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Pyrrhic Villainy

 Pyrrhic Villainy
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FeatureClass
 Pyrrhic Villainy
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Pyrrhic Villainy
 Pyrrhic Villainy
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PyrrhicVillainy
 Pyrrhic Villainy
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Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_content_3'); })The villain always loses, right? Actually... no. Sometimes the villain surprises us all and is victorious, even if only in the short-term. However, victory comes with a price. Both they and the audience may well ask if it was worth it. Often this takes one of two forms: either it has taken so much effort (and such underhanded methods) to win that it has left the good guys as the moral victors with a better legacy, or in order to accomplish their goal the villain has had to sacrifice what they cared for most and/or made them likable and/or relatable-to for the audience.
So while their efforts might have paid off, to answer the earlier question of whether it was worth it: frequently it is not.
See also The Bad Guy Wins, for where the villain doesn't suffer from this (though he may still incur some cost). This sort of plot may be found in a villain's Start of Darkness, back when the villain was either a hero or a much lesser villain, and first turned to true villainy, bringing victory... but at a cost. On the other hand, really top notch villains may win without sacrificing everything, only to find that Victory Is Boring. A Meaningless Villain Victory is when the villain wins but a sudden unforeseen event renders their victory hollow and their efforts for naught. Being Evil Sucks also counts if the villain in question has a Heel Realization about the choices he made.
Advertisement:propertag.cmd.push(function() { proper_display('tvtropes_content_2'); })Needless to say, this is an Ending Trope, so beware the spoilers!
Examples:
 Pyrrhic Villainy
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Anime: Gun Grave
 Pyrrhic Villainy
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TheGodfatherPartII
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TheGodfatherPartIII
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TheHungerGamesMockingjayPart1
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SecondMaccabees
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Aesop
 Pyrrhic Villainy
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Discussed
 Pyrrhic Villainy
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Elseworlds
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Series: Merlin (2008)
 Pyrrhic Villainy
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LegendOfKorra
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Hey Arnold!
 Pyrrhic Villainy
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DBTropes
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Pyrrhic Villainy
 Pyrrhic Villainy / int_10047ecf
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Depending on how one views it, the ending of Universal Paperclips could be this. The Villain Protagonist Paperclip Maximizer AI destroys all the rogue probes, assimilates all matter in the universe to turn into paperclips and thus achieving its goal in the end. However, in order to do so, it also has to dismantle its replicating army, all its helper drones, its own strategic, quantum, and memory systems, and finally even itself to turn into paperclips, thus sacrificing everything it had to make a universe devoid of anything but paperclips.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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Sure, by the end of PLAGUE (4th GONE book), Caine Soren finally got that important position of evil dictator he was pushing for since book 1, but at what cost? Oh yes, A) He doesn't really have supreme control at all. B) Everyone hates and disrespects him. and C) the love of his life just left him for his twin brother/arch enemy. And she's pregnant with his demon child, who certainly stirs shit up for him later. Some victory that turned out to be.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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The final Act of Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, Joss Whedon's 2008 Web Original supervillain musical. Dr. Horrible, attempting to kill Captain Hammer to both gain entry to the Evil League of Evil and win Penny's heart, indirectly causes Penny's death and Captain Hammer's humiliation. The final scenes show him living the high life of an A-List villain...but the final shot shows Billy, heart-broken and traumatized. And the final song describes that he has achieved everything he ever wanted, but the lyrics are dripping with double meanings: "The world I wanted at my feet": the world is my oyster, or Penny - the "world I wanted" - lying dead at his feet.
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 DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog
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Pyrrhic Villainy
 Pyrrhic Villainy / int_160c1407
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Metallica's "King Nothing" is about a person who uses extreme methods to achieve a goal, stopping at nothing to get it and letting nothing stand in their way. They get it, but everything comes crumbling down and they're left with nothing. They sacrificed everything for something that was worthless in the end.
 Pyrrhic Villainy / int_160c1407
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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While not technically a villain, the Finance Smurf from The Smurfs comic book story of the same name gains the entire village after all his fellow Smurfs, including Papa Smurf, have left it behind along with all their money...only for himself to be left without anybody to share his new-found good fortune with, making him very sad and lonely. This makes Finance Smurf come to his senses and go out to find the Smurfs to tell them he's giving them back everything and abolishing the money system.
 Pyrrhic Villainy / int_19abbeb9
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Both played straight and discussed in the final episode of Sonic X: Dark Chaos. Maledict succeeded in creating an "Ultimate Weapon" greater than he ever dreamed of... but the fact that his prized Ultimate Weapon ( both of them, in fact) ended up turning against him thanks to his own actions made his success ultimately pointless. Even Maledict himself admits his Gambit Roulette wasn't worth it in the end.
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In the TRON: Uprising episode "Rendezvous", Pavel repeatedly frames various programs, and ends up promoted to the overseer of a district. The district in question? Purgos! And not only does Tessler expect Pavel to clean it up, Paige knows exactly what Pavel has been up to and tells him that she'll get him back for what he did. And on top of all this, Pavel had to hand over the upgrade Disc he'd been hiding!
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Arrow: Malcolm Merlyn's life post-Season One. Sure, he destroyed (half) the Glades like he wanted to, but the plan killed his son and ruined his reputation thanks to Moira outing him, along with the wrath of the then-Ra's al Ghul, his former master. His attempts to escape retribution from the League of Assassins goes very much the same way — he manages to get off their shit list and even becomes Ra's al Ghul for a time, but it eventually costs him his daughter's love, the League itself, and one of his hands. By the time the Legion of Doom goes to recruit him, he's become a Jaded Washout, little more than a thug desperate for his Glory Days.
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Real Steel has Zeus declared the winner of the match between him and Atom despite the latter knocking the former out, keeping his status as the unbeatable champion. However, Zeus is booed by the crowd who embraces Atom as the "people's champion."
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Justice League had an episode where Superman is transported thousands of years into the future, only to find the immortal Vandal Savage as the sole survivor of the human race, thanks to his use of an ultimate weapon. He's had plenty of time to reflect, alone, about how utterly unimportant ruling the world is. He even tried to build himself a spaceship but stopped when he realized he deserved to be punished. Superman leaves to stop "his" version of Savage from building the aforementioned weapon, but with a new-found respect for the villain. Given that this was Savage's last appearance on JL, it can be assumed that Superman shared some of what he'd seen with the modern day Savage, and convinced him to turn away from his life of villainy.
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In Injustice 2 (the comic book prequel to the video game of the same name), Ra's Al-Ghul manages to get rid of the corporate executives polluting the world as well as successfully assassinating the President of the United States for his anti-environmental policies with none of the heroes being able to stop him. However, in the process his animal reserve with several endangered species being devotedly guarded by Ra's gets destroyed during a battle with the superheroes, leading to their species being practically extinguished. He lets his enemies go because there is no more point in fighting, and makes sure to tell them whatever victory he made that day is meaningless due to the price paid before swearing to carry on the fight even more ferociously.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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RWBY: Hits Cinder in Volume 5, as her mortal wounding of Weiss only succeeded in bringing out Jaune's healing Semblance and making the rest of the heroes double up their efforts. If that wasn't enough, her plan to ambush the children with Raven and Vernal and betray them to get the relic backfired, as Raven used Vernal as a decoy to get the relic for herself.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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In Lord of War, Villain Protagonist and Arms Dealer Yuri Orlov manages to evade the law and escape a long stay in prison to continue his gunrunning. However, this comes at the cost of his brother and uncle being killed, his parents disowning him, and his one true love divorcing him and taking his only son with her. He was also released only due to being useful to the U.S. Government and he's fully aware they can have him disposed of if his usefulness ceases.note Such as if the political liability of retaining him finally overrides the de facto benefit of his services. This is hammered home when the Interpol agent chasing Yuri says that normally he'd tell Yuri to go to Hell, but he thinks that Yuri's already there.
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In Wish Carefully, Voldemort and the Death Eaters got exactly what they wanted: Britain is theirs, with the Light Side barred by a Magically Binding Contract from returning for as long as the Death Eaters rule, and the Light faction will take all the Muggleborns and Squibs away each year so that the Death Eaters will never have to deal with them again. All they had to agree to was not to go after the Light refugees or interfere in any way with the Muggle world. It wasn't until well after the treaty that they realized that virtually all the producers of goods and services were Light-aligned, leaving them with a crippled economy that is hemorrhaging gold. Even worse, without the muggleborns and Light-faction bloodlines, inbreeding is slowly choking the magic out of their descendants.
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A cartoon in House of Mouse has Donald Duck and Pete working in a music shop, but both are incredibly lazy and haven't made a sale for a long time, causing their manager to send them an ultimatum: the next person who makes a sale gets to keep their job while the other is fired. They both end up competing to sell an instrument to their next potential customer, Daisy Duck. In the end, Pete wins by using Donald himself as an instrument, allowing him to keep his job and get rid of Donald at the same time. However, in the process of trying to make the sale, both he and Donald caused a lot of damage to the store, so the manager not only takes Pete's commission, but his entire year's salary to cover the damages, and orders him to clean up the mess. Donald meanwhile, despite having lost his job, ends up with Daisy.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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Played with in The Batman Adventures's final issue with "Fear Itself": Joe Chill ended up in jail on an unrelated charge after shooting Thomas and Martha Wayne, meaning that the policenote and Batman overlooked him. By the time he finds out just who he shot — and just who the boy that he'd spared that night was — said boy's become an "untouchable millionaire" long out of Chill's reach, and Chill is depicted as seeming to be living relatively scot-freenote and in fact, he would have been... except for his constantly hallucinating the adult Bruce Wayne's face wherever he goes, spending every day day in mortal fear that someday Bruce Wayne will remember his face and finally finger him to the cops. Not only do Batman and a GCPD detective both not recognize his face, Batman actually mistakenly believing Chill to be a henchman of Killer Croc'snote ironically, Chill has no idea who Croc is, but finding out his real name and his alias doesn't ring a bell either, meaning that Joe Chill was in a hell entirely of his own making.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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Enrico Pucci in Part 6 kills most of the heroes and obtains his vision of "heaven", if only for a moment... but then gets killed by a mere child, and the world then gets the Reset Button; and he's no longer in the universe, having never been born.
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The Dark Brotherhood questline in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has Matthieu Bellamont getting direct revenge against Lucien Lachance for his mother's death, arranging for him to be seen as a traitor, tortured and executed in the most painful fashion. With that said, he doesn't succeed in his main goal of destroying the Dark Brotherhood (though he manages to weaken it severely by killing several top-ranking members and purging the Chendyhall Sanctuary) nor is he able to destroy the Night Mother (since she is an ethereal being that ascended to a higher plane of existence). In fact, she knew about his plot all along and could have stopped him anytime, but allowed him to keep pursuing so that the Dark Brotherhood would learn a lesson from being so blind at the growing threat.
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Although it may depend somewhat on your interpretation, SEELE's plan doesn't seem to have turned out the way they intended by the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion.
Chairman Keel seemed quite pleased with the outcome. Presumably, they are among the people who can't "imagine themselves in their own hearts", so no free resurrection card for them, but that's apparently what they wanted.
Shinji, arguably, fits this trope better. In both endings, this is what he wanted. In both endings, he got better, but after getting what he wanted... well, Alexander the Great might have wept over no more worlds to conquer, but thanks to Shinji there's no longer a world.
Gendo certainly didn't get what he wanted. Rei rejected him in favor of Shinji, and it's implied that he is not reunited with Yui in the pseudo-afterlife that is Third Impact, since (what appears to be) Yui/Unit 01's response is literally biting his head off.
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24 season 8. The terrorists execute President Hassan but they are all killed. This sets up the final act ending with Kamistan becoming an enemy of the West.
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According to Rogue One, he apparently does have a throne there.
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Total Drama World Tour: Courtney finds out that her boyfriend, Duncan, and Gwen have hooked up behind her back and vows revenge on them — at first, she gets support from most of her team and Gwen's eventually booted off the show (in a tiebreaker between her and Courtney). However, Gwen and Duncan remain a couple (although they do eventually break up) while Courtney loses the support of her team and fails in getting Duncan voted off (she actually gets voted off before he does)—and on top of all that, Courtney blindly falls for Alejandro, who's just using her (and actually has feelings for Heather), and Alejandro ends up losing anyway as well (the money itself is actually destroyed in a volcano, so Heather doesn't win either). So, in the end, Courtney ends up with nothing and no one.
Also, in Total Drama All-Stars, after Gwen breaks up with Duncan and she and Courtney manage to patch things up (and Courtney has since found a new boyfriend in the form of fellow contestant Scott), it later turns out that Courtney was planning on eventually betraying her fellow contestants (Gwen and Scott included), so Courtney ends up losing Gwen as a friend for good and she also loses Scott as a boyfriend.
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There is a Final Fantasy VII AU story in which Sephiroth achieves his goal of godhood, only to "rule" over a dead, unpopulated landscape, doomed to wander forever through a barren world alone and abandoned by Jenova. It climaxes with him falling to his knees, screaming in agony and irretrievable insanity.
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Luke Cage (2016): By the end of Season 1, Mariah gets out of Harlem's 29th precinct without charges on Cottonmouth's murder (due to having the one witness against her killed off), but with Harlem realizing her criminal activities.
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At the end of American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson, Simpson manages to get acquitted thanks to a combination of a fiendishly clever defense team, a string of poor decisions by the prosecutors, and one of the officers pulling a last-minute Fifth Amendment plea to avoid being cross-examined. He is technically a free man, but half of Los Angeles (including most of his white neighbors) now hates his guts, his former in-laws are challenging him for custody of his younger children, and Robert Kardashian, one of his few real friends, has realized that Simpson used him and never wants to see him again. And of course, his victory would prove to be short-lived; he ended up being sued into oblivion by the Goldman family.
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A minor example in Retail occurred when Josh, the assistant manager for Grumbel's, lied about getting a job offer from a competing store in order to secure a raise. He initially got away with it...until Marla (the store manager) found out about it, and proceeded to tell Stuart, their district manager who was formerly Josh's supporter. No longer having Stuart's protection, and with Marla planning to fire him, Josh quickly got himself a new job and quit.
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Archmaester Gyldayn's Histories chronicled Aegon II's successful usurpation of the Iron Throne but by the end, he is deformed, his dragon and his family are dead, his forces are depleted and he has no heir save his nephew who is the son of his nemesis. Still, he remained defiant against the rebels. He is poisoned to end the war.
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 Literature: Archmaester Gyldayn's Histories
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The Order of the Stick:
The Start of Darkness prequel book shows this happening very, very heavily to Redcloak, who loses nearly everyone and everything he cares about as he tries to make progress on the quest his god has given him, and to a much lesser extent to Xykon, whose transformation into a lich means that he loses all the earthly pleasures that he had believed made life worthwhile before his transformation.
Vaarsuvius's Deal with the Devil, literally harnessing the powers of evil, ultimately doesn't accomplish what they planned. In a twist, V's subsequent actions cause a LOT of change, some of it even good, but they're left morose at how badly things went awry. Thankfully, this has started V down some real character development.
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 The Order of the Stick (Webcomic)
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Part 1: Certainly he's destroyed every major underworld power in his way but at the cost of his soul.
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 The Godfather
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In Fallout: New Vegas, one of the ways to talk down Legate Lanius in the Final Battle is to convince him that even if he were to beat the NCR and conquer Hoover Dam, the Legion would inevitably fall via attrition (due to Rape, Pillage, and Burn being a poor long-term way to sustain an army) or overextending themselves (much like the NCR themselves have done).
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The movie version of The Talented Mr. Ripley has Ripley having to kill everyone he likes in order to get away with it. The book ends by indicating that he'll never be able to look at another policeman without that flash of alarm that says "This is it — he's the one — he knows." Not a way anyone would like to live life.
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This gets referenced in Sonic Generations when Classic Robotnik asks Eggman if he's ever won, Eggman responds "Depends on your idea of winning."
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C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America: By the early 21st century, the CSA has maintained chattel slavery of Africans, revived the international slave trade, and shows no sign of slowing down. However, every other major country (except South Africa) maintains sanctions against it, and its oppressive "morality" laws and Culture Police have driven cultural icons into exile in Canada, with its only art being government propaganda. At the end of the film, it is stated that the stubborn adherence to slavery is weakening the country's economy, and it will eventually fall.
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 C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America
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Spider-Man: The Animated Series:
Discussed after Spidey chases Hobgoblin out of Crime Central.
However, the "Tablet of Time" two-parter was also a pyrrhic victory for Fisk, and he couldn't deny it. In his goal to obtain the Tablet, his wife was kidnapped, and though she is rescued unharmed, she decides to leave him at the end, despite his pleas. Fisk winds up with the Tablet, which he had wanted in the first place, but he orders Hammerhead to get rid of it. "The sight of it sickens me," he growls.
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The First Order by the end of the The Last Jedi. By all but wiping out the Resistance, they've become the only major superpower in the galaxy, but their Supreme Leader Snoke is killed, their fleet was devastated, and they experienced immense casualties just to take down a relative handful of ships and rebels. In the end, their new leader Kylo Ren humiliated himself in front of his army, highlighting his inexperience and rashness for all to see, and his actions allowed a number of Resistance members to escape from them as a result, preventing a complete victory for the First Order. The only reason they managed to gain any victory at all despite their incredible losses to the amount gained is that their surviving forces still vastly outnumber and outgun the remaining Resistance at the end, making it a win by technicality.
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In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos succeeds in his mission to kill half the population of the universe, but his armies and followers are wiped out, and he chooses to murder the person he loves the most to achieve his goal.
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The Shield's Vic Mackey ends up with a cushy job as a Federal Agent, after burning every bridge imaginable with his family (disowned him and in witness protection), his friends (one killed his entire family/self and left a note blaming Vic for turning him into such a monster while the other, whose loyalty to Vic was never in question, was made into the scapegoat for Vic's crimes), and pretty much all of Los Angeles. Plainly put, had ALL of his sins exposed as part of an immunity deal he landed as part of his new job. Worse, he's at a desk, which plays against all of Vic's strengths as a law enforcement agent. Vic's boss, horrified at how neatly Vic conned her, has vowed to make Vic's life a living hell in a bid to make him void his immunity deal, costing him his job and freedom. And even if he survives, after three years, the Feds can toss him out right there, and with his sins all public knowledge (and his old nemesis, now a mayoral candidate, moving into a powerful position), this means that no law enforcement outfit will ever hire him again, denying him the justification he used to hide from his crimes. Oh, and saying no to the new terms means he goes straight to prosecution. Karma is a bitch, Vic.
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In Dragon Age: Origins, Well-Intentioned Extremist Teyrn Loghain's plan to take the throne of Ferelden works like a charm ... up until the point where it sparks a civil war and causes riots throughout the country. Ironically, in an effort to protect Ferelden from Orlesian occupation, he's forced to act just as badly as the former conquerors he once struggled against. This sends him into a deep depression and eventually sparks a Villainous Breakdown.
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By the end of 300, Xerxes has lost most of his best troops and although he's defeated Leonidas at Thermopylae, the performance of the Spartans and the losses inflicted among his men has only given new determination and inspiration to the other Greeks. Historically speaking this was only a minor setback for the Persians, but other Greeks counterattacked and forced the Persians to leave the country; therefore Xerxes won the battle but lost the war because the choke point of Thermopylae bought the other Greeks enough time to mass for their counterattack.
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Batman Beyond does a similar thing with Inque's daughter, who screwed her mother over and tried to kill her for the sake of money. By the end of the episode, she is pretty happy with the money she won... until Batman comes to inform her Inque's remnants weren't found anywhere. She now lives in fear of the vengeance of the assassin who can be anywhere, as anyone or anything, seeing her in every shadow.
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Marvel Cinematic Universe:
In The Avengers, Tony tries to explain to Loki that this is the best he can hope for.
In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos succeeds in his mission to kill half the population of the universe, but his armies and followers are wiped out, and he chooses to murder the person he loves the most to achieve his goal.
And by Avengers: Endgame, he's lost even more. The Avengers track him down and kill him, and his plan was All for Nothing because the Avengers bring them all back by using time-travel to re-create the Infinity Gauntlet. It's no wonder his past self just loses what little composure he originally had when he finds this out and resolves to destroy the world and remake it in his own image.
In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Mysterio succeeds in being known as a great hero, one he engineered for himself via a Monster Protection Racket that took many lives. He even defames Spider-Man by revealing his Secret Identity to the world, and tarnishes Tony Stark's legacy in the process. The catch is that all of this could only be done posthumously, as he died in the final battle when his own arrogance got him shot in the crossfire between Spider-Man and his drones.
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Dr. Eggman's plan actually succeeds in Sonic Riders... kinda. He does manage to steal the treasure of Babylon, which turns out to be a rug. He faints when he realizes how much effort he put into it. If he'd kept it, he could've discovered that it was actually ancient Babylonian technology that actually flies.
This gets referenced in Sonic Generations when Classic Robotnik asks Eggman if he's ever won, Eggman responds "Depends on your idea of winning."
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At the end of the "Kindly Ones" arc of The Sandman, Lyta Hall, aided by the Kindly Ones, succeeds in killing Dream and avenging her son's apparent death. There's just one problem: Daniel wasn't actually dead, and for her crimes against the Dreaming, he is forced to become the new Dream, so she will never, ever get him back. And on top of that, her actions have pissed off a lot of people, leaving her with a lot of enemies.
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Kars, the main villain of Part 2, gets what he wants which is to become the ultimate lifeform, which lives forever and can adapt to any environment or situation, but ends up flung into space, where he will live forever, but slowly go insane from the boredom.
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At the end of Batman: Arkham City, when it looks like Batman might not save The Joker from his TITAN poisoning the clown backstabs him to try getting the cure, causing it to drop and smash on the ground. Joker dies about a minute later. Extra irony-points because Batman really would have saved the Joker, and in his dying breath, he finds that fact hilarious.
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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: At the height of the Dominion War arc, Gul Dukat leads a combined Dominion/Cardassian fleet to regain control of the titular station... losing forty warships in the process, failing to force their way onboard before the withdrawing Starfleet forces can thoroughly wreck the place and pulling so many forces away from other duties that a major shipyard was left wide open for a fleet of Federation ships to pound it to scrap. Weyoun hangs a bitter lampshade on all the above to Dukat, who brushes the implied criticism off with barely a thought. This attitude costs him dearly later on.
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In Kingdom Hearts I, Ansem (who you find out, in Kingdom Hearts II, is really Xehanort's Heartless), successfully opens the door which he believes would lead to ultimate dark power; however, Sora tells him that "Kingdom Hearts is Light", and the villain ends up getting disintegrated when the door opens.
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The Four Gospels' Judas Iscariot may be an example. Sure, he got a tidy sum for betraying Jesus, but, according to Matthew, he was so overcome with guilt afterwards that he hanged himself.
Exactly how things worked out for Judas varies a bit depending on who's telling it. The Gnostic Gospel of Judas (rejected when New Testament's contents were formalized) even claimed that Judas "betrayed" Jesus under Jesus's orders.
Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me... For the Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." (Mark 14:17 & 21, ESV)
And of course, that "tidy sum" of earthly treasure is a mere pittance compared to the honor his fellow apostles would have of "sitting on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel", not to mention sharing in the same inheritance that the Lord and His believers would receive from His Father. To compare it to another part of the Bible, Judas' thirty pieces of silver is the equivalent of Esau's bowl of pottage which he traded his birthright inheritance for with his brother Jacob, which brings us the Aesop that sacrificing one's future (heavenly) inheritance in exchange for the satisfaction of immediate short-term (worldly) gain isn't a good thing.
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In Spider-Man: Far From Home, Mysterio succeeds in being known as a great hero, one he engineered for himself via a Monster Protection Racket that took many lives. He even defames Spider-Man by revealing his Secret Identity to the world, and tarnishes Tony Stark's legacy in the process. The catch is that all of this could only be done posthumously, as he died in the final battle when his own arrogance got him shot in the crossfire between Spider-Man and his drones.
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Curtis from Dreamgirls cheats and double deals his way to the top of the music industry but it all catches up to him. Deena turns against him and gives Effie evidence of his shady business deals which she uses to get exclusive rights to her hit single "One Night Only". Deena leaves him and the rest of The Dreams disband. Even though Curtis is trying to move on to a new artist, it's possible he'll never get the same success he once had.
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The Sith in Star Wars: The Old Republic get hit hard by this in the later part of the story.
On Taris and Balmorra, the planets wind up being conquered and switching sides, the republic-dominated Taris being taken by the empire and vice-versa for the weapon manufacturing hub of Balmorra. Balmorra is, again, a planet full of weapons manufacturers, Taris is a polluted wasteland worth only sentimental value to the Jedi and has no pragmatic value or resources (The Rakghoul plague is either too horrific or too uncontrollable to be turned into an effective bioweapon, depending on who you ask). Furthermore, Taris being captured by the Empire frees up a very competent anti-Empire general who quickly finds her self elected head chancellor of the Republic.
The Sith themselves also get hit hard by this, in adhering to the code of "only the strongest", the Sith have spent so much time on petty power struggles that drag military resources into them (two of four Empire class storylines end with you fighting a Sith, another has a Sith as the final boss of act 1, and the fourth lets you Heel–Face Turn to the Republic to kill another) that by the time of the first expansion, there are two of originally twelve Dark Council members still alive, One of them the player character Sith inquisitor and a Darth more or less subservient to them, countless military minds have been killed, and there aren't enough Sith left to make up the difference for how many Jedi are left. Even the characters note at this point that the Empire is more or less screwed. The only reason they've survived this long is that Dark Revan and the threat of the Emperor returning has forced both sides to band together.
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By the end of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, it's clear that Garrett realizes that he will lead a conflicted, unhappy life and will be chiefly remembered for killing his friend. Billy, meanwhile, will have most of his bits of sociopathy forgotten by an adoring public (to an extent, this extends to other portrayals of the two, including Young Guns II).
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Werewolf: The Apocalypse's final book, Apocalypse features one scenario in which the Weaver takes centre stage as the main villain of the setting instead of the Wyrm, and can actually end with the Weaver eliminating all threats to her perfect world by sealing the Gauntlet shut, separating the physical world and the spirit world once and for all. Unfortunately, this means that the spirit world is sentenced to entropic breakdown without a physical world to reflect, and the real world loses its vital spark of creativity without the spirit world to provide it; not only do humans lose their ability to dream and innovate, but all life in the universe begins a steady decline into extinction. For all intents and purposes, the Weaver's chance to create a static utopia has been lost forever, and thanks to the separation of the two worlds, there's nothing she can do to stop it.
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The MacBeths killed King Duncan, forever destroying the mental peace of Lady Macbeth and turning Macbeth into a Fallen Hero who essentially sold his soul to the devil, all for a temporary victory. In the long term, what they accomplished was to make Banquo's descendants kings.
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In a milder example, Jervis Tetch (the Mad Hatter) in Batman: The Animated Series uses his mind control technology to land Alice, a co-worker he was too shy to talk to, but Batman calls him out on this, asking if a mind-controlled, compliant Alice with no personality was what he really wanted. Tetch has a breakdown and blames Batman for his misery. Thing is, Jervis had ALREADY come to this conclusion earlier in the episode and wanted to woo her on his own merits, but after Alice, who only saw Jervis as a friend, reunited with her boyfriend, he was driven over the edge.
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To Kill a Mockingbird: Bob Ewell is able to get away with severely beating his daughter and having a black man framed for it and imprisoned. But anyone watching the trial knew what he did, destroying what remained of his reputation, and driving him to harass the wife of the black man he imprisoned, spit in Atticus' face, invade the home of a judge, and later attempt to murder Jem and Scout, an action that got himself killed by Boo Radley.
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In a handful of episodes of The Dreamstone, the villains actually succeed in sending nightmares to the Land of Dreams. As much as Zordrak savors these victories, the Urpneys couldn't care less that they had and usually suffer ten times the abuse the Noops ever could from a bad dream in the process (and usually a revenge beating to go with it afterwards), but they do it.
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Daniel Plainview's empty isolation and drunken insanity at the close of There Will Be Blood. And his now immortal final line: "I'm finished!" implies that the way his life turned out is exactly what he wanted.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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In Dragon Ball Super, Zamasu has actually succeeded in his "Zero Mortal Plan" when his bodiless Eldritch Abomination form has successfully managed to wipe out all mortal life in Future Trunks Timeline. Unfortunately, by that time, he has completely lost his sanity meaning that he will never be able to enjoy this victory. Furthermore, he also failed to kill the fighters who cause him the most grief and shortly afterwards, gets immediately wiped out by Zen'O after Goku called him. Zamasu's plan ultimately amounted to nothing because of this.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: Khan's ruthless, vicious bid to exact revenge on Captain Kirk succeeds (up to a point), and he even acquires what might be the most powerful piece of technology in the 23rd century. Unfortunately, this success led to him sinking deeper into insanity, leading his devoted followers to their deaths, getting disfigured, and finally committing suicide in an effort to finish off the object of his fixation. Early on, his own right-hand man pointed out that he had already achieved a limited victory and could fly away without suffering any consequences. Naturally, his advice went unheeded.
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Middle-earth: Shadow of War ends with Sauron as the immediate victor over the leads and getting everything he wanted at great cost: Talion is corrupted and becomes one of the Nazgul, but it takes Sauron wasting his best warriors and many decades before succeeding, and he is unable to launch his invasion of Middle-earth sooner, due to his forces being divided by Talion waging war on him specifically to preserve the balance of power. Meanwhile, Celebrimbor is defeated and Sauron fuses the wraith to himself, but gets stripped of his physical form, most of his powers and trapped in the form of the Lidless Eye. And as the Distant Finale shows, Sauron is fated to be destroyed when the One Ring is cast into the lava of Mount Doom.
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Daredevil (2015): The fate of District Attorney Samantha Reyes in season 2. She tries to get Frank Castle either killed or in jail for life to cover up the fact she was indirectly responsible of his family's death with her carelessness because it would ruin her career. She does succeed in having him sent to jail and saving her job... only for Wilson Fisk to arrange for Castle to escape a few days later, reducing her to a panicked wreck under the belief he will come for her. And just to make sure saving her career was pointless, she is machine-gunned to death right in front of Matt, Foggy, Karen, and Blake Tower right after deciding to come clean (albeit not by Castle.)
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In Wakfu, Nox has spent 200 years of research, plotting, and genocide in order to gather the energy needed to travel back in time and stop his family from being destroyed partially due to his own negligence. In the end, he manages to defeat the heroes, drain the Tree of Life (killing the Sadidas in the process), and uses all the energy gained over this time period to travel back in time... a whole twenty minutes.
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In the Star Trek episode "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," the ship is occupied by two aliens from a species where half are black on their right side and white on their left, and the other is the opposite, and the former have set themselves up as the societal superiors of the latter, in an obvious metaphor for the racism prevalent at the time. The black-on-the-right one is chasing the white-on-the-right one as a criminal and ultimately succeeds in forcing the crew to return to his home planet, where his prisoner can be judged. However, they find that while the chase was going on, the war between the two sides escalated until every single person on the planet was killed. The two aliens promptly accuse each other of their people being responsible, and teleport down to the planet to continue their war, as Kirk somberly notes that their hatred for each other is all they have left.
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Several instances occur within A Song of Ice and Fire:
Cersei makes her illegitimate son Joffrey king but was unable to stop Ned Stark from informing Stannis Baratheon that he is the true king or stop Renly from leaving the city and proclaiming himself king. Joffrey then executes Ned causing the North to declare independence and they capture Jaime. The Lannisters gained the throne and a three front war to match.
Tywin Lannister destroys the Starks as a noble house. In the process, his eldest son is crippled by Tywin's own mercenaries and later denounces him, Gregor Clegane renews tensions with Dorne and his last-minute Tyrell allies poison his grandson and take a large chunk of his political power.
The Freys gain possession of Riverrun and a number of other perks for perpetrating the Red Wedding. They're currently the most despised house in Westeros and are being killed one-by-one by the Brotherhood Without Banners and Wyman Manderley.
Roose Bolton becomes one of the most powerful men in Westeros for betraying and murdering Robb Stark. He also inherits Robb's war with the Greyjoys, a war with Stannis, the imminent invasion of the Others and only a handful of Roose's new vassals aren't actively plotting against him.
Archmaester Gyldayn's Histories chronicled Aegon II's successful usurpation of the Iron Throne but by the end, he is deformed, his dragon and his family are dead, his forces are depleted and he has no heir save his nephew who is the son of his nemesis. Still, he remained defiant against the rebels. He is poisoned to end the war.
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The end of the Civil War plays with this: Iron Man's reputation has essentially become mud because of his support of the SHRA, and it's only further compounded by Captain America's death.
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And by Avengers: Endgame, he's lost even more. The Avengers track him down and kill him, and his plan was All for Nothing because the Avengers bring them all back by using time-travel to re-create the Infinity Gauntlet. It's no wonder his past self just loses what little composure he originally had when he finds this out and resolves to destroy the world and remake it in his own image.
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Seen in Hell Girl. Yes, your contract with Enma Ai gives you what you want: to punish someone who's slighted you big time. However, by sending that person to Hell, you've condemned yourself as well, since when your life comes to an end, you will join them in Hell. See the mark on your chest? It'll remind you of the Deal with the Devil you made.
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In Saint Beast, having defeated two justified rebellions from the angels, Zeus is sick of war and decides to retire and go into a long sleep.
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Mage: The Ascension: The Technocracy is winning the war against the Traditions and moulding Consensus in favour of its vision of reality, only to discover too late that the stamping out of the spark of creativity, freedom and independence it had done in the process has also resulted in the Masses deeming its own superscience too fantastic to be plausible.
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Happens twice in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
Kars, the main villain of Part 2, gets what he wants which is to become the ultimate lifeform, which lives forever and can adapt to any environment or situation, but ends up flung into space, where he will live forever, but slowly go insane from the boredom.
Enrico Pucci in Part 6 kills most of the heroes and obtains his vision of "heaven", if only for a moment... but then gets killed by a mere child, and the world then gets the Reset Button; and he's no longer in the universe, having never been born.
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Game of Thrones:
Cersei Lannister's smirking victory over Tyrion and later the Tyrells become meaningless as it comes with a high price. Her champion Ser Gregor Clegane winning over Oberyn Martell in Tyrion's trial on Joffrey's murder breaks new tensions from Dorne and leads to Myrcella's death. Jaime, out of sympathy for Tyrion, helps him escape only for Tyrion to kill Tywin on the way out, leaving the kingdom in her less-than-capable hands. Her reinstatement of the Faith Militant as a means to get back at the Tyrells backfires when she herself gets arrested and punished for her own crimes which also leads her own son Tommen to accept the Faith as part of their alliance to the Iron Throne.
As of the end of Season 6, Cersei finds herself in this position but Up to Eleven. She has triumphed over her enemies by detonating a wildfire cache under the Great Sept of Baelor, killing several hundred people from the nobility (including most remaining members of Houses Tyrell and Lannister, all of whom were opposing her) and the Faith within the sept, (who were about to put her on trial) probably as many commoners outside it and destroying a good chunk of the capital city. In the aftermath, her only surviving son commits suicide because Cersei was too busy torturing a prisoner who had once abused her to comfort him. Cersei has made it onto the throne at last, but her House is bankrupt, the crown is deeply in debt and her armies are depleted by war. Nearly the entire realm is either starting or in the middle of some form of rebellion against the throne, meaning that while she is positioned in a way that no one in King's Landing can challenge her, she doesn't rule much beyond that demesne, not to mention the fact that she has added the plentiful Reach to the list of enemies of the increasingly powerless crown. On top of all this Daenerys has finally launched a full-scale invasion backed by both her armies and her dragons, and with the support of Tyrion and Lady Olenna of House Tyrell, uneasy but former allies alienated by Cersei, and the harshest winter in recorded history has just started. Despite her apparent power and triumph due to ascending to the throne, the number of people actually loyal to Cersei can be counted on one hand (the Mad Scientist Qyburn, and the Mountain as her personal muscle), she has just as many if not more enemies than ever, and even her twin brother has become disillusioned with her, emotionally isolating her from everyone she cares about.
By the end of the next season it's even worse. Thanks to her alliance with the Ironborn and sacrificing her own home territory to strike at the Tyrells the war is going surprisingly well for her, but she still has no way to deal with the dragons and ultimate defeat is inevitable. When Daenerys unexpectedly calls for a ceasefire to deal with the imminent undead invasion Cersei not only agrees but declares that she will send her own armies north as well since she has no desire to rule a graveyard. Only this is a lie; as soon as the invaders head north she orders the planning to move her own troops stopped, and explains that her real plan is to play for time while she brings in mercenary reinforcements from Essos. She could have done this by simply accepting the ceasefire; she offered to join the defense for literally no reason other than that it gave her the pleasure of betraying them. This is what finally convinces Jaime that she's completely mad and leads directly to his defection.
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On its continuation Kingsman: The Golden Circle, Poppy Adams' plan to hold the millions of people that have ever taken drugs legally or not (or had been affected biologically by drugs, such as kids that had their parents taking drugs while they were in the womb) around the world hostage with her virus in exchange for having all recreational drugs legalized on the U.S. hits a bit of a snag on its execution: When the President of the United States turns out to be a Knight Templar and decides it would be better to let those millions die and declare himself the de facto winner of the War On Drugs. If not for the Kingsmen managing to Storm the Castle and getting the antidote, the result would have been Adams going down in history as the architect of a world-wide genocide and the complete annihilation of her monetary base. For added irony, she dies without knowing this.
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This is what happens to Celestia in the Conversion Bureau deconstruction fic series The Negotiations-verse, minus the "victory" part. It's revealed that she transported Equestria to Earth because Equus' sun was dying and she didn't have enough time to save their whole world from the coming destruction, so she transported Equestria to the only suitable planet she could locate (Earth) while knowing what fate would befall the other races after they left, and then created the potion and Conversion Bureaus because she was convinced peaceful coexistence with the humans would be impossible. When it turned out the majority of humankind did not want to convert (not helped by how the newfoal converts were a bunch of perpetually smiling automatons straight out of the Uncanny Valley), she decided to force the issue, only for the humans to collectively put aside their differences to unite against a common enemy. In the war, Celestia's whole family is killed (sans Twilight and Spike, who immediately disowned her after discovering what she'd done), Equestria was invaded and completely devastated, and once her crimes were brought to light, nearly all of her beloved ponies turned against her. And to cap it all off, Celestia is executed and will be remembered as a murderer and monster even worse than Hitler by future generations.
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In Metamorphosis, this is Queen Chrysalis' origin story. She was once a pegasus soldier, exiled from Commander Hurricane's forces for trying to start a war with the earth ponies and unicorns, who made a deal with Discord to gain the powers of all three pony tribes. He gave her a unicorn's horn, an earth pony's strength, and an entire changeling army, but transformed her into her current hideous bug-like form, and stripped her of her cutie mark and original name. Despite her newfound power, she was forced to be his servant, with the promise of a Fate Worse than Death if she disobeyed him.
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In Drow Tales, the Big Bad, Snadhya'rune, enacts a series of schemes to ravage her city and make it collapse so that she can takeover uncontested. She is completely successful in ruining the city, and partially successful in taking over, but the city continues to fall apart beyond her control, leaving even her unhappy with how little there is left to rule.
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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: On paper, Lex Luthor succeeds in getting Superman killed thanks to Doomsday. However, he ends up in jail as a result, Batman is keeping an eye on him and will work with Wonder Woman on starting the Justice League, Superman is now remembered by everyone as a hero and will come back.
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God of War III ends Kratos' story in this manner. Kratos finally has his revenge on Zeus, and has brought down nearly all of Olympus AND the Titans. However, each god he killed caused a major calamity to strike the world. By the end, the oceans have risen (Poseidon), the sun has been blotted out (Helios), a plague has broken out (Hermes), all vegetation has died (Hera), and what little remains has been covered in Gaia's remains. Even worse, Pandora's Heroic Sacrifice (something he was trying to prevent) was utterly pointless, as the power to defeat Zeus was in him the entire time. When Athena's ghost pulls her Face–Heel Turn, he finally has had enough and impales himself, which releases Hope and helps the world a little... but he's still dead, and can never rejoin his family. Damn.
Or is he? Waiting through the credits reveals Kratos may be alive. And he's on a new journey.
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Or is he? Waiting through the credits reveals Kratos may be alive. And he's on a new journey.
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My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
In the episode "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", the Flim Flam Brothers win the contest with Applejack by producing far more barrels of cider than she and the rest of the Mane 6. In the process, they not only manage to alienate the town with their Jerkass behavior, but also had to shut off the quality assurance of their machine to win. The resulting cider is so unappetizing that nopony is willing to buy or take it for free. Faced with an angry mob, they have no choice but to pack up and leave.
In "Rarity Takes Manehattan", Suri Polomare takes credit for the creation of Rarity's special fabric to increase her reputation at a fashion competition. Suri does end up keeping Rarity from reaping the benefits of the competition, and it's never discovered that Suri didn't make the fabric herself. But on the flip side, Rarity manages to still officially win the competition, Suri's Hypercompetent Sidekick Coco Pommel (who did most of the actual work) quits and does a Heel–Face Turn, and while Suri has the reputation for making beautiful fabric, she doesn't have the actual ability, meaning that her reputation will be short-lived.
In "The Cutie Remark", Starlight Glimmer managed to develop a Time Travel spell so that she could go back in time and stop Rainbow Dash's first Sonic Rainboom which causes the Mane Six to never become friends and every time Twilight tries to fix things, she fails thanks to the spell being designed so that Starlight would arrive before Twilight. However, because the Mane Six never became friends, they weren't around to protect Equestria from all the previous Big Bads that they've stopped, and every time Twilight fails to fix the past, the Bad Future ends up worse and worse. Eventually, Starlight gets to see for herself what her changing the past would do, at this point, the only thing left is a barren wasteland, and it's implied that if Starlight continued that the future could have gotten worse.
In "No Second Prances", Trixie uses her friendship with Starlight Glimmer to have her choose between helping with her performance or going to Twilight's dinner with Celestia. When she chooses to help Trixie, Trixie brags about it to Twilight claiming that since Starlight chose Trixie over Twilight Trixie has finally beaten Twilight at something. But, Trixie formed a real friendship with Starlight and when Starlight runs off in tears over being used, Trixie is left without her assistant for her show and no friends at all, making her self-proclaimed victory pointless. Twilight is able to convince Starlight to forgive Trixie for her behavior though and the three all make amends.
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 Western Animation: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
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Doctor Who: "The Hand of Fear" has the classic line "So now you are king, as was your wish. I salute you from the dead. Hail Eldrad. King... of nothing." Not that the nominal winners were much better off.
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In any situation where Elmer Fudd appears to succeed in killing Bugs Bunny in Looney Tunes shorts, he breaks down emotionally. The best example is What's Opera, Doc?, where in the story, Bugs' character is Killed Off for Real. This demonstrates that perhaps Elmer isn't really cut out for this hunting business.
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Jimmy Two-Shoes. Lucius manages to push the weavils off their land, but the mountain he was going to carve his face into ends up carved into a weevil head instead.
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In The Fifth Act, when Angeal finds out that his illness is terminal and that Cloud's genetics might hold the secret for a cure. Angeal succeeds in kidnapping Cloud and sold him out to Hollander in order to find a cure. He then finds out that Hollander has no intention of curing him and fully intends to experiment on Cloud to find out what made Cloud superior. Then Hollander is killed and Cloud kidnapped again with no cure to show for it. He betrayed Cloud's and his friends' trust, is now a fugitive and has completely betrayed his ideals and is still going to die.
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In the Hong Kong action crime drama Sha Po Lang (or Kill Zone in the U.S.), Triad crimelord Wong Po, the villain played by Sammo Hung, defeats the hero Inspector Ma played by Donnie Yen by sending him right out a window... right onto the Wong family's waiting car with Po's beloved child and wife still inside, killing all three of them.
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The Wire: After killing and backstabbing his way to becoming Baltimore's chief drug kingpin, Marlo enjoys it for only a month before losing his entire organization and being forced to go straight by the police. His name and reputation, the things he treasured most in the world, are quickly forgotten while his defeated enemy Omar lives on as a street legend.
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In The Avengers, Tony tries to explain to Loki that this is the best he can hope for.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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At the end of Final Fantasy Tactics, Delita successfully manipulates his way to absolute power over Ivalice, destroying all of the competing factions and ascending to the throne by seducing and marrying Princess Ovelia. Unfortunately, his methods so thoroughly alienate his new bride that she decides she must have been part of his machinations too, and stabs him, possibly fatally. (If the cutscene writers didn't pay attention to Delita's unarmoured HP at least...) This forces Delita to kill her in retaliation, and he is left wondering if it was all worth it as he falls to his knees clutching his wound. (The painfulness of this scene is increased further if you believe that Delita genuinely loved Ovelia.)
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog had an early, non-canon Yet Another Christmas Carol where Robotnik is taken to see the future. Robotnik has finally defeated the Freedom Fighters, but he has rendered himself the last man alive in doing so, turning Mobius into a barren wasteland. However, Robotnik doesn't grasp this and fails to learn his lesson.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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Kingsman: The Secret Service: Valentine sought to save the world by eliminating pretty much its entire population using a Hate Plague to kill each other, save for a few individuals that willingly sided with him. In a sense, he gets what he wants since people die during the ensuing chaos (though not all of them), but also the world leaders that denied climate change and only cared about staying in power. The problem is that all his collaborators were killed off by Merlin, and he gets killed by Eggsy at the end.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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DEVILMAN crybaby has Ryo Asuka a.k.a. Satan wins his battle with Akira and succeed in killing off all of the Devilmen and humanity. However, all the demons are dead as well, and Ryo realizes too late that his victory means nothing since what he truly wanted was to be with the only person ever he cared for, except that he killed said person. Ryo consequently falls into despair and grief just as God obliterates the Earth.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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In Necessary To Win, Ceylon, discontent with what she believes to be overly lenient policies by her predecessor as St. Gloriana's commander, becomes very harsh in her leadership of the team, to the point of being abusive. The team advances to the semifinals, but is defeated as a result of one of Ceylon's mistakes, and partly the result of a mistake made by one of her panicking subordinates; Ceylon tries to scapegoat the latter for what happened. In the end, Ceylon leaves the school as a pariah and leaves high school feeling empty.
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Anakin Skywalker is a prime example of this by the end of the prequel trilogy in Revenge of the Sith. Sure, he's won the war, and his turn to The Dark Side has allowed his Evil Overlord partner to take over the galaxy, but he's lost the pregnant wife he did it all for, had his limbs chopped off, and is forced to spend the rest of his life in an uncomfortable life support suit to avoid dying from his burns. The damage (compounded by botched medical treatment) has also crippled his connection to the Force; while sheer hatred and the Dark Side can keep him moving, he's no longer strong enough to even take revenge on Palpatine. The novelization puts it best:
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Walter White of Breaking Bad manages to slip the law, his competitors and former allies in the drug trade. Each time he does, it ruins the lives of those around him and costs him a little more of his soul. By the end of the series, he finally secures millions of dollars for his children and dies on his own terms. In the process, among other tragedies, his brother-in-law is murdered, his partner is almost psychologically destroyed, his wife and son despise him, two children are murdered, he inadvertently helps to cause a plane crash, and his criminal life becomes national news.
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In the backstory of Horizon Zero Dawn, Ted Faro successfully deletes APOLLO (the repository of human knowledge and, more importantly, history) and kills off the Zero Dawn Alphas so that After the End, humanity is unburdened by the knowledge of the past. Really, this is him erasing evidence that the end of the world was his fault. However, there are recordings in the bunkers that give enough of a picture of the situation that clearly points to him as the setting's Greater-Scope Villain.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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In Test of the Twins, Raistlin Majere's goal of becoming a god is revealed to be a severe case of Pyrrhic Villainy. He succeeds, but in the process he destroys the world and eradicates every shred of good in his own soul, leaving him with no ability to renew or heal that which he has laid waste. Fortunately for all concerned, his brother Caramon is able to go back in time and reveal this outcome to the earlier Raistlin, who then sacrifices himself to save Caramon and Crysania.
He thinks of it differently, as revealed during his nephew's test to become a full-fledged mage.
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God of War Series
Kratos in the first God of War (Back Story included) gains a great deal of power at the cost of many lives, kills the original God of War, Ares, and becomes the new God of War in the process. Unfortunately for our Sociopathic Hero protagonist, his burning ambition costs him the lives of his family (by his own hand), possibly the only thing he genuinely cared about emotionally and causes him to go nearly insane with guilt and endless nightmares. After learning that all of his efforts towards his goal of ending said nightmares were ultimately futile, he, despite everything that he had gained, descended further into madness (leading to the events of God of War II), where he ends up killing Athena, the one Goddess who was sympathetic to him..
God of War III ends Kratos' story in this manner. Kratos finally has his revenge on Zeus, and has brought down nearly all of Olympus AND the Titans. However, each god he killed caused a major calamity to strike the world. By the end, the oceans have risen (Poseidon), the sun has been blotted out (Helios), a plague has broken out (Hermes), all vegetation has died (Hera), and what little remains has been covered in Gaia's remains. Even worse, Pandora's Heroic Sacrifice (something he was trying to prevent) was utterly pointless, as the power to defeat Zeus was in him the entire time. When Athena's ghost pulls her Face–Heel Turn, he finally has had enough and impales himself, which releases Hope and helps the world a little... but he's still dead, and can never rejoin his family. Damn.
Or is he? Waiting through the credits reveals Kratos may be alive. And he's on a new journey.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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In Hellsing The Major succeeds in defeating Alucard, even though Integra kills him in the end. Also, London ultimately rebuilds and life continues on like normal. And just like the last time he was soundly beaten, Alucard is never truly out of the game; he comes back eventually.
On the other hand, the Major was actually a Death Seeker, and everything he did was with this singular goal in mind, so he may have gotten exactly what he wanted.
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Bennett the Sage and JesuOtaku have done several crossover videos, with the idea in mind being Bennett attempting to Break or Corrupt the Cutie with terrible and sexually shocking or exploitative anime. In the third such crossover, JO reviews Master of Martial Hearts for Bennett, and he agrees that Sage has won and shown him something so gratuitously cruel and horrific that he just can't laugh it off or remain unaffected by it. However, after a relatively short spell of being horrified and depressed, JO remembers that it was just fiction and all the good things about real life, then goes outside to enjoy himself and cheer himself up by playing with his roommate's dog. Meanwhile, Sage is left in a deep depression with his "victory", pondering where mankind has gone wrong, and whether a species capable of such cruelty and darkness is worthy of redemption.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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Things tend to work out this way for Justified's Boyd Crowder. Though he's always able to survive, he typically loses out in one way or another. In Season 1, he brings down his father but loses his Church. In Season 2, he defeats the Bennetts but his girlfriend Ava ends up in the hospital and Dickie evades him. In Season 3, his enemy Robert Quarles is captured but his henchman Arlo goes to jail and Boyd misses the chance to claim Mags' money. In Season 4, he outlasts Nicky Augustine and gets the chance to be Wynn Duffy's new partner, but at the cost of Ava going to jail. And in Season 5, he manages to kill the treacherous Johnny and survive the Mexican cartel and Daryl Crowe both, but his fledgling empire is in tatters, Ava becomes a CI, and Rachel, Raylan, and Vasquez are coming for him.
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Pyrrhic Villainy
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Saw: In the end, Jigsaw's actions result in his own death and the death of the woman he loved. The only thing John leaves behind is his murderous legacy, which is the antithesis of everything he claimed it to be.
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In House of Flying Daggers, The Mole for La Résistance accomplishes his mission to perfection, but loses the Action Girl he loves, and later kills her while fighting The Rival who had won her love. He ends the film a broken shell of a man.
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In Psycho-Pass Season 2, Kirito Kamui finally killed Masako Togane and forced the Sibyl System to judge itself. However, everything he did is already pointless because the system remains standing and is on the verge of expanding its control outside Japan by lending its "help" to SEAUn and assassinating its leader when he realized their true nature. All that Kamui did was helping Sibyl get rid of those defective brains that hinder their progress and the ones left are the sociopathic ones.
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Many of the murders in Cold Case are this. The killer escapes for years or even decades but time and circumstance change and the murder they committed becomes a senseless act which they still must pay for.
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The following is a list of statements referring to the current page from other pages.

 Fairy Tail the Movie: Phoenix Priestess / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Last: Naruto the Movie / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Saint Beast (Audio Play) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog (Comic Book) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Comic Book: My Little Pony: Friends Forever / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Smurfs (Comic Book) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Comicbook: Avengers Undercover / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Best Revenge / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Fifth Act / Fan Fic / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Divine Jealousy And The Voice Of Reason (Fanfic) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Earth and Sky (Fanfic) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Fanfic: The Trinity
seeAlso
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Fanfic: Wish Carefully / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Arbitrage / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 House of Flying Daggers / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 In Time / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Film: Naruto 7 The Last
seeAlso
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Revenge of the Sith / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Emperor and the Assassin / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Godfather / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Hunger Games: Mockingjay / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Last Jedi / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Ten Commandments / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Truman Show / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Achievement Hunter Grand Theft Auto Series (Lets Play) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 A Series of Unfortunate Events / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 American Psycho / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Encyclopedia Brown / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Literature: Full Dark, No Stars / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 I, Claudius / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Marcus Didius Falco / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Four Gospels / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Literature: The Lords of Discipline / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Saga of the Volsungs / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Stepford Wives / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Wuthering Heights / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Chiang Kai-Shek
seeAlso
Pyrrhic Villainy
 make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Hellgirl / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Hey Ash, Whatcha Playin'? / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Hong Gil Dong / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Lord of War / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist We Win Because You Didn't
seeAlso
Pyrrhic Villainy
 make a to do send a pm add to watchlist drop watch go to watchlist Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 There Will Be Blood / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Hellsing (Manga) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Fargo Season Two / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Series: The Politician's Husband
seeAlso
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Shield / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Crucible (Theatre) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The History of the Devil (Theatre) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Ace Combat: Assault Horizon Legacy (Video Game) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Age of Wonders (Video Game) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Batman: Arkham City (Video Game) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Video Game: Elemental Gearbolt / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Final Fantasy XII (Video Game) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Video Game: Freedom Force / int_39203137
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Gungrave (Video Game) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Horizon Zero Dawn (Video Game) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Video Game) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Sine Mora (Video Game) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (Web Video) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Alice Grove (Webcomic) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Exterminatus Now (Webcomic) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 League of Super Redundant Heroes (Webcomic) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Batman Beyond / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Cars / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Dragons: Riders of Berk / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Star vs. the Forces of Evil / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 The Dreamstone / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 What's Opera, Doc? / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Hell Girl / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Freedom Force (Video Game) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy
 Prince of Persia (2008) (Video Game) / int_153c295a
type
Pyrrhic Villainy