History Main / PyrrhicVictory

1st Jul '16 5:29:12 AM damus2300
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* ''Series/TwentyFour'' excels at this. The good guys always win but at the cost of many lives and politically, nothing ever changes; another group of terrorists will just show up in the next season. [[CrapsackWorld Living in the world of 24 just sucks.]]

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* ''Series/TwentyFour'' excels at this. The good guys America always win wins but at the cost of many lives and politically, nothing ever changes; another group of terrorists will just show up in the next season. [[CrapsackWorld Living in the world of 24 just sucks.]]


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* King Robert in the ''Series/GameOfThrones'' season 5 Blu-ray lore about the Dance of the Dragons describes how Rhaenyra Targaryen sacrificed her sons to (temporarily) win the Iron Throne. [[spoiler: It's also probably an omen of his wife Cersei doing the same thing in the season 6 finale.]]
1st Jul '16 3:35:00 AM damus2300
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* For most of ''Film/TheBookOfEli'', the BigBad chases Creator/DenzelWashington's character across the wasteland, trying to obtain the [[MacGuffin book]]. He finally gets it in the end, but loses so many men that he can no longer rule over his people. Also, his wound is infected, which is usually a death sentence. To top it off, [[spoiler: the book is in Braille, and the only person who could possibly read it just lost the fear that had kept her obedient and subservient]].
1st Jul '16 2:39:15 AM damus2300
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* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': You quickly learn in this series: if you think anybody has won completely, the sting in the tale has yet to pop up.
** As Jon Snow wins battles and climbs up the rank of the Night's Watch, he loses the respect of his black brothers.
** ''The Battle of the Blackwater'' is another excellent example. This is something of a hallmark of the series. A non-Pyrrhic victor tends to be an UnwittingPawn, up to and including some of the competing [[TheChessmaster Chessmasters]].
** Robb Stark's situation for close to three books. His Northern army {{curb stomp|Battle}}s the Lannisters in his first major battle, putting him well on his way to winning the war in short order. However, [[GambitPileup other circumstances]] come into play, and while he is never beaten on the field, with every "victory" his situation becomes more and more precarious as the North stands alone while Tywin Lannister forms alliances with the other ruling families against him.
** Theon conquering Winterfell. He is able to take the capitol of the North with a relatively small force, but doesn't have the men to hold it long-term, and rather then leaving with his valuable hostages he tries to stay and rule Winterfell. However, the Ironborn don't have enough men to hold the North and he is unable to gain enough forces to forify the castle. He tries ruling through fear by [[spoiler:murdering Robb Stark's brothers, in reality two boys as the real Starks had escaped]], but becomes the most hated man in the North for this and has even less chance of holding Winterfell. Eventually the Boltons decide to help him, destroying the force sent to retake Winterfell, [[spoiler:but turn on Theon and he is taken back to [[IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace the Dreadfort]], where he is horrifically tortured and mutilated by [[{{Sadist}} Ramsay Snow]], [[BastardBastard "the Bastard of Bolton"]]]].
** The Lannister victory in the War of Five Kings. Yes, they won the Iron Throne, but in the process virtually every important member of the family was killed, exiled, or maimed. The Iron Throne is left heavily in debt, meaning the Iron Bank of Braavos, who they still owe a fortune too, decides to support Stannis. And their regime is so weakened by the wars, with Stannis in the North and Ironborn attacking the Western coasts that they will have trouble coping with any future threat, [[spoiler:meaning the Seven Kingdoms is ready to be taken by Aegon VI]].
** Robert's Rebellion in the backstory, especially if you're Robert. His entire motivation was to rescue his beloved, Lyanna Stark, from the Targaryens. She died before he could do so. He ended up with the throne but not the girl (and with a loveless marriage). And he hated being a king.
** Daenerys's sacking of Slaver's Bay. Despite having the strength to crush three cities, she leaves a power vacuum in Yunkai and Astapor since her supporters are vastly outnumbered by her enemies. In Meereen, all of her attempts to reform the city are met with resistance and Dany ends up fleeing the city on her dragon's back after a failed assassination attempt.
** House Frey's betrayal of the Starks and Tullys wins them the favour of the Lannisters and the Iron Throne and enables them to vastly increase their power, but also the enmity of just about everyone else and the [[ZeroPercentApprovalRating total ruin of their already-shaky reputation]], they are surrounded by people who hate them for murdering their relatives, friends and troops. More Freys die in retaliation for the Red Wedding than in the War of the Five Kings.
** Along with them are the Boltons. They've managed to become the new Wardens of the North after betraying Robb and are technically securing their hold on places like Winterfell, but everyone in the North hates them for it, and are now siding with Stannis to take them down when that becomes possible.
** Gregor Clegane managed to win a duel against a Dornish Prince only to spend the succeeding weeks dying in screaming pain from the poison used by his opponent. If he'd managed to pull through, his employers planned to cut off his head and send it to Dorne with their apologies.
** The Siege of Dragonstone in AFFC. Queen Cersei was informed by the Grand Admiral (who eventually betrayed her) that while they managed to take the stronghold, the casualties from the assault is described as an unnecessary bloodbath [[note]]approximately 1000 dead consisting of mostly young lords and knights in contrast to the token force on Dragonstone [[/note]] and an able knight grievously wounded. Later the small council tries to recoup their losses by ordering a search of the castle for any wealth, which ends in vain. All in all the Iron throne paid a heavy price for an island which Stannis [[note]]The previous occupant of Dragonstone[[/note]] called a godforsaken rock.
** The Dance of the Dragons ended with Aegon II victorious but so severely burned that he only has a year to live, all his heirs are dead so the crown will eventually pass to his nephew who is the son of his arch enemy and nearly all the Targaryen dragons are dead, the dragons going extinct in the next King's reign.
*** For Aegon III, the eventual victor of the Dance of the Dragons. In the war his three older brothers died and his mother, who had been trying to make herself Queen, was eaten by her half-brother's dragon. [[ForcedToWatch Seeing this]] meant Aegon was left permanently depressed.
** Aegon III's son Daeron I conquered Dorne, bringing it under the Iron Throne after more then a century. However he lost 10,000 men in the process. The Steward he left to rule Dorne was murdered, the Dornish rebelled, and Daeron lost 50,000 men trying to hold Dorne. After four years of ruling Daeron was murdered by the Dornish and Dorne separated from the Seven Kingdoms. Later Daeron's cousin Daeron II was able to bring Dorne under his control peacefully through wedding a Dornish Princess, making Daeron's deeds look pointless.
** Littlefinger planned and plotted to get rid of Ned Stark primarily to finally be able to wed Catelyn in a way that'd leave her grateful to him for stepping in and helping. Instead, his plotting gets her killed and he "settles" for aiming for her daughter, instead.
** Every small victory Sansa gets in trying to improve her lot as a captive usually comes with at least three steps back and getting landed further into the political fire. Girl can't seem to outright win for losing horribly somewhere else.
** It's heavily implied that whoever wins the Iron Throne in the end will have won such a victory as the cost of warfare is rapidly depleting all their resources while an exceptionally long winter is coming.

to:

* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': You quickly learn in this series: if you think anybody has won completely, the sting in the tale has yet to pop up.
** As Jon Snow wins battles and climbs up the rank of the Night's Watch, he loses the respect of his black brothers.
** ''The Battle of the Blackwater'' is another excellent example. This is something of a hallmark of the series. A non-Pyrrhic victor tends to be an UnwittingPawn, up to and including some of the competing [[TheChessmaster Chessmasters]].
** Robb Stark's situation for close to three books. His Northern army {{curb stomp|Battle}}s the Lannisters in his first major battle, putting him well on his way to winning the war in short order. However, [[GambitPileup other circumstances]] come into play, and while he is never beaten on the field, with every "victory" his situation becomes more and more precarious as the North stands alone while Tywin Lannister forms alliances with the other ruling families against him.
** Theon conquering Winterfell. He is able to take the capitol of the North with a relatively small force, but doesn't have the men to hold it long-term, and rather then leaving with his valuable hostages he tries to stay and rule Winterfell. However, the Ironborn don't have enough men to hold the North and he is unable to gain enough forces to forify the castle. He tries ruling through fear by [[spoiler:murdering Robb Stark's brothers, in reality two boys as the real Starks had escaped]], but becomes the most hated man in the North for this and has even less chance of holding Winterfell. Eventually the Boltons decide to help him, destroying the force sent to retake Winterfell, [[spoiler:but turn on Theon and he is taken back to [[IDontLikeTheSoundOfThatPlace the Dreadfort]], where he is horrifically tortured and mutilated by [[{{Sadist}} Ramsay Snow]], [[BastardBastard "the Bastard of Bolton"]]]].
** The Lannister victory in the War of Five Kings. Yes, they won the Iron Throne, but in the process virtually every important member of the family was killed, exiled, or maimed. The Iron Throne is left heavily in debt, meaning the Iron Bank of Braavos, who they still owe a fortune too, decides to support Stannis. And their regime is so weakened by the wars, with Stannis in the North and Ironborn attacking the Western coasts that they will have trouble coping with any future threat, [[spoiler:meaning the Seven Kingdoms is ready to be taken by Aegon VI]].
** Robert's Rebellion in the backstory, especially if you're Robert. His entire motivation was to rescue his beloved, Lyanna Stark, from the Targaryens. She died before he could do so. He ended up with the throne but not the girl (and with a loveless marriage). And he hated being a king.
** Daenerys's sacking of Slaver's Bay. Despite having the strength to crush three cities, she leaves a power vacuum in Yunkai and Astapor since her supporters are vastly outnumbered by her enemies. In Meereen, all of her attempts to reform the city are met with resistance and Dany ends up fleeing the city on her dragon's back after a failed assassination attempt.
** House Frey's betrayal of the Starks and Tullys wins them the favour of the Lannisters and the Iron Throne and enables them to vastly increase their power, but also the enmity of just about everyone else and the [[ZeroPercentApprovalRating total ruin of their already-shaky reputation]], they are surrounded by people who hate them for murdering their relatives, friends and troops. More Freys die in retaliation for the Red Wedding than in the War of the Five Kings.
** Along with them are the Boltons. They've managed to become the new Wardens of the North after betraying Robb and are technically securing their hold on places like Winterfell, but everyone in the North hates them for it, and are now siding with Stannis to take them down when that becomes possible.
** Gregor Clegane managed to win a duel against a Dornish Prince only to spend the succeeding weeks dying in screaming pain from the poison used by his opponent. If he'd managed to pull through, his employers planned to cut off his head and send it to Dorne with their apologies.
** The Siege of Dragonstone in AFFC. Queen Cersei was informed by the Grand Admiral (who eventually betrayed her) that while they managed to take the stronghold, the casualties from the assault is described as an unnecessary bloodbath [[note]]approximately 1000 dead consisting of mostly young lords and knights in contrast to the token force on Dragonstone [[/note]] and an able knight grievously wounded. Later the small council tries to recoup their losses by ordering a search of the castle for any wealth, which ends in vain. All in all the Iron throne paid a heavy price for an island which Stannis [[note]]The previous occupant of Dragonstone[[/note]] called a godforsaken rock.
** The Dance of the Dragons ended with Aegon II victorious but so severely burned that he only has a year to live, all his heirs are dead so the crown will eventually pass to his nephew who is the son of his arch enemy and nearly all the Targaryen dragons are dead, the dragons going extinct in the next King's reign.
*** For Aegon III, the eventual victor of the Dance of the Dragons. In the war his three older brothers died and his mother, who had been trying to make herself Queen, was eaten by her half-brother's dragon. [[ForcedToWatch Seeing this]] meant Aegon was left permanently depressed.
** Aegon III's son Daeron I conquered Dorne, bringing it under the Iron Throne after more then a century. However he lost 10,000 men in the process. The Steward he left to rule Dorne was murdered, the Dornish rebelled, and Daeron lost 50,000 men trying to hold Dorne. After four years of ruling Daeron was murdered by the Dornish and Dorne separated from the Seven Kingdoms. Later Daeron's cousin Daeron II was able to bring Dorne under his control peacefully through wedding a Dornish Princess, making Daeron's deeds look pointless.
** Littlefinger planned and plotted to get rid of Ned Stark primarily to finally be able to wed Catelyn in a way that'd leave her grateful to him for stepping in and helping. Instead, his plotting gets her killed and he "settles" for aiming for her daughter, instead.
** Every small victory Sansa gets in trying to improve her lot as a captive usually comes with at least three steps back and getting landed further into the political fire. Girl can't seem to outright win for losing horribly somewhere else.
**
It's heavily implied that whoever wins the Iron Throne in the end will have won such a victory as the cost of warfare is rapidly depleting all their resources while an exceptionally long winter is coming.
29th Jun '16 3:21:00 PM contrafanxxx
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Added DiffLines:

* In ''VideoGame/{{Ikaruga}}'', Shinra and Kagari [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu destroy the Stone-Like]], breaking the cycle from ''VideoGame/RadiantSilvergun'', but [[spoiler: [[TheHeroDies they die]] [[HeroicSacrifice in the process]].]]
27th Jun '16 9:32:28 PM Tdarcos
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* In Creator/AynRand's ''Literature/AtlasShrugged'', whenever the looters are going to seize one of the properties of the actual or future strikers, they end up with a worthless property. D'Anconia blows up his ore mines and docks, Dannager abandons his coal mines, Wyatt blows up his oil fields, Rearden walks away from his steel mill, etc.
23rd Jun '16 6:47:16 PM MyFinalEdits
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* In ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'', Bakugou makes good on his boast that he would win first place in the Athletics Festival. But because his final opponent Todoroki gave up at the last moment, Bakugou finds his victory utterly hollow. He has to be ''chained up'' at the award ceremony and holds the first place medal in his teeth because he refuses to actually wear it.

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* In ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'', ''Manga/MyHeroAcademia'':
**
Bakugou makes good on his boast that he would win first place in the Athletics Festival. But because his final opponent Todoroki gave up at the last moment, Bakugou finds his victory utterly hollow. He has to be ''chained up'' at the award ceremony and holds the first place medal in his teeth because he refuses to actually wear it.
23rd Jun '16 6:09:21 PM BatDan
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** Todoroki's father, the number 2 hero Endeavor had spent his life trying to surpass All Might, the number 1 hero, even going so far as to partake in (unheroic) Quirk Eugenics. When All Might loses his power and thus retires, Endeavor becomes #1 but is angered that it was given to him by default and not earned.
23rd Jun '16 4:18:27 AM StFan
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!!Examples

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!!Examples
!!Examples:



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]

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[[folder:Anime and & Manga]]



[[folder:Film - Animated]]

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[[folder:Film - Animated]][[folder:Films -- Animation]]



[[folder:Film - Live-Action]]

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[[folder:Film - [[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]



*** Oh, and the surviving Autobots of that movie? [[spoiler:62.5% of THEM are dead now, too; at the hands of humans, no less.]]

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*** ** Oh, and the surviving Autobots of that movie? [[spoiler:62.5% of THEM are dead now, too; at the hands of humans, no less.]]



-->'''T.S.:''' What's the point?
-->'''Brodie:''' You know how long it takes for that smell to come off? Scrub all you want, it'll stick around for at least two days. How does he explain it to his colleagues and family? They'll think he doesn't know how to wipe his ass properly.
-->'''T.S.:''' Meanwhile you yourself are left with a hand that smells like shit.
-->'''Brodie:''' Small price to pay for the smiting of one's enemies.
* ''Film/{{Cloverfield}}'': [[spoiler: The monster is (probably) defeated, but every single main cast member (except one, and she may well actually be dead too) is dead, along with most of the population of New York City, and the city has been destroyed]].
** Clover is a [[WordOfGod baby]] and if [[GreaterScopeVillain the mother]] finds the dead body or goes looking for it...

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-->'''T.S.:''' What's the point?
-->'''Brodie:'''
point?\\
'''Brodie:'''
You know how long it takes for that smell to come off? Scrub all you want, it'll stick around for at least two days. How does he explain it to his colleagues and family? They'll think he doesn't know how to wipe his ass properly.
-->'''T.
properly.\\
'''T.
S.:''' Meanwhile you yourself are left with a hand that smells like shit.
-->'''Brodie:'''
shit.\\
'''Brodie:'''
Small price to pay for the smiting of one's enemies.
* ''Film/{{Cloverfield}}'': [[spoiler: The [[spoiler:The monster is (probably) defeated, but every single main cast member (except one, and she may well actually be dead too) is dead, along with most of the population of New York City, and the city has been destroyed]].
**
destroyed]]. Plus, Clover is a [[WordOfGod baby]] and if [[GreaterScopeVillain the mother]] finds the dead body or goes looking for it...



* ''Film/{{Awakenings}}'' is based on the true story of a doctor who brought several patients out of a decade-long period of catatonia [[spoiler: temporarily]]. One patient, however is clearly upset about all the time he has lost.
--> '''Anthony''': [cheerfully] How's it going?
--> '''Frank''': How's it going?
--> '''Anthony''': Yeah, how do you feel?
--> '''Frank''': Well, my parents are dead. My wife is in an institution. My son has disappeared out west somewhere.
--> ''(beat)''
--> '''Frank''': I feel old and I feel swindled, that's how I feel.

to:

* ''Film/{{Awakenings}}'' is based on the true story of a doctor who brought several patients out of a decade-long period of catatonia [[spoiler: temporarily]].[[spoiler:temporarily]]. One patient, however is clearly upset about all the time he has lost.
--> '''Anthony''': [cheerfully] -->'''Anthony:''' ''[cheerfully]'' How's it going?
--> '''Frank''':
going?\\
'''Frank:'''
How's it going?
--> '''Anthony''':
going?\\
'''Anthony:'''
Yeah, how do you feel?
--> '''Frank''':
feel?\\
'''Frank:'''
Well, my parents are dead. My wife is in an institution. My son has disappeared out west somewhere.
--> ''(beat)''
--> '''Frank''':
somewhere.\\
''[beat]''\\
'''Frank:'''
I feel old and I feel swindled, that's how I feel.



-->'''Priest''': "God has been kind to us this day."
-->'''Yuri'''; "Can you imagine if he wasn't? It might have rained."

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-->'''Priest''': "God -->'''Priest:''' God has been kind to us this day."
-->'''Yuri'''; "Can
\\
'''Yuri:''' Can
you imagine if he wasn't? It might have rained."



* R.A Salvatore's ''[[Literature/TheIcewindDaleTrilogy The Crystal Shard]]'' has the final battle presented as one of these for the good guys.

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* R.A Salvatore's Salvatore:
**
''[[Literature/TheIcewindDaleTrilogy The Crystal Shard]]'' has the final battle presented as one of these for the good guys.



* In Creator/DanAbnett's TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} novel ''Literature/BrothersOfTheSnake'', a chapter of Space Marines retake a refinery from Chaos forces. They realize that the place was tainted by something it had pumped up from under the earth, and it could not be used any more -- which meant they could just have blasted it from orbit, without losing three Marines in the fight.

to:

* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'':
**
In Creator/DanAbnett's TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} novel ''Literature/BrothersOfTheSnake'', a chapter of Space Marines retake a refinery from Chaos forces. They realize that the place was tainted by something it had pumped up from under the earth, and it could not be used any more -- which meant they could just have blasted it from orbit, without losing three Marines in the fight.



* ''Literature/TheGreatPacificWar'' - the US victory is portrayed this way, wrecking the American shipping fleet and sending the economy into decline, causing it lag behind Britain and Germany as a world power.

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* ''Literature/TheGreatPacificWar'' - the ''Literature/TheGreatPacificWar'': The US victory is portrayed this way, wrecking the American shipping fleet and sending the economy into decline, causing it lag behind Britain and Germany as a world power.



--> '''Locke''': So this is winning.
--> '''Jean''': It is.
--> '''Locke''': It can go fuck itself.

to:

--> '''Locke''': -->'''Locke:''' So this is winning.
--> '''Jean''':
winning.\\
'''Jean:'''
It is.
--> '''Locke''':
is.\\
'''Locke:'''
It can go fuck itself.



* In ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', winning the Games is depicted as such. Because ThereAreNoTherapists, survivors of the arena walk out with wealth and fame for life, but with severe PTSD and ''nothing'' to help them cope with their experiences -- ''and'' they have to mentor the tributes for the following Hunger Games, until they die. For example, Haymitch, the mentor to Katniss, has spent twenty-four year trying to mentor children and bringing home corpses. The trope is Invoked in this case -- the Capitol doesn't want the Victors to be able to lead a coup.

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* In ''Literature/TheHungerGames'', winning ''Literature/TheHungerGames'':
** Winning
the Games is depicted as such. Because ThereAreNoTherapists, survivors of the arena walk out with wealth and fame for life, but with severe PTSD and ''nothing'' to help them cope with their experiences -- ''and'' they have to mentor the tributes for the following Hunger Games, until they die. For example, Haymitch, the mentor to Katniss, has spent twenty-four year trying to mentor children and bringing home corpses. The trope is Invoked in this case -- the Capitol doesn't want the Victors to be able to lead a coup.



* [[Literature/{{Reckless}} The Mirrorworld Series]]: [[spoiler: Sure, Jacob ultimately accomplishes what he set out to do, but then there are all those people who end up dead..]].

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* [[Literature/{{Reckless}} ''[[Literature/{{Reckless}} The Mirrorworld Series]]: Series]]'': [[spoiler: Sure, Jacob ultimately accomplishes what he set out to do, but then there are all those people who end up dead..]].



[[folder:Live Action TV]]

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[[folder:Live Action [[folder:Live-Action TV]]



* ''Series/DoctorWho''

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* ''Series/DoctorWho''''Series/DoctorWho'':



[[folder:Mythology]]

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[[folder:Mythology]][[folder:Myth & Religion]]



* In the American folk tale/folk song of "JohnHenry," the eponymous character competes against a machine to prove that a man can drill rock for a railroad tunnel faster than the machine built to replace him. John Henry beats the machine in the race, but collapses and dies afterwards from a heart attack due to overexertion, thus resulting in the machine replacing him anyway.

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* In the American folk tale/folk song of "JohnHenry," "Myth/JohnHenry", the eponymous character competes against a machine to prove that a man can drill rock for a railroad tunnel faster than the machine built to replace him. John Henry beats the machine in the race, but collapses and dies afterwards from a heart attack due to overexertion, thus resulting in the machine replacing him anyway.



* Can happen in sports if the effort to secure a win leaves players either injured or too exhausted to continue competing successfully.
** In the 2014 NBA Western Conference Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs decisively in two consecutive home games. The second game of the two was clearly going in the Thunder's favor from early on, and the Spurs had conceded defeat and opted to cut their losses by playing deep bench players with little experience (thereby giving their more experienced players rest for the next game). However, the unexpected tenacity of the Spurs' deep bench forced the Thunder to continue playing their starters for far longer than would normally be expected in a blowout win. As a result, the Thunders' starters were exhausted during the next game and lost by a wide margin -- before ultimately losing the series.

to:

* Can happen in sports if the effort to secure a win leaves players either injured or too exhausted to continue competing successfully.
**
successfully. In the 2014 NBA Western Conference Finals, the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the San Antonio Spurs decisively in two consecutive home games. The second game of the two was clearly going in the Thunder's favor from early on, and the Spurs had conceded defeat and opted to cut their losses by playing deep bench players with little experience (thereby giving their more experienced players rest for the next game). However, the unexpected tenacity of the Spurs' deep bench forced the Thunder to continue playing their starters for far longer than would normally be expected in a blowout win. As a result, the Thunders' starters were exhausted during the next game and lost by a wide margin -- before ultimately losing the series.



* ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'', for both heroes and villains. The heroes won't be able to achieve particularly significant things, and it's quite likely they will die in the process of saving a handful; on the Darklords' side of the ledger...well...Count Strahd saved his homeland at the expense of his youth and became immortal at the expense of the life of the woman he loved, to name just one example.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Risk}}'' - Throw fifteen troops into an invasion, end up with one left to occupy the territory against the might of the entire enemy continent.
** Alternatively, destroy a large amount of a enemy but fall just short of actually knocking him out of the game - then watch him turn in a set of Risk Cards, and come back at your forces which are now spread thin at one-army per territory.

to:

* ''TabletopGame/{{Ravenloft}}'', for both heroes and villains. The heroes won't be able to achieve particularly significant things, and it's quite likely they will die in the process of saving a handful; on the Darklords' side of the ledger...well... well... Count Strahd saved his homeland at the expense of his youth and became immortal at the expense of the life of the woman he loved, to name just one example.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Risk}}'' - ''TabletopGame/{{Risk}}'': Throw fifteen troops into an invasion, end up with one left to occupy the territory against the might of the entire enemy continent.
**
continent. Alternatively, destroy a large amount of a enemy but fall just short of actually knocking him out of the game - -- then watch him turn in a set of Risk Cards, and come back at your forces which are now spread thin at one-army per territory.



* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'': The heroes confront Chaos, destroying him and shattering the time loop. But because that loop is shattered, no one--not even the ''heroes''--remembers there was ever a battle to begin with. The price of victory? Never knowing your greatest achievements ever were.

to:

* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'': The heroes confront Chaos, destroying him and shattering the time loop. But because that loop is shattered, no one--not one -- not even the ''heroes''--remembers ''heroes'' -- remembers there was ever a battle to begin with. The price of victory? Never knowing your greatest achievements ever were.
23rd Jun '16 3:47:13 AM StFan
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-->Ancestor: Victory. A hollow and ridiculous notion.

to:

-->Ancestor: -->'''Ancestor:''' Victory. A hollow and ridiculous notion.



[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' has the defeat of the Meta and dealing with Project Freelancer come at the price of [[spoiler: Alpha-Church and several other AIs being destroy in a EMP, Tex imprisoned in the capture unit that Epsilon-Church then joins her in (which is thrown into evidence and deemed useless) and Wash almost killed, then forced to masquerade as Church to avoid prison time. Oh, and Red Team lost Lopez. He comes back (as a head still/again) in season 11, though]].
* In ''WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'' the Emperor absolutely hates his most loyal subjects because they've basically transformed most of mankind's "victories" into massive unrepairable losses, quadrillions dead and millions of souls devoured for pointless reasons, which sadly, [[TabletopGame/{{WarHammer 40000}} are all entirely canon]].
* In ''WebAnimation/MarioBrothers'', King Koopa and his army are defeated for once and for all... at the cost of [[spoiler:the lives of Princess Toadstool, the Toads, and even the Mario Brothers themselves. The Mushroom Kingdom itself may even be doomed to destruction, since the last we see is the land being overtaken by the lava erupting from Koopa's castle]].
* The [[WhamEpisode Volume 3 finale]] of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' ends this way: [[spoiler:The Grimm invasion started by Cinder and her faction is ultimately halted, the situation in Vale is stabilized, the Grimm are repelled from the city center and Cinder herself is defeated thanks to Ruby; but the Beacon campus and surrounding areas are lost, communications have been disrupted around the world, and Atlas's reputation among the other kingdoms has been permanently tarnished. Also, while Team RWBY and most of the good guys survive the battle, many of them are demoralized or have been separated, Cinder and her faction have gone into hiding, and the [[TheManBehindTheMan one behind her]] isn't even phased by this setback]]. Also can be taken [[AccidentalPun literally]], since victory came [[spoiler:at the cost of [[MeaningfulName Pyrrha]]]].
* A few episodes of ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'' end this way:
** ''Superman vs Goku'': Superman came out on top, but the world gets an EarthShatteringKaboom in the process.
** ''Fox vs Bucky'': Not quite as harsh as the other 2 examples, but still relevant. Fox manages to kill Bucky, but Slippy Toad was killed before the battle began.
** ''White Tigerzord vs Epyon'': Even though Zechs manages to destroy the tigerzord and kill Tommy Oliver the White Ranger, his beloved girlfriend, Noin, was killed before the start of the battle. The battle ends with him crying Ocular Gushers over the remains of the Gundam she was piloting, while Zordon is left mourning Tommy's death.
** Possibly the case in ''Guts vs Nightmare''. Guts manages to destroy Nightmare/Night Terror, Inferno and Soul Edge, but he was forced into his Berserker Armor to do so. While not outright stated, it will eventually kill his sanity and physical body without anybody in the immediate area around to snap him out of it.
** PlayedForLaughs in ''Iron Man vs Lex Luthor''. While Tony defeats Lex without any life-threatening results to himself, his victory comes at a literal high cost: $5 billion for property damages that occurred.
** Also PlayedForLaughs in ''Donkey Kong vs Knuckles''. While Donkey Kong kills Knuckles for digging through his banana stash, he has to find his bananas all over again, thanks to the fight.
** ''Dante vs Bayonetta'': Dante kills Bayonetta, unknowingly failing his mission to retrieve the Left Eye of the World (the Left Eye is Bayonetta herself; Dante was under the impression it was an artifact). Plus, the DMX battle that accompanies this one revealed Dante's partner Trish was killed by Bayonetta's partner Jeanne.
** ''Joker vs Sweet Tooth''. Joker triumphs, but the beating he took during the battle leaves him in no condition to resist the police who show up, presumably to ship him back to Arkham.
[[/folder]]



* ''WebComic/MagickChicks'': From the moment Melissa transferred to Artemis and learned Faith was the school's [[LovableAlphaBitch 'big girl on campus']], there's only been one thought on her mind: [[http://www.magickchicks.com/strips-mc/no_guys dethrone her.]] Except none of her plans ever got off the ground. She only wound up becoming the new student council president due to circumstances prompting Faith to [[http://www.magickchicks.com/strips-mc/make_a_break abdicate her position.]] Melissa only wanted the prestige of being the most popular girl, [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor not the responsibilities that came with it.]]

to:

* ''WebComic/MagickChicks'': ''Webcomic/MagickChicks'': From the moment Melissa transferred to Artemis and learned Faith was the school's [[LovableAlphaBitch 'big girl on campus']], there's only been one thought on her mind: [[http://www.magickchicks.com/strips-mc/no_guys dethrone her.]] Except none of her plans ever got off the ground. She only wound up becoming the new student council president due to circumstances prompting Faith to [[http://www.magickchicks.com/strips-mc/make_a_break abdicate her position.]] Melissa only wanted the prestige of being the most popular girl, [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor not the responsibilities that came with it.]]



* This trope gets weaponized in ''{{WebComics/Goblins}}'', where the antagonist is forced to win [[spoiler:the Maze of Many]]. The problem with that? [[spoiler:Said opponent (Psion!Minmax) wanted to use the Maze to [[CessationOfExistence eradicate his own existence]]. ''You cannot re-enter the Maze once you've "won" it''.]]

to:

* This trope gets weaponized in ''{{WebComics/Goblins}}'', ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}'', where the antagonist is forced to win [[spoiler:the Maze of Many]]. The problem with that? [[spoiler:Said opponent (Psion!Minmax) (Psion Minmax) wanted to use the Maze to [[CessationOfExistence eradicate his own existence]]. ''You cannot re-enter the Maze once you've "won" it''.]]



* The titular character of ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'' gets, in his own words, everything he ever wanted: respect as a villain, entrance into the elite Evil League of Evil, and the defeat of his nemesis. However, it costs him [[spoiler: the life of the only woman he's ever loved before he's even been able to tell her how he feels]].
** Not to mention [[spoiler: her last words]]. Can you imagine any satisfaction in his "victory" at all after something like that?

to:

* ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'':
**
The titular character of ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'' gets, in his own words, everything he ever wanted: respect as a villain, entrance into the elite Evil League of Evil, and the defeat of his nemesis. However, it costs him [[spoiler: the [[spoiler:the life of the only woman he's ever loved before he's even been able to tell her how he feels]].
**
feels]]. Not to mention [[spoiler: her [[spoiler:her last words]]. Can you imagine any satisfaction in his "victory" at all after something like that?



* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' has the defeat of the Meta and dealing with Project Freelancer come at the price of [[spoiler: Alpha-Church and several other AIs being destroy in a EMP, Tex imprisoned in the capture unit that Epsilon-Church then joins her in (which is thrown into evidence and deemed useless) and Wash almost killed, then forced to masquerade as Church to avoid prison time. Oh, and Red Team lost Lopez. He comes back (as a head still/again) in season 11, though]].
* In ''WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'' the Emperor absolutely hates his most loyal subjects because they've basically transformed most of mankind's "victories" into massive unrepairable losses, quadrillions dead and millions of souls devoured for pointless reasons, which sadly, [[WarHammer40K are all entirely canon]].
* The Literature/WhateleyUniverse has the Halloween battle. What was originally intended as a cover so that the Goobers could kill Sara Waite turned into a full-on attack on Team Kimba, with many others getting caught in the cross-fire, and it ended badly for ''everyone''- while the Whateley crew won, they ended up with thousands of dollars of property damage, more than a few injured, a staff member dying and that triggering a rager attack by another staff member that turned him almost committing suicide because of the death of his girlfriend. It turned out worse for Englund, the instigator- almost everyone on the staff and more than a few students hated him even though they couldn't prove that he did it, the attack on Sara wasn't successful, and the staff member who went rager now wants to kill him with extreme prejudice. The Syndicate (the main evil attackers) lost hundreds of their soldiers, and the main general ended up nearly losing his boyfriend. In other words, nobody won and everybody lost.

to:

* ''Machinima/RedVsBlue'' has the defeat of the Meta and dealing with Project Freelancer come at the price of [[spoiler: Alpha-Church and several other AIs being destroy in a EMP, Tex imprisoned in the capture unit that Epsilon-Church then joins her in (which is thrown into evidence and deemed useless) and Wash almost killed, then forced to masquerade as Church to avoid prison time. Oh, and Red Team lost Lopez. He comes back (as a head still/again) in season 11, though]].
* In ''WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'' the Emperor absolutely hates his most loyal subjects because they've basically transformed most of mankind's "victories" into massive unrepairable losses, quadrillions dead and millions of souls devoured for pointless reasons, which sadly, [[WarHammer40K are all entirely canon]].
*
''Literature/WhateleyUniverse'':
**
The Literature/WhateleyUniverse has the Halloween battle. What was originally intended as a cover so that the Goobers could kill Sara Waite turned into a full-on attack on Team Kimba, with many others getting caught in the cross-fire, and it ended badly for ''everyone''- while the Whateley crew won, they ended up with thousands of dollars of property damage, more than a few injured, a staff member dying and that triggering a rager attack by another staff member that turned him almost committing suicide because of the death of his girlfriend. It turned out worse for Englund, the instigator- almost everyone on the staff and more than a few students hated him even though they couldn't prove that he did it, the attack on Sara wasn't successful, and the staff member who went rager now wants to kill him with extreme prejudice. The Syndicate (the main evil attackers) lost hundreds of their soldiers, and the main general ended up nearly losing his boyfriend. In other words, nobody won and everybody lost.



* In ''{{Literature/Worm}}'', Leviathan is ultimately forced to retreat from Brockton Bay by Scion, but a lot of people are dead, most of the city is destroyed, and it is sheer anarchy in the streets.

to:

* In ''{{Literature/Worm}}'', ''Literature/{{Worm}}'':
**
Leviathan is ultimately forced to retreat from Brockton Bay by Scion, but a lot of people are dead, most of the city is destroyed, and it is sheer anarchy in the streets.



* In ''WebAnimation/MarioBrothers'', King Koopa and his army are defeated for once and for all... at the cost of [[spoiler:the lives of Princess Toadstool, the Toads, and even the Mario Brothers themselves. The Mushroom Kingdom itself may even be doomed to destruction, since the last we see is the land being overtaken by the lava erupting from Koopa's castle]].
* Lampshaded when the host of ''FeedingTheTrolls'' was planning on doing a video about Lord Steven Christ, a complete whackjob conspiracy theorist known for preaching for 15 years that everyone has been living on the ''inside'' of the Earth this whole time, along with other wild antics...until he suddenly came out as "The Best Troll Ever." He did a video about him anyway, claiming that [[NeverLiveItDown completely destroying his reputation]] simply wasn't worth it.
* The [[WhamEpisode Volume 3 finale]] of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' ends this way: [[spoiler:The Grimm invasion started by Cinder and her faction is ultimately halted, the situation in Vale is stabilized, the Grimm are repelled from the city center and Cinder herself is defeated thanks to Ruby; but the Beacon campus and surrounding areas are lost, communications have been disrupted around the world, and Atlas's reputation among the other kingdoms has been permanently tarnished. Also, while Team RWBY and most of the good guys survive the battle, many of them are demoralized or have been separated, Cinder and her faction have gone into hiding, and the [[TheManBehindTheMan one behind her]] isn't even phased by this setback]]. Also can be taken [[AccidentalPun literally]], since victory came [[spoiler:at the cost of [[MeaningfulName Pyrrha]]]].
* A few episodes of ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'' end this way:
** ''Superman vs Goku'': Superman came out on top, but the world gets an EarthShatteringKaboom in the process.
** ''Fox vs Bucky'': Not quite as harsh as the other 2 examples, but still relevant. Fox manages to kill Bucky, but Slippy Toad was killed before the battle began.
** ''White Tigerzord vs Epyon'': Even though Zechs manages to destroy the tigerzord and kill Tommy Oliver the White Ranger, his beloved girlfriend, Noin, was killed before the start of the battle. The battle ends with him crying Ocular Gushers over the remains of the Gundam she was piloting, while Zordon is left mourning Tommy's death.
** Possibly the case in ''Guts vs Nightmare''. Guts manages to destroy Nightmare/Night Terror, Inferno and Soul Edge, but he was forced into his Berserker Armor to do so. While not outright stated, it will eventually kill his sanity and physical body without anybody in the immediate area around to snap him out of it.
** PlayedForLaughs in ''Iron Man vs Lex Luthor''. While Tony defeats Lex without any life-threatening results to himself, his victory comes at a literal high cost: $5 billion for property damages that occurred.
** Also PlayedForLaughs in ''Donkey Kong vs Knuckles''. While Donkey Kong kills Knuckles for digging through his banana stash, he has to find his bananas all over again, thanks to the fight.
** ''Dante vs Bayonetta'': Dante kills Bayonetta, unknowingly failing his mission to retrieve the Left Eye of the World (the Left Eye is Bayonetta herself; Dante was under the impression it was an artifact). Plus, the DMX battle that accompanies this one revealed Dante's partner Trish was killed by Bayonetta's partner Jeanne.
** ''Joker vs Sweet Tooth''. Joker triumphs, but the beating he took during the battle leaves him in no condition to resist the police who show up, presumably to ship him back to Arkham.

to:

* In ''WebAnimation/MarioBrothers'', King Koopa and his army are defeated for once and for all... at the cost of [[spoiler:the lives of Princess Toadstool, the Toads, and even the Mario Brothers themselves. The Mushroom Kingdom itself may even be doomed to destruction, since the last we see is the land being overtaken by the lava erupting from Koopa's castle]].
* Lampshaded when the host of ''FeedingTheTrolls'' ''WebVideo/FeedingTheTrolls'' was planning on doing a video about Lord Steven Christ, a complete whackjob conspiracy theorist known for preaching for 15 years that everyone has been living on the ''inside'' of the Earth this whole time, along with other wild antics...antics... until he suddenly came out as "The Best Troll Ever." Ever". He did a video about him anyway, claiming that [[NeverLiveItDown completely destroying his reputation]] simply wasn't worth it.
* The [[WhamEpisode Volume 3 finale]] of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' ends this way: [[spoiler:The Grimm invasion started by Cinder and her faction is ultimately halted, the situation in Vale is stabilized, the Grimm are repelled from the city center and Cinder herself is defeated thanks to Ruby; but the Beacon campus and surrounding areas are lost, communications have been disrupted around the world, and Atlas's reputation among the other kingdoms has been permanently tarnished. Also, while Team RWBY and most of the good guys survive the battle, many of them are demoralized or have been separated, Cinder and her faction have gone into hiding, and the [[TheManBehindTheMan one behind her]] isn't even phased by this setback]]. Also can be taken [[AccidentalPun literally]], since victory came [[spoiler:at the cost of [[MeaningfulName Pyrrha]]]].
* A few episodes of ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'' end this way:
** ''Superman vs Goku'': Superman came out on top, but the world gets an EarthShatteringKaboom in the process.
** ''Fox vs Bucky'': Not quite as harsh as the other 2 examples, but still relevant. Fox manages to kill Bucky, but Slippy Toad was killed before the battle began.
** ''White Tigerzord vs Epyon'': Even though Zechs manages to destroy the tigerzord and kill Tommy Oliver the White Ranger, his beloved girlfriend, Noin, was killed before the start of the battle. The battle ends with him crying Ocular Gushers over the remains of the Gundam she was piloting, while Zordon is left mourning Tommy's death.
** Possibly the case in ''Guts vs Nightmare''. Guts manages to destroy Nightmare/Night Terror, Inferno and Soul Edge, but he was forced into his Berserker Armor to do so. While not outright stated, it will eventually kill his sanity and physical body without anybody in the immediate area around to snap him out of it.
** PlayedForLaughs in ''Iron Man vs Lex Luthor''. While Tony defeats Lex without any life-threatening results to himself, his victory comes at a literal high cost: $5 billion for property damages that occurred.
** Also PlayedForLaughs in ''Donkey Kong vs Knuckles''. While Donkey Kong kills Knuckles for digging through his banana stash, he has to find his bananas all over again, thanks to the fight.
** ''Dante vs Bayonetta'': Dante kills Bayonetta, unknowingly failing his mission to retrieve the Left Eye of the World (the Left Eye is Bayonetta herself; Dante was under the impression it was an artifact). Plus, the DMX battle that accompanies this one revealed Dante's partner Trish was killed by Bayonetta's partner Jeanne.
** ''Joker vs Sweet Tooth''. Joker triumphs, but the beating he took during the battle leaves him in no condition to resist the police who show up, presumably to ship him back to Arkham.
it.
14th Jun '16 5:29:10 PM merotoker
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* The ending of the Chapter Black arc in ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' has Yusuke defeat Sensui, except Sensui was already dying and the demon gate was opened just so he could die honorably. In addition, said demons turned out to mostly be nobler than [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters the humans Yusuke was to protect]], and The Spirit World did indeed turn out to be corrupt.

to:

* ''Manga/YuYuHakusho''
**
The ending of the Chapter Black arc in ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'' has Yusuke defeat Sensui, except Sensui was already dying and the demon gate was opened just so he could die honorably. In addition, said demons turned out to mostly be nobler than [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters the humans Yusuke was to protect]], and The Spirit World did indeed turn out to be corrupt.



** The final battle at A Baoa Qu. In the end Zeon is defeated and reverts to a Republic, but the Federation military (and the government's hold on its more militant elements) was weakened to the point that those remnants of Zeon's military that rejected the armistice are still a major threat. Furthermore, [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Revil]] was killed by the opening shot of the battle, so there's nobody to keep the military's most extremist elements in check and the Federation bureaucrats (so corrupted their very existance was Zeon's major propaganda element) remained the main face of the government.

to:

** The final battle at A Baoa Qu. In the end Zeon is defeated and reverts to a Republic, but the Federation military (and the government's hold on its more militant elements) was weakened to the point that those remnants of Zeon's military that rejected the armistice are still a major threat. Furthermore, [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Revil]] was killed by the opening shot of the battle, so there's nobody to keep the military's most extremist elements in check and the Federation bureaucrats (so corrupted their very existance existence was Zeon's major propaganda element) remained the main face of the government.



* The ending note of ''[[Manga/JojosBizarreAdventure JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders]]'': the 100-year struggle between Dio Brando and Joestar Bloodline ends when DIO is killed for good, but with a great cost. [[spoiler: Avdol, Ikki, and Kakyoin]] have to sacrifice themselves to allow such a happy ending, and not to mention countless bystanders and innocent animals who get killed during the journey. [[spoiler:And even then, it's revealed in later parts that DIO still managed to start a chain of events that would eventually lead to the deaths of Jotaro, his daughter Jocelyn and many of her friends, and ''[[CosmicRetcon the universe being reset]]'']].

to:

* The ending note of ''[[Manga/JojosBizarreAdventure JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders]]'': the 100-year struggle between Dio Brando and Joestar Bloodline ends when DIO is killed for good, but with a great cost. [[spoiler: Avdol, Ikki, and Kakyoin]] have to sacrifice themselves to allow such a happy ending, and not to mention countless bystanders and innocent animals who get killed during the journey. [[spoiler:And even then, it's revealed in later parts that DIO still managed to start a chain of events that would eventually lead to the deaths of Jotaro, his daughter Jocelyn and many of her friends, and ''[[CosmicRetcon the universe being reset]]'']].reset]].'']]



* ''ComicBook/TheLongHalloween'' ends on this. Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent form an alliance to take down Carmine Falcone just as Batman's familiar RoguesGallery start to appear like SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, and The Riddler. Falcone's empire is brought down--but the series ends with the RoguesGallery in control and Harvey Dent has been transformed into Comicbook/TwoFace, with one of his first acts as Two-Face being killing Falcone himself.

to:

* ''ComicBook/TheLongHalloween'' ends on this. Batman, Jim Gordon, and Harvey Dent form an alliance to take down Carmine Falcone just as Batman's familiar RoguesGallery start to appear like SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker, Scarecrow, Poison Ivy, ComicBook/PoisonIvy, and The Riddler. Falcone's empire is brought down--but the series ends with the RoguesGallery in control and Harvey Dent has been transformed into Comicbook/TwoFace, with one of his first acts as Two-Face being killing Falcone himself.






* Discussed in ''Film/WarGames''. The NORAD MasterComputer, WOPR, [[AIIsACrapshoot cannot tell the difference between real life and a game]], leading it to attempt to start WorldWarThree via preemptive nuclear strikes on the USSR when a PlayfulHacker plays a game of "[[AC:GLOBAL THERMONUCLEAR WAR]]" not realizing he's connected to NORAD. In order to stop WOPR from launching nuclear missiles, the protagonists order it to run hundreds of simulations of a nuclear war, and in each simulation both NATO and the Warsaw Pact [[ApocalypseHow nuke each other to dust]], with the conclusion of "WINNER: NONE", causing WOPR to realize that the only winning move is to not play.

to:

* Discussed in ''Film/WarGames''. The NORAD MasterComputer, WOPR, [[AIIsACrapshoot cannot tell the difference between real life and a game]], leading it to attempt to start WorldWarThree WorldWarIII via preemptive nuclear strikes on the USSR when a PlayfulHacker plays a game of "[[AC:GLOBAL THERMONUCLEAR WAR]]" not realizing he's connected to NORAD. In order to stop WOPR from launching nuclear missiles, the protagonists order it to run hundreds of simulations of a nuclear war, and in each simulation both NATO and the Warsaw Pact [[ApocalypseHow nuke each other to dust]], with the conclusion of "WINNER: NONE", causing WOPR to realize that the only winning move is to not play.



** The final book of the {{Ultramarines}} series has a surprisingly major one. The Ultramarines successfully beat back a massive force of traitor marines and permanently kill a daemon prince, an act practically unheard of in the universe, but Ultramar itself has lost several worlds and almost four companies' worth of marines.

to:

** The final book of the {{Ultramarines}} Literature/{{Ultramarines}} series has a surprisingly major one. The Ultramarines successfully beat back a massive force of traitor marines and permanently kill a daemon prince, an act practically unheard of in the universe, but Ultramar itself has lost several worlds and almost four companies' worth of marines.



* In ''Literature/TheWarlordChronicles'', the Battle of Baddon Hill is a major one for KingArthur. He smashes the Saxon forces, (including mortally wounding Aelle, one of the Saxon kings), but... [[spoiler:his most powerful and reliable ally, [[TheWisePrince Cuneglas]], dies in battle, the Christians gain greater influence in the sectarian battle against Pagans, [[CorruptChurch which they later use to undermine Arthur's non-sectarian government]], [[RoyalBrat Mordred]] [[BloodKnight discovers a taste for battle]], [[MerlinAndNimue Nimue turns against Merlin and Arthur for good]], etc. Some of these results are directly linked to Arthur's downfall]].

to:

* In ''Literature/TheWarlordChronicles'', the Battle of Baddon Hill is a major one for KingArthur.Myth/KingArthur. He smashes the Saxon forces, (including mortally wounding Aelle, one of the Saxon kings), but... [[spoiler:his most powerful and reliable ally, [[TheWisePrince Cuneglas]], dies in battle, the Christians gain greater influence in the sectarian battle against Pagans, [[CorruptChurch which they later use to undermine Arthur's non-sectarian government]], [[RoyalBrat Mordred]] [[BloodKnight discovers a taste for battle]], [[MerlinAndNimue Nimue turns against Merlin and Arthur for good]], etc. Some of these results are directly linked to Arthur's downfall]].



** The third book is a good example of this. They finished their quest, saved Artemis and stopped the baddies from harnessing the powers of a world-destroying beast...but [[spoiler: two of their teammates died in the process]], and [[spoiler: the younger brother of the second one is ''not'' happy.]] It got worse when Percy realized that not only did he have another demigod bent on killing him, but said demigod was [[spoiler: a son of Hades, which qualified him in the prophecy that could destroy Olympus and all of Western civilization]]. Ouch.

to:

** The third book is a good example of this. They finished their quest, saved Artemis and stopped the baddies from harnessing the powers of a world-destroying beast...but [[spoiler: two of their teammates died in the process]], and [[spoiler: the younger brother of the second one is ''not'' happy.]] happy]]. It got worse when Percy realized that not only did he have another demigod bent on killing him, but said demigod was [[spoiler: a son of Hades, which qualified him in the prophecy that could destroy Olympus and all of Western civilization]]. Ouch.



* In IHaveNoMouthAndIMustScream, Ted is damned to AndIMustScream for eternity, he manages to save Benny, Ellen, Gorrister and Nimdok from the same fate. AM itself is also effectively condemned to an equally awful fate; quite who exactly the pyrrhic victor is can be debated.

to:

* In IHaveNoMouthAndIMustScream, ''Literature/IHaveNoMouthAndIMustScream'', Ted is damned to AndIMustScream for eternity, he manages to save Benny, Ellen, Gorrister and Nimdok from the same fate. AM itself is also effectively condemned to an equally awful fate; quite who exactly the pyrrhic victor is can be debated.



** At the end of "Last of the Time Lords" [[spoiler:the Master gets shot by [[TheDogBitesBack Lucy Saxon]] after the Doctor's ended his regime over the Earth. Rather than regenerate (and subsequently spend the rest of his life imprisoned on the Doctor's TARDIS) he chooses to die, leaving the Doctor alone as the only living Time Lord once again. It's a pyrrhic victory for them both.]]

to:

** At the end of "Last of the Time Lords" [[spoiler:the Master gets shot by [[TheDogBitesBack Lucy Saxon]] after the Doctor's ended his regime over the Earth. Rather than regenerate (and subsequently spend the rest of his life imprisoned on the Doctor's TARDIS) he chooses to die, leaving the Doctor alone as the only living Time Lord once again. It's a pyrrhic victory for them both.]]both]].



** The Doctor's victory in "The Waters of Mars." [[spoiler:He saved the remaining crew but changed history in the process, believing that the rules of Time will bend to his will. Adelaide realizes how wrong the turn of events is and subsequently kills herself in order to correct the timeline.]] The only thing [[spoiler:her suicide]] did was cause the Doctor to realize how wrong he'd been, thinking that he's untouchable. [[spoiler:The timeline was already altered, as the survivors revealed what happened to the authorities; in the original timeline, the events on Mars remained a mystery]].

to:

** The Doctor's victory in "The Waters of Mars." [[spoiler:He saved the remaining crew but changed history in the process, believing that the rules of Time will bend to his will. Adelaide realizes how wrong the turn of events is and subsequently kills herself in order to correct the timeline.]] The only thing [[spoiler:her suicide]] did was cause the Doctor to realize how wrong he'd been, thinking that he's untouchable. [[spoiler:The timeline was already altered, as the survivors revealed what happened to the authorities; in the original timeline, the events on Mars remained a mystery]].mystery.]]



* ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' episode "[[Recap/TheTwilightZoneS5E145TheMasks The Masks]]" has a benign, rich, and dying Jason Foster having to deal with his greedy, callous, and hypochondriac daughter, her husband, and their vile children in the last hours of his life. They are there just to see him die so they can inherit his vast fortune and he knows it. So, he makes an addendum to his will: if any of them removes a special mask he had made for them before midnight, one which as he says reflects the opposite of their "true" face, [[note]]though in truth holds all the ugliness and vile characters their pretty faces hide, [[/note]] they will inherit only enough money to take the train back to Boston. They succeed and Jason soon dies after midnight. [[spoiler:When they remove the masks, they see their faces have contorted and shifted to be perfect matches for the ugly masks they were just wearing for hours. Now they must suffer these faces which reflect their inner vanity and pettiness]].

to:

* ''Series/TheTwilightZone'' ''Series/{{The Twilight Zone|1959}}'' episode "[[Recap/TheTwilightZoneS5E145TheMasks The Masks]]" has a benign, rich, and dying Jason Foster having to deal with his greedy, callous, and hypochondriac daughter, her husband, and their vile children in the last hours of his life. They are there just to see him die so they can inherit his vast fortune and he knows it. So, he makes an addendum to his will: if any of them removes a special mask he had made for them before midnight, one which as he says reflects the opposite of their "true" face, [[note]]though in truth holds all the ugliness and vile characters their pretty faces hide, [[/note]] they will inherit only enough money to take the train back to Boston. They succeed and Jason soon dies after midnight. [[spoiler:When they remove the masks, they see their faces have contorted and shifted to be perfect matches for the ugly masks they were just wearing for hours. Now they must suffer these faces which reflect their inner vanity and pettiness]].



* The early days of MMA were plagued by Pyrrhic victories.

to:

* The early days of MMA UsefulNotes/{{M|ixedMartialArts}}MA were plagued by Pyrrhic victories.



* This is the real heart behind MugglePower in the ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness''. Whilst breaking TheMasquerade is dangerous for supernaturals on a local level, TheUnmasquedWorld would probably not turn out very well for ''either'' humans or monsters.

to:

* This is the real heart behind MugglePower in the ''TabletopGame/NewWorldOfDarkness''. Whilst breaking TheMasquerade the {{masquerade}} is dangerous for supernaturals on a local level, TheUnmasquedWorld would probably not turn out very well for ''either'' humans or monsters.



* You can be told that you have suffered one in ''[[{{VideoGame/Total War Shogun 2}} Total War: Shogun 2]]'', though if you have truly broken the enemy army and don't have anyone else to worry about your forces will regrow naturally over time without you having to pay, making this a bit of a misnomer. That doesn't mean you can throw your forces away however, other clans may take advantage of your momentary weakness.

to:

* You can be told that you have suffered one in ''[[{{VideoGame/Total War Shogun 2}} ''[[VideoGame/TotalWarShogun2 Total War: Shogun 2]]'', though if you have truly broken the enemy army and don't have anyone else to worry about your forces will regrow naturally over time without you having to pay, making this a bit of a misnomer. That doesn't mean you can throw your forces away however, other clans may take advantage of your momentary weakness.



** The consequences of such a Pyrrhic victory hit ''hard'' in the sequel. [[spoiler:The cost of victory in the first game is so high that the leader of the American forces, General Shepherd, becomes completely disillusioned and allies himself with a Russian extremist in order to incite war against his own country [[WeHaveBecomeComplacent just to wake them up to what they've let themselves become]].]] The belief that his men were lost in vain completely destroyed him. [[spoiler:''Modern Warfare 2'' itself also qualifies as Shepherd is killed but far too long after the fact, not only having betrayed his own men and country, but getting what remains of his anti-terrorist task force marked as defectors and the war with Russia he started is unhindered]].
* In ''VideoGame/{{STALKER}}'' ''Shadow of Chernobyl'', [[spoiler: the best ending has Strelok stopping the C-Consciousness' ulterior motive of tampering with the noosphere by shooting their stasis pods and then escaping their secret lab by means of a portal off-screen. However, this caused the Zone to become even more unstable as emissions have run rampant on a ''daily'' basis, resulting in an increase of zombified stalkers, mutant activity, Monolith soldiers, and other nastiness. ''Call of Pripyat'' takes place after this ending.]]

to:

** The consequences of such a Pyrrhic victory hit ''hard'' in the sequel. [[spoiler:The cost of victory in the first game is so high that the leader of the American forces, General Shepherd, becomes completely disillusioned and allies himself with a Russian extremist in order to incite war against his own country [[WeHaveBecomeComplacent just to wake them up to what they've let themselves become]].]] The belief that his men were lost in vain completely destroyed him. [[spoiler:''Modern Warfare 2'' itself also qualifies as Shepherd is killed but far too long after the fact, not only having betrayed his own men and country, but getting what remains of his anti-terrorist task force marked as defectors and the war with Russia he started is unhindered]].
unhindered.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{STALKER}}'' ''Shadow of Chernobyl'', [[spoiler: the best ending has Strelok stopping the C-Consciousness' ulterior motive of tampering with the noosphere by shooting their stasis pods and then escaping their secret lab by means of a portal off-screen. However, this caused the Zone to become even more unstable as emissions have run rampant on a ''daily'' basis, resulting in an increase of zombified stalkers, mutant activity, Monolith soldiers, and other nastiness. ''Call of Pripyat'' takes place after this ending.]]ending]].



* This happens in ''VideoGame/HauntTheHouse'' whenever someone [[DrivenToSuicide jumps out the window]]. At the end, it's revealed that [[spoiler:now you have to share the house with that person's ghost!]]

to:

* This happens in ''VideoGame/HauntTheHouse'' whenever someone [[DrivenToSuicide jumps out the window]]. At the end, it's revealed that [[spoiler:now you have to share the house with that person's ghost!]]ghost]]!



** In the first game, Kratos succeeds in [[spoiler: killing Ares]], the god who is responsible for most of his suffering, however, Athena refuses to rid Kratos of the memories that have haunted him since [[{{DealWithTheDevil}} he made a deal with Ares]] because she said that [[ExactWords his sins would be forgiven, not forgotten.]] She does make him the new God of War in Ares' place, but Ghost of Sparta reveals that [[spoiler: he never wanted to be the thing that has haunted him the most.]]
** Kratos searches for his long lost brother, Deimos, who was taken from him since they were kids. He does succeed in finding him, however, [[spoiler:Deimos isn't happy to see him, and they fight one another]]. Then, because Kratos [[spoiler: killed Erinys]], [[BigBad Thanatos]] decides to [[spoiler: kill Kratos' brother for [[RelativeButton killing his daughter]]]]. [[spoiler: [[SiblingTeam The brothers team up]] to fight Thanatos, however, Deimos dies. Kratos succeeds in killing Thanatos thanks to his [[ItsPersonal anger over his dead brother]] but it doesn't feel like a victory, especially considering Deimos' death was Kratos' fault.]]
** Chains of Olympus has one where Kratos finds his dead daughter, Calliope, and decides to [[spoiler: [[BroughtDownToNormal strip himself of his power]] so that he can enter the Elysian Fields where Colliope resides]]. [[spoiler: After being reunited with his daughter, Persephone [[EvilGloating tells him about her plan to destroy the entire world using Atlas and the kidnapped Helios]] instead of [[WhatAnIdiot keeping him in the dark about her plan and the fact that Calliope will cease to exist as well]]. Kratos gets the motivation he needs to stop her by [[IDidWhatIHadToDo killing the residents of the Elysian Fields in order to regain his power despite his daughter's pleas for him to stop]], and goes on to fight Persephone. He defeats her and prevents the world's destruction, but he had to resort to [[NecessarilyEvil evil actions]] in order to regain his powers to defeat her. As a result, he can no longer enter the Elysian Fields, so he will never see his daughter again. Although, he feels there's [[NoPlaceForMeThere no place for him there]] because of what he [[OffingTheOffspring did to put his daughter there in the first place]], [[IDidntMeanToKillHim though it was an accident]].]]
** God of War 3 has the biggest example of this. After all of his years of suffering because of the Gods of Olympus, [[spoiler: especially Zeus, he succeeds in [[TheresNokillLikeOverkill killing Zeus]] and [[KillEmAll destroying Olympus]]. However, he realizes that because he was so [[RevengeBeforeReason dead set on revenge]] [[NiceJobBreakingIthero he destroyed the world by plunging it into chaos]], also, he then realizes that [[{{ThisMeansWar}} though many have wronged him]] a lot of his suffering [[ItsAllMyFault was his fault]]. In the end, [[VengeanceFeelsEmpty he wasn't satisfied with killing Zeus]], so it [[WasItReallyWorthIt wasn't worth]] all the death and destruction he caused.]] [[{{SociopathicHero}} Kratos]] [[CharacterDevelopment finally gives a damn about others]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' has an instance of this trope which will affect the ''player'', should you complete a [[spoiler:Genocide run: you successfully beat Sans, the hardest boss of the game, and slaughtered everyone. The Fallen Child hijacks Frisk's body and destroys the very world of Undertale, leaving nothing behind but a black screen to stare at. In the end, it is possible for the player to recreate the world, at the cost of Frisk's Soul, something which will permanently alter the True Pacifist ending. No matter how you look at it, you, the player, lost: either you leave the game for good, knowing that you are directly responsible for this universe's destruction, either you recreate it, only for the Fallen Child to hijack Frisk's body at the very end and kill everyone and everything you hold dear. Your choices no longer matter: whatever you choose, once you reach that point, there is no happy ending possible for anyone, including you.]]
* DarkestDungeon: Despite heavy losses, you defeat the eldritch god at the heart of the Dungeon only to realize that [[spoiler:he's only one of MILLIONS of ''baby'' cosmic abominations, which use Earth as some celestial egg, while mankind is a mutated virus born from the amniotic fluids. And you're now insane.]] Cue suicide. The ancestor says it best:

to:

** In [[VideoGame/GodOfWar the first game, game]], Kratos succeeds in [[spoiler: killing Ares]], the god who is responsible for most of his suffering, however, Athena refuses to rid Kratos of the memories that have haunted him since [[{{DealWithTheDevil}} [[DealWithTheDevil he made a deal with Ares]] because she said that [[ExactWords his sins would be forgiven, not forgotten.]] She does make him the new God of War in Ares' place, but Ghost of Sparta reveals that [[spoiler: he never wanted to be the thing that has haunted him the most.]]
most]].
** Kratos searches for his long lost brother, Deimos, who was taken from him since they were kids. He does succeed in finding him, however, [[spoiler:Deimos isn't happy to see him, and they fight one another]]. Then, because Kratos [[spoiler: killed Erinys]], [[BigBad Thanatos]] decides to [[spoiler: kill Kratos' brother for [[RelativeButton killing his daughter]]]]. [[spoiler: daughter]]. [[SiblingTeam The brothers team up]] to fight Thanatos, however, Deimos dies. Kratos succeeds in killing Thanatos thanks to his [[ItsPersonal anger over his dead brother]] but it doesn't feel like a victory, especially considering Deimos' death was Kratos' fault.]]
fault]].
** ''[[VideoGame/GodOfWarChainsOfOlympus Chains of Olympus Olympus]]'' has one where Kratos finds his dead daughter, Calliope, and decides to [[spoiler: [[BroughtDownToNormal strip himself of his power]] so that he can enter the Elysian Fields where Colliope resides]]. [[spoiler: resides. After being reunited with his daughter, Persephone [[EvilGloating tells him about her plan to destroy the entire world using Atlas and the kidnapped Helios]] instead of [[WhatAnIdiot keeping him in the dark about her plan and the fact that Calliope will cease to exist as well]]. Kratos gets the motivation he needs to stop her by [[IDidWhatIHadToDo killing the residents of the Elysian Fields in order to regain his power despite his daughter's pleas for him to stop]], and goes on to fight Persephone. He defeats her and prevents the world's destruction, but he had to resort to [[NecessarilyEvil evil actions]] in order to regain his powers to defeat her. As a result, he can no longer enter the Elysian Fields, so he will never see his daughter again. Although, he feels there's [[NoPlaceForMeThere no place for him there]] because of what he [[OffingTheOffspring did to put his daughter there in the first place]], [[IDidntMeanToKillHim though it was an accident]].]]
accident]]]].
** God of War 3 ''VideoGame/GodOfWarIII'' has the biggest example of this. After all of his years of suffering because of the Gods of Olympus, [[spoiler: especially Zeus, he succeeds in [[TheresNokillLikeOverkill [[ThereIsNokillLikeOverkill killing Zeus]] and [[KillEmAll destroying Olympus]]. However, he realizes that because he was so [[RevengeBeforeReason dead set on revenge]] [[NiceJobBreakingIthero he destroyed the world by plunging it into chaos]], also, he then realizes that [[{{ThisMeansWar}} [[ThisMeansWar though many have wronged him]] a lot of his suffering [[ItsAllMyFault was his fault]]. In the end, [[VengeanceFeelsEmpty he wasn't satisfied with killing Zeus]], so it [[WasItReallyWorthIt wasn't worth]] all the death and destruction he caused.]] [[{{SociopathicHero}} caused]]. [[SociopathicHero Kratos]] [[CharacterDevelopment finally gives a damn about others]].
* ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' has an instance of this trope which will affect the ''player'', should you complete a [[spoiler:Genocide run: you successfully beat Sans, the hardest boss of the game, and slaughtered everyone. The Fallen Child hijacks Frisk's body and destroys the very world of Undertale, leaving nothing behind but a black screen to stare at. In the end, it is possible for the player to recreate the world, at the cost of Frisk's Soul, something which will permanently alter the True Pacifist ending. No matter how you look at it, you, the player, lost: either you leave the game for good, knowing that you are directly responsible for this universe's destruction, either you recreate it, only for the Fallen Child to hijack Frisk's body at the very end and kill everyone and everything you hold dear. Your choices no longer matter: whatever you choose, once you reach that point, there is no happy ending possible for anyone, including you.]]
you]].
* DarkestDungeon: ''VideoGame/DarkestDungeon'': Despite heavy losses, you defeat the eldritch god at the heart of the Dungeon only to realize that [[spoiler:he's only one of MILLIONS of ''baby'' cosmic abominations, which use Earth as some celestial egg, while mankind is a mutated virus born from the amniotic fluids. And you're now insane.]] Cue suicide. The ancestor says it best:



* This trope gets weaponized in ''{{WebComics/Goblins}}'', where the antagonist is forced to win [[spoiler:the Maze of Many.]] The problem with that? [[spoiler:Said opponent (Psion!Minmax) wanted to use the Maze to [[CessationOfExistence eradicate his own existence]]. ''You cannot re-enter the Maze once you've "won" it''.]]

to:

* This trope gets weaponized in ''{{WebComics/Goblins}}'', where the antagonist is forced to win [[spoiler:the Maze of Many.]] Many]]. The problem with that? [[spoiler:Said opponent (Psion!Minmax) wanted to use the Maze to [[CessationOfExistence eradicate his own existence]]. ''You cannot re-enter the Maze once you've "won" it''.]]



* The [[WhamEpisode Volume 3 finale]] of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' ends this way: [[spoiler:The Grimm invasion started by Cinder and her faction is ultimately halted, the situation in Vale is stabilized, the Grimm are repelled from the city center and Cinder herself is defeated thanks to Ruby; but the Beacon campus and surrounding areas are lost, communications have been disrupted around the world, and Atlas's reputation among the other kingdoms has been permanently tarnished. Also, while Team RWBY and most of the good guys survive the battle, many of them are demoralized or have been separated, Cinder and her faction have gone into hiding, and the [[ManBehindTheMan one behind her]] isn't even phased by this setback]]. Also can be taken [[AccidentalPun literally]], since victory came [[spoiler:at the cost of [[MeaningfulName Pyrrha]].]]

to:

* The [[WhamEpisode Volume 3 finale]] of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' ends this way: [[spoiler:The Grimm invasion started by Cinder and her faction is ultimately halted, the situation in Vale is stabilized, the Grimm are repelled from the city center and Cinder herself is defeated thanks to Ruby; but the Beacon campus and surrounding areas are lost, communications have been disrupted around the world, and Atlas's reputation among the other kingdoms has been permanently tarnished. Also, while Team RWBY and most of the good guys survive the battle, many of them are demoralized or have been separated, Cinder and her faction have gone into hiding, and the [[ManBehindTheMan [[TheManBehindTheMan one behind her]] isn't even phased by this setback]]. Also can be taken [[AccidentalPun literally]], since victory came [[spoiler:at the cost of [[MeaningfulName Pyrrha]].]]Pyrrha]]]].



* Discussed by WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd, who considers beating ''Film/TheKarateKid'' on NES to be a Pyrrhic Victory that leaves no satisfaction, but only regret. He likens it to coming out the winner of a fist fight, but achieving nothing for your victory other than bloody bruises and broken bones.

to:

* Discussed by WebVideo/TheAngryVideoGameNerd, who considers beating ''Film/TheKarateKid'' ''VideoGame/TheKarateKid'' on NES to be a Pyrrhic Victory that leaves no satisfaction, but only regret. He likens it to coming out the winner of a fist fight, but achieving nothing for your victory other than bloody bruises and broken bones.



** At the end of Book 3: [[spoiler: While Team Avatar manage to defeat the Red Lotus and save Korra's life, she ends up confined to a wheelchair due to poisoning sequelae, depressed and with signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, without mentioning that the Earth Kingdom remains in complete chaos after the queen's assassination and with no clear fix on sight]]. And then, [[spoiler: Kuvira, Su's captain, makes a FaceHeelTurn to stop chaos and reunite the country with a lot of Su's people, which gradually corrupts them. She eventually becomes a dictator. Enter the new BigBad.]]

to:

** At the end of Book 3: [[spoiler: While Team Avatar manage to defeat the Red Lotus and save Korra's life, she ends up confined to a wheelchair due to poisoning sequelae, depressed and with signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, without mentioning that the Earth Kingdom remains in complete chaos after the queen's assassination and with no clear fix on sight]]. And then, [[spoiler: Kuvira, Su's captain, makes a FaceHeelTurn to stop chaos and reunite the country with a lot of Su's people, which gradually corrupts them. She eventually becomes a dictator. Enter the new BigBad.]]BigBad]].



* The WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck/WesternAnimation/ChipAndDale short "Up a Tree" features Chip and Dale defeating Donald by destroying his house. Only thing? The object they used to destroy it with was their own chopped up tree which Donald managed to successfully chop down. [[FridgeLogic Despite the fact that the short ends with the two laughing as always]], [[TheBadGuyWins Donald still manage to succeed in his goal of getting rid of it]] (making it [[MeaninglessVillainVictory Pyrrhic]] for him as well), [[FridgeHorror which means they've lost their home ''and'' likely any food they've gathered up in it]].

to:

* The WesternAnimation/DonaldDuck/WesternAnimation/ChipAndDale short "Up a Tree" features Chip and Dale defeating Donald by destroying his house. Only thing? The object they used to destroy it with was their own chopped up tree which Donald managed to successfully chop down. [[FridgeLogic Despite the fact that the short ends with the two laughing as always]], [[TheBadGuyWins Donald still manage manages to succeed in his goal of getting rid of it]] (making it [[MeaninglessVillainVictory Pyrrhic]] for him as well), [[FridgeHorror which means they've lost their home ''and'' likely any food they've gathered up in it]].



-->'''Panthro''': ''Looking down at his severed arms'' "[[WorthIt Worth it]]".

to:

-->'''Panthro''': ''Looking down at his severed arms'' "[[WorthIt Worth it]]"."WorthIt".



* In the second episode of ''WesterAnimation/StaticShock'', Virgil feels this is the case even though he defeated Alva and Hotstreak because the evidence proving Alva was complicit in the Big Bang was destroyed. He even compares it to the TropeNamer.

to:

* In the second episode of ''WesterAnimation/StaticShock'', Virgil feels this is the case even though he defeated Alva and Hotstreak because the evidence proving Alva was complicit in the Big Bang was destroyed. He even compares it to the TropeNamer.{{Trope Namer|s}}.



* Invoked in a ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' cartoon featuring Foghorn Leghorn. Foghorn had been trying to shake off [[AbhorrentAdmirer Miss Prissy]], so she teamed up with the Barnyard Dog. He put on a chicken costume and pretended to be another suitor attempting to woo her. Foghorn got jealous and he and Barnyard Dog got into a fight. After winning the fight, Foghorn grabbed Missy Prissy and rushed off to a chapel to get married. Afterwards, he triumphantly declares "I WON!" It's that moment that he realizes what he just did and then says, "I wonder if there's any way I could have lost."
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' ends with him finally beating Dee Dee in a round of ''extreme'' party games, but Computer points out he destroyed the lab in the process. He ignores this and orders her to make him a sandwich. [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor He gets turned into an actual sandwich]].

to:

* Invoked in a ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' cartoon featuring Foghorn Leghorn.WesternAnimation/FoghornLeghorn. Foghorn had been trying to shake off [[AbhorrentAdmirer Miss Prissy]], so she teamed up with the Barnyard Dog. He put on a chicken costume and pretended to be another suitor attempting to woo her. Foghorn got jealous and he and Barnyard Dog got into a fight. After winning the fight, Foghorn grabbed Missy Prissy and rushed off to a chapel to get married. Afterwards, he triumphantly declares "I WON!" It's that moment that he realizes what he just did and then says, "I wonder if there's any way I could have lost."
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' ends with him finally beating Dee Dee in a round of ''extreme'' party games, but Computer points out he destroyed the lab in the process. He ignores this and orders her to make him a sandwich. [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor [[LiteralGenie He gets turned into an actual sandwich]].
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