Defeat Means Friendship
aka: Defeat Equals Friendship

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/fatenanohabattle_1249.JPG
Friendship Through Superior Firepower

"For every boys' manga like the '80s hit Fist of the North Star, in which defeated enemies have their brains splattered, there are five manga like Dragon Ball Z, in which defeated enemies are befriended, neutralized and converted to the heroes' worldview. Thus, the circle of the protagonists' friends grows and grows. Only in this way, through taking everyone into the protected circle, does the hero get the hubris to want to "save the world" — usually expressed as "I want to protect everyone!" , an almost Buddhist feeling of compassion for all things, except perhaps for some final enemy who is just too ugly to be redeemed."
Jason Thompson, To Protect and Kill: Morality in Action Manga. io9, March 11th, 2010.

In an action series based around an endless series of one-on-one fights, defeating a Worthy Opponent or The Rival will sometimes convert them to the hero's side, if not always to their cause. Furthermore, no matter how much trouble the Worthy Opponent has caused for the heroes or other people as soon as they show remorse or go out of their way to help others they will be welcomed into the hero's circle of True Companions with open arms.

It helps if the story is idealistic enough for the hero to forgive the villain after they are safely defeated. Correspondingly, the villain in this kind of story is so surprised and moved that the hero would be big-hearted enough to do that, that they have a change of heart.

From the writers' standpoint, this trope is a way to keep characters around longer. If it's a show about fighting, and if The Protagonist is always getting stronger, what's the use of a defeated enemy? If said enemy is well developed, has a sizeable fanbase and/or a sympathetic motive or backstory; then killing them might risk pissing off the fans. We want to see them fight some more, but they can't fight the hero again because that would be repetitive and we all know that they would lose. So instead, they become an ally and get to assist the hero. Thus, this is a standard way for most Sixth Rangers to be added into the cast.

In video games, this may simply be an instance where the designers wanted to include more Boss Battles; this is more obvious in several cases where a character is already an ideological ally but wants to "duel" or "practice" against you anyway, or needs to "test your strength" before they'll join up. (Summons love to do this, as do Mons and warrior tribes.) This may be repetitive but more Boss Battles are usually what the player wants so there are rarely complaints.

Compare Kill Me Now, or Forever Stay Your Hand for when the hero refuses to kill their enemy which may lead into this trope depending on the story. Let's You and Him Fight for where two characters are already on the same side but don't know it and fight because one or both of them think the other is an enemy. Defeat Means Respect where a defeated enemy respects the victor instead of becoming friends and Fire-Forged Friends, where enemies forced to fight on the same side become friends.

See also Love at First Punch and Best Her to Bed Her for romantic variations and Defeat Means Playable for a video game trope often combined with this one. Compare I Fight for the Strongest Side.


Examples

    open/close all folders 
     Comic Books  
  • In ElfQuest, after centuries of festering rivalry (and Rayek abducting Cutter's family so that he has to be lonely for a couple hundred years!), Cutter and Rayek decide to settle their differences by beating the crap out of each other. Once the fight is over they don't exactly become friends, but they're at least willing to cooperate with each other.
    • The Wolfriders tend to treat all internal conflicts this way, which makes sense given that their society is modeled on the wolf pack.
  • In the original Little Nemo newspaper comics from the early 1900s, self-centered prankster Flip torments Nemo endlessly, even getting him exiled from Slumberland and hindering his attempts to return, until Nemo insists they settle their dispute in a boxing match. Upon being soundly trounced, Flip immediately declares himself to be Nemo's loyal friend and companion, and remains so until the Reset Button years later.
  • In the first Rogue Squadron there is an Expy/Distaff Counterpart of Fel in Kasan Moor, a very good pilot who is part of a very good Imperial squadron. She gets captured by being shot with a Y-wing's ion cannon, and transmits not only her surrender, but her willingness to defect and provide useful intelligence. Sure enough, the next several missions involve targets she's chosen, and she's flying in an X-Wing with the Rogues, musing that now she knows what it's like to be on their side of these little raids. Why she defects is never really elaborated on, but none of the Rogue Squadron games are famous for plot.
  • In Girl Power storyline, Supergirl and Wonder Girl fight and the former wins. Both girls become friends afterwards.
  • In Superman vs. the Amazing Spider-Man, after their mandatory first meeting/fight, which Superman wins, Superman and Spider-Man agree to work together in the same case and they quickly become friends.
  • In the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics, Casey Jones spent most of his first appearance having a knock-down-drag-out brawl with Raphael over Casey's overly violent street vigilantism. Raphael ultimately won, and Casey thereupon became one of the turtles' closest allies and Raphael's best friend. The 2003 cartoon had a similar sequence.
  • A Wrong Genre Savvy character in Birds of Prey that later becomes Misfit assumes this is the reason Oracle ends up attacking her when she breaks into the clocktower.
  • This trope is how Popeye befriends Toar, the immortal caveman. After Toar admits defeat ("You hit too hard, no fight crazy fool like you!"), Popeye offers him a friendship and Toar accepts.
  • In Empowered both the heroine's boyfriend and best friend are people who defeated then befriended her. And if you include the Caged Demonwolf on her coffee table is one of the enemies who SHE defeated, and befriended (however begrudgingly.)
  • Lampshaded in the final issue of Patsy Walker, a.k.a. Hellcat! after Patsy lets a pair of would-be teen supervillains off with a warning.
    Jubilee: How many bad guys have you actually sent to jail in the last year or so?
    Patsy: Not...many?
    Jubilee: You've got to quit befriending your villains.
  • Sheriff Bronson and Ma Sewell of Copperhead are brawling within a minute of their first meeting. Bronson manages to handcuff Ma and tosses her in the jail cell overnight. When she releases Ma after the investigation, they've warmed to each other enough that Ma starts babysitting Zeke Bronson.

    Fan Works 
  • Hogyoku ex Machina lampshades this when Ishida asks, "Kurosaki, is there anyone you've fought that you haven't become best friends with?"
  • The vermin who join up with Urthblood's army in The Crimson Badger, a Redwall fanfic.
  • Two examples in With Strings Attached, though in both cases the “defeats” were pretty mild:
    • As'taris, dying to take the newly revealed Kansael from John, threatens to cut it out of his chest. Ringo telekinetically shoves him away, takes his sword, and threatens to drop him in the ocean if he tries it again. As'taris is so impressed that Ringo actually fought back that he immediately drops his main objection to the four (that they were noncombatants) and thereafter views them as peers—more or less.
    • The four “defeat” the Hunter (and by proxy Jeft) simply by being themselves; their obvious love for one another makes him long for an alternative to his friendless, loveless life of adventure and murder. He becomes the best friend they make in the entire book.
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, Theecat the tech rogue becomes rather fond of the four after John buries him (and his companions) neck-deep in mud. He starts out sucking up to them like mad so they won't steal all his stuff, but ends up genuinely liking them. They aren't quite so enamored of him, but conclude they might as well consider him a friend because he's one of the very few people on C'hou they don't actively hate.
  • Legend Of Zelda Rings Of Dualty subverts it with the main characters, Link and Samba, because their battle came to a draw. Played pretty straight with the Leviathans of Material.
  • In Clash of the Elements most heroes manage to form a bond of friendship with their respective Genesis Samurai opponents, save for Geno, who was already acquainted with them long ago, and Luigi, who was knocked unconscious after his battle before he could form one with his.
  • Parodied (like everything else) in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series.
    (Pegasus walks onto the stage)
    Yugi: Oh hey Grandpa, it's that guy who kidnapped your soul and then tried to kill me. But now he's our friend.
  • Goku thinks this is the way things work in Dragon Ball Z Abridged
    Goku: Hey Vegeta, we're friends now. Right?
    Vegeta:' F*** off
    Goku: The best.
  • In the One Piece fanfic Second Wind, as in canon, Luffy defeats the Kung Fu Dugongs, who subsequently subject themselves to him as disciples. The key difference here is that this time, he rejects all but one, who joins his crew…at least for the time being.
  • The villain Circus seems to think so in the Worm fanfic A Skittering Heart. After Circus tries and fails to steal Taylor's Keyblade they knockout Taylor. Her best friend Sabah then gets angry and defeats Circus. After talking out their problems Circus leaves but later comes back, jumping in to help Taylor and Sabah fight Lung and Oni Lee. Circus also gives them a new coffee table after breaking their original. Taylor and Sabah are less than effused by this.
  • Thousand Shinji: Shinji challenged Asuka to a duel, won, and suggested that they work and fight together. From that point on, they started getting along, and eventually they got together.
  • Invoked and averted in Quicken. After defeating super-villain Cricket, Emma knows that they’re NOT are going to become friends later on.
    This wasn't some Saturday morning cartoon; we weren't going to come to some kind of mutual understanding, enter as enemies, leave as friends. She had given her best to see me dead. It was always going to come down to either me or her.
  • In Undertale: Rebirth, Undyne and Samson are at each other's throats until she beats him in a wrestling match. By the time Alphys gets back from her lab, the two have become "buds".
  • In This Bites!, Kaku tries to invoke this, asking if there's a vacancy in the Straw Hat crew after Zoro beats him, only to be told that they had Franky lined up to be their shipwright, though Zoro does still say that Luffy would let him join if he really wanted to.

    Films — Animated 
  • In the 2008 Horton Hears a Who!, Horton is triumphant getting his neighbours to believe the microscopic Whos exist and is hailed a hero of the ages. However, he can't help but notice the Sour Kangaroo is now alone, ashamed and hated for what she did to him and almost to the Whos. Fortunately, Horton has a heart as big as his ears and he immediately goes to offer his forgiveness to the Kangaroo. The Kangaroo, realizing how lucky she is to have a friend as noble as Horton, immediately offers to help him shelter the Whos for the trip to Mount Nool.
  • Puss in Boots in Shrek 2 is hired by the king to assassinate Shrek. However, unlike his fairy tale counterpart, he does not try to trick the ogre into changing into a mouse, but instead makes a direct, frontal assault on Shrek, which works up until the feline gags on a hairball, spitting it up. Shrek and Donkey spare his life, and Puss proposes to the ogre he owes a life debt to him, in thanks. Although there is some tension/rivalry between Puss and Donkey (who seems nervous that Puss is taking his place as "annoying talking animal"), the three eventually become close friends and allies.
  • At the end of Yellow Submarine, after the Blue Meanies are defeated, the Beatles invite them over for tea. Partying ensues.
  • Happens to Lightning McQueen and Francesco Bernoulli at the end of Cars 2.
  • My Little Pony:

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Probably the most famous instance was Shane's barfight retribution of Calloway's earlier public humiliation. Shane wailed the tar out of his attacker and others in the bad guy Ryder's employ. Out of respect, Calloway quit Ryker and warned Shane of a bushwhacking plan using a hired killer.
  • The Karate Kid movies:
    • From The Karate Kid (1984): "You're all right, LaRusso!"
    • In The Karate Kid (2010), Cheng and his group of friends who had once bullied Dre respect him after he wins the tournament. In fact, Cheng, the main bully, is the one to present the trophy to him. This was significantly aided by their disgust with the lengths their coach pushed them to in an attempt to defeat Dre.
  • It's a one fight thing, but when the documentary film, When We Were Kings, won its Oscar, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman went to the podium with the winners as a gesture to show they'd reconciled over the 1974 bout. (Particularly touching was Foreman's very gentle attempts to assist Ali up the steps). No such luck getting Smokin' Joe to forgive the Uncle Tom comments, though.
  • The Disney Channel frequently invokes this trope. There's no actual fighting, but after the protagonist wins/beats their opponent/whatever, the antagonist suddenly becomes BFFs with them.
  • Blazing Saddles. After Sheriff Bart blows up Mongo and captures him:
    Mongo: Mongo stay with Sheriff Bart. Sheriff first man ever whip Mongo. Mongo impressed, have deep feelings for Sheriff Bart.
    Waco Kid: Uh oh, you better watch out, big fella. I think Mongo's taken a little fancy to you.
    Mongo: Aww, Mongo straight!
  • In the Mixed Martial Arts-meets-The O.C. film Never Back Down, the hero and villain share a HoYayish smirk the day after their final brawl. Apparently there were no hard feelings about putting the hero's friend in the hospital.
  • In Boorman's Excalibur:
    • Lancelot is seeking to serve the man who can best him in combat. Arthur loses to Lancelot, then cheats by using Excalibur's power to knock Lancelot silly. Lancelot doesn't realize what happened when he wakes up and agrees to join Arthur. Things don't turn out so great in the end...
    • The first knight Arthur bests in battle — Sir Uriens, who knights him — winds up being Arthur's lifelong ally, and the first to obey Arthur's order to find the Holy Grail. He ultimately dies on the quest to find it.
  • When the mechanic mom finally accepts the evidence that her son was murdered, she still harbors a grudge against The Machine Girl, who she previously blamed for it. Before joining her on a vengeful warpath, she's determined to engage the one-armed girl in a fight that culminates in an arm-wrestling match. After she's defeated, the mother immediately makes friends with Machine Girl.
  • When Matthias and Balthazar go at it in The Scorpion King we know how it's going to end. Call it a curious form of prehistoric male bonding. They engage in a spell of no holds barred combat - half wrecking the Free People's camp - before sitting down together to plan their assault on Gommorah.
  • Rocky and Apollo from the Rocky films. For Apollo, the only way to get back at the man who reminded him of his worthlessness is by befriending the one who took it away.
  • The King and the Clown: When Jaeng-sang and Gong-gil arrive in Seoul they crash the show of some local jesters and engage in a little showdown. Their double act clearly wins and that evening the Seoul clowns propose to join forces.
  • In Avatar, the Na'vi knows which banshee is destined to be theirs because it will try to kill them. They also have to 'tame' it through violence.
  • Ip Man 2.
    • After Ip trashes Wong Leung the first time they meet, the latter up and leaves. He comes back with three friends to try to defeat Ip. It's only when this fails that Wong asks Ip to accept him as a student.
    • Played straight from the first movie to the second: The leader of the ne'er-do-wells from the first movie gets defeated by Ip in it, and in the second movie comes to his aid. He even credits Ip for helping to turn his life around.
  • In The Horror of Party Beach, shown on MST3K, at a beach party in the beginning the main hero fights with a leader of a biker gang and defeats him (with some help from some scrawny bystanders in speedos). The leader shakes his hand.
    Mike: (in upperclass British accent): "You have defeated me sir! You and your noble band of choreographers!"
  • After Jerry beats up his bully in Three O'Clock High, the bully shows up to return some money so that Jerry can get out of a theft charge. He even gives him the very faintest of smiles before walking off.
  • At the end of Back to the Future, Biff is a friendly (if sycophantic) worker for George after George beats the crap out of him in the past.
  • American Ninja has this. Jackson starts a fight with Joe, when Joe effortlessly kicks his ass, Jackson becomes his buddy, willing to risk court-martial for his new friend.
  • In the Director's Cut of Legend (1985) The Gump is furious with Jack for allowing Lily to touch the unicorn, and then throws a massive tantrum when Jack solves his subsequent riddle - but once he's over it he forgives Jack immediately (as he promised) and joins his quest to save the unicorns (and Lily) from Darkness.
  • The villains of the Spy Kids movies are often defeated this way.
  • Swede, the violent and unruly marine from Heartbreak Ridge has been in and out of the brig on one charge or another until Recon Platoon recruit him to remove Drill Sergeant Nasty Tom Highway. Highway himself has been on a great many charges for violent disorder and when Swede offers to turn himself in after losing, Highway instead orders him to get on parade. Later, Staff Sergeant Webster is trying to get evidence against Highway at the direction of the company CO, the entire platoon stands against him, but Swede seals the deal simply by standing over Webster and staring down at him. Way down. Webster wisely leaves.
  • In Hong Kil Dong, Thuk Jae the bandit has sworn vengeance after Kil Dong killed his brother in a fight. But ahfter Kil Dong first defeats Thuk Jae, then spares his life, Thuk Jae has a Heel–Face Turn and decides to serve Kil Dong. He becomes The Lancer to Kil Dong, and brings his bandit buddies along as Kil Dong's warriors as well.
  • In the 2011 film Warrior: A classic example. Tommy can't set aside his resentment towards Brendan until Brendan reluctantly gives him a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown. Brendan only does it because Tommy's fighting despite a dislocated arm and needs to be subdued quickly or else risk more intense injury fighting. While choking him out, Brendan asks for forgiveness in anguish and tells Tommy he loves him (keeping in mind Tommy had just gleefully tried to punch the life out of Brendan), at which point Tommy finally taps out and they embrace as brothers.
  • From Hatari!, Kurt only accepts Chips onto the team after Chips beats him at shooting and punches him in the face. Zigzagged in regards to both men vying for Brandy, as they both admit defeat after she chooses Pockets. By the end, they seem aware of this trope, as both go to Paris after the summer ends to fight over a girl they both know.
  • Godzilla:
    • Godzilla Raids Again, the second film overall and the first where the title character fights another monster, introduced Anguirus, an ankylosaur-like monster that duked it out with Godzilla through Osaka before ultimately being killed by a bite to the neck. Since then, subsequent appearances of Anguirus in future Godzilla films have presented him as a good friend and ally to Godzilla, ready to assist the big G in combating any threat that needs to be dealt with (though it hasn't been established whether or not this is the same Anguirus from Godzilla Raids Again, or a second one altogether that never engaged Godzilla in a fight).
    • Mothra and Rodan both started out as some of Godzilla's toughest enemies before becoming allies against the Big Bad King Ghidorah. In the rebooted "Heisei" films, Mothra and Battra are initially set up as rivals but they end up working together to beat Godzilla.
  • Prince Barin spends the middle third of Flash Gordon trying to kill Flash, then joins him when Flash defeats him in a "battle to the death" — and then saves him from a very, very long fall.
  • End of Watch: After trading insults with a suspect, Zavala agrees to fight him. Zavala's victory, as well as his decision to only arrest the gangbanger on the original charge of disorderly conduct (when he could have added assault on a police officer), wins the gangbanger's respect.
  • In The Grand Budapest Hotel, Gustave beats up a cellmate for questioning his virility, with the explicit purpose of gaining their respect. It works.
  • In Jason and the Argonauts, Hylas is challenged by Hercules to a discus-throwing contest. Being The Smart Guy, Hylas manages to win by skimming his discus across the water. Hercules takes his loss well, and the two become buddies. Hercules is the most torn-up over Hylas' eventual death at the hands of Talos, and he leaves.
  • In St. Vincent, when Oliver finally gets fed up with his bully and beats him up, they bond in detention and end up becoming best friends.
  • In Hussar Ballad, Vincento Salgari gets (off-screen) into a fight with Shura, nearly killing her, but she manages to take him prisoner. As he was freezing to death at the time, and Shura happily provided him with some warm clothes, he swears to be her friend forever, and later proves to be true to his word.
  • In Bad Moms, after Amy defeats Alpha Bitch Gwendolyn in the PTA election, she finds Gwendolyn crying in her car. The two of them talk, and Gwendolyn admits that the reason she's been so obsessed with the PTA is that the rest of her life is a shambles and she's just as big a screwup as everyone else; her rich husband is actually a white collar criminal, etc. The next scene shows Gwendolyn inviting Amy and her friends onto a private jet.

    Literature 
  • Older Than Dirt, coming from the oldest surviving written heroic epic (ca. 2700 BCE): In The Epic of Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh and Enkidu become friends after Gilgamesh defeats Enkidu in a fight.
  • Pip and Hebert from Great Expectations.
  • Hamlet and Laertes.
  • The Shahnameh: On his fifth Labor to save the Persian king and army, Rostam fights multiple Mazandarani warriors and captures their leader, Oolad. He makes Oolad his guide in Mazandaran and gets information about the White Demon from him. Oolad comes to admire and respect Rostam and Rostam in turn warms up to his captive for his help and promises him Mazandaran. When it is all over Rostam keeps his promise and makes Key Kavous appoint Oolad as the ruler of Mazandaran.
  • Similarly, Dantes and Jacopo from le Compte de Monte Cristo.
  • Somewhere in between: Fionn mac Cumhaill and Goll mac Morna (in some versions).
  • A likely inspiration for the trope's appearance in anime is the legend of Minamoto Yoshitsune's defeat of the monk Benkei on the Gojo Bridge in the 12th Century A.D. Minamoto spared Benkei's life, after which Benkei swore to serve him to the death. The story bears an uncanny resemblance to the story of Robin Hood's first meeting with Little John, but they could simply be examples of parallel invention.
  • Robin Hood gains many of his Merry Men this way, though often it's him that loses. His magnanimous behavior, rather than his skill at the contest, convince people to follow him. The most common example of this is Little John, who in many retellings starts off as another outlaw who tries to rob Robin, resulting in what is almost always depicted as a quarterstaff battle on a narrow bridge over a river.
  • In Tales of MU, Sooni's belief in this trope is central to her Wrong Genre Savvy. She believes herself to be in a Shojo anime, with herself as The Hero and Mack as the evil, demonic, Schoolgirl Lesbian Rival who needs to be defeated to become her friend. When Mack continues to refuse to admit defeat and cede the election to her, she flies into a homicidal rage and begins attacking her, to the extent that the almost-invulnerable Mack ends up in the hospital (granted, this was mostly because Mack was using more magic than she should have been, but still). Sooni later visits Mack and happily tells her that she has defeated Mack, and therefore they can be friends now. Mack is naturally furious, but then the story heads for a Double Subversion when Mack agrees out of exasperation, pity... and Foe Yay. Blatant Foe Yay:
    "Subtext!" Sooni said, practically dancing with joy. "See? We have subtext now!"
    "I'm not sure that qualifies as sub anything."
  • In Christopher Stasheff's The Warlock in Spite of Himself, a goon named Big Tom picks a fight with the hero, Rod Gallowglass; when Rod proves he can best him, Tom asks humbly to be Rod's man. Subverted in that Tom is a canny agent of Rod's enemies, taking advantage of this trope to get close to him.
  • A rare pre-emptive example occurs in the Malloreon, when Emperor Zakath finally dawns to the awareness that the Alorn religious myths are real, and Belgarion isn't just a rival overlord but also the designated custodian of cosmic power. Zakath takes one look at the odds and decides to just skip the "defeat" and get right to the "friendship", although it's implied that it's not Belgarion's power that is Zakath's reason, it's the fact Belgarion's so humble and so unwilling to use or abuse such power that makes Zakath realise that the only reason they're enemies is because he was looking to fight someone who didn't want to fight him.
    Belgarion: Oh yes. [The Orb] has no conception of the word "impossible". If I really wanted it to, it could probably spell out my name in stars. * Orb twitches* Stop that! That was just an example, not a request. * Belgarion grins sheepishly* Wouldn't that look grotesque? 'Belgarion' running from horizon to horizon across the night sky?
    Zakath: You know something, Garion? I've always believed that someday you and I would go to war with each other. Would you be terribly disappointed if I decided not to show up?
  • In The Dresden Files novel Turn Coat, Harry calls up the very foreboding spirit of an island and essentially challenges it to a contest of strength and will. By winning, he forges a magical alliance between himself and the spirit. He later explains it in terms of this trope: see the quotes page.
  • While the Great Skeeve normally plays this straight during his Myth Adventures, he subverts it in the sixth book, Little Myth Marker. After thwarting the Ax, a "character assassin" hired to ruin his reputation, Skeeve flatly refuses a request to join his group, which the Ax had grown fond of. His reason is that, while he doesn't hold a personal grudge against the assassin, because Skeeve's team often succeeds on The Power of Friendship the fact that the Ax makes money by betrayal leaves a bad taste in his mouth.
  • Happens rather regularly in Stackpole's X-Wing Series books. All right, so the Rogues kill or drive off most of their enemies, and the retreating ones are still enemies. But when they, for example, shoot down the freighter ship that is the only way the TIE fighters could get out of the system, the TIEs tend to surrender, and Rogue Squadron accepts readily. Once this happened near a station that the Rogues had just captured, and the highest-ranked TIE pilot who had just surrendered warned the leader of Rogue Squadron that the station master was wily. It's a little different in Aaron Allston's parts of the series.
  • Justified group example in There Will Be Dragons by John Ringo. The inhabitants of a town are rather irritated with the legionnaires stationed nearby. The farmers and craftsmen all work hard for their living, while the soldiers are just lazing around in the woods, and coming to town with lots of unearned money and making trouble. Tension is high and there are fights between townspeople and soldiers. To solve the situation, the legionnaires challenge the town militia to a mock battle, and proceed to beat them soundly. The townspeople realize that the soldiers are not just lazing around, but are training hard to be able to defend the town if needed. And all are friends again.
  • Dave Barry Slept Here outright parodies this, repeatedly using the term "befriend" to describe Gunboat Diplomacy.
  • Aliens try this on an interspecies scale in Larry Niven's Footfall—they figure humanity will either submit to their armies, or accept the submission of their armies, and either way it'll lead to good relations in the long term. They're quite surprised when humanity responds with total war.
  • In War Horse, the two horses Joey and Topthorn start out as rivals, but after Joey (Captain Nicholls astride him) defeats Topthorn during a practice run race, they become friends.
  • Light And Dark The Awakening Of The Mageknight: Rigil has no respect for newbs, including Danny. Then Danny defeats Rigil in a duel and thus proves himself a Worthy Opponent. From then on Rigil calls him 'friend' and 'newb'.
  • In Greek Ninja, Sasha and Daichi came close to defeating each other. Later on, Daichi joins her and her team on their quest.
  • In Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm novel On The Razor's Edge, when Gidula pitches Donovan against Eglay Portion, in an official combat that Donovan suspects may be used to cripple him against the rules, Donovan with some cunning timing defeats him in the first moments. Eglay appraises him, asks him how to do it, and is his man thereafter.
  • In Protector of the Small, this happens a couple of times with Kel, although more in the vein of "newfound respect" than outright friendship. In Squire she's defeated in a joust by a conservativenote  knight, but he's impressed by her considerable skill and apologizes for misjudging and making assumptions about her. In Lady Knight, she meets one of the bandits she rallied her fellow trainees to defeat back in Page, as a convict soldier. He's quite happy to meet her again and glad to serve under her; he even proudly relates the story to all the refugees.
  • Happens from time to time in A Song of Ice and Fire.
    • It's most notably a trait of Robert Baratheon, who turned bitter Targaryen loyalist enemies into staunch supporters with clemency, generosity, and plain old charisma after his (successful) rebellion. He only does this with those he considers Worthy Opponents, though; he kills Rhaegar just as dead as he can after Rhaegar kidnaps maybe his fiancee, and has no mercy for any Targaryen survivors, even children who were babies during the war. Tywin also instructs his grandson Joffrey that rebels must be shown mercy and welcomed back into the fold upon surrender, or else they will have no incentive to surrender and will fight to the bitter end instead. (The lesson is a bit lost on Joff.)
    • Deconstructed by House Bolton. The Boltons were bitter rivals of the Starks, and were the most powerful and last of the Northern petty kings to be conquered back in the Age of Heroes. Since then they have rebelled multiple times, secretly defied many of the Starks' laws and eventually wiped them out in the Red Wedding
  • Tarzan has an example in Tarzan and the City of Gold. Lord Greystoke finds himself battling "the strongest man in Cathne," Phobeg, in a gladiatorial combat for the pleasure of Queen Nemone and the crowd. Tarzan quickly turns it into a Curbstomp Battle, but refuses to Finish Him!! Later, Phobeg tells the Lord of the Jungle, after having (twice) proven his friendship, "Because I owe my life to you," replied the warrior, "and because I know a man when I see one. If a man can pick Phobeg up and toss him around as though he were a baby, Phobeg is willing to be his slave."
  • Occurs on both the individual and national levels throughout the Safehold series:
    • Four of the five nations whose navies were conscripted to attack Charis in the first book are now part of the Empire of Charis. Two of those nations were outright enemies of Charis, and a third had betrayed an alliance before coming back. In the cases of the two enemies, the nations were conquered and their rulers surrendered, but have since become integral parts of the Empire.
    • Among the individual leaders, Sharleyan had never wanted to take part in the attack to start with and becomes one half of Charis's Ruling Couple. Cayleb himself is surprised later to find that he actually likes ex-enemy Prince Narhmahn once he got to know him. Corisande's prince would've been an Enemy Mine (at best), but his successors become very close to Cayleb and Sharleyan. King Gorjah, the betrayer, finds his principles again and is forgiven, if not welcomed, back into the fold.
  • In many versions of the Arthurian mythos, Arthur's first major challenge as High King is to defeat the rebellious King Pellinore. In their first fight, Pellinore beats him rather soundly, but in the rematch, Arthur has Excalibur and, more importantly, Excalibur's sheath, which magically protects its wearer from ever being cut. With it, Arthur (barely) defeats Pellinore, who then joins the Round Table and becomes one of Arthur's strongest supporters and closest friends.
  • Please Don't Tell My Parents I've Got Henchmen: Cassie latches onto Penny like a limpet after losing to her, especially when Penny promised that she can choose whether she wants to be a hero or a villain.
  • Journey to Chaos: A reconstruction; the result of Tiza and Hailey's brawl only means that they can't consider the other to be weak anymore. It's in the talk after the fight where they discover how much they have in common (as well as their shared concern for Nolien) that leads to the friendship.
  • Subverted in Dorothy Dunnett's King Hereafter. Thorfinn tries this repeatedly on Rognvald, who always behaves for a while and then reverts to form. Eventually, Thorfinn's foster-father Thorkel loses patience, which is Truth in Television.

     Live Action TV  
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Anya's first two appearances have her as the (or one of the) villains of the episode.
    • Andrew was originally one of the Big Bads for Season 6, was a hostage for a bit after killing long-time minor character Johnathan and then became one of the Scoobies.
  • And on Angel, the Big Bad of the first four seasons, Wolfram and Hart, becomes an ally (or the employer) for the fifth, after the defeat (murder) of its representative, Lila Morgan, and the defeat of their 4-season-long master plan. (They at least set things in motion by bringing Darla back, having Drusilla re-vamp her, and so on). It's an example of the trope where the corporation is the character and one that changes the very structure of the show, since the nemesis from the first episode onward is transformed into the ally. Very Wheedonesque.
  • Burn Notice:
    • Invoked when Michael has to gain the trust of an enforcer for the Russian Mob that he has captured. He pretends to be another member, locked in the same cell. They fight, and, typical on this show, Michael narrates the action by describing the importance of learning Russian martial arts if you're going to pretend to be Russian.
    • Another example is Sugar, the drug dealer from downstairs. He gets himself a quick curbstomping during the pilot, but years later shows up again as one of Michael's biggest fans and a useful contact in the narcotics community.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Greatjon Umber laughs off losing two fingers and then being humiliated by Grey Wind because Robb's forbearance and willingness to stand up to him are impressive. He later becomes one of Robb's staunchest supporters.
    • Osha is remarkably friendly to Bran in "The Pointy End" and becomes his most protective caretaker after her companions tried to rob and murder him in her previous appearance. This attempted robbery fails as Robb bests her in combat and makes her prisoner. She explains later that it was Nothing Personal and she was treated far more reasonably than she ever imagined.
    • Stannis states in the Histories and Lore segments that this was Robert's greatest gift and allowed his to cement his rule and defeat the Greyjoy Rebellion.
    • Subverted by Balon Greyjoy, who spent a decade brooding on his defeat until he could rebel again, this time motivated by revenge.
    • This is one of the ways Mance Rayder rose to become King Beyond the Wall. One by one he defeated anyone who stood against him, earning the loyalty of chieftains and warlords like Tormund Giantsbane and Styr.
  • On Leverage, Nate chased all of the team members when he was previously an insurance investigator. One flashback reveals that Nate and Sophie even shot at each other when he was chasing her.
  • On Disney's Davy Crockett mini-series, Mike Fink becomes friends with Davy and Georgie after the beat him in a riverboat race.
  • Rumpole of the Bailey: In "Rumpole and the Married Lady", Horace Rumpole by an underhand trick makes neophyte barrister Phillida Trant (acting for the prosecution against him) quote legal precedent to such an extent that it antagonizes the judge and she loses the case. It turns out to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.
  • Discussed and then defied in Garrow's Law by Garrow after his duel with Silvester.
  • On the short-lived Brooklyn South, an arc had two cops becoming more and more antagonistic to each other until they finally had a knockdown brawling fight, to the point of minor injuries—after which they respected each other and cooperated.
  • The West Wing:
    • The last season largely focuses on the presidential election between republican Arnold Vinick and democrat Matthew Santos. The winner ends up offering his competitor the job of secretary of state.
    • Ainsley Hayes, for example, got offered a job as Deputy White House Counsel after wiping the floor with Sam on a Crossfire-esque debate show. Granted, it took some time for the senior staff to take her seriously (especially Sam), but President Bartlet's first reaction was to hire her, and Leo agreed pretty quickly (even though Ainsley had written an op-ed saying that Leo should resign after his past addictions became public).
  • In Star Trek, this is the major theme between the Federation and the Klingon Empire following years of bitter enmity. After Praxis exploded and would've otherwise doomed the Klingons, the Federation stepped in and helped them get back on their feet, even saving the Klingon homeworld. Within an eighty year period, they become Vitriolic Best Buds and stood side by side to oppose the Dominion when it invaded the Alpha Quadrant.

    Pinball 

    Professional Wrestling 

    Roleplay 
  • In The Sydney Scroungers, Greg, a guard for the Wulagu Syndicate, was shot in the leg and brought on board to interrogate, but he ended up befriending his captors (mostly through unflinching sarcasm) to the point where they rushed into a combat situation to rescue his boyfriend.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Traveller: During the Interstellar Wars a number of Vilani defected and took the Terrans side. This was especially the case with the Khimashargur who were Space Cossacks that had fled from the vilani mainstream because of philosophical differences, and held a resentment against the Vilani government.
  • From Magic: The Gathering: Meet Surrak Dragonclaw, khan of the Temur, infamous for punching out a bear who later aided him and his clan in a skirmish at the cost of the bear's life. Full story here.

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Fate route of Fate/stay night, after defeating Illya, All-Loving Hero Shirou adopts her into his home, much against the wishes of the more pragmatic Rin and Saber.
  • In Maji de Watashi ni Koi Shinasai!, Yamato gets Chris to come around to his way of doing things by defeating her with such tactics.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Miles Edgeworth. A bit more like Defeat Renews Friendship, and also fuels his Character Development.
    • Simon Blackquill and Nahyuta Sahdmadhi from Dual Destinies and Spirit of Justice: both come to respect the members of the Wright Anything Agency for their aptitude in the courtroom and personally come to the WAA and the Justice Law Offices with defense requests.
  • In Little Busters!, this is how Masato and Kyousuke first met and became friends and so is how Riki and Masato renewed their friendship in Refrain. Masato also insists they do this to get Kengo back into the Little Busters, insisting that 'when two men cross fists, a spontaneous friendship will be formed.'

    Web Comics 
  • Rosof Tions of Drowtales ends up becoming Quain'tana's most loyal follower after she defeats the leader of his minor clan and defeats him in single combat. His advice and actions led to Quain'tana's clan becoming one of the most powerful clans in their entire kingdom and he harbors an unrequited love for her.
  • Played with in Misfile while most of Ash's races are nothing more than just races (some friendly, some less so), when Ash gets defeated by Kamikaze Kate it is Kate that declares Ash not only to be her friend, but surrogate "little sister".
  • Played straight in Erfworld with Ansom, although this is largely due to a MacGuffin whose entire purpose is to have this result. When it raises you from the dead. Though everyone at least suspects that mind control is involved, with most people believing it completely.
  • El Goonish Shive clearly wants to subvert it at the climax of Sister II, even using the title "Not Quite BFFs", but no one actually expected it in the first place.
  • Our Little Adventure:
    • Played straight when Pauline the barbarian joins the group after getting defeated in combat.
    • Inverted later when Norveg 'defeats' Angelika by deflecting a thrown bottle at him back at her. Norveg joins her after as her familiar.
  • A rather extreme example in Fite! — once Lucco takes the upper hand while fighting Guz, Guz suddenly puts down his sword and gives Lucco a big ol' hug.
  • Karin-dou 4koma: Seren killed an ancient dragon after an epic battle, but they came to a Worthy Opponent-like understanding by the end. The dragon's reincarnation is now Seren's adopted daughter, Tamaryu, and they get along quite well.
  • Mal and the giant flesh eating ceiling squid in Cthulhu Slippers become this after Mal sets out to see if Jiu Jitsu works on giant carnivorous cephalopods (answer: no). The squid even protects Mal from knife wielding cultists.
  • This Polandball strip about Britain's and France's long history together. It's surprisingly touching.
    Britain: "From the frozen wastelands of North America to the jungles of Africa I have fought you. Yet together, we have accomplished some amazing things. As the world changes, there is one thing that will always remain constant: the future does not seem so dark if I face it with you...my old enemy...my rival...my neighbour...my ally..."
    France:"...my friend."
    • To a lesser extent, Rome takes a paternal interest in the Celtics (who would later become England and France) and both Celtics have fond memories of Rome as a stern but loving teacher and credit him with their future successes.

    Web Original 
  • Wyn from the web fiction serial Dimension Heroes makes a deal with Rob: if he can defeat him in battle, he'll join them in their fight against the Dark Overlord Clonar. And maybe become their friend, as well, but that might be pushing it.
  • On The Guild, Codex manages to defeat Fawkes, leader of the Axis of Anarchy. He invites her to drinks, and she wakes up next to him in the morning.
  • In Misfiled Dreams, Jenny loses everything she has/is to Ash. Emily and Ash eventually bring Jenny through a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Played straight in The Leet World with Cortez and the Domination Guy, who is hired by Cortez's insane brother Mendoza to kill him. However, Cortez earns his respect when he beats him in single combat. While the Domination Guy doesn't join Cortez's side, he does return later in the series to save Cortez's life during the final confrontation with Ahmad.
  • Appropriately enough, given Stinkoman's clichéd shonen personality, in the Homestar Runner cartoon "20X6 vs. 1936", Stinkoman befriends The 1936 Homestar Runner soon after being defeated with a pea shooter.
  • The gas mask wearing man in One Hundred Yard Stare becomes friends with the heroines in this manner after a short altercation.
  • This is brought up by the Game Grumps during their Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) play-through.
  • Chaper 3 of the Book of Villainy of Acts of Gord recounts how a thief was caught for shoplifting, and Gord allowed him to pay (the exorbitantly marked up thief-bait price) for the game he stole, rather than press charges, and the Thief, impressed by Gord's mercy, evidently, became a regular (and proper) customer.
  • Parodied in Girl Chan In Paradise, where Kenstar just skips the "defeat" part and asks Yusuke (after his revelation as The Mole) to rejoin the team after about a minute's worth of building up to a fight that never happens, to which Yusuke agrees for no real reason.
  • Many enemies of Team Avolition, such as the Doridian server, have since reconciled with them and become friends.
  • The second part of The Salvation War after their defeat and conquest in the first has demons fighting alongside humans against Heaven, with human weapons. Some of them are also thriving in human society, having for example bankrupted Fed Ex.
  • There is no GATE; we did not fight there: In the interlude *Meet the Neighbors*, Kytheus befriends Cardin Brutus, an heir to one of the neighboring provinces, by beating him thoroughly in a spar.

    Western Animation 
  • Garfield and Friends: in the first episode with the singing ants, Garfield joins their ranks at the end after they ruin his picnic.
  • Dinobot, of Transformers: Beast Wars, joins the Maximals after a heated swordfight with Optimus Primal (which they didn't finish since the Predacons interfered and tried killing them both), impressed by the Maximal leader's honor. (Initially the plan was to kill Optimus and take over. That he thought the other Maximals would fall in line after that says a lot about the Predacons.) Early in the second season, it is this honor and respect that brings Dinobot back from the verge of betrayal when he thinks the Predacons are on the cusp of ultimate victory.
  • Lockdown in Transformers Animated was both surprised and pleased that Prowl was able to "get the drop on him", and immediately set about trying to get him as a bounty hunting partner. And possibly some other kind of partner.
  • Subverted and played straight in Ben 10, where Ben, feeling some sympathy for Kevin 11 due to his Freudian Excuse, offered him this after defeating him. Kevin appeared to consider the offers, but only used the opportunity to attempt to backstab Ben. In a later episode, they did have an Enemy Mine following their capture in Gladiator Games, but Kevin attempted once again to kill Ben at the first opportunity. The trope eventually is played straight in the sequel Ben 10: Alien Force, where Kevin is once again forced to team up with Ben for a longer time, leading them to actually befriend each others, but it took a 5 years Time Skip for such a thing to happen, and later episodes reveal Kevin had to recover from his psychosis during those five years.
    • In a Genre Savvy moment, Gwen says she knows this can now be true of her and her nemesis Charmcaster at the end of their final episode in Ben 10: Omniverse, since Charmcaster's now powerless and trapped in Gwen's custody, able to recover from her psychosis. Given the similarities between Ben and Kevin's rivalry plus the additional Magical Girl / Dark Magical Girl elements here, Gwen's probably right on the money (Word of God later confirmed that yes, she was.)
  • Happens a lot in The Backyardigans everytime there's a villain. Since it's a kid's show, nobody gets killed off or arrested, so this is the only way.
    • Also likely because they are using their imaginations and are all friends anyway.
  • In Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, Monterey Jack only joins the team after a fight with the titular chipmunks.
  • In a Popeye short, Popeye gets roped into being a matador despite his belief that bullfighting is cruel and barbaric, and finds himself facing a typical raging bull. After some cartoon hijinks and the devouring of spinach, Popeye manages to defeat the bull but refuses to kill it, earning the bull's respect, and it carries him and Olive Oyl off as Popeye sings about how he doesn't like bullfighting.
  • A very rare Space Ghost example in the episode "The Time Machine". After Space Ghost defeats him, the 12th Century Viking Tarko invites him back to his lodge as his guest.
  • Jonny Quest TOS episode "Calcutta Adventure". When Jonny and Hadji first meet, Jonny thinks Hadji is threatening Dr. Quest (he actually just saved Dr. Quest's life). Jonny attacks Hadji, but Hadji uses a judo move to throw Jonny away and Jonny lands in a heap. After the misunderstanding is explained, Jonny praises Hadji's judo skill and they become friends.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Nightmare Moon is defeated and purified by the Elements of Harmony.
    • Discord is defeated the same way as Nightmare Moon—he even dares the Mane Six to "Friend me" just before the attack—but the Elements deem him to be undeserving (or incapable) of redemption and instead stick him right back in the Fate Worse Than Death he crawled out of. Word of God states that the reason behind the different effect is that Nightmare Moon was under the influence of The Corruption, while Discord was himself a corrupting force. In "Keep Calm and Flutter On," Discord returns and the trope is inverted. Fluttershy becomes the first friend he's had in untold years, and Discord is surprised to realize how much he values her friendship. When Fluttershy finally puts her hoof down and tells Discord that he'll lose her friendship if he keeps being a dick, Discord concedes and undergoes a Heel–Face Turn. Thus, Friendship Equals Defeat.
    • Happens to Trixie in "Magic Duel". In this case, Twilight Sparkle defeats her by tricking her into removing the Alicorn Amulet which had boosted her powers. When Trixie realizes how much the Amulet had been corrupting her mind, she lets go of her prior grudge against Twilight and asks for forgiveness.
    • Happens quite literally in "The Cutie Remark", as Season 5 Big Bad Starlight Glimmer accepts defeat and becomes Twilight Sparkle's student in the study of friendship, becoming a new addition to the Mane Six.
    • Denied in "To Where And Back Again" with Chrysalis. Starlight offers her the chance to be good like Twilight did with her, but Chrysalis instead declares that she'll exact her revenge on Starlight.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons, Groundskeeper Willie defends the school from a savage wolf, fighting the beast with his bare hands. A later scene shows the two of them battered and bruised and sharing a drink.
  • In Kung Fu Panda: Secret of the Furious Five, a short feature that explores the backstory of Kung Fu Panda, we learn that Monkey was once a mischievous trickster, and only become good after being defeated by Oogway.
  • This usually is how Lilo and Stitch tame Jumba's other experiments. Stitch fights them and, once they're subdued, Lilo finds their "one true place". Some of them, like Splodyhead (Experiment 619), even help Stitch befriend other cousins.
  • Played with on Adventure Time: Finn doesn't defeat Marceline in her One-Winged Angel form, but he does wound her, which impresses her enough that she calls off their fight and returns the house that she had taken from him and Jake. The next episode has him outwit her plans to prank him, and after that they become increasingly friendly.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: Yukon Cornelius reforms a Bumble.
  • The Adventures of Puss in Boots: After defeating the Sphinx, who wasn't too fond of her job guarding a magical hourglass to begin with, Puss offers her a more rewarding job as the guardian of San Lorenzo.
  • After the Gems in Steven Universe finally caught Peridot, she began warming up to Steven.
  • After Jim defeats Draal in combat in Trollhunters, but refuses to kill him, Draal becomes disgraced and unable to show his face in Trollmarket (up until the second half of the season). He decides to live with Jim as his bodyguard instead, and the two form a friendship.
  • While their fight was a draw, Samurai Jack and the Scotsman become good friends after fighting one another and then teaming up to fight off some bounty hunters that had been chasing them. The Scotsman goes on to become one of Jack's dearest allies, not only saving Jack's life on one occasion but also being instrumental in the final battle against Aku.

    Real Life 
  • The United States has a long history of turning bitter enemies into battle buddies, going back to practically its founding.
    • Britain. After fighting The American Revolution and the War of 1812 with the USA, relations between the two have been quite peaceful. Even before the War of 1812, Alexander Hamilton was a big advocate of this as a way to develop America's commercial economy, though his preferred policies didn't go over that well in the climate of Anglophobia immediately following the Revolutionary War. This doesn't mean that tensions disappeared right away, however. There were still occasional squabbles throughout the middle of the 19th century, particularly disputes over the border with Canada. The major border issues were settled by 1850, and at the same time Anglo-American cooperation started to get going; the original Monroe Doctrine, articulated in 1823, served the purposes and had the tacit support of the British, which is why it was taken somewhat seriously by the European powers. The growing trade relationship between the US and Britain—and between the US and Canada—also factored in, and by the 1880s the US and Britain were warily inching towards the alliance that would come to develop over the past century. America's aid helped in World War I, but it was America's involvement in World War II, providing much-needed support to British troops who had held off a full-scale German invasion longer than any other nation besides Russia, that sealed the two nations' alliance. Since the days of Churchill and FDR, the US and UK have become nigh-inseparable, and have by far the strongest diplomatic and military alliance of any two autonomous nations in the civilized world.
    • Played straight with white Northern and Southerners after the end of The American Civil War, unlike some other places where a civil war leads to a Cycle of Revenge. Unfortunately it was done at the expense of America's black population, who lost a lot of the initial gains (there were several black members of Congress during Reconstruction, and many black members of southern state governments; after that it was effective disenfranchisement and Jim Crow suppression in the South, and a refusal to recognize black contributions to the Union cause during the Civil War) they had made post-war.
    • The treatment the Axis Powers received from the western allies after World War II. After just seven years of punishing West Germany by keeping the country poor and powerless (as per the 'Morgenthau Plan', which was publicly disavowed but partially enacted), the US extended their general western-European investment drive ('The Marshall Program') to them as well and even released high-ranking ex-Nazi officers from prison (including Erich von Manstein, who had been imprisoned for war crimes against POW and civilians but was released early) so they could found a new German military. The result? A German military that helped redress the Balance of Power in Europe against the Warsaw Pact, and more than 60 years of mutual prosperity and relative peace between the former Axis powers and their conquerors. And Japan, following its surrender and the subsequent drafting of its non-aggression constitution, quickly became an ally of the West after Chairman Mao seized power in mainland China, and the outbreak of The Korean War. Today, Germany, Italy and Japan are three of the biggest economic powerhouses in the world and the centers of two of the world's foremost currencies (euro and yen, respectively). This wasn't out of altruism, but more of out Cold War strategy. The US maintains a number of bases in both Europe and Asia to project power facing threats of domination from Russia and China. And at a more personal level, a number of friendships sprang up between surviving German fighter pilots and their one-time opponents; most famously, German ace Adolf Galland. The famously comfortable circumstances of Anglo-American POW (who were neither used for slave labour nor exterminated) meant that some former-POW and camp-guards also became friends. At a higher level, former Wehrmacht generals like Erich von Manstein cultivated friendships with people such as Captain Sir Basil Hart (who published Rommel's Diaries in English, a notable best-seller of the early '50s).note 
    • Believe it or not, the US and Vietnam are fast approaching this today (although it's more like "Stalemate equals Friendship"). The Vietnamese, although obviously not pleased at the American intervention in their country, very quickly entered the good graces of the US after The Great Politics Mess-Up.note  Currently, the US is Vietnam's largest trading partner (unless you count the whole EU as one unit, in which case the US is second), and the US and Vietnam cooperate on regional issues in Southeast Asia, including tacit US support for Vietnam's position in their numerous maritime border disputes with China. The US assiduously courted Vietnam in the 1990s, and that Vietnam has far less animosity with the US than with China — which has invaded and occupied the country several times over the past...oh...two thousand frickin' years,note  most recently in 1979, and has been trying to mess with Hanoi's business quite blatantly for decades. Today, Vietnam is one of the most pro-American countries in all Asia, with a whopping 71% of Vietnamese having a positive image of the US. (This amusingly for those not directly involved causes trouble with the Vietnamese American community, who are overwhelmingly anticommunists from South Vietnam and not happy with the rapprochement and its symbols, like acceptance of the current official Vietnamese flag).
  • Salah-al-Din, a Muslim warlord of Kurdish ancestry, became something of a "Noble Heathen" folk hero to Europeans following his conquest of Jerusalem, which inspired the Third Crusade. According to legend, Saladin made friends with Richard the Lionheart, although in real life they more or less fought each other to a standstill and never met in person. Most importantly was what Salah-al-Din (romanized as Saladin) didn't do: when he conquered Jerusalem, he didn't slaughter the Christians or Jews living there. This is the absolute opposite of what European Crusaders had done when they first took Jerusalem - the Crusaders mercilessly slaughtered every Muslim and as many Jews as they could find. When Salah-al-Din took Jerusalem back, Europe was positive news of massacre would follow, but they never did. Salah-al-Din simply took the city back and nothing more. Hence, the legend of the Noble Heathen. That was because Jerusalem was taken 1099 by an all-out assault, while 1187 Jerusalem surrendered instead of being taken by force. The Medieval custom was to spare the town's inhabitants if the town surrendered; if it was conquered by assault, the town was free to be ravaged for three days and three nights. That said, Saladin was also intentionally invoking the memory of the rise of Islam: almost exactly 550 years earlier, Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab had taken Jerusalem and entered the city quietly; this conquest had ended several decades where the city repeatedly changed hands between the Byzantine Empire and Sassanid Persia, with the conquerors slaughtering hundreds if not thousands each time for security reasons.note 
    Most European countries had other conflicts to worry about and were perfectly happy to ignore the Middle East as long as there was no compelling motivation to have another war. Massacres in Jerusalem or the destruction of Christian holy sites would have been such a reason, and the Church would have forced Europe to put aside their various petty conflicts and launch another crusade. Salah-al-Din was supposedly not stupid and realized what would happen if he played the part of the brutal conqueror.
  • The reason why the Nepali Gurkhas fight in the British Army. In 1814, the British East India Company (EIC) used its mercenary army to invade the Kingdom of Nepal; however the Gurkhas fought the Anglo-Indian troops so hard that The Company only managed to conquer a third of Nepali land and it took them 2 years and large numbers of casualties to do so. The Company was however impressed by the Gurkhas' fighting spirits and abilities so from 1816 onward they recruited Gurkhas into their forces. After the Mercenary Rebellion of 1857 and the subsequent nationalisation of the EIC the following year, the Gurkhas were folded into the British Army and have played a key role in it ever since.
  • Britain and France, though who exactly defeated who is debatable. Suffice it to say that after nine-hundred years of each nation scheming, fighting, and inflicting humiliating defeat on each other, perfide Albion and "the bloody French" put aside their differences and signed the l'entente cordiale in 1904, forging an alliance that would defeat the Kaiser and Hitler, and that endures to this day.
  • In one of the most epic boxing matches ever, George Foreman was defeated by Muhammad Ali in 1974. The two became good friends afterward. Another boxing example is Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti, who had three memorable fights in the 2000s and became friends, with Ward even becoming Gatti's trainer until the Italian died in 2009.
  • Howard Stern often gained the praises or at least acceptance of many former radio and celebrity rivals once he established his ratings supremacy and celebrity credibility.
  • The first encounter of Turkey and Australia was on opposing sides of a battlefield in World War I. The conflict was both fierce and gentlemanly - an odd combination which, despite the eventual defeat of the Australian forces, created a bond of mutual respect, admiration, and friendship between the nations which continues to this day. The Ataturk Memorial is a perfect encapsulation of these ties.
  • John Adams, who had defeated Thomas Jefferson for the presidency in 1796, refused to attend Jefferson's inauguration after Jefferson was elected President in the 1800 election. In 1812, Adams reconciled with Jefferson by postal correspondence until they died several hours apart on July 4, 1826, the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
  • Abraham Lincoln:
    • He and the man who was previously the frontrunner for the Republican nomination in 1860, William Henry Seward. Seward became his Secretary of State and one of his most loyal and trusted supporters. Pointedly not the case with Salmon Chase, the other vanquished rival who joined Cabinet, though.
    • Earlier in his political career Lincoln played this trope entirely literally. After several anonymous letters were published criticizing auditor of the State of Illinois James Shields, he blamed Lincoln and challenged him to a duel. Lincoln accepted, though, with dueling being illegal in Illinois at the time, the two met on an island on the Missouri side of the Mississippi. As Shields had challenged Lincoln, Lincoln was allowed to select the terms of the duel and chose the cavalry broadsword as their weapon. 5'9 Shields, tall for his day, was still towered over (and more importantly, outreached) by the nearly six and a half foot tall Lincoln, and found it in his heart to forgive Lincoln, who, for his part, agreed to a written apology, and the two remained friends for life.
  • Jimmy Carter became good friends with former rival Gerald Ford after his presidency ended.
  • Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush became friends after the bulk of their political careers concluded, and have spent most of the subsequent decade co-organizing charity events. Bush took to calling Clinton his other brother for a time. (And then made his intentions quite clear to vote for Bill's wife in 2016 — though his own party's nominee played a big role in that.)
  • The quarrel between Theodore Roosevelt and William Howard Taft cost them the 1912 election which Woodrow Wilson won by a landslide; near the end of his life, Roosevelt eventually reconciled with Taft.
  • In 1980, Bush and Ronald Reagan were competing for the Republican nomination. When Reagan won, Bush agreed to be his running mate.
  • Katie Sandwina defeated a man in a wrestling match. They later married and had a kid.
  • In the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Anthony Kiedis' first encounter with Flea involved telling Flea off for bullying one of his classmates. Then they became friends when they discovered they had similar music tastes.
  • One of the oldest ones in the book: When Persian King Cyrus the Great conquered a country, he often let its king live, letting him become a royal advisor instead. This most famously happened to Croesos (the King of Lydia and the man who invented money, or rather his grandson), whose later loyalty to Cyrus is documented in several places.
  • This is how early man tamed and bred dogs by establishing dominance as the "pack Alpha" while offering food and affection. Even nowadays dog owners need to make sure their dogs know that the dogs are their pets and not the other way around.
  • On the set of Enter the Dragon, a martial artist extra continually challenged Bruce Lee to a sparring match. Bruce accepted, kicked the crap out of the guy as expected, and the extra quickly became his student.
  • Sports example: professional golfer Jason Dufner lost to Keegan Bradley in a playoff at the 2011 PGA Championship after letting go of a late lead. After the playoff, the two became great friends and often played jokes on each other. Two years later, Dufner would have another late lead in the PGA Championship—this time, Bradley was on his way to the airport and hearing of Dufner's chances, asked to be driven back to the course to await his friend. He made it back in time for Dufner's victory and congratulated him on camera just off the 18th green as Dufner went to have his score verified.
  • It is rumoured that Stanley Kubrick won the respect of George C. Scott during the filming of Dr. Strangelove by beating him in a game of chess. Scott disliked the over-the-top way in which Kubrick wanted him to play the character of Gen. Buck Turgidson, but once Kubrick beat him in the game, Scott began to get along with him and grudgingly complied with Kubrick's instructions.note 
  • Essentially what Napoleon tried to achieve, most notably with Russia and Austria. He and Alexander became great friends after their meeting at Tilsitt (until Napoleon demanded that Alexander enforce the Continental System in Russia, effectively crippling the country's economy), and he hoped that marrying Francis II's daughter Marie-Louise would create a close bond between the two former enemies. He failed in both cases.
  • It is said that Bruce Lee and Gene LeBell became friends when they were sparring in the set of a TV series. Gene supposedly threw Lee down and immobilized him, and when Lee asked him to release the hold, Gene refused saying that if he did it, Bruce would get up and kick his ass in revenge. It's debatable how much of a defeat such a funny incident was, but reality is that they started to train together after this.
  • Mixed martial artists Frank Shamrock, Maurice Smith and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka became the ¡Three Amigos! of MMA after Kohsaka defeated Smith and Shamrock defeated Kohsaka.
  • Actor Bruce Cabot (most famous for King Kong) was a rising star in the 1930s until he lost the lead in Stagecoach to John Wayne, who quickly eclipsed him as a leading man, effectively demolishing Cabot's chance at stardom. The two later became close friends and Wayne made a point of getting roles for Cabot in many of his own movies.
  • Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama endured one of the bitterest primaries in modern politics, but four years of Clinton serving as Obama's Secretary of State forged a strong working relationship and, ultimately, deep friendship between the two of them. Obama essentially hand-picked her as his chosen successor for the Presidency with a ringing endorsement, calling her "the most qualified candidate in history" and making it clear that she has his complete trust and support. After Labor Day, when the general election kicked into high gear, he embarked on a campaign blitz on her behalf that is unmatched by a sitting President in modern history. Just look at them now.


Alternative Title(s): Defeat Equals Friendship

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DefeatMeansFriendship?from=Main.DefeatEqualsFriendship