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File:Bullying a dragon 862.jpg
Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus.[1]
The school motto of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry Potter

See that guy over there? The one that can make Your Head Asplode with his Psychic Powers? What a weirdo. Let's throw rocks at him!

This is the fate-tempting and suicidal tendency of characters to bully, persecute, or in some other way provoke people or things they really shouldn't be messing with. That weird Loners Are Freaks who sits in a corner reading? Fine. That sweet girl who can heal people? If you're that much of an asshole, go for it. The blind kid that somehow knows what you're about to do and is powerless to stop you? Yeah, jackass, whatever floats your boat. But the kid who can warp the fabric of reality and just wants to be left alone? Bad idea.

A Sub-Trope of All of the Other Reindeer, where the character is surrounded by tormentors even though they are known to have some incredible power conducive to being a Person of Mass Destruction, and most of the time because of this. This frequently crops up in Kids Are Cruel (in which case it would be "Kids Are Cruel And Also Freaking Idiots"). It's usually a way of getting us to sympathize with the main character, but, really, bullies should be smart enough not to mock the "freak" Blessed with Suck and Super Strength. Even when logically--or at least using the basest level of human decency and smallest inkling of self preservation--these bullies should find a weaker target or cut the poor kid some slack. So, in a sense, Strawman Bullies. Then, again Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb and the Prideful.

The Fettered especially have it bad, because they choose not to fight back, and often protect their tormentors from the Forces of Evil.

If the victim snaps, they will turn the tables (if not turn the table into a buzzsaw, set it spinning at hurricane-level speeds, and shove their tormenters' necks into the blades.) Also, don't lie. It can be fun when the bullies are killed off. (And, if they have not done anything remotely objectionable up to this point, this could well be taken as a case of Dark Is Not Evil.) Unfortunately, many of the times a bully attempts to go after someone of this ilk is because they are trying to elicit a response, which in turn, would prove everyone's point about how much of a freak they truly are.

See also Do Not Taunt Cthulhu. Compare Mugging the Monster, which is at least usually done by accident. If the would-be bullies are not aware of their victim's capability to arbitrarily destroy them, put the example in there. Contrasts with Underestimating Badassery. Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu? is a related concept, which may or may not involve this trope.

Please note: the trope need not require actual bullying (though it is a popular method). As long as the provoker or provokers intentionally and excessively antagonize someone much more powerful than they are, knowing full well beforehand just what they are screwing with, then it's Bullying a Dragon. Also just because a person can beat up or kill a person doesn't mean they have the right to (As You Know, blowing someone's head off for an minor insult is kind of a dick move).

Also see Fantastic Racism. A popular backstory for a Start of Darkness. This trope doesn't usually have anything to do with The Dragon, who's the Big Bad's second-in-command. Video Game examples where the AI keeps trying to bully you despite the power difference because it's not programmed to back down has a special trope, Suicidal Overconfidence.

Examples of Bullying a Dragon include:


  • The Messing with Sasquatch commercials for Jack Links beef jerky has the Sasquatch going ballistic and inflicting harm upon people who decide to provoke him for cheap laughs.
  • An insurance commercial shows a bunch of rabbits laughing themselves sick at a rattlesnake with a pink and white baby-rattle in place of a normal one. Did the writers not know that it's the other end of a rattlesnake that's venomous?
  • A couple Stacker 2 commercials had a man make fun of Kane, a sadistic monster heel from the WWE. Ends about as well as you'd expect...
  • A Spike TV commercial has a pair of convention-goers mock Boba Fett for his unusual name and appearance. It ends badly for them.
  • A Mountain Dew commercial features a two teens making fun of Chuck Norris with an animated video on the web. Needless to say, Chuck is not pleased.

Anime and Manga

  • Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple: Kenichi used to be weak and powerless. He still looks like a little dude due to his training, and even still acts afraid of people many, many ,many, MANY times weaker than him, just because they look scary. This is slightly subverted as the moment the bullies/thugs find out who he is, they usually back off and immediately apologize out of fear.
    • Played much straighter with Natsu Tanimoto AKA Hermit. He, unlike Kenichi, will NOT hesitate to murder you. He will do so in a way that makes it look like it was someone else, but he WILL beat you black, blue, and red all over.
  • Bleach: Abarai Renji provokes Ichigo during their training in the Urahara Shop to get him angry. Ichigo, depressed and terrified by his encounter with the Bount, is fighting extremely feebly, and Renji taunts him about his weak fighting to get him to fight with a clear head again. Renji momentarily regrets being so successful.
  • To Aru Majutsu no Index: Accelerator is the strongest esper in the city, with absurd powers that make him literally untouchable. After being beaten by Touma (whose unique Anti-Magic power handed him a miraculous victory), however, large gangs start regularly trying to attack him. The mess of twisted limbs he leaves in his wake doesn't seem to have any effect on this, to his complaint (they're so far beneath him that he doesn't bother killing them). They also completely trash his apartment while he's away, but even that fails to get a rise out of him.
    • In fact, the reason he goes along with the Level 6 project is to make himself so powerful that the very thought of challenging him would be ridiculous.
  • Gen's backstory is being picked on for being half-ayakashi. They throw mud at him and then act surprised when he throws a boulder.
  • In the first season of Darker Than Black, humans who know about Contractors have a habit of telling Contractor employees how they think they are nothing but murderous scum who should be wiped out. Luckily for them, most Contractors just don't care, but this can get ridiculous when Huang is not only verbally abusing someone who can kill him instantly by touching him, but lifting him up by the front of his shirt and screaming in his face.
  • Happens to Robert Haydn in The Law of Ueki. Taunting a small child who can turn his arm into a six-foot cannon is not a good plan.
  • Espers in Zettai Karen Children are treated with suspicion at best and as non-human scum at worst. So bad that one of said dragons will grow up to be the "Queen of Disaster" within the span of 10 years. The Children's previous handler, a representative from the education department, used shock collars on the girls in order to control them. She had a Freudian Excuse, though: her own mother was equally sadistic and would lock her up if she wasn't "perfect".
  • This trope is the whole reason that Nagi Naoe in Weiss Kreuz is a member of Schwarz. He was ostracized and tormented as a child due to his telekinetic powers.
  • A premise of Tekkaman Blade II, in which the events of Tekkaman Blade led to a segment of humanity gaining the power to become a sort of proto-Tekkaman. These "Primary Bodies" have partial Tekkaman powers, but are inexplicably persecuted, and twice during the series, the Primary Bodies revolt and try to convert themselves into full Tekkamen to take over the world.
    • In at least "Teknoman" (the English dubbed version of Tekkaman Blade), Ringo's constant attempts to pick fights with Blade in the first half-dozen or so episode could well count as this, seeing as how he's deliberately provoking someone he claims to consider unstable and whom he has seen effortlessly tear through dozens of Spider-Crabs (which are, themselves, killing machines capable of wiping out whole platoons of ordinary soldiers).
  • This shows up in Fruits Basket. Saki Hanajima (aka "Hana-chan"), one of the main character's friends, is rumored--correctly--to be capable of killing people with her thoughts. The reaction of her peers? "Let's bully her!" Luckily for them, she turns out to be one of The Fettered, but still...
    • In grade school, she almost killed a boy after he forced her to eat a live newt to support the rumor of her being a witch. It came back to haunt her in middle school.
  • Code Breaker: Yuuki, who can manipulate sound waves, tries to use their shared abusive pasts to reason with the poison (and other liquids - she hides her many scars under a thick layer of "makeup")-secreting Lily, to no avail.
  • Cell does this to Gohan in Dragon Ball Z. An odd variation in that he was trying to get Gohan to unleash his power so he'd finally get to fight someone as strong as him.
    • Unlike his father who favored the carrot(cake), Babidi preferred to use the stick in controlling Buu. Whenever Buu showed some disobedience, Babidi would threaten to reseal the monster. This continued until Goku scolded Buu for letting such a weak coward order him around and Babidi shortly found himself lacking a head.
    • Then there's Dr. Gero having repeatedly insulted and berated 17 and 18 whom were rebellious teenagers before he forcibly turned them into cyborgs. Cyborgs far stronger than he is, mind you. What happened to him was inevitable.
      • And there a double dose of Too Dumb to Live in this example. See, when Dr. Gero built 17 and 18, he realized how difficult they would be to control, and so came up with a new design for future androids that, while still strong, were more limited in their power. Sounds pretty Genre Savvy, right? Except that he then rebuilt his own body, and used the deliberately weakened design on himself rather than the fully powered one that might've enabled him to stand up to 17 and 18. Yeah, he's a genius, alright.
  • Anyone who tries to bully Sousuke in Full Metal Panic. Yeah, good idea trying to bully the boy that's carrying an automatic, who was seen sniping at people from the bushes, planting land mines around the school, and threw grenades at anyone who looked at him or Kaname funny. It's actually very surprising how many bullies try to antagonize the "weirdo military freak," considering how outwardly violent he is with everyone, along with how he gets away with any crime he commits.
  • Naruto: Let's see if we can't isolate and otherwise mentally and emotionally abuse a small child who has a giant demon stuck in him, thus ensuring that he doesn't have a reason to keep said demon there. Said demon is noted for being unstoppable unless you're the fourth Hokage.
    • Goes double for anyone who attacks one of the demon hosts. Goes triple for the Kazekage, who has his son, Gaara host a demon, and then tries to assassinate Gaara, someone who is for all intents and purposes, invincible. There's making a stupid choice, and there's just plain ought to know better.
    • This seems to be how most Jinchuuriki grow up. Maybe people keep doing it because it somehow actually works?
  • Elfen Lied: When you're pinned down by the monster with the ability to rip you to shreds with their crazy invisible psychic arms, it's probably a good idea NOT to antagonize them. When one character threatens to kill said monster next time he sees her, the monster solves that gouging out the man's eyes.
  • Subverted in Slayers with Zelgadis the chimera. Most regular humans either run away in fear or ridicule him for his appearance (and it's also worth noting that he's Nigh Invulnerable and a skilled sorcerer-swordsman), but he doesn't do a thing about it; rather, he either makes a snippy reply or he gets depressed. After he meets the other main characters, though, he begins to take some insults in stride. In the novels, it seemed that he played it straight in the beginning (as "Rezo's berserker"), but it's hinted that Rezo was influencing/manipulating him.
    • Played straight with most of the Mazoku/Monster race, as well as a few other creatures, such as Beastmen (the fifth novel and the scuffle between Beastman Dilgear and Zelgadis early on say it all).
  • Pretty much the entire plot of Wolf Guy Wolfen Crest so far if you switch "Dragon" with "Werewolf". To be fair, the people bullying Inugami don't know that he's actually a super powerful werewolf at first. But when the first thing you see a guy do is to make his opponent stab himself with nothing but Deadly Dodging, your first thought should not be to try and gang up on him. When the second thing you see him do is break someone's hand with his face (the guy punching him hurt himself since Inugami is Made of Iron) and you still want to fight him, you've officially become Too Dumb to Live. Later, when Inugami does reveal his true self to Big Bad Haguro Daoh, Daoh becomes crazily obsessed with him (since Inugami caused Daoh, a bonafide emotionless sociopath, to feel a real emotion for the first time in his life: gut-wrenching fear) and deliberately provokes him in the hopes of getting Inugami to acknowledge him as a Worthy Opponent.
  • The entire (literal) plot of Sohryuden: Legend of the Dragon Kings, which basically had the bad guys deliberately torment each of the four titular brothers to release their dragon nature, and then inevitably get their asses kicked by them when they did.
  • The nameless extras that populate many parts of Violinist of Hameln world are guilty of this trope as charged. You would think that the normal reaction, upon learning, that the dude in Nice Hat right next to you is supposed to be The Antichrist and single-handedly massacred half a town worth of people when he was only ten, should be fear and trying to get away/not to piss him off. Nope, not in this manga.
  • Pokémon gives us Ash Ketchum, an unarmed ten(?) year old boy who has never let the fact that a Legendary or armed criminal could reduce him to greasy paste stop him from chewing them out if need be. Recently, he yelled at Palkia, who just spent half the movie disintegrating space.
    • For a mon-to-mon example, try the Advance Generation episode where Ash caught a Torkoal. Prior to being captured, said Torkoal is the target of literal bullying by Steel-types, which a Pokémon like Torkoal would have no problem against[2].
    • Also, some newbie Pokemon on the team get jealous of Pikachu, and try to antagonize him. Never mind that he is higher level than any of them (despite not evolving), and possessed of powerful Shock and Awe abilities. Particularly dumb when Oshawott does it, given that he's a Water type, and thus takes double the hurt from electricity.
  • In Durarara, people at Shizuo's school (both middle and high school) were not the most intelligent lot. This is evidenced by the fact that they thought picking on Shizuo Heiwajima was anything less than a phenomenally stupid idea. The high school kids can be partially excused due to being manipulated by Izaya. The junior high kids? Not so much
  • Nico Robin of One Piece was bullied by other children when she was young (who, when she retaliated, would go whine to their parents who chastise her. Of course the kids were most likely lying as they picked on her first without provocation. Robin just wanted to be left alone) and abused by her foster parents (well mostly the aunt. Her uncle never did but was too weak willed to stand up for Robin). I repeat, they abused a child who has the power to grow body parts wherever she wants, which, as she proves later when she single-handedly takes down about 50 marines, is quite a dangerous and potentially deadly power.
    • It's usually Mugging the Monster when it comes to Shanks and Luffy. People rarely appreciate (or even believe) how strong these two are. Two notable examples, however, are Bellamy in the Skypeia arc and Hody Jones after the Time Skip. Bellamy assumed Luffy was a weakling because Luffy wouldn't fight back over a simple insult (he didn't see it as worth the trouble). Then Bellamy got Luffy's wanted poster, with a bounty more than double his own meager sum. He ignored it, and proceeded to rob Luffy's friends. When Luffy came back to get what he stole, Bellamy still refused to accept the truth. Cue getting faceplanted with just one punch to the face. Hody is an even more egregious example, because not only did he know Luffy had beaten Arlong, but knew his exact reputation right down to recent events and still decided to make an enemy of him. While he arguably could have beaten "Luffy as advertised" instead of "Took a Level In Badass Luffy", Luffy's mere reputation alone should have made him think twice. He's the only villain in the entire manga to go down before his crew as a result. That's just how sad a villain he was.
    • Special mention goes to Don Krieg, who picks a fight with Juraquille Mihawk, who'd previously turned his several large battleships and army of pirates into one badly trashed battleship with most of his men dead. Then showed up just to finish off Krieg's last battleship due to being bored. Which he did with one swing of his giant sword.
    • Wow Spandam! It sure was a great idea to frame CP9, six of the deadliest assassins in the world, for the Enies Lobby disaster. It's not like they will want to go after your blood when they find out what you did to them! Oh.....
    • Demalo Black a.k.a Fake Luffy at the start of the second half of the series. The idiot is weak as hell but thinks he can coast by on Luffy's reputation alone to get people to fear him. It manages to attract some high level (and much more dangerous) pirates to him, so that part of the plan went swimmingly. But when he (unknowingly) comes across the real Luffy and tries to threaten him just for simply bumping into him (something Luffy even apologized for), he knocked out flat simply from Luffy's aura. This defeat only makes him even more determined to exact his revenge on Luffy, probably because he's too damn ignorant to realize just what Luffy did to him. Then later during a marine raid he runs straight into Sentomaru, a man who easily handed Luffy his ass two years previous. You can guess how this little encounter ends.
  • In the Tales of Symphonia OVA, at one point, you see Presea lifelessly dragging what used to be a huge tree she chopped down through her village of Ozette as everyone in the village stares at her. All of a sudden, some little kid throws a rock at her and yells "Monster!" Uh, kid? You see that huge tree there? You're a heck of a lot lighter than it is.
  • For reasons unknown, people challenge Kenshiro of Fist of the North Star even after he's just exploded someone's head. When the first Mook or batch of mooks provoke him, that could easily be explained as Mugging the Monster. When the second batch tries, having seen the first wave get turned into fountains of blood and body parts, then it slides right into this trope by virtue of them being Too Dumb to Live.
    • It's not like they have any choice in the matter as their bosses WILL kill them if they run away from Kenshiro. Sucks to be a mook in the world of Hokuto no Ken.
  • Played as Flaw Exploitation in the second episode of Death Note: How do you investigate a murderer who can kill you anywhere, anytime with a magic heart attack? Keep annoying him in the hopes he will try to kill you.
    • Also Light frequently bosses Ryuk, a God of Death, around. Ryuk puts up with it for a while because he thinks it's hilarious. And even so, Ryuk is only helpful insofar as he finds it hilarious; he outright won't help Light in numerous situations because it would be too easy.
  • Rin, the son of Satan and a human woman, always felt different from everyone else. Even before his full powers were unleashed, he had a nasty temper and Super Strength. Because of these characteristics, other children picked on him and called him a demon. This resulted in Rin punching them in the face and giving them serious injuries.
  • Many people in Gamaran ends up doing this to Gama and are defeated. Shown also with Baian Maki: in a flashback he fights alone against ten swordsmen who mock his use of the naginata. Baian hits their leader in the face so hard that it snaps his neck and kills him.
  • In Inu Yasha, lots of people screw with half-demons, despite the fact that many half-demons openly possess enough raw power to destroy everyone in the towns that scorn them.
  • Mirai Nikki The infamously Yandere Gasai Yuno is crazy about the protagonist Amano Yukiteru. She has killed, dismembered, schemed, plotted, manipulated and done a lot of shit to people with no remorse just because of Yukiteru. And she WILL get rid of anything that she perceives to be between her and Yuki. Then Yuki gets kissed by Tsubaki and Akise. Their fates go as well as you'd expect.
  • It's commonly interpreted that Nanami in Revolutionary Girl Utena has so much trouble with animals, and at one point actually turns into a cow because she bullied Anthy in episode 3, and as it turns out, Anthy is among other things the proverbial fairytale Witch. An attentive viewer quickly notices that majority of the side-episodes focusing on Nanami's Humiliation Conga show Anthy taking special interest in something related to the episode theme.
  • In Rebuild of Evangelion, Shinji does this after Asuka is nearly killed. Enraged by Gendo's actions, he begins to attack the headquarters while screaming abuse at his father. Gendo is willing to let Shinji do this until the power runs out... right up until Shinji claims Gendo has never lost anything. Ten seconds later, Shinji is unconscious, without Gendo even moving.
  • In Claymore, regular folks tend to hate and fear the eponymous Warriors of the Organization which generally manifests as mutters, dark looks or giving them a wide berth. Which is only understandable considering that even the weakest of the Warriors is a Badass Abnormal Super Soldier who has Implausible Fencing Powers, a Healing Factor and is strong enough to wield their signature claymore swords with just one hand. Then there are the geniuses who decide to try and rape one. Luckily they chose Teresa of the Faint Smile. If they had chosen someone like Ophelia on the other hand...
  • In The Legend of the Legendary Heroes, pretty much everyone hates and fears Cursed Eye bearers, which can do things like copy all magic used in front of them, dissolve people into dust, or any other number of fun activities. The main character, Ryner Lute, possesses the Alpha Stigma, which is the copying version. However, when an Alpha Stigma bearer is driven over the edge, they become homicidally insane and use all of that copied magic to tear the rest of the world a new one. People know this. And yet everyone insists on treating Cursed Eye bearers like crap until the inevitable happens.
  • Ranma Half has his moment with Pantyhose Taro. Everybody briefly joins in on repeating his embarassing name despite his repeated demands for them to shut up...and the fact that he's got a winged minotaur as a cursed form. Which had been kicking their butts for the last two episodes. Despite the fact that they are in a cave with a waterfall outside. Guess they knew it was five minutes before the end of the episode so the plot would be resolved somehow without their pulverization and in a way most likely involving the removal of Taro from their immediate locale.

Comic Books

  • Used in the most literal sense of the title in Fire Breather.
  • It was established in Damage's own series that his "parents" were actually employees set to watch him until the superpowers he'd been genetically engineered for showed up. Given that, later retcons that his foster-father physically and sexually abused him make the guy look extremely stupid.
  • Marvel Comics. Several superheros and supervillains have this as their raison d'etre.

 Samson: The Hulk keeps yelling at you to leave him alone. So my advice is to leave Hulk alone. Watch him by satellite. If he gets near a populated area, send out Hulk alerts the way we send out weather alerts.

Ross: And if America's enemies get hold of him?

Samson: Send condolence cards to America's enemies.

    • Marvel Comics also has Superhero hate groups. SUPER HERO HATE GROUPS. These people should just form a "Drink-A-Gallon-of-Bleach Club"; it'd be safer.
    • One of the long running gags in the Spider-Man mythos was that Flash Thompson was both a totally fanboy of Spider-Man and and the daily-tormentor of Peter Parker. During the Civil War storyline in Marvel in 2006, where Peter had revealed his identity to the world, Flash decided to challenge Peter to a dodgeball match in front of the children at the school they taught at because he refused to believe that Peter could possibly be Spider-Man. It ended with Peter kicking the dodgeball full force into Flash's face, giving shiner on each eye. Of course, for this to happen, decades worth of Character Development had to be stripped away from Flash, who previously had matured from his high school days and become a close friend of Peter's.
    • Maybe not as extreme as the other examples (since he has no actual super-powers), but there have been a few times where Frank Castle (AKA The Punisher) ends up in jail. Since Frank is a known Badass with a body count nearly as high as The Joker, criminals waste no time in throwing their lives away by trying to attack him. Frank, who is inevitably heavily restrained, adds a few more bodies to the count before the guards show up.
      • To be fair, at least some of that can be considered pure survival instinct, since when the Punisher is locked up he's usually a) allowed it to happen, and could escape anytime he wants, and b) come from the Rorschach school of vigilante jail time, where he's not locked in there with them -- they're locked in with him. There have even been times when he's got himself thrown in prison solely to kill some of the inmates, so you can't blame the inmates for taking some pre-emptive action.
      • Nicky Cavellla. He wanted to eliminate the Punisher, and thought he could do it by making him clumsy. To do that, Nick dug up the Punisher's family's remains, pissed on them while recording him doing so, and sent the video to the local news. His plan worked, and Frank stopped being as methodical as he normally is, but with the trade-off that Frank went into such an Unstoppable Rage that he killed several important figures in Cavella's criminal family in one day. The remaining family ditched Cavella, and the Punisher shot him in the stomach.
    • Iron Man/Tony Stark tends to do this a lot, usually in defense of his teammates, due to being a Martyr Without a Cause.
  • Beast Boy of the Teen Titans spent most of his life enduring this kind of bullying, which has had a profoundly negative effect on his self esteem; so much so that he's afraid to let anyone know that he can make multiples of himself.
  • A prisoner threatens to kill Rorschach in Watchmen in the lunch line (and is building up to shank him), confident that in prison, he won't be as tough. Rorschach, being Homicidal, Ax Crazy, and a Combat Pragmatist, throws hot grease in his face before he can even lift a finger, burning him horribly. Right after this, he deliberately invokes the trope.

  "None of you understand. I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me!"

    • Afterwards, three other guys try to kill him. Admittedly, they thought they had the advantage over him...but once again, underestimated him. They also die bloodily.
  • In Secret Six, a handful of carnies attack Bane during his date, which goes as well you'd expect. But instead of retreating when the 7-foot giant takes out half their number casually, they try to kill his girlfriend instead
  • Happened in an issue of Jack Kirby's Etrigan the Demon series, where a creature like Frankenstein's monster created by a mad scientist was subject to a street gang throwing bricks at him and taunting him. When they captured a girl who had been in psychic communication with him (don't ask), all he had to do was stand up and the gang quickly retreated.
  • King Mob lampshades this in The Invisibles. Luckily for his sake, the red-neck is Genre Savvy enough to back down:

 KING MOB: I'm telling you that you're in the wrong film, fatboy. You're not in the cowboy film you thought you were in. This is a different kind of movie. And you're in the scene where the redneck shitkicker picks on the stranger in town, only it turns out to be big Arnie or a gang of vampires. I'll bet you've seen that a million times, cowboy.


KING MOB: So here's the deal: you've just made the mistake of your life but you can wash away your sins by apologizing to the lady. Otherwise I squeeze, you pop and guess who's singing castrato in church on Sunday?

BILLY-BOB: I... ah... I called you a faggot and... ah... well, I'm sorry. Fuck.

LORD FANNY: That's all right, darling. I am a faggot. And you do have a lovely dick.

  • People spend rather a lot more time insulting, belittling, and reprimanding the Great Red Dragon in Bone than in probably wise.
  • One of the stories in Volume 2 of Witch Girls Tales features the team of Witch Girls falling victim to what starts off as Mugging the Monster... but it turns into this when one of two remaining thugs decides to charge one of the witch girls after they've already dispatched most of the group with their magic. He also didn't read the atmosphere and chose to charge Heroic Comedic Sociopath and Token Evil Teammate Princess Lucinda, rather than one of the ones who had previously been seen using non-lethal methods. He's turned into a bug for his troubles... but he still doesn't stop doing this, as when the final gang member is turned into a frog, he taunts said person who is now roughly ten times his size and his natural predator. Predictably, he gets eaten.
  • Monica from Brazilian comic Monica's Gang is frequently taunted by her male friends for being overweight, bucktoothed, and short (among other things). Too bad she is A) easily irritable B)superstrong and C)armed with a plush bunny. Not to mention single-minded.

Fan Fiction

  • More Pony-fun. In Progress, Angel Bunny attacks Princess Luna with baseballs, knowing full well who she is. She freaks out at first, but after a little therapy with Fluttershy and Applebloom, she tries to keep cool about it until he breaks her glasses. Then she snaps.
  • In The Vinyl Scratch Tapes, another My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic fic, Vinyl calls Princess Celestia out during a live broadcast interview for the whole "banishing your sister to the moon and never checking up on her even once for a thousand years" thing. Her co-host Octavia is horrified by Vinyl's behavior and is stunned when Celestia accepts it with good grace instead of having them immediately yanked off the air and thrown into prison.
    • This comes back to bite Vinyl big time, when Princess Luna royally chews her out for giving Celestia a huge guilt trip over the incident when it was entirely Luna's fault to begin with and she had no other choice but to banish her.
  • In yet another My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic fic, two former classmates of Twilight Sparkle mock her and call her names in front of everypony like they used to, even while knowing she is Princess Celestia's personal student, and thus capable of great magical powers.
  • Lampshaded in the Death Note fic The Prince of Death when Naomi hits Light (who in this ficverse has become a literal God of Death) and L fearfully thinks in his Internal Monologue that she might as well have struck The Grim Reaper in the face.


  • The Backstory of The Covenant is that one of the adult warlocks was persecuted and burned at the stake. He was persecuted for being a high-level Reality Warper, lesser members of said species being able to not only fly and throw fireballs but survive head-on collisions with Mack trucks. Exactly how 1600's Massachusetts villagers concluded taking him on was a good idea, let alone succeeded, is never explained.
  • The bizarre homoerotic scene in Powder where a bunch of bullies try to strip the main character naked after they catch him checking out other boys in the shower. Seems more like a scene from a porno, really, but the point is that the eponymous character was established to have electromagnetic superpowers. This scene takes on an even darker and more disturbing tone when you consider that director of the film is a convicted pedophile.
  • Liz in Hellboy: Hey, it's that freaky introverted Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette kid who starts fires with her mind! Let's throw rocks at her (on her birthday no less, according to the art book)! Hey freak, you're smoking, are you on fi-- (insert Apartment Block-Shattering Ka-Boom here).
    • Things aren't easier for Hellboy once he's "outed" in the sequel:

 Pedestrian 1: Hey, you're Hellboy!

Hellboy: Yeah!

Pedestrian 1: Man, you're ugly!

Pedestrian 2: (throws can at Hellboy's feet)

    • The comics avoid this for the most part, with one example: when Liz's powers pop up by themselves one day, and she was rushed to the BPRD, the people taking care of her were afraid to go near her only because she couldn't control her power; Hellboy is immune to fire so he was told to take care of her. The only ones who hate Hellboy are those that know he's The Antichrist and don't know he wants to be the Anti-Anti-Christ (and they just try to kill him).
  • Lampshaded and Averted Trope by Ray in Hancock. He lets Hancock pretty much do whatever he wants, because as Hancock is basically a Jerkass Flying Brick, he could kill the whole family if he wanted to (at least as far as he knew). Everyone else, though... Especially inexcusable with the inmates in the prison, most of whom had already encountered Hancock personally!

 Hancock: If you don't move, your head is going up his ass. Y'all fellas sure you wanna ride this train?

Matrix: Choo, choo, asshole...

[Hancock shoves Matrix's head up into Man Mountain's ass]

  • Watchmen
    • Rorschach finds himself getting threatened in prison by the very same inmates that he beat up and put there. After stomping one of them, he proclaims. "You people don't get it. I'm not locked in here with you. You're locked in here with me!"
    • There was also that guy who kept begging various costumed adventurers to "punish" him. And then he did it to Rorschach, who promptly tossed him down an elevator shaft.
    • The anti-vigilante protesters in front of Studio 54. One of them hits the Comedian in the head with a beer bottle and he flips out, beating them up and firing tear gas at them as they're trying to flee.
  • Portrayed as the South African government's Idiot Ball in District 9. Yes, let's confine a million alien refugees with highly advanced weaponry and space-faring technology to a hideous slum, treat them like garbage and deny them basic rights.
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  • In District 9's spiritual ancestor, Alien Nation, the Idiot Ball is held by Los Angeles. Yes, let's piss all over the guys that are super-strong and highly intelligent. Let's recapitulate every moronic Race Tropes our society worked to get past. Yeah, that's bright.
  • In Ang Lee's Hulk, after Bruce Banner is captured and contained in a purportedly Hulk-proof room, Glenn Talbott, needing a blood sample, enters the room, and shocks Bruce repeatedly with a cattle prod to try to get him to change into the Hulk. At this time, Talbott is wearing a cast and a neck brace, because earlier in the movie, when Bruce changed into the Hulk, he used Talbott as a melee weapon to beat two other people into unconsciousness. Luckily for Talbott, this attempt fails.
  • The Incredible Hulk: Blonsky, hopped up on super-soldier serum, advances on the Hulk unarmed, taunting him, "Is that all you got?" after watching him tear apart an armored division. Blonksy promptly gets kicked into a tree, breaking about every bone in his body.
  • Harry Potter
    • Even after the Dursleys become fully aware of Harry's abilities, they continue to antagonize him at every opportunity. Aunt Marge finally pushes it too far in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban when she speculates that Harry's dad was a drunk, causing Harry to freak out and "blow her up."
    • Kind of a subversion, really. The Dursleys are well aware that Wizarding world laws strictly forbid using magic in front of muggles. So they can get away with their treatment of Harry knowing full well if He retaliates he'd get in trouble, which is what happened after the Aunt balloon incident.
    • Draco at the end of Goblet of Fire still sees fit to antagonize Harry, even though he's quite skilled at fighting monsters and has a lot of powerful friends.
  • In The Ninth Configuration, a bar full of bikers decide that it's a good idea to mercilessly taunt and humiliate a pair of soldiers. One of the soldiers is Colonel Badass Vincent "Killer" Kane, an unbalanced walking death machine from the Vietnam War. After suffering through monstrous indignities, he finally snaps and slaughters the entire gang of bikers, including the women, with his bare hands.
  • Mighty Joe Young (the original) has a trio of drunkards give the titular giant gorilla alcohol -- enough to inebriate him. This clears them out of booze and in retaliation, one of them burns Joe's hand as he begs for more. Joe then bursts out of his cage for a drunken Roaring Rampage of Revenge through a nightclub.
  • 20 Million Miles to Earth can best be summarized as "Please do not bully the Ymir." It's one of Harryhausen's iconic and most sympathetic monsters.
  • King Kong post-Skull Island tends to suffer one indignation after another (not that Skull Island was a picnic), so that when he bursts out of his bonds, the audience is usually behind Kong's rampage.
  • The Tyrannosaurus Rex's death toll in US/Japan Co-Production The Last Dinosaur might have been less if the Great White Hunter didn't insist on trying to kill it again and again. Then again, the title refers to the Great White Hunter as it does the Tyrannosaur.
  • In Rocket Boy, a random hostage made a butterfingers comment when Hawkhead dropped a glass. Hawkhead shows it's unwise by tractoring the hair from that extra one foot into the air before letting it return to its normal position. A few minutes later, the ventriloquist dummy hopes Hawkhead doesn't drop him.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen - National Security Advisor Galloway constantly treats the Autobots like enemies, making demands and threatening them with expulsion from Earth. Aside from the fact that they have no authority to exile the Autobots from Earth, just America, this is all in spite of the fact that Earth relies on the Autobots to protect them from the Decepticons, which they do purely out of the goodness of their sparks. There's also the fact that the Bots are giant alien robots who could easily turn Galloway into a greasy smear if they were malicious enough to do so.
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon: The Autobots are eventually exiled. The entire city of Chicago is leveled within the next forty-eight hours.
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  • Happens briefly in the first Spider-Man movie, where Peter is called a freak by one jock after he beats Flash Thompson up.
  • Con Air. Nicolas Cage's character Cameron Poe finds himself in prison because a few drunks in a bar decided to bully him. What makes this go from a mere bar brawl to suicidal stupidity was that Poe was a US Army Ranger in full uniform (including Ranger tabs, which MOST people know is universal shorthand for Badass) at the time--and that the bullies escalated from words to an actual attack. Ranger hand to hand combat training takes over, one of the bullies dies, and Poe finds himself facing a judge who doesn't go in for 'self defense' pleas. Which is quite odd. Five against one, or even one on one, doesn't require a weapon as evidence to prove self-defense.
  • Micah in Paranormal Activity. Your girlfriend says that a demon has been harassing her since childhood. You set up a camera at night that confirms her story. A psychic warns you that antagonizing the demon will only piss it off, but that a Demonologist might be able to help. What do you do? You say to hell with hiring a Demonologist (or at least a Priest!) and instead decide to call the demon a pussy at every opportunity and constantly dare it to do its worst.
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  • In The Incredibles, Mr. Incredible, as his Secret Identity, works at an insurance company and is constantly browbeaten by his tiny boss, voiced by Wallace Shawn. When the boss stops Mr. Incredible from
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Even if his boss didn't know he had superpowers, Mr. Incredible has about five feet and a couple hundred pounds on him.
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  • Superman Returns - Granted he has that "boy scout" reputation, and Lex has kryptonite present, but wouldn't you think, that if he possibly survived, especially considering his luck in the past, beating the crap out of one of the most powerful superheroes in the DC Universe would have some kind of repercussions? Of course it did. Cue Idiot Ball.
  • Violent Shit 2 has a couple of guys making fun of Karl the Butcher as he slowly approaches, blissfully unaware of the mask and machete. They get killed, unsurprisingly enough.
  • The 1971 Disney film Bedknobs and Broomsticks does it to the protagonist, Miss Price, twice. First when Charlie, the eldest of the three wards, attempts to blackmail her with the knowledge that she's a witch, and second when the raiding Nazis lock her and the children in a castle that's been converted into a museum. To be fair in the Nazis' case, they don't believe she's a witch, despite her attempting to cast a spell on their commanding officer in her house, but Charlie really should have known better...
  • The WWII film Tora! Tora! Tora! has Admiral Yamamoto deliver this apocryphal line after Pearl Harbor: "I fear that all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve."
  • Wyatt Earp in Tombstone . What's that? The infamous Kansas lawman is in town? Let's mock him, mess with him, kill people in front of him, terrorize his family and eventually
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. What could possibly go wrong?

  • In Freddy vs. Jason, a pair of idiot ravers start taunting Jason, apparently not realizing he is a nearly seven foot tall mountain of a man in a creepy mask.
  • Tank: Let's say you're a Fat Redneck Sheriff who owns your small town. One of your deputies gets out of line with a prostitute and this guy comes to her rescue. Now let's say "this guy" is a tough-as-nails career army sergeant who just wants to live in peace with his family. Oh, and he owns a fully operational Sherman Tank. Hey, let's throw his son in jail on trumped-up drug charges and blackmail him! What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • The Avengers
    • Loki tries to scold The Incredible Hulk, claiming that he was a god and the Hulk, along with everyone else should bow before him.
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    • Tony Stark, in his typical recklessly Jerkass way, is talking to Bruce Banner about his anger management and gives him a mild electric shock to see how controlled he is. Even though Bruce doesn't seem too bothered by it, Captain America quickly gives Stark a What the Hell, Hero? about it, especially since they're all on the SHIELD helicarrier at high altitude, which would very quickly turn into a lethally fragile confined space if the Hulk did go on a rampage.


  • Subverted in Kitty Goes to Washington, by Carrie Vaughn, wherein the titular Kitty is kidnapped and forced to shape shift on TV, and the only real consequences the SENATOR that set it all up incurs is an off-screen lawsuit and criminal charges.
  • Carrie's mother from Stephen King's Carrie. Unlike Carrie's jackass classmates who knew nothing of her
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, Ms. White was all too well aware of her daughter's potential, so her persistent abuse of Carrie definitely classifies as Bullying a Dragon bordering on Too Fanatically Pious To Live.

    • In fact, Carrie's mother had almost killed her once before when she was three, all because Carrie accidentally saw her then-teenage neighbor's breasts (said neighbor had fallen asleep in her backyard while sunbathing and her top had slipped off). The only thing that stopped her was being frightened into submission after witnessing Carrie wreak havoc with the house; unfortunately, it wasn't enough to keep her from continuing the abuse for the next fourteen years.
  • The Dursleys in Harry Potter. In what little fairness that could be mustered, it is illegal for Harry and other wizards to retaliate via magic, but that doesn't stop Hagrid and Harry on occasion. And they were abusing him before they knew it was illegal for him to retaliate magically. They also seemed to think that they could "stamp the magic out" of him by treating him badly.
    • Given how sadistic Bellatrix Lestrange is, it's not a surprise this leads to her downfall
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    • When Hagrid comes to collect Harry, Vernon demands that he leave, threatens Harry in front of him, insults magic and continues making Hagrid angry until he pushes Hagrid's Berserk Button. Did I mention Hagrid is a half-giant? Who has shown himself to be strong enough to bend a fricking shotgun?
    • The goblins trained the dragon guarding a Gringotts vault by pressing hot metal against its face while ringing the Clankers, so the dragon would learn to retreat when he heard the noise. The dragon
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    • Wizards often bully house elves, who are considerably more powerful than them.
      • Never in the books it is made explicit that elves are more powerful than wizards. They just use a kind of magic that wizards rarely bother to (or even can) counter. But about the most powerful this magic gets is teleporting at will into places wizards can't.
        • Also, it is mentioned that house elves generally can't use their magic without permission from their masters. Besides that, their extremely servile personalities guarantee they won't retaliate no matter how badly they are mistreated.
        • But watch out if one is freed. When Harry tricks Lucius Malfoy into freeing Dobby the first thing the now liberated elf does is knock his former master back several feet.
    • Fun fact: The Latin motto of the Hogwarts school, Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus, means "Never tickle a sleeping dragon."
    • In the third book, Malfoy openly insults a hippogriff even though it is very large, very dangerous, understands everything you say and will turn hostile if you don't treat it with proper respect. Yes, let's ignore the words of the teacher who has spent his entire life working on magical beasts, there's obviously no situation that cannot be improved with a dash of spiteful arrogance. Insulting always works.
  • In the book Benvenuto by Seymour Reit, the titular dragon, belonging to a boy named Paolo, is bullied by an older boy named Roy Selby. When Paolo tells Roy to lay off Bevenuto, Roy is all too eager to beat up Paolo. And the dragon, despite his small size, starts dishing out firey retribution to Roy for picking on his friend!
  • Occurrs in the backstory to The Belgariad; Gorim bullies UL, hinted at being that universe's equivalent of God, into accepting him and his people.
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  • Pointing this trope out is how Zedd drives off a lynch mob after him in the first book of the Sword of Truth series. The mob is going after him because they believe he has terrible magic powers, so Zedd asks them to list what some of these powers might be, and once they do, Zedd points out how brave these men must be to come after a Person of Mass Destruction with nothing but torches and pitchforks. This is enough to make them back down, though Zedd throws in an additional mind game to make them really sorry.
  • In the Mercy Thompson books, Jesse Hauptmann is beat up because her father, Adam, is a werewolf (in fact, he's the local Alpha). Luckily for her attackers, she won't tell her father who they are, as she doesn't want them to be killed.
  • In the Deepgate Codex books, we have Carnival, who is the scapegoat of the eponymous city. To be fair, they have reason to hate her--she kills one of their citizens every month to sustain herself--but they tend to take things a little too far by blaming her for every little thing. In one of the books, she's just looking for a safe place to hide when a little girl wanders up to her; the girl's mother grabs her away, starts screaming "Don't you touch her, bitch!" at Carnival, and calls the guards down. The mother then reports that Carnival had attacked them to the Church (which tries to hunt her down), when all she did was run away.
  • People try to bully Drizzt of The Dark Elf Trilogy a lot, on the assumption that he's a normal evil drow. Amusingly, the fact that he isn't is the only reason they don't end up holding their intestines with their hands.
  • In two books (The Wizard Heir and The Dragon Heir) there is a girl named Madison who is a witch. People frequently blame her for the many fires that happen around town. This is disproved when the fires are revealed to have been being started by the son of a prominent businessman that wants the mountain Madison lives on because the mountain has a very large deposit of coal that he wants to mine. The boy, even though he's a wizard, takes this to extremes by eventually trying to burn down Madison's house, with her and her younger siblings inside, claiming that the town knew something was wrong with her and all he had to do was point the finger at her and they'd all believe him because of his position.
  • In the early days of Julian May's Galactic Milieu world, people with Psychic Powers were actively discriminated against, and frequently attacked, often on religious grounds. One prominent (female) psychic was gunned down by a priest, loudly quoting "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live!" This led directly to psychics discovering that they could set fire to people just by being angry enough.
  • Averted in The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King. A Mook approaches Badass Roland Deschain while his back is turned, intent on harm as evidenced by his hand on his knife. Roland, without bothering to turn around or even look up, advises him to "Do yourself a favor, cully, and go sit down." The Mook wisely does so, almost certainly avoiding harm or even death. Roland is later
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  • Throughout The First Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, Bayaz, First of the Magi and Logen "The Bloody Nine" Ninefingers are underestimated, dismissed, or even insulted, threatened, or ignored as irrelevant, always to the sorrow of those who did so.
  • People keep antagonizing Honor Harrington. They know her record. They know what she can do. They know her in-universe Fan Nickname is "The Salamander" because she survives - and wins - battles that can and have killed equally skilled officers. They know she has a living buzzsaw as a pet/partner, the ear of the Queen, the loyalty of virtually the entire Manticoran Navy and scores of scary people for whom this is a Berserk Button. But they keep doing it. Exceedingly unpleasant consequences (usually involving bleeding and/or death) follow. Especially for Pavel Young.
    • The same goes- perhaps even moreso- for the utter fools who keep trying to hurt Anton Zilwicki's kids.
    • Averted when one of Luiz Rozsak's subordinates suggests having Thandi killed to tie up the last loose end, and he points out that not only was she the deadliest assassin in their gang, but doing so would also homicidally piss off all her new friends - including the galaxy's most notorious terrorist and the top secret agents of both Haven and Manticore.
  • Happens in the Mass Effect novel Ascension where one of the kids in the Ascension Project decides to pick on Gillian Grayson. To be fair to the kids picking on her it didn't seem that she had much power but boy was he mistaken.
  • In The Bible, a group of young men mock Elisha, one of God's prophets. Guess what happened next.
    • Earlier parts of the Bible have quite a few incidents where the Hebrews get tired of their god, with the most famous being the incident with the golden calf. To be fair to those Hebrews, Moses was busy receiving the whole 'No gods before Me' thing, and hadn't gotten around to relaying the message.
    • Harassing Old Testament prophets frequently qualified for this trope. Elisha's mentor Elijah had a habit of calling down fire from heaven when disrespected, disbelieved, or threatened.
    • Jesus himself was almost stoned on several occasions, but he just walked through the crowd unharmed each time. His disciples wanted him to call down fire on one occasion, but he told them he wasn't into that sort of thing. Even when he was being arrested just prior to his resurrection, he very calmly points out that he has all of Heaven's angels on speed dial if he wanted a Big Damn Heroes moment. And while hanging on the cross, he was mocked: "If you really are the Son of God, then come down from there!" The Book of Revelations lays out the future comeuppance that those who reject(ed) him can look forward to.
  • More or less played straight in Darkest Powers with Derek, who, being a sixteen-year-old werewolf, is incredibly strong and capable of catching a thrown bowling ball with no trouble whatsoever. The day after his somewhat over-the-top defense of his brother ends up with him breaking said tormentor’s back by accident, he gets surrounded by a bunch of kids - including the hospitalized one’s younger brother - who are looking to pick a fight and get revenge. Not the smartest idea considering what he had just shown to be capable of, though it’s probably worth noting that none of them knew he was a werewolf or about the full extent of his strength. But still, going after a guy who broke someone’s back just by throwing him? Not a good idea, guys.
    • Whether they know he's a werewolf with super strength or not is almost a moot point. At sixteen years old, the guy is over six feet tall and about two hundred and twenty pounds of muscle. Why would you piss him off?
  • In Patricia C. Wrede's book The Thirteenth Child, Eff is the titular thirteenth child, doomed to bring bad luck, and turn out evil. What does Eff's uncle do? What do you think...? Eff even asks her Uncle why he would do so, when he knows what she's supposedly capable of. Ultimately, she does snap and (accidentally) proves what she can really do, leading even him to realize that, hold up, maybe I shouldn't be bullying the dragon after all. The twist is that she may not really be an evil thirteenth child, as under a different magic system thirteen is a lucky number!
  • There are a surprising number of factions in Iain Banks' The Culture novels who think it's a good idea to fuck with the Culture. Never ends well.
    • These factions are either themselves among the most powerful civilizations of the galaxy, or are kept in the dark about The Culture firepower... by the Culture itself.
  • Cassie Suthorn in the BattleTech novel Close Quarters provokes enemies in the Mechs by firing a rifle at the cockpit. The rifle only causes a light ping, but annoys the pilot enough to have it give chase.
    • In fact, she does this several times. Bear in mind that she is barely a hundred pounds and not a Mechwarrior herself. However, by the end of the Camancho's Caballeros trilogy, one of her fellow Caballeros points out that she has taken down or destroyed over a battalion of enemy 'Mechs (36+ 'Mechs) without one of her own, and this includes things ranging from skittish 20-ton scouts to massive 85-ton command 'Mechs. She might well constitute a penjak silat practicing Person of Mass Destruction.
    • She also does this somewhat literally when she goes after and takes out a Grand Dragon 'Mech in the course of Hearts of Chaos.
    • Another BattleTech example has a bunch of common street punks attempt to provoke a Clan Elemental into a fight during the course of a Halloween celebration. Please note the punks are noted to be nothing more than average teenagers, and an Elemental is a Power Armor wearing Super Soldier bred from birth to take on 'Mechs and win, standing somewhere between 7 and 8 feet tall and weighing over three hundred pounds. While the Elemental was not wearing his armor, he still easily flattens all but one of the punks, who wisely flees the situation.
  • In Unseen Academicals, Andy Shank continues to antagonize Mr. Nutt
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, and later the Shove taunts Nutt for this same fact. Of course, Andy is Ax Crazy, and it's frequently said in the Discworld books that angry mobs are only a fraction as smart as their stupidest member.

    • In the Big Match Andy and his cohorts commit many acts of Unnecessary Roughness against the UU team, seemingly forgetting that the UU players are the most powerful wizards on the Discworld. However, whoever poisoned the Librarian's banana must have been outright suicidal.
    • Snuff has a warning about Badass Vimes from his butler to someone who was tempted to start bullying, or at the very least, to be annoying. The only way to piss off the Dwarfs, the Trolls, Ankh-Morpork AND Überwald at the same time would be by doing this, so it would be.. unwise.
  • In The Princess Bride children would often bully Fezzik the GIANT because they knew he wouldn't fight back. Ironically, in the movie he was played by Andre Roussimoff.
  • Of Mice and Men has Curly, a light-weight boxer, picking a fight with Lennie; it ended with Lennie crushing Curly's hand to a near-pulp.
  • In The Dresden Files short story Day Off, a small-time (very small time!) hedge practitioner and his female assistants/cultists challenge Harry Dresden, full Wizard and Warden of the White Council, to a magical duel, to make a point. Harry proceeds to truthfully point out several different ways that they are utterly outmatched and out of their league, both in terms of personal magical ability and combat experience (i.e. when Harry responds to their challenge by pulling out a revolver, they almost panic on the spot).
  • The Big Bad of Warrior Cats dies because of this. He tries to push around Scourge, who gets tired of him and kills him. Nine times. In one blow.
  • Literally done in Lord of Chaos, the sixth book of The Wheel of Time, when the Aes Sedai attempt to "tame" Rand al'Thor, the Dragon Reborn (no, not that kind of Dragon), by kidnapping him and transporting him inside a wooden chest, freeing him from imprisonment only for daily abuse. This, despite the knowledge that the Dragon Reborn is the Reincarnation of the most powerful male channeller known to history, and the legends stating that only he can prevent The End of the World as We Know It (albeit by breaking it); the Aes Sedai are simply so full of themselves that they believe having Rand under their control is more important than the physical and psychological damage done to him in the process. Much carnage occurs on all sides when Rand's allies rescue him, including several Aes Sedai losing their own ability to channel forever.
    • In the Aes Sedai's offense, the leader of that particular mission was secretly Black Ajah, so she wanted to drive Rand mad and/or turn him against the Aes Sedai as much as possible. It was still very dumb of those with her to follow such orders, but there actually was a reason for them in addition to being full of themselves.
    • Cadsuane Melaidhrin, full stop. For several books she passive-agressively bullies Rand and pretty much everyone else in the series. Finally gets called out for it by Rand's father.

Live Action TV

  • Game of Thrones:
    • Viserys, in a fit of madness, thinks he can push the barbarian warlord Khal Drogo around by violating his sacred laws and holding his wife hostage with a sword, while surrounded by Drogo's soldiers. It ends about as well as you'd expect.
    • The season 2 finale
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    • In the backstory, this happened to the Mad King. He executed Ned Stark's father and brother, pissing off half his kingdom and leading to the rebellion that would kill him and end his family's dynasty.
    • Catelyn does this by
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  • Veronica Mars demonstrates over and over that a) she's very helpful to have on your side when you're in trouble and b) she can and will mess you up if she feels like it. Doesn't matter; everyone at Neptune High continues to mock her and treat her as a scorned outcast. Lampshaded in season three when Veronica asks Dick how after all he's seen her do, he still doesn't fear her.
  • In early episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was known to all that at the very least Buffy had burned down the gym at her previous high school, yet people like Cordelia and Harmony picked on her anyway.
  • In Volume 5 of Heroes, Edgar the Knifethrower deliberately starts a feud with amnesiac arch-villain Sylar, not only despite but even because of Sylar apparently having a well-known reputation amongst the superpowered community as an unstoppable brain-stealing murder machine. Sure, Edgar is Darth Maul and amnesiac Sylar is quite mild-mannered, but it still looks like Edgar is just asking for trouble.
  • In Dexter, it's really not a good idea to threaten the title character, or especially his family, but most people don't know that he's a serial killer. There are the occasional exceptions, like
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  • Many episodes of The A-Team have some incredibly small and weedy looking men attempting to push an angry looking Mr.T around, and then actually looking surprised when they get thrown through a window. Possibly they're surprised at the lack of injury.
  • In an episode of The Twilight Zone called "The Last Rites of Jeff Myrtlebank", a dead man revives in the middle of his funeral, which leads the townspeople to believe that his corpse was possessed by a demon. As the episode progresses, these people decide to attempt to force the young man out of town. He gets them to back down by invoking this very trope by stating that if he really is a demon, then they would have more sense to treat him nicely because he could really mess up their lives if he decided to.
  • Gossip Girl: Surprisingly often someone tries to hurt or annoy Chuck Bass. They never learn that it's a big mistake to do so. Blair as well. And if you take on both of them, well...
  • Clark Kent was often bullied on Smallville despite that fact that even without powers, he is still very buff and capable of punching people out.
  • In one episode of Lois and Clark Superman gets framed for causing a heatwave with his powers. (Lex Luthor was behind it) Supes is then put under court order not to use his powers. When he accidentally violates that order he’s arrested and thrown in a cell with over a dozen criminals. One of them, the smallest and weaseliest one decides to get up in his face confident Superman couldn’t retaliate. Supes just stands there smugly taking it until the idiot decides to punch him in the jaw. His indestructible jaw.
  • On Chuck, this happens more often than not with Casey in a comedic sense, like when he's filled his daily quotient of stupidity from the Buy Morons, but every so often this trope come into play on a serious issue. In Chuck vs. Operation Awesome, an old oriental woman is bitching at Chuck about the Buy More's lack of customer service, while Chuck is just concerned with wanting to tell someone outside the loop about his being a spy, worrying for Devon's safety (since he's been kidnapped), and his feelings toward Sarah. He finally snaps, flashes on how to speak Korean, and yells at the woman in her native tongue to more-or-less Shut the Fuck Up, surprising everyone around him, including Jeff, Lester, and more importantly Sarah, because he's always been so pacifistic. It's made even more apparent when Chuck Intersect-kicks Lester for trying to mess with him, Bruce Lee-style only moments after telling off the Korean lady, which drops everyone's jaws even further.
  • Benjamin Lennox's first meeting with Hyde in Jekyll is made of this trope. It starts off with him interrupting Hyde while he's having sex, and it just goes downhill from there... in retrospect, claiming to own the superpowered psychopath was probably a bad idea.
  • The Addams Family. Most people are just terrified, but there are some who are more antagonistic. They don't see the problem with being offensive to people who consider torture a nice activity for the whole family. Fortunately for them, the Addamses are very nice people. But then, there is their family motto... "We gladly feast on those who would subdue us."
  • In the The X-Files episode "Schizogeny," everyone believes that a sixteen-year-old murdered his stepfather. Some of his classmates get in his face and make fun of him for being a "psycho killer." They apparently thought there was no way this could backfire on them.
  • True Blood
    • Common humans feel the need to pick on vampires, even though vampires are superhumanly powerful and like to eat people.
    • The Brotherhood of the Sun are religious bigots who decide that kidnapping Godric is a good idea to show the vampires that they mean business. They don't seem to think about the fact that Godric commands some very nasty and violent Texan vampires who are only kept in check because he is now a pacifist. Godric is also over two thousand years old and commands the loyalty of some really powerful vampires like Eric.
    • The Vampire Queen of Louisiana tends to bully her subject vampires and order them to do things that they find distasteful. She seems to forget that some of them like Eric are actually older than her and only follow her out of feudal loyalty.
  • One episode of ICarly had a newcomer bully who liked to pick on Sam. Sam didn't retaliate as she wanted a boy she liked to see her as normal. However near the end, when the trio are at their local hangout waiting for said boy the bully arrives and starts hassling the three. Said bully finally goes too far when she pushes Carly (who was keeping Sam back) who promptly orders Sam to "rip her head off!" Sam gladly goes to town on her.
  • The Vampire Diaries
    • Why don't people learn that annoying Damon Salvatore isn't a good idea...?
    • Damon himself just can't seem to get in through his head that Katherine is stronger than him, much nastier, capable of using most of the town as weapons, and can enter his and his love interest's home anytime she wants. A lot of Damon and Stefan's conversations in the second season include Stefan reminding him to 1. Stop letting her manipulate him. and 2. Stop trying to make her angry.
    • Damon seems to have a major problem with this trope. He also tried to intimidate Pearl, who had a few hundred years on him and responded by gouging out his eyes, Jules, a werewolf, during the full moon, and Elijah, who's an Original vampire and could decapitate him with one punch.
  • Subverted Trope on Angel. Gwen is a young woman who can electrocute people by touching them with her bare skin; as a child she was sent to a boarding school and is approached by a boy asking if she's "a freak." The audience braces itself...but he's not bullying her, just asking her an innocent question, and follows up with "you don't look like a freak." Unfortunately, he offers to share a toy car with her, and when she reaches out to take it, she ends up electrocuting him to death anyway.
  • Glee's Santana Lopez - a tallish, bitchy but light cheerleader who can hold her own in Cat Fight against most girls in the school - picks a fight with Lauren Zizes over her developing relationship with Puck. Unfortunately for Santana, Lauren is the Ohio state champion in greco-roman wrestling, and a big, confident girl with a bad attitude to boot. Calling the resultant fight a Curb Stomp Battle is possibly longer than the actual fight.
  • From Mighty Morphin Power Rangers we have Bulk and Skull, who (as Linkara pointed out) regularly bullied a group of six classmates, all of whom could easily beat the crap out of them (even though they mostly seemed to pick on Billy, the weakest of the group). Luckily for them, the Rangers were far too nice to ever do anything. It is shown in Tommy's introduction, though: they go to harass the new kid, only for him to pull off an impromptu demonstration of his martial arts skills (never actually touching either bully), which causes them to run away in wide-eyed terror.
  • Airwolf: Don't mess with Stringfellow Hawke's friends. He will personally send you straight to hell.
  • As a villain in a new-series Doctor Who episode learned, trying to chain up and experiment on a Dalek is a bad idea. Deciding to capture and torture the Doctor is an even worse one.
  • Anderson and Donovan on Sherlock seemed convinced that Sherlock is a psychopath who will one day commit murder in order to assuage his boredom. This doesn't stop them from endlessly taunting and hassling him, which only leads to him humiliating them by utilizing his Sherlock Scan.



  • Hercules fits this trope. Hercules was normally a nice guy and more than willing to help you out. However, there are several stories of kings cheating him out of payment only for Hercules to sometimes come back years later and kill them for having dared wrong him. The worst offender being King Laomedon of Troy who refused to pay Hercules AFTER he had witnessed the hero killing a sea monster sent by Poseidon. Hercules eventually killed Laomedon and nearly his entire family after sacking the city. What makes Laomedon even dumber? The monster was sent by Poseidon due to Laomedon refusing to pay him for building Troy's walls. The only guy that had any justification was Eurystheus, the guy who gave him his Labours. Because he had Hera on his side/back.
  • We also have Jason. His protector was the goddess of marriage Hera, and he had seen his wife Medea (who had been given to him by Hera herself) cutting her own brother into pieces to protect him and killing an unkillable bronze giant with a look (depending on the version, she either hypnotized it into killing itself or tortured him into suicide). Then Jason decided to dump her for the daughter of the king of Corinth. Cue Hera withdrawing her protection and letting Medea destroy Jason so much that killing him would have been merciful (in latter versions includes killing their own children to destroy Jason's line), burning alive the king and his daughter (she was actually aiming for the daughter, the king just tried to save her and died in the process) and destroying Corinth either as collateral damage or, in earlier versions, for the citizens trying to exact revenge on her by killing her children.


  • Michael Cole. After his 2010 Face Heel Turn, he's bullied John Cena, Jerry Lawler (his arch enemy), Jim Ross, The Rock (twice), Daniel Bryan, the WWE Divas (all of them), and even his own Dragon Jack Swagger (making him a somewhat literal example of the trope) to their faces. All of them could easily beat Cole to a bloody pulp if they wanted to, and half of them actually did.
    • The WWE Divas deserve special mention here. He seems to save his venom for two very specific Divas, Natalya Neidheart and Eve Torres. While most of the Divas are accused of being Faux Action Girl Eye Candy, he decides to pick on possibly two of the most dangerous of them. Natalya is a veteran wrestler and a member of the Hart Wrestling Family. Eve is a trained Gracie Jiu Jitsu fighter, and is (in Real Life) dating a member of the Gracie Family. He decides not only to bully the two most dangerous female Dragons, he also chooses the two most-well connected.
    • Cole also regularly mocks Booker T, Zack Ryder, and Ted Dibiase Jr. (following Dibiase's 2011 Heel Face Turn).
  • In 2007, Santino Marella would regularly mock Stone Cold Steve Austin: mangling Austin's catchphrases, cosplaying as him while acting like an idiot, bashing Austin's movies and declaring him a horrible actor. When Austin finally confronts him face-to-face, he forces Santino to admit that he never actually watched any of his movies. Austin offers Santino a DVD of The Condemned and requests that he watch it before evaluating his acting skills, but Santino throws it down and stomps on it. Que beatdown.
  • Since the beginning of 2012, Cody Rhodes has made it his mission in life to mock The Big Show, calling him a fat loser and continuously showing clips of Show's embarrassing moments. No matter how many times Show catches up to him and gives him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown, he just won't stop. Come Wrestlemania 28, Rhodes ends up paying the price, as he not only got KO'd by Show, but he lost the Intercontinental Title as a result. And now Show's returning the favor to Rhodes, showing humiliating moments during his matches.

Tabletop Games

  • Shadowrun
    • magic users are looked upon with distrust and fear by a large segment of the population, and many actively discriminate against them, often on religious grounds.
    • Demihumans are sometimes discriminated against by humans for being "freaks." Demihumans include trolls, who stand 7 to 10 feet tall, are extremely strong, and have armor-plated skin.
  • Dungeons and Dragons
    • This is also true of sorcerers, who have innate magical talent. Even standard wizards tend to do it, even though sorcerers can cast more spells per day than them.
    • Warlocks suffer an even worse treatment (due to their powers often but not always having a demonic origin) and Complete Arcane (the book introducing the class) points out how it should be standard for most settings to scorn, resent and persecute warlocks. Given that warlocks are casters who have an unlimited store of spells (unlike the sorcerer, who will eventually run dry), and have a built-in, 60-foot range weapon that ignores armor and shields, this really makes no sense.
    • There is also half-dragons who are almost always treated badly by humans in Dungeons and Dragons. Yes, they think it's a good idea to pick of the person with claws and sharp teeth who can breathe dangerous substances and often has a parent that can level the town. The Dragonblooded supplement has a short story at the beginning of the chapter on Spellscales in which the main character encounters a young spellscale girl being bullied by a mob of normal kids, and managing to cast a high-enough-level Sleep spell to knock out eight or ten at once. Eberron averts this by making the half-dragons considered abominations by the dragons.
  • Wizards and Psykers of Warhammer and Warhammer 40000 respectively. The Wizards normally don't give a damn about what peasants think but soldiers love them, and psykers, well, their powers come from Chaos... Considering that psykers are incredibly vulnerable to Power Incontinence, Demonic Possession, and in more than a few occasions having their skull turned into a portal to allow The Legions of Hell to overrun the planet, this trope becomes even more ridiculous if treatment of them within the Imperium wasn't less "ostracism" and more "immediate execution".
  • Magic the Gathering


  • The Phantom of the Opera - Although the Phantom has the previous day dropped a heavy backcloth on the Opera House's Prima Donna, the managers still think it's be a really great idea to completely ignore his demands that Christine is cast, and instead choose a singer who is much inferior to her. The Phantom promises that "if these demands are not met, a disaster beyond your imagination will occur." Let's just say these aren't empty words...
    • They do wise up by the second act, however, when the Phantom crashes the Masquerade Ball and says, in effect, "Hey, here's the score for this opera I just wrote; I think you guys will know what to do with it. Oh yeah, that Falling Chandelier of Doom a few months back? That was me being nice." The managers, albeit very reluctantly, realize open defiance is not the safest of options.
  • Cyrano De Bergerac: The people in this list know the guy who they are bullying is dangerous, but they did not care. Christian ends well, but the others...
    • Act I Scene II, Ligniere brags about his song, where he expose the persecution of Roxane by De Guiche. Ligniere himself admits De Guiche is a powerful noble who is wedded to the niece of Richelieu.

Web Original

    • The Charlie Brown Murders has Charlie Brown snap after more or less being the laughingstock of the entire Peanuts gang. He decides to go on a revenge-fueled rampage, with one of his victims being his own father. When she overhears two girls talking about him, not only does Lucy not think that he's a threat, she attempts to bully Charlie Brown again by once again attempting to lift a football just when Charlie is about to kick it. Lucy is warned that she just might be on Charlie's hit list, but she does it anyway. It does about as well as you might expect. Not only is Charlie fast enough to kick the football this time, he proceeds to cut off Lucy's head with a chainsaw. The kicker? (No pun intended.) If she hadn't done so, Charlie would have been arrested and she would be safe.
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    • Act I, Scene IV. A bore bluntly mentions Cyrano that he cannot pretend to humiliate Montfleury, an actor protected by the Duke of Candale, and not to have himself a protector.
    • Act I, Scene IV. After seeing Cyrano dealt with the bore, De Valvert mentions Cyrano nose.
    • Act II Scene IX. After some comments about Cyrano’s murdering ways by the cadets, Christian makes a Hurricane of Puns about Cyrano’s nose.

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