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[[quoteright:342:[[Webcomic/ForLackOfABetterComic http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/GameOfKingsHbeforeR_227.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:342: [[http://forlackofabettercomic.com/?id=23 Honor is overrated.]]]]

->''"Shepherd Book always said, 'If you can't do something smart, do something right.'"''
-->-- '''Jayne Cobb''', ''Film/{{Serenity}}''

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Being a good and honorable person is [[BeingGoodSucks anything but easy]]; it requires personal sacrifice that most normal people aren't willing to make, either out of self-interest, self-preservation, selfishness or [[TheDulcineaEffect any other number of reasons]].

Heroes who abide by this trope more often than not act in a manner that, although morally sound and honorable, is far from the most practical solution. Quite often this kind of decent, chivalrous behavior will come at [[HeroicSacrifice a great cost to the hero's happiness, kill them outright, or similarly leave them a destroyed human being]]. A villain aware of such a gallant hero is bound to use FlawExploitation against them as well.

Characters who adhere to this trope are generally [[TheFettered more committed to a their code of ethics]] than to their own self-preservation. They believe in a pre-defined set of rules which universally apply, and will not break them, even if their own death results from adhering to them in one particular instance. For them, acting dishonorably is a AFateWorseThanDeath.

In stories on the idealistic end of the SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism, the more the insistence of honorable behavior seems impractical, or even insane, the greater the chance that it becomes the thing that turns a hopeless situation into victory. In stories on the cynical end, however, this trope will overlap with TooDumbToLive.

An especially poignant situation is TurnTheOtherCheek. Often, and perhaps running counter to the theme of honor besting all, the hero has to be aided by [[BadGuysDoTheDirtyWork Big Damn Villains, who are able to cross that final line that their integrity would not allow.]]

When done well and/or consistently, such acts of decency fan the flames of idealism in the viewers' hearts; they make them cheer even harder for the hero and inspire a desire to be just as pure and honorable. When done poorly, the term "LawfulStupid" comes to mind, as does MartyrWithoutACause.

This trope is also subject to some degree of ValuesDissonance, as some actions will be seen as both honorable ''and'' reasonable to a society with a certain set of beliefs. For instance, a society which believes in an afterlife ruled by [[ThePowersThatBe a Higher Power]] that judges according to a rigid code of morality would see the "honorable" choice as being also "reasonable" by virtue of the fact that the person making it is sacrificing a temporary advantage in this life for a permanent one in the life to come.

Often features in IGaveMyWord, InItsHourOfNeed, RebelliousRebel; the ProudWarriorRaceGuy typically follows the rule, as well. WhatYouAreInTheDark always reveals the same character as when they are seen. When a character does this to the point that it angers their more corrupt superiors, expect them to become TheLastDJ. {{The McCoy}} is the personification of this trope. MoreHeroThanThou disputes are sometimes this, when only one character is really suitable for the sacrifice. Can lead to the hero being prone to fall to things like the FalseInnocenceTrick. See also VictoriousLoser and SmallStepsHero.

ShootTheDog is this trope's opposite: Reason Before Honor. ''Usually'' not a trait of a CombatPragmatist due to their [[TryingToCatchMeFightingDirty approach to fighting]].

Compare/contrast with IncorruptiblePurePureness, GoodIsOldFashioned, TheFettered, MartyrdomCulture, RevengeBeforeReason, and NobleDemon (the EvilCounterpart). Contrast CombatPragmatist, NoNonsenseNemesis, and BlindObedience.

* HonorBeforeReason/AnimeAndManga
* HonorBeforeReason/ComicBooks
* HonorBeforeReason/{{Film}}
* HonorBeforeReason/{{Literature}}
* HonorBeforeReason/LiveActionTV
* HonorBeforeReason/MythologyAndReligion
* HonorBeforeReason/ProfessionalWrestling
* HonorBeforeReason/TabletopGames
* HonorBeforeReason/{{Theatre}}
* HonorBeforeReason/VideoGames
* HonorBeforeReason/VisualNovels
* HonorBeforeReason/{{Webcomics}}
* HonorBeforeReason/WebOriginal
* HonorBeforeReason/WesternAnimation

!!Other Examples


[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/BloodAndHonor'': As a light side Force user in the Empire, Sanguis occasionally catches flack for this from her fellow Sith. She keeps her word, refuses to turn on her superiors and never seeks personal glory. She also refuses to force herself on Quinn - when he rejects her advances, she respects his wishes.
* In ''FanFic/OriginStory'', several of the Avengers chew out [[BadassNormal Black Widow]] for "letting [Alex Harris] go" despite Alex having beaten Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, and Wonder Man quite easily. Combining this with the fact that Alex shrugs off Hulkbuster bullets, Natasha [[DeadpanSnarker asks if they expected her to beat Alex by breaking some of her bones on the girl]].
* ''FanFic/ATeachersGlory''
** Kin refuses to wear her deceased teammate's clothes, despite having been stripped naked and left to fend for herself in the forest of death. Also, Sasuke finds himself obliged to take Ino on a date because [[IGaveMyWord he said he would]], no matter how easily he could duck out of it, because the Uchiha Head keeps his promises.
** Team 7 decides that this does not apply in the Chunin exams when Naruto gets injured. Rather than give him what treatment they can scrape up while looking for a scroll, they know that the exams are not a once-in-a-lifetime chance, and opt to get him professional medical attention even at the cost of failing.
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/7892592/1/Sekirei-Guardian-of-the-North Sekirei: Guardian of the North]]'', Minato refuses to use the MBI cards with no spending limit because of how much he hates MBI. Likewise, he won't let the girls do any chores or get jobs to help out because it's his job to support them all. This leaves Minato trying to support several women and himself on just his wages as a construction worker.
* In ''Fanfiction/YuGiOhTheThousandYearDoor'', there's a situation similar to the one mention in the anime section. Maria demands a duel against Francesca by using the whole town of Keelhaul Key as a hostage. Maria cheats during most of the duel, using an enchanted eyepatch to view Francesca hand, until her mother appears in a hologram of her true, intimidating form of [[EvilSorceress the Shadow Queen]] (the first time the protagonists have seen her as such) to disqualify her and scold her for the action. (While Fran's defeat is essential to her plans, cheating isn't allowed due to magical constraints.) However, Fran interrupts, saying she'll forgive the offense and let the duel continue if Maria simply stops doing so. This, despite the [[DeadlyGame terms of the contest]] that she and the others were pretty much conned into accepting. Both Maria and Queen think she's a fool, but the duel does continue and she wins anyway. (In the rebooted version, Fran presses her luck further, sympathizing with Maria and telling the Queen - to her face, with witnesses - [[TheReasonYouSuckSpeech that the biggest reason she turned out bad was because she had bad parents.]] Maria and her other siblings seem to take this to heart later.)
* Several characters note during the Chunin Exam prelims in ''Fanfic/DestinyIsAHazyThing'' that some of the genin have this problem when they refuse to forfeit their match despite being clearly out of their league.
* In one of the many [[FandomSpecificPlot Slytherin Harry]] stories, Harry retrieves his egg by using illusions and a disillusionment charm to sneak past the hydra guarding it. Dumbledore gives him a two because Harry's method wasn't "brave or noble".
* In ''Fanfic/DeadOrAlive4TheDevilFactor'', during their battle, Dante manages to steal Hayate's sword, but returns it to him after a few exchanges. Later, when Dante's gun Ebony is at Hayate's feet, he asks Hayate to return it, citing how he earlier returned his sword. Despite Jann Lee begging Hayate not to, he returns it, though he does try to attack Dante while he's distracted picking up the gun.
* Played straight and subverted at different points in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9421918/6/ Soldier of Zero]]''. Played straight when Prince Wales wishes to martyr himself and die alongside his men even after Saito tries to convince him that it's far more important that he live. Subverted when Saito sneaks into the Reconquista camp by [[MuggedForDisguise stealing someone's uniform]] and is leery of killing a soldier of the right size as the man is currently having sex, but decides to anyway as war is no place for such things. He also prevents Wales' death and brings him back to Princess Henrietta alive, though injured. Apparently, Wales tried to throw Saito out a window for it afterward.
* Choji in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9948266/1/Team-7-s-Ascension-Blood-Wings Team 7's Ascension: Blood Wings]]'' holds very firmly to his policy of ThouShallNotKill during the Chunin Exams after he (accidentally) kills an enemy, while the other members of the Konoha 12 hold to the declared "No Survivors" policy as there's several alliances bigger than their own. This comes back to bite him when an enemy he knocked out gets back up, kills Akamaru, severs Shino's arm, and leaves Ino temporarily crippled. Ino later gives him a WhatTheHellHero for sparing an enemy at the expense of his comrades.
* ''FanFic/ABrighterDark'': Ryoma chooses to accept Xander's request to single combat, despite out-numbering and out-gunning the Nohrian army. His ninja retainers are able to mitigate the damage but if they hadn't, Nohr's conquest would have been a ''lot'' shorter.
* Some of Victoria's more compassionate judgments are viewed this way in ''[[Fanfic/TwiceUponAnAge All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird]]''. It eventually reaches a point where it's questioned whether she should be allowed to continue to sit in judgment.
* ''[[Fanfic/TheLifeAndTimesOfAWinningPony The Lunar Rebellion]]'':
** This appears to be something of a recurring flaw for the pegasi, who value their martial and ethical honor so highly that they will always choose what they perceive as the more honorable path in a given matter, even if their other, less honorable options were objectively smarter, less costly or otherwise more expedient. Itís mentioned at one point that their tradition of never surrendering their city to outsiders and fighting to the last has resulted in a long history of needless {{Last Stand}}s that got a lot of ponies killed for the sake of pride.
** This is specifically something of an issue with Shadow herself. A good example would be how, when seeking allies against Duke Polaris (a self-centered noble who had been given full command of the armed forces despite being highly unqualified for the role), she persistently refused to ally with Sunbeam Sparkle, whom she saw as distasteful and dishonorable, despite it being her only realistic choice for gaining useful allies, with the avenues she pursued instead gaining her little beyond lost time that allowed Polaris to cement his position.
* ''Fanfic/FateParallelFantasia'': Rin says that battles between magi should be fought only using magic, so she refuses an offered gun even after it is pointed out most magi don't know how to defend themselves against them.
* Samurai in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11803928/2/ Challenger]]'' considers using [[ElementalRockPaperScissors Super Effective]] moves in Pokemon battles to be dishonorable. Naturally he loses quickly when Ash's Sandile uses [[PlayingWithFire Fire Fang]] against his [[BigCreepyCrawlies Pinsir]]. Though, given that Samurai also blamed the Sandile for attacking him when he drew a sword on Ash, it's likely he's just being a {{Scrub}}.
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer''/''ComicBook/{{Supergirl}}'' crossover ''Fanfic/TheVampireOfSteel'' [[BigBad Zol-Am]]'s demon army is about to overwhelm Supergirl, Buffy and the Scooby Gang when Kara demands a personal duel with Zol-Am. Zol-Am accepts because it's Kryptonian law, and he even incinerates one of his soldiers when he tries to interfere.
* Examples from ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'', in regards to the use of certain bloodliner abilities:
** Heart Bloodliners are able to MindControl any Pokémon at least partially their type, but from the Pokémon's perspective, [[AndIMustScream this isn't a pleasant experience.]] Iris always knew she could do it but refused to use it in her family of Dragon types, and after learning from her Goldeen how it felt, Misty also refuses to use it ever again, even when it would give her an advantage.
** Zigzagged in Ash's case, who refuses to use his [[SuperEmpowering ability to give Pokémon temporary power boosts]] in competitive battles [[LetsFightLikeGentlemen because he considers it cheating]] and doesn't want his Pokémon to depend on it so they can grow strong on their own. However, he's willing to use it if it's to fight a villain or to help someone in need.