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Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

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"A man often meets his destiny on the very road he took to avoid it."
French/Chinese/Tortoise proverb

Whenever anyone tries to avert a prophecy, for good or ill, the end result of their actions is to bring the prophecy about. The harder they struggle to prevent it, the more inescapable their destiny becomes. Fate, it seems, loves irony. Strangely, the other side of this, where the prophecy is fulfilled because someone wants to fulfill it, is rarely explored in fiction (Either-Or Prophecies notwithstanding).


When a hero tries to prevent the prophesied release of an ancient evil, their actions will help it escape because You Can't Fight Fate. When the Big Bad tries to slaughter all the members of a given people in order to kill the one among them who is prophesied to end them, they will only manage to create the hero that they fear, Because Destiny Says So.

One common mechanism for this is a Prophecy Twist. If no one understands the real meaning of the prophecy, any attempts to avert it will naturally be futile. A cynic will point out that by this measure, a prophecy must be vague. Otherwise, it would be easy to defeat, or else those it affects must carry an Idiot Ball and not take the direct approach that would have no room for failure.

To be this trope, a member of the cast must be actively trying to prevent it from happening. Then it happens, most often because of the attempt to prevent it. Generally, this happens through one of two courses: either a) the person the prophecy concerns will, in their pre-preemptive efforts to prevent their purported doom, end up creating the very circumstances by which the prophecy is fulfilled; or b) having taken their preventative measures, they will then unwittingly blunder right into the prophecy's hands. More complex prophecies may include both.


The archetypal Older Than Feudalism example is the Greek tragedy Oedipus Rex. A prophecy says the king will be killed by his own son, so the king orders his infant son killed. (He has his feet nailed to a board and left to die of exposure in the wilderness, rather than, say, cutting him in half with a sword.) Oedipus is rescued, and brought up not knowing he's the prince. Twenty years later, he learns his fate: he will kill his father and marry his mother. Wanting to protect his adoptive family — who he believes are his natural parents — Oedipus leaves home. On the road, he meets his biological father (whom he doesn't recognize, naturally), gets into an argument, and kills him. Shortly thereafter he comes to the city his father ruled, and frees them from the Sphinx; as a reward, Oedipus is made king of the city and marries the widowed queen... his own mother.


Most of the real-world prophecies that come true are also self-fulfilling — simply stating that something will happen often ensures that it will happen someday, whether by accident or because someone read your prophecy and decided they'd make it happen.

An example sometimes given is that a prediction that a bank may become insolvent (or, excuse the pun, "bankrupt") may scare people into withdrawing their money from the bank all in a rush — but since the bank only keeps a fraction of their deposits actually on hand (the rest is invested out, e.g. bank loans), the run on the bank can drive the bank into insolvency, ironically just as predicted. In simpler terms, fear that a certain commodity (like gasoline) will run short may trigger people to stock up on it, leading to a shortage of that very commodity. Then there's plain old paranoia, which is a good way to make enemies.

Contrast Self-Defeating Prophecy. Compare Catch-22 Dilemma, Prophetic Fallacy, The Firefly Effect, Streisand Effect, Nice Job Breaking It, Hero! (and/or Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!, depending on who did it), and Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!. Often an integral part of tragedy. May cause a Clingy MacGuffin or be caused by being Improperly Paranoid. For the Time Travel version, see You Already Changed the Past and Stable Time Loop. See also Situational Irony.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ai Kora has a chapter where Maeda has a dream where he and Sakurako end up Caught in the Rain together, and end up kissing. When similar circumstances strike in the real world, Sakurako ends up leaning towards Maeda for entirely non-romantic reasons, but he's so wound up he ends up kissing her.
  • In Arifureta: From Commonplace to World's Strongest, the night before the group goes out for their first dungeon training, Kaori goes to Hajime's room to tell him she had a dream where he fell down a ravine and disappeared. Unfortunately, one of their classmates, who is one of Hajime's bullies and is obsessed with Kaori, witnesses her going to his room and goes so mad with jealousy that he ends up causing the "accident" that causes Hajime to fall down a ravine and disappear.
  • In Corsair, after listening to his brother try to heap guilt on him and justify his actions based on a prophecy made when Canale was born, Canale delivers an embittered speech about how the prophecy about him being the "devil's child" who will wreak "destruction on towns and cities" was rubbish and how his family's reaction to it led to him becoming such a dangerous and destructive force in the first place.
  • In Death Note, Ryuk the Shinigami tells Light Yagami that misery follows those who use the Death Note. Throughout the series, it becomes apparent that this phenomenon isn't so much the fault of any karmic punishment — it's just that people who use the Death Note are always the kind of people who surround themselves with death and destruction.
  • Digimon Adventure gives us Myotismon (Vamdemon in Japanese), who hears that the eighth Digidestined, who turns out to be Tai's sister Kari, will be the one to destroy him. So what does he do? He sends his Legion of Doom all over the place to hunt her down and destroy her. This causes him to fulfill his own prophetic demise in a few ways; first of all, Kari's partner is a member of the aforementioned legion of doom, so they never would've met if he hadn't called a hunting party. Secondly, by trying to destroy her, he caused the Heroic Sacrifice of Wizardmon, which triggers Kari's crest and digivolves Gatomon into Angewomon, who proceeds to One-Hit Kill him. Considering all the other Digimon couldn't do crap against him at that point, he could've conquered the world at his leisure if he hadn't tried to find her. The gravity of it only increases when you consider that without Angewomon, there wouldn't be no WarGreymon and MetalGarurumon, so if by some miracle he had been brought down, his resurrection as VenomMyostismon would have gone off without a hitch and he would've curb stomped the entire world. Way to go, you moron.
    • Devimon did something similar by hearing the youngest of the kids will be the one to cause his death. He goes after TK, triggering Patamon's evolution into Angemon, who promptly performs a Heroic Sacrifice to kill Devimon.
  • In Dog Days, Leonmichelle's attempts to stop the foretold deaths of Milhiore and Shinku ends up summoning the beast that will presumably kill them.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Frieza kills all of the Saiyans he can find and even destroys their home planet in order to prevent a Super Saiyan from rising up and defeating him. What happens later? Frieza's efforts actually anger Goku to the point that he becomes a Super Saiyan and completely beats the shit out of Frieza, even to the point of killing him. It doesn't stick but even at that point, it was pretty clear that Frieza was killed because of his efforts to prevent himself from being killed. In addition, Frieza's actual death is by the son of one of the three Saiyans he allowed to live in one timeline, and by Goku in the other.
    • In the Episode of Bardock special, it turns out Bardock was sent back in time and got into a conflict with Frieza's ancestor Lord Chilled. It also turned out that Bardock was the Legendary Super Saiyan, meaning that Frieza was indirectly responsible for the very legend upon which he would destroy that Saiyan race for, an act that would eventually cause his death. Talk about Irony.
    • Dragon Ball Minus adds to it by revealing that the reason Goku was sent to Earth in the first place. Frieza had ordered all the Saiyans to return to Planet Vegeta; Bardock, thinking that this sounded incredibly suspicious, stole a space pod and sent his infant son to another planet to keep him safe...and as we all know, Bardock was spot-on and Frieza wanted all the Saiyans together so he could easily kill them all. Living on Earth gave Goku plenty of challenges, which lead to his becoming so powerful that he achieved Super Saiyan. If he'd stayed on Planet Vegeta, he more than likely would have just been another forgettable low-class warrior.
    • Prior to Goku actually fulfilling the prophecy, Vegeta tries unsuccessfully to invoke this trope, declaring that Frieza was an idiot for destroying the Saiyan race because he feared their potential power...but keeping the strongest one of all alive. Vegeta incorrectly believed that he had become a Super Saiyan at this point, and Frieza gave him a rude awakening. Since Death Is Cheap in the Dragon Ball universe, though, Vegeta was brought back to life and got to see the fulfillment of the prophecy anyway.
    • In Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection ‘F’, Frieza's empire has been falling apart without him, and while not happy with the idea, his minions use the Dragon Balls to bring him Back from the Dead because they see Frieza's fear factor as the only way to restore it to its former glory. Instead of going back to rule his empire as they expected, Frieza throws it all away for the sake of petty revenge on Goku, only to get himself killed and his entire army destroyed; by bringing him back to life, Frieza's minions ensured the destruction of his empire, the very thing they wanted to prevent.
  • In Eureka Seven, Holland learned from Norbu 3 years ago prior to the series that whoever makes Eureka smile and happy is her destined partner, who turns out to be the protagonist Renton. Holland's efforts to deny their relationship and trying to win Eureka's favor only seeks to set up a chain of events that made Renton and Eureka officially into a couple. Holland even face palm on his efforts after his quarrel with Eureka in episode 26.
  • In Full Moon, the main character, Mitsuki, is fated to die in a year, but there's a prophecy that a mysterious person is fated to come along and prevent her death, so two shinigami are sent to prevent Mitsuki and that person from meeting...and it turns out that her meeting the two shinigami is what caused her death to be prevented because her outlook on life changed because of them.
  • Harminia from Gosick was told at age 6 that she would die when she was 26 years old. She killed the Elder/prophet, and framed Cordelia. Cordelia is exiled, leading to Victorique's birth, and subsequent return twenty years light to clear her mother's name. After Victorique reveals Harminia is the killer, she goes on a rampage, leading to her death.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure that's exactly the working mechanism of Thoth, the Stand of Boingo, one of the antagonists. Thoth takes the form of an indie comic book, describing future happenings or actions taken by his user and his immediate peers. Thoth is so accurate, even if following a leap-and-bound narration that makes it slightly hard to understand at a quick glance, that every attempt to change or foil the events already written in its pages will ensure the very same event takes place, and exactly as described. One other way to interpret what Thoth is doing is that it generates a single image that describes all the possible futures in some oblique fashion. With Oingo: If he hadn't panicked at Joseph's early arrival and taken Jotaro's guise, the bomber orange would have been left in the car...and would have been the one Jotaro began peeling to slake his thirst. With Hol Horse: If he'd relied on the clocktower instead of his fast watch, the bullets would have hit Jotaro at the same time as the water burst. In other words, it's accurate for both the "default" stance and the self-fulfilled results.
  • In the first episode of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, Dedede appears when the people of Cappy Town ask Kabu what to do about their plight. He asks Kabu to predict what will happen when he pushes a button on his cannon. Kabu predicts he won’t push it. Soon enough, Kirby crash lands nearby, distracting Dedede long enough for him to forget about pushing the button.
  • Zera of Lychee Light Club is told by a fortune-teller that he will either rule the world at the age of 30 or die at the age of 14. In his desperate rush to achieve the former, he ends up bringing about the latter. Commencing the final step of his plan on the night of his 14th birthday was a tremendously bad idea, but by that point, he'd gone mad with paranoia.
  • Mirai Sasaki, aka Sir Nighteye of My Hero Academia, has a Quirk that allows him to see the future of a person, and his predictions have always come to pass no matter how much he tried to change them, so he always approaches every situation expecting worst-case scenarios. It's only when Izuku Midoriya manages to defy one of his predictions that he realizes how his own pessimism hampered his Quirk, and that he could have seen more positive outcomes if he had more faith that he could change the future.
  • In My Cheat Skill Resurrection Revived Me, the king of Resaga has a paranoid fear of the demons humanity is at war with, and rightly so, seeing as they outnumber humans 7 to 3. Unfortunately, this paranoia also bleeds onto his own citizens, and those with a "dangerous" skill like the main character Licht are marked for execution the moment he hears of it. Licht's party lures him into an ambush, where they sell him to his executioners for money, with the old man leading the executioners spelling out that he's marked for death because his [Resurrection] skill is "dangerous" as it could be used to bolster the demon's forces, despite admiting that Licht is indeed a loyal tax-paying citizen who has doubtlessly used said skill to save many human lives. With Licht reviving from a botched execution, he now has every possible motive to bring the king's fears to pass, and acts on it.
  • Naruto:
    • The eldest LITERAL frog sage gave a prophecy that Jiraiya would travel the world to write a book, meet a boy with power in his eyes, and train the one who would change the world for the better. Thing is, this prophecy only ever got anywhere because the sage TOLD Jiraiya about it in the first place.
    • The Second Hokage thought that the Uchiha would betray Konoha and wanted to protect the village. So he ostracized the Uchiha clan from the start of his reign and treated them worse than he should have. His treatment of them led to the attempted coup, since his treatment was passed down (though to be fair he is a lot less to blame in this event compared with the next example.)
    • Madara Uchiha. After the village was founded, Madara feared that the Senju clan would eventually eliminate the Uchiha Clan, and tried to get them to break ties with the village. While this did happen eventually, it was largely because Madara's own disciple (Obito) attacked the village with the nine tails and framed the Uchiha Clan for it, leading to more discrimination against the clan and the eventually leading them to plan a coup. That in turn leads to a massacre in which said pupil directly participated.
    • While he was partly manipulated by Danzo Shimura, Hanzo of the Salamander's undoing was the result of this. He was paranoiac that Yahiko, Nagato and Konan were gaining power and influence with Akatsuki, and he feared they would try to topple him and take over Amegakure. So he lures them into a trap that results in Yahiko's death and Nagato crippled, but not before he unleashes a Roaring Rampage of Revenge that kills almost everyone in sight. Hanzo escapes, but his actions gave Nagato the push he needed for his Start of Darkness and become Pain, and a pretty big reason to kill Hanzo and take over Amegakure years later.
  • Gendo Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion abandons his son, Shinji, because he believes that he will be a bad parent and only end up hurting Shinji. The irony of course, is that with his abandonment, he ends up giving Shinji one of his deepest emotional scars. Funnily enough, Shinji does something similar; he desperately wants human affection, but alienates all the people who try to help him because he refuses to believe they care about him.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero, King Melromarc has a severe disdain for demi-humans, and the legends of the Four Cardinal Heroes said that the Shield Hero would be heavily associated with a party made of them, as well as demi-humans worshipping the Shield Hero for being a champion of demi-humans according to their legends. Thus, he enacts a hidden plan to discredit Naofumi, the titular Shield Hero, which results in him being considered a pariah by almost every member of his kingdom. Naofumi becomes jaded and distrustful toward everyone as a result, and only takes on slaves (the majority of which being demi-humans) as party members because they are unable to disobey him.
  • Rose Princess Hellrage starts with the execution of the title character because her father was deposed and murdered by his evil younger brother who wanted the crown. The usurper played on a dubious prophecy that children born with silver hair and eyes are "cursed" and destined to doom the country. Since he used this premise to take the throne, he couldn't deny his fanatical Knight Templar followers who wanted to hunt the child down and preemptively end the menace. When these knights find the child and her mother, they put the pair of women through hell for at least a month before dragging her to the guillotine and then throwing a party over the defiled corpses. They also pointedly ignore the executioner, who is accustomed to seeing undead rise at execution sites if proper measures, like a pre-execution sanctification and a memorial service aren't held, saying "a memorial service for that 'evil' child is a sacrilege." To the surprise of everyone (including the executioner, but only because of her power level), Rene rises up as a powerful undead and immediately starts carrying out her vengeance, only momentarily stopped by an army of the king's strongest elites, and even then only because she wasn't accustomed to her powers yet, nor had any solid plans or strategies in place...
  • Slayers Try has a town that fears dragons because one of them destroyed the town. They manage (along with Xelloss) to make Filia angry enough that she does just that.
  • A tragic example happens in Steins;Gate episode 23 whereby Okabe accidentally stabbed his lover Kurisu to death in an attempt to prevent her death in the Beta worldline. This tragedy haunted Okabe towards the story of Steins;Gate 0.
  • Talentless Nana has Tsunekichi Hatadaira and his "Talent" of prophetic dreams, documented using a Polaroid camera. All the scenes depicted on them come true and attempts to avoid your fate oftentimes cause it to happen in the first place.
  • From Trigun, there's Vash's reputation as the Humanoid Typhoon, who causes death and destruction wherever he goes. The bounty was put on his head to prevent any more destruction but caused overzealous bounty hunters with no care for collateral damage to converge on him and cause even more destruction.
  • In Tsubasa -RESERVoir CHRoNiCLE-, Fei Wong Reed goes through a ridiculously complex Gambit Roulette to prevent Yuko's death from catching up with her, in the process creating two clones, then discarding them (essentially killing them). The woman he was trying to save then embraces her long-delayed death as payment to bring the two clones into the cycle of reincarnation. In other words, had he not tried to save Yuko, she never would have died. The real kicker is that, apparently, she and Clow planned all this. Even the characters are starting to get confused. And apparently they just set him off again because now he's just going to try again. A Stable Time Loop or something, it's really not very clear. Even the metaphorical screw is getting confused, really.
  • In The Weakest Tamer, the village chief of Ratomi, the priest of the local church, and Ivy's own parents believe the existence of a "starless" child will doom their village. So when Ivy's parents take her to the temple and she is revealed to have the [Tamer] skill with no stars, Ivy's parents have a panic attack, and starting the next morning do everything in their power to drive her out of the village, especially Ivy's father who beats the ever loving shit out of her at age 5, shouting at her that the family are the ones troubled, after Ivy finds her place at the kitchen table missing. Over the next three years, the local fortune teller, who can see the future and can see Ivy's circumstances but not the reason for them, is the only villager who treats her kindly. As a result, the village chief denies the fortune teller life-saving medicine when she gets ill, and then conspires with Ivy's father to go into the woods to hunt Ivy down, just to make sure. Ivy overhears it and flees the area entirely. Not long afterward, the village economy collapses because the fortune-teller is dead at the chief's hands, and her ability to properly predict the perfect ripeness of the village's cash crop was the only thing keeping the economy afloat. In a surprise twist, the adventurer's guild, investigating the chief's repeated wanted posters for Ivy, finds out that the chief himself is entirely responsible for the village's fate, as he's both incompetent and corrupt, constantly embezzling the village treasury, but refuses to take responsibility for his actions.
  • In X/1999, Sorata is told as a boy by his temple superior that he will die for the sake of a woman. Sora decides that if this has to happen, he'd like it to be a beautiful woman, and when he meets Arashi he tells her that he's "decided on" her. Once the two develop genuine feelings for each other, Arashi becomes so troubled at the thought that she'd be responsible for Sora's death that she defects to the Dragons of Earth, so Sora would have no reason to protect her anymore. When she displeases Fuma, Sora gives his life to spare her from Fuma's wrath, which would not have happened had she not defected.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL, Astral uses the Trope name word-for-word to describe how Numbers holder Shuta Hayami is able to predict the future; he manipulates events so that his predictions - which are bad for his victims - come true via their own actions.
  • Very nearly occurred with Hiei of YuYu Hakusho. A prophecy held that he would destroy the village of his birth, so he was cast out to die. He survived and, driven by deep-seated anger over being cast aside, returned to destroy the village. Only seeing the misery of the village stayed his hand.

    Audio Play 
  • In The Broken Cyborg: A Biopunk Fairytale, New Albion's mayor gets a message that the city is about to go through a great upheaval on the scale of the one that previously led to New Albion becoming a police state and the ensuing civil war. There's a community of transhumanists living in a shantytown in the city's central park which she fears will be the catalyst, so she orders the military to exterminate them all. Some of the survivors including Jane, the titular cyborg, escape through a gate into the fairy realm where they learn how to alter their bodies in even more extreme ways. With this knowledge, Jane leads an army of mutants and The Fair Folk to reclaim the park and declare it a sovereign territory.

    Comic Books 
  • In one issue of The Beano, Fatty reads about a bean shortage in the paper. He promptly buys all the beans he can find and causes the shortage.
  • A problem in Civil War II. Many of Ulysses' visions towards the heroes seem to prove true because of the heroes' paranoid attempts to stop them, especially if they involve Carol Danvers. It's because Ulysses' visions work by extrapolating from the now, and Carol is the most prone to paranoidly jump on every one of them, which became a variable in his data pool. They got locked in a prophecy self-fulfilling feedback loop so to speak.
    • The example of the Incredible Hulk stands out particularly. Ulysses has a vision of a mindless Hulk on a hero-killing rampage. Carol takes a massive team of heroes to confront a supposedly depowered Bruce about whether he actually is depowered, which ends with Bruce getting shot in the head. So, no more Hulk? Nope. A few months later, HYDRA brings Bruce back to life, and the trauma of dying (again) has created a new mindless Hulk, who goes on the rampage Ulysses saw.
  • Comedic variant from Captain Britain:
    Zeitgeist: You didn't warn us because I was going to insult you? You mean I hadn't even insulted you at that point? You just predicted I was going to and didn't warn... Cobweb, you are the most thoroughly irrational squack-head I have ever set eyes upon.
    Cobweb: There! I knew you were going to say that!
  • In the Doctor Who (Titan) comic story "Weapons of Past Destruction" the Unon's (a centaur race that decided to look after time after the time war) try to prevent the excroth, a technologically advanced race, from developing time travel which will somehow make them become the lect, a destructive race that will hunt the unon's, by destroying their entire planet. Unfortunately, some excroths survive and try to get their revenge by putting their bodies inside some tanks to kill the unon thereby becoming the lect.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: In the 2003 Gyro Gearloose story "The Accidental Factor", a future telling device predicts a rampaging elephant ruining the mayor's parade. In order to prevent it, Gyro tracks the elephant down and tries to keep him in place with a large number of peanuts, but the animal goes crazy after the peanuts and causes the exact accident Gyro was trying to prevent.
  • The Flash: Eobard Thawne was obsessed with superheroes in the 26th century when everyone has forgotten about them. Mainly the Flash (Barry Allen). Studying him to the point of knowing every recorded detail on his life, successfully replicated the experiment that gave Flash his powers, and traveled back in time to become The Flash’s sidekick and best friend. Except in the Flash museum he saw an entry on Professor Zoom, a psychopath who was bent on destroying Barry and everything he loved. His identity? Eobard Thawne! Angry, he did what we all would've done: Ran further into the past to kill Barry's mother and frame his father. Constantly bullying the young Flash through the time barrier in the most petty ways imaginable note  before becoming a full blown supervillain.
  • Green Lantern: This is pretty much how Hal Jordan got his ring. Green Lantern Abin Sur heard a prophecy from Atrocitus that his ring would fail and he would die, setting off a chain of events that would lead to Sinestro turning evil and spreading chaos across the galaxy. When Sur went to Earth to investigate this prophecy, he was terrified of his ring failing; so much so that, with prodding from Atrocitus, he lost his belief in his own abilities and succumbed to fear, thus ensuring the ring would indeed stop working for him. This led to his death, Hal getting the ring, and everything else that came after.
  • In the classic Judge Dredd storyline The Judge Child Quest, the Judge Child makes predictions that make the people who hear them cause the accidents that they just heard predicted.
  • A couple of Spider-Man stories deal with his Time Police counterpart from the year 2211 and his arch-nemesis Hobgoblin 2211. It's revealed the Hobgoblin 2211 is really his daughter Robin, who, while researching breaks in the "multiverse" throughout history, and how to stop them from continuing to destroy reality, is arrested by her father for things she is innocent of now, but will do in the future (namely murder and screwing around with reality), and placed in a virtual reality prison/paradise. Her boyfriend, however, attempts to free her by using a virus to shut down the computer she's attached to, which also drives her completely insane as her mind is affected by the virus. Now totally nuts, she then dons a dimensional/time traveling suit and goes on a rampage through time and reality, erasing people (usually Spider-Men) from existence with Retcon bombs. As a result, not only do her father's attempts to stop her from becoming the Hobgoblin directly cause her to do so, but she herself becomes the cause of the very breaks in reality that she had discovered (though that's less a prophecy than merely an ironic turn).
  • X-Men:
    • Bolivar Trask was inspired to create the Sentinels because his son was having visions of a Bad Future, and he assumed this meant a mutant-controlled one. The visions were actually of the Days of Future Past, a Sentinel-controlled future. Trask's son also saw visions of various mutant supervillains' crimes. What he didn't see was mutant superheroes were the ones who stopped them.
    • Another case of this is Genosha. Prior to the 2000s, this island nation depended on brutally enslaving mutants in order to exploit their powers, which one Genoshan justifies with the logic that if mutants were allowed to live as free people, they would exterminate the humans of Genosha. When Magneto conquers the island and frees the mutant slaves, their bitterness over the inhumane way they were treated during their stint as slaves causes them to rise up and drive off/massacre the humans who had enslaved them.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1942): During the Silver Age of Comics the reason Circe kept attacking Diana was that a prophecy claimed Diana would be her doom. Diana ends up accidentally unmaking Circe's immortality while defending herself from the witch, when she'd had no reason to approach or fight her without Circe attacking her.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Hippolyta's attempts to save her daughter after hearing a prophecy that Wonder Woman will die by instigating the events of The Contest while siphoning Diana's powers in order to ensure she'd be defeated and have to give up the title lead directly to Diana's death due to having her power drained when fighting Neron. To add insult to injury the plot also gets Artemis killed after she wins the contest and temporarily replaces Diana as Wonder Woman.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Fish and the Ring, Vasilii the Unlucky, The Devil With the Three Golden Hairs, The King Who Would Be Stronger Than Fate, and many other fairy tales, a man who finds his child doomed to marry a poor child tries to kill them with many tasks, before and after the wedding. It never works.
  • In Sun, Moon, and Talia, an older variant of Sleeping Beauty, wise men prophesy that Talia will be harmed by flax. Her father, therefore, bans it from the castle — which means Talia doesn't know what it is and finds it intriguing.
  • In Madame d'Aulnoy's Princess Rosette, the fairies (reluctantly) predict that the princess will cause grave danger, or even death, to her older brothers. So her parents lock her in a tower. When they die, her brothers immediately free her. She learns that people eat peacocks and, in her innocence, resolves to marry the King of the Peacocks. Her loving brothers try to bring this about and end up in grave danger (though they do survive).
  • In The Brothers Grimm's The Bright Sun Brings It to Light, a tailor's apprentice in need of money robs and murders a poor Jew who prophesies with his last breath that the apprentice won't get away with it because "the bright sun will bring [the crime] to light." Years pass and the apprentice eventually finds work, marries his boss' daughter and starts a family. One day, he notices the sun shining on his coffee and the reflection making circles on the walls and mutters "yes, it would like very much to bring it to light, and cannot!" His wife asks him what he means by this and pesters him until he admits his crime to her. She confides the secret to someone else and it soon becomes public knowledge. "And thus, after all, the bright sun did bring it to light."
  • Downplayed in The Grateful Beasts. Ferko's brothers, looking for something to slander him with, claim he will carry off the princess. He does marry the princess, because of the consequences of that.
  • In a Russian fairy tale, a ruler is foretold that his favorite horse will cause his death. He orders the horse taken away and killed. A year later, he goes to the place where the horse was killed, taunts its bared bones and kicks the skull. An angry snake crawls out of the skull and bites him in the leg, killing him.
    • The story was turned into the poem Old Oleg by Alexander Pushkin. In his version, the prince does not have the horse killed but decides not to ride it anymore and leaves it on a distant pasture to graze. Many years later, he comes to the place and finds that the horse has died of old age in the meantime. Then he makes the mistake of approaching the skeleton...
    • A similar story is told in England about a 14th-century nobleman named Robert de Shurland. Upon getting a prediction that he will die because of his horse, he killed it on the spot. A year later, he passed nearby and kicked the skull. A piece of bone pierced his foot, causing blood poisoning.

    Fan Works 
  • Discussed in The Headhunt. Tess Phohl notes that a good part of the reason so many genetic augments turn bad is that the Federation treats them like crap, whereas "folks like the Mottas actually appreciate them." Hence people hate Augments, hence more of them turn bad.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act III: In chapters 23 and 24, after Ahakon has a dream about Yukari that leads to him calling her name in his sleep, Apoch and Astreal begin to mistreat Yukari to the extent that they outright try to murder her, fearing she might take him away from them. In the latter chapter, their actions, combined with the fact that Ahakon was caught in the crossfire and nearly killed by Apoch and Astreal's attack while trying to save Yukari, end up being one of the main reasons Ahakon breaks up with them in favor of Yukari.
  • You Can't Spell Slaughter Without Laughter: Pinkie Pie explains the concept to Zeus, and later Cronos, and they realize the mistakes they've made as a result. This leads to a much happier ending for both. (Namely, they don't get killed by Kratos.)
  • In the Battlestar Galactica (2003) fanfic Fail Better it's implied that every attempt to break a prophecy ended in this. Lucia was the first one who could trick the system.
  • Invoked in Avenger of Steel when Clark contemplates the possibility that Raven will destroy the world; as Clark sees it, treating Raven as though she's a threat increases the possibility that she will be, but treating her as a person increases the hope that she'll become an ally, so he chooses to treat her as an ally and hope for the best.
  • Princess of the Blacks has an especially ironic example. Dumbledore, who in canon remarked that Voldemort's attempts to circumvent the prophecy caused it to come to fruition, fears a prophecy about one of the Potter twins "knowing only darkness" and possibly being the one to defeat Voldemort; so he sets out to have the appropriate twin permanently removed from the Magical World. Little Jen would spend four years in an abusive home before she was blinded and abandoned; she went on to grow up a child prostitute and become an immensely powerful Black Witch. Throughout the series, Dumbledore proves incapable of realizing that Jen's darkness is his own fault, instead believing that she was born evil.
  • Fade:
    • All L's attempts to stop canon!Kira's rise with his own Death Note are fated to fail for one reason: L has already supplanted Light's place as Kira.
    • L deliberately keeps Light away from the Task Force so he won't turn them against L as he did in canon. It's a fruitless effort, as L manages to do that on his own with little to no involvement from Light.
  • In Unexpected Surprise, Emma used to have dreams about sitting on the roof with her daddy who just saved her from something. Therefore, she constantly tries to get to the roof. During one of the attempts, she almost falls before Adrien grabs her and gets them both to the roof.
  • Played with in What You Already Know, as a few of Daniel's earlier premonitions are of things that mostly end up happening because of his actions (such as Sam almost getting killed in a Goa'uld attack that only posed a threat because Daniel and Teal'c left the SGC and ended up on that planet to rendezvous with Jack and Sam), but in general it is soon established that Daniel's visions are of what would happen if he did nothing, with the SGC using the accompanying foreknowledge to prevent these futures from happening.
  • In A Prize for Three Empires, Mystique and Rogue attack Carol Danvers because Mystique's lover Destiny foretold Carol would somehow harm Rogue in the future... which comes to pass because Carol was attacked by them in the first place.
  • Discussed in Not Set in Stone. Cisco "vibes" and has a vision of Laurel's death. The two of them decide not to tell anyone about it, out of fear that the attempts to prevent it will be what causes it. Eventually, Barry and Oliver accidentally learn about it, and both of them also agree not to tell anyone else. They do however start to work on ways to prevent it, reasoning they can take some precautions. By the time the rest of Team Arrow learns of it, they are all reasonable certain they'll be able to prevent it now. They're right.
  • The central premise of Change fate by being aggressively kind is someone trying to avert this. A prophecy is told throughout the land of three children who will eventually grow up to bring about the apocalypse, and so every adventurer in the land seeks to end the prophecy by slaughtering them...except Phil, who realizes that a lifetime of being hunted for things they haven't even done yet will give the children a negative view of humanity and no choice but to end the world in response. Therefore, he hunts them down to adopt them and give them a better life than that. He's also motivated to do this because he nearly gave in to one of these in the past — a prophecy about how an avian would kill thousands upon thousands, which led to avians being hunted until he was the Sole Survivor of his species, at which point he hid away rather than give in to his rage and prove the prophecies right.

    Films — Animated 
  • A Bug's Life: Hopper continuously bullies and threatens the ants to keep them submissive and scared, preventing them from realizing their vastly superior numbers would allow them to easily fend off the grasshoppers if they stood up for themselves, a fact he is well aware of. Unfortunately for him, doubling down on his abuse to stomp out any signs of disobedience results in the ants eventually getting fed up with being treated like garbage and standing up to the grasshoppers, just as he feared.
  • Frozen has infant Elsa injure Anna with her magic. When their parents take her to the trolls, the head troll warns them that Elsa's magic could be devastating if not controlled, and emphasizes the threat to Anna if she gets hit in the heart with ice magic. The parent's response is to lock Elsa away, to teach her what a threat she is, and to repeatedly tell her to repress her feelings and her magic so she doesn't hurt anyone. This causes Elsa to develop severe anxiety and fear about her powers, which in turn mean she is no longer able to control them. As a result, not only does one of her panic attacks freeze all of Arendelle, but she also ended up accidentally striking her sister by her heart, the very thing that Elsa wanted to avoid in all her life.
  • In Hercules, Hades gets a prophecy from the Fates that the only thing that can foil his plan to rule the cosmos is the titular hero. When he tried to dispose of Herc as a baby, he set off a chain of events that led to Hercules growing up to be a hero and foiling his plans.
  • Kung Fu Panda has the Old Master Oogway warning that he had a premonition that the villainous Tai Lung will escape his prison. Master Shifu has a bird messenger sent to the prison to increase the security; when he gets there, he inadvertently provides the essential element (a feather, used as a lockpick) that puts Oogway's premonition in motion and lets Tai Lung escape. Oogway even tries to warn Shifu of this possibility before the fact.
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 has the Genocide Backfire version: Lord Shen hears that he will be defeated by a "warrior of black and white", so he destroys the panda village in the area. This act eventually causes baby Po to be sent to the Valley of Peace, which allows him to become the Dragon Warrior and get the training he would need to fulfill his destiny, and indeed, he defeats Shen and ends his ambitions of conquest. It goes into full Prophecy Twist territory with how Shen dies: Po was willing to offer Shen mercy. However, Shen continued to attacking, cutting ropes holding up Shen's creation, a giant cannon. The cannon falls, chrushing him. Shen, who through his colored plumage (not to mention through the constant Yin Yanh motiffs throughout the film) is also a "warrior of black and white." Shen not only caused his own defeat by Po, but caused his own defeat himself.
  • Taken literally in The LEGO Movie, where Vitruvius admits that he made up the prophecy about "the Special" because he knew that it would inspire hope and bring about an actual "Special" by the hidden potential found in everyone.
  • In The Prince of Egypt, Rameses remains firm on not freeing the Hebrews out of fear of weakening Egypt. That attitude causes God to send the plagues and as a result, Egypt gets severely weakened.
  • In The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue, Nicodemus foretold that M. Brisby's youngest son, Timmy, had a great destiny of saving his loved ones awaiting him, and should, therefore, be sent to Thorn Valley for further education. This possibility enrages his older brother Martin so much, that he runs away from home, gets captured by NIMH, gets experimented on by being given hyper-intelligence, causing him to go Hitler, upon which he manages to brainwash all the other rats in the facility, causing an uprising against the scientists, after which he organizes the lab rats into an army to invade Thorn Valley, longing for revenge, and is then gradually and conveniently stopped by Timmy, who has henceforth managed to keep his loved ones safe.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A prophecy said that the title character in The Beastmaster would bring down the Big Bad, so the villain tried to have the boy killed before his birth, the act which gave him the beast empathy powers that led to the villain's downfall.
  • Subverted in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: Cesare predicts that Alan has until dawn to live, and then goes and ensures the accuracy of his prediction. With a knife.
  • In Caddyshack Al Czervik bets that Judge Smails will slice his drive into the woods. Despite claiming he never slices, this is enough to put the thought into his head, so he does indeed slice into the woods. Any avid golfer can tell you this happens all the time in Real Life.
  • In The Chronicles of Riddick, Lord Marshal Zhylaw experiences Genocide Backfire when he kills off the entire Furyan Race to avoid death by one of their hands. Except he misses the infant who later became Riddick, who might not have even known or cared about Zhylaw's crimes if he didn't keep trying to kill Riddick and his friends. He actually missed two, and the other one saves Riddick's life.

    This part of Zhylaw's character is especially evident in the climax, where he is wounded while fighting Riddick before his second-in-command Vaako attempts to kill him and take his throne. Zhylaw uses his transportation ability to flee, but realizes too late that Riddick is waiting for him on the other end. Being forced to choose between dying at the hand of either Vaako or Riddick, he chooses the latter.
  • In The Dark Crystal, the Chamberlain outright says that it's the prophecy's fault for causing the Genocide Backfire of the Gelflings. If it hadn't been for the prophecy, the Gelflings wouldn't have been annihilated, and the last survivors wouldn't have as much a motive to kill off the Skeksis by healing the Dark Crystal.
  • In the 2006 Bollywood superhero movie Krrish, a modern take on the ancient story of Krishna in the Mahabharata, the antagonist Dr. Arya builds a supercomputer that can predict the future. After seeing his own predicted death at the hands of Krrish, he begins hunting him down. Krrish's friend Kristian is shot dead by Dr. Arya when he is mistaken for Krrish. As a result, Krrish vows to revenge against Dr. Arya and eventually kills him. Dr. Arya's attempt to prevent his death led to it becoming true.
  • Unlike most examples, The Matrix series as a whole justifies this trope in that those prophesied about actually WANT to fulfill the prophecies made by the Oracle. Also further justified in that the Oracle may SEE the future, but she usually doesn't TELL the future. That is, she doesn't tell the Zionites what the future actually holds. She just tells them what they need to hear in order for that future to come about. Of course, the Oracle was a memetic program designed to understand and manipulate human emotions. Go figure.
    • The Oracle tells Neo not to worry about the vase. Neo turns around to see what vase she's talking about, and in the process knocks it over. Then she tells him to wonder about if he still would have broken it if she hadn't said anything.
    • Trinity said that the Oracle had told her she, Trinity, would fall in love with the guy who was the One from the prophecies. When Trinity fell in love with Neo, she used this to justify her belief that Neo was the One. But maybe she only fell in love with him because she thought he was the One? She was so fixated on the idea of the prophecy that she was unable to fall in love with anyone else, but once Morpheus announced Neo as The Chosen One, Trinity wanted desperately to believe in it. The shooting script actually included additional lines about Morpheus finding other "Ones" before, who all died (hence why Cypher tells Neo not to screw with Agents as others did and just run) and Trinity whispering to Neo that she knows he IS The One, because she had a feeling about him she did not have about others.
    • When Neo asked the Oracle if he was the One the first time he met her and she told him "No, not in this life", she was speaking the truth. He wasn't. Not at that point in time, anyway. This may also count as an inversion when her telling Neo that Morpheus would die for mistakenly believing Neo was the One unless Neo did something about it eventually led to Neo dying, and getting resurrected in a blatant Christian metaphor, and at THAT point he becomes the One. And, of course, gets himself crucified a few films later.
    • However, it's subverted when Neo, the Messianic Archetype "prophesied" by the Machines to perpetuate a cycle of death and rebirth of Zion that had repeated several times before, rebelled against the prophecy and later broke the cycle with the unwitting help of Smith. Then double subverted at the end when the Architect suggests that she planned all of it, thus the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy came about by just not telling Neo the real prophecy.
  • Minority Report plays it straight for most of its length, but subverts it near the end. Or more simply:
    'destiny ain't what you thought it were'.
  • Office Space: Tom Smykowski's prediction that he'll lose his job; since he apparently spent more time worrying about getting fired instead of preparing for the interview with the Bobs that he knew was coming, he's a nervous, sweaty wreck by the time he's in front of them and completely falls apart after a few questions that really shouldn't have been that difficult to answer. Needless to say, the Bobs assume his job isn't that important and can him.
  • Over the Edge: Everything the parents do to crack down on their children's criminal tendencies only leads to even worse outbursts since they don't accept the fact that their interest in making in profit is what is burning them out. Carl, who is warned by his father to stay away from reform school, ends up there by the end of the movie. Mr. Sloan spells it out for Fred.
    Mr. Sloan: Seems to me like you all were in such a hopped-up hurry to get out of the city that you turned your kids into exactly what you were trying to get away from.
  • Paycheck. And not Paycheck. The newspaper scene pretty much plays this straight with the machine that can see the future, but the rest of the movie subverts this. Specifically, the machine sees in the future that there will be a plague. So, leaders use the machine to see who will get the plague, round them all up and keep them together to prevent it from spreading. Surprise! They all get the plague. The machine predicts a war with another country, so leaders launch a preemptive strike against the evil country and the result is a war. By seeing the future, the leaders create the future, which they then see. It's weird and circular but makes sense: the machine doesn't so much see the future, it sees the future that the machine will create merely by existing.
  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Blackbeard is prophesied to die at the hands of the "One-Legged Man". Convinced that he can't beat the prophecy but can cheat it, he sets sail for the Fountain of Youth. This plan of action creates two critical mistakes which allow the prophecy to come to pass: he has given the One-Legged Man a location at which to find him, and in reaching it deprives himself of the considerable magical abilities granted to him by the combination of his enchanted sword and ship.
  • The Sandra Bullock film Premonition, mixed with Anachronic Order via Unstuck in Time. This is a particularly frightening example, because of the Anachronic Order nature of the film, she spends every other day as one before and one after her husband dies, and spends the movie trying to prevent his death not knowing that her eventual presence at the scene of his accident is what causes it.
  • In Sex And Death 101, Roderick gets a list of all the sexual partners he will ever have in his lifetime. Reading the list causes him to break up with his fiance and seek out the other women. He resigns himself to doing what the list says, at one point having sex with a crazy homeless woman and a man just because it says he will.
  • The bank insolvency example was mentioned in Sneakers.
  • In Star Trek (2009), Nero boasts that James T. Kirk will never become the hero that history remembered him as because Nero would kill him first like he did his father. Ironically, Nero's deeds are PRECISELY what leads to Kirk becoming a hero; in fact, he might've accelerated it!
  • Star Wars:
    • The entire plot of Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Anakin has visions of his wife dying in childbirth and turns to the dark side in an attempt to prevent it, only to get Drunk on the Dark Side and accidentally kill her. This was done to contrast with Luke later being confronted by the same sorts of troubling prophecies, but ultimately being able to Screw Destiny and avoid the path his father took.
    • The Last Jedi: Luke feared that his nephew, Ben Solo, would turn to the Dark Side, and so attempted to murder him in his sleep. He caught himself and changed his mind, but it was already too late. Ben woke up to see his uncle looming over him, lightsaber in hand, and so Ben attacked to defend himself, prompting his turn to the Dark Side and becoming Kylo Ren.
  • Tell Me How I Die: An experimental drug gives people who use it visions of the future, including their own (violent) deaths at the hands of a killer stalking the testing facility. It's left ambiguous whether people can influence the visions they have or the visions influence the people having them, but the female lead eventually realizes that it works as a self-fulfilling prophecy because every character she told about the manner in which she saw them die ultimately do so in the exact way she described by trying to prevent it, while the only person that she didn't explicitly tell about hers died in a different manner than the vision predicted.
  • In The Ten Commandments, Pharoah Rameses I on advice from his High Priest Jannes orders the massacre of all Hebrew babies born at the time predicted that a Hebrew male would grow up to deliver his slave nation from bondage. It does not work, as the one surviving male baby Moses is secretly adopted by the pharaoh's own daughter Bithia to actually grow up to make the prophecy come true.
  • Terminator:
    • In The Terminator, John Connor would not have been conceived if the T-800 hadn't traveled back in time and attempted to kill Sarah Connor, while Skynet wouldn't have been created if T-800 hadn't traveled back in time and attempted to kill Sarah Connor. Thus, Skynet created both itself and its greatest enemy.
    • Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines in general puts forth the idea that it's not so much a self-fulfilling prophecy anyway, but a kind of predestination... Judgment Day will always happen, and there will always be a human Resistance that rises up to fight it. It's the details such as the date of Judgment Day and who leads the Resistance (and whether the Resistance wins) that can be changed. All we know is that at some point, John Connor got conceived and added into the temporal shuffle, at which point his own actions formed a Stable Time Loop assuring he'd be born.
  • In Thor: Ragnarok, the eponymous prophecy of Asgard's destruction at Ragnarok couldn't have been fulfilled if the heroes didn't know about it... because they actively invoked it to Summon Bigger Fish.
  • 12 Monkeys. Not the cataclysm itself, but the protagonist's vision of someone dying. And La Jetée, the short French New Wave film it was based on.
  • In Wanted the Loom of Fate causes Sloan to fall into this. The loom marks Sloan for death, but Sloan is the only one who interprets the loom's coded marks, so he simply hides it away and manufactures targets to make money as well as shape the world as he sees fit. In the end, the loom also marks the entire Chicago Fraternity for death; one tries to say Screw Destiny but is killed by the Action Girl just after, who kills herself with the same bullet, in the same shot, as her name is on the list. Though Sloan survives this scene, his attempt to turn the Fraternity into assassins for money and his failure to succeed allow the main character to survive and kill him in the very next scene.
  • In Willow, the local evil sorceress tries to kill the infant prophesied to be her downfall, inadvertently rallying all her enemies to try and protect the child, ultimately leading to the sorceress's defeat. In addition to that, in the end, she ends up destroying herself with the very spell she was going to use to destroy the child.

    Folk Tales 
  • A fable from the Middle East tells of a wealthy man of Baghdad, whose servant begs for his master's fastest horse to flee the city to Samarra. The servant tells his master that he saw Death in the marketplace that morning and that she had made a threatening gesture at him. The master acquiesces, then hunts Death down for an explanation as to why she'd threatened his servant. Death replies that she was not threatening, only surprised to see the servant there...because she had an appointment with him that night in Samarra.
    • Retold by W. Somerset Maugham in "The Appointment in Samarra".
    • And by Italian singer Roberto Vecchioni in "Samarcanda"
    • Also used as a Title Drop in the TV adaptation of Agatha Christie's Appointment with Death.
    • Given a lovely recitation by Boris Karloff in Targets.
    • That story is played with in Discworld when Death runs into Rincewind and tells him they have an appointment in another city and asks Rincewind to please hurry and go there, even offering to lend him his horse. Rincewind refuses. Of course, it was the same city Rincewind was planning to run to in the first place, making it a sort of accidentally self-defeating prophecy.
    • The Jewish version of this story has King Solomon meeting the angel of death, who looks sad. Upon being asked why he is sad, the angel replies that he is supposed to take the lives of two of Solomon's advisers but can't. Solomon, worried for his advisers, sends them off to the city of Luz, famous for the fact that all who live within have immortality so long as they remain in that city. The following day Solomon sees the angel of death again, who is happy this time. Why was he sad yesterday, and why is he now happy? Because he was supposed to take the lives of those advisers just before the entrance to the city of Luz, and couldn't do so so long as they weren't there yet...
  • There was a small town. One day, an old lady said something bad was going to happen that day. Word gets out, and then every person is so paranoid that the townspeople burn it down and run.
  • Of course, as mentioned above, the ancient Greek fable of Oedipus Rex (later made into a play by Sophocles), which ended in Oedipus gouging out his own eyes and his wife/mother hanging herself.

  • In the 1632 novels, people have gotten into the habit of looking up themselves in uptime reference works. Some of them then decide to try to make the bits about their future that they like come sooner, and the bits that they don't like not happen. In some cases - the matter with Charles I of England and Oliver Cromwell being the most obvious - the manner in which they try to avoid their fate just makes it likely to happen sooner.
  • Played with in the Tim Pratt short story "Another End of the Empire": an Evil Overlord receives a prophecy that a child from a certain village will grow up to bring an end to his empire. Rather than wipe them out (he knows how these things work; there will be survivors), he instead uses the village as a test bed for social and political reform, improving education and the general quality of life, hoping to eliminate any possible motive anyone would have for trying to overthrow him. He even adopts the three most likely candidates as his sons and allows them to pursue their own agendas to keep them happy. The twist is that in making all these changes, he has made his empire peaceful and prosperous, his subjects actually like him now rather than simply fear him, and he can even retire happily and pass on rule to one of his more progressive-minded sons. So his empire does come to end, just not the way he expected. Amusingly, both the overlord and his Sybil is aware of this trope and discusses it — it is the reason he is certain there would be survivors, when he complains that his probability witches have been unable to narrow it down beyond the three most likely candidates the Sybil suggests it is a dynamic prophecy and any one of them could be the overthrower if the other two are killed or removed, and towards the end the plan is to continue the course so as to avoid triggering the prophecy before he can die from something less destiny-entangled. It is only at the end he realizes he'd managed to arrange things so the prophecy could be fulfilled in a less personally unpleasant way.
    • The wording of the prophecy was "If allowed to grow to manhood, he will take over your empire, overthrow your ways and means, and send you from the halls of your palace forever", which almost (one can quibble about one part of it) happened, just not in the way the evil overlord thought: the Empire is taken over by one of the children... because he adopted the child (all of them, but only one wanted to rule) and later abdicated and gave the throne to that child, his ways and means were overthrown... because, in the process of allowing them to indulge in their agendas, that child had introduced extensive but effective reforms far beyond anything the overlord had considered, and while the one that took over the Empire didn't exactly send the overlord from the halls of the palace forever, he did see the overlord do so - because the overlord felt useless and didn't want to stay around after having abdicated.
  • In the Victorian heist novel Any Old Diamonds, the main character's Wicked Stepmother always feared that high society, and her new stepchildren, would not accept her because she's a lower-class woman who married a duke. So she rubs her wealth and rank in everyone's face all the time, and is in general a huge Jerkass. (It doesn't help that are some nasty skeletons in the closet regarding her first marriage.) So yes, high society hates having her around and people only invite her to things when they absolutely have to, because she's totally unbearable. The protagonist notes that there are other women who married into the nobility after careers as dancers and actresses who are now well-accepted after the initial classist hiccups, because they're actually nice to people.
  • In Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept: Blue Adept, in (what they thought was) their big showdown, protagonist Stile asks the Red Adept why she was gunning for him. She replies a prophecy had foretold of her destruction at his hands, so she decided to strike first. Stile points out that he never would've heard of her, magic, or the world of Phaze (let alone been able to enter it) if Red hadn't murdered Adept Blue (Stile's Phaze self) and tried to kill him. Turns out the Oracle, which is really a supercomputer, set Red on his trail intentionally, to get Stile into Phaze to play his part to Save Both Worlds.
  • In Astral Dawn, Caspian unwittingly fulfills his destiny by traveling to the Moment of Creation, a point in space-time he was warned never to go.
  • In Castle in the Air, Flower-In-the-Night's father locked her up since her birth, after hearing a prophecy that the first man she sees will become her husband. If he hadn't done that, she would have never met the main protagonist Abdullah ...
  • C. S. Lewis' book The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy is, in theory, based around one of these; the revelation of the content of the prophecy sets in motion the very events that were predicted. Of course, Aslan has a carefully judged paw on the scales of the universe throughout - pushing boats to shore, scaring the horses, propping up the central character's failing morale, and generally helping the characters complete his Gambit Roulette. No doubt giving the dryad the plot-triggering prophecy was all according to plan.
  • Dune uses this trope in an interesting way. Instead of the seer giving a prophecy and leaving others to fulfill it, the seer is a Messianic Archetype who tries to find the best possible path for the future and enact it himself. The problem is that once humanity is set on a certain path in the present, the number of possible futures diminish and it becomes impossible to switch to a different path for the future without dealing with the effects of the prior path.
  • Elemental Logic: In Fire Logic an army attacks the peaceful Ashawala'i people because an oracle told them that someone from there would defeat them. Naturally, the lone survivor does just that because they killed off her people.
  • Chris and Cathy's incestuous love in Flowers in the Attic. The Grandmother wanted to prevent such a thing, but she actually pushed them together by locking them up for years, isolated from the rest of the world and other kids.
  • The Folk of the Air:
    • Dain is told that if his child lives, he will never be king. Attempting to murder his unborn child by poisoning the mother succeeds in killing only the mother. The child ends up in the hands of Madoc who, having his hands on a secret member of the royal family and aware of Dain’s depravity, decides to shift loyalties, resulting in Dain’s murder just as he was about to be king.
    • Jude’s mother is told that her child would alter the fate of the faerie world. Thinking it to be about Vivienne, she fakes her death and flees back to the mortal world. It’s suggested that the prophecy was actually about Jude, who was only born because her mother ran away from Madoc and remarried a human.
  • The Nice And Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch, from Good Omens work a bit like this:
    Newt: But if you're going to places and doing things because she saw them, and she saw them because you were there, then...
    Anathema: Yes, I know.
  • In The Graveyard Book, if the Jacks had never taken it upon themselves to kill Bod's family, Bod would never even have made it to the graveyard in the first place.
  • Jane Yolen's Great Alta Saga. When Jenna's soldiers capture the Cat and tell her to kill him, as it is prophesized she will, she refuses. That night, the Cat breaks free and Jenna's close friend, called Cat as a nickname, dies in the resulting fight. Thus, Jenna does bring about the death of a Cat.
  • Harry Potter is built around one, as explained by Dumbledore in book six:
    • Voldemort hears half of a prophecy about a boy about to be born who will be his nemesis. With two possible choices, Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom, he chooses Harry, but in the process of trying to kill him, gives him both the power to defy him and a reason to. What's the best way to turn an otherwise unimportant young wizard into your mortal enemy who's well-equipped to defeat you? Well, murdering his parents and spending the better part of a decade sticking him in convoluted death traps is not a bad start. What's more, Dumbledore hints that not all prophecies have to be fulfilled. The only reason Harry is going to fulfill the prophecy is that he would never rest until Voldemort was dead, and the same goes for Voldemort. The only way to avoid it coming true is if they both stop, which certainly won't happen. Worth noting, the prophecy only actually says that one of the two (Voldemort, Harry) will kill the other. Since Harry was a baby at the time Voldemort heard it, striking immediately seemed to make sense. Voldy really should have put more thought into it, though. JK Rowling has said that had the roles been reversed, Neville would have been just as capable of walking the same path Harry did. There was a third option available to Voldemort, but it was one that his ego and paranoia would've never allowed him to take even had he been aware of it: do nothing. That would've resulted in neither Harry nor Neville being "marked as the Dark Lord's equal" and gaining the power to defeat him.
      Dumbledore: Voldemort himself created his worst enemy, just as tyrants everywhere do! Have you any idea how much tyrants fear the people they oppress? All of them realize that, one day, amongst their many victims, there is sure to be one who rises against them and strikes back! Voldemort is no different!
    • Played for laughs with some of Trelawney's "predictions". The first time we see her, in the third book, she asks Neville to use one of the blue cups for tea-leaves-reading after he breaks his first one. Neville, already nervous at the best of time, promptly breaks the first cup he uses. She ends the lesson by telling him he'll be late next time, "so mind you work extra hard to catch up". Hermione believes this is why people die when they see "the Grim"; since it's believed to be an omen of Death, many people get so scared to see it that they die of fright.
    • A similar example is mentioned in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them; The Augurey's mournful cry was once believed to foretell the death of whoever heard it (in reality, they were predicting rain). The entry goes on to mention how several wizards suffered fatal fear-based heart attacks after hearing an unseen Augurey's cry.
  • Inverted in I, Claudius. A prophecy is made that Caligula (yup, that one) can "no more become Emperor that he can ride across the bay from Baiae to Puteoli". One of Caligula's first acts as Emperor involves a very long bridge...
  • In book 2 of The Incorrigible Children Of Ashton Place, one character refuses to tell Penelope what's going on for fear that Penelope's attempts to avoid it will lead to this.
  • Inheritance Cycle: In Eragon the title character is asked by a mother to bless her child. He scrapes together some magic words and does. Then his dragon kisses the child, leaving a mark on their forehead. When Eragon protests that he didn't really do anything, someone points out that the kid has both the blessing of a dragon rider and the mark of a kiss from a dragon. They're probably not going to be satisfied as, say, a grocer or blacksmith. Unfortunately, Eragon screwed up the wording, and accidentally cursed Elva.
    • This is discussed later on in the series, and it's stated that the only sure way to prevent one of these prophecies coming to pass is to immediately kill oneself (an example is given of an elf seeing a premonition of him killing his son in battle and committing suicide so he wouldn't do it), because the premonitions don't tell you what choices you made to make the future that you saw.
  • Subverted and lampshaded in Calderon's Life is a Dream, where Segismund - the subject of an Oedipus Rex-type prophecy - points out that it would be a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy, while preventing it from getting fulfilled.
    My father, who is here to evade the fury
    Of my proud nature, made me a wild beast:
    So when I, by my birth of gallant stock,
    My generous blood, and inbred grace and valour,
    Might well have proved both gentle and forebearing,
    The very mode of life to which he forced me,
    The sort of bringing up I had to bear
    Sufficed to make me savage in my passions.
    What a strange method of restraining them!
  • An old Spanish romance named ''The Lover and Death" features a man in love meeting Death. Death tells him that he has one hour left to live. Desperate, the man seeks the company of his girlfriend, wishing to spend his last moments with her. Problem — her parents left and the door's locked, so she can't open the door for him. So she decides to help him climb to her balcony with a thread of silk. He falls to his death.
  • In the Hindu Mythology epic Mahabharata, possibly the Ur-Example, the story of Krishna begins with his uncle Kamsa, the king of the Mathura kingdom, being told a prophecy that predicted his death at the hands of his sister Devaki's child. Out of fear, he imprisons Devaki, planning to kill all of her children at birth. Eventually, her eighth child Krishna is born and is smuggled out to be raised by foster parents in the village of Gokula. Years later, Kamsa learns of his survival and sends demons to kill him. The demons are defeated by Krishna, who as a young man returns to Mathura to overthrow his uncle, resulting in Kamsa's death at the hands of his nephew Krishna. It was due to Kamsa's attempts to prevent the prophecy that led to it coming true.
  • In the short story "The Man Outside" by Evelyn E. Smith, someone called Martin is destined to have a son who develops the interstellar drive, resulting in the exploitation of other planets and their native populations — so one of his descendants (Conrad) plots to travel back through time to kill him, preventing the birth of his son. Martin's other descendants get wind of this, and themselves travel back to protect Martin from Conrad, including anyone from Martin's time who might be an agent of Conrad. When Martin is old and on his deathbed, Conrad finally turns up — and confirms what Martin had worked out years earlier, that his plan all along was to deliberately allow his "death threat" to leak, panicking his brothers and sisters into acting as they did, and thereby achieving the same result without the assassination actually needing to be carried out.
  • Mr. Casaubon's posthumous attempt in Middlemarch to prevent his widow, Dorothea, from marrying Will Ladislaw using a codicil in his will that removes her inheritance if she does so. At the time of Casaubon's death, they have no serious involvement and certainly no plans to marry, but Dorothea's sense of injustice helps to attract her to Will, and in fact, her money is one of the things standing in the way of the relationship...
  • The Clayr in the Old Kingdom series apparently see nothing odd about inducting a member into their ranks because they Saw themselves inducting her into their ranks.
  • Paycheck offers a twist on this. Instead of trying to prevent the prophecy from happening, the protagonist Jennings is actively trying to figure out how to fulfill it. Jenning has an envelope of items, which will help him to survive. At all times, there is the appearance of free will; only at certain moments do the items reveal how they are useful. Jenning's frenemy seems to defeat Jenning's mission (the prophecy) with a reveal but then the time scoop shows up to reveal the final item's worth. The movie by the same name (see above) plays with the trope in a different way.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
    • There was a great prophecy stating that a child of the "Big Three" (Zeus, Poseidon, Hades) would make a decision that will decide the fate of Olympus upon turning sixteen. Those three gods formed a pact to stop having children as a result, and to kill the ones they currently had before they turned sixteen. Suffice to say that if not for that pact Hades' lover Maria wouldn't have been killed, Hades wouldn't have cursed the Oracle, Luke's mother wouldn't have gone insane trying to become the new Oracle, Luke wouldn't have tried to bring back Kronos, and there would have been no decision for the kid in the prophecy to make in the first place.
    • It's implied that Luke's mother was driven mad from the visions of her son's rather unpleasant future. As mentioned above his mother's insanity drives Luke down the path of evil. This makes it a rare instance where merely viewing the prophecy made it come true without any actions being made to prevent it.
  • In Shannon Hale's Princess Academy, the priests of a country traditionally predict what city the prince's future wife will come from, and then the prince goes there to meet all the local girls and get married. The current prince is told that his bride will come from the remote village of Mount Eskel, so the kingdom hurriedly sets up the titular academy to give the local peasant girls a decent education before one of them becomes queen. The prince ends up proposing to Britta, a girl he knew from back in the capital, whose parents had shipped her off to Mount Eskel to get her into the pool of potential brides. The priests are quick to close this loophole for future prophecies, and the main character later wonders why the prophecy didn't point to the city that Britta was originally from, but decides that it was because Mount Eskel "needed an academy more than a princess".
  • In The Shattered Kingdoms, the "curse" of Norland (actually a disease) wouldn't have been released if the Emperor hadn't unsealed a tomb where a weapon against the cursed is supposed to be obtained.
  • In Sleeping Dragon by Johnny Nexus, five people in a Dungeon Punk world are teleported to the same place and given a mission. They eventually learn that five hundred years earlier, the wizard who invented the meta-spells that make modern industrial magic possible prophecised that the world was doomed, and so created a spell that would summon the five greatest heroes of the age to stop it. (They also learn that "heroes" are in short supply, so the spell summoned the five people who came closest to fitting the criteria and then had a breakdown, but that's by-the-by.) Much later, they discover that the threat is a product of industrial magic, and then realise that the wizard only researched meta-spells in the first place for the specific purpose of creating the summoning spell. Their own wizard says that prophecies always work like this, which is why nobody attempts them any more.
  • Cersei Lannister, from A Song of Ice and Fire, had her fortune told when she was a child, and every attempt she's made to say Screw Destiny seems to bring her closer to fulfilling various conditions.
    • Part of the fortune was that 'the valonqar' - the younger sibling, implied to be male - would murder her. She decided that this meant Tyrion and began treating him like complete dirt, thereby giving him several very solid, personal reasons to dream of killing her as he grew up. But, her increasing paranoia (and stress-drinking-and-sleeping around) over what the prophecy could mean has caused massive rifts between her and the "safe" Jaime, who is younger than her by a matter of seconds, and as of A Feast for Crows, he may be able to fulfill the prophecy by refusing to save her from the Swords and Stars.
      • And, of course, the prophecy says THE valonqar, not HER valonqar - which means the prophecy may actually refer to some other acknowledged set of notable siblings' young/er/est member, and Cersei's bloodthirsty plotting has left many of those with a serious wish to take revenge on her in its winding wake.
    • She also seems to be on her way to fulfilling her own personal interpretation of the part regarding her children - "gold shall be their crowns, and gold shall be their shrouds". She sees it as "they'll be crowned, then they'll die and then you'll be left with your life wrecked and you'll die" — even though there are other interpretations. They're all born blond — aka "golden-haired" (which is a bit odd for Baratheons), hence... they may not necessarily need to actively rule anything (with her as the puppetmaster of their lives) to meet the "golden crown" conditions — but, that's what she aims to do, regardless of the known risk. And, as pure little Lannisters, "golden shrouds" are pretty much a given; red and gold are the House colours. It also does not necessarily say that her children will definitely die before her to make everything she wants to go down the drain enough to have her weep buckets (although it's heavily implied by following the mention of shrouds), but she certainly fears that it definitely does. However, the way she raised Joffrey, partly thanks to her worries, helped turn him into a monster, which set him up to be killed by the Tyrells to protect his bride, Margaery Tyrell... which then allows her to marry the more pliable Tommen... who becomes a boy-king at a very, very unstable time liable to generate numerous ways to get him torn from Cersei's smothering grasp, turned against her, maimed and/or killed: all outcomes she'd not want. Meanwhile, Myrcella is "taken" from her and sent to Dorne as part of an arranged betrothal, surrounded by people with a more progressive outlook which, if she adopts it, might distance her enough from her birth family to actively fight Cersei at some point. Although the Dornish also have little cause to love Lannisters, despite Myrcella being an olive branch between kingdoms, so that not only had the chance to lose the prospective Princess her looks through misadventure, but could still blow up in the way Cersei expects... And, all because Cersei refused to undergo another political marriage, mainly so she could remain at King's Landing to keep a paranoid eye and over-firm grip on the "more important" boys.
    • Each Targaryen attempt to outright force the Prince That Was Promised prophecy into happening in their specific generation (as it turns out, most of them premature, at best) has had long-lasting effects. Most being tragic ones, when not being outright stupid and tragic together. Yes, each and every attempt has, ultimately, led to the situation in which dragons were, finally, hatched again. And, arguably, after enough failures... somebody would eventually get it right, if only by accident; so, it was always going to pass in some manner. Whether the price will ultimately prove worth it? We'll have to see.
    • When Tyrion was born, some very snide comments/ rumours/ wishful satire started circulating about how such a deformed birth boded nothing but ill for the prideful Lannister House. Both Tywin and Cersei certainly had other reasons on top of this to dislike him all his life, but perhaps horrifically abusing him for years was not a sound long term plan if you maybe, might, perhaps have to rely on him to stay loyal?
  • Done with a Prophecy Twist in Peter David's Star Trek: New Frontier novel Martyr. A prophet 500 years in the past predicts the savior of his people will come when certain events happen. When those events do happen, Captain Calhoun is revered as that Savior. The Twist? The actual Savior is the man who thinks he's appointed to kill the Savior, whose traits include a scar (which Calhoun has...and gives the appointee while he's struggling). He does kill the Savior—himself—accidentally. And then it's subverted by the fact that The prophet was cheating by using Advanced Alien Technology to look into the future.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • In Fate of the Jedi, it is revealed that Abeloth used to be a mortal woman. Fearing that her immortal family would abandon her once she became old and decrepit, she drank of the Font of Power and bathed in the Pool of Knowledge. Doing so gave her immortality and incredible powers, but mutated her into her current form. Her family abandoned her in disgust.
  • In the Dale Brown novel Starfire, the Russians attacking the space station that the eponymous solar power collector is installed on out of fear that it gets weaponised against them is exactly what leads to it being weaponised in self-defense.
  • All prophecies in the Sword of Truth series are self-fulfilling. Richard, the main protagonist, also makes a strong argument for just letting things run there course as part of it. Throughout the series, just about every prophecy has been twisted because of interpretation, and no one knows what the actual meaning is to properly use. Even then, there are "dead branch" prophecies because some are either-or. Combined, this meant that trying to invoke a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy or prepare for it could actually prevent or impair it.
  • In Through a Brazen Mirror: The Famous Flower of Servingmen, the sorceress Margaret is haunted by a vision that her daughter and an unknown man will kill her; since the laws of magic prevent her from killing family without magical backlash, she tries to break the prediction by getting rid of the likeliest candidates for the man. These candidates are her daughter's husband and son. She doesn't realize the son also counts as her family, and his death sets her up for failure for the rest of the book. She is eventually executed for the deaths of her grandson and son-in-law, as well as all the people she kills trying to indirectly kill her daughter afterward.
  • About thirty years before the start of the Vorkosigan Saga, Mad Emperor Yuri became convinced that his relatives were planning to kill him and seize the throne for themselves. So he sent teams of assassins to kill all of his successors before they could strike. Those of his relatives who survived the attacks, along with their in-laws (Including the greatest warleader in the empire, General Count Piotr Vorkosigan, who did not take having his wife, daughter and oldest son murdered at the dinner table well) decided that they'd had enough of Yuri's insanity and launched a coup which resulted in his death.
  • In The Watchmaker Of Filigree Street, Grace is convinced that Mori will either convince Thaniel to leave her or use his manipulation of probability to Murder the Hypotenuse. She ends up attacking Mori and creating a bomb from one of his clockwork creations, which injures him, and in doing so causes Thaniel to leave her for Mori.
  • In The Wheel of Time series Mat learns he would marry the Daughter of the Nine Moons. Much later, she comes across him trying to flee from a city and has to be tied up. When Mat finds out what she is, having already learned the hard way that You Can't Fight Fate, he changes his mind about hiding her in the lofts and kidnaps her instead. And much later, Tuon only completes the marriage ceremony Mat accidentally started because of the marriage prophecy she got.
  • In the Back Story of Whit by Iain Banks, Isis's Great-Aunt Zhobelia has a vision that the large bag of banknotes discovered near Isis's grandfather before he set up his cult, and which she's been hiding ever since will bring disaster to the cult. So she decides to burn it. This causes the fire in which Isis's parents were killed.
  • The dragonet prophecy in Wings of Fire is actually a lie spread by Morrowseer, but nearly everyone in Pyrrhia knows it and believes in it. So, when a group of dragonets who fit the prophecy show up, they are given significant political power (if only because of their reputation)...which they naturally use to end Pyrrhia's Civil War. Exactly as Morrowseer said they would.
  • When the Slaughterhouse Nine come to Brockton Bay in Worm, Dinah Alcott predicts that if their leader Jack Slash escapes, he'll end the world in two years. Jack learns about this prophecy, grabs some resources, and goes to ground for two years while he puts together something that could do the job.
  • In Zeus Is Dead: A Monstrously Inconvenient Adventure, Zeus's original order that the gods withdraw from the mortal world was Zeus's attempt to outwit a prophecy of his murder, which, eventually, wound up making it come true.
  • The Licanius Trilogy: Given that this story has both prophecy and time-travel as major components of the plot, this trope comes up a lot.
    • In the first book, the Augur Kol has a vision that he will be killed by Scyner. Upon meeting Scyner, he promptly attacks and Scyner kills him in self-defense.
    • When he was still a youth, Gassandrid's home city was destroyed by an unknown catastrophe. Millennia later, he attempted to travel back in time and prevent this, only for the backlash from his malfunctioning time travel attempt to cause that very catastrophe.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On 3rd Rock from the Sun, Dick became paranoid that the Chancellor had it in for Mary. He then talked Mary into thinking so as well and accidentally got her arrested. At the end of the episode, he described what happened:
    Dick: I was completely convinced Mary was going to lose her job.
    Sally: And did she?
    Dick: Yeah. So I guess being paranoid is kind of like being psychic.
  • Angel:
    • Done, though never identified as such, in the case of Sahjhan and Connor. Sahjan read a prophecy that Angel's son would grow up and kill him. He tried to get rid of him by sealing him in an inescapable Hell Dimension, where time moved faster so that after only a few weeks on earth, Connor would have died of old age there. He escaped grown up, a few days later, and killed him a year on earth after that. Additionally, because of his meddling, he spent the intervening time locked in an urn.
    • The false prophecy that Angel would kill Connor that prompted Wesley to kidnap then infant Connor from Angel in the first place is also an example. The kidnapping was the event that triggered the tragic chain of events that made up most of season 4, culminating in Angel killing Connor to save a bunch of hostages. Thanks to a Deal with the Devil, Connor came back. In short, Sahjahn's meddling to try and avoid his fate created the circumstances that led to his fate being fulfilled.
  • Ashes of Love:
    • Zi Fen gave Jin Mi the Unfeeling Pill wishing to spare her daughter the heartache she felt, but robbing Jin Mi of the ability to feel and process her feelings dooms her chance of being happy in love.
    • No matter what Run Yu does, Tu Yao views it as a plot to steal the throne from Xu Feng. Eventually her abuse drives him to do the things she accused him of.
  • On Babylon 5, Londo Mollari, especially towards the end of the series, does his best to avoid his prophetic dream of one day being strangled by G'Kar while he is Centauri Emperor from coming true, it tragically does not work as his past mistakes catch up to him, and by the end of his story arc, he clearly is unable to avoid what lies ahead of him.
  • On Being Human when Mitchell receives a prophecy that a werewolf will kill him, he becomes paranoid about any werewolves other than George and Nina. When they encounter two other werewolves he picks up the Idiot Ball and is so aggressive that he starts a feud with them and really messes up things for everyone. In fact, no one gets killed and they make peace in the end and the prophecy itself later turns out to be a lie.
  • Best Friends Whenever: It is revealed that Cyd and Shelby themselves are what created the Future Lab timeline:
    • When they try to see if Shelby's dad is involved in the Future Lab, they unintentionally get him promoted to that position.
    • When they go back to 1991 to stop Janet Smythe from finding Globo-Digit-Dyne, they accidentally leave behind some of their tachyons which Janet later uses to create the Mega-Corp.
    • They accidentally tell Janet the secret to time travel which would allow her to create the Bad Future that Cyd and Shelby saw in "Fight to the Future: Part 1".
    • Also, the Alternate Timeline with Cyd and Shelby strapped to tables was revealed to have been done voluntarily to sacrifice their powers in order to stop Janet Smythe.
      • A minor non-related example was the fire in "A Time Time To Say Thankyou".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Prophecy Girl": The Master is freed by drinking Buffy's blood, but she went to fight him only because of the prophecy. He even points it out.
    • Double Subversion in "Help": A girl named Cassie, who seems to have prophetic powers, claims that she will die this Friday, whether she likes it or not. The fact that she's been talking about her own death so much leads a cult to try to sacrifice her to a demon, figuring her mysterious disappearance will be chalked up to a suicide. Buffy manages to save her from all the cultists, demons and death traps...only for her to suddenly drop dead of a heart condition that she didn't even know she had. And while not stated, it's entirely plausible that all the stress of her prophecy and its aftermath caused that heart attack.
  • Charmed has a few examples:
    • Season 6 reveals that Piper and Leo's son Wyatt is destined to become the evilest male witch ever. This leads Gideon, headmaster of the Magic Academy, to try and prevent it by killing Wyatt as an infant. As it turns out, however, Wyatt will fight him off, but the psychological trauma of Gideon's attempts to kill him is exactly what turned Wyatt evil, to begin with. Leo ultimately breaks the cycle by killing Gideon.
    • A prominent example is with Cole Turner in Season 5. He repeatedly attempts to win Phoebe back and be good, but no matter what he did to try to convince her, Phoebe and her sisters adamantly refuse to accept him back and even try to kill him, stating that he will never be anything more than an evil demon. Eventually, Cole goes insane and decides to just roll with it.
  • In Community episode "Debate 109" Shirley comes in to tell Jeff and Annie about the crazy idea Abed had that they would kiss. Thus giving Annie the thought to use this as a ploy to win a round of debate.
  • This sort-of shows up in the only CSI episode involving a (confirmed) psychic. The psychic predicts that the killer's next move will be associated with "green tea", and follows Stokes home. Following a hunch the psychic goes into the attic, where the killer is hiding. The killer gains the upper hand and sends the psychic crashing through the ceiling onto Stokes' carpet, which was a green T (for Texas) on it. The psychic, alas, does not get better.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Christmas Invasion", the Doctor deliberately created one of these to get the Prime Minister kicked out of office, saying he could bring her government down with 6 words. "Don't you think she looks tired?" whispered in someone's ear. This got spread around until there was a huge controversy regarding her health. Meanwhile, the stress of her not knowing what he said, and the resulting media circus, actually affected her health and she ended up kicked out of office.
    • In "The Hungry Earth"/"Cold Blood", a group of humans come into contact with Alaya, a member of the Silurian race. She then predicts that one of the humans will kill her and that her death will trigger a war that wipes out humanity. The humans refuse to believe her, but then one woman sneaks in, gets into an argument with Alaya, and ends up accidentally murdering her with a stun gun. Then it turns out that Alaya's sister is the leader of the Silurian military, and she really doesn't like humans...
    • The Series 9 Story Arc teases a Gallifreyan prophecy about a half-Time Lord, half-Dalek warrior known as "The Hybrid" starting in its second episode, and from there the Doctor deals with a variety of hybrid beings. In the three-part finale, the Doctor is revealed to be the one person who knows who or what it is, and Rassilon has him captured and given a Cold-Blooded Torture treatment to bring out the truth about a creature destined to stand in the ruins of Gallifrey and perhaps destroy all of space and time. What makes all this self-fulfilling? It's possible the Doctor doesn't know what it is, just that it's not Time Lord/Dalek. Several possibilities are raised as to its identity, but none are confirmed. But capturing and torturing the Doctor and accidentally getting his beloved companion Clara killed along the way drives him to madness, and he proceeds to escape his confession dial, bloodlessly depose Rassilon and conquer Gallifrey, and then trick the Time Lords into effectively bringing Clara back from the grave with promises of answers to their questions — in the process almost destroying the universe and traveling to the end of time to stand in Gallifrey's ruins. The Doctor thus becomes the Hybrid, by his own remorseful admission — all because someone was determined to keep it from coming to pass.
  • Dolly Parton had a variety show in the '80s and commented in her opening monologue one night about a tabloid paper that predicted she would fall in love with a 300 lb. wrestler and write a song about him entitled "Headlock On My Heart". She then introduced her special guest star, Hulk Hogan, and showed a video of a song she wrote, called "Headlock On My Heart". (Lyrics here.)
  • In an episode of Early Edition, Gary's "selfish" counterpart (who used the paper at least partially for his own gain) accidentally ruined the stock pricing of a (very) small computer company (three or five people) by selling all of their stock that he owned when the paper said they were going to crash.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • The entire series occurs because, in the future, the Reverse Flash wishes to stop Flash from existing, so he travels back in time and kills Barry Allen's mother when he was a child, reasoning that Barry would be so traumatized by the event he'd never become a hero. Ironically, this incident is exactly what pushes Barry to become a police scientist obsessed with the paranormal, which is what ends up turning him into the Flash. To add insult to the injury and doubly apply this trope, since the Reverse Flash's powers work by piggybacking from those of Flash's, once he changes the future he loses this connection. So he's now forced to make Barry turn into the Flash even earlier, so he can get his powers back and return to his own time.
    • In the episode "Killer Frost", Caitlin is obsessed with finding Dr. Alchemy so he can remove her powers, as she's terrified of becoming a supervillain like her Earth-2 counterpart. Said obsession ends up fueling her Split-Personality Takeover, turning her into a supervillain.
  • What drives a lot of the plot in FlashForward (2009). For example, until Janis saw a vision of herself pregnant in the future, she had never really considered having a baby. Mark was haunted by the vision that he would fall off the wagon, the pressure building to the point that when he's given a flask by someone who'd foreseen himself quitting drinking, he gives in to fate instead of pouring it out. Olivia's vision of herself with a lover begins to break apart her marriage, making cheating more likely. By the end of the series, it's been shown that the future seen in flash-forwards can be changed, but doing so required great effort to fight the inertia of the timestream.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Maggy the Frog told Cersei that all three of her children would die. Cersei's own actions, in various ways, lead to this outcome. Joffrey dies because Cersei coddled him and then couldn't control him when he was made king, which led to him being poisoned because he was out of control. Myrcella died because the Mountain killed Oberyn, which in turn only happened because Cersei was determined to punish Tyrion for killing Joffrey without any proof that he was responsible. Finally, Tommen kills himself after Cersei detonates the wildfire under the Great Sept of Baelor, killing Margaery among many others.
    • King Aegon II Targaryen was initially not interested in his claim and was willing to go along with his father's wish to have Rhaenyra take the throne. He was convinced after Alicent told him that Rhaenyra would have put his family to the sword as soon as she became the queen. It became a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy as their actions inevitably forced the Blacks to battle them to the death. All his sons were actually killed during the war.
    • Towards the end of Season 8 everyone becomes suspicious of Daenerys, fearing that she is unstable and will go mad. While Daenerys was under a lot of emotional pressure, it was her own allies holding her at arm's length and scheming against her which pushes her over the edge, just as they feared.
  • In The George Lopez Show, George’s already overweight best friend Ernie puts on so much weight that Vic predicts he is on his way to becoming like his morbidly obese, bedridden mother. Angie deduces that the explanation is that when even after Ernie finally moved out of his parents’ house, he still suffered horrible luck courting women. So Ernie overate and gained weight to become more physically unattractive to women from the get-go so he has an excuse to not have to try to get a date. When Ernie’s weight causes an incident at work, his bosses order him to lose weight or lose his job, and George has to show him that he can now fit into huge pants that his mother once wore to scare some sense into him. Although George being George, he barely remembers Angie’s words and tells Ernie has had a “self-fulfilling prophylactic”.
  • In Hercules, Eurystheus is told that if his daughter Iole ever gets married, her husband will kill him. When Hercules asks that his son Hyllus and Iole may marry to heal the rift between both houses, Eurystheus attempts to have them both killed, fearful for his life. During the climactic struggle, Hyllus ends up killing Eurystheus by throwing a knife to his chest, who might have lived if he had not tried to kill him.
  • Heroes is full of these.
    • Isaac Mendez' comic book 9th Wonders, which depicts Hiro and Ando doing things like renting a car... and after Hiro finds the comic, he follows it to the letter, because he is shown doing it in the comic; but Isaac had only drawn it that way because he had seen Hiro in his visions of the future.
    • Before that, he reads a comic in which he saves a little girl. He does, but only after putting her in danger in the first place.
    • Even Sylar, after he steals Isaac's precognition power, does things like killing Ted and impersonating Nathan to get the presidency solely because he had painted himself doing it.
    • In the graphic novel "Isaac's First Time", Isaac tells Eden about when he first discovered his power: a woman at a gallery showing confronted him about a painting of her being hit by a bus, and then still upset, she ran outside and was hit by a bus.
    • In "1961", a young Angela speaks with the young Company Founders about 7 dream, in which they form a company, and of the horrible things they will do to protect the secret, and of how it's a necessary evil. She declares these things in a manner which suggests the idea of using the information from her prophetic dreams to help avoid, or prevent, exactly this type of thing from having to happen at all never occurred to her.
  • Happens in Home and Away when Miles is told by a young and apparently psychic girl who was either a hallucination or a ghost that only he could see that he will die if he falls asleep. He spends several days not sleeping, eventually collapsing from exhaustion on his desk. If he hadn't been woken up a few minutes later and walked away from his desk, he would have been decapitated by a falling ceiling fan.
  • In an episode of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Wayne makes a high-tech eclipse viewer, which somehow allows him to see the near future. When he tries to show the truth to his neighbor, a cop, the neighbor just concludes that the only reason these things are happening (e.g. a car swerving and crashing) is because Wayne is the one causing them (e.g. running out in front of said car to try to stop it, resulting in the swerve and crash).
  • In Hornblower, the paranoid Captain Sawyer becomes convinced that his officers are beginning to conspire against him. He begins to act increasingly irrational, vindictive and erratic towards them... leading them to begin conspiring against him.
  • iCarly: If Carly/Freddie isn't revisited, then Sam's insistence that Carly's feelings for Freddie weren't real would become one. Sam tells Freddie Carly's feelings aren't real. Freddie breaks up with Carly because of Sam's thoughts. This stops any chance of Carly's feelings being allowed to blossom or fail on their own. Instead, Carly's feelings end immediately due to rejection and Freddie's explanation of Sam's potentially mistaken logic. Those feelings never return. Everyone believes Sam was correct. Carly never loved Freddie. Sam saying that Carly's feelings aren't real creates the situation that eventually results in everyone believing that Carly's feelings weren't real thus creating this trope.
  • Invoked in a round-about way in Kamen Rider Ryuki. Miyuki Tezuka, a fortuneteller, predicts that he will be the next Rider to die in the Rider War. This is a lie. The next Rider that he predicts would die was, in fact, Shinji Kido, the protagonist of the series and the only other Rider besides Miyuki who wants to stop the Rider War. When both Riders are attacked by Takeshi Asakura, Miyuki takes a lethal blow intended for Shinji and ends up fulfilling the fake prophecy as a result.
  • Mirabelle of The Kicks believes that she's not smart enough to pass her classes, so she doesn't even make an effort. This, naturally, results in the very failure she believed would happen. She finally breaks out of this routine in "Breakaway."
  • In Lexx, His Divine Shadow went out of his way to make the conditions of the prophecy foretelling his death at the hands of the last Brunnen-G possible just to show his contempt for the whole idea of prophecy, wrongly believing that time is not cyclical and that no one can predict the future. His attempts to avert it when he realizes his earlier arrogance was a mistake seal his fate.
  • In The Librarians 2014 they have the appropriately titled episode "And the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy". Such prophecies can only be cancelled by the intervention of a person not included in the prophecy or by causing a massive upset in destiny.
    • Baird receives a prophecy that she will be killed by a supernatural assassin in the Library at a certain time, despite the Library being warded against said assassin. She decides to avoid the Library and goes on a case only to be captured in a maze with the assassin stalking her. When the appointed time approaches she discovers the maze is inside an artifact taken back to the Library. Had she remained in the Library the assassin would never have gotten to her. Baird manages to avert the prophecy by having Jenkins, who was not in the prophecy, throw the artifact out of the Library.
    • The Oracle of Delphi had a vision that she would die after the next time she bathed in the waters of Delphi. She fled Greece and was living in Seattle, where she regularly bathed in a pool to maintain her powers. However, it also affected the goggles of a school swimming team who used the pool, allowing them to see the future. This results in one of the students winning a trip to Greece. The student then added water from Mount Parnassus to the pool which meant the next time the Oracle bathed she was marked for death, living only so long as she stayed wet. She created Baird's prophecy and planned to use the power of the broken destiny to free herself. When Baird escapes her prophecy the assassin turned on the Oracle who had dried off.
    • Ezekiel, Stone, and Baird use prophecy glasses to catch snippets of their future selves solving the problems they currently face. This ends up nearly bringing them to blows when they see visions of being attacked by one another. The only reason for them attacking one another in the vision was their paranoia after seeing the vision itself.
  • Lost: There are three big flags that the detonation of the hydrogen bomb in 1977 will cause the crash of the original Oceanic Airlines flight bringing Jack and the gang to the island. First: Sayid shooting Ben in 1977 causes him to become a Magnificent Bastard in an extended way since this is what brings him to the Others for... healing. Second: Miles lampshades this trope in the last few minutes of the episode. Third: if it doesn't, the whole series is in for one weird-ass Reset Button one season out from its announced ending.
  • Lost Love in Times: Yuan An is convinced Yuan Ling plans to overthrow and kill him, so he falsely accuses Yuan Ling of planning a rebellion and tries to have him arrested. When Yuan Ling returns he really is plotting against Yuan An.
  • Lucifer (2016): Father Kinley tries to manipulate Chloe into sending Lucifer back to Hell after hearing a prophecy saying that "evil shall be released" after "the Devil walks the Earth and finds his First Love." Instead, it's his actions trying to stop the prophecy that cause it to happen, because it starts a line of Disaster Dominoes that end with him dying and being possessed by the true Big Bad of the season, the demon Dromos, who proceeds to kill people en masse so they can be possessed by other demons and start wreaking havoc on the mortal plane. Ironically, Dromos' actions were to achieve the one thing that Kinley was trying to do to subvert the prophecy: send Lucifer back to Hell, which he ultimately succeeds in doing.
  • This is a huge part of Merlin (2008).
    • Morgana is shown to go to the dark side mainly because they're the only other magical people she knows. If Merlin had revealed himself to her, this wouldn't have happened. In case that's too subtle, Merlin is so desperate to keep Mordred from his future evil acts that he trips him with a branch so he will be caught by Camelot knights. Not only does Mordred kill said knights, but his line afterwards makes absolutely certain that Merlin has driven him to evil.
    • And in "The Tears of Uther Pendragon Part II", he tells the Dragon that he should have listened to him and never trusted Morgana. So apparently he missed the obvious Aesop.
    • Luckily, he gets straightened out four episodes later when he's shown visions of the future by a crystal cave. Except for the first three visions, he winds up fulfilling each and every one of them through his paranoia to stop them from happening. He clearly states that this was all his doing at the end though, and nicely averts Aesop Amnesia when he talks to Arthur about destiny in the next episode.
      Merlin: You may be destined to rule Camelot, but you have a choice as to how you do it.
    • There's also a nice variation with Arthur. Merlin protects and advises Arthur because Arthur will one day be a great king, and as a result, Arthur becomes a better king.
  • Similarly on a NUMB3RS episode featuring Chinese people, a psychic predicts the killers' next move and goes there with his camera. The killers are there, along with their big truck. He doesn't get better either.
  • Once Upon a Time: A seer tells Rumplestiltskin that his actions on the battlefield will "leave [his] son fatherless," which he quite naturally assumes means he's going to die. He's not happy when he runs into the seer again and she remarks that her prophecy came true.
    Rumplestiltskin: "Well, in a manner of speaking. I hobbled myself on the battlefield, was branded a coward. My wife ran away and left me. Then my son was called to the front. Oh! - Then I became the Dark One. Then Bae left me. So, yes, my actions on the battlefield left my son fatherless. But it would've been nice to know about all the pesky details."
  • In The Outer Limits (1995) episode "Breaking Point", a scientist invents a Time Machine, which he uses to travel several days into the future. There, he sees his wife, who has been shot. When he returns to his own time, he desperately tries to convince everyone that he really did travel to the future, only to have everyone think him crazy (doesn't help that the time shift apparently has some nasty side effects, such as actually turning him crazy). In the end, he ends up accidentally shooting his wife while trying to stop her from leaving him. In a twist, he decides to prevent her death by ensuring that they never meet in the first place, so he travels back to the day they met and shoots his younger self. Both versions of him die. Unfortunately, fate doesn't like to be cheated - his future wife was planning on killing herself that day, and only meeting his past self kept her from taking the pills.
  • Princess Agents: The emperor thinks the Yan family are plotting against him. So he has them all killed... except for Yan Xun, who plots against the emperor to get revenge.
  • On QI, Victoria Coren Mitchell mentioned a dream she'd had the night before about being on the show. She mentioned a question that had been asked in her dream and her response (which had triggered the klaxon.) The producers Googled the answer to that question and had Stephen ask it, thus fulfilling her prophecy.
  • Red Dwarf: A recurring theme in the episode "Cassandra":
  • In the first season finale of Rome, the nobles of Rome assassinate Julius Caesar of out fear he will end the Roman Republic and turn it into a monarchy again. Unfortunately, the nobles underestimated how popular Caesar was with the commoners that his family and allies use the assassination against Caesar to make the people turn against the nobles and gain more power from them. As a result, by the final episode, Caesar's heir Augustus becomes the First Emperor of the Roman Empire, turning the nobles fear of Rome becoming a monarchy again into reality.
  • Subverted unusually in the Smallville Christmas Episode "Lexmas". Lex dreams about a "perfect" future in which he is married to Lana, while Clark is married to Chloe. He is on excellent terms with everyone, even Jonathan Kent, who has become senator when Lex made the choice to drop out. Jonathan even said Lex is the finest man he ever met. Lex's mother's ghost tells him this could be reality if he makes the right choices. Unfortunately, dream Lana dies delivering his second child. Lex wakes up and decides the only way to stop that is to have money and power, so he starts the smear campaign against Jonathan, tragically missing the point that his decision of not dropping out means all the happiness he felt would become nothing.
  • Averted in one episode of Stargate Atlantis, the crew meets a man who can tell the future (correctly) and even show his visions to other people. The team suggests that they are self-fulfilling prophecies, however even events that could not have been self-fulfilled through the prophecy turn out to be true.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Discussed in "Cause and Effect," when the crew realizes that they're caughtin a time loop that ends in their destruction.
    Picard: If you are right, perhaps we could escape from the loop by avoiding the collision.
    La Forge: That's our guess.
    Worf: Perhaps we should reverse course.
    Riker: For all we know, reversing course may be what leads us into the crash.
    Picard: No, we can't afford to start second-guessing ourselves, we'll stay on this course until we have reason to change it. But let's do everything that we can to avoid the collision.
    • This trope is also one of the driving themes of the episode "Time Squared", although it is averted at the very last moment.
    • An example of a prophecy coming true because somebody wants it to occurred in "Rightful Heir". The Klingon messiah Kahless said he would return on Borath. After 1500 years of waiting the Klingon religious leaders decided to use science to make the prophecy come true. They created a clone of Kahless and programmed it with Kahless's memories, essentially making it identical to the original. Thus, as the prophecy predicted, Kahless returned from the afterlife on Borath.
    • And in "All Good Things," it's Picard probing into the Negative Space Wedgie in three different time periods that causes it to form in the first (and last, and middle) place. That's the Timey-Wimey Ball for you.
  • During the final season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Chancellor Gowron becomes convinced that General Martok will try to kill him and take control of the Klingon Empire (and he couldn't be more wrong, as Martok is unquestionably loyal to Gowron and the Empire). This prompts Gowron to send Martok on a series of ill-fated missions meant to get him killed or disgraced to the point where he'll no longer be a threat. When Martok's blood brother Worf figures out what's going on, he challenges and kills Gowron, and immediately passes the chancellorship to a very reluctant Martok.
  • Taxi: In episode 4.1. "Jim the Psychic", Jim has a psychic vision of Alex dying after answering a knock on his door after doing the can-can while wearing a green shirt and a catcher's mask. Why is he doing the can-can wearing a green shirt and catcher's mask? The vision rattled Louie, and that makes Alex want to teach him a lesson about superstition. Partly subverted in that Alex doesn't die and some of the prophecy happens in a not-self-fulfilling way.
  • That's So Raven. Most of the episodes revolve around the tried-and-tested formula of vision > attempt to stop vision > vision happens because of attempt. Occasionally, the vision would come true without her not doing anything except for watching. Usually, she completely misinterprets what's actually going on.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959):
    • In "A Most Unusual Camera", when Chester Diedrich and Woodward begin fighting over the camera that can predict the future, Chester accidentally takes a photograph. It shows Paula, Chester's wife and Woodward's sister, screaming. Chester and Woodward each conclude that Paula is screaming because the other tried to kill him. The two of them fall out the window to their deaths while fighting, causing Paula to scream. When the crooked waiter Pierre comes up to their hotel suite to blackmail Paula, he notices that the photograph has more than two bodies. Paula rushes over to the window to see and trips on the carpet, falling to her death. Pierre then notices that there is a fourth body in the photograph and falls out the window himself.
    • In "No Time Like the Past", after traveling back in time to Homeville, Indiana on July 3, 1881, Paul Driscoll recalls that the schoolhouse is going to burn down as a result of a kerosene lantern falling off a passing wagon and twelve children will be badly injured. He vows not to make any efforts to change history as previous attempts to Set Right What Once Went Wrong all ended in failure. However, when the time comes, he tries to unhitch the horses from the wagon carrying the kerosene lantern. In the process, he frightens the horses, causing the kerosene to fall off the wagon and start the fire that burns down the schoolhouse.
    • The same twist happens in the episode "Back There". A man travels back in time and tries to warn people of Lincoln's assassination. Unbeknownst to the man, one of the people he tells about it is John Wilkes Booth, who gets the idea from him.
    • In "What's in the Box", Joe Britt, who has a tempestuous relationship with his wife Phyllis, begins to see his past, present and future on his recently repaired television. A vision of the future shows Joe killing Phyllis in a fight. When Joe attempts to reconcile with Phyllis, she spurns him. Angered by this and another vision of the future showing him being sent to the electric chair, Joe kills Phyllis, just as he saw himself do on television. He is then arrested by the police.
    • In "The Mirror", a successful South American revolutionary leader is told by the dictator he is replacing that his mirror is enchanted and he will see in it the face of the man who will assassinate him. The new ruler begins imagining that he sees the faces of his allies and one by one he has them executed, becoming as much of a blood-thirsty tyrant as the man he had fought against. Guilt-ridden, he looks into the mirror for the last time and realizes he is finally looking at his true murderer... and then kills himself.
  • The Umbrella Academy (2019) has three big examples with regards to the Apocalypse:
    • Reginald knew about the apocalypse in advance, and killed himself to give his children a reason to reform the team and work together to stop it. However, his death leads to Klaus using his return to the Mansion as an excuse to raid Hargreeve's office for items to pawn for drug money. One of those items was an ornate box in the desk possessing a notebook, which Klaus threw in a dumpster on his way to the pawn shop. This leads to Leonard finding the notebook, which leads to Leonard finding out about Vanya's dormant powers and how they can be awoken, which becomes a direct cause of the apocalypse.
    • When the Hargreeves siblings learn about the impending apocalypse, they start working together to prevent it. However, in the process, they alienate and belittle Vanya, on the grounds that because she lacks a superpower and was never part of the Super Family Team to begin with, she'd just get in the way if she tried to help. Turns out she does have powers, and those powers - combined with her fragmented mental state, caused by the abuse she suffered from her family and her new boyfriend (who's only dating her to exploit said powers) - are what cause the apocalypse.
    • Why did Sir Hargreeves and Pogo force Vanya to take antidepressants to suppress her powers as a child then eventually brainwashed her to forget she even had them? Because Hargreeves deemed Vanya's powers too dangerous for her to control. This is the same reason why Luther decides to lock up Vanya in a soundproof cell despite seeing her clear distress over what's happening and despite the protests of the other siblings. Vanya discovering the power suppression, combined with the abuse her family always doled on her because of being "normal" and Luther's bone-headed decisions results in her snapping, murdering Pogo, destroying the Hargreeves Mansion, and becoming the Apocalypse Maiden. The kicker? Vanya's superpowers are tied directly to her emotions and mental state; if she wasn't constantly emotionally abused throughout her life and if Luther actually comforted her instead of treating her like their father did, the destruction her powers brought forth when they reawoke wouldn't have been as devastating as it was, and she could have learned how to control them in due time.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess:
    • Subverted in one episode in which a particular child is destined to take a king's throne, and the obligatory evil councilor tries to use the prophecy to start a civil war which will put the baby on the throne and himself in place as regent. Eventually, the king marries the baby's mother, and so the prophecy is fulfilled: The baby is now heir to his father's throne.
    • Callisto's parents were killed during Xena's reign of terror, so she naturally assumed that Xena or one of her soldiers killed her folks. After she became a goddess, she accidentally ended up in her old village on the day of the attack. While trying to protect her mother and her younger self, she accidentally kills her father and is forced to kill her mother in self-defense. Of course, by the end of the episode, Iolaus went back and changed history so that Callisto never went back to that day, so said SFP never actually happened...
    • It has been prophesied that Xena's child would cause the doom of the Greek gods. They decide to kill the child, their attacks on her and Xena leading to their doom. The gods have immortality and the ability to teleport. For all her abilities, Xena had neither of these. They would have been just fine if they'd stayed away. Ares explicitly noted this trope in "Amphipolis Under Siege" when appealing to Athena to just let it go. He even offered to simply take Xena and the baby to another realm far away from the Olympians. Athena refused to listen. Ultimately, Ares and Aphrodite (who refused to go after Xena and her baby) are the only gods shown surviving the experience.

  • In the song Project "Ma", Queen Maria Moonlit prophetized the end of Levianta (her country) and the whole world by <The Dark Legacy, "Sin">. Levianta's answer was to create Project [Ma] to purify the sins. The first project's failure caused Eve Moonlit's mental instability and the second project created Hänsel and Gretel, the twins she would later kill for, unleashing the "Sin" onto the world.
  • The Kate Bush song "Babooshka" is about a woman, bitter and paranoid that her husband is cheating on her, initiating a Two-Person Love Triangle with him to test his fidelity. He ends up succumbing to the charms of the mysterious Babooshka... but only because 'she' reminds him of his wife before she 'freezed on him'; if she hadn't succumbed to paranoia about her husband's fidelity and turned on him, he wouldn't have become unfaithful in the first place.
  • The Black Sabbath song "Iron Man" is about a man who travels in time to the future, sees the world being destroyed by a man of steel, then while returning to his original time, turns to steel because of a magnetic field. He becomes immobilized and is ignored by the people when he tries to warn them. This causes him to become bitter and angry until he finally has his revenge on mankind. In other words, he becomes the very thing he was trying to save the world from.
  • The theme of "Oh No!" by Marina Diamandis:
    I know exactly what I want and what I want to be
    I know exactly why I walk and talk like a machine
    I'm now becoming my own self-fulfilled prophecy
    Oh, oh no, oh no, oh no, oh!
  • In the music video for the They Might Be Giants song "Bastard Wants to Hit Me", the "crazy bastard" is so mad about getting snubbed by the narrator that by the end of the video, he does want to hit him (and does so).
  • In Joe Diffe's "Third Rock from the Sun" a man in Smokey's Bar sees a beautiful woman walks into the bar and calls up his wife to tell her he is working late (so he can make time with the lady in question). The wife calls up her sister and asks her to come over to comfort her, which gives her boyfriend time to go out and get a beer from a nearby store. He leaves the keys in his car, allowing some teenagers to take a joyride in his car. The teenagers end up in the path of a semi truck, which crashes into them, goes across a bank parking lot and hits a nearby clocktower. The clocktower falls over and takes out a powerline, making the entire town go dark. A waitress calls the police in panic, claiming aliens are landing, and the police call the mayor, waking him up because they can't find the sheriff. The mayor tells the police to use their heads - if he isn't in his car, he's probably hiding from his wife down at Smokey's Bar. So he is going to have to work late after all.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Greek Mythology frequently displays this trope:
    • Priam and Hecuba hear a prophecy that their son Paris will cause Troy to burn down. They abandon him in the woods to die, but he is raised as the son of a shepherd. When Paris is herding sheep, Zeus chooses Paris to judge the beauty of Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite. Paris chooses Aphrodite, who promises him the hand of Helen. By marrying Helen and stealing her from her husband Menelaus, Paris triggers the Trojan War which results in the destruction of Troy. If his parents had raised him as a prince of Troy, Zeus would not have chosen him to judge the contest.
    • Cronus hears a prophecy that one of his children will defeat him. He swallows his children as soon as they are born. Eventually, his wife Rhea hides her sixthborn child, Zeus, and tricks Cronus into swallowing a rock. Zeus grows up, defeats Cronus, and frees his siblings.
    • Averted. Zeus is warned that his lover Metis would bear a son great enough to oust him. He swallows the pregnant Metis, whose child is Athena.
    • Averted. Zeus and Poseidon lusted after the sea-goddess Thetis. After they learned that her future son would be greater than his father, they decided not to have sex with her and arranged her to marry a mortal. No matter how great her son became, he would only be a demigod with a mortal's fate.
    • Greek tragedy often revolves around the idea that You Can't Fight Fate. Those who attempt to do so suffer grisly punishments for their hubris. If you consider Oedipus et al., Paris got off lightly.
    • Then there's King Croesus, who was told that if he attacked his neighbor, a great empire would fall. Think about that for a moment — obviously, it's going to come true, since whichever empire lost the war would fall. Croesus just didn't consider that it might be his empire. This is lampshaded in The Cartoon History of the Universe's version, where Croesus' response is "What kind of answer is that?! I might as well flip a coin!" Also, when Croesus complained to Apollo and his oracle after his campaign turned out a disaster, he got the response: "You should have asked which empire instead of assuming that it would be Cyrus' empire that would fall." As a matter of fact, if people got an unsatisfactory answer from the oracle in Delphi they could ask for another one, and Croesus as a favoured benefactor of Delphi easily could have done just that. (…or attacked a neighbour that wasn't an empire.)
    • See also the myth of Perseus' birth. See, the oracle at Delphi told King Acrisius that his grandson would kill him, so he decided to prevent his daughter Danae from ever bearing a son by locking her up in a brass tower, where her weeping drew the attention of Zeus and he sired a child with her. Once Acrisius found out, he locked them up in a coffin and floated it out to sea in the hopes that they would drownnote , but a fisherman found both of them and took them in. And even though Perseus never sought out revenge against Acrisius, he did end up accidentally killing him. As Perseus returned home from his famous quest, Acrisius learned he was still alive and fled to the remote city of Larissa. Turns out Perseus got shipwrecked there too, where he entered a local athletics contest, and accidentally caved a crowd member's head in with a discus. Guess who that crowd member was.
    • Oedipus. Before his birth, someone cursed his parents, declaring that their child would kill the father and marry the mother. When little Oedipus was born, they spiked his heels and left him on a hill to die of exposure - only for the rulers of another nearby region to find the child and take him in. The rest, as they say, is history. Or maybe mythology. Even worse, Oedipus learned about the prophecy and ran away from his foster parents to prevent it from happening. Little did he know he was not their biological son. Poor, poor Oedipus...
  • This is the cause of Baldur's death in Norse Mythology. Baldur has visions of his death approaching, so he turns to his mother Frigg for help. Frigg makes all things in the world swear not to harm Baldur, making him invulnerable to any form of attack, so the other gods start a game out of throwing things at Baldur. Loki gets frustrated by this and discovers that Baldur is not invulnerable to mistletoe (Frigg having forgotten to ask the mistletoe or discounting it as harmless depending on the version), makes an arrow made of mistletoe and tricks Baldur's blind brother Höðr into using it to kill him.
  • The Bible:
    • The Tower of Babel was built because its builders feared being scattered across the Earth. As part of His punishment, God did just that.
    • Joseph has prophetic dreams saying he will one day rule his older brothers - so they fake his death and sell him into slavery. But this then starts a chain of events which lead to him becoming grand vizier of Egypt and controlling the only source of stored food when a famine hits, leading to his brothers having to beg him for help.
    • King Ahab was warned by Micaiah the prophet that he would die in the battle of Ramoth Gilead. Ahab tries to avert the disaster by dressing up in different clothes before going into battle while King Jehoshaphat wore his royal clothes, hoping that the Syrian army would go after Jehoshaphat instead of him. However, an arrow shot at random pierces King Ahab, and he ends up fulfilling the very prophecy that was spoken about him.
  • The Talmud (Berachos 56-57) speaks at length about dreams and whether or not they can predict the future. Many of the opinions contradict each other, unsurprisingly, but a popular opinion is that interpreting the dream actually causes your prediction to happen. To that end, it proceeds to give a Long List of different ways to interpret dreams, almost all of which are positive.
  • The origin story of Buddhism involves founder Siddhartha Gautama, a Hindu aristocrat, being prophesied as a child to become either a great religious leader, or a great ruler. Hoping for the latter, his parents spoiled him rotten and made sure he wanted for nothing. However, on his first trip out of the palace he saw suffering for the first time, and began studying with ascetics to come to terms with the shocking-for-him reality of life outside the aristocracy, ultimately becoming the religious leader his parents tried to keep him from being.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • At Ring of Honor's Undeniable 2007, Kevin Steen rejected Adam Pearce's offer to join Hang Men 3 at the expense of El Generico, arguing that only he was allowed to have fun smacking Generico around. At the 2009 Final Battle, guess what Steen did to Generico?

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Warhammer 40,000, the primarch Horus gets infected with a demonic plague that causes him to fall into a coma and get visions of the future from the Chaos Gods. In the visions, he sees a world where the Emperor is worshiped as a god and his name is not mentioned anywhere. This, combined with his anger about the Emperor returning to Earth and leaving him and the other Primarchs fighting to expand the Imperium, causes him to turn to Chaos and start a civil war that nearly destroys the Imperium. As a result of the war (known as the Horus Heresy), 10,000 years later the mortally wounded Emperor, now confined in the life-supporting Golden Throne, is venerated as a god and the names of Horus and other traitorous Primarchs have been removed from Imperial records.
  • A Black Crusade campaign can start one of these, depending on how the GM follows the plot thread the antagonist of the introductory adventure, False Prophets, starts.
  • In the first edition of Aberrant, a secret subdivision of Project Proteus fears that the superhuman novas will eventually either enslave baseline humanity on purpose or simply render them extinct in some fashion. To counter this, they slip sterilizing agents into the drugs that all novas recruited by Project Proteus are fed in order to help them control their powers, and assassinate any novas that either learn about this, seem to powerful, or have powers that could counteract their sterilization project. Naturally, when this inevitably comes out, it provokes so much outrage and fear amongst the novas that it triggers a full-fledged supers vs. baseline race war.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade, "thin-blooded" vampires who are sufficiently removed from the power source behind vampirism are frequently hunted and killed by vampire elders. These elders fear that the thin-blooded are a portent of doom whose presence heralds the end-times return of the Antediluvians, the slumbering Abusive Precursors of their kind. The official sourcebooks for narrating the actual end times reveal that nothing gets the attention of the Antediluvians like large numbers of their descendents getting killed, no matter how distant those descendents may be.

  • Shakespeare's Macbeth revolves around this trope.
    • When the Witches greet Macbeth as the King of Scotland in the first act, it prompts him and his wife to plot to steal the throne from the rightful King after the Witches' earlier prophesy (that Macbeth would become the Thane of Cawdor) unexpectedly comes true.
    • When the Witches prophesy that Macbeth's friend Banquo will give birth to a line of kings, he tries to have Banquo and his son Fleance murdered so that it won't come true. He only succeeds with the first part, with Banquo ordering Fleance to avenge him with his last words.
    • When the Witches warn Macbeth to "Beware Macduff, beware the Thane of Fife," it prompts him to send his assassins to massacre Macduff's castle. Macduff isn't home, but the assassins do succeed in murdering his wife and Macduff all the reason he needs to storm Dunsinane with his allies and personally kill Macbeth in single combat.
  • Shakespeare's Henry IV also has this, in its own way. King Henry's refusal to ransom Mortimer under the fear that he might lead a rebellion eventually causes Hotspur to lead a rebellion of his own.

    Video Games 
  • The entire Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game genre has become subject to this. In August 2012, Kotaku reported that "The Subscription MMO is dead." Game developers know that Free-To-Play is the only way to go these days, acknowledging that the playerbase itself has become a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy. Gamers are willing to wait for a game to go Free-To-Play, and developers know that they won't be able to get any players unless they make the game Free-To-Play.
  • Breath of Fire IV has a version of this in that Fou-lu (who was his own empire's King in the Mountain) is promoted as the "Dragon of Doom who will destroy the empire" among the soldiers of the empire he founded. This is done explicitly by the empire as they have no intention of giving the throne back to the God-Emperor they summoned 600 years ago. After being the target of multiple and increasingly extreme efforts by his nation to kill him, Fou-lu finally snaps when a woman who rescued him from a previous attempt at deicide and who developed a romantic relationship with him is tortured and ultimately used as the warhead in a Curse Nuke specifically because of her connection with him... causing the whole "Dragon of Doom" thing to become a self-fulfilling prophecy as he decides that Humans Are the Real Monsters and that the best course of action is to Kill 'Em All.
  • In the Chzo Mythos, The Dragon knows of a prophecy that the Big Bad will replace him, and secretly does his own scheming to stop this from happening. Turns out that this defiance of his master's will is the reason he even gets replaced at all.
  • The Ringed City DLC from Dark Souls III reveals that the Undead Curse was the result of one of these; Gwyn loathes the Dark, fearing that it is a destructive and chaotic force that will destroy his peaceful Age of Fire. Thus, he creates the Darksign as a "seal of fire" and brands the pygmies, the bearers of the Dark Soul, with it to limit their access to the Abyss and its power. Because of this, the pygmies' descendants, humans, never learned how to control the Dark inherent within themselves (Humanity), causing it to manifest as either the Curse (in those with too little Humanity) or as an all-consuming power that drives those who have it to animalistic insanity (in those with too much Humanity). Thus, the Dark becomes the chaotic and destructive force Gwyn feared it was, leading to the Cycle of Light and Dark, the destruction of Gwyn's kingdom, and ultimately the ruination of the world, and he has only his own paranoia to blame for it. The original pygmies had perfect control over the Dark Soul and wanted nothing more than to happily serve Gwyn and the other gods of Anor Londo. He screwed himself big time.
  • In Donkey Kong 64, King K. Rool hires a weasel named Snide to build a superweapon called the Blast-O-Matic that will allow him to destroy Kong Isle. However, he grows increasingly paranoid that Snide will betray him, and decides to kick him off the team. How does Snide respond? He defects to the Kongs and ultimately helps them disable the very superweapon he created.
  • This is a running theme through the Dragon Age series. Mages are heavily restricted to the point of being effectively imprisoned by the Chantry and Templars out of fear for what they might do without those restrictions, especially turning to blood magic and making deals with or being possessed by demons. Many of the mages who turn to blood magic do so specifically because of those restrictions, with blood magic being one of the only ways they can fight back.
  • Done twice in Dragon Age II.
    • First, everyone accuses the Qunari of being militaristic heathens who want to do nothing but convert everyone in Kirkwall to the Qun, even when the Arishok makes it perfectly plain that converting people is the last thing on his mind. In the end, the Arishok snaps and launches a war on Kirkwall, turning him into the monster many accused him of being.
    The Arishok: Fixing your mess is not the demand of the Qun, and you should all be grateful!
    • Done a second time with Knight-Commander Meredith. In Act III of the story, the mages believe that Meredith is slowly going crazy trying to uproot Blood Magic from her ranks, even when it's clear that most of the mages just want to be left alone. When Meredith begins killing every mage, regardless of the reason, the mages turn to Blood Magic just to survive Meredith and the templars, making Meredith's paranoia end up causing exactly what she was so paranoid about.
  • Two concurrent prophecies in Final Fantasy VIII, stemming from Squall's defeat of Ultimecia, each of them related to the other in a "chicken and egg" scenario:
    • It is known that, in the future, a Sorceress will rise to conquer the world and attempt Time Coppression to attain godhood. Therefore, future societies persecute potential Sorceresses. When Ultimecia is finally born, this persecution plants the seeds of unending hatred within her, causing her to lash out and devastate the world.
    • Ultimecia is aware that she is destined to be defeated by the Legendary SeeD. Therefore, she attempts Time Compression so she can absorb all reality and all time and escape death. Her meddling with the timestream to accomplish this goal inspired people in the past to create SeeD, the very organization that raises anti-Sorceress child soldiers - and also caused Edea and Cid to intentionally groom Squall to become the SeeD destined to defeat Ultimecia.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII-2, a civilization called Paddra, made prosperous by seeing the future, was clued in that their great city would meet its end by one of the seeress's prophecies. This prophecy divided the populace among those who were desperate to escape fate, those who would just accept the end, and those who were just driven mad by panic and despair. The ensuing civil war... brought about the very end of Paddra that was foreseen.
  • Final Fantasy Mystic Quest starts with the main character being roped into helping fulfill a prophecy that states that a knight will defeat the four Vile Evils and drive the darkness from the land. Upon doing so and marching right up to the Big Bad to finish the job, he reveals that he himself invented that prophecy out of whole cloth for reasons unknown, right before the player goes on to fulfill it anyway.
  • In God of War II, Zeus is convinced that Kratos will kill him and usurp his role as King of the Gods because of a prophecy (which says that the father will be slain by the son, as Zeus did to his father Cronos, and Cronos did to his father Uranus). In order to prevent this, he sets up events so that Kratos loses his divine power and is killed. However, this only serves to give Kratos a legitimate reason to be pissed off at Zeus, and with the help of the Titans, he starts on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, so...
    • Kratos himself breaks the cycle after getting his revenge. By killing himself at the end of the game ... Or did he?
    • This also happens in God of War: Ghost of Sparta. A prophet said that whoever controlled the "marked warrior" controlled the fate of Olympus. Kratos's brother, Deimos, already had a mark on him. But when Deimos was taken away, Kratos tattooed an identical mark on himself out of respect for his lost brother.
    • Freya from God of War (PS4) has received a vision that his son Baldur will die a pointless death, so fearing for her son's life, she blessed him with complete immunity to all pain and inability to die. Unfortunately, it led Baldur to live a completely miserable life where for 100 years, he is completely unable to enjoy any sort of sensation such as eating, snow or women which ended up turning him completely Ax-Crazy and insane. In the end, once his immortality is removed, Kratos has no choice but to kill him since he tries to kill his mother in revenge for making his life miserable, inadvertently fulfilling the vision that Freya desperately attempted to avoid in the first place.
  • The main storylines of Guild Wars: Prophecies involved this to some extent. The Mursaat killed the Chosen in an attempt to prevent the release of the Titans, which would lead to their destruction. The players, who were also Chosen, resisted the Mursaat and ultimately freed the Titans.
    • In the second campaign, Factions, a fortune teller who had given him several true prophecies warned Shiro the Emperor would kill him. At first disbelieving, fear of death finally drove him to kill the Emperor, only to be killed in retaliation for the seeming assassination. Later retconned as a deliberate ploy by Abaddon to convert Shirou into one of his generals.
    • A Canthan New Year quest involves a man who received a reading from a fortune teller that "something terrible will befall" him in the next year. Seeking to avert the prophecy, he contacts a local mystic, who has a ritual to reverse fortune. Unfortunately, the ritual involves submerging his head in water, and he drowns.
  • In Hitman 2, two targets are a pair of former members of Providence who were afraid they were going to be executed soon, and so defected to one of Providence's enemies to prevent that. Their defection persuaded Providence to hire Agent 47 to kill them.
  • In Homeworld, forces acting on orders from The Emperor enforce a mostly forgotten, ancient treaty - by wiping out the entire population of the planet Kharak. The reason behind this decision was that legend had it that the return of the Hiigarans, who had been exiled to Kharak was to herald the end of the Taiidan empire. The effect of this decision was to trigger a war that would eventually result in a rebellion that changed the empire back into a republic.
  • In Kingdom Hearts χ, the leaders of the five Unions, the Foretellers, try their best to prevent the events written in the Book of Prophecies written by their Master, detailing a Keyblade War and darkness devouring the light, from coming to pass. However, with the idea of a traitor in their midst, one of them having information he was instructed not to divulge to the others, and each of the Foretellers making rash decisions in regards to their roles given to them by their Master, misunderstandings led to a major rift between all five of them. With mistrust in one another, they all decided to collect Lux to keep the balance of power, until the inevitable battle between the Unions and the prophecy fulfilled. If the Master hadn't written the Book of Prophecies and given it to them in the first place, they likely wouldn't have put themselves in the situation that led to the Keyblade War. This is not helped by the fact that the Master's unpredictable mannerism, eccentric nature, and sometimes questionable logic all give the impression that he may have been deliberately manipulating his students into fulfilling his own Prophecy.
  • Kult: Heretic Kingdoms: Early in the game, a hermit went to his death because he thought his vision of death was inevitable; later, Lord Malfagon fights Alita to the death because she was prophesied to kill him. Alexandra (who, as the Seeress at the Oracle, presumably knows what she's talking about), says that prophecies like this are actually just self-fulfilling. In reference to the latter case:
    Alexandra: It is ironic... were he the kind of man who could have ignored the prophecy and gone on with his life, this fate would have been avoided.
  • This is the plot of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. Zelda has a vision that Ganondorf will take the Triforce from its hiding place sealed within the Golden Realm, sends Link to preemptively collect the MacGuffins sealing the Golden Realm that Ganondorf has been attempting to obtain, and of course Ganondorf follows Link into the Golden Realm and takes the Triforce when Link unseals it. This sort of thing happens a lot in the series. Specifically, Link himself was sealed away because, as a Hylian child, he was considered too young to be the Hero of Time. Of course, the Hero would have been unnecessary if he hadn't been sealed away for seven years, letting Ganondorf take over. If Link had in fact been a Kokiri, or else a little bit older, he would have succeeded in stopping Ganondorf because he would have gotten the power first.
  • The events of Ocarina of Time are inverted in The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, where Ganondorf's attempt to work in the shadows to restore and reclaim Hyrule under his title ultimately manage to do everything required to draw he, Zelda, and Link together once more. He perceives this as so self-evident that he expounds at length during the final battle about how the circumstances of their meeting cannot be anything but fate.
  • Lobotomy Corporation: This is the backstory of the three birds. Small Bird, Long Bird and Big Bird used to live together in the peaceful Black Forest. However, one day the forest got word of a prophecy fortelling of a terrible monster who would bring the forest to ruin. The three birds decided to fight against this prophecy by trying to become the forest's self-appointed protectors, but as a result it transformed them into monsters, both figuratively and literally. Small Bird became Punishing Bird, an executioner who would punish anyone it found guilty, growing a gigantic serrated mouth on its abdomen to accomplish this. Long Bird became Judgement Bird, a Hanging Judge who would decide to execute people for the smallest crime. Big Bird became the vigilant guard of the forest who would Mercy Kill anyone who trespassed so the "monster" wouldn't be able to get to them. Eventually, the three decided that the three of them would be insufficient to protect the forest alone, so they decided to fuse into one gigantic bird so they could see for miles across the earth, judge any sin without fail, and devour any evildoers in one gulp. However, once they did this, the forest's inhabitants left the forest in fear, because the birds had become the very monster destined to bring ruin to the Black Forest.
  • Vito Scaletta spends most of Mafia II in the life of crime as he doesn't want to become like his alcholic deadbeat father who is indebeted to loan shark before he died. What follows is Vito, after making his way up in Falcone's organization, losing his fortune, house and his relationship with his sister strained. What's worse is that Vito ends up becoming indebeted to the same loan shark that his father borrowed money from. As such, all of Vito's actions ended up making the same mistakes like his father, eventually forcing him to move to another city.
  • Overlord Zetta from Makai Kingdom receives a prophecy from an oracle that his Netherworld will be destroyed. In an attempt to Screw Destiny, Zetta hunts down and consults the 'sacred tome' - a book in which "everything pertaining to his Netherworld" is recorded - only to find that it states that his own stupidity has doomed the Netherworld. Insulted, Zetta responds by burning the book to a crisp, consequently un-recording the whole Netherworld in the process and fulfilling the prophecy.
    • However, the game's ending reveals that said Oracle, Overlord Pram, not only snuck into his Netherworld and read ahead in the Sacred Tome, thus showing she had no Oracular powers to begin with, but she wrote the insulting message into the Tome in the first place, causing the game's events to happen.
  • Mass Effect:
    • This is basically the quarian-geth conflict. Robot servants start asking their creators things like "Does this unit have a soul?" The creators panic, expecting the robots to rise up, and try to shut them down. Robots fight back, creators get kicked off their planet. Centuries later, most quarians - including their representative in your party - still maintain the geth would have turned on them anyway and wiping them out was the only option...until Legion shows up. The whole mess becomes even more ridiculous in the third game when it's revealed that the Geth didn't even try to fight back at first. They only initially fought to defend the Quarian minority who didn't want to shut them down from the other Quarians. The Quarians were always their own worst enemy. This "Morning War" became a cautionary tale to the other races, who took the exact wrong message from it and made this Self-Fulfilling Prophecy law throughout the galaxy. One sidequest in the first game involves an AI who self-destructs rather than talk to you, even if you try and negotiate.
    • The Reaper Cycle is the same situation writ large. The Precursors believed that an organics vs. Robot War was inevitable any time an organic species invented sentient A.I. To solve this, they creatednote  the Reapers, giant sentient cyborgs who go around wiping out organic races every few million years, thus ensuring that an organics vs. Robot War IS inevitable. Ironically, the Golden Ending to the geth / quarian conflict suggests that organic/robotic peace IS possible.
  • In Path of Exile, fulfilling one is done as a game mechanic. The player can pay a Silver Coin to Navali to seek a prophecy, which says something along the lines of "You will do [something]" or "You will encounter [something]". For the first kind, there is nothing that will actively make you fulfill that prophecy, so you can Take Your Time to do it, but as long as you do what it says, the prophecy will give you some kind of reward. The second type will automatically happen at some point, and are unavoidable as long as you continue playing the game (and in the right area, if it says so).
  • In Planescape: Torment, one of the side quests is about a necromancer looking for the blood of an immortal being. He asked a prophet to tell him where he could find it and was told that he would find it if he searched these specific crypts. And he found it... in the form of the main character (an immortal) who arrived to stop him from desecrating the crypts.
  • In Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands for the PSP (there are four different games on different consoles under that title), an ifrit seeks to thwart a prophecy stating that a lonely hero with royal blood will kill him. So he starts assassinating people who are part of Persia's royal family. The Prince, upset over the deaths of his cousins, then tracks down and kills the ifrit, before saying that no one can thwart their destiny. Ironically, he later has some experience with that himself.
  • In Shinrai: Broken Beyond Despair, Hiro tells a story of a Clingy Jealous Girl who got into a relationship with the boy of her dreams, only to become afraid of losing him. She then became increasingly possessive, forbidding him to talk to other girls or even his friends. In the end, he got tired of the girl's behavior and broke up with her... at which point she killed him and then hanged herself.
  • In Summoner, Emperor Murod hears a prophecy that a Summoner will put an end to his reign. Every action he thus takes to stop this prophecy from happening results in making the prophecy happen, by undoing Joseph's Refusal of the Call. Had he sat on his throne doing nothing, Joseph would've lived his life as a farmer on another continent, never even learning of Murod's existence.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Kamek targets the newly born Mario brothers because of a prediction that the brothers will be trouble for the Koopas. However, he only managed to kidnap Baby Luigi, while Baby Mario ended up in the hands of the Yoshis. The Yoshis decide to help Baby Mario rescue his twin, which leads to the first defeat of then baby Bowser.
    • In Super Paper Mario, Count Bleck learns from the Dark Prognosticus that the Chaos Heart will be born when Bowser and Princess Peach are married, so he makes that happen.
  • In Red Dead Redemption 2, Dutch's (mostly) unfounded doubts about John and Arthur's loyalties early in the game is what make him take actions against them that would ultimately end their loyalty and support to him.
  • In Tales of Graces, Aston sends his son Hubert away to live with the military-based Oswell family. Aston does this to avoid a messy Succession Crisis between Hubert and Hubert's older brother, Asbel, in the town of Lhant. In a nice bit of Irony, Aston's attempts to avoid a Succession Crisis end up creating one. Neither Hubert nor Asbel wanted to rule the town of Lhant in the first place, but circumstances years later force them to fight over it. Circumstances brought on, at least in part, by Aston sending Hubert away!
  • Tekken 7 reveals that the entire series stems from one of these. Heihachi's wife Kazumi had predicted that Heihachi would bring the world to ruin, so she married him in order to get close to him and kill him before that happens. Unfortunately, her repeated attempts on his life ended up breaking Heihachi's heart, leading to her death at her husband's hands and Heihachi's hatred for Kazuya, and the rest was history.
  • In Wanted: Weapons of Fate, Wesley ridicules the Immortal for the Fraternity's reliance on the concept of fate; his mother died by his father's hand, at her own insistence, because the loom of fate marked her, and he went along with it. Wesley finds this absurd and doesn't think the problem is self-fulfilling prophecy so much as members of the Fraternity having serious problems with common sense and a lack thereof.
  • The backstory of Vermintide II reveals that the elf Kerillian received a prophecy that the human city of Ubersreik would play a key role in the downfall of the elven people, and that she ambushed a major military convoy en route to reinforce the city in an attempt to prevent this. Unfortunately, what Kerillian did not know was that the true enemy were not the humans but the Skaven, and that destroying Ubersreik was one of the lynchpins of their entire invasion plan. By substantially weakening Ubersreik, Kerillian allowed the skaven to overwhelm it much sooner than they otherwise would have. This in turn lets the skaven accelerate their time tables and invade elven territory much more easily.
  • The main plot of Weaponlord bases itself around a prophecy that a warrior born under the Warrior's Moon shall slay the Demon Lord Zarak. Forced to face destiny, Zarak opens the tournament in order to find and kill the Weaponlord. This effort becomes pointless in his own Story ending when it is then revealed that Zarak was the Weaponlord all along. The Demon Lord he was meant to slay, then, falls to his predecessor, Raith, who comes back from the dead in an attempt at vengeance (and a possible Sequel Hook).
  • There are several of these in World of Warcraft, most notably the prophecy Velen made about M'uru, the Naaru Kael'thas stole from Tempest Keep. He prophesied that M'uru would be stolen, tortured, and enslaved, but it would lead, in the end, to the redemption of an entire race, adding even more Light warriors to Velen's army of the Light that he ALSO prophesied would be the end of the Burning Legion. A powerful, godlike being went willingly into torturous enslavement ONLY because Velen saw it. If Velen had never had the vision, the blood elves would never be redeemed. Arthas heard about Tirion being so powerful and an unstoppable force of the Light that he started to fear a confrontation with a Tirion at full power, so he attacked only when Tirion's army at the Battle of Light's Hope Chapel was defeated by his Death Knights, which lead to the redemption of Darion Mograine and a few other Death Knights, as well as giving Tirion possession of the EXACT WEAPON he needed to kill Arthas: the Purified Ashbringer. The Ashbringer rejected Darion ONLY because he was in close proximity to Tirion as well. If Arthas had never sent Darion to kill Tirion, the sword would never have switched allegiances and been purified to become the only weapon capable of defeating the Lich King.
    • Velen sharing his vision of the gift of Sargeras with his two brothers, Kil'jaeden and Archimonde. One could argue that this didn't do anything at all, but...perhaps KJ/Archi LIKED the future Velen showed them so much that they totally ignored the fact that it would turn them into the greatest monsters in the universe. KJ is a genius, so perhaps he thought he could escape the bad parts of the future, while Archi was arrogant and likely thought no one could challenge him once he accepted Sargeras' gift. Kil'jaeden is RIGHT. He has never been killed and eventually took over leadership of the Burning Legion once Sargeras was disposed of. He was merely punted back to where he came from after his defeat at the Sunwell. Archimonde was killed off by WISPS, quite possibly the weakest creatures in Azeroth, after assaulting the World Tree.
    • The Hour of Twilight; that is, the Old Gods being released due to the dragon Deathwing's efforts, and wiping out all life on Azeroth. The titan who empowered the Dragon Aspects had a vague vision of the event and created the Aspects specifically to stop it(without telling them). The thing is that the Hour of Twilight could never have happened if not for Deathwing, who was one of the Aspects.
  • In the X-Universe series, the Earth State is rabidly anti-AGI (even having an entire fleet dedicated to hunting down AGI producers) after their artificially intelligent terraforming fleet went haywire and started "terraforming" inhabited space stations and planets, nearly destroying human civilization. When Earth is reunited with its Lost Colony, the Argon Federation several centuries later, the Argon Federation doesn't show the same aversion to AGI testing that the Earth State shows. Therefore, Earth's United Space Command and AGI Task Force begins to implant spies into the Argon government to steer them away from reverse-engineering Xenon AGI. The Argon Federation finds out and is unsurprisingly very angry, then surprisingly, blows up the Earth's Torus Aeternal killing millions with de-orbiting debris, then declares war while intensify their AGI research to make up for the Terran technology being far in advance of anything possessed by the Argon. The Terrans begin to lose the war against the AGI Zerg Rushes and are pushed back to Earth, which is only saved by the Ancients shutting down the Portal Network to stop the genocide and to stop the spread of the now-uncontained Xenon fleets.
  • Xenoblade has a variant: Shulk knows his visions don't necessarily have to happen the way he sees them, and they usually don't, but one of the vaguer and more far-reaching ones seems to include events conducive to his goals, so he starts actively trying to bring it about.
  • In Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward the Arc Words are "What you do in the future affects the past", and this presents itself most clearly in Phi's betrayal. In one set of endings she betrays Sigma for betraying her in the "first Round 2" even if the player hadn't done so yet and this was the first Round 2, ensuring they would go back and do so after the Game Over to understand what happened. By virtue of the Timey-Wimey Ball, she betrays the player in the present after witnessing a betrayal in the past that took place in the future. That is, assuming you didn't just simply pick betray the first time around.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Durkon has one of these in his background. He's going to cause bad things to happen when next he returns to the dwarven kingdoms, so his boss (High Priest Hurak) send him away without telling him why, and tell him never to return. But he would never have really been able to return if he hadn't left. (Handwaved when Hurak pointed out the possibility of him buying groceries or somesuch.) The kobold Oracle has prophesized that he WILL return home... albeit posthumously. This begins to make sense after he becomes vampirized by the Linear Guild, foreshadowing the first prophecy to come true. Notably, Hurak's successor, High Priestess Rubyrock, actually rescinded Durkon's exile as Hurak took the prophecy to his grave with him. However, the letter telling Durkon as such was eaten by the Monster in the Darkness when Team Evil attacked the Azure City Outpost where Miko Miyazaki was resting for a night.
      Dwarven cleric 1: 'Tis risky business screwing with prophecy.
      Dwarven cleric 2: Aye, don't I know it.
      • It later came to a head. The vampirized Durkon is the servant of Hel, who, by having Durkon attend the Godsmoot, where the Gods debate whether to destroy the world to stop the Snarl, plans to have the world destroyed. This will doom every dwarf to her domain, since according to the dwarven faith, all who die dishonourable deaths belong to Hel, and dying in the apocalypse carries no honour. Not only did kicking him out of his home mean that Durkon went adventuring, joined the Order and became a vampire. But also, according to the evil but free will-possessing vampire spirit controlling his body, the resentment he still carries against the dwarfs for exiling him means that the spirit, who was tailor-made for Durkon's soul, was willing to go along with the plan, while another spirit in another dwarf may not have.
      • The characters actually discuss this, wondering why Odin even gave his priest the prophecy, since it wouldn't have happened otherwise. They conclude that Odin foresaw Durkon needed to be part of the Order, which wouldn't have happened unless he was exiled. Thor also has a theory that it was a plan to get Durkon in the perfect position to stop the Snarl. Odin himself, though, is revealed to be a bit touched in the head and doesn't remember planning any of that, so it's anyone's guess whether he knew what he was doing.
    • Belkar kills the Oracle because the Oracle earlier told Belkar that he would kill someone from a short list of subjects (including the Oracle himself), and Belkar didn't actually get to kill any of them yet. The Oracle then tries to weasel out of the prophecy with a bunch of pretty lame Prophecy Twist ideas, all of which were lifted from the Epileptic Trees in the comic's forum. The actual answer was that Belkar would cause the death of any in that list of subjects, and when the Oracle said that Belkar did cause the death of most of the people in the list, Belkar just stabbed him.
    • Another Oracle-related one (well, what do you expect, with future-prediction?): the Test of the Heart, which one must undergo to reach the Oracle (a simple health check) was instituted after someone came in for a prediction, which was that they would have a heart attack right after being told they were going to have a heart attack.
  • Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic: In "Fortune Kobold", Dame Gilda the Seer predicts another kobold's death. In the next strip, he gets beheaded because he was pursuing Gilda in anger.
  • Divine Bells: It's said that men with Divine Powers are a bad omen and will spell certain ruin for the country, because they lust for power and are brutal in executions, using their Divine Power for personal gain. After Bake-Yeom had to suffer through being badmouthed like this for years because of his own Divine Powers, he decided that he might as well do as they say and become brutal, using his powers as brute force to obtain more power if necessary. Nice going there, people.
  • Jade of Homestuck has some semi-precognitive abilities, and ends up creating one of these. She sees a vision of Dream!John crying in the future— then, presumably, being confronted by Jack Noir. So she prepares a birthday present — a collection of high-level weapons — to protect him against Jack. Said gift falls into Jack's hands first, who uses it to launch his rise to power, causing the scene which prompted her to send the present in the first place.
  • Pops up in The Wotch during the War Stories arc where one of the good guys betrays them to the villains under the belief that the ancient prophecies around the Big Bad Xaos were inevitable and ended up helping him out in hopes of bargaining for their safety. Theodore calls him out on this, leading to a Redemption Equals Death moment.
  • Nedroid does it
  • In El Goonish Shive, Damien was created with the intent of fulfilling a prophecy.
  • Sluggy Freelance: In the chapter "K'Z'K", after a lot of complications, the characters manage to change the outcome of events that were going to lead to the release of the demon K'Z'K and The End of the World as We Know It — you could say it’s a Zig-Zagging Trope. However, on a smaller scale, when Riff heads to Manhattan to see that K'Z'K can't capture his mother to use as a hostage, K'Z'K sees him heading that way and guesses what he's doing — and goes there ahead of him to capture his mother.
  • In Erfworld, Parson is Fated to defeat the Big Bad, Charlie. Until the events of Book 2 however, he was content to manage a city and study tactics with Jack and Sizemore. But in his efforts to stall the prophecy, Charlie sabotages Gobwin Knob, causing them severe losses and putting Parson back in charge of the war effort. Eventually, Charlie reveals his hand to Parson and makes things personal, ensuring that Parson will go after him.
  • In Far Star Summer School, Falguni implies something along the lines of this trope, when she warns Constanza that the more Constanza tries to subvert the course of destiny, the more forcefully it will seek to prove her efforts to be futile.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Baron Wulfenbach believes that Agatha is dangerous, and takes steps to neutralize her even though he knows that she hasn't actually done anything wrong yet. This makes his empire vulnerable both to Agatha, lone Sparks, Stormlords, and the Other. He ends up affected by a one-of-a-kind mind control device, loses the peace he so desperately fought to maintain, and eventually freezes himself in a timestop in Mechanicsburg with Agatha and most of the other dangerous players so that his son can clean up the mess he created. Unfortunately, this plan failed to contain the most dangerous of his enemies, but luckily Agatha managed to escape and helps save the world again.
    • A bit more of a literal one regarding the Storm King. Several hundred years ago, there was a prophecy that Europa would never see peace until the Storm King and the Heterodyne Girl were wed. The First Storm King ruined his kingdom searching for his lost bride, and the continent descended into chaos again. All that was left were the Knights of Jove, the Storm King's honor guard, who kept an eye on the royal line and talked about the "good old days." Then, when Klaus Wulfenbach put an end to the Long War for the first time in centuries, the Knights refused to acknowledge him and did everything they could to undermine him in favor of their chosen new Storm King.
  • Better Days: Sam’s wife gets paranoid about the possibility of him cheating on her, so she starts treating him like crap. Her petty and mean-spirited attitude eventually pushes him to actually start an affair with Sheila.
  • Princess Princess: When their father died and asked them to rule together, Claire locked Sadie in a tower. This was after Sadie outright admitted that she had no interest in ruling the kingdom, and that Claire was better suited to the job. However, she remains convinced that Sadie is out to take her place and continues to antagonize her, which ends up getting her turned into a pig by her own magic, meaning Sadie has to take the throne in her place after. Furthermore, Sadie overcomes her crippling lack of self-confidence in the process.
  • Done in SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal while explaining the word "Exigology" (a word the author invented) as a statement whose converse is its own explaination. Among the examples is a man that doesn't vote because politicians never hear his group, and a woman that doesn't practice a new skill because she is not good at it.

    Web Original 
  • Used in Red vs. Blue where Church attempts to stop a whole lot of bad things that happened in Blood Gulch, only to cause most of them.
  • Done 'spectacularly' in Opifex's The Storm Dragons series, a fan fiction series based on the Inheritance Cycle world. Most Elves and Dragons know a legend about a black dragon born during a storm that will cause a great deal of evil for the world. Both races attempt to kill the black dragon Ravana, but not only does he prove himself extremely hard to kill, but their attempts to do so drive him over the edge of insanity when he realizes every living thing is his enemy, turning him into exactly the kind of vengeful and murderous creature that the prophecy spoke about.
  • On TV Tropes, anything added to the Flame Bait page will... well, become flamebait, because then people will argue about whether it belongs there, scold other people for adding it to tropes, and so on.
  • In The Gift of Mercy, an alien race from the other side of the galaxy discovers humanity after picking up radio signals from Earth, and starts studying us, concluding that we're all a bunch of barbaric savages obsessed with violence and killing, but fortunately much too stupid to ever be a threat to them. Then we develop space travel and they start getting a bit worried. Then we start deliberately sending radio transmissions out into space trying to make first contact, and they collectively shit their pants in terror. "They knew we were out here, and they were coming for us." They scramble to build a WMD to wipe us out, the titular "Gift of Mercy", and launch it directly at Earth. They aren't exactly happy about doing this, but see it as a necessary evil to save themselves. Of course, crossing the entire galaxy takes a really long time even at lightspeed, and in that time we evolve so much that we all become Transhuman pacifists who make some of the most beautiful art the galaxy has ever seen. Alas, there is no way to stop the Gift of Mercy from reaching its target, Earth and most of our solar system is obliterated, and the aliens are left wracked with guilt over committing a genocide that turned out to not have been necessary after all. Then, a Hope Spot: it turns out that millions of humans still survived on other colonized planets that were far enough away from Earth to have avoided destruction. The aliens breathe a collective sigh of relief that they didn't actually wipe us all out after all... and then they get a message from us: "We know you are out there, and we are coming for you."
  • In The Backwater Gospel, the coming of The Undertaker always signifies that someone will die. In the end it's the townsfolk's fear of him and desire to survive at all costs that turns the town on itself, causing the people to viciously massacre each other and bring upon the deaths The Undertaker's coming augured.
  • Todd in the Shadows concluded that Willow Smith's "Whip My Hair" was created as a Take That! to a Hatedom that didn't exist until the song was released.
  • There's a Man in the Woods details a teacher that cares for his students, and a greedy brat named Sid who was spreading rumors about a Serial Killer hiding in the woods. Eventually, the rumor underwent Gossip Evolution (including things such as Batman ears and a woman's severed thigh) and spread to the parents, who get the teacher fired. The result that the teacher, with his life ruined by the fiasco and being bitter and angry about it, decided to go back to the school, now ruined by the paranoia the rumor caused. The final shot is him in the same woods, glaring at Sid and reaching into his coat pocket threateningly...
  • Whateley Universe: Whateley Academy student Semiramis Vesmarran's Code Name, Sahar, is Arabic for 'the evil eye'; her main ability is the power to psychically impress a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Doom on a target's mind, causing them to act as if they are cursed and draw disaster upon themselves accordingly.
  • In The Ruins of an American Party System, the Troika ruling the Soviet Union come to fear that the increasingly popular Grand Marshal Tukhachevsky will stage a Military Coup and overthrow them, to the point that they excommunicate him from the Party and try to have him relieved of command... which pisses off Tukhachevsky (who'd actually had no treasonous thoughts whatsoever) and his men to the point that they do stage a coup.
  • In the 500th Episode of Atop the Fourth Wall, Linkara tried to prevent the Bad Future caused by Brother Eye by calling the person who created it, Welshy, and apologizing for never finishing their crossover review. At first, it seems to work as the evil future Welshy disappears, but Linkara forgot to hang up the phone, causing Welshy to realize the alterior motive of Linkara's apology. He swears to get revenge for Linkara's actions, almost certainly resulting in the future Linkara was trying to prevent.

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: "Frost and Fire" plays with the trope; Finn's attempts to find out what the prophecy actually is are what set it in motion, and by the time he actually gets the message, it's too late to stop it. Finn has a dream involving Flame Princess, the Ice King, and the Cosmic Owl. Upon learning that Owl dreams are supposed to be prophetic, he attempts to recreate the circumstances that led to the dream. He's successful, but in the process, sets off a chain of events that results in the Ice Kingdom melted into a puddle and Finn and Flame Princess' relationship in tatters. And what was the Owl trying to tell him?
    Cosmic Owl: You blew it.
  • The entire plot of The Amazing World of Gumball's "The Oracle" revolves around Gumball hoping to prevent an embarrassing event foretold by Banana Barbara in the form of a painting. Gumball's efforts to prevent the seemingly unlikely circumstances shown in the painting cause all of them to occur, including a shower of raccoons that is a direct result of Gumball sabotaging the family car.
  • In American Dad! episode "Merlot Down Dirty Shame", Stan and Roger became friends in a previous Un-Installment, but after Roger kisses Francine while they're both drunk he becomes terrified that it'll destroy their newfound friendship. He goes to quite a few extremes to keep Stan from finding out about the kiss — culminating in him burying Francine alive to keep her from telling, and subsequently burying Stan alive when he finds out about this — which naturally pisses Stan off a lot more than a simple Accidental Kiss, and the episode ends with him beating Roger into a bloody pulp and taking away his "best buddies" necklace.
  • Animaniacs: In the episode "Taming of the Screwy," Mr. Plotz is holding a banquet for foreign investors, and said investors want to meet all of the workers at the Warner Bros. studio, including Yakko, Wakko, and Dot. Under his orders, Dr. Scratchansniff manages to convince the Warners to keep their lunacy under control so they can attend the banquet... only for Mr. Plotz to force them out of the banquet regardless because he doesn't trust them not to screw things up. Snubbed and insulted, the Warners return to the banquet and ruin it in their usual Karmic Trickster fashion. In a nutshell, if Mr. Plotz had just let them stay since they were behaving, the entire thing would have gone off without a hitch.
  • The episode "The Fortuneteller" from Avatar: The Last Airbender focuses on a town that hangs on to every word of their fortune teller, Aunt Wu. Aunt Wu's predictions are almost always right, but what the villagers don't realize is that it's what they do after hearing her predictions that cause them to happen. Like the old man who was told that he would be wearing red shoes on the day he meets his true love... so he wears red shoes, every day. Wu also predicts that the village will not be destroyed by the nearby volcano. While the villagers' minds are put at ease, the more skeptical protagonists go to check the volcano and find that it is about to erupt. They warn the villagers, who refuse to believe them. So they manipulate one of Wu's fortunetelling methods so she will predict the eruption, then work with the villagers to divert it. Much to Sokka's frustration, this does nothing to dissuade the village's faith in Wu; after all, she predicted the village wouldn't be destroyed, and it wasn't.
  • Big City Greens: In the episode "Hiya Henry", Cricket is irked when Tilly finds Gramma Alice's old ventriloquist dummy, Hiya Henry, to use in her act for Big Coffee's open mic. Cricket spends the whole episode being tormented by Henry, and doesn't tell Tilly or anyone else because he thinks it would hurt her feelings. When Tilly's act begins, he cannot take it anymore and destroys Henry onstage, which in return hurts Tilly's feelings anyway because he ruined her performance without telling her.
  • Danny Phantom may have been this if you read The Movie a certain way. Specifically, Clockwork was tasked with preventing the Bad Future by killing Danny before it could happen. However, the ghosts he sent back in time failed to do this, causing a series of events that cause it to happen anyway. Well, almost happen anyway.
  • A few examples in Gargoyles:
    • Demona goes back in time from 1995 to 994 to warn her past self about the slaughter of her clan by the humans. This causes her past self to distrust the humans living in the castle, so she betrays them to the Vikings... who slaughter her clan after taking over the castle.
    • Prince (later King) Duncan was paranoid that his cousin Macbeth would try to claim the throne of Scotland, and this paranoia was exacerbated when the Weird Sisters prophesied that Macbeth would become king. So he attacked Macbeth, unsuccessfully, and Macbeth killed him and became king anyway. The catch is that Macbeth had no interest in becoming king and was loyal to Duncan, and he never would have killed Duncan if Duncan hadn't attacked him first.
  • In the Hercules: The Animated Series episode "Hercules and the Big Kiss", Cassandra has to kiss Icarus awake. He was put into the sleep in the first place by her efforts to avoid fulfilling a vision which showed her kissing him.
  • Justice League Unlimited's Project Cadmus arc is all about averting a Superhero-Government war that happened in an Alternate Universe. Lex Luthor and Brainiac take full advantage of the paranoia to trigger one. Even those actions taken by Cadmus without Luthor's overt involvement (Waller claims, and believed he was mainly a source of income) contributes to the scenario at the end of the arc.
  • The Loud House:
    • In "Raw Deal", the family goes on a trip to Grand Venture State Park, and on the way there, Lucy gives tarot readings. Lincoln's reading is his day at the park will "end in tragedy", which in turn makes him become a hypochondriac and ends up believing everything is dangerous so he won't face anything tragic. As it turns out, there wasn't any danger at the park after all, and he ends up missing out on all the fun which in turn, ends his day in tragedy as predicted.
    • In "Stall Monitor", Mrs. Johnson is intent on seeing Rita and Lynn Sr. for Parent-Teacher Conference Night, and Lincoln, worried about what she is going to tell them, tries to stop them from attending with Clyde's help. As it turns out, she was actually telling them what a great student he was, not a bad one, but as a result of trying to stop her, he gets grounded for a week, along with a week of detention.
  • The Simpsons:
    • One episode regarded a tapestry that predicted everything that would ever happen to it. When one of Homer's ancestors discovered this, he saw that the tapestry depicted him eating it, so he ate it.
    • The Treehouse of Horror segment "The Ned Zone" has Ned gaining the ability to foresee people's deaths. When he foresaw himself shooting Homer to death, he at first successfully changed the fate... only for him to foresee Homer killing everyone via a nuclear explosion at the power plant. Ned then tries to shoot Homer to prevent this, but inadvertently causes the explosion himself anyway.
  • South Park:
    • The "Pandemic" two-parter is full of this. The prophecy - that Craig would be the one to avert the Pandemic - is brought about by a combination of the Big Bad sending Craig to Peru, and Craig himself simply walking away when he learns of the prophecy, fully intending to ignore it... leading to him standing on the exact spot necessary to activate his Eye Beams (Makes Just as Much Sense in Context) and avert the global crisis.
    • In the episode "Ike's Wee Wee," Mr. Mackey tries to explain to children Drugs Are Bad. But his attempt to educate children by having them smell a sample of marijuana got his fired, mocked, and evicted from his apartment when that sample was stolen. His response to this Trauma Conga Line: start taking drugs to cope with his depression.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "InSPONGEiac" has SpongeBob slacking off a bit on the job (i.e. using a teensy bit too much mustard) because he went to sleep two minutes later than usual, prompting Mr. Krabs to flip out over it and conclude that he's an insomniac. SpongeBob starts to get paranoid about his lack of sleep, eventually causing him to become an insomniac for real.
  • Tangled: The Series has an interesting take on this in the season 2 finale. From Demanitus' cryptic warning to Eugene about a traitor in their midst, after he decided to bar Rapunzel from entering the castle to protect her, Pascal makes him realize that he was the one who betrayed her by stopping her from fulfilling her destiny. Eugene then tears up the note and tries to find Rapunzel to resume their objective again. Turns out, this was actually averted as the traitor among them was actually Cassandra, just as Eugene initially thought.
  • Inverted in Teen Titans season four. Raven is troubled by her destiny to destroy the world and, along with Slade and her father Trigon, repeatedly insists that no matter what she does, there's nothing she can do to prevent it. She fails to realize that the only way the prophecy can come true is if she willingly goes along with it, as the destruction of the world is completely dependent on the conscious actions she makes of her own free will.note 
  • The events of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) episode "Timing is Everything" implies that the events of the series up to that point are a result of this. The Utrom Shredder, after his first initial battle with Turtles, travels to the year 2105, where the Turtles and Splinter are currently stuck as a result of a time travel mishap with the time window. He and his army attempt to take the technology, only to start getting their asses kicked all over the place. The initial battle had it take all four turtles and Splinter in order to defeat the Utrom Shredder; in this battle, three of the turtles and Splinter trounce his army while Leo beats him down easily, before kicking him back to his own time, but not before Raph reveals that they had defeated him already. This event is implied to be the reason why the Shredder became so ruthless after his first defeat, which would cause the events of the next four seasons, facilitating said defeat.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): The four-part Monster Arc of the fifth season involves Savanti Romero traveling through time and assembling an army of monsters to take over the world, starting with New York. Renet arrives and takes the Turtles back in time to stop Savanti from doing so, but throughout the arc, their efforts end up only helping him:
    • In "The Curse of Savanti Romero," they go back to Ancient Egypt to prevent him from taking control of a mummified pharaoh, but end up not only leading Savanti right to the pharaoh's tomb but activating the mummy's curse.
    • In "The Crypt of Dracula," they go to Transylvania and get assistance from Vulko and Esmeralda, a Gypsy father-and-daughter duo, in stopping Savanti from recruiting Dracula. In the process, Raph gets bitten by Dracula and turns against his brothers, and Savanti manages to get control of not only Dracula but Vulko, who's revealed to be a werewolf; before he leaves Transylvania, he even gloats that he's gotten everything he wanted to get and more.
    • In "The Frankenstein Experiment," Donnie decides to help Dr. Frankenstein complete his experiment with the ulterior motive of collecting synthetic blood to Find the Cure! for Raph; all he ends up accomplishing is enabling Savanti to add the monster to his ranks.
    • All in all, when they return to New York in "Monsters Among Us!", the group is able to tell right away that their efforts to stop Savanti in the past were All for Nothing; as Leo notes, if anything, the streets are infested with even more monsters than there were before they left.
  • The Thundarr the Barbarian episode "Prophecy of Peril" deals with three women (a hermit barbarian, an element queen, and a human woman) that would be found by her foe. The wizard of the week, Vashtar, goes back in time to kidnap the human woman. And in the end, the three women destroy the Gem of Glory, the power source of the evil wizard.
  • In the ThunderCats (2011) episode "Native Son", the Ancient Spirits decree the infant Tigra must die, because he will grow to be the spirits' enemy. To protect Tigra, Javan sends him away, where he is adopted by Claudis and raised by a culture that rejected the spirits of evil.
  • In Transformers: Prime, when Megatron discovers that his battle beast Predaking is intelligent and capable of transformation, he has his Decepticons destroy all Predacons that were being created to serve as his army, believing that Predaking might turn on against him. However, this ends up being the very thing that results in his betrayal; Predaking already swore Undying Loyalty to Megatron and had no intention to betray him, and once Ratchet reveals that Megatron deliberately allowed the Autobots to destroy his Predacons, he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge to destroy Megatron.
  • Young Justice:
    • After hearing that there is a mole in the team, Aqualad decides to withhold the information and investigate himself for fear of causing disunity amongst the members. When the other members find out, they end up distrusting Aqualad and it causes a rift.
    • Blue Beetle learns that he will one day lead the Reach to conquer the Earth. He's so desperate to avoid that that he trusts Green Beetle to damage his Scarab for him. As a result, his Scarab is rebooted and he's now a Reach mole.

    Real Life 
  • The self-fulfilling prophecy is a fairly major sociological concept. The idea is that when other people expect something of a person, that person will act that way as a result of their actions. In one test, a class of children were given an aptitude test, and afterwards their teacher was told that child X's results showed him/her to be particularly gifted. Child X had, in fact, been drawn at random. When the experimenters followed up on the class a few months later, they found that X was performing much better than before — because the teacher was giving them more attention.
  • The Ironic Process Theory (a.k.a. the White Bear Problem) is the idea that the more you try to suppress a thought, the more likely it comes back. You try to avoid thinking a thought, but because the conscious part of the brain actively tries to avoid it, the subconscious part of the brain reminds your conscious part to avoid it, resulting with you thinking about that thought anyways.
  • Caretakers or family members of a person with a disability will often create a self-fulfilling prophecy. In assuming that the person they are caring for is too disabled to be capable of a certain life skill, they won't bother to try teaching them to do it, thus guaranteeing they won't be able to do it, and it will have to be done for them. note 
    • On a similar note, calling your child “stupid, lazy, slow, or whatever lovable quality you name it” in order to making them better version of themselves, not only is unfair to them, but it ultimately backfires as this would crush their self esteem, and be exactly what you’re were trying to avoid to be in the first place, since, you know, what’s the point of trying to be better if all what you gets is to be still treated like garbage because of unrealistic and unhealthy expectations?
  • Economics: Investors' fears of a downturn in the stock market are one of the most common reasons for a downturn in the stock market.
    • Recessions in general work similarly, since consumer confidence is a major factor. Once the news media alerts the general population that there might be a recession coming, people start spending less money, and before you know it, we're in a recession. The longer and louder the media goes on about it, the worse it's likely to be, in part because of the warnings.
  • Banking runs are considered to be often impacted by the perception of a bank being solvent. In reality, most banks can't withstand all of their liquid money being hit at once. The FDIC knows this, and their list of banks most likely to fail is considered to be top secret, since publishing the list will cause runs on those banks that will in turn cause them to fail. An example is the Washington Mutual bank failure in 2008 - it was going relatively okay, until a bunch of people heard the bank might fail with the economic downturn. Then, in one day, 10% of its assets were withdrawn by panicky account holders, causing the bank to fail and get bought out by Chase.
    • These are actually the Trope Namer. Robert K. Merton coined the phrase and used a banking run as the classic example. A particular real-life example of a bank run was seen in the UK with Northern Rock. The bank quietly asked the Bank of England if they could have an extended overdraft (effectively), even though they didn't actually need it at that point. Word got out, leading to every branch in the country being besieged by savers desperate to take all their money out before the bank collapsed - which it wasn't in danger of doing until people panicked.
    • Similarly, during the Great Depression, many people worried that they would lose their money due to the stock market crash and failing banks. As a result, people rushed to get their money out, thereby causing the banks to fail. This would be part of the reason the FDIC would later be created, because if you were unlucky and didn't get your money out of the bank in time, you lost it. Banks that are FDIC-insured protect bank consumers up to $250,000 in the event of a bank failing. This has the effect of protecting not only the customers but the bank itself, since customers would, at least in theory, be less likely to attempt to run on an FDIC-insured bank and accidentally cause it to fail if they knew they were protected.
  • The fate of Sengoku Jidai Japan was decided at the Battle of Sekigahara. Prior to it, Mori Hidemoto's retainer Kikkawa Hiroie believed his side, the Western Army, would lose and the Mori would be punished and stripped of their lands. Hoping to prevent being punished for losing, Kikkawa made a deal with Tokugawa Ieyasu who commanded the Eastern Army. When the battle was joined, Kikkawa refused to participate with his forces. Not only that but by virtue of being the vanguard of forces stationed on Mount Taiguu, Kikkawa blocked the road of the forces stationed there and prevented Mori and others, totaling 33,000 men (over 1/3 of the 82,000-man army) from participating and attacking the rear of the Eastern Army. This resulted in the defeat of the Western Army. And Tokugawa Ieyasu stripped the Mori of two-thirds of their lands, anyway.
  • An example from the UK in 2008 or so: a two-day strike at an oil refinery in Scotland wouldn't have affected petrol distribution in the slightest as several days' reserves are stored off-site. However, as soon as news of the strike got out, queues appeared at petrol stations all over the country - even those areas which got their petrol from completely different refineries. This, of course, meant they sold out of petrol quickly, leading to local news stations running stories about petrol stations running short, which led to more people trying to fill up before the nationwide fuel drought struck their beloved motor...
  • An earlier UK example: when there was a sugar shortage in the UK in the early 1970s, a presenter of BBC Radio 4's morning news-magazine programme Today joking said: "At this rate, there'll be a salt shortage next". Some people took him seriously, panicked and started stockpiling, and before the day was out there was a salt shortage.
  • This is essentially how the entire Foreign Exchange market works. People think that a currency will go up? It goes up. People think it's about to plummet? It plummets. It's even more self-fulfilling with Technical Trading (Foreign Exchange Trading based on technical analysis). The idea is that past prices and patterns will repeat themselves, but it only works because so many people and institutions place orders on the belief that they will, that those very orders cause it to happen.
  • The Induced Traffic theory. City fathers and developers argue for the building of new roads and highways and the expansion of current ones to both relieve current traffic congestion and prepare for traffic increasing in the future. In truth, it's building the roads themselves that cause the increase in traffic by encouraging more and more people to drive (especially since many of the roads built are not pedestrian-friendly).
  • If the media hawks about a new disease, people get more stressed, which weakens the immune system, which makes them more likely to get sick.
  • Relatedly, one of the most powerful factors in determining who wins an election (especially the Presidential primary) is who the media (seeing a pattern here?) claims is "leading". This is why most of the attention is given to the earliest primary states, and why states (like Florida in '08, for instance) jockey for the earliest races.
  • In 1973, Johnny Carson made a joke about a potential toilet paper shortage. This caused viewers to stockpile toilet paper, thus creating the very shortage he'd joked about.
  • Another instance comes from accounting. Companies are required to file statements of possible losses from lawsuits should it be considered reasonably possible that they may lose the case. However, once they do so, their own statements are used against them as evidence of their "obvious" guilt and they usually lose the case shortly afterwards.
  • When Richard Nixon was President of the United States, he was well-known for being both intensely paranoid and very concerned about the kind of legacy he would leave behind. So when the Watergate scandal came up, and Nixon discovered that he wasn't about to get out of it, he tried to cover it up as best as he could. If he had simply come out in the very beginning and humbly admitted what he did wrong, his legacy might not have been so harshly viewed. He wouldn't be liked, but people probably would have respected his being forthcoming.
  • Economically disenfranchised areas of an American city tend to have higher crime rates than the rest. Police look upon residents of said areas as more likely to commit crimes. This creates or exacerbates a distrust of the police in said communities. This leads to a lower chance of any crimes being solved, which lowers the police's opinions of said communities, etc. It is rather tragic to see the same person complaining that "the system" doesn't care about their community also telling informants to "stop snitchin'".
  • During the May Day 2012 protests in Montreal, a photo was circulated of protesters mocking police by dangling donuts on strings. Their defenders claimed that the protesters weren't responsible for any consequences from their needlessly baiting police. Many protesters seek to deliberately do something that makes the police arrest them in order to prove the police are oppressive, then have a friend record it and cut down the video to just the police's response so they can try to claim they're being arrested for no reason.
  • The Roman Empire:
    • After Nero committed suicide, the experienced Governor Galba became emperor. His neighbouring governor Otho was then told by an astrologer that the venerable Galba would soon be dead, and he would be Emperor. Spurred by the prophecy, Otho then spent seven months currying favour with Galba in an attempt to be named his formal heir. When Galba finally decided on someone else, Otho was so enraged at the rebuke he had Galba assassinated and seized the throne for himself.
    • The Praetorian-prefect named Marcus Opellius Macrinus was informed of a prophecy from an oracle that he would become the emperor. Luckily for him, he got the information before the sitting emperor (the, quote, "Common enemy of mankind"), Caracalla, since if he didn't he would most likely be executed as a possible threat. Since the emperor would inevitably find out sooner or later, his hand was forced so as to actually assassinate Caracalla and he ended up as the new emperor after the Guard proclaimed him such. Not that it made much of a difference since he would also be the first emperor to die before entering Rome. For this reason, making prophecies about the imperial succession was usually a crime punishable by death.
    • Not a prophecy as such but a major part of the death of Caligula was a betrayal by the commander of his guard. By most accounts, the man was loyal, until he found out the Emperor was having doubts about him and remembered what happened to the last guard commander Caligula didn't trust.
  • When the first Twilight film came out, the media acted as if the Twilight series was a serious rival for the Harry Potter series with headlines like "Move Over Harry Potter, Twilight Has Arrived," implying the existence of a Fandom Rivalry - and creating one as a result.
  • One aspect of supply-and-demand involves the idea that when people believe that the price of a good will increase, they'll buy more of it before the expected increase, and as such will be the cause of the price increase thanks to the demand going up. Inversely, if there's a report, true or false, that supplies are low, people will buy more of it, and the result is that supply will be low. Some companies try to profit from this, by claiming that "supplies are limited" when they are, in fact, anything of the sort, creating a sort of artificial demand.
  • Stereotypes, people subconsciously adapt to behave 'normally', with stereotypes representing what people consider 'normal' behaviour for certain groups of people. The situation is made harder by the fact averting stereotypes is usually a conscious decision to make a character that is 'different' (implying they are abnormal) and backlash against stereotypes often goes wrong, creating 'reverse' stereotypes (for example, Real Women Don't Wear Dresses).
  • People who claim to be psychics run off this. They hope that if they tell you something will happen under certain circumstances, you'll enforce those circumstances on your own. If they tell you "You will meet your future spouse while wearing red shoes," they hope that you'll wear red shoes all the time (especially since if you're asking a psychic, you're likely a little desperate), so when you inevitably meet someone, the "prediction" comes true. Similarly, if you ask about, say, having a baby, that implies you're stressed about it (stress can make it harder to conceive). They hope that if they tell you you're going to have a baby soon, that'll reduce your stress levels, possibly encourage you to "try" more, and increase the odds that you will have a baby.
  • Fat people who are otherwise as average in eating and activity habits as their thin counterparts may come under attack by individuals or groups who make fun of them or stereotype them as lazy and gluttonous as a misguided attempt to motivate them to adopt healthy habits. Unfortunately, this may crush their self-esteem so much that it prevents them from doing so in the first place as they see no reason to.
  • While the population of people on the Internet roughly reflects the gender distribution of the world population, roughly half male and half female, many regulars on gaming and technical forums firmly believe that There Are No Girls on the Internet. When a woman does show up, boorish, misogynistic behavior by the male regulars drives them away, resulting in male-dominated technical spaces. This partly explains why relatively few women major in technical fields.
    • It also works the other way; well-intentioned female teachers, guidance counselors, relatives will tell a girl who is interested in a STEM field that she's "brave" for choosing such a path (implying she's signing up for a harsh life) and relating the narrative over and over again that STEM fields are a gauntlet of sexual harassment and abuse where the girl, despite her interest and aptitude, will never truly fit in or succeed. And then those same well-intentioned female teachers, guidance counselors, and relatives wring their hands over why the girls choose anything other than a STEM career.
  • The idea that games with female leads don't sell well is also one of these, as argued here - publishers are afraid the game won't sell and as such put only the minimum amount of effort into marketing, resulting in nobody even being aware the game exists, and as a result, it doesn't sell well.
    • Also often the case with minorities, leading to the Minority Show Ghetto. If your protagonist isn't a part of that country's major ethnicity, then there might be less effort put into the marketing because everyone thinks it won't be popular anyway, thus causing it to have less visibility and thus be, in fact, less popular. Not helped when so-called "minority issues" are the focus because by definition the majority will have trouble understanding them, but since the majority won't understand them and thus the work won't be popular, producers decide "might as well do it" and make them the focus, thus ensuring the majority of people won't get it.
    • This is also an issue for niche games (e.g. a Widget Series). For example, some argue that several Fire Emblem games outside of Japan could have sold better had they got the promotion and advertising that Fire Emblem Awakening received. In other words, a niche game remains a niche game (and is doomed to obscurity) because publishers treated it like a niche game, not trusting their advertising dollars to make it sell any better.
  • In programming, people tend to wait until the end to optimize code because they think it takes too much time and effort, but it mostly takes so much because it grows more complicated due to the delay.
    • On the other hand, "premature optimization is the root of all evil." If you go into a program expecting to optimize it before you even know if there's a problem (let alone where), then your "optimized" code will likely be longer, harder to decipher, and more prone to bugs and slowdowns than if you'd just written a naïve implementation and gradually improved on it as problems show up.
  • TV scheduling can run afoul of this quite easily, too. After buying or making a show, the broadcaster later comes to the conclusion that it probably won't do well with the audiences, so they typically put it on in a late-night "death" slot, and frequently poorly advertised ahead of time too. Quite predictably, the show's viewing figures are dismally low due to few people even knowing that the show is on, and still fewer people willing to watch it in such an awkward time slot. The broadcaster then says "we told you this show wouldn't do well" and cancel it.
  • According to an episode of Air Crash Investigation, the crash of TAM Airlines Flight 3054 on July 17, 2007, was a self-fulfilling prophecy. Congonhas Airport in São Paulo, Brazil was notorious among pilots for its extreme degree of difficulty in landing jets there. The main runway was 1,945 meters long (short for large jets), and the airport was built on a hilltop surrounded by roads and buildings. Brazil's rainy climate, delays in carving water channeling grooves in the runway, and a number of close calls led pilots to believe that there would be a major crash involving the airport. On the evening of July 17, 2007, TAM Airlines Flight 3054 was destined to land at Congonhas. It had been raining in the days prior, and the airplane had had one of its thrust reversers (used to slow the plane after landing) disabled four days earlier. The pilot, fearing he wouldn't be able to stop his plane with the single-reverser landing procedure at the time, opted to use an older procedure that had been abandoned due to pilots accidentally leaving the disabled reverser engine at full power. Guess what this pilot did? The plane crashed into an office building, killing a total of 199 people.
  • William Henry Harrison, during his run for President, was criticized for being old and frail (at 68 during his inauguration, he was then the oldest man elected President, and would remain so until Ronald Reagan 140 years later), and many people speculated that he would be the first US president to die while in office. He tried to prove his detractors wrong by giving a two-hour inauguration speech outside in the rain in cold weather without wearing warm clothes, subsequently catching pneumonia and, a month later, becoming the first US president to die in office.
  • That small percentage of people in any democracy who don't vote because they don't think their vote counts. And who thus act in a way that makes sure that it won't. Some people won't vote because none of the parties they could support represent their views well enough. So why aren't politicians representing those views? Because the people who care about them the most don't vote. The "I didn't vote" argument is an extension of this. People become cynical and convinced that their votes don't matter because corrupt politicians and fundamentalists will just cheat and/or bribe their way to victory. Thus they don't bother going out to vote, which just makes it easier for the corrupt individuals to keep themselves in power by paying off friends and allies to pad out the ballots in their favor.
  • Similarly, Duverger's law states that single-member district plurality electoral systems tend to lead to two dominant political parties because people will not vote for candidates from smaller parties and instead vote for one from the two largest parties that they believe have a chance of winning.
  • During the 2012 Presidential Election, there were times when it seemed like Mitt Romney was ahead enough in the polls to win the Presidency from Barack Obama. While Ohio was close and Pennsylvania was within striking distance according to the polls one week before the election - some even having him ahead by a couple of points, Romney feared that he might still lose those key states. So he decided to focus his final week campaigning in Pennsylvania instead of the other states he believed were already his, and he decided to release commercials in Ohio claiming that President Obama was planning to ship Jeep production jobs overseas as part of the bailout deal with General Motors and Chrysler. The campaigning in Pennsylvania was a waste of time, as Romney lost this historically Democratic state by a large margin during the election, at the same time also losing states that he should have won like Florida (one of the closest states). And he lost Ohio after his ad about the Jeeps was fact checked and proven wrong, turning many potential voters against him right before the election.
    • Many theorize the same thing happened in the 2016 election. Even though both candidates were incredibly unpopular, Hillary Clinton still seemed to have it in the bag with a huge cash on hand advantage and most media outlets and celebrities supporting her. Speculation of the outcome was also highly in her favor. A lot of her supporters went on the bandwagon of treating her as the only right choice, trying to snuff out any chance of a Donald Trump upset. Their tactics of trying to sway voters got increasingly worse and the campaign itself was accused of being tone-deaf and condescending, focusing mostly on issues of personality rather than policy. This led many 3rd-party voters, undecideds, and people who were going to skip the election to vote Trump instead. By the end Trump, to the surprise of many, won.
  • Game developers who don't make games for a particular system because they have no faith in it or are unimpressed with its low install base inadvertently make said game for that system fail because of it, and also fail to grow the console's install base. Same goes for those who make poor ports of multi-platform games for said system, causing that version of the game to sell poorly.
  • Nintendo tends to get hit with this the most often, as early as the Nintendo 64's debut — "Only Nintendo games sell on Nintendo platforms." This mentality absolutely murdered third-party support for their later consoles,note  leading to Nintendo themselves being the source of the vast majority of quality software. The Nintendo Switch is finally averting this.
  • Racial profiling in law enforcement. Proponents of profiling say that "Group X has a higher crime rate, so we should profile them." The profiling then ensures that Group X continues to have a high crime rate, both in reaction to the treatment and because crime rate statistics are based on the crimes being seen, so the profiling will never end.
  • World War I was one: everyone was convinced it would happen, so it did in spite of the few sane people who tried to avoid it (who included the Tsar). Also subverted with the idea it would end soon: the Triple Alliance had a plan to make it end by Christmas, but it fell through when Italy declared neutrality (thus depriving the German Army of the diversion they needed to take Paris and kick France out of the war). Hell, the war was predicted almost to the day by Otto von Bismarck himself twenty years prior, and he even predicted it would be caused by "some fool thing in the Balkans". As Extra History will attest, the lead-up to the war is an utterly tragic comedy of errors, even starting right from Franz Ferdinand's choice of date to visit Sarajevo, which was a day of pride for Serbia. When he was assassinated, everyone was trying to achieve their goals while also trying to avoid the European war they feared would happen, only to be foiled by incompetence or twists of fate.
  • The open American entrance into World War II was based on one as well. While helping the Allies through Lend-Lease, the United States was generally not interested in involving itself in the fighting, although many assumed it was inevitable at some point, but everyone assumed it would be against Nazi Germany. Japan wanted to seize the European colonies and independent nations in Southeast Asia for resource reasons (said European countries being somewhat distracted at the time), but the US-occupied Philippines were situated such that military forces based there could easily attack Japanese shipping going to and from these operations, so to secure their planned attacks they had to somehow neutralize the Philippines as an American base of operations. But in order to do that, they needed to ensure naval dominance in the Western Pacific so the Americans would not be able to reinforce the islands, thus the attack to cripple the American fleet at Pearl Harbor and the seizure of American bases like Wake Island which would allow them make their conquests and secure their logistics without the US Navy being able to respond effectively. As a result, in order to prevent the possibility of the Americans interfering with their offensive operations if the United States entered the war, the Japanese carried out operations that guaranteed the United States would be entering the war. Five words describe the long-term aftermath of Pearl Harbor succinctly: Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!.
  • People deciding there's no point in watching an off-beat TV show or buying an off-beat comic book, because just when they're getting into it it'll be cancelled due to poor ratings/sales.
  • On the other hand, comic book companies can decide publicising their off-beat publication is a waste of money, because nobody's going to buy them anyway. Book publishers have been known to do this as well; Terry Pratchett used to say that his first US publisher didn't so much launch his books as bury them.
  • During the reign of Suleiman I (the Magnificent), Suleiman and his second wife Hürrem Sultan were afraid that Suleiman's four sons would end up killing each other over the line of succession. Suleiman went crazy over this, culminating in having two of the sons put to death for "disloyalty" to the throne, and watching a third weep himself to death.
  • The American Civil War - many in the American South were absolutely convinced that Lincoln's election in 1860 would mean the most radical Republicans would get control and destroy traditional Southern institutions (read: slavery) and their only course of action was to start an armed revolt - thus ultimately assuring that slavery was killed off just as they predicted.
  • The Placebo Effect shows that this trope works even on a physical level: If a patient takes a neutral substance (such as sugar pills), but believes it's a treatment that will make them feel better, the belief can be enough to make them actually recover. There's also a negative counterpart called the "Nocebo Effect": If the patient is told a neutral substance will have negative side effects or cause harmful symptoms, they're likely to experience those symptoms as well. Notably, both effects don't just work on subjective symptoms, such as pain or mood, but on things that can actually be physiologically measured, such as heart rhythm and blood pressure. While the effect isn't fully understood, the current theory is that the patient's expectations have a lot to do with the outcome of the treatment. Your Mind Makes It Real, after all.
    • In short, the brain-mind relationship is yet to be fully understood, but while the brain as a chemical computer (and assorted limits) of course influences the mind and thus chemical imbalances cause distress, it's becoming apparent that the mind is powerful enough to force the brain into doing things as well, thus forcefully solving the chemical imbalances and hence the person becoming healthier.
  • Stage fright can be a self-fulfilling expectation as a worried performer-to-be can end up undermining their performance by worrying that their performance will be rejected by the audience. Learning to get over it and getting in the right mindset to become the character is key to putting on a compelling performance. There are also people who just entirely ignore everyone else and thus have no stage fright at all. Whether this is a good or bad method is debatable, but it's certainly highly effective.
  • From the late 2000s into The New '10s, Pepe the Frog (a character originating in Matt Furie's webcomic Boy's Club) was a popular meme across The Internet. Thus, during the 2016 presidential election in The United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign team labelled Pepe as a far-right mascot, since this relatively innocent meme was hijacked by the alt-right. At that point, everyone else dropped Pepe like a hot potato while even more of Clinton's right-wing opponents adopted him as a badge of pride. So Pepe indeed became a far-right mascot.
  • People who are afraid of being rejected by someone they love often become distant and avoidant towards that person in order to protect themselves. Their distantness and avoidantness then lead to that person rejecting them.
  • In late 2017, Grace Mugabe, the wife of the long-time president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, publicly accused leadership rival Emmerson Mnangagwa of plotting a coup against her husband, who subsequently dismissed Mnangagwa from his position as vice-president and forced him into exile. Reports vary, but most observers seem to agree that Mnangagwa was just biding his time and waiting for President Mugabe, who was in his mid-90s and in failing health, to die of natural causes, and didn't see Grace as a serious threat. The end result of this was that the Mugabes ended up causing the very coup they were worried about, resulting in their being ousted and replaced by Mnangagwa.
  • Josef Stalin spent years in a state of paranoia while constantly purging his inner circle for fear that someone might try to assassinate him. It's now generally agreed that someone in his inner circle did indeed assassinate him because they were afraid of getting purged.
  • Feuding within families often happens because of this. Say a parent claims that their child-in-law intends to move away with said parent's son/daughter, they will eventually do so, because the parent had been making life unbearable to them as a result.
  • Deciding you don't like a film or TV show before you ever see it or based on a trailer or preview clip often plays out like this as you're more inclined to go into something already not liking it and unwilling to have your mind changed, focusing only on what you don't like.
  • Naming fictional concepts before they become reality ends up as this. The term robot was coined for science fiction (and named after Robota, a Czech term for serf labor) long before actual robots were created, a hypothetical form of antimatter is named Quintessence, after the fabled fifth element, and, as Orson Scott Card notes, if Hyperspace is ever discovered, it will almost certainly be called Hyperspace.
  • This has been suggested as the reason why Russian gymnast Svetlana Khorkina missed out on an all-around medal at the 2000 Olympics. During the final for the event, the vaulting horse was inadvertently set to an incorrect height, causing Khorkina (as well as several other gymnasts) to fall on her vault. Unaware of the equipment problem, Khorkina went to the next rotation believing she had made a mistake and blown her chance at an all-around medal; she might also have had in her mind the fact that she had fallen on the event a few days earlier in the team final. Unable to fully get her head in the game, Khorkina fell on that same element, blowing her chance at an all-around medalnote .
  • In computing, the "password paradox". In other words, the more stringent requirements for a password (e.g. fifteen characters minimum instead of eight, including several symbols, non-sequential numbers, and rules on capitalization and password changes, and forbidding common words), the simpler the password created such that it would just qualify. The user would create something simple to remember (e.g. "!#579TropePswrd") and thus easier for a hacker to get in, as opposed to a shorter but more random and harder-to-crack password with less stringent requirements (e.g. "m3HJ9pA8"). Also, if the password needs to be changed frequently, the user would only make very minor changes, possibly incrementing a digit or capitalizing a character so they don't have to remember a new password. All this makes it easier for a hacker to get in. Furthermore, harder passwords would more likely be written down or copied somewhere (e.g. a Word file within the computer, or physically on a Post-it note on the monitor), making even a casual observer be able to get in.
  • A common phenomenon in driving known as "target fixation", where a driver becomes so visually focused on an object ahead that they're trying to avoid, they subconsciously end up steering themselves towards it (because their hands are following their eyes) and increasing the chance they accidentally collide with the object.
  • Any fears over the lack of a certain product/resource is easily an example of this. It goes like this: People get afraid of a lack of certain commodity. They then buy them en masse to stockpile a supply. Because everyone has the same idea, this causes the demand to eventually overcome the supply. This results in the lack of the product in question. Examples include the water shortage of the Y2K scare due to everyone having the brilliant idea of stocking up water in their bathtubs while thinking that no one else would have the same idea and the toilet paper shortage during the COVID-19 outbreak where everyone initially bought them all out which resulted in empty shelves later on.


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Alternative Title(s): Self Fulfilling Prophecies


TWA Chosen One prophecy

The implications of this type of prophecy are explored.

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