Ida: Weve come this far, there's no turning back.
: Oh, did you have to? 'No turning back'? That's almost as bad as "Nothing could possibly go wrong" or "This is gonna be the best Christmas Walford's ever had!"
— Doctor Who
, "The Impossible Planet/The Satan Pit"
Some things just shouldn't be said
, even in jest. Taunting a monster
or bullying a dragon
is likely to end badly. Monologuing
will invariably give The Hero
the time he needs to defeat you. And then there's this trope.
Tempting Fate is when a character says something that dares the universe into making things miserable for them, and the universe takes them up on the challenge. Oftentimes, the character is commenting on how they've hit Rock Bottom
and how things couldn't possibly get any worse right before things do
turn From Bad to Worse
. Conversely, they may talk about how things are absolutely perfect, only for their world to come crashing down five seconds later.
And sometimes tempting fate can get downright lethal
. For example, that guy in every horror movie who tells his friends "I'll be right back" before wandering off by himself is most assuredly not
going to be back. Or that guy in every war movie who shows that picture of his family
to the others and expresses his hope to get through this and make it back home to them, which all but ensures that he will not
make it. Or that veteran cop in every action movie who's just several days away from Retirement
, and thus doomed to be gunned down in his final case. This particular variant of Tempting Fate is known as a Death Flag
The fate-tempting words may be followed up by a Genre Savvy
friend saying "You Just Had to Say It!
Compare Schmuck Bait
. For the supertrope to this, see Trope Telegraphing
. Contrast the Godzilla Threshold
for where things really can't
get any worse.
And don't forget the Evil Overlord List
- "I'll be right back." No, you won't (unless you're an Implacable Man or a Determinator, and sometimes not even then). George R. R. Martin is particularly fond of this.
- "At least it isn't raining." Cue the Rain. (Bonus points if it snows instead.)
- "If We Get Through This..." At least one of you won't.
- "It'll happen when pigs fly." Cue the Flying Pigs.
- "Nothing Can Save Us Now!" Cue the Big Damn Heroes/Villains.
- "No One Could Survive That." Could and did.
- "Nothing Can Stop Us Now!" Can and will.
- "Nothing Exciting Ever Happens Here." Give it a minute.
- "It Will Never Catch On." It will.
- "It's perfectly safe here/You'll be safe with us!" It's an Unsafe Haven.
- "It's Probably Nothing." — No, it's not.
- "It's Quiet... Too Quiet." It's about to get a whole lot louder.
- "Things couldn't possibly get any worse." Things go From Bad to Worse.
- "Things can get worse because X could always happen!" Speak of the Devil.
- "This Is no Time to Panic!" — Start Panicking / You Can Panic Now.
- "You don't have the guts!" - Yes he does.
- "She Is Not My Girlfriend!" Way to give the fanbase ideas. And by the way, she's right behind you.
- "Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter!" Happy to oblige! (SMITE!)
- "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" Exactly what you don't want going wrong.
- "Oh, come on, what are the chances of that happening? There's, like, a one in a million chance..."— Bet on it happening.
- "You're gonna pay for that..." - The most common response to this one (before the hero shows he doesn't believe it is, "Just send me the bill." Deadpan Snarker heroes never get tired of that one.
- "What Does This Button Do?" Screw up everything, that's what! Don't Touch It, You Idiot!!
- "Who Would Be Stupid Enough to fall for that Schmuck Bait?" Someone is (singular) or they are (plural). Bonus points if the speaker fell for it.
- "You and What Army?" That army. And don't get us started on the Army of the Dead or a Badass Army on a Zerg Rush or an One-Man Army/Person of Mass Destruction.
- "May God strike me down if I'm lying/wrong!" Cue the Bolt of Divine Retribution.
- "I am not going to do what you just said!" Cue Gilligan Cut.
- "You missed!" I wasn't aiming at you! Alternatively, the boomerang they just threw is about to pull a 180 and hit you in the back of the head.
- This Cannot Be!! It is, often followed immediately by a bad attack of Critical Existence Failure.
- "I'll endanger your friends!" I don't like them, either. (Alternately, cue Mama Bear / Papa Wolf / Big Brother Instinct reaction.)
- "I Have Your Wife!" - You Can Keep Her. Alternatively, cue Unstoppable Rage-fueled Roaring Rampage of Rescue.
- "S/he looks like a total wimp!" S/he's a Killer Rabbit, a Badass Adorable or a Cute Bruiser. Or all three. And s/he is right behind you. AND S/HE'S GONNA F YOU UP.
- "Let a real expert handle this." Famous last words of The World's Expert on Getting Killed.
- "You Wouldn't Shoot Me!" *BOOM!* Headshot! Alternatively, they don't have to; there are plenty of methods they WOULD use.
- "I'm going to retire after completing One Last Job." — Don't expect to survive the job.
- "I AM INVINCIBLE!" Right up until you said that, maybe.
- "Noooo!! The ICARUS XCII was supposed to fly FOREVEEEEER!!!!" — With that name, really?? What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?, Dummy?
- "This time I cannot miss!" — Not only will you miss, you'll probably be killed by your own weapon.
- "We'll have this war won in time for Christmas." — It's going to take a lot longer than you planned, if you actually win at all.
- "With these Death Traps and Elite Mooks in my lair, it is fool-proof. The Heroes can never reach me! Muahahahahahaha!" — Cue Dungeon Bypass.
- "Was that supposed to hurt, little man?!" — Pray you're right.
- "The enemy is retreating!" — They're actually circling around to flank you. (Alternately, they're getting out of the way before something worse shows up.) Or leading you back into a massive ambush. Take your pick; it's all ending badly.
- "Over my dead body!" / "You'll have it when you pry it from my cold, dead, lifeless fingers!" / "You'll have to kill me first!" — That can be arranged, and it's actually rather easy to take a gun from a dead man.
- "Now its power is mine!!!" — Seconds later, the villain is killed by the Artifact of Doom
- "There is no such thing as X!" — Actually, there is such a thing as X. And it's right behind you, about to eat you.
- "No man can defeat me!" — "I AM NO MAN!" *Cue the Curb-Stomp Battle*
- "But you said you would let them/him/her/me go!" — "Yeah, about that, I lied." (Or, if the person in question of being let go is being dangled off of a cliff of other high spot, then they will quite literally be "let go" by being dropped.)
- "But that's just a legend, right?" — No, it isn't. It is very real. Oh, and it's right behind you, about to eat you.
- "Everything is going as planned." — Cue the Spanner in the Works and your plans are going right down the drain.
- "At least X still likes me." — Even X doesn't like him anymore.
- "I Wished You Were Dead" or another variant. — Be Careful What You Wish For because when it happens it will be your biggest regret.
- "You Have No Chance to Survive!" — They do; you probably don't.
- "I can't WAIT to meet them! They're my greatest heroes!" — Prepare to have that pedestal dashed from a great height.
- "There is no one else here" — Cue someone entering the scene, possibly to kill you.
- Going into Sarcasm Mode for any reason — the person your sarcastic snark was aimed at is Sarcasm-Blind, causing them to do exactly what you didn't want them to do.
- "God Himself could not stop this from happening!" — Something will stop it at the worst moment possible.
- "Is That the Best You Can Do?" — Nope, not by a looong shot.
- "Oh, it's you." — At the Nasty Party, you'll end up dead.
- "You wouldn't dare!" — Would, could, and will.
- "I'd like to see you try it!" — He'll do more than "try".
- "Who's gonna make me?" — This treat usually makes someone even more likely to make him.
- "No matter what happens, don't do this." — The person always will.
- "At least X isn't here to see this — X's cue to arrive.
- "That's nothing but a myth!" — All Myths Are True.
- "Yeah, right! You're crazy!" The person wasn't crazy and you should have listened.