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"I do not wish to live a life with no tomorrow, for a life spent merely for the sake of living is no better than that of a filthy cur. There is only one thing I wish for: to meet that one chosen person in that one chosen battle, and to die remembering who I once was."
Balalaika, Black Lagoon.

At some point in the past, a character had a traumatic experience, or found themselves dishonoured, or committed a crime they could not repay or lost everything worth living for. For whatever reason, instead of just committing suicide, they went off seeking battles to fight, hoping to find an enemy who would kill them, and achieve an honourable, heroic or otherwise acceptable death.

Only they suck at dying.

They found they were far too good at the "fighting" part. And for whatever reason (usually honor), they don't hold back.

Consequently, they travel, seeking greater and greater enemies to fight, hoping to find a Worthy Opponent to finally kill them. Sometimes they'll fail to die so spectacularly and repeatedly that they acquire riches, renown, ranks or romance as a result of their exploits. This rarely, but sometimes, stops them.

They generally fulfill a role somewhere between the Blood Knight and The Atoner, depending on their outlook and cause. They may be an opponent to the main characters, seeking them as a warrior who can best them, or they may help the heroes in whatever immensely dangerous task needs doing. Ironically, the Death Seeker usually dies shortly after finding a reason to live.

If a villain is one of these, it's sometimes mixed with shades of Nietzsche Wannabe or Omnicidal Maniac: they want to die, and they don't care if they have to drag the rest of creation down with them to do it. The worst of them want to destroy everything else too.

Another variation is a warrior who, upon finding out that he is dying (from a disease or curse, for example), seeks a death in combat instead, seeing it as a more honorable or at least desirable end on the field of battle than lying on his deathbed.

Another variation is that unfortunate people realize Who Wants to Live Forever? and they want to move on.

Another variation is a Shell-Shocked Veteran, usually a commanding officer of some sort, suffering from a major case of Survivor Guilt.

Compare The Berserker. Contrast Please Kill Me If It Satisfies You (a character offers someone to take his life due to remorse) and Martyr Without a Cause. Also Immortality Seeker, for those seeking immortality instead of death. Martyrdom Cultures may regard such a character as a role model. Compare and contrast Not Afraid to Die, where someone in definitely unafraid of death, but isn't actively seeking it out. Likely to cause a Threat Backfire to any death threat, for obvious reasons. Also see Miles to Go Before I Sleep.

Examples of Death Seeker include:


Anime Edit

  • Kambei in Samurai 7, who is actually disappointed that he has managed to survive yet again even while most of his his subordinates have once again died.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, after the Big Bad is defeated, the Pharaoh's spirit within the Millennium Puzzle can go to the afterlife... but only once he's been defeated in a duel.
    • An interesting variation with Kaiser Ryo/Zane in Season Three of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. He's developed a fatal heart condition, so he's not actively looking to die as it's going to happen regardless. Instead he's trying to hold on long enough to find an opponent to give him a true challenge so he can go out fighting.
    • Kiryu/Kalin in Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's in the Crash Town arc, overlaps with The Atoner as he wishes to die to be punished for his actions as a Dark Signer. Edited into a "Because Destiny Says So" attitude in the dub (Never Say "Die" is in effect too)--he still wants to be punished for what he did, but the focus in more on him accepting his fate to be punished when it happens rather than seeking it out.
  • In Yu Yu Hakusho, this is arguably, Younger Toguro's entire reason for getting Yusuke involved in the Dark Tournament.
    • And Sensui's entire reason for opening the tunnel to Makai, through a big old Batman Gambit.
    • Don't forget Raizen, Bui, Hiei and possibly Mukuro. Not sure if Gama counts, but he was willing to give "all for the team" and used his last few minutes to incapacitate Kurama rather than heal himself. Also the mind controlled humans at the beginning of the Tournament, forced to kill for Ichigaki and sick of it.
  • Ovan in .hack//G.U. sees in Haseo the potential to defeat him and effectively manipulates into doing so. This way, they cause the Internet to "reset" and all people whom Ovan involuntarily sent into coma (including his own sister) awaken, though Ovan falls into coma himself.
  • Suzaku Kururugi's exceptional piloting skills and willingness to put himself in mortal danger in Code Geass are revealed to be because he is a Death Seeker of the Redemption Equals Death variety: after he murdered his father, ex-Prime Minister Genbu Kururugi, and doomed Japan to Britannian tyranny because of that, he seeks to be punished for the crime he was never blamed for. This gets a whole lot trickier when Lelouch places a Geass on him instructing him to "Live!" with no duration or parameters. Thus, whenever he tries to do something suicidal, or even just accepts that death will be the result of his current situation, the Geass command forces him to take any action he possibly can to avoid dying. Given the nature of Code Geass, this has predictably tragic results.
    • It doesn't stop him from trying, though, which leads to Suzaku destroying pretty much the entire Tokyo settlement when he tried to let Kallen kill him while carrying a nuke. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero on both sides.
    • However, he does use the Geass to his advantage at one point. When he fights an enemy with a Geass that allows them to see into the future, Suzaku uses the "Live!" effect to enhance his performance and move too fast for his opponent to keep up.
      • Lampshaded by Lelouch, who comments on how powerful his mental discipline is. The Geass even provides him with knowledge he shouldn't even be able to have; his reflexes tell him when to throw a spear that will disable a FLEJA nuke.
    • C.C. is eventually revealed to be suicidal, but she's been trapped in an immortal body since the middle ages. She can survive getting shot in the head, being burned at the stake, and even being crushed by the intense water pressure at the bottom of the ocean. The entire reason she's gone around granting Geass powers to people like Mao and Lelouch is because she needs someone to become powerful enough to kill her.
      • Somewhat subverted in this case, Lelouch mentions her "true wish" afterwards and she stays with him, even though he couldn't bring himself to kill her and she ditched Mao for that very reason
    • Lelouch becomes this after the apparent demise of Nunnally and the betrayal of the Black Knights at Schneizel's hands. Unlike the other two, he actually pulls it off in the end.
  • Slight variant with Hohenheim from Fullmetal Alchemist. He wants to die, and really really sucks at it, especially in the manga. He does know that he has some plot-like things to do first, but death is a definite goal for him, and he is likely trying to track down the Big Bad in order to find out how he can die, as well as to defeat the bad guys. He likely is a character who would not mind dying to escape his horrifying and very long past.
    • Subverted hard when he is finally dying in the last chapter. After everything, he decides at the last moment he wants to live on but it's too late.
      • He still qualifies. After fixing the country and ruined relationship with his sons, he does change his mind about dying; however when he does anyway he is content with it and dies smiling.
    • Seems like a case of him simply wanting to be with his wife. His original goal was deliberately to find a way to become mortal so he can die with Trisha Elric, since no sane person wants to outlive his wife and sons.
  • May have been Reccoa's true motivation for turning traitor in Zeta Gundam, as having been a guerilla fighter for nine years had worn her resolve against tyranny down to nearly nothing.
  • Depending on how you see him, Alucard from Hellsing is waiting for the time when he will be killed by an opponent he deems worthy.
    • The Major is another possible example, as Schrodinger infers that the Major's desire to create as much warfare as possible is an elaborate suicide plan (with the rest of Millenium being drawn along with him by his charisma). Given that he dies with a smile on his face when Integra kills him, it seems likely.
      • When Seras and Integra are storming the Major's airship, they notice that the Nazis they're killing actually seem pleased by their deaths, and the Major confirms that they want to die. Seras angrily asks why they don't just commit suicide, causing the Major to reply that it isn't enough to die; they have to die doing something meaningful to them.
  • In an episode of Princess Tutu, a "Ghost Knight" roams the town, escaped from a story where he killed his lover (who was an enemy spy) and remained honorable to his country until the end of the war, after which he found no meaning to his life. Fakir believed that the reason he was having dreams about him was because he was the one the Knight had chosen to kill him in battle...but it turns out he was carrying the heart shard of Pride, and the real reason Fakir was having dreams about him was because he was a descendant of Drosselmeyer.
  • In Bleach, 5th Espada Nnoitra. More specifically, he's constantly fighting against strong opponents so that he can experience that rush sensation in the final moments just before dying. Which he does indeed get to experience, courtesy of Kenpachi.

 "Cause I wanna die. I want to die in the heat of battle. That's why I wanna get stronger. The stronger I get, the more battle will surround me. I want to be able to live and breathe the heat of battle."

"I wanna be cut so that my breath is gone before my body hits the ground. That's the kind of death I wanna have."

    • Rukia is also one until the end of the Soul Society arc. She thinks she deserves to die for killing her Hollow-possessed mentor before the story starts, and because of that doesn't resist her arrest or execution in any way. Ichigo disagrees.
  • In Ga-Rei -Zero-, Yomi, fighting the emotion intensifying effects of the Sesshouseki, attempts to get Noriyuki to kill her since she has become a "taint of evil," as she puts it. However, he repeatedly refuses to, even as she becomes increasingly more sadistic in her attempts to provoke him to do so.
  • In part 6 of Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure, Weather Report, after recovering his memories. He dies shortly afterward in a not quite successful suicide attack on the Big Bad.
  • Shinji Ikari (and, to a lesser extent, Asuka Langley Soryu from Neon Genesis Evangelion could fit this trope to a T, except by the little part that Shinji was fighting to seek his father's attention, and Asuka was too much of a Stepford Smiler to give up. At the end, only these two failed to die, presumably. Irony at its best.
    • Until episode 18, anyway. After killing and/or maiming his best friend, depending on whether we're going by the anime or the manga, we see him in episode 19, no longer greatly concerned with what his father or anyone else thinks of him. The Crazy Awesome of the moment--and it is, if you haven't seen it--is muted at the end of the series when we reflect and realize that when he went out to fight, "fangs out and hair on fire," he was almost certainly trying to die.
    • Rei. Explicitly says she "Is a thing that wishes to die"? Check. Deliberately takes suicide missions? Check. Gets herself killed twice? Check. Fails hard at staying dead? Hoo boy. In fact, Rei explicitly stated in ep24 that she hates Gendo for not letting her die until she had fulfilled the purpose he had set. Ladies and gentlemen, meet the protectors of mankind!
  • Gauron from Full Metal Panic. Somewhere along the line, he somehow latches onto the idea that he wants Sousuke to kill him (and if that doesn't work, killing Sousuke and raping his body works just fine as well). His suicidal and extreme sadomasochistic tendencies are somewhat explained in the novels, where it's revealed that he had lethal cancer that would kill him sooner or later. The only irony is, it seems the more he throws himself into danger and suicidal situations, the longer he lives.
  • The clone of Zest in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Striker S was a "Doomed to die an ignoble death" version, and provoked Signum for a battle to the death after she made an assurance that his charge was safe with her squad and that the villains had been caught. While Agito hated her for it, she thanked her for giving him his last honor as a fellow knight.
  • Balalaika of Black Lagoon, as seen in the quote above. Roberta also has elements of this in the latest arc of the manga.
  • Deneve from Claymore was one of these until Helen knocked some sense into her.
  • In the latter half of Toward the Terra, Matsuka worries that Keith seems to be "looking for a place to die." These worries are well-founded.
  • Manji from Blade of the Immortal seems like a mix of death seeker and The Atoner. He needs atonement to finally die. He has to do it by killing 1000 bad guys.
  • The Big Bad Black Mage Zeref in Fairy Tail. He feels rejected by the world because of his uncontrollable power that drains the life from everything around him. Realizing that he will always be alone because of this, he wants to die. For some reason he believes that Natsu is the only one who has a chance of killing him. When they meet in 209 and Natsu punches him, his only reaction (after being completely unharmed) is to feel regret.

  Zeref: I see...still. Still. He still...Natsu...still can't break me.

  • Immortal Rain: Rain and Yuca BOTH, especially since Yuca made Rain partically to have /him/ kill him.
  • Rau Le Creuset in Gundam Seed combines this with Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds and Omnicidal Maniac for a truly dangerous combination.
  • Partially played straight with Guts from Berserk. While he isn't actively wishing for death, he throws himself into suicidal battles against creatures that greatly exceed the power of man with reckless abandon. It can be argued that he doesn't expect to actually beat the Apostles and Godhand, but is merely killing them off due to his unquenchable hatred until one of them finally manages to best him.
  • In Corsair, Canale is a former assassin who made a promise not to kill himself, but wishes to die because he thinks he brings misery and destruction wherever he goes. Early on he begs Ayace to do so, but Ayace refuses. Later Ayace makes a promise that if Canale brings destruction on Preveza he will kill him, so until then he should try living normally, which reassures Canale greatly.
  • Madoka Magica: Sayaka does not react well to finding out that her soul had been moved into her Soul Gem.
  • Jimbei from One Piece makes it clear several times throughout the Marineford battle that he expected to die. He survives, and remains an important character two in-universe years later. He appears to be fine with this outcome, though.
  • Johan Liebert in Monster near the end.
  • Grell when we first meet her.
  • Legato Bluesummers from Trigun. He spent most of the series tormenting Vash to make him break his moral code to never kill, and eventually succeeds when Vash confronts him one last time. In fact, Legato never wanted himself to live, as he made it clear that he only seeks death, so when he threatened the lives of Meryl and Milly to provoke Vash, he smiles, knowing that Vash is forever scarred psychologically the moment he pulls the trigger on him.


Comic Books Edit

  • Deadshot, an assassin in The DCU. His deathwish stems from an incident in his childhood; his wealthy parents hated each other, and mom tried to hire her sons to kill their father. The younger brother, Floyd, tried to prevent his older brother from doing so, but his brother kicked him out of the house. Floyd got his hands on a gun and stood on a tree branch, hoping to simply wound his brother, but the branch snapped and he missed. So he killed the brother he loved to save a father he hated. Eventually, Floyd became an assassin for hire, assuming the Deadshot identity. After multiple stints on the aptly named Suicide Squad and a few fights against other badass assassins, he's still alive.
  • Mr. Immortal of the Great Lakes Avengers. He discovered his powers after his girlfriend Terri killed herself and he tried to follow suit. After dozens of suicide attempts he finally realizes that he has superpowers (little slow on the uptake) and decides to fight crime. However, he is still prone to depression (especially after his new Love Interest Dinah Soar was killed), and occasionally goes on multiple suicide sprees. Since he now knows about his powers, it's unclear if he is actually looking for a loophole, or if it's just his way of blowing off steam.
    • Specifically, Mr. Immortal's power is that shortly after death, he is resurrected.
  • This describes Painkiller Jane to a T.
  • Yorick of Y: The Last Man is like this for the first few volumes, thanks to Survivor Guilt after The End of the World as We Know It. It turns out that this is also Alter Tse'elon's motivation for everything she does in the series - she's trying to die in honorable combat with a man.
  • Arguably, Morpheus from The Sandman. If he indeed was (his methodology makes it somewhat uncertain how much was planned and how much was not), he certainly went about doing it in an extremely roundabout way.
    • Another "Endless" story concerned a superheroine whose body automatically protected itself from any attack. Now she is weary of life; naturally, the story features Death.
    • The anthology "Endless Nights" had a soldier whose life was empty, until he encountered Death and actually helped her on a job by breaking down a magic gate so she could enter a castle and claim the inhabitants. Now, he enters battle with renewed vigor, in the hopes he will meet her again.
  • Daredevil (not Matt Murdock) of Earth X is unkillable due to his regenerative powers. It's not clear how he became suicidal, but he becomes the center of a circus act in which the audience is invited to kill him if they can. Later he tries to get several Big Bads to kill him, culminating in his multiplying into many versions of himself when he is ripped apart. Late in the series he apparently finally gets his wish, but only after all of humanity has joined him in painful immortality (due to the death of Death).
  • Batgirl III's guilt over reducing a living, thinking creature to a large mass of inert meat with her bare hand at eight years old drove her to seek her own demise protecting others. It can be summed up when Lady Shiva demanded a duel to the death in a years time as payment for helping her regain the body-reading skills she lost when a telepath enabled her to speak:

 Cassandra: <thinking> I will never take another life, not even hers... so I will pretend to go all out, and then I'll die. I don't have to do this, I can still use Batman's method, I can still be... mediocre for a lifetime... or perfect... for a year.

Shiva: "Well?"

    • Batman himself subconsciously slid into Death Seeker territory after the death of Jason Todd/Robin II, to the great worry of Alfred and Dick, and prompting Tim into becoming Robin, under the belief that 'Batman needs a Robin.'
    • Similarly in The Dark Knight Returns, while it's not explicitly stated Batman is constantly reflecting on the life-and-death situations he finds himself in and musing that "this would be a good way to die," the clear implication being that he's actively looking to go out in a suitable blaze of glory. Ultimately subverted; although Batman appears to go out in a blaze of glory fighting Superman, it's revealed that he faked his own death, having discovered a new purpose to live over the course of the story.
  • Word of God says Rorschach from Watchmen is a Death Seeker. He finds it.
  • Hank Henshaw, aka the Cyborg superman has become one of these recently, tired of the tragedy in his life and his near invulnerability. It got to the point where he joined the Sinestro Corps just because they agreed to kill him once their work was done. He eventually did die, much to his delight. Unfortunately for him, his minions resurrected him at the first opportunity.
    • So much so that when he was revived, the first thing he did was shed a tear over being alive.

 Cyborg Superman (attacking Green Lanterns): Lethal force has been authorized, Green Lanterns. Please, use it.

    • He finally got his wish after being separated from his latest body and defeated on the astral plane.
      • Except maybe not. It appears that he's expected to play a role in the "Reign Of Doomsday" arc that's coming up due to Doomsday's apparent interest in the original replacement Superman from The Death of Superman. Sucks to be Henshaw... again...
  • Eilif the Lost was the last survivor of a Viking Lost Colony in Antarctica. Old and growing infirm, he tried to goad Thor into killing him. "I would have fought a god, my lord. What Viking could have asked for a more glorious death?"
  • Zbeng! has a character named Stav - an extremely depressed, pessimistic Goth girl, who constantly tries to commit suicide. She does seem good driving others to it, but herself, she is lucky enough to constantly win the lottery despite never buying tickets (she doesn't tend to collect the winnings).
  • Dashiell "Dash" Bad Horse from Scalped has an unconscious death wish. He constantly throws himself in dangerous gunfights with psychopaths and always alone. It's hinted that he suffers from ptsd (child abuse, fighting in Kosovo and witnessing a massacre), suicidal behaviour (flashback to a young Dashiell cry and put a gun to his temple, second time he does the same thing when he could've prevented the murder of a young boy) and from deep seated anger (his fists are bruised most of the time and we see him slamming his fists against his own truck). When Dash is confronted by his father, the conversation between them pretty much confirms all of this and more importantly his death wish.
  • Tony Stark, to a horribly painful degree. And, no, it didn't start during/after Civil War, either, though that certainly made it worse. It started when he was struck with survivor's guilt over the death of Yin Sen -- that's right, it started with his origin story -- and just kind of went downhill at breakneck speed from there. Unfortunately, Marvel isn't kind enough to just let him die at this point, whether by way of suicide or death by supervillain -- though this may be justified by the fact that apparently, no one at Marvel has bothered to crack open a psychology textbook to figure out that someone like Tony Stark should probably not still be alive of his own free will. Considering Tony's history of barely caring if he lives or dies, as well as his absolute self-loathing, it's hard to believe that he's still breathing. Hell, if nothing else, it's a goddamned miracle that he hasn't become an outright supervillain, gone batshit crazy, or worse. Usually, when a character hits rock bottom, the general procedure is to have them go out in a blaze of glory. Instead, Marvel handed him a shovel.
  • Kaine, the imperfect clone of Spider-Man. He's not the typical death seeker as he sometimes changes his mind or even runs from a fatal fight. In the grim hunt back stories it's revealed he's too much of a coward to commit suicide yet when he has a pre-cog vision about his own death at the hands of Kraven the Hunter he still challenges him.He finally got what he wanted by duping the Kravinoff hunters into thinking he was Spider-Man. They sacrificed him to revive Kraven the hunter. Afterwards Kaine is resurrected with tarantula features, and is ultimately reborn possessing Spider-Man's enhanced powers from Avengers Disassembled.
  • Dara Brighton in The Sword insists that she is already dead after the murder of her family. She just wants to hunt down and kill the demigods responsible for said murders before she actually dies. She does and she does.
  • Thanos is a Death Seeker but not for the typical reasons. He wants to die because he is in love with the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death.
  • Lady Shiva of The DCU is a Death Seeker like Cassandra Cain her own daughter mentioned earlier. Shiva has always regretted that her sister was killed for the sake of her own potential as a martial artist and confessed to Cassandra that she misses her every day. As a result, Shiva is a mix of a Blood Knight and a Death Seeker. She continues to challenge and train gifted martial artists out of a need to validate her sister's death by proving that she is the strongest, but at the same time she secretly hopes to die at the hands of someone better due to her guilt.
  • In one Star Wars story arc, the crooked ex-Senate Guard Venco Autem learns that he has a terminal illness, and so takes on suicidal jobs like assassinating corrupt Senators because he has nothing to live for. At the end of the comic, he places himself in a situation that he has little hope of escaping from in order to kill the Senator, and is indeed shot dead by his brother.
  • Deadpool wants to die. Death is in love with him and vice versa, so jealous Thanos cursed him with eternal life. In the Age of Stryfe, an alternate future timeline Deadpool is still alive because of the curse and not his healing factor. The voices in Deadpool confirm his deathwish among other things :the only reason he desperately wants to be accepted is so his friends will care and put him out of his misery. If that doesn't work out he antagonizes them so they can extract their revenge on him.
  • Kraven the Hunter's main reason for hunting was to escape the harshness of life:"in the midst of pursuit..or a kill...I do not exist..all the petty pain of living falls away..all unrealized desires...until only the hunt is left". In the end he killed himself with a rifle in his mouth but he was resurrected years later against his wishes by the remaining kravinoff members. The ceremony of resurrection was corrupted so Kraven cannot die. Only the antithesis of a hunter (the spider) can kill him, so he hunts down spiders. Looking for a way to die with honor he went after Spider-Man but he refused to kill him.
  • X-23 is pretty much this. Unfortunately for her.
  • In Action Comics, Doomsday the monster that nearly killed Superman becomes this millions of years in the future. Filled with self-loathing, he has gone back in time to remove every last trace of himself from the past, present, and future. Since people on Earth know how to clone him, he figures he needs to get rid of Earth as well.
  • In The Goon comics the immortally weary Buzzard agrees to go kill a monster terrorizing the countryside, hoping it will be able to kill him. When he arrives he learns that the ancient creature was doing this with the hope that they would fight back and kill it. They agree to fight it out and let fate decide which on of them...wins.


Fan Fiction Edit

  • For The Legend of Zelda, in Kasuto of Kataan's "Eternity", the villain is attempting to kill herself with a special spell which would happen to kill several million bystanders after realizing that immortality is actually a curse since the world is boring after living for a really long time. She had already tried every other conventional method and failed.
    • Being the author of this story, I'm flattered that I'm listed on this site. But to contribute, this story was a Shout-Out and Homage to X-Files season 6 episode 10 "Tithonus".
  • In The Hill of Swords, a crossover between Fate/stay night and Zero no Tsukaima, Shirou outperforms Saito's Last Stand, and ends up dying after having pretty much wiped out an army of 70,000 soldiers. He went into the battle for this reason:

 And as he stood upon the battle fields, she thought back to his oath: to be reunited with his love upon a hill of swords. To be reunited with his lover. His lover was dead. And it was only through battle that he could finally join her again. When he too was dead.

    • Needless to say, after being revived by Tiffania, he clearly states that at that moment, he really, REALLY, hated her.

  Shirou, after being revived by Tiffania: "And in that moment, I had never hated anything as fiercely as I did her."

  • In The Prince, a Death Note Yakuza AU by Neverending Odyssey, Light sees the deaths he must deal out as a burden and truly looks forward to the day L will catch and execute him for it-however since he's not engaging the detective in pitched battle he isn't leaving any clues behind and Ryuk sees a very long lifespan ahead of him.
  • The World Ends With You fanfic, Eri's Game, has the titular character trying to become an activist just to die as she's responsible for Shiki's death. However, some mysterious force, who is Shiki, keeps on foiling it. Luckily, her wish is granted in the end of week 1.


Film Edit

 Baron: And that was only one of the many occasions on which I met my death, an experience which I don't hesitate strongly to recommend!

  • In the various Prophecy movies, fallen angel Gabriel's unwillingly-revived henchpeople fall into this category: when one them gets (re-)fatally shot by a protagonist, his last comment is a sincere "Thanks pal, you're a sport!"
  • Arguably, Doc Holliday in Tombstone.
    • Arguably? Doc Holiday's entire thing was "Whelp... got the consumption.... might as well shoot at people."
  • Also Bodhi in Point Break, to an extent.
  • John Ryder from The Hitcher. As the plot uncovers, he repeatedly asks Jim Halsey to kill him in cold blood (after their first encounter when Jim picked up Ryder as an unsuspecting hitchhiker). When Jim fails to do so, John proceeds to go on a path of carnage ... I don't want to give too much of the movie away ...
    • Give it away? That is the entire movie. The remake, anyway.
  • Following his son accidentally shooting himself with Jack's gun, Jack O'Neil undertakes what he figures is probably a suicide mission in Stargate.
  • Dances with Wolves
  • The Last Samurai
  • Riggs in Lethal Weapon
  • Louis, in the film version of Interview with the Vampire, becomes this when his young wife dies in childbirth and the baby doesn't survive either. His willingness to die leaves him open to Lestat's machinations. Note that this is a complete change from the original novel, in which Louis was unmarried.
  • Plot of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man is set in motion when Larry Talbot (the Wolf Man) is accidentally resurrected and sets out to find the way to keep himself dead permanently.
  • Miles Tuck in Tuck Everlasting, due to losing his wife and children. He's fought in pretty much every war he can find and regularly picks fights, trying (unsuccessfully) to die.
  • Of the commanding officer's Survivor Guilt/Shell-Shocked Veteran variety, we have James Norrington in the beginning of Dead Man's Chest. He'd deliberately steered his ship into a hurricane while chasing Jack Sparrow, resulting in the loss of the ship and most of the crew, and his having to resign his commission. The next time we saw him, he was a grimy drunk who seemed to be pretty zealous about his bar fights.
  • The WWI pilot in The Mummy wants to go out in a blaze of glory like the rest of his deceased war buddies. Seeing as he dies fighting a giant face made of sand while successfully escorting Rick and Johnathan to Hamunaptra, it's probably safe to say that he succeeded. His last words?

   "Here I come, laddies!" and a huge laugh.

  • The Joker from The Dark Knight. There has been several occasions where he puts his life on the line for his cause.
  • Sir Lancelot in Excalibur. He's more of a defeat seeker than a death seeker though, having traveled around looking for a King who was good enough to beat him and thereby win his fealty. He claims he was Cursed with Awesome.
  • J.B. Books in The Shootist. The death that was coming for him, though, was far worse than the death he sought.


Literature Edit

  • Felix, from the 1984 science fiction novel Armor by John Steakley, following the death of his wife. In his case, he's explicitly nigh-unkillable (not a good thing, in the circumstances) as a result of his personal background; at the end of the novel, a former acquaintance who's come to find him, on being informed that he was last seen clinging to the outside of a badly damaged spacecraft with insufficient fuel to reach the next planet, merely nods and says that they'll keep looking until they find somebody who actually saw him die.
  • The title character of Rudyard Kipling's "Love-o'-Women" (one of the army tales); he has both a tragic past and a disease that will kill him in slow and humiliating fashion, and yet, though he repeatedly throws himself into combat, he's left lamenting that "not a bullet would touch him".
  • One of the characters in Peter David's black comedy fantasy novel Sir Apropos of Nothing was a Death Seeker whose reckless deeds resulted in him becoming the most highly respected knight in all the land. At that point he realised that he actually quite liked being alive, hung up his sword and retired behind a mantle of obfuscating senility.
  • Colbey, the main character of the Renshai novels, is a follower of the Norse gods, and must die in battle to reach Valhalla. (Dying while refusing to fight all-out doesn't count, and would get him damned to Hel.) He's in his eighties by the end of book 1, the oldest person his tribe has ever had, and the best swordsman in history. He's even given the title "Deathseeker" by some. Eventually, it's discovered that he became "semi-mortal" in his sixties (meaning he can't grow any older) and eventually becomes a god. He still rejoices in a challenging fight centuries later, mind you...
  • Himei starts out as this in Sailor Nothing, before The Power of Friendship gives her something to live for. The premier example, however, is Dark General Argon. Because of his nature as The Heartless he's unable to kill himself directly, so he instead ensures that the protagonist will unleash her Unstoppable Rage on him -- in some of the worst ways possible.
  • Brox (Broxigar First-Name Basis) of the War of the Ancients Warcraft novels trilogy fits this trope perfectly, after being the sole survivor of his squad. He actually gets his wish in the end by performing a Heroic Sacrifice
  • Eowyn in The Lord of the Rings, whose courageous ride to the Battle of the Pelennor Fields has also been described as a lovesick suicide attempt.
    • According to Aragorn, the very object of her unrequited love, her disappointment was just the final straw - personal frustrations and grief having already robbed her of much hope. And then of course there's the apparent hopelessness of the global situation - the entire army rides into battle shouting "DEATH!" after all.
    • To paraphrase Gandalf and Aragorn, she had to look after Theoden as he succumbed to Grima's lies and part-truths, all the while listening to them herself, and it seemed like she would never do anything else but watch as the House of Eorl sunk deeper into dishonor. Even after Aragorn heals her, she wants to go out and die.
  • Max Pesaro in the The Gardella Vampire Chronicles, thanks to : Dead Little Sister (and father). He continues to fight against vampires, even when he shouldn't.
  • Lieutenant Dan in the book (and movie) Forrest Gump was a Death Seeker because it was a family tradition to die in battle. Makes one wonder how they kept the family line going, since no offspring by him had been established.
    • The movie establishes that a member of his family died in every American war. Presumably, he (and the ancestors who were killed in action) had plenty of brothers.
  • A'lan Mandragoran (Lan) from The Wheel of Time series. Fortunately or unfortunately for him, depending on your perspective, getting married changes his outlook.
    • Rand al'Thor could be seen as this. He intends to stay alive juuuust long enough to get to the Final Battle, then die while winning it.
      • Also, any male among the Aiel that discovers they can channel, since men who channel eventually go insane, they go into the Blight and die fighting the minions of the Dark One
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts book this happens to some of the soldiers, particularly Gol Kolea.
  • Part of the initial premise of Timothy Findley's novel Pilgrim is that the main character is unable to die, no matter how many ostensibly successful suicide attempts he goes through.
  • In Phyllis Ann Karr's Arthurian novel The Idylls of the Queen, Mordred fits the role pretty well--he spends the majority of the novel expecting (and hoping) the narrator Kay will kill him (His theory of the murder he and Kay are attempting to solve is that it was an attempt on his life by Kay and Guinevere) and pisses a couple people off hoping they'll murder him because of the prophecy that he'll bring Arthur's kingdom down. A better example in his backstory, right after a hermit gives him the prophecy and tells him who his father is, he rides on into the tourney he was headed to and nearly succeeds. Most people think those injuries addled his brains.
  • The Tharks in Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars series: "the cause of the Thark's great and sudden love of life I could not fathom, for it is oftener that they seek death than life--these strange, cruel, loveless, unhappy people." It's pretty effective, since 98 percent of them die in various violent ways.
  • Albus Dumbledore of the Harry Potter series shows this trope at some point in between Order of the Phoenix and The Half Blood Prince, when he becomes cursed to die by the ring containing the resurrection stone. To end the misery of dying slowly and to spare Draco Malfoy, Who he learned had been tasked by Voldemort to kill him, Dumbledore asks Snape to kill him in a Overly Elaborate plot to also get Snape closer to Voldemort and to continue protecting Harry.
  • Francis Crawford of Lymond throughout Dorothy Dunnett's Lymond Chronicles. He veers between attempts at Heroic Sacrifice and plain old Driven to Suicide.
  • There is a story by Robert Sheckley about a planet with humanoid aliens who believe that only violent death leads to heaven. Some deaths are dispensed by the priests, but many people (despite a strict taboo) arrange some accidents (like sawing a thorny tree so that it will fall upon you). They die smiling.
  • In the sixth book of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, And Another Thing... Wowbagger the Infinitely Prolonged reveals that this is the motivation behind his constant insulting of others.
  • In Ursula Vernon's Black Dogs, the elven Sinai blames herself for the capture, rape and death of her cousin, at the hands of the evil sorceror Vade. She accepts increasingly dangerous and suicidal missions from the elven nation, and her behavior is so well known that in the elves' native tongue she is known as The Dead Wolf.
  • In the Andrew Vachss Burke book Terminal, it is mentioned at the end that this was the first time Burke was not praying in some way for death.
  • Charles, the vampire villain of Elaine Bergstrom's SHATTERED GLASS. Since her vampires, who belong to a naturally evolved nonhuman species, have such a strong self-preservation drive that they literally cannot commit suicide, Charles commits an escalating series of gory murders to induce his brother, Stephen, the "good" vampire of the novel, to kill him in a vampire version of Suicide by Cop.
  • William Butler Yeats' poem "An Irish Airman Foresees his Death" is about a Death Seeker World War I aviator.
  • Umberto Eco's novel Baudolino features a group of warriors who all want to die in battle, because they believe that then they'll go to heaven. The main characters think that this will make them good fighters in an impending war, since they won't be afraid. They are wrong, because they don't even fight, just ask the enemy to kill them.
  • In The Great Gatsby the main character mentions having this attitude during World War I, probably from having to leave the woman he loved behind. His death wish was mistaken for courage and he was decorated.
  • Jool Noret became this after he accidentally killed his father.
  • Sisterhood series by Fern Michaels: CIA director Calvin Span is revealed to be this in Home Free. He died of a heart attack as a result of him shovelling his driveway. He knew better than to do that, considering that he had heart surgery a few years ago. His co-conspirator Owen Orzell thinks that Calvin had a death wish. Considering that Calvin was in bed with Big Bad Henry "Hank" Jellicoe, had a gambling addiction that was going out-of-control, had to turn against Jellicoe to save his own hide when Jellicoe's bad guy status was revealed, had the deaths of CIA agents on his conscience because Jellicoe wanted Revenge for Calvin turning against him, and the president forced him to resign for failing to capture Jellicoe in one month, it's not much of a stretch for this guy to become a Death Seeker.
  • Prince Elfangor, from Animorphs seems to be a good example of this after he gets pulled off Earth by the Ellimist. His first action was ramming the Blade Ship with his little fighter in what should have been a suicide run only to survive, turn the tide of battle, and become a war hero whose example was held up as a golden standard. And at the end of his life, he really wasn't out of options - he could have morphed, or even used his ship's shredder to cut through the concrete surrounding the Time Matrix. And yet...
    • Another example from Animorphs is David by the end of his last book. Abandoned by Crayak, betrayed by his henchmen and still condemned to live out the rest of his days as a rat, he tearfully begs Rachel to end his misery.
  • In The Inheritance Cycle, Galbatorix became one after the death of his first dragon, but then stopped after he got the idea that he might be able to convince the elders to give him another dragon. And once, that didn't work, well...


Live Action TV Edit

  • In Angel, the Groosalugg was so "hideous" that he sought monsters to destroy him. He failed to die so incredibly he got made his kingdom's champion.
    • Faith is a Death Seeker when she appears in late first season, kidnapping Wesley and torturing him all to get Angel angry enough to kill her. Back in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she had done a similar thing with Buffy, though then her motive was that, by killing her, Buffy would become like her, which would be a sort of "post-death revenge" on Buffy by Faith.
    • Angel himself has some Death Seeker tendencies, though more back on Buffy: He seems to be trying to get Buffy to kill him in Angel, tries to get Spike to kill him in What's My Line, Part 2, and is insistent on sacrificing his life in The Zeppo. On Angel, he was pretty much unfazed by hearing he was going to die in To Shanshu In LA. Oh, and he made a suicide attempt in Amends, but that's not how the trope works.
    • Last but not least, Wesley. Triggered by the prophecy that Angel would kill Connor and partly because Fred chose Gunn over him, he apparently wishes to die:

  Loa: You risk your life, human, calling on the loa. Perhaps what you really seek is death. The pain in your heart begs for it.

    • It's strongly hinted, as the series progressed, that Buffy herself had tendencies in this direction, particularly by Spike, who is never wrong about these sorts of things. Season 6 made this characteristic much more explicit.
  • Arguably Claire from Heroes--there's more than a little suicidal element to the way she repeatedly attempts to kill herself in order to gauge the extent of her powers.
      • In the online comics Adam Monroe is suggested to have been one at some point, before he got his "Vengeful God" master plan together. During the 1700s he spent a great amount of time fighting battles looking for a worthy opponent as he'd grown bored killing humans. Yeah, the guys got issues.
  • When Mack "iMack" Hartford of Power Rangers Operation Overdrive realizes he's an android, he at first has a classic Heroic BSOD, but comes out of it rather quickly... only to put himself in the line of fire more and more in an attempt to engineer a Heroic Sacrifice. It starts with pushing a Humongous Mecha toward overload and goes from there.
  • Supernatural's Dean is this in a nutshell. Notice how whenever he gets the choice to die or keep living, the choice is always ambiguous. After his Dad dies for him, he's too tired of this life and as the Crossroad Demon says in "Crossroad Blues", his first thought in the morning is "I can't do this anymore." It finally comes to a head in the Season Two finale when Sam dies and Dean sells his soul to get him back, for a whole bunch of messed up reasons. For the first half of Season Three, he doesn't seem to mind if he goes downstairs ahead of schedule but finally, finally in "Dream a Little Dream of Me" he realizes the obvious fact that he doesn't deserve eternity in hell. Except his martyrdom comes back in full-force in No Rest For The Wicked and he still thinks he doesn't deserve to live in Lazurus Rising so you can't help but still think his sole goal for himself is death.
    • Dean's earliest brush with this is way back in the season one episode "Faith" when he learns that by seeking the help of a faith healer he has inadvertently caused the death of a young man. Later in the episode when a Reaper appears to kill him, he does not try to escape. Dean has managed to hit a new low as of mid-season seven, what with losing everybody, even having to give up his car, with his brother nearly dyinig of madness. Basically, Sam is the only thing keeping Dean from being Driven to Suicide, and that doesn't work so well when Dean can't trust his brother.
    • While Dean is the most extreme version of this, nearly every character in the show has desperately wanted death at some point; Bobby wanted it in Dream a Little Dream Of Me and while crippled, John probably wanted it most of Sam's life.
    • In late Season One, Sam wanted to kill the demon that slayed his fiancee so badly that he wanted to die killing it. In the middle section of Season Two, he was way too keen on committing suicide before his destiny could change him, and after Dean went to hell, Sam tried to sacrifice himself for Dean and then nearly got himself killed when he couldn't. He went into the season four finale with no intention of coming back out, then in season five, he was actively suicidal, but Lucifer and the other angels wouldn't let him stay dead. Sam rounded the season out by jumping into Hell and taking Lucifer with him. In season seven, he is finally over most of his self-hatred, but plagued by PTSD hallucinations of his time in hell. The hallucination of Lucifer tries to convince him to commit suicide, and when the hallucination's killing him, Sam gives up. Somebody get some therapy-cakes for these Winchesters.
  • As recently pointed out by her therapist, Meredith of Grey's Anatomy may be a subconscious Death Seeker.
  • Michael of Lost falls into this category during Season 4, but is unable to die because the Island simply won't let him. He eventually succeeds in the Season Finale, when he manages to save the lives of the Oceanic 6.
  • Sinclair on Babylon 5 starts out this way. In each of the first five episodes, he deliberately claims the most dangerous tasks for himself. He starts to change this habit after Garibaldi calls him on it.
    • Marcus is explicitly described as a death seeker. He gets his wish.
    • With at least six attempts at heroic sacrifice or suicide and the mother of all unaddressed guilt complexes, Delenn is an implicit embodiment of this trope.
  • In the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica Reimagined episode 1.03 "Bastille Day", Lee Adama suggests that Tom Zarek is one of these.
    • The sanguine manner in which he meets his execution by firing squad seems to confirm this.
  • House. While not as actively suicidal as some of the other examples, his self-destructiveness is leading him towards an early death, his curiosity exceeds his regard for his own life, the issue of him not caring if he dies and not feeling like he deserves to live (or be happy) has come up several times and he even says he would rather be dead than deal with all the crap in his life anymore in the Season Four finale.
  • Robin Hood: Little John, whose motto is "Today is a good day to die", as a result of guilt and grief over abandoning and losing his family. In the season 2 finale, he finally declares that it is NOT a good day to die; it remains to be seen if this marks a turning point for his Deathseeking ways.
  • In an episode of Dollhouse, Echo is sent to protect a singer from a crazy stalker who's trying to kill her. It turns out that the singer and the stalker have been in contact, and she sees being murdered in the middle of a show as both freedom from life and a way to become "immortal" in people's minds.
  • Detective Inspector William "Jack" Frost in A Touch of Frost tried and failed to commit suicide by confronting an armed criminal. He got the George Cross for his troubles.
  • Godric, a 2,000-year-old vampire from True Blood, surrenders himself to a group of religious fanatics, hoping they will crucify and burn him, but he is saved by his vampire pals. After speechifying to the Fellowship of the Sun, he attracts a suicide bomber to his home that still fails to kill him. Later, he commits old fashioned vampire suicide by meeting the sun.
  • Opie becomes this in the second season of Sons of Anarchy after his wife Donna's death
  • Logan Echolls of Veronica Mars has something of a death wish, highlighted most obviously in 1x22 'Leave It To Beaver' and 3x20 'The Bitch Is Back.' But with his background, can you blame him?
  • There was an episode of M*A*S*H which included a Chinese-American soldier trying to get himself killed in battle because he identified both as a Chinese person and an American and thus hated himself for "being" the enemy one way or another.
  • Star Trek has the Klingons, whose religion holds that to get into Sto-Vo-Kor (their equivalent of Heaven...or more accurately, Valhalla) one has to die in honorable combat. "Today is a good day to die" is basically the motto of the entire species. A Klingon warrior who lives to old age will tend to get more extreme about this. A specific example of this is shown late in Star Trek Deep Space Nine, with Dahar Master Kor. During the Dominion War arc he desperately wants to be sent into combat so that he can have a chance to die honorably, but he's made so many enemies over the years that nobody is willing to let him join the war.
    • Like the Vikings below, there are loopholes. For example, when Jadzia dies her Klingon husband, Worf, collects friends and goes into battle in her honor, which in Klingon religion can earn the deceased passage to Sto-Vo-Kor. (Paralleling the medieval Christian doctrine of substitution, wherein if you had committed more sin than you could do penance for in a lifetime, you could work it off by various more active things, like crusading or helping to build a church, which devolved into the outright-purchase papal indulgences Luther found so offensive. Or someone else could transfer their merit to you, which is why rich people endowed monasteries and where that 'pray for the souls of the dead' thing originates. And Now You Know.)
  • The Sontarans of Doctor Who are similarly eager to die in honorable combat, a trait brought forward particularly in the new series. This trope is played with in the episode "A Good Man Goes To War" when a Sontaran slowly dying of a painful wound quips that the experience is not quite as glorious as he anticipated. Of course, he's a nurse.
  • Human Target: people from Christopher Chance's old life are constantly accusing him of being this, often using this exact phrase. Given his new line of work, they sort of have a point. His clients sometimes ask him the same question, too:

  Mrs. Pucci: "Everyone's afraid to die, Mr. Chance... unless, of course, for some reason they think they deserve it."

  • The Ninth Doctor shows some signs of this. From Dalek: "You survived the time war." "Not by choice."
    • The Tenth Doctor also practically personifies it. It's pretty much stated in Turn Left that he'd just let himself die if it weren't for Donna.
  • CSI has a guy ironically wearing a Red Shirt who is the criminal of the day. I don't remember the episode, but he thinks he killed his girlfriend, and wants to join her in death. The catch? Even in a gun store filled with armed people, all shooting at him and no one else, the man won't die. Even when he jumps off a building at the end, he's caught in a safety trampoline.


Music Edit

  • The song Across the Rainbow Bridge by Swedish melodic death metal band Amon Amarth is written from the perspective of an aging Norse warrior setting out to find an honourable death and so enter Valhalla.


Tabletop Games Edit

  • The name comes from Death Seekers of the Lion Clan in Legend of the Five Rings.
    • The Damned of the Crab Clan are the 'diseased' variation. They are victims of the corruption they fight, and seek to do more damage to their enemy than they would giving into the Taint.
  • In Warhammer Fantasy, the rigidity of Dwarven honour codes results in Troll Slayers: entire communities of Death Seekers. These are unfortunate Dwarves who have failed at some task or are unable to fulfill an oath, for which death is their only solace. However, it's dishonorable for a Dwarf to just off himself, so they dye their hair, cut it into an intimidating shape, and go into battle unarmored against the biggest, meanest opponent they can find. There's nothing like facing down a regiment of orange-mohawked berserkers with death wishes and big axes to grind (on your skull).
    • The Gotrek and Felix novels, in particular, tell the story of Felix Jaeger, a young poet who finds himself honor bound to accompany a Slayer and record his heroic doom. Unfortunately for Felix, Gotrek Grunnisson just happens to be the worst Slayer in history, on account of him being the most Badass Dwarf, if not being, on the planet. He has killed everything from incarnations of rage and blood to dragons the length of football fields. Even if anything could kill Gotrek, Felix has no illusions about the fact that it would kill him soon after.
    • The next step in a Troll Slayer's career is Demon Slayer, a Troll Slayer who couldn't find a big enough and mean enough troll.
      • The Slayer army list from Storm of Chaos gave the Dwarf player almost as many victory points for having his troops killed by S5+ monsters as the opponent did from killing them.
      • Troll Slayers also show up in Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay as a career for player characters. The exit career -- the only exit career -- for the Troll Slayer is the Giant Slayer. The exit career for the Giant Slayer is the Daemon Slayer. The exit career for the Daemon Slayer is 'Glorious Death'. The note aside the career asks any player who wants to voluntarily pick it to 'think it over carefully'.
        • The fun thing about that class is that on paper, slayers are combat monsters. They evade Game Breaker status because anyone playing a slayer is expected to act like one; you are supposed to pick fights even when the odds aren't good, sleep deprivation, mental instability and rampant alcoholism is the best way to spend your downtime, and armour is for people without a death wish (i.e. anyone not you). Your impressive combat prowess is there to make the party want to hang out with you anyway.
        • Well, that, and your non-combat abilities are limited to 'resistance to getting drunk' and 'scare people'. Basically, the only thing a Slayer in WHFRP is good for outside a fight is to start one.
  • Another example in Warhammer Fantasy: Count Mordred the Damned is a Chaos Champion who is cursed to forever constantly mutate within his armour and forever be brought back from the dead by the Chaos Gods even if he should die. As such, he doesn't have much of a chance of ever finding real rest in death, but it's what he hopes for against all hope.
  • The Flagellants of the Empire in same setting take it on themselves to die in the most painful way possible in order to save the world from evil.
  • The Blood Angels chapter of Space Marines in Warhammer 40000 have the Genetic Memory of their Primarch's death built into their blood, a curse they call the Black Rage. This manifests in occasional outbreaks of Unstoppable Rage, but in its worst form the Space Marine goes almost completely berserk, hallucinating the last moments of their Primarch and forgetting their own identities. Such unfortunates are grouped into the Death Company and thrown into near-hopeless battles in search of death - and since the curse gives them the ability to potentially shrug off fatal wounds and tear stuff apart with their brute strength, they often end up winning.
    • 40k also gives use the Sisters Repentia, Sisters of Battle who are in disgrace can take the oath of redemption, forsaking their armour and normal weapons in favour of rags and a really big chainsaw. They're not expected to survive, but those that do can rejoin the normal squads.
    • Lone Wolves from the Space Wolves list. You are actually penalised if they survive to the end, and they have a pretty good statline making it a bit tricky to get them killed (especially since they're immune to the Chunky Salsa Rule). On the other hand, your opponent can see what a Lone Wolf can do, and will probably try and kill them for you so that they don't dismember half of his battle line.
      • Although in the fluff, death is not the only way to regain the lost honour of their packs. They deliberately seek out the largest opponents not only to seek an honorable death, but also to use it as an opportunity to regain the honor of his pack. Rarely this succeeds, but sometimes they do return victorious and the avenging of the pack fulfilled. These usually get initiated into their respective Wolf Guards. This manifests in an extra re-roll against some of the stronger units on the tabletop, encouraging players to target these units with the Lone Wolf.
    • The Imperial Guard has the Penal Legions. Having committed some sin against the Emperor, they are deployed en masse with even less armor and weaker weapons than the standard Guardsman; they aren't really meant to survive, just to swamp the enemy with their numbers or to clear minefields for the tanks.
    • The non-canon Chapter the Fighting Tigers of Veda have a similar system with the Grey Tigers, complete with a short story about the redemption of Sudra Patel.
  • One of the example villains in the old edition of GURPS Supers was a disgraced sumo wrestler who couldn't commit seppuku due to his Nigh Invulnerability. Thus, he sought out other supers to goad them into killing him. His sympathetic backstory, and his history of tracking down and defeating violent supers, make him more of an Anti-Villain.
  • Chrononauts: Lost Identities features Isaac, a playable character who prevents various tragedies, including his own death at Columbine. One of his win conditions includes allowing the massacre to happen, so Isaac can let himself die.


Theatre Edit

  • Posthumous Leonatus of Shakespeare's Cymbeline becomes one in his regret over having had Imogen killed. He first strips himself of his armor and fights against the heavily-armed Roman soldiers. He successfully fends them off and rescues the king. He then dresses up as a Roman soldier and tries to get killed in battle, but is instead captured. He's scheduled for hanging, but the King spares him. Poor guy just can't catch a break...


Video Games Edit

 Sniper Wolf: "Now I realise I wasn't waiting to kill. I was waiting for someone to kill me."

    • Fortune: A battlecry of "Kill me now!" hints at it.
    • And of course, Grey Fox.
    • And Snake himself is one in the Alternate Continuity game, Metal Gear: Ghost Babel.
    • Snake was one towards the end of Metal Gear Solid 4, but he gets over it.
    • Raiden was one practically the whole game. He also got over it.
    • Don't forget Vamp. Made evident when he asks Raiden, "Could you be the one to finally finish me?"
  • Depending on which version of Final Fantasy VI you're playing, Setzer may apply to this trope.
  • Meyvn Nooj from Final Fantasy X-2, until he changed his mind. Which makes him really bad at it, as he lives in a world with staggering numbers of vicious fiends who exist purely to kill people - not to mention Sin, up until two years prior to FFX-2. His base can't even be reached without battling numerous fiends, leaving one with the impression that he's just not trying hard enough.
    • Though despite all that, he gets extra points for being known in-game as "Nooj The Deathseeker". Informed Characteristic, perhaps?
    • At one point, during a recording the player can view, it looks like he is about to actually pull it off, but is saved by the person who's recording him in combat to see if he's good enough to join an elite military unit.
  • Vanille from Final Fantasy XIII has a genuine death wish, believing that her actions served as the catalyst for the horrible events that dragged the rest of the party into the game.
    • Evidently she's not the only one in the FFXIII world with this mindset, seeing as Orphan, Barthandelus, and every other fal'Cie in existence also want to die. Even if it means destroying the world and everyone else in it.
      • It turns out that the Fal'Cie want to destroy Cocoon, because that many people dying at once would bring back the world's god: The Maker, who is also the Fal'Cie's 'parent' who orphaned them when she left the world. That many people dying at once would open the door to the Maker, and Orphan is vital to the upkeep of Cocoon, so it's death would mean the death of Cocoon, and all the humans living there.
  • Zasalamel from Soul Calibur III sought the evil blade Soul Edge to break his curse of immortality and die a peaceful death. Because really, Who Wants to Live Forever??
    • Great plan. I want to die peacefully, the best bet is to enter a battle to the death-style tournament with a bunch of Ax Crazy nut-jobs, a handful of demons, and the pure manifestation of good and evil in the world...
      • Justified since his curse of endless reincarnation/violent death is connected to Soul Edge and Soul Calibur.
    • He stops being a Death Seeker once he has a vision of the future (or rather, the present). He is astounded by how far humanity has advanced technologically and wishes to experience it for himself.
      • That's one ending. The other is that he spends the rest of his final life writing a library full of his autobiography.
  • Bunji in Gungrave Overdose asks for the player character to kill him, not without giving a really hard fight before, its more subtle when you choose Grave or Jujy but he tells Billy something along the lines of: "I only need one thing from you, Strenght. Quick finish me, rub me and my patetic regrets off of this world", he even Thanks Billy for his "requiem" in a Tear Jerker sequence after the fight with a slow "You are not bad..... Thank.....you".
  • Gen in Street Fighter Alpha suffers from an incurable disease and is looking for a worthy opponent to die against. In Alpha 3 he eventually finds Akuma. They fight, but Akuma bails because fighting a sick man is against his code of honor. Gen shows up in Street Fighter 4, so I guess he found something worth living for.
    • Also Akuma. He and Ryu fought once, and he spared Ryu's life because he saw that he was a person who, with training, could plausibly defeat him, which is what he wants.
    • In the comics from UDON, Gen gets his wish and Akuma kills him. This happens shortly before the events of Street Fighter II.
  • Kratos from Tales of Symphonia is eventually revealed to be a Death Seeker and has singled out Lloyd as the one who'll finally kill him -- which he'll have to do because Kratos' lifeforce keeps a seal on the Cosmic Keystone. Fails miserably, after Lloyd merely beats six shades of hell out of him during their final encounter, undoing the seal, and then proceeds to chew out his Not Quite Dead opponent over being so incredibly stupid in trying to throw his life away.
    • Similarly, Zelos spends a good part of the game with a death wish, his Handsome Lech personality for the most part an act. Whether he succeeds or not is up to the player.
      • The sequel then gives us Emil. Once he realizes that he is The Summon Spirit Ratatosk, and responsible for the death of Aster he plans to atone by faking possession by his Super-Powered Evil Side and having the rest of the party kill him so that he can become a core to seal the door to Niflheim.
  • Raven from Tales of Vesperia is revealed to be the villainous version, having been plucked from death by the local Smug Snake and forced to act as his personal Mole. The scene where he realizes that his death is not worth betraying his friends is a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
    • Estelle manages to pull one of these as well. Said Smug Snake has her under his control and forces her to attack the party, culminating in the line "Kill me." Yuri then fights her and tells her she's not to do it again.
  • Umbra in The Elder Scrolls: Morrowind, an orcish hero who has accomplished everything he can in life and waits for a worthy opponent to kill him and claim his Infinity+1 Sword.
    • This is actually Umbra's modus operandi. The sword eats away at the mind of it's wielder, driving them to go all Blood Knight so it can be fed a constant stream of souls. Eventually, the wielder becomes just an extension of the blade and eventually pick a fight with somebody stronger than them. This just serves to propagate the sword further, as when they finally die the sword is going to be picked up by their killer, an even stronger warrior who can continue the cycle.
      • The worst part? It not only eats the souls of those it kills, but also eats the soul of it's wielder if they die.
    • Similarly, in Oblivion, the Gray Prince, half-orc Grand Champion of the Arena, sends you on a quest to determine his heritage. When faced with the news that his father was a vampire and he is illegitimate, (more the first than the second, in fact he only seems to care about the first) he becomes a Death Seeker. If you challenge him to the title of Grand Champion, he will accept, then sit still and allow you to kill him, even offering verbal encouragement.
    • Another example from Morrowind is the vampire Marara from the "The Weary Vampire" quest, who seeks death by the hands of a fellow vampire.
    • In the Bloodmoon expansion of Morrowind, there is a Nord who has spent 500 years searching for Sovngarde, an homage to the real life Valhalla of Viking lore. The player can give him a book detailing how Nords may reach Sovngarde: by dying honorably in combat. Delighted, the man asks the player to kill him, but only in real combat (and he's remarkably dangerous for a 500-year old man).
    • Also prevalent in Skyrim. Most notable is the Old Orc, an Orc who is too old to become chief or take a wife but is still strong enough to fight. He would rather die a glorious death than become too old to hold his own in battle. Nords in general also fit this, as they believe that Sovngarde (the Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Valhalla) awaits all Nord warriors who die in battle, or at the hands of an enemy in general; being executed by a weapon counts, which appears to be why the preferred from of execution is beheading by axe.
  • The Nameless One from Planescape: Torment... Well, he's not exactly a straight example, mainly because he has no idea why he simply won't stay dead or what he was doing prior to Waking Up At the Morgue, but his plot to find out these things do eventually lead to his Final Death.
  • Originally, Atton in Knights of the Old Republic II had a chance at Redemption Equals Death by the end of the game, but that sequence got axed.
    • He's not the first pilot of the Ebon Hawk to have this streak. "I always figured I'd be dead once Saul was," anyone?
    • Hanharr from the same game also qualifies. He has lived such a horrific life that he just wants it to end. Unfortunately, his life debt to Mira prevents him from killing himself unless he kills her.
    • Juhani from the first game takes a brief spin around this Trope. You can talk her out of it, and she joins the crew (Light Side) or give her her wish and have one less opponent to deal with when you and Bastila decide to run off together (Dark Side).
    • Visas Marr definitely qualifies. Excessively. Your introduction to her is a cutscene of her begging Nihilus to kill her.
  • The masked man and woman (AKA Shura and Serion, Adell's blood parents) in Disgaea 2. Being almost entirely incapable of controlling their actions yet entirely aware of the atrocities Zenon forces them to commit, the two henchmen literally beg Adell to kill them -- all while they do their very best to do the same to him.
  • Urick from Drakengard 2 got his butt royally kicked by Caim, but was so terrified of dying that he made a pact with a Reaper, rendering him all but unkillable. But he felt so bad about failing in his duties and letting his General get killed that finding a way to break his pact, and therefore die, is pretty much his sole reason for living. And despite the incredible Wangst potential of all this, he's actually a pretty Nice Guy.
    • He eventually gets his wish when he runs into Caim again. Caim beats the pact out of him.
  • The Shadowlord in Nie R becomes this after his Yonah commits suicide, claiming that she had no right to inhabit the body of Replicant Yonah, who she said was constantly crying out for her father/brother. The final portion of the boss fight consists of the Shadowlord spamming ranged attacks while mourning for his daughter.
  • Albedo from Xenosaga. Since his unique genetic makeup makes it literally impossible to die (as in, his head can be ripped off with no ill effects whatsoever), he gets very upset when he finds out that his two brothers don't have the same ability. This becomes the main driving force behind his actions throughout the first two games--he wants to unseal the Cosmic Horror because it's the only thing capable of killing him and ensuring that he and his brothers can be together forever.
  • Tsugumi of Ever 17 leaps into a dangerous situation to save the hero's life, not because she cares about his wellbeing, but because she's hoping it will kill her. Unfortunately for her, her Healing Factor makes her more or less immortal.
  • Lehran from Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn was like this, but when he couldn't find any way to die, he resorted to trying to bring a goddess's judgment on the entire continent, wiping out himself and everyone else. His last words are "I'm dying....at last."
    • In Path of Radiance both Haar and Tauroneo, thoroughly dissapointed by the turns their lives have taken are like this befroe you recruit them. And then there's General Bertram, one of Daien's Four Riders. Drugged up on Psycho Serum and barely coherent, Bertram spends most of rasping about how the other players are going going to "Perisssshhh," and "Me...kill..." Right up until you face him with Ike, that is, when his refrain becomes "Kill...me... ...KILL...M-ME..." Ike does his best to oblige.
    • Harken from Blazing Sword is a Broken Ace who became this after seeing his liege lord and his comrades get killed by the Black Fang. He throws himself at your party in order to get killed, though some characters can talk him out of it and he can eventually got better.
  • Asakim Dowin in Super Robot Wars Z is apparently someone who has committed a heavy crime and is doomed with immortality as a punishment, thus he has wandered a lot of dimensions to get himself killed. This is his Freudian Excuse behind tormenting Setsuko, if the Sphere inside her awakens (through torment) and he destroys it, he's one step closer to death (the destruction of all Spheres will grant the power to kill him).
  • The Mimics in Homeworld: Cataclysm - they wake from deep freeze to find out that all their loved ones have perished. With nothing to live for, they gladly fly kamikaze ships into the enemy complete with choked oaths.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, it is heavily implied that Casavir is this. (He gets over it. Mostly.)
  • The Bonus Boss from Cave Story, Ballos. He's suffering from a seriously nasty case of Power Incontinence that destroys entire civilizations.
  • One of the boss introduction speech of Spiral Pegasus has him asking Mega Man X and Zero a worthy fight since he is infected by the Maverick Virus.
  • The Civilization IV mod Fall from Heaven II has a suicidal Lilith Captain Ersatz named Os-Gabella. Since she's immortal, she's founded an apocalyptic death cult in hopes that destroying the entire world will take her out, too.
  • Kai from Phantasy Star 0 is a likely example of this trope. On two different occasions, he throws himself into seriously unnecessary situations to get himself killed for the young hunters of the party. This is a result of the deep sense of guilt he feels for his failed expedition as a young hunter, killing countless young people as a result of his hubris. Once with the basilisk creatures before players reach the moon, and when he tries to convince the player to leave him after defeating Dark Force (or Dark "Falz"), despite how easily the party can save him.
  • Zevran Aranai of Dragon Age openly attacks the PC (despite his extensive training as an assassin and impressive stealth skills) because he hopes to get himself killed.
    • When the Warden first offers to release him from his prison in Lothering, Sten from Dragon Age: Origins says that death will be his atonement for the murder of an entire farmhold of people. He later agrees to join the Warden after the latter convinces him of the importance of his/her mission. However, Sten doesn't actually believe the Warden will succeed in defeating the Blight; he just prefers to die in battle than starve to death in a cage.
      • This changes after you get his approval high enough and return his sword. He starts to believe that you have a real shot at defeating the Blight, and he mentions that he would be able to offer a better answer to his superiors' questions about the Blight if he helped you end it first.
    • Sigrun from the Awakening expansion is a lot more cheerful about it than Zevran or Sten, but still makes it quite clear that as a member of the Legion of the Dead she owes a Heroic Sacrifice and that she'll be leaving for her Calling as soon as the current crisis is over. If she survives to the ending her epilogue either has her follow through on that, or mentions that either the Warden becomes really good at finding new crises to persuade her to stick around just a little longer or she tries to leave but always ends up coming back to the Warden since she's one of his/her True Companions.
      • The Legion of the Dead, itself, is for the most part composed of people who, for whatever reason, are considered to have lives that are dishonorable to continue with. (The one exception known is a noble who, while not disgraced, was considered a trouble-maker, and joined for no known reason.) The Legionnaires are inducted into the Legion in an expensive funeral, they have gear specifically designed to poetically reflect that they are expected to die gloriously in battle (examples include boots that do not leave tracks that hint at direction, and shields designed to give hard to make out reflections of the wielder,) and all of them actively seek to die.
    • The Big Bad in Awakening also turns out to be a Death Seeker. She cannot tolerate existence being cut off from the Old Gods' Call after being "freed" by the Architect. She hopes to end the silence and find the song again in death.
  • Thane Krios, another BioWare assassin, went into his last job not particularly caring what his target's guards would do to him afterwards; he was already terminally ill, estranged from his only child and could think of nothing else to do with himself. Then Shepard showed up and asked for his help on a Suicide Mission.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Shepard can accuse James Vega of this after a reckless bit of Flying Car Fu in the first mission. As the game progresses, Shepard him/herself starts to show signs of this - no matter how you play, it clear s/he's getting increasingly burnt out and tired of being surrounded by death. That's without mentioning the creepy dreams filled with the voices of dead characters.
    • It's shown that Shepard isn't actively TRYING to die, but s/he would consider it a relief if s/he did.
  • The Red Baron, Sir Lemon from Shining Force is an immortal vampire who wants to die (at one point jumping off a cliff and simply leaving a hole in the ground). He joins you near the end of the game in the hope that he will get killed in battle. It doesn't work - if he falls, he automatically revives after the battle.
  • In Star Craft 2, when you fight the Zerg-infested colonists, the very first one you meet asks you to kill him just before suicide rushing your base.
  • The (fake) Final Boss in Bioshock 2 eats and breathes this, and runs entirely on Nightmare Fuel from his big reveal to his dying words.
  • Kingdom Hearts Birth By Sleep: "I'm asking you, as a friend... Just put an end to me." Made even worse by the fact that it's the cute little boy saying it.
  • Reckless Cop Dangerama in Zettai Hero Project fights entirely using Dangerous Forbidden Techniques and taunts the Final Boss into hitting him with his most powerful attack. Lampshaded by the game, saying that his tv shows often get cancelled because "He's a bad influence on the kids." It's revealed the reason he's looking for a place to die, and tries to get hurt as much as possible is because he was unable to save the woman he loved, ending up sacrificing her in order to save a great number of people.
  • The new player character of Prototype 2, Sgt. James Heller, hoped to die fighting the infection in Manhattan after losing his family while he was fighting overseas. After being infected with the Blacklight Virus which, if the trailer is anything to go by, will eventually turn him into a Nigh Invulnerable immortal monster that can never die, his new goal is to kill the one he blames for denying him the death he craves: Alex Mercer.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny has the Unbreakable Darkness, an Eldritch Abomination Walking Wasteland who hates the fact that she can't stop herself from destroying everything and seeks death because of this. Unfortunately, in addition to the power to destroy several worlds in an instant, she's also too Nigh Invulnerable to receive the death she wants.


Web Comics Edit

  • After being exiled in human lands, Durkon of Order of the Stick was like this when Roy first met him. While no longer explicitly seeking death, he is currently looking forward to it, since the Oracle informed him that he would go home "posthumously." At that point he expected that he would die in human lands and never be returned to his family's ancestral tomb, so he sees this as better than nothing. Unfortunately, he doesn't know the other prophecy made about his homecoming...
  • Ellen from El Goonish Shive shortly after her creation:

 Nanase: How can you be afraid of them after leaping into and subsequently destroying a slime monster?

Ellen: That was win-win. Either the goo would be destroyed or I would die a noble death.

    • A more apt example from the same webcomic would be Abraham, who created the diamond that made Ellen by separating Elliot from the V5 transformation, and is sworn to kill any creation of it.
  • Lexx is suicidal in Alien Dice, but can't commit suicide because of the nanites in his blood, keeping him alive. He's too scared to try more extreme methods of suicide, so instead hopes he'll be killed in a battle. this changes later in the series, when Lexx decides to live and spend the rest of his life with his family and Chel.
  • Jin of Wapsi Square has reached the point where she will even resort to suicide just so that she can die. The problem is that she is an indestructible clay golem and therefore can't die. It's not pretty.
  • Doc Scratch of Homestuck has accomplished his life's purpose, and as such, wants his life to end. He's a First Guardian. You can see why he's having trouble dying.
    • There's also Scratch's adopted daughter, the Handmaid, aka Aradia Megido's ancestor. In her case, she's immortal thanks to a curse Lord English put on her, and can only die once she's completed her tenure. Thanks to Scratch's conditioning, she desperately wants to die.


Web Original Edit

  • Vesa Turunen of Survival of the Fittest version two, while not starting out like this, eventually turned into one near the end of the game.
  • Hank J. Wimbleton of Madness Combat is suggested to be like this, in that he once tries to reject an attempt to revive him.
  • The Saga of Biorn is about a decrepit old viking seeking a worthy death in honourable battle.
  • It's been implied that The Nostalgia Critic is this. Leaving the room that the bad movie is in vs. shooting yourself in the head... what would you pick?
  • While The Nostalgia Chick's never said that she wants to die, it's pretty easy to infer from her growing alcoholism that she wouldn't really mind it.


Western Animation Edit

  • An episode of Samurai Jack featured a Norseman who was cursed with eternal life by the Big Bad. He set himself up behind an elaborate death course to weed out anyone who had no chance of ever defeating him, and waited for someone to bring him death. As in the Colbey example, he had to fight all-out to get the afterlife he desired... but Jack did manage to best him.
  • Macbeth (yes, that Macbeth) of Gargoyles, with a couple of twists: due to a Deal with the Devil (sort of), he and fellow antagonist Demona have been granted immortality and eternal youth until one kills the other, but once that happens, both will die. Since Macbeth is tired of life, and Demona wishes to continue living, they often come into conflict with each other, forcing the usually-homicidal Demona into an awkward fighting position.
  • Dinobot in Beast Wars has a few traits of this. Wishgranted.
  • While they weren't exactly looking to die, in the Popeye short "Hospitaliky", Popeye and Bluto compete with one another to get injured and have Olive Oyl nurse them to health, who in this short works at a hospital. Any one of the stunts they try to pull could easily have killed them, such as purposely crashing a motorcycle, laying down in the middle of a busy intersection, and laying down on train tracks, however they keep miraculously surviving unscathed, to their own annoyance.
    • A later short played on the same gag, this time with Olive seeking someone suitably beaten up as a model for a sculpture. So the two start trying to get themselves beat up. Eventually, Popeye makes Bluto eat his Spinach, making him go into an involuntary fit of beating up Popeye; Bluto wins the fight but loses the chance to pose for Olive.
  • Played for Laughs with Grandpa Marsh on South Park

 Cartman: You piece of crap, I'll kill you!!!

Grandpa: That's the spirit, tubby!

    • Played straight in the Coon and Friends Trilogy, when Mysterion (aka Kenny) confronts Cthulhu both to save his friends and in the apparent hope of finally being Killed Off for Real.


Real Life Edit

  • As stated a couple of times above, this was the faith of the Vikings of old - the only way into the Warriors' Heaven of Valhalla was to fall in battle - to die the 'straw-death' (dying in bed) was the worst thing that could happen to a viking, ensuring him a one-way trip to Hel (while not hellish in the Christian sense, it was a cold land where fish was the only thing on the menu and the lady in charged looked like Harvey Dent on a bad day.)
    • In theory. In practice, even those Norsemen who actually saw a battle at some point in their lives weren't at especially high risk of dying heroically in it, so loopholes to the requirement were developed/discovered, like giving those on their deathbeds spear wounds. Death-Seekerdom doesn't actually work that well as the basis for a real-world religion (thank goodness).
  • In her memoir The Past is Myself, Christabel Bielenberg recounts a chilling encounter with an SS officer who, in despair at the atrocities in which he had participated, was determined to die in battle as the war neared its end: "...He told me of how he had tried to be killed, but his comrades had fallen around him and each time, by some miracle, he had lived. The ones with the photographs in their wallets, the frightened ones, and the ones with dreams of the future, they were the ones who got killed, he said. Only those who didn't care, got the Iron Crosses. Now he was going to the front, to his unit if he could reach it, otherwise anywhere, anywhere, did I hear, where he would be allowed to die."
  • Siegfried Sassoon, the poet, during the First World War. Along the way he picked up an MC, and the title of "best war poet to survive the war". Detailed in The Regeneration Trilogy. He had to choose between guilt over leaving his men on the battlefield and guilt over not continuing to protest against the war, and ended up going on patrol without a helmet after going back to the front. But he lived.
  • Tlahuicole was the chief of the Tlaxcalan tribe when the Aztecs decided to conquer them. He fought bravely by Dual-Wielding a set of hatchets that were supposedly too large for ordinary men to even lift, but the rest of his tribe didn't make it and he ended up being captured and brought before Montezuma. The Aztec leader offered him mercy after hearing how much of a facewrecker he was (the Aztecs kind of valued that sort of thing), but Tlahuicole believed that since he had disgraced himself by letting himself get captured, he should be sacrificed as punishment for his dishonor. Montezuma basically told him to chill out and had him serve as a war-chief in an ongoing struggle against another tribe. He completely slaughtered them, so Montezuma wanted to make him a full member of Aztec nobility. Tlahuicole felt that doing so would be a betrayal of his people, so he refused. Montezuma ordered him bound to the Stone of Combat, where he would basically act out the end of The One by getting swarmed by Aztec warriors until he died (ordinarily the ritual was designed to let captured soldiers gain their freedom, but he didn't want to take that route). He killed seven of Montezuma's best Jaguar warriors and wounded over twenty more before finally falling, and an Aztec priest finally sacrificed him right as he was about to die anyway.
  • Jeffrey Dahmer frequently expressed his wish to die for his crimes while in prison. When he was attacked by another prisoner who attempted to slit his throat, he refused to press charges and requested to be returned to the general prison population. Only a few months later, he was beaten to death by another prisoner. Perhaps the only thing that kept him from committing suicide outright was that he was a born-again Christian.
  • John Henry "Doc" Holliday, dentist turned infamous gunfighter and gambler of the old west, is a perfect real life example of this trope. Diagnosed with tuberculosis in his early twenties Doc Holliday went out west, hoping the drier climate would ease his ailment. However, his hot temper and belief that death by gun or knife was far better than by tuberculosis, led him to a life of adventure, taking part in many shoot outs including the famed OK corral and Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Ride. Despite this lifestyle, his extreme skill, and more-so his reputation of extreme speed, with a revolver kept him alive, he eventually died of his illness at age 36 in the bed of a sanitarium. His famous last words, upon looking at his bare feet in bed, were "Now, that's funny."
  • According to contemporary records, Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary was strongly implied to have become this towards the later years of his life, going so far as to practically mention this trope by name. Then again, after having to deal with the deaths of all those around him, including his brother (Maximilian; killed by firing squad in Mexico), wife (Elisabeth/Sissi; killed by an Italian anarchist), son/heir (Rudolf; the Meyerling Incident) and successor (Franz Ferdinand; assassinated in Sarajevo, sparking World War I) and watching his Empire slowly fall apart from war, one has to wonder.