->''"This is the guy who used to be able to turn solid stone into lava just by thinking hard at it. [[TheSixties The 60's]] most powerful superhuman! And all he's fit for now is soaking up whiskey like blotting paper and burning the toast!"''
-->-- '''Comicbook/{{Zenith}}'''

This person once had it all. They were wealthy and powerful, sycophants hung on their every word, and it seemed like the world was their oyster. Then they fell, hard. Now their empire has crumbled, their money is gone, and they are scorned by the people who once admired them; there's nothing left for them to do but long for the GloryDays.

Other characters may shake their heads in pity and comment, "How the mighty have fallen".

Someone powerful and {{pride}}ful who suffers a HumiliationConga or BreakTheHaughty can have this fate waiting for them at the end. However, it can just as easily happen offscreen, or to someone who wasn't excessively prideful.

Depending on how sympathetic the character is, this can be played for comedy, tragedy, or karmic justice. It may even prove to be a HappyEnding; he avoids LonelyAtTheTop for [[PowerOfFriendship true friendship]] and [[PowerOfLove true love]].

The TropeNamer comes from [[Literature/BooksOfSamuel the Second Book of Samuel]], as the soon-to-be-King David [[TropeCodifier laments the death of King Saul]].

The FallenPrincess copes with it; the PrincessInRags pretends it hasn't happened. LookOnMyWorksYeMightyAndDespair is when it happens to a civilization, or VestigialEmpire when it happens to a nation state.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'': [[spoiler:Viral]] at beginning of season 2, [[spoiler:Simon (by choice)]] at the end.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'': Yoki. He goes from leader of a prosperous mining town to Scar's sniveling lackey.
** In the anime he his reduced to scavenging in a junkyard to survive.
* ''{{LightNovel/Slayers}}: NEXT'' has Martina, a princess whose kingdom is blown up by Lina, and who takes to following the heroine around seeking revenge.
* ''Manga/DeathNote'''s ending leaves [[spoiler:Light broken both physically and mentally, with all his sycophants either dead or not having a clue who he is. The anime scene with him running sobbing from the warehouse to be killed by a heart attack a few minutes later is the ''nice'' version of his death, and within a few years, the world's gone back to normal. In the original manga, he's killed while writhing in agony and whining that he doesn't want to die.]]
* ''Manga/MagicalRecordLyricalNanohaForce'', the fourth season manga of the Nanoha franchise gives this treatement to [[spoiler:[[LadyOfWar Signum]]]] in spades. Fortunately, after recovery, she's working her ass off to subvert this.
* The life of {{Fallen Prince|ss}} Lelouch Lamperouge in ''Anime/CodeGeass''. Even his [[MyHeroZero Zero]] persona goes through this.
* In ''Manga/BlackButler'', Sebastian says this of [[spoiler:Ash/Angela]] in the first SeasonFinale. In this case, he's referring to three things exactly: first, the {{Irony}} that someone who adored [[PureIsNotGood Purity]] is now [[EmotionEater drawing power]] [[{{Hypocrite}} from human corruption]], second that is a ''literal'' FallenAngel, and third, that [[spoiler:s/he]] is [[CurbStompBattle about to go]] '''[[CurbStompBattle DOWN]]'''.
* Several of the countries from ''Webcomic/AxisPowersHetalia'' have moments like this. The Roman Empire himself, for starters, is said to have had everything, but then vanished one day (although, as a young Italy remarks, he had many scars and was in pain beforehand, probably for a long time). Prussia used to be a great fighter, and now, he isn't a nation anymore. During the Revolution, America remarks how England "used to be so big." Kind-of played with in the case of France, when he isn't invited to one of the Allies' meetings and tries to remember some of his "finest hours," all of them ruthlessly destroyed/parodied (in the cases of Joan of Arc and Napoleon, because of England, and in two cases he just jumped into the fight when the enemy was already weak).
** Portugal cheerfully says to Spain's face that he's happy that Spain's fallen into dire straits since his empire days, since it makes him feel better about [[NotSoDifferent his own fate]].
* This happened to Kotetsu's old boss in ''Anime/TigerAndBunny''. Ben Jackson was the director of [=TopMag=]'s HERO division before it closed down and he became a mere taxi driver. Unlike most examples of this trope, he was a genuinely caring boss to Kotetsu. Later episodes show that he doesn't mind it though he still looks out after Kotetsu [[spoiler:especially when he realizes that Kotetsu is losing his powers]]. In the epilogue, [[spoiler:this is ultimately subverted as he becomes the new president of Apollon Media.]]
* ''Manga/OnePiece'': The death of his crew at the hands of Kaido left Gekko Moriah really screwed up -- by the time the protagonists first meet him, he's let himself go and uses others' strength instead of his own to get the job done.[[spoiler:His BadassDecay eventually got him kicked out of the Seven Warlords of the Sea, as he was deemed too weak for the position.]]
** Earlier on, during Usopp's introduction arc, [[EvilGenius Kuro]], upon seeing his crew struggling against the Straw Hats, almost says this trope word for word expressing his frustration/anger at their "inexcusable" weakness.
* ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'': When first introduced, Rize Kamishiro is TheDreaded "[[RedBaron Binge Eater]]," having thrown several wards into chaos by herself. After her attempt to eat Kaneki results in him getting an organ transplant from her that turns him into a HalfHumanHybrid, [[spoiler: she's used as a kakuhou farm by Dr. Kanou; by the time she's rescued from such a fate, Rize is now nothing more than an insane shell of her former self who can do nothing more than cry, drool, and beg for food]].
* ''Manga/FairyTail'': The titular guild itself suffers a tremendous one following the TimeSkip. After their master and strongest members go missing, most of the guild's remaining members leave the guild out of frustration or shame, the ones left behind are forced to foreclose their guildhall as it has become too expensive (the replacement building not-withstanding), they are constantly being hit up for money that they borrowed from a neighboring guild filled with {{jerkass}}es, and they lose their reputation by losing six consecutive years of the Grand Magic Games in a row. Of course, the lost guildmates finally return after seven years and things begin to improve.
* ''Manga/DragonBall'':
** Goku more or less expresses this when he mocked Frieza's final attack after he deemed him too weak and NotWorthKilling. He states this again after Frieza was cut himself in half by his own attack. Finally, after being force to blast Frieza after he tried to shoot him in the back, Goku has an expression that practically embodies this trope. For someone who was once called the strongest in the universe, it was indeed a mighty fall.
** Vegeta's demise during the Frieza Saga has shades of this. He's the Saiyan Prince and the strongest his race has to offer... and is left totally helpless and reduced to tears against Frieza's power. After being literally beaten to a bloody pulp, Vegeta is given an anti-climactic end by being shot through the heart, and spends his last moments tearfully begging Goku, a lower-class warrior, to defeat Frieza and avenge their race.
** In ''Anime/DragonBallSuper'', this has happened to Frieza's entire empire. They went from being the most feared and powerful force in the universe, who controlled 70% of the known universe, to barely qualifying as an army after not only losing Frieza and his father, but all their best fighters on Namek. According to Sorbet, they're on their last legs and are considered a laughing stock.
** Frost, Frieza's [[AlternateSelf Universe 6 counterpart]]. He's initially depicted as the Emperor of his universe, beloved by all as a hero, but during the Universe 6 Saga, it turns out that he's in fact a villain just like Frieza who does such things as start wars so he can end them and gain good publicity, which he openly brags about. Upon this reveal, he's one-shotted by Vegeta, beaten up by Hit after trying to steal Champa's cube, and becomes a fugitive on the run. Come the Universe Survival Saga, Hit finds him huddled in an alleyway, with nothing but a worn cloth to protect him from the elements.
* ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'': Joseph Joestar, main character of [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventureBattleTendency Part 2]] (1938), was [[PowerCreep almost]] as powerful in [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventureStardustCrusaders Part 3]] (1987). But in [[Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventureDiamondIsUnbreakable Part 4]] (1999), time has finally done its dirty work to him - he's withered, nearly deaf, partly senile, and generally on death's door. Josuke, his illegitimate son, can't bring himself to accept Joseph as his father for several reasons, and one of them is, "How could ''that'' seduce my mother?"
* ''Anime/TheAnimatrix'': As shown in the euphemistically-named short film, ''The Second Renaissance'', humanity entered a new age with the birth of artificial intelligence in the 21st Century, and then [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters showed a profound lack of appreciation for their offspring]], treating them as slaves. Despite efforts to show appreciation and cooperation, the AI gathered in the world of Zero One eventually formed an army, [[CurbStompBattle soundly defeated humanity]] and [[HumiliationConga turned the roles about, enslaving humanity with a similar level of prejudice and contempt]] as biomechanical batteries for the Machine City and the virtual world known as Franchise/TheMatrix. A few humans and Machines regret the error.
* In ''LightNovel/TheDevilIsAPartTimer,'' the titular Devil is transported from his world (where he is the commander of a massive army of demons and possesses extraordinary magical power) to our mundane world, [[BroughtDownToNormal where he is no more powerful than a regular human]] and has to take a job at a fast food restaurant to survive. [[spoiler: The same winds up being true for the Hero that tried to oppose him, as well as his most powerful subordinates.]]
** [[SubvertedTrope However,]] unlike most cases of this trope, he doesn't seem overly distressed about his fall from power. Instead, he sees it as an opportunity to climb the ranks and amass power in this world [[spoiler: just like he did in his original world]]. When [[spoiler: the destined Hero]] also shows up, she has a similar attitude towards her own position in this world.
* ''Anime/GhostSweeperMikami'' Doctor Chaos was once a renowned alchemist, exorcist and inventor with a genius level intellect, his greatest achievements being attained immortality and the creation of [[RidiculouslyHumanRobot Ma]][[RobotGirl ria]]. In the series proper, he's a senile old crackpot living in a cheap, rundown department and working on a bunch of odd jobs for peanuts to survive.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/CommonGrounds'', the once-prominent superhero Blackwatch is now a slovenly homeless man after serving a long prison term for accidentally killing newbie hero Snowflame in [[LetsYouAndHimFight one of those superhero fights]].
* In ''ComicBook/{{Lucifer}}'', when [[WomanScorned Perdissa]] thinks she's [[spoiler:killed Lucifer]], she indulges in a bit of EvilGloating by quoting Isaiah 14:12 - "Oh how art thou fallen from grace oh Lucifer, son of the morning."
* ''ComicBook/DeathOfTheFamily'': While the Penguin was distracted by the Joker's return, his NumberTwo, Ogilvy, took advantage of the situation to steal his boss' position as top crime boss of Gotham, coercing the loyalty of Penguin's lieutenants and buying out all his assets. By the time Penguin realizes what's happened, he's been rendered homeless, powerless, and completely broke.
* Ratbat's fall from Cybertronian senator to Casetticon minion is chronicled across the IDW Transformers line, but concludes in ''ComicBook/TheTransformersRobotsInDisguise'' where an attempt to seize control of the defeated Decepticon army and restart the war ends in his murder.
* ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'': Chief Judge Silver was once the highest authority of Mega City One. He fell from power hard after the defective Judge Kraken, whom he approved against the wishes of the retiring Judge Dredd to take his place, fell under the control of the Sisters of Death and released the Dark Judges. After the fiends took over, Judge Death decided to [[FateWorseThanDeath make Silver a zombie so that his torment would never end]]. When Necropolis ended, Silver hid out of fear that he'd be burned as an abomination. When he finally tried to take back power, Dredd ruled in his favor on being entitled to his old post, but then executes him for criminal neglect of duty. Silver is incinerated and ignominiously disposed of by the sweepers.
* Lester Majak of ''ComicBook/{{Revival}}'' got famous decades ago for his fitness book ''Strong Century''. He's still a local celebrity and quite fit for his age, but he's been coasting downward from that one success ever since.
* Count Dracula in Marvel's ''ComicBook/TheTombOfDracula'' was the Lord of Vampires after being blessed by [[MonsterProgenitor Varnae]] himself until he was stripped of his vampirism one time and was so distraught by his loss of power that he begged his hated vampire daughter Lilith to turn him; she refused but he would regain his lost power later on. In a more recent example, after a crushing defeat at the hands of ComicBook/OldManLogan (who was displaced from his reality and ended up in the prime Marvel universe), he was retreated to an old lady's home and became a BasementDweller that plays video games all day long. Quite the step down from the guy that ruled his own nation.
* ComicBook/{{Thanos}} is like this for a while after [[spoiler: Thane {{depower}}s him]]. The once [[PhysicalGod god-like]] GalacticConqueror is left to scrabble together a living in the ruins of Titan, eating vermin just to survive and getting his ass kicked by other scavengers, people who he once could have killed without even noticing.

* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': When the history starts Asuka is [[AcePilot the best pilot of all Children]] and she openly declares that she is the best there is. [[BreakTheHaughty Several events later]] [[BrokenAce her self-confidence and self-esteem were shattered]], she (mis)blamed herself [[spoiler:for the failure of several missions and her friend's death]] and she saw herself like a [[http://eva303.smackjeeves.com/comics/1794689/024/ pathetic]] [[http://eva303.smackjeeves.com/comics/1794691/025/ failure]].
* ''Fanfic/{{HERZ}}'':
** In the backstory Asuka went from considering herself the top pilot and a prodigy child to regard herself as an ugly, scarred, worthless freak and a failure due to be Ėrepeatedly- beaten, humiliated, mind-raped, brutally scarred and nearly killed.
** In chapter 10 [[spoiler:SEELE kidnaps Gendo.]] While one of their members is torturing him, he mockes him quoting the line verbatim:
--->''The SEELE member looked in disdain at the quivering piece of humanity before him. "How the mighty have fallen. The Commander of NERV. Once a powerful man before whom nations and peoples trembled. Now reduced to this," he sneered noting that Gendou's right forearm was missing. An old injury. 'Pity,' he thought, 'five less fingers to break.' ''
* ''Fanfic/TheOneILoveIs'': Asuka was [[AcePilot the best Eva pilot]], a genius and a [[FieryRedhead beautiful girl]]. She gloated about it because her very fragile self-esteem depended on being the best at all what she did. However throughout the fic she got routinely beaten by her teammates, defeated by the [[{{Robeast}} Angels]] and the guy she loves is uncapable to choose between her and another girl. When she is {{mind rape}}d, that is the final blow and humilliation and she feels that she is worthless and she has nothing to live for. She even quotes the line verbatim:
-->'''Asuka''': "How the mighty have fallen. Look at me... I'm crying... I hate crying... only a weak person cries. I hate Wonder Girl... she showed everyone how pathetic I was. I hate you... you made me cry, now you can see how disgusting I am. I hate everybody... but most of all... I hate myself..."
* A sidestory of ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'' pits a young Professor Oak and Elite Four Agatha as rookie trainers against the Ghost-type Pokémon lurking in [[TheLostWoods Drowning Woods]] led by an evil Gengar [[spoiler: who kills Agatha's younger brother Tony and turns his soul into a Gastly]], and they're only saved by the timely arrival of an Elite Four patrolling the area. Decades later, Agatha encounters the Gengar again, who is now but a shadow of its former self, old and weakened due to time and malnourishment, with just a few followers remaining after Agatha caught most of the Ghost-types living in the woods so they won't harm anyone ever again.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* At the end of ''WesternAnimation/CatsDontDance'', child actress [[BitchInSheepsClothing Darla]] [[EnfanteTerrible Dimple]] [[spoiler:loses her career and becomes a janitor.]]
** A similar demotion awaits the Mayor of Frank at the end of ''Film/OsmosisJones''.
* Yzma from ''Disney/TheEmperorsNewGroove'', who goes from scary sorceress of the palace in the movie to itty bitty kitten in the sequels.
* Inverted in ''WesternAnimation/TheSwanPrincess'' with Jean-Bob, a frog who only thinks that he is a prince when in actuality, he is not.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Khan in ''Film/StarTrekIITheWrathOfKhan''. He went from being a leader in the Eugenics Wars and ruler of India, to being stranded on a dead world, leading to his desire for revenge on Kirk.
-->"On Earth, two hundred years ago, I was a prince with power over millions..."
* TruthInTelevision example from ''Film/TheLastEmperor'', in which an aging Puyi returns to the Forbidden City as an ex-convict tourist, to view the throne from which he'd once reigned.
* ''Film/ShadowOfTheVampire''. Schreck reads the book Dracula in order to study for his role 'playing' a vampire, and is saddened by the scene where Dracula leaves a meal for Jonathon Harker. Schreck then remembers when he used to have servants to do such tasks for him, which reminds him of when he had a wife, family, estates etc, whereas now he's just a scavenger living in a ruined castle.
* ''Film/TheThirdMan''. Baron Kurtz now works as a blackmarketeer in post-war Vienna.
* ''Theatre/YouCantTakeItWithYou''. Russian Grand Duchess Olga Katrina works as a waitress at Child's restaurant. Her uncle the Grand Duke is an elevator operator.
* Megatron in the ''Film/TransformersFilmSeries'', by the third film, he's been left grievously wounded by Prime at the end of the previous film, scheming and hiding out in Africa.
* Once scene in ''Film/SheWoreAYellowRibbon'' shows the burial of one of the older enlisted men of the regiment. He is revealed to be a former Confederate general.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': The Jedi went from guardians of the Republic to being hunted down by the Empire they unwittingly help create. All because of the schemes of a single Sith Lord.
* Happens to the entire Dwarven race in ''Film/TheHobbit''. Their kingdom in the mountain, Erebor, was once one of the (if not ''the'') wealthiest, mightiest and most industrious city states in Middle Earth. Then the dragon Smaug came and sacked it single-handedly, leaving the Dwarves as a destitute and scattered people, wandering the wilderness. Their prince, Thorin, is shown ironically labouring away in a human smithy just to scrape enough money to get by.
* In the [[CrapsackWorld slowly dying future Earth]] of ''Film/{{Interstellar}}'', [[UsefulNotes/{{Baseball}} the New York Yankees]] have been reduced to a barnstorming team of college-age players and local stars.
* ''Film/ForYourEyesOnly'': In the beginning of the film, Ernst Stavro Blofeld, James Bond's biggest ArchEnemy, suddenly resurfaced years after laying low with a plan to exact revenge on 007 for foiling his numerous {{Evil Plan}}s and causing the downfall of his criminal organization. By this time, he's not only lost a lot of money and resources, he's also [[EvilCripple permanently crippled, bald and wearing a neck-brace]], presumably from the injuries he sustained from the exploding oil rig at the end of ''Film/DiamondsAreForever''. In a few minutes of screentime, he tries to kill Bond while the latter is visiting the grave of his dead wife, [[BadBoss kills one of his own men]], and sadistically toys with Bond by [[MurderByRemoteControlVehicle attempting to kill him via a remote-controlled helicopter]]. But when Bond naturally manages to gain control of the chopper by disconnecting the wire which allowed Blofeld to control the helicopter, Blofeld goes into VillainousBreakdown mode, ''[[VillainsWantMercy pathetically]] [[AintTooProudToBeg pleading with 007]] [[DirtyCoward to spare him]]'', but Bond won't have any and [[AssholeVictim drops him off an industrial smokestack, killing him for good]] and finally getting his revenge for killing his wife in ''Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService''.
* The French war movie ''Captain Conan'' (1996) ends with the title character, a fearless soldier and leader of men, as a debilitated shell of a man from illness.

* [[TropeNamers Trope Namer]] is Literature/TheBible; the phrase occurs in 2 Samuel 1:19, 1:25, and 1:27.
** Interestingly, not quite an example despite being [[TropeNamers TropeNamer.]] The mighty in question, Saul, has ''literally'' fallen in battle, not merely fallen from power.
** See also Isaiah 14:12 - "How art thou fallen from heaven, star of Morning, son of the Dawn! How art thou cut down to the ground, who laid the nations low!"
** In the [[Literature/BooksOfMaccabees book of 1st Maccabees]], when Judah Maccabee was slain in battle, his brothers Jonathan and Simon as well as all Israel lamented for him, saying "How is the mighty fallen, the savior of Israel!" Although, like in the case of King Saul, Judah has only fallen in battle instead of in power.
* The same sentiment was also expressed in ''Literature/TheAeneid'': "quantum mutatus ab illo / Hectore" [[note]]How changed from what he was!" [[/note]]
* ''Literature/ParadiseLost'' goes for both of them because Creator/JohnMilton loves his erudition: "If thou be'est he but oh how fallen / How changed..."
* ''Literature/SnowCrash'': Chuck Wrightson. Once the president of Kenai and Kodiak, now a homeless drunk.
* A recurring theme in the ''{{Literature/Nightside}}'' books; John Taylor notes that even gods can end up living on the streets. Herne the Hunter is one of the biggest examples.
* Ozymandias in Creator/PercyShelley's famous poem (the point being that such a fate is ''inevitable''):
--> "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
--> LookOnMyWorksYeMightyAndDespair!"
--> Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
--> Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
--> The lone and level sands stretch far away
* In ''Literature/GodsBehavingBadly'' by Marie Phillips, the Greek Gods are holed up in a dilapidated house in contemporary London, much diminished in power because [[GodsNeedPrayerBadly no-one believes in them anymore]], what with "the upstart carpenter" and all.
* An incidence of this being the HappyEnding occurs in Juliet E [=McKenna=]'s ''Aldabreshin Compass'' with [[spoiler: warlord Kheda having lost two separate kingdoms, but is now free to be with the woman he loves and travel as he wishes instead of tied to his throne]].
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian story "Literature/ThePhoenixOnTheSword", Thoth-amon used to be a powerful magician, until he lost his RingOfPower. Then he had to flee for his life, and ended up being MadeASlave.
* In ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'', Saruman goes from being a demigod and head of the wizard's order to boss of a small group of Orcs bullying hobbits in the Shire. Pretty much every adaptation ignores this bit of the book.
* Kallor in ''Literature/TheMalazanBookOfTheFallen'' once ruled a kingdom that spanned two continents, but was such a monster that his mages were willing to destroy an entire continent in the hopes of killing him. He survived the devastation and was later cursed to [[AgeWithoutYouth live forever]] and fail at whatever task he took upon himself as punishment for exterminating his own huge empire; man, woman and child by the millions, when he knew it would be taken away by beings more powerful.
* ''The Wrath of God'', a novel by Jack Higgins (this trope seems to involve lots of wrath!) Janos, a grossly overweight ex-soldier in the Hungarian imperial guard, now working as an ArmsDealer in 1920's Mexico, curses the glandular problem that caused his fall from grace.
* Antichrist villain Nicolae Carpathia in the ''Literature/LeftBehind'' book series went from being a terrifying EvilOverlord who ruled the world with an iron fist and Satan indwelt to a pathetic and humiliated rotting shell of a human being who has to suffer for eternity in the Lake of Fire.
* According to the ''Legend of Belisarius'', the Eastern Roman general Belisarius ended up as a blind beggar on the streets of Rome.
* In the fourth ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' book the recently overthrown former Amyrlin exploits this trope in order to get past a guard and flee the city:
-->Yesterday, I was perhaps the most powerful ruler in the entire world, able to summon kings and queens and have them answer; today, I must hope I can find a farm where I will be allowed to sleep in the barn. Whatever crimes you think I have committed, isn't this punishment enough?
* ''Literature/TheMachineGunners'': Having received a crushing defeat from schoolyard rival Chas [=McGill=], [[TheBully Boddser Brown]] finds his [[GangOfBullies followers]] have deserted him, people are no longer afraid of him and openly mock his turban-like bandages and his position of power and popularity at school is gone.
* Young George Amberson Minafer of ''Literature/TheMagnificentAmbersons'' suffered this when his 'rich' grandfather died and it turned out that he had lost all his fortune and he just didn't tell him for the sake of pride. He went from living in a gorgeous mansion to living in a boarding house with a job involving explosives.
* One of the two fates offered by ''Literature/HistoriaBrittonum'' for King Vortigern, the supreme ruler of Britain blamed for bringing the Saxons to Britain, is that he was dethroned and ostracized by his former subjects, so
-->"... that, deserted and a wanderer, he sought a place of refuge, until broken-hearted, he made an ignominious end."
* Creator/WilliamWordsworth's poem, "On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic":
-->"And what if she had seen those glories fade,\\
Those titles vanish, and that strength decay;\\
Yet shall some tribute of regret be paid\\
When her long life hath reached its final day:\\
Men are we, and must grieve when even the Shade\\
Of that which once was great is passed away."
* The third act of ''Literature/AClockworkOrange'' operates on this for VillainProtagonist Alex, a [[TheSociopath vicious criminal]] (in the first act) whose [[ColdBloodedTorture "treatment" in jail]] has rendered him incapable of even thinking about a violent act without becoming cripplingly ill. It becomes particularly noticeable when some of his old peers find him being mercilessly beaten by [[ItMakesSenseInContext the elderly]] and then decide to beat on him themselves - all of these people he'd easily crushed earlier in the story.
* The Authors of ''Literature/TheHouseOfNight'' tend to favour the BreakTheHaughty method:
** Aphrodite went from being the most popular fledgling, High Priestess-in-training, dating the hottest guy at the House of Night to being friendless, completely powerless, and spending her meal times sitting out in the courtyard eating alone.
** Rephaim - "The favourite son of an ancient immortal reduced to hiding in refuse and talking to the ghost of a human child."
* The German ballad "Trutz, blanke Hans!" by Detlev von Liliencron, about the rich city Rungholt wiped out by the Northern Sea. ("Blanke Hans"[[note]]"White Jack" or "Naked Jack", etymologically unclear[[/note]] is an AffectionateNickname for the sea.) You may mentally exchange Rungholt with Atlantis, Vineta etc.
* Arch-Imager Vagel from ''Literature/MordantsNeed''. Once the most powerful Imager in the world and arch-enemy of BigGood King Joyce during the founding of Mordant, at the start of the series many believe that he's the mastermind behind the recent troubles. Once he actually appears, it turns out that he's a wreck, passively serving the real mastermind [[spoiler: Eremis]] in the dreary hope that by doing so he'll at least get to see the people who brought him low fall. In the end [[spoiler: even his final defeat is anticlimactic. While Gilbur goes down fighting and Eremis gets satisfyingly HoistByHisOwnPetard, Vagel is last seen fleeing in panic from a crazy old man, who then kills him off screen by impaling him on a tree branch.]]
* In ''Literature/{{Updraft}}'', Tobiat, a scruffy, mad-seeming vagrant in Kirit's home tower, was once one of the exalted Singers, the closest thing the city has to rulers.
* Vicar Zahmsyn Trynair starts the ''Literature/{{Safehold}}'' series as one of the driving members of the antagonistic church leaders known as the Group of Four. His position as Chancellor makes him the man in charge of Mother Church's diplomacy. As the series progresses, he never loses that position but between the escalation of the war with the protagonist Empire of Charis being managed by Captain General Allayn Maigwair, fear of reprisal following the naked power grabs by Grand Inquisitor Zhaspahr Clyntahn, and Treasurer Rhobair Duchairn being the only one willing to stand up to Clyntahn, Trynair's relevance vanishes to the point that he is essentially another of Clyntahn's lackeys. Duchairn notes by that point that for all intents they've become the Group of Three.
* The ''Literature/AgeOfFire'' series has several examples of this:
** When Auron first meets the dwarven Chartered Company, his friend Djer describes it as [[NGOSuperpower being more powerful than some nations]]. However, after their devastating war with [[BigBad the Wrymmaster's]] forces, they are left as a shadow of their former self.
** Which is nothing compared to their rivals, the Wheel of Fire. After [[GuileHero Wistala]] engineers their downfall, all that's left is small groups huddling in filthy squalor and starvation, hiding from the many vengeful enemies they've made over the years.
** By the end of the fifth book, ''Dragon Rule'', this is the case of [[AntiVillain the Copper]], as [[spoiler: he's ousted in a coup and exiled from his own empire, with [[IHaveYourWife his mate held hostage]] to insure he stays gone. This leaves him in a depression that lasts ''twelve years'', until he learns of a group of dragons living independent of the empire, which [[HesBack inspires him to take back what's his]].]]
* ''Literature/{{Edgedancer}}'' (a novella of ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive''): A retroactive example - after facing Nale, Lift gets a glimpse on what he was like before immortality and guilt drove him insane. The difference between an intelligent, honorable Herald he was and the AxCrazy lunatic he is now is rather dramatic.
* In ''Literature/WillSaveTheGalaxyForFood'', star-piloting lost their purpose after quantunnelling made their jobs obsolete. Those who were once heroes who explored space and saved worlds were now homeless bums who either gave cheap transport for tourists or have "gone to the black" and became space pirates.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': After Jaime loses his hand, this happens to him both figuratively and literally.
* ''Series/OurMissBrooks'': Said by Stretch Snodgrass ([[DumbJock of all people]]) of Mr. Conklin, in the episode "Spare That Rod". [[spoiler:Walter Denton had forged a letter threatening Mr. Conklin with dismissal for being "flagrantly dictatorial" in his disciplinary methods. Mr. Conklin was forcing himself to be meek and humble as a result.]]
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'': Said by Guinan of the recently [[BroughtDownToNormal depowered]] Q in the episode "Deja Q".
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'': The [[SecretPolice Obsidian Order]] was Cardassia. [[TheSpymaster Enabran Tain]] was the Obsidian Order. Not even the [[StateSec Central Command]] dared challenge him, and [[MagnificentBastard Garak]] was his official protégé. In Cardassia, it doesn't get much more powerful than that. Then Garak ended up in [[TheExile exile]] for an [[MysteriousPast unrevealed crime]], and now the Cardassians have this view of him. [[BullyingADragon Gul Toran]] even quotes this trope verbatum to him in the episode "Profit and Loss".
* In ''Series/{{Angel}}'', Illyria used to be worshiped by millions and held dominion over multiple dimensions. Due to her reincarnation in a [[PunyHumans mortal body]], as of series end, she's capable of being defeated by a minion of creatures she previously barely noticed. And the closest thing she has to a worshiper drinks a lot and called her a smurf.
* Creator/ConanOBrien discussed this trope in his opening skit to the 2006 Primetime Emmy Awards, mocking Creator/{{NBC}} in the Broadway-style musical number "[[Theatre/TheMusicMan Trouble At NBC]]''.
* In ''Series/{{Rome}}'', the defeated king of the Gauls, Vercingetorix, is thrown before Julius Caesar, stripped of his clothes, and made to kiss the Imperial standard. Then he's dragged to Rome in a cage, displayed in a triumph and strangled.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'': Walter White is hit HARD by this in the series' antepenultimate episode, fittingly titled "[[DramaBomb Ozymandias]]". After spending five seasons building up his drug empire and sacrificing all of his morality to do so, we see every sin and mistake he's made in the series come back all at once. By the end of the episode, [[spoiler:a former close family member is dead, the rest of his family have all had their lives ruined, all of them despise him (or in the case of his baby daughter, [[IWantMyMommy would rather stay with her mother]]), and he becomes one of the most wanted men in America and is forced to go on the run.]] Its use of this trope was so hard-hitting that it's led to it being called one of the best episodes of television ever made.
* Invoked in NBC's ''Series/{{Hannibal}}'' when Dr. Lecter is finally behind bars. Facing the new warden, [[spoiler:Dr. Bloom]], he gets a speech warning him to stop toying with Will Graham:
-->''"I know what youíre afraid of. Itís not pain or solitude. Itís indignity. Youíre a little bit like a cat that way. Iíll take your books, Iíll take your drawings, Iíll take your toilet. Youíll have nothing but indignity and the company of the dead."''
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': When first introduced in season 2, Spike is well established as a HeroKiller and a ''very'' dangerous threat to Buffy and the Scoobies. Come season 3, he's a drunken wreck after Drusilla dumps him, and it's taken even further in season 4; after being captured by the Initiative and implanted with a [[RestrainingBolt cerebral microchip]] that prevents him from harming humans, he becomes the series' ButtMonkey and tries to stake himself.
* ''Series/{{Arrow}}'': Malcolm Merlyn was once a billionaire and a well-beloved citizen of Star(ling) City, while also a diabolical mastermind that was planning to destroy the Glades for revenge for his wife's murder and a skilled enough combatant to hand Oliver Queen (who was no slouch in Season One) his ass in one-on-one combat. By the end of Season Four, he's legally dead and has lost his company and reputation "post-mortem", his plan to destroy the Glades has killed his son, his daughter hates him, and Oliver has become so skilled that he can casually curb-stop him in a ''sword duel'', to the point that he has to ''hold back'' so he doesn't accidentally kill Malcolm, and settles for cutting off his hand instead. In ''Series/LegendsOfTomorrow'' Season Two, when Eobard Thawne and Past!Damien Darhk arrive to his dilapidated apartment to recruit him, he's on his couch, nursing a drink and lamenting his status as a JadedWashout. His existence has become so pitiful that [[spoiler:after the Legion of Doom is defeated, Sara doesn't even bother punishing him further and instead just sends him back to his crappy apartment. Not long afterwards in the Season 5 finale, he commits a HeroicSacrifice to save Thea's life and kill Digger Harkness]].
* ''Series/TheFlash2014'': Around a year or so before the beginning of the series when Barry Allen was a Junior CSI, Ralph Dibny was a handsome and well-respected detective of the CCPD. Then, during a case eerily reminiscent of Nora Allen's murder, he planted evidence to get the primary suspect (who he believed to be guilty) convicted. While Ralph was being lauded as a hero, Barry, suspicious of how suddenly that evidence popped up, analyzed it, found it fabricated, and busted Ralph, getting him fired. Now, in the show's original timeline, Ralph's troubles more-or-less ended there because he was killed by the Particle Accelerator Explosion. However, he was revived thanks to Flashpoint, and life continued downhill for him. When we finally meet him in Season 4, he's a sleazy PrivateDetective whose [[FormerlyFit once-chiseled physique has turned into a beer belly]] and is so poor he can't even afford ''bus fare'', not to mention spending most of his debut episode as a ButtMonkey. Barry's reappearance in his life is a bitter reminder of how bad things have been for him for the last few years, and ironically the moment when things finally start to turn around for him.
* The last two episodes of the second season of ''Series/{{Narcos}}'' show how far Pablo Escobar fell. Once the biggest drug kingpin in the world, the terror of Columbia, in the second to last episode Pablo spends his time puttering around his dad's isolated farm, and at one point gets covered in goat's blood and denounced by his father. In the last episode Pablo returns to Medellin, but only has the one henchman as he hides out in his safehouse, and has to disguise himself just to get some ice cream. In both episodes he's clearly gotten fatter and grown a nasty BeardOfSorrow.

* Several Music/BruceSpringsteen songs, most notably "Glory Days", which is the [[TropeNamers TropeNamer]] [[GloryDays for another trope]].
* "Viva La Vida" by Music/{{Coldplay}} tells the story of a man who overthrew a corrupt king and took his place. He had money, power, and an admiring kingdom, but he soon became corrupt just like the first king. Upon realizing how far he had fallen, he became disillusioned with his position of power and allowed himself to be removed from the throne and [assumedly] spent the rest of his days looking back on his reign and laments his fate.
* The Depression-era number "Brother Can You Spare A Dime", famously performed by Music/BingCrosby.
* Music/BobDylan's "Like a Rolling Stone":
-->Once upon a time you dressed so fine,
-->You threw the bums a dime in your prime, didnít you?
-->Peopleíd call, say, ďBeware doll, youíre bound to fallĒ
-->You thought they were all kiddiní you.
-->Now you donít talk so loud,
-->Now you donít seem so proud
-->About having to be scrounging for your next meal.
* The Laura Marling song "Failure" starts like this:
-->He used to be the life and soul of everyone around.
-->You'd never catch him looking up and never see him down but oh, la laa.
-->He couldn't raise a smile oh, not for a while, and he's a failure now.
* "Fortune Plango Vulnera" from Carl Orff's "Carmina Burana".
-->"Fortune rota volvitur;
-->descendo minoratus;
-->alter in altum tollitur;
-->nimis exaltatus
-->rex sedet in vertice
-->caveat ruinam!
-->nam sub axe legimus
-->Hecubam reginam.
-->(English translation: "The wheel of Fortune turns/I go down, demeaned/another is carried to the top;/far too high/the king sits at the summit/let him fear ruin/for under the axis is written/Queen Hecuba.")

[[folder: Mythology]]
* [[Myth/ClassicalMythology Theseus]], the King of Athens, lived a life full of adventure and was considered up there with Heracles and Achilles in terms of Greek heroes. His accomplishments include: 1) Killing the Minotaur single handedly and liberating Athens from Crete's control, 2) Disposing of his step uncle and his fifty sons from Athens and ending their mafia-esque control of the kingdom, 3) Uniting the region of Attica under a single kingdom with Athens as its capital, 4) Defeated the Amazons, 5) Sailed with the Argonauts, 6) Participated in the Calydonian Hunt, 7) Fought in the Centaur wars, 8) Made the roads to Athens safer by personally hunting down every single bandit he could find. So what became of this legendary warrior king and adventurer? Do to a series of bad life choices and personality flaws he lost his position as king, having been usurped by a political rival of his, banished from Athens and dumped on an island to rot, having lost everything he had ever had. To add insult to injury how does he die? The king of the island he was on, fearing that Theseus might overthrow him, [[DroppedABridgeOnHim shoved Theseus off a cliff while the latter's guard was down.]] Not exactly a death befitting a king.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* A ''Wrestling/WWEMondayNightRAW'' angle had Wrestling/ShawnMichaels so broke that he was reduced to working for Wrestling/JohnBradshawLayfield.
** Long before that, Wrestling/NikolaiVolkoff had fallen on hard times and wound up working for [[Wrestling/TedDiBiase "The Million Dollar Man" Ted [=DiBiase=]]].
* In a real-life example, Wrestling/RicFlair was a 16-time world champion and considered one of the greatest wrestlers ever. Between bad investments, messy divorces and living the jet-set lifestyle character he played on TV left him seriously in debt later on in life.
** Wrestling/HulkHogan has exhibited some similarities to Flair above. Recognized as ''the'' icon of professional wrestling (known not just in his own industry but as a beacon to non-viewers as well just because he's so damn iconic), the 2000s have been less than kind. Divorcing his wife and the legal problems that hounded his son following an accident that took the life of the passenger in his car has seen the Hulkster looking less-than-stellar. A lot of the opportunities he's taken in the 2000s are often seen by longtime wrestling fans as desperate grabs to keep him in the spotlight and otherwise give him a recurring income flow (such as his stint on ''American Gladiators'' and the fact he came to WWE one night pretty much just to shill it). It's even worse when a tape about him uttering a forbidden word was discovered, which caused him to be released from WWE and then [[UnPerson have his records there erased.]]
* Wrestling/{{TNA}}. While not as mighty as, say, Wrestling/{{WCW}}, for many years it was indisputably the #2 ProfessionalWrestling promotion in the United States. Many recognized that the company had the potential to one day compete with the WWE. Hoping to capitalize on that, they decided to bring in Hulk Hogan and Wrestling/EricBischoff -- and what followed can basically amount to as "WCW-lite", including but not limited to: a failed attempt to restart the Wrestling/MondayNightWars, a massive amount financial mismanagement, much of the younger talent being pushed down the card, and the PowerStable Immortal, which was basically [[Wrestling/NewWorldOrder nWo]]: Take 2.
** After Hogan and Bischoff left four or so years later, the company was in such disrepair that they lost their TV deal with Spike, while many of the TNA Originals (most notably Wrestling/AJStyles) quit when they were told they were to face significant pay cuts; in spite of A: the fact that their talents were already being misused during the Hogan-Bischoff era and B: Many wrestlers under their promotion were struggling to make the ends meet as is! Some really nasty examples: Wrestling/AwesomeKong just wanted a raise to buy a car, Wrestling/TaylorWilde was seen working at a Sunglasses Hut (and she was the Knockouts Champion at the time, too), Jesse Neal was able to qualify for food stamps, and Wrestling/GailKim was only bringing in $30,000 a year for her work (garbagemen make more, with better benefits to boot), in spite of the fact that she and Kong had the highest rated segments on the show.
** Wrestling/JeffJarrett, the original founder of the promotion, tried to buy the company back, but his offer was rebuffed since Dixie Carter's position in the corporate structure would not be as secure -- he eventually ended up starting ''another'' wrestling promotion instead. TNA is now desperately trying to grasp the glory that was once so closely in its grasp, only to continuously fall short and be eclipsed by [[Wrestling/RingOfHonor ROH]]. If all this weren't humiliating enough, PWI no longer considers the TNA World Heavyweight Championship a world title, basically declaring that to them, the company has dropped to indy status. There was a time when this company was lauded as the future of ProfessionalWrestling; today, many wrestling fans are just begging for it to be put out of its misery.
* Wrestling/{{Chyna}}. It seemed like a lifetime ago when this woman was a superstar with an assured future in the Hall of Fame. The only women from her time period that could ever compare to the impact she had were Wrestling/{{Sable}}, Wrestling/TrishStratus, and Wrestling/{{Lita}}. At one point an international sex symbol, her fall from grace has reduced her to doing ''porn''. That's only scratching the surface of how much the former Joanie Laurer's life has fallen apart, and she couldn't recover from it until her death at the age 45. Ironically, [[NeverSpeakIllOfTheDead it's only after that event]] that WWE finally plans to get her to the Hall of Fame.
* Wrestling/{{WCW}}. At one point ''the'' most successful wrestling promotion in the world, the only promotion to ever drive Wrestling/VinceMcMahon to the brink of defeat, its disastrous twilight years are what it's best remembered for (where it became ''the'' SnarkBait for fans) -- that, and [[Literature/TheDeathOfWCW having a book that illustrates everything that could go wrong in a wrestling promotion by outlining the circumstances surrounding its fall, and the eventual impact it had on the industry]]. It's history, more-or-less.
* Wrestling/MattHardy had a mental breakdown after Wrestling/{{Lita}} cheated on him with Wrestling/{{Edge}}. At one point one of the most popular wrestlers of the early '00s, Matt entered a downward spiral that lasted years, culminating in him faking a suicide note for cheap publicity. It utterly destroyed his reputation, to the extent that his [[Wrestling/JeffHardy drug-addled younger brother]], who, earlier that same year, arrived at a PPV he was main eventing stoned out of his gourd, forcing the match to end in ''ninety seconds'' just so he wouldn't hurt anybody, was regarded as ''more responsible than him''. While Matt has worked to get his life back together since then, his legacy will forever be marred by his actions. All the same, he was able to hang on to a bit of his popularity on the independent circuit, particularly as a part of SCUM and The Kingdom in ROH, and ended up regaining his popularity after Wrestling/{{TNA}} gave him a second chance.
* The career of Wrestling/MontelVontaviousPorter (MVP) from 2006 to 2010 followed a complicated trajectory. Originally introduced as an [[SmallNameBigEgo "all-talk-no-action"]] blowhard who could [[TheBully (fairly) beat only people much weaker than he was]], MVP eventually proved he really could be as tough as he said he was, surviving an Inferno match with Wrestling/{{Kane}} and competing afterward even though he still had burns on his body. Then he won the United States Championship in 2007 and held on to it for quite some time, even getting some clean wins while still being a heel - which encouraged him to become even ''more'' arrogant. Then, in the summer of 2008, he began losing every match and continued his losing streak for the rest of the year; this led to him being denied the trademark inflatable tunnel through which he entered arenas. MVP finally starting picking up some wins in January 2009, resulting in a face turn.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', planeswalkers were massively depowered following "the Mending" of the Time Spiral block. Most of the post-Mending planeswalkers don't even know what they've lost; but Nicol Bolas, the oldest remaining planeswalker, remembers the power and longs to regain it.
--> '''Nicol Bolas''': We were gods, once.
* Pick a ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}} / TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' backstory. [[TheEmpire The galaxy spanning Empire of Mankind?]] [[CrystalDragonJesus Broken, with the Messiah on a life support.]] [[OurDwarvesAreAllTheSame Glory days of the Dwarves?]] Now just another page in the Book of Grudges. [[OurElvesAreBetter The era of the High Elves being the greatest race in the Old World]] [[SpaceElves or lording it over the void of space as the Eldar?]] [[StartOfDarkness Enjoy your fall from grace, shattering your empire into fragments as a dying race]] [[NiceJobBreakingItHero as well as creating a]] [[EldritchAbomination God of]] {{Squick}}. [[{{Precursors}} And the Old Ones, creator race of possibly the entire universe and practically godlike in power?]] [[{{Gotterdammerung}} Either dead, hiding or moved on.]] [[CrapsackWorld But do remember the universe/world we're talking about here.]]
* ''TabletopGame/ForgottenRealms'' has an adventure describing the destruction of [[TheMagocracy Netheril]] named ''How the Mighty Are Fallen''. The undead walk the land, driving orcs and humans before them. The [[EldritchAbomination Phaerimm]] has no choice but to bring the empire down or die out. [[TheJuggernaut The Tarrasque]] wakes up. And just in case they somehow manage to survive all this, the greatest archwizard of them all prepares to cast [[AGodAmI Karsus' Avatar]] (which in {{canon}} meant death to himself and the goddess of magic, and turning off all magic in the world long enough for Netherese flying cities to reach the ground -- "fallen" here is meant quite literally).
* TabletopGame/YuGiOh: There was once a Kami, "Bujin Emperor - Susanoo", who once dwelled in the heavenly realm of Takama-ga-hara, alongside many other Kami. He possessed incredible power, power so great that many began to plot and scheme against him. This cast suspicion on him, causing him to ultimately incur the wrath of the Supreme Kami. He was banished to the surface and his [[PowerLimiter power was sealed inside the five "Bujin Relics"]].
* Many factions get hit with this in ''TabletopGame/BattleTech'', Clan Smoke Jaguar was once one of the most powerful Clans to invade the Inner Sphere, now there only a few Jaguars left eking out in existence where ever they are hiding.

* One of the most prevalent themes in Greek tragedy; it'd be easier to list the exceptions, which are very few indeed.
* ''Theatre/OedipusTheKing'' is an especially good version of this. Over the course of the play, he goes from King of Thebes to a blind beggar who everyone knows killed his father and slept with his mother.
-->"Men of Thebes, look upon Oedipus
-->the king who solved the famous riddle
-->and towered up, most powerful of men.
-->No mortal eye but looked on him with envy,
-->yet in the end ruin swept over him."
* The song "King of the World" from the musical ''Theatre/SongsForANewWorld'' is about this -- the singer used to be very powerful and is now in prison. (Beyond this, the details are open to interpretation.)
* In the musical of ''Theatre/TheProducers'', Max Bialystock reminisces about once being "the king of all Broadway" rather than, as now, a producer of serial flops. (But then the chorus responds with "We'll believe you - thousands wouldn't.")
* Maybe a bit of a stretch, but the song about Grizabella ("Grizabella the Glamour Cat") from "Cats" gives this vibe. Former celebrity, now a common, old stray.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamSeries'': As revealed in ''[[VideoGame/BatmanArkhamOrigins Origins]]'', Black Mask was once one of Gotham's top crime lords, having most of Gotham under his thumb and most of the [[DirtyCop GCPD]] on his payroll. This all came to a crashing halt for him when [[EvilerThanThou the Joker]] came to town, usurped his position, and stole his identity and operation, and from that point on, Sionis is little more than the Arkhamverse's ButtMonkey; Aaron Cash even mentions in ''[[VideoGame/BatmanArkhamKnight Knight]]'' that Black Mask never managed to recover from the events of that night.
* ''VideoGame/{{Dota 2}}'' has a minor case in Zet the Arc Warden. In his backstory, he was part of the primordial mind that existed before all else until it splintered into three fragments. Zet was one of them, almighty until he expended much of his power to seal the two other fragments away in a prison, which they escaped from. With that said, he's still powerful enough that he can casually grant [[BroughtDownToBadass Zeus]] a piece of his godhood back.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'':
** This is a common theme in the Human and Dwarf Noble origin stories. both of which begin with the player character as a scion of a very powerful family (either that of the in-universe equivalent of a duke or that of the King of Orzammar). Both end with the player on the run and forced to join the Grey Wardens to escape. Of course, you do rise to prominence again at the end, but that is to be expected.
** This happened to the Dalish ''long'' before the story started. [[spoiler: It's mostly their fault as well.]]
** The Tevinter Imperium used to rule most of Thedas, but now it's a [[VestigialEmpire crumbling remnant]] of its former glory with its one remaining claim to Bad Assness being that the [[ProudWarriorRace Qunari]] are trying to destroy it, and yet it's still managing to continue existing.
* The line is used in ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness'' as [[TheDragon Pious]] kills [[PhysicalGod Mantorok]] in the second chapter. Considering [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu he just punched out that story's equivalent of Cthulhu]] and consigned it to a slow and inevitable death, it is probably fitting.
* In ''VideoGame/HotDogBush'', former U.S. President George W. Bush gets expelled from the White House as punishment for failing his duties and desperate for money he sinks down to street vending hot dogs and burgers.
* [[spoiler: [[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIVTheLostAndDamned The Lost MC]]]] in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV''. Once a [[spoiler:feared group of {{Badass Biker}}s]], V reduces them to strung out, aimless, desert dwelling meth addicts, [[spoiler:who get massacred by Trevor]].
* From ''Videogame/{{Portal 2}}'':
** The middle chapters take the player on an exploration of the old Aperture Science Innovators test facilities, far beneath the more modern chambers that you start the game in. You get to see what Aperture was like when its eccentric founder, Cave Johnson, was in his heyday, full of money and enthusiasm and with "astronauts, Olympians, and war heroes" jumping at the chance to test his products. Then you get to see it as a company struggling to survive and hiring bums off the street due to Congressional inquiries over the "[[InferredHolocaust missing astronauts]]". Lastly, you get to hear Cave's final recordings as a bitter, bankrupt old man dying of moon dust poisoning and trying desperately to preserve some kind of legacy. Aperture may have recovered and gone on without him, but he's gone, his memories buried along with the empire he built.
*** Appropriately, the chapter where you're first introduced to the crumbling remains of Old Aperture is called "The Fall".
** [[spoiler:[=GLaDOS=] when Wheatley takes over her body and uploads her consciousness into a potato battery.]] Though she gets back up again.
* This is where [[spoiler:Starscream]] ends up by the end of VideoGame/TransformersFallOfCybertron.
** The whole point of the game, really. They've gone from nigh-immortal lords of technology to rats fleeing a sinking ship. Except rats know better than to fight when they should run.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Starcraft II}}'', after spending almost the entire series as the dominant race, [[spoiler: the Zerg]] are decimated and scattered [[spoiler: at the end of the Terran campaign,]] and you spend the entire next campaign [[spoiler:helping them recover from the disaster.]]
* A recurring theme in Creator/FromSoftware games. Mighty rulers are reduced to pathetic husks of their former selves and lose everything because of their obsessions:
** King Allant of ''VideoGame/DemonsSouls''. [[spoiler:Once a proud king of a great kingdom, his obsession with the power of souls eventually turns him into a helpless blob feebly clinging to his sword wishing for nothing but his own death. Meanwhile, the demonic doppelganger he left behind to rule in his stead leads his kingdom to ruin and his only son is DrivenToSuicide unable to bear the truth.]]
** Gwyn, Lord of Sunlight of ''VideoGame/DarkSouls''. He was once a lightning wielding GodEmperor who ushered in a new age by defeating the Everlasting Dragons. [[spoiler:In a desperate attempt to prolong the Age of Fire when the First Flame started to flicker and die, he split his own soul apart and made himself kindling for the First Flame. This turned him into a Hollow shell of his former self bereft of his former powers. In the end, Gwyn was nothing more than a crazed and lonely old man afraid of change.]]
** King Vendrick of ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsII''. The backstory builds him up as a powerful ruler who built the kingdom of Drangleic over the corpses of an entire army of Giants. He is constantly hyped up as the ultimate challenge the player character must overcome. [[spoiler:His attempts to stave off the Undead Curse led him to be afflicted with it himself. His own beloved queen manipulated his downfall and the ruin of his kingdom. When he is finally met in person, he's a giant naked Hollow wandering aimlessly in his tomb.]]
** ''VideoGame/DarkSoulsIII'' turns the whole trope on its head by focusing on and deconstructing the Chosen Undead, the character you created and played during the first 3 games in the series. Unlike the previous games, it's the once mighty Chosen Undead whom are hunted and killed, because at some point they didn't want to complete their obligation of rekindling the flame. It comes to ahead [[spoiler: when you fight Soul of Cinder, who is a combination of all the Chosen Undead that ever existed beginning with Gwyn. In an ironic twist, this trope applies to the player as well. Many have spent hundreds of hours building up their characters is previous games, only to kill them all off in the final game in the Soul's trilogy.]]
* ''VideoGame/TombRaider2013'': Lara's father, Richard Croft, as revealed in ''VideoGame/RiseOfTheTombRaider''. He was once a well-known and respected archaeologist, but his [[ImmortalitySeeker obsession with researching immortality]] eventually destroyed his reputation and turned him into a laughingstock. Eventually, he was DrivenToSuicide.
* ''VideoGame/{{Overwatch}}''.
** Overwatch itself. Once a shining beacon of good around the world. In present time, it's banned by the government, 3 of its most legendary figures (Ana, Soldier:76 and Reaper) are presumed dead by the public, and its agents are scattered around the globe.
** The Shimada Clan. At one point in the past, they were one of the fiercest {{Yakuza}} clans in Japan. Then they forced Hanzo to (Supposedly) kill Genji. After doing such a horrible thing, Hanzo ditched them. With both heirs gone and no leadership, the Shimada Clan of the games present time in a barely functioning shell of what it once was.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}''
** The [[StealthyMook Nightkin]] were once the [[EliteMooks best and brightest]] of the [[TheMaster Master's]] army but a century after his death they have it worse than the regular super mutants as the use of [[CloakingDevice stealth boys]] has altered their brains and driven them insane. Now they roam the lands looking for more stealth boys or just trying to [[DontLookAtMe avoid being seen.]]
** The west coast Brotherhood of Steel was once the most powerful and technologically advanced society in the wasteland but the world [[ApocalypseNot rebuilt]] [[TechnologyMarchesOn around them]] while they [[MotiveDecay became more insular and xenophobic]]. Eventually they went to war with the [[TheFederation New California Republic]] and were reduced to a few surviving cells.
** [[OppressiveStatesOfAmerica The Enclave]] were the descendants of America's [[EvilPolitician political]], [[{{Megacorp}} corporate]] and [[ArmiesAreEvil military]] leaders who hid out on an offshore oil-rig while the mainland [[NukeEm got blasted]] and had [[TechnologicallyAdvancedFoe technology]] that put the Brotherhood to shame, [[VideoGame/Fallout2 that is]] until [[TheProtagonist some tribal savage]] fixed up an old tanker and sabotaged their reactor forcing the survivors to flee. These survivors went to [[VideoGame/Fallout3 the Capital Wasteland]] and while they were not what they used to be, they still had an edge over everyone else until [[TheHero an exiled vault dweller]] and the [[RenegadeSplinterFaction east coast Brotherhood of Steel]] destroyed their [[BaseOnWheels Base Crawler]] with their own KillSat. They've since been reduced to scattered survivors trying to eek out a living and keep their heads down but there have been [[SequelHook rumors of a base in Chicago]].
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
** The Dark Brotherhood, an illegal [[MurderInc organization of assassins]] whose membership mostly takes a [[PsychoForHire sadistic glee]] in killing and who practice a ReligionOfEvil, once had a near-monopoly on the assassin-for-hire market with agents and sanctuaries throughout Tamriel. Come the time of ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' however, they're down to [[TheRemnant one remote sanctuary]] and have lost contact with the [[OneBadMother Night Mother]], their unholy leader. As such, they're forced to get their contracts through rumors about the Black Sacrament being performed rather than from the Night Mother herself. It's up to you in ''Skyrim'' whether they recover, or get completely wiped out.
** Similarly, the Skyrim branch of the ThievesGuild has fallen on very hard times. Their influence is limited to one city ([[WretchedHive Riften]]) and they've had to drop many of their [[EvenEvilHasStandards standards]] to get by. As it turns out, this is the result of [[spoiler:Guildmaster Mercer Frey's stealing of the SkeletonKey, leading to the [[OurGodsAreDifferent Daedric Prince]] Nocturnal cursing the Guild with bad luck]]. It's up to you to help them rebound or leave them to their fate.
** [[OurElvesAreBetter Dunmeri]] [[TheClan Great House]] [[ProudMerchantRace Hlaalu]] was once the most powerful of the Great Houses. House Hlaalu had the closest ties to TheEmpire and, as a result, were the most powerful and wealthy Great House during Morrowind's time in the Third Empire. During ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'', both the King of Morrowind and Duke of Vvardenfell hail from House Hlaalu. Following the events of the [[ColonyDrop Red]] [[ChekhovsVolcano Year]] and the withdraw of Imperial influence from Morrowind, they were reduced to becoming the weakest House and even lost their seat on the council by the time of ''Skyrim'''s ''Dragonborn'' DLC.
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'': In their prime, [[StageMagician Troupe Gramarye]] was an incredibly popular and famous magician troupe, becoming a staple of many TV shows and theater stages, even getting a special commemorative stamp commissioned in their honor. Sadly, it was not meant to last. Several scandals rocked the group: the ousting of a member under mysterious circumstances, the disappearance of the sole female of the group, also under mysterious circumstances, the murder of the founder of group Magnifi Gramarye with the two remaining members accused of the crime and finally culminating with one of said members, Zak Gramarye, being found guilty of the crime and for him to also disappear without a trace from the courtroom just before the judge could read the verdict. By the time of the events of ''VisualNovel/ApolloJusticeAceAttorney'' take place, the troupe is all but forgotten. Procecutor Klavier Gavin says that if one were to ask anyone about the troupe nowadays, we'd be lucky to get more than just blank stares.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'': [[BigBad Cinder Fall's]] current condition as of the opening of Volume 4 has shades of this. [[spoiler: Despite having become the Fall Maiden and instigating the fall of Beacon Academy and Ozpin, she's critically injured by Ruby's power and forced to stay close to Salem for healing; on top of it all, Salem's other subordinates have no respect for her, deem her a failure, and mock her to her face. She didn't expect this outcome, and is ''not'' happy about it.]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?", Homer reunites with his long lost half-brother Herb, who was the wealthy head of a major auto corporation until he foolishly trusted Homer to design a car for "the average American". The end result was such a farce it drove Herb's already-troubled company out of business.
** In "The Old Man and the Lisa", Mr. Burns lost his fortune and the Power Plant, and Lisa helped him get it back, much to her regret.
* Valmont from ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'' goes from a major villain in the first two seasons to a homeless petty criminal in the third. By the fifth season, he's resorted to becoming a ''bus driver'' with a small cameo in the last episode.
* Subverted by [[spoiler:Vilgax]] in ''WesternAnimation/Ben10UltimateAlien''. Ben mocks his old foe's fall, but [[spoiler:Vilgax has every intention of regaining everything he lost and more. In fact, he turns out even ''more'' dangerous than he used to be with his empire, as he is enough of a MagnificentBastard to take over a cult of ''human'' followers, and eventually [[DidYouJustScamCthulhu manipulate]] ''[[EldritchAbomination Diagon]]'', [[HijackingCthulhu making its power his own]].]]
* This happened to Mandarin in the second season of the ''IronMan 90'''s animated series. After losing the Ten Rings of Power in the first season finale, Mandarin was reduced to working as a laborer, whipped daily by a cruel overseer. Then he notices the overseer's ring...[[spoiler:and after regaining his power, he falls ''even harder'' in the series finale. Half of his rings are destroyed, his memories are gone, and he loses the other five rings when lowly mountain bandits ''chop off his hand''.]]
* Invoked by Slithe in ''[[WesternAnimation/{{Thundercats 2011}} [=ThunderCats (2011)=]]]''
-->"How quickly things change for the cats. From top predator, to endangered species... in a single day!"
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': On the heroes' side, The Earth Kingdom, the only world power to even come close to rivaling [[TheEmpire Fire Nation]], is overrun by the latter at the end of the second season. On the villain's side, [[BigBad Fire Lord Ozai]] and [[TheDragon Princess Azula]] start off as the GodEmperor and TheChessmaster / TheAce, respectively. By the end, [[spoiler: Ozai's been BroughtDownToNormal and Azula's [[DrivenToMadness lost her mind]]. [[LaserGuidedKarma Karma's a bitch]], innit?]]
* Blossom in ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' episode "A Very Special Blossom". She steals a set of golf clubs to give the Professor for Father's Day then tries to frame Mojo Jojo for it. When the jig is up, we see her in an orange prison suit performing community service.
* ''WesternAnimation/JohnnyTest'' villain Dark Vegan started out as an alien warlord, but after his second appearance he ends up stuck on Earth and another member of Johnny's HarmlessVillain RoguesGallery. He even lampshades this; "I used to be ruler of my planet, but now I'm an unemployable loser!"
* Azul Falcone of ''WesternAnimation/HarveyBirdmanAttorneyAtLaw'' is introduced as partner at the law firm. He's more successful and popular than Harvey, despite being a much less competent lawyer. However, after his first appearance he slides down the firm's pecking order until he is a mere bathroom attendant.
** This trope seems to inform both this series and its sister series ''WesternAnimation/SpaceGhostCoastToCoast''. Hanna-Barbera stars long past their respective heydays trying to survive post-fame.
* Many, many characters and institutions in ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBros'', but Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture is perhaps the best example. Formerly, a famous and successful boy adventurer and heir to the prodigious Venture Industries, he is now a bitter, unsuccessful CEO to a floundering science firm.
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'': Jack's father was once the emperor of Japan and the one who originally defeated Aku. When Aku later returned, he made sure to abduct the aged emperor before he could retrieve his sword again, allowing Aku to TakeOverTheWorld. By the time Jack returns, his father has been reduced to an old, emaciated slave, thoroughly weakened in both body and spirit.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Happens all the time in real life in the workplace, where a non-supervisory employee says, "I used to be in management and [whatever I don't like] was not how I/we did [X]."
* Subverted in this joke: Three refugees from talk about the old times. First one: "Here I live in a one-room apartment, but in the old country, I had a house with twelve rooms." Second one: "Here I am an ordinary secretary, but in the old country, I was a CEO." Third one (with a MisterMuffykins on his lap): "I'll admit, I'm a poor devil now as well as then. But in the old country, my dog was a St. Bernard."
* People during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance saw AncientRome as this.
* The Hudson's Bay Company, once, a real life MegaCorp. For 200 years, they owned and ruled over more than a third of what is now Canada. Now they're just a chain of mid-range department stores, some of which are now being sold off to Target.
* Joe Paterno. He retires in disgrace after the horrifying Penn State sex scandal blew up. And after his death, a statue outside the campus erected to honor his achievements gets taken down after numerous evidences and implications pile up that he was involved in the whole cover-up.
* In the late 1990s, Leeds United emerged as the most likely team to challenge Manchester United and Arsenal in the PremierLeague, launching a sustained title challenge and reaching the semifinals of European competitions. However, in doing so, they spent too much money, and after losing their champions league place to Newcastle United, they were forced to offload players to recoup debts. They were relegated in 2004, and again in 2007 after losing the promotion playoff the previous year. They returned to the first division in 2010, but are still yet to return to the top flight.
* [[MegaCorp The Enron Corporation]]. They were the fasting growing and most praised technology corporation of the late 90s and into the 2000s. Only for them to surprisingly declare bankruptcy, which later exposed them as a [[EvilInc fraudulent operation]] from the very beginning.
* One of the greatest examples of this in modern American politics is the case of UsefulNotes/NewJersey Governor Chris Christie. Highly popular and effective after being elected in 2009, he cruised to reelection in 2013, and was consider an early favorite for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. However, after being implicated in the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Lee_lane_closure_scandal Bridgegate scandal]], his image was heavily tainted, to the point he ended up one of the first candidates to drop out of the running, and (at least according to Christie himself) this is also why Donald Trump didn't select him as a running mate or cabinet selection, despite throwing support behind Trump almost immediately after suspending his own campaign. After this, he spent the remainder of his term of office only growing more and more unpopular with his constituents (such as when he publicly attended a beach closed to the public during a government shutdown). Ultimately, he left office one of the least popular Governors in state history, and merely being associated with him caused his Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno to lose the subsequent election in a {{landslide|election}}.