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The Promise

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Tifa: Hey, let's make a promise. Umm... if you get really famous... and if I'm ever in a bind... you'll come save me, all right?
Cloud: What?
Tifa: If I'm ever in trouble, my hero will come and rescue me. I want to experience that at least once.
Cloud: What?
Tifa: Come on! Promise me!
Cloud: All right... I promise.

A dramatically-made promise that serves as foreshadowing. The promise will eventually be called in and action will be required.

Whether they succeed, fail or refuse to keep their promise depends almost entirely on the idealism-level of the story. Other factors, such as whether they were told what they had to do, or if it was a Leonine Contract, may come into play. Even Releasing from the Promise is usually a scene of high drama.

Compare Inevitably Broken Rule and Rash Promise, which often overlaps with this trope.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The premise of Asteroid in Love is based on a promise Mira and Ao made as children: explore the heavens and eventually get a star named after Ao.
  • This is basically the trope that sets in motion Mashiro's persistence to become a mangaka in Bakuman。. A promise made in Chapter 1 between him and Azuki,that when he and Takagi get an anime from their manga and Azuki voice-acts the heroine, she and Mashiro will get married.
  • Utena invokes The Promise in her vow to save Anthy in Revolutionary Girl Utena. Even when she ultimately fails, her valiant attempt leads to Anthy freeing herself to go in search of her fallen hero(ine).
  • Bleach:
    • In the Soul Society arc, Ichigo will save Rukia... whether she likes it or not.
    • During the Arrancar Arc, Ichigo vows to Orihime that "next time... I'll definitely protect you!" Later, he tells her "Don't worry. I'm definitely going to win." This promise is so strong that when Ulquiorra brings him to the verge of death, he is resurrected as an insanely powerful hollow obsessed with protecting Orihime — and only Orihime.
  • Blood+: Saya makes Haji promise to kill her after she defeats Diva, a promise which he is unable to keep, instead encouraging her to live.
  • Chrono Crusade has several promises that the main characters take very seriously. The first is that Mary Magdalene made Chrono promise to "live", which is implied to be the only reason he didn't commit suicide after her death. Also, the manga version shows Joshua and Rosette promise as children to "grow-up together" — remembering his promise is what gives Joshua the strength to reject Chrono's horns. Also, when Rosette made her contract with Chrono, Chrono seems to have promised himself that he would protect her, even going to the point of saying he promised to "never make her cry" in the manga. When he's forced to break this promise at one point, he becomes really pissed.
  • Code Geass has several. A couple of them are found on the Pinky Swear page and are explained in more detail there. A non-pinky promise comes when Lelouch realizes how much his friends care about him, he tearfully promises them that he'll set off fireworks with them again someday. He doesn't, and when he realises he won't be able to keep this promise, he calls them to apologize and say goodbye.
  • In Digimon Adventure 02, Ken promises to Wormmon that he won't betray his essential nature — in essence, that he'll stay kind and gentle — when he first meets him as a child. Flash-forward to a few years, More than Mind Control, and some heavy psychological trauma later, and he's the Digimon Kaiser. He does eventually keep his promise, though. Kinda.
  • Dr. STONE reboot: Byakuya: Byakuya promises Rei, the robot he built, that he will return to the space station one day, and Rei promises to keep the station intact. On Byakuya's side, this was an Empty Promise; he knew the station would de-orbit in a year, and even if it didn't it was extremely unlikely he'd ever be able to return to space. Rei, on the other hand, doesn't know any of that, and does everything it can to keep the station intact. It harvests nearby asteroids and comets to maintain the station, upgrades itself hundreds of times, builds a fleet of nuclear missiles to stop an asteroid impact that would wipe out all life on Earth, and sees nothing wrong with waiting 3700 years for Byakuya to return. Throughout it all, it keeps a massive strobe light bright enough to be seen from the ground, so that Byakuya will know it's still waiting. When Rei turns it on for the first time, it's the last thing that Byakuya sees before he dies.
  • Elfen Lied plays around with this in the scene where the villainous Bando, rescued by Mayu earlier in the series and feeling indebted, promises to save her once if she winds in trouble. Mayu is forced to cash in this promise not even a minute later, when Bando himself attacks her.
    • But when she calls for his help again, he shows up in minutes and knocks the stuffing out of the man sexually assaulting her.
    • A second example is Kouta promising to meet Lucy back at the stone on the last day of the festival.
  • Fairy Tail: When he was a child, Sting Eucliffe promised his Exceed companion Lector that he would defeat the "Salamander" (Natsu Dragneel), because Lector was being bullied by others for saying Sting killed a dragon. When he finally meets Natsu years later and faces off against him in the Grand Magic Games, he and Rogue find themselves on the wrong end of a Curb-Stomp Battle, and he mentally apologizes to Lector as he falls in defeat, as Natsu is too strong for him.
  • In Gate 7, Hana is waiting for someone who has not been revealed yet and once they are reunited, they will keep their promise.
  • Get Backers: Ban promised Yamato that he would protect Himiko from her curse, and Juubei promised to stop Kazuki if he ever strayed "from the path of righteousness."
  • I Want to Eat Your Pancreas: The protagonist makes Sakura promise to tell him when she'll die, and promises in return to return her copy of The Little Prince. Both promises are broken when Sakura is murdered.
  • During the early stages of Kaitou Saint Tail, Asuka Jr. extracts a promise from Saint Tail that 1) she'll always send a Calling Card to let him know when she goes on a heist and 2) she won't let anyone catch her before he does. At this point, they're only on Worthy Opponent terms with some subtext, but she ends up keeping the promise so diligently that he can even tell that she's being framed if she doesn't send him a calling card. At the end of the series, after Saint Tail is revealed to have been his own girlfriend Meimi, Maju attempts to mock one of Saint Tail's cards by calling it a "love letter", getting him to realize that all of them were like that; while he'd been spending the last half of the series trying to figure out what Meimi thought of him, she'd been sticking to that promise as a way of conveying that she wanted him to be happy and only trusted him to be the one to catch (at this point redefined to mean "protect" her. He makes do on his side of the bargain by literally catching her in midair, and during the Distant Finale, Seira refers to their "eternal promise" as originating from it, making the entire thing into an allegory for their ability to communicate with and trust each other.
  • In Land of the Lustrous, Phosphylite resolves to find a job for Cinnabar that is entertaining and exclusive only to the latter Lustrous. The promise comes back once every arc, barely remembered and more muddy the more Phos grows.
  • Keitaro holds strongly to his 15-year-old promise to get into Tokyo University for/with a nearly-forgotten girl in Love Hina. He also made a similar promise to forever be with his adoptive sister, which she does indeed dramatically call him on in the OVA sequel, Love Hina Again. The concept of promises also is the main theme of the episode about the Robot Girl Moe.
  • Madlax has Madlax and Vanessa promising each other to survive. It looks like Vanessa fails, but along comes Margaret ex machina...
  • And also included in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS. After Signum beats Zest and gives him an honorable death, Agito prompts Signum to watch over her and see if Signum can really follow up Zest's last wishes and his ideals. Signum's response? "If you ever see me straying from that direction, kill me." More proof that Signum is a magnificent Expy of Lamia.
  • Nabari no Ou: Miharu's promise to Yoite, made under duress, to erase Yoite's existence once Miharu can use the Sinrabanshou becomes the main tension and plotline of the series, as well as a source of a lot of its angst.
  • Naruto is full of "promises of a lifetime"... some more successfully fulfilled than others. The most notable case is Naruto's promise to Sakura in Part I, to return Sasuke for her. The episode after the mission to do this was actually called "The Promise That Could Not Be Kept." Although, after Sakura's infamous fake love confession — which Naruto easily sees right through, calls her out on for her dishonesty, and rejects outright — he renews his promise not for her anymore, but for his own reasons. It's still his most important reason to fight, alongside protecting his friends.
    • Another plot relevant promise is Sasuke promising to avenge his family by killing his brother. Once he succeeds he instantly makes a new one: Destroying Konoha. Obviously that guy needs someone to kill.
    • Kakashi promised Obito that he would look after Rin. It would seem he failed. The Not Quite Dead Obito witnesses Kakashi actually killing Rin, contributing to his change into Tobi.
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Negi promises Ako that he will win the tournament. At about the ten second count, he recalls the promise and gets up to face Rakan once more. It's actually at tie and Rakan could have beaten him if he really wanted to. But considering the shape Negi was in? Badass.
  • In Noir, much drama is derived from Mireille's ill-considered promise to kill Kirika once she learns the nature of their past connection — by the time that occurs, the emotional bond between the two of them is so strong, Mireille finds herself unable to pull the trigger, even though Kirika turns to have been single-handedly responsible for everything bad that has ever happened in Mireille's life and actually begs Mireille to kill her, unable to live with the guilt.
  • Noragami: Hiyori vows to stray god Yato that she will never forget him.
  • In One Piece, a band of pirates left a baby whale they adopted named Laboon at the beginning of the Grand Line, promising to return after they've made the round-world voyage. Unfortunately, those pirates were wiped out, half becoming ill and having to leave the ship to save the rest, and those that remained were wiped out in a battle. Of those pirates, only Brook remains, having been brought back to life as a skeleton by his Devil Fruit. And now he has promised to his dead crewmates to deliver the final message of the Rumbar Pirates to Laboon, even after fifty years.
    • When the Straw Hat crew first met Laboon, the whale was battering himself to death on the Red Line out of despair of the unfulfilled promise, prompting Luffy to make a new one. He gets into a fight with Laboon which he declares a draw, stating they will have to have a rematch when he returns. Further, he paints his logo on Laboon's head as a mark of the promise, which would be erased if Laboon returned to hammering at the Red Line.
    • During their childhood, Luffy and Ace made one promise to each other after the (supposed) death of their third brother Sabo: they would live their lives free of regrets. As Ace laid dying in Luffy's arms, he stated that the only regret he had was that he wouldn't be able to see Luffy become the Pirate King. This promise is one of the major reasons why Luffy was able to move on from Ace's death and continue following his dream.
    • Ace also made another promise to Luffy after the above event: that he would never die and leave Luffy alone. While Ace ultimately couldn't fulfill the first part of his promise, unbeknownst to both of them at the time, he didn't leave Luffy alone. Sabo still lived, and made his own promise on Ace's grave: to succeed Ace as the user of the Mera Mera no Mi and Luffy's protector — both of which he manages splendidly.
    • Luffy and Zoro's goals can be seen as promises to Shanks and Kuina respectively.
  • In Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew, when Ash tries to console Lucario after it believes it was abandoned and asks if he can help, it only wants him to do one thing: Promise he will never abandon Pikachu. Ash swears he will not.
  • In Ranma ½, these promises cropping up out of nowhere are common plot elements — Ukyo has at least two with Ranma, Kodachi has one with her rival Asuka, and Ranma has several that he doesn't even know about until they're called.
  • Reborn! (2004): Squalo promised 8 years ago to Xanxus that he will never cut his hair until Xanxus becomes the boss of Vongola. And he did, for eighteen years into the alternate future from the Ten Years Bazooka. Obviously because Xanxus doesn't have the blood of Vongola, thus it's impossible for him to become Boss.
  • Fitoria from The Rising of the Shield Hero makes very damn certain of this, regardless of the measures needed to ensure it happens, especially if it involves killing all four of the Cardinal Heroes in order to summon another "Chosen Few" that will work better if need be (three of which are already beyond pathetic when it comes to "working together, not making complete asses of themselves and being unbelievably appalling in letting others manipulate them with sheer ease") All of this she made to a Hero from ages long past, someone she doesn't even specifically recall, the only thing she remembers is how memorable/nice he was to her, among other things that she still keeps her promise firmly to come the time of the current Cardinal Heroes comprised of Ren, Itsuki, Motoyasu, but most important of all... Naofumi. The promise was to ensure all four Cardinal Heroes work together to defeat the Waves, no matter the situation, but even then she recalls a horrific event that she says will occur which will force the Cardinal Heroes to decide which they fight for: The World, or its People, the latter being a very thorny path...
  • In The Secret Agreement, Iori tells Yuuichi that he loves him more than anything and would sacrifice anything for him. This is perfectly romantic until Kyuusai reveals to Yuuichi that he is born to steal life-energy and that his destined prey, under the delusion of love, will naturally offer his life for him to take.
  • Both Lottie and Sara in Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry promised to become Reasoners and see their brothers again. One brother kills the other before either can reunite.
  • Super Robot Wars: Original Generation has this: Kyosuke made a promise to Lamia that he'd kill her if she ever loses her mind ("If you ever lose your mind, don't worry. I'll destroy you myself"). He did get his time to try and fulfill it when he rescued her from the Bartoll. He succeeded in the OAV, but horribly failed in OG Gaiden, and later has to leave it to Axel to actually rescue her and restore her mind.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu made a promise to his wife on her deathbed to continue to be a Hero after she was gone. This promise starts getting harder and harder to keep once Kotetsu starts losing his powers.
  • Vandread's Hibiki made the casual promise to come to Dita's room. Though hardly a big thing to promise, this haunts him throughout the entire second season.
  • Variable Geo: In Episode 1, Yuka nearly concedes defeat to Jun until her friend, Satomi, reminds Yuka of their vow. Yuka then remembers that she and Satomi promised that neither of them would allow themselves to lose until they had the chance to settle their rivalry in the VG Tournament. Yuka renews her commitment to Satomi and defeats Jun.
  • Your Lie in April: Kaori makes a promise to Kousei to perform together once again, which drives her determination to undergo a high-risk surgery. She fails to keep it, because later it's revealed that either the surgery failed or she died during it.
  • In the Battle City arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, Jounouchi's/Joey's major motivation is his promise to duel with Yugi and get back his Red-Eyes Black Dragon card.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: At the last second in Season 3, it is revealed that in their past life together, Juudai promised that he would love only Yubel forever. This became the driving force of her motivation when she returned in Season 3. While Yubel can alter people's memories, it's impossible that she was doing so here, as she had nothing to do with Juudai regaining his memories, and wasn't even aware that he had. Him fusing their souls together has the double purpose of confirming that their past was true (as he would have learned about a lie) and reaffirming that he loved her.

  • In the Child Ballad "The Lord of Lorn and the False Steward":
    • The steward promises to protect the young lord on his journeys, and promptly becomes The Oath-Breaker.
    "If I be not true to my master," he said,
    "Christ himselfe be not trew to mee!
    If I be not true to my lord and master,
    An ill death that I may die!"
    • The young lord saves his life by promising to never tell anyone about the steward's having attacked and robbed him. (He gets around this through Exact Words.)
    • The duke's daughter the steward was wooing pretending to be the young lord, on learning the truth, promises to marry no one but the true lord.
    "If you doe not my councell keepe,
    That I haue told you with good intent,
    And if you doe it not well keepe,
    Ffarwell! my life is at an ende."
    "I wilbe true to thee, Lord of Learne,
    Or else Christ be not soe vnto me;
    And as I am a trew ladye,
    I'le neuer marry none but thee."

    Comic Books 
  • Grendel: The Grendel oath acts as this. Virtually every character to recite it is doomed to die a horrible death, often at the cost to all he loves and cherishes. Sometimes, this is due to failing the Grendel ideals. Other times, this is the culmination of following it.
  • In The Man, John is able to hide The Man in a small "secrets" cupboard in his bedside table, because his mother has promised never to look there.
  • Monica's Gang: In "Deus Cebola", Jimmy has gained godly powers after climbing the Stairs to Heaven and needs to be brought back to Earth. Smudge ties a rope around his waist and asks Angel to pull him back when he asks, before climbing the Stairs to retrieve his friend. After the mission is accomplished, Smudge is revealed to actually be Satan in disguise, who wanted to prevent the birth of another god. The evil entity begs Angel to pull the rope before the heavenly forces purify him, and the protagonist, after much deliberation, complies, saying that, as much as he would have liked his biggest enemy to be defeated, fulfilling a promise is what differentiates angels from demons.
  • In 2008 storyline Way of the World, Supergirl promises a boy who is dying from cancer that he will not die. She will not allow it. She moves Heaven and Earth to find a cure in time but at the end, she fails.
  • Usagi Yojimbo:
    • In A Promise In the Snow, Usagi promises a young girl her gravely wounded father won't die. After they're all nearly buried by an avalanche and Usagi has been battered unconscious, the girl invokes Usagi's promise to get him back on his feet.
    • Another short story has Usagi apologize for taking so long to return a masterful origami to the man who made it for him. He'd intended to hand it back immediately, but they were quickly embroiled in a battle. The other person didn't survive it. Usagi is returning it to his grave.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In "Bearskin", the hero, appalling shaggy, filthy and ragged, but rich, rescues a man from financial distress, the man promises that he may marry one of his daughters. Only the youngest is willing. However, his appearance stemmed from a Deal with the Devil, and that being over, he cleans up nicely and formally arrives at their house as a wooer — or, in some variants, at his own wedding. The older sisters are impressed, but the youngest, being the sort who would marry a hideous man to redeem her father's promise, ignores him until he proves that handsome as he is, he is still the same man whom she promised to marry.
  • In "The Frog Prince", the king insists the princess must keep her promise to the frog who helped her.
  • In "The Goose Girl", the princess swears to never tell anyone that the servant girl usurped her place. (She gets around this through Exact Words.)
  • In "East of the Sun, West of the Moon", the bear lets the heroine go home as long as she promises not to speak with her mother alone. When she breaks this, her mother incites her to look at him at night, which means that magic snatches him away, and she must search all over the world for him.
  • In "Parsley", when the ogress catches the mother in her garden, she makes her promise to give up her child. When the girl is about seven, the ogress tells her, repeatedly, to remind her mother of the promise.
    Every time she went along the street and met the ogress the old woman said to her, "Tell your mother to remember her promise." And she went on repeating this message so often that the poor mother, having no longer patience to listen to the refrain, said one day to Parsley, "If you meet the old woman as usual, and she reminds you of the hateful promise, answer her, 'Take it.'"
  • In "Rashin-Coatie", The prince knows that the henwife's daughter (who cut her foot to fit in the shoe) is not the woman he fell in love with, but is bound by his promise to marry the woman whose foot it fit.
  • In "The Pied Piper of Hamelin", a piper saves a town from rats by playing a magic tune that makes the rats drown themselves. When the citizens of Hamelin deny the piper the payment formerly agreed on, the piper in retribution uses his music to lure the children of Hamelin into a cave which closes forever with them inside.
  • The legendary mermaid Melusine, is found near a woodland spring. She falls in love with the human who finds her, and agrees to marry him, on the condition that he not peek at her while she bathes. They are Happily Married for awhile, raising several children (all of whom are more like demons or demigods, depending on whom you ask), and settling into a nice chateau. Buut, one day, her hubby's curiosity and/or lust gets the better of him, and he peeks in on her bathtime, and finds out that she's actually a mermaid. (He sees her tail fin.) Melusine is not happy, to say the least.
    • Notably, her own father broke a similar promise made to her mother, Pressyne. She, however, was satisfied with taking her three daughters and walking out on him.
  • In Tattercoats, her grandfather had sworn an oath never to look on his granddaughter's face.
  • In The White Dove, two princes promise a Wicked Witch their brother if she will save them. Years later, after the brother had been born and grew up, the witch claims him.
    • Later, the witch must carry out her promise to let the prince have the kidnapped princess.
  • In some variants of The Love of Three Oranges, the prince search for his wife because of a vow.
    Sir, unless I have a wife as white and red as this cheese, it is all over with me; so now resolve, if you wish to see me alive and well, to give me all I require to go through the world in search of a beauty exactly like this cheese, or else I shall end my life and die by inches
  • In The Black Thief and the Knight of the Glen, the king kept his three sons in a tower to protect them from a stepmother, according to his wife's Last Request.
  • In Tsarevich Petr and the Wizard, Petr promises each of the princesses to remember her after he saves his mother.
  • In "Hans the Hedgehog", the plot hinges on the main character making two kings promise to give him whatever comes out to greet them when they return home in exchange for showing them the way to their respective kingdoms.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): San promises Vivienne that he'll see they escape the place where Alan Jonah has imprisoned them, together. Vivienne promises San that she'll never leave him. Both those promises get tested and are ultimately kept, the latter in particular during the main fic's Darkest Hour chapter.
  • A Crown of Stars: Shinji makes two promises to Asuka:
    • Shinji promises Asuka that he will NEVER abandon her when she needs his help, no matter what.
      Shinji: I... even if it had been futile, I should have tried. I can’t abandon you like that again, Asuka. So I won’t. Ever.
      Asuka: Do you swear, Third? […] You’ve got my back, no matter what?
      Shinji: Y-yes. I swear. No matter what.
    • And several chapters later she asked him to make her another promise: Never leave her.
      Asuka: Can you promise me you’ll always be there, Shinji? Promise me you’ll never leave me again?
  • Advice and Trust:
    • After getting together Shinji promises Asuka:
      "As long as you'll have me, I promise, [...] Together, forever and always."
    • And in return Asuka promised:
      "Until the end of the world, you and me, against Angels and anything else that tries to hurt us."
  • A Pikachu in Love: Pikachu makes several of these over the course of the fic. One is to meet Pichi again the next night, another one is to Misty, to never leave her or his friends behind, and to always come back to them no matter what, and one final one to Pichi as they say their goodbyes...
    "<Just promise me that you won’t forget me... And... if you ever end your journey or if you and your trainer go separate ways, will you look for me? Will you still love me and come for me then? Even if it’s years away...?>"
    "<I will. I promise it.>"
  • The Child of Love:
    • After getting together Shinji promises never leaving Asuka and their child if Asuka promises will not give up her life anymore.
      Asuka: [softly, in Shinji's ear] Shinji?
      Shinji: [softly, in Asuka's ear] What is it?
      Asuka: You'd never leave us, would you?
      Short pause.
      Shinji: I promise you, right here and now, that I'll NEVER leave you two...on one condition.
      Asuka: Which is?
      Shinji: You must promise me you won't give up your life anymore like you tried to a few days ago. You're the two most precious things I have on this earth. I can't afford to lose either one of you. You or Teri. So, please, don't ever do that again. I'm sorry if I was rude to you after that, but I really didn't know how to handle it. I mean...
      Asuka: [smiling] Don't worry. For Teri's sake, I won't do that again! Deal?
      Shinji: [now smiling, too] Deal.
    • In chapter 6 she asks Shinji making an additional promise:
      Asuka: Well, then, how about another promise?
      Shinji: Hey! I'll have to write these all down on a piece of paper or I'll forget them all!
      The two burst out laughing.
      Asuka: [giggling] May God protect us on the battlefield! Neither one of us is gonna die in battle, okay? For each other's sake! And for Teri's!
      Shinji: [cheerfully] Yeah! And I swear that I'll protect you if anything happens!
      Asuka: [giggling] And I'll do the same for you, too, I swear!
      Shinji: Deal!
      Asuka: Deal! Let's celebrate that with a drink!
  • Evangelion 303: In chapter 14 Shinji pops the question, and Asuka answers she will only accept that engagement ring if he can promise he'll love her and be faithful to her for as long as he lives:
    Asuka: IF you REALLY want to tie yourself down to that for the rest of your life... IF you can really PROMISE to be true to that— true to ME— for as long as you live... Then I will... accept this.
    Shinji: I promise. Asuka.
    Asuka: Think about it— That's a long time! Can you imagine keeping a promise for sixty or seventy more years!
    Shinji: YES, I promise!
    Asuka: And if you should waiver in the slightest...
    Shinji: I know! I know! I really do promise, Asuka!
    Asuka: [blushing] ... You're either a fool... or a liar. And I don't think you are a liar.
  • In Ghosts of Evangelion Shinji makes Asuka two promises: he'll take care of her and he will not abandon their daughter.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Supergirl promises her evil duplicate Satan Girl to help her find her baby if she stops fighting. Satan Girl tells her to shove it.
    But my child is still alive... I can sense that. I just do not know where he is.
    Supergirl: You won't believe this, but I'm sorry. On my honor, I am. And if you will swear to stop this battle, I will help you search for your child. That is my promise.
    Satan Girl: Ohhhhh, don't you wish, Lightsister. I can find my child. After our war, I will find him. Or her. There is nothing left to us now, except the fight.
  • HERZ: In the final chapter Rei vows she will not allow the Evangelion technology is used to harm people again, and she seals herself together with the Evas, Adam, Lilith and the Lance to guarantee that.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: When Touji got designated as the newest pilot, Hikari asked Asuka protecting him. Asuka promised her best friend she would do so, and when Touji's giant robot got hijacked by a Robeast she fought to save him. When she managed to get him out of the cockpit alive, Asuka was relieved that she had fulfilled her promise.
  • Thousand Shinji: Shinji promises Asuka that she will never lose him because he will always return to her:
    “I… I’m afraid that if I become attached to you, I’ll lose you,” Asuka admits, her voice trembling at it.
    “I would not fear that Asuka, for I promise you I shall always return to you,” Shinji reassures her.
    “You can’t promise that. No one can promise that,” she says morosely.
    “Remember that one of the selling points of
    Chaos is no angst and crap. I can promise you this Asuka that I will return from anything if it is to be back with you. If you should find my body broken and dead, then to whatever hell my soul travels I will find my way back to you,” Shinji tells her.
  • Several important promises are made in Neon Genesis Evangelion: Genocide:
    • Having processed Shinji's Anguished Declaration of Love, Asuka responds by demanding that he promises never to hurt her. Shinji ruminates on how he doesn't know if he can keep this promise, but he promises it all the shame.
    • Later on, Shinji promises Asuka that he will be always with her.
    • And at the end, Asuka promises Shinji that she will try to be happy. He later uses it to bring her back from the brink of despair.
  • In the Film Noir-esque fanfic Nights In the Big City, Kim Possible makes a promise to Ron to sleep with him after he takes a flamethrower to the chest for her to motivate him to hang on during surgery. Afterwards he tells her that he knows why she made the promise and won't hold her to it. She does anyway.
  • From Gensokyo 20XXV, we have this occur twice with Reimu and the others. The first time is where its implied Reimu makes those close her to promise they'll "wake up" (Read: "Not Die") but, as time goes on, she apparently realizes that this is a promise that cannot be kept, so she tells everyone that, should she die, that they'll promise to meet her again when their time comes but, up until then, to continue living their lives, instead of spending it grieving. In chapter 103, she asks a sick Ran to promise that she'll wait for her in the afterlife.
  • This Bites!:
    • Cross makes the promise to keep Merry sailing with them when he first meets her Klabautermann. It's a rollercoaster of emotions and trials and many seemingly hopeless moments, but in the end, he does.
    • When Cross and Laki denies Aisa the chance to stowaway with the Straw Hats, she makes this vow as the crew is sailing away.
  • one day at a time (Nyame): In the previous timeline, Jon Kent and Damian Wayne made a promise when they were children to succeed their fathers as Superman and Batman together. Alas, it remained unfulfilled due to Damian dying before he could take up the mantle. Jon, in the midst of his grief, succeeded him as Nightwing instead, and his devotion to his best friend was so strong that he refused to become the second Superman after the death of his father years later, deferring the mantle to Conner Kent instead. After Conner died eight years later, Jon finally conceded to becoming Superman due to there being no other suitable successor at the time.

    Films — Animation 
  • The plot of Finding Nemo only really happens because, after a barracuda eats Marlin's wife and most of his eggs, he finds one sole survivor (Nemo), and promises he "will never let anything happen to [him]". This results in him being overprotected, venturing out alone, and getting kidnapped for captivity in a fish tank.
  • Rapunzel from Tangled takes promises very seriously and says that she never breaks them. This comes into play later when she promises Mother Gothel that she will be her prisoner forever if she lets her heal the fatally injured Flynn.
  • In Titan A.E., during the evacuation of Earth, Cale's father puts him into the care of an alien friend, and promises his son that he'll see him again. He doesn't, but leaves a message for Cale begging his forgiveness for breaking his promise.
  • Up: As kids, Ellie makes Carl promise to help her get to Paradise Falls. She never gets there, but Carl's desire to fulfill his obligation drives the plot of the movie. Later, Russell has Carl promise to keep the bird he befriended safe, and Carl's conflict between the two promises drives the second act.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Avengers: Infinity War: Gamora extracts one from Peter Quill. Acting upon it is a major breaking point for him:
    Gamora: If things go wrong… If Thanos gets me… I want you to promise me… you'll kill me.
  • In Much Ado About Nothing (1993), Beatrice asks Benedick to prove his love for her by killing Claudio. At first he refuses (saying, "Not for the wide world") because Claudio is his friend and companion. When she continually insists that he do this to avenge the wronging of Hero, Benedick eventually agrees. Benedick confronts Claudio, but everything is resolved before the duel can happen.
  • The German film The Pledge is about a teenage couple in which the girl escapes from East Germany, and her boyfriend promises "Ich komme nach" (roughly: I will come after you). The movie's plot is basically how difficult that is for him to accomplish.
  • Re;member: Zev and Max vow they will hunt down the Nazi who killed their families before either he or they die.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: Wolverine keeps his vow to Rogue by nearly dying trying to save her life in the climax:
      Logan: I'll take care of you.
      Rogue: You promise?
      Logan: Yeah, I promise.
    • X-Men: First Class: Charles managed to uphold his promise not to use his telepathy on Raven for 18 years until the shock and pain of a bullet in his spine became too much for him to bear, compromising his concentration.
      Raven: You promised me you would never read my mind.
      Charles: I know. I promised you a great many things, I'm afraid. I'm sorry.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Wolverine requests that the younger Xavier form the X-Men regardless of the outcome of their mission.
      Logan: Whatever happens today, I need you to promise me something. [...] The X-Men, promise me you'll find us. Use your power, bring us together. Guide us, lead us. [...]
      1973 Charles: I'll... do my best.
      • And later:
      Logan: It's good to see you, Charles. It's good to see everyone.
      Professor X: (smiles warmly) Well, I had a promise to keep.

  • In Robin McKinley's Beauty, Beauty is told not to go into the forest. When she thinks this means far in and goes in around the edges, her brother-in-law makes her promise not to. She dislikes giving her word on principle — then she has to keep it — and so insists that he give his word, too.
  • In Between the Rivers by Harry Turtledove, the protagonist in a grandstanding moment vows that he won't marry his sweetheart until the completion of the trading expedition he's about to embark on. It seems like a safe thing to do since it's a routine expedition and he wasn't planning to marry her until after he got back anyway. But then the nation they were going to trade with unexpectedly puts a trading embargo on the protagonist's city. And the god he swore by is real, interventionist, and quite willing to make the vow stick.
  • The Bible: In Mark 6:21-29, Salome, the daughter of King Herod's wife Herodias, danced for King Herod at his birthday party. The King was so pleased by her dancing that he vowed to give her whatever she wanted, up to half of his kingdom. After consulting with her mother, she asked for head of John the Baptist on a platter. Though conflicted about doing so, Herod kept his promise and had John beheaded.
  • In A Brother's Price, when Jerin is kidnapped, he gives his kidnappers his word of honour that he will be an obedient husband, pleasure them in bed and raise their children, and never attempt to run away, if only they let his friend live. It later turns out that he lied, which he cheerfully admits. He doesn't feel bound to a promise given to rapists, and continues his efforts to escape.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Aliens II: Alien Promises revolves around this; someone is contacted by aliens who promise to return for them. They in turn tell another who takes it seriously, and the two promise to meet up with the aliens when they return. Then the promise gets spread around to others who take it just as seriously.
  • In Andre Norton's Catseye, Tikil's culture turns heavily on the given word.
  • In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos, having someone make and break a promise is a potent source of magical power over them.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Alex promises the Junior Rangers that they can bring back the Rangers from the Gloom.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Coraline, Coraline goes to pry a promise out the Other Mother, who first tries to swear on her mother's grave. When Coraline asks if her mother has a grave, the Other Mother says she put her there herself, and put her back when she crawled out. Coraline insists on something else, and the Other Mother swears by her strong right hand. When she breaks it, she sends her hand after Coraline.
  • In John C. Wright's Count To A Trillion, Menelaus's mother explained her cruel punishment on the grounds that Darwin required it. The young Menelaus concluded that Darwin was a villain, and promised that he would stop him.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: Cassian makes one to Nesta that he'll keep her and Elain safe, no matter what. He fails it at the end of the second book, although he can't be blamed as he was half-dead at the time. He still blames himself anyway.
  • The poems of Robert Service occasionally feature these, such as "The Cremation of Sam McGee" or "The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill". In the former, a man must carry Sam's dead body around with in the Arctic him until he finds a place to cremate him, and in the latter, an undertaker has to journey out to find Bill's dead body and give him a proper burial. Except that his rigor mortis prevents him from fitting into the coffin. Why, look. A hacksaw.
  • A plot point in Friedrich Dürrenmatt's eponymous Das Versprechen (The Pledge), where a Swiss Police Commissar promises a couple to track down the murderer of their young daughter. This promise subsequently drives him to madness when he can't find him.
  • Earth's Children: Concerned that a grieving Thonolan is going to get himself killed, his brother Jondalar tries to urge him to return home to see their family again, especially their mother. However, Thonolan says that he and Marthona both knew they'd never meet again and instead makes Jondalar promise he will return, saying he belongs with the Zelandonii deep down and that Marthona won't be able to handle potentially losing them both. Jondalar promises he will return. After Thonolan dies, Jondalar is determined to keep his promise, which takes him another two books.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, when he realizes he could cure his ignorance, Freckles promises he will.
    "Before God, I will!" He uttered the oath so impressively that the recording angel never winced as he posted it in the prayer column.
  • The Godfather: Don Vito Corleone basically operates by getting these from a great number of people. (The novel says that he piled up good deeds like a banker piles up securities.) Interestingly, we never see him extort any criminal acts from the recipients of his "favors"; instead, he gets completely innocuous freebies from whatever their normal business is. (Wedding cakes from the baker, performances at his casino from the singer, and a funeral from the undertaker when Sonny gets whacked.)
  • In the Godzilla (2014) official novelization, Ford Brody promises his son Sam the night that he comes home that he'll take Sam shopping the next morning and get him a toy Navy man. He naturally fails to keep the first half of that promise when he heads to Janjira and the MUTOs start running rampant, but he does keep the latter half of the promise by handing the Navy toyman from Janjira to Sam once Ford has made his way back to San Francisco with the aim of saving his family amid the catastrophe.
  • In His Dark Materials, Lyra promises a friend that she'd come and save him if he ever got kidnapped. In the process of trying to keep this promise, she travels to Svalbard, burns down a military-protected research station and tricks the king of the Armored Bears. When she does find him again, she ultimately ends up accidentally getting him killed anyway and travels to the World of the Dead to apologize to him for it.
  • In Hunter's Death, when Stephen is about to set out on a very dangerous quest, Cynthia makes Stephen promise that he will come back to her before she's married so they have some time together. In the end, he dies on the quest, but he manages to keep his promise anyway by getting the Hunter God to let him borrow the God's body for one interlude.
  • In Julie Kagawa's The Iron King, this is one way to end up in a Magically-Binding Contract. Meghan knows enough to get one from Shard — before she reveals the Exact Words interpretation she's going by.
  • Early in The Island of Sheep, Hannay recounts how, back in his African days, he and a friend helped the explorer Haraldsen fight off treasure-hunters, and promised to help him and his family if they came back for another round. The rest of the plot of the novel is them living up to the promise. (Hannay does offer to let his friend, who has since settled into a comfortable desk job life, off the hook; the friend is offended by the offer and refuses it, and goes on to prove that he's not gone as soft as all that.)
  • In Robert E. Howard's Kull story "The Shadow Kingdom", after Kull and Brule learn that the ghosts of those the Snakemen kill are their slaves.
    A shudder shook Kull's gigantic frame. "Valka! But what a fate! Hark ye"—his fingers closed upon Brule's sinewy arm like steel—"hark ye! If I am wounded unto death by these foul monsters, swear that ye will smite your sword through my breast lest my soul be enslaved."
    "I swear," answered Brule, his fierce eyes lighting. "And do ye the same by me, Kull." Their strong right hands met in a silent sealing of their bloody bargain.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Kull / Bran Mak Morn story "Kings of the Night", Bran's problem is that one tribe is willing to break its promise if it does not follow a man of its own blood.
  • In Jane Austen's Love and Freindship, when Laura meets Sophia.
    We flew into each other's arms and after having exchanged vows of mutual Friendship for the rest of our Lives, instantly unfolded to each other the most inward secrets of our Hearts.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere: An Autumn Tale, Lucian promised to look after Catarina.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Monster Men, Professor Maxon promises that von Horn can marry Virginia if he rescues her, in the heat of the moment. Afterward, he realizes that this was a problem since he had not gotten Virginia's consent.
  • In the novel The Oathbound Wizard by Christopher Stasheff the wizard Matt Mantrell makes a careless hyperbolic vow to overthrow a nearby Big Bad. Since he lives in a magical world with similar laws to Medieval legend, he is honor bound to do so. He later convinces God that the vow was made in error and he shouldn't be held to it, but by then he has seen how horrible the Big Bad is and wants to overthrow him anyway.
  • In the backstory of Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Luke promises Annabeth that the two of them and Thalia would be a family, and wouldn't fail each other like their birth families had. First, he is The Oathbreaker: he goes over to Kronos. Then, at the very end of the final book, he becomes The Atoner: he stabs himself to prevent Kronos's rise. "Promise."
  • In George MacDonald's "Port In A Storm", the narrator got his uncle to not interfere with his wooing the uncle's wealthy niece, despite the appearance of trying to get at her money, by bringing him port to drink during a storm and collecting this as his reward.
  • In George MacDonald's The Princess and the Goblin, when Curdie helped her and the nurse get home safely despite the goblins, Princess Irene promised to kiss him.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter trilogy — too many to shake a stick at. From the promise of the aerial spirits to obey the Prosperos, to Theo's promise to himself to give up magic, to Logstilla's promise not to become attached to her children any more, to Miranda's to Mephisto's familiar not to reveal their conversation to Mephisto. And many more!
  • In an early Relativity story, the heroes stop an assassination that was to have taken place at a wedding, unaware that the intended victim was the nephew of a Mafia kingpin known as "The Goose". The Goose tells the heroes that he now owes them a favor. Which they do eventually cash in.
  • At the end of Shaman of the Undead Ida makes and immortal oath (magical promise that you must fulfill) to Katarzyna that she'll bring Mikołaj's soul to the Land of the Dead, consequently leading her to cross paths with demon king Tempter and the entire plot of The Mirror Demon.
  • In the Chivalric Romance Sir Orfeo, the King of Fairy must give up Orfeo's wife because he gave a promise to Orfeo, disguised as a ministrel.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire Eddard Stark promised something very important to his dying sister Lyanna. The contents of the promise are still the books anyway. See the Live Action TV folder for more.
  • In Juliet Marillier's Son of the Shadows, the heroine refuses to give her promise to stay in Sevenwaters to the Fair Folk, knowing that it will come back to haunt her if she does — The Fair Folk always get what is promised to them.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe:
    • Outbound Flight: Jedi Knight Lorana Jinzler, aware of her impending Heroic Sacrifice, gets Jorj Car'das to promise to find her estranged brother, still working at the Jedi Temple, and tell him something.
      "Just tell him that his sister was thinking of him, hoping that someday he'll be able to let go of his anger. His anger at me, at our parents, and at himself."
      "All right. I'll do my best."
      "You'd better go then. Please don't forget."
      "I won't."
    • Then Car'das neglects the promise for fifty years, until Survivor's Quest.
  • In Andre Norton's Storm Over Warlock, the Throg tells Shann he will be tortured to death slowly if he does not send the message they want. He doesn't, though he does it cryptically. Shann is strapped to a frame for it, and the Throg tells him they will leave him as a warning. Then, they come under attack. The Throg hesitates; Shann thinks it is thinking about whether to bring him with them, which will be necessary to carry out its promise.
    • Later, in Forerunner Foray, Ziantha gives her word to Ris Lantee and later does not escape because of it.
  • In the Sword of Truth series, it's mentioned several times that "A Wizard always keeps his promises." At one point, a secondary character tells the main character that the reason this happens is, as a wizard, he's subconsciously using his magic to make sure the promise is kept.
  • In Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno, a subject of discussion between Lady Muriel and the narrator.
    "Do you think," she began again, after a minute's silence, and with a visible embarrassment of manner most unusual in her, "that a promise, deliberately and solemnly given, is always binding — except, of course, where its fulfillment would involve some actual sin?"
  • In Stephanie Burgis's A Tangle of Magicks, Kat's mother's Magic Mirror loses its powers. Kat vows to restore it.
  • As of Thud!, Sam Vimes reads the same book to his son at six o'clock, every day, no excuses (because when you have a good excuse, you open the door to bad excuses). The one moment he can't make it in time...
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
  • In The Silmarillion, Fëanor and his sons swore a terrible oath to recover the Silmarils at any cost. These Silmarils were three hallowed jewels which Fëanor made, and which Morgoth stole. Centuries later the oath destroyed them thoroughly, and resulted in them slaughtering many innocents. Even after the last two surviving sons thoroughly hated the oath and wished to stop killing people over the jewels, they felt (or thought they were) somehow compelled to continue.
    • In The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn can summon the Dead to fulfill the oath of assistance that they did not respect centuries before.
    • In The Lord of the Rings this is the reason Sam remains with Frodo even with the rest of the Fellowship is scattered. He made a promise to Gandalf that he would not leave Frodo, and Sam is a hobbit of his word. He chases after Frodo's boat even though he can't swim, and nearly drowns rather than break the promise. Frodo helps Sam aboard and they continue to Mordor together.
  • In Philippa Pearce's book Toms Midnight Garden: After Tom has worked out the time travel which happens on his visits to the garden, he makes Hatty from the past promise to leave her ice skates under a floorboard in her bedroom, in which he is living in the present. This is so that when he returns to the present time, he will find the skates, and can wear them later to skate with Hatty to Ely along a frozen river.
  • In Ruth Frances Long's The Treachery of Beautiful Things, Jack had promised to help those on a quest. This means he can't just shoo Jenny out.
  • In Robert E. Howard's "The Vale of Lost Women" Livia promises herself to Conan the Barbarian if he will free her from her captor. Then she bolts in panic. When he rescues her again, she admits to breaking it and deserving punishment; he returns her home instead because it would have been no better than rape.
  • In Seanan McGuire's Velveteen vs., Velma, warned by Scaredy Cat, demands a promise that she can go home before she hands over the pumpkins.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel False Gods, Loken explains to Karkasy "the promise of moment" a promise to do one specific thing, and extracts from him a promise to keep their conversation secret.
  • The Warrior Cats novel Crookedstar's Promise. A mysterious spirit cat asks the main character, as a kit, to promise to be loyal to his Clan above all else, even his own desires. Naturally, he promises, since he can't imagine not being loyal. Turns out that she meant that he can't take a mate or anything of the sort, and she definitely didn't have his or the Clan's best intentions at heart.
  • In Andre Norton's The Zero Stone, Jern strikes a deal with Hory. When Eet reveals that he carries another zero stone, one Eet slipped in, Eet is careful to point that that he kept his promise, exactly.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow. In Season 2, the Big Bad is revealed to be Slade Wilson, who is enacting a promise he made five years ago to avenge Shado's death that he unjustly blames Oliver Queen for. The episode where he reveals that he's still alive and has been manipulating events from behind the scenes is even called "The Promise".
  • In Farscape:
    • John promises to give Scorpius all of the wormhole knowledge in exchange for help rescuing Aeryn. This debt is later wiped out when John comes up with a way of hurting the Scarrans, which makes Scorpius VERY happy.
    • John promises to Aeryn that he wouldn't hurt Scorpius, since Scorpy saved her life. Aeryn releases him from the promise. They never intended to kill him, anyway.
  • Game of Thrones, based on A Song of Ice and Fire, due to overtaking the books, has revealed what the promise Ned Stark made to his dying sister Lyanna was: to never reveal that Jon Snow is the trueborn son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen (and thus, the rightful king of Westeros) in order to protect Jon from the Baratheon regime. This is a promise Ned keeps until his last breath as he spends the rest of his life protecting Jon, raising and loving him as his own son at Winterfell, and passes his nephew off as his own illegitimate child to keep Jon safe from their family's enemies and Robert Baratheon, who would pose a fatal threat to Jon if Jon's biological parentage ever came to light.
  • Sam Tyler promised Annie he wouldn't leave her at the end of the finale, and mentioned that promise to his mum afterwards. And he kept his promise.
  • Several promises have been made on Merlin (2008). Freya promises that one day she will repay Merlin for his help, and does so by delivering Excalibur into his keeping. Arthur promises Guinevere that when he is King, they'll be together. Whilst held hostage by a warlord, Lancelot promises Guinevere that he'll rescue her — this thus far is the only promise that hasn't been kept — whilst Lancelot does his best, it is Arthur and not Lancelot that rescues them.
  • Torchwood: "Tommy, you're my big handsome hero, and I need you." (Interesting Western example with English and Japanese characters as the promiser/-ee.)

  • In "The Coward Of The County" by Kenny Rogers, Tommy promises his father, who is dying in prison, not to follow in his footsteps, and to avoid trouble whenever possible. Everyone called him the coward of the county due to his promise and his avoidance of conflict, but after his lover was raped, Tommy attacked her rapists and beat them soundly.

  • Westeros: An American Musical: In "Hand-Holding", Eddard explains that his part in letting himself and his Old Friend Robert drift apart over the years was a secret he couldn't share with Robert. One of the few details he gives about the secret is that it involved making a promise to someone. The play ends long before the point where the nature of the promise was revealed in one of the canon versions of the story (it's only been hinted at in the other), but its nature would have indeed made it hard for Eddard to keep it all while staying in regular contact with Robert.

    Video Games 
  • In Atelier Escha & Logy: Alchemists of the Dusk Sky, the final boss, Flameu, once made a promise with Clone, a very important promise. While Clone planted trees, she would find out why the earth was withering and would return. Then, once she knew, she would come back and they would enjoy apples together. But things went wrong and she ended up being in the Unexplored Ruins for hundreds of years.
  • One of the story paths in BlazBlue had Bang Shishigami who was at first being seen as an annoying Stalker with a Crush by Litchi Faye-Ling, until he jumped in and saved both her and Arakune from Hakumen. Bang opts to do a Heroic Sacrifice while Litchi escapes; and asks to meet her in a bar when it's all over, and Litchi promised to do so. Unfortunately, it's a Heroic Sacrifice for real; Bang presumably dies and we don't know if Litchi even remembered him and The Promise. The Kaka clan, however, made him a posthumous hero.
    • Continuum Shift, however, uses a variation. Litchi still made the promise and Bang actually survived. While they didn't exactly meet in a bar, it is clear that from that point on, Litchi grew to respect Bang tremendously and treats him with kindness and compassion.
    • Litchi herself has a very dramatic version that influences her actions. She made a promise that she will save her colleague Lotte Carmine, who is now Arakune, no matter what happens to her. Unfortunately, fulfilling this promise is a hard thing to do since it involves corrupting herself to the Boundary to the point she's getting very near to become another Arakune, she had to take the offer of someone Obviously Evil like Hazama to join NOL and becoming a 'bad guy' in general and eventually helping Relius Clover in his plan to exterminate all life and create a new world where Lotte can be prevented from becoming Arakune, all of these fill her with a huge dose of remorse, but she feels obliged to follow through to the end, even if she could be happy enough by leaving him alone, and especially even if other people consider her stupid for trying to save someone they think is 'beyond saving' and wouldn't bother.
    • Perhaps hilariously, even Relius Clover joins in the act in Chronophantasma. He goaded his son Carl to his side by first having Litchi on his clutches 'on her own will' (see above) and the promise that he will restore Ada, Carl's biggest goal in life for the moment. Considering Relius didn't break a sweat in putting him down, when Carl actually did on his own will, we all know that Relius would make it an Empty Promise. But... then he saw Bang Shishigami thwart his magnum opus of a plot despite having both Litchi and Carl, who Bang liked very much, as his pawns, and then he's dumped by the Imperator (revealed by Izanami) to 'die' and with him being The Perfectionist, Relius fell into a Villainous BSoD and is railroaded to commit himself to Carl's previous promise to restore Ada before he could die, which he accepts because he got nothing else to look forward into.
  • Brave Hero Yuusha: Edward makes a promise to protect Ashlyn that drives him from that point onward.
  • In Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow, Soma Cruz asks Julius Belmont to promise to kill him if he turns evil. Thankfully, the person making the promise is reliable and more than strong enough to fulfil said promise if it comes to that. In the bad ending, Julius turns up in the throne room to kill Soma, and in Julius Mode in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Julius gets Yoko and Alucard's help to take down Soma.
    Soma: ... I've got a favour to ask of you.
    Julius: What is it?
    Soma: From here. I will set off to fight against my own fate. If I lose the battle... And I become reincarnation of evil, I want you to kill me.
    Julius: ... I will... I promise.
    Soma: Thanks. Now I can go into this battle without reservations.
    Julius: Farewell, my friend. Don't let me use that whip again.
  • In the beginning of Demonheart, Orchid asks the player to promise she will love and protect her unborn son. Later, the player has an option to fulfill this promise or break it. There is also a possibility to give your word to Ari that you will not hurt Rivera, and to subsequently betray her.
  • A promise is the driving force behind the plot of Disgaea 4, hence the title. The main character, Valvatorez made a promise to give his Prinny trainees a sardine once they finish their training. However, the Netherworld's government decides that all of the Prinnies need to be exterminated to cut back on expenses, which would keep him from fulfilling his promise. So naturally, he decides to overthrow the government.
  • Dragon Quest VIII: Trodain promised Argonia that their kingdoms would be united by an Arranged Marriage. Unfortunately, Argonia's Prince is Prince Charmles, which causes King Trode no small amount of grief after meeting him and seeing what an utter boor he'd promised his daughter's hand to. In both endings, he decides Screw The Promise, I'm Doing What's Best For Medea and fights to stop the ceremony — the Golden Ending also lets him Take a Third Option and let her marry Charmles' just-discovered cousin. Plus, it's implied that 'The Hero' had the right of succession anyway.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII has Cloud's childhood promise to Tifa that he would protect her if she ever got into trouble (see page quote).
    • Final Fantasy VIII:
      • The game has the iconic promise between Squall and Rinoa.
        Squall: "How about this... I'll be here..."
        Rinoa: "...Why?"
        Squall: "The reason why you couldn't find me was because we haven't promised yet."
        Rinoa: "Promised...?"
        Squall: "I'll be waiting for you. If you come here, you'll find me. I promise."
        Rinoa: "I'll be here, too. It's a promise! Thanks Squall! Next time, we'll meet for sure!"
      • In the ending FMV when Squall is lost in Time Compression, Rinoa manages to find him and bring him back to the location of the promise.
    • The main musical theme of Final Fantasy XIII is actually called "Final Fantasy XIII — The Promise." The talk page for the song on the Final Fantasy Wiki lists at least five different promises within the game: Snow promised to protect and save Serah, Snow and Vanille both promised to protect and save Cocoon, Vanille claimed that she promised Hope they would visit Gran Pulse together, Fang promised to protect Vanille and not let her turn into a C'ieth and Hope promised to watch out for Lightning.
      Vanille: Wishes aren't enough. Prayers either. This time, I'm making a promise. I will keep Cocoon safe. I promise, no matter what.
  • Halo:
    • When Chief is forced to leave behind Cortana near the end of Halo 2, this exchange occurs:
      Master Chief: After I'm through with Truth...
      Cortana: Don't make a girl a promise... if you know you can't keep it...
    • Which leads to this in the third game:
      Cortana: You found me. But so much of me is wrong... out of place... you might be too late...
      Master Chief: You know me. When I make a promise...
      Cortana: ...You... keep it. ...I do know how to pick 'em...
      Master Chief: Lucky me.
    • In Halo 4, as Cortana is dying from rampancy, Chief reminds her of his promise to keep her safe. Cortana simply asks Chief what will happen to him if he can't keep his promise. As it turns out, Cortana ends up sacrificing herself to save Chief, which absolutely devastates him; he's still reeling from her death even when we see him again in Halo 5: Guardians.
  • In Hatoful Boyfriend, the entire Bad Boys Love route and storyline hinges on the fulfillment of a promise from long ago. Given the premise of the game, you might think that it's going to be along the lines of a Childhood Marriage Promise, but it...really, really isn't.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • At the end of Kingdom Hearts, Sora makes a promise with Kairi that he'll return to her and the island with Riku someday.
    • In a deliberate echo in Kingdom Hearts II, Roxas makes a promise that he'll meet up again with his friends in Twilight Town. Sora fulfills it vicariously for him, and gets the Oathkeeper keyblade for doing so.
    • Most of Sora's story in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories is based on the promise that he and Riku both supposedly made to Naminé on a shooting star to protect her. But the promise is fake and so is Riku: Naminé herself implanted the promise both of their memories and the Riku is actually a replica of the real Riku. Even after they both know the truth, though, they still vow to protect her. At the end of the game, Sora makes a new promise to Naminé - that when he wakes up, they'll find each other and be friends for real. She warns him that he'll forget the promise, but he says that even if the chains of memory come apart, the links will still be there. She agrees that it's a promise.
  • If Shepard enters into a romantic relationship with Liara in Mass Effect, at the conclusion of Lair of the Shadow Broker in Mass Effect 2, Liara asks Shepard to promise her that s/he's always coming back. S/he does. Both she and Tali beg you to come back after the final battle in Mass Effect 3. Since it's currently assumed that ME3 is the end of the series (for Shepard), in one out of three endings, with a high enough EMS score, you can assume s/he keeps his/her promise. Since Mass Effect: Andromeda takes place in an entirely different galaxy hundreds of years later, there's no way to know one way or the other.
  • Minotaur Hotel: P promises to Storm that once Storm figures himself out and learns to be independent, he will reconsider starting a relationship with him. Storm accepts his promise and tells him he'll be sure to become independent.
  • Defied in Advance Wars: Dual Strike. If Eagle and Sami are selected for the final Campaign Mission, Eagle will attempt to make a promise of survival with Sami who cuts him off telling him that if they make that promise, one of them will die.
  • In Persona 3 Portable, a romantic vow to stay together is apart of the last rank of the Justice Social Link for the female protagonist. What makes it so important is that it's with Ken Amada who's very insecure about their relationship.
    • A bigger promise is for SEES to meet up again on Graduation Day, if they manage to beat Nyx.
  • In Planescape: Torment, your character can actually do this as a dialogue option. Sometimes, dialogue choices (in some specific, important and dramatic scenes) will have a declaration of intent hidden, such as "Truth", "Lie", and, most importantly, "Make Vow". Those dialogue choices affect your Character Alignment: you become more Lawful if you tell the truth, and more Chaotic if you lie.
  • Shantae: Risky's Revenge: As revealed after the first boss battle, Shantae's Uncle Mimic is keeping important information from her due to a promise he made to her mother, and he doesn't want to encourage her curiosity by telling her more.
  • In Solatorobo, Elh promises Red a billion rings if he helps to complete the Rite of Forfeit. Of course, Elh actually doesn't have a billion rings and, if the Rite had gone as it usually did, Red wouldn't have needed them anyway. Red survived, however, and instead of being angry, he just invited Elh to join his team — ostensibly to work off that debt, of course, but nobody was fooled.
  • In a dream at the end of SoulBlazer, Lisa makes the player character promise her that he will return to her someday. You are not allowed to decline her request. And he does, in fact, return to her, albeit without his memories, but she says they can happily make new memories together.
  • In Super Robot Wars: Original Generation Dark Prison, Albharda asks Shu Shirakawa to defend Earth in its time of need. Shu ends up fulfilling that promise after he hears that Al died, sacrificing his life to let Selena Recital live.
  • Trails Series:
    • In Trails from Zero, Lloyd tells Tio that he will protect her just like Guy did, but she tells him that he doesn't have to be the same as Guy, that he should find his own path. Later, the two discuss the promise and Lloyd admits that he still hasn't figured out his path. Tio then tells him she has a request of her own: to take her to Mishelam Wonderland when everything is over. Stunned, he asks if that's really all, that she could even say "When I'm in trouble, always come to my rescue." She tells him that it's more than enough, that in order for it to come true, they'll have to resolve the crisis anyway.
    • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel IIILloyd Bannings told Juna Crawford that "Crossbell has many trials awaiting it. But we WILL overcome them. Juna, I want you to fight and struggle to overcome your own trials as well. And if anything happens, I'll come running — I promise." Later, if you do one of her bonding events, Rean tells her "If you run into any problems, just let me know. I'll come running — I promise." This ticks her off that he's reminding her of Lloyd, because she isn't quite ready to accept him yet.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY:
    • Jaune promises Pyrrha that if she can't get a date to the dance, he'll wear a dress and go with her. Guess what happens—even though Pyrrha didn't take the promise seriously in the first place.
      Jaune: Eh, a promise is a promise.
      Pyrrha: [smiling and laughing] Jaune! You didn't have to!
      Jaune: Hey, an Arc never goes back on his word.
    • After Blake and Yang reconcile, Blake promises that she'll always be by Yang's side. Blake's ex-boyfriend Adam sneers at this.
      Adam: You know, she made a promise to me once. That she'd always be at my side. Heh, and look how well she's kept it.
      Yang: Did she make that promise to you? Or to the person you were pretending to be?
      Adam: [scowls, but doesn't answer]
    • And then after Blake and Yang manage to kill Adam.
      Blake: [tearfully] I... I am not going to break my promise, I swear.
      Yang: I know you won't.
      [the girls continue to embrace as Blake sobs]

  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Coyote promises Antimony she will not be harmed to lure her to the forest. Antimony points out that he's The Trickster and he finds it hilarous.
  • In Impure Blood, Err... well, we had sworn to. . . — while threatening to arrest Roan after he saved them. (Ungrateful Bastards. Good thing the question of Who Will Bell the Cat? arises.)
  • In Mystery Babylon, Kick Girl wanted to break the seal of the Pit in order to free Kill Boy, but as J.J. was dying he asked her to promise never to open it. Kick Girl promised, and spent the next thousand years protecting the seal on the Pit.
  • Promises are everywhere in MYth: A Promise and the willing of keeping them is a mayor character tract. Keeping their promises is what makes difference between Cronus and Zeus, the two men choosen by Gaia, as Cronus promised that he would free the cyclops but doesn't keep it while Zeus does. Also, Zeus' determination in keeping his promises and Hades' promise to Rhea of protecting Zeus is Played for Drama when Zeus swears to hate Hades forever for him killing Metis, and Hades willingly accepts Zeus' hatred in order to make him a stronger man.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked,
  • The Order of the Stick: Roy's father, Eugene, swore a Blood Oath of Vengeance to seek out and destroy Xykon, the Big Bad. His failure to do so, plus his decision to abandon his quest, keep him in limbo even after his natural death and transfers the obligation to his heirs.
    • He's incensed when his son, Roy, gets to go on to the afterlife proper, since Roy didn't fulfill the terms of the Oath either. It's pointed out by a Being of Pure Law and Good that Roy gets to move on because he died in direct pursuit of the quest his worthless flake of a father dumped on him by consciously abandoning it.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: As far as Reynir's great-grandfather was concerned in the prologue, the world outside of Iceland was falling apart due to the Rash. On top of this, he was quitting his job in the coast guard because it had turned into enforcing Quarantine with Extreme Prejudice on any refugee boat that showed up from the rest of the world. Because of this, he promised himself to never tell any future children he may have about what's outside of Iceland and make them understand that they should never try leaving the country. Over the following ninety years, some people were discovered to be The Immune to the Rash and Iceland developped a program to enable parents who are not The Immune to have children who are. In addition, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland turned out to be still around as nations, albeit beaten up by The End of the World as We Know It. This resulted in Reynir being sheltered into staying in the family farm due to being both the youngest child and the only non-immune one, while his four older siblings each showed up at home twice a year with stories about being abroad. It's from one of them that he found out that the ban on non-immune people travelling outside of Iceland was actually no longer in place, when his parents had told him otherwise. It's safe to assume that the sheltering to which Reynir was subject has something to do with his great-grandfather's promise.
  • Zomgan: Gyeong Lee promises Mirae On that once human society is rebuilt, she'll kill him. Considering that Mirae On is immortal and has been desiring death, he looks in awe after Gyeong confirms that she can keep this promise.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: In "Slumber Party Panic", Princess Bubblegum makes Finn "royal promise" not to tell anyone about the zombies approaching the Candy Kingdom. He has a hard time keeping it, but eventually he defeats the zombies without telling anyone. When Jake discovers the hacked bodies around him, Finn feels it's alright to tell him. Only it's not: turns out the consequences of breaking a royal promise are having to face trial by fire at the hands of the kingdom's giant Gumball Guardians. Luckily, it gets negotiated down to 'trial by math.'
  • In the after-series comic in Avatar: The Last Airbender Zuko makes Aang promise him to kill him if Zuko starts to turn into his father.
  • Roger was a talking dog who appeared in an Al Brodax Popeye cartoon, where his ability to talk to only Popeye causes a bit of a mess. When he returns in a later cartoon, he makes a promise to not speak to anyone except Popeye and Olive. Running an errand, Roger overhears a gang of thugs planning a robbery. He tells Popeye, who tells the police. When the police asks where Popeye got his information, he says Roger told him. But all Roger will do is bark to the police because he made a promise to not speak to anyone except Popeye and Olive.


Video Example(s):


FFVIII - The Promise

In "Final Fantasy VIII," Rinoa tells Squall that she had a nightmare in which she wanted to see him, but couldn't find him. He tells her it's because they haven't promised yet and that "If you come here, you'll find me. I promise," a line players will recall from the game's introduction FMV.

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Main / ThePromise

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