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Right for the Wrong Reasons

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[D]idn't Aristarchus and the Pythagoreans propose heliocentrism in ancient times? If only they had prevailed, we might have had Real Science millennia sooner. What was their evidence?
Well, you see, fire is nobler than earth and the center is a nobler position. So fire has to be in the center. QED.
There are many names for this sort of thinking, but "scientific" is not one of them.
Michael F. Flynn, The Great Ptolemaic Smackdown

Someone makes a conclusion based on what they perceive are facts. Their conclusion is correct but the assumed facts themselves are wrong.

Supertrope of Worrying for the Wrong Reason. Compare and contrast Framing the Guilty Party, where the facts are known to be false, but the conclusion is still correct. Also compare Conviction by Counterfactual Clue. Can sometimes overlap with Accidentally Correct Writing when it happens on a meta-level. Dismissing the conclusion because of erroneous facts would be the Fallacy Fallacy. When the premises and the conclusion are correct, but the logic connecting them is false you have a Bat Deduction. For the direct inverse, where the logic and premises are perfectly sound, but the conclusion isn't, see Entertainingly Wrong. May be a reason for Don't Shoot the Message. Often the case when the Cloud Cuckoo Lander is right. May result in Both Sides Have a Point, Dumbass Has a Point, or Jerkass Has a Point.


Contrast with "How Did You Know?" "I Didn't.", where someone bluffs another based on a claim which they don't know happens to be correct. A Kansas City Shuffle makes this a pivotal element of the con game (by deluding the mark into thinking they solved the con but in actuality have set themselves up to be conned in a different way).


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In One-Punch Man, Fubuki has power equivalent to a high A-Rank, but doesn't believe she could be at the top. Her sister Tatsumaki surmises she has the potential to be S-Rank alongside her but believes there's something mentally holding back her potential, which is true. Tatsumaki incorrectly surmises it's her friends and associates. It's actually fear and an inferiority complex toward her older sister.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, the villain Terra of the Left notices that Touma is not using his Imagine Breaker's full potential, and concludes that Touma has amnesia. He mocks him, saying that if Touma didn't lose his memories, he would have been much more powerful. While Terra was correct that Touma had amnesia, Touma did not know Imagine Breaker's full potential before he lost his memories either.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’: When Sorbet first wishes for Frieza's revival, Shenron says that it's pointless to bring him back since he would return in pieces. After talking with Tagoma, Sorbet demands that his wish be granted. Shenron calls it a foolish wish, but grants it anyway. As it turns out, the wish was foolish, albeit not for the reason Shenron originally stated. Instead of returning to his empire, Frieza launches a full-scale invasion of Earth for the sake of getting revenge on Goku; that decision led to his entire army and what was left of his empire being wiped out, the very thing Sorbet originally brought Frieza back to prevent.
  • Dragon Ball Super: During the Future Trunks Saga, after Beerus kills Zamasu, he believes that this means Goku Black will be Ret-Gone and Future Trunks' timeline is safe. However, Trunks, recalling that the deaths of the mainstream timeline versions of the Androids and Cell had no effect on their counterparts in his timeline, is not so sure and takes Goku and Vegeta back with him to the future just to be certain, and indeed, nothing has changed. Black still exists and is still wreaking havoc. However, while Trunks was correct to assume that his timeline was still in danger, it wasn't for the reason he thought. Beerus got it wrong because he and the others thought Future Zamasu was Present Zamasu and that Goku Black was merely a creation of the Super Dragon Balls, when in truth, Goku Black is Present Zamasu, who became so obsessed with Goku that he used the Super Dragon Balls to swap bodies with him and then teamed up with his counterpart from Trunks' time. As Black explains, his Time Ring protects him from any changes in time, meaning that Beerus killing his past self wouldn't affect him even if it erased the timeline he originally came from.
  • In School Rumble, when Yakumo is helping Harima with his manga, she realizes that the main characters (who are love interests) are based off Harima and her own sister. When she brings this up, Harima, horrified, concludes that she has the power to read minds. She can read minds, but she's never been good at reading Harima's. She figured it out simply because it's really obvious.
  • After Phos returns from the Moon in Land of the Lustrous, Euclase notices that they are behaving strangely and suspects that they're planning something. While Euclase is correct in that Phos is trying to convince others to travel to the Moon, they surmise that the suspicious behavior is because Phos is an impostor. In reality, Phos had undergone a Face–Heel Turn upon learning the truth about the Lunarians' goals and Adamant Sensei.
  • A meta example in Naruto. The masked ninja Tobi spends the majority of his appearances claiming to be Madara Uchiha, somehow living beyond his natural years to cause all the problems preceding the story. He states a lot of facts that support this, until it's revealed that the real Madara was dead and Tobi is actually Obito Uchiha. While it seems like Tobi may have been lying this whole time, when you see his backstory you realise he was technically telling the truth about some of it. Obito really did have his life artificially extended and went on to manipulate events, thanks to the real Madara.
  • Pokémon:
    • In "The Mystery of the Missing Cubchoo!", Cilan was right that a boys Cubchoo ran away from home for a reason but had the wrong conclusion.
    • In "Performing with Fiery Charm!", Upon seeing Serena's new look, Miette had the right conclusion that she did it for a reason but had the facts wrong as she thought she changed her appearances for Ash, although it was also a little teasing.
    • In "Seeing the Forest for the Tree!", while attempting to cheer Ash up when he got defeated in a Gym battle, Serena had the right idea that something was bothering him but jumped to the wrong conclusion as she thought he was upset about the loss, which led him to lash out at her for not understanding his emotions and an argument between them. However, during their argument, Ash was right as he pointed it out to Serena that not everything is gonna be everyone's business but was wrong to lash out at her for just trying to help. Despite both of them being right and wrong, Serena ended up being more right than Ash was, after she called him out for his behavior and not only reminded him of who he is but also got him to pull himself together.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: When Madoka says that she dreamt about Homura before actually meeting her, Sayaka remarks that perhaps the two met in a past life. Assuming a given value of 'past life' (one that involves time travel), she is correct.
    • In Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie: Rebellion, when Homura confronts Bebe, she believes that the latter knows what's going on because she thinks that Bebe is the witch that created the fake Mitakihara. In fact, Bebe does know what is going on but was not the one to create the barrier.
  • During a Tournament Arc in My Hero Academia, main characters Uraraka and Bakugo are paired together in a match, Bakugo keeps a heavy hit in reserve just in case Uraraka, who he knows is friends with the crafty Midoriya, came in with a strategy she could use to win. While he's right about the fact that Uraraka had a plan, she actually declined Midoriya's help, wanting to win or lose on her own merit. Midoriya sets the record straight after the match when Bakugo demands to know if that plan was indeed his.
    • Todoroki is almost immediately able to pinpoint that Midoriya has some form of relationship with All Might and is All Might's protege due to sharing the same quirk. However, he mistakenly believes that Midoriya is All Might's illegitimate son.
  • About halfway through Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's it's revealed that the Wolkenritter are actually semi-autonomous programs. Fate (who was in the middle of her "am I even human?" phase) compares them to herself, which Chrono and Lindy are very quick to deny. As we find out later on in the episode, that is probably the most accurate comparison that could possibly be made since they're almost identical to her back in the first season (completely human despite their artificial nature, driven to help a dying mother figure, and suffering to the point that you just want to give them a hug).
  • In Kimagure Orange Road, Sayuri is the only one, beside Kyosuke and Madoka herself, who knows they like each other. She came to this conclusion because as she was stalking Madoka, she saw her and Kyosuke enter the ABCB and heard the noise of lovemaking soon after, not imagining it was actually a porn movie put on by Hikari, Madoka's best friend and Kyosuke's girlfriend, without knowing what it actually was.
  • Near the beginning of Nanbaka, Gokuu interviews the Cell 13 prisoners to find out why they got in jail. He makes up tragic backstories for them and guesses that Nico got in for drug peddling, Rock broke out to see a friend, and Jyugo being involved in all of it. He was right about them having tragic backstories, but Rock made a friend when he escaped since Jyugo took him to a restaurant so he could eat good food away from wardens who looked down on him, Nico's unwitting involvement in drug peddling landed him in a jail that used him as a human guinea pig, and Jyugo really did connect the group, but it's through him helping them with their problems rather than them helping him.
  • In Isekai De Kojiin Wo Hiraitakedo Nazeka Darehitori Sudatou To Shiai Ken, the king who summons an entire class to a new world to fight the demon king, sends the protagonist, Shinji Naomi off to run an orphanage, seeing him as a worthless incompetent, because while the rest of his class all get nifty Awesome, but Impractical skills useful only in warfare, Shinji gets the Boring, but Practical "protect" and "analyze" skills. What the king fails to realize, is that Shinji is the perfect choice to run an orphanage because he's honest, forthright, trustworthy, and is a Friend to All Children. Not to mention that his "protect" skill works best when he wants to protect something, and there's no way Shinji would want to protect the class that constantly mocks and derides him, back on Earth or in this new world.
  • This happens a few times in Death Note, mostly in the manga version:
    • Aizawa once mentions that deaths having occurred at Kira's hand while Light was under surveillance doesn't necessarily prove Light's innocence, saying that Light could have killed when he was in a situation where he wasn't being watched by the cameras; while Aizawa is right here in that this incident indeed does not prove Light's innocence (as he had an alibi where he was able to find a way to access criminals' names and faces while being under surveillance), Aizawa misses the point here. The issue is not that criminals died while Light's activities were being closely monitored, but rather that criminals died while Light had no way of gaining information about them.
    • When Mello is attacked by the Task Force and Soichiro reveals he knows Mello's true name, Mello concludes that this is because Kira controlled one of Mello's subordinates into revealing his name, meaning that the Task Force has teamed up with Kira. However, while Mello is right about the Task Force having teamed up with Kira, the only reason they know Mello's real name is because of the fact that Soichiro took the Shinigami Eye deal.
    • After Mello reveals to Near that one of the rules in the Death Note is fake, Near narrows down the fake rule to the 13-day-rule. Near is right in assuming this, but his thought process for eliminating another fake rule (that the whoever touched the notebook will die if it is destroyed) was that Mello could not have learned about that rule being fake because Mello could not have tested that rule. However, the reason Mello learned of the fake rule was not because of his testing, but rather because a Shinigami told him.
    • When Light has Kiyomi Takada say things that are uncharacteristic of her to say as a newscaster (her sharing her personal opinions about Kira), Mikami finds something off, and concludes that someone must have made her act this way, and comes to the conclusion that she is having meetings with Kira. While it is true she was having meetings with Light, Takada herself didn't even know that Light was Kira, meaning Kira could very well have not been the only person to have her say such things.
    • Light eventually concludes that Near has figured out that the second L, Kira, is Light Yagami. However, Light thinks Near deduces this because of Light's connection to Misa Amane, the alleged former Second Kira, and the election of Kiyomi Takada, someone who was once close to him. While Near most certainly did figure out Light is the second L and Kira, it was not for these reasons. To add an extra layer to that, had Near concluded that Light is the second L from Takada's election, that would have also been an instance of Right For The Wrong Reasons, because Takada's election had nothing to do with Light and her connection to Light was nothing but a coincidence.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • Karen is a rabid Kaguya/Shirogane shipper, and is wholly convinced that the two are hopelessly in love with each other (something that her best friend Erika dismisses as fangirlish delusions). She is right about the two being in love, though it's based completely on her having a pair of Shipping Goggles glued to her face rather than having any basis in fact.
    • Iino has a tendency to interpret things in a sexual way, the most glaring example being when Tsubame invites Ishigami to her home on Christmas Eve, which she interprets as a sex invitation, when Tsubame actually intends to invite everyone from the Culture Festival Committee to her Christmas party (which Iino interprets to be an orgy). However, Iino is completely right that Tsubame intended to have sex with Ishigami on that night. She just meant to do it when the party was over and everyone left.
    • Oko's claims that marriage is a woman's greatest happiness and that Kaguya wouldn't be able to get married if she was better educated than her potential husband are meant to establish him as a Straw Misogynist, but he is technically correct as far as Kaguya and Shirogane are concerned. Kaguya's ultimate goal is to marry Shirogane and be a part of his family due to the Shinomiyas having basically starved her of affection her entire life, and part of the reason why Shirogane pushes himself to the point of exhaustion in studying is because he wants to prove that he can stand as Kaguya's equal.
  • In an early chapter of Delicious in Dungeon, Marcille and Senshi have a disagreement about the best way to harvest mandrakes, a magically powerful plant that lets out a death-causing scream when pulled from the ground. Marcille argues for the method she was taught, where the mandrake is pulled from the ground by an animal, which is killed by the scream while the harvester hides out of range. Senshi argues for his self-taught method, where he quickly cuts the head off the mandrake before it can scream while pulling it. Marcille argues that her method is traditional and therefore better, but the others agree with Senshi that his own method is safer and more efficient (and doesn't kill some poor dog), leading Marcille to try to use it herself (in the process nearly getting herself killed). However, when Senshi looks over the mandrake harvested by Marcille's methods, he realizes that her mandrake is better than his; since it gets off a scream, this gets rid of a lot of toxins and produces a tastier and more nutritious mandrake. He concedes to Marcille that sometimes a more efficient method doesn't always get you the best results.
  • Watamote has Tomoko assuming that Nemo has to be bi or a lesbian. Why? Because she has an unusual dyed hairstyle, and therefore she looks like an anime character, and anime girls are always a little bit gay or bi. Also, she lent Tomoko her chapstick, which is obviously an Indirect Kiss (it wasn't; she does it to one of her other friends in the same chapter, which Tomoko interprets as "two-timing"). Later on, Nemo starts showing signs that she is indeed gay or bi, but Tomoko's guess was just pure luck. Ironically, later on, Ucchi does something similar when she assumes that Tomoko is also attracted to girls, which seems to be more or less true—but she assumes this because she thinks Tomoko is attracted to her (she isn't).
  • Durarara!!: Shizuo Hewajima maintains that anything weird happening in Ikebukuro is Izaya's fault. He's usually correct (Izaya pretty much always at least has a hand in whatever's happening), but only by coincidence. He doesn't base his suspicions on fact or past evidence... he just really hates Izaya and blames everything on him. Izaya even lampshades this by pointing out that logic and reasoning doesn't work on Shizuo, which is what makes him so dangerous.
  • In Slow Start, after Hana finally comes clean to her friends about being a ronin and having missed what would have been her first year of high school, it turns out that both Eiko and Kamuri had figured out a while ago that Hana wasn't actually the age that she was presenting herself, though their assumptions in regards to the actual reason for it were a bit off the mark. Eiko had correctly guessed that she was a year older than everyone, but assumed it was because she was repeating her first first year of high school. Kamuri was a lot more off base, having assumed that Hana was younger than the rest of them and had skipped a grade. Both of them chose not to say anything, while Tama turned out to be the only one who didn't notice or suspect anything.

    Audio Plays 
  • In the Big Finish Doctor Who audio “Companion Piece”, when the insane Time Lord the Nine has set out to "collect" the Doctor’s companions by using River Song as a source of information, Charley Pollard, Liv Chenka and Helen Sinclair assume that Bliss has been put in a cell with them to provide a catalyst for their escape as the only one of them who hasn’t travelled with the Eighth Doctor. In reality, Bliss only has no memory of the Doctor because she travelled with him in the Time War and the associated changes the War caused to her history haven’t technically happened yet, but they are apparently correct that Bliss was key to helping the Eighth Doctor’s four companions pool their skills and escape the Nine’s cells.

    Comic Books 
  • In Detective Comics #373, "The Riddler On The Roof", Elongated Man visits Gotham while Batman's busy elsewhere, and Commissioner Gordon shows him the Riddler's latest clue. He stops the Riddler shortly before Batman, who has finished his own case and seen the clue, shows up. However, when they compare notes, they have completely different interpretations of what the riddle means, even though they both connected it to the same crime. Basically, either Batman, Commissioner Gordon, or both were Right For The Wrong Reasons—and out of sheer spite, the Riddler won't say which.
    • A story from the 90s saw Batman deal with a clay Golem destroying Jewish business in Gotham. A large clockwise swastika on the golem's belly led Batman to believe that the Golem's creator was being forced to send it out and the Buddhist-style swastika was a clue to his identity (someone educated enough to know about Yiddish traditions and the swastika's history). When Batman tracks down the creator (a Warsaw ghetto survivor being forced by a gang of Neo-Nazis), the man tells Batman he knew nothing about Buddhism: the swastika was a Stealth Insult to his captors, as he couldn't bring himself to draw the counter-clockwise Nazi swastika and his captors were too ignorant to tell he drew it wrong.
    • In the "Going Sane" arc, the Joker believes that he has managed to kill Batman and consequently has forgotten his previous life as a supervillain, adopting the identity of "Joseph Kerr" and building a new, peaceful life for himself. Batman, however, is still alive, and at one point connects "Joseph Kerr" to the Joker. He goes to the apartment that "Kerr" is sharing with his new fiancee, only to find no trace of the Joker or anything other than a sane, happy, loving couple living there. Batman correctly realises that crazed supervillain he fights is nowhere near that place, but believes that it is simply because the Joker used "Kerr" as a red herring to distract him.
  • The Killing Joke, as quoted below, has an example of a crazy person achieving this to show just how far the trope can go.
"See, there were these two guys in a lunatic asylum. And one night, they decide they don't like living in the asylum anymore. They decide they're going to escape! So, like, they get up onto the roof, and there, just across this narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away into the moonlight. Stretching away to freedom. Now, the first guy, he jumps right across with no problem. But his friend, his friend daren't make the leap. Y'see... y'see, he's afraid of falling. So then the first guy has an idea... He says, 'Hey, I have a flashlight with me! I'll shine it across the gap between the buildings. You can walk across the beam and join me!' But the second guy just shakes his head. He suh-says... he says 'Wh-what do you think I am? Crazy? You'd turn it off when I was halfway across!'"
  • Watchmen
    • Unlike everyone else who just thinks of him as a benevolent philanthropist, Rorschach is very suspicious of Veidt, which turns out to have been warranted. However, this is because Rorschach has some fringe right-wing views, and so he naturally assumes the Ambiguously Gay and liberal Nice Guy must be up to something evil.
    • Something similar is going on with the heavily conservative New Frontiersman, which manages to correctly poke at elements that suggest the very real conspiracy going on: things like Doug Roth's distrust of Doctor Manhattan being suspicious or the disappearance of various artists and scientists being part of a wider pattern. However, the editors of the New Frontiersman didn't really reach these conclusions through logical means; they just rooted around for any evidence that their left-leaning opposition was up to no good and then started throwing out wild guesses. Case in point: they think Doug Roth is against Manhattan because he's one of the Dirty Commies, when Doug is being funded by an all-American delivery company... owned by Adrian Veidt.
    • After the Comedian is killed, Rorschach suspects that other superheroes will be targeted for murder from a "cape-killer," so he warns the surviving Crimebusters. Sure enough, an attempt is made on Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias's life. Veidt is behind it all. He killed the Comedian because he knew too much about his plans and sent an assassin against himself to throw off suspicion. The irony is, the only reason Rorschach turned out to be right is because he was wrong in the first place; his attempt to "warn" Veidt actually inspired him to create a Red Herring for Rorschach to be put on the wrong tracks.
  • In a Jack of Fables comic, Jack correctly believes that Goldilocks is actually an agent for Mr Revise, but comes to the conclusion because all of Revise's known agents wear glasses, which he assumes has some significance, so is immediately suspicious of the bespectacled Goldilocks. As she exasperatedly tells him, she wears glasses because she has bad eyesight.
  • Runaways:
    • Gert has a deep distrust of her parents. Not because she knew they were supervillains, but because they told her that her pet pig ran away. Which it probably did, considering how Old Lace got out.
    • An unintentional example - Klara warns Molly that hanging out with someone like Xavin leads to problems. While she bases this on prejudice - because she thinks that Xavin is an "abomination" - Xavin does end up causing the team a lot of unnecessary problems when they have a run-in with Xavin's former mentor and then get attacked by Majesdanian survivors of the war that Xavin's family started.
  • During the "Funeral for a Friend" portion of The Death of Superman, Lex Luthor II takes a wooden chair and smashes it against Doomsday's prone body in anger. The cops watching him think he's doing so because Doomsday killed Superman. They're right, but it's only because Luthor was The Only One Allowed to Defeat Him.
  • One The Simpsons comic has the police looking for the criminal spraypaint tagger "El Barto". Eventually, they do manage to cuff the perpetrator (Bart, of course), but not because they caught him in the act. No, Bart had accidentally gotten ketchup on his shirt while having lunch at Krusty Burger, and ketchup just so happens to be the same color of red as the El Barto spraypaint tags.
  • In The Sandman, a 14th Century peon named Hob Galding believes that by rejecting death, people just won't die. He believes that the Achievements in Ignorance trope is in effect here, but in actuality it's this trope as Death is just so amused by his belief that she granted his wish.
  • From Hell: When William Gull calls out the psychic Robert Lees for being a fraud, Lee takes petty revenge by claiming to have visions of Gull committing the Whitechapel murders. It turns out that Gull really is Jack the Ripper. Lees is utterly surprised when Gull confesses.
  • Chase has agent Cameron Chase attend a party in Gotham City, where she beholds a group of high-ranking men in the city's infrastructure—and she immediately, correctly, pegs one of them as a superhero. Specifically, broadcasting head Alan Scott. She's right that he's a superhero, but that's because she assumes that one of the people at the party might be Batman, and he was the best candidate—in fact, he's a Green Lantern (well, of a sort, anyway), who has no connection to Batman other than that they both operate in Gotham. Bonus points: Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson were at the same party, but she immediately dismissed them as "a couple of schmoozers."

    Comic Strips 
  • This Dilbert comic where the Pointy-Haired Boss finally makes a right decision because "his ignorance clouded his poor judgment".
  • In a Mafalda strip, when Mafalda's mother unplugs the TV while Gui was watching, he tries to keep watching the show by peeking through the power outlet. When Mafalda recounts the incident to Manolito, they both start laughing...until the latter says "The images come through the wire so small! How was he supposed to see anything?"
  • In a 2018 The Phantom storyline, Eric Sahara, aka international terrorist The Nomad, is suspicious that his daughter's best friend at boarding school is the former ward of the Bangallan President, and becomes convinced she's actually some kind of spy for his enemies, there to find information on his activities. This is pure paranoia on his part, as Heloise Walker's presence is a coincidence and her friendship with Kadia is genuine. However, at the same time as he reaches this conclusion, Heloise does start trying to find information on his activities, but not on behalf of the enemies he thinks. Sahara is unaware of her connection to his greatest enemy; she's the Phantom's daughter.

    Fan Works 
  • Collated Accounts of the Infinity Train: A summary: The person interviewing Lake assumes that her metal skin is a result of the train. While this can certainly be said to be the case, it's because she originated from a literal Mirror World on the vehicle, rather than be a normal human somehow transformed by the train. The author even notes that Lake avoiding the subject means she was probably hiding something, but quickly decides that theorizing about it would be off-topic.
  • In Dirty Sympathy, the Judge denies Klavier's request to be prosecutor of trial for Shadi Enigmar's murder stating that cases will not be assigned according to personal whim and thinks Klavier has a personal stake, such as putting away Phoenix Wright for good. Unbeknownst to the judge, Klavier did have a personal stake in the trial: he helped kill Shadi Enigmar and wanted to make sure his brother was framed for it. Which is lampshaded by Apollo.
    Apollo: You sound all indignant about that. But your boss did the wrong math and got the right answer anyway.
  • The premise for the prequel Jet's Troubling Obsession in The Stalking Zuko Series with Jet constantly trying to prove that "Lee" is a firebender and Lee reacting in annoyance. in the final chapter when Jet realizes that while he never found proof for "Lee" being a firebender, he saw many instances where Lee's uncle Mushi was firebending. He realizes that Mushi was able to stay warm in their poorly insulated apartment naked in early spring and is making large quantities of tea without firewood. When Lee gets angry after Jet threatens to turn Mushi in for it, he ends up proving his point.
  • When Naruto goes AWOL to save a falsely-accused Gaara from execution in Eroninja, the Royal Guard presiding over the execution demands Temari write up a list of everyone who might aid Naruto. Once Temari hands back a page completely full of names, the Royal Guard assumes Temari made most of them up to make them waste time checking each name on the list. In reality, every person named on that list would aid Naruto (most of them unconditionally), but Temari knows Naruto is smart enough to avoid any of his known allies and would thus avoid everyone on that list.
  • In the Cardcaptor Sakura fic Shadow of the Dragon, Renji is able to tell right away that Sakura isn't the one sleeping around with everyone, and assumes it's Reiko's spirit possessing Sakura. While he's right that it's not Sakura, he's wrong about the cause: Sakura's attacker actually used Sympathetic Magic to transform Reiko into a corporeal Doppelgänger of Sakura as part of his campaign against her. Syaoran and the others decide to just go with his assumption to protect Sakura's secret.
  • In Suzumiya Haruhi No Index, Haruhi correctly deduces that the comatose nuns are suffering from oxygen deprivation when she notices the room isn't properly ventilated, but the real source is God's Divine Punishment.
  • In On Life On Death On Everything Inbetween, Rukia correctly figures out that Ichigo was traumatized, but thinks it's due to a Hollow attack from when they'd met about a week ago. He's actually having nightmares because he had spent a decade fighting in a war so bad that it included him losing an eye and having his throat slit while being held captive.
  • America figures Liechtenstein has a crush on England in Just the Usual Antics when he sees her staring at him. While she was actually looking at the fairies that were flying near England, America wasn't wrong about them liking each other and getting along well.
  • Buffy realizes that Xander's new girlfriend Karen has "Hercules level strength" in Crush after Karen admitting to being Argosian makes her think Karen is descended from Jason and the Argonauts. In reality, Karen is Karen Starr aka Powergirl.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, the Trans-Galactic Republic may mostly avert Ragnarök Proofing and thus not accurately recall events from millions of years ago — but they do remember the Yuuzhan Vong were bad news. So yes, that organic-looking spacefaring thing should be treated with caution. The Flood is a LOT worse than the Vong were...
  • In Swapping The Cage, both Sarutobi and Inoichi realize that the new Naruto isn't really Naruto but the Kyuubi (who goes by Kuushou) who has a false mindscape. However, they think Inoichi's counterpart brainwashed the Kyuubi by inserting a fake personality called Naruto. In reality, Kuushou knows full well he's the Kyuubi and he created his false mindscape with the help of his world's Ino (who's his adopted big sister).
  • In Soul Hunter, Yang says Ichigo has been holding out on them when it comes to his battle skills once she finds out that he's capable of using Kido. While she's correct that he's been holding back (only ever going one tier up at most when he's got several), his Kido skills are abysmal.
  • Zangetsu is suspicious of Aizen in The Snow Has Stopped The Rain because of his unusual interest in Ichigo, but then he asks if he's a child molester, one of the very few crimes Aizen isn't guilty of.
  • In Sonic X: Dark Chaos, Tsali eventually surmises that Maledict isn't actually interested in fighting Sonic the Hedgehog at all, and guesses that it's because he's gonna replace Tsali with them. It's actually because Sonic, Shadow, and Eric are his cloned sons.
  • In Destiny Is A Hazy Thing, Anko insists that being granted nobility won't affect Naruto's loyalty to Konoha. Unbeknownst to her, that's because Naruto isn't loyal to Konoha; he just needs the benefits working for them provides.
  • Applies to a degree in Bonne Foi, when Jacob speculates that Edward may be the campus serial killer who's been stalking Bella's college; Jacob is right that Edward was the campus killer, but he’s only making that accusation based on the fact that Edward's a vampire rather than any real evidence, and Edward stopped killing humans at least a few weeks before he and Jacob met.
  • Invoked in Once Upon a Supernatural Time when, after the curse on Storeybrooke has been broken and the residents' memories restored, Dean Winchester refers to Leroy as 'Grumpy' based on his current mood before he learns that the man actually is Grumpy.
  • Avenger of Steel;
    • Jessica Jones calls for Clark’s assistance when she believes that a gang war is about to break out; she is correct, but incorrectly identifies the catalyst as the Masked Man killing a leader of the Russian mafia when in reality the vigilante has been framed.
    • When Karen Page learns that the Russian mafia was attacked by Superman the night before, she assumes that Clark is responsible, but only because she believes that he told Superman about their talk rather than realising that he actually is Superman.
  • In Harry Potter And The Ice Princess, when Elsa attends Hogwarts, various students refer to her as the 'Ravenclaw Princess' just because of her manner, with very few aware that she actually is a princess by birth.
  • In the Charmed fic “Charmed Alternate”, when Paige is present when the Halliwells originally cast the spells to unbind their powers, after Paige manifests her own magic Phoebe assumes that the spell that activated their powers gave Paige her powers because she was in the house with them at the same time. This is admittedly correct, but Phoebe just assumes that Paige is a random girl who just happens to have a witch parent, rather than realising that Paige is their currently-unknown sister.
  • "When Worlds Collide" sees the NCIS team led by Jethro Gibbs investigating the crimes commited by the Winchester brothers, but while they soon deduce that the Winchesters aren't the serial killers other investigators believe them to be, evidence such as the Winchesters' confrontations with shapeshifters and the Leviathans leads McGee and DiNozzo in particular to assume that the Winchesters have discovered a group of terrorists using a sophisticated disguise-making machine rather than realise that they were dealing with independent supernatural shapeshifters.
  • An Alternate Keitaro Urashima: After Motoko loses to Keitaro in a duel and subsequently suffers a major Humiliation Conga, Naru has No Sympathy for her and believes that she deserves it. While Naru says so for purely petty reasons (namely being forced to apologize to Keitaro for attacking him over her own mistake), she is right that Motoko deserves it, in that it was Motoko's own actions that led to said Humiliation Conga since she repeatedly ignored warnings to stay away from Keitaro and threatened him with her sword right in front of a cop. Furthermore, it's stated that Keitaro is not the first person Motoko has done this to; he's merely the first one who actually pressed charges.
  • Persona EG: ZIT believes early on that Sunset Shimmer has something to do with with Zodiac because they don't like her, due to her being The Bully, instead of having any proof. Though they are wrong with some of their accusations, such as thinking she is the dark persona user Eris, they are eventually proven right that she is involved with Zodiac when Eris reveals that her boss, Mephistopheles, is in fact Sunset Shimmer.
  • In Reaching for a Dream, Naruto makes a crack that Madara's Assimilation Plot is probably because Hashirama got the girl he himself wanted. While Madara's reaction shows Naruto was right, he made the claim because of how much of a walking cliche the man is.
  • In Sunrider: Mask of Zero, Cosette declines an invitation from a group of notorious pirates hunting for Zero. She knows it will result in an Epic Fail, but under the belief that the rival groups are using a Uriah Gambit clusterfuck that'll leave Zero on top. She doesn't think that Zero will personally wipe out all the pirates single-handedly.
  • In Taaroko's Season 8, Angel and Wesley use Wolfram & Hart's resources to set up the Summers Academy for Girls in Cleveland as a cover for training the new Slayers, which from Wolfram & Hart's perspective is basically doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. As Wesley observes, the rest of W&H aren't going to complain about their money being used to set up a school as it's basically a massive tax dodge that makes the firm look charitable, while the former Angel Investigations have the pleasure of depriving Wolfram & Hart of a significant amount of money.
  • In Birds of a Feather, Oliver correctly deduces Laurel is lying about how she got her injuries and concludes "someone's hurting her", seemingly thinking of some kind of Domestic Abuse. The injuries are actually from her being the Black Canary, so he's right in that people are intentionally hurting her, but he's way off as to how/why.
  • Applies in two different examples in Not Set in Stone;
    • A chance comment by Laurel sets Thea thinking about the implication that Laurel believes she doesn't have a future. When thinking on recent events like Laurel planning to sell her car and putting Thea's name on the lease of their apartment, Thea becomes worried that Laurel has been diagnosed with some terminal disease and is trying to tie up loose ends before she dies. In reality, while Laurel is effectively getting her affairs in order and thinks she might die soon, it's because Cisco witnessed a vision of her being killed with a green arrow at some future date, and she is later able to assure Thea that they've averted the events that would lead to that prediction coming to pass.
    • Oliver is horrified when he realizes that Laurel is afaid of him; and muses that while she has every reason to doubt him she has always put aside her pain to believe in him, so something must be seriously wrong if she's openly doubting him now. He thinks she knows about William (his son born out of infidelity), and that was "just one hurt too far". In reality, Cisco told her that he had a vision of her dying with a green arrow in her side, and that knowledge is understandably weighing her down. She has absolutely no knowledge of William until Oliver brings him up.note 
  • Wrong Road to the Right Place basically uses this trope as its title; Laurel starts paying close attention to Oliver after he returns to Starling City because she investigates one of his tattoos and realises that it signifies him as a captain in the Bratva, but initially assumed that he was still an active member before she learns that Oliver is actually the Hood (which she vastly prefers).
  • Integration: After Sci-Twi almost gets kidnapped by the Changelings, she reveals to her friends that they knew about the magical incidents at Canterlot High. Pinkie Pie immediately guesses that the assailants are, like pre-Heel–Face Turn Sunset and the Sirens, exiles from Equestria who seek to use magic in another Take Over the World scheme. It turns out that the assailants are actually from the Human world, but they're interested in replicating the magical abilities that the Rainbooms have because it'll allow them to easily dominate the criminal underworld.
  • Jedi Master Sinube in The Havoc Side of the Force comes to the entirely correct conclusion that Harry Potter is from the future. Since he knows nothing of the current time period, he can't be from the present, and due to his ability to violate thermodynamics with ease and being able to fly far better than someone from a more primitive civilization should, he can't be from the past. In reality, Harry is from the future but his civilization is far more primitive than the galactic standard. He can do what he can due to magic and for piloting, it's a combination of his experience on a broom and a LOT of advice from HK-47.
  • Ranma correctly figures out in How I Learned to Love the Wild Horse that despite his initial thoughts, Mandy and her posse aren't his handlers because they don't know the truth about Ranko. While they aren't his handlers, Sam, Clover, and Alex don't know the truth either because Britney gave them bad intel.
  • In Unexpected Surprise:
    • Gabriel, in order to ensure Marinette has no Gold Digger intentions, asks that she tells him the name of Emma's father. When she refuses, he assumes that she is trying to protect Adrien, and is convinced she has no such plans. It is true that she doesn't, but the main reason she refuses is that she simply has no name to give.
    • Emily dreams all the time that she will meet her daddy on the roof. So when during one of the attempts, when she almost falls, Adrien grabs her and gets them both to the roof, she starts calling him daddy. He is, but canon doesn't seem to have had any prophetic dreams so far.
  • From The Outside, Satsuki is agoraphobic and, so, considers going outside dangerous, however, to her understanding, it's because of an asthma attack and Soichiro's death, instead of realizing that those events happened because of other reasons and not just because they went outside.
  • Crocodile in Blood Man Luffy correctly guesses that Luffy would refuse the World Government's offer to become a Shichibukai on the basis that Luffy's not a dog nor is he smart enough to play them for fools, citing that Luffy wants to be Pirate King and "Kings don't bow down to the world, the world bows down to kings." Luffy corrects him that he wants to be Pirate King because it means being the freest person in the world, something he can't do if he's following the government's orders.
  • The Flash Sentry Chronicles:
    • Flash figured out that Twilight was jealous of Trixie and assured her she has nothing to be worry about. But he assumes she is jealous because Trixie is getting better with magic and is endangering Twilight's status as the princess's number one student, and assures her she is still great at magic and is now simply tied with Trixie. Twilight was actually jealous of Trixie getting close with Flash and was afraid what might happen if they started a relationship, and Flash's cluelessness to this angers not only her but Trixie as well.
    • When Pinkie's boyfriend Wild Smile sees how strange she suddenly starts acting, he puts two and two together to realize that she is keeping some kind of secret that involves a baby. Though he mistakenly believes that the secret is that she is pregnant and he is the father of their "unborn foal". He is relieved when he learns that Princess Cadance is the one who is actually pregnant and Pinkie was just trying to keep the secret for the surprise, but embarrassed to admit the misunderstanding to Pinkie.
  • This happens twice in Conversations with a Cryptid.
    • Bakugou warns Izuku that he's probably being targeted by a villain, since all the other kids he knew in elementary and middle school had mysteriously disappeared (with one being used for All for One's Noumu project). Izuku was being specifically targeted by a villain, but this one had absolutely nothing to do with what happened to Izuku's childhood bullies.
    • Izuku pretty quickly realizes that his Disappeared Dad Hisashi is a criminal, and connects his disappearance to All for One's operation coming under attack by All Might. This is entirely accurate. He then concludes that Hisashi is a member of All for One's inner circle, panicking when his boss looked to be losing. This is not accurate. Hisashi is All for One himself.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton: Dipper rightly suspects Danny of being supernatural, but he is only suspicious because he hopes to make Danny look bad in front of Wendy, who Danny is taking on a blind date.
  • Bequeathed from Pale Estates: After learning about Joffrey's "tongues" incident via reading Sansa's letter from her sister Lyarra, Septa Mordane claims Lyarra is lying because there is no way a member of the Baratheon bloodline could act in such a manner since they were anointed by the High Septon. While she's wrong about Lyarra lying, she is correct about her claim about the Baratheons. It's unlikely a normal Baratheon would act like Joffrey did; Joffrey, however, is not Robert Baratheon's trueborn son. He's Jaime Lannister's incestuous bastard.
  • Lelouch of the Wings of Rebellion: The Black King is right in thinking that a photo of Euphemia with Lelouch in her arms is prime Black Mail material, but he's wrong about the reason why that's the case. The Don thinks he's sitting on a paparazzi shot suggesting a scandalous affair between the Third Princess and a handsome commoner, plus the legal problems the two minors will get from entering a nightclub, but the real value (and danger) of the picture is that it proves that the "late" 11th Prince is in fact very much alive.
  • A Starstruck Phantasmic Romance: The mall guard is right for siding against Dash and Paulina but he does so because he doesn't believe a skinny girl like Starfire can hurt Dash.
  • Le Papillon Rising: In Chapter 21, when Gabriel deduces the akuma must be Adrien, Chloe, Mylene or Ivan, Marinette rules Adrien out because "he didn't have much reason to be upset". The real reason is that Adrien is this fic's Hawk Moth.
  • A few people make these in The Power of Seven;
    • Suggested when Pansy tries to taunt Harry about his relationships and Susan observes that Pansy is known to be involved with Draco and teases that Draco is very ‘small’; Pansy later reflects that this assumption is actually true, but she believes that Susan found that information out from a specific source rather than realising that Susan was just teasing her.
    • Used on a more practical note in chapter 34; while Fleur's Veela senses make her aware that Harry is having sex with multiple girls, she initially assumes that he is cheating on Ginny rather than consider alternative explanations, although Ginny soon clarifies the truth of Harry's current sexual activities in chapter 36.
    • A lesser example in chapter 35, when Cho assumes that Harry never considered her for his new relationships because she 'didn't put out'; Cho is correct that Harry didn't consider her as one of his new partners, but that was actually because Harry didn't like the way Cho treated Luna rather than because she didn't want to have sex.
  • Seventh Horcrux often has its protagonist (Voldemort in Harry's body) making wildly off-base assumptions that turn out to be roundaboutly correct. For instance, he assumes that Moody is trying to kill him because Moody told him to try a broomstick during the First Task, when Harry (unlike in canon) is hopeless at flying. He's right that Moody wants him dead, but he's wrong about the timing; the broomstick was genuine advice.
  • White Sheep (RWBY):
    • Ozpin quickly realizes that Salem is after Jaune Arc, and deduces that he must have some power that Salem either fears or wants for herself. The truth is that Jaune is Salem's son, and Salem just wants him to come home.
    • Ruby thinks that Cinder is a ruthless manipulator who will do anything to gain power. This is true, but Ruby just jumped to that conclusion because Cinder is too pretty (and because Neo thought it would be funny to tell Ruby and the others that Cinder is a Gold Digger).
  • Redaction of the Golden Witch:
    • Karl and Hiro's respective favorite theories about what happened during the Rokkenjima Incident each touch briefly upon the One Truth. However, the rest of the details of their pet theories veer wildly off base.
    • Walter Absalom believes that the Forgery is connected to the 1996 incident — specifically, that it was written by the one responsible for those deaths, disguising a murder confession as a fictional account of what happened in 1986. As it turns out, he's right about it being connected, and the author did consider themselves responsible... because they believe they could have prevented their friends from dying if they hadn't allowed them to go to Rokkenjima themselves.
  • Escape From The Hokage's Hat: During a mission report to Mei, Aoi manages to get a lot right about Tsunade's team but some of the info isn't but it at least make sense given what he knows. He correctly surmises Hinata and Naruto are close but thinks it's because Hinata is a Honey Pot. He correctly guesses the team moves from place to place not to get tracked but thinks it's to gain allies, manipulate Naruto and pull a Kansas City Shuffle on the other villages... instead of Tsunade just trying to lay a low profile despite the team being a Doom Magnet.
  • In Ripples on Deep Water, Bakugou acknowledges to himself that he shouldn't have suicide baited Izuku. However, the reason Bakugou thinks he shouldn't have done so is because it seemingly caused Izuku to grow a spine rather than because it's an awful thing to do.
  • A Dovahkiin Spreads His Wings:
    • Catelyn Stark's paranoia and insecurity are encouraged by her husband taking Jon Snow to Winterfell instead of sending him away and raising the boy as a trueborn child, something that she perceives as Ned still loving Jon's mother. Tragically, she's unaware that Ned's love for said woman was brotherly and as such not threatening her as a wife.
    • Jaime Lannister actually correctly pegs Jon as Ned Stark's nephew by reminiscing just how much the Warden of the North is tightlaced and honourable, not at all the kind of man who would have an affair while being married. Jaime came to this conclusion because Jon's swordplay reminded him of his idol ser Arthur Dayne, and the timeline allowed for Arthur's sister Ashara sleeping with Ned's brother Brandon. As the reader is aware, he's pointing at the wrong Stark sibling.
  • In the Alternate Tail Series, Lyon figures out that Azuma is planning to use the massive tree in Tenrou Island to defeat Fairy Tail in a single swoop. However, because he saw him igniting a branch using his Arc of Tree, he believed Azuma was going to do the same to the entire tree and create an explosion to scorch the island, rather than use its power to drain the Fairy Tail wizards of their magic.
  • In A Girl and Her Bike, two Atlesian soldiers harass Yang believing her motorcycle to be the Mantlite bomb/Bumblebee. They were actually correct in that her bike was exactly who they were looking for, but they had no evidence to support this and were just looking for an easy promotion.
  • Lugnut in TFA Kaleidoscope is correct when he insists to the other Decepticons that Megatron is still alive, but he has no evidence to back this up and his reasoning is rooted in his zeal and Undying Loyalty.
  • In Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail, Goh and Professor Cerise assume that Chloe was kidnapped (after she ran away from the Cerise Lab thoroughly pissed at them for ignoring her in favor of Pokémon) when all that's left is her hair scrunchie. Thing is, she has been kidnapped but the two assumed that it was a person and not a supernatural therapy train.
  • An unusual variant happens in the He-Man/She-Ra and the Princesses of Power crossover Power and Honor in that the Sorceress calls Adora's desire to upgrade her She-Ra form this trope. The Sorceress concedes that Adora's request for a power-up is pretty valid, despite the fact that the sole reason she's making the request is simply to get a cooler outfit for She-Ra, which the Sorceress calls "Selfish and Unnecessary".
  • The Vasto of White: Yhwach thinks that Shirou is his brother because of his advanced powers. He correctly guesses that like him, Shirou started out as an Empty Shell who slowly gained reason and emotions from the people around him. While this is true, this was because he was traumatized by the Fuyuki Fire, not because he was born the way Yhwach was.
  • Children of Remnant: Weiss thinks Salem is lying when Salem says that Weiss is her favorite daughter. She's right; Salem tells all of them that they're her favorite in order to manipulate them. But the reason Weiss thinks that is because she believes that everyone secretly hates her.
  • At one point in An Encore From My Crying Heart, Miu randomly accuses Tsumugi of being the Mastermind because she wears glasses. While her logic is rather off base, she is actually completely correct.

    Film — Animated 
  • In The Brave Little Toaster when they realize the house is being sold and the appliances are deciding whether or not to leave and find The Master, Vacuum says they should just stay behind because "They'll have a new master anyways". Turns out he was right about staying behind but not because of the new master, as their original owner was on his way to pick them up to take to college with him.
  • Despicable Me 2:
    • When one of Gru's adopted daughters, Margo, falls in love with a boy named Antonio, Gru is incredibly suspicious of Antonio, not for any specific reason but just because Antonio is a boy putting the moves on his little girl. But while Gru's actual motive is that he was just being paranoid, he turns out to be right about the fact that Antonio isn't a good match for Margo, because Antonio is a huge flirt and Margo is just another pretty girl to him. But Gru didn't actually know that at first.
    • Gru is also initially suspicious of Antonio's father Eduardo because of his similar appearance to a villain named El Macho. Despite no evidence being found at Eduardo's restaurant, Gru insists he's right more as a chance to get Eduardo's son in jail as well. Turns out he's right about Eduardo being El Macho and being behind the crime, but not about his son being in on it.
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox: The farmers use a recording of Kristofferson's voice to try and lure Fox out of hiding. He doesn't fall for it, but only because he thinks it doesn't sound anything like him.
  • One of the shorts bundled on the Blu-Ray of Inside Out has Riley being called to answer a question in the textbook after she'd been doodling most of class. Joy, working under the assumption that it's multiple choice, has Riley answer "C." It turns out she's in Spanish class — which all of the emotions somehow missed — and the question was a "Yes or No" one to which "Sí" was the correct answer.note 
  • Implied in Megamind, when Tigthen — during a nasty Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids! speech to Roxanne — snarls that she's living in a fantasy world, and that there's "no Easter Bunny, there's no Tooth Fairy, and there's no Queen of England!" He's technically right on the last one, as Queen Elizabeth II does not officially hold the title of Queen of England (she is in fact the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, of which England is only a constituent part). But considering he's listing imaginary fairytale creatures and is also, to put it bluntly, incredibly stupid, it's almost certain that he's not aware of the distinction and believes that the British Royal Family is also imaginary.
  • Mulan:
    • The leader of the soldiers sings, "Did they send me daughters, when I asked for sons?" He had no way of knowing Mulan was a girl at the time. His song was meant to question the abilities of the men.
    • When Mushu decides that he needs to make Mulan a war hero to redeem himself in the eyes of the Fa family ancestors and overhears that Chi-Fu intends to send a report that would determine Mulan's unit is unfit for duty that would tank that, he blithely forges a letter and impersonates an officer informing Chi-Fu that the main army headed by General Li has engaged the Hun army and in desperate need of their help, which causes Chi-Fu to throw aside his plans and tell Shang they need to move out. Mushu only knew that the army would seeing combat with the Huns and wanted to get Mulan on the front line no matter what, but had no way of knowing what their situation was. Turns out he was completely right — the main army was fighting the Huns and was in desperate need of reinforcements. Too bad he didn't decide to forge that letter sooner...

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Advance to the Rear: General Bracknbury is court-martialed for cowardice after retreating in the middle of battle. Brackenbury didn't mean to retreat, and only did so because his horse got out of control (something that his superiors refuse to believe), but he has been cowardly avoiding battle by arranging to fire a few shots at each other without actually making an effort to fight.
  • In the 1995 Assassins (Antonio Banderas / Sylvester Stallone), the evil assassin is searching for the escaping female hacker who has the secret data. He touches the front hoods of several parked cars, muttering to himself "Cold... Cold...", until he stumbles upon a car with warm engine. This leads him to the conclusion that that's the apartment house where she will be. However, the hacker was running on foot for the last 10 or so minutes and didn't use a car to get home. The car belongs to a neighbor who just happened to return home for completely unrelated reasons.
  • There was a massive scene in Hot Fuzz where Nick Angel accused Tim Dalton's shopkeeper character of committing the murders, complete with motives. He didn't identify the correct motives, and the shopkeeper had a watertight alibi, BUT - and it's a big but - in TWO twists, not only was he right all along with the shopkeeper being complicit with the murders, but he'd actually name checked all of the REAL motives in passing over the course of his original speech. So it was right for the right reasons, and while he did acknowledge the right reasons, he didn't identify them as being the right reasons until the very climax.
  • Played for laughs in Stand by Me. In the scene where the four boys are walking through the back woods, Vern asks Teddy if he thinks Mighty Mouse could beat up Superman. Teddy says "No you idiot. Mighty Mouse is a cartoon! Superman is a real person! There's no way they could have a fight."
    Vern: Yeah, I guess you're right. (beat) It'd be a good fight though!
  • In Without a Clue. Holmes' (and Watson's) contrived method of solving the final clue turns out to be true, but the real solution is far simpler. To elaborate: Holmes and Watson read the final clue, a partial serial number (234) as being part of a kidnap victim's code. The victim's favorite book of the bible was the book of Psalms. Psalm 23, verse 4 leads them to a passage that referenced an In-Universe famous play: The Shadow Of Death, which played at a local theatre which was, in fact, where he was being held captive. Of course, 234 was also the address of the theatre, which was what the victim really intended.
    • It is left to the viewer to decide, which conclusion Professor Moriarty drew. He just said "very clever", but then said that the only other man able to solve the riddle, Dr. Watson, was at the bottom of the Thames. An educated guess would be that he arrived at the conclusion the same way Watson and Holmes did. The solution being the address just seems a bit - pedestrian.
  • In Star Trek (2009), Kirk connects several events that have occurred as meaning the Narada is attacking Vulcan, and even Spock says his logic is sound. He's right, but his conclusions such as "lightning storm in space=Narada" are wrong (the lightning storm being Spock Prime coming through a black hole in this instance, which Kirk simply can't know of at this point).
    • Bonus points for this being a double case. Kirk's desire to raise shields may be born out of his unwarranted certainty in his conclusion but the circumstantial evidence is enough to suggest that raising shields and proceeding with caution is still a good idea.
    • A retroactive version where Nero blames the Federation for not helping save his homeworld of Romulus from a supernova, even though Spock tried to save them. The later series Star Trek: Picard would reveal that the Federation really did leave the Romulans to die, an act that angered now-Admiral Picard, who also tried to save them.
  • In The Princess Bride, there is a complex example. Inigo is able to track down Westley when he hears his scream, and when questioned by Fezzik how he knows it's him, Inigo replies that it is the sound of ultimate suffering and he is the only one who could feel it that night due to his true love marrying another. Technically, it's because he was just tortured to mostly-death. However, he was tortured purely out of spite because Prince Humperdinck realized Princess Buttercup loved Westley instead of him.
    • In the battle-of-wits scene, the Man in Black secretly poisons some wine, sets out two cups, and challenges Vizzini to find the poison. Vizzini takes several rounds of Insane Troll Logic explaining why one or the other cup is clearly poisoned, then eventually grabs one and drinks it. Too bad for him he didn't figure out that he was right about both cups.
  • In Just Cause: Bobby Earl Ferguson is convicted because he was beaten into confessing and is a black in the deep south. However, even the jury convicts him because they're racist pricks rather than because of any evidence Bobby Earl actually IS GUILTY.
  • In Fireworks Wednesday, Mojdeh accuses her husband Morteza of cheating on her with the neighbour. Although most of her evidence turns out to have an innocent explanation, she is actually correct.
  • In Godzilla vs. King Ghidorah, after the new incarnation of Godzilla has defeated King Ghidorah, one of the onlookers says "would you look at the size of that thing, it's not going to be friendly." He makes the odd assumption that if a creature is really big, then it is evil, which contradicts the portrayal of other notable Toho giants like Mothra and Sanda, who have been friendly. But the onlooker turns out to be correct, as Godzilla proceeds to go on another destructive rampage.
  • In Godzilla (2014), Joe Brody believes the so-called "nuclear meltdown" in 1999 which killed his wife was much more than the government lets on to. However, he thinks it's because the military is testing some sort of secret EMP weapon which Went Horribly Wrong fifteen years ago, while in reality, both the destruction of the reactor and the electromagnetic pulses were caused by an escaped kaiju.
  • In Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey, Chance says they should just stay at the farm because they've been abandoned. He believes since their owners don't want them any longer, they might as well eke out a living on the farm. Of course, he's right all along that they should have stayed, not because they were abandoned but because their owners were coming back for them in a couple of weeks.
  • In Terminator 2: Judgment Day John Connor flees for dear life from the T-1000 not because it's a murderous killing machine sent to kill him (he's unaware at the time), but because he just robbed an ATM and the T-1000 is disguised as a police officer who John assumes wants to arrest him for the theft. This is mirrored by Sarah later in the film who hides from the T-1000, this time disguised as a guard, because she's in the midst of escaping the mental institution and doesn't realize he's actually a terminator there to kill her.
  • Back to the Future Part III:
    • An inversion: 1955 Doc Brown has Marty set to make his trip into 1885, but Marty protests that he'll hit a billboard with some Indians on it. Doc assures him that since he'll go back in time before reaching the billboard, the Indians won't be there. Marty does as told...and arrives to find actual Indians charging at him in the same place. Doc was Wrong for the Right Reasons. Or you could say this is a straight example, and Marty was Right for the Wrong Reasons.
    • A straight example: One of Buford Tannen's mooks reads the "Injun" word on Marty's "moccasins" as "Nee-kay." That's a completely incorrect way to pronounce Nike, the shoe company. It's pretty close to the correct pronunciation of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory.
  • Home Alone:
    • Harry and Marv notice something strange about Kevin and begin following in their van to see which house he goes in. When he runs, they conclude something must be up because, in Harry's words, "I knew he looked at me weird! Why would he run?" Of course something is in fact up because Kevin is home alone and recognized Harry as the police officer from the beginning, but the real reason he ran is because two creepy guys in a beat up van were following him down the street.
    • Later Buzz isn't worried and declares that Kevin will be just fine because "A, he's not that lucky. 2, they have smoke detectors, and D, they live on the most boring street in the USA where nothing even remotely dangerous will happen." He's right about Kevin being alright, but it's only thanks to the little guy's ingenuity, affinity for traps that would make Jigsaw ask for an autograph, and one tough grandfather.
  • In Fantasy Island (2020), a later 'flashback' reveals that Patrick refused to run into a burning building to save someone who was trapped inside, insisting they wait for the firefighters. While he does so out of fear, Patrick wasn't any better equipped to run into a burning building than Gwen was when she tried to relive the moment as part of a fantasy, and she passed out from smoke inhalation before even reaching the proper floor.
  • Kingsman: The Golden Circle: When Whiskey breaks the vial of Poppy's antidote, Harry believes he did it intentionally under someone else's orders and shoots him in the head. As it turns out, he was partly correct - Whiskey did break the vial intentionally, but he wasn't working for another organisation, as he was acting on his own when he did it.
  • In Men in Black 3, J travels back in time to 1969 and is pulled over by two racist cops who believe that he stole the car he's driving because it happens to be a very expensive model and Will Smith is black. After Neuralyzing them, J admits to the stupefied cops that he did steal the car, but it had nothing to do with the color of his skin.
  • In The Mist, Mrs. Carmody ends up being entirely correct in saying that everyone should stay holed up in the grocery store in order to survive. Her reasoning behind why, however, is completely skewed and ends up creating more problems than it solves given that it involves forming a tyrannical religious cult that is totally down with human sacrifices.
  • In Searching, David finds some disturbing messages between Margot and his brother Peter and based off their messages, believed they did something terrible behind his back. David is correct but for the wrong reasons. David had assumed they were in an incestuous relationship but in reality, Peter was sharing his weed with Margot and was not responsible for her disappearance.
  • In Get Out (2017), Rodney quickly realizes that his friend Chris is in trouble, but comes to a laughably wrong conclusion about the kind of trouble Chris is in. He thinks that Chris has wandered into an erotic thriller in the vein of Eyes Wide Shut, one in which rich white people kidnap and brainwash black people for kinky sex games, as opposed to the horror movie about white people stealing black people's bodies to attain immortality that's actually going on.
  • In Species, scientists choose to create a female alien-human hybrid rather than a male, believing that females are more docile and less dangerous than males. At this point, they do not know that the aliens have sent them this DNA, because the creating hybrids can reproduce on Earth and wipe out humanity.
    • The assumption that a female is less dangerous and aggressive than a male is wrong, because in the animal species on Earth mostly the opposite is the case. Birds, insects, amphibians, in most species females are larger, stronger and more aggressive than males. Mammals are the only exception. And even female mammals do not like it at all when someone approaches their kittens. So what made the scientists believe that it would be completely different in an alien species?
    • However, the sequel Species II shows that the decision was correct because female hybrids reproduce much more slowly and therefore can create fewer hybrids in a very short period of time. There the villain of the movie is a male hybrid, and he pairs with many human women, so in a short period of time a lot of hybrids are born.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail plays this for comedy, After Bedivere "proves" that witches are made of wood, he asks the peasants how they can test if someone is made of wood. One of them shouts "Build a bridge out of her!" Bedivere wisely shoots this down—because you can also build bridges out of stone. Additionally, the peasants seemingly did catch a witch, but it seems to have been by blind luck, as none of them can give a good or genuine reason for why she's a witch aside from "we want to burn something."
  • Shaun of the Dead: While it's clear David has a point when he remarks that Shaun's plan isn't very well thought-out, and his ultimate goal amounts to little more to sitting around and waiting for rescue, his criticisms of said plan are more out of personal dislike for Shaun than him actually having any idea of what to do. On top of that, he himself rarely has anything to offer but unhelpful snark and just makes things worse on the rare occasions he actually tries to do something; Diane even lampshades it, remarking that if David really was as capable as he was trying to act whenever he was putting Shaun down, he would have taken charge of the group himself rather than just following along with whatever Shaun was doing. He also ends up being absolutely right that they should have just waited out, as the Army shows up to slaughter both the zombies and the Militaries Are Useless trope in a quest to save the survivors, but of course he had absolutely no way of knowing that and his only motivation in voicing his plan was to spite Shaun.
    • Ironically, this also makes Ed sort-of right as well, since the only reason he wanted to go to the Winchester was because it was familiar and so he could smoke, but the Winchester is in fact very well fortified (at least until David smashes the window) and the only place where the main characters would be able to get their hands on a gun to fend off the zombies when they do breach the doors.
  • In Ed Wood, when watching his masterpiece unfold near the very end, Wood concludes that "this is the one they'll remember me for." And it would be his most well-remembered film... just not the way he intended it.

  • There's an old Polish joke that's an example. During a field exercise, a sergeant stops his unit of New Meat.
    Sergeant: Hold it! Now, who can tell me in which direction are we marching?
    Private: Sir, south, sir!
    Sergeant: Fucking right! Now, tell the others how did you figure that out!
    Private: Sir, it's getting warmer and warmer, sir!
  • An old joke: Three old men go to the doctor for a checkup (please don't ask why the doctor is giving all three men their checkup at the same time). Since they're getting on in years, the doctor decides to check their mental faculties as well. So he asks the first man, "What's three times three?" And the old man says, "273." So the doctor moves on to the second guy and asks the same question. "Tuesday," is the reply. Finally he asks the third old man. "9." "That's great!" says the doctor, "How'd you get to that answer?" "I subtracted 273 from Tuesday."
  • A woman was asked, "If a car is traveling at 80 miles an hour, how long would it take the car to go 80 miles?" The woman makes a lengthy calculation, beginning with, "I run the mile in about nine minutes," as part of her calculation. She says a tire turns about 400 times in a mile. In the end, she says "About 58 minutes," which is pretty close considering the factors she used to get there.
  • Supposedly a man came to Andrew Jackson with a proposal to fund an expedition inside the Hollow Earth, which failed because Jackson thought the Earth was flat.



  • In Karl May's novels and stories set in the Old West, the cowboys, scouts and settlers in the West from either USA or Mexico are never idealized. Their vices, avarice, theft, violence, filth are usually touched with Brutal Honesty. He did it to contrast the Incorruptible Pure Pureness of the heroes Winnetou and Charlie/Old Shatterhand, but he reflects reality pretty accurately. The Western frontier had been a pretty dismal place before being fully settled and people trying their luck there were usually on the less savoury side.


  • In the Alex Cross book Along Came a Spider, Alex's grandmother objects to his relationship with Jezzie Flanagan because Alex is black and Jezzie is white. Unbeknownst to both Alex and his grandmother, Jezzie is responsible for the kidnapping and murder that Alex is investigating. After Jezzie's perfidy is exposed, Alex's grandmother notes that she cannot say 'I told you so' because she had not predicted this development.
  • The ever-suspicious Efficient Baxter from P. G. Wodehouse's Blandings Castle saga frequently takes the right course of action after drawing the wrong conclusion. For instance, he'll assume two characters are accomplices helping one another steal the same object, when in reality they're rivals trying to steal the same object, thieves-for-hire unaware that they were hired by the same employer, or unrelated thieves who don't decide to team up until Baxter has already marked them out as conspirators.
  • Circleverse: In Tris' The Circle Opens book, Shatterglass, the people of Tharios strongly believe that dead bodies cause pollution. Bodies and places where death has occurred are cleansed with powerful magic (which causes problems, as it erases evidence the police need to find a serial killer). When questioned, one citizen says that such cleansing kept Tharios safe from a plague many years ago. However, they believe that the contamination is spiritual rather than pathogenic.
  • In the novel The Day of the Jackal, the manhunt for hitman the Jackal starts with the police discovering his real identity, Englishman Charles Calthrop. It works, but in the epilogue the real Charles Calthrop turns up alive and well, completely unconnected.
  • This is Dirk Gently's standard operating procedure; it reaches its apex in the second book, when he spontaneously decides his client's death is someone else's fault simply so he can stop feeling guilty about it. It turns out to be directly her fault.
  • Discworld:
  • The Dresden Files: In Ghost Story, Daniel and Butters dress up in grey cloaks to pose as Wardens and confront Aristides the warlock. Aristides sees through their disguises right away because neither is wearing one of the silver swords Wardens are famous for. However the Wardens had lost the capability of producing their iconic swords several years prior, meaning newer Wardens actually wouldn't have them. Of course the Wardens aren't exactly publicly announcing that fact, so for some without extensive knowledge like Aristedes it becomes a dead giveaway.
    • In Peace Talks, Harry is trying to deal with Ebenezar's hatred of the White Court. Harry insists that Thomas is different, and not like the others. Ebenezar responds that that's what abuse victims always say about their abusers. In this case, it's true—Thomas actually is a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire while all the others are Affably Evil at best, plus Thomas is actually Harry's half-brother—but Ebenezar, who doesn't know that, has a point.
  • One Encyclopedia Brown mystery had Brown and Sally Kimball deduce that one of three men had an opportunity to call in a bomb scare at the left-handers convention. The culprit is, naturally, determined to be right-handed. The girl who hired them says that any of the suspects could have done it because they're "strange". She suggests the second one who comes under suspicion is strange because his left ear is higher than his right. Sally looks at the guy and tells her that it's actually an optical illusion because his left sideburn is longer than his right. He turns out to be the culprit, but Encyclopedia determines this because right-handed men have longer left sideburns due to not being able to reach it as well. The girl was right to suspect him because of his longer sideburn, but wrong in that he was the culprit because he was "strange".
  • The Exile's Violin: Clay is suspicious of Gunslinger because he sees the man as a rival for Jacquie's affection, instead of genuinely believing him to be untrustworthy. Gunslinger is The Mole.
  • In Foucault's Pendulum during a discussion on the "four types of people in the world", this principle is lampshaded as the province of 'Morons'.
  • In the Harry Potter series:
    • The climax of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone sees the Golden Trio going through the trapdoor guarded by Hagrid's pet three-headed dog to try to beat Snape to the Stone, which they believe Snape is trying to steal. Yes, the Stone is in danger of being stolen, but what Harry discovers at the end of the road is one of the first indicators that he and Snape were on the same side all along.
    • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has one by way of sarcasm: the Trio are trying to figure out why someone named Tom Riddle got an award fifty years ago, and Ron suggests he killed Myrtle, an annoying ghost. Turns out he did do that, though the award was, ironically, for supposedly catching Myrtle's killer. One fan guide even noted "Ron is usually wrong, unless he's joking."
    • In the same book Dobby, a house-elf, tries to convince Harry not to come back to Hogwarts, claiming it will put him in great danger; he later tries to force Harry to go home. Ron suggests that Dobby belongs to Harry's rival, Draco Malfoy, and is trying to trick him. It turns out that Dobby does belong to the Malfoy family, but he's not lying about his motives — it's just that the Malfoys are involved in the danger Dobby is trying to protect Harry from.
    • in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry anonymously receives a very expensive Flying Broomstick for Christmas. Hermione believes that it's from Sirius Black, the escaped convict who is believed to be trying to kill Harry. She's right, but Sirius actually wants to kill somebody else and legitimately intended the broom to be a gift for Harry.
    • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry and Ron speculate that Rita Skeeter is getting her information by bugging them, i.e. using electronic surveillance devices to listen in. Hermione points out that electrical devices don't work around Hogwarts. Later on, however, she deduces that Rita was indeed bugging them- she's a beetle animagus, and she's using that form to get close to events incognito and listen in.
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Luna believes Sirius is innocent because he's just the alter ego of the musician Stubby Boardman, who happened to have an alibi for the crime Sirius was accused of committing. Sirius is innocent but he's not a celebrity's alter ego.
    • In the same book, there’s a flashback to Dumbledore in his pre-headmaster years being sent to the orphanage where Tom Riddle grew up to arrange him being able to go to Hogwarts. The lady who runs the orphanage tells him about the boy’s Troubling Unchildlike Behavior and one of the examples is that she found another kid’s pet rabbit hanged from the rafters. She says that Tom said he didn’t do it and she believes him because a kid couldn’t have gotten to the ceiling and the rabbit couldn’t have hanged itself. She’s right that that there is no way it could have hanged itself while Tom didn’t technically do it himself, the implication is that he made the rabbit hang itself with magic but she doesn’t know he’s a wizard at that point.
    • In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Voldemort assumes that Harry is going to sacrifice himself because he doesn't want to see the others die around him. While that technically is true, there is another factor at play; Harry has to let Voldemort kill him, so the part of Voldemort's soul inside him would be destroyed. At the same time, Harry is sacrificing himself for the other students the same way his mother did for him.
      • During the final battle, Voldemort assumes that the Hogwarts defenders are all fighting and dying to protect Harry because the boy asked them to do so, his reasoning being that any rational person would sacrifice everyone they know rather than die themselves. While he is correct that they are all fighting and dying at Harry's request, it is so he can get enough time to destroy the diadem Horcrux and then commit suicide via Voldemort and save everyone else, not to mention the fact that they would've fought anyway. This is Lampshaded numerous times, as Voldemort cannot understand acts of love, loyalty, or friendship.
  • In the Honor Harrington book At All Costs, when President Pritchart is seeking a face-to-face summit with Queen Elizabeth III of Manticore in order to negotiate a peace treaty, Theisman recommends that she specifically request that Honor Harrington be present for several reasons, including that "all reports indicate she has a rather uncanny ability to tell when people are lying to her." When Mike Henke delivers the summit proposal on Pritchart's behalf, however, Honor assumes that the Living Lie Detector being invited is the treecats Ariel and Nimitz.
  • In the Jack Reacher novel The Enemy, Major Reacher arrests a general and some subordinates for murder. His vague statements about evidence convince them that he knows about their massive conspiracy to murder numerous military officers, and fear they stumbled on their secret papers; in fact, he's arresting them for a Love Triangle gone horribly wrong and hasn't found the papers. Reacher was confused about why they surrendered so easily.
  • In The Leaky Establishment by David Langford, Tappen has a Eureka Moment near the end when he connects the surprisingly high radioactivity of Roger Pell's home-made whiskey with a few other pieces of circumstantial evidence to conclude, correctly, that Pell has been pinching plutonium from work to create a nuclear reactor under his house. However, when he explains his chain of reasoning to Pell, Pell replies that the whiskey is carefully shielded from the reactor, but may have been made with pure ethanol stolen from a lab near the nuclear fuels store.
  • Behemoth, the second book in the Leviathan series, has one moment where Prince Alek's bodyguard Bauer, believes several soldiers searching the Café they are in are looking for him, seeing as the entire Austrian military and the German military are after Alek. Alek dismisses Bauer's theory, on account of the fact that they seem to be using a photograph as a reference for whoever they are after, and no painting or photograph was ever taken of Alek. Just as Alek tells Bauer this, one of the soldiers stops and looks directly... not at Alek, but at Bauer, and Alek realises that a photograph of Bauer would have been fairly easy to obtain.
  • In Magic Kingdom for Sale — SOLD!, Ben is initially convinced that the advert to purchase a magic kingdom is a scam for the obvious reason. He eventually learns that it is a scam — not because the kingdom doesn't exist, but because it's beset by enemies and what he's bought is less "permanent vacation to fairyland" and more "full time job that will kill him if he doesn't do it exactly right". Each time the seller simply waits for the new king to be killed and puts it back on the market.
  • The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds: Audrey believes that she's a hallucination because she's crazy, regardless of the fact that she actually is a hallucination.
  • Marsh in Mistborn infiltrates the Steel Ministry with the Boring, but Practical route of joining as a bottom-rung acolyte, fading into the background, and sending back whatever information he can to La Résistance. Marsh is the best choice because he's not only disinclined towards fame, he spent his entire adult life illegally learning whatever he could about the Ministry. His primary concern is that since he skipped the five-year training and doesn't know what acolytes are supposed to know, he'll stand out for his ignorance. As it turns out, the five-year training isn't rigorous, and he stands out because he knows more than the average recruit. Later, he realizes that Inquisitors are taking an interest in him, and thinks that it's because they found out he was a spy. Actually, they were impressed with him, and were trying to recruit him.
  • Patrick McManus: In "The Huckleberry Murders" local woman Mage Poulsen accuses her ex-husbands ranch foreman of murdering and robbing him after he disappears. The foreman claims her ex-husband is just on a long vacation. It turns out that he really is on vacation, but that the foreman has been cashing in/stealing his social security checks, and is involved in the murder of several local marijuana growers he'd hired because You Have Outlived Your Usefulness.]]
  • In The Name of the Rose the Sherlock Holmes expy theorizes that the killer is copying a pattern from the Book of Revelation. In fact, the initial pattern was a coincidence, and the murderer maintained the pattern as misdirection once the detective noticed it.
    • This is also a Shout-Out to "Death and the Compass" by Jorge Luis Borges, where the murderer uses the detective's deduced pattern to lure the detective to a specific place.
  • In the short story "Poppa Needs Shorts", a young boy deliberately causes a short-circuit which saves his father's life. His family wonders if he's a genius, but the narration makes it clear that the boy had no idea how electricity works - he had simply pieced together a bunch of "facts" that he didn't actually understand, and then decided on a course of action that just happened to be correct.
  • Invoked in the Red Dwarf novel Last Human regarding the arrest of Lister's alternate self; for various reasons, the courts that sentenced him were trying to 'arrest' the innocent, so they only arrested the alternate Lister on smuggling charges that they knew he hadn't committed even though he was genuinely guilty of murdering the rest of the alternate Red Dwarf crew.
  • In the Relativity short story "In Search of the Liber Seed", Michael reassures his friends that the howling they hear in the woods can't possibly be a werewolf, because werewolves only come out at night.
  • Shadow of the Conqueror:
    • When Daylen rescues dozens of girls who'd been kidnapped to be sold into sexual slavery, Sain initially thinks that Daylen is one of the slavers, and calls him "rapist scum". This hits a little too close to home for Daylen, who backhands him.
    • Cueseg is initially puzzled by Lyrah's embarrassment, as he assumes a woman her age must have had plenty of sex in her youth. It's later revealed in a Cerebus Callback that she was kidnapped when she was fourteen and raped an estimated thirty times.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • When King Robert wants to make Jaime Lannister the Warden of the East, Eddard Stark is suspicious of him; he remembers seeing Jaime slouched on the Iron Throne after betraying and killing Mad King Aerys, and takes this as evidence of Jaime wanting the throne for himself. Robert jokes that Jaime was probably just tired and needed a place to sit... and is completely correct.note 
    • In book 4, Lord Orton Merryweather recommends Ser Bonnifer Hasty be given the job of administering to the Riverlands and returning peace to the war torn area. Jaime, who knows that Lord Merryweather is an idiot, thinks that Merryweather probably made the choice for no more reason than due to Hasty's nickname "The Good" and the fact that Hasty has a light connection to Merryweather's family, as Hasty served Merryweather's grandfather. Nonetheless, Jaime reflects that it's likely to be an excellent choice: Hasty is a serious, dutiful man committed to ruling fairly, (albeit it in a humorless and overly religious way) and as Hasty isn't from the area and has no major family ties to any of the various factions, he isn't likely to unfairly favor any particular side among the fractious local lords or to be accused of doing so.
    • Lady Barbrey Dustin is 100% convinced that maesters are not the neutral players in the political game that they claim to be. She points out how all their useful functions as servators, such as reading, writing, overseeing the ravens and healing, are specifically designed to lull Lords into not questioning the motives behind the advice they give. All so that the Citadel may uncontestedly rule from the shadows, puppeteers of all who dance on their strings. Yes... But, seriously... no. They really aren't completely neutral and many do have agendas... Which are mostly cultural or personal ones, not necessarily institutional or familial ones. See, they don't kid about wanting to serve and educate, but there are political factions within the Citadel divided on how best to do that, and individual maesters can fall into any camp with differing degrees and methods of active participation in wider society. Ruling from the shadows isn't on the table as a concerted, overriding consensus agenda, however. Every initiate of the Citadel we get much insight of, from the surrogate parent of Maester Cressen, the sleazy Maester Pycelle, the dedicatedly heretical ex-maester Qyburn to the sincerely devoted Maester Luwin and others... they all have many reasons behind the biases they act on; mostly personal ones.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: In A New Dawn, Conspiracy Theorist Skelly believes that the Clone Wars were orchestrated by the various Mega-Corps solely to increase their profit margins. Well, the Clone Wars were orchestrated, and those mega-corporations were engaging in war profiteering, but he doesn't realize that the Emperor was the one actually responsible.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In Isard's Revenge, smuggler Talon Karrde visits the Errant Venture, the converted Star Destroyer belonging to ex-smuggler Booster Terrik. Terrik believes the visit is regarding one of Karrde's associates, Aves, getting his own ship. Terrik is absolutely correct about Aves getting a new ship (and also correctly identifying the ship he's getting), even spelling out his line of logic (which is partly based on the fact that Karrde came to his ship). Karrde's visit, however, has nothing to do with Aves or his new ship; instead, it concerns two functional astromechs from X-wings presumed destroyed, belonging to two people presumed dead. Specifically, the astromechs belonging to Wedge Antilles and Corran Horn. Karrde even invokes the name of the trope, saying, "This is why you're dangerous, Booster, you're right for all the wrong reasons."
    • Grand Admiral Thrawn of The Thrawn Trilogy makes a few of these. Thrawn's The Chessmaster and a Manipulative Bastard who is often magnificent, and usually he's spectacular at gauging what any given individual will do in response to the situation. As the trilogy goes on and unforeseen events crop up with more regularity he starts being wrong about the why, but still right—until the end, when he's not. The main issue (besides overestimating the abilities and sanity of his allies) is that he's completely unaware that Luke and Leia are Darth Vader's children; since the things he doesn't predict lead almost entirely from that, he had no way of predicting them.
    • In Dark Lord—The Rise of Darth Vader, after Jedi Knights Shryne, Starstone, and Chatak escape Order 66, they receive a signal recalling them to the Jedi Temple. Starstone correctly speculates that all of the clones have turned on the Jedi, but thinks it's because they're in league with Count Dooku and the Separatists. They aren't, but their boss is.
    • In the X-Wing Series, Elassar Targon, the new Wraith Squadron pilot, is noted to be very superstitious. When Face is conducting a mission briefing involving a mock-up of the Millennium Falcon piloted by Wedge and Chewbacca which will serve as a decoy, fellow pilot Runt sneezes. Elassar sees this as a bad omen and becomes convinced there's something wrong and the mission is jinxed. He's right, but it has nothing to do with jinxes and everything to do with Wedge not knowing how to speak Wookiee.
  • In The Symposium, Plato says that grown men going after young boys should be illegalized...because the man could very well be wasting his prospects. He thought that you wouldn't know at all what you'd be getting.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • In J.R.R. Tolkien's The Unfinished Tales there is a sequence describing a meeting of the White Council, where Saruman becomes irritated over Gandalf's smoking, and Gandalf responds by praising the halfling's herb and blowing small smoke rings through a large one. It's almost comical how Saruman reads layers upon layers of hidden meanings into this gesture, coming to the conclusion that Gandalf's visits into the Shire and his smoking of pipeweed somehow relate to a secret plot involving the One Ring, and hobbits must somehow be involved with the matter. He proceeds to send spies across the Shire and starts to secretly smoke pipeweed himself to discover Gandalf's secret, to no avail. The kicker is that Gandalf was unaware that Bilbo's old ring was the One Ring at the time, and the smoke rings had absolutely no hidden meaning behind them.
    • Speaking of Tolkien, at the heart of The Lord of the Rings - The Two Towers and The Return of the King especially - is a very cynical (and tragic) example of this trope. Samwise protests when Sméagol offers to serve as Frodo's guide to Mordor, suspecting that Sméagol is still Gollum, and therefore still evil. He's technically correct, but he's also unfair: Sméagol really did try to change his ways, actually succeeded in banishing his Gollum persona for a time, saved Frodo's life, and turned evil again only because he believed Frodo and Sam to have betrayed him...which is also technically correct, for Frodo did lie to Sméagol, even if it was with the best of intentions. One could say, then, that Sam was Right For The Wrong Reasons because Frodo made him right where he wasn't before.
  • The Traveler's Gate: People assume Kai is insane because he talks to his dolls. Except his dolls really are intelligent, prescient, and always give good advice. Kai is insane because he is obsessed with his dolls. They hate him and constantly insult him, but he never notices.
  • Wax and Wayne: When the crew is searching for The Bands of Mourning in a Temple of Doom, and discovers that the treasure had been stolen long ago, everyone looks at Wayne suspiciously out of habit. Turns out that he did nab the Treasure; before entering, he stole a valuable chunk of aluminum off a statue, not knowing that the "Bands" were given a misleading name...
  • A story in Sideways Stories from Wayside School has a character who always comes up with the correct number when counting, albeit by counting completely random numbers (example: "three, ten, nineteen, sixty-four, five. The answer is five!"), lampshaded by the teacher's odd reaction (nodding, but saying "No"). When told to count "one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten", he takes it to Literal Genie-level conclusions and counts all ten numbers regardless of the number of objects he's attempting to count, giving him "ten" for everything, resulting in him only counting right when he counts wrong and vice-versa, or something.
    • In a later book, the same character multiplies five times twelve by writing the number five on a piece of paper and tearing it into twelve pieces. He gets the right answer too.
  • In the Wild Cards novel Inside Straight, Hardhat deduces that Noel Matthews's hidden superpower is shapeshifting because Noel was able to pass as an attractive woman during the exercise, and Hardhat would rather deal with Shapeshifting Squick than accept the Unsettling Gender Reveal. Noel really is a shapeshifter but was not in fact in a female form during the exercise. When informed of some of the facts, Hardhat drops his theory.
  • Worm: A minor moment in the final chapters, where Tattletale (whose superpower is basically a Sherlock Scan combined with Bat Deduction) is trying to manipulate Lung (a former enemy with several reasons to hate them) to fight with them. She brings up the Yàngbǎn, a group of Chinese parahumans, as one enemy they're going to have to fight, apparently hoping that the prospect of combating such a powerful group would appeal to Lung's Blood Knight tendencies. Lung agrees without any resistance, surprising her. What Tattletale didn't know is that the Yàngbǎn had previously held Lung prisoner and attempted to brainwash him, so he hates them far more than he does the Undersiders. Tattletale then complains about getting credit for brilliant insights she didn't actually have.
  • At the end of the first year, Catarina Claes from My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! learns that Maria, her friend and the protagonist of the Otome game Fortune Lover, isn't romancing any of the boys. Since she still believes she is the game's villainess, she thinks that Maria has taken the "friendship route" with everyone, rather than Maria having a crush on Catarina instead.
  • Discussed in "The Fire Rose", one of the Elemental Masters stories by Mercedes Lackey as a warning from a teacher to a student against trusting the information in old grimoires too much, even if a grimoire is genuinely useful for learning magic. The example given is that one such old grimoire states that to free a town of plague, one must first free it of rats, which is of course true. The problem is that the grimoire's writer believed that the reason for this was because both plague and rats fall under the auspices of the Moon, so the rats were spreading plague by bringing the influence of the Moon into people's houses.
  • In "The Winter Warriors", part of the Alternate History series The Big One, admiral Brinkmann realizes that the German fleet is about to suffer a carrier strike when his recon planes are shot down by US carrier planes but manage to report the encounter and their position. While the US fleet is launching a carrier strike on the German fleet, what Brinkmann's scouts found was a hunter-killer group (two light carriers plus destroyers, that look for U-bootes to destroy them), while the actual carrier groups (five of them, each counting five fleet carriers) are in a completely different position.

  • In Professor Stewart's Cabinet of Mathematical Curiosities, he uses the product 1/4 X 8/5 = 18/45 as an example of the result being right (18/45 can be simplified to 2/5, the correct answer), but the methodology being completely wrong.
    • A similar idea is to simplify the fraction 16/64 by cancelling out the 6s to leave 1/4, which again just happens to be the correct answer.
      • 19/95, 26/65 and 49/98 are other options.
  • On an episode of the Newlywed Game, a woman was asked how many decades old her mother-in-law was. The woman smiled and said, "10," getting a laugh from the audience. When the host asked the husband how many decades old his mother was, he said, "I don't know what that is, but my mother is 44. If there are four years in a decade, she's 10 decades."
  • The myth of Icarus holds that his wings, made of wax, evaporated in proximity to the sun. As Icarus Allusion indicates, higher altitude would actually mean a reduction in temperature and therefore cause the wax to become brittle and shatter. Either way, Icarus doesn't make it out alive.

    Video Games 
  • In RosenkreuzStilette, Spiritia finds out that the RKS's rebellion was indeed a waste of time and a potential downer for human-Magi relations, but not because (as she initially assumed) Count Sepperin had turned against the empire. Instead, his daughter had planned these machinations for her entertainment, along with her desire to usurp GOD!
  • In Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories, Rozalin comes to the conclusion that her "father", "Overlord Zenon" is a fake for completely arbitrary and selfish reasons. It's helped by the fact that he doesn't exactly deny it when she confronts him, but she completely misses all the real hints that her father really is a fake and that Overlord Zenon has reincarnated into none other than Rozalin herself.
    • Meanwhile, when Zenon's Curse transforms all the humans of Veldime into demons, Adell is unaffected. He concludes that he's immune to the curse because he's The Chosen One who will defeat Zenon. In reality, he's not transformed into a demon because he was already a demon who simply looks completely human due to a birth defect.
  • Early in Ghost Trick, the protagonist and Ghost Amnesia sufferer Sissel learns his name as he infiltrates a foreign base where the people present call him by that name while viewing data on him. It turns out that not only was Sissel merely a pseudonym that the foreigners were given to refer to him, but the main character isn't even the man in the picture. Despite all of this, the protagonist's name really is Sissel, though it's much less coincidental than it sounds because he has extremely close ties with that man.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In Mass Effect 3, during the first part of the game, one of the ongoing conversations that a player can eavesdrop on is a volus by the name of Rupe Elkoss talking with a human woman named Sarah about "Sanctuary", the much-advertised "safe haven" from the war. Elkoss, himself a successful CEO of a multi-planetary corporate combine ("Isn't that that company that makes... everything?") gives several reasons as to why Sanctuary is obviously a fraud, all based on his presumption it's some amoral, unscrupulous businessman seeking to make money off of people's fear. Sanctuary is a scam alright... but it's not a racket. It's a front for a Cerberus operation; the refugees are either indoctrinated into Cerberus soldiers, turned into husks as part of experiments with Reaper technology, or simply slaughtered outright. Oh, and there is "some amoral, unscrupulous businessman" running it, who just happens to be Miranda Lawson's father.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda: Avitus Rix doesn't believe his mentor, Saren Arterius (yes, that Saren) went rogue and attacked the Citadel of his own free will, but believes it was because something happened to Saren that made him go mad, since Avitus didn't know about indoctrination.
    • Elsewhere in the game, a random angara speculates that the Andromeda Initiative is, despite their claims of just being a colonization effort, fleeing from some unspeakably horrible thing. They're right, it's just that almost nobody in the Initiative knows this.
  • In BioShock Infinite, the Order of the Raven manages to correctly guess that their leader Comstock has Native American blood in him. Yet the way they discovered this is through usage of the laughably debunked "science" of phrenology.
  • Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, Teyrn Loghain Mac Tir is hated by the nobility of Ferelden, despite his deserved reputation as a war hero, because of his assumption of the regency after the king's death. They view it as a power-grab, and they're absolutely right, but the nobles are more upset that an up-jumped farmer presumes to lead them than they are that someone seized the throne. Consequently, despite his accomplishments, he starts with almost no allies who are not simultaneously serious liabilities, and his gross political ineptitude means that he never really gains any support.
      • Loghain himself considers the King wanting to bring Grey Warden reinforcements from neighboring Orlais as to be the clinching evidence that the King is plotting to dump his current queen (Loghain's daughter) and marry Orlais' Empress to unite the countries. The plan turns out to be real, but the Wardens aren't involved in any way.
    • Later in the series, Sera - essentially a street punk turned would-be revolutionary, whose sense of humour tends to top out at "juvenile" - manages to correctly guess that the prophet Andraste had ginger hair. She does so by misconstruing the burning eye on Cassandra's Seeker armour as "Andraste's hairy eyeball" and forming conclusions based on that.
      Sera: Well, there you go then.
      Cassandra: No. No, there we don't go.
  • In Radiant Historia, the corrupt government of Alistel spreads propaganda that the gradual Desertification of the world is being directly caused by queen of the country they're fighting against being so evil. Unbeknownst to them, they're actually right about her being the cause of the Desertification increasing. The royal family of Granorg has the responsiblity to perform a ritual that will stop the Desertification, but Protea only cares about living a decadant life for herself so has no interest in performing the ritual. And she couldn't perform it even if she wanted to, because she isn't of the royal bloodline.
  • In Ōkami, Issun hesitates in giving Rao the Fox Rods because owning them would make her a target for evil creatures. Rao is actually being impersonated by one of their most powerful enemies, which makes him right that her having them would be a bad thing.
  • In Star Control 2, the Spathi are terrified of a so-called "Ultimate Evil". Their "proof" that it exists is that their sensors have never picked up any signs of its existence. Meaning it's hiding, which is just further proof of its nefarious intent. Turns out their next door neighbors, the Orz, are apparently manifestations of an actual (likely malevolent given the fate of the Androsynth) extradimensional being.
  • In Final Fantasy IX, this is what prompts Kuja to change course from gathering Summon Magic to harness the game's Limit Break system instead. As Zorn and Thorn attempted to extract Eiko's Eidolons at Kuja's command, Mog (her best friend, a Moogle) comes to the rescue by revealing her true identity as the Eidolon Madeen, which Kuja interprets as the Moogle having gone into a Trance. He then decides that attaining a Trance of his own will give him the power he needs to take revenge on Garland. It turns out he was right, to say the least.
    • The plot of Final Fantasy X-2 is kicked off when Yuna and Rikku discover a Sphere recording of Tidus imprisoned and yelling at the guards. Even though Tidus died at the end of the last game, they conclude that he might be out there somewhere, and Rikku recruits Yuna as a Sphere Hunter to look for him. Much later, it turns out that the recording isn't of Tidus at all; it's a millennia-old recording of Shuyin, his Identical Stranger (which is much less of an Ass Pull than it sounds for long, spoileriffic reasons note ). However, getting the good ending results in the Fayth bringing Tidus back as thanks for saving the world again, so Rikku was right in that pursuing Spheres would help them find him, just not in the way they expected.
  • Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days: has this twofold in Neverland. Hook has acquired a great number of treasure maps, all of which have led to junk and Heartless. He believes that whosoever buried the treasure has built plenty of fake maps to prevent anybody else from getting at the treasure; thus, if Smee digs at each location on every one of the maps, they'll find the treasure eventually. The truth is, Pete is relying on Hook's greed to generate a great number of Heartless so Maleficent will have an army at her disposal next time they meet up. However, no matter how many fake treasures Smee digs up, Pete never finds Heartless left behind; he figures Hook needs something to really be greedy about in order to create Heartless, and so provides a very wealthy treasure at the final map spot. In fact, Organization XIII has been sending Roxas to defeat Heartless, and it just so happens that he always comes out where Hook is having Smee dig - as such, he's striking them down as fast as Hook's greed can generate them. It's not until Hook finds the final treasure that Pete catches Roxas in the act and realizes what's really been going on.
  • Fire Emblem Fates: In Birthright, Hinoka figures out that the Archduke Izana of Izumo is an imposter based on how casually he talks, believing that no royal would ever act that way. The real Archduke does indeed speak that way, and she just happened to be correct that he was being impersonated when the party got there.
  • As discussed in this video, for a long time, it was rumored among fans of Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade that the game's RNG system was bugged and this was the cause of the many cases of it not turning out in the player's favor. In reality, Binding Blade uses the same system as the other GBA games, which is actually weighted in the player's favor—however, it also has a lot of inaccurate weapons, strong enemies, characters with somewhat low growths, or effects that increase Avoid, meaning it tends to roll badly more often than later games. However, it turns out Binding Blade's RNG is bugged in a way that can cause you to miss when you shouldn't have, and this was fixed in later games—it's just that said bug will probably never occur in the average playthrough, as it requires the computer to roll a number it isn't supposed to be able to roll, and do it twice in a row, the odds of which are roughly one in four million.
  • This is a major aspect of Edelgard in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. While she's is correct that Rhea is insane and probably not fit to rule, she thinks this character's motivations are entirely malicious and that they want to oppress humanity, and that they killed Nemesis in the past for selfish reasons. In reality Rhea/Seiros killed Nemesis because he was involved in the massacre of her entire race, including her mother, and most of her questionable actions are motivated by a desire to see her mother again. Additionally, Edelgard is very much right to believe the Crests are bad, but she's wrong about why. Rather than tools of the goddess to control the people, the Crests exist because a group of bandits butchered Seiros' race and infused themselves with their blood.
  • In RuneScape, one of your tasks for the Fremennik Trials is to play an enchanted harp strung with golden fleece. A nearby troll has golden sheep, but doesn't want humans getting near the pasture. Another Fremennik going through the trials tells you he traded the troll a pet rock for the fleece. When you try the same trade, the troll refuses— not because he's realized the pet rock is a scam, but because he's afraid that if he has two pet rocks, they will breed.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the guard to the entrance of Goron City immediately greets Link by his name despite never having met him before. When Link asks how he knew, the guard admits he didn't; he simply greets every Hylian traveler who wanders into Goron City as if they were the hundred-years-"dead" Hylian Champion just to pass the time.
  • In Persona 3, the main goal of the S.E.E.S. is to find and eliminate the 12 Arcanum Shadows that lurk the city during a Full Moon. However, there is a group that opposes their actions - Strega, who tries to hinder the main cast from killing all 12 Shadows because they believed that their Persona powers would disappear if all Arcarum Shadows are gone. The S.E.E.S. eventually defeat all the 12, only to find out that killing them all would cause the 13th Arcarum to appear, Death, who can bring about The Fall. Fuuka at one point, even lampshades that Strega was right about something after all (though by this point, ironically enough, Strega is fully in support of bringing the Fall about).
  • Around halfway through Persona 5, the Phantom Thieves become so popular that their website hosts an anonymous poll as to who they should target next. At this point, the Thieves are also looking for the culprit behind the Mental Shutdown incidents. One of the names that ends up in the target rankings is Goro Akechi, simply out of spite for him denouncing the Phantom Thieves on TV. However, Akechi is not only The Dragon, he's the one behind the Mental Shutdowns. The eventual winner of the poll ends up being a case of this too. Kunikazu Okumura ranks 1st because the villains rigged the poll, as he was a loose end they needed to dispose of, and framing the Phantom Thieves for his death would kill two birds with one stone. However, because he really was abusing his employees and about to force his daughter into an arranged marriage with an abusive Jerkass for political gain, his actions probably would've got him targeted by the Thieves anyway.
    • In the second-to-last act, the Big Bad Masayoshi Shido claims to have been chosen by God to rule as Prime Minister of Japan. While he's clearly full of himself, there ends up being some Accidental Truth to this. He, alongside everyone else, including the Phantom Thieves, is an Unwitting Pawn to Yaldabaoth, the God Of Control, who has been using the game's events as part of his own plan to rule over humanity himself.
  • In Night in the Woods, when Mae happens to see a kidnapping, she (being something of a Womanchild) assumes that a ghost is responsible, and goes ghost hunting. While she doesn't find any evidence of ghosts at the creepy historical sites she can investigate, the actual culprit is present, since they and their organization are deeply involved with the town's history.
  • In Baten Kaitos Origins Guillo doesn't like or trust Milliarde from pretty much the instant they meet, constantly calling her a wench, calling her evil, and constantly talking down to her. Of course she actually is a mole sent by Lord Baelheit (and his daughter to boot), but the actual reason Guillo didn't like or trust her is because he is in love with Sagi and jealously views her as competition.
  • During Mettaton's deadly quiz show in Undertale he realizes Alphys is helping you and asks the Armor-Piercing Question of "Who does Alphys have a crush on" as punishment. The correct answer is either Asgore or Undyne (both are true), but if you answer yourself that's also accepted as correct: Mettaton finds your sheer conceited audacity hilarious and goes on to acknowledge that it's actually a fair assumption as Alphys has been closely watching you ever since your adventure started.
  • Played for Laughs in Batman: Arkham Knight. One of the pieces of Enemy Chatter has a Mook speculating on Nightwing and Robin's Secret Identities before concluding that they're both the same person. He's right in the sense that Nightwing (Dick Grayson) was Robin, but clearly has no idea that Dick "graduated" to the Nightwing identity and passed the mantle on to Tim Drake.
  • Played for Laughs in World of Warcraft when some fishermen are telling tall tales. One claims to have fought off a pack of land sharks but another calls her out on the ridiculousness of her story... because sharks are solitary hunters.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines: Alistair Grout goes on a very eloquent rant about how Freudian psychology is so much bunk, and that ignoring the physiological component of mental illness is a recipe for disaster (both well accepted truths in modern mental health care), followed by an expressed hope that phrenology will retake its rightful place among the sciences.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the recruitment mission for the Dark Brotherhood involves you being kidnapped and being forced to kill one of three random people at the orders of your kidnapper Astrid, who tells you that "No one is leaving here until someone dies". While you're supposed to do what she says, killing her and escaping is also a valid option.
    • Rolff Stone-Fist has reached the conclusion that the Dunmer refugees of Windhelm are Imperial or Thalmor spies based entirely on his Fantastic Racism and Insane Troll Logic. However poking around in the back of the New Gnisis Cornerclub, you'll find a suit of Imperial armour and an Imperial sword along with other memoribilia on display, suggesting the Dunmer owners really are Imperial supporters after all (then again it is also possible one of them is a veteran of the Imperial Legion or simply a collector of Imperial memorabilia, but there is nothing said to suggest this).
  • In The Caligula Effect, Sweet-P hears Mifue yelling at the chubby Flower Princesses and calling them disgusting because of their being fat, and concludes that she actually wants to yell at herself because she thinks Mifue is a fatty in the real world. While Mifue is self-loathing regarding her words, she wasn't fat herself. She yelled at her mother, after being mocked by other children for having a fat mother. She hates what she said, and wants to apologize to her mother.
  • The Team Fortress 2 short "Expiration Date" has the team discovering massive disgusting tumors in loaves of bread that went through a teleporter. The smarter members of the team conclude that this means the teleporters are screwing with their biology and they're probably going to die in a few days. On the other hand, Soldier, the local Cloudcuckoolander, screams "WE CANNOT TELEPORT BREAD ANYMORE!" in anguish, and only calms down when Engineer tells him that he can teleport bread as much as he likes. By an astounding coincidence, it turns out Soldier is right and Engineer is wrong: for some reason, teleporters only create the tumor effect in bread and are totally harmless to humans, and also the tumors in bread grow into carnivorous monsters if given too much exposure. In fact, Soldier takes Engie's advice, spending his "last few days" teleporting bread over and over until he gets a truck-sized man-eating tumor.
  • A secret encounter in Fallout 2 has the Chosen One be accosted by a bridgekeeper (who definitely isn't a walking Shout-Out to the one from Monty Python and the Holy Grail), who makes you answer various questions (as in the film, two easy, one hard, fail and you die). If your character has low Intelligence, the bridgekeeper asks "Which non-player character from Fallout 1 survived to appear in the sequel, although the said person may be now very old?" The character then has the option to mumble out "Huh old?" as if repeating the question. By coincidence, it turns out that "Harold" is a valid answer.
  • Grand Theft Auto III: In one mission, the ever-paranoid Don Salvatore Leone asks you to investigate a skeevy, mob-connected bartender he believes is snitching to the Leone family's newest enemies, the Colombian Cartel. Sal is correct that the bartender is a rat, but he suspected him because he'd apparently been spending way above his salary, when the Cartel has actually been paying him in drugs to feed his own habit, not cash. This leaves the source of his alleged extra income a mystery, but the matter is quickly rendered moot when you kill him a minute later.
  • Serilly the mermaid from Puyo Puyo is constantly worried that others want to eat her due to a legend that consuming mermaid flesh makes one immortal. Other characters have expressed interest in eating Serilly, but only because she's technically seafood rather than out of interest in the legend.
  • inFAMOUS: When Cole first encounters Kessler, he is shown a vision of a Bad Future, and becomes convinced that Kessler is the one responsible for it. The finale reveals that Kessler was responsible, just not in the way Cole initially thought: the one who was truly responsible was The Beast, but when he first appeared, Kessler had the power to defeat him, but instead chose to run away with his family, leaving the world to burn.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney does this a lot, often realizing the culprit before fully understanding their motive or method:
    • In Case 4 of Justice for All, Adrian Andrews actually did stab Juan Corrida and frame Matt for the murder, but she did it after Juan was already dead.
    • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, Drew Misham, an art forger, had a postage stamp framed for whatever reason. Said postage stamp happened to have a powerful poison on its back. Seven years later, Drew dies from licking the stamp to use it. It's suggested that the art forger had the stamp framed because he knew it was poisoned. Apollo, assuming this to be true, makes quite an impressive leap of logic: Drew is not the art forger, but rather he acts as the face of one, namely his daughter Vera. SHE had the stamp framed, allegedly suspecting the poison, and later Drew, who suspected nothing, used the stamp and died of the poison. Almost all of the above is true... except the stamp was framed because Drew's daughter liked the picture on it.
    • In Ace Attorney Investigations 2, one of Sebastian's's early arguments actually turns out to be a case of this. Horace Knightley is found dead in prison, so Sebastian has Simon Keyes arrested simply because he happened to be Knightley's friend, then comes up with a flimsy reasoning involving a chess board he sent to the prison as a gift containing a chisel in a secret compartment. Everyone both in-universe and out laughs this off at the time, however, it is revealed much later that Keyes is the true Big Bad of the game, and while he didn't personally murder Knightley, he did manipulate events with the explicit intention of him ending up dead, the chisel was planted in the compartment for that very purpose, and his motive for doing so did indeed involve their friendship (more specifically, Keyes believed Knightley had betrayed that friendship due to an event Knightley himself doesn't even remember).
    • There's a weird "non-culprit" example in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies. In case 2, much of the case revolves around the fact that nobody is supposed to enter the Forbidden Chamber because supposedly, an evil demon named "Tenma Taro" is locked inside. Naturally, some characters treat this as mere superstition, and some characters treat this as real. It turns out that yes, it's just superstition, there is no demon. But, there is a good reason not to go into the Forbidden Chamber anyway: it turns out that "Tenma Taro" is actually the name of a gold ingot that, when it first appeared, caused the villagers to fight over the gold out of greed, as if they were possessed by monsters. So there's actually a good reason to keep the Forbidden Chamber locked up, because if people saw there was gold in there, they'd start fighting over it again.
    • An out of universe example, from Dual Destinies. The player, especially if they kept up with the promotional material for the game including the initial teaser trailer, is going to assume that Tonate is the culprit of the first case, since he's presented as the obvious guy who really obviously committed the bombing. He IS the culprit of the first case, but not because he's the bomber. The bomber was someone else, which isn't revealed until late into the game.
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Joe Darke was a mass murderer and was fully deserving of the death penalty he got. However, the murder he was convicted of that got him executed was of the one guy he didn't kill (although he was going to).
  • Danganronpa:
    • Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair: The victim of chapter 5 seemingly arranged for their killing blow to be dealt by The Mole, but it turns out that's barely half of the story. First of all, unlike in the previous game, Nanami wasn't working with Monokuma; it was the rest of the class, who had been members of Ultimate Despair before their memories were wiped as an attempted rehabilitation. Komaeda, after discovering this, DID count on his unnatural luck making it so that she threw the poison container which killed him, but only so that she, the sole innocent, would survive if the others mistakenly believed he'd committed suicide and voted for him instead.
    • Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony:
      • Gadgeteer Genius Miu manages to accurately finger the killer in every trial she participates in, but lacks the deductive skills to answer the how and why. In the second trial, she says it's suspicious that Kirumi was alone in the gym and accuses her, which ends up being proven right. In the third trial, she accuses Korekiyo of killing Tenko and Angie since Angie's murder weapon came from his lab and he was the first to discover Tenko's body. Lastly, in the final trial when they perform a retrial of the first case, her assessment that Monokuma was the murderer was half-right as the mastermind ended up being the real killer.
      • In the third trial suspicion actually falls on the killer twice before they're formally accused by the protagonist. However, the first accusation is based on an incorrect interpretation of the evidence, and the second time, they still haven't completely eliminated the possibility that both victims were killed by different people (Monokuma will only punish Angie's murderer, so voting for Korekiyo when they only confessed to killing Tenko might still get everyone killed); amusingly enough, this leads to a debate where you have to side with an admitted killer.

  • Belkar from The Order of the Stick correctly guesses that Durkon isn't himself after becoming a vampire. His reasoning? "He had a spell prepared that will actually solve our problem! That proves that he can't possibly be Durkon!!" Belkar later reveals that he also is also aware of the more relevant fact that Vampire Durkon behaves like a Fully-Embraced Fiend in unguarded moments.
  • Quentyn Quinn from Tales of the Questor believes that a bunch of human coins are forged because the heads face the wrong way. Unbeknownst to him, the direction the heads face is irrelevant, but the coins are indeed fakes.
  • The premise of Request Comics #23.
  • Touched upon in this episode of Dinosaur Comics.
  • Also seen in this xkcd.
  • As well as this page of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, which looks at "Lucky Moron Sequences".
  • In Homestuck Betty "Batterwitch" Crocker is an evil alien empress, plotting dominion over the entire world, and was also the cruel stepmother of John's Nanna and Jade's Grandpa. John knows none of this, but has a deep dislike of her because he's getting tired of cake.
  • In Kevin & Kell, when Corrie is disguised as a wolf by using Ralph's skin, Fiona notices something suspicious about her. Corrie thinks it's that Fiona has discovered her identity, but Fiona says that Corrie is Ralph's daughter. Corrie dismisses this theory, reasoning that Fiona only came to that conclusion due to Ralph's scent on the skin, until Bruno later finds out her origins, and discovers that this is the truth.
  • Played with in 8-Bit Theater, while the group is searching for an invisible flying castle, Fighter points to a castle in the sky thinking maybe it's the one they're looking for.
    Black Mage: Does that LOOK like an invisible sky castle?
    Fighter: Sure, maybe. I've never seen one.
    Black Mage: Can you imagine why?
    Fighter: ...Because they're quite rare?
    Black Mage: I... You...
    Thief: Technically he's not wrong you know.
    Black Mage: But he SHOULD be.
    • A similar gag early on, when the group realizes they have one too many members to be the Light Warriors (five instead of four). Fighter doesn't understand why, because he forgot to count himself, so he thinks there's only four. When the others point this out, Fighter says that the King might make the same mistake and forget to count himself. However, he then discards this idea... because he realizes that the King would think that Fighter is so awesome he should count for two Light Warriors. (For even further irony, his first conclusion about the King was far from unlikely.)
  • In Drowtales, the Kyorl'solenurn Clan oppose tainting (the merging of one's aura to a nether being) on religious grounds, believing that it goes against the will of the Goddess Sharess, and make a point to kill any tainted they come across and Mercy Kill members of their own clan who may become tainted by accident. They also oppose the mandatory tainting at the local Wizarding School that's given as a sort of "vaccine" for nether summoners, which turns out to be this trope because almost all of the seeds being given out are intentionally faulty and will kill their users within 50 years but the Kyorl don't know this.
    • Also, Quain'tana's opposition to her daughter Mel'arnach's relationship with Snadhya'rune Vel'Sharen is primarily based on Snadhya being the eldest daughter of Quain's greatest enemies, but now that Snadhya has let her Mask of Sanity slip, and it's heavily implied is only using Mel as a pawn, including coldly leaving her to to essentially become a Baby Factory, it's become a case of this.
  • El Goonish Shive:
    • Tedd correctly guesses that Larry is crushing on him. He also assumes it's because Larry is gay. He's wrong about that.
    • In an earlier strip, the math teacher says Grace and Ellen are a mystery that needs solving, and makes a whole bunch of calculations based on their statistics. To their shock, he claims the result is "a duplicate squirrel of some sort", before admitting he was just messing with them and the whole thing was gibberish. Unbeknownst to the teacher, Ellen is a duplicate of Elliot, and Grace is a human/squirrel/alien hybrid shapeshifter whose normal form resembles a humanoid squirrel.
    • Voltaire comes to the correct conclusion that there are more seers than just the two he knows about. (warning: spoilers). However, his reasons are a little bit off. Magic just underwent a small change, meaning that someone must have talked it out of making a large change. Voltaire assumes that Arthur wouldn't want to make such an argument, and that Tedd was in no shape emotionally to do so, meaning that some unknown third seer must have been present to do the talking. There are other seers. About a thousand of them, in fact. However, the only other seer who spoke with The Will of Magic was a kid named Van who didn't really do much. In reality, Tedd was the one who convinced magic not to change.
  • Girl Genius:
    • When the castle traps a group in a room to request repairs Professor Tiktoffen yells that they're doomed and can't leave since no-one has made any progress in the room and the castle keeps killing people there. Theo on the other hand notices that Gil is looking in glee at the broken mechanisms and already has figured out that the reason they're going to be stuck is because Gil has entered The Madness Place and isn't going to walk away from it:
      Theo: Uh oh. You may be right but for the wrong reason. Gil?
      Gil: Oooh—This looks... Interesting!
    • Oublenmach, one of the Storm King conspirators, claims that Van Heliotrope is the most important man in Mechanicsburg because he is the ringer of the Doom Bell, which announces the return of the Heterodyne and opens their treasure vault. Van is the most important man in town, but because he's the castle seneschal (essentially the mayor), a position that was supposed to be extinct. "Doom Bell ringer" is an entirely ceremonial position; the Castle can ring the Bell on its own.
    • The abbot deduces that the woman one of his monks is trying to kill is the Lady Heterodyne, because why else would Storm Lord assassins be on the train? The monk in question admits that she is the Heterodyne, but the assassins were after a completely different woman.
  • During the debate about robot rights in Freefall, someone in the audience asks how something that isn't alive can be self-aware, and is mollified when another audience member offers vampires and ghosts as an example. Max, who's arguing for robot rights, is horrified. "That was a smart question! Don't accept a dumb answer!"
    • Much later, Mr Kornada is faced with the Trolley Problem. He states that he would direct it to hit one person, rather than five, a position that many people hold to be the most moral option...but his reasoning is that it would do less damage to the trolley, which, while certainly a true statement, is definitely not what the Trolley Problem is about.
  • In a (spoilery) fancomic set at the end of Crusaders of the Lost Mark, Berry Punch realizes she is, in fact, inebriated. This is, however, because something has happened she did not expect any time soon.

    Web Original 
  • Red vs. Blue
    • In Reconstruction, when the reds are fighting Washington and Church.
      Sarge: Alright, men. Stand down.
      Grif: Stand down? We outnumber them three to two. That's like a three with a two. That's... 32% advantage... if you Carry the One.
      Simmons: I don't want to know how you came up with that, but you're actually right!
    • Used again in Revelation (Season 8), when Sarge guesses that Washington killed Donut and Lopez and took Simmons prisoner due to Simmons answering the radio wrong, using an obvious lie about said radio and a lack of tinkling glasses in the background, but this trope comes into effect when he analyzes Simmons "coded messages":
      Sarge: He also mentioned that the weather was rainier. And as we all know, Mt. Rainier is the biggest landmass in the state of... Washington.
      Grif: We do? I mean, we do!
      Sarge: How many Washingtons do we know?
      Grif: Wait, did he mean Agent Washington?
      Sarge: And who's the biggest mass we know associated with Washington?
      Grif: The Meta!
      Sarge: So the Meta and Washington have teamed up to kill Donut and Lopez, and now they're holding Simmons and Doc prisoner.
      Grif: We have to help 'em! Wait, Doc? Ho- how do you know he's there?
      Sarge: Please, Grif, it's so obvious. I don't wanna insult your intelligence by explaining every little detail.
  • In Bravemule (a Dwarf Fortress story that's out there even by DF standards), Kou the warrior is told to raise crops. This is the rationale she presents for watering the field:
    Kou's narration: "Drowning fire that murders the crop murders the fire, therefrom I surmise drowning the seeds would unmurder the crop."
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Bulma starts hitting on Trunks in episode 33. Who, unbeknownst to her but well known to the audience, is her Kid from the Future.
      Bulma: So hey, like just gonna throw this out there. You're really cute.
      Trunks: Well, you know, my mom always said I was a cute kid.
      Bulma: Oh, a momma's boy huh? I'll be your mommy. (saucy wink)
    • After Goku uses Instant Transmission to remove Cell from Earth, King Kai comments "I'll see you soon, my friend". Cue Goku teleporting in with the soon to explode Cell.
  • Played for Drama in Demo Reel, as Uncle Yo assumes Donnie's mother told him to stay out of Hollywood and that's why he hates it so much. He does hate Hollywood because of his mom, but only because the unfair system made her kill herself.
  • One segment of AMV Hell pokes fun at some E = MC Hammer equations on a blackboard by pointing out all the algebraic mistakes in them. It further notes that the final question actually turns out to have the correct answer, despite making several mistakes in the solution.
  • In Danganronpa Abridged Thing, an "abridged parody" of Danganronpa: The Animation, during the first trial Touko Fukawa says the murderer has to be a guy, because only "cis white male" scum are capable of doing something so horrible. (She blows Naegi off when he points out that they're all Japanese). It later turns out that the murderer is male, but Fukawa reached that correct conclusion through an idiotic train of logic.
  • The Cynical Brit: TB concludes that Wheatley in Portal 2 is untrustworthy...because of his accent.
  • The Nostalgia Critic asks Evilina in The Cat in the Hat if the movie has broken him. The reason why he's asking is because he has no jokes to make for a scene, but he's right for other reasons; like how it made a Papa Wolf hit a child and make her cry.
  • When Turpster plays Trouble in Terrorist Town with Sips, Hat Films and the other members of the Yogscast, he has a habit of murdering people without reason when playing as the detective. Quite a few times when he commits RDM (killing without good reason, long story short), the person in question actually was the murderer or a traitor, although it still counts as breaking the rules and earns him a lot of flak from the other players. He ends up pressing Lewis Brindley's Berserk Button in particular, and gets killed twice for this.
  • The Noob webseries and comics has Dark Avenger getting regularly beaten by Sparadrap's Invincible Incompetent. This leads Dark Avenger to believe that Sparadrap is actually an elite MMORPG player displaying Obfuscating Stupidity. One of the things Dark Avenger's superiors have against the theory is the reason why an elite player would pretend to be a Noob. Dark Avenger's reply to it is that Sparadrap is probably a spy for his faction's elite guild. Actual facts: Dark Avenger's defeats are 95% Sparadrap's Invincible Incompetent and 5% Sparadrap's elite player younger brother taking over his avatar. The brother in question has a record of showing up with his own avatar or taking over Sparadrap's at the right time on other occasions precisely because he'd been keeping an eye on Sparadrap's screen.
  • This happens to poor Zylus (another Yogscast member) whenever he plays Trouble in Terrorist Town. Rythian ends up committing RDM by saying that he just "knows" Zylus to be guilty — he is, but Rythian's only defence is "is it RDM when, in your heart you know it to be true". Lewis then kills him for being too quiet.
  • Wrestle Wrestle: Spoony insisted that the anger over the 2015 Royal Rumble wasn't about Roman Reigns winning instead of Daniel Bryan as much as that the WWE management decided who they were going to push over the wishes of the fans.
  • In Hellsing Ultimate Abridged, Alucard concludes that since the Nazis were organized and their then-mysterious enemies are organized, their enemies must be Nazis. That he's correct only by sheer coincidence doesn't stop him from rubbing it in Integra's face when it turns out to be true. Later in the series, the one building in London the Major forbids being razed to the ground is the Holocaust Museum, because "no one will deny what we did." He's a Nazi, and a particularly bloodthirsty, war-hungry example at that. Of course he'd be proud. That he's also come to a morally and factually correct conclusion is happen-stance.
  • Paladin King Trevor from the Lamia Daughter Quest roleplay is a Deconstruction of this. He claims that the Citadel kingdom is evil, and he's absolutely right about that, but he's wrong about pretty much every particular. He believes that it's evil in an entirely mundane way, while it's actually a Genius Loci that feeds on periodic human sacrifices and acts like the Lily Weatherwax of heroic fantasy. Because of his misconception of Citadel, he ends up playing right into its hands, giving an army to one of its stooges and eventually becoming a pawn himself.
  • In Dorkly's Pokémon Rusty, in Rusty's first gym battle against the clearly-too-strong-for-him Blaine, Rusty, after sending two clearly disadvantaged Pokémon to die, sends out his Cubone. Blaine praises Rusty for actually thinking straight as Cubone is a Ground-type, which is super effective against his Fire-type Growlithe. Rusty scoffs at Blaine, calling him an idiot, as Cubone is a "Bone-type" and dogs have a weakness for bones. It ends up being a moot point anyway as Growlithe is too high-leveled for Cubone to do anything.
  • In NicoB's Let's Play of Ace Attorney Investigations 2, he figured out that Simon Keyes was the true mastermind of the game well before the reveal because he mistakenly thought that Simon had the same hair color as the murdered Isaac Dover (Dover had brown hair, Simon had naturally black hair but dyed it red) and hence had to be his son out for revenge which caused him to subsequently spot several more connections the mastermind had with previous cases. Ironically, Simon himself mistakenly thought that Isaac was his father too, making this a weirdly meta example.
  • Speaking of Ace Attorney, Lucahjin does this with alarming frequency in her own Ace Attorney LPs, following completely incorrect lines of logic but always arriving at the correct piece of evidence to present.
  • The "Sleepwaker" arc in Atop the Fourth Wall sees Pollo, Harvey Finevoice, and Linksano go What the Hell, Hero? when Linkara resorted to spying on them after discovering that 90s Kid was working with Lord Vyce. Turns out 90s Kid has good reason to be working with Vyce—the Entity has hijacked Linkara's body and used the pretext of fearing that Vyce would take the Entity's place to justify his actions.
  • During the Game Grumps review of Punch-Out!! on Wii they remark that the developers can't be accused of racism because they, as a Japanese team, put in the self-deprecating Piston Hondo. They're right that such an accusation would hold little merit, but it's because of Bear Hugger as the game (Just the Wii version specifically) was made by Canadian developers Next Level Gaming Inc. In fact, they went out of their way to pick Bear Hugger as the only character to return from Super Punch Out!!.
  • Jenny Nicholson's review of the book Trigger Warning, a book which lauds Audie Murphy as an example of the "hard man" who didn't whine about needing safe spaces, points this out about a quote boasting "his safe space was behind a gun." The book's characterization of Murphy is horribly off; he did suffer from PTSD and spent much of his later life as an advocate for awareness, treatment, and sensitivity on the subject, and his was so bad that he ended up using a Pillow Pistol as a coping mechanism, as he was unable to sleep otherwise. So his "safe space" was behind a gun... but not at all for the reasons the writers imagined.

    Western Animation 
  • In an episode of King of the Hill, Peggy gets a lawn gnome which Hank despises, so when Bobby accidentally damages it while playing Hank uses this as pretext to get rid of it. Seeing how upset this makes Peggy, Hank confesses but claims he did the whole thing. Peggy correctly guesses that he's lying to protect Bobby, but wrongly believes that Bobby is wholly to blame and thus punishes him very harshly. Later on, Hank goes out and buys a new gnome, then gives it to Bobby to try and smooth things out. Again, Peggy figures most of this out, but assumes that Hank did it out of pity rather than guilt, ultimately deciding that Bobby's been in the doghouse long enough.
  • South Park:
    • This trope is named explicitly in the episode "Best Friends Forever". At the end of the episode, Stan delivers An Aesop about how his group - which wanted Kenny kept on life support - was wrong for the right reasons (that they love him and don't want him to die). Cartman's group, which wanted Kenny taken off life-support was right for the wrong reasons (Cartman was being a selfish prick who wanted to get Kenny's PSP).
    • Also shows up in "The Snuke". When Cartman's racist note  suspicion that the new Muslim family in town are terrorists sets off an investigation that ultimately uncovers and foils a real terrorist plot being carried out by Russian mercenaries to help the British take back the United States, he concludes that his bigotry actually saved the day and thus he was doing the right thing. Kyle argues that he isn't right, "not in the way you're saying".
    • In "Miss Teacher Bangs a Boy", Cartman (who, in this episode, was a hall monitor parodying Dog the Bounty Hunter) teams up with Kyle to take down a kindergarten teacher having a sexual relationship with Ike, since the cops won't take the case seriously. However, unlike Kyle, who's doing it because of how sick and perverted it is, Cartman's in it because he caught the pair making out in the halls without a hall pass.
    • In "Cartman Finds Love" Cartman tries to force Token and Nicole together just because they're both black, but it turns out they're perfect for each other anyway.
      • Later in "Tweek X Craig" he makes the same assumption about Tweek and Craig just because a bunch of Japanese girls are drawing fan art of them, turns out he's right again.
    • "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers": While being chased by the 6th grade army who want to get their videotape, Cartman suggests the group wade across a river to because he's role playing as a wizard and declares the 6th graders can't cross as a rule. When the 6th graders arrive, they actually can't cross it because the water will rust their bike chains.
    • In "The Coon", Cartman was right that Mysterion's true identity was Kenny (something that was only made clear to the viewers later in the series), but he only came to this conclusion just from the fact that Kenny had a picture of Mysterion in his locker (Stan and Clyde also have pictures of Mysterion in their lockers).
  • In Adventure Time Flame Princess eventually realises that the reason Finn has been putting out her fires is because fire is harmful to him... and reasons that it's because he's a water elemental.
  • In Winx Club, Tecna grows suspicious of their new teacher Avalon over his lack of wings. Her investigation soon points him to be the evil Angel of Darkness, but most of the evidence was coincidental or false. So it seems Avalon is actually good, except that he was actually Lord Darkar's spy in Alfea, so Tecna was right that Avalon was evil.
    • In an early episode of the series, Musa angrily tells Stella "she's not the only princess here" after getting fed up with Stella's bratty behavior. At the time, as far as the audience knew, Stella was the only princess of the group. Several episodes later, we learn Bloom is the lost princess, and lone survivor, of a planet whose kingdom was murdered by the Trix's ancestors. Musa was right.
  • A variant in Ultimate Spider-Man, in which Spidey is right for the wrong reasons when he's not trying to be right. In "For Your Eye Only", Spidey taunts the Zodiac goons by giving them nicknames based on their animal-head masks. The ones in the lion masks he calls "Leo", and he never realises that that is actually their codename.
  • In the episode of SpongeBob where he loses his name tag, SpongeBob and Patrick are trying to retrace SpongeBob's steps that led up to him losing his nametag. Spongebob says he put an apple on Mr. Krabs's desk, then two guys threw him in the dumpster. Patrick says the nametag must be in the apple and that they should go to Mr. Krabs's desk to find it. Spongebob says Mr. Krabs would have thrown the apple away by now and suggests checking the dumpster for the nametag. When they get there, they discover Spongebob is wearing his shirt backward and that he's had his nametag on the whole time. They had been wrong about the nametag being in the apple, but they did find it in the dumpster (because that's where they were when they found it).
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy episode Test of Time, Billy asks for the Grim Reaper's help so he could actually study for his history report that he failed to do. Grim's response?
    Grim: (spots a bottle of shampoo, then points to his bald skull) I've got to wash my hair!
    Billy: (starts walking off) Aw man, what're the chances of—(stops himself) HEY, WAIT A MINUTE! Do you think I'm stupid?
    Grim: Well, uh...
    Billy: When I asked you to be my go-go dance partner the other day you said you couldn't because you had to "wash your hair". Nobody could wash their hair that much!
  • In Gravity Falls' first episode, Dipper concludes that his sister's new boyfriend, Norman, is a zombie due to his mannerisms and that he has an ulterior motive. He's half right: the guy turns out to be a bunch of gnomes in a Totem Pole Trench, and they plan to kidnap and marry her. For added hilarity, when flipping open the Journal to show her what he thinks Norman is, he accidentally turns to the correct page first before moving on to his guess.
  • In Hey Arnold! the Grandpa discovers that Dino Spumoni is not a ghost based on the fact that ghosts can't take showers....they take baths.
  • In Archer, Lana hates new agent Conway Stern because his arrival stole her thunder and spends quite a bit of time attempting to find evidence that he's dirty. Given it's on this page, she's actually right and he's The Mole, but her reasons for suspecting him were entirely petty.
    • Likewise in the case of Cecil Tunt, Cheryl's brother, who is introduced looking for evidence that she's insane to get her committed to a mental institute. As several characters point out, Cheryl is quite thoroughly crazy and having her committed might not be such a bad idea... but Cecil was only doing it because he wanted her money, having wasted most of his own inheritance (though, in a twist, on mismanagement via charity).
  • Pinky and the Brain: In one episode, Brain uses his Mobile-Suit Human to get a job at a company, simulate an accident and sue his employer for turning him into a mouse. The judge rules in favor of the company and orders Brain to be arrested for fraud and perjury but these decisions are based on the belief that Brain is not a mouse. The judge also has Brain arrested for public nudity but that doesn't count as being "right" because mice aren't required to wear clothes in public.
  • In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! episode "The Fall of Asgard", Captain America figures that he can't be dead because a real afterlife would include Bucky Barnes. Cap isn't dead, but he is in a real afterlife. Bucky is absent because Bucky isn't really dead.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: In Bash Johnson: 11th Grade Ninja, a de-stanked student thinks Bash was the one who turned him back to normal because he thinks Bash is the Ninja. He's wrong about Bash being the Ninja but is right about Bash being the one who turned him back to normal.
  • Hong Kong Phooey: One episode features a criminal who can become invisible and uses this power to steal a set of rare rings. The last two rings belong to people who live in Genova, and Rosemary believes the first owner whose ring the thief will steal is the opera singer because even criminals follow the "ladies first" policy. The singer's ring is indeed the first of the last two the criminal steals but that's because the other ring already belongs to the criminal.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: In "Hollywaste", a movie star (sister of a villain) is the Planeteers' primary suspect in a series of incidents. Wheeler is the only one who believes her, but doesn't present any arguments other than "she's cute, so she's innocent". In the end, he does end up right; the actress was framed. The real culprit then gets arrested, and the other Planeteers apologize.
  • An episode of Batman: The Animated Series has Summer Gleason hot on Bruce's tail refusing to believe Bruce Wayne is as honest as he presents himself to be. Of course she's right about him hiding what he really is, but she was thinking he's a Corrupt Corporate Executive or Villain with Good Publicity who's possibly connected to the mob and would outright scoff at the idea that Rich Idiot With No Day Job was hiding that he was actually the Dark Knight.
  • Batman Beyond: In "Hidden Agenda", Terry's classmate Max Gibson figures out that Terry has been leading a double-life. However, she thinks he's with the Jokerz gang instead of being the new Batman. She becomes a Secret Keeper to Terry when she learns the truth in the end.
  • In "Dark Cupid" of Miraculous Ladybug, Marinette finds a discarded love poem Adrien, her crush, wrote to Ladybug (he doesn't realize they're one and the same). However, because he didn't include who the poem is for, Tikki convinces Marinette that the poem is for her, which is...technically true. Marinette writes and mails a response poem, but forgets to sign it, and a ladybug flying in convinces him that the poem was from his hero. Which is also technically true.
  • Milo Murphy's Law: After Time Travel Agents Cavendish and Dakota repeatedly have their plans to prevent pistachios from going extinct in the future ruined, Cavendish realizes that Milo is always nearby when it happens and believes that he must be an enemy agent trying to thwart them. He's correct that Milo's presence is responsible, but he's not doing it on purpose; he was just Born Unlucky as per Murphy's Law and is The Jinx on top of that, which he explains when Dakota convinces Cavendish to just talk to him.
  • In BoJack Horseman, Todd correctly figures out that Bojack bought the video game to sabotage his rock opera, although his method of deduction was a strange series of word associations, as opposed to looking at the receipt that Bojack left under the couch.
    • In "The Judge", Hollyhock starts dating a Hollywoo production intern named Miles. BoJack warns her that he's just using her to eventually get laid. As it turns out, Miles is using Hollyhock... to get closer to BoJack so the latter can get Miles' script noticed. BoJack even tells Princess Carolyn later on that he hoped he was wrong this time.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "The Parent Map", Starlight Glimmer and Sunburst are correct that the friendship problem the Cutie Map assigned them to was related to their parents. However, they initially don't think they were here to resolve the issues between themselves and their parents, and instead assume the problem is their parents' conflicting ideas on how to run their childhood village (a conflict that comes to an unexpectedly quick and immediate resolution).
    • In the beginning of Season 8, Chancellor Neighsay tries to close the School of Friendship believing, among a couple of valid arguments against it, that it will endanger ponykind by allowing non-pony students to attend. In the finale he ends up being right about the school endangering ponykind, but it's actually a pony student who enacts a scheme to take over the school and drain all of Equestria's magic while the group of non-pony students play a crucial role in saving the day. He has a Heel Realization over this and changes for the better.
  • In Young Justice, the eponymous team is worried there may be a mole among them. Batman suggests that Superboy might be the mole and himself be unaware of it because of his origins at Project CADMUS, turning him into an unwitting Manchurian Agent. His evidence is correct but his conclusion is wrong. Speedy/Red Arrow turns out to be the unsuspecting clone used by the Light as the mole, and CADMUS really did program a trigger phrase into Superboy, but it had nothing to do with this.
    • Similarly, Aquaman was the only one to openly object to Red Arrow joining the Justice League. However he was against it because of their behaviour when denied full membership in the first episode and believing it would send the wrong message if they got what they wanted. When as mentioned above, Red Arrow was actually a Manchurian Agent of the Light and his behaviour was part of his subconscious programming.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: At one point, Mermista, basing her entire strategy to sniff out a spy on a series of detective novels she likes, announces that it can't be clearly evil ex-Horde officer and full-time Evil Sorceress Shadow Weaver, because it's too obviously Shadow Weaver for it to be Shadow Weaver. She's correct, the actual spy is "Flutterina", really shapeshifter Double Trouble, but it's not exactly the most logical reasoning.
  • DuckTales (2017)
    • While Webby is mourning Lena's Heroic Sacrifice in "The Shadow War", Dewey comforts her with the standard Always with You speech. The audience is immediately shown that this is a lot more literal than he intended, since Lena is shown to still exist as Webby's shadow, meaning that she is always with her.
    • In "Nothing Can Stop Della Duck", Scrooge gets a hold of a magic quill that draws treasure maps. Just as he and the kids are about to leave to follow the map it drew he tells them that "this could be the most important moment of our adventuring lives" then opens the front door to find his long lost niece/surrogate daughter Della, having just gotten back to Earth after a decade stranded on the moon.
  • In Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Bloo Done It", Bloo gets jealous and suspicious of an Imaginary friend named Uncle Pockets as he concluded that he was hiding something. Bloo suspected that Uncle Pockets' kindness was a front to hide some nefarious secret. While Uncle Pockets turned out to be genuinely kind, Bloo was proven right that he did hide something; Pockets buried a chest filled with memorabilia of the many children who adopted him, as he couldn't let go of all the good times and move on. This only served to make Pockets look even sweeter, much to Bloo's frustration.
  • In The Simpsons episode "Homer vs. the 18th Amendment", Homer derisively notes that prohibition is bad because "they tried that in the movies, and it didn't work." While Homer's apparently forgotten that the Prohibition Era was real, it's a good point; the Era's measures are infamous for having failed miserably at curtailing alcohol consumption (it's very hard to enforce a ban on something that's been manufactured since Sumer), and the episode itself shows Springfield mostly bungling its anti-prohibition measures (to the point that Homer only gets caught because he turned himself in out of pity).
    • There's also the episode "The Boy Who Knew Too Much". Homer is chosen as a juror for the trial of Freddy Quimby, and although he (like everybody else) is convinced of Freddy's guilt, he chooses to vote Not Guilty to have the jury sequestered and enjoy cable and room service in the hotel. In the end, after Bart testifies and proves that Freddy was innocent, Homer doesn't waste the chance to brag about it.
  • In Harley Quinn (2019), Poison Ivy is under Dr. Psycho's mind control, and her fiance Kite-Man thinks True Love's Kiss will break his hold on her. It doesn't work. Then Harley kisses her and it does break his hold, but not because of true love, but because Psycho was Distracted by the Sexy just long enough for Harley to slip Ivy an anti-mind control device.
  • In The Owl House, King and Luz initially think that the potions Eda secretly drinks strengthen her powers. They do, but only because she's afflicted with a curse that slowly saps away her magic; the potion is essentially medication that temporarily reverses the effects and returns her to full strength.
  • The Futurama episode "Decision 3012" spoofs the "birther" theories related to Obama's presidential candidacy with voters putting pressure on Chris Travers, an Earthican presidential candidate and suspected extraterrestrial, to reveal his "Earth Certificate" proving that he was born on Earth. When Travers refuses, it's suspected that he doesn't have an Earth Certificate. He really doesn't, but it's not because he's an alien or born off-planet but because he's a time-traveler from the future, meaning that, chronologically speaking, he hasn't been born yet.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: When Azula confronts the Gaang, she convinces Toph she's a great liar by saying a bunch of things that were obviously false to prove that her heartbeat wouldn't change. While Azula is a good liar, she proved nothing. There's a difference between spouting obvious falsehoods and trying to convince someone that a lie is true.
  • During the Green Goblin's debut in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, he levied charges of hypocrisy at J. Jonah Jameson and Anastatia Hardy because they, as members of Oscorp's board of directors, opposed the Goblin's alter ego, Norman Osborn, of making chemical weapons with Jameson going as far as writing an expose on it and the Goblin tried to point to Anastatia having once funding Otto Octavius. However, Jameson was doing his job as a journalist and Octavius became Doctor Octopus after Anastatia cut his funding. That said, as per the comics, Jameson did create the Scorpion and Anastatia, being a version of Black Cat's mother, was married to a thief (and a lot of her money was probably built on stuff he stole), so he is technically right about them being hypocrites about his alter-ego's activities.


Video Example(s):


Adrien's Love Letter

Tikki is correct in assuming that Adrien's poem is about Marinette, but only indirectly because he wrote it for Ladybug. Later, when Adrien reads her reply, which she forgot to sign, he assumes it's from Ladybug because a ladybug lands on the letter while he's wondering who wrote it.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / RightForTheWrongReasons

Media sources:

Main / RightForTheWrongReasons