Strength Equals Worthiness
Suppose there's some great powerful being that you want on your side. It might be some magical or elemental creature, someone who's a really great fighter, or maybe something that you can summon. You seek it out and try to convince it to help you. Its reply? "You must first prove your worthiness by besting me in physical combat!" Can be justified if Tell Me How You Fight is involved. May imply a Proud Warrior Race Guy like mentality or at least Spirited Competitor tendencies in the being in question. When used in romantic terms, between an Amazon who wants Hercules and her Amazon Chaser, it's Best Her to Bed Her. See also Asskicking Equals Authority, Might Makes Right. Related to Violence Is the Only Option and Sister Trope to Defeat Means Friendship.
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Anime & Manga
- A variation in Fairy Tail, where the person is someone other than the one fighting. Elfman requires that anyone who wants to date his sister be capable of besting him physically, without magic.
- In Ginga E Kickoff, Erika challenges Shou to a heading contest for the right to recruit her into his budding soccer team.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Avatar's Banshees revolve around this. Basically, when a hunter is deemed ready, they travel to a nest of Banshees, and try to form a bond with them. They know they've found the right banshee when it tries to kill them. If the hunter succeeds, the Banshee will ride with that hunter and only that hunter for the rest of its life.
- In the fourth GrailQuest book, Voyage of Terror, the protagonist Pip can meet with the god Hephaestus himself, who has just forged an enchanted breastplate which is the best armor in the whole game. Hephaestus offers to give it to Pip — but only if you best him in combat. You can refuse, as when he starts announcing his stats, it looks like a completely unwinnable fight. But the god is actually fair-play, and notably allows Pip to wear the breastplate before starting, and to give him the win if Hephaestus lose a set number of Hit Points (instead of his huge total).
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Sweet Lord Of Light is this ever averted. Power, particularly of the "raw strength/combat skill" variety, is never an indicator of competence, or even of peoples' respect. The best example is Robert Baratheon, who won the war with strength and charisma but became a terrible king because all he wanted to be was a warrior, a glutton and a pervert.
- Another good example is Ser Gregor Clegane, the Mountain Who Rides. He is an eight-foot slab of muscle and psychopathy who wields a zweihänder the way most men wield a dagger and is perfectly capable of bisecting people and breaking a pike wall single-handedly. His greatest claim to fame is the rape and murder of a defenseless woman and her infant son, everyone knows that in spite of his title he is nothing more than a hatchetman, and most people hold the muck under their boots in higher regard.
- Averted in the Hurog duology. Ward is very strong, but that is not what makes people follow him. Instead, he proves his worth by being Nice to the Waiter and caring about his country. As for supernatural beings, he earns the loyalty of a dragon by ... being a decent person. His father, who was likewise a giant of a man, was horrible.
Myths & Religion
- In the Ramayana, King Janaka of Mithila offers his daughter's hand in marriage to any man who can draw the bow he got as a present from the god Shiva. The only one who can is Prince Rama of Ayodhya, who cracks it in half when he tries to fire it.
- Final Fantasy:
- If you want to use Summon Magic, chances are you're going to have to fight the creature first — and they'll probably say something along the lines of "you need to prove your strength/worth!" too.
- Both subverted and played straight in Final Fantasy VIII, as you have to draw most of the summons from bosses - and not the actual summons themselves. There are a few summons where this trope is played straight, though.
- Subverted in Tales of Phantasia; The first five summons need to be fought before they'll join you, but when the party gets to Luna, they're ready to have a match with her ("We don't mind if you want to test our strength!") but she decides to simply join them without a fight. Also justified with Volt, who had gone berserk. Once you beat him into submission he calms down and becomes lucid again. (to a degree)
- The Divine Danans in Treasure of the Rudra need to be defeated to "prove you're worthy of their knowledge". Justified with Meifa, who is already willing to ally with you, but in this case strength is a big deal, since they want to know if you're strong enough to defeat the Big Bad.
- Very annoyingly happens in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. You have to beat the infuriatingly skilled Hilary in a difficult race before he'll agree to be the getaway driver for your bank job. Not only is this mission possibly the hardest in the game, but Fridge Logic dictates that if you could beat him then you wouldn't need him to be your driver in the first place. Of course, none of that matters, because he dies during the job and you have to drive the getaway car anyway.
- In Twilight Princess, the Gorons have become something of a Proud Warrior Race, and equate physical strength with strength of character. Therefore, they refuse to let you help until you beat them in a sumo match (which you win by cheating).
- The Barbarian Elders on Mount Arreat in Diablo II: Lord of Destruction.
- Pretty much the entire premise of unlocking characters in the Super Smash Bros. (though, in Brawl, many are unlocked as you play through the campaign mode).
- The Boreas Seabed mission in Guild Wars Factions.
- Star Ocean:
- The game likes to rub your face in this trope. You have a set of trials to pass, including the Power and Courage trials. Power Trial? Defeat a boss, fair enough. Courage trial? Defeat a boss, to prove you have the power to back your courage! What the... The exact same boss, at that...
- Star Ocean: The Second Story subverts it. When the party goes to get a Psynard, they're told they'll have to do this. Instead, they rescue it from another creature, and Claude then shows it mercy by refusing to fight it — and that convinces the Psynard to help them.
- In Yakuza 3, to use certain weapons you need a certificate, which you earn by defeating your weapons master while he, not you, is using said weapon.
- In The Reconstruction, Moke assumes this when he is told he will be put through a "test" by a mysterious stranger; he quickly objects, but it turns out the test is of a different nature.
- Catching Pokémon is based on this principle.
- The three Flute Guardians in Solatorobo operate on this principle, telling Red that if he can't solve their riddles, he must beat them in combat instead. Red, being Red, chooses to fight.
- The sentient Sand Prince Gem in Golden Sun: Dark Dawn is quite gung-ho about helping the player characters with his/its power, but demands that they first prove they can handle his/its power by fighting his/its spirit. Subverted with a hint of Fridge Horror when you meet his/its counterpart the Ice Queen Gem, who doesn't want to help you, who enslaves her/its would-be users, and whom you have to beat into submission before gaining the Upgrade Artifact form.