History Main / PinballProtagonist

27th Apr '17 2:20:31 PM bt8257
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This is not a DesignatedHero. Designated Heroes actually do things. The things they do may not be considered heroic, but they still do things and thus have an impact on the world around them. Eventually they pick up the Plot Ball and move it around. Even the LittleHeroBigWar still has the hero do something important to affect the larger mess around him. The Pinball Protagonist spends a decent amount of time failing to actually have any effect at all. They aren't even lucky enough to ''be'' the Plot Ball.

to:

This is not a DesignatedHero. Designated Heroes actually do things. The things they do may not be considered heroic, but they still do things and thus have an impact on the world around them. Eventually they pick up the Plot Ball and move it around. Even the LittleHeroBigWar still has the hero do something important to affect the larger mess around him. The Pinball Protagonist spends a decent amount of time failing to actually have any ''any'' effect at all. They aren't even lucky enough to ''be'' the Plot Ball.
23rd Apr '17 7:40:47 PM Golondrina
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* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Arya Stark starts Season 2 with the goal of reuniting with her family, but is dragged all over the war-torn Riverlands by one group after another until a series of devastating disappointments lead her to abandon Westeros altogether.
** As a valuable piece in the game of thrones, Sansa Stark is deliberately kept powerless, which forces her to always react to events rather than take action herself, until Season Six.
* There was a long period when virtually everyone on ''Series/{{Lost}}'' was like this. They'd have little fits of trying to do something, only to be completely stymied, and then they'd go "Oh... no..." and sink back into frustrating helplessness. Early on, the show was mostly about introducing the various... erm... pinballs and the Island and there were many pinballs in play. Later on, the show began to conform to this trope less and less.

to:

* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Arya Stark starts Season 2 with the goal
This trope is discussed in an episode of reuniting with her family, but is dragged all over the war-torn Riverlands by one group after another until a series of devastating disappointments lead her to abandon Westeros altogether.
** As a valuable piece
''Series/TheBigBangTheory'', in the game of thrones, Sansa Stark is deliberately kept powerless, which forces her Amy points this out in regards to always react to events rather than take action herself, until Season Six.
* There was a long period when virtually everyone on ''Series/{{Lost}}'' was like this. They'd have little fits
''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'', one of trying to do something, only to be Sheldon's favorite movies. She argues that Indiana Jones is completely stymied, irrelevant to the plot: with or without him, the Nazis would have still [[spoiler: found the Ark, opened it, and then they'd go "Oh... no..." and sink back into frustrating helplessness. Early on, the show was mostly about introducing the various... erm... pinballs and the Island and there were many pinballs been destroyed]]. Sheldon can't find any flaw in play. Later on, the show began to conform to this trope less logic, which causes a temporary HeroicBSOD; he spends the rest of the episode watching ''Series/LittleHouseOnThePrairie'', Amy's favorite TV show, in an attempt to find flaws in it and less.get revenge on her. [[spoiler:In a subversion, Sheldon could have argued that without him, the Nazis could never have found out the real Ark, after all, Marion was strong enough to hold off Toht, and by the way he was going, the Ark's location will have lost with Marion.]]
* On the ''Series/CriminalMinds'' episode "North Mammon", the team is called in on a case. After chasing various [[RedHerring red herrings]], the perp, independent from the actions of the team, lets go of some of the victims. Since the victims at this point can simply identify the man who captured them, any policeman could have made the arrest.



* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Arya Stark starts Season 2 with the goal of reuniting with her family, but is dragged all over the war-torn Riverlands by one group after another until a series of devastating disappointments lead her to abandon Westeros altogether.
** As a valuable piece in the game of thrones, Sansa Stark is deliberately kept powerless, which forces her to always react to events rather than take action herself, until Season Six.
* There was a long period when virtually everyone on ''Series/{{Lost}}'' was like this. They'd have little fits of trying to do something, only to be completely stymied, and then they'd go "Oh... no..." and sink back into frustrating helplessness. Early on, the show was mostly about introducing the various... erm... pinballs and the Island and there were many pinballs in play. Later on, the show began to conform to this trope less and less.
* This happens quite frequently to Arthur on ''Series/{{Merlin}}'', particularly in the later seasons. In one notable example ''The Eye of the Phoenix'', Arthur has a vision that instructs him to seek out the Trident in the lands of the FisherKing. He wanders all the way to the Perilous Lands where he's promptly knocked unconscious by a spirit-destroying bracelet given to him by Morgana. Merlin follows in his wake, meets the FisherKing, retrieves the true McGuffin (the trident is useless) and is told that the entire journey was for ''his'' benefit. Arthur was just the catalyst for getting him there, and one can't help but wonder why the vision wasn't just sent to Merlin in the first place.



* This happens quite frequently to Arthur on ''Series/{{Merlin}}'', particularly in the later seasons. In one notable example ''The Eye of the Phoenix'', Arthur has a vision that instructs him to seek out the Trident in the lands of the FisherKing. He wanders all the way to the Perilous Lands where he's promptly knocked unconscious by a spirit-destroying bracelet given to him by Morgana. Merlin follows in his wake, meets the FisherKing, retrieves the true McGuffin (the trident is useless) and is told that the entire journey was for ''his'' benefit. Arthur was just the catalyst for getting him there, and one can't help but wonder why the vision wasn't just sent to Merlin in the first place.
* This trope is discussed in an episode of ''Series/TheBigBangTheory'', in which Amy points this out in regards to ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'', one of Sheldon's favorite movies. She argues that Indiana Jones is completely irrelevant to the plot: with or without him, the Nazis would have still [[spoiler: found the Ark, opened it, and been destroyed]]. Sheldon can't find any flaw in this logic, which causes a temporary HeroicBSOD; he spends the rest of the episode watching ''Series/LittleHouseOnThePrairie'', Amy's favorite TV show, in an attempt to find flaws in it and get revenge on her. [[spoiler:In a subversion, Sheldon could have argued that without him, the Nazis could never have found out the real Ark, after all, Marion was strong enough to hold off Toht, and by the way he was going, the Ark's location will have lost with Marion.]]
* On the ''Series/CriminalMinds'' episode "North Mammon", the team is called in on a case. After chasing various [[RedHerring red herrings]], the perp, independent from the actions of the team, lets go of some of the victims. Since the victims at this point can simply identify the man who captured them, any policeman could have made the arrest.



* The ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series by its nature falls into this as the games all star criminal defense lawyers and prosecuting attorneys and follows them through their work on individual murder cases. In other words, they have nothing of relevance in the plot until someone drops dead and they get pulled in to defend them/prosecute them and they must rely on other people a good amount of the time to get all the information they need to win their case. That said, while the protagonists often have a reactive nature to the cases themselves, they still have their own individual character plots that play out during the game to ensure they remain a central part of the story. They're not so much irrelevant to the story (no, not even Apollo, who gets played like a puppet in his self-titled entry) as they are required to wait for something to happen so the player will have something to do.



* Averted in the ''VideoGame/WingCommander'' series, as the overall progress of the war depends on your performance in certain key missions; later games in the series give you the opportunity to make decisions and influence the story with dialogue options.
* The protagonists in [[VisualNovel/{{Air}} Studio Key's]] [[VisualNovel/{{Kanon}} visual]] [[VisualNovel/{{Clannad}} novels]] are justified in their general pin-ball status in the games, because that's the whole point of the genre. But as these games were turned into {{Anime}} series en masse by Kyoto animation, the fact that the boys simply bounce from girl to girl helping them [[DysfunctionJunction resolve]] [[ThereAreNoTherapists issues]] can be bothersome.
%%* Kage was like this in ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders: the Fist of Mars'', until character development and plot events forced him to stop playing NaiveNewcomer and actually do something constructive.
%%* Snake, and more infamously Raiden of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' are deliberately tragic examples.
* In ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006''... Sonic himself is this. He has an entire "storyline" to himself being the main character and all, but he doesn't actually affect anything. Some of the side characters (Knuckles and Tails mainly) are even worse so. That, and he's [[DontExplainTheJoke literally a pinball]] in some games.

to:

* Averted in ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'': Hawke is the ''VideoGame/WingCommander'' series, as the overall progress main character, but for most of the war depends on your performance in certain key missions; later games in the series give you the opportunity to make decisions and influence the story with dialogue options.
* The protagonists in [[VisualNovel/{{Air}} Studio Key's]] [[VisualNovel/{{Kanon}} visual]] [[VisualNovel/{{Clannad}} novels]]
is just reacting to the events that occur around him/her, while party members Varric, Isabella, and Anders are justified in their general pin-ball status the main driving forces in the games, because that's the whole plot. Even though a major plot point of the genre. But as these games were turned into {{Anime}} series en masse by Kyoto animation, game was exploring the fact that the boys simply bounce [[{{Conflict}} Man vs. Fate conflict]], many players weren't sold on it and viewed it as a step back from girl the [[VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins first game]], where they could make world-changing choices. The [[VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition third game]] returned to girl helping them [[DysfunctionJunction resolve]] [[ThereAreNoTherapists issues]] can be bothersome.
%%* Kage
the old formula as a result.
* In ''VideoGame/EternalEden'', Noah is a mostly [[ExtremeDoormat passive character]] who
was like this in ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders: the Fist of Mars'', until character development and plot events forced him to stop playing NaiveNewcomer and actually do something constructive.
%%* Snake, and more infamously Raiden of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' are deliberately tragic examples.
* In ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006''... Sonic himself is this. He has an entire "storyline" to himself being
into the main character and all, but he doesn't actually affect anything. Some of conflict by his best friend's actions. [[spoiler: Ultimately subverted since the side characters (Knuckles and Tails mainly) are even worse so. That, and he's [[DontExplainTheJoke literally a pinball]] best friend in some games.question is really a manifestation of himself, created by his subconscious to cover up his own misdeeds.]]



* Alex from ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII'' coined the Japanese counterpart of the trope, "[[FanNickname main character (lol)]]." He was meant to be the next hero of the series representing a new generation of fighters. But with no projectile and two command throws, he fit the grappler image better. Which would have been fine except combined with his all-rounder stats, nothing about him really stood out. Worse, Ryu was still where the Player 1 cursor started and Alex's ending had him losing horribly to said previous protagonist. Not fitting the main character mold was one thing but becoming completely overshadowed as well sealed it.
* The ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series by its nature falls into this as the games all star criminal defense lawyers and prosecuting attorneys and follows them through their work on individual murder cases. In other words, they have nothing of relevance in the plot until someone drops dead and they get pulled in to defend them/prosecute them and they must rely on other people a good amount of the time to get all the information they need to win their case. That said, while the protagonists often have a reactive nature to the cases themselves, they still have their own individual character plots that play out during the game to ensure they remain a central part of the story. They're not so much irrelevant to the story (no, not even Apollo, who gets played like a puppet in his self-titled entry) as they are required to wait for something to happen so the player will have something to do.
* The playable duo from ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil0'', Rebecca and Billy don't do a whole lot over the course of the game. The only character interaction that isn't between them or other S.T.A.R.S. members is running into the [[BigBadWannabe final boss]] of the game. Any plot developments happen in cutscenes, involve Wesker and Birkin, and are completely separate from what the protagonists are doing.
** This is true of all ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' games until the fourth came along. Typically the plot involves running around just trying to stay alive amidst odd enemies and even odder puzzles while the plot works independently of you. All those storylines would have had the exact same outcomes had Chris, Jill, Claire, Leon, Carlos, and the rest died within the first 30 seconds.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'': Hawke is the main character, but for most of the story is just reacting to the events that occur around him/her, while party members Varric, Isabella, and Anders are the main driving forces in the plot. Even though a major plot point of the game was exploring the [[{{Conflict}} Man vs. Fate conflict]], many players weren't sold on it and viewed it as a step back from the [[VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins first game]], where they could make world-changing choices. The [[VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition third game]] returned to the old formula as a result.

to:

* Alex from ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII'' coined For roughly three quarters of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', all the Japanese counterpart party does is try to survive in a world where virtually everybody wants to kill them for being L'Cie, something that was done to them without their consent for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Most of the trope, "[[FanNickname remaining quarter is their coming to terms with the fact that as L'Cie, they are little more than pawns in a centuries spanning scheme that they have virtually no hope of stopping - even dying to spite TheChessmaster will just delay his plans until he can find a new batch of pawns to run through the same situation. The first thing they do that diverges from the BigBad's plot takes place in the penultimate cutscene.
* In ''VideoGame/GemsOfWar'', the plot is linear, and the protagonist only speaks in the form of short sentences which fit on what is effectively a "continue" button. As such, the player character comes across as very laid back and obliging to whichever character is serving as QuestGiver. ("Can I join you?" "Okay." "Will you help me?" "Sure, why not." "We must attack immediately!" "All right.") There are occasions where the player character attempts to point out the silliness of certain decisions, but he/she almost always gets carried along anyway.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** The mainline games usually avoid this, as the Master Chief (and the Arbiter) almost always end up saving the galaxy (or at least a planet) in some way or another. However, ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians'' falls pretty hard into this; if Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris had stayed home, [[spoiler:the titular Guardians would still have been dispersed through the galaxy, hundreds of [=AIs=] would have still defected to Cortana, and the ''Infinity'' would still be on the run]]. That said, Osiris are able to make a difference in the war between the Covenant and the Swords of the Sanghelios by [[spoiler:killing Jul 'Mdama and saving the Arbiter]].
** The Rookie of ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'' spends most of his sections just searching for clues on what happened to the rest of his squad. It's only towards the very end that he steps into the main plot and helps the squad accomplish their mission.
** Since the titular world of ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' is DoomedByCanon, Noble Six borders on this for awhile, but towards the end s/he becomes the reason why the ''Pillar of Autumn'' (and thus Master Chief and Cortana) are able to make it to the first Halo.
* The
main character (lol)]]." He was meant to be of ''VideoGame/HotlineMiami'' goes through the next hero of whole game simply following orders from his answering machine (until his RoaringRampageOfRevenge in Part 4,) and consequently both he and the series representing a new generation of fighters. But player never learn anything about what's going on behind the scenes. Richard even tells him in Part 4 that nothing he does from that point on will mean anything. [[HeroOfAnotherStory The Biker]], on the other hand, is much more proactive, with no projectile his storyline revolving around figuring out who's pulling the strings.
* ''Videogame/IndianaJonesAndTheFateOfAtlantis''. The player has a few different paths to choose from but the Nazis are almost always one step ahead
and two command throws, he fit they reach Atlantis and it's god-making machine regardless of Indy's actions. The machine doesn't actually work so the grappler image better. Which antagonists would have been fine except combined presumably killed themselves with his all-rounder stats, nothing about him it or given up even if Indy had never got involved. In fact, the final puzzle is to convince the BigBad to (fatally) use the machine on himself instead of the player. All Indy really stood out. Worse, Ryu was still where the Player 1 cursor started and Alex's ending had him losing horribly manages to said previous protagonist. Not fitting the main character mold was one thing but becoming completely overshadowed as well sealed it.
* The ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' series by its nature falls into this as the games all star criminal defense lawyers and prosecuting attorneys and follows them through their work on individual murder cases. In other words, they have nothing of relevance in the plot until someone drops dead and they get pulled in to defend them/prosecute them and they must rely on other people a good amount of the time to get all the information they need to win their case. That said, while the protagonists often have a reactive nature to the cases themselves, they still have their own individual character plots that play out during the game to ensure they remain a central part of the story. They're not so much irrelevant to the story (no, not even Apollo, who gets played like a puppet in his self-titled entry) as they are required to wait for something to happen so the player will have something to do.
* The playable duo from ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil0'', Rebecca and Billy don't
do a whole lot over the course of the game. The only character interaction that isn't between them or other S.T.A.R.S. members is running into the [[BigBadWannabe final boss]] of the game. Any plot developments happen in cutscenes, involve Wesker and Birkin, and are completely separate from what the protagonists are doing.
** This is true of all ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' games until the fourth came along. Typically the plot involves running around just trying to stay alive amidst odd enemies and even odder puzzles while the plot works independently of you. All those storylines would have had the exact same outcomes had Chris, Jill, Claire, Leon, Carlos, and the rest died within the first 30 seconds.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'': Hawke is the main character, but for most of the story is just reacting to the events that occur around him/her, while party members Varric, Isabella, and Anders are the main driving forces in the plot. Even though a major plot point of the game was exploring the [[{{Conflict}} Man vs. Fate conflict]], many players weren't sold on it and viewed it as a step back from the [[VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins first game]], where they could make world-changing choices. The [[VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition third game]] returned to the old formula as a result.
rescue Sophia. [[MultipleEndings Unless he doesn't]].



* In ''VideoGame/{{Zone of the Enders}}'', Leo starts out as this as some random kid who finds the all important mech for a resistance movement. However, thanks to Viola, he eventually becomes emotionally involved with the story and becomes a more important character.

to:

* In ''VideoGame/{{Zone Raziel, one of two protagonists of the Enders}}'', Leo starts out as ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'' series, falls under this as some random kid who finds trope most of his screen time. He posesses an incredible power few characters in-story can match; but instead of completing his original quest, he tends to be unwillingly dragged in a GambitPileup by multiple Chessmasters at once, each of whom tries to use Raziel for their own agenda (While he's supposed to be the all important mech for a resistance movement. However, thanks ''only'' person in Nozgoth to Viola, have genuine free will - as a walking paradox, he eventually stands outside of fate's control - there are so many schemes going on that no matter what he does, he ends up inadvertently advancing ''somebody's'' plot), so he often ends up being a SwordOfPlotAdvancement of sorts, rather than actual character. The quote of his sums it perfectly:
-->'''Raziel:''' What game was this, where every player on the board claimed the same pawn?
%%* Snake, and more infamously Raiden of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid'' are deliberately tragic examples.
* Samus
becomes emotionally involved with this in ''VideoGame/MetroidOtherM''. Apart from [[spoiler: defeating the story Metroid Queen, retrieving Adam's Helmet, and becomes clearing out a more important character.lot of the monsters on the Bottle Ship]], she doesn't really accomplish a great deal and most major issues or plot points are given to other characters.
* Rolf of ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarII'' is basically an errand boy for the entire game. First his commander in Paseo orders him to investigate the Biosystems Labs and Climatrol, then he's ordered to open the dams to prevent flooding, then Tyler tells him about Dezo, and finally Lutz tells him about the evil plot originating from Noah.
* The playable duo from ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil0'', Rebecca and Billy don't do a whole lot over the course of the game. The only character interaction that isn't between them or other S.T.A.R.S. members is running into the [[BigBadWannabe final boss]] of the game. Any plot developments happen in cutscenes, involve Wesker and Birkin, and are completely separate from what the protagonists are doing.
** This is true of all ''Franchise/ResidentEvil'' games until the fourth came along. Typically the plot involves running around just trying to stay alive amidst odd enemies and even odder puzzles while the plot works independently of you. All those storylines would have had the exact same outcomes had Chris, Jill, Claire, Leon, Carlos, and the rest died within the first 30 seconds.
* In ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006''... Sonic himself is this. He has an entire "storyline" to himself being the main character and all, but he doesn't actually affect anything. Some of the side characters (Knuckles and Tails mainly) are even worse so. That, and he's [[DontExplainTheJoke literally a pinball]] in some games.



* Alex from ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII'' coined the Japanese counterpart of the trope, "[[FanNickname main character (lol)]]." He was meant to be the next hero of the series representing a new generation of fighters. But with no projectile and two command throws, he fit the grappler image better. Which would have been fine except combined with his all-rounder stats, nothing about him really stood out. Worse, Ryu was still where the Player 1 cursor started and Alex's ending had him losing horribly to said previous protagonist. Not fitting the main character mold was one thing but becoming completely overshadowed as well sealed it.
* The protagonists in [[VisualNovel/{{Air}} Studio Key's]] [[VisualNovel/{{Kanon}} visual]] [[VisualNovel/{{Clannad}} novels]] are justified in their general pin-ball status in the games, because that's the whole point of the genre. But as these games were turned into {{Anime}} series en masse by Kyoto animation, the fact that the boys simply bounce from girl to girl helping them [[DysfunctionJunction resolve]] [[ThereAreNoTherapists issues]] can be bothersome.



* The main character of ''VideoGame/HotlineMiami'' goes through the whole game simply following orders from his answering machine (until his RoaringRampageOfRevenge in Part 4,) and consequently both he and the player never learn anything about what's going on behind the scenes. Richard even tells him in Part 4 that nothing he does from that point on will mean anything. [[HeroOfAnotherStory The Biker]], on the other hand, is much more proactive, with his storyline revolving around figuring out who's pulling the strings.
* ''Videogame/IndianaJonesAndTheFateOfAtlantis''. The player has a few different paths to choose from but the Nazis are almost always one step ahead and they reach Atlantis and it's god-making machine regardless of Indy's actions. The machine doesn't actually work so the antagonists would have presumably killed themselves with it or given up even if Indy had never got involved. In fact, the final puzzle is to convince the BigBad to (fatally) use the machine on himself instead of the player. All Indy really manages to do is rescue Sophia. [[MultipleEndings Unless he doesn't]].
* In ''VideoGame/EternalEden'', Noah is a mostly [[ExtremeDoormat passive character]] who was forced into the conflict by his best friend's actions. [[spoiler: Ultimately subverted since the best friend in question is really a manifestation of himself, created by his subconscious to cover up his own misdeeds.]]
* Samus becomes this in ''VideoGame/MetroidOtherM''. Apart from [[spoiler: defeating the Metroid Queen, retrieving Adam's Helmet, and clearing out a lot of the monsters on the Bottle Ship]], she doesn't really accomplish a great deal and most major issues or plot points are given to other characters.
* In ''VideoGame/GemsOfWar'', the plot is linear, and the protagonist only speaks in the form of short sentences which fit on what is effectively a "continue" button. As such, the player character comes across as very laid back and obliging to whichever character is serving as QuestGiver. ("Can I join you?" "Okay." "Will you help me?" "Sure, why not." "We must attack immediately!" "All right.") There are occasions where the player character attempts to point out the silliness of certain decisions, but he/she almost always gets carried along anyway.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** The mainline games usually avoid this, as the Master Chief (and the Arbiter) almost always end up saving the galaxy (or at least a planet) in some way or another. However, ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians'' falls pretty hard into this; if Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris had stayed home, [[spoiler:the titular Guardians would still have been dispersed through the galaxy, hundreds of [=AIs=] would have still defected to Cortana, and the ''Infinity'' would still be on the run]]. That said, Osiris are able to make a difference in the war between the Covenant and the Swords of the Sanghelios by [[spoiler:killing Jul 'Mdama and saving the Arbiter]].
** The Rookie of ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'' spends most of his sections just searching for clues on what happened to the rest of his squad. It's only towards the very end that he steps into the main plot and helps the squad accomplish their mission.
** Since the titular world of ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' is DoomedByCanon, Noble Six borders on this for awhile, but towards the end s/he becomes the reason why the ''Pillar of Autumn'' (and thus Master Chief and Cortana) are able to make it to the first Halo.
* For roughly three quarters of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', all the party does is try to survive in a world where virtually everybody wants to kill them for being L'Cie, something that was done to them without their consent for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Most of the remaining quarter is their coming to terms with the fact that as L'Cie, they are little more than pawns in a centuries spanning scheme that they have virtually no hope of stopping - even dying to spite TheChessmaster will just delay his plans until he can find a new batch of pawns to run through the same situation. The first thing they do that diverges from the BigBad's plot takes place in the penultimate cutscene.
* Raziel, one of two protagonists of the ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain'' series, falls under this trope most of his screen time. He posesses an incredible power few characters in-story can match; but instead of completing his original quest, he tends to be unwillingly dragged in a GambitPileup by multiple Chessmasters at once, each of whom tries to use Raziel for their own agenda (While he's supposed to be the ''only'' person in Nozgoth to have genuine free will - as a walking paradox, he stands outside of fate's control - there are so many schemes going on that no matter what he does, he ends up inadvertently advancing ''somebody's'' plot), so he often ends up being a SwordOfPlotAdvancement of sorts, rather than actual character. The quote of his sums it perfectly:
-->'''Raziel:''' What game was this, where every player on the board claimed the same pawn?
* Rolf of ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarII'' is basically an errand boy for the entire game. First his commander in Paseo orders him to investigate the Biosystems Labs and Climatrol, then he's ordered to open the dams to prevent flooding, then Tyler tells him about Dezo, and finally Lutz tells him about the evil plot originating from Noah.

to:

* The main In ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders'', Leo starts out as this as some random kid who finds the all important mech for a resistance movement. However, thanks to Viola, he eventually becomes emotionally involved with the story and becomes a more important character.
%%* Kage was like this in ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders: the Fist of Mars'', until
character of ''VideoGame/HotlineMiami'' goes through the whole game simply following orders from his answering machine (until his RoaringRampageOfRevenge in Part 4,) development and consequently both he plot events forced him to stop playing NaiveNewcomer and the player never learn anything about what's going on behind the scenes. Richard even tells him in Part 4 that nothing he does from that point on will mean anything. [[HeroOfAnotherStory The Biker]], on the other hand, is much more proactive, with his storyline revolving around figuring out who's pulling the strings.
* ''Videogame/IndianaJonesAndTheFateOfAtlantis''. The player has a few different paths to choose from but the Nazis are almost always one step ahead and they reach Atlantis and it's god-making machine regardless of Indy's actions. The machine doesn't
actually work so the antagonists would have presumably killed themselves with it or given up even if Indy had never got involved. In fact, the final puzzle is to convince the BigBad to (fatally) use the machine on himself instead of the player. All Indy really manages to do is rescue Sophia. [[MultipleEndings Unless he doesn't]].
* In ''VideoGame/EternalEden'', Noah is a mostly [[ExtremeDoormat passive character]] who was forced into the conflict by his best friend's actions. [[spoiler: Ultimately subverted since the best friend in question is really a manifestation of himself, created by his subconscious to cover up his own misdeeds.]]
* Samus becomes this in ''VideoGame/MetroidOtherM''. Apart from [[spoiler: defeating the Metroid Queen, retrieving Adam's Helmet, and clearing out a lot of the monsters on the Bottle Ship]], she doesn't really accomplish a great deal and most major issues or plot points are given to other characters.
* In ''VideoGame/GemsOfWar'', the plot is linear, and the protagonist only speaks in the form of short sentences which fit on what is effectively a "continue" button. As such, the player character comes across as very laid back and obliging to whichever character is serving as QuestGiver. ("Can I join you?" "Okay." "Will you help me?" "Sure, why not." "We must attack immediately!" "All right.") There are occasions where the player character attempts to point out the silliness of certain decisions, but he/she almost always gets carried along anyway.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** The mainline games usually avoid this, as the Master Chief (and the Arbiter) almost always end up saving the galaxy (or at least a planet) in some way or another. However, ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians'' falls pretty hard into this; if Blue Team and Fireteam Osiris had stayed home, [[spoiler:the titular Guardians would still have been dispersed through the galaxy, hundreds of [=AIs=] would have still defected to Cortana, and the ''Infinity'' would still be on the run]]. That said, Osiris are able to make a difference in the war between the Covenant and the Swords of the Sanghelios by [[spoiler:killing Jul 'Mdama and saving the Arbiter]].
** The Rookie of ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'' spends most of his sections just searching for clues on what happened to the rest of his squad. It's only towards the very end that he steps into the main plot and helps the squad accomplish their mission.
** Since the titular world of ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' is DoomedByCanon, Noble Six borders on this for awhile, but towards the end s/he becomes the reason why the ''Pillar of Autumn'' (and thus Master Chief and Cortana) are able to make it to the first Halo.
* For roughly three quarters of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'', all the party does is try to survive in a world where virtually everybody wants to kill them for being L'Cie,
something that was done to them without their consent for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. Most of the remaining quarter is their coming to terms with the fact that as L'Cie, they are little more than pawns in a centuries spanning scheme that they have virtually no hope of stopping - even dying to spite TheChessmaster will just delay his plans until he can find a new batch of pawns to run through the same situation. The first thing they do that diverges from the BigBad's plot takes place constructive.
* Averted
in the penultimate cutscene.
* Raziel, one of two protagonists of the ''VideoGame/LegacyOfKain''
''VideoGame/WingCommander'' series, falls under this trope most of his screen time. He posesses an incredible power few characters in-story can match; but instead of completing his original quest, he tends to be unwillingly dragged in a GambitPileup by multiple Chessmasters at once, each of whom tries to use Raziel for their own agenda (While he's supposed to be as the ''only'' person in Nozgoth to have genuine free will - as a walking paradox, he stands outside overall progress of fate's control - there are so many schemes going on that no matter what he does, he ends up inadvertently advancing ''somebody's'' plot), so he often ends up being a SwordOfPlotAdvancement of sorts, rather than actual character. The quote of his sums it perfectly:
-->'''Raziel:''' What game was this, where every player on
the board claimed war depends on your performance in certain key missions; later games in the same pawn?
* Rolf of ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarII'' is basically an errand boy for
series give you the entire game. First his commander in Paseo orders him opportunity to investigate make decisions and influence the Biosystems Labs and Climatrol, then he's ordered to open the dams to prevent flooding, then Tyler tells him about Dezo, and finally Lutz tells him about the evil plot originating from Noah.story with dialogue options.



* The Pooh's Adventures series on Website/YouTube. Pooh doesn't do anything to change the plot of whatever movie he is in. He just spouts off random comments. In fact, when it does come time to fight the villain, it's usually someone else who vanquishes the villain.


Added DiffLines:

* ''The Pooh's Adventures'' series on Website/YouTube. Pooh doesn't do anything to change the plot of whatever movie he is in. He just spouts off random comments. In fact, when it does come time to fight the villain, it's usually someone else who vanquishes the villain.
23rd Apr '17 4:49:40 PM Golondrina
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* Since he serves as the FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator, in ''Literature/APrayerForOwenMeany'', Johnny Wheelwright is this. Owen is the driving force of the plot. Johnny is there for the ride.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' is often considered this. While he often is the one accomplishing a task, the success is often completely determined by other characters assisting him such as Hermione and Dumbledore. In fact, many of the times that he actively tries to accomplish something on his own initiative end up making things worse for everyone due to his rashness and tendency to jump to conclusions. Snape [[LampshadeHanging Lampshades]] this in the beginning of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'' by calling him a mediocre wizard who mostly accomplishes things with the assistance of more talented allies.
** Although there are many examples throughout the series, the worst is probably ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire''. The main plot of the book is Harry competing in the Tri-Wizard tournament, which only occurs because one of the villains enters his name into the running. There are three tasks in the tournament, and he only solves each of them due to the excessive meddling of both his friends and enemies. In fact, there are a number of times where these parties have to beat him over the head with clues on how to solve each challenge.
* The main character/narrator in ''Literature/MidnightInTheGardenOfGoodAndEvil'' is essentially there just as an observer, (similar to Nick Carraway in ''Literature/TheGreatGatsby''), who goes to the town to write an article for a house and garden magazine, and then decides to stick around when a murder happens and the main suspect is on trial. He doesn't influence the trial in any way, or have anything to do with the murder - he could just as easily have been left out, and the story written in third person, and while the feel of the story would be different, the plot wouldn't change at all.
* [[TheEveryman Richard]] from ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}''. It takes him over half the book before he ''really'' does anything terribly useful, and it wasn't exactly proactive on his part, either. He finally does start to take more initiative down the road, but for most of the story he is merely a vessel for viewing [[FantasyKitchenSink London Below]] and the events unfolding around his companions.
* ''Literature/{{Inkheart}}'' by Cornelia Funke (Meggie spends a lot of her time just reacting to things the adults do. On the rare occasions she tries to affect things her plans are thwarted, stalled, or rendered useless.)
%%* Bilbo Baggins, in JRR Tolkien's ''Literature/TheHobbit'', initially.
%%* ''Literature/{{Candide}}'' is a nice example.

to:

* Since he serves as ''Literature/ElevenTwentyTwoSixtyThree'' has this to an extent due to the FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator, in ''Literature/APrayerForOwenMeany'', Johnny Wheelwright is this. Owen is the driving force TimeTravel aspect of the plot. Johnny is there for story. Jake Epping, a man from 2011 living incognito in the ride.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' is often considered this. While he often is
late 50s and early 60s on a mission to prevent the one accomplishing a task, the success is often completely determined by other characters assisting him such as Hermione and Dumbledore. In fact, many of the times Kennedy assassination, has to study Lee Harvey Oswald's actions to make sure that he actively tries is in fact acting alone, but he must also be extremely careful not to accomplish something on his own initiative end up making things worse for everyone due alert Oswald to his rashness and tendency to jump to conclusions. Snape [[LampshadeHanging Lampshades]] this in presence. In other words, Oswald's actions drive the beginning of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'' by calling him a mediocre wizard who mostly accomplishes things with the assistance of more talented allies.
** Although there are many examples throughout the series, the worst is probably ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire''. The main
plot of the book is Harry competing in for the Tri-Wizard tournament, which only occurs because one of the villains enters his name into the running. There are three tasks in the tournament, most part, and he only solves each of them due to the excessive meddling of both his friends and enemies. In fact, there are a number of times where these parties have to beat him over the head with clues on how to solve each challenge.
* The main character/narrator in ''Literature/MidnightInTheGardenOfGoodAndEvil'' is essentially there
Jake just as an observer, (similar has to Nick Carraway in ''Literature/TheGreatGatsby''), who goes to the town to write an article for a house and garden magazine, and then decides to stick follow him around when a murder happens and the main suspect is on trial. He doesn't influence the trial in any way, or have actively avoid doing anything to do with the murder - he could just as easily have been left out, and the story written important until he's positive that killing Oswald will in third person, and while the feel of the story would be different, the plot wouldn't change at all.
* [[TheEveryman Richard]] from ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}''. It takes him over half the book before he ''really'' does anything terribly useful, and it wasn't exactly proactive on his part, either. He finally does start to take more initiative down the road, but for most of the story he is merely a vessel for viewing [[FantasyKitchenSink London Below]] and the events unfolding around his companions.
* ''Literature/{{Inkheart}}'' by Cornelia Funke (Meggie spends a lot of her time just reacting to things the adults do. On the rare occasions she tries to affect things her plans are thwarted, stalled, or rendered useless.)
%%* Bilbo Baggins, in JRR Tolkien's ''Literature/TheHobbit'', initially.
%%* ''Literature/{{Candide}}'' is a nice example.
fact save Kennedy.



* This accusation is often thrown against those three classic young heroines of literature: [[Literature/AliceInWonderland Alice]], [[Literature/PeterPan Wendy]] and [[Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz Dorothy]]. [[Literature/{{Discworld}} Susan Sto Helit]] is described as an aversion of this... [[{{Chickification}} and then came]] ''Discworld/ThiefOfTime''. Dorothy gradually averts this trope in later Oz books, and all three strongly avert it when featured in the webcomic Webcomic/CheshireCrossing. A SpearCounterpart is Charlie Bucket from ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory''; see above under Film for how adaptations handle this issue.
%%* ''Literature/{{Candide}}'' is a nice example.



* Fanny from the Creator/JaneAusten novel ''Literature/MansfieldPark'', due to the emotional abuse she's suffered for eight years living with her rich aunts and uncle, basically feels she has no right to her own opinion or happiness and thus lets her aunts and cousins push her around for most of the novel. Naturally, this makes the two times she stands up for herself all the more impressive and the other characters all the more shocked.
* This accusation is often thrown against those three classic young heroines of literature: [[Literature/AliceInWonderland Alice]], [[Literature/PeterPan Wendy]] and [[Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz Dorothy]]. [[Literature/{{Discworld}} Susan Sto Helit]] is described as an aversion of this... [[{{Chickification}} and then came]] ''Discworld/ThiefOfTime''. Dorothy gradually averts this trope in later Oz books, and all three strongly avert it when featured in the webcomic Webcomic/CheshireCrossing. A SpearCounterpart is Charlie Bucket from ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory''; see above under Film for how adaptations handle this issue.
%%* Jurgis in ''Literature/TheJungle.'' [[DeusAngstMachina To the point where nobody cared]] except about the meat stuff.
* In ''Literature/TheIslandOfDoctorMoreau'', Richard Prendick does nothing but get thrown overboard, land on an island and watch more interesting people do experiments.
* Terisa Morgan of Stephen R. Donaldson's ''Mordant's Need'' novels (Literature/TheMirrorOfHerDreams, A Man Rides Through) acts this way through most of both books. (This is deliberate. She has a cripplingly low level of self-confidence thanks to an oppressive father and passive mother; the narration makes an analogy to a princess imprisoned by a curse.)
* In ''Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' [[UnfazedEveryman Arthur Dent]] started out as this. It's made explicitly clear that he's the main character early on, yet it takes awhile for him to take an active role and not just react to events around him.

to:

* Fanny %%* Literature/DavidCopperfield is a prime example from the Creator/JaneAusten novel ''Literature/MansfieldPark'', due to the emotional abuse she's suffered for eight years living with her rich aunts and uncle, basically feels she has no right to her own opinion or happiness and thus lets her aunts and cousins push her around for most of the novel. Naturally, this makes the two times she stands up for herself all the more impressive and the other characters all the more shocked.
classical literature.
* This accusation is often thrown against those three classic young heroines of literature: [[Literature/AliceInWonderland Alice]], [[Literature/PeterPan Wendy]] and [[Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz Dorothy]]. [[Literature/{{Discworld}} Susan Sto Helit]] is described as an aversion of this... [[{{Chickification}} and then came]] ''Discworld/ThiefOfTime''. Dorothy gradually averts this trope in later Oz books, and all three strongly avert it when featured in the webcomic Webcomic/CheshireCrossing. A SpearCounterpart is Charlie Bucket from ''Literature/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory''; see above under Film for how adaptations handle this issue.
%%* Jurgis in ''Literature/TheJungle.'' [[DeusAngstMachina To the point where nobody cared]] except about the meat stuff.
* In ''Literature/TheIslandOfDoctorMoreau'', Richard Prendick does nothing but get thrown overboard, land on an island and watch more interesting people do experiments.
* Terisa Morgan of Stephen R. Donaldson's ''Mordant's Need''
The ''Literature/DocSavage'' novels (Literature/TheMirrorOfHerDreams, A pulled in involved bystanders to their plots to act as first person narrator protagonists assisted by the titular [[HeroicArchetype Man Rides Through) acts this way through most of both books. (This is deliberate. She has a cripplingly low level of self-confidence thanks to an oppressive father and passive mother; the narration makes an analogy to a princess imprisoned by a curse.)
* In ''Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' [[UnfazedEveryman Arthur Dent]] started out as this. It's made explicitly clear that he's the main character early on, yet it takes awhile for him to take an active role and not just react to events around him.
Bronze]].



%%* Augusten Burroughs in ''Literature/RunningWithScissors''. Particularly the movie version. It's an autobiography, but still...
* Both Bella in ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' and Wanderer in ''Literature/TheHost'' tend to fall into this during periods of action (which admittedly are in the minority in the slow, conversation-heavy books.) They're both {{Extreme Doormat}}s, so it makes sense from an in-story standpoint, but it's one of the reasons Stephanie Meyer's works are so polarizing.
* Beverly King in L.M. Montgomery's ''Literature/TheStoryGirl'' is there purely to observe the more interesting characters around him. Then again, they ''are'' very interesting characters.
* Cosette in ''Literature/LesMiserables''. She mostly exists as a catalyst to inspire other characters to do other things. Her existence is what drives her mother into prostitution to pay for her - and her mother's death spurs Valjean into finding her and rescuing her. When she's all grown up, she then attracts Marius's attention. She doesn't actually do anything herself and she's mostly along for the ride when Valjean flees from the police. [[spoiler: And she's one of the few characters to survive the book, presumably because she did so very little]].
* Kino from ''LightNovel/KinosJourney'' tries to be this type of character; being a Traveller, one is not supposed to pass judgment or meddle in the affairs of the places they visit and is only there to observe objectively. However, various circumstances typically get Kino wrapped up in the affairs of the places she comes to and forces her to act, whether she wants to or not.
%%* In many ways, Richard Papen from Donna Tartt's novel ''Literature/TheSecretHistory'' qualifies as this.
* Both the book ''Literature/TheManuscriptFoundInSaragossa'' and [[Film/TheSaragossaManuscript the movie adaptation]]: Alphonse van Worden has various bewildering or scary things happen around him and to him, and is told lots of stories. [[spoiler:Most of it turns out to be a show staged for van Worden in an attempt to convince or convert him.]]
%%* Almost all of the main characters WilliamGibson writes would qualify, but Case in ''Literature/{{Neuromancer}}'' is a cut above the rest: it's difficult to name one decision made in the book that's solely his.



* The main character of ''Literature/TheSharingKnife''. In terms of plot, almost everything that happens is because of her primary love interest, with her dragged along for the ride. When fighting starts, said love interest is impressive even for a member of the resident SuperiorSpecies, whereas she's physically unsuited to combat and tries to stay out of the way. However, as the series progresses she learns more self-confidence. To the point that when her husband is threatened, she defies an entire camp of sorcerers to ride out and rescue him.
%%* Geralt, in ''Literature/TheWitcher'' saga. Mostly because the setting is populated with dozens of wizards, nearly all of them {{plan}}ners of various degrees. His person isn't even important to the plot.
* The protagonist and narrator of Iain Bank's ''A Song of Stone'' is an aristocrat called Abel living during in a civil war. He starts the novel trying to escape from the country with his [[BrotherSisterIncest wife/sister Morgan]] but gets caught up with a group of soldiers and has very little control over the plot from that point onwards.
* OlderThanSteam: The 1554 Spanish picaresque novel, kicked off by ''Lazarillo de Tormes'', is the TropeMaker: the protagonist is almost always a circumstance- and happenstance-dependent drifter through life, with very little proactive situations. In the 1700s, English picaresque fiction (such as ''Tom Jones'' or ''Peregrine Pickle'') inherited the trope.
* ''Stuck in Neutral'' by Terry Trueman has a justified example that's probably impossible to top. The main character can't control his muscle movements enough to communicate in any fashion, and it's commonly assumed by those around him that he doesn't even have a mind. The "plot," such as it is, is his commenting on how his life is and how people react to him, with him unable to change anything [[spoiler:even to save his own life.]]

to:

* The main character Tyrone Slothrop of ''Literature/TheSharingKnife''. In terms of plot, almost everything that happens is because of her primary love interest, with her dragged along for ''Literature/GravitysRainbow'', who never solves the ride. When fighting starts, said love interest is impressive even for a member of the resident SuperiorSpecies, whereas she's physically unsuited to combat and tries to stay out of the way. However, as the series progresses she learns more self-confidence. To the point that when her husband is threatened, she defies an entire camp of sorcerers to ride out and rescue him.
%%* Geralt, in ''Literature/TheWitcher'' saga. Mostly because the setting is populated with dozens of wizards, nearly all of them {{plan}}ners of
mystery he's after, spends his time on various degrees. His person isn't even important to the plot.
* The protagonist
sidequests instead, avoids death only by accident and narrator of Iain Bank's ''A Song of Stone'' is an aristocrat called Abel living during in a civil war. He starts the novel trying to escape eventually simply goes mad, gives up and disappears from the country with his [[BrotherSisterIncest wife/sister Morgan]] but gets caught up with a group of soldiers and has very little control over the plot from that point onwards.
* OlderThanSteam: The 1554 Spanish picaresque novel, kicked off by ''Lazarillo de Tormes'', is the TropeMaker: the protagonist is almost always a circumstance- and happenstance-dependent drifter through life, with very little proactive situations. In the 1700s, English picaresque fiction (such as ''Tom Jones'' or ''Peregrine Pickle'') inherited the trope.
* ''Stuck in Neutral'' by Terry Trueman has a justified example that's probably impossible to top. The main character can't control his muscle movements enough to communicate in any fashion, and it's commonly assumed by those around him that he doesn't even have a mind. The "plot," such as it is, is his commenting on how his life is and how people react to him, with him unable to change anything [[spoiler:even to save his own life.]]
story.



%%* Literature/DavidCopperfield is a prime example from classical literature.
* ''Literature/TheStand'' may or may not have this trope, depending on what you see the main plot of the book as being. In terms of rebuilding society in the wake of an apocalyptic event, the MainCharacters actually do quite a bit. In terms of fighting Randall Flagg, the BigBad of the story, though, they accomplish virtually nothing; at best their role is to serve as witnesses to [[spoiler:his defeat by [[DeusExMachina the Hand of God]]]] (with a little help from the [[SpannerInTheWorks Trashcan Man]]).
* Tyrone Slothrop of ''Literature/GravitysRainbow'', who never solves the mystery he's after, spends his time on various sidequests instead, avoids death only by accident and eventually simply goes mad, gives up and disappears from the story.
* The ''Literature/DocSavage'' novels pulled in involved bystanders to their plots to act as first person narrator protagonists assisted by the titular [[HeroicArchetype Man of Bronze]].



%%* The whole human race and indeed nearly the entire biosphere in every adaptation of ''Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds''.
%%* Otto in ''Otto of the Silver Hand'' by Creator/HowardPyle.
* Bernadette Manuelito is this in the murder mystery ''[[Creator/TonyHillerman The Sinister Pig.]]'' She asks interesting questions as a Border Patrol officer and talks to a variety of people, but the murder mystery is solved by other officers Chee and Leaphorn; the whole plot is resolved when Bernadette walks straight into a trap, and a different character (who's been developed in other parts of the book) solves everything.
* In [[http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/brazil/soaresj2.htm this review]] of Brazilian novel ''Twelve Fingers'', it's even stated that the [[BeenThereShapedHistory Forrest Gump-like protagonist]] "bounces around like a ball in a pinball machine, occasionally disappearing from view entirely for longer periods of time."
* Carnelian is like this for incredibly long stretches of ''Literature/TheStoneDanceOfTheChameleon''. In the first book, the only instance of him taking matters into his own hands ends in disaster. Only at the very end of the trilogy does he finally step up.
* Nora from ''Literature/HushHush''. She spends most of the book going about her daily life, reacting when something or someone tries to kill her, then promptly forgets about it in favor of going back to her daily routines.

to:

%%* The whole human race * ''Literature/HarryPotter'' is often considered this. While he often is the one accomplishing a task, the success is often completely determined by other characters assisting him such as Hermione and indeed nearly the entire biosphere in every adaptation of ''Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds''.
%%* Otto in ''Otto
Dumbledore. In fact, many of the Silver Hand'' by Creator/HowardPyle.
* Bernadette Manuelito is
times that he actively tries to accomplish something on his own initiative end up making things worse for everyone due to his rashness and tendency to jump to conclusions. Snape [[LampshadeHanging Lampshades]] this in the murder mystery ''[[Creator/TonyHillerman beginning of ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince'' by calling him a mediocre wizard who mostly accomplishes things with the assistance of more talented allies.
** Although there are many examples throughout the series, the worst is probably ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire''.
The Sinister Pig.]]'' She asks interesting questions as a Border Patrol officer and talks to a variety of people, but the murder mystery is solved by other officers Chee and Leaphorn; the whole main plot is resolved when Bernadette walks straight into a trap, and a different character (who's been developed in other parts of the book) solves everything.
* In [[http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/brazil/soaresj2.htm this review]] of Brazilian novel ''Twelve Fingers'', it's even stated that the [[BeenThereShapedHistory Forrest Gump-like protagonist]] "bounces around like a ball in a pinball machine, occasionally disappearing from view entirely for longer periods of time."
* Carnelian is like this for incredibly long stretches of ''Literature/TheStoneDanceOfTheChameleon''. In the first book, the only instance of him taking matters into his own hands ends in disaster. Only at the very end of the trilogy does he finally step up.
* Nora from ''Literature/HushHush''. She spends most
of the book going about her daily life, reacting when something or someone tries is Harry competing in the Tri-Wizard tournament, which only occurs because one of the villains enters his name into the running. There are three tasks in the tournament, and he only solves each of them due to kill her, then promptly forgets about the excessive meddling of both his friends and enemies. In fact, there are a number of times where these parties have to beat him over the head with clues on how to solve each challenge.
* In ''Franchise/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy'' [[UnfazedEveryman Arthur Dent]] started out as this. It's made explicitly clear that he's the main character early on, yet
it takes awhile for him to take an active role and not just react to events around him.
%%* Bilbo Baggins,
in favor of going back to her daily routines.JRR Tolkien's ''Literature/TheHobbit'', initially.



* Discussed in ''Literature/ThePinballs'', where Carlie's speech about the three protagonists being pinballs evokes a very dark interpretation of this trope. Justified since she's an abused child, also [[spoiler: she ultimately renounces her claim]].



* Nora from ''Literature/HushHush''. She spends most of the book going about her daily life, reacting when something or someone tries to kill her, then promptly forgets about it in favor of going back to her daily routines.
* ''Literature/{{Inkheart}}'' by Cornelia Funke (Meggie spends a lot of her time just reacting to things the adults do. On the rare occasions she tries to affect things her plans are thwarted, stalled, or rendered useless.)
* In ''Literature/TheIslandOfDoctorMoreau'', Richard Prendick does nothing but get thrown overboard, land on an island and watch more interesting people do experiments.
%%* Jurgis in ''Literature/TheJungle.'' [[DeusAngstMachina To the point where nobody cared]] except about the meat stuff.
* Kino from ''LightNovel/KinosJourney'' tries to be this type of character; being a Traveller, one is not supposed to pass judgment or meddle in the affairs of the places they visit and is only there to observe objectively. However, various circumstances typically get Kino wrapped up in the affairs of the places she comes to and forces her to act, whether she wants to or not.
* OlderThanSteam: The 1554 Spanish picaresque novel, kicked off by ''Lazarillo de Tormes'', is the TropeMaker: the protagonist is almost always a circumstance- and happenstance-dependent drifter through life, with very little proactive situations. In the 1700s, English picaresque fiction (such as ''Tom Jones'' or ''Peregrine Pickle'') inherited the trope.



* Out of all the point of view characters in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', Sansa Stark stands out as being the most reactive and passive, spending much of her early page time being pushed around by other characters. This is justified -- she's a naive preteen girl, and unlike the others, she's in no position t be proactive. Part of her storyline is shedding this trope and gaining her own agency.

to:

* Out Fanny from the Creator/JaneAusten novel ''Literature/MansfieldPark'', due to the emotional abuse she's suffered for eight years living with her rich aunts and uncle, basically feels she has no right to her own opinion or happiness and thus lets her aunts and cousins push her around for most of the novel. Naturally, this makes the two times she stands up for herself all the point of view more impressive and the other characters in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', Sansa Stark stands out as being all the most reactive more shocked.
* Both the book ''Literature/TheManuscriptFoundInSaragossa''
and passive, spending much of her early page time being pushed [[Film/TheSaragossaManuscript the movie adaptation]]: Alphonse van Worden has various bewildering or scary things happen around by other characters. This is justified -- she's a naive preteen girl, him and unlike the others, she's in no position t be proactive. Part of her storyline is shedding this trope to him, and gaining her own agency.is told lots of stories. [[spoiler:Most of it turns out to be a show staged for van Worden in an attempt to convince or convert him.]]



* ''Literature/ElevenTwentyTwoSixtyThree'' has this to an extent due to the TimeTravel aspect of the story. Jake Epping, a man from 2011 living incognito in the late 50s and early 60s on a mission to prevent the Kennedy assassination, has to study Lee Harvey Oswald's actions to make sure that he is in fact acting alone, but he must also be extremely careful not to alert Oswald to his presence. In other words, Oswald's actions drive the plot of the book for the most part, and Jake just has to follow him around and actively avoid doing anything important until he's positive that killing Oswald will in fact save Kennedy.

to:

* ''Literature/ElevenTwentyTwoSixtyThree'' has this The main character/narrator in ''Literature/MidnightInTheGardenOfGoodAndEvil'' is essentially there just as an observer, (similar to an extent due Nick Carraway in ''Literature/TheGreatGatsby''), who goes to the TimeTravel aspect town to write an article for a house and garden magazine, and then decides to stick around when a murder happens and the main suspect is on trial. He doesn't influence the trial in any way, or have anything to do with the murder - he could just as easily have been left out, and the story written in third person, and while the feel of the story. Jake Epping, a man from 2011 living incognito in the late 50s and early 60s on a mission to prevent the Kennedy assassination, has to study Lee Harvey Oswald's actions to make sure that he is in fact acting alone, but he must also story would be extremely careful not to alert Oswald to his presence. In other words, Oswald's actions drive different, the plot wouldn't change at all.
* Terisa Morgan
of Stephen R. Donaldson's ''Mordant's Need'' novels (Literature/TheMirrorOfHerDreams, A Man Rides Through) acts this way through most of both books. (This is deliberate. She has a cripplingly low level of self-confidence thanks to an oppressive father and passive mother; the narration makes an analogy to a princess imprisoned by a curse.)
* Cosette in ''Literature/LesMiserables''. She mostly exists as a catalyst to inspire other characters to do other things. Her existence is what drives her mother into prostitution to pay for her - and her mother's death spurs Valjean into finding her and rescuing her. When she's all grown up, she then attracts Marius's attention. She doesn't actually do anything herself and she's mostly along for the ride when Valjean flees from the police. [[spoiler: And she's one of the few characters to survive the book, presumably because she did so very little]].
%%* Almost all of the main characters WilliamGibson writes would qualify, but Case in ''Literature/{{Neuromancer}}'' is a cut above the rest: it's difficult to name one decision made in
the book for that's solely his.
* [[TheEveryman Richard]] from ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}''. It takes him over half
the most part, and Jake just has to follow him around and actively avoid doing book before he ''really'' does anything important until he's positive that killing Oswald will in fact save Kennedy. terribly useful, and it wasn't exactly proactive on his part, either. He finally does start to take more initiative down the road, but for most of the story he is merely a vessel for viewing [[FantasyKitchenSink London Below]] and the events unfolding around his companions.


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%%* Otto in ''Otto of the Silver Hand'' by Creator/HowardPyle.
* Discussed in ''Literature/ThePinballs'', where Carlie's speech about the three protagonists being pinballs evokes a very dark interpretation of this trope. Justified since she's an abused child, also [[spoiler: she ultimately renounces her claim]].
* Since he serves as the FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator, in ''Literature/APrayerForOwenMeany'', Johnny Wheelwright is this. Owen is the driving force of the plot. Johnny is there for the ride.
%%* Augusten Burroughs in ''Literature/RunningWithScissors''. Particularly the movie version. It's an autobiography, but still...
%%* In many ways, Richard Papen from Donna Tartt's novel ''Literature/TheSecretHistory'' qualifies as this.
* The main character of ''Literature/TheSharingKnife''. In terms of plot, almost everything that happens is because of her primary love interest, with her dragged along for the ride. When fighting starts, said love interest is impressive even for a member of the resident SuperiorSpecies, whereas she's physically unsuited to combat and tries to stay out of the way. However, as the series progresses she learns more self-confidence. To the point that when her husband is threatened, she defies an entire camp of sorcerers to ride out and rescue him.
* Bernadette Manuelito is this in the murder mystery ''[[Creator/TonyHillerman The Sinister Pig.]]'' She asks interesting questions as a Border Patrol officer and talks to a variety of people, but the murder mystery is solved by other officers Chee and Leaphorn; the whole plot is resolved when Bernadette walks straight into a trap, and a different character (who's been developed in other parts of the book) solves everything.
* Out of all the point of view characters in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'', Sansa Stark stands out as being the most reactive and passive, spending much of her early page time being pushed around by other characters. This is justified -- she's a naive preteen girl, and unlike the others, she's in no position t be proactive. Part of her storyline is shedding this trope and gaining her own agency.
* The protagonist and narrator of Iain Bank's ''A Song of Stone'' is an aristocrat called Abel living during in a civil war. He starts the novel trying to escape from the country with his [[BrotherSisterIncest wife/sister Morgan]] but gets caught up with a group of soldiers and has very little control over the plot from that point onwards.
* ''Literature/TheStand'' may or may not have this trope, depending on what you see the main plot of the book as being. In terms of rebuilding society in the wake of an apocalyptic event, the MainCharacters actually do quite a bit. In terms of fighting Randall Flagg, the BigBad of the story, though, they accomplish virtually nothing; at best their role is to serve as witnesses to [[spoiler:his defeat by [[DeusExMachina the Hand of God]]]] (with a little help from the [[SpannerInTheWorks Trashcan Man]]).
* Carnelian is like this for incredibly long stretches of ''Literature/TheStoneDanceOfTheChameleon''. In the first book, the only instance of him taking matters into his own hands ends in disaster. Only at the very end of the trilogy does he finally step up.
* Beverly King in L.M. Montgomery's ''Literature/TheStoryGirl'' is there purely to observe the more interesting characters around him. Then again, they ''are'' very interesting characters.
* ''Stuck in Neutral'' by Terry Trueman has a justified example that's probably impossible to top. The main character can't control his muscle movements enough to communicate in any fashion, and it's commonly assumed by those around him that he doesn't even have a mind. The "plot," such as it is, is his commenting on how his life is and how people react to him, with him unable to change anything [[spoiler:even to save his own life.]]
* In [[http://www.complete-review.com/reviews/brazil/soaresj2.htm this review]] of Brazilian novel ''Twelve Fingers'', it's even stated that the [[BeenThereShapedHistory Forrest Gump-like protagonist]] "bounces around like a ball in a pinball machine, occasionally disappearing from view entirely for longer periods of time."
* Both Bella in ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' and Wanderer in ''Literature/TheHost'' tend to fall into this during periods of action (which admittedly are in the minority in the slow, conversation-heavy books.) They're both {{Extreme Doormat}}s, so it makes sense from an in-story standpoint, but it's one of the reasons Stephanie Meyer's works are so polarizing.
%%* The whole human race and indeed nearly the entire biosphere in every adaptation of ''Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds''.
* Geralt, in ''Literature/TheWitcher'' saga. Mostly because the setting is populated with dozens of wizards, nearly all of them {{plan}}ners of various degrees. His person isn't even important to the plot.
19th Apr '17 9:01:14 PM Golondrina
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%%
%%
%% This list of examples has been alphabetized. Please add your example in the proper place. Thanks!
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%%



* Until the climax of {{Creator/OsamuTezuka}}'s ''{{Anime/Metropolis}}'', Kenichi and Tima spend most of their time wandering from one SceneryPorn locale to the next, occasionally getting shot at. Tima may also qualify as a walking MacGuffin.
* Natsuru in ''LightNovel/{{Kampfer}}'' gets dragged around by other people and he just goes along with them in the end anyway. Much worse in the anime than in the manga and light novels, although its still pretty bad in the latter two. The main difference is, in the latter, s/he at least ''tries'' to make a token effort to undermine the Kampfer War and learn the truth behind it, whereas in the anime, s/he just sorta stands there with a confused expression.
* Kyon of ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' spends a lot of time mostly just watching things happen and doing whatever people tell him. [[DeadpanSnarker That isn't to say that he's boring or without personality, however,]] and his apathy is a source of frustration to other characters, which is amusing.
** He becomes a much more active protagonist after the fourth book.



* The titular ''Anime/SteamBoy'' spent the majority of the movie doing whatever grandpa, Scarlet, father or Mr. Stephenson wanted. [[CharacterDevelopment To his credit]], when circumstances finally did leave him alone for a moment, he quickly [[IndyPloy came up with a plan of his own]], rejected the BastardUnderstudy's advice and became the hero of the day.

to:

* The titular ''Anime/SteamBoy'' spent the majority Renton of ''Anime/EurekaSeven'' actually spends a great deal of the movie doing whatever grandpa, Scarlet, father or Mr. Stephenson wanted. [[CharacterDevelopment To his credit]], when circumstances finally did leave him alone for a moment, he quickly [[IndyPloy came up with a plan of his own]], rejected series completely in the BastardUnderstudy's advice dark and became the hero out of control of the day.events that transpires around him. He doesn't even come face to face with the BigBad of the series despite being the protagonist.



* Ichise of ''Anime/{{Texhnolyze}}''. There doesn't appear to be much consideration of his actions, reacting like a rabid animal when he's not simply following orders.
* Madoka spends most of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' like this, not becoming a magical girl until surprisingly late in the series. [[spoiler:An unusual case in that Madoka being this way was intentional on the part of one of the other characters, Homura, who was attempting [[SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong via time travel]] to protect her from the horrifying [[OurLichesAreDifferent true]] [[AndThenJohnWasAZombie nature]] of magical girls.]]
* Renton of ''Anime/EurekaSeven'' actually spends a great deal of the series completely in the dark and out of control of the events that transpires around him. He doesn't even come face to face with the BigBad of the series despite being the protagonist.
* Shu from ''Anime/NowAndThenHereAndThere'' attempts a lot of heroic stuff, but his actions have little to no effect on the series' plot or resolution. Remove him and the same things would have happened.

to:

* Ichise Kyon of ''Anime/{{Texhnolyze}}''. There doesn't appear ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' spends a lot of time mostly just watching things happen and doing whatever people tell him. [[DeadpanSnarker That isn't to be much consideration of his actions, reacting like a rabid animal when say that he's not simply following orders.
* Madoka spends most
boring or without personality, however,]] and his apathy is a source of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' like this, not becoming a magical girl until surprisingly late in the series. [[spoiler:An unusual case in that Madoka being this way was intentional on the part of one of the frustration to other characters, Homura, who was attempting [[SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong via time travel]] to protect her from which is amusing.
** He becomes a much more active protagonist after
the horrifying [[OurLichesAreDifferent true]] [[AndThenJohnWasAZombie nature]] of magical girls.]]
* Renton of ''Anime/EurekaSeven'' actually spends a great deal of the series completely in the dark and out of control of the events that transpires around him. He doesn't even come face to face with the BigBad of the series despite being the protagonist.
* Shu from ''Anime/NowAndThenHereAndThere'' attempts a lot of heroic stuff, but his actions have little to no effect on the series' plot or resolution. Remove him and the same things would have happened.
fourth book.



* Natsuru in ''LightNovel/{{Kampfer}}'' gets dragged around by other people and he just goes along with them in the end anyway. Much worse in the anime than in the manga and light novels, although its still pretty bad in the latter two. The main difference is, in the latter, s/he at least ''tries'' to make a token effort to undermine the Kampfer War and learn the truth behind it, whereas in the anime, s/he just sorta stands there with a confused expression.



* Until the climax of {{Creator/OsamuTezuka}}'s ''{{Anime/Metropolis}}'', Kenichi and Tima spend most of their time wandering from one SceneryPorn locale to the next, occasionally getting shot at. Tima may also qualify as a walking MacGuffin.
* Shu from ''Anime/NowAndThenHereAndThere'' attempts a lot of heroic stuff, but his actions have little to no effect on the series' plot or resolution. Remove him and the same things would have happened.
* Madoka spends most of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' like this, not becoming a magical girl until surprisingly late in the series. [[spoiler:An unusual case in that Madoka being this way was intentional on the part of one of the other characters, Homura, who was attempting [[SetRightWhatOnceWentWrong via time travel]] to protect her from the horrifying [[OurLichesAreDifferent true]] [[AndThenJohnWasAZombie nature]] of magical girls.]]
* The titular ''Anime/SteamBoy'' spent the majority of the movie doing whatever grandpa, Scarlet, father or Mr. Stephenson wanted. [[CharacterDevelopment To his credit]], when circumstances finally did leave him alone for a moment, he quickly [[IndyPloy came up with a plan of his own]], rejected the BastardUnderstudy's advice and became the hero of the day.
* Ichise of ''Anime/{{Texhnolyze}}''. There doesn't appear to be much consideration of his actions, reacting like a rabid animal when he's not simply following orders.



* Comicbook/{{Batman}} in ''ComicBook/TheLongHalloween''. He spends most of the story chasing around after whatever supervillain is around for each chapter. He doesn't save any of the victims from the Holiday killer, he doesn't save Harvey Dent from becoming Two-Face and he only catches the killer by [[spoiler: getting Sal Maroni killed by him]].



* In several issues of ComicBook/{{Venom}}'s first limited series, ComicBook/SpiderMan actually got more screen time. The subsequent ones fixed this problem.



* Comicbook/{{Batman}} in ''ComicBook/TheLongHalloween''. He spends most of the story chasing around after whatever supervillain is around for each chapter. He doesn't save any of the victims from the Holiday killer, he doesn't save Harvey Dent from becoming Two-Face and he only catches the killer by [[spoiler: getting Sal Maroni killed by him]].



* In several issues of ComicBook/{{Venom}}'s first limited series, ComicBook/SpiderMan actually got more screen time. The subsequent ones fixed this problem.



* The titular unicorn from ''WesternAnimation/TheLastUnicorn'' leaves her forest to find the rest of her kind...and does practically nothing else for the rest of the story. She falls asleep on the side of the road and is captured by a WickedWitch who knows where the rest are, she is freed by one of the witch's magician assistants - who knows how to get there. He also ends up accidentally changing her into a human so she can reach King Haggard. Though she finally does ''something'' in the climax.



* The titular unicorn from ''WesternAnimation/TheLastUnicorn'' leaves her forest to find the rest of her kind...and does practically nothing else for the rest of the story. She falls asleep on the side of the road and is captured by a WickedWitch who knows where the rest are, she is freed by one of the witch's magician assistants - who knows how to get there. He also ends up accidentally changing her into a human so she can reach King Haggard. Though she finally does ''something'' in the climax.
* The narrator of ''Animation/WaltzWithBashir'' is a decidedly tragic example. When his [[FieldPromotion commanding officer is killed]] he doesn't rise to the occasion and completely fails to get any of his squad mates out alive; afterward he bitterly realizes that there was a lot more he could have done but was just a [[SurvivorsGuilt confused kid who got in over his head]].



* The narrator of ''Animation/WaltzWithBashir'' is a decidedly tragic example. When his [[FieldPromotion commanding officer is killed]] he doesn't rise to the occasion and completely fails to get any of his squad mates out alive; afterward he bitterly realizes that there was a lot more he could have done but was just a [[SurvivorsGuilt confused kid who got in over his head]].



* ''Film/ForrestGump'' just does whatever he feels like doing at the time. At one point, he becomes sort of a running guru and unintentionally leads a group of literal cross-country runners for months. At one point he stops running ("Listen, he's about to say something!") and he just says "I'm kinda tired. I'm going to go home now," and just walks home (to Alabama, from the Nevada desert!)
--> '''Runner:''' "What are we going to do now?"

to:

* ''Film/ForrestGump'' just does whatever he feels like doing The title character of ''Film/{{Barbarella}}'' fits this perfectly. The entire movie consists of her repeatedly getting into trouble through her own stupidity, being rescued by some guy, and then having RescueSex with her savior. The only reason she managed to find the man she was looking for at all was because Duran Duran accidentally stepped on the device she had been given to track him down (which she had not once even thought of turning on since receiving).
* In ''Film/BarryLyndon'', Barry goes through his life simply having things ''happen'' to him, such as being robbed, or being press-ganged, or having his child die. Even his initial action, shooting an officer in a duel, turns out to [[spoiler: have been a fake duel, planned all along by his friends]]. Despite his attempts to gain agency over his life,
at the time. At one point, he becomes sort end of a running guru and unintentionally leads a group of literal cross-country runners for months. At one point he stops running ("Listen, the movie, he's about to say something!") and he just says "I'm kinda tired. I'm going to go home now," and just walks home (to Alabama, from as much a victim of fate as he was in the Nevada desert!)
--> '''Runner:''' "What are we going
beginning.
* ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'': Franchise/{{Superman}} rarely does anything active in the movie unless he is manipulated by ComicBook/LexLuthor and[=/=]or provoked by Franchise/{{Batman}},
to do now?"the point they actually have more dialogue than him.



* Music/TheBeatles for much of ''Film/{{Help}}'' This is even plot relevant: Ringo Starr is told he can remove his ClingyMacGuffin if he commits one courageous act--and when he does, ''much'' later, it's the end of the film.
* The protagonist from the 1966 B-movie ''Film/TheWildWorldOfBatwoman'' is a perfect example of this. The protagonist is like Charlie from ''Series/CharliesAngels''. She does show up from time to time, but she has her batgirls do all the work. An [[Website/TheAgonyBooth Agony Booth]] recap can be read [[http://www.agonybooth.com/recaps/The_Wild_World_of_Batwoman_1966.aspx here.]]
* Slevin Kelevra from ''Film/LuckyNumberSlevin'' is apparently this during the beginning of the film, [[spoiler: before the Kansas City Shuffle and Slevin's true intentions are revealed]]
* Brad and Janet in ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow''. Though Janet does get up to do something halfway through the plot - that 'something' being Rocky.
* In ''Film/KickAss'', the titular protagonist seems to have made the overall situation ''worse'' by being there. Sure, he ultimately saved the day, but Big Daddy and Hit Girl would likely have beaten the bad guys without him, just a lot sooner and with less blood spilt. (And none of ''his own'' spilt.)
* Jen of ''Film/TheDarkCrystal'' spends much of the film's first and second acts [[LampshadeHanging commenting on]] how he has no idea where he is going or what he is looking for as various characters comment on prophecy and destiny and the like. In an example of this trope being done well, it serves to show the audience the wonderfully imaginative world of the movie, and the fantastic special effects of Creator/JimHenson's Creature Shop.
* Luke Skywalker in ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi''. No, seriously. While the movie did have a great deal of CharacterDevelopment for him, he really didn't contribute much to the setting and the overall conflict here. Had he not been there, the movie would have ended much the same way, with the deaths of Palpatine and Darth Vader, and destruction of the Death Star. His actions let his father die a hero, but it's doubtful Luke could have ever convinced anyone of Vader's true hidden depths. (If you read the EU books, he clearly convinced nobody; Anakin Skywalker was forgiven by his son, but Luke was in the minute minority there. Although the EU books also establish that the death of Palpatine - who was psychically influencing his military forces at that time - is the only reason the Death Star ''did'' get destroyed and the Rebels survived, so it balances out.)



* Szpilman from ''Film/ThePianist'', who manages to survive the Holocaust only through the goodness of strangers and sheer dumb luck. Of course, this is totally justified considering it's based on a true story, and the real Szpilman's real experiences.
* It doesn't much matter what the human protagonists do in ''any'' of the ''Franchise/JurassicPark'' movies, because no matter what they do, the dinosaurs are the true stars here.
* In the movie ''Film/{{Inferno}}'', the main protagonist Mark does absolutely nothing to defeat the villain. He's not even aware of most of the events going on in the film. The villain was defeated by her own actions and not by anything Mark had done. His only victory is surviving by the end of the film.
* The title character of ''Film/{{Barbarella}}'' fits this perfectly. The entire movie consists of her repeatedly getting into trouble through her own stupidity, being rescued by some guy, and then having RescueSex with her savior. The only reason she managed to find the man she was looking for at all was because Duran Duran accidentally stepped on the device she had been given to track him down (which she had not once even thought of turning on since receiving).
* Test pilot Lance Schroeder in the original ''Film/HouseOnHauntedHill1959'' doesn't do anything particularly heroic throughout the movie. He's attacked in the dark at one point and thinks he hit his head. (The ''Podcast/RiffTrax'' crew constantly joke about him being trapped in closets and bumping his head.)
* Once ''Film/ThePagemaster'' [[RogerRabbitEffect becomes animated]], it's a bunch of encounters between Richard, his book companions, and various literary characters on the way to the exit. Richard and the books at times change the things happening, but at most it's just them meeting people - not that different from Alice, Dorothy and Wendy, listed below.
* When you examine too closely the plots of ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}'', you see Film/JamesBond is this. Ignoring the ColdOpen, he causes the death of two sisters on the way to know the villain's plan - which only occurs after he's captured by the villain, and his attempts to both escape and warn his allies of the scheme fail. The only things Bond do that help foil Operation Grand Slam are [[SexFaceTurn seducing Pussy Galore]] and killing TheDragon. Even when the villain returns, he's killed by accident.



* In ''Film/BarryLyndon'', Barry goes through his life simply having things ''happen'' to him, such as being robbed, or being press-ganged, or having his child die. Even his initial action, shooting an officer in a duel, turns out to [[spoiler: have been a fake duel, planned all along by his friends]]. Despite his attempts to gain agency over his life, at the end of the movie, he's just as much a victim of fate as he was in the beginning.

to:

* Jen of ''Film/TheDarkCrystal'' spends much of the film's first and second acts [[LampshadeHanging commenting on]] how he has no idea where he is going or what he is looking for as various characters comment on prophecy and destiny and the like. In ''Film/BarryLyndon'', Barry goes through his life simply having things ''happen'' to him, such as an example of this trope being robbed, or being press-ganged, or having his child die. Even his initial action, shooting an officer in a duel, turns out done well, it serves to [[spoiler: have been show the audience the wonderfully imaginative world of the movie, and the fantastic special effects of Creator/JimHenson's Creature Shop.
* ''Film/ForrestGump'' just does whatever he feels like doing at the time. At one point, he becomes sort of
a fake duel, planned all along running guru and unintentionally leads a group of literal cross-country runners for months. At one point he stops running ("Listen, he's about to say something!") and he just says "I'm kinda tired. I'm going to go home now," and just walks home (to Alabama, from the Nevada desert!)
--> '''Runner:''' "What are we going to do now?"
* When you examine too closely the plots of ''Film/{{Goldfinger}}'', you see Film/JamesBond is this. Ignoring the ColdOpen, he causes the death of two sisters on the way to know the villain's plan - which only occurs after he's captured
by his friends]]. Despite the villain, and his attempts to gain agency over both escape and warn his life, at allies of the scheme fail. The only things Bond do that help foil Operation Grand Slam are [[SexFaceTurn seducing Pussy Galore]] and killing TheDragon. Even when the villain returns, he's killed by accident.
* Music/TheBeatles for much of ''Film/{{Help}}'' This is even plot relevant: Ringo Starr is told he can remove his ClingyMacGuffin if he commits one courageous act--and when he does, ''much'' later, it's
the end of the movie, he's just as much a victim of fate as he was film.
* Test pilot Lance Schroeder
in the beginning. original ''Film/HouseOnHauntedHill1959'' doesn't do anything particularly heroic throughout the movie. He's attacked in the dark at one point and thinks he hit his head. (The ''Podcast/RiffTrax'' crew constantly joke about him being trapped in closets and bumping his head.)



* In the movie ''Film/{{Inferno}}'', the main protagonist Mark does absolutely nothing to defeat the villain. He's not even aware of most of the events going on in the film. The villain was defeated by her own actions and not by anything Mark had done. His only victory is surviving by the end of the film.



* It doesn't much matter what the human protagonists do in ''any'' of the ''Franchise/JurassicPark'' movies, because no matter what they do, the dinosaurs are the true stars here.
* In ''Film/KickAss'', the titular protagonist seems to have made the overall situation ''worse'' by being there. Sure, he ultimately saved the day, but Big Daddy and Hit Girl would likely have beaten the bad guys without him, just a lot sooner and with less blood spilt. (And none of ''his own'' spilt.)
* Slevin Kelevra from ''Film/LuckyNumberSlevin'' is apparently this during the beginning of the film, [[spoiler: before the Kansas City Shuffle and Slevin's true intentions are revealed]]
* Once ''Film/ThePagemaster'' [[RogerRabbitEffect becomes animated]], it's a bunch of encounters between Richard, his book companions, and various literary characters on the way to the exit. Richard and the books at times change the things happening, but at most it's just them meeting people - not that different from Alice, Dorothy and Wendy, listed below.
* Szpilman from ''Film/ThePianist'', who manages to survive the Holocaust only through the goodness of strangers and sheer dumb luck. Of course, this is totally justified considering it's based on a true story, and the real Szpilman's real experiences.
* Luke Skywalker in ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi''. No, seriously. While the movie did have a great deal of CharacterDevelopment for him, he really didn't contribute much to the setting and the overall conflict here. Had he not been there, the movie would have ended much the same way, with the deaths of Palpatine and Darth Vader, and destruction of the Death Star. His actions let his father die a hero, but it's doubtful Luke could have ever convinced anyone of Vader's true hidden depths. (If you read the EU books, he clearly convinced nobody; Anakin Skywalker was forgiven by his son, but Luke was in the minute minority there. Although the EU books also establish that the death of Palpatine - who was psychically influencing his military forces at that time - is the only reason the Death Star ''did'' get destroyed and the Rebels survived, so it balances out.)
* Brad and Janet in ''Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow''. Though Janet does get up to do something halfway through the plot - that 'something' being Rocky.



* ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'': Franchise/{{Superman}} rarely does anything active in the movie unless he is manipulated by ComicBook/LexLuthor and[=/=]or provoked by Franchise/{{Batman}}, to the point they actually have more dialogue than him.[[/folder]]

to:

* ''Film/BatmanVSupermanDawnOfJustice'': Franchise/{{Superman}} rarely The protagonist from the 1966 B-movie ''Film/TheWildWorldOfBatwoman'' is a perfect example of this. The protagonist is like Charlie from ''Series/CharliesAngels''. She does anything active in show up from time to time, but she has her batgirls do all the movie unless he is manipulated by ComicBook/LexLuthor and[=/=]or provoked by Franchise/{{Batman}}, to the point they actually have more dialogue than him.work. An [[Website/TheAgonyBooth Agony Booth]] recap can be read [[http://www.agonybooth.com/recaps/The_Wild_World_of_Batwoman_1966.aspx here.]]
[[/folder]]
11th Apr '17 8:06:07 PM DesertDragon
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* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'': Hawke is the main character, but for most of the story is just reacting to the events that occur around him/her, with Isabella and Anders being the main driving forces in the plot. Despite it being the major plot point of the game exploring the [[{{Conflict}} Man vs. Fate conflict]], many players weren't sold on it and viewed it as a step back from the [[VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins first game]], where they could make some pretty world-changing choices. The [[VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition third game]] returned to the old formula as a result.

to:

* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'': Hawke is the main character, but for most of the story is just reacting to the events that occur around him/her, with Isabella while party members Varric, Isabella, and Anders being are the main driving forces in the plot. Despite it being the Even though a major plot point of the game was exploring the [[{{Conflict}} Man vs. Fate conflict]], many players weren't sold on it and viewed it as a step back from the [[VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins first game]], where they could make some pretty world-changing choices. The [[VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition third game]] returned to the old formula as a result.
11th Apr '17 11:02:09 AM Sabrewing
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* Rolf of ''VideoGame/PhantasyStarII'' is basically an errand boy for the entire game. First his commander in Paseo orders him to investigate the Biosystems Labs and Climatrol, then he's ordered to open the dams to prevent flooding, then Tyler tells him about Dezo, and finally Lutz tells him about the evil plot originating from Noah.
21st Mar '17 9:18:35 PM Prometheus117
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* Although they're nominally the main characters of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', Team [=RWBY=] tend to have little, if any effect on the plot's progression. Most of their battles tend to end with the bad guys escaping unharmed, someone else swooping in to beat the bad guys, or the bad guys just winning outright.

to:

* Although they're nominally the main characters of ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'', Team [=RWBY=] tend to have little, if any effect on the plot's progression. Most of their battles tend to end with the bad guys escaping unharmed, someone else swooping in to beat the bad guys, or the bad guys just winning outright. {{Justified}} in that they're all young students and Huntresses-in-training only just starting to try and influence the world around them while their opponents have been engaged in the LongGame with the powers that be in this world for a long time now that just so happened to finally get rolling; they're little fish caught in the middle of a giant ''war''. Only by Season 4 have they actually truly taken steps to confront the bad guys directly, which also coincides with those [[VillainTakesAnInterest bad guys taking an interest]] in ''them'' (or at least Ruby), for their special powers that could prove a threat.
16th Mar '17 8:58:46 AM MasterHero
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* The protagonists of ''LightNovel/KonoSubarashiiSekaiNiShukufukuO'' have no interest in fighting the Demon King's forces. They only do so because circumstances force them to.
13th Mar '17 5:52:29 PM PaulA
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* Another good SherlockHolmes example (see above) is one of his most ''well-known'' cases, ''Literature/TheHoundOfTheBaskervilles''. There's a large gap in the novel where Holmes is not present, the story being dictated to Holmes by Dr. Watson via letters describing his experiences.
7th Mar '17 12:55:01 PM Bissek
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* Wart spends most of ''Disney/TheSwordInTheStone'' being turned into various animals and being dragged around by Merlin. He only comes across the titular sword by chance, and draws it in complete ignorance of the implications of doing so.
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