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Don't Make Me Destroy You
"There is no escape. Don't make me destroy you. (pause) Luke, you do not yet realize your importance. You have only begun to discover your power. Join me, and I will complete your training. With our combined strength, we can end this destructive conflict and bring order to the galaxy."
Darth Vader, The Empire Strikes Back

Two characters conflict and one is more powerful/more advantageously positioned than the other. This powerful character wants to avoid a fight and so warns the other party against provoking a decisive clash because they will lose. This could be for any number of reasons:

For whatever reason, the powerful character is hoping not to have to fight. Can be used by heroes, anti-heroes, and villains.

Not to be confused with Why Did You Make Me Hit You? which is where the powerful character blames the victim for provoking a one-sided abuse. Compare You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry which covers most situations where a powerful character is trying to deter an attack. Has a similar, but opposite effect to Give Me a Reason, where one character does want to hurt the other, and does want the provocation, and certainly will if given.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Bleach, Captain Kyoraku, one of the oldest captains, on two occasions,
    • In the Soul Society arc he encounters a hopelessly inexperienced and outmatched Chad. He doesn't exactly beg for him not to attack, but makes an extensive attempt at parley, clearly for no reason other than the fact he didn't want to hurt him.
    • During the Fake Karakura Town arc, he (along with Stark) tries to make the point that a duel between such powerful men would be needlessly destructive (when pushed, he goes to the fucking wall). Jushiro Ukitake simultaneously has one of these moments with the fraccion, Lilynette.
  • Late in the second battle over Tokyo in Code Geass, Suzaku finds himself in an insane disadvantage against a furious Kallen, who warns him that she will destroy him if he does not take the opportunity to retreat. Naturally, given his death wish, he stays to accept defeat... which is when his "live" command geass activates and forces him to use the FLEIJA cannon equipped to his Lancelot, forcing a stalemate, and nuking most of Tokyo. Whoops.
  • For a True Companion example, One Piece has Luffy saying this to Usopp before their fight.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, when Al makes Ed stop trying to beat Tucker to death, and Tucker continues to goad him on. Al tells him that if he doesn't shut up, HE'LL be the one beating Tucker. Al is made of nothing but steel like armor at this point, so if he starts beating you, it will hurt a lot more than if Ed gets a shot at you.
    • In "Fullmetal vs. Flame" Col. Mustang has a flashback to Ishval, in a situation with a young soldier he caught off guard, but hesitates to kill. Both Mustang and the boy know that if the kid so much as raises his rifle, Mustang will kill him. The kid does anyway.
    • When Buccaneer asks him to hold the line against the soldiers still loyal to Amestris, Greedling warns them first that if they don't want to get hurt or have a family at home, they should leave right now. Those that stay are the victims of a Terminator-inspired rampage.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Gohan begs Cell to give up his plans and surrender peacefully, because Gohan knows that if he should enter his Unstoppable Rage mode, he'd utterly annihilate Cell, and he doesn't wish that on anyone, not even a monster like Cell. Cell, however, decides that he wants to see this fantastic power for himself. He gets his wish, and it does not end well for him.
    • Goku did something similar when he originally went Super Saiyan in his fight with Frieza.
  • Holyland: Masaki says this to King in chapter 140. Obviously, the villain does not listen.

    Comicbooks 
  • In the Matt Fraction Defenders, the Silver Surfer begs a tiger-headed man to release him, saying "Don't make me do this." The attacker doesn't relent, and the Surfer renders him into atoms.
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns: When the government sends in Superman to take down Batman, Supes spends the entirety of their fight begging Bats to just give up because he really doesn't want to go through with it. Bats refuses to stay down.
  • Angel and Faith: After Angel makes it clear to Whistler that he does not support his methods, Whistler snaps, punches a hole through Angel's stomach, and comes within a hair's breadth of staking him before he manages to stop and compose himself, remarking that, even after everything that's happened, Angel is still his "favorite kid" and he doesn't want to go through with it. Nonetheless, he warns Angel to stay out of his way because he won't be so lucky next time.
  • In an issue of Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog: Spoken word for word by Monkey Khan in Universe 39 when he fights Mecha Sally.

    Fan Fics 

    Films — Animated 
  • Lilo & Stitch:
    Jumba: Don't make me shoot you. You were expensive.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, right before the plague of the firstborn Moses is begging his brother Ramses not to let things continue, all while staring at Ramses's son. Ramses refuses, upsetting Moses, who knows that the son will be a victim of the plague.
  • Part of Mojo Jojo's We Can Rule Together speech from The Powerpuff Girls Movie ("We are kindred spirits whose powers spring from the same source, so, girls, do not make me destroy you!"), resulting in a very painful Shut Up, Hannibal!.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
  • Run Leia Run (Star Wars spoof animation)
    Darth Vader: Bring me my shuttle.
    Stormtrooper: Sir, that line's been changed to "Alert the Star Destroyer to prepare for my arrival."
    Darth Vader: Don't make me destroy you.
  • Spies Like Us. The two title spies are undergoing harsh training and ask to quit.
    Colonel Rhumbus: Boys, it would be a shame to have to kill you now.
  • Dragonheart:
    Draco: I don't want to kill you; I never did! And I don't want you to kill me! [Bowen looks at Draco] How do we gain? If you win, you lose a trade. If I win, I wait around for the next sword slinger thirsting to carve a reputation out of my hide. And I'm tired of lurking in holes and skulking in darkness. I'm gonna let you up now, and if you insist, we can pursue this fracas to its final stupidity... or... you can listen to my alternative.
  • During Kyuuzou's early duel scene in The Seven Samurai it's mentioned by a spectator that Kyuuzou asked his challenger not to duel him, because he would certainly be killed. Single-Stroke Battle ensues and Kyuuzou is notably saddened by the outcome.
    • Pay attention during the practice duel. Kyuuzou clearly landed a killing blow (if they weren't wielding bamboo shoots).
  • In the Line of Fire - would-be assassin Mitch Leary is toying with Secret Service agent Frank Horrigan. He doesn't actually want to harm Frank, though, unless he actually gets in the way of his plan.
  • The second half of 2010's B-movie Half Moon consists largely of the werewolf, Jacob, cuffed to a chair, held at gunpoint by the prostitute, Rose. She's trying to convince him to give her the combination to his safe so she can take the money to appease her pimp, while he's trying to convince her to leave with the money he's already given her (he needs the rest to pay for anti-lycanthropy treatments) before he transforms and kills them.
  • In The Ten Commandments, Seti, Moses' adopted father, is visibly distraught as Moses keeps digging himself a deeper and deeper hole in regards to his murder of a slave master. Seti must hold his adopted son accountable in the law, but does not want to sentence his own son to death — he eventually settles on exile and striking Moses' existence from all Egyptian records.
    Seti: Why are you forcing me to destroy you?
  • Near the end of The Elite Squad, Nascimento tries to get a mook to spill the beans on Baiano's location without having to torture. Unfortunately, the dumbass doesn't get the message...
  • The climax of Chronicle becomes this when Andrew goes berserk with power after his mother dies and his father berates him for it. Matt, whom had been spending the entire 2nd half of the movie convincing Andrew to calm down and control his telekinetic power, continuously pleads Andrew to stop or he'd be force to do this. Sadly, Andrew doesn't listen, and Matt is forced to do what he has to do...

    Literature 
  • Geralt warns a Snow White Ex Py that this will happen when they fight. Though to be fair, his fighting style provides few non-lethal tools for dealing with dangerous opponents.
  • Honor Harrington, during peace talks after decade-long wars:
    "Speaking for myself, as an individual, and not for my Star Empire or my Queen, I implore you to accept Her Majesty's proposal. I've killed too many of your people over the last twenty T-years, and your people have killed too many of mine. Don't make me kill any more, Madame President. Please."
    • This starts becoming par for the course when the Manticorans start having regular encounters with the Solarian League Navy. The SLN is so big its reserves have reserves, but it is also so painfully obsolete that those numbers amount to very little, prompting Manticoran officers to make it clear just how easily they could be destroyed. It's the rare Solly officer who has the intelligence and/or moral courage to Know When to Fold 'Em.
  • Heroic examples occur several times during the X-Wing Series, when before or during a fight someone - usually Wedge Antilles - will announce his rank, his name, and his affiliation, and then offer the enemy the chance to either surrender or, sometimes, cease fighting and escape. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't he and his forces invariably annihilate the enemy forces, though not always without casualties.
  • Wencit to the wizards of Kontovar in David Weber's The War Maid's Choice. Paraphrased 'This is the only warning, I know all your plans, if you try to go through with any of them or in any way seek to hurt the woman in question, I will release the spell to raze your continent. None of you will escape and it will become such a ruined, barren wasteland that it will be a hundred thousand years before any sign of life reemerges."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Riker, to his new girlfriend Yuta, who turned out to be a villain (the misguided type).
  • From Battlestar Galactica, when Kara and Sam reunite after New Caprica:
    Kara: [to Sam] I'm in a different place now. I... I, I don't know how else to explain it to you, but I got out of that cell and it's like someone painted the world in different colors. And I look at you and I want to tear your eyes out just for looking at me. I just want to hurt someone and it might as well be you. So you should probably go before that happens.
    • Earlier in the series, after Kara admits that she was indirectly responsible for Zak's death by clearing him to fly a fighter he didn't have the skills for, Adama tells her "Walk out of this room...while you still can."
  • From JAG, when Admiral Chegwidden, a former Navy SEAL, gets into a scrape with a Italian mafioso:
    Admiral: Signor Amati, many people have tried to kill me one time or another. They're mostly dead. So there's a good chance that your brother-in-law will join them if he does come after me.... Does he have other sons?
    Enrico Amati: Uno.
    Admiral: When he comes, I'll regrettably kill him too. And after him?
    Enrico Amati: My sister will expect me to uphold the honor of mi familia.
    Admiral: Then I'll have to kill you. I don't want to have to do that.
    Enrico Amati: [in Italian] You're either a very bold man, or crazy!
    Admiral: [In Italian] Not crazy. Practical.
  • Willow says this to Xander at the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 6, when he stops her from destroying the world.
  • The Tenth Doctor on Doctor Who. All the time. Other incarnations as well, but for Ten this was almost a catch phrase.
    • In The Sarah Jane Adventures we see that this behavior tends to rub off on companions.
    • The Eleventh Doctor gets in on this, too.
    Eleven: You gave me hope and then you took it away. That's enough to make anyone dangerous. God only knows what it will do to me. Basically, RUN!!!
    and
    Eleven: Good men don't need rules. Today is not the day to find out why I have so many.
    Eleven gives what his arguably his best one of these in The Pandorica Opens
    Eleven: "No plans, no backup, no weapons worth a damn. Oh, and something else I don't have: anything to lose. So, if you're sitting up there with your silly little spaceships and your silly little guns and you've any plans on taking the Pandorica tonight; just remember who's standing in your way. Remember every black day I ever stopped you and then, AND THEN, do the smart thing. Beat Let somebody else try first."
  • Mal does this while dressed as a woman in Firefly:
    "I swear by my pretty floral bonnet: if your hand touches metal, I will end you."
  • Babylon 5: Commonly heard from human commanders: "Surrender or be destroyed." Sheridan, being a goody two-shoes, instructs his crew to target the engines and weapons systems.
    Sheridan: We're trying to disable them, not destroy them.
  • In Supernatural, Lucifer begs Gabriel, his beloved younger brother, not to stand against him, and says this trope nearly word for word. Gabriel retorts that "No one makes us do anything", a criticism of Lucifer's tendency to blame others for his own actions, and attacks him. It doesn't work out well for Gabriel.
  • Happens repeatedly when ''Merlin is cornered. He doesn't want to kill people with his magic (and he usually has to kill them to prevent his secret getting out) so he tries to warn them off in advance. Sadly, it never works.

    Videogames 
  • Subverted in Halo 2:
    Sergeant Johnson: [while he is fighting the Covenant] I don't want to kill you, it's just that you're too ugly to let live!
  • Used word-for-word by Artanis towards Aldaris in Starcraft: Brood Wars during the penultimate Protoss mission.
  • Implied towards Shepard by Harbinger in Mass Effect 2.
    Harbinger: If I must tear you apart Shepard, I will.
    Shepard: And don't let us meet again.
    Adversary: What's this? Commander Shepard pleading for his/her life?
    Shepard: I am pleading for yours.
    • Unlike the Paragon Shepard who convinces them there's a better way and a chance for peace, Renegade Shepard can end the Geth-Quarian War by basically informing the quarians "The geth are about to come back online and I'm done saving you from yourselves. You want to throw yourselves at them, be my guest."
    • Saren invokes this several times during the first game. Paragon Shepard replies with exactly the same thing.
  • If you ask the Orz what happened to the Androsynth in Star Control 2, they warn you that they will kill you if you insist on asking that, and thus ask you not to do so. Keep it up and they'll show that they aren't bluffing.
  • Resident Evil 6: At the very beginning of his campaign, Leon futilely attempts to talk the zombified President down, but ultimately can't stop the inevitable.

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "The Lair of General Grievous":
    Nahdar Vebb: [to Grievous] Don't make me destroy you!
  • In The Simpsons, included in Homer's advice to Lisa:
    Lisa: What do you say to a boy to let him know you're not interested?
    Marge Simpson: Well, honey, I...
    Homer: Let me handle this, Marge. I've heard them all: "I like you as a friend," "I think we should see other people," "I no speak English"...
    Lisa: I get the idea.
    Homer: "I'm married to the sea," "I don't want to kill you but I will"...
  • Gaz on Invader Zim seems to imply this when she has a hard time understanding the stupidity and lameness of Dib.
    Gaz: "That was your fate of the world work? Jumping in a puddle? ...You do realize I'm going to have to destroy you now."

    Real Life 


Death GlareThreatening TropesThe Easy Way or the Hard Way
Demon HeadAnger TropesDon't You Dare Pity Me!
Don't Look DownStock PhrasesDont Noun Me
Don't Look at Me!Characterization TropesDon't You Dare Pity Me!
Did You Actually Believe?Evil GloatingEvil Laugh

alternative title(s): Ptitlev2k1ox9h; Dont Make Me Do This
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