troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Kneel Before Zod

"You will bow down before me, Jor-El. I swear it! No matter that it takes an eternity! YOU WILL BOW DOWN BEFORE ME! BOTH YOU, AND THEN ONE DAY, YOUR HEIRS!"
General Zod, Superman

The villain has many goals, but one is absolute: his nemesis bowing before him. That would mean his certain and total victory. If the villain is on the right end of the sliding scale, he may even get his way. But generally, once the demand has been made, one of four things will happen:
  1. The hero will say "Never!" and there will be a big fight, leading to the villain's defeat.
  2. The hero will say "Never!" and the villain will zap him with magic, knocking him to his knees, or Mooks will step in and manhandle him to the floor. This will allow the villain the fun of gloating for a while... and then there will be a big fight, leading to the villain's defeat.
  3. The hero does what he's told, but the villain suddenly gets a big surprise as the hero springs a trap, starting a big fight leading to the villain's defeat.
  4. The hero does what he's told, period. He may manage to escape or be rescued later, at some unrelated scene. Or not...

Needless to say, this is frowned upon by the Evil Overlord List.

For possible reactions to this demand, see Ain't Too Proud to Beg, Defiant Stone Throw and Defiant to the End.

Compare Bring Him to Me, Cower Power, Evil Gloating.

Compare/Contrast Kneel Before Frodo.

Kneel Before These Examples!

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo, Lord Giga, the Cyber City arc's Big Bad, has an attack where the opponent must show them respect.
  • Digimon Adventure 02
    • The Digimon Kaiser threatens to kill Daisuke's friends unless he bows down and begs for their lives. Daisuke actually complies. And then he gives Daisuke a sadistic choice (choose one friend to be spared), leading the poor kid to attempt a heroic sacrifice/take the third option.
    • The same character is later defied by a tranquil yet furious TK.
    Emperor: You're nobody! You will bow down before me.
    TK: Sorry, the floor's kinda' dirty.
  • Berserk: Guts being pinned to the ground by some demons before Femto, so that he's forced to watch as Femto rapes Casca.
  • Mazinger Z: One of the main reasons of Big Bad Dr. Hell to Take Over the World is that he wishes to force the entire humankind to bow down to him. He feels that will make up for years of suffering spite and abuse when he was young.
  • Sailor Moon: In the Japanese version, there is a scene where Sailor Moon is captured by Prince Diamond. He puts her in a trance and orders her to swear eternal loyalty and love to him. She drops to her knees and is about to kiss his hand as a sign of allegiance but manages to snap out of it before she does so.
  • Balalaika of Black Lagoon does a truly ruthless one of these with Hansel, one of the Creepy Twins of the Vampire Twins arc, during their confrontation. When Hansel doesn't comply, a sniper blows out his kneecap with one shot, then blows off his hand when he tries to hurl his axe at her. Balalaika then delivers a withering "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Hansel before sitting back and watching him bleed to death right in front of her.
  • Happens in Code Geass during the beginning of the second season. Subverted when Lelouch kneels before the unintimidating and completely scared Prince Clovis, before killing him as the Trope demands.
  • Peach Girl: Sae, master of the Wounded Gazelle Gambit, manages to convince her fellow peers that Momo's been bullying her and trying to steal Toji from her, when it's really the other way around. She cries after Momo hits her for badmouthing Kairi, which arouses the anger of their classmates. Sae gets a few people to restrain Momo and pin her to the ground, attempting to force her into apologizing by calling her names and repeating, "Apologize to Sae!" Luckily for her, Toji arrives in time and that starts the end of Sae's reign over Momo, for a little while, at least.
  • The last episode of Fruits Basket has Akito angrily grab a kneeling Tohru by the hair and force her to get on both her hands and knees before him. He then states that he will "make her regret she ever had anything to do with the Sohmas", that she will "suffer as we suffer", and demands that she "beg him for forgiveness" and "swear that she'll never interfere with the Sohmas again."
  • Subverted in one arc of Ah! My Goddess. Belldandy's "rival" makes a Deal with the Devil to defeat Belldandy and successfully forces her into complete servitude, obeying her every whim. But not long after her victory, the rival realizes it's all pointless because Belldandy's pride and spirit are intact.
  • In Bleach, when Grimmjow starts getting rebellious, Aizen activates his Battle Aura, which is enough to force him to his knees.
  • In Fairy Tail:
    • Evergreen threatens to shatter everyone whom she has turned to stone unless Erza takes off all her clothes and prostrates herself. Erza responds by telekinetically holding a dozen swords and threatening to turn Evergreen into a pincushion unless she breaks the spell and frees her victims. It works.
    • Brain orders the heroes the kneel and beg for mercy. Instead, Jura kicks his ass.
  • Pokémon episode "Control Freak!". Jesse of Team Rocket puts on a golden mask that gives her control over Pokemon. It takes over her mind and makes her even more arrogant than normal. She calls herself Queen of the Pokemon and commands her "lowly subjects" (James and Meowth) to bow to her. After she demonstrates the mask's power, they do so.
  • In Black Butler season 2 episode 6 Alois requests that Claude make Sebastian do this.
  • Turles commands this of Goku (Whilst planting his foot onto the head of the latter) in the 3rd Dragon Ball Z movie The Tree Of Might, particularly the infamous UK dub.
    Turles: Goku, if you would request my pardon, kneel before me and lower your head.
    Goku: No way, I told Gohan one thing...that I would never surrender!
    Turles: You'd rather I crush your head?!
  • In Unbalance × Unbalance, Ami of all people demands that Jin-Ho kneel and apologize. He's the competition, after all.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi, the Emperor of Kutou wants to get his arch-rival Hotohori to bow before him. That doesn't end up happening, however.
  • Super Gals offers us an Inversion: a merchant tries to induce Miyu into 'entertainment', or so he says, and gropes her, but Miyu, being in a very bad period, beats him up and forces him on his knees to apologize.

    Comic Books 
  • General Zod of Superman, of course with a hearty "Come to me, Son of Jor-El. Kneel before Zod!" This has pretty much become his Catch Phrase in the comics.
    • Likewise Gorilla Grodd has adopted his own version to be on multiple occasions, likely because his name ends in the same "-od" sound. He once even shouted it while brandishing a spoon and, in the same comic, tried to bite off Lex Luthor's head. Needless to say he was a little unhinged...
  • Xerxes in 300 to Leonidas. It doesn't work the first time; the second seems to, but only because Leonidas was preparing an attack. Apparently, it's a regular part of his gaining new territories, servants, etc.
  • Somewhat subverted in the Infinity War epic-over from Marvel, in which the Magus, who has the eponymous gauntlet forces Thanos the Magnificent Bastard to his knees. Thanos dryly notes that he isn't doing it willingly, nor will he continue doing it unless forced before explaining to the Magus just how badly the villain had miscalculated.
  • Max Lord in his fully evil head of Checkmate phase liked using his Compelling Voice for this.
    Max Lord: You'll forgive me for saying so, princess, but you look good on your knees.
  • Subverted in a Wonder Woman issue. The monster Genocide grabs an innocent woman by the neck, and demands that Wonder Woman kneel before her/it. Wonder Woman does so, leading to:
    Genocide: No. A better view. (rips the woman's head off)
  • In the Spider-Man / Human Torch: I'm with Stupid miniseries, a publicity-craving Torch tries to single-handedly storm the Latverian embassy. He's promptly frozen solid by "subthermic cannons", forcing Spidey to rescue him by pretending to join forces with Doctor Doom. Doom demands that Spidey kneel and swear his eternal allegiance. When Spidey does so without any fuss, Doom realizes that they're just words and asks him to back it up. Spidey lifts up the frozen Torch as though he's going to dash him on the ground, then web-swings out.
  • Angel: In Spike: After The Fall the villain does this to Illyria; it turns out to be a Berserk Button and Illyria follows this by killing her.
  • Taken to extreme in Paperinik New Adventures: Zoster does this to the whole universe after obtaining the powers of Xadhoom:
    "On your knees,worlds! Kneel now! Or I'll erase you with a single gesture!".

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • In Mulan, Shan Yu demands that the Emperor bow before him. The Emperor refuses with a pretty cool metaphor: "No matter how the wind howls, the mountain cannot bow to it." The Emperor's calm, matter-of-fact manner of saying it made it even better.
  • In Disney's Aladdin, after Jafar gains the Genie's lamp and wishes for the Sultanate and the powers of a sorcerer: "We will never bow to you!" ("Why am I not surprised?") Naturally, the evil Jafar can magically compel obedience from the Sultan and Princess Jasmine. However, prior to Jasmine's defiance, the Sultan noticeably begins to bow.
  • The Prince of Egypt. The priests have a Villain Song based around this. Oddly, they're addressing Moses, who is a titular, well, Prince.
    You put up a front
    You put up a fight
    And just to show we feel no spite
    You can be our acolyte
    But first, boy, it's time to BOW!
    KOWTOW!
  • During the climactic battle of Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, Sephiroth orders it to Cloud:
    Sephiroth: On your knees. I want you to beg for forgiveness.
  • The Little Mermaid II: Return to the Sea has Morgana, the sister of Ursula, using the power of the trident to force most of the main characters to bow down before her, including King Triton.
  • Played with in Wreck-It Ralph: Vanellope gets Ralph to genuflect to her so she can give him a cookie medal (inscribed with "To Stinkbrain" on the front and "You're my hero" on the back) she made for him.
  • South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut. After Armaggeddon begins, Saddam Hussein demands that everyone, Americans and Canadians, all bow down before him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • General Zod of Superman the Movie. Here's the clip.
    • And here's the one that provides the page caption. The latter is a play on this trope as Supes has secretly weakened Zod at that point .
    • Zod also has the President kneel, with this classic exchange (playing with Answers to the Name of God):
      President: Oh, God...
      Zod: (correcting) Zod.
      • Also subverted when Zod first bursts into the Oval Office and orders that the President submit. When one of the men present steps forward to do so, Zod comments that he did it too quickly to be the genuine article. The actual President then reveals himself:
        President: I will kneel to you if it will save lives.
        Zod: It will. Starting with your own.
    • Man of Steel averts this; though General Zod is the primary antagonist, he never actually commands anyone to kneel before him. However, at one point, Superman is kneeling due to sheer fatigue on the platform of a building still under construction, as Zod hovers in front of him to gloat some more. That's right, it took 35 years, but Superman is finally (albeit unintentionally) kneeling before Zod. Also reversed, as at another point Zod falls to his knees before Superman.
  • Morozko. See Folklore.
  • From the 300 film, best illustrated by Xerxes' speech to Ephialtes. Note that Ephialtes wanted revenge on Leonidas, who had — justifiably — not allowed the physically unable hunchback to become a Spartan, and so the former gladly bowed down to Xerxes the first chance he got.
    Xerxes: Cruel Leonidas... required you to stand. I ask ONLY... that you KNEEL!
    • Leonidas does kneel in the end; only so that he can get one last shot at Xerxes. He doesn't kill him, but he does make him bleed.
  • In Gladiator, Commodus offers Maximus the chance at first, but once turned down, Commodus just orders Maximus and his family's execution.
  • Star Wars
    • Palpatine wanted this from Luke, but it didn't work out so well.
    • Jabba The Hutt also states that Han and Chewbacca have the option of pathetically begging for their lives should they choose to exercise it. Han tells Jabba off while Luke confidently gives the gangster one last chance to be bought off by letting them go. Less than 5 minutes later, Jabba learns the hard way that he should have listened.
  • In The King and I, Yul Brynner famously declares "Your head must never be higher than mine!" forcing Anna to the floor in her attempt to comply.
  • Masters of the Universe: "Now. You. Will. KNEEL!"
  • In MST3K The Movie, Dr. Forester forces Mike and the bots to bow down to him. When they try to bluff their way out, he cuts off the oxygen supply in the Satellite of Love so all have to bow to Dr. Forester to save Mike.
  • Naturally, Monty Python have some fun with this in Monty Python's Life of Brian.
    Centurion: Oh, and throw him the floor again, sir?
    Pilate: Oh yes, fwow him to the fwooah, please!
    (Brian is already kneeling on the floor, so they pick him up and throw him back down again)
  • Inverted and parodied in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, as the traveling band of adventurers quickly throw themselves down before God as He appears to them. Only for The Almighty to be upset by this gesture, being fed up with His subjects constantly bowing and grovelling before Him.
  • James Bond
    • The first thing psychopathic assassin Red Grant does to James Bond when he captures him in From Russia with Love:
    Grant: All right, now get up on your knees. Put your hands in your pockets. Keep them there.
    Bond: Red wine with fish. That should have told me something.
    Grant: You may know the right wines, but you're the one on your knees. How does it feel, old man?
    [...]
    Grant: The first one won't kill you. Not the second. Not even the third. Not till you crawl over here and you kiss my foot.
    • In Never Say Never Again, Fatima Blush has a twist on it, demanding Bond write that she was the best lay he ever had — before she shoots him in the groin.
    Blush: Now write this. The greatest rapture of my life was afforded to me on a boat off Nassau by Fatima Blush.
    • It happens in the book version of ''The Man with the Golden Gun" — or at least, it's a crime Bond charges Scaramanga with having committed in the past.
  • Cleopatra featured a scene like this between the fair lady of the title and her future boy toy Mark Antony. Interesting inversion, in that it's a main character demanding the kneeling and it actually counts as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
    Marcus Antonius: You dare ask a representative of the Roman—
    Cleopatra VII: I asked it of Julius Caesar. I demand it of you.
  • Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon has a rare heroic example. Li Mubai is trying everything he can to get Jen to agree to be his student and stop her from more or less being a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. Finally, he seems to be getting through to her and she says she'll agree if he can take the sword away from her in 3 moves. He does it in 1.
    Li Mubai: Bow to your teacher!
    Jen: Never! (jumps off waterfall)
  • Shouted by Jay after cold-cocking a guard with a baseball bat in Mallrats.
  • In Return to Oz, the Nome King is a bit too Affably Evil to demand this sort of thing from Dorothy, but he's more than happy to demand it of Mombi.
    The Nome King: Kneel.
    (Mombi lowers herself to her knees)
    The Nome King: Lower.
    (Mombi lowers herself until she's practically lying on the floor)
    The Nome King: LOWER!
    (Mombi flinches as she tries and fails to lower herself further, while the Nome King bellows with laughter)
  • In The Last Dragon, Sho-Nuff tells Leroy to bend down and kiss his Converses. Leroy, being a Martial Pacifist, doesn't mind complying if it means preventing violence. Slightly subverted when Sho-Nuff then proceeds to kick Leroy in the face.
  • Puma Man
    Vadinho: Kneel!
    Servo: (as Tony) No, it's Tony!
  • Defied in The Ten Commandments, Ramses tells Moses to command the conquered Ethiopians to kneel before Pharaoh, but Moses tells him that he's brought the Ethiopians in friendship and tells Ramses to mind his own business.
    "Command what you have conquered, my brother."
  • Loki demands this of a crowd in Stuttgart, Germany in The Avengers, and the scared crowd obliges, except for one elderly man who tells Loki that "there will always be men like you", and he would rather hold his head high and remain Defiant to the End than kneel before one. Loki moves to kill him before the heroes swoop in the nick of time and saves him and the crowd.
    • It also turns out that it was a bit of reasonable Genre Savvyness on Loki's part, as having the heroes defeat him and take him captive is part of his plan. This was given a musical treatment by Tumblr member MeganPhntmGrl.
    • During the subsequent fight in Stuttgart, he even attempts to forcefully make Captain America bow before him, but to no avail.
  • In The Chronicles of Riddick, the Necromongers demand this of the people of New Mecca. They refuse, but then Lord Marshal rips a guy's soul out, terrifying them into kneeling. Despite this display of power, Riddick answers, "I bow to no man." Riddick is later forced to kneel when a magnetic device pins him to the floor. In the Director's Cut, at one point Riddick falls to his knees in exhaustion, and Lord Vaako remarks, "So, you can kneel!"
  • The Crowning Moment of Funny in Mister Roberts when the crew realise the precious palm tree of the tyrannical Captain Morton has vanished (Mr Roberts having thrown it overboard); they all kneel before the empty pot and pretend to worship it.

    Folktales 
  • According to the legend, it was Willhelm Tell's refusal to bow before governor Gessler's hat that provoked the whole "crossbow-and-apples" thing.
  • Morozko. Ivan mocks the Fairy when he tells Ivan to bow before a very old man, arguing that people who bow run the risk of having their head cut off, then dismisses, "The bear may bow before you, but not I." Guess what form Ivan is transformed into?

    Literature 
  • In the fourth Harry Potter book, Voldemort orders Harry to bow before dueling him after being resurrected. Harry refuses, so Voldemort simply uses magic to force him. The film implies that he uses the Imperius Curse to do this, whereas in the book, Harry feels some force telekinetically bend his spine against his will.
  • In a reversal of roles, Nicolae Carpathia's humiliated bow before Jesus Christ in the Left Behind book Glorious Appearing was made even more of that kind of moment in the Dramatic Audio presentation. Of course, Nicolae was left powerless to resist after Lucifer was cast out of him. Lucifer, on the other hand....
  • The Wheel of Time
    • Protagonists do this too. Rand at one point snaps at the Aes Sedai:
    Rand: I forget nothing, Aes Sedai. I said six could come, but I count nine. I said you would be on an equal footing with the Tower emissaries, and for bringing nine, you will be. They are on their knees, Aes Sedai. Kneel!
    Taim: Kneel before the Lord Dragon, or you will be knelt.
    • Before that, Ishamael (as Ba'alzamon) did this a lot in the first book.
    Ba'alzamon: Kneel! Kneel, and acknowledge me your master! In the end, you will. You will be my creature, or you will die.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe
    • In the New Jedi Order series, Supreme Overlord Shimrra uses a gravity-controlling creature called a dovin basal to force Luke Skywalker to bow to him when they meet face-to-face during the climax. Then subverted because between his own formidable Force powers and his nephew Jacen's rapport with the Vonglife, Luke is able to resist gravity and pull himself back to his feet, to the stunned amazement of Shimrra and his court.
    • In The Thrawn Trilogy, Joruus C'Baoth has foreseen that Mara Jade will kneel before him. She does, in order to strike him dead.
    • And in Star Wars: Legacy, Darth Krayt forces Cade to sleep with Talon.
  • In Ben Counter's Warhammer 40,000 novel Chapter War, the apparition of Periclitor demands that Sarpedon kneel before him.
  • Randall Flagg demands Glen Bateman kneel to him near the end of The Stand. Bateman's response? Laughter. Of course, he gets killed, but it's a serious break to Flagg's aura of invulnerability.
  • In John Shirley's "Demons", a demon leader plays out this scene with the President of the United States, then foregrounds the subtext of the scene by proceeding to orally rape him.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire. Torrhen Stark did this to save the North from the Targaryen conquest, earning himself the nickname "The King Who Knelt".
  • The Watcher in the Cemetery, a Cthulhu Mythos short by Ian Watson. The protagonists encounter Cthulhu who promptly kills three of them in a gory and physically impossible manner, then stops to observe their reaction. A pastor shouts for the others to pray to God for salvation. The group falls to their knees, only to stop in embarrassment when they realise it looks like they're worshiping Cthulhu instead.
  • In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm A Supervillain, when The Inscrutable Machine hits a middle school to distract from their true identities, Penny gets all hammy and demands everyone on the playground kneel before her.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Marnie forces Eric to do this in True Blood.
  • Smallville's incarnation of Zod is fond of it, of course.
    • The first version is actually a subversion. Zod is possessing Lex, whom he's placed his full Kryptonian powers into. He orders an apparently beaten Clark to kneel, saying the famous words. This allowed Clark, even as he's being driven to his knees, to pull out the Phantom Zone crystal and evict Zod from Lex and back to the Phantom Zone.
    • The later Zod, a younger version preserved as sort of a backup, does this with his soldiers frequently in a more ceremonial manner. It seems on Krypton to be similar to saluting a senior military or naval officer. It should be mentioned however that 'Major' Zod took the Zod you know and love and made him more awesome... Better yet, when he first shows up in "Savior", the audience is left uncertain who he really is...then he says to his two followers, "Kneel." (beat) "KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!"
    • Inverted in the Season 9 episode "Pandora". When Clark finally reveals himself to the recently restored Kandorians, Major Zod says their savior has come and commands his troops to "Kneel before Kal-El".
    • The Season 9 finale has Zod turn it into a mother of a Badass Boast in his final battle with Clark. "Unlike you, I will lead from a throne, not from the shadows! Every human, including the woman you love, will KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!!"
    • Ironically enough, Lois pulls a "Kneel Before Zod" moment in the season 10 episode "Harvest". When Clark, weakened by Blue Kryptonite, is buried alive by a rural community who plan to sacrifice Lois in a ritual to ensure a bountiful harvest, he manages to regain enough of his strength to escape his grave and rescue Lois. When the villagers see Clark survive gasoline burns that would have killed a normal man instantly, Lois goes full-on Charlton Heston on them, declaring that Clark has been sent by God to punish the villagers "with great vengeance and furious anger", thus forcing the Blue-K enhanced villagers to back away long enough for Clark and Lois to make their escape. As they watch Clark speed off with Lois, the townsfolk all kneel.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000
    • In an episode, Forrester is practicing the speech he plans to give after conquering the world, and even says "Kneel Before Zod!" He also shouts "You will bow down before me, son of Jor-El!" at one point.
    • Joel attempts this while dressed as The Master from "Manos" The Hands of Fate. Needless to say, he's less than convincing.
  • Game of Thrones
    • At his wedding to Margaery Tyrell, King Joffrey demands that his uncle Tyrion kneel before him.
      • It doesn't end well for either of them.
  • Doctor Who
    • The Master, having sadly forgotten everything he'd read on the Evil Overlord List, demanded this of Martha. Which she did, but then began to laugh because her capture was part of an elaborate plan. Notable for being a rare occasion when the hero ordered to kneel just sucks it up and does it rather than go through a lot of gritted "Never!" posturing first.
    • And years earlier in The Curse of Fenric:
      Fenric: The choice is yours, Time Lord. I shall kill you anyway, but if you would like the girl to live... kneel before me.
      Ace: I believe in you, Professor.
      Fenric: Kneel if you want the girl to live!
      Seventh Doctor: ... Kill her.
    • Years earlier, in the First Doctor episode "Assassin in Peking", the First Doctor is ordered to kowtow before Kublai Khan. He refuses, but not out of pride — he's an old man and very stiff from having just walked most of the way across China. Fortunately, the great Khan, who is also quite elderly, finds the scene amusing.
    • "KNEEL! KNEEL BEFORE THE MIGHT OF SUTEKH!"
    • Borusa uses the mind-power enhancing Coronet of Rassilon to force the Fifth Doctor to kneel before him in "The Five Doctors".
    • Five also is forced to his knees in Four to Doomsday and The Visitation.
      • Though this was solely for the purpose of getting his head chopped off.
    • Rassilon: On your knees, mankind!
  • In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Squire of Gothos", Trelane holds Captain Kirk at swordpoint and demands that he kneel. Kirk knocks him away and snaps the sword over his knee.
    • Garry Mitchel forced Kirk to kneel in "Where No Man Has Gone Before".
  • Dukat forced Sisko to do this at the end of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Sisko used it as a launch point to throw himself and Dukat into the fire pits.
  • Subverted in the Captain Proton holoprogram in Star Trek: Voyager. Lonzak orders the aliens to "Kneel before Chaotica!", but as they're photonic lifeforms making First Contact with humanity, they have no idea what he's talking about.
  • In an episode of Stargate SG-1, a minor Goa'uld tries to force a captured Teal'c to acknowledge that him and his family are gods. His refusal provokes a Heel-Face Turn from the guards.
    • More than just one episode. "Kneel before your god!" is a catchphrase used by virtually every Goa'uld or their underlings, either towards captured prisoners or towards leaders whose planets have been subjugated or are about to be. The gold medal goes to Anubis for trying it on the President of the United States, and receiving a good natured "I don't THINK so!" for his trouble.
  • Wraith queens in Stargate Atlantis have mind control (and Power Echoes) at their disposal and could force captives to do just about anything. What do they want them to do? KNEEL. Sheppard tried to put his own spin on this at one point; the Wraith were not pleased....
  • In the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers episode "Green No More", Goldar gives this treatment to de-powered Tommy Oliver. He even uses a handy device to show him just how far he has fallen, rubbing it in as much as possible, then demands that Tommy bow and admit that he is his superior before he dies. Tommy starts to give a misleading answer, then flips out and (in the face of all reason) kicks his butt all over the Otherworld.
  • On an episode of QI Stephen Fry pointed out a similarity between the topic discussed and the Superman movie. Leading him to point at Alan Davies and declare 'Kneel before Zod' in his fantastic upper-class British accent.
  • In one episode of The League of Gentlemen, restart officer Pauline (in an exercise in magazine-selling) demands that Ross beg her. This becomes an Ironic Echo when he gets her fired, and then offers to help her get her job back if she begs him.
  • Supernatural
    • Played with in the episode "Wishful Thinking", where a small child who gains super-strength yells "Kneel before Todd!" when toying with teenagers who used to bully him.
    • Not played for laughs when Rafael takes command of Heaven, and demands Castiel submit to him. Castiel refuses, and says other angels will join him.
    Rafael: Tomorrow you kneel, Castiel. Or you, and anyone with you, dies.
    • In the Season 6 finale, Castiel proclaims himself the new God, and demands that the heroes bow and profess their love to him. Season 7 opens with Bobby getting down on his knees and asking if that's good enough or if he wants "the whole forehead-to-the-carpet thing?" The villain promptly decides it's pointless, since they're only doing it out of fear, and leaves to spread the word of his godhood.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, on hearing that a team of strong contenders will not feature in the University's Physics Bowl Tournament, Leonard invokes this trope.
  • Parodied in an episode of Mock the Week, discussing the recent Church of England Synod:
    Frankie Boyle: Wasn't General Synod the villain in Superman II? "Kneel before Synod!"
  • Mortal Kombat: Conquest: From Shao Kahn to Raiden in the series finale episode:
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look: Parodied using General Drayfox, an incredibly PC supervillain, who wants his enemy to kneel before him — unless he objects to it for religious reasons.
  • The 1960's Batman series episode "The Spell of Tut". King Tut does this to Robin the Boy Wonder.
  • In an episode of Charmed, the valkyries of Norse legend arrive in San Francisco. Then, they meet a perverted biker.
    Valkyrie: On your knees.
    Biker: I got a better idea. How about you get on your knees instead.
    Valkyrie: (begins choking him with her mind, he falls to his knees in pain) Foolish man, you do not command us. WE COMMAND YOU!
  • Space: 1999. A female mind-controlling villain forces a character to do so in "The Lambda Factor", followed by an Evil Laugh.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of Glory's minions is grovelling before her.
    "Get up. Looking at you is hurting my neck."

    Music 
  • Whacked-out rock band Electric Six quotes this in their song "Rip It!":
    You're listening to your politicians
    They claim to speak to God
    Can't you see it's just a fraud?
    Your rituals and superstitions
    Don't you find them kind of odd?
    Might as well kneel before Zod
  • Westside Connection's hip hop song "Bow Down".
  • The Evile song Thrasher has the line "Bow Down to the Thrasher" in its chorus.
  • Invoked by Eminem as the "Rap God":
    Dale Earnhardt of the trailer park, the white trash god
    Kneel before General Zod, this planet's Krypton, no Asgard
  • KISS says you will kneel before the "God of Thunder".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Paul Heyman briefly did this to the Undertaker after stealing his urn. Taker had his revenge, of course.
  • Jack Swagger's titan tron starts off with this theme.
  • Beth Phoenix proclaimed that Candice would get down on her knees and "worship the glamazon". Obviously this didn't happen.

    Radio 
  • Spoofed in the Captain Kremmen radio serial, when our noble hero is about to meet Gort, ruler of the evil Thargoids.
    Thargoid Guard: Earth scum, you will enter the throne room on your knees!
    Kremmen: You transistorized twit; no-one tells Kremmen to kneel!
    Thargoid Guard: You will ENTER on your KNEES!
    Kremmen: I WILL NOT ENTER ON MY KNEES!
    Thargoid Guard: Or we will remove your eyeballs.
    Kremmen: I think I'll enter on my knees.

    Religion 
  • This happens several times in The Bible, and is therefore Older Than Feudalism.
    • One of the most memorable comes from the Book of Esther, where the Jew Mordechai refuses to bow to the evil advisor Haman. This is enough for Haman to plot not only Mordechai's execution, but the extermination of the entire Jewish people. (Even though most of them did bow.)
    • As well as Satan's final temptation of Christ:
    Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, "All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me."
    Then Jesus said to him, "Away with you, Satan! For it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve." ~ Matthew 4:9-10 NKJV
    • There's also the bit in the Book of Daniel where Darius wants everyone to worship him, but Daniel refuses and gets thrown into a lion pit. The lions leave him alone, and Darius is impressed enough to convert to worshiping the Abrahamic God.
    • Also from Daniel's book is the story of Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego, which is essentially the same story. The three guys refuse to worship Nebuchadnezzer's giant idol and get thrown into a furnace. God sends down an angel to protect them from the flames, and Nebby is impressed enough to convert. For a while, anyway. That said, it took him going madder than King George for several years for the conversion to stick.
  • Inverted in the Quran: God orders all of his angels to bow to Adam, his greatest creation, but Iblis, a jinn ranked as high as an angel, refused. God damned him for his disobedience and Iblis became the Islamic devil.

    Tabletop Games 
  • There are a ton of Charms in Exalted that allow you to do this to other people, or potentially have this done to you. Most notably is the charmset of the fallen demon king Malfeas, which includes a charm called Kneel or be Knelt and another that turns you into a living Ark of the Covenant that melts the skin off everyone who doesn't immediately prostrate themselves to you.

    Theater 
  • In Pokémon Live!, Giovanni's reprise of "You And Me and Pokemon" mentions this. On stage, Rocket Grunts kneel before him as he sings.
    One fight/Then after that/You'll all be at my feet!

    Video Games 
  • Andrew from the Star Wolf team in Star Fox 64 is introduced saying, "Bow before the great Andross!"
  • World of Warcraft
    • An NPC for the Ahn'Qiraj world event was called "General Zog". If a player did the "/kneel" emote to him, he would reply with "General Zog acknowledges your submission with a glance."
    • Patch 3.3 also included Zod's Repeating Longbow with the flavor text "Kneel before him."
    • High Prophet Barim, a boss in the Lost City of the Tol'Vir in Cataclysm, will yell "Kneel before me and repent!" midway through the battle. The players will be drawn to him, forced to kneel and have their souls sucked out of their bodies, forcing them to kill the Harbinger of Darkness before they can resume the battle against him.
    • We also have Cho'gall, using his Conversion ability to force players to kneel and worship him, granting him more power. Said players' companions had best snap them out of it quick.
  • Rozalin from Disgaea 2 has an attack called "Kneel Before Me". Did we mention she uses it on her allies? Let's also mention that it's a Status Buff. The description's not exactly helpful, as it simply reads "You heard me."
  • Kingdom Hearts
    • Played with in Kingdom Hearts II: Saix simply asks Sora to show just how important Kairi is to him. Sora, who Ain't Too Proud to Beg, kneels of his own volition.
    • Saix does it for real in Days when he yells at Roxas to "Grovel before me!" while they fight.
    • Seifer's Catch Phrase for the game: "KNEEL LOSER!"
    • Scar will yell "Bow to me!" during the fight against him atop Pride Rock.
  • In the old Tetris Attack game for the Super Nintendo (a port of Panel de Pon in which all of the characters were replaced with characters from Yoshi's Island), you could take a look at all of the characters available in the Options menu, complete with a bit of text from that character. Kamek's text starts off with superiority and ends with demanding Yoshi to "KNEEL, KNEEL BEFORE YOUR NEW MASTER".
  • Happened on Mitadake High. They said no. Badguy shot them in the face.
  • After his resurrection in Star Fox Adventures, Andross threatened everyone to kneel before him.
  • George Takei's huge Large Ham intro speech in Red Alert 3:
    "The Imperial war machine has been unleashed. Do not struggle against what is inevitable. All who stand in the way of our divine destiny will be swept away by the march of history. You will bow before us, or you will cease to exist."
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, the protagonist gets the option to demand people to bow down to them once it is revealed that they were the former Big Bad.
    • In the Imperial Agent storyline of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Darth Jadus will demand that Cipher 9 bow before him. You're given the option to refuse, after which he electrocutes you for defiance.
  • In The Godfather game you can make targets fall to their knees, most easily achieved by shooting them in the knees.
  • Guild Wars Factions has shiro doing this to some spirits he has captured.
  • In the fight against Odin in Final Fantasy XI, you can avoid instant death from his ultimate attack by using one of two commands that cause your character to kneel. There's still a chance that you will die from the damage done, but you at least reduce the chance.
  • Dissidia 012 Final Fantasy, The Emperor gets this declaration in the final story mode's battle with him, doubling as Incoming Ham.
    "Grovel before my unrivaled power!"
    • He also gets "Fallen god, kneel before me!" when facing Feral Chaos.
    • Sephiroth also reprises his line from Advent Children: "On your knees! I want you to beg for forgiveness!"
  • BioShock
  • In Battle Realms, one of Serpent Clan Kenji's lines when he slays a foe is "bow before me!". If you choose to "ally" with the monks instead of the ninja, Kenji also forces the monks to kneel before him in the post-battle cutscene.
  • Happens in The Force Unleashed 2.
    Darth Vader: (force-chokes Juno) Bow before me, or she dies.
    Starkiller: Wait! Wait! (drops his lightsabers and kneels) I will do your bidding. Just let her go.
  • Jedi Academy: Near the end (one of them), the ghost of Marka Ragnos declares the Player Character will kneel before him. Instead of whining at you to do it, which wouldn't be likely to work, he immediately sets out to beat the crap out of you to make you submit/dead.
  • In Wandering Hamster, there's a certain sentient spleen who wants Bob to kneel before him. Kneeling gives no results (expect for spleen's comment), and the only way to get past him is to refuse to kneel (and thus, fight him).
  • In Blood, two of the lines Chernobog says when you fight him are "Bow down to me" and "Kneel before me".
  • Shao Kahn of Mortal Kombat is fond of this trope, being the Emperor of Outworld and all. "Bow to me!" (Ironically, this and his other gloats is a weakness that can leave him vulnerable to an attack by the player.)
  • In the Story Mode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable: The Gears of Destiny, Large Ham Lord Dearche commands this to practically anyone she's about to fight.
    Dearche: A lowly fragment like you dares to raise your hand against your lord? Such arrogance! KNEEL BEFORE ME!
  • Injustice Universe Superman does this to his defeated opponent in his victory scene in Injustice: Gods Among Us.
    • General Zod actually has this as his grab move where he makes his opponent kneel before him with eye beams. He even says the name of the trope as he does so.
  • Mass Effect 3's Citadel DLC gives us this bit from a 50,000-year-old Proud Warrior Race Guy with a massive after-party hangover:
    Javik: (still drunk from the party the night before) Is it time to rule the galaxy now? Kneel before Javik!
  • Dragon Age II - At the end of the Legacy DLC, the sentient Darkspawn Corypheus wakes up after being sealed for more than a thousand years. Despite his disorientation, he quickly demands Hawke and co. kneel before him.
  • In BlazBlue, Relius's Astral Heat shows more than one character forced on his/her knees before him in different and personalised poses (some of them being really fetishized) before he experiments on them.
  • In LEGO Marvel Superheroes, during his boss fight in Free Play Mode, Loki swears the player characters will kneel before him when the day is through.

    Visual Novel 
  • Higurashi: Shion is pressured into apologizing to her grandmother this way. She is then forced to strip herself of three fingernails.
    • And later in the same arc she treats Mion this way.
  • Beatrice in Umineko no Naku Koro ni absolutely loves doing this in Episode 2. You may also lick her shoes. Serving as a living footrest for her is optional.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The power-hungry Dark Overlords from Dimension Heroes.
  • Kneel (or Equivalent) Before Zod!- A Usenet poster "roleplaying" as General Zod goes on a 4000+ word rant while trying to gain converts to his cause.
  • That Guy with the Glasses ran an advent calendar of "Zodmas", with General Zod discussing his various opinions on Christmas traditions, how he will subjugate humanity to a never-ending era of suffering (marathons of "Baby's Day Out", toes that shoot missiles, etc.) then telling the audience to kneel. In the end, it's subverted since a hero doesn't defeat him, but he decides not to invade our planet out of disgust for humanity's mis-interpreation of the word "kneel".
    • Zod returns in To Boldly Flee to take command of the enemy's ship and stop the Channel Awesome critics. Naturally, he introduces himself with "KNEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEELLLLLLLLLLLLLL!" Hilariously, Terl thinks that's his actual name.
    "Oh geez, he's foreign...Um, Hello, Neil! Nice to meet you!(mimics Zod's hand motion)"
  • Worm has an en excellent example in Imago 21.3 where Skitter asserts her dominance over a hero.
  • Bee and Puppycat: Puppycat orders a ladybug to bow to him.
    Puppycat: Hello Peon. Bow to me.
    Ladybug: Ummm... no... thank you.
    Puppycat: Why not?

    Western Animation 
  • Spoofed in Robot Chicken. "Lay down on your backs before Zod! Now, using your lower abdominals, raise your legs and hold on a five-count before Zod!" See here.
  • The Powerpuff Girls
  • In The Batman, Lex Luthor forces Superman to do this by drugging him with a combination of Kryptonite dust and Poison Ivy's mind-control pollen.
  • Lex also does this to fellow criminal mastermind Gorilla Grodd in the Grand Finale of Justice League Unlimited, by turning Grodd's own Mind Control powers against him. And we love him for it.
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
    • "Kneel Before Grodd!" Gorilla Grodd travels forward in time to take over the Ape Army and beat the Tiger Army. He succeeds, and has the Tiger leader "Great Caesar" bow to him; complete with Agony Beam.
    • Fox also tries to make Bronze Tiger kneel before him at the end of "Return of the Fearsome Fangs!", and Bronze Tiger pretends to comply so he could attack Fox while his guard was down.
    • Degaton does it to Batman and the Justice Society in "The Golden Age of Justice!".
  • Has happened on VeggieTales a few times, in the dramatizations of the above-mentioned stories from The Book of Daniel. Mr. Nezzer even wrote a song that people can sing as they bow to his giant chocolate rabbit idol. Yeah, it's a weird show.
  • X-Men
    • Vertigo in the two-parter "Reunion", when using her powers on Wolverine:
    Vertigo: On your knees!
    Wolverine: No!
    Vertigo: Surrender to Vertigo.
    Wolverine: Never!
    • Here's another:
    Vertigo: Kneel. Become one of the master's slaves. They cannot help you.
  • The episode "Betrothed" of Teen Titans had Blackfire telling Starfire: "That's right. Bow down before your Grand Ruler!" Cue Starfire retaliating with "You may be the ruler of this planet, but you are not the ruler of ME!"
  • The South Park episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die" has the eponymous Scott force Cartman to get down on his knees, beg him for his money back, and act like a "little piggy".
  • In Jackie Chan Adventures, Tarakudo: King of the Shadowkhan does this often. Captain Black once responded with, "The only king I bow to is Elvis, and I don't see you wearing blue suede shoes."
  • Vilgax attempted this on Ben in the Ben 10: Alien Force finale when he finally succeeded in taking the Omnitrix from him. Ben's answer: "You already got the Omnitrix, Vilgax. Don't ask too much."
    • Old George later attempts a slightly less aggressive version of it on the heroes, with not much more success.
  • Subverted in the Robonic Stooges episode "On Your Knees, Hercules." Curly gets a whiff of an evil scientist's mean formula and sets the then-turned-evil Hercules straight. Curly even invokes the episode's title.
  • The Danger Mouse episode "Viva Danger Mouse" has Baron Greenback planting catcus needles in the seat cushions of the world's leaders so "I can bring them to their feet before bringing them to their knees!"
    • In "Danger Mouse on The Orient Express," DM exclaims that Greenback's plan to eliminate all of Europe's tourist sites and force tourists to visit his museum of Barry Manilow record sleeves will "bring the world to its knees!"
  • Young Justice has a truly epic one: Vandal Savage uses Starro-tech to mind control the entire Justice League and forces them to kneel before him at the end of "Usual Suspects".
  • The Looney Tunes Show: Daffy (as General Zod) has making Bugs kneel before him as his major motivation (and even utters the actual phrase) in "SuperRabbit": the episode being a Whole Plot Reference to Superman II.
  • In The Superhero Squad Show episode "Planet Hulk", the first thing the Hulk hears on arriving on Sakaar is some shouting "You WILL bow down before me!"; the Hulk replies, "Sounds like bully, or politician". When the unseen shouter roars "KNEEL, I said!", the Hulk replies, "DEFINITELY politician!"


Kingpin in His GymEvil TropesLack of Empathy
Just Between You and MeEvil GloatingLaugh with Me
The KlanVillainsKnight of Cerebus
Superman IIImageSource/Live-Action FilmsSuperman III

alternative title(s): Bow Before The Villain
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
121487
1