History Main / SwordOfDamocles

26th Jun '16 7:56:04 PM nombretomado
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* Referred to in ''TheDresdenFiles'' as the "Doom of Damocles." The "Doom" is applied to those the White Council believes to be ''just'' shy of irredeemable, and can summed up as "One strike and you're out." With "out" meaning, "beheaded by the Wardens." Note that this usage has little to do with this trope and is based on the original meaning of the term (see the Other folder for explanation).
** ''Ghost Story'' reveals that Harry himself served as this for Chicago with a lot of the supernatural community. They found him so terrifying that most just ''didn't bother showing up.''

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* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'':
**
Referred to in ''TheDresdenFiles'' overall as the "Doom of Damocles." The "Doom" is applied to those the White Council believes to be ''just'' shy of irredeemable, and can summed up as "One strike and you're out." With "out" meaning, "beheaded by the Wardens." Note that this usage has little to do with this trope and is based on the original meaning of the term (see the Other folder for explanation).
** ''Ghost Story'' ''Literature/GhostStory'' reveals that Harry himself served as this for Chicago with a lot of the supernatural community. They found him so terrifying that most just ''didn't bother showing up.''
5th Jun '16 12:21:09 PM lavendermintrose
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* Literal example -- the first episode of ''{{Anime/K}}'' has two massive swords hanging in mid-air, one of which is referred to as the "Sword of Damocles". [[spoiler: The swords are a manifestation of a King's power. If a King loses complete control, it falls, and everything in the immediate area is destroyed. This has happened at least once with the Red King.]]

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* Literal example -- Swords hang over the first episode of ''{{Anime/K}}'' has two massive swords hanging Kings' heads in mid-air, one of which is ''{{Anime/K}}'', referred to InUniverse as the "Sword "Swords of Damocles". [[spoiler: The swords They are a manifestation manifestations of a King's power. If power, and if Kings overextend their power and the Sword falls, large areas around them will be destroyed as well. When it gets close to this, the only way to prevent it is for the King to be slain - but it is difficult for one who is not a King loses complete control, it falls, to slay a King, and everything in the immediate area is destroyed. This has happened at least once with burden of killing a King puts a huge strain on a King's sword... leading to something of a cycle [[spoiler: that two generations of Red and Blue kings have found themselves in]]. Both seasons of the Red King.]]anime have the possibility of this situation as a plot point.
29th Apr '16 10:42:56 AM BeerBaron
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* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'': The Demigod Vivec saved his [[{{Egopolis}} (equally named)]] city from a moonlet tossed at it by an angry demon from space, by stopping it, frozen in time, about sixty feet aboveground. He then used it as one of these, by making sure his followers didn't stop worshipping: The rock would fall on them otherwise. However, [[{{VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind}} certain dead-God-heart powered incidents later]], Vivec was gone, and the rock had to be kept in place by [[PoweredByAForsakenChild a soul-burning machine]], which later got torn up by an elf trying to save his lover. And thus, we get to see the downside to the Sword of Damocles method: Eventually, the string gives away, and the sword must fall. In this case, with [[ColonyDrop continent-wrecking results]], as it resumed its fall like it had never stopped, turned the city into a boiling crater (and yes, it's still boiling centuries later), and set off the local supervolcano.

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* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'': The Demigod In the distant past, MadGod Sheogorath hurled a rogue moon at the newly built {{Egopolis}} of the Dunmeri [[PhysicalGod Tribunal Deity]] Vivec. Vivec saved his [[{{Egopolis}} (equally named)]] the city from a moonlet tossed at it by an angry demon from space, by stopping freezing the moon high above it, frozen in time, about sixty feet aboveground. He but then used it as one of these, by making sure invoked this trope. He told his followers didn't stop worshipping: The rock would fall on them otherwise. However, [[{{VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind}} certain dead-God-heart powered incidents later]], Vivec that the moon was gone, and the rock had to be kept held in place by their love for him, and that if they should stop loving him, it would fall. [[spoiler: Due in no small part to the player's actions in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'', Vivec disappears early in the 4th era. Some temporary measures are enacted to keep the moon in place, including the use of a [[PoweredByAForsakenChild a soul-burning machine]], which later got torn up by an elf trying to save his lover. And thus, we get to see the downside to the Sword of Damocles method: Eventually, the string gives away, machine]]. However, those attempts prove futile, and the sword must fall. In this case, moon falls with it's original momentum, causing [[ColonyDrop continent-wrecking results]], as it resumed its fall like it had never stopped, turned province-wrecking]] results. Years later, the waters where the city into a boiling crater (and yes, it's once stood are still boiling centuries later), and set off the local supervolcano.boiling]].
23rd Apr '16 4:32:37 PM WillKeaton
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** International relations studies term this the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stability-instability_paradox stability-instability paradox]]. The fact that both sides have the ability to utterly annihilate one other severely limits the plausbile range of actions both sides can do in international diplomacy. On one hand, it means no WorldWarThree because the big powers won't make moves with the intent to go to war (it is assumed that both sides value their own survival more than they do the destruction of the other). On the other hand, this same system means both sides find less direct ways to fight the other side (i.e., via proxy wars with third and fourth parties), in addition to all the smaller pre-existing grudges otherwise-irrelevant parties have with one another which neither superpower can fully stop because the amount of power needed to get one side or the other to heel cannot be used without threat from the other superpower, who by and large cannot risk letting the first have its way.

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** International relations studies term this the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stability-instability_paradox stability-instability paradox]]. paradox.]] The fact that both sides have the ability to utterly annihilate one other severely limits the plausbile range of actions both sides can do in international diplomacy. On one hand, it means no WorldWarThree because the big powers won't make moves with the intent to go to war (it is assumed that both sides value their own survival more than they do the destruction of the other). On the other hand, this same system means both sides find less direct ways to fight the other side (i.e., via proxy wars with third and fourth parties), in addition to all the smaller pre-existing grudges otherwise-irrelevant parties have with one another which neither superpower can fully stop because the amount of power needed to get one side or the other to heel cannot be used without threat from the other superpower, who by and large cannot risk letting the first have its way.
23rd Apr '16 4:29:11 PM WillKeaton
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* In ''Franchise/StarWars'', this is what Tarkin intended the Death Star and its [[EarthShatteringKaboom superlaser]] to be used for: The threat of having your planet instantly destroyed would (presumably) curtail the ambitions of any seditious systems and work more efficiently than actually physically oppressing someone by force. The ExpandedUniverse gave this philosophy the name "The Tarkin Doctrine", and revealed that TheEmpire built an impractically large number of various planet-destroying devices in an attempt to implement it in practice. Since they all had a nasty tendency to get hijacked or blow up due to Rebel Scum, sabotage, or other unfortunate circumstances, the doctrine was a resounding failure.\\\
It wasn't just the implementation that was flawed: The Tarkin Doctrine [[MoralEventHorizon demolished whatever legitimacy the Empire might have had]], pushing systems and individuals who might otherwise have sat on the fence [[NeutralNoLonger into supporting the Rebels openly]]. The fact that the Death Star's first target was [[NeverHurtAnInnocent a civilian planet]] (and that it was destroyed [[KickTheDog even though Leia seemed to be cooperating]]) didn't help at all.

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* In ''Franchise/StarWars'', this is what Tarkin intended the Death Star and its [[EarthShatteringKaboom superlaser]] to be used for: The threat of having your planet instantly destroyed would (presumably) curtail the ambitions of any seditious systems and work more efficiently than actually physically oppressing someone by force. The ExpandedUniverse gave this philosophy the name "The Tarkin Doctrine", and revealed that TheEmpire built an impractically large number of various planet-destroying devices in an attempt to implement it in practice. Since they all had a nasty tendency to get hijacked or blow up due to Rebel Scum, sabotage, or other unfortunate circumstances, the doctrine was a resounding failure.\\\
failure.
**
It wasn't just the implementation that was flawed: The Tarkin Doctrine [[MoralEventHorizon demolished whatever legitimacy the Empire might have had]], pushing systems and individuals who might otherwise have sat on the fence [[NeutralNoLonger into supporting the Rebels openly]]. The fact that the Death Star's first target was [[NeverHurtAnInnocent a civilian planet]] (and that it was destroyed [[KickTheDog even though Leia seemed to be cooperating]]) didn't help at all.



* The OlderThanFeudalism [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles trope namer]], of course. As you know, he was a [[YesMan courtier]] at the court of the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse (Sicily, Italy). When he praised the tyrant for being so fortunate, Dionysius decided to give him a lesson and offered him his throne. Damocles accepted, but the tyrant hung a big sword above the throne, held only by a single hair (of a horse's tail). Soon, Damocles didn't think anymore that Dionysius was so fortunate...\\\
Of course, [[ValuesDissonance the moral has been somewhat skewed over time]]. Nowadays, the moral is that people can't live a happy life if they're in fear. Originally, the idea was a harsh lesson in TheChainsOfCommanding, and the titular sword shows that his reign could fall at a moment's notice, especially in the time it took place. It's also argued that the original moral of the story was simply, "be content with what you have", showing the above as stress of how being in power isn't all it's cracked up to be.

to:

* The OlderThanFeudalism [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles trope namer]], namer,]] of course. As you know, he was a [[YesMan courtier]] at the court of the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse (Sicily, Italy). When he praised the tyrant for being so fortunate, Dionysius decided to give him a lesson and offered him his throne. Damocles accepted, but the tyrant hung a big sword above the throne, held only by a single hair (of a horse's tail). Soon, Damocles didn't think anymore that Dionysius was so fortunate...\\\
Of
fortunate...
**Of
course, [[ValuesDissonance the moral has been somewhat skewed over time]]. Nowadays, the moral is that people can't live a happy life if they're in fear. Originally, the idea was a harsh lesson in TheChainsOfCommanding, and the titular sword shows that his reign could fall at a moment's notice, especially in the time it took place. It's also argued that the original moral of the story was simply, "be content with what you have", showing the above as stress of how being in power isn't all it's cracked up to be.
16th Jan '16 3:20:42 AM StFan
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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]

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



* In ''Franchise/StarWars'', this is what Tarkin intended the Death Star and its [[EarthShatteringKaboom superlaser]] to be used for: The threat of having your planet instantly destroyed would (presumably) curtail the ambitions of any seditious systems and work more efficiently than actually physically oppressing someone by force. The ExpandedUniverse gave this philosophy the name "The Tarkin Doctrine", and revealed that TheEmpire built an impractically large number of various planet-destroying devices in an attempt to implement it in practice. Since they all had a nasty tendency to get hijacked or blow up due to Rebel Scum, sabotage, or other unfortunate circumstances, the doctrine was a resounding failure.
** It wasn't just the implementation that was flawed: The Tarkin Doctrine [[MoralEventHorizon demolished whatever legitimacy the Empire might have had]], pushing systems and individuals who might otherwise have sat on the fence [[NeutralNoLonger into supporting the Rebels openly]]. The fact that the Death Star's first target was [[NeverHurtAnInnocent a civilian planet]] (and that it was destroyed [[KickTheDog even though Leia seemed to be cooperating]]) didn't help at all.

to:

* In ''Franchise/StarWars'', this is what Tarkin intended the Death Star and its [[EarthShatteringKaboom superlaser]] to be used for: The threat of having your planet instantly destroyed would (presumably) curtail the ambitions of any seditious systems and work more efficiently than actually physically oppressing someone by force. The ExpandedUniverse gave this philosophy the name "The Tarkin Doctrine", and revealed that TheEmpire built an impractically large number of various planet-destroying devices in an attempt to implement it in practice. Since they all had a nasty tendency to get hijacked or blow up due to Rebel Scum, sabotage, or other unfortunate circumstances, the doctrine was a resounding failure.
**
failure.\\\
It wasn't just the implementation that was flawed: The Tarkin Doctrine [[MoralEventHorizon demolished whatever legitimacy the Empire might have had]], pushing systems and individuals who might otherwise have sat on the fence [[NeutralNoLonger into supporting the Rebels openly]]. The fact that the Death Star's first target was [[NeverHurtAnInnocent a civilian planet]] (and that it was destroyed [[KickTheDog even though Leia seemed to be cooperating]]) didn't help at all.



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



[[folder:Other]]
* The OlderThanFeudalism [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles trope namer]], of course. As you know, he was a [[YesMan courtier]] at the court of the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse (Sicily, Italy). When he praised the tyrant for being so fortunate, Dionysius decided to give him a lesson and offered him his throne. Damocles accepted, but the tyrant hung a big sword above the throne, held only by a single hair (of a horse's tail). Soon, Damocles didn't think anymore that Dionysius was so fortunate...
** Of course, [[ValuesDissonance the moral has been somewhat skewed over time]]. Nowadays, the moral is that people can't live a happy life if they're in fear. Originally, the idea was a harsh lesson in TheChainsOfCommanding, and the titular sword shows that his reign could fall at a moment's notice, especially in the time it took place.
*** It's also argued that the original moral of the story was simply, "be content with what you have", showing the above as stress of how being in power isn't all it's cracked up to be.

to:

[[folder:Other]]
[[folder:Myths & Religon]]
* The OlderThanFeudalism [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles trope namer]], of course. As you know, he was a [[YesMan courtier]] at the court of the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse (Sicily, Italy). When he praised the tyrant for being so fortunate, Dionysius decided to give him a lesson and offered him his throne. Damocles accepted, but the tyrant hung a big sword above the throne, held only by a single hair (of a horse's tail). Soon, Damocles didn't think anymore that Dionysius was so fortunate...
**
fortunate...\\\
Of course, [[ValuesDissonance the moral has been somewhat skewed over time]]. Nowadays, the moral is that people can't live a happy life if they're in fear. Originally, the idea was a harsh lesson in TheChainsOfCommanding, and the titular sword shows that his reign could fall at a moment's notice, especially in the time it took place.
***
place. It's also argued that the original moral of the story was simply, "be content with what you have", showing the above as stress of how being in power isn't all it's cracked up to be.



[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''. The ForgottenRealms spell ''Blade of Doom'' causes a sword-like blade of force to come into existence over the target creature. When the target performs a specific act, the blade drops onto the target, damaging it.
** The BookOfVileDarkness has a few spells that answer the question of "why don't the commoners rebel against the evil empire?" pretty succinctly, including one that causes it to rain acid over an entire region for months.

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[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''. ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'':
**
The ForgottenRealms TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms spell ''Blade of Doom'' causes a sword-like blade of force to come into existence over the target creature. When the target performs a specific act, the blade drops onto the target, damaging it.
** The BookOfVileDarkness ''Book of Vile Darkness'' has a few spells that answer the question of "why don't the commoners rebel against the evil empire?" pretty succinctly, including one that causes it to rain acid over an entire region for months.



[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Xykon discusses this in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' prequel ''Start of Darkness''; he would only have to unleash [[EldritchAbomination the Snarl]] once or twice as part of his bid for world domination, and fear of the Snarl would keep anyone from opposing him ever again.

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[[folder:Webcomics]]
[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Xykon discusses this in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' prequel ''Start of Darkness''; ''Recap/StartOfDarkness''; he would only have to unleash [[EldritchAbomination the Snarl]] once or twice as part of his bid for world domination, and fear of the Snarl would keep anyone from opposing him ever again.



* ''WesternAnimation/AvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' villain Kang the Conquerer travelled from the future in his ship, which, in his bid to conquer present-day Earth, is referred to as Damocles Base.

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* ''WesternAnimation/AvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' villain Kang the Conquerer travelled travels from the future in his ship, which, in his bid to conquer present-day Earth, is referred to as Damocles Base.



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3rd Jan '16 11:44:33 AM nombretomado
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* In ''Castle In The Sky'', Muska takes control of Laputa for just this reason.
* In ''SoulEater'', Arachnophobia get their hands on an ArtifactOfDoom named Brew, but it doesn't work ([[spoiler:because Medusa's team stole the real one and gave them a fake]]). However, Arachne still realizes it to be useful because everyone ''thinks'' they have it, and thus can still threaten enemies into retreating.

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* In ''Castle In The Sky'', ''Anime/CastleInTheSky'', Muska takes control of Laputa for just this reason.
* In ''SoulEater'', ''Manga/SoulEater'', Arachnophobia get their hands on an ArtifactOfDoom named Brew, but it doesn't work ([[spoiler:because Medusa's team stole the real one and gave them a fake]]). However, Arachne still realizes it to be useful because everyone ''thinks'' they have it, and thus can still threaten enemies into retreating.
22nd Nov '15 6:10:57 PM nombretomado
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* Referenced in TheSalvationWar, when referring to Uriel. Considering what Uriel is capable of, even with tinfoil hats and cruise missiles to stop him, this is not surprising.

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* Referenced in TheSalvationWar, ''Literature/TheSalvationWar'', when referring to Uriel. Considering what Uriel is capable of, even with tinfoil hats and cruise missiles to stop him, this is not surprising.
2nd Nov '15 9:18:37 AM KingLyger
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[[caption-width-right:250:Dionysius had [[TheChainsOfCommanding a point to make]].]]
31st Oct '15 10:53:11 PM JackTheHammer
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Added DiffLines:

* In ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians'', it turns out this is the exact purpose of the titular [[AntagonistTitle Guardians]], massive Forerunner war machines. A single Guardian has enough firepower to keep an entire solar system under control. At the end of the game, we see one of their weapons is an EMP burst strong enough to overwhelm an entire planet.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.SwordOfDamocles