Open main menu
His wife only appears in this chapter.


"Needless violence against a woman character who is only significant as an object of a male character's desire? Hot damn, I'm a real comic writer now!"

A female character, typically the wife, sweetheart or occasionally mother of the protagonist, who is present in the story just so that she can be either kidnapped by the bad guys, thus becoming a Damsel in Distress, or find herself Stuffed Into the Fridge, giving the protagonist a pretext for Revenge. In a series, she can be frighteningly easily forgotten or replaced once her value as a plot device has expired, if she has been previously developed at all. If instead of being conveniently forgotten one or more characters continues to mourn her or think about her, if she appears in ongoing flashbacks or dream sequences, she is not a Disposable Woman, she is a Lost Lenore (see below).

This trope is closely related to The Lost Lenore. The key difference is that a Lost Lenore continues to have a recognised impact on the characters and story after her demise rather than conveniently vanishing from the minds of characters, audience and creators after having served her function as catalyst.

Compare Dead Little Sister, I Let Gwen Stacy Die, Doomed Hometown, Men Are the Expendable Gender, and Forgotten Fallen Friend. Contrast Disposable Sex Worker and Disposable Vagrant.

When it happens to male characters, it's often Retirony (the hero cop losing his partner, etc.). Tragic death of other family members may need another trope. Even if they somehow survive one movie, there's still Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome. If this happens often enough with love interests, it can become a Cartwright Curse.

As a Death Trope, all Spoilers will be unmarked ahead. Beware.

Examples of Disposable Woman include:


Anime & MangaEdit

  • Death Note: Once Sayu is done serving as a motivation for Light and Soichirou, she gets all of one panel of credit for the rest of the series. She doesn't die, though she does suffer from a crippling case of PTSD.
  • Gundam SEED did this rather (in)famously with the "Astray Girls".
  • Mazinger Z: Rumi. She was a maid Dr. Kabuto hired to take care of his orphaned grandsons while he was building Mazinger Z. She was cold-bloodly murdered by Baron Ashura less than five minutes after her first appearance in the first episode. Kouji and Shiro cried when they found the corpse, but she was not mentioned again.
  • Black Cat's Saya, who, being Train's first real friend, gives Train the reason to want to kill Creed.
    • It is implied that she was also the reason he left Chronos in the first place.
  • Azami from Lone Wolf and Cub, the hero's wife. The flashback chapter where we see her death is her sole appearance in the entire manga.
  • Kanan from Saiyuki only showed herself a few brief moments in flashbacks within the series but constantly plays a part to represent Hakkai, hearing him constantly bring up the subject of her whenever referring to his past.
  • Subverted in Code Geass with Lelouch's mother Marianne. It looks like her death will be nothing more than a pretext for Lelouch to get revenge on his father, but really she's using another character as her Soul Jar and has been cooperating with his father from the start!
  • Both played straight and subverted in Rurouni Kenshin, with regards to Kenshin and Enishi. In Kenshin's case, while Tomoe's kidnapping does indeed give Kenshin cause to explode into a killing spree-turned-suicide mission to rescue her, the time he spent with her does have far-reaching consequences: it is the happiness that he found in the little things in the life he shared with her that partly influenced him to vow never to kill again after the war. Played straight with Enishi--his sole purpose in life is to punish Kenshin for making his sister miserable, and then killing her.
  • Early in the Gunsmith Cats manga, one of Rally's bounties takes a girl hostage. The next time we see her, she has just been raped and is then unceremoniously murdered. After taking the bounty down, nothing more is said.
  • Sys, Guts's adopted mother from Berserk, was the only other person who truly loved Guts, aside from Casca. However, her only real purpose in the story was to show how much Guts's adopted father, Gambino, despised Guts for supposedly being the cause of her death, and so she is only presented for a few panels until she died of the plague when Guts is three, and is only mentioned thereafter by Gambino right before Guts killed him in self defense.

Comic BooksEdit

  • Comic books are rife with such characters, especially in the backstories of several characters:
    • Henry Pym's first wife, a Hungarian émigrée who was kidnapped and murdered by Soviet agents.
    • Ron Marz wrote a letter to the Women in Refrigerators website, attempting to justify the event he wrote that gave WIR its name. He actually tried to use the fact that Kyle Rayner's girlfriend was meant to be the Disposable Woman from the beginning as an excuse!
  • Spider-Man: Uncle Ben is a Disposable Man who was murdered in the very first Spidey comic (and movie) and spurred Peter to embrace his superhero lifestyle. Peter has permanent guilt over having not stopped the guy when he had the chance.
  • Goldie in Sin City: The Hard Goodbye exists to be murdered and start Marv's Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • One variation of this trope may be wolfman (or foxman with somewhat wolflike appearance) Mokoshan from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures. He was introduced in the last regular story arc, where one of the major characters, Ninjara left the cast to join him and his tribe. Eventually the latter received her own, short-lived spin-off (unfinished due to the real life issues of the artist at time), where Mokoshan had been murdered and Ninjara was seeking for revenge against the killers while trying to take care of her and Mokoshan's daughter. It can be debated, whether Mokoshan was deliberately introduced only to be killed off.
  • Peter Rasputin (Colossus) broke up with Kitty Pryde because of Szaji, a Disposable Woman he met in the Secret Wars planet and fell hopelessly in love with despite not even speaking her language. Karma then came and kicked his ass in the form of the Juggernaut. Afterwards, Wolverine lectured him on not letting Kitty Pryde down gently.
  • Taiyan, in the Doctor Who Magazine back-up series Abslom Daak: Dalek Killer.
  • In a storyline of She Hulk volume two, a normal couple gets caught up in matters involving a hostile space alien far from civilisation. The wife gets killed so that after being rescued the husband can get falsely accused of murdering her (because "space aliens killed my wife, and She-Hulk saved me" didn't convince people).
  • Caiera, from Planet Hulk, the titular "hero"'s wife. Apparently she was introduced mainly to get killed to make the Hulk angry enough to kick off the bigger crossover-event World War Hulk. Further cementing the "plot device in favour of male characters" status: Later it turned out that her supernatural abilities did save her only just conceived sons.
  • Narrowly averted in the original G.I. Joe comic. The Baroness was originally intended to be a comics-only secondary character who would go on to sacrifice her life to save Destro, which would in turn give Destro an excuse to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the Joes (who were innocent). Her popularity proved to be too strong, and she ended up surviving the fatal explosion and going on to become a mainstay of the franchise in every incarnation (as well as a trope namer!). Played dismally straight many years later though with Lady Jaye, whose death would give Flint his excuse to go on his own Roaring Rampage against the Red Shadows.
  • The unamed Vietnamese women in Watchmen only exists to tell us how much of a Jerkass the Comedian is and how much Dr. Manhattan is detached from other people.

FilmEdit

  • The hero's wife in the martial arts thriller Firepower is present just so that the hero can be enraged when the baddies kill her. As if killing his partner was not enough.
  • Jocelyn Brando's character in The Big Heat is one of these.
  • The family, friends and love-interests of Charles Bronson's character in the Death Wish series of movies serve this purpose, and this purpose alone. It starts relatively realistic, showing him to become physically ill after killing his first man. By the later movies, however, he seems to positively delight in finding creative ways to rid the world of scumbags.
  • The Jet Li vehicle The One spends quite a bit of time building up the relationship between Li's heroic character and his wife, just to let everyone watching know with absolute certainty what her fate will be. This fate is the hero's entire motivation to face off against Li's villainous incarnation. Once the original guy catches his evil counterpart and sends him to jail, the authorities reward the original by dumping him into a reality where the first person he meets is an alt-version of his wife.
  • Murron in Braveheart, whose gratuitous scene of execution by the king's men (her crime was fighting back against her rape, I might add) was there solely for William Wallace to start his rebellion.
    • Actually Murron qualifies equally, if not more so, as a Lost Lenore. Because even though her fridging is what motivated Wallace to fight, he never forgets about her, as anyone who payed attention during the movie can see.
  • Judy Davis' character in Barton Fink shows up to sleep with the main character and is then murdered in his bed. Barton is able to dispose of the body without anyone noticing, and Davis is never mentioned again in the movie.
  • Gender flipped in The Brave One.
  • Marla McGivers is given this role in Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan. This served the double purpose of giving Khan a motive for vengeance against Kirk and eliminating her character, which would have been extraneous to the film's plot.
    • There was also the issue of Madlyn Rhue being unable to reprise the role due to her suffering from multiple sclerosis, so really it was a triple purpose.
    • Does this really fit the trope, though? McGivers' character was actually introduced in an episode of the original series, and her purpose was not solely to be killed later on.
      • In the series, no. But as far as the movie goes, she's prime Fridge Stuffing, even if her death occurs offscreen and before the action begins; keep in mind that many viewers may not have seen that episode of TOS, and to them Khan's Dead Wife would only be a name and an implication. (Not that her TV appearance was much more enlightened, existing only as the moth to Khaaaaan's flame.)
  • Goose from Top Gun was this for Maverick, though his character had a bigger role than the other examples here.
    • Parodied in the Top Gun spoof Hot Shots! with the character whose call sign is "Dead Meat".
  • Richard Kimble's wife in The Fugitive.
    • Although he likely had some motivation in wanting to clear his own name as well.
  • The film adaptation of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen subverted this trope in one scene where a villain held Mina Harker, the League's only female member, at knifepoint. When this prompts all the men of the League to lower their weapons, he even makes the comment that "I knew they'd do anything to protect you." The twist is that Mina is a vampire, and promptly bites and kills her attacker, thus proving that she doesn't need the guys to protect her.
    • Since this about all she does in the whole movie, I suspect this is trope as written (but without the death). -and of course the film Mina is an absolute inversion of the leading protagonist she was in the original work.
      • Honestly, without pistols Victorian women, by and large, really were quite useless at most everything but cooking and being pretty due to ridiculous social mores. Perhaps if they had scripted a short mention of her as a member of the suffragette movement that would have been believable...
      • Have you not read Dracula? Mina has lived through enough that in the comic book she is the only one the government believes can control the other members.
      • In the film, Mina also takes a out a large number of Mooks by herself in Venice, and during the final battles, fights The Mole Dorian Gray, and works out how to finally kill him. In fact, Mina is the reverse of a Disposable Woman, as her husband Jonathan, one of the main protagonists of Dracula is only mentioned once, and he's dead, making him a Disposable Man.
  • Marian fills this role in Dante's Peak. Harry's fiancee is a psychotically involved geologist. She's so gonzo for volcanoes Harry has to practically drag her kicking and screaming to leave the site of the eruption because the readings are so incredible. As they're driving frantically from the area, volcanic rock is falling from the sky. One punches through the roof and hits Marian in her head. Harry has to look on in horror as she convulses. He reaches for her and she dies in his arms.
  • The adoptive mother of the titular Four Brothers, whose murder brings them back to their hometown.
  • Another Gender Flip in Kill Bill- The Bride's fiance Tommy exists only for the titular villain to murder.
  • An ongoing trend in James Bond films. Beautiful women would appear for two scenes at least, three at most, before dying, usually after being ploughed by Bond and doing something vague. Often the actresses playing these women would receive star billing in the credits (i.e. "And Lana Wood as Plenty O'Toole"). Examples include Jill and Tilly Masterson in Goldfinger(Stuffed Into the Fridge?), Plenty O'Toole in Diamonds Are Forever, Rosie Carver in Live and Let Die and Corinne Dufour in Moonraker.
    • Which was Lampshaded in the second Austin Powers movie, where Austin's former love-interest explodes within the first five minutes, inspiring less than a minute of grief before Austin takes off to enjoy single life again.
    • Della Churchill, loving wife of Felix Leiter, is killed less than twenty minutes into Licence to Kill and Leiter himself fed to a shark. Bond decides It's Personal.
      • And then Leiter survives and doesn't seem too fazed by the death of wife.
    • The "New" Bond films have continued this trend. Witness Strawberry Fields in Quantum of Solace.
      • Bond is approrpriately horrified, however. He doesn't sleep with Camille either. Hopefully this realism will continue.
    • When Roald Dahl was hired to write the screenplay for You Only Live Twice, he was told that every Bond movie needs three Bond girls: one is pro-Bond and dies; another is anti-Bond but is won over by his charms; and the third, pro-Bond woman is the one he gets to bed at the end of the film. Not every Bond movie has used these exact rules, but Dahl followed the template with Aki, Helga and Kissy (unnamed in the movie) respectively.
  • This is the entire plot of Taken. The whole reason Kimmy exists is so that she can be kidnapped by a human trafficking ring and, by doing so, give her father a sympathetic excuse to prove what a Badass he is.
  • Played straight in The Bourne Supremacy with Jason's girlfriend Marie.
    • If you only consider the second movie, sure, but she was the sidekick for the first movie, so in the series as a whole she wasn't exactly disposable. Nor yet Stuffed Into the Fridge, as hers was an accidental death.
  • Maximus' wife and kid in Gladiator: "Father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next."
    • Inigo Montoya's dad in Princess Bride is a Disposable Dude.
  • Irene Adler tragically becomes this in the second Sherlock Holmes film, being killed off in the first few minutes with poison that produces tuberculosis-like symptoms.

LiteratureEdit

  • Older Than Print: In the Vitae Sanctorum Britanniae, or "Lives of the Saints of Britain", which predates the 9th century, warfare breaks out when a lovely maiden is kidnapped by King Maelgwn's soldiers. St. Cadog approaches the king and convinces him to repent and recall his army, but never asks for the maiden back, despite her father being an offical in Cadog's church. She is never mentioned again. Cadog's own mother was abducted and raped in similar circumstances, conceiving him, and was also never released.
  • Back in the '20s, the author 'Sapper' admitted that he'd let Bulldog Drummond marry his girlfriend because he thought she'd make a good kidnapping victim for future adventures.
  • This is not surprising, given historical views on women): In the Chinese epic Outlaws of the Marsh, aka The Water Margin, the Outlaws want a Worthy Opponent to stay with them. They kill a whole lot of innocent civilians and make it look like he did it. His wife is executed for being married to the presumed criminal. The husband is outraged and prepares to kill the outlaws, who explain that they only did it so he would be outlawed and have to join them. At this he is touched and agrees. They basically say, "Sorry about your missus, but we know lots of women, we'll give you a new one." He accepts.
    • They get theirs; the TV version notwithstanding, the heroes win major battles, are invited to the capital; meet the Emperor's court, have all the demands met, are murdered in their beds, villain wins.
  • Audra, Bill Denbrough's wife, in It has no real importance to the plot except for being kidnapped.
  • Laura Murphy in Babylon Rising.
  • Rachel, Magnus's first wife is crucified in his back story, and very little was said about her relationship with him. It pretty much just gives him a motivation to angst.
  • Subverted by American Gods with Laura. It looks like a case of this, but she comes back to (half)-life and continues to impact the story in important ways.
  • Also subverted in Men At Arms with Angua, it looks like she had become the disposable girlfriend after she is shot by The Big Bad, but what with her being a werewolf, she comes back to life at moonrise and is now one of the most important characters in the City Watch Discworld arc.
  • Sadly, this is the fate of Catti-brie of all characters in her final appearance in the Drizzt novels. Because what Drizzt needs is more angst.

Live Action TVEdit

  • Bonanza: Seemingly every episode that introduced a female love interest for the Cartwrights. The girl would invariably harbor a sinister secret or have someone stalking her, with the villain of the week succeeding in his mission to kill the girl.
  • Earth: Final Conflict - The wife of the Season 1 hero William Boone. Dies in a car bomb first 10 minutes or so. Spurs the hero to go work for the alien Taelons.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Hercules' wife and family is arguably used this way, although it's used to explain both his sympathy for the common folk and why he stays a Chaste Hero for so long despite women throwing themselves on him... that and not wanting to repeat his father's track record for bastards...
    • The original myth, of course, has Hercules killing his family in a (Hera-induced) rage, which cues off his herculean tasks to make up for it...
  • Sam's girlfriend who dies in the first episode of Supernatural and serves as his motivation from that point on.
    • Not to mention Mary, who motivates John and Dean. Especially John.
      • Subverted with Mary, actually. She starts out as this, but what with flashbacks and time travel she later becomes an actual character. Minor, but a character.
      • Jess also recurs. A bit. She's mentioned. And Lucifer impersonates her years after her death and it gets Sam right in the heart.
    • Supernatural has problems with the female fanbase, so its female characters are even more marginal than TV standards dictate. Ellen and Jo were the only recurring women who weren't a) villains and b) prone to switching bodies, and they get blown up just for pathos halfway through season five.
      • Dean's occasional girlfriend Lisa survives! Has her memory wiped and is removed from the story forever, but she does live. Barely. Also Becky the Deranged Fangirl. It's not a good series for women, but the writing's generally better than to just throw them away.
      • Best candidate for this to my mind is Sam's one-episode girl Madison, who turns out to be a werewolf and he has to shoot her. Of course, she does come up again in conversation two seasons later.
      • Sam has a problem with female mortality, summarized by Dean as, "Christ, Sammy, have you forgotten the average lifespan of your hookups?"
      • They also tend not to be human. It's kind of unfair how often Sam gets targeted by supernatural femmes when Dean is such a man-whore half a dozen things could have bitten his head off before he realized they weren't just hot chicks.
  • In the film Stargate, Daniel Jackson ends up with a gorgeous alien babe for a wife. She's also intelligent and feisty, and affects the plot by rallying her people to drive off the alien overlords. However, in the first episode of the series Stargate SG-1, she gets captured as a host for the Big Bad aliens, setting Daniel's motivation as finding a way to rescue her. But over the course of the series he attracts flocks of alien babes, and in the midst of not refusing their attentions he never seems to remember his wedding vows. To make it worse, when the writers finally remember that he has a wife waiting for him, they spend one whole episode detailing how he finds her and she dies. Now that his motivation is gone, does Daniel quit the team? For about five minutes.
    • She was not an alien. She was a human descended from a group of proto-Egyptians kidnapped thousands of years ago to serve as slaves for Ra. Also, who in their right mind would want to give up an amazing career studying living offshoots of ancient cultures on other planets to go back to a job where EVERY SINGLE PERSON in academia thinks the character is a two-bit hack?
  • Airwolf featured one of these in the pilot episode.
  • The pilot for Alias features a male version.
  • Also the pilot for Fringe.
  • And so does the pilot for Damages, but because of the peculiar structure of the show we get to actually know him before he's definitely dead and gone.
  • Male example: Jesse served this purpose for Willow and Xander in the first episode/s of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He was promptly forgotten.
    • The potentials in season seven: a collection of young females with limited character development, a number of whom are killed off in brutal ways so that Buffy has something else to angst over. They eventually Take a Level In Badass.
  • This befalls many characters in the 24 universe (especially towards women who have been married to/dated Jack Bauer):
    • Teri Bauer, although her death is alluded to throughout the series, instead of just having impact in that specific season.
    • Kim Bauer (for the first three seasons where she's a main character). She's held hostage/against her will no less than five times. This even extends to the video game, wherein her first day as a CTU analyst involves her being caught by terrorists who've stormed into the building.
    • Claudia, Jack's ex-girlfriend who lives in Mexico working for the Salazar brothers. As soon as she, her father and Chase Edmunds make plans to escape the Salazar ranch, her life expectancy is measured in minutes, not episodes. She ends up dying off-screen during their escape.
    • Audrey Raines: kidnapped in the first episode she appears in. Rescued several times from perilous situations by Jack until she gets captured and tortured by the Chinese for a year in the sixth season. She's now a vegetable.
    • Renee Walker, whose murder powered Jack on a "revenge" cycle which ended the series in season 8. [Season 8 Renee turned trope, having to be rescued by Jack with her death ultimately a plot device for his cycle of revenge. Season 7, she was one of the few developed female characters in the 24-verse, advertised as a "female Jack" and very strong on her own, with some of the same motivations as the hero].
  • Patrick Jane's murdered wife and daughter in The Mentalist.
  • In Dead To Me, Tamara shows up on page 1, stumbling drunkenly into Simon's apartment, and is gone three pages later. She shows up a few times more: as ranty answering machine messages and Simon's guilt thereof, and then dead so Simon has something to angst and guilt over.
  • NCIS did this, but it wasn't played entirely straight. Gibbs is known to be divorced three times; what it takes the cast a while to learn is that he was married four times. His first wife Shannon and their daughter Kelly were killed after Shannon witnessed a murder.
  • No Ordinary Family took all of two episodes to give viewers the death of Detective Cho, just after said character should've entered an interesting plotline. Instead, she dies pleading, having learned well from the source genre.
  • One popular Epileptic Tree among fans of Kamen Rider is that women who become Riders are doomed to die, usually for cheap drama. Examples (and aversions):
    • Stronger: Yuriki/Tackle, the original Disposable Rider Woman. Not considered a Kamen Rider, which remains something of a sticking point among the fandom.
    • Ryuki: Miho/Femme only appears in the movie Episode Final, where she dies quietly after a battle and is subsequently forgotten.
    • Faiz: The turnover rate for women who borrow a Rider Gear is extremely low (no woman is a permanent Rider in this series).
    • Blade: Natsumi/Larc only appears in the movie Missing Ace and is killed, but in fairness so are her teammates.
    • Hibiki: Shuki is a Manipulative Bitch and antagonist, so naturally she dies. Akira doesn't become a full Oni, but transforms once and survives the series.
    • Kiva: Yuri, who uses Ixa occasionally in 1986, dies off-camera but it doesn't seem to have anything to do with being a Rider. Her daughter Megumi, who uses Ixa in 2008, survives the series and moves on to get married in the ending.
    • Decade: Natsumi becomes a Rider in the Grand Finale movie and survives the whole series.[1] The series also gives better treatment to some past Riders, allowing Larc (renamed Haruka) to live and upgrading Akira to a full-fledged Rider, Amaki.
  • In the BBC's retelling of Robin Hood, it is Maid Marian - yes Maid Marian herself who is turned into this after she is stabbed to death by Guy of Gisborne. True to the trope, after a brief Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Robin more or less moves on and acquires two new love interests in the course of the third season. They try for an Author's Saving Throw at the end of the season in which Robin ultimately dies and gets a Together in Death scene with Marian.

Tabletop GamesEdit

Video GamesEdit

  • Max Payne's wife and daughter.
  • Eve in Dead to Rights. You have to protect her for several scenes including disarming a bomb in the stadium. After she's served her purpose, she receives a Bridge Drop via being stabbed from behind by one of the villains.
  • Madeline Taylor in Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix, an only slightly important accomplice who you never really get to know before she gets a bridge dropped on her head. And she's not an Action Girl either.
  • Marian from the Double Dragon series is rescued from her captors in the end of the first game, only to be killed off at the beginning of the second. She's Killed Off for Real in the arcade version (which ends with a Really Dead Montage), but the NES version has a Revised Ending where she gets better.
  • Mia Fey begins as this in Ace Attorney. Her murder (and her sister being framed for it) are the plot of the second case of the first game. Then Maya's channeling abilities kick in and she becomes far less disposable.
    • The victim in the very first case of the series, Larry's girlfriend, is a far straighter portrayal.
    • Now, all the rampant Parental Abandonment (our orphans to date are Maya, Ema, Edgeworth, Kay, and Trucy) is another story.
    • And Celeste Inpax to Adrian Andrews, which resulted in Adrian attempting suicide before setting out to get revenge on Matt Engarde.
  • Women in the Castlevania series frequently fall into this trope (if she's not evil, of course, that's something else), but the most blatant is probably Hector's dead fiancee Rosaly from Curse of Darkness, who doesn't even appear onscreen and is purely motivation for his revenge.
    • Especially Wallbanger is his hooking up with Julia, the sister of his wife's murderer. You'd think that sort of thing would dredge up unpleasant memories every now and then.
    • Every bit as bad as Rosaly is Elisabetha, whose death gets all of one mention in the intro to Lament of Innocence and motivated Mathias to become a vampire as his revenge against God for her death.
    • In Eric Lecarde's bio for Bloodlines is his lover being turned into a vampire, serving as his motivation to kick ass. However, like Elisabetha and Rosaly, we don't actually see her and we only know about her because she was mentioned in the manual.
    • Soma's She Is Not My Girlfriend in Dawn of Sorrow, whose corpse you find crucified inside a locked room in the castle near the end. It turns out the villains were trying to invoke this trope to let Soma's Super-Powered Evil Side take over, but it's subverted if you resist it as it turns out the villains couldn't get ahold of the real McCoy and were using a body double.
    • Leon Belmont's girlfriend, Sara, does get more screentime than most, but she just ends up getting turned into a vampire and sacrificing herself to create the Vampire Killer whip.
    • Richter Belmont's girlfriend, Annette, is an interesting example. It actually is possible to save her, rendering her a mere Damsel in Distress, but she's still quite disposable. The two remakes of Rondo of Blood (counting the SNES version as a remake) have her become a boss if you don't save her, but it gets absolutely no mention aside from a brief pre-boss cutscene in the most recent one.
  • Trask in Knights of the Old Republic serves as nothing more than a voice for the tutorial at the start of the game. He heroically sacrifices himself and aside from one mentioning of his name when facing his killer, is promptly never thought of again.
  • Eve of Extinction has the hero's girlfriend killed and her soul bonded to a morphing weapon. Debate rages as to whether or not this is a vast improvement, though most lean towards yes.
  • Lampshaded at the end of House of the Dead: OVERKILL, when the characters start Contemplating Our Navels. G notes how the only significant female character ends up as a Brain In a Jar while her body becomes a host for Warden Clement's mother before horribly mutating and becoming the Final Boss.
  • Though she was only a Temporary Love Interest in Phantasmagoria 2, Therese's death brought on (albeit briefly) Inelegant Blubbering for Curtis.
  • CJ's mom in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
  • Kratos' wife and daughter in God of War. Their deaths do turn out to be crucial to the plot, however, as Kratos was the one who killed them.
  • In Star Ocean: The Last Hope, the unnamed woman from the Black Tribe is introduced as a possible love interest for Faize, appearing in one scene showing heavy subtext between him and her, and later killed senselessly off-screen (which nearly drove him insane). This became the partial basis for his later Face Heel Turn. It should be noted that he wears the cloak she gave him for the remainder of the game.
  • This happens to many of the female characters in Red Dead Redemption. For instance, Bonnie MacFarlane's quest chain ends with her getting kidnapped, abused and hanged (before she's rescued by lead character John Marston). Luisa dies in a blink-and-you-miss-it moment after you've finished her quest chain (and rescued her from kidnappers/saved her life many times before), several Mexican peasant girls are implied to have been captured/raped/killed during the course of the story, and one poor bank patron in Blackwater is caught solely for the purpose of getting a bullet between the eyes, courtesy of the game's Big Bad. Of course, this is partly because the game is a Deconstruction of Wild West myths (the hero doesn't always save the damsel-in-distress).
  • Setzer's dead girlfriend Darryl only exists in the story to give him some literal last minute Character Development. This is a similar deal with Locke's girlfriend, the mothers of at least five characters, and Cyan's wife and kid.
  • Wo W plays this straight at times - the most recent example is Thassarian's mother, who was introduced and killed in the same comic and did little more than beg for her life and provide angst for her son.
  • Odessa in Suikoden, who starts the liberation movement and then dies because she's a woman and too ruled by her maternal instincts to lead an army; mainly this is to give Flik something to angst about, and she's mostly forgotten after the first quarter of the game. (Though Flik's sword is named after her, in traditional Warrior's Village fashion).

Web ComicsEdit

  • Alt-Zoe from Sluggy Freelance exists so that Torg can explore how a relationship would go between him and the real Zoe. Of course, being an Alternate Universe version of a regular character, it's somewhat expected she'll be less important than someone from the "real" world.
  • Vaarsuvius from Order of the Stick's spouse Inkyrius and two kindergarten-age children are introduced one comic before a dragon crucifies Inkyrius to a tree, breaks the childrens' legs, sets fire to their house, and would have killed and soul bound the children had Vaarsuvius not acquired Ultimate Arcane Power from the IFCC. However, it is unknown whether this is the Disposable Woman trope, as their genders are ambiguous.
    • Aversion. Inkyrius survives, recovers, and divorces Vaarsuvius over the incident. There's also the matter of Inkyrius not directly appearing in the comic, but having been mentioned many, many strips earlier, and Vaarsuvius' family being his reasons for sympathizing with Roy over the matter of his sister.
    • Julia more clearly fits into this trope, since she only appears just in time to be kidnapped and to date has yet to be heard of again at all. She was rescued, of course, but she's a non-entity in the plot so far. Though, with Rich Burlew, you never know.
  • Golden Jane from Everyday Heroes was introduced, and disposed of, solely to motivate her partner's Heel Face Turn.

Western AnimationEdit

  • Katara and Sokka's mother in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Probably averted with Zuko's mother, since it's implied she took actions of her own that were important to the plot, though that part of the backstory isn't related in detail.
    • Except Zuko's mother is "perhaps" still alive, in exile -- or so Firelord Ozai tells him.

Real Life MediaEdit

  1. Okay, so technically she did die, but Tsukasa sacrificed a portion of his life to revive her.