Created By: Koveras on June 20, 2012 Last Edited By: Koveras on February 1, 2013
Nuked

Calm Winner, Fretting Loser

In a contest or conflict, the winning side keeps calm, while the losing one loses composure.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Rule of thumb to tell how two characters locked in a conflict or (sports) contest fare:

  • Both are calm and confident: They are evenly matched.
  • One remains confident, while the other becomes nervous: The former is getting the upper hand.
  • Both sides become nervous: Something is not going as expected.

Writers use this as a visual aid to show who has the upper hand without delving into technical/tactical details and leaving it up to the reader/audience to figure out (and to avoid thinking of a meaningful situation in a field where the author isn't confident of his own knowledge).

Compare Sore Loser, who often doesn't regain his composure even after being defeated, and the Unspoken Plan Guarantee, which is what often gives the winning side their confidence.

Just to clear this from the table: this is not an instance of People Sit on Chairs because it is a writing trick to substitute a description of something complex and confusing (e.g. a battle) with that of something easy to relate to (the commanders' respective moods), making the story roll along quicker.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • In Lelouch's strategical stand offs against Schneizel throughout Code Geass R2, you can always tell when the former begins to lose when he starts grimacing under the mask, while Schneizel just sits there like he's enjoying a movie.

Film
  • In the final battle between Neo and Agent Smith in Matrix Revolutions, Neo remains calm the whole time, even when Agent Smith is trying to convert Neo into a clone, via Smith's hand stabbed into his chest, while Agent Smith ends up panicking when Neo resists him.

Live Action TV
  • In Star Trek: The Next Generation, Data takes on a Strategema master in a game of Strategema. The first time they play, the master wins and is calmly condescending to Data. The second time, Data plays to draw and the master gets more and more pissed off during the game before finally rage quitting.

Theater
  • In the concert version of Chess, Freddy grows more and more agitated during his first game against Anatoly, who remains confident. In the middle of the game, Freddy flips over the board to Rage Quit.

Community Feedback Replies: 21
  • July 7, 2012
    polarbear2217
    In the concert version of Chess, Freddy grows more and more agitated during his first game against Anatoly, while Anatoly remains confident. In the middle of the game, Freddy flips over the board to Rage Quit.
  • July 15, 2012
    Koveras
  • July 15, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
    This could use a better title. The trope seems to be about how the sides act in the middle of a game, but the name could be how people react once a game is over.
  • July 15, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ Yes, it could. But I am out of ideas. :(
  • July 15, 2012
    LordCirce
    ^ Maybe To The Calm Go The Spoils. This might be considered an inversion of the Unstoppable Rage.

    A good example would be the final battle between Neo and Agent Smith in Matrix Revolutions, where Neo remains calm the whole time, even when Agent Smith is trying to convert Neo into a clone, via Smith's hand stabbed into his chest, while Agent Smith ends up panicking when Neo resists him.
  • July 15, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ That sounds like calmness is the cause of victory (which it often is but this is not about that), while here, it is more of a consequence of already winning.
  • July 15, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • Star Trek The Next Generation:
      • Data beats a guest Klingon in Klingon Arm Wrestling. Data being Data, he's calm the whole time, but the Klingon goes berserk.
      • Data takes on a Strategema master in a game of Srategema. The first time they play the master wins and is calmly condescending to Data. The second time, Data plays to draw and the master is quite upset, pulling a Rage Quit.
  • July 15, 2012
    DragonQuestZ
  • July 16, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^ Do those characters rage during the game or just afterwards?

    ^ Is "fretter" even a word? ^^;
  • July 16, 2012
    Generality
    This is, or is possibly a subtrope of, Advantage Ball: whoever is most confident has the advantage in battle.
  • July 16, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ Definitely related but the Advantage Ball is very vaguely defined at the moment (as obvious in the lack of a Laconic entry) so I would call this a subtrope of it.
  • July 16, 2012
    PaulA
    Just to be clear: Is the trope "the winner is calm because they're winning" or "the winner is winning because they're calm"?
  • July 16, 2012
    randomsurfer
    ^^^^The Klingon doesn't have time to rage during the game, it lasts less than a second. The Strategema master gets more and more pissed off during the game resulting in his rage quit. watch it here.
  • July 17, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^ The former.
  • July 17, 2012
    Koveras
    ^^ The Strategema example counts then, but the Klingon doesn't, I am afraid...
  • July 17, 2012
    Generality
    ^^ In that case, this would be a corollary to Advantage Ball. But I think care should be taken, perhaps in the descriptions of both pages, to clearly distinguish them.
  • July 17, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ Noted, I will try to rewrite the description to differentiate it better.
  • October 11, 2012
    Koveras
    On the second thought, I don't think this is really going anywhere. Gonna discard it later unless more examples are found...
  • October 12, 2012
    AP
    I restored it. I think it has potential and we already have four examples, which is enough examples to be launched.
  • October 12, 2012
    Koveras
    ^ Can you take over it, then? It's Up For Grabs if you want it...
  • February 1, 2013
    Koveras
    Nothing happened in almost three months, so I'm discarding it again.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=3ohfeohwvowy9j8051c8u5j4&trope=DiscardedYKTTW