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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/ThirteenDays http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/kennedycrisis.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"Well, Mr. President, do we press the BigRedButton or not?"]]
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->''"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."''
-->-- '''Creator/WilliamShakespeare''', ''2 Theatre/HenryIV'' 3.1.31.

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes page.

[[TheLeader Authority]] means a lot of things: Sure, when everything's going well, everyone has to listen to what you're saying; you don't need to do the ''stupid'' parts of whatever your group is doing; you're probably less poor than your underlings; and you get to look fine in your boss garb.

But, when things don't go quite as well -- which can easily be a permanent state -- it results in one side effect above all else: stress (which also happens to be loaded with side effects). That is, if you [[AFatherToHisMen actually]] [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure care]] about the people you're leading.

[[TheLeader High-ranking characters]] can be full of {{angst}}. They feel lonely, because strict protocol has to be observed -- they want to beware of showing bias to friends and family, after all -- and because no one acts natural around them. They have to make the SadisticChoice and can't always TakeAThirdOption; they may need to make plans that allow for their friends dying. If they overlook something and can't [[XanatosSpeedChess adjust to it in time]], they may get their people killed and feel that ItsAllMyFault, and end up with [[MyGreatestFailure incredible guilt]]. For every failure they have to be willing to [[TheFace be held accountable publicly]] when others are looking for someone to blame. They worry about the neighbors invading, [[ArrangedMarriage about marrying for strategy]], [[HeirClubForMen about breeding an heir]], about the natural disaster that destroyed half the crop, about that [[PrincelingRivalry backstabbing relative of theirs eying the throne on which they sit]]. The worst part is that they shouldn't even complain aloud and should [[DontYouDarePityMe reject an]][[HeroHarassesHelpers y sympathy]], as that would leave them looking weak. Not that that notion is always obeyed.

This can be the consequence of BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor. If they crack under the stress and are usurped as leader, they'll frequently cry "I'm StillTheLeader!" TheWomanWearingTheQueenlyMask and some [[TheWisePrince Wise Princes]] are royals who suffer a lot from this {{trope}}. Sometimes the reason for PrinceAndPauper, if the ruler decides to escape and leave a double to bear the burden.

Not to be confused with [[Series/{{Firefly}} the chain I beat you with till you understand who's in ruttin' command here]], nor is it the same as the Chain of Command, which was renamed to SlaveCollar (and is completely unrelated).

See also BeingGodIsHard for the chains of being in charge of all Creation.



[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Rossiu from ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann''. [[spoiler:Simon actually has to save him from committing suicide.]]
* ''[[LightNovel/FullMetalPanic Full Metal Panic: The Second Raid]]''. Captain Testarossa has Sousuke Sagara pulled off guarding his BodyguardCrush Kaname Chidori, as he's the only one who can pilot the Arbalest. When her normally respectful subordinate starts giving her attitude about this, Tessa's frustrations over her job, and Sousuke's devotion to Kaname [[LoveTriangle as opposed to her]], finally spill over.
-->"It's so easy for you, isn't it? You're just going to stand there angry and hold a grudge against me, but I have to look out for the safety of ''everyone'' under my command! Do you know how strong the enemy is? Melissa might die out there next time, or Mr Weber! You have absolutely no idea what it's like for me while I'm sitting in that Captain's chair!"
* Queen Arika from ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' grew up sheltered but isolated, and maintained a marble demeanor with everyone she met. Near the end of the war twenty years ago, she had to make some ''very'' hard choices, resulting in [[spoiler:the world being saved but her own kingdom being destroyed, with the survivors scattered]]. The Megalomesembrian Senate [[spoiler:had her arrested, publicly blamed her for pretty much the whole war and sentenced her to death -- which she ''went along with'' because she figured it would help her people. Good thing the ''Ala Rubra'' had a [[FakingTheDead clever]] [[BigDamnHeroes plan]].]]
* Emperor Saihitei aka Hotohori of ''Manga/FushigiYuugi'' suffers from this ''a lot''.
* Shi Ryuuki of ''LightNovel/SaiunkokuMonogatari'' also counts, once he finally decided take up his role as TheEmperor seriously.
* Colonel Roy Mustang from ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''. [[spoiler:[[TheMenFirst He calls an ambulance for his subordinate when he himself is practically dying from his injuries]]]] and blames himself for absolutely ''everything'' that goes wrong.
* Fleet Admiral Sengoku from ''Manga/OnePiece'' is a very tragic example. He obviously has to do things he doesn't like as befitting his position, and even ends up getting screwed by his own superiors when he's not having to handle pirates. The last straw was the World Government's decision to cover up a mass breakout of several extremely dangerous Impel Down prisoners ''just to save their reputation''. While Sengoku may have done questionable things over the years, he has acted for the good of the world. However, the World Government's decision to cover up the entire incident all together was so bad that he retired on the spot. Two years later, though largely retired, he still maintains a position within the Marines with less responsibility and is ''far'' more relaxed and cheerful.
** Several other Marines are shown to struggle with this trope. Garp actively avoided it, refusing any and all attempts to promote him to Admiral and stepped down to a lower rank in the same manner as Sengoku over the coverup. Kuzan had no interest in Sengoku's job, but stepped up when learning [[BloodKnight Akainu]] was also nominated, having even fought a ten-day duel with him over the position. After the timeskip, it's already wearing on Sakazuki, with his bosses the Five Elder Stars pushing him to make decisions even his ruthless sense of justice doesn't agree with for the sake of the government saving face at the cost of the Marines' honor.
* In ''Manga/VinlandSaga'' this happens to [[spoiler:Canute]] -- not in the least because holding his position of power makes him act [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans in ways he'd previously find repellent]].
* Jean Kirstein from ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' struggles with the very idea that he's a natural leader, doubting his abilities and whether he even deserves that much power over whether others live or die. This leads to a MyGodWhatHaveIDone moment after he's forced to use the deaths of several comrades as a distraction, and he nearly breaks down while wondering how many more died on his command. It takes [[spoiler:the death of Marco, his best friend and loudest supporter]] to make him accept this responsibility and begin believing in himself.
** Commander Erwin Smith has had to make several tough calls regarding sacrificing his soldiers for the greater good but when things go bad, it usually falls on his head, particularly after [[spoiler:the failure of the 57th Expedition]]. He usually has the fortitude to continue on but it's shown that even he has his limits.
* In the [[Manga/SailorMoon manga]] of ''Franchise/SailorMoon'', Minako Aino / Sailor Venus is shown struggling under the pressure of her role as the leader of the Sailor Senshi. When she [[{{Depowered}} temporarily lost her powers]] in the Dream Arc, unlike the other Inner Senshi, Minako has an existential crisis because being the leader of the Senshi and Serenity's closest guardian, is the only thing that truly matters to her. It culminates in her lashing out at her friends when they talk about the Outer Senshi, because Minako believes that they respect the Outers more than her. Wanting to prove to herself and the Inners that she was a worthy leader, she runs away trying to infiltrate the Dark Moon Circus by herself, risking her own life and the livse of others in the process.
* ''{{Berserk}}'' uses this trope with the King of Midland, one of the few examples in the series of RoyalsWhoActuallyDoSomething (that isnt also evil anyway). Despite being indirectly responsible for the Eclipse, and thus the massacre of the Band of The Hawk (he had Griffin imprisoned and tortured for a year because he slept with the princess), and also shown to harbor incestous feelings for his daughter (implied to be because she resembles her mother, his first wife who is dead), it's revealed that the King isnt evil, but a deeply troubled, weary man who wants nothing more than to be relieved of the burden of the crown. Understandable, considering that during his tenure as King, he's had to deal with one ForeverWar, another war with the Kushkan Empire, and a DeadlyDecadentCourt.

* ''ComicBook/{{Legion of Super-Heroes}}'':
** The leader of the Legion Cosmic Boy, thinking he and Sun Boy are in private, decides to cut loose and rant about all the pressure he's under and how much the various idiosyncrasies of the other Legion members annoy him. To his horror, he discovers mere seconds later that [[IsThisThingStillOn the communications channel had been open the whole time]] and his entire screed was heard by every other member of the Legion. This ultimately leads to a dangerous schism within the Legion, and they only just manage to pull themselves back together in time to defeat the BigBad.
** On another occasion, Cosmic Boy blows up at Saturn Girl and Lightning Lad, telling them about the sacrifices he's made so they can be a happy couple and raise a family, forgoing relationships of his own so the responsibility of running the Legion doesn't weigh as heavily on them.
* This is the reason that [[ComicBook/TheSandman Morpheus]] grew tired of his role as Dream and [[spoiler:committed indirect suicide.]]
* This is really common with the ComicBook/XMen.
** ComicBook/{{Cyclops}} practically ''OWNS'' this trope. Notably, despite having a reputation for being a crybaby thanks to InkStainAdaptation, he's such a stoic that he rarely, if ever, ''actually'' whines about his difficulties publicly, instead choosing to brood alone when faced with difficulties. As a result, InUniverse he's often [[UngratefulBastard given a hard time by the people he's leading]] because they don't think he ''cares'' about the things he's doing, which is the exact opposite of how he feels. The Utopia era is probably the ''best'' example of this trope in play, as Scott was charged with protecting the ''[[LastOfTheirKind last remnants of the mutant race]]'' (which were down to about ''80'') as several groups began actively trying to KillThemAll. To do so he moved them to a secured base off the coast of San Francisco, formed a secret splinter team ''without'' [[ThouShallNotKill a no-killing policy]], and created many battle plans to combat the many threats they face, but as soon as any of the team find out about the darker things he does to protect them, he's given a vicious WhatTheHellHero speech by [[{{Hypocrite}} people who've done things]] ''just as bad'' themselves.
** Surge is made the leader of the ComicBook/NewXMen, and after a string of {{Heroic BSOD}}s, cracks. A bus full of depowered mutants is blown up right in front of her, she tries to get Prodigy to hate her so he'll leave Xavier's and be safer for it, it doesn't work and he breaks up with her (even after discovering this) and she has to deal with the older X-Men who do not take the younger generation seriously, even though, by this point, they've proven themselves to be a capable team. So when Xavier returns after all of this, she is really pissed off.
-->'''Surge''': Shut up. Just '''shut up!'''\\
'''Prodigy''': Nori!\\
'''Surge''': No! Where was he when we were getting killed!? Well? Where were you when we were getting '''blown up in buses''', or '''shot in the head''', or getting our '''hearts ripped out?!''' Where were you when those '''Purifier bastards''' came to '''kill''' what was left of us in your '''freaking mansion?!'''
* The last arc of the ''ComicBook/XWingSeries'' comics featured this pretty clearly. Wedge, helping make plans for an operation to rescue a defecting Imperial, accepts that he and his people will be the ones who have to make sure any potential disaster stays potential. They have to fly cover, and if they can't adjust to any surprises... Later in the arc, after things went wrong, the Rebel Alliance Council look over the situation and decide that they can't allocate any more forces to helping their people out, to Leia's misery. She'd like to gather up Luke and Han and Lando and pull a BigDamnHeroes moment, but her sphere of responsibility is so much wider now, and she has to apply to other conflicts.
* In another ''Franchise/{{Star Wars|Expanded Universe}}'' comic arc, one that shows the men behind the masks in the Imperial army, Lieutenant Janek Sunber is put in charge of setting up defenses by the general. They have to hold against an unstoppable wave of alien natives (an homage to ''Zulu''). During the fighting, while he and his men are falling back, the stormtrooper next to him is hit in the back by a spear. The narration notes that most men, when a comrade near them is killed, feel relief that they were not the one to die. Sunber, on the other hand, feels dismay that he couldn't save the man, that he didn't even know his name, and worst of all, that it doesn't matter, because the rest of the men need him. He even tried to drag the stormtrooper to safety before another officer pulled him away.
* Primus of the Comicbook/OmegaMen always felt this, often drifting dangerously close to {{wangst}}.
* Nico Minoru of the ComicBook/{{Runaways}}. She ended up with the job only because her ex-boyfriend, the original team leader, betrayed the team and then died. She did okay for a while because she had Karolina cheering her on and Gertrude handling the practical matters. But then Karolina admitted that she had feelings for Nico, and when Nico rebuffed her, she left the team and found love with a Skrull. Karolina later came back, but then Gertrude died and Chase ran away (he came back eventually.) She fell back on Victor for a while for emotional support, but then he cheated on her. Things stabilized for a while, but then the events of "Home Schooling" came along - the Runaways' home got bombed, Old Lace died, 12-year-old Klara suffered a concussion and went berserk, and Chase ran away again [[spoiler:and then got hit by a car]]. Thankfully, Nico somehow managed to pull the team back together in time to deal with Dark Wolverine, but she probably won't be winning any awards for leadership anytime soon.
* In ''ComicBook/AvatarTheLastAirbenderThePromise'', Fire Lord Zuko gets to learn that actually ruling his war-torn and demoralized country is going to be more difficult than simply overthrowing his despot of a father. His father, in prison, points it out.
* In ''ComicBook/XStatix'', Anarchist finally got a shot at leading the team after the "Bad Guy" incident wreaked havoc on Guy Smith's reputation. It caused his Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder to get much, much worse, and he hated it.
* Prince Charming of ''ComicBook/{{Fables}}'' is almost the living incarnation of this. Introduced as a shallow, self-absorbed womanizer (and down on his luck) he became Mayor of Fabletown. And he was rapidly overwhelmed by the bureaucracy. Yet it was clear that he was doing his absolute best to lead the Fables, fight their enemies, and ultimately serve their goals, whether they voted for him or not. Moreover, he eventually led them to war and sacrificed himself to win. Looking back at the earlier issues, it's clear that he was still the shallow self-absorbed womanizer, and yet even from the start he was the brilliant self-sacrificing soldier.
* As seen in the ''Comicbook/{{Supergirl}}''/Franchise/GreenLantern crossover ''ComicBook/RedDaughterOfKrypton'', Guy Gardner is the unofficial leader of the Red Lanterns who haven’t sided with [[BigBad Atrocitus]]. It’s a very distressing job leading a team of psychotic, short-tempered, berserk {{Blood Knight}}s with little regard for authority, especially when he tries to be the voice of reason, and his new role has driven a wedge between him and his former friends, his family…

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/ABoyAGirlAndADogTheLeithianScript'': In this ''Literature/TheSilmarillion'' story, elven king Finrod had to be calm, rational, responsible and level-headed for several centuries to hold himself together, hold his kingdom together, hold the Alliance against [[GodOfEvil Morgoth]] together, mediate between their short-tempered relatives, compatriots and all free people in the sub-continent and take care of his subjects. And he often had to treat people like pawns to achieve some greater good. He was so sick and distressed that when he finally got killed he actually found the Afterlife relaxing.
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'':
** Misato wants to have a very familiar and close relationship with her pilots, but when she is on duty she has to be stern, severe and chew them out when they screw up. In chapter 15 she told her best friend sometimes she hates her job.
** Colonel Nagato is an instructor has to put up with a lot of crap from his pilots only because he is trying to teach them and he has such a "ridiculous" rules like "not drinking or consuming mind-altering substances as you are learning to fly an experimental jet fighter".
* ''FanFic/{{Forward}}'' has Mal get weighed down more and more as the series progresses, feeling greater amounts of guilt as he conflicts with his crew and his past decisions bring extra grief down on them.
* ''Fanfic/{{HERZ}}'': Misato is Director of HERZ. Her organization is the only thing standing between the humanity and total annihilation. Throughout the years she has been forced to make many distasteful things that she feels conflicted and remorseful about to ensure the future of her family and the survival of the humanity. In the process she has become grimmer and more serious, and too similar to Gendo Ikari to her liking.
* ''Fanfic/InTheService'' frequently comments upon the fact that an officer must be beyond human frailties and emotions, always having a can-do attitude and a readiness to lead...even when they don't. One of the main characters, asked why he hasn't dissolved into a wreck after a disastrous boarding action saw half of his team killed, responds thus:
-->''I am the commander. There is no more effective way to destroy the morale and mental well-being of my team then for me to crack myself. I am the commander, and I am not allowed to fall apart.''
* ''Fanfic/WhatAboutWitchQueen'' has captain Soren Nexø, who feels all the deaths around him hard - perhaps to hard for his mental health, as he keeps on telling himself that it's his fault and he should've done better, as he promised his men to protect them. Finally, his commander gives him a short GetAHoldOfYourselfMan that seems to help a little.
* In ''Fanfic/TiberiumWars'', Commander Karrde regularly feels the weight of the chains when his troops suffer and die for him. On the other end of the spectrum, Commander Rawne feels the weight only when he ''fails''.
** Chapter 18 even has a discussion between Commander Karrde and the retired Colonel Nick Parker, who talks about how inhuman war has become, and how he keeps forgetting the faces of all those he's commanded and sent to their deaths.
** There's also Brother-Captain Alvarez and his decision to [[spoiler:[[MercyKill execute his remaining wounded soldiers to prevent possible rape or torture at the hands of the GDI]],]] which continues to haunt him up to now.
* In ''Fanfic/APosseAdEsse'', Dolly starts feeling the cracks even before she truly becomes leader through no fault of her own. She's forced into the role by way of nobody else being mentally capable of or prepared for the position, but she feels incapable of speaking for everybody else and leading everybody in her state of mind at the time (that state of mind being depression playing up and an inferiority complex the size of Germany).
-->''[I get everybody angry at each other, I've just proven I'm an insensitive git... I could barely handle Wood being an arrogant prick. I can't lead you lot on an all-day-every-day basis!]''
* This applies to Celestia particularly in ''FanFic/DiariesOfAMadman'', where she's often shown to be stressed and isolated by her crown, as well as regularly placed in near impossible situations.
* ''Fanfic/{{Bait and Switch|STO}}''[='s=] Captain Kanril Eleya mentions that, because the crew of her starship numbers over a thousand, it's impossible for her to know all of them. Despite the fact that they all know the risks of serving in Starfleet, she still feels guilty when [[RedShirt people she doesn't even know die because of her orders]]. She rarely lets anyone else see this. See also this exchange between her and her operations officer-slash-boyfriend in ''Fanfic/TheWrongReflection'':
-->'''Gaarra:''' Something's wrong?\\
'''Eleya:''' Just pre-mission jitters, the usual.\\
'''Gaarra:''' You're worried?\\
'''Eleya:''' I'm captain of the ship. It's my job to be worried.
* [[ManipulativeBastard Mercury]], during ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9470346/1/From-the-ashes-a-fire-shall-be-woken From the ashes, a fire shall be woken]]'' almost has a [[HeroicBSOD Heroic BSOD]] immediately ''before'' [[spoiler:being appointed king of the war-torn and fractured continent of Damocles]], because he does not believe that he has what it takes. When we see him again 400 years later in [[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9998018/1/Phoenix-fire Phoenix-fire]], it is revealed that not only has his job made him completely isolated and indifferent to even his closest subordinates as individuals, [[PragmaticVillainy though he does still cultivate their talents and loyalty]], but he even admits that his closest subordinate would have immediately found it suspicious if he faked a smile at her newborn child. It is not surprising that his greatest wish for 400 years has been [[spoiler:[[DeathSeeker to die]]. Later, during his [[DeadManWriting dead memories given to Loivissa]], he tries to perform a real smile, but ultimately ends up only giving her [[TheUnSmile The Un-Smile]] before giving up on the venture alltogether.]]
* In Fanfic/SeanBeanSavesWesteros, the [[RealPersonFic "real life"]] Creator/SeanBean is transported into the land of Westeros of Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire. Now living as Ned Stark during the War of Five Kings, not just playing him on TV, Sean Bean has to order his followers to their deaths and watch many of them die. WarIsHell follows.
* [[VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening Severa]] suffers from this in ''Fanfic/SecretDreamer'': as sub-commander of the pegasus knights, she has to consider what is best for her troops, and as the bodyguard of the Exalt, she has to consider what is best for Ylisse--even if it means [[CannotSpitItOut denying her]] [[BodyguardCrush own feelings.]]
-->'''Severa:''' ''She needs a person who can lead alongside her, and I... I'm not that person.''
* A number of characters in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/5415436/1/The-Black-Empire The Black Empire]]'' comment upon [[Anime/CodeGeass Zero]] and how heavy his mask must be, referring to leading the Black Knights against Britannia at the cost of everything, including one's own identity.
* This is part of the reason Guinevere su Britannia refuses to move against Schneizel in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12621221/2/The-Illusive-Empire The Illusive Empire]]'' despite being the older sibling and technically having a stronger claim to the throne. She enjoys her decadent lifestyle free of nearly any real responsibilities (besides arguing with Schneizel so dissidents are drawn to her rather than a true enemy of the crown) and would be stuck with the incredibly stressful job of ruling if she did overthrow him. The other reason is because Schneizel made it implicitly clear that he ''will'' assassinate her if she tries anything.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* Mufasa, in ''Disney/TheLionKing'', explains to his son, Simba, that being King is a lot more complicated than 'doing whatever you want'. After Mufasa's untimely death, the exiled Simba adopts a philosophy of 'Hakuna Matata' (No Worries) with his new friends Pumbaa and Timon, but comes to accept his responsibilities, fight for his homeland and those he loves, and be a responsible and worthy King.
* [[TheHero Sheriff Woody]] from ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory'' is [[TheLeader a great leader]] when it comes right down to it, but gets frustrated a ''lot''. This {{trope}} is very apparent in the third movie, in which [[TheHero Woody]], being the most devoted of Andy's toys, keeps telling his friends that it's their responsibility to go home, regardless of whether or not Andy would ever play with them again. It reaches the point where [[TheHero Woody]] [[spoiler:[[ScrewThisImOuttaHere gives up trying to convince them and decides to go alone]].]]

[[folder:{{Film}} -- Live Action]]
* In any Muppet production, ''any'' Muppet production, being the in-universe boss is stressful, mind-numbing, and taxes the limits of what a sane mind can handle. When Kermit hands control over of ''Series/TheMuppetShow'' to Statler and Waldorf, the two grumps realize find themselves unable to make any improvements. When Gonzo and Leon try a HostileShowTakeOver in ''Series/TheJimHensonHour'', Kermit gladly lets them have the reins so he can take a break. In the premier episode of ''Series/MuppetsTonight'', Clifford was distracted by a phone call when Kermit asked who wanted to be in change of the show, and as such missed the cue to run with the other Muppets.
* ''Film/LawrenceOfArabia'': [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056172/quotes]]
-->'''General Allenby''': I thought I was a hard man, sir.\\
'''Prince Feisal''': You are merely a general. I must be a king.
* ''Film/TheKingsSpeech'' shows what [[TheUnfavourite Albert]] [[WellDoneSonGuy went through]] [[SpartanSibling growing up]] [[TheWoobie in the royal family]] and later, being the king after his brother abdicates. Shortly after he is declared king, [[TearJerker he breaks down]] because he has no idea how to handle the pressure. Reference to how constrictive the business of "kinging" shows up over and over again in the film, from beginning to be end, spoken by all three kings (George V, Edward VIII, and George VI). As constitutional monarchs, they have virtually no power. But they have a great deal of responsibility in meeting the expectations of their people that limit their freedom to do as they choose.
--->'''David''': "Haven't I got any rights?"\\
'''Albert''': "Many privileges"\\
'''David''': "Not the same thing."
* One of the center themes in Film/{{U 571}}.
* Kirk spends much of ''Film/StarTrekIntoDarkness'' coming to terms with his fear of failing the crew he's supposed to be leading.
** In ''Film/StarTrekBeyond'' the fear has diminished, but he's started to have second thoughts about pursuing a goal "forever out of reach." [[spoiler: Ultimately he decides to stay in command.]]
* Prince Karl Heinrich spends much of ''Film/TheStudentPrinceInOldHeidelberg'' wishing he could have fun with his friends or be happy with the barmaid he's fallen in love with, but the duties of being Crown Prince keep calling him back.
* ''Film/IntoTheStorm2009'' shows the harsh decisons of leadership take quite a toll on Churchill.
* Film/QueenChristina can't deal with being queen anymore when it stands in the way of true love and happiness. So she abdicates.
-->'''Christina''': I'm tired of being a symbol, chancellor. I long to be a human being.
* In ''Film/PrincessORourke'', Maria doesn't want to live with all the obligations of being a princess especially since she wants to marry for love.
* ''Film/SpaceBattleshipYamato'': Okita carries a heavy burden, one which Susumu is hesitant to carry himself; one which includes ordering men and women to their deaths because of one's own mistakes. Okita directly says in a conversation with Susumu [[spoiler:after the latter had Yuki destroy the connector to the third bridge before a latched-on Gamilas weapon can blow up the Yamato, but throwing away the lives of those on the third bridge in the process,]] that there's no way those who have not commanded can understand the pressures the two of them are under.
* ''Film/TwelveOClockHigh'': The film is a character study about command, and is still used to teach U.S. Air Force officers. The movie opens with Colonel Keith Davenport, commanding the 918th Bombardment Group, being relieved after accusations of "over-identifying" with his men. Brigadier General Savage takes over the group temporarily to rebuild the command structure. Lieutenant-Colonel Gately, the second in command, is accused of failing to support the original C.O. and is exiled to command the "Leper Colony", a B-17 with all the underachievers of the group assigned to it. Savage introduces harsh methods of training, and in hoping to set a stern example, begins to succumb to the same pressures of command that Davenport did. Harvey Stovall, the group adjutant, remarks that "the only difference between Davenport and Savage is that one of them is a couple of inches taller." At the end of the film, [[spoiler:Savage breaks down from the stress, too, and Gately takes over.]] Much of the film is possibly TruthInTelevision in that the screenwriter based the story heavily on actual officers of the 306th Bombardment Group.
* ''Film/ConanTheBarbarian1982''. Discussed not only in King Osric's speech (see Quotes) but also the AndTheAdventureContinues bit in ''Film/ConanTheDestroyer'', where TheNarrator tells of how Conan will one day wear his own crown "on a troubled brow."
* ''Film/TheDawnPatrol'' is about an Royal Flying Corps squad engaging in daily combat with the Germans during UsefulNotes/WorldWarI. The commander, Major Brand, drinks to excess and is driven to the edge of collapse from the stress of having to send his men off to die every day. Courtney, his star pilot, thinks Brand is too cautious, but after Brand is promoted and Courtney is grounded by taking Brand's job as commander, he feels the same stresses.
* Played to an extreme in horror film ''Film/EyeOfTheDevil''. Philippe de Montfaucon is a rich marquis with a large estate and a whole town of commoners to work the vineyards on that estate. But if the vineyard fails, whoever is marquis has to give himself up in a pagan HumanSacrifice to restore the fields to fertility.
* ''[[Film/ThePhantomMenace Star Wars – Episode I: The Phantom Menace]]'' implies that this is happening to Chancellor Valorum in its novelization, as he sounds and looks significantly older than a member of his house at his age should, burdened down by laws, protocol and ultimately his very own heritage, which all make it easy for the corrupt senate to work around the tired man.
* ''Film/KingRalph''. Ralph, after many public screw-ups, comes to understand the responsibilities and sacrifices of being a king. [[spoiler: Despite getting some lucrative business deals with an African king, he decides he is not cut out for the chains, and hands them over to Cecil, his undersecretary, who himself didn't want the chains, but humbly accepted them]].
* ''Film/IndependenceDay'' features a moment of this for President Whitmore. After they narrowly escape the destruction of Washington, he sits silently on Air Force One, reflecting on how millions of Americans have just died on his watch.
-->"We could have evacuated the cities ''hours'' ago. That's the advantage of being a fighter pilot. In the Gulf War, we knew what we had to do. It's just...not simple anymore. A lot of people died today. How many didn't have to?"

* The story of the sword of Damocles is an ancient anecdote, memorably told by Cicero about Dionysius II, who was the tyrant of Syracuse in the 4th century BC, and one of his courtiers, named Damocles. Damocles said that with all of his wealth and possessions, Dionysius must be the most fortunate man who ever lived. Dionysius offered him to try his fortune, and he accepted. Dionysius held a banquet where Damocles was treated like a king, and felt happy...until he looked up, and saw a heavy sword over his head held up by single horse-hair. This sword, which could fall at any time, was put there to symbolize the constant fear and potential danger that Dionysius faced as a result of his power. Damocles didn't notice all the wealth and beauty around him anymore, and begged the tyrant to let him go, because he no longer wanted to be fortunate. OlderThanFeudalism.
* In a much more modern legend, Russian Tsar Alexander I is said to have grown so disillusioned with power after defeating Napoleon and having been involved in the politics of post-Napoleonic Europe that he faked his death in 1825 and became a monk, taking on the name Fyodor Kuzmich.

* Prominent in ''Literature/ProtectorOfTheSmall''.
** Keladry learns about it when she commands a refugee camp, having to hide emotional displays ([[TheStoic even more than she usually does]]) and deal with a myriad of problems, from the huge (how to defend the place with a handful of trained soldiers) to the petty (dammit people stop ''bickering''). She also makes sure she takes a turn doing the muckiest jobs in camp so no one else can justify refusal.
** King Jonathan and his son Roald are also hit with it. Jon has to walk a political tightrope so he can make reforms without inciting conservatives, mages, temples, and commoners to rebel, and he can't go near the Scanran border without his top general scorching his ears for putting himself in danger. Roald has similar problems--as page and squire he's ''very'' careful to avoid creating a clique and in the war he's barred from the front lines, plus he has to put off his wedding.
* Prince Josua from ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn''. He dislikes it so much that [[spoiler:in the end he gives over to Simon and becomes an Innkeeper. Gladly. Simon seems to like the taste of power better.]]
* At the end of Creator/CSLewis' ''Literature/TheHorseAndHisBoy'', Prince Corin [[spoiler:is overjoyed that his twin brother has returned so that he doesn't have to become king himself. His twin brother, who up to now had thought of himself as Shasta and not Prince Cor, had not expected this reaction and wasn't sure he wanted to be king either. Their Father King Lune then gives a speech on what it means to be King.]]
* Jake from ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}''. It is very understandable, given that he's tasked with fending off a secret AlienInvasion of brain slugs (whose human hosts include [[LivingWithTheVillain his older brother]]) and his only allies are a bunch of kids like him, an alien warrior cadet and a race of ActualPacifist androids. Exemplified when Rachel acts as leader for a short while and experiences the same issues, making her wonder whether being leader was the enviable position she once thought it was.
* The instructors at Command School do this on purpose to Ender in ''Literature/EndersGame''. They in fact deliberately engineer scenarios both inside and outside the simulator to teach Ender that he can never count on anybody but himself to help him.
* That is one of the most defining characteristics of [[Literature/{{Discworld}} Samuel Vimes]]. Actually, there is no reason for him to be a Commander of the Watch... except that he's damn good at it.
** There's also Pteppic of Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/{{Pyramids}}''. [[spoiler:Although this is exacerbated by the fact that not only does he feel responsible for his people, but also he has ''absolutely no power'' despite being the king. And nobody bothers telling him. When he finally gets the enormity of the lie he's expected to live, he naturally absconds.]]
* Emperor Gregor Vorbarra, in Creator/LoisMcMasterBujold's ''Literature/VorkosiganSaga''. He has been emperor since the age of six, and both of his parents were killed by political intrigue by the same period. He hates every second of it and would give quite a lot to pass the job to someone else, and attempts suicide in his twenties to escape the pressures. He gradually grows to accept the responsibilities and is more settled of the role over time, helped by being HappilyMarried.
* ''Literature/HoratioHornblower'' has this as a defining character trait as he rises through the ranks. He grapples with the knowledge that his orders will cause some of his men to die, the sole responsibility for any mistake at sea (even ones made by the Admiralty) will fall on him, and he feels as though he constantly needs to put on the act of a completely imperturbable stalwart despite private fears of death and dismemberment. (He tends to go a little [[IncrediblyLamePun overboard]] with his ruminations, or a lot overboard when he fails to live up to his own impossibly high standards.) He exhibits a much milder (and somewhat more palatable) form of it in each of the miniseries based on the novels.
* In the ''Literature/AubreyMaturin'' series, Jack Aubrey occasionally ponders the depth of isolation imposed upon captains by regulation and social etiquette. Thankfully, he enjoys the relatively [[HoYay uninhibited companionship]] of his [[HeterosexualLifePartners particular friend]] Dr. Maturin, who has an ambiguous position with regard to aforementioned regulations. In ''The Mauritius Campaign'' it's noted that the officers in the RN refer to their uniform buttons as "The Curse of God", in acknowledgement of the decisions sometimes forced upon them by their responsibility.
* The titular Colonel-Commissar of Creator/DanAbnett's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}: Literature/GauntsGhosts'' deals with this a lot. Increasingly, so do the other senior officers among the Ghosts. This trope can be brutal when you have genuinely decent people in command of the RedshirtArmy in a [[CrapsackWorld setting like this]].
* [[ComicBook/XWingSeries Wedge Antilles]] sometimes falls under this trope, mostly when pilots under his command are dying. He does have to write the letters back to their families and takes a little comfort that ItNeverGetsAnyEasier.
** Mon Mothma, Garm Bel Iblis, and Bail Organa were the three most significant members of the Rebellion until Organa's death at [[EarthShatteringKaboom Alderaan]]. After that, Iblis got uneasy about the way Mothma was directing things and left to make his own Rebellion. The events of ''Literature/TheThrawnTrilogy'' let Iblis see things differently.
--->'''Iblis''': After all these years, I finally understand why she does things the way she does. I've always assumed that she was gathering more and more power to herself simply because she was in love with power. But I was wrong. With everything she does there are lives hanging in the balance. And she's terrified of trusting anyone else with those lives.\\
All the pieces of [Leia's] life these past few years fell suddenly into place. All the diplomatic missions Mon Mothma had insisted she go on, no matter what the personal cost in lost Jedi training and strained family life. All the trust she'd invested in Ackbar and a few others; all the responsibility that had been shifted onto fewer and fewer shoulders. Onto the shoulders of those few she could trust to do the job right.
** In ''Solo Command'', General Han Solo shows a bit of this while commanding the task force sent after Warlord Zsinj. There's mention that all he could do was issue orders and hope they were so good that not many of his people died. They were never so good that ''none'' of his people died. Never.
* In Gav Thorpe's TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} ''Literature/TheLastChancers'' novel ''Kill Team'', Kage, having personally selected and trained the team, tries to persuade himself that if they fail or get themselves killed, it will be their own fault, but is unable.
* In William King's TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} Literature/SpaceWolf novel ''Grey Hunters'', Ragnor feels this strongly when he receives a FieldPromotion. Especially because one of his new subordinates was a man he had long hated and [[{{Revenge}} wanted to kill]]. He wonders whether, if this man died, he could tell whether he had done all he could or had secretly wanted him to die.
** In Lee Lightner's ''Sons of Fenris'', Berek, though [[InHarmsWay longing for the battle on the planet]] and [[GloryHound knowing the fight would be renowned]], nevertheless knows it is his duty to stay on shipboard, thinking that it is a situation where rank lacks privileges.
** In ''Wolf's Honour'', Mikal feels heavily burdened by the role that fell on him when Berek was gravely wounded. He [[ConverseWithTheUnconscious sees the unconscious leader and asks why him]] and is enraged when he realizes that the skald, Morgrim, listened to him. When Morgrim says that he will describe this as a warrior paying respects to his lord before battle, Mikal can not believe him and [[CowardlyLion confesses to his doubts]]. Morgrim assures him that Berek felt the same way and that having not shirked his duty, he has not failed.
* In Creator/SandyMitchell's ''The Traitor's Hand'', Literature/CiaphasCain, [[note]] THE HERO OF THE IMPERIUM [[/note]] explains his friendship with the general this way: it gives the general a chance to socialize with someone outside the chain of command.
* Conan's feelings on being King of Aquilonia, from Creator/RobertEHoward's ''Literature/ThePhoenixOnTheSword'':
-->When I was a fighting man, the kettle drums they beat,\\
The people scattered gold-dust before my horse's feet;\\
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track\\
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.
** In "Literature/TheScarletCitadel", Conan reflects that he can not [[BuyThemOff sell his subjects]], even though at first he took the throne for only his own benefit.
** In "Literature/ThePeopleOfTheBlackCircle", Yasmina tells Literature/ConanTheBarbarian that she is queen and must return.
** In "Literature/BlackColossus", Conan must restrain his BloodKnight tendencies because he is responsible for his men.
* [[KnightInSourArmor Councillor Arfarra]] in Yulia Latynina's ''Wizards and Ministers''. He was literally dragged out of his guilt-filled exile under extraordinary circumstances and then more or less had to take control of the empire because it was obviously going straight to hell.
* Heavy lies the crown for any poor sap born into the [[Franchise/{{Dune}} Atreides]] bloodline, especially highlighted in ''Literature/DuneMessiah'' for Paul, ''Literature/GodEmperorOfDune'' for Leto II and ''Literature/ChapterhouseDune'' for Odrade. Alia cracks under hers in ''Literature/ChildrenOfDune.''
* Survivor's guilt and assorted associated emotions send Literature/HonorHarrington into nearly crippling bouts of depression on several occasions. (Fitting for a character based on Hornblower, above.)
* King Glyn the First in the ''Literature/{{Deverry}}'' novel Darkspell.
* In ''Assassin of Literature/{{Gor}}'' Marlenus of Ar has to exile Tarl as punishment for his actions in the first book even after declaring Tarl a hero and friend. The decision is greeted with dismay even by Marlenus's adoring and loyal subjects, but as Ubar of Ar it is beneath his dignity to so much as explain his decision. (One of his trusted advisors has a quiet word with Tarl afterwards, acknowledging as he does that Marlenus would be angry with him for piping up.)
* In the ''Literature/{{Dragonlance}}'' novels the young elven princess Laurana suffers from this during her time as the [[RedBaron Golden General]]. [[spoiler:The immense stress she is under ends up making her highly susceptible to FlawExploitation at the hands of her ArchEnemy Kitiara.]]
** In ''The Qualinesti,'' Kith-Kanan's thoughts reflect the trope pretty much word-for-word: "He had given up his freedom to roam when he accepted the throne of Qualinesti. After all these centuries, he finally understood how his father, Sithel, had felt before him. Bound up in chains like a prisoner. Only a Speaker's chains weren't made of iron, but of the coils of resposibility, duty, protocol."
* [[Literature/{{Lensman}} Kimball Kinnison]] does a thorough job of kicking himself in the rear after a wrong assumption about just what he was facing caused the deaths of several Patrol members.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** In ''Literature/HaloFirstStrike'', Fred-104, Master Chief's second in command, suffers from a mild bout of this when he takes the rest of the [[SuperSoldiers Spartan-II]]s down to defend the planet [[DoomedHometown Reach]]. It doesn't help when four Spartans die just in the initial drop - already the most to die in a single mission in the unit's history.
** In the ''Literature/HaloEvolutions'' story ''The Impossible Life and the Possible Death of Preston J. Cole'', this is believed to be the reason why Admiral Cole, the man who was leading humanity's forces against the Covenant, [[spoiler:seemingly decided to fake his death and live somewhere far away from the war]].
* ''Literature/PrinceRoger'':
** The titular prince becomes this once he realizes that the Marines guarding him are people who have their own problems. It's bad enough while he's on [[DeathWorld Marduk]] but things become infinitely worse once they get off-planet and discover the real situation back home. By that point, [[spoiler:there are so few of the Bronze Barbarians left that he's fanatic about keeping them safe and will do ''anything'' to reduce casualties on his side. His advisors are so concerned about this that they talk to his BodyguardCrush to make sure that she'll serve as his "[[MoralityChain prosthetic conscience]]" to make sure that he doesn't just roll over the opposition with MoreDakka when a less-violent alternative is feasible.]]
** Roger's fiancee has the same problem; As the advisors point out, both softly and loudly, her sacrifice is to marry Roger and live in a protected fishbowl for the rest of her life -- no matter how hard that is for her, because it's her duty to the Empire.
* March from ''Literature/TheSiranthaJaxSeries'' feels the weight of command so much that he's had more than one HeroicBSOD in his lifetime.
* In ''Literature/ShadowsOfTheApt'', why Selma can't leave his band.
* In Jerry Pournelle's ''Literature/FalkenbergsLegion'', Falkenberg instructs a friend and fellow officer that "The reason command has no friends isn't to keep from having to send friends to their death. Command has no friends because sooner or later you'll have to betray your friends or your command."
** Early in his career Falkenberg abandoned his wife to stay with his regiment.
* This becomes a (frequently) recurring motif in Creator/TomClancy's ''Literature/JackRyan'' novels once Jack Ryan ascends to the Presidency.
* In ''[[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Ghost Story]]'', Harry Dresden [[spoiler:nearly has a break down when he realizes that the choices he made in the previous book (leading his friends into a battle against the entire Red Court to save his daughter) may have been wrong, and caused more harm than good. Killing Susan to destroy the Red Court may have gotten rid of many evil monsters, but the power void left over means that equally bad things are scrambling to take the Red Court's place. The result is a chaotic unsafe world, where even the normals are noticing something bad is going on]]. Harry sees his friends suffering and can feel nothing but guilt.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''
** [[BoisterousBruiser King Robert Baratheon]] either fits this trope or is a subversion, as he leaves most of the ruling to his Hand while he drinks and whores. Ned Stark plays it completely straight though. He becomes said Hand just because the king commands him to do so, although he would rather stay home and govern his peaceful land instead of the whole realm.
** Ned's son Robb also starts to suffer from it when his bannermen declare him King In The North.
** Cersei Lannister in book 4: [[spoiler:with the deaths of Joffrey and Tywin, and her underage son Tommen sitting the throne, she is (at least on paper) the most powerful person in the Seven Kingdoms. It makes her go through SanitySlippage.]]
** Daenarys Targaryen, especially in book 5 when she is very conflicted on [[ChronicHeroSyndrome wanting to do the right thing]], and still retaining her power.
** The whole point of the Iron Throne is that it is an incredibly uncomfortable chair, meant to symbolize the difficulty and hardship of being king. The problem is, the only one of the various contenders who understands that is Stannis and he believes that being Robert's heir means he ''has'' to take the throne, no matter how much he may or may not want it.
* In Creator/JohnCWright's ''Literature/CountToATrillion'', the princess feels her position strongly. Menelaus is argued into the ErmineCapeEffect to help her.
** In ''The Hermetic Millennia'', Menelaus feels responsible for everyone in the Tombs.
* In the ''Literature/CodexAlera'' book ''Princeps' Fury'', Gaius Sextus gives a rather impassioned (for him) speech about the incredible amount of DirtyBusiness he's had to do over the years, not to mention the general stresses and downsides of his office, in order to keep his realm together and allow his people the luxury of not having to take his choices. He then goes on to add that if he ''really'' hated his main political opponent as an enemy, he'd hand him the crown himself and retire.
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', the Clan leaders realize that they may have to make some difficult decisions. One character points out that Onestar especially was hit hard by this: he's had to break old friendships to prove that his Clan stands alone. Firestar himself realizes in ''The Darkest Hour'' how hard it is to be a leader, because he realizes there's a chance that his entire Clan may be killed in battle because of his choice.
** Bramblestar's Storm deals mainly with Bramblestar struggling to lead his Clan.
* Lampshaded in ''Literature/TheLongShips''. Orm comments that:
-->''It is good to be a chieftain when ale is passed around or spoils are divided, but worse when sharp thinking is needed and plans are to be made.''
* In Creator/JohnHemry's Literature/TheLostStars novel ''Tarnished Knight'', Drakon calls Iceni on her apparent position of complete pragmatism: why did she stay in the system with the aliens' attack impending, then? Iceni instantly says because she was responsible.
* ''Literature/TheCaineMutiny'' is almost This Page: The Novel. It's implied that it's what caused Queeg to go off the rails. The captain before him was somewhat eccentric; the one trained to replace him laments that he walks a razor's edge of correct decisions, with 100 manslaughters on either side.
* Discussed all over the place in the ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'' series, with every good ruler (including mercenary Captains like Kerowyn) feeling the pinch of isolation and responsibility for their people. In Valdemar, the position of Monarch's Own Herald is explicitly to give the King or Queen one person around whom they can relax and be themselves; one Herald they can trust completely and come to for brutally-honest advice.
* ''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': Queen Kasile of Ataidar compares ruling to "juggling bowling balls" and regularly vents her frustrations about this economic policy or that difficult minister to Eric, her best friend.
* ''Literature/TheHungerGames'': [[spoiler:Katniss gets a bad case of this when she's placed in command of what's left of Squad 451. Cue numerous ItsAllMyFault moments.]]
* In ''Literature/TheGoblinEmperor'', Maia suffers from this. From the loads and loads of jewellery the emperor has to wear, to having his marriage arranged for political reasons because he has to produce a heir, to the bodyguards who follow him everywhere. He has grown up very lonely, and desperately wants a friend, but one of his bodyguards explicitly tells him that they cannot be friends.
* In ''Literature/TheTraitorSonCycle'':
** The Red Knight is often uncertain on what to do and the death of every one of his subordinates hits him, but he has to pretend that everything is alright and he always has a plan, because everyone's faith in him rides on his reputation as a brilliant badass.
** When Aneas finds himself in command for the first time, he almost breaks down under the need to project an aura of calm and inability to ask anyone for advice because he has to look like he has all the answers.
* In ''Literature/TheMachineriesOfEmpire'', Cheris has to do many terrible things and sacrifice a lot of her people to win, and even though she knows there's no better way, it still weighs heavily on her.
* In the ''Literature/DeptfordMice'' books the two highest-ranking [[LegacyCharacter offices]] on the side of good are those of the Starwife and the Holy One. Nevertheless, no one would relish being chosen as either. Essentially it means being BlessedWithSuck. For all the power the positions afford, they mean being doomed to a lonely existence made even more miserable by being granted an [[WizardsLiveLonger extended lifespan]].
* ''Literature/ShadowPolice'': As the characters note in ''Who Killed Sherlock Holmes?'', Quill, as the team's leader, is the one least able to lean on his colleagues' support and help, and is therefore the first to crack under the phenomenal stress they're all under.

* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Robb starts to feel them when his father's departure and his mother's breakdown leave him in charge in "The Kingsroad". By "Baelor", he's led an army to war and and sacrificed two thousand men for victory. Things only get worse as the war drags on and some of his men start to lose faith despite his victories. In Season 3, his leadership decisions start to put him at odds with some of his more prominent men.
** Daenerys starts to feel them in Season 2, when her people become dependent on her. They only get heavier as her responsibilities increase. She realizes that being a ruler and being a conqueror are not the same things. As Tyrion notes, being a ruler means that they have to be "terrible" and he is pleased that Daenerys is "the right kind of terrible", that is the kind "that prevents her people from being even more so." Dany doesn't like making compromises and concessions to the nobility of Slaver's Bay but she does so anyway, to build some kind of peace in Meereen and moderate multiple factions, and on returning to Westeros, she doesn't like dealing with the picky norms of Westerosi feudalism, namely their endless grudges, feuds and prejudices against Dothraki but decides to proceed slowly if only to prove IAmNotMyFather.
** Alliser Thorne tells Jon that a commander will always face criticism for his decisions, but if he ever begins second-guessing himself he will become indecisive, an even worse trait than being wrong.
** Jon sends his friend Grenn and five others to hold the crucial inner gate even though he knows it is likely a SuicideMission.
** Slightly touched upon with Tywin. He has Seven Kingdoms to run during an open rebellion and the ship of fools and schemers that he governs does not make it any easier. When Tyrion casually asks him if he's enjoying the position, Tywin finds the query outlandish and repeats back the question in disbelief. In the books, Kevan speaks earnestly about how Tywin is a stern but just man of duty doing a tough job for decades with little appreciation or reward.
** Cersei has moments of fragility and self-pity where she laments the hardships of the regency that have fallen on her. Given her pettiness and dismal management, nobody really empathizes with her.
* ''Series/SpaceAboveAndBeyond'': this trope was used several times by the main characters.
* In the 1996 TV movie ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Star_Command_(film) Star Command]]'' (aka ''In The Fold''), Captain Ridnaur explains this to a cadet. The commanding officer is [[LonelyAtTheTop alone]] and must appear invincible to encourage confidence among the crew.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': in several episodes the characters talk about the miseries of command.
** Londo Mollari [[DiscussedTrope remarks]] that he started with no power and all the choice in the world, and ended up with all the power in the world and no choice at all. Not only are his hands tied by the complex political machinations, but he's also [[spoiler:being [[PuppeteerParasite controlled by a Drakh Keeper]].]] In the end, he sulks in his throne room because [[spoiler:he can't bear the thought of accidentally looking at [[LookOnMyWorksYeMightyAndDespair the ruined Centauri homeworld and bursting into tears]].]]
** Ivanova has had several stories focused on this when she's put in charge in the absence of Sinclair or Sheridan. Usually these are B stories that play up her StraightMan character against the ridiculous demands of Babylon 5's diplomatic mission. Fairly often, HilarityEnsues. Also, a recurring theme with Marcus Cole, her liason with the Rangers (and [[{{UST}} love interest]]), is how he feels she needs to be comfortable delegating some of her responsibility so she can tend to her own personal well-being.
** Delenn is so much TheMcCoy that it is impossible for her to have the job of being a stateswoman without suffering considerably from this. The unusual nature of the circumstances demanded [[JeanneDArchetype someone like her]]. But it definitely came at a price as we see in those times when we catch a glimpse BeneathTheMask.
* ''Series/{{Wings}}'': after Joe leaves Nantucket in 'Joe Blows' due to being overworked, Brian discovers how difficult it is to operate a business.
* President David Palmer of ''Series/TwentyFour'' is a lot like this. President Allison Taylor more-so.
* ''Series/TheWestWing'''s President Bartlet frequently finds himself feeling the full weight of his authority, especially when what the job calls for goes against his personal beliefs.
* Jack from ''Series/{{Lost}}'' is a very reluctant [[TheLeader leader]].
* One of the main motifs in ''Series/TheSopranos'':
** Tony Soprano is very savvy about this issue and warns DragonAscendant Johnny Sack, who'd quickly fall victim from it, about the chains.
** Tony struggles with the position and is unable to decide which he feels more strongly: the stress or the benefits of being mob boss.
--->'''Tony:'''All due respect, you got no fuckin' idea what it's like to be Number One. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other fuckin' thing. It's too much to deal with almost. And in the end you're completely alone with it all.
** Silvio doesn't last more than a few days as regent because the responsibility quickly takes a toll on his health.
* Though most of the time ''Series/{{Firefly}}'s'' Malcolm Reynolds doesn't show the stress that his job as Captain of the good ship ''Serenity'' would foist on him, there are a few occasional moments where he does show that weight of responsibility, particularly in [[Film/{{Serenity}} the Big Damn Movie]].
** Simon sometimes seems to feel guilty for not being a "good enough" (My word!) big brother, not least for having twinges of regret in River's presence. It must be awful having a little sister who can read minds.
* Long story short, pretty much every captain from ''Franchise/StarTrek'' feels this at some point. This includes all the spin-offs, and even one shot captains often wind up feeling the burden of command before their spot is over. Readers of the ''Literature/HoratioHornblower'' books can pick out scenes that mirror ones from the novels, which were a direct inspiration for the series.
** Really, this has been in Trek ever since the ''very first pilot'' of ''Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries'', where [[ThePeteBest Captain Christopher Pike]] discusses the possibility of resigning, tired of being responsible for the lives and deaths of his crew.
** One episode of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' features Troi taking the bridge officer's test, which she keeps failing until she realizes that the win condition is saving the ship by sending a virtual crewman to certain death. This in turn ties into an earlier episode where, due to an accident, Troi is stuck as the senior most officer on the bridge but her rank was conferred based on her counselor position, not her technical or command experience. So she has to rely on the junior officers to explain the situation to her and make a gut call which, based on the above latter episode, she made wrong. It's only by luck that her decision didn't get anyone killed, something that she acknowledges which is what leads her to seek that bridge officer qualification later on.
** Starting with TNG, the captain often isn't permitted to enter dangerous situations as Kirk frequently did; the first officer goes in their place, because the captain is the single most indispensable person on the ship.
** Sisko lives and breathes this trope from day one of ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine''. He has to deal with the volatile and extreme politics of Bajor, the machinations of the Cardassians, the [[spoiler:Dominion War]], his role as Emissary of the Prophets, an (initially) uncooperative first officer, and the difficulties of single fatherhood on top of his regular duties as the commanding officer of one of the busiest and most strategically important space stations.
** Janeway started to embody this trope over the course of ''Series/StarTrekVoyager''. Entire episodes would revolve around her being forced to make tough calls about whether or not to compromise the Federation's ideals in order to help get Voyager home. She's much more isolated than the other captains, who can apply to (or have to ''answer'' to) Starfleet, but cut off in the Delta Quadrant she's more like the captain of an old wooden ship far from home port.
* ''Franchise/StargateVerse'':
** General George Hammond of ''Series/StargateSG1'' has it tough as head of Stargate Command. He has to juggle the conflicting issues of his SG teams and their safety, the Air Force, the president, other politicians, and of course, the safety of the galaxy as a whole. The point is driven home when Jack O'Neill is promoted and takes over for Hammond and almost quits because "he can't fill Hammond's shoes".
** Same thing with Dr. Weir, Colonel Carter, and Mr. Woolsey during their respective times as the leader of Atlantis in ''Series/StargateAtlantis''. While the IOA likes to interfere and chew them out for not following protocol, they always refuse to make decisions, instead leaving the leader to make the tough calls and then deal with being chewed out for making said tough decisions (vicious cycle, no?)
** Later in ''Series/StargateUniverse'', Jack O'Neill chews out Colonel Young for hesitating and making the wrong (no) call, pointing out that literally moments ago Colonel Carter left two people to die so her ship and crew would be saved.
* Series/{{Buffy|TheVampireSlayer}} often felt this way about her calling as the Slayer making her feel different. It bordered on what could be considered supreme egotism sometimes and when faced with one very tough decision [[spoiler:about whether to kill Anya for restarting her vengeance demon ways]] she claimed that the Scooby Gang was not a democracy, that she's the Slayer and eventually all the tough decisions come down to her.
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'':
** Commander (later Admiral) William Adama. Seeing as how the military affairs of all that's left of mankind are in his hands, dropping the ball even once means humanity's last chance is gone.
** In the miniseries, at one point the Galactica is hit by a nuke. The damaged section's fires are endangering the ship and the automatic fire suppressors are out. Nearly a hundred of Tyrol's people are fighting the fires with handheld gear... when Tigh orders the section to be sealed off and the atmosphere to be vented, putting out the fires and [[ThrownOutTheAirlock killing everyone inside]]. Understandably, Tyrol tries to protest but not only Tigh is his superior officer, they don't really have a choice because [[ColdEquation if they wait until everyone gets out, the fire will reach the fuel lines and blow the whole ship to smithereens]]. Afterwards, Tyrol tries to appeal to Adama and almost breaks down in tears right then and there, had it not for Adama's GetAHoldOfYourselfMan DeathGlare.
--->Forty seconds, sir... All I've needed... was forty seconds...
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'':
** In one of the more humanizing moments for Dr. Kelso, he puts Dr. Cox in charge of trying to figure out how to balance the budget without firing someone. Much to Cox's chagrin, he can't, and Kelso points out that he doesn't (always) make his decisions because he's a {{jerkass}}; sometimes, it's the only way to keep Sacred Heart running.
** Another great Kelso example is the end of an episode where J.D. shadows him all day trying to find something nice to say about him (but fails). Specifically on that day, Kelso put a rich patient ahead of a poor one for an experimental medical treatment that was his only hope (because the rich guy will now donate tons of cash to the hospital, allowing them to continue offering medical care to homeless and uninsured pregnant women). Kelso acts like it was an easy call that doesn't bother him, but the episode ends with him letting his guard down with nobody around. He looks incredibly shaken and forlorn as he walks to his car.
** After Kelso's retirement, Dr. Cox is made the new Chief Of Medicine, and quickly finds just how brutal the trappings of the job really are, and it quickly costs him both any time for actually practicing medicine, and time with his family.
* ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}'''s Adelle Dewitt feels this trope pretty hard, though most characters are unaware of how much it weighs on her, thanks to her [[TheWomanWearingTheQueenlyMask Queenly Mask]].
* Not that modern monarchs do much actual "commanding," but the young King Richard in ''Series/ThePalace'' struggled to reconcile his role as monarch with his political views, love life, and so on.
* Subverted in ''Series/{{Blackadder}}'s Christmas Carol'' when Ebenezar Blackadder sees if he becomes bad his descendants will rule the Universe, the Ghost of Christmas Present's reaction is 'Maybe... Maybe... But would you be happy? Being ruler of the universe is not all it's cracked up to be - there's the long hours... I mean, you wave at people the whole time. You're no longer your own boss.' It doesn't work.
* Rear Admiral A.J. Chegwidden of ''Series/{{JAG}}'' has clearly has a difficult job as Judge Advocate General of the Navy, reconciling the often disparate interests of justice and policy-makers, not to many the many eccentric and unpredictable people under his command.
-->"Try out my chair, Commander. My guess is it's going to be yours in a couple years. Go ahead, Rabb, it's not gonna turn you into a growling old salt. You'd have to grow a couple stars for that."
* Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner of ''Series/CriminalMinds'' can be seen often second guessing his own decisions. The best example is in the second part of "The Fisher King", where, after scolding Agent Anderson for not staying with Elle after driving her home [[spoiler:causing her to get shot]], Hotch laments how he forget to tell Anderson to specifically stay with her after driving her home.
* ''Series/{{Rome}}''. After a slave brings UsefulNotes/PompeyTheGreat a message that UsefulNotes/JuliusCaesar's army is advancing, he's faced with a decision: should he fight or flee? Pompey then talks of how envious he is of the slave, who has all his decisions made for him.
* Israeli satire show ''Eretz Nehederet'' aired [[http://totzeret-haaretz.tumblr.com/post/42509645050/this-song-isnt-relevant-anymore-but-i-got-a this skit]] before the winner of the 2009 elections was declared. It featured a group of former Israeli prime ministers singing a song to both candidates, aimed at the winner-to-be, detailing how awful life would be after they get the job. Subverted by Shim'on Peres, who would still like to be the prime minister again in spite of everything.
* ''Series/{{Borgen}}'' practically runs on this. It's revealed that WhenYouComingHomeDad is in full effect in Borgen, and many politicians divorce or have their marriage ruined because of this. [[spoiler:By the end of season 1, this happens to Birgitte too.]]
* In ''Series/TheWire'':
** Cedric Daniels is always struggling between the politics of higher-ups like Burrell, his own judgement, the pressure and CowboyCop antics from some of his more uncontrollable but competent detectives like [=McNulty=], and the need to protect his more inept underlings like Pryzbylewski.
** Stringer Bell often expresses his frustration with [[SurroundedByIdiots the lack of talent he has available]] and the hardships of ruling the Barksdale Organization like a proper business. He compares himself to a CEO who has to take responsibility for mishaps and scandals while everybody else can be ducking and hiding.
--->'''Lester Freamon:''' Heavy is the head that wears the crown.
** Present and discussed several times during Tommy Carcetti's term. As a previous white mayor puts it, governing the city means not seeing your family and eating shit from one community or another, day in and day out.
* On ''Series/{{The 100}}'', Clarke's [[CharacterDevelopment character]] [[StoryArc arc]] in Season 2 is built around how, by becoming her people's leader, she's forced to commit increasingly ruthless acts to keep them alive. By the season finale, she's come to view herself as NecessarilyEvil, and can no longer bear to be around her friends and family, because seeing them just reminds her of the horrible things she did in their name. She views accepting this guilt as her responsibility, saying, "I bear it so they don't have to."
* One episode of ''Series/{{MASH}}'' saw the main characters follow the British tradition of Boxing Day by having the enlisted and officers switch roles for the day. Of particular note are Colonel Potter's and Klinger's switched roles. Colonel Potter gains new respect for Klinger when he finds out just how much work is involved in being company clerk and Klinger gains new respect for the Colonel when he learns just how much weight the burden of command carries and having to be responsible for making extremely tough decisions.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "The Two Doctors", a Sontaran admits to having made a "tactical error" and gives the excuse that "it's not easy being commander, the loneliness of supreme responsibility."
* In ''Series/TheLastShip'', poor Jeff Michener was a horribly depressed government functionary mourning the death of his entire family when he discovered that he also happened to be the de facto President of the United States. He was so unprepared to take command that it came as a relief to him when the Chosen cult found him and decided to make him their puppet. After the crew of the ''Nathan James'' rescues him, he tries to kill himself, and he feels so lost that he nearly has an anxiety attack while trying to decide what to have for lunch.
* The titular queen on ''Series/{{Victoria}}'' struggles with her newfound power. Though she genuinely seeks to be a good and fair ruler, she also struggles with the idea that she must be politically impartial, for the most part; even when it comes to people or ideas she feels very strongly about as an individual, she must be seen to be fair as queen.
* Done in the ''Series/HoratioHornblower'' telefilms, of course, although since the viewer isn't actually inside Hornblower's thoughts it's less pronounced. "The Examination for Lieutenant / The Fire Ships" in particular revolves around this theme. While Hornblower studies out of a book to be examined by a board, his readiness for actual command is repeatedly tested as he witnesses and experiences what happens when captains make reckless decisions, when circumstances outside one's control imperil the lives of subordinates, and times where he can't do ''anything'' to make a man follow his lead. Hornblower ends up questioning if he's fit for promotion at all, but [[TheMentor Captain Pellew]] says he's doing fine and living with such things is the price of being a leader.
* In ''Series/{{Medici}}'' Cosimo, the son who wanted to be an artist, is picked to lead the family bank (one of the largest in Europe, with a great deal of political power) because of his ingenuity and ruthlessness at need. He most explicitly ''does not'' want this, and years later is baffled by his own son's eagerness to get involved in the family business and ''signoria'' politics. More, he visibly struggles with his guilt over all the things he does in his family's interests, spending much time praying for forgiveness.
* This trope is discussed in the ''Series/MalcolmInTheMiddle'' episode where the special-ed class runs away, and Hal leads [[DumbMuscle a group of body builders that decided to follow him around.]] After Dewey asks Hal a question about leadership (Dewey had been hiding the special-ed students who were living in the neighborhood's treetops, who had [[{{Blackmail}} blackmailed]] Dewey into keeping their location secret, but was now thinking of telling on them), Hal responds by saying that people think that being a leader means having people looking up to you and doing what you want, but really being a leader means sometimes making hard decisions and telling the truth to the people that look to you for guidance, which will likely leave them disappointed.

* [[http://webspace.webring.com/people/ar/ravenfield/lyrics/5/pricecommand.html "The Price of Command"]] by Creator/MercedesLackey [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htyHYKtkV8A]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mercedes_Lackey#Vows_and_Honor]], [[http://mercedeslackey.com/music.html]]
-->This is the price of commanding--\\
That you watch your dearest die,\\
Sending women and men\\
To fight again,\\
And you never tell them why
* Music/{{Coldplay}} "Viva la Vida": "Who would ever want to be king?"
* Music/SuzanneVega's "The Queen And The Soldier".
-->''But the crown, it had fallen, and she thought she would break\\
And she stood there, ashamed of the way her heart ached\\
She took him to the doorstep and she asked him to wait\\
She would only be a moment inside\\
And out in the distance her order was heard\\
And the soldier was killed, still waiting for her word\\
And while the queen went on strangling in the solitude she preferred\\
The battle continued on''

* Henry feels the full effect of this as he wanders through the camp in disguise on the eve of battle listening to the concerns of the ordinary soldiers in Shakespeare's ''Theatre/HenryV''. He soliloquizes about it after.
-->''Upon the king, let us our lives, our debts, our souls, our care-ful wives, our children, and our sins lay on the king. We must bear all...''
** His son, ''Theatre/HenryVI'' also has a similar scene in one of his own plays, but unlike his father, Henry VI can't handle it and ends up overthrown and murdered.
*** Henry VI wasn't all there to begin with, and Shakespeare didn't gloss over it all that much.
** Henry V's father ''Theatre/HenryIV'' also felt this way, as he'd seized the crown from the unworthy Richard II in a popular revolt and wasn't sure he was up to the task of being king.
** ''Theatre/RichardII'' himself thought (and talked) about this a lot too. It was one of Shakespeare's favorite "king" tropes.
* Fausta in Creator/DorothyLSayers' ''Theatre/TheEmperorConstantine'' seriously objects to the demands that being Constantine's wife puts on her.

* A video game example: ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'' has two missions where you have to make a very, very unpleasant choice. First, [[spoiler:you get to choose which of your human squad members dies. There is no way to find a third option: the one you choose to leave behind will die spectacularly.]] And then in the downloadable content, [[spoiler:you can either let the terrorist who is trying to [[ColonyDrop drop an asteroid on a multi-million population human world]] go, or he'll kill the three miners that he took hostage on the asteroid. You cannot talk him out of it and you cannot disarm the mine before he sets it off if you choose not to let him go.]]
** Comes to a head for the player in ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', where during the final mission, if you make the wrong decisions for the various jobs and tasks, your crew members can get killed one by one.
** For an NPC example, [[spoiler:Ronald Taylor tried to invoke this trope as an excuse for his flying leap over the MoralEventHorizon (basically, he got stranded on an alien world, and killed most of the men and forced the women in his crew to serve as a harem).]] If you choose the Paragon option, [[spoiler:Jacob calls out his father as being a horrible, selfish man who didn't make the best of a horrible situation, but rather turned a horrible situation to his advantage at the expense of his fellow human beings, and only called for help when the situation became untenable. He then disowns his father.]]
** This is arguably the driving theme of ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', along with the theme of [[HeroicSacrifice sacrifice]]. Garrus and Shepard have a conversation at one point talking about the "ruthless calculus" of deciding who lives and who dies, and party members will express concern about [[HurtingHero Shepard]] throughout the course of the game as the weight of the decisions s/he has to make in the war against the Reapers take their emotional toll. Towards the end of the game, when [[spoiler:Shepard fails on Thessia and the Asari homeworld is completely lost]], [[HeroicBSOD s/he very visibly cracks under the strain,]] [[TraumaCongaLine and it just gets worse from there.]]
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' has the royal Figaro brothers, princes both. When their father died neither wanted to take the throne, and the succession was settled by a coin toss. Edgar threw the coin. Sabin got his freedom. [[spoiler:The coin was double-headed.]]
* Micaiah and Prince Pelleas go through Part III of ''FireEmblem: Radiant Dawn'' losing a war and being [[WellIntentionedExtremist the bad guys]] of said war because [[spoiler:Pelleas followed his TreacherousAdvisor's advice and signed a DealWithTheDevil.]]
* The reasoning behind [[spoiler:the King's plan, and Strong Bad becoming a literal [[TheChessmaster Chessmaster]]]] in ''VideoGame/StrongBadsCoolGameForAttractivePeople, Episode Two: Strongbadia the Free''.
* Mitsuru Kirijo of ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' feels these all too keenly, though some of it is self-imposed. She is the club leader of SEES, the sole force capable of fighting Shadows, and is thus directly in charge of the battle against them as well as responsible for the welfare of the team. But more than that, she is mercilessly driven by the guilt she feels as heiress of the Kirijo Group, who were responsible for their creation in the first place. [[spoiler:Or so it seems. After her father's death, she breaks down entirely, because it was ''his'' guilt she worked so hard and sacrificed so much of herself to erase. With him gone, she sees no point in anything. HarsherInHindsight when you realize Takeharu, though clearly a caring parent, never knew the depth of her love and devotion to him; he merely chastised her for feeling guilty over something that wasn't her fault and trying to do too much on her own.]]
* ''VideoGame/DeadState'' is all about this. Turns out that being the leader of a group of survivors during a ZombieApocalypse isn't an easy job.
* ''VideoGame/FableIII'' beats the living hell out of the player with this trope. As the Prince or Princess of Albion, you spend the first half of the game gathering allies to overthrow your tyrannical brother, promising them that you will make things better once the throne is yours in return for their support. ''Then'' you discover exactly why Logan ruled his kingdom with an iron fist; [[spoiler:he knew an EldritchAbomination would be at his doorstep within the year, and had to impoverish the rest of the country in order to fund the army that would save it. You then have some very difficult choices to make if you're trying to be a good leader; if you keep all your promises and dig deep into the treasury to improve the country, its people will be adore you and be happy - for one year before being annihilated, but if you scrimp and save on everything to fend off its impending doom you'll be a traitor, oath-breaker and hated throughout the land - but your kingdom will live on even though its people despise you.]] Logan suffered under the same weight of command. His quote from the ''VideoGame/FableIII'' page isn't a Caligula-esque rant. It's a statement of ''absolute fact''.
** Somewhat subverted in that the gameplay mechanisms allow the player to TakeAThirdOption in relatively painless fashion: just let the game run long enough for real estate income to compensate for the losses you'd take, and you get to keep ''all'' your promises to your allies without sacrificing a single life.
* Deconstructed with Ranger Chief Hanlon in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas''. The stress of overseeing a long war of attrition he sees as ultimately unwinnable [[spoiler:causes him to start faking contact reports in order to demoralise his own side, so they can get on with losing it decisively enough that they'll be driven out of the region. If the player chooses to reveal this, he kills himself.]]
* Early in ''VideoGame/TearsToTiara2'' [[TheHero Hamil]] is clearly unable to bear the pressure of command any longer, though he only shows it to Tart and Tanit. After his father dying in front of his eyes, he has had to [[ObfuscatingStupidity feign stupidity]] and lead from behind the scenes to spare his people the worst of the rule of TheEmpire. Then circumstances forces him to rebel, and he knows full well [[WarIsHell the death and destruction]] that will follow. [[SuperPoweredAlterEgo Both goddesses]] [[YouAreNotAlone say they'll help carry the burden]], and he [[TookALevelInBadass quickly grows into a confident leader]].
* Implied in ''VideoGame/SecretOfMana'', when a little boy in the castle of Tasnica tells the protagonists that he hears [[RebelLeader Krissie]] crying at night.
* The supplementary material being released in preparation for ''VideoGame/StarcraftIILegacyOfTheVoid'' is showing that [[TheHero Artanis]], Hierarch of the united [[LightIsGood Khalai]] and [[DarkIsNotEvil Nerazim]] [[ProudWarriorRace Protoss]], is feeling these quite heavily. In the video "Reclamation," he ponders whether the impending attempt to reclaim [[DoomedHometown the planet Aiur]] from the [[HordeOfAlienLocusts Zerg]] will be worth the immense loss of Protoss life it will cost. In the short story "Children of the Void," it's shown that he must perform a perilous balancing act regarding which actions he takes and does ''not'' take in keeping the two factions united. And in the comic "Sacrifice," it's shown that Artanis never wanted the position of Hierarch in the first place, and only took it because it was the only way to keep the two factions together.
* In ''VideoGame/VampireTheMasqueradeBloodlines'', Prince Sebastian [=LaCroix=] believes in this trope bigtime and delivers a rather eloquent speech on the subject (it's on the quotes page) after events of the game [[spoiler:'force' him to call a Blood Hunt on Nines Rodriguez, knowing it will throw Los Angeles into disarray.]]. This is rather undercut by [=LaCroix=] otherwise being a self-entitled jerk, not to mention that [[spoiler:you later learn [[BastardlySpeech the whole thing was him playing to the gallery]] since he was behind the whole scenario with Nines to begin with.]]
* In ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series' backstory, the legendary Yokudan/Redguard hero Frandar Hunding [[ReluctantRuler reluctantly]] became the leader of the Ansei, also known as "Sword Singers/Saints", an [[TheOrder order]] of [[MasterSwordsman Master Swordsman]] so skilled they could [[SpontaneousWeaponCreation create blades from their very souls]], during the Yokudan War of the Singers against the forces of the corrupter Emperor Hira. Ever the GuileHero, Frandar led the Ansei to victory despite being outnumbered ''thirty to one''. However, he would continue to struggle with this decision and many others he made as leader for the rest of his life. Due to being considered "red with blood" by the citizens of Yokuda, he chose to self-exile to Tamriel, becoming one of the first Yokudans to settle there.

* Baron Wulfenbach from ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'' could easily compare his job to herding cats and is implied to be constantly exhausted from stopping various AxCrazy [[MadScientist Mad Scientists]] from going out of control, but he's the only thing preventing Europa from collapsing into blood-soaked anarchy. [[spoiler:As proven when he drops a time-stop on Mechanicsburg, trapping himself in the center, and two and a half years later Europa has indeed collapsed into blood-soaked anarchy.]] [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20040114 Here]] and [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20040806 here]]. He also punishes someone who has displeased him by putting him in charge of a city. Admittedly, it includes the threat of being sent to [[PunishmentDetail Castle Heterodyne]] at his very first slip-up. [[spoiler:Later, we catch up with him in Castle Heterodyne.]]
* In ''Webcomic/TheInexplicableAdventuresOfBob'', Princess Voluptua takes her job very seriously, both as heir to the throne and as veicereign of Earth's solar system. Apparently, a lot of Nemesite royals and aristocrats are terrible jerks, whereas she's trying very hard to be a fair and just leader. She seems to be doing a good job, since even people who [[http://bobadventures.comicgenesis.com/d/20100525.html hate the Nemesites in general seem to respect her.]]
* One of the key themes in ''Webcomic/{{Kubera}}'' is "Who do the gods pray to when they are in despair?" It's implied that more than a few problems (such as the god Kubera's plan that kickstarted the plot, or the [[OurDemonsAreDifferent Nastika]] Gandharva's desperate attempts to save his clan and find his daughter) happened solely because the primeval gods disappeared, leaving the other gods and god-like beings with no idea what to do, and no one to go to for advice.
** In a more comedic example, the side novel states that the primeval gods made Indra the [[TopGod king of the gods]] just so they could dump more of their paperwork on him.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' this seems to be a running element of the aspect of Blood. Thematically it's tied to society, the networking of people working together but in most instances come up as the pressure of maintaining a unit in conflict. Symbolically it's represented as chains and red tape and is an aspect characterized by TheFettered.
* Lord Shojo from ''WebComic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' is the leader of Azure City and [[LawfulGood an order of Paladins.]] He does this by ObfuscatingStupidity as a ChaoticGood person. When one of the Paladins called him out for his underhanded tactics, he has some choice words in combination with ToBeLawfulOrGood:
-->'''Lord Shojo:''' It is good for you Paladins to stick to your convictions, but if ''I'' make a mistake, half a million citizens pay for it.

* The lord in A Caution to the Wise, a story in ''Wiki/TheWanderersLibrary'', has only one lament : "If only I were free!"
* ''WebAnimation/TheAdventuresOfKimJongUn: Enforced in "Kim Jong-un vs. Kim Jong-il Part 2". [[spoiler: Kim Jong-uam]] briefly convinces Kim Jong-un to hand power over to him, but [[spoiler:the burden of running North Korea literally crushes him into nothing]].

* WesternAnimation/WingCommanderAcademy: Tolwyn teaches this lesson to Blair on several occasions.
* Rodimus Prime in series 3 of ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'' is often struggling with living up to the legacy of Optimus Prime, and at times is even willing to justify any excuse to give up command. A lot of this stems from [[ItsAllMyFault his guilt of Optimus' death]] in ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformersTheMovie'' and when Optimus returns for good, he happily returns the Matrix to the elder Prime.
** Rattrap was put in charge of the Maximals once in ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars''. He categorizes this responsibility as "a pain in the tail," and is perfectly happy to turn command back over to Optimus Primal.
** And even [[IdealHero Optimus Prime]] feels it now and again. In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'', for example, Bulkhead notes that he's never seen Optimus laugh... Or even ''smile''.
* Leonardo from ''[[WesternAnimation/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles2003 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]]'' (2003) suffers through this, and it becomes the focus of his character arc during the first half of the fourth season.
* Ahsoka has to learn this lesson when she loses her squadron of pilots in ''Storm over Ryloth'' on ''WesternAnimation/TheCloneWars''.
* Commander Walsh from ''[[WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers Galaxy Rangers]]'', especially in "Supertroopers." He was in charge of the SuperSoldier project, and it blew up in his face.
* Wildwing from ''WesternAnimation/TheMightyDucks'' when he was put in charge by Canard, just before he disappeared.
* [[TheSimpsons Homer Simpson]], of all people, invoked this trope to cheer Bart up when he was bitter about losing the election for class president. Homer points out that Bart would have had to do a lot of extra work without getting paid, and he wouldn't even have been able to do anything cool because of it. When he realizes just what he would have had to put up with if he'd won the election, Bart actually feels a lot better.
* RebelPrince Lion-O from ''WesternAnimation/{{Thundercats 2011}}'' feels like this from time to time. It doesn't really help that [[AllOfTheOtherReindeer everyone in his kingdom]] thinks his adoptive older brother Tygra would be a better king, Tygra included. Once a sword that OnlyTheChosenMayWield marks Lion-O as TheChosenOne, and his father is assassinated, the newly-crowned young king remains full of doubt in his leadership, wondering aloud "[[GivingTheSwordToANoob Maybe the sword chose wrong]]."
* Aqualad from ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'' ever since episode six has expressed that being leader is a burden. He has repeatedly attempted and thought about giving up leadership because his actions. During the episode "Disordered" he had accepted leadership after he explained why his team mates can't handle it: "Artemis is too raw and untrusting, Superboy is too angry, Kid Flash is too impulsive, Miss Martian is too eager to please everyone and Robin is too young for the burden."
** Robin may also count too. In "Failsafe" after [[spoiler:Aqualad's (temporary) HeroicSacrifice]], he had to take control and intentionally [[spoiler:sent Superboy on a suicide mission and the choice [[BreakTheCutie devastated him]].]] He admits to Black Canary that [[spoiler:while he ''can'' make hard choices and be TheChessmaster, he hates it, and no longer wants to be in command.]]
** In season two, [[spoiler:Robin, now Nightwing, is leader of the team and is definitely feeling the weight of the choices he has to make. Even worse is that he seems to be pulling off GoodIsNotNice, and hates every minute of it.]]
** Captain Atom was too happy to relinquish his position as the leader of the Justice League once the situation stabilized enough for it.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'' episode 'Boss Mabel', Mabel gets to run the Mystery Shack for three days while Grunkle Stan goes on vacation as part of a bet (whoever earned the most money would be the boss for the rest of the summer). By the end of the episode, we learn that when your employees are TheSlacker and a ManChild, the only way to get things done is to get tough while using genuine monsters (or at least large intelligent ones) as your exhibits puts alot of people at risk, hence why fake exhibits are used, no matter how fake. When Stan returns and Mabel wins the bet (Mabel lost almost all her profits aside from 1$ repairing the damage to the shack but Stan had completely blown his winnings on the game show he was on by screwing up the final question), she gives the reins back to Stan, admitting the trouble in regards to managing the job.
-->[[spoiler:[[CreditsGag HEAVY IS THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE FEZ]]]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CodenameKidsNextDoor'': The main reason why the Soopreme Leader of the KND is chosen in a game of tag is because ''nobody wants the job'', specifically for this reason (and the fact that it's tedious and consumes a lot of free time). Despite that, when [[TheMillstone Numbuh 13]] is tagged and happily proclaims he'll be Soopreme Leader, he is instantly dogpiled by many surrounding operatives so one of them would get tagged. The job may suck, but they know that it keeps the place running and letting Numbuh 13 run it would doom them all. Unfortunately, because of this tradition, [[BigBad Father]] ends up becoming Soopreme Leader briefly because he gets himself tagged in the last few seconds of the game (Father was technically a KND member due to an earlier plot led to his DNA being put into the code module for active agents). In the end, Numbuh 362, despite earlier having stepped down as Soopreme Leader specifically because of this trope, ends up taking it back from Father because she's one of the few around who can do the job well.
* ''TimeSquad'' showed both UsefulNotes/GeorgeWashington and UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln suffering from this. Washington hated living in the limelight and the dealing with the stress of being idolized as the first President, and resented not having the time to start a family of his own. Lincoln felt suffocated by his reputation as "Honest Abe", with everyone treating him like an incorruptible symbol instead of a human being with his own darker drives, and briefly resigned from the presidency just so he could run around and indulge in being a jerk.

* Say what you will about modern political leaders, but many of them live their lives in a fishbowl and are ruthlessly scrutinized by the media, their political opponents, and online bloggers. Even the smallest mistakes and misstatements can blow up in one's face, particularly in the modern age when blogs, Twitter, and other online media can spread news almost immediately. It gets worse when you consider the level of personal venom some commentators direct at them, which in some cases would be grounds for slander or libel if made against a private citizen. And then there's what happens if your family gets dragged into it...
* Nicholas II, the last Tsar of Russia, suffered from this during UsefulNotes/WorldWarI, when he became so overwhelmed with the task of trying to run the Russian Empire during a time of war that it took a serious toll on his physical health. As noted by biographer Robert K. Massie in his seminal book ''Nicholas and Alexandra'', being deposed as the Russian Emperor actually had a fringe benefit, as it freed him from the stresses of running the country. Life in captivity wasn't exactly pleasant, and it got worse after the Bolsheviks seized power, but Nicholas' health did recover once he no longer had to put up with the headaches of running a country so huge it made up one-sixth of the world's landmass.
** In Russia, you could notice that in Boris Yeltsin's interviews around a year after resignation he looked way better than five years prior, after the election for the second term (not even to mention a year before resignation). Removal of the strain made him look somewhat younger with time..
* Many people who knew George VI, his wife the Queen Mother especially, have long maintained that his suddenly becoming King in the wake of the Abdication, and the stresses of leading the British through the Second World War, are what ultimately killed him at the age of 56.
* [[http://content.time.com/time/photogallery/0,29307,1872168,00.html Presidents of the U.S. tend to age rapidly in office]]. Political diarist Alan Clarke thought that public office aged you several years for every one calendar year, and he was not even in a very important post at the time. A good visual example is UsefulNotes/BillClinton. His hair has been completely gray for so long that most people forget that when he was elected in 1992, his hair was a dark blonde. By the time his first term was up, the man had visible bags under his eyes, and his hair was completely gray.
** A President who aged ''before'' taking office was arguably [[UsefulNotes/DwightDEisenhower Ike]], due to serving as [[UsefulNotes/WorldWarII Allied Commander of the European theater]]. The stress of leading allied forces against a well-trained military force drove Ike to drink and smoke constantly. And he took the duty seriously: A letter was found after D-Day that Eisenhower wrote in case the Normandy landings failed where he asked [[ItsAllMyFault to take full blame]] (even though the landing was successful, the letter is [[SugarWiki/HeartwarmingMoments still considered an excellent example of leadership]]). By the time Ike was President, he wasn't in the best of health.
** When UsefulNotes/JamesBuchanan left office, after failing to prevent the Civil War and seeing the division of the Union, he told UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln, "If you are as happy to be entering the presidency as I am to be leaving it, then you are a very happy man."
** Lincoln himself reflected on this; "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."
** During his first term in office, UsefulNotes/GroverCleveland met a five year old UsefulNotes/FranklinDRoosevelt in 1887 and is supposed to have said to him, "My little man, I am making a strange wish for you. It is that you may never be President of the United States."
** UsefulNotes/ThomasJefferson was quite happy to retire after his second term of office. In a letter that he wrote to his friend Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours shortly before his departure, he stated, "Never did a prisoner released from his chains feel such relief as I shall on shaking off the shackles of power."
** UsefulNotes/WarrenHarding is recorded to have said ''I am not fit for this office and I should never have been here''. He also stated ''I have no trouble with my enemies - I can take care of my enemies all right. But my damn friends... They're the ones that keep me walking the floors at night!''
** Several media personalities commented on how UsefulNotes/RonaldReagan seemed to suffer from his position far less than most Presidents, especially given how old he was when elected. This is probably related to him being one of the most 'hands off' presidents ever, with him largely letting his cabinet run itself (at least until the Iran-Contra Affair).
** Barack Obama: If you look at pictures of him before he was elected and towards the end of his presidency, it's as if he aged about 15 years in the course of eight. Lampshaded by the man himself on the Colbert Report.
* For a British example, compare UsefulNotes/TonyBlair before and after his time as Prime Minister; you'd never believe he was only ten years older.
* In his book ''Bastards and Boneheads'', Canadian historian Will Ferguson provides a list of quotes from the Canadian prime ministers that all pretty much say the same thing: Canada is an extremely difficult country to govern. Ferguson's book was written while Jean Chretien was in office, but one could argue that Paul Martin and Stephen Harper would add their quotes to the list if they were asked about it.
* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by President Trump on his one-hundredth day in office: "It's a lot of work."
* It should come as no surprise that military officers in general (or at least any decent, self-respecting one) deal with this on a regular basis. Given the lives of the men under their command, logistics, the orders they give and the realities of war, they ''have'' to bear it. The ups and downs of rank is summed up with two complementary sayings which, in the tradition of the US military, are expressed via an acronym: RHIP. Rank Hath Its Privileges, and Rank Hath Its Problems.