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Fatal Reward

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Aladdin: What are you doing?
Jafar: Giving you your reward... [pulls out a Devious Dagger] your eternal reward!
Aladdin

Bad guys simply cannot be trusted. As such, whenever one promises a valuable but suspiciously unspecified "reward" for completing a task or providing information or something that benefits the baddie in some way, beware: said "reward" will probably be a quick death (if you're lucky). Generally a sign of gross incompetence on the part of the villain if this is done to a minion, since competent minions are pretty valuable.

Common in the fantasy genre.

Compare You Have Failed Me and You Have Outlived Your Usefulness, in which the subject is killed in similar circumstances; though usually as a result of failure or part of a grand design, as opposed to being given a task or opportunity, fulfilling it competently, then being killed anyway. Also compare Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves, a subtrope which is this in specific cases where the victim has actively and knowingly betrayed their party to their killer in some way. Enforced in a more literal sense in cases where the victim actually wants to die, particularly in cases they can't do it themselves.

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


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Slayers, the Tragic Villain Erisiel Vrumugun does everything to bring her beloved master Copy Rezo back to power. But when her task if finally complete, her master promptly kills her off to concentrate on defeating the heroes.

    Film - Animated 
  • Aladdin. Jafar's plan for Aladdin after he gets him the lamp: stab him, leave him to die and take the lamp back to Agrabah. Luckily it fails.
    Aladdin: What are you doing?
    Jafar: Giving you your reward...your eternal reward!
  • Dreamworks' The Road to El Dorado: The wicked high priest Tzekel-Kan seeks to destroy the posers Miguel and Tulio by using a huge stone jaguar. Tzekel-Kan's faithful flunky is mixing the magic potion, but something seems to be missing from the recipe. Tzekel-Kan deduces that his minion must perish in order to give the stone icon life, and promptly pushes his stooge into the roiling ooze.
  • The roachlike cook of salvage station Tau 14 from Don Bluth's Titan A.E. eagerly points out which passageway the fleeing Cale Tucker and Captain Korso have taken. The Drej reward him for such honesty by shooting an energy blast down his throat. His last word is an apt "bullseye."

    Film - Live-Action 
  • The Hobbit. Semi-heroic-ish example in Thranduil, who promises to "free" the captive orc in exchange for information. After getting said information, the orc is swiftly decapitated and Thranduil justifies this by claiming he "freed his wretched head" from his body.
  • Hudson Hawk. Hawk's parole officer probably shouldn't have demanded "his cut" from a Literal-Minded person with a knife.
  • Sneakers. After the protagonists steal the black box from Janek, Martin and Crease go to the men who hired them to receive their payment. Crease learns that Janek has been murdered and that they're being set up for execution. He calls Martin over to him and they escape before the men can kill them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: In Dragonfire, Kane rewards the sculptor who just finished carving a life-sized statue of Xana by letting him look at the statue as Kane kills him.
  • Jessica Jones (2015). The fate of Detective Clemens is this after revealing the probable locations of Jessica and Kilgrave to Officer Simpson.
  • Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Jafar does something similar here with the Grendel, promising to "reunite" him with his dead wife in exchange for information. Of course, after getting said information, Jafar promptly kills him.
  • Person of Interest. The "bank manager" working for Decima who stole and delivered the Samaritan drives to Greer was thanked with a bullet through the chest.

    Literature 
  • One of the Arabian Nights has a djinn trapped in a bottle. At first he'll willingly becomes his liberator's slave, after a few hundred years go by he'll grant them three wishes, and after a few hundred years more he'll kill the person that frees him. When a fisherman comes along and does just that, the djinn explains his reasoning and gets ready to kill him. The fisherman expresses his incredulity that so huge and powerful a djinn could fit in a tiny bottle. The djinn demonstrates, and the fisherman puts the seal back on.
  • Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Played with in 'Dealing With Dragons Cimorene finds and frees a genie trapped in a bottle while organizing Kazul's hoard. This being a world of fairy tales, the event is a reference to the above Arabian Nights tale and the genie claims he will reward Cimorene with the death of her choice. At first she makes light of it by asking to die of old age, but the genie refuses because that's just not how this is done. Unfortunately for him while he's explaining all this, the Princess realizes from his story that he hasn't actually been trapped long enough to make death the reward, and is still in the time frame he's supposed to grant wishes. This is upsetting because while he can't break his vow, if he returns without having hit the mark, he'll be a laughingstock amongst other genies. They comprise with the idea that in exchange for one wish, Cimorene will put the cap back on the bottle for the genie lightly so he can let himself out after his term is done. By that time, Cimorene will have died of old age (just as she'd asked), and the genie can go home vows fulfilled without killing anyone.
  • Endgame Trilogy: In the Training Diaries Hayu Marca kills Julio instead of paying him 100 000 $ for shooting her son Jago's girlfriend Alicia.

    Video Games 
  • Ex Mortis: The second game ends with the player character being rewarded for bringing an Eldritch Abomination back to power with a quick death.
  • At one point in Papers, Please, Vonel will ask if you've ever heard of the Order of the EZIC Star. You can hand him a coded document you received from an EZIC operative and get arrested for associating with suspicious persons. In the Steam version you'll also unlock the achievement "Too Honest".
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3:
    • The soldiers who survive to the end of the ten years that they're allotted without dying in battle get the privilege of Homecoming: Which simply means that they're Killed Off for Real instead of reincarnated to fight again like the soldiers who don't survive to the end of their lifespan.
    • All of the colonies strive to reach Gold rank, which means that they're pardoned from having to continue to fight. It also means that a member of Moebius will be along shortly to harvest their life force.

    Web Comics 
  • Awful Hospital's setting has extremely broad notions of life, death, and morality, so when BBQ Girll kicks Fern into a meat grinder in "thanks" for her help, it's with the full expectation that a new instance of Fern will come back to enjoy the sandwich they make out of her old body. Fern's soon restored to life, but can't quite stomach the thought of the sandwich.
  • Referenced in The Order of the Stick. One of the hobgoblins who found Xykon's missing phylactery makes sure to ask his superior if the reward is real, and not "an ironic 'final reward' reward."

    Western Animation 
  • In the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Apokolips... Now!", after the mobster Bruno Mannheim (who was hired by the alien warlord Darkseid under promises of wealth and power) completes his last mission (to blow up a nuclear reactor on an island), he is left behind to die.
    Mannheim: You promised you'd make me a king!
    Darkseid: And so you are. King of FOOLS! (ends transmission)
  • Played with in The Dreamstone episode "Return of the Nightmare Stone". Urpgor agrees to help Zordrak find the title stone, with the assurance that he won't be fired (as he had the last time Zordrak got the stone and thus decided he didn't need to rely on him anymore) and will in fact be "suitably rewarded". When the stone is collected, Urpgor is predictably expelled, his "reward" is that Zordrak will hold himself from using this trope full on and executing him outright.

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