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Wishing for More Wishes

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That's one way to spin 'wishful thinking'.
Corey: Last one! Better make it count.
Trina: I wish for a million wishes!
Cletus: [spits] There ya go.
Corey: What? You can wish for more wishes?
Bessy: Sure. That's one wish. I don't know why everybody doesn't dooooo that.
Grojband, "Wish Upon a Jug"

When a character is owed a limited number of wishes (usually one or three) by a genie or other wish-granting entity, the first thing many of them try to do is apply a bit of Loophole Abuse by using one of their wishes to bypass the numerical limitation. Of course, it's rarely that simple; the savvy genie will have an Obvious Rule Patch already in place to cover such a wish, and some will even declare it up front to save time. A Jackass Genie might even punish the wisher for trying this. Not that any of that necessarily stops particularly persistent, Rules Lawyer-y, or wily characters from continuing to probe for loopholes (such as using one wish to develop a way to locate other genie lamps and another wish for a means to develop teleportation, allowing the user to gain access to other genie lamps around the world).


If the restriction is not by the genie's choice, Freeing the Genie can sometimes allow them to continue helping the character beyond the otherwise-allowed number of wishes... as long as they can be trusted to keep their end of the bargain after being freed and don't lose their power as part of the wish.

Of course, they never said you couldn't wish for more genies...

And also, just because you can wish to have more wishes, doesn't mean the genie will grant those extra wishes.

A Sub-Trope of Loophole Abuse. It can also count as a Story-Breaker Power if used frequently.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Code Geass, Lelouch can only use his Geass (which allows him to force someone to obey one order from him) once on a given person... but late in the second season, after declaring himself Emperor of Brittania, he gets around it by Geassing the assembled Brittannian nobility to "always obey me!". It's implied that he hadn't done this before due to moral scruples which he is now abandoning.
  • In Ranma ½, during the Anime version of the Wishing Sword arc, Genma gets Kuno's Wishbringer. But as only one wish is left, he asks for 10 more wishes first. A foot appears from the sword kicking him in the face for rule violation. It wouldn't have worked anyway; Genma fails the magical voice recognition too.
  • Teasing Master Takagi-san: Parodied in the sequel series. When Chi is forced to listen to one of Takagi's requests as penalty for losing a bet, she requests Chi to listen to three of her requests. She takes it back and merely requests Chi that eat scallops and broccoli.

    Asian Animation 
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, Little Fairy promises to grant three wishes to anyone who finds his diamond for him, but considers wishing for more wishes to be against his rules. Wolffy learns this one the hard way.

    Comic Books 
  • In the Mickey Mouse story "Absolutely Mickey," this is the first wish Mickey asks of the genie he finds. The genie, oddly enough, grants him infinite wishes with no fuss. However, he's actually an evil demon who always twists the wishes to end up badly, so naturally he wants Mickey to cause as much trouble as possible.
  • Played for Drama in W.I.T.C.H.: anyone capturing a Banshee will have three wishes granted in the limits of the particular banshee's powers, and if the Banshee cannot grant the wish she'll merely state so and it won't count for the number... But the Banshee is effectively enslaved to her captor until she has granted all wishes, so when Ari, angry at Yua (the most powerful Banshee) for her inability to grant his real wish and cure his son from his Ambiguous Disorder, wishes for her to grant all his wishes he turned her into a slave until he dies or she finds a way to get free. Eventually Yua twists a wish in such a way to leave him helpless in front of the Guardians expecting they'll kill him, only to be caught by surprise when they just walk away and free her directly.
  • In Drew Hayes' Poison Elves the protagonist Lusiphur attempts to wish for a million more wishes, but the genie warns him that she'll grant the wish by summoning a million hostile efreeti and leaving him to attempt to get a wish out of each of them. Lusiphur quickly says that he was just kidding.

    Comic Strips 
  • The October 24, 2020 strip of Garfield has an indirect variant where Garfield watches a television program where a kid's first wish is that the genie is bad at math, which results in the genie unwittingly deciding that the kid has nine wishes left rather than two.
    Garfield: The kid is good.

    Fan Works 
  • Never Had a Friend Like Me: As established in The Fairly OddParents, it is completely possible to wish for more wishes from a genie. And with Norm's encouragement, Amanda does so.
  • In the final chapter of Happily Ever After, a character gets around the three wishes limit by wishing for the ability to find more genies (after using his first two wishes to make everyone desire him and tell the truth to him). This backfires on him when he finds what he thinks is a human who learned how to make a genie grant unlimited wishes for him and kidnaps the human in question to learn how to get unlimited wishes for himself, only to learn that: 1) the human's genie is actually a freed one who stays with and helps him solely out of love and 2) said genie likes making anyone who harms his lover suffer horribly.
  • In the Invader Zim fanfic Gaz Dreams of Genie, after Gaz wastes her first two wishes, the genie Azie specifically tells her she's not allowed to ask for more. Spotting a potential loophole, Gaz wishes for the ability to grant her own wishes. This results in her and Azie switching lives.

    Films — Animation 
  • Zigzagged in Disney's Aladdin. The Genie tells the eponymous character "Ix-nay on the wishing for more wishes!" up front. Being a Guile Hero, Al still manages to finagle an extra one out of the Genie by tricking him into magicking them out of an inescapable cave without actually wishing for him to do so. After being befriended and freed, Genie is willing and able to help Al all he likes outside of the confines of Three Wishes, but takes a hit to his overall magical mojo.
  • The Genie in DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp has the standard Three Wishes limit, and when asked if one could wish for more wishes, he answers "Get serious, that never works." However, the Big Bad Merlock has an amulet that, in combination with the titular lamp, does grant him unlimited wishes.
  • In Wish Dragon Din tries to use his second wish to become a princeling with a fancy suit, Rolex watch, a chauffered car and a personal assistant. Long cuts him off saying that'll take ten wishes when he only has two left. Din successfully haggles to get all this with one wish but only for 24 hours.

    Films — Live Action 
  • In A Simple Wish Murray gives Annabel a wish but tells her she can't wish for more wishes, saying they plugged up that loophole years ago.
  • Wonder Woman 1984. Maxwell Lord gets around the one-wish limit by wishing to become the Dreamstone, thereby ensuring his supply of wishes is only limited by the number of people he can trick into wishing for something he also wants to happen. Furthermore, it also allows him to choose what costs are paid by the wishers, so he profits on both ends of the scale.

  • In the children's novel The Three And Many Wishes of Jason Reid, the titular character meets a rare wish-granter who hasn't already encountered the oldest trick in the book and is actually forced to grant him extra wishes. However, his magic is not inexhaustible, and the more and larger wishes he grants, the more exhausted he becomes. In the end, Jason "gives back" all of his previous wishes in exchange for one final wish that he really, really wants.
  • Less a "wish" in the magical sense and more of a "boon," but in A Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings, assassin Jaqen H'ghar is honor-bound to kill any three people Arya Stark names, due to her saving the lives of Jaqen and his two associates. When Arya asks him to help her free some prisoners, which would require killing many more than the one name she has left, Jaqen tells her that this was not the deal and asks her for the third name. She gives him his own name and orders him to kill himself. Unwilling to kill himself and unable to abandon his honor, he agrees to help her free the prisoners if she will rescind the order.
  • In "Lester" by Shel Silverstein, the eponymous character encounters a goblin that grants him one wish. The boy wishes for two wishes, which he gets, surprisingly enough. So with each wish, he wishes for two more wishes, giving him four wishes. And with each of those wishes, he wishes for two more, giving him eight. This goes on for some time, until the boy dies, presumably from old age. All that's left of him is a humongous pile of unused wishes. The narrator of the story then invites the reader to take a few, and warns the reader not to "waste your wishes on wishing."
  • Played with in Wishing Season by Esther Friesner. It is standard for a genie to say that wishing for more wishes isn't allowed in his or her preamble, but Brilliant, but Lazy Student Genie Khalid forgets on his first time out, and is enslaved by a mortal for several years till he is rescued.
  • In the fairy tale Lazy Lars, the protagonist rescues a magical frog, and is granted a single wish as a reward. He drops his hat on the ground, and wishes to have as many wishes granted as there were blades of grass covered by the hat.
  • In Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Achilles tries wishing for infinite wishes, but the genie tells him that that's a meta-wish, and a normal genie can't grant meta-wishes. You need a meta-genie for that. Similarly, wishes about meta-wishes are called meta-meta-wishes, and require a meta-meta-genie, and so on ad infinitum. Subverted in that the infinity does get resolved, and the infinite stack of genies eventually grants Achilles his meta-wish... which he then phrases as "I wish my wish would not be granted!"
  • In The Fangs of K'aath one of Sandhri's stories has a djinn and three wishes, a spectator suggests that the protagonist should wish for unlimited wishes, but Sandhri replies that the djinn would call you greedy and refuse to grant any wishes if you tried that. Instead her protagonist made a wish that put the djinn at her beck and call for an indefinite period of time.
  • Averted entirely in the original Aladdin story, where the genies (two of them- one in a ring and the more powerful one in the lamp) grant whatever wishes the owner asks of them. The only limitation is asking for a roc's egg, a major Berserk Button for them, and even then they only chew out Aladdin for asking because they know it's not him but the sorcerer trying to get him in trouble.
  • in Twilight Watch a man is approached by an Other and offered a wish. Being a crafty businessman, he knows that "you don't ask a genie for three wishes - you ask for a warehouse full of genie lamps" and asks to be turned into an Other himself. Of course, this is just another elaborate scheme by Gessar, meant to turn this man (his son and already an uninitiated Other) to Light.
  • In Michael Gerber's parody of The Chronicles of Narnia, The Chronicles of Blarnia: The Lying Bitch in the Wardrobe, the White Stag expy is that slow that every Blarnia native has caught it and wished for unlimited wishes. These are useless because whenever somebody wishes for something, somebody else instantly undoes it out of badness.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In a sketch on Saturday Night Live John Goodman plays a fisherman who catches a wish-granting fish. He hires a team of lawyers to craft his first two wishes so that they don't backfire; his third wish is to pay his lawyers. The lawyers' fee is 100 wishes.
  • In The X-Files episode "Je Souhaite", the Stokes brothers find a genie rolled up in an old carpet and try to figure out a reasonable wish after the first two are used up by Wasteful Wishing. One of the suggestions is "an infinite number of wishes," but the genie tells them to settle down because she only can grant three.
  • Power Rangers Mystic Force tried this on Jenji when they first released him and he offered them each one wish. He counted that as their one, and only one wish.
  • The Friends episode The One With George Stephanopoulos starts with the gang discussing what they'd do if they were omnipotent for a day. Chandler snarkily says he'd make himself omnipotent forever.
  • Belle from the Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode, The Tale Of The Time Trap used her single wish to ask for a million wishes which ended up with her Becoming the Genie and having to grant the wishes to other people. Her masters can have as many wishes as they want but as she's a Jackass Genie there's no point.
  • In an interesting variation of the trope, the Between the Lions episode "Sausage Nose" featured an old movie where a poor couple were granted three wishes. The wife wasted the first on a single sausage, and the angry husband used the second wish to have said sausage stuck to her face. At the end of the movie, when the couple made up, they used the third wish to get the sausage off the wife's face and onto her plate, but then extended the wish continuously, resulting in them living in a large house with numerous fancy things.
  • In an episode of the TV adaptation of The Worst Witch two of the girls enchant a flashlight with a "magic lamp" spell to get three wishes. They wish for endless wishes and get them, but to grant them the lamp begins draining energy from its surroundings. At first this just expands and deepens shadows, but then things start breaking from acute wear and tear, worst still the flashlight has developed a mind of its own and resists attempts to stop it (which happens to them all eventually, it's why they all end up buried and hidden). Once it starts moving onto draining the life out of the staff and students, the girls strike on the idea that even an enchanted flashlight still needs batteries to work.

  • Metric have this mind-bender of a line in "IOU":
    When she wishes, she wishes for less ways to wish for more ways to work towards it.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In The Sims 3, this is one of the wish options upon releasing a genie. However, there is a 95% chance you will only get one additional wish, the other 5% chance giving you two. As you used one wish to wish for more wishes, this simply gives you that wish back, resulting in a zero net effect. While you can theoretically gain an infinite number of wishes by constantly choosing this option, getting an extra wish an average of every twenty times, this is made less lucrative by the fact that you can only make a wish once every 12 (in-game) hours.
  • Hack 'N' Slash has, to say the least, a unique mechanic for making wishes. Fitting with the theme of the game, a wish is made by literally specifying one of the game's internal variables and something to set it to. While the game initially only gives you 3 wishes, the variable that stores how many wishes you have left is not immune to this mechanic.
  • In the Hearthstone League of Explorers adventure pack. One of the bosses is a Genie who gives you special wish spell cards. One of them is Wish for More Wishes which gives you two new wish cards.
  • In Baldur's Gate II The best Wish outcome is "Make it as if the entire party has just rested a full night and re-memorized all their spells (including Wishes)" With a high Wisdom and enough Wish spells this can almost be relied on.
  • In Ancient Domains of Mystery you cannot wish for more wishes, or for objects that grant wishes. However, you can wish for potions of exchange, which can potentially turn the brass rings that used up rings of wish turn in to back into more rings of wish, and a huge stack at a time, too. With a bit of luck, a prepared player can effectively get infinite wishes, but you can only get good equipment or stats, not defeat enemies.
  • In Nethack directly wishing for more wishes is plain not allowed, and wishing for wish items is ineffective; wishing for a magic lamp just gives an ordinary oil lamp, and wishing for a wand of wishing gives one that's empty (90%) or cancelled (10%). The best you can do is to wish for blessed scrolls of recharging; each of those can refill a wand of wishing to 3 charges, but a wand of wishing can only be recharged once before it explodes, and wished-for wands of wishing have always already been recharged. There's only one trick that sometimes works, with diminishing returns: wishing for smoky potions can spawn genies, who can issue wishes. Fairly contingent on smoky potions being something useful, though...
    • In the Nethack expansion SLASH'EM, it's possible to wish for a cursed scroll of genocide to reverse-genocide (i.e. make yourself surrounded by multiple copies of a chosen monster) gypsies who are each guaranteed to grant you a wish with enough money, patience, and a source of magic resistance to avoid being instakilled by one of the possible fortunes.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, trying to wish for more wishes from a genie bottle gets you a 'pocket wish' that grants one wish, so you don't actually gain any extra wishes. Not that this is useless — you can sell the pocket wish to another player, or just save it for later.
  • At the end of The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, Link and Zelda use the Triforce to restore Lorule's Triforce so Princess Hilda can wish her kingdom into a better state.
  • In TaskMaker, the "Wish for Any Object" scroll can be used to wish for... another "Wish for Any Object" scroll. The game even lampshades this.
  • Fate/stay night: Defied. Each Master in the Holy Grail War is given three Command Spells which they can use to give their Servant an order that cannot be disobeyed. Early on, Rin, in a fit of rage, tries to use one of hers to command Archer to "always obey my commands". Archer tiredly points out that that's not how Command Spells work: they're meant to be used on a singular action. By using it on a vague and spread-out command like that, all Rin did was dilute the Command Spell's effect over many different actions, and the end result is that Archer feels a slight compulsion to obey her... one that he can easily ignore. So all Rin really accomplished was wasting one of her Command Spells.

    Web Animation 
  • "Not a Normal Genie": A boy tries to wish for more wishes, but the genie tells him no. They argue until the boy gets the idea to wish for another genie, though the result is questionable...
  • RWBY: When learning that the Relic of Knowledge (which looks like an ornate lantern) can answer up to three questions per century, Nora excitedly asks if they can "Ask for more questions" to which Ren tiredly tells her that's not how it works.

    Web Comics 
  • In this Cyanide & Happiness strip, a character successfully bypasses the three-wishes-per-genie rule by wishing for more genies.
  • In this xkcd strip, the "Wish Bureau" keeps an ongoing log of Black Hat's clever attempts to get extra wishes, including wishing for "a universe which is an exact replica of this one sans rules against meta-wishes."
  • In This Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, a character invokes Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp" to get around the restriction.
  • In this Chainsawsuit comic, a character wishes for a genie that lets him wish for more wishes.
  • A comic going around Tumblr and such shows a Genie saying, "You can not wish to have more wishes". The lamp holder simply replies, "I wish I could."
  • In this comic a character tries to circumvent the no-more-wishes-rule by wishing the Genie to have no rules, which backfires epically.
  • The Mediocre Superheroes:
    • This strip has a guy being told he can't wish for more wishes so he wishes the genie couldn't count. When the genie asks how many wishes he has left, he says a billion.
    • Here a guy uses his last wish and says it was a shame he couldn't have wished for unlimited wishes. The genie tells him there was no rule stopping him from doing just that.
  • This Passive Agression comic has a genie tell a man that he can't wish for any more wishes. He uses his first wish to ask her to go to dinner with him. They get married and when she gives birth to their genie child, the man declares he now has five wishes.

    Web Original 
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG, #97:
    My one wish cannot be "I wish everything on this piece of paper was true."
  • From The Onion: "Child Bankrupts Make-A-Wish Foundation with Wish for Unlimited Wishes"
  • In Fish Wish of the Rooster Teeth Shorts, Geoff is told by the magical wish-granting fish that he can't wish for more wishes because it's against the rules. Also against the rules is wishing to eat a magical wish-granting fish. But it's not against the rules to wish that it's not against the rules.
  • Defied in the TomSka short "The Wish". Hedy tries to trick a genie, played by Tom, into giving her infinite wishes, including wishing for infinite genies, magic lamps, and birthday cakes (so she can blow the candles and get the resulting wishes). After the genie restricts her to one wish, she instead wishes for AIDS… so she can get infinite wishes from the "Grant-a-Wish Foundation" instead. (She fails.)
  • This is an occasional Running Gag in Jacksfilms' "Yesterday I Asked You" series, as a response to completely unrelated questions if they're considered just as generic as "If a genie granted you 1 wish, what would you wish for?"
  • Defied in SuperMarioLogan. In The Lamp, Junior constantly tries to invoke loophole abuse so he can get more wishes. When the genie tells him he can't wish for more wishes, Junior asks if he can wish to be allowed to wish for more wishes. When the genie tells him he can't do that either, Junior tries wishing for more genies, which the genie also says he can't do. Finally, Junior suggests wishing that he could become a genie himself so he could grant his own wishes. After the genie tells him he can't do that either, Junior gives up.

    Western Animation 
  • Grojband: In "Wish Upon a Jug", Trina finds a genie who grants her three wishes. She then wishes for a million wishes. When Corey says that she can't do that, the genie says that she can and he always wondered why more people didn't do that. When Corey later finds his own genie, he immediately wishes for the same thing.
  • In The Fairly OddParents, Mr. Crocker rubs a genie lamp, releasing the genie and earning Three Wishes. However, since genie wishes have no limitations, every third wish involves him for wishing three more. The genie, named Norm, explains to Crocker that while genies say that people can't wish for more wishes, they actually can do so (as Norm puts it, "[genies] have been bluffing for centuries"). Norm's the one who ultimately convinces Crocker to keep wishing more wishes so they can work together to get revenge against Timmy Turner. Crocker uses the wishes to set up Wile. E. Coyote-esque traps for Timmy- and just like Wile. E, none of them work.
    • In the "Wishmas" Christmas Episode, Timmy (fed up with unwanted Christmas gifts) starts a holiday where everybody gets one magical wish in their mailbox. However, Vicky isn't satisfied, so she uses her wish to wish for a million wishes. The mailbox overloads and explodes, people start wishing for multiple things, and the holiday begins to overtake Christmas.
    • The titular secret wish from the Timmy's Secret Wish special is that Timmy wished that everyone would stay the same age so he wouldn't have to grow up and lose his fairies and then wished to erase Cosmo's memory of the wishes. He did this 50 years ago.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "The Limit", Finn and Jake and a group of hot dog knights quest through a labyrinth, at the center of which is a being that will grant each of them one wish. Finn and Jake have decided to wish for an Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant, but by the time they get to the center of the labyrinth, several of the hot dog knights have fallen and Jake is near-death from over-stretching. The hot dog knights waste their wishes on frivolous and poorly-considered things rather than restoring their fallen comrades, and Jake accidentally wishes he weren't so hungry and is granted a Satiating Sandwich, leaving only Finn's wish. The moment is played as a choice between a selfish wish for the APTWE or a selfless one for Jake to be healed, and Finn seems poised to go with the latter... until he wishes for the APTWE, psychically proves his worthiness to become its master, and orders it to wish for Jake and the fallen hot dog knights to be restored and then fly them all to safety.
  • In "Wishy Washy" of Timon & Pumbaa, after finding a genie and wasting their first two wishes, Timon wishes for a million wishes, which the Genie does grant. They then spend the episode wishing up stuff until they eventually get bored of getting whatever they want and wish for everything back to normal before they found the lamp.
  • Wallykazam has a rare example of this being used as a Selfless Wish. In "Wally Saves the Trollidays," Bobgoblin uses up almost all the Trolliday wishes in the sack, leaving just one, which is given to Wally. He's upset that nobody else will get to have any wishes, so he uses his wish to wish for the sack to be filled with wishes again. It's never said, but something like this presumably only could work if the wish were selfless. When the wishes are given out and he gets another, he uses it to wish for a sled for his dragon Norville, while Norville wishes for one for Wally. Bobgoblin gets another wish too and wishes that everyone has a happy Trollidays... and for another big purple hat.
  • The Wishfart episode "Million Mo' Wishes" has Bratty Half-Pint wizard Leslie wish for a million wishes from Dez as a birthday giftnote . However, this gets the two of them in trouble with Finnuala, who starts trying to arrest Leslie for making what is apparently an illegal (and, in her words, "super annoying") wish. In the end, Leslie gets rid of his wishes by wishing for everyone in the city to have the remainder of his wishes, but saves one for himself... which he uses to ask for a million more wishes. But due to Dez's wonky wishing magic, Leslie's last wish instead turns Fireball Cat into his old rapper persona, Million Mo' Wishes.
  • In "Starbreaker" from Babar and the Adventures of Badou, when Badou and others wish on a wishing star, Jake wishes for a thousand more wishes. Almost immediately after, a meteorite falls from the sky. Jake's incorrect belief that he "broke the wishing star" serves as the basis for the plot of the story.


Video Example(s):


Three More Wishes

Thanks to both of them wanting revenge on Timmy, Norm allows Crocker to wish for more wishes. He admits that genies actually can grant wishes for more wishes, they usually just don't want to.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / WishingForMoreWishes

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