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Rage Against the Mentor
Harry: Do you - do you think I want to - do you think I give a - I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU'VE GOT TO SAY! I don't want to hear anything you've got to say!
Dumbledore: You will. Because you are not nearly as angry with me as you ought to be. If you are to attack me, as I know you are close to doing, I would like to have thoroughly earned it.

Curse that Cryptic Conversation-loving Trickster Mentor! His insistence on being vague and mysterious to look "cool" is costing lives because Poor Communication Kills. Well, the hero isn't going to stand for it! He's Calling the Old Man Out on his vagueness with cries of "I want answers now!" or "You lied to me!"

Whether the mentor did it because he's trying to protect the hero from knowledge he doesn't need to know, or would expose him to danger, or reveals the good guys as bad, the net effect will actually be to endanger the hero and hamper his attempts to capture the villain.

Expect the aloof mentor to defend his arguments by saying You Are Not Ready, or that he told the hero "what he needed to know, not what he wanted to know", that their Omniscient Morality License means that no harm was done, or even that "From a Certain Point of View" he did tell the truth. Whatever the case, if the mentor doesn't immediately dish out some good backstory or Exposition after being called out, then his protégé will turn his back on the mentor for breaking his trust and being disrespectful and irresponsible with the lives of others.

When the Mentor does this to their protégé, it's What the Hell, Hero?. When the Mentor deliberately incites their protégé to rage against them, it's Drill Sergeant Nasty.

Rage Against the Mentor is the usual outcome of being mentored by The Svengali, though this does also depend on how bright and/or strong-willed the mentee is.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Samurai 7's Katsushiro does this after having been disillusioned by his mentor, who he had previously been holding up as a paragon of samurai virtues.
  • Resident Badass Normal Teana from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS does this to her mentor Nanoha (and almost drags Subaru into it, as well) when she grows frustrated of seemingly not making any progress because Nanoha "deliberately holds her back". Of course, this being Nanoha, it is resolved in a very heartwarming fashion and Nanoha's training eventually proves good enough for Teana to take out three Numbers at once without any backup, whereas most other named characters have trouble taking them on one on one.
  • Code Geass C.C. does this in regards to the nature of Geass and her own past. Then again, Lelouch doesn't try hard to crack her most of the time, since he's busy with other things. When he does try to make her talk, C.C. usually gets out of it by reminding Lelouch she's his trustworthy co-conspirator. In reality she's trying to use him to get out of her curse of immortality.
  • In Prétear, Himeno demands that the Leafe Knights tell her the origins of the Princess of Disaster. When they eventually break down and tell her the truth, she's so stunned by the backstory that her confidence drops drastically and for a time she can't even use her powers—which just proves the Knight's reservations in the first place.
  • In Katekyo Hitman Reborn!, a villainous example is found with Xanxus towards the Ninth. Being an extremely violent and ill-tempered Spoiled Brat, he overreacted to the discovery of the Ninth not telling him that he's actually not the Ninth's child, and therefore can't become the next Vongola boss. To the point where he readily tricks Tsuna into accidentally killing the Ninth with little remorse or regret.
  • In Monochrome Factor, Akira's attempts to find out more about the Shin and kokuchi are frequently rebuffed by Shirogane until Lulu reveals to Akira that Shirogane is a King of the Shadow. He then forces Shirogane to reveal that Akira is the reincarnation of the King of the Rei, or light.
  • Occasionally happens with Domon to Master Asia in G Gundam once he's found out Master's been supporting the Devil Gundam all along.
  • Fed up with all the secrets and mystery, the new Darker and Edgier Judai of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX threatens to flush his Spirit Advisor's spirit down the toilet in Season 4 unless he gets some straight, concrete answers.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Kyubey! In the entirety of the show's run, he's been yelled at, nearly got speared, shot to death, gotten hurt, and figuratively got demoted to garbage man through a loophole-abused wish by four of the five Magical Girls. Why did he get so much hurt? Well, when you purposefully hide details that the people you make contracts with should be aware of, details that can drive someone to suicide, regardless of your well-intentions or logical argument, bad things are gonna happen to you.

    Comicbooks 
  • Thorn has a very violent reaction to Gran'ma Ben's explanation of her past in Bone, culminating in a two-and-a-half book suicidal streak that was only halted by Fone Bone and Smiley Bone's You Are Not Alone speech.
  • In Batman, every single freakin' Robin. And most of the Batgirls at some stage. Jason Todd, of course, is first on the leaderboard ("Why in God's name is he still alive?!"). It's especially poignant since Batman is also a father figure to most of them.
    • Subverted in one issue of The Outsiders. Dick is furious at Bruce for what he believes was an attempt to exert control over the new Outsiders by providing them funding through a subsidiary of Wayne Industries and secretly providing Arsenal with intel. Bruce explains that he really was just trying to help the new team by funding them — they needed money, and he has money. Bruce just didn't want Dick to feel like he owed him anything. Dick calms down, but says it was still wrong of Bruce to pass on intel to Arsenal without telling him. Bruce responds by telling Dick that he hasn't spoken to Arsenal for over a year. Dick immediately calls Arsenal to warn him, only to find out that Arsenal is currently meeting with "Batman". Woops, I mean Deathstroke.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender - The Promise. Roku keeps telling Aang he needs to be decisive and kill Zuko, and if he contemplated the world he would see that he needs to do this. So Aang contemplates the world, and sees the people he loves, including Zuko, while getting sick of Roku's vague advice ("What did you expect me to picture? Some floaty cosmic energy?"). He realizes that Roku's worldview of how the four nations must be kept separate is outdated and decides there's nothing more he can teach him, so he severs his spiritual connection to him.
  • In Superman/Shazam: First Thunder'', Superman does this to the titular wizard after he finds out the lantern-jawed hero is nothing more than a 10-year old boy. Especially one who just went into a mad rampage after his best friend got killed.

    Fan Works 
  • The four in With Strings Attached are not pleased when the Fans (mostly Jeft) refuse to tell them important things, like, for example, why did George's ring stop working for a while? They do a fair bit of protesting against this behavior. Luckily for them, Shag takes their side and overrules Jeft's attempts to be mysterious. Jeff believes himself justified because mystery makes for a better game.
  • The Immortal Game: Once they're reunited, Twilight really tears into Celestia by calling her out how she manipulated Twilight to make her into the perfect soldier. Celestia tries to mend things between them, but Twilight points out that the way she's doing it is just another manipulation.
  • Parting Words diverges from the show's canon when Twilight calls Celestia out on her Trickster Mentor tendencies and withholding of information and resources that could have easily solved prior conflicts.
  • In An Alternate Keitaro Urashima, Granny Hina's plans to make Keitaro take over the Hinata Inn go Off the Rails, and when she tries to force them back on track, she repeatedly gets called out for her manipulations. Sadly, none of these seem to sink in, as she firmly believes everyone who disagrees with her methods is in the wrong.

    Films — Animated 
  • Kung Fu Panda: Tai Lung feels betrayed by Master Shifu as the latter did nothing when he wasn't chosen as the Dragon Warrior, despite training Tai Lung from childhood for that.
  • Megamind: Titan becomes enraged at Mega Mind's refusal to join him as a crime team, dating the woman Titan is stalking and "Lying to Space-Step-Mom!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • All The Presidents Men: After Woodward and Bernstein screw something up and lose credibility, Woodward demands that his source (Deep Throat) start revealing real information.
  • Star Wars:
    • Obi-Wan Kenobi: "So what I told you was true, From a Certain Point of View." Although by the time Luke Skywalker is able to talk to him properly, he's calmed down from hearing the Awful Truth and the conversation is civil.
    • In the original novelization, Yoda states before his death that "Obi-Wan would have told you (that Darth Vader is your father) long ago, had I let him...", which renders Luke's railing at Obi-Wan immediately thereafter somewhat redundant.
    • In the chronologically earlier trilogy, Anakin throws tantrums (and worse) because he thinks that Obi-Wan is withholding important things when he isn't. (Though considering what Anakin slowly becomes during the last two movies, maybe Obi-Wan (and Qui-Gon Jinn, for that matter) should have withheld a few things.
  • Subverted in The Matrix movies. Neo and Morpheus realize that the Oracle has been holding out on them and ask questions but they're not angry because her telling or not telling them things is usually for the better.
  • Rocky In the first movie Balboa lashes out at Mickey, but they quickly make up and Mickey helps him "not be a bum".
  • Mr. Furious gets somewhat sick of The Sphinx's gobbledygook in Mystery Men and manages to corner him:
    Sphinx: Your temper is very quick, my friend. But until you learn to master your rage...
    Mr. Furious: Your rage will become your master? That's what you were going to say, right? Right?
    Sphinx: ...Not necessarily.
  • In Dragonheart, the hero spends years training the prince to be an honorable knight, only to discover years later than the prince was just a bully who couldn't care less about honor when the prince attacks him.
    • That was later. First, Bowen spent many years hunting down dragons in order to find the one who saved the prince from certain death, figuring it was the dragon who corrupted him. Only later is Bowen forced to admit the truth that the prince was a bad seed from the start.
    Einon: Lay down, Bowen! You're the sad remains of dead systems and dead beliefs!
    Bowen: They were your beliefs!
    Einon: Never! Never mine!
    Bowen: (heartbroken) But... you spoke the words...
    Einon: I vomited them up because I couldn't stomach them! Because I knew it was what you wanted to hear!
    Bowen: No! I taught you!
    Einon: You taught me to fight, that's all! I took what I needed from you. You taught me to fight!
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Sentinel Prime, Optimus' mentor and father figure, turns out to be a traitor in league with the Decepticons and trying to enslave humanity to rebuild Cybertron, going against everything he taught Optimus. Optimus confronts him about it, but Sentinel merely replies with his Well-Intentioned Extremist beliefs that rebuilding Cybertron is more important than humanity's freedom. Optimus doesn't accept that and ultimately executes Sentinel for what he's done, though it's not easy for him.
    • Actually, it seems pretty damn easy for Optimus. Possibly because Sentinel had already executed Ironhide and tried to do the same to the rest of the Autobots. Still a bit out of character for Prime.
  • Towards the end of Catching Fire Katniss is so furious with Haymitch that she attacks him with a needle. The reason? Going back on his promise to save Peeta over her by making sure they rescued Katniss while Peeta was taken prisoner by the Capitol.

    Literature 
  • Harry Dresden does it to his mentor Ebenezer McCoy in The Dresden Files, specifically in Blood Rites. The catalyst is the reaction McCoy and a mercenary named Kincaid have upon realizing that Dresden has recruited both of them for an attack on a bunch of Black Court vampires. Later, Harry confronts McCoy, who tells him the truth about his jobthat he's the Blackstaff, whose job is basically to do the White Council's dirty work. That pretty much means ignoring all of the principles and values that Ebenezar always taught Harry to uphold, and the resulting shock to Harry causes him to shun McCoy for at least three books.
    • In Proven Guilty, Harry and Ebenezer take steps towards a reconciliation a couple days after Molly's trial, when Harry realizes that someone had to have spoken on his behalf during his own trial, despite the fact that Ebenezer claimed not to have been present.
    • Not only that, but Harry's been the mysterious mentor for an awful lot of people, especially Murphy, and he never lets himself forget how much trouble they could avoid if he only told them the forbidden Lovecraftian information.
    • In Ghost Story, Molly (Harry's apprentice in magic) feels this way towards Harry after his ill-considered suicide leaves Chicago unprotected against supernatural onslaughts, and inadvertently begins Molly's Start of Darkness. She's long since reached a Despair Event Horizon, so her attitude is less 'angry' than 'melancholy and utterly disillusioned' but it still feels like this trope.
  • Harry Potter tries this on Dumbledore a few times.
    • He really lets Dumbledore have it in The Order of the Phoenix, after an entire year's worth of bad communication ends in the worst way possible. Dumbledore recognizes that not giving Harry the information was "an old man's mistake", and asks for the chance to explain just how badly he messed up.
    • Averting this becomes the plot for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Sure, Dumbledore didn't spell it all out immediately, but he was giving Harry more help and equal treatment than several other vague mentors put together. If it hadn't been for his love of the Gambit Roulette, he might have revealed it all to Harry by book's end.
    • In the final book Harry confronts him with the fact that even then, there were still things being kept from him. Harry doesn't need to scream here; Dumbledore's guilt is written plainly on his face; he breaks down and cries.
  • Fairly early on in David Eddings' Belgariad, Garion rages against his 'Aunt' Polgara, whom he's recently discovered to actually be a centuries-old sorceress of nigh-unsurpassed wisdom and power, who quite clearly isn't actually his aunt... Granted, there really ARE a lot of rather significant things she isn't telling him, for reasons that aren't really explained anywhere in the series itself (it's All There in the Manual, though, or in this case, the stand-alone Polgara The Sorceress faux-biographical tome), but he was still somewhat out of line, claiming that lives of 'ordinary people' like him were mere pawns and playthings to her. Especially considering that she's spent the last several centuries personally safeguarding his line...
  • The mysterious and highly ambiguous Deth in The Riddle Master Trilogy by Patricia A. McKillip, who borders on being a Treacherous Advisor.
  • Deus ex Machina Mentor the Arisian is the target of wails of angst from one of his advanced students in Children of the Lens, when she's told that the breeding programme she's the ultimate expression of makes her "...in some ways, even less human than I am myself...".
  • In Quantum Gravity, Lila gets a bit of this against Sarasilien, when she finds out that he was lying to her about quite a lot, the tipping point being the fact that he lied about his name. She gets over it as much as she can when he readily admits to lying to her and says that, though he cannot tell her everything, he can tell her when there is something he can't tell her.
  • In The Hunger Games, Katniss spends a lot of the third book angry with Haymitch.
    • Peeta's not very happy with him either at that point.
  • The Deverry Cycle: Rhegor gets this from Nevyn after Brangwen and Gerraent die. Subverted in that the laws of dweomer says that someone has to ask the right questions in order to learn the information that Rhegor was withholding. Nevyn also gets this a few times (sometimes for less reason), and Dallandra catches a few hits too. (While Salamander does withhold information at times, it's not to someone he has a mentor-type relationship with.)
  • Hoole is the Arranda's uncle and guardian in Galaxy of Fear, and he's extremely secretive and doesn't like telling them anything for the first six books. When they find out what he's been hiding they both rage at and abandon him, then later come back to help him. For the rest of the series, he's still The Stoic but has a much better relationship with them, and no more big secrets.

    Live-Action TV 
  • A stellar example of this appears in Babylon 5, in the third-season episode "Interludes and Examinations." After a season and a half of evasions and mysteries from Dungeon Master Kosh, Captain Sheridan snaps, and refuses to back down until Kosh gives them the help they need, ignoring all dire warnings and accusations of impudence. This example plays out with more subtlety than most, as neither Sheridan nor Kosh is definitively wrong in this confrontation: it's portrayed more as a conflict between two characters of strong will, who think they know what is best, and a case can be made for both of them. And then Kosh dies, as he knew he would after providing direct assistance to the anti-Shadow alliance.
  • Merlin: Merlin seems to have had little enough patience with the Great Dragon throughout, but in the last episode, he turns on the Dragon for good after learning that its sole motive in helping him was to secure its own release.
    • Well, considering what the Dragon does after being released, his hesitation is more than justified. Even more, when Merlin asks the Dragon to promise not to hurt Camelot, the reptile refuses to promise anything.
  • Mulder confronted Deep Throat about this in the first season finale of The X-Files. Of course, Deep Throat's motives were always open to interpretation.
  • Kamen Rider has done this a few times. To list off the examples...
    • Kamen Rider Double has Terui Ryu attacking Shroud after finding out she's the one who gave Isaka the Weather Memory, which enabled him to murder Ryu's entire family. Her response after a brief fight and a reveal was that she didn't know Isaka would be so insane that he'd be out of her control when she gave the memory to him and her giving Ryu the Accel Driver was her Plan B for getting back at her husband. She also apologized.
    • Kamen Rider Fourze had a similar story of The Rival fighting his mentor in the form of Sakuta Ryusei. Though this time, the mentor has a darker connection. He's The Dragon for The Big Bad, manipulating him from the beginning. It didn't help that just a while ago, the mentor sent away, for lack of a better term, his girlfriend to a Phantom Zone. Though the fight is rather curbstompy what with the mentor's ability to just summon a Dark Nebula and sending people there whenever he pleases. He does manage to send Ryusei and his friend back after he realizes that ruthlessness isn't as powerful as friendship.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer angrily decides that Giles has "taught her everything [she] needs to know" when it's revealed that, behind her back, he had been plotting the murder of the ensouled Spike. This would probably have happened much earlier if Buffy had ever found out that Giles also murdered Ben.

    Multi-Media 
  • In BIONICLE, the Toa protagonists got tired of how the Turaga elders only ever delivered their exposition after a new menace had arrived to besiege their villages, and questioned their trustworthiness. Thankfully the Turaga anticipated this, and had a heated argument between themselves on whether to confront the Toa and the rest of the islanders with the truth. Thus when the Toa arrived demanding answers, they were ready to offer them.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the backstory of Warhammer 40,000, the primarch Alpharius of the Alpha Legion rebelled against the Imperium mainly out of resentment and anger towards Roboute Guilliman, his brother and teacher who looked down on Alpharius' dishonorable tactics. Also possibly a factor in Horus' rebellion against the Emperor.
    • Arhra's rebellion against the other Asur was also strongly implied to be inspired by this trope.
    • Angron held a deep grudge against the Emperor for saving only him and leaving his own men to die. Eventually he and his chapter pledge their allegiance to Khorne really quick.

    Theater 

    Videogames 
  • Averted by Auron in Final Fantasy X, who was always forthright about the nature of Sin. It was Tidus who didn't want to hear it or realize it, so Auron never went out of his way to cram it down Tidus' throat (though Auron did goad him with the knowledge to slowly force him to accept it).
  • In Persona 3, after doing some research into a mysterious explosion at their school ten years prior to the game's setting, Yukari Takeba calls Mitsuru Kirijo, a fellow member of SEES and resident Ojou, on knowing more than she's letting on about the Shadows. Mitsuru reveals that the Kirijo Group, her family's corporation, had been conducting secret experiments on Shadows using the school as a secret laboratory. The experiment went out of control, and the resulting explosion dispersed the Shadows across the city. Mitsuru tries to justify her withholding of this information by saying that it "never seemed relevant."
  • In the Knights of the Old Republic games, and other accompanying media, this is pretty much the catalyst for Jedi involvement in the Mandalorian War- and thus, the reason for the Jedi Civil War.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, it is Axel's evasiveness about Xion and Roxas' natures that directly leads to Roxas' leaving the Organization. For the most part, Axel keeps the information under his hat because he believes it to be something Roxas ''really'' doesn't need to know. That doesn't stop it from undermining Roxas' trust in him, though.
    • Done again in Birth by Sleep: if Master Eraqus had simply told Terra that "Xehanort is evil and he's using Ven to further his plot" instead of outright attacking Ven while Terra watched, the two of them might not have had to fight each other, and unfortunately, this Rage Against the Mentor went a bit farther than most did. To his credit, he does seem to realize he's made a mistake and both of them are immediately regretful.
  • Assassin's Creed: After Altair realizes that there's more to the nine men that Al-Mualim is having him hunt down, he announces he's fed up of getting riddles and cryptic words from both sides.
    Altair: You said the answer to my question would arise when I no longer needed to ask it. So I will not ask. I demand you tell me what binds these men!

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • Worm has a version of this in Taylor's decision after Armsmaster outs that she is a mole in the Undersiders.

    Western Animation 
  • Used by the kids in the Dungeons & Dragons episode "The Dragon's Graveyard", when despite their mentor's protests (they're planning to... ahem, take care of Venger once and for all), they get some straight answers from Dungeon Master regarding Tiamat and their own weapons.
  • Young Justice
    • Speedy Red Arrow vehemently called out the Justice League (by extension, Green Arrow) and quits, seeing that the Justice League didn't take him seriously and treated him only as a sidekick. Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad did a minor one, where they threatened to leave also. The League relented and The Team was born.
    • Aqualad/Kaldur'ahm in the second season, against Aquaman, for having lied to him about the identity of his true father, Black Manta, for years, which plays part in his Face-Heel Turn. Turns out he's undercover and it was part of the act.
    • The original Roy Harper blames Ollie for letting him be kidnapped, maimed, and replaced. He also calls him out on giving up on him while his own clone picked up the slack and rescued him. He finishes it up by calling Ollie useless. After this, combined with Artemis faking her death, Ollie is crushed and considers himself to be the worst mentor ever. Red Arrow then inverts this trope and gives Ollie a You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech.
    • Interestingly enough, it's averted when Dick Grayson becomes Nightwing. Here, it isn't because he's angry at Bruce, it's because he felt the need to grow up and become his own man and because he's now the team leader.
  • In the DCAU, Dick Grayson quitting as Robin and becoming Nightwing instead was a result of one of these. Although the two patched up things somewhat later, Batman Beyond implies he's still somewhat bitter about this, seventy years later.
  • Twilight Sparkle gets a very short one of these, barely a scene long, in the third season episode "Keep Calm and Flutter On" of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. When Celestia brings Discord to Ponyville and tells the Mane 6 that she expects them to reform him Twilight promptly screams a query of Celestia's sanity right in the Princess's face. For the uninformed, Discord is somewhere between a Trickster Archetype and the Equestria equivalent of Satan.


Rage Against the AuthorNarrative DevicesRash Equilibrium
Out-of-Context EavesdroppingPoor Communication KillsRemember That You Trust Me
Radio VoiceDialogueRapid Fire Interrupting

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