Every wise man's son doth know."
Maybe, despite your Refusal of the Call, you got dragged in, but you have always longed for escape; maybe you Jumped at the Call and are now older and wiser; maybe you did love being In Harm's Way, but it's gotten old now, or you've fallen in love, or your cynicism has been overcome by the Close-Knit Community. It's time for the Happy Ending: to go, and stay, home. Nice, peaceful, safe home. And do all sorts of quiet things. Maybe settle down with the Love Interest and indulge in Babies Ever After, or just grow some flowers. Definitely stop all this dangerous adventuring stuff. Any attempt at And the Adventure Continues will be rebuffed with We Are Not Going Through That Again.
You Can't Go Home Again? No matter, if you found another place that can serve as home. Often, it's better than the original. (Indeed, if the original was bad enough, this can actually motivate adventure, to find some place better.)
May end in Stranger in a Familiar Land, deflating hopes; this can result in his searching for a new home, his realizing that his new home is where his new love and new friends are, or his deciding that after all, he loves being In Harm's Way.
It obviously can occur throughout the story, but can only be fulfilled at the end. As a consequence, often the bait for a "Leave Your Quest" Test. If it's the hero's primary motivation throughout the story, it's The Homeward Journey.
Often causes the character to hate being Famed In-Story, as that drags him away from home and draws curious visitors who clutter up the quiet life. The Heroic Neutral (often the Retired Badass) has succeeded in getting home, and the reason he will return to adventure is that Evil refuses to let him live there.
In a series, may require Passing the Torch.
- Featured in the end of the manga version of Chrono Crusade. After Rosette saves her brother, they apparently go exploring for a year or two, then Rosette returns to the orphanage she grew up in to become a teacher. She dies there a few years later.
- In the end of Hellsing Alucard returns home to Integra after 30 years of fighting his army of souls, "Welcome back, Count." "I'm home, Countess."
- Both Renton & Eureka ended up back in their homeland Warsaw in the Eureka Seven movie ending, too bad the latter won't recall anything about it.
- At the end of the Kyoto Arc in Rurouni Kenshin, Kaoru holds her hand out to Kenshin and tells him, "Welcome home". To which Kenshin smiles and says to himself, "I am home, yes I am".
- At the end of the Frieza story arc in Dragon Ball, the final scene gives the feeling of being home after a dangerous and grand adventure with us seeing Gohan and his family settling back into a normal routine as they wait for Goku to return. The original music from the Funimation dub was even called 'Home Sweet Home'.
- The last episode of Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood has Edward and Alphonse returning home to the Rockbells, and Edward proposing to Winry. Somewhat subverted in that they depart again to learn more about alchemy, but it's later shown that both do return and have Babies Ever After with their respective love interests.
- At the end of Gunbuster, Noriko and Kazumi, after defeating the Space Monsters once and for all, finally return home to Earth (albeit several thousand years into the future due to Time Dilation).
- The Little Tailor, having set out to let the world know of his feat — seven at one blow! — settles down once married to the princess.
- The Boy Who Set Out to Learn What Fear Was stops when he marries the princess, even though he has not learned it. (She is annoyed by his muttering about it, though, and throws a bucket of cold water with minnows over him while he sleeps — thus managing what all the characters have failed to do, teach him what fear is.)
- In "Tsarevitch Ivan, the Fire Bird and the Gray Wolf", Ivan sets out on The Quest for his father, and once this is accomplished, he settles down.
- In the epilogue of The (Questionable) Burdens of Leadership of a Troll Emperor, Warmaster Setsuna finally retires after several hundred years serving under Naruto and Xanna against their enemies. She'd taken their offer of eternal youth in exchange for her fertility so she could see the Goa'uld exterminated then continued because the Celestial Empire still had enemies to fight. Once there were no major enemies to fight anymore, Setsuna asks Naruto to restore her mortality and fertility (along with a request for him to father her child) as she feels her job is done and she would like to die eventually. It's noted that before her retirement Setsuna had viewed her house/apartment as nothing more than a place to sleep when not in the field.
- Varric, just like in the game, is really homesick for Kirkwall in the Twice Upon An Age series. It's downplayed in the first story, in part because of the Switching P.O.V. storytelling, but is made abundantly clear in the side volume Across the Waking Sea, which consists of his letters to and from Bethany Hawke. She's not in Kirkwall either, and they're able to commiserate about their homesickness.
- Our Miss Brooks: The cinematic Series Finale sees Miss Brooks finally marry Mr. Boynton and move into the house across the street from Mrs. Davis.
- Dorothy has to learn this in The Wizard of Oz.
- The Film of the Book The Time Machine (2002): the protagonist lost his wife in the 1880s, but he gets another one and stays in circa. the 200th century instead.
- Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? has Rock retiring from advertising and settling down with his family on a chicken farm.
- Willow returns with a book of magic, but he settles back down to study at home.
- In The Princess Bride, every Dread Pirate Roberts makes his fortune and retires; Westley has reached this stage and wants only to settle down with Buttercup.
- At the end of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, for Bilbo, the impulse to adventure had grown weak and the desire to go home had gotten very strong.
- From the beginning of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy's driving motivation.
No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home.
- Subverted big time in later books, however. When Aunt Em and Uncle Henry can no longer keep the family farm, Dorothy decides to move to Oz full time, where she holds the rank of Princess in Ozma's court. Ozma then brings Em and Henry to Oz as well, and sets them up with a little patch of land in Munchkin Country.
- Andre Norton often features this. Usually, the original location was not a good fit in some manner, so they must find a new home, but that is what they are after.
- In The Beast Master, Hosteen Storm nearly goes insane after the destruction of Terra; he channels it into a desire for Revenge, and in the end, discovers that he had still living relatives on another planet where he could make his new home.
- In Catseye, after Troy forms a group of True Companions with enhanced animals, they stay in the wild in hopes of finding a refuge.
- Witch World: Simon Tregarth, having taken a Cool Gate to another world, finds it more suited to him. He makes friends and fights for it; at the end of the novel, he and the witch had fallen in love and marry. Although they had further adventures, being dragged into them, at the end of Sorceress of Witch World, they go to return home and settle down in peace.
- In "The People of the Crater", the first novella of Garan the Eternal, after some initial understandings the male protagonist settles down with the People of the Crater.
- In the Witch World novel Gryphon's Eyrie, the protagonists have been Walking the Earth since their respective childhood homes were destroyed. They find a new permanent home and settle in by the end of the story.
- In Perilous Dreams, the surviving protagonists of the first two stories learn that they are permanently trapped in an Alternate Universe. However, they find that their new life has much to offer that the old did not, and live Happily Ever After.
- In The Prince Commands, the protagonist (after many adventures) settles down to his new life in Morvania upon learning that he and his last living relative had had a misunderstanding, and that he was welcome to stay.
- In Star Man's Son, the hero gets several offers for places he could stay, but chooses to return home to face charges of theft and sacrilege. The people he stole from decide he did so well at their job that they dismiss the charges and recruit him to be a new leader.
- In Ice Crown, Roane is distraught when the ship leaves without her, thinking herself alone; Nelis assures her that she has found a home.
- In Dread Companion, Kosgro insists they can't get any old Cool Gate; they must get their own, that will return them to their own place. Too bad she doesn't send them to their own time. . . .
- Older Than Feudalism: The Odyssey.
- When asked whether to receive guests, Menelaus reacts in anger: as if he would violate Sacred Hospitality, having spent so long as a guest in other men's houses, and having finally won back to his own home. (He took nearly as long as Odysseus to return.)
- Mercedes Lackey examples:
- The Lark and the Wren ends on this note once the Free Bard protagonists gain a permanent position as court bards while the Beta Couple acquire a well-fitted out wagon to let them continue their wanderings in comfort.
- Vows and Honor: Tarma and Kethry are adventurers because they need to build up capital, experience, and reputation before they can follow their dream of retiring to establish a Wizarding School (which will also train more mundane fighters, Tarma's specialty). They also plan to reestablish Tarma's clan once Kethry finds someone she'd like to settle down with. They achieve both goals by the end of the original duology.
- At the end of The Mallorean, the protagonists return to their respective homes; as Garion notes, since the loop of destiny was finally broken, it's as if they're all returning to where they started for whatever future is waiting now.
- When Coraline returns from the other world for the final time, she contemplates how beautiful the real world actually is:
- The sky had never seemed so sky. The world had never seemed so world.
- In Neverwhere, this is Richard's primary ambition.
- On returning from his trip through The Phantom Tollbooth, Milo's first impulse is to avert this trope and go back the next day. But once he takes another look at his own world — and all the things that'd previously bored him, yet now seem more interesting — he stops being disappointed that the Tollbooth has vanished.
- In Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, when Mole and Rat are out at Christmas time, Mole realizes they are near his home, and feels a primordial instinct to return.
- In John C. Wright's Fugitives of Chaos, Victor, asked what he wants, says a home, wife, children.
- In Robert E. Howard's "A Witch Shall Be Born", Conan the Barbarian's In Harm's Way is explicitly contrasted to Valerius, whose Smooch of Victory is welcomed with the "gratitude of a weary fighter who has attained rest at last through tribulation and storm".
- In The Orc King, Tos'un Armgo is a drow with a typical For the Evulz attitude who changes slowly and ambiguously for the better during the novel. He is very relieved when moon elves take him in. A hundred years later he's married with two children. In contrast, good and noble Drizzt who was equally relieved at finding people who accept him keeps up an In Harm's Way lifestyle.
- In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, Freckles is not only looking for work, but for a place to call home.
He was intensely eager to belong somewhere and to be attached to almost any enterprise that would furnish him food and clothing.
- In John Hemry's The Lost Fleet novel Invincible, Admiral Lagemann tells Geary he will not be a problem when they return, because all he wants is to resign and retire to some backwater planet.
- In Poul Anderson's Time Patrol stories, a good number of agents have a far amount of this, and work in a given era, checking for problems and providing other agents with what they need to operate in them.
- Ellen Emerson White's Echo Company Series and its stand-alone conclusion The Road Home features a group of young soldiers and an Army nurse during the Vietnam War, all of whom spend their tours desperately longing to return home. When they finally do, most are deeply affected by physical and emotional damage, and so they are unable to settle back into their old lives.
- In Poul Anderson's Gypsy, the reason they stopped looking for Earth was that they would rather settle on Harbor and make it their home.
- At the end of Mockingjay Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch return to the Victors' Village in District 12 and settle in to live their lives as normally as possible.
- In This Immortal, Conrad is not happy to begin with when he's called in for a job, especially since he's just married. In the end, he and Cassandra build themselves a new home on Haiti since their former home base island, Kos, is destroyed by an earthquake during the story. They just continue where they left off.
- In Doctor Who, the Doctor never shows any signs of this, but a great many of the Doctor's companions Go Back Home when they've had enough of the adventures. (Or have found a new home.)
The Doctor: My journey is the same as yours, the same as any ones. It's taken me so many years, so many lifetimes, but at last I know where I'm going. Where I've always been going. Home. The long way around.
- Turlough's motive for leaving: he would miss him, but he had a chance to go home, and his brother to look after.
- Susan left because the Doctor realized that she wanted this but felt too loyal to her grandfather to give it up, so he forced the issue.
- Leela stayed on Gallifrey for love — and K-9 to look after her.
- Harry Sullivan declined even a short jaunt on Earth.
- In "Day of the Doctor," after saving Gallifrey with all of his incarnations, he seems to realize this was his destination all along:
- The U.S.S. Voyager returns home.
- All the characters of Mash go home in the final episode, "Goodbye, Farewell, Amen".
- At the end of Alias, Sydney and Vaughn seem to have settled into this trope, yet it is subverted by their continued participation in the occasional spy mission or two.
- Battlestar Galactica has an endgame of finding "home"; eventually, the characters do arrive at Earth, and, despite some losses, are generally assumed to live happily ever after, etc. etc.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine gives us two subversions at the very end of its seven year run.
- Odo started off as a shapeshifter who knew nothing about his race or where he had come from, learned his race was the series Big Bad and was, as a result, unable to return home to his people though he desperately longed to do so. At the end of the show, he realises that the best chance for long-term peace the Alpha and Gamma Quadrants have is for him to return to his people and teach them that the Solids don't have to be their enemy. To do this, he has to sacrifice the love of his life, making his return home less "sweet" and more "bittersweet".
- Garak spends the entire seven years of the show in exile from Cardassia but clearly very much in love with the world he's come from, longing to return home but unable to do so. He and Odo even end up bonding over their shared yearning. At the end of the show, his exile is officially over and he's able to go home. But the Cardassia he once knew is gone; the planet's cities are in ruins and eight hundred million Cardassians are dead. And, by playing a pivotal role in the success of The Federation and La Résistance against the Big Bad occupiers of Cardassia, he's actually contributed to the situation his planet is now in. Home Sweet Home never looked more tragic.
- In Season 7 of Bones Booth and Brennan finally move in together. They purchase a house - the first for both - and with their newborn daughter Christine it's the symbol of the family both have longed for all their adult lives. Booth dubs their house the "mighty hut," and it's pretty symbolic of everything it really means to him.
- At the end of The Legend Of William Tell, with Vara on the throne and Kreel and Xax overthrown, Will asks permission to go home and tend his parents' farm.
- In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20), Dean is overjoyed to return to his childhood home with his loved ones safe, but finds it is just a dream constructed by a djinn.
- In Peanuts, Charlie Brown doesn't like to go to camp and is glad to be back. (Lucy asks if he's been away when he mentions it.)
- At the end of every Shakespearean comedy, "marry and settle down" hits any number of couples. Particularly at the end of As You Like It where everyone heads back to court.
- Barbie had a marketing campaign in 2013 in which Barbie considered selling her Malibu Dreamhouse and moving to another city. After traveling across the world, Barbie ultimately moved back to Malibu and had her Dreamhouse remodeled.
- The ending of The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past provides this for everyone, even characters who have died.
- The Super Famicom RPG Traverse: Starlight & Prairie has a "Marriage" option in the game's main menu, which you can use at any time to hook up the protagonist with any sufficiently intimate party member. Using it results in a short cutscene at the chapel and a Non-Standard Game Over.
- In the epilogue of The Reconstruction, Santes and Zargos settle down in Wadassia. The four Nalians in the party also return home. Averted with the fih'jik members of the party, not only because they don't want to go back, but because they don't really have a home to return to. Also averted with Dehl and Qualstio, who continue to wander and help the world.
- At the end of The Game of the Ages, you leave the worlds you saved and are happy to return to the Village of Boredom.
- In Dragon Age: Inquisition, it's made very clear that party member Varric is incredibly homesick for Kirkwall, the setting of the previous game, where he was born and raised. He's determined to do the right thing and help the Inquisition save the world, in part because he thinks It's All My Fault, but he has a number of lines which indicate that he really, really wants to go home.
- Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger looks forward to this — some day, when he's retired. You Can't Go Home Again is the price he pays for the stars, and he likes it.
- Wapsi Square: What Jin is looking forward to: Then time will continue, we'll live together, buy a house, grow old and then die!
- Dork Tower The corrupting effects of Sims!
- Precocious: Escaping appointments
- In Girl Genius, Othar laughs at Agatha's claims that she wants a normal life but gives her three months to get it out of her system.
- In Endstone, Kyri and Jon settle down after dealing with the Dragonstone.
- In Sinfest,
- In Strays, Meela tries to make her brother let them go back. Later, that is where she goes for shelter.
- In No Rest for the Wicked, November just wants to go home and sleep. It is the problems with the latter that keep her going.
- In The Bean, he doesn't want to be king, he just wants to go home.
- In The Order of the Stick,
Qarr: What in Home Sweet Home is going in there?
- Only duty keeps Durkon adventuring. He wants to go home so much that he weeps Tears of Joy when the Oracle tells him he will posthumously. Later, when dying, his last words are "I get ta go home."
- Qarr the imp invokes this:
- In Within a Mile of Home, after he falls off the edge of the world, and realizes what happened, his reaction is "I just want to go home."
- The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: In episode 1, Jane enthusiastically plans a big change in her life and wants to experience sensational adventures, which results in applying for a new job rather spontaneously. This is in stark contrast to episode 9 when Jane longs for calm and she wants to go home really badly... except she's an orphan with only an abusive step-aunt and equally bad cousins, and poor Jane doesn't really have any place she could consider her home.
- The Incredibles: Helen is perfectly happy in her home life. And the movie ends with all of the Parrs returning to their house, having grown much closer as a family. Of course, the house is destroyed a few minutes later, but they still seem to live in the town judging by the track meet. They get a fancy mansion in the sequel.