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Feeding people to monsters or man-eating animals is one of the classic perils that villains and others subject people to.

Sometimes this is a Human Sacrifice to a demon, dragon, Eldritch Abomination, or some other monster or beast. These scenarios usually have some poor unfortunate Chained to a Rock awaiting their doom. Maybe the local religion demands this to be done to Appease the Volcano God. Maybe the monster wants tribute in the form of people to eat, such as with many dragons. Maybe this is even meant as a punishment, in the case of Daniel in the lion's den from The Bible or Andromeda from Classical Mythology.

Other times, the beast is a Right-Hand Attack Dog -- a pet or other creature that the villain keeps around for some reason, which he uses to dispose of victims, and more than one villain's underling has met their end in this way, usually after they've failed him or outlived their usefulness. If a villain tries to do this to the hero, expect the hero to kill the beast or escape in some other fashion. It's also not uncommon for villains fond of feeding people to beasts to meet their end by being eaten by the beast in turn, if the hero didn't kill the beast beforehand.

Fantasy villains have all kinds of monsters to choose from, ranging from dragons to giant snakes to giant vermin to demons or something even weirder. Contemporary and pulp villains will often have their victims eaten by tigers or sharks or some other large man-eating carnivore. Sci-fi villains will often have some really freaky alien monster to feed people to.

The Shark Pool and the Snake Pit are two quite common forms of this particular trope. Also related as Animal Assassin, a more clandestine way of killing people using animals.

See also Just Desserts and Eat Me.

Examples of Fed to the Beast include:


Anime and Manga

  • Apostles in Berserk are fond of forcing their subjects to send them people to eat, such as the Baron of Koka Castle and the Count.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the Priestess is technically a Virgin Sacrifice for the Beast God she summons. It also functions as a Secret Test of Character; if she uses her wishes for the good of others over herself and possesses enough strength of will, she can escape having her soul eaten. Out of the four priestesses, two (Miaka and Suzuno) escape. The third (Takiko) was dying already so Genbu started to eat her soul and her dad mercy killed her. The fourth (Yui) is fully devoured, but Miaka uses one of her wishes to bring her Back From the Dead.
    • Also, there was a snow-demon in the novel that explains Nuriko's backstory (Yukiyasha Den) that demanded a more conventional Virgin Sacrifice from the village nearby. He eats Nuriko's friend and companion Byakuren, who pretty much pulls an Heroic Sacrifice to help Nuriko.

Film

  • In the Star Wars saga, Jabba the Hutt was quite fond of feeding people to a Rancor, including Twi'lek slave dancer Oola in a notorious Kick the Dog moment. He isn't quite so successful in his attempt to do the same to Luke. And once he's short one Rancor, he tries it again with the Sarlacc.
    • The Geonosians actually did this with an Acklay (a semi-aquatic lobster-praying mantis hybrid), a Nexu (a porcupine-tiger hybrid with four eyes and two tails), and a Reek (a minotaurlike monster with three horns on its head).
  • Ratigan feeds a hapless lackey to his pet cat Felicia in The Great Mouse Detective. Weird, because the professor himself is a rodent.
  • James Bond Villains like to use Shark Pools to get rid of people.
  • Conan's first dungeon crawl in Conan the Barbarian ends with him killing a big-ass snake that was supposed to eat a girl that the snake cult was going to sacrifice.
  • Cave Dwellers totally rips off the abovementioned scene from Conan by having Ator kill a velour snake puppet after a whole bunch of girls are thrown to it.
  • Shao Kahn disposes of Jade this way for failing to kill the heroes in Mortal Kombat Annihilation, feeding her to a monster carving in a wall (and for extra Narm points, the carving gives out a great big burp after it's done with her).
  • In Dragonslayer, the king feeds virgins to the title dragon every year in order to appease it so it will leave his lands alone. The plot kicks off when Elspeth, the king's daughter, ends up on the menu.
  • M. Bison in the film of Street Fighter attempts to do this, proclaiming his idea to the would-be victims in (OF COURSE!) wonderfully hammy fashion. Blanka, the "beast" in question, has other ideas.
  • The climax of Lair of the White Worm invokes this trope as a woman is set up as a Virgin Sacrifice to an Eldritch Abomination by a Lesbian Vampire.
  • Humorously averted in Dragonheart, in which con-man knight Bowen attempts to rid himself of a nusiance rabble-rouser by suggesting to her village that dragons can be placated with virgin sacrifices. His dragon partner finds the idea ridiculous, and even expresses disgust at the idea of eating a human. Except when he must chew in self-defense (but he doesn't swallow).
  • The Rescuers Down Under: Mcleach tries to feed Cody to some crocodiles.
  • In Peter Pan: Return to Neverland, Captain Hook is actually revealed to have a pet octopus in which he will often feed unsuspecting pirates to if they disobey him. However, near the end of the film, said octopus eventually develops an obsession of eating Captain Hook as well, and as a result he actually starts to frighten the pirate by constanly bobbing its eyes upside down like you-know-who.
  • The Lion King has a more unintentional example in the case of Simba. After literally overthrowing Scar in self-defense from Pride Rock, the Hyenas emerge and then proceed to eat Scar alive as revenge due to Scar earlier pinning the blame squarely on the Hyenas and their overhearing it.
    • Also subverted earlier on. Scar callously tells the complaining Hyenas to eat Zazu during the drought, both to avoid dealing with their complaints about there not being any food or water, and partly as revenge for Zazu comparing Scar negatively to Mufasa under his breath, only for them to decide it was ultimately not worth it, and unknowingly agree with Zazu that Mufasa ultimately was a better king than Scar.

Literature

  • In Robert E. Howard's "The Scarlet Citadel," Tsotha imprisons Conan the Barbarian in the dungeons below the title citadel, with the intent of having him be eaten by Satha, another big-ass snake. The snake ends up killing a slave of Tsotha's who was planning to kill Conan in revenge for his brother's death during Conan's pirate days, when he was called Amra.
  • Has happened to Alex Rider at least once in his career.
  • In the James Bond novel Live and Let Die, Felix Leiter is caught snooping around the villains' warehouse and partially fed to a shark (the basis for his maiming in Licence to Kill, including the "He disagreed with something that ate him" note). Later, Bond and Solitaire are to be dragged through a reef until their blood attracts sharks to eat them (this was used in For Your Eyes Only).
  • In the Harry Potter books, Voldemort generally feeds his victims to his snake, Nagini, although they're usually (if not always) dead first.
    • Well of course they're usually dead. He doesn't want them hurting his snake by struggling, after all.
  • Animorphs had a unique variant of this. A Yeerk who had displeased the Visser one too many times was fed to a natural Yeerk predator nicknamed the Yeerkbane. I believe Vanarx was the actual name. It enveloped the host's head with its mouth and sucked the Yeerk right out of the host's head. Yikes.
  • Septimus Heap: Twice with Magogs, without success:
    • Done with Marcia Overstrand by DomDaniel.
    • Tried with Jenna Heap by Simon Heap.

Theater

Religion and Mythology

  • Classical Mythology had Princess Andromeda of Ethiopia Chained to a Rock to be eaten by a sea-monster as punishment for her mother Cassiopeia's extremely arrogant and stupid boastfulness about Andromeda's beauty being greater than that of the sea sylphs known as the Nereids (which upset Poseidon, one of the many Jerkass Gods of the pantheon AND the husband of one of them, Amphitrite). She's rescued by the hero Perseus, who turns the monster to stone with the head of Medusa, and then they get married.
  • Saint George is famous for slaying a dragon that did have a taste for villagers, in particular young women.
  • Older Than Feudalism: The Bible has the story of Daniel, who was thrown into a lion's den due to a law that some princes had tricked King Darius, who liked Daniel, into passing because they were jealous of his faith and hard work. Daniel, who has always been faithful to the Lord, was protected by one of God's angels, who shut the mouths of the lions. When the king learned that Daniel was still alive after spending the entire night in the den, he had Daniel taken out of the lion's den and the princes and their families thrown in instead, where they promptly got eaten by the lions.
    • Christians in Roman times were supposedly fed to lions in the arena as well. At least, that's the excuse one Pope used for declaring the Colosseum a monument to martyrs to protect it from commercial development. The historical truth of that claim is more murky.
  • In Japanese Mythology, the Yamata no Orochi was an eight-headed and eight-tailed monster that forced a pair of earthly deities to hand over one of their daughters to be devoured by the beast every year. Their eighth and final daughter, Princess Kushinada, was saved from this fate by her future husband, the storm god Susano-o, who slew the beast by impersonating her, getting it drunk on eight large bowls of sake, and then chopping off each of its eight heads.

Tabletop RPG

  • Dungeons and Dragons module Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits. Lolth disposes of prisoners by placing them in a small dimension where they're hunted and eaten by giant spiders.

Video Games

Western Animation

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