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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
- 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. 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.
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