%% Administrivia/ZeroContextExample entries are not allowed on wiki pages. All such entries have been commented out. Add context to the entries before uncommenting them.
->'''Aragorn:''' Draw out Sauron's armies. Empty his lands. Then we gather our full strength and march on the Black Gate.\\
'''Éomer:''' We cannot achieve victory through strength of arms.\\
'''Aragorn:''' Not for ourselves. But we can give Frodo his chance if we keep Sauron's Eye fixed upon us. Keep him blind to all else that moves.
-->-- ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings: The Return of the King''

The Supporting Leader is a secondary character who [[{{Leader}} leads]] [[{{Heroes}} the forces of good]] in their struggle against the BigBad. He isn't the main protagonist of the series, but generally gets a [[ADayInTheLimelight spotlight episode]] focusing on some important battle right as the actual heroes are off performing whatever task winds up actually saving the day. This character is often the {{Deuteragonist}}.

TheBrigadier and TheCaptain may be his underlings. The heroes who actually defeat the BigBad may also be in his or her chain of command, but they're more likely to be an independent force of their own; their personal struggle is usually for the GoldenSnitch while the Supporting Leader keeps the BigBad from winning by default.

Found in pretty much any story with a KidHero. One of the surrounding adults will take on the role.

A variation of this is common in gaming, where following an initial battle, the player's nominal superior will tell them that the main battle is in hand and they need to proceed to the special objective that is the real centerpiece of the mission.

Sometimes this character will be the true hero of the story, and the central character will be the SupportingProtagonist. When the leader ''is'' the protagonist, rather than a secondary hero, it's AProtagonistShallLeadThem.

Compare BigGood, and TheLancer. Contrast with HeroProtagonist. If the battle scenes seem like they'd be pretty interesting in their own right, this character may be the HeroOfAnotherStory.

A specific SubTrope to TheLeader naturally.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Griffith from ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'', during the Golden Age arc. He's the commander of the Band of the Hawk, but somehow [[TheMainCharactersDoEverything Guts always winds up doing all the grunt work.]]
* ''Anime/BubblegumCrisis'': Though Sylia is the leader of the Knight Sabres, her role is secondary to Priss, who is the [[TheProtagonist PoV character]] of the series. Which is {{justified}} since Sylia spends much of her screentime operating behind-the-scenes in secret meetings with high-level businessmen and government officials, who act as her eyes and ears so she can keep tabs on [[MegaCorp the Genom Corporation's]] activities. Which also makes her the BigGood.
* In ''Manga/{{Claymore}}'' Miria is this as leader of Clare's group of Claymores and the main Deuteragonist of the series. Miria is the one who takes on the Organization [[spoiler:who is behind the creation of the Yoma and is using their island as a giant research lab]] while Clare is searching for Raki and seeks to take revenge on Priscilla.
* In ''Manga/DragonBall'':
** The Muten Roshi and Tenshinhan take this role during the Great Demon King Piccolo Saga. The Muten Roshi also has the role of TheMentor.
** Piccolo and Vegeta from ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' seem to fall into this role [[DeathIsCheap whenever the hero is dead]] or not there.
* [[ColonelBadass Roy Mustang]] of ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist''. Protagonists Edward and Alphonse Elric are only teenagers, and while Edward does have a certain clout of his own (his military rank is major), Ed isn't the strongest of leaders, and the two are somewhat preoccupied with their own quest [[ItMakesSenseInContext to get their bodies back]]. Mustang is a colonel and already leads a group of people intensely loyal to him (plus he's Ed's boss), so he takes up most leadership roles when it comes to organization against the bad guys.
* In Part 3 of ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'', Joseph is the leader of the party and makes most of their decisions, but the story mainly follows Jotaro.
** Likewise in Part 4 (which takes place 11 years later), Jotaro is the leader behind the investigation into the murders in Morioh Town, but the plot follows Josuke.
* ''Anime/JewelpetKiraDeco'': Retsu is TheLeader of the [[FiveManBand Kira Deco 5]], but the show actually follows TheChick, Pink.
* ''Manga/KurokoNoBasuke'': With the exception of Akashi and Hanamiya, TheCaptain is always someone different than TheAce. Despite their lack of talent in comparison to their respective ace, the captains are usually much more mature and keep the team in line and they have other qualities that make them suitable to the job.
%%* Admiral Lindy Harlaown, [[spoiler:and later Hayate,]] in ''Anime/MagicalGirlLyricalNanoha''.
* An event in ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' that happened before the series takes place the main character's parents had this kind of relationship with the mother, Princess Arika, serving as The Aragorn to the father, The Thousand Master in his fight against the BigBad who was known as "The Life Maker" and "The Mage of the Beginning". Though neither Arika nor her forces actually help the Thousand Master in his fight as he defeated the Mage of the Beginning shortly before they arrived. But they DID suppress and seal the World Destroying Apocalyptic Magic that was released as "The Ritual to Return the World to Nothing" was completed. So after saving the world they at some point had [[GoodPeopleHaveGoodSex hot sex]] and thus the greatest ChickMagnet/Shounen Lead the world has ever seen was born.
%%* Quatre Raberba Winner from ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamWing'', since [[TheHero Heero]] outright vests him with the leadership of the Gundam Team in a late-series episode.
* In ''Anime/TheMysteriousCitiesOfGold'', Mendoza is very much a Supporting Leader to the child hero Esteban. Subverted a bit in that he's a lot more morally ambiguous than most other examples of this trope, being more the LovableTraitor than anything else.
* [[spoiler:Gaara]] in ''Manga/{{Naruto}}''. Despite being relatively young, he commands an entire battalion ''and'' is Regimental Commander to boot.
** In a way, this has been Kakashi's role since the start of ''Shippuden'' as Naruto's team leader. [[spoiler:Further reinforced in the Great Fourth Ninja War when he serves as Third division General and, eventually, sixth Hokage.]]
** Shikamaru often plays this role also. He even got [[ADayInTheLimelight his very own story arc]].
* ''Anime/{{Patlabor}}'': Shinobu Nagumo and Kiichi Gotoh are the captains of the [=SVU's=] 1st and 2nd divisions respectively. While both are crucial to the overall narrative, the series mainly focuses on officers Noa Izumi and her partner, Asuma Shinohara.
** Gotoh is a mentor to his division, though mainly to Asuma whom he takes a shine to, as he begins to teach him strategy. And, like the ''Bubblegum Crisis'' example, he's also the BigGood who keeps [[MegaCorp Schaft Enterprises]] in check.
** Shinobu prefers to do things [[ByTheBookCop by-the-book]], but still a ReasonableAuthorityFigure. She often provides support for Gotoh's division and will usually back his decisions. She's also [[DayInTheLimelight the hero of the second film.]]
* King Fahn in ''RolePlay/RecordOfLodossWar'', and King Kashue in its sequel, ''Chronicles of the Heroic Knight''. The main hero of the former, Parn, becomes another Aragorn in the latter as the focus shifts to a younger hero.
* ''Manga/ShokugekiNoSoma'': Konishi is this to the Don Research Society. His cooking skills are trumped by several of his subordinates, and he rarely gets into scraps, but is invaluable to the Don RS due to his near-encyclopedic knowledge of donburi, his ability to provide accurate recipe feedback and his top-notch administrational skills.
* ''Manga/SlamDunk'': [[ScaryBlackMan Akagi]] is this in series. [[GentleGiant Uozumi]] is also this from Ryonan's perspective, as everyone sees Sendoh as the real hero of the team.
* SonicTheHedgehog in season 1 of ''Anime/SonicX''. Let's not kid ourselves. Chris is the main character there.
* In ''Anime/SpaceBattleshipYamato'', Admiral Gideon fills this role taking on the Comet Empire's main space fleet while the Hero's ship is engaging a smaller task force. This of course leads to the Hero's ship being the only one to survive.
* In ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'', Kittan has this role. Though [[TheHero Simon]] becomes the official leader of Team Dai Gurren [[spoiler:after Kamina's death]], his status as a OneManArmy means he often is off facing the enemy leader or another large threat while the rest of the team fights off the [[{{Mook}} mooks]], with Kittan leading them. Yoko even literally calls him this, saying Simon was the leader that pulled them up while Kittan supported them from below. Dayakka is a lesser example, commanding the team's battleship.
* ''Anime/YuGiOhArcV'': The {{Tritagonist}} [[TheRival Reiji]] is the leader of the [[TheTeam Lancers]], which includes TheHero and TheProtagonist Yuya. Even though Reiji is dealing with the main villains, the story follows Yuya's POV more often than Reiji's.

[[folder:Card Games]]
* In the Weatherlight storyline of ''MagicTheGathering'', Eladamri, king of the Skyshroud elves, and Lin Sivvi, champion of the Vec tribe of humans, lead the ground forces of Dominaria's [[TheAlliance Coalition]] against the [[DemonicInvaders demonic Phyrexians]] while the scruffier main cast of heroes takes the fight directly to the BigBad, Yawgmoth.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Miho is a [[TheVoiceless silent]] [[DarkActionGirl and deadly ninja woman]] who is one of the most skilled "heroes" in ''ComicBook/SinCity''. She is usually the one Dwight [=McCarthy=] relies on to kill mooks while he carries the plot as the main character. She has never been the protagonist in any of the stories she has appeared in.
* ComicBook/{{Nightwing}}, whenever he appears outside of his own series, is inevitably leading something, be it the Outsiders, the Titans, or even the Justice League.
* Professor Xavier usually serves as this when he is leader of the ComicBook/XMen, especially in the early days. Even though he founded the school, he's rarely in the spotlight.
* Sally Acorn in ''ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog'' is usually this. While she leads the Freedom Fighters, it's usually Sonic or the other Freedom Fighters that do the heavy lifting. She's taken a much more active role ever since the reboot, but still fits the trope.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
%%* Captain Music (AKA Nat Wolff of Series/TheNakedBrothersBand) from [[http://alaxr274.deviantart.com/gallery/33810717 Super Milestone Wars]]
%%** Aragorn, the former TropeNamer, in [[http://alaxr274.deviantart.com/gallery/36864527 Super Milestone Wars 2]]
* Henry and Takeru during the final battle in the ''FanFic/TamersForeverSeries'' lead the main offensive against [[spoiler: Daemon]] and his army respectively while [[spoiler: Takato is dying]].
%%* [[Manga/PuellaMagiOrikoMagica Oriko]] takes this role in ''FanFic/StarsAbove''... in the 2013 timeline, at least.
* ''FanFic/InnerDemons'': During the FinalBattle, this role falls to the Princesses and Shining Armor, who lead the charge against [[BigBad Queen!]][[FaceHeelTurn Twilight]]'s armies while the Element bearers [[spoiler:and [[{{Deuteragonist}} Apple]] [[TheChosenOne Bloom]]]] go after Queen!Twilight herself.
* In ''Fanfic/AceCombatTheEquestrianWar'', Rainbow Dash takes this role whenever the Mirage squadron splits. She leads one group while Firefly leads the other.
** Ditto for Twilight Sparkle, who, in later part of the story, commands [[spoiler: a strike team selected to liberate Canterlot]] and [[spoiler: pony ground forces]] during the FinalBattle.
* ''FanFic/TheImmortalGame'': Princess Luna serves this role for most of the story, especially after Twilight Sparkle is appointed official leader of the [[LaResistance Loyalists]]. [[spoiler: During the FinalBattle, she ends up sharing the role with Celestia.]]
** Rainbow Dash also has shades of this during the [[FinalBattle Battle of the Everfree]], as she leads all the pegasi troops in fighting [[BigBad Titan's]] AirborneMooks and moving away the mega storm he created over the battlefield.
* ''Fanfic/SoulEaterTroubledSouls'': Death the Kid to [[TheLeader Maka Albarn]]. Best seen in the Cobra Island arc: the whole reason Medusa turns [[BroughtDownToNormal Maka into a coward]] is to leave the group without a leader and ensure chaos among them. Kid steps up to the plate and takes over, thwarting that. It makes sense since hes destined to be THE next Grim Reaper.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Franchise/StarWars'':
** Princess Leia, despite being the trope image for TheChick, is a much better fit for this trope. She's the defacto leader of the Rebellion through all three movies, her main strength is diplomacy, she's tough as nails and withstood ColdBloodedTorture during her imprisonment on the Death Star and didn't give up any information (she did talk plenty of shit to her captors even after said torture though, and even with the threat of her people being genocided she still put the Rebellion over her own interest) and she engages in every firefight in every movie! The instant Luke breaks her out of her cell she takes charge of the situation and gets them to safety. She has to almost literally be dragged out of the Rebel HQ on Hoth even when it's being bombed to crap. She leads the charge to save Han; she's the first of the group to sneak into Jabba's Palace and almost succeeds in freeing him, and afterwards despite ending up in an outfit that's the epitome of fanservice, ultimately is the one who ends up killing Jabba (in a surprisingly brutal way). Then on Endor she's the one who softens the Ewoks up to make way for an alliance that ultimately wins the war. She leads the strike team against the shield generator, and is prepared to go out in a blaze of glory, [[TakingYouWithMe taking as many Stormtroopers with her as she can]] even after getting shot.
** [[BaldBlackLeaderGuy Mace Windu]] personally leads the Jedi Order in rescuing Obi Wan and Anakin in ''Film/AttackOfTheClones''.
** Admiral Ackbar commands the Rebel fleet during the climax of ''Film/ReturnOfTheJedi'', while Lando Calrissian personally destroys the second Death Star from within, and Han Solo leads a band of rebels to take down its shields on the forest moon of Endor.
* Optimus Prime was mildly downgraded from main hero to Supporting Leader for protagonist Sam in the live-action ''Film/{{Transformers}}'' [[TheMovie movie]].
* Prince Barin in ''Film/{{Flash Gordon|1980}}''. Vultan fills this role to a certain extent as well, but Barin more so.
* Hector Barbossa in ''Franchise/PiratesOfTheCaribbean''. At the climax of ''[[Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanAtWorldsEnd At World's End]]'', as Jack seeks out the Dead Man's Chest and fights Davy Jones for it, Barbossa engages the ''Flying Dutchman'' itself. Hector gets some real zippy one-liners in the process.
%%* The Black Fox in ''Film/TheCourtJester''.
* Ardeth Bey in the first two ''Film/TheMummyTrilogy'' movies. He leads the secret society tasked with keeping Imhotep in his sarcophagus, but Rick and Evie are the main heroes of the series.
* Madmartigan in ''Film/{{Willow}}'' is something of an expy Han Solo who eventually leads the rebel army while Willow takes care of the BigBad.
** Airk fits the trope better though, since he's in command of the rebel army for most of the movie, whereas Madmartigan is basically a lone wolf and only takes charge [[spoiler: after Airk is killed by General Kael.]]
* Throughout the first ''Film/SmokeyAndTheBandit'', it's the Bandit's entire purpose to keep the cops distracted (essentially a ''professional'' Aragorn if he weren't the main character) so his partner [[TheLancer Snowman]] can break every speed limit in the world and get their cargo in on time. However, when the cops start to get ''really'' serious, and it looks like the end for The Bandit, Snowman decides to take some heat off his friend for a change and show everyone [[RammingAlwaysWorks what an 18-wheeler can do to a police barricade]] [[OhCrap only expecting to stop a trans-am]].
* In ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'', Victor Laszlo. The [[BittersweetEnding resolution to the romantic plot]] revolves entirely around Rick acknowledging that Victor is way, way more important than he is.
* ''Film/TheGamersDorknessRising'', the group groans when GameMaster Lodge introduces [[MarySue Sir. Osric]] as the accompanying NPC that will [[SpotlightStealingSquad hog all the glory]]. [[spoiler: Subverted when he is {{De Power}}ed and subsequently killed, leaving them to figure out the FinalBoss by themselves.]]
* In ''Film/InglouriousBasterds'', Lt. Aldo Raine could be seen as this, since he leads the [[HeroicComedicSociopath "good"]] [[SociopathicSoldier soldiers]] in a PayEvilUntoEvil Rampage that plays into Shosanna's more personal revenge plot. [[AlternateCharacterInterpretation It's all in your point of view, really.]]
* Stella Yamada of ''Film/LemonadeMouth''. She's the one who's in charge of the band, so you might as well have her the main character and lead singer of the band rather than Olivia, who the story actually follows.
* ''Film/TheMuppets'': Kermit the Frog acts as supporting leader in movies where he isn't the focus, playing Captain Smollett in ''Film/MuppetTreasureIsland'' and AsHimself in ''Film/MuppetsFromSpace''. Gonzo and Rizzo even lampshade his RousingSpeech in the commentary of the latter because he pretty much gets one in every movie.
* Buliwyf in ''Film/The13thWarrior'' is the hero Viking leader, but Ibn is the protagonist.

* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings''.
** Aragorn. Remarkably, he is completely cognizant of the fact that his role is to divert enemy forces away from the real heroes, rather than actually saving the day himself. Bard, the secondary character from ''Literature/TheHobbit'' who slays the dragon Smaug and leads the men in the final battle is another Middle Earth example. Arguably, Tolkien uses the ability to see oneself as merely one strand of a larger struggle or story as a mark of the humility that MAKES a leader great. He's the former TropeNamer for a reason.
** In broader terms, Gandalf's entire reason for being could be considered this. As a Wizard sent to Middle-earth by the gods, his role was to oppose Sauron and his influence and to aid those opposing him. He often acts as TheChessmaster and TheManBehindTheMan but also gets down and dirty himself.
%%* Prince Gwydion from ''Literature/TheChroniclesOfPrydain'', a fairly similar character to Aragorn himself.
* [[MamaBear Raven]] of the ''Literature/HIVESeries'' serves as this. She serves as a protector for all of the main characters, leading the young protagonists while on missions, and conducting the majority of the rescue missions. The series has been gradually shifting towards a center around her, leaving Otto more and more as a SupportingProtagonist.
%%* General Doubleday from ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}''.
* Jacqueline Carey's ''Literature/KushielsLegacy'' series subverts this trope by having a supporting character act as an Aragorn in the first book, leading the Royal Army, and then turning traitor and leading the Army in a coup in the second book.
%%* Lord Mhoram in ''Literature/ChroniclesOfThomasCovenant''.
* Buliwyf from ''Literature/TheThirteenthWarrior'' is the leader of the Norse against the Wendol, though the [[AudienceSurrogate main]] [[NaiveNewcomer character]] is Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan, a visiting Arab.
%%* Sam Anderson from Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/StarmanJones'' fits the trope perfectly.
%%* Colonel Graff in ''Literature/EndersGame''.
* Merriman Lyon in Susan Cooper's ''Literature/TheDarkIsRising'' series. In the first book, he plays the friendly uncle and acts as a sort of guide and guardian to the main characters. In the second book, he's graduated to serving as the mentor figure to another main character. By the third book he finally starts doing things the audience is made privy to, but he's still clearly playing second fiddle to the main characters of the earlier books. He basically skips the fourth book entirely, only to assume a bit more importance in the finale (but still not as much as the other main characters).
** In some ways, Will (TheHero of the second book) becomes the Aragorn to Bran in the fourth book. While the story is still told from Will's point-of-view, most of what is actually accomplished in the book is entirely Bran's doing.
* Another example of the "child protagonists" type - Konstam Khan in ''Literature/TheHomewardBounders''. He's genuinely noble and heroic, and the FiveManBand wouldn't have a hope of winning against Them without him, but it's not his story.
* Polgara in ''Literature/TheBelgariad''. True, the [[BadassArmy Army of the West]] were inspired by [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses Ce'Nedra]] and led by the Alorn Kings, but they all look to her for guidance. She even goes as far as bluntly saying that all they do is "make a lot of noise so Belgarion can slip over to confront [[BigBad Torak]]"
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' has a few of these:
** Dumbledore is generally this across the first few books. He's the Headmaster of Hogwarts, leader of the Order of the Phoenix, and a near-legendary BadassGrandpa, but in many cases he's content to simply get Harry where he needs to be.
** In ''[[Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows The Deathly Hallows]]'', Professor [=McGonagall=] leads the defense in the Battle for Hogwarts to give the PowerTrio the time to find the final Horcrux, even though she has to trust Harry by his words alone.
** Also Neville Longbottom, yes ''that'' [[ButtMonkey Neville Longbottom]], serves as this amongst his classmates while Harry spends most of the book searching for Horcruxes.
** Kingsley Shacklebolt essentially takes on [[spoiler: Dumbledore's role in leading the Order after the latter's death (well, Moody arguably did first, but he dies about a month later)]], but he and Harry barely interact in the seventh book.
* Several in the ''Literature/CodexAlera'' series.
** Bernard sort of. In the first two books, he organizes the militia's defense against the invading threats. If it hadn't been for him, the reinforcements would have come too late. [[spoiler: Something similar happened in the sixth book, although it can't really count as this trope because by then the person leading the reinforcements is the BigGood himself.]] In later books this trope doesn't really fit, but in the first two he ''definitely'' qualifies.
** Gaius Sextus is the official ruler of Alera, and he's good at it. The only problems are (a) he's getting old enough that he can't take care of everything himself, (b) a SuccessionCrisis is undermining his legitimacy, and (c) a big OutsideContextProblem has been awakened. If not for that stuff, he wouldn't be a Supporting Leader, he'd just be the actual leader. Several books follow Tavi as he deals with problems that Sextus could have taken care of himself except for the fact that he was incapacitated, or busy doing something even more important.
** Ehren is an... odd example. As he developed, he TookALevelInBadass, eventually becoming [[spoiler:adviser to the First Lords Gaius and Attis (and I doubt Tavi will be quick to ignore his advice, either)]]. Looking back on things, the entire war might not have been won had it not been for the little (or big) things he did.
* Robb Stark in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' is the leader of the [[BlackAndGrayMorality "good"]] Stark forces, but isn't one of the books' many [=PoV=] characters - his actions are viewed from the perspective of his mother Catelyn.
%%* Mark and Courtney of ''The Pendragon Adventure'' in ''The Soldiers of Halla.''
%%* Prince Verity from the ''Literature/{{Farseer}}'' trilogy.
* Bigwig from Literature/WatershipDown. He faces off against the BigBad in the Burrows, and Woundwort actually thinks ''he's'' the BigGood - and is even successfully bluffed into retreating, after the two have fought to a mutually exhausted standstill, by Bigwig's admission that he is NOT the warren's chief (and Woundwort expects anyone who can boss Bigwig to be an even bigger and tougher rabbit... not a thinker who is still semi-lame from an old injury.) Turns out Bigwig is just buying time for Hazel's plan to come into fruition.
* Bluestar in ''Literature/WarriorCats'': The Original Series. She usually sends [[TheHero Fireheart]] off to do important tasks while she holds off the villains long enough for him to complete them. And, in ''OmenOfTheStars'', [[spoiler: Ivypool]] seems to be taking this role.
* In the Literature/XWingSeries, squadron leader Wedge Antilles is kind of an odd example, since he's one of the main characters and is along for the ride the whole time. He counts, though, because except in ''Starfighters of Adumar'' he undergoes no character development and is slightly out of focus, and the people under his command are usually the ones who score the absolute critical hits.
%%* Prince Josua in the ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn'' trilogy by Tad Williams.
* The four Great Captains in ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' -- they each command one of the Light's armies in [[spoiler: Tarmon Gaidon]], but only three of them have even been [=PoV=] characters, and only two of them for more than three books prior to that role.
** [[spoiler: Matrim Cauthon]] grows into this role for the Dragon Reborn, [[spoiler: the Seanchan Empress]], and the later commands the final battle of [[spoiler: Tarmon Gaidon]]. By the end of the that battle he's generally considered to be the most brilliant general in the world. Despite all of that, he's not a reincarnating prophesied savior with enough magical power to challenge ''Satan''.
** Elayne also plays this role as strategic leader for the forces of Light in [[spoiler: Tarmon Gaidon]].
** Several factions have institutionalized this role, especially when it's a commander supporting a Channeller.
* Literature/SwordOfTruth has both sides go through a large number of these. Given that half of the series is devoted to fighting a war, it's not that surprising.
* ''Literature/HonorHarrington'' may be a certified badass who leads entire fleets into battle, but even she is just one of many admirals who serve Queen Elizabeth of Manticore and Protector Benjamin of Grayson (two different {{Supporting Leader}}s, due to Honor swearing fealty to two different monarchs. [[ItMakesSenseInContext It's a bit complicated.]]) In the earlier books, Admiral Hamish Alexander, Earl of White Haven, served as this for Honor when she was a starship commander.
%% * Vikus from ''Literature/TheUnderlandChronicles''.
* Rudd Threetrees' actions shape ''Literature/TheFirstLaw'' trilogy's events, but Threetrees himself isn't a viewpoint character. Ultimately, this honor falls to his Second, the Dog Man, who [[spoiler: takes his place after Threetrees' death]].
* The de facto leaders(mayors) of Draeze, the attacked city in ''Literature/AHarvestOfWar'' are the ultimate leaders of the resistance but second-stringers in terms of character dynamics.
* ''Literature/SecondApocalypse'': In the Aspect Emperor trilogy, Apperens Saccarees is the Grandmaster of the Mandate and the Exalt-Magus of the Great Ordeal, making him the leader of the most important wing of the entire army. After Serwa and Kellhus himself, he might be the third-most powerful sorcerer in the history of Earwa. However, he's featured very little in the narrative and has only a single, short POV section.
* In military science fiction ''Literature/{{Victoria}}'', the early story has [[ReasonableAuthorityFigure Governor Adams]] in this role, and later [[TheChessmaster William Kraft]] when he succeeds him. Both have an excellent working relationship with protagonist John Rumford, the Confederation's military chief of staff.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* John Sheridan started out as this (and TheCaptain) in ''Series/BabylonFive'', but morphed into the main character for the whole series.
%%* Noah Bennet (HRG) of ''Series/{{Heroes}}''.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In some early episodes of the original series, the Doctor was an Aragorn for companion characters such as Ian Chesterson, although the Doctor was clearly the main protagonist. This was most likely because the first actor to play the Doctor, William Hartnell, was elderly (or close to it) and mostly unsuitable for physical action. As a result, the Doctor would do the thinking, planning, and handle the purely cerebral battles with the villains, while a younger companion took care of the physical action as necessary. This was especially true near the end of Hartnell's tenure when his health was failing. According to the original series bible for the show, the role of the Doctor was initially intended to be secondary to the companions Susan, Ian and Barbara. But then again, the initial format was intended to be more of an educational show than an actual sci-fi series.
** By the Third Doctor era, TheBrigadier was this. It was usually a case of UNIT holding off the MonsterOfTheWeek while the Doctor deals with the BigBad, or the Master, or both.
** Jack Harkness is generally this to the Doctor whenever he turns up.
* On ''Series/{{ER}}'', the doctors with the most authority are usually the least-seen. In the early seasons, the chief of Emergency Medicine (that is, the boss of the titular emergency room) wasn't even a regular character. Only once was the star of the show also the Chief (Luka), and that lasted less than two seasons.
* Name a cop show, and chances are the lead character(s) will be street-level detectives while TheCaptain or whoever they report to are supporting characters. The Chief of Police, the Commissioner, or anyone higher than TheCaptain likely won't be seen much, and may even be a BadBoss. The exception to this rule is when the main/central character ''is'' [[DaChief THE Chief]] (''Series/TheCommish'', ''Series/BlueBloods'').
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Averted in the television series with Robb Stark. While Robb fits this in the novels, he is upgraded to the status of the other leads in the onscreen adaptation where his status as leader of the Northern rebellion receives a significant amount of airtime.
** Since Season 6 revealed that Bran is the new Three-Eyed Raven and that Jon was the hidden Prince to the Kingdom, it is clear that Jon is the Aragorn to Bran's Frodo.
* [[Series/KamenRiderDragonKnight Kamen Rider Wing Knight/Len]] has become one of them for being a cool leader.
** This also popped up in a few ''Franchise/SuperSentai'' series- ''Series/DenjiSentaiMegaranger'' has [=MegaBlack=] being the default leader in spite of [=MegaRed=]'s central role in battle (this didn't make it into ''Series/PowerRangersInSpace'' for the most part due to ''PR'''s tendency to make the Blue Ranger second in command; this is turn lead to some awkward instances of Sentai footage where Carlos the Black Ranger seemed more assertive compared to TJ). ''Series/MahouSentaiMagiranger'' also had a form of this- Kai Ozu is the youngest of his siblings, but is [=MagiRed=]; the oldest, Makito, is [=MagiGreen=] instead. (This also didn't make it Staetside, but that was because ''Series/PowerRangersMysticForce'' didn't have the Rangers as siblings.)
* Tsuyoshi Kaijou/Akaranger becomes this in the legendary war in Series/KaizokuSentaiGokaiger
* ''Jason of Star Command''; Commander's Canarvin (James Doohan) and Stone (John Russel) were this to the titular Jason.
* Lara Roslin in ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'' was the leader of the fleet and (technically) Bill Adama's boss. Lee Adama got in on the act during the New Caprica arc, leading the counterattack when the fleet made their escape.
* ''Series/{{Merlin|2008}}'', in which the legendary King Arthur is the {{deuteragonist}}.
* Barry Allen may be the hero of ''Series/TheFlash2014'', but Dr Harrison Wells is the head of S.T.A.R. Labs, and functions as the leader of their secret crime-fighting team.

[[folder:Myths & Religion]]
* UsefulNotes/RichardTheLionheart plays this role in most adaptations of the RobinHood legend. Robin has no hope of ever being anything but a bandit as long as Prince John rules England, but "when the true king returns" to overthrow John's corrupt administration, he knights Robin and pardons his men.

* ''Toys/{{BIONICLE}}'' has Toa Helryx, the first Toa and leader of the HeroSecretService. She and her organization coordinated forces throughout the Matoran World to unite against the Brotherhood of Makuta. After the organization blew its own cover, she temporarily became a prisoner of the BigBad, and now, her role as a leader has basically diminished.

[[folder:Video Games]]
%%* General Luft in the ''VideoGame/GalaxyAngel'' games. Tact inherits this role, too, once Kazuya becomes the new lead.
* In ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime3: Corruption'', the Galactic Federation commander, Admiral Dane, serves this role, showing up to send Samus off on a special mission as the rest of his forces fight the bulk of the Space Pirates. In fact, this happens twice, on two consecutive missions.
* The Griffon in ''VideoGame/AmericanMcGeesAlice''. He gathers the allies Alice has met and has them storm the castle while Alice goes to face the Queen. [[spoiler: Too bad you would soon have to take his place.]]
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'':
** In ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'', Master Chief becomes this to the Arbiter. While Master Chief is the main hero of the overall series, it is the Arbiter around whom the vast majority of ''2''[='=]s plot revolves, and ultimately he's the one to stop Tartarus and save the galaxy (temporarily, at least). Master Chief retakes the role of TheHero in ''VideoGame/{{Halo 3}}'', with the Arbiter dropped down to Sidekick status.
** Admiral Terrence Hood becomes the supreme commander of Earth's forces by the end of the Covenant War, with [[TheCaptain Commander Keyes]], [[SergeantRock Sgt. Johnson]], and the Master Chief all under his command.
** Shipmaster Rtas 'Vadum, better known as [[FanNickname Half-Jaw]], takes this role from Admiral Hood in the second half of ''Halo 3''.
** The Arbiter himself has taken this role in post-''3'' media as the leader of the Swords of Sanghelios, most notably in ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians''.
** Thomas Lasky takes up this role in the Creator/ThreeFourThreeIndustries-made games after being made captain of the UNSC ''Infinity''.
* ''VideoGame/EternalSonata'' has Jazz, a playable character and the leader of a revolutionary group known as Andantino.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'': Admiral Hackett plays this role in ''VideoGame/MassEffect1'', leading the human fleet against [[spoiler: Sovereign and the geth fleet]] while Shepard goes after Saren.
** He does it again in ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', where he's more or less the leader of the human race. What's more, any forces the other races commit to the war effort fall under his command, and he's in charge of the FinalBattle to [[spoiler: retake Earth and the Citadel from the Reapers]].
--> "Never before have so many come together from all quarters of the galaxy. But never before have we faced an enemy such as this. The Reapers will show us no mercy, we must give them no quarter. They will terrorize our populations. We must stand fast in the face of that terror. They will advance until our last city falls, but we will not fall. We will prevail. Each of us will be defined by our actions in the coming battle. Stand fast, stand strong. Stand together. Hackett out."
** Assuming he [[StoryBranching survived the first game]], Urdnot Wrex becomes this for the rest of the trilogy. As leader of the krogan, he's only too happy to assist you how he can, but his duties come first, and he isn't going to join the crew of the ''Normandy'' again. Subverted in the ''Citadel'' DLC of ''3'' which brings him back -- temporarily -- as a party member to combat the villain of that story arc.
* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls''
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'', [[PhysicalGod Vivec]] becomes one toward the end of the main quest. [[spoiler:Once you've convinced him that you ''are'' [[TheChosenOne the Nerevarine]], he passes the [[MacGuffin Wraithguard]] on to you. He rescinds the order to kill/arrest the Nerevarine and passes on his knowledge of how to unbind the [[CosmicKeystone Heart of Lorkhan]] the source of [[BigBad Dagoth Ur]]'s (and the Tribunal's) divinity. He also orders the [[KnightTemplar Ordinators]] and [[ReligiousBruiser Buoyant Armigers]] inside Ghostgate to aid the Nerevarine in any way they can]].
** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIVOblivion Oblivion]]'':
*** Near the end of the main quest, [[spoiler: Captain Maritus, Burd, and Martin Septim all take up this role and hold off Deadra exiting the Oblivion gates while you run in to seal off the gates]].
*** In general, it could be said that Martin is the hero, and ''the PlayerCharacter'' is in fact Supporting Leader (and/or even HeroOfAnotherStory and/or Martin's HypercompetentSidekick), and this is indeed how in-universe historians come to record the events. [[spoiler: Especially considering that Martin is ultimately the one who defeats [[BigBad Mehrunes Dagon]] in a HeroicSacrifice.]] (There are exploits which can allow you to strike down Mehrunes Dagon instead, but the plot (if its not made {{Unwinnable}} by your actions) continues as if [[spoiler:Martin made the sacrifice]] anyway.)
** In ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'', completing the {{Civil War}} questline before completing the main quest turns the leader of whichever side you supported ([[FourStarBadass General Tullius]] or [[RebelLeader Ulfric Stormcloak]]) into this. It is most evident when it comes to using Dragonsreach castle in Whiterun to [[spoiler:capture a dragon alive]]. If the Civil War is still raging, you must get both sides to agree to a temporary truce at High Hrothgar in order to be allowed to use Dragonsreach. If you've won the war for either side, they'll agree to let you use it without question.
* ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''
** In ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXII'' every character not named [[TheHero Ashe]], [[SupportingProtagonist Vaan]], or Penelo including the guests in the party.
** This seems to be a pattern for Ivalice stories: ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTactics'' puts most everyone not named Ramza into the Aragorn mode. Especially Delita.
* ''Franchise/KingdomHearts'':
** [[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII Squall]] - or "Leon" - is the leader of the first group of allies Sora meets, but he and his friends generally act as the home guard while Sora and co. save the world.
** Once he stops serving as the MysteriousProtector, King Mickey starts to take on this role for the Disney characters.
* In ''VideoGame/WarcraftII'', Lothar serves as one of these for most of the Alliance campaign. He is killed by orcs in the second-to-last mission, requiring the player character to take command.
** In ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'', almost any friendly NPC that appears after the very beginning of a dungeon is this. In the Icecrown 5-man instances, for example, Jaina or Sylvanas is leading a bunch of regular soldiers on a covert mission into the backdoor to the citadel, and your party is just a group of elite, irregular forces helping.
** The Halls of Stone makes the player characters The Aragorn when your only role in-story in the second half of the place is to protect Brann Bronzebeard long enough for him to hack into the Titans' [[{{Magitek}} computer]] and deactivate the defense systems you're fighting.
** Bolvar Fordragon fits this trope, as he leads the Alliance forces at the battle of the Wrath Gate.
%%** Dranosh Saurfang also qualifies.
%%** [[MemeticBadass Or Dranosh's legendary father]], High Overlord Varok Saurfang.
* Takeda Shingen from ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'', a HotBlooded CoolOldGuy and mentor to one of the protagonists. Though not a main character, he is easily one of the most powerful and influential, and holds a lot of sway over Yukimura.
* [[TheAce Flynn]] from ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'' fits this trope, as he is always one step behind the heroes, providing them with aid as Captain of the knights.
** The [=PS3=] remake removes most of this however as now he generally meets up with the heroes in time and helps out for most of the end of chapter events, before joining the party for good towards the end.
* One could make a case for [[spoiler: Ocelot]] of the ''Franchise/MetalGear'' series. [[spoiler: He'd been scheming to take down the Patriots, and without him as a diversion for the Patriots' wrath, it's questionable whether Snake and co would have lasted as long as they did, much less saved the day. And, yes, this was all according to Ocelot's plan.]]
** Snake himself is the Aragorn of ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2.'' Raiden gets the lion's share of the gameplay, but it is clear that he is inferior to Snake and Snake is busy being awesome off-screen.
** In ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid4'', Mei Ling, as commander of the ''Missouri'', is leading the only visible resistance (paltry as it may be) against the Patriots and Ocelot. Of course, during the final battle she and her men weren't really providing a ''distraction'' as much as desperately trying to just survive until Snake could get to [[spoiler: GW's server room.]] They still pulled a little of the heat off of Snake, though.
* If the BigDamnHeroes moment is to be taken as this, then The Group from ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTwilightPrincess'' serves this role to a certain extent.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' starts out with [[ShelteredAristocrat King Cailan Theirin]] and Duncan, continues with Arl Eamon, and, finally concludes with either [[spoiler: Alistair]] or [[spoiler: Queen Anora]] fulfilling this role, depending on the player's choices. Before the final battle, the player can also choose [[spoiler: one of the remaining party members to stay behind and lead a brief gaiden encounter]].
%%* Leo, Ladius, Thoma, and Duran are this to Rex in ''VideoGame/AgarestSenki''.
* [[AmazonianBeauty Chun]][[KickChick -]][[InterpolSpecialAgent Li]] of the ''StreetFighter'' series tends to be one of the few characters trying to stop the BigBad of each game. While [[AllAmericanFace Guile]] could also qualify for this role, he only really started opposing Bison story-wise in ''Street Fighter Alpha 3'' due to being OutOfFocus. Chun-Li however has been trying to stop Shadaloo since ''Street Fighter Alpha 1'' and continues on to fight the Illuminati in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII'' when Guile is retired.
* The player character in ''VideoGame/{{Majesty}}'', despite being the protagonist, has a lot of similarities to this archetype.
* ''VideoGame/{{Final Fantasy VI}}'': Banon, leader of the Returners, is this to the [=PC=]s.
* ''VideoGame/MedalOfHonorVanguard'': Sergeant Magnusson and Lieutenant [=McCollum=] are this to [[{{Player Character}} Keegan]].
* ''VideoGame/SonicForces'': Knuckles The Echidna is this to The Resistance.
* ''VideoGame/GodOfWar'': The [[{{Seers}} Oracle of Athens]] leads the city's defense against Ares' invasion, while [[PlayerCharacter Kratos]] goes in search of Pandora's Box in order to defeat Ares.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Zeetha sometimes is this to Agatha in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius''.
%%* Lord Hinjo from ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' is an excellent, near-textbook example.
%%* Ciro in ''Webcomic/Project0''
* In ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', Tedd's father, Mr. Verres, was this until he was KickedUpstairs to "Head of Paranormal Diplomacy". He still has some authority and a huge amount of knowledge and expeience, so he's still a help to the heroes. %% How? Why does Mr. Verres qualify as a SupportingLeader?

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Although Specs is the BigGood and TheLeader of the Dino Attack Team, he is only a supporting character in ''Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG'', which instead puts the spotlight on his soldiers.
* Both Chief of Security Franklin Delarose (a decorated soldier) and Headmistress Elizabeth Carson (better known as superheroine Lady Astarte) got a chance to be a Supporting Leader in the Halloween stories set at SuperHeroSchool Whateley Academy in the Literature/WhateleyUniverse, when an unstoppable super villain led a small army against the school.
* ''WebVideo/Lonelygirl15'' has (at least in its first season) Tachyon filling this role - as she runs around the world fighting the Order, she occasionally stops to lend a little aid to our band of refugee heroes. Their first major victory happens almost entirely because she was in town at the time.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Ultra Magnus crosses this with BigGood in ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'', leading the Autobots' military forces in back-and-forth skirmishes at the fringes of the galaxy while the heroes thwart the Decepticon plans on Earth.
* In ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender,'' Iroh leads an army to reconquer Ba Sing Se in the name of the Earth King while the Gaang is fighting Ozai.
** The GrandFinale pretty much gives this role to all the supporting characters; Zuko and Katara go to the Fire Nation to ensure that he is ready to ascend to the throne (and deal with Azula), Iroh leads the army which reclaims Ba Sing Se, and Sokka, Toph and Suki go to sabotage the airship fleet, all ensuring that everything that comes after Aang beating Ozai will be positive.
%%* Race Bannon in ''WesternAnimation/JonnyQuest''.
%%* Jesus Christ himself in the Imaginationland episodes of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''.
* In ''WesternAnimation/GetEd'', the team leader is actually Burn, who has just a few follicles too many to count as a BaldBlackLeaderGuy (points for the military cut, though). Ed himself is more of a SixthRanger who just joined before the start of the series (the couriers' uniforms all have numbers; five is absent from the team, being a [[WhatMightHaveBeen space left for a character named "Fader" who was to have his own plotline]] [[{{Cliffhanger}} in the second season that never materialized]]).
->'''[[CaptainObvious Legolas]]:''' [[MemeticMutation A diversion!]]