Created By: ju2tin on December 2, 2012 Last Edited By: ju2tin on June 20, 2014

Saved By The Cub

A Papa Wolf is nearly defeated by the villain until his child steps in to save him.

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I searched for tropes with the keyword "father" and found nothing, so here goes. I can't believe we don't have this one already. Anyway...

Your dad is the greatest warrior of his people. You know, like Kerchak in Disney's Tarzan or Fergus in Brave. He's as brave as can be, a definite Papa Wolf, and he never hesitates to hurl himself into danger to protect his family or anyone else who needs saving. He rules with the authority that comes from everyone knowing he's the supreme Bad Ass of their group.

Yet when he actually faces off against a serious villain (like Sabor or Mordu), he very nearly gets his clock cleaned, and is saved only by the timely intervention of you, his much smaller, weaker, and/or less skilled son (or daughter, if the story is about a girl who can fight like the boys).

Can turn the Papa Wolf into a "Well Done, Son!" Guy, if he can put aside any embarrassment or shame he may feel about needing to be rescued. And the battle itself may be a Crowning Moment of Awesome for the kid who saves him, perhaps clearly establishing that he is now a Bad Ass in his own right.

Differs from You Killed My Father because the father does not die. In fact, he usually emerges from the battle with only a few minor injuries at worst.

Common in animation, where the ability of a smaller child to fight better than a much larger parent can be more easily made to appear credible.

If a daughter rides to the rescue, she is most likely an Action Girl, and may rely on Waif-Fu.

A variant of this trope replaces the father with another male figure admired by the hero or heroine; see Mulan, where Mulan steps in to save army captain and overall Bad Ass Li Shang from defeat at the hands of the hulking Shan Yu.

Tarzan combines this trope with Mighty Whitey and The Native Rival, taking advantage of the fact that Tarzan and his adoptive father Kerchak are of different species.

A Sub-Trope of Progeny To The Rescue, in which children save their parents from danger.
Community Feedback Replies: 17
  • December 2, 2012
    MorganWick
  • December 2, 2012
    ju2tin
    Sorry, my bad. Progeny To The Rescue works for me.
  • December 3, 2012
    Koveras
    • In Final Watch, Anton is almost killed by the villains when his daughter Nadya, finally initiated as the ultimate Sorceress of Light two books after discovering her potential, comes to his rescue.
  • December 3, 2012
    Arivne
    Do we already have the Super Trope for this, in which any character (not just a Bad Ass father) is rescued from danger by their children?

    We try to create the Super Trope first to avoid Missing Supertrope Syndrome. Progeny To The Rescue would be a good name for it.

    For this one: Rescuing Your Bad Ass Parent, to make it clear that the parent is very tough? It would be great if someone could think of a name that didn't use Bad Ass, since it's massively overused on TV Tropes.

    Film
    • Spy Kids. Carmen and Juni Cortez rescue their super spy parents from the Big Bad villain Minion.
  • December 3, 2012
    Arivne
    Changed some of the work and trope names in the OP description to our standard format.
  • December 3, 2012
    ju2tin
    @Arivne, I changed the name of this trope to Saved By The Cub. This limits the trope to only those situations where the rescued parent is a Bad Ass, without using the term Bad Ass. More specifically, it indicates that he's a Papa Wolf (which would make his kids wolf cubs; hence the name).

    I think Progeny To The Rescue is a good name for the Super Trope of this.
  • December 3, 2012
    cygnavamp
    • Gohan from Dragon Ball Z powered up when his father, Goku was in danger.
  • December 4, 2012
    MorganWick
    Ooh, I like Saved By The Cub. I may YKTTW Progeny To The Rescue if it isn't already.
  • December 4, 2012
    ju2tin
    @Morgan Wick, thanks. And please go ahead and YKYTTW Progeny To The Rescue if you'd like to, as I've been too lazy to get around to it. :-P
  • December 5, 2012
    ju2tin
  • December 6, 2012
    MorganWick
    ^Oops, I did too. But it was really stubby and had no replies, so I discarded it. Mine I mean, not yours.
  • December 6, 2012
    Crowqueen
    Does this fit?

    Literature
    • In A Song Of Ice And Fire, at the end of the first book, Arya attempts to rescue Eddard Stark on the day of his execution.

  • December 6, 2012
    ju2tin
    I would have to say that doesn't count, since she not only does not rescue him, but does not even look remotely like a badass in trying to rescue him. Maybe if she had come closer to success...

    (Bear in mind I am basing this on the TV show; haven't read the book.)
  • June 19, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
  • June 19, 2014
    arbiter099
    ^^Coming in from the opposite perspective (book only, no show) Yoren snatches her up before she can even attempt anything.
  • June 20, 2014
    DAN004
  • June 20, 2014
    Snicka
    The problem with the name Saved By The Cub is that it doesn't make clear that the cub saves the parent from an enemy (which is the idea here), or the cub saves someone from the parent (which is also tropable).
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