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Too Good for This Sinful Earth

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"I loved that girl like she was my own! She was good, she was kind, and you KILLED HER!"
Davos Seaworth, Game of Thrones

The good die young, or so authors would have us believe.

A popular and old (and perhaps outdated but overused) trope to justify Kill the Cutie. If there is a child of extraordinary beauty, goodness, and innocence in the story, she (it’s almost always a she; male examples are rare) will invariably die in as unsubtle a manner as possible. The child will be certainly Delicate and Sickly, and frequently a Waif Prophet, whose death will be slow, torturous and lingering (tuberculosis or other disease was a particular favorite in the 19th Century), giving the child a chance to bid farewell to everyone she loved in a long, drawn-out drama scene. Sometimes she gets to speak a few last words to hammer in An Aesop relevant to the larger plot at hand. After she's breathed her last, her loss is mourned by all who knew her — in particularly extreme cases even the Big Bad will be shaken and take a moment to reflect on it — and may serve to re-energize tired or disillusioned heroes to fight on for her cause.

The trope name comes from a frequent comment made at the subsequent funeral, that the poor departed child was too good for this sinful earth, and thus was called home to a good afterlife by a just God. In Real Life, this trope is a common way to understand tragic deaths among those who believe in some form of positive destiny.

Often a form of Death by Newbery Medal (a major reason why this trope still lives on and in many people's minds why this trope has yet to be really discredited, or at least is still used). It was especially popular in 18th and 19th-century Romantic literature, where there was a series of characters who committed suicide because they felt they were too sensitive or too idealistic for a crass, corrupt world—from Werther in 1774 to Delphine Gay de Girardin's Napoline in 1833, by which time the trope waned in popularity. Needless to say, in the hands of an inexperienced author, this trope is prone to be used badly.

The Unfavorite is often the surviving child. Indeed, Parental Favoritism may not even really kick in until the Favorite is dead. The Littlest Cancer Patient could be considered the modern take of this trope, but with a slight hope of healing and living for the affected kid (and also more likely to be played for comedy).

This trope often overlaps with What Measure Is a Non-Human?, I Just Want to Be Normal, Become a Real Boy, and some variant of Gentle Giant, in characters that are created by Mad Science or even regular science. In this type of story, the artificial creature is too innocent for this sinful Earth and is at risk of being corrupted by it. Sometimes, instead of dying, the "monster" chooses voluntary exile.

Compare with Diabolus ex Machina and Too Happy to Live. Also compare with Shoo Out the Clowns, in which the light-hearted and comic-relief characters are taken or killed off the story to show that things have gotten serious. Contrast with Asshole Victim, someone who is "Too Sinful For This Good Earth"; and Like You Would Really Do It. See also Purity Sue, for the kind of character who most often gets this treatment; and Bury Your Gays, for how this is applied to homosexuals.

Not to be confused with the Knight Templar, who sees himself as "too good", and his duty as being to wipe away all the "sin" by any means possible.

Because this is a Death Trope, beware of unmarked spoilers!


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Air does this with both Misuzu Kamio and Michiru.
  • Menma from Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, a painfully-cute Genki Girl who always put others before herself until she one day drowned at the age of ten. She hangs around as a ghost for most of the series, invisible to most people, ultimately for the purpose of playing through the trope all over again as she writes heartfelt final letters for all her friends and "dies" a second time as her ghost departs for heaven.
  • Marco Bott, from Attack on Titan. Idealistic, kindhearted, genuinely selfless without any sort of complex, always there to encourage the others, and pivotal in holding the 104th Trainees Squad together emotionally during their first battle. His best friend, Jean, discovers what's left of Marco on the second day of cleaning up after the battle, and is horrified when he cannot find anyone that saw his final moments. This tragedy serves as a catalyst for Jean's evolution from a selfish Jerkass into The Leader Marco always believed he could become. Later events suggest something more sinister may have been involved in his death...
  • In Barefoot Gen, there is Tomoko Nakaoka, along with Shinji, Eiko, and many children who were vaporized in the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath effects.
  • Same in CLANNAD for Fuko, Nagisa and Ushio. Thankfully, they got better.
  • Code Geass has two prominent examples:
    • Shirley, who serves as Lelouch's most obvious tie to his civilian life. Kind, supportive, and always wanting to help him, Shirley's death signifies a change in Lelouch that also leads into the Zero Requiem.
    • Euphemia. It was her naivete and goodwill that led her to do something that led to the political need to meet with the man who could control people's minds, which ultimately led to her death. Ironically, that same compassion leads to the man admitting his defeat, a claim none of her more ruthless or intelligent siblings can make.
  • Danganronpa 3: Given that this is the grand finale of the storyline started in Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, this trope pops up more than a few times.
    • Daisaku Bandai was the former Ultimate Farmer and the Future Foundation branch leader in charge of distributing food in the post-apocalyptic world. Despite his intimidating appearance, he's a very kind and easygoing guy with the voice of a small child and a habit of creating random proverb-esque sayings that make zero sense. He's the second victim in the Final Killing Game, dying an extremely cruel and unfair death when his Forbidden Action is triggered and poisons him. His Forbidden Action code was "witness violence by participants"; he died because he was present when Juzo Sakakura kneed Ryota Mitarai the chest. Given that at least half the participants in the Killing Game were either prone to violence or saw violence as the answer to everything (including actual violence itself) the poor guy never stood a chance.
    • The Great Gozu (the latest Gentle Giant character in the tradition of Sakura and Nidai) is the large and immensely strong former ultimate wrestler. Despite the fact that he wears a bull mask and can be very scary if provoked, he's actually a rather gentle and polite soul with strong morals and a deep sense of loyalty to his comrades. Once the Final killing Game starts, he declares that he won't kill anyone, even if it costs him his own life, and protects Makoto Negaei and Aoi Ashina from Sakakura. After finding a hiding place and encouraging them to have hope, he is killed by the attacker during the second sleeping phase. He has his eyes slashed out, a knife stabbed through his heart, and his body is then thrown into the exposed cables hanging from the ceiling. Tragically, it's later revealed that, like all the other victims of the attacker, Gozu's death was really an extremely gory brainwashing-induced suicide.
    • Chiaki Nanami, or rather, the real one continues to be this. If you've already played Danganronpa 2; Goodbye Despair (see the Video Games entry), you already know just how sweet and caring Chiaki is/was. This Chiaki was just as kind and similarly reached out to the brooding Hajime when he was still a reserve student, and was the light of her class. Junko's brutal execution of her becomes a tool to drive the rest of the class into despair, and even makes Izuru Kamukura, who should have forgotten everything as Hajime by then, feel upset. The way the ending of Danganronpa 2 was set up gave the player the impression that she may have been able to come back along with the rest of the class, but that Chiaki was born from her classmates' memories and will never return.
    • Seiko Kimura is the former SHSL Pharmacist who, despite being part of the radical faction of the Future Foundation, is willing to treat her ideological rivals wounds. Despite her creepy appearance and demeanor, she is actually a very caring person with zero self-esteem who simply wants to be useful to everyone. While she does end up chasing and trying to kill her former friends Ruruka and Sonosuke, it's out of long-repressed anger at Ruruka's apparent "betrayal" in high school and how she used her throughout their friendship, and Seiko ends up giving up without harming them. As the third sleeping phase approaches she curls up in a hallway and thinks about how all she wanted was to have one true friend. She had actually loved Ruruka dearly and still wished that they could somehow make up. As she is knocked out by the sleeping drug, the last thing that she thinks about is the deaths of Bandai and Chisa and how she was unable to help them. She never wakes up, becoming the third victim after being brutally crucified, meaning that she died feeling worthless and thinking that she was unable to help anyone. And just like Great Gozu, it turns out that Seiko's death was caused by being brainwashed into suicide. For added insult, in the finale, it's revealed that the seemingly dead Kyoko actually survived due to taking a cure for the poison in the NG code bracelets that Seiko made during the killing game. She died not knowing that she had actually saved someone.
  • Android 16 from Dragon Ball Z - made to be a killing machine, somehow ended up a Friend to All Living Things. If he didn't have a soul when Dr. Gero built him, he would most likely have earned one by the time Cell brutally murdered him. To drive it home further, his is one of the few deaths to stick in a franchise notorious for its revolving-door afterlife.
    • Turns out that Dr. Gero based him off of his own son, who died in the Red Ribbon Army. If he was anything like Android 16 was in personality, it would help to explain how his death would drive Gero off the deep end.
  • Spoofed in Fate/Zero's Einzbern Consultation Room extra. Lancer learns from Irisviel that the source of his suffering was not actually from his curse. As it turns out, being noble fangirl bait voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa in an "Urobutcher" series makes his likelihood of dying horribly and tragically 170%.
    Irisviel: If you're good-looking, your bad end karma will increase 20%. If you have a nice personality, it'll increase another 30%. If you make girls want it, even when you don't, that's another 30%. And if you're voiced by Hikaru Midorikawa, that's 90%.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist has this in several flavors.
    • Nina and Alexander, an adorable girl and her dog, who suffer and die in a gruesome way in one of the most infamous scenes. They are literally fused together by her father, to the point their brains are combined and are mercy killed soon after. This event haunts Ed and Al arguably as much as their mother's death.
    • Maes Hughes, who is an unusual case in that he is a veteran of an exceptionally atrocious war and a bit of a Deadpan Snarker. All the same, he is a loving family man who brags endlessly about his wonderful wife and young daughter and tries to help his friends and country the best that he can. So, naturally, he dies not even a quarter of the way into the series, in a cruelly ironic way to boot.
  • Played upon in Gestalt. Ohri, the resident Cute Mute and Manic Pixie Dream Girl starts as a slave girl, offered to Oliver, the main character. As Oliver flatly refuses to accept her (as he's staunchly opposed to slavery), Ohri, willing to follow him, describes this trope point-by-point, telling him that being too cute and helpless to thrive in a world so sinful to accept slavery, she would be eventually sold to someone else, without Oliver's morality, and die in the most Anvilicious manner possible. Oliver finally relents and accepts her as one of the True Companions.
  • Shuu from Get Backers, when he is killed by Kumon Horii.
    • Many childhood friends of Ginji, during his childhood in the Limitless Fortress, especially a girl who was a close friend of his.
  • Shouyo-sensei in Gintama is shown in flashbacks as an oasis of kindness, patience, and wisdom for his students during the Amanto war. He is perhaps the only purely gentle and caring character without any bizarre personality defects in the series. His death is a driving motivation for the serious storylines, particularly how his students responded to it: Gintoki accepts the sinful earth that killed his teacher and protects it anyway; Takasugi thinks an earth so sinful should only be destroyed completely. Even when he is revealed to be one of Big Bad Utsuro's many lives, Shouyo is still portrayed as innocent, as it was the one life Utsuro enjoyed fully and was mostly devoid of the horrors and tortured existence Utsuro suffered through millenia.
  • Hare in episode 15 of Guilty Crown. When a group of students fears they'll be allowed to die because their voids aren't useful enough, they go out to try and get more vaccine from a hospital and prove they aren't useless. Shu and Hare head out to stop them so they won't get killed pointlessly. Before Shu can get them to listen to reason, they are found and attacked by the Antibodies. Souta, having been among the group going to the hospital, asks Hare to use her void in order to "heal" a car so they can escape. She gets targeted by Daryl, Shu sees this, and he dives to save her. They both get caught in an explosion and get badly hurt. Hare chooses to use her void to heal Shu while she's bleeding out of her stomach and talks about a picture book she read once about a "kind king" who tries to make everyone happy, but his kindness ends up ruining his kingdom and angering his people. she says she liked him despite this and loved Shu because he was similarly kind to a fault. she then dies and starts to crystallize, only completely disappearing after Shu wakes up to see her dead body. What helps prove how good she is is that the sight of her fading from existence causes Shu's worst Heroic BSoD yet, sends him on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, and quite possibly (at time of writing) led to a Start of Darkness in Shu as he seems to lose all hope and kindness.
  • Angelica and Henrietta in Gunslinger Girl.
    • Subverted with Enrica; for the first several volumes of the manga, we only know Enrica through Jose's flashbacks, all of which portray her as incredibly innocent. When the manga begins to detail the Croce family's backstory, Enrica is portrayed with a lot of human flaws that weren't initially shown. Not that her dying in the backstory doesn't suck, mind you.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood:
    • According to Dio, his mother was this. A truly kind woman who was ultimately worked to death by his abusive father.
    • George Joestar was a kind man who lent mercy to the otherwise awful Dario and his even worse son, Dio, while wishing he and his own son would eventually get along, something that is not rewarded as the ungrateful adoptee decides to kill him in order to become a vampire. This is even acknowledged in-universe by Speedwagon, believing that a kind man like him didn't deserve what happened to him.
    • Jonathan Joestar, in his final moments, despite all the horrible things Dio did to him throughout his life, felt only brotherly love rather than hatred for him, as well as pleading his pregnant wife to take care of a stranger's orphaned baby girl. A truly kind and gentle soul like his father before him, also murdered by his ungrateful brother. Notably, Dio agrees, having only come to truly understand how much of a kind and gentle soul Jonathan was at the end, regarding him as the greatest of his adversaries, and in his own twisted way does love and respects him as a noble paragon.
  • Lady Hamona of Wolf's Rain was the only one of the four Nobles who was actually a good person. She was a gentle, soft-spoken woman unlike her sister, Jaguara, and was a Living Emotional Crutch to her lover Darcia. But that didn't prevent her fate, as when she visited Darcia's villa, she catches Paradise sickness from him as a part of his family curse, an illness that took away her soul, rendering her comatose. If that wasn't enough, her Evil Twin Jaguara became a Green-Eyed Monster because she was in love with Darcia too. So Jaguara takes the opportunity to kill Hamona while she was sick.
    • Toboe, the young Red Wolf as well. He risked his life to save Quent Yaiden, a man who hated wolves, from Darcia, but Quent accidentally shot Toboe, and the music playing when the other wolves find him and Quent (who had then been shot by Darcia) dead is just heartbreaking, an opera rendition of Toboe's theme. Even Jerk with a Heart of Gold Tsume weeps for his fallen friend.
    • And also Cheza, the flower maiden. She and the wolf she loved, Kiba, were mortally wounded by Darcia in the Grand Finale, and when she finally starts blooming, Darcia hauls her around by her spine. As soon as Kiba reaches her, and they share one last tender moment together, Cheza disintegrates into seeds in Kiba's arms.
  • Tatara Totsuka of K was an extremely kind and well-meaning young man who just happened to be friends with some dangerous people, the clan of the Red King. He was the light of their group, who kept them at least calm enough to not blow up everything. So when he dies, all hell breaks loose - just as the Colorless and Green kings wanted.
  • Susannah Julia Von Wincott from Kyo Kara Maoh! falls under this trope. Can almost be called the Messianic Archetype. It is said that she was too pure for the Shoushu, the Big Bad of the show, to possess her. Thus, making Yuuri the last hope. She sacrificed her life trying to help injured soldiers.
  • Legend of the Galactic Heroes, due to its large cast, has several examples, the absolute crowning example of which is Siegfried Kircheis, who serves as the series' first Sacrificial Lion. He's repeatedly touted, in-universe no less, as a shining ideal of friendship, kindness, and loyalty and one of the greatest military thinkers in the show, and his death trying to save Reinhart von Lohengramm from an assassin haunts an entire half of the cast for most of the series' run. "If only Kircheis had lived..." becomes Arc Words concerning Reinhart's fate for the rest of the show.
  • Goro's father Shigeharu Honda in Major. A loving father whose son looked up to and wanted to follow his footsteps. He was finally moving on from his wife's death to marry again and give his son a new mom, and when it seemed he was going to make a successful comeback as a pinch hitter, he got hit in the head by a dead ball that ended his life.
  • Mission: Yozakura Family: From Taiyo's memories, it's clear that the Asanos were a close-knit family. Hide and Akari worked as a pharmaceutical worker and a nurse respectively to help ill patients to the point that one of them, Shirai, considered them her family, while Hikaru was by all counts a cheerful, happy child. Then they lost their lives in the car accident that leaves Taiyo the Sole Survivor.
  • Haku of Naruto was incredibly selfless and kind. His death to protect Zabuza was what spurred the man into his Self-Destructive Charge and revealed the humanity he had long since buried. And then, as if the double-death scene wasn't poignant enough, it snowed. Furthermore, it was Haku's words that helped Naruto become the good and kind man he became. Kakashi himself lampshades it when the two are brought back to life during the 4th Shinobi War, thanking for meeting them.
  • Ace's death in One Piece. While not having a happy childhood, with nearly everyone unknowingly telling him that his father Gold Roger was a cruel, unsympathetic bastard and with the World Government claiming that a child of Gold Roger's didn't deserve to live, this character was a relatively friendly, polite and all-round nice person.
  • Amber and her clone Ambertwo in Pokémon: The Birth of Mewtwo and its animated adaptation in Pokémon: The First Movie. Amber was her dad's Morality Pet and she died getting hit by a car. Her father tried to create a Replacement Goldfish, but human cloning wasn't advanced enough for Ambertwo to survive long. Ambertwo was Mewtwo's Cheerful Child best friend when he was still developing.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica subverts this in a couple of different ways.
    • Mami, a rare example of a strong but also kind and heroic magical girl, gets decapitated and eaten by a witch to kick off the darker parts of the story. But it later turns out she was capable of some pretty horrifying acts after a good Freak Out, such as killing her friends so they won't become witches. And, in the end, she comes back to life, so the trope no longer applies.
    • Madoka, the poster child for Incorruptible Pure Pureness in a Crapsack World, seems doomed to this fate, and does suffer it many times in previous timelines. In the end, though, she sacrifices herself voluntarily to save all magical girls from becoming witches, cleverly saving herself in the process and literally becoming a god. She "dies" in the sense of being erased from the mortal realm, but there's no remaining sense of the cruel world punishing her for her goodness.
  • Anchan of Rainbow: Nisha Rokubou no Shichinin is this, full stop. You come to realize fairly early on that someone so good and inspirational and beloved and constantly in danger isn't going to make it for very long.
  • Rebuild of Evangelion has Kaworu "Bishonen space Jesus" Nagisa. Although his morality was far more ambiguous in the anime series and the manga adaptation, all Rebuild Kaworu wanted was to see Shinji happy. And where his death in the TV series came by his own request, after he had attempted to cause Third Impact, in Rebuild it was basically because of a mistake on Shinji's part that he died.
  • The Dauphin in The Rose of Versailles died before the Revolution started.
  • Princess Iria from Sound of the Sky. She brought hope to everyone who knew her and died trying to save a kid.
  • Hokuto is afraid something like this will happen to her brother Subaru in Tokyo Babylon. Given what happened, this trope might have been more merciful. And in a sense, that's what happened to her instead.
  • Hide in the Alternate Continuity of Tokyo Ghoul √A. Kaneki's only friend since childhood, he has always been there to cheer him up and protect him. He spends the entire series completely devoted to helping Kaneki, even as the other pulls further and further away from him to keep him safe. When Kaneki goes missing, he becomes an Intern at CCG to gather information, and ends up on the battlefield during the finale. The friends finally reunite, with him acting like nothing is wrong and revealing he knew about Kaneki becoming a Ghoul all along — but it never mattered to him. He's then revealed to be fatally wounded, and dies in Kaneki's arms.
  • Yuuki from Tokyo Magnitude 8.0 is the sweet, Cheerful Child brother of the cynical protagonist. He died due to complications arising from getting hit on the head on a piece of falling rubble a few days prior.
  • Rubina from UFO Robo Grendizer -one of the Mazinger Z sequels-. All she ever wanted was people to stop killing each other and being happy with the man she loved. What did she get for her efforts in stopping the war and try to convince everybody to forgive, forget, and rebuild? She got killed.
  • Valvrave the Liberator loves this trope so much that some wonder if the writers had problems with these kind of people.
    • First we have Aina, the character who deemed the hero's curse as a blessing and was one of the few people accepted Saki Rukino. She is blown to bits, and Kyuma's scream when he finds her is enough to do the same to your heart.
    • Then we have Lieselotte, a member of an alien-like clan who wanted her people to coexist with humans. She dies sacrificing her life to protect a person who she once saved as a child.
    • Then we have Kyuma Inuzuka, who had a crush on Aina and wanted to prove his curse is also a blessing by protecting the people who five minutes ago wanted him dead for that curse.
    • Think that's enough? Nope. In the finale, the hero Haruto loses all his memories as a result of his curse in his final fight. He dies shortly afterwards.
  • Kolulu from Zatch Bell!. Even though she was only sent back to the Mamodo World when her book was burned, this is still treated as the equivalent of the death in the series, not to mention the impact it has on people.
  • The Your Name side novel Another Side: Earthbound reveals that Mitsuha's late mother Futaba was Wise Beyond Their Years and very well-respected, revered even, by the people of Itomori. After her death by illness, some of the townspeople started saying this of her In-Universe.
  • Re:CREATORS: Mamika Kirameki is the kindest, selfless, and has the strongest moral compass of all the characters that come to the real world. She dies first, in one of the most painful ways possible. For extra tragedy, she gets killed by the same person she was trying to help.
  • DEVILMAN crybaby: Several of the characters in this show definitely qualify.
    • Akira's parents travelled abroad for their jobs but were nothing but loving towards their son. When Akira finally sees them again for the first time in years, his father has been possessed by the turtle demon Jinmen, who killed his mother and added her soul to his shell as a death mask, forcing Akira to kill them both.
    • Where do we begin with Miki and her family? First, her brother Taro becomes a Devilman, but because he can't control his Horror Hunger, he starts eating his mother... Just in time for Miki's father to find them and suffer a massive Despair Event Horizon before both he and Taro are shot to death by soldiers, with Akira being seconds too late to save them. Then after Akira's Devilman identity is outed by Ryo, Miki makes a heartfelt post online about her relationship with him, only to get doxxed by one of Wamu's rapper friends, who mistakenly believes Miko killed Kukun, resulting in their deaths and Miki's, with Akira again being too late to save them since he was injured in an earlier fight and couldn't fly to their aid.
  • The Priest has Nera, one of the fallen angels who serve Temozarela and the only genuinely good character in the entire series. She refuses to infect the village close to her caravan with the Dark Doctrine despite given the order to do so and in fact protects it from any harm. Nevertheless, the villagers mistake her as a witch, slaughter her friends, and hang her. Even then, she refuses to spite people; when Temozarela himself appears to Nera as a vision and offers to free her if she declares her hatred against God, she tells him that despite everything Temozarela has done, deep down he still wants forgiveness from God and then calmly accepts her fate.
  • TAL brings us Laon Hiljo, a blind, somewhat blunt chachaoong under Ja Gwi's orders. He was only following Ja Gwi to ensure survival for himself and his two children, Haje and Jenna, and hopefully be freed from him by having their marks somehow removed even though Ei Mae had already removed Jenna's mark. Attempting to hide Yu Jin's identity from Ja Gwi, however, resulted in Ja Gwi detonating Hiljo's mark, killing him. Haje was so angered he was about to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge but was stopped by Yu Jin "awakening" as the Second King and disabling Ja Gwi, followed by Chau Yoong arriving and sending Ja Gwi to Hell for eternity. Chau Yoong stated he would ensure Hiljo's soul was taken care of, before taking him away to properly bury him.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • In the Aincrad arc, Sachi, the only female of the Black Cats of the Full Moon, was a girl who hated fighting, but also the kindest and nicest of all of them, and her death is what drove Kirito to go solo for so long because he was unable to protect her as he promised. To drive the point home, she preemptively recorded a message for Kirito, telling him that he shouldn't blame himself if she died and that she was happy she could meet him.
    • Yuuki Konno in the Mother's Rosario arc is a cheerful girl who encourages everybody around her to live their lives to the fullest and quickly gathers fame as the strongest swordfighter in all of Alfheim Online, never losing a single duel. In the end, she succumbs to her AIDS, but her friends and just about every player in the server comes to pay her respects when her time comes.
    • In Ordinal Scale, there's also Yuuna, who gets this twofold. First, during the SAO incident, she did her best to cheer her fellow players through her music. During a boss raid she used her abilities to draw the boss's minions away from the other players which allowed them to beat it but costed her life. And then in the movie proper, her Virtual Ghost helps Kirito and his friends to thwart her father's plans to revive her, and since her data is tied to that of Aincrad's final boss, she disappears for good once Kirito destroys it, though not before she gets the chance to fulfill her dream of singing on a stage for a large crowd.
  • Future Diary has two examples:
    • Among the diary users, Kamado Ueshita (Eighth) is the only one that doesn't crack her nice personality to the end, just carrying out her job as an orphanage mother. The kids she hands out Apprentice Diaries to are another story.
    • Yuki's mother Rea, who is a very sane individual in a cast of varying degrees of being unhinged. Turns out she had more than one good reason to divorce her ex Kurou, who stabs her in a panic when confronted on what happened to their son.
  • Metamorphosis revolve around the life of a naive and innocent nerd-turned-popular girl Saki Yoshida. She gets taken advantage of by a sexual predator, blackmailed and bullied by her classmates, raped by her own father, disowned by her mother, spirals down into an addiction of drugs, turned into a homeless bum, gets pregnant without a father, but promises to be sober for the sake of the child. The aforementioned classmates then assault and violate her with intention to kill her child, rob her hard-earned money, and leave her for the dead. Even so, Saki never really blames any of those people for her miseries, all she blames is just herself for turning the way she is and that she is too weak to handle all these. She then commits suicide.

    Comic Books 
  • The storyline in the comic Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl where the eponymous character dies (again) makes reference to this trope in its opening. This is intended to be ironic, as the title character has been dead for 100 years, has a wonky eye, is childish, has hair like straw, and tends to directly cause the deaths of nearly every person or animal she encounters — the closing, in fact, seems to indicate that her death is the opposite of this trope, with nature finally getting around to fixing a mistake.
  • Spider-Man:
    • Spider-Man's girlfriend Gwen Stacy is treated this way in retrospect. Before her death, she was a more well-rounded character who was actually allowed to have flaws like a real human being, but the way she's spoken of nowadays has earned the sarcastic nickname "St. Gwen."
    • This is pretty much what happened with Ultimate Spider-Man. He was the only superhero in the Ultimate Universe to not be an absolute Jerkass despite having a few moments of being a jerk at times. His final battle against the Sinister Six which ended in his death pushed him into martyrdom.
  • X-Men:
    • Like Gwen Stacy, Jean Grey was held up as the standard to which all women in the book she'd departed could only aspire after her first "death" (later retconned to be more of a weird coma). After her second death, she didn't loom as large over the books, partly because her primary torchbearer, Cyclops, was already falling for someone else when it happened, and partly because she'd been incorrectly labelled as someone who kept dying and coming back, though Wolverine still worships her memory.
    • Deconstructed with Magik, the younger sister of Colossus. Her death as a young girl seemed to be this trope, since it established what a Crapsack World the Marvel Universe was for mutants, seeing as how an innocent child could die like she did, but she was brought back to life later. She Came Back Wrong and as an adult, she's a borderline sociopath who does things like murdering villains in cold blood. Emma Frost admits that the only reason the X-Men put up with her hideous behavior is that they're all plagued with guilt over her death, especially Colossus. This eventually reached its zenith when Magik responded to her brother treating her like a Purity Sue by forcibly cursing him to be the new Juggernaut.
  • In an odd way, Wanda in The Sandman (1989). She isn't particularly "pure" (in fact, she's rather snarky), but she's a very sympathetic character caught in a world in which far too many people (and supernatural entities) impose their own ideas of gender on her instead of accepting her for the awesome woman she is.
  • Circles: On Paulie's deathbed, just before he passed away, Marty regarded Paulie as too good for this world, saying that "There are so many awful people in the world and few good people."

    Comic Strips 
  • Lisa of Funky Winkerbean was promoted to this shortly after her cancer returned. After she croaked, it seemed like one could hardly go a month without Les making reference to her. Like Gwen Stacy, a detractor nickname for her is "Saint Lisa".

    Fairy Tales 
  • The Little Match Girl is this. She is a little homeless girl who dies after burning up all her matches, each one causing her to see a pleasant vision of a life she will never have.

    Fan Works 
  • In Connecting the Dots, a Naruto/Justice League crossover, there's a benign, saintly old minister named Norman McCay who advises Hinata and consoles Sasuke. Guess what happens to him.
  • Riku quotes this almost word for word when describing Sora's eyes as he's dying in "A Dirge For You".
  • Poor Madavi in Freedom's Limits, who is killed in the prologue along with her lover and infant son (so it's basically a triple helping of this trope). She doesn't even fully understand why she's being executed, wondering what on earth she did that was so terrible that she and her family should be condemned to death (her only 'crime' is falling in love with an orc in a world that doesn't tolerate such things). In her final moments, she politely asks the Powers That Be (asks, not demands) to please let her go to Smador in the afterlife – and that if that's not possible, would it be too much trouble to make sure her son finds his way to his father so he won’t be alone and afraid?
  • His Lie in April: The child prodigy Kousei Arima gets his brain permanently damaged by three blows to the head, which leads to his suicide by overdose.
  • In Robb Returns, this appears to have been the case with Dacey Surestone's father, Torgen, who's dead by the time the story starts. It seems that absolutely everyone who knew him admired him as a good and decent man. Even Tywin Lannister and Roose Bolton have nothing but good things to say about him.
  • Hoskuld Thrainsson in Njal Gets Burned, who gets a full series of omens confirming this on his death, much to the Njalssons' annoyance.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Inverted in A.I.: Artificial Intelligence. The human world is sinful, but David, rather than dying, gets trapped and frozen underwater — and winds up outlasting the human world, eventually awakening to find it long gone.
  • A rare non-child example, is Vision in Avengers: Infinity War. He is, to be fair, technically only 3-5 years old, chronologically. Vision is the robot created by Tony Stark to defeat Ultron, which he does with the help of the other Avengers. He is saintly, being a combination of the best qualities of all the Avengers all filtered through the Mind Stone. He dies by Heroic Sacrifice to protect the Stone, but unfortunately it is meaningless, as Thanos reverses time to get it anyway. Being killed before the Snap, he also isn't brought back when Tony and Bruce undo it in the following installation and isn't able to be rebuilt once the Stones are gone. A huge part of the reason everyone hates Thanos so much is because of Vision's death because it's very hard to not love the guy.
    • In the same film, Peter Parker, who is portrayed as younger and more innocent than other live-action versions of the character, is also killed by the Snap. His death was a huge emotional turning point both in and out of universe, sparking Tony's Despair Event Horizon.
  • Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Superman, the entire film's running theme is this given how much the general public distrusts and even hates Superman, all of which is contrasted by the unflinching love everyone seems to have for him after his sacrifice to stop Doomsday and save the world... again.
  • In The Big Chill, Harold says this about Alex during his eulogy.
  • Chicago gives us Hunyak. The only woman to not commit the murder she was accused of is the only one to hang. What makes this even worse is the fact that this is because no one at the police station could speak Hungarian, and they didn't even bother with getting an interpreter for her.
  • In Cinderella (2015), Ella's beautiful, saintly mother dies from an illness when Ella is a child.
  • Applies to many (and more accurate to the book) film depictions of Frankenstein's monster.
  • Parodied in the black comedy film Heathers. Kurt and Ram are Jerk Jock bullies and date rapists, so Bully Hunter J.D. decides to murder them in the most humiliating way possible. He shoots them naked in a field, then forges a letter saying the two committed suicide because they couldn't be together in life. After their deaths, they are treated as martyrs by their fathers, who see the boys as having died for society's homophobic sins. Exaggerated in the stage show with the number "My Dead Gay Son".
    • Heather Chandler is treated in a similar way earlier in the film. When Veronica and J.D. accidentally poison her with a cup of drain cleaner, they cover up their crime by writing a forged suicide letter where Heather bemoans the loneliness she experienced as the most beautiful and popular girl in school. After her death, she is revered practically as a saint by teachers and many of her classmates, with the stage show in particular hammering home her newfound martyrdom with the number "The Me Inside of Me".
  • Into the Wild leans into this in its portrayal of Christopher McCandless, the young college graduate who abandoned all his possessions and attempted to live off the land in the Alaskan wilderness, only to starve to death.
  • The Last Boy Scout: McCaskey is a kindhearted, gentle man and the only character who isn't a Jerkass in some way, shape, or form. He's shot in the head by Milo so he can pin the crime on Joe when he checks Joe's home out at his partner's behest.
  • MonsterVerse: Dr. Graham is described by supplementary information as one of the nicest characters around in the setting. She survives the events of Godzilla (2014), but in King of the Monsters, she's one of the unlucky few who gets killed off when Ghidorah chomps on her.
  • Ofelia in Pan's Labyrinth who refused to hurt her baby brother and decided to face the wrath of her evil stepfather who coldly shoots her in the stomach.
  • Pearl (2022): Mitzy, Pearl's sister-in-law, is a nice young lady who leads a privileged life. She is also good friends with Pearl and gives her information and support to help her make something of herself beyond her dreary farm-bound life. Too bad Mitzy has the bad luck of offering her company for Pearl to vent her frustrations on after the latter has already gotten comfortable with murdering people by getting in three (3) tries.
  • The film Powder (not to be confused with the video game), in which the main character is the kind-hearted, perfect, next step in human evolution that is Too Good for This Sinful Earth, so his friends cheer him on as he dies and leaves this awful place. Although it's not entirely clear that he dies: he runs into a stormy field, gets struck by lightning, and disappears in a blinding flash of light.
  • A Soviet film Property of the Republic (Достояние республики) has The Marquis (played by Andrei Mironov), a former fencing teacher for the nobility. He's adventurous, kind and witty, a hopeless romantic at heart and so out of place in the 1920s Soviet Russia that he inevitably ends sacrificing himself.
  • Padmé Amidala is a case of too good for this sinful galaxy in Revenge of the Sith. She's one of the kindest and most idealistic characters in Star Wars and tragically dies after she gives birth to her children. She dies because she loses the will to live after suffering a Trauma Conga Line, including the Republic turning into a tyrannical dictatorship and her husband turning evil and attacking her, after she had tried to help him.
  • The Room: Johnny commits suicide over his fiancée having an affair.
    Johnny: Everyone betrayed me! I'm fed up with this wahruld!
  • In a film like Salvador set during The Salvadoran Civil War, where most characters are huge jerkasses or fanatical murderers, the Catholic missionary Cathy Moore stands out as an exceptional caring and loving woman. One of the most terrifying scenes in the movie is when she is horrifically raped and murdered by a death squad.
  • The Secret Garden: The 1987 Hallmark adaptation invoked this by killing off Dickon, the Friend to All Living Things.
  • The Song of Bernadette, based on Franz Werfel's novelization of the life of Saint Bernadette Soubirous, is basically "Too Good For This Sinful Earth: The Movie". Unsurprising given that Saint Bernadette is still regarded by the Catholic Church as this.note 
  • The title character in Starman is an alien who is Too Good For This Sinful Earth. Except that instead of dying, he leaves Earth on a spaceship.
  • Subverted by Alice in Super 8. She's practically a saint compared to her troubled father, and she gets swept up by the alien just as the father tries to apologize to her for being cold to her. In the end, her friends save her from becoming an item on the alien's menu, and she lives to reconcile with her now-redeemed father, who had reconciled with Joey's father after her capture.
  • In X-Men: Apocalypse, Magneto has married a young woman and had a daughter with her. Both are killed by accident by cops who have arrived to take him, leading him to kill the whole squad and eventually relapse into villainy.

  • V. C. Andrews:
    • In The Casteel Series, Leigh (known as "Angel") suffers a tragic life and is eventually raped by her stepfather. She succumbs to Death by Childbirth at the tender age of just 14.
    • A variant in Celeste: the rather bratty and annoying Noble does not fit the usual image of this trope, but his mother certainly considers that he does, and when he dies suddenly she forces his twin sister, Celeste to dress as a boy and "replace" him.
  • Almost literal in Awakened; Jack is killed by Darkness because Neferet needed to give Darkness a soul she could not taint (as payment for trapping Kalona's soul). Later, when Nyx appears to the crowd at Jack's funeral, she tells his boyfriend Damien that he is one of the happiest souls she's known.
  • In Eddings's Belgariad series there is mentioned (very briefly) to be a member of the good guy army who is a young, brain-damaged lad with a transcendent musical talent, playing songs of exquisite beauty. He sits and plays one of the most lovely songs the world had ever heard during a battle and is killed by an enemy ignoring it. This is presented as an indication of how cruel war is.
  • Georgiana, from Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Birthmark", had a birthmark on her cheek. When her Mad Scientist husband eventually removes it, she dies, going directly to heaven since she has no other flaws separating her from being an angel. At least, in this case, it is clear from the start that Georgiana and her husband Aylmer are allegorical figures rather than realistic human beings. Often mistaken on superficial readings as a Science Is Bad, the story actually deals with obsession and hubris; for modern readers, the story works as an allegory for the often-fatal obsession with cosmetic surgery.
  • Subverted in the Brother Cadfael novel A Morbid Taste for Bones. In the end, the monks assume that this is what has happened to the beautiful and saintly Brother Columbanus. In fact, Columbanus was a murderer, and after his Karmic Death Cadfael fakes his assumption into Heaven to stop the other monks asking awkward questions.
  • Invoked in A Brother's Price to explain why boy babies are so often stillborn. It is more likely to be due to environmental issues, but the characters have no idea and thus look for a supernatural explanation.
  • Carrie: Tommy Ross is easily the nicest character in a story full of assholes, and he dies due to a bucket falling on his head. This happens in all the film adaptations as well, and in 2013, it's what ultimately sets Carrie off, even more than getting covered in blood.
  • In The Castle in the Forest, Adolf Hitler's sweet youngest brother, Edmund, dies of an illness in childhood. His father takes it very hard.
  • Roy Meritt from Daemon. In Freedom Loki/Gragg muses that his idealism and nobility were too far at odds with the nature of the world.
  • Briana in The Dead And The Gone, a book about an asteroid hitting the moon. She gets adult-onset asthma due to the ash in the air from volcanoes. She never stops believing that her parents are alive, despite Alex and Julie's warnings and prays for everyone. One day, when the electricity comes back on, she goes down to their old basement apartment to write her parents a letter. As she is going back up, the power goes out and she dies in the elevator. Alex and Julie find her 3 days later.
  • In Dragon Bones, this is averted with Ciarra. She's a Cute Mute, born that way, acts like a twelve-year-old although she's sixteen, doesn't like shoes, is the only one who can see the family ghost, and is the go-to option gods use when they need to take over someone to talk to the protagonists. Seems like she's in danger of becoming this trope, doesn't it? However, the longer she stays away from castle Hurog, with which something is seriously wrong the more she looks and acts her actual age of sixteen instead of twelve, and is in the middle of the novel seen being as much of a Little Miss Snarker as she can be, considering that she's mute.
  • In Edith Pattou's East, the main character, Rose, was born to replace her dead older sister Elise, her mother's favorite child. In one of the sections, Rose narrates: "Mother was always telling me about Elise — how good she was, how she always did as she was told, how she stayed close by, and what a great help she was to Mother in the kitchen."
  • David Eddings's Elenium series gave us a minor character named Sir Parasim, a young knight stated by the (male) main character to be beautiful, with a singing voice to match. The words "clear" and "pure" are used to describe him more than once. Turns out, he's the youngest of 12 knights destined to give their lives to help keep the Queen of the kingdom alive. You know the rest... This turn is heavily foreshadowed by Eddings, who has his characters actually discuss Parasim with language like "He's too good for this world" and "God will probably call him home very soon." It's actually a comfort to Sparhawk when he finds out (after the fact) that Parasim's death was in a good cause. What's especially notable in that this reveals more about the other characters than Sir Parasim himself. As old professionals, they've seen the good ones die young often enough to recognize the signs.
  • In The Faerie Queene, The triplet sons of Agape are all doomed to short lives despite being the kindest and most functional family we see in the story. They fight for others, never quarrell amongst themselves, and only seek to adventure to help others, yet the Fates decided their mother should live to watch each of them die in youth.
  • The Fallocaust series pulls this with Finn in Garden of Spiders. He's specifically chosen to be Elish's sengil due to being sweet and kind and gets gunned down after refusing to abandon Elish during an assassination attempt as a reward.
  • The Fault in Our Stars:
    • Augustus alludes to this, saying, "Like, are you familiar with the trope of the stoic and determined cancer victim who heroically fights her cancer with inhuman strength and never complains or stops smiling even at the very end, et cetera?"
    • "According to the conventions of this genre, he kept his sense of humor until the end, did not for a moment waver in his courage, and his spirit soared like an indomitable eagle until the world itself could not contain his joyous soul. But this was the truth..."
  • John Coffey of the book and movie The Green Mile is a stellar example. Although not a child, he is a childlike Gentle Giant on death row for a crime he couldn't reasonably have committed, with magical healing powers and rather obvious Significant Monogram.
  • Raamo in Zilpha Keatley Snyder's Green-Sky Trilogy. Even by Kindar standards, he is quiet, humble, and completely without a violent bone in his body. Snyder killed him off at the end of the trilogy...but then realized she made a mistake with that and inverted the trope with possibly the first canonical video game sequel to a book.
  • The "twist" death of Willow in Jodi Picoult's Handle with Care has strong overtones of this — several reviews have mentioned that the character was so wise and saintly that the story felt unrealistic.
  • Harry Potter. If you are a kind, loving, sympathetic, well-liked character chances are YOU WILL DIE. This happens to Harry's parents Lily and James pre-series, and later, Cedric, Dumbledore (In his later years anyway), Hedwig, Dobby, Fred, Sirius, Lupin, and Tonks. The only obvious aversion/subversion is Hagrid, who appears to be killed off a couple of times but manages to survive until the end.
  • Quasimodo and Esmeralda are the most sympathetic of the cast in The Hunchback of Notre Dame. They both die tragically due to Paris' injustices.
  • Prim in The Hunger Games. Another beloved, sweet, and innocent little sister, as well as a natural healer and Friend to All Living Things.
  • Murder victim Susan Althorp in I Heard That Song Before is treated as such by the media and even her mother views her this way; a beautiful, clever, charming eighteen-year old with her whole life ahead of her, until it was cruelly cut short. As it turns out, the truth is less rosy; it's revealed that Susan was addicted to cocaine and tried blackmailing a man for money when her father Charles cut off her allowance, in a futile attempt to control her addiction. Charles explains he concealed this information from his wife because he didn't want to tarnish Gladys's image of her as a perfect child. Drug addict or not, Susan definitely didn't deserve what happened to her, though.
  • In Death series: Poor Marlena Kolchek. She was beautiful, innocent, and pure. Unfortunately, a gambling syndicate that Roarke was in a rivalry with kidnapped her, and performed a torture-murder on her that involved breaking her kneecaps and raping her. When they were done, they left her body on Roarke and Summerset's doorsteps. Her father Summerset wanted them punished, but the Inspector who was called in was a Dirty Cop in the syndicate's pocket, and he made sure the investigation led to nowhere. What a horrible thing to happen!
  • Invoked in In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez (based on the true story of the Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic). Mama says that she thought Patria was going to die at a young age because she was such a good child.
  • Helen Burns, Jane's best friend in Jane Eyre, dies of tuberculosis right before a typhoid epidemic kills many girls in the Boarding School of Horrors. But Helen still has time to impress on Jane the importance of dedication to God and trusting in her own conscience more than the love of others.
  • When Princess Sophia dies in The Kingdom of Little Wounds, the kingdom acts like this is the case, going so far as to call her "The Perished Lily."
  • Les Misérables: Hugo seemed to have a thing for beautiful idealists who are exposed to the realities of this cruel world and die tragically young.
    • Fantine is driven by her love for Tholomyes and later Cosette. She lives in awful conditions and prostitutes herself to provide for Cosette, and eventually dies when she learns she won't get to see Cosette.
    • Enjolras does not allow any vice to distract him from his fight against oppression. His beauty and courage in the face of certain death make enemy soldiers hesitate to kill him, but not for long.
  • The title character of "The Little Match Girl" by Hans Christian Andersen carries it off. Well, the narrative does not so much carry this trope as flamboyantly juggle it while singing the complete score to Handel's Messiah. Few works treat a little girl freezing to death as such an unequivocally wonderful thing.
  • The Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Andersen, subverts this trope. The innocent and sweet mermaid who sacrifices her undersea life for love ends up giving up the boy she loves and sacrificing herself instead. However, the story makes it clear throughout that she doesn't have a soul — and upon her death, she is given a purgatorial afterlife where she might, with hard work and dedication, win a soul and go to heaven. So after her death, she begins to work her way up to Too Good For This Sinful Earth. Depressing, but not hopeless — which could well be the point.
  • Beth, the sweet, saintly doomed March sister, from all the various iterations of Little Women is extremely saintly and pure, and since she has no ambitions other than to be at home with her sisters, adulthood just isn't going to happen for her.
  • Simon from Lord of the Flies is the purest of the boys, who is senselessly murdered by the others. Subverted, however, in that Ralph is the only one of the group who actually cares... and aside from Piggy, seems to be the only one who notices, or at least, be willing to admit noticing. Simon was a full-fledged Christ figure. Seriously, there have been professional literary critics who've written essays on this very point.
  • L. M. Montgomery:
    • In the Anne of Green Gables series, Walter, the poetic, sensitive, whimsical second son of Anne and Gilbert, is killed in action during World War I.
    • In Montgomery's Emily of New Moon, there is a Murray cousin who died young. This trope is invoked, almost by name, and the young boy is described as being more handsome and more virtuous than anyone. Ever. So naturally, he had to die.
  • In Odtaa, Carlotta de Leyva, who is Doomed by Canon to be dead by the end of the book, is a young woman of remarkable beauty and grace, loved by all who meet her. (Except the villains, of course.)
  • Little Nell, in The Old Curiosity Shop, is a all loving angel who wastes away of an unknown disease.
  • The book and movie Pay It Forward, where the little boy at the story's center is killed while performing his third and final good deed... and is all but canonized by everyone else in the story.
  • So many of the women from Edgar Allan Poe's stories and poems. Poe himself wrote: "The death then of a beautiful woman is unquestionably the most poetical topic in the world"-"The Philosophy of Composition" (published 1846).
  • Joshua in Sidney Sheldon's Rage of Angels dies at the age of seven after a blow to the head during a vacation. He was not only a perfect little boy (incredibly intelligent, good at sports, insightful, said the darndest things, etc.) but didn't lose his cheerful disposition despite being kidnapped and almost murdered — his mother Jennifer was so desperate to prevent it that she asked a Mafia prince to do everything he could to rescue him, up to and including killing the kidnapper. Jennifer sees his ultimate demise as karmic payback for, during the aforementioned trip, spending a night with his father Adam (the boy was the product of an illicit affair).
  • Played With in The Scarlet Letter: The congregation believes Dimmesdale's health is declining because God wants to take such a good man to his eternal reward, but the actual reason for his coming death is his inner torment over hiding an affair.
  • In A Separate Peace, the main character Gene reflects on the death of his best friend Finny and comes to the conclusion that Finny had to die because he was too good-hearted to be able to live during a war.
  • In Sharp Objects, Marian was one of the sweetest little girls in Wind Gap, and dies tragically in childhood. The trauma of her early death is acutely felt by her family and loved ones decades later.
    • Played With for Ann and Natalie. They were also little girls who died in horrific ways, and they both had loved ones who miss them terribly. However, they were both regarded as being tough cookies with tempers and not just sugar and spice, with Natalie in particular having violent behavioral issues her family was working to control.
  • In Someone Else's War, Otto is undeniably the kindest and most compassionate of the Child Soldiers. His offscreen death comes as a total shock later in the book.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire and its TV adaption Game of Thrones, Eddard Stark is a naive idealist who is horribly out of place in the Decadent Court that makes the Westeros aristocracy. Naturally, Ned loses his head and ends up dead.
  • The characters in Orson Scott Card's Speaker for the Dead speculate the pequeninos are ritually killing the humans that did them most good as an act of gratitude that will free them from a world of suffering and malice.
  • In Spin after Wun Ngo Wen, the man from Mars, gets killed by highway bandits, people start to see him this way. He would probably have disapproved.
  • Henry Darger's Story of the Vivian Girls:
    • The book includes a subplot about a turbulent, half-mad girl named Jenny, who is killed (in a weather disaster, naturally) at the very end of the story. She lingers for a time, saying lovely Little Eva-like goodbyes to everyone. Her final words (and the last words in the book) are Oh, I see God!...
    • Henry's got boatloads of characters like this. Six-year-old Jennie Anges, who is "already marked for heaven", snatches consecrated communion hosts out of a church tabernacle to protect them from enemy soldiers who would desecrate them. Naturally, she gets desecrated instead.
  • John Grisham's The Testament: Rachel Lane, a beautiful, saintly missionary doctor and long-lost daughter of tycoon Troy Phelan, dies of dengue fever and malaria in the penultimate chapter.
  • Subverted in Jerome's Three Men in a Boat with the narrator's dog Monmorancy. When the narrator first got the dog, he was sure it was so good and fragile it would die shortly... until he witnessed the fox-terrier's aggressive nature.
  • Jenny in The Truth of Rock And Roll: “And that was good. That was right. Jenny was made for another time and another place. She never fit in here.”
  • In the Vita Nuova, Beatrice dies young as her humility and magnanimity made her too noble to suffer life on fallen Earth. Instead, she passed into the realm of the angels as was befitting her.
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin contains a particularly egregious example. When Little Eva falls sick, the author treats us to a whole page of waxing lyrical about children who die young because they are too good for this world, then there is a deathbed scene during which Eva has literal visions of heaven and preaches to the rest of the cast about them. Then there's a funeral scene in which Topsy, the little slave girl cries out that she wishes sh had died too, as she can't bear losing Eva.
  • Warrior Cats: Badgerfang mainly exists to both be a tragic example of a cat who died too young and to show how evil Brokenstar is. Badgerpaw was a three-month-old kitten who was forced to become an apprentice three months too soon. He was accidentally killed in battle. In StarClan, he was renamed "Badgerfang" because that would have been his warrior name if he had survived into adulthood.
  • The poem "Ye xu" ("Perhaps") by Chinese poet Wen Yi-duo, written as an elegy for his young son.
    Perhaps you've tired from your cryings.
    Perhaps, perhaps you need a sleep.
    Perhaps, listening to the earthworms burrowing
    The root-tips of young grass seeping water
    Listening to the music of such
    Is better than the curseful sound of humanity.
  • Lennon Rose in Girls With Sharp Sticks, with her Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold, her sunny disposition, and her flowery name. So of course she's the first one to go missing after breaking down in tears during the open house.
  • Berenice Hollis and Jacques Deberiue are the only two genuinely decent human beings in The Burnt Orange Heresy. Berenice winds up beaten to death with a tire iron by her cruel boyfriend, while Jacques is sent to a nursing home by Cassidy where he dies only a year after being admitted.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Amazing Stories episode that apparently inspired The Green Mile, a death row inmate gains special healing powers but is put to death anyway just so the episode can pack a dramatic punch. Said punch is somewhat lacking due to the inmate being played by Patrick Swayze.
  • The Anyone Can Die nature of American Horror Story has led to several of these. While many are controversial (for example, characters played by Jamie Brewer tend to get this treatment despite being a little morally questionable - to the extent that it's actually Played for Laughs in the fourth season), the examples of Ma Petite and Salty in Freak Show are pretty well undisputed. They're both shown to have the mindset of children and are rare characters in the franchise who are never shown to harm anyone - yet Ma Petite is murdered so that her body can be put on display and Salty dies in his sleep of a genetic condition.
    • Meep is another example from the same series since he is a child-sized, seemingly good-natured individual who gets beaten to death by his cellmates after being falsely imprisoned for murder - though some viewers were put off by his eating a live chicken earlier in the episode and felt it cast doubt on his innocent nature. However, since the tragic death of Meep's actor Ben Woolf not long after the series ended, this trope seems to have taken firmer hold for his final character as well.
  • Andor: Nemik is by far the kindest and most idealistic of the Aldhani rebel cell, caring for and trusting people while being dedicated to the ideals of freedom from tyranny and brutal oppression rather than fighting the Empire out of a vicious desire for revenge against the Empire for killing family and loved ones. He dies the most drawn out and painful death of the group, just to make it that much more gut wrenching.
  • In the first season of The Borgias the Moorish prince Djem is so handsome, noble, and lovable that something horrible is bound to happen to him. He is soon murdered by Juan Borgia for a ransom.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Tara Maclay was without a doubt the kindest, most mature, and most good-natured character of the series - and several critics have noted that of all the Buffyverse regulars, she's the only one never to be even temporarily seduced by evil, making her the only true Morality Chain for literally everybody else. And this being a Joss Whedon show, she ends up getting shot and killed for no real reason by one of the evilest villains in the series. Doesn't make it any less of a shock.
  • Almost an Anthropic Principle of Council of Dads: Scott Perry is a ridiculously perfect husband and father: kind, wise, patient, and loving to his wife, his large and diverse brood of children, and his close friends. So naturally he dies of a terminal cancer in the pilot episode. Of course, his death is the central premise of the show: his three closest male friends come together in the titular Council to help his wife and children however they can. It would seem that he was so perfect that it would take at least three normal men to replace him...
  • Chelsea Dawn Anderson, oldest sister of Deadliest Catch fisherman Jake Anderson:
    Jake Anderson: She's in a better place, Mom. (chokes up) She's finally beautiful now. She can run.
  • Doctor Who
    • The Eighth Doctor. In his first appearance, he snogged the surgeon who killed his previous incarnation, loved how his shoes fit perfectly, and even offered to save The Master's life. In "The Night of the Doctor", this Doctor tries to save the life of a pilot, only to be rebuffed by her as she hates Time Lords due to their actions in the Time War. He remains on the ship as it crashes onto a planet and dies, but gets resurrected by the Sisterhood of Karn, only to be convinced by them to regenerate into a "warrior" incarnation in order to fight in the Time War. But the worst part of it? He gives up his name.
    The Doctor: I don't suppose there's any need for a Doctor anymore.
  • Lady Sybil Branson in Downton Abbey: beautiful, noble, believes in fairness and justice for all, and frequently described as the kindest and sweetest member of the family. In the third series she dies at age 24 from complications following the birth of her daughter.
  • Quite a few times in Game of Thrones, as a Crapsack World where Anyone Can Die, a completely innocent and kindhearted character will be killed off through no fault of their own.
    • Sansa's direwolf Lady in Season 1. She was noted as being the most gentle of the direwolves and never hurt anyone, but Cersei demands she be killed in Nymeria's place for biting Joffrey (which Nymeria only did to protect Arya).
    • Shireen and Myrcella in Season 5, the former's death even providing the heartbreaking page quote. She was the sweetest person in Westeros and is sacrificed by her father on the eve of a battle with the Boltons and an upcoming Zombie Apocalypse. Myrcella is acknowledged by Cersei herself who pointed out that Myrcella was kind, sweet, and never had the awful qualities of her brother Joffrey, or Cersei herself. But because of her blood as a Lannister who happened to be in the firing range between an old house rivalry she died, and it's sad to see her go like that.
    • Hodor, who is the most gentle, good-hearted character in the whole series and dies a gruesome death at the hands of the White Walkers in Season 6.
    • Fat Walda is one of the very few pleasant Freys shown so far, and the only member of the Bolton family to show Sansa some sympathy during Season 5. This, coupled with the fact that she's pregnant, makes you wonder how long she will survive. Not long, actually; Ramsay murders her and her newborn baby in "Home" by having them devoured by hounds.
    • There is also Rickon Stark. Aside from a few Creepy Child moments in the early seasons, he was generally a sweet kid who just wanted to be with his family. He was sent to the Umbers for safety during the third season, only to have them betray him to the Boltons three seasons later. His final moments are spent running across a battlefield, ultimately dying mere feet away from Jon Snow when Ramsey shoots him in the back.
    • Tommen was a good person born and raised around vipers. And it doesn't help that his own mother was one of the most dangerous ones. In the Season 6 finale, after his mother Cersei had the High Sparrow and everyone associated with him killed, including his Queen, he realized he was a Puppet King who doesn't have the respect of his subjects and is a pawn of his mother who doesn't take his commands seriously - he commits suicide.
    • According to Oberyn Martell, Princess Elia, though it should be noted he's a rather biased source.
  • In Heroes Season 3 Peter goes to the future and finds that Sylar is a waffle-making soccer dad with a four- or five-year-old son named Noah. As soon as you saw that sweet, innocent, and adorable kid, you knew he wouldn't make it to the end credits alive. Claire, Knox, and Daphne barge in, and Knox crushes Noah with furniture in a battle in Sylar's kitchen, after which Sylar literally explodes.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, the Mother is presented as a flawless person, the perfect fit for Ted, who gives sage advice to all of his friends. She then dies (without any particular angst) in the finale so that Ted can get together with Robin.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Faiz has the group using the Kaixa gear in its debut all shown as nice people willing to do the right thing. The fact they all end up dead after one use tells you what type of person will be the permanent user.
  • Takeru Tenkuuji and Kanon Fukami from Kamen Rider Ghost are both virtuous, selfless, and died as young teenagers; leading to a conflict in the show's first arc as to which of the two should be resurrected via the use of magical artefacts.
  • Deconstructed on an episode of Law & Order where a woman smothers her baby and then incinerates the body so the child won't have to live in this terrible world. Her defense lawyer then argues that it was the Will of God that she murder her baby.
  • In Manifest, Zeke describes his beloved little sister Chloe as the best part of his family. She died when they were kids in an accident while Zeke was supposed to be watching her, which he has never forgiven himself for.
  • Gideon Goddard in Mr. Robot. He's the benevolent boss of Allsafe who cares for all his employees and is the character who is most patient with Elliot's social anxiety. He even tries to get Elliot to come out of his shell at his own pace, and even acts as a sort of father figure to him, a Good Counterpart to the sinister Mr. Robot. He even ignored Elliot's weird behaviour that could've implicated him in the E Corp hack, which Elliot was responsible for. He only gets angry when Elliot, who he knows is somehow involved, refuses to do something to get the FBI off his back. Even then he doesn't follow through with his threat and tell them what he knows. He's shot in the throat at a bar by a crazy person after news breaks about his "involvement". A key factor to Gideon's character? Elliot will always see the negative in people, and he even hacks into their various accounts. When he sees Gideon? He says he sees a good man.
  • Nirvana in Fire: Prince Qi. He was just too good and had too many loyal followers, making him a threat to the emperor and the powerful Xuanjing Bureau. So he was framed for treason, thrown in prison, and the emperor — his own father — forced him to commit suicide.
  • Only Fools and Horses: Del considers his mother Joan as having been an example of this. Subverted big-time in Rock and Chips where it's revealed that Joan was nearly as devious as her son—if a bit more kind-hearted—and not only did she have an affair which resulted in her becoming pregnant and giving birth to Rodney, she used Rodney's birth to secure the family a better home in Nelson Mandela House. Even before Rock and Chips, it was obvious just how oblivious Del was to what type of lady she was. Such as how Joannie was the first woman in Peckham to smoke menthol cigarettes, how she was often to be found in the corner of a pub with two geezers and of how she used to buy her school-aged son alcohol in pubs.
  • Downplayed with Poussey in Orange Is the New Black. Sure, she was in prison for a reason- but it was a minimum-security prison for a non-violent offense. Plus she was the friendliest inmate- kind towards everyone, always in a good mood. Yet she dies young while in prison- and her death was not a direct result of anything wrong she did.
  • Humperdoo from Preacher is largely a comedic deconstruction of an Inspirationally Disadvantaged archetype, but this trope is still played surprisingly straight for him. After shooting him in order to avert the impending apocalypse he was fated to kick-start, Cassidy tearfully eulogises Humperdoo as the best person he ever met, saying that "he liked everyone — even arseholes" and that everyone felt happy when they were around him.
  • Chris Miles from Skins fits this trope, although he's a rather odd choice for it: he does lots of drugs and has lots of sex. Not "sinless" by many people's standards. He's clearly meant as this by the show, though, when they take care to point out how he has so much more love in his heart than just about anyone and how he's an innocent Woobie who got repeatedly shit on by life. There's also his method of death; he dies due to an illness that has been plaguing him since childhood, and which previously claimed his brother's life.
  • Spartacus: Blood and Sand features several examples. Generally, if you're a kind, gentle person without a ruthless bone in your body in the Roman Republic, things don't often go well for you.
    • Pietros is one of the very unambiguously good people in the series and is sadly one of the very first to die. He takes his own life after believing his lover Barca had abandoned him to be abused by a brutal gladiator, after promising to earn them both their freedom; he doesn't realize Barca was actually murdered, not freed.
    • Melitta, Oenamaus's gentle and kindhearted late wife. After her tragic death, Gannicus remarks to Oenomaus that she was "The rarest of women. A flower of beauty and compassion in a world full of shit". Even Lucretia is horrified by Melitta's death especially as it was technically Lucretia's fault.
    • Diona in Gods of the Arena. An innocent, kind and bubbly young slave girl in the House of Batiatus? It was never going to end well for her. She is ultimately executed in the final episode for trying to flee slavery, after suffering a Trauma Conga Line.
    • Spartacus certainly thinks of his murdered wife Sura this way. One of the reasons he is so distraught and enraged by her fate is because she was completely innocent of any wrong-doing, but was punished for his so-called crimes.
    Mira: Was she such a woman, your wife?
    Spartacus: She was the sun. Never to rise again.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Hugh, the former Borg drone who has dedicated his life to helping others like himself, is a decent, gentle, and brave Non-Action Guy, and his heroic death is later avenged by his friend Seven of Nine.
  • Stranger Things: Apparently there's no justice or sense of proportion in the world of Stranger Things, hence why purely good characters like Barb and Bob are unfairly killed off.
  • Superior Court: A couple of episodes:
    • There was the episode where a defendant, a cult leader was accused of killing several young women. He unsuccessfully tried to justify the killings as God telling him the women were too innocent and pure to live in this world. Needless to say, he was convicted and sentenced to death.
    • In an early first-season episode focusing on the rights of the accused vs. victims' rights, a court hearing is held to remand a 7-year-old girl to the custody of the state after she killed her younger sister. The hearing reveals that the girl had been viciously sexually abused by her father (a respected Southern Baptist minister and community leader) and that he was starting to target the younger child, who was 5. The truth comes out only after the girl's father is removed from the courtroom (when the judge noticed the girl was intimidated and taking cues from her father). In the end, the judge acquits the girl, saying she indeed was trying to protect her sister and stop the cycle of abuse ... she was too good and innocent to endure her father's abuse. (He is taken into custody, charged, tried, convicted, and sentenced to prison.)
  • Supernatural:
    • It pokes fun at this trope in the episode "Tall Tales", with Dean exaggerating Sam's empathy in a recollection.
      [to a guy Dean and Sam are interviewing about a case]
      Sam: You brave little soldier. I acknowledge your pain. Come here. [hugs him] You're too precious for this world!
    • And then this trope smacks you straight in the face by killing the only truly good angel.
    • Also done with the death of Charlie Bradbury, who Dean eulogizes as ultimately simply too good a person to survive in the Crapsack World of the show, no matter how competent a hunter and survivalist.
  • The Terror gives us Lieutenant Thomas Jopson. The fact that he's one of the nicest, kindest men makes his death that much more tragic. To wit, the dying-from-lead-poisoning Jopson hallucinates a feast, with Crozier seated at the head of the table, completely oblivious to him. Jopson then proceeds to crawl on the table, knocking everything off, in an attempt to get Crozier to notice him, but then the scene cuts away and we're shown that he's only been crawling on sharp rocks, and dies believing that Crozier has left him for dead. His death is rightly considered by many to be the most heartbreaking in the entire series. And if the source material is anything to go by, he dies on his 31st birthday.
  • Meg Manning from Veronica Mars is a Double Subversion. Throughout the first season, she's portrayed as the nicest student at Neptune High, going out of her way to be friendly with her classmates. She's even nice to Veronica who's a social outcast. In the second season premiere, she's on board the bus that goes over the cliff into the sea, but the subversion happens in the following episode when it's revealed she was the only survivor. She remains comatose for several episodes before waking up, then dies from a blood clot in her heart. She lives just long enough to give birth to Duncan Kane's baby.
  • Referenced / inverted in a particularly cynical comment by Sir Humphrey Appleby of Yes, Minister:
    Sir Humphrey: Bishops tend to lead long lives — apparently the Lord isn't all that keen for them to join him.

  • Billy Joel's "Only The Good Die Young" insists that since those who are holy and good die earlier, it is better to sin and give up on purity to elongate time on Earth. Of course, he mainly just wants the schoolgirl he's talking to to give up on her virginity.
  • Queen's "No One But You", written as a moving tribute to the late Freddie Mercury, speaks of a person who dies young because of their goodness: "One by one/ Only the Good Die Young"
  • Jimmy Eat World's "Hear You Me" insists the person being addressed died because her love was too big for the world as it is. (The song was written in tribute to Mykel and Carli Allan, fans and friends of both Jimmy Eat World and the band Weezer, who lost their lives in a car accident on the way back from a Weezer show, along with their younger sister.)
    And if you were with me tonight,
    I'd sing to you just one more time.
    A song for a heart so big,
    God wouldn't let it live.
  • Michael Jackson's "Little Susie" (HIStory) has an extreme example with the title character, an abandoned tyke. She sat alone in an apartment and in her loneliness sang along to a music box song all day; "She knew no one cared" and "Neglection can kill/Like a knife in your soul". Only one other person was aware of her and did nothing — and then she was found dead and bleeding at the bottom of some stairs. As Joe Vogel's book Man in the Music points out, for all the song tells the listener, it could have been suicide, an accident, or even murder (in which case it would have to have been a stranger throwing her down there For the Evulz!). In any case, everyone in the building gathers around to weep and gnash their teeth over the wasted life.
  • The title character of "Ocean Gypsy" by Renaissance, after being dumped.
  • The sculptor's lady in "Turn of the Century" by Yes, motivating him to memorialize her in stone.
  • Jenny Drew in "Nothing that I Didn't Know" by Procol Harum
  • Micheala from Story of Evil. In a Crapsack World like that, we all knew she wouldn't even last one song.
  • "Amelia" by Tonight Alive:
    Wish you were here, but it's becoming clear,
    that Earth's just not the place for an angel like you.
  • The 1921 hit "They Needed a Songbird in Heaven (So God Took Caruso Away)".
  • Don McLean's song "Vincent" almost literally quotes this trope:
    When no hope was left in sight
    On that starry, starry night
    You took your life as lovers often do
    But I could've told you, Vincent...
    This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you.
  • Daniel Johnston's "Danny Don't Rap" from Yip/Jump Music, about Danny Rapp from Danny & The Juniors who committed suicide, quotes the above lyrics using Danny's name.
  • Bob Dylan's "Joey", which caused quite a bit of controversy, as its subject, Joseph Gallo, was a notorious gangster.

    Music Videos 
  • The unnamed girl from the "Concrete Angel" music video by Martina McBride. She's a cute little girl that the video's protagonist crushes on, is heavily abused by her mother... and in the middle of said video, she's beaten to death by said mom. The "concrete angel" is actually located on the girl's grave.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Christianity:
    • The Bible:
      • In the Book of Genesis, one of the only good men in a world of murderers was Enoch, who "walked with God, and was not, for God took him." According to Rabbinical literature, God took Enoch so the pre-flood world couldn't corrupt him.
      • In the Books of Kings, the prophet Elijah fulfilled his mission with such faithfulness and devotion that he was snatched up to Heaven in a flaming chariot sent by the Lord.
      • According to the Acts of the Apostles, Jesus Christ Himself ascended out of the world and into Heaven as befitting His glorified nature.
  • According to Catholic tradition, the Virgin Mary was bodily taken to Heaven, since she was too good to rot in the Earth. Whether or not she had actually died and was restored to life, or was taken to Heaven alive to spare her from dying altogether, is left up to interpretation.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • This is a common view of Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels. A man with a kind heart who genuinely believed in the goodness of others, he still tried to turn his brother Horus back from Chaos in their final battle and gave his life in a battle he knew he could not win, but still fought.
    • Though now non-canon, the imperial guardsman Ollanius Pius was another such figure, standing between Horus and the Emperor with nothing more than a lasgun.
      • He's back- in the newest Horus Heresy novel, Know No Fear, which he was portrayed as Perpetual—a rare human with immortality through reincarnation or regeneration—who is currently living in Calth and worshiper of Catheric religion (also one of few) left in the universe..

  • A horrifically Invoked Trope in the Sherlock Holmes (BBC Radio) episode "The Saviour of Cripplegate Square": a woman who runs a home for unwanted babies has been poisoning her charges. She says that she loves them, which is why she kills them while they're still innocent and happy rather than letting them grow up and become part of the London poor.

  • Rodrigo di Posa in Giuseppe Verdi's opera Don Carlo (not in Schiller's play) might be a male version of Liu (from the Turandot example below), only with a different social status.
  • In Arthur Sullivan's dramatic oratorio The Golden Legend, Elsie's self-sacrifice inspires an A Cappella chorus to sing, "O pure in heart!" It turns out, however, that she doesn't have to die after all.
  • Henry VI, right up to his death in Henry VI Part 3 — he is consistently portrayed as far too meek and unworldly to wield power. In Richard III, Lady Anne is reproving Richard for having murdered him, and Richard responds sardonically:
    Anne: Thou mayst be damned for that wicked deed!
    O he was gentle, mild, and virtuous!
    Richard: The better for the king of Heaven that hath him...
    Let him thank me, that holp to send him thither,
    For he was fitter for that place than Earth.
  • Though it might fall more under Mentor Occupational Hazard, Abuela Claudia in In The Heights is probably the most selfless, good-hearted person in the entire barrio, and probably the most beloved person in the entire community. Guess what happens to her at the beginning of Act 2? But she's not a completely straight example, in that she's an older woman to begin with (and what this means is that her death is more understandable than these other examples).
  • King Lear: The eponymous King's youngest daughter Cordelia. It is announced during the final scene that they were just a little too late to save her from execution, and cue her devastated father staggering in with her corpse in his arms…
  • In the stage musical of The Little Mermaid (1989), Ursula's introduction song "Daddy's Little Angel" says this of one of the older sisters she killed. "How could I compete with a girl so heaven sent? Just a spell from the shell, and back to heaven she went".
  • Little Shop of Horrors: Poor, poor Audrey.
  • The Princes in the Tower, in Richard III. This is certainly justifiable from our point of view because Richard almost certainly had them killed, but in Richard's time there was no big outcry - people didn't sentimentalize childhood as they do now, and the average Englishman of Richard's time didn't care about the Princes' deaths as much as he did about the survival of his own children, which was more likely under the stable government Richard had set up.
    • IRL, he probably didn't do it. The evidence they've got at The Tower of London paints a pretty convincing case for Henry being the guy who did it.
      • That's a bit generous. He remains to most historians the most likely suspect, but there's nothing totally conclusive; Henry VII is a distant third as the most likely (#2 is Buckingham, to most people).
      • There are documents dealing with the princes' care dating after Richard died. This does seem to make him an unlikely suspect.
    • There is a contemporary diary from an Italian merchant living in London, who records that people were weeping because the princes had ceased to appear and they assumed they had been murdered.
  • The Nurse's daughter in Romeo and Juliet: "Well, Susan is with God; /She was too good for me."
    • And, of course, Romeo and Juliet themselves.
  • In Spring Awakening, Wendla dies because of a botched abortion. This makes it so much worse because she didn't even know what she did with Melchior was sex, as her mother never explained what it was.
  • In Time and the Conways by J. B. Priestley, Act 2 is set nineteen years after the events of the first act and shows how the lives of all the Conways have completely fallen apart. Carol does not reappear, and we discover that she died of appendicitis at age eighteen - implied to be because she was too good and innocent to deserve the same fate as the rest of the family.
  • In Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot, Liu does a Heroic Sacrifice, and everyone weeps for her, except for the titular ice princess (who hasn't had her "Shut Up" Kiss yet). Then the composer dies, leaving the ending to be written by Franco Alfano.

    Video Games 
  • The Boss from Metal Gear Solid 3. A warm-hearted, kind, and compassionate patriot through and through, but her country branded her as a traitor and left her to die on foreign soil just to save face. Something that she willingly goes along with to prevent another world war.
  • Yumemi (or Reverie) in Planetarian, she better belongs to the heaven of robots... no, to the Heaven where Humans and Robots live together, since that's what she wished for.
  • Hinawa from Mother 3. It's all way too soon, and she barely got to be seen alive in a full chapter.
  • Leonhardt in Agarest Senki dies after three battles and is pretty much an all-around Nice Guy. Of course, he gets better... technically...
  • Isara in Valkyria Chronicles, who then becomes Welkin's dead little sister; unfailingly kind and forgiving, gentle and demure. Her death is more significant to the story and the development of the rest of the cast than her life.
  • Faize Sheifa Beleth from Star Ocean: The Last Hope, who becomes the Final Boss due to the amount of senseless death and destruction that he encounters throughout the course of the game.
    Edge: "You were just too kind... kinder than anyone... anyone else. But... your kindness was too much for this universe..."
  • Lirum, Kaim and Sarah's daughter from Lost Odyssey. Thought to be dead by the main character for most of the first disc, then dies of a chronic illness roughly five minutes after he finds her and realises that this isn't the case - talk about a Player Punch...
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
  • The intelligent deathclaws of Vault 13, from Fallout 2. After visiting numerous places, most of which suck to varying degrees, you come upon a clan of what you've by then come to recognize as animals that are pretty much massive biological killing machines. Cue their leader greeting you in the entryway, and rather than charging you with a growl... he politely greets you and welcomes you. With words, of course. When you explore the vault, you see that amazingly there are humans living there, too. And they're all free to leave at any timenote  - yet choose not to, because they're quite happy there. The deathclaws see it as their duty to protect these people, in the same way that they would do so for any deathclaw of the clan. Oh, and once you do a fix on the Vault's computer, the above-mentioned clan leader gratefully gives you the vault's G.E.C.K., which is the MacGuffin you've been searching for the whole game.
    • This society, strange as it is, is all things considered the best one there is in the entire area where Fallout 2 takes place. It's the one place you might feel like settling down permanently at... a little slice of heaven in the wasteland. About a week or two after you leave the vault, it's raided by Enclave troopers who didn't take kindly the escape of their living weapon a year or so ago (the deathclaws; they were genetically altered by the Enclave, granting them intelligence). Everyone living in the Vault is massacred.
  • While it's optional, sacrificing Rosea in Valkyrie Profile: Covenant of the Plume is pretty much this, as she gets to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence as one of Lenneth's Einherjar. She's probably the most Woobieish characters in the series.
  • Leah of Diablo III is this. She was a good and nice girl until her mother betrayed her and the entire team, including an angel, to bring back the Prime Evil Diablo into full power.
  • Metroid Prime 3: Corruption had a Player Punch in the form of three amazing bounty hunters being corrupted early on and eventually fought and killed. One of them, Ghor, was perhaps the nicest guy in the franchise, as revealed through his backstory.
  • According to those who knew and loved him, Prince Lyon in Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones was this to a T. He's frequently described as kind and gentle, and everything he did was in an attempt to help his country. Naturally, it went horribly wrong, nearly destroying his country instead and leading to his death.
  • Queen Emmeryn in Fire Emblem: Awakening, via Heroic Suicide. She survives, but she's suffered massive memory loss and brain damage, so in a sense she's still "dead" despite walking and breathing among them. Also, finding out about said survival is optional.
  • Subverted with Ninian from Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade. She dies after being practically forced via a Breaking Lecture into her dragon form, dies forgiving the person who slew her (the guy whom she crushed on, for worse, and who did it while under the influence of a magical weapon)... and is brought Back from the Dead right before the Grand Finale. (But might be played straight if she marries Eliwood and becomes Roy's mother, as any of Roy's moms is Doomed by Canon.)
  • Played straight with Elise in Fire Emblem Fates (specifically in the Birthright path). Little Sister Heroine, sweetest and kindest of all the Nohr siblings and the most attached to the Avatar, to the point where she takes a fatal blow meant for them and dies in her older brother's arms. Her last words are pleading with him and the Avatar to make peace with each other...unfortunately, after this Xander commits Suicide by Cop, leaving her final wish unfulfilled.
    • From the same game, Queen Mikoto. From everything we learn about her in supports, she was a kind and caring mother, even to her step-children (who all refer to her as their mother) and her technical captive (and niece) Azura. She was also a good queen who ruled Hoshido peacefully. Naturally, the last thing she does in the game is jump in front of an explosion meant for the Avatar, and her dying words are expressing relief that they're safe.
    • Also Lilith, at least in Birthright and Conquest. She's lived with the Avatar for years and seems fairly close to them and the Nohr siblings, she's sweet and helpful, and it turns out that she's actually their sister (though Corrin never learns that). Her last act in life is also jumping in front of an attack meant for Corrin, and they nearly name-drop this trope in the Conquest version of the scene.
  • Danganronpa:
  • Mayu Suzumoto of Corpse Party is an extremely sweet, caring, and sensitive soul, who showed the ghosts of the murdered children sympathy, played with them, and would not leave them when her classmates came to get her out, despite the danger the children posed. What did she get in return for her kindness? Getting rammed into a wall at supersonic speed by the same children. It reduced her to nothing more than a mess of blood and organs that even her closest friend could not recognize.
  • Final Fantasy VII provides one of the most famous examples in gaming with Aerith Gainsborough. She is kind, cheerful (despite her terrible upbringing), everyone in the party likes her and she is the only of them who isn't some edgy Anti-Hero or troubled soul. So naturally she is also the only one of them to not live to see the credits roll; she dies about halfway through.
  • Nei from Phantasy Star II became a poster girl of the series for this reason, serving as a deconstruction. In the game, she's the only bio monster that isn't evil, and she is in fact more optimistic and cheerful than most people. She fights to protect her friend, knowing that killing a certain bad guy will also kill her permanently (in a game where Death Is a Slap on the Wrist). And the reason for all this is because she split herself off from Neifirst as her "good" half. Of course she's Too Good for This Sinful Earth, she's literally everything good about one girl in an independent form. Which is also why Neifirst can survive if she dies, but not the other way around; Nei might be inherently good, but a person can't be a complete person without at least some negative traits; this comes up later in Phantasy Star IV when it's directly pointed out that it's necessary for humans to have "bad" feelings in order to be human in the first place.
  • This happens to one character in Undertale, but you wouldn't know the full story of it unless you're on the pacifist route. Asriel Dreemurr, the son of Asgore and Toriel, was described as a young boy who was very kindhearted, possibly more so than his parents, and his birth brought happiness to his parents since they were now a family. Asriel also became best friends with a human child that the family adopted and was willing to do anything the human wanted, even when the pranks got less funny and more dangerous. Eventually, the child hatched a plan to kill all the humans in their village by killing themself so Asriel could absorb their soul and gain the power needed to kill the humans. Asriel's goodhearted nature won out at the last moment and he could not go through with the plan. When Asriel brought the child's body back to the village, the humans thought Asriel had killed the child and attacked him in response. Asriel did not fight back and eventually went back to his home where he died from his wounds. His death kickstarts the entire plot and many characters in the game state that Asriel was very pure, innocent, and how tragedy washed over the entire monster kingdom when he died.
  • Tales of the Abyss likes this trope, since it gives you a direct example in Ion, who is by far the nicest person in the game, even to Jerkass Luke until his death just over halfway through the game and then Luke, while less directly this, takes up the title of most pure and innocent character in the entire game and ends up sacrificing himself twice since death didn't exactly stick the first time but he was dying as a result.
  • Wildstar has the Angel who played a role in the game's Shade's Eve (Halloween for Wildstar's universe) in-game story and event. She was a kind-hearted and compassionate girl based on her spirit's interaction with player. She was one of the few surviving settlers on Cassus when the plague struck on the planet. Due to her immunity from the plague, her blood can be used to create vaccine but her diminutive body meant that she will not survive in the process. Despite the risks, she agreed with her volunteering and her sacrifice immortalized her as the Angel of Shade's Eve celebration.
  • Heather Poe in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines is the player character's ghoul and as much of a Nice Girl as you'll ever encounter in the World of Darkness - notably, she never does anything immoral unless she's under vampiric influence, and while she eventually ends up seducing potential victims for you, it turns out she literally can't bring herself to use a weapon to save her life. Guess who ends up horrifically killed, sending the PC on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge for failing to protect her?
  • Laphicet in Tales of Berseria. He's a sweet, sickly kid, doted on and cared for by his older sister Velvet. He just wants to see the world beyond the isolated village he lives in, despite being too unwell to make it to a cliff overlooking the sea one day. And then he's betrayed and killed by his brother-in-law, sacrificed as part of a ritual. Of course, being a Tales game, this is deconstructed. Laphicet was suffering an incurable disease that would kill him by age twelve and volunteered to be the sacrifice to help create a better world for his sister; however, he never bothered to tell Velvet any of this. Moreover, when reincarnated as the Empyrean Innominat, he's a selfish, manipulative, puppy-kicking little brat. How much of this is Innominat's influence, and how much is Laphicet's personality Beneath the Mask with his earlier portrayal being colored by Velvet's opinion of him, is left to player interpretation.
  • In Digimon Survive, Miyuki is an Emotionless Girl for most of the game, but only because she's missing half of her soul. When she gets her complete soul back, she turns out to be a very sweet and kind person, and even insists on going back into the digital world despite the danger because the other humans can't return to the human world without Miyuki's song, and as per this trope, in 2 out of 4 routes, Miyuki dies. However, unlike most examples of this trope, the player can avert this and save Miyuki; she dies on the Harmonious and Wrathful routes, but she survives on the Moral and Truthful routes.
  • It happened multiple times in Xenogears for all of Elly's past incarnation selves, a gentle and sweet nature girl who always sacrifice her life for Fei, causing endless grief for him. The most notable one among her deaths is as 'Mother' Sophia 500 years prior to the game's storyline which became a great lost to the world and is still remembered fondly by future generations

  • Nana's Everyday Life ends this way.
  • Klik of Goblins is one of the all-around kindest, most loyal characters in the series. He is brutally and mercilessly killed while defending the severely wounded Dies Horribly from his (Klik's) psychotic, murderous offspring. His death is one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in the comic, at least as much as Chief's.
  • Unsounded: The Platinum caste of Alderode die of old age at 30. The popular Gefendur explanation for this is that Plats are holy enough to be on their final Reincarnation cycle and the Gods cannot bear to be away from them for long. In practice, however, the lack of elders in their caste means they're all childishly foolish until they die of biologically-induced premature organ breakdown.
    • It's even worse with twins; in accordance with Gefendur tradition they are isolated in shrines until they turn 22. The latter is sacrificed and cannibalized, while the elder is Forced to Watch. Did we mention this is a bastardization of the original tradition, where sapient lions would murder their cubs en masse and the humans would follow suit in reverence?
    • Saya and Ilya get their deaths even earlier when their shrine explodes.

(Not yet) ** Subverted with Matty, who loses his innocence hard before his gruesome demise.

  • Feferi Peixes from Homestuck is a very idealistic character who wanted to create a more equal and just Troll society. When her genocidally Fantastic Racist would-be suitor realizes that she will never be interested in him, he murders her before she has a chance to put any of her plans into effect.
  • The epilogue of Darken reveals that the Hero Antagonist Tyr, the Abel to Gort's Cain, disappears from his sickbed after being exorcised of a Prince of Hell's possession, leaving nothing but a long white feather. Since he's previously seen in the company of actual angels and Physical Gods, one can assume Heaven has a good retirement policy.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Penny in Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. Played with in that (almost) everyone mourns her loss as "Captain Hammer's Girlfriend" rather than recognizing the good, selfless person that she was.
  • In Brad Jones' Demo Reel, Admiral Crackers suffered a drug overdose but later turned out to have survived, and Braddie says he was "too sweet for this Earth". Sid is annoyed by Braddie's schmaltz and tells him to fuck off.
  • Many would argue that in Escape the Night, Matthew and Rosanna from the third season count. While both come back, Ro ultimately ends up dying a second time.

     Western Animation 
  • Played shockingly straight in the Adventure Time episode "All Your Fault," with the death of Lemonjon, the eldest child of the Lemongrabs. He sacrificed himself so he could save his family. In his Final Speech, he says, "I must dissolve the bonds uniting me, and become component to all!" Finn and Jake are respectfully silent for a moment, before Finn sadly says, "Man, that Lemonjon was all right."
  • Beast Wars mixes this trope with Sacrificial Lamb, introducing a deformed, yet powerful robot with a child-like innocence that starts off its episode not even knowing good from evil. It winds up befriending Silverbolt and Rampage, who both want to protect it for different reasons. Silverbolt cherishes its innocence, while the insane mutant Rampage feels A Shared Suffering. By the end of the episode, it winds up sacrificing itself to stop its two friends from fighting.
  • Bojack Horseman: Beloved Character Actress Margo Martindale namechecks the trope almost verbatim when Skippy (the giant paper mache Todd head) is destroyed.
  • Castlevania (2017): All Dracula's wife, Lisa, wanted was to be a doctor, but when a Bishop from the Church mistakes the futuristic medical equipment Dracula gives her as "witchcraft", he has her burned alive. Her final moments are spent telling her son, Alucard, and by extension, Dracula, not to avenge her death, to be better than the people who don't understand she was just trying to help them.
  • Spoofed by Futurama, where Bender and every other robot on Earth is being tricked into getting deactivated. They are the cause of global warming, as it turns out. Bender, in a rare moment of altruism, is willing to die (for the turtles), and Fry claims that the world isn't good enough for him. Bender simply replies, "Not even close."
  • Mentioned for Laughs in "Toys Will Be Toys" of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    Billy: (in tears) Oh, Grim, why do the good die young?
    Grim: Well, usually because I get confused.
  • Subverted with Pigeon Man from Hey Arnold!, whose decades of negative experiences with human beings don't cause him to commit suicide, but rather fly away with his pigeons into the sun in one of the series' most notable examples of Magic Realism.
  • King of the Hill when Buckley dies and causes Luanne to go a little crazy and lose faith in humanity's goodness.
  • Spoofed by The Simpsons when Smithers cradled an apparently dead Mr. Burns and cried he was too beautiful to die.
    • Even better, Smithers thought Burns drowned and screamed: "Why do the good die so young?"
    • Played Straight with Bleeding Gums Murphy.
    • Also parodied in the April Fools special. Grandpa says this about Homer when he was in a coma. However, when Homer starts drooling, Grandpa freaks out.
      Grandpa: AAAHH!! Kill it!! KILL IT!!!
  • Played with in South Park with Kenny who is arguably the most down-to-earth and morally centered of the four boys (that is, when he’s not unhealthily obsessing over boobs and sex) and he, of course, gets killed in nearly every episode of the first five seasons and nowadays once a season.
    • Played Straight with Chef who was possibly the most down-to-earth of the townsfolk.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars, "The Gungan General": While Senator Kharrus was probably too much of a sarcastic cynic to actually be considered for the trope, Jar Jar's little eulogy for him alludes to the concept:
    "You-sa find rest, senator. Thosen with good in their heart always passen too soon."
  • Deconstructed and ultimately subverted with Rose Quartz/Pink Diamond in Steven Universe. She gave up her physical form to birth Steven, and is described by Steven's dad and the Crystal Gems as the most kind, beautiful, and strongest person they'd ever known. As the series goes on however, Steven finds out that his mother left behind quite a few skeletons in her closet and was lacking in emotional intelligence.
    Steven: Look at what you've done! You think I wanted this?! You should all be ashamed! He knew this is what it would take to calm your rage! ... He understood true loyalty. Go! Think about what you've done! And don't come back until you understand what he did for me, for all of us!


Video Example(s):


Mary Sue

One of the ways to make Mary Sue look more perfect is for her to die tragically because she was too good to live.

How well does it match the trope?

4.28 (25 votes)

Example of:

Main / TooGoodForThisSinfulEarth

Media sources: