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Bullying a Dragon

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Tony: Let's do a head count here: your brother, the demi-god; the super-soldier, a living legend who kinda lives up to the legend; a man with breathtaking anger management issues; couple of master assassins — and you, big fella, you've managed to piss off every single one of them.
Loki: That was the plan.
Tony: Not a great plan.

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See that guy over there? The one that can make Your Head A-Splode with his Psychic Powers? What a weirdo. Let's throw rocks at him!

This is the fate-tempting and suicidal tendency of characters to bully, persecute, or in some other way provoke people or things they really shouldn't be messing with. That weird loner who sits in a corner reading? Fine, douchebag. That beautiful lady who can heal people? If you're that much of an asshole, go for it (but keep in mind that you may find yourself in a position later where you need her to heal you). The blind kid that somehow knows what you're about to do and is powerless to stop you? Go for it, you piece of shit. Whatever floats your boat.

But the kid who can warp the fabric of reality and just wants to be left alone?

Bad idea.

A Sub-Trope of All of the Other Reindeer, where the character is surrounded by tormentors even though they are known to have some incredible power conducive to being a Person of Mass Destruction, and most of the time because of this. This frequently crops up in Kids Are Cruel (in which case it would be "Kids Are Cruel And Also Too Stupid To Deserve To Exist"). It's usually a way of getting us to sympathize with the main character, but, really, bullies should be smart enough not to mock the "freak" Cursed with Awesome and Super Strength. Even when logically—or at least using the basest level of human decency and the smallest inkling of self-preservation—these bullies should find a weaker target or cut the poor kid some slack. So, in a sense, Straw Bullies. Then again, Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb and the Prideful.

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The Fettered especially have it bad, because they choose not to fight back, and often protect their tormentors from the Forces of Evil. Sometimes the bully in question knows this, and we're back to them being cowards who pick on those who can't/won't retaliate.

If the victim snaps, they will turn the tables (if not turn the table into a buzzsaw, set it spinning at hurricane-level speeds, and shove their tormentors' intestines into the spinning blades.) Also, don't lie. It is very cathartically awesome when the bullies are finally killed off or subjected to a Fate Worse than Death as Revenge. (And, if they have not done anything remotely objectionable up to this point, this could well be taken as a case of Dark Is Not Evil.) Unfortunately, many of the times a bully attempts to go after someone of this ilk is because they are trying to elicit a response, which in turn, would prove everyone's point about how much of a freak they truly are. Then again, in many cases, this makes them even stupider, as they don't seem to consider anything particularly awful happening to themselves as a result of their actions.

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Please note: the trope need not require actual bullying (though it is a popular method). As long as the provoker or provokers intentionally and excessively antagonize someone much more powerful than they are, knowing full well beforehand just what they are screwing with, then it's Bullying a Dragon. Also just because a person can beat up or kill a person doesn't mean they have the right to (As You Know, blowing someone's head off for a minor insult is kind of a dick move). Also, if the Dragon suffers abuse because they're massive jerks, then we may be dealing with Cape Busters instead. If this trope is done with the likely outcome as the goal it's Suicide by Cop.

Also see Fantastic Racism. A popular Freudian Excuse and backstory for a Start of Darkness. This trope doesn't usually have anything to do with The Dragon who's the Big Bad's second-in-command (although, it might). Video Game examples where the AI keeps trying to bully you despite the power difference because it's not programmed to back down has a special trope, Suicidal Overconfidence. The Cornered Rattle Snake is weaker than the 'Dragon' and may not appear powerful or willing to fight back but can be dangerous if pushed too far.

Compare:

  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: Showing defiance to something you know is about to kill you.
  • Do Not Taunt Cthulhu: When the entity you've been picking on retaliates by murdering you.
  • Mugging the Monster: If you thought you were the badass and they were an easy victim. Can evolve into Bullying a Dragon if you find out the hard way that you're outclassed but still persist in provoking further attacks. It can also exist simultaneously when the obviously intimidating and dangerous person is hiding something that makes them even more intimidating and dangerous.
  • Paper Tiger: An inversion in which the target looks powerful but is only putting up a facade.
  • Shooting Superman: Launching an attack against a target you know is tough enough to just shrug it off.


Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • The Messin' with Sasquatch commercials for Jack Links beef jerky has the Sasquatch going ballistic and inflicting harm upon people who decide to provoke him for cheap laughs. Though sometimes they get away with it, so maybe that's why people keep screwing with him.
  • An insurance commercial shows a bunch of rabbits laughing themselves sick at a rattlesnake with a pink and white baby-rattle in place of a normal one. Did the writers not know that it's the other end of a rattlesnake that's venomous?
  • A couple Stacker 2 commercials had a man make fun of Kane, a sadistic monster heel from the WWE. Ends about as well as you'd expect...
  • A Spike TV commercial has a pair of convention-goers mock Boba Fett for his unusual name and appearance. It ends badly for them.
  • A Mountain Dew commercial features two teens making fun of Chuck Norris with an animated video on the web. Chuck is not pleased.
  • One of the "Cheetos Break" commercials has the Cheetah and a bank teller acting flippant in the face of a pair of armed bank robbers. The Cheetah even hits one with a rubber band.
  • A commercial for a college of gaming has an animation of an absolutely massive rock golem stepping in the path of a boulder as big as he is from flattening a town at the foot of the mountain. The giant succeeds in stopping it, but his heel just barely taps the town's church, which destroys it. The town immediately brings out their weapons, and the giant (who doesn't look much more than annoyed by the catapults) just steps out of the way and lets the boulder flatten the town.

    Asian Animation 
  • Running Man: Charming Gold of the Pikok Tribe has his own episode which revealed the truth of his past. Thousands of years ago, Charming Gold is bullied by the other Pikok Tribe residents for looking ugly to be called enough as a 'Monster' to them. Even his parents thought that he was cursed by the Gods, and questioned his existence while he's standing near their room. When the bully tried to mock him in the forest, Charming Gold snapped and indirectly discovered his powers by sucking the bully's life force until he turns into dust. His powers grant him youth, which ables him to become near immortal. The look on his face probably shows that he knew about his powers and he has enough of the bullying. The shocking part is when he absorbed his fellow tribe's life forces, which possibly caused a genocide of his own species until he's the only one left from his tribe. This became one of the reasons why he wants to rebuild a new race — because he killed them.

    Music 

    Music Videos 
  • The video for Bullet for My Valentine's "Waking the Demon" is all about this.
  • "This Moment" by Disturbed "You're the one who kept pushing / till I made you bleed."
  • In the music video for Delta Rae's Bottom of the River, a mob breaks into a woman's house and seems like they're going to lynch her, presumably for witchcraft. While she's dragged off in chains, she does not seem to despair for long; her bindings eventually disappear, and while we do not see what happens to her captors, when the camera returns to them they've been either struck down or have disappeared completely, leaving only their masks.

    Podcasts 
  • Inhuman eXperience: The "genius" plan to control Tamar? Manipulate her into hating herself throughout her childhood and then set her up with a handler who "handles" her to control her further note . To paraphrase the smoldering pile of ash that used to be federal agent, they were playing with fire in a paper house.
  • In Sequinox, this is what you should expect from a bunch of teen magical girls. They tend to mock and insult the stars they fight against, even if it's not the best idea and the stars have already stated they're here to kill them.

    Radio 
  • The Dr. Demento show had "Tae Kwon Leap (Boot To The Head)" skit by The Frantics wherein an idiot threatens a martial arts master:
    Ed Gruberman: Listen, shrimp! Now are you gonna show me some fancy moves, or am I gonna start wipin' the walls with you?
    Martial Arts Master: Ed Gruberman, you fail to grasp Tae Kwon Leap. Approach me that you might see.
    Ed Gruberman: All right! Finally some action!
    Martial Arts Master: Observe closely, class. Boot to the Head! [TH-WHUMP!]
    Ed Gruberman: Owww! You booted me in the head!

    Roleplay 
  • Darwin's Soldiers:
    • Alfred in the 3rd RP. He is a hulking bison with hands bigger than most people's heads and is strong enough to bend rebar with his bare hands
    • Gustave is an even more extreme example. There have been cases where people have tried to pick fights with him, despite being a massive scarred-up Nile crocodile with a major anger management problem. Not to mention, he has several convictions for assault and he dismembered someone with his bare hands.
  • Felis the Liepard in We Are All Pokémon Trainers has enough bad judgment so as to annoy and outright insult even legendaries. And quite some orders of magnitude below that, when bullying Nadia (Salamence, i.e.: a literal dragon), he has got himself almost killed.

    Theatre 
  • The Phantom of the Opera: Although the Phantom has the previous day dropped a heavy backcloth on the Opera House's Prima Donna, the managers still think it's be a really great idea to completely ignore his demands that Christine is cast, and instead choose a singer who is much inferior to her. The Phantom promises that "if these demands are not met, a disaster beyond your imagination will occur." Let's just say these aren't empty words... They do wise up by the second act, however, when the Phantom crashes the Masquerade Ball and says, in effect, "Hey, here's the score for this opera I just wrote; I think you guys will know what to do with it. Oh yeah, that Falling Chandelier of Doom a few months back? That was me being nice." The managers, albeit very reluctantly, realize open defiance is not the safest of options.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: The people in this list know the guy who they are bullying is dangerous, but they did not care. Christian ends well, but the others...
    • Act I Scene II, Ligniere brags about his song, where he exposes the persecution of Roxane by De Guiche. Ligniere himself admits De Guiche is a powerful noble who is wedded to the niece of Richelieu.
      Ligniere: Ho! he must rage at me! The end hit home... Listen!
    • Act I, Scene IV. A bore bluntly mentions Cyrano that he cannot pretend to humiliate Montfleury, an actor protected by the Duke of Candale, and not to have himself a protector.
    • Act I, Scene IV. After seeing Cyrano dealt with the bore, De Valvert mentions Cyrano nose.
    • Act II Scene IX. After some comments about Cyrano’s murdering ways by the cadets, Christian makes a Hurricane of Puns about Cyrano’s nose.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: In 'Untamed and Uncut', Dave breaks into a Windear exhibit to fight them. It does NOT go well for him.
  • Dreamscape: In episode 6, Melissa chastises Keedran for always acting so sarcastic and silly, in comparison to her fellow guardians Kai, Eleenin, and Drake. The thing is, Keedran is an actual deity who is a Knight In Sour Armor about protecting humanity, and when Melissa's lashing ends up pressing her Berserk Button, Keedran reminds her exactly who she is dealing with in a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Nightfall Nod from Midnight Mares who is essentially an Expy of Nightmare Moon as a teenager pony sums this trope up nicely:
    Nightfall Nod: I get to be the bully now.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged:
    • When Cait Sith says that everyone would have to insult Vincent instead of Cloud if he left, Cid says, "F*** that, that dude eats people!"
    • In Episode 27, Scarlet slaps Tifa around, punches her in the gut, and leaves her to die in a gas chamber. And yet, when Tifa gets away thanks to Sapphire WEAPON's attack, Scarlet declares that she will conduct Tifa's punishment herself. Tifa flips the scenario on its head and describes, in graphic detail, how badly she's going to fuck Scarlet up if she doesn't tell her where Cloud is. Scarlet does not comply... and gets knocked off the Junon cannon for her trouble.
    Tifa: I'm going to beat the f*ck out of you so badly, your face is going to be the new bowl I eat my Tankceratops cereal out of. And yes, your blood will be the milk.

    Web Videos 
  • D 20 Live :
    • At the 2012 game played at ConBravo, Spoony literally did this to a dragon the DM intended the players to recruit an army to fight. Things did not go well for that dragon and after a series of Critical Failures, it actually wound up dying at their hands.
    • In an earlier story, his character Tandem the Spoony antagonized Zeus by sleeping with his daughter. Things did not go well for the spoony bard and he got his ass literally thrown off Olympus.
    • During Tandem's final mission, among a party playing Dungeonland: Tandem decides to fight the March Harenote  one-on-one when the Tea Party turns violent. After being crane-kicked across the table, Spoony learns that the March Hare is a twentieth-level monk. Tandem is an eighteenth-level bard. Somehow, Spoony wins.
    • A strange example of the trope being both played Straight and Inverted in his Final Fantasy Reviews. Spoony spends hours ranting and raving about the poor quality of the games' writing and animation, only for a Character from the game (including Special Ops soldiers, professional athletes and accomplished terrorists) to turn up in his bedroom and try to murder him with guns, gunblades, magic, blitzballs and brutal wrestling moves. Despite this, he has so far killed all of them in increasingly gory ways, but neither side seems to be taking the hint... He was defeated by The Black Knight. Though The Black Knight had no intention of killing Spoony. Just permanently annoying him.
  • While Hat Films are fairly competent Minecraft players, their two efforts to harass Lewis Brindley and Sjin at the latter's farm have ended in failure, after Lewis and Sjin decided to fight back. The first time ended with one of the Sirs falling to their death in a ravine, the second ended with a group of captive beasts hacking them to pieces.
  • Epic Rap Battles of History:
    • Abraham Lincoln, knowing full well the kind of godly feats his opponent is capable of, calls Chuck Norris a washed-up has-been, threatens to squash him, and then dumps a bunch of pennies on his head.
    • Adolf Hitler relentlessly mocks Darth Vader, even after Vader first freezes him in carbonite and drops him into the Rancor pit.
    • Sherlock Holmes thinks it's a good idea to taunt Batman about his dead parents.

 
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Alternative Title(s): Bullying The Dragon, Advertising, Music, Other Media

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Durarara!! x2

Whatever you do, do NOT bully the crazy girl.

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