Died Happily Ever After

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Sometimes Heaven has a mentor surplus.

Oh no! The Love Interest, Mentors, parents, little sister, or another emotionally significant character to the hero has been killed by the villain. Woe! However, it's ok. Because the Big Bad has been beat, and their souls can rest peacefully in Fluffy Cloud Heaven. To demonstrate this, their ashes, ectoplasm, or even (and this one's popular) the clouds themselves form into their faces, and smile serenely down at our (still living) heroes before fading away to their eternal reward. Typically a Heartwarming Moments.

Common in children's movies where you get a Death by Newbery Medal, and sentimental films in general.

Peaceful in Death may be a mundane (or ambiguous) alternative.

Contrast Go Out with a Smile, Dying as Yourself.

As a Death Trope, Spoilers ahead may be unmarked. Beware.

Examples of Died Happily Ever After include:


  • Wolf's Rain: When Toboe dies, we see him reunited with his beloved Granny and running playfully in a field of flowers. Talk about emotional manipulation.
  • Happens to Elenore in Madlax. Characteristically, it also involves a boundless flower field.
  • When Kamina's ghost shows up near the end of Gurren Lagann it adheres to this trope.
  • The Shitennou (Jadeite, Nephrite, Zoisite, and Kunzite) from the original manga version of Sailor Moon end up this way, their smiling souls fading away while saying that they'll always watch over Endymion/Mamoru.
    • In the anime version, this happens to the Amazon Trio, who die but gain human souls that are allowed to dwell in Elysion afterwards.
  • Darker than Black does this in the last episode where the protagonist receives encouragement from characters who have died in the course of the series. Kind of a unique example, as nearly all of these characters were antagonists of the protagonist, and most of those died by his hand.
  • Radium Lavans of Zone of the Enders - Dolores finally manages to break free from the insanity that had gripped him since the prequel series, the spirits of Viola and Dolores helping him redeem himself in his last moments. He dies with a smile on his face.
  • Cowboy Bebop has a sort-of example: When Spike dies after finally killing Vicious, the final thing seen in the end credits is a falling star, playing this trope out against the audience.
  • A Fullmetal Alchemist omake shows Hohenheim and Trisha happily reuniting.
    • Not to mention that when Hohenheim dies for real, he has a smile on his face.
    • Furthermore, Izumi and Wrath are reunited in The Movie of the 2003 anime adaptation.
    • Each volume of the manga that has at least one character die has a panel at the end dedicated to them, showing them floating up to Heaven. There are two exceptions: first, Shou Tucker is the only character to go to Hell instead. Second, in volume nine when Maria Ross is apparently murdered by Roy Mustang, the end of the book features the usual dedication with her floating up to Heaven. In the following book, when it's revealed that her death was faked, the dedication page features Ross falling back to Earth, passing by the characters who did die in that volume.
  • Magic Knight Rayearth Emeraude and Zagato are shown together and joyful in the afterlife. She even thanks the Magic Knights. The manga shows even more.
  • Rose of Versailles Andre is shown coming to retrieve Oscar after she is fatally shot the day after he was. In the manga they are even shown retrieving Andre's grandmother
  • Optimus Prime after his Heroic Sacrifice at the beginning of Transformers: The Headmasters.
  • The ending to Puella Magi Madoka Magica is ambiguous about whether it's this trope or just new superpowers, but there's the possibility that Homura is about to go to Heaven and be reunited with her friend Madoka as the series ends.
    • The manga adaptation changes the ending to make this trope more explicit.

Comic Books


  • In the movie American Beauty this is how Lester's life ends. He just learned his daughter is happy, and is remembering the good times with his family, when he is murdered.
  • This seems to be the ultimate fate of the dead stitchpunks in Nine.
  • In the movie Casper, after the bad guys have been defeated, the ghost of the dead wife of one of the protagonists appears to him and assures him that she's happy.
  • In Ghost, Patrick Swayze's character finally goes on to heaven once his murder is avenged and his fiancee protected, but not before a final, phantasmal kiss is shared.
  • At the end of Gladiator, there's a few brief shots of Maximus in a field, walking towards his house; this is actually Elysium, the section of the Underworld for the heroic and the virtuous, which is mentioned several times earlier in the movie.

"If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you're already dead!"

  • Mufasa in The Lion King does this to Simba, albeit also to give him counsel to face Scar.
    • Parodied in Kung Pow, where Mufasa Mushufasa signs off with the line "And remember: This is CNN".
      • Which itself seems to be an homage to The Simpson's parody of that same scene (see the page picture). Or Mufasa's voice actor.
  • Darth Vader in Star Wars fits this trope perectly. Having died of a Heroic Sacrifice, his blue force-ghost appears before Luke, restored to his old young previous self along with Obi-Wan and Yoda.
  • Teenagers from Outer Space
  • Van Helsing ends with the death of Anna Valerious. But Van Helsing gets to see her reunited with the family in heaven as the sky opens to show them. She lingers a moment longer to smile him goodbye.
  • Parodied at the end of Kung Fu Panda. Shifu looks like he's dead from Tai Lung's attack, but when Po is alarmed he lets him know he was just "at peace with himself". After Po joins him for a moment they decide to go get something to eat.
  • In the 1999 version of The Haunting, Eleanor dies confronting the ghost of Hugh Crain, who kept the spirits of the children he killed imprisoned in the house. He is banished to Hell, and her spirit joins those of the children as they all float up to Heaven.
  • Parodied at the end of Happy Gilmore. After he gets his grandma's house back, he escorts her back to the house, and we see the ghost of his father, his tutor and the crocodile that took his hand in a bluish ghost form, waving happily at him. Oh, and Abraham Lincoln.
  • Variation: Being that the wife is one of the trapped ghosts in the remake of 13 Ghosts, she leaves the destroyed mansion with the others in the end. She's still quite a ragged sight from the "burned to death" thing, but becomes beautiful again as she fades away.
  • At the end of The Adventures of Mark Twain, Twain dies awesomely ever after by first merging with his dark side, and then Ascending To A Higher Plane Of Existence by actually becoming part of Haley's Comet. His smiling face appears in its celestial ripples to bid the three Tag Along Kids farewell.
  • In The Princess and the Frog, Ray's shockingly not a Disney Death is softened when it is revealed that he became a star and is now united with Evangeline.
  • Zack and Aeris of Advent Children
  • The film of the musical Reefer Madness plays this one for laughs. The hero's girlfriend Mary Lane, ingenue of ingenues, is sent to Hell for being tricked into smoking pot once, and subsequently turning into a sex-crazed dominatrix. The hero eventually destroys the demon weed, which sends Mary back to Fluffy Cloud Heaven. The hero then asks her to wait for him. "One day I'll get cancer, or hit by a train!" She's overjoyed at the idea.
  • Depending of your interpretation of the ending, this seems to be the final fate of Ofelia in Pan's Labyrinth. It is still pretty sad to watch, tough.


  • More or less the ending of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid. When she dies, she becomes a spirit of the air who will be able to shape a true soul for herself - mermaids don't have them naturally - because she was not willing to kill her human lover. She bids her prince and his bride goodbye (though they don't sense her) before joining her fellow spirits. (The 1984 Fairie Tale Theatre adaptation has a version of the smiling from the clouds bit for the final shot.)
    • The 'not sensing her' part is played with in Megurine Luka's Version of The Little Mermaid to add a real punch to the already insanely sad Tear Jerker. Though, an arguably less sad example not long after that has the sisters hearing her voice and smiling, also fitting the trope albeit in a non-visual sense...
  • The ending of "The Little Match Girl", in which the little match girl dies, but her soul joins her beloved grandmother in Heaven.
  • Ella and Drum in Shade's Children, possibly.
  • Shows up near the ending of Coraline, when the ghosts of the children that the heroine has rescued come to her in a dream, have a lovely picnic, thank her for allowing them to pass on, and finally mention that the Big Bad is still alive and coming to get Coraline.
  • Harry Potter has several variations; probably the one that fits the trope best is the portrait of Dumbledore at the end of Deathly Hallows. Since his consciousness now lies in a painting, he is, essentially, still alive. Just not in the physical world.
    • It seems unlikely that Dumbledore's actual soul is in the painting. More likely, the paintings are just a more advanced version of the images on the cards that come with the chocolate frogs (which are, after all, sentient enough to wander off) - a kind of magical A.I. based on Dumbledore - and the true Dumbledore has taken a train from the spiritual station.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia ends on this trope. In The Last Battle,after finding themselves in a new, perfected version of Narnia, the heroes from all the previous books, except Susan, are informed that they are in fact dead, but they're happy with this. (They were afraid they would be sent back into their own world like they had after all their other adventures.)
  • One of the better Goosebumps books, The Ghost Next Door ends with the heroine ascending into heaven, having saved someone from a terrible fate.
  • The Lovely Bones ends with Susie moving from the in-between into heaven after she completely accepts her death.
  • The canonical ending of Laura and the Silver Wolf. The heroine dies in the real world but lives on in Ice-Land, where she "will have it warm and comfy" - and there she will be always healthy...

Live Action TV

  • Two words: Cold Case. Plays it quite straight.
  • The entire point of Ghost Whisperer.
  • This appears to have been the eventual fate of nearly all the major characters on Lost.
  • Samantha Mulder reassures Mulder that she is fine (but dead) with a hug during season 7 of The X-Files.
  • Robin Hood of the recent BBC television show dies at the end of the series but in his last moments is rejoined by the spirit of his wife Marian (murdered at the end of season two) who promises him that: "the greatest adventure is yet to come."
  • Lieutenant Ken Shea dies in the series finale of Rescue Me, but the crew stays together, Tommy is finally happy with his life, and Lou's "ghost" becomes the first one that doesn't horribly abuse Tommy.

Video Games

  • Namine and Roxas in Kingdom Hearts II. Er, sort of.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3, after killing The Boss there is a secret cutscene showing her happily reunited with The Sorrow.
  • In Dark Cloud 2, The Dragon Gaspard is given a significant amount of backstory, most of it bad. After you defeat him, however, you get a cutscene of him as a child again, reuniting with his mother as if he had just come back from playing outside.
  • Godot/Diego Armando and Misty Fey at the end of Phoenix Wright: Trials and Tribulations.
  • Certain fans believe this is the real explanation for Yorda and Ico's tranquil, dreamlike stroll on the beach at the end of ICO.
  • Jin from Cyberbots in his ending in Marvel Vs. Capcom
  • Kulkumatz in the ending of The Reconstruction.
  • If your Sim makes it to old age, and reaches the end of his/her life in a good mood, with platinum aspiration, rather than "just dying", the Grim Reaper comes to their home with two beautiful hula dancers, wearing a lei, and gives them a tropical drink before taking their luggage as they eagerly join him on a permanent vacation. They also get a much nicer tombstone.

Visual Novels

Web Comics

Western Animation