Pyrrich Victory

Quick, short one today, just to say: I hate but really enjoy pyrrhic victories.

The hate is emotional, when the hero who has done so much and fought so hard loses, that’s one thing (and never a true end), but, it’s a bit of a gut-punch to the soul when the protagonist wins, but loses everything in the process.
But the enjoyment, if it is done well, is in the execution, and some cases the realism of that. Not every story can pull off a pyrrhic victory, and I don’t think that many should. But occasionally, that’s what can set a story apart.
The most prominent I can think of is the first Fallout game (there’s not many others that sit at the forefront of my mind), in that you (the player) spend an entire game risking life and limb, fighting off monstrosities and returning triumphant with technology to keep your community alive, only for them to banish you forever for fear of others leaving the vault and suffering in the wasteland. After everything you go through you lose everything, friends, family, home, and given you’ve grown up there and it was all you ever knew before you set out, that’s everything.
And that harshness I enjoy, it won’t work in most stories, but I enjoy hating the ones in which it does.

—Mechquill