FANDOM


WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic
File:Dollhouse-Acker.jpg


"He'll have that scar forever."

In Fiction Land, it's easier to come Back From the Dead than it is to get rid of a scar or recover a lost limb.

While it's true that Beauty Is Never Tarnished, and it's a Good Thing You Can Heal means it's highly unlikely for serious injury to happen or leave scars in the first place, there are occasions when a character can't count on that to save them, and they get badly injured in the line of duty. These injuries can be scars, lost limbs, or losing an eye... and the wounds you would expect to see in Real Life aren't reset or retconned away.

Akin to a Traumatic Haircut, but more grisly and more permanent, the injuries serve as a constant reminder of their sacrifice or failure.

That said, a few series have ingenious ways of keeping the character spry after these injuries. Scars always look cool regardless, and Artificial Limbs are awesome, then of course there's Disability Superpower, or just plain taking a level in badass because Eyepatches are cool!

A few magical series may have the Healing Hands to completely cure or regenerate these wounds, but an author set on hurting their characters can find ways to avoid removing them. A few choose to keep them, or discover the wound is cursed, or is too old to heal. Losing the scar can be just as momentous as well; there are wounds that "only love can heal" and will only be healed once an epiphany is reached.

To the Pain usually does not get carried out -- but when it does, count on its leaving scars. Similar to Healing Hands, Psychic Surgery never leaves scars.

See also Death By Origin Story, Every Scar Has a Story and Scar Survey.

Often Achey Scars.

Examples of Scars Are Forever include:


Anime and Manga

  • In Busou Renkin, Tokiko got her scar from a homunculus attack. She first activated the Valkyrie Skirt for her counterattack. Bravo said she could have had it removed, but she kept it to signify her birth as a warrior.
  • Rurouni Kenshin has a part where they talk about how supposedly scars that have strong emotions associated with them linger longer, and as a result, Kenshin's cross-scar sticks around until he reaches emotional resolution near the end of the story, and the future scenes mention how it's finally fading.
  • Guts in Berserk lost his right eye and part of his left arm to the demons during the events of the Eclipse that end the anime. He has the arm replaced with a cool metal one that doubles as a repeating crossbow and a gunpowder cannon, but nothing can be done about the eye. He's also got the Brand of Sacrifice on his neck which acts as a lightning rod for more demons, and it's not going away anytime soon either. Casca, his Love Interest, has the same brand mark on her left breast, and because she became mute and withdrawn as a result of the severe traumas she suffered during the Eclipse, it's even more problematic for her.
    • As the story's gone on, he's acquired more and more scars on his face and body.
      • After his repeated use of the Berserker Armor (Which keeps broken bones together by piercing his flesh with spikes), nearly every inch of his body is covered with scars, or at least wounds that aren't likely to heal soon.
      • Don't forget that Guts's first - and probably trademark - scar is the one across his nose, given to him by Gambino while he was training Guts as a child.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam Seed, the scar Yzak got when fighting against Kira is kept for the entirety of Seed, but is removed by the time he reappears in Seed Destiny.
    • Handwaved that Yzak could have gotten it removed at any time, but saw it as symbolic of his grudge against Kira (who inflicted it) and thus didn't.
  • Gundam's Char got a small scar across his forehead from the Sword Fight he had with protagonist Amuro at the end of Mobile Suit Gundam. It sticks with him through all his future appearances in the franchise.
  • Throughout G Gundam, Domon has a cross scar on his right cheek. It is never explained.
  • In Bleach Grimmjow intentionally employs this trope, preventing Orihime from healing the nasty chest scar he got from Ichigo during their second fight.
    • Ikkaku's scar from his fight with Ichigo doesn't seem to have healed.
    • Kenpachi's scars from his fight with Nnoitra are still there.
    • Yamamoto and Mayuri's bodies are littered with scars.
    • Hisagi has claw marks on his face he got from a hollow when he was stil a rookie.
  • In Cynthia the Mission the fights play out with deadly realism, and many characters bare not-so-sexy scars on their necks or chests, especially since a certain killer enjoyed cutting such areas.
  • Mello from Death Note after blowing up his base.
  • Ashitaka from Princess Mononoke. Giant musket wound in the chest? Gone the next morning. Tiny scratch under his eye? That's here to stay, even after the Forest Spirit brings him back from the dead. Go figure.
    • Justified by the fact that he was Cursed with Awesome when he took that musket wound, and could heal easily. When he received the scratch, he no longer had the curse.
  • In Dragon Ball, Tien takes a cut to the chest from Tao Pai Pai which remains for the rest of the series, even after he dies and comes back to life. Goku gets a hole blown through his shoulder around the same time as Tien gets his, but that scar only stays until the Time Skip to Dragon Ball Z. Yamcha also acquires scars, but that happens during the Time Skip just before the last arc of Dragon Ball, so we never find out exactly what caused them.
    • Bulma caused them.
    • There's also Brolli. Stabbed and left for dead as a baby because of his terrifying power, the (not exactly depicted) scar left from this proves to be his weak spot. Only in the first movie he appears in, however.
    • Vegeta also has scars on his body along with the one Yajirobe gave him with a sword slash.
  • While Dr. Black Jack has demonstrated that A) he is a master at plastic surgery and B) he is skilled enough to perform surgery on himself, he has never bothered to do anything about the massive number of scars that cover his own body. Granted, the worst of them (the miscolored skin graft on his face) does have sentimental value, but you have to wonder about the others.
    • Even he has limits...
  • In Detective Conan/case closed, Inspector Meguire has a scar under his hat and his wife has many scars that came from an incident many years ago when they first met. Harley Hartwell has a scar on the back of his hand where his girlfriend stabbed him with a pen when they were hanging off a cliff to make her let go of her hand, so as to make it more likely he'd make it to the top without the extra weight.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima: Negi refuses to have a scar on his arm he received in a fight with a temporary backup image of his father healed, preferring to keep it as a memento.
    • He also didn't heal the scar Setsuna gave him on his face, keeping it as a reminder to not get so caught up in the thoughts of his father that he forgets his students.
      • However, the scar was shed off during the battle against Cosmo Entelecheia. His other ones may or may not have been removed at the same time.
    • Ako has a large scar across her back that is a source of much Angst. We still don't know what it's from, though.
    • Konoka's father has several scars on his upper body, presumably from his Ala Rubra days.
    • Also Jack Rakan has a scar across the bridge of his nose, and scars from when he lost his arms to Lifemaker's attack.
  • Medaka Box's resident pervert Kurokami Maguro hides many scars under his shirt which he keeps as a reminder of his past errors and as a symbol of his returning to the good side. Kumagawa healed them... because he's such a Complete Monster.
  • Vash the Stampede. Vash has an absolutely ridiculous number of scars covering his body, as well as a missing arm and a gash in his chest so deep that metal bars had to be put over it to protect it from further injury. The only one that we actually see happen, however, is the loss of his arm. His signature red Badass Longcoat hides all of these wounds, making them even more shocking the first time they are shown.
    • Shocking?! More like 'horrifying...
    • Inversion: Vash's species is capable of regeneration, meaning he keeps all those scars by choice (as mementos, apparently).
      • Or not. It took Knives several decades in some kind of tank to recover after July, and Vash doesn't have money or a home base or any research on how his body works. He doesn't even know how to do the energy-gun arm thing. Maybe if he talked to the plants more often they'd tell him how to fix himself.

 Vash: Knives knows things about my body that I don't know.

  • In Rosario to Vampire, Tsukune is shown in the shower with all the scars he got from attempting to protect Moka.
  • C.C. from Code Geass has a Healing Factor that undoes any damage in a matter of minutes; the only exception being a Geass sigil-shaped scar beneath and partly on her left breast, which never heals. Eventually Lelouch (and the viewer) learn that she got it when the nun who raised her back in the Middle Ages forced the Code onto her, making her immortal.
  • Misato has one across her abdomen in Neon Genesis Evangelion as a permanent reminder of the Second Impact.
    • The scars on Gendo's hands
  • Seems like the Healing Hands in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha has a limit on what it can repair. Cinque's eyepatch covers an eye she lost back when she fought and killed an over S-Rank Mage. Meanwhile, the body of Commander Waltz, Subaru's commanding officer in the Disaster Rescue division, is covered with burn scars he got when he pushed himself too hard during the airport fire incident, an act that made him known as a hero, but injured him enough to be retired from front-line duties.
    • In the original series, Nanoha's father, when seen in the bath, is covered with scars. They were received during one incident he had at his old job that resulted in him being hospitalized for a long time. Presumably, this incident was the same one that killed his counterpart in Triangle Heart 3 ~sweet songs forever~, so this Shirou got off lucky.
  • One of Fullmetal Alchemist's major plot points centers on the main characters trying to reverse this trope, as one of them lost an arm and a leg, and the other one his whole body, and both of them have devoted their lives to getting them back.
    • In chapter 107 of the manga Ed's arm is restored when Al sacrifices himself in exchange. However Edward still has the scars where his automail used to be connected to flesh.
      • Later, Ed has a chance to also get his leg back, but he decides against it, feeling that he needs a constant reminder of his journey and, most importantly, the consequences of his actions.
    • And the character Scar, who is named for (obviously) the large scar in the middle of his forehead, received at the same time as his Red Right Hand.
    • Not to mention, in the manga and Brotherhood: Riza Hawkeye, Jean Havoc, and Ran Fan.
  • One Piece, though notorious for its Hollywood Healing, has a couple of examples of this, both with Zoro. The first one is a huge diagonal scar that takes up his whole chest, from being all but cut in half, and always reminds him of his reason to fight (to defeat the man who gave it to him). The second (and third) are two matching scars around his ankles from when he tried to cut his own feet off. Oddly enough, they have absolutely no sentimental significance and haven't even been mentioned since they happened.
      • After the Time Skip, Zoro has another Scar down his left eye.
      • This page shows the scar on his right eye, while this page shows this scar on his left eye.
    • Luffy himself has a semi-circular scar under an eye that never vanished. He cut it himself as a kid to prove to Shanks how hardcore he was.
      • After the Time Skip, Luffy has another, large X-shaped scar on his chest.
    • Crocodile has stitches that look as though his entire upper-face was nearly cut off, and Epileptic Trees say it will play some more important soon.
      • Fans occasionally joke that his nose itched and he scratched with the wrong hand.
    • Brook is noteworthy for having a large scar on his forehead that's still present after his death and resurrection as a skeleton, in the form of a visible skull fracture underneath where scarred flesh used to be.
  • Inverted in Saint Seiya, where going blind seems to be as easily reversed as a slight scratch in your skin. At least for Shiryu
    • Not for Ikki who still has a scar in his face from his training in Death Queen Island.
  • Chichiri in Fushigi Yuugi has a massive scar where his left eye used to be. He has the magic power to get rid of it permanently, but chooses not to as a form of penance for his greatest failure. Instead, he covers his face with a permanently smiling mask.
  • In XxxHolic, Himawari gets a bunch of scars across her back when she decides to take Watanuki's scar wounds for him after he fell out of a window and onto a bunch of broken glass. Watanuki's Mismatched Eyes also count.
  • Xanxus from Katekyo Hitman Reborn has a bunch of burn scars inflicted by the 9th, including a huge cross-shaped one across his whole face. The thing is, they remain hidden most of the time, and only show when his anger reaches its apex. Nevertheless, they are permanent.
  • Gungrave: in both anime and games, regardless of Grave's powerful Healing Factor, neither the scars from his mortal life nor his lost eye regenerated themselves after death.
  • Oh, boy, is this trope followed in Full Metal Panic - most notably with Gauron. Almost every fight he has with Sousuke ends with him receiving a new scar - to the point where his final scars and wounds leave him limbless and with only one eye. Sousuke also has a cross-shaped scar on his chin that is permanent, though it's never explained.
    • He also has some more on his body. Not quite as noticeable in the anime, since he rarely takes his shirt off.
  • Black Lagoon: Balalaika's face was badly burned during the Afghan War. Her enemies call her Fry Face (but they do so at their peril).
  • Baccano! features Nice Hollystone, whose body is is covered in horrible scars. It's later revealed that she gained them (and lost her eye) in a childhood explosives accident.
  • Randel from Pumpkin Scissors has scars all over if you get a chance to look at him one is most evident across his nose bridge and his cheeks.
  • In the Blade of the Immortal manga series, Manji has two scars horizontally across his forehead and cheeks/nose, and a third going vertically through his right eye that he received shortly before he became immortal.
  • In Mirai Nikki, Uryuu Minene takes a dart to one of her eyes during her introduction, and later the same eye is yanked out by the 12th diary holder. This leads to her wearing an Eyepatch of Power for the rest of the series.
  • Dilandau of The Vision Of Escaflowne gets his scar not long after he's introduced in the series, and said scar becomes his trademark. Strangely, it disappears completely from his face at the end of the series when he reverts to Celena Schezar, Allen's sister.
  • Kaoru from Ai Yori Aoshi has a forest of incredibly nasty scars on his back. We do get to see where they came from, however...
  • In Soul Eater Soul suffers a massive scar after Chrona cleaves his entire torso open when he tries to protect his meister Maka in their first fight against the swords...man...woman...person?. It retains some plot relevance since it allowed the black blood into his/her body.
    • Black Star gained a permanent, significantly-placed scar during his fight with Mifune. It cuts across the star tattoo on his shoulder, and could have been removed by Kim's magic but he decided to leave it as it was. It could be seen as an image of how his new resolve about the Nakatsukasa Purpose has allowed Black Star to turn from the path of the Kishin, which his clan fell to and eventually destroyed them (well, figuratively speaking. Technically, Shibusen was responsible).
    • Stein has scars all over him, as he experiments on himself when he can find no suitable test subjects.
  • In Pokémon Special, Ruby has a rather nasty one hidden underneath his hat that he received by protecting Sapphire when they were children. Seriously, seeing a little boy get his head slashed at and the same boy smiling with blood running down his head, saying, "Look, I chased away the Salamence!" is something I really don't have words for.
  • Allen in D.Gray-man has a cursed scar across his left eye, and later a huge scar across his chest from impaling himself on his own BFS. (It Makes Sense in Context, we swear.) And Tyki never lost the scars from Allen stabbing him. So now they match.
    • General Klaud Nine has an X-shaped scar across her face.
  • Banba of Eyeshield 21 got tons of scars after some sort of mysterious training. Many chapters later, while mentoring Kurita, we find out that his training was boxing, learning how to absorb attacks.
  • In the Gunsmith Cats manga, Goldie gets two scars after being shot by Rally - first on her hand, then on her cheek.
  • Emeraldas and Captain Harlock in the Leijiverse.
  • Kenshiro from Fist of the North Star is best known as the "Man with Seven Scars," due to the stab wounds on his chest in the pattern of the Big Dipper given to him by Shin, the one who defeated him and stole his love Yuria away.
  • President Valentine, the Big Bad of Steel Ball Run, has an American flag scar on his back, received when he was a soldier.
  • Lucia and Gale Glory in Rave Master both recieved scars about ten years before the story began. Gale's seemed to have been there more to make him look more Badass, as it recieved no real attention even after we saw how he got it. Lucia's came from being grazed by three of god knows how many bullets were fired at him, and are used more to clue the readers in to who he is before they actually reveal his identity.
  • Father Anderson of Hellsing has one on his left cheek of unknown origin. It's possible that he got it before gaining his healing factor.
    • Also, Ceras Victoria, when she became a full-blooded vampire. Just before she had been beaten to hell, had her eyes slashed, and her left arm cut off. When she finally drains Pip's blood as he's already dying, her other injuries are healed, including her eyes, but her left arm is still gone... Replaced by a shapeshifting limb/wing/tentacle of raw dark energy. Which looks exactly like the Eldritch Abomination material that Alucard becomes when releasing his limiter seals enough...
  • Lawrence of Spice and Wolf has one on his left cheek, although it is not visible all the time. He got it from a sword in season 1 of the anime and it get´s later shown in a closeup in season 2. It also reopens when he is punched on it later on. It is just a few weeks old at most, mind you.
  • Sensei Iruka of Naruto has a horizontal scar that crosses over his nose to just under the eyes. It's never explained and due to a flashback we know he got it before he was about 10 years old.
    • Kakashi get a scar during his first mission as a jounin and he lost one of his eyes.
    • Also, Gaara and his love shaped scar.
  • Sango from Inuyasha has a big scar on her back where her possessed brother Kohaku stabbed her with a scythe and almost killed her.
    • Naraku also sports a large spider shaped scar on his back. He inherited this scar from his mortal coil and cannot rid himself of it no matter what he does. Even puppet incarnations of himself that he creates have the scar displayed across their backs.
  • Although they have the ability to heal and even regenerate lost limbs, Claymores have some notable examples. Universal to all is the fact that they have a massive, hideous scar on the abdomen after going through the process of having yoma flesh implanted into them. Individually speaking, Irene/Illena never regenerated her lost arm after confronting Priscilla, Raphaela, much like Chichiri from Fushigi Yuugi has a massive scar over her left eye after her awakened sister, Luciela, clawed it, Galatea likewise has an ugly scar across her eyes, which she inflicted upon herself after the Northern Campaign and which cannot be healed anymore due to age, and Miria has gotten a crossed-shaped scar that covers nearly her entire face after her botched first assault of the Organization HQ.
  • The sixteenth episode of Tiger and Bunny reveals that Yuri Petrov has a large burn scar in the shape of his father's hand on his face, which he usually keeps hidden with makeup.
  • Karasawa in Daily Lives of High School Boys is covered with scars (most prominently on the forehead which he wears a baseball cap to cover), courtesy of Habara eight years ago.
  • Mawaru Penguindrum: In the final episode has Himari and Ringo gain a scar and a burn respectively. The reason for this is to provide evidence that Kanba and Shouma existed in their lives despite them disappearing, as Kanba became glass and cut Himari while Shouma became flames that were engulfing Ringo. Both were sacrifices to save their respective love interests.
    • Another example is Tabuki, who at one point we see with scarred fingers. Episode 18 reveals that he deliberately injured his own fingers in a misguided attempt to win the affection of his psychologically-abusive mother. It didn't work.
  • A character in Kuroneko Guardian has a scar due to a burglar slashing her 4 years ago, when she was in high school.

Comic Books

  • At the end of the first Elf Quest series Kahvi hits Cutter with her gauntleted fist in order to prove a point. Although Leetah could heal the scar, Cutter decides to keep it to remind him of the lesson.
    • There's also Sun-Toucher, Leetah's father, who's gone blind after looking at the sun too long too often but refuses to let his daughter restore his sight because he's quite comfortable getting by on his remaining senses. A more straightforward example of the trope is the Wolfrider One-Eye, who in the backstory lost an eye (duh) to an injury the tribe's former healer couldn't fully mend. And it's an attack coming from his blind side that kills him later in the series.
  • Miyamoto Usagi has a scar on his forehead from a wound he took at Adachigahara, where his lord died and he became a Ronin.
  • From the Marvel G.I. Joe comics, Snake-Eyes originally wore a mask because he was really ugly without it--burn scars and so on. About halfway through the comics' run, he got reconstructive surgery and looked pretty much normal afterward, except for a scar on his lip. He kept wearing the mask, mainly because he wouldn't sell as many toys without it is supposed to be a Badass ninja supercommando.
    • He also immediately got a cauldron full of hot coals tossed into his face by one of the trio of torturers the Baroness had hired. As an issue all of 4-5 issues before the end of the original run showed, his face was still somewhat badly scarred, just in this case it looked more like the burns were nowhere near as severe as the original ones. Which makes sense, when we balance aviation gas from a crashing helicopter versus a bunch of hot coals...
      • Don't forget the WWII version of G.I. Joe vs Transformers in which Storm Shadow slices up Snake Eyes' face and Snake Eyes uses gunpowder from bullets to sear the wounds shut ala Rambo III.
    • IDW's G.I. Joe continuity has a unique take on this with the twins Tomax and Xamot Paoli, working a Batman Gambit with undercover agent Chuckles. When it reaches its end, they've allowed him to "discover" the truth and are taunting him about it. He tries to shoot them, and find they've replaced his bullets with blanks. He grabs Xamot and holds the gun to his head, and when Tomax laughs off the threat, pulls the trigger. The hot gasses severely burn Xamot, allowing Chuckles to make his escape. Now the scar is the only visible difference between the two brothers, and Xamot seems to be going slightly mad since it happened.
  • Doctor Doom received third-degree or chemical burns to the face in an ill-fated experiment in college, and later made it worse by putting on a steel mask while it was still red-hot. Why he keeps the scars is known only to him, maybe as a reminder that even he isn't perfect. It isn't for lack of restorative means; he once healed the severe burns on Storm's arm and restored nerve and muscle function after she was burned by the Human Torch, so he has the technology laying around. But still, one of the most consistent things in the Marvel Universe is that the scars themselves are never shown on panel, just other characters commenting on how horrid they are.
    • Jack Kirby drew Doom without his mask once as he interpreted the character. Doom's scars were non-existent, except for a single light scar on his cheek. The King thought Doom was so vain that such a little scar was enough to make Doom hide his face forever.
      • He didn't actually draw him; he just said that if he did, thats how he would do it. Retcon has made it that Kirby's version is true (though the first scarring was not caused by the explosion, but by Mephisto scratching him before blowing his machine up- hiding his face was a mixture of vanity and severe trauma), but Doom currently really does have severe burns all over his body, but its only because he was so impatient to put his armour on he didn't let it cool down, because he could still feel Mephisto attacking him and desperately wanted to block it out.
    • Ultimate Doctor Doom has a weird take on it. For instance he was part of the original accident which gave the four their powers, him becoming the Chinese element of steel (living armor). Though he turns out to be able to heal any wound or disfigurement, yet his own spiky projectiles scarred him permanently, with him being unable to heal it. Invert, subvert, invert, very very vert bert.
      • The movie continuity (which is similar to Ultimate FF, but the accident happens In Space!) is just about as weird. It starts out with the Jack Kirby freaking-out-over-nothing scar, but he keeps picking at it and it keeps getting worse, revealing more and more living metal beneath his skin. Eventually he covers his face with a metal mask, and when it's superheated, it ends up burning off the remaining skin. So subverted, played straight, and deconstructed.
  • In Marvel Comics there's also Baron Helmut Zemo, whose face looks literally like half-molten wax due to chemical burns. He has refused several chances to heal his face, stating he prefers to keep the scars as a reminder.
  • The scarred left half of The Goon's face, a result of an incident in his Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Mina's scars in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, legacy of her encounter with Dracula. Far from being the discreet little hole punches of legend, her entire neck is ravaged. She always covers them up with a scarf and- until she and Allan start their affair- believes she's now so hideous no man could want to touch her.
    • She actually still has them after being rejuvenated and made immortal. Allan keeps some scars after this as well -- he theorizes that they were restored to their physical primes, with any damages incurred prior to that point left as is.
  • Preacher (Comic Book). "A star for Starr." And that's only the beginning...
  • Several Love and Rockets characters, especially Casimira, who lost her arm when she was accidentally shot as a child, and Khamo, who was horribly burned when he tried to save his lover Tonantz ín from burning herself alive.
  • Katchoo in Strangers in Paradise has Z-shaped scars on her wrists, presumably from a suicide attempt, but there is no official explanation in canon. Tambi seems to have scars everywhere except on her face, but the criss-crossing ones on her hands are the most obvious. There is a canonical explanation for her scars: she used to cut herself to while in the employ of Darcy Parker..
  • Deadpool has a healing factor which is directly responsible for his scars; it prevents him from dying of his terminal cancer, but also supercharged aforementioned cancer, making the skin all over his body kind of melty and gross. Subverted as the scars are in constant flux, healing and getting cancerrific and healing again.
  • Konstantin Romanov in Nikolai Dante gets massive eye trauma at the end of "The Master of Kronstadt" after Nikolai's bullet picks up some of Emmanuelle's vampire flesh on its flight.
  • Nick Fury and his left eye. Sure, he could have it healed or regrown with SHIELD cloning tech, or replaced with cybornetic implants, but it would make him less awesome.
  • Jono aka Chamber from X-Men has a huge gaping hole where his chest and jaw should be after his first manifestation of his mutant powers: an explosion of telekinetic power, with Jono being one of those unfortunate mutants not immune to the destructive effects of their own abilities. Jono's also missing most of his internal organs, but fortunately his power keeps him alive. His condition was briefly undone after he got a blood transfusion from his ancestor Apocalypse (which also gave him Apocalypse's trademark grey skin, blue lips, and red eyes) but he went back to his hole-where-his-chest-should-be appearance before long.


Film

  • Yvaine's limp from a broken bone in Stardust. In the original novel, Tristran's burnt hand also qualifies - and both are somewhat crippled for life as a result.
    • Yvaine's limp is technically justified. They say at one point, in the novel, that it won't heal properly because Tristan didn't set it properly.
  • The scar on the Kurgan's neck in Highlander, although this is justified - immortals only die if they're beheaded, so logically neck-damage would stay.
  • Daniel Craig's James Bond has what looks to be a bunch of scarring on the left side of his face throughout Quantum of Solace, apparently from the massive beatings he took in Casino Royale. Considering the movies are directly related in plot and are meant to portray a realistic take on the classic spy thriller, this is a welcome change from the disjointed "continuity" of the previous twenty films.
  • Some of Harrison Ford's roles provide an explanation for the scar on his chin, acquired in a car accident in Real Life. Han Solo got his in a knife fight in an Expanded Universe book; Indiana Jones cut himself the first time he used a bullwhip in the flashback at the beginning of ''The Last Crusade.
    • Working Girl, on the other hand, claims that he fainted while trying to pierce his ear and smashed his face on a toilet.
    • On the subject of Harrison Ford, he gave fellow actor Sean Bean a scar above one of his eyes while filming Patriot Games[1]. Depending on how Badass Bean's characters are supposed to be, he may have it covered up or enhanced with makeup.
  • Speaking of Star Wars, there's a persistent rumor that the entire Wampa scene in The Empire Strikes Back was included last-minute to explain Real Life facial scars that Mark Hamill incurred during a car accident. Hammil was in an accident, but all his injuries were on the left side - all Luke's injuries were on the right.
    • In truth, the wampa scene was written before the accident.
      • Also Hamill's scars have faded with time, looking at him today you'd never know.
  • Tony Montana from Scarface has a scar across his right eye from a knife fight as a kid.
  • Ironhide has a small scar above his right eye befitting a 'Bot of his advanced years and Badassness. When he tranforms, it becomes a ding over his headlight.
  • StarshipTroopers: With some exceptions, most adults in the movie have lost one or more limbs, become blind due to burn wounds, or gained some other type of permanent scarring due to their military service.
  • The Joker from The Dark Knight. It is quite uncertain how he achieved those scars because of his tendency to give a Multiple Choice Past for them. The accounts in the film are used by the Joker as a Freudian Excuse to why he is the way he is.
  • In Serenity, Mal still has scars from being stabbed by Crow and later tortured by Niska in Firefly.
  • In Face Off, Agent Archer has a scar in his chest from where Castor shot him (and accidentally killed his son). Before the surgery to change into Castor, he tells the doctors that he wants his scar back afterwards. At the end of the movie, after finally defeating Castor, he tells them he doesn't need it any more.
  • In Halloween II (2009), Annie Brackett has scars on her face from Michael Myers torturing her in the preceding film.
  • Astonishingly averted in Man with the Screaming Brain. Cole spends half the movie running around with his forehead looking like this, but the epilogue reveals that he's completely healed up six months later.
  • Averted in The Princess Bride. Inigo points out his facial scars, but they're hard to notice before or after unless you're looking closely.
    • Played straight in the book, where they are mentioned as a prominent feature.
  • During the filming of Dune, actor Jurgen Prochnow (playing Duke Leto Atreides) was hurt twice. The first time was during the torture scene, when a light bulb exploded from heat near his face, scarring his cheek. He still has that scar. During the dream sequence, a device was attached to his face for making green smoke where the baron scratched him. Despite thorough testing, he still gets first and second-degree burns from the smoke.
  • I'm Gonna Git You Sucka - Jack, a war veteran who was only an Army accountant, is a bit intimidated by some badass action guys he's now working with - one of them has an eyepatch, and it turns out he was a wartime accountant too. He lost his eye when the guys in the office were shooting paper clips with rubber bands.


Literature

  • In The Odyssey, Odysseus has a scar on his foot from a boyhood hunting accident that turns out to be extremely relevant to the plot, making this one exceedingly old indeed.
  • J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels
    • Harry has a scar the shape of a lightning bolt. According to Tonks, it would be hard to change or cover up even with magic.
    • During her reign at Hogwarts, Professor Umbridge forces Harry to write "I must not tell lies" on his own hand with a bloodwriting pen specifically designed to scar the lines into the body. It's a slow and painful processes that ensures that the writer would never forget.
    • Harry manages to get two more scars during the seventh book: one on his arm from when Nagini bites him, and the other on his chest from when the Horcrux fused to him.
    • Bill Weasley's scars from Fenrir Greyback and George Weasley's missing ear (caused by bad aiming on Snape's part), both being cursed injuries, leave permanent scars, unlike the numerous other injuries faced on a regular basis by Hogwarts students.
      • Also, Bill's scars mean he prefers his meaty foods medium over well done.
    • Dumbledore has a scar that is a perfect map of the London underground. He could get rid of it, but what if he needs to find his way around the London underground someday?
    • Harry Potter plays this trope straight with regards to wounds caused by Dark Magic and averts it in cases of mundane injuries, as these can be healed instantly.
  • In JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings novels, Frodo Baggins is wounded by a Nazgul blade and a spider's sting, and near the end, has his finger bitten off by Gollum. The wounds never quite heal and throb and ache every year on the anniversary of his wounding. Word of God says it's psychosomatic.
    • And then there's Sauron. Word of Gollum says that he's still missing a finger from when Isildur cut it off, even though Word of God says that he rebuilt his body afterward.
      • Its implied that Sauron's evil means he is incapable of removing the marks of severe injuries (or possibly, injuries inflicted by a righteous cause). For example, when Numenor was destroyed for its blasphemy by the wrath of God, Sauron was present there in his beautiful form. After its destruction, he was never again able to assume a form that was not terrifying. Same goes for Morgoth, who received numerous injuries to his body and foot during his duel with Fingolfin, as well as having his face slashed by one of Manwë's eagles, and is described as being troubled by the scars ever afterward, as well as walking with a limp.
  • JRR Tolkien also had Beren lose his hand permanently.
  • In Ian Watson's novel Queenmagic, Kingmagic, injuries inflicted by magic can only be healed by personally killing the magician who injured you. If someone else happens to kill them first, you're stuck with a permanently unhealed injury for the rest of your life. This can be very nasty if it's something like a broken arm or fractured skull.
  • Eragon got a scar on his back in The Inheritance Cycle. However, it is later removed by powerful magic.
    • Murtagh has had a similar scar on his back since he was a child, when his father threw his sword at him while drunk. Unlike Eragon's case, this scar really is forever.
  • Fitz got numerous scars and his namesake badgerlock in Robin Hobb's Royal Assassin when he was tortured in Regal's dungeons. Later, in the follow-up Tawny Man trilogy, an out of control Skill-healing erases the scars, including the one on his scalp, and heals the permanent damage done by that torture.
    • However, Fitz and the Fool later restore these scars on the skin only, on the basis that their sudden absence would be highly suspicious. The only one not restored is the badgerlock, and he attributes it's disappearance to sudden notions of vanity causing him to dye it.
  • Eisenhorn, having been tortured by a Chaos cult, suffered permanent nerve damage. The most noticeable effect is in his face; the torturer promised he would never smile again, and the nerve damage did secure just that.
  • In the Gaunt's Ghosts novels, many character suffer permanent damage. Of particular significance is a chainsword scar across Gaunt's stomach -- pointed out as noticeable even among his other scars -- and Merrt's jaw, which makes his speech difficult and lost him his snipper skills.
  • Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride has two facial scars given to him by his father's murderer when he was ten years old (eleven in the movie).
  • In The Wheel of Time, Sammael has a scar that runs from the corner of his eye to his chin. Even though the scar could have been easily removed, he elected to keep it as a reminder that it was given to him by Lews Therin 3000 years ago. Plus, in the timeframe where the books take place, the only person in the world with the knowledge to remove said scar is a twisted sociopathic torturer who extracts a toll in pain from anyone she Heals. People would tear their wrists open with their teeth when they heard they would be handed over to her as prisoner.
    • What, the first Wo T example you could think of was Sammael? Try Rand, the main protagonist. He has branded marks on both of his palms and an unhealing double wound on his side. Not to mention Mat with his hanging scar, and Thom, whose leg was left stiff after a fight with a Myrddraal.
    • Speaking of Rand his hand gets blown off later in the series by Semirhage and Mat gives up an eye to save Moiraine.
  • Glokta from The First Law trilogy was tortured for two years, and spent all his time between torture sessions locked in a cell too small for him to stand, sit, or lie down in. As a result, one of his legs is crippled, he's missing every other tooth (opposite teeth in each row, so that he's incapable of chewing anything), and one of his eyes is permanently squinting, prone to bouts of twitching and weeping independent of the other. His back is frequently painful. He also had his nipples and all of the toes on one of his feet cut off. As one would imagine, he becomes a fairly unpleasant person; somehow, he still manages to be awesome.
    • Then there's Logen Ninefingers (no explanation required), Jezal, Ferro... and pretty much everyone else.
  • Garik "Face" Loran, child actor working for Imperial recruitment, picks up a scar during a botched Imperial raid on an (unsanctioned) Rebel attempt to kill him. He could've had it removed, of course, through bacta treatment, but he keeps it for years, as a reminder of the harm he did indirectly. After Ton Phanan dies, a provision in his will requires Face to remove the scar (which he does, though he keeps a fake one for a while), which is in turn symbolic of Phanan's help convincing Face that he really shouldn't feel guilty about it.
    • For that matter, Phanan - since he's allergic to bacta, serious injuries require him to receive prosthetic replacements for many of his limbs and organs. Upon having two limbs and his face replaced, he switched out of the medical profession and became an increasingly cynical pilot, eventually telling Face that that young doctor couldn't come back. Not all of him was there anymore. After he dies, Word of God holds that although he feared death and fought against it, he didn't have anything to live for, either.
  • The vampire Risika in Amelia Atwater-Rhodes' In The Forests of the Night has a scar that was made centuries ago with a magical knife. Although she has since grown powerful enough to hide it, she still wears it as a symbol of her hatred of the vampire who gave it to her.
  • Hester Shaw from Mortal Engines is hideously scarred thanks to Thaddeus Valentine trying to kill her as a baby. It shaped her career as an assassin and is the principal reason why she is so screwed up, angry and violent.
  • In Doctrine of Labyrinths, one of the principle protagonists, Mildmay, has had a long scar across his face since he was thirteen that distorts his upper lip and runs up to his hairline. It became infected while healing, leaving the nerves dead so that he can't move that side of his face and it slurrs his speech. Neither that scar, nor the ones on his leg or on his brother Felix's back have ever really faded.
    • The author Sarah Monette seems especially fond of this trope, it appears again in Companion to Wolves cowritten by her and Elizabeth Bear when both the protagonist and several secondary characters are badly scarred.
  • Honor Harrington is missing an eye and an arm, though prosthetics means that this isn't usually an issue, and is occasionally a hidden advantage, like when she uses the gun hidden in her finger to stop an assassination attempt.
  • Diana Gabaldon seems very fond of this trope-- the scars of Jamie's whippings from the events of Outlander never disappear, and true to realistic form, characters who have injuries inflicted on a particularly delicate area (such as multiple small bones in Jamie's hand being broken with a mallet) have no chance of complete recovery. (Fergus also has a hand cut off, but he gets a really awesome hook. Or a glove full of bran.)
  • Jasper from Stephenie Meyers' Twilight has numerous vampire bite marks on his body and Bella has a small scar on her hand where she was bitten by James, the tracker vampire
    • Sam Uley's fiance, Emily, has three long, red scars running down the side of her face, a result of an unintentional attack by Sam, contorting her face slightly.
  • In the Uglies series, Tally keep her cutting scars for the memories they provoke, even though medical technology in that future allows scars, skin and eye colour and even facial structure to be changed.
  • Thomas Covenant in The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant lost two fingers on his left hand when his leprosy first manifested, before he'd learned how to check himself for injuries. Upon being transported to The Land, this disfigurement reminds everyone of their greatest hero of legend, Berek Halfhand.
  • Richard Sharpe is described as having a scar on his cheek, as well as a back covered in scars from an unjust flogging. He also has a number of battle wounds. Two notable supporting characters also are scarred. The villainous Obadiah Hakeswill has a scar around his throat from an unsuccessful hanging. Captain William Fredrickson is missing an eye, his front teeth and part of an ear.
  • Averted in The Dresden Files despite Harry's huge scar collection. Injuries of wizards don't heal until the wound closes, like a normal person's- they heal until the injury is GONE. As in, there's no sign that the injury ever happened. This has happened several times to Harry; he's had a number of broken bones in his life, and yet not a single formerly shattered bone has any healed fractures. His bones simply look as if they've never been broken. He's in the middle of this process now with his left hand (which effectively melted when Harry's magical shield kept out the flames but didn't keep out the heat); over five books, it's gone from a lump of flesh the doctors wanted to amputate to a human hand again, albeit one with shiny red scars on the fingers, hand and palm.
  • In the Anita Blake books, Anita has her arms and collarbone scarred from various attacks, Asher's face and upper body is half-melted due to the Church experimenting with holy water to cure him, Jean-Claude has whip scars on his back from before he was a vampire, and at least two of the vampire bad guys have holy water scars from Anita or another Marshal.
  • In Trickster's Choice, the heroise deliberately scars herself and breaks her nose when enslaved to avoid being sold for sex. She later complains when a god explains that this was totally unnecessary, but when the god offers to fix her nose, refuses, saying "I got this the hard way, thanks."
    • In one of the Protector of the Small books an overenthusiastic minor character makes Neal leave a scar after he is wounded in the face by bandits "to impress the ladies"
  • Not quite a scar, but in Alice Hoffman's Green Angel, the title character, Green, is blinded when her house burned down and her family killed in an enormous fire. She stays like that for the entire book until she finally allows herself to mourn her family, although you're not supposed to ask how crying could possibly cure blindness.
    • Well if it is hysterical blindness, which is caused by seeing something traumatic or disturbing, then emotionally moving on would be the ONLY cure for it.then again since you listed the example on this page I assume there is SOME physical damage to her eye-region...
  • In the tales of the Otori, Kaede has her hair set on fire, burning the back of her neck, and somehow meaning the hair could never be as long again. Takeo has two fingers cut off, along with various other scars from encounters with Tribe assassins.
  • James Bond has numerous scars all over his body, commented upon in Thunderball by both the doctor at the health farm he attends and his sweet old Scottish housekeeper. He also has a facial scar which he only bothers to hide with makeup once, in Diamonds Are Forever.
    • On the other hand, literally, the Cyrillic letter carved into his hand at the end of Casino Royale is hidden by cosmetic surgery, although this results in that hand being hairier than the other (the skin graft was from his forearm).
  • The Highborn of PC Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath can heal almsot injury using dwar sleep. However, if the injury is major and a healer doesn't tend to it, it will leave a scar. This becomes a plot element in Seeker's Mask when Jame has her cheek sliced open to the bone by Kallystine's ring. Because this could cause a diplomatic incident, throughout much of the book, her keepers are trying to track her down so that she can be properly healed. Knowing of the potential incident, she intentionally avoids dwar sleep and letting the wound heal throughout most of the book.
  • In Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy series, minor character Tasha Ozera has a large scar on her face from a Moroi (evil vampire) attack about a decade before the books start.
  • In Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series, Niall has a long scar from his temple to the corner of his mouth given to him by Gabriel, leader of the hounds. He also has numerous scars over his chest from where the dark fey tortured and raped him in exchange for the mortals freedom -- he chose to give the court himself rather than the mortals, whom he knew wouldn't survive such things. He is adamant that the scars are proof that he survived, that he is still surviving, and remind him not to give in to what he truly is -- a dark fey, just like his abusers. Also makes for bittersweet fluff at the end of Ink Exchange when Irial, ruler of the dark fey, who also commanded Gabriel and the other dark fey to do what they did, kisses him on the scar on his face. They were lovers, once. Before the mortals, before the rape, before everything bad happened. But Niall's scars, both emotional and physical, serve as tangible proof of why they can never be that way again. The one on his face, at least, is also a Wound That Will Not Heal when he isn't wearing a glamour.
  • Veldan, one of the main characters in Maggie Furey's Shadowleague trilogy, was badly scarred in a fight with the Ak'Zahar.
  • Derek from the Kate Daniels series is a gorgeous eighteen-year-old werewolf, who is well aware of how pretty he is. But when he tries to rescue a girl from a Deal with the Devil, he is captured, savagely beaten, and has molten silver poured on his face. His face does grow back eventually, but badly scarred and no longer attractive. Knowing that his looks have gone from teen idol to back alley thug has a profound affect on his psyche.
  • Miles from the Vorkosigan Saga has a map of fine scars across his body from numerous surgeries to repair shattered bones, due to a teratogenic brittle bone disease caused by a poison encountered prenatally. He also has a spiderweb of much fresher scars across his chest, courtesy of having his chest blown open with a needle grenade; he got better. In addition, he also has a set of rings around his wrists, from trying to escape from a set of handcuffs, as he was chained to a railing while his companion was dying of asphyxiation. Both are very deep and easily visible years later, especially the latter; another character comments that he practically pulled his own hands off trying to escape from the cuffs.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Curse of Chalion, Cazaril carries the scars from when he was flogged; it's used once to positively identify him.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Phoenix on the Sword", Thoth-Amon, a once powerful sorcerer, is taunted with this by Ascalante, who enslaved him.

 "Nevertheless," answered the outlaw impatiently, "you wear the stripes of my whip on your back, and are likely to continue to wear them."

  • In After Dark, Takahashi has an "eye-catching" scar on his right cheek. It was from a bike accident when he was young. Korogi, however, has several marks on her back that were made by a branding iron.
  • Ged of The Earthsea Trilogy has disfiguring scars down one side of his face, inflicted by an evil Living Shadow he summoned as a boy. He seems to regard them as a reminder of the cost of arrogance and misuse of magic.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire plays this trope pretty realistically for the most part. Sandor Clegane had third-degree burns that left permanent scars, as does the wound on his leg, which leaves him with a pronounced limp but most of his other wounds he takes during the series heal without scarring. When Brienne of Tarth cuts Jaime Lannister's face during their fight, it heals without scarring, as does the leg wound he gives her, but when the Bloody Mummers cut off his hand it's a permanent injury, and made worse by a bad infection, requiring a large amount of his remaining forearm to be cut away. Brienne encounters them later, and Biter takes off a chunk of her face, which also gets infected and leaves permanent scars. Strong Belwas is implied to deliberately encourage his wounds to scar, to remember his opponents by.
  • The Saga of the Noble Dead has Chane Andraso, a vampire who has a scar around his neck from where he was decapitated by main character Magiere. While it didn't quite kill him, the scar still exists and it has left him with a very permanent and prominent rasping voice that makes almost everything come out as a whisper.
  • Subverted in Ring World, where Speaker-to-Animals is treated by an autodoc and loses his scars, which are badges of honor to the warrior Kzin race.
  • In Modesty Blaise, Willie Garvin has an S-shaped scar on the back of his hand, courtesy of his nemesis Simon Delicata.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere an Autumn Tale, Lucian's limp, and Rachael's eye.
  • In Warrior Cats, scars mostly are looked upon as a sign of toughness - young cats often refuse to let the medicine cat treat them so that a scar forms - but Brightheart by far has the worst scars, which make other cats uneasy rather than envious: half her face was torn off by dogs, and it has affected her for the rest of her life.
  • Han Alister from "The Seven Realms Series" has a scar above his right eye that Raisa notices often. He has yet to explain how he got it.
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles, Angel laughs off Freckles's advice to go to a doctor, and he urges this trope on her. She is surprised, which is played as a lack of vanity on her part.


Live Action TV

  • Babylon 5 had G'kar lose an eye during torture, and replace it with an autonomous prosthetic he could remove to spy on others.
    • In the first season, a Minbari poet attacked by an Earth terrorist group refused to let the scar branded onto her forehead to be removed, insisting she should keep it as a reminder.
  • Saul Tigh's lost eye in Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica.
  • Xander's lost eye in Season 7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • Another Buffy example is the flashback in Season 5 that explains the scar on Spike's eyebrow. He got it from a sword wielded by the first of two Slayers he killed. The real scar on James Marsters' forehead was received in a mugging. Oddly enough, the scar faded over the course of the show, in a way. In Spike's early appearances, it was a prominent part of his vampire makeup, and while it remained a part of it, for less attention was called to it over the seasons.
    • Let's not forget the scar on Buffy's neck from when she let Angel drinks her blood, as it was the only way to save his life. In an interesting variation, this scar is shown to be considered by Buffy as a very sexually-charged testimony of her love for Angel. When they make love in the Season 8 comic continuation, Angel kiss her at this exact spot, to her insistence.
  • Early on in Heroes, it was revealed that Future-Peter would have one of these across his face. In "Five Years Gone", we see him with it, and it's a doozy, but how he got it - and why it won't go away despite his regeneration abilities - remains unexplained. Interestingly, it seems to be a constant across differing timelines.
    • Season 3's currently powerless Peter might explain how this becomes possible.
    • In fact, as of the end of Volume 3, he has an unhealed cut on his face - but it's not in the same place as the future-scar. There's been a lot of discussion over whether this is that scar, or whether events have now diverged sufficiently for it to vanish from his future, even though we've seen it in at least two timelines by now.
  • Lost: John Locke receives a scar across his right eye during a plane crash in the pilot episode, which becomes signature for his character and is noticeably ascent in every flashback scene.
  • Sharpe has a lot of scars, notably on his back and face. At least one of them is real, the result of Harrison Ford hitting Sean Bean in the face on a movie set.
  • The real Martok's scar and lost eye in Star Trek Deep Space Nine.
    • Even though Martok has the option to remove said scar he chooses not to, as this exchange indicates:

 Bashir: "Turning off the holosuite safety protocols during a battle simulation is a dubious idea at best. For a man with only one eye it's idiotic. Now, if you'd like to consider an ocular replacement..."

Martok: "I do not want an artificial eye!" (He really means it)

Bashir: "Then accept the fact you have a disability and stop acting like --"

Martok: "There are limits to how far I will indulge you."

    • In real life, the producers of Deep Space Nine offered JG Hertzler (the actor playing Martok) the same choice for his character, to spare him the lengthy process of applying the scar makeup. Hertzler refused, feeling that his character would never remove a battle scar. The writers went ahead and put that refusal in the script!
  • Krycek's forcibly removed arm in The X-Files.
    • Subverted in the rest of the characters, though. In fact, in the commentary track for season eight's "Existence", Kim Manners jokes that if all the characters had the scars from all the injuries they'd recieved over the series, they would look like the Elephant Man.
  • Buster's hand in Arrested Development.
  • The scars from the scratch that turned George into a werewolf in Being Human.
    • Scars that turned Nina into a werewolf and a burn scar on her stomach.
  • Highlander the Series: Immortals heal most wounds without scarring, but Xavier St. Cloud's hand did not grow back when Duncan cut it off, and Kalas retained a deep scar on his neck when he was nearly beheaded. Needless to say, both of them held grudges about this afterward.
    • There was always a bit of debate among fans as to whether or not Xavier's hand would grow back with time or not. Rendered a moot point when he lost his head the next season.
    • Kalas' neck injury was similar enough to The Kurgan's that it's probably the same issue- severe neck wounds don't regenerate completely.
      • Word of God reveals that Immortals do not heal above-the-neck injuries.
  • Played straight and averted in Dollhouse. Doctor Saunders' has bad facial scarring from when she was attacked by Alpha, but Topher mentions early on that she's pretty sure she could fix them if she wanted too, and later one of the Dolls gets similar injuries, which heal without leaving scars. Eventually averted entirely; when we see Whiskey in "Epitaph One", ten years later, her scars are gone.
    • There's an explanation given for why Saunders doesn't want her scars taken away. Upon working out she's actually a Doll, she realises that if she was ever healed, she'd be put back to work, and effectively have her imprint/personality destroyed.
  • Evram Mintz, the ships doctor on the Antares in Defying Gravity has massive burn scars on his back.
  • Ronon Dex from Stargate Atlantis has scars on his back from his attempts to remove the tracking device the Wraith implanted there. His temporarily superpowered friend Rodney asks him if the scars are a badge of honor or a painful reminder, and then heals them.
  • Subverted in Doctor Who. The Tenth Doctor having just flown a spaceship, crashed into a skylight from hundreds of feet in the air, battled with the Time-Lords and eventually saving the innocent Wilfred from a radiation chamber is battered and scarred. Wilf comments that he'll have some scaring- while before his eyes, they heal. Its a signal that regeneration has begun, and that the Tenth Doctor is about to die, replaced by "a new man, who saunters away. And I'm dead."
  • Omar Little in The Wire has had His famous facial scar since childhood although it is never specified how.Marlo Stansfield also has a noticeable scar near His mouth.Both scars were real
  • Miguel Alvarez on Oz cuts a very large scar across his face in season one and it is still visible in season six, years later.
  • Dexter: Lumen spent a month being raped and tortured by 5 men. Her back is covered with horrific scars that remain there for the rest of the season, and they don't look like they'll ever heal.


Mythology

  • In the Norse Mythology, Tyr has sacrificed his right hand to bind Fenrir, the greatest of all giant wolves, until Ragnarok. It never grows back--despite Tyr being a freaking god. Of war. And honesty--which actually explains it: Fenrir was bound using deceit and Tyr's hand has been its collateral, so it had every right to claim it.


Tabletop Games

  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse Werewolf: the Apocalypse]], part of the Old World of Darkness, werewolves had massively increased healing factor and any injury would heal more or less instantly except those inflicted by fire, silver, raw magical energy or the fangs and claws of supernatural creatures (including other werewolves). Such injuries could only heal naturally and would leave "battle scars" which could only be removed by magical healing rituals. Especially nasty scars could permanently cripple a werewolf warrior, but were also considered a mark of glory, and having them removed was considered shameful. They also included how to handle scars from radiation poisoning...
    • Vampires have the same rule for wounds inflicted by aggravated damage (sun, fire, fangs and claws of other supernatural beings, etc.). Although vampires can spend time and blood power to cure this, it is often expensive.
      • Vampires in both the Old and New World of Darkness are pretty much fixed at their state when Embraced. Thus, any subsequent injuries will be healed eventually (note that healing even a paper cut costs blood -- they don't have any natural healing), but any scars left over from their mortal life? Those are Forever.
      • Masquerade had "Permanent Wound" as an optional Flaw: if you took it, your vampire awoke each evening with a serious wound from their mortal life, which would need to be healed with blood.
  • Exalted has this both ways - while Exalted eventually heal any normal injury completely, any scars or disfigurement they had before they Exalted won't recover on its own.


Video Games

  • Klungo from Banjo-Kazooie's face is still screwed up from Gruntilda's beatings when we see him again in Nuts and Bolts.
  • In Fable II, when the hero's health is reduced to zero, they do not die, but instead get back up on their feet with full health and a surge of energy. They also get scarred, potentially rather hideously.
    • In the original Fable, taking any major hit can result in a nasty, jagged scar running along the damaged part of the Hero's body. Scars do dull over time, but never disappear. By the end of the game, it's almost certain that your Hero's face and body is going to be a patchwork of faded slashes and cuts. The only way to avoid this is to use Physical Shield to avoid major injuries altogether.
  • The Nameless One from Planescape: Torment is effectively immortal and his body regenerates from practically every form of damage. For some reason, despite being able to grow back arms, legs and eyes, his skin recovers by forming scar tissue. Although the graphics makes this hard to tell, in-game explanations implies that The Nameless One effectively has no skin left on his body, just overlapping scar tissue. It would certainly explain his grey skin tone. At one point, you can actually find a severed arm from one of his past lives. It's an equippable weapon, too. If that sounds worthy of then know that the eye is an armor slot. Yes, you can use eyes from previous incarnations, too.
  • Metal Gear Solid has four dramatically or plot relevant scars, one in each game. The first occurs when Cyborg Ninja cuts off Ocelot's arm, a injury that stays with him until the second game where he replaces it with Liquid's. This becomes a very important plot point. He later cuts the arm back off himself because Liquid could control him through it, and his plans require that everyone only thinks Liquid is controlling him.
    • Metal Gear Solid 2 also has Solidus, who loses an eye in an explosion. Amusingly enough he's absolutely thrilled with it as it makes him look like his late father. Even more amusingly it can be abused in the boss fight against him, as he has a prominent blind spot on that side.
      • He's not thrilled; he just found it funny in a blackly comic way, and only when Ocelot mentions the resemblance later. When he actually lost it he was pretty annoyed.
    • We see how his father lost his eye in the prequel game Metal Gear Solid 3, where it gets burned by the muzzle flash of a gun. Like Solidus he too has problems with it, his depth perception thrown off for quite a while afterwards. He also ends up with the same blind spot issue, indicated by the blackened section of the screen when aiming in first-person.
    • Snake himself gets scarred in Metal Gear Solid 4, when he saves Eva from a fire and gets half of his face burnt off. It nicely landmarks the stage where Snake's age really starts to get to him, not to mention making him look all the more noble.
    • Several other characters also have distinctive scars. Drebin on the left side of his head, Zero across his left eye, The Boss on her chest, and Volgin across his entire face.
  • Despite being quite darned hard to kill, single-handedly conquering the world, (un)living some thousand years and evolving past his human form, the titular character of Legacy of Kain carries a scar from the sword that killed him.
    • At least until his "firstborn" Raziel gives up his (un(un))life to heal and purify him. In accordance to a prophecy. No, don't ask me to explain it to you.
    • Raziel's whole body is scarred and deformed after he was thrown into the abyss (except his hair, which came out looking pretty decent, all things considered). Most prominent is his jaw having melted off. He uses the now-vacant space to devour the souls of his enemies. Just don't ask how he manages to talk.
  • Ganondorf carries the blade that was used to execute him in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, and he has a large glowing scar on his chest.
  • Before he got his Eyepatch of Power, a prototype Wolf O'Donnel from Star Fox had a scar over his eye instead. The eye was discolored, but the size of his profile image makes it hard to tell if he's supposed to be able to see with it or not. Interestingly, this was over the opposite eye his eyepatch ends up on.
  • From the Final Fantasy series:
    • Auron from Final Fantasy X sports several rather nasty scars. Unsurprising, considering all the crap he went through.
      • So does Jecht, and his are a little more visible since he is a walking Shirtless Scene.
    • In Final Fantasy VI, Setzer's face is heavily scarred and seems to have been that way for quite some time.
    • The most iconic scar in the series probably goes to Squall Leonhart in Final Fantasy VIII. However, the game opens with him and his rival Seifer both getting their scars on the same day as the game's events begin, so for once it actually makes sense for them to still sport them since the game only takes place over a short time period. However, the trademark scars they share are so iconic they are even present for their very different roles in Kingdom Hearts, and we are given no explanation for how either got them, so it's safe to say this is played straight outside of the source game.
      • This is also played straight with Guest Star Party Member Ward, however, who sports the same large scar on his face for apparently most of his life. We are given no explanation for where it came from.
    • Zack's scars in Crisis Core are integral to his major moment of Character Development and remain in spite of his mako-infused SOLDIER abilities.
    • There is also Basch of Final Fantasy XII, who has a scar angled over his left eye. The scar doesn't seem to have faded at all in Final Fantasy XII Revenant Wings, which takes place a year later.
    • Tifa Lockhart from Final Fantasy VII is known to have a long scar across her chest from when Sephiroth slashed her with his BFG when he flipped his shit. There's even a Dead Fantasy art of it.
  • Double Subversion in the Adventure Game Dragonsphere involving the female captain-of-the-guard, who has a large scar on her face. After Shape Shifter Pid reverts from being (and believing he is) the king to his real form, he is accused of killing the real king. The captain-of-the-guard won't let him enter the city, and will kill him if he tries, unless he can give her the one thing she really wants. Pid then removes the scar using his Healing Hands, and she revels in her new beauty for half a minute before demanding the scar back. Pid returns it, but when he asks why, she reveals that the scar gave her the drive and respect needed to become captain-of-the-guard in the first place, and it is more important to her than looking beautiful.
  • In the Street Fighter series, the nasty scar on Sagat's chest that was made by a particularly nasty Dragon Punch from Ryu has been with him ever since he got it in the very first game.
    • Also, Gouken has ugly scars, probably from his last fight with Akuma.
    • Cammy has scar on her cheek from her days at Shadaloo. In the Cammy Gaiden manga by Masahiko Nakahira, Cammy admits that she could get it removed anytime she wants to, but never gets the time to do it.
      • The Street Fighter IV series tells us that Cammy chooses not to have her scar removed because it reminds her of who she is.
  • Tsukihime also deserves note, as Shiki possesses a gigantic wound in his chest from the 'accident' that gave him his Eyes of Death. Like Kenshin, this wound heals up when the story is complete and He kills Roa/SHIKI. He still has Anemia, though.
  • Darth Sion of Knights of the Old Republic 2 is almost completely composed of scar tissue and shattered bones. The only thing holding him together is the power of the Dark Side.
  • During a knife fight cutscene in Resident Evil 4, Leon suffers a cut on his face that remains until the end of the game. Krauser has this more noticeably due to the fact Leon cut him across the front of his chest and he has a Shirtless Scene later on, plus the multitude of scars across his face from the helicoptor accident he survived.
  • During the trickle of information for the week leading up to the Sniper/Spy class update in Team Fortress 2, Valve released the eighth in their Meet The Team series of videos, Meet The Spy, where one scene has the Spy give the Sniper a cut across the face shortly before killing him with a backstab. When the update was released, the Sniper had gained a scar across his face.
  • Duster the thief of Mother 3 has a limp throughout the course of the game. It is implied that Wess's intensive thief training had rendered this injury upon Duster.
  • Xiahou Dun from Dynasty Warriors got his eyepatch like this: When he was arrow'd in the eye during the course of battle, he plucked it out, along with the arrow.And ate it.
  • Hanako from Katawa Shoujo, of course
    • And it's possible that we're seeing her after they tried fixing them.
    • Hisao himself has a scar on his chest from when he had surgery on his heart. In Shizune's route, in which he never explicitly tells her about his condition, during the first sex scene, he's relieved that they're able to have sex without taking off his shirt, so that she won't have to see it. He also uses the scar to show Hanako that they are Not So Different in her route, and when Lilly runs her hand over this scar during her first sex scene in her route, she becomes concerned about whether sexual activity is healthy for Hisao.
  • Depending on player preference, any version of Commander Shepard from Mass Effect can have a fairly prominent scar, gained during the decisive events of his or her Multiple Choice Past (although the selection of scars available for female Shepards are overall less prominent than the ones available to males). The sequel, meanwhile, plays around with the trope; when Shepard is killed and restored to life, the process removes any facial scars he or she already had, and leaves him or her with a whole new set. These can either heal away completely in a relatively short space of time, or become even more pronounced if Shepard allows his or her aggressive tendencies to aggravate them.
    • Zaeed has a huge scar and a discolored eye from when he was shot in the head at point-blank range and managed to survive through sheer badassery. And Mordin has a prominent X-shaped scar on one side of his face and half a cranial horn missing. Jack also noticeably has a number of scars mixed in with her full-body tattoos.
      • Erm, Garrus Vakarian anyone? He takes a missile to the face and boy does it leave a mark (oddly enough, this trope applies to his armour too, which he leaves damaged, presumably to make him even more intimidating).
  • Most significant characters in Mega Man X are robots, giving ample room for head-scratching over this trope. Zero has been repaired after being torn into three pieces with nary a telltale scratch. The purple-black scars that X burned into Sigma's eyes, however, persist throughout all the different bodies he uses.
    • Given his personality, Sigma likely sees them as symbolic of his war, and has them purposefully added to his new faces.
    • Another prominent example is Bass.exe from Mega Man Battle Network. Being a Net Navi, and there fore made of data, he could have repaired that scar across his Navi Symbol any time he liked, but he got it in the first place when The Official Net Battlers were sent to delete him due to the (false) belief that he was the one responsible for the damage caused by the Alpha Rebellion, and he was told the decision to delete him was unanimous among Sci Lab's scientists, which included his own creator. So he keeps the scar, to symbolize this betrayal and to remind him why he thinks Humans Are Bastards.
  • Desmond Miles in the Assassin's Creed games has a scar on his lip that the Animus transfers to both ancestors.
    • Ezio gets his from a rock thrown at him in the very beginning of the story. Throughout the next 20 years depicted in the game it stays visible. In the time between Sequence 13 (one of the DLCs) and 14 Ezio grows a beard, which makes the scar even more visible since the scar stops hair from growing in that spot.
    • Altaïr's scar is visible to Ezio in Revelations and he doesn't use an animus to see Altaïr's memories. It seems to be just a coincidence that all three have the same scar.
  • John Marston of Red Dead Redemption is actually a pretty nice guy (especially considering the Crapsack World he lives in), and it would be easy to forget that he's a violent outlaw if not for his facial scars serving as a constant reminder of the kind of life he's led.


Web Comics

  • Kobayashi Akira of Heliothaumic was scarred while working in a smelting plant - and not by accident.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court, sort of. Antimony gets a cut on her face, courtesy of a ghostly swordswoman's rapier, but the cut completely disappears as soon as the ghost does. But then the cut reappears when any Etheric influences start acting up in Annie's vicinity.
    • It's speculated that the cut was inflicted on sonme sort of spirit plane, and only Annie's astral projection is scarred. It gives a nice way of saying "something weird's going on" to the viewers without telling Annie, though.
  • Dominic Deegan boasts Karnak, known as the Demon of Wounds before he ascended to become the King of Hell. While being a Bad Ass of high caliber to boot, his personal schtick was that not only do any wounds he inflicts invariably cause ugly scars, but most of them remain permanently open even in the face of white magic. As the Trope describes above, the character most afflicted with one of these wounds wore it as an external symbol of the depravity in his soul that he had fallen into ever since it was inflicted.
    • Szark Sturtz, owner of one of the grievous example above, has only managed to get it closed when Karnak became the King of Hell, and only then because it has since been assumed that he's now got so many new powers to play with that he can't be bothered to keep track of them all. Even then, the scar is still livid and healing seemingly in tandem with Szark's progress towards redemption.
  • In Goblins, Thaco had his ear cut off by Captain Goblinslayer, who keeps trophies including Thaco's ear. Captain Goblinslayer has also carved words into the heads of several prisoners, including Fumbles, one of the major goblin cast members.
    • Not just any cast member, the main comic relief character. The sweetest, nicest, kindhearted-est cast member. Bringing on a Heroic BSOD of epic proportions that he only broke out of recently in an attempt to save one of the other main cast members. And lo, there were many Manly Tears shed at that moment.
  • Last Res0rt has several:
    • Daisy Archanis's leg was amputated and replaced with a bionic substitute prior to the start of the story.
      • Given she was -- and technically still is -- stuck inside a prison, access to limb-regenerating technology is likely not an option.
      • It's healed up on Gabriel's ship, but Daisy suspects that's part of the ship's Whimsy. No clue if it'll last.
    • Likewise, Daisy said it herself in the B Side Comics that Meridian (Jigsaw's mother) has a similar set of robotic legs, but it's an exoskeleton because those legs weren't rebuilt properly.
    • Arikos's scarred eye is the result of an ironic attack from his own children in the Backstory. Why it's refused to heal is anybody's guess, but given that these are all Celeste we're talking about here, we're going to lean towards both "it's very big" and "It's likely magically reinforced".
  • Faye from Questionable Content has a scar from a car accident.
  • In Order of the Stick, Right-Eye and Redcloak are both missing an eye, which is quite easily healed in-universe. There's a reason why their eyes remain missing, though.
    • Also, O-Chul has a facial scar (that goes right down to the bone!) when we first meet him. After a few months being tortured by Team Evil, he's got a whole lot more. The trade paperback even has an 'O-Chul Scar Guide'.
  • Milny's recent resurrection in Planescape Survival Guide did not remove the scars she'd received from recent battles, which had healed without the aid of the team cleric.
  • Grey of Inhuman is horribly scarred all over his body from various apparent tortures and experiments at the hands of his Rulerist captors.
  • The Dreamland Chronicles: Nicodemus still has the scar Alex gave him.
  • In Girl Genius, Airman Axel Higgs has got an extensive collection of scars, accumulated during his (apparently) long and rough career as the toughest man alive. There's a reason they call him "The Unstoppable" Higgs.
  • In Strays, Feral has a facial scars, but it's the ones on his back that really horrify Meela.
  • In Roza the shadow cat has a notched ear
  • Chelsea Grinn of Chimneyspeak is completely covered in scars, but the only one she cares about is the first one.
  • In Off White, Jera has never lost the scar she got from a playful puppy bite.
  • Abel has a scar on his lip given to him by Cain.


Web Original

  • Accuser: While it's a smaller loss compared to becoming a widower, Dan Mason lost the ability to walk without the Accuser armor. Apparently, there's some hope he'll regain it but it has yet to be seen.


Western Animation

  • Zuko's burn scar in Avatar: The Last Airbender. Katara did offer to heal it once, but owing to a combination of circumstances, it never happened. The fangirls would have been outraged if it had, anyway.
    • Only some of them. The lead-up shots were bad enough in terms of keeping that ship afloat...
    • Word of God states the Spirit Water would not have worked anyway. If you doubt this, consider it saved Aang's life but he still had a big fat scar.
      • On that note, Aang's scar, incurred when Azula shot him in the center of the spine with lightning. Even if it is on his back (where it could be easily concealed), the makers still take plenty of opportunities to remind us that, yes, Aang has a huge scar on his back. It also serves as a plot point. He also has a scar on the bottom of his foot, from the same injury. This is also a case of Shown Their Work since real lightning strike victims often have the electrical current exit through their feet.
      • Zuko gets a matching scar on his chest from a lightning attack during the series finale.
  • Ratchet on Transformers Animated has a dinged crest and a cut in his arm despite being a robot doctor. He does it to remember "for those who can't." Most notably Arcee, who lost her memory when Ratchet was forced to wipe it so she couldn't be interrogated.
  • The scar across Wheeljack's Autobot insignia in Transformers Armada, marking the point where he did his Face Heel Turn.
  • In Transformers Energon, half of Starscream's face is damaged. This is another case that probably shouldn't be, because it can't be damage left over from his death the previous season. He was vaporized during his Heroic Sacrifice in Armada, and had an entirely new body created for his recovered Spark by the Alpha Quintesson. What, did Alpha Q just not have enough dark robo-god innards left to make a complete faceplate for Screamer?
  • Hudson on Gargoyles has a scar through one eye, giving his eye a permanent yellow color. He got it fighting the Archmage, who blasted him into a rock inside a cave. Gargoyles heal from most injuries when they turn to stone, but it isn't explained why his scar never healed despite this fact.
    • Word of God says that some types of injuries (loss of limbs etc.) cannot be healed even by stone sleep, and apparently losing the use of an eye falls into this category.
  • Doctor Drakken from Kim Possible has a scar across his face. Considering how big it is, it's possible that it couldn't heal properly.
    • Possibly caused by whatever turned him blue, since neither scar nor color were present during the college years flashback.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Heloise has a scar on her forehead. How this happened is a mystery, even to Edward Kay, who only states that it adds to her twisted appearance.
    • In the original idea for the series she was a Serial Killer who was gunned down, so that scar was due to the fact a bullet hit her there. As they (probably) changed everything about that idea, the scar was just left there for the above reasons.
  • Played straight and averted on Metalocalypse. Dick Knubbler loses both eyes at the end of his debut episode and needs cybernetic replacements. Dr. Twinkletits gets similar replacements for his arms (and apparently larynx), which were eaten by wolves. However, Dr. Rockzo's nose falls off at the end of 'Cleanzo', and it seems fine next time we see him. When Ofdensen returns from his faked death, he has a scar on his cheek that vanishes by the next episode.
  • Venture Brothers has Baron Underbheit's missing lower jaw, part of his being an Affectionate Parody of Dr. Doom. He uses a metal replacement. Billy Quizboy lost an eye and a hand and uses an eyepatch and prosthetic. He originally had a convincing prosthetic eye, but lost it. The Phantom Limb needs prosthetics after the Season 2 finale, as well.
  • Hun in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles still has the scar he got from Splinter. Similarly Leonardo in the same series (at least prior to Fast Forward) lost a segement of his shell which never healed.

Notes

  1. For those wondering, it's when Jack Ryan hits Sean Miller in the head with a boathook. The subsequent cut on Miller's face is not makeup.
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.