The Apprentice

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Obi-Wan: If you spent as much time practicing your saber techniques as you did your wit, you'd rival Master Yoda as a swordsman.
Anakin Skywalker: I thought I already did.
Obi-Wan: Only in your mind, my very young apprentice.

A character who is In Training for something, usually under some kind of Mentor. Since they're still learning, they are usually not good, but if the show is long enough, they'll improve. If they're in a movie, they'll improve after a Training Montage. Sometimes they have a chance of falling and becoming a villain, in which their former mentor will say they were A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil.

The life goal of some apprentices is To Be a Master.

The apprentice may have Opposed Mentors.

Related to The Squire.

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Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

  • After Kyuta meets Kumatetsu in The Boy and the Beast, he becomes Kumatetsu's apprentice and trains with him until he eventually becomes a badass.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Kenichi. Take a guess on how much a teenager can learn about martial arts in 39 volumes and counting.
    • Bonus points for being an apprentice to multiple masters simultaneously, although they do share the same dojo.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Nanoha Takamachi is the student of Yuuno Scrya in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, but she overshadows him very quickly.
    • The Forwards (Subaru Nakajima, Teana Lanster, Erio Mondial, Caro Ru Lushe) from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS are the students of Veteran Instructor Nanoha. Other teachers are Vita, Fate Testarossa-Harlaown and Signum, but Nanoha is the main teacher, with Vita as Nanoha's assistant. In Force, they train under Nanoha again.
    • Team Nakajima (Vivio Takamachi, Einhard Stratos, Rio Wesley and Corona Timil) from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid are the students of their coach Nove Nakajima. Also, Einhard, Rio and Corona have three other Big Sister Mentors, respectively.
    • Miura Rinaldi from ViVid is one of Zafira's students. She also has the other three Wolkenritter as her mentors.
    • Thoma Avenir, Lily-Strosek and Isis Egret from Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force are three new students of Nanoha (with Vita as her assistant again). Thoma and Lily have also Signum and Reinforce Zwei as their Big Sister Mentors, respectively.
    • Fuka Reventon is Einhard's student in ViVid Strike!. She's also the first known person to learn the Kaiser Arts who wasn't a member of Shutra's royal family.
  • Yahiko in Rurouni Kenshin. He does progress, although rather slowly over the course of the many volumes of the manga and accompanying TV series. At the beginning of the series, Yahiko is most useful to the heroes as a thrown weapon (it happens). At the end of the series he has become a master swordsman in his own right.
  • The main cast of Urara Meirocho are apprentice fortune tellers.

     Comic Books  

  • Every Robin ever. Unless, of course, it's in their own comic book or until they graduate to something else (Nightwing, dead, Red Robin, Batgirl...)

     Fan Fic  
  • In Child of the Storm, Loki takes four apprentices - his nephew Harry, Hermione and the Weasley Twins - largely on a whim and teaches them the basics of wandless magic.
    • This is the traditional method of education by White Council Wizards and Sorcerers Supreme.
    • Harry Dresden becomes Wanda's apprentice at the end of Chaos Reigns.
  • In Transformers Meta, Bumblebee is a scout apprentice, along with Evac, who is a medic apprentice.

     Film  

  • Padawans abound in Star Wars. Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Phantom Menace, Anakin in Attack of the Clones, and Luke in A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The Sith are divided into a master and an apprentice, though the Sith being who they are, the actual teaching part is somewhat reluctant, and for the three apprentices in the films, two were poached as Jedi well beyond Padawan status (former Jedi Master Dooku at some point prior to Attack of the Clones and Jedi Knight who plausibly could expect being elevated to Master Anakin Skywalker in Revenge of the Sith).
  • Mickey Mouse as the Sorcerer's Apprentice in Disney's Fantasia.
  • Subverted in Training Day: the apprentice of the piece is being set up by Denzel Washington's mentor.

     Literature  

  • Molly Carpenter in The Dresden Files. She's got talent in the finer details of magic, which complement her mentor who's talent lies in blowing things up who ends up learning more about the finer points of magic as a result. She stops being his apprentice after his "death" in Changes and her becoming the Winter Lady in Cold Days
  • Elena in The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey ends up apprenticed to, well, a fairy godmother. Comparatively little of the book is actually devoted to her apprenticeship, however; the plot doesn't really kick in until the job has officially been handed over to her.
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell begins with Strange wishing to learn under the tutelage of Norrell.
  • The obligitory Discworld examples: Mort in Mort and Tiffany in her subseries. Would-be Assassin Jocasta Wiggs in Night Watch.
  • In The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet, Alfred and Jack later on are Mason apprentices under Tom Builder.
  • In World Without End, Merthin, as an apprentice carpenter, is actually much smarter and more competent than his master and Arch-Enemy Elfric.
  • Jamie ends up as an apprentice in the Clown Division of The Pilo Family Circus. Because of the mishaps that beset the clowns, he doesn't get to perform much, but he still ends up better off than the previous apprentice...
  • Corbie becomes apprenticed to Felix Harrowgate in Doctrine of Labyrinths. It does good things for him.
  • Shan is kidnapped into his apprenticeship in The Chronicles of Magravandias.
  • The protagonist of the Rivers of London series of books, Constable Peter Grant, is a fully qualified policeman as of the first book, but also an apprentice wizard indentured to Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale. There used to be a Wizarding School but the birthrate of people who could use magic dropped making it unsustainable that and most of the people who would've been able to teach magic were killed during World War II.
  • In the Mediochre Q Seth Series this is the standard method for education amongst the mantically-aware.
  • The Apprentice Rogue: Artamos is a apprentice black knight. This mission is his test to become a full fledged member.
  • Johnny Tremain in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes starts out as an apprentice silversmith.
  • Maggie Mulligan in Faraway Dream by Jane Flory is an apprentice milliner.
  • Nabby Jones in Touchmark by Mildred Lawrence eventually becomes an apprentice pewterer.
  • Menolly is training as an apprentice harper in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsinger, along with numerous other characters.
  • A Mage's Power: Everyone who joins the Dragon's Lair mercenary company starts off with this rank. Eric is Basilard's apprentice until he proves that he can handle himself in a fight. He's technically a novice for the rest of the book but he's still learning magic from Basilard (and Dengel).
  • In Children of the Black Sun, Kell, an extremely powerful and sadistic Blood-Mage, has an apprentice, Rasten. However, the relationship isn't exactly good — despite being a very powerful mage in his own right, Rasten is basically a slave to Kell, having been broken into obedience through torture. He eventually rebels.
  • Dreamblood Duology:
    • Nijiri is Ehiru's Gatherer-Apprentice in The Killing Moon and idolises his teacher. He has striven to become Ehiru's apprentice ever since their first meeting. In an interesting twist, while everyone agrees that Nijiri will become a capable Gatherer, Nijiri himself only follows this path to be as close to Ehiru as possible because he is in love with Ehiru and would have chosen any path to achieve this goal.
    • In The Shadowed Sun, Hanani is apprenticed to Mni-inh in the goal to become the first female Sharer, creating a situation where she has to prove herself more than other Sharer-Apprentices and Mni-inh is scrutinized more closely due to having a female Apprentice.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Shallan is accepted as Jasnah's ward early in the first book, to be trained in scholarship. While Shallan only sought Jasnah out in order to steal her Soulcaster, she quickly finds herself enjoying the work. When Jasnah finds out, she is furious, and cuts Shallan off. But then Shallan discovers Jasnah's Soulcaster was fake all along, and convinces Jasnah to allow her to help with her real work.

     Live Action TV  

  • Game of Thrones:
    • When Lord Mormont appoints Jon as his personal steward, Sam remarks that Jon's proximity to the Lord Commander means he is likely being groomed for leadership and command.
    • Being that this is a medieval world, Gendry is introduced as a literal apprentice to the master armourer Tobho Mott.
  • Asumu in Kamen Rider Hibiki. He doesn't get the chance to be a Rider himself until Kamen Rider Decade: when the Decade crew visit the altered Hibiki world, that world's Asumu becomes a Legacy Character.
  • Shintaro Gotou in Kamen Rider OOO becomes one to Akira Date/Kamen Rider Birth, eventually using a second Birth Buster to back Date up. Differs from the Movie War Core continuity, where Date does not appear and Gotou becomes Birth.

     Tabletop RPG  

  • In early editions of Dungeons & Dragons it was customary for mages/wizards to learn by becoming apprentices of established mages/wizards. A number of wizard/apprentice relationships appeared in the Forgotten Realms setting. For example, Elminster has had many apprentices over his long life span (hundreds of years).
  • In Warhammer 40,000 Interrogators are apprentices to Inquisitors. They are slightly more experienced than is usual for the trope; by the time you are even considered for the rank of Interrogator you have probably been serving as a Throne Agent for several decades.
  • Apprenticeship is the standard way to learn magic in Ars Magica, to the point that a character's apprenticeship (15 years for the default Hermetic magus, and a good few other traditions) is incorporated into character creation. Then again, it's set in 13th-century Europe, so apprenticeship is the standard way to learn a lot of things.

     Theatre 

  • The Mrs Hawking play series: In the second installment Vivat Regina, Mrs. Hawking explicitly tells Mary she wants to make the girl her protege and teach her the ways of being a society avenger, in hopes that one day Mary will carry on in her place.

     Video Games  

  • In the Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha games, Raidou is an apprentice detective (who does nearly all the actual detecting because the detective he's supposed to be learning from is really lazy).
  • Luke from the Professor Layton series, though interestingly, Luke claims to be his apprentice, and Layton denies it (while letting Luke follow him around and teaching him things).
  • Starkiller from The Force Unleashed, to the extent that Everyone Calls Him The Apprentice.
  • The Force-sensitive classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic take on at least one padawan/apprentice in the course of their respective storylines, because teaching the younger generation in the ways of the Force is an integral part of being a Jedi or a Sith. The Sith Inquisitor even gets two: a fallen Jedi Padawan (who strayed from the Jedi Code with no small input from the Inquisitor themselves) and an official Sith Academy acolyte.
  • Umineko: When They Cry has MARIA, the Apprentice Witch of Origins.
  • The apprentice warmage from Orcs Must Die!.
  • Kult: Heretic Kingdoms:
    • Alita, the protagonist, is the apprentice of High Inquisitor Valkarin. Near the end of the game, Valkarin learns that Alita is one of the possible candidates to resurrect the Dead God, which he absolutely cannot allow. He reluctantly tries to kill Alita to prevent this possibility, but upon failing, acknowledges that she has Surpassed the Teacher.
    • The magical bond which can exist between masters and apprentices is used by Alita to find a certain person. Quova (who is being sought) and Percheron (whose location is known) were both apprentices of Sice Larwan, so Alita can follow the trail from Percheron up to Larwan and then down to Quova.
    • Another magician, Sollas, has his own apprentice, but the apprentice decides to make some money on the side by summoning demons for a crime boss. Alita is sent to deal with him, though he has already figured out he's in over his head.

     Web Original  

  • On Neo Pokeforum Schwarze`s group (Schwarze, N, Molly and Fry) to Janine of Fuschia City, Timber of Cinnabar Island, Silver and Ritchie of Kanto Elite Four, especially the former. The group started as rookies under training of gym leaders and Elite Four members to confront Colress and become professional and high-skilled trainers.
  • As the Luke Skywalker parody in To Boldly Flee, Luke Mochrie served as this, first to The Cinema Snob, then after Snob turned to the dark side of filmmaking, to Oancitizen.
  • In Awful Hospital, the Oozing Skull became one to the Crooked Spine, and Maggie was one to Magatha.

     Western Animation  

  • Spoofed by Trey Parker and Matt Stone in South Park and Team America: World Police
    ''If you wanna, in one day, go;
    from a beginner, to a pro;
    You need a plan; but more than that—
    You need a MONTAGE!''
  • Chowder is one of these to Mung Daal; other child characters are apprenticed to other chefs.
  • Brainy Smurf is this to Papa Smurf on The Smurfs; likely not the best decision Papa Smurf ever made, and at least on one occasion, he scolds Brainy and says he "has the right mind" to get a new apprentice after Brainy causes a disaster.
  • Although Terry was technically Batman in Batman Beyond, he could still be considered this to Bruce Wayne. Defied in one episode where Bruce was getting treatment from the Lazarus Pit and the possibility of him becoming Batman again was brought up; Terry said firmly that he was "not wearing the Robin outfit".

     Real Life  

  • Before the age of streamlined education most (if not all) professions were learned by apprenticing under a master. Children usually apprenticed under their parent until said parent was too old to work, at which point the child would take over the business. This is the origin behind such surnames as Smith, Carpenter, and many other last names that sound like jobs.
  • The apprenticeship system is still widely used for most crafts in Germany. You start as an apprentice under a master note , and become a journeyman note  afterwards, with a chance of becoming a master with enough effort and skill. Nowadays, the journeyman rank isn't named as such in most cases - once you aren't an apprentice anymore, you'll just give your profession as a title. You're still not allowed to call yourself a master, though, unless you've passed the proper exams. This old (as in: originating in medieval times) system is still very popular in Germany, despite the more streamlined education systems also existing.


Alternative Title(s): In Training

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