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Maladict: I don't want to, you know, spoil the spirit of the moment, but that is a really awful idea. The el-tee won't agree to something as wild as that.
Polly: No, he won't. But he'll suggest it.

You know how the Glad I Thought of It trope is when a character suggests something, only to have another scoff at the idea, but then claim it to have been their own idea when it succeeds? Well, maybe there's a trope involving a character who has a plan, but wants someone else to think it's their idea and thus drops subtle hints about carrying out the plan under the idea that it was their idea to begin with. But it'd need someone to make such a page, and I can't think who...


You could have it contrasted with Hint Dropping, as that's when somebody tries something, but the second person fails to come up with the idea. Hypnosis or other means of Mind Manipulation can be another way to do this. See also Backstory Invader.

Unfortunately, I don't see quite how such a page could be written, much less what sort of examples could be added. If only a Troper could come along and start such a page, perhaps they could better define the concept. If anyone could write such a page, perhaps they should give it a go?


You could perhaps put examples here maybe?:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In one episode of Detective Conan, a murder happens at a reunion of Kogoro's high school judo club; both the victim and the killer are old friends of his. Conan decides to let Kogoro have this one, but still helps out by providing subtle hints; for example, he realizes that the victim's time of death was thrown off because she engaged in rigorous physical activity before being killed and nudges Kogoro in this direction by asking about a statue of the legendary warrior-monk Musashibo Benkei, who Died Standing Up.
  • In Anime-Gataris, this turns out to be the M.O. of Nakano. In order to further his plan to turn the real world into anime, he nudges the Anime Club in the right direction by suggesting they follow through with events that allign with his goals. The most blatant example of these is in episode 9, where Minoa hears Nakano's encouraging words echoing in her ears, only for the next shot to reveal he's right there whispering.

    Comic Strips 
  • Luann:
    • Crystal manipulates her friend Tiffany into flirting with Gunther in order to attract hunky exchange student Quill's interest. When the plan backfires, the following exchange occurs:
      Tiffany: Your dumb plan tanked, Crystal!
      Crystal: I didn't plan anything, you ditz. You decided to pursue Gunther.
    • Crystal then goes on to suggest, at first mockingly ("Gunthany!"), then seriously, that Gunther would in fact be a better match for her friend. This time, however, Tiffany doesn't take the bait. This could be an example of a subversion, such a thing might add some variance to the page, no?
  • Dilbert realized that deliberately invoking this on his boss was about the only way to get funding for an idea Dilbert came up with. Considering his boss, he's right. Dilbert refers to this as "bossifying" his idea, and an example can be seen here...

    Films — Animation 
  • In Pollyworld, Lorelei tries to have Polly sent to a boarding school by convincing Polly's dad it's his idea.
  • Ice Age 5: Collision Course: Manny and Ellie try to make Peaches give up on the idea of moving far from them by making her think it's her idea. Ellie says this is how they always make Peaches do whatever they want her to.
  • In Trolls, Chef uses this to convince the king to bring back Trollstice.
  • In The Princess and the Frog, when Louie the alligator refuses to take the heroes to the person that can break their spell (due to how dangerous it is), Naveen starts saying that is a pity he cannot fulfill his dream of playing jazz in the river boats, and that maybe if he wasn't a gator, it may be possible. After a few seconds, Louie says that he could ask to become human, with Naveen calling him a genius for "getting" that idea.
  • In The Incredibles, Bob goes to see super-suit designer Edna Mode to repair his old costume after it gets damaged on a mission. She claims that it's a "hobo suit" and says he needs a new outfit, leaving Bob to wonder where he can possibly get one. Edna immediately agrees to make one for him, all the while insisting that Bob is "making" her do so; Bob himself isn't trying to be tricky, as he genuinely just wanted Edna to patch up the damage.
    Bob: A new suit? Now where the heck am I gonna get a new—
    Edna: YOU CAN'T! It's impossible, I'm far too busy, so ask me now before I again become sane!
    Bob: ...wait. You wanna make me a suit?
    Edna: You push too hard, darling—but I accept.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The King and I: Anna has to do this because she can't directly give advice to the King. See the entry under Theater.
  • In My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Toula's relatives subtly convince her patriarchal father to let Toula get a job. The aunt, who owns a travel agency, loudly laments how she needs an assistant. Toula's mother sighs that such an assistant would need to be good at computers, and isn't it unfortunate that none of the family's sons fit the bill? Cue lightbulb moment. Toula's mother lampshades this practice, which is apparently common to all women, with a succinct quote: "The man may be the head of the family, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants."
  • This trope takes center stage in Inception. In the film, corporate espionage can be performed by entering a person's mind while they're sleeping and tricking them into either handing over information or stealing it from the person's subconscious. Far more difficult than stealing information is inception, the planting of information or an idea into someone's subconscious and making sure it goes so deep into their subconscious and is so convincing that they become willing to change their lives due to it. Since someone realizing the idea didn't come from their own mind is a sure way to make the inception attempt unsuccessful, doing it right involves not just a Journey to the Center of the Mind, but also manipulation of the target's psychological weaknesses including their hopes, fears, traumas, and desires, so that the idea being implanted will seem like it really did arise organically from their own mind.
  • In Singin' in the Rain, after Cosmo comes up with the idea of having Kathy's voice dubbed over Lina's:
    Kathy: Don, you're a genius!
    Cosmo: [sarcastically] I'm glad you thought of it.
  • In Attack of the Clones, Palpatine pulls this gambit on Jar-Jar in order to force a declaration of emergency powers that will ultimately lead to his rise as Emperor. Interestingly, he does this by having his chief of staff drop the hint rather than doing so himself, leaving him free and clear of any accusations despite the hinting being obvious and heavy-handed.
  • Django Unchained: Stephen, Candyland's head house slave, is forced to resort to this with his owners after Calvin Candie, who is normally much more receptive to his direct criticism and input, is killed. He privately confides to Django how frustratingly heavily he had to drop hints before anyone finally picked up on his suggestion of punishing Django by selling him to a mining company known for its atrociously cruel treatment of slaves.
  • The Wing or the Thigh: Philippe Bouvard, the TV host, asks Charles Duchemin how to convince Jacques Tricatel to confront him in the TV show. Duchemin answers that he should make Tricatel think that it is his idea. Bouvard manages to do so and so Tricatel wants to confront Duchemin. Bouvard asks him how to convince Duchemin to accept and Tricatel gives him the same answer: try to make Duchemin think that it is his idea.

  • Over Sea, Under Stone, the first novel in Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series. While the protagonists are trying to figure out a riddle, their Great Uncle Merry (Merriman Lyon) repeats one part of it ("the signs that wax and wane but do not die") to help them figure out that it's talking about the phases of the moon.
  • Codex Alera: In the last book, Ehren uses this to get Attis to get himself killed trying to fight Invidia. Considering the effectiveness and the sheer audacity of his choice of victim, it winds up as not just an example Ehren's, but also might be listable as an example of Glad You Thought of It.
  • In The Snow Queen, Aleksia's job is to arrange happy endings in her fairy tale kingdom, and it's often easier if her clients don't realize what she's doing. To do this, she's providing yet another instance where ideas are being given and created as someone else's idea. This could be useful in demonstrating the trope.
    Between the two of them, she and Kaari had managed to put it into Essa's thick skull that this would be a grand betrothal token for Suvi, and even more cleverly, had managed to make him believe that he had thought of it.
  • Discworld:
    • Polly tries to get Blouse to do this in Monstrous Regiment. It doesn't go quite how she planned. The book suggests this is a skill all sergeants (and people who gravitate to that rank like Polly) acquire to keep the officers in line.
    • Lord Vetinari is a master of this (presumably just to amuse himself, given that he's an absolute dictator whose word is law). In the following example from The Last Hero, it serves Vetinari's interest to make Archchancellor Ridcully agree with him, because the two are theoretically of equal rank and friction between the city and the University could be troublesome:
      Vetinari: No, I agree with Archchancellor Ridcully that sending Captain Carrot would be an excellent idea.
      Ridcully: Eh? Did I say something?
      Vetinari: Do you think that sending Captain Carrot would be an excellent idea?
      Ridcully: What? Oh. Yes. Good lad. Keen. Got a sword.
      Vetinari: Then I agree with you.
  • Shogun's Lord Toranaga is notorious among both his allies and enemies for his skill at this. During the massive Gambit Pileup that makes up the book, his enemies are constantly trying to figure out whether such-and-such a player is working with Toranaga, acting independently, or simply believes himself to be the latter when he's actually the former. Yabu and Omi also rid themselves of an enemy by manipulating an unaffiliated character into deciding to kill him, but the person who fell for it is well-known to be stupid and impulsive, and any intelligent characters see through it immediately.
  • The Mrs. Jeffries series is based on this. As the housekeeper to a remarkably rich Scotland Yard detective, she organizes the household staff to independently investigate the cases and then steers her clueless employer to the right conclusions.
  • The Concrete Blonde: Invoked. When Bosch fails to convince Belk to ask for a continuance, he assumes he should've tried to make Belk think it's Belk's idea.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The A-Team, "Lease with an Option to Die". B.A.'s mother thinks he's the head of the A-Team, so the others play along. When the subject of a plan comes up, Hannibal thinks of one while saying that B.A. had told them about it on the way. B.A. goes along with it.
  • Hogan's Heroes: Colonel Hogan does this to Colonel Klink all the time. Later episodes suggest Klink knows he's doing this, and is going along to oppose the Nazi regime he despises.
  • Psych has an episode where Shawn realized that Carlton Lassiter really needed a jolt of confidence, so he and Gus spend the episode solving the week's case, and then relaying the information to Carlton in such a way that he solves it on his own, much like how you're coming up with all these examples now.
  • Monk does this when Disher lost his confidence, planting the idea in his head with a tape while he slept. As such it's technically an example.
  • On The Office (US), Dwight invented a scheme to get Jim fired, which is easily another useful example we could list, but convinced a clueless Andy that it was his idea so that it couldn't get traced back to Dwight.
  • Yes, Minister: This is one of Sir Humphrey's standard tricks.
  • On Only Fools and Horses
    • In "Stranger on the Shore", Del used this to get Denzil to accompany him on his booze cruise to France. Denzil tried to back out but Trigger reminded him "It was your idea!", as this page is too.
    • In "If They Could See Us Now", Trotters Independent Traders has gone bankrupt, and Del has been banned from any business dealings. He then pushes Rodney into realising the company could be reformed if he was the owner, and pretends not to follow the idea until Rodders explains it to him.
  • In The Borgias, Machiavelli does this to make it look like the king of France is passing through Florence peacefully and that it was the king's idea. The French army's lances at point (that is pointing forward) would indicate Florence had been conquered, a possibility that had gotten the city threatened with excommunication. Their lances at rest (pointing straight up) would not, but they can't fit under the gates that way.
    King Charles: Monsieur Machiavelli! Our lance at rest prevents us from entering your fair city!
    Machiavelli: Then perhaps angled backwards?
    King Charles: And of what will that be a symbol?
    Machiavelli: Of Your Majesty's infinite resourcefulness.
  • Bones: Invoked. When some characters wonder how Dr. Sweets will tell Daisy Wick she's being fired, Booth suggests he'll make her think she's leaving on her own.
  • Bewitched: In "Maid to Order," Darrin insists on hiring a maid for pregnant Samantha to prevent strain. She settles on Naomi, a sweet but incredibly clumsy woman. Naomi fully acknowledges her own klutziness, explaining that she's a widow who desperately needs a job to pay for her son's medical schooling. Thanks to some magical help from Sam, Naomi is able to succeed, but she ultimately ends up quitting, as she wants what's best for the Stephens and their unborn baby. Before she goes, though, she produces a list of the things she's broken and, without missing a beat, rapidly determines the exact percentage of her salary that should be withheld to pay the damages. Impressed by Naomi's calculator-like mind, Samantha suggests that Darrin find her a job in his advertising firm's accounting department, where she can get more money and play to her strengths. She rushes to tell Naomi the good news, saying "Mr. Stephens had the most wonderful idea!"
    • An earlier episode uses a similar trick. Samantha comes up with some clever ideas for Darrin's latest advertising client (a soup-making company), and at first, he loves them—but then he decides that the only way she could have possibly devised the slogans was with her magic (in case you hadn't noticed, Bewitched is heavy on Unfortunate Implications). After a massive fight, the two eventually make up, with Samantha casually remarking "How silly that a can of soup would come between us." Darrin decides that it's the perfect slogan, and heads which point Samantha tells Endora that she knew it would be a great idea, and deliberately let Darrin think it was his. Endora lampshades the whole situation and points out its issues, but Samantha resignedly tells her that it's the way things have to be. Yeah...
  • In Hotel Beau Séjour: The main characters have important information for the police but won't be believed if they approach the police directly, so Charlie talks to a local man who falsely believes himself to be psychic, and implants the information while making him believe that it was a psychic vision and then convinces him to go to the police.
  • Supernatural: Dean is angry that Castiel won't help him avoid one of Chuck's prophecies. Castiel responds that it would be a terrible, terrible idea to interfere with a prophet because that would bring down the wrath of an archangel. Dean then formulates a plan that involves saving Sam by using Chuck to bring down the wrath of an archangel.


    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Discworld Roleplaying Game, the Sultan of Al-Ybi's extremely intelligent first wife makes very stupid suggestions that contain the basis of an idea he could develop himself.
  • Pathfinder: Manipulating a person in this way is a tricky but practical combination of the Diplomacy and Bluff skills — the first, to convince them of a course of action; the second, to make them think it was their idea in the first place.

  • Invoked in The King and I: it's a minor plot point that Anna has to do this because she cannot be seen as offering advice to the King. So she pretends to be guessing about his plans — and quite naturally he says that she's guessed right, and then proceeds to do just what she "guessed" that he would do.
  • Xanadu on Broadway:
    Kira: If only there were a book, a magic book, that listed all the locations in Los Angeles, and had their phones numbers next to it.
    Sonny: Yeah...
    Kira: ...and if the book had pages the color of amber.
    Sonny: I know! I'll look it up in the phone book!
    Kira: My god, you're brilliant!
  • In Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol the Bogle drops increasingly obvious hints about Marley using his spirit powers to affect Scrooge, with varying terms, but he doesn't get it until the alcoholic version of "spirits" is used.
  • In 1776, Benjamin Franklin uses this twice in rapid succession with his and John Adams's proposal for American independence stalls in the Continental Congress. Franklin summons Richard Henry Lee of Virginia to ask about how to get the idea moving again, and Lee suggests getting someone else in Congress to advance the idea, just as the Pennsylvanian planned. Franklin then makes a show of wondering what Virginian could possibly have enough power in the state's government to suggest writing the proposal...and Lee immediately realizes that he's the perfect choice, bursting into song about how he'll get the resolution within a day. The whole situation is promptly lampshaded by Adams, who wonders why Franklin didn't simply ask Lee for help; Franklin replies that if he had, they would owe Lee a favor, a situation that could cause issues in the future.
    Benjamin Franklin: Now, if we could think of a Virginian with enough influence to go down there and persuade the House of Burgesses—
    Franklin, John Adams: Who?
    Lee: Me!
    Franklin: Oh, why didn't I think of that?
  • The legendary "Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears" speech from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is a famous example. Mark Antony, who gives the oration at Caesar's funeral, is given strict instructions not to praise Caesar by the group that murdered him. Antony agrees and promises to "bury Caesar, not praise him"...then proceeds to use those "insults" to sway the public's opinion against the assassins, all while explaining why what he's saying aren't compliments. Soon, the Roman populace is whipped into a frenzy of love for Caesar; the conspirators are next kicked out of Rome, which eventually leads to a civil war that ends in their defeat. This is all a subtle scheme on Mark Antony's part to seize power for himself and his own allies; by making it seem like he's simply following the crowd's will, he's able to endear himself to them and gain their unwavering support.

    Video Games 
  • Mass Effect 3: During the quest to get the various merc bands on your side, Shepard learns that the leader of Eclipse is in police custody due to being borderline Ax-Crazy. If you don't want to release her, you can convince her right-hand man to leave her in there and take over — or get him to "suggest" having her released and assassinated.
    "Uh...yeah. You see right through me."

    Web Animation 
  • In Red vs. Blue: The Recreation, Simmons, Lopez, and Donut are being hunted by the Meta. When Lopez makes one of his usual Hispanic comments, Donut (Who took high school Spanish but is nowhere near as proficient as he thinks he is) assumes Lopez has come up with a way to escape, and relates this idea to Simmons. Simmons likes the idea, and congratulates Lopez for his thinking. Meanwhile, Lopez can't tell either of them that the idea has a few holes in it.

    Web Comics 
  • Erfworld: When Wanda tells Parson how to deal with Stanley she says: "Arrange it so that he thinks it was his idea. Let him have your way."
  • Darren of Wapsi Square not only tells Katherine to use this technique on Monica, but he uses this technique to make the suggestion.
  • In Gunnerkrigg Court, Muut gives Annie a blinker stone that he claims was from Mort. While Mort does initially accept Annie's thanks, he later admits that the idea was Muut's in the first place, primarily due to the fact that Muut isn't entirely in Annie's good graces, but also because Muut isn't supposed to directly interfere with the living (Mort is a ghost). We're not privy to the discussion between Mort and Muut, but Mort makes it sound as though Muut was playing this trope in an extremely blunt fashion, and Mort wasn't fooled at all.
  • In The Order of the Stick, this is how the High Priest of Hel gets Roy to take him to the Godsmoot. He can't just tell Roy where it is, or ask Roy to take him there (and if Roy knew what "Durkon's" intentions were, he would absolutely refuse), so he and Roy look around Tinkertown until they find someone heading to the Godsmoot, under the pretense of looking for someone who can resurrect Durkon. As the High Priest puts it to Durkon, he's a vampire, making something seem organic when it's really an unnatural facade is his entire thing.

    Western Animation 
  • Rick and Morty: It's revealed that the entire plot of "One Crew Over the Crewcoo's Morty" was just Rick trying to manipulate Morty into deciding to give up on his heist film idea.
  • Jaga from ThunderCats (2011) pulls one of these, carefully cloaking references to "Sight Beyond Sight" in aphorisms about Kingly behavior, to coax Lion-O into admitting he's had a vision. Unfortunately, he decides that having won Lion-O's trust, the details can wait... Unfortunately for both of them things go downhill from there.

Hey, great job on the page so far. If something else comes to mind you'll come back and add it, of course.

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