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Playing With / Baleful Polymorph

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Basic Trope: A character is transformed into a form far less useful than his/her default one.

  • Straight: During her encounter with Rowena the evil witch, Alice is transformed into a little rabbit by one of her spells.
  • Exaggerated:
    • Rowena, tired of the arrogant and decadent conduct of the humans that live on Earth, a.k.a. the realm adjacent to her swamp, one day decides to pay the planet a visit and transforms the entire human population into humble forest critters like mice, squirrels, canaries and gophers, ultimately resulting in the extinction of mankind.
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    • Rowena turns Alice into an E. coli bacterium.
  • Downplayed:
  • Justified:
    • Rowena transformed Alice into a humble rabbit in order to give a lesson. (Maybe she was being an arrogant jerk or cruel to the little fellas) She expects that she might learn something after walking a mile on the paws of a little beast.
    • Alice is under a timed spell, having been turned into a rabbit by Rowena to help her infiltrate the enemy camp. Nobody will notice a rabbit in the forest, and once she's past the guards, the spell will wear off and she'll turn back into a human.
    • Rowena has been contracted by one of Alice's adversaries to capture her alive. And since she's a capable warrior, (or even magic user on her own right) it would be easier to transport her and keep her under control if she's in a less threatening form.
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    • Rowena has been put to test by a villain, and to prove her loyalty she has to kill Alice. But instead of doing so, she pulls a bluff and transforms her into a flea, which to the untrained eye (and non-magical-savy) looks like a disintegration spell. She plans to revert Alice back to her original form once the danger is gone.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted: The altered form isn't as useless as initially thought.
  • Double Subverted: Then the secondary, truly useless, transformation kicks in.
  • Parodied: Rowena transforms Alice and her entire adventuring party into cute little squirrels. However, the small critters turn to be not that harmless and start a vicious coordinated attack on her! Pike wields a meat-cleaver as if it were his trusty Dragonslayer and Shiro delivers rising uppercuts into the witch's jaw.
  • Zig Zagged: The hex casted on Alice keeps transforming her back and forth between rabbit and human at totally random intervals. Needless to say, this turns into an extremely annoying (and even dangerous) situation because she ends up transforming into a little critter when she is about to deliver a finishing upon a dangerous opponent, and her lack of "magical clothes" means whenever she changes backs into human, she has to sneak around while in the buff, looking for something to cover herself, in order to save her modesty.
  • Averted:
    • Rowena just disintegrates Alice on the spot in order to not deal again with her.
    • Alice turns out to be a shapeshifter, who after being turned into a rabbit, reverts back to her normal form and gives Rowena a major thrashing.
  • Enforced: The actress portraying Alice in Chronicles of Troperia has to take a time off the series. So, the writers decide to turn her character into a cat to justify her absence without ditching the character on some convoluted way. They plan to transform her back once she returns.
  • Lampshaded: "I told you you would be singing when I was finished with you... Because, you're a canary now, so you can't speak with human words. Get it?"
  • Invoked: Rowena has always been an Actual Pacifist since her witch apprentice days, therefor incinerating / freezing / vaporizing her adversaries is an unacceptable option to her. So, she specialized herself in transformation spells in order to deal with foes to reckless to treat with diplomacy.
  • Exploited:
  • Defied: Since she doesn't want to lose her opposable thumbs to some weird mumbo-jumbo, Alice starts learning some anti-magic defensive maneuvers, either to nullify this kind of spells or to redirect them back their caster.
  • Discussed: "I really hope that old hag doesn't turn us into a sheep or something."
  • Conversed: ???
  • Played For Laughs: Bob arrives too late after Alice's lost duel with Rowena, and when he finds her abandoned clothes and gear on the floor he "accurately" deducts that she has decided to go for a casual naked stroll through the forest, and now he wants to find her before she gets hurt. (And because he secretly wants some eye-candy) Never mind the fact that a really annoyed bunny-Alice is right beside him, trying and failing to get his attention!
  • Played For Drama: Alice's forceful transformation couldn't have arrived at a worst time, because it was on her wedding day. Now her absence has been attributed to last-second-regret, with the groom heartbroken and devastated by it. She, as a rabbit, tries to explain him what happened, but neither he nor anyone can understand her noises and treat her as just an annoying pest. And the worst part is that Rowena seems to have just vanished from the face of Earth, and without a way to communicate herself with humans, there's a great chance that Alice might remain stuck as a little critter for the rest of her life!
  • Deconstructed: There are some severe gulfs in capabilities between these forms that go beyond the physical... Alice's transformation into a bunny also resulted in her ending up with the intelligence and instincts of one, as well, so while she remembers what her party set out to do, she's lost the ability to focus on it for very long. Additionally, there's a small matter of her now being about 110 pounds lighter, and all that mass had to go somewhere...

Back to Baleful Polymorph

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