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Quotes / Cruel Mercy

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    Anime and Manga 
"It's done. [...] You've been coming at me with everything you've got, but it's finally caught up with you, and your power level is falling fast. The fact is, I don't see the point in fighting you anymore. Your pride is already shot, and in the end, I guess that's good enough for me. You were so sure of your own power that you never imagined anyone in the universe could bring you down... especially a Saiyan. Heh. Now you know what failure feels like. See, I don't need to keep fighting you because I've already won. So go crawl off someplace and hide; I don't really care."
Goku to Frieza, Dragon Ball Z Kai note 

"Tears of regret? That's what you're going to be from now on. Live the rest of your life with that body, to understand the pain of others. If you do that, the feelings of others will sink in, and you'll be more honest with yourself... go south. There are more rats there. You should be able to catch rats even without your fangs."
Hiro to Kamakiri, Ginga Densetsu Weed

[Pauley Cracker and the other birds carry a huge boulder to drop on a wounded Claw]
Kimba: Wait Pauley, don't drop it on him!
Pauley Cracker: But Kimba, you mean you don't want us to punish the tyrant after all of the terrible things he's done to everybody?
Kimba: He's lost all of his power and for him that's the worst punishment!

Overhaul: Did you come to kill me?
Shigaraki: No, [deep breath] I thought of something you'll hate even more than that.

    Comic Books 
"I want you to suffer as you've made others suffer. I want you to wish I had killed you."
Magneto to the Red Skull, Acts of Vengeance

"Have mercy, don't have mercy on me!"
General Tapioca, Tintin and the Picaros

Kaga: If you do not kill me, I will kill you. I will find a way. For as long as I have left to live.
Cyclops: No, you won't. And I won't kill you. I'm going to do something worse. I'm going to see to it that Mutantes Sans Frontieres medical funding is used to take the best possible care of you until you die of natural causes. Do you understand? We're going to care for you. Forever.
Kaga: You bastard.

Batgirl: Stop. I need him alive.
Supergirl: But why?
Batgirl: Because... Because he has to suffer for his crimes!

Kingpin: If you're going... to kill me... get it over with.
Spider-Man: Oh, I will. I said I was going to kill you, and I am. But I didn't say I was going to do it today. You see, I've learned something from you, Fisk. Something about cruelty... and timing. I've done something far worse than kill you, Fisk. I've beaten you. And every man in this room saw me beat you. And they will tell their pals, and those guys will tell their pals, and on, and on... And soon the whole city, the whole country, will know what you already know. That you've been beaten, in public, one-on-one. And for a man as prideful as you, who needs for everyone to believe he can't be beaten... that's the worst pain you can feel. I want you to live with that knowledge because I know it will tear you apart deep inside every waking moment of every day. I want you to live in that kind of personal Hell. I want you to burn, Fisk.
Amazing Spider-Man

"I curse you with life, Mentor of Titan. You will watch as your son defiles the cosmos. And then we shall see who winds up the madman."
Thanos, Thanos Rising

Loki: End it. Before I can talk my way out of this.
America: ...I'm not going to make this any easier for you, chico.

"As for you, young ones — you may live to witness my triumph, in recognition of the service done to me by one of your number. Live — to witness the darkness transcendent... and your ultimate, undying doom."

"I would only have destroyed morally, Kryptonian... But now I will kill you!"

"I had intended to wipe you from the face of the Earth — but now, I have conceived a still greater revenge! You — who have never before been vanquished — shall live out the rest of your days in utter hopelessness... never knowing when I shall snuff out your worthless lives at a whim! There can be no greater punishment for you than the knowledge that you are totally helpless! Let this be the final thought I leave you with — so thoroughly defeated you are — so powerless to affect me in any way that you no longer matter! You are not even important enough for me to destroy!"
Doctor Doom, Fantastic Four

"You made me live again, so I'd be a gangland laughing stock!— Before, I was respected! Now the other criminals will laugh at me behind my back because I was saved by you!!"
Lex Luthor, Supergirl, "The Death of Luthor"

    Fan Works 
Instead, Harry would live on, just so that Draco could tell him that it had all been for Harry's own good, really, he ought to be grateful—

And with a sudden twitch of surprised pleasure, Draco realized that it actually
was for Harry's own good. If Harry tried to carry out his plan of playing Dumbledore and Father for fools, he would die.

That made it

"Celestia said she was giving thee mercy when she spared thee. I think she was mistaken in that regard. Killing thee would be the true mercy. Instead, thou shalt live to see thy clan broken, thy family in tatters, and for all the rest of thy days thou wilt know that 'tis because of thee. I could spend hours drawing out thy death, but this torment shall last a lifetime. I can think of no better fate to condemn thee to."
Sunbeam Sparkle to Dusk Charger, The Lunar Rebellion

"At first she was able to plan our deaths without a problem, but actually getting to know us changed things. She came to truly care for us all — even love us. This was why it was important to hear her out. If you had killed her...
...she would no longer have to live with the knowledge that we now hated her."

"Be left with the prison of your own design, with the poison of your own making, thief-in-the-shadows. Once again, you've denied me the satisfaction of killing an enemy. But I know death will come for you. It comes for all of us. Especially the insane. Enjoy your tormented world, Bilbo Baggins. I shall certainly enjoy watching you slowly die."

Rhaegar: Balon Greyjoy. You will watch as your armies burn. You will watch your domain stripped bare of any hope to raise another fleet. You will watch your keep be plunged into the worst poverty as all your remaining children are ripped from you. You wanted it all, and you get nothing but storm-ravaged rocks and hungry bellies, only for me to rip it all from you again and give it to those of your blood raised as those of my family.
Balon: You will never see us broken, dragon.
Rhaegar: I broke you, Greyjoy. You have nothing and are nothing.

    Film — Live-Action 
Knave of Hearts: No! Kill me! Your Majesty, please kill me! I beg you, kill me!
The White Queen: But I do not owe you a kindness.

T'Challa: Vengeance has consumed you. It's consuming them. I am done letting it consume me. Justice will come soon enough.
Zemo: Tell that to the dead. [attempts to shoot himself, but T'Challa stops the bullet]
T'Challa: The living are not done with you yet.

"He ain't earned a death! He ain't earned the death at my hands! No. He'll walk amongst you marked with shame, a freak worthy of Barnum's Museum of Wonders! God's only man spared by The Butcher!"
Bill "The Butcher" Cutting, Gangs of New York

Mason Verger: I guess you wish now you'd fed the rest of me to the dogs, hmm?
Hannibal Lecter: No, Mason... No, I much prefer you the way you are.

"I am almost tempted to let you take [the Arkenstone], if only to see Oakenshield suffer, watch it destroy him, watch it corrupt his heart and drive him mad... But I think not. I think our little game ends here."

Daniel: You could've killed him, couldn't you?
Miyagi: Hai.
Daniel: Well, why didn't you, then?
Miyagi: Because, Daniel-san, for person with no forgiveness in heart, living even worse punishment than death.

"John Rambo. Juanito Rambo. Wanna know something, Juanito? These girls mean nothing to me or my customers. In my world, they're nothing. They're not people, they're just things. They have no worth to men like us. So I would have not paid any attention to this. To her. But now I will. Because you coming here has made it very bad for her, cabron. We would've just trained her, used her, and sold her. But now we're gonna make an example of her. I'm gonna let you live. You're gonna think about this every fucking day of your fucking life, until you can't think anymore, Juanito."
Hugo Martinez, Rambo: Last Blood

Kirk: You were going to kill me, Khan! You're going to have to come here! You're going to have to come here!
Khan: I've done far worse than kill you, Admiral. I've hurt you. And I wish to go on... hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me. As you left her. Marooned for all eternity, in the center of a dead planet. Buried alive... Buried alive...

"Oh, I'm not gonna kill ya'... I'm just gonna hurt ya'... really... really... bad."
The Joker, Suicide Squad (2016)

"I have defeated you in life, Moses. You shall not defeat me with your death. The dead do not scorch in the desert of desire, suffer from the thirst of passion, nor stumble blindly towards some mirage of lost love. But you, Hebrew, will suffer all these things, by living."

"I should make you pull the trigger. But that would make us no better than you. Throw the gun away. Turn around. Walk until your feet bleed. And then keep walking."
Kayla Silverfox using her hypnotic powers on Colonel William Stryker, X-Men Origins: Wolverine

"I had begged Father to kill me, to end it. But of course he refused. I had tried deliberately losing, hoping to make the games boring to Father. But Father was patient: he could outwait me. For years, decades, it didn't matter to him. And in the end I always came back to the game."
Toomin, Animorphs — The Ellimist Chronicles

"As things stood, it's clear that both Orihime Inoue and Retsu Unohana would eventually arrive later and try to save Kaname Tosen. But, I suppose you lot wouldn't understand what that would mean for him."

"Fast death doesn't hurt."
Laurent, Captive Prince

Panchronius conveyed himself into the dark innards of Housemind's most functional remaining brain chamber, where he tapped at loose connections between the less-than-pristine crystals. "Seems I wasn't exaggerating that part about the leaky little thread. At the rate you're losing juice, you'll know the sweet darkness of oblivion in just a few months."
"No, don't thank me." The demon worked deftly and capped of his adjustments with a series of protective spells. "There! Vermin-capped and everything. Now you can enjoy
decades of sitting around out here, counting your bricks as they fall out one by one."
The Fall and Rise of the House of the Wizard Malkuril, by Scott Lynch

"You have grown, Halfling. Yes, you have grown very much. You are wise, and cruel. You have robbed my revenge of sweetness, and now I must go hence in bitterness, in debt to your mercy. I hate it and you!"
Saruman, The Lord of the Rings, "The Scouring of the Shire"

"He wouldn't kill me, he wouldn't. He said I should feel what it's like, know how it felt, understand... So hungry... I'm so hungry. He said I should live and that I would always be hungry, always be thirsty, always be ugly, always be in pain, because I didn't help."
Elizabeth Jane Bakker, A Madness of Angels

Miles: Every breath that you take from this day, is by my mercy. Every bite that you eat, is by Harra's charity. By charity and mercy, such as you did not give, so you shall live, Dead Woman.
Murderer: Some mercy, mutie lord.
Miles: You get the point.

Thibor Ferenczy: Mercy!
Faethor Ferenczy: Mercy? But are you not Thibor the Wallach, given the name Ferenczy and commanded to tend in his absence the lands of Faethor of the Wamphyri? And if you are, what do you here, so far from your place of duty?
Thibor: Mercy! Mercy! Leave me my head, Faethor.
Faethor: I intend to!
Necroscope II: Wamphyri

Schwartz: I could kill you, but I won't.
Balkis: That is kind of you.
Schwartz: Not at all. It is very cruel of me. You say yourself there are things worse than simple death.

"I know that you killed Heimir, my foster-father, and I want to pay back no one but you. For the sake of the long time that I have lived with you two, I will not do you any harm — but I now pronounce that each day will be worse for you than those that have passed, and your last day will be the worst. Now we are parted."

"Where's the pleasure in bein' the winner if the loser ain't alive to know they've lost?"
Granny Weatherwax, Witches Abroad

"Sometimes you have to be kind to be cruel," said Nanny Ogg approvingly.

    Live-Action TV 
Squad leader: Should we do something about...?
[indicates Angel, lying in shock]
Lilah: Yes, we should. We should let him suffer. [drives off]

Travis: All right, Blake, if you're man enough, kill me now.
Blake: Our quarrel is with the Federation, not with you.
Jenna: Give me the gun, then.
Blake: That would be mercy. Are you feeling particularly merciful?

Angel: [The Gypsies] devised the perfect punishment for me. They restored my soul.
Buffy: What, they were all out of boils and blinding torment?
Angel: When you become a vampire, the demon takes your body, but it doesn't get your soul. That's gone! No conscience, no remorse... it's an easy way to live. You have no idea what it's like to have done the things I've done... and to care.

Ahmad Damour: And the price is... you killing me with this virus?
Agent Pearce: No. There is no virus. We have the information you murdered Gene for. We have your son. And we have you. I'm not killing you, Ahmad, but believe me, your life is over.

"We wanted to live forever. So the Doctor made sure that we did."
Son of Mine, Doctor Who, "The Family of Blood"

Master: You can't do this! You can't do — IT'S NOT FAIR!
Doctor: And you know what happens now.
Master: No! [backing away] No!
Doctor: You wouldn't listen, 'cause you know what I'm going to say.
Master: No! [backs away until he's scrabbling against a wall]
Doctor: [wraps his arms around him] I forgive you.

Doctor: No. Colonel Manton, I want you to tell your men "run away".
Colonel Manton: What?
Doctor: Those words. "Run away." I want you to be famous for those exact words. I want people to call you Colonel Runaway. I want children laughing outside your door, 'cause they've found the house of Colonel Runaway. And when people come to you and ask if trying to get to me THROUGH THE PEOPLE I LOVE! in any way a good idea, I want you to tell them your name.

The Moment: And you're going to use me to end it. By killing them all, Daleks and Time Lords alike. I could... but there will be consequences for you.
War Doctor: I have no desire to survive this.
The Moment: Then that's your punishment. If you do this, if you kill them all, then that's the consequence. You. Live. Gallifrey... you're going to burn it. And all those Daleks with it, but all those children too. How many children on Gallifrey right now?
War Doctor: [weakly] I don't know.
The Moment: One day you will count them. One terrible night. Do you want to see what that would turn you into?

"You've cost me much, and I do not suffer disappointment well. I condemn you, John Crichton... to live. So that your thirst for unfulfilled revenge... will consume you."
Scorpius, Farscape, "Die Me Dichotomy"

Rygel: If you were "fine", you'd have killed Macton instead of leaving him there.
D'Argo: He's trapped in a coma with his own nightmares. Killing him would have been merciful. I'm not that enlightened.

Cersei Lannister: Qyburn here is the cleverest man I know. Clever enough to learn what poison you used to murder Myrcella. The Long Goodbye, was that it?
Qyburn: The Long Farewell.
Cersei: That's the one. How long does the poison take?
Qyburn: Difficult to say — hours, days. It depends on the subject's constitution.
Cersei: But death is certain?
Qyburn: Oh yes, Your Grace, quite certain.
Cersei: Your daughter will die here in this cell, and you will be here watching when she does. You'll be here the rest of your days. If you refuse to eat, we'll force food down your throat. You will live to watch your daughter rot. To watch that beautiful face collapse to bone and dust. All the while contemplating the choices you've made. Make sure the guards change the torches every few hours. I don't want her to miss a thing.

Victim's Brother: When you find who did it for sure, will you kill him?
Patrick Jane: No. I won't kill him, but I'll make him very sorry. [the victim's brother looks away skeptically] I have a daughter. About your age, if I hadn't caused her death. Her and her mother.
Victim's Brother: How?
Patrick Jane: Out of arrogance. Stupidity. I made an evil man very angry, and he killed them to teach me a lesson. To make me sorry for what I had done. And I am sorry. Being sorry's a far worse punishment than being dead. Everybody dies. Very few people feel truly sorry for the bad things they've done. It hurts.

Frank: I'm not gonna let you die today.
Billy: Please...
Frank: Dying's easy. [kicks Billy facefirst into the broken mirror] You're gonna learn about pain. [grabs Billy by the hairs on his head and smashes him into the mirror] You're gonna learn about loss! Every morning... I look for 'em, Bill. I look for 'em... but then I remember. It's gonna be the same for you. [grabs Billy by the head again] When you look at your ugly, mangled face. You're gonna remember what you did. You're gonna remember, Bill! YOU'RE GONNA REMEMBER ME!

Enabran Tain: So, you're saying if you don't get the information, Garak dies?
Julian Bashir: That's it.
Enabran Tain: Well, we can't allow that, can we? I'll see to it that the necessary data is transferred to your station's computers.
Julian Bashir: Thank you.
Enabran Tain: Oh, don't thank me. I'm not doing Garak any favours. He doesn't deserve a quick death: on the contrary, I want him to live a long, miserable life. I want him to grow old on that station, surrounded by people who hate him, knowing that he'll never come home again.
Julian Bashir: What a lovely sentiment.
Enabran Tain: And it's from the heart, I assure you.

Sam: Y'know what, Dean? I saw what happened back there. You could have killed that guy and you didn't. You took mercy on him.
Dean: You call that mercy? Imagine you spend your whole life hunting down the guy that knifed your father. When you finally find him, he whips you like a dog. How do you think that feels? That kid's gonna spend his whole life knowing that he had his shot and that he couldn't beat me. That ain't mercy. That's the worst thing I could have done to him.

Mulder: Yeah, you smile. Feeling drunk with power. The power to do nothing.
Cigarette-Smoking Man: My "power" comes from telling you. Seeing your powerlessness hearing it. They wanted to kill you, Fox. I protected you all these years, waiting for this moment: to see you broken. Afraid. Now you can die.

    Mythology and Religion 
The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.

"Who is this man?
What sort of devil is he
To have me caught in a trap
And choose to let me go free?
It was his hour at last
To put a seal on my fate—
Wipe out the past
And wash me clean off the slate!
All it would take
Was a flick of his knife!
Vengeance was his,
And he gave me back my life!
Damned if I'll live
In the debt of a thief!
Damned if I'll yield
At the end of the chase!
I am the law
And the law is not mocked!
I'll spit his pity
Right back in his face!
There is nothing on Earth that we share.
It is either Valjean or Javert.
...How can I now allow this man
To hold dominion over me?
This desperate man
That I have hunted...
He gave me my life.
He gave me freedom.
I should have perished by his hand...
It was his right...
It was my right to die, as well.
Instead I live, but live in Hell.
And my thoughts fly apart
Can this man be believed?
Shall his sins be forgiven?
Shall his crimes be reprieved?
And must I now begin to doubt—
Who never doubted, all those years?
My heart is stone,
And still it trembles!
The world I have known
Is lost in shadows.
Is he from Heaven, or from Hell?
And does he know
That granting me my life today,
This man has killed me, even so?"

    Video Games 
"I wanted Mother dead, but broken as she was, how could she hurt me? Now, she will grow old and die, knowing that I rejected her."
Eleanor Lamb, if the player chose to harvest Little Sisters but spare the NPCs, BioShock 2

Frank Woods: The dead don't suffer. That's why you and I are still here.
Raul Menendez: Your life will be consumed by absolute loss. Then and only then will you understand what you have done to me. I will not kill you, boy. Now like Woods, you suffer with me.

"Niko, come on, let's go. Let him suffer... he knows what he did. He doesn't look like he enjoys life too much."
Roman Bellic, Grand Theft Auto IV

Russian Supercomputer: Kill the human. He knows too much.
AM: No, no, no... Death would be a reward. No! No, no, no, the human must live to regret his treachery throughout an eternity — AN ETERNITY — an endless, burning eternity of suffering!
— The result of surrendering the Totem of Entropy, I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream

Shingen: I hear you were the one who captured him. I need to know, where is Kennyo now?
Ieyasu: I tied him up and sent him to Azuchi. He'll be kept alive... to live with his shame.
Shingen: ...For what purpose?
Nobunaga: Death is too good for him. In the dark of his cell, he will live to dream of taking my head — if you can call that living.

Duke Onkled: Please, your omnipotence, have mercy!
The King: After you've scrubbed all the floors in Hyrule, then we can talk about mercy! Take him away!

General Kuun: Shall I take his note  head?
Xao Gon: Leave him his kingdom in ashes. It is a shame that your father did not share the vision I have for the New China... you note  shall become a symbol of treason, and spend your life living with the pain of extinction. That of your family, and your kingdom.
Xao Gon from New Legends, opting to spare Prince Sun-Soo's life after slaughtering the entirety of the Soo Kingdom and taking over the throne

"If his mind shuts down, he can't admit his crimes."
Ann Takamaki, upon sparing the Starter Villain, Persona 5

"I think revenge is better served if I make him repent. Realizing what he's done, he'll grovel for forgiveness for the rest of his life, you know? I just believe there are fates worse than death."
Ann Takamaki elaborating on her reasons for sparing Kamoshida's Shadow and not inflicting a mental showdown on his real self, Persona 5

"Crushing's too good for him. First, he'll spend a year in the incinerator. Year two, cryogenic refrigeration wing. Then ten years in the chamber I built where all the robots scream at you. Then I'll kill him."
GLaDOS, Portal 2

Rada Nastase: Will Alina come back?
Adrian Zorlescu: I doubt it... one way or the other.
Rada Nastase: Then you killed her, like you killed the others.
Adrian Zorlescu: I didn't kill anyone. They brought it on themselves. If you play with vampires, you're gonna get bitten. I only encouraged them.
Rada Nastase: Why... why won't you let me die? I'm not even afraid anymore, not even when the pills wear off.
Adrian Zorlescu: Tormenting the others was my hobby, but you're... you're different. You didn't want the power, the thrill, the free ride. Just a lost girl who knew how much trouble she'd got into. An immaculate victim. No, Rada, I'm keeping you around. You get to see what you've suffered for.

Yoshimitsu: Fate is decided by the heavens. Do as you will.
Bryan: Don't worry, I won't kill you here... I'm going to take my time and let you savor your death.
Tekken 5

Cielo: I think dat's enough for now. Get outta my sight.
Earth (having lost to him after devouring his teammates): How could I...?
Cielo: Strength... isn't de only way to be strong. Live life, and remember your comrades. Gotta bear your burden... Your karma.

"Well, damn. I was gonna just kill you, but now I think it might be more evil to let you stew on that for a while."

Eggplant Wizard: That's all I know! I swear to veggies! Don't kill me!
Samus Aran: I will not permit you to die.
(Beat Panel)
Narration: If you didn't catch it, that wasn't a reassuring tone.
Eggplant Wizard: Eeep.

    Web Original 
"Sometimes, a weak expression of pity is the deepest act of cruelty."
Jon Bois, on John Heisman shortening a blowout game against Cumberland by a mere five minutes, PRETTY GOOD

The Spy: Kill me.
The Medic: Later.
Team Fortress 2, "Meet the Medic"

    Western Animation 
Kalus: Go ahead and finish this. I'm not afraid.
Grimian: And let you go out a hero? I think not. I'd rather you spend the rest of your life in SHAME!

Duke: You motherfucker! You killed everyone I loved! Take me too! Take me too!
"Fumbles": No... No, you live with it.

Megatron: What are you waiting for, Autobot? Finish me.
[Optimus brings the Magnus Hammer down... onto Megatron's Arm Cannon, crushing it]
Optimus Prime: That would be the easy way out, Megatron. [brings out handcuffs] You don't deserve it.

    Real Life 
Sultan Alp Arslan: What would you do if I were brought before you as a prisoner?
Emperor Romanos IV: Perhaps I'd kill you, or exhibit you in the streets of Constantinople.
Sultan Alp Arslan: My punishment is far heavier. I forgive you, and set you free.
— In the aftermath of the Battle of Manzikert

You've got to be kind to be truly cruel.
Folk saying