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This Is Not My Life to Take

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Alice, the villain, will be taunting Bob, the hero for being too cowardly to take her life and Bob's response is along the lines of: "It's not mine to take", as he sheathes his weapon (or hands it to another character). The motive is usually The Only One Allowed to Defeat You (because the speaker recognizes he/she is not the aforementioned "Only One"), though Anti Heroes may be prone to Throw 'Em to the Wolves instead. It could be said during a Sword over Head moment, but not every Sword over Head moment uses this phrase.



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     Comic Books  

  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season Eight near the end of issue #15 ("Wolves At The Gate, Part IV"), where Dracula cripples the leader of the vampire army, who screams at Dracula to let him die with honor. Dracula tells the crippled vampire that he knows nothing of honor, and that he is not Dracula's to kill—after which he hands his sword to Xander, whose girlfriend the vampire leader had murdered. Xander delivers the coup de grace, then breaks down as Buffy comforts him and the battle continues.

     Fan Fic  


  • In the 2008 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Miraz, Caspian's uncle, who murdered Caspian's father, and was planning to do the same to defeated in a duel by Peter. Miraz wonders why Peter won't kill him, Peter nearly saying the trope word for word, before handing his sword to Caspian.
    Miraz: What's the matter boy? Too cowardly to take a life?
    Peter: It's not mine to take.
  • Although not a death, something similar to this is subverted in McLintock!. John Wayne's character is thoroughly pissed at another character who almost hung an innocent man, and after giving him a good chewing out, says, "Somebody ought to belt you in the mouth. But I won't. I won't. (beat) The hell I won't" and slugs him.



     Live Action TV  

  • Game of Thrones: In "Battle of the Bastards", Jon comes close to beating Ramsay to death, but he stops when he realizes that Sansa, who has suffered far more at Ramsay's hands, is watching. Jon lets Sansa execute Ramsay instead.
  • Inverted in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation: the life of his enemy's son may be Worf's to take, but that means it's also his to spare.
  • Early in Merlin (2008) Nimueh puts Arthur in a dangerous situation but doesn't just kill him, saying that he was never meant to die by her hand.
  • A variation in Supernatural. A hunter couple walks into a bar which turns out to be full of demons. One of them possesses the husband and forces him to drink something that melts his insides. Later, Sam and Dean work with the wife. They capture one of the demons. After he tells them what they need to know, Dean hands the book with the exorcism spell to the wife to perform the ceremony. She does it gladly. While this doesn't actually kill the demon, it sends it back to Hell (and no, they don't like it there).
  • In an episode of Grimm, Nick and Co. manage to lure and trap the Volcanalis, freezing it with liquid nitrogen. Nick then hands a sledgehammer to a Wesen whose wife was killed by one of these creatures.

     Video Games  

  • Can be played straight or averted with Mass Effect 2. Pretty much every loyalty mission that comes with a distinct "Kill this person" ending, can have the player's Shepard kill the target, have Shepard convince their team-mate to kill the target, or not kill the target at all.
  • Can be played straight in Dragon Age: Origins, too. At the Landsmeet, upon defeating Loghain in single combat, you have the option to either kill or spare him. If you choose to kill him, you can then finish the blow yourself, or hand it off to Alistair on the grounds that, for him, It's Personal.
    • Similarily, at the end of the Leliana's Song DLC, Leliana may refrain from killing Harwen Raleigh, leader of the Hard Line mercenaries. Instead, she can allow her comrade Silas, who was tortured for several months in Raleigh's dungeons, to finish him off.
    • And in Knights of the Old Republic, the protagonist leaves Admiral Karath to Carth, since It's Personal, and may or may not (depending on morality) encourage Juhani to take revenge on the man who bought her as a 'pet'.... Let's just say Bioware loves this trope.
  • In Alpha Protocol, Mike has the option to leave Surkov to Brayko if discover Surkov betrayed you, leave Brayko alive, and then take the final mission and chase Surkov all the way to the helipad. In this case it's an intentional case of sadism, as his death will become infinitely much more painful than if Mike just puts a bullet through his head.
  • In Fallout 4 there's a side quest to hunt down and kill a notorious gangster with one of your companions. You earn more karma by sitting back and letting that companion have their revenge.


  • In The Order of the Stick, Belkar, of all people, does this here and here.
  • In Escape from Terra, a family is killed by invaders, leaving one survivor (a teenage girl), and the man who gave the order captured. When he taunts the man in charge about whether he has the balls to kill him and face the consequences from his superiors, the man explains that it's not up to him and gives his gun to the girl.

     Western Animation  



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