Way Back Wednesday: Be Careful What You Wish For


In my universe, Pirithous wanted Persephone so he could have a chance at immortality. He got his wish…in a manner of speaking. Greek Mythology is full of the “be careful what you wish for” trope, in which the  characters get exactly what they wanted in a manner they wouldn’t have wished upon their worst enemies. That idea of getting the ultimate wish all wrong carried on into modern day and into my childhood in the following examples.  


Jafar wanted unlimited wishes and became a slave to them. Return of Jafar took the trope even further. Thanks to Jafar’s trickery, I know exactly how I’d phrase my three wishes should it ever come up. King of Theives took the wish for riches to a very dark place. In the series an ancient character whose name escapes me asked for immortal life but forgot to request immortal youth.


Full Metal Alchemist

This series took be careful what you wish for to an exponentially worse level than I ever would have thought possible. I remember being sixteen and watching the Nina episode and bawling for an hour straight. And that wasn’t even the worst thing that happened in the series. This show has an amazing plot, great character development, and it’s great all round. But I can never watch it again. Ever. It scarred me for life.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Wishes and birthdays tend to go awry in the Buffyverse. There’s an entire species devoted to subverting wishes for maximum vengeance and an episode actually called Be Careful What You Wish For. My favorite example of this is the musical episode.


Gargoyles did an amazing thing anytime they put Shakespeare in the mix. The Macbeth plot line really highlighted the irony of getting what you want in an unimaginable way and the entire be careful what you wish for trope was personified in my absolutely favorite character in the series, Puck.

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