The Grim Reaper (Death) is an Angel of Death. It is thought that those who see him will soon perish, and as such he is considered a bad omen. The Grim Reaper is most analogous to Charon, the man believed to ferry the dead across the River Styx in Greek mythology. A common legend, in reference to his powers, is that of touch, which is said to kill anyone who is touched by his hand, and oftentimes, anyone who comes in contact with any part of the Grim Reapers' body. He is usually depicted as a skeleton wearing a dark, hooded cloak ,bonny grin and grasping a scythe.
Death is an abstract being of god-like magical power. He is immortal and is often regarded as the strongest of the Four Horsemen due to his advanced age and ultimate nature. He is the embodiment of death and, as such, angels and other supreme beings/spirits often assist him.
Death's powers are many, and include (in no particular order):
- The ability to smite opponents through natural disasters.
- Manipulation of events to ensure the death of a chosen being.
- Teleportation of himself, other objects, or other people.
- Resurrection of himself or others.
- Superhuman physical prowess.
- Can reap souls through physical contact or simple will/using his scythe.
- Can heal wounds and cure illnesses.
- Manipulation of a person's mind and memory.
- Intangibility, or the ability to phase through solid matter.
- The ability to interact with and physically affect spirits and souls (putting souls back into a body, holding a soul within his grasp, retrieving a soul from the afterlife, etc.).
- The ability to kill living beings and supernatural creatures with a single touch.
- The increase of general senses.
His name is a reference to his most common depiction wherein he is usually carrying a scythe, a tool traditionally used to harvest or "reap" wheat.
- In Namco-Bandai's Soul Calibur 4, Zasalamel's second default costume is composed of the "Death" equipment, in addition to his favored weapon being a scythe.
- In the video game God of War: Chains of Olympus, Charon makes an appearance as a twisted old man wielding a scythe, a reference to his spiritual progeny.
- Death is a major protagonist in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series.
- In the Cartoon Network series, The Grim Adventure of Billy and Mandy, the Grim Reaper or "Grim" is tormented by two children.
- In The Sims (starting with the Living Large expansion pack), The Sims 2, and The Sims 3, the grim reaper makes an appearance before a sim is officially dead. It is possible to plead for a loved one to him. In The Sims 2, he plays a game of "which hand is it in?" with the active sim. If the active sim loses, the dying sim will not be saved from dying; if the active sim wins, the dying sim will be saved from death. In The Sims, he sometimes doesn't have time to play. If you do play and you lose, he sometimes has a heart and brings the dying sim back to life...but as a zombie! In The Sims 3, he chants to make the deceased sim a ghost. The ghost sim takes his bony hand and goes into his or her grave, marker, or urn (urn if died inside). It might be possible to play a game against the Grim Reaper later to bring a deceased sim back to life.
- The Grim Reaper makes an appearance as a boss in most of the Castlevania video games. He floats around shooting sickles, and sometimes going onto the ground and sucking the player in.
- In Darksiders, the main character (War) can get the Harvester, which is described as Death's scythe. Also, in Darksiders 2, players take control of Death, though he doesn't look like classic examples of the Grim Reaper, as shown here.
- Gomez Addams challenges The Grim Reaper in The New Addams Family episode Death Visits the Addams Family.