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Go Through Me
The compassionate soul may provide a stronger shield than steel or stone.

Buffy: If you want Tara, you'll have to go through all of us.
Spike: Except me.
Xander: Except Spike.
Spike: I don't care what happens.

Inspector Javert catches up. The Mecha-Mooks drop in. The Big Bad incapacitates the hero, and moves in for the kill...

...only for another, weaker character (let's call her Alice) to throw herself between the villain and his prey, yelling, "If you want him, you'll have to go through me!"

Alice may expect the attacker to stop, she may be braced to fight, or she may be sacrificing her own life. Perhaps she is hoping her display of Friendship or Love will faze the aggressor into reconsidering. She may be armed with nothing but her own defiance and protecting the other with sheer force of will. She may just be stalling for time so The Cavalry will arrive.

Seeing Alice come between him and his prey usually makes the attacker stop and consider his next course of action. If he doesn't care what happens to Alice, he will happily "go through" her to get to the hero. In other cases Alice is important to him and he will stay his hand, if only to find out why he's been betrayed. This makes the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter a common participant in this trope.

Occasionally, a whole group of characters will jump between the target and the attacker, and the attacker will either back off, intimidated by these numbers or, (if he's a Villain with Good Publicity, having underestimated the hero's popularity versus his own) make an impressive Foe-Tossing Charge.

Unfortunately, what works for the hero can work for the villain too, and if the Big Bad has a Brainwashed victim or Face-Heel Turn-er around that the hero is unwilling to "go through," they can put an All-Loving Hero in a very tight spot. Don't try this on an Anti-Hero— you can't be sure they won't Shoot the Dog. In fact, don't try this on any hero with a gun, because they'll always find a way to slip a bullet past the victim's head and into yours.

A particularly powerful or numerous enemy in this situation leads to a You Shall Not Pass situation. If the defender is so powerful there's a good possibility they'll go through the person being challenged, it's I Am Your Opponent.

If this is said to (or by!) the Intangible Man, expect hilarity to ensue as he, she or it is very likely to act as a Literal Genie. Also in a rare, horror situation, expect the recipient to literally tear the speaker in half and go through.

See also: Protected by a Child, Taking the Bullet, I Am Spartacus, sometimes used as a sneakier way to protect the hero. Contrast Pietà Plagiarism, Crucified Hero Shot. Liable to Threat Backfire.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Inverted in Rurouni Kenshin. Kenshin has Shishio down and Yumi throws herself between them to protect Shishio. Shishio then literally goes through Yumi with his katana to get Kenshin. Yumi knew he'd do that. He still held her in his arms as she died, before retaking the fight.
  • Hwa Ryun from Tower of God attacked Rachel during the CrownGame, which immediately prompted Baam to go in between them. She just as quickly started beating him until his Defense Mechanism Superpower kicked in.
  • In Kiddy Grade, when Éclair's Berserk Button is triggered after the Aure military police gun down a wave of protesters, she dares the Nouvlesse to shoot her down along with the rest of them.
  • In Cowboy Bebop, Lin jumps between Vicious and Spike, preventing Spike from taking his shot. This exchange does not end well for anyone.
  • In Samurai Champloo, blind assassin Sara has a bleeding Mugen on the ground and is about to run him through when Fuu flings herself on top of him. Accompanied by a "Don't do it!" wail.
  • Sailor Moon features an episode in which Sailor Moon launches her Moon Tiara Action attack against Nephrite, but her friend Naru intervened because she's in love with Nephrite, and so she was forced to stop it.
  • In Chrono Crusade (manga version), Aion attempts to attack Mary Magdalene to retrieve Pandaemonium's memories, but Chrono throws himself in the way. Aion, knowing well that demons have regenerative powers, simply stabs through him to get to his target.
    • History Repeats later in the manga, when Aion does the very same thing in an attempt to kill Rosette, who is also being possessed by Pandaemonium. Yet again he stabs through Chrono, but this time his attack is blocked by the watch, a symbol of Chrono and Rosette's relationship.
  • During Vash's Heroic BSOD in the Trigun anime, a whole lynch mob is taking out its frustration and despair on him, especially now that he won't lift a finger to defend himself. In the end, Meryl puts herself between Vash and a gunman to stop the mob from killing Vash, ignoring all pleas from said gunman that he will kill her too if she comes any closer.
  • In Ranma ½, after being weakened by a moxibustion technique, Ranma is swarmed by a bevy of foes. He's saved at the last second when Ryouga pops in between them, blocking their attacks. He may be Ranma's sworn nemesis, but he will stand by his honour and protect the weak and helpless —to Ranma's endless irritation.
  • In GaoGaiGar FINAL, the reprogrammed Repli-mobile unit breaks their brainwashing to stand in front of the still-brainwashed Gai and the Goldion Hammer and King J-Der.
    • Earlier, Repli-GaoGaiGar is charging GaoFighGar with Hell and Heaven, and right before he connects... "ERASER HEAD XL!" Then the Repli-Jin tries again, and ChoRyuJin just stands there in front of Guy, soaking the attack with his Mirror Chest. Bad ass.
  • Happens at least four times in Higurashi no Naku Koro ni. When Shion is about to kill Satoko, Rika and Rena step in. When Shion says she's going to kill Teppei, Keiichi steps in, saying that won't work and only bring more pain. When the whole gang tries to save Rika, Rena and Mion do this. When Miyo is about to kill Mion with her last bullet, Hanyuu stands in the way, insisting she's a more appropriate target.
  • Relena pulls this off to protect Heero at the start of Gundam Wing. She then pulls it again when Heero is in his Gundam and about to prance around during a ball.
    • Noin tries this to stop Zechs from returning to his base, and he debates killing her, but he instead opts to just fly around her instead.
    • Also seen in Gundam 00, when Allelujah does this protect Marie/Soma from Sergei, saying he can shoot him if Sergei doesn't let Marie/Soma fight in the future. At the last second, she leaps in front of him to take the bullet that wasn't shot in the first place. This leads to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming between Soma and Sergei.
  • In Soul Eater, Soul would normally be capable of taking the attack without damage (or not as much damage) but since he was harmed by Chrona and Ragnorak, Maka refuses to block with him in his weapon form causing him to switch to his human form and end up with his torso cloven open to block the next attack.
  • In Bokurano Chizu's older sister Ichiko did this, when her sister, having gone into a Yandere state after all the abuse she went through, was trying to kill the teacher who molested her and was to blame for her Break the Cutie session with an Humongous Mecha. For added drama, Ichiko actually lays the blame on herself and dares Chizu to kill her. Chizu stops and focuses on battling the enemy robot, and then she dies.
  • In the fourth episode of Imma Youjo, an assassin tries to kill Maya but is stopped by her servant Anne, who jumps between them. While he contemplates whether or not to kill Anne, as well, Count Pickingel sneaks around and backstabs him For Massive Damage.
  • In Berserk, Jill (the village girl during the Fairy Arc) does this for Guts when Rosine attacks him. Normally, this would be completely unnecessary (this being Guts and all), but since Guts is poisoned, and Jill ends up being the only person Rosine cares about... it works.
  • In Vision of Escaflowne Merle puts herself between Eria and Neria and Van, and stops them because she reminds them of themselves.
  • In the second season of Code Geass, Urabe of the Four Holy Swords does this in order to let Lelouch/Zero and Kallen get away from the Britannian Super Prototype that's single-handedly holding all three off. Before this, Urabe was generally seen as That One Guy and the least distinct member of the Holy Swords; afterwards, the fandom gave him a posthumous promotion to Badass.
  • A character inversion: Orihime's introductory arc in Bleach has her nearly getting killed by her Hollowfied brother, but Ichigo comes to the rescue. He then shouts "If you have to kill Inoue then you're gonna have to kill me first!".
    • In rhe Soul Society arc, Matsumoto does this when Gin Ichimaru is about to stab an unconscious Momo. After she dares him to fight her, he leaves without a word.
    Matsumoto: Please, put away your sword, captain Ichimaru. If not... I will be your opponent!
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima! Homura and Luna pull this on a Negi consumed by his Superpowered Evil Side. Double points for Luna since she actually dispelled her Master of Disguise powers (revealing herself to everyone as Asuna's doppelganger, aside of Fate's group and the small group from Negi's class who knew beforehand) right before that.
    • Hilariously done in the Mahora festival arc, when Negi is possesed by World Tree's magic, and won't stop until he kisses Nodoka (which she requested). Asuna protects Nodoka and shouts: "If you want to kiss Honya-chan, you've gotta kiss me first!" Freudian Slip much, Asuna?
  • Subverted in One Piece as it nears the climax of the Enies Lobby Arc. Luffy, totally worn out from going into Gear Second twice and Gear Third once, is about to be finished by Rob Lucci. Fortunately, Usopp takes off his disguise as Sogeking and tells Luffy to either get back up, or let himself take Lucci on; both he and Luffy know that he can't win. Luffy gets back up.
  • Used repeatedly throughout the Digimon series. Wizardmon does this for Gatomon, Kari does this to help snap Andromon out of his Mind Control, and Tommy does this in Frontier.
  • During Touma's first fight against Accelerator in A Certain Magical Index to stop the level six shift project and save the remaining 10000 or so Misaka clones after Touma was seemingly knocked out and close to dying, and the Misaka clones just used the windmills to destroy Accelerators compressed wind attack, Mikoto does this to protect said clone from Accelerator, knowing she'll likely die. While Accelerator stops to talk smack, Touma starts standing up again, to the surprise of both Accelerator and Mikoto.
  • In the very first episode of Pokémon, Ash does this to defend Pikachu from a flock of rampaging Spearow, when the two just met and Pikachu hates his guts. This ultimately earns him Pikachu's respect, and Pikachu jumps into the air and launches a massive Thunder Attack that knocks out the entire flock in one shot.
    • Seen again later during a competition for fighting type Pokémon. The ring is sabotaged by Team Rocket with glue so that their rival (Anthony)'s Hitmonchan is stuck and unable to properly defend itself. The trainer's teen daughter Rebecca (who had just befriended Ash, Misty and Brock) loses it, jumps into the ring and places herself between Hitmonchan and its charging opponent, begging for Anthony's Pokémon not to be hurt. Her dad in turn jumps in front of her and ends up taking the hit.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Alphonse defends a Heroic BSOD-ing Hawkeye from Lust by pulling a "Go through me". It doesn't work, because Lust has no qualms about killing a sacrificial candidate, and Al and Hawkeye are only saved by Mustang's Big Damn Hero/Kill It with Fire entrance.
    • Edward manages to play this trope straight for the villain and the kneeling victim behind him at the same time later: he jumps in front of Winry, who is pointing a gun at Scar, to prevent her from shooting him, because he knows that if she shoots (and inevitably misses) Scar will have to kill her as an enemy. He then convinces Winry to not kill him and have revenge for her parents's deaths.
  • Rosario + Vampire has Kurumu Kurono and the rest of the gang get in between Ghoul Tsukune and Inner Moka, saying that they won't let her kill him, despite his being beyond redemption. Kurumu is promptly rewarded for her efforts via a slash wound to the chest by the defended.
  • In the final battle of Mai-HiME, Yuuichi attempts to shield Mai as the Obsidian Lord advances on the two with a sword, but Mikoto then attacks him, shattering his pendant, separating him from Reito's body, and enabling Mai to destroy him and Miroku with Kagutsuchi.
  • Lakshu attempts to mix this and Talking Your Way Out in Tenkuu Senki Shurato, trying to convince Gai to not kill Shurato who is both his rival and his best friend. It doesn't work.
  • Mocked in The Tower of Druaga, where the main character declares that if The Rival wants to fight him, he'll have to fight him first.
  • In The King of Fighters: KYO manga, Kyo's girlfriend Yuki stands in between Kyo and Iori to stop them from fighting in the school grounds. It doesn't really work since Iori grabs her, but then he releases her when Kyo says "You Would Not Hit a Girl who can't fight back!" This is followed by Athena also trying to stop them... but using her Attack Reflector instead, which accidentally clashes with Iori's flames and pulls her into his memories for a short while, which causes her an Heroic BSOD — but at least it makes Iori stop and leave the place.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: In the Virtual World arc, Kaiba is just about to defeat his stepbrother Noa in a duel when Mokuba, who's been brainwashed by Noa, steps in front of Noa and declares this. Kaiba is unable to attack his little brother and cancels his turn, giving Noa a chance to catch up.
  • The Castle of Cagliostro: Princess Clarisse does this twice for Lupin, at different points during the film.
    • The first happens near the midpoint, after Lupin's been shot and left critically wounded by Jordo. Not only does she prevent Lupin from falling to his death, she shields him with her own body and tells Cagliostro that if he intended to kill Lupin, he'd have to kill her too. Cagliostro respnds by having Jordo open fire around them... with each shot narrowly missing by inches. Clarisse doesn't budge, despite fearing for both their lives.
    • At the film's climax, Cagliostro prepares to fire at Lupin as he hangs from a ledge of the castle's clock tower. Clarisse literally leaps to Lupin's rescue, by jumping from the tower and attempting to take Cagliostro with her; complete with a Big "NO!"

    Comic Books 
  • A popular variation in superhero stories is to have the hero save a bunch of Muggles, and then have them try to return the favor. It usually doesn't work.
  • Parodied in the Italian comic book Rat-Man:
    Ortolani (narrating a flashback, in which he's surrounded by thugs): I thought I was done for, but then... a shadow appeared.
    Rat-Man (in the flashback): If you want him... you'll have to go through me.
    Ortolani (back in the present): Marvellous. Just marvellous. (pauses) They put us in the same hospital room, so we quickly became friends.
  • Used very darkly in X-Men: The Age of Apocalypse. During a massive battle, Colossus sees that his little sister is in trouble and rushes to save her, with gusto. Iceman steps up and says something along the lines of "No can do pal, if you want to get out of here you'll have to go through m-"... and the next panel shows Colossus smashing Iceman into a million pieces. (Which is odd, given that Iceman is considerably more powerful than Colossus).
  • Towards the end of the Marvel Civil War crossover, the duel between Iron Man and Captain America is interrupted by a bunch of civilians (including, but not limited to, a cop and a fireman) tackling them to stop the battle.

    Fan Fiction 
  • Memoirs Of A Master has a more abstract version of this with Master Oogway telling Song's mother that there is no way he will let his student be removed from his custody and subject to the torturous foot binding. To punctuate this, Oogway tells Song's mother that if her father has a problem with this, he's welcome to come and fight the Supreme Master of Kung Fu if he dares.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic A Voice Among The Strangers, Rainbow Dash and Ebony both do this when Jessica is almost recaptured by the Flim Flam brothers. It wasn't necessary - the royal guards had already shown up - but it's especially moving since until this point Jessica didn't quite trust Rainbow Dash, who in turn didn't trust Ebony.

    Films — Animated 
  • In Monsters vs. Aliens, this is said by B.O.B. Being a Blob Monster, however, the mook does go through him.
  • In the 2009 Astro Boy movie, Tenma and Elefun tagteam this ultimatum while protecting Astro from the military. Of course, Stone was happy to have them both shot, but there was a small interruption.
    "I think Metro City can learn to get along without you."
  • At the beginning of the Hungarian animated cult film Cat City, cats break into a mouse bank with a tank. The clerk shouts: "No! Over my dead body!" The tank promptly shoots him.
  • At the end of The Fox and the Hound, Amos insists on shooting Tod the fox despite that he just rescued him and his hunting dog Copper from a bear (which furthermore happened in the middle of them hunting said fox). Copper places himself between them however, causing Amos to give in.
  • Played seriously in the movie, South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut when the kids of South Park all stand around Terrence and Phillip in order to stop Sheila Broflovski and the American military from executing them. Unfortunately they were too short.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Used in Batman Returns, with Max Shreck's son Chip stepping in to save him from the Penguin's Red Triangle gang. The gang are not impressed and pull weapons on him, prompting Chip to say "Dad, go! Save yourself!"
    • Admittedly Max was never actually in any danger, since Penguin wanted him alive, but Chip didn't know that.
  • In Stargate the movie, the action-y hero (Kurt Russell) almost shoots Big Bad Ra... but hesitates when a dozen young children surround their lord. Well, after all, the hero recently lost his son, so you can understand the hesitation. Of course, at the end of the film, he cheerfully sends a bomb up to the ship, destroying Ra and the children. Would have been a pragmatic and necessary yet heart-rending decision—if anyone had bothered to remember the kids. (According to the DVD commentary, the entire point of Ra having children around him was so if someone tried to shoot him, they'd stop so they wouldn't hurt the children.)
    • Children of the Gods, the Stargate SG-1 première film, all but directly reproduces this scene with Amonet (currently possessing Daniel's wife) taking the place of the kids.
  • At the end of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Will Turner does this to protect (Captain) Jack Sparrow. Then Elizabeth Swann does it to protect him. Probably because it didn't look like the people he was stopping were convinced.
  • Done in the first Spider-Man film: When Goblin pulls the Sadistic Choice on Spider-Man, the crowd throws things at him, distracting him for long enough for Spider-Man to catch his breath. One shouts "You mess with Spidey, you mess with New York! You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us!"
  • Subverted in Spider-Man 2: A crowd on a subway car try to do the same thing to Doc Ock: he grins, says "Very well" and shoves them up against the subway walls.
  • This is nearly played straight at the end of in Muppet Treasure Island when everyone is teaming up to protect Captain Smollett (Kermit).
    Jim Hawkins: Kill Captain Smollett, and you'll have to kill me!
    Gonzo: Kill Jim, and you'll have to kill me!
    Squire Trelawney (Fozzie): Kill Gonzo, and you'll have to kill me!
    Rizzo: Kill Squire Trelawney and Mr. Bimbo, and you'll have to... um, negotiate strenuously.
  • Reservoir Dogs:
    Mr White: If you kill that man you die next, repeat, if you kill that man you die next.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring did this in the scene on Weathertop, where the Ringwraiths casually fling aside the other hobbits trying to protect Frodo.
    • And don't forget The Return of the King, where the Nazgûl king moves in to finish Théoden and Éowyn steps in.
  • RoboCop 3 has the Big Bad going to round up civilians huddling for warmth inside a church, After Robocop demands Mc Daggett back off, Lewis agrees and declares "If you want to get in there, you gonna have to shoot through us." The Big Bad replies "I don't have a problem with that." and promptly kills her with a burst of machinegun fire, before turning to fire a grenade into Robocop's chest who was standing back and to the left..
  • Played for laughs at the climax of the first Men In Black movie. Will Smith's character makes the challenge to the Big Bad, who promptly swats him out of the way and continues like nothing happened.
  • Enchanted also played this for laughs, when Robert grabbed a sword he had no idea how to use and got between Giselle and a Scaled Up Queen Narissa. Her response? "All right, I'm flexible." Cue Distressed Dude.
  • In Bruges: the hotel owner, a pregnant woman, stands between a hired killer and his target.
    • Of course, Harry, being the principled criminal he is, adamantly refuses to do anything to harm her.
  • A Day at the Races has the following exchange: You leave this room over my dead body! - Well, that's a pleasant way to travel.
  • A double in Godzilla Final Wars, in which Minya and a kid interpose themselves between Godzilla and the badass heroes, preserving the thin truce that just defeated the invading aliens.
  • The horror form occurs in Wishmaster, where a security guard says this to the Jackass Genie villain - who turns him into glass and smashes through him to get in.
  • At the finale of Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon, Doug attempts to invoke this trope to stop Leslie from getting to Taylor. Unfortunately, Leslie doesn't even break stride to smash his head against a wall and knock him out cold.
  • Bilbo in The Hobbit does this after tackling and killing an orc mook who was about to behead Thorin. Despite being utterly terrified, he stands between Azog and the semi-conscious Thorin, ready to give up his life to protect the latter.
  • Superman And The Mole Men had the Man of Steel saying this to a lynch mob wanting to harm the innocent Mole Men. Of course Superman has no problem getting the mob to back off.
  • The Way Way Back: No words are exchanged, and the situation is far from life-and-death. But when Trent walks up to Duncan ready to chew him out post-climax, Owen intervenes and stares him down and sends him away. Bonus points for Owen (Sam Rockwell) being shorter than Trent (Steve Carell).

    Literature 
  • In Neil Gaiman's book/miniseries Neverwhere:
    "If you're going to hurt her," (Richard) said, "you'll have to kill me first!"
    Mr. Vandemar seemed genuinely pleased by this. "Alright," he said. "Thanks."
  • Used in A Clash of Kings, when Lannister Mooks attempt to capture Gendry.
    • Earlier, Jon Snow gets ordered into this after he complains about the treatment of Samwell Tarly.
  • Several characters do this in respect to Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, especially Samwise Gamgee.
    • Still, the prime example is Éowyn standing up to the Witch King of Angmar when he's out to kill Théoden. Talk about a Moment Of Awesome.
  • Harry Potter.
    • Harry's dad James says that he will hold Voldemort off while his wife takes Harry to safety, only to be killed seconds later by Voldemort. The fact that Voldemort fully intended to kill James anyway somewhat blunted the heroism of James’ sacrifice; James was dead the second Voldemort found him without a wand, he would have died no matter what he did.
    • Lily Potter does this as well in the same scene, refusing to stand aside and let Voldemort kill Harry. She's cut down quickly too. However, unlike James, Voldemort did give Lily the chance to step to the side and live because of Snape's request. She refused. This act of sacrifice triggered magical protection over Harry, so her choice was ultimately successful.
    • Done in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, when Ron tries to threaten Sirius Black, despite his broken leg making him unable to back up his threats. Fortunately, the one Ron was protecting wasn't the one Sirius wanted to kill.
    Ron: If you want to kill Harry, you'll have to kill us too!
    Sirius: Lie down. You will damage that leg even more.
    Ron: Didn't you hear me? You'll have to kill all three of us!
    • Played with in a non-lethal fashion in the first book, where Neville tries to keep Harry and crew from sneaking out at night by threatening to fight them. Of course, Hermione apologizes before temporarily paralyzing him, but...
    • In the movie Prisoner of Azkaban Severus Snape puts himself between a werewolf and his three least favorite students. Don't call him a coward.
    • Crookshanks also tries to protect Black from Harry in Azkaban, by sitting on his chest.
    • Not my daughter, you bitch!
  • Quasimodo does this in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, protecting Esmeralda.
  • Subverted in a way in Dune: After Chani dispatches a would-be challenger to her lover Paul/Muad'Dib, she says that fewer people will try to challenge him if they learn that first they have to go through (and suffer the possible disgrace of being killed by) his women.
  • Near the end of the Horus Heresy, Horus has badly wounded the Emperor. Right before Horus strikes the final blow a single Imperial Army solder stands in the way. Sure, he's killed in less than a second but it gives the Emperor the opening needed to win the day. Later fluff changed this to being a Space Marine.
  • In Temple, William Race's bodyguard does this to protect him from his own commander, Colonal Nash. Nash was armed and he wasn't, so the results were predictable. At least he distracted Nash long enough for the Cavalry to arrive.
  • Invoked in the Forgotten Realms novel Elfshadow, although to protect the attacker and not the target. Near the end of the book, Danilo Thann tells his comrade Arilyn Moonblade that if she wants to kill her Evil Mentor she's going to have to kill him first. Arilyn grudgingly swears to take the man alive—so he can testify to his crimes, and incidentally clear Arilyn herself—and Danilo readily steps aside.
  • In Halo: Fall Of Reach, the orbital drydock Cradle moves itself to shield the human fleet from the Covenant weapons. The Covenant manage to destroy it, but it took them a while, and Cradle's incredible sacrifice helped turn the tide of the battle.
  • In The Last Unicorn, Prince Lir throws himself between the unicorn and the pursuing Red Bull. Tragically, the Bull is blind and doesn't even see him as it runs him down. The unicorn, on the other hand...
  • In Just Another Judgement Day John Taylor does this in front of The Walking Man. The latter tries to "go through" and loses his powers for trying to kill defenseless and innocent (in this case) human.
  • Trapped on Draconica: This is how Daniar's duel with Taurok ends: Lydia placing herself in their midst and making them stop.

    Live Action TV 
  • True Blood has a hilarious literal example; when, in the fourth season, the main antagonist Marnie is confronted by Bill and Eric, Marnie's right hand Roy stands up and tells Eric to go through him first. Eric than literally goes through Roy, lunging forward and piercing into the man's chest, ripping out his heart. Counted as a Moment Of Awesome to the fandom.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Satan Pit": "You'll have to kill me first!"
    • This also happens to the Doctor in the episode "Midnight". When he tells the very frightened passengers that they'll have to get past him to throw the Monster of the Week out of the spacecraft, they turn on him, and even attempt throwing him out a little while later.
    • Before either of those times, it happened to him in "The Age of Steel", after the Cyber-Controller offers to convert him:
      The Doctor: You might as well kill me.
      Cyber-Controller: Then I take that option.
    • And in "The Unquiet Dead":
      Gelth: We want this world and all its flesh!
      The Doctor: Not while I'm alive.
      Gelth: Then live no more!
    • The lost story "Farewell Great Macedon" (later adapted by Big Finish) has Barbara do this in an attempt to save Ian from execution by Alexander the Great. Susan follows her and, rather presumptuously, drags the Doctor in as well (who does agree after a moment).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Just about the whole cast (except Spike) does this for Tara when her emotionally abusive family shows up. Especially funny because Spike had been the one who exposed her family as liars by punching her and inflicting pain on himself, to prove that she didn't have demonic heritage.
    • And only a few episodes previous, a Brainwashed and Crazy Xander challenges Riley Finn with this if he wants to save Buffy from Dracula. Riley's response? * POW!* "Okey-dokey."
    • Regular-Xander had far more success against Angelus while Buffy was hospitalized, and again in the Season Six finale, where he tells Dark Willow, "If you're going to destroy the world, then start with me. I've earned that."
    • Xander also does this with Jack O'Toole in the school basement with the bomb.
  • Occurred at least five times in Babylon 5. Delenn deliberately walked into a thrown knife intended for Sheridan, drove off an attacking enemy fleet to save his neck, and offered her life to a Vorlon inquisitor to save his. Later in the series, two Alliance ships implicitly said 'go through me' by placing themselves between the Alliance command ship and incoming Shadow missiles. Also used to awesome effect by Marcus:
    Neroon: My quarrel is with Delenn.
    Marcus: Then your quarrel is with me.
  • In a Stargate Atlantis episode Kolya threatens to kill McKay, and one by one Teyla, Ronon and Carson step in front of him, saying that they each want to be killed first.
    • McKay does it himself, when Kolya is aiming a gun at Weir in "The Eye", in the first season. He downplays it uncharacteristically.
  • In an episode of Flashpoint, a targeted man's wife stood between her husband and the shooter. Said shooter had no problem going through her. Unfortunately for the shooter, the SRU team shot her first.
  • Lampshaded in Being Human, when Regus chooses to help the housemates protect Eve from a vampire hitsquad. He's fully aware that as a scholar, he's got no fighting skills and will barely slow them down, but it's the thought that counts.
  • Occurs in the season 2 finale of BBC’s Robin Hood when King Richard has been badly wounded in the Holy Land. Guy of Gisborne is moving in with a drawn sword, presumably to deal a death blow, when Marian steps in his way, wrongly assuming that since he was in love with her he won’t kill her to get to the king.
  • Used in The City Hunter when Jin-pyo has kidnapped Corrupt Politician Lee Kung-wan with the intention of interrogating and then killing him. Yoon Sung blocks the road with his car and Jin-pyo...goes through it. Later in the series, the opposite happens: Jin-pyo stands in the road, and Yoon Sung is forced to stop.
  • In the infamous homage scene at the end of the Frogger episode of Seinfeld, George tries holding off an oncoming truck as he tries getting the Frogger machine he just bought with his high score intact to the other side of the road (albeit signaling with a single palm). Needless to say, it doesn't work.
  • In Xena: Warrior Princess, Joxer valiantly (if hopelessly) stood between Callisto and Xena's wounded horse Argus, saying she would have to take him down to hurt Argus again. Fortunately for both Joxer and Argus, Callisto had previously pulled a "Freaky Friday" Flip on Xena, and Xena's soul was inside Callisto's body; she only wanted to approach Argus to administer to his wounds. Xena did acknowledge that she was impressed by Joxer's bravery.
  • Supernatural. During a Battle in the Center of the Mind Sam encounters a version of himself that remembers what it's like to be trapped in Hell. He uses this trope, but doesn't attempt to fight Sam, instead trying to convince him that You Do NOT Want To Know.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has the touching story of Ollanius Pius, a random Imperial Guardsman who put himself between Horus and the wounded Emperor during their battle. To wit, Horus was a physical demi-god before the four Chaos Gods infused him with their powers, and Pius was just a normal human with an assault rifle. Pius stood absolutely no chance of stopping Horus, or even hurting him, and he still had the guts to pull this off and stand before him. Unfortunately, it didn't work. Horus flayed Pius alive with a look. On the upside, this act caused the Emperor to finally realise that his favourite son was beyond saving, and gave the Emperor the resolve to defeat Horus. He is loved by fans for his courage and Dare to Be Badass value.
  • The first Player's Handbook for Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition invokes this trope in the quote for the fighter class, to help emphasize its more defined mechanical role as a defender in that edition. "You'll have to go through me first, dragon!"
    • In fact, melee-only classes are often referred to as "The Meat Shield" in RPGs now as an in-joke. Crosses over with Human Shield as melee players will sometimes explicitly try to protect weaker party members while weaker party members will often explicitly try to hide behind melee party members. Can be justified if the melee character is tough enough.
  • From the Iron Kingdoms, we have High Paladin Dartan Vilmon, who was ordered to Purge a town of "heretics" by the power-mad Heirarch Voyle. Vilmon turned on the Menite army and told them "You're going to have to get past me." Note that Vilmon is actually Bad Ass enough to win.

    Video Games 
  • In Sakura's ending in Street Fighter Alpha 3, she stands in front of an injured (actually, Brainwashed and Crazy) Ryu to protect him, telling Bison "You'll have to kill me first!" Bison just knocks her aside. Bad idea: that was the last tigger needed to restore Ryu's sanity, and he tears Bison a new one to protect her.
  • This happens a couple of times in Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World where Emil stands between Richter killing Marta. Richter doesn't hurt Emil because Emil looks just like Richter's dead best friend.
  • Several times in the Sonic the Hedgehog series:
  • In Mass Effect 2, Thane met his wife Irika while attempting to assassinate a target. She spotted his targeting laser and jumped between Thane and the target. The instance was so jarring that Thane found himself jarred out of the mental state of a trained assassin he'd been in throughout his entire life, and found himself obsessed with finding out who she was. He even explains the exceptional circumstances of the situation to Shepard, explaining that while soldiers are trained to protect others, untrained civilians are not, and how remarkable it would be that someone would unthinkingly shield someone else that they don't even know.
    Shepard: Maybe you're right, maybe we can't win this. But we'll fight you regardless. Just like we did with Sovereign. Just like I am doing now.
    • Admiral Anderson invokes this in the trailer for the new Earth DLC.
    • Invoked by Shepard in Mass Effect 3, when Legion shows up on the Normandy and the Quarians express the desire to either shoot him or dismantle him for military intelligence.
    Shepard: Legion is my friend! More importantly, it's our only source of information on the Geth!
    Admiral Xen: But the scientific benefits-
    Shepard: Are off the table!
    • Done implicitly in Garrus' loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2. Paragon Shepard stands in Garrus' shot while Garrus is attempting to assassinate Sidonis, giving Sidonis a chance to express remorse and let Shepard convince Garrus not to go through with the killing.
  • In King's Quest VII: The Princeless Bride, Edgar does this when Malicia is about to attack Rosella.
  • In Dragon Age II, Cullen tells Meredith that she will have to go through him to get to Hawke after she turns on them. She is so crazy by this point that he will still do this even if Hawke sides with the Mages. If Carver joined the Templars, he will do this too.
    • Becomes even more significant if Hawke themself is a Mage and sided with the Mages, where even a loyal Templar like Cullen would rather stand with an apostate mage such as Hawke than follow Meredith anymore.
    • Hawke invokes this towards the Arishok during his attempt to seize Kirkwall, then potentially again when he attempts to take Isabela back to Par Vollen as a captive for stealing the Tome of Koslun. This leads to Hawke engaging in a Duel to the Death with the Arishok himself, with the fate of the city and potentially Isabela as the prize.
  • Liberty Lad of Freedom Force gets to be a hero by way of a blood transfusion, which became necessary after attempting to do this for a hero who was about to get machine-gunned.
  • Midna of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess does this for Princess Zelda, protecting her from Ganondorf. It doesn't work. He gets through, and it goes From Bad to Worse.
  • Heihachi in Kazuya's ending in Tekken 2. It backfires on Heihachi though, as Kazuya promptly uses Heihachi as a Human Shield.
  • In a Non-Standard Game Over for Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, Flonne will attempt this to save Maderes from Etna. It doesn't end well.
  • Final Fantasy X:
    • Invoked and Discussed during the cutscene where the party finally confront Seymour; the rest of the party crowd around Yuna once it's clear they're a threat, prompting them to remark "The Code of the Guardian! To put the Summoner's life before one's own."
    • The Guard and Sentinel techniques on Auron's section of the Sphere Grid also invokes this; he will step in front of any other party member who is about to be attacked physically and take the hit instead until his next turn comes up.
  • In Final Fantasy X-2, Lenne puts herself between Vegnagun (being used by Shuyin) and the world. We never find out if it would have convinced him to stop, given that the two are both gunned down seconds later.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, when the Ansem-possessed Riku is about to kill Sora and extract Kairi's heart from him, Sora hears her call and blocks Riku's dark keyblade with his own, shouting, "Forget it! There's no way you're taking Kairi's heart!" Cue one of the toughest battles in the game thus far.
  • In the expansion to XCOM: Enemy Unknown (Enemy Within) your prototype MECnote  Troopers can acquire the skill One For All, which allows them to act as Hard Cover for their teammates, provided they don't move or fire (most of) their weapons during their turn.
    • Additionally, Support Troopers that volunteer for the MEC procedure gain the passive effect Distortion Field, adding +10 Defense to any allied troops within roughly four tiles of them.
  • Subverted in League of Legends. The champion Braum's skill set is based on this trope, encouraging his user to stand in between his ally and his enemy and soaking up damage for his ally. For example, he can just jump between his friend and enemy while yelling "Stand behind Braum!" and then put his massive shield in front blocking nearly everything, forcing the enemy to deal with Braum first. So how was this a subversion? Well, it just happens that Braum is huge (but kind), and is super strong and stout.

    Webcomics 
  • Dominic Deegan: Suyan is expected to kill Kiya for her thoughtcrime, and his friend Eltu is there to insure that Suyan goes through with it. Suyan instead pulls a combination of this trope and a heroic Breaking Speech; convincing Eltu to let them both leave and report back to the Chief that they both were killed.
  • A textbook example of the Intangible Man problem occurs in this anti-HEROES strip. A ghost makes for a poor guard.
    Stupid incorporeal body.
  • During Homestuck's "Make Her Pay" flash animation, Robo-Aradia starts absolutely beating the stuffing out of Vriska as revenge for a prior incident. Tavros—one of Aradia's friends and FLARPing partners from before the start of this Cycle of Revenge—jumps between her and Vriska's unconscious body. Aradia stops her assault and leaves. But by this point Vriska is so beat up that she'll bleed to death without medical attention. She gets better. Much better.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Elan tries to shield a heavily wounded Roy from Tarquin. Tarquin stabs Elan so hard that the sword passes right through Elan's body and into Roy.
  • Schlock Mercenary: One happens early on, with predictable consequences, considering the webcomic. Granted, the guy who said it was on a tank, but you still don't say that to someone who regularly carries anti-matter grenades.

    Web Original 
  • Nintendoland's Deathmatches section has this for the Mario vs Sonic story.
  • In There Will Be Brawl, Zelda attempts to protect Link from Ganandorf this way. He kills them both anyway.
  • Takua does this between the Bohrok and the residents of Ga- and Po-Koro in BIONICLE. As it turns out, he shouldn't have bothered, as a surge of energy, released when the Bohrok queens were defeated, was about to shut down the Bohrok in a few moments.
    Takua: SHOO! ... Shoo?

    Western Animation 
  • Subverted in a Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons, in which a robot uses Homer as a human shield against a Mechanized Bart. The guy isn't even able to finish the sentence before both he and Homer are sliced in half.
    • In a rare dramatic moment during the episode "Who Shot Mr Burns?" Lisa runs in front of a group of officers (including Wiggum) as they are about to confront Homer (who is suspected of the attempted murder) shouting "STOP!!! DON'T SHOOT MY DAD!!!... he's innocent! He wouldn't hurt a fly!" Of course, Homer would have to take this particular moment to start strangling Mr Burns... this is one of the instances where the helpless person's plea is completely successful.
  • Done heartbreakingly in the Futurama episode "The Sting", where Fry throws himself in front of Leela to protect her from a giant killer bee, gets impaled on the stinger, and dies. Of course he didn't actually die — the stinger went through him, hit Leela, and his death and the entire rest of the episode were her nightmares while in a venom-induced coma but that doesn't stop it from being any more Tear Jerking. After all, he thought he was going to die.
    • Lrrr and Ndnd do this when a park ranger tries to poach Bigfoot. He then tried to shoots them with a tranquilizer only for it bounce off their hard outershells.
  • Family Guy Presents: Laugh It Up, Fuzzball: "Over my burnt carcass."
  • Subverted in Jackie Chan Adventures where Jade puts herself between a Turned to Stone Jackie and the bad guys - only to nearly knock him over herself.
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants:
    Spongebob: "Sandy, if you wanna go after that worm, you're gonna have to go through me!"
    • At which point Sandy lazily (and literally) does pass through him, splitting his sponge body into two western bar saloon-like door halves.
    • And as if the episode 'That's No Lady' wasn't already brimming with Ho Yay;
    Spongebob: Stop! You're gonna have to do something horrible to me before you're gonna run Patrick out of town!
    Squidward and Mr. Krabs: PATRICK?!
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, when Jimmy wants to fly Lucius' Cool Plane, Lucius declares that he'll have to get past him. Which he does. Easily.
  • On South Park a scientist tells the military they will have to kill him first after he refuses to reprogram a conscious robot (Cartman). Butters arrives just as Cartman is about to reveal he isn't a robot, so he maintains the charade and the scientist is shot.
  • In one episode of Xiaolin Showdown, Chinese gangster Pandabubba sends his goons to raid the Xiaolin Temple Shen Gong Wu vault. There, the goons find Raimundo, who enacts this trope. The thugs just shrug and say, "We're good with that."
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Fluttershy, upon seeing the Cutie Mark Crusaders threatened by a cockatrice, orders the girls behind her and makes it clear that she will be a statue before seeing the girls harmed. Fortunately, the cockatrice did not have as much willpower as it thought it did.
  • In The Fairly Oddparents episode "Back to the Norm", when Norm showed up at Timmy's bedroom saying he wanted revenge:
    Wanda: If you want Timmy, then you'll have to go through me!
    Cosmo: That goes double for me! If you want Timmy, you'll have to go through Wanda twice!
  • An episode of Recess sees Gus standing up to a bully who everyone else is afraid of. Even after being severely beaten, Gus refuses to back down. Finally, TJ places himself in front of Gus and says any further beating will be over his own prone body. He's quickly joined by their other friends and then the rest of the school kids en mass.
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "The Land Before Swine", Grunkle Stan does this to a hungry pterodactyl attacking Mabel's pet pig Waddles.
    Stan: You want this pig?! Then you're gonna have to go through me, you flying devil! Come and get me!

    Real Life 
  • Most versions of Pocahontas' rescue of John Smith, including Disney's, and Smith's own "record." Modern anthropology suggests that this was part of an Algonquian adoption ritual, which justifies it somewhat.
    • Of course, there are other records that indicate that John Smith told stories about the Chief's beautiful daughter falling in love with him in several different places he visited...
  • Chris Crocker famously declared that if anyone wants to make fun of Britney Spears they'll have to go through him. They did.
  • The 'bag man', standing in front of a column of PLA tanks returning from their suppression of the Tian'anmen protests. Once he had a word with the crew, he left.
  • Before assassins came to murder King James I of Scotland, they stole the iron bar that was meant to keep the room locked in case of emergency. One of his wife's ladies-in-waiting, Catherine Douglas, attempted to use her arm as a substitute. She failed and had her arm broken as a result.
  • Intervention of the Sabine Women by Jacques-Louis David (1799).
  • Emperor Norton I Of the United states, from The Other Wiki : "During the 1860s and 1870s, there were a number of anti-Chinese demonstrations in the poorer districts of San Francisco. Ugly riots, some resulting in fatalities, broke out on several occasions. During one such incident, Norton allegedly positioned himself between the rioters and their Chinese targets, and with a bowed head started reciting the Lord's Prayer repeatedly until the rioters dispersed without incident."
  • On 20th of May, 1795, during a protest against the French parliament, a man named Jean Feraud stood in front of the march and told them they would have to pass over his body before they would take another step, and was badly trampled as a result. He got up, dusted himself off, and when the march reached the President's seat, told the crowd they would have to kill him if they wanted to lay a finger on the president... which is exactly what they did.
  • Chernushki village (Feb 22, 1943): Alexander Matveyevich Matrosov threw himself onto a German pillbox so that his unit could advance safely without the fear of being hit by suppression fire. He was posthumously awarded for his sacrifice with the highest battle honor of his country: Hero of the Soviet Union.
  • In 1752, a rather quarrelsome farmer in Hallingdal, Norway, was about to attack his younger half brother with an axe. Story goes that their mother positioned herself between them and said: "are you going to chop your brother down, you better take me first. I strove equally for both of you, and delivered you both on my knees!" This gave the younger brother time to escape, but the mother was violently manhandled afterwards. This farmer was charged and imprisoned for years.
  • The American Rachel Corrie, who stood in front of an Israeli bulldozer about to destroy the home of a Palestinian. It ran over her twice and crushed her to death. Subsequent investigation showed that unfortunately she was standing in a place where the driver couldn't see her.


Go Out with a SmileTear JerkerThe Grotesque
Give Me a ReasonThreatening TropesHappiness Is Mandatory
Good Night, Sweet PrinceStock PhrasesGo to Your Room
Good SamaritanSelflessness TropesGreater Need Than Mine
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