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Offering a Hand

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"Do you trust me?" "...Yes."
"We have a saying, my people. Don't kill if you can wound, don't wound if you can subdue, don't subdue if you can pacify, and don't raise your hand at all until you've first extended it."
Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman Vol. 3, No. 25

A turning point in a character's arc often reaches a climax with an offer from another, complete with one character extending their hand to the other.

They may be hoping to lead them somewhere, finalize an agreement, offer a dance, start a new friendship, or call a truce. In this trope, focus will be on the physical offer of a hand.

The second character may hesitate before answering to put emphasis on how important the decision is to the character arc. A rejection often means more than a rejection of the offer, but of the change the character would undergo, while an acceptance and a joining of hands indicates a pull toward the other character.

Both heroes and villains make these kinds of offers. If a hero's offer is rejected, it's a strong sign of disagreement with their values and is often a Redemption Rejection. Villains might make a We Can Rule Together offer.

If a villain succeeds, it might come with a Handshake of Doom, meaning that the villain has achieved, or is closer to achieving their objective.

Compare and contrast Take My Hand! which involves a life-or-death situation.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Moriarty the Patriot, Sherlock tries to end The Final Problem by asking William to take his hand and come down off the Tower Bridge to atone together, but William refuses.
    William: I will not take your hand.
  • My Hero Academia: A scene of Midoriya and Bakugo as children features them and their friends marching across a log when Bakugo slips and falls several feet into the river below. He's fine, but when he sees that Midoriya came to offer him a helping hand, he takes it as a display of condescension. This particular moment soured their relationship for years afterward, with Bakugo becoming more of a bully toward his old friend.
  • In the My-HiME prequel, "Natsuki no Prelude", Natsuki's father delivers this advice to her as a small child after being given the original Duran as a puppy, only for the frightened animal to bite her. Natsuki was initially against having anything to do with the puppy.
    Natsuki's father: Listen, Natsuki. The puppy is still frightened from being brought to an unfamiliar place. It feels scared and lonely. You shouldn't cry. To become friends, one must take the first step, whether it is with people or animals.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin has a moment where the titular character, in disguise, offers Jasmine his hand before going for a ride on the magic carpet. This also serves as a Call-Back to earlier in the film where Aladdin offers Princess Jasmine his hand before they jump out a window to avoid some guards, tipping Jasmine off to Prince Ali's true identity.
  • There's a moment in The Emperor's New Groove where Pacha, still suspicious of Kuzco, offers a handshake, but only if Kuzco was serious about not destroying his village. This comes back to bite him not much later when Kuzco leaves him for dead on a collapsing rope bridge. However, this also leads to Kuzco falling into the same situation.
  • In FernGully, Zak offers his hand to Crysta when he introduces himself, expecting a handshake. Crysta recognizes it as a gesture of friendship but isn't familiar with handshakes, so she puts out her hand in a similar gesture, without actually taking Zak's hand.
  • At the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Esmeralda and Phoebus emerge from Notre Dame after fighting off Frollo and are greeted by the crowd. Then Esmeralda turns to Quasimodo hiding in the shadows and extends her hand towards him, inviting him to come outside with them. He does, and, after a brief silent pause, is cheered as a hero.
  • Several times in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
    • In Rainbow Rocks, after Princess Twilight returns to the human world through the portal and lands on the ground, Sunset Shimmer offers a hand to help her up, in an echo of Twilight having pulled Sunset out of a crater in the first film as Sunset renounced her villainy. However, with this being the first time they've met since then, Twilight's a little hesitant to accept, disappointing Sunset, though she does take it after a moment.
    • In Friendship Games, Sunset extends her hand to Twilight's human counterpart, who initially withdraws in shame, having been unwillingly transformed into a Dark Magical Girl and fearing she can never be accepted after her actions. Twilight ultimately takes it after Sunset gives her her assurances.
      Sunset: Take my hand, Twilight. Let me show you there's another way... just like someone once did for me.
  • In the Codename: Kids Next Door movie Operation: Z.E.R.O., there's a moment early on where Monty suggests that he and his brother Benedict work together to take down Grandfather. Monty offers up a handshake, but Benedict is too afraid to accept. Years later, when given the same opportunity, Benedict, no longer afraid, accepts the gesture.
  • Subverted in The Princess and the Frog. Dr. Facilier extends a hand to both Prince Naveen and Lawrence after reading their Tarot cards. The subversion is that he's not helping them — he's offering a Deal with the Devil.
    Dr. Facilier: Shake my hand...
    Come on, boys, won't you shake a poor sinner's hand?...
  • Three times with Woody and Buzz in Toy Story 3.
    • The first is with Buzz offering a handshake to Woody before the latter leaves to return to Andy while the former stays at the daycare with the rest of the toys. However, Woody, disappointed with the other toys, rejects the gesture.
    • The second is with Buzz offering a hand to Woody before they, along with the other toys, are incinerated. This time, Woody accepts, sharing one final moment before their impending doom.
    • The final moment is right before Woody prepares to go to college with Andy while the other toys get ready to go in the attic. This time, Woody is the one to offer up a handshake, with Buzz happily accepting.
  • In The Simpsons Movie, when Homer convinces Marge to move to Alaska to start a new life after abandoning the trapped Springfield, he extends his hand in confirmation, which Marge reluctantly agrees. Later in Alaska, when they hear about the impending doom of Springfield, Marge tries the same tactic but Homer refuses, saying that is the stupidest thing he's ever heard. Fed up with him, Marge and the kids abandon Homer.
  • Turning Red: This is something of a recurring image in the movie, to the point of symbolizing protagonist Meilin Lee's Character Development:
    • Several times during the first two acts, Mei's mother Ming holds out her hand to Mei, who takes it and passively follows where Ming leads her. It shows how much Mei is under her mother's control.
    • When Mei finally decides to break from her mother during the first red moon ritual, the first open sign of it is when Ming puts a reassuring hand on panda-Mei's paw and promises "we can do [the ritual] again." Mei pulls her paw away, refusing the contact - refusing to be led by her mother - for what is likely the first time in her life.
    • The roles are reversed when Mei meets her mother on the astral plane. After she realizes how much alike she and her mother are, she doesn't hesitate to offer words of support and then a hand to Ming. Ming takes it, and Mei then leads the way to the exit portal.
    • At the portal, Ming holds out her hand with one last appeal to her daughter, but Mei refuses to take it. It's possibly the hardest thing she's ever done, but she will no longer allow herself to be led anywhere she doesn't want to go.
  • This is a recurring theme in WALL•E, used as a symbol of the movie's message about connecting with others. WALL-E himself sees hand-holding as the ultimate symbol of romantic love (a belief absorbed by watching Hello, Dolly! repeatedly), and tries to reach out to EVE several times, only for her to either reject or ignore him. When it seems as though WALL-E's personality has been erased at the film's end, EVE finally takes his hand in hers to say goodbye...and WALL-E doesn't let go, revealing that The Power of Love has restored him to his former self.
    • During the climax, AUTO attempts to foil the Captain's plans to return to Earth by rolling the Axiom and making all of the incredibly fat humans fall out of their hover-chairs, sending them tumbling downward. When one man is panicking as he falls, a woman reaches out and catches his wrist, complete with a zoom-in on their hands. Other humans follow suit, allowing them to form chains that keep them from getting crushed.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Twice with Gamora towards Nebula in Avengers: Endgame.
    • The first is with the 2014 versions of both characters, with Gamora trying to help Nebula up after a fight and Nebula refusing her help.
    • The second is with the 2014 version of Gamora and the 2023 version of Nebula, with Gamora offering to help stop the 2014 version of Thanos together and this version of Nebula accepting.
  • Back to the Future: After George punches out Biff in order to stop him from assaulting Lorraine (much to his own shock as much as anyone else's), he shakily offers a hand to Lorraine to help her off the ground. As she takes his hand, she finally starts to see George as strong romantic potential and walks back with him to the dance.
  • In Batman (1989), During a meeting of crime bosses, the newly-minted Joker calls for an alliance between the various mobsters. When Antoine Rotelli asks what happens if they refuse, Joker assures him there'll be no war between them: they'll just shake hands and "that'll be it." Mollified, Antoine shakes the Joker's hand... only to find that he's wearing a lethal Electric Joybuzzer; over the next few seconds, the unfortunate gangster is fried to a crisp.
  • In John Carter, Carter offers Dejah Thoris his hand, explaining that it's an earth gesture to signify friendship.
  • Jurassic Park features an overlap between this trope and Take My Hand! when Grant finds Tim trapped in the wrecked tour car high in a tree and extends a hand to help him out; Tim initially doesn't accept, embarrassed about having gotten sick in the car, and it's implied that, like Lex, he's hesitant to trust an adult after having been abandoned by Gennaro during the T. rex attack. In this sense, Grant is both offering to get Tim out of danger and trying to show that he's trustworthy. Unfortunately, when Grant climbs further into the car so that Tim can reach him, he accidentally destabilizes the vehicle by gripping the steering wheel, which eventually sends it plummeting and nearly kills them.

  • Harry Potter
    • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: On the Hogwarts Express, Draco Malfoy finds Harry and Ron in their train car. Draco, now knowing that Harry is in fact The Boy Who Lived, offers his hand in friendship in order to keep Harry from making friends with "the wrong sort" (i.e. Hagrid and the Weasleys). note  Harry promptly turns him down, recognizing his condescension for what it is. This causes a years-long rivalry between Draco's and Harry's groups and solidifies Harry's friendship with Ron. note 
    Harry: I think I can tell who the wrong sort are for myself, thanks.
    • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: An Unbreakable Vow is revealed as a binding magical contract sealed with a handshake that is lethal to whoever breaks the vow. Snape makes one with Narcissa Malfoy early in the book to help Draco with his mysterious mission from the Dark Lord, including stepping in if Draco fails to do it. This is later revealed to be a mission to assassinate Albus Dumbledore, setting up the end of the book.
    • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: After many years of bullying and arguments between them, Dudley expresses concern for Harry as they part ways, and offers Harry a handshake and an awkward thank you for saving his life from the Dementors in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This brings some closure to Harry's years of living with the Dursleys before leaving the house forever.

    Live-Action TV 
  • House of Anubis: At the end of season 1, after Sibuna survived the climax of the season and are on their way to the prom, Fabian offers Nina his hand, wordlessly suggesting they finally start having their prom date. There's a close-up shot of her taking it as he tries to lead her out of the house, but then she has to turn back to the cellar for one more job, and he's left waiting for her at the dance.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Emu reaches out to Parado as an offer of atonement for the Bugster's double digit crime record and treatment for the cause of his actions. It becomes a major upturn in the story's current Darkest Hour when they come to a mutual acceptence. Note that it's underscored by a metaphorical example of Take My Hand!, as they're both aware that this is the last Last-Second Chance Emu is going to offer and if Parado doesn't accept it in all sincerity, he will be killed for good.
  • Leverage: In "The San Lorenzo Job" Sophie teaches Vittori to use the offered hand as a gesture to earn people's trust and goodwill. It actually comes in handy towards the end of the episode, when Vittori uses it to get members of the San Lorenzo military to come to his side.
    Vittori: We came here to announce that we have won the election. I am president of San Lorenzo! The first moments of my regime are stained with blood by those who wanted to steal our freedom. So I ask you, do you want to go down in history with those assassins, or do you want to be heroes? (Offers his hand, which the security guard takes, to cheering from the crowd)
  • Squid Game: In episode 8, The Front Man removes his mask to reveal to Jun-ho that he's his missing brother, In-ho. He urges Jun-ho to come with him and holds out his hand, but Jun-ho, stunned that his brother is running the deadly games, refuses. In-ho then shoots him, causing him to fall off the cliff into the sea below.

  • A Very Potter Sequel: Parodies Draco Malfoy's offer of friendship to Harry Potter from the book (see above) by having Draco list all the reasons why Harry shouldn't be friends with him. It goes over just as well as you'd expect.
    Draco: My name is Draco Malfoy. I am a racist. I despise gingers. And mudbloods. I hate Gryffindor house, and my parents work for the man who killed your parents. (offers hand) Do you want to be my friend?
  • In Cross Road, when Niccolo Paganini accepts a Deal with the Devil of Music, Amduscias, he seals it by kneeling and taking Amduscias' hand, holding it to his forehead. Later, the same motion is repeated when Amduscias makes a contract with Princess Elisa Bonaparte.
  • Lampshaded in Jersey Boys, in which aspiring singer Frankie Valli and successful songwriter Bob Gaudio begin their collaboration with a handshake rather than a formal contract, and towards the end of the musical Valli notes that this collaboration went on for years on the strength of that handshake.

    Video Games 
  • Destiny 2: At the climax of Beyond Light's Season of the Chosen, this trope is invoked to complete the Crow's arc for the season. Upon resurrection, all Guardians lose any memory of their past lives, and by common convention, Guardians are supposed to be absolved of their past life's crimes, as they have effectively become a new person. In Crow's case, however he's been the subject of abuse and hatred from almost every Guardian that encounters him, and he has no idea why. This is because the Crow is the resurrected Uldren Sov, the Arc Villain of Forsaken, and murderer of Cayde-6. Crow had taken to wearing a mask to protect his identity, especially while working alongside the Vanguard, who were Cayde's friends and partners but he loses this while protecting Commander Zavala from an assassination attempt. Zavala, once the immediate threat was dealt with, turns to ask Crow if he's all right, and sees his unmasked face. He takes a moment to process what he's seeing, but then offers his hand to help Crow to his feet.

    Visual Novels 
  • This is a major theme in Little Busters!. Riki's first meeting with the titular group began when Kyousuke extended a hand out to him, and ever since then, holding hands was used as a symbol of Kyousuke leading Riki away from his loneliness into a life of friendship and fun. Even the title screen depicts the five Little Busters running in a line, Kyousuke dragging Riki behind him by hand. Then, at the climax of the novel, it's Kyousuke who finds himself overcome with depression, and it is the final sign of how Riki has grown into a man and as his equal that it is he who extends a hand out to Kyousuke, pulling him out of his hopelessness and towards a better world.

  • This is used in I Love Yoo to Show Shin-Ae's development.
    • At the beginning of the story, Nol offers Shin-Ae his hand, but instead of taking it she hi-fives him.
    • Later, at the black and white formal, Kousuke offers Shin-Ae his hand for a dance, but she takes it reluctantly.
    • In chapter 207, Shin-Ae extends her hand to Nol, but they are interrupted before he takes it. However, she takes his hand later on while they are in the hospital.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Danny Phantom episode "Life Lessons", Danny and Valerie, who have been at odds the entire episode with the latter going after the former's ghost identity, are brought to the Ghost Zone to be hunted by Skulker. After escaping, Danny offers a truce, which Valerie accepts, at least until they get out of the Ghost Zone.
  • A recurring theme with Bill Cipher in Gravity Falls. Bill usually requires a handshake from his "partners" in order to put the finishing touches on their Deal with the Devil. Things never go well for anyone accepting a bargain with him, especially since Bill is an Eldritch Abomination intent on breaking into our reality with the help of the puppets he's ensnared.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "The Cutie Re-Mark Part 2", after two episodes of fighting Starlight Glimmer in order to stop her changes to the timeline, Twilight finally tries to reason with Starlight and offers her hoof in friendship, to prove to Starlight that she is capable of making friends without differences tearing them apart. Starlight tentatively takes it, signaling her Heel–Face Turn.
    • In "To Where and Back Again Part 2", in a parallel to the above, Starlight Glimmer encourages Queen Chrysalis to become a positive leader to the newly reformed changelings, and offers her hoof in friendship. Chrysalis seems tempted, then slaps Starlight's hoof away and vows revenge on her.
  • The Owl House:
    • This seems to be a recurring theme between Luz and Amity.
      • The first instance occurs in "Covention" with the Everlasting Oath.
      • Then there's a moment in "Understanding Willow" when Luz offers her hand for Amity to hold, right before Eda sends them into Willow's mind to fix her memories.
      • There's also the moment in "Enchanting Grom Fright" where Amity offers her hand asking for a dance with Luz before both go up against Grometheus the Fear Bringer.
      • Then there's the moment in "Knock, Knock, Knockin' On Hooty's Door" right after Luz and Amity become an Official Couple and Luz, unsure what to do next, awkwardly offers her hand for Amity to hold, with Amity awkwardly accepting.
    • There's a moment in "Eclipse Lake" where Amity, upon seeing Hunter in despair about not finding any Titan's Blood, tells him that he was right about there being similarities between them, and offers up a hand in friendship. However, Hunter, upon seeing the portal key around Amity's neck, tries attacking her in order to get the key, which contains the Titan's Blood he came to find. There's a repeat of this in "Hollow Mind" when Luz offers her hand to Hunter to help him through the memory paintings, except this time he takes it. The parallel to the scene in "Eclipse Lake" is rather obvious.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy V" ends with the titular characters becoming friends again by exchanging a handshake.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), the Turtles get stranded on an ice moon with two Salamandrians, and Leo offers a handshake as a gesture of friendship. Unfortunately, extending a hand in Salamandrian culture is a gesture for combat, resulting in a fight breaking out between the two groups.


Video Example(s):


Chrysalis Rejects Friendship

Starlight Glimmer, a redeemed villain herself, offers the now-defeated Queen Chrysalis a chance to abandon her evil ways and become a better leader for the newly-reformed changelings. Chrysalis refuses the offer with a slap on the hoof and flies away, but not before swearing revenge towards Starlight.

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Example of:

Main / RedemptionRejection

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