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Experienced Mentor, Powered Protege

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A Differently Powered Individual is taught by someone without supernatural abilities.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Spiderkaine on Aug 4th 2018 at 6:59:55 PM
Last Edited By:
Arivne on Sep 5th 2018 at 1:46:39 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Oliver: Barry I have been living this life for almost 8 years, encountering thing that you couldn't even imagine and I am still alive. Not because super speed kept me out of the ground but because I had to keep learning, keep training, keep getting smarter and until you get that despite your best intentions you will do more harm than good.
—Oliver

The Flash
In many works, people with superpowers are portrayed as superior to those without, regardless of how skilled they are. This is the opposite: a Differently Powered Individual looks up to a mentor who has no powers (or powers of the Weak, but Skilled variety), but who has the weight of expertise and experience on their side. Sometimes, the superpowered student has looked up to their mentor since before they gained their powers.

Usually the most common lesson the Experinced Mentor will teach their powered protege is to not just rely solely on their powers and to learn to adapt when they lose them.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • A repeated pattern in the Lyrical Nanoha franchise:
    • Nanoha herself has incredible natural aptitude for magic, unlike her first mentor, Yuuno, who is only good at shielding spells. Nevertheless, the fact that he can use magic and teach it to Nanoha is what lets her discover her talents in the first place.
    • After the original season, Fate a genetically-engineered super-mage is tutored to control her powers by her adoptive brother Chrono, whose natural aptitude for magic is mediocre, at best, but his past training and field experience more than make up for it.
    • In the manga set after the second season, both Nanona and Fate, already famed as the most powerful mages alive, are apprenticed to one Fern Corrado, a Veteran Instructor who hands both of their asses back to them in their first mock battle to demonstrate that decades of combat experience beat raw mana output most of the time.
  • Naruto: Kakashi is one for Naruto himself (and to a lesser extent Sasuke). Kakashi has the experience (having fought the Third Shinobi World War) and the expertise (having a lot of ninja techniques he can use), but Naruto has much more raw power thanks to both his Uzumaki bloodline and the Nine-tailed Fox sealed inside him.
    Film - Animated 
  • Hercules: The Satyr Philoctetes has mentored many heroes of Ancient Greece, only to be disappointed by each. He eventually comes to see Hercules as a chance to redeem his name and instructs him in heroics, using his Super Strength, and managing his newfound celebrity. Phil himself is a Non-Action Guy who retreats to safety when the monsters show up.
    Film - Live Action 
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron: Badass Normal Hawkeye has to comfort Scarlet Witch after she becomes overwhelmed and frightened despite her reality breaking powers. Hawkeye points out that in a battle between genocidal robots, literal gods, enhanced humans, and flying men in suits of armor, he's just a guy with a bow and arrow, but she has the power to change the tide of the battle:
      Hawkeye: Doesn't matter what you did, or what you were. If you go out there, you fight, and you fight to kill. Stay in here, you're good. I'll send your brother to come find you. But if you step out that door, you are an Avenger.
    • Captain America: Civil War: After her pep talk in Age of Ultron, Wanda is happy to help when Clint needs her, but follows his lead and looks to him for instruction.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming:Peter Parker and Tony Stark have this relationship. One is a supowered kid who can stop and bus with his barehands the other is a Badass Normal inventor. However Tony is older more Experinced and has been at the superhero game for years while Peter with all his powers is still a inexperienced 15 year old kid who has only been Spider-Man for a few months when introduced.
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • In X-Men:First Class Charles acts like this for a number of the young Mutants he and Erik recruit. While Charles powers are by no means weak many of the younger Mutants powers are more useful in physical confrontations as such Charles teaches them how to harness and control them.
    • In X-Men: Apocalypse Charles is this to a young Jean Grey. Her psychic and telekinetic abilities far surpass Charles along with her possessing the Phoenix Force but his years of experience with his powers allows him to help guide Jean and control her vast abilities which works out in his favor when Apocalypse is close to defeating Charles and Jean with the power of the Phoenix comes to his rescues and obliterates the ancient mutant.
    Live Action TV 
  • Arrow: Oliver was Barry's mentor despite the latter being a super powered speedster. Oliver has the advantage of being an incredibly talented Badass Normal Archer with a lot of of experience as a hero, while Barry is an overeager young man who tends to rush into problems and relies on his powers a little too much.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: As a Watcher, Giles is a normal human with a lot of expertise in knowing and fighting the supernatural. He is responsible for training Buffy, who has Super Strength and Super Reflexes due to her status as a slayer.
  • Supernatural:
    • After the angel Castiel rebels against Heaven, he spends most of his time on earth, but doesn't know how to blend in. He mostly follows Dean's lead, fighting when the Winchesters fight and trusting whomever they trust.
    • With some help from his brother Dean and the angel Castiel, Badass Normal Sam serves as this to the Nephilim Jack, who has the physical build of a young adult and the Reality Warper powers of an archangel but, at only a few months old, is painfully naive and trusting. Sam no longer has any powers, but he has decades of experience as a Hunter of Monsters and helps Jack figure out who to trust and how to control his powers.


Feedback: 30 replies

Aug 4th 2018 at 8:11:26 PM

Hmm. I see potential, but I feel like I need a bit more detail on what this is about. Maybe an example or two would help.

Aug 5th 2018 at 9:27:48 AM

Thief Of Time: Lu-Tze is a Memetic Badass among the History Monks for basically embodying One Riot One Ranger since time immemorial, but even he doesn't have the instinctive ease at reading time mandalas or the raw power over time-manipulation techniques that Lobsang possesses. This is because Lobsang is the son of Time and the founder of the History Monks. This difference in power doesn't stop Lu-Tze from handing Lobsang his ass in full view of the monastery, using several martial arts only rumored to exist.

Aug 5th 2018 at 6:15:37 PM

  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Peter Parker and Tony have this relationship. One is a supowered kid who can stop and bus with his barehands the other is a Badass Normal inventor. However Tony is older more Experinced and has been at the superhero game for years while Peter with all his powers is still a inexperienced 15 year old kid who has only been Spider-Man for a few months when introduced.
  • Arrowverse: Oliver was Barry’s mentor despite the latter being a super powered speedster and the former being a simply incredibly talented Badass Normal Archer. However Oliver is a Experinced hero who has been dealing with situations like these before he even put on the Arrow suit while Barry is an over eager young man who tends to rush into problems and relying on his powers a little to much.

Aug 5th 2018 at 12:16:33 PM

I like the idea, but I would need to see it formatted with the required examples before I can hat it.

  • In Avengers Age Of Ultron, Badass Normal Hawkeye has to comfort Scarlet Witch after she becomes overwhelmed and frightened despite her reality breaking powers. Hawkeye points out that in a battle between genocidal robots, literal gods, enhanced humans, and flying men in suits of armor, he's just a guy with a bow and arrow, but she has the power to change the tide of the battle:
    Hawkeye: "Doesn't matter what you did, or what you were. If you go out there, you fight, and you fight to kill. Stay in here, you're good. I'll send your brother to come find you. But if you step out that door, you are an Avenger."
Because of this pep talk, when Clint needs Wanda's help in Captain America Civil War, she's happy to help.

  • Buffy The Vampire Slayer: As a watcher, Giles is a normal human with a lot of training. He is responsible for training Buffy who has superhuman strength and reflexes due to her status as a slayer.

  • Supernatural:
    • Once Castiel rebels against heaven, he spends most of his time on earth, but as angel, he doesn't know how to blend in. He mostly follows Dean's lead, fighting when the Winchesters fight and trusting whoever they trust.
    • With some help from his brother Dean and the angel Castiel, Badass Normal Sam serves as this to the nephilim, Jack who has the physical build of a young adult and the powers of an archangel but, at only a few months old, is painfully naive and trusting. Sam no longer has any powers, but he has decades of hunting and supernatural experience and helps Jack figure out who to trust and how to restrain his game breaking powers.

Aug 5th 2018 at 5:41:33 PM

The mentor may have powers, just that they can't stand to the protege's own.

The mentor would be Weak But Skilled, the protege would be Unskilled But Strong.

Aug 6th 2018 at 4:38:24 AM

  • A repeated pattern in the Lyrical Nanoha franchise:
    • Nanoha herself has incredible natural aptitude for magic, unlike her first mentor, Yuuno, who is only good at shielding spells. Nevertheless, the fact that he can use magic and teach it to Nanoha is what lets her discover her talents in the first place.
    • After the original season, Fate — a genetically-engineered super-mage — is tutored to control her powers by her adoptive brother Chrono, whose natural aptitude for magic is mediocre, at best, but his past training and field experience more than make up for it.
    • In the manga set after the second season, both Nanona and Fate, already famed as the most powerful mages alive, are apprenticed to one Fern Corrado, a Veteran Instructor who hands both of their asses back to them in their first mock battle to demonstrate that decades of combat experience beat raw mana output most of the time.

Aug 6th 2018 at 9:01:32 AM

So, Spiderkaine, are you going to copy the examples in the comments and paste them into the draft, or what?

Aug 6th 2018 at 9:38:52 AM

Please remove all of that from the laconic description. That is only supposed to be one sentence.

Aug 6th 2018 at 9:57:11 AM

Moved the text from the laconic into the main section, tidied up the description for grammar and spelling, and added links to the works referenced in the examples.

Aug 7th 2018 at 1:17:35 AM

  • Examples section
    • Added [[foldercontrol]] .
    • Changed media section titles as per Media Categories.
    • Namespaced work names. Warning: failure to do this can result in being suspended from editing.
    • Corrected work name.

Aug 8th 2018 at 9:07:42 AM

If you're still tweaking the name, what about More Powerful Protege? A protege would necessarily have a mentor so it doesn't seem necessary to include both characters in the name.

Aug 8th 2018 at 9:56:43 AM

^It would also allow for mentors who have low-tier powers serving as a mentor to less experienced proteges with Reality Warper powers.

Aug 8th 2018 at 10:51:50 AM

Aug 8th 2018 at 1:09:47 PM

Would Alfred the butler and Batman apply? I know Alfred didn't teach Batman EVERYTHING but I feel like Alfred might fit the bill? I dunno.

Aug 8th 2018 at 2:11:46 PM

I would add a longer description. This is a bit of a stub.

Aug 11th 2018 at 4:05:31 PM

I don't think Alfred would count because Bruce was never his protege but rather his employer. Their relationship was always more like a father and son rather than mentor and protege. Regardless, though, by the time the "protege" became powerful, he didn't need a mentor in Alfred. At least, last time I checked.

Aug 11th 2018 at 5:10:24 PM

Laconic is wrong. The mentor CAN have supernatural abilities, just that the protege has to have (way) more.

Aug 14th 2018 at 11:09:32 AM

Would the Kents from Smallville count? They're Clark's adopted parents, but they specifically have to help him figure out his powers, specifically his X-ray Vision in season 1 and his Heat Vision in season 2. They also teach him how to blend in and teach him a moral code that helps him be a hero rather than a conquering invader.

Aug 14th 2018 at 12:28:24 PM

No the relationship is in terms of two people who both are have some experience in combat for the most part

Aug 14th 2018 at 1:03:14 PM

  • Jerry from Wizards Of Waverly Place has long since lost his magical abilities, but nonetheless teaches his children how to use their powers.

Aug 31st 2018 at 9:56:37 PM

So is this gonna get passed or do I have to add more to it?

Sep 1st 2018 at 3:46:08 PM

Does this count?

  • In The Elder Scrolls V Skyrim, the Greybeards serve as mentors to the Dovahkiin in the ways of the Thu'um. Both can use Thu'um, but the Greybeards are only able to master it through years of isolation, meditation and studying the fundamental concepts of the dragon language. The Dovahkiin, in contrast, unlocks Thu'um by consuming the souls of dead dragons, and in a relatively short period of time, can learn a wide variety of Shouts that it would take a typical Greybeard many lifetimes to master.

Sep 1st 2018 at 5:02:57 PM

  • Naruto: Kakashi is one for Naruto himself (and to a lesser extent Sasuke). Kakashi has the experience (having fought the Third Shinobi World War) and the expertise (having a lot of ninja techniques he can use), but Naruto has much more raw power thanks to both his Uzumaki bloodline and the Nine-tailed Fox sealed inside him.

Sep 1st 2018 at 5:07:36 PM

Sep 4th 2018 at 6:43:29 PM

The trope was launched with an insufficient number of net hats, and has been unlaunched.

Also, I hear there was an unresolved discussion regarding the name?

Sep 4th 2018 at 11:50:41 PM

the Batman comics did this starting with DC rebirth. The character of Duke Thomas, "the signal", is essentially a new Robin (although Batman insists it's different and he has the power to see light in a way that allows him to look into the future and the past, among other things.

Star Wars has a downplayed example with Anakin Skywalker and his master Obi-wan Kenobi. Both are Jedi, and thus powered, but Anakin has an abnormally strong connection to the force.

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