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Freeing the Genie

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"Aladdin! You've just won the heart of the princess; what are you gonna do next...? Psst, your line is, 'I'm going to free the genie...' Anytime."
Genie, Aladdin

A genie or similar being who is bound to a master is released from that bond by the master. Usually done with a wish something along the lines of: "I wish you were free" but it doesn't have be those exact words, or involve wishing. There are two basic forms; if it's a Benevolent Genie, the master may make this his final wish as a reward. If it's a Jackass Genie, such an act of selfless generosity may be the only way to get it on your side - see Wishplosion... or not, in which case you'd better hope he loses his powers. Genies who retain their powers will often continue to do magical favors for their former masters out of friendship and gratitude, making this a possibility for characters who want to wish for more wishes. Other times, genies are inherently a Slave Race and the only way to free one of them is to wish for them to no longer be a genie.

One interesting thing about this trope that should be noted: the reason the Genies are enslaved is almost never given. Originally, they were a race of beings told to obey men by God but they refused, and the wish-granting is their punishment. This is rarely mentioned, one exception is in I Dream of Jeannie, Jeannie was imprisoned by a more powerful, evil genie.

If the genie decides to continue helping you after you free it, it's a case of Sweet and Sour Grapes.

Subtrope of Wishplosion, Slave Liberation and Genie in a Bottle. Compare Becoming the Genie. See also Tricking the Shapeshifter.


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    Comic Books 
  • In Phil Foglio's XXXenophile story "Wish Fulfillment", the genie's mistress Zola, who was in love with him, tried to wish him free so they could be equals and lovers instead of mistress and servant. The genie explained that he could only be freed if she made a wish that he wanted to fulfill but could not. He couldn't, for example, create a rock so big he couldn't lift it as "I have no desire to give myself a hernia". After the two enjoy some highly energetic sex, Zola wishes that they could do it again immediately. The genie was so exhausted that he couldn't grant her wish, thus freeing him.
    Zola: (disappointed) Does that mean you can't do it?
    Genie: Can you wait five minutes?
  • In W.I.T.C.H. this usually happens automatically with the banshee of the world of Arkhanta: they have to grant three wishes to anyone who captures them, as long as they have the power to do so (it's actually a plot point that Yua, the most powerful of them all bordering on being a Reality Warper, was unable to cure Maqi's autism), but once this is done they're free to go... Unless the last wish is that they'll grant all their captor's wishes, as happens to Yua when captured by Ari.
    • This is weaponized by the Guardians when they have to face Ari: knowing his power depended completely on Yua, and not wishing to kill him partly because all he wants in the end is to cure his son's autism and doesn't understand the Oracle is forbidden from doing so for a reason and partly because they're under orders to find a peaceful solution, they resolve to reach Yua and break the enchantment keeping her bound to Ari. They succeed... At which point Yua, who has very justifiably grown to hate Ari, takes back everything she gave him and kidnaps Maqi to make him suffer.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Discovery, a Fairly OddParents fanfic, Timmy wishes Norm the Genie free in chapter 12: One Jump Ahead.
  • In the Facing the Future Series, Desiree, the wishing ghost is freed from her curse that makes her grant every wish she hears and now only grants the wishes of her One True Love, Sydney Poindexter.
  • In Shadowchasers Series continuity, doing this is relatively easy; you simply have to give the genie his or her lamp. Because a genie under this sort of curse is obligated to serve whoever owns it, being given the lamp makes the genie his/her own master, breaking the curse. The problem with this is, whoever does this is not protected from any retribution from the genie from that point on, so evil or abusive masters rarely do it.
  • Surprisingly in another Fairly Oddparents fanfic, Never Had a Friend Like Me, Norm doesn't attempt to reach this goal for most of the story since he is, for all intents and purposes, pretty free while his lava lamp belongs to Amanda. He even turns down the offer to be freed when she makes it.
    • Amanda finally makes the wish to free him during the confrontation against Bob in an attempt to save Norm's life.
  • Djinn: Superboy almost immediately tries to free Djinn from his servitude after watching Disney's Aladdin for the first time, comparing Djinn being forced to grant the wishes of others to his own existance as a clone created to serve his creators goals. Subverted when Djinn is grateful but points out that he isn't bound to his bottle the same way the mythological djinn were, and could simply hide the bottle somewhere completely inaccessible if he wanted to be free.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A variation in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. Near the end of the movie Sinbad throws the lamp into a river of lava, which frees the genie inside as prophesied.
  • The live-action remake of Aladdin also has Aladdin free Genie from his lamp using his third wish, but unlike the animated film where Genie is left with "semi-phenomenal cosmic power", Genie here just becomes a human being.
  • Three Thousand Years of Longing: Alithea is Genre Savvy about how wily djinn can be, so she naturally offers to use her first wish to free the Djinn. Unfortunately his magic doesn't work that way, he can only be freed if someone uses all three wishes. Alithea ultimately uses her third wish to free him of his obligation to love her and return to where he belongs i.e. the realm of the Djinn. This proves to be enough to break his curse and free him.

  • Arabian Nights:
    • Aladdin frees both the genie of the lamp and the less powerful genie of the ring at the end, after the villain steals the lamp and relocates his palace with it. Though it's notable that this story was not in any of the Arabic compilations and was almost certainly written by the French translator.
    • In the original Arabic stories imprisoned djinn were always Sealed Evil in a Can. In "The Fisherman" a djinni in a pot tries to bribe the fisherman who found the pot into freeing him with wishes, but he decides against it. While the djinn in bottles that are the MacGuffin of "The City of Brass" are too scared of being captured again and simply profess their repentance and fly away after their bottles are opened.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward inherits Oreg, who has been an immortal slave for hundreds of years, and is bound to a magic ring. While Oreg can't grant wishes as such, he is a powerful mage and must do whatever he is ordered to do. As Ward is against slavery, and, in theory, doesn't even tolerate it on his own land (a slave who sets foot on Hurog land is free from then on), he would very much like to free Oreg. He briefly considers taking Oreg to the palace and ask one of the powerful mages there, but then he realizes that the magic was stronger in the past, and it probably won't help, and he doesn't want to expose family secrets, either. In the end, he frees Oreg by killing him. Something that makes Oreg happier than Ward.
  • In Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones, the sequel to Howl's Moving Castle, it is revealed that the Jerkass Genie freed at the end was actually Howl who'd been turned into a bottled genie by a more powerful djinnnote  who wanted him and Calcifer out of the way.
  • There's this short story where a girl has a wish egg. It's by Charles de Lint in the Waifs And Strays collection of short stories. At the end, she sets it free with her wish.
  • One anthology of djinn stories had a tale where the genie had a succession of married couple masters, each of whom wished for "youth, wealth and power"—and each time he made the wishers younger (with correspondingly smaller wealth and power grants), until one of the wishers was young enough to trick into wishing him free.
  • Subverted in the River of Dancing Gods series with the Lamp of Lakash. Anyone greedy enough to make a second wish from the lamp would automatically free the genie and take its place. The "three wishes" story was a clever dodge by the genies to get themselves freed by unwitting masters.
  • Metaphorical example in Ella Enchanted. At one point, Ella's cursed state is likened to a story about a trapped genie - she grants "wishes" by being forced to be obedient and doing what people tell her, but she absolutely hates it. At the end of the novel, she frees herself through sheer force of will and desire to protect Prince Char.
  • In the Doctor Who novel The Stone Rose, Rose wishes for the G.E.N.I.E. to be able to refuse to grant wishes it deems unwise.
  • In Feet of Clay, golems take the place of genies. They have few supernatural abilities beyond being immortal, incredibly strong and tough, and tireless, but must have a master who they will serve completely. It's so inherent to them that when they secretly create a new golem intended to lead them to freedom, they sell it for a pittance. They can't simply be told they're free, but Carrot works out how to do it by purchasing Dorfl then putting the receipt of ownership among the animating words in his head.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the pilot of I Dream of Jeannie, Major Nelson wished Jeannie free to get rid of her. This backfired when it turned out she was now free to follow him anywhere, and sabotage his relationship with his then-fiance.
    • In future episodes Jeannie was forced to serve other people who acquired her bottle, meaning the writers forgot about this.
  • The X-Files: The episode "Je Souhaite" has a genie who has become misanthropic and jaded as a result of only having been used by greedy, vain, self-absorbed people, including Mussolini and Nixon. She's eventually Mulder's employ and offers him his three wishes. In an attempt to show that people can be selfless and use their wishes for good, he almost immediately wishes for peace on Earth, which she warns him against, but his extreme lack of specificity leads to her vanishing every single person except the two of them, which makes everything very peaceful. He uses his second wish to bring everyone back and is about to use his third wish to request peace on Earth again, this time writing out an extremely detailed statement with no possible loopholes, until Scully posits that influencing the state of the entire world shouldn't be up to one man. Mulder decides to free the genie and let her do what she said she would wish for if she could: to be mortal again and sit in a cafe, sipping a nice cup of coffee, and contentedly watch the world go by.
  • "Addams Family Tree", an episode of The Addams Family, has a woman wish that a wishing well never existed so as to free the ghost trapped inside it.
  • Are You Afraid of the Dark?: The storekeeper who sold the protagonist the box containing a female genie accidentally becomes a genie himself when he wishes for a million wishes.
  • Two episodes of Charmed (1998) deal with genies. The first genie needs to grant three wishes in exchange for freedom. The second episode has Phoebe acquire a genie accidentally, and when she wishes her free, becomes the genie herself — and the genie turns out to be a demon who was imprisoned in the bottle as punishment.
  • In the 2000 adaptation of Arabian Nights, Aladdin frees the genie of the ring, and offers the same to the genie of the lamp (who refuses).
  • In Once Upon a Time, when wise and benevolent King Leopold finds a genie, his first wish is for the genie to be free, and his second wish is for the genie to get the third wish. Unfortunately, these three wishes prove not to be exceptions to the genie's observation that wishes always end badly for everyone involved.
    • In the spinoff Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Will wishes for Alice's suffering to end. Because part of her suffering was being separated from Cyrus, the genie she loved, the wish made Will take Cyrus's place as genie.
  • In one episode of Poltergeist: The Legacy had a genie in a bottle who has become a Jackass Genie because her previous masters all promised to free her with their third wish and each had betrayed her trust. In the end, the genie traps Derek's girlfriend in the bottle to force her current master, Derek's friend (who happens to be in love with the genie), to free her. The man takes a moment to think and wishes that the bottle no longer be a prison for anyone, freeing Derek's girlfriend and the genie at the same time.
  • The Legacies episode "There's A World Where Your Dreams Came True" sees Lizzie get manipulated by a jinni into making several wishes that result in significantly worse realities than the one she started with. When the final reality ends up being a dystopian hellhole, the jinni agrees to give Lizzie a chance to undo her wish, as long as she hands over the urn that makes the jinni serve others. Lizzie doesn't want to hand over the urn due to the havoc it would cause, so she Takes a Third Option: She wishes to rewrite history so that the circumstances under which the Jinni became a servant never happened. The Jinni accepts this, but it comes with consequences: Since this means that Lizzie never met the Jinni, she forgets the Character Development that she gained in the episode.
  • The Tales from the Darkside episode "Djinn, No Chaser" has a couple end up with a genie trapped in a lamp. The genie doesn't have to grant their wishes, but tries to extort them to free it by trapping them in their home and tormenting with various conjured threats. Eventually, the wife works out a way to free him by using a can opener, and the genie is so grateful that he befriends them and willingly conjures luxuries.
  • In The Genie from Down Under, the titular Australian genies have only two ways of getting free; either being wished free, or by tricking somebody into wishing first to be in the cave where the opal they are bound to was mined, and then to wish themselves inside the opal — once that happens, the genies gain the ability to touch the opal, which they normally can't do, and they can wish themselves free. Because Humans Are Bastards, the genies are devoted to the second route, as convoluted as it is.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Magical rings or vessels with various kinds of genie sealed inside appear in the earlier editions. Depending on the precise item, either the genie may be automatically freed once it has granted a certain number of wishes, or it may need the genie to be wished free or the item destroyed. The former category are usually created by high-ranking genies to punish members of their own society, whilst the latter tend to be created by ruthless mortals looking for power.
    • The artifact known as the Iron Flask of Tuerny the Merciless, originally from Greyhawk, is able to seal fiends inside of itself. The bearer of the Flask may then take any of the sealed beings out at will, compelling their obedience, before putting them back inside, in the traditional "genie in a bottle" manner. The problem is that there's a risk (cumulative 5% chance, in the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition) that the binding runes will spontaneously fail and release the demon when it is invoked.
    • In the World Axis cosmology of Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition, the vast majority of the djinn type of genie have been sealed away in rings, lamps and other vessels as punishment for warring against the gods in the early days of creation, and the few survivors are constantly trying to seek these vessels out to release their allies... whilst also trying to ensure their old enemies stay trapped, leaving them fractured and disorganized.
    • A Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition Paragon Path called the Prince of Genies is built on this idea; the concept is that the character has found a sealed genie and is now adventuring to find a way to release the genie from its prison. As they level up, they slowly unravel its bindings, allowing them to draw upon greater amounts of its power.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse including a type of Genie Bane (the Dream Makers) who can do anything but materialize on Earth. If anyone wishes for them to do so they'll become virtually omnipotent. Fortunately none of them have been freed...yet.

  • The Tempest: Ariel is an air elemental rather than a genie, but he has power similar to one and similarly does Prospero's bidding while requesting his freedom. Which Prospero grants at the end once he no longer needs Ariel to further his plans.

    Video Games 
  • In King's Quest V, the genie's first act upon being freed is to put the person who freed it into the lamp.
  • The end of the Agrabah world in Kingdom Hearts has Aladdin releasing Genie with his third and final wish, just like in the movie. Genie is actively shocked by this, as Jasmine had been kidnapped and taken off world by the Greater-Scope Villain and he was pushing Aladdin to use his final wish to rescue her. Aladdin explains that he gave his word upon initially meeting Genie and chose to uphold it. This is the main reason Genie chooses to go with Sora and co. after being freed, even though he's not bound by any request Aladdin makes now. It also serves as fairly handy justification for Sora being able to call Genie with Summon Magic in the game as well as in Kingdom Hearts II.
  • In AdventureQuest Worlds, this was Zhoom's reason for destroying Zahart's ring in the Sandsea saga, which he had been using to control Tibicenas. Tibicenas promptly enslaves Zahart and escapes to the Djinn Realm to take revenge upon the Efreet, the ruler of all Djinn, for kicking him out. Nice Job Breaking It, Hero.
  • Several examples in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn:
    • In the first dungeon, you can free a genie imprisoned in a bottle by the Big Bad, which gets you a rather powerful sword for that portion of the game. (It's the sword used by the Big Bad of the first game.) One of the dialog options is actually a nice Lampshade Hanging: "You would be the proverbial genie in a bottle?"
    • No bottle or wishing involved, but in the final chapter in hell, there is an imprisoned genie you can either set free or kill. The latter gets you an incredibly powerful sword, but if you are of a non-evil alignment you should do the former.
    • Likewise, in the drow city, some drow are using a summoned genie for target practice, beating him up and then healing him before he gets killed. He begs for you to just kill him already (by the rules of the game, a summoned creature is returned to its home plane unharmed when killed), but doing so will anger the drow.
    • Not in the original game, but a fan-made Game Mod expands upon the circus tent Side Quest. You can find out that Kala got his power from a genie, and he got himself killed before using the last of his Three Wishes. You can use the remaining wish, and one of the possible things to wish for is the genie's freedom, which nets you some Experience Points and a positive nudge of the old Karma Meter.
      • In fact, from a power-gaming perspective, this is the best choice of the four specific wishes to make, awarding the party with +1 Reputation and five thousand experience points. The second best is to send the genie to kill the Rakshasa who trapped the genie in the first place (three thousand experience points). Comind dead last is either resurrecting Kalah or damning his soul, which both grant a thousand experience points, but the former also grants +1 Reputation.
  • Though Genies exist in all versions of The Sims (via expansions), only The Sims 3: Showtime allows you to free them, which adds them to your family as a fully playable genie-Sim.
    • You can also take on a quest to free a genie in The Sims Medieval. Once free, the genie becomes an ordinary citizen of your kingdom, though he still has absurdly-colored hair.
  • Not exactly a genie, but in a small H-game called Marionette of the Labyrinth, the heroine, Claudia, is a Marionette, a magical doll built for combat that follows orders from the ones who activate them. Claudia is activated by a group of soldiers losing to a band of goblins, and ordered to cover their escape and then follow after them. When she finally completes the second part of the task (having been forced to take the scenic route since the original escape route has collapsed) and makes it back to her creators' nation, she meets the solder who activated her and asks for further orders. Since both he and the kingdom are dying, he orders her to do as she pleases, granting her freedom.
  • NetHack's genies are more like the classical kind—rubbing a magic lamp releases the genie from imprisonment. It may decide to grant a wish, become your pet, do nothing/disappear, or attack you for bothering it. "Blessing" the lamp beforehand with holy water greatly increases the chance of the genie feeling nice enough to give you a wish.

  • Averted in The Wotch: Wishes affecting the Djinn aren't allowed, including those that set them free. Angelique does note however, that Jason planned to do it.
  • The Princess Pi comic "Princess Pi vs. Bottle Blonde" ends with Bottle Blonde the genie telling Princess Pi that she would like to be freed from servitude. Pi tells her that she can't free her without knowing if she's good or evil, so first she wishes for her to admit her affiliation. Bottle Blonde assures Pi that she's good, so Pi frees her. Bottle Blonde retains her magical abilities after this.
  • Done accidentally in this DiscoBleach strip via a poorly thought out attempt to game the system.If you don't get it 

    Web Original 
  • Rowdy from TV Trash has a genie that he freed years ago, but who still sticks around cause she's a friend. This gets used against a villain that tries to steal her bottle, prompting a "Did You Actually Believe...?" from Rowdy for thinking he would ever keep a slave.

    Western Animation 
  • Used in an episode of Samurai Jack. He attempted to rescue a captured fairy who can grant one wish (in her entire lifetime), with which he could get home, but kills the only person who knew how to get her free. In trying to get her out, he gets himself trapped, and after a thinking for a few moments, decides what to wish for— "I wish we were free."
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers subverted it: whoever frees the genie has to take their place (as the Literal Genie who appeared in the episode failed to mention). The genie tricked the wisher into replacing the genie by saying something about having infinite wishes...
  • The Fantastic Voyages Of Sinbad The Sailor cartoon also had a freeing of the Genie at the end on one episode. How? By wishing that there was no lamp.
  • Aladdin: The Series:
    • In one episode, a little homeless girl who gained possession of a female genie named Eden who became Genie's Love Interest had every intention to free her. At the end of the episode, the girl is about to make the wish but sadly mentions that "[the girl] wished we could be together forever..." She realizes what happened and tries to take it back, but it's too late. Eden, though regretful that she won't be able to spend more time with Genie, is happy to grant the wish since she bonded with the girl and knows that she is still needed. It's also pointed out that genies are immortal (meaning that they live forever), and while Eden will have to wait to be able to spend her life with Genie, it won't be that long since humans obviously don't live as long as genies do.
    • This concept is addressed in another episode, where Chaos creates an Evil Twin of Aladdin, complete with an evil genie under his command. When the evil genie grows to giant size and starts wrecking the city, Aladdin solves the problem by grabbing his lamp and wishing for him to go away. And he does. When Genie questioned why the guy listened to Aladdin, he replies that he just didn't think his Evil Twin would be the type who'd use a wish to free a genie.
  • The Adventures of Puss in Boots has Puss letting the orphans use a Golem as their own personal genie, but when Exact Words cause problems, he briefly considers it better off to leave it dead before he comes up with a better idea and commands the Golem to "Write down what you want the Golem to do".
    Golem: "Be free".
  • The cat genie at the end of Heathcliff & the Catillac Cats's episode "Wishful Thinking" is freed after he accomplishes Mungo's Three Wishes, mostly wasted as when Mungo just says, "I wish to know [where the genie is]".
  • DuckTales (2017): In the episode "Treasure of the Found Lamp!", the characters spend most of their time trying to recover the Lamp of the First Genie on behalf of the warrior Faris D'jinn. Once it's recovered, it turns out that Djinn's ancestor had freed the genie that was inside it because they fell in love - D'jinn is the eight-times great-grandson of the couple, and he wants the lamp back for purely sentimental reasons.
  • The OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes episode "Soda Genie" had Rad, Enid and KO encounter a Soda Genie named Citrus Twisty, who causes trouble by tricking KO into wishing she'd make Rad a burger using those exact words so that she'd turn Rad into a burger. After Enid takes this incident to court, Citrus Twisty ends up in jail. KO feels bad for Twisty's plight, so he uses his second wish to grant Twisty freedom. Citrus Twisty thanks KO for freeing her, but refuses to undo Rad's burger transformation because she claims that wishing for her freedom has freed her of the obligation of granting a third wish. Even when KO offers that Twisty could still return Rad to normal of her own volition in return for being granted freedom, Citrus Twisty rudely refuses and flies off.


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Genie is freed

Aladdin uses his last wish to free Genie, much to his delight.

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