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Burn the Orphanage

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"Listen, like I told your captain, that orphanage attacked me! It was self-defense!"
— Richard, Looking for Group

What can be more completely and pointlessly evil? Burning down an orphanage, of course! Besides, burning harmless orphans have an enjoyable smell.

Seemingly a Dead Unicorn Trope, mostly used for Comedic Sociopathy.

This is very, very rarely positive; the only way it can be is if it's an Orphanage of Fear, particularly if the fire-setter is someone who lived and suffered there, and if the character took pains to make sure that everyone gets out alive. Then again, such an act is sometimes used as a Bloodbath Villain Origin in which case the character may not be too concerned about who gets out alive (particularly if the other kids were cruel to them), and the management usually makes it so some of the orphans are unable to escape the fire.

Compare Would Hurt a Child.



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    Anime and Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Judge Dredd:
    • On at least one occasion Judge Death went on a killing spree in an orphan shelter, and later, a maternity ward in a bet to lure Judge Anderson into a trap and kill her, knowing that she would immediately race to the children's rescue.
    • His colleague Judge Fire gained his name when he burned down an elementary school with eighteen hundred students inside (on the basis of "noise pollution") even before they all became undead monsters.
  • Long before he became Carnage, Cletus Kasady was sent to an orphanage as a child and burned the entire place down to get back at his abusive orderlies and peers.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Death Note fanfic And The Story Continues, Mello orchestrates the detonation of his old home, Wammy's House, in an act of terrorism against Near. However, he evacuates the entire student body and staff before destroying the building, if only so he can hold them as hostages.
  • The Witch of the Everfree has a rare non-evil example: Sunset Shimmer destroyed the orphanage she grew up in accidentally after some bullies who thought she was magically weak dared her to cast a spell. She responded by putting every bit of power she could into a light spell. Nopony died, but a few were pretty seriously injured, and the building itself was toast.

    Films — Animated 
  • Referenced in Buzz Lightyear of Star Command (the movie), when Zurg draws out Buzz by threatening to hit "The Planet of Widows and Orphans" with his Mind Control ray.
    Buzz: You fiend!
    Zurg: Heh-heh. I knew that would get him.
  • In Hulk Vs., Sabertooth says that after he and Lady Deathstrike get done sadistically killing Wolverine, they're going to drop the Hulk on an orphanage for shits and giggles.
  • Ratigan of The Great Mouse Detective drowned orphans and widows, possibly just for fun.
  • In Igor, when Igor and his friends are looking for Eva, they follow her trail to a Home For Blind Orphans, where they hear yelling insidenote .
    Igor: Oh, my god! She's killing blind orphans! That's so...evil! I mean, which is great, but—blind orphans?!

    Films — Live-Action 

  • From Cracked magazine:
    If they ever make a sequel [of Volcano], they should save a city from a glacier by burning down an orphanage.
  • Invoked by High Lord Kalarus in the Codex Alera while besieging the city of Ceres. In order to lure out the city's defenders who have holed up in the fortified center, he has his men attack orphanages and a street where retired legionares are living out their pensions. It works; as one character points out, no matter how stoic or cynical one may be there's only so many times one can see a child or elder killed before it becomes too much to bear.
  • Played for humor in Robert Sheckley's short story, "Triplication", where a man is in court for burning down an orphanage. His lawyer explains that on the planet Altira III, orphanages are used for training assassins, and his client has probably saved thousands or millions of innocent lives. The charges are dismissed. A few years later, the guy is back in court, and again, he has a good excuse for burning down an orphanage, and gets off. It isn't until the third time, after he burns down an orphanage on Earth, that the truth comes out: he simply likes burning orphanages.
  • In some of Marquis de Sade's works, libertines discuss this idea, saying they should destroy orphanages and hospitals. This is a result of both their contempt for the weak and simply liking to kill. Of course, in their view that's good.

    Live Action TV 
  • Bob Monkhouse said he'd been typecast in his serious drama roles (using Asshole Victim Sylvester Le Vey from Jonathan Creek as an example) as "the sort of man who would keep his cocoa warm by burning down an orphanage".

    Made For TV Movie 
  • The townsfolk in the TV movie Love Takes Wing. On the one hand, they believed that the orphans were spreading cholera. On the other hand, they wanted to burn down an orphanage. Somehow the town is portrayed as generally a nice place to live in the sequel.

  • If it counts, the eponymous pirates of the Abney Park song "Airship Pirates" shoot down a ship with "a crew of nuns and orphans".

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Champions. The supervillainess Bora was raised in an orphanage. On the day she left it, she used her super powers to destroy it with a blast of wind, completely uncaring about the children inside.

    Video Games 
  • In 1701 A.D.: The Sunken Dragon, Diego del Torro burns down the orphanage in your city in Mission 2.
  • Not as much evil, as dangerously incompetent, but the management of the Shalebridge Cradle orphanage in Thief: Deadly Shadows allowed a fire to spread through it, forcing them to relocate the surviving children. Of course, they were the same people who semi-converted it into an asylum...
  • Lynx, evil panther-man villain of Chrono Cross, burned down an orphanage (in flashback), in case it wasn't already apparent that he'd crossed the Moral Event Horizon. On top of that, he killed Lucca to do it, one of the main characters from Chrono Trigger, since the orphanage was in Lucca's house.
  • Terumi burned down the orphanage that housed Ragna, Jin, and Saya in BlazBlue's backstory.
  • Psychonauts. On the "Lungfishopolis" level, you rampage across a tiny town in a parody of Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever movies as terrified citizens scream around. Several of their lines refer to the orphanage, which you apparently keep just missing while destroying the generic-looking buildings.
  • In MS Saga: A New Dawn the orphanage in which our main hero Tristan grew up in was burned down, pushing him onwards to seek justice.
  • In Jade Empire, you can find an orphanage that, rather than being burned, was FLOODED... with all the children still locked inside... clawing at the door to get out while the waters inexorably rose... all while the manager was off somewhere drinking. Several of the children have lingered as ghosts - one desiring revenge over the manager, the other merely wanting to find peace and move on. You can track down the manager for them, and find that he's been reduced to a human wreck by guilt. He's terrified of returning to the orphanage, but you can drag him back there anyway, and once faced with the anger and pain of the children's spirits, he'll accept his fate... whatever that may be.
  • Dragon Age: Origins contains a side quest where you have to hunt down a criminal inside an orphanage. Once inside, you find a site that more closely resembles an slaughterhouse.
  • In The Darkness, Paulie Francetti blows up the orphanage where Jackie grew up with a bazooka.
  • In Silent Hill 4, Walter Sullivan burned down Hope House when he murdered Jasper Gein by immolation.
  • In the second chapter of The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky, an orphanage is burned down by the local mayor, so he can buy up the land and turn it into a luxury housing development.
  • In Guild Wars 2, an early human personal story quest has the player character overhearing the local bandits' plans to burn down both an orphanage and a soldier hospital. Naturally, the player character is only able to save one.
  • Mine has an orphanage bulldozed in Yakuza 3, though at least the children weren't inside at the time.

    Web Comics 
  • In Daisy Owl, Steve accidentally presses a self-destruction button in the orphanage.
  • Ansem Retort does this in the first strip.
  • In Looking for Group, Richard says "that orphanage attacked me." Later made into a t-shirt and web ad with flames in the background.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: In "Space Savers", King Radical claims that he's stealing a warhead so he can fire it at an orphanage. However, given that we later learn that this is something of a non-standard warhead, it's possible that Radical's plan was ultimately benign.
    • Yeah, it was. But since he left the warhead with McNinja, he had to demolish it a mundane, non-radical way off-screen.
  • Lothar Hex in Exterminatus Now tells a story about him hiding in an orphanage once. He blinded all the children so they couldn't recognize him and killed the youngest one to scare the others into silence.
  • This MegaTokyo strip during the Playstation 2 shortage in its early days.
  • In a flashback in Hellbound, The Ditz struggles in her bonds as she's being burned at the stake and accidentally throws firebrands into an orphanage or children hospital.
  • Black Mage discussed burning down an orphanage early in 8-Bit Theater, after White Mage was horrified that he burned down the retirement home.
    • When he tries to prove that Black Magic isn't inherently evil, she gives him the scenario of an orphanage being on fire. Before she can even finish asking what he'd do, he gleefully starts describing the spells he'd use to pick off the survivors.
  • Reginald accidentally does this in Nedroid.

    Western Animation 
  • In Treehouse of Horror episode Hell Toupee, Snake is sentenced to death by electric chair under the 'three strikes' law; one of the strikes was torching an orphanage. (The other two were blowing up a bus full of nuns and smoking a cigarette in a no-smoking zone.)
  • In an episode of Family Guy, Peter Griffin seeks to impress his boss with his organisational and management skills - only to blow up and burn down an orphanage/childrens' hospital...


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