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The TropeNamer is Don Quixote, who wanted to be a heroic knight. He saw some windmills and believed that they were actually evil giants, and set off to attack them, in the most famous scene of the novel.

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The TropeNamer is Don Quixote, a crazy old man who wanted to be a heroic knight.knight but had zero knowledge of what knights actually were, thanks to being born several centuries too late. He saw some windmills and believed that they were actually evil giants, and set off to attack them, in the most famous scene of the novel.


** Several times, UsefulNotes/AlGore is seen crusading against the imaginary monster "[=ManBearPig=]", a stand-in for Gore's real-life crusade against global warming.

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** Several times, UsefulNotes/AlGore is seen crusading against the imaginary monster "[=ManBearPig=]", a stand-in for Gore's real-life crusade against global warming. [[spoiler:Later on however, [=ManBearPig=] is revealed to be an actual threat to humanity and the kids are forced to apologize to Gore, representing the show's creators acknowledging their faults in regards to mocking him in the face of climate change]].


* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', Miko starts out as a regular KnightTemplar but descends into this trope as she becomes increasingly delusional. In the end she is busy saving the world from imaginary threats and interpreting pretty much anything as signs that the Gods are approving of whatever she is doing -- ignoring the very real sign that they have stripped her of her [[AlwaysLawfulGood paladin]] powers. [[spoiler:She ends up making a misguided HeroicSacrifice that saves the BigBad from justice and condemns her people to AFateWorseThanDeath.]]
** Dwarfs as a society seem to have this [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0150.html regarding trees]] of all things. They consider them to be terrifying monsters that must be destroyed to protect people, even panicking if roots start to breach their mines. Note that because they live in a D&D fantasy universe, there ''are'' dangerous treelike monsters in existence, but dwarfs are just as frightened of the genuine article.

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* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'':
**
Miko starts out as a regular KnightTemplar but descends into this trope as she becomes increasingly delusional. In the end she is busy saving the world from imaginary threats and interpreting pretty much anything as signs that the Gods are approving of whatever she is doing -- ignoring the very real sign that they have stripped her of her [[AlwaysLawfulGood paladin]] powers. [[spoiler:She ends up making a misguided HeroicSacrifice that saves the BigBad from justice and condemns her people to AFateWorseThanDeath.]]
** Dwarfs as a society seem to have this [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0150.html regarding trees]] of all things. They consider them to be terrifying monsters that must be destroyed to protect people, even panicking if roots start to breach their mines. Note that because they live in a D&D fantasy universe, there ''are'' dangerous treelike monsters in existence, but dwarfs are just as frightened of the genuine article.ordinary trees.

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* The Investigation Team in ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' at first think Taro Namatame is one of these, due to his... unhinged behavior and his insistence that he's "saving" people. [[spoiler:He isn't. He means save literally: he genuinely thinks he's protecting people from the real killer by kidnapping them and putting them into the TV world. He just doesn't realize it's the TV world that's killing them, or that he's playing directly into the killer's hands.]]


** Dwarfs as a society seem to have this regarding trees. They consider them to be terrifying monsters that must be destroyed to protect people, even panicking if roots start to breach their mines. Note that because they live in a D&D fantasy universe, there ''are'' dangerous treelike monsters in existence, but dwarfs are just as frightened of the genuine article.

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** Dwarfs as a society seem to have this [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0150.html regarding trees.trees]] of all things. They consider them to be terrifying monsters that must be destroyed to protect people, even panicking if roots start to breach their mines. Note that because they live in a D&D fantasy universe, there ''are'' dangerous treelike monsters in existence, but dwarfs are just as frightened of the genuine article.

Added DiffLines:

** Dwarfs as a society seem to have this regarding trees. They consider them to be terrifying monsters that must be destroyed to protect people, even panicking if roots start to breach their mines. Note that because they live in a D&D fantasy universe, there ''are'' dangerous treelike monsters in existence, but dwarfs are just as frightened of the genuine article.

Added DiffLines:

* In ''Film/DrStrangelove'', the TropeNamer for GeneralRipper launches an all-out nuclear attack on Russia because he's convinced himself that they're using water fluoridation to "sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids".


* Maximillion of Northshire, a quest giver in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''[='=]s Un'goro Crater, will take the player's character on a long quest to defeat the [[DinosaursAreDragons "evil dragons"]] in the area, rescue the "purse" of a "fair maiden" [[spoiler:-- a [[DudeLooksLikeALady male Blood Elf]] --]] who dropped a box of unknown contents from the hot spring, a second fair maiden from a high place [[spoiler:'''by throwing her off a cliff''']], and rescued a third maiden from a "foul beast" [[spoiler:by killing her parrot companion.]] Finally, he takes you to something that is actually dangerous: kill an Azeroth-equivalent TyrannosaurusRex... by running away from it while throwing his armor at it. At the end, he's convinced he's truly done good. Also notable is that one of the rewards for his final quest is a trinket called a Toy Windmill. The entire quest chain is a a huge reference to the TropeNamer, Literature/DonQuixote.

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* Maximillion of Northshire, a quest giver in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''[='=]s Un'goro Crater, will take the player's character on a long quest to defeat the [[DinosaursAreDragons "evil dragons"]] in the area, rescue the "purse" of a "fair maiden" [[spoiler:-- a [[DudeLooksLikeALady male Blood Elf]] --]] who dropped a box of unknown contents from the hot spring, a second fair maiden from a high place [[spoiler:'''by throwing her off a cliff''']], and rescued a third maiden from a "foul beast" [[spoiler:by killing her parrot companion.]] Finally, he takes you to something that is actually dangerous: kill an Azeroth-equivalent TyrannosaurusRex... by running away from it while throwing his armor at it. At the end, he's convinced he's truly done good. Also notable is that one of the rewards for his final quest is a trinket called a Toy Windmill. The entire quest chain is a a huge reference to to/parody of the TropeNamer, Literature/DonQuixote.


* ''Series/DoctorWho'' features a particularly weird 12th Doctor episode called "Listen", which revolves around the Doctor and Clara trying to find an alien species that is completely undetectable except during two instances; a dream the doctor once had about a hand grabbing him from under the bed and at the end of the universe. Turns out, the Doctor is a Windmill Crusader in his spare time and his pursuit of these imaginary creatures came from his inability to admit that he is scared of the dark. {{spoiler:And the hand grabbing him turned out to be Clara.}}

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* ''Series/DoctorWho'' features a particularly weird 12th Doctor episode called "Listen", which revolves around the Doctor and Clara trying to find an alien species that is completely undetectable except during two instances; a dream the doctor once had about a hand grabbing him from under the bed and at the end of the universe. Turns out, the Doctor is a Windmill Crusader in his spare time and his pursuit of these imaginary creatures came from his inability to admit that he is scared of the dark. {{spoiler:And [[spoiler:And the hand grabbing him turned out to be Clara.}}]]


* ''Series/DoctorWho'' features a particularly weird 12th Doctor episode called "Listen", which revolves around the Doctor and Clara trying to find an alien species that is completely undetectable except during two instances; a dream the doctor once had about a hand grabbing him from under the bed and at the end of the universe. Turns out, the Doctor is a Windmill Crusader in his spare time and his pursuit of these imaginary creatures came from his inability to admit that he is scared of the dark.

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* ''Series/DoctorWho'' features a particularly weird 12th Doctor episode called "Listen", which revolves around the Doctor and Clara trying to find an alien species that is completely undetectable except during two instances; a dream the doctor once had about a hand grabbing him from under the bed and at the end of the universe. Turns out, the Doctor is a Windmill Crusader in his spare time and his pursuit of these imaginary creatures came from his inability to admit that he is scared of the dark. {{spoiler:And the hand grabbing him turned out to be Clara.}}


This character is a hero, fighting the good fight and defending the innocent from the forces of evil. Not everyone understands the nature of their struggle - in fact, many decry them as being insane - but if only they knew what the hero knew then they would understand that their goals are noble and their methods perfectly justifiable (if a little extreme). There’s only one problem:

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This character is a hero, fighting the good fight and defending the innocent from the forces of evil. Not everyone understands the nature of their struggle - -- in fact, many decry them as being insane - -- but if only they knew what the hero knew then they would understand that their goals are noble and their methods perfectly justifiable (if a little extreme). There’s There's only one problem:



There is no struggle. There are no enemies. No-one needs to be saved. They're doing [[IDidWhatIHadToDo what they 'have to do']] to save people from a [[WindmillPolitical threat that doesn’t exist]].

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There is no struggle. There are no enemies. No-one needs to be saved. They're doing [[IDidWhatIHadToDo what they 'have "have to do']] do"]] to save people from a [[WindmillPolitical threat that doesn’t doesn't exist]].



So, why did he mistake windmills for giants in the first place? Well... maybe he's [[CloudCuckoolander crazy]], maybe someone gave him [[RedHerring misinformation]] that he didn't check up enough, maybe he's [[NotWhatItLooksLike interpreting something incorrectly]], or maybe he [[BeliefMakesYouStupid blindly believes]] some religious or ideological dogma.

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So, why did he mistake windmills for giants in the first place? Well... maybe he's [[CloudCuckoolander [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} crazy]], maybe someone gave him [[RedHerring misinformation]] that he didn't check up enough, maybe he's [[NotWhatItLooksLike interpreting something incorrectly]], or maybe he [[BeliefMakesYouStupid blindly believes]] some religious or ideological dogma.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]

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[[folder:Anime and & Manga]]



* ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'': Tatewaki Kuno carries elements in this, mainly when he attacks Ranma, believing that he has enslaved Akane and the "[[GirlishPigtails Pig-Tailed Girl]]". The first problem with this is that Ranma and the Pig-Tailed Girl are in fact the same person.
* ''Manga/{{Working}}'': Inami was taught from a young age by her father that males would all [[spoiler:try to rape her]] (the "windmill"). By the time the story rolls around, she has a severe fear of men because of this [[spoiler:including said father. When she falls in love, she's trying to get rid of the training, but it's been so deeply ingrained in her psyche that, even being able to see the "windmill" for what it really is, isn't enough to stop the crusade.]]
* The principal from Manga/AngelDensetsu has the main character, Kitano, threatened as though he is the demon king himself, going as far as to bring people into the school, with the sole purpose of beating up Kitano, or better yet, get him expelled. Of course, Kitano is anything but evil - he merely looks evil.

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* ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'': Tatewaki Kuno Kunō carries elements in this, mainly when he attacks Ranma, believing that he has enslaved Akane and the "[[GirlishPigtails Pig-Tailed Girl]]". The first problem with this is that Ranma and the Pig-Tailed Girl are in fact the same person.
* ''Manga/{{Working}}'': Inami was taught from a young age by her father that males would all [[spoiler:try to rape her]] (the "windmill"). By the time the story rolls around, she has a severe fear of men because of this this, [[spoiler:including said father. When she falls in love, she's trying to get rid of the training, but it's been so deeply ingrained in her psyche that, even being able to see the "windmill" for what it really is, isn't enough to stop the crusade.]]
* The principal from Manga/AngelDensetsu ''Manga/AngelDensetsu'' has the main character, Kitano, threatened as though he is the demon king himself, going as far as to bring people into the school, with the sole purpose of beating up Kitano, or better yet, get him expelled. Of course, Kitano is anything but evil - -- he merely looks evil.



* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' features many surreal jokes based on the premise that one character lives in his or her own little reality. Sadly, this is often a character who has power - or who gains power by enforcing his or her crazy perceptions on others.
* In ''Comicbook/{{Lucifer}}'', we have the political faction "Efferul for Lucifer" that fights on the Morningstar's behalf. He is ''not'' amused, as their agenda is based on a very misguided vision of what he wants and needs.
* ''ComicBook/QuantumAndWoody'': Played straight for drama. Quantum is convinced that David Warrant engineered the deaths of his and Woody's fathers, and tried to kill them in the accident that gave them their powers. He ''still'' suspects this even after repeated non-violent encounters with Warrant, including one time when Warrant helped save Woody's life. It reaches cataclysmic proportions when [[spoiler:Quantum absorbs all of their shared power, neutralizing Warrant at a critical point as he tried to save the Eternals on the Moon.]]
* A lighthearted example occurs in ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}''. Linus' annual quest to wait for the Great Pumpkin and prove he exists is an example of pursuing a windmill. (Well, probably. All that is known is, if the Great Pumpkin ''does'' exist, Linus has never succeeded in his goal.)

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* ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' features many surreal jokes based on the premise that one character lives in his or her own little reality. Sadly, this is often a character who has power - or who gains power by enforcing his or her crazy perceptions on others.
* In ''Comicbook/{{Lucifer}}'', ''ComicBook/{{Lucifer}}'', we have the political faction "Efferul for Lucifer" that fights on the Morningstar's behalf. He is ''not'' amused, as their agenda is based on a very misguided vision of what he wants and needs.
* ''ComicBook/QuantumAndWoody'': Played straight for drama. Quantum is convinced that David Warrant engineered the deaths of his and Woody's fathers, and tried to kill them in the accident that gave them their powers. He ''still'' suspects this even after repeated non-violent encounters with Warrant, including one time when Warrant helped save Woody's life. It reaches cataclysmic proportions when [[spoiler:Quantum absorbs all of their shared power, neutralizing Warrant at a critical point as he tried to save the Eternals on the Moon.]]
* A lighthearted example occurs in ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}''. Linus' annual quest to wait for the Great Pumpkin and prove he exists is an example of pursuing a windmill. (Well, probably. All that is known is, if the Great Pumpkin ''does'' exist, Linus has never succeeded in his goal.)
]]*



[[folder: Fan Fic]]
* In [[Fanfic/TheDresdenFillies The Dresden Fillies: False Masks]], the [[AncientConspiracy Order Triune]] truly believe that Harry Dresden/Blackstone is Obsidian, an evil overlord from the distant past who had ResurrectiveImmortality. The Order was formed to combat Obsidian in all his incarnations, and has killed all magically powerful stallions who look like him, believing them to be Obsidian reborn. A quick list of what they're wrong on:
** Harry is Obsidian? Wrong!
** Obsidian is [[spoiler:Novel Notion? Wrong!]]
** Obsidian [[spoiler:was any of those stallions they killed? Wrong!]]
** Obsidian [[spoiler:ever came BackFromTheDead at all? '''WRONG'''!]]
*** [[spoiler:Turns out [[TheExtremistWasRight they got that last one correct]] after all. Problem is, it ''still'' wasn't Harry, and he wasn't even IN Equestria.]]

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[[folder: Fan Fic]]
[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* In [[Fanfic/TheDresdenFillies The Dresden Fillies: False Masks]], ''ComicStrip/{{Dilbert}}'' features many surreal jokes based on the [[AncientConspiracy Order Triune]] truly believe premise that Harry Dresden/Blackstone one character lives in his or her own little reality. Sadly, this is Obsidian, an evil overlord from often a character who has power -- or who gains power by enforcing his or her crazy perceptions on others.
* A lighthearted example occurs in ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}''. Linus' annual quest to wait for
the distant past who had ResurrectiveImmortality. The Order was formed to combat Obsidian in all his incarnations, Great Pumpkin and has killed all magically powerful stallions who look like him, believing them to be Obsidian reborn. A quick list prove he exists is an example of what they're wrong on:
** Harry is Obsidian? Wrong!
** Obsidian is [[spoiler:Novel Notion? Wrong!]]
** Obsidian [[spoiler:was any of those stallions they killed? Wrong!]]
** Obsidian [[spoiler:ever came BackFromTheDead at all? '''WRONG'''!]]
*** [[spoiler:Turns out [[TheExtremistWasRight they got
pursuing a windmill. (Well, probably. All that last one correct]] after all. Problem is known is, it ''still'' wasn't Harry, and he wasn't even IN Equestria.]]if the Great Pumpkin ''does'' exist, Linus has never succeeded in his goal.)



[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* In ''Disney/{{Bolt}}'', the title character initially believes that the [[ShowWithinAShow TV show he stars in]] is real and that his owner has been abducted by its MadScientist villain ([[RightHandCat whose minions]] [[CatsAreMean are cats]], naturally). In reality [[NoAntagonist the closest thing the movie has to a real villain]] is the show's producer, and he's not even evil.

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[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Disney/{{Bolt}}'', ''[[Fanfic/TheDresdenFillies The Dresden Fillies: False Masks]]'', the title character initially believes [[AncientConspiracy Order Triune]] truly believe that Harry Dresden/Blackstone is Obsidian, an evil overlord from the [[ShowWithinAShow TV show he stars in]] is real distant past who had ResurrectiveImmortality. The Order was formed to combat Obsidian in all his incarnations, and has killed all magically powerful stallions who look like him, believing them to be Obsidian reborn. A quick list of what they're wrong on: Harry is Obsidian? Wrong! Obsidian is [[spoiler:Novel Notion? Wrong!]] Obsidian [[spoiler:was any of those stallions they killed? Wrong!]] Obsidian [[spoiler:ever came BackFromTheDead at all? '''WRONG'''!]] [[spoiler:Turns out [[TheExtremistWasRight they got that his owner has been abducted by its MadScientist villain ([[RightHandCat whose minions]] [[CatsAreMean are cats]], naturally). In reality [[NoAntagonist the closest thing the movie has to a real villain]] is the show's producer, last one correct]] after all. Problem is, it ''still'' wasn't Harry, and he's not he wasn't even evil.IN Equestria.]]



[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''Disney/{{Bolt}}'', the title character initially believes that the [[ShowWithinAShow TV show he stars in]] is real and that his owner has been abducted by its MadScientist villain ([[RightHandCat whose minions]] [[CatsAreMean are cats]], naturally). In reality [[NoAntagonist the closest thing the movie has to a real villain]] is the show's producer, and he's not even evil.
[[/folder]]



* ''Film/TheyMightBeGiants'' is named after Quixote's idea about the windmills, as the protagonist (who believes himself to be SherlockHolmes) hunts down a possibly-imaginary Professor Moriarty.
* In ''Film/{{Downfall}}'', Hitler and some of his closest followers are portrayed as tragic antiheroes who desperately tried to save the world from a world-engulfing conspiracy that they honestly believed to be real. As Berlin falls they face what they [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman believe to be the twilight of mankind itself]]. Hitler himself is portrayed as a person who is most likely insane, while his followers are rational except for their misguided belief that he is a legitimate leader rather than a madman. Their actions make total sense when one take this tragic belief into account.
* In ''Film/ABeautifulMind'', the protagonist is the RealLife Nobel Prize winner John Nash, hired by the US government in their struggle against terrorism. What neither Nash nor his closest superiors know [[spoiler:is that Nash is not only brilliant but also a paranoid schizophrenic who takes orders from two kinds of US officials: The real and the imaginary. The later “branch of the government” takes him on a quest that only keeps getting weirder as the (imaginary) terrorists get closer to their nefarious goal of planting nukes in American cities.]]
* ''Film/TheLastTemptationOfChrist''

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* ''Film/TheyMightBeGiants'' is named after Quixote's idea about the windmills, as the protagonist (who believes himself to be SherlockHolmes) Franchise/SherlockHolmes) hunts down a possibly-imaginary Professor Moriarty.
* In ''Film/{{Downfall}}'', Hitler and some of his closest followers are portrayed as tragic antiheroes anti-heroes who desperately tried to save the world from a world-engulfing conspiracy that they honestly believed to be real. As Berlin falls they face what they [[WhatMeasureIsANonHuman believe to be the twilight of mankind itself]]. Hitler himself is portrayed as a person who is most likely insane, while his followers are rational except for their misguided belief that he is a legitimate leader rather than a madman. Their actions make total sense when one take this tragic belief into account.
* In ''Film/ABeautifulMind'', the protagonist is the RealLife Nobel Prize winner John Nash, hired by the US government in their struggle against terrorism. What neither Nash nor his closest superiors know [[spoiler:is that Nash is not only brilliant but also a paranoid schizophrenic who takes orders from two kinds of US officials: The real and the imaginary. The later “branch "branch of the government” government" takes him on a quest that only keeps getting weirder as the (imaginary) terrorists get closer to their nefarious goal of planting nukes in American cities.]]
* ''Film/TheLastTemptationOfChrist''''Film/TheLastTemptationOfChrist'':



** Paul is briefly portrayed as the misguided kind of Windmill Crusader. However, he is quickly deconstructed as a StrawHypocrite who simply doesn’t care if the [[WindmillPolitical gospel he preaches]] is true or not.
* ''Film/{{Defendor}}'': Played with, and ''maybe'' [[NoMereWindmill averted]].

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** Paul is briefly portrayed as the misguided kind of Windmill Crusader. However, he is quickly deconstructed as a StrawHypocrite who simply doesn’t doesn't care if the [[WindmillPolitical gospel he preaches]] is true or not.
* %%* ''Film/{{Defendor}}'': Played with, and ''maybe'' [[NoMereWindmill averted]].



* ''Film/GodBlessAmerica'': Frank, who seem to believe that he's actually doing something worthwhile. Unlike Roxy, he seem rather naive - not unlike the mentally-handicapped television kid he keeps identifying with and feeling sorry for for all the wrong reasons.
* The main character in ''Creation of the Humanoids'' is a high-ranking member of a radical anti-robot organization. Recently, they've finally found evidence that the robots actually are engaging in a conspiracy of some sort - have the robots finally TurnedAgainstTheirMasters, [[CassandraTruth just like the main character's organization has been warning against?]] [[SpoileredRotten Well, no]]. The robots really are up to something, but it's nothing that anyone has to be afraid of.

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* ''Film/GodBlessAmerica'': Frank, who seem to believe that he's actually doing something worthwhile. Unlike Roxy, he seem rather naive - -- not unlike the mentally-handicapped television kid he keeps identifying with and feeling sorry for for all the wrong reasons.
* The main character in ''Creation of the Humanoids'' is a high-ranking member of a radical anti-robot organization. Recently, they've finally found evidence that the robots actually are engaging in a conspiracy of some sort - -- have the robots finally TurnedAgainstTheirMasters, [[CassandraTruth just like the main character's organization has been warning against?]] [[SpoileredRotten Well, no]]. The robots really are up to something, but it's nothing that anyone has to be afraid of.



* In the YA novel ''The King Of Dragons'', the protagonist's father is this. His severe PTSD from military service causes him to believe that terrible things will happen if he and his son are found by the authorities, so he gives him Survival TrainingFromHell. At the end of the book, he is recovering, and tells his son, "I mistook molehills for mountains, but I taught you how to climb mountains."

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* In the YA novel ''The King Of of Dragons'', the protagonist's father is this. His severe PTSD from military service causes him to believe that terrible things will happen if he and his son are found by the authorities, so he gives him Survival TrainingFromHell. At the end of the book, he is recovering, and tells his son, "I mistook molehills for mountains, but I taught you how to climb mountains."



* Hermione wanders into this territory in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire,'' when she forms a club (consisting of, well, herself) to fight the oppression of house-elves in the wizarding world. While she has only the best of intentions, and she is absolutely correct that some of the house elves are treated abominably by their masters (such as Dobby during his time with the Malfoy family), she takes on the problem in a very badly-arranged fashion. She starts with the house elves of Hogwarts, who are ''[[HappinessInSlavery extremely happy and very well treated]]'' - Dumbledore is even willing to give them days off and a salary if they want it, which most of them don't. She also fails to realize that the house elves as a species ''prefer'' living as indentured servants of sorts, and her efforts to persuade them otherwise seriously upset them.
* Donald Morgan, Harry's 'parole officer' in ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', who honestly believes Harry is tainted and going to jump off the slippery slope if he's given an inch. The initial books (all told from Harry's point of view) initially presents Morgan is simply a power-abusing jerkass, but Harry's view of Morgan actually softens slightly when he (much later) realises Morgan sincerely believes he's dangerous.

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* Hermione wanders into this territory in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire,'' ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire'', when she forms a club (consisting of, well, herself) to fight the oppression of house-elves in the wizarding world. While she has only the best of intentions, and she is absolutely correct that some of the house elves are treated abominably by their masters (such as Dobby during his time with the Malfoy family), she takes on the problem in a very badly-arranged badly arranged fashion. She starts with the house elves of Hogwarts, who are ''[[HappinessInSlavery extremely happy and very well treated]]'' - -- Dumbledore is even willing to give them days off and a salary if they want it, which most of them don't. She also fails to realize that the house elves as a species ''prefer'' living as indentured servants of sorts, and her efforts to persuade them otherwise seriously upset them.
* Donald Morgan, Harry's 'parole officer' "parole officer" in ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'', who honestly believes Harry is tainted and going to jump off the slippery slope if he's given an inch. The initial books (all told from Harry's point of view) initially presents Morgan is simply a power-abusing jerkass, but Harry's view of Morgan actually softens slightly when he (much later) realises realizes Morgan sincerely believes he's dangerous.



* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': While Buffy has TheCuckoolanderWasRight as an inherent trait, the episode “Normal Again” subverts this when Buffy is [[ThroughTheEyesOfMadness drugged and hallucinates that she’s been insane all along and that Sunnydale is only in her mind]]. In this hallucination Buffy is an insane Windmill Crusader before the series started, and has been locked in a mental institution throughout the whole series.

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* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': While Buffy has TheCuckoolanderWasRight as an inherent trait, the episode “Normal Again” "Normal Again" subverts this when Buffy is [[ThroughTheEyesOfMadness drugged and hallucinates that she’s she's been insane all along and that Sunnydale is only in her mind]]. In this hallucination Buffy is an insane Windmill Crusader before the series started, and has been locked in a mental institution throughout the whole series.



* In ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'', [[TheComputerIsYourFriend The Computer]] became [[TitleDrop paranoid]] about [[RedScare the Commies]] (who had disappeared long before Alpha Complex was built) when an early [[AIIsACrapshoot malfunction]] caused it to mistake 1957 civil defense files as being up to date. Some disgruntled citizens soon re-formed the Commies ([[FutureImperfect as best they could figure them out]]) ''[[ForbiddenFruit because]]'' The Computer was paranoid about them, after which their role varied from NoMereWindmill to [[StrawCharacter Strawman Political]] to TheScapegoat (for [[TerroristsWithoutACause PURGE]], or some other secret society, or just self-serving individuals).

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* In ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'', ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'':
**
[[TheComputerIsYourFriend The Computer]] became [[TitleDrop paranoid]] about [[RedScare the Commies]] (who had disappeared long before Alpha Complex was built) when an early [[AIIsACrapshoot malfunction]] caused it to mistake 1957 civil defense files as being up to date. Some disgruntled citizens soon re-formed the Commies ([[FutureImperfect as best they could figure them out]]) ''[[ForbiddenFruit because]]'' The Computer was paranoid about them, after which their role varied from NoMereWindmill to [[StrawCharacter Strawman Political]] to TheScapegoat (for [[TerroristsWithoutACause PURGE]], or some other secret society, or just self-serving individuals).



* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'': [[SmugSnake Loghain]] believes that the [[LegionsOfHell Darkspawn]] are not a threat, but the neighboring country of Orlais (who occupied Ferelden for much of his life, until he and King Maric drove them out for good) [[IDidWhatIHadToDo are]] [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans still]] [[KnightTemplar the]] [[LawfulStupid primary]] [[WindmillPolitical concern]] [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope for the]] [[MoralEventHorizon defense]] [[MyCountryRightOrWrong of the country.]] Interestingly, he considers the Grey Wardens themselves to be dangerous Windmill Crusaders who might weaken the nation's defense against Orlesian invasion, even though [[NoMereWindmill the Darkspawn threat is quite real]].

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* ''Franchise/DragonAge'':
**
''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'': [[SmugSnake Loghain]] believes that the [[LegionsOfHell Darkspawn]] are not a threat, but the neighboring country of Orlais (who occupied Ferelden for much of his life, until he and King Maric drove them out for good) [[IDidWhatIHadToDo are]] [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans still]] [[KnightTemplar the]] [[LawfulStupid primary]] [[WindmillPolitical concern]] [[JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope for the]] [[MoralEventHorizon defense]] [[MyCountryRightOrWrong of the country.]] Interestingly, he considers the Grey Wardens themselves to be dangerous Windmill Crusaders who might weaken the nation's defense against Orlesian invasion, even though [[NoMereWindmill the Darkspawn threat is quite real]].



** WordOfGod and notes found in the "Return To Ostagar" DLC confirm that yes, [[spoiler:Cailan was planning on leaving his wife - Loghain's daughter - for the Empress of Orlais]] and yes, [[spoiler:Loghain found out about it, which factored into his decision to betray Cailan]]. Loghain's biggest error of judgement is that, as Flemeth puts it, believing that "the Darkspawn are merely another army that can be outmaneuvered."
* Maximillion of Northshire, a quest giver in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''[='=]s Un'goro Crater, will take the player's character on a long quest to defeat the [[DinosaursAreDragons "evil dragons"]] in the area, rescue the "purse" of a "fair maiden"[[note]] a [[DudeLooksLikeALady male Blood Elf]][[/note]] who dropped a box of unknown contents from the hot spring, a second fair maiden from a high place[[note]]'''by throwing her off a cliff'''[[/note]], and rescued a third maiden from a "foul beast."[[note]] by killing her parrot companion.[[/note]] Finally, he takes you to something that is actually dangerous: kill an Azeroth-equivalent TyrannosaurusRex....by running away from it while throwing his armor at it. At the end, he's convinced he's truly done good. Also notable is that one of the rewards for his final quest is a trinket called a Toy Windmill. The entire quest chain is a a huge reference to the TropeNamer, Literature/DonQuixote.

to:

** WordOfGod and notes found in the "Return To Ostagar" DLC confirm that yes, [[spoiler:Cailan was planning on leaving his wife - -- Loghain's daughter - -- for the Empress of Orlais]] and yes, [[spoiler:Loghain found out about it, which factored into his decision to betray Cailan]]. Loghain's biggest error of judgement is that, as Flemeth puts it, believing that "the Darkspawn are merely another army that can be outmaneuvered."
* Maximillion of Northshire, a quest giver in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''[='=]s Un'goro Crater, will take the player's character on a long quest to defeat the [[DinosaursAreDragons "evil dragons"]] in the area, rescue the "purse" of a "fair maiden"[[note]] maiden" [[spoiler:-- a [[DudeLooksLikeALady male Blood Elf]][[/note]] Elf]] --]] who dropped a box of unknown contents from the hot spring, a second fair maiden from a high place[[note]]'''by place [[spoiler:'''by throwing her off a cliff'''[[/note]], cliff''']], and rescued a third maiden from a "foul beast."[[note]] by beast" [[spoiler:by killing her parrot companion.[[/note]] ]] Finally, he takes you to something that is actually dangerous: kill an Azeroth-equivalent TyrannosaurusRex....TyrannosaurusRex... by running away from it while throwing his armor at it. At the end, he's convinced he's truly done good. Also notable is that one of the rewards for his final quest is a trinket called a Toy Windmill. The entire quest chain is a a huge reference to the TropeNamer, Literature/DonQuixote.



* [[spoiler:Captain Martin Walker]] of ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'' goes into the game trying to rescue the survivors of a sandstormed-ravaged Dubai while dealing with the rogue Damned 33rd and their leader Joesph Konrad. [[spoiler:Except that Konrad killed himself prior to the events of the story, and that taunting voice Walker hears for most of the game is all in his head. All those people shooting at him and his squadmates are just trying to keep that crazy gung-ho American from destroying what little hope the survivors have left.]]

to:

* ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'': [[spoiler:Captain Martin Walker]] of ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'' goes into the game trying to rescue the survivors of a sandstormed-ravaged Dubai while dealing with the rogue Damned 33rd and their leader Joesph Konrad. [[spoiler:Except that Konrad killed himself prior to the events of the story, and that taunting voice Walker hears for most of the game is all in his head. All those people shooting at him and his squadmates are just trying to keep that crazy gung-ho American from destroying what little hope the survivors have left.]]



[[folder:Webcomics]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', Miko starts out as a regular KnightTemplar but descends into this trope as she becomes increasingly delusional. In the end she is busy saving the world from imaginary threats and interpreting pretty much anything as signs that the Gods are approving of whatever she is doing - ignoring the very real sign that they have stripped her of her [[AlwaysLawfulGood paladin]] powers. [[spoiler:She ends up making a misguided HeroicSacrifice that saves the BigBad from justice and condemns her people to AFateWorseThanDeath.]]
* Referenced in [[http://www.xkcd.com/556/ this]] Webcomic/{{xkcd}} comic.

to:

[[folder:Webcomics]]
[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', Miko starts out as a regular KnightTemplar but descends into this trope as she becomes increasingly delusional. In the end she is busy saving the world from imaginary threats and interpreting pretty much anything as signs that the Gods are approving of whatever she is doing - -- ignoring the very real sign that they have stripped her of her [[AlwaysLawfulGood paladin]] powers. [[spoiler:She ends up making a misguided HeroicSacrifice that saves the BigBad from justice and condemns her people to AFateWorseThanDeath.]]
* %%* Referenced in [[http://www.xkcd.com/556/ this]] Webcomic/{{xkcd}} comic.



* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "Much Apu About Nothing," the people of Springfield form an angry mob and demand the town government do something to protect them from "constant bear attacks." All because a total of ''one'' bear wandered into town, destroyed ''one'' mailbox, and was swiftly and painlessly taken down by Animal Control. Naturally the mayor forms a "Bear Patrol" and passes the cost onto the taxpayers.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' has Eric Cartman in general, but especially as The Coon in the Coon Trilogy, where he will maim anyone for his gain (including harming a small child for liking Mint Berry Crunch better than him) and rationalize it as an heroic action.
-->'''The Coon:''' I'm making the world a better place!
-->'''Mysterion:''' For ''you''! You're making it a better place for ''you''!
-->'''The Coon:''' ''*beat*'' [[ItsAllAboutMe Riiight, and that's what superheroes do.]]

to:

* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' episode "Much Apu About Nothing," Nothing", the people of Springfield form an angry mob and demand the town government do something to protect them from "constant bear attacks." All because a total of ''one'' bear wandered into town, destroyed ''one'' mailbox, and was swiftly and painlessly taken down by Animal Control. Naturally the mayor forms a "Bear Patrol" and passes the cost onto the taxpayers.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' has ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'':
**
Eric Cartman in general, but especially as The Coon in the Coon Trilogy, where he will maim anyone for his gain (including harming a small child for liking Mint Berry Crunch better than him) and rationalize it as an heroic action.
-->'''The --->'''The Coon:''' I'm making the world a better place!
-->'''Mysterion:'''
place!\\
'''Mysterion:'''
For ''you''! You're making it a better place for ''you''!
-->'''The
''you''!\\
'''The
Coon:''' ''*beat*'' ''[beat]'' [[ItsAllAboutMe Riiight, and that's what superheroes do.]]



* Zigzagged with Numbah One on ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor''. He plays this Trope straight sometimes; other times, it turns out he's pursuing NoMereWindmill.
* WesternAnimation/EliotKid: Eliot and his friends are this in most episodes, fighting off threats that only exist in their imagination.
* In ''Recap/EdEddNEddysBooHawHaw'', after his mind is warped by a monster movie marathon, Ed hallucinates that he is "Lothar the Barbarian" and everyone in the Cul-de-sac is a monster sent by a trio of witches to attack the Eds. He then spends the entire episode bashing the brains out of all the innocent bystanders (except for Johnny the spider creature) he encounters.

to:

* Zigzagged with Numbah Numbuh One on ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor''. He plays this Trope straight sometimes; other times, it turns out he's pursuing NoMereWindmill.
* WesternAnimation/EliotKid: ''WesternAnimation/EliotKid'': Eliot and his friends are this in most episodes, fighting off threats that only exist in their imagination.
* ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'': In ''Recap/EdEddNEddysBooHawHaw'', "Recap/EdEddNEddysBooHawHaw", after his mind is warped by a monster movie marathon, Ed hallucinates that he is "Lothar the Barbarian" and everyone in the Cul-de-sac is a monster sent by a trio of witches to attack the Eds. He then spends the entire episode bashing the brains out of all the innocent bystanders (except for Johnny the spider creature) he encounters.





* Maximillion of Northshire, a quest giver in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'''s Un'goro Crater, will take the player's character on a long quest to defeat the [[DinosaursAreDragons "evil dragons"]] in the area, rescue the "purse" of a "fair maiden"[[note]] a [[DudeLooksLikeALady male Blood Elf]][[/note]] who dropped a box of unknown contents from the hot spring, a second fair maiden from a high place[[note]]'''by throwing her off a cliff'''[[/note]], and rescued a third maiden from a "foul beast."[[note]] by killing her parrot companion.[[/note]] Finally, he takes you to something that is actually dangerous: kill an Azeroth-equivalent TyrannosaurusRex....by running away from it while throwing his armor at it. At the end, he's convinced he's truly done good. Also notable is that one of the rewards for his final quest is a trinket called a Toy Windmill. The entire quest chain is a a huge reference to the TropeNamer, Literature/DonQuixote.

to:

* Maximillion of Northshire, a quest giver in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'''s ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''[='=]s Un'goro Crater, will take the player's character on a long quest to defeat the [[DinosaursAreDragons "evil dragons"]] in the area, rescue the "purse" of a "fair maiden"[[note]] a [[DudeLooksLikeALady male Blood Elf]][[/note]] who dropped a box of unknown contents from the hot spring, a second fair maiden from a high place[[note]]'''by throwing her off a cliff'''[[/note]], and rescued a third maiden from a "foul beast."[[note]] by killing her parrot companion.[[/note]] Finally, he takes you to something that is actually dangerous: kill an Azeroth-equivalent TyrannosaurusRex....by running away from it while throwing his armor at it. At the end, he's convinced he's truly done good. Also notable is that one of the rewards for his final quest is a trinket called a Toy Windmill. The entire quest chain is a a huge reference to the TropeNamer, Literature/DonQuixote.


* Hermione wanders into this territory in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire,'' when she forms a club (consisting of, well, herself) to fight the oppression of house-elves in the wizarding world. While she has only the best of intentions, and she is absolutely correct that some of the house elves are treated abominably by their masters (such as Dobby during his time with the Malfoy family), she takes on the problem in a very badly-arranged fashion. She starts with the house elves of Hogwarts, who are ''extremely happy and very well treated'' - Dumbledore is even willing to give them days off and a salary if they want it, which most of them don't. She also fails to realize that the house elves as a species ''prefer'' living as indentured servants of sorts, and her efforts to persuade them otherwise seriously upset them.

to:

* Hermione wanders into this territory in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire,'' when she forms a club (consisting of, well, herself) to fight the oppression of house-elves in the wizarding world. While she has only the best of intentions, and she is absolutely correct that some of the house elves are treated abominably by their masters (such as Dobby during his time with the Malfoy family), she takes on the problem in a very badly-arranged fashion. She starts with the house elves of Hogwarts, who are ''extremely ''[[HappinessInSlavery extremely happy and very well treated'' treated]]'' - Dumbledore is even willing to give them days off and a salary if they want it, which most of them don't. She also fails to realize that the house elves as a species ''prefer'' living as indentured servants of sorts, and her efforts to persuade them otherwise seriously upset them.


* Maximillion of Northshire, a quest giver in WorldOfWarcraft's Un'goro Crater, will take the player's character on a long quest to defeat the [[DinosaursAreDragons "evil dragons"]] in the area, rescue the "purse" of a "fair maiden"[[note]] a [[DudeLooksLikeALady male Blood Elf]][[/note]] who dropped a box of unknown contents from the hot spring, a second fair maiden from a high place[[note]]'''by throwing her off a cliff'''[[/note]], and rescued a third maiden from a "foul beast."[[note]] by killing her parrot companion.[[/note]] Finally, he takes you to something that is actually dangerous: kill an Azeroth-equivalent TyrannosaurusRex....by running away from it while throwing his armor at it. At the end, he's convinced he's truly done good. Also notable is that one of the rewards for his final quest is a trinket called a Toy Windmill. The entire quest chain is a a huge reference to the TropeNamer, Literature/DonQuixote.

to:

* Maximillion of Northshire, a quest giver in WorldOfWarcraft's ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'''s Un'goro Crater, will take the player's character on a long quest to defeat the [[DinosaursAreDragons "evil dragons"]] in the area, rescue the "purse" of a "fair maiden"[[note]] a [[DudeLooksLikeALady male Blood Elf]][[/note]] who dropped a box of unknown contents from the hot spring, a second fair maiden from a high place[[note]]'''by throwing her off a cliff'''[[/note]], and rescued a third maiden from a "foul beast."[[note]] by killing her parrot companion.[[/note]] Finally, he takes you to something that is actually dangerous: kill an Azeroth-equivalent TyrannosaurusRex....by running away from it while throwing his armor at it. At the end, he's convinced he's truly done good. Also notable is that one of the rewards for his final quest is a trinket called a Toy Windmill. The entire quest chain is a a huge reference to the TropeNamer, Literature/DonQuixote.


* Maximillion of Northshire, a quest giver in WorldOfWarcraft's Un'goro Crater, will take the player's character on a long quest to defeat the [[DinosaursAreDragons "evil dragons"]] in the area, rescue the "purse" of a "fair maiden"[[note]] a [[DudeLooksLikeALady male Blood Elf]][[/note]] who dropped a box of unknown contents from the hot spring, a second fair maiden from a high place[[note]]'''by throwing her off a cliff'''[[/note]], and rescued a third maiden from a "foul beast."[[note]] by killing her parrot companion.[[/note]] Finally, he takes you to something that is actually dangerous: kill an Azeroth-equivalent TyrannosaurusRex....by running away from it while throwing his armor at it. At the end, he's convinced he's truly done good. Also notable is that one of the rewards for his final quest is a trinket called a Toy Windmill. The entire quest chain is a a huge reference to the TropeNamer, DonQuixote.

to:

* Maximillion of Northshire, a quest giver in WorldOfWarcraft's Un'goro Crater, will take the player's character on a long quest to defeat the [[DinosaursAreDragons "evil dragons"]] in the area, rescue the "purse" of a "fair maiden"[[note]] a [[DudeLooksLikeALady male Blood Elf]][[/note]] who dropped a box of unknown contents from the hot spring, a second fair maiden from a high place[[note]]'''by throwing her off a cliff'''[[/note]], and rescued a third maiden from a "foul beast."[[note]] by killing her parrot companion.[[/note]] Finally, he takes you to something that is actually dangerous: kill an Azeroth-equivalent TyrannosaurusRex....by running away from it while throwing his armor at it. At the end, he's convinced he's truly done good. Also notable is that one of the rewards for his final quest is a trinket called a Toy Windmill. The entire quest chain is a a huge reference to the TropeNamer, DonQuixote.Literature/DonQuixote.

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