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Renowned Selective Mentor
Occasionally The Hero will be mentored by someone who holds an important position in their community. It may be the group's leader, someone with a special job that only takes on one trainee in their lifetime, or perhaps an old hero who is retired and normally no longer trains anyone. Sometimes the mentor is chosen by someone else, but for the most part it is their own decision to take the character under their wing. Perhaps they see some sort of special ability in the hero. Perhaps, especially if the character is young, they want to be an influence in the pupil's life, trying to make them grow up in a certain way.

Whatever the reason, it is almost always a big honor to be chosen by this person. Because of this, the choice may result in someone becoming jealous of the hero, possibly turning them into a rival.

May have some overlap with The Obi-Wan. Mentor Occupational Hazard may also occur.

Examples of this trope:

Anime & Manga
  • Played with in Soul Eater with Dr. Stein, who, while being the best meister the DWMA has ever had, has mentioned wanting to dissect Maka, his best student. No one even wants to visit his home, let alone take Maka's place.
  • The Forwards in Nanoha StrikerS have been handpicked for a year-long personal training by the eponymous character. Most combat mages in the setting consider themselves lucky to get Nanoha to act as their OPFOR for half a day. Not to mention that she normally only teaches advanced aerial combat to squadron-sized classes (as opposed to one-on-four training from basics up for the Forwards).
  • Jiraiya in Naruto fits this trope to a T. He only had two groups of students before Naruto, and in both cases one of them was an insanely gifted shinobi who became a legend. He chose to train Naruto become he reminded him of the Fourth Hokage, his previous student and Naruto's father.
    • His fellow Sannin can also be considered this—Orochimaru is only known to have trained Anko, Kabuto, and Sasuke, while Tsunade is only known to have trained Shizune and Sakura.
    • Kakashi can be considered this, as until Team 7 came along, no one passed his Genin Exam.
  • In YuYu Hakusho, Yusuke has to enter and win a tournament in order to train under Genkai. Unfortunately, she has no concern for the moral character of her student and successor, so Yusuke must also win to prevent the technique from falling into the wrong hands.
  • Koumyou Sanzo from Saiyuki puts his chosen successor, Kouryuu (later Genjyo Sanzo)) in a tough place by making him the favored disciple. The rest of the monks at the temple are explicitly jealous, and spread rumors of Koumyou choosing him for other reasons.
  • Lord Muten-Roshi from Dragon Ball is implied to be this. When he offers to train Goku, Yamcha (watching nearby) comments on how the master never takes on students, and when Kuririn comes asking for training, Roshi simply tells him to go home. Then he changes his mind when Kuririn shows him some dirty mags.
  • Dr. Orson from A Cruel God Reigns can be seen as this since he is retired and ill, but chooses to counsel Jeremy for free.

Fan Works
  • In the Transformers fanfic Things We Don't Tell Humans, Terratron is this. It's a big deal that he offers to train Prowl and Jazz as kids, given that they will have to relearn a lot of it when they get their adult frames. The training each one receives is their own private business unless they have permission to tell close family members, and no more than one of his students are ever seen in public with him at a time. Any one student might not know who the other current and former students are. It's a very big deal when Terratron finally breaks these rules.

Film
  • In Dragonheart: A New Beginning, Geoff is trained by the king's advisor Osric. Osric claims it is because he's a natural and deserves special attention, but his real motive was to make Geoff eager for battle and to trust him in order to convince Drake to give up half his heart.
  • Star Wars: Due to his unusual affinity with the Force, Anakin gets mentoring and attention from high-ranking Jedi beyond that given to other padawans.
  • Pai Mei from Kill Bill. Apparently he only rarely accepts students and is a thousand-year-old renowned recluse. For extra irony points, his greatest student whom he taught the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique is someone who pushes all of his Berserk Buttons: a Caucasian American woman who favors Japanese swords.

Literature
  • In Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, Mazer Rackham is this to Ender.
  • In The Giver by Lois Lowry, the titular Giver is an example of this trope. The task of the Receiver of Memory is to remember the details of their history and how the world used to be, only when a successor is chosen does the Receiver take on the title of "Giver" as he begins to transfer these memories to his replacement. Usually this is a once in a lifetime kind of thing, but the current Receiver had a protege that failed many years ago and has had to carry on as the remember for a long time while waiting for the next suitable replacement. The main character Jonas becomes the Giver's student, and he is considered to have a special rank in the community.
  • In Warrior Cats, it is considered to be a huge honor to be mentored by the Clan leader or, to a lesser degree, the deputy. It occurs only a couple times in the series, most notably in the first book when Bluestar, the leader of ThunderClan, chooses the main character Firepaw as her apprentice. It is also considered an honor to train as the medicine cat's apprentice, because it is such an important position; each medicine cat only trains one apprentice in their lifetime. In that case, however, it usually isn't a surprise because the younger cat already has an interest in healing and helps out the medicine cat for a while before officially being apprenticed.
  • Miss Havisham trains Thursday for Jurisfiction in Lost in a Good Book. She's specifically described by Mrs. Dashwood as being highly selective, and she herself says as much, warning Thursday that she could easily lose the privilege of studying with her.
  • Harry Potter has a much closer relationship with the headmaster, Dumbledore, than is usual for a student, to the point of the Professor being almost a surrogate father. In the sixth book Dumbledore even gives him special lessons.
  • In Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic series, Tris is trained by Niko, the super duper famous mage. Justified, in that the rules of magic dictate it.
    • Specifically, any mage that discovers magic in someone is responsible for teaching them or finding a mage with the same kind of magic to take over instruction. Mages who can control lightning like Tris are both rare and tend to get themselves killed young so Niko is responsible.
  • In Thief of Time, everyone is shocked when Lobsang becomes the apprentice of Lu-Tzu The Sweeper. Even if they don't recognise The Sweeper in person, they are shocked by his rep, and because he never takes apprentices anymore. In fact Lobsang's apprenticeship is a punishment posting for both of them in different ways.
  • Darian certainly has this reaction when he finds out Firesong k'Vala has moved to k'Valdemar Vale specifically to train Darian.
  • In Belisarius Series an emperor hires one of the greatest warriors in India to train his daughter as a Badass Princess. Later she and her mentor get married and they become a Battle Couple.
    • Toyed with later in the series. Rajiv was the eldest son of the near legendary warrior Rana Sanga, and wound up learning from one of the only two men who had ever even survived a duel with him... a lowborn Roman soldier named Valentinian.
  • In Trudi Canavan's Black Magician trilogy, the heroine, Sonea, becomes "The High Lord's favourite". He supposedly takes an interest in her unusually powerful magic and talent (and he does) but it's actually also so he can keep an eye on her and use her to blackmail her friends into keeping his ability to use Black Magic a secret.
  • In the Jedi Apprentice series, Qui-Gon Jinn is this to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Because of his previous apprentice's Face-Heel Turn, Qui-Gon had been reluctant to accept a new one, despite the fact that the position of being his Padawan was highly sought after. Nevertheless, fate conspired to bring the two of them together.

Live-Action TV
  • The butler Carson, of Downton Abbey, is like this for the servant trade. Normally very gruff, he's willing to assist lower-ranking servants if they show talent, humility, and a willingness to take instruction. This shows with Alfred, whose employment Carson originally views with suspicion (he makes a faux pas at a Fancy Dinner, serving like a restaurant waiter rather than a footman; he's about three inches taller than the generally-accepted maximum for footmen; and he's O'Brien's nephew, to boot), but who proves to be quite down-to-earth and devotes himself to learning the proper trade of a footman. This leads to this exchange:
    Thomas: You’re taking a lot of trouble with Alfred. I feel quite jealous.
    Carson: I don’t know why. He asked for help. You never did.

Video Games

Tabletop Games

Web Original
  • Circe of the Whateley Universe chooses Phase to mentor. Circe has only chosen an apprentice about once a decade or so. Downside: all of Circe's apprentices end up dying horribly.

Western Animation

Real Life
  • Bruce Lee allegedly went through a period of this due to having a surplus of people who wanted to learn from him.
  • While developing Pokémon Red and Green in Japan, Satoshi Tajiri was mentored by Shigeru Miyamoto, whom he already admired. Later, when the Pokémon anime was made, and the main character named "Satoshi" (after Satoshi Tajiri), his rival was named "Shigeru" in Miyamoto's honor.

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