Must be Monday. New podcast! Just click on the fancy logo below.
Heroism is a high-risk job. When The Chosen One
is the only one who can defeat
the Big Bad
, the Big Bad
and their Evil Minions
are going to be coming after The Hero
everywhere they go. You may be the only one who can protect the city, or the kingdom, or the Magical Land
, or the universe, but while you're working on that, who's going to protect you
You need the Hero Secret Service: Heroes R Us for The Hero
! Twenty-four hour protection from any and all accidental or intentional premature causes of death that may hinder you on The Hero's Journey
. They'll keep
your Secret Identity
secret, guard you while moving between headquarters, provide distractions
, take out the Mooks
so you can save your strength, and if necessary, make Heroic Sacrifices for you
, thereby providing substantial Heroic Resolve
to get you through the culminating grand battle.
Working for the Hero Secret Service is also hazardous. Contractual Immortality
is significantly decreased
, and it's not personal
as far as the Big Bad
is concerned, so the Evil Minions
for once have full permission to kill
. On the other hand, while the Big Bad
is Surrounded by Idiots
, the Hero Secret Service does not hire any crazy guards
... unless they're a volunteer Amazon Brigade
assigned to protect The One Guy
Taking advantage of the Hero Secret Service is not optional, so save your breath
about not wanting to put anyone else in danger
for your sake, or how they can't hope to ever help
This job position is also cynically referred to as being a "Meat Shield." Just ask the Red Shirts
of Star Trek
Sometimes run by La Résistance
. If the hero is royalty, this may be Praetorian Guard
. Always More Expendable Than The Hero
. See also Poisonous Friend
, who sees himself as protecting the hero but has a worse code of ethics
than the hero when it comes to harming the hero's enemies
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- The SOS Brigade members (minus Haruhi herself) towards Kyon in The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. All of them mention Kyon being a very important person towards Haruhi, and have either aided him, or in some cases protected him against threats, such as Nagato breaking into Asakura's closed space to save him.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion: Misato rallies NERV to protect the EVA pilots in End of Evangelion.
- Also, in the series, NERV employs Section 2, plainclothes security guards who keep the pilots under watch when away from HQ.
- Sailor Moon: If Sailor Moon is the only one who can break spells, destroy monsters, defeat the enemy, and prevent The End of the World as We Know It, what are the Inner Senshi there for? To protect Sailor Moon!
- The Record of Lodoss War finale has the heroes descending on a rescue mission down into the Big Bad's fortress. One by one, Parn's companions break off to fight monsters that are suspiciously tailored for their talents, leaving Parn to face the Big Bad and the Dragon alone. This was all part of his destiny, since his sword and the Dragon's sword were the only items that could restore the Balance Between Good and Evil.
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni: Rika THOUGHT she had this going for her
- Prétear explicitly states that the Leafe Knights can't defeat evil without the eponymous Magical Girl — once they find her, they need to protect her, so that she can protect the world. They also provide her with Elemental Powers, but this takes only one Knight per battle, and the rest of them is here to distract monsters so she can safely kill them. Additionally, in the anime version they literally transform into the Pretear's energy shield upon merging with her, receiving injuries instead of her — and then claim it's OK, because it's their job. (This, however, also means that at least one of them should survive, otherwise the Pretear will be rendered useless. Or so they thought.)
- In Magi - Labyrinth of Magic, the King Candidates are all The Heroes of their own stories, with each one trying to become a King or some equivalent position of power and influence. Most King Candidates collect Households along their journeys, which are effectively their Hero Secret Service, whose most important role is to protect their King Candidates.
- On a smaller level, Shannon and Raquel protecting Pacifica in Scrapped Princess.
- In fact, there is quite a lot of people willing to protect Pacifica ,that were made this way through super-genetics by ancient Big Good.
- In Fushigi Yuugi, the Suzaku warriors serve this function for Miaka. But the trope is subverted in that Tamahome, the Love Interest and main hero, actually dies while secondary characters Tasuki and Chichiri are the only ones who survive to the end of the series.
- This concept is referenced in Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou. The Hachiyou are "those who protect the Miko". On one occasion said Miko, Akane, is put into a coma by the sound of a cursed kin, with the apparent way of waking her up is to have one of her protectors exorcise said instrument, killing himself in the process. Yasuaki, who calls himself "Miko's tool", sums it up by saying that, if there's no Miko, there's no point in the Hachiyou's existencenote . Thankfully, Everybody Lives, since the second story arc subverts the concept by making it clear that the Hachiyou are not expendable, being the key to recovering The Four Gods.
- While Light Yagami is not much of a hero, he has several supporters willing to kill or die for him, and they regularly do both. By the second season, many Kira supporters openly proclaim their affiliation (as Matt discovered to his sorrow when he learned that Takeda's guards didn't take prisoners).
- Roy Mustang's men are like this for him in Fullmetal Alchemist. His hand-selected five closest subordinates are aware of his ambitions and will do what it takes to protect him and anyone else he tells them to protect (most notably each other) while he works to fulfill his goals.
- This trope actually cause a large amount of conflict between Oz (the protector) and Arago (the hero protectee). Arago thinks Oz should be protecting other people who can't take care of themselves, while Oz's number one priority is protecting Arago and no one else.
- The Fourth Shinobi World War of Naruto features this as a major point. The main objective of the protagonists is to ensure Tobi does not capture Naruto or B. They also effectively place Naruto under house arrest and assign what amounts to a small army to keeping him hidden.
- The SOS Brigade, the Organization and Tsuruya's Yakuza work as one for Kyon in Kyon: Big Damn Hero.
- The yaoren of Embers are intended to be this for the Avatar, but most of them are dead, except Zuko and a couple guys.
- Harry Potter: The Order of the Phoenix and Snape sometimes fulfill this tole, on top of opposing Voldemort themselves. As the years pass, Harry is often not pleased.
- The Fellowship of the Ring essentially served this purpose in The Lord of the Rings, until it split up after the Ringbearer, Frodo, realised that the only thing they couldn't protect him from was themselves. They instead recruit a large invasion force to distract the enemy from Frodo's presence.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden has a troop of faeries, led by Toot-Toot, who occasionally drop him some information. In Summer Knight, they evolve into tiny little badasses, fighting on the side of "the Pizza Lord" in the war between the Winter and Summer Courts. In Small Favor, Harry learns his faeries have been watching his back in ways of which he was unaware.
- Invoked by Harry when discussing Michael's troop of actual guardian angels defending his home.
- Armsmen in the Honor Harrington universe seem to function like this. Especially with the main character.
- Indeed, when the chips are down, Honor's junior officers are known to willingly function as such, especially during their escape from the PNS Tepes.
- The entire D'Haran Army consider themselves this for the current Lord Rahl, although the Mord-sith (and especially Cara) might be a better example.
- The League of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Interesting example, as the hazards encountered is part of the appeal of sport or adventure to its members, and the main act of heroic sacrifice is to unquestioningly adhere to the chief's orders, in order to avoid to any possibility of red shirts.
- Wil Ohmsford is this to Amberle Elessedil in The Elfstones Of Shannara; Crispin and his Elven Hunters are this to both of them. In The Wishsong Of Shannara, Jair's party does the same for him, guarding him on his trek to Heaven's Well.
- This is one of David Eddings' recurring tropes. Garion, for example, on his quests to single-handedly save the world, is obligated by ancient prophecy to be perpetually surrounded by a Five-Man Band (at least five, anyway), which is made up primarily of highly capable warriors. Similarly, Sparhawk is surrounded by a loyal band of his brother knights, who accept that he has a massive job to do and are determined to protect him along the way.
- In Discworld, the Nac Mac Feegle take it upon themselves to be this for Tiffany Aching, occasionally without her knowledge and/or permission.
- Catching Fire: During the Quarter Quell the previous victors who are a part of the resistance are this for Katniss and Peeta, though the latter two have no idea what's going on.
- The Maidens of the Spear serve this purpose for Rand Al'Thor in Wheel of Time
Live Action TV
- Even Power Rangers Time Force has an example in the Silver Guardians, where the two leaders are the Red Time Force Ranger and the Quantum Ranger and the Guardians take care of the dirty work, before they get in and morph.
- Samurai Sentai Shinkenger has this dynamic within its team. Takeru/ShinkenRed is so greatly important that the other four are basically his bodyguards. They don't even refer to themselves as Shinkengers, instead saying they're "the same" as their leader. Not all of the team is thrilled with this development, but all of them have to do it. The Shinkengers are also assisted by kuroko, an army of "stagehands" who help announce the Shinkengers' arrival on the battlefield, do crowd control, and other tasks.
- Taken even further in the later episodes, when it's revealed that Takeru has been a kagemusha (a variant of Body Double) all along. The real ShinkenRed, a young girl, has been training in secret to develop the special technique needed to defeat the Big Bad. Eventually, in recognition of Takeru's valor and skill, she "adopts" Takeru and he becomes the rightful holder of the ShinkenRed position in all respects.
- Its counterpart Power Rangers Samurai doesn't go as far, eliminating the formal authority that the Red Ranger has over the team and the kuroko; but the Samurai Rangers do have a small support network of allies that are entrusted to protect ancient artifacts and the like.
- This trope describes Chuck Bartowski's "handlers"/partners to a T. Of course, it's a partial subversion in that they are also the ones who keep him in danger.
- Battlestar Galactica. President Roslin has her own civilian security team that takes part in a gunpoint face-off when Commander Adama attempts to terminate Roslin's presidency by force in "Kobol's Last Gleaming" — we never see them again. In later episodes Roslin and the Quorum of Twelve are guarded by Colonial Marines, perhaps signifying the increased trust between Roslin and the military — however this backfires on all concerned during The Mutiny.
- Babylon 5 has several of these, depending on which character the storyline is following and where the action takes place. On B5, Station Security can often be counted on to provide protection for the main characters, while the Anla'Shok (AKA The Rangers) eventually take on this mission towards Delenn and Sheridan, and Londo will on occasion make use of the Centauri Republic's soldiers, such as the time he had them gun down a pair of Shadows.
- In Shadowrun, once a call from a contract holder is confirmed, most DocWagon franchises guarantee the arrival of an armed trauma team within ten minutes, or else the immediate medical care is free. They do charge customers for injury or death compensation for their employees, though.
- Exalted: Cult of the Illuminated believes that the Solars are returned righteous god-kings and will do anything to protect fledgling Solars. Various Yozi cults will also do the same for Infernals. Abyssals have the death cults.
- BIONICLE: The Order of Mata Nui was stated by Word Of God as being the CIA of the Matoran Universe. They are exactly the secret service, and they do not hesitate to kill or do other dirty jobs, while Toa don't kill. On the other hand, since Toa are the MU equivalent of cops by this analogy, then this is actually pretty stupid. But, LEGO being LEGO...
- This is the entire plot of Dragon Quest IV. "The Hero" is the title given to the Half-Human Hybrid Chosen One (born from an angel and a human) prophesied to save the world against the king of demons. The first four chapters of the game introduce you to the hero's party members before you meet the Hero Him/Herself. Many of them are actively looking for the Hero in order to protect him/her.
- In Shining Force III Scenario 3, the Force's goal is to protect Gracia, so he can asend into an innovator and defeat Bulzome.
- Final Fantasy X: The Guardians who travel with and protect the summoner Yuna on her journey to defeat Sin.
- Guardianship is actually a job with a significant number of openings. Three members of the party have served as Guardians for previous summoners (Auron, for Yuna's father Braska, Lulu and Wakka for a summoner who gave up at the Calmlands and became a priest instead and Lulu alone for a summoner who failed and died), and as you encounter other summoners you meet their Guardians (including one who was inspired by Auron).
- Played with, as the entire journey will be completely useless unless he or she has at least one guardian. The entire thing is a system of control institutionalized by the corrupt church. The purpose of the Guardians is to provide a Sacrificial Lamb that the summoner will have to use to defeat Sin. The more love or emotional bonds the two have, the more powerful the Aeon the summoner will have to fight Sin. This is, of course, doubly cruel because it means the Summoner has to sacrifice someone they deeply care about without prior knowledge that this would happen.
- Tales Of Symphonia: The group who travels with and protects the Chosen of Mana, Colette, on her journey to the Tower of Salvation.
- Fire Emblem, pretty much every game. Matthew in Rekka no Ken is a literal example: Hector is preparing to sneak out the back of Castle Ostia, but Matthew senses something's amiss and sniffs out a small army of assassins before they can harm Hector.
- Half-Life 2, the human resistance. No matter how many squadmates you get horribly killed, some will always show up. They 'followed you' or one empty room turns out to have some prisoners. The agonizing screams of the dead heard just minutes ago don't matter.
- Then again, there's no reason to think they're not dying like flies in your absence, too. They might expect following Gordon to improve their [miserable] life expectancies. Which actually can work out for the Episode 1 evacuees.
- Inverted in The Suffering, an XBOX game. The ending literally depends on being the Secret Service for other characters. Don't let that Jerk Ass prison guard die!
- Link finally gets a little help of this sort in The Legend Of Zelda Twilight Princess, when the members of the Resistance Group come to his aid while he's fighting his way into Hyrule Castle. He's still pretty much on his own the rest of the time, though.
- The Hero in Fable gets a little help near the end of the game, in the form of old minor characters, guards, and guild members, all teleporting into battle. Could also coincide with a Crowning Momentof Awesome on the part of the previously-useless soldiers.
- The Mysterious Stranger in the Fallout series.
- In Kingdom Hearts, Donald and Goofy are dispatched to escort the Keyblade Wielder.
- In Scarface: The World is Yours, a variety of mooks can be used to help you on your way. All are replaceable no matter how many die.
- Ziro from Super Cosplay War Ultra is always accompanied by a squad of henchman, and outside of one or two normal attacks, absolutely every one of Ziro's attacks is done by one of them (he even uses one as a meat shield when he blocks.)
- Code Lyoko: The Lyoko Warriors' only job is to protect Aelita so she can deactivate the towers XANA uses to attack. The biggest reason for this is that Death Is Not Permanent for them while on Lyoko, but it is for her, at least until Season 4.
- Starting with Season 4, Aelita no longer has to worry about ceasing to exist if she dies on Lyoko, and can fight on her own, after developing her Energy Field powers. Still, the others would never consider letting her go it alone.
- Much of Avatar The Last Airbender's secondary cast, most notably the failed invasion force and The Order of the White Lotus.
- In The Legend Of Korra, the White Lotus has taken on the job of watching over the new Avatar in an official capacity. Though they don't seem to be very good at keeping her out of trouble.
- Played for laughs in Tangled with Pascal, Rapunzel's pet chameleon, who often acts as her protector and defender ... which gets tricky seeing how he's a very small creature. Although, he does manage to stare down Flynn and Maximus and was the one ultimately responsible for Gothel falling out of the tower in the end.
- In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2003 there were the Guardians, an organization of high-tech Ninja who filled this role for the Utrons. Splinter's deceased master Himato Yoshi was one of them, and regarded as one of the best and one of the most loyal. He was trusted with their greatest secrets, which is why he was targeted by the Shredder. It turned out to be pointless for the villain, as Yoshi was willing to die before he talked, and was Defiant to the End, insulting the honorless villain with his last words.
- The Jagers in Girl Genius.
- The Continentals: Continental Operative Jeffrey Tiffen Smythe and his gender bending partner the adventress Lady Fiona Fiziwigg work for a division of British Milittary Intelligence known as The A.T.S.T.K.