When you have a young and/or inexperienced (and often idealistic) character who is eager to join a group of warriors or adventurers on a big battle or other dangerous undertaking, but they are refused by their older, more experienced (and sometimes more cynical) peers for a variety of reasons, usually out of concern for their safety, because they don't want the younger character descending down the same dangerous life that the older character leads, of if the character is a female who wants to be an Action Girl
, plain old sexism.
One common plot element: after being denied, the rookie sneaks out and gets involved in the fighting anyway, leading to:
- Having to be rescued by the protagonists.
- Getting killed by the enemy.
- Succeeding, thus showing that he did have what it takes.
- The Matrix Revolutions. The Kid is only 16 years old but joins the Corps to fight the Machines. Captain Mifune tells him he can't serve because the minimum age is 18, but relents when the Kid points out that the Machines won't care how old he is, they'll kill him whether he fights them or not.
- In Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong, the character of Jimmy wants to help on the expedition to save Ann Darrow, but his father figure Hayes doesn't let him.
- Two examples in The Lord of the Rings. Merry and Eowyn both want to join the battle of Minas Tirith but have to sneak in with the rest of the Rohirrim, since them joining the fight is met with disapproval from the others due to being a hobbit and a woman, respectively.
- Another example pops up in the 2001 remake of Planet of the Apes.
- Happens to Tom Mason's son Matt a lot in Falling Skies.
- The infamous fanfic DOOM: Repercussions of Evil has this as the motivation for why protagonist John Stalvern wanted to join the marines, despite his father dissuading him by saying he would be kill by demons.
- Played with in the Elenium. Sparhawk told a young knight to guard Sephrenia, but agreed to let him take part in the battle (his first) when Sephrenia said she didn't need a guard. The knight was then killed by Adus.
- In Warrior Cats all new apprentices are eager to go into battle but their mentors won't allow them till they've had proper battle training.
- Lampshaded, deconstructed, and reconstructed again in a short succession in book one of Reflections of Eterna: a young officer under First Marshall Roque Alva's command is eager to take on the enemy and eventually defies his orders to give battle. The attack goes bad, so Alva brings his troops to flank and rout the enemy, saving the young officer, only to have him court-marshaled for insubordination later. When other officers point out that Alva used him as a bait intentionally, he just shrugs and tells him that had the rookie obeyed his orders, he would still be alive--but if he disobeyed them and WON, he'd be made a Marshall someday.
- You can do this in Mass Effect 2, if you stop the very young, very obviously inexperienced boy from signing up as a mercenary to fight Archangel. If you do, he'll eventually send you an email and thank you for saving his life.
- Brynn in Dreamfall: The Longest Journey is very eager to prove his worth to the rebel cause but his more experienced commanders Chawan and April keep him on a short leash, much to his frustration.
- Transformers Prime has Smokescreen, who was most excited to fight the 'cons when they attacked his station at Iacon.
- The first two Carmine brothers in the Gears of War series, though their big brother Clayton is a bit more experienced and lives a lot longer.