23rd Oct: It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
Solidus: I'll leave you alive, Jack, because you're still manipulable!
Fortune: Speaking of manipulation, it's time for me to steal Arsenal since I've been manipulating you from the start!
Solidus: Actually, I tricked Ocelot into manipulating you into manipulating me!
Ocelot: Fools! I've been manipulating everything from behind the scenes!
Magic Hand: But actually, I've been manipulating you!
Raiden: Alright, this has officially become a load of crap.
"A good player who loses at chess is genuinely convinced that he has lost because of a mistake, and he looks for this mistake in the beginning of his game, but forgets that there were also mistakes at every step in the course of the game, that none of his moves are perfect. The mistake he pays attention to is conspicuous only because his opponent took advantage of it. How much more complex is the game of war, which takes place in certain conditions of time and where no single will is guiding lifeless mechanisms, but everything is the result of numberless collisions of various wills?"
Later, when the fatline call to pilgrimage came from Gladstone herself, I knew the role the Ousters had planned for me in these final days: the Ousters, the Core, or Gladstone and her machinations. It no longer matters who considers themselves the master of events. Events no longer obey their masters.
— The Consul, Hyperion
Even when it's quiet in Mulmaster, it's not really quiet — ye can hear the sound of everyone who's still awake plotting, always plotting.
— Elminster of Shadowdale, Forgotten Realms Adventures, AD&D2
Did you not know? Other places grow corn, or barley, but here in hard-paved Waterdeep, we have healthy crops too. We grow conspiracies.
— Laeral Silverhand-Arunsun, Silverfall
D'ye think we "mighty ones" are blind? Do we not watch each other, and guess at what each is doing, and reach out and do some little thing that hampers the aims of another great and mighty? We'll never be free of this problem, and that's a good thing. I would cower at the thought of living in any Faerūn where all the mighty and powerful folk agreed perfectly on everything. That's the way of slavery and shackles and armed tyranny... and if ye'd like to win a bet, wager that ye'll be near the bottom of any such order.
— Elminster of Shadowdale, Forgotten Realms Campaign Set, 3rd ed.
Excuse me! If anyone is planning to stage a coup, topple the government, or in some way manipulate the ruling class, would you please raise your hand.
*Everyone in sight raises a hand*
What game is this, where every player on the board claims the same pawn?
— Raziel, Soul Reaver series
Note that in this case, we have Harry plotting to deliberately cause a Thirty Xanatos Pileup among the soldiers of the other armies, which I propose should have a Xanatos Ordinal of w+1 (that is, omega plus one). Considering that the chaos of the complete battle, including Harry's own plot and Dumbledore's, was used by Professor Quirrell to make the point of his speech, it is clear that the complete Xanatos Flowchart for this chapter would have an Xanatos Infinite Ordinal of at least 2w+1.
— Author's notes for chapter 34 of Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality
Miss Polly Plunkett killed the marquess -
Both were suspected of spying.
She is a lass who, alas, loves a lad
Whose young lass in Alsace
Vanished in the dark -
"But fortunately I anticipated your anticipation of my anticipation of your anticipation of my anticipation of your anticipation of my treachery!" cried Zarkendorf.
— Plan 7 of 9 from Outer Space by Odon
The Doktor: But, Major, now that they know of our plans—
The Major: Ah, herr Doctor, but that is the plan. Now that they know our plan they will plan around our plan. And so we shall in turn plan around the plan that they are planning around our plan!
The Doktor: Your brilliance knows no bounds!
"The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon's got plans. They're schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds."
— The Joker, The Dark Knight
Harry: He's going to betray me.
Mab: Of course. I expect superior, more creative treachery on your part.
Doctor Doom: (zaps Luthor) Did you really think I was not prepared for your treachery?
Lex Luthor: Did you really think I was not prepared for your preparation? (zaps Doom)
Doctor Doom: Or that I wasn't prepared for that? (zaps Luthor)
Lex Luthor: Or I for that? (zaps Doom)