Follow TV Tropes


Heroic Willpower

Go To

"It's rare. It's something that doesn't happen within 100 years, but every once in a while, a Beta can become an Alpha without having to steal or take that power. They call it a True Alpha. It's one who rises purely on the strength of the character, by virtue, by sheer force of will."
Dr. A. Deaton, Teen Wolf

The worst has happened; The Hero has not only been infected by the Big Bad with the soul eating virus, but their determined resistance looks like it's about to finally peter out. Just as his friends, family, and significant other look on in growing horror as he becomes a monster and turns to eat them... he doesn't. Even though The Virus has their body and maybe even their mind, it doesn't have their heart or soul. Through sheer grit, or to protect a loved one, they manage to not only resist the lure of The Dark Side, but use Evil is Cool against itself. They may become far stronger than a typical Virus-afflicted, especially if young vampires/werewolves/monsters of that kind are weaker than old ones like the Big Bad and under their control.

The hero who manages to reverse the curse and uses their newfound powers to fight the Big Bad and their Dragon, and beat them at their own game as a Vampire Refugee. Usually, doing so manages to break whatever curse they're under thanks to No Ontological Inertiaexcept when it doesn't. If so, or if they choose to stay infected to fight other monsters (as borderline Zombie Infectees) they end up Cursed with Awesome or become a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire pursuing the path of the Ascended Demon.

The power up gained with Heroic Willpower sometimes manifests by becoming a One-Winged Angel or with a move up the Bishōnen Line, visually distinguishing them from rank and file infected. Incidentally, despite the name, this isn't exclusive to heroes; the Determinator is a classic villain archetype, after all.

The internal struggle is often verbally indicated by the character gaining the Voice of the Legion, paired with physical and verbal tics like biting off each word in a loud (or even shouting) voice in a Punctuated! For! Emphasis! manner. When Played for Laughs the character will Lampshade this by saying something along the lines of "Must. Speak. Like. William Shatner!"

A Sub-Trope of Heroic Spirit.

Compare Heroic Resolve, Determinator (when the character is almost nothing but resolve and willpower), Hot-Blooded (when the character is nothing but resolve and willpower), Good Is Dumb, Deadly Upgrade, "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight, and Intrinsic Vow.

Contrast with Fight Off the Kryptonite and Monsters Anonymous.

See also Clap Your Hands If You Believe, Cursed with Awesome, The Dark Side, Doomed Protagonist, Evil is Cool, No Ontological Inertia, Sheep in Wolf's Clothing, Test of Pain, Viral Transformation, and The Virus.


    open/close all folders 


    Anime and Manga 
  • The Vizard from Bleach. Either they can control the raw power of their darker desires given form or they turn into psychotic soul devouring monsters that must be put down for their own good.
    • Subverted in Chapter 352, when Ishida tells the newly hollowfied Ichigo that there was no need to carry on attacking Ulquiorra's corpse. The result is regrettable.
  • This is the ability of one of the main characters in Claymore. She can go "past the point of no return" in accessing youma powers, but still come back. She can also use this ability on others.
    • Deconstructed when she fights Priscilla. The only way that Clare will have any chance of beating the latter is by fully awakening. However, her Heroic Willpower subconsciously prevents her from being able to unleash her maximum potential, resulting in an almost instant Curb-Stomp Battle that ends very badly for our intrepid heroine.
    • Jean has just as much willpower as Clare, if not more. This is evident in her introductory scene, where she manages to withstand being tortured for hours on end while her comrades succumb to the pain and Awaken. Miria lampshades this when she says that Jean's being able to return to normal after her body had fully Awakened "must be due to an extraordinary strength of spirit" (though Clare's intervention certainly came in handy).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse extraordinaire and Hollywood Cyborg Jeremiah Gottwald of Code Geass fame has one scene when an EMP-like weapon is used to disable his mechanical parts (which comprise a significant part of his body), thereby rendering him immobile and powerless before Lelouch. A few seconds pass, however, and Gottwald continues to advance toward Lelouch by sheer will, apparently grating some meat and metal parts together and causing himself great pain. He doesn't stop, however.
  • This is one of Nezuko's defining traits in Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba. After being turned into a demon, she retains enough sense of self to refuse to eat her brother - and when Giyu threatens him, she turns and defends him. This utterly shocks Giyu (newly-created demons are starving, and she's wounded on top of that) and convinces him to spare her.
  • Devilman is about a timid teenager with a pure heart who allows himself to be possessed by a powerful demon, so he can use that demon's power to fight and kill its comrades (thus, preventing an oncoming demonic invasion.) The boy's personality gets altered after merging with the demon, making him more aggressive.
    • One OVA involves him undergoing enough psychological stress he loses his Heroic Willpower and spends the finale battling inside of his own mind to regain control.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, the wizard Babidi has a mind control spell that works on anyone with evil in their heart and amplifies their physical strength as a side effect. Vegeta is, by the point where Babidi is introduced, on the good guys' side but he's not pure of heart and thus placed under the influence of Babidi's spell. This is a spell that has worked on Dabura, the universe's version of Satan, and made him a loyal servant of Babidi, but the moment that Babidi gives Vegeta an order going against Vegeta's own interests (interest being fighting his rival, command being to kill Babidi's father's killer who's travelling with the heroes), he flat-out refuses, shocking both Babidi and aforementioned servant-Satan. Babidi isn't about to relent though, and commands every fiber in Vegeta's body to obey his command - It's at this point that Vegeta proves why he is the prince of saiyans and breaks the mind control with the following quote:
    Vegeta: "It will take more than head-games to stop me! You may have invaded my mind and my body, but there's one thing a Saiyan always keeps! His PRIIIIIDE!!".
  • Throughout Hell Teacher Nube, one of the titular character's main fears is to have the Hand of the Oni overpower him and transform him into a full Oni, thus unleashing its horror on the world. He has always been able to contain it, with or without help, through sheer willpower. And yet, when confronting said Oni's brother, Zekki, Nube was forced to let the Hand take him over completely, which was Zekki's goal all along... and then proceeded to use the Power of Love for his students to control the transformation and beat Zekki into a bloody pulp.
  • Inuyasha: Swords of an Honorable Ruler:
    • Inuyasha gets possessed early on by the evil sword So'unga, which then orders him to slaughter a helpless mother and her child to stop the baby's wailing cries... to which he responds by sinking his teeth deep into his own arm to hold the sword at bay long enough to get everyone out of harm's way before it overtakes him and forcibly unleashes a Dragon Twister.
    • While more a display of Heroic Resolve than Willpower, Sesshoumaru of all people solves Inuyasha's problem later in the film by forcibly taking the Tessaiga, seething pain of the barrier around it be damned, and blasts So'unga with a Wind Scar.
  • Pictured above: Ryuko from Kill la Kill fighting off a magic thread that literally wraps the victim's brain and puts them under heavy Mind Control. Ryuko manages to resist it through the sheer force of will and ends up tearing the thread out of her head herself.
  • Hayate in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, who reasserted her role as master and administrator of the Book of Darkness after it had taken full control of her body, leading to her ascension as the Queen of the Night Sky.
  • Hikaru Shidou of Magic Knight Rayearth is made of this trope. This is actually how she manages to become Pillar of Cephiro, a position reserved for the person with the most willpower in the land, only to immediately renounce the power with the belief that the people can govern themselves without any sacrifices needed.
  • Jiraiya from Naruto, who literally brought himself back to life after his heart stopped beating for a while from being stabbed in the back with 6 piercing rods through willpower alone.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi has Jack Rakan rewrite reality on force of will alone. Once to break a trap dimension, and again after being deleted from existence. Twice! Breaking the trap dimension was eventually justified as taking advantage of some obscure magical theory no one has ever heard of. The other two received no handwave.
  • Played straight for the most of One Piece with Luffy surviving a massive internal damage just with willpower or Portgas D Rouge delaying the Birth of Ace for 20 months to keep him save and accomplishing that with just willpower.
    • Subverted in the Impel Down arc. Sure, Luffy has the heroic willpower to fight through anything. That's why Magellan had to use a bajillion different poisons on him instead of just one, meaning no medical antidote would work. Double Subverted later, when Ivankov's treatment allows him to fight the poison directly with his will, and he wins (almost dying in the process).
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • In "What Lies Beyond Truth And Ideals", after being controlled twice throughout "Pokémon the Series: Black & White: Adventures in Unova" by Team Plasma, Ash's Pikachu gets control again by the organization. However, this time, Pikachu resist their control through strong force of will, although he has some help from his electricity and support from his friends.
  • Seiya from Saint Seiya can endure Incredibly Powerful attacks only with sheer willpower and some divine help.
  • Numerous examples in Soul Eater. Many characters will suffer through injury and Mind Rape only to carry on fighting. Specifically, it plays a large part in why Stein can't be called entirely Ax-Crazy. He will brutally lay waste to a battlefield of enemy mooks, but he won't let himself turn on his friends.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann main love interest Nia fights against her newly discovered Anti-Spiral purpose and allows Simon save humanity from the enemy's Extermination System. Further, even though she's a “virtual life form”—essentially an interdimensional Projected Woman with No Ontological Inertia—she defies this and continues to stay by Simon's side for some time even after the Anti-Spirals were blown to smithereens, essentially existing moment-by-moment through sheer willpower.
    • The page for TTGL says this grows on trees in that world. This is false. It grows in everything with DNA. They call it Fighting Spirit/Spiral Power, and everything with a spiral to it has it or can be used to generate it. Yes, everything. Even That.
    • Viral is a beastman, which means he was specifically designed not to generate any Spiral Power. He does it anyway through FIGHTING SPIRIT.
    • Even when The Anti-Spiral traps the heroes in a labyrinth designed with the specific purpose to prevent them from ever generating Spiral Power again, they're able to break out by the sheer force of their willpower.
      • All these examples can't help but make one wonder if she truly is gone for good...
  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, Deep Blue has told a sobbing Mew Ichigo that her precious Aoyama-kun is no more. Out of nowhere, Masaya's spirit manifests, taking control of the body again, and begins a cycle of Heroic Sacrifice suicides and resurrections by True Love's Kiss. They eventually sorta cancel each other out, leaving them both alive.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, Yugi stopping Yami from attacking Kaiba in the Duelist Kingdom arc may qualify.
    • Ryou Bakura fighting Yami Bakura from the inside during the Monster World storyarc in the manga certainly counts. Even after Yami Bakura takes control over his body, what's left of Ryou's consciousness manages to fight back and screw his dark counterpart up enough for Yami Yugi and friends to defeat him.
    • Joey, being a pivotal character, breaking Marik's hold over him during the Death-Duel with Yugi.

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers' foe Grim Reaper thought it would be ironic to turn dead Avengers into zombies to use against the still-living ones... and then found out the hard way that Avengers fight evil even beyond death.
  • Midnighter gets a moment like this when he (along with Jack Hawksmoor, Jeroen, and most of the planet) is infected with an evil cult virus. Though the virus has made him obedient to the cult's will (so much so that they've got him flogging himself), he manages to hold out until Swift rescues him. Why? Well, the fact that they wanted him to publicly break up with his husband Apollo and denounce his former lifestyle might have had something to do with it.
  • Batman has so much willpower, it's practically his only superpower. Superman said it himself in his "No More Holding Back" Speech that Batman will continue to fight as long as he has breath in his body.
  • During one arc in the Giffen/DeMatteis run on Justice League of America, a street punk got his hands on Big Barda's Mega-Rod, her signature weapon. The Mega-Rod, forged on Apokalips, constantly sends out subliminal mind-control messages commanding that its wielder submit his/her will to Darkseid. By the end of the issue, the street punk was an emaciated slave living only to serve Darkseid. The fact that Barda is able to wield the Mega-Rod and can shrug off its mind-controlling properties speaks volumes of her levels of willpower.
  • Leia Organa Solo provokes this in her mind-controlled brother in the first Dark Empire graphic novel, despite the Emperor's assurances that his personality had been completely annihilated.
  • Deadpool while temporarily infected by a T-O Virus (in a reality hopping storyline), complete with the obligatory Must speak like William Shatner?! line.
  • Being a realistic series, Diabolik doesn't usually feature something like this... Except with Ginko. Who, without having received any special treatment against it, is immune to Truth Serums because he's just that strong-willed.
  • During the Marvel Zombies/Army of Darkness crossover, Doctor Doom reveals that he's been infected with The Virus. The reason he doesn't attack the heroes is because he's so incredibly badass that he's just holding it off because no goddamn virus is going to mouth off to Victor Von Muthafuckin' Doom.
    • Not quite "Heroic" Willpower, but Doctor Doom gets one in the Emperor Doom arc, where he's used the Purple Man's powers to take over the world. The Purple Man tells Doom he couldn't have done any of this without his help, at which point Doom removes the mask that protects him from the Purple Man's powers and just stares him down while the Purple Man keeps giving him commands he doesn't obey. Now, Zebediah Killgrave... WHO deserves to rule?
    • Doctor Doom once went toe-to-toe with a Physical God called the Overmind, who professed to have the mental and physical strength of billions of aliens. He had already effortlessly mind-controlled Mr. Fantastic into trying to kill the rest of the FF, when Doom showed up. Doom simply IGNORED the mind-control, while simultaneously boasting, fighting, and being nearly killed... to save the man he hates more than anyone in the universe. And he did it all just to prove (to his arch-enemy's wife!) that he wasn't scared.
  • The Green Lantern Corps is powered, quite literally, by heroic willpower.
    • Guy Gardner in particular has so much willpower that his ring can barely contain it, causing it to constantly spark with energy when it's not actively used. He's also one of the few beings who could control a Red Lantern Ring without being consumed with Unstoppable Rage.
  • The Heap: Baron Eric Von Emmelmann was shot down over Wausau swamp, near the small town of Rodz in Poland. Lying lifeless as his body slowly merged with the morass, he had nothing left but his will to live, to rise, to return to the world of humans. Over next 24 years, Von Emmelmann's will to live, coupled with vegetation of swamp covering his body and replacing the flesh, allowed him to arise again, now formed from the muck and vegetation of the swamp.
  • Danny "Iron Fist" Rand can focus his chi so intensely that he can punch through steel and cure cancer. At the same time.
  • Similar to the video game on which it was based, the Dark World in The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past (1992) transforms anyone who travels there into a mindless beast reflecting the darkness in their heart. In the game, Link is only rendered immune to this effect by a magical artifact. To save time, the comic adaptation has Link resist the effect by banishing all darkness from his heart by sheer willpower. Roam takes a different tack; instead of resisting the effect, he gives into it, transforming into an eagle but retaining his mind and self-control, again by sheer willpower.
  • In Post-Crisis Martian Manhunter comics, it was established that the shapeshifting, telepathic Martian race was wiped out by a psychic plague that caused the victim to shapeshift into a form that would spontaneously combust. The only way to save oneself was to avoid telepathic contact with anyone, an almost impossible feat for a race that maintained low-level esper contact constantly. J'onn survived because he was able to hold out the longest without telepathic contact, tragically leaving him as the last man standing. J'onn survived because he was literally the strongest-willed person on his whole world.
  • Golden Age superhero the Master Mystic had as his superpower such strong will that he became The Omnipotent.
  • This is essentially one of Spider-Man's powers. In fact, on some battle forums, this mode is sometimes called "Aunt May Mode" or "Mary Jane Mode" because roughly once a year since his inception, Spidey has had one of these moments in which he utilized this trope, often when his loved ones were in trouble (or at least the moment was brought on when he thought of them). When this happens, he goes far beyond his normal limitations. Examples include:
    • Being trapped under a bridge when he needed to get to Aunt May, he actually lifted the entire bridge to free himself. The most impressive part of this scene is that this happened while he was a teenager, a time in which he was at his lowest power levels.
    • His infamous fight against Firelord.
    • Lifting an entire section of the New York Subway during a fight against the Lizard.
    • His first fight against The Juggernaut (although he was still not powerful enough to beat Juggy, he still managed to hold onto life/consciousness long enough to trap him).
    • His last fight with Morlun in which he actually came back from the dead and evolved on the spot to beat the villain who was threatening his wife.
  • Like Spider-Man, this is also one of Captain America's most prominent powers. This is best displayed during his time in Dimension Z when got infected by a parasite designed by Arnim Zola to put him in constant pain and completely mind control him. He had the Zola parasite for years, living with the pain and fighting off Zola's attempt to bend him to his will until he finally had enough and decided to get rid of the parasite by cutting it out of his chest, leaving a large gaping hole on his body. And despite the physical and psychological toll all of that should have had on his body, Captain America still kept walking and holding true to who he is.
  • In Batman: Hush, Superman is controlled by Poison Ivy's special Kryptonite blend of mind-control lipstick, leading to a big fight with Batman, who frantically stacks the deck by playing Superman's innate boy-scout tendencies against him—those base-level urges are so innate to Superman that Poison Ivy couldn't make him ignore them. The control is finally broken by a supreme burst of Heroic Willpower caused by Catwoman shoving Lois Lane off of a building.
    • He works to improve this because his greatest fear is losing control. He has even learned techniques for fighting mind control.
    • In Emperor Joker, Superman is initially the only person in the entire world who can actively fight off the Joker's Reality Warper powers- not only mind controlling people to be what they're not, but retroactively making it so they've always been this way. Similarly to the Hush example above, Superman's innate heroic instincts (in this case, Thou Shalt Not Kill) prove the key to regaining his memories. Additionally by the end of the whole ordeal, after Batman (as mentioned below, no slouch in this department himself) has been finally driven insane by the memories of the Joker's Cold-Blooded Torture, Superman saves him. By taking all of the memories into himself. The memories and experiences that broke the bat? He shrugs them off in less than two pages. Essentially, his willpower is strong enough to save them both!
    • By the DC Rebirth era, Superman's willpower is so strong that he's able to resist forceful possession by Parallax (the same creature who possessed both Hal Jordan and Kyle Rayner and only possessed Supes to protect children it had kidnapped), but also hijack Sinestro's yellow Power Ring and trap Parallax in it.
  • Star Wars: Kanan: While Caleb's "The Reason You Suck" Speech was definitely a factor, Commander Grey is the first and only clone that we know of to overcome his programming and go against Order 66 without removing his control chip.
  • In 30 Days of Night, sheriff Eben Olemaun allows himself to be infected with vampire blood in order to become strong enough to defend his town. It works, and even though he's ravenous for human blood he manages to control his urges and fight and kill several vampires, including their leader. He doesn't turn human again afterwards though, and allows himself to die when the sun finally rises.
  • In the Spider-man comics there's the good symbiote Toxin (the host is a cop, and new father who decides to use this power to do good). Also the lesser known character Hybrid (though he/they are something of an inversion with the symbiote(s) being more placid and the human host more prone to Unstoppable Rage.)
  • Ultimate X-Men: At one point, Colossus manages to stand up while Magneto tries to pin him down with his magnetism. The effort clearly leaves him in agonizing pain but he manages to land a few good blows nonetheless.
  • Sins of Sinister: Despite having spent a century as a mindless abomination, after being set free, Kurt's utter fury at Mother Righteous for perverting his ideology allows him to muster the strength to resist his transformation and speak, using all his effort to growl out the true meaning of the Spark as he attacks.
  • Astro City: Ben Naparski, a.k.a. Lord Saampa, has been fighting against the corrupting influence of the Oubor. He tries to steal the Diadem of the Serpent's Eye to control it, but realizes at the last second that wearing it will actually unleash the Oubor. As he struggles to resist, a little girl nearby urges him to remember who he is, which gives him the strength to throw away the Diadem.

    Fan Works 
  • In "Apex Predator", after Harry is claimed by the Delacour family, it's noted that while most Veela would be eager to treat Harry as nothing but a breeding stud, his experiences with the family allow him to resist most other Veela when they attempt to lure him away. While Harry reflects that he would have had trouble doing this at the beginning, after a few months with the Delacours as a whole he has enough self-control to resist other Veela if he doesn't feel comfortable with them, even if he acknowledges that he would have given in if he actually consented to sex.
  • In The Bridge, Rarity knows she isn't strong enough to hold off Enjin and save the civilians in harms way. So she knowingly releases Nightmare and lets her bond to her to recreate Nightmare Rarity, only to then mentally overpower Nightmare and take control of their body.
  • Child of the Storm has this as standard for anyone deemed eligible to wield Alan Scott's Green Lantern Ring including Harry Dresden, a canonical example in his own right. A particular example, however, is Carol, who's quite literally too stubborn to die.
    • Harry Potter/Thorson himself is no slouch.
      • He resists Chthon's temptations at the end of the first book, with Doctor Strange actually counting on him doing so.
      • In the sequel, he takes torture, brainwashing attempts, and psychic attacks for two days straight with no food, water, or sleep at the hands of the Red Room without breaking. And when, from his perspective, immediately after this he's hit with six months of memories of horrors his body was used to commit as the Red Son and finds that half his body has been consumed by the techno-organic virus, he enters a state of Tranquil Fury and proceeds to become the Dark Phoenix.
      • Oh, and after that, with a bit of help from the Power of Love and Power of Friendship, he manages to reject and suppress the power of the Dark Phoenix.
      • He later goes on to resist tapping into that same power despite having every reason to (including, but not limited to, being beaten to a pulp, Impaled with Extreme Prejudice on his own sword, struck by lightning, seeing one of his best friends almost horribly murdered and nearly lose an eye to his evil cousin, now a vampire, and facing the prospect of seeing one of his other best friends - who he's at least in Courtly Love with - dying horribly) and being acutely aware of how it would solve all his problems... albeit at the cost of causing more. This particular example is noted as a testament to his character.
  • In Codex Equus, Silver Bane Deconstructs and plays this trope for drama. Thanks to Trauma-Induced Amnesia regarding his past as well as the Poenan Pantheon's harmful teachings, Silver Bane falsely believed for years that his vampiric side was a "curse", and suppressed it through both sheer willpower and the Poenans' divine artifacts, hoping it could be contained/purged. But the effort of suppressing his vampiric side slowly takes a toll on his mind, and after going through a few extremely stressful situations, Silver Bane falls into a coma that he couldn't wake up from no matter what his friends tried. A Llama monk discovered through "mind-walking" that Silver Bane's coma was caused by his "dark half", the manifestation of everything he hated about himself and has become hellbent in taking over his body out of spite and desperation to free itself. Then it becomes a rare positive inversion when, after his friends uncovered his forgotten memories and thus allowed him to remember his origins, Silver Bane apologized to his "dark half" and reconciled with it by offering a chance to start over as equals so they could make up for what they both did. This led to both of them mentally fusing, transforming Silver Bane into a true Dhampyr in the real world, and creating a balanced individual with a stabler mindset and greater power than before.
  • Fractures (SpaceDimentio): After mulling over the guilt of her shattered friends and her failed rebellion, Pink mustered up the sheer strength of will and utter contempt for the role she is forced to be a part of to overpower White Diamond with her aura alone, giving her an opening to shatter her in a single-swoop.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, Superman endures Parasite's life-drain for over one month, making Parasite wonder how the Man of Steel can be still alive. Later, Kal-El explains he wouldn't be a very good Superman if he quit every time it gets tough.
  • In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, Mega Man is able to resist Splash Woman's powers enough for her to become annoyed and give up on seducing him at the moment.
  • Miraculous City:
    • Sentibeings can overcome commands from their amoks through strong will and desire. Adrien unknowingly frees himself when he fights off his father's command to keep out of danger so he can save Marinette from a public execution by Cerise, while Kagami frees herself directly to stop her mother from making her kill Felix.
    • Villainous example: true to form, Lila and Chloé are starting to break through the Akumatization brainwashing Hawk Moth forced Chrysalis to put them under.
  • In Patterns of the Past, Olesya doesn't go through Sanity Slippage when tapping into the Mathness, something that Old Missie expresses surprise at since she's seen some of her agents lose their sanity entirely when they do it to the point that it takes Odd Squad Doctors a very long time to pull them out and make them their normal selves. It's never explained why, but it's possible that Olesya wanting to save and protect the rescue team, as well as having hope for Ogden stealthily aiding Old Missie in escaping from her confines, had something to do with it.
  • The Power of Seven;
    • How Harry throws off Romilda's love potion. It's implied he was fighting it unconsciously the whole time (the narration points out his massive headache, stated to be an effect of fighting off the potion), but seeing Ginny while Romilda is groping him slams him out of it instantly. Madame Pomfrey is astonished when she's told that Harry fought free of the potion, rather than receiving an antidote or letting it wear off.
    • Harry demonstrates this later when he fights off the allure of Fleur's mother when she attempts to seduce him, but he needs a considerable effort to pull this off and afterwards lacks the energy to resist Fleur's seduction when he actually wants to be with her.

    Film — Animated 
  • Sleeping Beauty: When Maleficent is enchanting Aurora to prick her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel to make the curse come true, Aurora was able to resist when Merryweather calls out to her to not touch anything. Maleficent is then forced to order Aurora to touch the spindle herself.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Bird Box:
    • After Gary forces Olympia to see the creatures while she's still holding her newborn daughter. Malorie begs her to give the baby to her. She manages to resist the creatures long enough to do so before she flings herself out a window.
    • Tom is exposed to the creatures, but musters enough willpower to kill the last of the crazy survivors before taking his own life.
  • Doom (the film) revolves around a chromosome which, when injected to people with an "evil" gene, turns them into murderous monsters. When Reaper is injected with it, he becomes superhuman, since he doesn't have the evil gene.
    • And also, one of the marines realizes that he is infected and brains himself to death before he can turn.
  • Outright defied in The Empty Man. The Pontifex Society gives Lasombra such a depressing backstory so that, when it's time for him to become The Empty Man's new host, he doesn't have any reason to fight it.
  • Evil Dead 2 had our hero Ashley Williams corrupted and turned into a Deadite. He couldn't actually fight it off when it mattered, beating the hell out of the only other survivor and approaching her unconscious body to finish her off. Then he came across the bit of jewelry that he'd given his girlfriend earlier in the film, lets out a howl of pain, and successfully fights off possession.
  • Into the Storm (2009) has this as Churchill's defining characteristic. Quoth FDR:
    Roosevelt: Maybe drunk, maybe a warmonger, but certainly a fighter.
  • In The Lost Boys, the older brother, Mike, is given blood that's slowly making him a vampire. After a climactic battle where he, his brother and friends defend their home from the vampire gang that was turning him, he manages to beat the strongest vampire in the gang. When he doesn't turn human again and the real vampire lord show up, he beats him too and finally regains his humanity.
  • The Pumaman: all of the good guys except the so-called "hero" manage at one point or another to resist the effects of the ancient mind control mask.
  • Serenity: despite River Tam's brain is explicitly stated to be surgically altered to remove her ability to control her own behaviour, she nevertheless becomes less insane and more stable in the end of the film, with no explanation other than Heroic Willpower and the Power of Friendship.
    • Getting the secret of Miranda off her chest seems to have helped too.
  • Spider-Man: No Way Home, after reclaiming his body and mind from his alter ego, Norman Osborn resisted Green Goblin's attempt to retake control of him again through his willpower and continue to suppress him for a short while before his evil side took him over once more.
    • In Spider-Man 2, Otto Octavius has a Heel Realization after Peter appeals to the good in him, and is able to reclaim control of his mind from the actuators in the climax. This is without the inhibitor chip - the effort is clearly grueling, which makes the moment even more awesome.
    Octavius: Listen to me now!
  • Skyline: while everyone else who gets their brains put into alien bodies seems to lose all personality and will, the male lead uses his powerful new body to kick alien butt when they endanger his pregnant girlfriend.
  • Deconstructed in Terminator Genisys. T-5000's attacks causes Unwilling Roboticisation to John Conner's resistance soldiers, although everyone got killed from it. Only John Conner had the willpower to survive the process, which just means he successfully became a T-3000.
  • In Warcraft (2016), Khadgar manages to resist The Corruption and exorcise it from Medivh, to boot with nothing more than a Survival Mantra and determination.

  • In The Cloak Society, most superheroes trapped in the Gloom faded away; the survivors are mere husks, incapable of speech, but they remember they are heroes and get those who could survive to the portal that will let them out.
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: Nesta is the only one of her family that withstands the effects of Tamlin's glamour due to her strong willpower. She admits that it was hard for her to see their father and Elain being so content with the glamour.
  • Discworld:
    • In almost all the books, Angua has Heroic Willpower about her werewolf shape, doing her best to make sure she doesn't hurt people (unless they're criminals, and then she hurts them just enough to arrest them or make them stop what they're doing.)
    • In Carpe Jugulum, Granny Weatherwax pulls this one off with vampiric infection. An interesting twist is that she uses the blood connection to make the vampires weaker, rendering them unable to drink blood or harm humans and giving them an unnatural addiction to tea and cookies. In fact, it's a feature of every witch, even ones as soppy as Magrat, who manages to throw off the Elf Queen's Mind Rape.
    • Sam Vimes is freakin' made of this trope. This happens to him in Men at Arms, and gets a metaphor too: "The pounding spirit of the gonne flowing up Vimes' arms met the armies of sheer stoneheaded Vimesness surging the other way." At the end of Jingo, he tells off one of the Ankh-Morporkian aristocrats while holding a burning coal in his hand.
  • Dragonlance has some not-quite-but-close examples. Raistlin who whilst opening the portal to the Abyss realizes he has failed just like his predecessor before him and was about to die and cause great destruction all around him as the portal was closing, through sheer force of will alone held the portal open long enough to enter it. The difference here is that Raistlin was not a hero, so it was more like Villainous Willpower, if there is such a thing. His nephews Palin and Steel managed through will to brave their way through the Shoikan Grove — a passage that no mortal had ever passed before without an invitation from the master of the Tower.
  • In the Dreamblood Duology, Ehiru, when suffering from dreamblood withdrawal, adamantly refuses to alleviate his suffering by gathering it from any of the other travellers or members of their caravan, even though the logical consequence is to become a Reaper and lose his humanity.
  • The first encounter between young Druss and Nosta Khan the Nadir shaman in the Drenai saga. During an argument Nosta puts Druss under a paralyzing spell, which causes agonizing pain with every attempt to move, and proceeds to gloat about how Druss is in his power now. Druss then grabs him by the throat and threatens to break his neck if the spell isn't removed.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • This is one of Harry's defining characteristics.
      • When infected with a copy of a Fallen Angel that tried to tempt him into evil, he spent years fighting the temptations that were confidently expected to destroy him, before eventually converting the copy to his own side.
      • Harry becomes the Winter Knight. All throughout Cold Days, his psychopathic side threatens to slip out a terrifying number of times. He always snaps back within a few seconds and redoubles his efforts to suppress it.
    • The Denarians are an evil version. All of them are possessed by fallen angels, and some of them continue to go by their mortal names, while other use those of their Fallen. If it's the latter, it's because the human spirit has been crushed to the point that they're little more than husks the Fallen operate through, while the others have retained their own agency. If a second set of glowing eyes appears over their own, it means that the Fallen within has taken at least partial control, something that often happens the moment a fight breaks out. The leader of the Denarians, Nicodemus, has never been seen like this, and rather than being transformed into a battle form like the rest, his Fallen Anduriel manifests as a Living Shadow. When he boasts that the Fallen now follow his designs, not only does he not get immediately smacked down, but his shadow pulses in time to his words, as though Anduriel were nodding along.
  • In the later (in internal chronology) Dune sequels, gholas (clones) can be "awakened" (recover the memories of their previous life/lives) by programming them to do something their true self finds abhorrent to invoke this trope.
  • Occurs in Good Omens: Adam is a 11-year-old boy who also happens to be the Antichrist destined to end the world. As the Apocalypse draws closer, he gradually becomes less like his playful kid self and more like a ruthless Creepy Child Reality Warper. When his friends make him realize that he's Not Himself, he visibly struggles against another presence within himself (presumably some hellish influence) and manages to regain control of himself to enact a Screw Destiny mission.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry regularly fights off various threats that attempt to weaken or control his mind, such as the despair-inducing power of the dementors, although he is overcome by these the first few times. He also seems to be nearly immune to the Imperius Curse, a strength few other character shows, and in one case fought off bodily possession by Voldemort himself. His resistance is explained as a combination of this trope and The Power of Love.
    • Also subverted with the werewolf Remus Lupin, as (without the Wolfsbane potion) he cannot keep his mind when transformed and attacks his own friends.
  • Legacy of the Force: In Invincible, Admiral Wedge Antilles can apparently prevent Jacen Solo from reading his mind through sheer determination.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Subverted. Frodo resists the lure of the Ring and the terrifying presence of Sauron...until he gets to Mount Doom, where he's finally overcome and refuses to destroy it. Sam and Faramir possess a level of it as well to resist the Ring for the short time they're exposed to it.
    • There is a straighter example far earlier in the book; when Bilbo surrenders the ring after having held it since he acquired it in The Hobbit. While Sam's refusal after a few days was impressive, considering that Smeagol fell under its power simply by looking at it, Bilbo's feat was possibly the single most powerful example in Tolkien's Legendarium, even if when he was in its presence for a second time his resistance wavered.
  • In Mockingjay, Peeta Mellark gets hijacked and brainwashed into wanting to kill Katniss, believing she's a mutt who's out to kill him. The main characters are told that there's no cure for hijacking and that nobody has ever recovered from it. In the end Peeta recovers almost entirely through sheer force of will.
  • Necroscope: Harry Keogh contains his vampirism until he feels he can do so no more and then leaves Earth. Unfortunately he continues to try to do so when among his own kind, which ends very badly for him and everyone he cares about.
  • In Parrish Plessis, Parrish's heroic willpower makes her the only one able to resist the influence of The Corruption after being infected. But even she succumbs to it in the end.
  • In President's Vampire, Cade has to display it all the time, as he refuses to drink human blood, but his personal CMOA comes when Zach decides to tests his limits and orders him to drink a bottle of human blood. Technically, Cade is bound to the will of US President's liaison, which is Zach, but he manages to overcome both this and his Horror Hunger long enough for Zach to realize that this wasn't such a good idea.
  • Rachel Griffin: In The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin, Valerie discovers she is under a geas that has made her leak information to the villains, and immediately tries to break free. Despite potentially deadly side effects, she is able to reveal her situation to the person she was supposed to hide it from and secure help, before passing out from blood loss and pain.
  • In Second Apocalypse, Kellhus displays Heroic Willpower in shrugging off mind control.
  • In The Spirit Thief, Josef manages to keep going despite mortal wounds through sheer willpower and refusal to die. Fridge Logic suggests that it might be a more primitive version of Tesset's self-mastery (which allows Tesset to control every aspect of his body with his mind).
  • Henrik Wergeland wrote a short tale, the thistle gatherer, about a boy who had resolved himself to rid his father´s field of thistles, and at the end of the day had only managed to cover a few square metres of it. The aesop of the story is simply: "God counts only the will to carry on, even if your results seem feeble".
  • In The Tommyknockers, Bobbi Anderson's sister Anne is a lifelong bully and control freak who makes everybody around her frightened and/or miserable. She has "heroic willpower" in exactly the sense Hitler claimed to have "fanatical will power." But when she is turned into a living battery for the Havenites, her ultradominant personality at least enables her to rebel and subvert the machinery.
  • The Twilight Saga:
    • Edward Cullen is a poster boy for this. Even though Bella is his singer, the one human whose blood is absolutely irresistible to him, he painfully prevents himself from killing her, since he "doesn't want to be a monster" and because he eventually falls in love with her. Of course, his blood lust is a metaphor for real lust, which he's also experiencing, and which he also has to demonstrate incredible willpower to resist, since he's sure sex would kill Bella. All this in spite of Bella being more than willing to take a chance at the risk and not shy of trying every waking moment. He eventually manages to control his thirst so well that he can kiss her, hold her and eventually have sex with her without drinking her blood or killing her.
    • Not only that. He manages to control his thirst so good that he can kiss her, hold her and eventually have sex with her without drinking her blood or killing her.
    • Bella herself also demonstrates this trope when she becomes a vampire, even being able to resist going after human blood when she catches their scent during a hunt and generally being able to control her newfound vampire senses and urges immediately instead of being blood-crazed for the first year as she was warned she would be.
  • In The Witchlands, when Esme Cleaves every witch in Lejna, making them Brainwashed and Crazy, Vaness manages to resist Cleaving with nothing but force of will.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Tomb of the Cybermen": Toberman manages to retain enough of his humanity after partial conversion to turn on the Cyber-Controller and sacrifice himself to seal the tomb.
    • "The Five Doctors": The Doctors combine their willpower to free themselves from being People Puppets.
    • "Doomsday": Torchwood leader Yvonne Hartman, who helped cause an invasion of Cybermen by interfering with the Doctor, is captured by the Cybermen and undergoes Cyber-conversion. She manages to maintain her free will through her love of "Queen and Country" (or the fact that she was already robotic enough that the Cyberman procedure had no effect) and holds off several of the Cybermen, at the cost of what was left of her own life, while the Doctor saves the day.
    • Subverted in "The Pandorica Opens". Auton Rory has enough Heroic Willpower to hold onto his identity and memories, but not enough to keep him from shooting Amy. Then double subverted as it flows into "The Big Bang"; the grief and shock from mortally wounding his wife, and the anger from the Doctor showing up to goad him about it in a Secret Test of Character, leads him to truly overcome the programming, put Amy in the Pandorica instead of the Doctor, and then spend so long guarding it and her that there are, quite literally, legends about him now.
    • "Death in Heaven": The recently-dead Danny Pink and lately dead Brigadier Alistair Gordon Lethbridge-Stewart overcome their Cyberman programming to help save the Doctor and Clara by the love they have for those closest to them (Clara for Danny, The Brigadier's daughter). The latter goes so far as to fire on Missy with the Cyber-guns he wouldn't have in the first place if she hadn't pulled this stunt.
      The Doctor: Love isn't an emotion. It's a promise.
    • "The Doctor Falls":
      • Bill Potts manages to resist the effects of being converted into the first Mondasian Cyberman and fights alongside the Doctor to the very end of the Final Battle.
      • By the end of the episode, the Doctor has been beaten, electrocuted and survived an entire spaceship floor exploding and still manages to hold regeneration for one last adventure.
    • "Resolution": Lin does her best to fight off the influence of the Dalek recon scout controlling her while it forces her to build it a new casing.
  • Farscape:
    • Zhaan has a variation of this happen to her. Tahleen, an evil member of her race, telepathically tears from her mind the knowledge she used to overcome a wasting insanity she suffered by telepathically murdering her former lover for being a traitor. The result is that she becomes borderline sociopathic with red eyes. She manages to Snap Back thanks to sharing minds with Crichton, showing her that the kindness she's capable of is inherent and can't just be ripped out. As a result, she also becomes more spiritually powerful, and destroys the evil priestesses' chance to grow stronger.
    • When John is infected with a neural chip by Scorpius, meant to not only collect what it can on wormholes, but keep him alive and stops John from killing Scorpius, John is able to resist saving Scorpius by replacing his cooling rod by singing the Star Spangled Banner.
  • Game of Thrones: King Baelor Targaryen. How else would he have survived getting bit by vipers to save his cousin? Unfortunately for him and the Seven Kingdoms, Heroic Willpower was not enough to prevent his being driven mad by the cumulative effects of the venom, at least according to Prince Oberon.
  • Inverted in Heroes: Sylar resists Doyle's People Puppets trick through Villainous Willpower.
  • Kamen Rider Ghost: The Necrom suit was originally constructed with Mooks as a power source, which became inconvenient to its user after losing the ability to summon said mooks. Then he got so fired up that he rewired the suit to essentially run on his desire to protect the world he came to love.
  • Parodied in the Key & Peele sketch "Georgina and Esther and Satan". Two stereotypical black church mothers spend several minutes saying how they'll torture the Devil "with their prayers" for tempting their loved ones before Georgina suddenly becomes possessed by Satan himself. But only a few mere seconds after possessing her, Satan finds that her willpower is so strong that not only can Georgina easily maintain control of her body, but she can in fact hold him inside her and torture him. She quickly passes him to Esther to torture, as they drag him outside screaming for help.
  • In one episode of Knight Rider, Michael gets poisoned and becomes steadily weaker as he searches for the antidote. Towards the end, as KITT monitors Michael's vitals, he actually says "You're now operating on sheer willpower!"
  • Lucifer (2016):
    • Lucifer has the ability to draw out someone's hidden desire. While he is very confused by Chloe's complete immunity, he does admit that sometimes it doesn't work on "complicated" people. A few times people have been shown struggling against the compulsion enough for Lucifer to make note of it, but they ultimately give in. Everyone except for Linda, the psychotherapist Lucifer meets in the first episode. While she is clearly affected, she is able to resist, and Lucifer has to make a deal for the information they need instead.
    • Dan proves to be the only person who's able to resist the Hate Plague effect of Azrael's blade. The blade pushes humans to take Disproportionate Retribution on those who slight them, no matter how minor the grievance is. When Dan gets his hands on the blade he confronts Lucifer but eventually admits that Lucifer isn't who he's really angry at. The real problems in Dan's life are things he did to himself which allows him to fight the blade's drive to attack others.
  • In Odyssey 5, Chuck Taggart is infected with Nanomachines that are slowly turning him into a "Synthetic", or cyborg servant to an evil AI. As the process is about to complete and he links with the AI, he resists becoming its servant and instead steals the knowledge needed to reprogram the nanites to turn him human again.
  • Henry Foss in Sanctuary learns to control his werewolf side and keep it from taking over in "Edward" (and uses his newfound skills to solve the Mystery of the Week). Later, in "Revelations" he resists the Cabal's attempts to permanently turn him into a werewolf and later turns just enough to escape from a cell without going all the way.
  • Inverted in Stargate Atlantis, where the Wraith Michael manages to overcome the effects of a virus that turns Wraiths into submissive humans (on two separate occasions) through a sort of Villainous Willpower.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • James T. Kirk is able to resist all manner of odds and temptations through sheer willpower and pure awesomeness in just about every other episode.
    • In the episode "Operation: Annihilate!", Spock is infected with a Puppeteer Parasite that causes violent madness through excruciating pain. Spock overcomes it through sheer force of will and is able to operate almost normally, with flashes of discomfort, until cured. Unlike Kirk, this is justified in that he is a Vulcan and as such has significant Master of Your Domain powers.
  • This is the only reason Supernatural's world still exists.
    • Shown by John in "Devil's Trap" when he is able to resist and trap the possessing Azazel for a moment. Later, he refuses to torture in hell to escape torture for one hundred years.
    • For thirty years, Dean resisted Alastair's offer to escape torture in Hell by torturing other souls. In "The Magnificent Seven", he resists Lust's charms.
    • Displayed by a demon-possessed Bobby in "Sympathy for the Devil" when he breaks the demon's hold just before it can kill Dean, and instead, stabs himself with Ruby's "kill-all" knife.
    • Sam's a big invoker of this trope. In "My Bloody Valentine", through sheer willpower, he manages to stand in Famines presence without being completely consumed by his hunger for Demon Blood; Famine urges him to give in by offering his henchmen but Sam instead uses his powers to exorcise them, responding with a badass "No". In "Swan Song", he takes control of his body while the Devil is riding it just so that he can throw himself and the Devil into Hell's solitary confinement. In "The Man Who Knew Too Much", he drags himself to assist Dean and Bobby in the battle against Castiel and Crowley despite obviously suffering under the strain of his "hell memories". In "Road Trip", he kicks a possessing Gadreel out of his body after a mental beatdown.
    • Castiel, after getting Drunk on the Dark Side, has a Heel Realization and manages to resist the evil inside himself long enough to ask Sam and Dean for help expel the souls inside of him back to Purgatory. It's too bad the Leviathans remain and take him over.
  • Teen Wolf:
    • As the page quote shows, this is how a Beta can become a True Alpha.
    • In "Currents", Dr. Deaton is taken. Knowing it would (most likely) be Scott who'd come to save him, Dr. Deaton was surrounded by a ring of Mt. Ash — which supernatural creatures cannot cross. Scott indeed does come to the rescue and tries to break through anyways, and in the process, Scott's eyes turn red — but he is still a Beta. This also confirms what Dr. Deaton reveals he had believed. Their conversation post Dr. Deaton's rescue:
      Dr. Deaton: Your eyes were red! Bright red!
      Scott: How is that possible?
      Dr. Deaton: It's rare. It's something that doesn't happen within 100 years, but every once in a while, a Beta can become an Alpha without having to steal or take that power. They call it a True Alpha. It's one who rises purely on the strength of character, by virtue, by sheer force of will.
      Scott: You knew this would happen.
      Dr. Deaton: I believed. From the moment I knew you were bitten, I believed.
  • Stefan Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries has struggled intensely for over a century with his blood addiction and bloodlust. However, Stefan has managed to fight his urge to kill and drink copious amounts of human blood due to his strong morals. Because of this, Stefan has gone out of his way to not feed on innocent humans, however, he has not always been successful over the course of his immortal life. Due to his severe blood addiction, Stefan has succumbed to his weakness of blood addiction and has gone on a human blood and feeding rampage on and off over the course of his immortal life. When off the rails in terms of his blood addiction and bloodlust, he is known as the "Ripper" during this phase. However, due to his strong willpower, he has managed to pull himself out of his Ripper phase and control his blood lust as much as possible.

  • In The Magnus Archives, becoming an avatar of one of the Powers gives you powerful supernatural abilities at the cost of gradually losing your humanity; most of the avatars encountered during the series have completely embraced their monstrous side and actively hate humankind. Except for Jon and Daisy, who have thus far managed to quell their Horror Hunger and continue fighting on the protagonists' side despite their status as unwilling servants of the Beholding and the Hunt.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Iron Will feat grants extra resistance to mind control, fear, and other mind-affecting magics.
    • Paladins' Divine Grace lets them apply their Charisma to their saving throws, resisting everything from dragons' fire to petrification with sheer force of personality.
    • 3.5 Edition has the Iron Heart Surge combat maneuver, which, due to poor clarification, can end anything from raving insanity to being pregnant, but, because maneuvers require movement, can't break out of paralysis or Mind Control that Heroic Willpower typically ends.
  • This is the basis behind the Extra Effort mechanic in Mutants & Masterminds, allowing you to push your powers beyond their normal limits. You can make an extra action, gain a bonus to your roll or strength of your power, get an extra roll to resist a debilitating effect or retool your power set to do something creatively new. The cost is taking a level of fatigue next round (get three and you're knocked out), unless you pay it off with a Victory Point.
  • This is represented in White Wolf's Storyteller/Storytelling systems by the appropriately-named Willpower score, which aids in throwing off mental influence and enhancing various dice rolls.
    • In Exalted, every character also has a handful of virtues. Compassion, Conviction, Temperance and Valor are ranked 1-5 based on how your character views them and acts on them, and you get a number of base Willpower points based on your highest Virtues. If you're trying to do something that fits a virtue, you can use Willpower to boost to your roll and it is one of the very few sources of extra dice for mortals. Exalted do not usually use it for this purpose as they just have magic, but some of the more powerful Charms incur a Willpower cost as well as Essence. Another use is resisting mental influence, where paying enough Willpower points can negate a More than Mind Control attempt. Finally, it can be used to resist the compunction to act upon those Virtues, but doing so incurs mental stress that will eventually result in a "Limit Break", where you either go catatonic or start acting out in overwhelming extremes of said Virtue or its opposite. No resisting that with Willpower of course, but going through does refresh your full supply of it.
    • Hunters in Hunter: The Vigil are able to do all kinds of impressive things with Willpower points. It's not quite on par with its use in Exalted, but that's because Hunters are basically limited to Badass Normal with a few extra tricks.
    • Willpower functions in a similar way in the other World of Darkness gamelines. For example, not only is the difficulty of a Vampire's Dominate Discipline determined by the victim's Willpower (meaning that a character with maximum Willpower requires all but a perfect roll to control successfully), but certain merits, such as Code of Honor, or certain abilities, such as a Mage's Mind Sphere, can help increase the difficulty further. Willpower also determines whether or not a character falls victim to phobias.
  • Inverted in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000, where Villainous Willpower determines which of the two possible Eldritch Abomination routes a follower of Chaos goes down - becoming a mindless Chaos Spawn or a Daemon Prince who retains sentience and control over his powers.
    • One example is Fulgrim: At first his soul was trapped in a portrait by a demon of Slaanesh, but he was able to master demonic powers and regain control of his body, while trapping the demon in the portrait he was imprisoned in.
    • Heroic Willpower is usually an attribute which sets apart the BadAss Normals from the Refuge in Audacity named badass characters, and commonly just the elite forces from the less-so.
    • Blood Angels Chief Librarian Mephiston is the first Blood Angel to succumb to the Black Rage and come back from the frothing berserker state it usually induces, through sheer force of will. This has the side effect of giving him near-unprecedented control of his psychic powers, earning him the title "the Lord of Death." A slightly lesser example, also from the Blood Angels: Chaplain Lemartes also fell to the black rage. While Mephiston can actually control his rage, Lemartes is really only able to aim it. So while he's lucid, he's kept in stasis when not in battle for the safety of those around him.
    • Logan Grimnar, lord of the Space Wolves, wields the Axe of Morkai, which contains a demon of Chaos. The demon is unable to attack Grimnar's mind because of his iron will. That's right, Logan Grimnar got a demon of Chaos to bitch down!
    • The Illuminati, an Imperium-spanning secret society whose hidden objectives are allegedly in support of humanity and the Emperor, is composed of humans who have not only survived possession by a Warp entity, usually a daemon, but also managed to cast out the daemon from their own bodies through sheer force of will. This is in a setting where daemon possession ends in either mind shattering insanity or, in the case of a psyker, sometimes a really big explosion.
    • Way cooler than any of these is Settra the Imperishable from the fantasy Warhammer. In Warhammer: The End Times, the world is falling apart, Chaos is curbstomping the forces of Order all over the place, and at the height of their power all four Chaos Gods approach the greatest of the Tomb Kings and offer him absolutely everything: wealth, power, a new body of living gold, even minor godhood. What does Settra do? He gives them the finger, because Settra does not serve, Settra rules. Absolutely awesome.
  • The fuel behind superpowers in Wild Talents. Bottom out and your powers start to falter. Build it back up by conquering your foes, overcoming your inner demons, and being awesome.


    Video Games 
  • Your own character ostensibly manages this in the Baldur's Gate series, particularly if you play as a Good aligned character. You are the son/daughter of the deceased God of Murder, with wanton killing of innocents supposedly in your very blood, but through a series of dreams you fight off that influence and “remake yourself in your own image.”
    • Ditto a Light Side character in Knights of the Old Republic, since you are the supposedly dead villain under an Memory Gambit by the Jedi, Becoming the Mask enough to successfully reject that requires an enormous amount of fortitude. Of course, much of this accomplishment is diminished by the sequel and various other ancillary materials giving Darth Revan an Omniscient Morality License.
    • More like Villainous Willpower, but Darth Sion must have an ungodly amount of willpower not to go batshit insane of his constant pain.
    • In the same game, it's an actual mechanic for Atton Rand. As long as one other party member is still standing, he will continue to get up and fight, no matter how much damage he takes. Of course, the degree of "heroic" for Atton is very much up for interpretation.
  • Batman: Arkham City both Batman and the Joker are infected with a poison (Joker poisoned a few people in Gotham too, just for good measure) and are both dying. Even as it ravages his body, Batman fights on, doing what he has to to get the cure.
    Batman: ...Oracle, how long have I got?
    Oracle: Oh, thank God. I'm not going to sugar coat it. At this rate... I'd say minutes. What do you want me to do? If you don't-
    Batman: I'll make it.
    • The first game, Batman: Arkham Asylum, also has this to the point he's borderline Immune to Drugs - sure, he's still having hallucinations from the fear toxin, but Scarecrow angrily notes the dosage Batman is taking would be enough to drive ten men insane. He also manages to be injected with Titan and not undergo the same Body Horror Painful Transformation others (including the Joker) went through before taking an antidote.
  • In BlazBlue, this is weaponized into the 'Power of Order'. So powerful that allows one to refuse teleportation, the idea of death and to maintain themselves stable in an Eldritch Location that causes a very ugly Loss of Identity.
  • The final stage of C-12: Final Resistance have the hero, Vaughn, captured alive by the aliens and subjected to Unwilling Roboticisation, but unlike regular resistance members and civilians who becomes robotic drones serving the aliens, the roboticized Vaughn is still in control of his own body.
  • City of Heroes has this as an actual defensive powerset for Melee classes, mostly to reflect a more "natural" superhero who doesn't rely on fire, ice, rocks, energy or anything weird like that for protection. Most other sets hand-wave your ability to avoid damage as your armor deflecting or absorbing the damage. Willpower has you fighting on DESPITE taking grenades, energy blasts, super-powered fists and all manner of weaponry to the face. Incidentally, it is one of the best performing powersets in the game.
  • Darkest Dungeon: If a hero reaches 100 Stress, and the Random Number God is kind to you, instead of collapsing into a Heroic BSoD they will get a surge of willpower instead, powering on through the dungeon's horrors with massively increased stats depending on the kind of Virtue triggered.
    Ancestor: Many fall in the face of chaos, but not this one. Not today.
  • Dead Space: Isaac Clarke. Not only does he walk through dimly lit corridors full of freakish space zombies, he does it with an Artifact of Doom chipping away at his sanity. Granted, he isn't entirely unaffected by it, but he's able to persevere despite this. In Dead Space 2, he's far more in control of himself than Stross, another man exposed to the Marker's form of Mind Screw.
  • In Disgaea 4: A Promise Unforgotten, Valvatorez is the only character not to be infected with the A-Virus. He attributes this to his strength of will and sardines.
    • In Disgaea 5: Alliance of Vengeance, Usalia has use of an extremely potent Superpowered Evil Side in the form of "Murmur of Rage" as a result of Majorita's curse, but after chapter 10-5, Usalia manages to use her own resolve against Majorita to forcibly somehow flip the curse into an Overload (a super power only Overlords can use), giving her instant access to the ability whenever she wants, with the ability to turn it off and on at her own command.
  • Elden Ring: This trope is the reason Malenia is still alive. She's blind and has lost more body parts than the Black Knight to the Scarlet Rot she was born with, but her "spirit of resistance" is strong enough that she's still the hardest boss in the game, and a World's Strongest Man contender. Even her Life Drain during her boss fight is described as Malenia willing herself to continue just a little bit longer whenever she lands a hit.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Meridia is a Daedric Prince whose sphere is obscured to mortals, but is associated with Life Energy, Light, and Beauty. She was originally one of the Magna-Ge, the "star orphans" who abandoned the creation of Mundus (the mortal plane) part way through along with their "father", Magnus. However, Meridia was banished from Aetherius for "consorting with illicit spectra", implied to be the Daedra. Considered a "trespasser" in Oblivion by the Daedra, Meridia, through sheer force of will, "bent and shaped" the rays of Magnus to create her own Daedric realm in Oblivion and became one of the Daedric Princes.
    • In Skyrim, Paarthurnax notes that as a dragon, he is driven by his nature to dominate and destroy (doubly so since his name is draconic for "Ambition, Overlord, Cruelty") and that it takes great willpower on his part to not revert to his past self.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy V deals with the dark side of this. Despite the loss of her Grandfather, Krile is driven entirely by willpower, refusing to take breaks from her quest, and it is her will (as the Hero of Hope) that is able to restore the World after it has been lost to the Void. However, once her heroic goal is fulfilled, she completely loses the will to live and remains in the Void, even as the others beg her to return to the World. She is eventually saved, but it's only by the will of her grandfather from beyond the grave.
    • Zigzagged in Final Fantasy VII. The great war hero Sephiroth has an absurdly strong will which enables him to be in full control of his Super Serum-The Virus-induced powers. Unfortunately, he retains this once he's not heroic, allowing him to keep his sense of self after becoming submerged in The Lifestream and even use it to spread his will. The game's hero, Cloud, does not have a strong will and has a lot of unexamined self-loathing besides, making his sense of self-identity malleable, his goals and feelings open to Sephiroth's More than Mind Control, and meaning that when he is submerged in Lifestream he is overcome by its information and completely loses his mind - a willful villain and a hero with no will. Once Cloud understands this, he discovers his will and becomes immune to Sephiroth's control, cutting him to pieces in a spiritual battle when Sephiroth's dying spirit tries to take his mind down with him.
  • In the Fire Emblem series, dragons who do not use a dragonstone to contain their power gradually become feral. In Fire Emblem Heroes, we're introduced to a version of Corrin, a half-dragon and the protagonist of Fire Emblem Fates, from an alternate timeline where she's implied to have killed Azura after turning into a dragon for the first time. As a result, she never received a dragonstone. She's on the brink of losing control every time she enters battle, but trying desperately not to give in. Berkut, a villain who gave into power willingly, accuses her of being weak and says that she must either learn to control that power or lose to it. Next time she talks to him, she agrees and tells him that she will do her best to control it. She ends this conversation by asking that if she loses control that he kill her himself. In a separate discussion, she asks that Kiran do the same thing.
  • This is a gameplay mechanic in Freedom Force. Every playable character starts each mission with one “hero medal,” which can be used at will for full healing, full restoration of energy, or removal of one negative status effect. Minuteman, the resident Captain America Expy, can be upgraded to start with two or three medals.
  • Ghost Trick: Lynne doesn't have enough willpower to completely fight off Yomiel's control, but she does make his first shot miss—which is what winds up killing Sissel, who was inside the box Yomiel was carrying.
  • In Grandia II, Ryudo gets a piece of the devil stuck in him. Through an extended dream sequence, he fights off the devil and comes out of the coma. Later when he tries to become a god (being the only person qualified in the room with a piece of the devil in him) he becomes a monster; later, through the power of song and friendship, he pulls through and becomes human again.
  • In Kingdom Hearts, after Sora stabs himself with the dark Keyblade and turns into a Heartless to save Kairi, all hope seems lost for his companions, as Ansem is likely going to kick their asses and kill them anyway... until Riku's spirit leaps out of Ansem's body, holding him off for just long enough that Kairi and the others can escape to Traverse Town.
  • Kirby:
    • Kirby's Return to Dream Land: Landia EX's new Flavor Text in Deluxe suggests that he was chosen to guard the Master Crown because he was strong enough to resist its power, though not enough to give in to the crown's dark powers. And from what we see happen with Magolor when he got possessed by the crown, it's certainly a good thing he was the one chosen to protect it.
    • Kirby and the Forgotten Land: This is how Meta Knight avoided being recruited onto the Beast Pack. After landing in the New World, Fecto Forgo attempted to Mind Control him like they did with King Dedede, but Meta Knight proved to be too strong for them and was forced out of his body. This did, however, create Phantom Meta Knight who shows up to fight Kirby in the Ultimate Cup Z.
  • Bill of the Left 4 Dead mythos, in the starting wave of the infection, is being put under for surgery on his knee which had been damaged during his tour of duty in Vietnam. The nurse prepping him for surgery turns in the middle of it and attacks him. He forces himself to stay conscious through modern anesthetics, fends off the now turned nurse, and runs down the hall on said knee that required surgery to find himself a weapon. For reference, the reason said knee needed surgery is that it still hadn't and probably never would fully recover from being torn up by shrapnel during his tour in 'Nam. And Bill would go on to fight Tanks on it anyway.
  • In Mass Effect, Fai Dan is the only member of Zhu's Hope who is able to fully resist the Thorian's mind control. In fact, once the Thorian starts to successfully turn him in an attempt to kill Shepard, he uses the last of his free will to kill himself rather than be a slave.
    • Also from Zhu's Hope is Ian Newstead. Upon first meeting him, he appears to be a rambling lunatic who just ran off to the sewers and randomly seems to double over in agony during plain conversation (which renders him unable to talk about . . . something). However, when you find out how being under the Thorian literally makes rebellious thought a horrible torture, and controls people via psychic Pavlovian Conditing, Ian suddenly becomes one of the most strong willed persons in the series for deliberately and continuously defying the Thorian as well as provoking it to hurt him so he knows that he's still himself.
    • Villain examples: The first game's baddies, Benezia and Saren, are also subjected to this. Benezia is able to resist Sovereign's mind control for a short time during her confrontation to inform Shepard that they aren't doing this of their own free will. Saren can be talked into a Heel Realization in the beginning of the final fight where he will become lucid for a moment and shoot himself before falling again so that the Sovereign won't be able to complete its plan through him, thanking Shepard with his last words.
    • Subverted hilariously in Mass Effect 2, when Morinth suggests that since Shepard has the willpower to resist her attempts to enthrall them, they may have the willpower to resist her mind-frying sex. Turns out Shepard does not!
    • Liara speculates that this was how Shepard was capable of withstanding the effects of the Prothean Beacon in the first game, which on a Weak-Willed individual would most likely have destroyed their mind entirely. During their mind-melds, the sheer volume of information being depicted by the vision actually leaves Liara visibly exhausted after each attempt, while Shepard actually appears to become more resistant to its effects.
    • The more someone is exposed to Reaper tech, the more that tech enthralls them to the Reapers' will. Despite explicitly being the biggest threat to the Reapers, and despite the fact that they frequently try to indoctrinate Shepard, Shepard never shows signs of indoctrination.
    • The Leviathans even comment on this after Shepard shakes off their mind control and gives them a piece of his/her mind. Shepard's Heroic Willpower is what they determine makes the Reapers fear him/her, and they are convinced that this cycle has a good shot at ending the cycles of Reaping, and lend aid.
    Leviathan: Your confidence is singular.
  • The second Mega Man Star Force game briefly has the hero taken over by an ancient Upgrade Artifact, but this doesn't last long once a friend of his tells him to Get A Hold Of Yourself Man. The third game has a different character use The Corruption within them in order to pull off a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • This is, in fact, simply a continuation of a recurring theme in the prequel series. Most notably, in Battle Networks 5 and 6. In 5, he is poisoned by Dark Chips and can learn to use them more effectively. In 6, he gets posessed by a Cybeast (based on your version), and uses the Cybeast power to boost his own. It's reasonable to assume that the Cybeast instance is the inspiration for the OOPart posessing Geo in Star Force 2, by seeing all the similarities between the two.
  • Although not explicitly stated, Snake in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is running the entire game on this. He has the body of a 70 year-old with rather severe health problems, and as the game continues, he just ends up in even worse states (including getting stabbed, shot, electrocuted, burned, and more). Despite the incredible handicaps that he has to overcome, he is a better soldier than everyone he meets. Hideo Kojima stated that one of the themes of the game was experience vs training: while the soldiers Snake encounters have been trained well and have a lot of theoretical knowledge, Snake has years of experience, which allows him to prove superior.
    • A (somewhat) villainous example is The End from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. He's more than 100 years old and he's clinically dead most of the time; the only reason he isn't actually dead is because he wants a final battle, and decided that Snake will do.
  • In the Metal Slug sequels, you frequently encounter mummies and zombies who can infect NPC characters (mostly civilians) turning them into the undead. You could also become one of them if infected, but you can still regain your mind and sentience and remain playable instead of turning into a mindless undead mook.
  • Samus Aran exhibits this in Metroid Prime 3: Corruption. When infected with Phazon she refuses to allow it to dominate her mind, even at levels far beyond what corrupted the other hunters.
  • Mortal Kombat X: While Liu Kang and Kitana have chosen to embrace their new status as revenants, Kung Lao, disliking his current predicament, secretly desires to get out of the Netherrealm for good and come back to the side of light, but is unable to do so. In his arcade ending however, his cousin Kung Jin, who didn't give up any hope on him, helps Lao to redeem and purify his soul, showing that the heroic willpower of a Shaolin monk is much stronger than the Netherrealm's corruption. This implies that it is possible to revive the other revenants to the side of good, but since Quan Chi brainwashed them to the point that they only have pure hatred and was Killed Off for Real by Scorpion, being restored to the side of good is now a difficult process with Raiden gone rogue now.
  • In Nocturne: Rebirth, humans who are bitten by vampires usually become mindless Dark Disciples, become Ax-Crazy vampires, or become sane vampires. Reviel bites Luna in the hopes of saving her and bringing her back as the third kind of vampire, but ends up with a Dark Disciple. However, seeing Reviel about to kill Ristill causes Luna to regain her sentience and convince him to show mercy. She's just that determined to get the two to make peace.
  • Octopath Traveler: There is one character who has been corrupted and has been fighting the dark powers which have befallen him for tenish years. His name is Graham Crossford. Ten years prior to the start of the game he lost his wife and was tempted by a mysterious woman named Lyblac to be able to revive her. However, the ritual was a lie. She needed his blood and body to unleash the fallen god Galdera from his bindings. When Graham realizes what is about to happen, he fights Lyblac and escapes but not before being corrupted by Galdrera's power and it transforms him into the vicious monster that would be called the Redeye. For these long years, Graham fought the losing battle against the evil power but retained moments of lucidity. During the battle against the Redeye, he could sometimes heal the main characters, and on a pillar near where he is slain, readable only after his defeat, are his last words both begging to be killed and spare more victims, and an apology to his son who never knew what befell his father.
  • In the second Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan game, Goro Okami resists turning into a werewolf in front of his girlfriend by determination and lots of encouragement, and that's it.
  • Persona 5: The final boss and cause for the entire plot: Yaldabaoth asserts that the Phantom Thieves literally don't exist because nobody remembers them. This sends the thieves to the Velvet Room, where Joker is sentenced to execution for failing his mission. He's out of power and barely able to move, yet still fights back against Caroline and Justine. Slowly but surely, his power returns to him, and eventually he and the rest of the Phantom Thieves are able to come back to reality by sheer force of will.
  • Sergeant Nathan Hale in Resistance: Fall Of Man is an example of this trope, as even when he is infected with the Chimera Virus, he just turns into a lean mean bug-busting machine.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Revealed to be very important to a certain werehog in Sonic Unleashed. Sonic apparently has so much of this trope that he can practically guzzle down the power of an Eldritch Abomination yet be almost completely unaffected mentally. What's even more impressive is that he wasn't even aware that he was doing it.
      • Makes you wonder how he would act if he had learned that just before the final boss, Eggman had shot down Tails' Biplane, and subsequently flipped his shit.
    • Also, in Shadow the Hedgehog, when Shadow proves himself immune to Black Doom's control. Also slightly earlier when he recovered from his Heroic BSoD.
    • Also used in the Sonic Storybook Series entry Sonic and the Black Knight as this was one reason how Sonic was able to summon Excalibur and become Excalibur Sonic!
    • Subverted in Sonic Rivals 2; In the last mission of the stories of Sonic/Tails and Knuckles/Rouge, Ifrit, the monster of the game, will possess the partner to attack you throughout the boss. It has the same full effectiveness on all of them - even Sonic, the main hero. Of course, it's only very temporary.
  • Star Wars: The Old Republic has this with any LS Sith character. They use Dark Side powers regularly but aren't prevented from toggling their Alignment to commit to the Light Side of the Force or choosing LS options in dialogue. They even have a chance to straight-up say this in The Foundry flashpoint.
    LS Sith Player Character: Not every Sith gives in to temptation. I know the resolve of the light.
  • Early in Steel Harbinger, your character, Miranda, gets captured alive and nearly assimilated by an alien pod. But unlike the other humans who becomes mindless, hostile converts, you do retain your memory and actively assists the human defenders in fighting against the pod invasion.
  • Tales of Symphonia's Applied Phlebotinum has the nasty side affect of turning people into monsters if they're not correctly protected. Marble sacrifices herself by exploding (!) into the resident bad guy. However, Lloyd and Genis had just beat the shit out of her after she attacked them, so maybe it doesn't count.
    • Happens once again later on in the game. Colette is possessed by Mithos near the end of the game, but she manages to force him out of her body.
    • Happens to The Hero in Tales of Hearts. The possessor ends up stabbing his host body and leaving. Shing gets better.
  • The protagonist of Traffic Department 2192 demonstrates a partial example, albeit not in the way she intends. The villains attempt to erase her memories to make it easier to Brainwash her. To fight it, she focuses on the strongest memory she has—her father's murder—and keeps her mind on it even as it slowly degrades. It's completely erased, but by the strength of her will all her other memories are left intact.
  • Undertale: The entire mechanic of coming back to life after you die is the result of the human's Determination, a tangible thing in this world that allows humans and monsters to stave off death.
    • In the True Final Boss Fight against Asriel Dreemur, this is taken to it's logical extreme. Frisk's determination skyrockets to such a high extent that they literally refuse to die, preventing death before it even happens. Later when Asriel becomes so powerful that Frisk aren't even capable of moving and all hope seems lost, they come back swinging and manage to save their friends stuck in Asriel's soul. Finally, Asriel goes full force, absolutely refusing to let things return to how they were before. Frisk tanks his final blast, surviving on literal decimals of HP.
    • In the Genocide Route: Undyne invokes this after taking a killing blow for Monster Kid. Despite even her recognizing that she should be dead, her determination to protect those she cares for is so strong that she transforms into Undyne the Undying.
  • World of Warcraft,
    • Undead player characters have a racial ability called Will of the Forsaken, which allows the player to escape from fear or mind-control effects.
    • In fact, the Forsaken are all this trope. They've all got The Virus, but they keep themselves free of the Lich King's normal dominance over the Scourge. The Lich King was weakened at the time, of course, but its still impressive.
    • Gunther Arcanus is something of a hero among Forsaken, as he was able to break free of the Lich King's control by himself. They credit him as a lich even though he isn't one. He's that badass.
    • The final raid of Cataclysm, we have the boss Ultraxion. His first move is to drag everyone into a shadow dimension, which players must use the temporary ability 'Heroic Will' to break out of at specific times to avoid death.

  • Daughter of the Lilies: Brent comes across as Dumb Muscle with a Hair-Trigger Temper, but in a moment of crisis, he has the strength of will to No-Sell Demonic Possession from hundreds of Drath at once.
  • A Subversion occurs in The Order of the Stick, when Durkon gets turned into a vampire. Once freed from his sire's mind control, he seems to revert to his normal personality... until it's finally revealed that the vampire spirit is impersonating him while his own soul watches helplessly from within his body.
    • Played straight with the paladin O-Chul, who is captured by Team Evil after they successfully invade and take over Azure City. He is repeatedly tortured, both for information by Redcloak and For the Evulz by Xykon. Despite everything they do to him, he never betrays his principles or breaks. He even takes the chance to put The Monster In The Darkness on the path to a Heel–Face Turn and learned most of Xykon's spell list "one saving throw at a time", meaning he took every one of them.
  • In Yumi's Cells, when Yumi collapses and Woong has to Bridal Carry her several blocks to the hospital, his brain cells summon this.
  • True Villains: People who draw magic from Ket, the God of Stability, rely on this in dire straits — the more faith they have in themselves and in Ket, the greater their power. In the climax, a timely You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech from his estranged father helps Bayn single-handedly hold off the First Vampire.

    Web Original 
  • In Journey of the Cartoon Man, Oswald Sherzikien uses the Glove of the Animator to control all of the cartoonified characters, but Roy has strong enough willpower to resist it.

    Western Animation 
  • The Ice King, of all people, from Adventure Time. It's shown that when someone else claims the Artifact of Doom that is his crown, that person tends to go insane in minutes, hours at the most. The Ice King has held onto most of his sanity for at least 20 years, and although it was a losing battle, even during the time of the show centuries later he has many relatively lucid periods in which he's harmless and even friendly, compared to the rampaging lunatic Farmworld Finn became almost immediately.
  • Arcane: The typical reaction to ingesting Shimmer is to become a feral muscle monster who'd throw their own ally into the sky for being in their way. Vander is able to retain enough grip on his mind after taking a dose of Shimmer to stop himself from hurting Vi and prioritizes saving her from the exploding cannery instead of chasing Silco.
  • In Ben 10: Omniverse, Ben as Big Chill broke free from his alien species predator, Hypnotick, hypnosis's through his willpower by remembering that he's a hero for doing what's right instead of fame.
  • Double-subverted in the Futurama episode "Fry and the Slurm Factory", where Fry and his friends are put in several death traps, his being force-fed an Impossibly Delicious "super-Slurm" that tastes so good that he'll keep consuming it until he explodes. Once he gets force-fed only a spoon of it, he tries really hard to ignore it so he can save his friends, but he can't resist returning to the giant steel trough full of the stuff. Realizing he will not let his friends die, he instead musters up the strength to pull the entire thing along with him as he frees his friends from their traps.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In the Grand Finale, Big Bad Bill Cipher, a Magnificent Bastard extraordinaire, seals protagonist Mabel in an enchanted bubble called "Mabelland." In Mabelland, people can have their deepest desires and wishes granted effortlessly; Bill, a Reality Warper extraordinaire, calls it his "best trap ever" and remarks that a "will of titanium" is needed to resist it. When Dipper, Wendy, and Soos enter the bubble to free Mabel, the latter two almost instantly give in to its powers, and Dipper is sorely tempted when Wendy (the older girl he's loved for the whole series) points out that in Mabelland, he could be aged up and they could be together. Dipper considers it...then turns it down, which in turn causes a massive Glamour Failure that helps him free Mabel from her world's influence. And he does this all at twelve years old.
    • A less grand, but no less awesome, example occurs with Pacifica Northwest, a Rich Bitch who is initially an enemy of Mabel, and to a lesser extent Dipper for defending his sister, but gradually warms up to the twins as the series progresses. Despite her newfound kindness, though, she still feels compelled to obey her father's orders; he's even trained her to do whatever he says when he rings a little bell. When a vengeful spirit who the Northwests wronged rises from the grave to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Pacifica finds herself the only person able to break the ghost's curse by opening the family mansion's gates to the general public—but doing so would defy her father's wishes, and he refuses to let her do it, ringing his bell in an attempt to force her to listen to him. Pacifica however briefly calls him out on his stupidity, then pulls open the gates.
  • I ♡ Arlo: In the S1 finale "The Uncondemning", the sound of Bertie and Alia calling out to Arlo that they're coming to save him causes Arlo to break out of the Bog Lady's hypnotic spell and fight her.
  • Miraculous Ladybug has moments of this:
    • In "Zombizou", Miss Bustier manages to become the first person to actually resist akumatization through sheer willpower, if only for a moment.
    • In "Miraculer", Chloé becomes the first person to successfully resist akumatization.
    • In "Cat Blanc", Cat Noir manages to resist akumatization for a while before succumbing, a feat made more impressive by the sheer amount of emotional trauma he's suffering at that moment.
    • In "Truth", Luka also briefly resists being akumatized, and even tells Marinette to run away as he's being transformed.
    • In "Gang of Secrets", at Ladybug's urging, Alya breaks free of Shadow Moth's control after being akumatized, a feat that leaves the villain in disbelief.
    • In "Gabriel Agreste", Félix successfully resists being akumatized much like Chloé. What's notable about this is that unlike the other characters who have resisted or broken akumatization, he's the first one who hasn't been akumatized previously.
    • In "Rocketear", Nino manages to break free from akumatization after being transformed when he finds out the reason for his unhappiness was a misunderstanding.
    • In "Qilin", Sabine briefly resists being akumatized despite being angry at the injustice she's facing, and breaks free from it after Ladybug unlocks her handcuffs, which is all she wanted.
  • The Mummy:The Animated Series: In the episode "Howl" Rick O'Connell doesn't attack his son Alex even though Rick has turned into a werewolf.
  • In Steven Universe, Lapis Lazuli is practically the walking embodiment of this.
    • When first introduced, her gem is so damaged that it's basically in three pieces. Despite this being a setting where her gem is her real body and its complete shattering would mean her death, and compared to Amethyst's cracked gem in 'An Indirect Kiss', which at worst stretched to barely a third of her gem, yet caused her to speak backwards while her body distorted itself uncontrollably, Lapis was indistinguishable from a whole gem. She held herself together despite the extensive damage, only losing some of her full strength and still retaining enough to take control of the entire planet's oceans.
    • She manages to up herself in "Jailbreak" when she takes control of her and Jasper's fusion Malachite from Jasper and drag the two of them into the depths of the sea, managing to keep the fusion together despite Jasper actively trying to break it to escape. Keep in mind it was established earlier that even the slightest disagreement between two Gems can force even a stable fusion to end, yet Lapis was able to force their unstable form together regardless of Jasper's struggles to end it.
    • And then, for the grandest example of all, there's "Reunited." Blue and Yellow Diamond crash Ruby and Sapphire's wedding to destroy the Crystal Gems. Blue unleashes her Emotion Bomb powers by summoning the grief and anguish she's felt for millennia about Pink Diamond's death, forcing every other Gem in the vicinity to feel it and become paralyzed with sadness and pain. When Lapis shows up to help, Blue summons an even stronger emotional wave...and Lapis brushes it off.
    Lapis Lazuli: I've felt worse.
  • When Korra gets mercury poisoned at the end of season 3 of The Legend of Korra, she manages to fight off going into the Avatar state for an extended period of time out of pure willpower. She knows if she stays in it for too long, they’ll be able to kill her and end the Avatar cycle for good. Once the poison starts to take its toll, she can’t fight it off anymore but manages to win the fight against Zaheer while poisoned.
  • The Mask: Stanley Ipkiss is a normal, sweet, kind and Nice Guy who puts on the Mask of Loki and becomes the titular Mask, a genuinely insane cartoonish man. But thanks to the fact that he retains most of Stanley's traits, he fights the supervillains who attack the people of the city, saves his friends who are in danger and will refuse to team up with anyone who will hurt others.
    • Evelyn is also the same as Stanley as after she accidentally puts on the mask she becomes Eve, a Southern Belle girl who like the Mask is also plain bonkers but still retains her original self's traits.
    • Dr. Neuman was given the Mask by Stanley who wanted to get rid of it, so he agrees to keep it. However, he eventually noticed how the Mask glows, prompting him to put it on which then attaches itself to him, which also turns him into a psychotic and insane nutjob, though in his case his lunacy manifests in his belief of a disorder called "Ipkissa Maskosis". He does however try and keep himself under control, such as when on a rescue mission to save the world from this disorder (which apparently involves putting anyone he can find in wedgie straitjackets). That said, he does occasionally lose control of himself, like when after Charlie mentions Stanley, he ended up literally blowing steam out of his ears and tried to do a lobotomy on him only to snap himself out of it after his appointment alarm went off. He also still retains his morals such as agreeing with everyone that Pretorius is insane, even though he agreed to help him with his plan and was trying to kill Stanley, he decided to mess around with him first (such as putting him in a shower which, while it didn't serve much purpose, did knock him off-guard) showing that though Dr. Neuman as the Mask is a lunatic, he does try and keep himself in control, as he's a professional who refuses to lose his cool no matter what.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): Blossom is hit with this in "Abracadaver" when the undead magician-turned-zombie Abracadaver mistakes her for the girl who ruined his career and puts her under a hypnotic spell for revenge, which ends with him swinging her like a yo-yo and tossing her in the deadly Iron Maiden coffin. Despite being hypnotized, Blossom was somehow able to swap places with Abracadaver before entering the coffin, allowing him to be destroyed in her place.
  • Rupert: In "Rupert and the Great Mephisto", both Rupert and Bill get hit with this during the final battle between Mephisto. Despite Bill falling under hypnosis that he's a (literal) dog, he was able to see Mephisto hypnotize Rupert and attack him back; this in turn causes Rupert to snap out of Mephisto's spell on his own without having anyone to awaken him.
  • In the 1993 reboot of Secret Squirrel, the secret agent manages to overcome villainess Queen Bea's love potion with sheer hatred for her.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power:
    • In "She-Ra Unchained", Adora broke Shadow Weaver's spell that made a slave to the horde through strong force of will, although the Sorceress and her love for her twin brother Adam/He-Man also helped her.
    • In "The Perils of Peekablue", Peekablue demonstrated strong will power as she tries to break free from Shadow Weaver's mind control spell a couple of times before She-Ra freed her for good.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: Both Adora and Glimmer exhibit this in the fourth season. First, Adora manages to fight off the depression caused by the Signal on Beast Island, taking out both her self-doubt and the Signal's effects at once and saving the rest of the group. Later, Glimmer has managed to get Scorpia to attune to the Black Garnet, which has activated a terrible First One weapon. The effects of this paralyse the five runestone princesses, and Adora finds herself being forced to direct its power with the sword. Glimmer manages to fight off the paralysis, drag herself to her feet, and set off to smash the Black Garnet and save the world (it doesn't work, but given that Scorpia, who's built like a linebacker, had only managed to crawl ten feet and give Perfuma and Frosta a hug under the same effect, that she was even standing is impressive), and Adora fights off the control signal for long enough to snap Light Hope out of her programming, giving her a chance to destroy the sword and prevent the weapon from firing.
  • On The Simpsons, one of Marge's Hidden Depths is her absolutely unbreakable willpower in every situation. In "The Joy of Sect," she is one of the only people in town able to resist the Movementarian Cult, and in the original "Treehouse of Horror," she's the only member of the family who doesn't go Brainwashed and Crazy and try to kill the others, instead delivering a powerful "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the demon-infested house and telling it to shape up.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: It's established that the Jedi Mind Trick only works on the weak-willed, but Cad Bane resisting Anakin, Mace Windu and Obi-Wan all bearing down on his mind at once deserves special mention. It's downplayed in that it completely took the starch out of Bane afterwards and he acquiesced to their demands, but normally a Mind Trick basically hypnotizes someone to act against their will: Bane caved because he did not want them to try that on him again.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987), While temporarily trapped inside Shredder's body, Splinter was able to control his brain wave patterns through pure willpower so Krang would't discover him when he scanned his mind.

    Real Life 
  • Mötley Crüe Guitarist Mick Mars has struggled with a condition called ankylosing spondylitis for most of his life. This disease is a form of arthritis that causes the ligaments in the lower spine to fuse with the bone. His condition got so bad that when the band split up, he reportedly gave up guitar playing. However, when the band reformed in December 2004 (coincidentally this was after he had hip replacement surgery) he decided to take up playing again, saying that "he'll be damned if it (the disease) was gonna have his soul too". He is still one of the greatest guitar players out there.
  • Ludwig van Beethoven suffered from his deafness after his earlier period of composing more Classical works. Initially, he had a hard time accepting this handicap (which would usually be an obvious death sentence for a music career), and even wrote the Heiligenstadt Testament which he mentioned losing the will to live. He got better, though, and went on to compose his later masterpieces including the 3rd (Eroica), 5th (Fate), 6th (Pastoral), and 9th (Ode to Joy) Symphonies, Moonlight Sonata, a Violin Concerto, and his only opera Fidelio, and he is now considered as the pioneer of Romantic Music.
  • Procrastination can be seen as a relatively-mundane version. It can be easy to just put stuff off, but it takes at least some willpower for most to get done what they actually need done.
    • Although those who procrastinate obsessively (to the point of receiving clinical diagnosis) often feel as if they need that level of willpower to do what they need to. Most people with obsessive disorders who manage to power through them are something of an example.
  • This Italian Brain surgeon was having bad chest pains in the midst of a surgery to remove a tumor from his patient, and feared it was a heart attack. He powered through it to finish the operation, solely because he knew that if he had stopped there, his patient would've likely never fully recovered.
  • After Franklin Delano Roosevelt caught polio in 1921, he was paralyzed throughout most of his lower body. He strengthened his leg muscles enough and came up with a system to feign being able to walk for short stretches out of nothing but sheer willpower.
  • Ulysses S. Grant deserves a mention for his deeds in the American Civil War alone, but what really tops the spot here is the fact that after his son had been a victim of one of the first stock market fraud cases, he powered through throat cancer to work on publishing his memoirs, which left his family well-off.


Video Example(s):


Vegeta's pride

Vegeta willingly subjected himself to a mind control spell for the powerup it provided, but when the wizard who cast it tries to actually order him around, he flatly refuses, purging the mind control while keeping the powerup.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeroicWillpower

Media sources: