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->''"Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show."''
-->-- ''Literature/DavidCopperfield'', opening lines.

In many genres, we expect the story to be told from a specific PointOfView, with a certain character role that is expected to be TheProtagonist. Some writers like to mix it up and chose someone that does ''not'' have the central role in the story and tell the story from their perspective. This is the Supporting Protagonist: someone who would normally be a secondary character by conventions of the genre is the main character. When done correctly, this provides a PointOfView other than what's typical. When done wrong, it could easily lead to the character becoming TheLoad.

In many cases, this means choosing someone other than TheHero to be the protagonist. For instance, the story follows the BigGood as they watch TheHero on their adventure. In this case they are also the SupportingLeader. In another case the story could follow the SideKick as they support the hero. The third case is Supporting Protagonist ''being'' TheHero, but ''not'' TheChosenOne.

In a {{mystery|Fiction}}, it means choosing someone other than the detective. In a RomanceNovel, it means choosing someone other than the female lead. In HistoricalFiction, it means choosing someone other than the important historical figure.

It's common in Japanese works with a supernatural touch (LightNovels, FishOutOfWater scenarios, etc.) in order to have somebody to spout exposition to. In RealTimeStrategy games, this usually happens in conjunction with NonEntityGeneral.

A sister trope to ADayInTheLimelight, where just part of the story doesn't center around the expected protagonist, and FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator, in which the character is not the protagonist at all, but is the narrator of the story.

Compare {{Deuteragonist}} and HeroOfAnotherStory. Contrast with HeroProtagonist and DecoyProtagonist (the character who appears at first to be TheProtagonist but is not).

----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/MobileSuitCrossboneGundam'' pulls a bit of zigzagging with this trope. While Tobia Arronax is the POV character, it is [[TheAce Kincaid Nau]] (alias [[Anime/MobileSuitGundamF91 Seabook Arno]]) who is the main pilot of the titular HumongousMecha and is responsible for most of the victories of the [[SpacePirate Crossbone Vanguard]]. However, during the final parts of the story, Tobia comes into his own following a string of moments of [[BadAss badassery]], finally gets his own [[SuperPrototype Gundam]], and winds up saving the world; while Kincaid is put into the role of the SupportingLeader. In the end, Kincaid retires, PassingTheTorch to Tobia, who goes on to become a fully-fledged main character in ''all'' of the sequels.
* Athrun Zala fills this role in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny'', being TheMentor to DecoyProtagonist Shinn, and following the midseason perspective switch, {{foil}} to [[TheHero Kira]]. The story's told from his point of view for most of the series--and even more so in the compilation movies--and its his interactions with the other two that define the show.
* Saji Crossroad, during the second season of ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam00''. The heroes are, of course, Celestial Being. [[spoiler:Saji also pilots the support machine for the eponymous mobile suit which acts as the catalyst.]]
* Rock in ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' starts off as a FirstPersonPeripheralNarrator to the Lagoon company and Revy in particular, but as the story progresses he gets a considerable amount of CharacterDevelopment while going from TheLoad to a GuileHero.
* Yuji from ''LightNovel/ShakuganNoShana''.
* Saito from ''LightNovel/ZeroNoTsukaima''.
* The first season of ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod'' is the story of 25th Baam. The second season is the story of Ja Wangnan, who meets the [[BrokenBird new]] [[TookALevelInBadass Baam]] five years later.
* Simon takes this role in the first third of ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'', up until [[spoiler:Kamina dies]]. In this case, however, it's not a viewpoint shift, but the viewpoint character becoming the protagonist as he comes into his own.
* Eiji Shigure in ''Anime/{{Gravion}}''. Though the story is mostly told through his viewpoint, he's only the leg of the eponymous CombiningMecha. He later graduates to the chestplate of the MidSeasonUpgrade.
* A variation in ''Manga/SoulEater''. Despite being the eponymous character, Soul is TheLancer, and the story's protagonist role is taken up mostly by [[TheHero Maka]]. Then we have Black Star, who ''thinks'' he's the Hero because he's a loud-mouthed egomaniac but on Maka's [[TheTeam team]] he's more likely to fill TheBigGuy role and yet he has such [[WarriorTherapist textbook]] [[DefeatMeansFriendship shounen]] traits when he rescues Kid from the Book of Eibon.
* The PowerTrio of Arika, Nina and Erstin aren't the real protagonists of the ''Manga/MaiOtome'' manga - it's Mashiro[[spoiler:'s twin brother]].
* In ''[[Manga/RainbowNishaRokubouNoShichinin Rainbow]]'', Mario is the main character despite Sakuragi being TheHero and BigGood. One could also say that Sakuragi is the main character at first [[spoiler:until he dies]], and the role ''then'' goes to Mario.
* In ''Anime/ErgoProxy'', Re-l Mayer is the protagonist for the first two episodes, after which the story will shift back and forth between her and Vincent Law, TheHero [[spoiler:and eponymous character]].
* ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'': While the series was running, [[WordOfGod Gen Urobuchi]] outright stated that, while the series has her name in the title, Madoka is actually meant to be a supporting character, and the true protagonist is Sayaka. [[spoiler: This is not ''[[TrollingCreator entirely]]'' true. While Sayaka is the most traditionally heroic character, Madoka remains the primary viewpoint for the majority of the series.]] Once the series was over he admitted that in reality [[http://wiki.puella-magi.net/Otona_Anime_Vol.20#Summary_of_Staff_Comments Homura]] is more accurately the real protagonist.
* In ''Anime/{{Texhnolyze}}'', while the story is focused on Ichise, Onishi and Shinji have greater impact on the story.
* Nanoha from ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha'' is one of these, when you think about it. All four of the seasons so far have been focused on the characters she's affecting herself - Fate in the first season, the Wolkenritter/Hayate in ''[[Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaAs A's]]'', the Forwards and Vivio in ''[[Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikerS StrikerS]]'' and Tohma and Lili in ''[[Manga/MagicalRecordLyricalNanohaForce Force]]'' - leaving her development somewhat more subdued. ''Manga/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaViVid'' has her almost exclusively in the mentor role.
* Tsukune Aono from ''Manga/RosarioToVampire'' is the viewpoint character and male lead, but as a {{non-action guy}} early on he generally relied on his friends for protection, especially [[TheAce Inner Moka]]. Even after he TookALevelInBadass, he remained a TechnicalPacifist, though he's become much more of a HeroProtagonist in recent chapters. In addition, while he does grow into TheHero, Moka and her family become the primary focus of the story.
* Sakuragi from ''Manga/SlamDunk''. He is definitely the main character of the story, with his development becoming more and more important to the plot. However, Rukawa and Akagi fit the hero mold better, as the Team Ace and Captain respectively. They are often the ones who carry the team.
* Jun from ''Manga/RozenMaiden'' is this to Shinku; he's the master of Shinku (though she treats him like a servant), Hinaichigo (indirectly) and Suiseiseki [[spoiler:and in the manga, eventually Souseiseki as well]], but he himself is a NonActionGuy most of the time, though he can provide useful support from the sidelines. Justified, since he's a human child and an unathletic {{hikikomori}}, and both the heroes and the antagonists are superpowered dolls.
* ''LightNovel/SpiceAndWolf'' is a story about Holo as experienced by Lawrence. She provides the [[DeadpanSnarker comedy]] and [[PleaseDontLeaveMe drama]], and Lawrence provides the [[IWatchItForTheEconomics economics]] and [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming hugs.]]
* Koyomi Araragi from ''LightNovel/{{Bakemonogatari}}'' is the main character and plays a key role in the arcs, but it's often the girls themselves who are the focus and have to solve the problems themselves in the end.
* Zenkichi from ''Manga/MedakaBox''. He's the primary viewpoint character and male lead, but it's Medaka who acts as TheHero, and converts previous antagonists to allies. He becomes more and more important to the plot, and is also her MoralityChain. [[spoiler:The BigBad of a later arc even lampshades this, stating that he's the type that that's always supporting someone else, never the main focus.]]
* Lucy of ''Manga/FairyTail''. Of the main cast members, Natsu is definitely TheHero: he's got [[IdiotHero the]] [[HotBlooded personality]], is the most likely to take action, and is the one most likely to fight the main villain of the arc (the exception are either when another character has a closer association with the villain, or Natsu is so outclassed only the strongest members of his guild can take him). However, Lucy is the one that plot follows the most, meaning she is either the protagonist or at least co-protagonist.
** In-universe, Lucy is a writer and it's hinted a few times that the novel she's working on is about ''Fairy Tail''. So it's likely that ''Fairy Tail'' is her story... about Natsu.
* ''Manga/CodeBreaker'': Sakurakouji Sakura is the viewpoint character of the series. Despite being quite important due to her status as a Rare-Kind, much of the manga focuses around [[AntiHero Ogami]].
* Everybody in ''Anime/SonicX'' Season 3, plays this towards Cosmo the Seedrian. As it turns out in the second-to last episode, she was destined to die from birth.
** Prior to this, most of the cast, especially Chris usually played this to Sonic, who despite being the main hero, often got the least spotlight and development each episode. [[FridgeBrilliance Which makes sense when you realize this is how it is in the plot-based Sonic games as well.]]
* Kagome of ''Manga/InuYasha'' is the main character, and view point character, of the series. Despite that, the plot focuses more on Inuyasha who does the fighting and has a more personal reason to fight Naraku. However Naraku himself specifically notes, that it's Kagome, not Inuyasha, that he has reason to fear because she can purify the sacred jewel while Inuyasha can only find the shards.
* Jean, from ''Anime/NadiaTheSecretOfBlueWater''. Once Jean and Nadia join the Nautilus, the plot becomes much more focused on Captain Nemo and his crew. [[spoiler:This is especially apparent in the ending, where for the most part it's Nemo and his crew that save the world, while Jean just simply stands by and watches.]]
* Tomoki from ''Manga/HeavensLostProperty'' sort of fits this; although he's the center of the harem, and it's hinted at that he's TheChosenOne, the drama is largely surrounded the angeloids, and the one who's actually trying to solve the mystery of Synapse is Sugata.
* ''Manga/MagiLabyrinthOfMagic'' has an interesting subversion. Aladdin is the viewpoint character and TheChosenOne, but he is meant to ''choose'' the next king, Alibaba, who is the more traditionally [[TheHero heroic]] character and the AllLovingHero. However, they are also {{Deuteragonist}}s to each other.
* Nanami is the main character of ''Manga/KamisamaKiss'' and we see the story from her point of view. However, a good deal of the plot tends to focus on Tomoe and his DarkAndTroubledPast and for most of the story so far Nanami has relied upon Tomoe's powers and abilities for protection and to accomplish her goals.
* Tylor in ''Anime/IrresponsibleCaptainTylor'' is inscrutable, as no one can tell whether he's a lucky idiot or a [[ObfuscatingStupidity genius.]] Yuriko and Yamamoto tend to be the viewpoint characters.
* For the first few eps. of ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'' we mostly see Vash from Meryl's point of view, and don't even get confirmation he is the real Vash the Stampede for some time. This doesn't last- we get very deep in Vash's psyche by the end.
* ''Manga/KatekyoHitmanReborn'' has [[CharacterTitle Reborn]], whose job is tutoring the main character Tsunayoshi "Tsuna" Sawada. And Tsuna has to solve his conflict by himself, with some help of his guardians and Reborn.
* ''Manga/SuperDreadnoughtGirl4946''[='s=] main and title character is Mana Eimiya, but the story is told from the perspective of her {{muggle|s}} love interest Tobita.
* ''Manga/OnePiece'': While Luffy is the protagonist and his dreams are still the primary MythArc, the stories often focus on larger implications and conflicts such as the balance of the Great Powers. While Luffy always takes on the BigBad, there are times when the main character arc is someone else(i.e. Vivi in the Alabasta Arc)
* Megumi Aino/Cure Lovely of ''Anime/HappinessChargePrettyCure'' easily fills this role as a lot of the story focuses on Princess Hime/Cure Princess and her MustMakeAmends backstory. Granted, this is due to the fact that ''Anime/DokiDokiPrettyCure'' had [[SpotlightStealingSquad Mana Aida]] getting ''too much time'' focused on her. However, Megumi makes up the lack of major focus by being stupidly CrazyAwesome with her powers.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''Tag and Bink are Dead'' and ''Tag and Bink Live'', short comics that follow the adventures of two bumbling rebels during the events of ''Film/ANewHope'' and ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack''. They also turn out to be Jedi Padawans during the events of the prequels.
* Jed from the ''ComicBook/StarRaiders'' graphic novel. He starts off as one of the three main characters, but halfway through the story he's sidelined into irrelevancy.
* Art Spiegelman (or at least his AuthorAvatar) in ''ComicBook/{{Maus}}'' as the story follows him and his attempt to record his father's experience throughout [[WorldWarII the Holocaust]]. However, the story is clearly about his father Vladek and his Holocaust experience.
* By the end of the story, despite their name being in the title, it's pretty apparent that ComicBook/TheAvengers in ''ComicBook/AvengersVsXMen'' are basically there to punch people and provide a "down in the trenches" viewpoint. The actual main characters are [[TragicHero Cyclops]], [[TheAtoner Scarlet Witch]], and Hope Summers, with input from Emma Frost and, oddly enough, Iron Fist as well.
* This was a bad problem with Sonic in [[ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog his own title]] between the end of the ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' arc and the start of Ian Flynn's run as Karl Bollers and Ken Penders were really notorious on focusing on those ''not'' named Sonic.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fanfiction]]
* Although Clopson is the protagonist of [[http://www.fimfiction.net/story/124263/1/songs-uncle-sings/sineva Songs Uncle Sings,]] Breeze is obviously the main focus of the story.
* In the main story of TheLegacyOfTheBloodRavens, Nathaniel Augustine, Ocella Lyon, and Nikephoros were all supporting protagonists. However, as the story went on (and [[AnyoneCanDie people died]]) they grew to become true protagonists of their own.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/TheHiddenFortress'' focused on ThoseTwoGuys who follow the noblewoman and her guardian.
* ''Film/RosencrantzAndGuildensternAreDead.'' This trope is the point of the story, which is to show the events of ''{{Hamlet}}'' from the POV from ThoseTwoGuys.
* Jack Burton in ''Film/BigTroubleInLittleChina'' thinks he's the ActionHero, but he's really the PluckyComicRelief while his companions do all the real work. WordOfGod says this is basically the point of the movie. (At the very end, he does finally help out and even [[spoiler:kills the BigBad.]])
* ''Film/LastActionHero'' has the KidHero realizing he's comic relief, right as he attempts to use his ContractualImmortality against a villain.
* ''Film/RoadToPerdition'': Michael Jr.
* ''Film/TheShawshankRedemption'': Andy's story drives the action, but it's Red's evolution as a person that turns out to be the point of it all, making him the "main" character.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Cars 2}}'' has Lightning [=McQueen=], protagonist of the first, falling into this as his buddy Mater becomes the center of a espionage plot and thus the focus of the movie.
* While Holly Golightly is definitely the main character of ''Film/BreakfastAtTiffanys'', her love interest Paul Varjak is the protagonist.
* ''Film/TheSorcerersApprentice'': Dave Stutler is the main character, but Balthazar Blake does the traditional heroic deeds. Interestingly, he's also the MentorArchetype.
* ''Film/{{Transformers}}'': Sam is the main character, but Optimus Prime is TheHero.
* ''Film/{{Thor}}'': Thor is TheProtagonist, but the story is very much framed by Jane's point-of-view.
* ''Film/MaryPoppins'': Mary drives the plot, but it's ultimately about George Banks and his realization that he's gotten so wrapped up with his work that he's forgotten about his family, particularly his children Jane and Michael. This is what the title of ''Film/SavingMrBanks'' refers to, as author P.L. Travers explaining this to Creator/WaltDisney is a major plot point.
* The poster of ''Film/DeepBlueSea'' has Dr. Susan McCallister, whose shark experiment inspires the plot. But it's hard to argue that the protagonists are shark wrangler Carter and [[ActionSurvivor cook]] Preacher, [[spoiler:to the point both are the only survivors]].
* ''Film/FerrisBuellersDayOff'': Cameron Frye is the character who experiences the most development through the film. AlternativeCharacterInterpretation / EpilepticTrees even goes as far as suggesting that Ferris is merely the manifestation of Cameron's personal desires, and doesn't actually exist.
* Franchise/{{Batman}} becomes this in both the [[Film/{{Batman}} 90's movies]] and ''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga''. He arguably carries the first movies in both series just fine, but in the sequels, he becomes overshadowed by the colorful cast of villains, allies, and love interests. In the ''Dark Knight Saga'', for instance, half the villains aren't even defeated by his hand.
* ''Film/StarTrek'': WordOfGod describes Spock as this in both this film and its sequel ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness''.
* ''Film/MyWeekWithMarilyn'' is shot from Colin Clarke's point-of-view, though it's clearly all about Marilyn Monroe.
* ''PiratesOfTheCaribbean''. The first 3 films are about Will and Elizabeth's journeys and are primarily told from Elizabeth's point-of-view. However, they get less attention in favor of Captain Jack's story.
* ''Film/XMenDaysOfFuturePast'':
** Even though WolverinePublicity is in full effect, Charles is the true protagonist of the film. [[spoiler: Wolverine even gets taken out before the climax.]]
** [[spoiler: Mystique]] is presented as a villain throughout the movie, but her motivations (to kill the man who tortured and murdered her friends) are heroic, and she's the one who saves the day and stops [[spoiler: Magneto]] at the end.
* ''Film/BackToTheFuture'': WordOfGod describes Marty [=McFly=] as this in the first and third films, with his parents Lorraine and especially George getting the most development in Part I, and Doc getting it in Part III.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* The eponymous [[The13thWarrior 13th Warrior]].
* ''Literature/SherlockHolmes'''s [[TheWatson Watson]] may be the most famous case of this in history. Although it's averted in a few stories where Holmes himself narrates when Watson is unavailable.
* Parker in the ''Literature/SolarPons''. Being a pastiche of Watson, this is all too natural.
* [[TheVoiceless Chief Bromden]] from ''OneFlewOverTheCuckoosNest''.
* By the end of the ''Literature/{{Midnighters}}'' trilogy, the protagonist role has shifted largely to Dess, the FiveManBand's resident [[TheSmartGuy Smart Guy]].
* ''TheTrailOfCthulhu'' is a novel that is made up of 5 interlocking stories. Each story has its own protagonist, but Professor Shrewsbury is the hero of the main narrative.
* Nick Carraway may be the narrator, but ''TheGreatGatsby'' is really all about Jay Gatsby.
* Beth from the children's book ''The Best Christmas Pageant Ever'' and its sequels
* Scout from ''Literature/ToKillAMockingbird''. Most people agree that the true hero of the story is her father, Atticus.
* Bryan starts out as one of these in the teen series ''[[Literature/DramaSeries DRAMA!]]'', but by the third book he's become the focus of the story. This is [[LampshadeHanging lampshaded]] repeatedly.
* The protagonist of ''{{Aimee}}'' by Mary Beth Miller is not the eponymous Aimee, in fact the protagonist is not given a name until the last few pages. [[spoiler:It's Zoe]]. She is the girl who was accused of killing Aimee (when in fact Aimee killed herself). The book is all about the protagonist trying to detach herself from the shadow of Aimee's death.
* [[ActionGirl Vin]] from ''{{Mistborn}}''- she's the main POV character, but the story itself centers more on her mentor [[RebelLeader Kelsier]]. [[spoiler: Subverted when Kelsier is killed near the end of the first book, after which Vin shoulders the role of both protagonist and [[TheHero heroine]] for the remainder of the trilogy, and invoked again when it turns out the prophecy about the Hero of Ages, the one destined to save the world, was about Sazed all along]].
* At the end of ''Discworld/MonstrousRegiment'', Polly realises that [[spoiler: Joan-of-Arc-equivalent Wazzer]] is the one everyone will really remember.
** Sam Vimes is an interesting example. He ''became'' TheHero of the Watch novels, but when Creator/TerryPratchett wrote ''Discworld/GuardsGuards'' he thought Carrot was TheHero, and Vimes was a handy pair of eyes to see him through.
* The Dickens novel ''Literature/OurMutualFriend'' is presented partly through the viewpoint of Mortimer Lightwood. As the family's lawyer Lightwood has a linking position between the hero and heroine, and is also connected to Eugene Wrayburn, but he has little direct impact on the action until fairly late in the story. In the 1990s BBC adaptation, he also functioned as the narrator.
* In ''[=SkyClan's=] Destiny'', one of the novels in Literature/WarriorCats, Leafstar is the perspective character, however Stick is the main character and the story centers around his struggles with the [[OffscreenVillainy evil]] Dodge.
* While ''Literature/TheTigersWife'' is framed as a story about a doctor delivering medicine to an orphanage at the same time as she's trying to find out some facts about her grandfather's death, the grandfather is really the central figure of the novel.
* Creator/JackMcDevitt's ''Literature/AlexBenedict'' series is narrated by Chase Kolpath. (All except the first novel.)
* In ''ASwiftlyTiltingPlanet,'' Charles Wallace [[BodySurf goes Within various people from the past,]] so he essentially witnesses their stories, and only is it implied that he's even influencing their action. We assume he ''is'', because that's the point of the body surfing, but his action is reduced. Then, when Charles finally reaches 1863 he possesses Within Matthew, a paralyzed young man in New England... who is having a vision of where the ''real'' action is taking place: [[spoiler: Vespugia, South America! There is the big fight that the entire book has been building up to.]]
* In ''Literature/TheSupernaturalist'', while Cosmo is the protagonist, the story is about Stefan.
* Ishmael may be the protagonist of ''MobyDick'', but the real star of the show is Captain Ahab and his quest for vengeance against the eponymous whale.
* Charlotte starts off as the viewpoint character in the ''Literature/MediochreQSethSeries'', and scenes are generally written from her point of view if she's available. However, she's still basically a SideKick to [[TheHero Mediochre himself]].
* ''Literature/SongAtDawn'': The story begins with Estela and follows her most of the time but Dragonetz is more important to the overall plot.
* ''Literature/TrappedOnDraconica'': Ben is the protagonist but all he does is follow [[TheHero Daniar]] and watch her fight evil.
** ''Literature/LegacyOfTheDragokin'': Benji, Daniar's son, likewise. The story follows him but he is less involved with the plot than his namesake because he is not a MacguffinBoy.
* [[HistoricalDomainCharacter Xenophon]] is TheHero of Michael Curtis Ford's ''The Ten Thousand'', but the protagonist and narrator is his slave, Themistogenes of Syracuse, a character Ford created for the novel (unlike Xenophon, who [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xenophon was a real person]]).
* According to WordOfGod, in ''Literature/WillGraysonWillGrayson'', both Wills are just sidekicks and the story is actually about Tiny.
* In the second trilogy of [[Literature/{{Dragons}} The Last Dragon Chronicles]], David spends far less time in the limelight as opposed to the other characters. [[spoiler: And arguably, even ''he'' is just support for Alexa.]]
* Brazilian duology ''O Caçador de Apóstolos''/''Deus Máquina'' uses it. The point of view character is not important as a warrior or politician, he's just a writer who used to create false prophecies for one side of the conflict, and now is supposedly telling the truth (still with a few embellishments) in a book, [[spoiler: which he promptly burns as he finishes, since no one can know the truth.]]
* Parodied in ''Literature/SirAproposOfNothing''. Apropos starts out this way, but eventually parts ways with the supposed true hero. The next time they meet, he chucks a rock at the hero's head and takes the story by force. The final time they meet, the hero tries to get revenge on Apropos, but is killed by the King's army before he can kill him.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Mark Hollander, in ''AceLightning''.
* ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' is told from the point of view of John Watson, at least in the beginning.
* ''Series/{{Merlin}}'' plays with this trope, as it is Merlin's story, and he really does seem to be the ChosenOne, but once you step back and look at what he's been chosen ''for''... His entire purpose in life, his reason for existing at all in the threads of Destiny is to protect Arthur. Arthur's destiny is to be the greatest king Albion has ever known. Who's the ChosenOne now?
** By the start of series 5, Arthur is KingArthur, with a CoolSword, HotConsort and BadassCrew seated at the Round Table. Merlin is still standing around somewhere in the background.
** Even stranger is what happens in the GrandFinale. The SeriesGoal of the entire show was always stated as being Merlin and Arthur uniting Albion, legalizing magic and ruling over the Golden Age. And yet the show ends with [[spoiler:Arthur dying and Merlin going into self-imposed exile]], leaving Queen Guinevere to assume their responsibilities. Assuming that she did indeed inherit their destiny and achieve all that they were originally supposed to do, then hindsight makes her the most important character within the show's narrative.
* The finale of ''AshesToAshes'' reveals that [[spoiler:both Sam Tyler and Alex Drake are supporting protagonists for Gene Hunt]].
* While ''Franchise/PowerRangers'' always has the Red Ranger be TheHero, sometimes they're not the one with the biggest connection to the overall plot:
** ''Series/PowerRangersTimeForce'': Red Ranger Wes may be the focus of the ScrewDestiny subplot, but he's still a civilian caught up in a fight that's not strictly his business. It's Pink Ranger Jen who's [[TheLeader the official team leader]] and who has a personal stake, as the BigBad killed her fiancee. The third subplot is a romance between the two, but it can be considered more Jen's story than Wes' because of the HeartbrokenBadass angle.
** In ''Series/PowerRangersSPD'', Jack is the Red Ranger, but the story is more about the Blue Ranger, Sky, dealing with his issues and evolving into a worthy team leader. Alternately, Commander Cruger is the show's focus, as he's the team's commanding officer and the one who has a personal rivalry with the BigBad.
** Dillon is one of the main focuses of ''Series/PowerRangersRPM'', even though he's the Black Ranger, as he's an amnesiac searching for his identity and his missing sister ([[spoiler:now TheDragon]]). A case can also be made that MissionControl Dr. K is the actual main character, as she created the BigBad and gets the most CharacterDevelopment throughout the season.
** In ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' as in ''Power Rangers'' the Red Ranger is always the hero, but in ''Series/NinjaSentaiKakuranger'', Tsuruhime (White) was the protagonist and most central character.
* Despite being the title character of ''Series/{{Castle}}'', Richard Castle is the Supporting Protagonist to [[FairCop Kate Beckett]]. There's even the Literature/SherlockHolmes comparison: she's a brilliant detective while he follows her about and writes stories about their adventures. Their relationship is central to the show, Castle helps mellows out the emotionally-distant Beckett, and there's oodles of UnresolvedSexualTension. While the show may take his perspective on events, provides a lot of focus on his family life and furnishes him with a fair bit of CharacterDevelopment as well, the main overarching arc of the series surrounds Beckett's mother's murder, and he's clearly the PluckyComicRelief LoveInterest to her BrokenBird HardboiledDetective.
* ''Series/TheVampireDiaries'' has Stefan. He is the second protagonist of the series with Elena being the main protagonist.
* ''Series/UltramanNexus'' focuses on the life of Komon Kazuki, a member of the Night Raider team. However, he does not transform into the eponymous hero, making him this trope. [[spoiler: But he ''does'' become Ultraman in the series's finale and thus, ditches this role.]]
* Done in a couple of ''Franchise/KamenRider'' series:
** ''Series/KamenRiderHibiki'': Asumu is the protagonist, while Hibiki is the main hero and Oni (Kamen Rider) of the show. [[spoiler:WordOfGod has it that Asumu was originally to have become an Oni himself at the end of the show, but this [[WhatCouldHaveBeen didn't happen]], and even if it had, he still wouldn't have been TheHero for the main run of the story.]]
** ''Series/KamenRiderKabuto'': Tendou is TheHero but Kagami is the POV character and main protagonist. Tendou shares more traits in common with a typical secondary/supporting Rider.
* It could be argued that this has happened to ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' as the show has progressed and the emotional core of the show has shifted from Ted's romantic interests in Robin to the BetaCouple Marshall and Lily. This has coincided with the EnsembleDarkhorse Barney getting more and more character development to the point where the premise is a bit of a RedHerring.
** As we found out in season 8, [[spoiler: this is actually for a reason. Ted meets his future wife at Barney and Robin's wedding.]]
* Boyd Crowder has become this in ''Series/{{Justified}}'', so much so that he had almost equal screentime to Raylan in season 4 so far, even though it was several episodes before they saw each other for the first time in the season and that their stories finally intersected. Now they're competing to find [[BigBad Drew Thompson]], and solve the seasons MythArc.
* Sookie becomes this in ''Series/TrueBlood''. She's clearly the central character in Season 1 and half of 2, but as the show moved away from [[Literature/TheSookieStackhouseMysteries the books]] where she's the first-person narrator, this distinction became increasingly murky until entire plotlines would start and conclude with no involvement from her at all. This trope was the strongest and most justified in Season 5, as Anna Paquin was pregnant at the time.
* While Sam is TheChosenOne in ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' with the MythArc of the story largely focusing on him, the story is told from his older brother, Dean's point of view. An odd case in that Sam was supposed to fill both roles (he starts out with all the traits of an AudienceSurrogate) but Dean quickly ended up being the POV character and the show ended up focusing on Dean's reactions to the plots and events surrounding Sam.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]

* Judas in ''JesusChristSuperstar''.
* Mark in ''Theater/{{Rent}}''. He's the central character, but most of the story revolves around his seven friends.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The central [[Franchise/MetalGear Metal Gear canon]] is rife with this. While Solid Snake is the iconic hero of the series, the games all centre around the villain Big Boss and his impact, yet he is only occasionally played as:
** In ''VideoGame/MetalGear'' and ''[[VideoGame/MetalGear2SolidSnake Metal Gear 2]]'', he acts as BigBad, acting as a terrorist with nuclear arms and malicious intentions. Following Big Boss' death in ''[=MG2=]'', villians moved on to [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid "The Sons of Big Boss"]] (clones created from him), [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty "The Sons of Liberty"]] (terrorists continuing his goals), and [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4GunsOfThePatriots "Outer Heaven"]] ([=PMCs=] enforcing his beliefs).
** On the flip side, you get to play as Big Boss in his pre-"terrorist" days in ''[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolid3SnakeEater MGS3]]'', ''[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolidPeaceWalker Peace Walker]]'', and ''[[VideoGame/MetalGearSolidVThePhantomPain MGS5]]'', meaning he gets recognized as the [[VillainProtagonist series' key character]] for only 1/3 of the central canon.
* In ''VideoGame/DragonQuestV, unlike in ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIV'' and ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVI'', the protagonist cannot equip the Zenithian Equipment; it's actually [[spoiler: his son that can]].
* Monkey in ''VideoGame/EnslavedOdysseyToTheWest''. The narrative revolves around Trip as Monkey supports Trip on her journey home and her quest for revenge of the one responsible for the annihilation of her village. [[spoiler: It's Trip that kills the main antagonist, Pyramid]].
** Enslaved is loosely based on the Chinese novel JourneyToTheWest, in which this still holds true; ostensibly, it's about a priest named Tripitaka [[CaptainObvious traveling westward]] to retrieve sacred documents. In practice, it's about Sun Wukong the Monkey King and all the awesome shit he does while he's forced to help Tripitaka on his journey.
* Tidus in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' is an interesting case. The bulk of the game is that the characters are playing supporting roles in Yuna's quest. They, including Tidus, are merely her guardians while ''she'' is destined to defeat the BigBad. However, Tidus is the game's narrator, and often points out how, "ThisIsMyStory." Indeed, the very first line of the game is, "Listen to my story." We eventually learn that [[spoiler:Yuna defeating the BigBad would get her killed while it would just come back later, and it's Tidus's destiny to truly kill the thing]]. Thus, Tidus and Yuna ''swap'' being TheHero and Supporting Protagonist multiple times throughout the game: starting with Tidus as the hero, then switching to Yuna, then back to Tidus, and finally ending with Yuna.
** In [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyX2 the sequel]], Yuna gets full control of the protagonist role. Even when other characters look like they're going to usurp her role as TheHero, Yuna slaps them back down and says "No. [[MeaningfulEcho This is my story]]."
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXI'' has the player character often playing second fiddle to a (usually female) hero NPC in most of its storylines, doing the heavy lifting while the heroines magically appear wherever you go and have most of the interactions with other characters that the player character would have in most single player games.
* Vaan is the Supporting Protagonist to Ashe (and possibly Basch) in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'', though Balthier would have you believe different.
* Allegretto of EternalSonata, in the same vein as Vaan of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'', is most definitely this to not one, but two possible protagonists - Polka, a girl from a remote village who is the [[spoiler:MessianicArchetype catalyst for the GroundhogDayLoop that the world is trapped in]], and Chopin, who claims that everything and everyone around him is merely one of his dreams. The latter's appearance in their world [[spoiler:is destined to end the loop of Polka repeatedly dying/reliving the same seven years over and over]]. Other than being the player avatar (and even then, that role is switched between him, Polka, and Beat) and acting as Polka's love interest, Allegretto doesn't do much in the main story itself.
* ''VideoGame/{{StarCraft|I}}'' is basically about Arcturus Mengsk, Jim Raynor, Sarah Kerrigan, Tassadar, and Zeratul, whereas the PC is just some [[NonEntityGeneral generic, nameless "magistrate", "cerebrate", or Protoss "executor"]]. WordOfGod has retconned that the Executor of Episode III was Artanis, and presumably the Executor of Ep IV was him or his student Selendis (who is Executor in ''VideoGame/StarcraftII''). The other player characters get fleeting references in the expanded universe to confirm that in the current canon they still exist, but their roles are downplayed because, well, they were always little more than viewpoints for the player to see the characters.
* ''VideoGame/WorldInConflict'' has a named PC, Lt. Parker, but the real protagonist of the 2/3 of the game is Capt. Bannon (who receives ALL of the CharacterDevelopment in the game), while the remaining one third focuses on Webb and Col. Sawyer. Same goes for Lt. Romanov from the ExpansionPack, who plays a secondary role to Capt. Malashenko and their common superiors.
* Played with in ''VideoGame/BrutalLegend''. Eddie acts like he's one of these and purposely avoids the spotlight, but everyone else knows he's responsible for their success and thank him appropriately.
* The main character in the ''NeverwinterNights'' plague campaign is Aribeth, the player is just the lackey that got sent to do stuff for the political powers he sided with.
* ''CallOfDuty 4: ModernWarfare'' is not about Soap or Jackson, but much rather [[AuthorityEqualsAsskicking Cpt. Price]], [[TheAce Gaz]], [[BigGuy Sgt. Griggs]], and strangely enough, [[BigBad Zakhaev]].
* For reason of having a HeroicMime protagonist and a strong supporting cast, [=GLaDOS=] is the star of ''VideoGame/{{Portal}}'', though Chell is the protagonist. You could go the whole game - perhaps even both games - without ever learning her name, or [[ProtagonistWithoutAPast any other reliable fact about her]].
* ''VideoGame/MegaManX'' himself. Zero's the one with the most drawn-out, and important, storylines in the series, [[WriterRevolt which is what Keiji Inafune, his creator, originally intended the series to be]]. [[WordOfGod Keiji Inafune]] planned for ''Maverick Hunter X'' to be a ContinuityReboot of the series. So, naturally, said VideoGameRemake ''is'' an exception. Unlike the majority of fan adaptations, it does not expand Zero's role and instead develop X's character.
* Laura's scenario in ''VideoGame/UnlimitedSaGa'' is told through the eyes of Henri, a displaced Prince who meets her while running from assassins.
* Lloyd in ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' in a way similar to ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX''. It seems the story is more focused on the young girl on a pilgrimage and whom Lloyd is just friends with. [[WhamEpisode Then comes]] [[PlayerPunch the Tower of Salvation]].
* ''{{VideoGame/Persona}}'': The player character is this in both routes, as the SEBEC route revolves around [[spoiler:Maki coming to grips that she created an alternate reality that's trying to overtake the real reality]] and the Snow Queen route revolves around Yukino's attempts to save Ms. Saeko.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfLegendia'' has character quest chapters, which [[CharacterFocus switch focuses on every characters in the party.]] Long story short, Senel is demoted to this between the main quest and the very late portion of the game.
* Subverted in ''VideoGame/ShadowHearts: From The New World''. Shania appears to be the more important character, with Johnny Garland just tagging along... then it becomes clear who, exactly, Lady is, and ItsPersonal.
* The protagonists in the ''ArTonelico'' series are generally secondary to the Reyvateils, who are more important in resolving the game's conflict. This is especially the case with Croix in ''VideoGame/ArTonelico2.''
* Nintendo-owned developer Intelligent Systems did this in some of the few games they made with western players in mind.
** In the original ''VideoGame/BattleClash'', the player controls the gunner of a giant robot known as a "[[AMechByAnyOtherName Standing Tank]]". The actual protagonist is the robot's pilot, who talks to the player directly before each battle. In the sequel, ''Metal Combat'', there's a cheat code that allows the player to have the pilot [[HelloInsertNameHEre address them by name]].
** In the original ''AdvanceWars'', the player takes control of an unseen military strategist who is assisted by a Commanding Officer (C.O.) in each battle. This was dropped in the sequels.
** In ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemElibe Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword]]'' (a.k.a. [[SequelFirst the first game in the series to get an overseas release]]), the player takes control of a faceless tactician who assist the real protagonists, giving the protagonists an excuse to address the player in second-person. This is the only ''Fire Emblem'' game that does this, although...
*** Later games, the enhanced remake of the third game, ''[[VideoGame/FireEmblemAkaneia Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem]]'', and ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' feature a player created unit that can be used in battle and, at least in ''Awakening'', plays a major role in the story.
** Also in ''Blazing Sword'', there's an extra mode that is unlocked after you beat the main game: Hector mode, where the axe-wielding lord that normally plays TheLancer to [[TheHero Eliwood]] becomes the main character. However, in the grand scheme of things, Eliwood is still the central character regardless of who's the protagonist.
* Interestingly, the character you make in ''VideoGame/WhiteKnightChronicles'' is almost a non-entity: although you can use any weapon, armor and magic, unlike any other character in the game, your character is entirely incidental to the plot and can, in fact, be left out ''entirely''. The real hero of the story is Leonard.
* While the plot of ''VideoGame/SuperPaperMario'' certainly incorporates Mario, Peach, Bowser, and Luigi, the main story focuses on the romance of Blumiere and Timpani [[spoiler: and in the end they're the ones who save the {{Multiverse}}.]]
** In [[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiBowsersInsideStory Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story]], the game is really about Bowser forced to become a hero and saving the Mushroom Kingdom while Mario and Luigi secretly help him on the (in)side and saving him due to Bowser being both TheChewToy and TooDumbToLive.
** A non-RPG ''Mario'' example would be in ''VideoGame/SuperMarioGalaxy'', where Mario is just there to fly through space as an attempt to save Peach again from Bowser, who wants to take over the galaxy, but this is actually just a subplot. The game is really about a young woman's TearJerker tale of her constant wandering through the cosmos with several little star-people as her only friends while lamenting about the loss of her family since her departure.
* ''VideoGame/TheLordOfTheRingsOnline'' has its central epic quest line, in which you follow along with the characters in the story and run errands for them. So far, every epic "Book" ends with your watching [=NPCs=] finish the fight.
* Done rather annoyingly in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft: Cataclysm.'' [[spoiler: Most of the IndianaJonesAndTheTempleOfDoom {{expy}} chain in uldum involves the character grabbing hold of a major IdiotBall, and getting saved by Harrison over and over again, while he does the impressive feats, you're either cowering in fear or doing his grunt work]]
** This is common in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft''. While the player character does his fair share of heroics, most of the major story arcs have another character with a more important role in the story (due to the issues having a faceless character who could be of any race from either faction as a major character would cause). For example, Tirion Fordring is the true protagonist of ''Wrath of the Lich King''. The player character is one of his followers.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 2|CursedMemories}}'', Adell is clearly the protagonist, but Rozalin is the one who gets all the character development and plot twists, and [[spoiler:she is ultimately the one who vanquishes Zenon]].
** In ''VideoGame/{{Disgaea 3|AbsenceOfJustice}}'', Almaz plays this role for the actual protagonist, Mao, but it is less obvious than 2.
* The Rookie in ''VideoGame/Halo3ODST'' only begins to affect the story in the last two levels: the rest of the game is spent reliving the experiences of the rest of the squad in the six hours the Rookie was unconscious. The story is largely about Dare and Buck. He explores the MythArc though.
* Lars in ''VideoGame/{{Tekken}} 6''. He may command an entire army, fight waves of soldiers bare-handed and [[CutscenePowerToTheMax deflect missiles with his wrists]], but the Mishima family are the ones doing all the important stuff while Lars runs around punching folks.
* The FacelessProtagonist of ''VideoGame/ThePKGirl'' is a Supporting Protagonist to Laurie in the main plot. Laurie is the focal character, as the LivingMacGuffin and the target of the antagonist, and her attempts to get free of ROSA's clutches drive the plot; the PC's just the guy who does the fighting, heavy lifting and rescue work, and otherwise he's along for the ride. If he's chasing any girl besides Laurie (who is romanced through the main plot), he becomes the protagonist of his own RomanceSidequest, but only two [[RomanceSidequest Romance Sidequests]] tie back into the main story in any way after they start off [[spoiler: (Katryn's and Saffy's)]].
* Ryu of the ''Franchise/StreetFighter'' series. While he is the main character, aside from the [[VideoGame/StreetFighterI original game]] and the ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha'' series, his role to the [[AllintheManual story]] tends to be minimal as he is often a LivingMacGuffin at most. [[AllAmericanFace Guile]] was the focus of ''VideoGame/StreetFighterII'' due to his motives against Bison, while [[GentleGiant Abel's]] mysterious origins serve to be the focal point of ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIV''. ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII'' even takes Ryu out of the protagonist role entirely replacing him with [[WrestlerinAllofUs Alex]]. Even within the series as a whole, most of the heroics come from [[SupportingLeader Chun-Li]] while Ryu is [[ToBeAMaster focused on finding strong opponents]].
** Averted with ''VideoGame/StreetFighterAlpha''. Ryu even gets the most developed endings.
* Tact Mayers of ''VideoGame/GalaxyAngel''. Although he's the captain of the Elsior which is a capital ship all the work is done by the angels.
* Leo from ''VideoGame/ZoneOfTheEnders'' has a personal journey, but the focus moves more towards the larger conflict and he's ultimately an insect to the villain. He gets the focus on his journey but the true hero is already dead at game start and his journey is just a small part of the much larger story he was sucked into.
* One can get this impression from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSpiritTracks''. While other titles in the series focus on Link-- who, of course, plays the hero-- Spirit Tracks seems to focus more on the character development of Princess Zelda. Appropriate since, [[CanonDiscontinuity barring that]] [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaCDiGames that one time]], this is the first time that [[spoiler:she's playable.]].
** A lot of people had the same impression with Link and Midna in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess Twilight Princess]]''. Even right before the FinalBattle, the BigBad talks directly to Midna and addresses Link like an afterthought.
* The various {{AFGNCAAP}} player characters of ''AceCombat'' have been this ever since the series steered away from {{Excuse Plot}}s (around the time of ''VideoGame/AceCombat3Electrosphere''). Nowhere is this more obvious than in ''VideoGame/AceCombatZero'', where the entire game is told from the perspective of the enemy aces you shot down and your ex-{{wingman}} [[spoiler:whom you also shoot down]]. TheNarrator even admits in the end that despite telling the whole story, he still has no idea just what kind of person the Demon Lord of the Round Table was.
** The only exception to the above thus far is ''AceCombatAssaultHorizon'', which at least attempts to give the player character (who actually has a personality this time) some CharacterDevelopment.
* ''VideoGame/SilentHill4'' focuses on the serial killer Walter Sullivan, but the hero and protagonist is Henry Townshend.
* As the title suggests, the expansion ''[[VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIVTheBalladOfGayTony Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony]]'' focuses on Tony Prince, but the view point character the player controls is his right-hand man Luis Lopez.
* Ash in ''VideoGame/PhantomBrave.'' Marona is the focus of the plot, but Ash is who you directly control during downtime and the story is mainly told from his perspective.
* Artyom in ''VideoGame/{{Metro 2033}}''. Most of the time he is merely following someone more experienced and last part of the game is him essentially helping people who know what needs to be done. He himself does not have much of a goal beyond "Get to Polis", after which he starts following people who react to his news. In ''MetroLastLight'', he starts having his own agenda and becomes a classic protagonist.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'' averts this for the most part with Commander Shepard, who is both the protagonist and the hero. However, Shepard takes the passenger seat during Loyalty Missions (to squadmates), in ''Lair of the Shadow Broker'' (to Liara) and ''Omega'' (to Aria and, to a lesser extent, Nyreen). Shepard's role in those stories is, essentially, to shoot things. And, if [[TheParagon Paragon]], to act as a MoralityChain to many of them.
** Shepard also acts as an escort rather than a leader during ''{{VideoGame/Mass Effect 3}}'s'' Tuchanka arc. The real hero is [[ScienceHero Mordin Solus]] (or Padok Wiks if the former didn't survive ''[=ME2=]''), who develops the cure for the genophage while Shepard is busy shooting things, [[spoiler:and sacrifices his life to ensure its delivery]].
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'': Locke plays this role to Terra in the early part of the World of Balance. It's not until she gets her memory back and learns to control her power that she starts acting like the protagonist and making suggestions about the party's next course of action.
** Celes then becomes this in the World of Ruin, being in the ending, the perspective character focusing on Terra, the focus character.
* ''VideoGame/InjusticeGodsAmongUs'': For most of the story, the [[{{Franchise/Batman}} Batmen]] are the main characters but the real hero is {{Franchise/Superman}}. As the Batmen lead the assembled heroes to defeat the Regime, Superman attempts to get to the alternate universe to save his friends. By the end of the story, the Batmen realize only Superman is capable of defeating the BigBad, who happens to be alternate Superman [[FallenHero who became evil]]. Once Superman makes his debut, [[CurbStompBattle he kicks everyone's asses]].
* The UpdatedRerelease of the original ''VideoGame/EtrianOdyssey'' puts you in the shoes of a highlander recruited by the Radha in order to investigate the Yggdrasil ruin. However, the subtitle of the game, ''Millennium Girl'', refers to Frederica Irving, an [[LaserGuidedAmnesia amnesiac]] gunner whom you awaken from a capsule while exploring a different ruin that's connected to the one you're searching. Your goal is twofold: assist the investigation team and unlock the secrets of the ruin, and help Frederica regain her lost memories.
* In a sharp departure from the previous and later ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' titles, ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]''[='=]s main quest is not about the protagonist but mainly about Martin Septim, the illegitimate son of the late emperor, who matures and grows into his new role of Tamriel's leader, [[spoiler:before giving his life to banish Mehrunes Dagon from it forever--as expected of a true Septim]]. As later installments show, history has a much better memory of Martin than of the Hero of Kvatch.
* In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim The Elder Scrolls V: Dawnguard]]'', the Dragonborn shifts into this role. While they remain the hero, most of the focus is on their vampire companion Serana, the subject of a Prophecy that will lead to [[TheNightThatNeverEnds Eternal Night]], which is trying to be fulfilled by her father, [[MonsterLord Lord Harkon]].
* The main reason Trahearne in ''VideoGame/GuildWars2'' is so disliked is because the story ''starts'' with the feeling that the player character is TheHero, perhaps even the ChosenOne, but then Trahearne suddenly appears -- completely out of nowhere for non-sylvari players -- and steals the spotlight, relegating the player to the SupportingProtagonist role.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Most romantic [[VisualNovel visual novels]] are more about the romanceable characters (and one 'true path' character in particular) than they are about the player character. In the Bishoujo setup, the male lead is often either a nonentity, a [[ThisLoserIsYou loser]], or a jerk, and one of the female leads is the real hero. This tends to carry over into their anime adaptations.
* ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'' is both a literal and figurative example: in the Fate route, Shirou is no match for Saber in combat, and instead supports her with projection and, later, mana. Emotionally, it's his job to break through her stoic exterior and make her happy. Either way, Saber is the primary focus, and the driving force of that route.
* ''VisualNovel/NineHoursNinePersonsNineDoors'': [[spoiler: The point of view that the player takes is June/Akane of 9 years ago, seeing things through Junpei's eyes. This is a very important plot device and technically makes her the protagonist. However, Junpei still fills the conventional role of the hero and once their connection is split at the very end, the perspective of the remaining story alternates between the both of them.]]
* In ''VisualNovel/LorenTheAmazonPrincess'', Saren or Eleanor (whichever character you pick) fills this role. The titular Princess is TheChosenOne and the game is about ''her'' quest, while TheHero is along as Loren's personal slave and sidekick.
* While Keiichi is undeniably TheHero of ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'', [[spoiler:Rika is the person who experiences the GroundhogDayLoop, and the person trying to figure out why she is always killed in the end of every arc.]] Keiichi's just the one who is actively trying to do so, and is unaware of the actual protagonist's plight.
* In ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry'', Battler is the main viewpoint character, especially in the first four arcs. However, [[spoiler:when it comes down to it, the entire story is really about Yasu and Battler's real goal is to understand him/her.]]
* ''VisualNovel/RoboticsNotes'': Kaitou is the protagonist and player character, as well the eventual pilot of the robots that are built. However he's mainly focused on helping Akiho with her ambitions.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Surprisingly enough, it was the player characters who fulfilled this roll in the ''[[GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse Global Guardians]]'' "Crimebusters" campaign. The titular "heroes" were a bunch of superhero wannabes whose powers were... to put it lightly... [[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway weak, goofy, and generally useless]]. The actual heroes of the story were the more powerful, more experienced [[SuperTeam Global Guardians]], in whose shadows the hapless, eager-but-incompetent Crimebusters always seemed to fall.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Raizel of {{Noblesse}} is always stated as being the hero & main character, despite having little dialog, little characterization, and only one action [[spoiler: dealing the final blow.]] Frankenstein is the focus of the series.
* The webcomic ''HannaIsNotABoysName'' is ostensibly about the unnamed zombie narrator, but the real hero figure is Hanna.
* The Exiles of ''{{Homestuck}}'' have this going for them. WV, the first Exile seen, is the protagonist of the Exiles and gets the most screentime, but in terms of role in the story, he is surpassed by PM, the one who did more things that were directly relevant to the story.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Jackknife from ''WesternAnimation/{{Superjail}}'' definitely qualifies-he's one of 4 inmates that are seen from one episode to the next. (the other 2 being the gay couple and Gary and Bird).
* Carmen Sandiego from ''WhereOnEarthIsCarmenSandiego'' may be the VillainProtagonist, but we see the series through Ivy and her brother.
* Kai from ''{{Ninjago}}'' is the main character yet he is not TheHero nor is he [[spoiler:[[TheChosenOne The Green Ninja]]]].
[[/folder]]

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