Occasionally TheHero 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 [[TheResenter someone becoming jealous of the hero]], possibly turning them into a [[TheRival rival]].

SubTrope of TheMentor. MentorOccupationalHazard may also occur.
!!Examples of this trope:


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Played with in ''Manga/SoulEater'' 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 ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanohaStrikers'' 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).
* [[ChivalrousPervert Jiraiya]] in ''Manga/{{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 [[spoiler: 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.
** The Hokages seem to follow this paradigm closely Hashirama & Tobirama ==> Hiruzen ==> Tsunade/Jiraiya(Jiraiya didn't acually become Hokage but was nominated for the position more than anyone else in the series)==> Minato ==> Kakashi ==> Naruto
* In ''Manga/YuYuHakusho'', Yusuke has to [[TournamentArc 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 ''Manga/{{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 [[ParentalIncest other reasons]].
* ''Manga/DragonBall''
** Lord Muten-Roshi 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 [[DirtyOldMan he changes his mind when Kuririn shows him some dirty mags]]. Later when Yamcha ask to become one of his students he turns him down, saying that two was his limit. He quickly changes him mind when Bulma says that she would come and visit if he took Yamcha in.
** Master Roshi's rival, the Crane Hermit, is also picky about who he trains. As far as we know his only students are his younger brother, Tao, Tien, and Chiaotzu.
** Master Korin, Goku's other teacher, only teaches those who can climb Korin Tower. He trained most of the original cast.
** Much like Korin, King Kai only trains those who make it to the end of Snake Way. Although he trains Piccolo, Tien, Yamcha, and Chiaotzu, Goku is the only one he teaches the Spirit Bomb and Kaioken to.
** In the entire series, Piccolo only trained Gohan. Although he does help Goku teach Goten and Trunks the FusionDance.
** Goku himself falls into this. By the end of ''Z'' he only personally trained Gohan and takes Uub as his students.
* Dr. Orson from ''Manga/ACruelGodReigns'' can be seen as this since he is retired and ill, but chooses to counsel Jeremy for free.
* Played with Zeref in ''Manga/FairyTail''. He's the most powerful wizard in history, and is [[TheDreaded a boogeyman]] for wizards all over the continent and he takes in Mavis and her friends as his students not because they had talent or the like, but simply to repay Mavis for [[PetTheDog her act of kindness toward him]]. They would all later on become the most powerful wizards in the series.
* Kaname Sengoku in ''Manga/WelcomeToTheBallroom'' is a downplayed example. He's a world-class dancer who ends up mentoring [[TheHero Fujita]] ([[BigBrotherMentor in a very informal way]]), but it's only much later that the viewer (and Fujita) learns that he's never taken a student before and even turned down several prospective ones. RealityEnsues in that despite being an excellent dancer, he's still new at being a teacher and fumbles with teaching on occasion.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'', Doctor Strange is noted as very rarely taking apprentices - and considering that he's believed to be anywhere between several hundred and fifteen hundred years old (the actual answer, thanks to time travel, is somewhere in the region of [[spoiler: ''500,000'']]), is often not seen for decades at a time, and is generally much preoccupied with his job and his grand XanatosGambit (this specific version of the character is a member of the OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness), people rarely get the opportunity to ask. He's reluctant to teach, as he doesn't think he's very good at it. When he ''does'' take a student, therefore, it is a notable event. By the time of the story, there have only been two: Mordo and Wanda Maximoff.
** ''Ghosts of the Past'' has a significant InUniverse shock when he adds a third named student: Harry. [[spoiler: He's also currently pretending to be a teacher in MagicMusic at Hogwarts.]]
* In the {{Transformers}} fanfic ''[[FanFic/ThingsWeDontTellHumans 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.
* In the Vocaloid fanfic [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7002672/1/Vocal_Vision Vocal Vision]] Luka has finally wanted to train Miku because of her resemblance with her former friend.
* General Ty Jun's mentor, Lady Sho, is described as such in ''FanFic/KyoshiRising''; a reclusive martial arts master who lives on Ember Island, she has turned away many students including the Fire Lord, and if she shows interest the only way to stay on as her student appears to be a TrialByCombat.
* ''Fanfic/RanmaSaotomeChiMaster'' has an extremely skilled Indo-Chinese guru living in Hong Kong, one very well-known among practitioners of chi manipulation. She rarely takes students, but those she accepts almost invariably become influential members of the martial arts world. Ranma spent a year as her apprentice, which led to him [[TookALevelInBadass becoming a good deal stronger and more skilled than he was in canon]].
* In ''FanFic/HarryPotterAndTheMethodsOfRationality'', Professor Quirrell has studied Muggle martial arts under one such master. The master ended up teaching him one of the most important lessons in his life - how to lose. Unfortunately, the master then ran afoul of Voldemort, who also wanted to learn from him only to be rebuffed. Voldemort then went [[Film/KillBill Pai Mei]] on the dojo (only with magic).

* In ''[[Film/{{Dragonheart}} 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.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': Due to his unusual affinity with the Force, Anakin gets mentoring and attention from high-ranking Jedi beyond that given to other padawans.
** To a minor degree in the Legends universe. Jedi Knights and Masters are encouraged not to choose Padawans out of duty simply because that Knight or Master wouldn't put in as much effort into the Padawan's training vs a Padawan the Knight/Master actually wanted to train.
* Pai Mei from ''Film/KillBill''. Apparently he only rarely accepts students and is a [[Really700YearsOld thousand-year-old]] renowned recluse. For extra irony points, his greatest student [[spoiler:whom he taught the Five Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique]] is someone who pushes all of his [[BerserkButton Berserk Buttons]]: [[PoliticallyIncorrectVillain a Caucasian American woman who favors Japanese swords.]]

* In ''Literature/EndersGame'' by Creator/OrsonScottCard, Mazer Rackham is this to Ender.
* ''Literature/TheGiver'' 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. Jonas becomes the Giver's student, and he is considered to have a special rank in the community.
* In ''Literature/WarriorCats'', 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 ''[[Literature/ThursdayNext 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.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'': Harry 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 [[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheHalfBloodPrince sixth book]] Dumbledore even gives him special lessons.
* In Creator/TamoraPierce's ''Literature/CircleOfMagic'' series, there is a rule that 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 [[PowerIncontinence tend to get themselves killed young]] so famous vision mage Niko chooses to train her himself.
* In ''Discworld/ThiefOfTime'', 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.
* ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'': In ''Owlsight'', Darian certainly has this reaction when he finds out Firesong K'Treva, a talented Healing Adept who helped save the world from [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt The Cataclysm]], has moved to k'Valdemar Vale specifically to train Darian in their shared Gift.
* In Literature/BelisariusSeries an emperor hires one of the greatest warriors in India to train his daughter as a warrior. Later she and her mentor get married and they become a BattleCouple.
** 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 Creator/TrudiCanavan's [[Literature/TheBlackMagicianTrilogy Black Magician trilogy]], the heroine, [[ActionGirl 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[[spoiler: 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 Literature/JediApprentice series, Qui-Gon Jinn is this to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Because of his previous apprentice's FaceHeelTurn, 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, [[TheForce fate]] conspired to bring the two of them together.
* In the first ''Literature/ChroniclesOfTheKencyrath'' book, ''God Stalk'', Master Penari--who's known as the greatest thief in the city of Tai-tastigon--takes Jame as his apprentice. For fifty-six years, ever since [[ImpossibleTheft he stole the Eye of Abarraden]], everyone's wanted to be his apprentice, but Jame is the only one he ever takes. He chooses her to screw over the rest of the ThievesGuild.
-->''It was obvious now why Penari had chosen her, a Kencyr, to be his apprentice. After decades of pressure to make him reveal his secrets, he had taken revenge on them all by choosing to confide not only in an outsider but in one whose very race was to him a guarantee of her incorruptibility.''

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The butler Carson, of ''Series/DowntonAbbey'', 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 FancyDinner, 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 [[JerkAss 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.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''Videogame/StarWarsTheOldRepublic'', Master Orgus Din hasn't taken on a new Padawan since his last was killed a decade ago in the Sacking of Coruscant. Then he decides to train the Jedi Knight PlayerCharacter.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' series has the [[TheOrder Psijic Order]], the oldest monastic order in Tamriel, founded during the ancient times by an [[OurElvesAreBetter Aldmeri]] sect who rejected the transition to [[OurGodsAreDifferent Aedra]] worship from ancestor worship, known to them as the "Old Way" or "Elder Way." They settled on the island of Artaeum, the third largest island in the Summerset Isles, which has been known to disappear for centuries at a time for reasons only known to the Order. Thousands of years later, they are now more well known as a reclusive order of immensely powerful [[MagicalSociety magic users]], who have SufficientlyAnalyzedMagic to the point where they can [[RealityWarper utilize magic in ways (and on a scale)]] unmatched by any other extant group in Tamriel. Many magically adept prospective students seek to join the Order from all over Tamriel, but very few are ever accepted. It is said that the Psijics use a "complex, ritualized method" for selecting initiates that is "not understood by the common man." In the roughly 500 years between Artaeum's reappearance in the 2nd Era until 3E 430, only 17 initiates were taken on by the Order. However, from 3E 430 to 3E 432, leading up to the [[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion Crisis]], the Order accepted an unheard of 30 initiates.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In the TabletopGame/OldWorldOfDarkness [=RPGs=], placing [[PointBuildSystem four or five dots]] into the "Mentor" Background will give one of these to your PlayerCharacter.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Circe of the Literature/WhateleyUniverse 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.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Master Piandao from ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', skilled swordman, former Fire Nation Elite Soldier ([[BadassNormal but not a]] [[KungFuMagic Firebender]]), [[spoiler: High Master of the White Lotus Order]] and famous for [[OneManArmy defeating 100 soldiers alone]] after he deserted the army, there were many people who wanted to be trained by him, but he rejected most of them, between the few pupils he accepted to train were Prince Zuko, and Sokka ([[TookALevelInBadass who gained him a level in Badassery after his training]]).
** Also of note is he trained his Butler, Fat, he offered to cook in exchange for learning, and they've been friendly ever since.
* [[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic Twilight Sparkle]] was just trying to get into the royal academy. One [[PowerIncontinence magic overload]] later, she is studying directly from Princess Celestia, [[PrincessesRule the ruler of Equestria]] herself, who also happens to be something of a PhysicalGoddess.

[[folder: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 ''[[VideoGame/PokemonRedAndBlue Pokémon Red and Green]]'' in Japan, Creator/SatoshiTajiri was mentored by Creator/ShigeruMiyamoto, 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.