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The Champion
Delenn: You could be free of all this, return to your studies, to your family...
Lennier: Where you walk, I will walk. I have sworn myself to your side.
Delenn: You do not know...You cannot know what you're saying.
Lennier: Yes, I do. Come what may, Delenn, I will not leave you while I am still alive.

Alice can be The Hero, the Femme Fatale, the Knight In Shining Armour, The Stoic, even The Ditz, but regardless of alignment or characterization there is one rather noticeable pattern in Alice's actions: she always puts Bob first, no matter what. This is because she is Bob's Champion.

Basically The Champion is the character who is The Hero to one specific person. This character is not by default a Knight In Shining Armour or Knight Errant type because they lack the chronic nature of their heroics. Instead they are devoted to the cause/life/honour of one character and everything that it entails. Heroic Sacrifice? Taking the Heat? Kicking a few dogs who happened to get in the way? All's fair.

Though more prevalent in chivalric romance or courtly settings, this trope can be found in settings as banal as a high school. The person who always sticks up for that one bullied kid simply because he/she is that bullied kid is playing The Champion.

May result due to a case of I Owe You My Life. If The Champion fails at his task, he will likely become a Failure Knight. Very often the person is championing in the name of love or she's the love interest who he sees as above him. Compare Bodyguard Crush. Will by definition have Undying Loyalty. Might be a Satellite Character or he's the active hero and she's his lady who just lets him serve her. Beware of him being a Poisonous Friend, A Hero To His Hometown is a champion to a larger group. He may be The Unfettered. Villainous versions will usually be The Dragon.

Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

  • Knights for Britannian royal family members of Code Geass generally tend to take on these roles, such as Suzaku and especially Guildford. Xingke is an I Owe You My Life example.
    • Kallen also acts as Lelouch's Champion for much of the series, being the most dedicated and loyal of the Black Knights. It's even Lampshaded with Lelouch referring to her as Q1 aka the Queen, the most powerful chess piece.
    • Jeremiah Gottwald was a Failure Knight who took this role midway through season 2 in order to redeem his honour by protecting the children of the Empress he admired.
  • Klaus in Maiden Rose explicitly states that his goal is to help win the war for Taki's pride and honour, having already surrendered all personal rights to be Taki's champion in the first place.
  • Hungary is champion to Austria in Axis Powers Hetalia, albeit she's willing to let him get molested a little first before she steps in to protect him.
  • Tenma may be a hero to many, but he is a definite champion to Nina and Dieter above all.
  • Kira becomes this for Lacus midseries in Gundam SEED. After that point, he doesn't fight for ZAFT or the Earth Alliance, but for the Clyne Faction.
    • Alternate Character Interpretation for Lacus has her actively courting people for this role in order to Take Over the World. The two biggest badasses alive are her Champions by the end of Seed, and the epilogue of Destiny adds a third via Warrior Therapy.
    • Kira also champions his sister Cagalli during the parts of Destiny where Lacus isn't actively doing anything to the point of fighting his own country's forces and the enemy for her. In fact Kira is quite infuriated that Athrun, Cagalli's former fiance, isn't initially her Champion instead, Athrun opting to rejoin the Zaft military and try to fight in a logical fashion, rather than single minded devotion to their close friends, logic be damned.
  • Akemi Homura for Kaname Madoka, in Puella Magi Madoka Magica. It then takes a religious bent after Madoka becomes a goddess in the final episode.
  • First Knight Ran Kurono is this towards Sei Ohtori in Hana No Kishi.
  • Issei Hyodou is this for Rias Gremory in High School D×D.
  • Alucard to Integra in Hellsing. Alucard might be a complete sociopath, but he definitely has Undying Loyalty towards Integra.
  • Hayato to Riddle in Undertaker Riddle. Hayato is magically bound to Riddle to protect him from any attack while Riddle prepares a funeral to exorcise evil spirits.
  • In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Setsuna is Konoka's bodyguard, and also her best friend since childhood, so as they grew up she became Konoka's champion. (This is slightly complicated by the romantic feelings she has towards Konoka, but she makes it work.)

     Comic Books  

  • Wonder Woman is Athena's champion and will follow her plans wherever they take her. Even if it means taking on and killing Zeus' thousand-armed champion
  • Kreed becomes this to Nexus. Unfortunately, this overlaps with Poisonous Friend, because as much as Kreed reveres Nexus, he does not really understand the latter's notions of morality (although he is sincerely trying to learn). Very much to his credit, Kreed accepts the penalty for his actions in the end. His son later steps up to become Nexus's new champion.

     Film  

  • In The King and the Clown, Gong-gil is the only person for whom Jaeng-sang sticks his neck out, but he does so consummately.
  • Will of A Knight's Tale risks his own personal goals for the sake of proving he will do whatever Jocelyn asks of him, breaking bones and nearly losing a tournament in the process.
  • In the backstory of Brick, Brendan Frye went to such lengths to protect his junkie girlfriend from cartels and drug rings so much she ended up breaking off their relationship and diving into the underground herself. Her death kicks off the movie.
  • When Anakin professes his love for Padme in Attack of the Clones, he says that he will do anything she asks.
  • In the made-for-television movie Merlin, when King Arthur decides to lead his knights on the quest for the Holy Grail, he holds a tournament of arms to find a knight to serve as Queen Guinivere's personal champion in his absence. Lancelot wins, thus paving the way for the most famous Love Triangle in history.
  • A villainous example turns up in The Dark Knight Rises. Bane is The Champion to Talia Al Ghul, though whether he's her Dragon or the less-hidden half of her Big Bad Duumvirate is ambiguous.
  • Alice is foretold by the Oraculum to be the one who will stand as the White Queen's champion on the field of battle against the Jabberwocky, in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

     Literature  

  • "King's Champion" is the position given to the best knight in the realm in Tamora Pierce's Tortall Universe. Post-Lioness Rampant, Alanna has held this position as Tortall's first female Champion.
  • In Deryni Rising Duke Alaric Morgan is actually named "King's Champion" by Kelson on his coronation day. Morgan has been effectively been the Deryni Champion of the Haldanes most of his life; his parents dedicated him to the job before he was born at the end of In The King's Service.
  • In some Arthurian legends, Lancelot takes on this role to Guinevere, despite also being a garden variety Knight In Shining Armour.
  • Gimli tokenly champions Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings, mainly in upholding her name and honour rather than taking on any protector role.
    • Sam Gamgee is closer to being this for Frodo.
  • In Michael Crichton's Timeline, the medieval history fanatic Andre Marek falls prey to this instinct after hearing Lady Claire's I Did What I Had to Do speech.
  • The Kingsguard of A Song of Ice and Fire are supposed to be this for the royal family. Not everyone measures up to the positive aspects of it, and like everything else, the series deconstructs what happens when good knights are caught being the champions for bad rulers. It usually means either having to adopt My Master, Right or Wrong, or sometimes deciding to say I Did What I Had to Do, at great cost.
  • Kim in Rudyard Kipling's book by that name is an interesting example. He acts as this to the Red Lama, protecting his goodness, with Kim's streetwise common sense. In a partial subversion, he is also using the Red Lama as a handy cover for his work as a secret agent of The Raj.
  • In the Elenium trilogy by David Eddings, the knights of the Sparhawk family have served as royal champions to the monarchs of Elenia for generations. The King's Champion (or in the case of the current generation, Queen's Champion) is pre-eminent among servants of the realm.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse's Psmith series Psmith is this for his best friend Mike, frequently using his powers as a High School Hustler to get him out of trouble and generally improve things for him.
  • Bothari is this for Cordelia Naismith. Her husband Aral even says of Cordelia and Bothari's relationship: "....you are the only person I know who looks at Bothari and sees a hero. So he becomes one for you. He clings to you because you create him a greater man than he ever dreamed of being." And when Bothari dies, his grave is at Cordelia's feet, as her faithful dog. It's actually quite a touching moment.
  • In the Dresden Files, Kincaid is hired to be this for The Archive, but it's clear that he has fatherly affection for her, too.
    • Similarly, Fix and Lily (Lady and Knight, respectively, of the Summer Court) have to stay by each other and protect each other because it's their job, but they love each other deeply and would probably do that anyway. In practice, it's mostly Fix who's The Champion to Lily, but sometimes the roles are reversed.
  • Andrew LaFollet to Honor Harrington. Officially he's her personal bodyguard, but that's really more of a means to an end for him; his entire life (and his death, if necessary) is dedicated to keeping Honor safe because he is entirely devoted to her personally, not because it's his job description.
  • Don Quixote declared himself to be this for the peasant maid Dulcinea.

     Live Action TV  

  • Power Rangers has several examples like Ecliptor for Astronema and Vilemax for Trakeena.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Angel. He appointed himself as Buffy's guardian shortly after she was called as a Slayer. Xander as well, due partly to his unrequited feelings for Buffy, which is lampshaded more than once by Angel.
  • Game of Thrones: Brienne of Tarth and Ser Loras Tyrell are utterly devoted to King Renly Baratheon. Brienne and Loras are the heirs to Tarth and Highgarden, respectively, yet they freely choose to dedicate their life to protecting Renly, whom they value above and beyond whatever duties they presumably have in their home cities. Both knights remain loyal to their beloved king's memory even after Renly is assassinated.
  • In the BBC series Sherlock, John Watson is a champion for Sherlock Holmes - willing to kill to protect him, putting up with all of his crazy shenanigans and eccentricities, defending him from some characters and apologising to others on his behalf, and even offering to make a Heroic Sacrifice to save Sherlock's life.
  • In Firefly, Simon is River's champion.
  • In Chuck, Sarah is this for Chuck, as it's her mission to protect him, and eventually, Chuck is this for Sarah. And since this is a show where people do get Killed Off for Real, people are killed, often coldly, to protect each other.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Lennier serves as Delenn's champion, at one point risking death and then hiding the ugly truth from her when some religious caste members plotted against her rumored plans for handling the Minbari civil war. Ultimately subverted, when Lennier's devotion to Delenn leads him to leave Sheridan to die, (Sheridan survives) after which Lennier went into self-exile.
    • To a lesser degree, Ta'Lon to Sheridan, after Sheridan saved his life in the second season. Despite this, Ta'Lon has other duties that tend to take up most of his time, particularly helping G'Kar with La Résistance.
  • In Gilmore Girls, Luke is always there for Lorelai since long before they started going out. At one point she calls him her knight in shining armor merely for letting her cry on his shoulder; another time, she needed a replacement cook for her inn and at the end of the day she called him her white knight.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place, Justin, for Alex.
    • And Alex for Justin, whenever he happens to turn into a wolf or goes crazy.
  • In the Wonder Woman TV Series this is invoked by Queen Hippolyte: the Amazon winner of a tournament will escort Steve Trevor to his country. Subverted because his is less for his safety than to preserve the Lady Land in Paradise Island.
    Queen Hippolyte: For his safety - and ours. One of our young Amazon girls will escort him to his country, and then return to Paradise Island.
    Princess Diana: But all the girls will want that task.
    Queen Hippolyte: I know. To forestall any ill feelings, I have planned a tournament of athletic games, by which I alone will determine the strongest, nimblest, and most likely candidate for the assignment.
    • Princess Diana / Wonder Woman is the champion for Paradise Island, for Steve Trevor and for Liberty and Democracy while she stays in the man’s world.
  • In Doctor Who, Rory is Amy's champion.
    • The trope is deconstructed when the Doctor swerves into also being Amy's champion in "A Good Man Goes To War". His single-minded Roaring Rampage of Revenge across time and space in search for Amy when she's kidnapped, and the subsequent sadistic rage he unleashes on her captors when he finds them winds up being such overkill and emotionally compromises him so badly he winds up accidentally screwing everyone around him, including Amy, over even worse than before. A champion who's The Dreaded and one of the most effectively powerful beings in the universe being dedicated to a rather normal human woman makes mountains out of molehills.

     Video Games  

  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim gives you Housecarls after you become a Thane in a city. Each Jarl also has one. Each Housecarl carries the hero's burdens, lives with them, and will defend their charge until death. (And sometimes their deaths are doled out by the heroes they are protecting...) The Hearthfire DLC extends the housecarl's protection to also cover the Dragonborn's spouse and adopted children.
  • Drakath from AdventureQuest Worlds is the Champion of Chaos.
  • In Beyond Good & Evil Double H is Jade's Champion. He is completely devoted to her, and puts his life on the line for her more than once. This is one of the aforemetioned I Owe You My Life scenarios.
  • The remake of Final Fantasy III makes one of the Warriors of Light, Ingus, this for Princess Sara. When the others meet him, he's looking for her because she's gone missing in the wake of the Djinn's curse, and promises to return to her side once The Quest is done.
  • In Final Fantasy XIII Fang is this for Vanille, up to and including turning Ragnarok on Cocoon.
  • In Final Fantasy VIII Squall and nemesis Seifer both profess this to their respective sorceresses. Squall proclaims that "if the world turns against you, I'll be your knight."
  • The Warrior of Light tends to fight directly in the name of his Lady, Cosmos, and will sometimes battle other allies to prove their loyalty to her and keep her safe.
  • Final Fantasy: The 4 Heroes of Light has Yunita, of Princess Aire's personal guard. She puts Aire's safety above all else, even when Aire insults her. Which is a bit of a problem, as Yunita is also the Failure Knight, but they both get better.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening, Lucina seems to be Chrom's champion, putting him high on a pedestal and prioritizing his safety above all else.
    • Gerome, in turn, considers himself Lucina's champion, describing himself as the blade to strike down any who would oppose her.
  • In the Heaven's Feel path of Fate/stay night, the protagonist Emiya Shirou drops his ideals to protect Sakura first and foremost. This does not end well, as the entire point of the game (well, the other point of the game) is the Character Development that Shirou undergoes as he tries to reconcile his ideals with reality. Discarding those ideals entirely sends other aspects of Shirou, like his sanity, Off the Rails very quickly.
  • In Baldur's Gate the loony hero Minsc is the Champion of Dynaheir. Other than that, he'll kill people, if you need him to (with the aid of his trusty Miniature Giant Space Hamster, Boo), but only to protect Dynaheir. GO FOR THE EYES, BOO! GO FOR THE EYES!
    • Following Dynaheir's death at the beginning of the second game, he may adopt one of the female mages in the group and be her Champion instead.
  • Arguably, Link is Princess Zelda's champion in several games in the Zelda series, including the original game and The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword makes Link's status as Zelda's champion a major plot point in Hylia's (re: Zelda's) Batman Gambit.
      Hylia/Zelda: I knew that if it meant saving Zelda, you would throw yourself headfirst into any danger, without even a moment's doubt... I... I used you.
  • You can play Hisao as this in any route of Katawa Shoujo. It never ends well, though.
  • Fenrich of Disgaea 4 is fiercely protective of Valvatorez, to the point that he sometimes goes overboard.
  • In Mass Effect 3 Javik explicitly calls Commander Shepard, the Avatar of Victory in this cycle.
    • Paragon Shepard can serve as the Champion towards the Rachni, the Geth and the Krogan throughout the series, frequently defending their right to have a second chance and prove they can live in peace with the rest of the Galaxy. Even if it means entering a warzone to fight on their behalf.
    • In the Extended Cut end of the game, the Control Ending indicates that the new AI God Shepard has chosen to be this for the entire galaxy and everyone in it.
  • Hawke in Dragon Age II towards their sister Bethany. When Ser Wesley realises that Bethany is a mage, Hawke's immediate reaction is to step in front of their sister and give a Death Glare to the Templar that informs him they will have to go through them first. Later, the job becomes official when Hawke is formally declared "Champion of Kirkwall," and protecting the city and its residents becomes his/her sworn duty.
    • In the original Dragon Age: Origins, the Warden and his/her companions are declared champions of Redcliffe after they save the life of Arl Eamon Guerrin, and 'Champion' is an unlockable specialization for warriors. Also, at the Landsmeet, the Warden may appoint a companion to act as his/her champion in the duel with Loghain.
  • Companions in Star Wars: The Old Republic are this to the player characters by game mechanics, but some are so in the story as well:
    • Khem Val is initially a somewhat unwilling champion to the Sith Inquisitor, and when Lord Zash reveals her true intentions he can fulfill the role quite dutifully.
    • Jaesa Wilsaam and Malavai Quinn to the Sith Warrior
    • The Jedi Consular ends up being this for not just their companions, particularly Qyzen Fess (who believes the Consular an avatar of his goddess) and Nadia Grell, but to a minor house of Alderaanian nobility (representing them at a peace conference), a potential Voss Mystic as he undergoes his trial, and the entire Rift Alliance (a coalition of neutral worlds who were on the fence about siding with the Republic until the Consular showed up).
  • Lucifer seeks to mold the Demi-Fiend into demonkind's Champion in Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, by throwing him into the battle for the Candelabra against the Ten Embodiments of Death. Should he be victorious, he still has to confront his Dragon Beelzebub and God's mightiest angel.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei IV's Neutral Path, you must become The Champion of Tokyo as its Hope Bringer by helping the locals out, bolstering their spirits and proving the city is not beyond salvation in order to reform the Great Spirit of Hope. You are even named as such by the Hunters' Associations.

     Web Comic  

     Western Animation  

  • In ThunderCats (2011) Cheetara, the Sole Survivor of his Praetorian Guard, is this for her young King Lion-O. Since she's not much older than him, she defends him both for ill and for good. She accepts his more brash battle tactics unquestioningly, but proves correct when she chides his other followers for their lack of support and encouragement of his potential.


The CapeKnight In Shining TropesChurch Militant
Bruiser with a Soft CenterArchetypal CharacterThe Chosen One
By-the-Book CopSubmissive BadassChessmaster Sidekick
The CavalryLoyalty TropesConflicting Loyalty
Celebrity ImpersonatorCharacters as DeviceCharacter Overlap

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