"Life is good. I hope I never have to leave my beloved village."Even if a hero wishes to refuse the Call to Adventure, destiny has ways of making sure that it can't be ignored, and one of the biggest ways is by making it personal, hitting the hero right where he lives. If the villain or villains were not introduced earlier, it is usually at this point where they will make their presence, and their evil, felt for the first time. Friends or loved ones may be hurt, kidnapped or outright slain. Homes or even hometowns may get razed to the ground. The hero may well find himself actively hunted or worse. Whatever the form it takes, bad and often tragic things happen to the hero and his world, and the point is driven home that he can't run away from his life mission. Embittered and hardened by the experience, The Hero thus takes up the call, either to avenge those that were hurt or slain, rescue those who were kidnapped, to make the villains stop making his life a living hell, and/or to make sure that whatever happened does not happen again to anyone else. Many an Anti-Hero has been shaped by this. He Who Fights Monsters almost certainly has. This trope may be referenced in a Troubled Backstory Flashback. Villains may inflict this on the hero's friends because "They Were Holding You Back". The Forgotten Fallen Friend is the trope where, after the hero starts the adventure, he or she gets over the deaths with remarkable aplomb. Overlaps with Doomed Hometown, only this trope is often viciously more personal; sometimes overlaps with Death by Origin Story. Compare with The Villain Knows Where You Live, a possible reason why The Call Knows Where You Live. Contrast with Plot Detour; and Stuffed into the Fridge, where the similarly personal tragedy is exceptionally cruel but there was no Refusal of the Call and the event seems largely unnecessary for the story. See also Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!, for when this is the result of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Not to be confused with The Calls Are Coming from Inside the House.
— Erik the Swiftnote , The Lost Vikings
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In Magical Project S Sasami doesn't want to be a magical girl. Too bad her enemy Pixy Misa knows her secret identity and tortures her wherever she is.
- In the Stardust Crusaders part of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Jotaro's mother develops a Stand that's slowly killing her; the only way to save her is to destroy Dio.
- Mahou Sensei Negima!. His parents' actions during the Great War (not either of the historical ones, but an In-Universe conflict) made enemies with two Ancient Conspiracies—the Cosmo Entelechia and the Megalosembrian Senate—the latter so bad that his mother was scheduled for execution and his father had to bail her out and fake her death. It's no wonder that they decide to leave the boy to some relatives in a village on a different planet inhabited by mages. Unfortunately, the senate managed to get the intel on his whereabouts and send a demon army to wipe them out. The destruction of the village would define Negi's character for years to come.
- A lesser example in Chisame Hasegawa: A girl who most definitely wants a normal life (Double life as a Net Idol notwithstanding), but happens to be in the one classroom the Call has on Speed Dial.
- Mobile Suit Gundam SEED: Poor Kira Yamato... this happened to him twice. The first time he Falls Into The Cockpit and reluctantly joins. By the second season, he's taking care of orphans with his girlfriend, when Durandal's assassins come and blow everything up.
- It's pretty much the same for Amuro Ray. In Mobile Suit Gundam, he ends up Falling into the Cockpit. When Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam starts up, he's a shell-shocked veteran who's being confined by the Federation because he's a Newtype. As much as he doesn't want to, he ends up taking up the controls of an MS.
- Illya from Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA. In the first season she becomes a Magical Girl by being forced, the second season starts with Rin and Luvia straight-up kidnapping her to force another mission.
- In InuYasha, after returning to her time after her first trip to the feudal era, Kagome assumes the whole experience was a dream and proceeds to forget about the whole thing... until Inuyasha barges into her house while her family is having dinner. She still tries to rebuff him, but one of the villains seeking the Jewel of Four Souls begins reaching through the well shortly after, quickly settling the argument.
- In Legend of Galactic Heroes, Yang Wen-li doesn't have any other ambition than to be a historian and to enjoy his tea. However, circumstances force him to join the military, where he has to use his tactical genius time and time again to survive in the long conflict against a rejuvenating Galactic Empire, cultimating in him becoming the military leader of the only remaining pro-democracy force in the universe
- In Girls und Panzer, Miho transferred to a school that specifically didn't have Tankery, due to a traumatic incident during a previous Tankery competition. Unfortunately for her, the student council at her new school decides to resurrect their Tankery program, and forces her to join.
- Happens to Madoka in Puella Magi Madoka Magica; most of the disastrous things that befall her friends occur because Kyubey is trying to force her into becoming a Magical Girl. Her family only narrowly avoids being killed, and it's implied that they were killed in some previous timelines...sometimes by Witch!Madoka herself. But when Kyubey finally gets her to make a contract, it doesn't work out quite like he'd hoped.
- In Attack on Titan, not only does the Call know where you live...it will probably make certain that your hometown is destroyed and everyone you love is Eaten Alive.
- Eren Yeager wanted to answer the call, and had argued with his mother over this. Cue the Colossal Titan kicking in the Wall, and a chunk of debris landing on the Yeager house. Eren and his foster sister, Mikasa, are forced to helplessly watch their mother be Eaten Alive by a Titan.
- Jean Kirstein spends a good amount of time talking about his intention to join the Military Police Brigade and live a comfortable, completely Titan-free life. Then, the day after graduation, his hometown becomes the site of a major battle and he is forced to step up to the plate and take command of the other stranded Trainees. And just to make sure he doesn't reconsider accepting the Call, in the aftermath of the battle he discovers the mangled corpse of his best friend, Marco. Even so, people are genuinely surprised when he decides to answer it and abandon his selfish ways.
- In Transformers: Super-God Masterforce, Hydra and Buster start killing truckers in order to eliminate Ginrai; since most of their victims are Ginrai's friends, this results in Ginrai being motivated to actually get involved in the fight.
- A good chunk of the first episode of the Tenchi Muyo! OVA has the title character being pursued by Ryoko, the being that was sealed away 700 years prior. After vanquishing her, Tenchi returns to his home in the city, only to find, to his horror, that Ryoko has not only managed to find his house, but is in his bed.
- In Beelzebub Furuichi is not allowed to avoid participating in the plot of the day, as Oga will simply send the transfer demon Alaindelion to kidnap him if he's not already present. Including when Furuichi was vacationing far away.
- At the beginning of the XY arc of Pokémon Special; Team Flare effectively burns Vaniville Town to the ground in an attempt to steal X's key stone and Kanghaskhanite. While X remains in a stupor in the early chapters due to his backstory's nature; it's effectively made clear to the main characters You Can't Go Home Again.
- Without a doubt, the original example for this trope when it comes to comic books is Batman.
- Spider-Man: Peter Parker was taught that power comes with responsibility through the death of his Uncle Ben, who was murdered by a thief that he refused to stop.
- Matt Murdock loses his strict but loving father when the old man refuses to take a dive in a prizefight. Father is killed, ergo Daredevil. (Spider-Man and Daredevil were created by the same person.)
- The Punisher exists because the mob knew where Frank Castle lived. That Man Is Dead now.
- Most conspicuous in the MAX miniseries Born, set during Castle's time in Vietnam. Castle is seen having an internal monologue with himself, pushing him towards violence and guaranteeing that he could keep Castle's war going on forever. Towards the end of the book, Castle is in the middle of a truly hopeless battle, alone versus a massive amount of VC. The voice says that it will let Castle live and continue to fight... if he pays a price. Castle agrees, goes on to murder the entire enemy force alone, but promptly leaves the service, planning to live in peace with his wife and children. The voice then reminds him, there's a price to be paid.
- In Joss Whedon's comic Fray, new slayer Melaka Fray drags her heels over her destiny until her young friend Loo - The Cutie - is murdered. The really awful twist is that she wasn't killed by vampires, but by Mr. Exposition Urkonn, specifically in order to motivate her.
- A variant is used in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Origin comic. Buffy's family does not come under attack, but her school does - The Call Knows Where You Go To School, perhaps? Later, a character tells Buffy that she is a creature of destiny - in other words, her school wasn't attacked by Lothos because she went there, she went there because it was under attack by Lothos.
- Which likewise happened when she moved to Sunnydale hoping to start a new, monster-free life. Hehe tough break kid.
- This trope is pretty much the entire point of the supervillain Zoom. He thinks that by killing off any surviving relatives or friends of a superhero that they have, they'll have more time to devote to hero-ing and will have nowhere else to turn to.
- Justice Society of America. Vandal Savage gets pissed off about legacy heroes and decides to bump off entire blood lines. Works in some cases, creates new heroes in others. Try not to send the guy powered by steel to kill the relatives of Commander Steel.
- The Filth revolves around this trope — although Greg Feely, the main character, was always an Agent. Maybe. Or maybe not. Maybe it's all a lie. Maybe Greg's gone crazy.
- Happens in 2011's Incredible Hulk. Whereas Hulk, after separating himself from Banner, has finally found peace and acceptance among a community of Moloids, Banner has become a Mad Scientist obsessed with recreating the Hulk. When a Mad Scientist-hunting agency tries to recruit Hulk to go after Banner, he initially declines, but then some of Banner's gamma-mutated monsters, viewing Hulk as a rival for their creator's attention, attack the Moloids.
- Pity poor James Proudstar, AKA Warpath. When Cable tried to recruit him into X-Force, James turns him down to go home and live a normal life. A few pages later, he discovers his entire reservation has been massacred.
- In the Buffy / Stargate Fan Fiction Trick or Treat, Xander is told point blank by an agent of the Powers That Be that he is going to go along with their plan, one way or another. Subverted in that once his girls are attacked, he dedicates a remarkable amount of insight into derailing not only their grand plans for him, but for a few of their favorite champions as well. He succeeds.
- In the Sailor Moon/ Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha crossover Fan Fiction White Devil of the Moon, Fate tries her damnedest to keep The Call away because Nanoha's still recovering from the damage to her Linker Core. Unfortunately, the Sailor Senshi are adamant in meeting their Princess... and the Dark Kingdom decides to drop in on a wedding Nanoha was attending.
- Kyoshi Rising; Kyoshi is perfectly happy with living as a Farm Girl, refusing several people's suggestions that she might like to live elsewhere in the Earth Kingdom, even if only for a little while. But then a band of mercenaries attacks her home, and she's revealed to be the Avatar.
Films — Animated
- In Titan A.E., Korso tries to recruit Cale for a mission to locate the ''Titan''. Cale blows him off, but the agents of the Big Bad promptly kick down the door and try to kill him.
- In Frozen, Elsa doesn't realize she's cast an Endless Winter in Arendelle when she runs to the North Mountain and believes she's doing everybody a favor. But then, during "For the First Time in Forever" (Reprise), Anna proves her wrong.
Films — Live-Action
- Dates back as far as the 1956 classic The Searchers, where the protagonist is lured away from home only to return and find his homestead raided by Comanches. The movie then follows the hero's search for his kidnapped niece.
- In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Luke is obliged to become a Jedi when his home is burned down with his aunt and uncle left as charred remains outside. However, he wanted to help fight the Empire in the first place but his Uncle and Aunt wouldn't allow it. So it was more their refusal than his. (Note that the scene where he says "That would lead them...Home!", and the scene after it (see the page image) are based on a sequence from The Searchers, above.)
- An oddly literal variation occurs in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl— Elizabeth's cursed gold piece actually 'calls' to the pirates, which brings them to raid Port Royal, her hometown.
- The beginning of Mel Gibson's The Patriot fits this to a tee. Benjamin Martin is a dedicated pacifist, arguing against going to war in the State Assembly and refusing to let his sons join the Continental Army. It's not until the British Col. Tavington burns down his farm, kills his second son, and drags his oldest son off to be hung as a spy that Martin joins the fight.
- This also happens in Braveheart — William Wallace just wants to 'till fields and maybe raise a family.' Guess what happens to his new wife?
- Mel Gibson is good at roles like these. In Mad Max, his very first action movie, the killing of his partner drove him out of the force. The killing of his family drove him to vigilantism. In the sequel, he wasn't about to help the refinery people, but unfortunately for him The Call Knew He Lived In His Car.
- In a literal case, in Bruce Almighty, Bruce finds a pager which he cannot lose or destroy with a number. When he calls the number, he is told to go to a certain address "or we'll just keep beeping you."
- God had done the same thing to John Denver in Oh, God!, but with a carefully typed invitation that he kept getting rid of, only to have it find him again.
- In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen The call knows where Sam goes to school and where his parents went on vacation. It's a very thorough call.
- Anti-hero Josey Wales is content to be a poor dirt farmer in Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales; until the Union's brutal "Red Legs" militia burned his farm and murdered his family, which he barely survives. After he's had time to recover, he's met by and joins up with a Confederate guerrilla band; achieving notoriety as a skillful and unrelenting fighter, and a substantial bounty is placed on his head by the Union. After the war, he ends up defending several First Nations individuals from brutal exploiters, and an innocent homestead from former Union Red Legs turned bounty hunters and bandits.
- Alex Rogan of The Last Starfighter wasn't crazy or stupid enough to hop into the middle of a space dogfight that had absolutely nothing to do with him... until Xur decided to send assassins to Earth to hunt him down and kill him. Cue epic one-man god mode wipeout.
- Played with a little in Tombstone. Wyatt Earp leaves Dodge to have a normal life, only to wind up living and working in a town where a gang of lawless thugs are running things. His brothers answer the Call and become lawmen, but Wyatt keeps resisting... and then the bad guys start targeting his family. Cue Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
- Stranger Than Fiction has a far less tragic example, but after finding out that he's living out a novel, Harold tries staying at home and doing nothing so his narrative can't move forward and he can take back control of his life. This ends in a wrecking crew smashing through his apartment wall.
- Serenity — several times, in fact. The crew and River are reasonably content in their lives flying under the radar until the Operative remotely triggers River's Psycho Waif-Fu mode with a subliminal broadcast. Then, the crew is fine with going to ground until the whole thing blows over, except that the Operative's men destroy nearly all of their safehouses, including killing dozens of innocents and their personal friend Shepherd Book. Hell, Mal was ready to turn them out (he did, in fact, for a very brief period) until the severity of the situation pushed all his loyalty-to-the-crew buttons. In short, Serenity is a tale of eight friends (and a dead black guy) who the government just plain won't leave alone, to its own (eventual) peril.
- Literally in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The young Charles Xavier gives up on his school and on helping mutants in general. The future Logan goes to find him in the mansion to persuade him to take up the cause again at his older self's request.
- In I Am Cuba, Mariano declines an invitation to join Castro's revolutionary army. Immediately afterwards, planes from Batista's air force bomb his home (in rebel country) and kill his son.
- Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: Watson refuses to be involved in Holmes' investigations anymore as he wants to live a happy married life. Moriarty decides to target him anyway. Holmes thwarts the attempt on Watson's life onboard the train he took on his very honeymoon, and Watson is then forced to go back in action.
- Warrior Cats: Dawn of the Clans: Gray Wing's sister is killed to show how desperate his tribe is for a new home. After he refuses to follow his friends on the dangerous quest, his younger brother (who was deemed too young to manage the journey) runs away to find the others, forcing Gray Wing to search for him, and keep him safe until they could locate the travelers. This is even Lamp Shaded in The First Battle
- Inheritance Cycle: Eragon finds his uncle's house blown up and his uncle dead; abruptly he realizes that dragon ownership comes with responsibilities.....
- In Animorphs, Marco was reluctant to involve himself in fighting the good fight — until he discovered that his mother was also controlled by one of the brain-stealing aliens.
- Also, Jake and Elfangor.
- Rand al'Thor and friends in The Wheel of Time have their village attacked not once, but twice, because the Pattern is calling them into service.
- The first attack is to force the boys out into the world. The second forces the mantle of leadership onto Perrin.
- In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo Baggins never actively resists the Call, but he drags his feet about leaving the Shire to the point that he just avoids meeting a Nazgûl on (literally) his front doorstep. (And it turns out that, at the same time, Saruman's thugs were invading the Shire from a different direction...)
- You could say that this happened literally to his uncle Bilbo in The Hobbit, since Gandalf invited the dwarf party, which provided the Call, right into Bilbo's house (without Bilbo's permission). It would've been tough for Bilbo to refuse the Call without injuring his pride or insulting his (unexpected) houseguests.
- The Name of the Wind: Kvothe leaves to gather firewood for five minutes, and comes back to witness the (supposedly fictional) Chandrian kill his entire acting troupe, family included.
- Dragon Queen: The old man comes and gets drunk at Trava's house because Trava's mother told him to find her.
- In both the second and last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Lord Foul exerts influence in our world to torment the previous heroes until they return to the mythical Land to confront him, as his plans require their powers.
- Hogwarts sent Harry Potter a series of acceptance letters, pinpointing his near-exact location at the time the letter got there. Uncle Vernon went to great effort to keep Harry from getting the letter, up to moving the entire family to a small shack on a rain-swept island - where Harry got the call in the un-ignorable, unavoidable form of Hagrid.
- Destiny seems to have a thing against Harry, since it seems to kill a lot of the people he loves.
- At least the bad guys don't know where he lives until he's 17, thanks to the Blood Magic Dumbledore invoked.
- Children of the Night: Di Tregarde, refusing the call to use her Guardianship, ignores an inept sorcerer's plans to summon an inhuman demon that was too strong for him, thinking it's not her problem. Naturally he summoned the thing, it killed him and was wounded in the process, and it then went after Di, because even if she wasn't doing anything with it Guardianship sticks around. She beat it, but the panic attacks triggered by anything that reminded her of it lingered, as did the lesson that ignoring these things, on a purely selfish level, meant that they would meet her on their terms.
- Sherlock Holmes overworked himself on more than one occasion, which usually prompted Dr. Watson to take him on a vacation so he could relax. Unfortunately, no matter where Watson seemed to choose as their vacation spot, there would inevitably be a mystery and people seeking Holmes' help. The good Doctor was never very happy at this, but ironically enough Holmes' investigating the problem actually seemed to revitalize him. See The Adventure of the Reigate Squire, The Adventure of the Devil's Foot, and any number of pastiches as examples of when Watson and Holmes try to relax on vacation, only for Holmes' reputation as a detective to precede him.
- Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple tended to have similar problems. As did Jessica Fletcher of Murder, She Wrote. Come to think about it, if you're a literary detective, amateur or professional, all vacations are working vacations.
- At least in Watson's case, we can guess he just didn't write about the times when they went on holiday and there wasn't a murder.
- In The Silver Crown The Call not only knew where the heroine lived, it firebombed it. If she'd not opted to go on an early-morning stroll, it'd have been a rather different story.
- In the Sword of Truth, Richard has one of these. In an unusual example, three weeks before the events of the book, in the form of his dad getting gruesomely murdered. He's essentially been wandering around trying to deal with it until Kahlan shows up.
- It's the job of the Sisters of the Light to be the call.
- The Chimes cause this in Richard. No matter how hard everyone else tries to convince him otherwise.
- The Temple of the Winds does this. It's possible to refuse that call, but the Temple won't help balance out the situation if you do.
- Chainfire is this, just like the Chimes. Only here, his allies are justified in not believing Richard because that's the point of the spell.
- This is part of the recruitment process for Mord-Sith, but that's a much darker example.
- In the Keys to the Kingdom series, not only does the call know where Arthur lives, it keeps coming back until the end of book three, when he decides to hunt it down and kill it until it leaves him alone. The villains' very first action was to put the lives of his family and half the town in jeopardy from a Nothing-fuelled disease, before trying to bankrupt them in Grim Tuesday and insert a mind-controlling doppelganger into the area in Sir Thursday.
- In the Rainbow Magic series, Rachel and Kirsty are often told that the magic will come to them.
- Gregor from The Underland Chronicles never wants to fulfill the prophecies that Sandwich set down for him, but they always find a way to rope him in. Particularly in Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods, his Grandma tells him "You can run away, but the prophecy will find you somehow." A bit later Gregor's mother is infected with a deadly plague forcing him to go after the cure. The call metaphorically hits him right where he lives.
- Ripred's "escort" for Gregor is a much more literal example from the same book.
- In Of Fear and Faith, after Kavik rejects Noble and August’s offers to join their journey, another feral Fionbri meets him after he collapses drunkenly into an alleyway, and convinces him to change his mind.
- In the Rainbow Magic series this is acknowledged and becomes a sort of mantra for Rachel and Kirsty. Rather than trying to seek out the fairies, they're told that the magic will come to them.
- In the Heralds of Valdemar series, if you are destined to be a Herald, a Companion will show up to Choose you. Even if it means shanghaing you from wherever you are and carrying you off to the Collegium without so much as a by-your-leave.
- In the first book of the Young Wizards, a simple spell to find a pen just Happened to malfunction in such a way that they have to defeat the Big Bad. Given the phrase in the wizarding world that "There are no coincidences", this was clearly an example of this trope.
- In Updraft, Kirit doesn't want anything to do with the Singers, and doesn't care that her special talent would be useful to them (and, they say, to the city). However, they make it clear that they'll ruin all her alternatives until she "chooses" to join them.
- In Lords Of The Underworld, William abandons his demonic family and their evil plots so he can live a isolated, hedonistic life on Earth- in the middle of the Arctic, no less! Unfortunately, this arrangement only lasts a few years before an old friend of William's literally teleports in, asking for his help with finding a mystical artifact...oh, and mentioning that if he refuses, she can and will destroy his most prized possession.
- In the Discworld series, this is Rincewind's problem- no matter what he does, he invariably ends up in the right place and time to save the world from disaster, in spite of his efforts to avoid trouble. This has happened to him so often that in The Last Hero he volunteers to go on the mission to stop Cohen the Barbarian; He doesn't really want to, but by now has figured that he'll end up on it somehow anyway, and might as well save himself the time.
Live Action TV
- In Smallville, Jor-El knows more than where Clark lives. He is perfectly fine in (usually indirectly) harming his loved ones if it drives him to fulfill his destiny. Like freezing Chloe half to death in Arrival and intending to trap Clark in the Fortress until everyone he loves is dead in Gemini.
- Happens twice in Supernatural's pilot episode for Sam. First, his Dad goes missing and Dean comes to get him. He refuses to stick with Dean after killing the Monster of the Week, but watching his girlfriend burn up on the ceiling like his mother finally forces him to take the Call for good.
- In fact, any time either boy starts thinking about getting out of the business, they're dragged back in by rather brutal means. The Call doesn't just know where you are, it will stalk you to Hell and back. Literally. As in, angels besieged Hell and dragged Dean out because they had work for him. They dragged the brothers back from Heaven, too. Multiple times, apparently, although we only see one. Someone even says that the boys die more than anyone else they've ever met.
- In seasons four and five and most of three, The Call is in fact semi-omniscient beings, requiring them to travel under a couple different types of mystic shielding. It steps up from hex bags to having their ribcages engraved with Enochian warding sigils so Heaven and Lucifer won't turn up and explain with nasty graphic examples why You Can't Fight Fate.
- The other Call instances are mostly equally engineered, although the menace that sends soulless Sam into Dean's neighborhood in season six, dragging him slowly back onto the road after over a year of retirement, was just a monster seeking revenge on them for an earlier kill.
- Often occurs in Ace Lightning. Fortunately for Mark, it's not a very competent call.
- Super Sentai/Power Rangers has instances of characters not being so eager to join the team, but for some reason or another end up getting attacked by the villains anyways. Most well known example to American viewers would be in the pilot of MMPR, when the rangers decide they aren't interested in being thrown into a fight to save the world, but Rita didn't know that and sends her Putty Patrol to kill them anyways, creating the team that would thwart her for the rest of the series.
- The Star Trek: Voyager pilot is built around this trope.
- In Heroes, Destiny seems to follow Hiro and Ando around like a puppy dog. At one point, Ando says "I wish destiny would lose our number".
- In Legend of the Seeker, Richard displays a significant amount of sense in being completely weirded out by Kahlan and Zedd trying to name him Seeker. Meanwhile, his dad is being killed, his house burned, and his brother set up against him. Contrast it to the less cinematic example in source material.
- On Leverage, Nate was wanting to get out of his life of crime, of his variety. This changes when the Irish mob attempts to kill a man in front of him while he is going about his normal life.
- A less tragic version of this trope occurs in the pilot. The eponymous character is scornful of his destiny to protect Arthur, wanting nothing to do with him. The next night, an enchantress makes an attempt on Arthur's life and Merlin pulls him out of the way without thinking. As a reward, Uther makes him Arthur's manservant, so he's going to have to deal with him full time now.
- Another episode has this trope played as tragically as possible. Merlin falls in love with a fugitive Druid named Freya. After a few days with her, he knows he needs to get her out of Camelot, and decides to leave with her. The night they're supposed to leave, the men hunting her catch up and stab her, causing her to bleed to death in Merlin's arms. It's sad enough, but the man who stabs her is Arthur(albeit in self defense), the destiny Merlin was running away from, and you can't help but feel that this was a case of fate saying They Were Holding You Back.
- "The Call", a song by Celtic Woman. Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Villainous example with mothy's character Gallerian Marlon in the Franchise/Evillious: when MA asked him to help her find the remaining vessels of sin, he asked if it would cost him any money. When she said it would, he declined her offer. Then MA noticed the picture of his family on his desk...
Religion and Mythology
- Occurs repeatedly in The Bible, as one of its central themes is that God's will reigns supreme:
- God wants Jonah to deliver a message of damnation to Nineveh. Jonah says no, because he thinks that if Nineveh will repent, God won't destroy them, and Jonah wasn't a fan of Nineveh. Jonah attempts to flee God. Cue big storm and great fish. Nineveh did repent. God was pleased. Jonah wasn't.
- Jeremiah and Moses also both attempt to resist their calls to become prophets; the text Jeremiah in particular has passages making it clear that he had no choice. Unusually, the book of Jeremiah explicitly has sections where Jeremiah is speaking for himself, where he condemns the things God is forcing him to say and the message God is making him convey.
- Nobody knows better about the irresistible will of God than Paul, who got his call to serve while on the road to persecute God's new people. Paul would then go on to be a staunch proponent of the doctrine of predestination.
- The Buddha was destined to be either a great ruler or a great teacher. His father was a king and, wanting his son to follow in his footsteps, strove to keep the child from learning anything about suffering and death, as they would tempt the greatness in the child's nature toward compassion and thus the teaching path. But a god is more powerful than a king, and the gods themselves took the forms of beggars, sick men, and corpses in order to drive the Buddha onto the path to enlightenment.
- Scion. Your life will become a legend, whether you want it or not. Fate makes sure of that.
- Geist: The Sin-Eaters has elements of this. It's not just that you have an incarnation of death attached to your soul and whispering in your ear. You can see dead people... and the dead people know you can see them, and will seek your help any way they can.
- The Chronicles of Amber: Amber Diceless also operates on this assumption, since your allies and your enemies tend to have many powers, including that of walking between dimensions: trying to dodge your problems by laying low in one of the game's many universes is just liable to cause an enemy to destroy that entire universe just to smoke you out.
- Played with In Hunter: The Reckoning. The Imbued are the ones who Jumped at the Call, and receive powers to fight the supernatural forces. But there are those who Refused the Call, referred to as Bystanders - they don't get powers, but the ability to see the supernatural doesn't go away, and The Masquerade remains broken for them, so they still can't ignore it. The Call is thorough indeed.
- Mage: The Awakening plays with this with the character Metathron. The angelic messenger Metathron is the personification of this trope, being charged with delivering tragic Calls To Adventure by a being responsible for creating heroes. Unfortunately, it never understood that the would-be heroes are supposed to overcome their tragedy, not be destroyed by it, so Metathron ended up going rogue and now delivers destructive Calls to people it thinks can't rise to the challenge of becoming heroes.
- The title character of Max Payne initially refused Alex's offer to transfer to the DEA and work for him ("You'd make me work undercover in some hellhole. Sorry, Alex. Michelle and the baby come first."). But all that changed when three murderous junkies hopped up on a new designer drug called Valkyr broke into his home and killed his wife and baby girl.
"Is this the Payne residence?"
- And, literally enough, the Big Bad phones Max's house as this happens to see if her hit worked.
- In Lost Odyssey, the call most definitely knows where Kaim lives. In fact, the call essentially comes (for all the immortal characters) in the form of the main villain, who, years ago, inflicted tremendous emotional pain to the point that the damage to their psyche was literally a fate worse than death, then subsequently sealed off their memories and left them to become walking corpses, eternally (but NOT desperately) searching for their purpose in life.
- Happens twice in Baldur's Gate. First, the protagonist's foster father is killed. Later, almost everyone in your entire home town is killed and replaced by evil shapeshifters loyal to the Big Bad.
- Fei from Xenogears, not only is his mother (who was taken over by one of the Big Bads) is killed by his father (who is taken over by a previous incarnation of Fei). Then, his adopted hometown is burned to the ground by a battle from the ongoing war.
- Of course, a great deal of the damage to the town was done by Fei himself!
- At the start of Starship Titanic, the eponymous starship literally demolishes the fourth wall by crashing into the player's house.
- inFAMOUS: To be honest, there was no way Cole could have possibly avoided The Call. Kessler knew where he worked, asked for him to deliver a package by name and took him to an area with a large number of people before having him open it, so he could absorb plenty of neuro-electric energy to make him as powerful as possible. Kinda hard to avoid The Call when the guy who's making it is you from the future and knows pretty much all there is to know about you.
- Shin Megami Tensei: Devil Survivor somewhat inverts this; your character has a mighty destiny that he can take hold of in any way he wishes. However, he also has the option of running away from it all; the result of this course of action, however, is that the huge majority of his friends, along with hundreds of thousands of other innocent people, die in a manner so horrific that it will Squick you out if you think about it too hard; it's so bad that the top Seraph of Heaven comes to bitch you out for being a coward... and the player knows this is how things will play out before committing to the option.
- Dragon Quest IV has a variation where the villains are shown searching for The Chosen One long before you actually get to play as the chosen one. Instead, the first several chapters are spent controlling the hero's future companions and seeing some of their adventures before meeting each other. This also allows the player to see some of the effects that the villains' global search for The Chosen One has. And, of course, once they find out where the chosen one is growing up...
- This happens to poor old Banjo in both Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie with the kidnapping of his sister and the death of a dear friend, respectively.
- Two examples in Assassin's Creed:
- Desmond Miles ran away from home when he was 16 because he wanted to see the world outside of Assassin training. Then the Templars' modern incarnation Abstergo Industries found him when he tried to apply for a motorcycle license, kicking off the main plot of the games. Realizing that the Templar threat was real all along, Desmond finally embraces his calling as an Assassin.
- All his ancestor Ezio Auditore di Firenze wanted to do with his life was jump and skip across the rooftops of Florence, screw the most beautiful women in Italy, and loot small chests of their money content. Then, his father and brothers are arrested by the Big Bad, betrayed by their close friend, and hanged in the public square, throwing him into the Roaring Rampage of Revenge that would rage for the entire game.
- Summoner is funny because it unites Jumped at the Call, Refused the Call, and The Call Knows Where You Live: Joseph is identified as a summoner by a passing monk, who offers him a summoner's ring and to help him study his power. Joseph gladly takes the offer. Raiders attack the village, and Joseph calls forth the demon of darkness that resides inside the ring. The demon slays everyone in town, raider & villager alike, except for Joseph and the monk and one other guy. Joseph decides he wants nothing to do with the summoner's legacy and tosses the ring down a well, fleeing to live as a farmer in another village. Then The Empire attacks the village, looking for the one with the mark of the summoner, who is prophesied to kill the emperor. Joseph has no choice but to take on the legacy he threw away earlier if he wants to live and save The Kingdom.
- In Final Fantasy XIII, Vanille attempts to avoid her Focus, which inadvertently causes the horrible things that happen to the cast throughout the game.
- Hope also isn't very keen about the whole fighting the Sanctum thing, but changes his mind after his father's home gets demolished by a strike team.
- In Homeworld, the newly-finished mothership is sent out on a mission to test its hyperdrive by jumping out a distance, then back to the home planet. Oops, someone destroyed the home planet. It's not like they weren't already planning on embarking on the trip across the galaxy in the first place, but there's certainly no turning back now.
- In Red Faction Guerrilla, Alec Mason initially declines his brother Dan's offer to join the eponymous Red Faction, until the EDF decide that gunning Dan down and trashing their shack would be a fun thing to do. The Faction show up to rescue Alec from certain doom, with the side effect of having him labelled as one of them by the EDF.
- In Thief, Garrett refused to become a Keeper (an agent of "Balance" in the City) and started life as a thief for hire. This doesn't stop him from being dragged into various missions to preserve said Balance in all three games. In the end, he finally accepts the mantle of Keeper — indeed, he ends up being the last true Keeper.
- Dragon Age:
- In Dragon Age: Origins, every Origins story ends with you having to conscript to the Grey Wardens to escape jail or death giving you little choice in the matter. In many of these events people close to you get hurt or killed. Then at Ostagar every Grey Warden in Ferelden gets killed except for you and Alistair when Loghain leaves them, King Cailan and his forces to die at the hands of a whole lot of Darkspawn.
- Dragon Age II starts with the destruction of the town of Lothering (which happened offscreen in the first game), forcing the Player Character and his/her family to flee, which sets off the rest of the plot.
- The King of Fighters: Poor Gaidel. The man thought that living in a small Brazilian village with his family would be enough to hide from the other Orochi warriors, but it wasn't. Goenitz brutally proved him wrong via dropping by... and brainwashing his pre-teen daughter Leona into killing him and everyone else.
- In Penny Arcade Adventures, The Call smashes your house. Twice. The second time it literally knew where you lived and was going there to pick you up.
- In Peasant's Quest, Trogdor burninates Rather Dashing's thatched-roof cottage, thus motivating him to liberate the peasant kingdom of Peasantry from the Burninator's influence forever.
- The Legend of Zelda: Poor Link. No matter which incarnation it is, the poor guy just can't seem to catch a break and be allowed to live his life in peace. Either he's walking along minding his own business when he comes across an old lady being mugged (It's All There in the Manual), woken up in the middle of the night by a telepathic distress call, dragged off by the local tree-deity first thing in the morning, has his sister kidnapped on his birthday, or his idyllic life as a rancher is interrupted when his village is raided and he gets shape-shifted and dragged off. Of course, there's a reason for that as a curse was placed on that Link's descendants and on the fledgling Hyrule.
- In Wild Card Ace's initial reaction to discovering that the magic rock he and his sister Kris found is one of the rune stones that are supposed to be keeping the demon Rasha'yad imprisoned is to leave it with the town wise man so he can get some actual adventurers to deal with the mess. Then they return to the family farm only to find it destroyed by the local thieves' guild, whose leader wants to collect the stones for his own purposes.
- Played quite literally in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. When Richter decides to ignore the phone calls that encourage him to go and kill Russian mobsters, he finds his car on fire on the next day, with the very next call telling him not to tempt fate.
- Persona 5: The Otherworld Navigation app, which kicks off the rest of the plot, keeps reappearing on the Protagonist's phone no matter how many times he deletes it, and forcibly sends him to the Mental World of the Palace twice.
- Summed up nicely in one strip of The Princess Planet. "Okay! I get it! If I don't go on quests bad stuff still happens to me!"
- In Rusty and Co., when Mimic tries to avoid the adventure hook, he gets hooked in.
- Michael Kappel in Collar 6 is pushed into a life of adventure when government soldiers come looking for the Sympathetic Sentient Weapon he rescued and (accidentally) kill his parents. This not only gets him and his new sidekick on the move, it draws his attention to the true evil in the world and sets him on the quest to destroy it.
- This was Standard Operating Procedure for the Scions, a group of evil telepaths in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe. When they detected the development of a young new telepath, they'd approach the child's parents in the guide of a Super Hero School that would train the child in the use of their new abilities. If the parents agreed, all was right with the world. If the parents didn't agree, they'd mentally manipulate the parents into some sort of fatal situation (murder-suicides were popular) and then manipulate whoever they needed to get the kid anyway.
- Active in Dept Heaven Apocrypha, where fate was so insistent that Nessiah wind up exactly as messed-up as his canon self, his only place of sanctuary—his previous school—was destroyed when his unstable magic went out of control.
- Marble Hornets. WE WILL WAIT FOR YOU NO MORE
- Entry #25 has Jay's apartment being burned down.
- In Ash And Cinders three siblings of literal darkness chase them into what became their quest.
- Elsewhere in The Slender Man Mythos: Noah from Tribe Twelve begins hearing noises around his house after posting his cousin's videos, and Everyman HYBRID starts out as an in-universe parody, only to be hijacked by the real deal.
- Bladedancer of the Whateley Universe. When she didn't really get with the program, a demon-lord from a fiery hell invaded her home, killed her father, burned down her house, destroying the magical artefact that allowed her to resume her natural form, and chased her halfway across the country to sanctuary at Whateley Academy.
- Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond had his father murdered, which made him steal the batsuit and set him on the path of a new Batman. In Justice League Unlimited, it's revealed that Project: Cadmus was planning to have his parents murdered in a manner similar to Bruce's to inspire him, but scrapped it due to moral restraint... Only to have some villain do their job for them eight years later. Didn't they get lucky?
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: The clever Fire Nation tries to exploit this trope by killing of potential Avatars before they can be a problem.
- Aang finds out he is The Chosen One. Aang runs away. His entire race is exterminated and himself encased in ice. Aang wakes up, and proceeds to hang out with the Southern villagers, incognito. Aang finds out about the war. Continues to be incognito, does not have any idea how to cope. Unfortunately for him, Prince Zuko is in the neighborhood, and everything gets busted wide open. Zuko's continued pursuit motivates the first season in a way 'stop the world war' just couldn't for a bunch of kids, especially a kid like Aang. Many fans, and possibly Iroh, consider Zuko to be the long arm of Aang's destiny, prodding him in the butt. It's not a dignified position.
- In Barbie & The Diamond Castle, Liana jumps at the call (despite her friend Alexa's reluctance) after their home is destroyed by the Big Bad's literal dragon.
- In Thundercats 2011, during a Rite of Passage to test if he's ready for kingship, young Prince Lion-O receives a brief, vague, frightening Mirror Monster vision in the Sword of Omens, but avoids telling anyone for fear his longstanding reputation as a Cloudcuckoolander will be further cemented. He sees his Kingdom destroyed and his father assassinated by ancient Outside-Context Problem and series Big Bad Mumm-Ra, the very enemy whose face he saw in the sword.
- In Conan the Adventurer, the eponymous hero gets started on his adventure when his parents and grandfather are turned into stone by the Big Bad.
- During World War II, the US public was reluctant to enter the conflict, instead aiming for a peaceful resolution (meanwhile, the government was already participating via the Lend-Lease program and American ships were shooting at German ships and vice versa). The bombing of Pearl Harbor pushed them over the edge and precipitated the US's active involvement in the war.
- A LOT of neutral countries got this in spades during WWII. In sequential order: China, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Yugoslavia, and the Philippines, either by being ripe pickings for the Axis powers or strategic staging grounds for Allied ones.
- The USSR. Just the USSR. They knew that the Axis Powers were up to no good regarding them, but tried to postpone their involvement in the war as much as possible, even if that meant signing pacts with Hitler. Then 22 June 1941 happened.