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7 Impossible Situations Sci-Fi/Fantasy Characters Bent the Rules to Get Out Of

7 Impossible Situations Sci-Fi/Fantasy Characters Bent the Rules to Get Out Of

By Ryan Britt

In our regular lives impossible situations usually don’t work out for the best. How can you hand in homework you haven’t even begun? How can you make it to an appointment on time when you’ve already overslept? How can you un-shrink that rad sweater you accidentally put in the dryer? But science fiction and fantasy characters don’t have this problem because bending the rules in impossible situations is simply part of what they do! Here are seven memorable ways the rules were bent, broken, or re-written all together to get characters out of fantastical jams.

7. The Doctor Geronimos Himself Out of the Pandorica (Doctor Who “The Big Bang.”)
Awwww. Who misses Matt Smith already? Back in the end of the 5th season, the Doctor was trapped in a super-tricky box called the Pandorica, which could only be opened from the outside. But when we next saw the Pandorica, Amy Pond was in it! How did he do it? Well, you see, after he escaped, he made sure to give himself all the necessary tools to escape in the first place. It’s called a predestination paradox people. Try to keep up.

6. Katniss Fights the Man (The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins)
Maybe having to kill your new BFF is part of why The Hunger Games is such a drag, but Katniss Everdeen figured out how to play the system right at the last minute. In fact, despite how bewildered Katniss seems in all three books, she’s actually almost always angling to bend or break some kind of rule or another. What kind of regular schools to people go to in Panem anyway? Can everyone even do math?

5. Meg Saves Her Brother From “It” (A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle)
When precocious little brother Charles Wallace is absorbed into the worst thing in the universe—the entity known as “It”—it’s up to Meg to pull him out of the dark, dark clutches. Here, the rules of evil are being made primarily by an entity that has a lot more experience and knowledge than Meg, putting her at a serious disadvantage. But, through the help of Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Whitch, Meg figures out how to break through all the nonsense. She just has to love on her brother really hard. Because nobody loves her family like Meg!

4. Aslan Comes Back From the Dead (The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis)
Sure, fantasy characters the world-over are really good at not-dying, and we know you all think Gandalf probably deserves this spotlight slightly more than a big talking lion who is constantly “on the move.” But we think Aslan wins for rule bending simply because he knows even deeper magic from before the dawn of time. What makes Aslan such a cheater is it’s like he’s actually just following the rules better than ever one else.

3. Hermione Granger Takes Extra Classes (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling)
Proving that time-travel isn’t just the domain of hardcore science fiction men, everyone’s favorite magical academic over-achiever figured a new way to manage her time by breaking the laws of time a little bit. With the invention of the time-turner, Hermione was able to help Harry Potter and co. solve most of the major problems of the third book. However, J.K. Rowling probably gave herself a bigger headache by bringing time-travel into the Potterverse. How come they can’t just use the time-turner to go back and zap Voldermort as a baby? Can Hermione save Harry’s parents? What’s that you say? Oh. All the time-turners were broken in the 5th book. Nevermind.

2. Han Solo Knows a Few Maneuvers (The Empire Strikes Back)
There’s a lot of wonderfully brash Han Solo moments in the three classic Star Wars films, but one of the most heart pounding and exciting is the Millennium Falcon’s chase with a fleet of Imperial Starships. Not only does Han take everyone into an asteroid field, but later bum-rushes a Star Destroyer head-on to make it look like he’s going to attack them. Later, he hides in plain sight and uses the rules of Imperial garbage dumping in his favor

1. James T.Kirk James T. Kirking Nearly Every Impossible Situation, Ever (Star Trek, et al)
Whether he’s played by Chris Pine or William Shatner, Captain Kirk doesn’t like to lose and he particularly doesn’t like to lose if it means following the rules. And while he broke the laws of many planets, stole Federation property, cheated his way through the ranks to Captain; his most famous “bending of the rules” was definitely his approach to winning the Kobayashi Maru scenario, a test of courage where there was no real solution. How did he win? He reprogrammed the simulator so it was possible to save the ship, which gave him some points for being original, but pissed off pretty much everyone else. How isn’t so much as important as why here, because as he says in The Wrath of Khan; “I don’t like to lose.”

What are your favorite impossible situations featuring characters just crazy enough to try and bend or break the rules to get out of it all?

Tags: harry potter, movies, tv, star wars, lists, hermione granger

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About the Author
Ryan Britt

Ryan Britt's writing has appeared with The New York Times, Omni Reboot, Tor.com, Clarkesworld, Crossed Genres, Story Magazine, The MindHut and elsewhere. He's performed stories on stage with The Moth, The Liar Show, and is the curator of two reading series; Lust for Genre and The HiFi Reading Series. He teaches at The Gotham Writers' Workshop and lives in New York City. Follow him on Twitter @ryancbritt.

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