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Medals for Everyone

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"I'll want an earldom and CHOAM directorship for Gurney Halleck, and him in the fief of Caladan. There will be titles and attendant power for every surviving Atreides man, not excepting the lowliest trooper."
Paul Atreides, Dune

An event that usually takes place at the Dénouement of a story. Our heroes are rewarded by some authority figure (the King is a favorite); the rewards may include medals, titles, clothes, the Princess' hand in marriage and half the kingdom, etc. Expect all the main characters to be lined up to receive their praise one after another.

Often, the characters receive the very thing (or a representation thereof) they've been trying to acquire throughout the story. Alternatively, it's just a scene that lets us see the heroes receiving just adulation from the people they've spent no small effort saving. In extreme cases, praise may give way to outright genuflection by the assembled masses.

Expect some awkwardness in the pinning of actual medals, especially if one receiver is highly unusual (particularly a non-human) or the giver is impaired in some way (blind, decrepit, etc.). Another common element is for the award-giver to be opposed to the heroes, such as an Obstructive Bureaucrat, and must now show them honour in public as part of a Humiliation Conga. They may try to sabotage the proceedings in secret.

May also involve an Awesome Moment of Crowning, on the part of either the giver or receivers or at least be the result of Expose the Villain, Get His Job. Contrast Dude, Where's My Respect?.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • One of the best scenes in Berserk is the King of Midland making every member of the Band of the Hawk a noble. Since it's Berserk, you can guess how long that lasted.
  • Near the end of the XYZ arc of Pokémon the Series: XY, Ash and his friends all receive medals for fighting Team Flare in the Battle of Lumiose and saving the Kalos region.

    Comic Books 
  • An example can be found in the WWI-era comic "Golden Eyes" and Her Hero "Bill". The trio of Golden Eyes (an ambulance driver), Bill (a soldier), and Uncle Sam (Bill's dog) all participated in a raid on trenches controlled by the nefarious German Captain Hugo Von Schwatzenburg, and their heroic actions (which included smuggling information out of the German field camp and leading the charge against the German forces) directly contributed to the successful capture of both enemy territory and personnel. All three are all decorated for their service in a ceremony held by allied French, British, and American forces. Text accompanying the installment in which they are awarded reads:
    "-on Golden-Eye's and Bill's breasts gleamed and glimmered a decoration apiece; in their eyes tears glittered, and their cheeks burned hotly with the pride of a kiss from a brave and gallant Frenchman sealed there. On Uncle Sam's army collar shimmered a silver plate with the color's of Bill's regiment, and a little story engraved there, telling modestly of his great deeds!"

    Fan Works 
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack: After the North Korean battle, the whole SRI team receives medals, the Congressional Medal of Honor for the military personnel and the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the civilians ("With Distinction" for Terawatt).
  • In Patterns of the Past, Old Missie awards all ten agents of the rescue team, as well as Ogden, Director's Medals of Honor for their bravery and intelligence used in rescuing her from being kidnapped by the Patternista.

  • A New Hope has Leia giving out medals to all the main heroes. Luke Skywalker, Han Solo... but not Chewie. He later gets one, decades later, in the Grand Finale of the Skywalker Saga, The Rise of Skywalker.
  • At the end of Evolution (2001), the Governor hands out various honors.
  • In the film of McHale's Navy, an admiral pins medals on everyone (except the woman, because of the awkwardness).
  • The end of Tropic Thunder takes place at the Academy Awards.
  • At the end of Mars Attacks! the teenager who discovered how to defeat the Martians and his grandmother are awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Because the President was killed by the Martians, they're given the medals by the President's daughter, and instead of a U.S. Marine band, there's a mariachi band providing the music.
  • Happens at the end of Iron Man 2.
  • The Wizard of Oz, with the wizard handing out medals, certificates, etc.
  • Subverted in Forbidden City Cop. The hero's family has captured the villain by duping him with an acting performance. The emperor starts to hand out acting medals in a parody of the Academy Awards, but the villain isn't quite vanquished yet.
  • The end of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has the tone of this trope...despite technically being a trial of the heroes. The crew's accomplishments are acknowledged in a formal proceeding in front of gathered dignitaries, and they are all given awards: pardons for all charges. Furthermore, Kirk is given command of the Enterprise-A, notwithstanding the fact that it came with a demotion from Admiral to Captain (technically a punishment but effectively a reward).
  • At the end of The Wrong Guys, Pack 18 Den 7 finally receives the Arrow of Light, the highest award in American Cub Scouting, 27 years after they had originally failed to earn it as actual Cub Scouts, as a token for assisting in the re-arrest of fugitive Duke Earle.

  • In All Hands! every named character gets one. Posthumously.
  • Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov's Norby, the Mixed-Up Robot: Due to their actions in stopping Ing the Ingrate and his takeover of Manhattan, Admiral Yobo is given a new medal, Officer Jones is given a promotion to Police Lieutenant, Cadet Jeff Wells is given a scholarship and commendation, his older brother Fargo is given a large sum of money to save the family business from bankruptcy, and Norby is made an Honorary Cadet.
  • Crictor: After capturing a serial burglar and protecting his owner Madame Bodot from harm, Crictor the pet boa constrictor is awarded an unspecified honor. (Several guards and a military band appear in the background of the scene, implying he might have gotten a parade too.) There's a sculpture carved in his likeness that shows him wearing a medallion and a laurel crown. And the little French town he calls home dedicates a park in his honor, the Parc Crictor.
    For his bravery a nice medal was awarded to the heroic snake.
  • Discworld: Not literally medals, but the end of every City Watch book has the Watch in general and/or Vimes in particular getting some sort of reward (if it's Vimes in particular, often against his will - Vetinari keeps coming up with "rewards" that Vimes doesn't want, but feels he has to accept, like being made a Duke). This trope was strongest in the first Vimes book, Guards! Guards!, where Vetinari offers boons to the entire police force (all three of them) and they ask for a small raise, a replacement kettle and a new dartboard for the break room.
  • Harry Potter's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: During the last banquet of the school year, Gryffindor wins the House Cup due to the specific deeds of Harry and his friends, with said accomplishments being listed in front of the assembled student body.
  • One of the later RCN books ended with Adele Mundy receiving the highest award the RCN gives ... and, even though she's a warrant officer, she got the version usually reserved for commissioned officers. On top of that, the presenter was an intelligence bureaucrat who'd tried, at the beginning of the book, to prevent her getting any medal. He'd exceeded his authority, and their mutual boss, Mistress Sand, was not happy with him.
  • Redwall: At the end of The Long Patrol, the heroes melt down a bunch of treasure and make it into medals for absolutely everybody who's still alive. They set the medals with a different type of gem for each species.
  • Matthew Reilly's Area 7: At the end of the book, the surviving heroes all receive medals from the president for their efforts during the book. Unfortunately, those medals were classified, so they don't get a big ceremony, and can't tell anyone about them.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Mr. Whipple", the eponymous Mr. Whipple, a curmudgeonly millionaire, is impressed by the Madison High crew's kindness. Mr. Whipple drives them to a department store in his limousine, buys them new formal clothes, pays for a band for the school dance, and agrees to browbeat the school board into building a new Madison High School gymnasium.
  • The 10th Kingdom has all the main characters but one receive gifts off the last character, who happens to be the prince they just saved.
  • Season 1 of Star Trek: Discovery ends with the titular ship's officers receiving the Starfleet Medal of Honor for peacefully ending the war with the Klingons (in Dr. Culber's case, posthumously). In addition, Cadet Tilly and Lieutenant Stamets Rank Up to Ensign and Lieutenant Commander, respectively, and Burnham's mutiny conviction is pardoned and her rank of Commander reinstated.

    Video Games 
  • Jet Force Gemini: In a Shout-Out to the ending of A New Hope, Magnus (who looks and acts similarly to Yoda), rewards Juno, Vela and their pet dog Lupus with gold medals for having defeated Mizar's army and saved Earth from an apocalyptic asteroid impact. Lupus also receiving the medal is justified, because he was also trained for military combat and, like each of his two human owners, he did 1/3 of the lenghty job in the mission.
  • The ending cinema of Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards has Kirby and all his friends getting medals.
  • The Light Side Ending to Knights of the Old Republic. Cross of Glory to everyone - including the droids! Rather ironic that the main character started the whole mess in the first place as Darth Revan!
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: The ending of the game plays this for added drama. Naked Snake and his support team are all lined up at a ceremony where Snake is being given what looks like the Distinguished Service Cross. The drama comes from the fact that Snake is being rewarded for killing the woman he loved most, which was, perhaps, all for naught anyway as the voice over says during the scene. He even ends up walking out immediately after shaking hands with the President, despite the fact that everyone there is applauding him and other people want to congratulate him. The disgust on his face is priceless.
  • In Pokémon X and Y, Professor Sycamore awards the player character and friends the Honor of Kalos for defeating Team Flare.

    Western Animation 
  • Bucky O'Hare and the Toad Wars!: One episode begins with Bruiser receiving a decoration for valorous conduct in battle for his many and varied acts of badassery throughout the series. His mother sheds tears of pride.
  • Inversion on Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines: The start of the debut episode "Fur Out Furlough" has Dick and Muttley in a dirigible on lookout patrol. When Dastardly states that when they catch Yankee Doodle Pigeon that "it's medals for everyone!", Muttley immediately smothers him with kisses.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the season seven premiere "Celestial Advice", medals are handed out to Starlight Glimmer, the Great and Powerful Trixie, Discord, and Thorax for their efforts saving the day in the season six finale "To Where and Back Again". Princess Luna has a bit of trouble putting Thorax's medal on thanks to the enormous antlers Thorax grew now that he's the new king of the Changelings.
  • Subverted in the Recess episode, "Lawson and his Crew". The main six are given medals at the start of the episode, though the episode itself was originally planned as the Grand Finale.