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  • In the young adult novel Skinnybones, Alex runs towards first base during a Little League game. First baseman and Sitcom Arch-Nemesis TJ is ready to catch a pass to get Alex out. In desperation, Alex jumps up and down screaming "BOOGA BOOGA!" This causes TJ to miss the ball, allowing Alex to score a double. Alex is jubilant that he managed to finally get one up on TJ... until the umpire calls Alex out for interfering with the play at first base.
  • The Prince and the Pauper:
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    • When the Prince, Edward, switches places with the peasant boy Tom so he can experience freedom from his royal routine, he has to deal with all sorts of unforeseen consequences of being treated like a peasant. For one, Tom's feet are hard from years of walking around barefoot. Edward's soft feet end up bloody and bruised, and when people chase him he almost collapses from the pain and is forced to find refuge in a seedy pub.
    • Both Edward and Tom immediately realize they've made a mistake by switching places, and try to tell people who they really are. No one believes them, believing Edward to be insane and Tom to be under a large amount of stress from ascending to the throne.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Some of the books deal with what should be (more) realistic consequences of the Stupid Evil behaviors of the Empire and the Sith. For instance, after destroying Alderaan with the Death Star in Episode IV, many Imperial-aligned planets immediately switched over to the Rebel Alliance's side, as the act demonstrates how Ax-Crazy the Empire's leaders are. Also, naturally, pretty much every single Imperial soldier who hailed from Alderaan defects on the spot rather than support the government that wiped out their home world.
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    • Even with this advantage and the loss of the Empire's leaders, the war still stretches into decades. The chaos gives the New Republic time to gain ground, but by the time the sides have roughly even forces and territory the Empire has mostly settled down into being a real organized threat again. The Empire is never truly defeated, the civil war ultimately ends in a peace treaty. Then things start getting complicated...
    • The Thrawn Trilogy has several cases of this happening. Grand Admiral Thrawn has taken control of one of the Empire's remnants and teamed up with a fallen Jedi, C'boath, to both overthrow the New Republic and restore the Empire. C'boath's only motive is the chance to seize Leia's children and mold them, (and through them, the future Jedi Order) in his own image. After several attempts to kidnap Leia's children fail, C'boath uses the Force to take control of everyone on Thrawn's Star Destroyer, (aside from Thrawn himself and a few others who are within range of a Power Nullifier) and announces that he's hijacking the ship and going to Coruscant now to take Leia and the children. It's an awesome display of raw power... at least, until Thrawn icily explains exactly what a terrible idea it is.
      "It's a minimum of five days to Coruscant from here," Thrawn said coldly. "Five days during which you'll have to maintain your control of the Chimaera's thirty-seven thousand crew members. Longer, of course, if you intend for them to actually fight at the end of that voyage. And if you intend for us to arrive with any support craft, that figure of thirty-seven thousand will increase rather steeply... I merely present the problems you and the Force will have to solve if you continue with this course of action. For instance, do you know where the Coruscant sector fleet is based, or the number and types of ships making it up? Have you thought about how you will neutralize Coruscant's orbital battle stations and ground-based systems? Do you know who is in command of the planet's defenses at present, and how he or she is likely to deploy the available forces? Have you considered Coruscant's energy field? Do you know how best to use the strategic and tactical capabilities of an Imperial Star Destroyer?"
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    • Another one from the Thrawn books: at one point C'boath uses the Huge Holographic Head setting the Emporer liked to use. After the initial shock and impact of the unexpected projection, Captain Palleon notices the flaws of the huge head setting; C'boath doesn't have the impeccable self-control and confidence needed to pull it off, so the result is that the huge head setting winds up amplifying tiny expressions of doubt or surprise that might barely be visible otherwise, and makes them obvious to everyone watching. This winds up undermining the intended effect of intimidating people with the giant head.
  • In Madame Bovary (1856) the eponymous madame reads way too many romance novels, and is convinced the world works that way. Naturally, it doesn't. The love affairs she has ultimately go nowhere, because the men she's seeing aren't the type to drop everything and whisk her away. Her extravagant lifestyle is merely an attempt to distract herself from her unhappiness.. And when she finally can't take it anymore, she takes poison, expecting it will kill her quickly and romantically... and that doesn't go so well either. The whole novel was a Deconstruction of tropes associated with Romanticism that the bourgeois classes loved to read, and ended up paving the way for Realism.
  • Older Than Steam: Don Quixote has filled his head with the "damnable books of Romance" (what would be called knightly adventure stories in the modern sense) and is convinced that the world works that way. He promptly sets out and attempts to fight monsters, rescue damsels in distress, and so on, and everyone concludes he's dangerous and insane.
  • There is a version having Portugal as the setting of Madame Bovary called Primo Basílio note , written by Eça de Queirós, that has almost the same plot. But the ending is very different: the Madame Bovary's expy, Luísa, is blackmailed by her own servant who threatened to reveal to her husband and is driven to get a stress-induced disease. She deeply regrets having betrayed her husband, has to shave her head, which in an Brazilian TV-adaptation was considered one of the most tearjerking moments of the history of Brazilian TV, and ultimately dies. There is no Power of Love to save her, there is no Black Comedy like the original, only pure Tear Jerker. In the last scene, Basílio, the eponymous adulterer is shown saying that he didn't care about Luísa and he should have brought Alphonsine, making him THE biggest Jerkass Karma Houdini of the entire Portuguese-language literature.
  • The C.J. Henderson short story Granny Grumption Solves a Murder shows what would really happen if a little old lady turned amateur detective confronts a suspected killer totally on her own without bothering to tell anyone else what she's figured out: the much younger and healthier killer easily dispatches the old woman with little effort.
  • In Loyal Enemies it's Played for Laughs. When the heroes recover the Staff of Fertility, the elven king proves it's the real one by making a giant spruce grow in the middle of the throne room. It works, everybody cheers... And then they stop when they realize that, well, there's a giant spruce taking up most of the throne room and they'll have to remove it in the conventional way, then fix both the floor and the ceiling.
  • In Retribution Falls the heroes find the legendary pirate port Retribution Falls to be exactly what a city built by pirates would be like: a badly built Wretched Hive.
  • In War of the Dreaming, there is a scene where a Beatrix-Potteresque Mouse shows up to rescue one of the heroes. Then the setting changes back and Mouse promptly gets stepped on.
  • James Patterson has this as a side effect of the Author Tract in Cross Country, Alex Cross's ex girlfriend gets brutally murdered by an African mercenary. He heads to Africa. The second he gets out of the airport, he's kidnapped. By the police. Then it gets worse. You could cut out several hundred pages from the middle of the book, and all you'd miss would be the Author Tract and Reality Ensuing, over and over again.
  • In Brothers of the Snake, Apothecary Menon wanders around a village with suspected Chaos cultists with his helmet's faceplate up. For a good reason, mind, as the daemon his squad is hunting is invisible to helmet sensors and can only be seen with the naked eye. Unfortunately, when he gets into a fight with said cultists, he takes a bullet in the face and dies.
  • A Harvest of War has a few Spoileriffic examples:
    • Wild Rhona, the huge, Lightning Bruiser-type heroine cuts her way through enemies like tissue paper, but when she's too far outnumbered she has to avoid confrontation or run all the same.
      • Doing so while carrying an ally even heavier than her doesn't work, at least not on her old ankles.
    • The other Rhona is the Big Bad and has no shortage of skill and Villainous Valor, but is also Hollywood Thin and not at all stronger than that would suggest: she thinks nothing of engaging big warriors upwards of three times her weight, only to be forced to rely on her mobility and poison. When these fail she's done for.
    • Guinevere, her cousin, has more muscle and more skill. Enough to prevail against much larger opponents who are combat experts in their own right, but not to avoid getting badly dented and definitely not enough to avoid capture when several foes sneak up on her at the same time.
  • Ciaphas Cain:
    • Cain notes that many Sisters of Battle do something similar to the Brothers of the Snake example, fighting with their faces exposed claiming that faith will be their armor. Many of them die horrible deaths thanks to the Tyranids and their face-melting acid as a result.
    • One of the best Running Gags is Cain repeatedly explaining that he tries to be somewhat friendly with the troopers he's assigned to because of what happens to the more stereotypical Commissars. Any Commissar that throws their weight around, handing out discipline like candy and executing troopers for minor infractions will inevitably be hated by the people they're fighting alongside. These Commissars have a tendency to be killed by enemy fire despite the enemy being a suspiciously long way away, with a shocking lack of witnesses to the death.
    • The series is filled with instances of the physics-defying, nightmare-inducing, sanity-blasting horrors of Warhammer 40,000 going up against disciplined, well-trained, well-equipped soldiers, and the soldiers winning 9 times out of 10 through the simple fact that anything will die if you shoot it enough times. The times they lose they tend to be up against powerful warp-craft or hyper-advanced technology they can't do anything against (and the former case is when Jurgen comes in handy), or being overwhelmed by sheer weight of enemy numbers.
    • Cain notes that mixed-sex regiments are rare, not because the Imperium is sexist or even because they're against fraternization (or at least Cain isn't against it, regardless of the genders of the participants), but because the inevitable result of large amounts of men and women in close proximity to each other tends to cause a lot of problems (morale, paperwork, childcare, etc).
    • In the grim darkness of the far future, there is still paperwork. If Cain can't come up with any other justification for not indulging in a field execution, avoiding all those forms is perfectly believable to whoever he's talking to.
  • Mansfield Park: Prince Charming Wannabe Henry Crawford ultimately doesn't love the heroine enough to give up his lady-killing ways and crushes everyone's hopes of their marriage when he runs off with her (married) cousin. What, you were expecting the Handsome Lech to completely change his ways because of the influence of a girl he couldn't control and to deserve the heroine because the more she tried to get rid of him, the more he harassed her? Not in Jane Austen!
  • The Dresden Files:
    • In general, Harry spends a lot of time explaining how magic (his as well as that of supernatural creatures) is still subject to the laws of physics. He even uses this to his advantage sometimes.
    • Used numerous times in Changes, nearly always as yet another way to horribly torture Harry. Example: the Red Court sends in assassins to take him out. Rather than attacking him directly the way that, say, the gruffs did, they pay lesser thugs to try to kill him over and over, then set his house on fire. He barely manages to get his elderly neighbors out... then falls off a ladder and breaks his back, leaving him paralyzed. He has to make a Deal With The Fair Folk to fix it.
    • In the short story Day Off, Harry goes home to find a group of weak-talented wizard wannabes waiting outside his home. Apparently, Harry dispelled a bad luck curse they'd placed on some lady (which was so weak that Harry was mostly convinced wasn't real, and dispelled it to give her peace of mind). They sneer and threaten him, with the leader demanding that Harry prepare to defend himself, before he and his posse begin gathering their power to attack him. Harry responds by shrugging, drawing his .44 revolver, and pointing it at them. At their shocked disbelief, his response is "I'm a'fixin' to defend myself."
    • Harry himself: It also turns out that having a Dark and Troubled Past where an Evil Mentor tries to turn you into a Tyke-Bomb will leave a person pretty screwed up and with major trust issues.
    • The Archive is incredibly powerful, able to hold her own against any number of opponents. However, in Small Favor, she is subdued because she is also a little girl and can be knocked out by gas even more effectively than an adult.
    • Let's talk about Harry's shield.
      • In one book, someone cottons on to the fact that his shield only blocks physical force, and shows up with a flamethrower. His hand is severely burned, and the damage doesn't heal for several books. The bracelet he uses as a focus for the shield is also damaged in the attack. Since at this point in the series, he's Perpetually Broke, the bracelet gives off sparks when he uses it for the next couple books until he's able to fix it.
      • In a later book, he runs into a gunman with a Medium Machine Gun, and notes in his narration that unlike the movies, they're actually precision instruments, and he's fifty feet away down a hallway. Despite his high magical strength, his battery starts to run low in a few seconds.
    • In Aftermath, an angry werewolf storms into the resident mob boss's office, threatening to kill him if he doesn't provide information. The mob boss - who's used to danger and has faced werewolves before - calmly hits him with a throwing knife.
    • Harry is Michael Carpenter's "bad boy" best friend, and Michael's teenage daughter Molly understandably develops a crush on him. When Harry takes her as an apprentice, the first thing he does is pour literal cold water on her ideas of romance. In Ghost Story, we - and Harry - learn her feelings didn't go away or stay static. After years of close association, now she's a grown woman who's in love with Harry.
  • Fate of the Forty Sixth has characters both main and minor getting killed off, shows that wrestling and swordfighting can tire out someone after a while, and shows that you can't strike a sword against something hard without the sword cracking or flat-out breaking.
  • Gaunt's Ghosts:
    • In Ghostmaker a small group of Ghosts and Bluebloods wipe out a much larger Chaos force... and the incident is written off as an illusory battle by tacticians unable to account for it. Granted, the tacticians didn't know they had help.
    • This is why Necropolis is a Bittersweet Ending. The Imperium forces technically win and successfully defend Vervunhive from Chaos invaders, but the cost is far too great: the hive city is so horribly damaged by the long siege that it's no longer livable, almost all of its resources and war material have been expended during the siege, and the hive's remaining population (formerly millions strong) doesn't have enough people to even make repairing the hive worth it. This forces the survivors to either become refugees to the planet's other hive cities or join up with the Imperial Guard.
    • Traitor General demonstrates why Helmets Are Hardly Heroic is a bad idea. You may be a Super Soldier with systems able to resist even the horribly deadly poison that coats the arrows being fired against you, but that doesn't work when dozens of those arrows are fired into your unarmoured face.
    • In His Last Command, this is how a scout takes down a stalker, an Implacable Man that can soak up ridiculous amounts of damage and keep coming. Chaos enhanced beastie or no, it's still an animal that can be paralysed by hamstringing and slain by getting shanked in the brain through the base of the neck.
    • Only In Death: what happens when you take an army specializing in stealth and hit-and-run tactics and send them to guard a decrepit old fortress against a vastly larger force, and with faulty intel to boot? They die in droves, that's what.
  • The Witcher:
    • Geralt tells a story about when he was young, he wanted to pose as a knight when dealing with thugs mugging a merchant and his daughter. The downright brutal method he used to dispatch the thug's leader ended in daughter fainting from horror, and merchant running away from him along with the bandits.
    • The Lesser Evil:
      • Averted Just a Flesh Wound by having Geralt win his final duel by knicking his opponent's unarmored thigh with his sword, causing her to quickly bleed out.
      • The story concludes with Geralt saving the inhabitants of Blaviken by killing a group of mercenaries who intended to massacre them. The townsfolk, not being privy to this, immediately react with terror and disgust and chase Geralt out of town, believing he'd murdered a half dozen men without provocation. Even years later, Geralt's reputation has been tarnished by his actions as 'The Butcher of Blaviken'.
  • In Wearing the Cape, Hope/Astra is given a lesson in momentum and force and why it's a good idea to know how tough something is before you fly yourself into it like a missile. The book is actually full of little reality-checks, like superheroes getting warrants before going after supervillains, villains whose lawyers get the charges dropped, and strangers committing random acts of badness.
  • At the end of Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn, the protagonists kill the Big Bad who betrayed the hero of ages past, stole the power of the Well of Ascension for himself, dislodged the planet from its proper orbit, brought up volcanoes that constantly choke the air with ash, created a permanent underclass of slaves, and turned HIS OWN FRIENDS into monsters. Good riddance, right? Well, no. The second book then details the political consequences of such a sudden power vacuum, and trying to go from a totalitarian dictatorship directly to a constitutional monarchy (hint: a lot of people die.). And then they learn that the Big Bad had a very good reason for betraying the Hero in the first place.
    • In the Final Empire, Allomancy is rare and much of the population is kept deliberately ignorant of it, so many people will never encounter an Allomancer or have experience dealing with or fighting them. Therefore, many Allomancers tend to be Unskilled, but Strong when using their powers, since they have such an edge over a common Skaa. The two most common and combat-oriented kinds of Allomancer in particular suffer from this- "Thugs", who have enhanced physical attributes, tend to just rush their opponent and start beating on them, and "Coinshots", who can push metal away from themselves, just hurl fistfuls of coins at high speed towards the enemy. The protagonists, and Allomancers who make a living as assassins and mercenaries, are more creative in using their powers.
    • Burning pewter using Allomancy increases your physical attributes proportionally, so the majority of "Thugs" are big, muscular men who train to be as strong as possible without using pewter, so they can be stronger with it. Vin, a small and slight teenage girl, is very strong when burning pewter, but comparatively much weaker than the average Thug.
  • The Business Of Dying
    • During a hostage situation, Dennis shot and killed the criminal. Due to this incident, he is not permitted to own a gun, was blocked from any case or situation that may require the useage of a gun, and his chances for promotions was slowed down.
    • And while Dennis is a police detective and part-time hitman, that does not mean he's in fit condition. He's a heavy smoker and there's no indication that he does regular exercising, so he cannot run as fast or far as he could as a young teenager, and has to rely on luck and reflexes in battles.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • In On Basilisk Station, the Bronze Age-tech Medusans manage to brutally kill some Manticorans by surprise and swarming them. Then, the Manties bring out the heavy weapons and air support. The aliens die. And die. And die some more.
    • The Grav Lance is a powerful experimental weapon. That also means it is unreliable. Gutting a ship's regular weaponry to accommodate the experimental weapon leaves it undergunned when it is forced to confront an enemy vessel, and although our heroes win the encounter, it's not without very serious casualties and the ship is so badly damaged it must be scrapped (though whether the ship would have survived the encounter with conventional armament is an open question).
    • A major B-plot in Honor Among Enemies has a New Meat technician bullied by a crooked crewmember, beaten up and intimidated. Scared to testify, he instead accepts an offer to train with the shipboard marine company, ultimately standing up to the bully, bringing him down in a fair fight and exposing all his evil schemes. The seriousness of these schemes earn him some leniency three pages later when he's being busted for fighting on duty.
    • The Solarian League, having been at peace for centuries, butts in on the Manticore-Haven conflict, whose participants have been in a sustained Lensman Arms Race. The asskicking that follows is surprising to no one but the interlopers.
    • Losing large numbers of crewmen in a battle will result in a board of inquiry and will make the rest of the navy reluctant to serve with you, no matter how charismatic you are or how often you get results. Political connections become meaningless once you become a liability to your patrons.
    • A lot of the political intrigue in the series is a logical consequence of what happens when you have A: a powerful hereditary noble classnote  that B: lives for hundreds of years due to common medical technology.
    • In Echoes of Honor The Peoples Republic of Haven use the trope to create a perfect prison planet: they dump the prisoners in small, unguarded, camps all over the planet, separated by hundreds or thousands of kilometers, and feed the people in the camps just enough food for their needs but with no excess, because the biochemistry of the planet's life is incompatible with humans. The humans prisoners could walk away from the camps any time they wanted to, but they'd have nowhere else to get food to stay alive, and they can't stockpile any to take with them.
      • In the same book, the same lack of local food creates problems for Harrington: they have to ration the food they have on their shuttle, but because of her inherited genetic mods which make her stronger and faster than an unmodded human, Harrington also has a faster metabolism. What are adequate rations for the rest of her crew is a starvation diet for her, made worse because she's not recovered from the abuse she received from State Sec and loss of her arm.
  • In the Hurog duology, reality ensues several times. The protagonist protects himself from his abusive father by Obfuscating Stupidity. When his father is dead it turns out the only reason he wasn't sent to an asylum for insane nobles was because his father didn't want to pay the fees ... and someone else is willing to pay the fees. And then there is the woman who could really use the clothes of the man she just killed ... but they're soiled with more than just blood.
  • The Discworld books play this for equal parts comedy and drama:
    • Among other things, characters frequently react realistically to outlandish situations (in Going Postal, after tricking a banshee into getting killed by a malfunctioning sorting machine, the protagonist is too busy being ill to shoot off a Bond One-Liner), and the narrative often points out that happy endings in "real life" are never as simple as they are in stories (at the end of Monstrous Regiment, the protagonist and her companions end up stopping the war between Borogravia and Zlobenia, but some months later in story-time the ruthless ruler of Zlobenia just tries to start another war). Complicating things is the influence that narrative causality has on the Discworld, making the line between "reality" and "fiction" as blurry as it gets. This line is in fact used as a plot point in Guards! Guards!, where Vimes eventually works out that magic is the only explanation for a massive dragon being capable of flitting around the sky like a bird and breathing fire hot enough to melt stone, which helps him find the person who summoned it to begin with.
    • The Colour of Magic:
      • Rincewind has never used a sword before; when he tries to cut a thief down early in the book, he ends up smacking the thief with the side of the blade and losing his grip on the sword.
      • Later on, Rincewind, Twoflower and Hrun the Barbarian end up riding a dragon. When said dragon flies high up into the sky, Twoflower and Hrun pass out from the lack of oxygen.
      • Later on still, Rincewind and Twoflower find themselves lost at sea. They eventually wash up on an island belonging to the nation of Krull, and learn that they will most likely be enslaved by the Krullians. When Twoflower points out that this would be a bad idea, since he's a citizen of the Agatean Empire, their host asks him how the Emperor would know about whatever happened to them.
    • In Eric, Rincewind encounters an explorer, Ponce of Quirm, who is searching a jungle for the Fountain of Youth. Later on, Rincewind finds Ponce in Hell; while the explorer did at one point find the Fountain, he should've boiled the water first.
    • Monstrous Regiment has this trope in spades:
      • Borogravia is ruled by a mad god who continually outlaws everything from crop rotation to babies, and is always fighting a war. By the time of the book, the entire country is about a month away from starving, and nobody really believes in the god.
      • Sure, the Borogravian army fights valiantly, but they have no allies, no resources and no more recruits. And since they're too proud to surrender, all that means is that they're getting slaughtered for stupid reasons.
      • A whole bunch of girls join the army pretending to be boys. Naturally, they all figure each other out pretty quickly for varied reasons - everything from not having a bulge in their pants to saying 'sugar' instead of actually swearing.
      • And, when the girls disguised as boys inevitably have to disguise themselves as washerwomen, they get 'found out' instantly because the guards aren't stupid and know damn well that a group of newcomers with suspiciously short hair and no identification (and in one case, using socks to imitate breasts) are obviously enemies trying to sneak in. It takes one of the girls flashing the guards to save the disguise.
      • Black Ribboners are vampires who force themselves to crave things other than blood - in this case, coffee. But when the vampire in question's coffee supplies are stolen and thrown away, said vampire is forced to go cold turkey, and they almost have to pull a Mercy Kill.
      • At one point, the squad capture an enemy soldier. While Blouse is all for treating him fairly, Jackrum sets up an excuse to kill him, and later explains to Polly that despite what Blouse said, there was no way they could realistically keep him with them, so the only real option they had was to kill him.
    • The Fifth Elephant: The Scone of Stone is the dwarf equivalent of both a crown and a throne, being the seat on which the true kings sit. It has remained whole and intact for centuries, and is revered. Except that the original Scone crumbled a few centuries after it was baked, because it may be dwarf bread, but it was still bread. All the Scones since then are carefully-made replicas.
    • Unseen Academicals: Similarly, Unseen University has a massive candle called The Emperor which has never gone out. Officially. Anyone who says it went out has eye problems.
  • At the end of the book Across the Universe, Amy and Elder stop the dumping of drugs into the water, which means that the population of Godspeed is no longer doped up into being compliant. In A Million Suns, we see that this does not lead to an automatic happy ending. Instead, there are riots, strikes, suicides, and panic attacks, as a large number of people suddenly find themselves having to deal with emotions and thoughts that they never experienced before.
  • In the Black Prism, the main character's friends and love interest run from an attack very early in the book. Arrows fly after them, and the main character's power manifests just in time to redirect the arrow from his love interest... only to have two more arrows pepper her back and kill her.
  • In the second Artemis Fowl book, a gangster attempts to kill Holly by firing a laser gun from the hip... and ends up missing with every shot.
    • All attempts to create a Born as an Adult clone of a sapient being resulted in a living body with no mind, resembling someone in a coma. Why? Normal brain development requires years of sensory experience and interaction with the environment. You can't replicate that in a vat.
    • The Arctic Incident shows exactly why it isn't a good idea to depend entirely on one company for all your technology: when the owner of that company turns against the LEP, the LEP lose access to all their technology, including most of their weaponry. And they're dealing with an invading force.
    • In the beginning of the third book, Artemis has a meeting with Jon Spiro, the owner of an electronics company, to show him some revolutionary technology that Artemis came up with. The technology in question is so ahead of its time it could render all other forms of technology obsolete. However, contrary to Spiro's expectations, Artemis didn't come intending to sell him the technology, and all of Artemis' explanations as to why Spiro couldn't make any use of it without Artemis himself there fall on deaf ears. When Artemis then tries to protest that Spiro wouldn't try anything in public, Spiro reveals that he filled the meeting place with assassins working for him- after all, did Artemis really expect that he could just dangle something like that in front of Spiro's nose and Spiro wouldn't take any means possible to acquire it?
      • Butler also tries to challenge Spiro's bodyguard to a one on one fight. The bodyguard is kind of a poseur, but he refuses to fight with one of the deadliest hand-to-hand combatants on the planet; he and his colleagues are just going to shoot Butler and Artemis.
  • The Heather Wells Mysteries
    • Not all information is freely available on the internet, including things like marriage records. Sometimes, Cooper admits to having to bribe a district attorney or... help himself a little through hacking.
    • In Size 12 And Ready To Rock, Cooper explains that facial recognition programs do not work the way they do on TV.
    • And no matter what TV keeps telling Nicole Cartwright, inviting an estranged parent to their child's wedding will not automatically result in a happy reunion; especially when said parent abandoned their child by taking their life savings and running off to Argentina. Janet Wells realizes that she cannot mend her broken relationship with her daughter so easily, probably not at all.
  • Mr. Mercedes
    • Despite being pretty badass for majority of the book, retired Detective Hodges is not as fit as he was, when he was still an active policeman, so the stress from all the events, along with his weight issues and overstraining result in him having (but also surviving) a heart attack and is ultimately prevented from being able to nab Hartfield.
    • And his little off-the-books, and illegal, little campaign leads to Hodges being legally banned from ever acquiring a Private Investigator License.

  • Animorphs:
    • The Animorphs are a bunch of teenagers who fight alien invaders, and have to make increasingly morally ambiguous choices to win. War Is Hell is in full effect throughout the story. Ultimately, the war ends, but Rachel, Tom, Jara Hamee, James and presumably all of the auxiliary Animorphs are dead. The Blade ship escapes. There is no final all out battle with Visser Three, he merely surrenders when he realizes he's lost. He is then captured but not executed. Jake is left a broken man due to his actions in the war, he and Cassie break up, Tobias leaves society, and Rachel.... Marco does become famous, but it's hollow. There's even the possibility of a new war (with a different enemy) on the horizon. It is in short, exactly what would really happen after a war ends. When a number of fans complained about these things, author K.A. Applegate wrote a letter saying "This is the way it works in real life."
    • Visser One suspects that the Animorphs aren't Andalites, but actually humans, much sooner than the other Big Bads did. She does this by noticing that they seem oddly concerned for human lives, while history shows that the Andalite military is unconcerned with alien life at best, and willing to sacrifice them for their greater good at worst. What ends up confirming this for her is Marco making a reference to The Prince of Egypt, something an Andalite would never be caught dead doing.
      Visser One: Andalites don't make jokes, let alone human pop culture references. No, you're a human.
    • According to Jake in the last book, not everyone is okay with aliens visiting Earth, especially ones that can shapeshift.
    • In one book, the kids attempt to capture a flightworthy vessel by sending a distress signal from a Yeerk wreck, relying on Ax's knowledge of Yeerk technology. Except Ax has been on Earth, cut off from alien intel for quite some time now. An entire attack group headed by Visser Three himself descends and captures them. The Visser even scoffs over the "Andalite bandits" being dumb enough to think they never change their distress codes.
  • The Nero Wolfe stories can be seen as applying this to many of the classic tropes of detective fiction. Wolfe, like many of the Great Detectives, is a cultured intellectual who, when he isn't solving mysteries, lives a comfortable, even lavish lifestyle despite apparently having no source of income... except in Wolfe's case, it's established that he can afford to do so primarily because when he does solve mysteries he makes a point of charging what are at times almost extortionate fees for doing so, and both often has to keep ahead of draining his savings accounts through his luxurious lifestyle and has earned a reputation as being something of a mercenary Ambulance Chaser (or at least the Private Detective equivalent thereof). He's also a brilliant Amateur Sleuth who frequently exposes the police as blundering incompetents... and naturally, the police resent both his interference in criminal matters and his showing them up.
  • By the end of On the Jellicoe Road, Taylor's pieced the stories together and figured out what happened to everyone. Her mother, finally clean and sober, returns home for the first time in years, and manages to build an actual relationship with her daughter. And then she dies from her cancer, because love and relationships are not medicine.
  • The Darker and Edgier Alternate Universe Star Trek novel A Less Perfect Union shows the realistic effects of Star Trek's preferred visual tropes, for instance, Explosive Instrumentation results in hideous but not necessarily fatal injuries, such as a man getting third degree burns over half his body, or Chekov being blinded by shards of a panel screen, and the Star Trek Shake sends people flying around the bridge, resulting in one officer cracking the back of her head on a rail and dying instantly.
  • This comes to bite Griffin in The Invisible Man. For example, he finds out the hard way that being invisible doesn't protect him from the cold, factors such as the bloodied soles of his feet from walking everywhere unprotected and food digesting in his stomach can compromise his invisibility, rain will make an outline against his body, he still leaves footprints, etc.
  • Towards the climax of Audrey, Wait!, Audrey overhears something she wasn't supposed to in a bathroom. However, instead of confronting the wrongdoers, she freezes in place and just sits there, unable to do anything. Audrey immediately comments that she found it easier to sympathize with fictional characters who were in a similar situation and didn't do anything about it after that.
  • In Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, Greg finds a bike some neighbors left out with the trash and decides to use it as his new way of getting around. However, his plans come to ruin when it falls apart in four days. Turns out a bike left out with the garbage where anybody can take it probably isn't a very good one.
  • This is the point of Lord of the Flies, where the author reminds us that trapping a bunch of kids alone on a deserted island is more likely to lead to bloodshed and madness than quirky misadventures. In particular, much of their negative behavior from civilization carries over here, such as forming cliques, ostracizing certain individuals they don't like, bickering amongst themselves and shortsightedly losing track of their long-term goals, with the only difference being that the consequences are worse. Even their belief that the adults would make everything better is subtly shattered at the end when their rescuer is a naval ship fighting in World War III.
  • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight novel sequel 2Worlds 1Hearts starts with the Ventaran riders being trapped in their world and Earth facing a sharp rise in monster activity with only two remaining riders at the defenses. The solution to this is to recruit people, who were tricked into fighting in this interdimensional war in the main story (TV series). When asked to drop their normal lives and go back to being soldiers, the answers naturally range from Little "No" to HELL NO.
  • Out of the Dark: Though mankind fights tenaciously and wins small victories, it ultimately has no way of defending itself from an enemy that controls the orbitals. It's a Hopeless War for man. Until the Twist Ending at any rate.
  • In Petty Pewter Gods, two minor Shayir with the power to transform into owls set out to track Garrett's movements through the city from above. They soon discover that, while they can make themselves invisible to humans, it's the city's crows they should've been hiding from: spotting the "owls" flying around in daylight, TunFaire's urban crow population gathers in huge flocks to mob and harass them, driving them back to the ground.
  • In The Land of Stories, after spending 100 years asleep, the Sleeping Kingdom is mostly dead and the inhabitants still prefer to sleep all day. Sleeping Beauty is still trying to make things right.
  • The Zombie Survival Guide, being a book about what to do and what not to do in a Zombie Apocalypse, often points to "obvious" strategies and choices that will in fact get you killed quickly with Boring, but Practical choices being the better bet.
    • The book warns against going to a gun shop to loot weapons. Gun shop owners will probably get to their store a lot quicker than you will, and gun shop owners tend to be very good shots. Do you really want to be standing outside a gun shop arguing with a man who has enough weapons to equip a small army and is probably jittery and paranoid as hell?
      • Going to the police station is a bad idea as well, as it will be swarmed with scared people, some of whom who may even already be Zombie Infectees. The undead will be drawn to the crowds and the police will probably be overwhelmed. Ditto for churches and malls, with the latter likely to be a dangerous hotspot of rioting until the zombies get there.
    • Shotguns, a staple of the fictional zombie survivor's arsenal, are in fact not an optimal choice of weapon in real life. Not only is the weapon (and its ammo) rather bulky and heavy but the effective range is inferior to that of a rifle, the long-arm the book actually recommends. Semi-automatic rifles are even better. It also wouldn't work well on zombies, as the shotgun pellets would not do much to slow down the undead, let alone actually killing them without being at point-blank range.
    • Other staple weapons such as chainsaws and automatics are considered to be Awesome, but Impractical; chainsaws are heavy, loud, require fuel to work, and actually not even all that effective. Lighter and more quiet weapons like the humble crowbar, camping hatchet or machete are the better choice.
  • This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It (the sequel to John Dies at the End) features a hybrid small scale Zombie Outbreak/Invasion of the Body Snatchers style Puppeteer Parasites. Towards the end of the book deconstructions of both of those tropes/genres increasingly come into play. For example:
    • A bunch of college students who think they're in a typical Romero style zombie movie consider it inevitable that the Army & government forces will fail go into town to take matters into their own hands. After showing startling incompetence with their guns, the only thing they manage to do is kill a bunch of innocent people trying to escape being wrongfully quarantined before the actual monsters easily wipe them out.
    • Local people (who are filled with the full range of normal human stupidity and prejudices) form militias and kill anyone that they can't verify as being free from infection except the end of the book reveals that at most somewhere around 70 total people were infected, so the hundreds of people slaughtered by these militias are mostly innocent. As the book repeatedly points out, the paranoia that anybody could be infected and you couldn't tell that from looking at them was a much greater danger than the actual parasites.
    • Lastly, when David sees an Army barricade around town he realizes that the idea of the US Army getting overrun by zombies, whether slow or fast, is really pretty silly. The Army has plenty of Dakka and Tanks, not a single soldier is exposed to be bitten, the ground in front of them is covered with razor wire that will result in anything walking in being helplessly entangled and becoming an easy target, etc. Strategy is, after all, what the Army does and it would require them to grab an Idiot Ball bigger than the actual planet for them to be overrun from a small outbreak when they've had time to prepare themselves.
  • In Swamplandia!, when 13-year old Ava's Bigtree's sister runs off to the underworld, and with the rest of her family away, Ava sets off to retrieve her, taking a mysterious stranger called the Bird Man to be her guide. It turns out that just because a strange adult confirms your claims about a supposed 'underworld' (and claims to have been there before), does not mean that you should go off unaccompanied and alone with them. The whole underworld story was a lie, and Ava ends up getting molested by the so-called 'Bird Man'. Thankfully she manages to escape, but still.
  • The fairy tale Diamonds and Toads has a fairy bless and curse a younger daughter and older daughter, respectively. The kind younger sister has diamonds fall out of her mouth when she speaks, while the rude older sister has snakes, toads, and insects fall out instead. In the original story, the younger sister later marries a prince and the older gets kicked out of the house for being disgusting. But a rewritten version has a different outcome: the prince just wants his bride's free diamonds and the older sister uses her instant vermin creation powers to bully and threaten people.
  • In the backstory of The Elenium it is revealed that the previous war with Zemoch had resulted in a battle that saw tens of thousands killed on each side. When told that the Western kingdoms won, Talen eagerly assumes that they pushed the war on and succeeded in destroying their enemy. He is then informed that conscripting every able-bodied man to fight a war during the planting season has its consequences, and the famine that resulted nealy destroyed the Western kingdoms; leading to an upheaval in society by having the Knights forced to work alongside the peasantry in order to produce enough food to avoid extinction and requiring the Church to repeal the Church Knights' vows of celibacy in order to facilitate repopulation.
  • In The Belgariad, Garion manages to use sorcery to knock over a heavy rock, but since he didn't properly guard himself, the force involved drove him into the ground (as in, he was sticking out like a sapling) and he couldn't get out without help.
    • Afterwards, The Mentor asks him, in a rather exasperated tone, why he thought lifting the rock to knock it over (the method most likely to get him stuck in the ground) was a good idea, when he could have just given the top of the rock a stout smack and let gravity do the rest.
  • In the Friar's Tale from The Canterbury Tales, a corrupt summoner attempts to form a partnership with Satan—who takes the first excuse he can get to double-cross the summoner.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has a neat Happily Ever After ending, with Mr. Wonka and the entire Bucket family traveling back to the titular factory via the Great Glass Elevator. The plot of the Immediate Sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator uses this trope for a Sequel Reset: Since the still-bedridden grandparents were pushed (bed and all) into the elevator despite their anxious protestations, the action starts when their continued, understandable anxiety — and distrust of wacky Mr. Wonka, whom they've only just met — culminates in Grandma Josephine panicking as he prepares to land the elevator by flying it really high. The result of this is that it ends up in orbit. The rest of the book is fanciful business as usual.
    • Believe it or not, this trope was actually used in the first book. It was played for laughs, but still. When an Indian prince orders Mr. Wonka to build a palace made entirely of chocolate, the palace eventually melts.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • The mighty leader Leopardstar does not die during a great battle or heroic deed. Instead, she loses her life to disease. A slow, painful disease that no one knows how to cure. They're feral cats—sickness is going to hit them like a ton of bricks.
    • Brokenstar's kit-warriors are three to five months old.note  They're completely ineffective in battle, and such a blatant violation of the Code makes every Clan in the forest hate Brokenstar, including his own. Brokenstar is quickly overthrown (partly because of these idiotic tactics) to make way for a more pragmatic villain.
    • In Long Shadows, Ashfur proudly describes his Evil Plan in front of its intended victims, apparently believing that they're too honorable to try and stop him. Later, Ashfur "mysteriously" turns up dead.
    • As is true with a large number of pure white cats with blue eyes, Snowkit is born deaf. As is also true with disabled animals in the wild, Snowkit does not survive into adulthood. He is carried off by a hawk because he can't hear the other cats calling for him to get to safety.
    • In A Dangerous Path, Brightpaw and Swiftpaw are tired of Bluestar denying them their warrior names, and go off to find a dog pack rumored to be loose in the forest, reasoning that Bluestar can't keep ignoring them if they prove how brave they are. When they actually find the dog pack, they quickly find out that two young cats don't stand a fighting chance against an entire pack of bloodthirsty, full-grown adult dogs. Swiftpaw is killed and Brightpaw is horribly mauled, losing one ear and one eye.
    • Within a small group of feral cats, all descended from an even smaller group of runaway domestic cats, you would expect inbreeding to be a problem... which it is. The word is never used, but for those who know what to look for, the number of stillbirths, the small litters (no cat in the series ever has a litter larger than four, where four would be considered a very small litter for a healthy cat) and the frequency of birth defects all speak a very clear language.
  • Talia, of the Arrows Trilogy, takes years to fully recover from her abusive childhood, and her Collegium teachers have to carefully work around her fear of men. It isn't solved in an instant by magic, or The Power of Love, or the fact that her life is different nownote —it's an emotional, gradual process.
  • In 11/22/63 Jake Epping uses information from the future to place sports bets to fund his trip to the past. The mob doesn't take kindly to people winning lopsided bets, resulting in Jake's house getting firebombed and Jake being beaten nearly to death by enforcers.
  • The Hour of the Dragon has the Big-Bad Ensemble resurrect a sorcerer who lived and died thousands of years ago. The result is the same as it would be if said sorcerer had gone there via Time Travel: he's unable to read modern texts unless he has them translated into languages used in his time, and the lay of the land has changed so much since his death that he no longer recognises it.
  • Kill Decision:
    • Linda refuses to take Odin's explanation about his team and their work at face value. Would you believe it if you were abducted by a mysterious bunch who claim they're out to save the world?
    • Odin's team have to evade the authorities several times because as a top secret unit, not only would the police not know about them, but their operating on American soil is illegal.
  • Think Smart, Hazel Green!: Hazel is vehemently upset when she finds out that Mr. Volio is being evicted from his shop, and argues against said eviction on the grounds that it isn't fair. She's then informed by the lawyer in charge of the case that yes, it may well be unfair, but fairness doesn't actually matter because the eviction is completely legal. In the end, stopping the eviction requires her to use methods based on another law, as opposed to just protesting the eviction's unfairness, because said protests don't really accomplish anything and don't change anything either.
    • Hazel also realises that had Mr. Volio been evicted, people would have been sad, sure... but life would go on, and after a while everyone would forget, because that's just what happens.
    • In the first book, the kids of the Moodey Building decide to build a model of the building for the parade, with the model having the same number of floors (over thirty). The Yak, upon finding this out, informs them that a structure that high will fall, and when they ignore him and build it anyway, it only stands for about a minute before the wind knocks it over.
    • In the third book, Hazel's accusations of racism against Mr. Davis go down predictably: nobody believes the upstart troublemaker over the well-respected businessman.
      • The climax of the book has Hazel, Mr. Egozian (the victim of Mr. Davis' racism) and the Yak confronting Mr. Davis in public. Mr. Davis breaks down and admits his racism, but even having won, Mr. Egozian quits his job, feeling that he couldn't remain there.
  • In The Tygrine Cat, a young cat named Mati sees an apparition of his dead mother across the road. He runs towards her and ends up in a coma after being hit by a car. The car's occupants take him to an animal shelter, where the veterinarian makes plans to euthanize him as she is doubtful he will ever wake up.
  • The Diablo III novel Storm of Light takes place right after the game and undoes the happy note it ended on. The Nephalem saving Heaven from the Prime Evil hasn't magically made Angels accept Humans, and the two sides are still no closer to uniting against the demons. The role Humans played in the Prime Evil's creation actually has some Angels blaming them, and given Imperius grounds to reopen the topic of whether or not to destroy them. Theres also the issue of Tyrael being mortal. Not only is it difficult for him to function in Heaven, his actions have caused him to become rather estranged from his own kind.
    • It also shows how hard it is for humans to actually fight demons. Despite their skill and experience the adventurers Tyrael recruits for his mission are nearly overwhelmed by a small band of demons and cultists. Even after he helps them tap into their budding Nephaelem powers they're still nowhere near the physical god the player character is.
  • In a Sweet Valley High book, a girl has vicious rumors spread about her by her rival. Sure enough, she's ostracized and her crush dumps her. While the rumors are eventually proven to be false and the Alpha Bitch punished for her actions, the girl and her crush never reconcile. Aside from being hurt and angry over how he treated her, she realizes how spineless he is and that she can't trust him.
  • Protector of the Small is this to the Tortall Universe. After Alanna became the country's greatest knight by hiding her gender, a decree was passed that allowed women to become knights. Ten years later, Keladry of Mindelan becomes the first girl to openly try for her shield, and is immediately subjected to bullying, hazing, double standards, and people who will stop at nothing to ensure that she fails to prove women can't be knights. Alanna's heroism and a progressive government don't change the misogyny deeply entrenched into Tortall's culture. Kel ultimately succeeds, yes, but only because she's willing to go through hell.
    • Near the end of the last book, Kel finally confronts the mage behind the killing machines that have been one of the most terrifying enemies she's ever faced... and finds that he's not some grand, powerful figure who inspires awe just by being in his presence, he's simply an ordinary man who happened to have a skill that he could capitalise on. And once she foils his attempt to enthrall her, he's basically powerless to defend himself against her and even though she's injured and barely standing, she kills him easily.
    • In Lady Knight, Kel is placed in command of a refugee camp. While it's true that she has the skills and temperament to make it work, placing an eighteen year old girl who is only in her first year as an actual knight as their leader does not inspire confidence in her new charges, and Kel faces a fair bit of opposition from people who don't like her.
      • This also works against Lord Wyldon later in the book: when you specifically institute as commander someone who is guaranteed to really care about her charges, do you really think that when said charges are kidnapped, their commander won't immediately run off to save them?
    • Kel invokes this in First Test: she leads a campaign against hazing, and a lot of her fellow pages protest because they see hazing as a tradition. Kel points out that while sending someone on foolish errands is harmless, Joren and his friends go out of their way to humiliate and hurt people, and not only is this wrong, it's also increasing the chances that as knights, they'll do the same to the people they're supposed to be protecting - after all, it's not as though once they get their shields, they'll just decide to go be paragons of morality.
    • The Joren arc is full of this trope. To start with, Joren and his friends bully Kel and her friends, but in Page, he apologises, claims to have changed and asks to be her friend. It's really unsurprising when it turns out that someone with such ingrained ideas hasn't changed.
      • Kel and Lalasa get caught in a nasty case of this trope: in Page, Vinson attacks Lalasa, but Kel foils his attempt to sexually assault her. She wants to officially report him, but Lalasa begs her not to, pointing out that Vinson is from a powerful and wealthy noble house who can and would bring hell down on Lalasa and her uncle, and they're just poor servants. What's worse for them is that while Kel agrees to not report him, Vinson goes on to attack two more girls and rape a third, leading Kel to think that if she had reported him, he might not have attacked them.
      • The Chamber of the Ordeal is renowned as cruel and relentless, hammering squires down and hitting them where it hurts, but people forget that its primary purpose is to test whether a squire is eligible to become a knight, and there's more to being a knight than just passing the Chamber's test. Even though Joren and Vinson are on paper perfectly eligible to become knights, the Chamber disagrees and takes its own measures, forcing Vinson to confess his crimes, and straight up killing Joren.
      • Sure, squires have failed the Chamber's test before, but two failures in the same year has never happened before. Lord Wyldon takes it as a sign and quits his job, reasoning that it's a wakeup call he can't afford to ignore.
    • In Squire, the alpha male and female of Kel's sparrow flock die- not from disease or in a fight, but from old age, because that's how much time has passed since the beginning of the series.
  • The Salvation War: The forces of Hell go to Earth to defeat the unruly humans who have defied Satan's orders to surrender... and are promptly wiped out, because human technology and warfare have advanced so much that the demons simply can't measure up, especially once the humans find the demons' weaknesses.
  • In Casey at the Bat, it's Down to the Last Play, and Casey stacks the deck against himself to show off. It Was His Sled that he strikes out.
  • The Hunger Games
    • Pretty much what the plot of Mockingjay runs on. Katniss' improvised plan to go behind enemy lines to assassinate President Snow fails spectacularly and destroys her entire squad. And there were some fans who found Finnick's death to be unnecessary and lacking in heroism. But that makes sense in a war.
    • District 13 specializes in all kinds of weaponry, including nuclear missiles. So why don't they use them in the rebellion against the Capitol? Because it would cause untold number of casualties and turn what's left of the available land on Earth into a wasteland, which would cause even more casualties. The world is already screwed up enough and Panem is probably the last civilization on Earth; a nuclear war only increases the possibility of driving humanity to extinction, and by then, there's no one left to reach the goalpost. The Capitol knows this; in fact it's the entire reason why they decide to leave District 13 alone following the first rebellion.
    • White the contrast between Katniss swearing in the first book that she'll never have kids while still living in this Crapsack World and her decision in the epilogue to have two kids after all is heartwarming, it's noteworthy that it takes Peeta 15 years, combined with regular counseling with a psychriatrist, to convince Katniss to finally change her mind. She is still recovering from PTSD, depression, and the horrors of the war, not to mention seeing her beloved sister being blown to bits in front of her. No amount of care is going to change a troubled person in a short time. And even Katniss herself notes in the epilogue that she may never fully recover from her trauma.
  • The Maze Runner
    • Betraying someone in the worst way possible after gaining their utmost trust, then using a "Just Joking" Justification to save face isn't going to work in real-life. Teresa acts as if she's still Thomas' girlfriend after revealing her involvement with WICKED and making out with another guy in front of him, all the while declaring that he's a fool who doesn't know any better than to accept it because it's For The Greater Good. Thomas, meanwhile, opts to stay away from Teresa as far as possible.
    • A certain individual advised the head of the books' Expy of WHO to transmit a virus that would kill off people in some parts of the world to prevent overpopulation, then develop a cure to neutralize it before it could spread further. No matter how fast people developed a neutralizer, the virus always outpaced them, in the meantime undergoing a mutation that enabled it to spread airborne, basically turning from "some parts of the world" to the entire world. Which, by the way, is the prime characteristic of viruses in real life and what makes diseases spread by viruses that much dangerous than those spread by bacteria. One wonders how they got their PhD.
  • In the Drenai saga by David Gemmell, Druss makes friends with a Gothir wrestler he is due to fight at the pseudo-Olympics. Some Gothir locals don't want their champion to lose and attempt to assassinate Druss, only for the Gothir champion to be paralysed. Druss promises to find a mystical gem to cure his friend. At the end of the book Druss returns with the gem only to discover his friend died soon after he left. The doctor gives a lecture about how a spinal injury and sickness will not wait on heroic sentiments.
  • In Gemmell's Stones of Power series, this happens to Jon Shannow—a strong hit to the side of the head with a club can't be overcome by sheer willpower, but puts him out of commission for months and requires a lot of physical therapy to get over.
  • Dragons in Our Midst:
    • Much like Wild Cards, having powers of dragons without the Required Secondary Powers comes with its drawbacks. In the beginning, Billy is not immune to his own fire-breathing power, which he literally has to squelch with large amounts of water and soda, which helps kick-start the plot in action when he has to use the bathroom after consuming too much fluid.
    • Bonnie has large dragon wings. They are very hard to hide and require a large backpack to do so. The book also hints that she is a clumsy flier, often unable to get away by getting off the ground, because wings were simply not designed for humans. Even when she was able to carry Billy up in the air, it was quite a struggle to do so.
    • Even though it is a YA series, it goes out of its way to defy Adults Are Useless and Police are Useless. For example, in Raising Dragons, on a drive to the airport, it was a cop that helped save Bonnie's life when Devin attacked her. There were first responders, rescuers, and other policemen after the plane crash shortly after. A lot of help through several sticky situations comes from Billy and Walter's parents, as well as Professor Hamilton.
    • Raising Dragons also recognizes the dangers of parachuting at a low altitude, and with two people using one parachute. Nearly everyone that did so got injured — and possibly would have been killed had the trees not softened their landing.
    • In The Candlestone, Billy ends up killing his kidnapper Palin, who was about to kill him. Even though it was in self-defense, and against a monster that tried to kill his family and friends, did he feel great about it? No. After the fight he felt very ill, weeping heavily. After all, he still killed a man, and in a rather grotesque way as well.
      • Billy's battle with Palin himself. Billy used a breath of fire to ignite some gasoline. Palin used a shield to protect himself from the flames, but his exposed legs and arm still got roasted, and soon he collapsed and died from the burns. Turns out a medieval-era shield will NOT protect you from a roaring wall of fire.
  • A central theme of the Stephen King novel From a Buick 8 is the impenetrable ambiguity surrounding the titular Buick. The Police at troop D have been watching over the thing and studying it for well over twenty years, and by the end of it, besides some basic ground rules regarding safety around it (which they know is far from perfect) and some theories surrounding where it's from and the creatures it 'births', they know about as much about it as they did when it first arrived. After all, they're just police officers studying the thing as a glorified hobby in their spare time, and the Buick is something completely alien to them and to this world in nearly every way. Because of this, all the remaining police can offer the boy they're relating their story of the Buick to is scattered anecdotes centering around the Buick, and his unwillingness to accept that there simply isn't a concrete explanation and resolution to its story is a constant source of frustration to them.
  • Happens with regularity in Emilio Salgari's novels. One iconic example is the first battle between Sandokan and the British cruiser in The Tigers of Mompracem: outgunned so much it wasn't even funny, Sandokan realized the only way to win was to board the enemy ship and had his pirates start paddling, but just as they were about to succeed the steam cruiser moved away and resumed fire from a safe distance.
  • In The Dinosaur Lords, the idea of Elite Army composed solely of The Beautiful Elite has a glaring problem: logistics.
    Sadly, he Empire's most elite band of warrior-artist-philosophers of beauty tended to attract precious few candidates with any gift for organizing things.
  • In Dora Wilk Series, there's one werewolf who organizes underground Gladiator Games, moving from city to city every few weeks like an wandering circus. While this may sound evil or glamorous, Grizzly is perpetually skirting the edge of bankrupcy, as constant clandestine movement and armies of guards to look after his prisoners aren't exactly paying for themselves.
  • In CS Lewis's Perelandra, the hero Ransome is terrified at the thought that he, an ordinary middle-aged academic, will have to kill Satan Incarnate with his bare hands. It proves easier than he expected, as Satan was Incarnate in the body of another middle-aged academic who was much less fit than he was.
  • Richard Freeman's horror anthology Hyakumontagari.
    • A recurring theme in the book is that Yokai Need Belief Badly; as Japan becomes more modernised, belief in them has largely faded. This, typically, does not end well for the protagonists, who often end up harming themselves and others due to this.
    • "Brother on The Hill" has the protagonist go into the mountains, alone and unarmed, in order to find a population of potentially dangerous ape-men. End result; he dies.
  • In the gamebooks Lone Wolf, even with powerful psychic powers and wielding an Infinity +1 Sword, a primitive gun is still a serious threat.
  • Skinned: The protagonist is one of a number of androids who are given the personality and memories of dead people in order to serve as Replacement Goldfish. Despite being the closest thing possible to a new Lia, android!Lia is very, very aware that the real Lia is dead- and so is everyone else, especially Lia's family, which makes life incredibly awkward for everyone.
    • The series also points out how hard it is to appear realistically human when you're a robot: they don't eat or breathe or sleep, leading to a lot of awkward family dinners where everyone else is eating and Lia has nothing to do but sit there awkwardly, which only makes the reality more apparent.
  • In The Girl from the Miracles District:
    • The eponymous neighborhood is perpetually locked by magic in year 1936, which, while making for a very picturesque setting, means that people are dying from diseases that could've been cured by either a quick visit to the hospital, which is impossible for District's citizens, or modern medicine, which the District's magic doesn't accept.
    • In the second book, Badass Biker Nikita breaks her arm and is subsequently forced to rent a car with her companion as the driver, as you can't really drive a motorcycle with only one working hand.
    • As the Bears find out, being a Badass Biker is fun when you're twenty, and much less so when you're nearing forty and start to settle down with a family.
  • The primary trope for many of Stanisław Lem's novels, especially Fiasco. Human explorers travel to a distant star system to try to make first contact. Despite their more and more desperate methods, the cultural differences and wrong assumptions make sure they will misunderstand each other horribly.
  • Pride and Prejudice:
    • Mr. and Mrs. Bennet show what can happen if you marry someone purely on the basis of attractiveness. While it's not the worst set up, it's still pretty telling that Mr. Bennet keeps himself closeted away from his wife and his younger daughters as much as possible. Likewise, Lydia and Wickham's affections for each other quickly turn to indifference but due to their own actions, they are forced to stay together.
    • Charlotte marries Mr. Collins who she can't stand as a person but she has such little prospects (she is the ripe age of 27 and only average if not plain in looks and little money) that she quickly accepts his proposal. This is often the plight of real life women in the Regency era who sadly had to sell themselves to the highest bidder to avoid ending up in the streets or worse.
    • Mrs. Bennet's shallow, selfish and socially uncouth behavior discourages potential suitors for her daughters, especially in the case of Jane and Bingley. She also encourages the same behavior with her younger daughters and the way they act in public is something most people find detestable and embarrassing. After all, who would want that kind of family for in-laws?
  • CHERUB Series: In one of the early books, James is forced to shoot and kill someone who is about to kill him. Sure, it's completely justifiable, but he suffers from mental trauma afterwards, and is still dealing with it in the next book.
  • Words of Radiance (second book of The Stormlight Archive):
    • The Parshendi learn how to summon lightning from their hands. It proceeds to act exactly like normal lightning, making it basically impossible to aim.
    • Sadeas remarks to Adolin that he fully intends to poison Dalinar's final victory and undermine the newly refounded Knights Radiant. He and Adolin are alone with no one nearby to witness his admission. So no one is around to witness Adolin stab Sadeas through the eye and dispose of his Shardblade.
  • Wicked is essentially a licensed Dark Fic of the Land of Oz books (with heavy influence from the MGM film) that does this to series. For example, people in Oz are not immortal; they are born and they die just like humans do. Elphaba was not melted by water just because, she's actually allergic to it and her melting was an allergic reaction to the water.
  • One one-scene character in Sharpe's Regiment is a streetwalker by the name of Belle, who's got terminal tuberculosis. In this case, it is tuberculosis, and not Victorian Novel Disease; Belle dies in agony, coughing up her lungs one bloody lump at a time.
  • In Dan Morgan's "Sixth Perception" series, The New Minds, ends with a Redemption Earns Life plot for the villain. After being defeated by the Dobie twins, Victor is forgiven for trying to steal Peter Moray's body and is allowed to survive the death of his original body by being incorporated into the mind of Dr Havenlake. At the time, this seems like the best possible thing for both parties: Havenlake gains access to Victor's psi-powers, thereby becoming the psychic he always secretly wanted to be; meanwhile, Victor gets to share control of a healthy body at long last. However, the next book in the series demonstrates the logical problems of this arrangement: since both possess different perspectives on morality and the use of psychic powers, Victor and Havenlake really don't get along. Plus, Victor isn't so Easily Forgiven for what he did in the last book; in fact, when Havenlake's wife commits suicide, the grieving doctor immediately suspects Victor, and when Victor seizes control of Havenlake's body in a desperate attempt to stop him from committing suicide as well, the incident nearly ends with the two of them killing each other - though the Dobie twins are able to calm both parties down before the worst comes to the worst.
    • Also, just because Victor's been given a chance to redeem himself doesn't automatically make him a better person: though he's learned restraint and some degree of respect for life by the start of the second book, he hasn't lost too much of his unscrupulousness - or his desire for a body of his own; even though he takes over Havenlake's body with good intentions in mind, it's not long before he succumbs to temptation and tries to take it permanently. For good measure, he's the only member of the main cast willing to stop Alec Glover through premeditated murder - which he does. It takes being allowed to begin a new life in the body of an infant to really change Victor for the better - and even in the fourth book of the series, he's still willing to use some very unorthodox tactics.
    • Meanwhile, Victor very nearly dies from this while in Havenlake's body: having enjoyed sampling the memories of swimming from the minds of others, he decides to go for a dip once he's seized control. Unfortunately, Havenlake never learned to swim, and with no knowledge to guide him, Victor sinks like a stone.
  • In The King's Avatar, this often overlaps with Truth in Television:
    • No matter how good an individual professional player is, if they can't come up with good rankings and adequate results overall for their corporate sponsors, like with Ye Xiu, there is a very good chance they will be replaced by a younger talent.
    • It's common that players under contact have to pay a huge amount of termination fees if they wish to leave their team/company. This prevents players from acquiring better benefits from joining a rival organization.
    • Professional teams have access to lavish and comfortable training facilities and dining areas while also being able to live in in-house residences, due to being backed by major corporations who can afford this. In contrast, the Joyful Flourish Internet Cafe has a tiny, cramped room with one bed to accommodate Ye Xiu.
    • Young adolescents who are unable to pursue their dreams at becoming professional are left destitute and with little working skills once their contract is finished, due to many of them dropping out of school or leaving their homes. Ye Xiu himself points out this is why he became an Internet cafe manager despite his talent in Glory; he didn't have any other skills other than gaming.
  • Captain Underpants
    • Just about every moment when the teachers pick on George & Harold and the other students at Jerome Horwitz Elementary. The moral? Teachers can be just as immature as the students and can even have worse attitudes than school bullies.
    • In Book 2, George & Harold deliberately sabotage the kids' inventions for the Invention Convention after Mr. Krupp (albeit rightly) bans the duo from participating due to their prank the previous year. Melvin spots them in the gym, and the duo trusts the latter to keep their intentions a secret from the school authorities. After the Invention Convention ends up a disaster due to the malfunctioning inventions, Melvin breaks his promise and tells Mr. Krupp about witnessing George and Harold sabotaging the inventions. This ends up with the duo getting detention for the rest of the year. Moral of this: children who are known to be snitches can't be trusted to keep secrets by their peers.
    • In Book 6, George and Harold come up with a “Squishies” fad which involved putting ketchup packs on toilet seats & people sitting on them (while the ketchup is still there), causing their clothes to get dirty. Mr. Krupp gets pranked by and. Ribble and the other students (save the 4th graders) get pranked as well. Despite the others telling Krupp that George & Harold are innocent, he doesn’t budge. While George & Harold are in fact innocent this time around and didn’t pull the prank on the teachers and students, Mr. Krupp decides to punish the duo anyway for coming up with the idea of the squishiest prank instead (all thanks to Melvin snitching). This is due to a few factors: 1. his hatred of George & Harold (& then being troublemakers) 2. Krupp can’t punish the duo for pulling pranks that they (for once) didn’t pull and 3. the fact that the other kids wouldn’t have pulled the prank had the duo not come up with the prank in the first place.
    • In book 9, when George an Harold are too exhausted to attend school due to them hardly getting any sleep (they are forced to attend due to complaints from their parents about truancy reports from the school), they plan on taking a quick nap. This resulted in them sleeping until 4pm.
  • The Daughter of the Lioness centers around a power struggle for the throne of the Copper Isles- and as the main characters soon find out, when the throne of a whole country is up for grabs, people will do some very nasty things to secure it, including kidnapping the heir apparent, threatening their friends with death unless said friend's daughter will marry them, killing said friend, having anyone they think is plotting against them locked up or killed without a trial, and most notably, ordering their mages to whip up a storm to wipe out the king, his heir, their friends, and hundreds of people who just happened to be at sea that day.
    • However, as Aly finds out, gods don't play nice: Kyprioth has waited hundreds of years to get back what was taken from him, and when it's made clear that two very young boys- the king and his heir- are in his way, he decides not to wait for anyone else and has them removed by influencing the regents to whip up the storm mentioned above.
    • After the main plot is over, it takes weeks to clean up the wreckage, and a huge number of characters are either dead or maimed, including several main characters.
    • A crow falls in love with a human woman, changes his shape to human and marries her. While it's a love story for the ages, it's also a bumpy one: Nawat spends quite a lot of the second book trying to figure out exactly who he is and what he wants, and he and Aly repeatedly clash over their children, because Nawat is insistent that they be treated like crows, not humans. He's also furious when Aly admits that she was hoping that by that time, he'd behave less like a crow and more like a human. The crows aren't happy either, because they view the crows who stayed human after the rebellion as traitors, and Nawat has to resort to trickery to get them to leave him and his flock alone.
  • Chicken Soup for the Soul has at least a few from their popular Teenage Soul spin-off:
    • One story had a young girl and her classmates engage in a case of relentless bullying of a new classmate (which is also implied to be racist bullying) and even after the girl is set up by her friends to go to the bullied girl's home where she is treated well by both her and her mother and the latter, realizing the real reason she was there, confronts her about it, they don't become friends. Moreso, not only was the girl then pulled out of that school, the students learn that she later suffered a nervous breakdown over what she endured. Years later, when the former classmate was older and truly remorseful for what she did and saw the girl she helped bully in a doctor's office, she wouldn't acknowledge that she remembered her.
    • Another story had two best friends get older and one fell In with the In Crowd while her friend didn't, one of the group's alpha bitches convinced her to tell her best friend a lie about the mean girl dating the friend's crush, which once she did it devastated her. Immediately feeling bad about what she did, she told her the truth and earnestly apologized to her, but the girl told her a simple apology won't fix what she did. Then after a while of trying to win back her friendship, which included leaving her group of "cool" new friends, the other girl eventually forgave her, but the damage was done, as she told her she could never trust her like she did before.
  • Stargirl: It's fine to do nice things for people. But if you don't consider how others might react to your actions, the consequences can be disastrous. Stargirl is a genuinely kind and loving person who devotes herself to making other people happier, but between having been homeschooled her entire life and her Cloudcuckoolander attitude, she doesn't understand how the real world works. And it hits her hard.
    • She sings "Happy Birthday" to every person in the school on their birthdays; several people get embarrassed.
    • A senior girl's grandfather dies and the family holds a funeral for him. Stargirl is not invited because the family doesn't know her, but she shows up anyway to pay tribute to him. The mother angrily tells her to leave.
    Jennifer St. John: You meddle into everybody’s business. You stick your nose in, whether you’re invited or not. Why do you do that?
    • A boy named Danny has a bike accident and has to spend a week in the hospital. When he comes home, a new bike is anonymously donated by Stargirl to the family. Danny's mother refuses to let him keep it because she's afraid of letting him ride a bike again, so the new bike gets thrown in the trash.
    • Perhaps the most damning of all: When Stargirl becomes a cheerleader, she cheers for both her school's basketball team and the other team. As a result, the other cheerleaders and eventually the entire school ostracize her, calling her a traitor. When the team loses a crucial game and its chance to win the championship, the school unanimously blames her, with the team captain stating that seeing her cheer for the other team took the heart out of him.
    • When you do something that makes you universally hated, it's very difficult (if not outright impossible) to get your reputation back. Stargirl tries dressing and acting like a normal girl to fit in with the other students, but they still shun her because it doesn't make them forget what she did. Even winning the championship speaking contest doesn't restore her popularity. After receiving her award, she returns to the school expecting a grand homecoming parade, like the previous year's winner got, but all she finds waiting for her are a few teachers and her only remaining friend carrying a cardboard sign.
    • One of the only people to stick by Stargirl while she's being shunned is her boyfriend, Leo. They are genuinely in love and enjoy their time together. But since Leo is Stargirl's boyfriend, he gets shunned along with her, and it hurts him. Does he decide that she is worth more than all of them combined? Does he resolve to stick by her, no matter what? No. As much as he loves her, he is not willing to continue being ignored and hated by the entire school just to be with her. Even The Power of Love has its limits.
    • Adding onto that, during Valentine's day Stargirl makes her valentine to Leo as a public declaration of her love for him while both of them are being shunned by the entire student body. He's so embarrassed that he refuses to talk to her for the whole day.
  • In Resident Evil: Caliban Cove, the Big Bad has engineered specialized zombies capable of using firearms and following basic orders, and deploying them around the base as guards. At one point he laments over only being able to use them at night, as they are still rotting corpses and if he lets them out in the day the seagulls will do what they do best when rotting meat is left on the beach and peck their eyes out, rendering them worthless.
  • In The Red Vixen Adventures Lady Salli gets considerable flack from her parents over her choice of Ali as the love her life, due to Ali being a convicted pirate and her family recently being promoted to the District countship.
  • In Blue Balliett's "The Calder Game", it turns out that the Fire-Forged Friends events of the previous novel "The Wright 3" only stuck for Calder. Petra and Tommy just had their bonds to him strengthen and tolerate each other for his sake. Once Calder leaves to visit his father in England, their previous issues (Tommy resents Petra for taking his place as Calder's close friend during "Chasing Vermeer" and Petra envies Tommy's long-standing friendship with Calder prior to the first book) come to the surface and they avoid each other. It takes them having to work together when Calder disappears to get to know each other on a personal level without Calder around (since while he acted as a buffer, he also prevented them from finding out some of each other's deeper qualities).
    • And all of Blue's books feature villains who have no issue threatening the protagonists and it's clear that for all their cleverness, the kids getting out relatively unharmed is mostly luck and the first book outright has Calder in the hospital after Petra is forced to leave him behind with the art thieves they had stumbled upon with her in near hysterics about his condition before the adults find him.
  • In Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas and its television adaption, Emmet and his friends enter a talent contest using homemade instruments. They're good musicians, but they lose to kids who can afford to buy instruments and put on a much flashier show.
  • Shows up frequently in The Hundred and One Dalmatians, despite the fairy-tale nature of the story.
    • Perdita joins the family unit to help care for Pongo and Missis' fifteen pups. It turns out that even story dogs can't produce enough milk for fifteen puppies. Missis is also very weak after giving birth, as fifteen puppies is a gargantuan litter.
      • In related events, Mr. Dearly spends a lot of time hand-feeding the puppies before Perdita is found.
    • The dogs try to take every precaution when evacuating Hell Hall, and a lot of time is spent planning. Moving a hundred dogs from Suffolk to London is difficult, especially when the majority are puppies.
      • The Colonel had this figured out, and originally intended for as many of the puppies as possible to get a grounding in fieldcraft from him, and to only move them out when their deaths were imminent. When the Big Bad stepped up her plan, his hand was forced.
    • When the Splendid Veterinary Surgeon is called out to examine the puppies upon their return, his first reaction is... surliness. Dogs back? Great and all, but it's four o'clock in the morning!
    • Towards the end, Mr. Dearly tries to find the owners of the other stolen puppies... only to find out that his puppies were the only ones that were actually stolen. The rest were either unwanted or legitimately purchased, and no owners are forthcoming, leaving him with a hundred dogs to care for.
  • Though Clockpunk succeeds in escaping The Vitalizer and stopping him from getting to the Bull/destroying Cooley, she gets shipped straight to the hospital for all the injuries she's received in the process.
  • Dracula
    • When Johnathan arrives in Transylvania and set to go to Dracula's castle for his business deal. Alot of the residents turn out to be quite fearful upon hearing where he's headed. A few even trying to talk him out from going. Problem is they don't tell him exactly why going to the castle is bad, just give vague hints. So Johnathan just passes it off as superstition.
    • During his stay at the castle, Dracula warns Johnathan not to go any further into the castle past nightfall, largely under the pretense of sentimentality. However after staying for a few days locked in and getting fed up with not being able to go outside. Harker decides to disobey him and end up in a parlor while writing a letter to Mina. Not surprisingly, he ends up right in the dwelling of the Count's brides who nearly bite him. This is likewise a positive example though as, after the encounter, Harker now knows something otherworldly is going on and makes to escape.
    • A lot of media always paint Abraham Van Helsing as this hardcore expert in vampires and knowing how to deal with him. In truth in the novel, while somewhat composed, even he knows he's in a bit over his head since the supernatural isn't something simple medical science will explain or have a concrete solution to. When he sees Lucy, it takes awhile to come to the conclusion that she's being attacked by a vampire and, by then, Dracula has bitten her twice. His counteractions are a just simple wards at best and it doesn't take much for it to be ruined and Dracula to finish feeding on Lucy. He's just as horrified when Lucy starts turning on her deathbed and even more so when having to actually confront her vampire form in the cemetery, just barely preventing Arthur from being bitten by her (twice!). Is likewise just as shaken when he finally confronts Dracula at night and does indeed become scared for Mina during the trip up to Dracula's castle. Heck, the whole encounter with the brides when they attack the camp Mina and he were in was an on-the-fly plan since he wasn't really sure if the makeshift holy circle of wafers he made would really protect the two, which luckily for him, did. The point of this is that, at the end of the day, he wasn't this super vampire hunter. He was just a simple doctor trying hard to keep up with the situation as best he could.
    • Not telling Lucy or her mother what the garlic was for ends up working against the heroes. Because they just assume it's a simple sickness and don't treat it as seriously as they could've. It was because of this that Dracula managed to continue his attacks.
    • When Helsing has to convince the others (Arthur, Quincy and Seward) that Lucy is now a vampire after she first dies, he knows they won't take his word at face value. So he brings Seward with him first, since he's his trusted student, to show proof of what's going on by watching Lucy's crypt that night. Once Seward is convinced, does Helsing proceed do so with the others as he now has someone to back up his claim.
    • Likewise they don't tell Mina about what's really going on either under the impression that she'll become hysterical if she knows the truth. Due to this she ends up bitten by Dracula and forced to drink his blood, cursing her to become a vampire if Dracula isn't soon killed (this is unlike Lucy who needed to be drained for the curse to kick in). The irony to this is, after getting over the initial attack, she actually takes the news rather well and composed, meaning all their secrecy was utterly pointless.
    • In a nice bit of clarity, when the hunters talk about how to deal with Dracula, Van Helsing stated that they need to kill him when he's asleep in his coffin. If they try to do so when he's awake (especially at night) there would be no way to fight him. He has various powers to get around their wards, bullets wouldn't hurt him since he's, well, dead already and it would be like shooting into puddy (they're essentially fighting a walking corpse) and having supernatural strength means he could kill them with ease in a direct confrontation.
  • In Nothing's Fair in Fifth Grade, Elsie is despised and bullied by her classmates for her obesity and for stealing their lunch money. When she is laughed at by her entire class and runs to the bathroom in tears, Jennifer, a girl who had previously ostracized her with the rest of the class, has a change of heart and offers to be her friend. Elsie initially pushes her away, because Jennifer had never been kind to her before and she has little reason to believe that Jennifer is being sincere.
    Elsie: As soon as you stop feeling sorry for me, you won't want to be seen with me.
    • Subverted, in that when Jennifer continues trying to befriend her and does not give up, Elsie eventually warms up to her and becomes part of her circle of friends, and becomes well-liked enough that the other girls actively try to save her from being shipped Off to Boarding School.
  • In Speak, Melinda, an unpopular girl, befriends Heather, the new girl at school, but Heather breaks off their friendship as soon as she gets in with the more popular Martha clique, because Melinda's unpopularity makes her "unacceptable" to hang out with. Near the end of the school year, when the Marthas' incredibly high expectations have become too much for Heather to handle and she's stuck with a massive project she can't complete on her own, she tries to suck up to Melinda to get her to help. Melinda isn't interested, especially since Heather doesn't even bother to apologize for having dumped her and now suddenly wants a favor from her when it's convenient. Turns out, if you abandon a friend for selfish reasons, especially at a time when they need you the most, they'll see what kind of person you really are and want nothing to do with you.
  • Dracopedia is a how-to-draw book disguised as a field guide for an Alternate History wherein dragons exist and are a shockingly mundane and normal (but no less magnificent) part of the natural ecosystem. As such, there's a fair share of this, but the treatment of the Dragon Rider trope is the most noteworthy—dragonettes, small, herbivorous flying dragons are depicted as having been popular mounts for soldiers throughout history, including the American Civil War and even World War I. However, over time, the use of dragonettes as mounts in war fell out of practice in favor of aircrafts. As cool and fun as it may be to ride into battle on the back of a flying dragon, the fact remains that said dragon is also a living, breathing animal that requires care and maintenance, can get hungry, thirsty and succumb to fatigue, can sustain life-threatening or permanently crippling injuries in battle and can only carry one soldier at a given time. By contrast, aircrafts are nonliving things that can be refueled quickly, require no sustenance and can't succumb to fatigue, can be mended if they're damaged and are big enough to carry multiple passengers, making them more practical.
  • Crazy Rich Asians:
    • Nick's It Seemed Trivial about his family's wealth and snobbery was the first blow to his and Rachel's relationship because Rachel was not prepared at all to deal with his family.
    • In the sequel China Rich Girlfriend, after their breakup, it takes two years for Rachel and Nick to repair and rekindle their relationship after the events of the first book.
      • On that note, Nick is still not on good terms with most of their family after what happened between them in the first book. Likewise, mentioning Nick's name in front of the family is a sure way to dampen the mood.
    • Despite drinking a poisoned tea, Rachel did not notice anything was amiss until several hours later when she started feeling sick and later passed out.
    • Colette makes a scene in a public area, shouting abuse at Rachel. Of course, Colette being a high-profile fashion icon, this gets quickly videotaped and put on the Internet, resulting in the former losing their sponsors.
  • In Destroyermen during the battle of at the end of the first book, Tamatsu Shinya, an Imperial Japanese Navy officer, saves Chief Gray's life. Normally, this would mean that the Bosun would completely change his opinion on the Japanese. Instead, Chief Gray tells Tamatsu that his son was on the Oklahoma when it capsized at Pearl Harbor. Sometimes people don't see the error of their bigoted ways even when a nice member of the people they hate help them, because they have a personal reason why they hate them, and it isn't just propaganda that's poisoned their minds.
  • The Hare and the Pineapple: The story's plot is that the pineapple challenges the hare to a long race. All of the other animals expects the pineapple to have a trick up its sleeves (despite that pineapples don't have sleeves), and cheer it on as the race begins. And... it just sits there, motionless, because pineapples can't actually move on their own.
  • Miles Taylor And The Golden Cape: In the first book, during Miles first outing as Gilded, he tries to help a nearby town's fire fighters put out a highway fire. First, he tries to blow the fire out, but that only makes the fire worse. After that, when told they need lots of water, Miles rips a nearby water tower from its legs and opens it up, pouring its water all over the fire and putting it out. When he returns to school, though, Henry tells Miles that the purpose of a water tower is to keep water elevated so there can be hydrostatic pressure so a building's faucets can work. In short, while he saved a town from burning down, that town's now without water.
  • Worm
    • A member of the ABB tries to use a sword to intimidate and fight Skitter, who controls a giant swarm of insects. No prizes for guessing what happens next.
    • Glory Girl tends to use extreme force in dealing with thugs. The results are not pretty, and it's strongly implied that she would have gotten into trouble a long time ago if not for Panacea putting her victims back together.
    • Speaking of Panacea, driving herself to heal others day-in, day-out due to her own Samaritan Syndrome has had bad effects on her own psyche, and by the time the story proper starts she's already past the point of burnout.
    • The story in general has a healthy respect for conventional weapons and quite a few named characters that lack Super Toughness are wounded or even killed by them.
    • While there is no shortage of genuinely malicious characters, a fair number of problems are also caused by people being, well, people, in all their ass-covering, fearful, me-first, selfish "glory".
    • When getting superpowers involves a Traumatic Superpower Awakening, demographics are skewed towards females (more than in traditional superhero media) or the disaffected and the resultant capes are screwed up in the head. The majority go villain, and even among the heroes there are many skewed towards Anti-Hero.
    • When just about everyone with powers has issues, daily life is far more dangerous than it would be in standard real life.
    • The heroes aren't a team of vigilantes a la the Justice League; they work for the United States government.
    • Attacks from the Endbringers aren't simply shrugged off and rebuilt, but usually result in whole regions being abandoned. After every attack, maps have to be redrawn, casualties typically exceed the four digit range and countless more are left homeless. Just one of the Endbringers was able to reduce Japan to a third-world nation. With their current rate of attrition, humanity will be extinct in just a few decades.
    • As Taylor finds out, the heroes are stuck with the need to uphold their reputations as heroes, meaning that they're not allowed to use attacks or tactics that make them look less than heroic... which leads to their losing battles that they could have easily won if they'd been allowed to use all their attacks.
    • After Coil gives a wealth of information (including real names, addresses and so on) about Empire Eighty-Eight to the media, social services take Purity's baby daughter into care while Purity is at work. So what happens when a super villain finds out that the media knows everything about her and her daughter was taken from her? She snaps, rallies her team and starts blasting the shit out of everything she can until Tattletale helps her get her baby back.
    • New Wave deliberately go without masks out of a belief that they can bring accountability to supers. In the backstory, this resulted in one of their members getting murdered in her civilian identity. The culprit was quickly made an example of, but it still killed the movement from expanding beyond the two founding families.
    • Cauldron tests its formulas on dying people from various worlds. Sure, they saved those people's lives in the process, but they also changed their bodies permanently, stole their memories and left them with no real sense of self. By the end of the story, the Cauldron-made are pissed at their creators, and come after them with a vengeance.
      • At one point in the story, a Case-53 confronts her creators, who tell her that they gave her a second chance, as she was going to die unless they rescued her. She flatly tells them that not only did she not ask for that chance, if they'd actually asked her, she would have told them she'd rather die than be what they turned her into. She also lists other Case-53's who are constantly suffering from what they've become, hammering in the point.
    • What happens when a decades-old international conspiracy that involves the heads of America's cape-related organisations is revealed to not only exist, but to have also sold powers and tested said powers on human subjects? Not only are the repercussions enormous, the Protectorate has to be carefully rebuilt and a number of capes walk away from it, especially those made by Cauldron.
    • The type of villains seen in the serial range from groups with an agenda, like Empire Eighty-Eight (superpowered white supremacists), to ordinary gangs that include parahumans, like the ABB (an Asians-only gang consisting of mostly unpowered foot soldiers and only three parahumans), to people trying to take over the world (or parts of it), like Coil (who runs his organisation like an offshoot of the military), to minor groups who are just minding their own business and doing occasional jobs, like Faultline's Crew and the Undersiders (at least initially), to... superpowered drug dealers and general scum of the earth, like the Merchants (who absolutely nobody takes seriously, and who only rose to a position of power through sheer luck).
    • Skitter proves to be a very useful minion of Coil's, and works to get her part of the city up and running as best as she can in very little time and in a very efficient manner. But her demand for Coil to free Dinah essentially forces him to pick her or Dinah, and as useful as she is, Dinah is just too damn important to lose- so therefore Coil double-crosses Skitter and does his best to kill her.
    • As of the sequel Ward, which begins around two years after the end of Worm, anti-cape sentiment has skyrocketed, both because of the Cauldron/Alexandria reveal, because of how many people got killed by Scion, and because the amnesty established at the end of Worm (every crime a cape previously committed is essentially forgotten, allowing them all to start afresh) has resulted in many, many villains who were not punished for their crimes either going free or even joining the heroes. And even the ones who were punished for their crimes are still seen as getting away with it because their previous deeds are now forgotten. Understandably, the non-capes don't like that at all.
  • The Legend of Drizzt:
    • Legacy of the Drow Series: The commanders of the drow invasion army sent to Mithral Hall were so convinced of their superiority they apparently didn't plan for what to do when the sun came up, negating their advantage in night fighting: they simply didn't think the battle would last that long. One wizard attempts to use a darkness spell to blot out the sun. Because the sun is frickin' huge and very far away, he succeeds in making a small pinprick of darkness that achieves absolutely nothing.
    • Paths of Darkness: Wulfgar comes Back from the Dead at the end of the preceding book after spending several years being tortured by demons in the Abyss. Consequently he's suffering from significant PTSD and is unable to reintegrate into the Companions of the Hall like one would expect, and strikes out on his own after punching Catti-brie and nearly coming to blows with his foster father Bruenor Battlehammer. It takes years for him to recover, during which he descends into alcoholism while working as a tavern bouncer in Luskan.
  • The Sorcerer's Daughter:
    • Odette escapes from Liemerich by turning into a swan, but Liemerich turns into a raven and chases her. However, if you turn into a bird, it doesn't mean you automatically learn to fly, and while Liemerich is terribly frightened of shape-shifting and has never practiced it before, Odette has had four months of flying practice at Swan Lake, so the would-be chase turns into a Curb-Stomp Battle with her winning.
      • There is another aspect of the situation: ravens are usually depicted as at least morally ambiguous if not outright villainous creatures, while swans and everything associated with them are noble, peaceful and pure. However, it doesn't cancel the fact that a swan has extremely strong wings, a sharp enough beak, and a very long neck which gives it a huge advantage over a raven.
    • No matter how valiant and heroic you are, a gigantic, winged, two-headed, fire-breathing dragon covered with hard scales can't be defeated with swords and pitchforks. The heroes survive the fight at all only because the beast is too young and inexperienced, and because Odette manages to steal the magical arrows that can pierce its wings.
    • Turning into someone else is very cool and can allow you to frame an innocent party for your crimes. But even if one doesn't undergo a complete makeover, there are some subtle changes in appearance that can occur anytime. That's how Rothbart is able to convince Odette's highly suspicious courtiers that he hasn't kidnapped Odette: he hasn't shaved for two days, and it shows, while the kidnapper in his guise has a clean-shaven face.
  • A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea shows the consequences of attempting to run a parade with very normal, non-anthropomorphic pigs, instead of joyous Funny Animal pigs children think about.
    So, when you consider the constant snuffling, the refusal to wear majorette uniforms, the disinterest in pig-themed literary floats, pigs' preference for weepy country ballads, and their utter lack of discipline regarding proper balloon handling, it should be absolutely, completely, and totally clear that a pig parade is a terrible idea.
  • The entire life of Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride is a massive case of reality ensuing with the classic "I live only for revenge" character/plot.
    • Inigo didn't know the name of the six fingered man and was a child when the six fingered man (aka Count Rugen) killed his father, so he doesn't remember much about Rugen aside from the six fingers thing. Saying that someone has six fingers on their right hand isn't a great description to use when trying to find someone, so as a result Inigo has been unable to track Rugen down for years. Hell, Inigo's boss Vizzini was hired by Prince Humperdink, and Count Rugen is Humperdink's right hand man and co-conspirator, and yet Inigo didn't have a clue that he was so close to the target of his vengeance and likely would have Missed Him by That Much had he, Vizzini, and Fezzik completed the job as expected. (Taking this a level even further, Inigo was apparently living in Florin, the fictional country where Rugen was a nobleman and a major figure at court, and yet he couldn't find Rugen with just the description of "the six fingered man".)
    • The book notes that Inigo suffers from a case of Crippling Overspecialization; he was so focused on revenge that he threw himself into becoming a Master Swordsman and barely paid any attention to learning anything else. Furthermore, Inigo's father might have been the Ultimate Blacksmith, but was also a half-mad recluse before being killed. The result is that Inigo is uniquely unworldly, and ignorant of a lot of life skills like basic arithmetic. He is basically at a loss for how to function in society without someone like Vizzini to do the thinking for him.
    • Inigo has been driven into becoming an alcoholic by his life. Inigo's obsession with revenge and becoming the greatest swordsman alive to make sure that he can carry out his revenge comes with a secret fear and anxiety that his skills won't actually be enough when the time comes. He also became depressed by his inability to find Count Rugen. Inigo dealt with both of these psychological stressors by drinking them away. Before Vizzini found him, Inigo was a drunken wreck, and after losing his duel with Westley, he has an epic relapse, since the loss reawakens his fears that his skills may be inadequate.
    • As he himself points out, there's no money to be made by going on an epic quest for revenge, so he has to work as a mercenary for Vizzini in order to survive.
    • When Count Rugen went to Inigo's father for a special sword, he claimed to be a Master Swordsman, and that's part of the reason why Inigo was so obsessed with becoming a greater master. However, even if Rugen wasn't simply flattering himself, by the time Inigo catches up with Rugen it's somewhere along the lines of 20 years later and Rugen has been paying more attention to forming plots with Prince Humperdink and perfecting torture machines than honing his skills as a swordsman. Age and lack of practice mean that Rugen is completely out of his league against Inigo, and the duel between the two is rather anti-climactic, as even a badly wounded Inigo only needs to clash swords with Rugen a few times before easily overpowering Rugen.
    • Naturally, after his obsessional lifelong quest for revenge is finally finished, Inigo admits that he now doesn't know what to do with the rest of his life.
    • In the book only, Humperdink doesn't take his humiliation and defeat well, and promptly orders his men to pursue Westley, Inigo, Fezzik and Buttercup. The book ends on a Sequel Hook that notes that Inigo's wounds reopened and worsened during the attempt to escape pursuit, leaving his survival in doubt.
  • The Dark Profit Saga uses Real Life economics in a Standard Medieval Fantasy setting, so this trope happens by necessity. What happens when dwarven alchemists succeed in their quests to figure out how to turn useless metals into gold? Why, the entire gold standard becomes meaningless, since it's based on the rarity of gold. Most nations of Arth experience an economic decline, until most of them recover by decoupling their new currency from gold. The dwarven kingdom still hasn't recovered. They have all the gold they could ever want, but it's become Worthless Yellow Rocks.
  • Surprisingly happens a lot in The Supervillainy Saga novels. Indeed, these are the basis for The Rules of Supervillainy.
    • A lot of Gary's problems stem from the fact that he was traumatized by the execution of his brother at the hands of a Antihero vigilante in front of him. Even then, it doesn't turn him against regular superheroes or start a Roaring Rampage of Revenge like Batman or the Punisher. He just tracks down the specific antihero involved and shoots him when he's visiting a prostitute.
    • Fantastic Racism is a result of regular humans being constantly subjected to escaping supervillains, monsters, alien invasions, and simple jealousy over not having powers themselves. A lot of politicians stoke the fears of the populace while pressuring for more permanent solutions while publicly being on the sides of superheroes.
    • Supervillains can and do steal whole fortunes but usually run through them quickly because they have to maintain their lairs, equipment, and armies of henchmen. If they had the psychology to manage their money well they wouldn't be supervillains.
    • A Antihero pretending to be a supervillain and wise-cracking the entire time isn't viewed very fondly by heroes who are irritated as hell by his activities. It makes them look like a joke, still results in a lot of severe crimes, and makes him look like The Sociopath due to his Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor. By The Tournament Of Supervillainy, a lot of heroes just want to kick Gary's ass.
    • Dating Catwoman comes with a lot of issues as Gabrielle and Gary find out by book 5.
    • It turns out that superhero combat is a lot more lethal than you'd think. The only way that people don't die all the time is the fact the Society of Superheroes use a lot of magic and specialized technology to make sure casualties are kept to a minimum. Gary, who has access to none of that, kills a bunch of people.
      • Indeed, Gary's power set is fairly modest by the standards of the universe but is extremely dangerous because he uses it in a variety of brutal Combat Pragmatist ways. As such, villains who do well against heroes trying NOT to kill them don't do well against Gary at all.
      • Mandy is an incredibly gifted heroine with lots of combat training from her father but only recently someone who has taken up being a superheroine. She dies saving Cindy's life in a split second combat situation.
      • Most superheroes don't actually have a Thou Shall Not Kill rule. They try not to kill supervillains whenever possible but whenever it becomes a choice of taking a supervillain alive or saving an innocent life, they move to lethal force.
      • '90s Anti-Hero types only are popular for as long as it takes the public to realize they're causing a huge amount of collateral damage and killing people who might not necessarilly be psychotic killers themselves.
      • Much like as how cops respond to copkillers, a villain who kills a superhero has the entirety of their kind descend on him until he's dealt with.
  • Dr. Seuss is pretty much the last author you'd associate with this trope. But believe it or not, he gave us at least four examples:
    • Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose is about a moose who lets other animals live on his antlers, and the other animals think they can live on the moose's antlers forever. But then winter comes, and the moose sheds his antlers.
    • Gertrude McFuzz is about a bird who wants a longer tail and finds a vine that grows magic berries that make her tail longer. When the bird decides to fly back home to show off her new tail, it weighs her down.
    • At the beginning of I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew, the narrator trips over a rock and thinks he will stay out of trouble forever if he keeps looking forward. This doesn't stop a quail from biting his tail from behind, a mosquito from stinging his neck from above, or a gopher from biting his toe from below.
    • Finally, we have The Lorax. The Once-ler arrives in a gigantic forest of trees and doesn't think he will ever run out of trees to cut down. Guess what happens at the end.
  • In The Witchlands, Safi's plans mostly fail thanks to this trope.
    • At the end of the second book, she decides to challange a pirate queen to a one-on-one fight over who gets the last ship able to leave a (rapidly burning) port. Of course, in a fight between a seventeen-year-old noble girl with some knife training, and a woman who spent decades killing people, it's not Safi who emerges victorious.
    • Some time later, when she has to choose between going with the Marstoki Empress to her home, leaving the Hell-Bards who aided her to potentially die, or go with the Hell-Bards and be imprisoned to life, she decides to Take The Third Option and take the Hell-Bards with her to Marstok. The local politicians take one look at foreign militiamen trapsing around their palace and promptly kick them out.

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