Created By: Folamh3 on September 25, 2012 Last Edited By: Folamh3 on November 5, 2012
Troped

Moral Luck

Praising or blaming a character for an action whose outcome depended on random chance

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Heads, you're a hero. Tails, you're a villain.

Moral luck is a concept in philosophy in which a person is praised or blamed for an action they carried out, the consequences of which were primarily dependent on blind luck. The archetypal thought experiment is that of the painter Gauguin, who abandoned his family in order to pursue his artistic muse. Because he was successful, people praise him for his courage and determination. But supposing that, through no fault of his own, Gauguin never caught a lucky break or simply wasn't as talented as he thought he was. Would he then be any different from a Jerkass Disappeared Dad?

In order to qualify for this trope, a character has to carry out an action whose consequences depend mostly on luck, and be praised (or blamed) by other characters (or by the work itself) for their morality/immorality. It doesn't count if a character carries out such an action and no one judges them for it, and the reader is left to draw their own conclusions. The action has to be specifically treated as ethical or unethical by the work itself or characters in it.

This trope can easily transform a hero into a Designated Hero or even a villain once Fridge Logic or Fridge Horror set in (or, conversely, transform a villain into an Anti-Villain). It is often closely related to Protagonist-Centered Morality. Even among sympathetic characters in a work, a Double Standard may form: the resident Butt Monkey's actions will always result in failure and they will be blamed for it, while the Karma Houdini protagonist's will always succeed and they will receive praise.

What the Hell, Hero? can serve to avert this. Compare Moral Dissonance, No Endor Holocaust and the various Luck Tropes. Related to Million-to-One Chance and "How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.". Laser-Guided Karma is sometimes offered as an explanation for this. Luck-Based Mission is the video game equivalent, while The Magic Poker Equation is a rough equivalent for card playing. Compare Gambit Roulette: when a character's plans hinge so much on random chance and happenstance that the viewer's credibility is strained.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

  • A good chunk of Yu-Gi-Oh!! revolved around congratulating Yugi/Yami for his "brilliant draws", basically his tendency to draw exactly the card he needs at exactly the right time to win a duel. Of course, since magic is all but explicitly involved with making "the heart of the cards" actually do that literally for those who know how to invoke it, it may actually be appropriate to congratulate him.
  • Toriko has a lot of this, although characters in Toriko seem to have "luck" as an almost quantifiable statistic. Komatsu is valued not only for his tremendous cooking skill, but also because he has good "food luck," where a lot of inexplicable food-related things go his way.

Film

  • In the 2008 film Yes-Man, the protagonist Carl takes it upon himself to answer "yes" to every request put to him. As a loans request manager in a bank, he hence has to grant every loan request put before him (most of which are for small, silly indulgences). He later receives praise and a promotion from his superiors. Of course, it was entirely down to chance that the loan applicants he happened to see during this period were people who wanted fairly small loans which they were able to pay back; if they had happened to be people demanding larger loans which they could not possibly repay, Carl would have granted them nevertheless, and received blame from his superiors (and perhaps even been fired).
  • In the Antonioni film The Passenger, Jack Nicholson's character decides he wants to leave his old life behind, and takes on the identity of an acquaintance who has just died. As it turns out, the acquaintance was an arms dealer running guns to rebel forces in north Africa, so that's what Nicholson's character starts doing. The over-all point of the film seems to be a nihilistic one: that it doesn't really matter what one does in life, and one shouldn't be bound by social roles or expectations. However, it's clear that the audience is supposed to sympathise with the rebels whom Nicholson's character is supporting. So while he appears not to care about the social consequences of his actions, he is still doing something good - or at least something not evil. It would be harder to see this character as heroic if he were running guns to neo-Nazis or the Taliban - even though he could just as easily have found himself doing just that!
  • Lampshaded in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone just after the troll incident. Prof. McGonagall awards Harry and Ron five House points each "for sheer, dumb luck". Sure, there was luck involved, but also some skill.
  • In The Cincinnati Kid, as long as the title character is winning, he's a hero. When he finally loses, everyone is upset with him.

Literature

  • This is lampshaded in the book Thirteen Never Changes by Budge Wilson. Thirteen year old Laura is furious when her nine year old brother borrows her new bike without asking and breaks it. Her older brother tells her that when she was nine, she borrowed his bike without asking.
    "Did I break it?"
    "No."
    "Well?"
    "Well what?"
    "Well, that's a big difference"
    "Not really. He didn't mean to hurt your bike. He's just not very well co-ordinated. He was born that way. You and I are athletic. Not him."
  • Referenced in universe in The Warrior's Apprentice. Miles successfully predicts his enemy will attempt a flank attack and insists that all weapons be placed on the flank of the base to drive off the attack. When another man excitedly states he is a genius for predicting the maneuver Miles soberly reflects on what they would say if he had been wrong about the angle of the attack. Though this isn't a perfect example of this trope as Miles was relaying on more then dumb luck when he selected where to place the weapons.
  • At the end of The Chrysalids, the main character is trapped in a cave when The Cavalry show up, killing everyone in the area. Most of these people are bad guys, so we don't care, but one of them is the protagonist's childhood friend Sophie, who throughout the book is portrayed as sympathetic. Fortunately The Cavalry don't kill her - because she is shot just moments before they arrive! Since they are not technically responsible for her fate, no one seems upset that their indiscriminate killing could easily have caused the death of an innocent girl.

Live-Action TV

  • Full House: when the Tanners go to Disney World, Stephanie and Michelle line up for some kind of a draw. Michelle pushes ahead of Stephanie in the line, draws the winning ticket, and spends the rest of the day being treated as a princess. Stephanie resents Michelle for this, and the script is clearly on her side. Now, you could certainly see how pushing ahead of her sister wasn't a very nice thing to do. But the fact that she drew the winning ticket really was just dumb luck. It could just as easily have gone the other way - with Michelle drawing a losing ticket followed by Stephanie drawing the winning one. Presumably Stephanie wouldn't be resenting her sister then.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow's Roaring Rampage of Revenge is forgiven fairly easily, even though (in-universe) it was really just luck and timing which prevented her from bringing about the apocalypse.

Theatre

  • Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest embodies this. She admonishes Jack for being an orphan because it shows "contempt for the decencies of family life"; disapproves of sympathising will ill people because "illness is hardly a thing to be encouraged"; and even congratulates an offstage character for finally "making up his mind" to die.

Video Games

  • The Pandaren starter quests in World of Warcraft feature reckless Ji Firepaw performing an action to save their moving island Shen-zin Shu. This act would have the creature but for the presence of Horde and Alliance healers. Counterpart Aysa Cloudsinger's reaction is a What the Hell, Hero? to Ji.

Western Animation

  • The Powerpuff Girls: After Rainbow the Clown is turned into an evil mime in an accident he goes on a crime spree, draining all the color from Townsville and its citizens, but after he's turned back to normal the girls don't realise he's not really evil and had no control over his actions and beat him up anyway.

Real Life

  • The fundamental attribution error is closely related to this concept. Essentially, it notes that when an individual perceives a person as a member of an out-group, and they misbehave in some way, the individual tends to assume the misbehaviour is due to a personality flaw (they're a naturally nasty person) rather than their surrounding circumstances (they're just having a bad day). The corollary is that when the individual perceives a person as a member of the in-group, the inverse is true: the individual assumes that any good they do is because of their personality (they're just a naturally nice person) rather than their circumstances (they just got lucky).
  • In most legal systems attempted murder is a much less serious crime than murder, even though the only difference is whether the attack succeeded in killing the victim (which in many cases can be entirely attributable to blind luck).
    • At a lesser level, certain parenting methods can take this form, with children receiving more severe punishment from their parents when their reckless actions inadvertently result in unpleasant consequences.
  • The idea that "the winners write the history books" would involve this trope to some extent, depending on how much luck was involved in the victory, and how much the future historians couch or embellish what happened in moral terms.


Community Feedback Replies: 76
  • September 25, 2012
    ClockStopping
    • A famous thought example demonstrates that humans intuitively tend to think this way. It goes like this: two men, very drunk, nonetheless decide to drive themselves home. One gets there without incident, while the other accidentally hits a kid who ran in onto the road unexpectedly. Who deserves to be blamed more? Instinctively, people tend to think that the second man is more immoral, even though the kid's action was completely out of his control and the first man could easily have been in the same position as him.
  • September 25, 2012
    Earnest
    It's worth noting that this trope is frequently averted when the heroes True Companions, immediate superiors or random citizens call them out with a "What The Hell Hero?" over taking a huge risk that only payed off thanks to luck. Some heroes may retort with "But it all turned out fine, so what's the problem?" or actually be taken aback by it.
  • September 25, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    And this should not start with an Example As A Thesis. Hypothetical examples are fine, but the definition comes first.
  • September 25, 2012
    SKJAM
    In at least some modes of philosophy, this is valid. If your action randomly turns out well, it is because you are a virtuous person or otherwise deserve to succeed. If it randomly turns out badly, it is because you have impure motivations or otherwise deserve to fail.
  • September 25, 2012
    Damr1990
    many Butt Monkey characters may fit into this, when they try to do something, it invariably will fail (more often than not by causes they have absolutely no control over, or as side effects of the actions of luckier charcters) often ending in situations where they appear to be doing some questionable action(or as if they were the cause of whatever problem of the week may be happening rigth now), whereas when the Karma Houdini characters try it they will invariably succed and be praised for it
  • September 26, 2012
    Chabal2
    A non-moral example occurs in Megamorphs, where Ax has just managed to kill an attacking T-rex with his tail blade. As everyone congratulates him, he angrily points out (still quite afraid) that this was not of his own doing; as the tyrannosaurus was distracted by chasing Marco, another encounter would certainly result in failure.
  • September 26, 2012
    Folamh3
    Film example, but I'm on the fence if it counts.

    • A subversion in 10,000 BC. The hero is helping take down a mammoth when, while trying to escape due to fear, he gets caught in the net intended for the mammoth and dragged out of sight by it. He kills it only out of extreme luck that the thrashing animal just so happened to charge at his unintentionally jammed spear. While everyone in the village thinks he's a Badass, he secretly confesses to his true love that it's all a lie.

    Anime example:

    • A good chunk of Yu Gi Oh! revolved around congratulating Yugi/Yami for his "brilliant draws", basically his tendency to draw exactly the card he needs at exactly the right time to win a duel. Of course, since magic is all but explicitly involved with making "the heart of the cards" actually do that literally for those who know how to invoke it, it may actually be appropriate to congratulate him.
  • September 26, 2012
    arromdee
    This trope is often associated with Million To One Chance.
  • September 26, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    Moral Luck is the accepted name for this, and the current title is unnecessarily clunky.

    Earnest: I don't think the What The Hell Hero response is an aversion (or that 10000 BC is a subversion).
  • September 26, 2012
    TBeholder
    Starts with a pediawiki link, one stretched example + two rants. Great.
  • September 26, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ It's an aversion in that the risk is considered more important than the result in those examples, and thus the risk taker is called out for it, even though the gamble paid off.
  • September 26, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    But there's still at least one character who has this belief. It does make an appearance.

    This isnt really a trope that can be subverted or averted, I don't think.
  • September 26, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ If it's only the risk taker, that isn't really this trope. So it is an aversion.

    Plus character reactions can differ among characters, so characters who don't believe in the trope avert it, and those who do play it straight.
  • September 26, 2012
    Folamh3
    I haven't seen Ten Thousand BC, but I agree that it doesn't sound like an example. The work has to actively treat the character as though they are deserving of praise or blame for their behaviour for it to count; once the sympathetic protagonist acknowledges it was all due to luck, it no longer counts. I doubt this is the sort of trope that can be meaningfully subverted.
  • September 27, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ 1. That movie would be a Defied Trope version, as in the guy is saying that to avoid getting moral luck praise.

    2. Since this is a character reaction trope, then those giving the praise (or jeers for a failure) could look like it, and then it turns out they aren't really thinking that (say their jeers could be confused for cheers). That is how you meaningfully subvert it.
  • September 27, 2012
    Earnest
    ^^ Minor edit tip: I noticed you edited my reply with the Ten Thousand BC example. Usually when you edit someone else's posts in ykttw your handle replaces theirs, that's why "original poster was X, edited by Y for Z reason" is usually put in the bottom or top as a courtesy type thing. I'm not bugged that you edited my reply (in fact I frequently hit the edit button on other people's posts to grab their examples without hitting "submit") but you should usually save example editing for what you put in the top post of the ykttw rather than the originator's post.
  • September 27, 2012
    Folamh3
    Oh sorry, I didn't mean to edit your post, complete accident.
  • September 27, 2012
    Earnest
    No biggie, just trying to help out. =)

    Just thought of a trope to link to/from: How Did You Know I Didnt can also fall into Moral Luck, but can play with it in various ways, such as the doer never knowing of or intending for the good outcome to happen.
  • September 27, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    As someone who had never heard of the philosophical concept before, I found this a really interesting read.

    The Frank Grimes episode of The Simpsons (is it called "Homer's Enemy"?) plays with this idea by juxtaposing the eternally lucky Homer (who despite his idiocy, clumsiness, gluttony, etc has gone into space, released two albums and won a grammy, is married and owns his own home, and occupies a job far beyond his qualifications) with Frank Grimes, who has had to work hard for the very little he has in life. The episode is basically asking if Homer would be so likeable if he wasn't so often in the right place at the right time, and if he's too frequently a beneficiary of this sort of thing.
  • September 27, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    Really? That's an excellent example.
  • September 28, 2012
    Folamh3
    @Heart Of An Astronaut - I don't think the Simpsons example would quite qualify. While the episode does go out of his way to point out that Homer's successes in life are more often than not the result of sheer blind luck rather than any innate skill or effort on his part, he never receives praise or blame for the morality of his actions.
  • September 28, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    Hmm, good point. I was thinking about how the episode shows Homer as a beloved figure (loved by his family and colleagues, as well as the real life audience) which seems to condone him as if he's a hero.

    ... I guess that example is debatable and perhaps needlessly confusing.
  • September 28, 2012
    TBeholder
    A pediawiki link as an explaination, one stretched example, an example-via-rant and two rants-as-examples. The would-be article improves!
  • September 28, 2012
    Folamh3
    What pediawiki link?
  • September 28, 2012
    TheHandle
    I preferred Luck Based Morality, honestly, because it lampshades the irrationality of it.
  • September 28, 2012
    Folamh3
    @The Handle - We'll vote on it once we've got a few more examples in.
  • September 30, 2012
    sgamer82
    • The Pandaren starter quests in World Of Warcraft feature reckless Ji Firepaw performing an action to save their moving island Shen-zin Shu. This act would have the creature but for the presence of Horde and Alliance healers. Counterpart Aysa Cloudsinger's reaction is a What The Hell Hero to Ji.
  • September 30, 2012
    Twospoonfuls
    Real life example might be the cognitive bias The fundamental attribution fallacy.
  • September 30, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    There was an incident on Full House that I think qualifies, though it's kind of ambiguous. When the Tanners go to Disney World, Stephanie and Michelle line up for some kind of a draw. Michelle pushes ahead of Stephanie in the line, draws the winning ticket, and spends the rest of the day being treated as a princess. Stephanie resents Michelle for this, and the script is clearly on her side. Now, you could certainly see how pushing ahead of her sister wasn't a very nice thing to do. But the fact that she drew the winning ticket really was just dumb luck. It could just as easily have gone the other way - with Michelle drawing a losing ticket followed by Stephanie drawing the winning one. Presumably Stephanie wouldn't be resenting her sister then.
  • September 30, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    How about a situation like this?:

    • In Speed, there's a moment where the woman driving the bus hits a parambulator. She is horrified at the thought that she just killed a baby, but it turns out okay: the pram was just full of tin cans! You could argue, of course, that she couldn't have slowed down, or she would have killed everyone on the bus and probably the "baby" too. But if the pram had had a baby in it, presumably she would have blamed herself for killing it.
  • September 30, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    Or how about a situation where a character is blamed for actions they had no control over whatsoever? Like, what if someone's body is possessed by an evil spirit, the spirit kills someone, and the person is held responsible for the crime?
  • September 30, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ This is random stuff, not unwilling stuff.
  • September 30, 2012
    Earnest
    Film example:

    • A young pilot decides to turn off his missile targetting hardware and take a Million To One Chance on a shot using pure instinct. If he fails his friends would be killed and the villains would be unstopable. He makes the shot, everyone praises him. This happens in Star Wars A New Hope. Even though the force is real, from a skeptic's POV Luke succeeded from pure luck. Taking the force into account it's also worth asking: was it he who made the shot, or the force, or both?
  • September 30, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ But he wasn't praised for the luck. Han also got a medal, even though his actions weren't based on chance, just coming at the enemy when they were looking the other way.
  • September 30, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    ^^ And it doesn't matter whether he made the shot or the Force did. If he did, then he deserves praise for his marksmanship, and if the Force did, then he deserves praise for having the sense to trust It.

    ^^^ Ah, right. That would be a different trope.
  • September 30, 2012
    Folamh3
    Yes, I agree that the Star Wars example doesn't really count. The Force really does exist in that universe and functions like any other law of physics. If, however, he had fired the missile at random, then it would be an example of the trope.
  • September 30, 2012
    Folamh3
    @Blue Ice Tea - Regarding your example about someone being possessed by an evil spirit, see the point about causal moral luck in the description.
  • September 30, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    Okay, it sounds like committing a crime while possessed would count as causal moral luck. Does that mean it counts as this trope, or not? I suspect it's a slightly different trope, though that trope may be as yet unidentified. If it is different, then perhaps the reference to causal moral luck should be taken out of the description.
  • October 1, 2012
    Folamh3
    I think committing a crime while possessed would count as this trope, as long as the person who committed the crime is held to be directly responsible for the actions in question, and held as such by people who were aware that the person was possessed at the time.
  • October 1, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ That's not about a gamble though.
  • October 1, 2012
    Folamh3
    I'm debating it. Perhaps I should strictly limit it to cases of situational moral luck, or it'll get too complicated.
  • October 1, 2012
    Damr1990
    @SKJAM would that be the Just World phenomenon ?
  • October 1, 2012
    JoeG
    Real Life: In most legal systems attempted murder is a much less serious crime than murder, even though the only difference is whether the attack succeeded in killing the victim.
  • October 1, 2012
    captainsandwich
    Joe G: Slideshow Bob was complaining he went to jail at all, because it was only attempted. You don't get a nobel prize in attempted chemistry.

    My Understanding is in Real Life if something is risky the action is often judged as good or bad if the risk payed off.
  • October 1, 2012
    dvorak
    Most video games do this. Sucesfully protect the supply convoy? Hurrah! Good job! Here's a reward. Step on a randomly-placed landmine & die? ARGH! You idiot!
  • October 3, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    Folamh3, I'd suggest making Causal Moral Luck a separate trope. I think it's tropeable, but including it in this trope would probably make the definition too broad.
  • October 3, 2012
    Folamh3
    You're probably right.
  • October 4, 2012
    azul120
    The Yu Gi Oh example is covered under Magic Poker Equation, and covers other characters as well.
  • October 4, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    ^ Which is a Sister Trope, since the luck is passed off as skill.
  • October 5, 2012
    IsaacSapphire
    I know we don't do Troper Tales anymore, but is there a term for this as a parenting method? eg. kid is told not to run inside, does and breaks a lamp by accident, is punished way more than if he'd just run inside?
  • October 5, 2012
    Earnest
    Would this count as an example? Card counting is a skill, but in this example their success was basically a gamble.

    • In The Hangover, Alan is seen studying how to cheat at poker by counting cards. The characters note that it's illegal, and by their dismissive behaviour think he'll be terrible at it. When, in a crunch, they need a vast sum of money and he actually successfully gambles for it he is praised. Never mind that with their luck so far, and Alan's Cloud Cuckoo Lander nature they were very likely to have been caught or to lose all their seed money.
  • October 5, 2012
    Waterlily
    This is lampshaded in the book Thirteen Never Changes by Budge Wilson. Thirteen year old Laura is furious when her nine year old brother borrows her new bike without asking and breaks it. Her older brother tells her that when she was nine, she borrowed his bike without asking.
    "Did I break it?"
    "No."
    "Well?"
    "Well what?"
    "Well, that's a big difference"
    "Not really. He didn't mean to hurt your bike. He's just not very well co-ordinated. He was born that way. You and I are athletic. Not him."

    Is that too long? If so, I can try to shorten it.
  • October 6, 2012
    Folamh3
    I got the impression in The Hangover that Alan, while certainly a Cloud Cuckoo Lander, was nevertheless something of an idiot savant, so they weren't really taking all that much of a risk. Also, card counting is in fact not illegal. Likely to get you kicked out of a casino, yes, but not illegal.
  • October 6, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    Okay, this one may not be clear-cut enough, but in the Antonioni film The Passenger, Jack Nicholson's character decides he wants to leave his old life behind, and takes on the identity of an acquaintance who has just died. As it turns out, the acquaintance was an arms dealer running guns to rebel forces in north Africa, so that's what Nicholson's character starts doing. The over-all point of the film seems to be a nihilistic one: that it doesn't really matter what one does in life, and one shouldn't be bound by social roles or expectations. However, it's clear that the audience is supposed to sympathise with the rebels whom Nicholson's character is supporting. So while he appears not to care about the social consequences of his actions, he is still doing something good - or at least something not evil. It would be harder to see this character as heroic if he were running guns to neo-Nazis or the Taliban - even though he could just as easily have found himself doing just that!
  • October 7, 2012
    TBeholder
    ^^^ that would be Being Overconfident Is Fine
  • October 17, 2012
    Waterlily
    I've never seen Buffy The Vampire Slayer but I found this on the Protagonist Centered Morality page and think it fits here well.

    Willow's Roaring Rampage Of Revenge is forgiven fairly easily, even though (in-universe) it was really just luck and timing which prevented her from bringing about the apocalypse.
  • October 18, 2012
    StevenT
    • The Powerpuff Girls: After Rainbow the Clown is turned into an evil mime in an accident he goes on a crime spree, draining all the color from Townsville and its citizens, but after he's turned back to normal the girls don't realise he's not really evil and had no control over his actions and beat him up anyway.
  • October 19, 2012
    rolranx
    referenced in universe in The Warrior's Apprentice. Miles successfully predicts his enemy will attempt a flank attack and insists that all weapons be placed on the flank of the base to drive off the attack. When another man excitedly states he is a genius for predicting the maneuver Miles soberly reflects on what they would say if he had been wrong about the angle of the attack. Though this isn't a perfect example of this trope as Miles was relaying on more then dumb luck when he selected where to place the weapons.
  • October 21, 2012
    WeAreAllKosh
    The idea that "the winners write the history books" would involve this trope to some extent, depending on how much luck was involved in the victory, and how much the future historians couch or embellish what happened in moral terms.
  • October 21, 2012
    robinjohnson
    • Lady Bracknell in The Importance Of Being Earnest embodies this. She admonishes Jack for being an orphan because it shows "contempt for the decencies of family life"; disapproves of sympathising will ill people because "illness is hardly a thing to be encouraged"; and even congratulates an offstage character for finally "making up his mind" to die.
  • October 24, 2012
    BlueIceTea
    This isn't very well-written, and it's really about someone not being blamed for something, but I think it fits.

    • At the end of The Chrysalids, the main character is trapped in a cave when The Cavalry show up, killing everyone in the area. Most of these people are bad guys, so we don't care, but one of them is the protagonist's childhood friend Sophie, who throughout the book is portrayed as sympathetic. Fortunately The Cavalry don't kill her - because she is shot just moments before they arrive! Since they are not technically responsible for her fate, no one seems upset that their indiscriminate killing could easily have caused the death of an innocent girl.
  • October 27, 2012
    StarSword
    This example may need correction, as I'm not certain if it applies to just the movie or to both movie and book.

    Literature:
    • Subverted in Harry Potter And The Philosophers Stone just after the troll incident. Prof. McGonagall awards Harry and Ron five House points each "for sheer, dumb luck". Sure, there was luck involved, but also some skill.
  • October 27, 2012
    Lophotrochozoa
    That's Not A Subversion. It's a Lampshade Hanging to the extent it's a straight example. Perhaps it should be a page quote?

    It's not in the book, where she points out that there is skill involved as well as luck.
  • October 27, 2012
    Folamh3
    Yes, that's a lampshading. They are being rewarded for carrying out an action which depended largely on luck, but the author is calling attention to it.
  • October 28, 2012
    Lophotrochozoa
    As I said she doesn't say it that way in the book (at least not in the Swedish translation) so that entry should be in the film section.
  • October 28, 2012
    bulmabriefs144
    • In The Cincinnati Kid, as long as the title character is winning, he's a hero. When he finally loses, everyone is upset with him.
  • October 31, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    "Philosophy" is a subject, not a medium.
  • November 2, 2012
    azul120
    One other thing about YGO: Yami's magic topdecking doesn't kick in until the final duel.
  • November 3, 2012
    Folamh3
    @azull120 - I don't know enough Yu-Gi-Oh to know where that information should go. Feel free to edit the article yourself if you like.
  • November 3, 2012
    rodneyAnonymous
    I see the "philosophy" heading was changed to "other", but that doesn't help. Examples are appearances of a trope in a work. Those are not examples; no heading would make them fit.
  • November 3, 2012
    Folamh3
    @rodneyAnonymous - I think you're right, actually. I'll delete those examples now.
  • November 4, 2012
    Folamh3
    From suggestions and replies, my personal preference is for "Luck-Based Morality" rather than "Moral Luck", so I'll launch with that title unless anyone expresses any preference.
  • November 4, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    I really prefer Moral Luck. If there is a known Pre Existing Term for a trope when it's launched we should use it by default.
  • November 4, 2012
    TBeholder
    Both the "description" and examples are rants on "Why I Think X In Show Y Was Not Fair". Which is why they are so long and watery. You don't agree with the authors, yes - but is here a trope buried somewhere or there's nothing under rants?
  • November 4, 2012
    Folamh3
    I may do some trimming down of the descriptions, they are a touch overlong. I'm not entirely sure what else you're objecting to. This trope is nothing to do with whether an individual agrees with the author or not (or with the message of the work), or whether they think the work was "fair" or not. It's simply cataloguing instances in which an action is treated as moral/immoral in spite of the fact that it largely depended on chance. Some people might well believe that's a perfectly legitimate way to assess the morality of actions, and they're perfectly entitled to. I'm not interested in whether people agree with the underlying principles behind this trope, or how logical it is: I'm simply creating a list of examples where it occurs.

    Additionally, lots of other existing tropes are based primarily around critiquing the perceived lapses in how the ethics of certain events are presented in fiction: Protagonist Centered Morality, Designated Hero, Designated Villain, Moral Dissonance etc. This trope is no different.
  • November 4, 2012
    Ogodei
    Toriko has a lot of this, although characters in Toriko seem to have "luck" as an almost quantifiable statistic. Komatsu is valued not only for his tremendous cooking skill, but also because he has good "food luck," where a lot of inexplicable food-related things go his way.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=oz872omne8m9mmalmjb2d2yw