[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TheReward_Poster_Crop_6056.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:From Level Zero to [[TookALevelInBadass Level Badass]] in 9:01 minutes.]]

"The Reward" is a short film that was created by students of the Danish animation school The Animation Workshop as their bachelor project. After its release in January 2013, it went viral within days of going online, gaining a lot of attention on Tumblr.

Its popularity is largely based on its epicness and play with familiar fantasy tropes. The awesome music doesn't hurt either.

The short can be watched in full length [[http://youtu.be/kkAYze6ae18 here]]

[[http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1862188728/the-reward-tales-of-alethrion The Kickstarter campaign]] to develop the short's universe into a more complete and coherent narrative wrapped up on April 6th, 2013, and the creators are currently working to build "Tales of Alethrion" into a full-fledged series. After many delays, the next installment, [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUlg8Y_mLfA The First Hero]], finally came out in April 2015, and [[https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1862188728/tales-of-alethrion-season-one the campaign]] for more episodes succeeded in funding two more.
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! Tropes found in ''The Reward'' include:

* TheAce: The titular Alethrion, the First Hero. Ruthless, unbeatable, and driven, it's fair to say that the only person that could defeat him was himself. [[spoiler:And he did.]]
* ActionGirl: Amerath, though she was more focused on having adventures than getting into fights.
** Sylvia and Tatiana as well.
* AdrenalineMakeover: The two slowly grow into the role of {{Badass}}es over the adventure, and it's visible.
* AdventureDuo: Self-explanatory.
* AdventureTown: The heroes pass through a few, most notably the colorful tower city.
* AllThereInTheManual: WordOfGod states that the protagonists' names are Wilhelm and Vito, respectively, Vito being the magician and Wilhelm the swordfighter. Their village is named Tohan. It's also stated that Wilhelm spends his time wasting his life in the small village.
* AndTheAdventureContinues: [[spoiler: Not only for the two kids (Mik and Ken) who "inherit" the map, but for Wilhelm, Vito, and the two cute girls they pick up -- Sylvia and Tatiana -- who already seem pretty solid on that [[ThePowerOfFriendship Power of Friendship]] deal.]]
* AwesomenessIsVolatile: The high-five that our two adventurers share when they realize that the greatest reward is their newfound friendship leads to an explosion of awesomeness so powerful it can be seen from space. Literally.
* BadassBeard: Vito grows a damn impressive one.
* BadassLongcoat: Wilhelm has one by the end.
* BadassMustache: Wilhelm grows one after he [[TookALevelInBadass takes a level in badass.]]
* BattleCouple: Wilhelm and Vito, naturally, of the SwordAndSorcerer type.
** Alethrion and Amerath
** Sylvia and Tatiana
** Ken and Mik
** Blenn and Jarna
* BigThinShortTrio: The three thugs from the City -- Uruth as the foppish Big, Zit as the sniveling, toad-like Short, and Mira as the Thin and the leader.
* BladeOnAStick: Mira wields one.
* BookEnds: The story starts in Tohan with the unnamed hero (named Brühn later) passing the map on to Wilhelm and Vito (though seemingly by accident) and ends with Wilhelm and Vito returning as seasoned heroes, "accidentally" dropping the map to pass it on to the next generation of potential heroes.
* BountyHunter: Don't let the moniker of "The First Hero" fool you. Alethrion's OnlyInItForTheMoney and you'd better have vast riches to pay him with if you want him to save your village from a monster. [[spoiler: And if you try to pay him in anything other than riches, he WILL try to murder you.]]
* TheCameo: VideoGame/ShovelKnight makes an appearance in The First Hero.
* CasanovaWannabe: Vito at first. After he [[TookALevelInBadass takes a level in badass]] his success with the ladies vastly improves and he becomes a ChickMagnet.
* ConvectionSchmonvection: The narwhals seem to be pretty heat resistant, considering that they're swimming through lava.
* DanceBattler: Uruth
* DeathByIrony: Not only is [[spoiler:Alethrion]] mortally wounded by his [[spoiler:own darker half]], but he is unable to escape the [[spoiler:other side of the mirror to get help because his treasure chest is weighing him down.]]
* DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu: Our protagonists slay a High God, among other impressive and monstrous beings.
** Alethrion does one better by killing a whole ''pantheon''.
* DisproportionateRetribution: When villagers of a town he saved try to pay him in food instead of riches, Alethrion tries to murder them all.
* TheDreaded: Humun, the banished god, who created humans, and set in motion the conflict between the gods, making him indirectly responsible for all the monsters that roam the land.
* TheDrifter: Amerath. She doesn't care for fame or fortune. She just wants to see new places.
* DroppedABridgeOnHim: Immediately after the climax of the first episode's adventure, Wilhelm is [[spoiler:possessed, fed upon, and almost murdered by a Nosferatu and is only saved due to the merciful actions of a larger and more benevolent creature of the night - a vampire.]]
* DyingAlone: [[spoiler:Alethrion.]]
* DyingAsYourself: [[spoiler:Alethrion.]]
* DynamicEntry: Alethrion introduces himself to Ameranth this way in the dance party, kicking another dancer out of the scene.
* EnemyWithout: [[spoiler:Alethrion's greed.]]
* EnsembleCast
* EyesAlwaysShut: Vito. [[spoiler:His son, Blenn, would appear to have inherited this trait.]]
* FallenHero: WordOfGod is that Mira started out as an idealistic police officer who gradually lost faith in the system before becoming a thug. [[spoiler:Especially after Brühn abandoned her upon finding out she was pregnant with his child.]]
* TheFightingNarcissist: Brühn starts out as a regular one before becoming this.
* FieldOfBlades: Alethrion sits in the middle of one in the opening credits.
* {{Fingore}}: To [[spoiler: Wilhelm]], and quite unexpectedly so.
* FistBump: Shared by the two when lying in bed together snuggled against a monster in its lair.
* GagPenis: Uruth's bulge. Good lord. To an equal or greater extent with Alethrion.
* [[GirlOfTheWeek Girl Of Five Seconds]]: Vito and Wilhelm go through quite a few ladies over the second half of their adventure.
* {{Greed}}: Alethrion's primary motivation, his greatest vice, and his [[spoiler:ultimate undoing.]]
* GrossUpCloseUp: Under the wrong lighting, angle, and magnification, Alethrion looks rather sleazy. The weird noises he makes don't help.
* HalfHumanHybrid: [[spoiler:Vito's]] half-lizard bastard son, Blenn.
* HeelFaceDoorSlam: [[spoiler:Alethrion.]]
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Arguably so. They're shown to be very popular with the ladies once their adventure gains momentum. On the other hand, the two share a few touching moments and are shown lying in bed together, naked or at least in their underwear by the looks of it, [[FistBump bumping fists]].
* HollywoodHomely: Underachiever that he is, Brühn prefers to go after "okay-ish" girls.
* HomoeroticSubtext: Being a bromance this trope is played with. Especially at the part with the [[DidTheyOrDidntThey dragon cave...]]
* ItsTheJourneyThatCounts: The whole theme.
** In The First Hero, Amerath understood this from the get-go while Alethrion did not. By the time he did, [[spoiler: he had quite literally doomed himself.]]
* Keet: Mik seems to be this to Ken.
* [[KidHero Kid Heroes]]: Mik and Ken.
* {{Kissgusting}}: Not in the short, but in a [[http://imgur.com/67sdjYc comic drawn by the directors]] by way of a MagicKiss.
** Alethrion and Amerath's make-out session borders on this, both in-universe and out.
* KnifeNut: Ken.
* LoveRedeems: For the greedy Alethrion. [[spoiler:But too late.]]
* TheMirrorShowsYourTrueSelf: Whether you're an epic adventurer at heart, a benevolent god, or greed personified, the Mirror of Truth will show you.
* MachoCamp: Uruth, with his flamboyant DanceBattler moves and obsession with his appearance.
* ManlyGay: Uruth, according to WordOfGod. In fact, he was exiled from his village for it.
* MoodWhiplash: [[spoiler:Alethrion's lonely and tragic demise]] is immediately followed by his map falling into the hands of a sunbathing and cheery [[ContrastingSequelMainCharacter Brühn]].
* MusclesAreMeaningless: Brühn has invested a lot of time in attaining and maintaining his impeccable and impressive physique to wow onlookers with feats of beauty and strength, but he's not all that good at fighting, so much so that he's easily bullied by people half his size.
** Conversely, Wilhelm is practically a stick figure by comparison, and yet is one of the mightiest characters in the series.
** Averted with Alethrion, who had a HeroicBuild, and near-limitless power to match.
* MyGodWhatHaveIDone: [[spoiler: Alethrion's reaction upon seeing himself in the Mirror of Truth.]]
* PantyShot: When Brühn tosses a pretty girl into the air at the beginning of The Reward.
* PhysicalGod: One in The Reward, and several more in The First Hero. It seems to be the way of this world for gods too to have physical forms. [[spoiler:They all die.]]
** WordOfGod states that the gods seen so far were not the only ones.
* PurpleIsPowerful: When Vito comes into his own as a sorcerer he wears purple colored lenses and his spells cast a purple aura.
* RedOniBlueOni: Vito is Red Oni to Wilhelm's Blue Oni.
** Alethrion and Amerath
** Mik and Ken
** Zit and Uruth
* ScheduleSlip: The second episode missed more than one release date before finally coming out.
* SealedEvilInACan: [[spoiler:Alethrion's reflection which he trapped in his bottomless treasure chest; the same one shown at the end of the original short.]]
* TheStinger: After the credits [[spoiler:it turns out that if our heroes had just looked ''behind'' the mirror...]]
* TheStoic: Wilhelm.
* SupernaturalIsPurple: Vito runs into a cave that spews magenta-colored smoke -- and has to be dragged out of it by Wilhelm. But then, [[ChekhovsGun his own magic manifests as purple]]...
* SuperPoweredEvilSide: The [[spoiler:reflection of the Alethrion]].
* TearsOfJoy: Vito does it something serious when [[spoiler: Wilhelm wakes up after collapsing from blood loss.]]
* TerribleTrio: Mira [[spoiler:(later replaced by her daughter, Tira)]], Uruth, and Zit. Also overlaps with BigThinShortTrio.
* TimeCompressionMontage: How the two protagonists turn from young boys to older, epic heroes.
* TookALevelInBadass: Wilhelm and Vito are far from seasoned adventurers when they start out. But once they realize ThePowerOfFriendship they conquer everything with an unstoppable amount of badassery.
* TraumaticHaircut: Wilhelm cuts off Uruth's pompadour. He is so shocked of this that he leaves himself open for more attacks.
* TreasureMap: What sends our protagonists on their epic journey.
** It was originally just a map Amarath made to keep track of her travels until Alethrion repurposed it.
* TheVamp: The leader of the thug trio. ([[AllThereInTheManual A Kickstarter comment mentions that her name is Mira.]])
* VitriolicBestBuds: At first, at least.
* WalkingTheEarth: They may be following a map, but Wilhelm and Vito seem to get into a lot of side quests.
** For Amerath, this is the whole point of her travels. Of which she documents in a series of maps.
* YouKilledMyFather: Mother actually, as it is in Tira's case. Never mind that she was a bandit that tried to rob and murder Wilhelm.