Respected By The Respected (hats?) YKTTW Discussion

Respected By The Respected (hats?)
A character's cred is established by other tough characters addressing them with respect.
Tropeworthy? Better Name Already have?
(permanent link) added: 2012-01-19 18:29:31 sponsor: MrInitialMan edited by: Koveras (last reply: 2015-10-26 15:22:42)

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Formerly called Badasses Call Him Sir. Alternative titles: Cred By Deference...

"When I come callin', the devil still answers with 'sir'."

When writers want to hint at the true extent of a recently-introduced character's power or influence without going into detail about it, they instead have already-established and respected characters address them in a deferential manner. After all, if a well-known badass treats this person with utmost respect, so should everyone else if they know what's good for them. Done too blatantly, however, it may come across as Character Shilling.

Does not include regimented forms of address, such as when speaking to someone higher in the chain of command: a badass private may refer to a general as "sir", but that doesn't automatically mean the latter is a Four-Star Badass. Villain Cred is a subtrope limited to Villains. Compare also The Knights Who Say Squee, where younger heroes seek to emulate their older idols, "Well Done, Son!" Guy or So Proud of You, where a character strives to be respected by the ones they respect.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Gamma, the world's current top superheroine, Puella Magi Mika, comes running when Yuri Kitajishi—ostensibly a muggle—gives her a call, and she even salutes her—because Yuri is actually Lily Cure, the retired top superheroine of all times and Mika's former mentor. Later on, the alien hero Mighty Blow's strength is hinted at when the freaking zoo lions bow to him out of their own volition.

    Fan Fiction 
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic of Reality Checks Nyxverse, Twilight Sparkle's father Night Light, during a tirade against an especially annoying reporter, delivers a Badass Boast listing all the accomplishments of his son and daughter and the various special ponies they are involved with, and finishes up with "...and every one of them calls me SIR!"

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Emperor Palpatine's first appearance in the Star Wars saga, Darth Vader—who had been the scariest bad guy until then—kneels to take a phone call from his "master".
  • In a Cut Song from Little Shop of Horrors called "I'm Bad", Audrey II boasts that the Bride of Frankenstein calls him "Mr. Audrey Sir".
  • In a deleted scene from We Were Soldiers, a group of soldiers are discussing their new assignment when one of them mentions the Sergeant Major they'll be working under is Sergeant Plumley. One of them recognizes the name and launches into a story about when he was a new recruit he served under a badass Sergeant Rock that was Covered in Scars, a double Medal of Honor awardee, who effortlessly humiliated an Ensign Newbie who tried to dress him down. He then reveals that said sergeant wasn't Plumley but was a guy who worked under Plumley... and was scared absolutely shitless of Plumley.

  • The first person we see Harry Dresden, the protagonist of The Dresden Files, show genuine respect to is his mentor, Ebenezar McCoy. Other characters are surprised to hear Harry call him "Sir." Much of this is because Ebenezar was a father-figure to him, but he is also one of the most powerful wizards around, becoming a member of the Senior Council the first time the readers are introduced to him.
  • In He, Lover of Death, Senka watches the ineffectual dandy he robbed earlier casually grill the huge constable who is keeping the entire Wretched Hive of Khitrovka in terror, and realizes just how deep in trouble he is when the constable displays nothing but head-bowing humility in front of him. The "dandy", of course, turns out to be the series' overarching protagonist.

  • It is said of the title character of the Jim Croce song "Bad Bad Leroy Brown" that
    All the downtown ladies call him "Treetop Lover"
    All the men just call him "Sir"

    Video Games 
  • Master Chief, the protagonist of the Halo series, is addressed as "sir" by other marines—which wouldn't raise any eyebrows, since they're in the military... except Master Chief Petty Officer is a non-commissioned rank, and noncoms are never addressed as 'sir', unless the speaker does so to show a special form of respect, which Master Chief deserves and then some.
  • In Mass Effect 3's tutorial, James Vega breaks regs by saluting Shepard and addressing him/her by rank as a show of respect, despite Shepard currently being suspended awaiting Court Martial and thus rating neither rank nor salute. This is lampshaded by Shepard.


Will go under Admiration Tropes and Fame and Reputation Tropes.
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