"My friends... you bow to no one."
In many stories involving royalty
(but particularly movies) there is a scene where someone is standing in a crowd of people. As part of a Moment Of Awesome
, and sometimes preceding an Awesome Moment of Crowning
, the camera pulls back, and the entire crowd kneels before the character, moving in a pleasingly symmetrical wave as they do so. The character, who may have appeared minor seconds before, becomes the focus of the scene. This is usually because of one of two circumstances: either the character is a king, princess or someone else who should
normally be knelt to, but in an unexpected situation; or the character is someone who would not
normally be knelt to, but unexpectedly is.
In the first instance, the character is a King Incognito
who has just thrown off his disguise. In the second, the actual king may have humbled himself and bowed to the lowly hero who has just saved the kingdom. By courtesy, everyone else is forced to imitate the king and go along with it. Commonly in this case, an antagonist will also be forced to kneel to the hero
, whom they have recently insulted.
This trope is a very sharp contrast to Kneel Before Zod
Note: Beware of SPOILERS in the examples below!
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Anime & Manga
- The Twelve Kingdoms has the Crowning Moment Of Awesome when the main character (who, for complicated reasons has been joining rebels that are theoretically rebelling against her) mounts her ki'rin (thus revealing herself as Empress) and the ENTIRE ARMY falls on its knees.
- Fushigi Yuugi
- When Miaka agrees to be the Priestess of Suzaku, she is amazed that everyone bowed to her.
- They also bow to Mayo in the 3rd OVA, to her surprise.
- King Nefertari Cobra in One Piece does this to thank the Straw Hat Pirates for saving Alabasta Kingdom and his daughter Vivi.
- In Equestria: A History Revealed, during the Civil War flashback, Celestia does this to the crowd of ponies at Trottingham to apologize to them for her own failures.
- The Sailor Senshi do this to Nanoha (who in this story is the reincarnated Moon Princess) in White Devil of the Moon when they meet her for the first time as senshi. Hayate promptly snaps a picture for posterity and points out that princess or not, Nanoha's in military uniform at the time, so they should bow instead of kneel.
Films — Animation
- In Mulan, the Emperor bows to the heroine. The crowd hastily bows with him, and so does the slimy Obstructive Bureaucrat. Again, the music swells. Must feel pretty good for someone who has gone through the whole movie fearing and feeling she's not good enough. Doubles as both a heartwarming and awesome moment, as, just before that, Shan Yu had commanded the Emperor to Bow Before Zod, and the Emperor had calmly replied "No matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it." That's right, folks, "the mountain" can not bow to the "howling wind", but it does bow to Fa Mulan.
- Happens in Kung Fu Panda twice. Once in a dream sequence at the beginning of the movie in which Po dreams he's such a legendary warrior that the greatest warriors in China, the Furious Five, bow in respect to him. Also happens in the endgame, when Po defeats the Big Bad and the Furious Five actually do bow to him and call him a Master.
- In Disney's The Sword in the Stone, Wart doesn't know what to make of the fact that everyone, including his belligerent foster father and stepbrother, are now kneeling to him.
- Wreck-It Ralph: The racers of "Sugar Rush" who were mean to Vanellope (not of their own doing) now go to their knees begging forgiveness when the game resets puts Vanellope as the game's ruling princess, much to her own surprise.
Films — Live-Action
- In Peter Jackson's Return of the King film, Aragorn and Arwen (just crowned) kneel before the hobbits. All Minas Tirith immediately follows suit, the music swells, and as the camera pulls back, we see the four hobbits, standing in a mass of royalty and nobility... and they're the tallest ones there.
- In Ever After, Danielle walks into the throne room, and everyone kneels, as the evil stepmother turns in rising horror...
- In most versions of Robin Hood, this occurs when King Richard reveals himself to the Merry Men.
- Parodied (of course) in The Court Jester, when the identity of the true king is revealed in a thoroughly embarrassing manner.
- In The Princess Bride, Buttercup is the object of a mass kneel twice, though one was All Just a Dream, and one old crone does not kneel to protest her throwing away true love.
- At the end of The Chronicles of Riddick, the title character receives this treatment from the entire Necromonger army after killing the Lord Marshal. The reason: you keep what you kill.
- In Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Queen Amidala kneels before Boss Nass to ask for his support. Everyone in her party follows suit. Nass being who he is, he first laughs and then agrees to help her.
- A Knight's Tale involves an interesting non-literally-kneeling variation where Edward, the Black Prince of Wales, surprises the crowd by throwing off his cloak, frees William from the stocks and knights him in front of the crowd that was only moments before pelting William with rotten vegetables, all the while proclaiming that William is a man to be honored. Thus, the scene contains both variations all at once.
- The Wizard of Oz: "Hail to Dorothy! The Wicked Witch is dead!"
- In The Last Airbender, Aang describes to Katara and Sokka a ceremony where everyone bows to the new avatar as he takes on his new responsibilities. He was scared and ran away. After the battle at the north pole, everyone bows to him again, and while still scared, this time he accepts his role.
- In the ninth season of Smallville Clark is subject to the second variety, ironically provoked by Major Zod.
- In Merlin, the powerful wizard Alator kneels before Merlin.
- Game of Thrones: "THE KING IN THE NORTH!" Despite the historical precedent, comes as a complete surprise.
- Dominion: After Alex is revealed to be The Chosen One, he finds this happening to him repeatedly. He doesn't like it.
Myths & Religion
- In Legend of the Five Rings, a subversion of this occurs which is a crucial event in the history of the Emerald Empire. Shiba, a kami and divine son of the Sun and Moon, revealed his true identity to the people of Gisei Toshi. Instead of them paying their respects to him, Shiba himself knelt before their leader Isawa. This show of humility procured their help in defending the fledgling empire.
- World of Warcraft has a removed quest where players who obtain the Corrupted Ashbringer can go to the Scarlet Monastery, and the previously hostile Scarlet Crusaders bow to them and offer their loyalty. Scarlet Commander Mograine does the same, until his father's spirit comes out of the sword and kills him for betraying and murdering him.
- At the conclusion of the Siege of Orgrimmar, every faction leader of the Horde bows to Vol'jin when they acknowledge he is now the Horde's leader.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, before the final showdown with Ganondorf, Princess Zelda is granted the Light Arrows. She then turns to Link, a simple goat herder in this story, and bows to him, begging his help for the final confrontation.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender : "It is our honor to serve you... Avatar Roku."
- In season Four of Winx Club, the other Earth Fairies kneel to Roxy in gratitude for freeing them.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In the season 3 finale, the mane characters and Princess Celestia do this to Twilight Sparkle, who became an alicorn as a result of creating new magic and ascended to princesshood.
- Also, Luna gets this in the Nightmare Night episode. Occasionally happens to Celestia if she appears suddenly, such as in Fall Weather Friends.
- Also, everyone in the Crystal Empire does this to Cadence in the season 3 opener — activating the Crystal Heart in the process.
- In Equestria Games, when praising Spike for saving everypony and the Games, Princess Cadance prostrates herself before him so that her entire body and head are level with the baby dragon's shoulders, and addresses him in the custom of her subjects as Great and Honorable Spike the Brave and Glorious.