"What have you done now?" said he; "you have brought misery on both of us. If you had but held out for the space of one year I should have been free. I have a step-mother who has bewitched me so that I am a white bear by day and a man by night; but now all is at an end between you and me, and I must leave you, and go to her. She lives in a castle which lies east of the sun and west of the moon, and there too is a princess with a nose which is three ells long, and she now is the one whom I must marry."
Curses are a very old trope. Very old. They served as warnings to listeners against defying morality or doing the taboo, for fear of angering the gods and incurring some terrible punishment. What might bring down a curse? It depended entirely on the story. Eating Forbidden Fruit, crossing the bridge after midnight, speaking out of Pride or even unkindness to strangers can trigger a curse.
The curser might be a petty god, witch, or even a normal person driven to great anger. Words and Language have power, especially spoken from the heart. Doubly so if the heart is filled with bitter rage. Triply so if the person is dying. But even in ordinary circumstances, Be Careful What You Say, or you may well cast a curse on a loved one. Or the curse might not be cast by anyone at all, it may well be a 'maliceless' effect of breaking some taboo. And there's no guarantee that the cursed person is the offender; a Hereditary Curse may steadily descend through a family.
The effect of the curse on a character and story is that of a potent driving force. Getting rid of it can drive a character to do great and terrible things. Enduring one can add drama and complicate a hero's life. Resolving it is cause for a satisfying resolution. Whatever the case, curses aren't minor things.
Curses can come in all shapes and sizes. Common curses include:
- Bad luck, sometimes in the form of an actual "cloud" of misfortune following them.
- A physical defect like BO, Involuntary Shapeshifting (and/or Baleful Polymorph), ugliness or clumsiness.
- A Wound That Will Not Heal. (A milder form is a scar immune to Healing Hands or other healing magic.)
- To die in some circumstance, or have a specific accident/event happen. This may overlap with prophecy, if the curse is merely a cruel but accurate divination.
- To become The Punishment; an inhuman monster wracked with suffering who extends that suffering to anyone they can.
- And to cap these, the curse will often include a Tongue-Tied clause that prevents the cursed character from saying they're cursed.
Curses can also be put on inanimate objects, such as swords, and places, both houses and lands. Places tend to turn to Mordor under curses, or at least smell bad, and both places and objects inflict bad things on the people about, or owning, them.
- Giving back a stolen item, apologizing, or otherwise setting right the original offense.
- Completing an Impossible Task.
- Dying and coming back, usually as part of finding a loophole in the curse.
- Passing it on to someone else, like a bad penny.
- Getting the cursing person to die. (Not effective in cases of a dying curse.)
- For a country, putting the rightful king on the throne. (This may or may not fall under the first as well.)
- The Power of Love. Sometimes this simply requires actually being loved by someone else, sometimes it requires the person to receive True Love's Kiss to seal the deal. Furthermore, many curses are susceptible to the Power of Love even if it's not supposed to be a condition of the curse.
It isn't awesome and was not meant as a blessing, this is a wicked spell intended to harm or even kill the cursed character. A common variant is the Gypsy Curse. Contrast the Protective Charm, which can block or lessen curses. See also One Curse Limit, in which a victim can only suffer a single curse at one time.
Anime and Manga
- Ranma ½: Ranma fell into a cursed spring where a young girl drowned—as a result, whenever he is splashed with cold water he will turn into a girl. This is where most of the plot complications and comedy stem from. If he is splashed with hot water, he changes back. Several other characters apparently fell into magical springs where something drowned in it, and suffer Involuntary Shapeshifting themselves.
- Besides Ranma's curse there are several other curses as well as cursed objects. Such as the other cursed springs, the curse that a ghost placed on Happosai to get him to steal her panties, the cursed paintings, and more.
- Berserk: Guts and Casca have the Brand of Sacrifice as a result of Griffith's betrayal during the Eclipse, which acts as a magnet for ravening demons that want to eat them alive, causes them pain when the monsters draw near and generally makes their lives a living Hell.
- Arguably, just living in Midland qualifies as a living curse.
- Hayate the Combat Butler: Athena, Mikado and Himegami have been to have been placed under a curse for trying to steal the power of god. Exactly what these curses are hasn't been stated yet. Part of Athena's was to be stuck in the Royal Garden for eternity, though at least that part of the curse is no longer valid. And it's after this has been cleared that she talks about being cursed, so we know that's not all there is to it.
- AIR: The curse the Buddist Monks pull on Kannabi has the effect of killing her and her next incarnations if they are to fall in love or be loved. Only true happiness can break the curse and make the next life much more better.
- In Inuyasha, Miroku's family was cursed by Naraku with the Wind Tunnel: a black hole in the palm of the right hand that's passed down through each generation. The Wind Tunnel absorbs everything in front of it unless sealed by enchanted prayer beads, and it's constantly expanding which culminates in it being strong enough to break the seal and consume its bearer and all that surrounds him, just like it has already done with Miroku's father and grandfather. The only way for Miroku to free himself and his descendants from this fate is to kill Naraku.
- In Fate/Zero when Lancer dies, he curses his killer Kiritsugu (and also His Master, Kayneth) for making the same thing that made him regrets happen again. With red eyes and his normal golden pupil making him look like Red Arcueid so that their wish will bring disaster, regret, and despair to them. Guess what happens later ?
- In Bloody Cross, half bloods are all cursed to die when they turn 18 unless they drink a pure demon's blood or find a God's inheritence strong enough to remove the curse.
- Curses from Fairy Tail are powers that Etherious can use in combat. It is similar to magic but is more malevolent due to being powered by humans' negative emotions.
- Curses from Jujutsu Kaisen are spiritual beings brought into being through cursed energy that originates from humans' negative emotions that can cause harm to people.
- Jujutsu is magic and skills that both Jujutsu Sorcerors and Curses use by manipulating Cursed Energy.
- With Strings Attached: C'hou is riddled with curses, which seem to be easy to cast.
- Lyndess was cursed by the Dalns gods to remain on Ketafa until she figures out how to cross the ocean without using any sort of vessel (ships sink under her, it's too far to swim, etc.). Another thing that will break the curse is if she apologizes to the god who cursed her, but she can't, because...
- Ketafa itself is under a curse: the gods cannot see anything on the continent.
- Actually, no, it's not, the gods are just ignoring the continent, but no one knows this.
- As'taris is cursed to return to his house every evening until Brox returns or he dies. (Brox did this to ensure that As would not go skylarking off after rumors of monsters.) Also, he's cursed not to initiate combat with anyone. He often tries to get people to fight him, but no one will.
- Penelope has the titular Penelope receive a hundred plus year old curse on her family that their first born daughter would be ugly until she were accepted by "one of her own." This is why her parents went about trying to get her married, but it turns out the curse can be interpreted as "when she accepts herself." As soon as she becomes okay with the idea that she's going to be ugly forever, and it's not a cause for angst, does the curse lift.
- Drag Me to Hell has the protagonist be cursed by a gypsy woman to be terrorized by a Lamia for three nights before being bodily dragged into hell. All for denying her a third loan extension on her house.
- Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl
- Ladyhawke has two lovers, Etienne Navarre and Isabeau de Anjou, who are kept apart by a demonic curse laid by the corrupt and jealous Bishop of Aquila, who wanted Isabeau for himself. By day, Isabeau becomes a hawk, and by night, Etienne becomes a wolf. The only time they can both see each other in human form is at dusk and dawn of each day for one fleeting moment, but they can never touch. The two break the curse by surviving until the "day without a night and a night without a day" (a solar eclipse) and standing together before the Bishop in human form.
- Sophie in Howl's Moving Castle, cursed to be an old woman and be unable to tell anyone her plight. It appears that her remembering that she is cursed is a key in the curse maintaining its effects. That, or her self-esteem issues. Whenever she appears more confident, she grows younger. When she goes back to being shy, she ages up. The book the film is adapted from features the same curse, which Howl attempts to secretly break on his own but discovers Sophie is unconsciously retaining on herself. Later, her concern for an injured Howl overcomes her shyness and the curse finally lifts.
- The Beast of Beauty and The Beast was cursed to be a beast until a woman honestly loved him.
- In Brother And Sister, the Wicked Stepmother had cursed streams so that her stepchildren would be transformed to beasts if they drank from it. Her stepson succumbed and became a deer, turning back only when she died.
- In all variants of "The Kind and Unkind Girls", the unkind girl behaves badly toward a stranger or employer and is cursed. Some include Diamonds and Toads, The Enchanted Wreath, The Two Caskets, The Two Cakes, The Three Little Men in the Woods, and The Three Heads In the Well.
- In East of the Sun, West of the Moon, the hero was cursed into a white bear by day by his Wicked Stepmother. When the heroine looks at him by night, that means to break it was gone; she succeeds only after a long Quest.
- In The Singing, Springing Lark, the hero is cursed into the form of a lion by day, and if he ever lets sunlight fall on him, he will be transformed again, into a dove, and have to wander for seven years.
- The Frog King was cursed into that shape. As were the heroes of The Queen Who Sought a Drink From A Certain Well and The Well of the World's End.
- In Snow White and Rose Red, the bear is a cursed prince.
- In Sleeping Beauty, the princess is cursed to die on her birthday. Another fairy manages to modify this to make her sleep a century.
- In Snow White Fire Red, the ogress curses the hero to forget the heroine as soon as his mother kisses him.
- In The Dove, any kiss whatever makes him forget the heroine.
- In The Six Swans, the princes are cursed by their Wicked Stepmother.
- In Hans Christian Andersen's The Wild Swans, having cursed the princes into swans, the queen tries to make the princess ugly and stupid:
She took three toads with her, and kissed them, and said to one, "When Eliza comes to the bath, seat yourself upon her head, that she may become as stupid as you are." Then she said to another, "Place yourself on her forehead, that she may become as ugly as you are, and that her father may not know her." "Rest on her heart," she whispered to the third, "then she will have evil inclinations, and suffer in consequence." So she put the toads into the clear water, and they turned green immediately. She next called Eliza, and helped her to undress and get into the bath. As Eliza dipped her head under the water, one of the toads sat on her hair, a second on her forehead, and a third on her breast, but she did not seem to notice them, and when she rose out of the water, there were three red poppies floating upon it. Had not the creatures been venomous or been kissed by the witch, they would have been changed into red roses. At all events they became flowers, because they had rested on Eliza's head, and on her heart. She was too good and too innocent for witchcraft to have any power over her.
- In The False Prince And The True, the old woman proves to be under a Curse. She is actually younger than the young prince who married her.
- In Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files, curses are various forms of nasty magic. Particularly dreadful is the "death curse," a wizard's last spell, Cast from Hit Points. Harry is under a death curse to die alone. His mother's death curse, against a vampire who could not be magically injured, managed to cut that vampire off from all sources of power.
- There's also the entropy curse, a magical working that causes luck to turn hideously against the target. Harry has seen entropy curses that are well put-together (causing falling masonry and snapped power lines to fall on the target) and... not so much (resulting in a target being hit by a car... while water-skiing, or crushed by a frozen turkey falling from an airplane).
- And the bloodline curse in Changes, which is meant to kill everyone related to the target of the curse, no matter how distant the connection. Originally intended for Harry's daughter so that he'll die by proxy, he turns it on the entire Red Court, wiping out one of the major players in the supernatural world in one fell swoop.
- Fool Moon had the curse on Harley MacFinn's family line, which caused him to turn into a rampaging super-werewolf during the full moon. Said curse was supposedly laid by St. Patrick, though the source of that information (a demon) is questionable.
- In Guy Gabriel Kay's Tigana, the entire country of Tigana and all its inhabitants are cursed.
- In Patricia A. McKillip's Riddle of the Stars trilogy, Raederle offers to teach Morgan the ninety-nine curses of a certain wizard.
- In The Bell At Sealey Head, the book revolves about a wizard's curse.
- Xanth. Many. Cursefiends have this as their power, and the Furies use it on anyone who is not (in their eyes) a dutiful enough child. Which means everyone.
- In Andre Norton's Witch World, That Which Runs The Ridges turns out to be under a curse.
- Harry Potter
- The Unforgivable Curses: the Cruciatus curse (Crucio), used for torture; the Imperius Curse (Imperio) used for Mind Control, and the Killing Curse (Avada Kedavra), which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Unicorn blood will save you from dying "even if you are an inch from death", but you will live a "half life" from the moment you drink it.
- If a person continues to divide their soul, they lose their humanity and their very nose, and eventually suffer a Fate Worse Than Death.
- There are also curses that work in more traditional ways, e.g., jinxing the Defense Against The Dark Arts teaching position so that anyone who takes the job will never last longer than a year.
- Teresa Edgerton's second Celydonn Trilogy revolves about the curse on a land, and breaking it.
- Lois McMaster Bujold's Curse of Chalion is a curse of corrupted virtues and ill luck on the country's ruling line.
- In Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Trilogy, Arha curses another priestess. Unusually, there is no reason to believe that the curse has any actual effect.
- Hero Series: In Heroes Adrift, the troupe Lee and Taro travel with is cursed to not be able to stay in one place for more than a few nights. If they do, someone dies.
- In Terry Pratchett's Equal Rites, Granny Weatherwax assures Esk that she will curse under the right conditions, such as when people ain't showing respect. Often "curse" means that you tell someone you've cursed them and the next time something bad happens to them, they think "That was because I didn't show respect to the witch." Granny Weatherwax has been known to actually curse people, just in less traditional ways. For example, instead of turning someone into a frog just making them think that they are a frog. Much easier and more fun too.
- Later witches novels more or less follow the line that cursing works, but not unless they know you've done it. Unlucky Charlie, the target for the cursing at the Witch Trials cannot be aware you've done it because he's a scarecrow, so points are given for general inventiveness. Except for the year when Granny Weatherwax made his head explode.
- In Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell the Gentleman does this Jonathan Strange, cursing him to eternal darkness. As it turns out, because of the imprecision of the spell the darkness entraps any English magician who comes into contact with it, starting with Mr. Norrell. The Raven King also cursed a few places during his reign, mostly over matters of civil unrest or rebellion.
- In Patricia C. Wrede's Thirteenth Child, Uncle Earn accuses Eff of casting a curse when she is five—too young to cast magic. Later, William asks Eff if her nervousness springs from being under a curse.
- David Eddings's The Elenium has an unusual variant of a benevolent curse. A god wants to hide his followers from obliteration and simultaneously give them magical powers to defend themselves. A blessing won't do, because blessings "ring in the air" and are easily detectable by magical means. So the god uses curse with exact same effects instead. It is notable that, while benevolent, it's still a curse; the god can't bring himself to curse his beloved followers directly and curses their drinking water instead.
- In Thinner, by Stephen King, the protagonist is put under a curse that causes him to waste away. (His judge and lawyer are cursed with hideous acne and skin cancer that will eventually kill them too.) His response is to track down the gypsy and curse him—by taking out a contract with a hit man to kill his family.
- The entire plot of Ella Enchanted (both the original book and the film) is driven by a curse placed on Ella as a child that makes her unable to ignore orders. Usually she gets around it by finding loopholes in the orders she's given, but this becomes hazardous when Prince Charmont falls in love with her and they begin to become entangled. Ella is rightfully concerned that because of her condition, she could be ordered into hurting him (and in the movie, Sir Edgar does exactly this in an attempt to off Char and grab the kingdom for himself). In the novel, the curse is resolved when Ella tries so hard to refuse Char's order to marry him that her love for him overcomes the curse. While in the film version, she sees her image in a mirror and orders herself to no longer be obedient.
- Conan the Barbarian: In "A Witch Shall Be Born", as a result of a Deal with the Devil a witch is born to the royal family every century.
The curse of the kings of Khauran! Aye, they tell the tale in the market-places, with wagging beards and rolling eyes, the pious fools! They tell how the first queen of our line had traffic with a fiend of darkness and bore him a daughter who lives in foul legendry to this day. And thereafter in each century a girl baby was born into the Askhaurian dynasty, with a scarlet half-moon between her breasts, that signified her destiny.
- In George Eliot's Silly Novels by Lady Novelists, she recounts how one such novels, when the mother, on evidence insufficient to hang a dog, concludes that her son had proposed to the women she wanted him to marry after all, and then finds out that he didn't, she starts to curse her son. A perfectly mundane novel, for all the Melodrama. Perhaps it's just as well that her son's true love interrupts her to say that she refuses to marry the son without his mother's blessing.
- In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero In Hel, Mephisto's folly is caused by amnesia, which he inflicted on himself to escape a curse.
- In the Avatar Trilogy we are introduced to Kelemvor Lyonsbane, last scion of a family of cursed mercenaries. The curse began when his ancestor betrayed a powerful sorceress and was cursed to never again act purely for profit, or transform into a murderous panther. However, with the birth of his son, the curse reacted to the boys innocence and reversed itself. From then on, Lyonsanes could ONLY act on anothers behalf out of thoughts of profit.
- In The Shahnameh, the one who kills Esfandiyār is cursed to die and suffer in this life and the next. Fortunately for Rostem, it can see through Uriah Gambits.
- In Tanith Lee's The Dragon Hoard, the events begin with Prince Jasleth and Princess Goodness being cursed by their aunt.
- In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Monster Men, one dying man curses the man who betrayed him.
- In Devon Monk's Dead Iron, why Cedar is a Werewolf.
- Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom series starts with Allie breaking a curse on a boy.
- Alison Sinclair has a trilogy of novels set in a country under an eight centuries old curse laid by a psychotic mage in a Roaring Rampage of Revenge over the death of her daughter, the country is now divided into the Darkborn who are incinerated by daylight, and the Lightborn, who melt away in the dark and rely entirely on magical lights to sustain them through the night.
- One episode of Middleman had a survivor of the Titanic cursed with immortality so long as his tuba remain intact for his heinous crime: pretending the tuba was his child and thus stealing the seats of a woman and her child. The tuba itself is an Artifact of Death capable of killing anyone who hears it's E Flat note by filling their lungs with the icy waters of the North Atlantic. After a decades he comes to consider himself Cursed with Awesome though.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel has Angel, a vampire cursed with a soul. If he ever has a moment of perfect happiness (such as having sex with Buffy), the curse is broken, he loses his soul, and he reverts to being Angelus, the Complete Monster of a vampire that he was before getting cursed.
- Merlin episode The Lady of the Lake. Freya was a Druid girl cursed to turn into a winged werepanther at the stroke of midnight.
- Alestorm's "Captain Morgan's Revenge" has its title character pronouncing a dying curse upon the mutinous crew who have made him Walk the Plank:
And as he fell down to the depths, he swore a deadly curse:
- Take all the evil things in the world. Put them in a box. Then give it to Pandora.
- Oedipus, maltreated by his sons, cursed them to kill each other. Leading the incidences of Seven Against Thebes.
- Theseus, believing what his wife Phaedra had claimed about his son Hippolytus, cursed him, resulting in Hippolytus's death.
- After Hecuba avenged the murder of her son by killing Polymestor's sons in front of him and then blinding him, Polymestor himself curses Hecuba - or maybe simply foresees her doom—to go insane and drown herself.
- Really, almost every event in Classical Mythology is a result of either some curse (often associated with a violation of Sacred Hospitality) an excesses of Pride (particularly failed attempts to Screw Destiny, since You Can't Fight Fate), or both. For instance:
- Tantalus steals ambrosia and generally misbehaves at a banquet of the gods (violation of hospitality), and serves up his son Pelops to the gods, who are horrified. Reviving Pelops, they send Tantalus to Tartarus for an eternity of eternal thirst and hunger, with water and fruit always shrinking away whenever he attempts to reach them (curse).
- Pelops is visited by Laios, King of Thebes. Laios for some reason tries to kidnap Pelops' son (hospitality). Pelops curses him for his trouble (obvious), saying, "May your own son kill you, Theban!" Laios' son is Oedipus; the tale is well-known, to say the least.
- Pelops' other sons are Atreus and Thyestes. Atreus catches Thyestes in bed with his (Atreus's) wife (hospitality). Atreus butchers Thyestes' children and serves them up to their father at a banquet (overreaction, and pride, and...Squick). Thyestes curses Atreus' line.
- Atreus has two sons, Agamemnon and Menelaos. Menelaos marries Helen of Sparta; Helen runs off with palace guest Paris of Troy (hospitality). Menelaos gets all Greece to go to war for this. Agamemnon has to sacrifice his eldest daughter to appease some god; wife Clytemnestra is not pleased. Long story short, Greeks win.
- Agamemnon goes home. Clytemnestra is consorting with a son of Thyestes. Together, they assassinate Agamemnon, fulfilling Thyestes' curse.
- And all of this is just one chain of curses.
- The baronets in Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore
- Bestow Curse (the reversal of the Remove Curse spell) in Dungeons & Dragons is of the "cloud of misfortune type". The Geas spells force the target to follow a certain course of action.
- Although cursed items can have such fun effects as changing your species, gender, alignment or making your hair grow longer..once
- The Book of Vile Darkness has a nice assortment of alternate Curse effects, including sterility, blindness and deafness, the next person the target is introduced to will hate the target uncontrollably forever, critical successes become critical failures, all creatures of a designated species are permanently invisible to the target, age the target one age category, and cause all the target's wealth to vanish.
- It also has an assortment of Greater Bestow Curse alternate effects, including permanent destruction of one of the target's magic items, give an incurable disease to a friend or family member of the target, the target's touch turns precious metals into lead, the target cannot use spells from any source, and the particularly nasty all the target's friends and family suddenly hate him/her.
- The Book of Erotic Fantasy obviously adds STDs and impotence to the possible effects of a curse.
- GURPS: Magic has Curse which prevents the victim from having any meaningful success. Thaumatology has Doom, for days worse and worse things happen to the target until something really horrible finally strikes.
- Changeling: The Lost includes both Contracts that count as curses (impairing performance, affecting one's behavior, etc.) and the ability to write an one-sided pledge that will greatly muck up a person's day until conditions are met.
- Geist: The Sin Eaters features a Manifestation known as "The Curse" that results in different afflictions depending on what Key the Sin-Eater uses to power it. For instance, the afflicted may be the center of a contagious Hate Plague (or other suitable emotion) (Passion), have every mechanical object he tries to handle explode in his hands (Industrial), have nature turn against him (Primeval), become burdened by some unknown weight and unable to sleep (Grave-Dirt), or unable to communicate with anyone (Stillness).
- Once upon a time, Caine saw that his brother Abel had produced a better sacrifice, and murdered him. God cursed him from this crime, and this is why we have vampires.
- The Pokémon series has a move called "Curse". When a ghost-type pokemon uses it, it sacrifices half the user's maximum HP and saps 1/4th of the opponent's HP every turn afterwards. If a non-ghost type pokemon uses it, the move just cuts the user's Speed stat to raise their Attack and Defense.
- It is also a legend that Ninetales will put an 1000-year curse on anyone foolish enough to touch one of its tails.
- This was a plot point in Pokemon: Mystery Dungeon and the comic of it. The main character believes that he's cursed to be a Pokemon because in a past life he grabbed a Ninetales' tail and let his friend Gardevoir take the curse in his place (as a legend has it). It turns out that Gengar was the human who left Gardevoir to take the heat.
- It is also a legend that Ninetales will put an 1000-year curse on anyone foolish enough to touch one of its tails.
- Some have pointed out an interesting pattern with the game Eversion. Blind Lets Plays of this game seem to botch the recording on world five, forcing the letsplayer to redo it while not blind to that stage anymore. Every. Single. Time. The game may actually be cursed.
- Anyone who enters the Dark World in The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past is transformed into a form reminiscent of what's inside their heart. Which doesn't explain why Link turns into a bunny. The seven maidens sent into the Dark World to break the seal on it are cursed to turn into crystals. Carrying a special pearl allows Link to ward off the curse.
- In the Nintendo Power /TheLegendOfZelda comic version, people who enter the Dark Realm change into monsters when they lose control of their emotions, and those who can't control them turn into monsters permanently. Link eventually gets his under control and it stops affecting him, but he meets an archer named Roam who eventually succumbs.
- A tiny demon curses Link to only use half of his magic power per spell. In other words, the demon's "curse" turns out to be extremely beneficial.
- Ezlo, in The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, was turned into a hat by his former apprentice Vaati.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, being in the realm of Twilight turns him into a wolf. Later, he is cursed to turn into a wolf by Zant, even when in the World of Light.
- Zant is fond of curses. Midna herself used to be a Twili, but was cursed into the form of an imp by Zant.
- He was also cursed to become a Deku Scrub by Skull Kid in The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask.
- If he touches a Blue Bubble in Majora's Mask, he is "jinxed" to be unable to draw his sword for a period of time.
- Another NPC, Kafei, gets turned into a child by Skull Kid, right before he's about to marry his fiance Anju. Link has to go through a subquest to get them back together. The end of the game never shows if he broke the curse, but he's never shown during his wedding and the point of view is much higher than that of a child. In the manga retelling, the Kafei subplot is revealed to be a Karmic Transformation brought on by Kafei picking fun of Skull Kid's age...hence Skull Kid turning him into a kid as well.
- The Nintendo Adventure Book The Crystal Trap featured Ganon cursing all three pieces of Triforce to turn to crystal. Since the Triforce of Courage was in Link's heart, this meant he was trapped in crystal as well. Zelda gets 24 hours to find the three ingredients required to shatter the crystal before the spell becomes permanent.
- The Curse Of The Meldrews in the Interactive Fiction game Curses (appropriate, no?). Not so much subverted as trivialized, since the Curse involves never quite being able to finish anything.
- The Curse of Monkey Island revolves around Guybrush trying to save Elaine from a cursed ring that transformed her into a gold statue.
- Not surprisingly, this shows up in Final Fantasy a few times.
- The recurring spell "Curse" appears in multiple games. Effects across the games include reduced stats, preventing limit break use, stopping job changes in battle, inflicting a variety of other status ailments, stopping the DMW wheel, or reducing the amount of successful interrupts by a character while increasing the number of successful interrupts by an enemy.
- Another recurring spell, "Doom", starts a timer that kills the afflicted character when the timer runs out. In Final Fantasy VIII, the Curse spell actually inflicts Doom, though the Curse status ailment is a separate entity.
- In Final Fantasy I, the prince of the elves was cursed by the dark elf Astos with eternal sleep. Only an herb from the witch Matoya can wake him. Unfortunately, she's blind and needs a special eye to see...and Astos stole it from her.
- In Final Fantasy III, Djinn curses the kingdom of Sasune and turns everyone in the kingdom of Sasune to ghosts. Two future party members, Ingus and Refia, missed getting cursed because neither was around when the curse hit. The only way to lift the curse is with Princess Sara's Mythril Ring, which needs to seal the Djinn inside and then be purified.
- In Final Fantasy Tactics, the character Reis was cursed into the form of a dragon when she took on a curse intended for her lover, Beowulf. Because The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body, she also appears to have no memory of her life as a human either, though the dragon Reis still joins the party when Beowulf rescues her. He eventually changes her back when the party recovers the Cancer Zodiac Stone and she joins the party as a "Dragonkin" (Dragoner in the PS 1 version) with all her dragon skills.
- In Final Fantasy IX, Cid's wife Hilda turns him into an Oglop as punishment for cheating on her and runs off in the only non-Mist powered airship in the world. This turns out to be supremely bad timing since Kuja has just manipulated Alexandria into attacking Lindblum. He later tries to undo it but ends up turning into a frog instead. Eventually they have to track his wife down and convince her to undo her curse. Wouldn't you know it, Kuja also kidnapped her since he needed her ship. When she's finally rescued, she changes Cid back, but threatens to curse him again if he ever acts unfaithfully again.
- King's Quest II: In the AGD Fan Remake, The Father is exposed and defeated, but pulls a One-Winged Angel and puts a parting shot on Graham, a Retcon explaining some events of the other games:
The Father: Thrice now I curse, and from the first, your family shall feel the worse. Soon shall you see, they'll surely be, in the most dire jeopardy. (Referencing Alexander's enslavement and Rosella's nearly becoming a Human Sacrifice to a dragon in game 3) Then, as your foe, 'tis I who'll sew, the spell to cause heart to slow. (Referencing Graham's heart attack in the 4th game) And for my shame, for you the same, o'er Daventry your heirs shan't rein! (Referencing the 6th and 7th games, but invoking a Fanon theory on the latter)
- The premise of Dragon Quest VIII is that everyone in the kingdom of Trodain except the main character has been cursed by the villainous Dhoulmagus. King Trode is now a little troll-like creature, Princess Medea is a horse, and everyone else is a statue. The main character escaped the curse because a memory wiping curse that was cast on him when he was younger had the beneficial side effect of rendering him immune to other curses.
- You must fight two curses in The Game of the Ages. One on your own town, one on a race you visit.
- Goblin Hollow: The Quest against the curse.
- In Sluggy Freelance Zoe considers the necklace tattoo that gives her Involuntary Shapeshifting powers to be a curse. It wasn't designed to be that way; for the original wearer, it was a precious gift that allowed her to sneak around with her true love without her father knowing the truth. Obviously, the original wearer didn't have best friends who think turning you into a camel is funny.
- The Dreamland Chronicles: Nicodemus's excuse for not giving back the amulet is to test for this.
- El Goonish Shive: The Dewitchery Diamond was made specifically to remove curses that affect one's body, and works by creating a permanent clone of anyone who touches it, AND transfer the curse to it. The original will be able to reassume the cursed form at will (as well as any other forms he was forced into for the next few hours), while the clone can spread the curse to others. What constitutes a curse can vary, and the Diamond will work it's effect on anyone who touches it while not in their original form.
- Roza's motive for everything is to break the curse on her.
- In American Barbarian, Rick threatens a dying curse
- In No Rest for The Wicked, the beggar woman laid a curse on her for not giving her bread the third time.
- In Our Little Adventure, Lenny is a little worried that Emily will curse his armor
- Techwolf of the Whateley Universe looks like a seven foot werewolf, as does his father, all because of a witch's curse on an ancestor.
- The title character of the Zoophobia short "Bad Luck Jack" is cursed with bad luck as a side effect of his aunt Narissa granting him immortality (at Jack's mother's request) so she wouldn't lose him like his father.
- Naturally, the SCP Foundation deals with cursed objects and cursed people all the time, but the number 48 seems to be a curse to the Foundation itself, as the file for SCP-048 only contains a memo stating that no further SCP is to be given that designation. It claims every SCP given the designation 048 has been destroyed, killed, stolen, or otherwise lost to the Foundation, usually via some bizarre accident, and that 50% more personnel have been killed, injured, maimed, decommissioned, or disciplined due to SCPs with that designation than any other SCP. An addendum to the file shows Dr. Cortez, believing this ridiculous, removing the restriction and assigning it to an unnamed SCP just to prove there's no curse - the following addendum says the new SCP-048 was accidentally thrown into the trash, and that in an "unrelated incident", Dr. Cortez lost both his arms due to a "horrific lunchroom blender accident". Later, the designation is assigned to a "Vampyre Boat" that did not actually exist; a researcher got an idea for a story he wanted to write, and upon trying to write it down in his hard drive, accidentally overwrote the blank slot reserved for SCP-048. The restriction was reinstated afterwards, and since then, no SCP has been given the designation of SCP-048.
- In the world of Codename: Kids Next Door, a smart candy hunter (like Numbuh Five) knows that "a good candy taken in greed will always turn sour". Which leads to quite a few instances of stupid candy hunters paying a price for being selfish:
- The first appearance of Numbuh Five's rival, Heinrich von Marzipan, involved Heinrich swiping her "blurpleberry supreme" in order to loot the tomb of King Tutakhandy. After reading the part of the inscription that said, "With the crown you shall control the sarcophagus", he disregarded the rest, refusing to listen to Numbuh Five when she tried to warn him that the other half was, "but refuse to share and only taste asparagus". Naturally, he found out that part the hard way, but the curse only lasted so long as he had the crown, which she took from him.
- He didn't get off quite as easy the next time. After trying to turn a pet rabbit into a chocolate one via a chocolate volcano, he fell into the choco-lava himself and was left for dead. However, he was actually turned into living chocolate, who could turn anything else into chocolate via touch. It was practically heaven for him, until he started craving foods other than chocolate, which he now couldn't have. The KND was able to cure him, but he didn't learn...
- Operation LICORICE had two curses in one episode:
- First, the candy pirate Black John Licorice discovered an island of red licorice trees, and selfishly chopped it all down and carted it away. The horrible curse he and his crew was punished with turned the licorice itself black (which is, to folks like him, inedible) and turned them into undead skeletons made of licorice, who could only function at night. Eventually, they sought a gypsy fortuneteller who gave them a magic seed that could restore the island, but they were unable to plant it before dawn. which led to the second curse...
- The island was eventually found by Stickybeard and Heinrich (again) and Heinrich foolishly took the seed, causing Black John's crew to pursue him endlessly. Leading to the actual plot of the episode.
- The biggest curse involving Heinrich came with Operation: CARAMEL, which explained the "Guatemala Incident" he had often referred to. As it turned out, Heinrich had once been a girl named Henrietta, meaning "Heinrich" was a curse she had been afflicted with since the aforementioned incident. In order to create pieces of ancient golden caramel, a magic ritual was performed that took away the most valued quality of a person present and turned that quality into five pieces of delicious caramel with flavor depending on the quality taken. Henrietta fell victim to the ritual's side effect, which transformed her into Heinrich, but before the curse could be reversed, she selfishly ate all of her caramels, causing her to lose the quality she valued the most. Knowing that Henrietta could not control her greed, Abigail left her behind, and Henrietta blamed her for becoming cursed. Although as it turned out, Abigail had been keeping Henrietta's last piece, which enables the curse to finally be broken, and the two reconciled.
- In The Owl House, Eda suffers from a curse that transforms her into a monstrous and near-mindless owl-demon at night. This curse was inflicted by someone when she was young, and she no longer remembers who did it to her or why. She uses an elixir to avoid the effect, but slowly, the elixir is getting less and less efficient...
Note that most examples here are based on superstitious innuendo, hyperbole, or both. Until such time - if ever - proof of supernatural influence exists, use Rule of Cautious Editing Judgement.
- The Boston Red Sox baseball team was said to be cursed by former player and baseball legend Babe Ruth, who the Red Sox traded away to the hated rival New York Yankees in 1920. From 1923 through 2000, the Yankees won twenty-six World Series championships and the Red Sox won zero. The "Curse of the Bambino" finally ended in 2004, when the Red Sox won the World Series in four straight games.
- The WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw had a short run of a curse, The Curse Of The Undertaker. In one storyline, Eddie Guerrero was involved in a storyline with Taker that ended in him buried alive. The next year... well, Eddie died. A game later, Undertaker said "Your grieving family will have no one but you to blame." Nothing too big, but he said it to Chris Benoit, who killed himself and his family the next year. A year after that, Randy Orton was injured after an in game feud with Taker.
- King Tut's tomb was opened in 1922. It's been long stated that a curse on the tomb killed everyone involved, though such stories are rather exaggerated and often flat out untrue. Well—everyone involved died. Eventually.
- Older Than Dirt: Mesopotamian kings inscribed very elaborate curses on their stelae, threatening the hatred of the gods and long lists of nasty misfortunes upon any future king who overturned their decrees.
- Some Ancient Egyptian tombs threaten curses of misfortune and divine retribution upon would-be desecrators.
- William Shakespeare supposedly wrote a verse to be inscribed upon his tombstone cursing anyone who should move his bones. Also, superstitious actors say there's a curse on a certain play involving witches, and that quoting its lines outside a theater will bring bad luck.
- Many movies with dark subject matter and controversial themes have been regarded as cursed due to unusual amounts of on-set accidents and brutal fates befalling the casts and crews:
- The Wizard of Oz; First of all, let’s make it clear, NO, this movie is not considered cursed because an extra committed suicide and said act was caught on camera, that is just an old urban legend. However, there were quite a few on-set accidents that made some wonder if the production was cursed. Both Buddy Epson and his replacement Jack Haley suffered severe allergic reactions to the Tin Woodsman makeup, while Margaret Hamilton had to be treated for third degree burns after a take of her disappearing act early in the film was botched. Not even poor little Toto was safe, as a trainer assigned to him reported one of the extras playing the Witch’s soldiers actually stepped on him during a take.
- The Passion of the Christ: Getting struck by lightning is never a good sign, but when it happens when you’re portraying Jesus Christ on the set of a rather controversial movie, which happened to Jim Caviezel, one has to wonder if the boycotting fundamentalists have a point. This also happened to the assistant director, twice. There were also a lot of reported on-set accidents involved in the scenes where Christ is flogged and crucified, where Caviezel was actually whipped by another member of the cast, and had to be treated for a dislocated shoulder after stumbling and dropping the cross. He also ended up with a lung infection due to the weather and horrible migraine headaches as a result of his “bloody-eye” makeup.
- The Crow: Some folk believe Brandon Lee’s whole family is cursed, a common Conspiracy Theory saying his father’s death was the result of some mystical technique used against him by order of the Triads. Thing is, Lee’s death on the set due to an improperly-loaded gun was not the only unusual accident in production of The Crow; a crew member was electrocuted after coming into contact with a power line, and had to be hospitalized.
- The Omen: Given the grisly and brutal deaths of people involved in this movie, you might wonder if someone actually made a Deal with the Devil where Human Sacrifice was required. Gregory Peck’s son committed suicide pre-production, and a small plane carrying some of the film crew crashed. Creepiest of all, John Richardson - the FX genius behind the famous decapitation scene in the movie - was involved in a tragic car accident after shooting where his passenger - his assistant and girlfriend Liz Moore - was killed the exact same way.
- Apocalypse Now: Few consider this movie cursed today, but almost everyone involved in it at the time thought so. While most everyone today considers it to be Francis Ford Coppola’s greatest masterpiece, Coppola himself doubted it would be successful, and contemplated suicide due to his fears of the financial ruin and loss of reputation he’d suffer. Production was delayed and hindered by natural disasters, Marlon Brando showed up overweight and unprepared for filming, and Martin Sheen actually had a heart attack on the set! Long story short, this movie was a nightmare to make, even if it was, in the end, a smash hit.
- The Conqueror is often considered the most cursed movie in history. Forget for a minute that they had John Wayne playing Genghis Khan (sure, he’s a tough, full-blooded American hero, but that doesn’t translate well when he’s depicting a Mongolian warlord.) but someone had the “brilliant” idea to film it on a site formerly used as a nuclear bomb testing site. Even worse, the producer - notoriously eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes - had tons of the contaminated soil shipped back to the states for some reshoots. Nearly half of the film’s cast and crew were diagnosed with cancer as a result, and there were even rumors of some of their spouses and children ending up with it decades later after visiting the site. While this can be blamed as gross negligence on the part of the idiots in charge, you can’t help but think the angry spirit of Genghis Khan himself put a curse on these foolish Americans for insulting him.
- Rosemary's Baby, another movie about The Antichrist and Hollywood Satanism with quite a few tragedies happening to members of the cast and crew that seem too brutal to be coincidences. The film's composer Krzysztof Komeda suffered a bad fall and died from his injuries before the film's debut, and producer William Castle was diagnosed with kidney stones soon after. The worst example, however, was the horrid murder of director Roman Polanski's pregnant wife Sharon Tate, the most publicized crime committed by the Manson Family. Poor Sharon would inadvertently become associated with madness and bloody murders for years to come.
- The Exorcist, yet another Religious Horror that became a hit movie (likely the most successful one ever made) and also possibly a cursed one. An accident caused a fire that destroyed every set except the bedroom, multiple reports of Linda Blair and Ellen Burstin hurt by on-set injuries, and actor Paul Bateson facing actual murder charges six years later. The movie is just full of creepy coincidences.
- Poltergeist. A common fan theory is that the three - real - skeletons used as props in the first movie had something to do with the infamous curse on the entire franchise that seemed determined to haunt the cast to the bitter end. Regardless, the original trilogy seemed to curse the entire cast. Dominique Dunne was murdered by her boyfriend after appearing in the first film, Heather O'Rourke died of complications following an undiagnosed intestinal obstruction some years later, and Julian Beck - who played the villainous Reverend Kane - died of stomach cancer before the release of the second movie.
- The Tombs of Atuan