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A Tragedy of Impulsiveness

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"The Council was divided. Mine was the deciding vote. They killed him. I was furious. I never knew myself capable of such rage. All I could see was death."
Delenn, Babylon 5

A Tragedy of Impulsiveness is when something terrible is caused by someone's impetuousness or irrational impatience at exactly the wrong moment. This trope's power comes from the fact that if characters had thought before they acted, the tragedy could have been avoided.


From seeing enemies where there are none, to jumping in a swimming pool before checking for water, to messing with the Big Red Buttons on the Mad Scientist's machines, acting without considering consequences can cause catastrophic calamities.

This is most likely to be caused by Leeroy Jenkins, or any Hot-Blooded character in general. If the character is normally more stable, chances are this happens during a Moment of Weakness or when he's being Blinded by Rage.

Related to Tragic Mistake, Green-Eyed Monster, Third-Act Misunderstanding, Plethora of Mistakes, What an Idiot!, Distress Ball, Cycle of Revenge, Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!, and Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!. See also "Fawlty Towers" Plot, which is this trope's comic cousin—caused by (often impulsively) compounding lies, and blowing up in the liar's face (typically causing embarrassment rather than death or suchlike). Can overlap with The Sociopath, as sociopaths are known for their poor impulse control, which often leads to their misfortune or downfall.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ai no Kusabi: Green-Eyed Monster Guy has decided to "rescue" Riki from Iason. He failed to consider a couple of key things. First off is the fact that Iason is a Blondy and therefore, bigger, faster and stronger than he is. It's an inevitable Curb-Stomp Battle. Second, he never considered what Riki thinks of this plan. He tries to stop it because he never agreed to it. End result; Iason and Riki die while Guy himself survives to think about what just happened that got his beloved killed.
  • In Heaven's Lost Property Sugata's backstory has him deciding not to do a safety check on his brother's hang glider after they get into an argument. Naturally, it was the one day that a screw was loose.
  • Elfen Lied: Even after being explicitly told only to track Lucy down and not to engage her, Nana decides to try and take Lucy down herself in the hopes of making Kurama proud. The end result: Lucy tears off all of her limbs one by one.
  • Sakura Wars (TV): After getting off on the wrong foot with the other members of the Imperial Flower Combat Troupe in the first episode, Sakura, rather than wait for them to calm down and apologize like Yoneda explicitly warned her to, rushes in and tries to patch things up right away, ending up ruining an interview Sumire was having and heavily damaging the Kobu, which leads Sumire to throw her out of the team completely. Of course, by the next episode, Sakura manages to redeem herself by helping fight off a demon attack.
  • Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure: Because she wanted to protect the infected sculptures in episode 10, Cure Grace, rather than fighting together with her fellow Cures like Rabotin explicitly alarmed her to, rushes to attack the Megabjögen all by herself, ending up worsening the attack and get Latte even sicker. Of course, by the next episode, Grace manages to redeem herself by helping fight off the remains Megabjögen.
  • Digimon Adventure tri.: With Fantastic Racism against Digimon running rampant, Mimi impulsively decides to fight a rampaging Ogremon in front of the press, hoping to prove to the world that not all Digimon are bad. Unfortunately, during the fight, Togemon accidentally shoots down a news helicopter, which only ends up making public opinion against Digimon even worse.
  • Mouryou No Hako: The whole plot wouldn't have happened, if Yoriko hadn't shoved Kanako. And half of the plot wouldn't have happened if Amemiya hadn't stolen the box.
  • This is how Raynare got herself killed off in the first arc of High School D×D. Bored with the scouting role she'd been assigned, she decided to kill her quarry in the cruellest way possible for a laugh before focusing on her side project. If she'd stopped to think about why her top boss cared so much about a kid with "just" a Twice Critical, she might have changed her priorities - stealing Twilight Healing was nice, but Boosted Gear is so much better, and her actions put her on the wrong end of it.
  • The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious: The titular hero's cautiousness is due to his past experience with this kind of tragedy. When Aria summoned him to Ixphoria, Seiya tried to defeat the demon army as quickly as possible so that the people of the world won't have to suffer longer than necessary. While he has noble intentions, his lack of preparation gets him and his party killed by Ixphoria's Demon Lord, who uses one of his secret skills to revive himself. If Seiya had taken the time to research the Demon Lord's weaknesses and prepare accordingly, he would have won.
  • Garbage Brave has the circumstances of Tsukuru. Summoned, along with the rest of his class, they are all sold off to various countries, to battle numerous "Demon kings." Tsukuru's main skill being [Cooking]. Rather than ask about his sub-skills, all the bidders demand he be taken off the stage, so he's shoved through a gate, supposedly to a random country. Instead, he winds up in a stupidly overleveled dungeon, to be Left for Dead, filling him with a desire for bloody vengeance against everyone involved.
  • Kill la Kill, after Ryuko learns that she is infused with Life Fibers, just like her biological mother Ragyo, she begins to lose her mind so much, she cuts all ties with everyone, (namely Senketsu), even costing her her ability to listen to reason as a result. When Ragyo and Nui Lure her to go to Honnouji Academy, she takes that decision to go by herself. If she had listened to Mikisugi's warnings that is a trap, and reconcider her sudden resentment towards Senketsu in the first place, instead of angrily blaming him for all the crap that happened and threaten him, then she wouldn't be captured once she arrived, and wouldn’t be forced to wear Junketsu, and wouldn't be Brainwashed and Crazy at all.
  • The first half of Gundam Build Divers Re:RISE is caused by Kazami. When he, Hiroto, May and Parviz get Freddie's call for help, his need to show off and be loved shunts the four into what they think is a secret mission within the game. They help the Resistance fight off the mysterious One-Eyes and they confront the Big Bad, Alus. During this, Kazami, still thinking this is a game despite the fact that both May and Hiroto realizing something is not right, blurts out where the Resistance is located. Alus proceeds to use his Kill Sat to effectively nuke the Resistance from existence and the four realize that they weren't in a game anymore.

    Comic Books 
  • The "Home Schooling" arc of Runaways starts off with Victor Mancha deciding to hack a Russian computer in order to steal music files, all in hopes of impressing Nico so that she'd take him back. His actions result in a drone crashing into the Runaways' house, killing Old Lace and causing poor Klara Prast to go berserk with terror, trapping everyone inside the wreckage of the house with her vines. The crash also attracts a paramilitary unit to their house, some of whom are accidentally killed by Klara. And finally, Chase's shady uncle shows up, because it turns out the house belongs to him. The Runaways are thus once again forced to... run away.
  • In War World super-villain Mongul kidnaps three Superman's friends to force the Man of Steel to retrieve an artifact guarded by the Martians. Superman was so worried about his friends and so certain that he could thwart Mongul that he fought Martian Manhunter rather than explaining his plight so both heroes could come up with a plan (although, to be fair, J’onn didn’t ask either).
  • Supergirl:
    • In Red Daughter of Krypton, Supergirl decided the best and quickest way to help a Red Lantern get her mind back was taking a tank of lake blood and ripping it open over the city that Sheko was in. Unfortunately, Atrocitus was present, and he took control of the blood rain, making it into a tornado. Supergirl tried to fix the blood storm, igniting it with her heat vision... and unintentionally setting the city on fire. Her teammates angrily said that she had to learn to think before acting.
    • Invoked in Elseworld's Finest: Supergirl & Batgirl. After finding out about Lex Luthor's kidnapping, Supergirl decides to fly to Gotham, ignoring Batgirl's ban on superhumans. Wonder Woman tries to warn her against being impulsive:
      Wonder Woman: No. Let her go. She needs to learn that there can be painful consequences to rash actions.
    • In a story which happens during the events of the reviled Amazons Attack! storyline, in where the Amazons went to war against the US, Supergirl and Wonder Girl suddenly come up with a "brilliant" plan to end the war: kidnapping the President and bringing him to Queen Hyppolita to engage in peace talks with her. Predictably, their plan went awry: the Amazons shot the Air Force One down and almost killed the President, and Kara and Cassie's reputations suffered a severe blow. After fending an Amazon squad off, Kara flies to New York to help, although Cassie points out that acting without thinking got them into that mess.
      Wonder Girl: But we were only trying to—
      Supergirl: Doesn't matter. I have to make up for this somehow, before it's too late. I have to balance the scales.
      Wonder Girl: How? By flying off half-cocked again, after what we just did...?
      Supergirl: I can't do nothing, Cassie!

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Harry being unfortunately prone to this in the first book and at the start of the second.
    • In the first case (in chapter 70 of the first book), Daken provokes him into forgetting that he's a Glass Cannon and attacking him and the HYDRA assault force head-on. Harry, enraged beyond belief by Luna's death, takes the bait and nearly manages to power his way through... then Daken kills him. However, he gets away with 'only' significant trauma for this one as his protection comes from the Phoenix. In other words, woe unto Daken. After that, he wises up, in terms more pragmatic fighting.
    • In the second case, in chapter 9 of the sequel, Harry gambles everything on following an uncertain Maddie back into the Red Room and talking her into a Heel–Face Turn. This goes horribly wrong: it turns the world upside down, and nearly drives him insane. From then on, he's sealed as an Apocalypse Maiden and so hideously traumatized that he spends the rest of the book coming to terms with it.
  • For His Own Sake:
    • When Naru is working at the Kuromitsu Inn, she attacks a man for supposedly "planning something perverted" with a woman he was with who happens to be his wife. She later gets arrested for assault. Even worse, the man she attacked was a career adviser who was going to help her plan out her job path once she graduated from school, but that's now blown out of the water.
    • Su unleashes an army of mecha-tamas upon the Kuromitsu Inn guests, directed to pursue and explode, thinking that this would "cheer everyone up". All she does is cause trauma to all who were unwillingly pulled into her "game", then eventually gets stopped and arrested by the police and Japanese Self Defense Forces. To make it worse, inspection of her room uncovers four nuclear reactors, mind control helmets and other illegal technology, making it all but impossible to bargain for her release. And then it turns out said technology entered Japan via Molmol's palace, severely cooling both countries' relationship.
  • Last Child of Krypton: After Gendo almost got his best friend killed during the Bardiel disaster Shinji resolves to stop Gendo and rallies several of his friends. Kaji is against it because he thinks that fighting Gendo there and now is a bad, dumb idea, and he thinks Shinji is being too impulsive and hasty, but he joins them anyway. Unfortunately Gendo was prepared for their arrival, their assault failed, and Maya lost an arm. Later Kaji rebuked Shinji for its impulsiveness.
  • Fantasy of Utter Ridiculousness: Megas's fight against Yuuka in the Extra Stage is due to the latter incorrectly believing that Coop had damaged several flowers in the Garden of the Sun, thus triggering her primary Berserk Button. Due to her rashness, said Garden is mostly reduced to a giant crater by story's end, something which almost pushes her over the edge.
  • The Vow: When Lord Shen experiments obsessively on the warfare potential of black powder, his parents consult the Soothsayer who foretells Shen's downfall at the hands of a "Warrior of Black and White". Shen overhears this and proceeds to find pandas and massacre them, resulting in his exile, and years later, in his ultimate defeat. He never stops to consider that part of the prophecy which said that the Warrior of Black and White would defeat him if he continues the dark path he has chosen to fulfill his ambitions.
  • In Weight of the World, Ruby impulsively jumps into a fight between Japan and Neo, despite Japan's orders to stay out of it and the fact that Japan was winning. Because of her recklessness, Neo is able to cut out Ruby's eye. Ruby falls unconscious because of her injury, which means she doesn't activate Silver Eyes, thus leaving the Grimm Dragon unfrozen and free to spawn more Grimm in Beacon.
  • Repeatedly used in The Fourth Council Race. Turians shooting unknown ships on sight then destroying a small ship launching a "cyber attack" (actually humanity's first contact package) results in the First Contact War. The president of the United States refusing to join the new Systems Alliance because the USA wouldn't have control over it eventually leads to the country splintering into over half a dozen different countries. The Council fleet sent to stop the turians attacking a new race is sent through the relays in parade formation (flagship first) at Matriarch Benezia's insistence which results in the destruction of the human frigates closely monitoring said relay when they can't dodge in time.
  • In crossover Echoes of Yesterday, Victoria Dallon sees what she believes is a dealer peddling drugs and she attacks him right away rather than wait and assess the situation. It's only after crippling the man she finds out he's an undercover cop and she's just busted an operation of the local anti-narcotics brigade.
  • Twice in Horizon: Star Driven:
    • First, All Might tries to arrest Izuku while the latter is testing out his Hover Board, refusing to believe the boy made it himself. As All Might has already crushed one of Izuku's dreams, his actions cause the boy to accuse him of trying to make him suicidal.
    • Second, when Izuku is testing his new Hover Board, Kamui Woods and Mt. Lady are given the go ahead to approach but attack Izuku without giving him a chance to explain, made worse by the fact everything he was doing was perfectly legal. Nedzu notes the two will likely be hearing all about it from their lawyers, especially since Izuku has video evidence.
  • In Of Patience and Pettiness, Adrien comes to suspect that New Transfer Student Eden is actually Ladybug, and impulsively accuses her of this in front of the whole class. Upon hearing this, Alya immediately turns on Eden, refusing to give her any chance to defend herself as she rips into her, demanding to know if their friendship was fake and she was stringing her along the whole time. Their impulsive attack leads to Eden having a tearful breakdown and her akumatization into Asian Beetle.
  • In But Verify, Harry Potter learns Hermione's been getting paid two thousand galleons monthly for the last couple years from his vaults and immediately confronts her about it. Without giving Hermione a chance to defend herself, Harry furiously declares he never wants to see her again, forcing Hermione's magic to transport her away as he just accidentally set the terms for her Life Debt towards him. It's not until months later, Harry receives a letter from Hermione explaining she actually investigated things and found out that Dumbledore had set up the vault and deposited a single knut in it, started making the monthly transfers and then transferred the money into his own vault. Harry alienated one of his best friends (along with her parents) because he went off half-cocked and didn't think things through.
  • Stitching Hearts: A child Alfred breaks a promise to Matthew on the playground - the promise that he wouldn't take revenge on Matthew's bullies - and as a result, becomes distant from his brother and casts doubt all over his delicate relationship with Arthur.
  • In Shazam fanfiction Here There Be Monsters, Billy gets unusually angry at Mary and Freddy because they look more concerned with their relationship's issues than with investigating whatever Doctor Sivana is currently up, so he decides to fly to Venus and attack Sivana's base without their help. He gets beaten and captured.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Adalen 31: The bitter, rancorous strike of the workers at a wood pulp mill leads to the mill owners calling in scabs, which leads to the strikers attacking the scabs, which leads to the owners calling in the army to protect the scabs, which leads to the army opening fire on marching strikers, killing five. What the strikers didn't know is that right before the march, the county board had voted to stop the scabs from working, which would have negated much of the tension and rendered the march moot.
  • Alpha Dog has Johnny Truelove and his gang of drug dealers has a grudge against Jake Mazursky, who owes their leader money. While driving down the street, they notice Jake's little brother, Zack, walking alongside the road. Without stopping to think of the consequences, they kidnap him in order to teach his brother a lesson. Even afterward, Zack preferred hanging out with his kidnappers to going home. He liked the gang and was perfectly willing to tell the police that he'd run away. They eventually realize what dire consequences, namely hard time, their actions could actually have, so they kill the boy. A tragic ending that could have been avoided had one of them actually stopped to think "Hey wait, killing a 15-year-old kid might get us into some trouble!". All of the gang involved wound up in prison for kidnapping and murder.
  • The entirety of The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is this, especially at the beginning, where Terrence McDonagh jumps in water to save a prisoner without checking how deep it is, thus screwing up his back, getting him promoted and addicted to cocaine.
  • Carlito's Way: Carlito Brigate himself is pretty level-headed, but his lawyer friend David Kleinfeld dooms the entire cast by impulsively killing his mob boss client during a jailbreak. This might be a subversion, though, as Carlito suspects that Kleinfeld planned to kill the mob boss all along and played Carlito himself for a fool.
  • Death Sentence: In the beginning of the film, Nick Hume is outraged when he learns that Joe Darley, the murderer of his son, Brendan, would be sentenced to only 3 to 5 years of jail time. He proceeds to take matters into his own hands by forcing the District Attorney to drop the case and ultimately get revenge by killing Joe himself. Thus, this action results in a Cycle of Revenge, with Billy (Joe's brother) and his gang of killers going after Nick.
  • Fatal Attraction: Dan Gallagher could have avoided everything that came after had he just stopped, thought of his wife and child, and said "No, thanks" to Alex Forrest.
  • Here Comes Mr. Jordan and its remake Heaven Can Wait use the plot of a man plucked out of coming death by an overzealous guardian angel. In each case, the angel is stunned to hear the guy wasn't scheduled to die for another fifty years. Heaven has the angel's supervisor chewing him out on assuming there's "no possible way" someone could survive when scores of people have cheated certain death.
  • How the story begins in The Machinist. Prior to the events of the film, Trevor Reznik kills a boy in a hit-and-run accident when he tries to light a cigarette while driving. As a consequence, he has hallucinations about several individuals to cope with it.
  • Jurassic Park III: Dr. Grant's assistant, Billy Brennan, steals Velociraptor eggs, planning to sell them on the mainland in the hopes of getting funding to keep his and Alan's dig site going. He even admits he took the eggs on an impulse; as a result, the raptors end up chasing the group down and killing Udesky. When Alan finds out, he wastes no time giving Billy a What the Hell, Hero?, especially after he claims he did it "with the best intentions."
    Alan: Some of the worst things imaginable have been done with the best intentions. You know what, Billy? As far as I'm concerned, you're no better than the people that built this place.
  • Played for Laughs in The Naked Gun, where Frank Drebin shoots five actors ("Good ones!"), because he thought that they were killing a guy. It was just a production of Julius Caesar.
  • In Scarface (1983), Tony Montana's aggressiveness certainly didn't win him any allies, but you know he's doomed when he calls off the hit on the journalist by killing Alejandro Sosa's henchman, Alberto the Shadow. It was for a good reason, but if he'd thought out his actions he could have avoided the situation without antagonizing the only person who could have fixed the mess he was in. Then later, instead of trying to fix the situation, he kills Manny Ribera (his best friend), in a fit of rage, driving Gina (his own sister), to try to kill him.
  • In the original film Scarface (1932), no drugs are involved, but Tony Camonte ends up killing Guino Rinaldo (his best friend), when he thinks the guy's abusing Cesca (his sister). Turns out they married in secret because his sister knew Tony would never approve. Oops.
  • Deepwater Horizon: As the film begins, the Horizon is 43 days behind schedule on the well they've been drilling. BP is riding them to get it finished and ordering measures taken to try and make up lost time, measures that have the Transocean people scratching their heads. When Mike asks a few roughnecks if it's stupid what they're doing, they say they're not sure it's stupid, but it "ain't smart". Eventually all this leads up to an uncontrolled pressure buildup that causes a blowout and eventual explosion.
  • Everest (2015): Comes up in a number of ways but the most prominent perhaps is when Doug insists on reaching the summit, despite being more than an hour after the 2:00 turnaround time. Rob, against his better judgement, allows it. As a result, when the storm rolls in, the two of them are much higher on the summit than everyone was expecting and no one can get to them with fresh O2 bottles.
  • Revenge of the Sith: Anakin's fall to the Dark Side could've been avoided had he chosen to not stop Mace Windu from killing Palpatine in the heat of the moment. A much clearer example of this trope occurs in the final act, where in his rage and impulsiveness, Anakin force chokes Padme, who was pregnant with twins, and indirectly causes her death as a result.
  • Gleahan and the Knaves of Industry: Most of Gleahan's problems would be solved if he would take a moment to step back and consider the situation. But no, he's dead-set on finishing his quest however he can.
  • Avengers: Infinity War: The heroes in Titan are facing off against Thanos, and have managed to subdue him long enough to attempt to take the Infinity Gauntlet off his hand. Star Lord demands to know where Gamora is, and becomes shocked when he learns Thanos killed her to acquire the Soul Stone. When he impulsively attacks Thanos, he accidentally screws with the effort that kept Thanos tied down, and soon Thanos is free, allowing him to pummel the heroes and eventually killing half of the universe when he obtains all the Infinity Stones.
  • Incensed when she discovers her husband's repeated adultery and moreso when he informs her that he's leaving her for his latest fling—an 18-year old au pair, Blue Jasmine calls the FBI to report his shady financial dealings and promptly dooms the entire family—her husband is arrested and commits suicide, her stepson turns his back on her, and she's left friendless and broke.

  • From Agatha Christie:
    • Death on the Nile:
      • Had Simon Doyle let the rock fall on Linnet Ridgeway instead of instinctively pulling her away, he and three other characters would have still been alive by the end of the novel.
      • He and Jacqueline also might have got away with it if, immediately after the murder, he hadn't dipped Linnet's finger in her own blood and used it to write a J on the wall, intended as a transparent attempt to implicate Jacqueline, thereby making her look innocent. In fact, it's so transparent as to prove the murderer wanted to "prove" her innocence, and why do that if she wasn't involved? It also proved that two people were involved: the cool, rational planner (Jacqueline), and the dramatic, impulsive dumbass who pulls idiot stunts right out of pulp crime fiction (Simon). This tells Poirot exactly what he's looking for.
    • The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side: Marina Gregg's poisoning of Heather Badcock was unpremeditated and carried out in a fit of murderous rage. Had the means to do so not been immediately at hand, she would have had time to calm down and the tragedy would not have occurred. For that matter, if Heather had listened to her doctor and not been a star-struck fan, the tragedy that prompted the murder would never have occurred.
  • One of Dale Brown's novels touches briefly on an in-universe aversion; apparently the US Air Force has quite an extensive background certification process for pilots wishing to take a posting where they may be called upon to deploy nuclear weapons (which seemed to happen at least once in every volume at one point in the series), which is temporarily suspended in the event of personal crises like getting divorced. Brown being a former Air Force pilot himself, and the absence of any large and faintly glowing craters where US towns and cities used to be, suggest that this is Truth in Television.
  • The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nersesian: The book is about a guy doing one of these things after the other, starting small and gradually escalating Up to Eleven until his whole life is a horrible mess. The Freudian Excuse is that his girlfriend broke up with him in the beginning of the book and it upset him so much that it made him act stupid, then all the mess that ensued continued to make him more emotional and stupid.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
      • Harry had been told many times not to trust his visions, and then completely forgets that Snape had means to contact Sirius. If he had gone to Snape before attempting to contact Sirius himself (and getting caught by Umbridge in the process), the whole misunderstanding/deception that led to Sirius's death probably would have been prevented.
      • Even if their mutual distrust and loathing would have prevented Harry from talking to Snape, there was a forgotten Chekhov's Gun that he'd buried in the bottom of his trunk: a device which would presumably bring let him bring Sirius to him (and which he'd refrained from using because he thought it would be dangerous for Sirius to reveal himself). It turned out to be a two-way mirror, which would have been a far better communications method than the fireplace he'd used before—and therefore a far better method of verifying Sirius's status.
      • After Harry is caught by Umbridge, he does try to tell Snape by coded message, but take's Snape's reaction (or lack of reaction) as a sign that he didn't get it. It never occurs to him that for the same reason Harry is talking in code in the first place, Snape could hardly acknowledge that he understood the message even if he did (which, as it turns out, he did).
    • In the Backstory of the series Severus Snape has two such moments: first he allowed his rage and humiliation get the better of him for a single moment and with a single undeserved slur destroyed his friendship with Lily who he was friends and in love with, then by being eager to serve Voldemort relayed to him the prophecy of Sybill Trelawney, which became the reason for Voldemort to try to kill Harry.
  • Probably the ur-example: The Iliad (Paris stealing Helen, Achilles and Agamemnon fighting over Briseis, etc.).
    • The Odyssey has some examples, too (like most of the sailors' deaths), but it isn't really a tragedy.
    • And of course The Aeneid, which is sort of a Roman crossover fanfiction to the other two, has its fair share as well.
  • Upton Sinclair's The Jungle: Jurgis Rudkus beat up his wife's boss after finding out that he was raping her via coercion, which indirectly led to all the tragedy of the rest of the book. Even a modicum of thought would have told him that beating the guy up was a bad idea which would only end with horrible consequences.
  • Zakath's backstory in The Malloreon involves him having his fiancee executed and discovering afterwards that she was not part of the conspiracy to kill him.
  • In Mystic River, Silent Ray (Brendan Harris' brother) and John O'Shea were the ones responsible for Katie's (Jimmy Markum's daughter) murder, which occurred because of a Deadly Prank via a loaded gun. John was holding the gun to scare Katie when it went off by accident. Fearing that the victim would tell someone, Silent Ray beat Katie up with a hockey stick. Afterward, John killed her on the spot.
  • In Native Son, Bigger Thomas accidentally kills Mary Dalton by suffocating her with a pillow while trying to keep her quiet so he wouldn't be seen in the same room as her. He feels no remorse for her death, but realizes that if he is caught he is likely to be sentenced to death for not only murder but rape due to the stereotypes of black men at the time. He unsuccessfully attempts to avoid this fate with increasing desperation and impulsiveness.
  • While there was certainly enough kindling and fuel to set the world aflame in A Song of Ice and Fire, the reader can point to three impulsive acts that caused the conflagration that metaphorically (and in the case of the Riverlands, literally) burned Westeros down: Jaime tossing 7 year old Bran out the window in order to silence him. Catelyn mistakenly arresting Tyrion based on the false belief that HE had tried to kill her son Bran. And finally Joffrey going off script by calling for Ned Stark's execution which prompted all out war.
    • Before the events of the story Ned's older brother Brandon Stark, noted for being Hot-Blooded, was enraged when Prince Rhaegar Targaryen abducted his sister Lyanna. Brandon marched into Kings Landing with a handful of men openly demanding the prince "come out and die." The Mad King did not take kindly to this threat, executing Brandon's noble entourage and all their fathers. Brandon himself died alongside his father in a cruel execution. The fallout from this was all out war and rebellion.
  • The Last Command of The Thrawn Trilogy simultaneously subverts and inverts this. During a tense peace conference with some native aliens on a very dangerous planet, Han and Chewie spot a predator stalking the gathering. Chewie reacts faster, shooting the predator dead with his laser crossbow. Mara Jade points out it's probably a bad idea to fire weapons during a peace conference, to which Han replies that it's also a bad idea to let the conference get eaten. It looks like the distrustful and violent aliens are about to attack our heroes, when one of them asks why their Wookiee is armed. Since this is a former Imperial world, the last Wookiees these natives would have seen would have been Imperial slaves, definitely not allowed to carry weapons. By showing that Chewbacca was armed, they proved to the natives that they were not the same as the Empire, and secure their aid.

    Live Action TV 
  • Delenn in Babylon 5, as shown in flashbacks during "Atonement" and "In the Beginning", gave the deciding vote to declare war on the humans during a spurt of grief and rage. She spends years afterwards trying to make up for it. Interestingly, the Minbari war is a double-dose of this trope on both sides: Delenn's rage over Dukhat's death was because the human ships assumed the massively powerful Minbari sensors (which were wreaking havoc with the human's less-advanced computers), sensor stealth technology (which prevented the humans from getting any readings from the interior of the ships, like energy buildup of charged weapons) and open gun ports meant the Minbari were preparing to attack, and the humans struck first in perceived self-defense. Half the Grey Council wanted to try and figure out if it had all been just a tragic misunderstanding, but Delenn was having none of that.
    • Later, Lennier commits such a tragedy in "Objects At Rest" when he is overcome by jealousy towards Sheridan. As Delenn comments immediately afterward,
    "There are moments when we all become someone else, something other than what we are. It takes only a moment, but we spend the rest of our lives looking back at that moment in shame."
    • And when she says it, we get the idea she's thinking of her own past moment of impulsiveness as well.
    • The In the Beginning TV movie reveals that Londo was afraid something like this might happen and counselled EarthForce to send a single unarmed ship to initiate First Contact with the Minbari. Since the humans are still riding on their surprise victory over the Dilgar, they arrogantly assume they can handle anyone and ignore him. Boy, are they proven wrong. Sheridan also thinks it's a bad idea to send an impulsive commander to a First Contact situation, but his concerns are brushed aside.
  • House: In the Season 7 finale, "Moving On", Gregory House himself loses his temper after seeing Lisa Cuddy talking with Julia and her husband in her house, because he overheard the couple suggest to Cuddy about having Jerry Barrett as her suitor. He proceeds to crash his Dodge Dynasty car into his ex-girlfriend's house in retaliation for her breakup with him. His moment of irrationality lands him in prison in Season 8.
  • JAG: In "Father’s Day", Corporal Wetzl runs a tank over his CO’s tent, claiming to be distracted about the divorce from his drug-addicted wife and impending custody hearings on their infant son. Frustrated by the countless lies spun in court and in the media by his wife and her lawyer, he takes action of his own, commandeering a tank with his son inside. He blows up a TV van and gets into a stand-off. Eventually Harm and Mac manages to get him to surrender by bringing his grandmother on the spot.
  • Guy killing Lady Marian in Season 2 of Robin Hood is what cause the death of many other characters throughout Season 3 when she puts herself between King Richard and Guy of Gisborne's sword. This in itself is not the deciding action, but when Marian impulsively (and unnecessarily) tells Guy that she "would rather die than marry you!" and that she's in love with Robin Hood, Guy kills her in return, leading to one death after another in Season 3.
  • The Shield: In Season 5, Lt. Jon Kavanaugh had plans to arrest the Strike Team for harboring a fugitive (none other than Curtis Lemansky). He proceeds to put the aforementioned plan into action by persuading David Aceveda to feed circumstantial (and completely false) evidence to Vic Mackey, telling him that Lem was planning to sell out to the IAD by revealing the information about the Money Train Heist. Shane Vendrell, upon learning this, tries to persuade Lem, his friend and fellow team member, to agree with his relocation to Mexico. When Lem refuses, Shane acts on the misconception about his friend's betrayal and throws a grenade into Lem's car, killing him.
  • Narrowly averted with Vala in Stargate SG-1. When battling the dragon (It Makes Sense in Context), Daniel figures out that the key to victory is to speak the name of the person who set up the whole quest in the first place: Morgan Le Fay. Vala then charges out into the middle of an open field to confront the beast while shouting "Morgan Le Fay!" not realizing that they need to use Morgan's name in Ancient, Ganos Lal. It is only Daniel's quick thinking that saves her.
  • Supernatural: In season 9, Dean is so determined to kill Abbadon that he willingly obtains the Mark of Cain from Cain himself without bothering to learn about the ramifications. As a result, he's slowly transformed into a crazed murderer, and briefly a demon.
  • The Wire. In season 2, Ziggy Sobotka loses his temper after being insulted one time too many by Glekas and shoots Glekas to death and wounds a stock boy. Ziggy immediately regrets the decision and confesses to the crime. His actions further result in The Greeks cleaning out Glekas's store before the detail can raid it, and Ziggy's peril is used as leverage to buy Frank's silence, which ends in Frank's death.
  • The 100: Peace talks between the 100 and the Grounders break down when Jasper notices there are armed Grounders hiding just outside the peace conference (a.k.a. doing the exact same thing Jasper was); he immediately assumes they're planning an ambush or assassination, and starts shooting at them. This transforms the 100's conflict with the Grounders from a series of small skirmishes to an all-out war.

  • You Lost My Memory by Skyclad ("...because of mere trivia misunderstood").
  • Implied in They Might Be Giants' song "ECNALUBMA", which tells the story of its protagonist bruised and battered, lying in wait for medics to arrive, after "a day of impulsive fun".

    Religion and Mythology 
  • Extremely common in Classical Mythology in general, though, so who knows what the actual Ur-Example is...
    • Pandora's Box, proof that curiosity killed the Classical utopia.
    • Persephone's six pomegranate seeds.
    • Hera deliberately invokes this, causing an Unstoppable Rage to fall upon Heracles (who was already a guy infamous for his temper tantrums).
    • Arachne and her poorly-thought-through tapestry subject.
    • Orpheus getting too excited and looking back before his beloved made it out the underworld.
  • The Bible:
    • Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit. The only rule in the Garden of Eden given by God was not to eat the Forbidden Fruit, but Satan (as a snake) tricked them into it. Cue humanity being kicked out of paradise for all eternity.
    • Also, the Cain and Abel plot where the older brother kills his younger brother out of jealousy.

  • Le Cid (adapted from the same story El Cid is) may be the poster child for this. Two old military officers have an argument that degenerate so much that Don Sanche wants a duel to death with the Count. As he is too old for this, he puts his son in charge of this. And he does. Seriously, couldn't the Count try to arrange things with Don Sanche rather than duel to death with his daughter's fiancé, which means whatever the outcome of the duel is, her heart will be broken?
  • The Lieutenant of Inishmore — because when you tell Mad Padraic that his cat is doin' poorly, and it turns out to be Blatant Lies, he's not going to listen to reason, he's not going to be kind to that other cat you picked up, and in fact the only thing stopping him from killing the men he holds responsible is three more men with guns barging in on the little house.
  • Oedipus the King: Prior to his arrival back to Thebes and becoming a king, the eponymous character killed (unbeknownst to him) his father for basically cutting him off at the crossroads. He married his mother completing the other half of the famous complex at leisure though.
  • Similar to the Romeo and Juliet example below, in West Side Story, Tony tries to stop a fight, but Bernardo (his girlfriend's brother) kills Tony's best friend Riff, and an enraged Tony kills Bernardo.
    • And later after that, Anita tries to deliver a message for Tony from Maria. But harassment from the Jets lead to her blurting out that Chino killed Maria in a moment of hatred. Needless to say, this lie leads to the Downer Ending of the play.
  • William Shakespeare:
    • Hamlet: In Act 3, the eponymous main character, after blowing his first chance to kill Claudius, strikes out blindly when he thinks he has Claudius again, only for it to turn out that he's actually killed Polonius, the father of the woman he loves, which sends his entire life straight to hell for him.
      • Hamlet is also an inversion, as it is Hamlet's failure to make up his mind to act that causes much of the tragedy.
    • In Much Ado About Nothing, several characters invoke this trope by making Claudio believe Hero died of grief after he jilted her. She's actually quite alive.
    • In Othello, the title character, with only circumstantial evidence and testimony from Iago, the Manipulative Bastard, believes that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him. He proceeds to have Cassio, her supposed lover, killed, and ultimately kills Desdemona himself. When the truth is revealed, it drives him to suicide.
      • A common joke amongst Shakespeare buffs is that had the impulsive, quick-to-anger Othello and the ponderous, witty Hamlet been placed in each others' plays all of the problems would have been solved by the end of the first act and nothing would have gone wrong at all. Sort of negates the point of tragedy, though.
    • Romeo and Juliet: In Act 3, Romeo's friend Mercutio fights Tybalt (Juliet's cousin) for Romeo's honor, and dies before Romeo can stop the fight. An enraged Romeo immediately kills Tybalt. More drama ensues, including Romeo's banishment, which causes his mother to die of a broken heart. In Act 5, when Romeo gets to Juliet's tomb, he comes across Count Paris, who's guarding the tomb. Without provocation other than being attacked for trying to vandalize the Capulet's tomb, he kills Paris in a fight, and then kills himself in front of Juliet's grave (thinking she's dead), causing his lover to kill herself.
    • The later acts of Twelfth Night threaten to turn into this. Sir Toby and Fabian bait on Sir Andrew to attack "Cesario" on sight. This backfires on them when they meet up with Cesario's identical twin brother, Sebastian, who, unlike Cesario, is a good fighter. Anthony, who loves Sebastian, enters the fray, which gets him into trouble with the local Duke, who is the "real" Cesario's employer. And the Duke loses his temper when he finds out that his beloved, Olivia, has married Cesario. This being a comedy, however, things work out all right.
  • In Beyond the Horizon, Robert and Ruth decide to get married the night before Robert is supposed to go off to sea. Robert then elects to stay home instead of becoming a sailor. Faced with Ruth's rejection, Andrew decides on the spot to go off to sea instead of his brother. The result is tragedy and despair for all concerned, and three ruined lives, as all three of them made the wrong choices.

    Video Games 
  • Usually in Sengoku Rance, Rance's instincts are spot on, and doing the first thing that leaps to mind works out pretty well for him. The exceptions are generally anything involving Miki, the Demon King, such as when she suggests he try to shatter the ice holding his slave, Sil. If you let him follow her advice, Sil dies.
  • Kirby has a bad habit of jumping to conclusions, often leading to the problem he's trying to solve getting worse before he can fix it.
    • In Kirby's Adventure, he accidentally releases Nightmare Wizard from the Fountain of Dreams. He did this by fixing the Star Rod that King Dedede shattered for the sole purpose of sealing Nightmare away.
    • In Kirby: Squeak Squad, he infamously goes on a rampage across Dreamland over someone stealing his cake. He assumes every member of the main cast, King Dedede, Meta Knight, and the new villains, the Squeaks, have stolen it at one point or another, and beats the crap out of them all accordingly. A frame perfect look at the intro cutscene reveals that a completely random Waddle Dee was the true culprit.
  • Sonic Lost World: Sonic's tendency to smash first and ask questions later is deconstructed in this game.
    • First, he recklessly charges in and kicks the Cacophonic Conch out of Eggman's hands, completely ignoring Tails' warnings to stay back. As it turns out, said conch was a Restraining Bolt Eggman was using to control the Deadly Six, thus allowing the Deadly Six to turn on Eggman and usurp his plans and operations.
    • When Sonic, Tails, and Eggman learn that the Deadly Six are using Eggman's life-sucking machine to drain their world dry, Tails immediately states that Sonic's first instinct would be to smash it, which he doesn't even bother to deny. Eggman quickly calls him out on it and explains that smashing it would cause an explosion that would incinerate everything within a hundred miles of the thing.
    • Later in the game, Sonic's impulsiveness ends up triggering a trap, but gets Tails captured instead, leading to Tails being partially roboticized by the Deadly Six. Suffice it to say, this was an eye-opener. Lucky for Sonic that Tails managed to fiddle with the machine just enough to retain his free will before it could activate.
  • The main plot of Makai Kingdom is kicked off when Lord Zetta reads an insulting passage in the Sacred Tome (claiming that he's an idiot who will destroy his Netherworld due to idiocy) and sets it on fire out of sheer spite. This results in the destruction of his Netherworld, naturally.
  • In the backstory of Undertale, the king of all monsters, in a fit of rage after the death of his son, declared war on humanity. Later, when he calmed down and his better nature gained control, he realized that he couldn't take back his decree because it finally brought hope back to his miserable subjects. It may or may not have helped the other monsters, but it drove the king to misery and self-loathing after he was responsible for the deaths of six human children and his wife left him in horror and disgust.
  • The backstory to Disciples series can partly be blamed on this as well. According to the lore, the world of Nevendaar was created by the Bethrezen, the most beloved of the Highfather's angels. He asked other deities to fill the world with landscape features and living beings, himself creating humans as a finishing touch. Everything seemed fine. Then he went to get the Highfather to show him his creation, leaving the other angels to watch over Nevendaar. Unfortunately, the other angels were jealous of Bethrezen's status and sabotaged Nevendaar. By the time the Highfather arrived to see the world, it was burning with fire and hatred, as the various races were at war. Enraged, he immediately assumes Bethrezen to be responsible and entombs him within the molten core of Nevendaar as punishment. Knowing he was punished unjustly, Bethrezen spends 10,000 years in anger at the Highfather and the mortal races for ruining his creation. He creates a demonic army called the Legions of the Damned and sends them to the surface (unable to leave himself due to a magical seal) to burn Nevendaar and open the seal. The demons come out in the forests of the Elves, who flee in panic towards higher ground, which happens to be in the lands of the Mountain Clans. Seeing great numbers of Elves advancing towards them, the Dwarves impulsively attack, assuming it to be an invasion. The Elven gods Gallean and Solonielle go to the Dwarven god Wotan and demand that he punish his creations for killing many Elves. Enraged, Wotan kills Gallean and hurls his heart towards the sun. Solonielle manages to save the heart before it's burned, but she herself is horribly burned by the sun and becomes the fleshless goddess Mortis. Determined to make the Dwarves pay and resurrect her beloved Gallean, Mortis kills an entire race of people and then raises them to be her Undead Hordes. And it only gets worse from there.
  • The entire plot of Shovel Knight as revealed in Specter of Torment started after an adventurer named Donovan went with his friend and partner Luan to acquire a magical amulet from a tower for Luan's son to protect him. They encountered Shield Knight, who came to the Tower of Fate in order to destroy the amulet due to it being cursed and dangerous and warned the men to abandon claiming the amulet. However, Donovan refused to listen and fought her. When everything began to collapse, he still refused to leave without the amulet despite both Shield Knight and even Luan's pleading against it, even attacking the latter for trying to dissuade him. When he grabs the amulet, the floor collapses and he and Luan plummet to their doom. Meanwhile, Shield Knight is possessed by the power within the amulet and turns into the Enchantress, the Big Bad and the latter transforms the barely alive Donovan into Specter Knight and makes him recruit the Order of No Quarter.
  • In the prologue of The Liar Princess and the Blind Prince, the wolf tried to keep the prince from seeing her true identity by covering his eyes with her paws, forgetting in her panic that they had sharp claws. She ended up slashing his eyes by accident, setting in motion her quest to heal him.
  • Downplayed in Red Dead Redemption 2. Had Arthur Morgan paid more attention to Thomas Downes' symptoms, he may have not resorted to physical violence to avoid catching his illness. However, it's not necessarily entirely Arthur's fault, as Leopold Strauss told him that he would need to be rough with Thomas.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: What caused the asari Ark to be missing in the first place. Their Pathfinder's bodyguard Sarissa Theris decided to steal some kett navigational data, figuring it might come in handy. The kett responded by chasing the Leusinia across space. During one fight, Pathfinder Ishara was cornered by the kett, and Sarissa decided to save the data rather than Ishara. When the truth of this gets out to the Ark's command staff, the captain is furious that one of Sarissa's "harebrained stunts" got them into the mess they were in.
  • Paper Mario: The Origami King: When folding him, the Origami Craftsman wrote "Dearest Olly, may you become a fair and kind king." on the paper that comprises Olly's body. When Olly saw the message, he couldn't read it, mistook it for vandalism, and invaded the Mushroom Kingdom prior to the Origami Festival to gather materials to fold 1000 origami cranes, all to wipe out the entire Toad species. Had Olly asked someone to read the "scribbles" before he went flying off the handle, the entire plot would have never happened. He actually does have the message read to him, but it's while he is dying as a result of all the atrocities he committed. Having his paper folded into the thousandth crane to undo all of his handiwork was his idea of penance.

    Visual Novels 
  • Implied to be the case with the Axe Ending in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors: Clover works out a plausible but completely wrong solution to who killed her brother and acts on said misconception, killing both suspected murderers and the protagonist's Love Interest before turning on the protagonist himself. Averted in the True Ending, where the protagonist befriends her and inadvertently stumbles across a crucial clue that indicates her brother is still alive.
  • Corpse Party D2: Depths of Despair:
    • The game opens with one, leading directly from one of the endings of Corpse Party (PC-98): Ayumi and Satoshi try to resurrect their fallen friends mere hours after they escaped the cursed school. For bonus points, the spellbook they're using isn't even fully translated into Japanese. Cue them going right back into the cursed school.
    • Ayumi appears to love this exact idea as even in other adaptations. In the modern game's canon, she and Naomi screw around with the Book of Shadow, resulting in the second and third games. In the Musume manga, she invokes black magic out of nowhere which leads to a sudden bad ending.
  • Kouji suffers this in one of the endings of Saya no Uta. After discovering that his girlfriend was chopped up by Saya and Fuminori and literally Stuffed into the Fridge to be eaten, he impulsively calls Fuminori and tries to take him and Saya on alone, instead of calling Occult Detective Ryuko to set-up a better plan (which leads to a different ending.) Since Kouji loses the fight with Fuminori and Saya in both endings, without Ryuko around to pull a Big Damn Heroes moment, he gets killed instead.

    Web Video 
  • In Counter Monkey, Spoony describes a Thieves' World campaign he ran which went horribly Off the Rails because one of the players not only interrupted the DM, but rolled a crit for his declared action. The result caused him to unwittingly inflict Facial Horror on a Nigh-Invulnerable War God avatar, who was supposed to be the cavalry. Instead, the campaign twisted into said avatar's Roaring Rampage of Revenge against the group, gradually escalating into a city-wide guerrilla war of ever-increasing brutality from both sides of the conflict.
    • This gets lampshaded by the episode's titles; the original intended title (seen in the address bar) was "Poor Impulse Control", while the official title is "Don't Interrupt".
  • Several Death Battles are started when one fighter is just minding his/her own business and the opponent quickly confuses him for an enemy. Other times, one fighter will wrong the other by mistake, causing the opponent to retaliate. When it happens, usually the one who started it is the one to lose the battle.
    • Fox vs. Bucky: Bucky picked the wrong toad to croak, and he and his entire crew paid the price by one vengeful fox.
    • Tigerzord vs. Epyon: Tommy orders Saba to begin a check of the Tigerzord's systems to which Saba readily responds by testing the weapons immediately. Only just before the Tigerzord's cannons fire does Tommy think to check if the weapon safety systems are online which leads to the cannons misfiring and accidentally hitting Noin's Gundam, killing her. It eventually leads to their own demise at the hands of a very angry Zechs Merquise and Epyon.
    • Pokémon vs Digimon: Red, after failing to catch Agumon in a Pokéball, immediately sics Charizard on him just as Tai returns instead of reasoning with the Digimon Tamer. This leads to both the deaths of Red and Charizard.
    • Amy Rose vs Ramona Flowers: Sonic, on an average day of running from Amy, shoots through Scott and Ramona's place so fast he knocks them around by accident. Amy arrives too late to catch him, and as she's fuming in place Ramona gets up and mistakes Amy for the one who seemingly attacked them, striking without warning. This causes Amy to turn her anger out on Ramona instead, and this leads to Ramona's death in front of a horror-stricken Scott.
    • Power Rangers vs Voltron: Hunk in the Yellow Lion notices the Rangers teleport in and goes over to say hi to them. The Power Rangers mistake the Yellow Lion for an enemy, immediately call in their Zords to form the Megazord, prompting the lions to form Voltron in response. This leads to the Megazord's destruction and Power Rangers' death.
    • Raven vs Twilight Sparkle: both sides are responsible in some way. Twilight tries a spell on interdimensional teleportation without bothering to study up on it, leading to Raven being transported to Equestria in the middle of playing with pony dolls. Raven, instead of talking it out, attacks Twilight in response to the whole situation. Both their actions result in Twilight getting pancaked into the ground by an overprotective Soul Self at Mach 36. Unfortunately for her, the series is called Death Battle for a good reason, so Twilight certainly died upon impact, although the animation makes it ambiguous if she really died due to the creators not wanting to scar any kids who happened to watch this show.
    • Crash Bandicoot vs Spyro the Dragon: possibly the most tragic example in a Death Battle yet. Crash kills Sparx the Dragonfly, Spyro's adoptive brother, assuming him to be an average annoying insect. This causes Spyro to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge and eventually unleash his Superpowered Evil Side, resulting in Crash and Aku Aku both being atomized via Aether Breath. Now the Wumpa Islands are defenseless, and Spyro is possibly trapped in this state.
    • Captain Marvel VS Shazam: Carol comes across Shazam crouching over an ATM leaking money into the street and mistakes him for a thief, when he actually just damaged the ATM by accidental electrocution, and he didn't even take any money. When Billy tries getting out of dodge, Carol flies after him, intent on bringing him in. Ultimately, Billy proves to be Carol's superior in terms of power, and he kills her.
    • Ben 10 VS Green Lantern: Hal Jordan catches Ben Tennyson sprinting around the streets as XLR 8 and, after detaining him non-lethally in a construct bubble, asks him to peacefully give Hal the Omnitrix, a dangerous weapon. Instead of talking his way out, Ben turns into Four Arms and tries to beat Hal up. After the battle escalates, an injured Hal decides to go back in time and cut off Ben's Omnitrix arm before stamping him into a pulp with a boot construct.
    • Sasuke VS Hiei: Sasuke sees Hiei strolling through a forest and asks him where he's going. Hiei bluntly replies "That's not your concern," and Sasuke replies by attacking him. The fight ends with Sasuke being cut to pieces by Hiei.
    • Miles Morales VS Static Shock: Miles Morales attacks Static Shock, thinking it was his arch-nemesis, Electro, due to his electric powers. When he realized his mistake, it was already too late as Static was willing to kill him over it. Soon enough, it happens and Miles was completely destroyed.
    • Leonardo VS Red Ranger Jason: Jason sees Leonardo and thinks he was one of Rita's mutant minions despite the latter protesting. He proceeds to attack him and eventually, Jason wins.
    • Genos VS War Machine: Rhodey confronts Genos for blowing something up, and Genos, mistaking Rhodey for an evil cyborg, attacks him. The fight ends with Rhodey forcing Genos to blow himself up trying (and failing) to take War Machine with him, and then Rhodey stamps on his disembodied head to finish the fight.
    • Batgirl VS Spider-Gwen: Gwen accidentally teleports into the Batcave, and Barbara attacks her unprovoked. Despite Gwen making it clear she doesn't want to fight, and repeatedly trying to leave, Barbara continues to come at her, and eventually Gwen ends up cutting her throat.
    • Sanji VS Rock Lee: Rock Lee is having curry at Sanji's restaurant when he openly complains that Sanji's curry is mild. Sanji replies by jumping over the counter and attacking him. By the end of the battle, Sanji has lost a leg and Lee has lost his life.
    • Danny Phantom VS American Dragon: Jake Long: Danny was returning the artifact back from a thief who stole it, but Jake assumes Danny was said thief and attacks him in dragon form. This ends in Jake getting disintegrated and his soul sucked into the Fenton Thermos.
    • Zuko VS Shoto Todoroki: It's extremely tragic when both sides realize they're Not So Different from each other. Shoto is just walking in the woods when Zuko's training accidentally launches a projectile towards him. When Zuko tried to defend himself, his method reminded Shoto of his past, enraging him further. This eventually leads to Zuko dying at Shoto's hands.
    • Shadow VS Ryūko Matoi: While the two are riding their motorcycles, Ryūko gets angry at Shadow cutting her off and dismissing her complaints about it, and attacks him despite Senketsu's attempts to talk her out of it. This eventually ends up with both Ryūko and Senketsu being vaporized by a Chaos Blast from Super Shadow.
    • Blake VS Mikasa: Mikasa finds Blake reading a book on a scaffolding and mistakes her for a stubborn civilian who missed the order to vacate the village before the Titans arrive. She then shoots Blake's book out of her hands, angering Blake into attacking her. By the end of the fight, Mikasa has died, and a Titan shows up at the village. Blake promptly goes into battle yet again, but now she's lost an arm.
  • The Touhou video fanfic, Diamond in the Rough (Touhou) can pretty much be summarized as a series of impulsive actions by the main character, Brolli, and the rash actions of the Gensokyo residents in response. This escalates more and more throughout the series that causes Gensokyo to nearly destroy itself in a massive war.
  • Twitch Plays Pokémon is based on and driven by this trope. 100,000 people playing one game...mons have been accidentally released, several battles have been lost, puzzles are solved only to be reset, all because of too many people randomly mashing buttons without a thought.

    Western Animation 


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