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The Dying Walk

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Also a way to ambiguously die.

"After three days of delirium, Lady Laena passed from this mortal coil. During her final hour, it is said, Lady Laena rose from her bed and made her way from her room, intent on reaching Vhagar that she might fly one last time before she died. Her strength failed her on the tower steps, however, and it was there she collapsed and died."

A character who is mortally injured simply walks away from whatever it was that they were doing before.

Reasons for this vary, the most common ones are that the wounded person is in a haze of shock from the wound, that the person is hallucinating or having a genuine supernatural vision and are trying to reach it, are so determined to reach some sort of goal or object that they make one final attempt before they die, or simply want to go somewhere that they can die more peacefully. This trope can become quite symbolic of walking away from a conflict or the mundane complications of life when faced with death staring them in the eyes, or a character walking away from one's life/past deeds, especially if the character regrets or would want to atone for those things.

This can be Truth in Television: many animals, at least if they're still able to walk, will go off to find a quiet place to die when they know their time is near.note  Naturally this can apply to humans as well.

Often occurs beside One Last Smoke. Likely to happen in the aftermath of a Gun Struggle. May overlap with tropes such as Secret Stab Wound or Mortal Wound Reveal if no one realized the character was so seriously injured, and Distracted from Death if no one notices their death until after they've died. If the walk is a particularly long one or the character manages to give a message to someone at the end of it, then it overlaps with Almost Dead Guy.

Compare and contrast Face Death with Dignity, Disappears into Light, No Body Left Behind, The Last Dance, You Are Already Dead, and all versions of Time-Delayed Death.

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


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Trigun anime, Wolfwood essentially does this after being shot by his Evil Mentor (who was being controlled by the telepathic Dragon Legato). He has a short conversation with Vash, walks off alone (Vash doesn't know Wolfwood is injured until he walks off and sees the trail of blood Wolfwood is leaving behind) to a church, where he collapses and pours his heart out to God before dying.
  • Wolf's Rain:
    • Lord Darcia does this at the end of the OVA that concludes the series, as his multiple wounds and the poison in Cheza's blood get to him. In a confused haze, he suddenly breaks off from fighting Kiba and attempting to kill Cheza, and steps into the portal to Paradise, despite knowing that he cannot open it. It kills him instantly, leaving nothing but his Magic Eye behind.
    • Kiba also does this, after Cheza's apparent death, having crossed the Despair Event Horizon with her and the rest of his True Companions gone. He limps away from the site of their battle and then collapses, apparently the very last living thing in the world to die.
  • In the last episode of the Death Note anime, Light does this after being shot several times. He runs out of the warehouse he was in and collapses in another building a short distance away. Ryuk then keeps the promise he made to Light several years earlier and writes Light's name in a Death Note.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Kimblee manifests his soul within Pride's Philosopher's Stone in order to stop him from consuming Ed. As Ed destroys the Stone, Kimblee walks into the vortex of escaping souls, waving his hat farewell.
    • After the final battle with Father, a dying Hohenheim walks away from the battlefield to Trisha's grave and tells her how he wants to keep living before finally passing away.
  • After getting mortally wounded during the final space battle in Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Schenkopp congratulates the soldier who got him, then walks up the nearest set of stairs (killing two last soldiers who try to finish him off on the way), and sits at the top so he can die looking down on everybody.
  • After Rudeus dies in Mushoku Tensei: Jobless Reincarnation his soul appears before Hitogami one last time. His soul begins to naturally reduce into mana and his mind and body begin to fade away. After giving Hitogami some parting words, Rudeus walks past him and keeps walking until he disappears.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, after a fight with Ashitare, Nuriko is badly hurt and bleeding. He decides to walk up to the opening of the cave where the Shinzaho is located and use the last of his Super-Strength to open it. Needless to say, this results in Nuriko hemorrhaging to death.
  • In Pokémon: The Series, there's an elderly Stoutland who watches over a Litten and knows that its time is near. Once it becomes clear that Ash will watch over Litten once he's gone, it leaves off to pass away in peace.
  • Pluto: In his pitched battle with Pluto, Gesicht is fatally shot with a cluster cannon blast. He's so caught up in the fight that he doesn't even realize he's been hit until he escapes up to the streets and is walking away, at which point his injuries finally catch up to him and he collapses.
  • At the end of Cowboy Bebop, after being grievously wounded, Spike staggers his way out of Vicious' headquarters and collapses in front of his henchmen, though it's played ambiguously enough that he could survive.

  • As with his mythological equivalent, Thor takes nine steps before dying after his battle with a serpent. Unlike the mythological Thor and with this being a comic book, he's done so twice, against two different serpents.... and returned both times.

  • Before the climax of Once Upon a Time in the West the main villain Frank escapes a shootout with his former-parter Morton's hired goons and returns to Morton's train to confront him, only to find Morton dying of wounds he sustained during a run-in with the outlaw Cheyenne. Morton, lying pitifully in the dirt, ignores Frank's arrival and instead desperately crawls over to a nearby mud puddle representing a stand-in for the Pacific Ocean that he will never be able to reach.
  • Near the end of Young Guns II, Magical Half Native American Chavez, who was gutshot earlier in the film, suddenly gets up and walks away from the outlaw hideout so he can die alone.
  • Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid has a gunfight scene where Garrett, Sheriff Baker, and Baker's wife/deputy raid the hideout of some outlaws with links to Billy the Kid. After being shot several times in the fight, Baker (who had earlier told about how he was going to sail away on a boat he was building once he retired) walks away from the fight and staggers over to a tiny creek, where he watches the sunset until he dies. Easily the most famous scene from the movie, helped by the fact that Bob Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (which was composed for the movie) plays in the background.
  • Big Bad Hatcher from The Rundown, like everyone else, takes the hard way when offered a The Easy Way or the Hard Way choice by Beck. At the end of the movie, his empire crumbled and his former slaves surrounding him, Hatcher has a Villainous Breakdown and starts screaming at the crowd until someone in the crowd shoots him. At that point Hatcher suddenly regains his calm, says that now he's ready to do things the easy way, and starts to walk away. He doesn't get far before he collapses and dies.
  • Kill Bill Vol. 2: When The Bride/Beatrix uses Pai Mei's Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique on Bill, which causes death after the victim takes five steps, their conversation continues a bit while they're seated. Then Bill cleans himself off a bit from their fight so he can Face Death with Dignity and asks "How do I look?" Beatrix replies, "You look ready." Bill then gets up and, in an understated Dying Moment of Awesome, walks six steps before dying.
  • In the 1954 film version of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Nemo is shot and mortally wounded setting the bomb to blow up both his secret island base and the forces looking to conquer it and use it for themselves. After navigating the Nautilus clear of the island, he walks away from the steering wheel, walks back to his cabin (with some help from his crew), and finally collapses in front of the window he used for undersea observation, looking out into his beloved ocean one last time.
  • At the end of the biopic Baby Face Nelson, Nelson is shot many times in a standoff with law enforcement agents. In something of an inversion of the common treatment of this trope, instead of walking off to find a place to die, he walks up to the agents and laughs in their face before dying.
  • In Badlands, Kit shoots his friend Cato after he realizes Cato is going to call the cops. Cato, who has taken a shotgun blast that went clean through his gut and out through his back, gets up, staggers back into his shack, and lies down on his bed to die.
  • The Informer: Gypo goes on a veritable dying stroll. After getting shot several times, he manages to stagger down the street into a church, where he confesses to Frankie's mom before collapsing in death.
  • The Ancient One in Doctor Strange (2016) projects their astral body and leaves their physical body lying on a hospital stretcher so they can admire a thunderstorm and pass on some last advice and encouragement to Strange.
  • The Kennel Murder Case: The flashback shows Coe, who doesn't realize he's been stabbed and is bleeding to death, walking unsteadily upstairs to his bedroom. He then goes on to open the windows and is sitting in a chair taking his shoes off when he dies.
  • Meet Joe Black has a symbolic case of this with Joe Black walking over a bridge and out of site of a camera. He supposedly reverts to his supernatural state leaving the body of Joe Black back to its original owner.
  • Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors: After getting mortally wounded in a bar brawl, Ivan stumbles out into the forest and seems to reunite with the ghost of Marichka.
  • Death Line: After being fatally wounded in his fight with Alex, the 'Man' crawls away to the room where all of the previous members of the Cannibal Clan have been laid to rest on bunk beds, so he can die alongside the rest of his clan.
  • Chains: Guglielmo and Emilio are having a Gun Struggle behind a closed door. A bystander forces the door open to find Emilio in the doorway. Emilio takes a couple steps before falling down, revealing that he was the one who lost the gun struggle and got shot.
  • William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet stages Mercutio's death scene this way. Tybalt stabs him while they're standing on the stage of a ruined theatre that overlooks a beach. Once he sees how bad his wound is, Mercutio pushes Romeo aside and staggers down the beach before collapsing onto the sand where he dies shortly afterwards.
  • Near the end of Something Wild, villain Ray turns and impales himself on a knife held by protagonist Charlie (Jeff Daniels). After a death stare into the camera, he waaalks to the mirror to look at himself one last time before the scene cuts to the aftermath of his demise.
  • In Pan's Labyrinth, the villainous Captain Vidal orders Dr. Ferreiro to treat the injuries of a captive rebel soldier so he can be tortured some more. Ferreiro opts to give the fighter a Mercy Kill via lethal overdose instead. Vidal outs him as The Mole at this point by comparing a vial in Ferreiro's bag to an identical vial from a rebel medical supply cache, and knowing that Vidal is going to kill him, Ferreiro gives the fascist thug a final "The Reason You Suck" Speech and then calmly takes his bag and walks outside into the rain... and gets shot in the back by Vidal. Ferreiro manages to take a few more steps away from Vidal and the torture shack before he drops to the ground.
    Dr. Ferreiro: To obey — just like that — for obedience's sake... without questioning... That is something only men like you can do, Captain.
  • Delicatessen: Clapet throws the Australian (a double-bladed knife that behaves like a boomerang) at Louison but misses. The blade returns, lodging in the middle of Clapet's forehead. Clapet staggers for some moments before asking those in the room if there's something there. No one says anything, but they bring Clapet some wine, which he drinks, then slumps over dead.

  • In the Warrior Cats: The New Prophecy book Sunset, Brambleclaw stabs his half-brother Hawkfrost in the throat with a stake from a trap. Hawkfrost, despite struggling to breathe and speak, gets up, stumbles toward Brambleclaw to call him a fool, and then, for some reason, turns around and walks toward the lake, collapsing at its shore. His blood mingles with the water to complete the prophecy "Blood will spill blood and the lake will run red".
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • As described in the page quote, from Fire & Blood, Laena Velaryon was ill after an extremely difficult childbirth. After being delirious and bedridden for several days, she suddenly got up and attempted to reach her dragon Vhagar, but collapsed on the way and died there. Her husband then carried her corpse back to bed.
    • Often invoked in the North, as during particularly harsh winters, old and ill people will sometimes tell their family that they're going to hunt, walk to their icy death and leave their loved ones with one mouth fewer to feed.
  • Earthsea: In Tehanu, Tenar helps her old friend Aihal (Ogion the Silent) walk from his deathbed to the meadow where he wants to die.
  • The Story of Valentine and His Brother: Knowing the end is near, Myra leaves Rosscraig House so she can die surrounded by nature. Val and Dick find her on a primrose-covered knoll in the forest, too weak to move. When Dick asks her to come home, she says "That - I will!" and dies.
  • Monstrous Regiment has the "grey-faced soldiers," trying to make it back to their hometowns before they die of the mortal wounds they keep hidden between their tightly-buttoned uniforms. Polly's quest started when a party of them stopped at her family's inn. One handed her a letter from her brother Paul, and then "with very little fuss, died." The incident put her into a state of perpetual Tranquil Fury at her country's spendthrift approach to human life.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Breaking Bad loves this trope.
    • Gus gets half his body blown to hell by an improvised bomb, but still manages to walk out of the room he's in and calmly straightens his tie before dying. In fact, when you first see him walk out of the room, he looks completely fine, as if he had managed to somehow protect himself from the blast just in time. Then the camera pans around him to show the other half of his body, which is very much not fine, and he flops over.
    • Mike does this after being shot by Walter in the aftermath of Mike's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Walter. Mike manages to get away from the area where he was shot, but all he does is find his way to a nice place to sit near a small river. Walter catches up with him and tries to apologize for overreacting and shooting him, but Mike just calmly tells him to go away so he can die in peace.
    • In the series finale, Walter does something similar, as he is mortally wounded in his final confrontation with the Neo-Nazis. After all the Nazis are dead and Jesse leaves, refusing to perform a Coup de Grâce on Walter, Walter limps off to the Nazi meth lab and begins fondly petting the equipment there before collapsing.
  • The climax of The 10th Kingdom has Virginia confronting the Evil Queen, and during the struggle, she manages to scratch the Queen with the Queen's own poisoned hairpin. The Queen stares at the wound for a bit, then turns around and walks away, falling to her knees after (at most) half a dozen steps.
  • At the end of Boardwalk Empire's fourth season, retired Hitman with a Heart Richard Harrow is called on to perform One Last Job, despite the fact that he's given up violence because of the terrible toll it's taking on his psychological well-being. He botches it, is shot in the middle of a Heroic BSoD, and staggers away to the spot he and his girlfriend Julia spent their first night together under the boardwalk, where he dies alone.

    Multiple Media 
  • Many productions of Romeo and Juliet have Mercutio doing this either as he's saying his Dying Curse or just afterward. This includes the 1996 movie version, where Mercutio storms away after his curse, and shoves Romeo off when Romeo tries to catch up to Mercutio. He collapses soon afterward.

  • Irish mythology: Somewhat implied in the death of the Fomorian Queen Cethlenn Crooked Teeth, sorcerous wife of Balor of the Evil Eye. Like her husband, she is said to have died in the second Battle of Magh Tuireadh, but a spot located several miles away from where the battle is said to have taken place claims to be where she died after succumbing to the mortal wounds she received in the battle.
  • In Norse Mythology, Thor and Jormungandr clash. Thor eventually bashes in Jormungandr's skull with Mjölnir, but not before breathing in too much of Jormungandr's poisonous breath. Thor takes nine steps before dying.
  • An extreme example: Legend has it that when the German medieval pirate Klaus Störtebeker was captured and finally sentenced to be executed along with his crew of 72 men, the mayor of the city promised him to pardon the men that he could walk past after being beheaded. The legend has it that Störtebeker, after being decapitated, actually got up and walked past eleven of his men before the executioner tripped him by throwing his block in front of him (some versions of the legend also claim that he stuck his foot out in front of him). The mayor then had the entirety of the crew killed anyway.

  • Julius Caesar: There is no stage direction, but productions usually have a dying Caesar either staggering over to Brutus before the "Et Tu, Brute?" line, over to Pompey's statue to die, or both.
  • Romeo and Juliet: Again there is no stage direction but it is very, very common for the actor playing Mercutio to stagger unsteadily away while giving his "a plague o' both your houses!" dying speech after he is mortally wounded by Tybalt.

    Video Games 
  • Brothers In Arms: Earned In Blood: More like a Dying Drag. When Paige is mortally wounded by the same shell that vaporized Doyle and knocked Hartsock down, he calmly gets up, grabs Hartsock, and drags him into a nearby building as a firefight erupts around them. When he finally gets there, he sits down, mumbles about how "it took all [he] had" to get himself and Hartsock there, and just dies as a line of blood begins leaking from his mouth.
  • Final Fantasy X:
    • Auron, who's been Dead All Along, tells about doing this when he died. In a grief-fueled rage, he confronted Yunalesca about the Senseless Sacrifice of Jecht and Braska, and how them giving their lives wouldn't make a damn bit of difference. She mortally wounded him, and somehow he climbed back out of Zanarkand and all the way down Mt. Gagazet in a desperate attempt to return to Bevelle and take care of Braska's daughter Yuna, as he had promised Braska he would. After climbing down the mountain the last of his strength finally gave out, but he was able to send Kimahri, who he encountered along the way, to look after Yuna.
    • Auron does a version of this again (but for good this time) at the very end of the game. As Yuna begins Sending Sin, Auron, being an Unsent himself, begins breaking down and his body coming apart. Yuna pauses the Sending ceremony, but Auron tells her to keep going. He takes a moment to say his goodbyes to the party, then walks away as his body essentially comes apart at the seams.
  • Hyper Light Drifter: The Drifter eradicates the Big Bad with a Sword Plant, then slumps to the floor, leaving his Laser Blade driven into its body. As it dies, the Advanced Ancient Acropolis starts to collapse. You get up and walk out of the Boss Room, but the Drifter is clearly not going to get far. You are heavily wounded and leave a shocking Trail of Blood. You cannot heal, dash, or attack, and trying will only make you cough and stagger weakly. In what is implicitly a Dying Dream, the Drifter wanders to a familiar statue, sits beneath it, succumbs to his wounds, and is buried beneath the falling rubble. The Hero Dies, but he seems to accept it, dreaming of a world free from The Corruption.
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty: Raiden defeats Solidus with a sword stroke through his back. Blood spraying, power suit fizzing, Solidus staggers a few steps before dropping his swords and falling dramatically to the ground.
  • In Persona 3, when Takaya fatally shoots Shinjiro, the victim's last action is to get up and walk away like a badass before collapsing and dying of internal injuries.
  • Red Dead Redemption II: After John Marston fatally shoots him in the chest, Micah's only response is to shrug, then walk a few steps away before falling over dead in the snow.
    • Also happens at the end of Chapter 6, though more like a Dying Crawl: If the player chooses to go with John, Arthur, already in the final stages of tuberculosis, is critically wounded by Micah and lies dying while convincing Dutch that Micah is the rat. If Arthur's honor is high, then after Micah leaves him to die alone at the summit of Grizzlies East, Arthur gives off a smile, content that his efforts to get John to safety are all Worth It; he gets up and crawls over to the edge of a cliff, where he relaxes and gets to watch his one last sunrise before succumbing to TB in a Big Sleep.
  • School Days, "To My Child". In a bad ending, Makoto ends up committing to Kotonoha, but in the process abandons Sekai, who goes missing for six months and then resurfaces to stab Makoto to death. Even while badly wounded, Makoto expresses relief that Sekai is okay and then notices that she's pregnant with his child and is grateful that she plans to take care of it. Sekai runs off, and Makoto is left to wander down the beach rambling about Kotonoha and Sekai until he finally bleeds out.
  • Sonic Adventure: At the end of his story, E-102 Gamma was able to defeat his elder brother E-101 Beta in combat but when Gamma approached to inspect his body, Beta used the last of his power to hit Gamma with a point-blank blast to the face before finally exploding. Gamma, badly damaged, is able to limp away for a few steps before collapsing and exploding himself, satisfied that he was able to rescue his brothers and himself from Eggman's servitude.
  • Undertale: The True Final Boss of the Genocide Run, Sans, does this after being struck a lethal blow that does 999,999 damage to its One-Hit-Point Wonder target. He has just enough time to shuffle off-screen before the player hears the sound of a monster dying — mentioning the consequences of the player's actions and taking some time to briefly speak to his deceased brother Papyrus just before it happens.
    Sans: so… guess that's it, huh? just... don't say i didn't warn you. (he gets up, and starts to walk away) welp... i'm going to grillby's. papyrus, do you want anything?

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY has a few characters who get fatally wounded standing up.
    • Adam Taurus gets stabbed twice through the chest and manages to walk a few steps before falling dead.
    • Clover Ebi gets a few steps after being run through by a BFS, then quietly collapses into the snow. Unlike Adam, he actually manages to hold on for a minute or so afterwards before finally dying.

    Web Original 
  • In the Questden adventure Shambles, the protagonist is a hired gun walking away from an ambush while mortally wounded.

    Western Animation 
  • A Captain Planet and the Planeteers episode, "Heat Wave", features a non-lethal example. When the Planeteers are having trouble getting through Dr. Blight's force field, Ma-Ti contacts Gaia to ask for help. Gaia then reveals she needs it herself, walks a few steps, and collapses. She comes to shortly after, though.
  • In Exo Squad, after the liberation of Venus, some members of La Résistance turn villainous and plan to kill any and all Neosapiens they come across, including Marsala and any other Neos serving in Exo Fleet. Marsala's squadmate Nara recruits her brother James, the former head of the Venus Resistance, to save Marsala from his captors. James infiltrates the group and is wounded just as a three-way battle between the anti-Neo group, Neo guerrillas, and Able Squad breaks out. James manages to carry an unconscious Marsala out of there and is so focused on getting Marsala to safety that he completely ignores the battle and Nara telling him he can stop. Finally, he collapses and dies away from the battle site.
  • Bold's death in The Animals of Farthing Wood is a real Tear Jerker. After making a long and grueling journey back to White Deer Park with his fox mate Whisper so their cubs can be born in the safety of the sanctuary, Bold collapses outside the park boundary. Knowing he's going to die, Bold waits until Whisper has gone to find food for him, and then painfully limps away so she won't find him when he dies.
    Whisper: [tearfully] I think he's going off to die...
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) Bad Future episode "Same as it Never Was", Leo is cut down from behind by Karai. Seeing this, Raph attacks Karai, but she mortally wounds him. With the last of his strength, Raph drags himself over to Leo and dies by his brother's side.


Video Example(s):


The Dying Walk

After being fatally wounded by Aanya's arrows, Kasef walks a few steps away from Callum before falling over dead.

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