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Mentor Occupational Hazard

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"Well, as an older mentor figure, the most likely scenario is that I'd return only to be randomly killed by an enemy of yours so that you can cradle my dying body while swearing revenge — so don't take it personally if I say that I sincerely hope we never cross paths again."
Julio Scoundrèl (to Elan), The Order of the Stick

A hero's mentor dies, often to further the development of the hero or make the villain appear more despicable and imposing.

Being the Mentor is never an easy job. Fighting the Big Bad yourself and stopping The End of the World as We Know It is tough enough as it is, and you would know. Now you have to do that and take this Naïve Newcomer under your wing and teach them the ropes of herodom.

If you don't have to convince The Chosen One who just wants to be normal to grow a spine and accept the Call to Adventure, you have to convince your blindly excited and dangerously eager young pupil that You Are Not Ready to learn the Dangerous Forbidden Technique. When you try to protect The Hero from the Awful Truth, you end up facing their Rage Against the Mentor. If they're an orphan, you have to find them a set of Muggle Foster Parents while keeping social services in the dark. You have to endure accusations of insanity when you're trying to teach your charge that Your Eyes Can Deceive You, give them advice on how to tell a love interest "It's Not You, It's My Enemies," and keep a close eye on them 24/7.

And what is your reward for all this patience and effort?

You die.

Yes, there is a 90-100% chance that the Cool Old Guy who has stood by The Hero's side through thick and thin since the first episode/chapter/installment gets offed before the climax of the story. He might get an Obi-Wan Moment if he's lucky. He's just that cool: Too Cool to Live. It's necessary for The Hero's development — can they rise to the occasion and save the day without their teacher holding their hand? Are they ready to accept the torch?

If the student is lucky, their Mentor will stick around as a Spirit Advisor. Either way, expect them to retreat into a Heroic BSoD for awhile, possibly mumbling "It's All My Fault," before the Unstoppable Rage kicks in and the villain responsible pays. They needn't dwell on it too long, though. It was probably all part of the plan.

This is one of the hardest deaths for an audience to accept but ironically, one of the types most likely to stick even if coming Back from the Dead has been done before. An alternate plot involves the Missing Mentor, whose removal from the story (albeit alive and well — we can assume) still prompts The Hero to take on his greater responsibility.

Compare/contrast Dead Sidekick. Maybe the result of Opposed Mentors. Not all mentors fall into this, of course. A great number, if not most, of those that don't fall to the hazards of the occupation eventually turn out to have been a Broken Pedestal; then the inevitable death is either a particularly emotionally charged hero-kills-villain or Redemption Equals Death instead. Then posthumous character development can turn them into a Rebuilt Pedestal.

Since this is a Death Trope, expect plenty of unmarked spoilers.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Baccano!: After Szilard's death, Maiza takes Firo aside and asks the boy to kill him, since he's already centuries old and the one reason he's stuck around for so long (revenge on Szliard) no longer exists. Firo then cheerfully rattles off several excuses for why he can't do that (one of which is basically: "But we're all too dumb to do taxes on our own!") before finally just admitting he'd miss Maiza too much to be able to.
  • Bleach: Retsu Unohana invokes this trope because of her beliefs. She deliberately arranges a spar in which the only way for Kenpachi to win is to kill her- something he couldn't (and wouldn't) normally do unless he stopped unconsciously limiting his power, out of fear of that same outcome. Eventually her brutality pushes Kenpachi to such a primal, adrenaline-fueled state that he unleashes his full power. She dies content.
  • Combattler V: Professor Nanbara. He built the Humongous Mecha was the last hope for the humankind, recruited four young teens and his granddaughter, taught them to pilot it, selected his successor... and shortly after he died.
  • Cross Ange: Commander Zola Axberg was going to be Ange's commanding officer in the First Company... but when a failed attempt to escape Arzenal in a Paramail — during a mission to fight DRAGONs no less — causes Ange to run into Zola, a DRAGON proceeded to knock them both out of the sky. The resulting crash destroyed both Paramails, killing Zola and putting Ange in the hospital. Zola's death, as well as the deaths of new recruits Coco and Miranda, made Ange incredibly unpopular with the First Company, especially Zola's harem (consisting of Hilda, Chris and Rosalie). Salia ends up replacing Zola as leader of the First Company, while Jill becomes more involved with whipping Ange into proper shape.
  • Crying Freeman: Ivory Fan’s mentor, Old Man Mercury, is killed very shortly in both the anime and the manga after Om Thai Yeung ascends to leadership of the 108 Dragons. In both cases, his death is seen as an unambiguously good thing because not only is he leading Ivory Fan down the wrong path, he has betrayed the organization.
  • D.Gray-Man: Trickster Mentor Cross Marian disappeared from the Black Order headquarters while he was under house arrest. Given the amount of blood and the fact that his gun and mask were found on the floor and there were signs of a struggle, he's currently presumed dead, but they Never Found the Body...
  • This happens in The Daughter of Twenty Faces, although this is more of a Missing Mentor case, as Chiko spends the rest of the series trying to find Twenty Faces.
  • Death Note:
    • Played straight, where Soichiro acts as a mentor to Matsuda. On realizing Light has essentially betrayed everything his father stood for, Matsuda flies into an Unstoppable Rage and shoots him.
    • There's also L, who acted as a mentor to Mello and Near. The manga in particular suggests that Near's principal motivation in catching Kira is to avenge L's death — oh yeah, and justice too. That.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba:
    • Sakonji Urokodaki is an inversion; he's an Old Master who's outlived most of his students, as many of them were killed during the Final Selection by a demon who has a personal grudge against Urokodaki and has made sure to slaughter as many of his students as possible. Giyu, and later the main character Tanjiro, are the only ones under his tutelage who have made it out of the Final Selection alive. Since many of his students were orphans who he looked after like they were his children, having so many of them die weighs heavily on him.
    • A straighter example is Kyojuro Rengoku, the Flame Hashira. He acts like a Big Brother Mentor towards Tanjiro, Zenitsu and Inosuke and promises that he'll mentor them further after their mission on the Infinity Train, but he's killed by the end of the arc. He was also previously Mitsuri Kanroji's mentor, and she's horrified by the news of his death.
  • In Digimon Ghost Game, The Professor Digimon Bokomon was a mentor to the kids, teaching them about the Digital World and acted like a grandfather to Gammamon as he always treated him to chocolate when they visited. Bokomon later dies Taking the Bullet for Gammamon while they're fighting the Knight of Cerebus Sealsdramon, awakening Gammamon to his Superpowered Evil Side GulusGammamon.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • The Muten Roshi acts as this in Dragon Ball; having taken Goku and Krillin (and later, Yamcha) into his home and training them in his own, err, odd, martial art. When Great Demon King Piccolo shows up, Goku is presumed to be dead and Krillin actually IS dead, and Tenshinhan is the last hope for the future, the Muten Roshi uses the suicidal Mafuuba to reseal Piccolo. It doesn't work, and, this being Dragon Ball... he gets better.
    • In Dragon Ball Z, after kidnapping and training Gohan for the arrival of the Saiyans, Piccolo died protecting him from a fatal blast from Nappa. This kicks off a large development of Gohan's character, although he already showed signs of it a moment earlier before Nappa attacked him with that blast.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: The History of Trunks and the manga bonus chapter it adapts, Future Gohan becomes a mentor to Trunks and it soon becomes a father/son relationship. He is the only one who understands Trunks as a fellow half-Saiyan. At the end of the movie, he dies, leading to Trunks having a Heroic BSoD in which he becomes Super Saiyan - the very thing Gohan was trying to teach him.
    • This happened to King Kai; when Goku, performing a Heroic Sacrifice to save Earth, teleported the about-to-explode Cell to King Kai's planet/house. King Kai wasn't terribly bothered by the sudden transition, since he lives in the afterlife anyway, but was supremely annoyed Goku blew up his planet.
    • The above also extends to Goku himself since he died saving Gohan, who he mentored, from his mistake, not killing Cell before he decided to Rage Quit.
  • Fairy Tail:
  • GARO: The Animation: Germán. After raising his son León to inherit the armor of Golden Knight GARO, he and his lovable old man shenanigans were around from the very beginning - and not only does he get offed in the most agonizingly plain way imaginable in the final battle, but he leaves his son to be responsible for his yet-unborn half-brother - presumably to repeat the cycle of this devilish trope all over again.
  • Giant Robo The Animation: Daisuke and his father. And several members on friendly terms with Daisuke in the IPO starting with Taisou and ending with Ginrei before the end of the series.
  • GoLion: Averted with Raible, who's a mentor to the Golion team.
    • Played straight with Hys, who's a mentor to the princess.
  • Gundam:
    • Mobile Fighter G Gundam:
      • Schwarz Bruder, the German fighter, shepherds Domon from reckless anger to Tranquil Fury for reasons that are unclear until he's revealed to be a clone of Domon's brother and then dies in a Heroic Sacrifice.
      • Master Asia is Domon's first martial arts teacher. He wants Domon to fulfill his plan and teaches him the ultimate technique even while they're yelling at each other. He, too, dies shortly after they reconcile.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE:
      • Captain Grodek first becomes a Missing Mentor when he takes the fall for the Diva's renegade actions against the Unknown Enemy, allowing Kid Hero Flit to have an unblemished career. But while trying to help now-Admiral Flit, he's murdered for knowing too much.
      • Woolf Enneacle all but becomes a Parental Substitute for Asemu, giving him much more affection and support than his actual dad. Near the end of the arc, he has an Obi-Wan Moment when he dies protecting Asemu. Predictably this sends the latter into an Unstoppable Rage, and a truly epic No-Holds-Barred Beatdown ensues.
      • Kio has Shanalua Mullen, who teaches him both how to pilot and that his enemies are real people. She turns out to be a The Mole and is killed trying to escape, having a bit of an Obi-Wan Moment in telling Kio the harsh truth of war.
      • Seric Abis is the captain's mentor, since she was promoted out of spite before she was ready for command. His death is her final lesson: his suit is trapped on a ship she needs to destroy for The Needs of the Many.
  • Hikaru no Go: Sai, being a ghost, has already experienced the whole "dead" thing a long time ago. But later he does find peace, and passes on. The series climax is Hikaru learning to move on.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Kite, the Hunter who inspired Gon to be a Hunter in the first place. This turns Gon into a much darker character.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Phantom Blood: Will A. Zeppeli, mentor of Jonathan Joestar. In his case, he even knew full well that it would happen long before it did if he chose a certain path. Hoping to put a final end to the threat of the stone mask, he knowingly accepted it and turned his death into a Heroic Sacrifice that empowered Jonathan.
    • Happens again (and again with a Zeppeli) with the death of Gyro Zeppeli in Steel Ball Run.
  • Kotetsu Jeeg: It happened twice with the same person. Professor Shiba got murdered in the first episode. However he got the foresight to make a backup of his personality in a computer in order to help and guide his son Hiroshi and then it committed a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • The Law of Ueki: when a god candidate helps their student champion in battle, they are automatically sent to Hell. Granted, being celestials, they're immortal anyway and don't actually die. They're literally imprisoned in hell, at least until the tournament is over.
  • Macross:
  • Justified with Linith in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. As a familiar, she could only live until the terms of her familiar contract were complete, and the terms of her contract were "train Fate".
  • Martian Successor Nadesico: Gai Daigoji... whose entire role was to introduce anime to the crew and die pointlessly.
  • Mazinger:
  • My Hero Academia: Zigzagged with All Might, mentor of Izuku Midoriya. He's already seriously injured to the point it inhibits his powers at the start of the series. Throughout the first one hundred chapters we see his condition deteriorate as he's able to maintain his Hour of Power for less and less time. He also failed to inform Midoriya that he wasn't going to be around forever when there was a clear need to do so. Then he goes up against his incredibly powerful Arch-Enemy just as his power runs out and Midoriya is watching the whole thing on live television. Everything points to this being All Might's final battle, and it is, but not because he's killed. He simply uses up the very last remaining bit of his power defeating the villain, but manages to survive in the end. And then the clairvoyant Sir Nighteye reveals that All Might's days are numbered anyway...
  • Naruto. So. Damn.. Much. The idea of people working for the best of the next generation is a major theme, so it suffices to say that teachers have a tendency to die protecting their students or their village. To wit: The Fourth Hokage, The Third Hokage, Asuma, Jiraiya. To make matters worse, of those four, three of them died as a consequence of something their pupil did. Even the ones that survive tend to almost die quite a lot.
    • Subverted with Kakashi for he was revived, and Tsunade for she went into a coma and woke up from it.
    • Also present, but downplayed with Guy. While he doesn't die, the aftereffects of his Dangerous Forbidden Technique leaves him permanently crippled. And were it not for Naruto's intervention, he would have died.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi: Most of Ala Rubra is in some way incapacitated or made incapable of helping Ala Alba out, but this trope in particular hits Jack Rakan hard. Gets an Obi-Wan Moment trying to take out The Dragon and everything. Of course, like everything else about him, it's awesome.
    • Ends up averted by the fact he can WILL HIMSELF BACK INTO EXISTENCE, once, twice and apparently permanently (although he needs an artifical body to walk around the real world).
  • One Piece: Many of the characters were from the past Parental Substitutes who taught a thing or two to characters in the present, so naturally they die in order to propel them forward.
  • Overman King Gainer: Subverted. Not only does Gain not die, he gets to save the day in the end, while the The Hero is Brainwashed and Crazy by the Big Bad.
  • Panzer World Galient: Asbeth became Jordy's surrogate grandfather and mentor, taking care of him and training him since he was a newborn. He died trying to kill the Big Bad to fulfill a prophecy that would ensure Jordy's victory over Marder.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Mami, who introduces Madoka and Sayaka to magical girls, gets offed three episodes in. In the most gruesome way possible.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: The Ace mentor Hiko Seijuro, master of the sword school Hiten Mitsurugi, who was first abandoned by his student Kenshin Himura. About over a decade after, Kenshin returns to him to learn the ultimate technique of the sword school they both use, which could only be learned by killing the master. Subverted when Kenshin does learn the technique but did not kill his master thanks to his reverse blade sword.
  • Saiyuki: Koumyou Sanzo possibly intentionally allows himself to become a victim of this. He sacrificed himself to save Genjyo Sanzo (then Kouryuu) from youkai bandits intent on stealing the sutras... but as Ukoku later points out he should have been more than powerful enough to send those bandits packing without making a heroic sacrifice. This implies he knew exactly what he was doing when he allowed himself to be killed. This is supported by the fact that in his formative years he hung out with a youkai who can see the future and the fact that he'd only appointed Kouryuu his successor a few minutes before the attack, suggesting that he had detailed knowledge of what would happen and when.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann: Kamina. Goes hand-in-hand with Decoy Protagonist.
  • Toriko: IGO president Ichiryuu, who is defeated by his adopted little brother Midora and spared, only to be finished off by an opportunistic Blue Nitro.
  • Veritas: The main character's mentor, Lightning Tiger, is killed right at the beginning of the story (and his pupil receives his skeletal arm in a box as a very creepy Tragic Keepsake). However, LT wasn't old, and he'd only been training the kid for about 2 months. A character attempts to justify it later by saying the he didn't die because he was a mentor; he took on an apprentice because he knew he was going to die.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Daitokouji-sensei stuck around as a Spirit Advisor. He actually proved to be more trustworthy after his death, since he was a Double Agent while he was still alive.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds has Dark Glass/Bruno, who gets swallowed up by a black hole after he teaches Yusei the technique that'll allow him to beat the Big Bad.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Yusuke's master Genkai, who is killed by the younger Toguro late in the Dark Tournament arc. However, she is later revived at the end of the same story arc. By the end of the manga however, she does end up dying for real from natural causes. The anime averts this, as she's still alive by the end of it, though she is preparing the others for when her time comes.
  • Little Witch Academia (2017): Subverted. In spite of hanging a half dozen death flags on Professor Ursula, she lives though the entire series.

    Card Games 
  • Discussed in Magic: The Gathering by Ajani, who notes that his people's stories often feature this element - which is why it feels all the more wrong that he survived while Elspeth died.

    Comic Books 
  • Agent 355 in Y: The Last Man is both recruited into the Culper Ring and trained by the previous Agent 355. One of the techniques she passes on is that the jaw is the most powerful muscle, so when the ex-mentor goes insane and tries to assassinate the President of the United States, her successor bites her neck open.
  • X-Men:
    • Averted with Professor Xavier, who dies once but gets better (it was never him). Like any mentor, he set a precedent that his students followed time and time again. However, because he's too smart and helpful, most plots especially adaptations will take him out of the story through coma or kidnapping or something until the problem is resolved. He's just not killed by them. In Avengers vs. X-Men, Professor X dies again. This time it is him, but he still gets better again (eventually).
    • Subverted by Emma Frost, who outlives most of her students.
  • Stick, Daredevil's teacher, who dies protecting him, Elektra and his other pupils (The Chaste) from The Hand. Averted with Master Izo, who outlived all of his pupils. Although, Daredevil: Ninja seems to indicate that Stick got better...
  • Doctor Strange's mentor, the Ancient One, dies and becomes one with all reality. A subversion, since 1) he deliberately trained Strange as his successor, 2) he asked Strange to kill him, and 3) he's not "gone" in any strong sense.
  • Harley Quinn: Happens twice — to Lewis in the beginning, who was trying to guide the driftingly insane Harley to something better than the world he was stuck in. Harley herself killed him, shooting him through the chest to stop him from killing hostages, though she does not acknowledge that she had fatally injured him. Later happens to the old ex-con Harley befriends, who was implied to have done a lot to help her into the relative sanity she had by the end of the series.
  • Professor Trevor Bruttenholm is killed at the very first Hell Boy story.
  • The Transformers: Drift, Wing takes Deadlock in, argues with the council to include an outsider, and teaches him the ways of the Circle of Light. At the story's end, he's killed by the Big Bad, Braid, and Drift takes his Great Sword to carry on the fight and lead them all to victory.
  • In Red Hood: The Lost Days Jason ends up killing about half of the murderous mentors Talia finds for him himself, and his whole journey started out with his desire to beat his first one to the death.
  • The Doctor Strange example is spoofed with Radioactive Man, where Plasmo the Mystic's mentor was killed by his student, and like the Ancient One, lingers on as a spirit... haunting Plasmo's spare bedroom and moaning about Plasmo's crappy TV. And that's why Plasmo has sworn vengeance.
  • In Tales of the Jedi, Vima Sunrider was trained by Ulic Qel-Droma, former Jedi Knight-turned-Sith Lord who realized the error of his ways and became The Atoner. After finding success through his tutelage of Sunrider, he goes on to make peace with himself and the people he hurt before getting shot by a Heroic Wannabe and becoming one with the Force.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): I-Ching, Diana's Magical Asian mentor from her Mod Era, is killed as part of bringing an end to that part of her history and giving her motivation to move on to the next stage of her life.
    • The Legend of Wonder Woman (2016): Alcippe's demise forces Diana to realize that there is a conspiracy on Themyscira and that truths have been hidden from her by those she trusts out of necessity due to the close watch of the gods. It also starts Diana's friendship and acceptance of Steve Trevor whose unexpected arrival on the island was caused by said conspiracy and who needs Diana's protection and aid to survive.

    Fan Works 
  • In A Crack of Thunder, the second book in the A Song of Metal and Marvels series, Lord Jonos Bracken becomes Theon Greyjoy's mentor after Theon is sent to accompany him on his embassy mission to Renly's faction on behalf of the Northern rebels. Theon comes to deeply respect the man, who helps him realize how selfish and petty he's long been. And he's devastated when Bracken is killed by Vanko's Ironborn, which turns Theon permanently against his birth culture and solidifies his loyalty to the Starks.
  • Persephone in Divine Blood is killed by her daughter Hecate's ghost while aiding her granddaughter, Eija, in a purification/crossing over. Eija is not amused.
  • Djordji Zindelo Hungaros in Headfirst Slide into Latveria on a Bad Bet uses up the last of his magic and the Staff of the Living Tribunal to get Victor and Robby to safety, which ends up draining his life force and causing his demise.
  • Vincent d'Honaire in Marque and Reprisal. Gabe kills him ina duel during an attempt to rescue the karen people in Burma from rape and torture, which d'Honaire had been participating in.
  • In Miraculous: The Phoenix Rises, the powerful, Raven-Miraculous using Nevermore more or less serves as the tutor, handler, and advisor to Team Arctic in the early chapters. Then the Nightmare King shows up and sends him to the ER for the forseeable future, leaving Morgan and co. on their own.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • A flashback in Chapter 1 of the original shows a Comfort the Dying moment between Kyril and Eileen, his senior and "a mentor who no longer dreams". Knowing that Kyril was resolute in carrying the Hunter's burden, she bequeathed to him her badge that symbolises a Hunter's work before passing away.
    • Kyril went through this a second time by experiencing the death of his mentor Gehrman before the events of the main story. With a twist, this instance does not involve some sort of villain. Instead, Kyril was the one who duelled his mentor and slayed him, all so he could free the old man from the Hunter's Dreamnote . After that, Kyril intends to honour him by taking up his mantle as First Hunter, showing that Gehrman, despite his demise, is never forgotten.
    • Later discussed in the original version. All four of Kyril's apprentices express relief that their master is still in tip-top shape after being shot by an assassin. Sanakan, in particular, comments how it would suck should he kicked it, which is not going to happen anytime soon.
  • In The Prayer Warriors, after Percy Jackson converts his mentor Chiron to Christianity, Chiron goes off to convert the rest of Camp Half-Blood. Shortly thereafter, one of his students comes back and says that Chiron was killed and eaten by the people there. Death Is Cheap in this fic, but Chiron never comes back.
  • The Twilight Man: In Blood Obligation, Wamuu takes on the role of teaching Jonathan, Speedwagon, and Erina to unlock or improve their Hamon while hunting the various vampires. He dies holding off the Pillar Man Santana so the others can escape.
  • Vision of Escaflowne Abridged: Spoofed with Van's mentor, General Balgus, who lampshades it by quoting one of the most famous examples in Western media while doing so.
  • In Warriors Rewrite, two mentors are killed in a single chapter. They're both young females as well. Graypaw's mentor Spottedleaf is murdered, as is Firepaw's mentor Brindleface. To make it worse, Brindleface had just given birth the previous night and all four of her kits were attacked as well (though, only one died).

    Films — Animation 
  • Big Hero 6: Tadashi is the main motivator for getting Hiro out of the bot fights and into college note . What happens after Hiro finally gets accepted? Tadashi dies when the showcase building is set on fire.
  • Epic (2013): Subverted. Ronin only looked done for; it turned out he was much too badass to just go out surrounded by hundreds of Boggans.
  • FernGully: The Last Rainforest: Magi Lune is Krysta's mentor both in magic and general maturing, and nothing makes Krysta take her responsibility more seriously than Magi Lune's Always with You/Super Empowering moment.
  • The Flight of Dragons: When Peter/Gorebash let's his emotions overtake him and makes a spectacularly bad move against the Ogre of Gormley Keep, Smurgle is forced to intercede to save his pupil. While Smurgle is able to fell the Ogre and save their friends, the strain on his heart is too much for the elderly dragon and he's ends up dying shortly after the battle, and his friends are forced to continue their quest without him.
  • Kung Fu Panda:
    • Played straight with Master Oogway, though at least that's a natural old-age death.
    • Subverted with Master Shifu at the end. He not only survives the first movie, but the whole trilogy.
  • The LEGO Movie: Vitruvius is in the middle of imparting his usual Ice-Cream Koan when Lord Business takes his head off with a penny. While he's considered as Killed Off for Real, that doesn't stop him from returning to finish the lesson as a ghost... as in, a Bedsheet Ghost headpiece replacing his head.
  • Lampshaded in The LEGO Batman Movie - Alfred falls from the Batwing, but is saved at the last minute from becoming street pizza.
  • And lampshaded even more shamelessly than that in The LEGO Ninjago Movie, with a map location actually named "Bridge of the Falling Mentor". Nor surprisingly, Master Wu falls off it. Slightly more surprisingly, he returns later.
  • The Lion King (1994): Mufasa dies protecting his son Simba after being thrown off the cliff to his death by his brother Scar.
  • The Secret of Kells: Averted with Brendan's mentor, Brother Aidan. Having escaped the Viking raid on Iona he is also one of the only survivors of the attack on Kells. He is soon after saved from the Viking squad who attacks him and Brendan in the forest. He is then shown to spend his remaining years traveling with Brendan, continuing to mentor him and living to see the completion of his life's work, the Book of Iona/Kells. He however does not live to the conclusion of the film, eventually dying of old age.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Assassin's Creed (2016): Benedicto is the Mentor of both Aguilar and Maria, and when he is burned at the stake, they have to continue their mission without him.
  • Back to the Future: Defied. Given his position as Marty's mentor, one might expect Doc won't survive the trilogy. Instead, Marty takes the combination of the ability to time travel and his friend's demise (once by terrorists and once by Buford Tannen) as incitement to go after him and make sure he remains alive, usually exercising his own cunning and courage in the process.
  • Blade (1998): The hunter who taught and raised Blade, Wheeler, is fatally injured by Frost and left to die. This leaves Blade without a fellow hunter in the finale and gives him a lot more reason to hate Frost.
  • Dr. King Schultz in Django Unchained fills this role perfectly, kindly and gently teaching Django the finer points of bounty hunting, gunfighting, and killing before getting offed by the bad guy's henchman.
  • Eight Legged Freaks: Leon is an older miner who speaks in support of Chris and his late father's vision and mentions having taught Chris everything he knows about mining. He gets the most disturbing death in the movie around the half-hour mark.
  • The Fighting Seabees: Played straight with Donovan's employee Eddie. He taught Donovan the ropes of the construction business when he was a teenager and he dies during the Seabees' first campaign.
  • Lieutenant Dan of Forrest Gump tries to be this to a T. He gives Forrest and Bubba advice on how to survive 'Nam, concluding the mentor part and then tries to die fighting in the war believing that it was his destiny since he had a relative die in every previous American war. However, he didn't count on Forrest to save him.
  • In Hannie Caulder, Thomas Luther Price gets killed by Emmett after parting ways with Hannie.
  • In Iron Eagle, mentor figure and Retired Badass Chappy Sinclair goes down early on in the assault on the enemy nation that captured The Hero's father, forcing Doug to fight the rest of the battle alone. Subverted in the end when it turns out Chappy bailed out and was rescued.
    • Subverted in the sequel, where Doug is killed in the first 10 minutes and Chappy becomes the main character of the franchise.
  • In Kingdom of Heaven, Balian has several people who might be considered his mentors. All but one of them dies.
    • His long-lost biological father, Godfrey, is mortally wounded in a battle near the beginning of the film, in which several of the people who had been helping him mentor Balian are killed. Godfrey hangs on a bit longer, but dies before they leave for Jerusalem.
    • After arriving in Jerusalem, Balian is taken under the wing of King Baldwin. Baldwin succumbs to leprosy about halfway through the film.
    • The only major character in Godfrey's party not to be killed in the early skirmish is an unnamed Hospitaller monk, who shows up throughout the film to give Balian advice. He's killed just before the final battle.
    • The one aversion is Tiberias, Godfrey's friend and Baldwin's second-in-command. This is likely for the purpose of historical accuracy, since Tiberias' real-life counterpart survived past the events depicted in the film.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service: Harry Hart is shot in the head by Valentine after the church massacre, leaving Eggsy without his primary guidance figure just as it's become apparent what the plan of the Big Bad is.
    • Ultimately subverted in the sequel when it's revealed that The Statesmen found Harry in time and saved him. He ends up having amnesia for a large amount of that film, but is his old self by the end.
      • Though this is played straight with Merlin at the end with his Heroic Sacrifice.
  • The mentor figure in the Sci Fi Channel B-movie The Lost Future neither dies nor turns out to be secretly evil, which is quite a feat, especially since he's played by Sean Bean. In the finale, he even dives in front of the hero and takes an arrow to the chest that was meant for him, but contrary to expectation he manages to survive it.
  • Little Miss Sunshine: Olive's grandfather, Edwin, who teaches her her dance routine for the beauty pageant and supports her the entire time, dies from a heroin overdose partway through the movie.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe has practically its own sub-trope where a mentor dies and starts The Hero on their journey:
    • Ho Yinsen from Iron Man, who dies after mentoring Tony and telling him "Don't waste your life".
    • Abraham Erskine from Captain America: The First Avenger has a parallel scene where he dies while reminding Steve to always remain a good man.
    • Discussed and implied in Captain America: Civil War with Spider-Man, whose uncle left him the Comes Great Responsibility philosophy.
    • The Ancient One in Doctor Strange (2016), after she's stabbed by Kaecilius and sent plummeting through several glass panes onto the New York pavement, despite Drs. Strange and Palmer's attempts to save her in ER. Strange gets to have one final conversation with her on the astral plane, at least.
    • Yondu Udonta raised Peter Quill and doubled as both his mentor and adoptive father. He dies in the climax of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 while pulling a Heroic Sacrifice for Peter. In a variation, Peter had already started his journey quite a while prior to this; however, Yondu had just recently come to save Peter and joined the Guardians before his death.
    • Black Panther: Zuri, the spiritual mentor and honorary uncle to T'Challa, dies when he is impaled by Killmonger as revenge for his complicity in the death of Killmonger's father Prince N'Jobu. As an added bonus, Zuri's actor, Forest Whitaker, also played Saw Gerrera in the below-mentioned Rogue One.
    • Captain Marvel: Carol's mentor Dr. Wendy Lawson, in fact a rogue Kree named Mar-Vell, takes Carol to help her destroy the MacGuffin — a lightspeed engine reverse-engineered from the Tesseract — but before they can, Lawson is shot and killed by Yon-Rogg. Carol then tries to finish the job, accidentally imbuing herself with its power in the process.
    • At the end of Avengers: Endgame, Tony Stark sacrifices himself to save the universe, having served as a mentor figure to Peter Parker throughout Spider-Man: Homecoming. Interestingly, Peter's death at the end of Avengers: Infinity War haunted Tony for years to come even after he moved on with his life, becoming something of an inversion of this trope. Succeeding in bringing Peter back finally brought Tony some closure in his dying moments. In any case, Spider-Man: Far From Home has Peter still trying to get a grip with Tony's sacrifice.
    • Peter Parker experiences this trope a second time in Spider-Man: No Way Home when he loses his beloved Aunt May who, before dying, quotes the famous "with great power, there must also come great responsibility."
  • Averted in The Matrix. Morpheus survives all three movies, and is the only one of the three main characters to do so. In fact, this is defied in the first movie. During it, he is kidnapped by the Agents and the film seems to be building up to his death even as Neo attempts to rescue him. Despite everything, Neo manages to come through and save him.
  • Mythica: Gojun Pye is killed fighting Szorlok before he can train Marek any more.
  • Poker Night: Jeter loses his mentor near the end of the film. He then learns that the main villain is targeting him because Jeter killed his mentor before the events of the film.
  • The Princess: Linh, the princess' teacher in martial arts, gets stabbed in the climax. It's subverted though as she lives.
  • Subverted in Reservoir Dogs: Experienced criminal Mr. White takes a bullet for his young protege, Mr. Orange, survives, then kills said protege after he confesses that he was the rat all along. And only then is he shot dead by the police
  • Road House (1989): Dalton's mentor Wade Garrett is killed off-screen by the Big Bad's men. Dalton finds him with a knife in his chest, despite Wade supposedly being better at everything than Dalton.
  • Mickey, Rocky's mentor, dies in Rocky III after Clubber Lang shoves him, setting off his bum ticker and triggering a heart attack.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: Christopher Pike spent all of the previous film whipping a young Jim Kirk into shape, and the early parts of Into Darkness trying to continue that work, only to get caught in a mass-assassination attack by John Harrison. Jim's subsequent rage and sadness over Pike's death drives much of his actions for the rest for the film.
  • Star Wars:
    • A New Hope: Obi-Wan teaches Luke the basics of being a Jedi and then proceeds to die in a light saber duel against Darth Vader, right in sight of Luke, giving him the motivation to truly hate Vader in the sequel.note 
    • Return of the Jedi: One film after being introduced, the great Jedi Master Yoda dies of old age, leaving Luke the last person with knowledge of the Force that has yet to give in to the Dark Side. Yet.
    • The Phantom Menace: A young Obi-Wan's mentor, Qui-Gon Jinn, is murdered by Darth Maul, leaving Obi-Wan to face evil alone for the first time and making way for the inexperienced warrior to take an unstable apprentice destined to become the ruthless Darth Vader.
    • The Force Awakens:
      • The film proudly continues the franchise's tradition of killing off the mentor figure unexpectedly towards the end of the second-to-last act. The one who bites the dust? None other than Han Solo himself — at the hands of his son, no less.
      • Lor San Tekka (who looks and acts uncannily like the elder Obi-Wan) acts as a mentor to Poe Dameron, and is murdered by Kylo Ren barely five minutes after we've met the old man.
    • Rogue One: The film's main character was taught to be a soldier as a child by the extremist Saw Gerrera, whom she doesn't meet in her adulthood until halfway through the film. They reconcile, but since the movie needs to focus on building a new team of rebels, old boring Saw accepts death as Jyn goes to fight another day.
    • The Last Jedi: Once again, the tradition is preserved, as Luke Skywalker becomes a mentor to Rey, then promptly dies to save her. To his credit, it's not in the traditional sense: he essentially Astral Projects himself across the galaxy to mess with his nephew Kylo Ren while the remnants of the Resistance escape. Once he's done, he feels content to become One with the Force.
    • Solo has a bit of a subversion with Tobias Beckett, who starts to take Han under his wing and teaches him a few things about the galactic criminal life, but then sells him out to save his own skin. In the end, Han shoots Beckett himself.
    • Of course, concluding things, The Rise of Skywalker has Leia take Luke’s role as mentor... with all the included "bonuses."
  • In The Sting, Hooker's mentor Luther combines this trope with Retirony.
  • Subverted with Splinter in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), although we're led to believe he died at first.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): Antiope, Diana's combat trainer, is killed during the Germans' attack on Themyscira. This spurs Diana to find Ares and stop the war.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • Professor X gets killed halfway through X-Men: The Last Stand, forcing Wolverine to take command of the X-Men and take the last stand against Magneto's army.
    • In Logan, Professor X is killed in the second act by Wolverine's clone, forcing Logan to accept and rely on Laura.

  • Mathin in Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword, one of the elite King's Riders, is assigned to tutor Harry Crewe in the ways of riding and combat. He lives, though, with an awesome scar from Harry's magical healing powers.
  • Subverted in The Dreamside Road. Enoa’s mentor, her aunt Sucora, is already dead at the beginning of the story. Enoa learns Shaping by studying the instructional films Aunt Sucora left behind.
  • Terciel, father, in Garth Nix's Sabriel.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The title character loses multiple mentor/parent figures as the series progresses, and develops a pretty serious case of Survivor Guilt as a result.
    • Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. (Search your feelings; you know it to be true!) He in particular clearly had to die, because he was the one person explicitly more powerful than Voldemort; the only person in all his life that Voldemort ever feared. If he weren't killed before Harry and Voldemort's final duel, the prophecy that Harry has to be the one to kill him would make no sense.
    • This trope also applies to Sirius in Order of the Phoenix and Lupin in Deathly Hallows, who also played large roles in guiding Harry.
    • Even Snape, while an unrepentant Jerkass, is arguably an example, as he spent years protecting Harry on Dumbledore's orders while simultaneously hating him for very petty reasons. His last living act is to give Harry vital information via Pensieve memories.
    • Arthur and Molly Weasley are Harry's only parental figures that don't fall victim to this trope, and even Arthur comes pretty close in book 5. The author even considered killing Arthur at various points but kept changing her mind. Hagrid, who's more of a lovable uncle/big brother, is also spared.
  • Depending on your point of view, this is either played straight or subverted with Gandalf in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. The wise old wizard, who acts as a mentor to Frodo and later to the whole Fellowship through the first part of the novel, dies in Book II of six. He does come back Back from the Dead again in The Two Towers, but Frodo has already gone his own way by then and can no longer be mentored by Gandalf; while Gandalf himself, with his increased power, becomes a leader rather than a mentor after his return.
  • Methuselah and Abbot Mortimer are both mentor figures to Matthias in the first Redwall book, and both of them die.
  • Applies to Beleg in Tolkien's The Children of Húrin as well, though he's more of a big brother figure. He is unintentionally killed by his fosterling Túrin.
  • The Inheritance Cycle does this, not once but several times.
    • Brom in the first book teaches Eragon the basics of magic, sword-fighting and Dragon Rider history just in time to die heroically saving Eragon. A small twist happens later on when Eragon finds out Brom was actually his father as well as his mentor.
    • In the next book, Eragon has Oromis as his new mentor who teaches him about Dragons, riders and magic in more detail. He then decides to go to fight for the first time in decades if not centuries right after finished training Eragon...just to justify this trope. This also applies to Oromis' dragon Glaedr, who was a mentor to Saphira.
    • In Murtagh's backstory, his swordmaster Tornac was killed by the Empire while helping him escape from Galbatorix.
    • Also in the backstory, Horst's master Bartram died of natural causes before his training could be complete, forcing him to find another blacksmith to complete his training.
  • The Bishop of Digne in the book Les Misérables.
  • Moiraine from The Wheel of Time didn't actually die]] when she fell through a doorway to another dimension that exploded. It wasn't revealed she survived until 6 books later, and she still didn't return for another 2 books after that.
  • Fraa Orolo had the misfortune of being revered by the hero and being smarter than the rest of the cast of Anathem combined. So, of course he gets exiled from the not-so-hidden elf village. After a good quarter of the book spent searching for him, they reunite briefly, then he gets promptly roasted by a volcano.
  • Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn plays this deadly straight and justifies it. The Storm King and Utuk'ku deliberately set out to kill the members of the League of the Scroll and anyone else with sufficient knowledge to potentially unravel their Evil Plan before it was complete. Naturally, all of these characters act as Mentors to various protagonists.
  • Tad Williams' Otherland both uses and subverts the trope. Played straight: Renie's mentor Susan van Bleeck is beaten to death by the Grail Brotherhood's thugs; the old hacker Singh, who helps the heroes break through Otherland's security, is killed by the operating system. Subverted: Mysterious Informant Sellars continually attempts to aid the team after losing contact with them, but manages to stay alive until the climax, after which he surrenders his physical body for a virtual one.
  • Being a mentor in any of the Shannara series is almost certainly a pathway to death, usually by Heroic Sacrifice. Examples include Allanon in The Sword of Shannara Trilogy, Cogline in The Heritage of Shannara, Walker Boh in The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara, Ahren Elessedil in High Druid of Shannara, Sider Ament in Legends of Shannara, Khyber Elessedil in The Dark Legacy Of Shannara, and Starks and Aphenglow Elessedil in The Defenders of Shannara, thought the latter dies from old age.
    • In the related series The Word and the Void, the last book ends with John Ross, who was sort of a mentor figure to Nest, being killed by demons.
  • Bluestar from Warrior Cats. Of course, like Dumbledore, she returned after her death to offer more guidance, and has continued to do so for the last three series.
    • Lionheart, Yellowfang, to an extent Spottedleaf, Cinderpelt, and Whitestorm. Mentor figures in the series in general can probably be expected to die (then again, given the series in question...), but it still usually manages to be quite the Tear Jerker every time.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 novel Deus Encarmine, Koris succumbs to the Black Rage, which means certain death. Rafen, grieving over his fate, is ordered to take command of Koris's squad, and Koris, in the Death Guard, dies, barely able to warn Rafen with his last breath of Stele's treachery — and not entirely coherently. Rafen speaks to his corpse in his grief, begging for guidance, and Koris's communicator falls to his hand, letting him get out a warning.
  • Brad Elliott in the Dale Brown books, who goes down crashing the EB-52 Megafortress into a Chinese ICBM site.
  • Kelsier in Mistborn, although his death is deliberate. Tindwyl's, in the sequel, is not.
  • In Codex Alera the spirit of Alera itself is suffering this. She was brought into existence by a mosaic taken from all corners of the country, which was broken. Without it she's dying, although in the last pages she implies that she'll survive in some form. Also, she doesn't actually die until maybe the very end of the book. Even then she might just have grown too weak to appear again.
    • In addition, First Lord Gaius Sextus catches this one full on. The author doesn't even pretend this trope isn't in play - in fact, a savvy reader can guess which book they die in just by looking at the titles - but instead, milks conflict from the fact that the characters themselves know the First Lord is doomed.
  • Honor Harrington's mentor from her academy days, Admiral Courvosier, is killed in The Honor of the Queen.
    • And another mentor, Captain Bachfisch from her middie cruise, nearly gets killed in War of Honor, but manages to survive with just having his legs blown off.
  • In Robert E. Howard's "The Tower of the Elephant", Taurus, the Old Master thief, likes Conan the Barbarian's spirit when he finds him also trying to rob the tower and takes him along, with some instruction and help. Naturally, a trap kills him.
  • Averted or Subverted with D'ol Falla, who is The Atoner on top of being the mentor. It's a Messianic Archetype who ends up falling into the Bottomless Lake.
  • Syrio Forel, Arya's "dancing teacher" in A Song of Ice and Fire. In order to buy her time so she can escape, Syrio stops to fight five guards and a knight with a training sword. He successfully kills or disables the guards, but has no chance against the fully armored knight.
    • Occurs multiple times to the mentors of Jon Snow. Jon's father, Ned Stark, raises his sons Robb and Jon together and mentors them both as they grow up side-by-side. After their family is separated by the events of the first book, Ned is later executed in King's Landing. In the second book, though Qhorin Halfhand didn't know Jon for long, he taught him a few things and was a legendary ranger of the Night's Watch. Qhorin orders Jon to yield to the wildlings and plans for Jon to kill him as part of his plan to have Jon be a Fake Defector for the Night's Watch to infiltrate the wildlings and Jon is forced to do so in a one-on-one battle with him. Lord Commander Jeor Mormont instilled several leadership skills into Jon, so of course his tragic stabbing was inevitable. Jon's love interest Ygritte explained much of the wildling culture and outlook to Jon and taught him quite a few lessons. She is later killed in battle and when Jon manages to find her, he tries to save her but she dies in his arms. Maester Aemon was a mentor to Jon and Sam both, so his passing was doubly-assured (to be fair, he was extremely old). Even Benjen Stark, Jon's Cool Uncle, who inspired Jon to join the Night's Watch in the first place, mysteriously vanished on a ranging almost immediately after being introduced in the narrative. So far, the only mentor of Jon's who has escaped the Mentor Occupational Hazard fate is the King-Beyond-the-Wall Mance Rayder, and he conceals his identity and fakes his death, revealing himself to Jon part-way through the fifth book.
  • Both played straight and averted for Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games:
    • Played straight with Cinna, who was killed by the Capitol for one piece of rebellious dressmaking too far. She sees him beaten and dragged off in the second book, and it's confirmed in the third that he was killed during interrogation.
    • Averted for Haymitch, who manages to survive all three books and even finds a new family in Peeta and Katniss to replace the one he lost, and is working on his drinking habit.
    • Played straight for Finnick Odair in Catching Fire. His mentor and Parental Substitute, Mags, an 80-year-old stroke victim who practically raised him after he won his Games, volunteers for the Quarter Quell (in which all of the tributes are previous victors) to spare Finnick's lover Annie, whose name was drawn, and she later makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save Finnick, Katniss, and Peeta to avoid slowing them down.
    • This is technically the case for Annie when Finnick dies in Mockingjay. The two are in love and married by that point, but Finnick was originally her mentor in her Games.
  • Dr. Robert Stadler of Atlas Shrugged proves that a Face–Heel Turn does not protect you from this trope, especially when the villains you join are incompetent enough to think that threatening to harm or kill you might pressure your former student into giving into their demands. He promptly decides, "Screw This, I'm Outta Here!" only to be killed by the very weapon he fled to find.
  • Henry Cameron of The Fountainhead, whose role in the book is much more prominent than it is in The Film of the Book.
  • In Andre Norton's The Zero Stone, Jern was apprenticed to Vondar. He died shortly before the In Medias Res opening, from the danger Jern is fleeing.
  • Spare a thought for poor Abbe Faria in The Count of Monte Cristo. He spends years tutoring his fellow prisoner Edmond Dantes. He then spends years with Dantes planning an escape from prison. Then, just as their escape plan is coming to fruition, he dies. But not before telling Dantes how to find some long-lost treasure.
  • Subverted in the post-apocalyptic novel, The Wild Shore by Kim Stanley Robinson. Tom gets a cough but doesn't die.
  • In Wind and Sparks by Aleksey Pehov this is a recurring theme for gray magicians.note  Every living gray magician learned this art from somebody who got killed, leaving the task to create the "Gray School" to surviving students. Also of note is an odd inversion with Al'ga, a younger sister of the Love Interest of The Chosen One. In her introductory chapter she kills an enemy sorceress. Then the necromancer crone starts haunting her dreams with variations of their duel where Al'ga each time has to invent a new way to defeat the enemy. This Training from Hell makes her the most versatile and dangerous Light magician alive. Several months later the necromancer says she has taught her all she knew and finally departs for afterlife.
  • In A Wolf in the Soul, the Hakham Dawid is rendered unable to further help Greg thanks to suffering a stroke. He doesn't die, though.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, double (triple?) subverted. The Rangers are exiled to the Gloom, but the Beta Team and the Junior Rangers know they can be retrieved. Success, however, reveals that their powers were drained by the effect. One youngster even observes that they had thought getting them back would solve their problems. However, because of the Boxing Lessons for Superman, they are in fact Brought Down to Badass; they can't fight the supervillains but can dispatch Mooks.
  • Angélica is Gail's trainer in Superheroes Anonymous. At the end of the first book, she dies Taking the Bullet for Gail. She gets better in the second book, though.
  • In the Horus Heresy novel, The Path of Heaven, the Stormseer Targutai Yesgeui of the White Scars Legion, who has been a mentor to both his Primarch Jaghatai Khan and others in the Legion, dies when he sacrifices himself to activate a device that will open a portal that will allow the White Scars to escape the Emperor's Children and Death Guard who have come to kill them and reach Terra. With his last strength, Yesgeui telepathically asks his Primarch and student not to let the Legion slip into despair and hatred like their enemies, and to keep them safe and together in the battles to come, all while Jaghatai is desperately begging his old friend and mentor not to do it.
    Jaghatai Khan: Targutai, this will end you. Do not do it. Return to the ship.
    Yesgeui: Know that I would have followed you to the end. I would have stood beside you on Terra. When I am gone, do not let them forget. Do not let them become that which is hateful]].
    Jaghatai Khan: Come back...I still need you.
  • Played With in The Divine Comedy; Dante's mentor is the Hell-shadow of a pagan poet, so he can't die in the ordinary sense. Instead, the poet disappears once Dante has scaled Purgatory and strengthened his will enough to be independent of his ghostly father figure. It is assumed the pagan's shadow returned to his eternal death in Hell, a fate which nearly moves Dante to tears.
  • Doglands: Cool Old Guy and Furgul's Parental Substitute Brennus teaches Furgul about the Dog Paths and Dog Lore. He ends up Taking the Bullet in the climax and dying of his injuries. His spirit serves an important role in the final few chapters.
  • In The Price of the Stars, the former Armsmaster of House Rosselin rescues Beka Rosselin-Metadi from assassins seeking to hide the truth behind her mother's death, then assists her in creating a cover identity and tracing the conspiracy back to its source. He gets killed by a random booby trap shortly before her confrontation with the head conspirator.
  • A Practical Guide to Evil: The Grey Pilgrim has tutored many a young hero, and has always slipped away before he could end up dead for it. In a world that runs on narrative laws, that makes Catherine very, very wary of him.
  • The Sunne in Splendour: Richard of Gloucester loses his Too Good for This Sinful Earth brother Edmund to murder, his Parental Substitute cousins Richard and John Neville to betrayal and death on the battlefield and finally his beloved older brother King Edward IV to a debauchery related early grave. No wonder Richard eventually has a Heroic BSoD of historic consequences.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Missing Mentor version. Wise librarian and all-round Badass Bookworm Giles takes himself out of the series to give his protege Buffy more freedom. He returns eventually and survives to the end, alive and well...though in the season 6 finale it was touch and go for a while.
      • Giles is the weekly series version of this trope — he can't very well die at the end of an episode so Buffy can fight the bad guy alone, then come back next week. So they did the next best thing: knock him out repeatedly.
      • They did kill him off at the end of Season 8 (the B.t.V.S. Comic continuation), however. Even then, though, it was more the emphasise that Anyone Can Die. He does get brought back by Angel at the end of Season 9, though with the side effect of being deaged into a child.
    • Faith cites this as a reason she doesn't like authority figures in general.
  • Subverted in The Cape. Max is shot by Big Bad Chess, gives a tearful dying speech as he lies in Vince's arms... and then realizes it's Only a Flesh Wound.
    Max: Dammit, I thought that was it! I wasted that great speech.
  • Formula 1: Drive to Survive: Niki Lauda is not really featured until the season 2 Mercedes episode that was filmed right after his death, in which Hamilton mourns his mentor and discusses how much the veteran driver helped the team and himself on their path to total dominance of the sport. As with all tropes in the series this is invoked by the editing team and interview questions as the series is a Formula One documentary following events in real life.
  • Game of Thrones: Arya Stark suffers this greatly since her mentors tend to die or abandon her: Ned Stark, Syrio Forel, Yoren, Jaqen H'ghar, Thoros of Myr and Beric Dondarrion and finally, Sandor Clegane. Indeed, her decision to refuse to go with Brienne is a result of her constant frustration at being left without a parental figure she can rely or depend on, to which she decides to sail to Braavos on her own and disappear entirely from Westeros.
  • Stargate SG-1: Subverted by Master Bra'tac. Master Bra'tac is introduced in Stargate SG-1 as Teal'c mentor and father figure. He literally calls Teal'c the son he never had. In his first appearance and many others, Bra'tac is in situations where death is realistic, expected, or even assumed by him to the point of saying his 'last words' such as "now we die," or "we die well" multiple times. In one episode, Bra'tac said he was ready to die and will no longer be able to host a parasite he needs to continue living in a couple years; but when that times comes a few years later and Bra'tac is both mortally wounded and rejected by the parasite he needs to live, he still manages to survive. Whether is early in the series when he is saved while being tortured to death (and after saying "I die free") or at the end of the series when he rams his damaged ship into another ship on a suicide mission and is saved at the last second to his own surprise; Master Bra'tac manages to avoid certain death time and again. Especially interesting given that every major character in the series dies multiple times (inclusive of deaths in alternative timelines, alternative realities, ascension to a higher plane of existence, death of duplicate androids, off-screen death, and being brought back to life after death.)
  • Kamen Rider has some examples:
    • Zanki from Kamen Rider Hibiki; generally considered to be one of the better things about the show post-Retool.
    • Narumi Soukichi from Kamen Rider Double - doesn't really count as a spoiler since it occurs in the first episode.
    • Subverted in Kamen Rider OOO where, after witnessing his mentor Date die in front of him, Shintaro Goto is spurred on to become Kamen Rider Birth for the first time; but then it turns out Date isn't really dead and was just unconscious. He survives. According to Word of God, Date was originally intended to have been killed in the scene, thus the trope would have been played straight.
  • Power Rangers:
  • Relic Hunter Sydney's old teacher who first gave her an interest in relics was murdered to obtain one. Twenty years later. Sydney caught up with the killer.
  • Professor Maximillian Arturo takes the bullet for Quinn close to the end of Season 3 of Sliders. His body is left to be burned along with this Earth, which is being scoured by pulsars.
  • Notably averted on Stargate SG-1, where mentor figure Master Bra'tac is noted for having survived through all 10 seasons of the show, despite multiple attacks by The Plot Reaper and even a feeling of depression in one early episode. He's just that badass.
    I am not yet ready to give up. I feel alive Teal'c, like a young man... of eighty. We still have false gods to slay
  • Supernatural: Played with in the Season 5 finale, when Bobby is killed but brought back by Castiel but it happens for real in Season 7. Bobby hangs around as a ghost for awhile, but eventually goes to Heaven and does the spirit guide thing.
  • 24 has Richard Walsh: Jack Bauer's boss and mentor. He gets shot by the end of the second episode despite Jack's attempts to help him escape an ambush.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Daredevil (2015):
      • Ben Urich does his best efforts to mentor Karen Page in the art of investigative reporting. And then Wilson Fisk chokes him to death for (being tricked by Karen into) speaking to Fisk's mother. In season 2, Mitchell Ellison takes up the mantle as a mentor for Karen, but avoids this trope.
      • Stick, Matt's mentor who trained him in fighting, ends up getting killed by Elektra in The Defenders (2017).
    • Luke Cage (2016):
      • Pop is Luke's first mentor. Then gets killed in the second episode in the crossfire of an attempted hit on Chico (Tone was trying to kill Chico, but due to his decision to use two submachine guns instead of a simple pistol, ended up nonfatally wounding Chico and Pop caught a stray to the neck).
      • Squabbles is one of the inmates Luke befriends when he's in Seagate. He does his best to keep Luke focused, but ultimately is killed by Shades and Comanche when Luke tries to expose Rackham's corruption.
    • The Punisher (2017): Averted with Curtis Hoyle, who functions as a mentor and medic for Frank Castle, and also attempts to provide support to the PTSD-afflicted Lewis Wilson. He survives the entire season despite getting strapped to a bomb by Lewis, and also getting shot in the shoulder by Billy Russo.
  • Inspector George Gently ends with George Gently being brutally gunned down as an attempt to protect his students Bacchus and Rachel from governmental assassins.
  • Sense8 has Jonas Maliki, the last surviving member of Angelica's cluster who helps the protagonists understand and refine their sensate abilities. Midway through season 2, Whispers lobotomizes Jonas while forcing the main cluster to watch, proving his villainy and providing plenty of angst for Will in particular (as he's the one whose actions unwittingly got Jonas captured by BPO in the first place). This is actually a Double Subversion. He's shown to be alive a few episodes later, the Chairman having intervened before the procedure could be completed. Later, however, he makes a Heroic Sacrifice by blowing up BPO's drone lab from the inside in order to protect the main cluster and finish Angelica's work.
  • The Outpost: The Smith becomes Talon's mentor, helping her learn more about her Blackblood heritage and the mysterious powers she's developed, including how they tie into an ancient prophecy. Then midway through the season, he's killed by Tiberion Shek for having spared Talon as a child during the Blackblood genocide.
  • Studio C parodied this with Disney Plans Hero's Death, when the mentor Sir Gavin heads to the writer's room and figures out he's going to die. Walt Disney then comes in and reassures him that he's actually dying because he's the protagonist's father. He manages to escape the movie thanks to the Character Protection Program, but Walt vows revenge.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Merlin of Arthurian Legend. Not literally dead in most versions, but being trapped forever with no possibility to escape is a close second.
  • The Four Gospels: John the Baptist is a prophet who is active before Jesus and Jesus even goes to him to be baptized, even though both know Jesus is the greater of the two. From there, Jesus only starts to minister and do his great deeds when John the Baptist is arrested by Herod, who will not long after have him executed. And of course, Jesus himself: his primary purpose in life was to be a Heroic Sacrifice, and to raise up a group of followers that would become a movement after his death (and resurrection, and ascension).
  • Chiron, mentor of many heroes from Classical Mythology, was accidentally killed by one of Heracles' poisoned arrows. He lived on as the constellation Sagittarius.

    Video Games 
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: Taijo Roshi, the old hermit who lives on the mountain, is a karate master who raised Mido Kojiro and raised him in the way of karate. Naturally, he dies in his introductory scene, protecting the gurenstones from the minions of Tarantula and entrusting them to Kojiro, granting him the ability to become Guren Tiger and the drive to seek revenge on Tarantula.
  • Kingdom Hearts fans, say hello (and goodbye) to Master Eraqus. He gets killed off near the climax of the first game he appears in, leaving his pupils to face the Big Bad and The Dragon on their own. The end of the game reveals his heart took refuge in Terra's at the moment of his death. At the end of Kingdom Hearts III, he and Xehanort leave the realm of the living together.
  • The player character's mentor Gorion dies in the first chapter in Baldur's Gate in a battle against the Big Bad. As he's also your foster father, this is also a case of Doomed Home Town.
  • Bound by Blades ends with your mentor, Eldros the wolf, performing a Heroic Sacrifice to drag himself and the Ilcyon spawn down a pool of lava, in order to destroy the Ilcyon for good.
  • In Metal Gear Solid, mentor figure Master Miller turns out to have been dead all along, having been killed a few days before the game begins, and impersonated from that point on by the Big Bad.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, Naked Snake's mentor The Boss defects to the Soviet Union and is killed by Snake at the end of the game.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Mia Fey is killed right after the (very short) first case. She returns as a Spirit Advisor for the rest of the original trilogy, and each game explains her unique state to the player.
    • Also in the first game, Edgeworth suffers from this twice.
      • First, his father, Gregory Edgeworth, who was his primary inspiration as a child, was murdered in front of him. This traumatic loss gave Edgeworth horrible PTSD and caused him to completely change his career path from defense attorney, like his father, to prosecutor.
      • In the present his mentor, Manfred von Karna, who adopted Edgeworth after Gregory was killed, turns out to be an Evil All Along veriant of this: it's revealed that he killed Gregory and only adopted Edgeworth and brought him up as a ruthless prosecutor so he would become everything his father valiantly stood against. Dialogue in later games states that von Karma has since died after being found guilty for Gregory's murder; it's not stated whether or not he was executed or simply died in prison.
    • In Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth, Dick Gumshoe's mentor Tyrell Badd doesn't die, but was a member of the Yatagarasu, a group of vigilante thieves. He turns himself in at the end of the game and goes to prison.
    • This happens to Klavier in Dual Destinies, case 3: his mentor from his law school is that case's victim.
    • Case 1 of The Great Ace Attorney: Adventures introduces us to Kazuma Asogi, the protagonist's best friend. While Ryunosuke knows nothing about lawyering and is a nervous wreck during his trial, Kazuma is shown to be this confident, sharp student of law who pushes Ryunosuke forward at every dead end. After the trial, Kazuma thinks his friend has a talent for law, but Ryunosuke denies it, pointing out how Kazuma is miles better than him at it. Next case has Kazuma die immediately so Ryunosuke can go to Great Britain and become a lawyer as good as, if not better than, Kazuma. Subverted in that Kazuma didn't actually die, and in fact plays a prominent role in the sequel as a prosecutor.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance features Greil, Ike's father and leader of his mercenary group getting killed a quarter of a way through the game.
    • Fire Emblem Fates has Gunter, an elderly knight who taught Corrin how to fight, very quickly knocked into the Bottomless Canyon by Hans. Subverted in Conquest and Revelation, as he's later found alive in Valla.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Jeralt, Byleth's father, dies while investigating a disruption in Garreg Mach's surroundings. Jeralt provided almost all the in-game tutorials, from moving to using Battalions and Combat Arts.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • Done in record time in Red Faction: Guerrilla - you arrive on Mars and meet up with your brother, who takes you on your first 'mission', recruits you into Red Faction and is shot by the EDF, all in the opening 10 minutes.
  • Done with Professor Booster in Cave Story, to the point that if you see him drop several stories and don't try to help him, he stays alive.
  • In The Godfather: The Game, Luca Brasi takes you as Aldo Trapani under his wing for the early missions, before he "sleeps with the fishes."
  • Etrian Odyssey II: Heroes of Lagaard: Players meet Hrothgar and Wulfgar early on and learn several important things about the Labyrinth from them. Once the player learns of their tragic history, alarm bells should be going off... the ill-fated moment comes upon finding an injured Wulfgar and learning of Hrothgar's fate. Wulfgar hangs on just long enough for the player to take revenge.
  • Duncan in Dragon Age: Origins dies in the field of battle due to the signal made by the player character and Alistair for reinforcements not being answered by Loghain. But it's also subverted for Mage Wardens, for whom Wynne fills the role. She's already technically dead, though. The tower also has Wizard Classic First Enchanter Irving, whose fate is entirely up to the player.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Nihlus Kryik of Mass Effect intended to accompany Shepard on a number of missions, most likely to train him/her as a Spectre, but he is killed at the end of the first mission by the primary antagonist actually Dragon, Saren.
    • David Anderson is forced to stop being your mentor for political reasons and survives the first two games, only to become the intro-level squadmate in Mass Effect 3. Things aren't looking well for ol' Dave's future, especially when one also considers the high mortality rate of intro-level companions in other Bioware games. In fact, he will die in every ending. However, he at least makes it to the grand finale, impressive for a mentor.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda has your character's father Alex Ryder, who you accompany in a scouting mission and sacrifices his breathing helmet when yours gets damaged beyond repair.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Link's uncle, parental figure and mentor, and the first on-screen casualty in the game. Fortunately, this is later subverted when Link's wish at the end of the game brings all of Ganon's casualties, including his uncle, back to life.
    • In The The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, the Great Deku Tree is cursed from the beginning of the game and dies after he sends Link off on his journey.
  • In Ratchet & Clank Future: A Crack in Time, Azimuth was created specifically for the purpose of giving Ratchet a mentor figure. And, naturally, he died after going a little crazy and committing a Face–Heel Turn, then realizing what he did and pulling a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • Paladin Magnus in Ground Control, performing a You Shall Not Pass! in an Order mission where you have to hold off against an endless wave of enemies. Somehow, self-destructing an Order APC creates a huge crater and destroys the supposed endless waves of enemies.
  • Guild Wars did this in every single campaign.
    • Prophecies had Prince Rurik, who took on young Ascalonian heroes as members of his personal cadre of warriors and led them on many adventures. He was killed leading his people to safety and was later raised from the dead by the Big Bad.
    • Factions had Master Togo, head of the Monastery where young Canthan heroes trained and their leader in the war against Shiro. He was killed by Shiro in the penultimate mission.
      • Bonus points: Several of the Afflicted bosses are actually mutated teachers and quest-givers from your past.
    • Nightfall had Kormir, leader of the Sunspears and the war against Abaddon. She sacrificed herself absorbing the god's power, and now exists as a god herself.
    • Eye of the North had Gadd, vitriolic genius and Vekk's mentor/father. Killed while trying to prepare a more powerful golem to assist you in combat.
    • In Guild Wars 2, no matter what order you've joined, your mentor from that order will die in a Heroic Sacrifice at the Battle of Claw Island.
  • In Live A Live, the Earthen Heart Shifu from the Imperial China chapter takes in three students to have them inherit his arts. After defeating Ou Di Wan Lee for killing two of his students, he passes away and his remaining student becomes the successor.
  • Mega Man:
    • Giro from Mega Man ZX. Since he gets his hands on Biometal Model Z, it's easily predictable he has to bite it so that you can get to use that model yourself.
    • Zero in Mega Man X. He's watched over X from the beginning of the game, forcing Vile to retreat after X couldn't touch him. Obviously, he's the badass of the story, but he's not the title character, so he performs his Heroic Sacrifice, leaving X to face Sigma alone, with no chance at a last second rescue. Incidentally, the placement of the Vile fight in the remake justifies the over the top dialogue X uses when he faces Sigma, as it happened at the end of the previous stage, and not at the start of the fortress, making X's fury still fresh. And even though Zero gets better, he's been surpassed by X by the time he returns, and they work as a team from X3 to X8.
  • Lagoon has this happen to Mathias after he fails to stop Zerah from reaching Lagoon Castle. He does get to reveal the nature of Nasir and Thor's past before he goes.
  • Victor "Sully" Sullivan from the Uncharted series is a subversion. He took protagonist Nathan Drake in when he was young and taught Nate everything he knows and in spite of this all making him ripe for getting killed he continues to survive the series despite some close calls, notably surviving a gunshot wound in the first thanks to Nate's journal protecting him from the bullet, as well as apparent murder in the third being revealed as a hallucination. By the end of the fourth and final main game in the series he's still alive and well, even in the Distant Finale.
  • Vandham, leader of the Garfont Mercenaries in Xenoblade Chronicles 2. He takes it upon himself to serve as Rex's mentor upon learning that the youth was the Driver of the Aegis, and teaches him about the nature of war and of how Drivers and Blades work together. He even helps Rex to learn about using his Anchor Shot art to topple enemies. However, his Guest-Star Party Member status is betrayed by the fact that he won't resonate with other Blades than Roc, and he ends up sacrificing himself to save the party from Malos and Akhos.
  • In Gamer 2, Kora is a friendly NPC who warns you of upcoming hazards and lets you know where to go to find new equipment and escape the virtual reality world. Until the factory level cutscene, where she's killed by the Load-Bearing Boss ACE halfway through explaining how to defeat him.
  • Red Dead Redemption II:
    • Hosea Matthews is like an adoptive father to Arthur Morgan, bringing him into the outlaw lifestyle along with Dutch van der Linde. Hosea is killed at the end of Chapter 4.
    • Arthur himself is seen as a mentor figure by many of the more junior members of the gang, including John Marston, and dies at the end of the main story.
  • In Sakura Wars (2019), Anastasia Palma teaches the rest of the Flower Division the basics in stage performances and dies at the hands of Yasha towards the end of Chapter 7. Subverted in the next chapter when she gets revived by Sakura Shinguji's petals.
  • In the Jedi Knight storyline of Star Wars: The Old Republic, the player's Jedi Master Orgus Din is murdered by the Arc Villain Darth Angral, only to return as a Spirit Advisor.
  • Alnam no Kiba begins with the main character Kenbu going into his first real combat with his mentor Ouken. Ouken dies protecting Kenbu from a monster attack, which causes Kenbu to volunteer to take his place as his village's representative to send to the capital city, starting his adventure.
  • In Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide, the player's mentor, dwarven wizard/cleric and retired adventurer Drogan Droganson, is poisoned by the kobolds sent by the Evil Sorceress J'Nah at the very beginning of the expansion, and a good portion of Chapter One is spent searching for the antidote. Double Subverted — eventually Drogan recovers from the poison, only to die in a Heroic Sacrifice during the Interlude, creating a magical shield that holds up the crumbling ruins long enough for the hero and their companion to escape while Drogan stays behind.
  • A rather hilarious subversion happens in Octopath Traveler II: Master Juvah, Ochette's mentor, is injured by the Dark Entity during Ochette's first chapter. Later, after he tells Ochette about the Night of Scarlet Moon and what she should do to stop it, he says that he is weary and needs rest, which sounds like the typical way a dying person says in metaphors, but it is soon revealed that he really just needs a rest.
  • Resident Evil 6: Towards the end of his campaign, Chris Redfield begins to consider retiring from the B.S.A.A. and pass command to his protegé, Piers Nivans. It ends up being inverted during the final battle, as Piers is the one who makes a Heroic Sacrifice to ensure that Chris survives, first by injecting himself with the C-Virus to defeat the HAOS bioweapon, and then staying behind in the collapsing underwater facility before the infection destroys his humanity. In the end, Chris chooses to forego his retirement to honor Piers' memory.
  • Lee dies at the end of Season 1 of The Walking Dead, leaving Clem to fend for herself until Christa and Omid are found. Discussed in the trailer for Season 4, when she sternly asks AJ what to do if she's bitten. In the final episode of Season 4, she is bitten, and even asks AJ to either kill her or leave her—but ultimately this trope is defied, as AJ amputates her leg instead, removing the walker bite and saving her life.
  • Played straight to the point of parody in Metal Arms: Glitch in the System. Glitch is found and restored to life by the Droid Rebellion, thinking him to be just another shut-down Droid, but the Rebellion is so short on experienced personnel that Colonel Alloy sticks you with two obvious Red Shirts for the tutorial level, teaching you the basics of maneuvering and combat. The very first thing that happens in the second level is your two training Droids running afoul of an ambush and dying in a bridge collapse. This is no surprise whatsoever, as Colonel Alloy had previously introduced them as Hosed and Screwed.
  • Invoked in Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning with Agarth, an old Fateweaver (the setting's equivalent of a fortune teller) who helps the protagonist out and pushes them towards the right direction. Eventually their path takes them to the ruins that Agarth had long foreseen himself dying in and grows increasingly glum, only for the protagonist to kill the beast that was destined to kill him thus throwing him for a severe loop.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd: In the Chapter 8, Kiana's body gets overtaken by Herrscher of the Void. Her teacher, Murata Himeko, dies fighting her, but manages to bring Kiana's consciousness back. This is a huge turning point for the whole story, which starts to get significantly darker after this event. It's also the source of Kiana's guilt for the several next chapters and an important factor of her Character Development.
  • Tiny Tina's Wonderlands: Upon entering Brighthoof, The Dragon Lord asks the Newbie if they have any mentors available to be killed as to raise the Newbie's ire and increase their investment in taking The Dragon Lord down.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • After a training arc spanning several volumes, one of the heroes loses their closest mentor, who is killed by Cinder. This starts their journey of opposition against Cinder and, ultimately, Salem. Jaune's partner, Pyrrha, becomes his mentor to give him extracurricular combat training so that he can catch-up to his peers, but she is murdered by Cinder in Volume 3. In Volume 4, it's revealed that Jaune still has a training video she once made, where she confesses that she's never met anyone with as much drive to better themselves as Jaune. When he finally confronts Cinder at Haven, Jaune loses all self-control and tries to kill her.
    • Flashbacks reveal that Cinder stole a Huntsman's sword when she was ten years old; he decides to train her to become a Huntress, hoping he can give her a legal route to a better future instead of her throwing her life away by killing her abusive family. The training lasts for several years until his death triggers her Start of Darkness. Unable to cope with the abuse any longer, Cinder kills her family; when Rhodes tries to arrest her, his training has been so effective that she is able to kill him. Years of torture ending in four murders is how her road to villainy begins.
  • Parodied in Terrible Writing Advice's episode on "Mentors." The narrator starts talking about how you don't need to characterize mentor figures so much because they're just going to get killed off to advance the protagonist's story arc, then realizes he's mentoring the viewer and starts frantically trying to pad out the video to hold off The Grim Reaper in the background.

  • Happens to Lt.Col. Thomas Knowlton in The Dreamer.
  • In Homestuck, this has now happened to the Guardians of the Kids. Bro, Mom and Dad were all killed by Jack Noir, Grandpa was Dead to Begin With, and Bec has effectively ceased to exist due to his prototyping.
    • More like a mentor death contract, considering how Sburb/Sgrub works. Post-Scratch, the B1!kids switch roles with their guardians. Jade is assassinated by the Condesce and Rose and Dave die in battle against her. John is killed by the impact of the meteor carrying baby Jane.
    • The Kernelsprites are Spirit Advisors for each player, and usually carry them through Early Game Hell. By design, all sprites are eventually drawn to the Battlefield, where they will be killed by the Reckoning once the Black King gets the White King's staff. This occurs long after the player no longer needs the sprite, but it's still notable when Davesprite (who gave a metaphorical middle finger to sprite-induced caginess) and Jadesprite (who could easily blow up or warp away the meteors bearing down on them) do nothing but wait to be crushed.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Played with heavily.
    • Allison's main mentor archetype, Zoss, is decapitated on the sixth page of the comic, well before Allison has any idea who he is or before he's become her mentor. Being a Non-Linear Character he's able to appear to Allison post-mortem while still in his prime, acting as a Spirit Advisor that gives her short motivational speeches that inevitably involve a Title Drop of the current book. In Breaker of Infinities it is instead Zaid who delivers the title drop speech — but Zaid is also implied to possibly be a past version of Zoss, before the latter gained godlike powers and became non-linear.
    • Zoss turns out to have a long history of being the mentor: The universe is stuck in a "Groundhog Day" Loop where Zoss chooses a new The Chosen One to undergo The Hero's Journey where he always serves as the mentor. In every repetition, this trope is enforced upon him by 6 Juggernaut Star Scours the Universe, whose job every cycle is to kill Zoss to motivate the Chosen. Zoss seems mostly unaffected by being repeatedly killed because of his nonlinearity — 6 Juggernaut Star, meanwhile, remembers every single cycle and every single time it has decapitated Zoss, and how it never sticks. Zoss' predicament in the current cycle is because 6 Juggernaut Star jumped the gun and chopped his head off before he could fully play his role, out of sheer hatred for its eternal enemy.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • After being a mentor figure to Elan and helping him Take a Level in Badass, Julio Scoundrèl hangs a lampshade on this trope in this comic, saying that he intends to never see Elan again specifically to avoid this trope. However, much later in the comic, Elan does get Julio to return by challenging him to defy the trope and narrative causality by coming back into the story in order to help Elan against a common enemy, but without dying. Julio is intrigued by the challenge, and manages to pull it off successfully. After he manages to beat the odds and avoid the typical mentor death, Julio wastes no time getting out of the story entirely, just to be safe.
    • Due to a bout of Wrong Genre Savvy, Elan's evil father tries to invoke the trope against Roy, believing that the strip's main character is really just Elan's doomed mentor, and killing Roy would force Elan and Elan's story to become more serious and lead into an epic showdown between father and son.
  • Tower of God: Subverted twice.
    • The first time is near the end of Part II, with Jinsung Ha who actually survives, despite being bloodied, impaled, and having both of his arms destroyed, although he gets captured and becomes a Badass in Distress.
    • The second time is in the Nest — the place where Jinsung Ha is captured, with Evankhell who survives being shot in the head specifically with bullets that can kill High Rankers; all it does is piss her off. Needless to say, mentors come really tough in the Tower.
  • In Sluggy Freelance, Oasis's sensei Feng gets a bridge dropped on him within seconds of reuniting with her.
  • Sakura from Creative Release starts fearing exactly this when she realizes she's Annette's mentor. Whether her fears are justified or not hasn't been determined yet.
  • Looking for Group: Richard plays this for laughs. Multiple times. Ironically, Cale's mentor was assassinated by his own students a few days after Cale graduated, when said students realized that it WASN'T Richard who killed Cale's wife...
  • Unsounded: Duane was assassinated shortly after agreeing to properly teach Mikaila pymary.
  • Dominic Deegan:
    • Klo Tark spends the "Storm of Souls" arc training Dominic before sacrificing himself to save Dominic. In a case of History Repeats, Klo Tark's own teacher Acibeck had to sacrifice himself to stop the Storm of Souls the first time.
    • M'ur'i, teacher and mentor to the Circle of Archmagi, dies after only three strips when he's killed by the Beast.

    Web Videos 
  • In To Boldly Flee, the Last Angry Geek, realizing that he's dressed as Obi-Wan Kenobi, realizes that this will probably happen to him. It does. Luckily, he comes back as a ghost.
  • In Pokémon Apokélypse, after Ash walks out on fighting, Team Rocket kills Professor Oak.
  • WarpZone Project gets a really bad case as a super-hero gets killed within minutes of making himself known as the mentor of a character that just started developing super-powers. He didn't even have the time to explain his student the super-powered individual management system.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Avatar: The Last Airbender franchise:
    • Gyatso died because The Call Knows Where You Live.
    • Uncle Iroh is a surprising aversion; he is perfectly healthy at the end of the first series, and by all accounts dies of natural causes between Aang and Korra's eras.
  • Grandpa Max in Ben 10: Alien Force until he got better.
  • In The Owl House, this is part of Darius's backstory. The Golden Guard before Hunter was his mentor, and likely taught him to rebel against Belos's reign, but like every other Grimwalker, was eventually killed and replaced. As a result, Darius is quite bitter towards Hunter at first.
  • Antauri from Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go!. He got better of course.
  • Splinter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012). Twice.
  • Done via flashback in ReBoot. To flesh out Bob's backstory we see his cadet days interacting with full guardian Dixon, who gets killed by Killabyte. Since she was shown using Glitch in the flashback, this was easy to see coming.
  • Chef in South Park, although mainly because it was a Real Life Writes the Plot situation.
  • Kanan Jarrus in Star Wars Rebels, in "Jedi Night". He knew that he was likely going to die if he went on the mission, but also knew that it was the only way to save Lothal and his family.
  • In Wakfu, the dragon Grougaloragran is defeated by Nox in episode 17 of season 1 and is forced to self destruct to prevent Nox from claiming his wakfu. At the end of season 2, Sadlygrove's mentor Goultard launches himself and Rushu into the Shushu's dimension where they continue fighting.
  • Jaga, the hero's mentor on Thundercats 1985, made a Heroic Sacrifice in the first episode due to being More Expendable Than You (someone needed to avoid being a Human Popsicle to pilot the damaged spaceship, and he insisted it be him since he was too far advanced in years to survive that long in suspended animation anyway). He remained a Spirit Advisor whom only the hero could see and hear.
  • Merlin in Wizards (2020). And Lancelot. Arguably Morgana, too.


Video Example(s):


Jaro Tapal

Jedi Master Jaro Tapal gives his life to save his Padawan Cal Kestis and mask their escape during Order 66.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / MentorOccupationalHazard

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