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Humiliation Conga / Literature

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  • Being humiliated over and over is just one of the problems the title character has in Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day.
  • Happens to the two biggest villains in Animorphs. Visser One is executed via kandrona starvation, though her host is rescued, and Visser Three is sentenced to a hostless imprisonment in a special cell after being forced out of Alloran.
    • In book #9, The Secret, Visser Three, the Big Bad who is not afraid to deal with his adversaries in such manners as decapitation, Torture, and in one case, EATING his adversary, gets one of these. Cassie was completely surrounded by the Visser's Mooks, trapped in a box, and was still boldly claiming to be about to foil the Visser's plan. The Visser orders his mooks to surround her, and kill her. They flip the box open, ready for any number of deadly creatures to come flying out... but see nothing but a skunk in there. The Visser, not knowing what a skunk is, begins mocking her, saying "This is the best you could do?" Cue him and his mooks getting a face full of skunk juice. They run away screaming, clutching their faces. The Visser, in exchange for the "Andalite chemical technology" to get rid of the smell, agrees to let his whole plan go to pot. Ax then tells Visser Three how to get rid of skunk smell... except Ax "forgot" that you use tomato juice to get rid of it, not grape juice. A few days later, cue a very smelly, very angry, and very... purple Visser Three.
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    • David, after spending his entire arc being a self-centered Jerkass. He thinks he's pulling one on Rachel but he's really being lined up for a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Beautifully averted in John Grisham’s The Appeal. Correctly anticipating a Conga not just by the locals but by many others (who showed up only after), Carl Trudeau makes it his personal mission to overturn a verdict against a New York City-based chemical company in which he is the main shareholder. Over the following year, the Mississippi county whose water supply was directly affected by the company’s dumping finds itself in an uphill battle to protect the appellate justice viewed as likely to uphold the verdict (and thus grant the Conga). Her replacement, recruited expressly to rule on this case, takes office in the New Year, a few months before the actual decision. Thanks to his ruling, which breaks a deadlock, not only can the case not be re-tried or re-filed, but the remaining cases against the company have to be dropped. The final chapter sees Trudeau entertaining company on his new yacht and the company stock – now out of the town’s reach – skyrocketing.
  • The Bible contains several of these, but one notable example occurs in the Book of Esther. Haman, adviser to King Xerxes, has been trying to get Esther's cousin Mordecai to bow to him. Mordecai's refusal is what prompts Haman to ask the king to let him commit genocide against the Jews. In the meantime, Haman keeps looking for ways to humiliate Mordecai. One night, the king asks his scribe to read him some of the daily records as a means of helping him sleep, and it's discovered that Mordecai saved Xerxes' life once by uncovering a plot to kill him. Xerxes asks Haman what he should do to reward the man with whom he finds favor. Thinking the king is talking about him, Haman describes a grand parade through the city streets, complete with allowing the honoree to ride a royal stallion, wear a crown and have a crier go before him proclaiming, "This is what the king does for those with whom he has found favor." Thinking it's a great idea, Xerxes orders Haman to organize the parade down to the very last detail...for Mordecai. What's more, Haman himself is to be the crier, leading Mordecai around town on the king's stallion. Haman's later fate of being hanged on the gallows he built specifically for Mordecai is just the cherry on top.
    • Another memorable one is in Deuteronomy 28, which details what happens to you if you don't follow God's commandments. You'll be cursed, smitten, killed and eradicated in dozens of different ways. At the end, assuming you're still alive, you'll be taken back to Egypt to be sold as slaves, but no one will want to buy you.
  • Captive Prince: The Regent begins the Council scene at Ios as a Villain with Good Publicity, minutes away from framing Prince Laurent for treason and claiming the crown. Three surprise testimonies later, the extent of his villainy is exposed, the Council turns against him, his own soldiers throw away their insignias, his desperate final threat is proven false, and he gets the summary decapitation he'd planned for Laurent.
  • The entire second and third acts of A Clockwork Orange are a particularly dark example, for its Villain Protagonist Alex, who suffers through one Cold-Blooded Torture after another in a long and brutal Trauma Conga Line, in a supposed attempt by the Government to cure his criminal impulse; of course, forcing him to violently dry heave, scream kind words at people while they mercilessly beat him, and lick their boots doesn't exactly help him. Leaving him at the mercy of his incensed former victims just made him crazier than ever, and it wasn't as if they left him with any ability to defend himself. Of course, the Government received some public backlash when this supposed "treatment" ended in a jump from his bedroom window. Given Alex's actions in the first half you won't feel bad for him at all.
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  • The Count of Monte Cristo: Edmond Dantes' revenge plot is a huge Batman Gambit designed to bring this on the three men who wronged him, and it goes off pretty smoothly too. Villefort discovers that his wife is responsible for poisoning his daughter and his ex-wife's parents, for inheritance reasons (before his wife kills herself and her son on being discovered). He is publicly revealed as having attempted murder on his bastard child, said child grew up to appear in front of Villefort accused of grand larceny and fraud and reveals Villefort to his father, and to top it off his own father disinherits him. A mental and Villainous Breakdown follows. As for Danglars, his daughter runs away with her lesbian lover, he is stripped of his wealth (which is what he loves the most), and made to starve for days before being cut loose with only pocket change. And Ferdinand has his treacherous dealings published in all the tabloids, is brought to trial by the daughter of his victim, his wife and son leave him in embarassment, and in the end he eats his gun.
  • Frostflower in Frostflower and Thorn suffers this, including rape, torture, public nakedness, hanging up for execution, losing her son, her powers, and her dog.
  • Olivia Goldsmith was an expert at this in her various novels.
    • In The First Wives Club, Gil is arrested for attacking his wife at a party after finding photos of her with a black man (Gil happens to be a racist as well as a cheater and criminal). He arrives at the office to find the Club informing him that his big deal has fallen under and he just wasted $800 million of his partners' money and is about to be indicted on tax evasion charges.
      • Also, Aaron is ready to buy out his partner at a meeting of thier advertising firm only for his partner to reveal he landed a trio of major clients and he's buying Aaron out as the rest of the firm makes it clear they dislike his overspending. As the kicker, Aaron's own son, Chris, gives his dad a blistering The Reason You Suck speech and is ready to stay at the firm to ensure their name is always on the door.
    • In The Bestseller, Daniel Gross takes the credit for a novel written by his wife and arrogantly convinces himself he'll be famous. The novel is a flop, Daniel has already moved out of the apartment and quit his job and when he goes to see his editor/lover, Pam, she berates him as a loser and bad in bed and we last see him sitting outside her apartment.
      • On that, Pam is fired for a variety of infractions by her boss and is last seen locked in her office, getting drunk and peeing into an empty bottle just as security breaks the door down to drag her out.
    • In Young Wives, cheating ex-husband Reid is discovered with another woman tied up, his hand glued to his crotch by his ex and his current fiancee, with his ex making it sound like this is something Reid did regularly when they were married.
    • In Pen Pals, cheating Wall Street lawyer Tom discovers his girlfriend of several weeks has been working with his ex-girlfriend to prove his cheating and rails into him about being bad in bed.
  • In the GONE series "King" Caine Soren gets a LITERAL conga in the fifth book when he was dragged through town half naked, hands encased in cement, a crown stapled to his head in cruel irony and is forced to dance in front of the Perdido beach Kids. Oh yeah, and he wets himself in the process. Unless he was always secretly into that kinda stuff *Wink wink*, it probably wasn't his proudest moment.
  • Mason Verger from Hannibal foolishly shows Hannibal Lecter how to perform auto-erotic asphyxiation. Hannibal gives him a hallucinogenic drug which Verger gratefully accepts. Hannibal is then able to hypnotise Verger into mutilating his face which Hannibal then supposedly feeds to dogs before kicking the stool from underneath Verger, breaking his neck and reducing him to a pathetic, disfigured quadriplegic. Hannibal later sends Verger a letter revealing that he actually fed Verger his own face. At the end of the book, Verger's sister — whom he has sexually abused — sodomises him with a cattle-prodder, then rams an electric eel down his throat until he drowns in his own blood. A horrific end, to be sure, but a thoroughly deserved one.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Dolores Umbridge was humiliated lots of times, then traumatically attacked by a herd of angry centaurs, and later chased out of Hogwarts by Peeves the Poltergeist hitting her with McGonagall's crutch and a sock full of chalk as the students look on and cheer. She's still somewhat of a Karma Houdini when you consider that she's guilty of torture, attempted assassination, treason (after the Death Eater takeover of the Ministry), and the systematic imprisonment of innocent Muggle-Borns. If not for Word of God, we'd never have found out that she received a life sentence in Azkaban after the events of Deathly Hallows.
    • Also there came a tradition for both the Dursleys (most often Dudley) and Malfoy and his cronies to suffer at least one humiliation once a year. It is a long list...
  • The Nome King from the Land of Oz books goes through this. Throughout the series he is defeated by a little girl from Kansas, loses his magic belt that can grant unlimited wishes, then lays siege on Oz though unbeknownst to him his head general has aspirations to be The Starscream, both of them and their entire army get splashed with a fountain that erases memories, which mentally regresses him into a infant, he gets most of his memories back except his own name yet eventually is banished from his own kingdom doomed to wander the desert for all eternity, but is soon forgiven and let back in but as the lowest ranked member of the kingdom.
  • In Sharon Lee's and Steve Miller's Liaden Universe novel Scout's Progress, Vin Sin chel'Mara, who has made a habit of humiliating — and bankrupting — opponents at cards, is soundly defeated by a noted mathematician, who wins chel'Mara's private spaceship. When his delm learns what Vin Sin chel'Mara has been up to, he orders Vin Sin to spend a minimum of five years working on one of the family holdings, learning about soil mixtures...on a planet where gambling is illegal, to the point where being caught with a deck of cards is worth a year's hard labor, no appeal.
  • Clip in the Malazan Book of the Fallen gets some karmic treatment. It starts halfway through Toll the Hounds when Nimander and the other Tiste Andii find him curled into an Angst Coma after having boasted that he could take on an entire town of saemankelyk addicts alone, then proceeds with him getting possessed by the Dying God and being turned into an Unwitting Pawn, then having his soul in need of rescue by those he thought his Unwitting Pawns. He turns out to be inconsequential in the grander scheme of things and has to see Nimander, whom Clip disdained as a weakling, become the new ruler of the Tiste Andii and treat him, Clip, with kindness.
  • In Matilda, the titular Guile Heroine terrifies Agatha Trunchbull using her telekinetic powers, making her give up the house and the money she stole from Miss Honey. Even more so in The Movie, when after this scene, she has a Villainous Breakdown in the classroom and tries to lash out at the students, worse than ever before, only for it to consistently backfire on her thanks to Matilda's powers. Finally, the entire school seems to gang up on her for the way she treated them — and all she can do is run away.
  • Zack State inflicts quite a few of these to others in The Mental State. First victim, Danny: Has his own friends gang up on him, has a large chunk of flesh cut out of his arm, and suffers a Groin Attack (that would have been much worse if Rose hadn't intervened), leaving him traumatised for life. Second victim, Harry: Gets arrested for dealing and using drugs, has all his friends turn on him and beat the crap out of him and ends up enslaved by a ruthless psychopath. Third victim, Officer Reed: Lost his chance at promotion, blackmailed into becoming a drug addict, repeatedly injured and humiliated in order to get his fix and then made to quit cold-turkey. Fourth victim, Sargent Haig: Drugged, framed for a crime he did not commit, sent to the same prison as the countless criminals who hated him for his sadistic tendencies, beaten up by all his enemies and enslaved by a crime boss. Final victim, Saif: Has all his fingers cut off, loses his entire criminal network, gets slammed with multiple life sentences for practically every crime he committed and forced to spend the remainder of his days locked in solitary confinement.
  • A protagonist example occurs in the P. G. Wodehouse story The Metropolitan Touch. To impress his girlfriend, Bingo Little gets overly ambitious in heading the production of the local Christmas play by adding in some stuff he saw in a revue in London. This in itself would have been enough to ruin him, as provincial tastes often differ from those in London. But Smug Snake Rupert Steggles pushes matters further by sabotaging the production. By the time the messy end arrives, Bingo is a pariah reviled by the locals and his girlfriend leaves him for Steggles.
  • Henry Crawford's entire storyline in the Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries is pretty much this. Everyone from his past and present turns up at some point to yell at him. The only exception is Fanny Price, but Edmund is there to do it for her.
  • In The Robots of Dawn, that's what happens to the main villain at the end - although he did recover after a couple of centuries, if not completely.
  • Happens a few times in Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Most notable are Zuo Ci's treatment of Cao Cao; Cao Cao's retreat from Chi Bi; and Meng Huo's seven defeats, with him being captured and released each time.
  • In Skinny Dip by Carl Hiaasen, the second-to-last chapter has Charles Perrone hopelessly slogging through the Everglades, ruing how his former friends all turned against him, especially the ones he had tried and failed to kill. He escapes from his tormentors, only to run into a swamp-dwelling hermit and end the novel facing Uncertain Doom.
  • The Stand by Stephen King is one long Humiliation Conga for its Big Bad, Smug Snake Randall Flagg. He has a Villainous Breakdown if so much as a spy infiltrates his territory, rapidly causing his henchmen to doubt his (supposedly) awesome power, most of which he never actually uses. His technician, the Trashcan Man, has a psychotic breakdown and blows up Flagg's nuclear weapons facility, his wife goads him into killing her (and by default, his unborn child) and his people start deserting him. Later he is mocked by one of his prisoners, loses his cool yet again and his Dragon, Lloyd Henreid, nearly turns on him. Later, after capturing the spies, he intends to mutilate them in front of his meagre band of henchmen who are now congregated in his Las Vegas Fortress of solitude. At this point, The Trashcan Man returns from the desert with an Atom Bomb and the terrified Flagg is reduced to pathetically whining at Lloyd Henreid to get rid of it. Just when it seems things can't get any worse for this absolute failure of a villain, the Hand of God (yes you heard me) appears out of nowhere and detonates the bomb. Flagg's "empire" is destroyed but he teleports away in the nick of time. He arrives on an island in the Caribbean where he begins gathering followers but ultimately dies an ignominious death in The Dark Tower series when he's eaten by a giant spider.
  • Peter David's Star Trek: The Next Generation novel ''Q-in-Law" serves up a deeply satisfying Humiliation Conga to Q when he makes the mistake of humiliating Lwaxana Troi.
    Riker: She's really beating the stuffing out of him. What should we do?
    Worf: Sell tickets, sir.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Commissar Tomas Beije spends the last few chapters of The Traitor's Hand going through one of these. He grabs the chance to have Hero Of The Imperium! Ciaphas Cain arrested for desertion to find that Cain is busy trying to head off the daemon summoning that's the whole reason the Guard is on the planet in the first place. During the resulting battle, he (and his hand-picked squad, brought along to make the arrest) watch Cain go mano-a-mano with a Chaos Marine and a Daemonhost, winning both fights. In between those two encounters, he gets molested by the Slaaneshi cultist he's trying to interrogate. The board of inquiry not only completely clears Cain of any wrongdoing, but promptly files their own charges against Beiji for incompetence. Cain then coerces Beiji into an abject apology to Colonel Kasteen (who he'd insulted a few chapters ago) and assures him that he (Cain) will testify on Beiji's behalf. Finally, one member of that hand-picked squad starts a branch of the Imperial Faith that reveres Cain as the Prophet of the Emperor. note 


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