Follow TV Tropes


Because Destiny Says So

Go To

"Destiny is unstoppable. Everyone has to give in... Give up — let life win."

An invoked form of You Can't Fight Fate, Because Destiny Says So is when a character accepts a prophecy or similar foreknowledge of future events as inevitable, and does everything in their power to realize said future events because of it.

In such cases, The Hero will often continue the Training from Hell they are currently terrible at because they were named The Chosen One, Big Bads will insist on destroying the world despite the harm it will bring to their loved ones because it is their karmic destiny, and religious orders will refuse to hand over badly needed MacGuffins in times of crisis because prophecy says it is not yet time. Because Destiny Says So is also a common excuse for why The Chosen One is The Only One allowed to save the world, or what have you.

Compare with You Can't Fight Fate, Only the Worthy May Pass and Prophecies Are Always Right. Contrast with Screw Destiny.


    open/close all folders 

    Comic Books 
  • In The Sandman (1989), even Destiny of the Endless has no free will. He calls a certain fateful meeting of the other Endless because his Book told him he was going to. Delirium, formerly known as Delight, escapes this trope by being the incarnation of insanity.
    Delirium: Do you know why I stopped being Delight, my brother? I do. There are things not in your book. There are paths outside this garden. You would do well to remember that.
  • Is Loki bad because he was born that way or is he bad because Destiny pegged him as the kickstarter of Ragnarok? It depends on the writer! One of his plans was all about getting killed and reincarnated so he'd escape Destiny's clutches... and for some extent it worked. Not entirely as shown in Journey into Mystery (Gillen) he still couldn't resist tricking and killing their best chance for redemption, but enough to make some forces, the All-Mother most prominently, actively try to push them back in that role, which is one of the main conflicts of Loki: Agent of Asgard.
  • Hellboy tends to get this a lot. His surprisingly realistic response tends to be, "Says who?" followed by a punch to the face.
  • Doctor Manhattan from Watchmen is this after gaining his powers from a freak lab accident, to which he becomes apathetic towards humanity and the future in general due to everything being preordained and he could do nothing to stop it.
  • Wonder Woman (Rebirth): The idea that Diana and Steve Trevor are fated to be together in some capacity is batted around. Etta notes that Steve and Diana have an odd habit of getting caught up in the other's business reguardless of how far apart they started out, and wonders (har-har) whether something's drawing them together.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The members of The Adjustment Bureau will do everything in their power to ensure "things happen according to plan", regardless of reasoning. the Chairman who runs the Bureau states their eventual goal is for humans to grow beyond the need for their plans.
  • Zigzagged in The Chronicles of Riddick (2004); destiny is actually "odds", calculated by the Elementals and even then, it's not perfect — just because a path is more likely doesn't mean it's assured. Once Riddick becomes Lord Marshall, the odds go all to hell.
    Aereon: [ever-so-slightly smug] Now what would be the odds of that?
  • Dark Was the Night: Pondered by Donny near the end of the movie, where he wonders if he was transferred from a big city to a small town because he is supposed to protect someone. Paul dismisses it.
  • Excalibur has Arthur: 'I was not born to live a man's life, but to be the stuff of future memory.'
  • In Need for Speed, Pete's vision of "Tobey won the De Leon race in a lighthouse driving a Koenigsegg" actually came true. Realizing this, Tobey shed a tear for his late friend upon his arrest.
  • Amleth from The Northman views his life as being preordained by the Norns, and is told by a seer that he is destined to choose between kindness for his kin and hate for his enemy. This is resolved when he decides to protect Olga, the mother of his children, by leaving her and going back to kill Fjölnir.
  • Serendipity: Sara believed that destiny should determine whether or not she and Jonathan should be together. At first...
  • Seventh Son: The reason Tom agrees to be Master Gregory's apprentice is because he has seen visions of him and knows it is his destiny.
  • Slumdog Millionaire: This is the tagline for the film. It's as if fate itself (or the writers) has conspired so the protagonist would know the answer to every question. ("It is written.")
  • Lampshaded mercilessly in Surf Ninjas, to the point that, later on in the movie when the main character is told that he has to meet yet another challenge and someone says "He can't do it!", multiple characters resignedly in unison say "He can if it's his destiny".
  • The Terminator said it best in Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines: "Because you're John Connor."

    Multiple Media 
  • Most characters in BIONICLE regard "Destiny" as one of their primary virtues, and seeing as they live in a You Can't Fight Fate world, mostly let what the prophecies say or what they believe to be their destiny control their actions. However, of all the characters, only the Toa Mata heroes' destiny is public knowledge, which the villain does use to his advantage. Also, Destiny does not always cover their entire life — it only tells them that they each have to do at least one very important thing in their life, and if they survive, are more free to act as they like (unless their life happens to be tied to someone else's Destiny).

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology:
    • The Fates themselves: three women (sometimes shown as a maiden, a matron, and a crone, but that's probably a later invention) who measure out the thread that corresponds to an individual's life, weave it in with the lives of others, and then cut the thread to determine how long that mortal will live. Even the gods must obey the rulings of the Fates.
    • According to some versions of the myth of Ariadne and Theseus, he was told by the gods to abandon her on a desert island to be found by (and later married) Dionysus. Granted, who tells him and how it happens varied wildly, with the only consisted element being that he abandoned her, implying that he originally did so of his own volition, and Athens tried to reframe the myth to make their founding hero less of a dick.
  • In The Bible, Jesus knew well in advance what His ultimate fate would be and even told His disciples in advance, but they were in denial and couldn't bring themselves to believe that one of them would betray Him. When the Romans & Pharisees inevitably do come to arrest Him, Saint Peter tries to say Screw Destiny and attacks one with a sword only for Jesus to scold him and heal the man's wounds before going with them quietly.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • While wrestling for TNA in its formative years, Raven became convinced it was his destiny to win the NWA World Heavyweight Title.
  • Alberto Del Rio thought that it was his destiny to become the WWE Champion. In a way, it was, because he was essentially pushed hard in 2011, becoming the Money In The Bank winner and cashing it in at Summerslam that year (he had won the Royal Rumble earlier that year, too, but lost to Edge). He even won the World Heavyweight Title in 2013. They were short reigns, though, as CM Punk won it from Del Rio in October of 2011 to begin his long running reign, and Dolph Ziggler won the WHC from Del Rio the night after Wrestlemania 29 using the same MITB contract Del Rio used to snag his first. His longest came after he won it again at Payback 2013. He kept it until October, when he lost it to a returning John Cena.
  • Invoked by Frankie Kazarian at the fifteenth Ring of Honor Anniversary when he refused to help his "boss" Adam Cole retain the world title against Christopher Daniels, the only remaining founding father and the only one to never win the belt.

    Tabletop Games 
  • It's essentially the job of the Sidereal Exalted to ensure this. Complicating matters are the facts that a) Fate is designed by committee, with all the attendant foibles, b) it can be defied by sufficiently powerful beings or simply through Heroic Willpower, and c) certain beings exist outside of Fate entirely, and tend to function as the Spanner in the Works whenever they come into contact with anyone or anything that doesn't share their immunity.
    • This hard to the Five Maidens. The Maidens possess the ability to observe samsara (the underlying blueprint of reality) in order to be given hard knowledge of the future and their own purpose in it, but they become completely bound to whatever they see. It's suspected that the Maidens (and possibly the world in general) have a lot more freedom if they don't look at samsara, but that is unverifiable.

  • The eponymous king in Agamemnon is fated to be killed. Cassandra tries to warn him about his destiny, but... it's Cassandra.
  • Prometheus's accounts to Io in Prometheus Bound: both her miserable wanderings, and that her descendant will free him.
  • Carmen reads tarot cards in the third act and sees omens of death, for herself and her lover, Don Jose. She sings about how any other foretold outcome can be changed, but not death. She meets Don Jose alone in the end because she believes she can't fight that fate.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Maiden of BAD END THEATER has been told her whole life that it is her inevitable fate to get captured by the Overlord of the demons. Since it hasn't actually happened yet, the Maiden gets impatient and goes to the Overlord herself.

  • Black Belt in 8-Bit Theater follows this path, his fate to escort and assist White Mage having been decided for him. But then he died. And he hadn't gotten to do any of it.
  • A large chunk of Homestuck and Sburb, mainly through use of Stable Time Loops and the fact that if you fail to fulfill a prophecy in the world of Homestuck, you become part of an offshoot timeline and are doomed. This is also a huge basis of Aradia's character, and her adherence to predestination makes her a really depressing conversation partner. But she's 0kay with that. She's 0kay with a lot of things.
    • It even applies to things like online chats and online memos:
  • Goblins: Many Goblins are named by the clan fortune teller based on predictons of what they will do later in life, so there are Goblins with names like Chief (the clan chief), Complains-Of-Names (who dislikes the Goblin naming tradition), Dies-Horribly (Who is incredibly nervous), etc. Saves-A-Fox attempts to avert this, killing the fox she was meant to save and invoking Screw Destiny, but ends up doubly-subverting it when Dies-Horribly theorises that the fox may have had a terminal illness and she 'saved' it from a painful and prolonged death.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Jadis, the Demiurge of Sloth, is The Omniscient. This means she has always known what her own future actions are going to be. This has, to put it mildly, 'effects' on her psyche.
    Allison: ... Why did you save me?
    Jadis: Oh!- Uh... it's what I do.
    Allison: It's what you do? Save people? Well good fucking job.
    Jadis: No... Not like that, Allison. I'm omniscient.
  • The Water Phoenix King plays with this trope as a core part of the setting. The force Tamantha (a sort of synthetic fate constructed by a Lawful Stupid god) does things such as pushing those who defy it towards insanity, but it is not all-powerful, and the protagonists are out to destroy it.
  • In Erfworld how much the Fate affect the life is an important part of the characterization and a source of drama to the characters. In Erfworld, fighting Fate is pretty much impossible. Except possibly with Carnymancy, the best you can really hope for is a Prophecy Twist. Trying to fight Fate results in (more) suffering for yourself and those around you as Fate pushes you to your destiny anyway. This is for example the reason of the fatalism of Wanda Firebaugh. In her early life, she refused to believe she couldn't decide her own Fate and tried to rebel against the prophecy made on her. It didn't turn out well for her loved ones and the prophecy came true anyway, so she came to believe that the only way to avoid/minimize suffering is trying to fulfill your Fate as quickly and directly as possible.
    • Prophecy Twist is really the best option. If, for example, Fate has decreed that a City will fall to a certain enemy, the best thing to do is evacuate and make a deal with the enemy letting them conquer it (maybe including terms for them to trade it back to you afterwards).

    Web Originals 
  • In The Dragon Wars Saga, the Stevens quadruplets are so destined to save an alternate universe on the brink of destruction that their bedroom door turns into a portal to that other world.
  • Skippy's List has examples:
    7. Not allowed to add "In accordance with the prophecy" to the end of answers I give to a question an officer asks me.
  • In the Whateley Universe, Bladedancer seems to be stuck with this in her role as Handmaid of the Tao. The most glaring example to date may be the incident where she was forced to kill an innocent man 'because the Tao required it'. Though the mentor telling her so wasn't necessarily helping her own case by afterwards revealing that she'd been flat-out lying about the actual reason why...

    Real Life 
  • Winston Churchill wrote the following about his accession to the office of Prime Minister on May 10, 1940, the same day that the Germans launched their long-awaited attack on the Western Allies:
    ...on the night of the 10th of May, at the outset of this mighty battle, I acquired the chief power in the State. ...I cannot conceal from the reader of this truthful account that as I went to bed at about 3 a.m. I was conscious of a profound sense of relief. At last I had the authority to give directions over the whole scene. I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial. Ten years in the political wilderness had freed me from ordinary party antagonisms. My warnings over the last six years had been so numerous, so detailed, and were now so terribly vindicated, that no one could gainsay me. I could not be reproached either for making the war or with want of preparation for it. I thought I knew a good deal about it all, and I was sure I should not fail.
  • Before the American Civil War, many pro-slavery activists were saying that slavery was colored people's God-given duty.


Video Example(s):


Threads of fate

Baylan wonders if it's possible for Morgan to get Thrawn back from the remote part of the galaxy. She says that the threads of fate can't lie.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / BecauseDestinySaysSo

Media sources: