offer a ring that gifted Immortality to whoever bought it to a baron, who quickly bought it but failed to let the peddler finish explaining it was part of a set. Cut to a century later, when he's an aged and decrepit man living in his broken-down mansion when the peddler, still youthful, returns and offers to buy the ring (as it cannot be given away or lost). Grateful to be free of his curse of immortality he quickly accepts and instantly is reduced to a skeleton, having missed the peddler's explanation (in response to asking how the peddler was still young and alive) that the rings were a set, one offering eternal youth while the other offered eternal life.

    Fairy Tales 
  • Alexander Afanasyev's "The Soldier And Death": The soldier imprisons Death in a magic sack, entailing that living beings stop dying...but they keep getting older and sicker. And they are not happy about it or the soldier.
  • The Norwegian folktale "The True Grandfather", about a traveler who has to find the true grandfather of the house so he can stay the night. The true grandfather is a little shriveled up mouse-sized man, who sleeps in a hunting horn. Two versions explain why. In one version, the old men are actually secondary world beings, who don't die, and punish the guest when he forgets to thank them for their hospitality. In the other version, death is caught in a barrel, and then nobody dies in that area - they just age for an incredible stretch of time, until the barrel rots, and death escapes to do his job.

    Film Animated 
  • Rasputin in Anastasia gets hit particularly hard with the short end of the stick. He never even explicitly wished for immortality in the first place, he just made a vow that he "would never rest until the Romanov line is no more!" The evil forces that he bargained with for his soul gave him not only tremendous magical powers, but also turned him into a walking, gradually rotting corpse. He can't counteract it, apparently.
  • In Atlantis: Milo's Return, Edgar Vlogud, the leader of a town in Norway, made a deal with the Kraken, a supernatural monster, for immortal life, but forgot to ask for eternal youth. In the end, the Kraken is killed and he is reduced to dust.
  • In Dragons: Fire & Ice, this is the Big Bad's motivation for the whole plot. Xenos was granted immortality by the dragons, but he continued to age, and hides his now basically zombified appearance with a mask.

    Film Live-Action 
  • The Brides of Dracula: Baron Meinster inflicts this on his mother after he's freed by turning her into a vampire as a form of cruel retribution for keeping him chained in his room. Knowing it's the one thing she fears after he was turned: to be a walking corpse forced to kill to survive. Doubly so as being turned in her elderly state means she's bound by the vampirism, regardless of how old she was when she was drained.
  • The Brothers Grimm has this as a central plot point. A queen gains immortality to protect her from a plague, but is not careful what she wishes for and ends up indefinitely prolonged. She must kidnap twelve girls and steal their youth in order to revitalize herself, a project the aforementioned Grimms are eager to stop. When Jacob finds out and warns Will, Will incredulously comments about how old the queen must be and Jacob replies, "Yes, but [the years] haven't been kind to her."
  • In The Dark Crystal it applies to both the Mystics and Skeksis (though they're not technically immortal), but the Skeksis suffer a bit more from it, especially when you learn that they weren't outwardly evil in their early days, but rather represented the passionate hedonistic side of the urSkeks, and were rather pleasant to party with. Then as they aged for a thousand years, their true nature slowly manifested itself as a rotting from the inside out. They could reverse their decay by drinking the vital essence of other living creatures, but the effect was always temporary.
  • Downplayed in The Green Mile: Paul Edgecombe looks to be 80 at most-but he really is 104, and outlived several nurses at the retirement home. Given to the pet mouse, Mr. Jingles, whom Jim Coffey brought back to life, which lived to 64 (mice seldom live over two years), Paul is most likely destined to live over 1,000 years.
  • In the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series, Famous Wizard and Alchemist, Nicolas Flamel and his wife have lived for centuries, thanks to the Elixir of Life produced from the Sorcerer's Stone, but they still age like mortal beings. If they should ever stop taking the elixir, which happens when the stone is destroyed, they will eventually die from very, very old age - something they both heartily desire. When we finally get to meet him in the second Fantastic Beasts film, he's a frail, doddering old man and Jacob accidentally breaks the bones in his hand when he shakes it.
  • In Highlander: The Source, this is the fate of one of the two survivors of the previous Immortal expedition to track down the titular Source (the other became The Guardian).
  • The Hire. In the short film "Beat the Devil", James Brown is revealed to have made a Deal with the Devil for fame and fortune, but as he's getting old he can't do the James Brown Split any more. He uses this as Loophole Abuse to renegotiate another contract, provided the Driver win a car race with Satan!
  • In The Hunger, vampire Miriam Blaylock possesses eternal life and youth. Her chosen companions will share her endless existence... except they only retain their youth for about 200-300 years before rapidly aging into a husk.
  • In The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the titular character suffers from this.
  • Lifeforce has a particularly severe example. Anyone drained by the Space Vampires will turn into a husk and explode into dust unless they can suck the soul out of a hapless victim. Every 2 hours.
  • In The Ritual, a group of deranged villagers worship a Norse God, specifically because the creature extends their natural lives. None of the villagers look particularly youthful. Late in the film, the main character comes across a room filled with what appeared to be decayed mummified corpses, but the corpses start moving, still kept alive even as their bodies decay into dust.
    • In the original book, this is confirmed to be the case.
  • Max Schreck, the vampire "actor" (based on the real life actor who portrayed Nosferatu) in Shadow of the Vampire, appears to suffer from this: though he is still powerful enough to defend himself, his outward appearance has become decrepit and grotesque, his thirst for blood has become erratic and almost uncontrollable ("I feed the way old men pee," he remarks: "Sometimes all at once, sometimes drop by drop."), and many of his memories from his early years as a vampire have faded. To drive the point home, Schreck even recites excerpts of Tennyson's poem on occasion.
  • In one of the Subspecies films, it's shown that, at least in this film, vampires revert to what their bodies would look like if not undead when they sleep.
  • Grandpa Sawyer from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is 124 years old in the first film and looks every bit of it. When Sally first sees him, she mistakes him for a corpse.
  • Zardoz: Because no Eternal can die, the only available punishment towards offenders, or "Renegades", is aging them into senility.

  • After Many A Summer by Aldous Huxley, named for a line from the Tennyson poem quoted above, combines this with Animorphism. The Earl of Gonister, the supposed immortal the protagonists have been seeking has aged to the point he's climbed down the evolutionary tree, turning into an Ape.
  • Liches in Akashic Records of Bastard Magic Instructor have this form of immortality. One lich, Henrietta, hates and envies Celica for her immortality (which does come with agelessness).
  • Bazil Broketail: This appears to be the case with Gadjung. His apparent true form is an impossibly decrepit old man, and he's Really 700 Years Old.
  • The recurring Jew in A Canticle for Leibowitz appears to grow older but never dies even as the book jumps centuries into the future, a fact which perplexes the other characters.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin's short story "The Island of the Immortals", in Changing Planes, features an island where such Immortals occasionally appear; though they may age quite slowly, they do not remain young forever. Worse, even the most grievous injuries cannot kill them and eventually the sheer weight of suffering turns them into (very large) diamonds.
  • The Wellsians in the Copper-Colored Cupids short story The Resurrection of the Wellsians are able to stay alive in a state of hibernation for over a century, but are little more than mummies by the end of this (until Mandragora uses alchemy to revive them).
  • Witches and Wizards in the Discworld series have a mild form of this. It isn't unusual for them to live to be 100, but they age at the same rate as everyone else. This results in disproportionate number of magic users being elderly. Windle Poons, a wizard who reached 130, was infirm from age for half his life.
  • In Lawrence Watt-Evans's Ethshar novel The Misenchanted Sword, the protagonist comes into possession of an (over-)enchanted sword. Part of the enchantment ensures he will not die of any cause until he has slain one hundred men with the sword; however, it has no protection against disfigurement, maiming, or aging. Fifty years later as he begins to suffer from cataracts, he realizes the last thing he wants is to endure an eternity in an aging, blind body. To avoid this fate, he goes adventuring to finish up his kill count, which is harder than he'd like due to his age.
  • Experimental Film: Ever since Sidlo drew Lady Midday's attention as a boy, she's been keeping him alive. He's over a hundred years old now and unable to die even though he wants to. He even quotes "Tithonus." Just looking at him makes Lois want to sign a DNR form on the spot.
  • Bobby Cross in Ghost Roads gets this from a Deal with the Devil. The youth he has to work out for himself...and he does.
  • In The Gods of Pegāna by Lord Dunsany, the prophet Yun-Ilara spends his youth challenging and cursing Mung, who in retaliation refuses to take him, even after he has grown old and withered to nothing but bone. By that point, he's incessantly begging for death.
  • Jonathan Swift, Gulliver's Travels: One of the kingdoms Gulliver encounters on his third voyage has the Struldbrugs, immortals who just get more senile and decrepit as they age.
    • Paid homage by Larry Niven: the Lucas Garner eranote  of his Known Space series includes a "Struldbrug Club" whose minimum age limit for membership rises one year every two years.
    • It's said that only some of the Struldbrugs are lucky enough to become senile - others retain their mental faculties as their bodies decay around them, so they are aware of their bodies degrading with each passing year and eventually becoming too weak to interact with the world.
  • Immortals After Dark: Supporting character Elianna, born of an (non-aging) immortal and a human, is an apparently rare case of this. She seems to take it gracefully, though.
  • In Kushiel's Legacy, this is the fate of Hyacinthe after he takes on the curse of the Master of the Straits. Whereas the latter is The Ageless — and over 800 years old at the time — the former is doomed to live until the curse is passed on to someone else. Only after Phedre breaks the curse does he admit how terrified he was by the threat of an eternity alone, crippled by age, and utterly insane.
  • The Left Behind book Kingdom Come has both that and Older Than They Look going on, as in the Millennial Kingdom all "naturals" (those who have not received glorified bodies like Jesus) simply age at a decreased rate throughout the time period, with 100-year-olds looking no older than being in their early twenties before that time period. Eventually, age catches up with even the longest-living naturals, who are all believers in Jesus Christ, though at the end of the Millennium, all naturals who are believers are reverted to the prime of their adult youth as they are all given glorified bodies.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The One Ring seems to give this. Gollum was kept alive for hundreds of years, and looks like it. However, Bilbo started to feel the effects of this, describing it as feeling like too little butter spread over too much bread. After he gave up the ring his one hundred and eleven years really caught up with him. It is explained that the One Ring cannot grant new life, but simply stretches what's left over, slowly warping the bearer into a shade of what it was. This is actually just a side effect of its intended use of preventing Sauron being destroyed, since he is naturally ageless anyway.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • Kallor was cursed with this, but uses some weird herbs and a ritual to keep himself just old rather than immensely decrepit even after millennia. The curse was largely to take away his most fervent desire, ascension to godhood (a complicated process in that verse, but Kallor likely would have), enabling him to live forever until killed with all the benefits.
    • The naturally long lifespan of the Tiste Andii can lead to this as well. Both Andarist and Endest Silann have lived for millenia and due to choice in Andarist's case and losing his powers in Endest Silann's case neither looks as fresh and young as their contemporaries among the Andii. Yet they're still alive.
    • There are also the T'lan Imass, a whole race that went through a ritual to make every member of it immortal so they could exterminate their sworn enemies. They forgot to include the 'eternal youth' sub-clause, though. Subverted in that being walking mummified skeletons makes them even more effective in combat. However, they cannot die. Ever. When any one gets damaged enough to be unable to fight, they are either left where they fell or, given sufficiently heroic deeds, placed in a place with a nice vista they can admire for rest of eternity.
  • C. S. Forester placed this at the heart of a short horror story, The Nightmare. He began with the myth of the Wandering Jew, who cursed Jesus on his calvary and in return was told he would not die until Christ returned in glory. Thus the Wandering Jew is still there in the 1940's in Europe, and is rounded up and sent to a Nazi death camp. Where he experiences the full horror of Belsen and Auschwitz - as well as being identified for what he is by Doctor Mengele, who sees the potential for offering immortality to the Nazi leadership. And creating unkillable soldiers for the SS. The Wandering Jew is then subjected to agonising "experiments" for several years. Being immortal does not diminish the capacity to feel physical pain.
  • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Oracle of Delphi is cursed with this trope by a Jerkass God. She is later allowed to die when Apollo points Rachel Elizabeth Dare to replace her as Oracle.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy, Eramus can cure anything that would kill you but can't grant youth; he and Miranda had experimented.
  • This is what Marcellus Pye in Septimus Heap ends up with after making a potion of eternal life that lacked a critical component, making him look old and withered 500 years later. Subverted, since Septimus Heap succeeds in making the potion again with the critical component and gives it to the ailing Marcellus.
  • In James Herbert's Sepulchre, Felix Kline, via custody of the preserved heart of Bel-Marduk, transfers the bodily effects of his own ageing onto an unnamed "Keeper" imprisoned on his estate.
  • In Thieves Like Us, the protagonists find the ancient leader of a cult. He has lived in a trance-like state and pretty much looks like a living mummy, causing Jonas to comment in disgust about how being in such a state is "not living." When the Big Bad tries to hold the cult leader's nose closed for CPR, it just comes off "like a piece of soggy bread." Ick.
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote a poem called "Tithonus," where he asks for his "gift" to be taken away. It's said: "The Gods themselves cannot recall their gifts."
  • Avshar is Videssos is Really 700 Years Old and never stopped aging during that time; by the present of the novels, he's aged into a lich-like creature explicitly compared to a walking corpse. Of course, thanks to his magic he still has the strength and vigor of a man in his prime and usually hides his true, skull-like visage behind a mask or veil, revealing it only when he wants to strike terror.
  • Aginor, one of the Forsaken from The Wheel of Time had this happen; bound inside the Dark One's prison, but only on the edges of it, he was kept alive for three thousand years by his master's power but not stopped from aging. When finally freed, he looks more like a desiccated corpse than a living man. His comrade Balthamel was trapped the closest to the surface of the bore and had been ground down to a near-skeletal zombie that couldn't even speak as his lower jaw had rotted off completely; he covered his face in a creepy leather mask. The other Forsaken, deeper within the prison, were held in complete stasis and did not visibly age during their imprisonment.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark? submits for our approval "The Tale of the Guardian's Curse". An Egyptian mummy is found inside a museum wall and a myth is brought up of an Egyptian goddess who wore the Ring of Eternity and carried the Elixir of Life. It's specifically mentioned many times that "the ring brings eternity" and "the elixir brings life". Two children of an archaeologist disturb it and find the items, spilling some of the elixir on the mummy, which rises from the grave. Their father's coworker, an old man, threatens them and steals the ring, then says he will kill them to stop them from revealing him. One of the children asks at least see if the ring works before they die. The coworker puts it on and is slowly turned into a stone statue. Not a great way to spend eternity. The mummy is then restored with the combination of the ring and elixir.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • At some point, vampires lose the ability to assume human form, and are stuck in their Game Face, which grows increasingly aged and inhuman over time. Exactly what they'll look like (or become) in the end is unknown, but one particularly old vamp named Kakistos eventually developed cloven hooves.
      • Giles does refer to Kakistos as being 'so old his hands and feet are cloven'. Info given in the RPG books gives Kakistos' possible age as around 2000, since it mentions him being able to 'remember when Constantinople was Byzantium'.
    • Vampire appearance is likely more complex than age, however. The Master (Heinrich Ness) was said to be 'over 600' (this may not be canon), yet his appearance in flashbacks to his siring of Darla in the 1600s is the same as in the 1990s. If he was only slightly over 600 this would make him only around 200-300 when he sired her — or about the same age as Angel in modern times. Other 'old' vampires such as Darla and Dracula have no sign of deformities or other corruption (Dracula even appears human even when using his fangs in contrast to all other vampires seen onscreen). It is possible that magic, demonic taint (the Master's Order of Aurelius worshiped the Old Ones) or a refusal to live in human civilization, as well as extreme age, cause the changes in appearance.
    • In Angel, we have a vampire named Russel Winters, who still has human features and the ability to shift to a vamp face, but his vamp face is more monstrous than other vampires, implying he may be old, but not as old as the Master or Kakistos. Season 5 also gives a vampire called the Prince of Lies, who's a rare Looks Like Orlok vamp, apparently very old and without the ability to change his face, but is again much different from the other old vampires.
    • The comics make this even more confusing by revealing that the Master was actually sired by an Old One, but not the Old One who was the progenitor of vampires in general (who also appears), meaning the Master's appearance may not have anything to do with age and casting doubt on whether he and his bloodline are even really vampires or just something similar.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Master in "The Deadly Assassin" and "The Keeper of Traken", having used up his (natural) regenerations, has aged to the point where he's little more than a walking skeleton.
    • Even though she's centuries old, Lady Cassandra has kept herself alive via plastic surgery to the point where she's literally nothing but a patch of skin attached to a Brain in a Jar.
    • "The Sound of Drums"/"Last of the Time Lords":
      • The Master artificially ages the Doctor in order to show the Doctor's appearance if he never regenerated and really looked all of his 900 years. This results in the Doctor turning into a creature resembling the offspring of Gollum and a House Elf. The concept art of his aging originally intended him to look rather like Yoda.
      • Jack worries about this; while he has Resurrective Immortality and hasn't aged much in several centuries, he mentions finding the odd grey hair. Considering he's hinted to turn into the Face of Boe, his fears are probably correct.
    • In "The Time of the Doctor", the Eleventh Doctor reveals that with the recently revealed hitherto-unknown War Doctor incarnation and the Tenth Doctor's aborted regeneration, he's now in his last incarnation and can no longer regenerate. By the end of the episode he's spent over 900 years on Trenzalore and is now pushing over 2000 years old, having become a very old man whose body is about to give out from extreme old age. Luckily, the Time Lords are able to grant him a new regeneration cycle to repay him for saving Gallifrey in the previous episode.
    • "The Witch's Familiar" revealed that Daleks, barring death in battle, accidents, or disease, do get old eventually. Though it takes an extremely long time to happen, their organic bodies gradually become so decrepit that they melt into slime, still fully conscious, and are unceremoniously flushed down into the sewers by the younger generations.
  • Played with in Game of Thrones with Melisandre, who appears to be a woman in her prime but is revealed late in the series to be actually be a desiccated crone who has been using her "glamour" magic to appear young the whole time.
  • Merlin (2008): It happens to Merlin in the final episode.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In the episode "Blood Brothers", a Corrupt Corporate Executive uses an experimental regenerative drug on himself in an attempt to cure his Huntington's disease and become biologically immortal. It renders him unable to die but degenerates his body into a fragile husk.
    Control Voice: There is an old proverb which says: "Be Careful What You Wish For, for it might come true." And if your wish is for immortality, it is something you will have to live with for a very long time.
  • The Storyteller episode "The Soldier and Death". Because the Soldier captured Death in a sack, Death is afraid of him and will never come for him. This did nothing to arrest his aging. Eventually he went to Heaven to beg for relief. It wasn't granted. Ironically, seeing this trope in effect in other poor wretches is what convinced him to release Death from the sack.
  • In Supernatural, Doctor Duncan Benton from season 3 episode is an interesting example. He gets immortality through alchemy, and the 'formula' is not even dark magic. His immortality is this trope, however, and he avoids it by cutting out other people's organs and replacing his own.
  • The entire planet apart from Jack suffers from this in Torchwood: Miracle Day. When you think about how much of the population is liable to die of old age on any given day, then a lot of people must be in a living hell, and it's only going to get worse.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In the episode "Escape Clause", the hypochondriac Walter Bedeker, while ironing out the details of his Complete Immortality with the Devil, brings up this concept. The Devil plays impressed and offers the mortal a relatively unchanging appearance and it would be within his tolerances. If Mr. Bedeker can live 1,000 years, he won't change much at all.
  • The X-Files: Downplayed, despite its title, in the episode "Tithonus". An immortal man looks perpetually 65 presumably because that was his age when he was made immortal.

  • Classical Mythology:
    • Tithonus the cricket. Eos' sister Selene, the moon, averted this trope when she fell in love with a mortal, carefully asking Zeus to freeze Endymion just as he was, in that moment - so she had an ever-sleeping eternal Pretty Boy for company. (The myths did suggest he was happy at least, dreaming that he held the moon in his arms, and seeing as Selene was the moon, it was technically true.)
    • Apollo offered the Sibyl of Cumae a wish in exchange for her sleeping with him, whereupon she took a handful of sand and asked for so many years of life as the grains of sand she held in her hand. But she did not keep her promise, and Apollo punished her by interpreting the wish literally, so that she lived for a thousand years but aged normally. According to The Metamorphoses, her body grew smaller with age until she was kept in a jar, and eventually only her voice was left. In The Satyricon, Trimalchio claims to have seen that very jar, and relates that when people asked the Sybil what she wanted, her only answer would be "I want to die."
  • According to Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringla, King Aun alias Ani of Sweden prolonged his life by sacrificing nine sons of his to Odin. It worked, but Aun nevertheless became increasingly decrepit until he could no longer leave his bed and lived only from sucking milk from a horn "like a baby". When his subjects prevented him from sacrificing his tenth and last son, Aun died at the age of two-hundred.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons (and by extension Pathfinder) has an interesting inversion with druids. At 15th level they get the Timeless Body ability which means they stop aging (presumably at whatever age they were when they got the ability) and get the mental benefits of old age without the physical drawbacks. They still die of old age when their normal lifespan is up though.
    • Liches are wizards who performed a dark ritual to seal their souls inside a magic artifact called a phylactery, granting them a magically extended lifespan, greater magic powers, and an inability to die (that is, unless their phylactery is destroyed, their bodies will regenerate any damage over time). Of course, the ritual requires the wizard to kill themselves before rising again as a lich, so they start off as a walking corpse and eventually end up rotting away until they are just a skeleton in robes- though, given how liches are born from those who are truly desperate for power and immortality, vanity is of little concern for them.
  • Old-school Planeswalkers from Magic: The Gathering played with this, as their physical forms were entirely constructs of their minds and so would appear as how they perceived themselves: pure-hearted walkers such as Daria and Serra maintained a youthful appearance, while more bitter walkers such as Leshrac and Tevesh Szat tended to manifest in forms like this that betrayed their true age. Urza is perhaps the most pointed example, as he initially has the form of a young man (despite dying/ascending at a very advanced age) but as the centuries drag on and he starts succumbing to He Who Fights Monsters his physical form becomes increasingly more elderly in appearance.
  • Vampire: The Requiem mostly averts this... except in one case: the Oberloch bloodline. Each bloodline has a flaw that comes with activating it. For the Oberlochs, that flaw is, despite being vampires, they still age. Physical Attributes go down for every 50 years the vampire's been alive, to the point that elders of the line are basically shriveled old crones who only get pull because the Oberlochs believe very strongly in family values. Though the fact that they get Dominate may have some influence...
    • Also, they get superhuman strength as a clan discipline. Granny has a surprisingly strong grip...
  • In Warhammer the priests of the Mortuary Cult were tasked with finding immortality by the kings of Nehekhara, and eventually learned to bind their souls permanently to their bodies and achieved this trope. Due to the undesirability of this form of immortality, and the Cult having grown accustomed to their current high status, they kept this breakthrough for themselves and continued working to find a more perfect version. While they never found it, someone else did reanimate their kings as undead mummies, from which the priests' technically alive bodies are almost indistinguishable.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Emperor of Mankind used to have ageless immortality when he was still healthy. After being mortally wounded by Horus and placed on the Golden Throne, his 50,000+ years really caught up with him. He's derisively called the Corpse-Emperor by the forces of Chaos.
    • The oldest active Space Marine in the Imperium is Dante, who's been kicking ass for about a millennium. Older still (old enough to remember the God-Emperor in his Stop Worshipping Me days) is Bjorn the Fell-Handed... who's sleeping in a giant combat sarcophagus most of the time, ritually woken up every century or so so he can tell the Space Wolves of the glory days or when there's a serious battle to be fought.
    • Quite a few of the Dark Eldar are thousands of years old (far beyond even the naturally long Eldar lifespan). They maintain the appearance of youth and vitality through advanced technology and glamour. Psykers and daemons can see them for what they truly are: desiccated ancient monsters.
  • Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay: Ungol hag witches' contact with the spirits can have the side effect of extending their lives, sometimes indefinitely. It also tends to cause Rapid Aging. The oldest are so impossibly ancient-looking that the sight of them is a Supernatural Fear Inducer, but can still be surprisingly spry.

    Video Games 
  • Chakan: The Forever Man is cursed with this form of immortality as his "reward" for beating Death in a one-on-one duel.
  • Flemeth from the Dragon Age series obtained immortality by merging herself with a powerful demon. However, while her spirit is immortal, her body still ages, and will eventually rot beyond use. She gets around this by kidnapping baby girls with magical talents, raising them as her own daughters, and then stealing their bodies when they reach maturity. At least, that's what Morrigan told the Warden... Dragon Age: Inquisition reveals that it's not quite so simple as that.
    • Played with in Warden's Keep. Due to Avernus's heavy experimentation with Blood Magic, he managed to slow down both his aging and the progression of the Darkspawn Taint within him, allowing him to stretch out the typical Grey Warden lifespan of 30 years, to over 300 years! However, by the time the Warden meets him, he's become a bald old man whose Calling is rapidly approaching.
    • Xenon, proprietor of the Black Emporium in Dragon Age II, struck a deal with an Antivan Witch of the Wilds in exchange for immortality, but failed to ask for youth. Upon realising this, he spent most of the last 300 years trying to find some way to reverse his condition, experimenting with various magical curses and spells. By the time Hawke meets him, he's a half-insane, rotting corpse, with extra limbs growing out of his torso that's unable to move.
  • Mr. House from Fallout: New Vegas gave himself the technological version of this. If you infiltrate his secret control room, you find that 200+ years have not been kind, especially since you can remove him from his life support chamber and close off his access to the Lucky 38's systems. He'll have a year before he finally dies.
    • Dr. Stanislaus Braun from Fallout 3 is in a similar situation. He was already in his sixties when the Great War started. Having spent the past two centuries hooked to a life support system, he's so frail that he can't even stand up unassisted, so he occupies his time by torturing the residents of Vault 112 in virtual reality.
  • Kraden in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn has a variant: he has stopped aging, but he was already over seventy when it happened. Several characters remark on how much it must suck that he'll be a fragile old man forever.
  • This is the fate of Porky Minch in EarthBound (1994), after traveling through the time stream so many times that he has rendered himself unable to die by any means.
  • The Mehse race of Knights in the Nightmare are cursed with this kind of immortality because Asgard was offended by the height of the tower they built to appeal to the gods. They can only be killed by external forces, and age at a normal rate—the tribe has a few very old elders that look like the zombie Mooks you fight elsewhere.
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door has Bonetail. He's so old that all of his flesh has fallen off, leaving nothing but bones.
  • Roger Bacon from Koudelka and the Shadow Hearts trilogy attained immortality by following a ritual depicted in the Émigré Manuscript so he could share his vast knowledge with the future generations. Though successful, he could not stop his body from being ravaged by time, explaining his skeletal, grotesque visage. When he was tasked by the Vatican with the creation of a copy of the century years old cursed book, Bacon omitted the ritual so it could not be abused by immortality seekers. He also claims he cannot replicate the process on others.

    Visual Novels 
  • This trope is inverted in a sense with Rusalka from Dies Irae. The oldest of all the L.D.O. members, she has a fear of death and will make whatever she can to prolong her life. And while she does manage to keep her body eternally young, she comes more and more to accept the realization that even though her body stays young, her soul keeps aging, and that soon she will die despite her efforts since her soul can no longer keep her alive.
  • Zouken Matou in Fate/stay night is basically immortal so long as he has his worms, but it's not real immortality; his soul is rotting, and every time he gets a new body, it's in the same shriveled, horrible old man form that barely even looks human.

  • Zig-Zagged a bit in Kill Six Billion Demons: All the non-Human species (Angels, Devils and Servants) are naturally The Ageless and can't die of old age, but some of them can still grow, change and in some cases visibly age even though it will never kill them. Vladok, an Ebon Devil encountered early in book 2, has an aged and haggard appearance to represent how his power has vaned with the ages. Mammon, a member of a dragon-like Servant race called the Kind People, is an extreme example; he's several millennia old and will never die, but his physical health and strength is fading, he's blind, and he's long since gone senile.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time has Farmworld!Marceline. Due to not becoming a vampire in this timeline, she continued to age over the course of time. It seems that being half-demon gave her an extended lifespan, but not immunity to aging.
  • In one episode of Aladdin: The Series, one of the Genie's old masters, Ajed al-Gebraic, traded Genie to a sorcerer for eternal life. He got this. He's shown kicking himself for his thoughtlessness. "You'd think eternal life meant eternal youth, but nooooo!"
  • Freaky Stories: One story was about a wealthy businessman who wanted to live forever out of fear his estate would be inherited by someone who'd squander it all. Not only did his immortality cost him his wealth (he hoped to build another one - never happened), but he forgot about the trope.
  • An episode of Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures featured a man who was cursed with eternal life without eternal youth. And he still looks better than his former friend whose Deal with the Devil turned him into a soulless squid monster. Incidentally, it was his "friend" who cursed him in the first place.
  • Morgan Le Fey in Justice League Unlimited wears a mask all the time so nobody can see her face. She has to continually absorb Life Energy to stay young. Her son, on the other hand, stays young all the time... until he gets sick of being a child in "Kid's Stuff" and magically makes himself older... which breaks his eternal youth and causes him to quickly reach his true age, without breaking the separate spell that made him immortal. As the episode ends, he has become an extremely old, drooling, possibly senile man, while Morgan continues to care for him, as she would with a baby.
    • In the tie-in comics, he gets better.
  • In Mummies Alive!, the villain Scarab killed a young prince to gain immorality, though he appears to still age. Thousand of years later he intends to repeat the process with the reincarnation of the same prince to attain eternal youth.
  • Implied in Peter Pan & the Pirates in captain Hook's case: It seems from various episodes that nobody ages while in Neverland, but Hook was already old when he got there... And he doesn't understand it: An episode has him suspect Pan uses a Fountain of Youth to stay young.
  • Again, General Immortus, who appears in Teen Titans and Batman: The Brave and the Bold.