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[[quoteright:342:[[Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire 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, chivalric behavior will come at [[HeroicSacrifice a great cost to the hero's happiness, kill him outright, or similarly leave him a destroyed human being]]. A villain [[GenreSavvy aware]] of such a gallant hero is bound to use FlawExploitation against him as well.

Put another way, a character who adheres to this trope is someone who is [[TheFettered more committed to a particular code of abstract ethics]] than he is to his own self-preservation. He believes in a pre-defined set of rules which universally apply, and he will not break said rules, even if his own death results from adhering to them in one particular instance. These types will usually justify this by claiming that living with the shame that results from having broken said rules is AFateWorseThanDeath.

In other words, [[WhatYouAreInTheDark they have character]].

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. As a result, the honorable hero is vindicated and the cynics are left completely stunned at what happened.

In stories on the cynical end, 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]], [[NecessarilyEvil who are able to cross that final line that his 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]]
* 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.