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Screw Destiny

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The Master: You were destined to die! It was written!
Buffy: What can I say? I flunked the written.

There are those characters who are mere Cosmic Playthings in the scheme of an implacable Fate Because Destiny Says So. And then there are those who don't care about that philosophical mumbo-jumbo and believe that as strong, free-willed individuals, there's no reason why they shouldn't decide their own futures. Screw destiny and all the others who try to discourage them; they're not going to fulfill the prophecy of world destruction because they're the Big Bad's descendant, or become a sacrificial magician. They're going to become who they want to be.

Note that it's only a true Screw Destiny if the characters actually succeed in evading fate. If they fail or succeed but fulfill the prophecy anyway, it becomes You Can't Fight Fate and a strike against faith in individuality. If they set out to Set Right What Once Went Wrong via time travel, and end up making it happen, it becomes You Already Changed the Past. Occurs frequently when rival seers engage in Scry vs. Scry. A hero who screws destiny by pressing on regardless of, or even against, a prophecy, becomes The Unchosen One. If one particular character has this ability while everyone else is helpless against it, then they would be Immune to Fate. If they get ahold of the Tomes of Prophecy and Fate, they might literally rewrite their fate.

Villains often try this as well, particularly in regards to prophecies concerning their downfall. Unlike with heroes who take the Screw Destiny route, this never works, as often, the means that villains employ to try to do this (which often involve attempts to stop the hero from being born or kill him when he is still a child) will come back to bite them hard, and will only serve to ensure their ultimate downfall in the end.

On the Sliding Scale of Free Will vs. Fate, stories where it is possible are Types 2 through 5 on the scale, with Type 2 being by far the most difficult.

An Aesop delivered in shows based around this trope is that what ultimately determines the worth of a human's life is not some sadistic deity or vague cosmic assembly, but the choices of the human themself.

When someone is pushed dangerously close to the Despair Event Horizon, they may prefer this trope's opposite: Resigned to the Call.

Likewise, sometimes this can turn out to be an example of You Can't Fight Fate in disguise, since the character's attempt to beat fate ultimately turns out to be what fulfills it (ala Oedipus Rex, the moral of which is that while Man can't beat fate, at least he doesn't have to look at it). Or it can turn out to be a Self-Defeating Prophecy, where the disaster could never have been averted if the supposed doom hadn't prompted the character to try.

Winds of Destiny, Change! and Immune to Fate are about having the ability to screw destiny as a superpower; the former is changing the odds to favor you instead while the latter is just being flat out immune to fate.

Compare Off the Rails and I Am Not a Gun. If a character successfully ruins a prophecy this way, see also Thread of Prophecy, Severed.


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  • In the New Years Day episode of Aggretsuko, Retsuko gets a fortune predicting she will have great misfortune in 2017. Her response is "Bring it on!"
  • Screwing Destiny is the core plot of Ann Cassandra. The main characters, Kizaki and Nanaki, strive to prevent the predictions of calamity they have from occurring. In particular, Kizaki knows that he is predicted to die at the age of 20, which drives him to disrupt predictions in the hope that doing so will enable him to avert his own death when the time comes. At the same time, Kizaki takes advantage of his destiny by running all kinds of risks in the course of his quest, confident that he won't die until he turns 20 in three years' time.
  • In the final season of Armored Trooper VOTOMS, Chirico is offered godhood by Wiseman, an ancient computer system that has been manipulating civilization for millennia. He has been groomed by Wiseman for this fate his entire life. Naturally, he destroys Wiseman, first by shooting it, and then by dismantling it piece by piece.
  • The Brand of Sacrifice on Guts's neck in Berserk is a double-edged sword - it draws demons to him, but because he didn't die when he was supposed to, he's now an unpredictable factor in Fate. Screwing destiny over becomes his purpose in life after that, much to the surprise and amusement of the Godhand.
    • This one's perhaps best expressed in Guts's declaration of war on the demons from the manga, which can be found in the Quotes Wiki part of this page and which ranks as perhaps the most badass speech in the entire series. Hell, probably the most badass speech in telling destiny to go screw itself.
    • A missing chapter reveals that this was inverted in the backstory. The Idea of Evil, the true power behind the Godhand, was willed into being by the collective subconsciousness of humanity because they could not accept that their suffering had no greater meaning or reason behind it.
  • Deconstructed in Black God. Destiny isn't something that should be screwed with in the first place, so if you somehow accidentally manage to stay alive when it's decreed that you should've been killed off, bad shit will keep happening to you and the people around you until you finally do die. And trying to stay alive on purpose means that you have to kill others and drain their life force to keep on living.
    • Further deconstructed with the ultimate plan of the Big Bad. He wants to completely dismantle the destiny-decreeing-death system and save the earth by killing off a third of the world's human population.
      • Ultimately Reconstructed when the story reveals that Reishin was REALLY planning to kill the Masanagi, a twin god who set up the Doppleliner System out of spite for humanity.
  • Orihime from Bleach literally has the power to do this.
    • What she does, as Aizen ably described, is rejection of events through her Shun Shun Rikka, of which at least the Santen Kesshun (which repels attacks) and the Souten Kisshun (which "rewinds" wounds to a healing point, like she did to an one-armed Grimmjow, for example) are known to do this (not quite the case with the Koten Zanshun, which is an attacking technique). So, by stopping an enemy from hitting her or undoing potentially deadly wounds, she's basically giving destiny a "screw you".
  • The titular Golem of Broken Blade was engraved with a message by its builders. Translated, the message is simply "Go, And Defy Your Destiny". Said golem only works for Un Sorcerers.
  • Cage of Eden gives us the clairvoyant Mami, who has a nasty habit of predicting death. At least that's what her manager wants everyone to think. At least until Mami predicts the deaths of her group, including her own death. Sengoku doesn't like that and shows up to save her from extinct crocodiles. When Mami responds that she will die the next time then, Sengoku responds "In that case, I'll save you again!" followed by a short pause then "Right, everyone!?" Cue a shot of everyone beating the crap out of said extinct crocodiles.
  • Cardfight!! Vanguard (V Series) has the PSYQualia Zombies gaining the ability to foresee visions of their victory against their opponents. Some characters such as Kai, Ibuki, and Ren are able to defy those visions.
  • Code Geass: When Lelouch learns that the fate of every Geass "Witch" is to give up their immortality to a sufficiently-powerful Geass User and then die, and that C.C. intends to do so with his father the Emperor, he encourages her to say "Screw Destiny!" It works, but you'd better believe there's a catch...
  • Corrector Yui's title character discovers that she's not really The Chosen One. Her best friend Haruna Missed the Call. Haruna herself is Brainwashed and Crazy by the Big Bad, subliminally uses her power to convince the Correctors to fight each other, and she's holding Yui's crush hostage. All without her real knowledge since Grosser pulls the strings from behind as she "reunites" the Correctors, thinking she's sparing Yui from the dangers of being a Corrector. Yui witnesses all this in a matter of days. She doesn't take this very well, but eventually decides that becoming a hero was always her dream, and no amount of ordination can take that from her. And not only she gets her Corrector status back, but she also manages to revert Haruna's brainwashing.
  • The destiny of the Lunar and Solar Mikos in Destiny of the Shrine Maiden is to be (re)born simultaneously into this world, fall in love with each other, turn sixteen, defeat the Orochi, have one kill the other, then have the whole incident erased from everyone's memories, including their own. Rinse and repeat. However, their love is so powerful that they eventually say bollocks and break the cycle of reincarnation, with Chikane returning to Himeko still on the latter's lifetime.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Both Bardock and Future Trunks want to do this in Dragon Ball Z, but neither succeeds. Though technically Trunks literally screwed with destiny by splitting the timeline, it wasn't his destiny. And Bardock died after ranting to Frieza that he was going to change everything, and Frieza overwhelmed his attack with a Death Ball, killing any hope he had of ever changing fate himself. The only consolation is that he got to see what fate had in store for Frieza in his last moments.
    • More traditionally, Goku's and Vegeta's first fight starts with Vegeta saying Goku has no chance because as a low-class Saiyan, he's destined to be weak forever, while Goku says that with hard work, even a low-class warrior could surpass an elite like Vegeta. He's right, of course.
  • The entire plot of Enigme has the protagonist Haiba Sumio always trying to screw destiny towards his dream diary ability which foretells the future, and he proves to be good at it.
  • In a Eureka Seven movie, Eureka told Renton that her lifespan is running out and doesn't have long to live as an Image. If Image is gone, so will she as well as evident by Anemone and Nirvash's fate. In the end, it turns out she screwed destiny by being reborn as a human being, free of her ties to Image. The catches are that all of her memories will be wiped and she needs Renton's survival and memories in order to create dreams to sustain her existence.
  • This is actually a core mechanic of Future Diary, since the players in Deus' survival game receive Dead End flags as warnings of their imminent death. The main course of action after receiving a flag is for the characters to freak out and go against the actions written in their future diaries in order to negate the events leading to the Dead End.
  • The bonus chapter of The Garden of Sinners, "Future Gospel", is all about precognition and screwing destiny. Mikiya gets to deal with a weaker sort of precognition, where he saves a man from a traffic accident by simply acting on the knowledge that that man will most likely die in the next few minutes. Meanwhile, Shiki escapes from a Rube Goldberg Device Death Trap by literally destroying the future a precognitive assassin set up for her with her Mystic Eyes, since his actions were causing the future to have an existence that she could kill. Nonetheless, The Stinger reveals that there are situations where You Can't Fight Fate, e.g. while SHIKI (Shiki's male personality) had many possible futures ahead of him, none of these saw him live past February 1996.
  • In the finale of the anime version of Getter Robo Arc, Takuma, Kamui, and Baku reunite and prepare to fight the immature form of the Getter Emperor, vowing to never let the future they saw come to pass.
  • Happens in Green Worldz whereby Iwatobi, aka Akira 30 years from the future, traveled back through time and changed the entire course of the war with the female human hybrid, ensuring the survival of some of his comrades.
  • Gundam:
    • This is Garrod Ran's attitude in Gundam X, in stark contrast to his Waif Prophet girlfriend Tifa, who initially believes You Can't Fight Fate. At the end of the series, the first Newtype says that Garrod's refusal to accept "fate" is precisely what allowed him to change it.
    • This trope effectively makes up the third act of Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. After finding notes from Gilbert Durandal, the Supreme Chairman of ZAFT, about a "Destiny Plan", the crew of the Archangel come to learn that this is his plan for the future: to create a world where fighting is meaningless because everyone's destiny is predetermined via their genes. As Kira points out, this is the perfect endgame for Coordinators, whose genes are modified from birth. While the idea of never fighting again sounds promising, it takes away free reign, which disgusts the crew. Essentially, they decide to Screw the Destiny Plan.
  • HuGtto! Pretty Cure, the Big Bad started the evil corporation Criasu Corp under the belief that the only thing humanity is capable of doing is bring about their own despair and destruction, recruiting others to his cause and basically doing everything he can to kickstart the Bad Future. The Pretty Cures, throughout the entire series, throws this back at their faces with their own Arc Words of "You can do anything! You can be anything!"
  • In Ikki Tousen, almost each character is the reincarnation of the legendary heroes of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. They all know how this legacy affects them, and several of them try to go either fully or partially against their fate. Such as Toutaku (Dong Zhuo) trying to kill Hakufu (Sun Ce) and then dying on his own terms, Koukin (Zhou Yu) being strongly driven to protect Hakufu so she doesn't die before her time, Goei (Lady Wu) making sure the Nanyou team is disqualified from the tournament so Hakufu's Superpowered Evil Side doesn't come up to the surface... etc.)
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Golden Wind: Diavolo's Epitaph on its own predicts the future. Whatever happens in 10 seconds time is set in stone, but knowing ahead of time allows the user to try and soften the blow. When used with Time Skip, however, Diavolo can avoid the prediction's outcome entirely. Diavolo claims that this is all due to fate. In the last fight, Giorno's Gold Experience Requiem explains the vision Diavolo had of killing Giorno is a truth he'll never be allowed to reach.
    • Stone Ocean: Pucci believed that fate was a cruel mistress, and that for everybody to be truly happy, they should know their fate in full and come to accept it as a case of Utopia Justifies the Means. Ultimately, however, Pucci almost does come out victorious for a while, with everybody in the new universe created by Made in Heaven's time acceleration knowing exactly what they're about to do ahead of time. Though, Pucci ends up becoming Hoist by His Own Petard, as this knowledge of fate allows Emporio, whom he failed to kill during his Total Party Kill, to defeat Pucci through oxygen poisoning via borrowing Weather Report's Stand, declaring that fate ultimately favors the side of good.
    • JoJolion: Kaato was not keen on the idea of replicating the sacrificial mother role it was expected of her in order to save Jobin's life when that time would come, she loved her son but Kaato wanted to enjoy life for herself too; the whole mishap between the bully and Jobin, resulting in the latter's death, was the perfect opportunity Kaato needed to pass the burden of sacrifice on someone else, thus the reason the event is portrayed in a more selfish light, as Kaato was out to escape her "duty" other than just save Jobin from his curse.
  • Late in Love Hina, and after the Love Hina anime (long story), there is a plot involving a magic building that makes two people destined to marry each other. It sets up Keitaro and Kanako. More specifically, it fails at setting up Keitaro and Kanako, Naru lets Kanako fix it because she's too busy angsting to do it herself manages to beat it, with the building collapsing from the strain of attempting to keep it fixed.
  • Deconstructed in Magi: Labyrinth of Magic. The Rukh naturally guide everything and everyone to their supposed destiny. Refusing your destiny will taint your Rukh black, which can be used by Al-Sarmen to fuel their Black Magic. Worse, using Black Magic will leave you withered once you decide not to use it. This is because the White Rukh doesn't actually control anyone. On the contrary, it embodies free will and the power to choose your own path. People who blame fate for their problems are actually surrendering to destiny, not fighting it.
  • In CLAMP's Magic Knight Rayearth, the entire fate of the world of Cephiro is entrusted to a person entitled "the Pillar." This person, who has the strongest will in all of Cephiro, must dedicate their mind entirely to it's well-being. Any consideration to themselves will cause the entire system to collapse. The result of denying this in the anime has the Messianic Archetype facing against her Enemy Without and the Anthropomorphic Personification of Cephiro's despair, while the manga took things farther; she challenges God himself to change the system.
  • During the Overhaul Arc of My Hero Academia Sir Nighteye uses his Quirk to see the future. He sees Overhaul escaping with the little girl they've come to rescue, after murdering the main hero Izuku Midoriya. Like any good Shonen protagonist Midoriya changes the future, explicitly declaring he'll twist it, as his compassion convinces the little girl Eri to jump into his arms and escape which point her Quirk to Rewind people allows Midoriya to use One-for-All Full Cowling: 100% with no drawbacks and defeat Overhaul.
    • In the Final War Arc, the words about how strong willed people can defy Nighteye’s predictions plays over people around the world watching Bakugou rush to rescue All Might with a wind at his back, implying that their collective will helped avert a second prediction.
  • Midori Sugiura in My-HiME. She may not have been the mastermind behind the Grand Plan to Cheat Destiny (the credit goes to Mashiro), but she was perhaps the only character who truly believed that fate was nothing next to determination, not to mention the only HiME who actively participated in the successful plan.
  • My Monster Secret: The second half of the manga is dominated by the looming Bad Future, with a mix of comedy (perverts rule the Earth) and tragedy (primarily, Youko's vampire powers go out of control, she's never seen again, and Asahi spends the rest of his life a broken, lonely man); there are several time travelers who are trying to change the future, first and foremost Asahi's granddaughter Rin, but they're all discouraged by the fact that no time traveler has ever successfully changed the past. However, they do what they can to support and advise the present-day characters, which allows them to change history. In the bad timeline Youko was exposed by accident; in the good one, she outed herself as a vampire willingly, which (along with Asahi's kindness towards them) inspired all the "unusual" students in the school to also reveal themselves, and instead of freaking out their human classmates accepted them for who they are. By the end of the series the couple is engaged, living together, and already expecting their child — Rin's future mother.
  • Naruto:
    • It's a major theme of the entire series. Particularly the first half, before the Time Skip, with Naruto, Hinata and Rock Lee pretty much all saying "screw destiny" and fighting on.
    • Forms the plot of Naruto Shippuden: The Movie, which begins with Naruto's death being shown. Shion, a girl with the ability to see into the future, realizes that either she or Naruto will die. She decides to save Naruto, but Naruto charges in, rescues her, and unleashes a Rasengan the size of a Combined Energy Attack on The Dragon, saving them both.
    • Neji Hyuga's whole character development is about learning that fate is something we make. His death is a result of this, as he willingly chose Taking the Bullet and dying in order to protect Hinata and Naruto. Just like his father, it wasn't out of duty to the Main Branch, but out of love for his friends and family.
    • One subversion comes late into the series, as Naruto is prophesied to bring either order or destruction to the world, which he fully intends to do, and has even admitted he plans to face the fate seen in the Toad Sage's latest vision. It's just that nobody knew this was his destiny before.
    • The biggest example in this series is that Naruto and Sasuke are the reincarnations of the two sons of the Sage of Six Paths, Asura and Indra respectively. The Sage of Six Paths himself tells Naruto that every reincarnation of his two sons have fought to the death with one another, and no reincarnations were ever fully successful in defying that cursed fate. Not even the previous ones, Hashirama and Madara, who formed a village together. Like many before him, this incarnation of Asura was forced to kill Indra's reincarnation when he tried to destroy the very village they formed. It was Naruto and Sasuke who finally kicked this never ending cycle to the curb.
  • Rakan from Negima! Magister Negi Magi is fighting a Reality Warper. Said reality warper proves that fighting is futile and that the outcome is already decided - calling Rakan a "puppet" and causing Rakan to suddenly be having a tea party with him mid-punch. Rakan's response is to get out the big guns, and more or less say "Puppet this!". With his now-metal fists.
    Heh. "Illusions"? "Puppets"? Heheh, screw that crap!!
It is worth noting that The Dragon he is fighting is named Fate.
  • In Neon Genesis Evangelion, Kaworu orders Shinji to kill him so that humanity can survive, even though it is Kaworu's destiny to live forever, though he will eventually reunite with Adam and destroy humanity. Because of his love for Shinji, he decides not to. Then Shinji wishes everyone would just die, so it's mildly subverted. It can also be argued (if one tries to piece together the premise and plot of End of Evangelion) that Shinji willfully sabotaged the Instrumentality Project by opting out of it (himself being the only person on Earth in a position to do so, protected, as he were, by Unit-01's AT Field and not eaten by MP Evas like Asuka).
  • In Penguindrum, some of the characters love fate and some hate fate (and we get monologues from both perspectives.) Some of the characters fight against fate, most notably Kanba, who is willing to do anything to change fate and save his dying little sister. The final episode ESPECIALLY doesn't hold back on this trope; Ringo rewrites fate to save Himari. However, this comes at the price of Kanba and Shouma (Himari's brothers) sacrificing their lives in order to save Himari and Ringo respectively, as Ringo would otherwise die as a punishment from changing fate.
  • In the beginning of Princess Tutu, everyone is being directed by a slightly insane author, of whose actions a few are vaguely aware. However, Fakir and Ahiru learn their original, tragic fates and set out to change them. The Arc Words of the anime are "May those who accept their fate find happiness, may those who defy it, glory."
  • Psyren's entire point is this trope. They're screwing destiny, bit by bit.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura is determined to save Madoka from the depths of despair that have inevitably befallen her in other timelines.
    • Note that Kyubey is also desperate to prevent the end of the universe. They do this by turning little girls into Eldritch Abominations, effectively making them the Big Bad. This itself is subject to the attitude, so there doesn't seem to be a win-win solution for the problem.
    • And the biggest example of all: In the Grand Finale, Madoka uses her wish and the immense magical power she's built up due to Homura's "Groundhog Day" Loop to rewrite reality so that no magical girl, past, present, or future, in any timeline, will ever become a witch. Not only did she avoid her own nasty fate, not only did she keep preventing the end of the universe, she also screwed over the Incubators' system where all Puella Magi are forced to either die or become witches.
  • The main theme of RG Veda at its core. The whole plot is revealed to be the result of Ashura-ou trying to defy Fate in order to continue his bloodline and Taishakuten's motivation is avoiding the fulfillment of the prophecy. Kujaku's motivation is seeing if destiny can be defied, but he doesn't do much that to push things to the right direction and at the end it's Ashura's love for Yasha what changed the course of Fate.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • In the R season of the anime, Mamoru receives visions that end with Usagi's death, while being told by a mysterious voice to break up with her for her own safety. He does at first, but eventually defies the visions and voice to reunite with her. It turns out that it was all a Secret Test of Character, in that if he truly and without a doubt loved her he'd stay with her no matter what. And it was given to him by his future self, no less.
    • A dark version happens in the manga: upon hearing that Sailor Chibi Moon's presence meant she was fated to lose as she came from the future, Big Bad Sailor Galaxia killed Mamoru in a way that made it impossible to resurrect him, thus erasing Chibi Moon as she could not be conceived anymore (Sailor Moon will proceed to win and resurrect Mamoru anyway).
  • In episode 12 of Scrapped Princess, it is revealed that Pacifica is capable of screwing with the divine plan of the Peacemakers, since she was one of the few who weren't programmed from birth to follow their every wish.
  • The protagonists in Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann would much rather drill a hole through destiny in the most awesome and over-the-top way possible than submit to it.
    • Considering that the intro for about half of part 2 basically went "Simon got screwed over by fate and wants to beat the shit out of it until it gives his fiancee back". It's really not surprising they don't respond well to claims that You Can't Fight Fate.
    • Simon starts pouring out Screw Destiny speeches around the Final Battle. Here's one:
      Simon: Don't underestimate us! We don't care about time or space or multi-dimensional-whatevers! We don't give a damn about that! Force your way down a path you choose to take and do it all yourself! That's the way Team Dai-Gurren rolls!
    • And another...
      The Anti-Spiral: You continue to struggle even knowing what you know!?
      Simon: Of course we do! The tomorrow we're trying to grab for ourselves... Is not the tomorrow that you've set out for us! It's the tomorrow that we choose for ourselves—a tomorrow that we choose out of all of the infinite universes! We'll fight our way through! We'll keep fighting and protect the universe! We'll stop the Spiral Nemesis, too!
  • In Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, also by CLAMP, the main characters have taken the Screw Destiny route multiple times, often apparently going along with a prophecy right up until the moment of decision in order to prevent their opposition from being able to formulate counter-strategies.
    • Interestingly, basically everything that happens, however, is the consequence of one hero trying to fight Fate by going back in time, borking the entire space-time continuum. So, you can fight fate, it just screws things up really, really, really badly.
    • Played straight with the villain, however. His entire plan was to save someone's life from a predicted death. His plan to save her prompted her to pull a Heroic Sacrifice to save one of the victims of his plan.
  • In the Urusei Yatsura story that introduces Shinobu's Love Interest Inaba, Shinobu, Ataru and Lum accidentally travel to the Room of Destiny, a pocket dimension in which possible futures can be accessed through portals in the shape of doors. When they discover "their" future, with Shinobu marrying Ataru and having his dim-witted perverted son, Lum marrying Rei, and Ataru being forced to work for Mendou, they are outraged and become determined to change this Bad Future. They then browbeat Inaba into giving them the chance to visit several alternative futures and then finally to try and make their own dream futures, which lead to several more uses of this trope.
    • Firstly, Ataru crafts a dream future where he becomes the lord of a harem, only to find that this furtue only occured because his alternate self horribly abused Lum, ultimately driving her away. The outraged Ataru promptly beats his alternate self senseless before destroying this future by ripping off the doorknob that created it and flinging it into the abyss.
    • Secondly, the rabbits who run the Room of Destiny get mad at Lum, Ataru and Shinobu's meanderings and try to punish them by destroying all of the doors to their futures. The teens are initially unbothered by this threat, pointing out that the futures they saw all sucked anyway. Then Ataru accidentally stumbles into the future that Lum was looking for, the future where the two of them get married, and he immediately starts trying to fight the rabbits to preserve this future for Lum. He fails, but the effort touches her deeply.
  • Subverted in The Vision of Escaflowne, in a number of ways.
    • The first is that Escaflowne itself is forged to alter destiny to suit its use. Controlling it becomes the Big Bad's goal simply so his advanced plans for controlling events through his precognitive visions won't be disrupted.
    • The Big Bad creates an "Absolute Fortune Field" which gives anyone inside it their fondest desires. In theory. However, when applied to a coalition of armies bent on bringing him down, it turns out their alliance was built on "enemy of my enemy" principles, and given the Absolute Fortune Field's effects, it disintegrates as each faction tries to conquer the world themselves and the conflicting desires threaten to bring about the apocalypse.
  • In Weathering With You, it is the destiny of all shrine maidens to sacrifice themselves in order to restore the good weather, and the main heroine Hina is no exception. Hodaka, who has a crush on her, isn't having any of it and does everything in his power to save her from her fate. He succeeded, but at the cost of plunging Tokyo into a neverending rainfall that eventually flooded the city.
  • In X/1999, it is foreseen that Kamui will be unavoidably killed by Fuma when they fight their final battle, and thus the Earth will be destroyed. Kamui fulfills only half the prophecy - by letting Fuma kill him without a fight, he redeems Fuma and prevents the Earth's destruction.
  • In Your Name, Mitsuha & her town folk's original fate of being killed by the comet during her hometown festival day was averted by Taki when he time travel back 3 years ago to the very day of the comet incident via body swapping with Mitsuha.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • If there's one thing that the franchise as a whole teaches, it is that Fate is not set in stone and that mortals can control their own futures.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!, the original series:
      • Yugi's Millennium Puzzle gives him the power to alter fate. By the final duel, he's mastered it enough to be able to draw whatever card he wants without fail.
      • This can also be a subversion if looked at it from another perspective. The various duelists' ability for the "destiny draw" means that they are actively controlling the cards that they pull, but are still under the control of their cards. A running theme that they have is that Destiny has a habit of catching up no matter how you fight it and the ability to pull whatever card you want out of your deck only facilitates it because these players are literally playing into the hands of destiny. This is especially apparent in the Duelist Kingdom arc where the Destiny draw would actually work in Pegasus' favor while just playing blindly actually got results. (In fact, there are only four duels in the entire franchise where a duelist has drawn a card that wasn't useful; one of them was Yugi, who got two bad draws in a row in his duel with Mai.)
      • Ishizu Ishtar has the ability to see the future, and predicts many things in relation to our heroes, the villain, and the Battle City Tournament. However, she loses this ability after Anti-Hero Kaiba defies his predicted defeat to her by his own vision of his past self. From Battle City onwards, half of Kaiba's dialogue is pretty much "Screw Destiny!" even after it's clear that he can't fight fate.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX:
      • In the second season, the hero is sought out by the villain for his power to defy destiny and overturn the results the villain sees in his premonitions. Despite several prophecies coming true (including one for the next season), the overall impression is that it's seeing or trying to see the future that robs one of power over their fate, and Your Mind Makes It Real.
      • Not coincidentally, Saiou, the villain who claims that You Can't Fight Fate, tries this himself by defying his own predictions at least once, and fails. When he tries to use a Brainwashed Asuka against Judai and he draws the Sun card, which he interprets as meaning the warmth and friendship he gets from her, he gives her the White Night Deck, which represents light without warmth, and drains her of emotion, turning her cruel and heartless. This plan not only fails miserably, but Asuka defects from the Society of Light as a result, costing him a valuable minion.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds:
      • Yusei, Jack, and Crow during their match against Rex Goodwin, pretty much state that they will beat him even if it means flipping Fate the bird. This is further compounded by Yusei summoning Savior Star Dragon near the end, who only shows up when it's time to spit in Destiny's face.
      • Rex himself had a goal with this type of attitude. He wanted to stop what he believed was a "vicious cycle" of good and evil fighting each over again and again, something that was supposedly fated to happen repeatedly until the end of time. One could say he had somewhat of a noble cause, but his way of doing it, by destroying the world and then remaking it, was the wrong approach.
      • Earlier in that arc, Jack is shown a vision by Carly where he joined the Dark Signers and became king of the destroyed world. However, he snaps out of it and activates a card called Change Destiny.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL:
      • Syuta Hayami believes that his Number card gives him the ability to alter Fate itself, and make his predictions come true. Astral, however, realizes that what he actually does is create Self Fulfilling Prophecies that fool his victims into making them come true. Yuma manages to defeat him by defying his prediction.
      • Also in ZEXAL, it at first would seem that Shark and Rei are taking the opposite route when they make a Face–Heel Turn and join the Barians. On the contrary, they do so on their own terms, out of a sense of responsibility as leaders of the race.
      • Astral defies the destiny that Elphias sets aside for him to destroy the Barian world, leading to an awesome moment for Yuma as he duels the godlike being for Astral's life and freedom.
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V:
      • The fortune teller Mieru Hochun predicts that Yuya will lose to her and get horribly injured or die in the process. She tries to defy it by attempting to beat him as soon as possible so he'll go home, but part of the stage collapses on him. To her utter amazement, with the help of the Action Card 'Miracle', he not only survives without a scratch, but beats her.

    Comic Books 
  • Hellboy: The titular hero is practically an Anthropomorphic Personification of screwing destiny. Several of the occult nasties he confronts express amazement that there even is a confrontation, proclaiming his ostensible fate as a future linchpin of the Apocalypse ... but he's already got a job, thanks, and he's not interested in outside offers. Unfortunately, he couldn't keep going for ever - in 2012, he died and The End of the World as We Know It began, but it seems his sacrifice means humanity now has the opportunity to fight its own extinction and Fling a Light into the Future.
  • The six-issue comic book series The Chronicles of Wormwood stars Danny Wormwood, who happens to be the Antichrist. He's not interested in ushering in the end of the world, though, and he's not shy about telling his father to get stuffed.
  • In the Batman story "To Kill a Legend", Batman and Robin are transported to an Alternate Universe where the murder of Bruce Wayne's parents is about to unfold. Robin has misgivings about interfering with destiny, but when push comes to shove he can't just watch innocents die and decides "To blazes with destiny!". Batman beats him to it, however. The epilogue reveals that the incident makes such an impression on this universe's Bruce Wayne that he grows up to emulate the mysterious figure who had saved his parents.
  • The Sandman (1989):
    • Humanity is able to alter its entire destiny simply by having all humans dream all at once, completely rewriting all the laws of the universe and in the process dramatically shifting its place within said universe.
    • Supposedly cats can do this, too. Then again, the whole thing was a story told by cats... it's hard to pick out what is real and what isn't. Though, by implication at least, Destiny's book is never wrong, and would probably include such a dream. And even that gets called into question near the end of the series. Delirium at one point tells Destiny that his book doesn't cover everything.
    • One of the cats that hears the story doesn't believe it will ever happen, because no one — cat, man, demon, or god — could convince a thousand cats to agree on anything.
    • In The Sandman: Overture, things happen which aren't in Destiny's book or the Fates' weaving, confirming Delirium's statement. They are eventually revealed to be consequences of Desire's ultimately successful attempt to avert the destined death of Dream and destruction of the entire universe.
  • In Walt Simonson's run of The Mighty Thor, Skurge the Executioner learns to his horror that he is prophesied to lead the evil dead against Asgard at Ragnarok. Skurge shows everyone what he thinks of that by hurling his dimension-rending axe at Naglfar, the warship of the dead, and blowing it to smithereens, postponing Ragnarok until it can be repaired. This pisses off Hela badly, prompting her to send a literal army of the dead after Thor and crew and setting up Skurge's Dying Moment of Awesome.
  • In a mini-series, Captain Atom finds himself in a WWII concentration camp. He spends much of the time just trying to blend in, knowing the damages he can do to the timeline. But after hearing the pleas of some children to spare their mother from execution, Atom openly says "Screw history" and transforms into his heroic persona to blow the camp to pieces and let the prisoners escape.
  • Used a lot in X-Men, with several issues being about them averting some "pre-destined" tragedy. Certain mutants can see the future, however, Destiny being one of them. Mystique does screw Destiny to "father" Rogue.
    • An interesting variant in the Dawn of X initiative. The X-Men have discovered a way to revive mutants. However, since Moria MacTaggart was threatened by the aforementioned Destiny, she has made the leaders of Krakoa not resurrect procognants like her and Blindfold to prevent learning if Krakoa is doomed to fail.
  • In Watchmen Ozymandias predicts the coming of the nuclear war and decides to do whatever is necessary to head it off and heal the rift between East and West.
  • Cade Skywalker in Star Wars: Legacy puts it regarding his 'fate' as a Skywalker: "Destiny? I call it karking slavery!"
  • In ElfQuest, elves who refuse to become lifemates with someone they've Recognized count as this trope, particularly if they resort to bashing their Recognized one's head in with a club, like Dodia did to Door.
  • The reason that Adam Warlock can fight Thanos during The Infinity Gauntlet saga is because he stands outside the loop of destiny, and can therefore do things that no one else could.
  • A sci-fi example in Paperinik New Adventures: A time traveller warns about a major disaster that will destroy a large part of Duckburg, killing thousands - but the resident Time Police (supposedly the good guys) are doing everything in their power to make sure it goes down 'like it's supposed to'. After all, in their time, it's already happened. Obviously, Paperinik (Donald Duck's superhero alter ego) isn't going to take that lying down.
  • Lucifer:
    • All the protagonist's actions are aimed at escaping God's plan.
    • Lucifer tries to do this to the Anthropomorphic Personification of Because Destiny Says So, Destiny of the Endless by forcibly ripping out pieces of The Book of Destiny (which, basically, is Destiny in book form; the book contains everything that has or will happen in Creation) and burning it.
      Lucifer: There. Now we're both in the dark.
      Destiny: No. Now you look at the ashes. **Lucifer does so; the ashes tell him what will happen next** And now you change your mind.
    • During his mainstream appearances in DC comics outside the Vertigo imprint, Destiny has indeed been screwed several times. At the chronological start of The Lords Of Luck arc, he noticed a hole in his book, something that existed even though it shouldn't be possible, gradually warping fate. Realizing only said hole could repair the missing piece of the book, Destiny tore the manacles binding him and it, and tossed it away so it could find its way to the source. Said source were the Challengers of the Unknown, who survived an accident that was literally impossible to survive; at the end of the arc, their new sidekick apparently fulfills a Heroic Sacrifice - but when Destiny allows him to thumb through the book, they realize they can't find her in it...
  • Iron Lad from the Young Avengers was/is actually Kang the Conqueror from the future, determined to stop himself from become/becoming him.
    Iron Lad: Kate, if you found out you were going to become... Adolf Hitler, wouldn't you do everything in your power to make sure it never happens?
  • At the end of Spider-Verse the Superior Spider Man learns that he won't have a future, that Peter Parker will reclaim his body. Suffering from a Villainous Breakdown, he murders the Master Weaver, then starts cutting the Web of Life and Destiny to avert this from happening. However, the other 616 Spiders and Spider-UK are able to stop him and toss him back to his time.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), Princess Sally decides to go through the bonding ceremony with the Source. During the moment, she sees a vision of the future where she and Sonic (as queen and king) are trying to escape from an attack and Sonic stays behind, telling Sally to get her and their kids out of there. Sally grinds things to a halt there and leaves, stating that she didn't want things to be chosen like that. The Source doesn't like that and tries to possess her from time to time when she uses the Sword of Acorns.
  • At the end of The Black Vortex, Angel explains to X-23 that he took up a portion of the titular power, gaining flaming wings in the process, because he saw what he would become in the future by meeting his present day self and decided "Screw that!"
  • Birthright has this trope take an ugly turn when The Chosen One destined to save the world from the Big Bad, decides "screw that noise, It Sucks to Be the Chosen One and I just want to go home!" and sides with the villain he was supposed to kill for the chance of returning to Earth.
  • Loki: Agent of Asgard has Teen!Loki seemingly destined to become his more familiar elder self. It's also a very meta way of calling attention to the use of Status Quo Is God in comics.
  • In Runaways, Gert Yorkes and Victor Mancha are fated to become lovers and then nemeses, with Gert becoming the leader of the Avengers and Victor becoming the world's most terrible supervillain. Gert tried to stop this future by sacrificing herself at a crucial moment, while Victor tried to stop his fate by having the Avengers take him apart, but then Chase brought them both back from the dead.
  • Ultimate FF: The fate of the Ultimate Marvel universe depends on Sue having a baby with the infamous Reed Richards. Fine. She will do it... but nobody said that she had to have sex with him. Let's just restrain him, create some forcefield scalpels, and extract the required body fluids for an artificial insemination.
  • Wonder Girl: Hercules keeps telling Cassie that their father Zeus—whom Herc has a much more positive view of than Cassie—has revealed that their fates are to team up and rescue the gods and that she can't go against it. Cassie and Diana think very little of the idea that others should control Cassie's "destiny" and in the end Hercules is forced to leave without her.
  • Wonder Woman: Diana sees a vision of a future in which Gerta turns into a Mad Scientist supervillain as an adult. She is devastated but Gerta herself decides she does not want to go down that path and Hippolyte says knowledge of a future can help prevent it, though it is difficult work.
  • In Astro City, the only thing that can stop Krigari Ironhand from conquering the micro-realms is to tell him that he's destined to be defeated by Honor Guard. This causes Krigari to refocus his energies on defeating them to defy the prophecy.

    Fan Works 
  • 14,000,606: During the final battle with Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man realized that Iron Man was going to use the Infinity Stones against Thanos, and managed to snag the stones from him and perform the final snap himself. He survived due to his greater physical strength but not without injury. When Tony Stark confronted Doctor Strange, Strange admitted that he had not foreseen this action among the 14,000,605 alternate timelines he witnessed after their first encounter with Thanos.
    Doctor Strange: Somehow that child... that young man defied fate and destiny today.
  • Advice and Trust: When Rei meets Kaworu, she wants to destroy him because the spawn of Adam and the children of Lilith cannot coexist, ergo he's a threat to her offspring and her loved ones (Shinji and Asuka). However, Kaworu insists that they don't have to be enemies and he chooses his own fate.
    Rei: [growling] You will not harm them, Adam-spawn! This world is mine! I will protect my children! They will live!
    Kaworu: You don't need to do that.
    Rei: [snarling] Why not? You and I cannot coexist, Child of the White Moon! For all the other lies SEELE has told, they told the truth about that! I know what compels you! You cannot resist the Call to seek your origin! You will inevitably try to unite with Adam and fulfill the drive you cannot deny! And I will not allow you to overwrite all life on this world!
    Kaworu: I am not your enemy, First Child.
    Rei: You have no choice! I know how strong the Call is!
    Kaworu: I am the Angel of Free Will. There is always a choice. And I choose my fate, not the old men of SEELE, whatever they may think. They cannot control me, not like that.
  • In Beyond the Sea, Summer Rain cuts off her own cutie mark to symbolize her breaking free from her preordained destiny.
  • In Big Sister, Konrad Curze is left perplexed when it turns out Vulkan is able to completely defy his visions of death and despair. While he's briefly left paralyzed by the hope it is possible to destroy the future his visions predict, Vulkan convinces him to take arms and fight the future.
  • The Flash (2014)/Supergirl (2015) crossover Call Me Kara has Barry Allen saving Kara's life at the beginning of the story. Doctor Fate straight up tells Kara that she was destined to die on the floor of her apartment.
  • Suggested in Crisis on Infinite Earths: The Brave New World; after Barry learns that Iris was killed by Zoom in the new timeline, Kara suggests that Oliver took Iris out of the picture when recreating the universe to give Barry a sense of freedom, as at least part of the reason he ended up with Iris was that so many predictions of the future and glimpses of other timelines focused on the idea of Iris as Barry's wife, whereas now Barry can actually make a choice.
  • The Soulmate AU Fic Dread String of Fate features Marinette being literally Strangled by the Red String tying her to Adrien, as Adrien is one of Fate's favored children and Marinette isn't. Luka learns of this and tries to figure out some way of saving her.
  • The Supernatural fanfic Down to Agincourt takes the general screw-destiny attitude displayed by Dean in canon and turns it Up to Eleven. The Devil's all but won and we're all just waiting for the end? Eh, screw that, let's fight.
  • In Fail Better, the whole plot is about Lucia throwing destiny and, as many of her species see it, common sense to the wind. She proves them wrong in the end.
  • Fate Azure Destiny: Observer Zero claims it is the Sirens' destiny to win because they can predict everything and Ritsuka Fujimaru's unexpected interference is actually part of their grand design. Ritsuka retorts that Goetia claimed he was destined to win because he could see the future, but Ritsuka still killed him, so he can beat the Sirens as well.
  • God Slaying Blade Works: The spear Gae Bolg reverses causality to always pierce the target's heart, meaning it is destiny to be killed by it when its power is invoked. When it is used on Luo Hao, she is able to partially dodge it (it hits her in the shoulder instead of the heart). She points out Campione like her screw destiny all the time, starting with being a mortal that killed a God.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Darkseid cheats his way out of the prophecy foretelling his death at his son Orion's hands by creating spared cloned bodies and making sure that the confrontation happens in his palace and not in the streets of Armagetto.
  • In the Deconstructed Soulmate AU Fic, Just Close Your Eyes and It Doesn't Exist by Wix, Tony Stark rejects Steve Roger's advances despite sharing a soul mark. This is due to their initial rocky meeting, their less than stellar relationship afterwards, the events of Captain America: Civil War, and the fact that Tony is in love with Stephen Strange. This isn't helped by the fact that Rogers started acting affectionate after finding out that they share the same mark when he and Team Cap came back from Wakanda and that fact that Tony was already in a relationship with Strange.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, Dream of the Endless is aware that he'll inevitably will die in the Post-Crisis universe, so he interferes with the outcome of the Crisis on Infinite Earths by saving Supergirl, who was doomed to die fighting the Anti-Monitor, thus saving The Multiverse and ensuring the existence of worlds where he lives on.
  • In Koihime†Musou: Tales of the Armored War Gods, this seems to be the goal of the Rinjyuken Akugata, via preventing the kingdom of Shu from ever existing, with the preferred method being the removal of the future key figures of Shu. However, their actual reasoning has not yet been revealed. Also, it should be noted that this is also the motive of Masataka (Kamen Rider Zangetsu), though it is portrayed as more well intentioned, and the execution method is completely different.
  • Screw Destiny is the whole theme of Left Beyond: even though all the prophecies related to the Christian apocalypse are coming true on schedule, people working with the Omega AI keep trying to subvert their meaning so that they come true to the letter but do not guarantee humanity's extinction. At the end, God ALMOST wins.
  • This is the whole point of No Chance for Fate as it begins with Sailor Pluto breaking a Stable Time Loop due to a random factor (Ranma's birth) and being determined to prevent the future that led to the creation of the time loop in the first place.
  • Lessons from the Mountain: Subverted. When Maedhros boasts he can find a way around the Valar's pronouncements, he's reminded him that he thought he could defeat Morgoth, in spite of the Valar warning he was doomed to fail. And fail he did.
  • In Lost in Camelot, Bo suggests that Merlin can abandon his supposed destiny to serve Arthur if he wishes, but she merely suggests the option rather than forcing Merlin into the choice. She, Merlin and Morgana put this into action when they separate Mordred from Alvarr and take him somewhere he can grow up in peace, eliminating the risk of his future destiny to kill Arthur.
  • Implied in The Night Unfurls. By becoming a Celibate Hero that rejects romance, marriage, and child-rearing, Kyril essentially gives the finger to the fate that befalls every great one: to lose their child and yearn for a surrogate.
  • Not Set in Stone focuses on this idea after Cisco has a vision of Laurel bleeding to death with a green arrow in her side. From the beginning, Laurel refuses to even consider the idea that Oliver will shoot her, and Barry helps Cisco determine where the attack might happen, but the group keep the knowledge of the vision secret from everyone but Oliver (and even he only learns by chance) in case too many people knowing about Cisco's vision increases the likelihood that it will become the future. Eventually, after determining that Darhk's idol was part of the vision, the Flash disposes of the idol's fragments to further ensure that the vision will never happen, and the fic concludes with Cisco having a new vision of Laurel with her Canary Cry and Oliver proposing to her.
  • Enterprise from the KanColle fanfic Pacific: World War II U.S. Navy Shipgirls believes in this (fittingly enough, in contrast to Akagi), as implied by one of her quotes.
    Enterprise: You're wrong! The future doesn't happen by random chance, it happens because we will create it!
  • When The RWBY Loops catches up to Pyrrha's canonical death, the loopers all agree to declare war on baseline in response.
  • Shattered Skies: The Morning Lights: Joker, in the afterlife, meets Chaos, origin point and guiding force behind every universe's Big Bad. After hearing of the endless cycle of war between good and evil, in which evil is destined to lose every time, Joker convinces Chaos to spare him and rebel against its fate and natural function, so that the cycle might finally end for good.
  • This is a recurring theme with Hinata in Son of the Sannin, as she constantly chooses to go against what is expected of her instead of accepting her place in life. She learns to combine her Gentle Fist techniques with elemental chakra to make up for her lack of proficiency, becomes the first medical ninja in the history of her clan, chooses to share Hamura Otsutsuki's chakra with Hanabi, and ultimately abolishes both the Caged Bird seal practice and the separation between the main and branch families upon being appointed as clan head. She even lampshades it when Toneri attempts to do a You Can't Fight Fate Breaking Speech on her:
    "Fate, you say? You aren't the only one to use that word to put me down. All my life... I was told that things are the way they are because of fate. My apparent weakness. How I wouldn't amount to anything. How my clan would forever remain divided. And guess what? I proved them wrong. I proved all of them wrong! And I shall prove you wrong too!"
  • Fatemon from A Sticky Situation likes this concept and plans to make his own destiny starting in chapter 205. It also seems to be his biggest talent, though he can only do this on a relatively small scale.
  • About halfway through Queen of All Oni, a sentient Shadowkhan named Karasu arrives from the future. Aside from his claim of loyalty towards Jade (implying that her fall will never be undone), he also warns that the Balance Between Good and Evil is about to be disrupted in a massive, era-changing way. And while this initially deeply disturbs the heroes, Jackie eventually states that he refuses to believe Karasu purely on principle — he knows that the future can be changed, and he'll do everything in his power to prevent this one from coming to pass.
    • Miss Kimber is a psychic who can see the future. But rather than make her believe in You Can't Fight Fate, it has the exact opposite effect — she's seen and experienced enough to know that the future is not set in stone, and people's choices still matter. This is proven during the fight with the Shadow Man, whom she foresaw herself performing a Heroic Sacrifice to defeat. The J-Team's refusal to allow her to do that sees him defeated anyway, and her predicted death held off.
  • This trope, along with other tropes about fate and prophecy, is one of the central themes of the Redwall fanfic The Urthblood Saga, where the titular character receives a prophecy foretelling of a dark crisis that will sweep over the world, and gathers a huge army with the goal of uniting the lands under his power in order to prevent it. At the same time, he does often slip into the You Can't Fight Fate mindset over other details about the future, and since the story is not yet finished it's still unclear whether this trope or the more fatalistic one will come true in the end.
  • The fanfic White Devil of the Moon has Nanoha do this to her past life and what is expected of her as the reincarnation of Princess Serenity. This has major repercussions as she refuses to reignite her past romance with Mamoru so she can...ahem, Screw Fate, chooses to continue working in the TSAB as a mere officer instead of claiming her birthright as heir to the Moon Kingdom, and drives Luna to the point where she might end up deciding to find ways to get Nanoha to accept her destiny no matter what.
  • In With Strings Attached, while the others are sitting around waiting for As'taris to do something with Paul, who has been turned into a diamond statue, they discuss the fact that he got no magic. John, who had gotten his water-charm at the same time Paul was diamondized, speculates that Paul was supposed to get it and plans to give it to him once he's restored to normal. Which prompts the following exchange:
    In a low voice George said, "Maybe he really isn't meant to have magic, or he'd have gotten your gem the first time."
    "That," said John darkly, "is the best reason in the world for me to give it to him. Nobody's gonna mean anythin' for us except us."
  • In the Star Trek (2009) fanfic Written in the Stars, Fem!Kirk tries to do this when told that she and Spock were married in the original universe. After falling in love with Spock, she decides to just go with it.
  • You Can Fight Fate, story three of the Hard Reset (Eakin) fanfic trilogy. It's there in the title. Twilight eventually finds out just why the Elements of Harmony kept exploding in the first story when disharmony and chaos got too much. They're working for a 'perfect' world with NO conflict or chaos. Twilight objects.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: In chapter 29 of the sequel Picking Up the Pieces, Discord informs the Bearers of how Balance did this to them in order to make them into the Bearers of its Elements, showing them what their fates could have been if not for said screwing. The Bearers react with stunned disbelief at first, but then all agree that the friendships (and in a few cases, love partners) they've gained since then have been worth it.
  • This Bites!: Cross manages to defy canon by managing to save both the Going Merry (by feeding her a Devil Fruit that turns her into a child) and Ace (by changing events enough that Luffy has more backup at Marineford). After the fact, B.R.O.B. directly tells Cross that short of warping reality, that shouldn't have been possible; not only that, but Cross himself was planned to die numerous times throughout the story for B.R.O.B.'s amusement, but he just kept surviving no matter what, which B.R.O.B. is genuinely impressed by.
  • Chaos Effect: Edwin Chaos at first believes he must stick with canon because the Pharaoh is destined to defeat Zorc. However when he realizes this means allowing Mokuba get his soul ripped out by Pegasus he decides to begin bending the rules to try and alter destiny. And then Mai's temporary death during the Virtual Heroes arc is what finally has him snap and fulfill this trope, declaring that he's done with destiny/canon and from now on he'll do what is right.
  • Your Alicorn Is in Another Castle: Invoked but ultimately subverted: Bowser tried so, so much to try to screw his destiny, which is to kidnap princesses, but destiny will just not let him. He tried to live a normal, non-kidnapping life, and all it brought him were dreams of kidnapping, unconscious planning of traps and ambushes, and, when his wife found out what he was doing-and why-she divorced him and took full custody of her son. Trying to Screw Destiny ruined Bowser's life. (He likens it to trying to defy what your cutie mark says about you, an explanation that makes it easy for Twilight and other ponies to understand.) That said, he found a way to make his destiny work for him-he only kidnaps princesses that want to be kidnapped, as being Bowser's prisoner is a chance for them to relax. (Except for Twilight but that was because of a case of Mistaken Identity-his target was Celestia, who wanted to get out of a boring treaty obligation.)

    Films — Animated 
  • Hercules: Herc manages to blindside the Fates, of all people. They're ready to cut his Thread of Life after he leaps into the Well of Souls to retrieve Megara, but in the act of sacrificing himself to save her, he proves himself a true hero, and so, his divinity is restored just as the scissors snip.
  • Probably the most important component of The Iron Giant: "You are who you choose to be." Though in that case, it wasn't any vague concept of destiny, but the character's actual purpose for having been built.
  • Treated more realistically than usual in Brave. "Changing one's fate" is not as simple as finding a loophole or asking for a spell; in real life, this sort of thing is complicated, and there are serious consequences for doing it incorrectly. Merida's true journey will be centered not just on flipping the bird to rules and tradition and getting away with it solely because she's The Protagonist, but on seeing that forging one's destiny is more complex than she thought it would be, and that she must face both the pros and the cons of such decisions.
  • The Book of Life chronicles the stories of every living person. When Manolo meets the Candlemaker, the keeper of the Book, the Candlemaker reveals that the pages that tell Manolo's life are blank. This means he's no longer following destiny, but writing his own story.
  • Shrek: Princess Fiona was rescued from the tower, not by the Prince Charming she always believed would save her, but by an ogre named Shrek. Her true love ended up being Shrek so she did find her happily ever after. However, this changed everything that was planned for her and those around. Her father has her placed in the tower, seemingly for her to be rescued by her true love. In reality, it was to pay off his debt to the Fairy Godmother for turning him human. His plans as well as the plans of every villain are foiled by Shrek's rescuing of Fiona and Fiona falling in love with Shrek.
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: Miguel O'hara believes that destiny can't be changed and that any Spider-Man deviating from the Canon will result in reality-ending consequences, and most of the other Spider-People agree with Miguel. Miles Morales refuses to subscribe to that theory, especially since it would result in the death of his father. By the end of the movie, Gwen, Peter B. and a few others turn against Miguel, inspired by Miles' example.
    Miles Morales: Everyone keeps telling me how my story is supposed to go! Nah. I'mma do my own thing.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This is one of the major themes of the 300 graphic novel and movie. It helps that the oracular priests who told the Spartans not to fight fate were not only total bastards, but were bribed by the Persians to say this. Which is the exact opposite of what happened IRL, where the Oracle specifically told King Leonidas that either a Spartan King must die or a Persian King would rule in Sparta.
  • The entire point of The Adjustment Bureau.
  • Back to the Future:
    • Back to the Future: Inverted. Doc originally is very vocal about not finding out too much about one's own destiny, believing that subverting destiny could be potentially world-destroying, but eventually gives in and tapes Marty's letter back together, learning of his murder in 1985 and thus being able to prevent it.
    • Back to the Future Part II: We learn that Marty wound up in an auto accident because he got called "chicken", leading to him working in a menial job that he gets fired from after being called "chicken" again. After considerable Character Development in Part III, Marty avoids the auto accident, and a message Jennifer took from the future, telling his future self "You're fired" gets erased.
      Jennifer: Dr. Brown, I brought this note back from the future and now it's erased.
      Doc: Of course it's erased!
      Jennifer: But what does that mean?
      Doc: It means your future hasn't been written yet! No one's has! Your future is whatever you make it, so make it a good one, both of you.
  • Subverted in The Devil's Advocate when Keanu Reeves' character goes so far as to blow his own brains out to defy his Satanic father, only to end up sucked right back into a different type of honey trap by the Devil in another guise after choosing differently once the Reset Button is pushed.
  • Subverted by Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump, who believes his destiny is to die in the field with his men like every generation of his family before him, fully embraces it, and is very pissed off when Gump instead saves his life and leaves him a cripple. It takes Dan years to get over his "family tradition" to die, but he eventually befriends Gump and even later on becomes a married man (his wife is implied to be a Vietnamese-American, no less) with new legs made out of titanium alloy.
  • Gattaca is basically a biological take, as society is prejudiced in favour of those who are genetically engineered for certain traits, only for the main character to defy this by faking his samples and equalling those who have been engineered.
  • Seen in Happy Accidents when Vincent D'Onofrio's character tries to Save Marisa Tomei's life...
  • In Hellboy, both sides make what they think are compelling arguments:
    Agent Myers: You have a choice!
    Grigori Rasputin: No you don't!
  • One of the classic examples of this is in Lawrence of Arabia where a camp follower strays into the desert and all the Arab chiefs demand that he be abandoned, because bedouin have enough experience of the desert to fear it. One of them says "it is written." At which point Lawrence goes into the desert to search for lost man saying, "Nothing is written." Then he brings him back. Then the man Lawrence rescues murders another man from a rival tribe and Lawrence is forced to conduct the execution himself to prevent a feud, making you wonder if "it was written" after all. Thus this example could be either a played straight or a subversion.
  • The Matrix:
    • Subverted in The Matrix. The Oracle has a pretty good grasp on people's reactions to prophecy, so she tells Neo (and others) exactly what they need to know for the future to come to pass. In particular, she tells Neo that Morpheus will die because of his mistaken belief that Neo is The One. When Neo says "screw destiny!" and charges in to rescue him, he realizes that he is The One after all. Also an example of Metaphorically True as, from a certain point of view, Neo only becomes The One when he chooses to believe he is.
    • This is played out on a grander scale in Reloaded and Revolutions when it is discovered that the Prophecy about The One is a lie and just another means of control by the Machines, and that The One is not meant to end the war at all, but to perpetuate it by selecting the next inhabitants of the new Zion once the current Zion is destroyed by the Machines, like so many other Ones before him. Neo is the first One to defy this system of control and bring about the true end of the war.
    • The Oracle also comments that "no one can see beyond a choice they don't understand", meaning she can tell people something that MAY happen, yet it's their choice what to do with it. The Architect, she notes, can't see past any choice.
    • When Agent Smith asks Neo why he continues to fight in the face of inevitable defeat, his reply is: "Because I choose to."
  • Minority Report:
    • At first, it seems that You Can't Fight Fate, but by the end, knowing your destiny is enough to give you the choice to change it.
    • In the short story the movie is based on, it happens a little bit differently. There are three prophesies made in quick succession, some of which show the main character committing murder but others don't (or show him committing a different murder). The difference is because the first two prophesies each affected the ones that followed them. Basically, seeing a prophecy that he would kill a certain person inspired him to kill a different person, and seeing that prophecy led him to kill the first person after all.
  • Briefly parodied in MirrorMask, when Valentine sees that in the future, he will be an overworked waiter feeding Indian food to yuppies. "NO I DON'T WANT TO BE A WAITER!" Luckily, his prediction gives him the necessary knowledge to avoid this fate by not betraying the heroine.
  • In Next, Nicolas Cage's character, Cris Johnson, is able to break through the common science fiction cliche that, even with the power to tell the future, destiny is unchangeable. In fact, the whole movie's tagline is that "If you can see the future, you can save it." Curiously, Knowing also stars Nicolas Cage and seems to have a similar premise, only for Cage's character to fail to save anyone.
  • In the Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger film, Ninpuu Sentai Hurricanger: TEN YEARS AFTER, Tenkai, a young boy who possesses the evil entity Great Will, seeks to free himself from this cursed fate. He does this when he is chosen to become the new Shurikenger.
  • Outlander: Kainan's philosophy is "There is no gods. There is no fate. There is only me." In his case, this was as much about taking responsibility for his own mistakes as it was about forging his own path.
  • Arguably the main theme in Paycheck. The main character uses a time machine to see his own death in the future and spends the rest of the movie trying to change his fate. Ironically, he ultimately succeeds while the villains, who are trying to fulfill what the time machine shows and predicts, fail.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Barbossa makes several statements along these lines in the third and fourth films. Justifiable, since his destiny has been completely out of his hands for nearly twelve years- placed under a sense-killing curse for ten years, killed right after the curse is lifted, and resurrected just in time to be dragged into a war.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time: The prince was given a second chance to change history completely when he travelled back in time in the ending, sparing the lives of those who had died in the storyline.
  • In The Scorpion King, the titular Scorpion King asks his sorceress wife about his fate as the new king. She tells him it will be short lived. He replies with "I make my own destiny." This is a line he also uses earlier when someone mentions fate or destiny. His declaration that he makes his own destiny and the prophecy that his time as king will be cut short are both proven correct when, in the sequel The Scorpion King 3, his wife dies and he deliberately lets the kingdom fall apart to go back to his life as a mercenary. She also gives a wrong prophecy earlier in the film.
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series we meet Captain Christopher Pike, victim of a radiation accident and confined to a wheelchair. At the end of Star Trek (2009) alternative-future Pike is - back in a wheelchair.
  • Emperor Palpatine tries to do this in Star Wars. He ends up, years later, torturing the son of the man who was prophesied to kill him, prompting the man to, erm, kill him. Though the act of ignoring it is what leads to his rise to power. In addition to the Emperor, Luke actively subverts his intended destiny at every turn. After being told that his friends should be left to die on Bespin, he immediately attempts to save them. After being told that he must kill Vader, he turns away. Both of these actions are what leads to his ultimate success.
  • Stranger Than Fiction has an interesting example. Instead of the main character changing his fate, he manages to convince the person who controls it to change it for him.
  • Terminator:
    • Terminator 2: Judgment Day ends in one big example when John and Sarah Connor take every conceivable measure to make sure Skynet never even gets built, much less cause a nuclear holocaust.
    • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, completely ignored the message and went right back to You Can't Fight Fate (though John Connor does try to invoke this trope by name at least once). Terminator 2 was itself an instance of ignoring the You Can't Fight Fate message of the first film. The huge popularity of T2 has resulted in a certain amount of Sequel Displacement, so T3 (which in several respects is thematically closer to the first movie) gets a lot of flak over this issue.
    • Played to the hilt in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, where the finale for the second season ends with the series tossing out the most basic, fundamental caveat of the entire Terminator setting: John Connor chooses to travel forward in time past Judgment Day, thereby traveling to a future where he isn't humanity's savior - and the resistance is intact and fighting without him.
    • Played straight with the cyborg in Terminator Salvation. Skynet miscalculated and allowed him to have an all-too-human mind. This backfired on Skynet, as he was able to subvert his own programming and fight against Skynet.
    • Zig-zagged in Terminator: Dark Fate, which retconned away everything else after T2. Sarah Conner believes she changed the future; and that the Terminators that she has spent decades hunting and killing after one killed John were all sent after the Connors by Skynet from the vanished timeline. We then learn that the primary antagonist Terminator for the film was created by a different future omnicidial AI, Legion, who wants to kill Dani Ramos because she will be the general for the resistance that fights it.
  • In Wendy Wu: Homecoming Warrior this is how the evil spirit Yan-Lo is destroyed. Shen was supposed to die during the battle Because Destiny Says So, but Wendy refuses to let that happen and uses her powers to save him. After the two of them defeat Yan-Lo, they learn that by changing destiny, Yan-Lo has been destroyed forever.
  • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Wolverine is transported to the past in order to stop the Sentinels from being mass produced and wiping out the mutants. In the end, he succeeds, erasing the continuity of the original trilogy (and thus bringing several characters Back from the Dead) in the process.

  • In Poul Anderson's The Avatar, Caitlín's refusal of the Others' offer of ascendance.
  • Awake in the Night Land has a story in which a hero called Telemachos has to rescue his friend Perithoos. It was prophesied that after such rescue attempt only one pair of footprints is seem returning home. Telemachos deals with this by carrying Perithoos on his shoulders back home.
  • Khayon of Black Legion has a strong distaste for Seers, considering their art to be the most imprecise and unreliable of all forms of sorcery. He also states that he has never met a Seer who didn't try to make fate come to pass in their favor and notes that of his fellow Black Legionaries he always hated the three Seers.
  • Blue Sargent, having grown up in a house full of somewhat nosy psychics, tries to take this approach with her love life. It doesn't always work.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: Elain thus far has this mindset towards her mating bond with Lucien, who she is not very fond of.
  • Completely subverted in Stephen King's The Dark Tower series. Destiny is screwed on many occasions, but it always turns out to lead back to fate, to the point that when Roland sacrifices his first and dearest companion to save King himself and gave up his ka-tet to make it to the Tower, all he managed to do was get himself written into his own past—trapping himself in destiny. (If the man was meant to screw fate, King would have been writing about his own demise, kids.)
  • This is a common recurring theme in the Discworld novels. As Granny Weatherwax puts it in Wyrd Sisters, "Destiny is important, but people go wrong when they think it controls them. It's the other way around."
    • This is the central conflict of Mort. Fate decrees that Princess Kelli of Sto Lat will be assassinated by her Evil Uncle. Death's apprentice, Mort, decides to reap the assassin instead of her. The problem is, Fate still insists that she's dead, and doesn't want to change its plans just because she's still moving around.
    • Captain Carrot of the Ankh-Morpork Watch lives out this motto, although he probably wouldn't use quite that verb.
    • Inverted in Going Postal, where Moist von Lipwig contrarily sets out to fulfill a Prophecy that never actually existed. "Wishing that someone will come along and sort this mess out one day is not the same as a prophecy." In defiance of non-Fate, Moist succeeds. (In forcing what wasn't destined to occur into happening anyway, Moist is, in fact, following Weatherwax's philosophy to the hilt. It's a double inversion.)
    • An interesting use is found in the form of the Omniscope from The Last Hero. Its settings can be fiddled with to view anything, anywhere, anywhen - but as Ponder Stibbons explains to the Patrician, it's best not to look into the future. If you don't know what will happen, anything can happen. But whatever potential future the device shows you will inevitably happen, and it might not be the future you like...
    • The Discworld pantheon includes Fate and his eternal opponent (and personification of this trope), the Lady (i.e. Lady Luck).
    • The History Monks are introduced in Small Gods, where we're told they have the sacred task of ensuring history happens according to the Books of History they safeguard. The most respected of the monks, Lu-Tze, then proceeds to ensure that the century of warfare described in the Books doesn't happen. Apparently this sort of thing gets sorted out in the long run.
    • In Hogfather, tradition says that The Little Match Girl must die during Hogfather's eve and be carried back to Heaven by angels, as a bittersweet reminder to the comparatively happy population that things aren't that bad as they're still better off than the Little Match Girl. Only, this time, Death has taken on the mantle of the Hogfather (long story), and decides to take advantage of a Loophole Abuse (that he's technically doing another job at the time) to go against his natural role, just this once. The action leaves his servant Albert flabbergasted and the angels very much miffed that things did not go according to the script. Then Albert starts pelting them with snowballs.
      (Death takes out his hourglass and turns back the sands.)
      Albert: You're not allowed to do that...
      Death: The Hogfather can. The Hogfather gives presents. There's no better present than a future.
  • Divine Misfortune: According to Lucky, the concept of fate and destiny went out the window as the human population became bigger and bigger, hence why great heroes and prophets went out of fashion.
  • In The Dresden Files, Marcone's bodyguard Ms. Gard (a valkyrie) can tell when someone is fated to die. This does not mean her employer has to abide by it; see the quotes page for his reasoning behind saving Harry from a ninja ghoul. Harry also uses her behavior to his advantage, and although it doesn't work out as well, Michael would have died otherwise, not been crippled.
  • Dune: This is the major theme of Frank Herbert's Children of Dune and God-Emperor of Dune novels, and quite possibly the later ones too, assuming you can understand them; although its more controlling it / making it uncontrollable rather than an outright screwing. The main character's goal of the novels is the creation of what he termed, the 'Golden Path' - A future completely free of destiny with unlimited choices. The ironic thing is, to do this, Leto messes with people's futures for the next 3000 years.
  • Done in the Ea Cycle. It turns out that it's possible to fight fate simply by wishing really hard, so that the individual's will becomes the will of the universe.
  • In David Eddings' The Elenium and The Tamuli verse, the main hero, a veteran knight named Sparhawk, eventually discovers that he is 'Anakha', the man with no fate - meaning that even the gods themselves can't predict what he'll do from one moment to the next, which scares them silly. 'course, the fact that he's killed a couple of gods may have something to do with it, too. Still, as Aphrael merrily demonstrates, being free of any preordination doesn't mean that you can't be manipulated by other means.
    • ... which, actually, Bhelliom itself refutes, saying that there's no predestination at all and that even Bhelliom's own path could be thwarted by chance despite its being one of the creative forces of the universe. And if the God to the Gods is subject to the whims of extraordinary universal caprice - well, why shouldn't we all be?
  • Eddings' The Belgariad and The Malloreon manage to play this both ways. On the one hand, you can decide to screw both of the competing destinies. On the other hand, nobody dares do so because the result would be unpredictable, so both sides stay in the comfort zone of trying to make "their" prophecy happen at the detriment of the other (and the prequels show Belgarath and Polgara going out of their way to make sure things happen as predicted).
  • Happens in Michael Moorcock's Elric saga. After spending six books struggling with destiny Elric gets fed up with being a pawn in the gods' battles, so he destroys the world to create a new one where the gods won't be able to keep meddling.
    • Moorcock hits the theme again both ways, subverting it by having the core persona that becomes all these heroes go back and begin the seminal events that create the backstories for places like Melnibone, while Hawkmoon's quest leads him to Tanelorn and the final destruction of not only the Cosmic Balance but also the Law and Chaos aspects the first part of this entry unleashed on the multiverse.
  • The Fable of the Dragon-Tyrant: This short paper by Nick Bostrom plays this trope against death itself. To Bostrom, Immortality Immorality is on par with every -ism you can think of when it comes to prejudice, people Not Afraid to Die are Too Dumb to Live, Who Wants to Live Forever? is akin to drugs for coping with We All Die Someday, and We Are as Mayflies is only as true as cancer; a hard fight, but never out of reach.
  • In Norway, The Fault in Our Stars' title has been translated as Fuck Fate, which John Green finds to be a Woolseyism.
  • It's a plot point in The Fionavar Tapestry that because the Wild Hunt exists in Fionavar — as much of a danger as it presents if ever set free itself —, humans have free will and not even the Weaver himself can be sure of everything in advance. Over the course of the trilogy several characters make significant choices that clearly derail "destiny" as it would have unfolded otherwise.
  • Gallows Hill by Lois Duncan (filmed as I've Been Waiting for You) looks at this by way of Reincarnation, as the events of the Salem witch trials play out again in the present, but one of the girls whose accusations started the trial refuses to play her part. This time around, she manages to redeem herself and keep everyone alive.
  • Good Omens:
    • Adam, the boy Antichrist, decides to ignore his destiny and calls off the Apocalypse, saying that it doesn't matter what is "written", because "it can always be crossed out". Although it is later speculated by Aziraphale and Crowley that maybe everything that happened, including Adam defying his destiny, has been God's real plan all along.
    • Anathema Device lived her entire life based on the book of prophecy left behind by her ancestor Agnes Nutter, which includes prophecies from the day of Agnes Nutter's death to The End of the World as We Know It. After the apocalypse has been averted, there seem to be no more prophecies... until a new book containing predictions for 'the world there is to come' turns up. However, Anathema decides that she is tired of being a 'professional descendant' and burns away the book. Like with Adam, it is implied that Agnes forsaw this as well.
  • Grounded for All Eternity: Malachi despises his predestined role as a guardian of the Pit, especially as he fears it will ruin his friendship with his assigned squad. This leads him to seek out a spark of creation, hoping it will change his fate. Even after Malachi does accept his future role, he states that he doesn't have to do it the way his parents have before him, resolving that once he becomes a guardian, he'll do things his way.
  • In Gregor and The Code of Claw, Ripred tells Gregor to do this when a prophecy says he's going to die.
  • Harry Potter: Played with. Harry spends much of Half-Blood Prince worrying about the prophecy that marked him The Chosen One. Eventually, Dumbledore insists that the prophecy means nothing and Harry is perfectly free to walk away from all of it. When Harry thinks back on what Lord Voldemort has done, however, he decides he doesn't want to screw Destiny and decides to do his part to finish Voldemort for good. Voldemort doesn't want either of them to do this, and will track down Harry and duel him in order to fulfill the prophecy: "Neither can live while the other survives." At the end, neither Voldemort nor Harry have any interest in averting the prophecy in the end. Voldemort knows Harry has the power to defeat him eventually, but there's no certainty he'll actually do it, and Harry takes it upon himself to fulfill this thing that's been hanging over his head.
  • I Am Not a Serial Killer: John has no prophecies to his name. What he does have is an inability to relate to others, an uncanny comfort with corpses, and a lot of homicidal urges that have him convinced that Powers That Be want him to become a serial killer. He is not content with that destiny, and makes it his life's mission to be better than everybody expects him to be.
  • In Charles Stross's The Jennifer Morgue, the protagonist is trapped by a spell into following a particular destiny based on a particular narrative; specifically, that of James Bond. Bob's not Bond, he's the good Bond-girl. His girlfriend is the person playing out the role of Bond.
  • Mercedes Lackey:
    • In the Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms series, the Tradition is a powerful Background Magic Field that tries to enact traditional faerie tales. Rather than accepting fate, the people of the Kingdoms study the Tradition to predict and avert the worse tales and even use it to their own benefit. For example, one king sends his only daughter to live in a comfortable tower guarded by non-lethal tests, knowing this will attract a good husband and worthy successor.
    • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, there are characters who have Destinies, or find that There Are No Coincidences, and scurry for a way to assert their agency, yelling "screw destiny!" at the top of their lungs. Nevertheless, things tend to turn out as they should. It helps that 'Destiny' leans toward the benevolent, since at least one God and Goddess are playing the long game to give everyone their best chance at a happy ending.
  • Zig-zagged in Manxmouse regarding The Prophecy that the Manx Mouse will be eaten by the Manx Cat. The cat doesn't want to do any such thing but believes that You Can't Fight Fate; the mouse makes a last-minute decision to go down fighting instead. However, it's revealed to be an Either/Or Prophecy, and the mouse's decision to fight for his life triggers the other option and invalidates the "getting eaten" part.
  • In one of the novels of Sergey Lukyanenko's Night Watch (Series), Svetlana gets fed up with Geser's "prophecy" (more of a calculation, really) and Anton's blind obedience to it. Essentially, she is supposed to end up with Anton and bear a powerful Other child. She ends up having a threesome with an incubus, while Anton is sleeping in the next room and then gets mad when Anton reacts with understanding, not anger. Geser's prediction does come true eventually, and the incident is forgotten. Several later books deal with actual prophecies, spoken by rare prophet Others, who appear to be channeling Twilight itself. Unlike predictions, prophecies must comes true, as long as a human hears them. Until then, they remain in flux and may even be averted, if all Others, who know the prophecy die or become unable to tell a human. This is why, in Sixths Watch, a prophecy uttered by every single prophet on the planet claims that the world will end in less than a week, unless something happens. Both Watches scramble to try to figure out what must be done to save the world. Also, the witch Arina claims to have once successfully averted a prophecy, which has been heard by a human, saving Russia from being carved up by Germany and Japan at the cost of allowing it to be engulfed by communism. She is then told that she has merely delayed the actual prophecy, whose repercussions will now be much worse than they were supposed to be. She is horrified. Also, the prophecy in New Watch ends up being more or less averted, since no human hears of it. Also, the fear was that Anton's daughter would kill the Tiger (Twilight's manifestation) and destroy Twilight itself, turning all Others back into humans. This is moot as of Sixth Watch, since the Tiger is killed by Two-in-One (another manifestation of the Twilight), and everything is fine.
  • In a rare villainous example, Markus the Ineluctable from The Paths of the Perambulator had been destined by circumstance to remain a hack stage magician, scraping by on carnival sideshows and kids' birthday parties. Instead, he rose to power over an entire city.
  • In the Roger Zelazny story A Rose for Ecclesiastes, the protagonist is studying the dying Martian culture, which is in slow decline since a mysterious catastrophe has rendered the population sterile. The Martians, following the predictions of an ancient prophet, believe this to be inevitable and make no effort to stop it. When the protagonist discovers that his local lover, whom he impregnated (proving that the sterility problem can be fixed), is about to terminate because of this, he bursts into the main temple and carries a blasphemous sermon, claiming that the greatness of humankind stems from our ability to ignore our own prophets of doom and carry on anyway. It works, but is still subverted: he was actually fulfilling another prophecy about a man from space who will save Mars.
  • The Saga of Darren Shan. After learning that either he or Steve will become Lord Of The Shadows, i.e. evil, depending on who survives, Darren goads the dying Steve into attacking and killing him.
  • Subverted in The Silmarillion. Túrin desperately tries to do this, even renaming himself after his prematurely-declared victory over his destiny — Turambar, meaning "master of doom". But ultimately he can't, and his attempts only lead to more tragedy.
  • Cersei Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire is a deconstruction of this. She's willing to cross the Moral Event Horizon to avert a disturbing prophecy made in her childhood, regardless of the consequences. The more it seems the prophecy will come true, the more irrational and ruthless she becomes, until she's a detriment to herself and everyone around her.
  • This is Richard's attitude in the Sword of Truth series, despite half the supporting cast in the early books trying to railroad him down prophecy's past. The twist — a rather predictable one for anyone that's ever glanced at the back cover of a fantasy book before — is that he pretty much always ends up fulfilling the prophecies anyway, just not in the way that anyone thought was going to happen.
  • Ta Shi Zhujiao: Or the system in this case. Yu Ru Bing chooses not to follow the predetermined path that the system laid out for her because she both doesn't like it and doesn't agree with how it will treat Tang Han Qiu.
  • The Traveler's Gate: Simon is informed that he has no great destiny, that Alin is the one who will save everyone, and surely everything will be alright because of the prophecy. Simon picks up his sword and gets to work.
    Simon: I don't know if I've ever told you this, but I don't believe in prophecy.
  • This trope is arguably the entire reason for Alice Cullen's appearances in the Twilight series; with her powers, she gets the characters out of many a jam - and it's touched upon that she's the reason the Cullens are so fabulously wealthy (really - 'Isle Esme?' ) Subverted somewhat in that the further away from being a vampire you are (humans are harder to read than vamps, and she can't read for werewolves), the harder it is for her to envision your doings in the future.
  • In the novel Un Lun Dun by China Miéville, two schoolgirls, Zanna and Deeba, are transported to a fantasy world. Zaana is told that she is the Shwazzi, the one who will save this world from Smog, the Evil Overlord. There is a book of prophecies that spells out in great detail how the Shwazzi is supposed to win. But suddenly Zanna is injured and returns to normal reality. With Zanna gone, her friend Deeba realizes that she has to defeat Smog, since no one else will. The book of prophecies is next-to-useless, since it says Deeba is supposed to be the Plucky Comic Relief, not the hero.
    • Even the book of prophecies admits that "Destiny's bunk."
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 Black Tide, Rafen ponders the Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane question of whether his capture was guided by the Emperor or the result of capricious fate. If the latter, he concludes, to hell with fate.
  • In Warrior Cats, Lionblaze wants to prove to Cinderheart that destiny doesn't control their lives when the latter thinks so. So he starts a fight with a ShadowClan patrol and deliberately lets Ratscar beat him. It backfires, for Cinderheart gets angry at him for being hurt (since his power prevents him from being hurt) and trying to avoid his destiny. The next time he persuades her, she finally chooses him as her mate.
  • In Idlewild, this is Halloween's driving principle.
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Alia is destined to bring on the next world war. The plot of the book is centered around her and Diana preventing that from happening.
  • It pops up a few times in Insomnia when Clotho and Lachesis explain to Ralph that, despite he being chosen by The Purpose to do a specific task, that there is always a choice. He weaponizes this when Atropos threatens to kill Natalie Deepneau if Ralph foils Ed's plot to destroy the Civic Center and outright screams at the sky that he doesn't care if all of existence comes to an end: he will not trade someone else's life for a life and either the heavens make it so Natalie and Patrick Danville live or he'll sit back and do nothing. Something way higher than the Bald Doctors actually listens and offers to actually override The Random if Ralph chooses to trade his own life for Natalie's. He later reflects on this after stopping Ed and taking one final look at the man's corpse: he acknowledges that Ed was largely a Tragic Villain who was a once good man turned into an evil and crazy bastard by The Crimson King, but that Ed must have at least had some understanding of the monster he had become and still ultimately chosen not to do what he had ended up doing.
  • In The Return of Zaltec, Zaltec appears to have gone against prophecy and returned as a villain instead of a hero. However, in Zaltec II: The Generation Stone, it is revealed that the prophecies deliberately lied about Zaltec being a hero, in order to cause his followers to accept them.
  • The Wheel of Time: A magical artifact gives Aviendha prophetic visions of her descendants as her civilization is slowly destroyed. She resolves to prevent this, starting with giving her children different names than they had in the vision and never revealing the names she had seen.
    • It’s strongly implied that Aiel decline was defined by Rand’s peace treaty for a future society, which explicitly didn’t mention Aiel, allowing them to live by old ways in the new world. That was ostensibly done out of respect to Aiel culture and war effort, but when Aviendha points out that that war without cause is not what Aiel culture is about, Rand came up with a new proposal that would turn Aiel clans into an international peacekeeping army. As Aviendha’s visions contained no references to Aiel ever performing such duties, but were all about losing the purpose, her efforts probably succeed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Team Coulson spend the first half of Season 5 trapped in a Bad Future where Earth has been shattered, and the remaining humans surviving on a space station have been enslaved by the Kree. Upon making it back to the present in the middle of the season, they work hard to prevent this from happening, despite signs that they're stuck in a Stable Time Loop, and everyone — from a clairvoyant who can see the future perfectly to Yo-Yo's future self who lived through all this already — warning that it can't be altered. Ultimately, they do succeed, as in the Season Finale Daisy successfully kills the insane Glenn Talbot before he can crack the world open, thus breaking the loop.
  • Despite her Trope Namer talk in Angel, Fred's ultimate fate is to be taken over bodily, her soul supposedly destroyed, by an ancient evil, in full agreement with ancient prophecy.
    • Buffy plays a straight example in Season 1, when it's stated that she's fated to die at the hands of the Master. She technically does, but a quick CPR quickly revives her. In their second confrontation, he is all but stunned to see her still alive.
  • As Battlestar Galactica wound down to its conclusion:
    Adama: In other words, it's our destiny to go after her, right?
    Starbuck: (facial expressions and body language indicates "yes")
    Adama: Wrong. I've had it up to HERE with destiny, prophecy, with God or the Gods. Look where it's left us. The ass end of nowhere; nearly half of our people are gone; Earth, a worthless cinder; and I can't even walk down the halls of my ship without wondering if I'm gonna catch a bullet for getting us into this mess.
  • The Colbert Report has Stephen report on a married couple who think they were destined to be together. He thinks they should get divorced.
    Stephen: That's why I'm giving Alex and Donna Voutsinas a Wag of my Finger for letting Fate make you her bitch!
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Day of the Daleks": A group of future rebels go back to the 20th century to blow up a politician they blame for assassinating a roomful of international dignitaries and starting World War III, leaving the Earth weak and open to a Dalek invasion. It's eventually revealed that it was their bomb that caused the explosion. However, UNIT intervene and safely evacuate them all, averting disaster and leaving the future more open.
    • "Pyramids of Mars": The Doctor and Sarah encounter the wrathful god Sutekh in the 1910s. Sarah argues that they don't have to stop him since they already know the world wasn't destroyed back then. The Doctor takes her into the future and shows the world has been utterly obliterated, proving time is in flux and they're the only ones who can stop Sutekh.
    • In "Father's Day", Rose travels back in time to be by her father's side when he dies. She ends up saving his life because she can't bear to watch him die. Then the world starts to dissolve, and the trope is subverted.
    • "The Doctor Dances" averts it: After the day has been saved, the Doctor sets the space ambulance to blow up, due to the historical record stating there was an explosion there, and Captain Jack having taken away the bomb that originally caused it. Rose then lampshades that this isn't the Doctor's usual M.O.
      The Doctor: History says there was an explosion here. Who am I to argue with history?
      Rose: Usually the first in line.
    • "The Christmas Invasion": The Doctor decides to do this by deposing Prime Minister Harriet Jones, who was supposed to lead Britain into a "Golden Age", because she has the Sycorax shot down, something he disagrees with. His actions have severe consequences.
    • In "Forest of the Dead", this is subverted. River has already been adventuring with the Doctor for years, but the Doctor has never met her, so when the time comes for a Heroic Sacrifice, she knocks him out and takes his place, then absolutely refuses to let him do it instead.
      River Song: If you die here, it'll mean I'll have never met you.
      The Doctor: Time can be re-written!
      River Song: Not those times. Not one line. Don't you dare.
    • In "The Waters of Mars", this is subverted when the Doctor saves a woman from the explosion which is destined to kill her. He realizes that it's completely wrong, but he just wanted to give her a happy life, since he's a huge fan of her. More to the point he's tired of obeying the rules of time, and decides since he's the only Time Lord left, the rules will obey him. She realizes that she has to keep the timeline intact, and she commits suicide as soon as his back is turned. This triggers a huge Heroic BSoD in the Doctor that he doesn't recover from until his next life.
    • "The End of Time": It's heavily implied that Wilfred Mott sticking near the Doctor provides this outcome. He is encouraged to assist the Doctor by the enigmatic Woman in White, and it's indicated that if he hadn't done so, the Doctor would have died for real instead of just having to regenerate at the end.
    • "The Girl Who Waited" is all about this trope. When Amy is accidentally forced to wait for 36 years in solitary confinement, she tells her younger self (through a time link) that she'll never let the long life of hell that she led be for nothing. That she remembers hearing those words when she was young. And that when the time comes for her younger self to be on the other side of the conversation, she'll say the same thing. The Doctor leaves the choice to her, probably referencing not only Amy's life but also his foretold death at Lake Silencio.
    • In "The Wedding of River Song", River refuses to fulfill her destiny and kill the Doctor. He asks, begs and then orders her to go through with it while all of time collapses in on itself around them. She eventually does, but only once she realizes that he's got a plan to cheat death.
    • More subversion: The Twelfth Doctor, broken hideously by Clara's death in "Face the Raven" and immediately subjected to horrific torture afterward in "Heaven Sent", is Driven to Madness and thus becomes a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds in "Hell Bent", risking the safety of the universe to save Clara by any means necessary even as everyone around him tries to stop him. It takes a Heel Realization and Redemption Equals Affliction (he loses Clara and his most important memories of her as a person) to bring him back around and accept destiny.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • Played with, but ultimately subverted in Season One. After Eddie Thawne breaks up with her after learning she marries her best friend Barry Allen in the future, this is Iris West's immediate reaction. Eddie, after a talk with Martin Stein and a bit of soul-searching, comes around to her way of thinking, and they get engaged, seemingly playing this trope straight — only for Eddie to commit Heroic Suicide at the end of the Season One in order stop his villain descendant Eobard Thawne. It wasn't meant to be after all, though not in the way people expected.
    • Played straight in Season Three, in which Team Flash manages to save Iris from her seemingly-inevitable death at the hands of Savitar, though at the cost of H.R. and ultimately, Barry himself.
    • Near the start of Season Five, Barry and Iris's daughter from the future, Nora, reveals that in the future Barry disappears during a crisis and never returns. Iris's response is to give a Rousing Speech about how they've changed the future before, and they'll change this one too.
  • People all over the world start believing that You Can't Fight Fate in FlashForward. However Al Gough manages to provide the world with definitive proof that destiny is not set in stone by killing himself so that he wouldn't accidentally cause the death of a single mother of two.
  • Frasier: In the final season one line by Bebe has this trope in it "When destiny calls, Bebe calls back and screws destiny to the wall!"
  • In the "Redemption" season of The Next Iron Chef, college buddies Marcel Vigneron and Spike Mendelsohn were pitted against each other in a cook-off. After realizing they unwittingly made complimenting dishes, they decided to plate and present their dishes together as a sign of their friendship, and dare the judges to separate them by eliminating one. This backfired when the judges pointed out the alternative was to eliminate them both. Mendelsohn was eliminated.
  • Kamen Rider:
  • In the Legends of Tomorrow episode "Compromised", Sara attempts this, trying to kill Damian Darhk in 1987 so he won't kill her sister Laurel in 2016, despite the potential catastrophic damage to the timeline this could cause. Eventually, she settles for giving him a brutal Breaking Speech about his own future, revealing to him his grand plan he's working on is doomed to failure, his wife will be murdered, he'll go crazy and try to kill everyone including his own daughter, and shortly after, he'll be killed himself. Darhk's reaction is to attempt his own Screw Destiny and he teams up with the Reverse Flash, a time travelling supervillain in an attempt to change his future. In the Season Finale, he's defeated, had his memories of time travel erased, and sent back to 1987 to live out his destiny.
  • Subverted in Lexx: When Kai finds out that His Divine Shadow is going to wipe out the Brunnen G, he tries to rally his people into fighting him. This isn't him trying to fulfill the trope, though; he just believes that going out fighting like the race of warrior poets they used to be is much better than just dying like animals.
    • Doubly subverted, actually—His Divine Shadow was bothering as he had found out a Brunnen G was destined to get him killed. Thus, His Divine Shadow exterminated the race, save for Kai, who he reworked into a technologically undead servant. This eventually got His Divine Shadow killed.
  • In the 1998 Merlin series, this mindset is taken by Mab, who wants to prevent her fate of fading from the world as the Old Ways die, and also by Merlin, who wants to avoid his destiny to be Mab's champion in screwing destiny. Merlin succeeds. Mab doesn't.
  • Once Upon a Time: Throughout the first half of Season 6, Emma is haunted by visions of having a duel with a mysterious hooded figure, who kills her after her powers short out in tremors. She lives in fear of this, trying desperately to change her future, until she finally comes face to face with that figure Rumple and Belle's son, Gideon in the midseason premiere. By this point, however, Emma has had several Rousing Speeches aimed at her about how anyone can change their future. This gives her the strength to fight through her tremors, blasting Gideon away before he can kill her.
    Emma: If I'm fated to die, I will. But not today.
  • Discussed in Painkiller Jane when a neuro with the ability to see the future predicts he will kill all of the team except Jane (of course), as she argues they should invoke this. They wind up going to face him anyway. They manage to change the outcome.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Attempted, only to fail back in season 5. In Power Rangers Turbo, a robot policeman came back in time to prevent a war that was to happen two years later. All he did was cause it to happen the next year, instead.
    • Played straight in Power Rangers Time Force and its source, Mirai Sentai Timeranger, where the main theme is choosing one's own path regardless of what the history books in the future say.
  • In Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon, Venus, Luna, and Artemis were obsessed about keeping Mamoru and Usagi apart because their love doomed the world. Mamoru and Usagi? They didn't quite agree. Sailor Mars had her "Screw Destiny" moments too.
  • Subverted in Red Dwarf. Having heard from a computer capable of predicting the future with 100% accuracy that he would destroy it, Lister states that there is no such thing as destiny, "otherwise we're just actors in somebody else's script." As he turns to leaves, he places a piece of chewing gum on the wall, which sets of a chain reaction of events that does, in fact, destroy the computer. His reaction? "Smeg."
  • The Roswell main characters, who decide to stay on Earth and be happy instead of accepting their destiny as royalty of their planet.
  • Smallville:
    • The episode "Hereafter" reveals this to be one of Clark's powers when he saves a person from being hit by a car, despite Jordan Cross having a vision of that person dying. As his visions are never wrong and can never be changed, he is naturally freaked out by Clark's ability to alter destiny, particularly when he starts having visions showing other people dying before he knows they are supposed to.
    • In a less literal sense, Clark often says something along the lines of this to people who think they can't fight fate.
      • Chloe Sullivan in "Scare", who is terrified that she is going to end up insane like her mother.
      • Maddie in "Fragile", who thinks she is doomed to be a psychotic killer like her father.
  • Supernatural:
    • Season Five is devoted entirely to the Winchesters trying desperately to do this - perfectly understandable, since their destiny involves the two of them getting possessed by the archangel Michael and The Devil, respectively, and then fighting each other to the death and destroying half the planet while doing so. Hence the nickname "Team Free Will".
    • Dean even drops the name of the trope in "Point of No Return":
      Dean: So screw destiny. Right in the face. I say we take the fight to them, do it our way.
    • It's left very unclear whether the destiny-pushers were just mistaken about the prophecy, or what, but Dean manages to get out of his part and they manage to save the world, so if Zachariah actually knew what destiny was, they successfully screwed it. It took a Heroic Sacrifice...and the sacrifice of one poor schmuck with the bad luck to be John Winchester's third son. If he'd been able to resist Michael, it wouldn't have been necessary to drag him down to stop Michael from saving his brother so he could kill him...yeah.
    • Season 6 confirms that they utterly screwed everyone's destiny with that stunt. The Fates were pissed.
    • In "Appointment in Samarra", Dean tries to use his powers as Death-for-a-day to do good by letting a sick girl live in defiance of what Tessa calls 'the Natural Order', the established flow of life and death. Subverted when it causes more collateral damage than Dean had foreseen and he's forced to follow destiny anyway, even if it's unfair. Ultimately, the takeaway here (whether intentional or not) is that you can change your destiny all you want, but you can't change others'.
  • Todd and the Book of Pure Evil: Near the end of the first season, Todd discovers that he's destined to become the Pure Evil One and bring about The End of the World as We Know It. He then spends the rest of the series struggling with this, fighting off the influences of both the titular book and the Metal Dudes, in hopes of keeping himself of falling to that fate. In the final episode, he finally succeeds, fully rejecting the Book's power and banishing it someplace no one will ever find it.
    "Destiny sucks."
  • In Tru Calling, Tru relives days to prevent people who were destined to die from dying. There are those who think this isn't a good idea.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place, Stevie and nearly 5,000 other wizards feel this way about potentially losing their powers.
  • The X-Files: The whole point of the fight Mulder, Scully, and allies are putting up against the Syndicate. Summed up in the movie and "Three Little words" — Fight the Future.

  • "Die With Your Boots On" by Iron Maiden (later covered by Sonata Arctica) calls on the audience to do this when.
  • Lacuna Coil wrestles with destiny often, especially in "Senzafine" ("I'll choose my own destiny, if it really can be resisted" [loose translation]) and later even more bluntly in "Swamped" ("Destiny? Who cares?!").
  • Christopher Tin's "Rassemblons-Nous" from the album Calling All Dawns is, according to Word of God, about this.
  • The title track of the Amon Amarth album "Fate Of Norns" explores this trope.
  • Gordon Bok's "Tails and Trotters" focuses heavily on this. A mother tries to convince her son that his future has already been decided, he... does not take this well and flees to a nearby village. He pretends to be a rich and important person and is accepted into the upper crust of society. Eventually, he becomes what he pretended to be in every way. He's a pig, and his prescribed fate was to be butchered and eaten.
  • The Megas: Part of Mega Man's emotional arc through "History Repeating, Pt 2 (One Last Time)" has him go from grimly resigned to the apparent inevitability of waging the same war, again and again, to deciding he can at the very least make this the last time. It sticks so well that by "I Refuse (To Believe)", he's telling Proto Man to stop being The Fatalist and embrace the chance to make his own decisions, leading to a Heel–Face Turn.
    First verse: Today, the end begins.
    Chorus: If it was up to me/I'd rewrite history/And change my destiny/One last time...
    Second verse: Today, I/we change the end...
  • This is pretty much the premise of Mary Chapin Carpenter's "I Feel Lucky," though with much lower stakes.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • Attempted in vain by Saint Peter. Jesus knew well in advance what His ultimate fate would be and told His disciples that He had to die Because Destiny Says So, but when the Romans and Pharisees came to arrest Him Peter attacked them, cutting off a Pharisee's ear. Jesus scolded him and healed the man before going with them willingly. Peter failed again to fight fate later on, as Jesus warned him during the Last Supper that Peter would deny knowing Him three times which Peter refused to believe. After His arrest, Peter is called out by the crowds three times and denies knowing Jesus each time, only to remember His words too late.

  • Destroy the Godmodder: Many players' reactions when they discovered that twin has to die to keep the timeline on track. Unlike a few incidents (mostly caused by the godmodder blocking prophecies) this one has a fairly low chance of working, but its there nonetheless.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, various people not only have this ability, but can also be completely Immune to Fate. The best of them make The Destinies (a grand total of five of them) their bitches.
  • In one Vampire: The Masquerade sourcebook, Gehenna has begun and the Antediluvians (the first vampires whose powers border on Physical God) wake up and seek to devour all vampires. It takes perfect stat assigning, a benevolent GM, and the luckiest rolls to ever be, but it's possible to kill them and end the vampire apocalypse (though given that this is the old world of darkness, it would probably just make things worse).
  • In Magic: The Gathering, a common belief that makes Blue and Black ally colors is that idea that destinity and fate are not real and that individuals have full free will. This also makes them Green's enemy colors, since Green's philosophy revolves around acceptance, and thus has a fatalistic bent.
  • The Halflings of The Chronicles of Aeres were created by the Goddess of Fate, and given a natural proclivity for divination magic as a result. The race was sundered into two subraces when their homeland was invaded and their oracular visions become unclear; those who stood in defiance and ultimately threw back the invasion became the Hinterfolk, who have since evolved into a more aggressive, martial culture than their ancestors. Those whole said You Can't Fight Fate and fled became the Wanderlings, and the two groups don't really get on all that well these days. Hinterfolk believe it is their chosen role in life as a people to reverse bad fortune, whether for themselves or others, and are much more proactive than halflings traditionally are.
  • Scion points out several moments in the Ragnarok sourcebook where the players can alter the course of fate as it heads towards Ragnarok itself. Most notably, if the players are extremely careful, they can take Hod alive after he accidentally kills Balder, which puts a massive hole in the course of prophecy and allows Balder to return to life before the end of Ragnarok. Not every destined event can be avoided, however, so the players must choose their actions carefully.


    Video Games 
  • In spite of all that happens in the world of Asura's Wrath (With the demigods and the Gohma being in a constant endless war with each other revealed to be the machinations of a godly being that has destroyed the world and rebuilt it countless times just to find an heir to rule over everything) Asura refuses to become Chakravartin's chosen heir, and ends the cycle that Chakravartin created, even if it's at the cost of his own life.
  • Subverted or played straight depending on which way you go in The Bard's Tale (the newer one, for PS2 and Xbox). Sure, you could rescue the princess as The Chosen One, or you could note that she's a demoness bent on world domination and fight her, or just tell both sides to get stuffed and walk away. This isn't even mentioning the SWARMS of other people claiming to be The Chosen One that die right in front of you constantly.
  • According to Word of God, this is the underlying reason as to why every BlazBlue match starts with the announcement "The wheel of fate is turning. Rebel 1: ACTION!"
    • In the true ending of both Calamity Trigger and Continuum Shift, it's basically all about the characters trying to defy their fates, even the antagonist Terumi took out Takamagahara in an attempt to be free of their meddling control.
    • Chronophantasma reveals that The Origin, the girl piloting the Master Unit: Amaterasu, is destined to die at the hands of Ragna, her chosen hero. In fact, the crapsack state of the world is ultimately revealed to be due to her increasingly desperate attempts at defying this destiny and her subsequent despair at the realization that, even though she's practically omnipotent, it's impossible for her to succeed. In Central Fiction, it's eventually revealed that only Ragna obtaining the Azure and using it to rewrite reality and himself out of existence opens up the possibility of The Origin's salvation.
    • Central Fiction also reveals that Terumi is, in fact, the one who's been trying the hardest to defy his destiny. As a Destroyer Deity, his destined role was that of a Necessarily Evil, so when he broke free from the Master Unit: Amaterasu's control, he found that there was no way for him to live without playing along with her wishes; he could either cease being evil and leave her creations be, like she actually wanted him to, or continue to destroy her world, thus doing what she created him to do anyway. This is also revealed to be why Terumi wants the Azure; so that he may use it to rewrite reality, make himself the Top God, rewrite his own destiny and turn the universe into a cesspool of hatred and despair.
  • Chrono Trigger:
    • This forms the plot and underlying theme of Chrono Trigger, after the characters travel to a future in which the world has been destroyed and set out to prevent it from happening. Though if hints in Chrono Cross were any indication, their attempt to screw destiny altered the present time enough that it screwed THEM over, got them all killed (except for Robo, but he dies near the end of the game), and turned Porre into a world superpower.
    • Fortunately, Chrono Cross solves this by having Schala, who has been screwed by the cast of Chrono Trigger's screwing of destiny, screw destiny herself to make things better. Unfortunately, this makes things EVEN WORSE, and the game goes through several cycles of attempting to screw destiny and either making things even worse or going closer to the original fate before they FINALLY get everything back to the previous game's "destiny has been screwed" world status, accepting an unfortunate fate for themselves in the process and not even bothering to screw this one. Yes, the game is somewhat confusing, why do you ask?
  • A major theme of Cirque De Zale. Alexander does not care at all about the prophecy saying that he is destined to be a hero. No matter how hard fate tries to force him to save the world, he just does not want to be anything other than a circus ringmaster, even going as far as to deliberately ignore the imprisoned Damsel in Distress when he could easily save her.
  • Every player character in City of Villains is told that they have the potential to be the Destined One, assuming they can survive long enough to meet the Evil Overlord Lord Recluse himself, who has initiated Operation: Destiny in accordance with a prophecy. After clawing their way up the levels, players soon find out that being the Destined One means being a sacrificial victim for Lord Recluse to gain infinite power, destroying the world in the process. And the player character gets to screw this destiny in a spectacular way.
  • Clive Barker's Jericho has the main characters as The Chosen Ones of this generation to fight the Firstborn. They are told by a Sumerian Warrior Priest that they will eventually enter a collective conscious and go into a dreamless sleep, only to be awakened by those who attempt to awaken the Firstborn. Although the team initially accepts this and try to say their final goodbyes to each other, Delgado decides that Antadurunnu is bullshitting them, stating that all they've seen of their predecessors is them being stuck to combat hellish horrors for all eternity. He states that they should just try and kill the Firstborn itself to end the cycle, proceeding to shoot Antadurunnu in the head.
  • The main theme of Code:Realize. Shows up to some extent in nearly every route, but especially in Saint-Germain's route. Saint-Germain reveals himself to be an Apostle of Idea, a shadowy organization of super-empowered immortals claiming to be "guides of destiny". Led by Omnibus, they assassinate anybody deemed too dangerous to be allowed to keep on living. That is, anyone who may alter the course of history for the severely worse or whom defy the will of God. Saint-Germain is secretly an assassin sent to kill the player character because her very existence threatens the world and the natural order. Depending on what options you choose, Saint-Germain ultimately falls in love with the main character and cannot bring himself to kill her, and the two then proceed to prove Omnibus' ill omen wrong thus screwing destiny.
  • Taking the Dark Lord/Abandon the Fire endings in Dark Souls and Dark Souls II respectively can feel like this, as you have decided to say "fuck it" to prolonging the Age of Fire and instead seek your own path in the world, but it becomes a Deconstructed Trope. Ultimately, the choice you make doesn't actually matter on the cosmic scale since these same events will repeat themselves and some other hapless schmuck will eventually have to make the same choice that you did, although in Dark Souls II your character individually can dodge destiny without affecting the fate of the world at large. Gets Reconstructed in the Usurp the Fire ending for Dark Souls III, as you are now the only being capable of doing this since as an Unkindled that has accepted a Dark Sigil you can harness the First Flame and the Dark Soul in tandem to break the cycle and truly pull this dying world into a new era like Vendrick tried to in II and failed to because he ran out of time.
    • In an ironic twist, Gwyn, the first one to link the First Flame and caused the cycle that would haunt the three games, operated as this by refusing to accept the oncoming Age of Dark, keeping his Age of Fire alive for an unnatural amount of time. Sadly for him, the Dark is inevitable.
    • Also from III, we have Ludleth. During his cycle, his Champion failed to link the First Flame, which results in yet another Dark Age coming. He has none of that; instead, he breaks time to go back to when the First Flame was still lit, and links it himself.
  • It shouldn't be a surprise that this is a core theme of Destiny. Mankind is doomed, with the Guardians fighting an endless holding action against the enemies clawing at the Last City's gates. The Hive are awakening their general Crota for another invasion of Earth, the Vex are lurking among the ruins of mankind's remains, and the Cabal have a stranglehold on the system. The Future War Cult only sees death and doom and destruction of humanity in their future-viewing machines, and even Dead Orbit, the most positive of the human factions, is just looking to abandon the Solar System for another world. But Guardians wield the Light of the Traveler, which among other things allows them to defy the predictive models of the Vex, who can simulate entire universes down to the atomic level. Guardians can outright ignore Vex time control and ontological weaponry (which is essential to completing the Vault of Glass raid). And a hard-to-find set of in-game lore entries indicates that the whole reason the Vex are even active in the Solar System is because they know Guardians and the Traveler can ignore fate and probability, and want to weaponize it in order to save themselves from the Darkness.
  • Devil Survivor:
    • The entire point of the first game. Not only do you constantly cheat death by defeating monsters that were originally supposed to kill you (which becomes a little meta considering the series is full of That One Boss) but many of the game's multiple endings depend on saving other characters who were supposed to die as well, which they WILL if you don't make the right decisions.
    • Devil Survivor 2 ups the ante, with even more characters fated for death...unless you find them and defeat whoever it is that's slated to kill them. Many of said characters are playable allies, so NOT screwing destiny can leave you with less-than-optimal endgame party options. Hell, even the theme for battles where you screw destiny is called "Challenging Fate".
  • In Diablo III, Since the new heroes are the reborn Nephilim, they are Immune to Fate and can determine their own destiny — and thus are the only one capable of stopping Diablo, the Prime Evil, from destroying the High Heavens and casting Sanctuary into darkness forever.
  • Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny brings its title forth during one of the later chapters. Super Sage Misual created the Super Reincarnation skill to try and save his beloved, the Legendary Witch Releiza, but kept failing after millions of attempts, falling into a You Can't Fight Fate mindset, which he warns Majolene of when she tries (and fails) to save one of her students from a summoning spell that went disastrously. Main character Zed, by contrast, fully believes in this trope, and when the group ends up in the world where Misual and Releiza lived, he does everything possible to avert Relieza's fate, and it works! Not only does this unlock one of his Evilities, "Changer of Fate", it's all but stated that he inspires Majolene to try and save her student again, and it works as well. Effectively, Misual gave up too soon, but he ends up refusing to believe it.
  • In Dragon Age: Origins it’s revealed that one of the Wardens have to sacrifice themselves in order to defeat the Archdemon. You can go through with it and willingly give your life away or let your other Warden companion do the deed. Or you can take Morrigan's offer and (literally) Screw Destiny.
  • Dragon Ball Fighter Z: This is averted in Frieza's Dramatic Finish against Bardock, as in the series... but then played straight in Bardock's Dramatic Finish against him. Bardock is blasted with Frieza's death ball and sees the final vision of what destiny is supposed to be, and smiles contentedly... but then his thoughts drift back to his fallen friends, and he breaks free of the death ball, turns super saiyan and wastes the son-of-a-bitch.
  • Dragon Quest VII plays with this through Aira. According to the Deja Tribe's legends, a dancer of her line will someday perform the rite that will restore God to His former glory. While she's perfectly willing to fulfill this duty, she protests the thought that this is ALL she can hope to accomplish with her life — that this grand destiny is the sole reason for her existence. To this end, she latches onto the hero's party when they first meet, putting her other skills to good use.
  • Discussed in the final chapter of Dragon Quest Builders, which takes place in a world where, at the end of Dragon Quest, the Hero chose to accept the Dragonlord's offer to rule over half of the world. It is speculated that, having been essentially railroaded into being Alefgard's chosen hero due to his descent from the legendary Erdrick, he may have chosen to side with the Dragonlord simply as a means of taking control of his life for once. Unfortunately, the end result is not only a world brought to the edge of ruin by the Dragonlord, but the Hero becoming a monster and imprisoned inside a small, cramped castle as his "half" of the world.
  • Interestingly enough, in Doom Eternal, the Hell invasion of Earth is, supposedly, destined to end in the near extinction of humanity, so that Urdak can use the souls as energy. The one thing they didn't count on? The Doom Slayer doing his thing.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The series' lore has the concept of "heroes", individuals with a special fate and the ability to rule their own destiny, often being capable of growing far more powerful than other mortals. These heroes are tied to the prophecies of the Elder Scrolls themselves, but are not bound by them. Naturally, the Player Character in each game in the series is considered to be such a "hero", as are many of the Long Dead Badasses mentioned in the lengthy backstory.
    • Mara, one of the Nine Divines, teaches that people could change destinies through The Power of Love.
    • In Morrowind, you can claim this when speaking to Dagoth Ur during the final confrontation of the game. It's actually quite possibly the reality of the situation too, with you not truly being The Chosen One, but instead a convenient pawn of Azura and the Emperor. No definitive answer is ever given, meaning we'll probably never know for sure. This is especially true if you use the "Backpath" method for beating the main quest. There, you essentially skirt the prophecy and, almost through sheer willpower, still defeat Dagoth Ur.
    • A prominent theme in Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion. Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness, attempts to avert the Greymarch, the cyclical, recurring destruction of his realm, the Shivering Isles, at the hands of Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order. At first, it seems his attempt fails, as Sheogorath turns into Jyggalag once again, but then, the Champion of Cyrodiil stops the Greymarch, thus breaking the cycle. The fact that Jyggalag and his old chamberlain keep talking about how everything is preordained makes screwing destiny all the more satisfying. Also, while Sheogorath is a multifaceted being, a large part of what he stands for is free will and the spark of creativity. It would be utterly against the character of Sheogorath to suppose there was a preordained, predictable order in the first place.
    • Skyrim has a strange example; in that it's unclear who is screwing destiny. The Big Bad is prophesied to end the world, but he has gone off the rails before and The Hero has divinely granted powers that are tailor made to fight him. Thus, there are debates in-universe about whether or not Alduin is meant to be stopped or if the player is defying destiny by selfishly trying to preserve a world that should be erased. That said, Paarthurnax, who knows as much as anyone about fate, admits that "I like this world" is a good enough reason to fight Alduin.
  • In Fairy Fencer F, Fang agrees to collect the Furies if and only if this condition was met. Later in the game, he adopts this mindset permanently, and it fuels everything else he does.
  • The UBW route in Fate/stay night. Archer says Shirou is destined to become him and come to hate his ideal. Shirou disagrees. The ultimate winner of the argument is never really revealed, but presumably it is Shirou. Both of them think so, at least, and he at least knows the pitfalls he's in for and that making a Guardian Contract would, in fact, be a bad idea. Or maybe a good one since he already knows what he's in for and won't feel so betrayed.
  • Fear Effect. The first game strongly sends this message, considering what Wee Ming and Hana do in the true ending. There are indications that You Can't Fight Fate here and there....
  • The Final Fantasy series as a whole seems to love this trope.
    • The endgame of Final Fantasy leads to a massive time loop over the course of 2000 years involving the battles between the Warriors of Light and Garland. The Warriors kill him in their first battle, and he is revived by the fiends, sent back 2000 years, and kills the Warriors when they come to fight him, before sending the Fiends into the future. This cycle (Warriors kill Garland, Chaos kills Warriors, loop repeats) has apparently happened over and over and over again. However, the Warriors finally go "Screw this, you die now!" and finally defeat Chaos, breaking the time loop.
    • Stranger of Paradise: Final Fantasy Origin revolves around a separate group of warriors in an earlier iteration of the loop attempting to fulfill the prophecy and kill Chaos themselves. It doesn't work out as well as they would've hoped.
    • Dissidia Final Fantasy has a couple of these. Garland tells Warrior of Light the war is destined to go on forever, and Warrior of Light replies with "screw destiny". Turns out Garland is telling the truth - the war has been going on for centuries, and whenever one side loses, Shinryu revives them and the war keeps going. When all the other heroes find out about this, the motto of pretty much the entire party becomes "screw destiny". In fact, it later turns out that the villains were hoping to end the cycle of war too, so it's actually the entire cast following this trope, except Garland who loves the fact he gets to spend eternity fighting. Made much more terrifying when you realize that, by screwing destiny in Dissidia, the heroes are quite possibly instigating the 2000 year Time Loop in Final Fantasy, since Garland's on his way to becoming Chaos in the end.
    • Final Fantasy VII Remake plays with this on a meta level: The Whispers are embodiments of the Planet's will, incarnations of destiny and arbiters of fate who try to keep events on track with what transpired in the 1997 game since those events ended with the Planet's survival. However, both Aerith and Sephiroth have, through The Lifestream, become aware of how future events will transpire, and that if destiny is allowed to go on as it should, then it's going to royally screw over Sephiroth... so, naturally, he attempts to screw destiny first. And the easiest way to screw destiny is by making the heroes attempt to screw destiny, for example by goading them into starting the final boss fight against him within the Singularity, the Whispers' realm, way before it's time for the final showdown and way before they're strong enough to actually win the fight, thus forcing the Whispers to intervene, causing a fight to break out between the heroes and the Whispers that the Whispers cannot win without screwing up destiny. Aerith, in the meantime, is torn between giving up, accepting her fate and eventually sacrificing herself for the safety of the Planet as she should, or defying destiny and putting her faith in the possibility of a better tomorrow at the expense of endangering the original timeline's much safer ending. She eventually settles for the latter and takes a proactive role in changing the course of events for the better.
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, this trope is Ultimecia's entire motivating factor behind her actions. She's destined to die at the hands of SeeD, so she decides to compress time, absorb it, and become a goddess to make up the rules herself. This trope is also subverted because, as a response to the intense persecution she suffered for being a Sorceress, she became the very monster everyone said she would become which is highlighted in a very hamtastic speech.
      Ultimecia in Edea's body: "...Lowlifes. ...Shameless filthy wretches. How you celebrate my ascension with such joy. Hailing the very one whom you have condemned for generations. Have you no shame? What happened to the evil, ruthless sorceress from your fantasies? The cold-blooded tyrant that slaughtered countless men and destroyed many nations. Where is she now? She stands before your very eyes to become your new ruler. HAHAHAHAHA."
    • This becomes the cry of Yuna's party in Final Fantasy X when Yunalesca confirms that the Final Summoning has absolutely no chance of killing Sin permanently because the Final Aeon that destroys Sin will become Sin in its place. Destiny gets to say Screw You in turn by killing off Tidus. You only get to see him come back if you meet very specific conditions in the sequel.
    • This turns out to be the main motivation of the villains in Final Fantasy XII - Doctor Cid and Vayne Solidor in particular. Their whole elaborate scheme was not concocted to take over Dalmasca, but to wrest control of humanity's future from the Occuria, and "put the reins of history back in the hands of man." By the end the heros are also saying the same thing, just a tad less homicidally than the Well-Intentioned Extremist villains.
    • Final Fantasy XIII:
      • The party was Blessed with Suck and became l'Cie, and in doing so were left with only two options, fulfill their Focus and be crystallized for all eternity or become mindless Cie'th for all eternity. Plus the party was given a particularly horrible Focus anyway. The party naturally opted to take a third option in an attempt to change their destinies. This act inspired Cid Raines, who was also a l'Cie, thus Blessed with Suck as well to try and change his destiny as well. Unfortunately, this involved him regrettably doing a Face–Heel Turn and fights against the party. Indeed, this is such a major theme of the story that the main antagonist's battle theme is titled Fighting Fate.
      • Ironically, the villains are also fighting fate. The entire reason the fal'Cie turn people into l'Cie is because this is the only way they can work around their own hardwired limitations as magical machines. For all their contempt towards humans, the fal'Cie believe that humanity is ultimately stronger than them because they have free will.
    • The story of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers revolves around averting future calamity. As Urianger explains to the player, he had a vision of a future in which, with the destruction of the world of The First by the overwhelming imbalance of Light, an Eighth Umbral Calamity would ensue in which the sudden influx of light aether from the destroyed First into the world of Hydaelyn, combined with The Empire unleashing a deadly chemical weapon at the end of their war with the Eorzean Alliance, would lead to the destruction of all civilization in Hydaelyn, in addition to the Player Character's death. We later learn that Urianger didn't actually have this vision: rather, Urianger learned of this Bad Future from someone who actually lived through it. The Crystal Exarch, aka G'raha Tia, originally came from Hydaelyn, awakening after a long slumber in the Crystal Tower to a destroyed world, and sent himself and the Crystal Tower from this ruined future into the past on The First to change history.
    • The framework for magic in Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles: Ring of Fates makes it so that if you're strong enough, you can change fate. Played to a massive scale in the end of the game where Chelinka doubles her power in order to make it so that the source of evil never existed, in order for the Twins to be happy with their parents... before the timeskip... keeping their memories of everything... and this also happened at the very beginning of the's slightly confusing.
    • Interestingly, in Final Fantasy XV, the ending seems to avert this with a You Can't Fight Fate message. Noctis sacrifices himself to kill Ardyn once and for all, purging the Starscourge just as the Astrals wanted. He fulfills his role as The Chosen One, but in doing so he plays right into Ardyn's hands since Noctis and himself dying means the end of the Lucis Caelum bloodline. In the Episode Ignis DLC, Ignis has the option of screwing destiny after beating the DLC at least once. After that a different option unlocks, ultimately leading to an alternate ending to FFXV. One in which Noctis (and Ravus) don't die and Ignis never loses his sight.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening has 'Marth' aka Lucina traveling to the past along with several others to prevent the Fell Dragon Grima from destroying the world. Chrom even starts saying "Anything can change" when he scores criticals after this plot point is revealed. Grima's right hand Validar, by contrast, is The Fatalist who believes that "it is all written".
  • Get in the Car, Loser!: Grace isn't chosen to wield the Sword of Fate, but steals it anyways because of the immediate threat of the Machine Devil Cult. Agi's spirit acknowledges her as a heroine, though he states that she shouldn't worry about his approval, implying he shares the same opinion that doing the right thing is more important than being The Chosen One.
  • This is pretty much the whole point of Ghost Trick. Heck, whenever you successfully save someone, a big red message flashes up on the screen reading "FATE AVERTED!"
  • God of War:
    • God of War II takes this trope Up to Eleven when Kratos KILLS THE SISTERS OF FATES! But it's ultimately subverted, because it was Kratos' fate to bring down Olympus.
    • It becomes a pronounced theme in God of War (PS4) and especially in God of War Ragnarök, as multiple characters try to avert their assumed destinies in a mythology where everything from beginning to end seems to have been long written. It becomes a heavily discussed topic, and eventually brought to a point when the local Sisters of Fate, the Norns weigh in: Fate isn't written. There's just people and their choices- and the Norns' real superpower is being just that good at reading people, which is often mistaken as You Can't Fight Fate by people who refuse to acknowledge the consequences of their actions. So the reason Zeus was killed by his own son was because he was paranoid enough to mistreat said son, the reason Kratos destroyed Olympus is because he was always going to as long as he blamed other people for his woes, and so on. They're even fond of assuming their visitors can't change (in hostile encouragement to be better) and present the horrible paths their current choices are leading them to. The main characters take their lessons to heart, while Odin refused to listen, because that would mean accepting he chose and forced himself down an awful path and that everything going wrong with his life was his own damn fault. It would mean his work was All for Nothing. In short, the only way to avoid your fate is neither accepting your destiny nor trying to defy it, but recognizing that your actions have consequences and changing yourself for the better. Kratos ultimately does truly screw destiny by changing his plans in Ragnarok to prevent civilian casualties, which results in him never encountering the situation where he would otherwise die.
  • The theme of the second half of Higurashi: When They Cry. A miraculous break in a tragic cycle of death at the end of the first season gave Rika and Hanyuu the courage to face their fears together with their friends, who also begin to remember the past timelines and decide to use this knowledge to create a Merged Reality. They had a strong motivation for this, as in this context, "a better world" means "one where they don't all die." An even better example is Keiichi, who first encourages Rika to do this by obstinately going against every prediction she made and defeating every one of the previous inescapable Bad Ends.
  • In Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, Fate is some nearly tangible ... "thing" which can be perceived by seers known as Fateweavers. It governs how every single event ever will transpire and it cannot be changed. The threads of everyone's destiny are woven into the grand tapestry of Fate. Until the Fateless One comes along, that is. Not only does s/he have no pre-determined fate, meaning that his/her every action changes the way that events were supposed to go down, s/he can also take the screwing of destiny up to ridiculous levels by ripping the threads of Fate out of others, re-shaping them into giant glowing weapons and then beating people to death with their own Fate. The Big Bad created the Fateless One in her own attempt to do this since she was otherwise fated to never escape her prison. This backfires immensely since the Fateless One is also the only being capable of killing her since she was also otherwise fated to never die. She also has the same power to weaponize the threads of Fate which she uses in the final battle.
  • In Kult: Heretic Kingdoms, this is quite possible, according Alexandra (who, as Seeress, produces a lot of the prophecies that other people feel obliged to follow). The ending of the game backs her up, since you don't have to allow the big prophecy to be fulfilled.
    Alexandra: For many, the prophecies we give are prisons like this — for those who lack the will to choose.
  • Legacy of Kain:
    • Raziel in the series (Particularly Soul Reaver) is apparently the one being fate cannot control. It doesn't stop him from being manipulated by each and every one of them, but even people with explicit knowledge of the future have no idea what Raziel might do.
      Kain: Yet Raziel retains his free will. And that's what frightens you isn't it, Moebius? You cannot see his paths, and so you cannot control it.
      Moebius: And neither can you.
      • Eventually, Raziel travels to the supreme dimension to KILL the supreme being, and thus not only Screwing Destiny, but totally obliterating it.
      • Ironically, he screws destiny as a whole by giving in to his own destiny to become part of the Soul Reaver. To elaborate, he was always meant to become the soul-devouring spirit within the blade. However, the way in which he screws destiny is by doing so after purifying his Reaver with Ariel's soul. Thus, when he becomes a part of Kain's Reaver, Kain is able to see who his true enemy is.
    • Also, Kain. Given the choice, to bring about The End of the World as We Know It, or to sacrifice his life to save it (thus ensuring The End of the World as We Know It), what does he do? To put it in his own words:
      Kain: Either way, the game is rigged.(...)
      Raziel: You said it yourself, Kain - there are only two sides to your coin.
      Kain: Apparently so. But suppose you throw a coin enough times... ...suppose one day, it lands on its edge.
  • The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel: The Black Records states that someone will kill the corrupted Divine Beast using the sword of the end and unleash the curse of Erebonia to the entire world. Class VII's mission is to prevent that from happening in Cold Steel IIIs final chapter. Unfortunately for them however, not only did they horribly fail, but Rean ends up doing the deed himself and kills the Divine Beast with Millium as the sword. Played straight however in Cold Steel IVs Golden Ending where Rean, Crow, and Millium were supposed to die but someone behind the scenes made sure that they live by letting Rean visit the remains of the Earth Divine Beast and give him the Earthen Prison to separate Rean from Ishmelga.
  • In the "Sacrifice Arcadia Bay" ending in Life Is Strange, Max chooses to ignore the fated timeline of letting Chloe get killed in favor of instead letting the town of Arcadia Bay get destroyed by a tornado.
  • In Live A Live, if the final protagonist is Akira Tadokoro, he'll use this trope to explain why he's fighting and how different he was with the Big Bad when asked. His government tried to steer his destiny to become liquified human for their God? Akira said 'Screw Your God And Your God's Destiny' and kick both of them in the Steel Titan. Conversely, the Big Bad, Oersted, was one who let his destiny take him without question. Destiny considers him a hero? Yes, he shall be. Destiny considers him a demon? Fine, he'll be the Lord of Dark, Odio, thus setting him on the wrong path.
  • Subverted in Makai Kingdom. Badass freakin' overlord Zetta gets a prophecy from an oracle that says that his netherworld will be destroyed. In an attempt to Screw it, Zetta tracks down and consults the Sacred Tome, a Cosmic Keystone that contains the record of the Netherworld's reality, including (presumably) what would destroy it. When he discovers that the final page contains the sentence "Lord Zetta is stupid. His stupidity has doomed the netherworld to extinction", he burns the book in a fit of rage, consequently un-recording his own netherworld and proving the prophecy right. Further subverted when it's revealed that the prophecy itself was a lie that Pram wrote in the Tome, one that Trenia - the spirit of the Sacred Tome - left written in solely to teach Zetta a lesson.
  • The Reapers of Mass Effect like to think of themselves as agents of Destiny and that there is no point in trying to resist being annihilated by them. However from what is known, every galactic civilization they destroyed still chose to try their luck.
    • Leviathan later confirms that in the millions of years since the Cycle began, Shepard's unerring ability to repeatedly do this has made them the only individual the Reapers have ever actually feared. Leviathan even refers to Shepard as an "Anomaly" they have never seen before.
    • At the conclusion of the Mass Effect 3, even the Catalyst acknowledges this, stating that Shepard's dogged resistance and ability to unify the entire galaxy against the Reapers and build the Crucible has shown that there is a chance to end the cycle. It then gives Shepard the choice of how to end the cycles once and for all—even up to wiping out all of the Catalyst's work.
  • Mega Man:
    • Zero from Mega Man X, and his own series, Mega Man Zero Zig Zags this all over the place. Starting from hints in X2 to outright having it almost all but stated in X4, he was built up storywise to be the one who will eventually kill the protagonist X and destroy the world. But instead, he ends up saving it, doing so multiple times, all in the name of "protecting the weak". Then it turns out that as the original carrier of the Maverick Virus, he had already effectively fulfilled his "purpose" in destroying the world, considering how much death and destruction would result in spite of his efforts to stop it and what his body as Omega would end up doing to ravage the world. And then in the Grand Finale of the Zero series, he finally manages to achieve a true peace by destroying the mad Dr. Weil at the cost of his own life, becoming the opposite of what Dr. Wily intended at long last.
    • This is the major crux of the Mega Man ZX series. At the end of ZX after defeating the Big Bad Serpent, Aile is left reeling from his final revelation about how all Mega Men bear the blood of Model W's creator. As Aile has been struggling with the idea she and Serpent have disturbing similar backstories, this makes her wonder if she really is doomed to ultimately be no better in the end if they share the same blood. Giro's Cyber Elf appears to give her a pep-talk about how she shouldn't let someone who she's never met decide what she wants to be, and that she should be the one directing her own destiny no matter her past or what others say. Aile takes this to heart and passes this same advice on to Grey in ZX Advent, who is going through a Quest for Identity. In the end, when Grey confronts Master Albert, the man Serpent spoke of, and learns that he's Albert's spare back-up body gone rogue and "Defective", he affirms he doesn't give a damn about that and he'll seize his own destiny right after kicking this Godhood Seeker's ass off his high horse.
  • Mortal Kombat 9: The goal of Raiden in the story. After Mortal Kombat: Armageddon Shao Khan is victorious and Raiden is the only fighter still alive. In his last moments he sends visions to his past self in a last desperate bid to avert that future.
  • Played straight in Odin Sphere with the characters all trying to avert the prophecy of end of the world. Then it's subverted when they find the world collapsing into chaos anyway, but fulfilling the prophecy at least leaves some alive.
  • Kurow of Ōkamiden has a mission. Only late in the game does he find out what that mission is. His body was made to be a seal for the Big Bad Akuro, then when he dies Akuro dies with him. To quote Kurow: "Dudes must be trippin' to think I'm gonna do that". He shirks his mission at first and desperately tries to avoid it, but he realizes it's not worth it.
  • In OneShot, Niko is the prophesied savior of the world. If you choose the Return Home option at the top of the tower, Niko will trust your judgement, shatter the lightbulb, and leave the game, dooming the entire world in the process.
  • Played straight in Persona 2 Eternal Punishment. The big bad keeps going on about how you can't fight fate. Right before the final battle, Baofu tells him to "Grab that fate of yours and stick it up your ass!"...yes, he said it to Nyarlathotep himself.
  • A major theme in Persona 3, especially since you actually have to choose to adapt a screw destiny approach in order to complete the game. Faced with the revelation that your friend is actually the harbinger of Nyx, the resident Big Bad, you're given the choice to kill him or let him live to become one with Nyx. Killing him erases the cast's memories of the entire adventure, allowing them to live peaceful lives for two months until Nyx arrives and destroys the world. Not killing him means you'll have to fight Nyx...except that the story tells us over and over again that you CAN'T destroy Nyx, since Nyx is death itself, and thus you're destined to lose. Our heroes choose to ignore this and spend the next month preparing for the final battle with the attitude that destiny can suck it and Nyx is just as killable as anything else. Well, she's not, but you end up winning anyway by sealing her instead, at the cost of the main character's life.
  • The trope is amazingly inverted in Pillars of Eternity, wherein the backstory of the game eventually reveals that the ancient Engwithian culture became advanced enough to unravel the mysteries of the world.... and discovered there were no gods and no higher purpose existed. Their entire race was so collectively distraught at the idea of a meaningless, pointless, abstract existence that they used every last resource and scrap of knowledge at their disposal to create an artificial pantheon, then willingly sacrificed themselves both to empower said newly-created gods and ensure that the secret of their artificial nature was never revealed. 'Screw Free Will?'
  • Between Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, the Prince takes a jab at altering his fate multiple times.
    • Initially, in The Sands of Time, the Prince ends up going back in time far enough to undo the whole plot, thus leaving the sands contained. While a successful example, altering the timeline summons Dahaka, an unstoppable monster chasing him down to end his existence for messing with time, leading to Warrior Within.
    • He attempts to counter by going to the place of origin of the Sands, in hope of finding a way to solve the problem with more time travel. In there, he finds portals leading into ages long past and gets the idea to kill Empress of Time before she can create the Sands. In the game's midpoint, turns out killing her is what creates the sands in the first place. Thus he fails to change fate and Dahaka is still coming.
    • He then uses another time artifact, to shift slightly back and coexist with himself in time, by turning himself into a wraith that he saw get killed by Dahaka. He proceeds to successfully screw that minor destiny and adjusts the plan to try a new approach for the grand destiny.
    • The way that plays out differs between two endings. Regular ending, he brings the Empress into the present and kills her there, meaning that the Sands are created but have no way of having been involved in his past adventure. Dahaka comes to claim her body and Prince's amulet, erasing Sands of Time from timeline, but leaving the Prince himself in peace. In the completionist ending, he spares the Empress and manages to fight Dahaka itself off with the mystical water-imbued sword. This averts both his and the Empress' destinies, and they sail off the island together.
    • Two Thrones takes a different point. While the beginning of the game is halfway between averted and non-averted fate because it happens in different fashion than was foretold, by the end of it, the Prince learns to accept what has come to pass and stops trying to endlessly go back and undo.
  • Quest for Glory V:
    • There is a prophecy that states once the Dragon of Doom has been unleashed the only way to stop it is to cast a spell that will sacrifice the life of one who is willing. However, by this time the character has gone through five adventures — and he is now strong enough to destroy the damn thing without having to die himself.
    • If you make it through the fight without losing anyone, an ally suggests a possible Prophecy Twist: that the dragon committing suicide after you beat it badly enough counts as the necessary sacrifice.
  • During the extraordinarily long "The Sign" quest in Ragnarok Online you're given a choice of how you would spend your last day alive if you knew the world would end tomorrow. The correct answer is 'What else? Save the world!'.
  • Randal's Monday: Randal spends the entire game trying to do this. He eventually does, but he has to end the world and make a deal with the four horsemen of the apocalypse to do so. That deal? He gets sent back to the start of the mess to set things right... if he feeds them Matt.
  • A villainous example appears in The Reconstruction. After performing tests of character for years, Havan is casually brushed aside and told that he isn't The Chosen One after all. But he won't tolerate this, and murders all the Watchers in an attempt to get to Dehl.
  • Sailor Moon: Another Story, inverted this: it was the Big Bad who tried this, and the Senshi went and taught her that You Can't Fight Fate. Warped in the best ending, where even after the Big Bad is killed, the Senshi get to keep the effects of her meddling that they like.
  • The plot of Sengoku Basara 4 is kickstarted when the shogun, Ashikaga Yoshiteru, gets bored because wars aren't fought the way they used to be and decides to defy Heaven's Mandate by abdicating, leaving Japan without a ruler and everything up for grabs. What results is the chaos of the Sengoku Period.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), Shadow has two, one about half way through his story, and one at the end. Mephiles, the time traveling god of DAN GREEN reveals to Shadow that despite Shadow devoting his life to saving humanity, they fear his power and will eventually turn on him and essentially crucify him. "I determine my OWN destiny." "If the world chooses to become my enemy, then I will fight like I always have!" Cue brawling with (and winning against) the god of shadow and all around evilness, along with his army of clones.
  • In the New Game Plus of Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, Revya is given the option to do this, leading to a rather different storyline.
  • The Legend of Spyro: Spyro has an interesting version. Malefor believes he, and all Purple Dragons, are destined to bring about the end of the world; Spyro believes his destiny is to fight for good and ultimately save the world. Spyro turns out to be right and saved the world. So Spyro managed to fulfill one destiny while screwing the other, at the same time.
  • Shadow of Destiny features Eike, a man who's been murdered but has temporarily been saved by a time-traveling homunculus so that he can prevent his own death. Given that the game has 7 different endings with 2 only available on New Game Plus, Eike succeeds with differing levels of success.
  • StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void:
    • Artanis and Raynor stand over a large number of graves from fallen Terrans, all of whom have their dogtag attached to their guns, and their guns used as grave markers. Artanis at one point laments that this is the fate of all warriors, and Raynor reminds him that the future isn't written in stone, and that if Zeratul truly did believe that Artanis could fix what is expected to be doomsday, then they have a chance.
    • In a more general sense, the Terrans as a race are this. It is implied that the Terrans, who are speculated in-universe to be a couple of generations away from being a psionic species, would have ascended to take the mantle if the universe was left to its own devices. It may be the reason why Amon underestimates Kerrigan.
  • The entire point of Kreia's / Dark Trayya's game of Xanatos Speed Chess in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II – The Sith Lords. Because the Force has a destiny and a plan for everyone and everything in the universe, she despises it. She wanted to use the Exile as a means of breaking and destroying what is, in effect, the Star Wars Universe's equivalent of God.
  • Steins;Gate has this as a major running theme. The main goal of protagonist Okabe and his crew is to avert the future where SERN and the Committee of 300 Take Over the World and turn it into a dystopia, and later to stop Mayuri from dying. The character's time travel experiments lead to discovering the concept of Convergence, which causes certain events to happen independent of cause and effect. The solution is to switch World Lines, where events will converge differently, and eventually reach the perfect timeline, Steins Gate. In Steins;Gate 0, the sequel, Okabe & his lab members are now striving to reach the Steins;Gate world line whereby neither Mayuri nor Kurisu die & no dystopia/World War III threatens the world.
  • Suikoden: Throughout the series, gathering the 108 Stars (in other words, every recruitable character) allows the heroes to defy the rather depressing fates the inflicted upon them by the True Runes.
  • Super Robot Wars Reversal:
    • Raul and Fiona Greydon have a pretty interesting Screw Destiny moment: having been sent through time thanks to their machine, they've reached the day where the Zambot 3 team would fall and the Gundam Wing pilots would fail to stop the Mariameia Uprising, setting the stage for Char's Counterattack and Martian Successor Nadesico - The Prince of Darkness. The two heroes suffer Heroic BSoD because of it (Raul hops out half-heartedly and Fiona doesn't sortie at all.) But, when they finally get their acts together, the two screw destiny, put Butcher in his place and make sure Relena is rescued.
    • How bad is everything altered? How about the fact that the Nadesico crew get the Aestivalis Customs, Super Aestivalis, Black Salena and Nadesico C three years before they should! And when you return to the present you find either Char isn't a humongous dick or that Akito and Yurika are still normal (especially Akito!)
  • Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror starts off as standard espionage stuff, until about three-quarters into the game when Gabe makes it clear he's going to, in no uncertain terms, fate.
  • Tales Series:
    • Tales of Destiny 2: The heroes' eventual goal becomes to prevent a goddess of time from awakening and predetermining the world's past, present, and future for all eternity.
    • Almost every single character of Tales of the Abyss has this attitude, except one lone religious nutcase who denies said destiny will end in The End of the World as We Know It and gets tricked by the villains into giving up his humanity for power. (The difference between the heroes and most of the villains, then, whether or not Screwing Destiny requires the mass sacrifice of everyone currently living on the planet) At the same time, also slightly subverted by the villain: The Score of Destruction predicted that Auldrant would ultimately be destroyed. The exact words were "Turned to dust". Wasn't one of the side-effects of large-scale fomicry the disintegration of the original? In which case, Van's attempt to 'destroy' the planet's memory and 'defy' the score (by replacing it with an exact replica) was, in fact, fulfilling the score. So is this screw destiny, or just a Mind Screw? The ending seems to support this theory, as, after defeating Van, Lorelei congratulates Luke on averting the destruction It had seen in Auldrant's future.
  • A similar theme is present in Higurashi's Spiritual Successor Umineko: When They Cry, since Ange's goal is to make it so that her family won't be killed during the mysterious events on Rokkenjima in 1986. However, this is a case of You Can't Fight Fate played straight, since no matter what happens all but two people are fated to die during those events. Though depending on one's perspective she still defeated fate in a way as she still managed to build a future for herself and lived a happy life despite being unable to change the hand she was dealt.
  • WarCraft:
    • This is the primary motivation of Medivh. Forced into becoming the Guardian of Tirisfal by the machinations of his mother, his resentment and desire to break free of his fate was used to turn him evil and bring the Horde into Azeroth. Later, freed of evil taint, he would assume the role of a prophet and maneuver the humans, orcs, and night elves into a position to combat the Burning Legion and prevent their conquering of Azeroth.
    • In the comics (now considered non-canon), Medivh further screwed with Destiny by giving his own son, Med'an, what he never had: the choice to become Guardian of Tirisfal.
    • Illidan was claimed to be the Chosen One of prophecy, meant to end the Age of Demons. He was skeptical, and when Xe'ra tried to forcibly "redeem" Illidan to ensure it came to pass, Illidan killed Xe'ra.
      Xe'ra: The Light is your destiny.
      Illidan: My destiny is my own!
  • In The Witch and the Hundred Knight, Lucchini claims he can never avert the future events that he can see in all the parallel universes, which led him to believe the destruction of Medea by Niike is inevitable. Eventually he saw a glimpse of hope in Metallia who was possibly the only one who can alter that fate, and by the end of the "Bad" ending the world was saved by the actions of Metallia and the Hundred Knight. Hell, the entire canon ending was the protagonist trying to Screw Destiny that happened till chapter 11, hence the name "Bad" ending.
  • The Wonderful 101: In their battle against Jergingha, Wonder-Red proudly declares "Our quest for justice will last far longer than today!" Not only can this be seen as their defying his plan to destroy the Earth, but also to ensure humanity never becomes the Greater Galactic Coalition and the same evil conquerors that caused GEATHJERK to go back in time to wipe Earth out.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 1 allows you to do this on a regular basis. The Monado frequently offers Shulk glimpses of the future, and in addition to the myriad plot examples, this is used as a game mechanic. During battle, Shulk will sometimes receive visions of would-be fatal attacks several seconds in advance, and from there, the player can either manipulate the prediction to make it less dangerous (heal or protect the victim so the hit isn't fatal, draw aggro to someone else who can take the hit, use standard Status Effects to make it use a different attack) or kill the initiating monster and shatter the destiny tag outright.
    • In-story, a fair bit of the plot is driven by Shulk having visions of future events that he either wishes to cause or avert. The results run the spectrum from Self-Fulfilling Prophecy to full on Screw Destiny.
    • Beyond being a gameplay mechanic, this ends up being the Central Theme of the game: despite what anyone says your future will be—other people, enemy armies, gods, the universe itself, anyone—you should never stop fighting to live life as you choose. Your future is yours and no one else's.
  • XenoGears: While Fei is a bona fide Chosen One, it could be argued that the entire story of the game is a cosmic, magnificent Gambit Roulette perpetrated by Krelian in an effort to first fulfill the destiny of the universe and then subvert it so that he could join with God.
  • In Ys VIII: Lacrimosa of Dana the titular Lacrimosa is an event wherein the dominant species on the planet is wiped out to make room for the next one. Every species screened for this has fought back in some way and the Humans within the game are no exception.
  • This is a major gameplay mechanic in the Zero Escape series, as the game is based around exploiting routes to acquire the True Ending, which is often an Omega Ending. It's justified in-universe through SHIFTers, psychics who can access the Morphic Field to swap their mind with their alternate-universe selves just before they die, which the cast needs in order to escape as it's impossible to do so otherwise. Also an exploited trope, as each Anti-Villain requires someone else to Screw Their Own Destiny so that Zero can ensure that something in their history happens.

  • Goblins deconstructs, inverts, and subverts this. Most Goblins are named by their fortune teller, who accurately names them based on their destiny. Saves-a-Fox became so fed up with this that she eventually killed the fox she was expected to save, and uses this fact to convince Dies-Horribly he can fight fate too.
    • Later on, Dies-Horribly points out that judging by the description Saves-a-Fox gave, the fox had contracted a disease that would cause it to die a slow, painful death, meaning Saves-a-Fox really did save it by killing it.
    • Also notable in that most of the "destinies" that the goblins are named after are on the surface utterly trivial (though they ultimately speak towards the holder's personality in general)—"Saves a Fox", "Complains of Names", "One Eye", "Fumbles", etc. The first reason Fox cites for her rebellion is that she won't accept such an insignificant event as being the most important thing in her life... Which, ironically, makes it... the most important thing in her life.
    • Also played with in that some goblins that are supposed to get prophetic names... aren't. Chief wasn't supposed to be the chief, he was only chief because his father was and there would have been a violent outcry if he hadn't taken the job. Complains' father, on the other hand, was supposed to be the new chief. So... the village's fortune teller deliberately screwed destiny to prevent a war... while at the same time weakening their tribe by having the wrong leader.
      • Mocked thoroughly, though, once we meet some of the goblin slaves, who have such names as "Piss off I have a Headache," named by the same fortune teller that also named another goblin "Stop the Ceremony I Swallowed a Bug." This is less of a "Screw Destiny," and more of "Our fortune teller sucks."
  • In Erfworld, after having a long talk with Wanda who has done some of the most deplorable things in the comic to get a hold of an Arkentool on the basis You Can't Fight Fate, Parson announces that he refuses to be a gamepiece of fate, giving a Precision F-Strike (which he could not do before due to Erfworld's censorship) to signify how he won't be controlled. Judging from a recent chat with Charlie, he can now swear at will. When determining what he wants in life, one of the things he decides is that if fate is a thing that exists, then its hold over the world should be broken.
    • In the "Inner Peace Through Superior Firepower" prequel series, we see that Wanda started out with this attitude, only to discover painfully that You Can't Fight Fate. What your Fate dictates will come to pass, and your only choice is how much suffering you'll have to go through to get there. In Wanda's case, she was Fated to serve under her side's archenemy, and her first attempt to avert this got her brother killed.
    • On the other hand, there are implications that Carnymancy, the magic of rigging the game, can somehow alter Fated events.
    • The Big Bad, Charlie, is revealed to be a Carnymancer. This is implied to be his main motive. He is underneath a dreadful Fate curse due to preserving his life with Equivalent Exchange, and he is willing to screw over everyone and everything to avoid it. Fate enforces itself by manipulating behind the scenes mechanics, such as the Luck Manipulation Mechanic and the design of newly created units. As such, Charlie pursues an absolutely bizarre strategy to hold Fate at bay.
    • Wanda accidentally breaks what she believes is an unavoidable fate by overusing the Arkenpliers for mass resurrection / brainwashing on a daily basis, taxing its power beyond normal limits, which ultimately rewrites her fate from 'dies a villain in a climactic battle' to an unexpected and anticlimactic 'Dropped a Bridge on Him'.
  • 8-Bit Theater: After being told that You Already Changed the Past by Sarda, Black Mage attempts this in 1136. His attempt, as usual, involves obliterating his problems with a Hadoken.
    "Ok, I have a theory. It's called, I never knew it was possible to care less about time travel."
  • In Dominic Deegan, the recent Maltak arc seems to conclude with an impressive destiny-screwing by Melna. We've been getting the hint for months that she was supposed to kill the crone of Maltak.
    • Dominic actually screws destiny on a regular basis; one of the advantages of being a seer who can see into the future. The only time he lost was when he suffered a "Fated Fatal": a sign that someone a seer knows is about to die, and there is nothing that can be done to stop it. In this case, that someone was Lord Siegfried.
  • Bob the Angry Flower suffers from severe depression after failing to change a later frame of his comic which he had peeked forward into.
  • In Homestuck, after Jack prematurely begins the Reckoning and destroys Prospit and the Battlefield, and after repeatedly being told by the trolls and the gods of the furthest ring that she and her friends are doomed, Rose decides to blow up her first gate and send a signal through the cosmos to other Sburb players instructing them on how to save themselves, then explore her planet to find answers.
    "I am not playing by the rules anymore. I will fly around this candy-coated rock and comb the white sands until I find answers. No one can tell me our fate can't be repaired."
  • In Oglaf, a prince is informed by a seer that he cannot fight destiny. The prince then asks the seer what would happen if it was his destiny to fight destiny, prompting the seer to concede that there would then be no way for him not to fight destiny. Then the prince asks what happens if you in that case decide to fight destiny by not fighting destiny. This results in the seer stabbing the prince in the throat rather than letting that smug little shit become king.
  • Schlock Mercenary: Nick of Tagon's Toughs believed he was under a Cartwright Curse due to kissing Elf in The Sharp End of the Stick, but in the first Credomar arc when a woman he was interested in is knocked unconscious and falling to her death, he jumps to the rescue anyway, even after finding out her interest in him was feigned for the purpose of spying on the Toughs.
    Nick: No curses. If I get dead, it's 'cause I chose this.
  • In Tower of God, the god of the Tower has declared that the Big Bad, King Jahad, will suffer a Karmic Death and be killed by Bam as punishment for his sins. King Jahad now seeks to break the prophecy in the only way that is possible, becoming a Godhood Seeker so that he can wrestle control of fate away from that god.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Fitting with the comic's themes of violence and Might Makes Right, Zoss, the Conquering King who became ruler of the entire multiverse by fighting anyone else claiming the title, pontificates on this a bit.
    Zoss: Fate is not a cage except for those who fear it. A true ruler is the Wielder of Names. By names she cuts the world as she pleases, and she cuts herself into greater forms still. She is not shaped by the world, but instead becomes the shaper.

    Web Original 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series: Played for Laughs, obviously.
    Ishizu: So, you're going to attack me with Obelisk, right?
    Kaiba: (dramatic music) Actually, I changed my mind about that.
    Ishizu: But this is what destiny told me you would do!
    Kaiba: F*** Destiny! I am Seto Kaiba: I make my own fate. And now I'm going to summon my Blue-Eyes White Dragon to destroy your remaining Life Points!
    Ishizu: But why... Why would you do such a thing?
    Kaiba: Because a robot from the future told me to! (dramatic music stops)
    Ishizu: ...
    Kaiba: Oh what, like it's any more ridiculous than half the stuff you've been coming out with.
    Ishizu: (internally) I lost! That giant rock lied to me!
  • Ten Little Roosters: Ryan, suffocating to death in a hole, avoids death even after his death plaque and photograph appear on the wall by smashing the glass over his prison and climbing out. The photograph even falls to the ground as we hear Ryan breaking his way out.
  • THE MONUMENT MYTHOS: The D-Day Knight, where in a world running on Determinism, he is believed to be the only man to truly have free will, saving people who were "supposed" to die. Subverted in NIXON IS GOD, where we find out that he was following a set path all this time. Then Double Subverted in THE ED DWIGHT PARADOX, where he rejects his purported fate as the Prince of the Lunarians, and destroys them instead.
    • During the game segment, the player attempts to defy the fate God has planned for them by refusing to follow the angel and abandon their quest for the castle, much to the angel's shock and rage.
    • The ultimate ending to the quiz. After over a hundred pages of questions- some utterly mundane, some deep and philosophical, the final one is simply the creator asking you what your favorite color is. Whatever it is you chose, that is the one it tells you that you are.

    Western Animation 
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • In one episode John Stewart ends up in the future and meets his son, who he fathered with his (currently) ex-girlfriend. Upon returning to the present with the knowledge that he's going to get back together with this woman and have a kid, he steadfastly refuses to do so, just to... y'know... screw destiny (though it's more that he won't get back with her just because of seeing the future, he wants his future to be what he wants and intends to just see how things play out).
    • Pulled again throughout most of the first season of JLU, with constant foreshadows being thrown towards the existence of the Justice Lords universe. The Question, upon discovering the existence of the Lords'verse, goes, for want of a better word, a bit (more) mental and concocts the whole scenario that would be required for the League to go the same way as their Lords counterparts — most significantly, the death of the Flash and Superman subsequently murdering President Lex Luthor. The whole series had actually seemed to be going just that way, until the point at which the Flash does (well almost) die. Superman comes close to committing the murder that would see the world erupt into armageddon, but at the last minute says "Screw that" and chooses not to kill him, closely after which, the Flash is dragged back from the Speed Force.
    • Beforehand, the Question talked to Superman about this and heard Clark's conviction on not being his Justice Lord counterpart. Later on, Question comes to the conclusion that the problem is Lex Luthor (as in the Lord's verse, he nearly caused nuclear war during his term as presidency due to his ego and megalogmania.) Realizing this, he confronts Luthor with this knowledge before pointing out his attempt to murder Luthor himself, pointing that his reputation as a "crackpot" means the League's reputation and Superman's legacy would be untampered. It didn't end well for him.
  • Inverted in Transformers: Beast Wars: Dinobot reads the "Sounds of Earth" disc, and foresees his own death. However, he later discovers that there is nothing forcing him to play it out as the future can be changed, but he instead finds himself freely choosing to go through what he knows will cause his death to prevent Megatron from destroying the ancestors of the human race. And so he did.
    The question that has haunted my being has been answered: The future is not fixed. My choices are my own. And yet, how ironic, for I now find I have no choice at all. I am a warrior. Let the battle be joined.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender had a whole episode dedicated to "you can shape your own destiny, and what the fortuneteller says is not set in stone".
    • It is shown also on a grander scale when Aang, despite being told by almost everyone that he must kill Fire Lord Ozai, merely takes away his powers.
      • Not to mention he took away his leadership and put Zuko in charge. Ozai had powerful firebending abilities, yes, but the main reason he was a threat was his army. Take away both that and his powers and he's just a fairly crazy regular person. Oh, and killing him might not have helped, anyway. Aang would probably need to kill Azula, too, considering her ambition...
  • Danny Phantom: The Ultimate Enemy, in which he is shown a future where he's the Big Bad. Chillingly, he doesn't mind until he finds out that his whole family, his friends, and (far less importantly) his English teacher died because of him. He changed his tune right quick, then. His desire to prevent this future parallels his Bad Future self's belief that You Can't Fight Fate, but is ultimately so strong that it allows him to awaken a power that the latter hadn't awakened until ten years after that point, proving that fate wasn't immutable and that Dan wasn't inevitable, as he so haughtily claimed. It turns out that Time Master Clockwork has a similar view when he "cheats" by helping to prevent the Bad Future from coming to pass. As he tells Danny, while his watchers see Time as a parade, Clockwork himself sees the parade from above, and the roads it may or may not take.
  • Subverted and played straight in Futurama. Fry the delivery boy wanted to be anything else, but wound up doing just that, while Leela, who originally figured her destiny as a job assigner was inescapable, became a starship captain.
    • Fry staying a delivery boy makes sense, as being a delivery boy in the future is a hell of a lot more awesome than being a delivery boy in the past.
    • Career chips though were quickly forgotten about and through the years they've taken on any number of wacky jobs from selling poplers, to playing in Blernsball, to serving as emperor of Tri-Sol... in fact, the a later episode lampshades the forgotten rules of the first episode by having Leela say to Fry "You know, our career chips"? as he just stares blankly.
  • Gargoyles: Arthur is chastised for waking up before he was supposed to. He simply remarks he's up early and ready to get to work.
  • Teen Titans (2003):
    • "How Long is Forever": Time-travelling villain Warp arrives in the present to steal a clock because history says it disappeared. In his fight with the Titans, he accidentally brings Starfire to a Bad Future where the team has broken up due to her disappearance. Warp insists that Starfire can't prevent any of this, using his theft as an example of time's immutability. She proves him wrong by getting the future Titans back together, defeating him, and then returning to the past with the object he stole, ensuring it never disappears to begin with.
      Starfire: The past cannot be repaired. The future cannot be altered. No matter how wrong it seems.
      Nightwing: So - it's impossible? Good! If memory serves, we've done the impossible before.
    • Raven's series four arc, though it took some serious prompting from the rest of the Titans (pretty much all of whom were saying it from the start of the whole Trigon/prophecy thing). Eventually, she comes to the realization that the prophecy only came to fruition because she allowed it to.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983)— In the episode "Daimar the Demon," Orko accidentally unleashes a world-destroying demon on Eternia. He-Man gets to talking to it and realizes that Daimar doesn't particularly want to destroy the world, he just believes he has to because of destiny. He-Man convinces him he has free will, and he chooses to go home to his own dimension in peace.
  • This is the whole idea of the Codename: Kids Next Door episode "Operation: M.A.U.R.I.C.E.". When it becomes evident to Numbuh Five that her idol Maurice has sided with Cree, she is despondent and close to giving up, thinking that You Can't Fight Fate and that she'll end up just like Cree when she turns thirteen in another year. Cree is actually happy about this, thinking that it may be the only way the two can ever reconcile. However, it turns out that Maurice is actually a Fake Defector who has continued to work for the KND even after becoming a teenager. After entrusting Numbuh Five with this secret, she realizes that she can follow this trope and not end up like Cree at all.
  • Ever After High is a school for the children of fairy tale characters, which teaches them how to take over the mantle from their parents. A group of students called "the Rebels" are opposed to the school's rigid adherence to the traditional stories, and some want to subvert or defy what destiny has in store for them; in contrast, "the Royals" are students intent on following the original stories. At least some of the Rebels are rebelling because they feel destiny is giving them a raw deal, while the Royals generally like the fairy tales they belong to, but Duchess Swan and Maddie Hatter are acting out of their personal beliefs, not self-interest. Swan is a Royal because she believes in following the story, though she would rather have a happier ending than the Bittersweet Ending she's due for; conversely, Maddie Hatter is very much The Mad Hatter's daughter, but she doesn't believe people should be forced into a life they don't want, making her a Rebel.
  • Done by Aku in Samurai Jack during the Time Skip before the final season. A very big deal was made out of how it was Jack's destiny to one day return to a certain time portal, defeat The Guardian (the one foe to decisively defeat Jack), and use that portal to return to the past. Then Aku just rolled up, killed The Guardian, and destroyed the time portal.
  • In Episode 4, season 3 of Transformers: Prime Smokescreen spends much of the episode hovering over Optimus Prime who was fatally wounded in the season 2 finale. Optimus tells him that he believed Smokescreen was fated to be his successor as bearer of the Matrix and leader of the Autobots. Instead Smokescreen places the Forge of Solus Prime in Optimus' hands, allowing it to repair him and give him a new, more powerful body.
  • This is the driving force of Morro from Ninjago. Because it was very clear that he would never be the Green Ninja of legend, he went through many great lengths to prove that both destiny and Master Wu wrong.


Video Example(s):


Soul Reaver 2

Compelled by history to slay Kain while in the past, Raziel barely manages to resist its pull, much to Kain's relief. (Subtitles provided by Ugly93 on YouTube)

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / SlidingScaleOfFreeWillVsFate

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