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Resurrected Romance

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Star-Crossed Lovers are fated for woe, and one of the most heart-wrenching fates they can share is not to share a fate. When a love interest dies, the survivor is left to languish in heartbreak and self-pity. Moving on is difficult, and quite a few choose to never move on. And sometimes, that's the deceased.

Yep, after dying, this love interest comes back as a ghost, zombie, or other form of Undead. Of course, this can be less than ideal, due to (among other things) smell and, err... "technical difficulties" in physically expressing their love. And then there's always the chance they Came Back Wrong.

This can happen several ways. Maybe their love was so strong that they decide to skip reincarnation and come straight back from the afterlife. Another alternative is for someone else to do the resurrecting, be it a Necromantic lover or a Mad Scientist capable of an Emergency Transformation. They might not even come back as an undead, but a Brain in a Jar. For trope purposes, as long as that significant other used to be dead but now isn't, it counts.

Of course, this resurrection is by no means a 100% joyous event. If the surviving love interest moved on and got a new partner, or the resurrectee has a Horror Hunger, or no corporeal body, there will be a lot of angst and Horror. Though sometimes it gets Played for Laughs and Hilarity Ensues.

Related to Ghost Shipping. Compare Boy Meets Ghoul, where the girl is a monster before she meets her boyfriend. Related to Replacement Goldfish, in this case it's the goldfish zombie replacing itself. Not to be confused with Reincarnation Romance.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kikyo from Inuyasha, who was resurrected against her will by one of the villains. Bonus points in that the other contender in the Kikyo-Inuyasha-Kagome Love Triangle is her time-traveling reincarnation.
  • This is the entire basis of the plot of the manga Sankarea, about a romance between a guy and the girl he accidentally brings back as a zombie. It works because, when you get down to brass tacks, the zombie-obsessed protagonist is basically a necrophiliac.
    Chihiro: [...] I'd like to meet a cute zombie girl... I want to go out with a girl whose arm is also ripped out and guts are flowing out...
  • In Shaman King, Faust VIII enters the Shaman Fight to resurrect his dead wife Eliza. He never actually succeeds, but to recruit him into her and Yoh's cause, Anna brings her back to him in ghost form, which he seems to be content with.
  • This is the premise of Natsuyuki Rendezvous blended with a Love Triangle. Hazuki is in love with the manager of his local florist shop Rokka, so he gets a job working for her and discovers she is a widow haunted by her dead husband Atsushi who is very protective of her despite the fact while Hazuki can see and talk to Atsushi, no-one else can.
  • Kotetsu Jeeg subverts this in a rather heartbreaking manner, when Queen Himika revives a warrior named Takeru... but only him, and not his beloved wife who died of illness before him. Later Takeru meets The Hero's partner and best friend Miwa/Micchi, who is identical to his lost love...

    Comic Books 
  • There was an issue of Alpha Flight, where they crossed over with X-Factor, which involved a mutant whose power was only activated after her death. On her wedding day. Her groom took a while to get used to it.
  • The British comic strip Bobby's Ghoul, based around a young boy whose girlfriend is a ghost. In the final strip he has become an old man, while the ghost has not aged, and breaks up with him as she no longer finds him attractive.
  • The future Superman, having spent thousands of years in the sun which increases his power to unfathomable levels and obtained a burning golden form, resurrects Lois Lane in a silvery form in DC One Million.
  • The Flash: Wally West and Linda Park have made this into a recurring trope at this point. In the storyline Terminal Velocity, Wally dies in order to save Linda's life, breaking through the light barrier and passing into the Speed Force (which, as per Word of God, is death, since the Speed Force is essentially the afterlife for speedsters) only to return from the dead due to his love for Linda being so strong that he is able to retain his consciousness and cross back into the physical world. Since then, this has happened several more times, not to mention the times that one of the two was thought to be dead, or lost their memories, or was erased from existence. Despite the frankly ridiculous amount of times that tragedy has torn them apart, the two always seem to find each other again in the end.

    Fairy Tales 
  • Brother and Sister: the heroine is murdered in the bath by her Wicked Stepmother’s magic, but continues to haunt the castle to look after her baby. But when the king sees the ghost, he recognizes her as his wife, and The Power of Love (and help from God) resurrects her.
  • Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree: In this Snow White variation, Gold-Tree happily reunites with her prince once the woman he married after she ‘died’ breaks the sleeping death spell. From there, all three of them live Happily Ever After.
  • Many Cinderella variants have a second act where, after marrying the prince, the heroine is murdered by her stepmother, who then manipulates the prince into marrying her own daughter. Cinderella then rises from the grave, exposes the murder, and comes back to life to reunite with her prince. Often the stepmother and stepsister are put to death and stay that way.

    Fan Works 
  • In the cornice in the ground, Eggsy and Harry's budding romance was cut short by Harry being murdered by Richmond Valentine. A week later, Eggsy resurrects Harry by using his gift of necromancy.
  • Applied on a nearly industrial scale in Left Beyond. Justified in that God will kill anyone who reaches adulthood without converting, but not in a way that damages the body or the brain - by the end of the story, people pre-install resurrection machinery in their bodies and just get back up. However, God has the last laugh, since the resurrection procedure disconnects the senses of touch and physical pleasure.
  • In the Transformers: Prime fanfic Journey's End, the bond between Jack Darby and Arcee is so strong that Vector Prime is able to capture and place his soul into a Protoform after Jack dies from old age, allowing them to be reunited. It is noted that doing so is only possible due to Jack's Prime Potential and it burns it out in the process.

    Films — Animation 
  • In The Book of Life, this is what Manolo is hoping to accomplish after Xibalba tricks him into requesting his own death to be with Maria in the Land of the Dead. Maria isn't there.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Ghost (1990), the protagonist never managed to tell his girlfriend he loved her while he was alive, so making sure she knows he did becomes one of his Ghostly Goals.
  • In My Boyfriend's Back they aren't lovers or even boyfriend/girlfriend until after he comes back. (He pined after her, he was killed defending her during a robbery, as he was dying she said that if he survived maybe they could go out sometime, so he came back as a zombie.)
  • In The Wraith, a murdered teenager (played by Charlie Sheen) comes back from the dead as a spectral entity to exact revenge on his killers. He also rekindles his prior romance with his girlfriend, and they drive off into the sunset (okay, the moonlight...) at the end.
  • In Burying the Ex, Max, the protagonist, and his controlling girlfriend Evelyn make a vow to be together forever. Due to making the vow in the presence of a Satan statue, Evelyn comes back to life as a zombie after being hit by a car and tries to get back together with Max, who's started to move on with another woman.
  • In Death Becomes Her, this happens twice. In a complicated Love Triangle, Madeline steals Ernest from her best friend Helen and marries him. Jealous, Helen orchestrates a plot to manipulate Ernest into killing Madeline. However both Madeline and Helen have taken immortality and eternal youth potions, unaware the other has done the same. So when Ernest kills Madeline, she gets back up, still dead, and both believe she's still alive. Ernest goes from shocked at having killed her to overjoyed she's alive. Later, Madeline kills Helen back, and Ernest is left trapped between a horrible wife and ex, choosing to instead run away from them.

  • Wilhelm in the ballad Lenore by Gottfried August Bürger is probably the Trope Codifier.
  • Sister in the Grimms' Brother and Sister. An example of the rarer happy ending.
  • Shadow and his zombie wife Laura in American Gods are an even more dysfunctional than usual example. Not only is her body still decomposing, but her personality has changed, and not for the better. She still quite clearly cares deeply for him, but in her own words, being dead yourself takes away one's hang-ups about being the cause of death in other people. Shadow understandably has a problem with this, especially when people who hadn't really done that much to harm him start being murdered. The way she died (giving the guy she was cheating on him with road head and causing him to crash his car, killing them both) doesn't help either.
  • In The Hollows Rachel gets involved with Pierce, who is a ghost occupying a previously deceased corrupt witch's body.
  • In The Lovely Bones, Susie and Ray have a romantic episode when she accidentally possesses Ruth's body, but this lasts briefly.
  • The ending of Pet Sematary.
  • In On Stranger Tides, the obsessed Hurwood summons his late wife's spirit in the opening chapter. She tells him outright that what he's doing is wrong, but his continuing efforts to restore his beloved spouse to life in their daughter's body drives the rest of the novel.
  • In The Tales of Beedle the Bard (specifically "The Tale of the Three Brothers"), the second brother resurrects a young woman he had wanted to marry before her untimely death. However, she Came Back Wrong, and eventually, he killed both her and himself.
  • "In That Unquiet Earth" by Chris Amies - love among the ghouls.
  • In a series of six-word stories published in Wired, Neil Gaiman's contribution read as follows:
    "I’m dead. I’ve missed you. Kiss … ?"
  • Unusually mutual version in Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I.. Dan and Sheyenne began dating before their respective murders, fairly close in time. Thanks to the in-universe reality upheaval known as "the Big Uneasy", he's now a (still sentient) zombie, she's a ghost. They still have a great relationship.
  • In Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi, when notorious necromancer Wei Wuxian is forcibly revived thirteen years after his death, his Unresolved Sexual Tension with love interest Lan Wangji picks right back up where it left off.
  • The Dark Artifices: Malcolm Fade, the Big Bad of the first half of the series, concocts the entire plan involving the Black Volume of the Dead and the thirteen sacrifices to resurrect his beloved Annabel Blackthorn, a Shadowhunter who died in the 19th century. In the second book, he succeeds, only for Annabel to kill him, because she's pissed that it took so long for him to do it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Several times in Tales from the Crypt, one example being Til Death, where a wealthy man uses a Love Potion on a rich woman made by the resident voodoo expert. He puts too much in a drink for said woman, she dies, and he ends up running from a zombie that still loves him.
  • Pushing Daisies: The resurrection goes better than most, but there's still a catch—instant re-death if she ever touches him again.
  • Supernatural: multiple times.
    • "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things": the dead girl's best-friend-with-a-crush brings her back as a homicidal zombie.
    • "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid": Bobby's dead wife comes back to life, apparently as a sign of the apocalypse. She seems pretty normal for a few days, then comes down with a fever, then starts getting really hungry... and it turns out to be a ploy designed to destroy Bobby's will to fight.
  • One episode of Angel had a woman being stalked by her zombie ex-boyfriend. Turns out she'd killed him because she thought he was too needy. They agreed to work on their relationship and patched things up. Awww?
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer faces a pair of them in one episode.
  • In American Horror Story: Coven, Madison resurrects Zoe's crush Kyle by attaching the severed limbs of his frat brothers to his body and casting a resurrection spell.
  • Attempted in the Series 9 finale of Doctor Who with regards to the Doctor and Clara Oswald, whom he pulls from time at the moment of her death, leaving her Only Mostly Dead. It doesn't work out, partially because the side effects of the act threaten to destroy the entire universe.
  • In Santa Clarita Diet, while Sheila is never put before a coroner, she dies during the first episode and becomes a flesh eating zombie. Her moral compass takes several dings due to a new Horror Hunger, but her love for Joel and her daughter help this become a fairly successful resurrected romance. Just with a higher body count.
  • WandaVision: The lynchpin of the plot is that Vision has been resurrected somehow, and he and Wanda have been able to get married and continue their relationship in a sitcom setting. He turns out to have been a Chaos Magic construct unconsciously created by Wanda in her grief, while the corpse of the real Vision was revived and weaponized by SWORD.

  • The song "Mi Novio es Un Zombi" (My Boyfriend is a Zombie) by Alaska y Dinamarka.
  • Played With (and also Played for Laughs, in a darkly comedic way), on Avenged Sevenfold's orchestral Elfman-esque epic "A Little Piece of Heaven". The male protagonist suffers a Rejected Marriage Proposal, and immediatey things get demented and rather extreme. After pulling an If I Can't Have You… and brutally murdering his "love interest" (and then sleeping with her corpse), the woman resurrects due to her sheer feelings of grudge, then proceeds to kill him right back and sleep with his corpse herself. Then he also resurrects (though in order to try and atone for his original crime rather than get revenge), and they go to a church, massacre a bunch of people, and are finally married by a newly-resurrected zombie priest.
  • The song "Ghost Story" by Charming Disaster is about a woman being haunted by her husband's ghost, because he promised he'd never leave her. It's actually very romantic and sweet.
    They try to comfort me with platitudes.
    They don't know I'm in a real fine mood.
    There's no reason I should shed one tear.
    Can't you see we got a good thing here?
    Don't talk to me of "death do us part."
    Between us we share one beating heart.
    Candles flicker in the chandelier.
    Can't you see we got a good thing here?
  • Played with in the Seanan McGuire song "Zombie Wedding". The narrator's boyfriend died in a war, but she doesn't care that he's dead, and plans to kill herself so they can be together.

  • Less is Morgue: Evelyn died while at a concert in 2004 with her girlfriend Olivia, and still loves her. Riley arranges a meeting so they can reconnect. Except it turns out, since it's been sixteen years since Evelyn died—and she's also, y'know, dead—Olivia has moved on and gotten married to somebody else. Until she found out Olivia was married, Evelyn was fully convinced they could find a way to make it work, even though she's now permanently in her early 20s, and unable to speak directly to anyone living without posesssing them. Olivia leaves, saying the meeting was a mistake, but asks Riley to look after her.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The d20 supplement The Complete Guide to Liches introduces the philolich. If someone with a strong emotional connection to a pre-lich retains that connection after they become one of the undead, the lich can perform a variant of their own transformation ritual to turn them into a philolich. Mind you, if the ritual goes wrong they may end up with an Axe-Crazy semi-lich.

  • "Rebel without an H" Jonny from the musical Zombie Prom.

    Video Games 
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: Gladius and Flamberge are members of the alien Bem species, which assimilates its host. Gradius ended up inheriting the feelings of the human boy Hans towards Martina, who had become Flamberge. As such, even though the Bem are supposed to be a Hive Mind species focused solely on their propagation and developing superior offspring, Gradius is only concerned with Flamberge and will happily fight and destroy other Bem to secure Flamberge's medical treatment. When the bem woman Francisca tries to reclaim Gradius, he refuses due to the happily chemicals produced by being with Flamberge and feelings of disgust he gets around Francisca, both of which are attributed to the feelings of Hans. To their credit, the affection between Flamberge and Gradius is mutual, as they are always eager to be reunited.
  • Silent Hill 2: In one ending, James performs a ritual meant to resurrect Mary. We aren't shown whether it worked or not.
  • Revenant's Locke and Princess Andria is half this, half Reincarnation Romance, since he is a revenant brought Back from the Dead and she, a reincarnation of his long-dead lover.
  • The Force Unleashed 2: When Starkiller apparently returns from the dead, possibly via cloning he sets out to find Juno, the woman he remembers being in love with. While what this means for him and Juno's relationship is still unclear, she seems more than willing to accept him as himself.
  • Mass Effect:
    • If you romanced her in , Liara T'Soni and Shepard's relationship proves to be what may be the most triumphant example on this page. Two years after his/her death, Liara went to hell and back recovering Shepard's body from the Shadow Broker and provided it to Cerberus just to bring him/her back from death. Hell, she does this even if you didn't romance her.
    • It counts for Ashley and Kaidan as well if your character romanced them in the first game. This is a less cheerful example, as they seem to move on with their lives and are more than a little confused when their dead lover comes back, additionally now as a part of a terrorist organization. In the third game you may decide to continue with the romance or that it is time for you to move on as well and terminate the relationship completely.
  • Dragon's Dogma: The only way to begin a relationship with Julius is to bring him back to life with a wakestone after you interrupt his duel with Mercedes and kill him. No wakestone in your inventory during that quest? No relationship; he'll either leave the country or stay dead, depending on your choice.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Oracle of Seasons: The skeletal pirate captain turns out to be Queen Ambi's lover (the one in whose name she built a tower (later turned into an Evil Tower of Ominousness) to guide him home. They get reunited in a linked game.
  • Nobody Saves the World: The crux of one of the side Objectives is a dour mage slug hanging around the the Cursed Hills north of Damptonia. He's mourning around the grave of his beloved "Goo-anna" and is desperate to find a "Slug Necromancer" to revive her. This means using the Necromancer's "Summon Demon" skill while in the Slug form on her grave. Upon resurrection as a skeletal imp, Goo-anna is initially worried about how "dry" and "bony" she's become but the slug mage doesn't mind, just happy to have her back, and the pair are eternally grateful to Nobody.

    Web Animation 
  • Mystery Skulls Animated: Vivi and Lewis were in a very loving relationship before Lewis was murdered. When Lewis returns as a ghost, "reunite with Vivi" is on his list of things to do right under "get revenge". Complicating matters however is that Lewis' killer is Vivi's best friend, and thanks to magical shenanigans, Vivi cannot remember Lewis; she just sees him as a cool-looking but still dangerous ghost that wants to hurt her friend.

    Web Comics 
  • Scary Go Round: Ryan manages to raise his dead girlfriend via a Deal with the Devil. The problem is that she Came Back Wrong, as a pale shambling zombie. He flees in terror, then stops to remember what his momma always told him; make things right with that sweet little gal.
    At the phone booth: "Momma, did that include sweet li'l dead gals? No this is hypothetical. No, damn, I'm not being smart with you, momma..."

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: Months after Rootbeer Guy died, his wife's new boyfriend convinces her to scatter his ashes, but they mix with magic/irradiated dirt and he's accidentally resurrected as some kind of super strong mud golem. The episode deals with the Love Triangle that forms between him, his wife, and her new love interest (who happens to be an undertaker).