PyrrhicVictory Pyrrhic Victory YKTTW Discussion

Pyrrhic Victory
(permanent link) added: 2008-10-18 11:08:39 sponsor: Darth Howie (last reply: 2008-12-11 11:45:29)

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"Another such victory over the Romans and we are undone."
- King Pyrrhus of Epirus upon defeating the Romans at Heraclea in the original Pyrrhic Victory

This trope involves any victory that comes at a great cost. Often involves a Heroic Sacrifice. If the hero has to make an extreme moral sacrifice, he'll have to ask himself Was It Really Worth It?? If it happens at the end it will inevitably lead to a Bittersweet Ending. These are common in Darker and Edgier series and is one of the defining characteristics of a World Half Empty.

I'll write a more vivid description at some point but my brain is tired. Also expect more examples.


  • The Dark Knight - Pretty much every time the good guys win something at ANY point in the movie it comes at HUGE cost. Might even be the movie's main theme.
  • L.A. Confidential - Ed Exley has to destroy pretty much everything he cares about over the course of the movie.

Comic Books
  • Sin City: All victories in this series are pyrrhic and then some.

  • A Song of Ice and Fire: Defines Jon Snow. Even when he wins he loses.
    • The Battle of the Blackwater is another excellent example.


  • This trope is named after King Pyrrhus. See the quote at the top.
  • Happened in so many wars it's difficult to point out only one example. This tended to be the case in just about ANY battle during World War I due to trench warfare.


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