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"I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way."

The Hero needs help and is urging a dangerous plan on a reluctant group of people. Who's the first to say he'll join in? Why, the youngest (or most seriously aged), the least experienced, the most unskilled, the weakest member of the group. Often results in many, if not all, of the other characters being shamed into joining.

If the character's inexperience and youth are such that he doesn't know what he's getting into, Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids! may come into play. It may still shame them.

On the other hand, the character can know. This is even more shaming.

This character may find the actual conflict very hard but will stick with The Hero until the bitter end. Sometimes, though, they may pull a Leeroy Jenkins, or become The Load or The Millstone despite their best efforts.

Contrast Sour Supporter, Who Will Bell the Cat? Compare Loser Has Your Back.


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  • In A Growing Affection, when Hinata draws her Line in the Sand, Sasame Fuma is the first to volunteer, even admitted she is the newcomer and the least invested.
  • In The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World, after George and John fight off a huge swarm of robotic bats that chase them out of the cliff dwelling, they refuse to accompany Paul down there to keep an eye on him while he fights the rest of the robots. So Ringo offers to go with him, despite having no defenses whatsoever, because “I know how important it is that we support each other, even if it's dangerous and even if we got a bit of a scare that didn't really hurt us.” Which shames the others into cooperating. (“I hate you,” John muttered.)

     Films — Animated  

     Films — Live-Action  
  • The movie Hook has a particularly saccharine (though aren't they all?) example: the lost boys have a new leader and are unwilling to recognize the adult Peter Pan as their erstwhile friend until the littlest hesitantly walks over, touching his face and looking into his eyes, until the kid sees Peter in him, and then everybody rushes over to see for themselves.
  • In The Movie of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King the first one to charge at the armies of Sauron at the gates of Mordor is Aragorn, actually, but Merry and Pippin are the first to follow him.
  • Early in Willow, the first and one of the only Nelwyns to volunteer to accompany the titular Willow on his quest is Meegosh. Vohnkar, the best warrior in the village, wasn't far behind though.

  • In One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Charles Cheswick is the only man who is initially enthusiastic for McMurphy's scheme to change the ward schedule.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Night Watch, when Vimes asks for volunteers to stay, his past self is among the first. Vimes finds him too eager, even.
    • In The Light Fantastic, while the wizards dither, Twoflower takes the sword he can't really wield and goes to save the world.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Dead Sky Black Sun, when Uriel appeals to a group of Space Marines and two Imperial Guardsmen to help him, it is the Guardsmen who volunteer first. And when one dies, and the Marines decide to leave, the surviving Guardsman assures them that he will go with them.
  • Frodo at the Council, in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings
    • The book does this trope twice. First Bilbo (who's aged and in no condition to undertake such a journey - thus weaker than Frodo) offers to take the ring - since he figures he started the whole thing. Gandalf praises him but remarks he's being silly - Sauron is the one that started all this, no one can hold Bilbo accountable. As they can't reach a decision (and inspired by Bilbo), Frodo offers to take it, which prompts the rest of the Fellowship to form when Sam says he will not be going alone.
      • Although this may be a bit of an inversion. While Frodo is the least experienced in terms of combat and travel, what the council is worried about is the Ring's corruption. Hobbits seem especially resistant to it, Frodo in particular. So he was the natural choice for this quest. The rest were just accompanying him to deal with general mayhem along the way.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • In Prince Caspian, when Lucy insists on following Aslan when only she can see him, Edmund is the first to say he will go with her. It's implied he does this partly out of remembering what happened the last time he didn't believe Lucy back in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
    • In The Horse and His Boy, a lion is pursuing Hwin and Aravis, and is very close to catching them. The peasant boy Shasta runs yelling at the lion, effectively sacrificing himself so the two can get away. Later Aravis feels very ashamed that he should have been the one to save her (because she is of aristocratic origin and therefore expected to be braver than him), and Bree feels the same way, because he is a mighty warhorse who has fought in many battles.
  • A slightly different take on this scene happens during the Battle of the Blackwater in the second book from A Song of Ice and Fire: A Clash of Kings. The besieged forces draw back inside the defenses at one point out of fear of wildfire, (a magically enhanced, virtually undousable flame) that their own side has used to set the battlefield ablaze. This lets the forces attacking them get right up to the gates and start trying to batter them down. The soldiers, even the Blood Knight leading them, (who, by the way, got half his face burned off as a kid) refuse to go back and fight. At this point Tyrion, who is a dwarf, (not a fantasy dwarf, but a human who happens to be about 4 feet tall) rides up and tries to get the soldiers to go back into the fight. They refuse. Tyrion then goes to lead the attack himself, shouting at the tough guy soldiers "They say I'm half a man. What does that make the lot of you?" True to form, that shames enough of them into fighting that they make a difference in the tide of battle.
  • In a children's novelization of Generation One Transformers, Bumblebee, the smallest and weakest of the Autobots, is the first to volunteer for Optimus Prime's space mission, which will eventually bring the Transformers to earth.

     Live-Action TV  
  • In the Doctor Who serial The Sun Makers, the outlaw Others are unwilling to help Leela rescue the Doctor. It's the just-escaped worker who offers. The others do not follow until later, when the Doctor returns to rally them.

     Tabletop RPG  

  • In Cats, the outcast and shamed Grizabella is shunned by all the adult cats. Then a kitten comes over and nuzzles her.

     Western Animation  
  • Occurs in Star Wars: Clone Wars: When Anakin returns with the horribly mutated males of the local Proud Warrior Race Guy tribe, a small child is the first one to welcome them back to the tribe.
  • Subverted in the South Park episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die". Cartman delivers a rousing speech in an attempt to persuade his friends to help him get his revenge against Scott, but it initially looks like he only succeeded in enlisting the help of the wheelchair-bound, mentally retarded Timmy. As Cartman decides for the two of them to get to work, Timmy changes his mind and quickly leaves.