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"It's easy to find something worth dying for. Do you have anything worth living for?"
Lorien, Babylon 5

Worth Living For is when a character realizes he has something worth living for, be it a loved one, a new-found opportunity, or whatever have you. Will usually inspire new-found determination that might verge on making them a One-Man Army. Hope Is Scary may hit first, but be overcome.

This trope can be the end of a Death Seeker's search in the non-lethal fashion, or simply someone deciding that it's time to stop merely plodding through life and actually live.

Not to be confused with I Don't Want to Die, where a character breaks down in the face of their own Heroic Sacrifice.

When the Death Seeker character actually answers this with great confidence or profound sense of hope, expect a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and/or Crowning Moment of Awesome.

Compare World of Cardboard Speech.

Examples of Worth Living For include:

Advertising

  • Played for Laughs in a current TV ad from Phillips 66 -- a woman is sitting at her husband's bedside in a hospital, and between her sobs says that she never had a chance to tell him that he'd won free gasoline for life (a promotion run by that company). He immediately sits up, yanks his life support equipment off, announces that he has something to live for, and charges out of the hospital room.

Anime & Manga

  • Happens to Nico Robin in One Piece when the Straw Hats come to rescue her from being executed.
  • In the X 1999 anime, Kamui falls catatonic after Kotori's death, but Subaru manages to convince him that his life is still worth living, if only to save Kamui's best-friend-turned-evil (and Kotori's brother) Fuuma. Much later in the series, Kakyo and Subaru's ghostly sister do this for Subaru himself (who falls catatonic after killing Seishirou), just in time for him to save Kamui again.
  • In Claymore, when Teresa is sentenced to be executed, she refuses because she has found something worth living for in Claire.
  • One of the major aesops in Monster. What would stop someone from being a monster and start being a human?
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Madoka is Homura's reason to keep going and keep fighting even after Madoka has become a cosmic principle.
  • While it was his aim to survive in the first place, Guts from Berserk stopped wasting his life away for the purpose of revenge and stopped acting so sociopathic when he realized how the end of his life would ultimately mean the end of Casca, his ill-fated lover, as well. His current mission is trying to find a cure for her insanity.
  • Because of this, by Episode 24 of Gosick Victorique finally fears death.

Comic Books

  • In Y: The Last Man, Yorick Brown, the last man on Earth after a Gendercide, repeatedly throws himself into harm's way due to his overwhelming survivor's guilt, until a suicide intervention sets him straight. This gives him an epiphany, showing him the one thing he thinks is worth living for. At the end of the series we find out that it was his bodyguard, Agent 355.

Fanfic

  • As several characters in Touhou are explicitly or not-so-explicitly immortal, some Fanfic writers explore the reason they keep pushing forward despite the obvious existential Angst. This trope is commonly brought into the story for Mokou and Eirin, with Keine and Kaguya as their respective reason to live. Note that Keine isn't immortal despite having a very long lifespan; it takes Mokou serious courage to forge a bond with her.

Film

 Kaylee: You mean to say... as in sex?

Simon: I mean to say.

Kaylee: To Hell with this. I'm gonna live!

  • Mystery Science Theater 3000: Red Zone Cuba. Doctor Forrester gets beaten into a pulp by a mob enforcer at the beginning of the episode. Later, he appears to die in his hospital bed, only to suddenly wake up and declare that he has too much to live for. He climbs out of his hospital bed, stumbles out of the room... and immediately gets beaten again by the same mob enforcer.
  • In Igor, Scampers is an immortal rabbit who really wants to die, and makes several humorous suicide attempts throughout the movie. At the very end, he freaks out when he briefly thinks he might actually die, because he finally made some friends.
  • In the Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows part two trailer:

 Voldemort: Why do you live?

Harry: Because I have something worth living for.

Literature

  • Happens in Brisingr after Eragon almost drains himself of life-force casting powerful spells. A bumblebee lands in front of his nose, where he can contemplate it in detail from a couple inches away, and he realizes that a world that can produce something so vibrantly alive as that bee is one he wants to live in.

Live Action Television

  • Babylon 5: Stephen Franklin, having been stabbed, and after being berated by a hallucination of himself giving him a potent "The Reason You Suck" Speech Which turns into a sort of Rousing Speech, realizes that he wants to live, and is willing to fight to survive, even if it means making all of the same mistakes all over again.
    • After Sheridan's death at Z'Ha'Dum, he is challenged by Lorien to find something worth living for, rather than merely finding something worth dying for. For Sheridan, it turns out that the one thing in his life worth living for is Delenn. This helps him persevere towards the end of the fourth season after he is captured and subjected to Cold-Blooded Torture.
  • Cain's arc in Tin Man. He was dead-set on killing Zero to avenge his family, then dying. But then his former boss appeals to his honorable streak and forces him to promise that he'll guard DG the lost princess of Oz "at any cost." Cain is still Lawful Good enough to not turn down the Mystic Man's Last Request. Between this and learning his family survived, he's got enough Heroic Willpower to fend off a bullet and hypothermia.
  • In the Doctor Who serial Planet of the Daleks, one Thal is afraid, having found in Jo Grant a reason to live, that he will fail in their Suicide Mission. (He doesn't, they don't die, but Jo turns him down.)
    • Discussed at the end of "The Doctor's Daughter". The Doctor spends the episode coming to terms with the presence of Opposite Sex Clone Jenny, only for her to be shot. She "regenerates" (sort of), but the main cast leave before it kicks in.

 Martha: All those things you've been ready to die for...I thought, for a moment there, you'd found finally found something worth living for.

Doctor: Oh, there's always something worth living for, Martha.

Video Games

  • In Tsukihime, Shiki lets himself be killed by vampire Yumizuka Satsuki due to his promise to her earlier in Akiha's route unless you answered earlier in a fashion that makes him realize he has to live for Akiha.
  • Solid Snake decides this in a long speech at the end of Metal Gear Solid after learning he has been infected with a disease that he thinks will suddenly stop his heart without warning. The difference is that instead of being a Death Seeker, Snake has focused entirely on survival rather than on enjoying life.
  • Knights of the Old Republic : All Carth was living for was the chance to destroy Saul Karath and die in the process. But by the time Saul is killed by the party, he's come to find more than simple revenge to live for. Protecting the Player Character from themselves and the Dark Side has become his reason to keep going.
  • Clannad: Oh, Tomoya... One of the BGM is even titled "Worth Living".
  • Girls Love Visual Novel Akai Ito: Oh Sakuya... She's what happens when a Time Abyss is subjected to Humans Are Bastards. It took Kei's grandmother to bring her life back on the track, but it took Kei to believe that her life is actually worth living.
  • In Mass Effect 2, Thane Krios if female Shepard decides to romance him. Which is difficult, since his Death Seeker status was due to terminal illness...
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