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In Harm's Way

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"I wish to have no connection with any ship that does not go fast; for I intend to go in harm's way."
John Paul Jones (The naval commander, not the Led Zeppelin member)

Sometimes The Hero doesn't get a Happy Ending because no ending could conceivably be happy. It would mean the end of the adventures, and nothing could be duller than the lack of adrenaline. They don't really feel alive out of danger.


Sometimes the hero is depicted as a Stranger in a Familiar Land trapped in a dull job or situation, fondly recalling his Glory Days; when a new chance at adventure arises, they invariably jump on it. Sometimes the hero at the beginning already sets out in search of new adventures. Sometimes, in the middle of the story, the hero has a chance to leave, and this is one motive for rejecting it. And sometimes it is an ending trope; the hero resolves not to return to mundane life, And the Adventure Continues. This is the common ending of Adrenaline Makeover.

Some heroes who make a fortune and promptly lose it foolishly may fall under this trope, because it means that they can return to the fun of making money, and the Non-Idle Rich may trample familial objections to stick to a dangerous occupation when they don't need the money, to avoid Rich Boredom. And sometimes the love of being In Harm's Way is merely implied, when the hero never seems to find anything worth stopping for. The Dulcinea Effect may not be so much by the desire to help as the chance to get into the thick of things.


This can be an intermittent condition in some heroes; they adventure, get tired of it, settle down, get tired of it, adventure — etc. At other times, it may propel a hero to adventure for years on end before realizing, finally, that he has burned out and wants to settle down. Sometimes, being forced by circumstance to stay in one place grows on him until he realizes that he really does love Home Sweet Home after all.

While "Leave Your Quest" Test is no peril to these characters, the inverted version, where they should give up heroics for less dangerous but more beneficial work, is extremely tough and often failed.

Characters who enjoy putting themselves In Harm's Way include these:

... and probably more.

Related to Chronic Hero Syndrome and Chronic Villainy. One of the more reasonable ways to maintain status quo. Many Heroic Fantasy heroes keep going in unending series because they are in love with being In Harm's Way. Inverse of Home Sweet Home.

Frequently found with a love of Famed in Story. See also Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex.

For the John Wayne film of the same name, go here. Nor is this related to the Star Trek: New Voyages episode of the same name.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Berserk, this describes Guts during the Golden Age arc. Griffith observes that Guts' recklessness on the battlefield is motivated not by having a death wish, but rather by the thrill of fighting for his life. After the Hundred Year War ends and it looks like Midland will be peaceful, Guts decides to leave the Band of the Hawk partly because he wouldn't know what to do with himself in the Hawks' new position of respectability, and because he wants to master the sword by challenging himself with ever tougher fights and adventures until he can become Griffith's equal. After the Eclipse this motivation is replaced by his desire to protect Casca and avenge his fallen comrades.
  • Lupin III and his gang never grow tired of their life.
    • In The Castle of Cagliostro, Lupin III and Jigen discover that their careful heist had netted counterfeit money. They laugh it off, Jigen declaring that he didn't want to retire anyway.
  • Tenchi Universe ends with all the craziness ended, Tenchi at home safe, and him being bored to have a normal life. Of course, Ryoko's reappearance in literally the last minute of the last episode provides Tenchi the promise of being in harm's way all over again, albeit off-camera.
  • At the end of Monster, Tenma refuses a teaching post at uni and joins the MSF instead.
  • This happens at the end of Tiger & Bunny, after Wild Tiger coming back into action as Wild Tiger ~ 1 minute, at the end of the last episode.
  • One Piece
    • Luffy simply chooses the hardest, most difficult paths in his adventure just because he thinks that will be the most exciting. He lives on the adventure. Meanwhile, Zoro is definitely of the Spirited Competitor mold, always on the watch for worthy opponents, and seemingly bored when not fighting and/or drinking.
    • Though honestly it applies to the entire crew to some extent. Besides almost all of them leaving home to become pirates when describing how the dangerous and hellish the New World is, every last one of them is smiling.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Because of Goku's Spirited Competitor nature, he is at his happiest when he's fighting, either for fun or for his life. When he hears that there is someone stronger than Vegeta, someone who literally crushed every bone in his body not even a month ago, he's all but giddy at the idea of fighting them. Beerus is the God of Destruction who the other gods fear? Goku challenges him to a sparring match. The other Gods of Destruction and their strongest warriors are after Goku since he put their universe in danger? He's more than happy to fight all of them and says so to their faces. Goku even admits that he fights at his best when he's on the edge. Pretty much the defining feature of the Saiyan race. They simply love fighting strong opponents.
    • Bulma doesn't consistently revolve around this trope, but she's a Plucky Girl by nature, so when it does crop up, it's never out of place. Such as, for example, her insistence on taking her infant son to see her hero friends fight killer cyborgs. And her rationale for meeting Frieza face-to-face? If he's a Planet Destroyer, she may as well face her doom head-on than pointlessly hide from it.

    Comic Books 
  • The Flash: Former villains Trickster and the Pied Piper joined their old friends the Rogues in an apparent Face–Heel Turn. After the Rogues had murdered Bart Allen (the Flash), they talked revealing that it had been an attempted infiltration and they had both done it to get back to the adventure.
  • Travis Morgan from The Warlord passes up the opportunity to settle down peacefully when it is presented to him because he needs to keep traveling and adventuring.
    • One of Morgan's friends became the ruler of some city-state or other ... and was bored. He was delighted when a visit by Morgan coincided with the discovery of a serious plot to overthrow him, saying he'd finally found something that made the job worthwhile: "Enemies!"
  • Spider-Man, most definitely an adrenaline junkie, in addition to being something of a showman since his inception in the wrestling ring. His patter has more energy the more danger he's in. He often goes out to 'clear his head' with the hazardous sport of swinging from skyscrapers.
  • X-Men:
    • When Storm married Black Panther and became Queen of Wakanda, she could possibly do more good for the planet as a world leader than as a superhero, but finds palace life and politics mind-numbingly boring. As a result, she makes regular trips to California to assist the X-Men.
    • Cyclops always comes back to the X-Men, not because being an X-Man is fun, but because it's what he's been doing since he was 14 and he doesn't know how to have a happy, peaceful life. When the rest of the original team left, he stuck around, choosing to stay with a group of strangers rather than move on with the love of his life, because he believed his Power Incontinence meant that he couldn't function in normal society. And, when he married and had a child with the other love of his life, he made a genuine attempt to leave superheroics behind him and settle down with his new family but was unable to adjust to everyday life, which ultimately ended his marriage.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: Scrooge McDuck travelled the world and made money for the thrill of it rather than for the money in The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck. Later in life, when he stops making money and settles down in Duckburg, he becomes depressed, shutting himself away in his mansion, and it is only the return of Donald and the nephews and their subsequent foiling of a robbery that shakes Scrooge out of his funk, turning him back to a life of adventure.
  • Green Lantern: Queen Iolande finds politicking absolutely dull and would rather be a full-time Green Lantern. Since she is the only remaining member of the royal family of her homeworld, that really isn't an option.
  • Batman almost never retires, when he does its usually because he's too infirm to continue fighting crime, and even then he guarantees he has a replacement and participates in crime-fighting from the back lines. Played with, in that the reason for Batman's drive is less that Victory Is Boring and more that his end goal lies somewhere between the eradication of evil and the resurrection of his dead parents and reclaiming his childhood (without that harming anyone else), which needless to say he's never accomplished.
  • At the end of the first Firefly comic, Mal intentionally uses the large money cache the group had found to bribe an Alliance soldier off their backs, sending the crew right back into Perpetual Poverty and preventing himself — and the crew — from being able to peacefully retire.
  • Moon from Pocket God takes advantage of her resurrection abilities to put herself in danger for thrills. She persuades Klak into doing dangerous things for her amusement when the source of her resurrection powers is destroyed.
  • In Zodiac Starforce, Kim misses everything about the days they fought Cimmeria's forces, but especially the monster fights. Savi is a little nostalgic about it too.
  • Each of the three Runaways series ends with the kids being offered some degree of safety and stability in exchange for submitting to adult authority. They always blow it off, even when the consequences are disastrous for them.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: The Holliday Girls Bobby Strong and Glamora Treat live for adventure, and will invite themselves along on any expedition that promises some even if those in charge want to bar them from accompanying them. They've even stowed away when they weren't able to get permission.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In Schippeitaro, the young man is seeking this, for the fame.

    Fan Works 
  • When the Heartless attack Winter Town in A Song of Fire, Ice, and Hearts, Arya Stark opts to stay and see Roxas fight them off instead of listening to Sansa and fleeing to safety. After being brushed off one too many times, Sansa slaps her sister and calls her a brat for being willing to endanger her life just for some excitement.
  • Truth And Consequences: This is ultimately the key difference between Adrien and Marinette: Adrien loves being Chat Noir, and wouldn't give it up even if Hawkmoth were somehow to be defeated; Marinette only ever saw being Ladybug as a responsibility, and dreams of a peaceful life with a family, so much so she's willing to cut a deal with Hawkmoth in exchange for the Butterfly and Peacock Miraculouses being returned. At the end Chat leaves Paris altogether to Walk The Earth with Plagg fighting evil, while Marinette pursues her fashion career in London.

    Films — Animated 
  • The Incredibles: Bob's dissatisfaction with his life is heavily driven by the dullness next to the adventure of super-heroing. (Helen held to this trope when they were superheroing; it was Bob who considered Home Sweet Home an interesting future.)
  • Treasure Planet: Jim has a bad case of it, getting him into trouble in the opening.
  • The Lion King (1994): Cub Simba would certainly count, as his primary goal in life at that point is to go on dangerous adventures with his girlfriend Nala.
    Simba: Danger? Ha! I walk on the wild side. I laugh in the face of danger. Ha ha ha ha!

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Mummy (1999), Rick finds an old pilot who was a hero in his Glory Days and a recent widower. With nothing left to lose he jumps at the chance to take them into incredible danger and die doing it (which he does).
  • Holly Martins is sort of like this, having some traits of Intrepid Reporter by investigating the death of his friend for himself.
  • Kirk is in this situation at the beginning of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (even more so if you read the novel).
  • In Heat, one of McCauley's crew is given the choice to back out of an extremely high-risk job in order to settle with his family, considering he already has a lot of money tucked away from previous heists. The guy declines the advice, claiming that the thrill of the job, not the money in itself, is what he considers the payoff.
  • Jeremy Renner's character in The Hurt Locker, especially emphasized in the ending.
  • At the end of all the Mad Max movies, Max has a chance to rejoin civilization, but through choice or circumstances, he ends up going back out in the desert where further conflict is inevitable.
  • Westerns that feature The Drifter as the main hero usually end like this (unless he dies, that is).

  • At the beginning of Bulldog Drummond, demobbed soldier Hugh "Bulldog" Drummond places an advertisement in the newspaper: "Demobilized officer, finding peace incredibly tedious, would welcome diversion. Legitimate, if possible; but crime, if of a comparatively humorous description, no objection. Excitement essential." He receives a reply from a young woman whose father is tangled up in a deadly criminal conspiracy, and never looks back.
  • Ulysses, as portrayed by Dante in The Divine Comedy, was so drawn to adventure that he abandoned his home and lead his crew to their deaths in search for lands lost to knowledge.
  • Conan the Barbarian. He gets a kingdom at the end and finds it deathly dull; it's when people try to violently overthrow him that he gets excited again.
  • Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser's endless adventures are also the fruit of a love of it. In one story, they set out in search on the grounds that they are bound to find it.
  • Oscar in Glory Road by Robert A. Heinlein, a book with this as a major theme. Possibly also Lazarus Long in other books by the same author.
  • Another trope that recurs in Warhammer 40,000 tie-ins:
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Bilbo's love of adventure returned after much time in settled life.
  • E.R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros contains perhaps the most egregious example. It ends with the triumph of the heroes and the defeat of their noble foes, after a long and ruinous war. The heroes are bored. So the gods bring back their foes that they might fight them.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • In Interesting Times, Cohen and the rest of the Silver Horde love being In Harm's Way. It is also subverted near the end when Cohen hears a long list of Barbarian Heroes who had died—and one who has left it for being a Guardsman because it was a regular job and had a pension; it makes a deep impression on Cohen.
    • Played straight when the Silver Horde return in The Last Hero. After one of them dies choking on a cucumber, they decide to have one last adventure: returning fire to the gods...with interest.
    • In Men at Arms, Gaspode receives a place in a cozy little home at the end. At the very end, he escapes, returning to his life as a street dog.
    • Sam Vimes is often portrayed like this. He's the sort of cop to stop his own wedding to chase a criminal (because "it is the ancient instinct of policemen and terriers to chase anything that runs away".) Later books indicate he may be mellowing as his duty shifts to his family, but if he thinks that he'd let down his son by not doing his job, then...
      • Even while leading a parade in his full Ducal attire (which he hates) he cannot resist chasing a criminal. Twice. And, this being Discworld, the entire parade follows him.
    • Moist von Lipwig in Making Money. He actually takes to breaking into his own office building out of boredom until he gets a new dangerous job. (On the other hand, this is hinted as being due in part to Adora Belle Dearheart's absence.)
      Vetinari: Ahead of you is a life of respectable quiet contentment, of civic dignity and, of course, in the fullness of time a pension. Not to mention the proud gold-ish chain.
      Moist: And if I don't do what you say?
      Vetinari: Oh, you misunderstand me, Mr. Lipwig. That is what will happen to you if you decline my offer. If you accept it, you will survive on your wits against powerful and dangerous enemies, with every day presenting a new challenge. Someone may even try to kill you.
    • Beforehand, in Going Postal, he envisioned himself running off at the end, and it wasn't the same, the thrill was gone—and so he stays with Adora.
  • Andre Norton's book The Time Traders had the U.S. time-travel operation recruit a lot of these sort of people — "the expendable man who lives on action" — who had been "pressured by the peaceful environment into becoming a criminal or a misfit." They were sent back into some very un-peaceful history.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, after getting his life back, only better, Richard seems strangely discontent, finding that he now wants nothing. So he goes back to the dangerous, deadly world of London Below.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's The Second Jungle Book, most times, going to drink can be dangerous, and
    In good seasons, when water was plentiful, those who came down to drink at the Waingunga—or anywhere else, for that matter—did so at the risk of their lives, and that risk made no small part of the fascination of the night's doings. To move down so cunningly that never a leaf stirred; to wade knee-deep in the roaring shallows that drown all noise from behind; to drink, looking backward over one shoulder, every muscle ready for the first desperate bound of keen terror; to roll on the sandy margin, and return, wet-muzzled and well plumped out, to the admiring herd, was a thing that all tall-antlered young bucks took a delight in, precisely because they knew that at any moment Bagheera or Shere Khan might leap upon them and bear them down.
    • Kipling loved this trope. Many of his better-known poems, like "Song of the Dead," consist of little else.
  • Rachel Morgan, the protagonist of The Hollows novels, is often described as an adrenaline junkie seeking dangerous situations in order to feel alive. This tendency was greatly reduced when she nearly gets all of her friends and several other people killed as a result.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's Gods of Mars, when John Carter meets a fellow prisoner, the young man tells how he happened to fall into this.
    I must have inherited from my father a wild lust for adventure.
  • In Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno, trying to explain hunting to Sylvie, the narrator starts with the observation that some places men must hunt fierce beasts, and some of them come to like it.
    "Well, and so the men—the hunters—get to enjoy it, you know: the running, and the fighting, and the shouting, and the danger."
  • In Death: This is one of the reasons that Eve Dallas doesn't get promoted to Captain (or get pregnant) at any point in the series thus far, and more than likely will not until the end. She likes her place on the streets.
  • In John C. Wright's Fugitives of Chaos, when Victor professes his desire for a home, wife, and children, Amelia says that most men want adventure; he retorts that she's describing not most men but herself.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: Wedge Antilles feels some of this, Depending on the Writer. His first written appearance in The Thrawn Trilogy had him thinking that helping his friend Luke always led to excitement, and supplemental material shows that while he's had plenty of opportunities for career advancement, he hates the thought of a desk job and just prefers flying.
    • The X-Wing Series fleshes this out a little. Wedge thinks he can do more good as a pilot than as a higher-ranked officer. He's persuaded that it's the other way around and ends up promoted to general. For a time, he's kept from flying combat, and he hates this, but manages to persuade himself that flying combat is only a hobby. Still, it tends to happen to him. Thirty years later, in Legacy of the Force, he's discharged for being too moral—and, for a carefully-hidden instant, panics. Then he realizes that someone's going to try and assassinate him, and this thought calms him down. People have been trying to kill him for so long that the thought centers him.
  • Animorphs:
    • Rachel quickly becomes like this. At one point, she rejects a Deal with the Devil that would instantly end the alien invasion, both because the price was too high and because she realizes that she'd have nothing to do afterwards.
    • By the end of the saga, the whole team, except maybe Cassie, follows suit. In the aftermath of the war, Rachel is dead and Cassie is the only one with anything like a satisfying, functional life. There's a reason it ends on a Bolivian Army Ending for everyone but her.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost, Miranda thinks that Ferdinard had jilted her for a life of adventure.
  • Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian, and Kull, and Solomon Kane.
  • On Gor, larl hunting is a popular sport for Warriors. A larl is like a giant-sized version of an Earth lion, with a meaner attitude, and the normal procedure for hunting it is that every man should carry one spear and a shield, except the junior-most hunter, who also gets a sword. After each man throws his spear, he hits the dirt under his shield, but if the larl's not dead after tail-end Charlie throws his, he must stand and fight with his sword to let the others get away. And they engage in this sport because "the larl is beautiful and dangerous, and because we are Goreans".
    • Typical of Gorean society in general, really. Thanks to Gorean medicine, they have extremely long lifespans, but they don't see the sense in sitting at home doing nothing when they could be out finding interesting ways to die.
  • The fourth episode of The Incomplete Enchanter, The Wall of Serpents, begins with Shea and Belphebe, who narrowly survived the events of the previous story, finding themselves ill at ease living the comfortable suburban life in 20th-century America, so there's nothing for it but to take themselves off to the Kalevala and get in trouble.
  • The title character of Sinbad the Sailor is a wealthy merchant. He gets bored sitting home and doing business, so he decides to take to the ocean. Inevitably, he ends up in wild adventures (but still wealthy at the end of each one). After seven of these, he figures out he should stay home.
  • In Michael Flynn's Up Jim River, the reason the Brute offers for going.
    • In On the Razor's Edge, several characters think or comment on the excitement of living "on the razor's edge".
  • In Jack Campbell's The Lost Fleet novel Invincible, Admiral Lagemann jests that the Marines are glad to on a ship that's an attack magnet.
  • In Poul Anderson's Time Patrol stories, all the members of the Patrol have this to a greater or lesser extent. Manse and other Unattached Agents in particular.
  • Grettir of the Old Icelandic Grettir's Saga takes on powerful enemies (like bears, trolls, or undeads) or puts himself in dangerous situations (like visiting a wrestling contest in disguise even though he is a wanted outlaw) so as to prove his mettle, not because he must. In his own words:
    "I don't care for a monotonous life."
  • King Robert Baratheon in the A Song of Ice and Fire series yearns for his glory days in the war to claim his throne. Even trying to join the melee in one of his kingdom's tourneys.
  • In Andre Norton's Dread Companion, Kilda would have loved being a scout and explorer, if only she were male.
  • In the Deathstalker series, once the rebellion's finally over, half the characters start to practically vibrate out of sheer boredom, something that's really not good when they're the most dangerous people in the reformed Empire. The new regime catches this fact and starts sending them out to do the really dirty jobs.
  • In Those That Wake, Mal isn't happy unless he's fighting something, and sees not fighting as a failure.
  • In the Newsflesh world, we have a variety of Intrepid Reporter known as "Irwins", who intentionally go out and find zombies and other hazards to play with, in part to entertain their audience, in part to keep themselves entertained. They tend to be adrenaline junkies, and one non-Irwin character mentions that Irwins and professional security people tend to have similar mindsets regarding putting themselves in danger.
  • As much as Alex Rider just wants to be normal, he definitely falls under this trope as well by the beginning of book four, when he goes off on his own—after an extremely traumatizing mission, being told that he would get his wish to be normal from then on, and receiving explicit instructions to the contrary—to investigate something that he knows for a fact will be dangerous. There's signs of it earlier, too. After all, most people would call the cops on drug dealers, not follow them back to their hideout and then pick their boat lab up with a crane and try to drop it in the parking lot of the police station, which is what gets Alex roped into book two's mission. And even earlier than that, he jumped out a sixteenth-story window to get into his uncle's locked office through the unlocked window via a flagpole at the beginning of book one. He really hates his "job"—but somehow he can't stop getting himself into high-risk, adrenaline-producing situations.
  • In Worm, Eidolon privately admits that he's been seeking out fights to try to restore his waning powers. Taken Up to Eleven in the climax, where Scion tells him that he'd unknowingly used his powers to create the Endbringers because "you needed worthy opponents", thus causing the deaths of untold numbers of civilians and parahumans. When he hears this, Eidolon stops fighting and allows himself to be killed by Scion.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24: The start of each day often finds Jack Bauer having been out of counter-terrorism for some time, only for him to be asked or forced to come back. The end of Day 3 has Jack break down crying as the cumulative effect of everything that's happened over the last 24 sleepless hours catches up with him. However, all it takes for him to get back to work is a call on his walkie telling him he needs to come down to CTU to "interrogate" some people.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Jeffrey Sinclair takes almost every chance he gets to get away from his desk and duty as human ambassador to go fly a Starfury or fight a boarding action because he is a Death Seeker following having lived through The Line. Garibaldi eventually calls him out for it. His successor John Sheridan shows similar tendencies but was at a whole better at restraining himself (and, when he did go out, usually played for bigger stakes).
    • Londo also has one such moment in the first season when he willingly takes on the role of driving a shuttle through a hotspot fought over by several factions, while being shot at from multiple sides, to relive his Glory Days as a young pilot during the Centauri expansion period.
  • Mitch in Baywatch, who involves himself in basically every rescue and dangerous event on the show despite having more of a management position at his rank. He eventually passes the desk side of his job to Stephanie so he can spend more time performing rescues, and she also shows signs of this behavior (the only reason she does this less than Mitch is that it's David Hasselhoff's show).
  • A staple of Slayers in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Partly because evil will actively seek them out, and partly because (according to Spike) they have an in-built death wish, it's pretty much a given Slayers will die young and violently.
  • Happens often in Doctor Who; the Doctor has a marvelous attraction to danger spots.
    • Summed up by the last lines of "The Five Doctors":
      Tegan: You mean you're deliberately choosing to go on the run from your own people, in a rackety old TARDIS?
      Fifth Doctor: Why not? After all, that's how it all started.
    • In "The War Machines", Ben shows up at a nightspot to sulk every night because he's a sailor, but he's been given a shore job.
    • In "Full Circle", Romana is moody because she doesn't want to go back to Gallifrey after all her adventures with the Doctor. In "Warriors' Gate", she tells the Doctor that she's not going with him — she has to be her own Romana, and the Tharils need a Time Lord.
    • Often invoked with modern-era companions, who will often not think twice about taking a bullet for the Doctor if needs be (especially companions depicted as having fallen in love with the Doctor). Reaches its apex with Clara Oswald, who openly admits to being addicted to the adventure (with Clara using the actual word "addiction" in this context), and throws herself into harm's way so often, it becomes a constant source of worry for the Doctor, who tries without success to get her to slow down. However, Clara continues moving towards becoming the Doctor's Distaff Counterpart, including an insatiable thirst for adventure...and it doesn't end well for her.
    • "The Impossible Planet" opens with the Doctor and Rose getting out of the TARDIS after a landing it didn't seem to want to make, so Rose suggests they could just leave at the first sign of trouble. The two of them consider the idea so absurd they break into laughter.
    • "Utopia": The Doctor, realizing that he and Martha are farther into the future than even the Time Lords dared look, notes that common sense says they should leave. Then he bolts outside, Martha right behind him.
    • Discussed several times with some of the modern Doctors. Eleven, for example, once told Amy and Rory that he could never get the hang of "restful". And when River activates the TARDIS's stabilizers, evening out their flight, he complains that it's simply boring.
  • On Dollhouse, Paul basically describes Echo as this, saying the thought of a year of peace scared her.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Robert's eagerness to ride in the Tourney of the Hand shows that he prefers the thrill of combat to his duties as king. He admits to Ned that he'd give up the throne and wander Westeros as a travelling sellsword if he thought he could get away with it.
    • Stannis accompanies his troops to King's Landing and personally leads them to storm the battlements.
  • Mr. Bennet from Heroes does not take well to retirement. (There's only so many crossword puzzles one can do after all) so when another group of Cape Busters comes along he Jumped at the Call and it costs him his marriage.
  • Harmon Harm Rabb, Jr. of JAG is a real trouble magnet and almost a trope codifier. Other characters on the show often make the joke that Harm is in harm’s way and the like.
  • "Adrenaline junkie" is exactly how the writers have described the entire team of Leverage. Word of God states that they really only got together for the excitement.
    • With a healthy dose of Good Feels Good to outweigh the actual profit of being greedy thieves and keeping what they steal.
    • Parker especially is this, stating that the way she feels alive is jumping off a building.
  • Richard Sharpe might fall under this, especially apparent at the beginning of Sharpe's Waterloo.
  • John Watson from Sherlock is portrayed as an adrenaline junkie who enjoys cases with the eponymous detective because of the thrill of the danger and chase. This becomes a minor plot point in the first episode, as Sherlock states that John will be taking the upstairs room at 221b after John completely forgets his cane and keeps up with Sherlock after the latter takes off chasing a serial killer, more or less curing his psychosomatic limp.
    Mycroft: You're not haunted by the war, Dr. Watson — you miss it. Welcome back.
  • Samantha Carter from Stargate SG-1 is a subtle example of this. It doesn't come up too often, but she's actually a real adrenaline junkie when off-duty and outside of the lab.
    • All of SG1 fits this trope to some extent. They are always willing to risk their lives to save the person/village/galaxy/universe of the week and often compete with each other to see who gets to put their life on the line the most this time. After Daniel retakes human form post-Ascension, one of the first things he says, while in moral peril, is that he's having fun. Later, after a particularly harrowing mission and narrow escape, Mitchell says "We have got the best jobs in the world!" and Teal'c agrees.

  • The complaint in Rudyard Kipling's "Harp Song of the Dane Women"
    What is a woman that you forsake her,
    And the hearth-fire and the home-acre,
    To go with the old grey Widow-maker?
  • Robert E. Howard's " Solomon Kane's Homecoming"
    Hands held him hard, but the vagrant gleam in his eyes grew blind and bright,
    And Solomon Kane put by the folk and went into the night.
    A wild moon rode in the wild white clouds, the waves their white crests showed
    When Solomon Kane went forth again, and no man knew his road.
    What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
    I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
    The subtle tongue, the sophist's guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
    Rush in and die, dogs — I was a man before I was a king!

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering has an ability used by Red mana (mostly) that forces something to attack if they are able to do so. Sometimes certain creatures have this limitation on them to justify stronger physical abilities on said creature.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Space Marines love this trope...
    • ...but not half as much as orks do.
    • Some Eldar intentionally get themselves banished so they can go off wandering as Corsairs or Rangers.
    • Commissar Yarrick isn't going to stop until he has Gazhkull's head on his desk. (That's going to have to be one hell of a desk!)
    • See also Khorne's daemons and the Dark Eldar who fight in the arenas.

    Video Games 
  • Too many RPG heroes to count.
  • The Elder Scrolls Online: There is a quest in one of the Covenant zones which involves this. You find a plantation run by a group of former adventurers. However, the plantation has suffered a series of misfortunes leaving it flooded and all its workers dead. Three of the four ex-adventurers see it as a sign to take to the road again, which they were apparently longing to do even before disaster struck. The fourth... kills herself so that her spirit may be reborn as a crocodile.
  • Dragon Age: Origins: Most possible endings for a Warden who romanced Morrigan. Though a Warden in a relationship with Alistar does get to avert this by settling down and becoming a queen.
    • Especially the ending of Witch Hunt, after the Warden finds Morrigan and the two promptly head off into the unknown.
    • Also, the reason Oghren shows up in Awakening is that as a Blood Knight he couldn't accept the idea of settling down with his lover and becoming a family man, leading him to abandon his would-be family to become a Grey Warden. While he will never retire (not that he can as a Warden) he can be convinced to try and be a bigger part of his child's life.
  • In Dragon Age II, nobody knows where Hawke is at the end of the game, but we're pretty sure it isn't boring.
    • Likewise, after regaining the family fortune at the end of Act I, Hawke continues to run around Kirkwall performing odd jobs for people, despite clearly not needing the money. Aveline calls them out on being a Gentleman Adventurer simply to avoid getting a real job!
  • A significant portion of the 'good' endings to Neverwinter Nights 2: Mask of the Betrayer avert this by having the player character go back home and settle down with his/her loved one.
  • Many possible endings to Jade Empire avert this by having the player character settle down.
  • The second game in the No One Lives Forever series was subtitled "A Spy in H.A.R.M.'s Way", which is a quite clever pun: not only does it show that Cate Archer is on it, fighting H.A.R.M.'s agents again, but also that she just cannot leave the front lines again.
  • Arkantos is portrayed this way at the start of the first Age of Mythology game campaign - it starts with him reliving his glorious battles in his dreams and grumping about 'facing feeble pirates'.
  • Takahisa Kandori presents a rare villainous example in Persona. Having achieved his long-sought godhood, Kandori finds it's Lonely at the Top and has to be needled into action against the party.
  • Pokémon Gold and Silver showed that even after the first games protagonist beat The Rival and the strongest trainers the region had to offer he wouldn't settle down and become the champion. He's still out there training, waiting for another battle.
  • In the Metal Gear Solid series this is one of the central conflicts of Big Boss's character. Big Boss tried to give up on war and live a peaceful life, but he realized that all that he was truly good at was war and he only felt truly alive when he was facing death. Civilian life was foreign and intolerable to Big Boss, his skills were useless back home and he never felt that he could fit in or be appreciated by civilians bar a magazine interview or two, he needed war and anything else was inconceivable to his very existence. This is why he created Outer Heaven, a paradise where soldiers would be respected and needed forever more.
  • In Mass Effect 2, reading Zaeed Massani's Shadow Broker Dossier reveals that he has been debating retirement, going over a list of planets to settle down on. When he can't quite decide, the entry ends with him considering using the money from this job to buy a ship full of explosives and launch a Suicide Attack on Omega Station, since it's the "easiest retirement plan I've come up with so far".
    • From the same game, former C-Sec officer Garrus Vakarian has ended up leading a team of vigilantes on Omega, going after the worst of the criminal scum on the station, and in particular antagonizing the Blue Suns, Eclipse, and Blood Pack to such a degree that the three mercenary companies have teamed up just to take him down. Actually, this trope seems to apply to everyone in Shepard's teams, which makes sense if you think about the sort of trouble Shepard tends to ask for help getting into.
  • The Legend Of Zelda C Di Games depict Link as easily bored when he's not fighting and enjoys the fact that Ganon keeps resurrecting himself so he can always have a villain to defeat.
  • Michael De Santa, one of the playable characters from Grand Theft Auto V, says he gets a rush specifically from narrowly avoiding death.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: It's strongly implied that Mike Schmidt (the player character) is an adrenaline junkie, due to the use of "Les Toreadors" in the game (specifically, the instrumental lullaby version played by Freddy). The trope makes sense when you listen to the original lyrics: the thrill of his nightmarish job far outweighs his risk of death.
  • Bombshell's protagonist, Shelly, is stated to have an "affinity for danger", and has sought out dangerous roles specifically because of it. Notably, she was a bomb disposal technician.

  • Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger, like all rangers, was screened for being unable to settle down. Relativistic effects mean You Can't Go Home Again, but he likes the trade-off. Home Sweet Home is for his retirement.
  • Girl Genius:
  • What's New? with Phil and Dixie back in Dragon Magazine times proposed a good theory:
    You go down into a dungeon, fight for your life, amass a vast fortune, and escape, and then—you risk your neck all over again! Why?!
    Well, if you've ever wondered what drives your character to this suicidal lifestyle, then the newest module for D&D and AD&D is for you! It's called "Home & Hearth".
  • In Freefall, one of Sam's major motivations after getting rich is to have some excitement. The hurting afterward, however, is another issue entirely.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, the eponymous sergeant is easily rich enough to retire from the Toughs, but stays on because he enjoys the excitement and camaraderie he gets working for the Toughs.
  • Ménage à 3:
    • Matt is The Casanova (and a bit of a Jerkass about it), but it becomes clear that his kinks, infidelities, and tendency to have sex with the door unlocked are the result of him almost wanting to get caught; he's a Thrill Seeker at heart. Then he encounters comedy psychotic Yuki. At first, he actually refuses sex with her, out of a reasonable fear of being maimed for life, but after he succumbs, he becomes increasingly smitten with her violent outbursts, and they end the comic's run as a couple.
    • Also, by the end of the story, Sonya has realised that her Stalker with a Crush behavior towards Zii is motivated by the fact that Zii is the most exciting thing she knows — and Sonya is a hopeless Thrill Seeker. Fortunately, Sonya then encounters the lesbian professional spy and Action Girl Bianca, and they run off to Europe together. Sonya is last seen in the middle of a fight scene with dynamite being thrown around, and clearly loving every moment of it.

    Web Original 
  • Kranz and Voller from Human Centipede: The Musical. If the town isn't in immediate danger, they're rather ennui-stricken.
  • In RWBY, it's revealed that this is Yang's reason for becoming a Huntress - she just wants to travel around the world, get wrapped up in crazy adventures and hopefully kick some ass and save some lives along the way. Well, it later turns out that's only partly the reason...

    Western Animation 
  • The human girl Miko from Transformers: Prime is a bit of a deconstruction of this ideology. She often rushes onto a battlefield just to watch the Autobots fight. She often gets in the way when trying to help, and seems to have zero regard for her own safety and well-being.
  • Captain N: The Game Master was given a chance to return home at the end of the first episode. Hearing his mother's voice through the portal harping on him for not finishing his chores helped his decision to stay.
  • Enforced in the Dungeons & Dragons (1983) cartoon by the setup: the kids couldn't settle down in the realms, they had to continue to look for a way to get back home (that didn't lead to dire consequences.) That being said, almost every one of them were tempted to stay at times.
  • Almost the entire Smurf Village gets reckless when Gargamel sprinkles Daredevil Dust on them in The Smurfs (1981) episode "Reckless Smurfs".
  • Captain Sam Sweetmilk from Starship Goldfish, it's implied to be a combination of the memory erasure making him Too Dumb to Live and subconsciously remembering his Dark and Troubled Past and wanting to kill himself over it.
  • Ben Tennyson from the Ben 10 franchise is this, occasionally doing heroic deeds because they give him a thrill and makes him popular, rather than because it's the right thing to do. This is especially the case in installments where he's a child. In fact, Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix has one of the characters actually hide the true ramifications of Omnitrix's self-destruct protocol going off not because he feared Ben would panic, but because he thought he wouldn't care.

    Real Life 
  • Pro wrestler Terry Funk. The man has had more retirement matches and retirement tours than one can count and has yet to actually stay retired despite being in his mid-sixties with knees that look like they were drawn on by a cartoonist. He introduced a moonsault to his repertoire in 1994, at the age of fifty.
  • Along the same lines, Ric Flair. Still going today at the age of 61.
  • Ditto Abdullah the Butcher. Still jabbing forks in people's heads at the age of 69 and with no intention of ever retiring.
  • Brett Favre.
    • Albeit many consider this to be a case of not wanting to give up the limelight.
  • John Paul Jones, who uttered the quotation at the top of the page, falls under this trope. His desire for naval adventure drove him to sail his lone ship into the home waters of the Royal Navy, at the time the most powerful Navy on the planet, and go so far as to actually raid the British Isles. After doing so more than once, winning several battles against British frigates and surviving, when the Revolutionary War ended and America wasn't at war enough and wouldn't promote him, he served as an Admiral for the Mexican and Russian navies, so he could keep fighting at sea. Ironically enough, the page quote is actually Not an Example; he had been captain of a slow ship for a while and was justifying in a letter why he wanted a faster one, though it is representative of his whole attitude.
  • Sir Thomas Cochrane, who upon being thrown out of the Royal Navy after being involved in a financial scam, promptly went to South America and masterminded the creation of several revolutionary navies...after eventually being exonerated by the British government, he then tried to sign up for the Crimean War in his eighties. It should therefore be no surprise that he was the inspiration, via Horatio Hornblower, for James T. Kirk, Jack Aubrey, Honor Harrington, and Daniel Leary.
  • As seen in the documentary Man on Wire, Philippe Petit. How mind-bogglingly reckless do you have to be to hang a wire between the Twin Towers and walk on it?
  • Ozzy Osbourne temporarily retired in the 1990s, but within a few years returned to performing live music. In his autobiography, he states that the reason he returned was that he found retirement to be terribly boring and missed the excitement of performing in front of an audience. He now says that he intends to keep performing and making new music until he is physically unable.
  • Fighting Jack Churchill. When World War Two was over, he was furious with the Americans for dropping nuclear weapons on Hiroshima and Nagasaki — not because of any moral qualms, but because we had robbed him of any chance of getting over to the Pacific so he could do unto the Japanese what he had done unto the Germans.
    • This is the same guy who became a commando because it 'sounded dangerous', escaped from POW camps, and captured 42 Germans with his claybeg. Did we forget to mention? This man led his commandos into war (the shooty kind) carrying a claybeg, bow and arrows, and a fucking set of bagpipes.
    • This is also the guy who jumped on top of a tank proceeded to break open the lock on the lid with his sword and then kill everyone inside with said sword. Alone. Naturally, by the end of the war, he had made Lieutenant Colonel.
  • This can be a common sentiment amongst military veterans for a variety of reasons, ranging from missing the experience of fighting alongside their comrades to finding the battlefield a more familiar place than the civilian world. People are very adaptive, and as it turns out, it may be just as possible for a warzone to become "normal" to a person as it is for a crowded city or a rural farm or a new school.
  • Jan Zumbach, who tried to settle down a couple of times but just wasn't happy without the adrenaline and the flying. When he was young, his mother wouldn't let him become a pilot on the grounds that they're all crazy drunkards, and in Jan's autobiography, he himself admits mum might have been on to something. But he just couldn't stay on the ground.


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