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It Sucks to Be the Chosen One

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One of the biggest reasons for being the chosen one is for being able to go through these kinds of things.

"I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But once in a while can't You choose someone else?"

So you're The Chosen One. The Messianic Archetype. The one foretold by prophecy that everyone has been waiting for. Secret knowledge and power awaits! The world will change, and it's all because of you, baby.

But wait! The Chosen One does not have it easy, oh no. Far from it. There are rules to be followed and intense training to undergo, and danger lurks around every corner. The Big Bad and The Dragon are out there, actively searching for you, trying to hunt you down before you grow too powerful. In fact, if they haven't already tracked down and killed everyone you ever knew, you may have to leave it forever behind anyways to fulfill your destiny.

And sometimes your destiny isn't all that it's cracked up to be either. A Messianic Archetype must always remember that No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. A hero may find themselves with a Wound That Will Not Heal, discover that their unique power has a terrible price (especially if they can't control it!), a Sadistic Choice presented by the villains, or they may even be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice. Even if they survive, they may end up with serious mental issues relating to their work. The list goes on and on. Simply put, it sucks to be the Chosen One. Often presented as a deconstruction of the standard Messianic Archetype/Chosen One tropes.


Named for this Basic Instructions strip. Strongly related to Being Good Sucks and Blessed with Suck, and often leads to I Just Want to Be Normal, or even Refusal of the Call. Can be made worse if mixed with Missed the Call, where it's revealed that the "chosen one" was the wrong guy, meaning they went through all that crap for nothing. Compare The Perils of Being the Best. More positive works and reconstructions might use this to allow a Chosen One to earn a happy ending, but this is relatively rare. When others can see how much being the chosen one sucks, they may express Sympathy for the Hero.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Death Note:
    • Yagami Light: He wasn't exactly chosen, it was pure luck. But according to Ohba Tsugumi, the creator, Light would have become a great detective and worked side-by-side with L himself on many cases had he not touched the Death Note. Fans even calculated that he would have lived a long life, to somewhere in his eighties. As it was, he goes batshit insane, gets many people including his own father killed (and his sister became a vegetable, great job Light), and he dies in his early twenties.
    • L qualifies as well. Thanks to his smarts, he's the only one able to threaten Light's killing spree during the first arc, and ends up dead. Oops.
    • All of the children at Wammy's. While the orphanage certainly seems like a better choice than some others, they are literally being raised and groomed to succeed a highly intelligent, enigmatic detective.
      • Near and Mello, L's successors. They probably both suffered through the trials that Wammy's put them through to deem them worthy of succeeding the Century's Greatest Detective. Look how they turned out. Mello is quite obviously not totally mentally stable, has a massive inferiority complex, and winds up dead. Near is completely isolated from society with only his subordinates for company, unable to interact with and understand others (or at least having a lot of trouble with it), in part thanks to his upbringing. He ends up inheriting the mantle of L, and, as a result, having to shoulder the pressure of living up to the world's expectations.
  • In Fist of the North Star, being a good guy SUCKS. The world is such a cruel, dark place that the only ones who truly enjoy their lot are the rotten ones, while the heroes must fight their own despair as well as the bad guys. Part of the reasons so many Manly and Tender Tears are shed in the series. In particular, being the chosen heir of Hokuto Shinken dooms you to a life of hardship, and in Kenshiro's time, there are THREE men, including him, worthy of succession.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion shows this in Shinji Ikari, who pretty much hates his role as the savior of Tokyo 3 throughout the series. The few times he does get a little bit cocky about it, he is swiftly and cruelly brought back down to earth.
  • The Magical Girls of Puella Magi Madoka Magica are not happy. They have traded their freedom for a lifetime of fighting witches for a single wish, which may not even be worth it anymore. Fighting the witches systematically tears apart their social lives. And if a puella magi dies in the witch's other world, her body never appears in the real world. They're missing. Forever.
    • To add insult to the injury, anyone who becomes a Magical Girl is already dead by the time they make the contract. To be precise, a Magical Girl in this universe is essentially a Lich, and only maintains life and normal function through the presence of her Soul Gem, which cannot be farther than 100 meters from her or she will fall into an Empty Shell state and eventually start to decompose much like a corpse.
      • And it turns out that the Witches they were fighting this whole time? They used to be magical girls just like them. Turns out that to accept a contract and become a magical girl, you're also damning yourself to become an Eldritch Abomination and be killed by another girl later—there's no way around it, and it is inevitable, unless you die in battle first. Thus, any magical girl killed in action and proclaimed missing is lucky (in fact, it’s implied this is why the witches are killing them in the first place). And Kyubey knows this but has been keeping it from the girls it contracts.
      • There's also the fact that Kyubey mentions that a magical girl's potential strength comes from her hardships (hence why Madoka's potential baffled him). In practice this means you're taking a Broken Bird, granting them one wish, and then making them suffer horribly.
  • My Hero Academia: Each wielder of One For All has to face numerous perils in their mission to defeat All For One. The first seven wielders were short-lived and just managed to pass on One For All before their deaths. The eighth hero, All Might actually defeated All For One, sustaining crippling injuries in the process. Sadly, All Might learnt too late that he failed to kill All For One and was forced to entrust the responsibility to his successor, Midoriya. Midoriya underwent through so many hazards in his first year at high school alone, while simultaneously training to control One For All.
  • Fushigi Yuugi. If you're the priestess, sure everyone bows down to you, you get to make any wishes you want, and you have a harem of bishounen at your beck and call. But, you have to use your wishes for the good of others (not yourself, with the possible exception of a wish to get home safely). Everyone expects you to know what you're doing, when you don't. You can't have sex or even a relationship with any member of your bishie harem as long as you're the priestess (because Sex Is Evil and will destroy your Virgin Power, and Love Makes You Stupid, or at least distracted and biased.) And worst of all, you are a Virgin Sacrifice to be Fed to the Beast; the very god who grants your wishes will devour your soul unless you can pass the Secret Test of Character.
  • Kagerou-Nostalgia sucks for everyone, including our reincarnated heroes. So far they haven't actually managed to save anyone, while losing their leader and sufferring betrayal from one of their own.
  • Chikane of Destiny of the Shrine Maiden was tired of her and her beloved being caught in a continual reincarnation loop, so she decided to subvert it and set up a Batman Gambit to make sure it never happens again. Sure, they get reincarnated again, but it's not as bad as before in Shattered Angels.
  • Usagi of Sailor Moon considered her being Sailor Moon this, especially during the latter half of the first season and the first half of R. When she finds out she's the long lost Moon Princess, Princess Serenity, it's just after finding out her crush had just been possibly killed and was just kidnapped by the enemy. By the time the first season reaches its end, she makes a dying wish to be normal again and she gets it... only to lose it when new foes appear.
  • In Pokémon 2000 Ash flat out states this after they find out the Exact Words of the legend "and thus the earth shall turn to ash" don't refer to The End of the World as We Know It, but to the person who can save it.
    Ash: Well, right now I'm kinda wishing my mom had named me Bob instead of Ash.
  • Birdy the Mighty: Decode sees Shyamalan, who's actually a deconstruction of The Chosen One, give such a speech how such people might feel about it.
  • Kamui Shirou of X1999's destiny is to determine the fate of the world. But his entire life is not pretty. He watches his mother burned to death and is vaguely told by her to go back to Tokyo to decide his own fate. After arriving in Tokyo, it turns out that his childhood friends, Fuuma and Kotori, are also affected where the former is fated to be the other Chosen One and the latter is destined to die by either one of them. After Kamui makes his decision to protect his friends, Fuuma automatically becomes his polar opposite and kills Kotori right in front of him. It gets worse from there as Kamui realizes that he has to fight his friend to save the world.
  • Hayate's status as the owner of the Book of Darkness in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's directly results in her nearly dying from organ failure, spending a good chunk of her childhood in a wheelchair, and the (temporary) murder of her entire adoptive family.
  • In Revenge Of The Teapot Hero, this is an overarching plot point. The protagonist, Kyrie, is just the latest in a long line of "heroes" chosen by the gods and granted a super-natural [gift]. There can be only one "hero" at a time, and a new one won't be chosen until the current one dies. All the previous [heroes] had a [gift] obviously useful in combat and were sent into battle over, and over again until they died. Kyrie has it even worse because her [gift] is boiling water, so she's sent home and is given an entire day to enjoy her friends and family before her home village is burnt to the ground, everyone slaughtered just to get at her and make it look like the act of random bandits.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: While he, at first, didn't mind being chosen as the Hero of the Shield, Naofumi immediately thought he drew the short end of the stick after realizing that the King and the people of the kingdom didn't have too much respect for the bearer of the title, and that was before they frame him for a crime he didn't commit. Once he learns that he's stuck with being the Shield Hero until either he dies or the Waves are completely stopped, he decides to just say "Screw It!" and find ways to become strong enough to handle the Waves by himself. After a while time, he learns that while Melromarc was prejudiced against the Shield Hero because of the king's prejudice against demi-humans, the neighboring countries, especially those that have a significant demi-human population would treat whoever was chosen to bear the title with reverence and respect because the Shield Hero championed for equality between all races and was especially kind to demi-humans.

    Comic Books 
  • Optimus Prime in IDW's run of The Transformers has a bad case of this. The first true matrix bearer in millions of years, he often laments the burden he carries and the responsibility he feels he has in the war that devastated their world. Add that when the Matrix of Leadership joined with him - it hurt. He interpreted it as the Matrix warning him of the burden he was accepting.
  • Michael Rhodes in Birthright is supposedly fated to destroy God-King Lore and free the world of Terrenos from his tyranny. The pressure of a duty that he never chose in the first place, the resentment of being taken from his home (which also lead to his family being split apart) and the horrors of the war ultimately push him to perform a Face–Heel Turn, side with Lore and betray his comrades just to return to Earth. Making things worse is that he isn't the first, implying that he's entirely expendable as the Chosen One. Then it turns out that he was never really The Chosen One at all. The prophecy was referring to Lore, who had already saved Terrenos in the past and became a villain later. Making all the crap Mikey went through even more pointless.
  • Doctor Strange is the Sorcerer Supreme, and as such one of the single most powerful humans in existence. Unfortunately, this pits him against many Eldritch Abominations even more powerful than he is and malevolent in the extreme.
  • The Great Power of Chninkel: Invoked again and again throughout the story. J'on considers himself unfit for the role bestowed on him by God, has to travel half the world and nearly gets killed multiple times to fulfill his destiny, cannot consummate his love for his female companion G'wel, and is eventually executed by his own people. Even worse, the Almighty Creator saw him fit to die only so that it could attain eternal worship for itself.

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has Harry, as per canon, express this on more than one occasion, mixed with a grudging acceptance of the fact that he is The Chosen One. But he has issues, ones that explode in an extensive Motive Rant in chapter 28 of the sequel, inspired by his being dragged into the Triwizard Tournament, that being the metaphorical straw that breaks the camel's back. Why? Because he can take his lumps (of which there have been many) if he chose to involve himself, if he chose to step up and fight, which he frequently does, to protect the innocent or for a higher cause. That's just the price of doing business. But this? This is just a game, supposedly to boost international cooperation but with shallower motives (Karkaroff and Maxime are both inclined to try and get one up on the legendary Dumbledore), and more to the point, one Harry did not choose to involve himself in.
  • Defied in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality.
    Harry: A lot of children have to grow up too early, though, not just me; and most children like that would probably trade places with me in five seconds. I'm not going to pity myself, Professor McGonagall, not when there are people out there in real trouble and I'm not one of them.
  • In The Successors, Princess Aurora is frustrated that she and her sister were chosen to rule Equestria due to the enormous responsibility it brings, and the burden it puts on her to keep the nation together.
    Aurora: "I'm worried that Equestria won't accept us as leaders. I'm worried some other noble will call us inept or inadequate, and try to seize power for him or herself. There's…there's just such a huge burden on my shoulders now. It's like nothing I've ever had to deal with before."
  • Takato from the Tamers Forever Series can strongly attest to this. At first, he's happy in his role as the OmniTamer, but soon comes to realize that being the vessel of Chaos comes at a terrible cost.
  • In Perfection is Overrated, Midori laments having to send Mai, Natsuki, and Nao back in time to ensure that the greatest tragedies in their lives happen in order to avert a Temporal Paradox without any help, understanding how difficult it is. She wonders why the fate of the world rests solely in the hands of the Himes, who are not the ideal people for the job, but later wonders if they were chosen because they were imperfect.
  • A Protector's Pride: Ichigo is not amused that the fate of the world is always in his hands.
    "Saving Rukia, killing Kariya, stopping Aizen. (sighs) When does it all end? I'm tired of always being the hero."
  • With Strings Attached. Ya think, with a title like that?
  • Oh, how true for the four in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. Although seemingly four of many “Chosen Ones” brought over to fight the Black Tower, they're not professional adventurers like everyone else and very much resent how everyone expects them to act heroically at the drop of a hat. George eventually loses his temper and yells at a teenager trying to get them to rescue her 8-year-old sister; later he decides to give up his shapeshifting ring once the Black Tower is down and they can go home, because “as long as I have it, as long as we have it, we're gonna be someone's slaves.”
  • Consequences Of Unoriginality takes the time to point out that all those monsters the Chosen One has to fight come from somewhere—in this case, they spontaneously come into being to murder and torture innocent ponies to make Emeris appear to defeat them as the world forces him into the role of a Gary Stu.
  • In The Saga of Avatar Korra, Korra is kidnapped by the Red Lotus because she was the Avatar. They took her away from her family and put her through a Training from Hell regiment for fourteen years. She never made friends nor did she ever know when her birthday was during that time. It was not until after she escaped from the Red Lotus and entered Republic City she was finally able to become friends with anyone besides her loyal polar bear dog Naga.
  • In Hit List, Link and Zelda both get this. Zelda has prophetic warnings from Nayru, which would be helpful if she had any context or idea how to prevent them and if she could get people to help without looking insane explaining it. Link, meanwhile, has to fight Ganondorf alone, more or less (Zelda's there but can't help much), ultimately being stabbed in the stomach and nearly dying pushing Ganondorf out a window.
  • Mocked in these three images by My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan artist Badumquish where Trixie is surprised that Twilight Sparkle not only doesn't get paid for being the Princess of Friendship, but also doesn't even get health or dental coverage (among other things). She goes on to rub it in even further when she points out that she makes more and has better health care as a traveling magician. Cue epic Death Glare from Twilight.
  • Pony POV Series: In the Finale Arc, the Cutie Mark Crusaders are informed by Phobia that they are the ones who have to save the world this time. They complain about it at first, pointing out that they are only children and they barely made it out of the Wedding Arc with their lives, but suck it up and press forward.
  • The Road You Choose goes out of its way to show the toll that constantly having to save world takes on Ash and how he feels that he has no choice in the matter. It's explained that it is always Ash's choice to act, with his role more accurately being 'One Who Chooses', and that he does so because he believes it is the right thing to do. However, there are lines that Ash proves he will not cross, being willing to endanger the entire world to keep Giovanni from killing Misty.
  • Zig-zagged in My Huntsman Academia. Izuku is incredibly grateful and happy to be the inheritor of One For All as it finally gave him the opportunity to pursue his dream of becoming a Huntsman at the greatest Huntsman Academy in the world. His adventures have given him a plethora of friends he could have only dreamed of prior to coming to Beacon and he gets to meet and learn from people he's idolized his entire life. But at the same time, One For All's backlash hurts and he has to be extremely careful when using it to avoid incapacitating himself in the middle of a life-or-death situation. Izuku also has to keep the nature of his new Semblance a secret, which eats away at him internally and contributes to his Heroic Self-Deprecation as his new friends praise him for how earnest he is. That guilt only lends to the crushing weight of his responsibilities as the leader of Team MNVW and his duties as the next Symbol of Peace and Hope, which make him privy to even more dark and dangerous secrets that he has to keep under wraps. While he will always appreciate the opportunity he's been given, it's clear that Izuku doesn't have his work cut out for him.
  • Dragon From Ash gives this viewpoint to Velandryn Savani when he's revealed as the Dragonborn. As a Dunmer forced to become a Nord messiah, he's saddled with powers his country loathes, a non-negligeable part of the people he's intended to protect hates him for belonging to the "wrong" race and several important officials want to use him as a political pawn. He will also have to fight dragons in spite of being terrified of dying or losing his identity every time he absorbs their soul. For all his smugness, several of his allies cannot help but pity him.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Prince of Egypt: Moses really wished that God choose someone else to "free his people", as he watches his home Egypt crumble by the 10 plagues, and he has to stand against his adopted brother.
    "And even now I wish that God had chosen another
    Serving as your foe on his behalf
    Is the last thing that I wanted..."

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Seventh Son: Being destined to be a witch-hunter is pretty hard on Tom since he doesn't think he can handle burning witches alive. This only gets harder and more complicated when he falls in love with a half-blood witch, and then discovers he is one himself!
  • Star Wars:
    • Anakin Skywalker is the chosen one destined to bring balance to the Force. Unfortunately, (due to a combination of emotional trauma exasperated by Jedi dogma, his already impulsive and Hot-Blooded tendencies and his desperation to protect his wife) he gets corrupted to the dark side, spends half of the series as Palpatine's Dragon, and in the end only saves everything by killing himself with Palpatine.
    • The Expanded Universe doesn't have it much better. Jacen Solo, in order to prevent a dark man from rising to the throne and plunging the galaxy into war, has to turn to the dark side, torture his cousin and padawan into a Sith apprentice and assassin, and lose not only his life but his very soul and the approval of everyone close to him.
    • And then the Dark Man ( Darth Krayt) rises to the throne and plunges the galaxy into war anyways..
    • Moral: Being a Skywalker or a Solo really sucks.
  • Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. She's a scared young girl who just wants to get home, and the task of saving Oz ends up falling on her just so the Wizard doesn't have to do it himself. note 
    • In the books, she gets over it later when she's able to go between Oz and Kansas as she pleases, and even more so when she is brought to Oz for good. Em and Henry are put up with a nice farm in Munchkin Country while Dorothy becomes Ozma's champion, heir, and possibly girlfriend.
  • Dogma. For Bethany, being Jesus Christ's ultimate descendant requires that you (a) contract a condition that leaves you barren (b) have your husband leave you (c) hang around with two stoners who want to get into your pants, and ultimately (d) become a single mom as a result of immaculate conception.
    • Jesus, himself, had a pretty terrible situation. As the Metatron points out, he, as The Voice of God, had to tell this 12 year old, who only wanted to play and be like his friends, that he was the Savior of his people, but the very people whom he came to save would be the ones to kill him. And, he couldn't even hear it directly from his own father because his human heart and mind would explode.
      • Jesus apparently still felt some of this even after growing up and accepting his destiny. Rufus mentions that Jesus often seemed happiest just listening to people talk about all the unimportant little things going on in their lives. Bethany speculates it was because not having anything important to talk about was a luxury Jesus never had.
  • Neo should've been more careful for what he wished to know about The Matrix. He gets his computer hacked, he's chased about and "bugged" by Agents. Shortly after being forcefully and painfully ejected from the Matrix, he learns the truth about the Matrix and completely loses it for a bit. He gets a little fun when learning how to bend the rules of virtual reality, but when Agent Smith and others put them to the ultimate test, he's bludgeoned silly before having the full mag of a Desert Eagle emptied into him. Even after getting Enlightenment Superpowers, he realizes they have a limit. He can hardly get a moment's peace with Trinity because of all the hero worship he gets. His purpose eludes him until he realizes that Smith, a fatalistic abomination, must kill him to save everyone in and out of the Matrix. He learned, literally, that You Can't Fight Fate, but you can trick it.
  • The Dark Crystal: After the Garthim raid the Podling village and capture a bunch of Podlings to enslave them at the castle, Jen comes to think it all happened because of himself and his quest to restore the Crystal, and throws the shard of the Crystal away in a fit of anger. Then he and Kira find the shard in the middle of ancient Gelfling ruins the next morning, Jen reads the prophecy on a wall and comes to terms with it, seconds before the Skeksis Chamberlain enters the scene.

  • The Lord of the Rings: Frodo was "chosen" to destroy the One Ring and thus save Middle Earth, and at points during his jouney he laments this fate.
  • The Silmarillion: Turin is the The Chosen One. He is prophesied to be the one to finally kill Morgoth in the final battle, however most readers would probably conclude that it isn't worth it. The quick summary of everything bad that happened to him was (in some close semblance of order): his father and all his father's friends marched off to a war in which almost all died, and he never saw or heard from his father again; his sister and many of the people he knew who were still there died in a plague; he got sent away from his mother to a kingdom with no humans and never sees his mother again; he banishes himself from said kingdom; he gets a band of friends/subordinates who all die; he accidentally kills his best friend, he gets his new home city-state sacked and his love raped and killed; he marries and gets pregnant his new sister he doesn't know about, who he thinks dies just after he found out she was his sister, following which he kills himself in despair after possibly going insane and talking to his sword. And that isn't even going into what happened to the rest of his family.
  • In The Wheel of Time, the Dragon Reborn is the Chosen One, destined to wield massive power and battle the Dark One in the Last Battle. Unfortunately, he's doomed to go insane and destroy the world, too. A lot of people aren't exactly looking forward to his appearance. He'd be perfectly happy to go home and not fulfill his destiny, except the pattern of fate is literally woven around him, so there's no escape. And lots of people think he's a fake and want to kill him, or think he's real and want to kill him, or at least control him. And that's just the good guys, we haven't even gotten to the actual villains of the series, who include his past incarnation's Psycho Ex-Girlfriend and a dozen other extremely powerful sorcerers who hate his guts. Being the Chosen One really, really sucks. Specifically, he's fated to die in the Last Battle. He goes from struggling to find a way around that destiny to realizing he's done so many terrible things that he doesn't deserve to, or want to. Being the Chosen One involves some miserable realpolitik.
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: Thomas Covenant actually felt and acted this way long before things actually started to suck for him.
  • Garion in the Belgariad complains about this so often, "Why me" is practically his catchphrase. It's even lampshaded multiple times. Ironically, the Prophecy driving the whole Chosen One business sets out to make sure that its instruments get rewarded, and so Garion picks up a kingship, a loving wife, and Babies Ever After. The "why me" part is mainly adolescent angst, which his friends tell him repeatedly to get over.
  • The real name of Alfred Montbank in The Death Gate Cycle is Coren, which is Sartan for 'Chosen' or 'To Choose'. The day he emerges from suspended animation and realizes that every other member of his community died while he was asleep - that he was chosen to live when everyone else was not - he comes to hate that name very, very much.
  • Tahniya Dogoro in The Path to War. Being the chosen one left her isolated, emotionally stunted and with more than a few serious regrets due to the things she did to "prove herself." She doesn't take well to being called 'Chosen One' either, refused an elaborate home and angrily rebuffed the idea of her sister's twins being given names themed after her own. It's a wonder she never says "I just want to be normal."
  • Life has gotten progressively worse for each successive generation of Ohmsfords and Leahs in the Shannara series. Bonus points to Walker Boh, of The Heritage of Shannara who's attempted Refusal of the Call totally destroys his life and sees him railroaded into serving as the chosen one.
  • Gregor in The Underland Chronicles has a bad case of this. He's fated to fulfill several prophecies which make the series go from mildly darker than standard High Fantasy to bad. Really bad.
  • The DeMarian royal line in Tales of the Branion Realm. Roughly half the monarchs in its history have gone insane, died young, committed suicide, been assassinated or switched religions. Also the fate of some of their supporters.
  • In Heralds of Valdemar, Vanyel Ashkevron summed this trope up very nicely when he said "A glorious destiny will get you a glorious funeral". Of course, despite having a glorious destiny, he didn't get a glorious funeral, or any funeral for that matter. There wasn't enough left of him to bury.
  • This is without a doubt the belief of Discworld's most inept wizard, Rincewind. He's the favorite of Lady Luck, which makes him despised by her rival, Fate. As a result of being their Cosmic Plaything, not even Death knows when Rincewind will actually die.
  • Basically all the novels in Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion series (including what is probably its most famous incarnation, The Elric Saga) feature this trope prominently.
  • Animorphs: Congratulations, plucky pre-teens! You've been given the ability to shape shift into any animal! Sounds like fun, right? Just make sure you don't accidentally get trapped as a bird or caterpillar or something. Oh, and you have to fight alien invaders, but you can't tell anybody, not even your parents or the cops, because they might actually be under alien control. So enjoy risking life and limb fighting an increasingly violent guerrilla war as your innocence is shattered and you question your every moral value.
    • By the end of it, every one of the animorphs - at least those who got out alive - have become hardened soldiers up to their necks in PTSD. Yay.
    • The alien who gave them the morphing powers and the knowledge of the invasion felt bad about saddling them with this burden, but he believed that humanity deserved a fighting chance and knew from past experience that human children could accomplish a lot. Said alien was also chosen by the same godlike being who chose the Animorphs to be his gamepieces in a cosmic chess game with an Eldritch Abomination. The alien was forced to abandon a happy and peaceful life, spent the rest of it in a war, and suffered an excruciating death. All so that he would be in the right place and time to meet the future Animorphs.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, it becomes increasingly clear that Bran Stark was chosen for something by the supernatural powers up North. To actually get him there, destiny has robbed him of his ability to walk (and with it his dreams of knighthood), his home, his family, and likely his very humanity.
    • Jon Snow suffers on the Wall, losing just about everything important to him over the course of the story, and Dany spends her first 13 years on the run with her abusive brother before being sold into marriage/slavery
  • In Murderess, the protagonist Lu definitely thinks so, enough to help Hallwad, a boy she meets on the Myles Mountains about halfway to the Refugee Camp, rescue his sister and even simply stop her journey in the middle to move in with Cleareye Fullmoonnight, a Moondaughter she meets in the Myles Forest after crossing the mountains. Her Trickster Mentor ‘Hat Lad’ calls her out on this, emphasising in no uncertain terms how incredibly important her mission is.
  • Kyrian in Dark Heart. He found out that he was a hero of prophecy destined to destroy the evil god Vraxor, but only after Vraxor's army slaughtered his family and nearly killed him too. It's implied that the grief and trauma left him less than fully sane.
  • The Heralds in The Stormlight Archive. Sure, they are immortal, worshipped, immensely powerful and impossibly skilled, with magic powers that essenially make them war gods, but whenever there's no Desolation on Roshar, they must go to Braize and let themselves be tortured by literal embodiment of Divine Rage before one of them breaks and they're sent back to fight in a Desolation. No wonder the story starts with them saying "screw this" and walking away.
  • In Warrior Cats, StarClan might tell you you can't have a mate or kits, or maybe the magical powers you have alienate cats around you, maybe you don't get to be a warrior at all, maybe all the cats you love will die, but regardless, it tends to suck.
  • The Silerian Trilogy: Josarian, after becoming the Firebringer, is betrayed by his closest relative and then eaten alive by a monster. Also, his soul cannot move to the afterlife until the monster's maker is killed.
  • Paul Atreides in Dune is said to be the Kwizatz Haderach, who can see the future and the Freman's Chosen One, except that he hates it after having foreseen that his zealous followers would take up his name to spread a bloody jihad across the universe. But he has no choice knowing that this is his fate and a necessity to prevent humanity's extinction. The sequel, Dune Messiah, shows how it really affected him emotionally as he earns many enemies, goes blind after a failed assassination attempt, and foresees that his beloved concubine would die of giving birth of their twins. In the end, he walks into the desert as he couldn't bear to continue his role and leaves behind his empire and his children.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the ten years of Smallville, Clark never seemed to be happy even for a moment regarding his destiny.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Buffy would be an obvious example, especially in season one. As early as the first episode she knows how much it sucks to be the Slayer: kicked out of school, losing friends, going out behind her mother's back, etc.
    • By season seven, however, she and Faith conclude that being hot chicks with superpowers does take the edge off it.
  • Ben in Carnivàle is an avatar of Light, but he doesn't really like or trust most of the people around him (and vice versa). Also not helping him is the fact that his healing touch power has to be offset by other things/people dying.
  • Heroes has multiple Chosen Ones across the series and none of them are happy about getting superpowers. Well, except one, but he got over it after some laser-guided Deus Angst Machina. Joy.
  • In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, John Connor definitely seems to fit this - he and his family are constantly in danger, and he has intermittent bouts of I Just Want to Be Normal, plus at least one possible suicide attempt.
  • Chloe, from The Nine Lives of Chloe King is a good example. Like Buffy, she just wants to be normal (though the main difference between them is that Chloe said she wanted to be special in the first place, so there's a bit of Be Careful What You Wish For mixed in too).
  • Allie, from Steven Spielberg's Taken, who just wants to be a normal little girl.
  • Arthur clearly feels this way in Merlin, and is constantly telling Merlin that he has no idea what it feels like. While he does have good reason to take this viewpoint, (and to be fair the trope does apply to him), it applies to Merlin much, much more.
  • Joy AND Nina from House of Anubis both discover this.
    • Joy was kidnapped and kept locked up as prisoner in her own house because she was thought to be the Chosen One in season 1, and as a result lost her normal life almost completely.
      • For Nina, the ACTUAL Chosen One, she and her friends were cursed, her grandmother was nearly killed off, she started hearing voices, saw ghosts, and was almost taken to the afterlife with an evil spirit, all because of her identity as the Chosen One.
  • Supernatural:
    • Those who are capable of being angelic vessels can expect to be hijacked, leaving everyone they love, if they consent to possession by an angel. If they are possessed by a powerful angel, they will be left an empty damaged husk unless the angel bothers to heal them (which they generally aren't inclined to do). And just in case you're thinking, "Don't give consent then! Problem solved!", just remember there don't seem to be any rules on how they get consent.
    • Being a prophet seems to involve upsetting visions of the future and, in Kevin Tran's case, a lot of unwanted attention from angels, demons and Leviathans.
      Dean: I don't know, man, what can I say? You've been chosen. And it sucks. Believe me.
  • Charmed (1998)
    • Despite having three Chosen Ones, still fills the trope. The Halliwell sisters may receive magic powers, but their lives are frequently in danger, they have to lie to their loved ones and continually struggle to balance their witch duties with their personal lives. Piper's desire for a normal life is used against her more than once in particular.
    • The show deconstructs it a couple of times. Notably one episode has the sisters given the option to give up their powers and they're initially willing to - until they end up nearly losing an innocent, ultimately deciding that the hardships are worth it if they can still protect people. And when they try to fake their deaths and go into hiding, they struggle with trying not to get involved in demon attacks.
  • Ash vs. Evil Dead: Over the course of the series, it's repeatedly shown just how traumatized Ash is from the events of the films, even after thirty years, and the new string of Deadite fighting he has to do in the present doesn't help. He finally hits his breaking point in the Grand Finale — in light of the literal end of the world, he breaks down, slipping into a Heroic BSoD, getting drunk, and ranting about how he never wanted to be The Chosen One in the first place.
    Ash: Pablo, how may times you heard me say this, huh? Why me?! Who am I?! Nobody. Nobody! Guy from Elk Grove, Michigan. Where the fuck is that? In the middle of jack-shit nowhere, that's where! You know what? I got news for you. I didn't ask for this! You think I want this horse shit? Be covered in blood 24/7? Who the fuck would want that?!

  • The song "Superman (It's Not Easy)" by Five For Fighting is from Superman's perspective, bemoaning not being seen as anything but the people's guardian ("I'm more than a bird/I'm more than a plane/I'm more than some pretty face beside a train"), dealing with being the Last of His Kind and always having to keep his chin up because too many people are depending on him for him to sink to his knees and indulge in a depressed mood.
  • Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" is about a guy who gets go to Hell!
  • "Rosetta Stoned" from tool briefly touches on this issue, though given the entire song is a drug-induced stream-of-consciousness train of thought it's obviously not the focus of it.
  • The Rite Of Spring is a ballet where the female lead is simply called The Chosen One. She has to dance to death as a Human Sacrifice.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In Classical Mythology, a number of heroes have less than idyllic lives. Odysseus ends up taking over 10 years to travel back home. After being driven insane, Heracles kills his own family and when he has to do twelve tasks to atone, the guy who chooses the tasks is doing a Uriah Gambit.
  • The Bible: In fact one possible interpretation of the Bible is that the meaning of life is Died Happily Ever After.
    • Job is a literal Cosmic Plaything
    • Abraham is asked to kill his own son
    • Moses never actually lives to see The Promised Land. And knowledge of this trope is why Moses did his best to talk his way out of becoming The Leader of the Chosen People, burbling excuses as fast as they occur to him—"but I don't speak Hebrew", "but they won't believe me", "but Pharaoh won't listen"—until he's this close to getting smited. But he sure was right about Pharaoh, after all he'd grown up with the guy.
    • Jesus... "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." is a quote from an actual prayer of Jesus (Luke 22:42). One interpretation is that Jesus felt dying impaled as a criminal and a blasphemer was a heavy load to bear and an affront to God. The gospel states in the next few verses that God sent an angel to comfort him. So really, even God knew It Sucks to Be the Chosen One and tried to make it a little easier on him. Another interpretation is that Jesus simply understands that being in human form and slated to die a gruesome death is just going to suck, despite being God himself. But his Heroic Willpower is quite strong, as noted in "(Dad's) will be done," not his own.
    • The Virgin Mary has to watch her Son be humiliated and killed... and there's not a damned thing she can do about it.
    • Hosea is chosen by God to speak to the Israelites, who have descended into corruption and idolatry. Part of this entails marrying a prostitute who runs away from him and has to be bought back from some other dude (as an object lesson from God to His people), and giving a "No More Holding Back" Speech to people who just won't listen.
    • Jeremiah, whose namesake book, besides being a collection of his messages, chronicles the hardships a prophet of God has to go through. He has been jeered on, humiliated, imprisoned, and disrespected throughout his career. As much as he wanted to vent his frustrations at God for giving him so sordid a task, ultimately he decides to man up and carry on, because somebody had to warn the Jews against moral decadence.
    • Nehemiah is particularly hysterical to read, because he ends practically every other chapter by pointing out to God that he's gone through a lot of angst to lead the rebuilding of Jerusalem and he'd better be getting a proper blessing for his trouble.
  • As The Chosen One of Celtic Mythology, Cu Chulainn was prophesized to die very early in life. He Jumped at the Call anyway, deciding that being immortalized after death was worth the short life.

    Video Games 
  • In Mother 3, even with there technically being two Chosen Ones here, it still applies. While Lucas isn't necessarily name-dropped as the Chosen One, the fact that he's the only person (besides the Masked Man) who can use PK Love and pull the 7 Needles to awaken the dragon as was prophesied hints at it. And the Magypsies flat out point out that fact too. As such, Lucas definitely fits this trope, given all the traumatizing things that happen to him as he goes on his journey. Same goes for the Masked Man, AKA Claus, for the same reasoning as mentioned above, him being forced to become the Masked Man and commit atrocities in the name of Porky being the worst of it.
  • In the Final Fantasy series:
    • From Final Fantasy X:
      • Yuna. She is very subtle about it yet goes on thinking it is the right thing to do.
      • Tidus for that matter is too. Especially when he finds out that permanently killing Sin means he will die too. He does not share this knowledge to the others until the very end. In the sequel he gets revived and gets a happy ending with Yuna.
    • Final Fantasy XIII. So you're a Pulse l'Cie? Congratulations - the government of Cocoon hates you. You have to fulfill your Focus, or else you'll be turned into a Cie'th, Body Horror personified, and will be unable to think of anything but your task...or you might even turn into a living tombstone. And your reward should you complete that Focus? a crystalline statue. Unless, that is, the fal'Cie need you, in which case you can be continuously de-crystallized and crystallized again to complete whatever Focuses they want you to do... Focuses which are never fully explained to you. Have fun. Fang and Vanille in particular were given a rather terrible Focus. It was so bad, Vanille couldn't even bring herself to do it.
    • Final Fantasy XV:
      • Being born into the line of the Kings of Lucis is a pretty sweet gig on the surface; access to immense magical power, wealth, and an arsenal of mystical weapons you can summon from thin air. The catch? All of the king's powers are Cast From Life Span, with the power they extend to their subjects drawing on that same finite source. Upon death, the king's soul is bound up within the Ring of the Lucii in a sort of limbo world to lend power to the kings to follow, with only the souls of other deceased kings for company. The situation worsens with the protagonist's father, who has to maintain a magical barrier around his whole city to keep monsters at bay (exacerbating the whole Cast from Life Span deal). The protagonist himself, essentially the Chosen One of the Chosen Ones, gets to live about twenty years before being locked in crystal stasis for a decade, and once free, he gets roughly another night or two before he has to endure a brutal Heroic Sacrifice to save the world from eternal darkness. Heavy hangs the head that wears the crown indeed.
      • As bad as Noctis has it, Episode Ardyn reveals Ardyn himself has it far, far worse. He is also technically The Chosen One... chosen by the gods to effectively become Satan. The process of breaking him down into a man willing to burn Eos to the ground involves forcing him to absorb countless daemons and become a Humanoid Abomination, getting his younger brother to betray him, killing his fiancée right in front of him, sealing him away for 2000 years, yanking his vengeance away at the last possible second, and then telling him right to his face he's nothing but a pawn.
  • A lot of games in the Tales Series fit this trope. Even when it's played straight in that it's not entirely a bad thing, there's still a catch:
    • In Tales of Symphonia:
      • Colette. Chosen at birth for her genetic compatibility with the Big Bad's dead big sister, she goes through one painful transformation after another, in between kidnappings which are also connected to her status. Not to mention the psychological trauma and self-esteem issues that come from knowing since about age six that she'd one day be expected to make a Heroic Sacrifice to save the world.
      • Zelos has most of Colette's psychological issues, compounded by Parental Abandonment - his father, the previous Chosen One of his world, committed suicide, and his mother was murdered in front of his eyes when he was about eight. Her last words to him were "You should never have been born", after which he decided that being the Chosen One was the only reason his life had value at all. And then the reveal comes that Martel isn't a real it any wonder he's a Death Seeker unless Lloyd can convince him he's worthwhile?
    • Shirley in Tales of Legendia. Has no friends, spends most of the game getting kidnapped, her first friend takes the bullet for her, and then she turns out to be a kind of Dark Messiah, is brainwashed by the entire ocean and almost commits genocide on land-dwelling humans.
    • In Tales of Eternia, Reid is a chosen one in that he can bear Fibril... but he's not the only one who can do so. Ras, Shizel, and Meredy (albeit not integrated into the gameplay or fully explained in text) can, too. Unfortunately? Nereid's Fibril can make you possessed by Nereid himself, and invoking Seyfert's Fibril before undergoing all of the trials? You die.
    • Estelle is the Child of the Full Moon in Tales of Vesperia. Must be neat to have powerful healing artes, right? Well, Phaeroh wants her dead and views her as a poison to the world, and using her powers on an Entelixea will cause them to go crazy and eventually kill them. Even if she can turn them into spirits.
    • Veigue didn't know how to control his Ice Force in Tales of Rebirth when he was "chosen" to gain its powers. So during an outburst of yelling "CLAAAAIIIIRRRREEE!", he froze her. (This actually became somewhat of a running gag; a Tales DVD shows him shouting, "CLAAAAIIIRRRREEEE!" and covering the screen in ice; and several fans were disappointed this wasn't integrated into Tales of Graces.)
    • So you're a reincarnation of a heavenly being in Tales of Innocence? Your past life is literally going to come back to haunt you.
    • Tales of the Abyss has Luke fon Fabre (both original and replica models), who is informed that he is a chosen hero Because Destiny Says So, but not what the consequences of his actions will be. Because of his ignorance, he destroys a city and starts a war, all in accordance with the ancient prophecy that controls the world, and he has to deal with the consequences for the rest of the game.
    • Tales of Xillia sees Milla Maxwell, the Lord of Spirits, focus on her mission to destroy a tyrannical king and his doomsday device. Except being a Determinator gets her crippled, and later killed, by her staunch refusal to abandon her goal. And then it turns out she's not really the Lord of Spirits after all, just conditioned to believe she was. And that tyrant of a king? He's an Anti-Villain who only wanted to protect his kingdom from people seeking to usurp it. Finally, at the very end of the game, she does get to become the true Lord of Spirits, at the cost of having to leave behind everyone in the human world she's grown to care about.
  • The Trow from The Bard's Tale have a few songs about how much it sucks to be the chosen one. And considering the situations in which they sing themOne Two , it's appropriate. Though played around with for the Bard himself — he is also a Chosen One, yet despite the repeated insistence of the Trow Band he actually ends up in the position to fulfil the prophecy, not die and get riches or alternatively stop a demon princess from ravaging the world and end up no worse off than he was at the start of the story, thanks to having more combat competence than farmboys and having the power of the save function on his side.
  • Pretty much every hero in the Suikoden series:
  • Zanik from RuneScape is the goblin war god Bandos' Chosen Commander, the goblin who will lead all the goblins to victory in a huge war. There's just one catch: Zanik is of the Dorgeshuun, a group of pacifist cave goblins who renounced Bandos after he ordered them to partake in a battle they had no chance of winning for no reason. There's an entire quest series devoted to Zanik basically telling Bandos to fuck off.
    • The player character themself is chosen by Guthix to become the World Guardian, immune to the powers of gods, with the destiny of preventing divine oppression or God Wars from plaguing Gielinor. This means the rest of the gods are now targeting you, either for mind games or for murder.
  • Similar to above, the Protagonist from Devil Survivor. For him, being The Chosen One means being fated to fight a series of terrifyingly powerful demons in a contest for power that will make him a target of Heaven and the demons if he goes too far out of line... not to mention being personally responsible for the lives of everybody in the lockdown.
  • The protagonist of Persona 3 also has it pretty bad. After finding out about the Dark Hour, he/she joins a group dedicated to stopping it. Only to find out that they were unwittingly played in order to bring about The End of the World as We Know It. Also, thanks to being at the wrong place at the wrong time, the harbinger of this end turned out to be locked inside of him/her. This results in him/her having to make a sadistic choice. The first option is to erase everyone's memories of the fact that the end of the world is coming, but allowing all of them to live their last days happily. The other option is to keep everyone's memories intact allowing them to futilely fight against the coming end. This first leads to a Non-Standard Game Over/Bad End. The protagonist only succeeds with the second option by performing a Heroic Sacrifice that results in him/her becoming a Barrier Maiden.
  • The whole playable cast of Persona 2 gets it bad across both games of the duology, Tatsuya in particular. Turns out being caught in a Book of Job-style contest between two powerful (and otherwise evenly-matched) gods of humanity's creative and destructive sides, each trying to see which of their respective domains is stronger in humanity, just completely sucks. And that's before one of them decides to kick over the table when things don't go his way.
  • A couple of Golden Sun characters qualify:
    • Isaac, the player character of the first Golden Sun game, is chosen directly by The Wise One to make the hard decision of whether Alchemy is restored to the world or not, which isn't the black-and-white situation it initially seems to be. And the fate of his Disappeared Dad hangs in the balance... and Isaac is nearly forced to knowingly murder him himself to confirm a choice that he can't ever be sure was the right one.
    • Ivan was given up by his family as an infant to ensure he would be in the correct place to join Isaac and Garet on their quest. He was raised by non-Adepts in Kalay, and was considered a Creepy Child for his powers. Ivan finds out about his destiny when his foster-father is held for ransom in the local Wretched Hive and his foster-mother forbids him from helping so he will go fulfill the prophecy instead (if you rescue Hammet anyway, Layana yells at Ivan for disobeying her orders and jeopardizing the prophecy). When Ivan reaches Contigo in the second game, he learns that his birth mother died of a broken heart over giving him up, and his only blood relative refuses to get close to him because that prophecy's not fulfilled yet.
    • A stealth example: in The Lost Age, there are certain dungeon inscriptions and books suggesting that Piers is the Mercury Adept destined to bring about the return of Alchemy to Weyard. Piers gets branded a criminal and permanently exiled from his homeland for this.
  • Sometimes being The Chosen One in the Elder Scrolls universe can really suck. To note:
    • Daggerfall shows us how much it sucks to be the Unchosen One. Due to some completely random coincidences, The Agent gets sent by the Emperor to Daggerfall on a seemingly minor mission, but find themselves in the middle of a massive political Gambit Pileup with heaps of Black-and-Gray Morality. Just for doing what they're told, the various factions are constantly sending assassins after the Agent, and they quickly learn directly or implicitly that few people are actually trustworthy around the Iliac Bay. In Morrowind, we learn that all of the morally gray outcomes are canonical due to a Time Break, including the Dummied Out ending where the Numidium kills the Agent and obliterates their immortal soul because they are unworthy.
    • The Nerevarine in Morrowind definitely gets the cosmic short end of the stick. While all of the Chosen Ones in The Elder Scrolls series have to endure many hardships to accomplish their goals, none of the others get infected with a horrible mutating disease as part of their divine mission (though the Nerevarine is able to eventually remove the negative aspects of it). It also sucks because everyone around the Nerevarine is trying to manipulate him/her: the Emperor, the Tribunal, Azura, Dagoth Ur, everyone. And in the end, the Nerevarine saves Tamriel from the threat of Dagoth Ur, but at the same time unintentionally sets in motion Morrowind's destruction. In Oblivion, it is mentioned that the Nerevarine apparently took an expedition to Akavir, and hasn't been heard from since. The Nerevarine's story essentially ends with him/her the Ageless hero of a land that has been destroyed, most of his/her accomplishments rendered moot, and having vanished off the face of Tamriel entirely.
    • The Champion of Cyrodiil in Oblivion doesn't have it much better. The Champion actually fails his/her mission to stop Mehrunes Dagon's invasion and has to watch as the other Chosen One, whom s/he has been helping and protecting throughout the main questline, sacrifices himself to save the world. The Champion is later tapped to be the successor of the Daedric Prince of Madness, Sheogorath, which entails leaving Cyrodiil behind and gradually going insane as mad gods are wont to do. YMMV on how bad it is being a god of madness, though.
    • Being the Dragonborn in Skyrim means every major cosmic power either wants to kill you, use you, or both. Daedric Prince Hermaeus Mora is particularly interested in Dragonborn, and arranges events that eventually force the Dragonborn to act as his new champion.
  • This is probably the most prominent trope in Dark Souls because Continuing is Painful. Sure, you're effectively immortal and will return to life after being killed, but all this means is that you will be dying repeatedly, each time horribly. You'll also watch as your friends and allies die and go hollow one by one.
    • In Dark Souls III. Prince Lothric was designated at birth to be the one to Link the Flame, but he grew to resent his role due to everyone knowing that he would be the one to do it and thus never being allowed any sort of choice or say in the matter. This eventually caused him to become disillusioned and misanthropic to the whole affair, to the point where he decides to just let the Age of Dark come, rather than submit himself and his brother to the Flame again.
  • Ark from Terranigma. It turns out that returning life to the surface world requires the destruction of his own, himself included. The real kick to the balls is the implication that his past incarnations have been doing this since the dawn of time.
  • Duran from Agarest Senki. To the point he's a cynical Death Seeker and Deadpan Snarker. Avoids being Wangst because he doesn't advertise it to the world and he's already resigned to his fate.
  • Gabriel Belmont from Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. Gabriel loses everything and everyone important to him in the course of fulfilling his God given destiny. Even after becoming Dracula to spite God, God still considers him his chosen champion so he can't even find escape in death. To emphasize how much it sucks for him, he spends most of the sequel trying to get his hands on the one weapon that can permanently kill him just so he can stop being the chosen one.
  • Being the Chosen One of any of the Dragon Age games tends to come with a lot of headaches. This is particularly true of Hawke, the protagonist of Dragon Age II, who just can't seem to catch a break. By the end of the game, they've fled their home country to escape annihilation, lost one sibling to an ogre attack, possibly watched the other one die as well, lost their mother to a serial killer, had to defend their adopted city from waves of bandits and invading forces, watched one of their friends (possibly their Love Interest) descend into a bit of madness and blow up the local church to start a war, and ultimately ended up separated from all of their friends and on the run. Hawke's return appearance in Dragon Age: Inquisition shows the player just how much all of this is wearing them down, and then they may be called upon to make a Heroic Sacrifice on top of everything else.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! BAM, during an incident when you are brainwashed, you wonder if your ability with BAM is a gift or a curse, as all this fighting seems to be happening because of you.
  • Broken Age:
    • Vella is the latest maiden to be chosen as a Human Sacrifice to appease Mog Chothra, an Eldritch Abomination that will destroy her village if he is not given a maiden every fourteen years. Being chosen is considered the highest honor, but Vella has gotten it into her head that maybe she doesn't want to be fed to a giant monster, an idea that earns her mockery from everyone in all the neighboring villages.
    • Shay is the fourteen year old appointed captain of the Bossanostra, a spaceship with the goal of finding a new home for the people of his dying planet. While Shay is told repeatedly by the ship's computer that he is the most important person on the ship, Shay himself has no real control over the mission, and the computer has the overriding urge to keep Shay safe at all costs, so the it keeps him safe by not letting Shay do anything dangerous at all, and after fourteen years it's gotten so boring that Shay is partially Driven to Suicide.
  • Call of Cthulhu: Dark Corners of the Earth: The cult at the beginning, Jack's time in the asylum, his mission to Innsmouth... all of this was set up by the Great Race of Yith to put him in the right place at the right time so he could kill two imprisoned Flying Polyps which were about to break free. In the end, while the Yith did help him on his quest, they do not cure his psyche, instead leaving him to die in a mental institution.
  • Baldur's Gate: The Player Character has this trope in spades, particularly if s/he is good-aligned. Not only is s/he the child of an evil murder god, s/he also is fated to be a Doom Magnet as a result. Not to mention the fact that lots of people are trying to kill them, and that, in the second game, s/he eventually develops a Superpowered Evil Side.
    • This is made slightly better in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. While you are the subject of a prophecy that says that the Bhaalspawn will cause massive destruction to the Sword Coast, a celestial being offers a different interpretation. As it turns out, the prophecy doesn't speak of you, but of your failure to stop your more destructive half-brothers and -sisters.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, anybody who is chosen to pilot a Divine Knight will be forced to go to wars that they don't have any reason to do so. Rean, the protagonist, feels the burden late in the game that during the epilogue, many characters thought that he had lost the fire that he had months ago.
  • In Dragon Quest XI, the main character is the reincarnation of a great hero called the Luminary, who banished the darkness once before and is prophesied to do so once again. Which meant he was at the top of evil's hit-list from the day he was born, and monsters razed a kingdom to the ground to try and get to him when he was a baby. This, in turn, gets another kingdom out for his blood, as the king blames him for the presence of the monsters. Most people don't even know of the Luminary, only this "Darkspawn" villain that the king's forces are hunting.
  • While Ibuki in Street Fighter is mostly a side character, in her own comic named after her it is revealed she was a chosen infant who would become a great ninja. After she was stolen from the Geki clan by Enjo, the current leader of her village group she has to live knowing and defending herself from the evil Geki clan who's ninjas who easily out size her want to kidnap her and make her work for them.
  • In Mortal Kombat Liu Kang is given a case of this in the new timeline starting with Mortal Kombat 9 where he dies in a dispute with Raiden and is revived as a Revenant Zombie. His past self also gets some in Mortal Kombat 11 where he has to forgo a relationship with Kitana as they guide the timeline in his tower ending.
  • Xenoblade: Shulk is the only homs on Bionis able to wield the Monado without harming himself. It turns out it comes at a cost: Namely, he slowly converts his body to be an avatar for Jerkass God Zanza to commit Grand Theft Me.

  • MAGISAEman is the chosen one. Sucks to be him.
  • The Witch's Throne: Technically, all girls that awaken as Witches are The Chosen One. The only problem is, that's definitely not something they want to be.
  • The role of Goddess was forced onto Max on his birthday in Magical Boy, specifically the day he decided to come out to his parents as trans. Because the Goddess is an exclusively feminine role to take, he is forced to have his hair up, his face covered in make-up and wear a frilly dress whenever he has to take on his duty (which he has no real say in whether he wants to fulfill it or not). If he does not fulfill his destiny, then the world will be overrun with emotion-eating monsters, leading to The End of the World as We Know It. When he is not powered-hp, his zealous-to-the-point-of-obnoxious mother tries reminding him of his destiny every chance she gets, ignoring his coming out and trying to enforce his assigned gender onto him so that he may be a "proper lady."
  • Castle Swimmer: The Beacon (or Kappa as he prefers to be called) was created by the God of the Surface to fulfill the prophesies of the various merfolk kingdoms but they frequently turn out differenly than the recipients expected, leaving Kappa jaded with the whole thing but he has no choice since he's compelled to go to each kingdom and can't physically leave till it has been fulfilled. It's especially bad with the most recent one as he's fated to be killed by the prince of the sharks to save their people from a curse, or at least that's what everyone was led to believe.

    Web Original 
  • Sasha in Greek Ninja is definitely not thrilled with her fate...
  • The titular character from "Gary and his demons", the first episode is even called "Still the One".
  • RWBY: Every generation, there is a single person who is tasked with protecting humanity from a secret Ancient Evil and guiding them towards an equally secret destiny. As a Farm Boy, Oscar always wanted to be special... he just didn't want to be this special. When other people learn the Awful Truth about what's really going on in the world, they have the option of running away from it all. Oscar is the only person who can't. Ozma was tasked by the God of Light to help humanity achieve harmony by The Day Of Reckonning; if he fails, humanity will be destroyed. His soul, Aura and memories constantly reincarnate into a new person whenever his previous body dies, passing into Oscar from Ozpin at the end of Volume 3. On top of Ozma's extraordinary powers, Oscar also inherits the emotional baggage of countless lifetimes spanning thousands of years; people who had issues with Ozpin, see him as a suitable proxy to satisfy their grudges; people who want Ozpin's advice, see him as nothing more than an access point to reach the person they really want. Oscar also faces the possibility of permanently losing his own identity through merging with Ozma; he therefore fears disappearing as a person in his own right and becoming nothing more than another one of Ozma's endless lives.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Aang has enormous pressure put on him at the age of twelve. Because he was unable to handle the responsibility of being the Avatar and ran away, his entire race got wiped out, and the Evil Overlord terrorized the world for 100 years. In addition to that, he blames himself for two more crushing defeats. Basically, his entire life was planned out for him, and even his closest friends and past lives take it for granted that he's going to forsake his values and kill the Fire Lord. He doesn't, in the end, but still.
    • Its Sequel Series The Legend of Korra shows that even for Korra, who Jumped at the Call, the challenges of being the Avatar can get to her. When she gets poisoned in season 3, it absolutely destroys her mentally because her self-identity was so reliant on her status as the Avatar.
  • The Simpsons: Homer Simpson experiences this in the episode "Homer the Great". At first it's nice being the Chosen One of the Stonecutters, but then he gets bored with it due to the lack of any challenge-everyone constantly sucks up to him and lets him win whatever games they play.
  • The Life and Times of Juniper Lee: Juniper is chosen as her generation's Te Xuan Ze: the magical protector of the barrier between the human and monster world. At first, it's a job she takes in stride, even though she has to occasionally ditch her friends and keep it a secret from them. But then comes the real rub; she can't leave her hometown ever, as there is a barrier keeping her from leaving. The only way out is for her successor to take the reins. And as Juniper is still a child, it'll be a while before that happens. To say the least, she doesn't take this discovery well. Jasmine got it worse than her. Her son didn't become the Te Xuan Ze so she had to wait until Juniper was born. And the reason she travels the world is both to make up for all the time she lost as Te Xuan Ze AND to find a way to free Juniper from the barrier.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long has a dragon assigned to protect every country. And our hero is, uh...the American one. And it leads to getting chased by a dragon-crazy teacher, training taking most of his childhood, nearly getting killed multiple times, and losing his dragon-hunting girlfriend through a time change.
    • One episode has him shifting the burden to his little sister, who is initially very eager to accept it. In one week she's a stressed out bundle of nerves because she's sleep deprived and falling behind in school. Jake, on the other hand, is having the time of his life as a normal kid.
  • In the Imaginationland story, in South Park, Butters is the key to stop the evil characters. He doesn't care for the role.
  • In Transformers: Prime, once he learns he's been chosen by the Matrix to be the next Prime Smokescreen seems to want the position less and less as the series progresses (not that he wanted to be a Prime in the first place, he just wanted to be a great solider). He ultimately rejects it, using the opportunity to restore Optimus to full strength instead.
  • In Ninjago, Lloyd Montgomery Garmadon turns out to be the prophesied Green Ninja. This is great — he possesses all the elemental powers of creation. The downside? He has to fight and defeat his dad (whom he loves and who loves him back), he has to grow up quickly (literally), and villains seek to steal his powers. And there are more reasons why his life sucks — the others just aren't related to him being The Chosen One.
  • Gary and His Demons has the titular protagonist bemoan the fact that he is chosen to be a demon slayer and is waiting for his replacement.
  • Transformers: Generation 1 After the events of Transformers: The Movie, Hot Rod becomes Rodtimus Prime, and while he does his job to defeat Unicron, a few episodes into the series afterwards, and he becomes more and more disgusted with having the Matrix of Leadership, and all the duties of being leader of the Autobots, to the point that when the Matrix is stolen by the Decepticons, he says they can have it!... Until the Decepticon who stole it starts to actually melt from having it in his chest. Hot Rod is then Resigned to the Call and takes it back.
  • In Trollhunters, the Amulet of Daylight - an Ancient Artifact created by the wizard Merlin - chooses someone to take up the mantle of trollhunter, the inspirational hero to all of troll-kind and maintainer of both the troll-world and human-world (by proxy). The trollhunter has no actual say in the matter, forced to take up the role up until their death. As the trollhunter, they must "heed the call" whenever it calls for them. "Heed the call" can be anything as minor as taking care of one troll's gnome infestation or deliver something through the mail, but usually it involves life-threatening situations. Should they try and get rid of the amulet, it will simply appear back to them, but it must be retrieved if it is stolen.
    • These problems are even worse when it falls towards the current trollhunter James "Jim" Lake Jr., who is not only the first human trollhunter, but he is a mere teenager who had no fighting experience before was chosen. Being a human for a device designed for trolls, it takes getting used to for Jim to have control over its activation. As a human, he is considerably weaker than most trolls. As a teenager, he has many responsibilities in his personal life and school life, his duties straining his relationship with his mother and causing him to fall so far behind that he winds up missing over a month in school. By the end of Season 3, he was forced to abandon his human life and allow himself to be turned into a troll by Merlin just so he would be physically strong and durable enough to take on Gunmar and Morgana.
  • In She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, Adora at first enjoyed having the power of She-Ra, but after verious set backs, she began to become overwhelmed by her responsibilities and her perceived failures. She seems to adopt this mind set in season 3 after she learns of the fact she was stolen from another world and Light Hope tells her she doesn't have any choice in her destiny. Then in season 4, she is completely horrified to learn that She-Ra is the conduit for the Heart of Etheria, a weapon that the First Ones made to destroy countless other worlds.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, Ladybug and Chat Noir have the power to create and destroy respectively, but they cannot tell anyone, lest Hawk Moth and Mayura find out.

    Real Life 
  • Human sacrifices were (of course) chosen by their gods, and in many cultures saw it as quite an honor.
  • Redvers Buller in command in South Africa in the Boer War and Elphinstone in Afghanistan in 1842. Both protested vociferously at being given a job they knew they were not competent to handle.
  • Ambrose Burnside is famous for refusing command of the Union Army during the American Civil War, fearing he lacked the competence. The Battle of Fredericksburg proved him right.
  • Tevye's quote above, although in jest, accurately depicts a real-life example of this trope. Jewish tradition says the Jews are the so-called "chosen people of God," but because of that separateness, the Jews have been subject to more persecution and ill treatment than just about any other surviving ethnic group. You could argue that Judaism is a real-life example.


Video Example(s):


You do not choose

Adora asks Light Hope about her origins, but Light Hope shuts down her questions and insists upon the importance of her destiny, even going so far as to outright say that Adora has no choice in the matter.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / ItSucksToBeTheChosenOne

Media sources:

Main / ItSucksToBeTheChosenOne