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Playing With / Losing Your Head

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Basic Trope: A character inexplicably survives having their head cut off.

  • Straight:
    • Alice ends up decapitated by accident, but her head is inexplicably still alive afterward.
    • Alice accidentally gets her head chopped off, and her still-alive body carries on like nothing happened.
    • Alice can detach and reattach her head easily with no ill effects.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Alice gets caught in an explosion that completely destroys her body but throws her head clear of the blast. When it lands (after a fifty-foot drop!), it turns out that Alice's head is not only still intact, but alive as well.
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    • Alice's head and body both survive.
    • The ability to survive being decapitated is common enough that most people use guns instead of swords.
    • Alice is immortal as long as she's headless, which is useful because she's suffering from a terminal illness — reattaching her head would kill her.
  • Downplayed:
    • Alice's head can only survive without her body for a short while.
    • Alice is frequently decapitated in a show with Negative Continuity; her head sometimes survives afterwards, but not always.
    • Alice survives a getting her neck broken, being crippled for a few days before her spine heals and she regains her ability to walk.
  • Justified: Alice is a robot, or some kind of creature that can survive decapitation.
  • Inverted:
    • Alice is normally headless, but occasionally has a functional head sewn on.
    • Alice has her rear end removed with no ill effects.
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  • Subverted: Alice can survive being beheaded, but her head can only survive for a short while without her body.
  • Double Subverted: Bob (who is indisputably a human) can also survive being beheaded.
  • Parodied: ???
  • Zig Zagged: Alice's head can only survive without her body for a short while, but an Applied Phlebotinum exists that will let her survive like that indefinitely.
  • Averted:
  • Enforced: Alice is a character in a show meant to sell a line of toys with detachable, swappable heads.
  • Lampshaded:
  • Invoked:
    • Alice is scheduled to be executed by guillotine, but with some magical help, she comes up with an unorthodox escape plan: the execution is carried out and Alice is beheaded, but her head is left alive and is easily smuggled to safety.
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    • Alice is non-lethally decapitated in a failed attempt to render her helpless.
  • Exploited: Alice and the rest of the group take advantage of her ability to allow her to spy on people who wouldn't look somewhere that a whole human body can't fit in.
  • Defied: Alice avoids being decapitated.
  • Discussed: "You think my head would survive if it were chopped off?" "I doubt it. This isn't some lame TV show!"
  • Conversed: "I don't care if it's magic keeping her severed head alive or not! Her head's got no lungs, so how the heck is she talking?"
  • Implied: Alice's head is only ever shown on her body, but in one episode, Charles tells Bob, "Alice's head sure had a lot to say today." The fact that he referred to Alice's head implies that it is detachable.
  • Deconstructed: Alice can survive being decapitated, but it's a traumatic experience, especially since it leaves her stuck as a severed head.
  • Alice's head is surgically reattached but it she is incapable of walking or coordinating herself for a long time due to all of the nerves being severed.
  • Reconstructed:
    • Alice's head can be reattached to her body.
    • Alice has a cybernetic body built for herself, allowing her to easily shrug off future decapitations.
  • Played For Laughs:
    • Alice's head gets chopped off Once an Episode, and Hilarity Ensues as her severed head ends up in one sticky situation after another, possibly with her headless body in hot pursuit.
    • Alice's head is cut off after an improbable series of events, and then launches into a lengthy musical number showing off just how alive she really is.
    • Alice's body acts independently from her head. Sometimes her body will run off, and the head yells at it to come back.
    • In the setting it's perfectly normal for people to decapitate each other and swap bodies.
  • Played For Drama:
    • Alice's seemingly throwaway ability to survive decapitation on a regular basis leads to a source of existential angst for her as she's forced to confront the question of whether she's really human or not.
    • A magical spell allows Alice to shrug off being beheaded, but when her head is stolen before it can be reattached to her body, then it becomes a quest to reunite her head and body before the spell wears off and Alice dies for real.
    • Having a brain outside of the head means decapitation is nonlethal, but renders the person blind, deaf, unable to speak, eat solid food, or breath unassisted. To most people, living without a head is A Fate Worse Then Death.

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