Follow TV Tropes


Cursed with Awesome

Go To
Oh no! She's cursed to turn into a busty green superstrong amazon! Wait...

Io: I was cursed with agelessness.
Perseus: That's not much of a curse.

Sooner or later, that something you really wanted nothing to do with is going to be what saves you.

A character has some "terrible" curse placed on them (if they weren't born with it) that is actually pretty awesome. Often, such characters will bemoan their fate and go to great lengths to be rid of the "curse" instead of taking advantage of whatever cool side effects the curse may have. Other times it's the "reward" for Heroic Willpower. Sometimes a subset of people try to tell them this. The idea that the awesome is a curse may cause some forms of Internalized Categorism.

Immortality has been done to death under this heading, even garnering its own trope. While eternal life does have some understandable drawbacks, excessive emphasis on the negative side can push it straight into Cursed With Awesome territory, where it becomes another trope. The Emergency Transformation of a character often crosses into this, as the condition is considered literally de-humanizing. The Curse That Cures can skirt this depending on the severity of the curse and the illness or injury it's curing as a side effect.

Vampire protagonists are very frequently Cursed With Awesome.

The jury is out on the justification of the "curse" of Awesome being Fantastic Racism; on one hand, superpowers aren't that much fun when the majority of the population believe suffocating you in your sleep is pest control. On the other, it's not like All of the Other Reindeer will have an easy time burning you. But if you keep driving off every Torch-swinging Muggle for a generation or so, you're just reinforcing the Fantastic Racism... On and on it goes.

This trope is a major source of Angst Dissonance — if not used carefully, then a character being Cursed With Awesome carries the risk of plummeting straight into Wangst or Deus Angst Machina territory, as nothing is guaranteed to piss an audience off more than a character complaining about having abilities that are, on the face of it, utterly fantastic and that the audience would kill to have. This is especially a risk if a balance between the awesomeness of the powers and the suckiness of the consequences of possessing them is not maintained; if the drawbacks are outweighed by the benefits, then the character just looks whiny. On the other hand, it can make for some great Character Development if the character is saddled with something that is genuinely difficult to live with, but later figures out a way to benefit from it.

There are also some cases where the drawback is just a straight-up Informed Flaw, or negated by a bit of Fridge Brilliance. The Super Mode can be legitimately terrifying if the person using it loses control of themselves while remaining aware of what they're doing, but not if they only do things that they could just as well have done anyway and are just as beneficial, but now they have an excuse for behavior that might be otherwise unacceptable. The Smart Guy may be so smart that it's said to alienate others and leave him lonely or anti-social, but if he's in a Five-Man Band, he almost certainly has at least four True Companions.

Occasionally leads to a "No More Holding Back" Speech whether or not the character is unhappy about the effects of their curse.

The Punishment is an extreme form of this and usually done to someone that actually deserves it. Also compare Plague of Good Fortune. Compare Unishment, where the "curse" turns out to be something that the character actually enjoys or wanted all along.

A power that's triggered by inflicting great harm to oneself can be such an awesome curse.

See also the inverse, Blessed with Suck, where the ability given is supposed to be good, but isn't, though it is possible for something to be both. Compare I Just Want to Be Normal (where "cursed with awesome" is taken in a different context) and Keeping the Handicap (where the character decides that the benefits of staying disabled are preferable to the benefits of becoming abled). Contrast Super Loser. May result in a Curse Is Foiled Again or Living Forever Is Awesome. Both this and Blessed with Suck may connect with Muse Abuse. If a character actually gets over it by refusing to be tormented any longer by the downsides of their "curse", they usually result in a case of Sweet and Sour Grapes; as the "curse" is merely their own displeasure at their condition, then by moving past it they become purely Awesome.


    open/close all folders 

  • This commercial for Skittles features a man who turns everything he touches into Skittles. His coworker finds it awesome, but the man explains that he can't hold his newborn son, feed and dress himself, shake anybody's hand, or even do his job.

    Comic Strips 
  • In this Dilbert strip, Phil, the Prince of Insufficient Light, makes Dilbert choose between two "hideous fates": having eternal high pay but having to see all his work burned in front of him at the end of each day, or having his work be useful and appreciated but suffering eternal poverty. Dilbert points out that they're both better than his current job and recruits Wally to get in on the deal.

    Films — Animation 
  • Beauty and the Beast: Sure, not being able to go outside of your castle without a mob of angry villagers trying to kill you sucks. And spending so many years locked up inside would surely start to grate the nerves. Plus you'll have to live with the knowledge that dozens, perhaps hundreds of your servants have been turned into household objects because of your jerkassery. But still there are a million cool things a massive gorilla-buffalo-boar-bear-wolf hybrid with amazing strength and agility can do.
  • Elsa from the Disney movie Frozen is able to project ice and snow. The curse portion comes from the fact that she can't control it, but when she's not constantly worrying about hurting people (and when she's finally accepted by her kingdom at the end) it goes straight back into awesome.
  • In Happy Heroes: The Stones, a helmeted individual deprives the monsters of their abilities; Cute Monster thinks this is good because she can stay cute for however long she wants (since her transformed version is an ugly monster). When the monsters are given their powers back after Big M. asks for them to be returned in exchange for telling the helmeted stranger where the Power Stone is, you can see Cute Monster trying to get away from the ball of energy that contains her powers.
  • Hoodwinked! has Japeth, this mountain goat who lives in a shack in the middle of nowhere. When Red finds him on the porch, he's strumming on a banjo:
    Red Puckett: I'm looking for Granny Puckett's house?
    Japeth the Goat: [singing] Graaaaaaaanneeee Puckeeeet...
    Red Puckett: Could you stop singing for one moment?
    Japeth the Goat: [singing] No I can't, wish I could, but a mountain witch done put a spell on me, 37 years agoooooooo, and now I gotta sing every thing I saaaaaaaaayyyyyy...
    Red Puckett: Everything?
    Japeth the Goat: [speaking] That's right.
    Red Puckett: You just talked! Just now!
    Japeth the Goat: Oh, did I? [singing] Did I? Dididididodadidididoooo... [Red gives a pissed off Aside Glance to the camera]
    [a moment later, lampshaded]
    Red Puckett: Mr. Goat, my granny's in trouble! I've got to find a way around the mountain, fast!
    Japeth: [singing] Well you came to the right goat! [pops off his rocking horns]
    Red Puckett: Oh, good. More singing.
  • Lampshaded by producer Phil Lord when discussing Batman's life in The LEGO Batman Movie.
    Lord: Wah, I'm so rich and handsome, and women like me, and I've got a Maclaren! Something about my parents!
  • In Monsters vs. Aliens, the main character starts off believing that being turned into a giantess is a case of Blessed with Suck. However, by the end of the movie she has accepted her size, and uses her powers for good.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017): Dark Action Girl Tempest Shadow had her unicorn horn broken off when she was a filly, and any attempt by her to cast spells results in unstable overloads of magic. After learning to control it, she weaponizes it as powerful explosions of magic, which are strong enough to destroy entire airships. Following her Heel–Face Turn, these magic bursts take the form of beautiful fireworks.
  • In Penguins of Madagascar, the penguins waste no time putting their horribly mutated bodies to good use in the final battle, their misshapen limbs making excellent bludgeoning weapons.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer is all about this. At first, Rudolph's red nose and Hermey's talent for dentistry make both of them "misfits", but Rudolph's nose is what saves the day at the end (and is a convenient light source), while Hermey's talent saves his friends from the Abominable. The Misfit Toys have this too. Apparently, at least one child in the world would love to have a toy cowboy that rides an ostrich or a choo-choo with square wheels on its caboose. It just takes an expert like Santa Claus to find such children.
  • Odette in The Swan Princess turns into a swan every day (but can regain her human form as long as she's on the lake when the moon rises). Being a swan does allow her to actually escape from her prison undetected and try to find help — as well as being pretty handy for combat. She's able to do many things she couldn't do as a human. It's sort of acknowledged in the first sequel — she's permanently a human but voluntarily changes herself into a swan, recognising that it has advantages and that her husband needs help.
  • Meilin Lee's situation in Turning Red goes from Blessed with Suck to this over the course of the movie. See, her ancestor Sun Yee was given a gift by the gods - the ability to shapeshift into a giant red panda. Sun Yee used this power to protect her village during wartime, and she passed the gift on to all of her female descendants. But over time, each generation found the transformation to be less of a blessing and more of an "inconvenience", until they began to see it as a curse to be sealed away at the first opportunity. When Mei's red panda manifests, she's initially horrified. But with the support of her friends and the kids at school, she begins to see the benefits of her ability, and eventually gains complete control over it. In the end, Mei is able to reclaim Sun Yee's blessing as the gift it was always intended to be.
  • Wreck-It Ralph has Super-Strength to the point where he can destroy a brick building with his bare hands and split a jawbreaker in half after a few hits (even though according to Vanellope they're unbreakable). Ralph can even destroy things with immense speed! However, this ability (as he is known to accidentally wreck things when angry but sometimes purposely) and the fact that he's the villain of his game has made him an outcast with most of the other (non-bad guy) arcade characters also thinking of him as someone to be feared (along with the other bad guys). Because of this, Ralph's ashamed of his wrecking abilities at times even though he's very creative with his super strength. It comes in handy when he breaks into the top of the tower in Hero's Duty, when he and Vanellope break into the Kart Bakery and he makes Vanellope a race track so she can practice racing, he busts Felix out of jail, and during the climax when he tries to knock down all the Mentos stalactites into the diet cola lava at Diet Cola Mountain so he could attract and get rid of the Cy-Bugs (even though he was stopped by King Candy, Ralph thought out loud that he needed to hit the Mentos at least one more time for it to work). The NPCs from Ralph's game started treating him nicer though in the end, realizing he game-jumped because of the way he has been treated for the past thirty years and he made some friends (besides the few he already had) during his journey to become a hero.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Batman. Yes, it's so hard to be one of the richest, most attractive, most intelligent men in the world with fighting abilities rivaling most Special Forces, and hi-tech gizmos that NASA would need a decade to reverse-engineer. The Burton/Schumacher movies actually have characters calling out Bruce Wayne on this. The Nolan movies, however, examine how physically and mentally taxing it is to live a double-life as Batman.
  • Jason Bourne in The Bourne Series has had mad assassin training and can read every map, drive every vehicle, speak every language, fire every weapon, can enter anywhere and kill anyone with anything. All that for the little price of his personal memory, however. He also has to dodge a lot of assassins.
  • In the German film Boxhagener Platz, the cool granny protagonist has already survived five husbands. And number six and seven follow the course.
  • At the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we get to see what happened to all the bad kids. Violet is let off the easiest, and is pleased to find that she's much more flexible after becoming a blueberry and then getting juiced. Only her mother is bothered that she's still blue.
  • The original goal of Chucky from the Child's Play series was to get back into a human body, after he put his soul into a doll. By Seed of Chucky however, Chucky has come around to finding his situation not so terrible.
    Chucky: If this is what it takes to be human, then I'd rather take my chances as a supernaturally-possessed doll! It's less complicated that way! Think about it, Tiff! What's so great about being human anyway? You get sick! You get old! You can't get it up anymore. I'm not looking forward to that! ... As a doll, I'm fucking infamous! I'm one of the most notorious slashers in history and I'm not going to give that up. I am Chucky! The killer doll! And I dig it! I have everything I want! A beautiful wife, a multi-talented kid. This is who I am, Tiff! This is me!
  • In Dracula Untold, Vlad's abilities after he becomes a vampire are extremely powerful, being able to curbstomp entire armies in a single battle, but comes at the price of him having blood thirst and being an abomination in the sight of God and man, causing his allies to turn against him.
  • In The Fly, Seth Brundle finds that becoming a diseased mutant does have its benefits, including wall-crawling, superhuman strength, corrosive spit and an enhanced libido.
  • Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers: The Curse of Thorn apparently grants Michael Myers superhuman strength and his seeming immortality at the cost of being driven to kill his family members and being forced to obey the Cult of Thorn. Though he eventually turns on them.
  • Highlander: All of the immortals have perpetual youth and are nearly indestructible. They enjoy the benefits of many lifetimes worth of experiences, wealth and knowledge. However, they can never have children and must watch everyone they love grow old and die. There's also the whole problem of living your life worrying about other immortals trying to kill you.
  • Jennifer's Body:
    • Jennifer believes that her possession is essentially this (in a deleted scene, she is openly amused when Needy speculates about a possible cure for Jennifer's curse), and aside from being somehow even more beautiful, she gains a Healing Factor and Super-Strength. She does, however, suffer from Horror Hunger and it affects her pretty badly when she's not eating regularly - but she scoffs it off entirely.
    • Needy herself becomes Cursed with Awesome at the end of the movie, with all the perks of Jennifer's curse, but none of the disadvantages.
  • In The Last Witch Hunter, the Witch Queen "curses" Kaulder with immortality in attempt to exploit Who Wants to Live Forever?, but it only turns him into the world's best witch hunter. Justified later, as it turns out she used him as "storage" for her immortality, it being necessary to bring her back to life fully.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: In Captain America: The First Avenger, Steve Rogers learns that the Super Serum he was given has sped up his metabolism to the point where he Never Gets Drunk, which is inconvenient as he's trying to drown his sorrows after Bucky was seemingly killed. He gets over it in Avengers: Age of Ultron where it's shown that it means he's able to drink Thor's highly potent Asgardian mead without any ill effects.
  • The Mummy Trilogy:
    • The Mummy (1999). Okay, Imhotep got eaten alive by scarabs and had to slumber for a few thousand years, but once released he became an immortal, invincible badass. And, the people who cursed him, and their descendants, were then forced to spend those thousands of years guarding his tomb, waging war on anyone who tried to open it, to prevent the badass from coming out. They thought the Egyptian afterlife was too good for him, but really, it would have been much easier to just kill him. The protagonists even directly state "cursing people just seems to make them stronger, why not just kill them?"
    • In The Mummy Returns, the Scorpion King is cursed to serve the god Anubis for eternity. And as part of this curse, he becomes a humanoid scorpion, only killable by a certain weapon, and 5000 years later is set to revive and conquer the world unless stopped.
    • This was averted in The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. The Emperor already had superpowers while he was alive, the curse just turned him into a terracotta corpse.
  • My Pet Monster: Max hates the fact that he periodically turns into a monster with Super Strength. His sister, however, is convinced that it is the coolest thing ever.
  • The premise for Phenomenon. George gains extraordinary mental powers as well as telekinesis all caused by a brain cancer that activates normally dormant regions of the brain. His first big problem is finding out why he got this power — since it scares the locals, it makes his personal life harder than it used to be (he's from a small town). Once he finds out, he takes it much better — yes, he takes a brain cancer that kills him in less than two years, and the inconveniences that go with treating such a cancer, much more peacefully than ostracism.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
  • The main character from Shallow Hal is hypnotized to see a person's inner self. This means that every woman worth hitting on also looks like a supermodel.
  • In The Suicide Theory, Percival desperately wants to die, but keeps surviving his numerous suicide attempts, going so far has to hire a hit man, Steve, to off him (he survives three further attempts by Steve to fulfill that contract). Steve tries to convince Percival that as he is essentially invincible, he can do whatever he wants without any lasting consequences at all, but Percival isn't convinced, and his many attempt to die leave him looking increasingly chewed up throughout the movie.

  • "Living Hell" by German Rock/Punk band Die Ärzte, in which a successful musician complains about all the sex, money and fame he gets. Inspired by… some real musician's complaint whose name escapes us right now.
  • Kendall Payne's The Prayer is based on this: a series of curses then explaining why they're awesome:
    May you find every step to be harder than the last
    so your character grows greater each stride.
  • Jazz pianist Keith Jarrett had to use a piano in bad shape for his legendary Köln Concert. The unique sound of the piano is seen to have contributed to the quality of the performance.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Diarmuid of The Love Spot from Celtic Mythology was "cursed" with the titular spot, which caused every woman who looked upon it to fall madly in love with him. A terrible, terrible curse indeed. It DOES kind of, indirectly lead to his death, though... In fact, the concept of the geas (or geis) often overlaps with this trope; in many stories, it brings great power if the associated certain conditions are not violated, but upon violation a nasty curse does tend to kick in.
  • In Christian folklore, the Wandering Jew is ostensibly "cursed" with eternal — or at least unnaturally long — life for taunting Jesus on the way to the Crucifixion. Of course, this could double as a case of Blessed with Suck from the Christian perspective: If the Wandering Jew truly is immortal, then no matter what good deeds he does to atone for his sinful act, he can never go to Heaven, since one must die in order to enter the afterlife.
    • However, without the curse, he would never have had time to repent, and he almost certainly would have gone to Hell. Sure, not being able to go to Heaven sucks, but between the choice of "Live forever and never go to Heaven," or "Go to Hell," he easily got a good deal. As Hell is (pretty much by definition) the worst possible thing, then even floating in an empty universe after it undergoes heat death would be a step up.
    • Also, according to Christianity, the second coming will bring the kingdom of God anyways (with resurrection of the dead and so on.), so technically, it is not necessary to die, the guy just has to wait a bit longer.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • In a Greco-Roman myth recorded by Ovid in Metamorphoses a man named Lycaeon is turned into a wolf as divine punishment for being a cannibal and serving human flesh to the gods. It's strongly implied that he was happier in this form than as a human.
    • According to the Roman writer Ovid, Scylla was a nymph cursed to become one of the most powerful, hideous, and feared monsters in existence, making this Older Than Feudalism. She also raised bemoaning her fate to an art form few since have matched, deciding that if she couldn't be beautiful anymore, she'd stay in the spot she was transformed for the rest of her life, devouring anyone who came near. Having around six wild dogs attached to her may explain the whole "devouring people" deal.
  • Egil, from Icelandic "Egil's Saga". Modern interpretation of it see his description as a clear sign of Paget's disease. It leads to many, many disadvantages but to one thing that is extremely useful for a Viking: a head that can even take the blow of an axe.
  • Norse Mythology has the story of Nornagest, a person who, as an infant, was going to be given blessings from the Norns (the Norse goddesses of Fate), but his parents angered one, who, instead of a blessing, gave him the "curse" that he would die when a specific candle finished burning. They manage to turn this "curse" into a blessing by putting out the candle so it would never "finish" burning... until he is forced to light it again three hundred years later.
    • A similar story from Scotland features three witches, a baby, and a piece of peat. No one told the baby, and on her wedding day she found the piece of peat and tossed it on the fire.
    • The Greek equivalent of that story was named Meleager. The Fates appeared to his mother and told her that he would only live as long as a certain stick in the fire remained unburned. Then when Meleager "accidentally" kills two of his brothers, his mom goes insane and burns the stick, which results in him horribly melting in the arms of his wife-to-be Atalanta.
    • A similar situation occurs in The Simpsons, in "Treehouse of Horror IV" when Homer sells his soul for a donut...
      Homer: Hey, wait. If I don't finish this last bite, you don't get my soul, do you?
      Devil Flanders: Well, technically, no, but...
      Homer: I'm smarter than the Devil! I'm smarter than...
  • According to legend, Thomas The Rhymer was captured by the Fairie Queen, and traded his ability to lie for his freedom. Since he could no longer speak an untrue word, every prediction he spoke about the future came true sooner or later.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Chris Hero has a naturally elevated testosterone level. Most men would think that would be awesome but in Hero's case, it causes him to fail drug tests.

  • TV Tropes Roll To Dodge: The other part of a curse put on Makuta9999 is that whenever he gets a six when he is attacking something, it immolates, extinguishes, freezes, melts, explodes, implodes, and finally disintegrates.

    Visual Novels 
  • Archer of Fate/stay night has access to every weapon but the drill-sword Ea at the cost of them all degrading a rank in power. However, he's able to use Broken Phantasms (greatly powering up one's Noble Phantasm at the cost of breaking it) because every weapon is a Noble Phantasm for him.
    • As to why this is a "curse", this power is the external manifestation of his own soul. His soul manifests as a desolate Field of Blades surrounded by gears/flames. Yeah, Archer has issues.
  • Hatoful Boyfriend has Anghel Higure. He constantly produces hallucinogens from his own body, which cause a field of hallucination that gets bigger and more effective the more physically active he's being — and he's not immune to them himself. On the one hand, Anghel is constantly tripping and finds it hard to get people to take him seriously or even be nice to him because of how he acts. On the other hand, this ability somehow lets Anghel know way more than by any rights he should. And when even the super-strong Okosan can't fight the physically-enhanced Charon Virus Ryouta, Anghel can by making Ryouta play by the rules of his fantasy world, thus preventing the extinction of humanity.
  • Ciel of Tsukihime has Nigh-Invulnerability so long as the vampire Roa remains alive thanks to the world itself, which will not let her die because technically, Ciel = Roa = Alive, and her death would be a paradox. Despite how incredibly useful this is in her line of work, she is dedicated to destroying Roa. Of course, she does have her reasons...
    • Although she can be killed by Shiki cutting her "lines" due to their properties.

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Angel can revive the dead, which is an incredible power and is exactly why she doesn't like it and tries to be discrete about it. Kayla of all people realizes what could happen.
    Kayla: What if people found out about her power? You know how much danger that would put her in? Good and evil alike would want someone who could revive the dead! Everyone would be after her, and she would have to be on the run for the rest of her life! And—and since she's an angel, she probably can't die, so she would be on the run forever!
  • RWBY: The twins, Qrow and Raven, have the ability to shapeshift into their namesake birds. They don't tell many people they have this ability, and it helps them travel the world very swiftly and gather intel discretely. After a conversation where she tells Yang and Weiss that Ozpin cannot be trusted, Raven reveals the ability and insinuates that it's a terrible thing she is angry and bitter about. However, of all the questionable things Ozpin has done, this isn't one of them, as the shapeshifting is entirely at-will, and doesn't seem to have any particular drawback.

    Web Comics 

  • Aurora (2019): The Ferin race was created centuries ago when a mage had a habit of cursing anyone who annoyed him into animal forms. Surprisingly, the curse turned out to be hereditary, leaving them with Super-Strength, Super-Toughness, and a Healing Factor. Even Falst, who has spent his entire life persecuted for his appearance, admits that the only problem is the Fantastic Racism. Actually being a Ferin is pretty awesome.
  • The character Lorelei from Black Tapestries, who almost immediately gets transformed into a werefox with heightened strength (while retaining her capacity for rational thought during most circumstances) and is soon thereafter rendered immortal by Issac's meddling.
  • Sir Thane from Blooming Faeries is cursed with an eternal boner, non stop foul language during intercourse, and for any woman who sees him to irresistibly want to sleep with him. This starts out as a problem since this attracts 'any' woman nearby. Including ugly ones, elderly ones, married ones and even an orc woman who is ugly even by the standards of an orc. However all of that only lasts for moments as any woman who sleeps with Thane will become beautiful and incredibly buxom.
  • In Bob and George, The Author is Trapped in Another World — except, he realizes, this means Stuff Blowing Up.
  • Bug shows us that getting your hands cut off can be more handy than you think.
  • In Charby the Vampirate, Kavonn curses LaBelle with a spell that enforces Evil Makes You Ugly. But she notices the "ugly" form comes with claws, and deliberately invokes it when cornered into a fight.
  • In Chivalry and Knavery Ulf the Barbarian has a cursed ring that makes him invincible, won't come off, and summons monsters a few times a day. Presumably it's supposed to make the wearer tire of constantly fighting or ostracize him as a danger to society, but Ulf considers that a bonus.
  • City of Blank: Rex doesn't like his ability to touch Blanks, even if it enables him to fight off Blanks without using special equipment.
  • Fae curses are this in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures. When a Fae puts a curse on you, it's a bright wrist decoration that is a promise of a fae punishment to come at some undetermined point in the future. Fae truly despise anyone else killing their target of revenge before they can enact their vengeance; combine this with the fact that these usually end up being absurd pranks with little harm to them and you have protection from on high for as long as this curse lasts, which can be years, decades, sometimes the rest of your natural life. Dan once had such a curse and abused the hell out of it for his adventuring.
  • In the first arc of Dominic Deegan, Dominic is cursed to have a fish fall on him every time he tries to smoke. Dominic takes the curse in exactly the spirit it was intended — his cat, on the other hand...
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Ellen spreads her "curse" to Vlad, turning her from a male bat-like monster into a human woman. Vlad is so happy to be human at all (the pain of trying to transform on her own nearly killed her) that she just decides that she was never a man in her life as far as she was concerned, and remains a woman without complaint.
    • While they started out as Blessed with Suck, Elliot's and Ellen's powers are beginning to turn into this, lighter on the "cursed" and heavier on the "awesome" as time goes on. At the beginning, they were cursed with Power Incontinence (regularly needing to turn into a girl for Elliot, regularly needing to zap people to change their gender (for males) or enhance their "assets" (for females) for Ellen), but it is already beginning to lessen, and in Elliot's case he has gained a superheroine form in which he is pretty much a Flying Brick with a Healing Factor — the only downside being that he still has to be a girl while doing it.
  • Prince Sid from Fey Winds is supposedly "cursed" so that whenever he becomes nervous, flustered, or scared, he becomes a dragon. This is, of course, lampshaded. (His family has a long tradition of hunting dragons and mounting their heads on the wall.)
    Kit: Sid, in what way is turning into a dragon a terrible curse?
  • In Girl Genius, having The Spark sits somewhere between here and Blessed with Suck. On the one hand, you can make reality your bitch in the name of Science! On the other hand, the same disorder makes you crazy enough that Hoist by His Own Petard and/or being butchered by an angry mob wielding Torches and Pitchforks are the de facto causes of death in your future.
    • Taking the Jägerdraught turns you into a twisted bestial monster-man, with discolored skin, More Teeth than the Osmond Family, and other features like horns or tails or extra eyes, as well as make you a borderline sociopath who lives only to fight and indulge - and that's if the draught doesn't outright kill you. It also makes you extremely strong, tough, and you age extremely slowly. (Arguably the personality change is also uncertain, as most of them were brutes even as humans.) It's said that every Jäger took the draught willingly, and knowing fully well the consequences. And the physical changes? They consider it "good looks".
  • Goblins:
    • Tempts Fate kills a demon lord... almost. Its eye swears to banish Tempts to the deepest level of hell once its body reforms in ten thousand years. In order to ensure this curse comes true, it furthermore curses Tempts with immortality so he can live long enough. Tempts is extremely enthusiastic about the whole thing.
    • Idle can come Back from the Dead once per day, with the caveat that she needs to die once per day. Much as she hates the dying part, she loves that the curse lets her get away with using overpowered Suicide Attack spells.
  • Homestuck:
  • Latchkey Kingdom: Rose. Being a super-durable shapeshifter doesn't really help with Clone Angst.
  • Richard from Looking for Group — he is cursed, but aware of the awesome and fuels his own curse to keep the awesome.
  • Luke Surl: Hmm curse is the ability to see future events but nobody will be able to believe you... Is there a good use for that curse?
  • Billy Thatcher of morphE awakens as an Obrimos mage capable of telepathic feats, flight, super speed, control of fire and electricity. When he awoke he was a chess grandmaster on his way to the World Chess Championship and the star of a successful reality TV show. These powers are the worst thing to ever happen to him.
  • While the Negative Continuity of the series prevents it from being explored too in-depth, this strip of The Non-Adventures of Wonderella ends with Wonderita being cursed so that "any blade she touches shall become as dull as a river-washed stone". The final frame shows somebody futilely trying to chainsaw her to death.
  • Oglaf:
    • Zigzagged with a man cursed to be the best in the world at blowjobs. He doesn't quite understand why that's a curse, until the ghost explains that from this point on he'll either be known only as the blowjob guy, or never be able to reveal his talent. (This is also a case of invoked Blessed with Suck.) Later, the city is threatened by an army that will only leave if the general is defeated in sexual combat and the man uses his ability to defeat the general, leading to him being crowned king and then proceeds to use the power to solve all the kingdom's problems, playing the trope straight in the end. He also finds that he actually enjoys giving oral sex, preventing him from being ashamed by his reputation as "King Blowjob".
    • Later a man goes to the "curse emporium" to ask that a man be cursed with lots of awesome sex with hot chicks. He's asked how exactly this is a curse (possibly even by the same spirit who came up with the blowjob curse) and explains that people would be jealous and you wouldn't get a lot of work done. Giving in, the spirit asks who he wants cursed.
      Man: It's me. I'd like to curse myself please.
      Spirit: You couldn't even get someone else to come in and do this for you?
  • The one-off comic "Oh My God!" has the witch curse the princess "so no man ever loves you again!" She's quite thrilled. The witch is more her type anyway.
  • Ara's curse in Penny Blackfeather makes you incredibly magically powerful, blue-haired and generally cool-looking, although there's a small matter of turning into a parrot outside Goblin Valley and the Superpowered Evil Side lurking over your shoulder.
  • The Corby clan in Rogues of Clwyd-Rhan are "cursed" with the ability to turn into birds. Voluntarily. With absolutely no restrictions or drawbacks involved. The "curse" is broken when another character points out that they can just stop doing it.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
    • In strip 2793, someone realises this herself: being cursed by Heaven to die after a year means she's invulnerable until then.
    • Parodied in strip 4080: In Hell, you have to mine the acid mines every day forever — so you get job security and live forever. Similarly, in "Hades", raking sand forever in Hades is considered a blessing. The latter is explicit about being commentary that the modern world is such a Crapsack World it leads to people thinking things like this.
    • A slightly different satirical comment on the world in "Tower": A princess doesn't mind being locked in a tower forever because there's electricity and good phone reception.
  • In Swords, a man is cursed with a draconic arm... which gives him the strength to wield a BFS one-handed in combat. The man cursed with a silly little fish arm isn't so lucky.
  • Raine from TwoKinds suffers from Involuntary Shapeshifting, and relies on a Power Limiter slave cuff to stop her from going full Keidran. However, this also lets her see through magical illusions.
    • Karen Taverndatter annoyed The Archmage once and was cursed with cat ears (in a world where Beast Folk are enslaved). She finds them adorable and was extremely grateful. Later, during the main story, she annoys a wannabe dragon and gets cursed to become a full cat, but because said dragon is inexperienced she only gets a cat tail, which she also loves.
  • Words of wisdom from xkcd: Some people consider "may you have an interesting life" to be a curse. One, fuck them, and two, if you were actually cursed in this way...
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Mao wants to remove his curse, at the expense of his cat-like features (which Copycat likes the look of, and nobody else has ever mentioned as being out of the ordinary), and sharper instincts. Yokoka either doesn't know or doesn't care that she is similarly cursed.

    Web Original 
  • Pretty much all of the protagonists in Dimension Heroes don't want their Guardian powers, despite how cool some of them think they are.
  • Looming Gaia: Lycanthropy is generally considered a curse, as uncontrollably turning into a bloodthirsty monster is obviously a bad thing. However, lycanthropes grow muscle mass dramatically, and any diseases they have are likely to get better or disappear completely. Evan, who was a frail and sickly child, intentionally contacted lycanthropy to improve his health, and ended up tall and beefy.
  • In Paradise, human characters are randomly, permanently transformed into Funny Animals, though the change is Invisible to Normals who still see the Changed as their old selves. For all that the Change is disturbing and life-changing, it brings with it some advantages, including heightened senses, athletic ability, and a bit of Wish-Fulfillment body modification (most commonly Breast Expansion). In "Confession Building", it saved a character's life when he was abducted by robbers who shot him in the head — except that since he'd Changed into a shorter form, the bullet passed harmlessly over his real head.
  • Scorpio, one of the main characters of The Questport Chronicles, is turned into a dragon by an evil wizard. He doesn't seem to mind.
  • The title character of the erotic Sword and Sorcery series, The Wulf Archives, is always complaining how the Gods hate him. However, since he has continual fantastic adventures, dozens of exotic lovers who don't mind sharing and has an alternate well-endowed lion furry form that femmes lustfully drool for, it's hard to see how exactly he is cursed.

    Web Videos 
  • Karen of The Awkward Compilation is "different". (It's never specified quite what this means, but it seems to cover some degree of geekiness.) On the one hand, it causes Jerkass Ernie to dump her. On the other hand, it happens to be what Dogged Nice Guy Kevin likes about her. He even has a slightly Narm Charm-y speech about it!
  • In a LoadingReadyRun a man mocks Menthor, the Peppermint god, and is cursed with eternally fresh breath, which he comments is a stupid curse. Subverted when it turns out it also makes everything taste like you just finished brushing your teeth, making it at least double-edged.
  • Discussed in the What the Fuck Is Wrong with You? episode "Scattered, Smothered, Covered & Stupid" (which was recorded on the day of Stan Lee's death) when Nash jokingly gets pedantic about proper usage of the Infinity Stones, and Tara tells him that he'll be doomed to a life of cameo hauntings. Nash respond that he would actually love for something like that to happen.

    Western Animation 
  • On Adventure Time, Finn buys a new grass sword that's "cursed" with being supernaturally efficient and also wrapping around his arm and not coming off. On his quest to get it uncursed he realizes that this is actually pretty cool — and even better, once he accepts it the sword conveniently gains the power to turn into a sort of armband and back whenever he chooses.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Katara grieves learning and having to use such a power she doesn't want as bloodbending. Only a few episodes later, though, she is able to put it to good use during a side quest to avenge her and Sokka's mother, manipulating a Fire Nation soldier for information about said mother's killer.
    • Although an in-depth description would be massive spoilers, let's just say that both Aang and Korra learn in their series what it means for them to actually be the Avatar, and leave it at that.
  • In Ben 10: Alien Force, Azmuth's assistant Albedo, after a failed attempt at replicating the Omnitrix, ended up trapping himself in the form of an albino clone of Ben. He treats it as a horrible condition, even though in practice he is now in a much taller and stronger body (Galvans, his natural species, are around the size of a frog, with matching physical abilities), he retains his Super-Intelligence, and still has access to the Voluntary Shapeshifting granted by the Omnitrix (the "Ben Twin" appearance is just his Shapeshifter Default Form which he automatically reverts to most of the time), making it an actually pretty sweet condition from a normal person's point of view. The problem is that Albedo is very arrogant, so he sees the body as ugly and primitive (from his point of view, it's like being trapped in the body of a primate), and can't stand all the side effects caused by being in a teenage body.
  • An episode of Futurama had Fry get infested with alien worms from an egg salad sandwich. The worms then built a metropolis in his bowels and began overhauling his entire body, bringing him to a level of peak mental and physical capabilities. Everybody else treats this like a horrible affliction and resolves to remove his worms, but Fry thinks this is the best thing that's ever happened to him. Incidentally, the application of this trope also explained why no one else was eating bathroom sandwiches. Everyone thinks having worms is bad so the "affliction" is gotten rid of before anyone realizes it's a good thing. Really, the main reason it's treated like a curse by everyone else is that they just think having worms live inside you is too gross. They know about the benefits as they watch the worms mend a hole THROUGH HIS TORSO in seconds and see all the internal changes first hand. Leela spends time with Fry and falls in love with him because of how much they improve him. In the end, Fry sees them as a curse only because he can't tell if Leela loves him for him or for what the worms have made him.
  • Gargoyles:
    • Demona gets this twice: The first, she and MacBeth are magically bonded so that each is immortal, unless slain by the hand of the other. Second, she was zapped by Puck to turn human in the day time instead of going into the normal stone sleep. Both "curses" were meant to be punishment, but all they did was give Demona more time to plot against her enemies (99.9% of Earth) and gave her foes fewer ways to take her down for good. The curse does have negative effects however; she can't heal like normal gargoyles, so she just suffers until a wound is fully healed at a slow human rate, on top of which the transformation hurts quite a lot. There was the amount of time that she had spent alone as a monstrous pariah, she is likely insane by now.
    • The mutates. Normal humans transformed into anthropomorphic beasts by the unscrupulous Doctor Anton Sevarius. In case of Derek/Talon and his companions Maggie, Fang and Claw, they're turned into feline beast men (and woman) with enhanced strength and senses, bat wings allowing them to fly (as opposed to the gargoyles, who can only glide in air currents) and the ability to generate and shoot electricity, and later there is Wolf from The Pack, transformed into what looks like a werewolf, which instills him with superhuman strength, heightened senses and the ability to see in the dark. It's shown that Talon, Maggie and Claw do not like their new forms and wish they could turn back to humans, which they cannot unless an antidote is produced, which Sevarius refuses to, whereas the two villainous mutates, Fang and Wolf, are shown to love their new forms and wish to remain as they are.
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, Prince Keldor fails a Secret Test of Character when trying to claim the power of Grayskull and is instead cursed with the power of Havoc, a destructive and corruptive power equal to the power of Grayskull. At first, Havoc is slowly killing him, so he's even more desperate for the power of Grayskull as a means to cure himself. After failing to take the power from He-Man, Keldor chooses to embrace Havoc completely. This stabilizes the Havoc, allowing Keldor to fully control its power without any further risk to his life, at the cost of mutating him completely into Skeletor.
  • Mystique Sonia from Hero: 108 is "cursed" with having anyone who tells her that he loves her three times in a row turns into a Yaksha... an adorable creature which she can wear on her head like a hat and which she is very close to. She especially takes advantage of this when her (presumably) first Yaksha gets destroyed by the ligers and soon gets replaced with another one because in the same episode, she has the luck of encountering a man who loves her and tricks him into saying that three times. Another upside is that if a Yaksha stops loving Sonia, it turns back into its original self. This means that Sonia will always know who is merely infatuated with her, and who loves her unconditionally. Yaksha is cursed to lose its original form and be stuck as this monster. A monster with an incredibly durable elastic body, that makes it a huge asset in battle. Not to mention all the time Yaksha spends cuddling with the woman it loves.
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • In one episode, Arnold's grandpa believes he is dying of a "curse" that causes men in his family to die at the age of 81... exactly at the age of 81. They never die young and always live several years past the U.S. male life expectancy. What a terrible fate! It becomes even sillier when Arnold notices that he did the math wrong; his predecessors died when they were 91.
    • Another episode concerns Helga's Sibling Rivalry with her older sister Olga, with Helga being The Un-Favourite to Olga who routinely excels in her studies, has a promising career, and gets showered in endless praise by their parents, while Helga is seen as a mere tumor by them. After talking things over, Olga explains that Helga's lack of attention from her parents is actually a blessing in disguise since it allows Helga to enjoy her life however she pleases, while Olga is weighed down with expectations of academic, professional, and material success from her parents.
  • In Justice League, Jason Blood betrays Camelot to Morgan Lefay, and as a punishment, Merlin binds his soul with the demon Etrigan — thus rendering him virtually immortal. Although Jason perceives this as a terrible curse, it's hard to see the downside, since the demon can't even come out unless Jason recites a specific short poem (although the demon also speaks inside his head constantly, so it can go either way). The downside of the curse isn't directly the immortality. It's the fact that Jason feels so miserable he'd be suicidal, and CAN'T KILL HIMSELF to escape from it. Quick recap: the reason Merlin curses him is that he breaks his oaths of loyalty by betraying his fellow knights in order to be with the woman he (thinks he) loves, Morgan Lefay. She, in turn, promptly reveals she was just using him to give her son Mordred a shot at the throne. So basically, he murdered all his friends to be with a woman who thinks he's little more an inconvenience. You'd probably feel pretty sucky, too.
  • Kaeloo: Kaeloo is "cursed" with the power of turning into a monster whose actions are beyond her conscious control, but the power does prove to have its advantages, such as restoring order when things get too chaotic or playing sports which require physical prowess. In addition, it's pretty much the only thing that can keep Mr. Cat and Olaf in check.
  • In one of the My Little Pony animated specials, the eponymous character of "Come Back, Lily Lightly" is the only unicorn whose horn lights up, which she assumes will get her ostracized if anyone finds out. Thus, she runs off when she's accidentally outed, only for her friends to find her and tell her that a glowing horn is cool, and helpful for finding lost ponies on dark nights.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Bridle Gossip", Poison Joke causes a different curse on those who come in contact with it. Fluttershy, the Shrinking Violet, is cursed with an unfitting deep voice, making talking even more awkward for her than usual. This becomes useful in the Season 4 episode "Filli Vanilli", when her deepened voice let her stand in for Big Macintosh in an acapella quartet.
    • In the Season 5 episode "Appleoosa's Most Wanted", the Cutie Mark Crusaders run into Troubleshoes Clyde, a saboteur who's been going around messing up rodeos. He turns out to be just a big, clumsy Gentle Giant who wanted to be in a rodeo as a colt, but believes his upside-down horseshoe cutie mark means he's Born Unlucky. It turns out his clumsiness makes him a natural at prat-falls, and the Crusaders help him achieve his dream by getting him a job as a rodeo clown.
  • After Tommy touches an irradiated asteroid in the Pet Alien episode "Big Hand of Fate", his right hand becomes extremely large, swollen and "pillow-soft". He initially wants it cured, but after seeing all the upsides it brings (particularly, catching baseballs; a boon when Tommy wants to join the baseball team), he grows to enjoy his new hand.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "The Ballad of Badbeard", the kids hear that whoever finds the lost treasure of the Pirate Badbeard will be cursed with a bad beard forever. The kids (boys and girls both) think this sounds awesome, and go looking for the treasure. When they find it, it turns out — to their delight — that the "treasure" is a chest filled with cheap fake beards.
  • Recess has an episode where a new kid shows up and the main cast discovers he's better than them at everything. He's smarter than the smart kid, tougher than the tough kid, more poetic than the artsy kid. Except it turns out he never has any friends because everyone keeps forcing him to compete with them. Then a Secret Service agent shows up to ask for his help, and he flies away in a fighter jet.
  • In Sabrina: The Animated Series (in which teenage Sabrina is retconned into being a preteen or young teen), Sabrina's aunts Hilda and Zelda were punished for abuse of their powers by being transformed to permanently look 17. Being young and beautiful forever is something that many people through the ages in real life would drink potentially toxic elixirs in order to achieve. And all they had to do was overuse their powers. Since they're REALLY not 17, they don't have the age-related drawbacks, either. Not that it'd matter, since they could make their own alcohol, tobacco, porn, you name it, even if they weren't legally allowed to buy it. One of its drawbacks however, is they can't get any real jobs that require someone to be at least 20-years-old, and they were stuck working in a restaurant just to earn their own money.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the episode "The Mansion Family", it was revealed that Mr. Burns suffers from every disease known to man, some of them discovered in him. However, "Three Stooges Syndrome" basically causes the diseases to cancel each other out. Mr. Burns thinks he's indestructible because of this despite the doctor warning him that even a slight breeze can kill him. This later came back to bite him in the boney butt later on in the series when a new disease managed to "shove them through the door" and he suddenly found out how mortal he really was. Turns out it was his hatred and malice keeping him alive all these years, and he blissfully went back to the way he was, much to the chagrin of the rest of the town.
    • In the "Treehouse of Horror XVI" segment "I've Grown a Costume on Your Face", a witch punishes the town by cursing them to become their costumes after they refuse to let her win the costume contest, as she wasn't technically in costume. Of course, for people like Marge (a skeleton), Disco Stu (Steve Martin Arrow), or Hans Moleman (a mole, and also not a costume) it's a true punishment, but people like Bart (Wolfman), Sideshow Mel (Spider-Man), or Milhouse (Muscular construction worker) ended up enjoying their "fate" and not wanting to be changed back.
  • In South Park it has been revealed that Kenny dying in many episodes has been retconned to not be a case of Negative Continuity, but an actual superpower, he cannot die. Or more accurately, he does die, but is then instantly reborn, with all his memories intact. He remembers all his deaths, but nobody else does. He thinks this sucks, because he has to suffer all the pain of all those deaths over and over — and he's had plenty of extremely unpleasant deaths — and he's annoyed that nobody else remembers it. Still, it comes in handy for the occasional Heroic Sacrifice.
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Match Maker", Star accidentally turns her 50-something home-room teacher Miss Skullnick into a troll, and can't figure out how to change her back. This only serves to make Skullnick even crabbier... until in the episode "Interdimensional Field Trip", where she learns more about trolls and the advantages that come with her new form, including Super-Strength and a lifespan as long as four centuries. It helps that the only downside of being a troll is that they're ugly, and Skullnick wasn't exactly a looker even as a human.
    Miss Skullnick: I'm going to live to be four hundred? And here I thought I was going through "the big change". I'm a teenager again!
  • Transformers: Animated: Blackarachnia is constantly searching for a way to remove her organic half and angsting about everything she's had to give up because of it. However, her exile was self-imposed, her organic parts give her the ability to generate webbing and paralyzing venom, and her "hideous" body has seduced pretty much every Autobot and Dinobot she's come in contact with.
  • In Season 2 of Young Justice, Superboy still looks the same even after a five year Time Skip. One of the side effects of the cloning process that created him is that he will never visibly age. He can still eventually die of old age, but he'll always look like a teenager/young adult. Superboy is less than happy about this and it's implied to be one of the reasons he broke up with M'gann. Alanna tries to sympathize with him but judging by the way she says "curse", she's clearly not seeing the downside.


Video Example(s):


Gamma Is A Girl's Best Friend

Bruce angsts about having turned his cousin into a gamma mutant, but Jen/She-Hulk doesn't mind because she much prefers her new appearance and powers.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / WithGreatPowerComesGreatHotness

Media sources: