Created By: ShanghaiSlave on January 8, 2014 Last Edited By: ShanghaiSlave on February 8, 2014
Nuked

Two Bit Hero

The character whose heroics take place in the background of the main protagonist\'s conflict.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
The Hero is the character who saves the day in any particular story. Which means he is usually also The Protagonist, the guy the story is about. This makes them a Hero Protagonist. which is the ISO standard in media in general two the point that "hero" and "protagonist" are interchangeable terms.

Then you realize that this is a rather obvious fallacy. Since a story can easily be about the villain. Which means our hero here would naturally be an Antagonist, making him a Hero Antagonist.

But what if, just for a change, a supporting character is cast as The Hero? This means that The Hero will be playing a supporting role to The Protagonist(s) story. Which means that The Hero is ripe for being a Sacrificial Lion or worse, a Sacrificial Lamb. or maybe as a throwaway character that is mostly there to resolve the plot because the story is written in a way that The Protagonist is incapable of resolving the plot with his own power.

The simplest straight example for it (and may perhaps be the Trope Maker) is The Huntsman of Little Red Riding Hood. The story is about well, the girl and her journey. But The Hero who rescues the girl and kills the wolf is The Huntsman (Depending on the Writer, he may be a lumberjack or whatever), who was coincidentally Just Passing Through and happens to hear her cries of help once her "grandmother" reveals herself to be a wolf and tries to eat her.

A Featureless Protagonist cannot be this by virtue of being The Protagonist.

Related to Hero Secret Service, who help The Hero and may be the protagonists here. Related to Hero Antagonist, Hero Protagonist, and Supporting Protagonist, which are about the different roles a protagonist and hero can take when they are not one and the same. This can overlap with Hero Antagonist if he's only a minor antagonist. Subtrope of The Hero. Can be a result(or effect) of Take Up My Sword and Passing the Torch, where The Hero bequeaths his role to someone else.

A simple checklist to see if a character counts as this:

  • Is there a protagonist?
  • Is the character NOT The Protagonist?
  • Does he remain a supporting character? i.e. narrative wise, would his death NOT derail the narrative? that is, will the story still be about the main characters' quest, whatever it is?
  • Does he have an important task like defeating the Big Bad or any other Conflict Killer missions?
    • Alternately, is he just a Hero archetype who may have his own subplot that will not affect the Myth Arc status quo(kinda like Hero Antagonist)?

If all are check or there are some technical checks, they count. a single no check disqualifies him, so he may be another trope like Hero Antagonist.

Example:

Prinny: Can I Really Be the Hero?
  • check: The "Hero Prinny", The Player character.
  • technical check: "HP" is whoever of the 1000 prinnies supplied for the player is wearing the "Hero Scarf". meaning, The Hero is a Redshirt.
  • technical check: There is no particular story arc where we get into the POV of the current prinny.
    the game assumes your character is the original HP. ingame, they change voices every time you "respawn", i.e. replace the dead HP. meaning, the prinny that interacts with other characters and moves the plot in general may not be the original protagonist prinny.
  • check: find out who stole Etna's MacGuffin, thereby saving the hides of all prinnies because Etna will punish them all if the Hero Prinny fails. they all planned to take up the scarf should the original one fail and so on, hence the unique Video Game Lives system.


Examples:

Anime and Manga

Literature
  • The huntsman in Little Red Riding Hood is The Hero in the tale, considering that the huntsman kills the wolf and saves the day; despite this, the story is about the titular character, the huntsman appears close to the ending and makes nothing beyond kill the wolf and save the day.

Video Games
Community Feedback Replies: 79
  • January 8, 2014
    kjnoren
    I don't get a clear defintion from your description, it feels more like a collection of TV Tropes terms tossed together. And the name doesn't help—it can easily be read as an additional hero that acts as support for the "main" hero.

    Are you after a story where the protagonist isn't the main character or the hero of the story, but acts as a supporting character? Or something else?
  • January 8, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ your problem is because you are so used to "hero" being used as the term for The Protagonist.

    they are not necessarily one the same hence why we have a page for Hero Protagonist and another for The Hero.

    if you can understand that they are not the same the description makes immediate sense.

    The Hero is just the character who saves the day in a story.

    for example, in Megamind. Hero Antagonist(The Hero) is (initially) Metroman (who is also the Deuteragonist) and the Villain Protagonist is Megamind. Dragon In Chief(by virtue of being a created villain and yet not Big Bad) is Tighten.
  • January 8, 2014
    kjnoren
    No, I'm quite aware of the differences between the roles of hero, protagonist, narrator, and main character, even if I'm not familiar with the examples you bring up.

    I think this would be much clearer if you started with defining the trope, instead of starting off the description with an inversion of the trope.
  • January 8, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ clearly i could have done that. but i'm not sure how to word it.

    any ideas? since you apparently actually understand what i'm trying to say here.
  • January 8, 2014
    kjnoren
    Start with writing the laconic, without refering to TV Tropes terms. Or do the same with one of the examples.

    Right now, I see at least two ways your description can be interpreted, and that's without even starting to scratch it.
  • January 8, 2014
    DAN004
    Does this have to be a reveal trope?

    Compare Protagonist Title Fallacy.

    Maybe the confusing thing is the "supporting" - is it "supporting" related to the story (that is, they aren't the "gonists") or "supporting" related to the hero?
  • January 8, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^^ okay.

    ^ again, The Hero is not necessarily The Protagonist. adding that will just further the confusion.
    And it's the first, as in, they aren't a *gonist. the prinny example is the straightest, where The Hero is a Redshirt.

    also, it's usually a reveal, but not necessarily. i just put that there because if i didn't, the first examples would be nothing but spoilers(cept for the prinny one because it's revealed early).
  • January 8, 2014
    Duncan
    Most any Lower Deck Episode would be this, but especially the Star Trek The Next Generation episode which is the Trope Namer.
  • January 8, 2014
    acrobox
    Correlation with Supporting Leader?
  • January 8, 2014
    AP
    I think we might have this already. I need to do some looking around.
  • January 8, 2014
    xanderiskander
    Can you explain the relations/distinction between Supporting Hero and Pinball Protagonist? Plus The Chosen Zero?
  • January 8, 2014
    DAN004
    Some Supporting Hero can be a Supporting Leader, but not always.

    The protagonist can help the Supporting Hero in some ways - Pinball Protagonist cannot, at all.

    The Chosen Zero is still The Hero - just that they don't look the part.
  • January 8, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave

    Duncan
    don't assume any Trope Namer. this one was named after Supporting Protagonist. also, that one is A Day In The Limelight. this one is for explicitly The Hero supporting characters (i.e. there are actual Protagonists, and it's not him) rather than "The Protagonist of The Episode".

    xanderiskander
  • January 8, 2014
    DAN004
    Consider my Puella Magi Madoka Magica example awhile back. =P
  • January 8, 2014
    Koveras
  • January 8, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^^ can't say she counts. Madoka is a Decoy Protagonist slash Deuteragonist(other girl the story is about, i.e. the goddamn title character) which instantly disqualifies her. though i'd say Sayaka certainly counts, but they're all The Hero anyway since they're not a Five Man Band and don't really form a coherent team dynamic...
  • January 9, 2014
    Snicka
    It might be worth to browse through Supporting Leader for overlapping examples.
  • January 9, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ WOW. He~llo Zero Context Example! (just check out the page! o_o)
  • January 9, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^^ i've read half the non-zce examples and there doesn't seem to be any room for overlaps. Supporting Leader is exactly that, they are not The Hero, but The Leader. there is always a hero they support. meaning, it cannot overlap with this trope, though mostly because it's about them and their role of distraction as opposed to defeating the big bad.
  • January 9, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    @AP,
    you're probably referring to Non POV Protagonist but that is about a clear *gonist character who's thoughts remain a mystery.
  • January 9, 2014
    Snicka
    @Shanghai Slave: I didn't intend my comment to be an example at the first place, just a (rather lazy) suggestion on my behalf, meaning: "since this trope is similar to Supporting Leader, I suggest that a troper with more time on their hands than me should compare the two". Especially since one comment above said: "Some Supporting Hero can be a Supporting Leader, but not always". Which is, apparently, not true, since a Supporting Leader is never The Hero. Nevertheless, I think Supporting Leader should be mentioned among the related tropes.

  • January 9, 2014
    DAN004
    @ Shanghai Slave: Man, your reply arrows need fixing, IYKWIM.
  • January 9, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ IDKWYM. WNF?

    ^^ hmm, perhaps. though i'm not sure how supporting leader relates to this. is the Supporting Leader supposed to be The Protagonist here?
  • January 9, 2014
    Duncan
    Shanghai Slave, I meant the Next Gen episode "Lower Decks", which is the Trope Namer for Lower Deck Episode.
  • January 9, 2014
    Snicka
    ^^ No, the Supporting Leader is, by definition, a Deuteragonist. He leads the forces of good while The Protagonist finishes his quest. But he can do his part in defeating the Big Bad, and be the Hero Of Another Story.

    In fact, isn't the Hero Of Another Story pretty much the same as a Supporting Hero?
  • January 9, 2014
    wanderlustwarrior
    I too think we may already have this in Hero Of Another Story, Supporting Leader, or Supporting Protagonist. And as it is now, it's definitely not ready for launch.
  • January 9, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In many classic Mighty Mouse cartoons MM doesn't apppear until near the end of the short, when he comes to save the day.
  • January 9, 2014
    DAN004
    I don't think Hero Of Another Story covered this. The Protagonist and Supporting Hero share a story here.
  • January 9, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    Duncan — okay.


    I've never claimed this was ready for launch, wanderlustwarrior.


    randomsurfer— disqualified by virtue of being the title character and hence, protagonist, unless we have a case of Protagonist Title Fallacy here?

    Snicka — what DAN 004 said.


    again, most of you are misunderstanding the point of the trope (despite the description being nothing but disambiguations).

    Hero Of Another Story is simply a character who is implied to be The Protagonist of his own story, which is not the story he appears in as an example of HAS.

    Supporting Leader is just a "distraction so Hero Protagonist can save the day", other usages have him simply as "The Leader of an organization". so i call Trope Decay on that.

    Supporting Protagonist, again is about The Protagonist who is NOT The Hero (and not The Hero who is not The Protagonist), because The Hero here is the Deuteragonist. In other words, still important.

    Supporting Hero's laconic on this says it all: The Hero is a minor character.
    tell me how is this covered by all those tropes? especially if you just take the time and actually use the checklist.

    anyway, for now i'll change the name to Expendable Hero and see if it makes it clearer that this is just The Hero who is a minor character.

    if it makes it any clearer: think of this as Hero Antagonist except Supporting Character.
  • January 9, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    For the sake of clarity, maybe i should put a little thesis here:

    Tales Of Troperia is about The Quest of Prota and Deuter, two Ordinary Highschool Student who got Trapped In Another World. Their quest is to find the Mac Guffin that will allow them to return home, however, it is in the possession of Emperor Evulz, who plans to destroy Troperia For The Evulz.

    They learn of a prophecy that there is The Hero who is capable of defeating Evulz. they then change their quest into finding this Hero, and they do, but the guy is The Chosen Zero, Hiro. They then train the guy to badassery, the then story focuses on the duo's hardships on training the guy.

    After few weeks, Hiro Took A Level In Badass and is now capable of defeating Evulz. the duo then plays Hero Secret Service to help Hiro defeat Evulz. Hiro then defeats Evulz, and they were able to go back. we then get an Epilogue showing a scene Hiro being praised, and the duo gets a montage returning to their lives.

    the bolded parts are the main story/characters. the unbolded parts are about the Antagonist and Supporting Hero/Expendable Hero.
  • January 10, 2014
    DAN004
    I'd up Supporting Hero cuz the hero at least would be important to an extent.
  • January 10, 2014
    MorganWick
    I think what's tripping people up isn't the notion that the hero has to be the protagonist, or mistaking it for other tropes you've already distinguished it from, but that for The Hero to be an outright minor character - certainly without being a Hero Of Another Story - would almost seem to be a contradiction in terms. (And "supporting character", as the description and name put it, is even more of a contradiction, as "supporting" is usually defined relative to the hero, not the protagonist. In Sherlock Holmes stories, Watson is the Supporting Protagonist, but still a supporting character - as the name of that trope implies.) It would require us to reach a definition of The Hero where for him to be a minor character would even be possible - and on that count, it doesn't help that the page's definition still seems to be focused on the Five Man Band member and not the larger archetype. (Incidentally, I think the new laconic is unhelpful at best and misleading at worst; it's basically "exactly like Hero Antagonist, except completely different".)

    I believe most people would probably define The Hero archetype, especially when told it was not synonymous with "protagonist", something like this: some sort of active force for good in the context of the story, and if there is one particular hero, the main force for good.

    How, then, is it possible for The Hero to be a minor character? If he's simply the hero of a story that is separate from the main plot, that's just Hero Of Another Story. If he's the hero of the main story, but the plot revolves around the travails of other characters with the hero pushed to the background, it's a Lower Deck Episode, and at some point it no longer is the same story. If he's the hero of the main story and the story looks at him through the eyes of other characters close to him, that's Supporting Protagonist, but that can't be this trope because the hero is usually the deuteragonist in that case, hardly a "minor character".

    The closest thing I can think of is that the story focuses on people who are in the thick of the fight but might not hear much about the hero, perhaps because they hear about him more than actually see him, either because he is treated more like a messiah than an actual person or because, in their context, he's more of a Big Good. But that still sounds like it has substantial overlap with Lower Deck Episode and/or Supporting Leader, and if it's not an ongoing series where Failure Is The Only Option it's very difficult to figure out who gets to save the day. If it's "the hero" then it was a Lower Deck Episode, Hero Of Another Story, or similar all along, but if it's our protagonists then they were the heroes and "the hero" was the Big Good at best.

    The story you tell ^^ sounds a lot like Supporting Protagonist to me, or at least evolves into that state, and some of the earlier versions of the description make it sound like by "the hero" you really mean "the guy the story expects to be the hero". If The Chosen One fails, and it's up to our protagonist to save the day, it seems to me that it was the protagonists that were the heroes all along. I'm not saying the hero has to be successful (if only because of the possibility that The Bad Guy Wins), I'm saying that if the quest is "the main characters' quest", and is not dependent on the hero, it seems to me that it's the main characters that are the heroes, and "the hero" is, well, just another supporting character, and not really the hero.

    As such, it seems to me that what you're really going for is not "supporting hero" or "expendable hero", but almost a subversion of the notion of the hero, where the person you expect to be the hero is reduced to a supporting role or even a pawn in a larger conflict, or turns out to be a Red Herring all along, or just has so little going for him that it's up to less traditionally "heroic" people to move the plot along and send him down his path.
  • January 10, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    You bring up good points, Morgan Wick.

    ...but that for The Hero to be an outright minor character - certainly without being a Hero of Another Story - would almost seem to be a contradiction in terms. (And "supporting character",...

    You;re tripping yourself up here as well. Hero Of Another Story is in TRS, and the discussion there so far people have gathered that the trope means " a peripheral or supporting character who's shown/hinted to have storylines of their own happening off-screen". meaning said character is a Hero Protagonist, but not in the story where he is Hero Of Another Story, so he is just The Hero there. so i stand corrected, they can overlap here, but they are not the same.

    the difference here is that Supporting Hero is The Hero of the story where he is an example of Supporting Hero, but he doesn't have offscreen adventures. Making him The Hero Of Not His Story.

    Supporting Protagonist as i already stated(and as you later said youself) makes The Hero Deuteragonist without explicitly saying it. The Hero is most definitely important, but it's not his story, but the Supporting Protagonist's. here, you kill the hero here and Deutragonist and The Protagonist will still be around. also, it's about the "protagonist" and not the hero as much as Hero Antagonist is not about the Villain Antagonist Villain Protagonist and vice versa.

    it doesn't help that the page's definition still seems to be focused on the Five Man Band member and not the larger archetype.

    ...

    some sort of active force for good in the context of the story, and if there is one particular hero, the main force for good.
    What then, is "The Larger Archetype"?

    "The Main Force of Good" is Big Good in This Wiki. and he most certainly is not the hero according to the description there.

    Incidentally, I think the new laconic is unhelpful at best and misleading at worst

    I thought it would be better since it's Role based. I thought it would be read as "Hero Antagonist but instead of an antagonist, he is a minor character who may be neutral or with the protagonists." which incidentally means it's the supertrope to it.

    How, then, is it possible for The Hero to be a minor character? ...<other details>...

    Yes, you almost get the gist of the trope here. This is exactly Lower Deck Episode, where the lower deck consists of The Protagonist and not some bit characters, and the upperdeck consist of the bit characters.

    I'm gonna skip your brainstorming session since we have vastly different ideas. but i'm gonna say you're close if you think this skirts somewhere between Lower Deck Episode and Hero Of Another Story.

    The story you tell ^^ sounds a lot like Supporting Protagonist to me...

    Yes it is, and The Hero is a minor character instead of Deuteragonist since the Deuteragonist is lumped with The Protagonist here.

    it seems to me that it's the main characters that are the heroes, and "the hero" is, well, just another supporting character, and not really the hero.

    well, they're not the one saving the day so they're technically not The Hero, any more than The Mentor is not The Hero even if he trained The Hero or even saved the day.

    As such, it seems to me that what you're really going for is not "supporting hero" or "expendable hero"

    This is close, actually. i'm afraid i'm gonna have to Take It To The Forums, we're going nowhere without a clear definition.
  • January 11, 2014
    DAN004
    So what, should we bring The Hero to TRS?
  • January 15, 2014
    randomsurfer
    ^^^^^^If you look at this list of Mighty Mouse cartoon titles you'll see that he's not in the title of most of the classic series.
  • January 15, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ that's not the point of Protagonist Title Fallacy.

    just how often does Goku get his name in an episode of Dragon Ball anyway? a lot? yes, all the time? not really.
  • January 15, 2014
    randomsurfer
    ^Wouldn't know, never seen an episode, know practically nothing about it. If you're looking for an analogy that one didn't work on me.
  • January 15, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ okay then. i'll just ignore it for now. someone who knows more might add it later anyway.
  • January 16, 2014
    DAN004
    Laconic would be misleading; this isn't about Hero Antagonist.
  • January 16, 2014
    Snicka
    ^ Agreed, the Laconic is incredibly confusing. "Hero Antagonist, except... not an antagonist".
  • January 16, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ because the original laconic of "The Hero is a Minor Character" somehow did not get the message across. changing it again then...
  • January 16, 2014
    DAN004
    What about "The Hero of the story is not the protagonist; i.e not the main focus of the story"
  • January 16, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ thanks, tweaked a bit for the loophole lovers.

    and now... We Wait.
  • January 19, 2014
    MagBas
    Suggestion to example:

    • The huntsman in Little Red Riding Hood is The Hero in the tale, considering that the huntsman kills the wolf and saves the day; despite this, the story is about the titular character, the huntsman appears close to the ending and makes nothing beyond kill the wolf and save the day.
  • January 19, 2014
    Sackett
    Also extending the point about Lower Deck Episode we already have The Greatest Story Never Told and Innocent Bystander Series.

    I just feel like we have this covered.
  • January 19, 2014
    DAN004
    OMG, I just knew Innocent Bystander Series. XD
  • January 19, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ This isn't about innocent people nor bystanders. Mag Bas gets it at least. and now we have the Trope Codifier.


    Sackett, check out little red riding hood and tell me The Huntsman is any of those tropes. Right, that's not possible because those are plot tropes...
  • January 20, 2014
    AP
    Would this be Hero Of Another Story maybe?
  • January 20, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Facepalm, sorry, it's just it's the third time i got that. Ctrl F "Most of you are".

    also, for the record, Little Red Riding Hood shoehorns Almighty Janitor of all things for this trope.
  • January 24, 2014
    Snicka
    Do the episodes of Doctor Who where the Doctor is temporarily Out Of Focus count?
  • January 24, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Those would be A Day In The Limelight or Lower Deck Episode.

    this is only for examples like Little Red Riding Hood, where The Hero is not Hero Protagonist and is also not a Deuteragonist.
  • January 24, 2014
    kjnoren
    I think I managed to work out the confusion here. This isn't a characterisation trope, it's a plot and structure trope.

    Put one way, this is a tale where the plot and the story are disjoint. Another way, it can be viewed as where a told plot is used as the background for another plot.

    Riordan's Percy Jackson books shows parts of this structure. The main plot/theme is a classic coming of age story for Percy, but there is also the background of the conflict that Luke (the main antagonist) is forcing due to the irresponsibility of the gods. If viewed at a certain angle, Luke is the tragic hero of the story, and in the end Percy chooses to be a hero himself by picking up Luke's fallen mantle and achieving Luke's original goals in the right way.
  • January 26, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    I'm up to Episode 15 on Zetsuen No Tempest. So far, I'd argue that the new character is not The Hero, although he is The Chosen One. I haven't finished the series, though, so I'm not declaring this as my final opinion.

    On the other hand, I have also just finished Monstrous Regiment, and I think I understand what you're driving at with this trope concept.

    In the Discworld novel, the character who would be The Hero for the country In Universe is not The Protagonist of the book.
  • January 26, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    nice, i'm currently busy with midterm projects so i won't be doing any edits yet. I'll get back to you on that on friday i hope.

    kjnoren — yeah... that's a little far from my vision and seems to be a different trope altogether.
  • January 26, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ So what's your vision huh? (I kinda agree with kjnoren here :P)
  • January 27, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Check out Little Red Riding Hood. and look at the "Almighty Janitor" trope there. that one is supposed to be this.
  • January 27, 2014
    kjnoren
    @shanghaislave: Well, it's your YKTTW, but the confusion here made me think that one should approach it from another direction. The earlier description of my take on it was sadly lacking, though.

    You have two plots, an inner and an outer. The told story focuses itself on the inner plot, which usually focuses on internal drama (say a coming of age story, or a relation between two characters). As background, the told story has the outer plot, which is about overt conflict or similar. The main character of the inner story serves a minor or supporting role in the outer story.
  • January 27, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ well, as said, that's not what this is supposed to be. But yes, it can be an element of this.

    i can certainly see that applying to Zetsuen No Tempest and my little generic fantasy example in the comments. so you're saying i rewrite this one to fit that and move Two Bit Hero elsewhere?

    not sure that's a good idea but seems doable, but gonna do it later.
  • January 27, 2014
    DAN004
    ^^ In that case, compare Two Lines No Waiting
  • January 27, 2014
    kjnoren
    ^^ Up to you, this was a try to understand the requirements for your original write-up and concept.

    ^ I'm not really sure this is related to Two Lines No Waiting, really. The relations between the two plots are different, and here only one story is told, not both.
  • January 27, 2014
    robinjohnson
    What does "two bit" have to do with it? Two bit means cheap or easily replaceable, as in something that costs two bits (coins; specifically twopences in British "Old money", I think.) Supporting Hero works.

    • The early Discworld novels make references to the world containing a lot of classic High Fantasy-type barbarian heroes, but, apart from Hrun the Barbarian being an onstage character in The Colour Of Magic for a while, the narrative never actually follows them much.
  • January 27, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Shanghai Slave's idea was that the hero in this story is expendable.

    Though personally I prefer the Supporting Hero myself.
  • January 27, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    kjnoren - that's why I've been trying to watch the work that inspired Shanghai Slave. That way we have the same pool of references to talk to one another.
  • January 27, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    kjnoren

    okay then. also, it was your take that DAN compares to Two Lines No Waiting. I'd say it's closer to You All Share My Story. The Protagonist is connected to The Hero via "Outer Plot", but the main (and) driving plot of the story is "Inner Plot", where The Hero is supporting character in.



    robinjohnson

    check the first comments and you'll see "Supporting" was one of the main causes of confusion. so i checked the thesaurus for words similar to "unimportant", and two-bit was one of them.



    DAN 004

    only in the sense of < expendable = unimportant to inner plot >, not really because the story can go on properly without them.
  • January 27, 2014
    Snicka
    To look at your favourite example: how can the story of Little Red Riding Hood go on properly without the Huntsman? He is needed as a form of Deus Ex Machina, or else the story will end in a Downer Ending.
  • January 27, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Point is, it would still have been about Little Red, not The Huntsman. this is the reason for my preference to "expendable". and is even noted in the description.

    does he remain a supporting character? i.e. narrative wise, would his death NOT derail the narrative? that is, will the story still be about the main characters' quest, whatever it is?

    So Without Deus Ex Machina dood, Little Red Riding Hood would still be about the girl's quest to her grandma, not the fact that she gets rescued (which itself is not even that important to the original).
  • January 27, 2014
    DAN004
    So what about Background Hero?
  • January 28, 2014
    robinjohnson
    ^ I like Background Hero.
  • January 28, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    "The character whose heroics take place in the background of the main protagonist's conflict."
    • That sounds intuitive.
    • Tempest, I'm thinking, would be a Downplayed Trope, because the "Mage of Exodus" is one of the secondary characters in the core cast.
    • The Ace is a related trope, Miles Glorious as well?
  • January 28, 2014
    kjnoren
    ^ The above definition would have the implication that Sam Gamgi would be an example. In his way, he's just as heroic as Frodo, but he's permanently on second fiddle (except in the encounters with Shelob and its aftermath). Not sure that's what's intended.
  • January 28, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    Except that the narration switches to focus on Samwise during his moments of heroism. He's not a background character to Frodo, he's a Deuteragonist.
  • January 28, 2014
    Koveras
  • January 28, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    crazysamaritan

    "The character whose heroics take place in the background of the main protagonist's conflict."
    This... has to be the clearest way of putting this trope. Congratulations.

    • Tempest, I'm thinking, would be a Downplayed Trope, because the "Mage of Exodus" is one of the secondary characters in the core cast.
    Yes, exactly this.

    The Ace is usually just a character who is better than The Protagonist, not necessarily a heroic type but can overlap. Miles Gloriosus is unrelated for being well, The Load.


    kjnoren: crazysamaritan got it right.
  • January 28, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    Thanks. I'm up to Episode 20, now. After finishing the series, I should be able to give some concrete advice on the description of the trope. For now, I can better explain why I was starting to think of those two tropes (And now that I can see this as a fully distinct trope of it's own, I can admit I thought you were actually talking about The Ace), as well as submit an example.
    • You've stated half of The Ace and half of Miles Gloriosus: The Ace isn't just the guy better than the Protagonist, he's also famed for his awesomeness, and so is the Miles. They're famous Heroes in their own right, an important part of the universe the protagonists reside in, and meeting those characters is a part of the protagonist's narrative. But not their actual heroics. Their heroics take place mostly off-screen.
    • During Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Neville Longbottom accomplishes offscreen heroics. The narrative itself follows the Protagonist trio, but Hogwarts still has school this year, and now Harry isn't around leading the students. Neville steps up to the plate, and we hear about some of what they've done when the trio enters Hogwarts to find the Ravenclaw Horcrux.
  • February 4, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    ^ Ah, good point.

    I'll add the HP example once i move this to a fresh YKTTW. 74 comments with nearly nothing but "already have?" stuff will cause confusion.

    how do i go about rewriting this?
  • February 5, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    Agreed. I finished the series last week. I need some time to sit and type out my thoughts, which will be here.
  • February 8, 2014
    ShanghaiSlave
    So... any ideas?
  • February 8, 2014
    oztrickster
    Hsven't seen the whole series but would Inuyasha count, he is the title charcter and does the majority of the fighting but he normally seems to fall into the background in favour of Kagome being the main character who drives the plot and has more screen time.
  • February 8, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    There's a saying that "everyone has a story to tell". The Background Hero is a character whose heroic actions and mysterious background are potentially a very interesting one to hear. But they're not in their story. They're in someone else's. Someone who has their own conflicts and relationships, that don't always overlap with the achievements of the Background Hero.

    The Background Hero is not one of the Main Characters. They're a Secondary Character at most, possibly acting as a Deus Ex Machina, and may only be an extra in the story. The main Plot, the driving Conflict, and most of the Point Of View are being covered by other characters. In many ways, the role of the Background Hero is to just exist, making the world of the story more interesting by having it take place with them in it.

    The Background Hero doesn't have to be more powerful than the main characters, either. The Badass Normal, in a Meaningful Background Event, rescuing the residents of an apartment building destroyed by Superman is also a Background Hero. If the perspective was switched, and the story focused on the rescue with Superman's battle as the Meaningful Background Event, then he would be the Background Hero. As long as the character performing the heroics is not central to the conflicts of the story, they are considered part of the background.

    Contrast Miles Gloriosus and The Ace, whose heroic actions have often already taken place, and whose immediate arrival overshadow the Protagonists like a Spotlight Stealing Squad.

    Compare and Contrast Hero Of Another Story, where the characters are entirely offscreen, not even in the background of the mmain story. Also Compare and Contrast Lower Deck Episode, where the main characters are the ones running around offscreen and in the background, while the characters who are usually in the background are Protagonists for their stories.
    How's that?

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=oay85vs5fylthlvvwlrmk8hk&trope=DiscardedYKTTW