Ideal Heroes, capes, and other such good guys just do not attack other people without provocation, not even if those other people are Card Carrying Villains. Good guys simply do not do preemptive strikes; that's left for Well Intentioned Extremists, Anti Heroes, and bad guys. See Villains Act, Heroes React. The good guys have to wait until the bad guys do something bad. And, since the good guys are usually closer to human than deity on the sliding scale of superpower, A Million Is a Statistic still applies. (It may apply less, but it does still apply.) But if the bad guys attack something that the good guys are responsible for — from mandate, from their morality code, or because they truly love them — then the good guys can move in to smack down the bad guys. (It can also justify breaking out of prison or captivity, to ensure the protection is done.) The protectorate might be general innocent people in the vicinity, or family and friends, or the city or country or planet the hero lives in. Only threatening this justifies violence and interference on the part of the hero. This is what makes a Protectorate. The villains rarely get the notion of redirecting their energies against less inflammatory targets - or if they do, we never hear about it. Again and again, the villain just has to attack the one thing the main character has shown they will kick butt over. Specific kinds of protectorates:
- The city a Super Hero has chosen to protect.
- A Damsel in Distress
- The threat of The End of the World as We Know It.
- The Beauty half of Beast and Beauty.
- The Morality Chain or, less often, the Morality Pet.
- The child of a Mama Bear or Papa Wolf.
- A younger sibling.
- Someone's True Companions.
- In many cultures, one's guests.
- The President's Daughter.
- Precious People (also typically a Berserk Button)
- Their Companion Cube.
- A whole planet.
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Anime and Manga
- Do not mess with Yugi or his friends unless you want to be taken down or potentially driven mad by Yami Yugi's dark powers. Same applies to his people and country during Millennium World.
- In Puella Magi Madoka Magica, Homura's main motivation is to protect Madoka. She has a very specific definition of protect, though, and is very upset when Madoka abandons her physical body to ascend to godhood. Homura's Dark and Troubled Past had the effect of making this her only priority, instead of merely her highest one.
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ed Elric will beat the tar out of anything that threatens his little brother Alphonse or his Love Interest Winry Rockbell. In a similar (although somewhat less hot-headed) vein, Roy Mustang won't hesitate to incinerate anything that gets in his way if one of his subordinates is in danger, particularly his oldest friend Riza Hawkeye.
- The entire Earth, especially Metropolis, is this to Superman. Cause trouble there and he'll take you out, even if he has to die to do it. And if you touch the Kents, the Leaguers, or the staff of the Daily Planet, kiss all your chances of succeeding in your Evil Plan goodbye.
- As with Superman, Thor considers all of the Nine Realms he's not so fond of the Tenth Realm, for very good reason, particularly Midgard, particularly Broxton, Oklahoma, to be under his protection. Harm it at your peril. And may the sweet and fluffy Lord help you if you hurt Jane Foster or the Avengers.
- "I am The Batman. This is my city. At night it belongs to me."
- Most DC heroes have a home city they pay special attention to protecting. The Flash has Keystone and/or Central City, Green Arrow has Star City, Nightwing has Blüdhaven, etc.
- New York is the protectorate of the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man put together.
- With Hell's Kitchen as a smaller protectorate under the eye of Daredevil. And with The Avengers based out of New York as well, let's just say that it's pretty well covered in the Marvelverse.
- Every superhero who knows the Fantastic Four has also declared a protectorate on the Richards children, Franklin and Valeria. Mess with them, and you'll have the entire FF, plus all their friends, breaking your door in.
- Doom even put Valeria under his protection after helping give birth to her and naming her, so if you mess with her, Doom will come after you.
- In the Star Trek fanfic "Once Upon A Farmhouse", the young James Kirk makes Spock his protectorate.
- In Transformers Meta, Ratchet and Hound are protectorates to Evac and Bumblebee respectively.
- Grimlock is a sort of an unofficial protectorate over Bumblebee as well.
- In Child Of The Storm Harry makes it very clear that two of his friends, both of whom he barely knows, one of whom was The Rival / The Resenter until about ten minutes beforehand, are under his protection and states very clearly that if the Disir hurt them, they'd better kill him, because it doesn't matter if it takes him thousands of years, he will see them burn. The Disir back off.
- Elizabeth Quatermain is a cross between this and Morality Pet for Gentleman Thief Skinner.
- As revealed in Balto II: Wolf Quest, Balto hates it when his children are threatened.
- In Despicable Me, the three orphans he adopts end up becoming this to Gru, even if he didn't intend it that way.
- Hercules's protectorate is his Love Interest Megara. Touching her is an invitation to get knocked into the next weekend.
- The Lion King: Mess with his family, his friends, or his homeland, and you'll get a lot of attention from Simba that you won't like.
- In Monsters, Inc., Sulley ends up developing this toward Boo.
- Wreck-It Ralph: It doesn't matter if you are a giant man-eating bug; if you make a move toward Vanellope, Ralph will take you out.
- In Back to the Future, we have the following:
- Marty: his family and best friend Doc.
- Doc: Clara Clayton and his best friend Marty.
- George: his Love Interest and future/present wife Lorraine.
- In The Lord of the Rings, trying to hurt Frodo in front of Sam is a good way to get reminded why you should Beware the Nice Ones.
- In Superman: The Movie, Superman's protectorate is, again, the whole world, but more specifically certain people, like Lois Lane.
- In A Brother's Price, men are very rare and thus protected by their sisters and later their wives. Jerin Whistler is a bit careless with flaunting his beauty, as everyone knows not to mess with his sisters. That is, everyone except the villains, who are, true to the trope, stupid enough to antagonize the large, and well-armed Whistler clan.
- In Dragon Bones, the title of "Hurogmeten" means "Guardian of Dragons". The problem is that there haven't been dragons in Hurog land for a long time. The latest heir of the title, Ward, doesn't let that keep him from protecting about everyone around him. First his siblings (from their abusive father), then an escaped slave, and finally the bones of the last, long-dead dragon. He has a very protective personality, which helps motivate him to slay bandits, who were just about to rape a girl.
- In Twenty years after (sequel to The Three Musketeers), D'Artagnan is given the highly unusual task of protecting young King Louis from an angry mob that is going to access the king's own bedroom.
- In the Honor Harrington series, a star nation known as the Protectorate of Grayson features prominently starting with the second novel. Originally a Cult Colony, Grayson's heredity ruler is known as the Protector, who is both the head of state and the formal head of the Church. While the Protector does not protect the planet single-handedly, his role as leader means that much of the military forces that do protect Grayson answer to him.
- In Doctor Who, touching any of the Doctor's companions is a suicidally bad idea. The Doctor also considers himself the protector of Earth.
"By the ancient rights of combat, I forbid you to scavenge here for the rest of time. And when you go back to the stars and tell others of this planet, when you tell them of its riches, its people, its potential, when you talk of the Earth, then make sure that you tell them this...IT IS DEFENDED!"
- In Star Trek: The Original Series, touch Kirk's ship or his crew — especially Spock or McCoy — and you'd better retreat for the Delta Quadrant.
- The Adventures of Superman: Superman will never let anyone hurt Lois, Perry, or Jimmy.
- Sam and Dean Winchester of Supernatural recursively have this relationship with each other—if you hurt one, be prepared for the other to fuck you up.
- Piffany is the protectorate of Yeagar, Artax and Nodwick.
- In El Goonish Shive, Mr. Raven watches over Moperville South high school and its students, especially those he considers his favorites (those with high magic potential).
- In Ben 10, Ben's protectorates are his family and the earth itself. Hurt either, and you'll get reminded how a human boy has become the single most known enforcer of law and order in the galaxy.
- In Hercules: The Animated Series, Hercules watches over his school and its students, particularly Icarus and Cassandra.
- In Gargoyles, Goliath's clan traditionally protected Castle Wyvern. When they later found themselves in present-day New York, they declared the city to be their protectorate. Hudson frequently explained that "a Gargoyle can no more stop protecting his castle than he can stop breathing the air." This extended to other Gargoyles worldwide; Griff took it upon himself to protect British fighter pilots during the Blitz, a clan of Japanese Gargoyles protected a village and a clan in Brazil protected a portion of the Amazon rainforest.