Did You Actually Believe?

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"Broken promises don't upset me. I just think, why did they believe me?"

Jack Handey

Mwahahaha! Oh, you poor foolish fool! Did you actually believe you'd get a straightforward trope description when you clicked on the link? Well, I Lied! You've played right into my Xanatos Gambit, now you have no choice but to read through all of my Evil Gloating as I Hannibal Lecture you into tears! Mwahaha!

What? You mean you actually believed me when I promised you'd get a trope description? Oh, that's rich! I didn't think you were such a Horrible Judge of Character! (I mean, I thought the glowing red eyes would be a huge tip off.)

Oh, don't feel too bad, you aren't the only one to become a willing Unwitting Pawn and errand boy with naught but a sweet story about "lofty goals". You should feel honored to be so used!

Mwahaha—What do you mean, "Shut up"? No! uh... You shut up! ... Well, yes, my whole plan did sort of hinge on you doing something I didn't think you'd do... What? No! That does not make my whole plan a Gambit Roulette! You take that back! Or I'll... uh... *smoke bomb!*

Anyway.

Stock phrase used by treacherous allies, mentors, and villains once they double cross the hero and have him at their mercy. This is often followed by declarations of sneering contempt for the hero's idealistic moral code and/or extended mockery of the hero for being gullible enough to trust the villain's promises, naive enough to think that the villain sincerely intended to cooperate toward a common goal, dumb enough to get manipulated into providing the villain with aid or equipment, etc.

Often used as part of Evil Gloating and Trash Talk. Expect the hero to respond with "Shut Up Hannibal!"

Examples of Did You Actually Believe? include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

Dee Laytner: You little fool! did you think i'd actually be satisfied with just one itty bitty kiss?

  • Used briliantly by Magnificent Bastard Askeladd in Vinland Saga, when his men turn against him to save their own hides against an army they could never defeat.

Askeladd: "You all and I have been together for a long time, up until this day. We laughed together, drank together, found our way out of many hellholes together. And I never told any of you about this, but for the last ten years we've been together I hated every single last one of you."

Comics[edit | hide]

Mxyzptlk: Did you honestly believe a sorcerer from the 5th dimension would resemble a funny little man in a derby hat?

Fan Fiction[edit | hide]

What, you didn't really believe you were Sam's brother, did you?

Film - Animated[edit | hide]

  • In Disney's Beauty and the Beast, during Gaston's rant as he's tormenting the Beast on the castle rooftops, he sneers, "Were you in love with her, Beast?! Did you honestly think she'd want you, when she had someone like me?!"
  • In Monsters, Inc.:

Randall: [chuckles evilly] You still think this is about that stupid scare record?
Mike: Well... I did. Right up until you chuckled like that...

Film - Live-Action[edit | hide]

Jason Bourne: You didn't actually think I was coming to Tudor City did you?

  • The 1984 Dune has a heroic example, where Thufir Hawat (the Atreidies mentat) betrays the Emperor and Harkonens by refusing to kill Paul.

Thufir Hawat: [He turns to Feyd and the Emperor]... Did you actually believe, even for a moment, that I would fail my Duke TWICE? [He commits suicide]

Lucius Malfoy: Did you actually believe, or are you truly naïve enough to think that children stood a chance against us? I'll make this simple for you, Potter. Give me the prophecy now, or watch your friends die.

  • In Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Beckett gloats over his perceived victory, assuming Jack's reappearance after the climactic battle is an attempt on his part to gain Beckett's clemency, as they'd negotiated. But Beckett's clearly had a double-cross planned for some time. ("He actually expects me to honor our agreement.")
  • Averted in The Long Good Friday: After double-crossing and attempting to destroy the IRA gangster operation in London the London gangster Harold Shand is kidnapped by gunmen in the final scene of the film. Neither he nor his captors speak, but one gunman smirks at him.
  • In the 2002 film adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond manages to make the police chief that wrongfully imprisoned him implicate himself, in a bathhouse where the steam obscured the constables waiting to make the arrest. Faced with the prospect of being locked in the same Alcatraz that Edmond had spent decades in, the police chief finds a pistol in the paddy wagon, and attempts suicide. It's empty.

Edmond: (through a window) "You didn't think I'd make it that easy for you, did you?"

O-Ren: You didn't actually think it would be that easy, did you?
Bride: You know, for a second there... yeah, I kinda did.

Benjamin (to camera): You didn't really think she'd end up with Wayne, did you?

  • RoboCop: When Robocop tries to arrest Dick Jones, and suddenly discovers that he can't.

Dick Jones: It's a little insurance policy called "Directive 4", my little contribution to your psychological profile. Any attempt to arrest a senior officer of OCP results in shutdown. What did you think? That you were an ordinary police officer? You're our product and we can't very well have our products turning against us, can we?

  • Dark Helmet does this twice in Spaceballs, first stealing Lone Starr's Schwartz ring and again to toss it down a grate! And he still can't believe Lone Starr fell for it!
  • Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: During the climactic confrontation between Holmes and Moriarty, the latter thinks, with a brilliant smug smile: "Come now, you really think you're the only one who can play this game?" and reveals that he can weaponize the Sherlock Scan too, and knows that he's going to win their fight.

Literature[edit | hide]

Lewis: ‘I am glad to hear that we thwarted your insane plan.’
Sir Michael: ‘Thwarted me? How very dramatic! You always did read too many sensational stories, Henry. You have stopped nothing.'

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Doctor Who has used this trope in "The Sound of Drums", after the Master has taken Martha prisoner on the Valiant and is about to kill her, but she starts revealing her plans.

Martha: A gun in four parts, scattered across the world... I mean... come on. Did you really believe that?
Master: What?
Doctor: As if I would ask her to kill.

    • The Doctor gets his turn to use it in Remembrance of The Daleks

The Doctor: Did you think I would let you have the Hand Of Omega?

Grizzaka: (after finally escaping the sand snakes) Think you're rid of me? Think again. (laughs evilly)

    • Now, bad guys say stuff like that all the time, but on this occasion it's different: Grizzaka is one of the three Overlords, the Big Bads of this arc. Carnisoar the Sky Overlord went down last week, and Jellica the Sea Overlord and the Sixth Ranger had their climactic battle while Grizzaka the Land Overlord didn't even get past the Death Trap-laden path to the new Humongous Mecha this week. So, this arc's over and it's time for the Phantom Beasts, right? Yeah, Not So Fast Bucko.
  • Sherlock: "The Reichenbach Fall" - Moriarty's "super-code" that works on absolutely anything and everyone is desperate to get their hands on? Yeah, he made the whole thing up.

"No, no, no, this is too easy, this is too easy! There is no key, DOOFUS!"

Professional Wrestling[edit | hide]

  • When Randy Orton shook Sheamus' hand at the conclusion of their May 18 match on Smackdown, Sheamus reluctantly accepted. As soon as he turned away, Randy planted Sheamus with an RKO. Randy is actually well known for doing things like this, so why Sheamus accepted the handshake at all is anyone's guess. Maybe it's because Good Is Dumb.

Music[edit | hide]

  • The end of the ballad of the "Golden Vanity". The Golden Vanity is spotted by an enemy Man-o'-War. The Cabin-Boy offers to swim up to the man-o'-war and drill holes in it to sink it, in exchange for the captain's daughter to marry, and a dowry. The captain agrees, the boy sinks the ship, and then after having swum back, the captain...

But the captain would not heed him, for his promise he did rue, and he scorned his poor entreatings when loudly he did sue. And he left him in the Lowland, Lowland, Low. And he left him in the Lowland Sea.

  • "How Could You Believe Me When I Said I Loved You When You Know I've Been a Liar All My Life?"
  • "I Was Only Kidding", an original song by Weird Al, which lists the many emphatic ways he's told his girlfriend he loves her, and wondering why she didn't catch that he was kidding.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • World of Warcraft: Did you honestly believe I would trust the future to some blind, half-night elf mongrel?
    • It was merely a setback.
    • In the 5-man "Trial of the Champion" dungeon, the Black Knight—whom the player has most likely slain in a previous quest—appears out of nowhere at the end and booms, "Did you honestly think an agent of the Lich King could be bested on the field of your pathetic, little tournament?"
      • And then you kill him again. And again. And once more. That's counting up to three Back from the Dead.
        • That fight in and of itself is more likely an example of Only a Flesh Wound, given that the character is called "Black Knight" and he constantly disregards damage to himself and is assured of his victory.
    • Also a bit unusual that The Reveal is not their evilness, but the fact that they are alive (sort of).
  • Nethack: "A voice booms out... 'So thou thought thou couldst kill me, fool.'"
  • Great one in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty:

Raiden: You're changing sides now?
Snake: I don't recall saying I was on yours.

Iris: You think a run-of-the-mill Magus like yourself can stand a chance against me, Rosenkreuz reborn? This is why I can't stand commoners... I have transcended humanity. I, Iris Zeppelin, have become a god! A worthless insect like yourself can't hope to stop me.

Splash Warfly: Idiot! This is all according to plan!
Zero: What?

Sek-Duat: FOOLS! Did YOU really believe I would lead you here and just hand over the power of a Djinn?! I simply needed you both in the same place!

    • Cue that rather violent The Bad Guy Wins moment where he supposedly "kills off" both Zhoom and the hero, takes the lamp, causes a cave-in, and holds up the lamp in triumph... only for it to suddenly be replaced with a simple rock. He doesn't know that Zhoom and the hero are still alive and now have the lamp because they secretly slipped him the Dreamdust, but he doesn't care.
    • Being the Smug Snake he is, Vath, after luring the hero into a trap with a fake Vath and trapping him/her in a cage, jumps down and says "Did you really think it would be that easy? I have known for weeks that you would be coming for me."
  • An amusing example of playing with this trope in the first chapter of the Living Story 3 expansion of Guild Wars 2, when the party catches up with the scheming would-be usurper Minister Cadeceus of Kryta, who has allegedly been 'kidnapped' from Queen Jennah's 'protective custody' by the White Mantle cult. The following is a paraphrase of the relevant scene:

Canach: (in an entirely unconvincing monotone) Minister Cadeceus. Queen Jennah has sent us to rescue you.
Minister Cadeceus: BWAHAHAHHAHAHAHA! Is she so stupid as to actually believe that I was kidnapped? Is she so obtuse that she fails to realize that I actually lead the White Mantle? And that I intend to use their power to cast down Queen Jennah and take the throne that is rightfully mine?
The Pact Commander: To answer your questions in order: no, no, and allow me to convey the Queen's most sincere thanks that you finally admitted that out loud in front of multiple witnesses.
Minister Cadeceus: ... well, shit.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In Bionicle : Mask of Light, the Seventh Toa, Takanuva, is followed to Makuta's lair by the island's inhabitants. Makuta seals off the entrance.

Makuta: Did you actually believe I would let them return?

Luthor: (To Amanda Waller) "Insolent cow! Did you really think you could take ME down?"
Waller: "To tell the truth, well, yeah. But, on the off chance I might have been wrong..." (looks past Luthor, who turns to see the big 7 standing behind him!)
Flash: "Ta-da."

  • In Robot Chicken, they parody the Kill Bill exchange when (The Easter) Bunny/Bill says O-Ren's line, and Jesus/The Bride says The Bride's.
  • From the Hey Arnold! movie:

Scheck: Did you think could get away with this? There are cameras everywhere. I record everything that goes on day and night. Did you think I'd let you win, let you save your little neighborhood?

Kim: Shego, I thought we were in this together!
Shego: Oh, come on. Don't you know me better by now? I mean, seriously....


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