Playing With / The Man Behind the Curtain

Basic Trope: A villain reported to be powerful, ruthless and exceedingly evil turns out to be disappointingly feeble
  • Straight: The hero breaks down the door to Baron von Ruthless' chambers, only to find him to be an frail, old man in a wheelchair.
  • Exaggerated: Baron von Ruthless is bedridden and on life support, and looks a skeleton who has been dipped in wax. There is a strong impression that even the slightest bit of exertion would cause him to keel over for good.
  • Downplayed: Baron Von Ruthless has a leg cast.
  • Justified: Despite his brilliant mental abilities, Baron von Ruthless has cancer.
  • Inverted: Baron von Ruthless is infamous for his mental abilities rather than his combat skills, but manages to put up an impressive fight against the heroes.
  • Subverted:
    • Baron von Ruthless' infirmity was all an act and he attacks the hero.
    • Baron von Ruthless may be stuck in a wheelchair, but it turns out he's still a powerful sorcerer who can put up a fight through sheer magical power, skill, and willpower.
    • The vaguely human-shaped mass of steel plates and spikes from earlier, who our heroes "learned" was a body double upon encountering the feeble old man before them, really was Baron von Ruthless, and the old man is just there to get would-be assassins to drop their guard while the real Baron von Ruthless closes in.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Only to find out that this Baron von Ruthless was a robot. The real one has been dead for years.
    • He's still a Squishy Wizard
    • The "real" Baron von Ruthless was working off a script, and our heroes' initial assumptions about the old man were correct.
  • Parodied: Baron von Ruthless has committed several heinous crimes and is wanted in several countries. It's revealed that Baron von Ruthless is actually a genius 10-year-old child working all of it from behind her computer.
  • Zig Zagged: There is another Man Behind the Man for Baron von Ruthless. He's not the the Man Behind The Curtain, but the man behind him is. And so on.
  • Averted: Baron von Ruthless is a brilliant roboticist and has built a suit of Powered Armor to aid in defeating the hero when he arrived.
  • Enforced: "How's this for a twist: Baron von Ruthless turns out to this sickly old man!"
  • Lampshaded: "You're Baron von Ruthless?"
  • Invoked: The heroes deliberately attempt to find out if Baron von Ruthless really is an old man in a wheelchair.
  • Exploited: The Heroes had brought themselves to their last legs fighting The Dragon and are saved by the fact that their opponent is actually harmless
  • Defied: Baron von Ruthless fed rumors of his condition in order to create confusion and doubt about his true abilities.
  • Discussed: "I can't believe this was the best the writers could come up with."
  • Conversed: "Why do most of these old villains think no-one will find out how feeble they are?"
  • Deconstructed: Baron von Ruthless' Start of Darkness is explored, and we find that it is becoming an old man in a wheelchair that made him evil in the first place.
  • Reconstructed: He's still an old man in a wheelchair though, and falls easily.

Back to The Man Behind the Curtain ...But never mind the man behind the curtain!