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The Drag-Along

"...they're always dragging me off to some cockamamie adventure! 'Hurry Iago, we have to find the razor-clawed ice giant!', or 'Come on Iago, the natives of Nincompoop need saving from a blood beast with a taste for parrots!'"

Most of the hero team is eager and ready to go on another adventure, face peril, and explore new regions, but not this guy. He'd rather stay home, where it's safe. Maybe he doesn't really think the trip is worth it, maybe he doesn't care, or maybe he just has an aversion to painful, dangerous situations. Yet the team wants him to come, so, kicking and screaming if necessary, he comes along anyway.

None too happy about constantly being dragged along on adventures, you can usually find this one complaining and making sarcastic remarks, but, when push comes to shove, you can bet that he'll show his heroic traits in the clutch.

Contrast the Sour Supporter, who doesn't believe it will work but will contribute anyway (although with sardonic comments), and The Load or The Millstone, who may or may not be supportive but whose actions and/or very existence work against the heroes' purposes.

A variation on The Complainer Is Always Wrong and I Do Not Like Green Eggs and Ham. Most Drag Alongs are also Butt Monkeys or Chew Toys, which may justify their reluctance.

Compare Refusal of the Call, Cowardly Sidekick, Cowardly Lion, Grumpy Bear, I Just Want to Be Normal, Dragged by the Collar.

Contrast The Team Wannabe but do not confuse with the Tagalong Kid. Also not to be confused with Dragged into Drag.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Kyon, the viewpoint character, is always getting dragged around as an accessory to the schemes of his totally-not-girlfriend, and is rarely ever happy about it. He later acknowledges that he actually likes the crazyness. Well, he does but that doesn't mean that he likes being forced to dig countless holes for a treasure map that, of course, doesn't exist.
  • In Naruto, Nara Shikamaru fits this trope like a glove early in the series, most prominently during the Chunin exams when chasing Sasuke. He'd much rather simply sit around and watch the clouds than fight or go on missions. Subsequent Character Development means that he takes a much more responsible role.
  • Chisame of Mahou Sensei Negima! frequently acted like this for a while after she found out about the magic world. Then it got subverted, as she successfully escapes the weirdness only to realize that her life was now incredibly boring. So she heads right back into the weird stuff.
  • Shinji Ikari in Neon Genesis Evangelion episodes 1-4 and in End of Evangelion in which Misato drags Shinji to pilot the EVA01.
  • The three delinquents Juumonji, Toganu and Kuroki in Eyeshield 21 are initially blackmailed into joining the American football team.
  • One Piece: The rest of the Straw Hat Pirates in regards to Luffy. Most of them were pestered, cajaoled, and sometimes flat out blackmailed into joining the crew. And then, his decisions as 'captain' end up sending the crew on outrageous misadventures. Usopp, Chopper, and Nami are the ones who complain the most.
  • In chapter 143 of Beelzebub, Oga reveals that part of the reason he drags Furuichi around everywhere with him is that he thought it would be funny.
  • Much of the fun in Yankee-kun to Megane-chan comes from Shinagawa reluctantly complying with Hana's shenaningans. It changes when the focus of the story drifts from her to him.
  • Mako from Girls und Panzer would rather be sleeping or reading rather than driving a tank, but she needs the extra credits.
  • Through much of the first part of Fruits Basket, Kyo is quite unwilling to go along with most of the outtings other family members come up with. He's usually either forced into coming, or is innocently coerced by Tohru (which is lampshaded at one point, when Tohru's friends note with interest that it's taking less and less time for Kyo to crumble when Tohru asks him to come along for something).
  • Haruka Kotoura from Kotoura-san is a literal case since she's often Dragged by the Collar and thankfully always Played for Laughs. She's Justifiably apprehensive about joining the ESP Society and Research Club, whose mission is to prove that Psychic Powers exist, because she knows that society is afraid of her inadvertent Telepathy; and she fears being even more of an outcast.
  • Kagerou Project:
    • The series' protagonist, Shintaro Kisaragi, just wanted to stay at home and live on his computer... Forever. One thing leads to another, and his Cyber-Troll-Girl-Thing ends up signing him up to a secret organisation while he's unconscious. Of course, he is a little bit miffed about all of this.
    • Hibiya also counts to a smaller degree; he just wanted to spend a summer in the city with Hiyori, but after the Kagerou Days incident and Hiyori's subsequent death, he ends up being dragged into the Mekakushi Dan by Momo's attempts to cheer him up and his power manifesting.

    Comics 
  • Tintin
    • In Tintin and the Picaros, Tintin agrees to go in the end, not to save the country but just to get his friends out of prison.
    • The Captain owns this trope. All he wants to do is enjoy his retirement — but unfortunately he fell in with the wrong set of friends. He comes along despite his groans, and always ends up doing something badass.
  • Yeagar or Arthax in Nodwick are prone to this behaviour when it's Piffany's turn to pick jobs. Nodwick acts like this all the time, but he has no choice in the matter.
  • The Drummer in Planetary is this occasionally, likely because his information-gathering powers aren't the most useful in a fight.
  • This is Donald Duck's role in many adventures with Scrooge McDuck. Scrooge and the nephews might be excited at the prospect of a new adventure. Donald has to be coerced. Particularly evident in "The Twenty-four Carat Moon" (December, 1958) by Carl Barks. He doesn't want to go to a space-travel mission and proclaims "I want to keep my feet on good old Earth". Two panels later, he is in the space-traveling vehicle, chained to his seat and his feet are standing on a box of dirt. This doesn't stop Donald from being both useful and sarcastic.

    Films 
  • Star Wars A New Hope: This definitely describes how C-3PO acts, especially in the first half.
    C-3PO: We seem to be made to suffer. It's our lot in life.
  • Willie Scott in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is a drag along from the beginning, and not shy about blasting Indy for it. Many fans of the series rate her as the least interesting of the women, and also because she screeches a lot.
  • In the Lethal Weapon movies, Murtaugh just wants to retire and collect his pension for his time with the police, but Riggs is willing to kill himself if it will help get the bad guys. You often find Murtaugh saying, "I'm too old for this shit," eveytime Riggs eggs him into doing something crazy.
  • Die Hard 2 Die Harder has Zeus, who got roped into John McClane's bomb-diffusing adventure after trying to protect McClane from a street gang without realizing what was happening. They become friends by the end.
  • The absolute last thing Matt Farrel wanted in Live Free or Die Hard was to go along for a life-risking country-saving joyride with John McClane, but his odds for survival were considerably worse if he didn't as the bad guys had him marked for death anyways and he was helpless without McClane's protection. Like Zeus above, he seriously mans up, becomes friends with McClane, and even gets the girl.

    Literature 
  • In Animorphs, Marco started out as one of these, having no real reason to enter the battle against the invading Yeerks, and not really wanting to get involved. This changed BIG TIME when he discovered that Visser One was using the body of his supposedly deceased mother as a host. After this he quickly grew into the hero role, but he was still the sarcastic jokester of the group.
  • Rincewind from Discworld. In pretty much every book he's in, he's always forced into adventure without any say on his part. The exception is The Last Hero, where he doesn't want to go, but knows he'll end up going somehow, so "un-volunteers". After this book, he is rarely brought into other adventures.
  • Kedrigern in the series of books by John Morresey. He's a powerful wizard who hates to travel and just wants to live quietly in his home on the mountain, but he keeps getting pulled into adventures.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: This happens from time to time. Depending on the task, Arthur Dent, Zaphod, or Ford will not want to do it. Guaranteed. Of course, Marvin never wants to do it.
  • Mat from the Wheel of Time, he has a very low opinion of heroics and the risks that are involved but unfortunately for him You Can't Fight Fate.
  • The Hobbit: Poor Bilbo Baggins was billed as a burglar by Gandalf, for no apparent reason at the time (later explained, however, in the appendices of The Lord of the Rings), and then was dragged out of his comfortable hole in the ground by a party of treasure-hunting dwarves. Inverted after a novel's worth of Character Development—when they finally reach the dragon's lair, the dwarves chicken out and Bilbo is the only one with the guts to go on.
  • Ahmad in The 13th Warrior.
  • At one point or another, each member of the core cast of Everworld was the drag-along. I mean, come on. Eventually, they just get plain sick and tired of running from Loki, Ka Anor, Merlin, the Hetwan, etc., etc. ad nauseum.
  • Ciaphas Cain: Ciaphas definitely fits this trope. Warhammer 40,000's least likely Commissar would rather spend his days somewhere far away from the fighting that pervades the galaxy (good luck on that one...). Yet time and time again he's dragged reluctantly into action against every single foe that the galaxy at large can throw at him (and then a few from a different reality altogether).
  • Geronimo Stilton: Geronimo is continually dragged into adventures, usually literally, by the other characters, despite his assertions that he'd rather stay home and has a lot of work to do.
  • Temp and Boots, mostly, in The Underland Chronicles. Averted in Gregor and The Curse of The Warmbloods. Temp kept on warning them, first suggested the idea that the cradle/cure might not be where they thought it was, and Boots did her dance.
    Ripred: And if Temp is right, it would explain one thing .. The point of having a crawler on this whole hellish trip! Honestly, how has he added to anything of significance? No offense, Temp, you've been a real champ about babysitting, but what have you contributed? Nothing! Maybe this is it! Your big moment!

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Cordelia in the earlier bits. Eventually, after moving to LA, she starts working for Angel and realizes that she likes fighting demons, and even more interestingly, that she's not that bad at it.
  • Boober in Fraggle Rock is perpetually The Drag-Along or a Sour Supporter, or both. However, in an episode where he and Red get trapped under a rock slide and believe they are going to die, he confesses that he secretly has enjoyed all of the Fraggles' adventures, despite having been a reluctant coward about them all when they were happening.
  • While most Doctor Who companions are those who willingly went with the Doctor to go see the universe, there are a few who wish they didn't have to be in this bloody blue box.
    • First example: Ian and Barbara, the very first companions. They were just teachers concerned for their student's well-being; in exchange, an alien kidnaps them, and is such a bad driver that they get pulled along on many adventures before he drops them back home. (Two years later, we should add!)
    • Mickey Smith, at first. You can't really blame him. He's nearly killed, his girlfriend abandons him, her disappearance makes him a rape and murder suspect for a whole year. Eventually he goes along in hope that he can regain Rose's affection. Then it turns out that he's pretty good at killing cyberman, and becomes a professional monster fighter.
    • Similarly, Rory Williams. The only reason he traveled with the Doctor at all was to avoid losing his fiance/wife. Eventually he takes about five hundred levels in bad-ass, but his fighting is always a last resort, and he'd much prefer to have a quiet life as a nurse. Eventually he gets it. The Doctor drops him and Amy on Earth with a shiny new car and house.

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 
  • Zoe from Sluggy Freelance can be like this, especially in the early strips. Whenever Torg or Riff decide it would be fun to summon demons or open portals to other dimensions, she often tries to stay out of it, but can't stop the weirdness from affecting her life.
    • Bun-Bun is also sometimes like this, though he'll hop right on board the adventure train as soon as he sees some benefit in it for himself.
  • Most of The Order of the Stick (except Elan and Durkon) are prone to this behaviour; Haley and Belkar are the most repeat offenders but V is the most vocal one about it.
  • Cadugan in Yet Another Fantasy Gamer Comic would like nothing more than to stay home and tend to nature. Unfortunately his skills and in one case his heritage means people (particularly Lucas) keep pestering him to come along with their adventures.
  • Ship Leesoo from Tower of God gets dragged along by Anak and Hatsu quite a bit, especially when they engage in their IndyPloys. He is even physically dragged along at one point, which considering Hatsu and Anak once considered him to be The Load, shows they really do... kinda respect him... Kinda.

    Web Originals 
  • Craig from The Allen And Craig Show is almost always unwilling to go along with Allen's plans, despite almost never seeing as bad an end as Allen does.
  • Parodied to death in the Charlie The Unicorn videos.
  • Not only does Perf of JourneyQuest not really want to be on the quest, but given a decent chance he will try (albeit not very hard) to escape his party.
  • Phase of the Whateley Universe. He complains so often that his teammates suggest he change his name to "Kvetch".

    Western Animation 
  • Iago, in Aladdin: The Series, is the quintessential embodiment of this trope. He's more concerned with living in the lap of luxury and staying out of danger, and, as a Card Carrying Coward, is none too happy with being dragged along on some grand adventure every other day (which is understandable, since he's a bit of a pain magnet). True to form, he never stops complaining about it, also making him, as a parrot, a Snarky Non-Human Sidekick. Nearly half his quotes in the show could be page quotes for this, and he always had a bit of Genre Savvy about it. Case in point:
    Iago: Stop right there! You've got that put the bird in jeopardy look in your eye!
  • In Captain Planet, Wheeler was the one to fall into this role. In fact, a mini-series involved him actually walking away from the Planeteers, and then going into the future and finding out how horrible things were without five Planeteers.
  • In The Magic School Bus, Arnold never wants to go, and always ends up wishing that he'd stayed home that day. It's even shown in the opening: "Please let this be a normal field trip!"
  • Takua in BIONICLE:The Mask of Light. He tries to get out of his duty as The Chosen One by making it appear that the mask chose Jaller instead, however, Jaller drags him along anyway.
  • Likewise for Shaggy and Scooby, who self-identify themselves as being chicken, and, as a result, always end up in the middle of a ghost story gone wrong (often being the main ones to find the Guy In A Mask Monster of the Week while exploring), and have to be coerced with promises of Scooby Snacks.
  • Garfield in almost all of his specials, especially Garfield in the Rough and the Christmas special.
  • South Park:
    • Craig in exactly one episode. Somewhat of a parody since it was his own adventure he didn't want to go on, and he fulfilled an ancient prophecy while actively trying to have nothing to do with it.
    • Cartman as well, in the episode "Fun With Veal."
  • Simon Belmont in Captain N: The Game Master.
  • Eddie Spencer, the fat guy from the Filmations Ghostbusters cartoon (not to be confused with The Real Ghostbusters), was like this.
  • Eric in Dungeons & Dragons also fell into this role, sort of. Only he had even less choice because he'd been thrust into this psychotic fantasy world and going along was the only way to get out.
  • Dukey from Johnny Test. "Doggy no go".
  • Gus Griswald from Recess.
  • Chuckie "I knew this wasn't a good idea" Finster only willingly goes along with the other babies on Rugrats a handful of times.
  • PJ from Goof Troop. Max constantly talks him into doing things he would prefer not to, usually because it's either profoundly unsafe (which doesn't bother Max at all) or likely to get him in huge trouble with his dad (or both, such as sneaking onto his dad's in-progress ridiculously tall skate ramp). In the former case, PJ will often make agitated, snarky comments about their mortality. Although the reasons vary from episode to episode, he is consistently shown to be in the right frame of mind for refusing. This was Lampshaded in one episode with a Gilligan Cut:
    PJ: No, forget it, Max. No way. You cannot talk me into this one. (scene cuts) Every time. How does he do it? Every. Single. Time.
  • Frizz and Nug of The Dreamstone are a rare villain example, being Genre Savvy enough to know being enlisted into one of Zordrak's schemes to steal the Dreamstone, along with Urpgor's deranged inventions and Sgt Blob's incompetent leadership will only lead to painful and miserable failure.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, although Fluttershy probably doesn't want to go along for any of her friend's adventures, she really makes it clear she doesn't want to be there in Dragonshy as she is terrified of dragons. Unfortunately (for her), her innate ability to communicate with animals makes her a mandatory and necessary teammate.


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