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Blessed With Suck: Literature
It was a curse, to be a God's son.

  • In Gathering the Enchanted, Tristan. The poor guy needs to have the snot kicked out of him before he's able to help in a fight. And then if that one hit he musters doesn't pan out, he's gotta get beat up all over again.
  • Georgina Kincaid in Succubus Blues is immortal, drop dead gorgeous, has shapeshifting powers—but if she so much as kisses her boyfriend, she will drain him of his life-force.
  • In Legend of the Five Rings-derived fiction, Bayushi Tangen lived his life in shame because of what he viewed as a curse. What was the curse you ask... he was so lucky, the Gods would smile on him and allow even the most poorly thought out, suicidal plan to work perfectly. At one point, he defeated an enemy army because a tower fell on their archers, and a bolt of lightning struck their general just as he was about to kill Tangen. There is a drawback - nothing he ever does will be his accomplishment, because his luck does everything for him.
    • This ability sort of gets passed on to his students, the Bitter Lies swordsmen, to the point that enemy armies are more afraid of facing a single Bitter Lies samurai than a Scorpion Clan army.
      • As anyone who's familiar with the series and the games, there are a lot of things to be more afraid of than a Scorpion Clan army, starting with any single member of the Spider Clan.
  • You would think that an item that made every woman in the world want to tear off your clothes and have you take them would be a blessing. Read the beginning of The Woad to Wuin, the second book in the Sir Apropos of Nothing trilogy, and disavow yourself of that notion.
    • That depends... can you turn it off? If not, that would be the Midas curse.
    • A far better example is the main plot to the second half of the book, where Apropos gains a gem in his chest that makes him indestructible... and gives him delusions of grandeur that turns him from an Anti-Hero to a full-blown Big Bad.
  • Rick Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus: A good portion of the main cast has to deal with powers that can be either crappy or awesome, depending on the situation.
    • Leo, in addition to his technological talent, has fire powers. Great for fighting monsters, right? Yeah, except for the fact that said powers are difficult to control and extremely dangerous. Just ask Leo's mom. Oh, wait, you can't: she died in a fire started by accident by her son. And Apparently the last son of Hephaestus with the ability started the Great Fire of London. So that should give you an idea of what we're dealing with here.
    • Hazel can summon precious minerals from underground as per her mother's wish. While the ability has come in useful before, it absolutely ruined her first life, as the stones curse anyone who holds onto them...
    • Frank Zhang could darn well be the Trope Codifier. His life force is tied to a stick, and if it burns down completely, he dies. However, the fire from the stick has been shown to be able to free Death himself; who knows what other awesome stuff it could do. His Animorphism powers don't count, being just plain awesome without side affects.
  • In George MacDonald's pretty fairy tale The Light Princess, a vengeful witch curses a baby, upon her baptism, to have no gravity — she is completely weightless, gets to levitate whenever she pleases, and, as a baby, causes many awkward explanations on the part of her parents. However, in an interesting twist, she thinks that the curse is a rollicking good joke — another aspect of the curse is that she also loses her mental gravity and is unable to take anything seriously. The very fact that she can't comprehend sadness makes her parents even more miserable.
  • In I Want to Go Home by Gordon Korman, Rudy is a kid who can do anything easily and perfectly. This makes him terminally bored with everything they make him do at summer camp.
  • The title character of A Nameless Witch is cursed to be beautiful, unaging (undead), and has magic powers. But since she's a witch, she goes around in disguise looking as ugly as she can manage. Bad side effect: she's so good looking because the curse makes her a literal man-eater... or at least, she desperately wants to eat anyone she loves.
  • In an echo of the Midas myth, Discworld has a character who is cursed by a deity to have anything he touches turn into gold. Unfortunately, the aforesaid deity was dyslexic and cursed him with the ability to turn anything into Glod, which happens to be the name of a dwarf several thousand miles away, who found himself teleported to the kingdom and relentlessly duplicated. The people of the kingdom are now known to be "a little short-tempered".
  • In Inheritance Cycle, the main character, Eragon, blesses a character with suck. He blesses a baby with a spell that he thinks will shield her from harm, but a grammatical error in the magical language makes her a shield for everybody else. To his credit, he promises that he will remove it and does his best to follow up on that promise.
  • The Invisible Man is a classic example. A power many dream about becomes a terrible burden without an off switch. The very first invisible day he has to strip naked to become unseen - in London in wintertime. And as he's freezing to death, the usual crowd of Londoners going about their winter shopping business almost trample him to death, since they don't realize that he's there. In most film and TV adaptations of the book, the titular Invisible Man goes crazy, though he was already sociopathic to begin with.
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray is an arguable case, as while Dorian actually gets something desired by most people: untarnished beauty. Due to the Victorian belief that Beauty Equals Goodness, Dorian is able to sin with impunity without anyone ever believing that he's bad. He indulges so terribly in his power that things quickly go poorly for him.
    • There's also that if that portrait is destroyed Dorian dies, and he ends up murdering the guy who painted it to hide the fact that it was showing how he was supposed to look because of and as well as his crimes.
  • Ella Enchanted is based entirely on this, as a fairy - who believes she is giving a blessing - curses Ella with complete obedience. Said fairy, despite everyone else's horror, never understands that she has blessed Ella with suck. That is, until the fairy is tricked into blessing herself with suck.
  • The Fairy's Mistake, written by the same author as Ella Enchanted, also features a fairy who believes that she's done the right thing in blessing the kind Rosella to have a gem fall from her mouth every time she speaks and cursing the rude Myrtle to have a toad fall from her mouth every time she speaks, only to learn later on that Rosella has become the victim of a Gold Digger prince while Myrtle has discovered some unexpected upsides to her toad problem.
  • Stephen R. Donaldson seems to love this trope, judging from the cases of several characters in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant:
    • Lord Mhoram's precognition serves mainly to give him horrible dreams about the future he can do nothing about.
    • The Healer of Morinmoss can heal practically anything, but she has to share the pain of her patient. She became a hermit for the reason of not being able to take it anymore.
    • Later on, Linden's health-sense means that she's in pain whenever her surroundings are warped by evil magic, which is the case constantly for long periods of time.
    • Seadreamer has a very powerful second-sight type ability that cannot be turned off, but he has trouble communicating what he sees, since the horror of it has struck him permanently mute. This results in other people being worried because Seadreamer is so miserable, but continuing on their doomed course anyway, since they don't know what trap they are walking into. Seadreamer's tragedy is that he never took a level in mime.
    • As for Covenant himself, he has trouble using his own power of wild magic while it makes him central to the machinations of a superintelligent Evil Overlord.
  • Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn features the less-than-adept magician Schmendrick, whose teacher Nikos grants immortality for the sake of making him live long enough to realize his full potential. Let's just say it takes awhile.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth stories, human mortality is described as "the gift of death". Err, thanks?
    • That's because things like elves and dwarves, (not hobbits, they're a subtype of Men) never have their souls leave Arda. They never get to directly know Eru Ilúvatar (i.e. go to heaven). The gift isn't so much that they die (even elves die, albeit not of old age) but rather what happens to them once they die. Take Our Word for It.
      • To be technical, death is really more of a side effect. Eru's gift to Men is that they are not "tied to the fate of Arda"; that is, Men can make their own place in the world. Which is why all of the greatest heroes, and arguably (non-divine) villains, in Middle-earth are human.
      • Humans get to choose when they die, and there was (in the beginning, at least) no pain involved. Death was originally no different than drifting off to sleep. Morgoth perverted that, introducing fear and pain. Also, the Elves' so called "immortality" is tied to Arda. When Middle-earth ends, their souls die along with it. Men will become like the Valar themselves and join with Eru Ilúvatar to sing the Second Music and create a new, utopian world. The Elves know this, which is why they end up resenting humans (along with the fact that humans are not as morally superior as they see themselves).
      • Being able to die (and leave the confines of the world) also means that, unlike the Elves (and the Valar, eventually), Men don't have to endure the sorrow of the world's gradual and inevitable decay.
      • Being Immune to Fate has distinct advantages. Elves can't Screw Destiny or be the Spanner in the Works, but Men can. I think the best way to describe Men in Middle Earth, from everyone else's perspective, is 'weird'. They're weak, they die young... and they took over the world. And all their accomplishments are so much more impressive because they do all this without having hundreds of years to learn how to do everything.
      • Humans also have the Flame Imperishable, which Eru Ilúvatar shared with them alone among the thinking being of Arda. The Flame is what allowed Him to create thinking being with life of their own, independent of His will. The implication is that Men have the ability to grow into being on a par with Him while still within Arda, and will learn to do things that will place than far above the Valar.
    • Húrin and his son Túrin. Plus, Men are physically stronger, in general, than Elves while Elves are more agile.
  • One of the later Oz books assures us that while you are in the land of Oz, you can't die. This information comes after characters in the books have been chopped into pieces, beheaded, melted, and so forth and it's mentioned that you could be transformed into an inanimate object, turned into sand, and buried. Even so, you'd still be alive and presumably conscious. Forever. Thankfully the series never goes in that direction.
    • This plot point was later retconned into the Tin Man's origin story. After his cursed axe cut off his own head, he replaced it with a tin one. The original head is still alive and very bitter about it.
    • In some of the later Oz books, (such as The Magic of Oz) the villainous Nome King considers chopping up the denizens of Oz, then tossing the pieces into a powerful river in order to scatter them forever. Baum was aware of at least some of the truly dreadful applications this immortality could have.
  • Every single character in Xanth has a power. Naturally, not all of them are going to be winners. The first books gives us a doozy in the form — forms, rather — of a woman named Chameleon. Sometimes she's ugly, nasty, and smart (She goes by "Fanchon" when she's like this). Other times, she's pretty, sweet, and dumb (And she goes by Wynne when she's like this. In the middle stage she goes by Dee). (And since the obvious implication is that smart women aren't pretty or nice — and the transformation happens on a monthly schedule — at all times she's offending the female readers.) The possibility of using magic to make her beautiful during the smart phase is discussed, but she rejects it because it would just reset the cycle, and being smart and pretty at the same time isn't worth being ugly and stupid at the same time. It's not that smart women can't be beautiful (the series has several examples), but that her situation isn't that easy to cure.
    • In addition to that she's had a Trauma Conga Line that Bink walked in on part of. Her Wynne persona, at her worst, isn't able to think beyond immediate pleasures, causing a complete inability to give informed consent and a tendency to actively try to seduce men. With magically-enhanced sex appeal. According to Xanth's legal system, since she was consenting at the time, she can't successfully prosecute them for rape to prevent them from saying yes the next time (although she tries). Her Fanchon personality, on the other hand, remembers all of this and can understand the implications. It's a wonder that Fanchon doesn't actively hate men, although she's intelligent enough to understand that it's the magic at fault (instead of blaming herself) and solve the problem by getting out of Xanth.
    • In a later book, after Bink marries Chameleon, it mentions that while she always has qualities he finds attractive no matter what stage she's in, he prefers when she's in her "Dee" stage because she's attractive enough to still be a physical turn on, but smart enough that he's not turned off by the fact that she can't tie her shoelaces without a map to find her ass. Still a bit sexist, but surely better than the obvious answer.
      • It does mention this alongside pointing out that he's trying to keep his head down at the moment because right now she's A) Fanchon, B) pregnant, and therefore C) excessively aggressive and moody, and chewing the walls of their cottage cheese.
      • Actually, it's much, much worse than that. In the first book, it's revealed that without periodic invasions from the outside world, humanity will grow more and more mutated by magical radiation (and the effects of love springs...) into subhuman forms. A rule in the early books is that a living thing can be inherently magical, have a magical power, or be sentient: pick two at most. Chameleon, like Bink (supposedly) does not have a magical talent: she's an inherently magical mutation. She has no talent: can't be Blessed with Suck if you're not blessed. Since she marries Bink, who is also intensely magical the kids would have been in danger of being stuck with her mutation or something even worse if it weren't for the series' Reverse Cerebus Syndrome.
      • The one part of it that might qualify as a blessing is that it makes her not just meet every possible one of Bink's ideal woman criteria, but makes it fairly impossible for him to even think of straying. She ends up with the series' most powerful character entirely devoted to her, and dialogue in the sixth book implies that Fanchon (currently acting ruler of Xanth) knows this and is taking advantage of it in her strategy for ensuring that her side wins the war.
    • Bink himself has a bit of this at times. His magic talent, which is the focus of the first book, is complete immunity to magical harm, which manifests by Contrived Coincidence. This is a ridiculously powerful talent, strong enough to qualify him as a candidate for King of Xanth, and awesome to have, except for a few problems:
    • Another character, Jordan the Barbarian, has extreme healing powers — the only way to take him out of action permanently is to kill him Deader than Dead. The sucky part? While getting eaten by a dragon may not be permanently lethal, it still hurts exactly as much as you'd expect it to. And afterward he will wake up naked and exhausted in a pile of dragon crap.
    • Jonathan the Zombie Master can raise zombies and boss them around. The problem is that nobody else wants to be around him because he's a shy shut-in. Whose castle smells like it has a bunch of zombies running around...
      • This gets even worse when his girlfriend is murdered, and he can't find the body to reanimate her. He commits suicide...and immediately rises from the dead as a zombie. Mixing Who Wants to Live Forever? with I Cannot Self-Terminate, all seasoned with the stench of rotting flesh. Luckily there's a happy ending centuries later.
  • Felix in John Steakley's Vampire$. He is a master gun fighter, blessed with amazing accuracy and instincts that mean death to the men that stand against him. But he can't turn it off. In the heat of battle, he is unable to shoot to wound. At all. And he's not a sociopath, as he can't help getting into trouble due to his Chronic Hero Syndrome. He carries a lot of guilt and just tries to stay out of the world as much as possible.
  • Felix in John Steakley's Armor was raised for a position of eminence, with physical and psychological conditioning to keep him in the best of health and preserve his life in any dangerous situation. Then his family is killed, and he becomes a suicidal Death Seeker — who can't die.
  • Quite a few of the aliens in Animorphs have powers. Taxxons have a pretty twisted take on the Extreme Omnivore ability: their ability to eat nearly anything stems from their instinctive and nearly psychotic hunger which can almost never be sated. Everything they can eat, they will eat, no questions. Which is to say, if you are a Taxxon and you get a paper cut in front of your crewmates, goodbye.
    • The Animorphs themselves qualify. They are given the power to turn into any animal they touch, but with it they are given the responsibility to use it to fight against the Yeerk invasion (and the risk of losing their shapeshifting power and being stuck in animal form forever if they go over the time limit). The war ends up being very traumatic for all of them.
    • A few of the books also go into how traumatic changing into some animals can be. In one of the spin-off books, an Andalite morphs into a Taxxon and is repulsed by the sheer depth of their hunger - another one of them gets trapped in that form and becomes fairly suicidal as a result. The Animorphs also harbor extremely bad memories of a few morphs, most especially the time they turned into ants (and subsequently nearly lost themselves in the sheer mindless mechanical power of the ant minds). When a later plan's brainstorming session comes up with turning into bees, the response is instantly, emphatically, and unanimously no.
    • The Yeerks themselves (some of them, at least). Such is the curse of the parasite with the ability to grow a conscience.
      • Any Yeerk who isn't completely sadistic, conscience or not, would be eventually worn down by a voice almost constantly screaming for freedom in their head (at least for a while, and every so often after that), releasing memories and unfiltered emotion directly into the Yeerk's nervous system. Considering the other species they had enslaved, it's easy to wonder how few actually preferred a human host over being a barely-mobile slug. (There's also the whole "sensation" thing - the more vivid and useful a host's senses, the more likely a Yeerk would be to become addicted to feeding said senses.)
      • In fact, the plot of one of the books was based around this idea. A Yeerk found a time machine, and went back through critical points of Western History, trying to kill major historical figures. Because he'd possessed a history teacher, who drove him insane by yattering on about history.
    • The Hork-Bajir are effectively living meat grinders and, as such, were forced into becoming soldiers for the Yeerks. Really, the Animorph universe is a Crapsack World for everyone.
      • Also, for those who haven't read the series, the Hork-Bajir are completely vegetarian. All the blades are for peeling bark and climbing trees. Great for their diet and (original) lifestyle, terrible because of body-hijacking parasites and frightening anyone who hasn't seen them outside of their body-controlled, stormtrooper role.
    • Andalites and their thought speak. It's cool being partially psychic, but the lack of mouths meant it took the Andalites centuries to develop alternatives to things like telephones.
  • Will Parry in His Dark Materials may be the king of this trope. He is destined to be the bearer of the Subtle Knife, which can slice through the barriers between worlds. Gaining it mutilated his left hand, the "sign of the Bearer". On top of this, every single time he uses it, for good or ill, he creates a hole into which Dust drains out of the world, and through which more Spectres are unleashed. And then there's the little matter of what the Knife is rumored to be destined to be used for...
  • Henry in The Time Traveler's Wife is another very extreme case, sitting very comfortably in the realm of Deus Angst Machina. Sure, he can time-travel - but he doesn't have any control over it. His ability targets the most memorable places, people, and events in his life - the traumatic ones even more so than the positive ones. For every time he gets to visit his wife as a teenager or his infant daughter as a ten-year-old, he has to watch his ex-girlfriend kill herself over him or see his mother die for the fiftieth time. And on top of all this, the story takes place in an Eternist Universe. Everything that has ever happened, good and bad, was supposed to happen the way it did, and Henry can't do a damn thing about it. It doesn't take him long to wonder if the Universe is actively f*** ing with him. (Indeed, the only way his time-traveling would have been more Blessed-With-Suck-worthy would have been if the author had remembered to factor in the different positions of the Earth throughout time.)
    • That last bit was actually averted in one of the Bruce Coville story collections; after the main character and her friend test a forward-only time machine they find with a teddy bear, it never shows up. The lead decides to try it anyway, over the nerd's objections it's not safe. He has a Eureka Moment on the staircase and rushes back to stop her, but it's too late and she's transported into space.
    • If the Cosmos is sending him to his most memorable points of his life, it stands to reason that the Cosmos is aiming for the correct locale as well as the correct time. The problem of the earth's position in space is thereby averted.
  • A very strange short story in one of the Flight anthologies centers around a little girl who constantly hovers about a foot off the ground. The tale recounts all the myriad ways that she is made miserable by this power, building towards the finale where a massive flood leaves her the only person alive!
  • In the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons, Jesuit archaeologist Father Dure is... given a "cruciform" parasite by the aboriginal Bikura tribe, which grants them the ability to regenerate from death. The bad news is that it gradually turns the host into a genderless moron, and punishes them with crippling pain the farther they go from the Bikura village.
    • After the cruciform's "turn you into an idiot" flaw is fixed he gets combined with the local version of the Space Pope and is declared the "anti-pope". The effect is that every time the Pope dies Dure gets resurrected and the Pope's supporter shot him in the head in order to get the Pope back.
  • A story in Ursula K. Le Guin's Changing Planes describes a race of humanoid aliens called the Gyr in which about one in every thousand sprouts wings in young adulthood, which carries several disadvantages. Firstly, the wing-growth process takes a year and is very painful and incapacitating. Secondly, winged people develop lightweight hollow bones which make them more vulnerable to injury. Worst of all, those who attempt flight have a tendency to suddenly lose control of their wings and crash — if it isn't fatal, they're stuck with useless, cumbersome wings. And trying to remove the wings surgically causes slow, painful death. Hence, most winged people don't even try flying, and those who do are considered eccentric and foolish.
    • Another story in the same book mentions the immortals of Aya, an island in the world of Yendi. Being bitten by a fly renders them immortal—but while they can't get sick, they can be horribly burnt and disfigured in accidents. And they often end up buried alive and turning into sentient diamonds. It's a horrible blend of Who Wants to Live Forever? and I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.
  • Floyd Jones, the driving character (though almost never the viewpoint character) of Philip K. Dick's The World Jones Made can see a year into the future. Too bad his future sight is actually made of memories broadcast by his future self to his past self, essentially stripping him of free will.
    • Manfred, a boy from the same author's Martian Time-Slip, can see into the future. Which means he is almost perpetually stuck in a twisted vision of his future as a paralyzed, dying old man in a decaying hospital. His only, temporary escape is succumbing to his schizophrenia-induced hallucinations, which are just as nightmarish and tainted by his obsession with death.
  • Stephen King's The Green Mile: John Coffey blesses Paul Edgecombe with an extremely long life (He's 104/108 at the time of the book/movie) and immunity to most diseases. Which sounds really, really, great...until you realize that almost everyone he's ever loved has died before him.
    • Making it even worse, though, is that a mouse similarly blessed by Coffey lived at least fifty sixty-four to sixty-eight years, and the average lifespan of a lab mouse is about two years. If Paul similarly lives at least 25 times an average lifespan, he might have upwards of 2,000 years of increasing physical decrepitude in a lousy nursing home to look forward to.
    • Coffey himself was blessed with magical healing powers...in the body of a large, intimidating black man in the ultra-racist '30s South. Needless to say, he didn't commit the crime that put him on Death Row.
    • The title character of King's Carrie also qualifies for this. Although her mother is probably so crazy that she would have tortured her anyway, the fact that she sees her daughter as a witch because of her psychic powers probably doesn't help. Later in the book, she dies because she overuses her power. By that point, she has already crossed the Moral Event Horizon and kept going for a while, but it's still not a very happy ending.
    • Johnny Smith's psychic abilities in The Dead Zone would probably qualify, as well.
    • Charlie McGee's pyrokinesis, and her father's ability to "push", in Firestarter.
      • The Dad's ability is definitely this trope. He gets pinprick brain hemorrhages whenever he uses his power, effectively meaning that he's slowly killing himself every time he uses it.
    • While the Overlook hotel in The Shining probably would have been happy to torture the Torrances anyway, Danny's "shining" (read: psychic potential) made him an even tastier target.
  • The short story "All You've Ever Wanted" by Joan Aiken concerns a girl living with her aunts and getting a nice birthday card each year from her fairy godmother with a greetings card type little wish. Problem was they always came true. When it said 'Each morning make another friend / Who'll be with you till light doth end', that year turned into a grueling social whirl with not one single day sitting quietly at home. When it wished she could enjoy fresh air knowing her friends were nearby, she was forced to go on hours long hikes, watching her new friends flash past in cars, never offering her a lift. When it wished that flowers might follow in her footsteps, flowers grew up after her, and she had to move into the shed and ended up with a permanent cold. She spent her entire youth looking forward to her 21st birthday when she could meet her fairy godmother and ask her to please stop.
  • In A Fistful of Sky by Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Gypsum LaZelle finally comes into magical power...and she inherits the power of curses. She has to curse people, FREQUENTLY, or she dies. She manages to work out solutions to this pretty well, though.
  • Ben and his dog Ned in Castaways of the Flying Dutchman are given eternal youth and the understanding of all Earth's languages so they can be agents for the side of good on Earth. Unfortunately, they constantly have to move on as soon as they've finished this book's adventure to avoid people getting suspicious, they're always haunted by nightmares of the Flying Dutchman, and there is the risk that the ship will actually find them. And that's not even getting into the fact that Ben was fourteen at the time he was granted this "blessing". Eternal youth is fine, but eternal puberty?
  • Doli of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain comes from a family with the power of invisibility and is infuriated by the fact that he cannot do it. When he finally is granted the power by Prince Gwydion, he is called to use it so often by his companions that he becomes sick of it. But then again, he complains about everything.
    • Also, Fflewddur Fflam is blessed with a harp by the Chief Bard Taliesin that practically plays itself, but its strings always need repair after he "colors the facts."
  • In Feast of Souls by C.S. Friedman, Kamala's powers as a Magister end up being Blessed with Suck considering what it takes to fuel them. (Hint: it's in the title.)
  • In The Stars My Destination by Alfred Bester, there are naturally-born human telepaths. However, Mother Nature is a fickle bitch and so just as many are born with the opposite ability: they constantly involuntarily broadcast their thoughts to everyone around them, and are unable to hear others' thoughts in return.
  • Every man in Chaos Walking has their thoughts heard by everyone in the area. (So do the aliens, but they actually like the power, and it's vital for their communication.)
  • Thomas Raith (all the White Court) in The Dresden Files. He's close to immortal, immensely strong, can seduce almost anything... but can't touch the woman he loves (or anything she makes him) without it hurting him, and for a long time can't hold a job because his co-workers keep trying to get into his pants and he got blamed for it. Also has to fight the hunger of his inner incubus if he doesn't 'feed' regularly — and if he truly feeds off anyone he can hurt or even kill them.
    • Harry himself has this, in the form of the Sight. It allows him to see what a person/thing really is, beneath all illusion and glamor. The price? He can never forget what he sees. Ever. He sees some pretty terrible things over the course of the series, and his memory of them will never fade as long as he's alive.
      • Although Harry occasionally mentions how it's okay, because some of the things he sees are absolutely beautiful — Murphy as a shining wounded angel, for instance. Also, the Sight gave him something he could never have had otherwise: a perfect, unfading memory of his mother.
      • The soulgaze means that when looking into a person's eyes for the first time, they both see each other's inner nature. And this ability works the same way as the Sight, so he'll never forget. This however is such a turbulent experience that for every day of his life, Harry has to avoid looking into the eyes of any person he talks. He focuses on the nose instead.
    • Plus, having powerful magic makes it impossible to use modern technology. So Harry's apartment is lit with candles and heated with a fireplace, he has an ice box with actual ice, he drives a rather... elderly car, he can't visit friends in the hospital because he could fry the life-support machines, and any attempts to use electronics even remotely near him tend to result in dead electronics.
      • In Grave Peril he mentions he has never had a hot bath, because he can't keep a water heater without it shorting out. Imagine a lifetime of enforced cold showers, which has to especially suck in a Chicago winter.
    • After accepting the mantle of the Winter Knight in Changes, Harry gets another layer of this, though it doesn't show until Cold Days. He can bench 400 kilograms, heals quickly, is numb to pain, and has access to powerful ice magic. On the downside, the same power is pushing him to become more predatory; he has vivid fantasies about raping women close to him that he wants to protect. It gets more intense the more he uses the power. Oh, and there are obvious downsides to being numb to pain, too.
  • Arithon S'Ffalenn, and to a lesser extent other royal heirs, from Janny Wurts's War Of Light And Shadow. The sorcerers picked the defining virtue of the ruler of each kingdom - e.g. passion for justice, courage, or foresight - and gave them to their descendants. Arithon is descended from two families, so he gets foresight, the ability to see all the consequences of his actions, and compassion, the ability to empathize with everyone. And he doesn't get a choice. So he sees exactly how his actions hurt other people, and feels their pain as his own. Thanks a lot.
  • Nathan Brazil, the lead character in Jack Chalker's Well World series is effectively immortal and is arguably God or the Steward of God though he does not consciously realize it. He remarks that no matter what the disaster, he has been a survivor, no matter how awful the event was.
    • Brazil also has a tendency to bless other characters with suck, usually as a karmic retribution for something they've done
  • Finnikin of the Rock. Oh God, Finnikin of the Rock... The major Blessed with Suck is Evanjalin/Isaboe, whose power is not empathy, as everyone thought. She 'walks the sleep'- that is, when she sleeps, she reads the thoughts of others who sleep- of her people, Lumaterans. That is, she becomes witness to everything that's happened to them- she feels their pain for everything. This is in a country where 100% of the population have been or have had a family member tortured, raped, killed, or something equally awful. And this kid witnessed every bit of it, through not only witnesses and victims, but through the people who did it. And did I mention the people dying of fever, hunger or being worked to death? It made Finnikin cry too, when he said, "If I could have a gift, it would be to tear from her mind such depravity. Sweet Goddess, how I wish it," and then he cries and beats himself up for not being able to help her.
  • Sonora, of Princess Sonora And The Long Sleep, a story based on "Sleeping Beauty", has Sonora receiving the gift of "Brilliance" from the fairies— that is, being ten times as smart as anyone else in the world. So, to get a picture of that,take the isolation and maladjustment William James Sidis experienced and multiply it by ten.
    • Another of Gail Carson Levine's Princess Tales, The Fairy's Mistake, has a girl blessed with jewels falling out of her mouth whenever she speaks... except a prince decides to marry her for her riches and forces her to talk constantly until she loses her voice. Meanwhile, her sister who was cursed with snakes, toads, and insects falling out of her mouth gets everyone to give her presents and throw parties for her to bribe her to keep quiet.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 novel Deus Encarmine, Arfio appears as the re-incarnation of the primarch Sanguinius after he wields the Spear of Telesto. Shortly after, being told that those who object to it are dying, which must be an omen, he says that he would much rather be an ordinary Blood Angel, standing beside his sibling Rafen.
  • Winter Celchu (introduced in the Star Wars Expanded Universe Thrawn novels, and also appearing in the X-Wing Series) has a perfect memory, which leads to a curious case of both Blessed with Suck and Cursed with Awesome: the pain of such horrible things as the destruction of Alderaan never fades, but in her work as an Intelligence agent her ability to remember conversations verbatim and maps with a single glance (just for a start) was doubtless of endless use. She's very practical about it all - being The Stoic, it's hard to tell when she's hurting.
  • The Chocolate Touch, by Patrick Skene Catling, tells the story of a candy-loving boy who gains the power to turn everything that he puts in his mouth into chocolate. At first he revels in eating chocolate oranges and chocolate milk (and chocolate gloves), but after a while he gets sick of the taste, and ends up turning his mother into chocolate by kissing her.
  • Subverted in Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians and sequels. The repertoire of Smedry "Talents" consists entirely of annoying everyday human traits (the ability to trip and fall down, to get lost, to break things, to be late). The twist comes in when it turns out that Smedries can crank the strength of these Talents all the way Up to Eleven. The main character's grandfather arrives late for gunshots and the pain of being tortured, and, in fact, has been arriving late for his own death for over a decade. The protagonist meanwhile, breaks guns and crossbows that are aimed at him from a distance ... as well as kitchens and most of the weapons he tries to handle. The downsides of the Smedry Talents still apply, they're just overshadowed by the advantages.
    • Well, somewhat overshadowed by the advantages. Recent characters include an aunt who says inappropriate things at awkward moments and a cousin who dances really poorly.
  • A couple of Tom Holt characters get put through this wringer. Paul Carpenter is, among other things, a powerful natural scryer, but his career in the novels starts with being sold by his parents to a wizarding company and goes downhill from there. An even more straight example is the star of Barking, who was born slightly out of phase with the rest of the world and as suck such can only be killed by someone else who's out of phase, but not only does this render him unable to do maths that fits in with everyone else's maths, but someone is trying to use the law to keep from dying, and wants to shut him away to fail to do her post-mortem accounts for the rest of his lycanthropy-extended life.
  • In P.C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath series, the powers of the magically gifted (or cursed) Kencyr, the Shanir, are just as likely to suck as to be beneficial, or may do both at once. Being followed around by a swarm of mind-linked insects, for instance, or being only able to consume blood, milk and honey, or being afflicted with magical clumsiness that can be passed to others.
  • In Justine Larbalestier's trilogy beginning with Magic or Madness, people born with magical abilities have a choice of either refraining from using their abilities and going insane, or using them and shortening their lifespans every time they perform magic. Some unscrupulous magic users avoid this by stealing magic from other people and using it, usually preying on inexperienced kids who don't know how to resist magical parasitism or don't realize that giving up magic will shorten their lives.
  • Any woman without strong magical resistance will fall in love with Lancer in Fate/Zero if they see the 'love spot' on his face. Ok, sounds like that might get kinda awkward at times, but that's really not that bad right? Unfortunately, it has a bad tendency to work on his lord's fiancee or wife, who then grow obsessed with him. Sola gets rather yandere, in fact. Oh, and then his lord kills him, no matter what he does about the situation. It also happens to be described as a 'curse.'
  • Ender Wiggin in Ender’s Game has the ability to defeat his enemies because he has such mad empathy skills that he knows what they want and what they're likely to do to get it. However, once he comprehends his enemies that well, he also finds that he loves them in an Agape sort of way, so it tears him up to have to destroy the enemy that he knows won't stop trying to destroy him. Then he hates himself for, like, ever.
    • In the sequel Xenocide, the ruling class of the planet Path consists of those blessed with OCD-like purification urges believed to be communications from the gods. These people appear to all be geniuses. Han Fei-Tzu and his daughter Han Qing-Jao struggle with this supposed honor and sometimes hate the gods for it. Turns out it was a deliberate Blessing With Suck, as the interstellar government genetically engineered the "godspoken" to be smart but with something that mimics OCD; they use the religious aspect to control the geniuses.
    • The Shadow spinoff series introduces the concept of "Anton's Key", a genetic modification that can give babies Super Intelligence at the cost of dooming them to early deaths by gigantism, with all of the physical deformities that come with it. The Key puts children's bodies in a state of constant growth so that their brains never stop growing, allowing them to make huge leaps in intelligence, but it kills them by age 25 thanks to the Square/Cube Law.
  • The Wheel of Time has quite a bit of this. For most of the series, male channelers have awesome powers, but were cursed to eventual insanity. Female channelers from Seanchan are enslaved and dehumanized. Ta'veren warp luck and chance so that the most improbable events happen, including highly unlikely deaths happening around them. Plus there's the fact that the pattern forces them to do what they're meant for, no matter what. Wolfbrothers can communicate with wolves, but if they're not careful, they'll forget they were ever human. As it turns out to be in Towers of Midnight the only wolfbrother that has lost his humanity has (more or less) chosen that fate himself.
    • The Aes Sedai are somewhat subject to this, too. Use of the Oath Rod which is necessary to become a full sister is severely shortening their lifespan. They do live about three times longer than your average, but compared to the non-Aes Sedai female channellers who go on for 400 years, it still sucks.
  • Terry the tramp in Lady: My Life as a Bitch has a wonderful case of this. If he gets angry at someone, then he'll accidentally transform them into a dog. Due to this, Terry has never had any friends and turned his mother, father, sister, wife, and child into dogs. Oh, and did we mention it's permanent?
  • All of the Crafters from The Princess 99 series are examples of this trope when you realize that although they may have great magical powers, they can go berserk and end up losing control of it, harming people or anyone standing in their way through mad grief. And the Crafters around them are told to kill them out of mercy.
    • Pai in particular is an example of this trope, which is a tragedy considering that he's a decent guy (or at least when compared to his sister). He is a telepath but he is also sensitive to the pain of living creatures, including animals and regular people. But since he's young, he doesn't know how to properly control it. This causes him to have seizures, where his mind is taken over by the Dark, which is an Eldritch Abomination, and lose control of his body.
  • In The Bible, the now famous Mark of Cain was given to...you'll never guess...Cain! It was called a blessing, God allegedly bestowed it not as a punishment but a blessing to protect anyone from hurting Cain. But seeing how wandering the earth for eternity is such a cruel punishment that he wants people to kill him on first sight, it seems that it was a blessing in name only.
    • If anyone did kill Cain, then that person would have Cain's curse leveled upon them seven times over. What they got was seven times the harm they did to Cain.
    • Cain did get to settle down. (Genesis 4:17-18). And there is nothing in the Bible that suggest Cain was cursed to live forever and that he would never die. On the flip side, the Bible records lifespans of hundreds of years for humans at that point in time.
    • It would make sense, in a way, for God to be a tad bit pissed at Cain for killing Abel, and retaliating by giving him a "blessing"...
    • Averted in Eden, God intervenes to prevent Adam and Eve from eating the fruit of the Tree of Life after they sinned, because if they had eaten of it, it would have essentially turned them into demons- immortal sinners who therefore would be impossible to redeem, and thus fit only to be cast into the Lake of Fire.
      • Ahem Although what he actually says is that they have become "like one of us, knowing good and evil" and "must not be allowed" to live forever. If you're giving him the benefit of the doubt and a long theological tradition, this might be because immortals can't be purified for some reason (though I've honestly never heard that one before) but the more natural interpretation is that he wants to keep them in the dust, because creations manifesting too much independence is very bad.
    • By breaking the one rule Jehovah gave Adam and Eve to follow, they challenged his sovereignty and his right to rule Creation. The problem with allowing imperfect humans to become immortal can be seen in the harm humans have done down the ages. An immortal like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr wouldn't necessarily be a worry, but someone like Hitler or Judge Jeffrys would be a very bad thing. Until the point has been proven that humans can not perfectly rule themselves under any form of government they try, Jehovah's point about his sovereignty being the only one that works remains unproven, and humans can not begin the final days where they will reclaim long life and, finally, their immortality that Adam and Eve lost.note 
  • The Reformed Vampire Support Group is a fairly extreme example of this trope. Vampires aren't superpowerful beings, but rather immortal and chronically ill, as well as potentially dangerous. Reuben the werewolf has a more typical form of this trope, since he turns into a rampaging monster once a month and as a result was kidnapped by a couple of guys and forced to do monthly fights for an audience.
  • In Hell's Gate, members of the Calirath family often receive random visions of human pain and suffering, which can be taking place anywhere from a few minutes to thousands of years into the future, and anywhere across a multiplicity of parallel universes, with no guarantee you'll be able to figure out where, when, or to whom the vision applies.
  • Master Chief (along with every other Spartan) in the Halo video game prequel novel Fall of Reach are given awesome physical and mental prowess plus kick-ass Mjolnir battle armor. Sounds good don't it.... until you take into consideration that Chief and the rest were kidnapped in the night (of their respective planets' nights I suppose) and replaced with flash clones subject to genetic defects and cancer (almost kills me to think what a parent of said abductee would be going through), put through harsh physical and psychological conditioning that at least on one occasion causes Chief to vomit, dangerously enhanced (Chief and the few who didn't die or become convulsing/"wish they were dead" invalids), and made to fight enemies immediately after acquiring said kick-ass armor that possess weapons making Armor Is Useless. Plus, Master Chief is apparently the last survivor of the Spartan program, making his entire existence the living (on the outside) embodiment of Blessed with Suck.
  • In the book Superpowers five college kids gain superpowers and form a short-lived superhero team, but this isn't without its drawbacks. The one with super-strength never quite learns to adapt, the one with telepathy takes a long, long time learning to shut out the thoughts of everyone in the city around him, and the one with super-speed finds out he's aging super-fast now.
  • Anthony Burgess's One Hand Clapping is about a guy with superhuman memory...which ends up driving him insane.
  • In Jonathan Lethem's novel Fortress of Solitude, two emotionally detached boys with antisocial tendencies in 1970's Brooklyn find a "magic ring" worn by a homeless man that grants superpowers (initially flight, then later invisibility). The powers are real, but the ring has no lasting effects on their fates as they come of age; they briefly toy with the idea of "fighting crime", but finding that it's more difficult in practice than it sounds, they lose interest in the ring and blithely continue to commit their own preferred crimes (petty theft, graffiti-tagging, drug dealing and abuse). One ends up spending most of his adult life in jail, and the other drops out of college and grows up to be chronically unhappy. Meanwhile, their ring goes years between being worn. The implication is that the way people relate to others, rather than their abilities, is what shapes their destinies.
  • In the "Wild Cards" series of shared-world anthologies and mosaic novels, an alien virus warps the DNA of thousands of humans, giving some superhuman powers and others nasty physical and mental mutations. Even some of the characters who got superpowers found that they came with strings attached. Such as:
    • The Oddity: composed of three people joined together into one person he/she/they has superhuman strength, but the various parts of the three bodies are constantly rearranging themselves, causing The Oddity to suffer constant pain, a body that is often semi-crippled from having limbs that are mismatched or out of place, and a multiple-personality disorder.
    • Roulette, who can kill people by having sex with them. Trouble is, she never knows when it will or won't activate.
    • Cap'n Trips, who can transform himself into alternate universe versions of himself, each of which has a different superpower. To activate his power, he must dose himself with potentially life-threatening amounts of psychoactive drugs.
    • The Harlem Hammer, whose body can metabolize metals, giving him superhuman strength and nigh-invulnerability. The drawback is that he needs to consume heavy-metal salts to supplement his body's unique nutritional needs, the gradual accumulation of which makes his body unnaturally heavy and increasingly less flexible.
    • Carnifex, whose body can heal any injury very quickly. Too quickly for him to get adequate reconstructive therapy when he is injured, so his face and body are a mass of misshapen scar tissue.
    • Popinjay, who can teleport anything....except himself.
    • The Sleeper, whose body periodically lapses into a death-like coma that lasts several weeks and results in his appearance and powers (or mutations) changing each time. He has, on occasion, woken as a Joker (hideous with no powers) and there is always the possibility that he will 'draw the black queen' (die horribly). This has left him with a pathological fear of falling asleep, and an addiction to amphetamines (and the accompanying violent mood swings) that he takes to keep himself awake in a futile attempt to postpone the next change.
  • ''The Alchemyst'' subverts this. When Sophie has her powers awakened, everyone keeps saying that the powers have extreme drawbacks and that she'd be better off without them. Except, when it happens, they don't actually suck.
    • And then in later books, the Witch of Endor's memories that are put inside her as a result start to overpower Sophie's own memories... and then we learn that if Sophie loses control, the Witch of Endor might actually take over her mind.
  • In the Black Jewels trilogy, Jaenelle Angelline is the most powerful being to have existed for centuries, if not ever...and it completely fucks her life up. She frightens and repulses her family, leading them to send her to Briarwood, a correctional institution that's actually a playground for pedophiles. She's rendered incapable of the smallest tasks. And in the final climax of the story, she's completely helpless to save the people she loves because she can't find a way to fight back that wouldn't kill everyone.
  • Thomas, the title character of the third of Robin Jarvis's Deptford Histories. According to Simoon the fortune teller, Thomas is blessed with a charmed life, and can come unscathed out of situations which would kill a less lucky person. Unfortunately, in Simoon's words, fate smiles so brightly upon him that those around him are in shadow; while he can survive in the face of terrible odds, those around him suffer for it. This is brought home at the end when Ma Skillet hypnotizes him into throwing his only remaining friend off the dock.
  • Tuck Everlasting. The Tucks and their horse have drunk from a spring that made them immortal and froze them at the age they were when they drank it. Side effects, other than no longer being part of the circle of life, include being unable to settle down with mortal people because they will be ostracized or worse when their condition becomes apparent.
  • The book Abby Carnelia's one and only magical power has that one and only power be a Blessing with Suck. Abby gets her power. It's utterly useless. Then, because of the stupid power, she gets kidnapped and meets other kids with other useless powers. When they plan the escape, she realizes that, even though they all have useless powers, hers is the most useless. Everyone else's powers are key to getting out. Hers is making an egg spin in circles.
  • Shifter is about a world where certain people are 'takers'- they can take pain from people (and heal them) and put it into metal. Nya is 15, and a taker- but not a full taker. she can only take pain from one person and put it in another....did I mention there's a war going on and the other side is looking for takers like her?
  • The warlocks of the Ethshar series falls under this. By drawing on a power source they can sense, they are gifted with many powerful abilities: Telekinesis, flight, enhanced senses, improved health, the ability to heal diseases by directly attacking the disease, and more. And the more they use their power, they more power they can use. While this may sound incredible, the suck part is rather major: All warlocks are plagued by horrific nightmares as the source of their power draws them to it. It's not unusual for a warlock to awaken at night hovering several stories above the ground with a hole in their house's roof. And the longer they've used their powers, the harder it is to stop, so eventually they are all Called, and vanish to never be seen again until The Final Calling.
  • Kij Johnson's short story, The Evolution of Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change takes place after an unspecified event has granted human-like intelligence to dogs, cats, and a handful of other nonhumans. So in other words, dogs are now able to speak with humans. The thing is, they are still dogs, with all that implies. And if you consider how humans have treated dogs throughout history, you've probably guessed that things don't work out so well for either species.
  • In Kristin Cashore's Fire, the titular character is a "monster" who possesses a hereditary mutation that makes her extraordinarily attractive and also telepathic. However, her involuntary ability to attract people forces her to constantly fend off crazed human stalkers as well as hungry wild animals with similar mutations who love eating the flesh of other monsters. She has telepathy and mind control abilities, but they are so limited that they can be resisted by anyone with a strong enough will. Fire gets physically injured and abused in all kinds of ways through the course of the book, as being a monster does not give her superhuman strength, healing, or invulnerability.
  • The Bentley Little short story "Estoppel" (found in The Collection) puts this spin on a variety of Reality Warping. The protagonist's ability is that anything he says out loud about himself becomes true. As a result, he has to be very very careful about what he says, lest he accidentally rewrite his (and the world's) history in disastrous ways or trap himself into a form incapable of speech. And that's without even getting into the issue of talking in his sleep.
  • Mac from the Fever Series can see the true forms of the bad Fae that have invaded the human realm. And because of this, they want her dead.
  • In Aaron Dembski-Bowden's Warhammer 40,000 Night Lords novel Soul Hunter, when Septimus is rebuked for speaking of his master Talos's curse, he says he's just calling it what Talos does. Given that his prophetic visions are uncontrollable, make him rant and rave like a lunatic (he has to be locked up in a chamber during them), and are often horrific, he has a point. Even his primarch's observation that they are alike does not help him like it.
  • The Star Trek: New Frontier feature it big style. There are legends of "The Great Bird Of Galaxy", and it settling down on a planet is considered a big blessing (for example by Hermats.) It turns out legends are true but the blessing has a massive suck factor: said bird will fill your planet with easily harvestable energy which also has the ability to make the planet super-fertile, but the energy is destined for the bird's embryo which uses the planet as egg, and when it hatches, the planet is destroyed. This is what happened to Thallon.
  • In Frank Herbert's Dune, control of Arrakis is definitely this. Yes, you get to control the trade flow of the most valuable thing in human civilization. It also paints a big fat bullseye on you since everyone else will want to take it from you. It's even worse if you actually plan to live on Arrakis — it's a miserable desert planet with huge sandworms, and everything tastes like cinnamon because of trace amounts of spice.
  • Pazel Pathkendle in The Chathrand Voyages had a spell placed on him by his mother, so that he'll instantly comprehend any language he sees or hears a sample of. Unfortunately, she apparently wasn't very good at using magic, as there are only brief periods when he can use the ability which cannot be predicted, and which end in "mind fits" where he can't make any kind of intelligible speech.
  • The Last of the Just follows the thousand-year history of a family in which one man of every generation is (or maybe isn't) a "Just Man" ordained by God to relieve the world's suffering. Not even the Just Men themselves are entirely clear on what this means, but it's apparently necessary that in order to make other people suffer less they need to suffer more in equal proportion.
  • In Scorpion Shards, the six protagonists have extraordinary abilities, but their power attracts otherworldly Eldritch Abomination parasites that infect and corrupt them, warping and inverting their benevolent superpowers into horrible curses.
  • In the Circle of Magic series, Tris has power over all kinds of weather/forces of nature, like tides, lightning, earthquake, winds, rain, etc. She can hear things on the wind, and eventually learns how to scry on the wind as well, which very few mages can do, and most of the ones that try to learn end up going mad. However, outside of her teachers, foster family, and close friends, people either think she is exaggerating about the extent of her power, or are jealous of the fact that she has so much. Also, she can't make a good living as a weather mage, since she is too responsible to disrupt the climate, and she refuses to use her powers as a battle mage, since it makes her sick. Before her magic was discovered, her parents thought she was possessed or something similar whenever her magic acted out, and passed her around from relative to relative before dumping her at Stone Circle Temple. That temple didn't want her either when her magic acted out, and she was sent to Winding Circle where finally she discovered her magic and got training in it.
  • The Struldbrugs in Gullivers Travels are born already with eternal life, but destined to grow old and never die.
    • There are born maybe one or two a generation, if that, and they carry a very distinctive birthmark. Their existence ensures that the mortal Luggnagg they are born from will never fear death. But after the age of eighty they become a non-person and can not own property. They see all they love change and die. If their family, including far descendants, do not care for them, the Struldbergs are stuck relying on a government pittance, begging isn't allowed, but 'gifts' are. Often they can not remember much beyond their eightieth or ninetieth year. Legally, they barely exist.
  • In Very Bad Deaths, Zandor, the telepath has a bad case of A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read. Zander finds close proximity to almost anyone distinctly uncomfortable. When he finally comes in close contact with Alan, a serial killer, this becomes a distinct disadvantage. Merely being close to a mind that viciously demented is torture for him.
  • In Austin Grossman's Soon I Will Be Invincible common superhero tropes are dissected and deconstructed leaving you with people like Fatale who lost half of her body in an accident and had it replaced with cybernetics, only she has to constantly take drugs to prevent herself from rejecting the cybernetics, Damsel whose powers are related to her extra terrestrial origins, but as it turns out is not actually a viable offspring of the two species leaving her with some mostly unexplained illness, or Rainbow Triumph who was given an experimental cure for a terminal illness and now has to take drugs once every few hours or die horribly. In fact it's damn near impossible to name a character in this book who isn't either blessed with suck or Cursed with Awesome.
  • In the Literature/Dragonlance novel Darkness and Light, Sturm, Kitiara, and a bunch of gnomes end up on Lunitari, the red moon. The moon grants them all powers; Kit gets super strength, Sturm gets visions, one gnome gets amazing eyesight, another can fly, another summons rain and lightning, etc. This all seems great at first, but soon enough, the powers become too much for them to handle; the gnome with good eyesight eventually gets it strong enough that he can see through his eyelids and miles down into the ground, preventing him from getting any rest; the one that summons rain is stuck in a perpetual rain cloud centered on him; the flying gnome needs to be anchored by his friends, lest he fly off into space. The only person who loves her gift is Kit, and she's sorry to see it go.
  • In Michael Flynn's The January Dancer, the crew of the New Angeles finds a treasure trove of alien artifacts, none of which they can move.
  • One would think that being blessed with luck doesn't count as this, but in Caro King's Seven Sorcerers, this is exactly what happens to Nin Redstone. Her luck means that she can get out of predicaments no one else could and survive, but:
    • Her luck only works if there is some element of choice (though so far it worked, albeit it often took time to work).
    • Her luck gets her out of troubles, but it doesn't prevent her from getting into such predicaments in the first place. Physical damage was avoided so far, but mental is another story.
    • Since others want to use her luck for themselves, she actually gets endangered pretty often. In fact, she got bogged down in the whole Drift mess because of her luck.
    • People around her also get endangered because of her, and they are not protected, so many of them end up dead / insured / scarred - and she is guilty!
  • Labyrinths of Echo has several:
    • Arbiters, whose wishes come true "sooner or later, one way or another" — including occasional self-destructive ones.
    • Murakoks, who routinely contact their Alternate Universe selves, but go insane if they ever try to bodily visit other worlds.
    • Happy inhabitants of Echo, living in the place of wonders and easy kitchen magic, who risk losing the "spark of life" without any good reason at all (it doesn't happen anywhere else). The city is also a giant magnet for magical monsters and is under the ancient curse — periodically reawakened by some or other mad wizard — which makes people gradually liquefy while remaining fully conscious even long past the point of no return and supposedly lose a chance to any afterlife once they die of it. More powerful folk may resist this, but risk being temporarily, but suddenly deprived of all magic if they use forces both of their world and of Multiverse. Oh, and while local magic is so strong, actually using it slowly drains the Heart of the World.
  • In Anne McCaffrey's Crystal Singer series, candidates to join the Heptite Guild (prospectors for crystals needed for interstellar communication) are exposed to microscopic symbiotes by the very atmosphere of Ballybran itself. The symbiotes grant those exposed with extended lifespans, enhanced physical abilities and Super Senses. At least, the really lucky ones do. The majority will end up with one sense enhanced to a Power Incontinence level (one wears special lenses to keep him from seeing everything on a microscopic level). Sometimes the enhancement will boost one sense and shut down another (another with super vision is rendered deaf). And then there's the rare death. The Singers (those with perfect transitions) don't escape unscathed either, as constant exposure to the piezoelectric fields of the crystals scrambles their brains, causing memory loss and personality alterations. And they ALL share an inability to leave Ballybran for long, otherwise their symbiont will start to weaken, causing them to sicken and die. Veteran Singers tend to either break down physically and retire to a convalescent home or get locked into a cycle of "Obsessively mine enough crystal to make it off Ballybran for a long time, be forced to return to renew the symbiont or when the money runs out, rinse, repeat." The risks are considered "worth it", due to the long hedonistic lifestyle the lucky ones get to live before things start to sour.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Winning the Golden Ticket is this. You get to be one of only five families that get to see and explore Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, a huge supply of chocolate, and a shot at a mysterious superprize, but one small misstep and you are in for a very unpleasant experience, possibly with lasting damage. (Although behaving yourself and not ticking off Mr. Wonka and the Oompa-Loompas does increase the surviving-unscathed factor.)
  • Astrid Spark, the titular Girl with Magnetic Fingers, can repair everything non-alive just by touching it. This means people around her constantly ask her to repair broken things, often quite mundane. And then it is discovered that she can also "repair" injuries of living things by kissing the injured part - let's say, things get pretty Squicky pretty fast.
  • The royal family in Fiona Patton's Branion series is this, particularly its head, the Aristok, who is essentially a hereditary God in Human Form. A god of Flame. Who very commonly goes insane, commits suicide or dies in childhood from the strain of literally having the Flame inside them. Even worse when they convert to the worship of a different god for several generations, but can't escape the fact that they are still metaphysically tied to what they now regard as a demon.
  • Gaia Moore of Fearless. Not being able to feel any fear might sound really cool, but Gaia routinely makes mistakes of judgment which, as she is fond of pointing out, someone who could feel fear would think twice about. The only reason Gaia doesn't get herself killed is because she is A) also gifted with Super Speed and Super Strength (by human standards) and B) trained in "every martial art with a hard-to-pronounce name" (paraphrased).
  • Duck Zhang, who guest stars as the C plot hero in HUNGER (First GONE sequel), has the power to change his density...I.E, to either sink so deep into the ground he suffocates and buries himself alive, or float around a bit unable to move. It is played up a lot and used for comic relief, although he does find a use for his power in the end... Let's just say he "killed himself" trying to find a use... Mwhahahahahahahahahaahahahahahah
    Duck: I'm a moof! I'm a moof with a really sucky power!
  • Phil/Eros in Snyper is able to travel anywhere and cannot be physically restrained or confined because "love knows no bounds." In normal circumstances, it just means not needing house keys or a fare card to ride the subway, but his enemies seem to realize the greater potential of being practically unstoppable.
  • The Damning power in Croak falls smack-dab in this category.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Gregor Clegane's vast strength and size make him The Dreaded. His condition also caused him horrible migraines throughout his life to the point that he regularly drank painkillers. When he is fatally poisoned, his own resilience turns against him by making his death even more long and painful. Not helped by his earlier consumption of painkillers dulling their effectiveness.
  • The things that Daire sees in the beginning of Fated cause her to be temporarily institutionalized.
  • In Dr Franklins Island Semi is involuntarily transformed into something like a manta ray and confined to a pool. She's stuck with no voice, no hands, and no ability to survive outside of the pool. Because The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body she usually actually enjoys being a fish and the freedom of movement that comes with it, but she hates being confined and is horribly aware that her companion won't try to escape because Semi would be stuck there. When out in the ocean she is delighted.
    • Her companion Miranda's situation is between this trope and Cursed with Awesome. She's an enormous bird, able to fly well, with dexterous handlike feet, capable of much more independence than Semi. She's even allowed to fly free to an extent. But she too doesn't have a voice, and seems to be losing her mind faster than Semi.
    • Arnie turns out to be alive and transformed into a snake, left strapped to a bed instead of even being given a limited enclosure like Semi. Somehow, he's unable to read as a snake.
  • The People: Being a Sensitive, without learning to control it. Bethie feels the pain of everyone around her.
  • While Gwen's psychometry helps her get through all the various problems she encounters at Mythos Academy, it has it's downsides, mainly stemming from the fact that she can't turn it off, causing her to learn things she would rather not know. Like the fact that during her first kiss, she read her suddenly ex-boyfriend's mind and learned that he would have much rather been kissing someone else. Or the time she borrowed a friend's hairbrush and suddenly getting to experience how said friend had been raped by her stepfather the night before while holding said hairbrush...
  • Everyone in The Underland Chronicles has some sort of tragic past.
    • More specifically, Twitchtip the 'scent seer' whose sense of smell is so accurate that she can smell secrets — not a fast track to the popular crowd.
    • Also, Nerissa. Funny how a society built on one man's prophecies treats their own personal prophetess so poorly.
    • Turns out being the Warrior of the prophecy isn't much fun for Gregor. At the end of the series, Gregor is warned that with his rager abilities it will be much easier for him to kill people, so he'll always have to keep an eye on himself.
  • Orrec's uncontrollable power of "unmaking" in Gifts, the first book in Annals Of The Western Shore. He has to blindfold himself for fear of killing the people he loves or destroying their property, but this also has the effect of giving him such a fearsome reputation that nobody wants to mess with Caspromant.

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