Follow TV Tropes


Quotes / Manipulative Bastard

Go To

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
That is true. If the crime lab investigates, they'll know they're tears. It's impossible to know whose tears they are. But, that would be enough. Maybe it was suicide, Maybe it was a farce, Maybe it'll be a meaningless mystery. With even the slightest bit of gossip, the value in trying to solve it would drop off. Your friend's final wish will amount to nothing. This isn't simple logic. It's the manipulation of a demon who erodes people's souls. The ability to destroy the crux of your existence is the only ability I need.
Ranpo Edogawa, Bungo Stray Dogs, to Mushitarou Oguri

    Comic Books 

Supergirl: How could you? I... trusted you!
Lex Luthor: Like a father. I know - I worked on that. I had to make sure we bonded.


    Fan Works 

Well, there was magic. And Mordru had plenty of that. Rao knows, he could do the job, if he wanted to. If she could persuade him. And, running her hands over her body, she guessed that she had just the means to persuade him. It might be fun, too.
Satan Girl, Hellsister Trilogy

Carol Danvers: Just tell me one thing?
Cyclops: I'll try.
Carol: You and Xavier. Both leaders. And you've both turned out to be manipulative bastards, when you needed to. Why? Why is that?
Cyclops: It comes with the territory.

Scott: I really need to find a career that allows me to play with people's minds, souls, and ethical values or else I'm never going to be a happy and fulfilled person.
Warren: Have you considered law?
Scott: Summers, Happily, Cheatum, and Howe? I'll have to consider changing my major.

    Films — Animated 
"She spied on our lives through the little doll's eyes, and saw that we weren't happy. So she lured us away with treasures and treats and games to play.. Gave all that we asked, yet we still wanted more. So we let her sew the buttons. She said she loved us, but she locked us here and ate up our lives."
The Ghost Children on the Other Mother, Coraline

Dawn Bellwether: Gosh, think of the headline: "Hero cop killed by savage fox!"
Judy Hopps: So that's it. Prey fears predator and you stay in power?
Bellwether: Yeah. Pretty much.
Judy: It won't work!
Bellwether: Fear always works, and I'll dart every predator in Zootopia, to keep it that way.

"Darkseid lives for manipulation. He has hypnotists, scientists and sadists whose only functions are to break your spirit. Darkseid is evil."
Superman on Darkseid, Superman/Batman: Apocalypse

    Films — Live-Action 

Emily Monroe Norton Kane: Really Charles, people will think-
Charles Foster Kane: -what I tell them to think.

"Maintain a conspiracy of lies at the very highest levels of government? Sounds right up my alley."
Stewart Menzies, The Imitation Game

"So, I have this friend who is a new student this year. And I convinced her that it would be fun to mess up Regina George's life. So I had her pretend to be friends with Regina, and then she would come to my house after and we would just laugh about all the dumb stuff Regina said. And we gave these candy bar things that would make her gain weight, and then we turned her best friends against her. And then... Oh yeah, Cady - you know my friend Cady? She made out with her boyfriend, and we convinced him to break up with her. Oh, God, and we gave her foot cream instead of face wash."
Janis Ian, Mean Girls

"So you cooked up a story and dropped the six of us in a meatgrinder?"
Dutch to Dillon, Predator

"You used my mother's death to use my father!
You used my father just to use me, too!"
Shilo Wallace to Rotti Largo, Repo! The Genetic Opera

"Power don't come from a badge or a gun. Power comes from lying. Lying big, and gettin' the whole damn world to play along with you. Once you got everybody agreeing with what they know in their hearts ain't true, you've got 'em by the balls."
Senator Ethan Roark, Sin City

Alonzo Harris: [after killing Roger] Use your ears and hear me, Jake. Sometimes we gotta take this shit all the way. Now, nobody will ever ask you to pull the trigger if you don't want to.
Alonzo Harris: [to Mark] Mark, where are you transferring to?
Mark: S.I.S.
Alonzo Harris: S.I.S. Detective. Give me 18 months, I'll give you a career. We're an elite unit. We make the big seizures. We make the big arrests. But if you're in my unit, you gotta be in it all the way or not at all. I thought that you was man enough to face that. I guess I was wrong. Five proven, decorated officers say that you're the shooter. The investigators are gonna want to pull a tube of your blood to check for intoxicants, and what are they gonna find, Jake? Do the math. You've been smoking PCP all day, haven't you?
Jake: You've been planning this all day?
Alonzo Harris: I've been planning this all week, son. You talk that crazy shit, I'll make sure that blood gets to the lab. You wanna walk your baby nuts around the block, you won't make it to the corner, but if you're cool, if you're cool... then you're a hero. You're a virgin shooter above suspicion.


Let's say that some nutcase suddenly steps in here and ventilates us all with a Tommy gun. No, I'm just saying.

We have no idea why, but this bastard is trying to massacre everyone in this speako. So let's say this sicko takes his sweet time pumping lead into anything that so much as twitches.
And let's say - just saying, again - that there's someone standing behind the guy. The sicko wants to kill everyone in this shop, but he never, ever turns the gun on the guy behind himself. But it's not like the guy behind him's working with him or anything. The second guy's just there from the start. Acting like he's completely safe and enjoying the show, even though he shouldn't actually be safe.
...Right. I guess I could call him something like an audience member.
We're all living our lives real seriously, but to this second guy, everything about us is just a story up on a stage. The sicko can shoot his gun as much as he likes, but the audience isn't ever going to get hit. And even though he's nothing but an observer, this second guy keeps trying to meddle with the story.
Y'know, there's always one of those types. The kind of guy who watches a musical and goes around talking at the top of his lungs about how good a musical was, how bad it was, and what he'd have done differently, right? Now, this second guy's pretty quiet about it, but his voice carries real far and clear. That voice just spins round and round, reaches an actor or a writer's ears, and controls their actions without them even noticing. That's how he directs the play the way he likes, from a total safe zone as an audience member.
He's not a playwright or anything that great. An audience member like him doesn't care about others, as long as he's satisfied.
And getting back to that story about the nutjob with the Tommy gun... Once he's finished killing everyone, the second guy'd whisper into his ear:
"Hey, there's still one left. Yourself."
Baccano!! 1931 - Another Junk Railroad

Mr. Gaunt thought of himself as an electrician of the human soul.
In a small town like Castle Rock, all the fuse-boxes were lined up neatly side by side. What you had to do was open the boxes... and then start cross-wiring. You hot-wired a Wilma Jerzyck to a Nettle Cobb by using wires from two other fuse-boxes-those of a young fellow like Brian Rusk and a drunk fellow like Hugh Priest, let us say. You hot-wired other people in the same way, a Buster Keeton to a Norris Ridgewick, a Frank Jewett to a George Nelson, a Sally Ratcliffe to a Lester Pratt.
At some point you tested one of your fabulous wiring jobs just to make sure everything was working correctly-as he had done today-and then you laid low and sent a charge through the circuits every once in awhile to keep things interesting. To keep things hot. But mostly you just laid low until everything was done... and then you turned on the juice.
All the juice.
All at once.

Tell me what you regard as your greatest strength, so I will know how best to undermine you; tell me of your greatest fear, so I will know which I must force you to face; tell me what you cherish most, so I will know what to take from you; and tell me what you crave, so that I might deny you.

The ability to manipulate his enemies was one of Thrawn's greatest talents.
Borsk Fey'lya, Star Wars: Specter of the Past

The Eighteenth-Century aristocracy seduced, betrayed, and corrupted itself until its world self-destructed into revolution. I didn't have to destroy you, Cornel. I just turned all of you into Eighteenth-Century aristocrats and let you do it yourselves.
Madame, Seven Surrenders

When Rudolf had died, back in Spain, Gretel had used her prescience like a blunt instrument. But now she wielded it like one of Doctor von Westarp's scalpels. Heike's suicide had been engineered: the culmination of subtle, devious psychological manipulations that neatly excised the will to live from Heike's heart and mind.

    Live-Action TV 

Crash course in manipulation: you don't actually tell the person what you want them to do. You help them realize they want to do it, so it can't be traced back to you.

Everybody plays each other. That's all anybody ever does. We play parts.
Saffron, Firefly

Chaos isn’t a pit. Chaos is a ladder. Many who try to climb it fail and never get to try again. The fall breaks them. And some are given a chance to climb, but they refuse. They cling to the realm, or the gods, or love. Illusions. Only the ladder is real. The climb is all there is.
Lord Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, Game of Thrones

The woman you love is trapped in some horrible future where nearly everyone is dead. You can change that. She needs you, Peter. We all need you... to open that door.
Adam Monroe, doing what he does best in Heroes

Rodney Foreman: My son says you're a Manipulative Bastard.
Gregory House: ...It's a pet name. I call him Dr. Bling.

Ben: I can convince him to do it.
Juliet: How?
Ben: Same way I get anybody to do anything: I find what he's emotionally invested in and I exploit it.

Adam: So you lied. About everything.
Zachariah: We didn't "lie". We just avoided certain truths to manipulate you.
Supernatural, "Point of No Return"

"This is what I do. I plant stories in ground, watch grow into truth. Keep Gelfling looking over shoulder, and they won't ever see what's right in front of them."



Show me how to lie
You're getting better all the time
And turning all against the one
Is an art that's hard to teach
Another clever word
Sets off an unsuspecting herd
And as you step back into line
A mob jumps to their feet
The Offspring, "You're Gonna Go Far, Kid"

    Tabletop Games 

I watch you. I see the hatred in your eyes, well-hidden behind courtly graces.
I listen. I know the terrible darkness that hides behind your well-rehearsed lies.
I wait for you at the edge of sanity. I taste the pain in your mind, the yearning to end this charade.
I make my home in the darkest pits of your soul. In the shadows I bide my time.
I patiently wait for you to open your eyes and realize that it is by my will alone that you draw breath.
For I am Tzeentch and you are my puppet who dances to my tune.


So you can help me out and we can go through very well
Or I can turn around and make your life a living Hell
It's up to you, you've got a choice, you've got incentive to succeed

    Video Games 

My manipulatin' hasn't even begun!
General Sarrano, Bulletstorm

For every task, there's a perfect tool.
Jihl Nabaat, Final Fantasy XIII

I did it! It all went according to plan! I got the sun and moon to fight. I got you to go into space... it was all according to my perfect little plan! Now I can cause all the mischief I want! Haha! See you later!

Flip the Messenger. He bubbles and boils and blasphemes. You had a moment, the two of you, eh sweetling? How lovely. He has the advantage over us. His limitations more closely resemble yours. Comforting, like a pleasantly warmed poison poured into the ear. He let you in. Do you think that is all he will do? Do you think he has let a little thing like death stop him from his original mission? He still burns with embarrassment over that. You understand. We do not. We cannot blush. He let you in. Don't you let him in.
The Buzzing, The Secret World

Even if the count dies, the Chaos Heart won't disappear if I continue to control it! But I needed the power of the Pure Hearts to beat him... I couldn't do that on my own. So I had you all do the sweaty labour for me. And you even used your Pure Hearts to defeat Count Bleck! If they make greeting cards to thank people for helping with evil plans, I owe you one.
Dimentio, Super Paper Mario

    Visual Novels 

This is a stage of my own creation! We didn't have enough actors, so the playwright had to take on a role herself, but that only adds to the excitement! Yes, this is all, all, aaaaaaaall my masterpiece! You're just ignorant puppets, dancing to my tune! From the first shot to the last! Blind to whose finger is sitting on the trigger!
Maria Campanella, The House in Fata Morgana


    Western Animation 

Long Feng: You've beaten me at my own game.
Azula: Don't flatter yourself. You were never even a player.

Twists and turns are my master plan. You'll find the elements back where you began.

Lennart Bedrager: Do you remember, Mr. a-Skankhunt, when you and your little buddies trolled the entire country of a-Denmark?
Gerald: And that was wrong, too. I certainly want to apologize for that.
Bedrager: That was certainly a display of the power of a-trolling, wasn't it. But, what would be even more impressive?
Gerald: I-I don't understand.
Bedrager: What if you could troll the entire world? Somebody who could rise to political power through nothing more that pushing people's a-buttons and getting them all riled up, become the leader of... a Scandinavian country, perhaps, get them to listen to you when, actually... (now speaking with an American accent) you're not even fucking Danish.
Gerald: No way.
Bedrager: Use that country to create a machine that relies on the shittiness of people to fuck over other people and watch the whole world go completely batshit... (speaking with a Danish accent) Attention all a-Troll Trace workers, please report to assembly hall one for a big announcement. (reverting back to his American accent) Completely fool everyone and keep your real intentions completely anonymous.
Gerald: You would deliberately start World War III, let the people of Denmark die, set everyone on Earth against each other? Why?!
Bedrager: Because its FREAKING HILARIOUS!

I'm really getting into this game. I can play these losers like a violin.
Heather, TotalDrama

    Real Life 

Hence the saying: if you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
Sun Tzu, The Art of War


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: