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* In ''FanFic/RobbReturns'', it's eventually revealed that there's a secret chamber beneath the Hightower which contains an ancient gate, which House Hightower have been defending for their entire history. On the other side of that gate is ''[[EldritchAbomination something]]'', which is constantly banging on it in an attempt to get free. After an encounter with it when it almost gets through, Willas Tyrell becomes convinced that it's [[spoiler: the Drowned God of the Ironborn]].

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* In ''FanFic/RobbReturns'', it's eventually revealed that there's a secret chamber beneath the Hightower which contains an ancient gate, which House Hightower have been defending for their entire history. On the other side of that gate is ''[[EldritchAbomination something]]'', which is constantly banging on it in an attempt to get free. After an encounter with it when it almost gets through, Willas Tyrell becomes convinced that it's [[spoiler: the Drowned God of the Ironborn]].Ironborn]], which is later confirmed by research Sam Tarly does at the Citadel.
* ''Fanfic/JackieChanAdventuresOlympianJourney'': Thousands of years ago, most of the Greek gods (except [[TokenGoodTeammate Hestia and Prometheus]], who helped in the sealing) were sealed in a magical amphora by the rebelling humanity. In the modern day, the urn is broken during a fight between Jackie and a VillainTeamUp of several of his old foes, releasing the gods. Though by this point, only [[BigBad Eris]] is still extant, the others having been reduced to semi-sentient essences that seek out and merge with hosts.


[-[[caption-width-right:320:"I [[StealthPun hope]] it's not too late to return this."]]-]

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[-[[caption-width-right:320:"I [[caption-width-right:320:"I [[StealthPun hope]] it's not too late to return this."]]-]
"]]


Oddly enough, no matter what the cause of the seal being broken, it seems to always happen 1,000 years after the evil was first sealed. Yet nobody ever seems to know that the evil is about to reemerge in that time frame. (To be fair, 1,000 years is ''plenty'' of time for people to forget about something, especially if more immediate concerns arise in the meantime.)

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Oddly enough, no matter what the cause of the seal being broken, [[ThousandYearReign it seems to always happen 1,000 years after the evil was first sealed.sealed]]. Yet nobody ever seems to know that the evil is about to reemerge in that time frame. (To be fair, 1,000 years is ''plenty'' of time for people to forget about something, especially if more immediate concerns arise in the meantime.)


** The Shadow Man, the JCA verse analogue to [[Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog Dr. Facillier]], upon his defeat was reduced to a LivingShadow and sealed within a container. [[spoiler: [[EvilSorcerer Verde]] releases him in order to absorb his power, but he ends up resealed by the J-Team.]]

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** The Shadow Man, the JCA verse analogue to [[Disney/ThePrincessAndTheFrog [[WesternAnimation/ThePrincessAndTheFrog Dr. Facillier]], upon his defeat was reduced to a LivingShadow and sealed within a container. [[spoiler: [[EvilSorcerer Verde]] releases him in order to absorb his power, but he ends up resealed by the J-Team.]]



* The plot of ''Fanfic/HopeForTheHeartless'' -- which takes place immediately after the events of ''Disney/TheBlackCauldron'' -- starts with the [[VillainProtagonist Horned King]] being contacted by [[CosmicEntities the Fates]] while his soul endures [[AndIMustScream agony]] inside [[ArtifactOfDoom the Black Cauldron]]. They [[ResurrectedForAJob bring him back]] to Prydain to [[RedemptionQuest fulfill]] a [[ImpossibleTask hard assignment]] under the period of eighteen months. If he doesn't fulfill it, his soul will be ''permanently'' trapped inside the Cauldron.

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* The plot of ''Fanfic/HopeForTheHeartless'' -- which takes place immediately after the events of ''Disney/TheBlackCauldron'' ''WesternAnimation/TheBlackCauldron'' -- starts with the [[VillainProtagonist Horned King]] being contacted by [[CosmicEntities the Fates]] while his soul endures [[AndIMustScream agony]] inside [[ArtifactOfDoom the Black Cauldron]]. They [[ResurrectedForAJob bring him back]] to Prydain to [[RedemptionQuest fulfill]] a [[ImpossibleTask hard assignment]] under the period of eighteen months. If he doesn't fulfill it, his soul will be ''permanently'' trapped inside the Cauldron.



* Jafar becomes one at the end of Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' after he wishes to become a Genie and he gets trapped in a dark lamp. He gets freed in ''Disney/AladdinTheReturnOfJafar'' by a thief, and goes back to Agrabah to get his revenge on the heroes.

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* Jafar becomes one at the end of Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' ''WesternAnimation/{{Aladdin}}'' after he wishes to become a Genie and he gets trapped in a dark lamp. He gets freed in ''Disney/AladdinTheReturnOfJafar'' ''WesternAnimation/AladdinTheReturnOfJafar'' by a thief, and goes back to Agrabah to get his revenge on the heroes.



* The Titans in Disney's ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' film. Zeus imprisons them all beneath the ocean with lightning bolts, but when the planets align, Hades is able to release them. [[spoiler: Hercules uses the Tornado Titan to suck the other Titans in, then throws them all into space where they explode.]]

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* The Titans in Disney's ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' ''WesternAnimation/{{Hercules}}'' film. Zeus imprisons them all beneath the ocean with lightning bolts, but when the planets align, Hades is able to release them. [[spoiler: Hercules uses the Tornado Titan to suck the other Titans in, then throws them all into space where they explode.]]


** Both literal and metaphorical in the case of the Necrons and their [[PhysicalGod C'tan masters]] (later retconned to have actually been shattered by the Necrons and chained), who sealed ''themselves'' deep beneath the surface of numerous worlds approximately '''sixty million years ago'''. The most powerful one, the Void Dragon, is ''buried underneath Mars'' after the Emperor defeated him in a titanic fight. The new Necron superheavy unit, the Tesseract Vault, is essentially an attempt at weaponising this trope by taking a C'tan trapped in a high-tech device to keep it caged, and then having that device float around the battlefield dropping meteors on people. In an emergency, the Nemesors can [[GodzillaThreshold disable the seals]] and let the C'tan loose.

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** Both literal and metaphorical in the case of the Necrons and their [[PhysicalGod C'tan masters]] (later retconned to have actually been shattered by the Necrons and chained), who sealed ''themselves'' deep beneath the surface of numerous worlds approximately '''sixty million years ago'''. The most powerful one, C'tan, the Void Dragon, is ''buried underneath Mars'' after the Emperor defeated him in a titanic fight. The new Necron superheavy unit, the Tesseract Vault, is essentially an attempt at weaponising this trope by taking a C'tan trapped in a high-tech device to keep it caged, and then having that device float around the battlefield dropping meteors on people. In an emergency, the Nemesors can [[GodzillaThreshold disable the seals]] and let the C'tan loose.


* ''WebAnimation/NoEvil'' has this in the form of the Black Tezcatlipoca, which is sealed away at the start of the series into Xochipilli, Ixtlilton, and Xochiquetzal, the seals taking the form of earmuffs, an eye mask, and a brooch, which contains the magical goo in exchange for robbing each of the three of their hearing, sight, and voice, respectively. The fourth member, Xipe Totec, gave up her life as part of this arrangement. This is acknowledged as a temporary fix, until they can find someone who can put an end to it for good.

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* ''WebAnimation/NoEvil'' has this in the form of the Black Tezcatlipoca, which is sealed away at the start of the series into Xochipilli, Ixtlilton, and Xochiquetzal, the seals taking the form of earmuffs, an eye mask, and a brooch, which contains the magical goo in exchange for robbing each of the three of their hearing, sight, and voice, respectively. The fourth member, Xipe Totec, gave up her life [[BroughtDownToNormal immortality]] as part of this arrangement. This is acknowledged as a temporary fix, until they can find someone who can put an end to it for good.
** Though, if you read the prequel comic carefully, it explains that they formed a contract with the Black Tezcatlipoca for it to seal the Red Tezcatlipoca in exchange for their senses and immortality, essentially dealing with the issue by turning it into the can sealing another potentially world-ending entity. [[spoiler: As seen when Charles unwittingly unleashes the Red, and it's all-consuming inferno, in episode 34.]]



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* Smallpox was once one of the deadliest diseases on the planet. It was eradicated through the use of vaccines. A few remaining samples are kept alive in secure labs in the US and Russia for study.


** ''Fanfic/ThePowerOfTheEquinox'' begins with Twilight Sparkle, trapped by Queen Chrysalis in the crystal caverns beneath Canterlot, striking a pitch-black crystal in her desperation and anger. Inside the cracked crystal awakens a malevolent being known as the Entity. It [[DemonicPossession enters Twilight's body]], transforming her into [[SuperPoweredEvilSide Dimmed Star]].

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** ''Fanfic/ThePowerOfTheEquinox'' begins with Twilight Sparkle, trapped by Queen Chrysalis in the crystal caverns beneath Canterlot, striking a pitch-black crystal in her desperation and anger. Inside the cracked crystal awakens a malevolent being known as [[TheHeartless the Entity.Entity]]. It [[DemonicPossession enters Twilight's body]], transforming her into [[SuperPoweredEvilSide Dimmed Star]].


Sealed Evil in a Can, as the title suggests, is a way to introduce a villain suddenly, especially one that is legendary and powerful. It also explains why the villain [[OrcusOnHisThrone hasn't done anything up to that point]]: It just now escaped.

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Sealed Evil in a Can, as the title suggests, is a way to suddenly introduce a villain suddenly, villain, especially one that is legendary and powerful. It also explains why the villain [[OrcusOnHisThrone hasn't done anything up to that point]]: It just now escaped.
escaped very, ''very'' recently.



Or perhaps it was awoken by unsuspecting miners or archaeologists who DugTooDeep and found something better left buried and undisturbed -- often ignoring [[DontTouchItYouIdiot every single warning they found before releasing it]].

Oddly enough, no matter what the cause of the seal being broken, it seems to always happen 1,000 years after the evil was first sealed. Yet nobody ever seems to know that the evil is about to reemerge in that time frame.

Either way, if a Sealed Evil is introduced into a story, expect it to escape at some point. This brings up the primary question "Why did they just seal it, as opposed to KILL it?" The answer tends to vary; but usually it's a variant of ThePunishment (for both the sealed and everyone else), ThouShaltNotKill (heroes can take pity and/or show mercy towards the oddest things), and/or AsLongAsThereIsEvil. Maybe it ''[[{{Immortality}} couldn't]]'' be killed for good (or more commonly, the conditions weren't right to deal the final blow), so sealing it was the next best thing. Another common excuse is the BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil; if they'd killed the ancient evil, then a bigger, badder evil would've taken its place, thus sealing it away neutralizes the threat but also keeps it in the world and maintains the balance. And a good excuse that is often used is that the evil was way too strong, the most powerful heroes of the past couldn't kill it, but the sealing spell worked just fine. Or maybe it ''was'' killed and the method of breaking the seal was [[BackFromTheDead resurrecting it]].

Expect the mere release of the SEIAC to cause a WorldWreckingWave, WalkingWasteland, and sundry other disasters. That said, being cooped up for centuries is likely to have weakened the SEIAC, meaning it needs some time to recover its lost strength. This could mean that the hero(es) has a chance to seal it back up, or even destroy it once and for all.

to:

Or perhaps it was awoken by unsuspecting miners or archaeologists who DugTooDeep and found something better left buried and undisturbed -- often ignoring [[DontTouchItYouIdiot every single warning they found before releasing it]].

Oddly enough, no matter what the cause of the seal being broken, it seems to always happen 1,000 years after the evil was first sealed. Yet nobody ever seems to know that the evil is about to reemerge in that time frame.

frame. (To be fair, 1,000 years is ''plenty'' of time for people to forget about something, especially if more immediate concerns arise in the meantime.)

Either way, if a Sealed Evil is introduced into a story, expect it to escape at some point. This brings up the primary question "Why did they just seal it, as opposed to KILL it?" The answer tends to vary; but usually it's a variant of ThePunishment (for both the sealed and everyone else), ThouShaltNotKill (heroes can take pity and/or show mercy towards the oddest things), and/or AsLongAsThereIsEvil. Maybe it ''[[{{Immortality}} couldn't]]'' be killed for good (or more commonly, the conditions weren't right to deal the final blow), so sealing it was the next best thing. Another common excuse is the BalanceBetweenGoodAndEvil; if they'd killed the ancient evil, [[SortingAlgorithmOfEvil then a bigger, badder evil would've taken its place, place]], thus sealing it away neutralizes the threat [[BetterTheDevilYouKnow but also keeps it in the world world]] and maintains the balance. And a good excuse that is often used is that the evil was way too strong, so even the most powerful heroes of the past couldn't kill it, but the sealing spell worked just fine. Or maybe it ''was'' killed and the method of breaking the seal was [[BackFromTheDead resurrecting it]].

Expect the mere release of the SEIAC to cause a WorldWreckingWave, WalkingWasteland, and sundry other disasters. That said, being cooped up for centuries is likely to have weakened the SEIAC, meaning that it needs some time to recover its lost strength. This could mean that the hero(es) has a chance to seal it back up, or even destroy it once and for all.

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* ''TabletopGame/{{Rifts}}'':
** According to ''Mindwerks'', the [[PublicDomainArtifact Philosopher's Stone]] is actually a prison for an incredibly powerful EldritchAbomination. The Stone's owner unconsciously forms a mental bond with the Stone, and as he uses the Stone's fantastic powers, he becomes more and more corrupted by it.
** The Host are powerful, evil demons who were sealed in a very tight can indeed -- it's almost impossible to find their dimensional prison except by blind luck, they need a summoner to willingly sacrifice themselves by allowing the demon to take over their body and soul (and most people willing to call upon such evil creatures would be nowhere near selfless enough to consider doing such a thing), and even once freed they categorically cannot cross between dimensions without another such summoning without being struck DeaderThanDead.

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** ''Fanfic/ThePowerOfTheEquinox'' begins with Twilight Sparkle, trapped by Queen Chrysalis in the crystal caverns beneath Canterlot, striking a pitch-black crystal in her desperation and anger. Inside the cracked crystal awakens a malevolent being known as the Entity. It [[DemonicPossession enters Twilight's body]], transforming her into [[SuperPoweredEvilSide Dimmed Star]].


** Both literal and metaphorical in the case of the Necrons and their [[PhysicalGod C'tan masters]] (later retconned to have actually been shattered by the Necrons and chained), who sealed ''themselves'' deep beneath the surface of numerous worlds approximately '''sixty million years ago'''. The new Necron superheavy unit, the Tesseract Vault, is essentially an attempt at weaponising this trope by taking a C'tan trapped in a high-tech device to keep it caged, and then having that device float around the battlefield dropping meteors on people. In an emergency, the Nemesors can [[GodzillaThreshold disable the seals]] and let the C'tan loose.

to:

** Both literal and metaphorical in the case of the Necrons and their [[PhysicalGod C'tan masters]] (later retconned to have actually been shattered by the Necrons and chained), who sealed ''themselves'' deep beneath the surface of numerous worlds approximately '''sixty million years ago'''. The most powerful one, the Void Dragon, is ''buried underneath Mars'' after the Emperor defeated him in a titanic fight. The new Necron superheavy unit, the Tesseract Vault, is essentially an attempt at weaponising this trope by taking a C'tan trapped in a high-tech device to keep it caged, and then having that device float around the battlefield dropping meteors on people. In an emergency, the Nemesors can [[GodzillaThreshold disable the seals]] and let the C'tan loose.


** Numerous other examples dot the world. Runelords, ancient tyrannical wizard-kings, sealed themselves away to escape an ancient catastrophe. The elves trapped the plant-corrupting demon Treerazer in the portion of their nation he had already claimed. The Whispering Tyrant, the world's most infamous [[OurLichesAreDifferent lich]], lies imprisoned by an entire nation of paladins. An island where an ancient {{Magocracy}} trapped its enemies and mistakes behind an impenetrable magical wall has been repurposed by a gold dragon and his allies into serving as a prison for [[OurDemonsAreDifferent fiends]], {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, evil wizards and other terrors.
** Many published modules and adventure paths involve the player characters stopping some sealed evil from being unleashed -- "Realm of the Fellnight Queen," "Pact Stone Pyramid," and "From Shore to Sea" just to name a few.

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** Numerous other examples dot the world. world.
***
Runelords, ancient tyrannical wizard-kings, sealed themselves away to escape an ancient catastrophe. catastrophe, and several adventures deal with their cans being breached from without or within and releasing them into the world.
***
The elves trapped the plant-corrupting demon Treerazer in the portion of their nation he had already claimed. claimed.
***
The Whispering Tyrant, the world's most infamous [[OurLichesAreDifferent lich]], lies lay imprisoned within him former fortress and guarded by an entire nation of paladins. Then he managed to escape his prison, wiped out the paladins in less than a week and promptly restarted his plans for world conquest.
***
An island where an ancient {{Magocracy}} trapped its enemies and mistakes behind an impenetrable magical wall has been repurposed by a gold dragon and his allies into serving as a prison for [[OurDemonsAreDifferent fiends]], {{Eldritch Abomination}}s, evil wizards and other terrors.
*** The Bottle of the Bound, a nearly literal example, is a metal bottle containing an army of [[NumberOfTheBeast 666 fiends]] trapped there by an ancient emperor after a horribly botched summoning ritual, which can be summoned (albeit only one at a time) by anyone who wields the bottle and tracks down its three lost command words. Its most powerful prisoner is the daemonic demigod Zelishkar the Bitter Flame, but numerous other devils, daemons and demons of considerable power are held within it as well.
** Many published modules and adventure paths involve the player characters stopping some sealed evil from being unleashed -- "Realm of the Fellnight Queen," Queen", "Pact Stone Pyramid," Pyramid", and "From Shore to Sea" just to name a few.

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[[folder:Real Life]]
* In 2004, workers at the Hanford nuclear site in Washington state found a glass bottle containing a white sludge that was later found to be plutonium from some of the first nuclear weapons test. Scientists are now concerned about how future civilizations, thousands of years in the future, might interpret nuclear waste symbols. Would they understand how dangerous the stuff could still be, or simply dismiss them as "some quaint markings on these barrels. Wonder what's inside them."

[[/folder]]

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