- To make us sympathise with him, while injuring him in a way that allows him to carry on operating mostly unhindered.
- To demonstrate his machismo when he simply withdraws the object and carries on, or in some cases carries on without even bothering with the first part.
- To demonstrate his extreme machismo when it was he who drove the object into his own palm in the first place.
- To cause intense pain and incapacitate that person's hand without causing irreversible damage.
- To imply some parallel with another guy who once suffered similar wounds.
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Anime and Manga
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: When the Other Bakura challenges Yugi and friends to a Tabletop RPG where their souls are literally at stake and he's gleefully playing the role of Killer Game Master, the real Bakura manages to take back control of his hand and sabotage a roll that would have otherwise resulted in a Total Party Kill. Unfortunately for him, the Other Bakura prevents him from meddling further by impaling said hand on one of the game board's towers.
- This nearly happens to Ushio in a Shadow Game against Yugi's Superpowered Evil Side in which the players have to stab stacks of money on their hands without hitting any flesh. Ushio realizes that he's about to stab full-force, which would send the knife through his hand, so he tries to Take a Third Option and stab Yugi. In doing so, however, he incurs Yugi's wrath.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Roy Mustang is stabbed through his palm, damaging the design on his gloves, and impeding him from using his powers. He was also pinned in a Crucified Hero Shot and used as a human sacrifice, so it's probably deliberate symbolism.
- General Armstrong does this to a hapless official. And as it turns out, that isn't the only thing she impales...
- In Bleach, Grimmjow stabs Ichigo through his hand, pinning it to the asphalt to prevent him getting away while Grimmjow (who only has one arm at this point) charges a cero. Rukia has a tough time pulling the sword out afterwards.
- Also, Mayuri stabs Szayel like this and combines it with Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
- In the manga of Kare Kano, Arima impales his own palm with his boxcutter after his massive heart to heart with Yukino in the school library finishes with him pretty much raping her. Luckily, his dad is a doctor and patches him up. But not before the still shell-shocked Arima tries to go to school while hiding his injury (read: wrapping his injury in a bandage and then keeping both hands in his pockets, which sends Yukino in a full Get a Hold of Yourself, Man! mood.
- In one episode of City Hunter, Ryo Saeba fires his gun through his own hand to slow the bullet so he can shoot the bad guy without harming an innocent bystander.
- In an episode of Durarara!!, Seiji stabs Shizuo through the hand with a pen. He concludes that he'd better buy some band-aids before pulling it out. Or superglue.
- At the beginning of the Zabuza arc, he is poisoned by a cut on his hand. Rather than compromise the mission, he stabs himself to bleed out the poison.
- The eponymous character does this in a Shinji-esque "I musn't run away" deal. He is under the influence of a mind-altering genjutsu at the time. Inflicting pain by stabbing himself allows him to break the illusion.
- A third time in the manga, Naruto lets himself get stabbed in the hand by Kabuto, to get close enough to hit him with the Rasengan.
- Done during Naruto's fight with Pain. This time both hands are pierced with Pain's chakra rods, pinning them to the ground and also paralyzing him.
- One Piece:
- In the Arlong Arc, Nami pretends to stab Usopp to give him the chance to escape from the villains. In order to make it look more believable, she stabs herself through the hand instead.
- An Establishing Character Moment for Bellamy in the manga during the Jaya arc, when he plays a game of cards against a fellow pirate and loses. He stabs the man's hand before knocking him out of the second story window.
- Vice Admiral Momonga stabbed himself through the hand to block Boa Hancock's lust-inducing abilities from turning him into stone. She was impressed.
- In the Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force manga, Cypha of Hückebein activates her powerful React mode by plunging a dagger into her left palm (so that it enters her wrist — ouch). However, thanks to her crazy Healing Factor, she doesn't even wince.
- Miranda Lotto gets her hands nailed to a clock by the sadistic Road Kamelot.
- Later in the manga, Apochryphos pins Tyki Mikk to the wall by his hands, then grows nails out of his hands which impale Tyki's palms
- During the infamous "Hundred Man Killer" fight in Berserk, Guts catches a crossbow bolt in his palm to prevent it from hitting him in a more vital area. He kills the archer, breaks the bolt and continues to fight one-handed.
- In Sanctuary, Hojo Akira must prove his resolve to join the Yakuza. He does this by stabbing his own hand through and through with a knife, without hesitation. He sweats a little bit from the effort, and thinks 'it hurts so much I could cry.' But Hoja's expression does not change throughout the ordeal. His mentor, Mr. Tokai, notes later that no-one else has ever shown him the guts Hoja demonstrated.
- In Maiden Rose after Berkut puts his hand beneath Taki's chin mid-fight and mocks him, Taki hurls Berkut across the cabin and pins his hand to the ground with his sword.
- In Rebuild of Evangelion, Shinji's hands are pierced by Sahaqiel's anthropomorphic thing. Later, he's seen wearing bandages on his hands. Given that it's Eva...
- Happens to Kurogane in Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle as part of his Deus Angst Machina back story.
- Showcasing how mind-fucked all three characters involved are, the first team called Zero drives a nail into Soubi's palm in Loveless.
- In The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, Asakura stabs Kyon in the chest through his hands.
- Similarly to the above, in Dogs: Bullets & Carnage Badou got a sword stabbed through his hand and into his eye.
- In Princess Tutu at one point when Drosselmeyer takes control of Fakir and forces him to write the story of Ahiru's death, which would then come true, he stabs his own hand with a letter-opener to stop it from writing.
- In YuYu Hakusho, Kurama throws a rose Tuxedo Mask-style through Karasu's hand. Karasu is completely unimpressed and pulls it out.
- During one fight in AIKI, Hou Mei blocks a dagger with her bare hand... which lets her counterattack freely now that the opponent's weapon is stuck through her palm.
- When Darcia returns to his ransacked mansion in Wolf's Rain, he finds one of his servants with her hands nailed to the door.
- In Dance in the Vampire Bund, the entrances to the temples in South America and under Mt. Fuji can only be unlocked by vampire blood...provided by twin blades skewering the hand of the vampire in question.
- Preacher: Bad guy drives a knife all the way through her hand. Into a car dashboard. Tulip eventually gathers the strength to pull it off by herself (excruciating pain included) in order to get free and save her boyfriend.
- Bullseye gets a taste of his medicine and then some, when Daredevil pushes his hands into the path of a bullet. While fighting in a church. In another instance, The Punisher (who was going through a difficult period in his life and decided not to kill him) shot Bullseye in both hands in revenge for framing him for the murder of an innocent family.
- In the Painkiller Jane/Vamperella crossover, Jane shows Vamp that she is tough enough to hang with vampires when she slams her hand through a letter spike then asks to shake on the new partnership with the spike still in her hand.
- In ElfQuest, Shuna willingly subjects herself to this trope when Strongbow is falling to his death from a cliff. With nothing but bare stone for him to aim a cord-trailing arrow at, she extends her hand and allows him to shoot it through her palm, after which other elves can pull the archer to safety.
- In The Punisher MAX stoy arc "In the Beginning", Frank Castle is being attacked by an Ax-Crazy tank named Pittsy. Pittsy beats the Punisher's face into hamburger, then grabs a nastily large shard of broken glass and proceeds to stab him repeatedly with it. Crowning Moment of Awesome when Castle resolves the situation by catching the glass in his palm...then snapping off the larger part of it, picking up Pittsy and throwing him out a window.
- Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth has Batman impaling his hand on a piece of glass. The original script called for it to be merely scratched but the art depicted the glass going right through his hand.
- In Batman, Ra's Al-Ghul came back from the dead after his body was destroyed. His first attempt was into the body of a martial artist action star, who had poisoned his own body to foil Ra's plans. Ra's took control of the body, but it was dying and numb of feeling. To demonstrate this, Ra's stabs his own hand, and continues to talk to his daughter Talia while his eye is visible staring out the clean, bloodless hole in his palm.
- Wolverine once put some sugar on his hand and described an old trick of killing a fly without scratching one's self while at a bar, then when the fly landed he demonstrated that he was nowhere near that subtle by pinning his hand to the table with his knife (killing the fly) and getting up to confront the man behind him.
- Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Whirl shoots an arrow through the captain's, Megatron's hand, to piss him off and goad him into a fight.
- Constable Angel in Hot Fuzz is stabbed in the palm by a Mall Santa with some scissors.
- Eric Draven in The Crow first demonstrates his regenerating powers by getting shot through the middle of the palm of his hand.
- Roy Batty in Blade Runner keeps himself alive for a few crucial moments longer by driving a nail into his own palm.
- Chuck Noland in Cast Away does this to himself with a sharp piece of wood, which leads to the creation of Wilson.
- In The Butterfly Effect, the main character does this to himself, to get stigmata-like scars on his hands as a little kid, as a part of a complex plan to get his religious present-day cellmate to believe him. (Time Travel is involved.)
- In Eraser, the heroes take cover from a shuriken bomb under the door of a tipped-over refrigerator. Holding it above their heads, Arnold Schwarzenegger's character gets one right through the center of his palm and yanks it straight off.
- Will Scarlet (Christian Slater) in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves has his hand pierced through by Robin's arrow.
- Elektra in the Daredevil movie with her own knife. Pulling it out looks agonisingly painful.
- And Bullseye again, seeing as this scene is derived from the comic books example up top.
- The title character of The Pawnbroker does this to himself at the end of the movie.
- The heroine of the movie Nikita snaps and does this to a policeman with a pencil. She actually stabs it into the back of his hand, which paradoxically looks as though it would hurt more.
- From Dusk Till Dawn: Richard Gekko gets a bullet through his palm. In one scene, he looks through it at his brother.
- Dolph Lundgren's character in Johnny Mnemonic does this to Jane, specifically because he has a Christ complex.
- Blood Simple: Abby nails someone's hand to a windowsill with a steak knife.
- The General: Martin Cahill believes one of his associates betrayed him, so he has someone nail his hands to a pool table.
- Used to great effect in the remake of The Crazies. The victim even manages to kill his attacker, while the knife is *still* impaling his hand.
- In the film Starship Troopers, the main characters are in basic training, learning how to throw knives. One cadet asks Sergeant Zim why throwing knives is important in an age when pressing a button can unleash nuclear weapons with far more power. Zim orders him to lay his hand against a wall, and throws a knife through his palm, pinning it. He explains (while the cadet moans painfully in the background) that by disabling a hand, you can prevent that button from being pressed.
- In Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky, Ricky gets stabbed in the hand and just nonchalantly rips the object out while staring at his aggressor.
- In Hellraiser III: Hell On Earth, Pinhead pulls two nails from his head and shoves them through the palms of his hands, deliberately mocking the resultant crucifixion imagery to freak out Joey.
- In Return of the Living Dead III, Julie shoves a shard of glass into her hand to drown out the pain of her Horror Hunger.
- Solozzo did this to Luca Brasi in the movie version of The Godfather to prevent him reaching for his gun. This is, of course, pure Rule of Scary: in the book Solozzo simply held Brasi's arm.
- There is a further practical purpose to the impalement; it caused Luca to scream in agony, and given that he's immediately garrotted afterward, he dies all the quicker for being unable to take a breath.
- In the film Total Eclipse, which is based on the dysfunctional relationship between poets Arthur Rimbaud and Paul Verlaine, Rimbaud stabs Verlaine's palm with a knife. Verlaine later returns the favor with a bullet.
- The titular protagonist of El Mariachi is shot through the hand by his lover's vengeful ex, preventing him from ever playing guitar again. El Mariachi responds by shooting the man through the chest.
- Happens in a fight in Young Guns 2, and Chavez y Chavez, Lou Diamond Phillips' character, gets stabbed in the hand with a knife. He then proceeds to knock the fuck out of the guy who stabbed him, one of the other young guns, and casually asks if the fight is over and offers the knife back. By pulling it out.
- Ripley 8 does this to herself in Alien: Resurrection to demonstrate her inhuman nature.
- When a sudden eye grows out of protagonist's palm in The Gate, he promptly stabs it with a shard of glass. Oh, and he's just a kid.
Erik: (reading what's engraved on the knife) Blood and Honor. Which would you care to shed first?
- Among the more disturbing images in Ingmar Bergman's Persona is a hand being nailed to something.
- Averted in Stigmata. Frankie's wounds are through her wrists, and she gleefully notes that they should be through her palms if she has stigmata. However, Father Kiernan notes that historic crucifixions were done through the wrist.
- The Passion of the Christ: You'll never guess which scene.
- In Colombiana, the heroine is confronted, as a small girl, with the man who has just killed her parents. He asks her to hand over an object her father has given her for safe keeping, and holds out his hand across a table. She unclips a knife hidden under the table and pins his palm to the tabletop. Ouch.
- Alice suffers this in Resident Evil: Afterlife, due to a surprise knife attack by Bennett.
- Parker does this to give himself a grip so that he can throw an assassin off his balcony.
- Happens to Spider during Elysium. It doesn't slow him down for long.
- Mad Max: Fury Road. Max covers his eyes whenever he has a hallucination of his dead daughter. This instinctive reaction saves his life when a War Boy simultaneously shoots him with a crossbow, giving Max an Impaled Palm instead of an impaled head.
- Fighting creatures in the Redwall series suffer from this a lot, frequently instead of having a weapon go through more vital areas because the author wants to keep them around or make them suffer. A common variation is having their paws pinned to objects by arrows going clear through.
- In the classic Chinese novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the captain of a besieged city is hurling taunts along with his troops down at Sun Ce's army, leaning on a wooden beam with one hand and making rude gestures with the other. Recently recruited Taishi Ci turns to Sun Ce and says "Watch this" before taking his bow and firing a shot that pins the captain's hand to the beam from fifty yards away.
- Two examples from Stephen King:
- In Thinner, the main character is shot through the hand by a gypsy girl with a slingshot. The resultant hole is later drained into a pie in order to pass on his curse.
- In The Dark Half, Thad stabs himself through the hand with a pencil while possessed by the spirit of his own dead pseudonym.
- In Feet of Clay, Carrot deliberately sticks his hand in the path of a villain's silver-tipped crossbow bolt to shield Angua, a werewolf for whom even a superficial wound would've been toxic.
- Also used in The Truth, when William's hand gets impaled by The Spike during the struggle with Mr. Pin. This backfires on Pin when William frantically smacks at his attacker, and "spikes" him in the neck!
- In the fourth The Dresden Files novel, Summer Knight, Harry is forced to drive a letter opener through the back of his own hand by Mab, who did it to prove that she has taken over his debt from Lea.
- Jack Shandy does this to himself, twice in On Stranger Tides as part of the voodoo magic needed to take Blackbeard down. He essentially wields a sword with a spike in the hilt that goes through his hand, because it needs to be touching his blood to cancel out the bad mojo that Blackbeard is using.
- In Neverwhere, Vandemar does this to himself after being unimpressed by Croup's knife-throwing act (in which Croup didn't even hit one of his own fingers). Being a supernatural whatever-the-hell-he-is, he feels no pain and doesn't bleed.
- Grandma Mazur takes an icepick through the hand in the second book of the Stephanie Plum series. While she rallies, it's also one of the more vulnerable moments for the character, as it forces her to admit that she's not as tough as she claims to be.
- In the Spy Fiction Running Blind by Desmond Bagley, the protagonist captures a man he suspects is The Mole, and shoots him through the palm to encourage him to talk. When he's later captured by the KGB, the mole enters the room, straightaway has the KGB put his hand against the wall and shoots him through the palm. This causes problems later when he has to work the bolt of a sniper rifle; he eventually passes out and his girlfriend has to take over.
- Holtz does this to a new recruit as a punishment, but also a test of her determination. When she refuses to remove the awl pinning her hand to the desk and leave, Holtz knows she has what it takes to join him in his Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Angel also saved somebody from being killed by an arrow by catching it through his palm in "War Zone".
- In "Double or Nothing" Angel is playing an Absurdly High-Stakes Game that if he loses will cost him his soul (which will turn him evil). He hands Cordy a wooden stake and says she knows what to do if that happens (an apparent Staking the Loved One trope). When Angel does lose the game, Cordy instead rams the stake through the Big Bad's palm, holding him in place so Angel can lop off his head. This doesn't actually kill the villain (a demon that can regrow his head), but Angel then asks, "Anyone else owe this guy money?" As the assembled onlookers take advantage of the opening to beat the demon into a fine paste, Angel and Cordy skedaddle.
- In an episode of M*A*S*H, Colonel Blake gets a syringe through the palm courtesy of an uncooperative patient.
- Happens to Ducky in NCIS. He's a little miffed as a doctor but since he specializes in forensics, he says he will be fine.
- In Rizzoli & Isles as well as the first novel the tv show is based on, Hoyt uses scalpels to impale Det. Jane Rizzoli to the floor. She ends up with scars in both her palms and the back of her hands.
- She later pays him back by shooting him in the hands, stating "now we match."
- Played for laughs in Scrubs: Dr. Cox' brother-in-law is introduced after he's nailed a piece of wood to his hand with a nail gun. He doesn't seem to care too much about it (because he's been shot full of painkillers). JD, however, immediately faints.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus - A housewife (Terry Jones) shows that tv viewers are indeed idiots by a few demonstrations, one of which involves nailing her own hand to the side of a van and getting dragged away.
- At the tail end of one Stargate SG-1 episode, Col. O'Neill interrupts Heru'ur's attempted Hand Blast by throwing a combat knife through said villain's hand.
- In the Stargate Atlantis episode "The Defiant One", Major Sheppard has to attack an especially persistent Wraith with a knife after they've run out of ammunition. Being able to regenerate, the Wraith just take advantage of being stabbed in the palm to disarm him.
- Thomas from Downton Abbey got himself shipped home from the trenches of World War One by intentionally getting a German sniper to shoot him through the hand.
- In Homeland Quinn does this to Brody with a penknife while interrogating him, either through losing his temper or as a preplanned Rabid Cop act to give someone else the chance to play Good Cop.
- On Heroes, Peter wins a nasty fight against Sylar by blocking the latter's powers, beating the living daylights out of him, and then pins him to a table by driving a nail gun through Sylar's palms and groin.
- From The Borgias, Cesare stabs Giovanni Sforza through the hand with a dinner knife. Giovanni instinctively pulls back and... it's not pretty.
- In Spartacus: War of the Damned Agron is crucified in this manner, rendering him unable to hold a sword after his rescue.
- Notably, the series usually had nails driven through a victim's wrist, as was more practical for holding the body up. Agron, however, had promised to chop off Julius Caesar's head, so the latter made a point of ruining his sword hand.
- Luther. Luther is captured by an Evil Matriarch gangster who wants the location of a witness in protective custody. To make Luther know she means business, her grandson opens the conversation by hammering a nail through Luther's palm into a table. Not to be outdone, Luther pulls out the nail with his other hand when it's time to leave.
Religion and Mythology
- Jesus is often depicted nailed to the cross this way. See Real Life below for why this wouldn't work.
- In Resident Evil 4, Leon does this to one of the villains by throwing his knife. Leon gets it back, since one of said villain's bodyguards throws it back at him. This is a notable example because it's not done for any of the reasons listed above, being instead a Shut Up, Hannibal! showing that, for Leon, the time for bantering with Salazar is over.
- It's possible to do this in Red Dead Redemption with throwing knives and carefully aimed gunshots.
- In Bioshock Infinite Booker can get stabbed through the hand with a knife by an enemy acting like a tram ticket salesman, which you can avoid by realizing he's acting suspicious and shooting him first. If you let him stab Booker, Elizabeth's shoddy bandaging job with part of her dress will remain visible on Booker's hand for the rest of the game.
- An uncommon HEAT action in Yakuza 3 and 4 when Kazuma is holding a knife near a wall is to throw the mook at the wall, then stab his hand against the wall.
- Devil May Cry 3: After being defeated in an intense battle of Sibling Rivalry Dante gets back up and attempts to attack his brother, Vergil with his bare fist. Unfortunately he's not fast enough as Vergil manages to stop his fist by impaling it on his katana. Luckily for Dante, he has regenerating demon powers, so he simply rips his hand out of the blade and it heals almost instantly.
- Girl Genius:
- Von Pinn does this purposely to catch Bang's sword — and crushes the hilt despite the wound.
Von Pinn: I live with pain. I use it. Cultivate it.
- In the "Maxim Buys a Hat" side story, Old Man Death spikes Jäger Maxim's hand to the table with a carving knife. Maxim's only reaction is to lick the blood off the wound.
- All Martellus von Blitzengaard gets from trying to strangle Bangladesh DuPree is an impaled palm.
- Von Pinn does this purposely to catch Bang's sword — and crushes the hilt despite the wound.
- Happens to Bob the Angry Flower repeatedly during the Foment storyline.
- Invoked twice in the same Sluggy Freelance strip to different characters.
- Tower of God: Hon Arkraptor pierces Yeongsook's wand hand while holding her mouth shut.
"Shhhh! There are children listening!"
- Drow Tales: Ariel gets a knife through her hand, pinning her to a table. (The stabber then 'helps' her free herself by cutting her entire arm off at the shoulder.)
- On Futurama, Fry accidentally nails his hand to a sign. A "No Employee Accidents in X Days" sign.
- In one of the first episodes of the Uncancelled Beavis And Butthead, Beavis accidentally screws a screw into his hand when trying to screw it into the butt of one of Stewart's action figures. Then Butthead tries to unscrew it, but ends up screwing it into Beavis' OTHER hand. After the screw is removed (and Beavis overdoses on painkiller pills) he's mistaken by a cult for the reincarnation of their leader - and he's Cornholio, to boot!
- Also in the earlier episode "Wet Behind The Rears" Beavis gets speared through the hand by a javelin.
- In The Simpsons episode "Bye Bye Nerdie" Homer gets shot through his hands (among other places) when he carelessly hands Maggie a nailgun.
- In the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Jellyfishing", Patrick instructs Squidward to hold onto a jellyfish net even though his hand is in a cast. When it doesn't stay on, Patrick jams the handle through, and Squidward's reaction implies it penetrated more than the cast.
Firmly grasp it!
- Despite all known imagery of the Crucifix, likely averted in actual crucifixions. Driving the nails through the palms into the wood would achieve little, as the weight of the person would cause them to tear free. Therefore, the nails would be driven between the bones of the forearm near the wrist. Or people would be tied with rope around the wrists.
- Magician David Blaine does a stunt where he sticks an ice pick through his hand.
- One of the many versions of Pick a Card Penn & Teller did had a blindfolded Penn ready to stab a card on the table while Teller spreads them out and shuffles them around. Naturally, he stabs down before Teller's finished, driving the blade right through Teller's hand— and impaling the Three of Clubs on the blade.