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Speak Ill of the Dead

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"They say if you don't have anything good to say about the dead, you should keep quiet. I say, he's dead, good."
Harm, Milestone Comics

Sometimes, not even death will curtail disrespect for one's enemies. In fact, it provides free rein to voice disapproval and disdain! This is usually a case of Last Disrespects, but sometimes it will be used to voice Brutal Honesty about issues surrounding the deceased. Sometimes the character will go the extra mile and mock those mourning the deceased to their face!

A somewhat memetic take on this is a response to its opposite trope of Never Speak Ill of the Dead: it boils down to "don't be an asshole while you're alive". This is naturally an Aesop of how one's deeds in life will affect their reputation past their death. If you like morbid humor, it could be a literal variant of Never Live It Down.

The opposite of Never Speak Ill of the Dead. When this is played for laughs, it's probably putting The "Fun" in "Funeral". Compare with And There Was Much Rejoicing, Bitter Wedding Speech, Pummeling the Corpse, and Asshole Victim.

This is a Death Trope, so expect unmarked spoilers ahead.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Erwin, standing over the body of Dimo Reeves, a man Erwin is accused of murdering, truthfully brings up the time when Reeves delayed the evacuation of Trost District by trying to bring his wealth with him (and only backed down when Mikasa threatened to kill him). That said, Erwin then mentions Reeves's work to revitalize Trost District and give people work in the time after the invasion and vows to find Reeves's killer.
    • Griez badmouths the recently deceased Sasha Blouse as a "whore" and a "daughter of devils" when speaking to some of her imprisoned comrades, including the man she loved. This earns him a bullet in the head from Yelena since she doesn't care for what he's saying.
  • Bleach:
    • A defining characteristic of Yhwach is that he constantly insults and belittles already-dead enemies and allies alike, often to the proverbial faces of their corpses. With Yamamoto, he subjects his corpse to a lengthy, brutal, and oddly poignant "The Reason You Suck" Speech before desecrating his body by hacking off his one remaining arm, stomping on his head, and incinerating the rest.
    • D Roy is so hated by his fellow Arrancar that his gruesome death just inspires them to mock him even more.
  • Death Note: At the very end of the series, Light tries to justify his actions by claiming that in a world so rotten, idealists like his own father, who died trying to stop Kira, will always be made out to be fools unless Light can continue to rule. He says this right in front of Matsuda, who idolized Soichiro, and gets shot five times for it.
    Matsuda: You led your own father to his death, and now that he's gone, you call him a fool?!
  • In Fafner in the Azure: Dead Aggressor, Shouko's death resulted in some of the islanders desecrating her grave to the horror of her friends who saw her make a Heroic Sacrifice for them. This was done by Soushi himself to make sure other pilots do not throw their lives away in battle by sacrificing themselves and that in reality everyone on the island misses her very much and mourns deeply for her sacrifice.
  • Fate/Apocrypha: Siegfried sacrificed his life to save a Homunculus, who then renamed himself Sieg to honor him. When Astolfo later explains this to Mordred, Mordred laughs and says Siegfried was an idiot to do that.
  • Maria no Danzai:
  • Naruto: Not exactly speaking ill of the dead, but the basic principle is the same: when Gato arrives on the scene after Haku's death, one of the first things he does is kick Haku's body in the face as payback for Haku breaking his arm and wish that Haku was still alive to feel the hit. It makes his Karmic Death at Zabuza's hands all the more satisfying to watch.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, two sadist teachers badmouth Yusuke at his funeral and even suggest that Yusuke pushed the kid he saved into the street in the first place. Another teacher, the one who believed Yusuke had potential, calls them out on it.

    Comic Books 
  • Blaze of Glory: Opportunistic Bounty Hunter Gunhawk decides to shoot Kid Colt In the Back and then has the nerve to call him "saddle trash" as justification for such an unceremonious and untimely death... right in front of Caleb Hammer, who had been pursuing him for a long time and had grown to respect him somewhat. He proceeds to gun the sonuvabitch down. Maybe you shouldn't have said that, Gunhawk...
  • In The Boys, Billy Butcher attends his abusive father's funeral just so he can tell his old man how much he hates him and that he was a pathetic excuse for a human being. Then he pisses on the corpse for good measure.
  • Chick Tracts, in which the Christians witnessing to people will frequently tell them that unsaved people who died recently are in hell (although they will often note that it's not because of anything they did, but because they didn't accept Christ).
  • After The Death of Superman, a few characters mocked Superman's death:
    • Cat Grant's bratty little son Adam, when watching Superman's final battle on the news, was unmoved by his death and tried to change the channel. When Cat's boyfriend Jose Delgado asked what was wrong with him and to show some respect, he said, "Me and the kids at school always thought he was a big weenie anyway."
    • A reporter covering the story chuckled and said, "I guess he wasn't so super after all."
    • Guy Gardner spent a while blustering that he didn't know why the Boy Scout's death was such a big deal, before joining everyone else at the funeral and admitting (if only to himself) that he respected him.
  • In Reid Fleming, World's Toughest Milkman, Reid pretends to have been stabbed in the back on the doorstep of a couple of his customers, to freak them out. Not only are they overjoyed that he's (apparently) dead, but when the mailman happens by and sees the body, he congratulates the couple, and runs off to tell others the good news!
  • In Runaways, Molly Hayes drops her "Rudy Huxtable" routine when the time-displaced Geoffrey Wilder calls her out on it. She then coldly mocks Alex Wilder ( Geoffrey's son murdered by the Gibborim for his failure) and calls him "a total frikkin' failure."
  • In Watchmen, Walter "Rorschach" Kovacs hears of the death of his abusive mother years after being removed from her custody, and simply says, "Good."

    Fan Works 
  • 1st American Blitz: Junko was a little bit of a Bratty Teenage Daughter, along with a wannabe Valley Girl. For these reasons alone, Omatsu-San describes her late daughter as "She was - and remains to this day - my greatest failure."
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Ghidorah's three heads have all done this at least once, what with the sadistic prick that the three-headed King of Terror is traditionally known for being. All three heads express contempt for Alan Jonah when he dies sometime after being absorbed into the Many's Hive Mind, and the right head (Ni) also passingly calls the Thunderers, whom Ghidorah exterminated, "misbegotten" creatures to the face of the angst-ridden last surviving Thunderer.
    • Ghidorah's middle and right heads (Ichi and Ni) are also on the receiving end of this trope from Vivienne Graham, who tells San when comforting him that Ichi and Ni (who are presumed to still be dead at this time) were "the biggest cunts [she's] ever seen". San finds himself agreeing with her, parroting Vivienne's insult on them as he perks up.
  • Bring Me to Life: When Spike describes the late Doyle as "that little poncy-looking Mick with the bad hair and crappy dress sense", Angel angrily warns him to never talk about Doyle that way again.
  • Burning Black: Remy constantly insults and belittles the late Timmy Turner... behind closed doors, anyway, as the rest of Dimmsdale tends to break out the mob equipment whenever he dares to do so in public. Juandissimo also engages in this, but he knows that Timmy is still alive.
  • Child of the Storm: At one point during Book 2, Happy Hogan is reflecting on Tony Stark's life, and when thinking over Obadiah Stane, declares him a "traitorous bastard" who wasn't worth the dirt piled onto his coffin.
  • Danganronpa: Galactic Melancholy: While the survivors are holding a memorial to those who had died so far throughout the killing game, Byakuya callously declares that they all "deserved it". This sparks a fight between him and Chihiro that gets the latter's nose broken.
  • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Denial: Komaeda is deeply disgusted upon realizing that the second murderer was driven by Despair in a way he can't twist around to fit his veneration of Hope. This leads him to start scorning all of the blackened Ultimates for "giving in to Despair".
  • Dekugate: One member of the titular community gets offended by other members calling them out for insulting the late Mary Shield, claiming that it was "proven" that she was an actress who faked her death from cancer.
  • Dodger And Company: Dodger meets his estranged father, Duke, who has only just learned that Dodger's mother, Annie, has recently died. He then goes off on a rant about how Annie paints herself as a lying martyr who sees everybody else as responsible for her misery; this is especially rich coming from Duke, who's hardly a saint himself. Dodger then attacks him and tells him to fuck off.
  • In Hakumei, this attitude towards the Third Hokage is so prevalent that Konohamaru wants to be taught by a foreign shinobi, simply because all of the shinobi in Konoha constantly insult his late grandfather.
  • Infinity Train: Blossomverse:
    • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: After Chloe falls to her death thanks to a giant dragon, leaving her head cracked open, Apex member Tiffany declares that she deserved it. Tiffany also shows No Sympathy to a denizen who was killed while trying to shield her from shrapnel, declaring that the denizen's heart is now her "battle trophy".
    • Infinity Train: Voyage of Wisteria: When news of Grace Monroe's death spreads throughout the Train, most of its denizens celebrate her demise. Having lost one of his friends to her, Kisaragi's response to being asked if he's glad that she's gone is "Very." Tokio, who was traumatized by that same incident — and Grace's utter lack of remorse — agrees with him.
  • The King Nobody Wanted:
    • Urrigon Greyjoy doesn't hesitate to condemn his late mother as a murderous, ambitious Evil Matriarch.
    • Garth Tyrell has no qualms about ridiculing the minuscule contributions that Lord Lucerys Velaryon made to the war effort before dying in a brothel fight. However, he is polite enough to wait until Lucerys' son Monford is out of earshot.
    • Septon Baleriion is quite frank when describing the incompetence, callousness, and hedonism of his late father, another former Lord Velaryon.
    • When Alliser Thorne makes a comment that his fallen comrade Jon Connington is probably Together in Death with King Aerys and Rheager in the Seven Heavens, all of his remaining (named) companions disagree. They make it clear that their loyalty to the Targaryen cause is due to My Country, Right or Wrong sentiments rather than any belief that the late King Aerys was anything but a sadistic tyrant.
      Luthor Crabb: Connington and the prince I'll place with the Seven without doubt, but old Aerys...Well, that calls for a lot of divine mercy.
      Alliser Thorne: You mock an anointed king! A king I served.
      Luthor Crabb: We served same as you, Ser Alliser, through the Battle of the Bells, the Trident, and the Sack. A king may be anointed and still be a bad man.
  • In Lily's Next Great Adventure the second-in-command of a squad of goblins refers to a rookie recruit who died after running ahead of the others as a "foolish grog guzzler." His commander then slaps him and says "Respect the dead, meat-head!"
  • Mastermind: Rise of Anarchy: After Endeavor's death, Natsuo cracks jokes about it. While Fuyumi rebukes her brother, she then admits that she can't blame any of them for being happy, and that the world likely is better off with Endeavor gone.
  • In the chapter of My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic III following Twilight Sparkle's death, several people reassure Lightning Dawn that he shouldn't blame himself for what happened... in favor of Blaming the Victim rather than her murderer.
  • Pound the Table: After the death of DA Lou Young, Jameson sends Nora a framed collection of articles detailing the Laser-Guided Karma that befell them before their untimely demise, jokingly asking Nora why he shouldn't engage in such behavior.
  • Redaction of the Golden Witch: The Protagonist of the 1996 sequences is uncomfortable with how their Witch Hunter friends have bought into the sensationalism surrounding the Rokkenjima Incident, and lost sight of the fact that all of their theorizing and fantasizing involves real people who existed, rather than fictional characters. Part of the reason they agreed to join them on their trip was they were hoping that seeing the area would help them realize how disrespectful their behavior was.
  • Son of the Sannin: During the final battle, Madara Uchiha has the nerve to refer to Maito Gai as "that green-clad fool", even after admitting that he made him fear for his life for the first time in decades when he used the Eight Gate to fight him (and Madara only survived by sheer luck and Gai being tired from destroying his giant Chibaku Tensei meteors to save as many lives as possible). Naturally, the Konoha 15, especially Gai's own students, do not take this kindly.
  • "Strange Potter" opens with Doctor Strange (Marvel Cinematic Universe) retrieving the infant Harry Potter from the Dursleys and ensuring that Sirius receives custody. When Strange visits Dumbledore and meets Snape for the first time, when Snape refers to James Potter as an "arrogant fool" and a "disgrace of a man", Strange responds by dropping Snape into a magical portal to fall for twenty minutes. When Dumbledore asks if words hurt Strange that much, Strange counters that after James's last act was to try and buy time for his wife and son to escape he deserves better than to be disrespected by someone who was against everything James clearly stood for.
  • System Restore:
    • While Togami does his best to avoid this, during the first trial, he has to explain to the other students that Komaeda was planning to kill somebody at the party.
    • Hiyoko, by contrast, has absolutely no problem with this. The morning after the first trial, she gleefully greets the others by declaring "Geez, it's as dead as Komaeda and Hanamura in here!" Her complete Lack of Empathy eventually pushes Mahiru to her Rage Breaking Point, calling her out on her callousness.
  • A Teacher's Glory: After Kakashi accidentally dies at the hands of his students when they follow his instructions to come at him with the intent to kill, Anko and Asuma discuss him in a way that zigzags around this. While they judge him a bit, they don't fall into overly insulting or praising him, concluding that he was a skilled shinobi and terrible teacher.
  • In Team 8, Kurenai harshly says that if ninja on reconnaissance missions get into needless fights and die, they die as fools who won't have their names carved on the memorial stone.
  • What It Takes:
    • Absolutely no one has any kind words for Ra's al Ghul (except for Talia, who still loved him despite her difficulties with him), as all of Team Arrow's current problems can be traced back to him, one way or the other. Laurel even plainly tells Talia to her face that she hated Ra's and doesn't hold him in any high regard at all.
    • While he's a lot more respectful about it than most examples, Oliver has no issues telling Laurel his honest opinion about Quentin: namely, that only Quentin is to blame for how things turned out for him, and that it is not her fault her father couldn't find it in him to love her the way she loved him. This conversation happens in front of Quentin's grave, no less, showing how far Oliver's opinion of Quentin had fallen after everything that happened in the story.
  • What You Knead (Naruto): As much as he still cares for her, Kakashi eventually admits that he's never fully forgiven Rin for how she pulled a Suicide by Cop at his hands, resenting how she forced him to carry that weight... and left him saddled with the epithet of "Friend-Killer Kakashi".
  • In Where Talent Goes to Die, Hoshino doesn't hesitate to speak badly of the first two murderers, calling them selfish for trying to graduate and endangering the group. Miura acknowledges that Hoshino isn't wrong... even if Hoshino ultimately ends up being the third murderer.
  • Why Am I Crying?: The Daze brothers make very clear that they aren't the least bit saddened by Diamond Tiara's sudden death, with Shady Daze telling Silver Spoon outright that he wishes both of them were killed in the same accident.

    Film — Animated 
  • The Land Before Time: During their argument over which way to go to the Great Valley, Cera flat-out tells Littlefoot to his face that his deceased mother was a "stupid longneck." Littlefoot is not happy and promptly attacks her.

    Film — Live Action 
  • In Analyze That, Dr. Sobol releases a scathing invective at his late father during his eulogy. This is revealed to be an Imagine Spot, but later we hear that the actual eulogy wasn't much better. (The words "cold and withholding" were used.)
  • Batman (1989). The Joker mocks the corpse after he kills Antoine Rotelli, a mob boss.
    Joker: You are a vicious bastard, Rotelli. I'm glad you're dead.
  • Bumblebee: In a massive Kick the Dog moment, Alpha Bitch Tina insults Charlie's car and tells Charlie her dead father should get her a new one. Thankfully, she receives a nice dose of Laser-Guided Karma courtesy of Bumblebee.
    Tina: This car is an embarrassment. You should have your dad buy you a better one.
  • The Color Purple (1985): Mr's sisters are talking to Celie and start criticising Mr's old wife - she was apparently terrible at housework and by the end of her life was having an affair (which was understandable, and also her cause of death). They lampshade it by saying "It's not good to speak ill of the dead, but the truth can never be ill."
  • Hot Shots! Part Deux. Ramada's husband falls to his death while doing something really stupid.
    Topper Harley: He really was a wiener.
    Ramada: Don't get me started.
  • The framing device of La Ferme des Sept Péchés is an investigation into the murder of its protagonist, Paul-Louis Courier. Through interviews with the judge and various flashbacks, most of the characters make it clear that they hated Paul-Louis for being a stingy, brutal landlord and an abusive husband, and aside from the village idiot, they're all glad he's dead.
  • Rio Lobo: Upon hearing that Shasta shot Mook Lieutenant Whitey, Old Man Phillips declares that's the best news he's heard all year.
  • Thor: The Dark World: When Erik Selvig, who has been mentally disturbed by the events of The Avengers, in which he was brainwashed by Loki, finds out that Loki has died (except he hasn't):
    Thor: Loki's dead.
    Erik: Oh, thank God!
    Thor: (looks at Selvig, appalled)
    Erik: I mean...I'm so sorry for your loss.
  • The Wizard of Oz: An Asshole Victim example. The Wicked Witch of the East, an evil villain, gets killed when a house falls on her. How do the citizens react to this? They sing, "Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead! Which Old Witch? The Wicked Witch! Ding Dong The Wicked Witch Is Deeaaaad!!"

  • In Aunt Dimity: Detective Lori and her family return from a vacation to find that Prunella Hooper was bludgeoned to death. Lori asks her live-in nanny why she didn't mention this when she heard about it.
    Annelise: Mum said it'd put a damper on your holiday, and besides, old Pruneface was no great loss. 'Good riddance to bad rubbish,' Mum says.
  • Break of Dark: When they shoot down the German pilot in Blackham's Wimpy, Blackham and his crew not only spend the next 20-30 minutes exulting and mocking him as he burns to death, but they carry on their celebrations when they get back to base. Strongly implied that this is why he comes back to haunt them.
  • From A Christmas Carol — when Scrooge is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Future, he sees many people stealing from a dead man, laughing at how much better things are without him, and telling nasty stories. He's horrified to find that person was him, and that no one genuinely misses him.
  • Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation: Mo Dao Zu Shi:
    • Implied with Yu Ziyuan who would often verbally abuse and look down on Wei Wuxian for being the son of a servant and speculated that her husband had an affair with Wei Wuxian's mother, showing she was not above making spiteful remarks about his deceased parents.
    • Meng Shi is often on the receiving end of insults after her death because she was a prostitute and as a means to insult her son and his background.
    • Despite everything that Wen Qing and Wen Ning had done for him, Jiang Cheng still doesn't hesitate to insult the Wen clansman who were all killed during the First Siege.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Hermione criticizes Sirius, more than a year after Sirius's death: "Sirius was horrible to Kreacher... I've said all along that wizards would pay for how they treat house elves. Well, Voldemort did... and so did Sirius." Dumbledore said more or less the same, although noting that Sirius's problem was Kreacher and not house-elves in general.
    • Marge, Uncle Vernon's sister, tends to spend most of her visits at the Dursleys' home openly insulting either Harry or his late parents. Suffice to say, this does not end well for her.
    • Snape, of course, hardly ever misses the chance to make a snide remark about Harry's dead father. When Harry learns his dad really was a bully in his teens, it comes as an unpleasant shock.
    • Rita Skeeter published an unsavory 900-page book about Dumbledore just a few months after his death. What she says about him personally isn't necessarily untrue, but it definitely takes a lot of stuff out of context.
  • In The Hunger Games, Clove intentionally mocks Rue's death while pinning Katniss down at her mercy. However, if she didn't choose to rant and kill Katniss right there, Thresh would have never overheard and killed Clove for saying such things.
  • The Last Days of Krypton: Tyr-Us refers to his fellow dissident Gil-Ez as "vain and self-righteous" after he disappears and is presumed dead (although it turns out Gil-Ex is only being held prisoner in the Phantom Zone).
  • The Saint, in The Death Penalty, says that he's never seen a reason for "buttering up a name just because it's a dead one" and that the (very) recently deceased Big Bad of the story "will leave the world a little cleaner for being dead." Simon is adhering to Christopher Hitchens maxim "Never say anything nasty about the dead that you weren't brave enough to say while they were alive. Everything else is fair game," though; he said (and did) very nasty things face-to-face and one-on-one to the late villain.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of Black Peter", the titular Asshole Victim suffers from this; his own daughter flat-out tells Holmes and Watson that she's glad her father is dead and blesses the hand that killed him.
  • The point of the titular occupation in Speaker for the Dead. Speakers investigate their subjects' lives and tell the truth about them, good or bad.
  • Mark Renton from Trainspotting isn't sad about either of his brothers being dead, with Billy being a Big Brother Bully and the handicapped Davie being an embarrassment who took all their mother's attention.
  • Wolf Hall:
    • After Cardinal Wolsey dies, an obscene masque is put on for Henry that depicts Wolsey being dragged to Hell and mocks his background as a butcher's boy. The Duke of Norfolk asks to have the script so he can put it on at his own home; Henry and Anne also find it hilarious. Thomas Cromwell's reaction is somewhat different.
    • When Katharine of Aragon passes away, Anne marks the occasion by pointedly walking around in yellow.
  • In You Don't Own Me, Steven has nothing nice to say about the late Dr Martin Bell, bluntly telling Laurie that he was "a cheat. A fraud. And all-around jerk of a human being." He says it disgusts him that Martin still gets treated like he "walked on water" while his wife Kendra is slated by everyone, when in actual fact Martin was a horrible husband and possibly a sham doctor. Steven says he thinks the only reason Martin wasn't exposed by now was because he was murdered and no one wanted to drag up dirt on him, with Steven having no such qualms. Although Kendra wasn't Martin's biggest fan either, even she isn't so vitriolic about Martin and she tries to remind Steven he had some good traits. The fact Steven is clearly in love with Kendra certainly contributes to his low opinion of Martin.
  • In Lawrence Block's The Burglar in the Closet Craig Sheldrake is arrested for the murder of his ex-wife Crystal. Craig's employee/girlfriend Jillian has a few choice things to say about the deceased.
    "I can't believe Craig would kill her," she was saying. "She was a bitch and he hated her, but I can't believe he would kill anyone. Even a rotten tramp like Crystal."
    I tried to remember that Latin phrase for speaking well of the dead, then gave it up. De mortuis ta-tum ta-tum bonum, something along those lines.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All My Children:
    • After Michael Cambias's death, everyone in Pine Valley goes to his funeral just to give eulogies about how much they hate his guts for what he did to Bianca, with Bianca's lover Lena going so far as to spit on his grave.
    • Also, after David Hayward's apparent death, only Greenlee, Krystal, and Marissa go to his funeral, while everyone else in town throws a party to celebrate his demise.
  • In Arrow, Felicity Smoak is a fan of this, doing so right after the deaths of both Moira Queen (her funeral no less) and Amanda Waller.
  • Breaking Bad: When Leonel dies in the hospital after Mike secretly gives him a lethal injection, several police officers are shown with satisfied grins, and Gomez hopes he'll be burning in hell. Given that Leonel and his brother Marco are cartel hitmen with a combined body count in the dozens, if not hundreds, and Leonel had been hospitalized attempting to assassinate DEA agent Hank, it's obvious that'd they would have no sympathy for a man like him.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when minor character Chloe committed suicide, an annoyed Buffy called her a weak moron for quitting when things got tough.
  • The Expanse: Johnson has no illusions whatsoever about what kind of person Miller was after the latter performs a Heroic Sacrifice, calling the belated "a pain-in-the-ass, suicidal ex-cop".
  • In a famous episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Uncle Phil's Jerkass former mentor-turned-political opponentnote  dies after Will chews him out for being so rotten. At the funeral, basically nobody has anything nice to say about the man, and most showed up just to make sure he was really dead. Will, still feeling guilty, berates them by saying he might not have been a pleasant man, but he still deserves a little dignity in death. When asked who he is, Will responds "I'm the dude who killed him"...and gets a standing ovation. "Tough room" indeed.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Queen Cersei and King Joffrey have no qualms posthumously calling the late Lord Renly Baratheon a "degenerate" in "Dark Wings, Dark Words." Cersei is a woman who had three children with her twin brother. Joffrey also calls Renly a "deviant" in front of Brienne and Margaery in "The Lion and the Rose". Later in the episode, the dwarf actor who plays "Renly" is derided as a "degenerate" by his "Joffrey" co-star.
    • In "Mhysa", several Frey and Bolton soldiers openly mock those they killed in the Red Wedding. This gets them killed by Arya and the Hound when they spur the formers ire.
    • In "Breaker of Chains", Tywin is quite happy to talk about Joffrey's various failings... while standing in front of the corpse's grieving mother, and speaking to the corpse's younger brother.
    • In "Unbent, Unbowed, Unbroken", Cersei openly mocks the late Lysa Arryn to her husband's face, calling her a "thoroughly repellent woman".
    • In "Book of the Stranger", when Khal Moro finds out one of his bloodriders (sworn bodyguard) has apparently been murdered with a rock, instead of investigating it, he mocks him and says he deserved to die if he went out in such a pathetic way.
    • In "The Broken Man", several northerners bitterly call the late King Robb Stark a fool and his late wife Talisa a "foreign whore".
    • In "The Queen's Justice", Lady Olenna uses her last moments to reminisce on the late King Joffrey in front of the deceased's father: nonchalantly insulting him with Country Matters, mocking his Cruel and Unusual Death, and confessing to orchestrating his murder.
    • In "Winterfell", after coercing Cersei into sleeping with him, Euron asks Cersei how he compares in bed to "the fat king". Cersei answers that despite constantly whoring, Robert had no idea how to satisfy a woman in bed.
  • Victor Lewis-Smith's Honest Obituaries series of sketches about UK Celebrities (all of whom were alive at the time the series was written) on the short-running UK comedy series TV Offal.
  • House:
    • Dr. House's eulogy for his father mostly consists of Calling the Old Man Out posthumously for his abusive parenting and noting that none of the attendees were people who experienced how cruel he was to those under his power.
    • In the Series Finale, most of the show's major characters turn up at the title character's funeral to commemorate the positive impact House had on their lives. His best friend Wilson, though, takes the opportunity to call House out for being selfish, self-destructive, and short-sighted. The twist is that House is still very much alive, and texts Wilson "Shut up you idiot" while he's at the dais.
  • JAG: In "Pilot Error", there are persistent rumors that Lt. Pendry had been having an affair with his female wingman, and that this may have contributed to the crash.
  • In Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the death of Prince Philip was called “a tragedy if you don't know a single thing about him”, and had even worse words for his wife Elizabeth II, with John mocking the mourning period, claiming the queen was "in the afterlife, looking up at Diana", and eventually did a whole segment questioning if the Monarchy should remain.
  • Brazil's version of Last Week Tonight, Greg News, made a Running Gag out of providing reminders that Olavo de Carvalho, a right wing pundit and one of the ideologues of Jair Bolsonaro, was dead.
  • In Red Dwarf, Rimmer dies before the start of the story proper but is brought back as a hologram. Lister insults him just as much as when he was alive. To be fair, it's much easier to speak ill of the dead when they're still walking around being a massive pain in the ass.
  • In Smallville, when Lionel died, even the usual Nice Girl Chloe isn't too sorry about it. Justified because he had a strike force with kryptonite tasers to capture the love of her life and trap him in an adjustable kryptonite cage just two episodes before.
  • The Sopranos:
    • The wake for Tony's awful mother begins with the usual platitudes and fake respect. And then Carmela says what everyone's really thinking about the deceased, and things go rapidly downhill.
    • At Jackie Aprile Jr.,'s wake, Tony's uncle "Junior" Corrado is quite blunt about what an idiot the young man truly was, and even Jackie Jr's own sister calls him stupid and pathetic after the funeral. Indeed, the reason Jackie got whacked is that he tried to rob a mafia card game and failed.
      Junior: Kid was always a dumb fuck though, wasn't he? Didn't he almost drown in three inches of water?
      Tony: The penguin exhibit.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Siege Of AR 558", one of the soldiers refers to his dead friend as having been a loudmouth Know-Nothing Know-It-All jerk despite acknowledging that one should Never Speak Ill of the Dead. It's a sign that he's suffering from PTSD.
  • On Succession, the PR/communications heads, Karolina and Hugo, offer the Roy brothers two ways to spin Logan's death: the kinder one is to portray it as Roman and Kendall naturally taking over the reigns from their beloved father; the harsher one is to portray Logan as infirm and incompetent towards the end of his life and say the children had unofficially taken over by the time of his death. Roman is reluctant to go with the latter, but Kendall goes behind his back and tells Hugo to start trashing in the press.
  • In the Superstore episode "Sal's Dead", the Cloud 9 staff are relieved to hear that the corpse found in the store's walls is their coworker Sal and not somebody they actually cared about. Newcomer Kelly is a little disturbed at how calm they are until they tell her what Sal was like in life.
    Cheyenne: When he looked at you, it felt like he was grabbing you.

  • The Green Day song "Ha Ha, You're Dead", where the singer expresses his joy that a horrible person he utterly despised has kicked the bucket.
    Ha ha, you're dead! The joke is over!
    You were an asshole, and now you're gone!
    While your ship is going down, I'll stand by and watch you drown.
    Ha ha, you're dead! Ha ha, you're dead! Ha ha, you're dead!
  • On the song "Reagan", Killer Mike ends the song with the line "I'll leave you with four words: I'm glad Reagan dead."
  • MDC has two separate examples of this, "John Wayne Was a Nazi", a tirade of abuse at the dead actor for his real-life right-wing politics and the reactionary nature of many of the films he appeared in, and "Nazis Shouldn't Drive", an enthusiastic celebration of the death in a car crash of the neo-Nazi punk musician Ian Stuart Donaldson.
  • The aforementioned "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" became the #1 song in Britain after Margaret Thatcher died. A 74-year-old song.

  • On The Bugle podcast, John Oliver coined the phrase "A Fuck-Eulogy" to describe the act of telling the truth about unpleasant dead people.
  • Played straight by the infamous left-wing podcast Chapo Trap House. The hosts do not shy away from insulting and criticizing recently deceased political figures whom they hate such as Andrew Breitbart and John McCain, and freely admit that they would feel more insulted if a conservative politician pretended to feel sad for a deceased leftist figure.
    Matt: Every time you remember that Andrew Breitbart is dead is a little gift you give to yourself.

  • In Ajax, Agamemnon and Menelaus have good reason to hate Ajax after his attempted slaughter of their army, but veer a little too close to religious blasphemy in denying Ajax burial rights after he has committed suicide. Odysseus in comparison gives up his grudge and persuades them not to violate sacred rites.
  • Subverted in Julius Caesar. Anthony's speech sounds like it's going to be this ("I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him") but by clever twisting of his words, he turns the assembled people against Caesar's killers.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: The Assassins make it a point to avert this, but there are exceptions. For example, after Ezio assassinates Vieri de' Pazzi, he proceeds to viciously insult Vieri's corpse, declaring that Vieri got what he deserved and he wished that he suffered more as he died. His uncle Mario steps in at that moment and urges Ezio to have more respect for the dead, warning him not to stoop to Vieri's level.
  • When Bottles is killed by Grunty at the beginning of Banjo-Tooie, Kazooie has no qualms about mocking his death, claiming he wasn't anyone's favorite character in the original game. Banjo quickly calls her out on this.
  • Criminal Case: In nearly every case, with a scant few exceptions, most of the suspects openly trash-talk the murder victims as if they never learned how to not speak ill of the dead.
  • In Dead by Daylight, before she became the Killer known as the Hag, Lisa Sherwood was a high school girl who had a bitchy sociopathic friend named Pam who copied Lisa's good luck charms to pass her tests. When their English teacher drops dead, Pam laughs at his passing. Lisa warns her not to insult the dead, but Pam is laughing at his funeral. The pallbearers are straining to carry the casket because he's so heavy, only for one to trip on a rock. They end up throwing the casket on top of Pam, squashing her flat as punishment from the spirits.
  • At the end of Dino Crisis, if Gail dies, Dr. Kirk mocks his death by saying "And this is the reward for a lifetime of service to the government. Sad, isn't it?" Regina has none of it and punches Kirk in the face.
  • Dyztopia: Post-Human RPG: Right before his second boss fight, Clyde will mock whoever sacrificed themselves at the end of Chapter 2, which only serves to make the player want to beat his face in even more.
  • In Far Cry 4, Pagan Min, the despotic king of Kyrat, tells Player Character Ajay Ghale that Ajay's father Mohan Ghale, the leader of the Golden Path, "was a cunt." Pagan's rudeness makes sense when you consider that Mohan killed Lakshmana, Pagan's infant daughter with Ajay's mother Ishwari Ghale. After that, a vengeful Ishwari killed her husband and took Ajay with her to America, leaving Pagan behind to bitterly subject the people of Kyrat to fresh atrocities. Pagan has every reason not to speak respectfully of a man like that.
  • Discussed in Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
    • After completing Sylvain's Paralogue, in which you mop up the remnants of Sylvain's older brother Miklan's gang of thieves, Sylvain says that it's not polite to speak ill of the dead, but calls Miklan selfish and egotistical, since Miklan's fall to villainy had been the result of being born without a Crest (making him unable to be heir to his family). Despite that, Sylvain wonders how he might have turned out if their roles had been reversed.
    • In a Chapter 17 monastery conversation on the Verdant Wind and Azure Moon routes, Linhardt will note that he doesn't believe one should have to speak well of the dead, noting that, "If I didn't like them when they were alive, then why pretend to do so when they are no longer here?" Notably, Ferdinand, whom Linhardt apparently didn't like very much, dies in the previous chapter if not recruited (although Linhardt's dialogue doesn't change if that happens unlike Dorothea, who disliked Ferdinand but is devastated if the individual dies).
  • In Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], how does Master Xehanort treat Terra's, Aqua's, and Ven's Heroic Sacrifices in Birth by Sleep? By invoking But for Me, It Was Tuesday and basically calling them Failure Heroes.
  • The Last of Us Part II: Out of everyone involved with Joel's murder, Nora proves to be the vilest about their death, referring to the deceased as a "piece of shit" and calling them a monster. Even after being cornered by a vengeful Ellie, she pleads for Ellie to "remember what he's done", apparently not thinking about the fact that she's saying this to the young woman whom Joel raised like a daughter. As a result, she gets beaten to death with a pipe.
  • Manafinder: Azain mocks Soren for getting killed by the Cataractadon. He later expresses glee over Lambda killing his "ally" Octavius, since he's annoyed by Octavius prioritizing his lust for combat over Illia's agenda.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: In the post-game, Ryder finds an autopsy report on The Archon telling everyone to stop claiming their cause of death was "Pathfinder". Not because of any actual respect toward the individual, just because of their concern about the actual cause of death and what it might mean.
    The jokes will cease. There are no monsters in my morgue.
  • Murdered: Soul Suspect: Baxter has absolutely zero qualms against calling the recently deceased Ronan a "dumb son of a bitch" and "more criminal than cop," the former to the face of Ronan's corpse.
  • Persona:
  • After Shinjiro, one of your True Companions from SEES, dies in Persona 3, the school holds a memorial service. During this, you overhear some of the students talking bad about the recently deceased and can choose to confront them.
    • It takes place off-screen, but during the campout in Persona 4, Kanji will remark that he heard that the second-year students' homeroom teacher Morooka has been badmouthing the two women that were murdered at the start of the game.
    • Subverted in Persona 4: Dancing All Night. Kyoka Ochimizu describes Yuko Osada, an Idol Singer she managed who hanged herself, as "uniquely talentless," and some of the Investigation Team get offended. Ochimizu then clarifies that she didn't mean it as an insult- Yuko was determined enough to succeed despite her lack of talent, but her single-minded focus was her undoing.
  • In Professor Layton and the Last Specter, Barde was so unpopular in Misthallery that people spoke ill about him after his death, greatly upsetting his children.
  • Resident Evil 6 features two examples in regards to the late Albert Wesker:
    • When she first meets Jake in Edonia, Carla has absolutely zero qualms against referring to Wesker as a "colossal imbecile" and a "fool." While talking to Wesker's own son, no less.
    • Later, after Chris and Jake's confrontation near the end of their respective campaigns, Piers insists that Chris didn't have to confess to Jake because Wesker deserved to die and Chris did what he had to do to keep the world safe. Chris is quick to point out that, even after everything Wesker had done, he was still Jake's father and Jake had every right to know what happened to him. Notably, Chris doesn't shy away from telling the truth. The whole truth (at least in what little time they have), and Jake has no real connection with Wesker anyway, having been abandoned by him as a kid.
  • In Saints Row 2, Shogo attacks Aisha's funeral as Johnny Gat wants a moment to bury her in peace so he can personally fight with him. Shogo disregards that and gets buried alive for his trouble.
  • Shin Megami Tensei IV brings us the Ring of Gaea, a cult that promotes human strength and condemns weakness. So when Ring of Gaea member Kaga loses her life trying to stop a demon, a fellow member that you can talk to later flat out admits that she doesn't care for Kaga because Kaga was too weak to survive.
  • In case you didn't already know he was a scumbag, Kvar from Tales of Symphonia insults Lloyd's dead parents to his face, calling them "worthless maggots" after explaining how he killed Lloyd's mother. Lloyd is understandably incensed, as is (for once) Kratos. Kratos gives his comments a Call-Back when he kills him during his Extreme Mêlée Revenge.
    • After Kvar's death, a hologram of his colleague Rodyle appears and tells the deceased that he's going to take the rest of the data about the Manna Cannon, ending with Rodyle laughing at Kvar's untimely demise.
  • Clementine can potentially do this in The Walking Dead: The Final Season if the player picks certain choices. When she tells Violet how she knows Lilly, she can say that her father, Larry, was a racist asshole and Lilly defended everything he did. She can later tell Lilly that she always hated Larry ever since she first met him or that Lilly is an asshole just like he was.
  • In World of Warcraft, Varian gets upset when Anduin comments on how the recently deceased Magni convinced himself that Moira was brainwashed to avoid having to admit that his desire for a male heir ended up driving her to the Dark Iron Dwarves. Anduin, unlike most of the characters on this page, respects Magni, but believes that "You can be an honorable man and still make mistakes."
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Mrs. Reid continues to rant about how she saw her daughter Shania as a pathetic embarrassment to the Reid family while others are grieving how far she fell after her second death. This nearly gets her throttled by Sena, Ghondor, and Monica all at once.
  • In Yakuza: Like a Dragon, shortly after the death of their former boss, Nonomiya, Ichiban and company find themselves face-to-face with Bleach Japan, who had been harassing Nonomiya about running a Soapland before his death. Leader Kume was already openly cheering Nonomiya's death getting the place shuttered, but when confronted by Ichiban, he's quick to start insulting both them and Nonomiya, calling the latter filth and saying that he did the world a favour by taking his own life. Saeko and Ichiban respond with a slap and Megaton Punch respectively. The "peaceful protestors" respond by drawing bats. As Adachi points out, they were looking for violence all along. Cue battle.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • In Ace Attorney Investigations, Manfred Von Karma calls Byrne Faraday incompetent as a prosecutor before and after finding out that he's been murdered. In the sequel, Manosuke Naito (Horace Knightly in the fan translation) insults his dead fellow bodyguard Gai Tojiro (Ethan Rooke) in the first case, and everyone else is horrified. Naito also turns out to be Tojiro's murderer.
    • From Justice for All, we have Dr. Turner Grey, who, a few years ago, lost a large number of patients at his hospital, and blamed nurse Mimi Miney over it. The same night, Mimi was killed in a car accident (or rather, her sister Ini was; Mimi underwent facial reconstruction surgery and took on a new life impersonating Ini). Turner doesn't think any higher of Mimi despite her death and seeks out spirit channeling so he can force Mimi's soul to confess to her misdeeds. Unfortunately for him, he's murdered shortly thereafter by Mimi herself.
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice, Phoenix does this reluctantly with the recently deceased Archie Buff, mentioning that he was responsible for stealing various artifacts he intended to study, since at the moment, Phoenix is trying to prove that his client, Paul Atishon-Wimperson, is the actual owner of the Founder's Orb.
  • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
    • Miu does this several times throughout the game. Her penchant for crude nicknames and insults is applied to living and dead classmates alike, such as when she posthumously refers to Angie as a "kooky fuckin' bitch" or comments on Ryoma's fate(his corpse was eaten by piranhas) by noting that "Tomorrow, he'll be fish shit."
    • In Chapter 4, Kokichi Oma repeatedly insults the victim, referring to them by various derogatory names while Shuichi declares that they're going too far.
    • Also Played With during the fourth Class Trial. When one of the survivors remarks that everyone probably would have been friends with the victim if not for the killing game, everyone else is quick to declare that they're wrong: they wouldn't have been friends with them anyway.
    • Even after Kokichi dies, no one other than Kiibo can sympathize with his death and his killer declares that he still hates him, even knowing that in the end, he wasn't as bad as he wanted to seem.
  • Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair
    • Shortly after Momoko (apparently) commits suicide, Runa hesitantly says that it is bad to speak ill of the dead, but says that Runa had been a Clingy Jealous Girl who had gotten angry with Runa for talking with Hiro, Momoko's boyfriend. That said, Runa had genuinely wanted to be friends with Momoko, which was why she'd agreed to wear matching costumes. In a strange variation on this trope, Momoko is actually still alive at the time, having pretended to commit suicide to throw everyone off about the order of the deaths, but then actually hangs herself after killing Hiro and (possibly) Kotoba.
    • At the end of the story, it's revealed that Hiro, the second victim, is the cause of everything that happened. He'd asked Kamen out while he was still dating Momoko, and then sent Kamen countless texts, causing Momoko to conclude that Hiro was cheating on her with Kamen, and driving her to murder. In the ending, Raiko narrates, "I knew one shouldn't talk bad about the dead... but that guy sure had been a scumbag." She's not alone in feeling that way, since no one mourns his death, unlike Momoko and even Kotoba (if the latter dies).

    Web Comics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, aside from Nale's girlfriend Sabine, Elan is the only person who feels bad when Tarquin kills Nale after the latter finally pushes his luck too far. Haley and Tarquin, not so much. Haley says that Nale was a terrible human being who deserved to die. Tarquin is even harsher, coldly dismissing Nale, his own son, as nothing more than a B-villain that Elan has outgrown. Laurin Shattersmith, another old friend of Tarquin's and Malack's (the latter of whom Nale killed not long before his death), merely says "good riddance" and Disintegates Nale's corpse to make him Deader than Dead.
  • Shortpacked!: Amber only attends her abusive father's funeral so she can get emotional closure by seeing his corpse (and also to let her half-brother Faz see his father once). When prompted to speak about her dead father, she tells the other funeralgoer in no uncertain terms how she feels about him.
  • Suicide for Hire: According to the Social Darwinist Hunter:
    "We're not making light of your feelings. I am sorry you lost your friend. Hell, I'll go so far as to say he shouldn't have died. But if they're idiots in life, with an idiotic demise, they should not be revered as anything else in death."
  • Toon Hole: Played With. In one strip, a man fakes his death to hear other people say good things about him. When the people who show up at his funeral have only bad things to say ("dumb hair"), it drives him to suicide. At his real funeral, people only have good things to say ("great hair").

    Web Original 
  • In Cinematic Excrement, Smeghead discusses this in his review of Bolero. His specific example is director John Derek cheating on his then-wife with the woman who would later become his fourth wife Bo Derek while she was still 16 and living in Europe until she was 18 so he wouldn't be charged with statutory rape.
    "Death does not magically make dead men good. It only makes them dead."
  • Played for Drama in Escape the Night. After Andrea Brooks is killed in a gas chamber, Justine, who was supposed to save her, talks trash about her. Everyone in the group is shocked. Soon after they discover that one among them is a mole. Andrea's best friend Timothy immediately blames Justine, with only Joey standing up for her. The next episode sees most of the group murder Justine in cold blood.
  • When Pinkie Pie died in Rainbow Dash Presents Bittersweet, almost all the attendees (all five of them) indulged in this: Rarity gloated that she called it that Pinkie would kill herself, Twilight expressed disbelief at how Pinkie died-"what is this, the dark ages? We have medicine!"-Applejack concludes that Pinkie died out of spite, and Rainbow Dash made it [all about her. Fluttershy might have been the only respectful attendee there, but we'll never know since, per Pinkie's last will and testament, she was drowned out by dubstep.
  • When Levin died in We Are Our Avatars, Michelle, Nova, and Longram openly criticized him. According to Nova, he was "a pain in the ass to deal with, posed friendly fire risks, did not stop to think, was way too quick to extend the phallic symbol that was his weapon, and did not understand the concept of humility"

    Western Animation 
  • The "original finale" of Beavis and Butt-Head had everyone at school mistakenly thinking the titular duo are dead (they are actually still alive). So the teachers and the students openly celebrate the fact the two supposedly passed. Principal McVicker and all the teachers even hold a party in the Teacher's Lounge in response, finally glad to get rid of them. The only ones who mourned their loss were Mr. Van Driessen and Stewart.
  • In The Boondocks episode "Wingmen", Robert's former friend Moe Jackson, whom he had fallen out with long ago, has now passed away, and he left a video will saying that he wanted Robert to deliver his eulogy. With reluctance, Robert agrees. At the funeral, he's given a script Moe had prepared beforehand. Robert starts reading it out, only to find out that it talks about how awesome Moe was, making Robert say that he was sexy, paid his rent numerous times, and so on. Robert gets fed up and tells the funeral-goers the honest truth: that Moe was an asshole who only asked for Robert so that he could make a fool of him again. The other attendees, who had previously expressed an incredibly rose-tinted view of Moe, suddenly had an about-face and felt free to agree with Robert.
  • In Gargoyles, seventeen years after Duncan's death, Macbeth still has no qualms about describing him as "an evil man who deserved his fate." To Duncan's son, Canmore.
  • Gravity Falls: When Soos' grandmother mentions going to heaven, Soos suggests she would reunite with her deceased husband. She calmly insists that she will not, and then looks downward.
  • In Hey Arnold!, at Dino Spumoni's funeral (Dino was actually Faking the Dead), his close friend only talked about how Dino was a jerk.
  • Lilo & Stitch: In addition to bullying Lilo, Mertle also has a habit of making snide remarks about Lilo's late parents.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): In "Requiem", while attacking Karai and setting fire to the Mutanimals' hideout, The Shredder (who had just mutated himself into The Super Shredder) mocks Tang Shen's death right to her face, boasting that it's fitting that she should die just as her mother did. It just goes to show how far off the deep end Shredder's gone, especially since his love for Tang Shen, as well as his jealousy that she chose Hamato Yoshi/Splinter over him, was his primary reason for turning to evil in the first place.


Video Example(s):


Sister Michael's aunt

Sister Michael tells the girls that her aunt just died, but she freely admits that she was "an absolute arsehole".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / SpeakIllOfTheDead

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