Created By: sageoftruth on February 16, 2012 Last Edited By: sageoftruth on January 29, 2013
Nuked

Useful Damsel

A damsel who displays heroism without being a badass

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The damsel (like all damsels) has been captured again. The writers don't want her to fall into the scrappy heap, but she is no badass damsel. She cannot fight, she is not a manipulative bastard, and she does not have an all-powerful transformation. However, if she is not the only one held captive, there is still one thing she can do: She can inspire hope, usually by assuring everyone that the hero will come and rescue them, when they feel ready to give in to despair.

Compare Badass Damsel, who has the courage of a Heroic Damsel, but often because she also has the mental/physical skills to protect herself, whereas the heroic damsel is willing to show courage even when she's helpless.

Some examples include: -In Dinsey's Peter Pan, when captured by Captain Hook, Wendy prevents the lost boys from turning pirate by assuring them that Peter Pan will save them if they stick it out a bit longer.

-In Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, when Llia may not be able to fight evil, but she can show motherly concern to the sick and wounded when her life is in danger. She also plays the role of reassuring everyone in Kakariko village that Link will come save them.

- In the Lord of the Rings movie, Arwen is no damsel in distress, but her willingness to have hope against insurmountable odds inspires the elves to join in the fight against evil.
Community Feedback Replies: 16
  • February 16, 2012
    Koveras
    Any damsel that bites the grabbing hand in a Human Shield situation?
  • February 16, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Badass Damsel is the trope you're looking for.
  • February 16, 2012
    darkclaw
    I think the difference here is that Badass Damsel acts "badass" (example: attacks her kidnappers or refuses to help them) while the Heroic Damsel inspires hope in others (example: she tells the heroes they can still defeat the kidnappers when the heroes are injured).
  • February 16, 2012
    TheHandle
    Yeah, think Nia from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann... With a submachine gun pointed to her head, she's still insisting, looking at her enemy straight in the eyes "Simon will come and save me". He does. It is glorious.
  • February 16, 2012
    atheywa
    Compare Lady Of War.
  • February 19, 2012
    Cider
    Eh, if you can convince people this is a distinct enough trope for its own page don't bother putting the word "badass" in the description nor in the laconic. Badass is a loaded term with little meaning and everyone's personal opinion of what a badass is, is different.

    Just say "compare: Badass Damsel" at the bottom after you're done describing it.
  • February 19, 2012
    RossN
    I get the impression that this is a Damsel who keeps her head while being kidnapped, but who just doesn't have the combat skills of a Badass Damsel.

    For instance a Heroic Damsel might think to leave subtle clues behind her to indicate where her captors have taken her rather than managing to overpower her guards.
  • February 19, 2012
    pawsplay
    In Krull, the damsel defies the Beast against every terror, and eventually bestows the ultimate weapon to the hero of the film.

    In the Princess Bride, Buttercup is utterly formidable in personality, despite having no real adventuring skills and being in an adventure story.

    Leia is this in The Empire Strikes back, a voice of reason, skepticism, and prudence, sandwiched between her Badass Damsel appearances in A New Hope and Return of the Jedi.

    Penelope in The Odyssey, making this one older than (something that is very old). Faithful, resourceful, and the real foundation block of the household while Odysseus is gone.
  • February 20, 2012
    MorganWick
    Honestly, this Needs A Better Title badly. Current title evokes Badass Damsel But Less So. Confident Damsel? Hopeful Damsel?
  • February 20, 2012
    pawsplay
    Useful Damsel. Especially in the British sense.
  • February 21, 2012
    AMillionSkies
    Is the trope specifically about the damsel inspiring hope or simply about the damsel helping out any way she can, while not having the skills of a Badass Damsel? The former might be a little too close to The Heart.
  • February 21, 2012
    pawsplay
    The description is sort of ambiguous, but I'd say really the latter. We can fix that. This is a Plucky Girl damsel.
  • February 23, 2012
    sageoftruth
    I am a bit uncertain about changing the title to "useful". The reason I chose "heroic" is because she possesses hope and courage in a situation that most people with her skill sets would find hopeless. As I added recently, a Badass Damsel showing courage wouldn't be as heroic, since she already knows how to handle herself in such a situation.
  • February 23, 2012
    sageoftruth
    I guess courage and optimism are the main factors here. An important quote for this is, "Courage is not about being fearless, but instead about pressing on even when you're afraid."
  • February 23, 2012
    pawsplay
    Heroic has a pretty specific connotation. I'm just not sure it fits. And while a Badass Damsel is competent, courage is probably still her cardinal trait.
  • January 29, 2013
    Catbert
    This doesn't seem to be working. No action in almost a year. Discarding.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=eeyc2n539l53znw4gvru5w9w&trope=DiscardedYKTTW