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What can be more completely and pointlessly evil? Burning the orphanage, of course! Besides, burning harmless orphans have an enjoyable smell.

Seemingly a Dead Unicorn Trope, mostly used for Comedic Sociopathy. This is very very rarely positive, the only way it can is if it's an Orphanage of Fear, but then again, the management of the latter usually makes it so some orphans are unable to escape the fire.

Examples of Burn the Orphanage include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Monster, Johan orchestrated a riot amongst the staff and children in Kinderheim 11 that lead to it burning to the ground. Given the events that took place inside, it was probably for the better.
  • More of a burn the temple, but this is what happened to Anji from Rurouni Kenshin that made him into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds; the temple where he has looking after orphans was burned down, and all the orphans killed.


Live-Action TV

  • The townsfolk in the TV movie Love Takes Wing. On the one hand, they believed that the orphans were spreading cholera. On the other hand, they wanted to burn down an orphanage. Somehow the town is portrayed as generally a nice place to live in the sequel.


  • If it counts, the eponymous pirates of the Abney Park song "Airship Pirates" shoot down a ship with "a crew of nuns and orphans".

Video Games

  • Terumi burned down the orphanage that housed Ragna, Jin, and Saya in BlazBlue's backstory.
  • Lynx, evil panther-man villain of Chrono Cross, burned down an orphanage (in flashback), in case you didn't already hate him enough.
  • Dragon Age contains a side quest where you have to hunt down a criminal inside an orphanage. Once inside, you find a site that more closely resembles an slaughterhouse.
  • In Jade Empire, you can find an orphanage that, rather than being burned, was FLOODED... with all the children still locked inside... clawing at the door to get out while the waters inexorably rose... all while the manager was off somewhere drinking. Several of the children have lingered as ghosts - one desiring revenge over the manager, the other merely wanting to find peace and move on. You can track down the manager for them, and find that he's been reduced to a human wreck by guilt. He's terrified of returning to the orphanage, but you can drag him back there anyway, and once faced with the anger and pain of the children's spirits, he'll accept his fate... whatever that may be.
  • In MS Saga the orphanage in which our main hero Tristan grew up in was burned down, pushing him onwards to seek justice.
  • Psychonauts: On the "Lungfishopolis" level, you rampage across a tiny town in a parody of Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever movies as terrified citizens scream around. Several of their lines refer to the orphanage, which you apparently keep just missing while destroying the generic-looking buildings.
    • A slightly later line reveals that the building you destroyed really was the orphanage. The puppy orphanage. How could you?
  • Not as much evil, as dangerously incompetent, but the management of the Shalebridge Cradle orphanage in Thief: Deadly Shadows allowed a fire to spread through it, forcing them to relocate the surviving children. Of course, they were the same people who semi-converted it into an asylum...
  • In Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade, the Bern army attacks the orphanage in Araphen early on. This is how Chad the thief and Lugh the mage join your team.

Web Comics

  • Black Mage discussed burning down an orphanage early in 8-Bit Theater, after White Mage was horrified that he burned down the retirement home.
    • When he tries to prove that Black Magic isn't inherently evil, she gives him the scenario of an orphanage being on fire. Before she can even finish asking what he'd do, he gleefully starts describing the spells he'd use to pick off the survivors.
  • Ansem Retort does this in the first strip.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: In "Space Savers", King Radical claims that he's stealing a warhead so he can fire it at an orphanage. However, given that we later learn that this is something of a non-standard warhead, it's possible that Radical's plan was ultimately benign.
    • Yeah, it was. But since he left the warhead with McNinja, he had to demolish it a mundane, non-radical way off-screen.
  • In Daisy Owl, Steve accidentally presses a self-destruction button in the orphanage.
  • Lothar Hex in Exterminatus Now tells a story about him hiding in an orphanage once. He blinded all the children so they couldn't recognize him and killed the youngest one to scare the others into silence.
  • In a flashback in Hellbound, The Ditz struggles in her bonds as she's being burned at the stake and accidentally throws firebrands into an orphanage or children hospital.
  • In Looking for Group, Richard says "That orphanage attacked me." Later made into a t-shirt with flames in the background.
  • This Megatokyo strip during the PlayStation 2 shortage in its early days.

Web Original


If they ever make a sequel [of Volcano], they should save a city from a glacier by burning down an orphanage.

  • The 53rd Annual Blackguard convention gives a pro tip: "Orphanages. Don't kill everyone in them." Pillage, THEN burn A Card-Carrying Villain with foresight should select and adopt the best prospective villains/henchmen first - then deal with the orphanage together, "as a bonding experience".
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