It must have been something you said"
Death Is Dramatic, depressing, and emotional enough, but sometimes, just for the extra emotional kick-in-the-gut Tear Jerker, the author will make a character die in the arms of a helpless onlooker. As the onlooker (usually one of the dying character's True Companions) holds them dearly, the dying may flash them a smile or make a final dramatic statement before finally closing their eyes and succumbing to their fate.
If this is done on an Anyone Can Die show, expect the character to be Killed Off for Real (usually). Can turn into It's Personal for the witness, and very often overlaps with How Dare You Die on Me! and Dying Declaration of Love. May be an extension of the refusal to let your loved one Die Alone.
Compare with Pietà Plagiarism, the pose characters generally find themselves in, Cradling Your Kill, when a character dies in their killer's arms, and Deadly Hug, where the victim is killed during the embrace. Contrast Intimate Healing, where a wounded or ill character is less likely to die while in a loved one's arms. At least, not literally. (Though strangely enough, intimacy is exactly what's being referenced by the Cutting Crew song.) May overlap with Cradle of Loneliness, especially if the body of a loved one is cradled long after their death.
This is a Death Trope, so be warned that UNMARKED SPOILERS abound.
- Anime & Manga
- Comic Books
- Fan Works
- Live-Action TV
- Video Games
- Western Animation
- In Terry and the Pirates, Raven Sherman dies in Dude Hennick's arms after Captain Judas shoves her out of the back of a moving truck.
- A variation in Antz: Barbatus's severed head dies in Z's hands, after surviving and still talking much longer than a human head would.
- Beauty and the Beast: Beast dies in Belle's arms. Thanks to Belle's timely, spell-breaking "I love you," he recovers. The live-action remake also has Plumette dying in Lumiere's arms after that last petal falls. Naturally, her death also proves to be of the Disney variety.
- In perhaps the only example in film history of an INVERSION of this trope, Garderobe and Cadenza REVIVE in each other's arms once the curse is broken.
- In Epic (2013), Queen Tara dies in Ronin's, much to his chagrin.
- Hans in Frozen claims to the diplomats that Anna has died in his arms and has made a Last Wish Marriage, making him the King of Arendelle. Of course we know that's not true at all as he actually leaves Anna behind to die but not before callously revealing his motives in an intent to psychologically break her.
- In Frozen II, Olaf disintegrates in Anna's arms after Elsa turns to ice. Fortunately, both he and Elsa get better later.
- Christophe/Ze Mole in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut died in Kyle's arms after failing to free Terence and Phillip. The two then take part in La Resistance's Dark Reprise duet. Cue the shipping..
- After Superman rescues Svetlana in Superman: Red Son, she dies in his arms a few moments later.
- The Swan Princess: Odette dies in Derek's arms due to Rothbart's evil magic. Fortunately, after Derek kills Rothbart, the spell is broken and Odette gets better. Her father King William also dies in Derek's arms after Rothbart mortally wounds him earlier in the film, and unlike his daughter, he stays dead.
- Tangled: Flynn dies in Rapunzel's arms. Thanks to a teardrop and the healing incantation, he gets better. The position of the characters in this scene is very reminiscent of Belle and the Beast.
- White Snake (2019): Xuan is frozen to death while still hugging onto Blanca to protect her from the cold of The General's trap device. She manages to save his soul from being destroyed by The General's contraption and he is able to reincarnate.
- The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has this played out word-for-word. After Gordito kills the zombified Ben Franklin, Doc accusingly says "You just killed my mentor. He died in my arms." Gordito reprimands him by saying "It must have been something you said," and reminds him they still have work to do and don't have time to mourn.
- In Girl Genius:
- In Homestuck: in one of the final acts, Rose dies in Roxy's arms. Made all the more poignant because Rose got stabbed trying to avenge her girlfriend, and because both girls had only just met each other after years of eagerly waiting for it, especially since they are each other's mother in two different realities.
- Therkla in Elan's in The Order of the Stick. To make matters worse, despite the fact that resurrection is relatively easy for an adventuring party...
Therkla: "I'll take my chances that the Afterlife won't have any punishment worse than not being with you."
- Zoë from Sluggy Freelance was last seen cradled in Riff's arms, although no one knows if she's really dead or not. It still counts because Riff believes she died. She didn't. It was actually far, far worse. Until it wasn't.
- Growp from Spacetrawler, in the process of being disintergrated, is caught in the arms of Emily before confessing his love. He proceeds to break up into small pieces.
- TAL has Hiljo's death in Chapter 47, in which he dies in Yu Jin's arms. Doubles as Tear Jerker when Haje and Jenna, who he raised from their childhoods, show up; Jenna panics, noting that Hiljo isn't moving or breathing, and asks Haje what they should do... Haje, being mute, can do nothing but cry.
- Unsounded: Duane and Sette break into the Red Berry Boys' hideout while the criminals are cutting open Cara to smuggle First Silver in her. They flee and leave the young girl to bleed out, and Duane arrives in time to try and fail to heal her, cradling her as she dies and murmurs innocent reassurances.
- At the climatic ending to the Reflection arc of AJCO, the Doctor perishes in the re-education chamber and A_J gathers her corpse up in her arms while the others watch on, horrified at what they had just done.
- Homestar Runner: Parodied in the Strong Bad Email "army"; one of Homestar's soldiers in the "Homestarmy" is a popcorn popper named Frank Bennedetto, and when Strong Bad kicks the popper Homestar rushes to Bennedetto's side as if he'd been mortally wounded.
Homestar: Don't you die on me, Bennedetto! Not on my watch! Don't you give up! You never gave me the five bucks...
- In The Life of Death, Death kills those that he touches. He befriends a deer and avoids touching her. After she gets too old/weak to be with her herd, she encourages Death to pet her. The deer and Death have a Final First Hug.
- Ma-Ti in The Nostalgia Critic's arms at the end of Suburban Knights.
- In the penultimate chapter of The Pirates Covered in Fur, Tully dies in Michum's arms after being fatally wounded in the swordfight against Lyle Krinkor.
- In the 10th season Red vs. Blue CT in the arms of The Insurrection Leader after being mortally wounded by Tex
- The RWBY episode "The Lost Fable" somehow manages to make this trope even worse than usual. Having already lost her lover Ozma to illness, Salem had to undergo the trauma of him being resurrected then killed again in her arms twice within the span of a few minutes when she tricks the gods into bringing him back.
- Clio Gabriella died this way in v4 of Survival of the Fittest, in the arms of her boyfriend Simon Telamon. She even begged for him to help her.
- A fan's take on a Team Fortress 2 "Meet the Spy" animation has the Spy over-selling his "death" to an Engineer who just shot him, collapsing dramatically into the Engineer's arms (complete with Pietà Plagiarism), so he can have a point blank shot to the Engineer's head, just as planned. (See it here.)