Life debt

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

A life debt is a literary phenomenon in which someone whose life is saved or spared by another becomes indebted or in some way connected to their savior. A life debt can only be paid off by saving the original saviour's life in return.

Examples In Fiction[edit]

  • In the English novel Robinson Crusoe, Crusoe saves the life of the native Friday who swears to be his slave.
  • In the Star Wars expanded universe, in works that are no longer canon, Chewbacca became Han Solo's first mate as part of a life debt.[1] Many life debts were subsequently owed to or by Han Solo, involving various other characters.
  • In the English novel Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Peter Pettigrew becomes indebted to Harry Potter after the boy spares Pettigrew's life.
  • A life debt is the main plot of "You Debt Your Life", an episode from the American television show American Dad!.
  • Life debts are an important part of the Northern Tribes of Velgarth, a planet in the American novels Valdemar Saga.
  • In the movie Shrek 2, the character Puss In Boots owes Shrek a life debt for sparing the cat's life.
  • In the movie Oz the Great and Powerful, Oscar saves the life of the flying monkey Finley and is pledged a life debt.
  • In the movie Pacific Rim, Mako Mori feels a life debt to her adopted father Stacker Pentecost for saving her from a kaiju.
  • In the movie Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Azeem proclaims that he owes Robin of Locksley a life-debt.


  1. ^ Sansweet, Stephen J. (1998-06-30). The Star Wars Encyclopedia (1st ed.). Del Rey. ISBN 0-345-40227-8.