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The Dead Have Names

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"The Alliance lost eight cruisers. Shenyang. Emden. Jakarta. Cairo. Seoul. Cape Town. Warsaw. Madrid. And yes, I remember them all. Everyone in the Fifth Fleet is a hero. The Alliance owes them all medals. The Council owes them a lot more than that. And so do you."
Commander Shepard to Khalisah al-Jilani, Mass Effect 2

The opposite of A Million Is a Statistic, when the names of those who died are given instead of just faceless numbers to show respect for their sacrifice. A Sub-Trope of Nominal Importance: a list of a hundred names, often on a War Memorial, hits much harder than "100 people died".

A common variation of this trope is a high-rank military commander memorizing the names of all those who died carrying out his orders, despite not technically having to, usually used to dramatically reveal him as A Father to His Men. Other variations include newspaper articles, a War Memorial, or a database with pictures.

Related to What Measure Is a Mook?. See also He Had a Name. Posthumous Characters can be part of this, too, as long as they're listed on the War Memorial. But sometimes, all we know about the characters are their names.

As this is a Death Trope, unmarked spoilers abound. Beware.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan:
    • There is repeatedly various characters listing the casualties of the encounters with the Titans they just survived, even if those names were never even mentioned before. On one occasion this even happens preemptively:
      During this operation, more than just a few will die. For you. They will be our fellows, ranked both above and below us. As soldiers, they're prepared to die, of course. But they are not pawns without a voice. They have names and families and all the feelings that those entail. Alyosha, Dominic, Phine, Isable, Ludwig, Martina, Guido, Hans... They're all humans as alive as either of us.
    • Tragically averted in the aftermath of the Battle of Trost. The remains of the Titans' victims that were vomited out are so mangled and mixed up that it's impossible to identify them. Marco was relatively fortunate since only half of his body was eaten, meaning Jean could identify him. Most of the time the only way to identify which soldiers have died in a battle with Titans is to tally up who didn't come back.
  • Chainsaw Man:
    • In a flashback to a graveyard, Kishibe tells Himeno devil hunters need to be a little crazy, calling out the names of those buried around them as too sane for their own good.
    • When the Gun Devil is sent by the US president to kill Makima, a sequence of two-page spreads have most of the pages covered by the names of the hundreds of people it immediately killed on arrival. The following chapter continues to list the names of the people killed.
  • A minor one from Code Geass: after FLEIJA was launched on the Tokyo Settlement, Nina was shown the names of all who died in the explosion.
  • Used more literally than usual in Cross Ange. The Norma (humans who cannot use mana and disrupt mana that they come in contact with) are stripped of all but their first names in life to make them Un-person, but if they fall in battle, their full birth names are inscribed on their headstones.
  • In D.Gray-Man, when the European Branch of the Order is beginning to move their headquarters, they are attacked by a ghost girl who intends to keep them trapped in the castle forever. The ghost girl eventually reveals that the Order brought her there when she was a child and had kept experimenting on her until she died. She's been trapped in the castle for so long, she does not even remember her own name. Komui then recites a long list of names of people who had died because of the Order's experiments.
  • Dr. STONE:
    • Tsukasa lists off the names of a number of his dead men. Hyoga doesn't recognize them. Tsukasa says they are the ones who died in the poison fog—the ones who (though Tsukasa doesn't know it) Hyoga threw into the fog to test if it was really poison.
    • While he never had a chance to remember their actual names, Tsukasa also remembers every single stone statue he destroyed. Since they were all petrified and could potentially be revived, he was under no illusions that he was murdering them. He is able to tell the others where the pieces are so that Yuzuriha can piece them back together and revive them after all.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Van Hohenheim knows the names of all of the souls trapped inside him—the victims of Xerxes' country-wide transmutation circle—and very early in his character development, even before The Reveal of his true nature, he's seen listing them out and then announcing, "I'm going to have to use you." On its last day, Xerxes had a population of 1,072,659 people (counting Hohenheim himself). Half of those, 536,329 souls, were sealed into Hohenheim's body, and he's had over 400 years to learn their names and get to know them.
    • Solf J. Kimblee has a similar philosophy. While learning the names of the various Ishvalan people they're killing would be implausible, he considers it a soldier's obligation to learn the faces of every person they kill in their professional capacity as a soldier; after all, "they'll always remember you..." It's a remarkably inspiring scene coming from a complete and utter sociopath.
  • Gundam:
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, Wufei is stunned to learn that Treize Khushrenada not only knows exactly how many people have died on both sides in the war he started, but he's memorized the names of every one of them — which is quite a feat, considering it's just shy of 100,000 people.
    • At the start of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans Season 2, Tekkadan had a memorial of those who have died in Season 1. By the end of Season 2, more names were added but they were etched on the stone instead.
  • In Naruto, Konoha has a monument listing the name of every ninja who has died in service to the village.
  • In Puella Magi Suzune Magica, Suzune wears a bell-and-pouch hairtie that is filled with paper strips that have the names of the magical girls she's killed written on them. She took over this practice, and the hairtie itself, from her mother figure, Tsubaki.
  • In the Tsukihime anime as well as in the manga adaptation, Shiki hears a news broadcast where the entirety of Nrvnsqr Chaos' victims is listed in name. This is how he learns of Satsuki's (apparent) death.
  • In Your Name, Taki, Tsukasa and Miki find in the local library a book containing the list of dead from comet Tiamat's impact that wiped out Itomori and killed more than 500 people. Finding Tessie, Sayaka and Mitsuha's names there hits characters and audience alike hard.

    Comic Books 
  • An Avengers comic showed one of the first things Captain America did when he woke up from his frozen slumber; read the entire Vietnam War memorial, to show his respect to all that died in a war he missed. He visits every War Memorial of a war he missed, and learns as many names as he can.
  • In the aftermath of Blackest Night, Saint Walker is shown saying a prayer over the grave of everyone who was reanimated in the crisis. That includes the entire former population of Coast City.
  • In the season nine comics of Buffy the Vampire Slayer guess who invokes this, in regards to South American drug dealers no less? None other than Faith. Yes, that Faith.
  • In Death Vigil, despite Bernie being immortal and having The Fog of Ages clouding her memory, she does her best to remember every friend she has lost in the never-ending battle against the Enemy.
  • Green Lantern: After the Sinestro Corps War, Vath Sarn takes the time to recite the names of all 400-something Green Lanterns who died in the conflict, and then take a drink after each one.
  • Skull Island: The Birth of Kong: In this MonsterVerse graphic novel sequel to Kong: Skull Island; at the end of his log, Aaron lists the names of those who have died on his expedition as the awful price he ended up paying to realize his father was right about Skull Island, taking full responsibility for causing all their deaths by launching the expedition to the island in the first place.

    Fan Works 
  • In Age of Calamity, the prequel installment of the The Myth of Link & Zelda: Survivors of the Calamity, the second chapter adapts the first playable battle segment of the namesake game. It features several Red Shirts being killed by monsters, and one of the name has an unnamed friend try to help him up only to realize he's dead. This dead Red Shirt is named Nyllo.
  • Bait and Switch opens chapter eight with Eleya in the USS Bajor's morgue. In her narration she rattles off the names of the five members of her crew who died in the fights in chapters six and seven, and feels guilty that, with the exception of Crewman Cdebaat from Security, she didn't know any of them beyond that.
  • Child of the Storm: Joshua uses this as a teaching tool in one scene. When Harry is thinking about getting over all skis with supernatural power and starting a war among the gods for the sake of rescuing beloved Carol, Joshua takes them to London's battle memorial stone and has Harry read him all the names of the fallen in the battle of the gods that took place there. Going by Harry being much more considerate of unintended consequences to potential bystanders in later chapters, it's very effective.
    There were [...] a lot of [names].
    "Those who suffered the most in the Battle of London were the same as those who always suffer the most in any conflict of powers, mundane or otherwise, who are always caught in the middle: the powerless, the mortal, and the innocent", [Joshua] said, tone quiet and without rancour. "These are the victims - or at least, some of them. These are those poor souls who died because of [...] ambition, [...] hubris, [...] insanity, and [...] evil. But there are many more. Those who survived in body, but who instead had horrors imprinted on their souls. Those who saw their homes and the work of lifetimes crumble before their eyes. Ans above all, those who lost loved ones." His expression took on a faintly bitter twist. "All as side-effects of the conflict of powers, of gods, raging above them..."
  • In Dæmorphing: Welcome Home, Tom tells Jake the names of the Hork-Bajir he watched commit suicide to avoid being reinfested.
  • In the epilogue of Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Future Trunks invokes this when he returns to his timeline for good by offering to spare Android 17 if he can name his mentor, whom 17 had murdered previously. Of course, that mentor was Son Gohan. 17 couldn't remember his name—calling him Goku Jr. instead—and Trunks promptly wastes him.
    Future Trunks: WRONG ANSWER!
  • In A Drop of Poison, Gaara knows the names of everyone who's ever tried to kill him. Naruto is rather disturbed by just how many assassination attempts Gaara's faced.
  • A recurring theme in fernwithy's The End of the World series. Every tribute Haymitch mentored before Katniss and Peeta is named, and often gets some characterization. He and Effie make it a point to know the names of most if not all of the tributes from the other districts as well. At one point in The Golden Mean, Haymitch finds a street fair artist in the Capitol who went one better on that and is drawing pictures of his tributes, aged up the way they'd look if they were still alive, and had families, something that makes the impact of their loss a lot more real to both Haymitch (who was already pretty broken up over most of them) and the reader.
  • Hivefled: In the prequel Reprise, Gamzee finds the previous trap victims' names carved into the walls of the cell, invoking this trope in a particularly sad fashion.
  • In The Immortal Game, Pinkie Pie uses this trope to voice her vote to execute Terra after the latter is captured, listing off the names of everypony who died in Terra's attack on Ponyville. Remember, Pinkie Pie knows everypony in Ponyville.
  • Kimi No Na Iowa:
    • Fleet Activities Yokosuka maintains a War Memorial with walls inscribed with the dead.
    • This creepily illustrates the insanity of the abyssals in Chapter 31, where it is shown that they have a SAS-style clock tower that magically updates with the name of every non-American or non-Japanese victim that they sincerely regret the deaths of, even as they kill these people in droves as punishment for their nations being The Quisling and refusing to join them in destroying America and Japan.
  • kalash93 has brought this up on more than one occasion:
    • He first did it in Last One Standing. The fact that the immortal character remembers everyone she's ever met throughout her millennia of life makes this a very poignant moment.
    • It was done again in Reflections as a sort of Call-Back moment.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • When Vault remarks how Kyril slayed a number of infamous orc war chiefs by listing out their scary-sounding names, Kyril inverts this trope by replying, "Those orcs have names?", clearly seeing them as prey, not victims.
    • Chapter 7 of the original reveals that at some time before the events of the story, Kyril made a particular gravestone with the names of every person he met in Yharnam.
      Gehrman, First Hunter, a teacher who has earned his rest.
      Eileen the Crow, Hunter of Hunters, a mentor who no longer dreams.
      Gilbert, a man who deserved a better end.
      Alfred the Executioner, an unwitting martyr due to my actions.
      Sister Adella, a kind soul taken by madness.
      Arianna, Woman of Pleasure, a dear friend taken far too soon.

      Countless others covered the gravestone, a large list.
  • Peace Forged in Fire does a Fade to Black on Morgan reading out the names of everyone, Romulan Republic and Romulan Star Empire alike, who died in the preceding battle, defending the site of peace talks between the Vestigial Empire and its successor state.
    "Alas, too many of us are not here to see it. They served under different flags, but together they shed their blood and their lives for hope, for a possible future." She reached for a glass of water and took a big gulp, then allowed her eyes to fall to the scroll. "Riov Giellun tr'Asrafel, Leih, Republic Warbird Auspex. Erein Gwiu t'Mrian, Amnhhei'saehne, Republic Warbird Auspex. Commander Estefania Ramirez y Suiza, Lloannen'galae liaison, Republic Warbird Auspex." Forty-four more names from the Auspex. The T’'varo-class had taken a direct hit early in the battle, screening the Aen'rhien from a torpedo attack. Then, "Erei'Riov Mheven t'Tyrava, Leih, Imperial Warbird Brak'en. Erein Llaesl tr'Tei, ih'hwi'saenhe, Imperial Warbird Brak'en..."
  • In the short Cradle Series fanfic The Personal is Political, Ozriel the Reaper writes down the name of every single person who dies to a world's corruption, especially those who he personally has to kill. He also constantly argues that these deaths could have been prevented if they would just share information between worlds (the classic example being stopping a plague by sharing the cure from another world). One time, he simply let the list roll out, filling the entire room until Makiel banished it. The counter-argument is that there is too great a risk of causing more damage.
    Under popular opinion, Makiel's position is currently held to be the more correct of the two, and indeed the motion was denied once more at a vote of five against three.
    But Ozriel continues to tally the dead.
  • The Redemption of Harley Quinn: Aaron Cash brings up the time Harley murdered dozens of children by causing video game consoles to explode. He then slaps down pictures of numerous kids she killed, forcing her to look as he names them. Harley is only uncomfortable by this, until Cash ends with a picture of his daughter.
  • Rocketship Voyager. After Voyager is hurled across the galaxy, Captain Janeway has the Auto-Doc print out a list of the dead and wounded. In the final chapter, she reads another list of the eight men who died during her rescue.
  • A chilling variation is enforced on Pyrrha Nikos in Skyros The Peerless. As The Gamer, Pyrrha has the standard ability to see the stats of anyone she looks at through the Observe mechanic. Humans and Faunus have a field called "biography", which gives a summary of their life. The Creatures of Grimm also have a "biography", but instead of their life story, it simply lists off the names of every single person that they have killed.
  • Kirito, in Souls Art Online goes to the memorial and watches the memories of every single Gravelord player that was purged as a reminder of what he had chosen to do by killing their leader, condemning them all to being hollowfied.
  • "To Absent Friends" is set in the Bajor's public observation lounge, where the ship's memorial wall is located. There's forty-five names on the wall, though we get about six.
  • Used in the Triptych Continuum, where one story shows Fluttershy has memorized the names of all the animals she's had to euthanize. It's suggested this is something much less than healthy: she recites the list while standing over the grave of the most recent burial, and all it seems to do is renew the pain.
  • In the The X-Files fanfic The Truth is out there... and it hurts, Sally knows the names of her and Samantha's cellmates' in the colonists' prison - they all died before the help came.
  • The Victors Project:
    • Near the end of The Lumberjack and the Tree Elf, Blight remembers every single one of his fellow tributes, recalling their names and how they died.
      All of their faces. All of their names. They've been filed away by the Capitol as Hunger Games deaths 1,199-1,121, but to me they will always be the boys and girls who could've come home if it weren't for me.
    • Cora is tortured by Snow for the names of rebels in District 8, but the people whose names she shouts at him aren't rebels, and are no longer among the living.
      "Sammy Jones. Eileen Martin. Satin Kasten ... Monica Thomas. Chrysanthemum Frill. Linyn Johnson." My voice is a long, loud scream but the names of my tributes hang in the air like a spell.
    • Haymitch's chapter lists all 47 kids who died in the Second Quarter Quell, with various tidbits abut their lives, dreams, and talents. The last lines of the chapter reveal that no matter how drunk Haymitch gets every year, he can't forget a single one of their names.
  • In A Voice in the Wilderness, Eleya is given a casualty list after a fight with the Borg and lists off some of the names (some injured, some dead).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Alien: At the movie's end, Ripley lists off the names of each and every one of the crew who have died over the course of the movie in the final log.
  • In Avengers: Endgame, people went through the effort to put the names of billions upon billions of the various people on Earth on stone and dedicating whole plots of lands to it. Scott Lang, having been stuck in the Quantum Realm and missed all this, checks one, terrified he'll find his daughter's name...and is shocked to find his own.
  • In Battle: Los Angeles, the Marines are skeptical about Sergeant Nantz's ability lead them, since they believe that he callously sacrificed his squad to complete a mission in Iraq. Nantz then counters by reciting the name, rank, and serial number of every man that died under his command during that mission, treating it as his greatest failure.
  • Discussed and subverted in the World War II film The Big Red One, when the squad comes across a war memorial in a bombed out field.
    Johnson: Would you look at how fast they put up the names of all our guys who got killed?
    The Sergeant: That's a World War One memorial.
    Johnson: But the names are the same.
    The Sergeant: They always are.
  • Croc: Hawkins has pictures of all of the crocodiles victims, and does this partially to keep their memories alive.
  • In Face/Off, after the police finally take down criminal mastermind Castor Troy in a violent shootout, they celebrate back at headquarters with a bottle of champagne. Sean Archer interrupts the celebration by holding up the bottle and solemnly reciting the names of the agents killed by Castor in the shootout.
  • In Fight Club, Tyler Durden instructs Project Mayhem recruits that as "Space Monkeys", they no longer have individual names. When they decide to bury the corpse of a recruit who died during a Project Mayhem operation, the narrator has finally had enough and frantically reminds everyone that the dead man, Robert Paulson, wasn't a nameless grunt but a human being with a name. This backfires horrifically, as the other recruits take this to mean that it's only in death that a Space Monkey can earn a name, setting Project Mayhem on the path to becoming a Martyrdom Culture.
    Space Monkeys: [chanting in unison] His name is Robert Paulson. His name is Robert Paulson. His name is Robert Paulson.
  • The closing sequence of Follow the Boys (1944) briefly displays a list of Real Life USO entertainers who lost their lives during World War II.
  • The Great Escape ends with the reading out of a list of the 50 escapees shot by the SS, naming each one.
  • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the Potterwatch radio reads lists of people killed by the Death Eaters.
  • Jurassic World: When the Asset Containment Unit gets wiped out trying to recapture the I. rex. As each operative dies, the people in the control room see their vitals flatline on a readout next to their name and ID photo.
  • Master and Commander: After HMS Surprise captures the French privateer they've been pursuing all movie, a funeral is held on deck and Captain Jack Aubrey reads off the names of the dead before their Burial at Sea. Three were in the supporting cast.
    Jack: ... Robert Gardner, able seaman. John Antonio, quartermaster's mate. Michael Doudle, able seaman. Joseph Nagle, carpenter's mate. John Allen, sailing master. Peter Miles Calamy, lieutenant.
  • Memphis Belle:
    • The group commander hands a folder full of copies he had written families to the reporter who implied that the commander didn't value the individual lives of his crews. As the reporter is reading them, the images of the screen indicate that many times 'he died quickly, and without pain' were Blatant Lies.
    • An earlier scene averts this when just after the Windy City bomber explodes right in front the Memphis Belle, the crew are trying to remember the name of one of the crewmen who had been on the Windy City. It's especially hard when Clay says that "he can see that guy's face."
  • In Monsters, just before going into the Infected Zone, the pair visit a memorial filled with candles and pictures of those who had died. Also present is a memorial of nothing but scattered bones (skulls most prominently) marked as "Unknown Dead".
  • Saving Private Ryan:
    • Captain Miller seems to recall the names of all his dead soldiers (although he sometimes needs a reminder from Sgt Horvath). Also notable is the fact that Ryan asks for and memorizes the names of the squad members who died trying to find him, an act which begins the process of The Squad accepting him.
    • Inverted at one point in the film where the squad sorts through the dog tags of those KIA to see if Ryan is among them and make jokes about some of the names. Then they remember the dead men's squad members are walking right past them and stop.
  • Played for meta Black Comedy in The Shawshank Redemption. A new inmate is brutally beaten to death by a guard on his first night. The only name accredited to him is "Fat Ass". In-Universe, when the prisoners discuss the death the next morning, Andy asks the name of the man who died. The answer is a bitter, "It doesn't matter what his fucking name was, he's dead."
  • Starship Troopers: After the battle of Big K, they get back to the space station Ticonderoga and there's a big display with the names of the dead scrolling on it.
  • Defied in the Wing Commander film, where the characters deliberately tried to pretend that their dead comrades never existed. Maniac refuses to follow this custom, and convinces Blair to do likewise.
    Lt. Cmdr. Devereaux: Who in the hell do you think you are? Let me give you a reality check. In all likelihood, you're going to die out here. We're all going to die out here — but none of us need to be reminded of that fact. So you die, you never existed. Understand?


By Author:

  • Richard Bolitho, hero of a Wooden Ships and Iron Men series by Alexander Kent, in one of the books meets a woman who merely gives him her name — and almost instantly, he remembers which position her husband held (quartermaster) on which of his ships (Hyperion, 74 guns, crew of about 700), and in which battle the man was killed roughly five years before... and he recalls, as if seeing a portrait, the dead man's face.
  • David Weber essentially goes out of his way, at least in the Honor Harrington novels, to create minor characters that are given names and just enough page time to make the reader like them before they are brutally and sometimes senselessly killed. Every battle, no matter how seemingly minor, will have at least a handful of these. He is bound and determined to drive home the point that War Is Hell, and he succeeds in heartbreakingly effective fashion. Note that this doesn't even include the major or significant supporting characters, any one of which could die at any time. (Except for Honor herself, though Weber says he came close once.)

By Title:

  • In After the Revolution, the posthuman warriors of the City of Wheels launch micro-drones before a battle whose sole purpose is to record the faces of the enemy combatants before they are killed. Then their social media feeds are played on a giant screen back at the city, reminding them that their enemies are still people.
  • The Alice Network: When he has a drink To Absent Friends with Eve after the war, Captain Cameron toasts "Gabrielle." When Eve raises her eyebrows, he reveals that he rotates which dead recruit of his he toasts.
  • Arrivals from the Dark: In Fighters of Danwait, the mercenary Defenders have a tradition. Whenever one or more of their number are killed in battle, they are summoned to a large courtyard in front of the administrative building. The most respected of them recounts the events that led to the death(s) and then the List is announced, including the name of every Defender and his or her place of origin. In the novel, a particularly brutal ambush by the Dromi results in Defender casualties in the dozens. Despite the List being very long, everyone stands there in the courtyard and somberly listens to every name.
  • Beware of Chicken: When Xiulan is finally able to open up and talk about the guilt of losing many soldiers under her command, she tells Meiling that she remembers every name.
    Jian Yuan, loyal and true. Lie Quan, who was perpetually poor from his gambling habits. Ming Po, and his pet duck. Hi Shin, and his dream to become a great general.
  • In The Black Company, Croaker makes it a personal goal to record the passing of every company member in his books of the Annals. According to Croaker, this is one of the main purposes of the Annals — to have a record of the dead. The few times sections from older Annals are read aloud, they contain lists of the fallen.
  • In Eldest, Roran recites the names of a dozen villagers of Carvahall who died fighting The Empire during his Rousing Speech.
  • Chrysalis (RinoZ): The Legion keeps a memorial wall, where they carve the names of those who do not survive the "baptism" — or who choose a quick clean death instead of going through it. Commander Titus himself chisels in Trelik's name after administering such an execution. But carving in his own son's name, after Romanus didn't survive the baptism, was surely harder.
  • Codex Alera: In First Lord's Fury, an old Cane ritualist named Marok exploits this trope to publicly cut down the leader of the rival ritualist faction, Nhar, to size. When Nhar publicly protests Marok's making a political deal with Tavi on the grounds that Tavi had killed two Canim earlier, Marok simply asks him what their names were. To Nhar, his dead clanmates have never been anything but a pretext for war with the Alerans, so he's never bothered learning their names and is thoroughly humiliated when Marok himself lists them off the top of his head. He then tries to attack the old ritualist with Blood Magic, but the latter immediately hands his ass back to him in combat, as well.
  • In one of the saddest scenes of The Dark Tower, Roland finally makes it to the Dark Tower and names off every single person who he caused to die or who died for him. It shows how much more human and sentimental he has become since his second katet.
  • A Discovery of Witches: In The Book of Life, Matthew lists every person he has ever killed.
  • Discworld:
    • In Night Watch, the older members of the Night Watch make a point of visiting the casualties of the Glorious Revolution every year. Averted in the Dolly Sisters Massacre, however.
    • In Going Postal, the signallers and engineers who die on the Grand Trunk have their names sent over the network to their home town. But one name, John Dearheart, cycles permanently throughout the entire network, in the overhead where the signallers can read it. When asked why by an apprentice, the gaffer replies; "A man's not dead while his name's still spoken."
  • Subverted in Derek Robinson's World War I black comedy Goshawk Squadron, in which Major Wooley, the squadron CO, doesn't even bother learning his pilots' names as there's no bloody point, most of them are going to get killed in the first few days. He leaves this to the Adjutant.
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Lee Jordan's Potterwatch broadcasts publicise lists of names of those killed by Death Eaters and is one of the most reliable ways for witches and wizards on the run and out of touch with friends and family to learn if they've been killed.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss never learns most of the other tributes' names and is genuinely shocked when, during the Victory Tour, she learns the name of the District 1 boy she killed in the 74th Hunger Games (Marvel). At the end of the series, it is briefly mentioned that Katniss and Peeta are writing a memorial book honoring the tributes by name.
  • Idlewild: The characters see their situation as a crisis, but what personally brings it home is the sack of letters from dying (and now dead) children.
  • In The Iliad, many characters appear and are named only to be added to someone's body count. There's a very good reason for this: while lost to modern readers, Ancient Greeks knew that any named combatant of that era was a champion trained for years by multiple instructors and supported by the work of multiple people just so they could fight in their stead, to the point that it was more convenient to just capture a defeated enemy and then ransom them back, and having them appear just to be killed served to make the reader realize the waste of human lives and the horror of that war.
  • Eve Dallas from In Death has the gift and curse of remembering all the murder victims she stands for. Seduction in Death has her fighting with one Jerkass of a cop who has the nerve to bring up her actions in Judgment in Death and call her the Rat Squad's poster girl to her face. She responds that there were cops being murdered in that case and asks if he wants their names, because she has every single one of them in her head. Later in the series, in Apprentice in Death, Eve is at a press conference where one of the reporters implies that the police didn't take the book's murders seriously enough until a police officer was killed. She responds by listing the names of each one of the now twenty-five victims, from first to last, to demonstrate that she and the police department consider them all to be equally important.
  • In The Lost Fleet, Captain John Geary notices a plaque Tanya Desjani keeps listing "absent friends". The latest name: Jaylen Cresida. More names get added to the plaque in later books.
  • Kellen from The Obsidian Trilogy seems to try to fight against this. His war magic gives him the ability and the compulsion to lead the army and that requires him to use the soldiers at his command, knowing that many will die. But he's still human, and though his magic sped up his ascension through the ranks, he comes to personally know many of those that he would later command. He is able to put aside the names for the duration of the war, but it almost becomes too much for him by the end.
  • The dead are never forgotten in An Outcast in Another World. Multiple funerals are held throughout the story, dead friends are referenced as consistent sources of grief, and Riardin’s Rangers are named as such to honor their fallen. Eventually, the burden starts getting to the point that Rob begins to deliberately avert the trope, by refusing to learn any new names of people he is fighting alongside.
  • Realm of the Elderlings: In Royal Assassin, after the Six Duchies mounts a military campaign to exterminate the Forged, the slain Forged, having once been human, are given funeral rites with their names read. Except too often there wasn't anyone to identify the body, so instead their faces are described.
  • While it doesn't happen constantly, Romance of the Three Kingdoms sometimes gives the names of several people who died from a specific event. These names may or may not have been mentioned before that point and may never be important to the story. Understandable, though, since it is based on actual history.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Daenerys Targaryen is haunted by the name of a goatherder's little daughter, Hazzea, who had been killed by one of her dragons. This prompts her to chain her dragons up beneath the Great Pyramid to stop them from hurting anyone else. Notably, in her final chapter in A Dance with Dragons, as a feverish and heartsick Dany is going through something of an identity crisis, she struggles to remember Hazzea's name:
    "Drogon killed a little girl. Her name was... her name..." Dany could not recall the child's name. That made her so sad that she would have cried if all her tears had not been burned away.
  • Star Trek Novel 'Verse:
    • In A Singular Destiny, there is a brief interlude showing a casualty list of people killed in a specific sector of space. All of the names were of characters we never met, except for B'Elanna Torres and Miral Paris. However, both of them were actually still alive.
    • Near the end of the Starfleet Corps of Engineers novella Wildfire, there is an extract from the Captain's Log that lists the 23 (out of a crew of 40) crewmembers who were killed in that mission. The most "important" character in the list, Second Officer Duffy is just tossed into the list with no significant importance.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • In I, Jedi, Luke Skywalker gives Corran Horn the room at the Yavin IV temple where Wedge Antilles, Jek Porkins, and Biggs Darklighter were quartered when the building was the Rebel Alliance headquarters. Their names are graffitied on the bunk; only Wedge survived the Death Star run.
    • In Order 66, the fourth book of the Republic Commando Series, two of the Mandalorian sergeants responsible for training the special forces clone commandos gather to recite the names of every commando who fell over the past two years at barracks. It's over five thousand names. The scene becomes rather touching when, slowly at first then in larger numbers, the off-duty clones join in the recitation of the names of their lost comrades. It's made rather clear that this is all the memorial the clones can expect, as few civilians genuinely care about the helmet-masked faceless forces, and even fewer know their names. The Mandalorian commanders didn't just do that to show that they remembered. They did it out of a cultural obligation, where they couldn't forget the names of their 'family'. None of them, given the choice to forget, could have accepted it.
    • In the X-Wing Series, Wedge Antilles repeatedly remembers the names and faces of those who fought by his side and died under his command.
  • Near the end of The Sword of Good, The Lord of Dark accuses Dorf of the murder of "Elzhur, Anzha, Stav, Valdil, Emhil, Tohm, Khal, and the magus Mikel", a.k.a. the group of orcs the protagonists killed without remorse near the beginning.
  • In The Traitor Son Cycle, the Red Knight is greatly disturbed when he doesn't know a name of someone in his company, and later tells Giselle that he tries to remember everyone who died in his service. When she says that command would be easier if he didn't, he only glares at her.
  • Tress of the Emerald Sea: Although the Lemony Narrator calls all the unimportant crew members "Doug" to spare the reader from having to keep track of their names, he gives the name (Pakson) and brief bio (remarkably kind, loved music but never learned to play, etc.) of one who is killed at sea.
  • In the Village Tales series of novels, these names are omnipresent and oft-remembered, and not only on the War Memorial in each village and on Remembrance Sunday. The Rector for example thinks of his predecessors listed on the incumbents' board in the parish church all the time, seeing himself as a steward for the next one and trustee for all who went before: and regards them as the war dead of the Church Militant.
    The Rector, reflecting to himself: ...every memorial in this church was a survey benchmark, pointing the way to the one Way and Truth and Life; and every memorial in this church, a war memorial: the record of the Church Militant now seconded by death to the Church Triumphant and at rest. Here, their names imperishable upon the incumbency board, had been their captains in that struggle — and their servants with it: Wulfhere, whom Aldhelm had himself selected to a cure of souls cut off by regular floods from his foundation of Crucis; Fulk of Rouen under the Confessor and the Conqueror alike; saintly Baldwin and predatory Ludovicus....
  • Vorkosigan Saga: In The Vor Game, Miles Vorkosigan specifically asks for the name of a soldier who just died saving his life.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Horus Heresy: Following the Massacre at Isstvan, the Iron Hands who escaped on board the Sisypheum inscribed the names of the dead on their armour. Special honour is afforded to those who witnessed their Primarch fall and have acid-etched the name "FERRUS MANUS" onto their shoulder-pads.
    • Ciaphas Cain: Despite his claims that he's a self-absorbed Dirty Coward, Cain becomes shocked at one point when he realises that he's forgotten the face of one of the soldiers who died under his command. Decades later — said decades being filled with combat and so with more deaths.
    • A passing detail in the Dan Abnett Gaunt's Ghosts novel Ghostmaker reveals that Ibram Gaunt memorises the names and faces of every soldier who dies under his command. In fact, he believes the day he can't remember a fallen soldier's face is the day he is lost.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Rand Al'thor uses this as a Madness Mantra, reciting a long list of every woman he's killed, caused to die, led to their deaths, failed to save, happened to be around when they died...(Ironically the first two names on his list are actually not only still alive but survive the series as well.)
  • The Winds of War/War and Remembrance: In War and Remembrance, Herman Wouk breaks off his account of the Battle of Midway to list all the members of the three American torpedo-bomber squadrons that were wiped out.
    So long as men choose to decide the turns of history with the slaughter of youths — and even in a better day, when this form of human sacrifice has been abolished like the ancient, superstitious, but no more horrible form — the memory of these three American torpedo plane squadrons should not die. The old sagas would halt the tale to list the names and birthplaces of men who fought so well. Let this romance follow the tradition.
  • Under Heaven: When Shen Tai borrows a horse to head back to the capital, he also gets a soldier from the nearby army post assigned to help take care of its needs every day. At one point he realizes he's forgotten the man's name, and asks... shortly before he's killed in an overnight scuffle based on a misunderstanding.
    [...]Tai said, "He is not nameless. His name was Wujen Ning. A soldier of the Second District army posted to Iron Gate Fortress, assigned by his commander to guard me and my horse, serving the emperor by obeying the orders of his officers, including myself."
    He was trying, even as he spoke, to remember the man, his features, words.[...] Tai was relieved he'd remembered the name. Had been able to offer it to this courtyard assembly, to the gods.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24, second season: In the aftermath of the detonation of a nuclear bomb, the National Guard has quelled unrest in Georgia by firing rubber bullets into a crowd, but accidentally ended up killing a young Middle Eastern boy. When President Palmer's advisors relate this to him, he asks what the boy's name was, and Lynne Kresge admits that they don't know. Palmer's not satisfied with this. "The boy had a name. Find out."
  • Jaha from The 100 claims to remember the names and crimes of everyone he's executed, which he demonstrates with his description of Murphy's father.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Used in the episode "Ceremonies of Light and Dark", when all those who died in the previous episode are named.
    • This is also discussed as what makes the Earth Alliance Civil War such a harrowing one for those involved. Everyone on both sides generally knows someone that they are fighting against.
  • In the Battlestar Galactica (2003) episode "Scar", after Kat bests the titular Raider and surpasses Starbuck as Galactica's "Top Gun", Starbuck pours Kat her ceremonial drink. Everyone expects a toast. She does, but instead of toasting Kat, Starbuck starts listing the callsigns of all the pilots who had perished thus far in the series. This is especially meaningful, as she had claimed earlier to Apollo that she couldn't even remember any of their names.
    Starbuck: To BB, Jo-Jo, Reilly, Beano, Dipper, Flat Top, Chuckles, Jolly, Crashdown, Sheppard, Dash, Flyboy, Stepchild, Puppet, Fireball... [stops, crying]
    Apollo: To all of 'em.
    Admiral Adama: So say we all.
    Crew: So say we all.
    Starbuck: So say we all.
    • Earlier in the same episode, Kat spends several minutes trying to remember the name of Reilly's girlfriend who died during the Cylon invasion of the Colonies. When Starbuck asks why she's bothering, considering Kat never even met the woman, Kat replies that it's important to remember those who've died.
  • In the mini-series Bomber Harris, an officer from Political Warfare shows leaflets that can be dropped by the RAF showing Germans killed in their raids, with the aim of destroying German morale. As he's planning a more direct means of breaking German morale and industry with the first thousand bomber raid, an unimpressed Air Marshal Harris asks for the names of the Germans in the photos. "Herr Gross, an innocent German civilian killed by the brutal RAF — how does that sound?"
  • Bones:
    • One episode had the team investigate the murder of a CIA analyst. At the end of the episode, the CIA director places a star for him on Langley's memorial wall, which is normally reserved for operatives, because the analyst had died in service to his country (to say more would be spoilers).
    • In another episode, "The Patriot in Purgatory", the team identify the remains of a homeless man who had died from injuries sustained during the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon, after pulling people out of the wreckage to safety. They discover that his real name was Tim Murphy, a Desert Storm veteran who had suffered mental trauma after an attack on an ammo dump. Before 9/11, he had been seen around the Pentagon shouting "Walken, Moore, Park!" repeatedly at passersby. It is revealed out that Walken, Moore and Park were three members of his platoon, who died in the ammo dump attack that Tim survived. Since returning stateside he had been trying to get the Pentagon to honor the dead officers with Purple Hearts.
    • One episode kicked off when a fresh body was found in a shipwreck the team had been working on, because they're a museum in addition to a crime lab. The ship was a slaver, which deeply affects Cam (who's black and can trace at least part of her ancestry back to slaves). At the end of the episode, after the modern murder has been solved, Cam kicks off the museum exhibition by reading off the names of the slaves who died when the ship sank. It's accompanied by Angela's facial reconstructions, giving back as much humanity as they can to the victims.
  • The Boys (2019): Used for Oblivious Guilt Slinging at a memorial for the victims of Flight 37 which was downed by terrorists. Homelander is reading out a list of the dead and Queen Maeve just walks off the stage knowing that she and Homelander left everyone on Flight 37 to die to cover up their bungled hostage rescue.
  • CSI: NY: During Mac's 10-Minute Retirement, he's working at another lab trying to help identify the remains of 9/11 victims. When a young co-worker asks about his wife and keeps saying "she" and "her," he snaps, telling the girl that her name was Claire and that the victims have names and are not just statistics. The girl goes silent and he immediately apologies, saying he knows she doesn't think that. (It's the 10th anniversary of the tragedy, so he's more on edge about it than usual.)
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Aliens of London"/"World War Three": The Doctor tries to find out the name of a minor character that he'd met very briefly (and whose death was not the Doctor's fault), while taking care of his corpse. When Harriet Jones, who had more interaction with the dead man, doesn't know either, the Doctor gently apologises to him, and makes do with at least arranging the body in a more dignified manner. (Though it's rather moot in the end, what with them blowing up the whole building, it was clearly meant as a respectful gesture at the time.)
      • In a nice Continuity Nod, Harriet Jones makes a point of finding out the name of another minor character she interacts with in a later episode.
    • "The Doctor Dances": When Jack Harkness calls Jamie, the first of the gas-mask zombies "the child", Nancy, Jamie's mother, declares, "Not the child, Jamie."
    • "The Satan Pit" ends with the base commander making a log entry listing all the base personnel who have died. He even includes the Ood, who in life were so little-regarded they didn't even have names, and he doesn't just say "and all the Ood", he lists each of their ID numbers individually.
    • "The Poison Sky": Greyhound 40's unit is ordered to stand against Sontarans and is killed. As his commander tries to get a response, the Doctor cuts him off with "He wasn't Greyhound 40, his name was Ross," and demands that he sound the retreat. Colonel Mace complies.
    • "Midnight": After the Hostess sacrifices herself to save him, the Doctor is particularly devastated that none of the passengers knew her name.
    • "The Vampires of Venice": The Doctor is absolutely furious that Rosanna didn't know Isabella's name, even though she murdered her.
      The Doctor: I will tear down the House of Calvierri stone by stone. And you know why? You didn't know Isabella's name.
  • In The Flash (2014), Dr. Wells is confronted by a metahuman, who accidentally killed his friends with his new powers on the day of the particle accelerator explosion. Wells counters by listing off the names of his friends and half a dozen other people, who have died that day as a result of the explosion, pointing out that he has made a point of learning their names, so he would always remember the price for his arrogance. This is a little strange, as Wells/Thawne has shown that he cares little about the people who get hurt, claiming that all of them "have been dead for centuries", this may have been simply for the metahuman's benefit.
  • Flashpoint series finale:
    • There's a brief scene of a daycare class walking into a building (complete with a squabble between two boys), and then, shortly thereafter, of a teacher bringing one of the boys back out to look for his blanket just as the building is bombed, killing one child and injuring another.
    • Later in the same episode, Ed learns that his son Clark was in another building and is trapped under the rubble. He survives, but it's a terrifying moment for both of them.
  • Good Omens (2019): Played for Laughs. Shadwell made up a large number of fake Witchfinders in order to justify a larger budget for the organization (since their pay rates are centuries out of date), and they all have terrible names, such as Majors Saucepan, Tin, and Cupboard because Shadwell has no imagination. For some reason, he felt the need to kill off Major Milk Bottle. When Aziraphale talks to him, he offers his condolences for the loss of Major Milk Bottle.
  • JAGverse:
    • After Jenny's death on NCIS, a star with her name is added to the commemorative display outside of MTAC.
    • NCIS: Los Angeles featured the team trying to find an intelligence officer who had copied some classified data (although no one knew what he had copied). Everyone (including the FBI) assume he was trying to release information to discredit the military. The information was the names of soldiers who had died in classified missions in Afghanistan. The man, who was considered too valuable to be sent into combat, wanted to honor the men who were sent into danger by making sure others knew they'd given their lives for their country and weren't just anonymous casualty statistics.
  • In the first episode of Kamen Rider OOO, the Ride Vendor Platoon are ordered to destroy the Greeed, and only their leader is definitely seen to have survived all the explosions (at least one other appears later and it's stated they still exist, but they might be different ones), however in the next scene in Kougami's office a list of names can be seen on a screen for a few seconds with terminated next to them, all having individual names.
  • In the second-season finale of The Last Ship, the surviving crew of the Nathan James give a toast to every character who died on screen over the past two seasons, listing them all by name.
  • In Law & Order, an episode about the racially-motivated bombing of a train station ends with (some of) the victims' names being read, in a combination with List of Transgressions as the jury is finding the defendant guilty in their murder.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Harfoots hold a ceremony the night before they Migrate where leader Sadoc Burrows reads out a list of the names of those whoe "fell behind" on previous Migrations. After each name is read, the group repeats "We wait for you" in tribute. This ceremony is how we learn that Sadoc's wife and that Poppy Proudfellow's entire family were killed in accidents in the past.
  • Lost: At the end of the fourth episode, Claire reads the names of the dead as they are cremated in the fuselage. They know nothing about them, so the eulogies are based on what little information they can glean from their ID's, tickets, receipts, and whatever else they have in their pockets.
  • M*A*S*H:
    • In an episode where Hawkeye is writing his will, he promises to BJ's little daughter a list of all the lives her daddy saved.
    • Inverted in another episode, when Hawkeye builds a replica of the Washington Monument out of tongue depressors (due to a clerical error, they received 500,000 of them instead of 5,000), with names of the wounded soldiers treated at the 4077th written on them. A PR man wants to use it as a recruitment tool back in the states, but Hawkeye blows it up rather than see it used that way.
    • Subverted in an episode when Hawkeye has to deliver a eulogy for a nurse he had casually dated. He knew her name but absolutely nothing else about her.
  • In the series finale of Revenge, at Jack and (real) Amanda's wedding, Jack gives a speech memorializing their friends and family who'd died over the course of the show: Carl Sr., Declan, David, Aiden, Ben, Emily.
  • In one episode of Roseanne, a salesman winds up dying in the Conners' kitchen. The rest of the episode has the family trying to deal with having a corpse in their house, until at the end officials come and remove it. Nobody knows the man's name, but Becky is disturbed by them simply calling him "John Doe", and decides to think of him as a "William".
  • Spartacus: War of the Damned: In a poignant moment at Crixus' funeral, the rebels begin to call out the names of their friends, allies, and loved ones who have died during the rebellion. A few who died before the rebellion are named as well, as their deaths helped start the rebellion. Impressively, most of the (significant) deceased characters are mentioned.
  • In Spooks, after Ruth gets a Bridge Dropped on Her Harry pays a visit to the grid's memorial wall. There's a lot of names on it, including several other cast members.
  • An inversion happens in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Heroes, Part 2": at Dr. Fraiser's funeral, Samantha Carter recites a list of people who are alive thanks to her, which is just about every SGC airman or employee at one time or another.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Used at the end of "The Ship", when Sisko reads the list of those who were killed to Dax and reminisces about them.
    • The posting of the weekly casualty report, a list of all the people killed or missing in the Dominion War, becomes a big deal in several episodes, even though the actual names are never read aloud.
      • In "In the Pale Moonlight", having to post the casualty list each week is what eventually prompts Sisko to try to break the Romulans' treaty with the Dominion and bring them into the war, by any means necessary.
      • Again in the episode "The Siege of AR-558" after a brutal battle on the front lines (which turns out to be a relatively light week in the overall war).
        Sisko: They're not just names, it's important we remember that. We have to remember...
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In "Lower Decks", Picard makes a shipwide announcement about an ensign who was lost and presumed killed in the line of duty.
    • Also in "The Best of Both Worlds Part II" when the Enterprise arrives at Wolf 359 after the battle and Shelby starts listing the dead starships by name.
      Shelby: The Tolstoy, the Kyushu... The Melbourne.note .
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: In "The Forgotten", the struggle of Trip to actually do this is his plot through the episode. As her commanding officer Trip's duty was write a letter of condolences to the family of a Redshirt that died recently, but he barely even remembers anything about her. He also has difficulty separating it from his personal loss of his sister, which prompted the mission that the Redshirt was killed on in the first place.
  • Tokyo Vice: Maruyama scolds Jake for still referring to the yakuza victims as "the burned guy" and "the stabbed guy," telling him that they had names. Later, she does the same to Miyamoto when he refers to a murder victim as "the girl."
  • In the Grand Finale of Waking the Dead, Boyd is arrested and interviewed by the corrupt policeman responsible (directly or indirectly) for the torture and death of numerous homeless boys. Boyd says nothing in the interview, except to coldly list the name or nickname of every single one of them, knowing full-well that the interviewing policeman knows what he's talking about but nobody else does. Slightly subverted, however, as (to Boyd's irritation) not all of the boys were considered important enough at the time to have their names recorded:
    Boyd: ...and twenty African boys whose names I do not know.
  • The Walking Dead (2010):
    • There are a few of these in season 3. When trying to come up with a name for the baby Carl lists all the female characters who have died up to that point. Later Rick has a conversation over the phone with who he thinks is a group of other survivors, it turns out to be his hallucination of all the characters from his group who have died so far (except for Shane).
    • In the first season episode "Guts", Rick finds the wallet of the Walker that they are chopping up to use as a disguise and takes a moment to say the guy's name and reflect on what sort of person he may have been.
  • Word of Honor: Zhou Zishu's reaction to Prince Jin dismissing Han Ying's death.
    Zhou Zishu: He's also one of the people! He was only twenty-two.

  • Carlos Nuñez's version of "Viva la Quince Brigada", a song by Christy Moore that remembers the Irish dead in the Spanish Civil War, ends with a recital of names. "And more... and more."
    • Speaking of the same song, the final verse of the English-language version is nothing more than a list of names of Irishmen who died in that war, and the singer also says that "... though many died, I can but name a few."
  • An interlude in "Make It Stop (September's Children)", by Rise Against lists the names of gay teens who committed suicide during September 2010.
  • U2's "Peace on Earth" mentions "folks the rest of us/Won't get to know/Sean and Julia, Gareth, Anne, and Breda." They may sound like generic victims of The Troubles, but they're the names of only a few of the people killed in the Omagh bombing.
  • Woody Guthrie:
    • His song "The Sinking of the Reuben James" asks the audience to contribute the names of the sailors who died on the ship in the title: "Tell me what were their names, tell me what were their names/ Did you have a friend on the good Reuben James?"
    • Guthrie wrote the lyrics for "Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos)" after reading an article about Mexican migrant workers dying in a plane crash but noting that the pilots were named in the article but the workers weren't. 65 years later a researcher managed to find the names of the victims, three of whom had the same first names as the ones Guthrie invented for the song (Juan, Jesus, Maria), plus one near miss (Rosalio instead of Rosalita).
  • Julia Wolfe:
    • Anthracite Fields: During the oratorio's first movement, "Foundation", the choir sings a long list of names — men who died in Pennsylvania's mining accidents between 1869 and 1916. The list is initially limited to men named John, and only those with short one-syllable surnames. According to the libretto, there are 298 of these names, listed alphabetically, from John Ace through to John Rudd — enough to last several minutes, even with two parts of the choir singing different sets of names at the same time. The movement ends with another list of 35 names - longer, more unusual names that illustrate how the dead miners came from many different nations and cultures.
    • Fire In My Mouth: For the original New York Philharmonic production, the last movement of the oratorio, "Fire", is accompanied by the names of the 146 victims of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, projected onto the wall behind the stage.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000: Sergeant Lukas Bastonne is a charismatic and brilliant leader of men — who also has a photographic memory and remembers the names of every man who died in his command. Rumours persist that he has their names tattooed across his body as a permanent memorial.

  • In the first act of Mr Burns: A Post-Electric Play, it's become common for survivors to write down the names of others they've encountered and compare notes upon meeting someone new to find out if anyone has seen their loved ones. In the third act, these lists of names have been incorporated into the play and are chanted by the chorus while Troy McClure soliloquizes about mortality.

    Video Games 
  • In the Assassin's Creed series, Subject Sixteen was a previous prisoner of Abstergo that is eventually revealed to have been a Trojan Prisoner from the Assassins, only his backup that was supposed to get him out once he had learned everything turned on him, leaving him to be driven into insanity and eventually commit suicide. When his Virtual Ghost helps Desmond escape the same fate, a later conversation where another Assassin refers to him as "Subject Sixteen" has Desmond cut them off with "His name was Clay."
  • One section of Bastion has the Kid encountering victims of the Calamity, turned to easily crumbled statues made of ash. Each time he encounters them, Rucks lists off their names.
  • Battlefield 1 hits the player with this right out of the gate. The opening gameplay sequence consists of the player being put in control of one soldier after another in the middle of a pitched battle in the trenches of World War I. Each time the player controlled character dies the player is shown their name and their years of birth and death before being moved to another soldier.
  • BattleTech features a memorial wall in your Mechwarrior barracks, which lists all of the fallen pilots who perished in your campaign. This can even include Mauve Shirts like your unique starting pilots. In fact, a rather dark Running Gag among the community invovles the starting scout pilot, Dekker, being the first casualty on the wall.
  • Borderlands 2: The Hyperion Contract #873 mission reward is the Morningstar sniper rifle, which has the "FPS Mod" which was made by project "Ex-Kay Seedy". The rifle says things, such as these lines after a kill:
    "Someone is now an orphan and doesn't know it yet!"
    "They had a family."
  • Cannon Fodder names all the soldiers, and recounts a list of the Lost In Battle after each mission, and each dead soldier adds another tombstone to the green hills depicted on the Start Screen.
  • In Command & Conquer: Renegade, the interior of the Hands of Nod show that Brotherhood of Nod maintains a "shrine" at the entrance that contains a video screen displaying a constant, scrolling display of the dead men and women who fought for the Brotherhood, complete with a recording that exhorts the Brotherhood's faithful to remember and honor the sacrifice of their fellows.
  • In Corpse Party, the player can collect 'name tags' by looking at the various corpses strewn about, explaining who they were and how they died. The manga adaptation echoes this effect with black pages after each chapter that list similar tidbits of information.
  • In the Deus Ex, mission when you break out of the formerly friendly prison the body of any guard you kill will have a name but if you just knock them out it will be labeled 'Unconscious guard'.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening we learn of a dwarven commander who rallied the Casteless dwarves (those so low on the dwarves' strict social ranking that they're not even considered people) to make a last stand against the monsters invading the city. A ghost/memory of him is shown carving the names of the fallen dwarves on to a stone table — he doesn't want them to be dismissed as "casteless" when they fought so bravely. It turns out to be his final act — he is killed as he engraves the stone. Your PC can retrieve the stone and entrust it to a dwarven ally, who returns it to the dwarven archives to be preserved for posterity. In one epilogue, the dwarves made a memorial honoring those casteless' heroism, elevating them to the Warrior Caste, and the Shaper of Memories said aloud every all of their names.
    • In the original Dragon Age: Origins, there is a list (near the Anvil of the Void) of the dwarves who became golems. Their names are recorded because the golems are made by killing the dwarf in a nightmarish fashion and using their soul to power the golems — so they effectively "die" as dwarves, even if their soul is, arguably, still present.
    • In the "Warden's Keep" DLC we learn of Sophia Dryden's revolt against the King of Ferelden that led to the Grey Wardens' expulsion from the country, including a list of all the Wardens who died in the defense of Soldier's Peak.
  • Dwarf Fortress. You can look in your inventory menu to see how many deaths you've got, but you can also take a look at the Units tab and see the names of each and every one. In addition, everyone who dies during World Generation has a name, an occupation, a home and a list of places they've been to and people they've fought with. Knowing that your fortress is settling down on top of the Hills of Fallen Clocks, where over three hundred named Kobolds lost their lives in a one-man invasion by the Horned One Kvalach (who was eventually killed by the human Fish Dissector Aldon Brugh), is somewhat moving.
  • EarthBound: In Magicant, Ness can visit memorials for Buzz-Buzz (whose Plotline Death happens much earlier in the game) and any Flying Men who died in his service in the same chapter, though the latter are never actually named.
  • The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, unusually for the series, gives nearly every NPC in the game a unique name. (What few exceptions exist are generic guards, Dreamers, and vampire cattle.) The games before and after instead give generic names like "Bandit" to these NPCs, making them feel more like adventuring fodder than people.
  • In Fallout 3, you have to explore Vault 87 as part of the story. Like all of the Vaults, this one was really a giant test chamber for Vault-Tec's experiments, and the people in it were subjected to them (in this case experimentation with the FEV virus). Unlike most of the Vaults, however, this one has a computer terminal with the names of everyone who died during the testing. And it goes on for several pages.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has the NCR war memorial outside of Boulder City. The back is covered with names of soldiers who died fighting the Legion. Furthering the trope, if you shoot at the Memorial, a nearby NCR trooper will become incredibly angry.
  • Some Fire Emblem games have battle reports which includes a list of characters fallen (which usually means permanently dead).
  • Freddy Fazbear's Pizzeria Simulator: The Lorekeeper ending shows the gravestones of the six children William Afton murdered. Two are obscured, but we do learn the other four's names: Gabriel, Suzy, Fritz, and Jeremy.
  • Halo 3: ODST has a memorial to fallen ONI operatives in the war against the Covenant. Several are seen elsewhere in the Halo universe, and a few turn out to actually be alive.
  • Iji has (in 1.7) a pair of logbooks just before the Final Boss that list the name, age, and birthplace of every Tasen or Komato you killed. If you're going for the "Full Berserker" ending (which requires 300 total kills at this point), it's gonna be a long read.
  • In the IL-2 Sturmovik series, each of your wingmen have their own full names, stats, photos, diaries and awards and they are presented as your equals, also averting Designated Hero. And while reinforcements are regularly flowing in, the loss or survival of each wingman (particularly an experienced one) can influence the outcome of a particular theatre of war.
  • In The Last of Us Part II, human enemies will sometimes call out the names of their allies whenever they get killed. This was done to humanize them to some capacity, given that the game tackles the subject of revenge and consumption of hatred.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Mass Effect 2:
      • Shepard can have a second encounter with journalist Khalisah al-Jilani, who questions them on the human lives that were lost rescuing the Citadel Council's escape ship from the Reapers during the endgame of the original Mass Effect. The Paragon response is for Shepard to rattle off the names of the eight Systems Alliance Navy cruisers that were destroyed in the battle and implicitly call out al-Jilani for trying to use the honored dead to score cheap political points.
      • Garrus etched the names of all his fallen squadmates while he was fighting as a vigilante on Omega onto his targeting visor. He struck Sidonis' name from it after learning that he was the traitor responsible for their deaths.
      • Another minor example is the Normandy Crash Site DLC, where you have to look for the dog tags of each crew member who died when the original Normandy went down. Every time you pick one up, the name on it is displayed on the HUD.
    • In Mass Effect 3, the names of all SSV Normandy personnel and all squadmates who died in the previous games are found on a plaque in the crew quarters of the Normandy, right across the elevator. As the game progresses, additional names are etched into it.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda: A side-quest on Eos has Ryder finding and identifying some of the victims of the failed first and second colonies.
  • Modern Warfare:
    • The first game has a scrolling list of all 30,000 US Marines who died in the nuclear blast.
    • Modern Warfare 2 has a list of the Zakhaev International Airport massacre victims, but it scrolls by too fast to read any of their names.
    • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 has yet another list, because many SAS succumbed to the London gas attacks.
      Captain MacMillan: We put a lot of names on the clock tower this week, lad.
  • In Operation Flashpoint and its successor ARMA, each of your fellow fighters has his own name and face. In the Resistance campaign of Operation Flashpoint, you can even grow attached to them, since they transfer from mission to mission, making you want to avert the need for New Meat.
  • At the end of Project: Snowblind, there is a memorial screen where the names of every allied NPC that was killed during the game scrolls past.
  • Sniper Elite:
    • Starting in Sniper Elite 4 scanning Axis soldiers will reveal their names and a short biography. These soldiers range from indifferent conscripts to crazed fanatics. The player will have to kill atleast a few of these soldiers to get past the mission unscathed.
  • Spec Ops: The Line:
  • Undertale has Flowey bring this up when trying to get under the player character's skin if they killed any monsters but spared Toriel in her boss fight. After naming various monsters that the player killed, Flowey tells them that each one of them has friends and family, and that they may be someone else's Toriel, then calls them a selfish brat who's responsible for someone's death.
  • Watch_Dogs: every single person you can kill has a name, and using the profiler both reveals this and some other details about this, some of them sympathetic and some of them not. In the Bad Blood DLC, T-Bone is haunted by the fact that the blackout he caused in 2003 to prove a point caused a dozen deaths, and memorized the names of the victims; he's utterly pissed when Defalt uses this to mock him.
  • X-COM:

  • Erfworld: In one of the text updates, Prince Ansom, formerly a commander of the side of Jetstone, visits his old side on a mission of diplomacy and is humiliated by being required to read the names of every single unit which died under his command. Including, and ending with, himself.
  • Girl Genius: Albia, God Queen of Britain, lists off all the names of those who died during an attack. Tweedle is a little disturbed to find that he still remembers every single name even hours later, and Gil explains that something about Albia's power means that they will in fact remember those names for the rest of their lives.
  • Schlock Mercenary tie-in 70 Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries hints that Karl Tagon misappropriated some military spending in order to create the Titan Wall, a massive monument of 4.5 thousand tons of titanium inscribed with the names of people who died because of friendly fire.
  • In Stand Still, Stay Silent the gate at the end of the Oresund Bridge tunnel is carved with the names of everyone who died when the area just outside it fell to the monsters.
  • xkcd had a decidedly unpopular FPS mod.
    He once built a treehouse.
    She has 110 unread emails that she was hoping to get to tonight.
    He was the only one who took care of the plants back at base.

    Web Original 
  • Stampy's Lovely World: The "Top Paw Dog Assault Course", on top of being a Dog Assault Course, doubly serves as a memorial to remember the deceased dogs of the Lovely World. Each deceased dog's name is listed, along with a symbolic item to represent them and/or their death.
  • In the We're Alive chapter "Out of the Ashes" the survivors hold a memorial service for those who died during attack by the Mallers which includes the reading off of all their names.
    Angel: Bill Norris; Ryan Brown; Tommy Pick. And to those that we've already lost, you're not forgotten: Paul Bailey; Todd Fisher; Cindy Benson. Anyone else?
    Datu: Samantha.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in Drawn Together: In the episode The Drawn Together Clip Show, the announcer asks for a minute of silence for all the fallen actors of season 2, just to show a man peeing while a gigantic list of Chinese names rolls.
  • Exo Squad:
    • Captain Avery Butler writes a personal apology letter to the family of every Jumptrooper lost under his command, even while the Exofleet has no way to actually deliver the letters to the Neosapien-occupied Earth.
    • Also, when Nara Burns finishes off the Big Bad Phaeton in the finale, she tells him her late brother's name — one of the millions of victims of Phaeton's plans.
  • Superman tries to get Darkseid to understand this in Justice League (because Darkseid killed Dan Turpin during his attempt to overthrow Earth in Superman: The Animated Series) but Darkseid being who he is simply responds that he would have killed so many more if he knew it would set Superman so askew (in other words he doesn't want to know their names because it's not his style).
  • In an episode of the original Transformers series, the lead characters investigated a Mausoleum for fallen Autobots. Their names were listed and read by Daniel — Ironhide, Ratchet, Prowl, Huffer.

    Real Life 
  • Memorials for wars and other disasters often list the names of those who died. However, this is more common for war memorials honoring the dead of a specific town or province, or disasters that were local or limited in scope; all the people in a big country who died in World War I or The Spanish Flu are too numerous to list.
  • The centerpiece of the Vietnam War Memorial is The Wall, inscribed with the names of over 58,000 American service members dead or unaccounted for. Despite being a large number, the fact that it wasn't in the hundreds of thousands like World War II made it actually practical to fit them all on a memorial. The names' lettering is in matte black finish that's flush with the background, while the background itself is polished mirror smooth, so when one reads a name, they do so while looking their own reflection in the eyes.
  • In similar fashion to the above, the Australian War Memorial includes a large gallery courtyard with over 100 000 inscriptions of the names fallen Australian servicepeople going back as far as the 1880s, before Australia federated into one country.
  • The USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor also has a list of the names of those that died.
  • The National September 11 Memorial and Museum in New York City commemorates the victims of the terrorist attacks. On an eight acre plaza paved with stone and planted with swamp white oak trees, two great waterfall pools stand in place of the twin towers, with panels along the edges bearing the 2,983 names of those who died on 9/11 and on February 26, 1993. Since it opened in 2011, the plaza has hosted the reading of the names on the anniversary, where victims' family members take turns reading every single name in an emotional ceremony that starts at 8:40 am and lasts up to four hours. Meanwhile, the museum underground has an exhibition called "In Memoriam" where photographs and names of all the victims cover the walls. Outside the exhibition one can hear audio recordings of family members reading their loved ones' names, and a central projection room inside plays family members' recordings of stories about their loved ones.
    • Cantor Fitzgerald, the company in the World Trade Center that lost the largest number of people on 9/11, also has their own memorial ceremony in the museum's Foundation Hall where they read the names of their company's dead. This occurs in the evening some time after the full name reading on the plaza.
  • U2 used scrolling 9/11 casualty lists as a concert backdrop for some time after the attacks. Including at the 2002 Superbowl half-time concert.
  • Many European towns and cities have a memorial for one or more of the continent's many wars, especially the two World Wars, of course.
  • The WWI memorial in Redipuglia, Italy is a huge stairway with the names of the dead from the Italian 3rd Army, and on top is also a grave for 60,330 unknown soldiers.
  • Averted by the Tombs of the Unknown Soldier: the dead are honored, despite their names being unknown.
    • Similarly, many wargraves in Commonwealth First World War cemeteries in Europe read simply A Soldier of the Great War, His Name Known Unto God.
    • The names of the missing Commonwealth soldiers are also engraved in various memorials around Belgium and France, near the battlefields where they died. There are so many names that some families took ninety years of searching to find them.
  • The Hall of Names inside of Yad Vashem contains a list of the name of every known Jewish victim of the Holocaust. There is space on the shelves reserved for those who remain unknown. On a smaller scale, some communities observe Holocaust Memorial Day by reading out names. All day, without pause.
  • The War Memorial of Koreanote  includes a series of columns engraved with the names of the soldiers and policemen who died in The Korean War, organized by country (and in the case of the Americans, by state as well).
  • In a reversal of sorts from the Unknown Soldier above, the Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium and the Thiepval memorial near the Somme battlefield are monuments to the Entente dead in the First World War whose bodies have yet to be found.
  • During some wars, especially World War I and World War II, local newspapers would list the names of military casualties as they were reported. Late in the war Nazi Germany stopped doing so, as the ever-lengthening lists were not helping morale.
    • The names of UK soldiers killed overseas are read out in the House of Commons before Prime Minister's questions, a practice introduced during the Iraq war.
  • Averted by the CIA memorial wall dedicated to agents who died in line of duty, 40 of the 102 entries do not have names. (The agency has said that there are an undisclosed number of others who would be on the wall as well, except that the acknowledgement of their deaths, even namelessly, would compromise operations.)
  • The Space Mirror Memorial at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida is a massive square of black granite with the names of those that died in the space program set in it in transparent acrylic. The polished granite reflects the sky, so that the backlit names appear to float among the clouds.
  • Every single French town has a war memorial ("monument aux morts", monument to the dead) listing the names of all the inhabitants of the town who were killed in war (especially World War One and World War II, and sometimes Indochina and even Algeria).
  • A non-military example would be the many, many coastal communities which maintain a memorial for fishermen who perish at sea. Some list lost ships' names alongside those of their crew. Justified because lost fishermen's bodies are seldom recovered, so a fitting alternative to a grave is needed.
    • The Gloucester Fisherman's Memorial in Gloucester, Massachusetts, contains both an eight-foot tall, bronze statue of a fisherman braced at the wheel of his ship and a long list of plaques that name all of those from Gloucester and the surrounding areas who lost their lives at sea. The crew of the Andrea Gail, which was featured in The Perfect Storm, can be found amongst the names on the 1991 plaque.
  • After the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in December 2012 in Connecticut, United States, Barack Obama read out a list of the first names of the slain children in a live address.
    • Similar to the above example, when Obama eulogized Clementa Pinckney, a pastor and South Carolina state senator who was murdered in the Charleston church shooting, he also recited the names of the other victims who were killed in the shooting.
  • There are many sailors, soldiers, and airmen who remember the names of those who died around them. Many carry these names as part of Survivor Guilt, a form of PTSD, where they feel guilty that they lived and did not die instead of/ with others, even if they never knew the dead or despite the fact that often nothing in their power could have prevented the deaths.
  • In most cities in Germany, they have Stolpersteine, or Stumble-Stones. They are certain stones (usually with a brass surface) embedded in the sidewalk in front of houses or stores where people the Nazis persecuted during the Holocaust originally lived, worked or went to school. They list their names, birth date, day of deportation and where and when they died, were killed or driven to suicide. It should be noted that there are also "Stolpersteine" for those victims of the nazis that survived: these list where they fled to or which concentration camps they survived. These have been placed in other countries as well.
  • In 2017, after the Grenfell Tower fire in London, a BBC News presenter read out a list of the names of the people who died in the fire.
  • In Birmingham, Alabama outside the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, lists various people who were killed during the Civil Rights Movement. Starting with Rev. George Lee and ending with Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on a circular marble slab with water eternally rushing over it (as a homage to King's quote "Until justice flows like a stream"), with a space in between to symbolize whatever the onlooker believes.
  • The afterword of A Scanner Darkly (which also appears before the closing credits in the film adaptation) has Philip K. Dick list all of the real-life friends he'd lost to drug-related health issues - including himself, as his pancreas had been irreparably damaged by his drug use.
    Philip K. Dick: In memoriam. These were comrades whom I had; there are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The "enemy" was their mistake in playing. Let them play again, in some other way, and let them be happy.
  • Displays of sections of the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt are often accompanied by reading the names of those memorialized. Some World AIDS Day commemorations involve reciting the names of the dead as well.
  • In 2019, there was a protest called #SayHerName to display the names and stories of black women and trans women who were killed by police.
  • Newscasts have been doing profiles of non-celebrity victims of the COVID-19 Pandemic in 2020. Most notably, when the American death toll passed 100,000, the New York Times used its entire front page to print the names, ages, and personalities of 1,000 victims — which they noted was only 1%.
  • During the George Floyd protests of 2020, BabyNames.Com — which, as the name implies, is a website for selecting names for newborns — posted the names of black victims of police brutality and hate crimes, with the message: "Each one of these was someone's baby."
  • In the aftermath 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings, Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, explicitly invoked this trope while addressing the vigil remembering the attacks, stating that she would not name the perpetrator as it would have humanized him, but rather name each and every one of the 50 victims (barring one who died weeks later).


Video Example(s):


His Name is Robert Paulsen

In Project Mayhem we have no names. But in death we have a name. His name is Robert Paulsen.<br><br>

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheDeadHaveNames

Media sources: