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Hope Springs Eternal

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"Though hope is frail, it's hard to kill."
The Prince of Egypt, "When You Believe"

The Big Bad is triumphant, the Sealed Evil in a Can has been released, and the world is in flames. There is no doubt about it; this is the Darkest Hour. Prepare for The Dark Times.

However, all is not lost. The villain does not and cannot realize one thing: though the heroes who tried to stop him have failed, and may well have died, hope lives on, and with it, the Heroic Spirit survives. Even now, a rudimentary version of La Résistance is forming because word has spread that a Chosen One has appeared after being sent off like Moses in the Bulrushes. The now-dead heroes who opposed the Big Bad sent a weapon through time to the future that can defeat them.

These stories about the Chosen One and the super-weapon might be true but their truthfulness matters less than what it means that these stories exist at all: hope lives on. One day, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, maybe not in our lifetimes, but one day, As Long as There Is One Man, Justice Will Prevail.

A common message given by fiction and folklore. Only the most downer of Downer Endings exclude it, and even then there's usually some way around such a bleak finish, no matter how bad things are. Often combines with Rousing Speech, because often, The War Has Just Begun. Also see Yank the Dog's Chain in how to deconstruct this.

Not to be confused with Hope Sprouts Eternal. See also "Ray of Hope" Ending.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura has witnessed her best friend dying or corrupting four times or more and failed to stop it from happening three times or more. She's watched her fellow magical girls kill each other out of despair. She was present for the end of the world. Kyubey's system of Miracle Contracts is, by her own admission, inescapable. Yet despite all of this, she's determined to find the Golden Path that leads to Walpurgisnacht's defeat without Madoka's Heroic Sacrifice. Madoka sums it up beautifully as she makes her wish (becoming hope itself in the process):
    "If someone says it's wrong to hope, I'll tell them they're wrong every time. I could tell them that countless times!
  • In the backstory of Kirby: Right Back at Ya!, only one thing kept Meta Knight going after the war against Nightmare wiped out the Star Warrior army; Hope.
    "...The hope that I was not the last warrior."
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann makes this a literal thing: Spiral Power is generated by one's fighting spirit so as long as a member of the Spiral Race (aka humans) have hope, they can and most likely will win.
    • A less literal example comes in the form of Kamina's Never give up spirit which he inherited from his dead father then passes it down to Team Dai-Gurren, especially Simon after his death, giving them the strength to continue the fight.
  • Maetel Legend ends with the entire population of Andromeda subjected to Unwilling Roboticisation, including The High Queen, who turns from a just, selfless ruler into a ruthless tyrant, who offs her Evil Chancellor because she is just eviler than him now. And yet, both of her daughters, Emeraldas and Maetel, escape both the roboticisation and her death squads and manage to flee the planet to find a way to undo their mother's mistakes.
  • In My Hero Academia, All Might deliberately cultivated this image for himself: By defeating villains in public, he hopes to inspire other people to fight crime and stand up against injustice. For much of his career as a superhero, he's successful at this — until he's critically wounded in a fight against his Arch-Nemesis, All for One. This event causes doubt and uncertainty to spread among society at large, villains become more bold and brazen, and the other heroes start getting overwhelmed. In a more literal sense, All Might's Super-Strength can be passed down from person to person, and each inheritor thus far has used it to become symbols of hope like All Might. When All Might is at his lowest point in Chapter 326, Stain had to spell this out to him in order to restore his faith in himself and heroes who carries his torch.
    Stain: All Might always kept a smile on his face and set out to protect the people! It had nothing to do with his Quirk! The man known as All Might dedicated his entire life to preserving our peace! That belief, engraved in his very soul, is what we extolled! You don't even hold a candle to All Might. Just look at her! The result!? It's not over yet! The cinders that he left continue to burn within those who followed after, oblivious to the rain or wind, and now they are forming into a great fire! And so we must not let that flame die… as long as we live, we must continue to stoke that flame, no matter how pitiful our struggles may be!
  • Dr. STONE: After escaping Tsukasa who wanted to destroy and suppress any scientific advancements in The Stone World, Senku meets with Chrome who had spent years collecting and experimenting with various materials in order to create various new compounds under the thought it was "Sorcery".
    Senku: Even if you kill me, even if you kill anyone, even if you reset Science; there will always be some idiot who will try something just to see what happens. Eventually, the Shiny Monkeys will make a Technological Civilization.
  • At the end of Dragon Ball Z: Bardock - The Father of Goku, Bardock is dead and Planet Vegeta is destroyed by Frieza. Kakarot, however, escapes the genocide by chance and grows up to become Goku, the Saiyan destined to defeat Frieza.
  • In the Digimon series, TK is the bearer of the Crest of Hope. As a result, Patamon's Digivolutions tend to be quite powerful, even if it can take a while to get there.

    Comic Books 
  • The Sandman (1989): In Preludes and Nocturnes, Dream goes to Hell to retrieve his helmet. The demon Chonoronzon, who currently possesses it, challenges Dream to the ultimate game of "Can you top this?" Choronzon's final move was becoming entropy personified. Dream responded, and won, by becoming Hope.
  • Green Lantern: This is the schtick of the Blue Lantern Corps. It's composed of hand-selected individuals who have the ability to inspire great hope. Their unofficial leader, Saint Walker, was considered a savior by his people and was the first Blue Lantern. The way their rings work also acknowledges the limitations of hope: their rings can perform amazing feats while they are supporting Green Lanterns but are almost powerless on their own, since hope without the willpower to change things is meaningless. They ritualized this in their Lantern Oath
    In fearful day, in raging night,
    With strong hearts full, our souls ignite.
    When all seems lost in the war of light,
    Look to the stars, for hope burns bright
  • Star Wars Tales #19, "Storyteller", is set in the far, far future of the galaxy. Two children of an oppressed alien race found the body of C-3PO. The droid spent his last moments telling the story of Luke Skywalker, who redeemed a darkened soul and freed the galaxy from great evil. Though C-3PO and one of the children is killed by the oppressors, the other child, Remoh, takes up Luke Skywalker's lightsaber, ready to stand against the new Empire.
  • All Fall Down has this as a theme of the book: Even in the face of great tragedy, there's potential for things to improve.
  • During Final Crisis, Superman travels through the Multiverse. One Earth he glimpses is a post-apocalyptic wasteland based on the old Atomic Knights comic-book. Superman describes it as "alive with radioactivity and hope".
  • In the first issue of Secret Wars (2015), worlds have collided, it's a multiverse-spanning apocalypse, and Reed Richards has just seen his family die before his eyes. Just as Reed is crossing the Despair Event Horizon, we see Doctor Doom's masked visage in the glowing-white aftermath. Doom, who was outside the multiverse, confronting the Beyonders.
    • The same event's tie-in Last Days arc of Loki: Agent of Asgard gave us the probably least flatteringly worded description of this trope from the newly-rebranded God of Stories, Loki:
      Verity: But it's not the end? There's — There's hope?
      Loki: It's never the end of all stories. They get everywhere. Like roaches. Wipe out the whole omniverse — There'll still be a story somewhere. Loads, probably.
  • The Central Theme of The Transformers: Unicron. Even as Unicron consumes worlds and grows ever-stronger, even as it begins to seem like no force in the universe can stop him, even as everyone is confronted with just how small and helpless they really are in the cosmos… the Autobots keep going. Because as long as they have even the smallest shred of hope, they’ll try to save people, because that’s what heroes do. And when there’s no more hope to go around? They’ll go down fighting.

    Fan Works 
  • In Chapter 25 of Sister Floriana, The Scarecrow, Juanito tells the Sisters he considers the church steeple a beacon that represents God's presence in their lives.
  • A big part of the Dark World Arc of the Pony POV Series is this theme. In this timeline, Discord won and has reigned for a 1000 years with the mane six as his brainwashed Co-Dragons. Then Twilight is redeemed thanks to Apple Pie's refusal to give up hope. Things start looking up from there.
  • In The Abundance, the chapter begins with a quote from The Lord of the Rings saying there is no hope and things look that way: Twilight has been taken down by Loyalty, Scootaloo is dead, and Faith has gone missing after being mortally wounded. To twist the knife, Loyalty captures The Doctor and Dinky Hooves and sends them plummeting to their deaths. It is then that Derpy Hooves, who spent the entire story catatonic due to her daughter being taken, performs a freaking Sonic Rainboom, showering Cloudsdale in light. Twilight breaks free, Scootaloo's heart starts back up, and Faith, seeing the Rainboom, turns the massive airship he stole towards Cloudsdale. The chapter ends with another LOTR's quote: Hope… is kindled.
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, when Nightmare Moon had cemented her power over Equestria in her sister's absence and all seemed lost, many citizens still held onto the flickering flames of hope; that Celestia would return and save them. Nightmare Moon knew that her inability to completely extinguish all traces of hope would be her downfall, leading to her orchestration of the Battle of Canterlot, an attempt of an all-out victory against Celestia once she returned to re-take the nation, in order to destroy all semblances of hope forever.
  • In the Homestuck AU Loophole, the climax occurs with Vriska, the young troll in John's care and his de facto daughter, being put down. In spite of everything he and his allies could do, they couldn't stop this. And what's worse, it turns out she was already dying of liver failure, twisting the knife in further. Naturally, John retreats into mourning, barely able to get out of bed even with the help of his immediate family. But there are two sparks of hope in such crushing despair. First, that the injustice of Vriska's death was felt by a swarm of people, who turn out for her funeral (a fact that also hints of potential for pro-troll social change). And second, because even though Vriska is dead, John's family and friends are around, as are a collection of other young rescued trolls. They need him, and in turn teach him life goes on. The Epilogue shows John having continued that work, able to move forward in spite of his crushing loss.
  • Naturally this trope plays out in In Blackest Night, a crossover between Kim Possible and Green Lantern. After high school, Kim finds herself drafted into the Green Lantern Corps just before the events of the Blackest Night arc. One of her recurring enemies, the mutated fish-man Gill, became a Red Lantern, and launched a ferocious attack on Kim. She fought well but her ring reserves were rapidly depleting...until she noticed her ring's power levels increasing, followed by a familiar voice shouting, "Can I get a Booyah?" Enter the newly appointed Blue Lantern, Ron Stoppable.
  • The premise for Doki Doki Literature Girls. After deleting the game, Monika is confronted by Sayori in the void, and Sayori pushes Monika to reset the world, firmly believing that there was still hope for the Literature Club despite Monika's pessimism.

    Films — Animated 
  • Finding Nemo: After Marlin and Dory have escaped from a hungry shark and massive minefield explosions, they are exhausted. Marlin is anxious to find his missing son, Nemo, but now he has lost his best clue for finding him — a scuba mask inscribed with the address of the diver who captured Nemo. Dory helps Marlin find hope. Discouraged, Marlin says, "That was my only chance at finding my son; now it's gone!" But Dory is not so easily deterred. "Hey, Mr. Grumpy Gills," she says. "When life gets you down, you know what you gotta do? Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming. What do we do? We swim, swim."
  • Transformers: The Movie: The majority of the film features the Autobots getting their tailpipes kicked across the galaxy. At the very end, they unite to make a last ditch effort to destroy Unicron and Light Their Darkest Hour.
  • Turning Red: Mei makes her way to the 4*Town concert to apologize to her friends so there is hope she will be able to both attend the concert and regain her friendships.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • At the end of the prequels, the Emperor has taken power, Anakin Skywalker has fallen to evil, the Jedi order is destroyed, Yoda and Obi-Wan have been driven into exile, and the Republic has been turned into the oppressive Galactic Empire. But The Alliance has begun to form and the Skywalker twins have been hidden from their father, Darth Vader, and they both will become a new hope.
    • The major theme of Rogue One. The Empire might have a superweapon, the Rebellion suffered a massive beating, and the major heroes all died, but the plans for the Death Star have been transmitted and the movie segues into A New Hope.
    Jyn Erso: We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope!
    • The Last Jedi also ends with a grim note with Luke Skywalker dead and the remaining Resistance soldiers are down to a few dozen. However, Luke has regained his faith in the Jedi Order and named Rey his final apprentice who will restore peace to the Galaxy, while Leia assures that the Resistance will rise once more.
  • Independence Day. Most of the major cities on Planet Earth have been wiped out, and all attempts at attacking the aliens have failed so far. But there are still planes, and pilots to fly them. And besides, it's the Fourth of July!
  • The tagline for Deep Impact was "Oceans rise. Cities fall. Hope survives." It fits that movie well, by the way.
  • Hope is what sustains Andy Dufrense after his false-conviction and incarceration in The Shawshank Redemption. He and Red even get into an argument over having Hope in prison, with Andy saying it is necessary and Red saying that it is dangerous. Eventually, Red comes to Andy's point of view.
    "Remember, Red? Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."
  • Gilraen, the narrator of the story in Born of Hope, addresses Baby Aragorn as Estel, which means Hope in Sindarin. In fact, this trope is the entire message of the movie.
  • President Snow Lampshades this trope during his conversation with Seneca Crane in film version of The Hunger Games. He says that the Games have a winner precisely so they can invoke this trope and create a false sense of hope for the Districts. He also tells Seneca that he doesn't like underdogs (like Katniss) because they create a real sense of hope, thus playing this trope straight.
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan gives us James T. Kirk's undying credo, "I don't believe in the no-win scenario."
  • Subverted in The Dark Knight Rises. It is the hope that they can escape, but the reality that it is nearly impossible that drives most of the prisoners in Bane's old jail insane. Bruce realizes that he has to risk everything by not using a safety line (which was dragging him enough to miss the crucial jump) to get out of the pit.
  • This trope was entirely the point of the "God lives in the rain" sequence in V for Vendetta.
  • At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos has completed the Infinity Gautlet and accomplish his goal to eradicate half of the universe including many of the heroes. Right before he suffers the same fate, Nick Fury uses what time he left to send a distress signal on a pager with Captain Marvel replying.

  • The Trope Namer is Alexander Pope's ''An Essay on Man, Epistle I, 1733:
    Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
    Man never Is, but always To be blest:
    The soul, uneasy and confin'd from home,
    Rests and expatiates in a life to come.
  • The poem Hope Is A Tattered Flag is about this:
    The birds who go on singing to their mates in peace, war, peace,
    The ten-cent crocus bulb blooming in a used-car salesroom,
    The horseshoe over the door, the luckpiece in the pocket,
    The kiss and the comforting laugh and resolveâ??
    Hope is an echo, hope ties itself yonder, yonder.
  • In the Tanith Lee story "Red As Blood," one of the characters claims that Hope is the greatest evil released from Pandora's Box, because it gives people false comfort in time of troubles.
  • Mistborn, by Brandon Sanderson. Kelsier to the Big Bad: "I am that which you can never kill. I am hope!"
  • One interpretation of "carrying the fire" in The Road.
  • As noted above, Stephen King's "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" from Different Seasons. Even carries the additional title "Hope Springs Eternal".
  • The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion. There are quite a few irredeemably evil entities attempting to oppress every other living entity, and most of them succeed for some period of time; so there's always a host of brave and wise elves, or outnumbered but courageous humans, or tough-as-nails dwarves, or determined hobbits, or powerful wizards, or even incredibly powerful godlike entities from across the sea preparing to come save the day. A few characters make speeches on hope which get everyone else back on their feet.
  • Emily Dickinson wrote a poem about this:
    "Hope" is the thing with feathers—
    That perches in the soul—
    And sings the tune without the words—
    And never stops—at all—

    And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
    And sore must be the storm—
    That could abash the little Bird
    That kept so many warm—

    I've heard it in the chillest land—
    And on the strangest Sea—
    Yet, never, in Extremity,
    It asked a crumb—of Me.
  • Star Wars:
    • The end of Matt Stover's novelization of Revenge of the Sith notes that this is the Dark Side's weakness. Darkness is all-encompassing, powerful, and will never vanish entirely... but a single candle can hold it back. Crosses over with The Power of Love as well.
      Love is more than a candle. Love can ignite the stars.
    • Fate of the Jedi ends the Original Trilogy era on a similar note. Coruscant is in ruins, much of the galaxy is turning on the Jedi, thousands are dead, the Force is in danger of falling out of Balance yet again, the Lost Tribe of Sith has been decimated, and while Abeloth has been been defeated for now, she's not dead and is definitely going to make a second attack eventually. But the story ends on a happy note as an aging Luke Skywalker watches his niece Jaina marrying the love of her life — who is leading the intact Imperial Remnant into a brighter future — and the new generation of Jedi he brought about seeking out the Dagger of Mortis that might be able to kill Abeloth while the remnants of the Alliance brace for the uneasy future under Wynn Dorvan, all of which gives him hope that the Jedi and Sith may yet be able to finally make peace and unite as the new Ones to stop Abeloth once and for all. Fittingly, the last scene is a visual Call-Back to the above-mentioned speech from Revenge Of The Sith, with an old woman lighting a candle to ward off darkness.
  • Parodied in Going Postal, where the cynical Boxed Crook protagonist thinks of hope as the thing that makes people fall for "get-rich-quick" schemes and other cons.
  • In The Pillars of the Earth however the villains try to stop the construction of the cathedral, they fail. Even burning the whole town down doesn't help. There is one point in the story when Philip gives up all hope, but it only lasts until Jack returns from France and decides to build the cathedral in Gothic style.
  • G. K. Chesterton famously wrote, "Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten."
  • Peeta represents this to Katniss in The Hunger Games, having been the first person to give her hope after her father died.
  • Friedrich Nietzsche has little love for this trope in general, likely due to the influence of Greek tragedy on his works. To be very brief, he regards this concept and establishments that foster it to be one of the primary obstacles to the rise of the Übermensch, since it robs people of their will to shape their own destinies. See Also sprach Zarathustra, Beyond Good And Evil, and On The Geneology Of Morals.
  • Averted in the first part of Dante's The Divine Comedy. In fact, what makes Dante's Inferno so frightful is the absolute absence of any hope of future redemption. Every soul who is destined to cross the river Acheron has no other choice than keep going and let the divine judgment be fulfilled as soon as possible. This is clarified by the verses carved onto the Door of Hell:
    Through me the way into the suffering city,
    Through me the way to eternal pain,
    Through me the way that runs among the lost.
    Justice urged on my high Artificer
    My maker was Divine Authority,
    The Highest Wisdom, and Primal Love.
    Before me nothing nothing but eternal things
    Were made, and I endure eternally.
    Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Hero Harry Dresden discusses this topic with Nicodemus Archleon in the tenth book Small Favor. The villain of the book Nicodemus, an ancient man who has partnered with a Fallen Angel for the better part of two millennium, and his cadre of Fallen Angels and their mortal hosts have regularly been resisted by three people, the Knights of the Cross who each wield a Sword with a Nail that pierced Jesus Christ at the Crucifixion. The three Swords represent Hope, Faith, and Love. During the book, Nicodemus is closer than ever to unleashing an apocalyptic event and Harry notes that he might even succeed, might even kill the current generation of Knights, but that won't destroy the Swords, won't stop Heaven from fighting back again and again as much as they can within the Rules that bind them, and won't stop regular good people who aren't Knights from fighting back anyway. Even if Nicodemus wins, a new generation will rise up and fight again. After all, how many times has Nicodemus been this close before and then the Knights stop him? Nicodemus has no counter to this claim as he mulls over Harry's proposal for a trade to save a young girl's life Nicodemus has kidnapped.
    • There have been times when the Swords of the Cross have been misused, the Holy protection around them weakened enough for the physical vessel to be destroyed, and that power lays dormant. It is not, however, destroyed or gone forever. In the fifteenth book Skin Game the Sword of Faith is so shattered but a Knight of the Cross is not without hope for the future, or faith in God. This is because the Knight knows that the most important word in the weapon's title isn't "Sword" but the virtue it represents. The Knight has faith in that virtue, hope in God's plans, and knows God's Love is unconditional and forgiving. So, in the climax when Harry, acting on faith in the Knight's words, tosses the nail-embedded hilt to a person who he hopes can resurrect the Sword, it falls instead into the hands of a man who has a deep belief that one life can make a difference, that good will triumph over evil, and it is his faith that recreates the Sword in the image from his ideology. The blade becomes one of angelic light and low hum resonating from it. A Sword befitting a Star Wars geek.
  • The Wheel of Time: In the Last Battle, things are going badly for the humans, and they are losing on all fronts. Rand, as the champion of light, assures the Dark One that the forces of light will still win: as long as there is hope, they'll fight, and they'll hope even if there's no reason too.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Doctor Who's fiftieth anniversary episode "The Day of the Doctor", the 10th and 11th Doctors both show up on Gallifrey with the War Doctor, telling him that they can no longer deny that he was them, that he did all he could during the Time War, and that this time, he won't have to push the Big Red Button alone, that if Gallifrey is doomed, then they will share that burden together. And then, thanks to a Rousing Speech by Clara, the Eleventh Doctor changes his mind.
    Clara: Look at you, the three of you. The warrior, the hero and you...
    11th Doctor: And what am I?
    Clara: Have you really forgotten?
    11th Doctor: Yes...Maybe, yes.
    Clara: We've got enough Warriors. Any old idiot can be a hero.
    11th Doctor: Then what do I do?
    Clara: What you've always done. Be a Doctor.
    • This inspires him to confer with his past selves, and every single past incarnation (and one future incarnation) joins them in freezing Gallifrey in a single moment in time, keeping the timeline intact while also saving Gallifrey from destruction.
      • Indeed, the Doctor in general runs on this trope: No matter how powerful the bad guys are, no matter how little time there is to save the world, he firmly believes that, as he says to Van Gogh of all people, There is, surprisingly, always hope. It's what allows him to be a Determinator.
  • Invoked in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine where a group of genetically-enhanced super-geniuses calculate that the Federation cannot win its war against the Dominion. They argue that the Federation should surrender, accept an occupation and humanity will form La Résistance a few generations later, centering on Earth itself. The irony being that a scene earlier in the series, set in the Dominion HQ, shows that their leadership planned to simply wipe out every living thing on Earth as a preemptive measure to any kind of human resistance down the line.

  • Bob Dylan's "To Make You Feel My Love" is sung from the point of view of a man who is in love with a woman whose life has treated her harshly, and who has especially had bad luck when it comes to romantic relationships. The lyrics gently tell her to never give up hope, because there's still someone who loves her:
    The storms are raging on a rolling sea
    Down the highway of regret
    The winds of change are blowing wild and free
    But you ain't seen nothing like me yet
  • Garth Brooks' The Change is about doing the right thing, and never giving up. Ever. Or else evil, sadness, and hatred win.
    As long as one heart still holds on
    Then hope is never really gone
  • Alluded to and dismissed in Within Temptation's "Deciever of Fools". Hope springs eternal, but it won't help much.
  • The final song of Gustav Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde is "Der Abschied"note , a setting of two Chinese poems (by Mong-Kao-Jennote  and Wang-Seinote , respectively) in Hans Bethge's German translation. Both are about the departure of a dear friend. It might end on an extremely depressing note... except for Mahler's added lyrics at the end, which contribute to the fatalistic moral of the work: that, even as we have passed away and our sorrows have been forgotten, life itself will go on.
    Die liebe Erde allüberall
    blüht auf im Lenz und grünt auf's neu!
    Allüberall und ewig blauen licht die Fernen!
    Ewig... Ewig...note 
  • The message of the The All-American Rejects song "Move Along" is to never give up and never give in, because it gets better. All you have to do is keep going, no matter how hard it is to do so.
    When all you got to keep is strong
    Move along, move along like I know you do
    And even when your hope is gone
    Move along, move along just to make it through
  • Jimmy Buffett's "Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On" is a Tear Jerker tribute to New Orleans and what it endured during Hurricane Katrina, but the constant message of the song is that in the end, there is always hope.
    If a hurricane doesn't leave you dead
    It will make you strong
    Don't try to explain it. Just nod your head
    Breathe in, breathe out, move on
  • In the Peter Gabriel / Kate Bush collaboration "Don't Give Up", Gabriel sings the part of a man who has been unemployed for a long time now, doesn't have many prospects at all, and is beginning to despair about taking care of his family. The chorus, sung by Bush, is the man's family, reassuring him that no matter what happens, he shouldn't give up, because they still believe in him. In the end, he decides to tough it out for his family's sake, even though he knows that it might just get worse before it gets better.
    Don't give up, 'cause you have friends.
    Don't give up, you're not the only one.
    Don't give up, no reason to be ashamed.
    Don't give up, you still have us.
    Don't give up now, we're proud of who you are.
    Don't give up, you know it's never been easy.
    Don't give up, 'cause I believe there's a place where we belong.
  • This is the message of "Reach Out (I'll Be There)" by the Four Tops. The girl's life might be falling apart, but all she need do is reach out, and he'll be there. And he will see her through the trials and tribulations life will throw at her, because there's still hope.
  • This is the subject of the Israeli national anthem, HaTikvah, or The Hope. The song is about how, despite the trials and tribulations and pain they've undergone over the past two thousand years, they still look to Jerusalem and to Israel as a source of hope everlasting.
  • Many of Lovebites' songs are about finding hope in the face of despair.
  • Los Campesinos! puts a deconstructive spin on this in the song "Hello Sadness", which uses these exact words but applied in the context of a starkly unhappy relationship. The narrator is very clearly miserable as it's clear the loving future with his partner he desires isn't happening, but he presses on pretending it will in a vain attempt to remain happy.
    It's only hope that springs eternal, and that's the reason why
    This dripping from my broken heart is never running dry

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Pandora's Box from Greek Mythology not only unleashed evil upon the world, it unleashed hope.
    • One of the many different versions of the story: Hope was at the bottom of the box, so when a panicky Pandora snapped it closed again, Hope was the one thing left inside. Thus while all the evils of the box are beyond man's control, we still have Hope kept safe for when we need it.
      • More cynical interpretations view it differently: we have all these evils in the world, but not hope.
      • In other versions, the thing left inside the box was the ability to foresee misfortune (the opposite of hope, in other words) or else that hope would have been a terrible evil had it been released, but a force for good since it remains inside.
      • A version not well known of the myth state that what the box contained weren't evils, but blessings, and that these blessings will benefit the mankind as long the box was never opened, but a nameless idiot (and not pandora) opened the box, the result: the blessings flew back to the olympus, and when the lid was closed again, the only blessing that was lef behind was the hope.
      • And in still other versions/interpretations, it was not hope, but rather despair that was trapped inside the box. Arguably, this makes more sense; hope still exists in the world because the evil of its lack was the one thing that didn't escape into the world.
      • While it's commonly viewed that Hope was the silver lining kept in the box as a form of Sealed Good in a Can should it ever be open, one of the most cynical interpretations of the myth is that hope is the worst evil of the lot: the groundless belief that things will get better when they may never do so.
      • The idea that Hope is the worst evil of the lot also fits with the heroic interpretation of this myth, ie, the idea that Hope breeds complacency in a world where matters can only be improved when people stand up to do something about it.
      • At least, hope without the willpower to change things is meaningless, as in Green Lantern where the Blue Lanterns are nearly useless without a Green Lantern around.
      • Also, Greeks believe in an absolute fate. So it's likely greeks thought that hope deceived people with its lies that you could defeat fate
  • In at least some versions of Norse Mythology, Ragnarök ends with the death of the Gods, the destruction of Ásgarðr, and the reduction of Miðgarðr (the mortal world) to a barren wasteland. But one mortal couple survives to repopulate the world.
    • Also Baldr comes back form the dead. And a handful of young gods also survive to help him.
    • Of course, the inverse of this trope is in full force as well; Níðhöggr also survives Ragnarök.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Nomine: The Archangel Blandine is defined in large part by her refusal to ever give up on hope. No matter how unrealistic it is, no matter how much blood and horror there is and how much more cynical angels scoff, she still keeps faith that one day all the fallen — including her beloved Beleth — will rejoin the Heavenly fold once more.
  • Mage: The Awakening has specialized sub-groups among their splats called "Legacies". In terms of game mechanics, membership in a Legacy allows a mage to potentially cast as many as eight distinct spells without fear of Paradox (basically, reality telling a mage that "no, you have NOT pushed me hard enough to get the changes you want"). In terms of storytelling, however, Legacies represent a further refinement of certain philosophical stances or guidance toward achieving certain social goals, which the aforementioned eight spells are intended to support. One group, the Tamers Of the Cave has the concept of this trope as part of their identifying quote: "... Even when there's nothing, there's hope."
  • Ravenloft: Deconstructed. The Dark Powers' punishment may be tailor-made for each Darklord, but the crux of their curse is that no matter how many times the Darklord tried and failed to gain their heart's desire, there is always a sliver of hope that they will succeed next time. This will NEVER come to pass, as The Dark Powers will actively screw over the Darklord's attempt over and over. The only known escape is to abandon all hope of succeeding, leave your quest, admit what you did was wrong, and accept your punishment. Of course, if they were the kind of people who could admit that, they would have never become Darklords in the first place.
  • Warhammer:
    • Tzeentch is the evil God of Hope in Warhammer Fantasy and Warhammer 40,000. He can't be killed (and killing all his worshippers is less than practical), so technically, hope goes on forever. The reason that Tzeentch can't be killed is because he is the God of Hope. Taken to an insane extreme, like all the Chaos Gods. The very thing that allows mortals to fight him and his forces IS him.
    • Dark Heresy places one single bright point within it. You are a human in the Imperium of Man. You live in a shitsack world setting so bleak that it is (in)arguably the crappiest of Crapsack World settings. Every side is evil, typically horrifyingly so, and the Imperium certainly counts. There is no real way to defeat Chaos or even the mundane enemies of the Imperium, not for good. The collapse of humanity into ruin, chaos, death and worse is only a matter of time. You play an Inquisitor. Your job? To hold off that collapse, and preserve the souls and lives of humanity. For one more year, one more month, one more day. One more hour. Your name will not be remembered when you fall. You will not know glory in life, or rest, or peace. But you may succeed in preserving your species for just that little bit longer. Grow powerful enough, you may even succeed in making things better for some small fraction of humanity. In all the horror and constant, borderline self-parodying grim dark that is Warhammer 40k, no other philosophy shines so bright as this. One single light in the dark.
  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: After Nagash betrayed the alliance of gods, Chaos managed to conquer seven of the eight realms, and Sigmar shut the gates to Azyr for an entire age while Chaos ran unopposed. Sigmar wasn't idle, however, and he finally opened the gates of Azyr when he finished the creation of the Stormcast Eternals, his heavenly host of immortal warriors. While the war against Chaos is far from over, Sigmar is making progress, his armies slowly retaking territory and his alliances with the other gods are slowly being rekindled and the great cities of Sigmar once again stand tall across the world.

  • This is the core theme of Hadestown. Orpheus' song contains the power of hope that destabilizes Hadestown, restores the workers' individuality, and can bring back spring, and as tragic as the ending of his story is, Hermes can't help replaying it again and again "as though it might turn out this time".

    Video Games 
  • The Fallout series. Sure, America, if not the world, is a post-apocalyptic wasteland full of radiation, disease and angry mutants that want to paint their walls in your brain splatters, but settlements are building and civilization is returning. The NCR, New Arroyo, Megaton, Rivet City for example. The DC wasteland has clean water, and Project Purity can be replicated (however the rest of America doesn't seem to really need it). And, hidden by those grimy orangey-grey clouds, is still a bright blue or starry sky.
  • Pandora in God of War III is a big believer of this. In the end, she even manages to get Kratos to agree with her.
    Pandora: Hope is what makes us strong! It is why we are here. It is what we fight with when all else is lost.
    • Taken to a literal extreme in the end. Amongst the evils in Pandora's Box was Hope. It was inside Kratos ever since he used the box to fight Ares in the first game. Once Kratos' rampage is over, the world is pretty much destroyed (both literally and figuratively) by the deaths of the Olympians. Athena, the last surviving god, tries to take Hope from Kratos, using it to rule what's left of the world. Instead, Kratos kills himself, releasing the power of Hope to every mortal. The last shot of the game is the sky clearing, implying the world will finally begin to recover.
  • At the very end of Legacy of Kain: Defiance, Kain muses that hope was the true gift Raziel bestowed upon him. Being a cynic, he refers to it as "the first, bitter, taste of that terrible illusion" but one he can't help but believe.
  • Diablo has one in the person of Auriel.
  • Final Fantasy VI features something along these lines. Kefka obtains godlike power, the world is ruined and the remains crushed under his iron rule. The heroes, scattered by the cataclysm, struggle to survive, eventually reuniting and rising to challenge Kefka again even though the situation seems hopeless.
  • At the end of Final Fantasy XIV ver.1.0, Bahamut is unleashed upon Eorzea, and the ending cutscene shows him preparing to absolutely destroy the realm with Teraflare. By the time the game picks back up in A Realm Reborn, five years have passed, but civilization has gotten back on its feet for the most part, with the people of Eorzea striving to rebuild and heal from the calamity. This also is a driving force in Endwalker, as the Greater-Scope Villain of the story up to this point, Meteon, is trying to destroy the universe by weaponizing despair. Hydaelyn is revealed to be Venat, an Ancient from the Unsundered world of Etherys, who believed that the only way to the future is to strive to overcome hardship. Because her peers disagreed so strongly that they consented to sacrifice half of the world's population in a misguided attempt to bring back their Glory Days, she became Hydaelyn and split the world into a Multiverse, causing all people from that point forward to live finite lives without access to Reality Warper magic: their lives would be hard and fraught with strife, but Hydaelyn believed that in overcoming such hardship, they would emerge stronger.
  • A general rule of the Mass Effect series is that victory is always possible, if the heroes are willing to stop shooting each other and risk everything. Even if the villains manage to kill Shepard, Liara's time capsules mean that someday, somewhere, someone will defeat the Reapers once and for all. It's notable that the only time in the trilogy that Shepard does fails, in the third game, s/he takes it extremely hard. And even from this, they eventually recover.
  • Octopath Traveler II: This is discussed in an oblique way during Throné Anguis' story to escape the Blacksnakes. During her tale, which is one of the darkest of the eight, as she kills the upper leadership of the criminal organization she wishes to be free from, she comes across people asking the question, "Did you know there is something that cannot be stolen?" Several people give their answers, such as one's skill with a blade and a baby. When faced with the leader of the Blacksnakes who is a centuries old sexual predator and murderer, her father and, unknowingly to Throné the father of all the people Throné killed, he asks her that very question once more. She has an answer: "The Dawn. It can be taken away, but not stolen." Her words amuse the leader and have more poinency than Throné realizes. Her father is a member of an apocolptic cult seeking to release Vide, an ancient god who will create the forever night and destroy the world. They plan to seal away the dawn so it may never come. Throné's show her belief that even if the Dawn, the hope for tomorrow, is threatened, it will not be forever, and the Dawn will return, the darkness will end. When the cult succeeds in putting out the flames which seal Vide, and the god manifests, Throné and her seven comrades defeat him before trope can come about.
  • In the "Hope" trailer for Star Wars: The Old Republic, Jace Malcolm says it only takes a single spark of courage to ignite the fires of hope and bring peace to the galaxy. He says that as it seems that he and a single Jedi Knight are all that's left of the Republic's defense force after a brutal skirmish with the Sith. He then launches a signal flare, and the camera zooms out dramatically to reveal hundreds, if not thousands such flares rising over the forests of Alderaan.
  • At the end of Wild ARMs 3, while the heroes have defeated all the threats to Filgaia, the world is still a Death World with oceans of sand, and the heroes are believed to be responsible for the death of the leader of the world's main religious order. Nonetheless, at the end of the ending sequence, the camera focuses on a single flower that has taken root, with the hope that this flower can bloom and prosper.
  • The first generation of Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War ends with nearly all of the heroes killed, The Empire triumphant, and The Dark Times lie ahead, ruled by the vessel of the Dark God, Loptyr. But The Light Continues to Shine, and seventeen years later, the children of the fallen heroes take up arms to free Jugdral from the reign of tyranny.
  • This is one of the main themes in Danganronpa, contrasting the Big Bad's desire for despair.
  • Dark Souls:
    • A persistent theme throughout the franchise; no matter how many times you die, no matter how badly the world has suffered, no matter how hopeless the given situation is, there is still some glimmer of resolve to draw strength from and carry on with, like tiny embers dancing amongst the dark. Word of God even states that quitting the game is emblematic of your character finally going Hollow, so the theme even works in a meta-sense.
    • Two of the three endings for Dark Souls III draw upon this theme more heavily than the rest of the series; Choosing The End of Fire sees the Fire Keeper take the last embers of the First Flame and snuff them out, ending the eternal cycle of light and dark in the hopes that a new Age of Fire will come about on its own rather than through the continuous perpetuation of a self-destructive cycle. Choosing The Usurpation of Fire turns into either a Golden Ending or Earn Your Bad Ending depending on your interpretation, but it certainly seems hopeful from mankind's perspective; having gained the power of the Dark Soul from Yoel of Londor and wresting the remains of the First Flame from their mantle, you can now finish the process King Vendrick started in Dark Souls II by using the power of both to break humanity out of the cycle entirely, allowing them to ascend as the rightful rulers of the world with you as their Lord of Hollows.
  • Invoked by the very gameplay of Frostpunk as Hope functions as a combination of Sanity Meter and You Lose at Zero Trust.

    Web Original 
  • Professor Ozpin, Big Good of RWBY, is a firm believer in the power of hope. With humanity under constant assault from the Creatures of Grimm, it's hope for a better future - and the willingness to fight for it - that keeps the setting Lovecraft Lite, rather than the all-consuming darkness of a Hopeless War. Salem, Ozpin's opposite number, readily acknowledges how powerful it can be.
    Salem: "It's true that a simple spark can ignite hope, breathe fire in to the hearts of the weary... The ability to derive strength from hope is undoubtedly mankind's greatest attribute. Which is why I will focus all of my power to snuff it out."
  • SCP-1281: The Harbinger is an ai sent out by a dying race. They had no time to save themselves, so instead, they used their last power to Fling a Light into the Future
    Harbinger: "This is our harbinger. It brings good tidings.
    "We will be dead when it reaches you. Our planet is dying. We do not have time to save ourselves. We only have time to ready ourselves, and to send a message.
    "We have seen the signals from those who came before us. They were different, and we still don't really understand them. But if there were those who came before, there may be those who come after. It is in this hope that our harbingers travel.
    "One has found you and learned your language so it can relay this message. Please listen.
    "The galaxy is dark, and empty, and cold. It spins inevitably toward death. You will die too, one day. Perhaps you will have longer than we have. We hope so. But one day you too must vanish.
    "Before that time comes, you must light the darkness. You must make the night less empty. We are all small, and the universe is vast. But a universe with voices saying "I am here" is far greater than a universe silent. One voice is small, but the difference between zero and one is as great as one and infinity.
    "We waited too long. Our voice is gone to echoes. Find others while there is still time. Make a chorus.
    "And if this finds you too late, and your time is also passing, please send this message on, so the next voice can speak against the darkness."
  • Lindsay Ellis deconstructs this in her video "Protest Music of the Bush Era". After multiple protest songs about the Iraq War hit deaf ears and George W. Bush was re-elected President of the U.S. in 2004, the musical trend of protest songs became this trope: Songs about making it through dark times and just waiting out Bush's tenure in the White House. Lindsay calls out this fact, as in 2020 (between Donald Trump's administration reaching new lows with its mismanagement of the COVID-19 Pandemic, a new wave of Black Lives Matter/anti-Police Brutality protests, and otherwise) protest music trends are coming back to being pretty openly political; she points out that in a world where it's clear change must be fought for, waiting for things to get better is not a good approach, as there's no evidence that this is just "For Now" or that everyone will make it through.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Codename: Kids Next Door movie Operation: Z.E.R.O., Grandfather's first rule over the Earth was brought to a screeching halt when the Book of KND gave the kids the hope needed to defeat him. When he returns, he knows if he doesn't completely destroy all hope, he can still be defeated.
    Grandfather: When my son discovered that book, he became filled with the kind of hope that snot-nosed kids are stupid enough to believe in.
  • Samurai Jack: A recurring theme in the show, particularly by Season 5, is that Jack has become a beacon of hope under Aku's dark reign. XCVII is basically a Continuity Cavalcade showing people who Jack has inspired and saved who went on to see him as such.
  • The Star Wars Rebels episode Call to Action has this as a driving theme, as the Rebels attempt to hijack a communications tower and pass along a message of hope to the population. What is notable is that the villains also recognize this fact, as Tarkin points out that what makes the cell on Lorthal dangerous is that they are principled.

    Real Life 
  • Every participant of any ideologically-motivated resistance movement against an occupying power feels this at times, or even constantly (or to the bitter end). Even when almost all hope seems lost, people will remember - or imagine - what it would be like to live a society in accordance with their ideology and draw strength from that vision. Humanity's capacity to imagine is very great indeed. The only way to make such ideals go away is to give them what they want - whereupon after a time they become disillusioned with the new or 'restored' society and eventually move on to believing something else is worth fighting, or dying, for. Such is life.
  • Efforts to preserve critically-endangered species persist, and even become more intense, if the habitat of origin for that species no longer exists and their numbers have fallen so low that genetic diversity is nil, even if every last individual dies, dead specimens' DNA is preserved in the hope that they might someday be restored via not-yet-extant technologies. For no current species is this more evident than the white rhinoceros, which is caught in an arms race between conservationalists, who have increasingly heavy human security on each individual rhino; and the wealthy buyers of their horns, who will pay the poachers increasingly handsome rewards to retrieve one.


Video Example(s):


Science Prevails

Despite the efforts of Luddites like Tsukasa who wants to try and destroy any Science, there will always be those like Chrome who are curious of how the world works that they will experiment and learn new things.

How well does it match the trope?

4.86 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / HopeSpringsEternal

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