Created By: WiseMan23753 on January 5, 2017 Last Edited By: WiseMan23753 on August 2, 2017
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With Great Power Comes Great Opposition

Having power makes enemies, even from your friends.

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"The public likes you, Dent. That's the only reason this might fly. But that means it's on you. They're all coming after you now. Not just the mob: politicians, journalists, cops. Anyone whose wallet's about to get lighter. Are you up to it?"
- Mayor Anthony Garcia to Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

Being a superhuman or a military genius does not always make you friends. Often times, this makes a lot of enemies who want you dead, even from who used to be your friends.

Often the main reason is because you are The Dreaded. This is usually applied on the political level: your powers and/or expertise will threaten the interests of other nations and factions, who would put a knife in your back after You Have Outlived Your Usefulness. Conservative forces who want to preserve the status quo will do anything to prevent you from changing it. It can also be applied on the social level: a world of muggles would be terrified if they discovered superhumans that could wipe them off the map or drastically change their world to something they don't like. Or everyone wants your powers and is willing to capture you for experimentation.

For the original phrase, see Comes Great Responsibility. Compare and contrast With Great Power Comes Great Insanity and With Great Power Comes Great Perks.

Compare Intelligence Equals Isolation. The Superhero Paradox is when "opposition" is there because of meta/out-of-universe reasons: "if there are heroes, there must be villains who oppose them for the sake of the story."

Contrast I Fight for the Strongest Side, where people fight for The Dreaded, and Enemies Equals Greatness, when the fact people are willing and able to oppose you means that you probably are on the right path.


Examples include:

Anime and Manga
  • A Certain Magical Index:
    • Accelerator has this problem - he's among the most powerful Espers in the verse, with his ability making him nigh untouchable - and yet, people try to hunt him anyways because he's that powerful (and they see him as a challenge/want a bounty on his head etc). He eventually gets tired of it and tries to find a way to make himself horrifyingly more powerful so that people will leave him alone.
  • This is the curse of those who wear the Number Two Headband in Afro Samurai. You're the only one who can challenge the wielder of the Number One Headband, which is supposed to give extraordinary power, so the Number Two supposedly would exchange through many hands. The previous wielder before Afro was his mentor, who hid the headband to prevent the flow of violence. When Afro found him out, results were...not pretty for anyone.
  • Anyone is willing to sell out an Ajin for whatever it pays. The only few who don't do so is the main protagonist's delinquent friend.
  • The main heroine of Izetta: The Last Witch is worshiped on the front lines as the second coming of the White Witch. Almost everyone in Europe who is not a Germanian is also in awe. One of the allies, the United States, doesn't think so and when an ambassador sees her power, he recommends her death.
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes has the two main characters, Reinhard and Yang Wen-li. Both are pushed around by political authorities because of their supreme intellect and threat to the status quo. Yang suffers through it and sticks by the rules, which results in the fall of the Free Planets Alliance. On the other hand, Reinhard takes a stand against his opponents; all of his internal enemies are annihilated in a civil war and he seizes power to make reforms.
  • The major conflict on Mobile Suit Gundam SEED. Ever since the emergence of George Glenn, natural born humans were so excessively jealous of Coordinators that they waged a political and later violent war to keep them suppressed.
  • The beginning of Valvrave the Liberator has the students of Module 77 fending off the political encroachments of ARUS, who want their Humongous Mecha after its Curb-Stomp Battle against the Dorssians.

Comic Books
  • A major theme of X-Men in wars between normal humans and mutants, the former fearing what the latter would bring in an open society. This gave rise to the main leaders Professor X and Magneto.

Film Live Action
  • A Discussed Trope in The Dark Knight, which has the above quote. Harvey Dent is backed by a strong base of law enforcers, judges and the Batman, all of which are putting the Mob on the ropes. Mayor Garcia warns him that while his stances and allies give him an edge against crime, they also threaten the paychecks of those who profited from it.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, heroes have become very intolerable by how obstructive and intrusive S.H.I.E.L.D. is for the sake of watching "potential threats." In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, said heroes were on HYDRA's kill list.
  • In Revenge of the Sith, this is what Anakin Skywalker comes to believe of his relations with the Jedi Council: that they are jealous and afraid of his power as the The Chosen One of the Force. In reality, only one Jedi Master, Mace Windu, felt something along the lines, while the rest were "only" too mired in the conservative inertia of millennia worth of Jedi traditions to deal with Anakin's unusual circumstances appropriately. The rest was really just Anakin's delusional paranoia skillfully played up by Darth Sidious to turn him to The Dark Side.

Literature

  • Harry Potter:
    • In the fourth book, Harry and Ron have a falling out when Harry is made to participate in the Triwizard Tournament. Ron, who for three years has seen Harry be generally better than him in terms of wealth, skill and fame, thinks Harry signed up of his own free will (Harry, meanwhile, is very much annoyed at the fame he gets for having survived Voldemort's attack and had no intention of signing up for a challenge intended for older students). They make up after the first task, when Ron realizes Harry would never have signed up for such dangerous activities.
    • It's averted in the sixth book when Harry's warning of Voldemort's return is finally officially believed and he is once more unwillingly popular, but by then Ron has more self-confidence and is an admirer of his own.
  • In Transformers: Exodus, Megatron immediately abandons his friendship with Pax/Optimus when the latter is unexpectedly made a Council member, because his Dark and Troubled Past had left Megatron with an abiding hatred and distrust of their planet's government. (Essentially, he considers Optimus a Sell-Out.) Also, he considers Optimus' elevation to be a "betrayal" of their original plan, in which Megatron would be the sole leader of their rebellion.

Video Games

Real Life

Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • January 5, 2017
    Arivne
    • Examples section
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
      • Changed media section titles to All Caps.
      • De-Pot Holed work names as per How To Write An Example - State the source and Word Cruft - Technologically-aided obfuscation.
      • Corrected spelling (is -> his).
  • January 6, 2017
    Koveras
    • In Revenge Of The Sith, this is what Anakin Skywalker comes to believe of his relations with the Jedi Council: that they are jealous and afraid of his power as the The Chosen One of the Force. In reality, only one Jedi Master, Mace Windu, believed something along the lines, while the rest were "only" too mired in the conservative inertia of millennia worth of Jedi traditions to deal with Anakin's unusual circumstances appropriately. The rest was really just Anakin's delusional paranoia skillfully played up by Darth Sidious to turn him to The Dark Side.
  • January 6, 2017
    WiseMan23753
    Added in.

    I feel like somewhere, this is common in Real Life where mighty nations become a target of all the smaller nations just for being the superpower.
  • January 6, 2017
    Astaroth
    Discussed and ultimately averted in Heroes Of Might And Magic IV by Gauldoth, a Necromancer who ends up governing the nation of Nekross. He's Genre Savvy enough to recognize that necromancers like himself make great villains and, if they become too power-hungry, risk the rest of the world coming together to destroy them, so he goes out of his way to avoid acquiring too much political power, forms alliances with other small nations that he could easily conquer with military force, and is content with the knowledge that he'll be ruling his own tiny corner of the world, long after everyone powerful enough to threaten him is dead.
  • January 6, 2017
    WiseMan23753
    Added in.
  • January 7, 2017
    Hallucinated
    ^^^ That's in the I Fight For The Strongest Side page as Balancing vs. Bandwagoning in the Real Life section; that trope describes bandwagoning while this describes balancing. You could probably lift the whole thing verbatim.
  • January 8, 2017
    WiseMan23753
    Huh, I don't exactly see it there.
  • January 9, 2017
    Hallucinated
    For your convenience then:

    Amongst political scientists who study international relations, there is much debate over whether states tend to balance or bandwagon. Balancing refers to states allying against the most powerful or threatening state; bandwagoning refers to states allying with the strongest or most threatening state. To the extent that there is any consensus, it is that states balance when they can and bandwagon when they must. In other words, weak or vulnerable states tend to ally with the strong.
  • January 10, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Comic Books
    • Marvel Comics' series Secret Wars has the council of Earth's heroes convene to decide if and how to oppose Doctor Doom, who had stolen the godlike powers of the Beyonder. Almost everyone believes Doom is too powerful and corrupt to be allowed free rein as a Reality Warper, except Colossus. Colossus had been healed by a cute Folk Healer, and absorbed some of her Technical Pacifist ethic; he ultimately votes to complete the consensus. Further, Molecule Man, a villain with awesome powers, dared to challenge Doom for brushing aside his former allies.
  • January 10, 2017
    Arivne
  • January 10, 2017
    jahman
    Maybe Do you think Naruto would be included?
  • January 11, 2017
    Chabal2
    Harry Potter: In the fourth book, Harry and Ron have a falling out when Harry is made to participate in the Triwizard Tournament. Ron, who for three years has seen Harry be generally better than him in terms of wealth, skill and fame, thinks Harry signed up of his own free will (Harry, meanwhile, is very much annoyed at the fame he gets for having survived Voldemort's attack and had no intention of signing up for a challenge intended for older students). They make up after the first task, when Ron realizes Harry would never have signed up for such dangerous activities. It's averted in the sixth book when Harry's warning of Voldemort's return is finally officially believed and he is once more unwillingly popular, but by then Ron has more self-confidence and an admirer of his own.
  • January 11, 2017
    Argon2
    Literature
    • In Literature Transformers Exodus, Megatron immediately abandons his friendship with Pax/Optimus when the latter is unexpectedly made a Council member, because his Dark And Troubled Past had left Megatron with an abiding hatred and distrust of their planet's government. (Essentially, he considers Optimus a Sell Out.) Also, he considers Optimus' elevation to be a 'betrayal' of their original plan, in which Megatron would be the sole leader of their rebellion. note 
  • January 12, 2017
    WiseMan23753
    All are in.
  • January 17, 2017
    WaterBlap
    For the original phrase, see Comes Great Responsibility. Compare and contrast With Great Power Comes Great Insanity and With Great Power Comes Great Perks.

    That said, does the title have to be a With Great Power Comes Great X format?
  • January 18, 2017
    marcoasalazarm
    Contrast Enemies Equals Greatness, when the fact people are willing and able to oppose you means that you probably are on the right path.
  • February 5, 2017
    WiseMan23753
    All in.
  • March 10, 2017
    Getta
    Compare Superhero Paradox when the "opposition" are there because of meta/out-of-universe reasons: "if there are heroes, there must be villains who oppose them for the sake of the story."

    An example
  • March 10, 2017
    Getta
    (Sorry for double post, I can't seem to edit my post...)

    I just found Beware The Superman. What are the differences between that and this?
  • March 31, 2017
    WiseMan23753
    Beware The Superman is about everyone fearing supers and their power. This trope is about you making enemies just because you have power.
  • March 31, 2017
    Benthelame
    Happens in Batman The Animated Series, In the episode:"The Man who Killed Batman" A squirellly fat glasses-wearing nobody is credited with blowing Batman to smithereens. They Never Found The Body, just the cowl the hero wore. As might be expected, word gets to all the villains in Gotham and the man finds he has loads of street cred... and enemies who figure if they take out the guy who took Batman out, they' d get even more.
  • March 31, 2017
    Kartoonkid95
    • My Gym Partners A Monkey: In one episode, Adam tries to run for class president, despite his friends' warnings that he'll get beaten. He ends up winning the election, but he then finds out that by "beaten," they meant that the students will try to fight him for dominance. The episode ends with Adam being chased by the animals, including a crowbar-wielding Jake.
  • April 1, 2017
    arbiter099
    Its Not You Its My Enemies seems related, the enemies a person in this position accrues are a roadblock to romance
  • April 1, 2017
    Getta
    I guess, Beware The Superman has undertones of Fantastic Racism, while this doesn't?

    And Enemies Equal Greatness is a viewpoint by the characters that they find positive, while this about a fact, where 1) the guy must be extraordinarily powerful, EEG doesn't, 2) they may or may not like having enemies (if they do, it overlaps with EEG)?

    • A Certain Magical Index: Accelerator has this problem - he's among the most powerful Espers in the verse, with his ability making him nigh untouchable - and yet, people try to hunt him anyways because he's that powerful (and they see him as a challenge/want a bounty on his head etc). He eventually gets tired of it and tries to find a way to make himself horrifyingly more powerful so that people will leave him alone.

    The Perils OF Being The Best sounds related.
  • April 2, 2017
    Getta
    Does my Gunvolt example count?
  • June 26, 2017
    Getta
    Bump
  • June 26, 2017
    hszmv1
    • A recurring theme among Spider-Man's rogues gallery. Notable members include Harry Osborn and Eddie Brock. J. Jonah Jamerson hates Spider-Man but goes to the mat for Peter Parker... until he finds out they are the same person. Jamerson takes it notably hard, saying he believed Peter to be the last honest reporter. One gets the feeling that, he was more upset over Peter selling the photographs than being the masked identity.
  • August 1, 2017
    KiwiMaxim
    Might there be a relation here with La Resistance? Those guys are always the opposition against the greater power, but the trend for the examples here is that the characters in question aren't actively doing anything to the guys that oppose them, and the opposing parties are usually reacting to the potential danger rather than an active threat. If this includes people who actively use their powers in a way that harms people, a lot of Big Bads fit the bill.

    Anyway, some examples, if they fit:

    Anime
    • Princess Principal is about Albion, which was split East and West after a revolution following the huge boost in global power that they gained thanks to their monopoly on cavorite.
    • The titular character of Naruto was shunned throughout his childhood, being a victim of Sealed In A Person Shaped Can. What was sealed in him had the power to basically destroy his home village, and being the vessel of such a dangerous being made him despised by association. (As suggested by jahman)

    Video Games
    • Persona 5 explores this, as the ever-changing public view of the Phantom Thieves is a central aspect of the story. They and the villains they fight are on different sides of a Gray And Gray Morality, and while they spend the whole game with the cops on their tails, the general public appreciates their deeds because they only use their nonlethal Heel Face Brainwashing powers on actual, obviously morally-corrupt people. Late in the game they become framed for murder in a case where, as far as the public knows, only they with their unique abilities could've killed the victim in that specific manner. Their reputation plummets, and final few acts of the story focus on them turning it all around.
  • August 2, 2017
    oneuglybunny
    Tabletop Games
    • Often invoked in Diplomacy, since players must collude with others to expand their influence and sustain their territories. Should any one player become visibly more powerful than the others, the other players are in danger of being steamrolled; their best strategy is to cooperate in breaking the winning player's power bloc.
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