|“||I like nothing more than a character sacrificing himself or herself for the sake of others. That’s drama at its finest for me.||„|
|~ Bryan Konietzko, co-creator of Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra|
Heroic Sacrifice is a common theme for certain heroes and is linked to the noble choice, confrontation, and negativity turned positivity. It is reserved for heroic or supporting characters who embrace their last moments with acts of honor or morality (usually to show they are willing to redeem themselves or undo their wrongdoings they indirectly caused). However, it wasn't always the case.
Though this scenario is arguably one of possible Noble Choices a hero/heroine may take for the greater good, ALL examples of Heroic Sacrifice are lethal, by its very definition — also many heroes who died with honor are directly responsible for their own demise (for example a character may know they are about to die, as their last action was one of nobility or kindness — thus making them an example of this theme) and subsequently become Saved Souls after death. In rare case, sometimes they revived via. certain circumstances or outside interferences some time after performing such sacrifice.
However, this does not always apply to only heroes who sacrificed their lives; it also applies to those who nearly died in saving others. As the way to maintain the impact of the hero/heroine's choice on the story however, the hero/heroine in question would be more than often handicapped by sustained injuries that forced his/her allies to continue without him/her, and the injury may or may not permanent.
Regardless, the consequences remained same; the hero/heroine's sacrifice cemented his/her status as a hero worth to look up to and strengthen his allies' resolve in overcoming their darkest hours.
- Harry Potter series:
- Lily Potter and James Potter : James and Lily sacrificed their lives to protect their infant son, Harry, from being killed by Lord Voldemort. Though Lily ended up received more credit than her husband, the noble choice they made nonetheless had a profound impact on their son good and bad, further carving Harry's destiny's as the Chosen One, a mythical legendary wizard whose ability to feel and empowered by strong love matched only by the Dark Lord's malice thus the only one who can kill Voldemort.
- Harry Potter: Harry allows himself to be struck down by Voldemort's Killing Curse in order to place similar sacrificial protection upon his allies and loved ones, resulting the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters unable to harm every single one of them. Unlike his parents' case, Harry manages to survive as his Heroic Sacrifice also aimed to destroy a fragment of Voldemort's soul inside his scar and in the process, discovered his nemesis' eventual fate where he won't be able to move on due to trapped in Limbo as a mutilated ghost from creating Horcruxes.
- Ron Weasley: Ron opted to sacrifice himself in the underground chess game to ensue Harry being able to go on and stop Quirrel from reaching the Sorcerer's Stone. While he fortunately survived the ordeal, that cemented how great his determination to help his friends in their adventures together.
- Lord of the Rings:
- Frodo Baggins: Though not killed by his heroic but somewhat suicidal quest to detroyed One Ring, Frodo ultimately cannot heal himself from both spiritual and physical wounds that he sustained from the said mission so he goes with the Elves to Valinor to find true medicine.
- Samwise Gamgee: Though he fared better than Frodo throughout the quest to destroy One Ring as he able to live a family life following his master's departure and in the aftermath of the same journey, Samwise's sacrifices are just as much as the latter owing to his involvement in it and he eventually set out to follow Frodo to Valinor.
- Again, Samwise apparently sacrifices Frodo to take the Ring on to Mordor at Cirith Ungol before he realizes Frodo was alive after all.
- Gandalf: Gandalf's entire life is an act of sacrifice, as he is an angel sent to destroy Sauron. Gandalf said he was too afraid of Sauron so he'd be useless but the Archangels said that was all the more reason to go. Gandalf's first sacrifice comes in Moria when he apparently dies fighting a Balrog, only for later revived as the new White Wizard.
- Russell Casse: During the battle against alien invaders, Russel Case sacrifices himself to destroy the aliens' City Destroyer by flying his plane into the Destroyer's weapon in a kamikaze attack.
- Henry Hart/Kid Danger: He sacrifice himself to save Swellview after his archenemy Drex made the blimp steer off course to Swellview baby Hospital.
- Batman (The Dark Knight Rises): He sacrifice himself to save Gotham from a bomb that was rigged to blow. leaving everyone to believe he is dead.
- In Piranha 3D, Jake Forester is in love with Kelly, but because of numerous misadventures including the attacking Piranhas, Jake sacrifices his lust for Kelly until the finale. Also, Laura Forrester sacrifices her lust for her brother Zane as well as her eagerness to cause havoc in order to save everyone.
- Star Wars:
- Obi-Wan Kenobi: Sacrifices himself in his final battle with Darth Vader on the Death Star, so Luke, Han, Leia, Chewie and the droids can escape.
- Anakin Skywalker (Star Wars): As Darth Vader, he sacrificed himself to save his son, Luke from Emperor Darth Sidious in Return of the Jedi. This ultimately allow him to redeem himself from his MEH deeds.
- V: Getting himself mortally wounded by Party Leader Creedy and his Fingermen, sacrificing himself for the revolution.
- Jack Dawson: Sacrifices himself to save Rose Dewitt Bukatter from freezing to death in the cold ocean water.
- Nux: Sacrifices himself to block the canyon pass by crashing the War Rig and kill Rictus and the remaining War Boys while the rest of the group escape on the Gigahorse.
- Casper McFadden: Sacrificing his chance for having a second life by given it to a ghostly Dr. Harvey, so Kat can be with her father.
- Darkwing Duck: He chose to let himself get pulled into Paddywhack's evil Jack-in-the-box, sacrificing himself to save his daughter Gosalyn; fortunately,
- John Smith He saved Chief Powhatan from getting shot by Governor Ratcliffe, and is sent back to England for medical treatment.
- The Iron Giant: He decided to save Rockwell and die with the missile. However he turns out to have survived and is now reassembling himself in Langjökull Glacier, Iceland.
- Kerchak: Steps in between Clayton's gun and Tarzan and is shot. In his dying breath, Kerchak apologizes to Tarzan for not approving him then finally accepts him as his son.
- Megara: She pushes Hercules out of the way of a falling pillar, taking the impact herself. She dies of injuries, but Hercules retrieves her soul from the Underworld--nearly sacrificing his own life--thus re-earning his Godhood that previously destroyed by Hades through help of Pain and Panic previously.
- Stoick the Vast: He rushes to save Hiccup and is killed by Drago Bludvist through crazed Toothless, leading him to give up his own life for his son. His sacrifice also proved that Hiccup's attempt to convince Drago was proved to be fatal mistake, as this led Drago to caused every single adult dragons to turned against Berk.
- Charlie Barkin: When Charlie's life watch was sinking in the water, Charlie manages to get Anne Marie to safety. But when he dives down to retrieve the watch, it fills up with water and stops working, as this led to Charlie dying in the process.
- Gurgi (Disney's The Black Cauldron): After Gurgi rescues his friends, Taran attempts to stop the Black Cauldron's power by jumping into it. But Gurgi did not want to let Taran die for the sake of his friends and decides to sacrifice himself by jumping into the legendary cauldron while his friends escape the evil Horned King's Castle safely.
- Jean-Bob: Jean-Bob sacrificed himself to save Prince Derek from Clavius.
- Scully: Scully sacrificed himself to save Princess Odette and Alise from the Forbidden Arts, thus destroying them for good.
- Ashi: Ashi sacrificed her existence by using her time portal powers to bring Jack back to the past, destroy Aku, and undo the horrific future he's created, which caused her to fade away during her wedding with Jack.
- Crysta: Sacrifices herself like Magi did by allowing Hexxus to devour her in one bite, and uses her powers from inside him to grow a seed she had with her to again imprison Hexxus (together with The Leveler) inside a new tree. She emerges, unharmed and alive.
- King Triton: He takes Ariel's place as the evil Ursula's prisoner to atone from his violent outburst of destroying his daughter's Grotto, and transforms into a polyp. Fortunately, after "Queen" Ursula is killed and the magic-binding contract is nullified, King Triton reverts back to his normal self.
- Sir Lionel: Sacrifices himself to save King Arthur from the attack of Ruber, who wants to take the throne of Camelot for himself. He is the first to step in the defense of the king during the battle where he is struck with a fatal blow from Ruber's mace and dies shortly after Ruber is exiled from Camelot upon his immediate first dfeat by King Arthur wielding the fabled sword Excalibur in self-defense.
- Korso sacrifices himself to get the TITAN operational and destroy the Drej.
- Justice League Dark: Apokolips War:
- Swamp Thing: Is destroyed while successfully bringing down the Congolese Earth Reaper.
- Shazam: Blows himself up to stop the Paradooms on the Great Wall.
- Cyborg: Sacrifices himself to destroy the planet of Apokolips and banish Darkseid into a void where he can never again threaten the universe.
- Dragon Ball:
- Dragon Ball Z:
- Goku: He sacrificed his life to defeat his evil brother, Raditz, by keeping him immobile so his former enemy, Piccolo, could use his deadly new attack to impale both of them.
- Many years later, after having been wished back to life, Goku sacrificed his life a second time to keep Cell from self-destructing on Earth by transporting both of them to King Kai's planet (Though as a consequence, King Kai and his two pets, Bubbles and Gregory died with Goku).
- Piccolo: He decided to stay on Earth and die in order to permanently destroy the Black-Star Dragonballs.
- Dragon Ball GT:
- Piccolo decided to stay on Earth and die in order to permanently destroy the Black-Star Dragon Balls while the planet Earth's populace safely evacuated.
- Dragon Ball Z:
- Yusuke Urameshi: he sacrifices his own life to save a little boy from getting hit by a car, which led to both his resurrection and his adventures.
- Digimon Adventure 01:
- Angemon: He sacrificed himself to defeat Devimon and restore peace to File Island, as well as to defend T.K. Takashi from the evil Demon-Type Digimon.
- Wizardmon: He sacrifices his own life to save Kari Kamiya and Gatomon from Lord Myotismon's sinister Grisly Wing attack, and dies, but not before telling Gatomon how grateful he is that they are friends.
- Chuumon sacrificing himself to save Mimi Tachikawa from Lord Piedmon's malicious Trump Sword attack.
- Digimon Adventure 01:
- Pixiemon: He sacrifices himself to hold off the 4 evil Dark Masters with time long enough for the Digi-destined children in a bubble-like shield created by his magic power to escape from their heinous wrath.
- Whamon sacrificing himself to save the DigiDestined as well as WarGreymon while being impaled Lord MetalSeadramon's vicious River of Power laser attack right through the skull; he dies from his injuries after MetalSeadramon is defeated, but not before he tells the DigiDestined themselves to save the Digital World.
- Digimon Adventure 02:
- Wormmon: He sacrifices himself to help Davis Motoyima defeat Kimeramon in hopes to save Ken Ichijouji from himself.
- Yugi Muto: He sacrificed himself to save Yami Yugi from being captured by Dartz.
- Joey Wheeler: Sacrificed himself to the Man-Eater Bug to protect his friends from getting hurt and help Yami Yugi activate the Horn of Heaven card.
- Sonic X:
- Maria Robotnik: She sacrificed herself to save her friend Shadow the Hedgehog from the GUN soldiers who shot her in Sonic X. Her incarnations in Shadow the Hedgehog. Sonic the Hedgehog videogames and comic book adaptions also did the similar thing.
- Cosmo the Seedrian (Sonic X): She sacrificed herself to help Super Sonic and Super Shadow, defeat the Metarex and save the galaxy.
- Galuf of Final Fantasy V deserves special mention as he subverts normal RPG rules and summons the courage and will-power to fight past 0-HP to defeat X-Death to save his friends, he pays the price though as his HP was apparently so far into the negatives when his will to fight left him after battle that no amount of Raise!s or Phoenix Downs could revive him.
- In Lollipop Chainsaw, Junji Morikawa, Juliett's mentor, sacrifices himself so that he can attack the Dark Purveyors who have just been summoned. Morikawa tries to blast them but then Zed strikes Morikawa and mortally wounds him. Morikawa lives to see Zed defeated and dies shortly after.
- Sora: He stabs himself with Ansem's Keyblade in order to release Kairi and the rest of the princesses' hearts.
- Baby Metroid (Super Metroid): During the final battle between Samus Aran and Mother Brain, the Baby attacks Mother Brain and sucks out her life force before she can release a finishing blow on Samus. As the Baby recharges Samus' health, Mother Brain resurrects herself and attacks, but the Baby jumps in the way and is killed. However, this allows Samus to obtain the Hyper Beam to obliterate Mother Brain.
- Peppy Hare: When the Star Fox Team arrived at the Aparoid Homeworld, a shield is generated to keep them out, so Peppy tries to fire at the shields from aboard the Great Fox but to no avail, so he goes a step farther by ramming the mothership into the shield, effectively shattering it despite the protests of the Star Fox group, so they went without him. After the Aparoid Queen's death and the planet's destruction, the team mourned for those who presumably lost their lives, until they find out that Peppy and ROB 64 survived as they used an escape pod, much to their joy.
- Asher Forrester/Rodrik Forrester (Telltale Games: Game of Thrones): In the episode 5 ending, Asher and his crew are almost to Ironrath, but they anticipate a fight when they arrive in the harbor to find it empty. Asher finds Rodrik, but the reunion is short-lived as a Whitehill soldier runs for the gate to cut Rodrik and Asher off from most of their men. Rodrik and Asher will run to the gate and try to open it but upon realizing that it is stuck, Whitehill soldiers will advance on the duo. Rodrik states that one has to stay to let the other out. How who survived, that's the player's choice.
- John Black from Age of Empires III: Sacrifice himself to destroy the Circle of Ossus and killing General Warwick by causing an avalanche.
- Sonya Blade: Sacrifices herself to ensure the Netherrealm Palace controlled by 2 ruling Revenants Lui Kang and Kitana is destroyed.