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Big Sleep

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Ren: Hey, Jasper. Where's Phil?
Jasper: I told you, they put him to sleep.
Ren: So wake him up.
Jasper: You don't wake up from the big sleep.
Ren: The big sleep... THE BIG SLEEP? THE BIG SLEEP! THE BIG SLEEP! (series of Wild Takes, then curls up whimpering)
Stimpy: What's the big sleep, Ren?
Ren: (gets closer to Stimpy's ear) ...he's DEAD! DEAD, YOU EEDIOT! DO YOU KNOW WHAT "DEAD" IS!? IT'S WHAT WE'LL BE IF WE DON'T GET OUT OF HERE!!
The Ren & Stimpy Show, "Big House Blues"

The polar opposite of Dies Wide Open. A character gently closes their eyes as they die. They may also slump a little. May result in Peaceful in Death.

Named for the novel and movie, The Big Sleep.

Subtrope of He's Dead, Jim. If someone is actually sleeping, only metaphorically like the dead, see Deep Sleep.

Compare Passed in Their Sleep, where a character dies in their sleep, with their eyes closed.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.


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  • Most important characters in Ginga: Nagareboshi Gin and its sequel close their eyes before they die.
  • In the Death Note anime, this happens to both the Great Detective antagonist L, and the Villain Protagonist Light Yagami in similar ways as they die from the Artifact of Doom, the titular Death Note. Light didn't go so peacefully in the manga.
  • Makoto in Kanon sleepily shuts her eyes just before she dies and disappears into air.
    • Nagisa's death in CLANNAD After Story qualifies, as well as her daughter Ushio's a few episodes after that. Tomoya, however, just drops dead in the snow.
    • Misuzu's death in the finale of Air.
    • Key/Visual Arts seems to love Tear Jerkers and this a lot, don't they?
  • In the end of Fate/stay night adaptation, as Saber lies dying back in her own time, she tells her knight that she has been dreaming. The knight tells her that if she closes her eyes, she'll be able to see that dream again. Then Saber slowly closes her eyes, uttering "This sleep is going to be a bit... longer..."
    • Nasu just likes this trope. Tsukihime's best example is Kohaku, after stabbing herself in the chest. Arcuied actually goes into perpetual sleep in her True ending.
  • Angelina of Gunslinger Girl is implied to have died at the end of the first anime. She closes her eyes while being told a story. In the anime, she wakes up in Teatrino (with a completely different character design at that), making her dramatic death scene in season 1 a bit hollow. In the manga, she's not so lucky and dies at a later point in the story.
  • Saya in Blood Plus, although it's more like a big sleep than it is death.
  • Subverted in Outlaw Star. Did you really think Aisha was going to get killed?
  • Lelouch in the Code Geass R2 finale. While he's uttering his last words to Nunnally, a backwards Really Dead Montage plays in the background until it reaches their childhood at which point he finally expires with a slump. Cue Nunnally breaking down in tears as she just realized moments before that Lelouch was running a Thanatos Gambit for world peace, hence why everyone else is cheering at his killer.
  • Goku during his first death in Dragon Ball Z. After holding his brother Raditz in place so they can both take the hit of Piccolo's attack, he tells Krillin, Bulma, and Roshi to gather the Dragonballs to wish him back to life soon before slowly closing his eyes. (He even says, "Bye" right at the moment he closes his eyes in the Ocean dub.) The anime even gives the three a few minutes to mourn him before Kami-sama whisks his body and soul away to the after life.

    Comic Books 
  • In a way averted in Lenore when after experiencing an explosion the demon bounty hunter Pooty Applewater goes on to the "Long Sleep" only to return after an hour, since "that's a long time for a demon".

    Fan Fic 
  • Kalash 93 has used this more than once.
    • Last One Standing was the first time this happened.
    • Reflections also mentions this trope, with the immortal protagonists wondering if that's what it's like to die.
  • Narrowly Averted during the third setting of Masses To Masses. Ian, infected by a Varen bite, peacefully accept his death only to be saved by Garrus
  • In the Gensokyo 20XX series, we have this Sakuya, as she dies of radiation sickness, while Yuuka tells her what she wants her to hear. It was noted that she looked as though she had simply fallen asleep, except she didn't wake up.
    • It was also noted periodically that is how Reimu tends to see death, which, because of her innocence, seems to be the most comforting.

    Films — Animated 
  • Subverted in the film Titan A.E.: Gune, who combines The Professor and Plucky Comic Relief in one character, apparently slept the Big Sleep after being wounded, even saying "Must have nap..." as he went. Much later, he returns during the final battle in a Big Damn Heroes moment, loudly proclaiming "I've finished my nap!" as he pilots the Cool Starship to the rescue.
  • In The Princess and the Frog, after Louis finds Ray having been stepped on by Doctor Facilier, the alligator brings Ray to Tiana and Naveen, who tell Ray that they're going to remain frogs and get married. After Ray says that both he and Evangeline (The evening star that he's fallen in love with because he thinks it's a firefly) would like that a lot, he closes his eyes for the last time in the company of his new friends and the love of his life.
  • In the Animated Adaptation of Garfield: His 9 Lives, at the end of one episode, "Diana's Piano", after hearing her last piano concerto from married mother Sara, Diana jumps down onto the piano keyboard, yawns, and drifts off into a deep sleep from which she never wakes up.
  • In Tangled, Flynn/Eugene gently closes his eyes and breathes his last as he succumbs to his stab wound. Right after he and Rapunzel had confessed their love to each other. Fortunately, Rapunzel's tears had enough of the magic flower's healing powers to bring him back to life.
  • In Fantasia's "Rite of Spring" sequence, after the Stegosaurus loses its battle with the T-Rex and the camera slowly pans across its dying body from tail to head, its moment of death is conveyed by its eye closing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: Likewise for Yoda just before his death. He even extends the "big sleep" metaphor out further by actually settling down in his bed as if he's preparing for a long nap, calling it "forever sleep."
  • In Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Spock closes his eyes before dying after bidding farewell to Kirk one last time.

  • Oddly, the trope namers (Raymond Chandler's novel The Big Sleep and the movies based on it) don't include this trope. The character said to be "sleeping The Big Sleep" not only doesn't die on stage, but is dead before the story begins.
  • In the Children of the Mind, this is how Ender Wiggin finally passes away. The book describes it as feeling just like falling asleep.
  • The Bible uses sleep as a metaphor for death a lot.

    Live Action TV 
  • The king of the Subverted Trope, Joss Whedon, does this in the pilot episode of Firefly. Kaylee, having been shot by a jumpy Alliance lawman who was after Simon, closes her eyes and goes limp; Mal goes to Simon and informs him she's dead. He rushes to the med-bay, where he finds out that not only is she alive, she's awake and talking. Turned out she was taking a nap and the rest of the crew decided to play a rather cruel joke on the man who was partially responsible for her injury.
  • Played straight in episode 2 of the 2nd season of Angel. He finds the woman who betrayed him long ago. After she is forgiven, she proclaims that she will go outside after she has her rest. She never wakes up. Though the phrase she uses—"go out"—is ambiguous and could just as easily mean "die, cease to exist".
  • Game of Thrones: Robb's direwolf Grey Wind dies this way when he slowly closes his eyes after being shot multiple times. Judging by the majority of reaction videos, this actually hit a lot of people harder than the human deaths that followed.
  • Jack Shephard in Lost goes out like this in the last scene, mirroring the opening scene of the series.
  • In the Supernatural episode "All Hell Breaks Loose, Part One" (S02, Ep21), Lily dies with her eyes closed and hangs limply from a noose.

    Video Games 
  • Crisis Core: Zack Fair. What precedes it is.... less than peaceful.
  • Iris' death in Mega Man X 4.
  • Bartre in Fire Emblem Elibe (the 6th game) claims he is going to take a nap when he is injured fatally. Like everyone else who runs out of HP, he isn't gonna wake up. In the 7th game, he just leaves (since it's a prequel to the 6th).
  • At the end of Persona 3 the protagonist, running on pure willpower after doing a Heroic Sacrifice, finally goes to "sleep" when he realizes that his True Companions are going to keep The Promise to meet up on graduation day. He falls asleep in Aigis's lap or, in the New Game+ of the Updated Re-release, in the arms of his/her lover.
  • Almost averted at the end of Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood, when the mortally wounded Guybrush's eyes open wide in a blank stare at a saddened Elaine (almost in a Dies Wide Open position), but then gently close as he collapses and "falls asleep" with his mouth open. (Possibly foreshadowed in a way previously in Chapter 1, when Guybrush looks at the quarters door of either Elaine's ship or the Screaming Narwhal and says, "I'll sleep when I'm dead. Or later tonight.")
  • The Illusive Man of Mass Effect does this after a few surprisingly moving last words.
    • So does Captain Anderson if you kill the Illusive Man before he can shoot Anderson dead.
  • Ib: "Garry is sleeping..."
  • Final Fantasy XIII-2: Serah's death narrowly averts Dies Wide Open and becomes this; after her final vision (where her eyes are wide open), she breathes a final breath and closes her eyes before slumping over in Noel's embrace.
  • Corporal Reiss from Borderlands 2, after getting gang-beat by bandits and holding on just long enough to give the player some vital information says that he's going to take a nap and the player should wake him up when he's not on Pandora any more. Thus passes Corporal Reiss.

    Western Animation 
  • In Futurama episode "Jurassic Bark", Fry's dog Seymour spends over a decade waiting in vain for Fry to come back before closing his eyes for the last time. Or so you're led to believe, until "Bender's Big Score" reveals more.
  • BoJack Horseman: Sarah Lynn dies in BoJack's arms right after she states she wants to be an architect and leave the fame and excess behind, while BoJack has taken her to her favorite place: the Planetarium.
  • The Trope Namer comes from the pilot episode of The Ren & Stimpy Show, where "the big sleep" is used as a euphemism for euthanasia.