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Immortality in fiction - Wikipedia

Amazon Rapids Fun stories for kids on the go. Amazon Restaurants Food delivery from local restaurants. ComiXology Thousands of Digital Comics. East Dane Designer Men's Fashion. Shopbop Designer Fashion Brands. A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure , the fact that some one figured out a way to kill Zeus freaks out the entire rest of the pantheon to the point where even talking about the murder becomes taboo. Pact has Isadora, a Riddling Sphinx who predates the written word.

She is unaging, but not unkillable, and therefore she credits her survival against the odds to an oath that she swore to herself long previously to put her survival above all other concerns, which lets her know when it's time to bargain and withdraw. In The Dinosaur Lords , in a conversation between two Grey Angels, Uriel and Raguel , one asks the other whether he fears that one day, his restorative protocols would fail and he'd die the real death. The way the question was phrased, the asker himself definitely does.


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Zettai outmaneuvers an opponent who outclasses her in every way by exploiting this trope. Omnias is immortal but can still be killed by things like necrocraft and so he dodges involuntarily when it is aimed at him. This forces him to abandon a strategic position and lose the confrontation. Apollo confirms in The Trials of Apollo , a sequel series to the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, that this trope is in effect, at least with the Olympian Gods The Norse Gods of the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard mostly accept the fact that most them will die at Ragnarok, while the issue the Egyptian Gods of The Kane Chronicles have with the threat is more the fact that the way to inflict death upon them is something magicians can use to utterly blackmail them and isn't explicitly about being scared of death.

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They are simply amazed that Mortals aren't driven completely mad by their impending demises. Godly death for the Greek Gods is known as fading in the Rick Riordan universe, and terrifies them in part because they completely vanish upon death. One day they are there, one day they aren't. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Adam talks to a group of vampires about his thoughts on their species, and how contrary to mortal humans, vampires fear death and things that can kill them, like the Slayer, precisely because they are immortal.

Anya becomes afraid of growing old and dying when she loses her powers as a vengeance demon and becomes mortal, and when Buffy's mother dies she has a breakdown over how stupid the idea of death is to her. It's implied in the Star Trek universe that the Q fear the very thought of being mortal to the point where it's considered a major punishment for them.

When one of them decided he wanted to die, they imprisoned him in a comet rather than see what would happen. The Expanded Universe reveals that they also fear that death brings either utter ceasing of existence for them, or that there's something more powerful than them waiting in the afterlife. One of the main differences between the Doctor and The Master. The former has shifted increasingly towards Who Wants to Live Forever?


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This comes into play at the end of the series. When the Master threatens to destroy the entire planet rather than admit defeat , the Doctor reminds him of all the disasters they've already been through and calls his bluff. He seemingly chooses to die by another means a few minutes later, but has a Soul Jar standing by. From time to time, the Doctor has expressed a fear of death, such as when the Ninth Doctor faced imminent death in Cardiff in "The Unquiet Dead" and the Tenth Doctor faced the spectre of his next regeneration in "The End of Time". In Series 9, however, his fear shifted to the death of other people, in particular a companion he'd developed love for.

The Tenth Doctor is at one point asked why he fears death if he'll regenerate.

Immortals Fear Death

This is shown when his time comes, where he rages about how unfair it is for him to sacrifice himself when "I could do so much more" though he still does it , and his last words are a whimpered "I don't want to go. In fact, he'll destroy the current universe and Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence before accepting death.

In The Good Place , Michael, as a demon, is technically immortal but can be subjected to actual death as punishment for his failures. He attempts to become good so that he can get to Heaven and escape this fate, but has difficulty understanding ethics because he's never confronted mortality.

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Once his teachers manage to make him grasp the concept of his own death, he freaks out and goes into a depressive panic spiral. Ganma of Kamen Rider Ghost are using a combination of science and Magitek to create shells they project their souls in from their real, human-like, bodies. Alain is stunned by the realization that he can die after he loses his eyecon body and it takes him a while before he can get it back together. Unfortunately, he swings the other way afterwards, lacking any sense of selfpreservation, overstraining his body and even adding a couple failed suicidal attacks.

Played straight and averted in Kamen Rider Ex-Aid. Bugsters are video game characters and thus can respawn indefinitely. That is unless defeated by Cronus , who can manipulate time to keep them from doing so. Finding this out has reduced the de facto leader of Bugsters, Parado , to shaking wreck. His partner-in-crime, Graphite , has not been afraid of death even before he knew about the respawning part so this has not affected him personally very much.

The Brunnen-G of Lexx discovered how to halt the aging process. Since death was no longer inevitable, most of the Brunnen-G became extremely paranoid of anything that could threaten their lives, to the point that they wouldn't even leave their homes. Ironically, the same Brunnen-G who cringed in fear of anything that might kill them felt nothing but relief when faced with inevitable death again in the form of His Divine Shadow.

It was less death itself and more uncertainty that the Brunnen-G feared.

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Katherine in The Vampire Diaries is absolutely terrified of dying and will do anything to prevent it, including invoking dark magic, making deals to sell out anyone who cares about her or taking over the body of her most hated enemy. In a historical flashback, the protagonist tries to frighten a chaste peasant girl in medieval France, and she counters with this trope when he boasts of how he's going to live forever as a vampire. This trope is exactly what kicks off the series' plot with the Big Bad learning that her immortality is fading fast and she only has a few months or weeks left to live.

In her desperation to live, she hastens the search of the substance that can prolongue her existence, triggering an earthquake in New York that leads to all the titular heroes teaming up against her. Gilgamesh from The Epic of Gilgamesh fell into despair after the gods killed his closest friend Enkidu. His fear of dying intensified now that he was alone again so he went on an epic journey to find the secret of immortality. In the end, he failed but he finally learned to accept that he would die someday and he resolved to live the rest of his days to the fullest.

A common theme in Vampire: The actions and policies of many elders, particularly in the Camarilla, are based around maintaining a centuries-old status quo that they feel safe in. An outsider would think that with immense power and an immortal lifespan, that these elders would be adventurous and progressive in shaping the world to what they think it should be, when in fact the opposite is true.

Immortals (2011) Carnage Count

With so much going for them, they reach the logical conclusion that they have so much to lose that taking any chance isn't worth the risk. So instead of molding the world, they insulate themselves from it. This is the motivation of the Dreaming Dark in Eberron. The Turning of the Age in Dal Quor would entail a complete reset of the plane, changing the nature of its central dream currently a nightmare and killing all quori at once and creating a whole new kind of them for the new age. Most quori find this prospect terrifying and fight to stop the natural cycle, while the kalashtar see the Turning of the Age as desirable for the sake of the benefits mortals will reap from a dreamworld that isn't evil at its core.

They stop aging after reaching adulthood and can breed with humans to birth offspring with this "eternal youth. They also lose all concept of humanity and morality and go to live in the ocean with the Deep Ones and to worship the undersea deity Father Dagon , the Ruler of the Deep Ones and consort to Mother Hydra. Since immortality is seen as a desire of humanity, themes involving immortality often explore the disadvantages as well as the advantages of such a trait. Sometimes immortality is used as a punishment, or a curse that might be intended to teach a lesson.

It is not uncommon to find immortal characters yearning for death. Much of the time, these things only happen to mortals who gain immortality. Beings born with immortality such as deities , demigods and races with "limited immortality" are usually quite adjusted to their long lives, though some may feel sorrow at the passing of mortal friends, but they still continue on. Some immortals may also watch over mortal relations either related to or descended from them , occasionally offering help when needed.

In legend, most famously in Wagner's opera The Flying Dutchman , a ship's captain is cursed with immortality after attempting to sail around the Cape of Good Hope in a terrible storm. He is doomed to sail around the Cape forever. In Jonathan Swift 's Gulliver's Travels , some of the inhabitants of the island of Immortals near Japan don't die, but they age and become ill, demented, and a nuisance to themselves and those surrounding them. Swift presents immortality as a curse rather than a blessing.

In general, a theme seen with many variations, is the notion of an essential world weariness akin to extreme exhaustion for which death is the only relief. This is inescapable when immortality is defined as half infinite life. Immortality defined as finite but arbitrarily long per the desire to exist does not, as a definition, suffer this limitation. When a person is tired of life, even death is shut off to them, creating an endless torture. The undead are fictional people who have died and still maintain some aspects of life. In many examples, the undead are immune to aging or even heal at an accelerated rate.

Dracula is one of the most famous examples of the undead. Immortality can be achieved in fiction through scientifically plausible means. Extraterrestrial life might be immortal or it might be able to give immortality to humans. Immortality is also achieved in many examples by replacing the mortal human body by machines. There are many examples of immortality in fiction where a character is vulnerable to death and injury in the normal way but possesses an extraordinary capacity for recovery.


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The long-running British science-fiction series Doctor Who focuses on a character called the Doctor , a member of the alien Time Lord race, who can " regenerate " instead of dying or aging; however, rather than simply healing wounds, this results in his entire physical appearance changing when he is fatally wounded or terminally sick, and he is only capable of doing so twelve times before finally dying for good.

There are numerous works of fantasy fiction dealing with spiritual immortality in the form of reincarnation or a world of the dead.