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Why Do I Feel So Empty
A Heel Face Turn that comes when the villain actually succeeds
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(permanent link) added: 2012-01-03 17:12:46 sponsor: bulmabriefs144 (last reply: 2012-01-12 18:35:08)

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Unlike many stories, this is not a typical Happy Ending or even an Earn Your Happy Ending. The villain wins. The villain wins completely, keeping the entire party alive, just as pets, and there is no possibility of escape or an epic showdown. The villain then proceeds to take the world unopposed through force, politics, or mind control. But wait, even though they have everything they wanted, suddenly, everything is too easy.

Two months later, the very villain who imprisoned the party either accidentally releases them or hires a hero to do it. Why doesn't he do it himself? Because the blank looks they get when they free the heroes, only to fight them later would cause them to lose face.

Or course this doesn't just apply to villainous behavior but also any sort of bad cycle from excessive greed to promiscuity. The character has just achieved their supposed heart's desire, but realize they've just turned down something more important to them. Usually the cause of a Heel-Face Turn, but can also in rare cases be the cause of a Face-Heel Turn.

A subtrope of Victory Is Boring. Contrast to And Then What? and Armor-Piercing Question as it's a question asked by others rather than a conclusion made by the character themselves. See also Pyrrhic Villainy.

Examples:

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