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Playing With: Accidental Hero
Basic Trope: A character becomes celebrated for heroism. Problem is, it isn't false modesty this time. He/She really didn't do anything special.
  • Straight: Alice is driving a tractor-trailer when the suspects fleeing a nearby bank robbery and shootout don't see her truck parked in the way of their getaway route. They crash into the trailer, get arrested, and Alice gets credit for stopping them - when her rig had just broken down.
  • Exaggerated: Alice is lauded as the hero of the shootout, as if the contributions of anyone else (the people in the bank, the police, the other drivers) didn't matter, and her truck is enshrined in some way and she is given a huge reward for her "efforts."
  • Downplayed: Alice is praised for her "contribution", but most of the credit still goes to officer Bob, who chased the criminals into the truck.
  • Justified: The story is based on Real Life where The Hero per se does not exist.
  • Inverted: Destructive Savior, Doom Magnet, The Jinx, Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds, and the Walking Disaster Area are all character tropes that are inversions of this trope to some degree or another. Not What It Looks Like, Slept Through the Apocalypse, Wounded Gazelle Gambit all rely on some inversion of it as well.
  • Subverted:
    • False modesty: Alice heard of the police pursuit on her scanner and tried to get in the way of the escaping criminals, in a gambit to be seen as an Accidental Hero.
    • Fake Ultimate Hero: Alice didn't stop them, the police did, but the car spun out into her truck and she was quite happy to take the credit.
  • Double Subverted:
    • False modesty version: Alice gets ignored because the public takes her false modesty at face value and praises the cops.
    • Fake Ultimate Hero version: When the video is seen later, she is seen as a braggart and ignored.
  • Parodied: Alice spends an entire day doing nothing but routine stuff, yet every mundane action she performs somehow ends up stopping a criminal and/or saving somebody.
  • Zig Zagged: Alice spends the day stopping criminals either intentionally or by accident. In both scenarios, she is either credited as a hero or simply ignored.
  • Averted: Alice intentionally blocks the getaway route with her truck, stopping the criminals from successfully escaping the police. She is rightfully credited for her contribution.
  • Enforced:
    • The story wants to explore the implications of The Hero as a trope.
    • The story wants to make a point about people's need for heroes or how odd it is that society creates them.
    • The story is a universe where the writer wants to avert The Hero as a trope by making everyone a potential hero based on luck or circumstance, much like in Real Life.
    • The writer wants to decouple heroism and "being good," but does not want to create a Designated Hero or an Anti-Hero - an Accidental Hero can be merely flawed or one of the many flavors of stupid, instead of being intentionally dangerous or violent.
  • Lampshaded: "I really didn't do that on purpose! It was an accident!"
  • Invoked: The police chases the robbers into a road with busy traffic, increasing the chances of the suspects' car crashing into some random car and its "heroic" driver.
  • Exploited: Fake Ultimate Hero.
  • Defied: Alice hears about the police pursuit from her radio and makes sure to park her truck away from any route that the criminals might take.
  • Discussed: "That's a little implausible, don't you think? Alice would never do something like that on purpose..."
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed: Fake Ultimate Hero is arguably a deconstruction in part - someone who takes full advantage of the publicity even if their heroism per se never happened.
  • Reconstructed: This whole misunderstanding actually inspires Alice into becoming an overall more heroic person, because she happens to enjoy the feeling of being a hero to others.

Back to Accidental Hero

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