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Gambit Roulette / Literature

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Gambit Roulettes in literature.

  • A lot of early detective fiction relies on Gambit Roulettes, to the point where Raymond Chandler discusses it as a failing of the genre in his essay "The Simple Art of Murder".

  • After the Funeral: Miss Gilchrist's entire plot hinged on every single member of the family not recognizing their own aunt at Richard Abernethie's funeral and believing that Richard had indeed been murdered. Even when one takes into account that none of the family members had seen their aunt in a long time, it still doesn't explain why they didn't notice that Miss Gilchrist - with whom they spent several days in the same house - looked almost exactly like the 'Aunt Cora' they had recently seen at the funeral. It also stands to reason that after the real Cora's death, a family member would have to identify the body, thus exposing the deception. Miss Gilchrist's plan to poison herself so as to appear innocent could also have colossally backfired.
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie involves a person who not only wants to kill 10 people who got away with a crime, but to do it in a certain order (from least horrible crimes to most horrible), and to make the deaths fit a nursery rhyme that he/she happened to like. So many things had to go right: if a certain victim had not died last or had shot rather than hung himself/herself under psychological stress, or if someone had seen the killer after his/her "death", or if the doctor had been less gullible, or if a sea storm had not sprung up, preventing any rescuer from reaching Indian Island, or if the killer's body had not rotted enough for the time of death to be uncertain, etc., that it was almost impossible for everything to work out perfectly in the end. Yet it did. With the occasional Plot Hole added into it, such as the gun having only the fingerprints of the last person to touch it, despite its owner also having handled it.
    • The Film of the Book does away with the silliness with the result that the killer's plan ultimately fails, and the last two intended victims survive.
    • There is another The Film of the Book (USSR, 1988) which repeats the book with one exception: in the end the killer, instead of wiping away all clues, just shoots himself/herself.
  • Animorphs:
    • Jake's plan to infiltrate and capture the Yeerk pool ship is a complex Batman Gambit that includes the manipulation of no less than eight separate factions, brilliantly executed by a sixteen-year-old kid of average intelligence.
    • Cassie's surrender of the blue box. She lets Tom steal it from Jake, counting on the gut feeling that giving Yeerks morphing power will cause mass defection in their ranks, as a Yeerks trapped in morph will have no need to feed from the Yeerk pool and thus no longer depend on the Empire. However, she doesn't reveal this to have been her intention until after the defections start happening, making it seem like impossibly good foresight (or worse, Cassie hedging her bets, since if it didn't pan out she could always fall back on the excuse she used before of trying to keep Jake from killing Tom. Not to mention her plan created a ton of risks and threats that the Animorphs didn't have to worry about before, such as an entire army of morph-capable warriors as opposed to just one. While the roulette ultimately comes up in her favor, it exacts a heavy cost in life, culminating with Rachel's death.
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    • Played with in the characters of the Ellimist and Crayak, who are Sufficiently Advanced Aliens playing a Cosmic Chess Game with each other. Some of the results of their actions can certainly come across as this, such as in The Stranger where the Ellimist counts on Rachel being quick enough on the uptake to recognize the significance of a specific elevator shaft he places her and the rest of the team in and then follow that thread to the location of the Kandrona, but considering he personally masterminded the creation of the Animorphs, his moves aren't nearly as Roulette-y as they might look at first glance. And as aliens so advanced they might as well be gods to us Puny Earthlings, they're both exempt from this trope anyway.
  • Successfully executed by The Chessmaster of The Assassins of Tamurin, but without pushing Willing Suspension of Disbelief, due to the years of effort she puts into it and the fact that she's crazy.
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  • Subverted in the Belisarius Series where Belisarius's answer to a Gambit Roulette is to keep adding pieces and confusion to the board until Link doesn't know whether it's coming or going. Also subverted (although not entirely successfully) in that Belisarius claims not to calculate in depth but instead to cause confusion and take advantage of the opportunities that arise from this.
  • In Fred Saberhagan's Book of Swords, and companion series Book of Lost Swords, the character of the Emperor is shown to be very nearly omniscient in his plans, including fathering several children to various otherwise unimportant women around the known world, some 10 years before the events of the first book. Justified since the Emperor is G-d.
  • In The Brothers Karamazov, many of the elements of Smerdyakov's plan to kill Fyodor Karamazov were obviously beyond his control. The book offers a good example of a Chessmaster attempting to manipulate events and people he realistically doesn't understand fully. The kicker though? He still pulls it off with a bit of improvisation.
  • In Niven and Barnes's The California Voodoo Game, Dream Park's security team catches on that one of the Game's tournament participants isn't playing fair, and theorize that he's attempting a Batman Gambit to throw the win to Army. However, the suspect can't realistically expect to do this, given the sheer number of variables involved, which would make it this trope instead. As it turns out, the suspect is plotting another crime entirely, and only set things up to look like an attempt to fix the Game in order to deceive an accomplice.
  • Subverted in Arturo Perez-Reverte's novel The Club Dumas (which was made into The Ninth Gate). Corso spends most of the novel dodging two antagonists attempting to steal a rare manuscript and inconveniently discovering corpses along the way. Corso reasonably suspects a massive and powerful conspiracy is dogging his every move. Corso is just being paranoid, as the narrating character explicitly tells him, and there is no relation between the murders and the two manuscripts. The Film assumed that Viewers Are Morons, and so let the plot progress as expected.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo has the Count executing a plan for revenge that's unspeakably convoluted and relies on manipulating people in ridiculously subtle and complex ways—for example, he somehow manipulates Madame de Villefort into poisoning half her family by casually conversing with her about chemistry.
  • A very common occurrence in Iain M. Banks's Culture novels. The Mind AIs are frequently do this, especially when it comes to the activities of the Culture's two interventionary groups, Contact and Special Circumstances. May potentially be a subversion because Minds can think in Hyperspace and are so ridiculously intelligent and powerful that they can pull off such a plan easily.
  • In Daemon, by Daniel Suarez, Matthew Sobol, through his Daemon AI, manages to accurately predict and control events throughout the book, even after Sobol's death. While there are humans in the Daemon apparatus, they are not depicted as being in controlling positions. Either Sobol was a master at the Gambit Roulette, or his AI was a master at Speed Chess.
    • By the time the sequel rolls around, the AI proves to have the ability to predict The Future well enough to know exactly where plot critical events will occur. Even with this level of prescience, The Cavalry has to roll in several times to avoid the entire gambit falling apart.
  • The Demon King in Kylie Chan's Dark Heavens trilogy has one of these running from well before the beginning of the series, encompassing most of the characters in the series. The full extent of his game is revealed around the eighth book, by which point parts of it have started to go off the rails. By contrast, the Jade Emperor does this all the time for even the littlest things, just so that he can be both apparently Lawful Stupid and still an effective leader. The latter doesn't appear to be involved in defeating the former.
  • The Shadow Lord in the Deltora books made it clear: "I have many plans. Plans within plans..." And indeed, by the beginning of the series, he had them set in place so that he was prepared for any conceivable contingency. Except dragons.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Small Favor features a subversion. Harry considers the enemy's plot to be so complex it simply should not be possible, until Murphy points out that Harry really IS that predictable, and that the villains stood to gain by doing what they are doing, whether or not Harry acted as planned.
    • Martin's actions in Changes play it straight. He engineered an incredibly complex plot, betrayed his entire organization and his closest allies, and became a triple agent in the hope of a grand masterstroke that would destroy his enemies. It ended up working, but if Harry hadn't been able to take on the entire Red Court, or if the Red King had stopped grandstanding for just ten seconds, it would have failed completely.
  • The Dune series by Frank Herbert contains some of the most elaborately justified Gambit Roulettes ever committed to paper, due primarily to the fact that the protagonists and many of the antagonists are genuinely prescient.
    • Easily demonstrated in Dune with the original plot to destroy the Atreides, which they themselves are aware of and attempt to counter, while that doesn't immediately work and Duke Leto is killed, the basic Atreides plan is basically what Paul then uses later to not only claim his birth-rite as Duke but also take the throne. The fact that Paul even survives is due to the plan of The Mole Dr. Yueh, who anticipated that the Baron would not keep his word and wanted revenge. Not to mention Baron Harkonnen's own plans for the throne.
    • Leto Atreides II in Children of Dune becomes Emperor on the strength of a plot that pits him against his father, aunt, and grandmother, all of whom are or were operating their own Plans. The prize is absolute domination of humanity's future. The plot involves Leto faking his death, which was anticipated by both Jessica and Alia. Jessica sets up a test to see if Leto is possessed, which Alia knows about and infiltrates with her own instructions to have Leto killed no matter what. The method of their testing: overdosing him with spice, awakens Leto's prescient memories and forces him to choose his vision of the Golden Path without which humanity is doomed. Leto then confronts his father, Paul, who had earlier faked his own death in order to escape the curse of prescience, and wrests control of the vision from him, then proceeds to take the throne, killing Alia and utterly humiliating every other participant in the Gambit Pileup.
    • Leto II then continues the trend in the next book, which picks up at the end of his 3,500 year reign as God Emperor and details an incredibly complicated plan whose final goals are to produce a breed of human who is immune to prescience and to wean humanity off of its dependence on oracles. Furthermore, the product of this breeding program is intended to kill him in such a manner as to guarantee the continuation of the sandworms and the spice. Further furthermore, he manipulates human culture and society for 3,500 years to push humans to invent synthetic spice and no-ships (ships which shield the occupants from all prescience), to scatter to other parts of the galaxy upon his death, ensuring the survival of the species and ending their total dependence on the planet Arrakis (spice was previously only available from Arrakian sandworms, and necessary for all space travel). He succeeds on all counts.
    • The gambits of Miles Teg and the Bene Gesserit in Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune take on a similar flavor, resulting in yet another Gambit Pileup.
  • Encyclopedia Brown: We have a robber planning to strike as the victim does his grocery shopping, but calculates he won't have enough time. No problem, just ask him to pick up four tubes of toothpaste, extending his grocery list from 7 to 11 items and thus forcing him to take a non-express lane. So the plan is: Our victim won't question why the man wants four tubes of toothpaste and will proceed to buy them all. Our victim will be honorable and take a non-express lane for being one item over (since that fourth tube of toothpaste was so important). This will slow our victim down significantly enough to finish robbing his house. (This one, at least, was given a Hand Wave— apparently the supermarket in question is notorious for all of its non-express lanes being glacially slow... all the more reason why our victim might choose to take the express lane despite that 11th item.)
  • Evil Genius, a young adult novel by Catherine Jinks, deconstructs it. Although the hero, Cadel, is very good at manipulating people, when he attempts a Gambit Roulette, it gets out of his control very quickly, leading to the death of several characters.
  • Evil Under the Sun: The murderer/s not only rely on synchronizing their movements according to a very precise schedule, but also arrange for the body to be "discovered" before the actual murder takes place, while the unsuspecting intended victim is hiding nearby. There are a number of ways that could have gone wrong...
  • Foundation: Hari Seldon plans 1000 years of history culminating in a new galactic empire and sets it in motion by creating an encyclopedia. He does this by using a fictional science called psychohistory which is calculating the probability of a specific development of the happenings based on how large masses of people reacts. The psychohistory is not exact and can fail to give an accurate prediction (ultimately it does, but Seldon created a second foundation in the case of anything not going along the plan) which only adds more to the Roulette part of the trope.
    • This 7 book series is part of a much bigger plan by the psychic robot that lives in the Moon.
      • There are something like 3 different factions of psychic telepathic people (or robots) capable of predicting the future and manipulating it by subtly twisting people's minds and by carefully manipulating certain key individuals into situations where they'll behave in predictable ways, and all of them believe that they are the ones who are secretly controlling everything. The Second Foundation that's using the First Foundation as puppets to create their ideal future, the Gaia-like hivemind that is using the Second Foundation itself as their puppets to create its ideal future, and the robots themselves.
  • Good Omens: At the end, the characters begin to suspect (though they certainly can't confirm it) that the whole plot was a Gambit Roulette by God. Could be a justified example for once...
  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore had orchestrated or manipulated almost every major event that had taken place in Harry's life since about the halfway point of The Half-Blood Prince, with the ultimate purpose of Voldemort's destruction.
    • Also in Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore's method of getting Harry to find the Hallows relies on random encounters - for example, Hermione only recognised the symbol in her book because she happened to meet Luna's dad at Fleur and Bill's wedding. The same goes for Harry finding out he is a Horcrux; if he hadn't been there when Snape died he would never have made his Heroic Sacrifice and Voldemort would've stayed immortal. To be fair, Snape was supposed to tell Harry - that's why he asks that Voldemort send him into Hogwarts during the Battle - but didn't do so in time. That is why he is scared when Voldemort tells him that he is going to kill him - he thinks he has failed. No excuse for the symbol, though Dumbeldore handwaves it by mentioning that Hermione wouldn't rest until she knew what it meant, so he assumed she would work it out somehow, just not necessarily from Xeno Lovegood.
      • The Deathly Hallows were a side plan, not absolutely necessary for success. Success relied on two things: Harry destroying the horcruxes before Voldemort finds out they are under attack, and Harry discovering that he needs to sacrifice himself. People make a big thing about how if Snape had died a little sooner the whole plan would have failed, but this isn't true. Dumbledore's portrait knew and could also tell Harry. It could also have told Snape, or anybody at Hogwarts, about the horcruxes if necessary, as he could travel to any painting in the castle and any painting of himself anywhere.
      • Even if Xeno hadn't been wearing the symbol, they would have found it on Peverell's grave in Godric's Hollow, which everyone and their goldfish knew Harry would go back to. And remember that Dumbledore didn't want Harry to find the Hallows; he feared that Harry would fall into the same temptation that he had, so he gave Hermione the book that warns about their dangers in the hope that she would "slow Harry up" if he did decide to chase them down.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    • Exploited with the Infinite Improbability drive, a faster-than-light travel drive that relies on the fact that, from a quantum physics standpoint, it isn't entirely impossible for an electron to suddenly be several light years away- just unfathomably unlikely. By the same logic, it's not impossible for an entire atom to do the same thing. The Infinite Improbability Drive works by manipulating probability so that nigh-impossible things happen, specifically causing every atom in the entire ship to appear on the other side of the galaxy, exactly where you want to be.
    • Justified with the Guide Mark II in Mostly Harmless which is constantly shuttling through time and parallel universes to ensure everything happens the way it wants. At one point Ford, realising the thing wants to keep him alive for some reason, throws himself out a 13th storey window just to see what happens. What happens is that a passing Flying Car opens its sunroof because the driver is trying to change the music and hits the wrong button, and he lands neatly inside.
  • The Host: Jared initially believes everything Wanderer does is proof that she's secretly a Seeker trying to infiltrate the group. This starts to annoy the others since he keeps it up way too long and even Jared starts to realize how ridiculous he's being.
  • Jack Reacher: Basically everything the main character does in action sequences is one of these, often relying on flimsy guesswork to construct a plausible scenario, which just so happens to be exactly right. The most vivid example so far being when he - given a vague description of a character's height, weight and handedness, manages to hit him in the arm with a sniper rifle from a huge distance while the target was INSIDE A (wooden) BUILDING (he was aiming for the arm to disarm his weapon). Reacher had no reason to know where in the building the guy was standing, he just 'assumed' he would be standing behind the door waiting for Reacher to enter. The entire series is based on such coincidences and vague assumptions.
  • Legacy of the Drow Series, by R.A. Salvatore: Jarlaxle at first appears to be a Manipulative Bastard. In the later books, Jarlaxle muses that most of his plans are in fact Gambit Roulettes. Whenever he stirs up chaos, he always seems to come out on top. It's also hinted in later books he is the chosen of a god of chaos.
  • Liaden Universe: Aware of the Department of the Interior's machinations, Liaden's Scouts hatch a cunning plan: they will destroy the DoI from within by feeding Val Con yos'Phelium to it without giving him any forewarning or preparation, counting on his line's Weirdness Magnet nature to throw a monkey wrench into its schemes. Given the way There Are No Coincidences in the Liaden Universe, this effectively turns a Roulette Gambit into a Batman Gambit.
    Clonak stared at him as if he’d taken leave of his wits. “Well, of course we gave you to them, Shadow! Who else did we have more likely to trump them than a first-in, pure-blood yos’Phelium scout commander? Concentrated random action. Would we waste such a weapon? Would you? I didn’t think so.[...]"
  • The Man Who Was Thursday: Subverted when Syme carefully plans a conversation with a stranger line for line, before his colleagues point out that he can't predict exactly what the stranger will say.
  • Master Of The Five Magics, by Lyndon Hardy, has a heroic version. The fate of the world depends on a thaumaturge solving the puzzle of a castle in order to find an alchemical solution which will lead to a magical sphere which, when completed, will lead to the study of sorcery. After that, he has to come close enough to the chamber of a wizard in suspended animation to recognize the location, then awaken the wizard. Among the things that make this truly roulette: alchemy is a magical gamble, where one thousand starts can end in two successful potions, or none; getting the magical sphere correct depends on recognizing a faint difference, correcting the ritual for it, and finishing the crafting before the sphere explodes; the only reason Alodar is anywhere the tomb is because the ship he's on sinks nearby; and the plan finishes with what amounts to, "Hopefully, this person can save the world."
  • Memory, Sorrow and Thorn uses this to good effect. The nebbish protagonist gets embroiled in a standard fantasy plot, complete with magical swords and ancient prophecies about what to do with them. However, the Big Bad, who's been around since forever, made the prophecies to trick the heroes into bringing the swords right to him. He doesn't do a single thing throughout the book until the end.
  • Mistborn The Original Trilogy:
    • The entire series is the culmination of a millennia-long Thanatos Gambit by the Shard Preservation, requiring the exact right things to happen at the exact right times in order to 1: Create a human who could take up Preservation's power and use it to kill the Shard Ruin (something Preservation himself could never do due to his overpowering instinct to preserve), and 2: Create a human perfectly balanced between both Preservation and Ruin, so he could take up both Shards once the holders were dead and become God of a reborn world. Of course, due to the nature of Preservation's power, he is very very good at predicting the future, but predicting the future thousands of years after you died is still a pretty big roulette. It did help that Ruin was very very bad at predicting the future.
    • Ruin himself had another, much smaller Gambit Roulette. Most of his plans were just "cause as much chaos as possible," so the details weren't really important, his plan to be released from the Well of Ascension was definitely this. He needed to get a spike in a very specific person so he could influence them, get the Lord Ruler killed a year before power returned to the Well, and then get that spiked person to the Well at a very specific hour without anyone interfering. Considering that this plan took place over a thousand years, this is roughly the equivalent of hitting the bullseye on a dartboard on a moving truck in the middle of a storm.
  • Night Watch: Revealed to be the entire point of the first two books in the series (Night Watch and Day Watch respectively).
    • In the first, everything is set up by Gesar in order to rewrite Olga's fate in order to reinstate her connection to the Twilight and give her back her magical powers so that he and she can be equal. Some of this may be justified in that they are magicians of great power who have been alive for thousands of years and have the ability to peer into the possibilities of the future, but there are still moments when the reader (and the characters) is left wondering what is a planned Roulette and what is just taking advantage of the situations as they arise (Gambit Speed Chess).
  • The Pendragon Adventure: Apparently, everything Saint Dane does is part of his grand plan for Halla. A lot of which is manipulating Bobby (and Mark and Courtney) to do exactly what he wants them to do without realizing it. And then stepping in to show Bobby how horribly he's been defeated just after he thought he won.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Kronos earned his nickname, the Crooked One, for excelling at this. Whenever his plans are thwarted, he or one of his minions says something along the lines of "we planned it that way". While he's still rotting away in Tartarus, he assembles an army, brings a dead girl back to life, kidnaps a goddess, and plans an invasion. After finding a way to possess Luke's body, he becomes almost unstoppable and is barely defeated in the end. Apparently the one thing he didn't plan for was Luke regaining control of his body just in time, resulting in Redemption Equals Death for Luke And I Must Scream for Kronos. In fairness, however, a lot of what he does are either Batman Gambits or Xanatos Gambits: He plays on the good guys' Chronic Hero Syndrome, and some of his plans, like the quest for the Golden Fleece, would have worked out for him in any case.
  • The Pilo Family Circus: Fortune Teller Shalice demonstrates her understanding of the trope in this statement:
    Man raises his middle finger at a passing car; the driver ponders it, wondering what he'd done to offend the stranger, misses his route home while distracted, and collides with a van, killing the driver who was the real target of the exercise. The simplest of scenarios, but the setups could be so elaborate and huge they shaped the course of history.
    • One of her simplest manipulations involves watering the lawn in front of the Acrobats' tent; when one of them left the tent, he slips on the wet grass, and angrily blames the pranksters in the Clown Division. He then steals a crate of fireworks to take revenge on the clowns, only to leave it by the Circus Funhouse, where one of the local dwarfs uses it as a target in a cigar-flicking game: the resulting explosion takes out half the funhouse, and forces the management to start relying on Shalice for help again. Or at least, it should have.
  • The Possessed: Petr Stepanovic's labyrinthine plan, involving dozens of different characters, is mostly successful - he manages to manipulate people left and right, even if he is shown to completely misunderstand the motivations of some of them, like Stavrogin and Kirillov. Another interesting subversion of the trope is that the more complex parts of the plan (like persuading several persons to kill another man with a flimsy reason) go off like clockwork, and the apparently simpler details (like persuading a suicidal nut to... kill himself) almost fall apart on several occasions.
  • Rising Sun: The Japanese nation is portrayed as Gambit Roulettists in garish contrast to stupid Americans who don't seem to know their noses are actually on their faces, much less than they're being led around by them. The implication is that the murder of the girl in the novel was set up right from the beginning simply to embarrass another Japanese family, right down to knowing which officer was on duty that night, that John Conner would become involved as a result, and that events would go very much as planned.
  • In The Saga of Darren Shan — in the last book Darren and Steve find out that they are sons of Desmond Tiny (Destiny) and that their entire life, the wars they fought in, the losses they suffered... it was all planned by Mr. Tiny. It was all a game for Tiny that in the end would in the end come down to only Steve Vs. Darren- which would then proceed to get rid of the weaker of the two.
  • In Second Apocalypse, Dunyain are masters of this. They can calculate probabilities and conceive of great, sweeping plans to achieve their objectives, then make adjustments as events develop. The first trilogy is one giant gambit roulette by Moenghus. Kellhus is frequently described as navigating threads of probability, with opportunities closing with every minute action he takes.
  • Sherlock Holmes: Discussed in Silver Blaze. The powdered opium used to drug the stable boy so the titular horse could be stolen has a very distinctive taste. The spicy curry served for dinner disguised that taste perfectly, but had almost anything else been served for dinner, the stable boy would have noticed the taste and almost certainly not eaten enough to knock him out. Holmes realizes that, since a hypothetical intruder could not possibly have caused curry to be served on that specific night, or even known that it was going to be served, the horse thief must be a member of the household.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • This seems to be what Varys and Illyrio Mopatis are up to. Lampshaded when one character points out in Dance that they have been changing the plan repeatedly.
    • Several of Petyr's plots, most notably the plot to have Joffrey killed via poison conveniently taken from Sansa's hairnet.
    • To be fair though, Varys is built up as an elite Chessmaster from basically Book One Page One, and Petyr is revealed pretty early on to be his equal. None of the things they orchestrate rely on too much luck (other than the bits involving Daenerys doing, or rather NOT doing, certain things), when you learn how it was done.
    • The theory that Varys deliberately brought Tyrion through the passages of the Hand because he knew Tyrion would try to kill his own father could be considered this, as there's no way he would have known that Jaime would tell Tyrion information that would push his Berserk Button to inspire him to kill his own father. However, possibly more of a case of a combination of Batman Gambit and Xanatos Gambit since Varys knew Tyrion had a grudge against his father and his plans didn't actually require Tyrion to kill his father, and there was certainly no disadvantage from taking Tyrion down that particular hallway to see if he could provoke a reaction.
    • Cersei's plot where she successfully killed her husband Robert could be considered this. Her plan was to have his squire indulge him with too much alcohol (that was extra-strength) so that he would be too inebriated to successfully hunt a boar and would run into a "hunting mishap" that would appear to be an accident. However, there were so many ways this could have not gone as planned: not finding a boar, King Robert passing out first, other members of the hunting party intervening, etc. This would be fine if it was just one of Cersei's schemes to increase the chances of King Robert getting himself killed innocently (like her ploy to have him enter the Melee), but subsequent conversations reveal that she fully anticipated that he would die to a boar during this outing, even refusing to flee King's Landing and Ned Stark's accusations as she "knows" that Robert won't be coming back to do anything about them. So, she was essentially risking her head by staying at court on the chance that a drunk Robert would get himself killed while hunting. To top it all off, Robert was initially hunting a white hart: the hunt for the boar was done as a spur of the moment consolation prize for losing track of the hart.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • One fan interpretation of the franchise is based on the idea that The Empire was instituted because Palpatine knew the Yuuzhan Vong were going to invade.
    • In Outbound Flight, an agent of Sidious states that his plans to take control are to prepare for the Yuuzhan Vong invasion (though they're only known as distant invaders at that point). The book cleverly leaves it unmentioned whether Sidious really knew they were coming, and whether this was truly part of his justification for a power grab. Several characters comment that the threat of unknown invaders is a convenient excuse. Then again, he is a Magnificent Bastard with insight bordering on omniscience.
      • Thrawn's actions in the Hand of Thrawn Duology were retroactively made part of this conspiracy when the New Jedi Order era rolled around. Carefully cloning entire families worth of an extremely talented pilot with a bit of Thrawn's own brilliant mind, then ingraining in them an attachment to the worlds to which they were dispatched, all for the purpose of having a grass roots sleeper cell on numerous worlds, ideally positioned to help drive back the Yuuzhan Vong if the central military organization of the galaxy (regardless of whether it was the Empire, made strong by Thrawn or the New Republic, forced to become strong because of him) were disabled.
    • A similar plot was hatched in Knights Of The Old Republic. More accurately, its sequel, which proposed that Revan's "fall" to the Dark Side and his subsequent conquering of the Republic (carefully leaving intact key positions and structures) was just to prepare for the coming of the "true Sith" lurking outside the galaxy, making Revan a Well-Intentioned Extremist. This was all from the perspective of Revan's teacher, so take it with a grain of salt. Though even if you think Revan was just flat-out evil, this theory has some merit: you can't exactly conquer the galaxy if a bunch of crazy "true Sith" destroy it. This was canonized by the MMO, with the added twist that the Sith Emperor thought Revan was working for him. He later joined up with the Exile from the second game to launch a first strike against the Emperor, which bought the Republic a few centuries. Shadow of Revan reveals that this rapid changing of sides literally broke his soul.
    • X-Wing Series has a subversion: When Corran Horn shows up with information that can exonerate Tycho Celchu the prosecutor tries to argue that he is an Imperial plant. This is however summarily thrown out by the judge, who points out for that to be true, the Imperials would have had to have information they could not have had in the relevant timeframe, and would be a sign of near perfect precognition.
  • Trainspotting: Used and lampshaded in the chapter "Bad Blood", where the HIV-positive character Davie pulls this on Alan Venters, the man who gave the HIV to the former's girlfriend by raping her, thus leading to Davie's own contraction of the virus. His plan is to make friends with a dying Venters, so that he is allowed to visit him in hospital, and also with the mother of the rapist's only son so that one day she may trust him enough to let him babysit for her. When this happens Davie drugs the child with a sleep-inducing substance and takes pictures of him, making it look like he violently raped and murdered the boy. Then he shows the pictures to Venters on his deathbed and suffocates him with a pillow, thus filling his last moments in life with immeasurable suffering. This plan depended greatly on random chance (most significantly on Venters staying alive long enough for all the pieces to fall into place), a fact that Davie is well aware of.
  • Young Bond: In Double or Die, a teacher at Eton is kidnapped and only has enough time to send a letter confirming his resignation and send his last crossword to The Times. In this, he manages to get clues to Bond and his friends about what's really happened to him, where they can go to find more information and that a friend of his is coming to Eton. This teacher probably attended a school where Light was the headmaster and Jigsaw was the art teacher.


Example of: