->'''Delenn''': If you go, you will learn things about me that may change your opinion of me.
-> '''Lennier''': Delenn, I have pledged myself to your side...come fire or storm or darkness or death. Can understanding be a greater danger?
-> '''Delenn''': In this case...yes.
-->-- '''Series/BabylonFive''': ''Atonement''

The heroes need the help of a legendary figure who, over the years, [[ShroudedInMyth has been idolized]] as the paragon of virtue, the source of all that is good and just, a true example for schoolchildren everywhere. The legend has beaten back all enemies, saved the day hundreds of times, and is truly a KnightInShiningArmor worth looking up to.

And then, when they finally meet this so-called legendary figure, they find out that he's anything but.

This is not to say that the legend [[FeetOfClay didn't actually do all those amazing things people say he did]]. He's no MilesGloriosus. The guy really is a hero. What he ''isn't'', however, is a paragon of virtue. He's rude. He drinks. He smokes and is a bit of a womanizer and only got into the hero biz in the first place to make himself rich.

It's not the legend's fault that the heroes have idolized him. He can't control what other people say or think, after all. He, like the heroes, is only human, and the flaws that the heroes are complaining about are merely proof of their own unrealistic expectations. They had no right to expect him to match their daydreams. Exactly how serious the flaws are depends on where it lands on the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism; anything from minor foibles or even GoodIsNotNice to serious AntiHero territory is possible.

The trope name comes from UsefulNotes/OliverCromwell (1599-1658), who, in an attempt to avoid this trope, once told an artist to paint a portrait of him "warts and all". Official portraits were commonly done with the flaws in a person's appearance "corrected" by the artist. Cromwell wanted his picture to include his imperfections. Similarly, this trope is about the legendary character being finally seen for who and what he is, flaws and all. It is somewhat fitting that Cromwell, whom the English idolize while still admitting to his flaws, is the TropeNamer.[[labelnote:Note to Americans]]There is no evidence, ''[[WithDueRespect pace]]'' [[UsefulNotes/GeorgeHWBush Papa Bush]], that UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln ever said "Here I stand, warts and all"; Lincoln would have agreed with the sentiment, but he never actually said that.[[/labelnote]]

Usually, this trope involves the lead characters convincing the legend that he must rise above his weaknesses and become the true [[KnightInShiningArmor shining example]] that they thought he was. A more BittersweetEnding is possible if one of the leads gets caught up in the hero-worship and refuses to see through the foibles to the human being inside. Or worse, if they only realize the legend is human after a HeroicSacrifice; if only the reader realizes it and the characters all refuse to, this trope can reach TragicHero heights.

AnAesop about expecting the KnightInShiningArmor is possible. Contrast FeetOfClay or FakeUltimateHero, where the "legendary hero" is anything but. Compare NoHeroToHisValet where someone close to the hero does not hold him in awe because they know him. Similar to BrokenPedestal, but there the characters have a rational grounds for thinking the legend is better than he is because they knew him when he was better. Inverse of HeroWithBadPublicity. A HistoricalDowngrade is doing this to a historical figure.


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Louie from ''Anime/RuneSoldierLouie''.
* L/Ryuzaki in ''Manga/DeathNote''. Light mentions that most people would expect the #1 greatest detective in the world to be more detective-y. Instead, he's a barefoot young insomniac with a sweet tooth, non-existant social skills, and extremely poor posture.
* In ''Anime/TheVisionOfEscaflowne'', Chid has a case of this toward [[OfficerAndAGentleman Allen Schezar]]: his mother's tales of Allen's skill, bravery and heroism had led Chid to expect him to be an unbeatable hero. Allen showing up badly wounded and semi-conscious is something of a letdown to the boy, who'd been expecting someone rather more invincible.
* Jiraya of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' is one of three legendary shinobi who have saved countless lives. Unfortunately for his apprentice Naruto, he's also a huge pervert who writes porn novels.
** Naruto himself counts, as by the end of the series, he truly is a shinobi worthy of the history books and a legend in his own right, but he's still ''[[IdiotHero Na]][[{{Keet}} ru]][[NoSocialSkills to]]''. As ''Anime/TheLastNarutoTheMovie'' shows, Hinata still loves Naruto for who he is, rather than the hero he's supposed to be, [[spoiler:which is one of the reasons why he marries ''[[OneTrueLove her]]'' in the end]]. Hinata has admired, acknowledged, and loved him ''for him'' since the very beginning. Both the flashback in Chapter 538 and [[WordOfGod a post-series interview with Kishimoto]] confirm that she was the very first person to acknowledge him for who he is, ''long'' before Iruka did. She loved him long before he ever became the hero in the public's eye and she'll love him long after his story fades into legend.
--->'''Hinata:''' "You make mistakes... but... because of those mistakes... you get the strength to stand up to them... that's why I think you are truly strong."
---> [[spoiler:'''Naruto''']]: [[spoiler: "[[InsecureLoveInterest This whole time, you always loved me for the way I am]]."]]
* Played with in ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', where the young Princess May Cheng has a sizable crush on famed alchemist Edward Elric - whom she's never met. She imagines him to be dashing, tall, and a complete {{bishounen}} with beautiful manners...then she meets the grumpy, snarky, vertically-challenged reality. It's done for laughs when she berates him for "toying with a maiden's affections" - and he stares at her and wonders who in the world she is.
** This is played straighter in regards to her feelings for Alphonse. After Ed turns out to not be the person she hoped he was, once she gets to know Al (in his suit-of-armor body, of course), she begins to imagine him as dashingly charming and handsome (in his real body) in much the same way she did to Ed, and thus is very eager for him to get his body back. However, when Al ''does'' get it back (after first sacrificing himself, causing May to believe he died), he's very emaciated and sickly-looking, not at all how May imagined him. Nonetheless, she still tearfully hugs him, overjoyed that he's alive.
* Holland from ''Anime/EurekaSeven''. When Renton runs away to join Gekkostate, he is disappointed to discover that his idol is a {{Jerkass}} who [[SillyRabbitIdealismisForKids doesn't subscribe]] [[JadeColoredGlasses to his own]] [[KnightInSourArmor ideals.]]
* In ''Manga/MobileSuitGundamSEEDAstray'', [[GenkiGirl Kisato]] is a total fangirl of the legendary George Glenn, the original [[BornWinner Coordinator]] and an [[TheAce Ace]] of the highest caliber. He ends up coming back to "life" when the team finds his BrainInAJar and [[MadScientist Professor]] hooks it into a hologram projector. However, he turns out to be a very goofy and playful fellow, which upsets Kisato's image of him as an austere, serene, larger-than-life figure. In the end, she accepts him after he convinces her that he's only human and legends always exaggerate...but she's still put off by how silly he is.
* In ''Manga/DragonBall'', Bulma tells Future Trunks that Vegeta is a noble warrior; needless to say it's jarring and very disappointing for him when he goes back in time and sees just how much of a JerkAss BloodKnight his father really was.
* ''Manga/{{Saiyuki}}'' has this happen all the time to [[RagtagBunchOfMisfits the main characters]]. Sanzo's team is famous as a group of demon slayers led by a legendary priest, so they're wanted in pretty much every town they pass through. What the townspeople don't realize until it's too late is that said priest is a young chain-smoking jerkass who shoots anything that annoys him, and that his companions are demons themselves. And while they live up to the "demon slayers" part, they normally only care about defending ''their own lives''. They usually get the deserved thanks for solving the town's issues just because they're the only ones strong enough to sort them out and often have to do it anyway to progress on their journey.

* ''Comicbook/AstroCity'' does this a cuple of times:
** In ''Confession'', Altar Boy learns that his mentor, the Confessor[[spoiler: is a vampire -- and Confessor refused to declare he had not killed people as a vampire. However, his Heroic Sacrifice not only won over Altar Boy, it inspired him to take up the mantle]].
** In ''Life in the Big City'', an alien is put off by Crackerjack's arrogance, boasting, and foolishness, but follows him for a night and is almost persuaded not to send his race information they need to invade. Eventually he does it; not because Crackerjack is less than a hero but because [[GossipyHens other humans]] displease him.
* For the last couple decades, it's been quite popular to portray Franchise/{{Batman}} as a serious {{Jerkass}}, particularly to his friends and allies.
* ComicBook/BoosterGold is a LargeHam who seems, at times, to be more interested in product endorsements, fame, and getting rich than he is fighting crime. Nevertheless, he really is a true blue hero who has regularly put his life on the line when the situation called for it. After the death of [[ComicBook/BlueBeetle Ted Kord]] though, he became the hero he always wanted to be seen as. He has to constantly pretend to still be a greedy, shallow idiot so that he can effectively defend time. Sacrifice is a predominant theme in his 2007 series.
* ''ComicBook/TheWarlord'': This was the main theme of the 1992 miniseries, which largely consisted of the Warlord's friends and family telling the viewpoint character "Well, yes, he's a hero, ''but''..." There's a fair amount of it in the 2009 series, as well (which is unsurprising, as they're both by Mike Grell).
* One issue of ''ComicBook/JonahHex'' is [[NostalgicNarrator nostalgically narrated]] by a writer who, in the time frame the issue takes place, was a mute orphan. After his father dies, he runs into Hex, who saves him from being eaten by wolves. The two of them have some adventures (during which he constantly narrates about how awesome Hex is), he saves Hex's life, and then [[spoiler:Hex leaves him to fend for himself in the Canadian wilderness.]]
* Happens with ''the entire human race'' in the short ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'' spinoff ''The Robot Hunter''. A single robot, Smokey Joe, is sent to establish a massively roboticised infrastructure so the colonists arriving later will have a prebuilt utopia. Unfortunately Joe idolizes humans and makes sure every robot he builds know all about how awesome and fantastic the wonderful humans are. When the colonists show up, the robots see a bunch of soft and feeble fleshbags and not the living gods they were expecting. So they very reasonably decide that these are "simulated humans" sent as a test, and since their programming only apply to ''real'' ones, there's nothing stopping them from putting the lot in cages and doing horrible things to them. [[spoiler:When their super-intelligent leader realizes their mistake and what they've done, his programming breaks so bad he regresses into childhood. Despite, uh, never actually having had one.]]

[[folder: Fan Fiction]]
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/1460890/1/Living-History Living History]]'', a group of time travelers are shocked to learn how ''human'' the [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Scoobies]] actually are. They're all considered legends (and in the case of Xander and Faith, patron saints) but are still relatively normal people doing their jobs. One at least is massively disappointed by how incredibly primitive they are as he simply can't account for over 800 years of technological advancement.
* Tsunade in ''[[http://ficwad.com/story/222436 Eroninja]]'' always imagined her grandmother to be a ProperLady, but when she's resurrected Tsunade learns that Mito only acted as such after her husband died to keep the nobles and council happy. In reality she's a HardDrinkingPartyGirl. Thankfully they later [[RebuiltPedestal reconcile]].
* Deliberately invoked in ''[[http://anime.adult-fanfiction.org/story.php?no=600055428&chapter=3 The Vain Rose's Garden]]'' after Belldandy walks in on Skuld having sex. Urd explains to Belldandy that Skuld idolizes her and is likely feeling ashamed at being caught doing something she never does, and thus urges Belldandy to explain to Skuld that she too has urges and indulges them.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/LegendOfTheGuardiansTheOwlsOfGaHoole'', Soren finds out that the ragged, one-eyed, rather cynical old owl Ezylryb is actually [[spoiler:his hero, the legendary Lyze of Kiel]].
-->'''[[spoiler:Lyze]]:''' Fancy it must be hard, meeting your hero and seeing that he's real and not a myth.\\
'''Soren:''' You're just not--\\
'''[[spoiler:Lyze]]:''' Well what did you expect? Some ''Tyto alba'' with gleaming armor and battle claws, the moon rising behind him? (''holds up his mangled talon'') Well ''this'' is what it looks like when you've actually fought in battle. It's not glorious, it's not beautiful, it's not even heroic. It's merely doing what's right. And doing it again and again, even if someday you look like ''this''.
* This is one of the bigger morals in ''WesternAnimation/MaryAndMax'', and Max's psychiatrist name-drops the trope twice.
-->'''Max:''' [Dr. Hazelhof] said I would have to accept myself, my warts and all, and that we don't get to choose our warts. That they are a part of us, and we have to live with them.
* Played with by the North Wind in ''WesternAnimation/PenguinsOfMadagascar''. While they are a competent and heroic team, they're also rather egotistical and unsympathetic, causing much of the antagonism between them and the penguins. Cemented when [[spoiler:the North Wind abandon the penguins inside Dave's submarine to "regroup", even after Private saved them from a DeathTrap.]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Hancock}}'': Only one character manages to see through the appearance to heroism.
* In ''Franchise/StarTrek'', Zefram Cochrane was the genius who gave the human race warp drive, thus taking the first step in the founding of TheFederation. ''Film/StarTrekFirstContact'' revealed that he was a cowardly, womanizing drunk whose intentions in building the first warp ship was "dollar signs, and lots of them".
-->'''Commander Riker:''' Someone once said "Don't try to be a great man. Just be a man, and let history make its own judgment."\\
'''Zefram Cochrane:''' That's rhetorical nonsense. Who said that?\\
'''Commander Riker:''' You did, ten years from now.
* In ''Film/CatBallou'', Catherine is dismayed to find that Shelleen, whom she hired due to his high reputation with a gun, is constantly drunk and uncoordinated as a result. Even his horse shows a similar laid back attitude.
* ''Film/SchindlersList'' pointedly includes Schindler's womanizing along with his heroic actions.
* Creator/PeterJackson's 2005 version of ''Film/{{King Kong|2005}}'' has a good one. After Ann Darrow (Naomi Watts) is taken away by Kong, the crew goes off to rescue her, but about half-way (after a run in with some Raptors) Bruce Baxter, the intended star of Carl Denham's (Jack Black) film, decides to turn tail much to the disappointment of Adrian Brody's character. "I always knew you weren't the tough guy you played in the movies, Baxter, I just never figured you for a coward." Later on though, as Jack, Carl, and the rest are about to be killed, Baxter returns with the crew for a BigDamnHeroes moment and gets to be the action hero he always pretended to be.
---> '''Baxter:''' Hey, pal. Hey, wake up. Heroes don't look like me, not in the real world. In the real world, they've got bad teeth, a bald spot, and a beer gut. I'm just an actor with a gun, who's lost his motivation. Be seein' you.
* ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'': The all-powerful ''Wizard of Oz'' turns out to be [[spoiler:nothing more than a SnakeOilSalesman. His confidence trickster skills do, however, eventually save the day.]]
* ''Film/MalcolmX'' includes Malcolm X's early life as a criminal and the various controversies surrounding his life. It also finds time to remind the audience that Martin Luther King cheated on his wife. However, it ends with an {{anvilicious}} monologue about how Malcolm X still did great things and ultimately his work shouldn't be sullied by his less-than-savory aspects (it also helped that he rescinded on some of his more militant viewpoints later on in his life).
* Evee is of this position in ''Film/VForVendetta'', although it's an unusual case because [[VillainAntagonist V]] wants to embody an idea instead of be a hero (because [[CantStopTheSignal ideas are bulletproof]]) while Evee wants to remember him as person who lived and loved, as apart from the faceless totalitarian government he opposed.

* Creator/SandyMitchell's Literature/CiaphasCain is a FakeUltimateHero and among the most successful. Inquisitor Amberley Vail, his long-term associate and (apparently) lover, is perhaps the only person who can see past his sterling reputation. However, she herself thinks that he is too hard on himself, and possesses many heroic attributes. And she has a point. For all of his self-deprecation Cain does have a heroic side that shows through every so often, though he always quick to claim that he only saves people left, right, and center for strictly selfish reasons (the only one he fools is himself). Thing is, thanks to the unreliable narration from Cain's viewpoint, there's no way to be sure how much of Cain's heroism is really fake. Certainly, his handwaving to explain the selfish, cowardly reasons why he performed seemingly heroic acts looks rather thin at points. Assuming he ''is'' telling the truth about what he does, he's often actively trying to avoid danger and yet somehow ends up in it, so you can agree with his self-depreciation. On the other hand, more of the time he actively puts himself in harm's way even when there are numerous moments he could have quietly slipped away with no one the wiser and no harm to his reputation.
* In Mitchel Scanlon's ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' Literature/HorusHeresy novel ''Descent of Angels'', Zahariel's first glimpse of Brother Amadis disappoints him: merely a man, not a figure like Lion. But the longer he looks at him, the more he understands his character and heroism.
* In Creator/RickRiordan's ''[[Literature/PercyJacksonAndTheOlympians The Battle for the Labyrinth]]'', they meet up with Briares, the Hundred-Handed One, and find him demoralized and unwilling to fight, much to Tyson's distress. In the end, however, he does join in the final battle.
* In Creator/PoulAnderson's ''Virgin Planet'', the somewhat callow hero lands on a [[LadyLand planet inhabited solely by women]] -- and women [[ShroudedInMyth whose myths recount the days where there were men, wonderful and marvellous beings]]. Meeting with a real, merely human man leads them to rapidly conclude that he's really an alien, not being wonderful and marvellous enough. Dealing with him, however, brings various women to realize that he really is a man. (Not at all hurt by his CharacterDevelopment, all the way up to offering to make a HeroicSacrifice at the climax.)
* In Creator/PiersAnthony's ''Literature/{{Xanth}}'', when the Gorgon asked Good Magician Humphrey to marry her, he set the same condition as anyone else who wanted an answer from him: she had to work for him for a year. When Dor discovers this, Humphrey explains that he feared this trope, because the Gorgon had thought herself in love after he cast the spell to keep her from turning people to stone. Working as his housekeeper for a year would ensure that she knew of all his little quirks and annoying traits before she married him -- if she married him. A little later, the Gorgon explains to Dor that she had worked this out, and [[SingleWomanSeeksGoodMan it is exactly what convinced her that he was the right man]].
* In Creator/TerryPratchett's ''Discworld/UnseenAcademicals'', Trev was bitter about his dead father. Nutt pointed out that his father had been only human, not a god; a good father; and, if perhaps a FearlessFool who had gotten himself killed, yet people who had risked their lives had been important to the human race -- an insight which profoundly moves Trev.
** Discworld also references the TropeNamer in ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'' when "Old Stoneface" Vimes, a CaptainErsatz of Cromwell, is persistently described as having 'warts and all' by historical romantics who essentially use this as their justification for considering him the bad guy (King Lorenzo, on the other side, was "extremely fond of children" ''but he looked the part'').
* The Wizard in ''Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz'', aka the Great and Powerful Oz. [[spoiler:Less so in the book, where he is portrayed as a kindly old man who has simply gone astray in his balloon, as in the 1939 film, where he is shown as a ''SnakeOilSalesman''.]]
* John "Black Jack" Geary of ''Literature/TheLostFleet''. After being in [[HumanPopsicle suspended animation]] for over a century, he's found by a fleet on its way to a major offensive. He quickly discovers that he's nearly worshipped by people on his side of the war. This trope is a major theme of the series as a whole.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'', although Harry had known Dumbledore for over six years and saw him as a father figure, he realizes that he doesn't really know the ''true'' Dumbledore: what he does outside of school, what his history is, whether he's truly the paragon of virtue that Harry's viewed him as for years. That's what makes it all the more soul-crushing for Harry to read the (surprisingly true, considering the author) biography of Dumbledore written by Rita Skeeter, depicting a youthful Dumbledore championing [[FantasticRacism Wizard superiority]] and being buddies with Grindelwald, who was effectively the [[ANaziByAnyOtherName Wizard Hitler]]. By the end of the book, Harry accepts that Dumbledore is not perfect, and that he is still the greatest wizard who ever lived regardless of how he used to be.
** He had an earlier moment in ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheOrderOfThePhoenix'', where he views one of Snape's [[TransferableMemory Pensieve memories]] and observes his practically-sainted father, James, antagonizing Snape (specifically, the moment where Snape ruins the only good friendship eh had.) A moment later verified by James' [[TrueCompanions fellow Marauders]], Sirius and Remus. They dispell Harry's worries and mention that while James had his negative sides, he was ultimately a good and noble man and he did mature beyond that.
* In the ''Literature/{{Uglies}}'' series novel ''Extras'', [[spoiler:the protagonist Aya eventually meets Tally Youngblood, who is now the most famous person in the world for overthrowing the dystopian system of the previous books. While Tally very much did save the world and is still working hard to protect it, all the brain and body surgeries and traumatic experiences she was put through have left her with a terrifying appearance, short temper and artificially lowered opinion of humanity.]]
* In the epilogue of ''Literature/EndersGame'' (and throughout the direct sequels), this trope is part of the a movement called the "Speaker for the Dead" (also the title of [[Literature/SpeakerForTheDead the first sequel]]). A Speaker is something of a professional eulogizer, they speak at funerals and tell the story of the person who has died: the good, the bad, how they were seen by others, and how they saw themselves. The idea being to tell the story without applying judgement or justification, laying bare all the cold hard truths of the departed's life. In-universe, the concept became popular after it was done for the man who united humanity under a single government (the story including his sociopathic behavior as a young man, which included violent emotional and physical abuse and manipulation of his siblings).
** One such funeral service (for a wife-beating alcoholic) is shown in the titular sequel. No attempt is made to justify his violence and abuse, but those in attendance finally understand how much physical and emotional pain the man himself was in for his entire life and why he took it out on his family. No forgiveness or redemption is implied, only an increased understanding and empathy for a fellow human being.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Poignantly subverted in ''Series/{{Firefly}}''. After arriving at a village that has put Jayne up as a folk hero due to a misunderstanding, Jayne eventually tries to make the townspeople understand he's just a regular guy, even going so far as to push over his own statue (which breaks and, being made of the stuff, leaves behind a pair of literal FeetOfClay). They don't believe him.
-->'''Mal''': I imagine every guy's got a statue made of him, was one kind of sumbitch or another. It's not about you, Jayne. It's about what they need.
* In ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'', Dahar Master Kor is a legendary warrior that everyone gushes over. But he is really old and becoming more and more senile as time goes on. His legendary status gets stripped away when he starts reliving a battle from his glory days which gets a lot of his people unnecessarily killed. Shown for the senile old man that he was, the crew rejects him. But he redeems himself when he undertakes a suicide mission and shows that he still has the skills (and the [[HeroicSacrifice honor]]) that made him the legendary figure in the first place.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "Father's Day", Rose meets up with her dead father, whom she knows only from her mother's stories. He proves to be up to his neck in get-rich-quick schemes and he and her mother quarrel almost continuously. However, in the end, her father makes a HeroicSacrifice to save the universe. Rose's voice-over at the beginning and end of the episode are both about her father, but the concluding one is full of new insight. She better gets to know him (or rather an alternate universe version) in another episode. Turns out that his get-rich-quick schemes would've ''succeeded'' if he actually lived and despite initially being hostile to Rose (namely because he didn't get to be a dad here), he quickly embraces her as the daughter he never had.
* Textbook demonstrated in an episode of ''Series/{{MASH}}''. Hawkeye's nightly habits catch up to him, and a hangover prevents him from finishing surgery on a patient. Radar, laid up due to an earlier injury, chastises Hawkeye for his failure, which results in his hero angrily yelling at him. After much discussion (and everyone in camp chewing out Hawkeye for his lost temper, Hawkeye included) Radar reaches the conclusion that he was human all along, and that seeing him off the pedestal, he might be able to like him more as a person than an idol.
* Occurs in the ''Series/BabylonFive'' episode "Atonement". Delenn warns Lennier to stay on Babylon 5 when she goes to face the clan council, lest he find out about her biggest wart. He refuses because of his UndyingLoyalty. When he finds out what it is - that she had cast the deciding vote for the Earth-Minbari war - Lennier tells her that he ''still'' has UndyingLoyalty for her.
* In ''Series/{{Heroes}}'', Hiro goes back in time to feudal Japan and meets his hero Takezo Kensei, who turns out to be a drunken Englishman. With Hiro's help, Kensei becomes the man the legends told of and discovers along the way that he's immortal and unkillable. [[spoiler:A falling out between Hiro and Kensei turns Kensei into a villainous inversion of the man Hiro helped him become.]]
* ''Series/MurdochMysteries'': Early in "Winston's Lost Night", Inspector Brackenreid is unhappy that the great Winston Churchill is locked in one of the station's cells, and he effusively praises Churchill's book as "stirring stuff". As he learns of Churchill's apparent alcohol-induced blackout and aristocratic ways (including traveling with servants and his treatment of Crabtree as another of his servants--asking the constable to fetch his hat and stick) and gets insulted by Churchill for requesting an autograph, Brackenreid begins to write him off as another "toff". Eventually, Brackenreid quotes from Churchill's book (to the author's delight) [[spoiler: to talk down a murderer threatening to kill Churchill]], and Churchill apologizes for his insulting comment on the autograph book and asks to sign it.
* {{God}} himself in ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''. Castiel spends much of the fifth season searching for him, believing that he'll stop the Apocalypse if called upon directly to do so. When Sam and Dean finally make contact with him (or at least an angel who carries messenger from him), they find out that God (being God) knows exactly what's going on, and the only reason he doesn't intervene is because [[JerkassGods he views it as not his problem.]] Throughout the series itself, it's made clear that GodIsFlawed, if [[GodIsGood well-meaning]]; despite espousing the value of family in "Swan Song" (assuming that [[spoiler:Chuck]] is God), his actions towards his own children make this seem massively hypocritical, locking the Leviathans up in Purgatory when they became too dangerous even though he could have just taken away their HorrorHunger, creating angels to be perfectly obedient soldiers who were executed if they doubted his existence despite only 4 of them having actually seen him, abandoned Heaven without a word at an unknown point prior to the series and left Michael to handle it on his own, and smiling gleefully at the ending of "Swan Song" without seeming even a little upset about [[spoiler:his children Michael and Lucifer]] ending up in Hell.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/ShaneDouglas grew up thinking Wrestling/RicFlair was what a pro wrestler was supposed to be. After meeting Ric Flair, spending time with him, seeing how he conducted himself, Douglas began to feel Flair's public conduct made him publicly embarrassed to be a pro wrestler and that he was bad for Wrestling/{{WCW}}'s public image. Flair was also one of the names in his "Kiss My Ass" "Wrestling/{{ECW}}" promo, but he maintains that he does think Flair was a good wrestler and wishes he was the elder statesman of the business he initially thought he was.
* Since she's commonly proclaimed to be the best wrestler in the world, Wrestling/SaraDelRey attracts a lot of admirers who don't realize she commonly wrestles as a {{rud|o}}a, thus many a wrestler honored to be in her presence get a little disappointed to find themselves in the midst of a cranky, disrespectful bully who at times even resorts to [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty unnecessary, cowardly shortcuts]]. For the most part, though, she remains respected, if not liked, as they still often admit she is among the best wrestlers in the world. To Del Rey's annoyance, Wrestling/CheerleaderMelissa, Wrestling/ChristinaVonEerie and Courtney Rush still wanted to be her friends even after seeing all her faults firsthand.
* Before he became a professional wrestler, Wrestling/ColtCabana looked up to Adam Pearce. By 2007, Colt Cabana had come to realize everything he admired about Pearce was still worth admiring but he also had to admit Pearce was a jerk beyond description.
* At the tail end of 2014, Wrestling/MattSydal was recruited by Truth Martini and Prince Nana in hopes he would return to Wrestling/RingOfHonor and work for them. He returned, and even said he admired both for their cunning and for their longevity in the business, but he had seen them do too much wrong to work for either the Embassy or House Of Truth.[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Guybrush ends up one of these in the eyes of {{fangirl}} Morgan Le Flay in the third episode of ''Videogame/TalesOfMonkeyIsland'', though this is a big case of WrongGenreSavvy on her part. She built up such an expectation of him as an unparalleled swashbuckler and unstoppable {{pirate}} that she never realized he was the protagonist of a comedic puzzle-adventure game.
* Two examples from ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid:''
** The first, Solid Snake. He's been idealized as the legendary soldier/superspy who went deep into heavily defended enemy territory as part of the FOXHOUND black ops unit in [[VideoGame/MetalGear1 separate]] [[VideoGame/MetalGear2SolidSnake incidents]] to destroy nuclear weapons at great risk to himself to save the world. He's also supposedly thought of in-universe as the modern Film/JamesBond, or such is the implication. Naturally, Meryl Silverburgh is surprised when Snake turns out to be rather coarse, rude and disdaining of her combat ability, as well as rather unhappy that he's involved in the mission to begin with.
---> '''Snake:''' The real me's no match for the legend, I'm afraid.
** The second, Big Boss. Though he ended up being a traitor, that little fact was apparently concealed by the government, as by the time of the fourth game he's a household name as a ComicBook/CaptainAmerica-style badass, considered to be the greatest soldier in history and his awesome-ness is apparently common knowledge. Numerous [[HollywoodStyle and highly inaccurate]] [[TakeThat video games]] and [[DanBrowned poorly researched books]] have been made out of his career. What nobody realizes is that he was a mentally damaged man who had to [[ShootTheDog shoot his own mentor on the orders of his government]] and later became convinced that [[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans utopia for soldiers is worth nuking people with giant bipedal tanks.]] As well as that, some of his most mind-blowing feats were actually done by his [[spoiler: body double, [[VideoGame/MetalGearSolidVThePhantomPain Venom Snake.]]]]
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' plays with this by giving the players the decision of following this trope straight or not when Liara asks for input on a time capsule she's leaving for future generations to discover in case they fail to defeat the Reapers, with input that while hopefully allow them to succeed where they failed. Shepard has the option of letting Liara decided for herself how to comment on his/her work, painting them as a larger than life heroic figure, or not covering up his/her flaws and letting history decide for itself.
** The game also does this with Javik, an ancient Prothean who was put into stasis 50,000 years ago and whom the player has the option of reviving. Liara, an archeologist who has spent her entire life studying Prothean artifacts and ruins, has built up an image of the entire Prothean race as a race of sages and scholars and diplomats. Reviving, and then interacting with, Javik reveals that the Protheans as a race were social Darwinist militaristic conquerors, and that Javik himself is a bit of a racist who holds all of the "primitives" surrounding him now in contempt. This latter attitude is somewhat understandable; when Javik went into stasis, humans and asari were still living in caves, and the salarians were swamp-dwelling animals who hadn't actually reached sapience yet.
* This occurs to an extent during the ''Legacy'' DLC for ''VideoGame/DragonAgeII'', which delves into the shady past of Hawke's father Malcolm. Though his past had been a mystery, Malcolm was by all accounts a good father who loved his family dearly and was even something of TheAce, being both a master mage and an excellent hand-to-hand combatant. During the DLC, Hawke (and their sibling, if still alive) discovers that Malcolm had never wanted a child with magic (he had at least one) and he was also [[spoiler: a practicing blood mage who used his powers to imprison an ancient darkspawn mage named Corypheus. However, Hawke also learns he only used his BloodMagic to buy passage out of Kirkwall, and only because he was coerced by the Grey Wardens.]]
* ''Franchise/AssassinsCreed'': A major element of the franchise is taking historical situations and people and showing them in a more naked and honest light than is typically found in the history books. For example, UsefulNotes/RichardTheLionHeart is shown as something of a BloodKnight, Creator/NiccoloMachiavelli is shown as more of a statesman than a ruthless schemer, and the Patriots involved in UsefulNotes/TheAmericanRevolution are shown manipulating public opinion to make their war seem more just than it is. At the same time, the games also take some liberties by having major historical figures be allied with the [[UsefulNotes/TheHashshashin Assassin]] and the [[UsefulNotes/TheKnightsTemplar Templar]] factions that are engaged in a SecretWar for control of humanity's hearts and minds.
** In ''Videogame/AssassinsCreedIII'', Samuel Johnson is arguably the nicest of the founding fathers. However, when Connor asks him why he isn't speaking out about slavery even though he freed his wife's slave, he says "It's complicated" and ducks the issue. Even though he himself is opposed to slavery, he doesn't really want to force the issue for fear of dividing the colonists, a trait that was true even years later.
* In ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoV'', there is a celebrity named Poppy Mitchell. She is an actress popular in the romantic comedy genre, and she has a reputation as "America's Sweetheart." One mission in the game requires you aid a paparazzi in capturing video footage of Poppy engaging in anal sex with one of her co-stars. Another later mission requires you to get footage of her fleeing from the police while drunk driving. Needless to say, these two incidents pretty much destroy her squeaky-clean image.
* The so-called "legends" that make up the Order of the Stone in ''VideoGame/MinecraftStoryMode'' are revealed to be a bunch of cheap glory hounds who used a command block (i. e. Minecraft's version of cheating) to kill the Ender Dragon when they realised the fight was too tough for them. Their refusal to own up to their cowardice basically fuels the first arc. Needless to say, the lead Jessie, who really believed that they were heroes, is less than impressed.

* Rose of all people in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', from [[spoiler: Kanaya]]'s point of view.
** Also, Dirk seems to have a ''very'' high opinion of [[spoiler:Alpha!Dave]]. While he certainly was an amazing hero, he's far from flawless. And although we haven't seen it directly, the same is probably true for Roxy and [[spoiler:Alpha!Rose]] as well.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Website/RottenDotCom: The site doesn't paint a romanticized version of the world. The darker sides of so-called (American) heroes and history are discussed in detail.
* Stated by illustrator and author of ''Website/RejectedPrincesses'' to be one of the goals of the site when it covers a more well known historical woman by presenting details and character flaws that are often left out of popular depictions.
* ''WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'': Whammudes and Custodisi's opinion of the Emperor after reading ''[[Literature/HorusHeresy The Last Church]]''. Their loyalty to their lord and liege is unbreakable... but that doesn't mean they don't see just what kind of an asshole he is. Before TheReveal that Uriah Olathaire had become a Chaos priest, ''Custodisi's opinion favored him over the Emperor'' in the tale.
* The London arc of ''WebVideo/ShadowrunCorporateSins'' revolves around Cromwell's search for Pip, the dwarf who raised him on Yomi Island, a Japanese concentration camp for metahumans. When the team finally finds him [[spoiler: they find that not only is he a nanny rather than a butler but that he's a BTL addict and a fighter in an illegal fight ring]]. Nonetheless he and Cromwell do reconcile once he explains that as rough as he may have treated Cromwell he was doing what he thought was best and Cromwell admits that he probably wouldn't have survived Yomi without him.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Played with in the first episode of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'': Franchise/{{Batman}} and the ComicBook/BlueBeetle (Jaime Reyes) end up on a distant alien planet that reveres the Beetle (actually, a previous owner of the scarab) as their savior. Like the ''{{Series/Firefly}}'' example, Jaime tries to convince the aliens that he's no savior and that [[HoldingOutForAHero they should stand on their own two feet]], but it fails... until the climax of the episode.
* In ''WesternAnimation/BoJackHorseman'', [=BoJack=] lets Diane, his ghost writer for his autobiography, tell a warts and all story. However, he changes his tune once he actually reads the book, which portrays him as the pathetic figure he really is, having hoped that he would at least come off as sympathetic.
* In ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'', Eugene is disillusioned when he learns that his idol is a foul tempered hypocrite. However, he's also a good person as demonstrated when he selflessly saves Eugene and Arnold from untimely deaths.
** In another episode, Arnold himself meets his favorite author and interviews her for a book report. She's an irascible recluse who acts like Arnold is an idiot for liking the cheerful fantasy stories she wrote years ago. When Arnold gives his report, he doesn't sugarcoat any of it and still considers her his favorite author. In a heartwarmign twist, Arnold's idealism actually rubbed off on her to where she wrote a new book based on meeting Arnold.
* On ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'', an old sports hero comes to Lawndale High for a dedication, and everybody has to put up with what a JerkJock he is. The discrepancy between his honored status and caustic personality becomes even more difficult when [[spoiler:he dies in an accident, evoking sympathy and NeverSpeakIllOfTheDead]].
* ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'': {{Invoked|Trope}} by Dinobot via his [[spoiler: LastWords]]:
-->"Tell my tale to those who ask. Tell it truly, the ill deeds along with the good, and let me be judged accordingly. [[Theatre/{{Hamlet}} The rest... is silence.]]"
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** Often spoofed with Krusty the Clown in who is often smoking or doing other disturbing things which children might find shocking. He doesn't care about the kids, comedy or entertainment one bit; he's in it for the money.
** A topic of the episode "Lisa the Iconoclast", in which Lisa discovers the town's founder, Jebediah Springfield, was actually a pirate who even tried to kill UsefulNotes/GeorgeWashington. Eventually she decides not to reveal this to the rest of the town, believing that his good image has always kept the town morale high and that it's better to keep the myth alive.