Lampshaded: "Just pay you? When I have such a perfect opportunity to show off some heroes to my subjects? Wait right there while I call in my emergency honour guard and party planner and contact the town crier! Do we still have that red carpet? What about the brass band?"
Exploited: Dan came from an enemy nation and took part in the quest so he could use the ceremony to assassinate the king.
Defied: The heroes can't stand ceremonies and just ask to be paid.
Discussed: "The traitor is dead, your majesty." "Perfect! We'll hold a ceremony to reward you tomorrow."
Conversed: "Ooo, is this the bit where the king gives them all their rewards?"
Deconstructed: The ceremony is largely so that the king can get away with not paying the heroes too much money (they wouldn't want to be seen publicly haggling for a better reward at a ceremony, after all).
Reconstructed: The recognition from the King (and the 100% Heroism Rating that comes with it) is priceless anyway, even if it didn't cost the king himself a penny.
Played For Laughs: The situation is as described under "averted", except the king's rather insistent about giving them medals that they don't need nor want.
Played For Drama:
Dan and Claire didn't make it. Alice and Bob silently mourn them in the ceremony.