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I don't care who I have to turn into a teapot, you'll learn the meaning of love!
"All you've caused is pain and strife, so now you're doomed to live a dog's life! A dog you'll be, with fur and fleas, until you do 100 good DEEEEDS!
When there's a character that needs to be taught a lesson, sometimes another character doesn't wait for karma to take its toll. The Aesop Enforcer purposefully and forcefully inflicts some sort of change in order for the subject to learn An Aesop
, usually sticking around to watch the subject's behavior or even inform them of their progress towards redemption.
Common examples include a Beauty is turned into a Beast
because they refuse to see inner beauty
; The Protagonist
is approaching an event horizon
, when they get a Wonderful Plot
to show why they need to stay the way they are
; A Jerk Ass
gets a Karmic Transformation
, becoming what they hate, or a Baleful Polymorph
that puts them at the mercy of their victims. When there's someone behind it all, making darn sure that the subject learns their lesson, or suffer for their hubris, then you have an Aesop Enforcer
In straight examples, the Enforcer will be supernatural in some way. Mundane Aesop Enforcers run the risk of having their plan backfire, possibly getting An Aesop
of their own once the subject realizes they're being manipulated, or takes their lesson to the extreme.
Subtrope of Mentors
- New Mutants had Emma Frost and Dani Moonstar team up to show Prodigy a possible future where the mental blocks on his powers are removed, allowing him to keep all the knowledge his powers absorb from others. He becomes a genocidal dictator, creating a utopia at the cost of thousands of lives, including all the X-Men. After seeing this telepathic illusion, Prodigy decides to keep his mental blocks in place. Considering that neither Dani nor Emma have any ability to predict the future, one has to wonder where the hell they were pulling this Wonderful Plot from.
- After M-Day, Prodigy lost his powers entirely, but the Stepford Cuckoos were able to unlock all the knowledge he had forgotten. He has yet to pursue global domination, further discrediting Emma and Dani trying to enforce Ignorance Is Bliss. note
- Beauty and the Beast and its retellings usually have this as a staple, with a powerful magician cursing the selfish prince into his beastly form. The rose serves as a living hourglass of the Enforcer's Aesop in the Disney movie.
Film - Animated
- 100 Deeds For Eddie McDowd. The Drifter. The titular Eddie McDowd is a Bully and a Jerk Ass about to pass the Moral Event Horizon whom the Drifter turns into a dog. The Drifter explains that Eddie must perform 100 good deeds in order to be changed back into a human. In the meantime, only one person can understand him — the last boy he bullied. On top of this, Eddie's entire family vanishes from the face of the earth until he can complete his deeds. At the end of most episodes, the Drifter appears to inform Eddie that he's accomplished a good deed and how many he has remaining.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch constantly found herself victim to one of these, usually her aunts Helda and Zelda. Some of them bordered on Scare 'Em Straight or outright Mind Rape, usually for the sake of mundane and petty lessons. They've occasionally become this trope for mortals as well.
- In the The Saint episode "The Golden Journey", Simon Templar encounters his friend's beautiful, rich, and very spoilt fiancee Belinda. He sets her up for a life-changing lesson by stealing her money and possessions, leaving her no choice but to undertake a long journey with him on foot. After encountering many hardships on the way, she learns that there are more important things than money, and becomes much more pleasant.
Film - Live Action
- Brother Bear. Sitka, the main character Kenai's brother. Kenai gets Sitka killed due to his obsessive bear hunting, causing Kenai to hunt down the same bear again to kill it in vengeance. Sitka's spirit appears in the form of an eagle, and transforms Kenai into a bear as punishment. Once Kenai has learned his lesson, Sitka appears again to change him back. Kenai insists on staying a bear to protect Koda, the son of the bear he killed.
- The Witch in Brave is this to both Merida and Mor'du. The transformation is flipped with Merida, transforming her family members instead of her, while Mor'du was played straight. Considering how Mor'du's story wound up (murdering his family, most of his kingdom, and allegedly dozens of others), she either thought that granting Merida's request would release Mor'du and end well for her, or just didn't care.
- Its A Wonderful Life. Clarence the Guardian Angel grants George Bailey's unintentional wish, showing him an Alternate Universe in which George never been born. After seeing tragedy after tragedy due to him not being alive, George recants his wish, wanting to live. He is returned to his own world, filled with a renewed vigor for life.
- Morozko. Father Mushroom inflicts Ivan with the appearance of a Werebear when Ivan refuses to bow out of respect. Ivan assumes that all he has to do is a good deed to restore himself, but a watchful Father Mushroom waits until he shows true selflessness to change him back.
- The Wizard of the Spells R Us story cycle is often this, forcing or tricking transformations on people to teach them valuable life lessons. This is when he's not just punishing them, or screwing with people's lives For the Lulz, of course.
- The Magic Man from Adventure Time is a parody of this type, in that the Aesop is usually just an excuse and he just loves screwing around with people. In his first appearance, he turns Finn and other characters into body parts until they learned their lesson, and although they learn about working together, the real lesson was to realize what a big Jerkass Magic Man is. He plays it a bit more straight in the episode "Food Chain", where he transforms Finn and Jake into birds, plants, and caterpillars so that Finn would learn about the importance of the food chain.
- In the Fairly OddParents episode "The Boy Who Would Be Queen", Timmy makes a disparaging remark about never wishing to be a girl, which Wanda creatively interprets as exactly that. Timmy decides he can use this to his advantage, but wishes for Cosmo and Wanda to switch genders. They have no choice but to grant his wish, making Timmy the Enforcer after Wanda's attempt to force one on him.
- The mystical island of Avalon. Anyone who tries to leave is never sent where they want to go, but where they need to be.
- Queen Titania in the non-canon third season, showing Goliath a world in which he's a human, not a gargoyle. He is married and has children with Elisa Maza, who is a staunch gargoyle hater. Goliath tries to find his old clan to figure out what's happening, only for them all to be killed before the deception is revealed. At least it was done for a better reason than Puck.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
- The infamous episode "The Mysterious Mare Do Well" deals with this. When Rainbow Dash starts acting a bit too arrogant about saving the day, the title character shows up and starts to outdo her at every turn. It turns out that the Mare Do Well is the other five ponies, who concocted this scheme to teach Rainbow Dash a lesson about humility. Whether this plan was justified or too cruel remains the subject of debate and let's just leave it at that.
- Also Played With in the episode "Lesson Zero". Realizing she hasn't got her usual Aesop to give to Princess Celestia for her weekly report, Twilight Sparkle goes insane fearing repercussions. She then goes around looking for any dilemmas between other ponies (and later trying to cause it) in order to enforce An Aesop for her report. Naturally, the chaos she causes only leads to one concerning her work zeal.
- "Green Isn't Your Color" features Twilight Sparkle learning about keeping secrets her friends entrust to her. Enforcing this aesop is Pinkie Pie, who asserts that losing a friend's trust is the fastest way to lose a friend (FOREVER!!). Pinkie appears in increasingly odd places throughout the episode, stopping Twilight from spilling the beans.
- South Park. Cartman starts a crusade against gingers, causing the other boys to use makeup and hair dye on him in his sleep to convince him he's become a ginger. The plan backfires when Cartman starts a "ginger power" movement, and nearly has the other boys publicly executed for not being ginger. Until Kyle quietly confesses to him that he's not really ginger, leaving him aghast in front of a mob of children he's riled into hating non-gingers.
- Tiny Toon Adventures. In one short, Shirley the Loon gives Dizzy Devil a Karmic Transformation into a bug to force him to realize the value of All Creatures Great and Small. It doesn't last.