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Screw Destiny
...but what we make.

"Can I say something about destiny? Screw destiny! If this evil thing comes we'll fight it, and we'll keep fighting it until we whoop it. 'Cause destiny is just another word for inevitable and nothing's inevitable as long as you stand up, look it in the eye, and say 'You're evitable!'"
Fred, Angel

There are those characters who are mere Cosmic Playthings in the scheme of an implacable Fate Because Destiny Says So. And then there are those who don't care about that philosophical mumbo-jumbo and believe that as strong, free-willed individuals, there's no reason why they shouldn't decide their own futures. Screw destiny and all the others who try to discourage them; they're not going to fulfill the prophecy of world destruction because they're the Big Bad's descendant, or become a sacrificial magician. They're going to become who they want to be.

Note that it's only a true Screw Destiny if the characters actually succeed in evading fate. If they fail or succeed but fulfill the prophecy anyway, it becomes You Can't Fight Fate and a strike against faith in individuality. If they set out to Set Right What Once Went Wrong via time travel, and end up making it happen, it becomes You Already Changed The Past. Occurs frequently when rival seers engage in Scry vs. Scry. A hero who screws destiny by pressing on regardless of, or even against, a prophecy, becomes The Unchosen One. If one particular character has this ability while everyone else is helpless against it, then they would be Immune to Fate. If they get ahold of the Tomes of Prophecy and Fate, they might literally rewrite their fate.

Villains often try this as well, particularly in regards to prophecies concerning their downfall. Unlike with heroes who take the Screw Destiny route, this never works, as often, the means that villains employ to try to do this (which often involve attempts to stop the hero from being born or kill him when he is still a child) will come back to bite them hard, and will only serve to ensure their ultimate downfall in the end.

On the Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate, stories where it is possible are Types 2 through 5 on the scale, with Type 2 being by far the most difficult.

An Aesop delivered in shows based around this trope is that what ultimately determines the worth of a human's life is not some sadistic deity or vague cosmic assembly, but the choices of the human himself.

When someone is pushed dangerously close to the Despair Event Horizon, they may prefer this trope's opposite: Resigned to the Call.

Likewise, sometimes this can turn out to be an example of You Can't Fight Fate in disguise, since the character's attempt to beat fate ultimately turns out to be what fulfills it (ala Oedipus Rex, the moral of which is that while Man can't beat fate, at least he doesn't have to look at it). Or it in can turn out to be a Self-Defeating Prophecy, where the disaster could never have been averted if the supposed doom hadn't prompted the character to try.

Winds of Destiny, Change and Immune to Fate are about having the ability to screw destiny as a superpower; the former is changing the odds to favor you instead while the latter is just being flat out immune to fate.

Compare Off the Rails.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Corrector Yui discovers that she's not really The Chosen One. Her best friend Haruna Missed the Call. Haruna herself is Brainwashed and Crazy by the Big Bad, subliminally uses her power to convince the Correctors to fight each other, and she's holding Yui's crush hostage. All without her real knowledge since Grosser pulls the strings from behind as she "reunites" the Correctors, thinking she's sparing Yui from the dangers of being a Corrector. Yui witnesses all this in a matter of days. She doesn't take this very well, but eventually decides that becoming a hero was always her dream, and no amount of ordination can take that from her. And not only she gets her Corrector status back, but she also manages to revert Haruna's brainwashing.
  • Midori Sugiura in Mai-HiME. She may not have been the mastermind behind the Grand Plan to Cheat Destiny (the credit goes to Mashiro), but she was perhaps the only character who truly believed that fate was nothing next to determination, not to mention the only HiME who actively participated in the successful plan.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! as a whole is big on this. If there's one thing that the whole franchise as a whole seems to teach, repeatedly, is that Fate is not set in stone and that mortals can control their own futures.
    • Yugi's Millennium Puzzle gives him the power to alter fate. By the final duel, he's mastered it enough to be able to draw whatever card he wants without fail.
      • This may actually be a subversion if you look at it from a perspective. Their ability for the "destiny draw" means that they are actively controlling the cards that they pull, but are still under the control of their cards. A running theme that they have is that Destiny has a habit of catching up no matter how you fight it and the ability to pull whatever card you want out of your deck only facilitates it because these players are literally playing into the hands of destiny. This is especially apparent in the Duelist Kingdom arc where the Destiny draw would actually work in Pegasus' favor while just playing blindly actually got results. (In fact, there are only four duels in the entire franchise where a duelist has drawn a card that wasn't useful; one of them was Yugi, who got two bad draws in a row in his duel with Mai.)
    • Ishizu Ishtar in the original Yu-Gi-Oh! has the ability to see the future, and predicts many things in relation to our heroes, the villain, and the tournament in the Battle City arc. However, she loses this ability after Anti-Hero Kaiba defies his predicted defeat to her by his own vision of his past self. From Battle City onwards, half of Kaiba's dialogue is pretty much "Screw Destiny!" even after it's clear that he can't fight fate.
    • In the second season of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, the hero is sought out by the villain for his power to defy destiny and overturn the results the villain sees in his premonitions. Despite several prophecies coming true (including one for the next season), the overall impression is that it's seeing or trying to see the future that robs one of power over their fate, and Your Mind Makes It Real.
      • Not coincidentally, Saiou, the villain who claims that You Can't Fight Fate, tries this himself by defying his own predictions at least once, and fails. When he tries to use a Brainwashed Asuka against Judai and he draws the Sun card, which he interprets as meaning the warmth and friendship he gets from her, he gives her the White Night Deck, which represents light without warmth, and drains her of emotion, turning her cruel and heartless. This plan not only fails miserably, but Asuka defects from the Society of Light as a result, costing him a valuable minion. (By then Saiou's sanity was getting progressively worse.)
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds , Yusei, Jack, and Crow during their match against Rex Goodwin Pretty much state that they will beat him, even if it means flipping Fate the bird. This is further compounded by Yusei summoning Savior Star Dragon near the end, who only shows up when it's time to spit in Destiny's face.
    • Rex himself had a goal with this type of attitude. He wanted to stop what he believed was a "vicious cycle" of good and evil fighting each over again and again, something that was supposedly fated to happen repeatedly until the end of time. One could say he had somewhat of a noble cause, but his way of doing it (destroying the world and then remaking it) was the wrong approach.
    • Yu Gi Oh Zexal features a villain named Syuta Hayami who believes that his Number card gives him the ability to alter Fate itself, and make his predictions come true. Astral, however, realize that what he actually does is create Self-Fulfilling Prophecies that fool his victims into making them come true. Yuma manages to defeat him by defying his prediction.
      • Also in Zexal, it at first would seem that Shark and Rei are taking the opposite route when they make a Face-Heel Turn and join the Barians. On the contrary, they do so on their own terms, out of a sense of responsibility as leaders of the race.
      • Astral defies the destiny that Elphias sets aside for him to destroy the Barian world, leading to a CMOA moment for Yuma as he duels the godlike being for Astral's life and freedom.
  • In Naruto the plot of the entire fourth movie (the first Shippuuden movie) which begins with Naruto's death being shown. Shion, a girl with the ability to see into the future, realizes that either she or Naruto will die. She decides to save Naruto, but he charges in, rescues her, and unleashes a Rasengan the size of a Combined Energy Attack on The Dragon, saving them both.
    • And lets not forget that Neji's whole character development is about learning that fate is something we make. His death is a result of this, as he willingly chose to die in order to protect Hinata and Naruto. Just like his father, it wasn't out of duty to the Main Branch, but out of love for his friends and family.
    • It's a major theme of the entire show. At least in the first series, with Naruto, Hinata and Rock Lee pretty much all saying "screw destiny" and fighting on.
      • It has been noted this has become somewhat ironic with recent revelations. Naruto is prophesied to bring either order or destruction to the world, which he fully intends to do, and has even admitted he plans to face the fate seen in the Toad Sage's latest vision. It's just that nobody knew this was his destiny before.
  • In CLAMP's Magic Knight Rayearth, the entire fate of the world of Cephiro is entrusted to a person entitled "the Pillar." This person, who has the strongest will in all of Cephiro, must dedicate their mind entirely to it's well-being. Any consideration to themselves will cause the entire system to collapse. The result of denying this in the anime has the Messianic Archetype facing against her Enemy Without and the Anthropomorphic Personification of Cephiro's despair, while the manga took things farther; she challenges God himself to change the system.
  • In Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle, also by CLAMP, the main characters have taken the Screw Destiny route multiple times, often apparently going along with a prophecy right up until the moment of decision in order to prevent their opposition from being able to formulate counter-strategies.
    • Interestingly, basically everything that happens, however, is the consequence of one hero trying to fight Fate by going back in time, borking the entire space-time continuum. So, you can fight fate, it just screws things up really, really, really badly.
    • Played straight with the villain, however. His entire plan was to save someone's life from a predicted death. His plan to save her prompted her to pull a Heroic Sacrifice to save one of the victims of his plan.
  • Subverted in The Vision of Escaflowne, in a number of ways.
    • The first is that Escaflowne itself is forged to alter destiny to suit its use. Controlling it becomes the Big Bad's goal simply so his advanced plans for controlling events through his precognitive visions won't be disrupted.
    • The Big Bad's final goal, however, is sort of a Family-Unfriendly Aesop: he creates an "Absolute Fortune Field" which gives anyone inside it their fondest desires. In theory. However, when applied to a coalition of armies bent on bringing him down, it turns out their alliance was built on "enemy of my enemy" principles, and given the Absolute Fortune Field's effects, it disintegrates as each faction tries to conquer the world themselves and the conflicting desires threaten to bring about the apocalypse.
  • In the beginning of Princess Tutu, everyone is being directed by a slightly insane author, of whose actions a few are vaguely aware. However, Fakir and Ahiru learn their original, tragic fates and set out to change them.
  • In episode 12 of Scrapped Princess, it is revealed that Pacifica is capable of screwing with the divine plan of the Peacemakers, since she was one of the few who weren't programmed from birth to follow their every wish.
  • The Brand of Sacrifice on Guts's neck in Berserk is a double-edged sword - it draws demons to him, but because he didn't die when he was supposed to, he's now an unpredictable factor in Fate. Screwing destiny over becomes his purpose in life after that, much to the surprise and amusement of the Godhand.
    • This one's perhaps best expressed in Guts's declaration of war on the demons from the manga, which can be found in the Quotes Wiki part of this page and which ranks as perhaps the most badass speech in the entire series.
      • Hell, probably the most Bad Ass speech in telling destiny to go screw itself.
  • The protagonists in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann would much rather GIGAAA DRILLL BREAAAAK...aherm, drill a hole through destiny in the most awesome and over-the-top way possible than submit to it.
    Simon: Don't underestimate us! We don't care about time or space or multi-dimensional-whatevers! We don't give a damn about that! Force your way down a path you choose to take and do it all yourself! That's the way Team Dai-Gurren rolls!
    • And another...
    The Anti-Spiral: You continue to struggle even knowing what you know!?
    Simon: Of course we do! The tomorrow we're trying to grab for ourselves... Is not the tomorrow that you've set out for us! It's the tomorrow that we choose for ourselves—a tomorrow that we choose out of all of the infinite universes! We'll fight our way through! We'll keep fighting and protect the universe! We'll stop the Spiral Nemesis, too!
  • Orihime from Bleach literally has the power to do this.
    • What she does, as Aizen ably described, is rejection of events through her Shun Shun Rikka, of which at least the Santen Kesshun (which repels attacks) and the Souten Kisshun (which "rewinds" wounds to a healing point, like she did to an one-armed Grimmjow, for example) are known to do this (not quite the case with the Koten Zanshun, which is an attacking technique). So, by stopping an enemy from hitting her or undoing potentially deadly wounds, she's basically giving destiny a "screw you".
    • It doesn't really have to be wounds either. Theoretically, it could be anything, including birth, aging and next tier power ups.
  • Late in Love Hina, and after the Love Hina anime (long story), there is a plot involving a magic building that makes two people destined to marry each other. It sets up Keitaro and Kanako. More specifically, it fails at setting up Keitaro and Kanako, Naru lets Kanako fix it because she's too busy angsting to do it herself manages to beat it, with the building collapsing from the strain of attempting to keep it fixed.
  • Screwing Destiny is the core plot of Ann Cassandra. The main characters, Kizaki and Nanaki, strive to prevent the predictions of calamity they have from occurring. In particular, Kizaki knows that he is predicted to die at the age of 20, which drives him to disrupt predictions in the hope that doing so will enable him to avert his own death when the time comes. At the same time, Kizaki takes advantage of his destiny by running all kinds of risks in the course of his quest, confident that he won't die until he turns 20 in three years' time.
  • Code Geass: When Lelouch learns that the fate of every Geass "Witch" is to give up their immortality to a sufficiently-powerful Geass User and then die, and that C.C. intends to do so with his father the Emperor, he encourages her to say "Screw Destiny!" It works, but you'd better believe there's a catch...
  • In Ikki Tousen, almost each character is the reincarnation of the legendary heroes of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. They all know how this legacy affects them, and several of them try to go either fully or partially against their fate. Such as Toutaku (Dong Zhuo) trying to kill Hakufu (Sun Ce) and then dying on his own terms, Koukin (Zhou Yu) being strongly driven to protect Hakufu so she doesn't die before her time, Goei (Lady Wu) making sure the Nanyou team is disqualified from the tournament so Hakufu's Superpowered Evil Side doesn't come up to the surface... etc.)
  • In X/1999, it is foreseen that Kamui will be unavoidably killed by Fuma when they fight their final battle, and thus the Earth will be destroyed. Kamui fulfills only half the prophecy - by letting Fuma kill him without a fight, he redeems Fuma and prevents the Earth's destruction.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kaworu orders Shinji to kill him so that humanity can survive, even though it is Kaworu's destiny to live forever, though he will eventually reunite with Adam and destroy humanity. Because of his love for Shinji, he decides not to. Then Shinji wishes everyone would just die, so it's mildly subverted.
    • It can also be argued (if one tries to piece together the premise and plot of End of Evangelion) that Shinji willfully sabotaged the Instrumentality Project by opting out of it (himself being the only person on Earth in a position to do so, protected, as he were, by Unit-01's AT Field and not eaten by MP Evas like Asuka).
  • Rakan from Mahou Sensei Negima! is fighting a Reality Warper. Said reality warper proves that fighting is futile and that the outcome is already decided - calling Rakan a "puppet" and causing Rakan to suddenly be having a tea party with him mid-punch. Rakan's response is to get out the big guns, and more or less say "Puppet this!". With his now-metal fists.
    Heh. "Illusions"? "Puppets"? Heheh, screw that crap!!
  • This is Garrod Ran's attitude in Gundam X, in stark contrast to his Waif Prophet girlfriend Tifa, who initially believes You Can't Fight Fate. At the end of the series, the first Newtype says that Garrod's refusal to accept "fate" is precisely what allowed him to change it.
  • Psyren's entire point is this trope. They're screwing destiny, bit by bit.
  • The titular Golem of Break Blade was engraved with a message by its builders. Translated, the message is simply "Go, And Defy Your Destiny". Said golem only works for Un Sorcerers.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura is obsessed with saving Madoka from the depths of despair that have inevitably befallen her in other timelines.
    • Note that the Big Bad is also desperate to prevent the end of the universe. They do this by turning little girls into Eldritch Abominations. This itself is subject to the attitude, so there doesn't seem to be a win-win solution for the problem.
    • And the biggest example of all: In the Grand Finale, Madoka uses her wish and the immense magical power she's built up due to Homura's "Groundhog Day" Loop to rewrite reality so that no magical girl, past, present, or future, in any timeline, will ever become a witch. Not only did she avoid her own nasty fate, not only did she keep preventing the end of the universe, she also screwed over the Incubators' system where all Puella Magi are forced to either die or become witches. Damn.
  • Cage of Eden gives us the clairvoyant Mami, who has a nasty habit of predicting death. At least that's what her manager wants everyone to think. At least until Mami predicts the deaths of her group, including her own death. Sengoku doesn't like that and shows up to save her from extinct crocodiles. When Mami responds that she will die the next time then, Sengoku responds "In that case, I'll save you again!" followed by a short pause then "Right, everyone!?" Cue a shot of everyone beating the crap out of said extinct crocodiles.
  • In Eureka Seven movie, Eureka told Renton that her lifespan is running out and doesn't have long to live as an Image. If Image is gone, so will she as well as evident by Anemone and Nirvash's fate. In the end, it turns out she screwed destiny by being reborn as a human being, free of her ties to Image. The catches are that all of her memories will be wiped and she needs Renton's survival and memories in order to create dreams to sustain her existence.
  • The destiny of the Lunar and Solar Mikos in Kannazuki no Miko is to be (re)born simultaneously into this world, fall in love with each other, turn sixteen, defeat the Orochi, have one kill the other, then have the whole incident erased from everyone's memories, including their own. Rinse and repeat. However, their love is so powerful that they eventually say bollocks and break the cycle of reincarnation, with Chikane returning to Himeko still on the latter's lifetime.
  • The entire plot of Enigme has the protagonist Haiba Sumio always trying to screw destiny towards his dream diary ability which foretells the future, and he proves to be good at it.
  • In Mawaru-Penguindrum, some of the characters love fate and some hate fate (and we get monologues from both perspectives.) Some of the characters fight against fate, most notably Kanba, who is willing to do anything to change fate and save his dying little sister.
    • The final episode ESPECIALLY doesn't hold back on this trope; Ringo rewrites fate to save Himari. However, this comes at the price of Kanba and Shouma (Himari's brothers) sacrificing their lives in order to save Himari and Ringo respectively, as Ringo would otherwise die as a punishment from changing fate.
  • Deconstructed in Kurokami. Destiny isn't something that should be screwed with in the first place, so if you somehow accidentally manage to stay alive when it's decreed that you should've been killed off, bad shit will keep happening to you and the people around you until you finally do die. And trying to stay alive on purpose means that you have to kill others and drain their life force to keep on living.
    • Further deconstructed with the ultimate plan of the Big Bad. He wants to completely dismantle the destiny-decreeing-death system and save the earth by killing off a third of the world's human population.
  • Like above example, also deconstructed in Magi - Labyrinth of Magic. The Rukh naturally guide everything and everyone to their supposed destiny. Refusing your destiny will taint your Rukh black, which can be used by Al-Sarmen to fuel their Black Magic. Worse, using Black Magic will leave you withered once you decide not to use it. This is because the White Rukh doesn't actually control anyone. On the contrary, it embodies free will and the power to choose your own path. People who blame fate for their problems are actually surrendering to destiny, not fighting it.
  • In the final season of Armored Trooper VOTOMS, Chirico is offered godhood by Wiseman, an ancient computer system that has been manipulating civilization for millennia. He has been groomed by Wiseman for this fate his entire life. Naturally, he destroys Wiseman, first by shooting it, and then by dismantling it piece by piece.
  • This is actually a core mechanic of Mirai Nikki, since the players in Deus' survival game receive Dead End flags as warnings of their imminent death. The main course of action after receiving a flag is for the characters to freak out and go against the actions written in their future diaries in order to negate the events leading to the Dead End.
  • In a late manga story arc, the characters of Urusei Yatsura accidentally visit the place where futures are created in the form of handles to apply to a door. Upon seeing both the already fixed future (previously seen in a time travel chapter, where Ataru marries Shinobu and has a son with her, Lum marries Mendou and Ran is fixated on killing Lum) and a number of alternative futures (including one where Ataru succeeded in his goal of getting a harem), the characters perform one of the most epic instances of this trope by physically destroy all the handles and doors to unfix the future, with Ataru personally destroying the harem future because Lum wasn't in the harem.

    Comic Books 
  • The titular hero of Hellboy is practically an Anthropomorphic Personification of screwing destiny. Several of the occult nasties he confronts express amazement that there even is a confrontation, proclaiming his ostensible fate as a future lynchpin of the Apocalypse ... but he's already got a job, thanks, and he's not interested in outside offers.
    • At one point, he even interrupts Hecate's lecture on his destiny by shouting, "Screw you!"
    • In the movie, both sides make compelling arguments:
      Agent Myers: You have a choice!
      Grigori Rasputin: No you don't!
      • It's noted several times that the fact that Hellboy is capable of screwing destiny is the reason the Fae and aliens have neglected to nuke him, and gives them hope that the coming Apocalypse may be averted.
      • It's also noted, however, that his decision to not awaken Ogdru Jahad may not have any effect on the coming Apocalypse. A lot of the people getting visions of the future don't see the Apocalypse being caused by him, but by someone else using his severed hand. Hellboy may not be personally destined for this role, after all (and Ogdru Jahad knows that enough people have almost stolen that purpose from him to do it themselves...).
  • The six-issue comic book series The Chronicles Of Wormwood stars Danny Wormwood, who happens to be the Antichrist. He's not interested in ushering in the end of the world, though, and he's not shy about telling his father to get stuffed.
  • In a non-Beast of the Apocalypse example, The Challengers of the Unknown at DC, after not dying in a plane crash, became the only people who weren't in Destiny's book. That meant they were unpredictable, and saved the universe at least once due to this.
  • In the Batman story "To Kill A Legend", Batman and Robin are transported to an Alternate Universe where the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents is about to unfold. Robin has misgivings about interfering with destiny, but when push comes to shove he can't just watch innocents die and decides "To blazes with destiny!". Batman beats him to it, however. The epilogue reveals that the incident makes such an impression on this universe's Bruce Wayne that he grows up to emulate the mysterious figure who had saved his parents.
  • Used a little oddly, but nonetheless awesomely, in The Sandman, in which humanity is able to alter its entire destiny simply by having all humans dream all at once, completely rewriting all the laws of the universe and in the process dramatically shifting its place within said universe.
    • Supposedly cats can do this, too. Then again, the whole thing was a story told by cats... it's hard to pick out what is real and what isn't in the Sandman. Though, by implication at least, Destiny's book is never wrong, and would probably include such a dream. And even that gets called into question near the end of the series. Delirium at one point tells Destiny that his book doesn't cover everything.
    • One of the cats that hears the story doesn't believe it will ever happen, because no one — cat, man, demon, or god — could convince a thousand cats to agree on anything.
  • Used a lot in X-Men, with several issues being about them averting some "pre-destined" tragedy. Certain mutants can see the future, however, Destiny being one of them. Mystique does screw Destiny to "father" Rogue.
  • In Watchmen Ozymandias predicts the coming of the nuclear war and decides to do whatever is necessary to head it off and heal the rift between East and West.
  • Cade Skywalker in Star Wars: Legacy puts it regarding his 'fate' as a Skywalker: "Destiny? I call it karking slavery!"
  • In ElfQuest, elves who refuse to become lifemates with someone they've Recognized count as this trope, particularly if they resort to bashing their Recognized one's head in with a club, like Dodia did to Door.
  • The reason that Adam Warlock can fight Thanos during The Infinity Gauntlet saga is because he stands outside the loop of destiny, and can therefore do things that no one else could.
  • A sci-fi example in Paperinik New Adventures: A time traveller warns about a major disaster that will destroy a large part of Duckburg, killing thousands - but the resident Time Police (supposedly the good guys) are doing everything in their power to make sure it goes down 'like it's supposed to'. After all, in their time, it's already happened. Obviously, Paperinik (Donald Duck's superhero alter ego) isn't going to take that lying down.
  • The entire point of the series Lucifer: pretty much all the protagonist's actions are aimed at escaping God's plan.
  • "Screw Destiny"- Kyle Rayner, November 2004
  • Lucifer tries to do this to the Anthropomorphic Personification of Because Destiny Says So, Destiny of the Endless by forcibly ripping out pieces of The Book of Destiny (which, basically, is Destiny in book form; the book contains everything that has or will happen in Creation) and burning it.
    Lucifer: There. Now we're both in the dark.
    Destiny: No. Now you look at the ashes. **Lucifer does so; the ashes tell him what will happen next** And now you change your mind.
    • During his mainstream appearances in DC comics outside the Vertigo imprint, Destiny has indeed been screwed several times, to the point of having his Book (which was chained to his arm and physically a part of him in Sandman and Lucifer) taken from him.

    Fan Fiction 
  • This trope, along with other tropes about fate and prophecy, is one of the central themes of the Redwall fanfic The Urthblood Saga, where the titular character receives a prophecy foretelling of a dark crisis that will sweep over the world, and gathers a huge army with the goal of uniting the lands under his power in order to prevent it. At the same time, he does often slip into the You Can't Fight Fate mindset over other details about the future, and since the story is not yet finished it's still unclear whether this trope or the more fatalistic one will come true in the end.
  • In Koihime Musou Tales Of The Armored War Gods, this seems to be the goal of the Rinjyuken Akugata, via preventing the kingdom of Shu from ever existing, with the preferred method being the removal of the future key figures of Shu. However, their actual reasoning has not yet been revealed. Also, it should be noted that this is also the motive of Masataka (Kamen Rider Zangetsu), though it is portrayed as more well intentioned, and the execution method is completely different.
  • In With Strings Attached, while the others are sitting around waiting for As'taris to do something with Paul, who has been turned into a diamond statue, they discuss the fact that he got no magic. John, who had gotten his water-charm at the same time Paul was diamondized, speculates that Paul was supposed to get it and plans to give it to him once he's restored to normal. Which prompts the following exchange:
    In a low voice George said, “Maybe he really isn't meant to have magic, or he'd have gotten your gem the first time.”
    “That,” said John darkly, “is the best reason in the world for me to give it to him. Nobody's gonna mean anythin' for us except us.”
  • The fanfic White Devil of the Moon has Nanoha pretty much do this to her past life and what is expected of her as the reincarnation of Princess Serenity. This has major repercussions as she refuses to reignite her past romance with Mamoru so she can be with Fate and drives Luna to the point where she might end up deciding to find ways to get Nanoha to accept her destiny no matter what.
  • This is the whole point of No Chance For Fate as it begins with Sailor Pluto breaking a Stable Time Loop due to a random factor ( Ranma's birth) and being determined to prevent the future that led to the creation of the time loop in the first place.
  • In the Star Trek fanfic Written in the Stars, Fem!Kirk tries to do this when told that she and Spock were married in the original universe. After falling in love with Spock, she decides to just go with it.
  • You Can Fight Fate, story three of the Hard Reset fanfic trilogy. It's there in the title. Twilight eventually finds out just why the Elements of Harmony kept exploding in the first story when disharmony and chaos got too much. They're working for a 'perfect' world with NO conflict or chaos. Twilight objects.

    Film 
  • This is one of the major themes of the 300 graphic novel and movie. It helps that the oracular priests who told the Spartans not to fight fate were not only total bastards, but were bribed by the Persians to say this. Which is the exact opposite of what happened IRL, where the Oracle specifically told King Leonidas that either a Spartan King must die or a Persian King would rule in Sparta.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, the prince was given a second chance to change history completely when he travelled back in time in the ending, sparing the lives of those who are supposed to die.
  • Subverted very strongly in The Devils Advocate when Keanu Reeves' character goes so far as to blow his own brains out to defy his Satanic father, only to end up sucked right back into a different type of honey trap by the Devil in another guise after choosing differently once the Reset Button is pushed.
  • Seen in Happy Accidents When Vincent D'Onofrio's character tries to Save Marisa Tomei's life...
  • Terminator
    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day ends in one big example when John and Sarah Connor take every conceivable measure to make sure Skynet never even gets built, much less cause a nuclear holocaust. But it's a You Can't Fight Fate in disguise, because their attempts result in a Temporal Paradox that facilitates Skynet being built via a Stable Time Loop. Also, they completely overlooked the fact that the US government likely had records on Dyson's research, and simply had a team working on it in secrecy beyond what could be researched by the likes of Sarah and John Connor.
      • Dyson says they had to destroy everything, which is what they do. The intended idea was to leave the idea open to whether or not they succeeded, rather than it being a straight up You Can't Fight Fate scenario.
    • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, completely ignored the message and went right back to You Can't Fight Fate (though John Connor does try to invoke this trope by name at least once). To be fair Terminator 2 was itself an instance of ignoring the You Can't Fight Fate message of the first film. The huge popularity of T2 has resulted in a certain amount of Sequel Displacement, so T3 (which in several respects is thematically closer to the first movie) gets a lot of flak over this issue.
    • Played to the hilt in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, where the finale for the second season ends with the series tossing out the most basic, fundamental caveat of the entire Terminator setting: John Connor chooses to travel forward in time past Judgment Day, thereby traveling to a future where he isn't humanity's savior - and the resistance is intact and fighting without him.
    • Played straight with the cyborg in Terminator Salvation. Skynet miscalculated and allowed him to have an all-too-human mind. This backfired on Skynet, as he was able to subvert his own programming and fight against Skynet.
  • The Matrix Trilogy:
    • Subverted in The Matrix. The Oracle has a pretty good grasp on people's reactions to prophecy, so she tells Neo (and others) exactly what they need to know for the future to come to pass. In particular, she tells Neo that Morpheus will die because of his mistaken belief that Neo is The One. When Neo says "screw destiny!" and charges in to rescue him, he realizes that he is The One after all.
    • This is played out on a grander scale in Reloaded and Revolutions when it is discovered that the Prophecy about The One is a lie and just another means of control by the Machines, and that The One is not meant to end the war at all, but to perpetuate it by selecting the next inhabitants of the new Zion once the current Zion is destroyed by the Machines, like so many other Ones before him. Neo is the first One to defy this system of control and bring about the true end of the war.
    • The Oracle also comments that "no one can see beyond a choice they don't understand", meaning she can tell people something that MAY happen, yet it's their choice what to do with it. The Architect, she notes, can't see past any choice.
    • When Agent Smith asks Neo why he continues to fight in the face of inevitable defeat, his reply is: "Because I choose to."
  • The premise of Minority Report. At first, it seems that You Can't Fight Fate, but by the end, knowing your destiny is enough to give you the choice to change it.
    • In the short story the movie is based on, it happens a little bit differently. There are three prophesies made in quick succession, some of which show the main character committing murder but others don't (or show him committing a different murder). The difference is because the first two prophesies each affected the ones that followed them. Basically, seeing a prophecy that he would kill a certain person inspired him to kill a different person, and seeing that prophecy led him to kill the first person after all.
  • Arguably the main theme in Paycheck. The main character uses a time machine to see his own death in the future and spends the rest of the movie trying to change his fate. Ironically, he ultimately succeeds while the villains, who are trying to fulfill what the time machine shows and predicts, fail.
  • Briefly parodied in MirrorMask, when Valentine sees that in the future, he will be an overworked waiter feeding Indian food to yuppies. "NO I DON'T WANT TO BE A WAITER!" Luckily, his prediction gives him the necessary knowledge to avoid this fate by not betraying the heroine.
  • One of the classic examples of this is in Lawrence of Arabia where a camp follower strays into the desert and all the Arab chiefs demand that he be abandoned, because bedouin have enough experience of the desert to fear it. One of them says "it is written." At which point Lawrence goes into the desert to search for lost man saying, "Nothing is written." Then he brings him back. Then the man Lawrence rescues murders another man from a rival tribe and Lawrence is forced to conduct the execution himself to prevent a feud, making you wonder if "it was written" after all. Thus this example could be either a played straight or a subversion.
  • In Next, Nicolas Cage's character, Cris Johnson, is able to break through the common science fiction cliche that, even with the power to tell the future, destiny is unchangeable. In fact, the whole movie's tagline is that "If you can see the future, you can save it."
  • Gattaca is basically a biological take.
  • Outlander: Kainan's philosophy is "There is no gods. There is no fate. There is only me." In his case, this was as much about taking responsibility for his own mistakes as it was about forging his own path.
  • Reversed in Back to the Future. Doc originally is very vocal about not finding out too much about one's own destiny, believing that subverting destiny could be potentially world-destroying, but eventually gives in and tapes Marty's letter back together, learning of his death in 1985 and thus being able to prevent it.
    • In Part II, we learn that Marty wound up in an auto accident because he got called "chicken", leading to him working in a menial job that he gets fired from after being called "chicken" again. After considerable Character Development in Part III, he avoids the auto accident, and a message telling him "You're fired" gets erased.
      Jennifer: Dr. Brown, I brought this note back from the future and now it's erased.
      Doc: Of course it's erased!
      Jennifer: But what does that mean?
      Doc: It means your future hasn't been written yet. No one's has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one, both of you.
  • In The Scorpion King, the titular Scorpion King asks his sorceress wife about his fate as the new king. She tells him it will be short lived. He replies with "I make my own destiny." This is a line he also uses earlier when someone mentions fate or destiny. This being a prequel, he doesn't quite succeed however.
    • Although Word of God claimed he's an Identical Grandson who inherited the title of "Scorpion King". Its possible Mathyus did have indeed have a long a prosperous reign, with the Sorceress referring to it to going downhill with his descendants. Given how she also got a prophecy wrong earlier in the film, its also possible she might have mistaken the grandson from him as well.
      • The prophecy is proven in the direct-to-video The Scorpion King 3, where, after his wife's death, Mathayus deliberately lets the kingdom fall apart and goes back to his life as a mercenary.
  • In Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior this is how the evil spirit Yan-Lo is destroyed. Shen was supposed to die during the battle Because Destiny Says So, but Wendy refuses to let that happen and uses her powers to save him. After the two of them defeat Yan-Lo, they learn that by changing destiny, Yan-Lo has been destroyed forever.
  • Stranger Than Fiction has an interesting example. Instead of the main character changing his fate, he manages to convince the person who controls it to change it for him.
  • The basic point of Armageddon is humans' (at least Americans') effort to reverse the fate of mankind's extinction.
  • Barbossa makes several statements along these lines in the third and fourth Pirates of the Caribbean films. Justifiable, since his destiny has been completely out of his hands for nearly twelve years- placed under a sense-killing curse for ten years, killed right after the curse is lifted, and resurrected just in time to be dragged into a war. He deserves a break.
  • Emperor Palpatine tries to do this in Star Wars. He ends up, years later, torturing the son of the man who was prophesied to kill him, prompting the man to, erm, kill him.
  • The entire point of The Adjustment Bureau.
  • Subverted by Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump, who believes his destiny is to die in the field with his men like every generation of his family before him, fully embraces it, and is very pissed off when Gump instead saves his life and leaves him a cripple. It takes Dan years to get over his "failure" to die and eventually befriends Gump and even later on becomes a married man (his wife is implied to be a Vietnamese-American, no less).

    Literature 
  • This is a common recurring theme in the Discworld novels. As Granny Weatherwax puts it in Wyrd Sisters, "Destiny is important, but people go wrong when they think it controls them. It's the other way around."
    • Captain Carrot of the Ankh-Morpork Watch lives out this motto, although he probably wouldn't use quite that verb.
    • Inverted in Going Postal, where Moist von Lipwig contrarily sets out to fulfill a Prophecy that never actually existed. "Wishing that someone will come along and sort this mess out one day is not the same as a prophecy." In defiance of non-Fate, Moist succeeds.
      • In forcing what wasn't destined to occur into happening anyway, Moist is, in fact, following Weatherwax's philosophy to the hilt. It's a double inversion.
    • An interesting use is found in the form of the Omniscope from The Last Hero. Its settings can be fiddled with to view anything, anywhere, anywhen - but as Ponder Stibbons explains to the Patrician, it's best not to look into the future. If you don't know what will happen, anything can happen. But whatever potential future the device shows you will inevitably happen, and it might not be the future you like...
    • The Discworld pantheon includes Fate and his eternal opponent (and personification of this trope), the Lady (i.e. Lady Luck).
    • The History Monks are introduced in Small Gods, where we're told they have the sacred task of ensuring history happens according to the Books of History they safeguard. The most respected of the monks, Lu-Tze, then proceeds to ensure that the century of warfare described in the Books doesn't happen. Apparently this sort of thing gets sorted out in the long run.
  • In the novel Good Omens, Adam, the boy Antichrist, decides to ignore his destiny and calls off the Apocalypse, saying that it doesn't matter what is "written", because "it can always be crossed out".
  • This is Richard's attitude in the Sword of Truth series, despite half the supporting cast in the early books trying to railroad him down prophecy's past. The twist — a rather predictable one for anyone that's ever glanced at the back cover of a fantasy book before — is that he pretty much always ends up fulfilling the prophecies anyway, just not in the way that anyone thought was going to happen.
  • In the novel Un Lun Dun by China Miéville, two schoolgirls, Zanna and Deeba, are transported to a fantasy world. Zaana is told that she is the Shwazzi, the one who will save this world from Smog, the Evil Overlord. There is a book of prophecies that spells out in great detail how the Shwazzi is supposed to win. But suddenly Zanna is injured and returns to normal reality. With Zanna gone, her friend Deeba realizes that she has to defeat Smog, since no one else will. The book of prophecies is next-to-useless, since it says Deeba is supposed to be the Plucky Comic Relief, not the hero.
    • Even the book of prophecies admits that "Destiny's bunk."
  • Curiously explored in His Dark Materials. Lyra is the subject of a prophecy that claims she will bring about the end of destiny.
  • In David Eddings' The Elenium and Tamuli verse, the main hero, a veteran knight named Sparhawk, eventually discovers that he is 'Anakha', the man with no fate - meaning that even the gods themselves can't predict what he'll do from one moment to the next, which scares them silly. 'course, the fact that he's killed a couple of gods may have something to do with it, too. Still, as Aphrael merrily demonstrates, being free of any preordination doesn't mean that you can't be manipulated by other means.
    • ... which, actually, Bhelliom itself refutes, saying that there's no predestination at all and that even Bhelliom's own path could be thwarted by chance despite its being one of the creative forces of the universe. And if the God to the Gods is subject to the whims of extraordinary universal caprice - well, why shouldn't we all be?
    • Eddings' other big work, the Belgariad and Malloreon actually manages to play this both ways. On the one hand, you can decide to screw both of the competing destinies. On the other hand, nobody dares do so because the result would be unpredictable, so both sides stay in the comfort zone of trying to make "their" prophecy happen at the detriment of the other (and the prequels show Belgarath and Polgara going out of their way to make sure things happen as predicted).
  • Done in the Ea Cycle. It turns out that it's possible to fight fate simply by wishing really hard, so that the individual's will becomes the will of the universe.
  • This is the major theme of Frank Herbert's Children of Dune and God-Emperor of Dune novels, and quite possibly the later ones too, assuming you can understand them; although its more controlling it / making it uncontrollable rather than an outright screwing. The main character's goal of the novels is the creation of what he termed, the 'Golden Path' - A future completely free of destiny with unlimited choices. The ironic thing is, to do this, Leto messes with people's futures for the next 3000 years.
  • In Charles Stross's The Jennifer Morgue, the protagonist is trapped by a spell into following a particular destiny based on a particular narrative; specifically, that of James Bond. Bob's not Bond, he's the good Bond-girl. His girlfriend is the person playing out the role of Bond.
  • In the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series by Mercedes Lackey, The Tradition is a powerful, but not all powerful, magical force that tries to force lives to follow the plot of traditional faerie tales. Rather than accepting fate the people of the Kingdoms study the tradition to predict and avert the worse tales and even use it to their own benefit: In one case a king sends his only daughter to live in a comfortable tower guarded by non-lethal tests knowing this will attract a good husband and worthy successor. In another a baby girl is fated to follow the story of Rapunzel, since they fail to free her from the Tradition they simply act out the beginning of The Princess and the Pea and move her life to a much less miserable destiny.
    • Lackey seems to like this trope. In the Heralds of Valdemar series, there are characters who have Destinies, or find that There Are No Coincidences, and scurry for a way to assert their agency, yelling "Screw destiny!" at the tops of their lungs. Nevertheless, things tend to turn out as they should.
  • This trope is arguably the entire reason for Alice Cullen's appearances in the Twilight series; with her powers, she gets the characters out of many a jam - and it's touched upon that she's the reason the Cullens are so fabulously wealthy (really - 'Isle Esme?' ) Subverted somewhat in that the further away from being a vampire you are (humans are harder to read than vamps, and she can't read for werewolves), the harder it is for her to envision your doings in the future.
  • Played with in Harry Potter. Harry spends much of Half-Blood Prince worrying about the prophecy that marked him The Chosen One. Eventually, Dumbledore makes Harry realize that the prophecy means nothing and Harry is perfectly free to walk away from all of it. When Harry thinks back on what Lord Voldemort has done, however, he decides he doesn't want to Screw Destiny and decides to do his part to finish Voldemort for good.
    • It's convincing when Voldemort doesn't want either of them to do this, and will track down Harry and duel him in order to fulfill the prophecy.
    • "Neither can live while the other survives." In the final analysis, the trope is completely beside the point as neither Voldemort nor Harry have any interest in averting the prophecy in the end. Voldemort knows Harry has the power to defeat him eventually, but there's no certainty he'll actually do it, and Harry (as aforementioned) takes it upon himself to fulfill this thing that's been hanging over his head. Dumbledore had said years before that the choices a person makes are what is important, so Harry chooses himself and lets whether Fate chose him or not hang.
      • Exactly. The oracle pretty much predicted the choices they would make. If both of them decided to screw destiny, they would, but neither will.
  • In a rare villainous example, Markus the Ineluctable from The Paths of the Perambulator had been destined by circumstance to remain a hack stage magician, scraping by on carnival sideshows and kids' birthday parties. Instead, he rose to power over an entire city.
  • Happens in Michael Moorcock's Elric saga. After spending six books struggling with destiny Elric gets fed up with being a pawn in the gods' battles, so he destroys the world to create a new one where the gods won't be able to keep meddling.
    • Moorcock hits the theme again both ways, subverting it by having the core persona that becomes all these heroes go back and begin the seminal events that create the backstories for places like Melnibone, while Hawkmoon's quest leads him to Tanelorn and the final destruction of not only the Cosmic Balance but also the Law and Chaos aspects the first part of this entry unleashed on the multiverse.
  • Completely subverted in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. Destiny is screwed on many occasions, but it always turns out to lead back to fate, to the point that when Roland sacrifices his first and dearest companion to save King himself and gave up his ka-tet to make it to the Tower, all he managed to do was get himself written into his own past—trapping himself in destiny. (If the man was meant to screw fate, King would have been writing about his own demise, kids.)
  • In one of the novels of Sergey Lukyanenko's Night Watch series, Svetlana gets fed up with Geser's "prophecy" (more of a calculation, really) and Anton's blind obedience to it. Essentially, she is supposed to end up with Anton and bear a powerful Other child. She ends up having a threesome with an incubus, while Anton is sleeping in the next room and then gets mad when Anton reacts with understanding, not anger. Geser's prediction does come true eventually, and the incident is forgotten.
  • In The Dresden Files, Marcone's bodyguard Ms. Gard (a valkyrie) can tell when someone is fated to die. This does not mean her employer has to abide by it; see the quotes page for his reasoning behind saving Harry from a ninja ghoul. Harry also uses her behavior to his advantage, and although it doesn't work out as well, Michael would have died otherwise, not been crippled.
  • In Poul Anderson's The Avatar, Caitlín's refusal of the Others' offer of ascendance.
  • The Saga of Darren Shan. After learning that either he or Steve will become Lord Of The Shadows, i.e. evil, depending on who survives, Darren goads the dying Steve into attacking and killing him.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Black Tide, Rafen ponders the Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane question of whether his capture was guided by the Emperor or the result of capricious fate. If the latter, he concludes, to hell with fate.
  • I've Been Waiting for You looks at this by way of Reincarnation, as the events of the Salem witch trials play out again in the present, but one of the girls whose accusations started the trial refuses to play her part. This time around, she manages to redeem herself and keep everyone alive.
  • Subverted in The Silmarillion. Túrin desperately tries to do this (and actually says as much), but he can't. His attempts only lead to more tragedy.
  • In the Roger Zelazny story A Rose for Ecclesiastes, the protagonist is studying the dying Martian culture, which is in slow decline since a mysterious catastrophe has rendered the population sterile. The Martians, following the predictions of an ancient prophet, believe this to be inevitable and make no effort to stop it. When the protagonist discovers that his local lover, whom he impregnated (proving that the sterility problem can be fixed), is about to terminate because of this, he bursts into the main temple and carries a blasphemous sermon, claiming that the greatness of humankind stems from our ability to ignore our own prophets of doom and carry on anyway. It works, but is still subverted: he was actually fulfilling another prophecy about a man from space who will save Mars.
  • In Warrior Cats, Lionblaze wants to prove to Cinderheart that destiny doesn't control their lives when the latter thinks so. So he starts a fight with a ShadowClan patrol and deliberately lets Ratscar beat him. It backfires, for Cinderheart gets angry at him for being hurt (since his power prevents him from being hurt) and trying to avoid his destiny. The next time he persuades her, she finally chooses him as her mate.
  • In Idlewild, this is Halloween's driving principle.
  • It's a plot point in The Fionavar Tapestry that because the Wild Hunt exists in Fionavar — as much of a danger as it presents if ever set free itself —, humans have free will and not even the Weaver himself can be sure of everything in advance. Over the course of the trilogy several characters make significant choices that clearly derail "destiny" as it would have unfolded otherwise.
  • Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire is a deconstruction of this. She's willing to cross the Moral Event Horizon to avert a disturbing prophecy made in her childhood, regardless of the consequences. The more it seems the prophecy will come true, the more irrational and ruthless she becomes, until she's a detriment to herself and everyone around her.
  • In Gregor and The Code of Claw, Ripred tells Gregor to do this when a prophecy says he's going to die.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Subverted in Lexx: When Kai finds out that His Divine Shadow is going to wipe out the Brunnen G, he tries to rally his people into fighting him. This isn't him trying to fulfill the trope, though; he just believes that going out fighting like the race of warrior poets they used to be is much better than just dying like animals.
    • Doubly subverted, actually—His Divine Shadow was bothering as he had found out a Brunnen G was destined to get him killed. Thus, His Divine Shadow exterminated the race, save for Kai, who he reworked into a technologically undead servant. This eventually got His Divine Shadow killed.
  • Kamen Rider Kiva seems to have this trope as a major thematic element; its opening theme is called "Break the Chain" and contains lyrics about "breaking the rules of fate", and the "next time" blurb contains the phrase "Break the chains of destiny (albeit in Japanese)."
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Father's Day", Rose travels back in time to be by her father's side when he dies. She ends up saving his life because she can't bear to watch him die. Then the world starts to dissolve.
    • In "The Waters of Mars", this is subverted when the Doctor saves a woman from the explosion which is destined to kill her. He realises that it's completely wrong, but he just wanted to give her a happy life, since he's a huge fan of her. More to the point he's tired of obeying the rules of time, and decides since he's the only Time Lord left, the rules will obey him. She realises that she has to keep the timeline intact, and she commits suicide as soon as his back is turned. This triggers a truly epic Heroic BSOD in the Doctor that he doesn't recover from until his next life.
    • The episode "The Girl Who Waited" is all about this trope. When Amy is accidentally forced to wait for 36 years in solitary confinement, she tells her younger self (through a time link) that she'll never let the long life of hell that she led be for nothing. That she remembers hearing those words when she was young. And that when the time comes for her younger self to be on the other side of the conversation, she'll say the same thing. The Doctor leaves the choice to her, probably referencing not only Amy's life but also his foretold death at Lake Silenco.
    • In "The Wedding Of River Song", River refuses to fulfill her destiny and kill the Doctor. He asks, begs and then orders her to go through with it while all of time collapses in on itself around them. She eventually does, but only once she realises that he's got a plan to cheat death.
  • Despite her Trope Namer talk in Angel, Fred's ultimate fate is to be taken over bodily, her soul supposedly destroyed, by an ancient evil, in full agreement with ancient prophecy.
    • Worth noting is that Destiny could have been screwed, but only by essentially killing everyone between California and England as the ancient evil in question tried to possess anyone and everyone it could fighting the pull back to its Can. Or, you know, if Angel had just taken her with him when he went to England.
  • As Battlestar Galactica winds down to its conclusion:
    Adama: In other words, it's our destiny to go after her, right?
    Starbuck: (facial expressions and body language indicates "yes")
    Adama: Wrong. I've had it up to HERE with destiny, prophecy, with God or the Gods. Look where it's left us. The ass end of nowhere; nearly half of our people are gone; Earth, a worthless cinder; and I can't even walk down the halls of my ship without wondering if I'm gonna catch a bullet for getting us into this mess.
  • Power Rangers
    • Attempted, only to fail hard back in season 5. In Power Rangers Turbo, a robot policeman came back in time to prevent a war that was to happen two years later. All he did was cause it to happen the next year, instead.
    • Played straight in Power Rangers Time Force and its source, Mirai Sentai Timeranger, where the main theme is choosing one's own path regardless of what the history books in the future say.
  • People all over the world start believing that You Can't Fight Fate in FlashForward. However Al Gough manages to provide the world with definitive proof that destiny is not set in stone by killing himself so that he wouldn't accidentally cause the death of a single mother of two.
  • The X-Files: The whole point of the fight Mulder, Scully, and allies are putting up against the Syndicate. Summed up in the movie and "Three Little words" — Fight the Future.
  • Subverted in Red Dwarf. Having heard from a computer capable of predicting the future with 100% accuracy that he would destroy it, Lister states that there is no such thing as destiny, "otherwise we're just actors in somebody else's script." As he turns to leaves, he places a piece of chewing gum on the wall, which sets of a chain reaction of events that does, in fact, destroy the computer. His reaction? "Smeg."
  • The Colbert Report has Stephen report on a married couple who think they were destined to be together. He thinks they should get divorced.
    Stephen: That's why I'm giving Alex and Donna Voutsinas a Wag Of My Finger for letting Fate make you her bitch!
  • In the 1998 Merlin series, this mindset is taken by Mab, who wants to prevent her fate of fading from the world as the Old Ways die, and also by Merlin, who wants to avoid his destiny to be Mab's champion in screwing destiny. Merlin succeeds. Mab doesn't.
  • Supernatural:
    • Season Five of is devoted entirely to the Winchesters trying desperately to do this - perfectly understandable, since their destiny involves the two of them getting possessed by the archangel Michael and The Devil, respectively, and then fighting each other to the death and destroying half the planet while doing so. Hence the nickname "Team Free Will".
    • Dean even drops the name of the name of the trope in "Point of No Return":
      Dean: So screw destiny. Right in the face. I say we take the fight to them, do it our way.
    • It's left very unclear whether the destiny-pushers were just mistaken about the prophecy, or what, but Dean manages to get out of his part and they manage to save the world, so if Zachariah actually knew what destiny was, they successfully screwed it. It took a Heroic Sacrifice...and the sacrifice of one poor schmuck with the bad luck to be John Winchester's third son. If he'd been able to resist Michael, it wouldn't have been necessary to drag him down to stop Michael from saving his brother so he could kill him...yeah.
    • Series 6 confirms that they utterly screwed everyone's destiny with that stunt. The Fates were pissed.
    • In "Appointment in Samarra", Dean tries to use his powers as Death-for-a-day to do good by letting a sick girl live in defiance of what Tessa calls 'the Natural Order', the established flow of life and death. Subverted when it causes more collateral damage than Dean had foreseen and he's forced to follow destiny anyway, even if it's unfair.
  • Frasier: In the final season one line by Bebe has this trope in it "When destiny calls, Bebe calls back and screws destiny to the wall!"
  • In Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Venus, Luna, and Artemis were obsessed about keeping Mamoru and Usagi apart because their love doomed the world. Mamoru and Usagi? They didn't quite agree. Sailor Mars had her "Screw Destiny" moments too.
  • The Roswell main characters, who decide to stay on Earth and be happy instead of accepting their destiny as royalty of their planet.
  • Smallville
    • The episode "Hereafter" reveals this to be one of Clark's powers when he saves a person from being hit by a car, despite Jordan Cross having a vision of that person dying. As his visions are never wrong and can never be changed, he is naturally freaked out by Clark's ability to alter destiny, particularly when he starts having visions showing other people dying before he knows they are supposed to.
    • In a less literal sense, Clark often says something along the lines of this to people who think they can't fight fate.
    • Chloe Sullivan in "Scare", who is terrified that she is going to end up insane like her mother.
    • Maddie in "Fragile", who thinks she is doomed to be a psychotic killer like her father.
  • In the "Redemption" season of The Next Iron Chef, college buddies Marcel Vigneron and Spike Mendelsohn were pitted against each other in a cook-off. After realizing they unwittingly made complimenting dishes, they decided to plate and present their dishes together as a sign of their friendship, and dare the judges to separate them by eliminating one. This backfired when the judges pointed out the alternative was to eliminate them both. Mendelsohn was eliminated.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place, Stevie and nearly 5,000 other wizards feel this way about potentially losing their powers.
  • Discussed in Painkiller Jane when a neuro with the ability to see the future predicts he will kill all of the team except Jane (of course), as she argues they should invoke this. They wind up going to face him anyway. They manage to change the outcome.

     Music 
  • "Die With Your Boots On" by Iron Maiden (later covered by Sonata Arctica) calls on the audience to do this when.
  • Lacuna Coil wrestles with destiny often, especially in "Senzafine" ("I'll choose my own destiny, if it really can be resisted" [loose translation]) and later even more bluntly in "Swamped" ("Destiny? Who cares?!").
  • Christopher Tin's "Rassemblons-Nous" from the album Calling All Dawns is, according to Word of God, about this.
  • Gordon Bok's "Tails and Trotters" focuses heavily on this. A mother tries to convince her son that his future has already been decided, he... does not take this well and flees to a nearby village. He pretends to be a rich and important person and is accepted into the upper crust of society. Eventually, he becomes what he pretended to be in every way. He's a pig, and his prescribed fate was to be butchered and eaten.

    Roleplay 
  • Destroy The Godmodder: Many players' reactions when they discovered that twin has to die to keep the timeline on track.
    • Unlike a few incidents (mostly caused by the godmodder blocking prophecies) this one has a fairly low chance of working, but its there nonetheless.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, various people not only have this ability, but can also be completely Immune to Fate. The best of them make The Destinies (a grand total of five of them) their byches.
  • In one Vampire: The Masquerade sourcebook, Gahanna has begun and the Antideluvians (the first vampires whose powers border on Physical God) wake up and seek to devour all vampires. It takes perfect stat assigning, a benevolent GM, and the luckiest rolls to ever be, but it's possible to kill them and end the vampire apocalypse (though given that this is the old world of darkness, it would probably just make things worse).

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • Zero from Mega Man X, and his own series, Mega Man Zero. Starting from hints in X2 to outright having it almost all but stated in X4, he was built up storywise to be the one who will eventually kill the protagonist X and destroy the world. But instead, he ends up saving it, doing so multiple times, all in the name of "protecting the weak".
    • Sadly though, he's actually a subversion since he carried the maverick virus to begin with. As much as he tried to fight it, and as much as it really wasn't his fault, he is the reason the world was destroyed and plunged into a war that has lasted centuries.
  • In Quest for Glory V, there is a prophecy that states once the Dragon of Doom has been unleashed the only way to stop it is to cast a spell that will sacrifice the life of one who is willing. However, by this time the character has gone through five adventures — and he is now strong enough to destroy the damn thing without having to die himself.
    • If you make it through the fight without losing anyone, an ally suggests a possible Prophecy Twist: that the dragon committing suicide after you beat it badly enough counts as the necessary sacrifice.
  • Suikoden II is one long story of Because Destiny Says So, and for the most part, it ends that way too... however, if you manage to pull off a 100% Completion and then some, you can achieve the Perfect Ending, where you actually DO manage to screw destiny, by using the unleashed magic of the Rune of Beginnings to change circumstances retroactively, in order to ensure a happy ending.
    • Speaking of Suikoden, Tierkreis screws one destiny (that predicted by the Order of the One True Way) while fulfilling another (something seems to have chosen the protagonists to fight the Order.) The whole thing becomes moot if you get the bad ending . . .
    • Throughout the series, gathering the 108 Stars (in other words, every recruitable character) allows the heroes to defy the rather depressing fates the inflicted upon them by the True Runes.
  • Pretty much the whole point of Prince of Persia: Warrior Within. Altering destiny through Time Travel seems fairly reasonable until destiny sends an almost unstoppable monster to kill you with its Combat Tentacles for doing so.
    • Although it tends not to work when attempting to do so ends up creating the Sands of Time and said monster anyway.
      • Played straight if you get the Perfect Ending by getting all the life containers and snag the Water Sword. Instead of fighting Kaileena, you fight the Dahaka with Kaileena at your side, eventually dropping the bastard in the water and finishing him. This comes back to bite the Prince in the ass in The Two Thrones, enough so that he decides he's had enough of screwing with destiny to leave things as is.
  • Almost every single character of Tales of the Abyss has this attitude, except one lone religious nutcase who denies said destiny will end in The End of the World as We Know It and gets tricked by the villains into giving up his humanity for power. (The difference between the heroes and most of the villains, then, whether or not Screwing Destiny requires the mass sacrifice of everyone currently living on the planet)
    • At the same time, also slightly subverted by the villain: The Score of Destruction predicted that Auldrant would ultimately be destroyed. The exact words were "Turned to dust". Wasn't one of the side-effects of large-scale fomicry the disintegration of the original? In which case, Van's attempt to 'destroy' the planet's memory and 'defy' the score (by replacing it with an exact replica) was, in fact, fulfilling the score. So is this screw destiny, or just a Mind Screw?
      • The ending seems to support this theory, as, after defeating Van, Lorelei congratulates Luke on averting the destruction It had seen in Auldrant's future.
  • The endgame of Final Fantasy I leads to a massive time loop over the course of 2000 years involving the battles between the Warriors of Light and Garland. The Warriors kill him in their first battle, and he is revived by the fiends, sent back 2000 years, and kills the Warriors when they come to fight him, before sending the Fiends into the future. This cycle (Warriors kill Chaos, Chaos kills Warriors, loop repeats) has apparently happened over and over and over again. However, the Warriors finally go "Screw this, you die now!" and finally defeat Chaos, breaking the time loop.
  • Dissidia: Final Fantasy has a couple of these. Garland tells Warrior of Light the war is destined to go on forever, and Warrior of Light replies with "screw destiny". Turns out Garland is telling the truth - the war has been going on for centuries, and whenever one side loses, Shinryu revives them and the war keeps going. When all the other heroes find out about this, the motto of pretty much the entire party becomes "screw destiny". In fact, it later turns out that the villains were hoping to end the cycle of war too, so it's actually the entire cast following this trope, except Garland who loves the fact he gets to spend eternity fighting.
    • Made much more terrifying when you realize that, by screwing destiny in Dissidia, the heroes are quite possibly instigating the 2000 year Time Loop in Final Fantasy I, since Garland's on his way to becoming Chaos in the end.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII, this trope is Ultimecia's entire motivating factor behind her actions. She's destined to die at the hands of SeeD, so she decides to compress time, absorb it, and become a goddess to make up the rules herself. This trope is also subverted because, as a response to the intense persecution she suffered for being a Sorceress, she became the very monster everyone said she would become which is highlighted in a very hamtastic speech.
    Ultimecia in Edea's body: "...Lowlifes. ...Shameless filthy wretches. How you celebrate my ascension with such joy. Hailing the very one whom you have condemned for generations. Have you no shame? What happened to the evil, ruthless sorceress from your fantasies? The cold-blooded tyrant that slaughtered countless men and destroyed many nations. Where is she now? She stands before your very eyes to become your new ruler. HAHAHAHAHA."
  • This becomes the cry of Yuna's party in Final Fantasy X when Yunalesca confirms that the Final Summoning has absolutely no chance of killing Sin permanently because the Final Aeon that destroys Sin will become Sin in its place.
    • Destiny gets to say Screw You in turn by killing off Tidus. You only get to see him come back if you meet very specific conditions in the sequel.
  • This turns out to be the main motivation of the villains in Final Fantasy XII - Doctor Cid and Vayne Solidor in particular. Their whole elaborate scheme was not concocted to take over Dalmasca, but to wrest control of humanity's future from the Occuria, and "put the reins of history back in the hands of man."
  • Every player character in City of Villains is told that they have the potential to be the Destined One, assuming they can survive long enough to meet the Evil Overlord Lord Recluse himself, who has initiated Operation: Destiny in accordance with a prophecy. After clawing their way up the levels, players soon find out that being the Destined One means being a sacrificial victim for Lord Recluse to gain infinite power, destroying the world in the process.
  • Raziel in the Legacy of Kain series (Particularly Soul Reaver) is apparently the one being fate cannot control. Even people with explicit knowledge of the future have no idea what Raziel might do.
    Kain: Yet Raziel retains his free will. And that's what frightens you isn't it, Moebius? You cannot see his paths, and so you cannot control it.
    Moebius: And neither can you.
    • Which doesn't stop him from being manipulated by each and every one of them.
    • Also, Kain. Given the choice, to bring about The End of the World as We Know It, or to sacrifice his life to save it (thus ensuring The End of the World as We Know It), what does he do? To put it in his own words:
      Kain: Either way, the game is rigged.(...)
      Raziel: You said it yourself, Kain - there are only two sides to your coin.
      Kain: Apparently so. But suppose you throw a coin enough times... ...suppose one day, it lands on its edge.
      • Eventually, Raziel travels to the supreme dimension to KILL the supreme being, and thus not only Screwing Destiny, but totally obliterating it.
    • Ironically, he screws destiny as a whole by giving in to his own destiny to become part of the Soul Reaver. To elaborate, he was always meant to become the soul-devouring spirit within the blade. However, the way in which he screws destiny is by doing so after purifying his Reaver with Ariel's soul. Thus, when he becomes a part of Kain's Reaver, Kain is able to see who his true enemy is.
  • Subverted or played straight depending on which way you go in The Bard's Tale (the newer one, for PS2 and Xbox). Sure, you could rescue the princess as The Chosen One, or you could note that she's a demoness bent on world domination and fight her, or just tell both sides to get stuffed and walk away. This isn't even mentioning the SWARMS of other people claiming to be The Chosen One that die right in front of you constantly.
  • Played straight in Odin Sphere with the characters all trying to avert the prophecy of end of the world. Then it's subverted when they find the world collapsing into chaos anyway, but fulfilling the prophecy at least leaves some alive.
  • Subverted in Makai Kingdom. Badass freakin' overlord Zetta gets a prophecy from an oracle that says that his netherworld will be destroyed. In an attempt to Screw it, Zetta tracks down and consults the Sacred Tome, a Cosmic Keystone that contains the record of the Netherworld's reality, including (presumably) what would destroy it. When he discovers that the final page contains the sentence "Lord Zetta is stupid. His stupidity has doomed the netherworld to extinction", he burns the book in a fit of rage, consequently un-recording his own netherworld and proving the prophecy right. Further subverted when it's revealed that the prophecy itself was a lie that Pram wrote in the Tome.
  • This forms the plot and underlying theme of Chrono Trigger, after the characters travel to a future in which the world has been destroyed and set out to prevent it from happening.
    • Though if hints in Chrono Cross were any indication, their attempt to screw destiny altered the present time enough that it screwed THEM over, got them all killed (except for Robo, but he dies near the end of the game), and turned Porre into a world superpower.
      • Fortunately, Chrono Cross solves this by having Schala, who has been screwed by the cast of Chrono Trigger's screwing of destiny, screw destiny herself to make things better. Unfortunately, this makes things EVEN WORSE, and the game goes through several cycles of attempting to screw destiny and either making things even worse or going closer to the original fate before they FINALLY get everything back to the previous game's "destiny has been screwed" world status, accepting an unfortunate fate for themselves in the process and not even bothering to screw this one. Yes, the game is somewhat confusing, why do you ask?
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, there are many ways to complete the main quest when you have broken the thread of destiny, that go from figuring out yourself what was the piece of information the NPC was going to give you, to sheer use of uber power.
    • There is a possible aversion. Although it is not explored in the game, it is entirely possible that the Daedric Prince Azura, who worded the original prophecy, was also controlling pivotal events from behind the scenes.
    • It is also worth noting that Morrowind is completely open-ended and contains more factions and sidequests than actual main plot, leaving the PC to walk off and Screw Destiny whenever he wants and still get perfectly good enjoyment out of the game.
  • Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror starts off as standard espionage stuff, until about three-quarters into the game when Gabe makes it clear he's going to, in no uncertain terms, *** fate.
  • Sailor Moon: Another Story, inverted this: it was the Big Bad who tried this, and the Senshi went and taught her that You Can't Fight Fate. Warped in the best ending, where even after the Big Bad is killed, the Senshi get to keep the effects of her meddling that they like. Uhhh...
  • Clive Barker's Jericho has the main characters as The Chosen Ones of this generation to fight the Firstborn. They are told by a Sumerian Warrior Priest that they will eventually enter a collective conscious and go into a dreamless sleep, only to be awakened by those who attempt to awaken the Firstborn. Although the team initially accepts this and try to say their final goodbyes to each other, Delgado decides that Antadurunnu is bullshitting them, stating that all they've seen of their predecessors is them being stuck to combat hellish horrors for all eternity. He states that they should just try and kill the Firstborn itself to end the cycle, proceeding to shoot Antadurunnu in the head.
  • Played straight at the end of Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn.
  • The entire point of Devil Survivor. Not only do you constantly cheat death by defeating monsters that were originally supposed to kill you (which becomes a little meta considering the series is full of That One Boss) but many of the game's multiple endings depend on saving other characters who were supposed to die as well, which they WILL if you don't make the right decisions.
    • Devil Survivor 2 ups the ante, with even more characters fated for death...unless you find them and defeat whoever it is that's slated to kill them. Many of said characters are playable allies, so NOT screwing destiny can leave you with less-than-optimal endgame party options. Hell, even the theme for battles where you screw destiny is called "Challenging Fate".
  • Played straight in Persona 2 Eternal Punishment. The big bad keeps going on about how you can't fight fate. Right before the final battle, Baofu tells him to "Grab that fate of yours and stick it up your ass!"...yes, he said it to Nyarlathotep himself
  • A major theme in Persona 3, especially since you actually have to choose to adapt a screw destiny approach in order to complete the game. Faced with the revelation that your friend is actually the harbinger of Nyx, the resident Big Bad, you're given the choice to kill him or let him live to become one with Nyx. Killing him erases the cast's memories of the entire adventure, allowing them to live peaceful lives for two months until Nyx arrives and destroys the world. Not killing him means you'll have to fight Nyx...except that the story tells us over and over again that you CAN'T fight Nyx, since Nyx is death itself, and thus you're destined to lose. Our heroes choose to ignore this and spend the next month preparing for the final battle with the attitude that destiny can suck it and Nyx is just as killable as anything else. Well, she's not, but you end up winning anyway by sealing her instead, at the cost of the main character's life.
  • The entire point of Kreia's game of Xanatos Speed Chess in Knights of the Old Republic 2. Because the Force has a destiny and a plan for everyone and everything in the universe, she despises it. She wanted to use Exile as a means of breaking and destroying what is, in effect, the GFFA's equivalent of God! (Maybe because she's jealous the Force is a better manipulator than she is...)
  • According to Word of God, this is the underlying reason as to why every BlazBlue match starts with the announcement "The wheel of fate is turning. Rebel 1: ACTION!"f
    • In the true ending of both Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift, its basically all about the characters trying to defy their fates, even the antagonist Terumi took out Takamagahara in an attempt to be free of their meddling control.
  • The party in Final Fantasy XIII were Blessed with Suck and became l'Cie, and in doing so were left with only two options, fulfill their Focus and be crystallized for all eternity or become mindless Cie'th for all eternity. Plus the party was given a particularly horrible Focus anyway. The party naturally opted to take a third option in an attempt to change their destinies. This act inspired Cid Raines, who was also a l'Cie, thus Blessed with Suck as well to try and change his destiny as well. Unfortunately, this involved him regrettably doing a Face-Heel Turn and fights against the party.
    • Indeed, this is such a major theme of the story that the main antagonist's battle theme is titled Fighting Fate.
    • Ironically, the villains are also fighting fate. The entire reason the Fal'cie turn people into L'cie is because this is the only way they can work around their own hardwired limitations as magical machines. For all their contempt towards humans, the Fal'cie believe that humanity is ultimately stronger than them because they have free will.
  • The Reapers of Mass Effect like to think of themselves as agents of Destiny and that there is no point in trying to resist being annihilated by them. However from what is known, every galactic civilization they destroyed still chose to try their luck.
    • Leviathan later confirms that in the millions of years since the Cycle began, Shepard's unerring ability to repeatedly do this has made them the only individual the Reapers have ever actually feared. Leviathan even refers to Shepard as an "Anomaly" they have never seen before.
    • At the conclusion of the Mass Effect 3, even the Catalyst acknowledges this, stating that Shepard's dogged resistance and ability to unify the entire galaxy against the Reapers and build the Crucible has shown that there is a chance to end the cycle - though it forces Shepard to end that cycle on the Catalyst's terms, by either destroying all synthetic life in the galaxy, forcibly rewriting the Reapers with Shepard's personality, or fusing synthetic and organic life to render the Reapers' purpose obsolete. Refusing these options ends in the galaxy falling to the Reapers again, though it is implied the 'next generation' end the cycle.
  • The framework for magic in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates makes it so that if you're strong enough, you can change fate. Played to a massive scale in the end of the game where Chelinka doubles her power in order to make it so that the source of evil never existed, in order for the Twins to be happy with their parents... before the timeskip... keeping their memories of everything... and this also happened at the very beginning of the game...it's slightly confusing.
  • Raul and Fiona Greydon of Super Robot Wars Reversal has a pretty interesting Screw Destiny moment: having been sent through time thanks to their machine, they've reached the day where the Zambot3 team would fall and the Gundam Wing pilots would fail to stop the Mariameia Uprising, setting the stage for Char'sCounterattack and Martian Successor Nadesico - The Prince of Darkness. The two heroes suffer Heroic BSOD because of it (Raul hops out half-heartedly and Fiona doesn't sortie at all.) But, when they finally get their acts together, the two screw destiny, put Butcher in his place and make sure Relena is rescued.
    • How bad is everything altered? How about the fact that the Nadesico crew get the Aestivalis Customs, Super Aestivalis, Black Salena and Nadesico C three years before they should! And when you return to the present you find either Char isn't a humongous dick or that Akito and Yurika are still normal (especially Akito!)
  • This is the primary motivation of the WarCraft character Medivh. Forced into becoming the Guardian of Tirisfal by the machinations of his mother, his resentment and desire to break free of his fate was used to turn him evil and bring the Horde into Azeroth. Later, freed of evil taint, he would assume the role of a prophet and maneuver the humans, orcs, and night elves into a position to combat the Burning Legion and prevent their conquering of Azeroth. Medivh further screwed with Destiny by giving his own son, Med'an, what he never had: the choice to become Guardian of Tirisfal.
  • Sonic 06 Shadow has 2, one about half way through his story, and one at the end. Mephiles, the time traveling god of DAN GREEN reveals to Shadow that despite Shadow devoting his life to saving humanity, they fear his power and will eventually turn on him and essentially crucify him. "I determine my OWN destiny." "If the world chooses to become my enemy, then I will fight like I always have!" Cue brawling with (and winning against) the god of shadow and all around evilness, along with his army of clones.
  • Spyro in The Legend of Spyro games has an interesting version. Malefor believes he, and all Purple Dragons, are destined to bring about the end of the world; Spyro believes his destiny is to fight for good and ultimately save the world. Spyro turns out to be right and saved the world. So Spyro managed to fulfill one destiny while screwing the other, at the same time.
  • In the New Game+ of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, Revya is given the option to do this, leading to a rather different storyline.
  • The goal of Raiden in Mortal Kombat 9. After Mortal Kombat Armageddon Shao Khan is victorious and Raiden is the only fighter still alive. In his last moments he sends visions to his past self in a last desperate bid to avert that future.
  • God of War II takes this trope Up to Eleven when Kratos KILLS THE SISTERS OF FATES! But it's ultimately subverted, because it was Kratos' fate to bring down Olympus.
  • This is pretty much the whole point of Ghost Trick. Heck, whenever you successfully save someone, a big red message flashes up on the screen reading "FATE AVERTED!"
  • Fear Effect. The first game strongly sends this message, considering what Wee Ming and Hana do in the true ending. There are indications that You Can't Fight Fate here and there....
  • Kurow of Ōkamiden has a mission. Only late in the game does he find out what that mission is. His body was made to be a seal for the Big Bad Akuro, then when he dies Akuro dies with him. To quote Kurow: "Dudes must be trippin' to think I'm gonna do that". He shirks his mission at first and desperately tries to avoid it, but he realizes it's not worth it.
  • A villainous example appears in The Reconstruction. After performing tests of character for years, Havan is casually brushed aside and told that he isn't The Chosen One after all. But he won't tolerate this, and murders all the Watchers in an attempt to get to Dehl.
  • Xenoblade allows you to do this on a regular basis. The Monado frequently offers Shulk glimpses of the future, and in addition to the myriad plot examples, this is used as a game mechanic. During battle, Shulk will sometimes receive visions of would-be fatal attacks several seconds in advance, and from there, the player can either manipulate the prediction to make it less dangerous (heal or protect the victim so the hit isn't fatal, draw aggro to someone else who can take the hit, use Standard Status Effects to make it use a different attack) or kill the initiating monster and shatter the destiny tag outright.
    • In-story, a fair bit of the plot is driven by Shulk having visions of future events that he either wishes to cause or avert. The results run the spectrum from Self-Fulfilling Prophecy to full on Screw Destiny.
  • Dragon Quest VII plays with this through Aira. According to the Deja Tribe's legends, a dancer of her line will someday perform the rite that will restore God to His former glory. While she's perfectly willing to fulfill this duty, she protests the thought that this is ALL she can hope to accomplish with her life — that this grand destiny is the sole reason for her existence. To this end, she latches onto the hero's party when they first meet, putting her other skills to good use.
  • During the extraordinarily long "The Sign" quest in Ragnarok Online you're given a choice of how you would spend your last day alive if you knew the world would end tomorrow. The correct answer is 'What else? Save the world!'.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Fate is some nearly tangible ... "thing" which can be perceived by seers known as Fateweavers. It governs how every single event ever will transpire and it cannot be changed. The threads of everyone's destiny are woven into the grand tapestry of Fate. Until the Fateless One comes along, that is. Not only does s/he have no pre-determined fate, meaning that his/her every action changes the way that events were supposed to go down, s/he can also take the screwing of destiny up to ridiculous levels by ripping the threads of Fate out of others, re-shaping them into giant glowing weapons and then beating people to death with their own Fate.
    • The Big Bad created the Fateless One in her own attempt to do this since she was otherwise fated to never escape her prison. This backfires immensely since the Fateless One is also the only being capable of killing her since she was also otherwise fated to never die. She also has the same power to weaponize the threads of Fate which she uses in the final battle.
  • In spite of all that happens in the world of Asura's Wrath (With the demigods and the Gohma being in a constant endless war with each other revealed to be the machinations of a godly being that has destroyed the world and rebuilt it countless times just to find an heir to rule over everything) Asura refuses to become Chakravartin's chosen heir, and ends the cycle that Chakravartin created, even if it's at the cost of his own life.
  • In Live A Live, if the final protagonist is Akira Tadokoro, he'll use this trope to explain why he's fighting and how different he was with the Big Bad when asked. His government tried to steer his destiny to become liquified human for their God? Akira said 'Screw Your God And Your God's Destiny' and kick both of them in Buriki Daioh. Conversely, the Big Bad, Oersted, was one who let his destiny take him without question. Destiny considers him a hero? Yes, he shall be. Destiny considers him a demon? Fine, he'll be the Demon King Odio, thus setting him on the wrong path.
  • In Diablo III, the Archangel of Fate, Itherael, tells you that since your name isn't in the Scroll of Fate, you are not bound by it and can determine your own destiny — and thus are the only one capable of stopping Diablo, the Prime Evil, from destroying the High Heavens and casting Sanctuary into darkness forever.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has a strange example; in that it's unclear who is screwing destiny. The Big Bad is prophesied to end the world, but he has gone off the rails before and The Hero has divinely granted powers that are tailor made to fight him. Thus, there are debates in-universe about whether or not Alduin is meant to be stopped or if the player is defying destiny by selfishly trying to preserve a world that should be erased. That said, Paarthurnax, who knows as much as anyone about fate, admits that "I like this world" is a good enough reason to fight Alduin.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins it’s revealed that one of the Wardens have to sacrifice themselves in order to defeat the Archdemon. You can go through with it and willingly give your life away or let your other Warden companion do the deed. Or you can take Morrigan's offer and (literally) Screw Destiny.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening has 'Marth' ,aka Lucina, traveling to the past along with several others to prevent the the Fell Dragon Grima from destroying the world. Chrom even starts saying "Anything can change" when he scores criticals after this plot point is revealed.
    • The beginning of the game features the Avatar killing Chrom. Late in the game, the same scene occurs. However, it turns out that the Avatar managed to weaken his strike enough to let Chrom live.
  • The plot of Sengoku Basara 4 is kickstarted when the shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, gets bored because wars aren't fought the way they used to be and decides to defy Heaven's Mandate by abdicating, leaving Japan without a ruler and everything up for grabs. What results is the chaos of the Sengoku Period.

    Visual Novels 
  • The theme of the second half of Higurashi: When They Cry. A miraculous break in a tragic cycle of death at the end of the first season gave Rika and Hanyuu the courage to face their fears together with their friends, who also begin to remember the past timelines and decide to use this knowledge to create a Merged Reality.
    • They had a strong motivation for this, as in this context, "a better world" means "one where they don't all die."
      • An even better example is Keiichi, who first encourages Rika to do this by obstinately going against every prediction she made and defeating every one of the previous inescapable Bad Ends.
  • A similar theme is present in Higurashi's Spiritual Successor Umineko: When They Cry, since Ange's goal is to make it so that her family won't be killed during the mysterious events on Rokkenjima in 1986. However, this is a case of You Can't Fight Fate played straight, since no matter what happens all but two people are fated to die during those events.
  • UBW route in Fate/stay night. Archer says Shirou is destined to become him and come to hate his ideal. Shirou disagrees. The ultimate winner of the argument is never really revealed, but presumably it is Shirou. Both of them think so, at least, and he at least knows the pitfalls he's in for and that making a Guardian Contract would, in fact, be a bad idea. Or maybe a good one since he already knows what he's in for and won't feel so betrayed.

    Web Comics 
  • Goblins deconstructs, inverts, and subverts this. Most Goblins are named by their fortune teller, who accurately names them based on their destiny. Saves-a-Fox became so fed up with this that she eventually killed the fox she was expected to save, and uses this fact to convince Dies-Horribly he can fight fate too.
    • Notably, however, Saves-A-Fox carries around the tail of the fox she killed... in other words, saving it. This may or may not be an intended Prophecy Twist.
      • Turns out Saves-A-Fox did save a fox... From dying a horrible, agonizing death from a disease it had contracted.
    • Also notable in that most of the "destinies" that the goblins are named after are on the surface utterly trivial (though they ultimately speak towards the holder's personality in general)—"Saves a Fox", "Complains of Names", "One Eye", "Fumbles", etc. The first reason Fox cites for her rebellion is that she won't accept such an insignificant event as being the most important thing in her life... Which, ironically, makes it... the most important thing in her life.
    • Also played with in that some goblins that are supposed to get prophetic names... aren't. Chief wasn't supposed to be the chief, he was only chief because his father was and there would have been a violent outcry if he hadn't taken the job. Complains' father, on the other hand, was supposed to be the new chief. So... the village's fortune teller deliberately screwed destiny to prevent a war... while at the same time weakening their tribe by having the wrong leader.
      • Mocked thoroughly, though, once we meet some of the goblin slaves, who have such names as "Piss off I have a Headache," named by the same fortune teller that also named another goblin "Stop the Ceremony I Swallowed a Bug." This is less of a "Screw Destiny," and more of "Our fortune teller sucks."
  • In Erfworld, after having a long talk with Wanda who has done some of the most deplorable things in the comic to get a hold of an Arkentool on the basis You Can't Fight Fate, Parson decides he refused to be a gamepiece of fate, giving a Precision F-Strike (which he could not do before due to Erfworld's censorship) to signify how he won't be controlled. Judging from a recent chat with Charlie, he can now swear at will.
    • In the "Inner Peace Through Superior Firepower" prequel series, we see that Wanda started out with this attitude, only to discover painfully that You Can't Fight Fate. What your Fate dictates will come to pass, and your only choice is how much suffering you'll have to go through to get there. In Wanda's case, she was Fated to serve under her side's archenemy, and her first attempt to avert this got her brother killed.
    • On the other hand, there are implications that Carnymancy, the magic of rigging the game, can somehow alter Fated events.
  • 8-Bit Theater: After being told that You Already Changed The Past by Sarda, Black Mage attempts this in 1136. His attempt, as usual, involves obliterating his problems with a Hadoken.
    "Ok, I have a theory. It's called, I never knew it was possible to care less about time travel."
  • In Dominic Deegan, the recent Maltak arc seems to conclude with an impressive destiny-screwing by Melna. We've been getting the hint for months that she was supposed to kill the crone of Maltak.
    • Dominic actually screws destiny on a regular basis; one of the advantages of being a seer who can see into the future. The only time he lost was when he suffered a "Fated Fatal": a sign that someone a seer knows is about to die, and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. In this case, that someone was Lord Siegfried.
  • Bob the Angry Flower suffers from severe depression after failing to change a later frame of his comic which he had peeked forward into.
  • In Homestuck, after Jack prematurely begins the Reckoning and destroys Prospit and the Battlefield, and after repeatedly being told by the trolls and the gods of the furthest ring that she and her friends are doomed, Rose decides to blow up her first gate and send a signal through the cosmos to other Sburb players instructing them on how to save themselves, then explore her planet to find answers.
    "I am not playing by the rules anymore. I will fly around this candy-coated rock and comb the white sands until I find answers. No one can tell me our fate can't be repaired."
  • In Oglaf, a prince is informed by a seer that it's his destiny to screw destiny, and decides to do so by not screwing destiny. This results in the seer's stabbing him in the throat rather than let the smug twerp become king.
    • Actually the soothsayers inform him he can't fight destiny. He then comes back with several smart alec responses which result in the aforementioned stabbing.
  • Bob and George: Bass

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 
  • Probably the most important component of The Iron Giant: "You are who you choose to be." Though in that case, it wasn't any vague concept of destiny, but the character's actual purpose for having been built.
  • In one episode of Justice League Unlimited, John Stewart ends up in the future and meets his son, who he fathered with his (currently) ex-girlfriend. Upon returning to the present with the knowledge that he's going to get back together with this woman and have a kid, he steadfastly refuses to do so, just to... y'know... screw destiny (though it's more that he won't get back with her just because of seeing the future, he wants his future to be what he wants and intends to just see how things play out).
    • Pulled again throughout most of the first season of JLU, with constant foreshadows being thrown towards the existence of the Justice Lords universe. The Question, upon discovering the existence of the Lords'verse, goes, for want of a better word, a bit (more) mental and concocts the whole scenario that would be required for the League to go the same way as their Lords counterparts - most significantly, the death of The Flash and Superman subsequently murdering President Lex Luthor. The whole series had actually seemed to be going just that way, until the point at which the Flash does (well almost) die. Superman comes close to committing the murder that would see the world erupt into armageddon, but at the last minute says "Screw that" and chooses not to kill him, closely after which, the Flash is dragged back from the speedforce.
    • At one point The Question tried to screw this destiny by murdering Luthor himself to make sure Superman could never do it! It didn't end well for him.
  • Not a genuine example, but Batman tells the Riddler straight his views on the subject in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "If You're So Smart Why Aren't You Rich?":
    Riddler: That is grand-scale cheating, Batman! You are not allowed to tamper with the Hand of Fate!
  • Inverted in Transformers: Beast Wars: Dinobot reads the "Sounds of Earth" disc, and foresees his own death. However, he later discovers that there is nothing forcing him to play it out as the future can be changed, but he instead finds himself freely choosing to go through what he knows will cause his death to prevent Megatron from destroying the ancestors of the human race. And so he did.
    "The question that has haunted my being has been answered: The future is not fixed. My choices are my own. And yet, how ironic, for I now find I have no choice at all. I am a warrior. Let the battle be joined."
    • Megatron's plot for Beast Wars was one big example. He went back in time to kill Optimus Prime while he was in stasis lock. He almost succeeded, but his plot hinged on the support of someone who would have been eradicated from the timeline. She had something to say about that.
      • Specifically, Blackarachnia is a Predacon but only because she was reprogrammed to be one. Her original protoform is Maximal, who are descended from Autobots.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender had a whole episode dedicated to "you can shape your own destiny, and what the fortuneteller says is not set in stone".
    • It is shown also on a grander scale when Aang, despite being told by almost everyone that he has to kill the fire lord, merely takes away his powers.
    • Not to mention he took away his leadership and put Zuko in charge. The Fire Lord had powerful firebending abilities, yes, but the main reason he was a threat was his army. Take away that and his powers and he's just a fairly crazy regular person. Oh and killing him might not have helped anyway. Aang would probably have to kill Azula, too, considering her ambition...
  • Danny Phantom The Ultimate Enemy, in which he is shown a future where he's the Big Bad. Chillingly, he doesn't mind until he finds out that his whole family, his friends, and (far less importantly) his English teacher died because of him. He changed his tune right quick, then.
  • Subverted and played straight in Futurama. Fry the delivery boy wanted to be anything else, but wound up doing just that, while Leela, who originally figured her destiny as a job assigner was inescapable, became a starship captain.
    • Fry staying a delivery boy makes sense, as being a delivery boy in the future is a hell of a lot more awesome than being a delivery boy in the past.
    • Career chips though were quickly forgotten about and through the years they've taken on any number of wacky jobs from selling poplers, to playing in Blernsball, to serving as emperor of Tri-Sol... in fact, the a later episode lampshades the forgotten rules of the first episode by having Leela say to Fry "You know, our career chips"? as he just stares blankly.
  • Teen Titans:
    • "How Long is Forever": Time-travelling villain Warp arrives in the present to steal a clock because history says it disappeared. In his fight with the Titans, he accidentally brings Starfire to a Bad Future where the team has broken up due to her disappearance. Warp insists that Starfire can't prevent any of this, using his theft as an example of time's immutability. She proves him wrong by getting the future Titans back together, defeating him, and then returning to the past with the object he stole, ensuring it never disappears to begin with.
      Starfire: The past cannot be repaired. The future cannot be altered. No matter how wrong it seems.
      Nightwing: So - it's impossible? Good! If memory serves, we've done the impossible before.
    • Raven's series four arc, though it took some serious prompting from the rest of the Titans (pretty much all of whom were saying it from the start of the whole Trigon/prophecy thing).
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983)— In the episode "Daimar the Demon," Orko accidentally unleashes a world-destroying demon on Eternia. He-Man gets to talking to it and realizes that Daimar doesn't particularly want to destroy the world, he just believes he has to because of destiny. He-Man convinces him he has free will, and he chooses to go home to his own dimension in peace.
  • This is the whole idea of the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: M.A.U.R.I.C.E.". When it becomes evident to Numbuh Five that her idol Maurice has sided with Cree, she is despondent and close to giving up, thinking that You Can't Fight Fate and that she'll end up just like Cree when she turns thirteen in another year. Cree is actually happy about this, thinking that it may be the only way the two can ever reconcile. However, it turns out that Maurice is actually a Fake Defector who has continued to work for the KND even after becoming a teenager. After entrusting Numbuh Five with this secret, she realizes that she can follow this trope and not end up like Cree at all.
  • Ever After High is a school for the children of fairy tale characters, which teaches them how to take over the mantle from their parents. A group of students called "the Rebels" are opposed to the school's rigid adherence to the traditional stories, and some want to subvert or defy what destiny has in store for them; in contrast, "the Royals" are students intent on following the original stories.
    • At least some of the Rebels are rebelling because they feel destiny is giving them a raw deal, while the Royals generally like the fairy tales they belong to, but Duchess Swan and Maddie Hatter are acting out of their personal beliefs, not self interest. Swan is a Royal because she believes in following the story, though she would rather have a happier ending than the Bittersweet Ending she's due for; conversely, Maddie Hatter is very much The Mad Hatter's daughter, but she doesn't believe people should be forced into a life they don't want, making her a Rebel.


No SellScrew This Index, I Have TropesScrew the Electric Bill
Red String of FateFate and Prophecy TropesScry vs. Scry
Rich BoredomMotivation IndexSeven Deadly Sins
Rousseau Was RightIdealism TropesSheep in Sheep's Clothing
San Dimas TimeTime Travel TropesScrew Yourself
Because Destiny Says SoStock AesopsThere Are No Coincidences
Screaming BirthNarrative DevicesScully Syndrome
Robo CamImageSource/Live-Action FilmsSunglasses at Night
Final SpeechAwesome/Video GamesAction Survivor

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