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The Call Knows Where You Live

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"Life is good. I hope I never have to leave my beloved village."

Even if a hero wishes to refuse the Call to Adventure, destiny has ways of making sure that it can't be ignored. One of which is to strike the hero right where they live.

If the villain or villains were not introduced earlier, it is usually at this point where they will make their presence, and their evil, felt for the first time. Friends or loved ones may be hurt, kidnapped or outright slain. Homes or even hometowns may get razed to the ground. The hero may well find themselves actively hunted or worse. Whatever the form it takes, bad and often tragic things happen to the hero and their world, and the point is driven home that they can't run away from their life mission.

Embittered and hardened by the experience, The Hero thus takes up the call, either to avenge those that were hurt or slain, rescue those who were kidnapped, make the villains stop making their life a living hell, and/or make sure that whatever happened does not happen again to anyone else. Many an Anti-Hero has been shaped by this. He Who Fights Monsters almost certainly has. Multiply at least twofold if The Hero tried Starting a New Life.

This trope may be referenced in a Troubled Backstory Flashback. Villains may inflict this on the hero's friends because "They Were Holding You Back". The Forgotten Fallen Friend is the trope where, after the hero starts the adventure, he or she gets over the deaths with remarkable aplomb.

May overlaps with Doomed Hometown (only this trope is often viciously more personal) or Death by Origin Story. Compare with The Villain Knows Where You Live (a possible reason why the call keeps coming), War Comes Home (in which the call to action is an actual attack on your homeland by the enemy) and It's a Wonderful Plot (in which the timeline itself won't allow the hero to ignore his role). Contrast with Plot Detour; Kidnapped by the Call, for a heroic variant. See also Nice Job Breaking It, Hero, for when this is the result of a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.

Not to be confused with The Calls Are Coming from Inside the House or a character being Forced from Their Home.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Eren Yeager wanted to answer the call, and had argued with his mother over this. Cue the Colossal Titan kicking in the Wall, and a chunk of debris landing on the Yeager house. Eren and his foster sister, Mikasa, are forced to watch their mother be Eaten Alive by a Titan.
    • Jean Kirstein spends a good amount of time talking about his intention to join the Military Police Brigade and live a comfortable, completely Titan-free life. Then, the day after graduation, his hometown becomes the site of a major battle and he is forced to step up to the plate and take command of the other stranded Trainees. And just to make sure he doesn't reconsider accepting the Call, in the aftermath of the battle he discovers the mangled corpse of his best friend, Marco. Even so, people are genuinely surprised when he decides to answer it and abandon his selfish ways.
  • In Beelzebub, Furuichi is not allowed to avoid participating in the plot of the day, as Oga will simply send the transfer demon Alaindelion to kidnap him if he's not already present. Including when Furuichi was vacationing far away.
  • In Being Able to Edit Skills in Another World, I Gained OP Waifus, the call is quite schizophrenic with the main character, Nagi. But it reminds him that it knows where he is as the aristocrats of the world setting keep sending problems his way, basically for shits and giggles.
  • The plot of Bleach is kicked off when a Hollow attacks Ichigo's home at night. Much later, it is revealed that Aizen deliberately sent said Hollow to attack him for the express purpose of granting him Shinigami powers through Rukia.
  • Invoked in Chainsaw Man. Denji spends much of Part 2 in a "Leave Your Quest" Test, with outside forces (Public Safety and the Church of Chainsaw Man) constantly trying to force him to pick a side. To try and force him out of his 10-Minute Retirement, Flamethrower Man from the Church burns down his house with his dogs in it and taunts him about it.
  • Played for Laughs in Devils and Realist. William has absolutely no interest in the occult and flat-out refuses to take up his destined role as elector of the next substitute ruler of hell. Cue the demon candidates infiltrating his school and masquerading as students to bug him to choose one of them.
  • Fate/kaleid liner PRISMA☆ILLYA: In the first season, the titular character becomes a Magical Girl by being forced, the second season starts with Rin and Luvia straight-up kidnapping her to force another mission.
  • In Girls und Panzer, Miho transferred to a school that specifically didn't have Tankery, due to a traumatic incident during a previous Tankery competition. Unfortunately for her, the student council at her new school decides to resurrect their Tankery program, and forces her to join.
  • Gundam
  • In Inuyasha, after returning to her time after her first trip to the feudal era, Kagome assumes the whole experience was a dream and proceeds to forget about the whole thing... until Inuyasha barges into her house while her family is having dinner. She still tries to rebuff him, but one of the villains seeking the Jewel of Four Souls begins reaching through the well shortly after, quickly settling the argument.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders: After Jotaro obtained his Stand, he refused to believe the story Joseph told him, citing it off as nonsense. But when Jotaro's mother develops a Stand that starts to slowly kill her; the only way to save her is to destroy DIO.
    • Diamond is Unbreakable: The first time, Josuke's beloved grandfather is murdered by a Stand-using criminal, inspiring Josuke to vow to defend Morioh in his honor, starting with tracking down the murderer, the arrow that gave him his powers, and the various other crooks that gained powers from said arrow. The second time, Josuke's friends learn about a serial killer that's still at large, but aren't exactly eager to jump into investigating since they're not sure that the killer has a Stand and they don't even have a lead to go on. They soon get their first lead... from a schoolmate who manages to get a vital piece of evidence to them before Yoshikage Kira kills him for stumbling onto his secret.
  • In Legend of the Galactic Heroes, Yang Wen-li doesn't have any other ambition than to be a historian and to enjoy his tea. However, circumstances force him to join the military, where he has to use his tactical genius time and time again to survive in the long conflict against a rejuvenating Galactic Empire, cultimating in him becoming the military leader of the only remaining pro-democracy force in the universe.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess (2016), the Hero's Shade tells Link this when he finally decides he wants to call quits. He's stuck in fate's Eternal Recurrence whether he likes it back, and fate's perfectly fine with razing another hometown to make him play his part.
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins: Seven Days, the human Ban is vacationing in a peaceful elven forest when a seed of its Great Tree drops right on his head. The local saint thinks this is very important and asks him if he's sure he doesn't want to stay and plant it. He refuses, saying that that seems like a fairy job and he doesn't understand why they can't do it. Then an invasion burns the forest to the ground and kills all the fairies. Ban takes the seed.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi. His parents' actions during the Great War (not either of the historical ones, but an In-Universe conflict) made enemies with two Ancient Conspiracies—the Cosmo Entelechia and the Megalosembrian Senate—the latter so bad that his mother was scheduled for execution and his father had to bail her out and fake her death. It's no wonder that they decide to leave the boy to some relatives in a village on a different planet inhabited by mages. Unfortunately, the senate managed to get the intel on his whereabouts and send a demon army to wipe them out. The destruction of the village would define Negi's character for years to come.
    • A lesser example in Chisame Hasegawa: A girl who most definitely wants a normal life (double life as a Net Idol notwithstanding), but happens to be in the one classroom the Call has on Speed Dial.
  • Otherside Picnic makes it clear that getting involved with the mysterious world known as Otherside will have The Call show up at your home with no forewarning. Toriko's apartment gains a portal. Kozakura's house has a permanent gate to Otherside at her doorstep, much to her dismay and irritation, and the denizens of Otherside take up the room right next door to Sorawo.
  • At the beginning of the XY arc of Pokémon Adventures; Team Flare effectively burns Vaniville Town to the ground in an attempt to steal X's key stone and Kanghaskhanite. While X remains in a stupor in the early chapters due to his backstory's nature, it's effectively made clear to the main characters that You Can't Go Home Again.
  • In Pretty Sammy Sasami doesn't want to be a magical girl. Too bad her enemy Pixy Misa knows her secret identity and tortures her wherever she is.
  • Happens to Madoka in Puella Magi Madoka Magica; most of the disastrous things that befall her friends occur because Kyubey is trying to force her into becoming a Magical Girl. Her family only narrowly avoids being killed, and it's implied that they were killed in some previous timelines...sometimes by Witch!Madoka herself. But when Kyubey finally gets her to make a contract, it doesn't work out quite like he'd hoped.
    • Magical girls in general, including the other main characters, make their contracts when it seems all hope for them is lost. For example, Mami does this when she is about to die in a car crash, and Kyoko and Homura reluctantly accepted the contract when Kyubey convinced her it would help her family and Madoka (respectively) not die. This is probably because Kyubey needs them to be vulnerable before they are willing to accept his terms.
  • Tenchi Muyo!: A good chuck of the first OVA has the title character being pursued by Ryoko, the being that was sealed away 700 years prior. After vanquishing her, Tenchi returns to his home in the city, only to find, to his horror, that Ryoko has not only managed to find his house, but is in his bed.
  • In Transformers: Super-God Masterforce, Hydra and Buster start killing truckers in order to eliminate Ginrai; since most of their victims are Ginrai's friends, this results in Ginrai being motivated to actually get involved in the fight.

    Comic Books 
  • Batgirl: In Batgirl (2011), Barbara Gordon gives up her identity as Batgirl after being forced to -apparently- kill her mass murderer of a brother. Then her archenemy Knightfall sends out assassins after her father.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Variant used in the Origin comic. Buffy's family does not come under attack, but her school does - The Call Knows Where You Go To School, perhaps? Later, a character tells Buffy that she is a creature of destiny - in other words, her school wasn't attacked by Lothos because she went there, she went there because it was under attack by Lothos.
  • Daredevil: Matt Murdock loses his strict but loving father when the old man refuses to take a dive in a prizefight. Father is killed, ergo super-hero alter ego.
  • The Filth: The comic revolves around this trope — although Greg Feely, the main character, was always an Agent. Maybe. Or maybe not. Maybe it's all a lie. Maybe Greg's gone crazy.
  • The Flash: Zoom thinks that by killing off any surviving relatives or friends of a superhero that they have, they'll have more time to devote to hero-ing and will have nowhere else to turn to.
  • Fray: The new slayer Melaka Fray drags her heels over her destiny until her young friend Loo - The Cutie - is murdered. The really awful twist is that she wasn't killed by vampires, but by Mr. Exposition Urkonn, specifically in order to motivate her.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Happens in The Incredible Hulk (2011). Whereas Hulk, after separating himself from Banner, has finally found peace and acceptance among a community of Moloids, Banner has become a Mad Scientist obsessed with recreating the Hulk. When a Mad Scientist-hunting agency tries to recruit Hulk to go after Banner, he initially declines, but then some of Banner's gamma-mutated monsters, viewing Hulk as a rival for their creator's attention, attack the Moloids.
  • Justice Society of America: Vandal Savage gets pissed off about legacy heroes and decides to bump off entire blood lines. Works in some cases, creates new heroes in others. Try not to send the guy powered by steel to kill the relatives of Commander Steel.
  • The Punisher: In The Punisher: Born, set during Castle's time in Vietnam. Castle is seen having an internal monologue with himself, pushing him towards violence and guaranteeing that he could keep Castle's war going on forever. Towards the end of the book, Castle is in the middle of a truly hopeless battle, alone versus a massive amount of VC. The voice says that it will let Castle live and continue to fight... if he pays a price. Castle agrees, goes on to murder the entire enemy force alone, but promptly leaves the service, planning to live in peace with his wife and children. The voice then reminds him, there's a price to be paid.
  • Robin (1993): Tim Drake retires as Robin, which goes alright for maybe a month even though a villain does try to track him down and kill him in his civilian persona. Then his school gets shot up and his girlfriend is kidnapped and tortured. While he returns to being Robin his girlfriend and father are both dead within a week and his stepmother has to be institutionalized.
  • Spider-Man: Peter Parker originally didn't want to use his powers to help others, instead trying to use them as a ticket to fame and fortune. Then a crook kills his beloved uncle, and when he tracks the guy down, he realizes that it's someone he could have stopped earlier, but didn't bother because he was on an ego trip.
  • Supergirl: In Bizarrogirl, Supergirl is determined to quit her hero identity. Cue Bizarrogirl crash-landing on Metropolis, starting to tear up the place, and Kara being the only available hero around.
  • X-23: After escaping the Facility, X-23 went to ground with her aunt Debbie and cousin Megan. Unfortunately, unknown to Laura the Facility had set up a plant to watch the family, and they knew exactly where to find her. Kimura came calling, and though Laura managed to save her family, the only option was to send them into hiding and go on the run again. It would be some seven years in-universe (and over ten in publishing time) before she could reunite with them again.
  • X-Men: Pity poor James Proudstar, AKA "Warpath". When Cable tried to recruit him into X-Force, James turns him down to go home and live a normal life. A few pages later, he discovers his entire reservation has been massacred.

    Fan Works 
  • Invoked in Hellsister Trilogy, when Supergirl states she's sick of heroing and wants to retire and lead a normal life, and Superman reminds her that trouble always comes looking for them. Needless to say, he was proven right when the Legion of Super-Heroes asks her assistance again and the situation is too dangerous for her refusing.
  • Honoka's Bizarre Adventure: A villainous example. Yoshikage Kira's quiet life in Morioh came to an end when the Yoshida Conglomerate, his father's employer, took notice of his Stand [Killer Queen] and its benefit in quietly eliminating their enemies. This led him to rise up the ranks to an executive position against his desire for a non-stressful existence.
  • In I'm okay, even if I leave my grin behind: Even when she attempts to avoid any necessary fights, Marinette will join the battle as Cheshire when the other parisian Heroes make a hash of it.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, the titular character yearned for a peaceful, normal life, so she abandoned her hero identity and moved to another world. Then she found out the hard way that her and her cousin's Rogues didn't intend to leave her alone.
  • Kyoshi Rising: Kyoshi is perfectly happy with living as a Farm Girl, refusing several people's suggestions that she might like to live elsewhere in the Earth Kingdom, even if only for a little while. But then a band of mercenaries attacks her home, and she's revealed to be the Avatar.
  • Reluctant Hero's Zuko very emphatically does not want to be the Avatar, but since killing himself is not an option, he's going to settle for spending his life in a backwater town from the Earth Kingdom. Of course the Northern Water Tribe choose to kidnap him right after he decides on this course of action.
  • Scarlet Lady: Marinette may have Missed the Call without realizing it when Chloé stole the Earrings out of her purse, but she still lives in Paris. And with Chloé going out of her way to cause akumas so she can show off as the titular 'heroine', Mari frequently finds herself getting caught in the crossfire. Then, after quite a few of these, Master Fu decides to recruit Marinette again and makes sure it goes without a hitch, walks into the family bakery and puts her Miraculous in her room so they can't be stolen this time.
  • Shadows: The Horror Movie Heroes: The same day Shinsou brainwashes Izuku into leaving him alone, Izuku uses his investigative skills to find out where he lives, leading the two meeting up and Izuku convincing Shinsou to work with him and become a Terror Hero.
  • In the Buffy/Stargate Fan Fiction Trick or Treat, Xander is told point blank by an agent of the Powers That Be that he is going to go along with their plan, one way or another. Subverted in that once his girls are attacked, he dedicates a remarkable amount of insight into derailing not only their grand plans for him, but for a few of their favorite champions as well. He succeeds.
  • In Unspeakably retired Harry initially refuses Neville's request to come out of retirement and help the Unspeakables with a new terrorist group called the Red Hand, only to be forced to kill forty of them after a family friend betrays him, leading to an attack on his home.
  • In the Sailor Moon/Lyrical Nanoha crossover fanfic White Devil of the Moon, Fate tries her damnedest to keep The Call away because Nanoha's still recovering from the damage to her Linker Core. Unfortunately, the Sailor Senshi are adamant in meeting their Princess... and the Dark Kingdom decides to drop in on a wedding Nanoha was attending.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Braveheart: William Wallace just wants to 'till fields and maybe raise a family,' but the murder of his wife by the invaders forces him to join the war.
  • In a literal case, in Bruce Almighty, Bruce finds a pager which he cannot lose or destroy with a number. When he calls the number, he is told to go to a certain address "or we'll just keep beeping you."
    • God had done the same thing to John Denver in Oh, God!, but with a carefully typed invitation that he kept getting rid of, only to have it find him again.
  • In each film of the franchise based on the The Hunger Games books, the call knows where Katniss lives.
  • In I Am Cuba, Mariano declines an invitation to join Castro's revolutionary army. Immediately afterwards, planes from Batista's air force bomb his home (in rebel country) and kill his son.
  • John Wick starts as a retired professional killer, grieving his wife with his dog as his only companion. He initally rebuffs threats from the gangster Iosef Tarasov. Tarasov figures out where John lives; breaks in, attacks him, steals his car, and kills his dog. That was his big mistake; since John also knows where the Tarasovs live...
    • In the second movie; John is pulled back in to the criminal underworld by Santino D'Antonio, who meets him at his home. When John tries to turn him down, Santino immediately burns the entire house down.
  • Alex Rogan of The Last Starfighter wasn't crazy or stupid enough to hop into the middle of a space dogfight that had absolutely nothing to do with him... until Xur decided to send assassins to Earth to hunt him down and kill him. Cue epic one-man god mode wipeout.
  • Mad Max: The killing of Max's partner drove him out of the force. The killing of his family drove him to vigilantism. In the sequel, he wasn't about to help the refinery people, but unfortunately for him The Call Knew He Lived In His Car.
  • Anti-hero Josey Wales is content to be a poor dirt farmer in Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales; until the Union's brutal "Red Legs" militia burned his farm and murdered his family, which he barely survives. After he's had time to recover, he's met by and joins up with a Confederate guerrilla band; achieving notoriety as a skillful and unrelenting fighter, and a substantial bounty is placed on his head by the Union. After the war, he ends up defending several First Nations individuals from brutal exploiters, and an innocent homestead from former Union Red Legs turned bounty hunters and bandits.
  • The beginning of Mel Gibson's The Patriot (2000) fits this to a tee. Benjamin Martin is a dedicated pacifist, arguing against going to war in the State Assembly and refusing to let his sons join the Continental Army. It's not until the British Col. Tavington burns down his farm, kills his second son, and drags his oldest son off to be hung as a spy that Martin joins the fight.
  • An oddly literal variation occurs in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl— Elizabeth's cursed gold piece actually 'calls' to the pirates, which brings them to raid Port Royal, her hometown.
  • Dates back as far as the 1956 classic The Searchers, where the protagonist is lured away from home only to return and find his homestead raided by Comanches. The movie then follows the hero's search for his kidnapped niece.
  • Serenity — several times, in fact. The crew and River are reasonably content in their lives flying under the radar until the Operative remotely triggers River's Psycho Waif-Fu mode with a subliminal broadcast. Then, the crew is fine with going to ground until the whole thing blows over, except that the Operative's men destroy nearly all of their safehouses, including killing dozens of innocents and their personal friend Shepherd Book. Hell, Mal was ready to turn them out (he did, in fact, for a very brief period) until the severity of the situation pushed all his loyalty-to-the-crew buttons. In short, Serenity is a tale of eight friends (and a dead black guy) who the government just plain won't leave alone, to its own (eventual) peril.
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: Watson refuses to be involved in Holmes' investigations anymore as he wants to live a happy married life. Moriarty decides to target him anyway. Holmes thwarts the attempt on Watson's life onboard the train he took on his very honeymoon, and Watson is then forced to go back in action.
  • In Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Luke is obliged to become a Jedi when his home is burned down with his aunt and uncle left as charred remains outside. However, he wanted to help fight the Empire in the first place but his Uncle and Aunt wouldn't allow it. So it was more their refusal than his. (Note that the scene where he says "That would lead them back...Home!", and the scene after it are based on a sequence from The Searchers.)
  • Stranger Than Fiction has a far less tragic example, but after finding out that he's living out a novel, Harold tries staying at home and doing nothing so his narrative can't move forward and he can take back control of his life. This ends in a wrecking crew smashing through his apartment wall.
  • Played with a little in Tombstone. Wyatt Earp leaves Dodge to have a normal life, only to wind up living and working in a town where a gang of lawless thugs are running things. His brothers answer the Call and become lawmen, but Wyatt keeps resisting... and then the bad guys start targeting his family. Cue Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen The call knows where Sam goes to school and where his parents went on vacation. It's a very thorough call.
  • Literally in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The young Charles Xavier gives up on his school and on helping mutants in general. The future Logan goes to find him in the mansion to persuade him to take up the cause again at his older self's request.
  • In Zack Snyder's Justice League, Cyborg initially refuses the call from Wonder Woman but changes his mind after Steppenwolf abducts his father.

  • Animorphs:
    • Jake's first-book discovery that his brother has been infested by the Yeerks gives him all the motivation he needs to fight them.
    • Marco was initially the most reluctant to involve himself in fighting the good fight — until he discovered that his mother, who he'd thought was dead, was also a Controller.
    • Elfangor's backstory involves years spent attempting to hide from the call. It didn't take.
  • ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture begins with Morgan, and Morgan's apartment, both getting wrecked by thugs.
  • Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey: Di Tregarde, refusing the call to use her Guardianship, ignores an inept sorcerer's plans to summon an inhuman demon that was too strong for him, thinking it's not her problem. Naturally he summoned the thing, it killed him and was wounded in the process, and it then went after Di, because even if she wasn't doing anything with it Guardianship sticks around. She beat it, but the panic attacks triggered by anything that reminded her of it lingered, as did the lesson that ignoring these things, on a purely selfish level, meant that they would meet her on their terms.
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: In both the second and last book, Lord Foul exerts influence in our world to torment the previous heroes until they return to the mythical Land to confront him, as his plans require their powers.
  • In the Discworld series, this is Rincewind's problem- no matter what he does, he invariably ends up in the right place and time to save the world from disaster, in spite of his efforts to avoid trouble. This has happened to him so often that in The Last Hero he volunteers to go on the mission to stop Cohen the Barbarian; He doesn't really want to, but by now has figured that he'll end up on it somehow anyway, and might as well save himself the time.
  • Dragon Queen: The old man comes and gets drunk at Trava's house because Trava's mother told him to find her.
  • The Dreamside Road: The Liberty Corps is seeking the Dreamside Road and believes Sucora Cloud had the treasure. The call isn’t the only thing that has Enoa’s home address.
  • Harry Potter: Hogwarts sent Harry a series of acceptance letters, pinpointing his near-exact location at the time the letter got there. Uncle Vernon went to great effort to keep Harry from getting them, up to moving the entire family to a small shack on a rain-swept island - where Harry got the call in the un-ignorable, unavoidable form of Hagrid.
    • Destiny seems to have a thing against Harry, since it seems to kill a lot of the people he loves.
    • At least the bad guys don't know where he lives until he's 17, thanks to the Blood Magic Dumbledore invoked.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, if you are destined to be a Herald, a Companion will show up to Choose you. Even if it means shanghaing you from wherever you are and carrying you off to the Collegium without so much as a by-your-leave. Even if you are being burned to death for witchcraft at the time.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Eragon finds his uncle's house blown up and his uncle dead; abruptly he realizes that dragon ownership comes with responsibilities.....
    • To add insult to injury, when he and Brom are discussing the situation later, Brom remarks that Galbatorix would probably be mad at the Razac for killing his uncle for no reason and making Eragon into an enemy. Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!
  • In the Keys to the Kingdom series, not only does the call know where Arthur lives, it keeps coming back until the end of book three, when he decides to hunt it down and kill it until it leaves him alone. The villains' very first action was to put the lives of his family and half the town in jeopardy from a Nothing-fuelled disease, before trying to bankrupt them in Grim Tuesday and insert a mind-controlling doppelganger into the area in Sir Thursday.
  • In The Licanius Trilogy, Ilseth Tenvar arrives at the door of Davian's dorm room in the middle of the night, uninvited, to send him on his quest.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Hobbit: Gandalf invited the dwarf party, which provided the Call, right into Bilbo's house (without Bilbo's permission). It would've been tough for Bilbo to refuse the Call without injuring his pride or insulting his (unexpected) houseguests.
    • The Lord of the Rings: Frodo Baggins never actively resists the Call, but he drags his feet about leaving the Shire to the point that he just avoids meeting a Nazgûl on (literally) his front doorstep. (And it turns out that, at the same time, Saruman's thugs were invading the Shire from a different direction...)
  • In Lords of the Underworld, William abandons his demonic family and their evil plots so he can live a isolated, hedonistic life on Earth- in the middle of the Arctic, no less! Unfortunately, this arrangement only lasts a few years before an old friend of William's literally teleports in, asking for his help with finding a mystical artifact...oh, and mentioning that if he refuses, she can and will destroy his most prized possession.
  • The Messenger Series: When Rose speculates whether it's possible to refuse to become Favour's messenger, she is told that this is impossible. No matter where someone runs or how they hide, they can never avoid their destiny. Rose receives messages in a variety of different ways such as a message from the TV that only she can hear, in a developing polaroid picture only she can see, music suddenly transforming into Favour's melody, and even in her dreams. Her very first mission consists of breaking a haunting curse on the hotel her parents own; as long as the curse exists, strange things happen, people are flooded with despair, and die either through accidents or suicide. There is no way for Rose to avoid her destiny, her very home is part of it.
  • Moon (1985): Psychic Jonathan Childes involuntary observes several murders. The killer, having sensed his involuntary observation, targets, by phone book, Childes's seven-year-old daughter Gabby - and mistakenly murders young neighbour Annabel.
  • The Name of the Wind: Kvothe leaves to gather firewood for five minutes, and comes back to witness the (supposedly fictional) Chandrian kill his entire acting troupe, family included.
  • In Of Fear and Faith, after Kavik rejects Noble and August’s offers to join their journey, another feral Fionbri meets him after he collapses drunkenly into an alleyway, and convinces him to change his mind.
  • Rainbow Magic: Rachel and Kirsty are often told that, rather than actively seeking out fairies, the magic will come to them, which becomes a sort of mantra for the two.
  • In Ravelling Wrath, once you are chosen to participate in the Ravelling, you can't get out of it, even if you die.
  • Sherlock Holmes overworked himself on more than one occasion, which usually prompted Dr. Watson to take him on a vacation so he could relax. Unfortunately, no matter where Watson seemed to choose as their vacation spot, there would inevitably be a mystery and people seeking Holmes' help. The good Doctor was never very happy at this, but ironically enough Holmes' investigating the problem actually seemed to revitalize him. See The Adventure of the Reigate Squire, The Adventure of the Devil's Foot, and any number of pastiches as examples of when Watson and Holmes try to relax on vacation, only for Holmes' reputation as a detective to precede him.
  • In The Silver Crown The Call not only knew where the heroine lived, it firebombed it. If she'd not opted to go on an early-morning stroll, it'd have been a rather different story.
  • In the Star Trek novel "Ex Machina", which was set shortly after The Motion Picture, Dr. McCoy still has no idea how Admiral Nogura's people managed to find him as he was living largely Off the Grid.
  • Starter Villain (2023): Charlie agrees to officiate at his estranged uncle's funeral. Then he learns that literally everyone else there is only there to make sure Uncle Jake really is dead, because Uncle Jake was a supervillain. Charlie doesn't want anything else to do with the family business and goes home. But just as he approaches his house, it explodes in a fireball.
  • In Sundered Lands, Trundle Boldoak had no intention of leaving his home after Esmeralda tries to convince him to join her on her journey throughout the world. Then pirates show up and attack his hometown, and he's forced to leave with her for the sake of his own survival.
  • In the Sword of Truth, Richard has one of these. In an unusual example, three weeks before the events of the book, in the form of his dad getting gruesomely murdered. He's essentially been wandering around trying to deal with it until Kahlan shows up.
    • It's the job of the Sisters of the Light to be the call.
    • The Chimes cause this in Richard. No matter how hard everyone else tries to convince him otherwise.
    • The Temple of the Winds does this. It's possible to refuse that call, but the Temple won't help balance out the situation if you do.
    • Chainfire is this, just like the Chimes. Only here, his allies are justified in not believing Richard because that's the point of the spell.
    • This is part of the recruitment process for Mord-Sith, but that's a much darker example.
  • Gregor from The Underland Chronicles never wants to fulfill the prophecies that Sandwich set down for him, but they always find a way to rope him in. Particularly in Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods, his Grandma tells him "You can run away, but the prophecy will find you somehow." A bit later Gregor's mother is infected with a deadly plague forcing him to go after the cure. The call metaphorically hits him right where he lives.
    • Ripred's "escort" for Gregor is a much more literal example from the same book.
  • In Updraft, Kirit doesn't want anything to do with the Singers, and doesn't care that her special talent would be useful to them (and, they say, to the city). However, they make it clear that they'll ruin all her alternatives until she "chooses" to join them.
  • Warrior Cats: Dawn of the Clans: Gray Wing's sister is killed to show how desperate his tribe is for a new home. After he refuses to follow his friends on the dangerous quest, his younger brother (who was deemed too young to manage the journey) runs away to find the others, forcing Gray Wing to search for him, and keep him safe until they could locate the travelers. This is even Lamp Shaded in The First Battle.
  • In Way of Choices Chen Changsheng leaves his home only because he is fated to die before turning twenty. The only ways to escape this are to either change his fate or ascend to divinity in the five years he has remaining.
  • Rand al'Thor and friends in The Wheel of Time have their village attacked not once, but twice, because the Pattern is calling them into service.
    • The first attack is to force the boys out into the world. The second forces the mantle of leadership onto Perrin.
    • In a more amusing example, an Aiel clan chief named Rhuarc is all but kicked and prodded into mounting an expedition into the wider world by his Wise One wife because she saw a vision that told her that he had to do so.
  • In the first book of the Young Wizards, a simple spell to find a pen just Happened to malfunction in such a way that they have to defeat the Big Bad. Given the phrase in the wizarding world that "There are no coincidences", this was clearly an example of this trope.

    Live Action TV 
  • Alex Rider (2020): When Blunt first asks Alex to go undercover at Point Blanc, Alex flatly refuses. Blunt, unphased, tells him to "pick up the phone tomorrow if you change your mind." Sure enough, Jack and Alex's breakfast is interrupted by the police, who demand to see Jack's passport and declare it to be fake. They're followed by someone from Child Services, who asks who's looking after Alex and tells him to pack a bag. Alex goes into the next room and picks up his mobile.
    Alex: I don't even need to dial, do I? You're already listening. Well, I just want you to know, I was already going to do it. All you've done is shown me who I'm dealing with.
    [A few seconds' pause before the various officials' phones and pagers ALL go off at once.]
  • Andor: Cassian doesn't want to join the rebellion, but has to accept Luthen's offer because his own escape plan has been ruined and his only other option is to die at the hands of the Empire's Pre-Mor agents. By the end of the first season his realization that he cannot escape the Empire and have a simple life as he wishes ensures he's dedicated to the Rebellion.
  • Haven: Duke is a Venturous Smuggler who keeps trying to refuse the call but getting sucked in anyway because he cares about Audrey (and, reluctantly, Nathan). When getting involved with the Troubles leads him to have to kill his brother, he decides he's done and leaving town. Then he's pulled into the plot by virtue of walking down the street and being faced with the prospect of letting a little girl die or saving her. Being a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, he saves her, but not before hanging a lampshade on it.
    Duke: (in a You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me! tone) Can't I just leave?!
  • In Heroes, Destiny seems to follow Hiro and Ando around like a puppy dog. At one point, Ando says "I wish destiny would lose our number".
  • In Legend of the Seeker, Richard displays a significant amount of sense in being completely weirded out by Kahlan and Zedd trying to name him Seeker. Meanwhile, his dad is being killed, his house burned, and his brother set up against him. Contrast it to the less cinematic example in source material.
  • On Leverage, Nate was wanting to get out of his life of crime, of his variety. This changes when the Irish mob attempts to kill a man in front of him while he is going about his normal life.
  • Merlin.
    • A less tragic version of this trope occurs in the pilot. The eponymous character is scornful of his destiny to protect Arthur, wanting nothing to do with him. The next night, an enchantress makes an attempt on Arthur's life and Merlin pulls him out of the way without thinking. As a reward, Uther makes him Arthur's manservant, so he's going to have to deal with him full time now.
    • Another episode has this trope played as tragically as possible. Merlin falls in love with a fugitive Druid named Freya. After a few days with her, he knows he needs to get her out of Camelot, and decides to leave with her. The night they're supposed to leave, the men hunting her catch up and stab her, causing her to bleed to death in Merlin's arms. It's sad enough, but the man who stabs her is Arthur (albeit in self defense), the destiny Merlin was running away from, and you can't help but feel that this was a case of fate saying They Were Holding You Back.
  • In Smallville, Jor-El knows more than where Clark lives. He is perfectly fine in (usually indirectly) harming his loved ones if it drives him to fulfill his destiny. Like freezing Chloe half to death in "Arrival" and intending to trap Clark in the Fortress until everyone he loves is dead in "Gemini".
  • The Star Trek: Voyager pilot is built around this trope.
  • Happens twice in Supernatural's pilot episode for Sam. First, his Dad goes missing and Dean comes to get him. He refuses to stick with Dean after killing the Monster of the Week, but watching his girlfriend burn up on the ceiling like his mother finally forces him to take the Call for good.
    • In fact, any time either boy starts thinking about getting out of the business, they're dragged back in by rather brutal means. The Call doesn't just know where you are, it will stalk you to Hell and back. Literally. As in, angels besieged Hell and dragged Dean out because they had work for him. They dragged the brothers back from Heaven, too. Multiple times, apparently, although we only see one. Someone even says that the boys die more than anyone else they've ever met.
    • In seasons four and five and most of three, The Call is in fact semi-omniscient beings, requiring them to travel under a couple different types of mystic shielding. It steps up from hex bags to having their ribcages engraved with Enochian warding sigils so Heaven and Lucifer won't turn up and explain with nasty graphic examples why You Can't Fight Fate.
    • The other Call instances are mostly equally engineered, although the menace that sends soulless Sam into Dean's neighborhood in season six, dragging him slowly back onto the road after over a year of retirement, was just a monster seeking revenge on them for an earlier kill.
  • Often occurs in Ace Lightning. Fortunately for Mark, it's not a very competent call.
  • Super Sentai/Power Rangers:


    Myths & Religion 
  • Occurs repeatedly in The Bible, as one of its central themes is that God's will reigns supreme:
    • God wants Jonah to deliver a message of damnation to Nineveh. Jonah says no, because he thinks that if Nineveh will repent, God won't destroy them, and Jonah wasn't a fan of Nineveh. Jonah attempts to flee God. Cue big storm and great fish. Nineveh did repent. God was pleased. Jonah wasn't.
    • Jeremiah and Moses also both attempt to resist their calls to become prophets; the text Jeremiah in particular has passages making it clear that he had no choice. Unusually, the Book of Jeremiah explicitly has sections where Jeremiah is speaking for himself, where he condemns the things God is forcing him to say and the message God is making him convey.
    • Nobody knows better about the irresistible will of God than Paul, who got his call to serve while on the road to persecute God's new people. Paul would then go on to be a staunch proponent of the doctrine of predestination.
  • Buddhism: The Buddha was destined to be either a great ruler or a great teacher. His father was a king and, wanting his son to follow in his footsteps, strove to keep the child from learning anything about suffering and death, as they would tempt the greatness in the child's nature toward compassion and thus the teaching path. But then Siddhartha Gautama sees the four sights: an old man begging, a person suffering from a disease, a dead body, and an ascetic devoted to finding the cause of suffering. These drive him onto the path to enlightenment. In the Mahayana Lalitavistara Sutra; these encounters are gods themselves taking those forms to remind him of a vow he had taken in a previous life to seek enlightenment.
  • In The Trojan Cycle; before the events of The Iliad, Odysseus initially tried to avoid going to fight the Trojans by feigning madness. He gives up and goes to war when Palamedes comes to his home and threatens to kill his family.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Chronicles of Amber: Amber Diceless also operates on this assumption, since your allies and your enemies tend to have many powers, including that of walking between dimensions: trying to dodge your problems by laying low in one of the game's many universes is just liable to cause an enemy to destroy that entire universe just to smoke you out.
  • Geist: The Sin-Eaters has elements of this. It's not just that you have an incarnation of death attached to your soul and whispering in your ear. You can see dead people... and the dead people know you can see them, and will seek your help any way they can.
  • Played with In Hunter: The Reckoning. The Imbued are the ones who Jumped at the Call, and receive powers to fight the supernatural forces. But there are those who Refused the Call, referred to as Bystanders - they don't get powers, but the ability to see the supernatural doesn't go away, and The Masquerade remains broken for them, so they still can't ignore it. The Call is thorough indeed.
  • Mage: The Awakening plays with this with the character Metathron. The angelic messenger Metathron is the personification of this trope, being charged with delivering tragic Calls to Adventure by a being responsible for creating heroes. Unfortunately, it never understood that the would-be heroes are supposed to overcome their tragedy, not be destroyed by it, so Metathron ended up going rogue and now delivers destructive Calls to people it thinks can't rise to the challenge of becoming heroes.
  • Scion. Your life will become a legend, whether you want it or not. Fate makes sure of that.

    Video Games 
  • Two examples in Assassin's Creed:
    • Desmond Miles ran away from home when he was 16 because he wanted to see the world outside of Assassin training. Then the Templars' modern incarnation Abstergo Industries found him when he tried to apply for a motorcycle license, kicking off the main plot of the games. Realizing that the Templar threat was real all along, Desmond finally embraces his calling as an Assassin.
    • All his ancestor Ezio Auditore di Firenze wanted to do with his life was jump and skip across the rooftops of Florence, screw the most beautiful women in Italy, and loot small chests of their money content. Then, his father and brothers are arrested by the Big Bad, betrayed by their close friend, and hanged in the public square, throwing him into the Roaring Rampage of Revenge that would rage for the entire game.
  • Happens twice in Baldur's Gate. First, the protagonist's foster father is killed. Later, almost everyone in your entire home town is killed and replaced by evil shapeshifters loyal to the Big Bad.
    CHARNAME: "I didn't choose a life of adventuring. Rather it was forced upon me."
  • This happens to poor old Banjo in both Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie with the kidnapping of his sister and the death of a dear friend, respectively.
  • Devil Survivor somewhat inverts this; your character has a mighty destiny that he can take hold of in any way he wishes. However, he also has the option of running away from it all; the result of this course of action, however, is that the huge majority of his friends, along with hundreds of thousands of other innocent people, die in a manner so horrific that it will Squick you out if you think about it too hard; it's so bad that the top Seraph of Heaven comes to bitch you out for being a coward... and the player knows this is how things will play out before committing to the option.
  • Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, all background choices start with you living a relatively normal and happy life, only for circumstances to make it so that you'll die if Duncan doesn't conscript you into the Gray Wardens, with the implication that all origins happened, but the one the player chooses was the one that Duncan happened to witness and intervene in, so all the others died.
      • As the Human Noble, you are a member of House Cousland, one of Ferelden's most beloved noble families. When your father's friend Howe betrays and slaughters your family, you'll be killed like the others unless Duncan rescues you in return for conscripting you into the Wardens.
      • As the Human/Elf Mage, you have a comfortable life in the Circle, but when you help out a friend who turns out to be a blood mage, you'll be executed unless Duncan conscripts you into the Wardens (Templars have no jurisdiction over Grey Wardens).
      • As the Dalish Elf, you live in a nomadic elf clan, until one day you stumble on an Eluvian infected with Darkspawn Taint while exploring. Your friend dies of the Taint, as will you if you're not made a Grey Warden, as the process gives you immunity.
      • As the City Elf, you're a normal Alienage dweller who goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge against a racist noble who kidnapped your female relatives (and possibly you, if you're a girl), and you would be executed for it unless you join the Grey Wardens.
      • The Dwarf Noble is prince/princess of Orzammar and falls victim to a particularly vicious bit of dwarven politics that sees them framed by one of their brothers for the other's murder and exiled to the Deep Roads. The darkspawn there will kill them if Duncan doesn't recruit them and help them escape.
      • The Dwarf Commoner is a petty (but justified; Dwarven law means they literally can't take on honest work as they are casteless) criminal who gets caught illegally participating in Proving matches, which will get them arrested and probably executed if Duncan doesn't get them out.
    • Dragon Age II starts with the destruction of the town of Lothering (which happened offscreen in the first game), forcing the Player Character and his/her family to flee, which sets off the rest of the plot.
  • Dragon Quest IV has a variation where the villains are shown searching for The Chosen One long before you actually get to play as the chosen one. Instead, the first several chapters are spent controlling the hero's future companions and seeing some of their adventures before meeting each other. This also allows the player to see some of the effects that the villains' global search for The Chosen One has. And, of course, once they find out where the chosen one is growing up...
  • How Dusty Revenge begins: the titular protagonist, a retired mercenary and outlaw, decide to settle down with his Love Interest, Daisy, but before he knew it his enemies comes looking for him, and killing Daisy before setting his home on fire when they failed to find him. Cue the Roaring Rampage of Revenge for the rest of the game.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII, Vanille attempts to avoid her Focus, which inadvertently causes the horrible things that happen to the cast throughout the game. Hope also isn't very keen about the whole fighting the Sanctum thing, but changes his mind after his father's home gets demolished by a strike team.
  • God of War (PS4): Kratos, now Older and Wiser than his days as the Olympian God Of War, would genuinely like nothing better than to live in peace with his new family, raise his son to not repeat his mistakes, and spread his wife's ashes like she asked. So now, of course, gods literally walk up to his door and start fights to get him involved with the plot, which is as bad an idea as it sounds.
  • In Homeworld, the newly-finished mothership is sent out on a mission to test its hyperdrive by jumping out a distance, then back to the home planet. Oops, someone destroyed the home planet. It's not like they weren't already planning on embarking on the trip across the galaxy in the first place, but there's certainly no turning back now.
  • Played quite literally in Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number. When Richter decides to ignore the phone calls that encourage him to go and kill Russian mobsters, he finds his car on fire on the next day, with the very next call telling him not to tempt fate.
  • inFAMOUS: To be honest, there was no way Cole could have possibly avoided The Call. Kessler knew where he worked, asked for him to deliver a package by name and took him to an area with a large number of people before having him open it, so he could absorb plenty of neuro-electric energy to make him as powerful as possible. Kinda hard to avoid The Call when the guy who's making it is you from the future and knows pretty much all there is to know about you.
  • The King of Fighters: Poor Gaidel. The man thought that living in a small Brazilian village with his family would be enough to hide from the other Orochi warriors, but it wasn't. Goenitz brutally proved him wrong via dropping by... and brainwashing his pre-teen daughter Leona into killing him and everyone else.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Poor Link. No matter which incarnation it is, the poor guy just can't seem to catch a break and be allowed to live his life in peace. Either he is walking along when he comes across an old lady being attacked (It's All There in the Manual), he is woken up in the middle of the night by a telepathic distress call, he is dragged off by the local tree-deity first thing in the morning, he has his sister kidnapped on his birthday, or he has his idyllic life as a rancher interrupted when his village is raided and he gets shape-shifted and dragged off. Of course, there's a reason for that as a curse was placed on that Link's descendants and on the fledgling Hyrule.
  • Like a Dragon: Boy howdy does the call know where Kiryu lives. After the events of the first game all Kiryu wants is to settle down with his adopted daughter and live a peaceful life away from the Yakuza. Unfortunately, the call knows to assassinate the then sixth chairman of the Tojo Clan to spur him to become embroiled in the Tojo/Omi war, it knows to come knocking at his home in Okinawa, twice, it knows which taxi he drives, and it knows his grandchildren too. Ultimately, this is what drives him to fake his death so the call never comes knocking ever again...And even that doesn't stop the call from dragging him back.
  • In Lost Odyssey, the call most definitely knows where Kaim lives. In fact, the call essentially comes (for all the immortal characters) in the form of the main villain, who, years ago, inflicted tremendous emotional pain to the point that the damage to their psyche was literally a fate worse than death, then subsequently sealed off their memories and left them to become walking corpses, eternally (but NOT desperately) searching for their purpose in life.
  • The title character of Max Payne initially refused Alex's offer to transfer to the DEA and work for him ("You'd make me work undercover in some hellhole. Sorry, Alex. Michelle and the baby come first."). But all that changed when three murderous junkies hopped up on a new designer drug called Valkyr broke into his home and killed his wife and baby girl. And, literally enough, the Big Bad phones Max's house as this happens to see if her hit worked.
  • Ni no Kuni: Oliver didn't know about magic or parallel worlds until the White Witch tried to kill him, and succeeded in killing his mother instead. His sorrow over her death not only awakens Mr Drippy, who brings Oliver over to the other world, but provides Oliver's primary motivation for doing so.
  • In Peasant's Quest, Trogdor burninates Rather Dashing's thatched-roof cottage, thus motivating him to liberate the peasant kingdom of Peasantry from the Burninator's influence forever.
  • In Penny Arcade Adventures, The Call smashes your house. Twice. The second time it literally knew where you lived and was going there to pick you up.
  • Persona 5: The Otherworld Navigation app, which kicks off the rest of the plot, keeps reappearing on the Protagonist's phone no matter how many times he deletes it, and forcibly sends him to the Mental World of the Palace twice.
  • In Red Faction: Guerrilla, Alec Mason initially declines his brother Dan's offer to join the eponymous Red Faction, until the EDF decide that gunning Dan down and trashing their shack would be a fun thing to do. The Faction show up to rescue Alec from certain doom, with the side effect of having him labelled as one of them by the EDF.
  • Players in The Secret World end up subjected to this right off the bat: no sooner have the player characters gotten their powers under control, an emissary from one of the three major factions shows up at their door with an invitation to join - all of which consist of poorly-disguised press-ganging attempts. Templar players are given the option to join, but are warned that staying neutral will make you a target of even nastier organizations; Illuminati players are given an employment offer enforced with a veiled threat; Dragon players, on the other hand, are flat-out kidnapped, knocked unconscious, and stranded in Seoul with no passport - and there you'll stay until you've learned how to access Agartha, by which time you're firmly under the Dragon's thumb.
  • At the start of Starship Titanic, the eponymous starship literally demolishes the fourth wall by crashing into the player's house.
  • Summoner is funny because it unites Jumped at the Call, Refused the Call, and The Call Knows Where You Live: Joseph is identified as a summoner by a passing monk, who offers him a summoner's ring and to help him study his power. Joseph gladly takes the offer. Raiders attack the village, and Joseph calls forth the demon of darkness that resides inside the ring. The demon slays everyone in town, raider & villager alike, except for Joseph and the monk and one other guy. Joseph decides he wants nothing to do with the summoner's legacy and tosses the ring down a well, fleeing to live as a farmer in another village. Then The Empire attacks the village, looking for the one with the mark of the summoner, who is prophesied to kill the emperor. Joseph has no choice but to take on the legacy he threw away earlier if he wants to live and save The Good Kingdom.
  • In Thief, Garrett refused to become a Keeper (an agent of "Balance" in the City) and started life as a thief for hire. This doesn't stop him from being dragged into various missions to preserve said Balance in all three games. In the end, he finally accepts the mantle of Keeper — indeed, he ends up being the last true Keeper.
  • By the time of Travis Strikes Again: No More Heroes, Travis has largely retired from the ranked assassination battles and went into exile at the middle of nowhere, Texas, mainly to prevent his family Sylvia and Jeane from being targeted by assassins, but also get inner peace. Sure enough, Bad Man, the father of Bad Girl (a previous target of his), wound up tracking him down for revenge anyway, kicking off the game's plot.
  • In Wild Card Ace's initial reaction to discovering that the magic rock he and his sister Kris found is one of the rune stones that are supposed to be keeping the demon Rasha'yad imprisoned is to leave it with the town wise man so he can get some actual adventurers to deal with the mess. Then they return to the family farm only to find it destroyed by the local thieves' guild, whose leader wants to collect the stones for his own purposes.
  • World of Warcraft
    • There's a rare villainous example in Gul'dan's alternate timeline. The deformed Gul'dan is the village Butt-Monkey, but the shaman tells him to go seek the help of the Elements. He makes the long journey, despite his disability and his lack of food or water. When he gets there though, the Elements don't like him. There's so much hatred in him, so much anger at how he's been treated. Instead, another cosmic force reaches out to him: the fel. He ends up becoming one of the strongest warlocks in the entire universe and extremely evil (as well as quite literally power-hungry).
    • After the events of Warlords of Draenor and Legion, former Warchief Thrall decided to retire with his family to Nagrand and live as a simple farmer. Then Sylvanas sent a pair of assassins to kill Thrall as he was a potential rallying figure for her opposition and Thrall realized he couldn't just disappear.
  • Fei from Xenogears. His Doomed Hometown was attacked and in the process a great deal of the damage to the town was done by Fei himself. Much later it's revealed Fei's mother (who was taken over by one of the Big Bads) was inadvertently killed by his own hand when a previous incarnation of him shows up and causes his powers as the Contact to go out of control just to have him prepared to be assimilated into Deus.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Marble Hornets. WE WILL WAIT FOR YOU NO MORE
    • Entry #25 has Jay's apartment being burned down.
  • In Ash & Cinders three siblings of literal darkness chase them into what became their quest.
  • Elsewhere in The Slender Man Mythos: Noah from Tribe Twelve begins hearing noises around his house after posting his cousin's videos, and Everyman HYBRID starts out as an in-universe parody, only to be hijacked by the real deal.
  • Unlike his canon-counterpart, Jarry from Welcome Back, Potter feels no obligation to fulfill his destiny and destroy the Dark Lord, having ran away with his best friend to America while the Death-Eaters rose to power. Hermione had to find them and make them come to Voldemort's Evil Lair so that Jarry had no choice but to fight him.
  • Bladedancer of the Whateley Universe. When she didn't really get with the program, a demon-lord from a fiery hell invaded her home, killed her father, burned down her house, destroying the magical artefact that allowed her to resume her natural form, and chased her halfway across the country to sanctuary at Whateley Academy.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • The clever Fire Nation tries to exploit this trope by killing off potential Avatars before they can be a problem; they attempted this against the Air Nomads, but failed because Aang had run away not long before. They later attempted this against the Water Tribe too, on the presumption that either they had perhaps succeeded in killing the Air Avatar, or that he'd have possibly died by then and reincarnated into the Water Tribe.
    • Aang finds out he is The Chosen One. Aang runs away. His entire race is exterminated and himself encased in ice. Aang wakes up, and proceeds to hang out with the Southern villagers, incognito. Aang finds out about the war. Continues to be incognito, does not have any idea how to cope. Unfortunately for him, Prince Zuko is in the neighborhood, and everything gets busted wide open. Zuko's continued pursuit motivates the first season in a way 'stop the world war' just couldn't for a bunch of kids, especially a kid like Aang. Many fans, and possibly Iroh, consider Zuko to be the long arm of Aang's destiny, prodding him in the butt. It's not a dignified position.
  • In Barbie & The Diamond Castle, Liana jumps at the call (despite her friend Alexa's reluctance) after their home is destroyed by the Big Bad's literal dragon.
  • Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond had his father murdered, which made him steal the batsuit and set him on the path of a new Batman. In Justice League Unlimited, it's revealed that Project: Cadmus was planning to have his parents murdered in a manner similar to Bruce's to inspire him, but scrapped it due to moral restraint... only for some other villain do their job for them eight years later.
  • In Conan the Adventurer, the eponymous hero gets started on his adventure when his parents and grandfather are turned into stone by the Big Bad.
  • In The Dragon Prince, Callum wants to be brave but is paralyzed by insecurity and feelings of inferiority, so instead he gets thrusted into the adventure by an assassin who chases him across the castle, which leads to them discovering a means to end the war between their peoples.
  • In Infinity Train, once someone fulfills the requirements to become a passenger of the train, it will bring them onboard.
  • In Thunder Cats 2011, during a Rite of Passage to test if he's ready for kingship, young Prince Lion-O receives a brief, vague, frightening Mirror Monster vision in the Sword of Omens, but avoids telling anyone for fear his longstanding reputation as a Cloudcuckoolander will be further cemented. He sees his Kingdom destroyed and his father assassinated by ancient Outside-Context Problem and series Big Bad Mumm-Ra, the very enemy whose face he saw in the sword.

    Real Life 
  • During World War II, the US public was reluctant to enter the conflict, instead aiming for a peaceful resolution (meanwhile, the government was already participating via the Lend-Lease program and American ships were shooting at German ships and vice versa). The bombing of Pearl Harbor pushed them over the edge and precipitated the US's active involvement in the war.
    • A LOT of neutral countries got this in spades during WWII. In sequential order: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Yugoslavia, Iceland, and the Philippines, either by being ripe pickings for the Axis powers or strategic staging grounds for Allied ones.
    • The USSR. They knew that the Axis Powers were up to no good regarding them (Fascists and Communists generally don't get along, even without Hitler's genocidal agenda regarding communists), but tried to postpone their involvement in the war as much as possible (and, well, to grab some land in the process). Then Hitler launched Operation Barbarossa and invaded them. Also a great historical case of Nice Job Fixing It, Villain.
    "A peace-loving state could not decline a peace treaty with a neighbouring state even though the latter were headed by such monsters and cannibals as Hitler and Ribbentrop" - Joseph Stalin, Radio Speech of July 3, 1941


Video Example(s):


There's Nothing for Me Here

Luke Skywalker, despite his dreams, doesn't feel that he can come with Obi-Wan Kenobi, that he's tied down by his obligations to the Lars homestead. However, when he visits and sees that the Empire has destroyed it and his aunt and uncle are dead, he declares there's nothing left for him and that he does want to come with Ben (Obi-Wan) after all and learn the ways of the Force.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive

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