Never Accepted in His Hometown
But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor."
When Germans Love David Hasselhoff
is applied to the protagonist in his world.
So you've saved the universe many times, taken down many multi-dimensional threats, and have generally done lots of good stuff. You're a celebrated hero! Everyone knows your name, the kids want to grow up to be like you, and people may even be selling merchandise based off of you!
At least, in places other than the town or world you came from.
There, you're just that annoying kid at best, or another one of the faceless masses at worst.
There are many reasons for this. Maybe you have to keep up a Masquerade
, maybe the heroics you did are in Another Dimension
, or maybe your current cred isn't enough to change how the locals
have always seen you
. Whatever the reason, while you're popular everywhere else, at home, you're still just a part of everybody else.
Note that this does not apply to heroes with a Secret Identity
. Their normal persona maybe be unknown, but their alter-ego is clearly famous to the locals. However, a Super Hero
who is looked down upon in their hometown, but is widely regarded as a hero everywhere else, does count.
The temporal version of this trope is Dead Artists Are Better
or Vindicated by History
Compare All of the Other Reindeer
, Ungrateful Bastards
, What Have You Done for Me Lately?
. The opposite of A Hero To His Hometown
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Issei Hyoudou of High School DXD is often considered to be a dim-witted pervert, who wants to create a harem and the Butt Monkey amongst girls who detest perverted boys. But that's in his hometown. In the Underworld, he's a legendary hero.
- The heroine of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha had saved the entire Space-Time continuum multiple times and is shown to be the idol of everyone. Everyone who isn't from the Insignificant Little Blue Planet she came from that is, who don't even know that other worlds exist. Also applies to her friend Hayate, who, despite some parts of the Bureau denouncing her as a criminal commands a great deal of respect in general. On Earth, not only is she similarly obscure, but she had no friends until she first met Suzuka in the second season.
- The Suzaku no Miko of Fushigi Yuugi is a well-known figure in the Universe of The Four Gods, much heralded in the country of Konan, perceived as a threat by the country of Kuto, and generally respected everywhere else. On her home dimension, however, she's simply known as Miaka Yuuki, a perfectly Ordinary High-School Student.
- Kagome of InuYasha. In the Feudal Era, she hangs out with demons and regularly makes the finishing move with her magical arrows, but in her own era she's just an ordinary schoolgirl of little regard, and is occasionally regarded as strange for the bizarre excuses her grandfather invents for her absence from school.
- The title character is basically ignored in his hometown at first. He actually aspires to be the Hokage, or leader of the village ninja, just to make sure he gets noticed. Acknowledged. This is apparently a major factor in how Akatsuki could capture jinchuuriki; most are outcasts from their villages and so receive no help.
- Averted with regards to Gaara, Naruto, and Bee. Through hard work and unwavering will, they proved themselves to their villages and became beloved heroes, in spite of initial hatred.
- Naruto was disliked for his association with the kyuubi and for being annoying as a kid; he seems to have mostly overcome this during the chuunin exam, between his fight with Neji and his defeat of Gaara, but he leaves town not too long afterward and when he comes back all his old peers outrank him. He's not actively approved of generally until after he defeats the guy who flattened the town.
- Yuuri in Kyo Kara Maoh is the king of the demons, is widely famous and has saved countless lives and averted several wars. But at home, he's just a loser teenager who can't even get a girl to look at him sideways. And who bitches at his whole family constantly. Yuuri-in-Japan is worse than Wolfram.
- Magic Knight Rayearth: The titualr Knights are Cephiro's greatest heroes. But back home in Tokyo, they're just a trio of middle school students. In fact, since they go to different schools, anyone who's heard of one of them will probably not not know of the other two. This isn't a problem until they get back home, severely traumatized but unable to talk about it with anyone but each other.
- Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, John Stewart, and Charlie Vickers are all legendary members of the Green Lantern Corps. They are clever, they are capable, they are fearless, and they have all saved countless millions of lives across the Galaxy, including many of their fellow Lanterns. Kyle has even been the host to Ion, the cosmic embodiment of all Green Lanterns' power. Despite this, the general opinion of humans among the alien members of the Corps begins at "uncouth, primitive barbarians" and descends from there. Hal Jordan, on the other hand, isn't appreciated by the other Lanterns for entirely different reasons.
- The reason Scrooge McDuck's financial empire is based in America and not his native Scotland is this: when he returned to the Highlands with the explicit goal to base his financial empire in his family's ancestral village of MacDuich he found out that not only he had outgrown the rural and conservative Scotland, but also the local inhabitants treated him with contempt and outright hate out of envy, prompting him to pack and go to a small American village named Duckburg and transform it in a metropolis.
- The Russian animated film Alyosha Popovich and Tugarin the Serpent has its heroes defeat the titular Tugarin the Serpent, be commended by the Prince of Kiev, and return the stolen gold to their home town of Rostov... only to have a lukewarm welcome because Alyosha is remembered as a rowdy who once accidentally destroyed half of the town, and it's believed that the gold was returned by divine intervention.
- Semi-real life example: In Madonna's Truth or Dare documentary, her father doesn't seem to understand that she's a megastar; he worries that she won't be able to get him tickets to her show when the tour comes to Detroit, and complains about the burlesque style that made her famous.
- Humorous example in Zoolander: Though he's a successful fashion model, the title character gets no respect in the mining town he grew up in. Especially after claiming he has black lung... after maybe a few hours of mine work.
- The Hebrew Hammer saved Hannukah from an evil replacement Santa. His mother complains because "it's not even one of the High Holidays!"
- One of the stories in Heavy Metal was about a nerdy kid from Earth (or at least, a planet that seems to be more Earth-like than most of the planets in that film) is transported to a different planet and given a completely different physical appearance and basically becomes a huge hero. He has absolutely no interest in returning home.
- This isn't a saving-the-world example, but in Miss Potter (about Beatrix Potter, who wrote and illustrated children's books) her family never took her painting very seriously, her mother especially (she persisted in scoffing at it even after Beatrix's work was published); so much so that at one point rather late in the movie, when Beatrix is buying a house, her mother disapproves and frets about how she'll pay for it. Her father dryly points out: "Our daughter is famous, Helen. You're the only one who doesn't know it." And she continues to not know it for the rest of the movie.
- In Million Dollar Baby, despite becoming a rising star in boxing, Maggie is told by her selfish and money grubbing white trash family that back home "everyone is laughing at her". After Maggie had just offered her mom a house (which she rejected, since it endangered her welfare and Medicare benefits).
- Connor McLeod of Highlander was never really celebrated as a hero, but he claimed "the prize" in San Francisco after living in many different places, having been banished from his hometown when he got better after being run through by The Kurgan.
- In The Lord of the Rings movies, Bilbo Baggins is considered to be a little odd in the Shire (it is mentioned that most people showed up for his birthday for the booze) but had previously gone on a fantastic adventure and had even earned the respect of the Wizards and Elves. When his nephew and friends make it back to the Shire at the end of the series, they are greeted with an angry scowl by Mr. Proudfoot while the rest of the community don't seem to care where they went. See the Literature section below for the book versions.
- In The Rose , Rose wants the satisfaction of returning to her hometown as a successful rock star. She receives poor treatment when she arrives, however, which sends her into a tailspin. Unfortunately, the film was loosely based on the life of Janis Joplin , who was similarly bullied and made an outcast in her hometown, which fuelled her drive for success.
- Harry Dresden has saved Chicago in almost every book and short story, and it's implied that there are more off-screen. The CPD don't trust him, the White Council never believes and rarely helps him, even the local media goes out of its way to slander him. It's so much that a number of his enemies use it to try and undermine his confidence. After all, who would keep defending the ungrateful, disbelieving, unwashed masses? Ironically the only person of power in Chicago who seems to respect (to a point) Harry? The local underworld kingpin.
- Harry Potter certainly counts, as he grew up in the Muggles' world where he's practically unknown. A sharp contrast to his celebrity status in the world of wizards (On those occasions where he isn't vilified).
- Bilbo Baggins in The Hobbit participates in events of legend, then comes home to learn they've declared him legally dead, sold his house and don't believe a thing he's got to say.
- Similarly, in The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo's nephew Frodo carries the One Ring across half of Middle-Earth at great cost to his body, mind, and soul, destroys the Evil Overlord and ends the endless battle between good and evil, but when he returns to the Shire, his cousins Merry and Pippin are the ones who get the respect, due to becoming warriors and leading battles against the brigands who had taken over the Shire.
- In the Xanth novels, everywhere else, Bink is known as "Magician Bink". Most people don't know why (since Bink's talent stays hidden by design), but they know he's a Magician and treat him with due respect. In his home village, even years later, he's still "Bink The Talentless Wonder". Even a stint as King of Xanth didn't change that.
- The famous Sherlock Holmes pastiche The Seven-Percent Solution has Holmes and Watson in Germany with Sigmund Freud pursuing a villain. During the chase, the German police meets them and immediately announces that the constables are to be put at Holmes' disposal to catch the criminal and the Detective quietly mutters "No prophet is accepted in his own country."
- Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series:
- A straight example and inversion in one. Herald-Mage Vanyel is as much feared as admired in Valdemar for his nigh-awesome magical power - except in the lands held by his father, where he's regarded with "proprietary pride." However, it takes a very long time, most of his life, in fact, for his own family, especially his very traditional father, to accept him, mostly because he's gay.
- Talia of Sensholding gets it even worse some centuries later. The Holderfolk along the border mistrust and dislike the Heralds to begin with, and do not appreciate people fleeing their marital duties as she did; so given that she was The Unfavorite to begin with...
- By The Sword features another example: the story of "Kerowyn's Ride" achieves remarkably widespread popularity across a number of countries, but the events of the eponymous ride - in which tomboy Kerowyn set out to rescue her younger brother's fiancee after her home was attacked, her father killed, her brother gravely injured and his fiancee kidnapped - are a source of some embarrassment to the rest of that end of her family. It's not good when your older sister has to rescue your bride for you, after all.
- The above Talia's story resembles Menolly's story in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsong, wherein the protagonist is a girl who dares to perform and even compose music in a fishing village of a practical and pragmatic (and repressive) sort. In the course of the novel, Menolly injures herself cleaning fish, and her own mother deliberately stitches her palm up wrong, crippling her hand so she can barely perform routine household tasks (making her even more despised), let alone play any instrument. Meanwhile, the Master Harper Robinton and his faithful have been searching for the "anonymous" author of the fine music mailed to him by a rural harper, and take her away from all that to make her as much a star as a Medieval setting permits.
- In the Young Wizards books, wizardry has to be kept a secret. So after saving the earth and relighting the sun while rewriting who the Lone Power is so he is can be redeemed, Kit and Nita go back to school to get bullied. Granted, they can stop the bullying now but... Later, in the fifth book, Nita at least is still without friends at school 2-3 years later for no apparent reason other than being smart and quiet.
- A Dog of Flanders by British author Ouida takes place in Flanders, Belgium. But both in Great Britain as in Belgium this children's novel is totally forgotten and not popular at all. In Japan, however, it's a massively successful children's classic.
- In the Russian book series Alice, Girl from the Future, the heroine is a young girl ( 7 years old at the beginning, 13 in the end) who, on her adventures, rescues countless people (and planets) and is thus revered and respected on many worlds, and by some high-ranked officers on Earth. But in her hometown, she is regarded as lightheaded, irresponsible misfit, is often grounded, distrusted and belittled.
- Notably Averted in the Wheel of Time, when the Power Trio are all treated as on a higher level even by their own families. It's painfully awkward and none of them want anything to do with that, so they take solace in each others' company when they have it.
- Nick Perumov's Fess series has Fess, a powerful magician and skilled warrior, who saved more than just one world... and yet treated as a wayward child in his homeland, the Valley of Magic. And not without reason, since Valley is inhabited with powerful magicians and skilled warriors, to whom Fess is no match.
- Doctor Who. The Doctor. Saves the multiverse more times than he can count, but is still looked upon as a wanted criminal for much of his life (except for those few times he's been elected President of Gallifrey, but even then it ends up with him being charged with treason or some such). Things got so bad that at one point the Time Lords wiped the Doctor's mind, forced him to regenerate, and exiled him to Earth with a TARDIS that was sabotaged and rendered useless. Even after he saved Gallifrey from A Fate Worse Than Death, the ungrateful so-and-sos still merely gave him his memory back and allowed him use of the TARDIS — when he went back to Gallifrey, he was still made prime suspect number one in the assassination of the President of the Time Lords... And that's not even counting the later time when he was put on trial for his life...
- Suffers it elsewhere in the new series: sometimes it doesn't pay to be the guy who is always seen when disaster is occurring, and sometimes it's the fact that a guy who is Badass enough to repeatedly defeat the Daleks, the Cybermen, renegade Time Lords, and many more with nothing but a sonic screwdriver and a quip is kinda scary. He is The Dreaded to some people who should really be dreading the actual bad guys instead.
- Stargate SG-1:
- Cameron Mitchell returns to his hometown for one episode. While no one thinks he's evil or a criminal or anything, no one really knows what's going on at the SGC, and they basically remember him as the football player who came back with a weird girlfriend and is the reason they all have to sign confidentiality agreements.
- This happens a bunch in the Stargate Verse, since they can't tell anyone about their planet/galaxy-saving adventures. Before Jacob Carter becomes a Tok'ra host, he disparages Sam's work with "deep-space radar telemetry" and tries to get her into NASA. Similarly, when Rodney McKay returns to Earth for a scientific presentation by an old colleague, he is repeatedly criticized for not publishing in a couple of decades since no one knows about all his top-secret work with the Stargate program.
- While it is never made a central plot point, Daniel Jackson is still viewed as a nutcase by the archeological community. His theories have been proven correct and he has spent years studying astounding artifacts and alien cultures, but he will not be able to tell anyone about it until the Stargate Program is finally made public.
- Similar to Connor, Duncan McLeod in Highlander is also banished by his clan for coming back to life. When confronting his father, he finds out that he's adopted.
- Xena: Warrior Princess: When Xena shows up at her home town for the first time in the series, she is rejected by her people due to the reputation she built as a warlord. Even after she defends them from another warlord they are slow to warm up, eventually offering her "loot" in a very "great, thanks, now get out" fashion. In later episodes her reception is warmer.
Mythology and Religion
- Older Than Feudalism examples from ''The Bible:
- In Matthew, Jesus goes back to Nazareth, where he grew up. His frigid reception causes him to Lampshade this trope. But Jesus said to them, "Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor." Things don't go so well, because, honestly, how seriously would you take your old neighbor if he suddenly showed up after years of living out of town, going on about how he's the son of God and the new age is at hand?
- In the long run, averted: Christianity eventually became the dominant religion in Nazareth — and all of the Middle East, for that matter — for a period of 200-300 years, at which point Islam swept in. Even then, it took at least a century and a half for the Christian lands under Muslim rule to convert (Christians were allowed to live as they pleased as long as they payed a higher tax rate; eventually taxes got too high, and people started converting to get the lower rate Muslims paid.note ).
- Also, to this day, Nazareth itself is an Arab-Israeli town, with just under 32% of the population being Christian, making it one of the largest if not the largest Christian population in all of Israel.
- Just like Jesus, Muhammad's message was not well received in his hometown, and for basically the same reasons. He eventually had to conquer it (bloodlessly, by playing its leader, Abu Sufyan, like a violin).
- The Apostle Paul, who's the main protagonist of the second half of the Book of Acts in The Bible and wrote most of the Epistles (the letters to the Romans, Colossians, Hebrews, etc., which are all incorporated as books in the Bible), also tended to get a warmer reception among the Gentiles (anyone and everyone who is not a Jew-Greeks, Romans, etc.) than among his fellow Jews.
- Concerning Paul, this is especially apt, as, when he returns to his hometown of Tarsus post-conversion to Christianity, he is whipped repeatedly.
- The majority of India did not take after Siddhartha's message, either, but he was very popular in most other areas of Asia.
- In the longest and most bizarre Peanuts storyline, Charlie Brown goes to summer camp wearing a paper sack over his head. He immediately is the most popular person there and gets elected camp president, leading him to quote the Biblical passage in the page quote when describing the situation.
- In Secret of Mana, the Boy is banished from his hometown after the residents learn he has disturbed the Sword in the Stone. Though possibly recognized as the Chosen One, the elder correctly deduces that trouble will inevitably follow him around. He remains exiled even after becoming a hero, but at least he's allowed back in during the ending. It's possible to abuse a glitch to regain entry, where everyone is still spouting the same dialogue from the prologue.
- A recurring element in the Fallout series:
- In the first game, you'll visit several settlements throughout your quest to same your home Vault 13. Depending on your actions, you may make quite a few friends and even become regarded as a local saviour. But no matter what you do, in the end you are still banished from the home you fought so hard to save because you have become too different.
- In Fallout 3, most of the other residents of your home Vault 101 shun you. Eventually, The Overseer of the vault will even try to have you killed, forcing you to flee from your home. At one point, you can briefly to return to Vault 101 which is now facing major hardships and they blame it all on you (which, depending on what you did during your escape, may be somewhat justified). You are given the opportunity to set things right again and redeem yourself in their eyes, but even if you do, you are still banished forever once again (with a Call Back to the speech in the original Fallout to boot).
- The Legend of Zelda
- Link suffers from this in at least one installment of the series. In The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, he has to avoid being noticed while traveling through his native village of Kakariko because the townspeople are convinced that he's the villain who has abducted their beloved Princess Zelda. This is somewhat of a variant on the trope, since the hero's bad rep stems from some nasty public relations from the Big Bad's minions.
- This gets worse in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time because even after you save most of the world and return to your adopted home village post timeskip no one recognizes you except as a scary intruder, and you're remembered from before then as a strange loner who likely died once he left the forest. Justified: since Kokiri never grow up, the now-adult Link wouldn't be recognized by the still childish Kokiri (except for Saria, but she's a Sage, so...)
- In Dragon Age: Origins, the Dwarf Commoner is in the underclass. After you join the Grey Wardens and are treated with respect by most of Ferelden, you eventually return to the dwarf kingdom and are still treated like a no good "duster" by most of the townsfolk. The Shaperate of the Memories even states that despite living there for most of their life and having the brand on their face to prove it, any belief they have previously visited Orzammar is delusion on their part since Casteless do not exist.
- To a lesser extent, the Dwarf Noble receives this and derision for kinslaying upon their returning to Orzammar from exile. Justified if they actually did murder their brother Trian during the origin story, but not so much if they were merely framed as part of Bhelen's machinations to seize the throne.
- Later subverted after the defeat of the Archdemon, when the Assembly unanimously declares Dwarf Wardens to be Paragons, Living Ancestors and blessed by the Stone itself.
- In Dragon Age II, Hawke is forced to flee their adopted hometown of Kirkwall due to the role they played in the events at the Gallows, following Anders destruction of the Chantry.
- The Apple Kid from EarthBound is rejected by the inhabitants of Twoson in favor of his much neater (but much less talented) Orange Kid.
- In Mass Effect 2, it's revealed that during the two years that Shepard was dead, they've been widely discredited by the Citadel Council and many within the Alliance, who dismissed their warnings about the imminent "Reaper" invasion as delusional ravings and swept all evidence under the rug.
- The Dugs: In its photocomic days, Hamish Mc Haggis, a player for the fictional Las Vegas Tsunami, becomes a skilled baseball player only after being shunned by his homeland, Scotland, for struggling at all things Scottish in a story line that begins here
- Erfworld's Sizemore the Dirtamancer is something like "rockstar" in the Magic Kingdom, where all the other magic users appreciate his abilities and willingness to lend a hand to anyone. Back home in Gobwin Knob, his boss refers to him "as the shit guy" and his job is basically taking everyone's waste and making terrible smelling golems out of it. He starts getting more respect at home once Parson takes over as Chief Warlord, but that comes at the cost of his popularity in the Magic Kingdom (as more and more people become unwilling to associate with him due to his side's actions and expansion)
- In Serpamia Flare, Cain reveals in Chapter Three that he bears the mark of banishment from his hometown, the Holy Capital.
- Tales of the Questor: Despite impressing the notables in the big city and in the swamp territories, Quentyn's hometown of Freedom Downs considers his chosen calling as a Questor a joke and can only see the bad side of his successful adventures. However, when the town is threatened to be repossessed because of an old debt concerning an old Questor's abandoned quest, Quentyn volunteers to resume it to cancel the town's debt even though he may never be able to see home again. The town, stunned at this sacrifice, finally realize that their current Questor is a hero and hail him as such.
- In the live-action TV movie of Ben 10, the titular character spends most of the time having to get over this.
- In the War Planets series, Graveheart is the leader of the Alliance, brave, honorable, and has largely saved the day on more than one occasion. However, he was declared an exile by the leader of planet Rock (his home planet) and remained banished despite being a decorated (if retired) soldier and having destroyed two Beast armadas that had managed to invade the planet after his exile. He only is allowed to officially return at the end of the series after the new leader of Rock, his girlfriend, pardons him.
- In Transformers Animated, Optimus Prime and his crew, although they became heroes to the people of Earth for defending them against criminals and the Decepticons, are in fact deemed outcasts on Cybertron due their initial position as a Space Bridge repair crew. This changes, however, once they return to Cybertron as heroes after defeating Megatron, returning the Allspark, and saving the stolen protoforms.
- Justice League: Wonder Woman saved Themyscera from Faust and Hades. How the Amazons repay her? By exiling her as punishment for bringing men (the male Leaguers) to the island.
- Though this could be a subversion, as they do love and care for Diana, and do this more out of their law rather than not accepting her. Flash tries to bring this up, but is told by Batman not to make things harder than they already are. This is further shown in later episodes where Wonder Woman's mother goes to her when she needs comfort, since the the law prevents her from returning. Eventually, she lifted her daughter's exile.
- Atomic Betty is a famous and respected hero outside Earth. At Earth, she's just another kid. This is shown to be on purpose, as Betty uses a Secret Identity to keep a peaceful life between missions.
- In the Futurama episode "The Duh Vinci Code", it turns out Leonard Da Vinci is an alien from a planet on which he's considered an idiot.
- The is how The Powerpuff Girls started out in their movie after their game of "tag" rent Townsville asunder.
- On My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Spike's a Butt Monkey in Ponyville, but as shown in the episode "Equestria Games", in the Crystal Empire, he's the most admired and respected hero. The rest of the cast don't fair much better in that town either; even after saving all of Equestria multiple times they're basically treated no differently than anyone else and, if Putting Your Hoof Down is a clue, treated quite shabbily for no real reason at times. It's enough to make you wonder if Ponyville just happens to be full of colossal jerks.