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Deceased Parents Are the Best

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"Parents are only there to cause angst for the hero. If they're loving and supportive they must die. If they're not then they're mean and abusive so the hero must run away bemoaning his fate."
— From this Eragon Sporkings article

Parents Are Useless. Even if they don't leave you and/or abuse you, the likelihood of them actually ever taking time to care for you is quite low. Good Parents are hard to come by. It appears that the only decent parents are the dead ones.

These are the parents that leave the characters behind, not by choice (or it is a choice they had to struggle with, usually for some good reason), early on in the story, sometimes even before the story begins. The characters are now all alone with no family. They may find a Parental Substitute, but they may not always be the best guardians.

These often heroic characters will always have fond memories of their parents. That's because these parents did everything right while they were alive. They spent time with their children and taught them invaluable life lessons that they continue to keep even to this day. Even though the parents are gone now, the actions of the parents still affect the character and keep him going.

This is especially commonplace for Superheroes, whose parents or parental figures frequently suffer Death by Origin Story.

If it turns out that they weren't quite such amazing parents as believed by the characters, but still treated as such, then it's Never Speak Ill of the Dead. See Good Parents for examples of these who manage to stay alive.

Not a subtrope of I Love the Dead.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Subverted in Berserk. Sys, Guts' adopted mother, was the only one who loved him as a child, having picked him as a baby from underneath his deceased mother's corpse and raising him as her own. (So of course, she's dead from the plague a few panels later.) However, while nurturing, she is also depicted as more than a bit unhinged after a miscarriage shortly before. As for his adopted father Gambino, well...
  • Ciel Phantomhive from Black Butler's parents, Rachel and Vincent Phantomhive, died when their mansion was mysteriously set on fire. They were described and remembered by Ciel as loving and devoted parents, though Vincent's moral alignment is left slightly ambiguous.
  • Masaki Kurosaki from Bleach was a kind-hearted woman who loved her family very much. She left them when her children were very young, risking her life to protect Ichigo from certain death. Her husband Isshin practically worships her memory to this day - a large poster of her is hung in the kitchen of the Kurosaki's house.
  • Nadeshiko Kinomoto from Cardcaptor Sakura. She has been dead for seven years at the beginning of the series, but being dead doesn't stop her from watching over and protecting and caring for her family, which includes her husband, her son, and her daughter, the show’s title heroine. She is frequently described by all who knew her as a caring and kind, if somewhat ditzy, person. And, since she was a famous model, there were a lot of photos of her, so her husband puts up a new picture of her every single day, and never once even considers dating anyone else or getting remarried.
  • Subverted in Code Geass. Lelouch practically worshiped his late mother, only to learn that 1) she's not really dead, and 2) she's pretty much identical to his much-despised father, and they both engineered the horrible events of Lelouch and Nunnally's lives in hopes of toughening them up. And they considered those two their favorites.
    • Gets worse in the novelizations, which contain a Flashback scene where Bismarck sees Marianne interacting with her kids and notices, to his shock, that there's absolutely no love in her face or demeanor - to her they're just objects.
  • A Cruel God Reigns: Jeremy's dead father seemed like a pretty cool, incredibly sweet guy. Too bad he's dead, or it would have saved Jeremy from his Trauma Conga Line.
  • Tanjiro Kamado’s entire family in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba was slaughtered overnight, when he was innocently offered to take shelter in a good natured neighbor’s house after a long day of selling charcoal in the day prior; going home Tanjiro finds his mother and five siblings dead, killed by a demon, his sister Nezuko, however, survived and became a demon herself, and so it began Tanjiro’s quest to find a way to turn Nezuko back into a human and protect people from demonic threats along the way; as the series progresses it is consistently shown Tanjiro had a very loving family, which shaped his whole character as a very gentle and determined person.
  • Food Wars!: The final arc reveals that Soma takes a lot after his late mother Tamako. She was a Lethal Chef despite being the daughter of a diner's owner, yet still had a lot of fun cooking no matter how much she failed, and she was an easygoing and rather friendly person whom everyone liked, and she was very loved by her husband and son. In fact, Soma learned to cook his first dish (fried rice) from her.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Kyoko Honda, Tohru's mother, was an amazing person who imparted her wisdom and desire to help both others and her daughter Tohru, causing her memory to live on with her. She dies in a car accident shortly before the series begins.
    • Tohru's dad, Katsuya. Apparently he was such an understanding sort that he fell in love with Kyoko while she was still a delinquent, got her to see that she could be better than everyone thought, and married her despite objections from his family. In fact, a good deal of the wisdom and attitude that Tohru's mother imparted to her comes from the faith she learned from Katsuya. Although Tohru herself suggests that she felt some resentment toward her father for her mother's suicidal behavior after he died.
    • Kyo's mother is more or less an exception. She basically kept him locked up in the house all day, and Kyo suspects she was ashamed of him. This doesn't stop his biological father from holding her suicide against him. Kyo himself is more or less Happily Adopted.
      • Kyo's mother is a unique issue because it was basically because of his father's emotional and verbal abuse towards his mother that she mistreated him and then committed suicide.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
  • Inuyasha:
    • Sango and Kohaku always have fond memories of their strict but loving father, who during his first appearance Kohaku is forced to kill under Mind Control.
    • Inuyasha's dead mother did her best for her half-breed son and loved him dearly, so that Inuyasha did not hate humans entirely.
  • Kimba the White Lion: Kimba's father was killed trying to rescue his pregnant wife from hunters, and during her time with Kimba, his mother taught him his father's ideals. When she was killed off, Kimba aimed at becoming a benevolent ruler of his father's jungle for the honor and pride of his family.
  • March Comes in Like a Lion:
    • Many of Rei's happiest memories come from his biological parents during his early childhood. While Kouda himself is not bad, he's guilty of a bad case of Parental Obliviousness.
    • The Kawamoto sisters speak very fondly of their mother; Akari and Hina have strong memories of how well of a caretaker she was. However, Rei notices that they always speak of their mother and never of their father, leading Rei to theorize in his narration that something happened between the sisters and their father that doesn't exactly place him in a positive light. It's revealed that their father is in fact alive, and is also not a nice person.
  • Ilulu from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid had very good parents from what little we see of them (the fact that they didn't discourage her attempts to be friends with humans speaks volumes). Their deaths played a large role in her becoming a Tragic Bigot.
  • My Roommate is a Cat: Subaru's parents were very supportive of him, despite Subaru being so introverted he seldom left their house, while they loved travelling. They died while travelling, after an adult Subaru declined to go with them yet again.
  • Zig-Zagged in Naruto:
    • Naruto's parents died the day he was born, though they did love him and even protect him from beyond the grave. Still, he's an emotional basket case, though not as bad as Pain, Sasuke or Gaara (though in Gaara's case becoming an orphan was merciful, since his father kept trying to kill him).
    • Subverted like hell in Naruto the Movie: Road to Ninja. Sakura, after getting embarrassed by her parents in front of her friends and being lectured at for breaking her house's rules, wishes that she doesn't have parents who are so pushy. Then she and Naruto enter an alternate universe where their fates are switched: Naruto has living, albeit normal, parents, while Sakura's parents are heroes who died defending the village from Kurama. For a couple of days, Sakura embraces her status as an orphaned celebrity, as she can do anything and everything without parental supervision, while the village cares for her because she's the heroes' daughter. But she soon learns that being a young orphan means that you will always return to an empty home everyday, with nobody to greet you, which not only sucks but is depressing after a while. Sakura thus comes to an epiphany: no matter how pushy or controlling, having living parents who can look after your well-being is miles better than having saintly, deceased Good Parents who can't.
  • Negi's father and mother in Negima! Magister Negi Magi is a Disappeared Parents Are The Best variation, since they're not confirmed dead, only MIA (At least, Nagi is. Arika...not so sure). Yes, he's never actually met either of them, but given all the crap they had to go through, they did a damn good job getting Negi the best (and safest) childhood that they could.
  • Possibly subverted or played straight in Neon Genesis Evangelion. Shinji has very loving memories of his mom, Yui, and her death affects him well into his teenagers years. Gendo, the living parent, wound up abandoning Shinji after his wife died and didn't see him for years until he was needed to pilot Unit 01 (although it's often implied, if not outright stated, that getting away from Shinji was the only way Gendo could cope with Yui's death). But on the other hand... There are hints Yui wasn't as innocent and sweet as she seemed. She might have known beforehand about being absorbed into Unit 01, and brought her four-year-old son to watch it happen anyway. Like her husband, she seems to have a bit of The Chessmaster vibe to her, but it's unclear how heartless she really was/is.
  • Subverted in Oblivion Island: Haruka and the Magic Mirror. The movie starts with a flashback showing Haruka's mother shortly before she died, and Haruka ends up in the titular Oblivion Island partially due to a series of events related to the strained relations between her and her workaholic father. However, at the end of the movie, the mirror reveals that while her mother obviously loved her, her father was more openly affectionate and spent even more time with her when she was little, implying that he works so much in order to support her, not because he's oblivious like she assumed.
  • Probably the most normal, stable adult in Ouran High School Host Club was Haruhi's dead lawyer mom. The more benign of the other adults are Wholesome Crossdresser Cloudcuckoolanders.
  • Jessie's Missing Mom, Miyamoto, in Pokémon: The Original Series is presented as sweet and cheerful, even if she is a high-tier Team Rocket member. She gave up her daughter due to her career but wanted to send money to her. Miyamoto went to capture Mew specifically because it would sell for a lot of money however she ended up getting lost in a blizzard. It's implied she survived and is still searching twenty years later.
  • Sailor Moon: Mamoru's parents died in a car accident, causing him to lose all of his childhood memories... while gradually recalling his past life as Prince Endymion.
  • Tokyo Ghoul loves this trope.
    • Arata is shown to have been a loving and devoted father to his children, Touka and Ayato. What little we know about him is taken from how his children remember him, as a father that always encouraged them and kept up a brave front for them even while struggling to keep them safe.
    • Kureo Mado seems like a sadistic monster when first introduced, taking pleasure in Kicking The Dog and not seeming to have much in the way of redeeming qualities. It's only after he's long dead that we meet his daughter, Akira, and learn that he was a devoted Single Father that worked hard to raise her alone. Omakes feature him scaring her classmates when he showed up for Parent Day, and being accused of being a pervert when he took his teenaged daughter shopping for underwear. Another shows him proudly displaying a portrait his daughter did of him in school, which his coworkers mistake for a sketch of a suspect.
    • Hinami's parents were loving and kind, doting on their only child. Both ended up killed as a result of Van Helsing Hate Crimes, leaving her orphaned. Even so, people comment that it's clear how much they loved her — that she remains such a kind and gentle girl in spite of everything is proof they surrounded her with as much love as possible.
    • Kaneki's relationship with his mother is.....complicated, seeming to play it straight before subverting it. He remembers her fondly as a gentle woman that always did her best for everyone, and cooked him his favorite meal whenever she could. But when forced to confront his past, he admits that he deeply resents her for leaving him alone so often and working herself to death for the sake of her sister. He ultimately comes to accept her flaws, realizing she was simply afraid to lose the people she loved.

    Comic Books 

By Creator:

  • Stan Lee, co-creator of Daredevil, loved this trope:
    • It's especially noticeable in Spider-Man, where Peter Parker is three times an orphan, with his biological parents already dead at the beginning of Amazing Fantasy #15 and his surrogate father, Uncle Ben, killed in that story. It was later revealed that his parents were badass secret agents for S.H.I.E.L.D. who once saved Wolverine. Oh, and Uncle Ben apparently saw Captain America first-hand.
    • Sue and Johnny Storm turned from half-orphans to orphans by the death of their father, Franklin Storm, in early Fantastic Four. Neither Reed Richards nor Ben Grimm had living parents (that was later changed for Reed by John Byrne), Ben just mentioned his Aunt Petunia (who was also first shown by Byrne). Subsequently Ben was also given a dead brother, Jake, so he could angst over his violent death as well.
    • Scott Summers, an orphan in the original version, as was his brother Alex, although Chris Claremont later introduced Corsair as their long-lost father. Scott was originally mentored by the criminal Jack o' Diamonds.
    • Professor Charles Xavier, another triple orphan, losing his father, his mother, and his stepfather in his origin stories, gaining evil stepbrother Juggernaut in the process.
    • Janet Van Dyne already had lost her mother, the murder of her father was what drove her to become the Wasp.
    • It even extended to supporting characters, most notably in the case of Gwen Stacy, who perhaps had the coolest dad of Marvel's 1960s.
      • Certainly this trope is very pronounced in Spider-Man, where Betty Brant was an orphan to begin with and then also lost her brother Bennett in a shoot-out. Harry Osborn's mother was also dead from the beginning, in ASM #122 he also lost his father, the original Green Goblin (he got better, though). When Mary Jane finally got an origin in the mid-1980s, it was revealed that her mother also is dead. J. Jonah Jameson was introduced as a widower, which of course made his son John a half-orphan. The trope as inverted with Joe Robertson, who once mentioned he had another son, Patrick, who died.
    • The Incredible Hulk: Bruce Banner was introduced without a family. Eventually it was revealed that his mental troubles partly derive from his mother being killed by his abusive father. Bruce's longtime love-interest (and, for a time, wife) Betty Ross was introduced having lost her mother. The Hulk's occasional side-kick Rick Jones has been an orphan from the start.

By Series:

  • Batman: Bruce Wayne, of course, practically worships the memory of his parents. His parents worked hard to give Bruce a strong sense of justice and knowledge of right and wrong, and the importance of helping those who need it (although they meant using the family fortune to improve the lives of Gotham's citizens, as some stories portray them as pacifists who would've disapproved of Bruce's methods). These lessons naturally fuelled his drive to become Batman after their deaths.
  • Daredevil's father was a good, honest man, who pushed his son to be the best man he could be. Since the elder Murdock was a boxer, he encouraged Matt to study as hard as he could and get a good education, not being uneducated and forced to fight for a living like himself. In addition to being the superhero Daredevil, Matt became one of New York City's most respected and honest defense lawyers. And of course, his dad was killed by the mob before he got to see it happen.
    • However, this is slightly subverted. Jack Murdock loved his son, but Matt, as an adult, admits that he greatly resented his father forcing him to study instead of being allowed to play with other children. Further, when Matt got into a fight and beat up a boy who was picking on him, Jack actually slapped him, something the adult Daredevil tries to turn a blind eye to.
      • Matt Murdock's mom was also dead in the original origin, but Frank Miller later retconned it so she became a nun and Jack lied to Matt about her being dead.
  • Green Arrow: Roy Harper had three dads growing up, his biological father Roy Harper Sr., his first foster dad Raymond Begay, and his second foster dad Oliver Queen. Out of all three fathers, Raymond was largely the best and most attentive, although Roy Sr. can be forgiven because he died when Roy was three. Compared to Ollie, Raymond did his best to pay attention to Roy's needs while raising Roy to respect the traditions and legends of the Navajo community. Raymond even went as far as to get Ollie to take Roy in before Raymond died of liver cancer, knowing Ollie was Roy's hero. Unfortunately, Raymond's only shortcoming as a father was not taking to the time to learn if Ollie could be a good teacher and a good father to Roy.
  • Hound: Detira is a loving mother to Setanta, kissing his forehead after she tells her brother, King Connor, that the boy is strong like his father the sun god. She dies trying to get him off Morrigan's claws when he is only a baby.
  • In the Jack Chick tract "Happy Hour", the mother dies as an indirect result of her alcoholic husband's actions. The children blame him for her death, and the girl even says that he should have died instead, but they forgive him and convince him to turn his life over to Jesus.
  • Maus:
    • Art was significantly closer to his mother Anya than his father Vladek and seems to idolize her to an almost unhealthy extent. Art took her suicide very hard, and his father (who was still trying and failing to deal with his own Holocaust-based emotional issues) was no help, and without Anya to act as a buffer between them, their relationship also deteriorated.
    • Inverted with regards to Vladek's relationship with Art. Art firmly believes himself to be The Unfavorite, and that his father prefers his idealized memories and fantasies of Richieu, the son he lost to the Holocaust, to his living, breathing, flesh-and-blood son. There is absolutely nothing in the book to indicate that Art is wrong.
  • James-Michael's parents in Omega the Unknown were very caring despite being robots.
  • Inverted by The Punisher. He would have been a good parent. But it was his kids who died, not him.
  • Superman: In the Pre-Crisis era, Superman lost both their biological and adoptive parents. Jor-El and Lara are shown to be very loving toward their only son, and of course they are killed when Krypton explodes. Jonathan and Martha Kent are loving and understanding, but both of them died from some kind of sickness before his eighteenth birthday. Later versions feature at least one surviving Kent, though.
  • Using an existing quote, Hergé quipped re. his most famous creation, Tintin: "Not everyone is so lucky as to be born an orphan." Tintin's good friend Chang is a young orphan, and his other close friends Haddock and Calculus also have no familial attachments in-story.
  • Notably averted in Watchmen. Rorschach's mother's abuse is part of why he's so unstable. When he heard that she had been murdered, all he said was "Good".
  • X-23's mother, Sarah Kinney, was under strict orders not to show any maternal affection for the Tyke Bomb. In spite of this, she defied those orders whenever she could and did her best to nurture X-23's humanity. She died helping her escape from the facility, after being unknowingly exposed to a "trigger scent" that would force X-23 to involuntarily fly into a berserker rage, effectively forcing X-23 to kill her own mother. When X-23 came to her senses, Sarah used to her dying moment to name her "Laura" and tell her she loved her.

    Fan Works 
  • It's revealed in the 1983: Doomsday Stories that Hungary is this to the successor Nations now living in what's left of her land.
  • Firefly in Ace Combat: Equestria Chronicles matured from a filly to an adult mare due to losing her parents, thanks to Black Star. She always speaks with gratitude about them, but still grieves over the loss at times.
  • In Children of an Elder God, Asuka's parents died in a lab fire when she was a little child. She remembers them fondly and misses them, as opposed to her canon self who loathes her father and wants nothing to do with him.
  • In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, Papa Smurf becomes the sole parent of about a hundred Smurfs because their parents have all passed away due to The Plague. However, some of them also had the foresight to teach their children important skills that would be useful in their lives, although they never expected those skills to come in handy after such a loss of parents.
  • Zuko and Katara in How I Became Yours: Rise of the Agni Army, at least according to the author.
  • In Mutant, Kittery Abigail doesn't live through the second chapter, in stark contrast to the cute, happy first chapter.
  • The Joy Of Battle, a Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater fanfic, subverts this trope with Joy's mother. The first chapter sets up the typical Deceased Parents Are the Best scenario with a side character mentioning Joy's mother favorably. Several chapters later, when Sorrow channel's her mother's spirit, Joy makes it obvious that she does not like her mother (living or dead!). Much later in the story, we learn why.
  • In one day at a time (Nyame), subverted with Jason and Bruce in the original timeline. While Jason had made peace with Bruce's faults and dearly loved and missed him long after his death, he'd be the first to tell you how terrible of a father Bruce was. The only exceptions he made to that (in which he applied Never Speak Ill of the Dead) were to his own children, probably because three of them were biologically Bruce's.
  • The Parliament of Heroes: Rose Worth/Wilson, in contrast to her still living, abusive father Slade, has nothing but nice things to say about her late mother, Lillian Worth. When thinking about her travels with Lillian across the Indochinese Peninsula before moving to New York, she recollects those times happily. She's also a major Relative Button for Rose when Slade says her name due to his role in her death.
  • Patterns of the Past: Olesya's parents are revealed to have died when she was young. Her mother died from the flu, while her father died in a horrific mining accident during the California Gold Rush. She's not too troubled over their deaths due to not knowing them very well, but Oprah has a horrified reaction to the news.
  • Cori Falls's Pokémon fanfics portray Jessie's mother Miyamoto as a saintly, loving, nurturing woman who died tragically before her time, and Jessie never misses a chance to wax emotional about this. Becomes a double dose of this trope when Jessie finally finds out about her father Dorian, who's portrayed as a Tragic Hero.
  • Princessbinas loves this trope. All of her Original Characters are orphans.
  • Subverted in Reconciliation. Sho's mother died in childbirth and his father committed suicide soon afterward; Sho considers his father's decision extremely selfish.
  • Downplayed in The Sword Shall Devour. Caitlyn is naturally devastated by her parents' deaths, but she doesn't place them on a high pedestal.
  • In Weekend at Hisao's, Shizune talks fondly about her deceased mother, noting that she was able to get her father to stop hiring tutors to make her speak. Her still living father falls under Parents as People.

    Film — Animated 
  • In Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses, the King and his daughters clearly love each other, but he admits that he doesn't quite understand his daughters the way the late Queen was able to. The princesses all have very fond memories of their mother, love dancing in their mother's favorite pavilion, and do their best to keep birthday traditions started by their mother alive. In fact, it is the copies of their mother's favorite story given to each princess in one birthday tradition that are the key to unlocking a magical land where the princesses are free to be themselves.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs: Flint's mom was the more loving and supportive of Flint's two parents in Flint's eyes. Sure enough, she ended up dead after the prologue, while the dad, loving but distant, survived.
  • In the Disney Animated Canon, parents are lucky to survive long enough to have any screentime at all.
    • Snow White's dad, although he wasn't mentioned in the movie itself. He was in the merchandise and comics though.
    • Bambi's mom.
    • Cinderella: Cinderella's kind dad is seen doting on his daughter in the prologue.
    • The Little Mermaid: Ariel's mom, seen in the third film. In contrast, she has a strained relationship with her father, Triton.
    • The Lion King (1994): Mufasa to Simba. Simba considered him to be great long before he died.
    • Pocahontas's mom, who appears as a Dramatic Wind to help Pocahontas out numerous times.
    • Quasimodo's mother of The Hunchback of Notre Dame loved her son despite his ugly appearance, in contrast to society who shunned him.
    • Atlantis: The Lost Empire Milo's parents. Raised by his grandfather, who has also died before the film begins.
    • The parents of Lilo and Nani Pelekai in Lilo & Stitch. Their father was even the one who came up with the 'ohana motto.
    • The Princess and the Frog: Tiana's dad. Her still-living mom is also a good parent, but it's her dad's dream of owning a restaurant that serves as Tiana's motivation.
    • Frozen (2013): Although fans demonize Anna and Elsa's parents, they qualify. Their decision to hide Elsa away and try to teach her to repress her powers led to mistakes, but it was well-intentioned.
    • Encanto: Flashbacks reveal that Pedro, Alma’s beloved husband, was a loving Family Man who tried to convince four men on horseback to spare his wife, children and the other refugees of their village. Unfortunately, the horsemen cut him down anyway.
  • My Little Pony: A New Generation: Sunny's father believed that the three pony races can live in harmony again and that fear and mistrust are not the way, and instilled those values into his daughter. He's heavily implied to have died in the timeskip between the introduction and the movie proper.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Alice in Wonderland (2010): Alice's father, Charles Kingsleigh, would comfort Alice after having a nightmare. He would also encourage her unconventional thought patterns and tell her that it's okay to be mad. Alice would eventually follow in her father's shoes and take up his old business ventures.
  • Beauty and the Beast (2017) adds this for Belle and the Beast's respective mothers. Both died while they were very young and it turns out Belle's died of The Plague and she had Maurice take the infant Belle far away to avoid them being infected. Subverted with the Beast's father, who was a cruel abuser and turned him into the selfish prince he was at the start of the story.
  • Sam's father in A Cinderella Story was practically a living saint.
  • Cinderella (2015) goes to great lengths to show Ella's mother and father as excellent parents who doted on and loved their daughter. Her mother encourages her imagination and teaches her to always be courageous and kind, while her father showers her with love and brings her presents from his travels.
  • Contact: After her father instilled a passion for astronomy in Ellie Arroway and passed away, her life's mission revolved around the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. This culminates with Ellie meeting an alien disguised as her father.
  • In The Flash, Nora Allen (Maribel Verdú) was shown to be a kind and loving mother to Barry before she was murdered.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss views her dead father more highly than she does her loving but not-quite-there mother.
  • Interstellar: Murph's adult life revolves around the abandonment/"death" of her father.
  • Jack the Giant Slayer: Jack's father and Isabelle's mother are both very decent people. Jack's father comforts Jack when's he frightened by a storm. Isabelle's mother encourages her to go on adventures and to be the best she can be.
  • Vada's mother in My Girl. Subverted in the sequel when Vada goes to her mother's old home town to do research on her for a school project and finds out she wasn't so perfect.
  • In A New Hope, Luke Skywalker's mother is dead, and his father is implied to be dead as well (though by now everyone knows the truth). Furthermore, his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru, the parental figures who raised him afterward, are killed by stormtroopers shortly after Luke meets Obi-wan Kenobi.
  • Mia's Dad in The Princess Diaries leaves her a whole kingdom behind after he dies, and like every little girl's dream she becomes a princess.
  • Twister: Jo's father is killed by a tornado, setting her motivation in the story in motion.

  • Averted in The Amy Virus. Eroica Witt's mother was physically and emotionally abusive towards her daughter because Eroica is autistic, and died a couple of years before the events of the story. Eroica doesn't miss her one bit, and is happy that her father, who is much more loving and supportive, is her sole guardian now.
  • Babar's mother in Babar is presented as a loving and caring Mama Bear who sacrifice his life for his cub against the cruel Great White Hunter. Same in other media like movies and animated films.
  • Whilst both the main characters of Dark Ones Mistress are missing their fathers, Clara has far fonder memories of her dead father than her still-alive mother.
  • Dreamblood Duology: Nijiri's mother died when he was a child, leaving him in the care of Ehiru, to be raised at the Hetawa and opening the path for him to become a Gatherer, which is one of the most prestigious positions achievable within Gujaareh.
  • Dragon Queen has Trava's father.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden's both died when he was very young. His mother subverted the hell out of this — she was a well-known hellraiser in the world of magic, and deeply involved with some very bad individuals, magical, monstrous and mundane, before she fell in love with Nice Guy Malcolm Dresden. Harry's father played it straight. Harry described Malcolm as a good if naive man, and as Harry grew older he could see what his late mother saw in him. When his father died in his sleep one night, Harry felt truly alone for the first time in his life.
  • Dying Embers: The McCarty siblings and their cousin Em have five parents between them, all very loving, and dead for nearly a decade.
  • The Edge Chronicles provides a subversion. In The Last of the Sky Pirates we meet Deadbolt Vulpoon, who tells Rook what a good and noble man his father Thunderbolt Vulpoon was, dying to save others. Except that the reader already knows from the previous book that he was actually a slave trader who got his comeuppance. It's not clear whether Deadbolt is lying or genuinely believes what he's saying. It's not quite Never Speak Ill of the Dead because there's only one character still around who knows what his father was really like, and he doesn't really say anything other than that he'd met him once.
  • The Elric Saga: Elric is the emperor of Melniboné, so by definition his parents must be dead. (When they died is the subject of confusion, as one book has him remembering his parents fondly while another says that his mother died giving birth to him.) Plus, if there'd been more than one person left in the empire who Elric didn't completely despise, he might not have felt like destroying the entire civilization.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: Both of Rielle's parents were kind and loving, but until her mother's death. This event turned her still-living father against her; from then on, he'd become emotionally distant and even verbally abusive by repeatedly telling her she's a dangerous monster.
  • The Arrandas of Galaxy of Fear. They were on Alderaan, along with almost everyone else Tash and Zak knew, and the kids were profoundly changed by their loss.
  • There are exactly two living parents that we see in the Den of Shadows series: Dominique, and Erin's father. Other than that, all the protagonists' parents have been dead.
  • In Guild Hunter this is both played straight and subverted with Elena's mother: while Marguerite was a wonderful mother up to the event that shattered her family, after that she became nothing more than a shadow of herself, not standing up for her surviving daughters when they needed her and ultimately driving herself to suicide.
  • Harry Potter- Harry Potter's parents, even if Harry can't remember them.
    • Lily in particular is pretty much flawless. She was noted to be an exceptional student and witch, and everyone who knew her speaks fondly of her (except for Petunia, who is obviously just jealous and wrong). Her sacrifice is what protects Harry from Voldemort and ultimately makes him capable of defeating him, and Snape's unrequited love for her and guilt over the role he played in her death is what leads to his redemption.
    • There is a slight twist with James though. Making him a bully in high school was a brilliant move. It's a flaw that strikes a nerve the frequently nerd-identified fans and fleshes James out a bit so that he's no longer the perfect but flat dead father, particularly from Harry's perspective, as he himself has been a victim of bullying. For many fans though, it struck too much of a nerve, and they can't get past James and Sirius's bullying past. It doesn't help that we never get to see James grow as a person, and the idea that someone can grow out of being a bully is not widely seen in media.
      • It does not help that there are hints that James did not completely grow out of it and continued to at least bully Snape while hiding it from Lily, with Sirius and Lupin mentioning that Snape was a "special case" and how "James didn't take Snape on dates with her and jinx him in front of her ..." That said, they also inform Harry that Snape never missed an opportunity to attack James either, possibly suggesting that James' bullying had led to a more equal if toxic rivalry between the two once James supposedly Took a Level in Kindness. Of course, given that none of these developments are shown and only exposited by people like Sirius, Lupin, and Snape, none of whom are unbiased observers, readers can only speculate as to what James was like after "growing out of it."
    • Lupin attempts to deliberately invoke this trope in the final book, in the belief that he'll do more for his son by dying heroically than by living on as a hated werewolf. The idea that a child would be happier with his father dead cuts a little too close for Harry, who blows up at him. Tragically, however, both Lupin and his wife Tonks die in the final battle anyway.
    • Dumbledore's father died when he was a kid and his mother when he was a teenager. His brother Aberforth clearly respects and loves them for their sacrifices but also doesn't deny that their mom was unnecessarily secretive.
  • The Heroes of Olympus have Esperanza Valdez and Emily Zhang, the respective mothers of Leo and Frank who raised their sons the best they could before kicking the bucket.
    • Subverted with Marie Levesque and Beryl Grace, the mothers of Hazel and Jason who are shown to be deeply flawed. In Marie's case, she ultimately redeems herself moments before she dies along with Hazel. Hazel spends the next decades searching for her mother in Asphodel to no avail before being rescued by Nico.
  • The Hunger Games. Katniss' dead father is described as practically perfect in every way and was the one who taught her everything that helped her feed her family and survive the Games. Heck, even post-hijack Peeta remembers him fondly.
  • James and the Giant Peach: James had two loving parents until they were eaten by an escaped rhinoceros (yes, a rhinoceros) when he was 4 years old. The absurdity is so deliberate it's a Better than a Bare Bulb example of this trope, or an Exaggerated Trope. Highly unusual in that it's making light of the tragic death of his parents, a Mood Dissonance.
  • Every living mother in every single Jane Austen novel is ineffectual in some way or other. There are three dead mothers: Mrs Tilney in Northanger Abbey, Emma's mother in Emma, and Lady Elliot in Persuasion. They were all epitomes of perfection.
  • The Kingkiller Chronicle have the main character Kvothe detail how his parents were killed by the Chandrian, and his attempts to find them so he can avenge his parents. Before they died however, they raised him well, teaching him skills that serve to help him throughout the books.
  • The Maze Runner: As revealed in the prologue of The Fever Code, Newt had nice parents ready to give their lives for their child.
  • Deconstructed in The Nevernight Chronicles. Mia hero worships and swears vengeance for the deaths of her parents but meeting a man who actually knew them, she learns the dark side of many of the reasons she worships them.
  • In Out of the Dust, heroine Billie Jo has a supportive and kind mother and an emotionally distant (though not terrible) father. Guess which parent dies.
  • The Secret Garden: Averted with Mary's parents. While they weren't horrible people, the book doesn't gloss over how they neglected her. Played straight with Colin's mother. Well for one thing Mary and her family WERE in India and she was looked after by a nanny.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: The parents were supportive and passed their best traits on to their children, but not forcefully. Then the parents die in a house fire, and the children live with many unsuitable guardians.
    • Subverted later, when the kids remember things about their parents that bugged them, their small rows, and flaws. But they conclude that they still loved their parents.
    • It is possible that Count Olaf suffers from this also, his parents being poisoned years before by the "good" guys.
  • In Sorcerer To The Crown, Prunella is an orphan whose backstory plays this trope relatively straight. Prunella's mother definitely wanted the best for her, her father's motives are more questionable. Zacharias is adopted, and his adoptive father is dead, but still present as ghost, and far from perfect. The adoptive mother subverts this trope by being alive, well-meaning and competent.
  • Kinsey Millhone lost her parents at the age of 5 and doesn't seem to miss them much, and was quite content to grow up with her aunt as a guardian.
  • Simona Ahrnstedt subverts this in her debut novel Överenskommelser. You would have expected this trope to be played straight here, considering how Beatrice is treated by her uncle. But even though she misses her parents, she can still admit that they had flaws.
  • Having died of uterine cancer years before the book starts, Maureen from Spoonbenders was The Heart who held the Telemachus Family together, the Telemachus Family collapsing into dysfunction once she's dead and buried. She is also the only member of the family with multiple psychic abilities, as opposed to her children and grandchildren who only inherited one each.
  • Averted in To All the Boys I've Loved Before. While Lara Jean and her sisters have fond memories of their deceased mother, they remain very fond of their living father who did his best to raise three girls on his own.
  • In The Underland Chronicles, we never learn much about Luxa’s parents, but apparently they were pretty decent people.
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Nik and Lina Keralis, Jason and Alia's parents seem to have been genuinely kind and loving. After Jason admits to his true intentions, there is some doubt cast as to whether at least Nik Keralis was that good of a man. It's never explored in detail, though.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On The 100, Clarke's father was a loving parent who believed the people of the Ark deserved to know what the Council was deciding about their fate. The Council executed him shortly before the series began, and they arrested Clarke because she was trying to follow in his footsteps.
  • The Barrier: Two of the characters who are dead by the time the series properly starts were able to be parents for a few years before dying. Their respective children and surviving spouses have nothing but good things to say about them.
  • Charmed (1998):
    • The girls' mother and grandmother, the former of whom they remember fondly (if at all) and the latter of whom raised three of the four of them alone. Paige's adoptive parents were also noted to be very good parents, before they died in a car crash when she was sixteen. Prue, Piper and Phoebe's father Victor and Paige's father Sam are both completely out of the picture, with Victor only becoming a more regular presence after Prue dies and Piper has her first child, while Sam pops in once every three seasons before completely disappearing yet again.
    • The grandmother continues to appear posthumously on the show and subvert the trope. It's revealed she was a bitter misandrist who was engaged six times and married four.
  • Desperate Housewives: Zach's mother Mary Alice is remembered in the best possible light, even though it turns that she bought her son as a baby, killed his mother, and covered up the murder.
  • Doctor Who: Jackie Tyler has painted an idealized picture of her late husband for their daughter Rose who is rattled to discover that the little business ventures which Jackie described so fondly had, back in the day, caused more than a little marital tension as there was never enough money. But while Pete Tyler may be a bit of a flake is some ways he proves himself a card carrying hero - in any reality.
    • It's quite a Tear Jerker because Rose, not wanting Pete to know that he died when she was just a baby, lies and tells him what a fantastic dad he has been to her growing up, only for Pete to immediately realize her version sounds nothing like him, and gradually pieces together the how and why when things start going wrong...
  • The Fall of the House of Usher (2023): Unlike her ruthlessly ambitious husband and sister-in-law, Annabel is good to the core, and only has the well-being of her family in mind. Decades after her death, Roderick glumly notes that her whatever goodness their children may have inherited from her is gone, but it's very present in their only grandchild, Lenore.
  • Frasier and Niles' mother Hester is often remembered in the best possible light by them (and Martin) as a compassionate, considerate, cultured and down to earth woman. There is the occasional hint that this view is not entirely accurate; she had a brief affair, it is sometimes implied that her method of raising the boys was ultimately damaging to them, and (if her appearance on Cheers is anything to go by) she could be outright hostile to Frasier's love interests. It's still made clear that despite her faults this is not an entirely inaccurate view of her, however, and that for her faults she was still a loving mother and wife to them, hence why they choose to remember her fondly.
  • Maddigan's Quest plays with this trope; Garland idolises her father Ferdie, occasionally to the detriment of her mother, while Eden has complete trust in the ideals his parents died for. His brother Timon, on the other hand...
  • In Merlin (1998), the titular character is an orphan, born to a mortal woman without a mortal father. Queen Mab seemed to deliberately invoke this trope, as she didn't make any move to save Merlin's mother after she'd given birth to him. Before dying of childbirth, Elissa made Ambrosia promise to take care of Merlin.
  • In Moesha, though her father was a loving parent throughout the series, Moesha clung to the memory of her deceased mother Marguerite quite tightly. This led to something of a Broken Pedestal when Moesha eventually found out Marguerite abandoned Frank and Moesha when Mo was a little girl and later forced Frank to give up the son he fathered while they were separated.
  • My Left Nut: Mick's deceased father is only ever spoken of as a great parent and husband.
  • More often Played for Laughs than straight, although there was a couple of those moments, was Del Boy's and Rodney's mum in Only Fools and Horses. She is often spoken of in hushed reverenced tones as if she was the Virgin Mary... the truth of course is that she was a less than perfect parent but she always did the best she could for her kids.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Inner Child", Anne Marie Reynolds idolizes her late father, who committed suicide, but has an extremely distant relationship with her mother, whom she blames for his death.
  • Played straight initially in Party of Five with the kids' dead parents - who never appear in the series. But eventually subverted and borderline deconstructed. It's eventually revealed that the father was an alcoholic and that Charlie actually does remember him hitting their mother (but had repressed it). Their mother also had an affair with a musician friend. Additionally in a What If? episode where they hadn't died, they're shown to be almost excessively smothering on Julia - to the point where she feels she's Not Allowed to Grow Up.
  • In Pushing Daisies, Ned's mother is shown to be a sweet and attentive mother who loved to bake pies for her son (inspiring his future vocation), but she sadly dies from an aneurysm, then gets brought Back from the Dead by Ned's magic touch, and ultimately dies a second time when she touches Ned again kissing him goodnight. Ned's father then in quick succession abandons his son at boarding school, moves while Ned is at school and doesn't forward Ned the address, then gets remarried and starts a new family without Ned. The people in Coeur d'Coeurs who knew Ned's father, like Chuck's aunts, have no problems calling the man an asshole.
  • Given a Reconstruction in Resurrection. Maggie's mother, Barbara, died apparently trying to save her nephew, Jacob, from a river. When Jacob returns, he explains that no, actually he was trying to save her—and it also comes out that Barbara was cheating on Maggie's father. This naturally breaks Maggie's view of her mother, and she initially rejects Barbara when she also returns from the dead. However, Maggie later concedes that her view of Barbara was overly idealized, and she wants to get to know that real version now that she has a chance. Pity it doesn't last long.
  • Subverted heavily on Scream Queens (2015). Grace has grown up believing that her dead mother was a good person. In reality she was the Alpha Bitch and among the sorority girls who let their friend die in the bathtub after giving birth.
  • In early seasons of Supernatural, Mary Winchester, Sam and Dean's mother who died when they were young, is portrayed as a gentle but protective figure as opposed to their father. This dynamic is so extreme for Dean that one of his versions of Heaven is time he spent being cared for by her as a four-year-old and consoling her over his father's actions.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Number 12 Looks Just Like You", Marilyn Cuberle deeply loved her father Jack, who committed suicide five years earlier, and bases her decision not to undergo the Transformation on what he taught her about individuality and inner beauty.


  • Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice is still in raw grief over the death of her mother, and has a troubled relationship with her distant father.
  • Averted hard in Carousel. In life, Billy was an irresponsible, short-fused man who hit his child's mother. His suicide further damages his family's financial status since the setting is the 19th century when it was very difficult for a woman to support herself. His poor reputation in life leads to the town ostracizing his daughter after his death for Sins of the Father. Billy is given a chance to go back to Earth for one day to try to atone for the troubles he caused his daughter so he can even have a shot at getting into heaven.
  • Electra takes this kind of attitude towards Agamemnon in Electra, even feeling morally justified in wanting to kill her mother to avenge his death.
  • In Into the Woods, Cinderella's living father is distant and allows her Wicked Stepmother and stepsisters to bully her. Cinderella's mother even in death helps Cinderella achieve her dreams, with the mother's spirit conjuring up ball attire for Cinderella to go to the King's festival in.

    Video Games 

By Creator:

  • Pretty common trope in Nippon Ichi games. The parents of Laharl, Mao (mother unknown, presumed to be dead), Usalia, Marona, and Danette were all depicted as loving parents before they died.
    • Also applies to Disgaea 2's Adell, though their circumstances are more complicated... namely, his biological parents are still alive, but enslaved by the Big Bad.

By Series:

  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins: Played straight for the Cousland Warden, as only PC whose parents are both alive at the prologue and have to die by the end, which gives their deaths that much more pathos. Also for the City Elf Warden, whose mother was killed some time before the game's start and is clearly revered by the PC and family alike. Largely averted for the other origins though, as their parents can be anywhere from present to disappeared to dead, but aren't given much detail.
    • Similarly, in Dragon Age II the memory of Hawke's father Malcolm is all but worshiped by the family. Mother Leandra is also depicted as extremely loving, which makes her murder that much more tragic too.
  • In Final Fantasy games, no Player Character ever has a full set of parents by the end of the game. Most of them start with a pair of dead parents, and only two characters (Edge of Final Fantasy IV and Hope of Final Fantasy XIII) even starts the game with two living parents (the former's parents are killed in front of him, the latter loses one almost immediately). And several who do start with one surviving parent lose said parent by the end. In fact, it's not until the sixth game that you even see a parent survive and even that one is crazy and doesn't recognize his son.
    • Though Final Fantasy III does break the cycle first (numerically), it's not until its release on the Nintendo DS that the story gets fleshed out in this way. In III, each of the main characters were orphans, but were raised by kind and loving people: Luneth and Arc are raised by the elder of Ur. Refia is raised by the blacksmith of Kazus, and Ingus is raised as a soldier under the King in Castle Sasune.
    • In Final Fantasy VII, Cloud's mother was pretty much perfect before dying when Sephiroth burned down the village. The remake hammers in the tragedy by having Sephiroth personally kill her as she begged for him to spare Cloud's life.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Hugh's parents in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade were apparently very kind, but died before the story starts, leaving him to a Hilariously Abusive Childhood and insecurity issues courtesy of his grandmother, who ended up raising him.
    • Played straight and subverted depending on the parents in Fire Emblem: Awakening. Lucina puts Chrom on a pedestal, Cynthia idolized Sumia to the point of cutting her hair off when she died and Owain regards his parents as heroes. On the other hand, Gerome shut off any feelings he had towards Cherche and his father, refusing to even call them "mother" and "father" when reunited with their past selves. Severa does both; at first it seems she resents Cordelia for both being "perfect" and for dying. Then it turns out she uses resentment and anger as a cover for how much she loved her mother and how much it hurt when she died.
    • In Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Ike and Mist's mother died when they were very young and their father dies only a few chapters into Path of Radiance. Greil is idolized by Ike who makes it his ultimate goal to surpass him, and Elena was noted to be an unusually kind and compassionate person, to the point where it granted her immunity to the Artifact of Doom's power. Eventually the details of their Dark and Troubled Past come to light, but rather than turning into a Broken Pedestal, it makes their children respect them even more as they realize just how much their parents had to endure.
  • Averted very well in the first two Mother games, where the main character's parents are not only loving and supportive but remain alive and well. Mother 3, being the Darker and Edgier game, kills Lucas's mother, Hinawa through a jarring case of Dropped a Bridge on Him. Not only was Hinawa a great mother, but Flint, the father, falls into a pit of grief-driven insanity and becomes neglectful and distant towards Lucas after her death.
  • Octopath Traveler II: Agnea's late mother Cuani Bristarni was a world superstar, and her success makes Agnea want to follow her mother's example, despite her father's disapproval. Cuani also personally trained Dolcinaea, Agnea's antagonist-turned-friend, in Sai when Dolcinaea was young.
  • Sasha Nein's deceased mother in Psychonauts is depicted as an angel in his memory vault. Until he reads his father's mind and discovers other memories his father had of her.
  • Mars' parents in Shining Wisdom are both dead. His father died after succumbing to poison inflicted upon in him a battle with a dragon...while his mother is rarely mentioned.
  • According to the supplemental material of Team Fortress 2, the Heavy's father died in a prison riot in a gulag, the Demoman's father died of circumstances which were not described (he probably blew himself up), and the Sniper's (elderly) parents died sometime in between the events of Meet the Director and Blood in the Water. The Scout is also wholly convinced that his father died, but there seems to be a lot of evidence pointing towards his father being the Spy.
    Scout: So your dad's dead, huh?
    Heavy: Yes.
    Scout: Yeah, mine disappeared.
    Heavy: Yes. Your father disappears often.
  • Clementine's parents from The Walking Dead seemed like caring, good people, and their daughter remembers them fondly. Clem's hat is a gift from her dad, and she wears it throughout all seasons. They're dead before the game starts. They went on a trip to Atlanta, and left Clem with a babysitter in their family home in Georgia. Lee can find a message on their answering machine of Clem's mother, Diana, crying and reassuring her daughter that her parents love her, as the Zombie Apocalypse unfolds in the background.

    Visual Novels 
  • Miles Edgeworth's father in Ace Attorney was so good that his character was partially based on Atticus Finch. He's murdered when Miles is nine, unfortunately leaving him in the hands of a far more Amoral Attorney.
    • Likewise, it's practically hammered home what a loving father Byrne Faraday is during the course of investigating his murder. No wonder his daughter Kay wanted to carry on his work.
  • Choices: Stories You Play: The player characters are often orphans or have one deceased parent. In the latter case, the surviving parent ranges from emotionally distant to abusive. In the former case:
    • Desire & Decorum: Clara is sent to live with her father, whom she never knew, after her mother dies. She frequently thinks of her mother watching over her. Her father is glad to meet her and truly loves her, but he dies of yellow fever midway through the first book.
    • It Lives Beneath: After Harper and Elliot come home to see their parents brutally murdered, they're sent to live with their grandfather rather than Harper's biological father, who abandoned Harper years ago. Harper considers Elliot's father to be a real father and also expresses fondness for their mother.
  • Played with in Daughter for Dessert. Amanda sees Lainie in an unambiguously positive light all throughout the story. Thanks to manipulation by Cecilia, she goes through a period when she feels betrayed and lied to by the protagonist. Still, Amanda is thoroughly in love with him.
  • Maria in Don't Take It Personally, I Just Don't Like You mentions this to the player in a remarkably blasé fashion while camping. Apparently, they weren't very close.
  • In Double Homework, the protagonist’s parents, who died in the Barbarossa incident, were extremely supportive of his skiing career.
  • In Katawa Shoujo, the parents range from being uninvolved in their children's lives (Hisao's parents, Rin's parents) to outright abandoning them (Lilly's parents) or being Abusive Parents (Shizune's father), with the exception of Emi's mother. The deceased parents are considerably better; Emi speaks fondly of her deceased father, and Hanako's mother shielded Hanako with her body during the house fire, saving her daughter's life at the cost of her own.
  • Melody:
    • Melody’s mother, Melissa, gave her daughter her first guitar (still one of her most prized possessions), and Melody says that her fondest memories were of her mother. Melody also gets her love of music from her mother. Contrast with Melody’s father; he left Melody and Melissa when she was born, she never knew him, and she doesn’t give a rat’s ass about him.
    • Deconstructed with the protagonist. He never appreciated his father while he was alive, but he realizes how grateful he is for his father now that he has passed away.
  • Umineko: When They Cry:
    • Asumu Ushiromiya died before the story began, but it's clear she was an extremely loving and nurturing mother to Battler alongside being a good wife to Rudolf. In fact, Asumu's death was the reason why Battler severed ties with the Ushiromiyas and went to live with his maternal grandparents, as he felt offended by Rudolf marrying Kyrie so quickly after Asumu's death. Even though Battler learns Asumu's not his biological mother (Kyrie is, thanks to a switch Rudolf pulled when his and Asumu's child was stillborn), he still considers Asumu to be his mom first and foremost. It's also greatly implied Asumu suspected the truth about Battler but didn't let it affect how much she loved Battler. Last Note of the Golden Witch even brings Asumu back briefly as the witch Piece, proposing a hypothetical world where Asumu's influence would've prevented all the tragedies had she not died when she did. Even her attempt to hurt Ange as misdirect anger at Kyrie isn't enough to turn Battler against her, with Asumu/Piece even apologizing because she got to know Ange and Ange considering Asumu an aunt.
    • Part of the reason Ange hates her aunt Eva so much is because she doesn't think anyone could ever replace her parents (no to mention the fact that she suspects Eva was the one who killed them). This is subverted to Hell and back in episode 7, where it turns out Eva did kill them, but in what was more or less self-defense, since it turns out that Kyrie and Rudolf were in fact the real murderers and would have killed her otherwise. Needless to say, Ange doesn't take it well.

    Web Animation 
  • Epithet Erased: Zig-Zagged. Molly has nothing of fond memories of her mother compared to her (understandably) less than savory opinion on her father and sister, but Word of God mentions that Calliope would have taken losing Martin as badly as he did losing her. Eventually, Molly acknowledges her mother's flaws in Epithet Erased: Prison of Plastic while talking to her friend Rick Shades; she reveals that her mother was a workaholic that rarely smiled, while her father could not take anything seriously. Molly realizes that both her parents would have been bad as single parents, and it's only together at the Blyndeff family was able to be "happy under two broken support beams".
  • RWBY: Compared to Raven Branwen who abandoned her family outright and Taiyang Xiao Long who struggled to care for them in the wake of losing two wives, Summer Rose appears to have been the perfect parent for both Ruby Rose and Yang Xiao Long. This is because she disappeared when Ruby and Yang were very young, enabling them to create idealised versions of her in their minds. This is deconstructed in that Ruby died young enough that she remembers Summer less as a person and more as an ideal, namely an ideal she can't live up to. This is reconstructed when learning about her mother's flaws in Volume 9; this is a rude awakening for her, but she eventually realizes that Summer was simply human and so is she.

  • Cog from Clockwork has nothing but good things to say about his late father and his life's work of helping people. On the other hand, Alexander, who came to him for treatment and was turned away, has a decidedly less noble image of the man.
    Cog: What the hell do you know!? My dad loved helping people!
    Alexander: No. He loved having a talent no one else did— deciding who deserved his help, and who did not.
  • In The Comeback Path Of Princess From Mars, we have Noah Perez, the mother of protagonist Olga Perez. She was an excellent doctor and highly regarded as the top medical researcher of the New Roman Empire. Her staff informed her of a 6-year-old child named Corrie who was abandoned by her parents due to an illness that was too expensive for them to even treat. She took said child in as "experimental materials" and absolutely doted on the little girl, letting her play with her own daughter, Olga who also took a shine to her. Both girls mourn her own passing to disease that was too virulent for even Noah to cure.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Antimony's mother, Surma, loved her very much, even as she was dying. This made her passing and some very startling revelations all the more heartbreaking.
  • In Homestuck, this trope is implied to be a mechanic of Sburb itself. Every parent (except Jane's) or lusus of the players has died, either by a game mechanic or character, or well before the game's start. All of the Guardians were naturally loving and supportive, even if they were odd about it.
  • In Kuro Shouri, Hisaki reveals eventually that his parents are dead, killed by his older brother. He has dedicated his entire life to avenging them.
  • Phantomarine: Phaedra clearly misses her father.
    • Vanna is shown as a kind maternal figure before she is spirited away. Even after death, she makes sure that Pavel has a store of medicine and a way to find help.
  • Jade, the main character of Recursion, lost her adoptive mother, Seren, during the war. (Since Seren still had her family's last name, it's entirely possible she was unmarried, meaning Jade never had a father.)
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: The comic has a Whole Episode Flashback to the events that lead to a local outbreak of The Plague that only Onni, Tuuri and Lalli survived. During it, Onni, Tuuri and Lalli's parents, who were among the dead, get a handful of panels of characterization during which they display absolutely no negative traits. Lalli's mother is shown to be a loving mother, Lalli's father is shown to be a loving son to his mother (who's the character getting A Day in the Limelight during the flashback). As for Onni and Tuuri's parents, the fact that they let Onni bring Tuuri and the family's luggage to their house before joining the gathering during which the entire rest of the village got infected was a big factor in making Onni and Tuuri's Serendipitous Survival possible; staying in the house for a little longer than they were expected to is what ultimately kept them from being infected before someone realized The Plague was being spread at the gathering.
  • Unsounded: Most parents seen are abusive or absent, but Duane and Vienne both did their best by their children prior to their murders.
  • In The Witch's Throne, Agni's mom dies off-screen, in-between the prologue and the first chapter. And she was really nice too.

    Web Original 

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Katara in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Sort of - her Dad's still alive, he's just off fighting in the war, and has been gone for a couple of years when the series begins. But her main drive and source of internal conflict in the series is the death of her mom.
  • In Disenchantment, Bean has a troubled relationship with her father, is largely indifferent to her stepmother, but clearly misses her mother, Dagmar, who died when she was a toddler. Subverted because Dagmar isn't actually dead, and isn't very nice when she reenters Bean's life.
  • DuckTales (2017) has Huey, Dewey, and Louie's mother Della. During the first season, the boys revere her memory, and her best friend Selene claims that Della loved her family more than anything, and always made everyone around her better. Then, "The Last Crash of the Sunchaser" reveals that she put adventuring before her unhatched children, which her brother Donald called her out on, and stole an untested, experimental family rocket that Scrooge planned to surprise her with for a solo joyride. In short, she was flawed. Of course, she turns out to be not deceased at all, and she isn't exactly a perfect parent once she manages to get back to her kids (though not for lack of trying on her part).
  • Both of Kimber's and Jerrica's parents from Jem are presented as sweet and positive. Their parents fostered Shana and Aja as well. Their dad designed a supercomputer named Synergy while he was Secretly Dying and Synergy herself is based on his wife.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Applejack, Apple Bloom, and Big Mac were raised by their paternal grandmother. They have few memories of their parents, and since Never Say "Die" is an Enforced Trope in the series, their parents' death is never explicitly dealt with. The season 7 episode "The Perfect Pear" reveals, through Tell Me About My Father stories from ponies who knew their parents, that Bright Mac and Pear Butter defied Feuding Families to be together and were parents anypony could be proud of.
  • Nestor's mother in Nestor, the Long-Eared Christmas Donkey sacrifices herself to take care of her son after their owner rejects him and tosses him to the freezing cold. She eventually passes on from hypothermia, forcing Nestor to venture out on his own. Thankfully, Tilly shows up to accompany the poor fellow not long after.
  • This also applies to Sofia the First where, before Roland and Miranda married, the former's wife and the latter's husband died before the events of the series, and were remembered as good parents. Specifically, the former queen was unable to give birth to children, and Roland wished for her to have children. Unfortunately, her body couldn't handle it, and she died. Sofia's father was a sailor who was lost at sea. Roland initially raised Amber and James on his own, but wanted them to have a mother figure, and married Miranda when they clicked, leading to Sofia becoming a princess.
  • Steven Universe's mother, Rose Quartz, is depicted as a beautiful, loving woman who was a superb leader. Though to be fair, his living father is a Good Parent too (even if he is "kind of a mess" in every other facet of his life). This is gradually deconstructed as the series goes on: while Rose was a fundamentally good person, she used to be condescending towards humans (viewing them as how most people would view a cute pet) and it took her relationship with Greg for her to develop proper respect and empathy for them. Rose is also revealed to have lied to her friends about Bismuth and Pink Diamond's true fates. Additionally, Rose is also shown to have actually been naive, foolish, and childish as Pink Diamond, which she never really grew out of until her relationship with Greg. Not to mention that the Crystal Gems are shown to be greatly affected by her passing even years after the fact (not helped by the fact that they've been alive for millennia) and Steven is saddened by the fact that he'll never know his mother the way Connie knows hers.
  • Riya's parents in Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters qualify for this as she fond memories of them on their beach house. There's more though. They were involved in the development of Flexarium, but were killed by Jonathan Rook in a plane crash when they found out he was Stretch Monster. Riya takes up the mantle of Blindstrike and works with Dr. C (who survived the plane crash) in order to take Rook down and avenge her parents.
    • Jake also has fond thoughts of his late mother, Kim. He remembers her as an artist, and according to the comic tie-in, she would temper his father's worst Control Freak tendencies and creating a less dysfunctional household.
    • "Rook's Story" reveals that Rook had a sick mother that would always support his intellect and education since young. His inability to save her from her disease (along with the Epsilon Society rejecting him) would triggger his Start of Darkness. It is also implied that his father died when he was even younger.
  • Zigzagged on Voltron: Legendary Defender. Allura's parents died when Altea was destroyed and she retains untainted memories of them. Additionally, Keith is implied to have been very close to his now-deceased father. However, all of the living parents on the show (except for Haggar, depending on who you ask) are also Good Parents.


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Alternative Title(s): Disappeared Parents Are The Best


Fantasy parents

The fantasy protagonist's parents are basically always dead.

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Main / DeceasedParentsAreTheBest

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