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A Match Made in Stockholm

A form of Meet Cute, where two characters who inevitably end up becoming friends/comrades/lovers first meet in this very uncordial way. One of the characters, normally through a misunderstanding, ends up taking the other character hostage/kidnapping them. Their interactions are normally played for comedy, with plenty of snarking and arguing. If they're together for a while, it's expected that somewhere along the line, the hostage ends up developing feelings for and grows attached to their kidnapper, seeing signs that the kidnapper is not all bad. Whether or not initially they are on opposing sides depends, but it normally ends with either one of them defecting to the "correct" side.

If it's more on the side of romance instead of plain friendship, expect a point where the kidnapper lets the captive go, only for the captive to often decide to stay with the kidnapper. This can occasionally seem forced, since people often forget the most important factor in a Stockholm relationship — the act interpreted by the captive as kindness.

The implications of this frequently make it an Unequal Pairing.

Contrast Rescue Romance and Bodyguard Crush.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • This is how Italy and Germany meet in one of the first episodes of Axis Powers Hetalia set during World War I. Germany captures Italy, and Italy, who is shown as a Pasta Eating Surrender Monkey, is perfectly fine with that. Italy gets Stockholm Syndrome. Then, in World War II, he comes back and wants to be on Germany's side this time ...
    • A WMG subverted example is of Sweden and Norway. Historically, Sweden even before losing Finland was adamant of gaining Norway and many times tried to attack as a means of assimilation. He indirectly succeeded too when Denmark was forced to give up Norway and Sweden refusing to comply to Norway's Loophole Abuse. Their relationship got better only to eventually become an averted case of This Means War! nearing the end of the union.
    • Another interesting case is Sweden (again, how appropriate) and Finland, in a strange inversion as Sweden is trying to be kind but Finland keeps interpreting his actions as malice. Ends up played somewhat straight since despite being (accidentally?) kidnapped as Sweden's "wife" Finland seems to end up liking him anyway.
  • Berserk: Guts and Farnese first meet in this sort of fashion, and their interactions are highly amusing. When they first meet, Farnese was a section leader of the Holy Iron Chain Knights, and she was assigned to capture and kill the Black Swordsman (Guts). Guts ends up temporarily taking her hostage (only to get shot and then captured by Farnese's group). Later, in order to escape, he ends up kidnapping and holding her hostage again, this time with more funny and amusing interactions between the two of them than the previous time (including a moment where he threatens to "burn her ass" if the soldiers don't make way). During this time period, her future infatuation and admiration of him is foreshadowed and hinted at.
  • Black Lagoon: How Rock joined the Lagoon Company.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Al first meets with Greed and his chimera underlings by being kidnapped by them. Granted, he never really becomes friends with Greed, but...Greed (and especially his underlings) are portrayed as being pretty sympathetic and not actually all that evil. And their interactions were hilarious. All in all, they actually treated Al pretty decent for a hostage captive. And in the end, Al definitely bonded with and liked the two underlings Dorochet and Martel. Which made their deaths all the more tragic.
  • In Gankutsuou, the series is pretty much jump-started by Albert getting kidnapped by Peppo and the gang she's a part of and held hostage for ransom. They later develop a mutual crush on each other while he's in captivity, although Albert's crush ceases when he finds out that "she" is a he. They still stay friends, though.
  • The main romance in Haou Airen is this, except it's played for Fanservice and melodrama instead of humor, with naive high-schooler Kurumi getting kidnapped (among other things) by Triad boss Bastard Boyfriend Hakuron after she saved him from bleeding to death in the streets of Tokyo.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: At least kidnapping was Hayate's original plan. Having always been a Messiah-esque, wonderful little boy, he ends up getting taken advantage of to the point where he gets fed up with optimistic ideas. He decides to finally "become a devil" and do something evil to get money. So he sets his sights on kidnapping Nagi, the rich little Ojou. Only... at every opportunity to do something evil, he ends up going back to his selfless, old habits, and treats her very nicely. To the point where his declaration that he wants to "run away with her (by kidnapping her)" causes her to misunderstand that he's confessing that he wants to elope with her. And she liked it...
  • In the manhwa The Kidnapping of Minja Jo's Boyfriend, Park Jun-Sook is the rival female gang leader of Minja Jo. To get even with her, Park Jun-Sook decides to kidnap Minja Jo's boyfriend. However, due to a misunderstanding, she accidentally ends up kidnapping a beautiful delinquent from school, Junghoon Son (who has absolutely nothing to do with the entire thing). Of course, they end up having a bunch of hilarious interactions and misunderstandings, but end up falling in love (even before the misunderstanding is cleared up).
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Natsumi enters into the plot with a naked Kotarou behind her and a few inches from digging his claws into her neck (stop thinking those dirty thoughts), Kotarou was just scared after passing out and waking in a strange room. Anyway, guess who Natsumi later gets a crush on and who Kotarou forms a Pactio with?
  • Samurai Champloo. It ends badly for Fuu and her captor.
  • This is a major plot point of Ai no Kusabi.
  • The entire basis for the Ulquiorra/Orihime pairing in Bleach. In reality, it's only hinted at: Orihime grows to have pity for Ulquiorra, Ulquiorra grows curious of humans through Orihime, so on... Fans who keep up with Japanese translations got the mini-comic in UNMASKED, a data book, which spawned a thousand questions, but all streamed from one question: "Why the heck is a villain sleeping on the kidnapped damsel's couch?"
  • Zig-zagged in Ooku: the Inner Chambers. Abbot Arikoto is held prisoner, forced to violate his priestly vows via Scarpia Ultimatum, and presented to the half-mad Shogun Iemetsu as a bedtoy... only to find out that said Shogun is a teenage girl who is as much a prisoner and in many ways even more of a victim than he is.
  • The modus operandi of many yuki-onna in the Rosario + Vampire universe when it comes to finding a compatible mate.

    Comic Books 

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Beauty and the Beast" has a nice inversion, because it's the Beast who changes it's behavior, not his captive. This is more a parable of Arranged Marriage than a kidnapping.

    Fan Works 

    Film 
  • Cannonball Run: Burt Reynolds kidnaps Farrah Fawcett
  • The Chase: Charlie Sheen kidnaps Kristy Swanson
  • Excess Baggage: Alicia Silverstone and Benicio Del Toro, though the kidnapping is accidental.
  • King Kong, or at least the versions where she falls in love with the ape— i.e. all but the original.
  • A Life Less Ordinary, with Ewan McGregor kidnapping Cameron Diaz.
  • Something of this sort happens in National Treasure with Abigail Chase ending up tagging along with Nicholas Cage.
    • Ben (Cage) never actually kidnaps Abigail. It's his rival Ian (played by Sean Bean) who kidnaps her in an attempt to steal the Declaration of Independence in her possession ( actually a decoy Ben gave her when she confronted him after he stole the real one). However Ian only manages to hold her hostage for all of about five minutes of a chase scene before Ben succeeds in rescuing her and getting away. After safely escaping Ian, Ben immediately lets Abigail go. She only stays with him because he doesn't release the real Declaration of Independence to her, and she insists on going where it goes. By the time Ben and Abigail are taken hostage again at the end of the film, they're already well on their way towards a relationship. So arguably, this situation falls more accurately under Rescue Romance.
  • In the Hitman movie, 47 initially kidnaps Nika, stuffs her in the trunk with a dead body, drives across Russia with her in there, pulls her out of a restaurant by her hair, and threatens to torture and kill her. She seems strangely attracted to him. It blends with Rescue Romance and Bodyguard Crush as the body was of the man sent to kill her, and the final scene shows how he killed another Agent sent to kill her. Despite her interest, 47 rejects her advances. It should be noted that he is typically believed to be Asexual.
  • Out of Sight: Jennifer Lopez is a cop who gets abducted trying to prevent the escape of a jail inmate played by George Clooney. They get to spend quality time stuck together in the trunk of a car, and mutual attraction ensues.
  • Non-romantic example: in A Perfect World, Kevin Costner plays a jail inmate who escapes and takes a little boy hostage. Gradually they develop a father-child relationship, to the point where the boy voluntarily stays with him.
  • Frank Martin (Jason Statham) and Lai Kwai (Shu Qi) in The Transporter. He delivers her to the bad guys in a bag (letting her out at one point, causing her to nearly escape), and goes back to dole out some revenge when they try to blow him up with his car for breaking the agreement. Frank takes Lai with him (while she's bound) after she snuck into his getaway car. She repays him with sexual favors for this, and also to get him to dismantle her father's human transportation operation. Since he's also responsible for rescuing her, it kinda blends with Rescue Romance.
  • In the movie The Running Man (starring Arnold Schwarzenegger), right in the beginning, while Richard is a fugitive who escaped from labor camp, he goes to his brother's apartment. There, he finds Amber Mendez, who is the current tenant there. Richard ends up kidnapping her, and was planning to go to Hawaii. Their interactions are played for laughs, though she ends up managing to alert airport security before his plan works. Later, however, she ends up getting captured and forced to participate in the "Running Man" show, where she ends up realizing that Richard isn't a bad guy, and becomes his official love interest.
  • A friendship version of this is found in the film Ruthless People, where the poor, young couple Sandy and Ken kidnap millionaire Danny DeVito's wife (Bette Midler), hoping to hold her hostage for ransom (since DeVito had conned them out of their savings and stole Sandy's fashion ideas). Of course, it turns out that DeVito wants his wife dead, since he has a new flame that he's having an affair with. It turns out that Sandy and Ken are actually insanely nice people, and have the hardest time pretending to be villainous kidnappers. Bette Midler, being the loud-mouthed, violent and bossy woman, ends up being more aggressive and scarier than them. Later, she ends up seeing what gentle and kind people they are, and they end up becoming friends, joining together to bring down her evil husband.
  • It's not a romantic example, but this kind of situation going horribly wrong is the basic plot of the Korean movie Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance. Deaf guy and his communist girlfriend tries to kidnap boss' daughter to get money to buy his sister a new kidney. The kid is extremely cute and everything seems to go fine... until the kid drowns accidentally, which sets the boss off on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. In the end, it's a Kill 'em All ending.
  • Pedro Almodavar's Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! could be described as being MADE of this trope. Antonio Banderas kidnaps a depressed and 'uptight' actress and refuses to let her go until she 'loosens up' and 'joyfully' falls in love with him. It's all for her own good, of course. The disturbing thinking behind this concept is what differentiates this trope from the psychological phenomenon of Stockholm Syndrome.
  • Elektra and Renard in The World Is Not Enough are a villainous version of this. He kidnapped her, and she seduced him when her father wouldn't pay the ransom. It is strongly implied that Elektra is ultimately just using Renard to fulfil her own evil agenda, meaning she was a Poisonous Captive and he a Jerkass Woobie; Renard may even realize this, but since he is dying anyway, he'll take what he can get. She quite openly intends to find another man (possibly just as another lovestruck pawn) once Renard has sacrificed himself to carry out her scheme, and she teases Renard (and James Bond himself) that it might even be Bond.
  • In the movie Red, Bruce Willis has developed a relationship over the phone with a young insurance agent. Unfortunately he's a retired CIA agent and when he's put on a wet team's hit list, has to kidnap her in order to save her life. As she points out, it wasn't the first date she had in mind. And she thought he'd have hair.
  • A serious example in Three Days Of The Condor. The protagonist takes a random woman hostage so he can have a place to hole up that isn't connected to him. She ends up sleeping with him. Though the movie does try to explain her psychological reasons for doing so, one can't help thinking it's more a case of Stockholm Syndrome than anything else.
  • The Pet: Phillip and Mary/GG's relationship has elements of this.
  • Buffalo 66 depicts a man kidnapping Christina Ricci in order to fool his parents into thinking he has a girlfriend. She warms up to him quickly, which may invoke this trope. Then again, he proves to be mostly harmless almost immediately and she is more or less free to go once his parents meet her so she may just have genuinely liked him.
  • Stardust: Tristan initially chains up Yvaine, a fallen star, against her will and forces her to come with him back to the Wall so he can present her as a gift to Victoria. But they gradually fall in love on the journey back instead.
  • In Time: Will kidnaps Sylvia and they end us as lovers (and partners in crime).

    Literature 
  • Artemis Fowl meets his eventual closest friend Holly Short when he kidnaps her to ransom her for gold.
  • Melody and Marcos in Tennis Shoes and the Feathered Serpent, by Chris Heimerdinger.
  • This is how Bourne and Marie meet in The Bourne Identity novel. She then attempts to escape to the custody of the men after him, which... doesn't go as she'd planned, and Bourne has to rescue her.
  • This is much of the plot of Stardust: the hero sees a falling star with the girl he loves, and vows to bring it back for her. However, the star turns out to be a real person...
  • In so much as the book has a plot, The Mathematics of Oz covers this.
  • Non-romantic example from the Belisarius Series. When Kungas met Shakuntala for the first time he was her jailor. Of course this was helped a lot by the fact that the first thing he did before taking her into custody was to carve into tidbits some fellow soldiers who were acting in a somewhat undisciplined manner toward her.
  • Aral and Cordelia in the Vorkosigan Saga, though it's a borderline case as the actual violence was perpetuated by a third party without Aral's knowledge or approval and the two of them were forced to team up and die hard on an alien planet.
  • In Jennifer Fallons' Tide Lords Quartet series, the heroine is kidnapped by the prisoner she's escorting. She'd decided to let him loose in order to prove that he was delusional and not the all-powerful god he thought he was. Turned out she was wrong.
  • Opal and Devlen in Ixia and Sitia. The guy possessed the body of her boyfriend and slept with her, kidnapped her, and tortured her. But it's okay, he was an addict at the time!
  • Kinda weird version in the Star Trek novel Final Frontier (not The Final Frontier, but rather the one by Diane Carey): Jim Kirk's father, George, meets and befriends Romulan field-primus t'Cael Zaniidor Kilyle this way. First, the Federation knows nothing about the Romulans at this time, and assumes them to be reptilian. George arranges to meet with the Romulan's commander on a little planet/moon. When he gets there, he sees a "Vulcan" sitting between two helmeted guards, and assumes a hostage situation. So he grabs t'Cael, fends the guards off with his phaser, gets them to cover, and then hands t'Cael a second phaser in case he needs it, ignoring any possible threat from t'Cael (turning his back to watch for the guards) and leaving t'Cael utterly flabbergasted.
    Kidnapped, protected, and now given a weapon?
    • They become teammates and eventually friends after an officer back on the ship disobeys orders and fires on the planet in an attempted assassination.
  • In The Sacred Art of Stealing a suave criminal mastermind kidnaps cool cop Angelique De Xavia, and when she accidentally says, "I wish you'd been there to tell me that when I got up this morning" he responds, politely, he wishes the same thing.
  • Part of the backstory to A Brother's Price involves the Whistlers, a band of soldier-spy True Companions calling themselves sisters, kidnapping a prince and taking him home with them, much to his dismay. Since not long after that that entire side of the prince's family was executed for treason, he decided there wasn't much point to going back. Later such 'husband raids' became illegal.
    • He did grow fond of his initially involuntary wives, who did their best to treat him well and keep him as happy as they could.
  • Candayce thinks this is what's going on in Dinoverse, when her Leptoceratops admirers abduct her away from the company of the other kids-in-dinosaur-bodies. She soon finds it's closer to an attempt at a Rescue Romance - they admire her, and thought she was addled or being kept as food for Mike or something.
  • In Captive of the Red Vixen it's notable in that the Red Vixen is much more attracted to Rolas than vice-versa. Until he starts dating her true identity.

    Live Action TV 
  • Doctor Who begins with the Doctor basically kidnapping Barbara and Ian.
    • Most of his companions start as being accidentally whisked away, particularly the ones who accidentally wandered in the TARDIS.
    • The First Doctor is also a victim of Lima Syndrome, as he eventually warms up to the idea of having his companions around, and recruit new ones when the first ones leave.
  • In the Leverage episode "The D.B. Cooper Job," it's revealed that D.B. Cooper eventually married the stewardess he used as a mouthpiece when he hijacked her plane.
  • Ziggzagged in Once Upon a Time: This universe has a version of Beauty and the Beast where Rumplestiltskin is the beast. He lets her go and she wasn't going to come back, but does so to see if True Love's Kiss does revert him to human. It turns out that they do have true love, but the spell doesn't work due to Rumple's cowardice. Their budding relationship goes south very quickly when Belle mentions that she heard of the rumor from a woman on the road... who happens to be Regina. Regina herself actually lampshades this trope while manipulating Belle into attempting to depower Rumple. However, this trope is averted by season two when Belle has more equal footing in the relationship.
  • Roswell: Maria and Michael's Belligerent Sexual Tension started up when he stole her car, with her in it. Lampshaded in the series finale:
    Michael: The moment I kidnapped you and stole your car I knew you were the girl for me.
  • In Community episode S4E03 Conventions Of Space And Time the guest star Toby tries this on Abed. He doesn't really get it right.
    Abed: You have to let me out!
    Toby: No, not until Stockholm syndrome sets in.
  • Flashpoint has this in "The Planets Aligned", where a young girl was kidnapped for eight years and suffers Stockholm Syndrome, and behaves in an affectionate manner to her capturer. It's also played seriously, in that the relationship has warped her terribly.
  • On General Hospital, Emily and Zander's relationship began with him kidnapping her—he was desperate to escape capture for a murder he'd been falsely accused of. They began to bond during the ordeal when she learned why he had taken her and she ended up losing her virginity to him.

    Multiple Media 
  • In Noob, this happened between two characters whose mere acquaitance is a spoiler for the webseries and novel versions of the story: Master Zen and NazetrÓme. The player behind Master Zen is an escaped prisonner and ended up hiding in a house that belonged to NazetrÓme's player. When the player behind NazetrÓme came home, Master Zen's tied her up to keep from being discovered. Stockholm syndrome hit NazetrÓme's player at some point and she turned out to be a regular player of the MMORPG in which the story is set. Meanwhile, Master Zen was trying to start a new guild with his ex-cellmate and a woman he befriended while in jail, and was a player short for this to be possible. The two became the franchise's first Official Couple(or at least one-way crush) barring a The Not-Love Interest situation involving one of the protagonists and one otf the top players.

    Theater 
  • The Taming of the Shrew is pretty much this trope personified; he makes her his prisoner and torments her until she falls in love with him. Though some would say that he makes her his prisoner and uses several techniques that are still used today for "interrogation" (read: torture) and brainwashing until he breaks her spirit.
  • Aida. The story starts with the eponymous heroine being taken as a slave by her eventual lover.
  • "The Desert Song". The heroine Margot falls in love with the hero this way.

     Video Games 
  • Disgaea 2: No one intended to summon Rozalin, but once they had she was bound to help them find Zenon. Not doing so, or stopping searching for Zenon altogether would kill either Rozalin or Adell respectively. Forced cooperation -> mutual understanding and goal -> love.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (and the movie) starts out with the Prince's army taking Farah prisoner, but with their ending up in love.
  • Inverted in Drakengard 2, where Nowe's first real experience with Manah is taking and holding her captive. In the brief conversation that follows, she turns his entire worldview upside down, and he defects the army to join her rebellion and eventually become her Love Interest immediately after her escape.
  • In Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, the plot revolves around Monkey, who has been fitted with a Slave Collar by hacker girl Trip so they can communicate, and to force him to help her cause. Before the final battle, when Trip takes the Slave Collar off so he can be free, Monkey tells her to put it back on.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • On Archer, Cheryl rapidly becomes sexually attracted to Pam after the latter takes her hostage during a coke-fueled rampage, though she just as rapidly loses interest after said rampage finally comes to an end. It's worth noting that this is entirely in character for Cheryl, who has admitted that she is sexually aroused by violence and abuse, particularly when it's directed at her.


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