"Aah! Fuck, I admit it! I want to protect her! I don't want to lose her!! I don't even want to think about the possibility of losing her!! I will face anything in order to protect this dream of mine!!"
Accelerator in regard to Last Order, A Certain Magical Index

A protectorate is a specific person, place, or thing, or set thereof, which our hero is responsible for defending.

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:

Some archetypical heroes, especially the wandering kind, will adopt people they've just met as protectorates, much to the dismay of whatever villain was harassing them. This sort of protectorate can be temporary—the hero will defend the person to the death and then never think of him again once he leaves town. But it isn't always; this method of developing protectorates can lead to a hero getting a new Side Kick. Especially tenacious heroes might even take their duty past the grave and become ghostly Guardian Entities.

See Declaration of Protection for the act of declaring your intentions, and Bodyguard Crush for one of the outcomes thereof. Threats to the protected people or place often trigger a Berserk Button. Compare The Caretaker. If the protector is a Badass and the one protected is a child, they may form a Badass and Child Duo.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • In One Piece the Yonko, the four most powerful pirates in the world, each lend their power and fearsome reputation to many different islands of the New World to discourage other pirates from attacking them. Some, like Whitebeard, do this out of the goodness of their hearts, others, like Big Mom, expect something in return. And woe to the island that fails to deliver on their end of the deal.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: 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.
  • Fairy Tail: Never hurt someone from the Fairy Tail guild. EVER. Or you're screwed.
  • Bleach: As a result of initially blaming himself for his mother's death, Ichigo is driven by an intense desire to protect friends and family, regardless of the cost to himself. His need to protect his family from a Hollow attack is what first encourages Rukia to illegally share her Soul Reaper power with him and the idea of older siblings turning on younger siblings instead of protecting them makes him particularly angry, as both Orihime and Rukia's older brothers learn. He invades both Soul Society and Hueco Mundo to rescue Rukia and Orihime respectively when they're captured by enemy forces, and he will make sure friends can protect people on his behalf when he can't do it, such as asking Renji to protect Rukia, Uryuu to protect Orihime and Orihime to protect Nel. Tsukishima brainwashing all of his friends and family is one of the few times Ichigo ever accepts the need for killing instead of simply defeating the villain.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:

     Comic Books 
  • 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.

     Fan Fiction 
  • In Memento Vivere, a Final Fantasy X fanfiction, everyone is Braska’s Guardian.
  • 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 (and one of whom was The Rival/The Resenter until about ten minutes beforehand), are under his protection. He states very emphatically 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.
    • He does this repeatedly for anyone he thinks needs him to protect them. Harry himself would have been the recipient of this trope from his cousin Jean Gray if Strange hadn't interfered, and is an indirect recipient of a spell meant for this purpose by his godmother Wanda/Scarlet Witch that literally bent probability in his favor to ensure that powerful individuals would be drawn to doing this trope for him.
  • Elizabeth Quatermain is a cross between this and Morality Pet for Gentleman Thief Skinner.
  • In Hope For The Heartless, the Horned King saves several times the life of his prisoner Avalina. Realizing eventually how much she means to him, he eventually swears to himself to keep her safe.
  • In the Elemental Chess Trilogy, Riza is formally designated this by the members of her assigned protection detail, who collectively refer to themselves as "the queen's men."
  • Seen a few times in the Contractually Obligated Chaos series. Lydia continues to be this for Beetlejuice (and it's only gotten stronger since their marriage). Lady Delphine and Hugo regard the city of New Orleans this way. Prince Vince, as ruler of the Neitherworld, considers his entire kingdom to be this, and the Fairy Godfather tends to be very displeased whenever anyone who might reasonably be considered to be under his protection is threatened in any way.
  • In Say It Thrice and its prequel, it's eventually explained that Lydia was a lot younger than Betelgeuse thought she was when he tried to force her to marry him in the movie. When he discovers that he almost married a twelve-year-old, he's horrified, since even he Wouldn't Hurt a Child. Ultimately, she becomes this to him as his way of making it up to her, although neither of them expected to gain a close friendship from the arrangement.

     Film — Animation 

     Film — Live Action 

  • 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 Forbidden, due to parental abandonment and neglect, teenage Maya and Lochan have been Promoted To Parents for their three younger siblings, Kit, Tiffin, and Willa, of whom they are fiercely protective.
    If anything terrible has happened to that child, I will die — I know it.
  • 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 just 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 also motivates 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 hereditary 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.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Harry Dresden
      • He is a general protector of the weak, meek, and those who need a place to go for protection from injustice. Lara Raith, a centuries old succubus, quickly realizes the fugitive Donald Morgan,Harry's old parole officer who would have killed him without much guilt on the matter fell into this category, she knew Harry was likely stashing him somewhere. This all started when he was a young sixteen year old and his actions led to a young man being killed by a supernatural monster that was stalking Harry just because it could.
        No, it wasn't. But the world wasn't a fair place, was it? And I had more reason to know it than most people twice my age. The world wasn't nice, and it wasn't fair. People who didn't deserve it suffered and died every single day.
        So what? So somebody ought to do something about it.
      • Harry has also established himself as a fierce and destructive protector of his daughter Maggie. When she was targeted in a plot to kill him, despite only learning of her existence at most 96 hours before hand, he turned the plot against the Red Court of Vampires and destroyed the entire court.
        Michael: Things did not turn out well for the last monster who raised his hand against your child. Or any of his friends. Or associates. Or anyone who worked for him. Or for most of the people he knew.
        Michael: Whether or not that was your intention, you did establish a rather effective precedental message to the various predators should they ever learn of her relationship with you.
    • Baron "Gentleman" John Marcone, Lord of the criminal underworld of Chicago, is fiercely protective of children in his domain. Criminals may profict from pretty much every vice except ones involving children. Push drugs on children? He kills you. Use kids to sell or be mules? He kills you. Kidnap children? He'll help Harry Dresden, an enemy, take you down. This all stems from one child who was caught in the cross-hairs years ago in a bad hit attempt against him.

     Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Supernatural
    • Sam and Dean Winchester recursively have this relationship with each other—if you hurt one, be prepared for the other to fuck you up.
    • Once Castiel decides to join the Winchester team, he essentially devotes himself to them and their safety. He rebels against Heaven for them, nearly kills himself taking them back in time to save their parents, and in season six, he starts a war in Heaven to keep them (and the rest of humanity) safe. Even when he secretly starts working with Crowley to open Purgatory, he does it with the intent to save them from another Apocalypse, and prioritizes their needs over his own multiple times, taking time out of commanding an army to answer their prayers and making tactical sacrifices to protect them. In one episode, he states that he considers himself their guardian. The only time he's ever really stopped trying to protect them was when he succeeded in opening Purgatory and briefly with mad with the power of the souls, and even then he would have just left them alone if they hadn't kept trying to kill him. He's died for them twice.
  • Both Supergirl and J'onn J'onzz/Martian Manhunter in the same episode of Supergirl make the declaration that Earth is now their home and under their protection, and woe betide any that threaten it.

     Video Games 
  • You can do this to city-states in Civilization, typically for a reward or to keep your enemies from getting them.
  • The Pokémon Gardevoir will do anything to protect its trainer, even sacrifice its own life or create a black hole.
  • Jack, in the sixth installment of the Dark Parables, seems to regard the Fairy Tale Detective as this. She's the only ally he's got left, after an incident ten years earlier, and he has a number of Big Damn Heroes moments in which he defends her.
    • Prince Ross, in the eighth installment, grows similarly protective of her throughout the adventure.
  • As the official Champion of Kirkwall, Hawke in Dragon Age II regards that city-state as being explicitly this. In the Mark of the Assassin DLC, s/he can say as much to Tallis, when the elf tries to explain that her religion would give Hawke purpose.
    Hawke: I have purpose. I protect Kirkwall.
  • The Companions guild in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim treat the entirety of Skyrim, particularly Whiterun hold, as being under their protection. They are also fiercely protective of one another.
    • Housecarls are a deliberate invocation of this trope. The primary function of a housecarl is to loyally defend the life, property, and loved ones of the person to whom they are pledged. The Jarl of each hold has one, and the Dovahkiin is assigned one every time they are declared thane of a hold where they can own a house.
  • In The Legend of Zelda, Link - as bearer of the Triforce of Courage - has a natural instinct to protect others, especially those weaker than himself. In most installments, his main protectorate is Princess Zelda.
    • In Wind Waker, he leaps to defend and rescue his little sister Aryll.
    • In Twilight Princess, he extends this to the people of Ordon Village (especially the kids) and Midna.
  • In Stellaris, a powerful star nation might take a much smaller and weaker nation under their protection - this gives the larger nation a share of the smaller nation's resources, with none of the negative diplomatic fallout they'd get from simply conquering them. Sometimes it's simple Gunboat Diplomacy, sometimes the smaller one actively seeks out protection and approaches the larger nation themselves. Given enough time, the smaller nation may eventually be absorbed into the larger nation - this is usually the case with uplifted primitive species.

     Web comics 
  • 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).
  • Like in the cartoon, Betelgeuse grows to regard Lydia this way in Cobweb And Stripes.

     Web Original 

     Western Animation 
  • 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.
  • The Captain Planet and the Planeteers show features a whole lot of protectorates.
    • Obviously, the Earth is one to the 7 main characters (the Captain and Gaia included).
    • Speaking of the Planet-team, they're all one another's protectorates. Mess with the Planeteers, and you'll have to deal with Captain Planet and/or Gaia. Mess with either of the latter two, and the Planeteers will make sure you don't get away with it.
      • The Planeteers don't take well to any member of the team being threatened, especially youngest member Ma-Ti.
    • Hoggish Greedly has one in his son, Junior.
    • In one futuristic episode, MAL (Dr. Blight's AI sidekick) gets one in his mistress's daughter, Betsi. He goes as far as to try to pull a Heroic Sacrifice for her sake. And after Captain Planet saves everyone, MAL promises Betsi to help her reform her mother.
  • 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.
  • In Hercules: The Animated Series, Hercules watches over his school and its students, particularly Icarus and Cassandra.
  • Scooby-Doo: If you mess with any member of the gang, the others will not be pleased.
    • Special mention goes to a Pup episode, "The Computer Walks Among Us", in which the villain tried to frame Velma. Just before he's hauled off to justice, Shaggy and Scooby basically lampshade this trope as follows:
      Culprit: And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for her friends and... that... that puppy!
      Shaggy: Like, that's right! Because if you mess with Velma...
      Scooby: You mess with us!
  • Threatening or insulting Lydia is the single fastest way to get on Beetlejuice's bad side.
  • The seven teen heroes in Class of the Titans will stop at nothing to protect their schoolmates, their families, or humanity in general; most of all, though, they will do just about anything to protect each other.