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Great Way to Go

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"I want to be drunk, and happy, and then I want to explode."
Jeremy Clarkson

A character died.

Time for some traditional funeral? Eh... someone's not feeling that serious, be it writers or characters—heck, maybe the character who died would be insulted by anything so somber. So what's a writer to do? Have someone say what a great time it must've been!

If it's not lampshaded with the trope name itself, then chances are it will be something along the lines of "That's how I wanna go." Someone will say this about Out with a Bang a good amount of the time, regardless of whether it's true.

Dying in their lover's arms, especially after not having having seen the other for years, might also qualify, simply due to the over the top Heartwarming aspect. But see below.

Compare A Good Way to Die.

Note: If no one says anything, it doesn't count. This is not about a character's Moment of Awesome intersecting with their death—that's Dying Moment of Awesome. This is about a character in-story acknowledging this, ironically or not. By the same token, a character going out quietly in their sleep after spending the most wonderful time with their family still isn't this unless someone says or does something in-story to acknowledge it.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • In Death: The Time of Your Life, Barry reflects upon the death of Larry in a way that serves as a Brick Joke later in the series:
    Barry: Considering the damage he must have done to that body — thirty years of every drug a man could snort, sniff or shoot, and the last ten years as a practicing health-freak and gourmand... it's a blessing he got as long as he did. Probably how he would have wanted to go. Me, I want to be squashed by a bull elephant at the moment of orgasm while sandwiched ecstatically between two or three agile greased Nubian virgins.
  • A Rip Hunter short story by Jeff Lemire imagines Hunter getting his time machine destroyed while trapped in the past. He is visited by several future versions of himself who explain that the only way for him to get out is if one of them gives him their time machine and agrees to stay behind. Finally, he meets an elderly version of himself who's ready to die.
    Rip Hunter: Did I ever wonder how I wanted to die? No. Ever since the second grade I knew how I wanted to go: Eaten by a dinosaur.
  • As characters die in droves towards the end of The Transformers (IDW), Wheeljack reflects on his final act of Heroic Sacrifice and the ultimate expression of his Gadgeteer Genius: setting up a device to teleport an entire planet of people to safety to escape Unicron. No one else is there to hear it, but he acknowledges to himself that yeah, saving billions of lives and preventing the extinction of an entire race is a pretty good way to go. Wheeljack dies, but is remembered as the savior of the Elonian people and one of the finest Mad Scientists in the setting.

    Fan Works 

  • One person explains that a family member Died Laughing in Mary Poppins. Another expresses sympathy, which he brushes off, saying it was a good way to go. It remains one of the best ways Disney handled a non villain death ever:
    Mr. Dawes Jr: Ah, there you are, Banks. I want to congratulate you. Capital bit of humor, wooden leg named Smith! [pauses, looks a bit confused] Or, Jones, whatever it was. Father died laughing!
    George Banks: Oh, I'm so sorry, sir!
    Mr. Dawes Jr: Oh no, nonsense, nothing to be sorry about! Never seen him happier in his life.
  • Secondhand Lions refers to this as "going out with your boots on". The uncles themselves earn this distinction at the end of the movie.
  • Basic Instinct: A detective, when discussing a murder victim he's standing next to.
    "Hey, he got off before he got offed!"
  • In Cabin Fever one of the teens is convinced the deadly disease that's been going around will infect her soon enough. She copes with this idea surprisingly calmly, saying, "It's like being on a plane when you know it's going to crash. Everybody is screaming "We're going down! We're going down!" And all you want to do is grab the person next to you and fu*k the sh*t out of them, because you know you just gonna die soon, anyway." She proceeds to do just that, throwing the random dude who happened to be beside her at the time down on the bed and going at it like a wild cowgirl. She wasn't even patient enough to use a condom, which turned out to be bad news for the guy, because she was already infected and didn't even know it.


  • In Anansi Boys, the dad goes out in a way that's good enough that people assumed he did it intentionally. He died of a heart attack during karaoke, fell off the stage, threw out his hand for balance and grabbed a woman's shirt and tore it off, exposing her breasts. Fat Charlie finds this hideously embarrassing.
  • In Scott Westerfeld's The Succession Duology, those who fail the Risen Emperor in a particularly spectacular way are expected to take the Blade of Error — traditionally a self-inflicted knife wound to the abdomen, but those who had been previously offered Immortality for their service to the Emperor are allowed to kill themselves however they want. At least one character in that situation was described as going out "gasping with orgasm as she went".
  • From Discworld:
    • In Reaper Man, the wizards are giving a "deathday" party (Discworld wizards naturally know the time of their deaths beforehand) to their oldest member, Windle Poons. The old chap is having a great time, but it's a bit after his expected time of death when he mentions that he could do with "one of Mister Dibbler's famous meat pies..." and dies mid-sentence.note 
      "That's how I want to go."
      "What, muttering about meat pies?"
      "No. Late."
    • Thief of Time raises the possibility of death via diving into a vat of chocolate. The "person" involved was Unity, formerly Myria LeJean, ex-Auditor-of-reality. The vat was requested since Auditors who take on humanoid form have such hypersensitive taste buds that a single taste of chocolate kills them via sensory overload. Death and the other Horsemen had to admit that dying by Guilty Pleasures cranked up was a novel way to commit suicide.
  • The Book of Stupid Lists had a list of "7 Quite Nice Ways to Die" but stopped after 'Being orgasmed to death by Charlie's Angels' and 'Drowning in a tidal wave of cointreau' because that's all they could think of.
  • Saracen Rue from Skulduggery Pleasant admits that he wants to die from a piano being dropped on him unexpectedly, preferably after doing something heroic. Sadly, he doesn't get his wish.
  • In Harry Turtledove's Timeline-191 series, one of the viewpoint characters dies of a heart attack while in the bed of his lady friend. The man's son-in-law wryly comments that at least he went out happy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Lexx, the (renegade) Brunnen-G launched a hopeless counterattack against the forces of the Divine Shadow believing it was better than simply waiting to die (like the rest of their people). The Brunnen-G Battle Hymn is dedicated to this trope, and the Brunnen-G sing it as they go to their deaths. The musical episode "Brigadoom" features a song titled "A Good Way to Die" that is also dedicated to the idea that dying while fighting an unwinnable battle is still preferable to doing nothing.
  • In Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Time Chasers, Crow attempts to change history so Mike won't be trapped in space. When he succeeds, he learns that the Satellite of Love's human occupant is Mike's Jerkass brother Eddie, and that in the altered reality, Mike became a successful rock musician, but was killed while touring when a groupie threw her hotel key (with a large keyfob) to him and hit him in the head. Eddie comments that he's proud of the way his little brother went.
    • Discussed during the "Every Country Has a Monster" song for Reptilicus.
      Jonah: Congo's Kongamato/Is a mongo flyin' dino/I know I don't wanna die/But when I do he'll be the guy-
      Tom & Crow: Whoa!
  • In almost any incarnation of Star Trek, Klingons are known to express this sentiment whenever they hear about a death in combat or battle, especially if it qualifies as "glorious". Considering their afterlife functions like Valhalla, in that you have to die in battle to get in to the good part, it's a pretty understandable sentiment.
    Worf: Today is a good day to die.
  • In Torchwood, one of the first aliens the team fought against on the show was a body-possessing sex alien (yes, it was that kind of show) who fed off of men's lust by turning them into dust upon reaching an orgasm. When the team saw CCTV footage of its first victim, one of them comments "That's how I'd like to go!"
  • Rome:
    • Servilia's theatrical and ritual suicide in front of her rival's house. It even gets commended by another long-time enemy.
      Antony: Now that is an exit!
    • When Marc Antony decides to commit suicide himself, he notes that Cleopatra's throne room isn't a bad place to make your exit. "Men who knew Alexander once stood here."
  • In M*A*S*H, Col. Potter's horse, Sophie, goes missing, only to turn up when an old, and apparently senile Korean gentleman, who had been washing the Colonel's laundry, had taken her for a ride while wearing his old army uniform. Upon seeing how happy the horse made him, Col. Potter told him to keep her. The next day, the old man's daughter comes back to return Sophie as she explains that her father passed away during the night, but thanks to Col. Potter, his final hours were he happiest she had ever seen him, and he went with honor, pride, and dignity.
  • In the Doctor Who 60th Anniversary episode trilogy episode "The Giggle", returning classic-era Companion Mel mentions that her late husband, space adventurer Sabalom Glitz, died at the age of 101, tripping over a whiskey bottle. She gave him a Viking Funeral in his memory. Mel admits that it was "the perfect way for him to go."

    New Media 
  • This Cracked article has two astronauts on the moon, which has just split in half to reveal a giant monster dwelling in its hollow interior. They respond appropriately:
    Astronaut 1 Sweet! SWEET!
    Astronaut 2: This is why I became an astronaut! To die like this! Exactly like this!

    Video Games 
  • In Halo: Reach after Jorge's Heroic Sacrifice
    Emile: Big man said he would never leave Reach.
  • In Quest for Glory IV, the farmers talk about the Rusalka, a spirit who lived in the lake and lured men into the water with her, seducing them and then pulling them under. Ivan the elephant herder comments "What a way to go."
  • During the Smith Brothers boss fight in Sunset Riders, whichever brother dies last raises his hands, mutters "That was a bang", and then falls from his platform... before blowing himself up.
  • Played for Drama in route 4C (Fraternité) of Aviary Attorney. Jayjay is freaking out as he realizes he can't save Severin Cocorico, who tells him to calm down and, very dignified, says that there are worse ways to go than being executed by revolutionaries. It seems more likely that he didn't want Jayjay to get killed protesting.

  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja:
    • Dan McNinja, regarding the death of Gordito's father, The Amazing Flying Shooting Juan: "What an... incredible way to die."
    • There is also King Radical's death. To start, Dr. McNinja had to turn him into a vampire to make him less invulnerable; Radical achieved this by being bitten by not just any vampire, but Dracula: King of all Vampires, being used by Doc as a battering weapon. Then, not having any holy weapons around, the good doctor proceeds to grab a kidnapped Pope and throw him at King Radical; the ensuing explosion leaves only a pair of sunglasses to show there was ever a most radical man in the radical lands.
    King Radical: No. Wait. Yes. This will be so ra--
  • Dinosaur Comics has a strip about the related concept of deaths (and other events) that are "extremely sad, but also extremely amazing." T-Rex proposes a new word to describe it:
    T-Rex: I call my new word "sawesome"! Like sad and awesome? Someone dropped an arrow out of a plane and it nailed my friend in the eye and it was extremely sawesome?
  • It's Walky!:
    • One of the characters fakes his own death as... having died in a fire while in the middle of an orgy with various women. Once someone else finds out he comments that they were supposed to be proud rather than sad - he almost wishes that he did go like that.
    • One villain uses his dying breath to give thanks that he was stabbed In the Back. "How'd you know? Mmy fvrt dthhh..."
  • In The Order of the Stick, a wager made between the gods Thor, Loki, and Hel resulted in a situation where the soul of any dwarf who dies without honour gets claimed by Hel. This naturally culminated in dwarven society placing nigh-paramount emphasis on ensuring that their deaths come in an honourable fashion. For instance, when one of Durkon's extended family fought and got eaten by a giant demonic worm, this was met with joyous cheers by the others present, much to Hayley and Blackwing's bemusement.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Christmas in the Car", Linda buys the Belchers' first Christmas tree way too early (literally the day after Halloween) and it gets thrown out three weeks later. As Bob takes it to the dumpster, Gene jokes "That's how I wanna go out, dehydrated and covered in tinsel."
  • Parodied once on the Family Guy episode "Long John Peter" when Peter's parrot died.
    Dr. Jewish: Mister Griffin, I'm afraid that your Parrot is dead.
    Peter: Noooo! Did he at least die with dignity?
    Dr. Jewish: Well, he convulsed a lot and fell off the operating table. Then he flopped around a little on the floor, then a passing nurse accidentally stepped on him and kicked him into a puddle of urine, which must have frightened him because his bowels released all over himself. I tried to pick him up, but then, I got angry because some of it got on my thumb. So I threw him against the wall, and that's where he died.
    Peter: That's the way I wanna go.
  • Several times on Futurama:
    • "Amazon Women in the Mood" has a non-verbal variant where Fry and Zapp go between properly terrified and excited after being sentenced to death by "snu-snu". Verbally, there's:
      Fry: [resigned] I never thought I would die this way. [brightens] But I've always really, really hoped.
    • In "A Pharaoh to Remember", the crew show Bender that they will still care about him after he's dead by showing him how they would conduct his funeral:
      Fry: Dearly Beloved, we are here today to remember Bender, taken from us in the prime of life; when he was crushed by a runaway semi, driven by The Incredible Hulk.
      Bender: Aww, you knew my favorite cause of death.
    • "A Clockwork Origin":
      Fry: [carried away by a robot pterodactyl] This is a cool way to die!
  • A rather demented example was Darkwing Duck foe Splatter Phoenix, a Mad Artist who died when she was splashed with turpentine. (Apparently, she was, like many of her creations, a being made of paint.) As she melted away, she mused "Oh well, at least my work will be worth more when I'm gone..."
  • Cody from Total Drama World Tour accidentally fell into the Statue of Liberty's bosom, only escaping due to Sierra's help.
    Cody: For a second, I actually thought I was going to die in there.
    Chef: But what a way to go (snickers).
    Cody: True that. Hoohoohoohoo!

    Real Life 
  • Numerous stage actors and comedians have died mid-performance.
    • British comedian Tommy Cooper's death from a heart attack while performing on live television in front of the then Queen is constantly referred to as an artist's dream come true, or at least a generally good way to go.
    • Sid James died on stage of a heart attack when it was his cue to recite his character's lines, leaving the audience roaring with laughter, even when a stagehand called to them "Is there a doctor in the house?"
    • American comedian Dick Shawn had a heart attack and died in the middle of his routine in front of his favorite audience (college students).
    • It is said that 17th century French playwright and actor Molière died during the applause after one of his performances in the title role of Le malade imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid, or The Hypochondriac).
  • While watching The Goodies, Alex Mitchell found one episode — "Kung Fu Kapers" — so funny he laughed for nearly a half-hour straight. Only someone in peak physical condition could survive that kind of exertion for so long. He didn't, literally dying of laughter. His wife wrote The Goodies a letter, thanking them for making her husband's last half-hour of life so happy.
  • Organ virtuoso and composer Louis Vierne went to give a performance at Notre Dame Cathedral, claimed to be his 1,750th organ recital and scheduled shortly after the clergy had announced that thereafter the organ would only be played during Mass, not for special recitals. He told his assistant, fellow organ virtuoso and composer Maurice Duruflé, "I think I'll die tonight." He gave a masterful performance, with some in his audience saying that it was the best he'd ever done. Going back to the console for his third(!) encore, an improvisation on a theme submitted by the audience, he collapsed, suffering a massive stroke and dying, surrounded by 3,000 adoring fans, in the middle of Notre Dame, at the height of his musical prowess. What a way to go.
  • There is a legend that Genghis Khan died because of the exhaustion of having fought a battle in the morning, going and fighting two duels and lastly bedding a captured princess when he gave out on climax. In reality, he died by falling off his horse while riding blind drunk. He was 71. That could also qualify.
  • Attila the Hun's rampage through Europe came to an end when he took a Germanic princess to his bed and wedded her with such enthusiasm it gave him a fatal nosebleed. His warriors decided they needed to mourn the great conqueror he had been in the manliest way ever, and as such willingly cut themselves to shed blood instead of tears. You know you want this funeral arrangement too.