A HeroicArchetype of a character, frequently a ChosenOne who rises out of adversity to unite and lead his people. The people in question also tend to be threatened; by disunity, by the BigBad, by being a dying civilization, or other variations on the theme "their hour of greatest need". Through the leadership of the hero, the people see a considerable boost in quality of life and a renewed sense of pride and masses will flock to his banner.

In a sense, this is a much older interpretation of the MessianicArchetype - you could call this the Destined Leader Archetype. Before Christianity came along and gave us what most westerners understand as the Messiah with love and self-sacrifice, the Jewish people understood Messiah to mean "someone who will come in our time of need and unite the tribes of Israel" (because that's what the Bible [[CaptainObvious said he would be]]). It's not impossible or unheard of for the two to overlap.

OlderThanFeudalism. May overlap with TheParagon. If the people are pressed by a foreign power, the heroic leader may become part of LaResistance. His story will frequently include an AwesomeMomentOfCrowning. When a secondary hero rather than the protagonist is the leader, it's a SupportingLeader.

SisterTrope to RightfulKingReturns and OfferedTheCrown; this trope is not exclusive to lost royalty, nor will the protagonist always gain an official title afterwards. Very often also a MagneticHero.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder: Anime & Manga ]]

* Jotaro Kujo is set up to be this at the beginning of the third part of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', "Stardust Crusaders." His [[GuardianEntity Stand]], Star Platinum, [[TarotMotifs is named after the Tarot card "The Star" which stands for hope and salvation]], and this is very fitting. At the end of the story, Jotaro is the only one able to beat [[BigBad Dio]] since [[spoiler:both of their Stands are the same type, and Jotaro can not only resist Dio's time-stopping powers, but Jotaro learns how to stop time himself.]]
* Usagi of ''SailorMoon'' will become this in 1000 years when she becomes Neo-Queen Serenity.
* Youko of ''TheTwelveKingdoms'' is thrust into this, at first unwillingly. All the emperors of the world are chosen by the kirin and without a ruler the kingdom falls into chaos. Some sucessions are more smooth than others though, and Youko had to be sought out in "our" world by Keiki.
* Initially, Kenji of ''TwentiethCenturyBoys'' is set up to be this. [[spoiler:It's only in the final arc that it comes to fruition.]]
* Simon in ''TengenToppaGurrenLagann''. [[spoiler:In the end, though, he seems content WalkingTheEarth with Boota.]]
* Hakuoro in ''{{Utawarerumono}}''.
* Kimba from ''Manga/KimbaTheWhiteLion'' becomes the king of the jungle at a young age at the start of the series.

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[[folder: Film ]]

* Neo, "The One" of ''Film/TheMatrix'' is a weaker example than you might think originally (based on details from the 2nd film). He ''is'' a prophesied savior whose "return" raised morale and inspired humanity in their fight for survival, but he is not actually the leader of Zion nor does he hold any actual formal authority. In fact, he's overridden (and outranked) by individual captains on a few occasions.
* Jake Sully in ''Film/{{Avatar}}''.
* William Wallace in ''Film/{{Braveheart}}''.

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[[folder: Literature ]]

* Aragorn from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''
* The Pevensies and later Prince Caspian in ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfNarnia''
* KingArthur
* Paul Atreides in ''Literature/{{Dune}}''.
* Referenced in an Creator/IsaacAsimov story, "Robot Dreams", where a robot has this kind of messianic dreams (complete with references to the story of Moses). [[ShootTheDog Susan Calvin shoots him in the head.]]
* In ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'', a good chunk of the prophecies surrounding The Dragon Reborn and Rand Al'Thor talks about this kind of stuff.
* Eragon from ''Literature/InheritanceCycle'' fits the "leader of LaResistance" type. His cousin Roran does this on a smaller scale, literally leading his village out of the Empire.
* Bastian from ''Literature/TheNeverEndingStory''.
* Arren/Lebannen from the [[Literature/EarthseaTrilogy Earthsea]] novel ''The Farthest Shore''
* Belgarion, when he becomes Overlord of the West in ''Literature/TheBelgariad''.
* In Sax Rohmer's ''The Mask of FuManchu'' the eponymous YellowPeril villain seeks to pass himself off as the prophesied "Masked Prophet" who will unite all Asiatic peoples (Arabs, Chinese, Japanese, Burmese, ''etc.'') against the hated white race. This ''may'' have been suggested to Rohmer by the general British understanding of the Islamic idea of the Mahdi, which became widespread in Rohmer's boyhood.
* Played with in Creator/LawrenceWattEvans' ''Touched by the Gods'': Malledd is chosen by the gods to lead his people, but nobody, including Malledd, knows he's the ChosenOne. He ends up [[spoiler:leading accidentally but never actually becoming king, because he doesn't want to]].
* Hazel-rah in WatershipDown.
* Rhys in the {{Branion}} series is this, touched by the Gods and having been born literally so that he can unite his fractured faith (it's technically under the leadership of people who [[TheHeretic follow a different one]]).

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[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* Locke in ''Series/{{Lost}}'' gets this down ''pat'': He comes to lead [[spoiler:the Others]] after [[spoiler:being dead for three days]]. Except [[spoiler:[[SubvertedTrope it wasn't him.]]]]
** Jack ultimately volunteers himself to [[spoiler:succeed Jacob to become the "true" leader of the island, though only for one episode before passing the torch to Hurley.]]
* Pres. Laura Roslin from ''[[Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined Battlestar Galactica]]''.
* Sheridan from ''Series/BabylonFive'' leads the fight both against the corrupt President Clarke, and also [[AbusivePrecursors the Shadows and the Vorlons]].

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[[folder: Religion and Mythology ]]

* Many in the Hebrew [[Literature/TheBible scriptures]]:
** Moses
** King Saul and his successors David and Solomon.
** The Macabees.
** Jesus in the New Testament, who gathers a lot of followers and was/is often called a king. If the Book of Revelation is any indication...
* Speaking of scriptures, this trope is also present in Islam: Muhammad (PBUH) was the Amirul Mukminin, the Leader of the Faithful (the Muslims). He led the diverse people of Madinah (Muslims, Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, pagans, etc) to take back the city of Makkah. After his death, this role is continued by the four Khulafaur Rasyidin (Four God-Guided Caliph). In fact, "Caliph" means successor to Muhammad's leadership. Some Muslims also believe that nearing the end of the world, this trope will come in full effect with the coming of Imam Mahdi (basically, a Messiah).

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[[folder: Video Games ]]

* ''BrutalLegend'': "To summon a warrior into this world who would lead our armies to BRUTAL VICTORY. It was made for a god, not for you... not for... a ROADIE..." Good thing Eddie Riggs has ThePowerOfRock.
* Thrall is this for the Horde in ''[[{{Warcraft}} Warcraft III]]'' and ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''.
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' ends up in this role as of ''VideoGame/MegaManZero''. Unfortunately, being near-immortal and fighting the never-ending battle with no help pretty much tore his psyche up, making up half of his motivation for a HeroicSacrifice. His replacement then helps steer everything into hell.
* The Nerevarine from ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind'' fits both this and MessianicArchetype pretty well. His background and predicted traits fit right in with the Jewish messiah, and the way s/he turns out to be is more like the Christian notion (i.e., didn't come to wipe out all the occupying foreigners and restore ethnic purity after all).
* Approximately halfway through ''VideoGame/SkiesOfArcadia'', Vyse becomes the captain of his own pirate crew, with his own flagship and base of operations.
* Shepard of ''Franchise/MassEffect'' is another combination of this trope and MessianicArchetype. Of course, the definition of who exactly s/he is defending varies with Paragon and Renegade.
* The protagonist of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' is another. You spend most of the game trying to unite everyone in the land against the Darkspawn invasion.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition'' gives the player a similar task across an even broader setting.
* A main quest in GuildWars in actually named "And a Hero shall lead them". The whole point of the Nightfall campaign (and the other to a lesser extent) is the hero (i.e. the player) leading others to save the day.
* In many a FourX games, this is generally you. AGodIsYou.
* ''VideoGame/TearsToTiara2'' has Hamil, the last of the Barcids leading first [[LaResistance the revolt in Hispania]] and then TheAlliance against TheEmpire.

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[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Aang of WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender. All Avatars have this, as it is their job to 'keep the balance of the world', but Aang in particular as he must end 100 years of war.
** Interestingly, he might not be the most straight example, despite being a prime contender. Sokka seems to do a lot more of the day to day leading, being the strategist of the group, while Aang would much prefer to go around and play. (Although, Sokka does let Aang make choices on Avatar matters). By the end of the series [[spoiler: Zuko also takes this role, becoming defacto leader of the gAang while Aang's away, and then becoming Fire Lord.]]
* Dreamy Smurf in ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'' who dreams of being taken to the land of the Pookies where his SecondComing portends a deliverance from the tyrannical Norf Nags.
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