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  • In The Ask and the Answer, Todd thinks he's saved an alien from death. Technically true. He's also allowed it to go raise an army so that said army can come back and kick everyone's ass. This was President Prentiss's plan.
  • Animorphs:
    • In the regular series, Elfangor tends to come across as noble and wonderful, a cross between the mentor and The Minnesota Fats, willing to break his people's laws, yes, but only to serve the greater good. In The Andalite Chronicles, however, we see that Visser Three's capture of Alloran is a direct result of Elfangor refusing to kill a mass amount of unhosted Yeerks. This capture also led to Visser Three's eventual promotion. While he originally gained prominence by being the Yeerks' authority on Andalites, his brutish ways and lack of subtlety wouldn't have let him progress much further. Thanks to Elfangor, who opened the door for him to do what no other Yeerk could, Visser One's agenda is the only thing keeping Visser Three from declaring an all-out space war on Earth!
    • To those who see Visser One as a Noble Demon, she might be guilty of this as well. In the Alternate Reality where the kids never found Elfangor and the Yeerks did declare all-out war on Earth, the humans won through sheer numbers.
    • Seerow being responsible for the Yeerks becoming a danger in the first place. He provides scientific technology to the Yeerks, which they use to go on galactic conquest. He becomes the Rule-Breaker Rule-Namer for the "Law of Seerow's Kindness", an Alien Non-Interference Clause that prevents technologically advanced species (the Andalites) from sharing technology with anyone else. As we see more of the Broken Pedestal nature of the Andalite command, it becomes apparent that some of this law was just pride.
    • Also a major one in the backstory of the Ellimist. Before he became a mad reality-warper, he attempted to stop an interplanetary war between two non-FTL-capable civilizations by towing a bunch of asteroids between their planets and then blowing them up, creating "an impenetrable orbital minefield" with the debris. Unfortunately, this just gave one side the idea to plant nuclear mines in the path of the other side's planet, glassing it, and being suddenly without an enemy for the first time in centuries the victors' civilization basically self-destructed.
  • Anita Blake: In the novel Blue Moon the entire plot's problems, involving hostile vampires, necromancers and werewolves stem from Anita shrieking abuse at another city's paranoid Master over the phone, and then stomping into his territory with a bunch of very powerful vampires and weres.
  • Bakemonogatari: Due to impure motives, Koyomi usually makes peoples' problems worse, more so the more he gets directly involved in trying to fix them. Namely, while he appears heroic, he's actually more interested in sacrificing himself for others than actually helping them.
    • In Koyomi Vamp, he saves a dying vampire simply because he's suicidal and thinks it's a good way to die. When she recovers fully after he finishes defeating the Hero Antagonist group after her, he realizes he just revived what may be the most powerful being on the planet, which eats people at least once a month.
    • With Kanbaru his suicidal tendencies make him decide that the best way of solving her problem is just to get killed by her so that she'll get what she wants. His girlfriend has to step in and point out that this won't get Kanbaru what she wants, causing her to give up. Later, it turns out that Koyomi's poor handling of the situation has convinced Kanbaru that deep down she's a murderer who was simply stopped before she could commit a crime.
    • With Nadeko he tries to help her without having any idea what she's doing and her curse ends up more dangerous as a result. When the problem is "fixed" it still results in one of the people who cursed her getting attacked by the snake, even though he probably didn't really know it would work. He also fails to address her misdeeds in this arc, simply ignoring that she butchered a bunch of innocent animals in an attempt to cure herself when she was actually perfectly safe. This isn't the only cause for the Nadeko Medusa incident, but it's just another time people give her a pass because she's cute.
    • Even after freeing her of the snake curse, Koyomi is unable to tell Nadeko he doesn't like her that way because he's just too nice (or just too oblivious), and fails to see Nadeko growing more and more jealous. Down the line this leads to Nadeko becoming a god and nearly killing both him and Shinobu, and they are only allowed to live because Senjougahara talked Nadeko out of it almost the same way she did with Suruga. Even after she spares them, Nadeko threatens Koyomi and Senjougahara's lives, and all this happened because he just couldn't take a chance to hurt her feelings. After being able to save their lives unlikeliest of situations, Kaiki is the one to inform Koyomi that caring about others sometimes can cause more problems than it helps.
    • When he assists Tsubasa with her demonic cat problem, he ignores the obvious emotional issues that caused it and urged her to keep bottling up her emotions, causing two more incidents as she tried to live up to his image of her despite the obvious cause of her problems. Not only that, but in the first incident he nearly kills her thanks to his foolish plan to forcibly separate her from the meddlesome cat. Even if his plan had actually worked, she would have been responsible for the murder of the guy she liked.
  • The Beginning After the End:
    • Despite viewing himself as Wise Beyond Their Years due to his reincarnation and wanting to protect his loved ones by any means necessary, there are a few instances when Arthur wanting to do good for them has led to severe consequences in the future.
    • Wanting to improve technological advancement on Dicathen, Arthur gives the famed artificer Gideon the blueprints for a steam engine. This is used to power the Dicatheous, an experimental steamship meant to voyage to the recently discovered continent of Alacrya. Unfortunately, what nobody on Dicathen would know is that the Alacryans are under the rule of the Vritra Clan, who seek to invade Dicathen. Either through capturing the Dicatheous or through retrieving the blueprints via their spy network, the Alacryans use Arthur's design to create an armada of steamships for use in transporting their army to Dicathen.
    • Arthur ends up giving the Beast Will he retrieved from the Elderwood Guardian to Tessia as a gift. What neither of them knew was that said monster was in fact a failed Vritra experiment. This comes to bite them both at the close of the War Arc, when Agrona, the Lord of the Vritra, reveals that he now has control over Tessia's life thanks to said Beast Will. As such, he blackmails Tessia's parents into letting his forces into the Council Castle, forcing the Dicathians to evacuate. In turn, Tessia wanting to save her parents leads to a catastrophic chain of events. Not only are her parents executed to mark the end of the Alacryan conquest, but the climactic battle that ensues results in Sylvie being forced to perform a Heroic Sacrifice to save Arthur, who ends up being stranded in the Relictombs in the aftermath with his mana core damaged beyond recovery.
  • In The Black Arrow, Joanna Sedley has been kidnapped by Sir Daniel Brackley, who intends to force her into an arranged marriage to become her legal guardian and steal her inheritance. Joanna manages to sneak out of the inn where she has been dragged into, and bumps into Sir Daniel's ward, Dick Shelton, in the moor. Taking advantage that she has been forced to wear male clothes, Joanna claims to be a boy called "John Matcham", and asks Dick to guide her back to Hollywood. Dick agrees, but later he runs into Sir Daniel, and instead of leading "John" -who had passed out previously- back to his home as promised, Dick brings his friend back to Tunstall, ensuring that Joanna falls back under his evil mentor's power.
  • Brandon Sanderson books:
    • In the Mistborn trilogy:
      • At the end of the first book when Vin kills the Lord Ruler he warns her that she has no idea what he does for mankind and that she has doomed the world. In the second book, the protagonists discover that the mists that have covered the world for the past thousand years are growing thicker and destroying crops, then the mists begin killing a fraction of all the people that go out in them.
      • To stop this, Vin finds the Well of Ascension, which is rumored to have the power to stop the mists. When she finds the well, she releases the power in it as described in the prophecies. Rather than saving the world, this releases the Sealed Evil in a Can who had maniuplated the prophecies in the first place. Oh, and the mists continue getting worse. It turns out that the mists were not created by the sealed evil but his now-dying/dead opponent. He just made them stronger in order to distract and manipulate the heroes. Luckily, it turns out his opponent had anticipated him breaking free and planned for it, but it was still a close call.
      • Also, in the backstory, the Lord Ruler, when he held the power at the Well, tried to burn off the mists by moving the planet closer to the sun to make it hotter. He moved it too far and made the world too hot, so he tried to push it back and made it too cold, then he tried to put it back into its proper orbit and made it too hot again. He finally gave up on that tactic and created the Ashmounts to spew ash into the air to cool the planet, which would have killed all the plants, so he altered the plants to survive, which then required him to alter the people and animals to eat the altered plants and not choke to death on the ash. The end result of this was an ash-covered Mordor landscape where the sun was red and the plants were brown that was the setting for the trilogy.
      • And in the third book, when Vin tries to undo that, she also almost destroys the planet and does kill a huge number of people before deciding to leave the powers alone.
    • Happens in Sanderson's book Warbreaker as well. Vivenna is deceived into furthering the plans of the villains. Denth tricks her into helping to start a war between Hallandren and Idris. After discovering this, she spends the rest of the book trying to make up for her mistakes by helping Vasher prevent the war.
    • And it happens in Elantris, too, when Sarene's curiosity leads to King Iadon being deposed.
    • And yet again in Words of Radiance, second book of The Stormlight Archive. Eshonai, the honorable leader of the Parshendi army, is worried about her sister's obsession with stormform, a form said to be connected to the Parshendi's Religion of Evil. Finally, she agrees to test the new form herself... only to get possessed by stormspren, corrupted by Odium, and transformed into a Voidbringer.
      • It's also noteworthy that the heroes are directly responsible for the above, and the desolation it leads to. Dalinar Kholin pushes the Alethi to finally win the war with the Parshendi once and for all, but the extra pressure on them leads to the above events.
      • The Parshendi aren't really bad guys either, and also deserve a good amount blame for letting events go as far as they do. They freely admit to having the Alethi king assassinated, but refuse to explain why or surrender, even when the Alethi are pushing them to extinction. It turns out King Gavilar was trying to bring back the Parshendi Gods and intentionally trigger a Desolation to bring back the Heralds. So in order to avoid triggering a Desolation and allowing Odium to return, the Parshendi have him assassinated and then refuse to explain why, triggering a chain of events that... lead to a Desolation and allow Odium to return.
  • In The Burning Realm Kan Konar sets out to avenge the Deathlings by destroying Xoth, home fragment of the Cthons. He succeeds by destroying the Runestone of the fragment that shielded Xoth from sunlight, causing it to move aside, and forcing the nocturnal Cthons to flee their homeland or perish by the sun's rays. At the end of the book, Pandrogas discovers that this Runestone's destruction, coupled with previous disruptions caused by the Circle, has reduced the time remaining before the Shattered World's sustaining spells are exhausted from several decades to less than a year. Nice Job Breaking It Again, Hero.
  • Captain Underpants: The plots tend to start with George and Harold playing a prank on their cruel teachers, only for it to spin out of control and create the main conflict of the book. They eventually realized this and resolved to be good kids...which ended up creating the conflict anyway.
  • In the short story Carnal Knowledge a young man is pretending to be an animal rights activist so he can sleep with a combination Granola Girl / Soapbox Sadie he has the hots for. At the climax of the story, the two of them (along with her actual boyfriend he didn't know about) decided to break into a turkey farm and "liberate" all the turkeys before they're slaughtered for Thanksgiving. However, since the turkeys were bred in captivity and didn't really understand the concept of freedom (and aren't the brightest birds anyway), they didn't really "fly to freedom" as much as they waddled onto a nearby highway and got pulverized by an oncoming eighteen-wheeler.
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • In episode one, Touma destroys Index's magical Made of Indestructium cloak to prove he has Anti-Magic. This leaves her defenseless and she becomes grievously wounded later.
    • During the Sisters arc, Touma fights Accelerator, which turns out to be the boost he needed to reach Level 6. Thankfully subverted when Touma managed to fix the problem by knocking out Accelerator before he manages the shift.
    • In New Testament, Ollerus tries to halt Othinus's plans for absolute power by using a transformation spell to remove her Magic God powers, making them fail 100% of the time instead of the usual 50%. Othinus just laughs and reveals that Ollerus basically just handed her omnipotence on a silver platter: if anything she tries is going to fail, then she just has to fail at failing and can pretty much do whatever she wants.
  • A Certain Scientific Railgun: Misaka finishes off the overpowered Kiyama-sensei, bringing an end to the Level-Upper arc, except now the entire network suddenly becomes unstable without her to control it and it's just given birth to a weird . . . fetus . . . thing that's heading for a nuclear reactor. And the only person who knows what's going on is out for the count.
  • Chanters of Tremaris see this happen twice, although the second is a subversion. In the climax of the first book, the heroes fight their way to Samis, only to find out that he used the spells they cast to reach him in his attempt to bring the all of the nine Powers under his control. In the final book, Marna breaks a relic in two so she can give half to Samis and convince him they don't have the rest so he will leave Antaris alone, and in doing so releases a plague (or so they think, for most of the book).
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant: In the first book, Covenant's breaking the Staff of Law in self-defense has only good consequences. Then in the Second Chronicles the act turns out to have enabled continuing and rather imaginative evil and suffering on a massive scale. Cue a lengthy quest to repair the damage.
  • In Ted Dekker's Circle Trilogy, the entire plot of the first book involves the protagonist attempting to save two worlds and, consequently, bringing about the disasters (developing a biological weapon in one, letting evil back into the world in the other) he intended to stop. Nice job dooming two whole realities, hero.
  • Codex Alera — The Vord? The pretty-much the Zerg Horde of Alien Locusts that have almost eaten the entire world, and indeed already have conquered a continent much larger and more populated than Alera itself? It all began with one queen hibernating in an isolated valley until Tavi woke her up. He had no idea what he was doing or what the consequences would be, but that's cold comfort.
  • In Coiling Dragon, Linley finds a sword sitting in the middle of a magical construct. Since it must be powerful, Doehring tells him to take it. After he leaves, a deity emerges from the prison plane through the weak point that the sword had kept shut. That god then leads a magical beast army to destroy the kingdom's capital. Later on, more gods escape from that weak point and murder millions of people. When Linley, Desri, and Oliver are fighting one of them, a second, bigger hole into the prison plane is opened. Many, many more Saints and deities escape.
  • In The Company Novels by Kage Baker, Dr. Zeus the AI relies on the threat of this to preserve himself after his period of omniscience comes to an end. It doesn't work.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: Feyre masterfully devolves Tamlin's court into a civil war after he hurts her family and allies with Hybern. Too bad Tamlin was still on their side in the war and was only acting as The Mole. His men turning against him makes Spring Court fall immediately to Hybern's forces, and his court just happens to be the one to share its border with the wall Hybern wants to bring down.
  • In Croak, the Big Bad only gets the ultimate power because Lex tries to use it on her, allowing her to "Cull" it.
  • This is what happens in Dark Sun when they kill the Dragon which had been plaguing the world. Turns out he and the Sorcerer Kings had been keeping a greater evil Rajaat imprisoned. Whoops.
  • In the third book of The Darksword Trilogy, Joram destroys the capstone of the Well of Life. While it seemed like a pretty good idea at the time, the fourth book describes a lot of the unpleasant consequences.
  • Date A Live:
    • Origami hates Spirits because one killed her parents. She remembers stumbling out of the wreckage of her home and looking up at the Spirit responsible. Through a convoluted series of events, she becomes a Spirit herself, and makes use of another Spirit's power to go back in time and prevent her parents' deaths. She runs into a Spirit and, thinking this was the one responsible, attacks her. One of Origami's own attacks in the ensuing battle hits a house. A little girl stumbles out of the wreckage and looks up at her...
    • Shido needs to make Mukuro fall in love with him in order to seal her power (as with every other Spirit), but this is complicated by Mukuro having sealed away her own emotions. He eventually copies her power and uses it to unseal her emotions. At first this seems to be going well, the emotional Mukuro is very affectionate and quickly falls in love with Shido. Except it turns out that the reason Mukuro sealed her emotions in the first place is because she's a Yandere of epic proportions.
  • Dale Brown:
    • In the novel Air Battle Force, a Russian attack on a Turkmeni city is averted by destroying the bombers that would have carried it out; however, this spurs the Russian acting president, who was a bomber crewman and sees it as a personal slight, to carry out nuclear sneak attacks on the USA in the next book.
    • In Rogue Forces, a Turkish airstrike aimed at a Kurdish separatist recruitment drive kills the husband and children of former Kurdish separatist commando Zilar Azzawi, who retakes her sword in response.
  • In the novella Death From A Shell, Jon, who believes himself to be a hero kills hundreds of people with poison.
  • In the final arc of Deltora Quest, Leif and friends have to destroy the Four Sisters who are killing their land slowly by singing evil spells. No one hears their songs, as they are so quiet and have been in place for so many hundreds of thousands of years that everyone just thought of their songs as the sound of silence. When they finally manage to kill the last one, it turns out that the singing that was making the land barren actually also kept an even worse monster locked down: basically a bubbling pot of poisonous goo that will keep expanding until the entire land—the mountains, streams, forests, cities, and everything alive—is buried under a thick, hard crust of grey stuff. Essentially, it is unbeatable: swords cannot cut it, there is nowhere to throw it away and it expands too fast to curb it in any manner. The Shadowlord thought he had them beat there: die slowly or die quickly were the only options. Thankfully, the goo is not flame retardant, and they did have six gargantuan fire-breathing dragons on demand.
  • The U.S. Government in Day By Day Armageddon decides the best way to contain the zombies is to nuke every major city. While this does kill thousands upon thousands of zombies (and survivors) any zombies not vaporized by the blast or humans killed by the radiation or fall-out become "Joggers": zombies that don't rot, are much faster, display problem solving and the ability to use weaponry, and can kill you just by getting close because of how radioactive they are.
  • Digital Devil Story: Nakajima Akemi successfully develops the Demon Summoning Program. Unfortunately, he failed to build in proper safeguards that would impose a contract on a summoned demon. The great demon lord he summons turns on him very quickly, resulting in the deaths of at least half his classmates, as well as many innocent bystanders. To top it all off, after Nakajima defeats Loki, the demon he originally summoned, his teacher, Ohara, ends up summoning Set, the most powerful evil god of Ancient Egypt. As icing on the breaking cake, many demons have sensed the pathway Nakajima opened to their world, kindling their ambition to conquer the human world. More than just a handful of those demons want to ally themselves with Nakajima.
  • Dirty Pair: Frequently implied to occur whenever the titular characters are on the job (it's the reason for their Embarrassing Nickname), but one OVA episode spells it out plainly. The Angels are investigating the mysterious deaths of several hundred mining employees on a planet run as a religious colony. They find that the religion's leadership has evolved into a murderous cult that, with the help of a ring of weather satellites, is capable of calling down Sodom-and-Gomorrah-style devastation in a specific location. After they destroy the cult's station in orbit, they assume correctly that the cult's reign of terror is ended. Unfortunately, the space station was also the control for the weather satellites and the weather satellites weren't just used for destructive purposes. The Angels look down from orbit and see about nineteen hurricanes beginning to form with no weather-control system left to prevent them.
  • In the original Dracula novel, the five male members of the True Companions insist that Mina Harker stay home while they do the dangerous work and frequently talk about what a relief it is that she's safe at home while they're hunting down the vampire because a woman surely couldn't handle it. Dracula deliberately takes advantage of this as an opportunity to bite Mina and metaphorically rape her.
  • This happens very frequently in The Dresden Files. Perhaps most notable in Ghost Story, where Harry realizes two different ways he's done this. Unleashing Mort's insane ghosts against Capiocorpus allowed her to devour them, manifest, then take any body she wanted and live again. In a wider sense, destroying the Red Court created an Evil Power Vacuum that brought out long-dormant monsters, some clearly more sadistic than the Court was, and engaging in open warfare to seize their resources. The first of these problems can be resolved fairly simply by destroying her, the second not so much. It gets worse. It turns out that Harry's assassination at the end of Changes was arranged by Harry himself, in an attempt to avoid having to serve Mab following his Deal with the Devil. He meant for it to prevent his (considerable) power from being used for whatever horrible ends The Fair Folk had in mind; instead, he wound up leaving his friends to deal with the aforementioned open warfare without their best source of firepower and his impressive reputation. Additionally, to keep Mab from realizing his plan, he had Molly erase his memory of it. Because of this, she's carrying around a ton of guilt for being complicit in his suicide, and the Leanansidhe has started her on Training from Hell; she's now such a wreck that none of her former allies trust her anymore. And it didn't even accomplish his goal. Mab and Demonreach managed to grab Harry's body and preserve it, so that when his soul should move on, he instead comes back to life... and is still in servitude to Mab. It's not hard to see why a fallen angel decided to push him onto that route, is it?
    • Also, there aren't many events in the series that aren't a direct result of Harry's refusal to abandon Susan to the consequences of her own actions in Grave Peril. This resulted in starting the war between the Red Court and the White Council eventually leading to the events of ''Changes'' and beyond.

    E-O 
  • In The Edge Chronicles: Vox, in what should be the hero's Crowning Moment of Awesome, he fights to stop a minion triggering an alchemical bomb by pouring water into it. During the fight it's stressed that the bomb is so unstable that one drop of water might do. At last he beats the minion and throws his jug of water far away... sags exhausted over the bomb... and a drop of sweat falls from his face into the bomb.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: In Kingsbane...
    • Eliana goes back in time in an attempt to convince Rielle to reject Corien- the leader of the angel's- offer of allyship. Not only does Eliana fail, her presence in Old Celdaria changed things for the worse in future-Ventera.
    • After being shown what actually happened to his father, Audric confronts Rielle about her lies. Their argument ends with Audric saying that she probably is the Blood Queen that everyone thinks she is. This turns out to be the tipping point for Rielle, who flees Baingarde to find Corien.
  • In the Doctor Who novel "Engines of War", the Time-Lords tried altering the course of Dalek history. Giving the Daleks the idea to try and alter the course of Dalek history, creating the various Skaro Degradations.
  • Many of the conflicts the title character of Franny K. Stein has to deal with are at least partially because of her own actions. The most notable instances are in The Invisible Fran (where her attempts at nudging some of her classmates into partaking in mad science have the result of them accidentally turning her two-headed robot into a highly destructive idiot who vandalizes the school) and The Fran That Time Forgot (where her attempt to use time travel to alter her Embarrassing Middle Name, in addition to telling her infant self that there is nothing worse than being laughed at, causes a Bad Future where her teenage self creates an army of elephant monsters to get back at everyone who laughed at her).
  • From the New World: Good job Education Board. By trying to kill Mamoru in fear of him becoming a threat, you prompted him to run away which later leads to Maria joining him when she and the others try to bring him home, which leads to Saki and Satoru having to make a deal with Squeler to fake their deaths so they won't be hunted down by you and the other villages, which later allowed him to actually kill them so he could raise their child into a Tyke Bomb to kill all of you ten years latercongratulations!
  • In Galaxy of Fear this happens or is thought to happen more than once.
    • The Swarm: Zak accidentally kills a shreev, which he soon finds is one of the only things keeping the drog population in check. He hears a legend that the ecological balance is so delicate that one shreev killed out of turn will wreck it... and within days there are many more drog beetles than there should be. It's actually because a Beetle Maniac has been killing shreev by the thousands.
    • The Doomsday Ship: The ship's computer urges Zak to enter in some codes allowing it to take full control of the ship he's on, so it can help him. A hacker who'd been a Jerkass to Zak earlier pleads with him not to, saying the computer is evil. Zak, aware of the usual limitations of computers, punches the codes in. The hacker was right.
  • Goblins in the Castle: In Goblins on the Prowl, when the group is setting off from the castle, Werdolphus the ghost tells them to bring the cannonball that killed him along, so he can travel between it and the castle. Bwoonhiwda brings another cannonball (or what she thinks is another cannonball, which she picked up off the floor) along to balance the load... but the second one turns out to be the Black Stone of Borea, the very thing that the evil wizard Helagon is looking for, to his delight when he realizes they have it. Subverted when the Stone lets Fauna banish him back to the Pit of Thogmoth, ending the threat he poses.
  • Gone: Brianna, who during Fear, attempts to rescue Diana and her baby... only to have the Gaiaphage possess it, by way of Penny's visions.
  • Grounded for All Eternity: Parris wouldn't have gotten loose in the mortal coil had Malachi and his friends not strayed towards the veil. While he had escaped from the Pit, he was still barred from entering the earthly realm, as souls can only travel there with a power. The kids sneaking towards the veil allowed him to cross through with them and enter the mortal coil.
  • The Gun Seller, by Hugh Laurie. The whole plot is preventing arms manufacturers from pulling off a terrorist attack in order to jack up prices for their new attack helicopters... that made a lot more sense when I was reading it. But anyway, the last page states flat out that the sales of the very weapon he used to beat them skyrocketed. Awkward.
  • Half Upon a Time ends with Jack, May, and Phillip accidentally releasing the Wicked Queen back into the world.
  • In Heart of Steel, Alistair's attempts to remove Jim as a romantic rival for Julia's affections (not knowing that she had been planning on breaking up with Jim) instead creates a crazy, jealous cyborg monster hell-bent on killing both of them rather than lose Julia.
  • The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Bahman was having Conflicting Loyalty after finding out that Silvermask was the former prince Hilmes. But in his desperation to stop Kishward, Daryun, and the others from killing Hilmes , he blurted out that if they do, they will be extinguishing the royal line while in front of Arslan, emotionally shattering the poor boy's world. This also allows Hilmes to escape in the confusion. Narsus was furious, thinking to himself that he should cut Bahman down for such actions.
  • Early in the first Hollows novel Ivy Tamwood is gifted with a wish. Rather than use it selfishly for herself she gives it to a Mia, a banshee who once gave her life altering advice. Banshees in the Hollows are the life draining apex predators of a world already filled with powerful monsters. Through various means Ivy's wish allows Mia to gain a human mate as murderous as she is, deceive people long enough to drain them of life before they can defend themselves and conceive a child more powerful than any banshee before her. No Good Deed Goes Unpunished indeed.
  • Happens to Horatio Hornblower a few times, though it's not really his fault.
    • In The Happy Return he follows his orders to reach the west coast of Central America without sighting land (a nigh-impossible navigational feat) to support rebels against Spain, and thus has no idea that during those months England signed an alliance with Spain. He doesn't learn this until after defeating a Spanish warship and handing it over to the rebels. He then has to fight it a second time and winds up sinking it, which pisses Spain off even more.
    • In The Commodore, he's given an interpreter to deal with the Russians and Scandanavians. It is not his fault that this interpreter has a hugely murderous grudge against the Czar and the King of Sweden and thus inclined to steal Hornblower's custom-made, very accurate, and easily identifiable pistols to kill them... but it's certainly where the blame would have fallen if he hadn't thwarted it in time.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss' main goal through the second book is to find a way to trick Snow into believing she's in love with Peeta. Unfortunately, she does convince him (and everyone else), and therefore manages to give him the leverage to break her during Mockingjay. And you can say that the entire series is this. Prim dies anyway, which was what the instigation of the plot of the first book was trying to prevent.
  • I'm Not A Regression: Due to the fact that Lee Shinhyuk desired to obtain Lyra's Stigma, this not only led to his death as he could not handle this power, but also caused Ohjin, the Heavenly Demon, to acquire Lyra's Stigma, causing that he become an Awakened sooner.
    • Ohjin also has his moments due to the fact that he only obtained fragments of Lee Shinhyuk's memories, causing him to screw up due to him not having the full context of the situation.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • In Asimov's short story The Dead Past, the main character's research into time travel reveals that the government has been conspiring to hide the fact that new research means it is now easy to build a time telescope that can see perfectly anywhere in the world anytime in the last century and a half or so. The release of this information dooms humanity to existence with no privacy whatsoever, because you can just as easily set the time telescope to see 1/100th of a second ago as 100 years ago. Sometimes the government keeps secrets for good reasons, geniuses.
    • In another Asimov story, The Life And Times Of Multivac, humans chafe under the generally benevolent but definite control of Multivac. One of them figures out a way to maneuver Multivac into making itself vulnerable, then crashes it. The protagonist declares that humanity is now free... and realizes that it's not at all clear that freedom — including responsibility for running the world without Multivac — is what humanity really wants.
    • The Asimov story "The End of Eternity" has the Eternals (time travelers) doing this for all of humanity. In ensuring humanity had the maximum happiness for the most people, all tragedies were avoided. This also averted humanity's greatest triumphs. The long-term result was eventually, aliens took over the galaxy. Humanity drove itself to extinction over thousands of centuries as a result.
  • This is pretty much the modus operandi of John and Dave from John Dies at the End. From the sequel, This Book is Full of Spiders:
    He said, "Think. Who allowed the outbreak to occur? Who failed to report the appearance of the parasite to any authorities? Who prevented any containment at your house? Who created the breach at the REPER command center? Who created the breach in the quarantine containment fence? Who single-handedly spread this infection?"
    John said, "We didn't do any of it on purpose. We're just... not very good at things."
  • Kitty Norville just wanted to help out a fellow lycanthrope who called in to her radio show. She had no way of knowing that she was actually enabling a psychotic serial killer who went on to kill four women before Kitty and Cormac put him out of his misery. Although, she can share that Nice Job with Meg, the Big Bad of the book, who infected James as part of a plan to assassinate Carl, then left him to fend for himself. Which eventually leads Kitty to expose Meg's scheme.
  • In the last book of the Earth's Children series, The Land of Painted Caves, Ayla reveals that men help make babies. The men immediately turn into patriarchal jerks who want to own their children. Nice job breaking it, Ayla.
  • The Last Days of Krypton: Zor-El proposes that the new Kryptonian Council make its decisions by a majority vote rather than requiring a unanimous consensus. This idea lets six selfish, boneheaded councilors completely ignore their five more reasonable colleagues (including Jor-El) due to having a majority vote, leading to Krypton's destruction.
  • In the SF novel Legacy Of Heorot, human colonists on an alien planet manage to eliminate the "grendels", a native, komodo-dragon like species, that threatened their existence. They find out too late that the grendels were the mature (female) form of these tasty (male) "fish" that are just about everywhere. (Think frogs and tadpoles. Only the frogs are a lot bigger. And have big, pointy teeth. And decide that people taste good.) The mature grendels kept the population down through cannibalism. Now that there are no more mature grendels all of the immature grendels start to grow up and undergo metamorphosis, and they're hungry. Even worse, all of them can move almost faster than the eye can see. Guess what they decide to snack on… Nice job breaking the food chain, heroes.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: Three times by the same person: Daniar.
    • Refusing to kill Jihidain in the past is the reason she is still around to cause trouble.
    • Refusing to train Benji means he jumps into danger without the skill necessary to get out of it or the self-disciple to stay out of it in the first place. This almost gets her and Lydia killed.
    • Refusing to tell Benji that his Aunt Zarracka is evil means said aunt has no trouble convincing him that she is good and Daniar is the bad one. This gets a city trashed and Final Shield destroyed.
  • In Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!, Rikka's family hid her father's illness from her in order to protect her. Granted she was a child and probably would have had a hard time dealing with it. But his sudden death makes it very hard for her to accept it.
  • Pretty much the point of R.A. Salvatore's Forgotten Realms novel The Pirate King. The heroes lead a rebellion to free a city of the evil wizards that have been ruling it. They succeed, but leave large sections of the city destroyed, a good chunk of the population slaughtered, with a shortage of food and shelter and a long winter approaching.
  • In The Lord of Bembibre, Don Alonso wanted to marry his daughter Beatriz to the titular character as soon as they reached marrigeable age; but his wife Blanca asked him to wait some time before making their engagement official, since she wanted to give Beatriz the opportunity to know Don Álvaro and turn him down should she dislike him. So, Álvaro and Beatriz grow up together and fall for each other, but instead of formalizing their relationship, Don Alonso decides Don Álvaro has become a politically undesirable son-in-law of late, and he would be better off by engaging Beatriz to a more powerful lord...whom Beatriz cannot stand. As her husband and her daughter quarrel, Doña Blanca cannot get over the fact that her good intentions have brought the latter unhappiness.
  • Quentin Coldwater delivers a double-dose of this in The Magicians. First, while still at Brakebills, he plays a childish prank on Professor March that causes a Magic Misfire powerful enough to give the Beast a way into the classroom, getting Amanda Orloff eaten alive in the process. Later, during the journey to Fillory, he tries to "save the day" by using a magic horn given him to a perfectly trustworthy naiad... only to end up summoning the Beast again, this time into Ember's Tomb, giving him a means of killing Ember, stealing the crown of Fillory, and obtaining the magic button he'd been hunting for all along. It also got Penny's hands bitten off, and if Alice hadn't performed a Heroic Sacrifice, Quentin's error would have killed everyone in the group.
  • In The Magician's Nephew, the prequel to the Narnia series, the eponymous nephew is the one who accidentally brings the White Witch to Narnia after he succeeds in getting her out of our world, which he knew she planned to conquer - so he saved one world only to put another through a Hundred Years Of Winter. On Earth, the Witch had physical strength but no magical power; on Narnia, she can tap into magic again. Nice job, indeed, Digory.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • In The Bonehunters, Mistress of Pestilence Poliel is revealed to have begun the plague to purge the cancer of the Crippled God from Burn's flesh, killing off half the continent of Seven Cities in the process.
    • In The Kharkanas Trilogy K'rul sets out to create a new magic system that can be used by everyone, creating the opportunity for younger, mortal races to see eye to eye with Azathanai and Elder Gods. However, this new magic promptly makes the already fairly violent Tiste civil war into a powered conflict, with just a handful of mages on each side able to obliterate masses of people.
  • The Marvellous Land of Snergs: Joe, Sylvia and Baldry are lost and feeling hungry when they spot several knights approaching. Then Baldry comes up with a plan to get some money: both kids will get in their way begging for one coin as looking cute, and then he will come out of one tree doing back flips. The plan was working — the knights were about to give one silver coin to Joe and Sylvia and go on their way — when Baldry shows himself. He is immediately recognized as the jester who pranked the King and got away with it, and he is arrested together with the kids.
  • In the final volume of Tad William's Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy it is revealed that the swords the hero had been trying to bring together to defeat the Big Bad were in fact the only things which would release the Big Bad from his prison. Whoops.
  • Mermaids of Eriana Kwai: In Ice Crypt, Meela searches for the Host of Eriana, a leviathan that has been sleeping under the island for thousands of years, so she can use it to defeat the tyrannical merman king Adaro and end the war between The Empire and Eriana Kwai. Instead, Adaro ends up in control of the Host.
  • In Metaltown, Lena gets Ty fired from her job in a misguided attempt to help her after she's injured and put back to work, thinking that she can find other work or has a family to fall back on. What ends up happening is that Ty is cut off from her only friends and family of choice, and hates Lena as a result.
  • Metro 2033 has an extremely cruel version of this. To bottom line it, the protagonist ends up unwittingly eradicating a sentient and very humanoid species. Turns out it was trying to make peace with humanity all along and help it to survive. Oh, and it also kept a Sealed Evil in a Can in check, guarded the eponymous Metro from the worst hazards and was literally humanity's only and last chance to ever regain the planet... or even survive for a few more generations. Nice job indeed, Artjom.
  • The entire story arc of The Midnight Meat Train. The protagonist ends up killing the butcher on the train, only to find out that his killing of the people was to feed the meat to demons as part of a bargain to keep the demon world from spilling over into the human world.
  • Jack Vance's "The Miracle Workers" was set on a planet where human colonists made Hollywood Voodoo work to replace their aging technological weapons. When the planet's natives finally decided to attack the humans, one of the "jinxmen" noticed that dying natives spewed a purple foam . Deciding this foam must be associated in the aliens' minds with death, he used his powers to project the image of purple foam into the minds of a large group of natives. Another jinxman explained, "Then he learned that purple foam means not death—purple foam means fear for the safety of the community, purple foam means desperate rage." So he tried to intimidate them with an effect that turned them into Determinators. Oops.
  • In the first book of Monster Hunter International, Owen uses an artifact to bring himself and his companions Back from the Dead by reversing time. Unfortunately, he also caused a mass panic all over the world and woke up the villain. (Though given that he and three of the people he brought back are the only ones who can stop said villain and he might have woken up again later, this might actually be good.)
  • The Mouse Watch has a scene in Grand Central Terminal where Bernie gets chased by a mean dog and spotted by humans, causing the titular heroes to summon a Sleep Spray drone to cover her retrieval. However, the drone crashes, and Mad Scientist rat Dr. Thornpaw grabs it and uses it to help distribute his mind control formula.
  • Played with as Running Gag in Myth Inc. In Action, in which Guido and Nunzio enlist in the army to try to sabotage it from within. Every attempt they make to mess with its efficiency and operations, however, not only turns out to help the army, but gets them involuntarily promoted for their excellent leadership. Nice Job Not Breaking It, Hero!
  • In the Necroscope series almost every single victory the good guys have end up solving the immediate problem, but creating something far worse for the next book. Eventually they manage to "win" their way to ending the world.
  • The Neverending Story: Bastian grants the Acharis their wish of being beautiful and happy, transforming them into the Shlamoofs. They then proceed to bother Bastian and company and he has doubts about whether he did the right thing. Towards the very end of the book, they are unhappy and want to be changed back, and Moru, the Lake of Tears has dried up since they don't cry anymore. Bastian, of course, can't change them back at that point, having no memories and thus not the ability to wish, and they destroy the only thing that can return him home since they don't want him escaping.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere this is basically the entire plot. All Richard has to do is help Door bring the key to The Angel, Islington, so It can return to Heaven and Door can be reunited with her family. Oh, Islington didn't mention that It isn't in Heaven right now because It had been banished to Earth by God? And its return would lead to God's will being subverted and war in Heaven, possibly leading to Heaven's destruction as well as humanity's? Oops.
  • The Newsflesh world gives us Brandon Majors, stoner, legend in his own mind, and leader of a "radical" group styling themselves the "Mayday Army". After reading a deliberately inflammatory article by muckraking "journalist" Robert Stalnaker , Majors and his cohorts storm a medical research lab to release an engineered virus intended to cure the common cold. When this meets another engineered virus (this one a cancer cure), hello Zombie Apocalypse.
  • In Kevin O'Donnell's novel Ora Cle 1984, set in a universe where all computers run unprotected operating systems like DOS and all news are shown in Bulletin Board Systems, the news is censored by a viral software implanted by the global Coalition. This is a perfect excuse for a coup by a group of erudites, who then keep the status quo and keep the censors; as the protagonist is an erudite but does not agree with the methods of the new group in power, he arranges to hack the several levels of censor programs, each more seriously defended, until immediately before deactivating the last one, he's warned by the leader of the group in power about not deactivating the last censor. The protagonist does anyway and the leader kills herself while communicating with the protagonist. Later is discovered that the censor programs were implanted to prevent extraterrestrial avian invaders, who use Earth as their hunting grounds, from finding out about a plan to transform Jupiter into a star in order to blind their sensors and allow Earth to launch everything against them in a last ditch effort to get rid of the invaders.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's Owl Knight, Darian and his company chase away the cold-drake that is blocking the pass to the home of Raven Clan, where his long-lost parents are living. Unfortunately, while this means that Darian can see his parents again, it means that the pass is now open to the marauding Wolverine & Blood Bear Clans. Everything works out, but it is a near thing.

    P-Z 
  • In the first Pandora Jones book, Pandora's discoveries lead her to conclude that the virus is fake, the world hasn't ended and the whole School thing is an elaborate lie. In the second book, her attempts to find out just what the fuck is going on leads to the revelation that the world hasn't ended, true, but the virus is real and everyone at the School has it. Originally, the people behind the whole thing were going to infect the world later, but Pandora and Jen's efforts led to them accidentally infecting some outsiders, so in essence, Pandora kickstarted the apocalypse by accident and in the coming days, she'll have accidentally caused thousands, if not millions of deaths.
  • In The Pendragon Adventure, without naming the millions of times this happens, a notable mention should go to Bobby, who let the Big Bad nearly win because he quit, and it's slammed in his face at every opportunity just about until the end of the final battle.
    • In the first book, even though he's specifically told not to mix territories, he does it anyway, and the batteries in one of his gadgets are used to start a war, and even though it didn't last that long, everything ended up in ruin.
      • Mixing territories in general usually leads to this.
  • In Perdido Street Station, Isaac collects a staggering variety of winged animals for his study of flight, then gets fed up and releases or destroys all but one large caterpillar, which he feeds some of New Crobuzon's latest psychotropic street drug. It survives and pupates under Isaac's tender loving care ... and then emerges as a mind-devouring, hypnotic moth-monster that eats his roommate's psyche, escapes into the city, and frees others of its kind, which commence chowing down on every sapient mind they can catch. Nice work, Isaac. In fact, the monster ends up eating the mind of Isaac's girlfriend and leaving her a vegetable.
  • Pinkie Pie and the Rockin' Ponypalooza Party:
    • The Pies are having trouble selling rocks... because after the Crystal Empire was saved by the Mane Six, it started a jewel craze.
    • Pinkie's parents ask Pinkie to be more serious, and it causes some major issues for a good portion of the book.
  • Psyche opens with a prologue in which the hero, Eros, helps a young man defeat a sphinx and then plays matchmaker between him and a local widowed queen. He later learns that the young man is Oedipus, and the other gods tease him mercilessly about this.
  • Defied in Rainbow Six. Homer Johnston is ordered not to kill a terrorist who would go on to kill a Littlest Cancer Patient because doing so would most likely lead to the other terrorists killing more children before the Rainbow teams can formulate and execute a plan to take them down. Understandably, no one is pleased about this.
  • In the Ravnica Cycle novel Dissension, Grand Arbiter Augustin IV (leader of the Azorius Senate) explains to our heroes that House Dimir isn't the reason why the plane/city of Ravnica has had a significant increase in existence-ending disasters: it's because our heros arrested/killed the leader of House Dimir in the first book. Since Ravnica is a world where every Guild and its leader are legally required to exist, even if they are legally required to attempt to kill everyone, arresting/killing the leader of House Dimir had doomed the plane/city to obliteration.
  • In the Relativity story "Candy Corn", a pair of incompetent criminals manage (through sheer luck) to capture one of the superheroes. Upon regaining consciousness, the hero mocks the criminals for not taking off his mask while they had the chance. They immediately remove it.
  • In Return to Neverend, Neverend pretty much collapses due to David leaving it for twenty years. Creating the White Queen made it even worse.
  • In the Revanche Cycle, Amadeo comes up with a grand plan to rescue the imprisoned Livia, and rallies the downtrodden souls of the Alms District to her aid. Problem: Livia had a plan of her own, and didn't need his help. And the reprisal in the wake of Amadeo's "rescue" leads to the Alms District in flames, and several hundred innocent people murdered.
  • Revelation Space:
    • A piece of semisentient software hitches a ride on an interstellar spaceship, and when the target planet is reached it unexpectedly attempts to destroy it - killing several tens of thousands of residents - by commandeering one of the hideously powerful weapons onboard. The crew of the ship manage to foil it at the last second, thereby saving the planet. Problem: one of the residents is programmed to activate a beacon that will attract the nigh-unstoppable Inhibitors, which will then proceed to wipe humanity out of space. The program knew of this, and decided that pre-emptive action - no matter how murderous in appearance - was preferable to the galaxy-wide extinction of the human race. Whoops!
    • At the end of the third book the Inhibitors are finally wiped out; however, it is implied that they were keeping in check a swarm of von Neumann machines, which are now free to roam about and eventually consume the entire galaxy, causing the remnants of humanity to escape it altogether to an uncertain future.
  • In the original novels of The Ring, the Asakawa delves into the mystery of the Cursed Tape not only because it's a good story, but to save himself, his family, and his friend from the killing curse. In doing so, he chronicles his investigation in the Asakawa Report, which details every little incident of the quest. By the end of Spiral, the second novel, Sadako reveals that the curse has mutated and taken on the Asakawa Report as its new vector, as well as any of its adaptations —movies, television, radio, and any other form of media where the tale is recounted. Eventually, all of mankind will have been destroyed as she replicates within each individual, infected human. At least the Cursed Video was contained...
  • All over the place in The Rising of the Shield Hero. Due to the fact that the Sword, Spear and Bow Heroes treat the world like a videogame, they end up causing more harm than good, and Naofumi is forced to pick up the slack and fix their messes. In order: Ren slays a dragon and forgets to dispose of the corpse, causing it to pollute the air of a nearby village (and later it resurrects as a zombie for good measure); Motoyasu gives a starving village a magical seed, not bothering to read the runes warning that it's a cursed seed and was sealed because it only creates monster plants; and then Itsuki aids the rebel forces of a small kingdom to slay their king because he was heavily taxing his populace, only for the rebels to heavily tax the populace again because they need the money to protect them from the waves. And this is all before the infamous Spirit Tortoise incident... that they started in the first place, thinking it was just a generic extra boss that they could take down with ease with their supposed preparation.
  • In Sailor on the Seas of Fate, Elric helps the Creature-Doomed-to-Live to die... And inadvertently sets in motion events leading to the end of the world.
  • Lucy from The Sex Lives Of Siamese Twins saves two homeless men from being killed by a deranged gunman. Turns out, she just managed to save two serial pedophiles from a broken victim of child sexual abuse.
  • A short story featured an American sniper recruited to test a prototype portable time machine. His mission? Go back some years before the 9/11 attacks and kill Osama bin Laden. Which he does, only to return to an America suffering a severe depression due to terrorist attacks using nuclear weapons, which he realizes happened because there was no bin Laden to desire to do something showy, but strategically minor. So he tries again, going back a little further. And again. And again. The end featured him in one of Pontius Pilate's dungeons awaiting execution due to a failed attempt on the Roman's life.
  • Sienkiewicz Trilogy begins with the protagonist rescuing a random guy from brigands. The random guy introduces himself - he's Bohdan Chmielnicki, on his way to become the leader of the largest Cossack rebellion in the history of the Commonwealth.
  • The Sister Verse and the Talons of Ruin has this in John, who was misled into destroying the wall of Yath and letting the villain rebind itself. Apparently it's for the best, though.
  • There are a lot of moments in A Song of Ice and Fire.
    • Robert Baratheon is determined to make sure that the exiled princess Daenerys does not survive to reclaim the throne with the hordes of Khal Drogo behind her. Drogo has no interest in thrones or the lands across of the sea... until somebody tries to assassinate his wife. Then he vows to sail across the sea, and conquer or destroy all of Westeros. Nice job waking the dragon, Robert.
    • Two more that have to do with Dany are when she picks a healer for her husband who was raped by her husband's men. This... didn't go so well. Drogo's dead. And speaking of that healer, she tries and succeeds in killing Khal Drogo, but in getting her revenge, she makes Dany more dangerous than either her husband or unborn son would have been by having her life-force used to hatch three fossilized dragon eggs. Oh, and teaching her that mercy is for wimps. Nice going, Mirri.
    • The Maesters of the Citadel have spent centuries declaring magic a spent force, denying the existence of many "mythical" creatures (or professing them extinct) and sneering at any who suggest that information pertaining to these things holds any merit. In fact, a fairly large faction seems dedicated to actively eradicating such silly beliefs. Which could shoot the Seven Kingdoms in the foot relatively soon, what with dragons and the Red God coming from the east, as well as Others decending from the north. With, perhaps, other "mythical" things joining in on the feeding frenzy, too. Oops.
  • In Space Glass, Bob's attempt to save the professor's daughter from Marvelous' beatdown ends up getting her beaten worse.
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles: In the second book of Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles, our young heroes succeed in luring the rampaging fire breathing giants into the ocean using a recorded mermaid song. As it turns out though, the giants were awakening so they could fight off an even bigger threat: a group of evil dragons that would be even more destructive.
  • At the end of the second book in the Star Shards Chronicles, Dillon brings back the Eldritch Abomination parasites from the first book, infects Okoya with them, and tosses him back through a dimensional vortex. Unfortunately, in the third book, it turns out the parasites run amok in the other dimension, displacing its powerful, soul-eating inhabitants, who are now forced to flee from their home dimension and decide to take over Earth. That turned out well, didn't it?
  • Star Wars:
    • In the Expanded Universe New Jedi Order series, it is implied (or outright stated, whichever) that Palpatine formed The Empire and ordered the construction of weapons such as the Death Star to prepare for the invasion of the Yuuzhan Vong, a species whose sole purpose is taking evil to a level that Palpatine could only dream of, making the original movies a Nice Job Breaking It Trilogy. However, it has also been commented that since The Empire lost to the Rebels, they might not have done as well against the Vong as they would have liked to think. Also, Palpatine wanted to rule the galaxy before he knew about them; his motives were not so much altruistic as "They're going to take my stuff!"
    • Not only that but the death of Palpatine created a vacuum of power. It caused a fracture of the Empire into multiple smaller dominions led by psychotic warlords, who, to solidify their positions, hold even worse weapons, like the Sun Crusher. It caused Admirals (and the last Grand Admiral) to start ploys to resurrect the Empire, raising the specter of a new round of Clone Wars, a working prototype Death Star, and various Super Star Destroyers. It allowed for a cloned Emperor, if possible even more insane than the original, to unleash Devastators on Coruscant. It allowed for criminal organizations to flourish and get into the superweapon race themselves, like the Hutt's Darksaber. It opened the way for genocidal races to use left-over Imperial ships. The New Republic isn't even stable and threatens to collapse many times.
    • This didn't even take a long time to occur. The Truce at Bakura, which starts right when Return of the Jedi ends, is a perfect example. The Rebels intercept a message for the Imperial fleet at Endor, which had just retreated, about an attack at Bakura. They decide to send reinforcements as a PR boost, which consisted of one antique carrier and a small group of fighters, many of which are on the verge of breaking down. (They do note that it's all they really had to spare: most of their surviving capital ships were severely damaged during the battle, and they were worried somebody in the Imperial fleet might get control of the situation and counterattack.) This leads to Bakura being a bloody, drawn-out battle. One Imperial Star Destroyer would have ended the battle almost immediately because it would have immediately outclassed the entire alien fleet. On top of that, the alien fleet only attacked because a Force-sensitive boy on their side felt Palpatine die through the force.
    • And then, there is the hero's unleashing of Abeloth, which took over fifty years of in-universe heroes inadvertently doing the one thing that could damage the can holding her. First Anakin killed the anthropomorphic personifications responsible for remaking the can every few thousand years as it breaks down, then the heroes later destroy the superweapon keeping the can locked, then they use the cluster of black holes she's locked in as a fortress. Most impressively, despite all of this hero-breaking, the can still managed to hold an extra decade.
    • The Jedi Order in general have a history of suppressing anything that they think might lead to the dark side. Well and good in theory, but when they go as far as to restrict all Sith knowledge (even that which might be beneficial) and raising their students to deny all emotion without teaching them to deal with that emotion in a healthy way. This has led more Jedi to fall to the Dark Side, and is certainly part of the reason Anakin fell. After the Ruusan Reformations, the Jedi also started accepting only young children into their order, arguing that they needed to be taught to control their powers before they could form emotional attachments. This, as you can imagine, did their public relations no service. It also meant that those who slipped through the cracks could not get training later in life, and were more likely to turn to Dark Side users for proper training.
    • While the Jedi using the Clones in every prequel related media starting with Attack of the Clones's Battle of Geonosis was never a good idea in the long run, due to the fact that Dooku gave them the army using Sifo-Days's name after having the Pykes murder him and that they had inhibitor chips in their heads to execute Order 66 when Palpatine needed the perfect reason to, the Jedi's bonds with the Clones before said Order was given also inspires the Commandant of Arkanis Imperial Academy, Brendol Hux, to train Stormtroopers from birth to fight like the Clones, since he fought in the Clone Wars as a Republic Junior Officer and was displeased with the current Stormtroopers that innumerably fill the Empire's ranks because of Tarkin discontinuing the Clones.
  • In Starlight and Shadows, Liriel wants to use a powerful magic artifact called the Windwalker to carve a rune on Yggdrasil's Child that will allow her drow magic to function on the surface and endure the sunlight. The evil drow goddess Lolth seizes upon the magic of the rune and strengthens it so that all drow are able to use magic on the surface, furthering their plans for conquest.
  • Happens not once but twice in the Eoin Colfer novel The Supernaturalist. The eponymous group are hunting ghost-like creatures that they can see congregating around injured and dying people. They want to destroy them to prevent them from sucking away people's life force. Too bad they do nothing of the kind. They're benevolent creatures that feed on pain, easing people's suffering. And of course the kids' method of hunting them is actually multiplying their numbers, meaning there are far more of the creatures than there should be.
  • This is more or less how the Sword of Truth series moves from one book to another: Resolving the conflict of one book leads directly to the problems in the next, at least in the beginning.
  • In the T2 Trilogy by S. M. Stirling, John Connor breaks into a secret military base in Antarctica. He finds the computer on which Skynet is currently running. His tech geek girlfriend's just installed the code that will suppress all A.I. Success is in his hands. Unfortunately, he doesn't realize that his girlfriend didn't install the part that actually blocked the A.I. from working. The instant he presses Enter, he's set Skynet into motion.
  • In Tales of the Magic Land one of the Woodcutter's first deeds as sovereign is pulling down a sinister-looking high, thick thorned iron castle wall, left like this by his Big Bad predecessor. Three books later, an evil giantess attacks the country and almost makes it to the palace – there's nothing to block her way.
  • In episode 2 of The Testament of Sister New Devil, Basara tells Mio not to let anyone at their school know that they're living together, lest it cause a scandal. Unfortunately, after he introduces himself to her class after transferring there, the class rep, Yuki, gives him The Glomp and turns out to be a childhood friend of his. This causes some jealousy in Mio, who then lets it slip that they're living together.
  • In episode 4 of Unlimited Fafnir, Tear getting a little angry in the auditorium and nearly destroying it causes the other students to be quite fearful of her as a result. Fortunately Yuu, Mitsuki, and Iris help her to open up more to her classmates and to control her power to avoid more incidents like that.
  • In Those That Wake, Mal leaving the door open at Mike's school let hopelessness infect it. In the sequel, Rose gives the Old Man access to the neuropleth, an action which leads to Mal's death.
  • Ian Irvine, and the conclusion to the Well of Echoes series. The Magnificent Bastard has gained two artifacts of unsurpassed magic power and is taking over the world. Tiaan tries to stop him by destroying the power sources of all magic, thus preventing anybody from using it. Except then it turns out that said artifacts are the only significant exception, and what she actually did was destroy every single source of power that would have given the heroes a chance. Dang.
  • In A Time To Die, Claudia Montierro is on safari with her father Ricardo and protagonist Sean Courtney, when she tries to interrupt an attempt by her father to shoot a lion, not wanting the creature to die for sport. The lion is subsequently wounded, forcing the rest of the party to risk their lives to put it out of its misery. Chaos ultimately ensues when the lion and his mate attack the hunting party, during which one of Sean's trackers/True Companions ends up crippled and the lioness gets killed, thereby dooming her unweaned cubs to a slow death by starvation and putting Sean in danger of losing his concession. As a furious Sean points out to Claudia later, if she hadn't interfered, the lion would have died quickly and painlessly without anyone else having to suffer.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Children of Húrin: Between them Húrin and his son Túrin end up breaking pretty much all of Beleriand that stands free after the Battle of Unnumbered Tears. Húrin is captured by Morgoth and his son cursed, and due to the curse (or his own pride), Túrin ends up leading the Elves of Nargothrond to destruction and killing the last chief of the Haladin. Húrin is released after his son's death, and ends up inadvertently leading Morgoth to the location of Gondolin, and brings a cursed piece of jewelry to Doriath, which leads to the death of Doriath's King Thingol (the beginning of a chain of events leading to its destruction).
    • The Silmarillion: The Sons of Fëanor (most notably Celegorm and Curufin) also constantly sabotage their quest to defeat Morgoth and retrieve the Silmarils. By slaughtering the Elves at Alqualondë, they turn King Thingol against them, and further alienate him when they kidnap his daughter. They also try to usurp the throne of Nargothrond in Beren and Lúthien, which leads to the Elves there shunning them. These factors mean neither kingdoms send any significant number of troops to the Battle of Unnumbered Tears, helping their defeat.
    • In The Fall of Gondolin, Ulmo warns Turgon that he must abandon Gondolin and gather an army to face Morgoth. If he does not want to fight, Ulmo will personally guide him and his followers back to Valinor. If he does not evacuate the hidden city, though, Ulmo will no longer be able to help him, because Gondolin is about to be found and destroyed. Unfortunately, Turgon has grown too fond of his city and chooses to dimiss the Lord of Waters' warning, ensuring that hundreds will die when Morgoth attacks Gondolin.
  • A Twisted Tale series:
    • As Old As Time diverges from canon when Belle touches the rose before the Beast finds her in the West Wing, which somehow disrupts the spell and literally seals the castle from the wider world, while also giving Belle a vision that reveals that the Enchantress was her mother.
    • Straight on Til Morning only comes about because Tinkerbell preferred to keep Peter away from the Darling house rather than help him retrieve his shadow, which leads to a bitter Wendy making a deal with Hook and giving him access to Peter’s shadow.
  • In the first chapter of An Unkindness of Ghosts, Aster amputates part of the foot of a child who developed frostbite and then gangrene as a result of the blackouts imposed by the government. Aster keeps the foot, and later leaves it as a present for the new Sovereign to show him that the blackouts have consequences. The child is publicly executed for Aster's crime.
  • The Vazula Chronicles: In A Kingdom Threatened, the mermaid Merletta goes to Wyvern Rocks to look for the dragon Rekavidur. Many dragons think merpeople are abominations — monsters created when a dragon commits suicide by expelling all its magic into an animal's body — that must be destroyed. Her visit alerts the dragons to the existence of the triple kingdoms, and despite Rekavidur's efforts to persuade them that mermaids aren't abominations, the other dragons decide to find the triple kingdoms and kill everyone there.
  • Villains by Necessity: In the backstory, Evil was defeated and banished from the world by the Six Heroes. However, this upset the cosmic balance, slowly leading the whole world toward destruction.
  • The plot of War And Democide Never Again is that two people go back in time in order to prevent all the worst crimes against humanity committed in the twentieth century from occurring. Technically, they succeed, but the sequel reveals that doing so allowed a dictator to rise the power when he had no such opportunity in the first universe, take over a major country, and nuke the entire rest of the world, setting mankind back centuries. Nice Job Breaking It, Heroes.
  • In War of the Dreaming by John C. Wright, the heroes' derailing the villain's Evil Plan and keeping the MacGuffin away from him result in the God of Evil getting loose and initiating a Hell on Earth.
  • Warcraft Expanded Universe
    • In The War of the Ancients, Malfurion Stormrage turned Xavius into a tree. Fast foward to Stormrage, where Malfurion is being held captive by said tree, which has become the Nightmare Lord thanks to an Old God and is gaining enough power to destroy the world.
    • Nearly happens again in Stormrage. Malfurion manipulated events so that a certain axe would be brought in that he could use to destroy the Nightmare Lord. The Nightmare Lord almost corrupted the axe so he could use it.
  • Warhammer 40,000 literature:
    • In Mitchell Scalon's Horus Heresy novel Descent of Angels, Lion (with Luther's help) unites Caliban to exterminate its horrific monsters, despite warnings that this might ruin Caliban. In Mike Lee's Fallen Angels, it is revealed that the monsters stemmed from Chaos taint, and so kept the people untainted, since they would avoid the monsters; killing them unleashed the taint.
    • In the backstory to Space Wolf: Ragnar's Claw the Wolves slaughtered an eldar army that turned up on a hive world. Unfortunately, the eldar were there because they were sealing away a Great Unclean One, and the Wolves killed them before they were finished so over the next several centuries the seal degraded until Botchulaz was able to send a plague out into the surrounding planet's population.
  • In Warrior Cats, during the Omen of the Stars arc, Ivypool tries to protect ThunderClan from being invaded by ShadowClan by getting her Clan leader to declare war on them first. However, the entire invasion was made up by the Big Bad Tigerstar so he could weaken both Clans just before a harsh winter set in. Also during the same arc, Ivypool was spying on the Dark Forest in her dream, about to learn the plans for the final battle, when Dovewing woke her up.
  • Watashitachi no Tamura-kun has this in a romantic triangle situation where secondary characters end up accidentally hurting both females in the triangle and almost ruin the chances for anyone to end up in a relationship. Tamura's friend Takaura has been talking to Matsuzawa on the phone and telling her about Tamura's current activities, including his budding relationship with Souma. Hachiya, the well meaning school nurse and confidant for Souma, pushes Souma and Tamura to move forward faster in their budding relationship than they probably should be. While both of them are well meaning, their actions cause some serious anguish for the love triangle, although it seems to work out in the end.
  • In Wet Magic, the human children are under strict orders not to touch the sky dome, which protects the Merkingdom from the Under Folk. The dome is indestructible from the outside but can be destroyed with a touch from the inside. When the children climb to the edge of the dome, Kathleen can't resist the urge to touch it, and the sea comes pouring in. A violent battle with the Under Folk ensues. At least the children are protected from drowning by the locks of mermaid hair around their necks.
  • In the backstory of The Wheel of Time series, Lews Therin comes up with a badass plan to re-imprison the Dark One. Unfortunately, something goes terribly wrong, and from then on all male channelers are doomed to go mad, wreak havoc with their immense powers, and then die horribly. The world gets Broken. This was also his last resort. His original plan involved both men and women going to fight and seal the Dark One, but the women refused in favor of another plan. One which fell further and further out of reach as the war raged on. The women weren't changing their minds, even after several years, so he had no choice but to go with men only. It has been argued, however, that Lews Therin being forced to go with only men actually mitigated the disaster, in that had both men and women participated in the resealing, the Dark One would have been able to taint both halves of the One Power, multiplying the resultant destruction and leaving no Aes Sedai (One-Power-users) at all to fight him in the coming age.
  • In the Wild Cards novel Aces High, Doctor Tachyon brings James Spector back from the dead as the result of an experiment intended to cure the Wild Card virus. Spector Came Back Wrong with the power to telepathically kill people by looking them in the eye. Spector, under the name Demise, becomes The Dragon to the Astronomer, a murderous cult leader bent on world domination.
  • Will in Scarlet: The first family to benefit from Rob and Will's Just Like Robin Hood methods have their house burned down (not while they're inside it) after their Suspicious Spending alerts the authorities to the fact that they have stolen money. Will feels pretty guilty when he finds out.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: An evil Wizarding School forces its students to race in a brutal obstacle course for orientation. The protagonist Emily notices that her roommate Megumi is racing against an evil witch named Lucille, and that another member of Lucille's clique named Amira is hanging around the course exit. Sure enough, as soon as it looks like the elite students who are proctoring the competition are distracted by chatting amongst themselves, Amira attempts to cheat by attacking Megumi to help Lucille. This forces Emily to intervene and keep the match fair. However, Emily then learns that the elites really were paying attention and would have killed Amira if she'd successfully cheated, but instead they give her a lighter punishment on the grounds that she didn't successfully cheat (because Emily stopped her). However, Emily also learns the elites wouldn't actually have tried to save Megumi's life (since they figured anyone weak enough to die to that particular attack wasn't strong enough to be worth saving anyways), just killed Amira for making it, so she's still glad she stepped in.
  • The Original Guardians in The Zodiac Series screwed up royally, and the consequences of that screw-up led to the entire damn series. To begin with, when Ophiuchus reported the theft of his Talisman, they thought he was hiding it from them to keep its immortality to himself—which, it's worth noting, would've been incredibly out of character for Ophiuchus—and execute him for treason. Said execution invites Dark Matter into the galaxy, which destroys an entire planet. Horrified at what their actions caused, the Guardians attempted to smooth things over...by erasing all records that Ophiuchus had existed so no one would know of their failures. This ends up planting the seed of resentment in the Not Quite Dead Ophiuchus that leads to him willingly joining the master. And after all that? They never even found the Talisman, and the thief walked away scot-free. Good job, guys.
  • In Caryl Ferey's Zulu, the protagonist, Ali Neuman, is on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge. He tracks down the Big Bad and The Dragon in the middle of a desert. Ali manages to incapacitate the Big Bad and kill The Dragon by ramming his car into theirs, which sets off a massive explosion. So far, so good. Unfortunately, this leaves Ali and company alone in the desert, miles away from any habitation, with no water and no means of escape...

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