My manipulatin' hasn't even begun!
— General Sarrano, Bulletstorm
Hence the saying: if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
— Sun Tzu, The Art of War
The ability to manipulate his enemies was one of Thrawn's greatest talents.
— Borsk Fey'lya, Specter of the Past
The woman you love is trapped in some horrible future where nearly everyone is dead. You can change that. She needs you, Peter. We all need you... to open that door.
— Adam Monroe, doing what he does best in Heroes
Rodney Foreman: My son says you're a Manipulative Bastard.
Gregory House: ... It's a pet name. I call him Dr. Bling.
Tell me what you regard as your greatest strength, so I will know how best to undermine you; tell me of your greatest fear, so I will know which I must force you to face; tell me what you cherish most, so I will know what to take from you; and tell me what you crave, so that I might deny you.
So you can help me out and we can go through very well
Or I can turn around and make your life a living Hell
It's up to you, you've got a choice, you've got incentive to succeed"
I watch you. I see the hatred in your eyes, well-hidden behind courtly graces.
I listen. I know the terrible darkness that hides behind your well-rehearsed lies.
I wait for you at the edge of sanity. I taste the pain in your mind, the yearning to end this charade.
I make my home in the darkest pits of your soul. In the shadows I bide my time.
I patiently wait for you to open your eyes and realize that it is by my will alone that you draw breath.
For I am Tzeentch and you are my puppet who dances to my tune.
Show me how to lie
You're getting better all the time
And turning all against the one
Is an art that's hard to teach
Another clever word
Sets off an unsuspecting herd
And as you step back into line
A mob jumps to their feet
—>— "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid" by The Offspring
"Everybody plays each other. That's all anybody ever does. We play parts."
— Saffron, Firefly
"Crash course in manipulation. You don't actually tell the person what you want them to do. You help them realize they want to do it, so it can't be traced back to you."
"For every task, there's a perfect tool."
— Jihl Nabaat, Final Fantasy XIII
"Twists and turns are my master plan. You'll find the elements back where you began."
— Discord, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
Mr. Gaunt thought of himself as an electrician of the human soul.
In a small town like Castle Rock, all the fuse-boxes were lined up neatly side by side. What you had to do was open the boxes… and then start cross-wiring. You hot-wired a Wilma Jerzyck to a Nettle Cobb by using wires from two other fuse-boxes-those of a young fellow like Brian Rusk and a drunk fellow like Hugh Priest, let us say.
You hot-wired other people in the same way, a Buster Keeton to a Norris Ridgewick, a Frank Jewett to a George Nelson, a Sally Ratcliffe to a Lester Pratt.
At some point you tested one of your fabulous wiring jobs just to make sure everything was working correctly-as he had done today-and then you laid low and sent a charge through the circuits every once in awhile to keep things interesting. To keep things hot.
But mostly you just laid low until everything was done… and then you turned on the juice.
All the juice.
All at once.
Let's say that some nutcase suddenly steps in here and ventilates us all with a Tommy gun. No, I'm just saying.
We have no idea why, but this bastard is trying to massacre everyone in this speako. So let's say this sicko takes his sweet time pumping lead into anything that so much as twitches.
And let's say - just saying, again - that there's someone standing behind the guy. The sicko wants to kill everyone in this shop, but he never, ever turns the gun on the guy behind himself. But it's not like the guy behind him's working with him or anything. The second guy's just there from the start. Acting like he's completely safe and enjoying the show, even though he shouldn't actually be safe.
... Right. I guess I could call him something like an audience member.
We're all living our lives real seriously, but to this second guy, everything about us is just a story up on a stage. The sicko can shoot his gun as much as he likes, but the audience isn't ever going to get hit. And even though he's nothing but an observer, this second guy keeps trying to meddle with the story.
Y'know, there's always one of those types. The kind of guy who watches a musical and goes around talking at the top of his lungs about how good a musical was, how bad it was, and what he'd have done differently, right? Now, this second guy's pretty quiet about it, but his voice carries real far and clear. That voice just spins round and round, reaches an actor or a writer's ears, and controls their actions without them even noticing. That's how he directs the play the way he likes, from a total safe zone as an audience member.
He's not a playwright or anything that great. An audience member like him doesn't care about others, as long as he's satisfied.
And getting back to that story about the nutjob with the Tommy gun... Once he's finished killing everyone, the second guy'd whisper into his ear: