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"...and though they may be sobbin' for a whileWe gonna make them sobbin' women smile!"
—Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
Are you and your buddies looking for female companionship, but are denied the chance to interact with women in a normal manner because of your location, your occupation, or the fact that you all have No Social Skills?
Well, no matter. The problem's easy enough to fix. Just get your buddies together, form a raiding party, swoop down upon the nearest village and carry away all of its prettiest women. Of course, you can expect the pretty women to not be so keen on the idea, at least at first. Expect to see a lot of passive-aggressive behavior coming from their general direction... as well as the odd rock or frying pan... and you may want to wear a groin protector when you're walking around in their approximate vicinity... at least for awhile...
Don't worry, though. They'll eventually come around and become willing mates for you all. You can speed up this process if you act sheepish and apologetic around them. Let them think you're just as sorry about the situation as they are angry. Do nice things for them. Smile when they jam their heels into your foot, or dump freezing cold water down your pants or slam your fingers into windowsills. And know that one day, if you can endure this abuse long enough, they'll grow tired of beating on you and start to find you strangely attractive.
Hopefully this will happen before the girls' fathers and brothers find out where you live and turn you and your buddies into tomato paste. If you've behaved yourself and acted properly towards the women, you may get lucky and find yourself wed to your new sweethearts in a Shotgun Wedding. If not, then... it's best not to think about what will happen to you...
Anime and Manga
- The whole plot of two Ranma ½ theatrical features features a foreign (and formidable) prince kidnapping Akane to make her his bride. The second goes whole hog and Prince Toma's entourage kidnaps all the other girls in the cast for the same purpose.
- The antagonist in the third PC-Engine video game, Toraware no Hanayome, turns the tables and kidnaps female Ranma instead.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! had an instance of this. A fake psychic kidnapped and potentially tried to rape Anzu Mazaki. Don't worry, though. Yami saves her.
- In the Battle city arc a movie star with a serious crush on Mai engages in a duel with her with the stakes being she had to marry him if she lost. She ended up winning which prompts the actor to try going this rout. It didn't end well for him.
- In Tokyo Mew Mew, Kisshu kisses Ichigo the second he sees her. Later on, he attempts to kidnap her and escalates from there.
- In Bleach, the Ulqui/Hime pairing is based around this trope.
- This is a common explanation for Russia's affectionate abuse of the Baltics, particularly Lithunania, in Axis Powers Hetalia.
- The Lotor/Allura pairing in Voltron: Defender of the Universe fandom is based around this trope. Mainly because Lotor himself believes it in canon, and will stop at nothing to capture Allura and make her his.
- In Elf Quest, Cutter originally abducts Leetah under the influence of the elf mating urge called recognition. Fortunately, cooler heads prevail, he lets her go, apologizes and agrees to work heeding the urge by undoing the bad first impression in a civilized fashion.
- In Red Eye, Jackson Rippner holds Lisa "hostage" on their flight to get her to assist him in an assassination plot. It's implied that he developed feelings for her in the eight weeks he had to watch her prior to this and even ambiguously tells her that when they get out of this, he may have to "steal" her.
- The page quote comes from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. The movie features a brood of socially awkward men who kidnap some townswomen they took a shining to during a town dance. They drew the inspiration for their act from a book which detailed the history of the Sabine women--a group of women who had been kidnapped in a similar manner to populate the fledgling city of Ancient Rome. Of course, the brothers, being ignorant hicks, misinterpreted the word Sabine as Sobbin'. They also made a few other ignorant presumptions about how things would turn out. Fortunately for them, the girls they kidnapped did eventually fall in love with them (after putting them all through the wringer for what they did...)
- In 28 Days Later, the few surviving soldiers seem to at least understand that 'borrowing' the last two uninfected women in England and keeping them against their will as breeding stock and female company is quite possibly immoral. They just don't care any more. They seem to think treating them with a thin veneer of decency will eventually make them warm to the concept, but it's just about enough to get them all slaughtered horribly anyway.
- Spoofed in Borat; see Real Life below.
- The plot of Tie me up! Tie me down! (or Átame! in Spanish) revolves around a former psychiatric inmate trying to make a woman love him by abducting her and tying her to her bed. And he succeeds, too. Well, sort of.
- The most famous example is arguably Beauty and The Beast. While the Beast does not actively go out to kidnap her, the rest of the trope is played straight.
- Referenced to in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer when Tom tells Huck that as robbers, all they have to do to win women is to take away their belongings but not harm them and talk nicely and politely to them until they won't let go of them even when given the chance.
- Some romance novels rely on this and/or Love Triangle. If a romance novel is set in the Old West, a Magical Native American will abduct the heroine, and she will love it and happily abandon her old life to go native.
- The Courtship of Princess Leia has Han abduct Leia.
- Edward's breaking of Bella's truck so she cannot escape him in Twilight is portrayed as an act of love.
- Come to that, Bella and Edward's entire relationship is based on Edward doing manipulative, controlling, or just plain creepy things, and Bella (and the narrator) deciding that this is somehow endearing and romantic.
- In The Will of the Empress, Sandry is horrified to learn that this is a Namornese custom; generally, the "kidnapping" is a mutual agreement between a young couple trying to bypass a family's disapproval. Sometimes, however, it's not. And when Shan and Fin attempt this on Sandry...well, it ends badly.
- Part of Darko Kerim's backstory in the original James Bond novel From Russia with Love. Specifically, his treatment of a captured woman falls just short of Victim Falls For Rapist (not that he has any objection to that) and is about two steps away from "It rubs the lotion on its skin." But hey, by the time someone called him on it, she had gone from wanting to kill him to not wanting to leave, so he's cool.
- Most if not all the Gor novels.
- Attempted by a couple antagonists in Ivanhoe, with a garbled reference to the Tribe of Benjamin. It doesn't work for them.
- In London, Orlando Barnikel kidnaps the girlfriend of a playwright whose inept and racist work made him a laughingstock, and she winds up bearing her captor's children. Unusual in that he'd originally invoked this trope as payback against his detractor, and while neither actually fell in love with the other, he came to care enough to leave her a fortune in his will.
- Many cultures in A Song of Ice and Fire practice this, including the wildlings, the Ironborn, and probably the Dothraki as well. Bride capture is ingrained in wildling society; a wildling woman won't even respect a potential mate unless he kidnaps her. Jon Snow finds this out by accident.
- It is disputed by characters and fans alike what exactly the relationship was between Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen before they both died. It is unclear whether they were in love and eloped, whether he kidnapped her and then they fell in love, or whether he kidnapped and raped her. Robert Baratheon firmly believes the latter (which is unsurprising since since Lyanna is his lost love), but virtually everyone else, including Lyanna's brother, think this is very unlikely, given Rhaegar's reputation for being a good man.
- Used in Watership Down, of all things, when the buck rabbits of Hazel's new warren conspire to get does from other warrens. Subverted in that Hazel's looking for volunteers and the does of Efrafra are more than happy to emigrate, and also in that, unlike other uses of this trope, actual lust is not a motive: with no estrus females around, the bucks all preoccupy themselves with thoughts of food instead of sex, so it's up to forward-thinking Hazel to realize their warren needs breeders if it's to outlive its all-male discoverers.
- The third book in the Wind on Fire series, Firesong, features the young women of the group being kidnapped by nomadic warriors. Fortunately, due to a mixture of mind-reading and very lucky coincidence, they manage to escape and seal the warriors in their crater home perpetually. Little given away, as it is very, very good.
- In the third Colossus book (Colossus and the Crab) the super-computer that rules the world starts running people through experiments to understand people (i.e. takes a guy up on his word that he would "die for his people's independence"). Colossus then kidnaps the wife of the main character (and designer of the US half of Colossus) and hands her over to an unwashed peasant who slaps her down if she asserts herself and rapes her when she doesn't cooperate. Eventually she begins to warm to him because he's just a big old (raping) baby who doesn't know any better. When he's killed for refusing to give her up when the "experiment" is over, she's devastated and, when put back in contact with her husband, sneers at him because he's obviously a weakling who couldn't take her from her more elemental captor.
Live Action TV
- Depending on your interpretation, it's disturbingly likely that the Stalker with a Crush from Evanescence's song Snow White Queen would attempt this with his "beloved" given the opportunity.
Mythology and Religion
- The reference to the Sabine women (and the ancient accepted practice of bride-kidnapping among conquering civilizations) makes this Older Than Feudalism. In the Roman story, Romulus realized that the band of settlers on the hills of Rome was awful short on women, so he took it upon himself to invite the nearby Sabine people to a big festival (according to most myths, a footrace). At his signal, each Roman picked a Sabine woman and ran off with her. In general, they turned out to be OK with it eventually. By the time the war with the Sabines ,and the other nations who had been defeated by this point, had reached the Capitoline, the warring fathers were now grandfathers. The fighting finally ended in the marsh between the Capitoline and Palatine Hills, where the daughters rushed out with children and begged for them to stop.
- In the Biblical Old Testament, Judges 21:10-24, men from the tribe of Benjamen find themselves with no women to marry, so they abduct women from Shiloh to be their wives. When the fathers and brothers of the kidnapped women come to retrieve the women, the Israelites ask for permission to keep them, "...for we didn't find enough wives for them [the Benjaminites] when we destroyed Jabesh-gilead." No word though on whether the captive women ever warmed up to their captors at all.
- Earlier, the Bible had Shechem kidnap, rape, and decide to marry Dinah, the daughter of Jacob. Her brothers agreed to the marriage if Shechem and all his countrymen agreed to be circumcised. Three days after the countrymen comply, her brothers turn out not to like this trope very much.
- Various versions of the Amazon myth invert this, with the isolated community of female warriors ensuring that they maintain a sizeable population and do not run out of soldiers by kidnapping males from the outside world. Not all of those kidnapped survive the experience. Herodotus records that the Amazons eventually met their match in a band of Scythians, removing the need for this custom.
- When Hades fell in love with Persephone, he kidnapped her and took her to his underground kingdom. She wasn't that sad to be kidnapped, but still...
- Old legends about Selkies sometimes feature this. A selkie, in mythology, is a seal that can remove its seal skin revealing itself to be a beautiful woman underneath. In the old legends, men would find a selkie woman sunbathing without her skin. By stealing the skin and hiding it, they can get the selkie woman to marry them, have kids, and live happily for years. However, if the woman finds the skin, she'll take it and go off into the sea, never to return again.
- Triple H once had a Kayfabe marriage with Stephanie McMahon that started this way. (They later got married in Real Life.)
- The Neathar, a culture of Neolithic Noble Savage tribesfolk in Mystara's Hollow World, routinely abduct brides from neighboring Neathar tribes.
- The Pirates of Penzance operetta (as well as the modernized adaptationThe Pirate Movie, based on it) feature a band of matrimonially minded pirates who try to woo/capture the daughters of a Major-General. (It's a good thing the number of pirates and the number of daughters matched up and that, in the movie, the ugly daughter was willing to be matched with the ugly pirate.)
- In The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio kidnaps Kate after their wedding ceremony. It's really more for show than anything else, since she was going to go with him anyway, but she still doesn't enjoy it.
- The legend of Zelda: Breath of the wild. One of the students in the Voe and you class has the idea that this is the way toward achieving holy matrimony. The teacher is quick to point out that NO, kidnapping a guy and twisting his arm until he agreed to marry you is not appropriate.
- Platonic example - Big Boss's mass kidnap of soldiers in Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops and Peace Walker. They start out his enemies, but after being knocked out, captured and intimidated into joining him, they become legendarily loyal and willing to die for him. In the latter game, 'hostility' (resistance to joining Big Boss) is labelled in the menu as a 'Sickness', although some soldiers will retain profile quotes about how they don't quite trust Big Boss yet.
- In the Mario games, Bowser's reasons for kidnapping Peach usually boil down to his having a crush on her.
- Bahamut Lagoon, Palpaleos kidnaps Princess Yoyo, and then they fall in love.
- In Sonic the Hedgehog, Amy Rose.
- In Behind the Veil, Jon got kidnapped by June, then Jon falls in love with June. Note that Jon is a werewolf.
- The Nostalgia Chick keeps trying to kidnap Todd in the Shadows so she can invoke this trope. It hasn't worked yet though, as his brain is apparently literally filled with thoughts of Obscurus Lupa.
- In Adventure Time this is pretty much the Ice King's modus operandi.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Heloise has chained Jimmy up, frozen him solid, and swept him away with a Humongous Mecha, all to keep him close to her. And she's still the most likely candidate for his heart.
- Yo from Fanboy and Chum Chum is obsessed with the latter protagonist. In the first season, there were 3 episodes in which her attempts to kidnap Chum Chum were a major plot point.  She sees Fanboy as the greatest hurdle between her and Chum Chum and most of her plans start with distracting him. So far, the creepiest example of getting rid of Fanboy was stealing his brain and hiding it from him in her backpack. As for abducting Chum Chum, she once trapped him in a giant virtual pet case. In later episodes, he is noticeably less friendly and more frightened of her.
- In the early nineteenth-century, long after Real Life abduction was growing, er "less fashionable" in the American backcountry, it was common for there to be a ritualized abduction at weddings. This custom was descended from the Scottish border country. Similar customs are known in various parts of the world.
- This was a popular way for nomads of the Eurasian steppe to get a wife. This was especially the case since in order to get a wife, you generally had to work for her family for a year, so the poor and unconnected couldn't do so. This was the case of the Mongols, as Genghis Khan's mother was taken this way by his father. He however outlawed it once he became Great Khan, as he recognized the damage it did to a tribal society he was trying to unite, as well as the fact his wife Borte was kidnapped by a rival tribe, and impregnated before he was able to rescue her.
- Although whether or not she was impregnated by them or by him is up for debate.
- In Sparta this actually became ritualized; after formalizing an engagement men would break into their brides' houses and "kidnap" them from their (willing) families as part of the wedding ceremony.
- Still a tradition in many parts of the world today, including the above-mentioned Eurasian steppe.
- Some sources claim the original female population of Iceland was mostly kidnapped from Ireland and/or Scotland.
- Truth in Television, as the original reason a groom needed a best man was to help protect the bride from being kidnapped (or possibly stolen back by her family.)
- Ironically enough, in modern military weddings where the groom wears his sword (traditionally on the left side) he will stand on the left so that the sword doesn't (literally) come between them.
- Still a common practice in many parts of the world. In some places this is combined with rape to force the woman to agree to the marriage; in others the woman is expected to voluntarily submit to the marriage without sexual violence (and will be returned if she can convince her captors that she doesn't want the marriage, at least in theory).
- This is, in fact, the origin of the "honeymoon" -- in the days when marriages were often less-than-consensual and the bride's extended family might well try to take her back (regardless of the bride's feelings in the matter either way), it made sense for the newly-married groom to carry his bride off to some remote place and wait at least until people stopped caring enough to seek revenge.
- Or until she got pregnant, (this was back in the day when being a single mother was very taboo).
- ↑ Brain Drain, The Incredible Shrinking Fanboy and Trading Day.