"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.
- 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.