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"You are a hateful woman. You oppose me to the very end. But I shall forgive you. Some things are beautiful because they cannot be obtained."—Gilgamesh, Fate/stay night
Sometimes a person who is either insanely charismatic or has some sort of awesome magical powers can pretty much seduce anyone they want to, but finds a true challenge when they meet another character who, for whatever reason, is immune to mystical charms or their usual methods of seduction. Because their idea of love requires that the two parties involved be of roughly equivalent mental prowess, the notion that they might have an equal turns out to be highly erotic.
If The Casanova gets a Love Interest, he will often fall for her because of this trope. This is often an explanation behind Ladykiller in Love. Contrast All Take and No Give. Sub-Trope of Forbidden Fruit. When the uncontrollable object is not flattered by the attention, she may be dealing with a Prince Charming Wannabe.
Anime and Manga
- A very large amount of Shoujo is based on this trope, where the extremely handsome and cynical male lead falls for the honest, down-to-earth female lead because he can't wrap her around his finger as easily as he can everyone else.
- Sometimes even used when it makes no sense because the heroine does fall for everything, because she's supposed to be the self-insert and the audience is supposed to find the lead so irresistible.
- Mao in Code Geass became a Yandere because of this trope, as C.C. ended up being the only person he could have extended contact with that wouldn't fill up his head with the white noise created by his uncontrollable Geass power.
- Lelouch/C.C. shippers will argue along these lines as well. Not because of Lelouch's Geass power so much as that she's too intelligent to be manipulated by his Machiavellian machinations.
- The same can be said for Lelouch/Kallen shippers. Due to an early frivolous use of his geass (in fact, it was because of her that he learned he can only use it once on each person), Kallen was one of the few main characters immune to Lelouch's power.
- Suzaku/Lelouch could be seen to fall under this, too. Like Kallen, Suzaku has been geassed so Lelouch can't compell him that way, and his role as Lelouch's personal Spanner in the Works means his other manipulative methods are most ineffective. As with C.C., Suzaku is one of the few people Lelouch considers an equal, and one of the sound dramas implies that Lelouch prizes him as a friend precisely because of this.
- Shinn from Fist of the North Star, who loves Yuria because she is an emotionally strong-willed woman whom he sees as a challenge to make willingly fall in love with him. It keeps failing, since will only love Kenshirou.
- A mostly mundane version of this seems to be what attracts most of the suitors of Shuurei in Saiunkoku Monogatari - being a confident, outspoken, and blindingly intelligent woman in an otherwise male-dominated society, she doesn't let ANY level of authority or nobility intimidate her, up to and including the Emperor himself. As a result, several of the most powerful men in the Empire become enamoured with her straightforward and willful personality, whether it be a fatherly concern or outright True Love.
- In One Piece, part of the reason why Boa Hancock falls in love with Luffy if due to the fact that he's the only one who can resist her charms, while everyone else she comes in contact falls head over heels for her.
- Touga falls in love with Revolutionary Girl Utena because she seems to be the one girl who doesn't immediately fall under his charm.
- The protagonist of B Gata H Kei brushes off the flirtations of her rival's stupidly attractive older brother. Apparently she is the first one to ever do that. He immediately decides he must have her.
- Akako Koizumi of Magic Kaito. A mix of Hot Witch and Dark Magical Girl with the power to make men fall in love with her just by looking at her, she's put off by the discovery that Kaito Kuroba/Kaitou Kid is somehow the only person immune to her spell. After two failed attempts to force him under her control (and another attempt to just kill him when that doesn't work), she ends up falling in love with him and spends the rest of the series helping him out in her own way, via dropping cryptic warnings and disguising herself as Kid on one occasion to stop Hakuba from proving Kaito and Kid are the same person.
- One of the reasons Iason is so attracted to Riki in Ai no Kusabi is the latter's rebellious nature and defiant pride. The more Riki fights and resists him, Iason becomes more excited and determined to get Riki to submit willingly.
- Ali of the "Doom Tree arc" in the Sailor Moon anime specifically states to himself after Usagi runs away after he failed in his attempt at wooing her that "Every time she runs away it only heightens my determination to win her over..."
- Prince Dirmando likes Usagi's Older and Wiser self, Queen Serenity, for this reason as well. When Usagi reacts in the same manner, he also pursues her.
- Ranma ½: In the manga and even the anime, it's one of the reasons why Ranma has feelings for Akane. He's wanted by men, women, and a panda doodle. While most girls either pursue Ranma or at least freely admit they think he's attractive, Akane is one of the few who refuses to show interest openly. She also seems to almost always know if Ranma is trying to trick her or is wearing a disguise. Because of her fiery temper and refusal to put up with his crap, they eventually fall under the best friends category. Considering that he's uncomfortable with physical affection and loves a good challenge, it actually makes sense.
Ranma: You... sure got spunk.
- Count Germont from Honoo no Alpen Rose is repeteadly rejected by the heroine Jeudi, but he keeps trying to make her his mistress no matter what. Lampshaded by the Count's wife Francoise, who tells Jeudi that the Count's impressed by Jeudi's ability to tell him no repeatedly, and confesses that she also envies Jeudi for it.
- Reimei no Arcana: One of the first few things that attracts Caesar to (and annoys him about) Nakaba is her refusal to be controlled by him.
- In Ah! My Goddess Aoshima is implied to be like this to Belldandy.
- Also occurs with Sayoko towards Keiichi, particularly in Season 2.
- Kiniro no Corda: Yunoki to Hino.
- Pandora Hearts: In spite of finding out that Lacie initially doesn't remember him, Jack doesn't particularly mind because he admires Lacie all the more for how free-spirited she is and how she can't be tied down by anything.
- Sukisho: Yoru says to Ran at one point when he fights against his advances. "The more stubborn you are, the more you excite a man's domineering nature."
- France of Axis Powers Hetalia groped Italy once and mentioned that "The more you resist the hotter I burn for you."
- Fist of the North Star: Shin loves Yuria because she is an emotionally strong-willed woman whom he sees as a challenge to make willingly fall in love with him.
- In the Sillage comic, The Collector, a corrupt alien diplomat develops an obsession of Navis in this way. He keeps a whole harem of his past conquests but obsesses over this one girl he cannot get. (He is a powerful telepath but Humans Are Special by not being psykers - her mind is blank for him.) This develops into a genuine love that gives him what might qualify as a Heel Face Turn.
- Love is a strong word. He just toned down his obsession. It didn't stop him from putting dozens of video cameras in her ship and robot friend to watch her all the day.
- Jean Grey in the X-Men comics didn't really seem to earn Wolverine's interest until she shouted him down. Every time she'd telekinetically clobber him and shout "I am no one's property!", it seemed to make him hotter for her. Pity every adaptation ever forgets that, having Logan fall for her the instant he first sees her.
- The latest Clock King is obsessed with Rose Wilson aka Ravager mostly because she has similar precognitive abilities that can counter his own powers.
- Elf Quest: Leetah and Rayek's relationship in the early issues could easily be interpreted this way.
Rayek: I have asked you to be my lifemate. Any maiden here would say yes!
Leetah: Then why pursue me, my arrogant one?
Rayek: Because you are the only one worth having!
- Many Jerk Sue fanfics have the "heroine" as this kind of girl, and guys fall head over heels for her because she treats them "with spunk and feminist will"... alias like total crap, which makes her more "interesting" than the other silly, stupid, weaker, girly girls around.
- In the Avatar: The Last Airbender fic "Sun and Earth," Zuko is put in this position by Toph. She stays in a relationship with him, but has a strong need to stay free. She goes her own way, sometimes appearing in Zuko's life again. He still waits, even being married to Mai, because it's Toph being unreachable that attracts him.
- Played with in the Silmarillion fic "The Game of the Gods." The Gary Stu second-to-last opponent is, by his creator's decree, capable of seducing any woman he really wants to--and it works on a Vala--but it doesn't work on Luthien, causing him to immediately focus all his attention on her, then vanish from the contradiction when she persists in ignoring him.
- Part of the spark for the Fleur/Harry relationship in the Harry Potter fanfic The Lie Ive Lived. Fleur first sees Harry as an actual romantic prospect when, annoyed, he deliberately snubs her in order to ask her close but non-part-Veela friend to the Yule Ball. She is visibly much more satisfied with her relationship with Harry than with her previous ones, which usually involved much older men so strongly affected by her aura that they simply did whatever she told them to.
- Very common in Harry Potter fan fiction pairing Draco and an Original Character. Draco is portrayed as a Casanova (often referred to as "the Slytherin Sex-God"), but will quickly fall head-over-heels once it's revealed that the new girl isn't impressed by his pick-up lines.
- It's canon that Naruto is pretty rebellious and defiant. In Slash Fic this is sometimes one of the reasons that Sasuke ends up pursuing him.
- In the Death Note fanfic Feminism Fem!Raito gets even more interested in L when her attempts to seduce him (so she can win as Kira) don't work, and in fact he's noticed many for what they were. It's very interesting how in chapter 1-2 she notes herself as far out of his league, when by the fourth or so she admits she finds him attractive too--but still wants to win. It's done very well and over time.
- In the Fantastic Four movie, Victor Von Doom's assistant wonders, "Why Sue? You could have any other woman in the world." Victor quickly rejoins, "That's why. Because I could have any other woman."
- Inverted in Next, where the main character falls for the love interest because his powers work better on her than anyone else.
- In Beauty and the Beast one of the reasons Gaston falls for Belle is because Belle's the only girl in town who isn't taken in by him.
- This is eventually the motivation by which Courtney Thane is shown to be in love with Alix Crown in Quills Window: Her aloof, diffident nature is a stark contrast to any other woman he's met.
- Possibly the only reason for Scarlet O'Hara's obsession with Ashley Wilkes in Gone with the Wind was that he was not affected by her "powers of seduction"... at least, not enough to leave his wife.
- Gilgamesh and Enkidu in the Ho Yay reading of The Epic of Gilgamesh.
- Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead has a lot of Ho Yay subtext between Howard Roark and Gail Wynand, with Wynand's feeling for Roark being an example of this trope.
- Wuthering Heights - Edgar for Cathy Earnshaw. She walks all over him, ignores his wishes, throws temper tantrums and obviously prefers the company of Heathcliff, and yet he refuses to give her up.
- Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth Bennet is Genre Savvy enough to realize this is why Mr. Darcy fell in love with her -- she was a welcome change from the likes of his Clingy Jealous Girl Caroline Bingley.
Elizabeth: Now be sincere; did you admire me for my impertinence?
Darcy: For the liveliness of your mind, I did.
Elizabeth: You may as well call it impertinence at once. It was very little less. The fact is, that you were sick of civility, of deference, of officious attention. You were disgusted with the women who were always speaking, and looking, and thinking for your approbation alone. I roused, and interested you, because I was so unlike them. Had you not been really amiable, you would have hated me for it; but in spite of the pains you took to disguise yourself, your feelings were always noble and just; and in your heart, you thoroughly despised the persons who so assiduously courted you.
- Interestingly, Jane Austen takes the opposite approach to the trope in her next novel Mansfield Park, where Henry Crawford and his sister are both fully aware that the only reason he wants to make Fanny Price fall in love with him is because she's the first girl who doesn't fawn over him and crave his attention. The difference from P&P is that It's All About Me in Crawford's case.
- Gender flipped in Austen's Emma, where Emma falls in love with Mr. Knightley, the only person on Earth who doesn't worship her or treat her like she's perfect.
- In Carpe Jugulum the young vampire Vlad becomes interested in Agnes/Perditax because she is able to resist his mind control due to her split personality.
- Twilight has a variation: "I love you because I can't read your mind." He actually can, and regularly does, control her.
- Also, it's implied that it's supposed to be because Bella is way too good to fall for looks alone... except that's all she talks about when she describes Edward, so the meaning is lost.
- Watson explicitly dismisses the idea of Sherlock Holmes having felt this way about Irene Adler, instead stating that their connection was a completely platonic version of this trope; writers of every Holmes adaptation ever disagree.
- In Sherlock, Irene's first meeting with Sherlock starts with her trying and completely failing to manipulate him the way she would most men (and a statistically significant portion of women). Given that this version of her is all about controlling others, this trope is in play.
- Ciaphas Cain: Probably applies in Ciaphas' relationship with Amberley.
- Averted in The Vampire Diaries. Elena notes that Meredith is the only female who seems immune to Damon's charisma, but this only serves to make Damon rather wary of her.
- Played straight in the TV Series between Damon and Elena literally because her vervain necklace prevents her from being compelled.
- "Face" Loran invokes this trope in the X Wing Series with Dia Passik, who because of her tough childhood never saw any of his films, and thus is just about the only woman of her age who doesn't gush over him. Although he meant it ironically, in the end the two of them do get together.
- Esteban for Clara in The House of the Spirits.
- Caine for Diana in Gone. He fell for her because she was the only girl who hadn't fallen for his charms.
- In The Wizard Heir by Cinda Williams Chima, protagonist Seph has always been able to get any girl he wants thanks to his magically-aided charisma. Then he meets Madison Moss, whose Anti-Magic makes her immune. You can guess where this is going.
- In The Novels Of The Jaran, Ilya fall in love with Tess because she constantly defies him when nearly everyone else in the Jaran obeys him. The fact that she doesn't fall for his charisma and good looks like most other women probably factored in, too.
- Sophie from Howl's Moving Castle (the book) is Genre Savvy enough to recognize that Miss Angorian, who is not only capable of resisting Howl's charm and is engaged to another man but also smart, pretty, down-to-earth and confident, will steal Howl's heart after witnessing their first meeting but it was Sophie who actually made Howl fall in love with her in the end.
- In The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries (and it's TV version, True Blood), this is the reason Sookie was first attracted to Bill: She realized she couldn't hear his thoughts.
- It's implied that Eric and Sookie's relationship has elements of this. She can't read his mind, he can't glamour her or make her quit her job and live safely as an odd type of housewife.
- In Trudi Canavan's The Ambassador's Mission Achati laments the fact that being in control of his slaves they have to do as he says saying any relationship therefore lacks risk "only when the person could easily leave you do you appriciate it when he stays" and seems to have taken an interest in Dannyl at least partly due to a more equal status
Live Action TV
- There's an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation where a mindreader is fascinated by someone she cannot read. He turns out to be a hologram.
- Also from Star Trek: The Next Generation, Q's attraction to Picard is probably the result of this trope. He seems rather pleased with humanity's unpredictability, after all.
- In Babylon 5, Londo announces to his wives that he's going to divorce all but one of them. All of them dislike him, but Timov is frank about it and refuses to fawn over him to secure some of his wealth and influence the way Mariel and Daggair do. He keeps Timov because he knows where he stands with her. It's somewhat implied he figured out she saved him and knows she wasn't involved in his assassination attempt.
- In Dark Angel, there is an episode focused on one of the X series fugitives who has Mind Control powers. She's dating this mob guy called Dougie, despite him being below average in pretty much every respect, because her powers don't work on him. She helped him rip off his organisation, manipulating him in more traditional ways.
- In both The Sookie Stackhouse Mysteries and the TV adaptation True Blood, Sookie was initially attracted to Bill the vampire mainly because she couldn't read his mind, though this was mostly since she wasn't Squicked out by what he thought about her sexually.
- The fact that he saved her from the Rattrays and fed her his blood, causing her to have sexy dreams about him didn't hurt any. Of course it turned out he'd orchestrated the whole thing specifically to get this response, which may make this a subversion.
- There's also Eric, who, in True Blood, is mostly into Sookie because he's a bit intimidated by her powers, as shown in a fantasy of his where she tops the hell out of him.
- There's a bit of this in Castle; Richard Castle can charm any lady he likes around his little finger except for Detective Kate Beckett, who isn't suckered in by any of his usual methods... which makes Castle, who was getting bored with the fawning ladies themselves trying to snare or drape themselves over him, a lot more interested in her as a result. It's also suggested (including by the actors) that it's not so much about Castle trying to find some way to control Beckett as he is kind of thrilled to find someone who can control him, as Castle has no real authority figure in his life except for her.
- Scrubs: Dr. Cox loves Jordan because she's one of the only people who can stand up to him. Jordan loves Dr. Cox because he's one of the only people who can stand up to her.
- Gossip Girl: Blair loves Chuck because he's the only person who is a Worthy Opponent, Chuck loves Blair because she's the only one who ever seriously challenges him.
- Subverted in the Smallville episode, "Heat". When Desiree finds that her seduction power has no effect on Clark Kent, she gets pissed and immediately starts trying to ruin his life. For example, she frames him for arson.
- Noah's Arc: This is one of the things that draws Ricky towards Junito early on (as Ricky's sexual advances don't seem to take).
- Fans would have us believe that Jayne feels this way about Axe Crazy River Tam.
- The Secret Life of the American Teenager has this in the pilot, proving that at least one of the writers actually knows how to write. The main love interest, after talking to the main character, talks to his councilor.
"I asked her out, and she turned me down. Of course, I must have her."
- Is the "seduction expert" character in Psych, season 5, in love with his friend merely because she's immune to his tactics, or did he fall in love with her because he discovered other things about her due to the failure of these tactics?
- Prince Arthur from Merlin begins to fall in love with Guinevere because she's the only one who refuses to suck up to him, and calls him out on his rude behavior.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy treats Spike's sexual advances with contempt until he reveals that his chip doesn't read her as human, and so he can hurt or even kill her without consequence. This results in an immediate mutual No-Holds-Barred Beatdown which leads to passionate sex in a collapsing building. There were other factors leading up to this moment, but the timing is interesting.
- In Haven, Chris Brody is attracted to Audrey only because she doesn't fall for him like all the town's people do due to his Trouble.
- In one episode of Boy Meets World, Shawn becomes obsessed with winning over the one girl who doesn't want a second date with him. At first it seems like a case of "all girls want me, so what's wrong with her?", and it doesn't help when she and Topanga tell him he's "not boyfriend material," basically invoking a gender-flip of the Madonna-Whore Complex. But soon it becomes apparent that Shawn really does like this one girl and wants to be the kind of guy she can trust, and he's afraid he just doesn't have it in him to be more than Mr. Makeouts.
- Don McLean's Everybody Loves Me Baby is a great example of this. "Everybody loves me, baby - what's the matter with you?"
- It's possible to interpret The Taming of the Shrew like this, with Kate being impressed that she is unable to frighten away Petruchio (YMMV of course). This is the approach taken in Ten Things I Hate About You.
Kat: Why would you care if I never woke up again?
Patrick: Because then I'd have to start taking out girls who actually liked me.
Kat: Like you could find any.
Patrick: Now see, right there, who needs affection when you have blind hatred?
- Arguably, the inverse is also true for the movie - Patrick grows to love Kat because she's not afraid of or especially impressed by him, unlike most of the student body.
- In My Fair Lady, Prof. Higgins realizes his attraction to Eliza only when she leaves him and declares that she doesn't need him.
- Tales of Symphonia: Zelos Wilder is used to girls throwing themselves at him, so naturally he takes a keen interest in Sheena, who refuses to fall for any of his charms. If you get Zelos's backstory, he reveals that his happy-go-lucky exterior is just a facade, and he's actually quite cynical--and that especially goes for his instant harem, whom he believes is more interested in being with Zelos the Chosen than they are in Zelos the person. Sheena doesn't care if he's the Chosen or no, meaning that whatever she is feeling for Zelos -- even though it's currently "he's a disgusting pervert" -- is genuine.
- In the second Knights of the Old Republic, that might explain some of Sion's Stalker with a Crush dialogue towards a female Exile.
- Togainu no Chi: Shiki has interest in Akira because he refuses to surrender to him and doesn't beg for his life.
- Gilgamesh towards Saber in Fate/stay night. In one route he even states to her face as he's dying that "Some things are more beautiful because you can't have them."
- Jooubachi no Oubou has Sumeragi, who loves Kaguya because even when he wipes her memory to get her to love him she won't, and when he beats and rapes her she's still defiant every step of the way.
- Gunnerkrigg Court: Not love per se, since he seems incapable of loving anyone besides himself, but Coyote is clearly fascinated with Antimony and Reynardine precisely because they're not afraid to disagree with him or brush him off. In contrast, Ysengrin is a fawning yes-man to Coyote, so Coyote barely gives him the time of day.
- Skin Horse: Tigerlily Jones is the only (human) female to appear for more than a panel and not find Tip extremely attractive. She barely even noticed him unless forced to. This is probably the main reason she's the only woman Tip's actually thought twice about (without sleeping with her or her trying to kill him).
- Nobody probably finds his mental equal as literally "highly erotic" as David Xanatos of Gargoyles does. He tells his new wife so in the episode "Upgrade."
- Puck feels this way (probably platonicly) towards David Xanatos.
- In Batman Beyond, Xander falls for Max because she is tough and sassy, unlike his sickeningly submissive servants.
- "You're... rejecting ME? You're... you're awesome, Timmy! I love you!"
- In Neil Strauss' The Game, a memoir about his time as a pickup artist, he describes how he ended up in a serious romantic relationship with the one woman not affected by his seduction techniques.