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Died Happily Ever After

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Beyond the door
There’s peace I'm sure
And I know they'll be no more
Tears in heaven
Eric Clapton, "Tears in Heaven"

Oh no! The Love Interest, mentor, parents, little sister, or another emotionally significant character to the hero has been killed by the villain. Woe! However, it's okay. Because the Big Bad has been defeated, and their souls can rest peacefully in Fluffy Cloud Heaven. To demonstrate this, their ashes, ectoplasm, or even (and this one's popular) the clouds themselves form into their faces and smile serenely down at our (still living) heroes before fading away to their eternal reward. Typically a Heartwarming Moment.

Common in children's movies where you get a Death by Newbery Medal, and sentimental films in general.

Peaceful in Death may be a mundane (or ambiguous) alternative.

Occasionally overlaps with Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence. Very likely to occur with two people who are Together in Death as well as Ghost Reunion Ending, especially if it's a Russian fairy tale's Happily Ever After, since their traditional ending is "And they lived their lives happily and died in one day", meaning they were Together in Death.

Compare Winged Soul Flies Off at Death, Afterlife Welcome and Don't Fear the Reaper. Contrast Go Out with a Smile, Dying as Yourself, and Afterlife Angst.

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


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Chainsaw Man, despite all the shit he goes through and the absolutely horrific nature of his death, Aki Hayakawa is shown to find genuine peace in the hereafter, being reunited with his deceased family and finally getting to play that game of catch with his younger brother.
  • Cowboy Bebop has a sort-of example: When Spike maybe-dies (it's purposely left ambiguous whether he does or not) after finally killing Vicious, the final thing seen in the end credits is a falling star, playing this trope out against the audience.
  • Darker than Black does this in the last episode where the protagonist receives encouragement from characters who have died in the course of the series. Kind of a unique example, as nearly all of these characters were antagonists of the protagonist, and most of those died by his hand, but given the Grey-and-Gray Morality of the series it makes sense.
  • The case for most heroes in the Dragon Ball series. Shining example is Goku's Grandpa Gohan who as we retroactively discover, was accidentally killed by Goku when he transformed into a giant ape, but later shows up just fine when he gets to spend one day back among the land of the living and see his grandson again. There's also Goku himself when he died during the Cell Saga, who talked with the others via a telepathic message to let them know that even though he was dead he was perfectly okay. Of course in his case he (eventually) wound up coming back.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: It's very common for characters to reunite with loved ones or find peace when dead. They include the Hand Demon, Rui, Shinobu Kocho, Akaza/Hakuji, Genya Shinazugawa, and Gyomei Himejima. As for Kyojuro Rengoku, we don't see a scene in the afterlife with him, but his last moments of life as his late mother congratulate him, making him Go Out with a Smile.
  • Fate/Zero: As he dies, humiliated, driven to almost kill the woman he loves, having failed to save the child for whom he entered the Holy Grail War, Kariya Matou hallucinates that he succeeded in saving both Tohsaka girls and has escaped with Aoi... as he's being devoured by his father's insect familiars.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • One omake shows Hohenheim and Trisha happily reuniting in the afterlife. When Hohenheim dies for real, he has a smile on his face.
    • Furthermore, Izumi and Wrath are reunited in Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa.
    • Each volume of the manga that has at least one character die has a panel at the end dedicated to them, showing them floating up to Heaven. There are two exceptions: first, Shou Tucker is the only character to go to Hell instead. Second, in volume nine when Maria Ross is apparently murdered by Roy Mustang, the end of the book features the usual dedication with her floating up to Heaven. In the following book, when it's revealed that her death was faked, the dedication page features Ross falling back to Earth, passing by the characters who did die in that volume.
  • In GUN×SWORD, the mortally wounded Ray Lundgren has a vision of himself living peacefully with Shino and dies with a smile on his face.
  • Kikyou's death in Inuyasha. Kikyou is one of the few characters who proved to be an actual threat to Naraku, making her one of his main targets. Unfortunately, Naraku eventually gets the upper hand and drives her into a corner and finally deals a fatal blow to the priestess. During her final moments, she visited her sister, Kaede, in spirit form, and apologizes for the suffering she has caused her and shares a final kiss with her former lover, Inuyasha. She then exclaims that she's finally become what she always wanted, an ordinary woman, and her soul leaves her fake body and embraces all present as if saying farewell.
  • Happens a couple of times in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • At the end of Stardust Crusaders, the souls of Avdol, Iggy, and Kakyoin, the three Crusaders who were killed during the arc, are seen in the clouds looking down on Joseph and Jotaro, after the two finally avenged their deaths by permanently destroying DIO's body.
    • During the climax of Vento Aureo, upon Bucciarati's Heroic Sacrifice, his soul is seen rising towards Heaven complete with angels and golden clouds surrounding it, but not before holding an encouraging speech to Giorno right before his final showdown with Diavolo.
    • Halfway through Stone Ocean, Foo Fighters is killed off by Pucci and she uses the last of her energies to patch Anasui's wounds, thus saving Jotaro's memory disc. As F.F. ascends to Heaven and says her last goodbyes to Jolyne, she states that she doesn't mind dying since the fact she has a soul meant she was actually an individual, pleading her friend not to create a new Foo Fighters through her Stand disc since it would just create a different individual, and not the real deal.
  • The Lyrical Nanoha Tribute Comics that comes with the pamphlets for The Movies typically ends with a scene that shows the deceased loved ones of The Movie continuity characters happily watching over the cast from Fluffy Cloud Heaven. Well, except for Precia, who's still feeling guilty about the things she did.
  • Happens to Elenore in Madlax. Characteristically, it also involves a boundless flower field.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth: Emeraude and Zagato are shown together and joyful in the afterlife. She even thanks the Magic Knights. The manga shows even more.
  • Pokémon the Series: Sun & Moon features an episode in which a Stoutland who had served as mentor to what would ultimately become Ash's Litten dies of old age. It simply disappears, leaving its pupil distraught and looking for it until they come to realize what has happened. Ash manages to snap Litten out of its depression and catches it. At the end of the episode, Stoutland is seen in the clouds walking beside a rainbow.
  • The ending to Puella Magi Madoka Magica is ambiguous about whether it's this trope or just new superpowers, but there's the possibility that Homura is about to go to Heaven and be reunited with her friend Madoka as the series ends. The manga adaptation changes the ending to make this trope more explicit.
  • The Rose of Versailles, André is shown coming to retrieve Oscar after she is fatally shot the day after he was. In the manga they are even shown retrieving Andre's grandmother.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • The Shitennou (Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite) from the original manga version end up this way, their smiling souls fading away while saying that they'll always watch over Endymion/Mamoru.
    • In the anime version, this happens to the Amazon Trio, who die but gain human souls that are allowed to dwell in Elysion afterwards.
    • A common interpretation of Nehellennia's fate in the Stars season. She's seen being restored to her child self back in her court, where her subjects will now befriend her. A common fan theory is that she was given a Mercy Kill and this is her in the afterlife.
  • When Kamina's ghost shows up near the end of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann it adheres to this trope.
  • This is how the Witchblade anime ends. The titular weapon ultimately claims Masane's life, but first she is able to tie up all the loose ends in her life and secure a safe and happy future for her daughter. Then she goes out in a blaze of glory destroying the I-weapons and the remaining Cloneblades, ensuring the villains will never be able to threaten her legacy.
  • Wolf's Rain: When Toboe dies, we see him reunited with his beloved Granny and running playfully in a field of flowers. Talk about emotional manipulation.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ends with Yami's spirit departing this world for the afterlife. As he passes the threshold, we briefly see him surrounded by the spirits of his father, friends, and other allies.
    • Similarly, in the Waking the Dragons arc, after Dartz is defeated and the evil leaves him, the spirit of his daughter, Chris, who was earlier killed in a Heroic Sacrifice, comes to take him from the sinking ruins, telling him "Mother is waiting for us."
  • Radium Lavans of Zone of the Enders - Dolores finally manages to break free from the insanity that had gripped him since the prequel series, the spirits of Viola and Dolores helping him redeem himself in his last moments. He dies with a smile on his face.

    Comic Books 
  • Scrooge's parents in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. His mother Downy O'Drake passes away sometime during the events of Chapter 8, and his father Fergus McDuck dies at the end of Chapter 9. However, the two's spirits are shown being reunited and bid one last farewell to their children as they take off for Duckburg, before departing to the afterlife.
  • The Sandman (1989): Wanda, a transgender woman with a crippling fear of sex-change surgery in the graphic novel A Game of You is denied entrance to the dreamworld on the basis that for magical purposes, she's not a "real" woman, is killed ignobly, and her parents insist on burying her dressed as a man with her birth name "Alvin" on her gravestone and not acknowledge that she self-identified as female for most of her adult life. Yikes. But when the main character Barbie sees her spirit enter the afterlife, it is as a woman, secure in her identity and no longer "camp or artificial" as she had appeared in life (as her facial features were too recognizably masculine for her to appear quite as feminine as she desired).

    Fairy Tales 
  • Almost every single story by Hans Christian Andersen ends like this. It has reached the point where Danish students are taught to specifically look after this trope while reading his works.
    • The Little Mermaid. When she dies, she becomes a spirit of the air who will be able to shape a true soul for herself - mermaids don't have them naturally - because she was not willing to kill her human lover. She bids her prince and his bride goodbye (though they don't sense her) before joining her fellow spirits. (The 1984 Fairie Tale Theatre adaptation has a version of the smiling from the clouds bit for the final shot.)
      • The 'not sensing her' part is played with in Megurine Luka's Version of The Little Mermaid to add a real punch to the already insanely sad Tear Jerker. Though, an arguably less sad example not long after that has the sisters hearing her voice and smiling, also fitting the trope albeit in a non-visual sense...
    • The ending of The Little Match Girl, in which the little match girl dies, but her soul joins her beloved grandmother in Heaven.
    • The ending of another of this fairytales, The Red Shoes: Concludes with the main character finally finding peace and being taken to Heaven.
  • Two of Oscar Wilde fairy tales end in this way: The Happy Prince and The Selfish Giant, both of which conclude with the souls of the main characters being taken to Heaven. Considering how cynical Wilde's fairy tales were, this is the closest thing they could get to a happy ending.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf mini-story "Tapper's Final Christmas", Empath sees an angel appear at Tapper's bedside, ready to take him into heaven, and Tapper's spirit separates from his body before the two of them vanish. Empath later dreams that Tapper is reunited with his friend Duncan McSmurf, who died years before and was already in heaven.
  • In the Fire Emblem: Three Houses enemies-to-lovers fic My Blood, after Edelgard eventually dies, Rhea comes to the conclusion that she no longer has a place in the world of the living, and chooses to end her life so she can be Together in Death with Edelgard and her family. The Epilogue shows her happy once more alongside the souls of her loved ones.

    Films — Animation 
  • At the end of The Adventures of Mark Twain, Twain dies awesomely ever after by first merging with his dark side, and then Ascending To A Higher Plane Of Existence by actually becoming part of Halley's Comet. His smiling face appears in its celestial ripples to bid the three Tag Along Kids farewell.
    • In the 1944 original, Twain is called away by Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, and they walk down the road to heaven together while Halley's Comet zooms by overhead.
  • In Brave after Mordu is killed in the climax, the spirit of his human self appears to bow to Merida before disappearing into the afterlife - implying the prince is at peace now.
  • Happens to the title character in Coco, who passes away shortly after the film's climax and is welcomed in the afterlife by the dead family members.
  • In Coraline, after Coraline retrieves the eyes of the kids the Other Mother ate, they are freed from their prison, and she later visits them in heaven.
  • The eponymous character in Corpse Bride, who turns into a group of butterflies when she is finally freed by Barkis' death.
  • Disney Animated Canon:
  • Seita and Setsuko in Grave of the Fireflies. At the start of the movie, we see Seita's soul taking a train ride (which may or may not be a reference to Chris DeBurgh's Spanish Train), and it ends with the now very long dead siblings going to sleep just outside modern-day Kobe. No explanation is offered as to what this final scene actually means, although it is implied that they're at peace.
  • Invoked in Kubo and the Two Strings: Even after Kubo is reunited with his parents right before they both die, Kubo declares that, so long as his memory of them lives with him and is passed down, their story still has a happy ending.
  • Parodied at the end of Kung Fu Panda. Shifu looks like he's dead from Tai Lung's attack, but when Po is alarmed he lets him know he was just "at peace with himself". After Po joins him for a moment before they decide to go get something to eat.
  • Monster House When Nebbercracker's child-hating haunted house is blown up, the concrete entombing his wife breaks. Finally freed, she dances for joy, bids her husband goodbye and fades away.
  • Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island: The zombies are just the poor people who had their life essences sucked dry by the werecats each year on the harvest moon. Once they help Mystery, Inc. stall the werecats long enough for them to miss their deadline and perish, the zombies disintegrate and their souls finally move on to the afterlife to rest in peace. One soul, that of a Confederate soldier, lingers to express his gratitude to Scooby and the gang before he too moves on.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In an alternate ending to 1408, Mike dies burning down room 1408, but reunited with his dead daughter. The final version just has him getting back together with his estranged wife.
  • In the movie Casper, this is actually a plot point; in this film those who die only cross over to the afterlife if they pass on this fashion - in turn, ghosts are those who die but leave "unfinished business" that ties them to the mortal world, though fulfilling whatever it was they never accomplished allows them to cross over when they do realize it. When the ghost of the lead villain tries to intimidate Kat and Casper they remind her that she achieved what she wanted which instantly forces her to cross over, then at the end Kat's mother briefly returns from the afterlife to assure her father that she passed on happily which is why he'll never find her - and begs him to not let his search prevent him from crossing over when the time comes.
  • Death leaves his human form, and takes Grazia with him in Death Takes a Holiday. She's more than happy to go with him because she's fallen in love with Death.
  • Getting to this trope is the entire goal of every soul in Defending Your Life. If they fail, they get reincarnated to try life again. Apparently, the only way to succeed is to live completely without fear.
  • During the final battle of Dragonheart, Draco tells his friend Bowen to kill him because it's the only way to truly defeat King Einon. After much hesitation Bowen does so, and afterwards Draco's body vanishes in a ball of light as his soul ascends into the Dragon's Heaven, (the constellation Draco) where Brother Gilbert's closing narration states that in times of trouble Draco's star shined out with particular brightness as he watched over his friends and their subjects.
  • In Ghost (1990), Patrick Swayze's character finally goes on to heaven once his murder is avenged and his fiancee protected, but not before a final, phantasmal kiss is shared.
  • At the end of Gladiator, there's a few brief shots of Maximus in a field, walking towards his house; this is actually Elysium, the section of the Underworld for the heroic and the virtuous, which is mentioned several times earlier in the movie.
    "If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you're already dead!"
  • Parodied at the end of Happy Gilmore. After he gets his grandma's house back, he escorts her back to the house, and we see the ghost of his father, his tutor and the crocodile that took his hand in a bluish ghost form, waving happily at him. Oh, and Abraham Lincoln.
  • In The Haunting (1999), Eleanor dies confronting the ghost of Hugh Crain, who kept the spirits of the children he killed imprisoned in the house. He is banished to Hell, and her spirit joins those of the children as they all float up to Heaven.
  • Hocus Pocus: Thackery Binx and Emily both appear in death at the end.
  • The "monster" from Home Sweet Home (2005) who kidnapped May's young son, turns out to be a mentally insane woman who lose her family years ago, and is seeking to steal the child to replace her own deceased boy. By the end of the film, she finally snapped out of her madness, realized her family is truly dead, and ultimately took a plunge off a balcony so that she can join her husband and son Together in Death.
  • Parodied in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, where Mushufasa signs off with the line "And remember: This is CNN". Which itself seems to be an homage to The Simpsons' parody of that same scene (see the page picture). Or Mufasa's voice actor.
  • In Lilya 4-ever, after Lilya kills herself to escape a life of forced prostitution, she and her young friend Volodya (who committed suicide earlier in the film) appear as angels playing basketball.
  • At the end of the Les Misérables (2012) film, Valjean dies knowing that his daughter is happy with her husband, and is led smiling into the afterlife by Fantine, where all the characters who died in the film sing happily on a giant barricade.
  • Depending on your interpretation of the ending, this seems to be the final fate of Ofelia in Pan's Labyrinth. It is still pretty sad to watch, though.
  • The film of the musical Reefer Madness plays this one for laughs. The hero's girlfriend Mary Lane, ingenue of ingenues, is sent to Hell for being tricked into smoking pot once, and subsequently turning into a sex-crazed dominatrix. The hero eventually destroys the demon weed, which sends Mary back to Fluffy Cloud Heaven. The hero then asks her to wait for him. "One day I'll get cancer, or hit by a train!" She's overjoyed at the idea.
  • Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: Played ambiguously. As Ivan stumbles into the forest, mortally wounded, he senses Marichka's ghost walking nearby and begins to smile. She reaches out to touch him, and he screams, dying. Whether he's happily reunited at last with Marichka is up to the viewer.
  • Star Wars: Return of the Jedi: Having died of a Heroic Sacrifice, Darth Vader's blue force-ghost appears before Luke, restored to the "natural" appearance he might have had if he'd stayed on the Light Side (as opposed to the crippled cyborg he became), along with Obi-Wan and Yoda (though the 2004 DVD and Blu-Ray releases changed it to his appearance from Revenge of the Sith).
  • Variation: Since the wife is one of the trapped ghosts in the remake of Thir13en Ghosts, she leaves the destroyed mansion with the others in the end. She's still quite a ragged sight from the "burned to death" thing but becomes beautiful again as she fades away.
  • In the Serbian film Underground the various main characters fall victim to mostly violent deaths in either of the world wars or the Balkan conflicts. The final scene shows all the characters reunited in a bucolic feast. As they party, the ground around their table breaks away and drifts into the ocean, symbolizing their trip into the afterlife (as well as symbolize the film's theme of balkanization).
  • Van Helsing ends with the death of Anna Valerious. But Van Helsing gets to see her reunited with the family in heaven as the sky opens to show them. She lingers a moment longer to smile him goodbye.
  • The whole movie What Dreams May Come is a prime example of this trope: We follow the protagonist as he explores the afterlife and is ultimately reunited with his deceased family, and decides to reincarnate with his wife after saving her from hell.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia ends on this trope. In The Last Battle, after finding themselves in a new, perfected version of Narnia, the heroes from all the previous books, except Susan, are informed that they are in fact dead, but they're happy with this. (They were afraid they would be sent back into their own world as they had after all their other adventures.)
  • Shows up near the ending of Coraline, when the ghosts of the children that the heroine has rescued come to her in a dream, have a lovely picnic, thank her for allowing them to pass on, and finally mention that the Big Bad is still alive and coming to get Coraline.
  • In Croak, the Afterlife pretty much rocks. You get to hang out with dead presidents, pull pranks on Edgar Allan Poe, and build roller coasters.
  • Metaphorically it takes place in Five Little Pigs: the actions of the hateful Woman Scorned cause the death of the happy (if often dysfunctional) married couple, but she herself admits that she failed to ruin their love for one another and in the end they "both escaped - they went somewhere where I couldn’t get at them".
  • One of the Goosebumps books, The Ghost Next Door, ends with the heroine ascending into heaven, having saved someone from a terrible fate that she herself had met before.
  • Oscar Wilde's The Happy Prince ends with the prince and the swallow in heaven.
  • Harry Potter has several variations; probably the one that fits the trope best is the portrait of Dumbledore at the end of Deathly Hallows. Since an exact replica of his consciousness now lies in a painting, he is, essentially, still alive.
  • Discussed and ultimately averted in the Discworld novel Hogfather; Death runs across an Expy of The Little Match Girl and is horrified by the situation, not because of the fact of her death (that's his thing, after all) but because it's supposedly sentimental and an integral part of the "Hogswatch spirit."
    • For the most part, the eventual fate of those who die in Discworld novels is ambiguous, as Death accompanies them to a desert they must cross, and the readers never see what awaits them on the other side (though it's implied that it's whatever they ultimately expect/deserve). There is one exception; the golem Anghammarad in Going Postal decides not to cross it at all, as he spent 19,000 years of his existence trying to deliver a message (and willing to wait for time to start over to complete his task), and having no further orders to follow is bliss.
      Anghammarad: This is perfect. I am free.
  • The canonical ending of Laura and the Silver Wolf. The heroine dies in the real world but lives on in Ice-Land, where she "will have it warm and comfy" - and there she will be always healthy...
  • The Little Match Girl dies from exposure in the snow on New Year's Eve. From her perspective, this counts as a happy ending as she gets to be reunited with her beloved grandmother in Heaven and doesn't have to suffer anymore in this sinful earth. For those left behind who realize how unnecessary and preventable the Death of a Child was, however, it's an Esoteric Happy Ending at best.
  • The Lovely Bones ends with Susie moving from the in-between into heaven after she completely accepts her death.
  • The bittersweet ending of Mistborn: The Hero of Ages. Survivors of the apocalypsenote  emerge out of their shelter to find dead bodies of the central characters — Vin and Elend — and a letter from the new god — Harmony, formerly known as Sazed. The letter says that while he is a god that rebuilt the world, he still cannot resurrect the dead, but he assures the readers that those two are happy in the place where they are.
  • A Royal Fairy Tale is a children's picture book released after Princess Diana died. The book talks about how Diana was a Friend to All Children, and the final page says she'll now look after the children "up here" - accompanied by an illustration of Diana in Heaven as a winged angel.
  • Common in the Septimus Heap universe. That's because almost everyone who dies in that universe, with a few exceptions, becomes a ghost—and although there are a few hazards to that, including things that, yes, can kill a ghost, the deceased can continue to have happy existences. The biggest example is probably Alice Nettles, who gets to be with her beloved after her death, in ghost-form.

    Live Action TV 
  • The finale of Arrow sees 2040 Felicity enter Oliver’s personal afterlife to be together for the rest of eternity.
  • Coronation Street - when Jack Duckworth passes away, a vision of his long-dead wife Vera appears and asks him for a dance before he goes.
  • At the end of The Good Place, the main characters have saved the world, redesigned the afterlife so it allows everyone to eventually get into the Good Place, and given all residents of the Good Place the option to go through Cessation of Existence once they've experienced enough of eternal happiness. After earning their way into the Good Place, reconciling with their loved ones and experiencing thousands of years of paradise, Jason, Chidi and Eleanor choose to walk through the Last Door and peacefully dissolve into sparks of light.
  • This appears to have been the eventual fate of nearly all the major characters on Lost.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • The Snow Queen is evil because she once killed one of her sisters with her powers, and the other sister sealed her away in an urn. She eventually discovers a letter from the sister telling her daughters to free her from the urn before she died. She has a Heel Realization and performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save everyone else from the spell she's cast. She is shown reunited with both her sisters in the afterlife.
    • Cora dies with her heart being restored to her, realising that her love for Regina "would have been enough". She properly makes amends in the Underworld and is rewarded with going to Heaven.
    • Belle dies of old age in the very last season but got to live a full and happy life with Rumpelstiltskin. When he dies in the final episode, she appears to welcome him into the afterlife with her.
  • Lieutenant Ken Shea dies in the series finale of Rescue Me, but the crew stays together, Tommy is finally happy with his life, and Lou's "ghost" becomes the first one that doesn't horribly abuse Tommy.
  • Robin Hood of the recent BBC television show dies at the end of the series but in his last moments is rejoined by the spirit of his wife Marian (murdered at the end of season two) who promises him that: "the greatest adventure is yet to come."
  • In season 5 in Supernatural, Sam and Dean are sent to heaven. (They get better.) There, they find Ash, who had died a few seasons earlier. He's quite happy to see them and is enjoying himself living in his favorite place and getting to meet all kinds of other dead famous people.
    • In season 15, they die again, this time permanently, Dean on a hunt and Sam decades later of old age. Dean learns from their long-dead surrogate father, Bobby, that everyone else they've loved and lost is also there, and happily reunites with Sam when he arrives.
  • Samantha Mulder reassures Mulder that she is fine (but dead) with a hug during season 7 of The X-Files.

  • "The Way", by Fastball, never explicitly says that the couple it focuses on dies, but it's pretty unambiguous that they're Wandering the Earth and they wouldn't have it any other way.
    Anyone can see the road that they walk on is paved in gold
    It's always summer, they'll never get cold
    They'll never get hungry, they'll never get old and gray
    You can see their shadows wandering on somewhere
    They won't make it home but they really don't care
    They wanted the highway, they're happier there today, today
  • Daft Punk's "Prime Time of Your Life" music video has its protagonist, a little girl, be seen happily joining two skeleton girls in a jump rope game after she accidentally kills herself in real life.

  • Generally speaking, most religions consider that if a good person dies, said person will be rewarded with a happy afterlife.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The cultural ideal for the aetherborn of Kaladesh in Magic: The Gathering is to go out calmly at the end of a big party, having left all their friends with good memories and taken, in exchange, only a promise to pay it forward - although many do use variably ethical means to extend their short lifespans. Yahenni, in particular, goes out having both helped overthrow a tyrannical government and made shy hero Nissa feel at home, in Renewal:
    I shudder
    and release
    (it feels wonderful)
    I dissipate into the endless sky above
    I end.
    • Just before Yahenni's death, Nissa had also told her the truth of the multiverse: that Kaladesh is one of many worlds, and the Aether is the matter they are made of. Yahenni not only dies triumphant, but also knowing that they are becoming one with the multiverse.

    Video Games 
  • Call of Duty: Zombies: Mob of the Dead revolves around four gangsters trapped in a hellish purgatory based on Alcatraz prison, with the player left to decide if either they continue their eternal cycle of torment or if one of them, Al, gets off easy and the remaining three are subject to eternal damnation. The follow-up map Blood of the Dead shows all of them and countless other souls trapped in Alcatraz and establishes they’ve been here a long time. The end of the map sees Primis defeat Brutus and finally free all the souls from the Alcatraz dimension, and we see one last appearance of Al in his Icarus form, flying to freedom in the afterlife.
  • Jin from Cyberbots in his ending in Marvel Vs. Capcom.
  • In Dark Chronicle, The Dragon Gaspard is given a significant amount of backstory, most of it bad. After you defeat him, however, you get a cutscene of him as a child again, reuniting with his mother as if he had just come back from playing outside.
  • The end of Deadly Premonition shows that all of the murder victims now reside peacefully in a "spiritual Greenvale", having become Goddesses. Emily in particular, given that she has York.
  • Certain fans believe this is the real explanation for Yorda and Ico's tranquil, dreamlike stroll on the beach at the end of ICO.
  • Naminé and Roxas in Kingdom Hearts II, although it's less "death" and more re-assimilation back into their original selves where they continue to live on in their hearts. Either way, both of them are definitively Back from the Dead by the end of Kingdom Hearts III.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IV has Osborne dying, content that his son is finally free from the curse and ends up making peace with him.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask: Igos du Ikana, the undead king of Ikana Canyon, tasks Link with dispelling the curse originating from Stone Tower so that he and all of his undead subjects can finally die properly and move on. Once Link clears the Stone Tower Temple and the curse is lifted, it's strongly implied that the dead do indeed move on to the afterlife.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, after killing The Boss there is a secret cutscene showing her happily reunited with The Sorrow.
  • In Middle-earth: Shadow of War, this is Talion's final fate.
    Shelob: Death came. Death to Sauron. Death to his dominion. And death to Talion, who walked out of darkness and found freedom.
  • Pinstripe ends with Ted and Bo reuniting with Bo's mother in Heaven, which is an idyllic version of their hometown.
  • Runescape: Implied for the vampiric Vyrewatch when their corpses are cremated, freeing their spirits.
    Examine text: The graceful transition of a troubled spirit to a peaceful end.
  • In The Sims 2, if your Sim makes it to old age, and reaches the end of his/her life in a good mood, with platinum aspiration, rather than "just dying", the Grim Reaper comes to their home with two beautiful hula dancers, wearing a lei, and gives them a tropical drink before taking their luggage as they eagerly join him on a permanent vacation. They also get a much nicer tombstone.
  • Spud's Adventure: In the end, the deceased Arnie and Devi are seen smiling down on the surviving heroes before fading away.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Comics 
  • Parodied in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja, at the end of the D.A.R.E. arc. While Benjamin Franklin's clone is a character in the comic, Doc wistfully thanks the memory of founding father Benjamin Franklin for designing the Constitution in such a way that would prevent the president from becoming too powerful. The image of Franklin in the clouds appears to correct him, saying that he wasn't responsible for that part.
  • Angel Moxie:
    • Happens to Mr. Kyokasho, who dies to take out one of Shugari's monsters. He visits the heartbroken Riley in a dream to make sure she knows he's okay and does the same for the earthbound Miya.
    • Later, towards the end of the series, Miya as well, who bids her farewells before she passes on. The epilogue shows her reuniting with Mr. Kyokasho and them rekindling their old relationship.
  • Dresden Codak gives us Onald Creely, the regret salesman who had the R in his first name withheld as payment for his parents' hospital fees. As he's dragged off by the might-have-beens, Kimiko tears off the R badge on her school jacket and hands it to him. We see him smiling as he is taken away.
  • Played with in Homestuck, the dead heroes are shown to be concerned at first because the Big Bad is still active and their friends who are still alive are in trouble, but pretty shortly they relax because they no longer have to worry and basically gain the opportunity to build a sort of mutual afterlife with all the dead versions of themselves and their friends from other potential timelines. That is of course until Lord English enters the happy afterlife they've built together, double-murders it's inhabitants and proceeds to destroy it so thoroughly that the only remaining evidence is a pulsing crack in space and time.
    • Oh, and just because you died happily doesn't mean everyone did, and some of these angsty teens have been stewing in grudges and insanity for billions of years (see Damara, who wants to work with Lord English so she can watch her "friends" become Deader than Dead (again (permanently))).
  • After his Heroic Sacrifice the titular hero of It's Walky! has a joyful reunion in the afterlife with his old friends and comrades. Even though he's just passing through. In fact, more friends keep arriving all the time, signifying that the final battle against the Martians is still going on.
  • In The Order of the Stick's "Start of Darkness: Dorukan fails to rescue Lirian's soul from a magical gem and ends up trapped with her, she assures him it is no longer a prison to her.
    • In the comic proper, attempts to raise Lord Shojo fail; Belkar points out that all Shojo had to look forward to in life was a trial and death from old age, so there's no reason for him to come back from the Chaotic Good afterlife.
    • Miko ends up dying at peace when, despite knowing that she will never be a paladin again, she learns that her horse and possibly only friend Windstriker will be waiting for her in the afterlife, even if he'll only be visiting her in whatever Neutral afterlife she's probably bound for.
    • Durkon dies happy knowing that he will finally be able to return to the Dwarven lands, as the Oracle specified that it would be posthumously. Subverted when it's revealed that Durkon's body is being controlled by a Vampiric parasite who is also the High Priest of Hel, whose goal is to destroy the world through the Godsmoot, while Durkon is trapped inside his own head, watching but unable to do anything. His return to the Dwarven lands will in fact be posthumous, as he is returning as a vampire bent on turning the entire Dwarven Council of Clans into vampires in order to sway the vote to destroy the world.
  • In Our Little Adventure, this is deduced rather than seen, the raise dead having no reason to fail except that Pauline is happy in the afterlife. Then confirmed with a Picnic Episode.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Drawn Together: Parodied in "The Lemon AIDS Walk". After getting addicted to steroids, Captain Hero befriends fellow addict Popeye, who eventually dies from AIDS he contracted from sharing steroid needles, and asks Hero to get clean for him as his dying wish. Hero does this by getting clean and "winning" the AIDS walk (by injuring and killing most of the other participants), and claiming the AIDS quilt as a trophy. He tributes the victory to Popeye, and sees his image in the clouds. His reaction?
    Hero: Who the hell is that asshole?!
  • Samurai Jack: The titular monster from "Jack and the Lava Monster" was a Viking king cursed with immortality by Aku seeking a mighty warrior to grant him an honorable death. Jack obliges, and the Viking thanks him before smiling as the Valkyries take him on to Valhalla.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Parodied on "'Round Springfield", where Bleeding Gums Murphy appears to Lisa in the clouds... followed by Mufasa asking "Kimba - I mean, Simba" to avenge him, which is followed by Darth Vader saying, "Luke, I Am Your Father", and finally, James Earl Jones saying "This is CNN." It's then immediatly played straight as Bleeding Gums says goodbye to Lisa, but decides to play one final song with her first (his classic "Jazzman")
    • There's also a later episode with Maude Flanders looking over her son Todd up from Heaven.


Video Example(s):


Anakin's Return

Darth Vader in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi fits this trope perfectly. Having died of a Heroic Sacrifice, his blue force-ghost appears before Luke, restored to the "natural" appearance he might have had if he'd stayed on the Light Side (as opposed to the crippled cyborg he became), along with Obi-Wan and Yoda

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / DiedHappilyEverAfter

Media sources: