Created By: HiddenFacedMatt on November 26, 2011 Last Edited By: matsuiny2004 on December 2, 2011
Troped

Heroic Dolphin

Dolphins portrayed as heroic creatures.

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Created based on consensus in this thread.

It seems that in most media; especially most fiction; dolphins will be portrayed primarily as heroic creatures, partly because of their cuteness, and partly because real-life stories of dolphins saving human lives make them a marketable species of hero.

Of course, in real life that isn't the whole story; many dolphins are known to kill for fun, and it's plausible that some of these might even be the same dolphins; being willing to Pet the Dog doesn't rule out the possibility of kicking a different one, after all.

That said, Deconstructions of this are becoming increasingly popular, at least in non-fictional media.

For another creature often portrayed as heroic, see Heroic Dog.

Examples:

Comics
  • The comics based on the Ecco the Dolphin game series make Ecco's noble nature clear in no uncertain terms; though his somewhat dark methods of fighting enemies may make him seem like a bit of an Anti-Hero.
  • Porm, the dolphin who acted as a surrogate mother to Aquaman.

Live-Action TV

Film
  • Another example occurs in Jaws 3-D. Cindy and Sandy rescue Kay and Mike from a shark after attempting to keep them out of the Galleon.
  • Fa and Be from Day Of The Dolphin.
  • Dolphin Tale: Not so much "heroic" as "inspirational," but Winter's willingness to adapt to swimming without a tail is regarded by many humans both within the story and in the audience as an inspiration to handicapped humans.

Literature
  • Venus Among the Fishes is about Coral and her brother Snapper who are sent on a journey to save their pod from orca attacks.
  • In Journey of the Dolphin King House Rinaldo the leader dolphin of a band of dolphins and his goal is to help his dolphin pod find a new home.
  • Dolphin's Dance is about a man reincaranated as a dolphin. One of the events in the story involves him saving a colege student who was in a surfing accident.
  • The Tempests Roar is about a white dolphin named Apollo whose destiny is to save whalekind from destruction on this planet man calls Earth but whales know as Planet Ocean
  • In The Roman Mysteries book The Dolphins of Laurentum, a dolphin rescues Lupus after he nearly drowns from staying underwater too long while diving. It is also strongly implied that the same dolphin discouraged Lupus from deliberatly leaving behind another diver who had been trapped by a giant octopus, though in fairness to Lupus he had a good reason for wanting the trapped person to die. The same scene is also in the Live-Action TV adaptation. The book also references several examples of the use of dolphins in Classical Mythology, including stories of shipwrecked sailors being rescued by dolphins.
  • The cyber hacker dolphin from Johnny Mnemonic.
  • Dolphin Way Rise of the Guardians has a dolphin protagonist who must break his civilizations rules to save his friends.
  • Dolphins of Expedor is about Timothy Shore, a yellow, fourteen year old 'talking' dolphin, gets sucked into a whirlpool adventure to save his city 'Expedor' from certain destruction
  • Dolphin Journey has a dolphin protagonist and hero that goes out on a journey to create a song that will keep other dolphins from being trapped in nets.
New Media

Tabletop Games
  • Some editions of Dungeons & Dragons have depicted dolphins as sentient Good-aligned creatures with their own patron goddess.

Video Games
  • Ecco the Dolphin : Humans aren't even present, at least not in the Genesis games, but Ecco saves not only his family, but the world as a whole, from being consumed by Vortex aliens.
  • Played straight with the empathic, pacifist Liir race from Sword of the Stars...until you attack them, at which point they'll declare you Suul'Ka and never stop killing you until your entire race is just a fading memory. Liir soldiers are called "Black Swimmers" and are never permitted to interact with civilian Liir, lest their murderous tendencies corrupt the entire species.

Western Animation
  • Both animated Titanic movies have them: the first has talking dolphins that are trying to stop evil whalers, and the second has dolphins who don't talk, but help save people from the sinking ship.

RealLife
  • Dolphins who help stranded swimmers get to land or help.

Community Feedback Replies: 32
  • November 26, 2011
    WackyMeetsPractical
    Not entirely sure if this is tropable, but Flipper is most likely the Trope Codifier, if not the Ur Example.
  • November 26, 2011
    FrodoGoofballCoTV
    ^Strictly speaking, not the Ur-example because this one may actually be Older Than Dirt, as heroic dolphins show up in Greek mythology.

    • Another example occurs in Jaws 3-D. Cindy and Sandy rescue Kay and Mike from a shark after attempting to keep them out of the Galleon.
  • November 26, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • Real Life: Dolphins who help stranded swimmers get to land or help.
    • Real Life: deconstruction: dolphins are also known to rape.
    • The cyber hacker dolphin from Johnny Mnemonic.
    • Fa and Be from Day Of The Dolphin
    • The dolphins who were trained to carry bombs (or was it mines) into enemy waters.
  • November 26, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ Deconstructions are actively taking apart a trope, not happening not to fall in line with it. Real life aversions don't count as deconstructions.

    ^^^ See the linked TRS thread. Consensus was to create this.
  • November 26, 2011
    foxley
    Porm, the dolphin who acted as a surrogate mother to Aquaman.
  • November 27, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Mentioned @ foxley
  • November 27, 2011
    TBTabby
    Both animated Titanic movies have them: the first has talking dolphins that are trying to stop evil whalers, and the second has dolphins who don't talk, but help save people from the sinking ship.
  • November 27, 2011
    KTera
    • Played straight with the empathic, pacifist Liir race from Sword Of The Stars...until you attack them, at which point they'll declare you Suul'Ka and never stop killing you until your entire race is just a fading memory. Liir soldiers are called "Black Swimmers" and are never permitted to interact with civilian Liir, lest their murderous tendencies corrupt the entire species.
  • November 28, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Literature: In The Roman Mysteries book The Dolphins of Laurentum, a dolphin rescues Lupus after he nearly drowns from staying underwater too long while diving. It is also strongly implied that the same dolphin discouraged Lupus from deliberatly leaving behind another diver who had been trapped by a giant octopus, though in fairness to Lupus he had a good reason for wanting the trapped person to die. The same scene is also in the Live Action TV adaptation. The book also references several examples of the use of dolphins in Classical Mythology, including stories of shipwrecked sailors being rescued by dolphins.
  • November 28, 2011
    MorganWick
    Compare Heroic Dog.
  • November 29, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Mentioned @ Morgan Wick
  • November 30, 2011
    fulltimeD
    Again, Darwin the (talking) Dolphin from Seaquest DSV. Am I really THAT old compared to other tropers here that no one else remembers that show?
  • November 30, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Not sure, it could just be that it came to mind for you before it came to mind for others, or that you cared to mention it more than others did @ fulltimeD
  • November 30, 2011
    AceNoctali
    Are symbolic examples of "dolphin = good" accepted here, along with the animal ones? Because I have such an example with the video game Mitsumete Knight. Please refer to the Dolphins Dolphins Everywhere article, the example I'm talking about is listed there.
  • November 30, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    What do you mean, "symbolic?"

    EDITED IN: Actually, the TRS thread might be a better place to ask about this, I'm not sure.
  • November 30, 2011
    matsuiny2004
    Shouldn't this article be split into categories like most articles?
  • November 30, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ You mean played-straight examples vs. exceptions, or separated by media? (If the latter, I was planning on doing so either before or while launching it, I just hadn't gotten around to it yet.)
  • November 30, 2011
    matsuiny2004
    ^Seperated by media
  • November 30, 2011
    matsuiny2004
    I can do it for you :)
  • November 30, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ Thanks. Please make sure as you can to get it right, though; you'd be surprised how easy it is to get the wrong impression as to where a particular work goes.
  • November 30, 2011
    matsuiny2004
    ^I will do my best
  • November 30, 2011
    matsuiny2004
    Done. I can take out the code that makes the subjects links if you want since one is red.
  • November 30, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ You mean for Dolphin Tale? That is actually supposed to be typed as Film/DolphinTale.

    In any case, thanks.
  • November 30, 2011
    matsuiny2004
    I meant where internet site category is red. I took out film from dolphintale since it is already under the category film. I can switch it back if you want
  • November 30, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    Internet site category is red? I'm not sure what you're saying.

    Also, the Ecco comic example is awkward without context. I'd suggest simply replacing "The comics in particular make Ecco the Dolphin's noble nature" with "The comics based on the Ecco The Dolphin series make Ecco's noble nature"
  • November 30, 2011
    randomsurfer
    The category Internet Sites is usually called Web Original around these parts.
  • November 30, 2011
    matsuiny2004
    ^It's an internet article that would not fall under any of the web original subsets, although I could change it to New Media.
  • December 1, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ It's usually treated as Web Original anyway though. I suppose you could go for New Media if you see fit, though.
  • December 1, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    I'm going to edit this again, because I noticed some mistakes. (Namely in the wording of the Ecco entry, potholing of Dolphin Tale, and the example sections being in the wrong order.)
  • December 1, 2011
    matsuiny2004
    New Media
    • Kip the dolphin is a flash game that has a dolphin who is supposed to save as many deep sea divers as possible.
    Literature
  • December 2, 2011
    matsuiny2004
    All we need is one more hat
  • December 2, 2011
    HiddenFacedMatt
    ^ It's there now. Launching.
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