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[[quoteright:350:[[ComicBook/{{Lumberjanes}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/answer_me_these_questions_three.png]]]]

-> ''"Know this. Only one may enter here. One whose worth lies far within. A diamond in the rough."''
-->-- '''The Cave of Wonders''', ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}''

There is a barrier that blocks the progress of the protagonists unless they are worthy.

Exactly what "worthy" means depends on the work. In a videogame, it might mean your character must be at or above a certain level, or that the KarmaMeter is positive (or that the dark magic hasn't been used more than X times), or simply that you've run across the right event trigger. In an [[SlidingScaleOfIdealismVersusCynicism idealistic show]], the [[IncorruptiblePurePureness pure of heart]] or the innocent will be worthy, and the CardCarryingVillain will be blocked. In a cynical work, the pure in heart and the innocent will be blocked; the pragmatic will be worthy.

It may happen that there are people on the far side of the barrier who shouldn't be worthy. This trope hinges on the RuleOfPerception more than it ought to.

{{Sister Trope}}s include OnlySmartPeopleMayPass (you are worthy if you're smart enough to solve the puzzle), OnlyTheKnowledgableMayPass, OnlyThePureOfHeart, OnlyTheChosenMayWield, OnlyGoodPeopleMayPass.

Compare BecauseDestinySaysSo, OnlyIdiotsMayPass, SecretTestOfCharacter.



[[folder: Anime And Manga ]]

* A variant: The Gate of Judgment in ''Manga/AhMyGoddess: The Movie'' that tests the love between a couple.
* In ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'', Raoh was only able to ride the legendary horse Kokuoh after he had gained its respect.
* In the ''Manga/InuYasha'' anime, there's a sacred cave near the Demon Hunter Village where the Shikon Jewel was formed, that only people with pure intentions can enter. Inuyasha is able to enter at first, but when he starts talking about how he's going to use the jewel's power to slaughter his enemies, he's forcibly launched outside. He was able to re-enter in order to save Myoga near the end of the episode. Apparently the ejection isn't irrevocable.
* ''Manga/ShamanKing''. Anyone that tries to enter the Star Sanctuary must prove they are worthy to Spirit Birds. The birds even say the name of the Trope. "Only the worthy may pass".
* In ''Anime/DragonballZ'', this is how the Namekian Dragonballs were ''supposed'' to be gathered, with each village offering a different test to anyone who came looking for them. Freeza just [[KillEmAll went with a more direct route]].


[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* Only the sufficiently awesome can wield [[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Thor]]'s hammer ([[MarvelUniverse Marvel's Thor anyway]]). Beta Ray Bill manages it (and gets his own equally awesome hammer). ComicBook/CaptainAmerica can lift it; but it's too heavy for him to swing. {{Superman}} used it briefly, but rather than meeting the requirements Odin simply suspended them because the current situation was that desperate (it's implied that the hammer likes a warrior spirit, and Supes is too nice). WonderWoman did it in a non-canon crossover, as has Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian. One [[HeroicBystander unnamed paramedic has also found and returned the hammer to Thor in the aftermath of a battle]].
* A Creator/DonRosa story of Scrooge [=McDuck=] trying to discover the lost treasure of Literature/TheKalevala leads to Scrooge and Donald seeking entrance to Tuonela, the underworld in Finnish mythology. The guardian of the entrance tells them that only the 'sleeping' recorded in his Book of Sleep are permitted entry. Scrooge tries his own name, which the guardian rejects and denies them entry. Scrooge then asks him to look up Donald's name. [[LazyBum The guardian basically rolls out the red carpet without having to consult the book]].


[[folder: Fan Fiction ]]

* During the Ego Trip in ''Fanfic/WithStringsAttached'', the four and the Hunter must use a portgate to get to the Plains of Death. However, the portgate is guarded by the Warrior Women, who will only let the worthy go through. Slight aversion in that because so many people have died after going through the gate, the ''weakest'' in the party must prove himself worthy by defeating their champion.
** Among the four, weak is, of course, relative.
* In ''Fanfic/TheKeysStandAlone: The Soft World'', the wizard Shaamforouz won't see anyone who doesn't prove themselves a hero. (“Naturally, just because we've been chosen by the gods to save the world doesn't mean a thing,” sneers John when he's told this.)
* In The Dresden Fillies: False Masks, the Order Triune is protected by wards operating on these principles. Bob points out how stupid it is and how relying on subjective morality is a dumb idea. Case in point, even the formerly demonicly possessed semi-villain who hadn't really learned their lesson managed to pass by being self sacrificing enough to tell the others to go on without them as they were trapped. Basically any basic decency was enough to pass.


[[folder: Film ]]

* The ancient Egyptian variation below was shown in one of the ''Series/SesameStreet'' movies, ''Don't Eat the Pictures''.
* A subversion in ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade''. ''Only the penitent man shall pass'' makes it sound like a worthy person is the only one who will get through. But the truth is [[spoiler: all anyone has to do to get by this trap is prostrate themselves on the ground. And then do a somersault. You know, like you do in church]].
* Played with in ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail.'' The Bridgekeeper of the Bridge of Death will only allow those who answer "his questions three" to pass. (Of course, the questions are completely random and their difficulty, if it follows any pattern at all, seems inversely proportional to the confidence of the person to whom the questions are directed).
* The Sphinxes in the film version of ''Film/TheNeverendingStory'' only allow the confident to pass (although Atreyu had to fudge it; it turns out you can dodge).


[[folder: Literature ]]

* In [[Literature/{{Aladdin}} the original Aladdin]], Only Aladdin Could Pass, but no mention was made of it being due to his character, which is rather lacking before Disneyfication.
* In Creator/JamesSwallow's TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}} novel ''[[Literature/BloodAngels Red Fury]]'', [[ThresholdGuardians Gorn]] insists that Rafen give him the message intended for Lord Seth. Rafen demands to be treated with respect. Gorn's reaction is that he has some fire after all, and Lord Seth, in the back of the room, comes forward to receive it.
* In ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'', Richard must face an Ordeal in order to earn a special [[PlotDevice key]].
* A subversion occurs in the original book of ''Literature/TheNeverendingStory''. Atreyu assumes that the Sphinxes guarding the Southern Oracle will only allow the worthy to pass, but the gnome who studies the Southern Oracle corrects him: the Sphinxes will sometimes block good and worthy heroes while allowing evil cowards to pass. The gnome's best guess is that whether or not someone is allowed to pass is completely random.
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'':
** The mantles of the Summer and Winter Knights are given to mortals at the Queens' choosings. For each side, there are three Queens: The Queen Who Was, The Queen Who Is, and The Queen Who Will Be. Any may select a mortal they feel has proven his worth, however if an elder queen decides this is a poor choice, then they can override and, if they choose, kill the mortal to take the mantle until they find a better choice.
** Greek God Hades holds this idea in regards to some of his great treasures. One vault filled with riches from literal diamond-spewing fountains and gem-made topiary, to some of the world's greatest artistic works, and [[spoiler:the Holy Grail, the Spear of Destiny, the Shroud of Turin, the placard bearing Christ's title, and the Crown of Thorns Christ wore]] is guarded by three dangerous gates: The Gate of Fire, the Gate of Ice, and the Gate of Death. Any who can pass all three can have their share of things, assuming they don't break anything and set off the security system which is a horde of angry spirits that will kill any who they get their hands on.

[[folder: Live Action Television ]]

* To reach the Sangraal in ''Series/StargateSG1'', one must be virtuous, pure of spirit, AND smart enough pass the multitude of tests along the way. Adria (correctly) deduces that she will not be able to retrieve the Sangraal as a result but suggests that Daniel, as a former ascended being, is a perfect candidate.
* The rules surrounding the Great Divide in ''Series/OnceUponATimeInWonderland'' stipulate that only "the pure of heart" can cross. It's a LeapOfFaith.


[[folder: Religion, Legends, and Mythology ]]

* In Ancient Egyptian religion, your heart is weighed against the Feather of Justice, to see if you are worthy of their paradise. If not, a hideous monster eats your heart.
** It's more like oblivion/destruction of the soul vs. an afterlife that's an improved version of the life you just lived, rather than [[HijackedByJesus Heaven or Hell]], though.


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* Seen in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' with its various protective and trap spells that can be keyed to, among other things, CharacterAlignment. Thus, a character may well run afoul of magical wards for whose purposes he or she is literally not 'good enough'.
** Or not ''evil'' enough.
** In the adventure module ''Apocalypse Stone'', the Castle Pescheour can only be reached by those who pass a series of tests of character. Of course, as these things go, the player characters get a break from this rule when they're unwittingly stealing the CosmicKeystone on the BigBad's bidding, but when they're trying to get it back to save the world, they have to pass the tests. Or three out of five, anyway. You can't trust [=PCs=] to get it right. The tests they are given consist of focusing on their quest rather than running after XP, not selling their superior fighting skills to seriously imbalance an entire small war for treasure, giving a death knight a chance for redemption, investigating an accusation of witchcraft properly to make sure justice is done, and donating magic items to save a village.
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer}}'' the new king of the High Elves has to pass through the Flame of Asuryan. While Asuryan's standards aren't that high and they've had a few terrible kings, after Malekith schemed and murdered his way to the throne he ended up burned so badly he requires a magical suit of armor to give his ruined body strength. He managed to throw himself out of the flame in time, but never passed through it.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* In several {{Role Playing Game}}s, you have to put a certain party member at the front of the party in order to pass a checkpoint or get past a specific guardian. In some cases, a spellcaster is not permitted in an area, or the thief has to leave the party until after you enter the building.
** An example can be seen in Interplay's ''Lord of the Rings'', where you can't enter a bar with a kid in your party, or with a horse in your party, or you can't enter a certain hobbit's house when a certain character is present.
* The trope is {{invoked}} in the second ''Videogame/DarkParables'' game, where a door in the palace bears a plaque saying almost this exact phrase. You can't open the door until you're on the hard mode NewGamePlus, when you can receive the MacGuffin that will unlock it.
* The time machine that can save your leader in ''VideoGame/DarkReign'' is locked behind a 12-step lock opened by simulating and beating the key battles of an interplanetary war. After all, there is only enough power for one trip, so Togra wants to be ''damn'' sure that whomever comes back to get him knows how to fight and knows the weapons and tactics of the forces they will have to defeat.
* In the end of the Urn of Sacred Ashes quest of ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'', the Guardian states this out, word for word, and puts you through tests of faith. [[spoiler:And by faith, he means logic.]]
** If you bring Sten with you, he [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructs]] this trope a bit when he remarks that Andraste must have a surplus of followers if she is willing to endanger them with these tests.
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion'' does this. You must be of a certain level to begin several of the Daedric quests. In the ''Knights of the Nine'' expansion, you are only allowed to begin the quests once you have prayed at nine shrines, one for each deity and you are only allowed to wear the enchanted armor you get if your Infamy is 1 or less.
* In ''VideoGame/EternalDarkness'', Karim and Ellia guard two of the four [[SealedEvilInACan artifacts]] until the Chosen Ones (Roberto Bianchi and Edwin Lindsey) come to claim them.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Heretic}} 2'' there is a door with the message "Only those who are Pure of Heart, or possesses the Warrior's Shield, may pass." somewhat subverted in that there's no way to actually prove yourself pure of heart... You ''need'' the shield.
* In ''VideoGame/JakIIRenegade'', Mar's heir must face "The Tests of Manhood", but since [[InfantImmortality he is too young]], [[TheHero Jak]] goes through it instead. [[spoiler:Turns out, Jak ''is'' Mar's heir, thanks to a StableTimeLoop]].
* This is alternately parodied and played straight in a number of places in ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'':
** Three doors at the beginning of the Naughty Sorceress's Tower require the character to have some sort of effect. Since this is Kingdom of Loathing, they are both arbitrary and wacky (in one ascension you might need spiky hair gel, a piece of pickle-flavored chewing gum, and a potion that makes you randomly teleport in order to pass the gates).
** See also the Altar of Literacy, aka the trial to gain access to the chat.
** There are also three doors you need to pass into the Dank and Dark and Sinister Cave during your Nemesis quest.
* The original ''KnightsOfTheOldRepublic'' contains either a subversion or an example of the cynical type: There is a program on Kashyyyk which asks questions of the main character, expecting the Dark Side answers that [[spoiler: Darth Revan]] would give before you are able to pass. If you stick to your Light Sider convictions, it repeatedly attempts to kill you with big robots before relenting.
** To elaborate: [[spoiler: The MacGuffin has been programmed by you, Darth Revan, to only give out its information to yourself. Since it has been slightly damaged since then, it tries to ascertain your identity by asking you questions. If you answer "wrongly" (i.e. you made a switch to the Light Side in the mean time), it sends you a few droids to exterminate you, but finally recognizes you by your feelings while fighting]].
** A similar subversion happens in ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'', where a player with significantly Bad Karma can get into Paradise Falls with no questions asked. Players with Good Karma, on the other hand, are told to [[IfYoureSoEvilEatThisKitten go enslave somebody before they're let in]].
* Most (if not all) ''Zelda'' games have something like this in it. In the [[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZelda original game]], no one could enter Death Mountain without the Triforce of Wisdom. This was partly about proving your worth, but also about being able to ''survive'' what was inside.
** Only a descendant of the Hylian Knights could acquire the necessary {{Plot Coupon}}s to succeed in the quest in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaALinkToThePast''.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime Ocarina of Time]]'', the Ocarina of Time, the Song of Time, and three gems belonging to three different races are needed to get to the Master Sword, and the Master Sword itself poses as a barrier to any not worthy of the Triforce, requiring them to not ONLY be fundamentally good, but ([[EpilepticTrees according to some people]]) also physically fit.
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker Wind Waker]]'', one must beat The Tower of the Gods before being given access to [[spoiler:the submerged Hyrule]]. And said Tower is only attainable if you have the pearls of the goddesses in the right places, which must be obtained from their respective guardians.
** This makes up most of the plot of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword''. Link must prove he has the spirit of a hero in order to wield the Master Sword.
** ''VideoGame/ZeldaIITheAdventureOfLink'' has this as the ''entire'' game. Ganon's leftover goons need Link's blood to revive their boss, but the dungeons, including TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon, are all a big test. Ironically, [[NintendoHard this is the hardest game in the entire franchise]]; the test is worse than the actual villains you must face to save the world in the other games!
* In ''[[VideoGame/MarioAndLuigiPartnersInTime Mario & Luigi: Partners in Time]]'', the Star Gate ([[Franchise/StargateVerse no, not that one]]) works like this, but it does lie to Luigi, claiming that he is unworthy when in fact he was all along. It did this ostensibly to get the group to accept a test to prove their worth, but it also seemed to derive some pleasure out of tormenting [[ButtMonkey poor Luigi]].
* In ''VideoGame/PokemonDiamondPearlAndPlatinum'', there is a person blocking the entrance to Snowpoint Temple. She refuses to let you enter because you're unworthy, and you can only get in after beating the game.
** There's a similar situation in ''[[VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue Red/Blue]]'' (''[=FireRed/LeafGreen=]''); the [[BonusDungeon Cerulean Cave]] is blocked by some random guy until you become the League Champion and complete the sevii islands quest (only in Fire Red/Leaf Green). In fact, all of the games have certain areas inaccessible for one reason or another until Championship is obtained. From Generation III and on, it usually opens up some sort of enhanced trading, too, because you would need to beat the champion to get the National [[GottaCatchEmAll Pokedex]], allowing you to get {{Mons}} not available already in that game.
** And in a slightly earlier instance: you have to prove yourself worthy of the League by obtaining all eight Badges.
* ''VideoGame/NocturneRebirth'' requires the player to beat the FinalBoss with a party of level 35 or less in order to unlock the DevelopersRoom. In turn, the door to the room is guarded by the AuthorAvatar.


[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* In ''Webcomic/LookingForGroup'', Cale is the only member of the party allowed to pass through a time travel portal to Gamlon because he has not committed murder with anger in his heart.
* ''Webcomic/TowerOfGod''. Only those who are worthy may climb the tower. Though what exactly makes you worthy is Headon's secret. A Ranker uses this as the foundation of his own test. He puts up a barrier made of [[FunctionalMagic Shinsoo]] and only those able to walk through, regardless of skill, strength or power, are worthy of advancing and anyone who can't his simply a failure. [[spoiler: Ship Leesoo screws the pooch on this, by forcing his through it, despite his initial failure.]]


[[folder: Web Original ]]

* How getting the MacGuffin in ''WebVideo/SuburbanKnights'' was supposed to happen.


[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'', at least the [[Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon Disney version]].
* It took Green Arrow and Batman working together in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' to pull the sword out of the stone when Myth/{{Arthur|ian Legend}} was incapacitated by Morgan [=LeFey=].
* Something like this happened in ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'' once: He Man, Man At Arms and Orko need to get inside a cave, but the statues say that "Only the brave, strong and wise may enter" (or something to that effect).
* There is a slight subversion in ''WesternAnimation/YoungJustice'': the sword of Beowulf will only grant its power to the pure of heart. As the villain wielding its destructive power points out, [[PureIsNotGood "The legend never said pure good."]]
* ''WesternAnimation/SamuraiJack'': In the episode "Jack and the Traveling Creatures," Jack comes across a stable PortalToThePast, but the portal's Guardian refuses him entry, declaring that only one man can defeat him and earn the right to use the portal, and Jack is not that man. Jack takes on the Guardian anyway, only to be defeated after a long and arduous battle in [[CurbStompBattle the Guardian's favor]], but just as the Guardian is about to finish Jack off, the portal itself flickers, sending him a message. Understanding, the Guardian spares Jack's life and summons a flying creature to take him away, after which an image of a FutureBadass Jack appears in the portal; this implies that Jack ''will'' eventually be able to get back to the past, but not for several years at the very least.
-->'''Guardian''': You can't use it ''yet'', Samurai Jack. Not yet... not yet.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* A certain base-jumping training camp tests your character by requiring you write a letter to your parents, explaining why you died base-jumping, before you can even start.