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Anime and Manga
- Martina does this in Slayers with her over the top theatrics and showy displays of devotion to her dark lord, Zomagustar; and firmly believes she draws her power from him. The scary part? Zomagustar doesn't exist, Martina made him up! Despite this, she succeeds in casting a curse on Lina (that actually works!), because her belief in him is THAT strong. And, yes, she IS that crazy!
- Baby Doll from Sucker Punch
- This trope is the essence of the main character in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty", a 1941 short story by James Thurber, and a 1947 movie version starring Danny Kaye. For a few decades after this film came out - from the 1950s to the early 1970s, even - "Walter Mitty" was a shorthand for this trope in everyday life. To call someone a Walter Mitty meant they were made of this trope.
- In Neverwas, Gabriel Finch (Ian McKellen) has a beautiful made-up world of knights and high sorcery that he knows is false, but which he uses to deal with the trauma he's faced.
- Anne of Green Gables skirts close to the trope and sometimes falls prey to it. (The forest incident comes to mind) She grows more grounded as she grows up.
- Stargirl, from the eponymously named book, has some definite moments of this.
- Don Quixote might be considered the Ur-Example. Ironically, it wasn't even the intention of Cervantes, who was hoping to make fun of the ideas for which Quixote fell head over heels, but thanks to Misaimed Fandom, he became very commonly portrayed as this, instead of the Lord Error-Prone that was intended.
- Don Quixote itself is an Unbuilt Trope because, in its attempt to correct the Misaimed Fandom, Cervantes explores all the ramifications of this trope: Don Quixote knows he is just a Impoverished Patrician, he really wants to be an Knight Errant, but few know what are those and even less care. Whenever Reality Ensues, he insists A Wizard Did It. Lord Error Prone is safe because he rejects the reality of everyone and substitutes his own. The second part shows us a lot of people — nobles, bandits, soldiers — organizing Massive Multiplayer Scam that convince Don Quixote he really is a Knight Errant... because they want to mock him. The Only Sane Man calls Don Quixote a fool for making all the others be as mad as he. Only when the novel finishes, Don Quixote realizes that, even when he lived the life of a Knight Errant exactly as the Chivalric Romance books said, he didn't do any good to anyone. So those books were lies. The Fan Disillusionment is so great, he dies.
- Luna Lovegood of Harry Potter although given that she lives in a magic world, she may not be so crazy as she sounds.
- Quentin Coldwater, from The Magicians. Of course, this quality of his is subverted at least once (i.e. his mad dream turns out to not only be true, but to in fact be something of a nightmare).
Live Action TV
- In one episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a demon made Buffy think that she's not really a Slayer, she's a girl in an insane asylum who has delusions of being a Slayer, Sunnydale, her friends, etc. According to the doctor at the hospital, she must kill her True Companions in the fictional world in order to return to the real world. She decides that the world where she's a slayer is the real world and the other is a fictional construct. The Stinger of the episode suggests that she might really be a girl in a mental hospital.
- The girl who is the subject of Lonestar's song "Unusually Unusual".
- Helen Reddy's "Angie Baby:"
Lovers appear in your room each night
And they whirl you across the floor
But they always seem to fade away
When your daddy taps on your door
- In the video for Poets of the Fall's "Lift," "Mark" is a mentally ill prisoner of Poet County Jail who has Hallucinations of moths and a Happy Place filled with illusory bandmates. The psychologists examining him make an effort to transcribe his in-universe Word Salad, which looks suspiciously like song lyrics.
- In Umineko: When They Cry, many of the witches may qualify for this, but Marriage Sorcierre was created with precisely the intention of being a haven for these. As such, Beatrice (and by extension Yasu), Maria and Ange (at least, before she rejected magic) are the most straightforward examples.