"If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it: I will not look for you, I will not pursue you. But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you."
Paternal instinct can transform a Bumbling Dad
into an Action Dad
. If someone threatens his kids
they will soon wish they'd never come within a mile of them. This is because fathers are expected to take care of their family and this naturally extends to keeping them safe. Such occasions serve as a way for a father to prove his worthiness. (See A Real Man Is a Killer
). Expect his children to have a newfound respect for their father and for them to brag that My Dad Can Beat Up Your Dad
. If their relationship was previously strained expect it to improve.
Often Papa Wolf incidents serve as a way to reveal that a Non-Action Guy
is really a Retired Badass
or a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass
. In contrast to an Overprotective Dad
(who sometimes thinks
he's this), a Papa Wolf is always portrayed heroically because the latter is defending their kids from genuine threats instead of imagined ones.
A Team Dad
may display a streak of this, but the Papa is more likely to be related to his children by blood or through formal adoption, and the children tend to be younger, which may be part of why the Papa Wolf is more oriented toward protecting them
rather than training them to defend themselves
. However even completely grown children can summon this response in the face of crisis because they are still
his children no matter how old or strong they get.
This is the Spear Counterpart
to Mama Bear
. When Mama Bear
and Papa Wolf team up
, no force on earth can stop them.
Subtrope of Beware the Nice Ones
. See also A Father to His Men
. Combining this with Disproportionate Retribution
can lead to a Knight Templar Parent
. If the guy is a teacher instead, he's a Badass Teacher
. If the guy doing this is a sibling/cousin, you get Big Brother Instinct
. Inversely, see Parents in Distress
for the kids rescuing the dad. Evil characters can use this too; after all, Even Evil Has Loved Ones
. A subtrope of the Papa Wolf is the Badass and Child Duo
, where an adult male badass takes it upon himself to protect an orphaned, unrelated young child.
Remember when adding examples that this is a male only trope. The female equivalent is "Mama Bear
" so all Distaff Counterparts
should be placed there. When Mama Bear
and Papa Wolf
team up, it's a Battle Couple
. Parents in Distress
is the inversion, when Papa needs to be bailed out by the kids.