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Promotion, Not Punishment

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"But if you pull a stunt like that again I'll court martial you ... or I'll promote you. Either way you'll be in a lot of trouble."
Vice Admiral Toddman, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "The Die is Cast"

You've ignored every order and broken all the rules to do what's right, and now it's time to pay the price. But what is this, they are promoting you! What happened to being in trouble?

This is when a character is rewarded with a promotion for action involving breaking the rules, not merely excused. Often it is the superior's way of saying 'you shouldn't have done that, but you succeeded and are obviously going to keep on doing it, so let's put you in a position where you are actually allowed to'; it can also be presented as a subtle apology for the character having been given an order they shouldn't have been expected to obey. It is the best possible result when someone who is caught in Arson, Murder, and Lifesaving is Saved by the Awesome; may be presented as a Chew-Out Fake-Out.

While the Military Maverick or Cowboy Cop may manage to pull this off for one of their stunts, it is just as common that the recipient is someone who just this once was pushed too far. A variation is when this happens through a character correctly passing their Secret Test of Character or Secret Test of Sneakiness.

The positive outcome of a character deciding Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right! and I Did What I Had to Do.

Frequently overlaps with Expose the Villain, Get His Job, since the first part usually involves starting some sort of trouble. In cases where the questionable action is killing your superior (particularly where this is the standard method of promotion), this becomes Klingon Promotion.

Compare Career-Building Blunder where a character is promoted after genuinely screwing something up, because they know to watch out for it next time. Also Kicked Upstairs and Reassigned to Antarctica where a (often incompetent) character is promoted or transferred as a way of getting them out of the way and away from anything important they might stuff up.

Contrast Unishment where something is intended to be a punishment but the victim does not see it as such.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Defied and subverted in Future Card Buddyfight. Near the end of the first season, Tasuku and Jacknife leave for Dragon World for training. A few episodes after he returns to his own world, he apologizes for his unwarranted departure and asks to be given another chance, followed by this exchange:
    Commander I: Listen Tasuku, no one can refute you did momumental work as the Buddy Police Boy Wonder, but you cannot just do as you please. You understand?
    Tasuku: I do.
    Takihara: Commander I, perhaps we might-
    Commander I: (raises his hand in front of Takihara silencing him) Now then, your disciplinary action will be as follows: you are henceforth relieved of your duty as Buddy Police Boy Wonder and reassigned as the leader of the newly formed Buddy Police Youth Division.
    Tasuku: (surprised gasp)
    Commander I: Well, Tasuku? Do you accept our conditions for your return?
    Tasuku: (bows down) I do. Thank you.
  • Happens repeatedly to Dana Sterling in the Southern Cross chapter of Robotech. Her whole shtick is being a Bunny Ears Soldier whose behavior can seem maddeningly erratic but whose tactical instincts are consistently better than those of her superiors. Luckily for her, her immediate superior, General Emerson, recognizes that fact. (It probably helps a lot that, according to the Expanded Universe material, he's also her godfather who practically raised her.)

    Comic Books 
  • In Lucifer, the demoness Lys takes damned soul Christopher Rudd as a lover. Soon, he discovers that her preferred drug, "Pain," is made from the concentrated pain of his former fellow torture victims in Hell, and what's worse, she makes him inhale it himself. (Because he's human, it causes him agony, not pleasure.) Rudd gets revenge on her by tricking her into inhaling Pain he's made from emotional pain of the damned, thus making her feel constant regret and guilt. When Lys complains to her father, Lord Arux, he responds that Rudd helped avert a rebellion against him, so instead of punishing him, he's promoting him to duke.

  • In Gift of A Diamond, Holly Blue Agate ordered all of the gems at the zoo to stay put while she discusses with Blue Diamond on a drop in the oxygen supply for the humans there. Instead of following orders and potentially leaving the zoomans to suffocate, Steven led the other quartz to retrieve the zoomans and take them to safety. Holly Blue Agate tells Blue Diamond about the incident, insisting that he was "defective" and must be shattered immediately. When Steven admits that all of this was true, Blue Diamond instead rewards Steven by making him the new caretaker of the zoo while demoting Holly Blue to janitorial duty for jeopardizing the safety off the zoomans. This is treated as a lesson to Blue Diamond's court not to doubt Rhodonite.
  • In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld tale Gap Year Adventures, misfit noblewoman and Air Police Constable Olga Romanoff has assiduously been avoiding promotion for as long as she has served in the Air Watch, arguing the hassle involved simply isn't worth an extra handful of dollars every month. Her role involves a lot of travel, often acting independently of the chain of command and having to make decisions on the spot without being able to consult her superiors first. On a trip to Howondaland, she thinks on her feet and takes a course of action that causes Vetinari to raise his eyebrows and steeple his fingers. He notes that her decision is broadly in keeping with stated Ankh-Morporkian foreign policy vis-a-vis preventing too many wars flaring up in that continent, but hints that she may well have exceeded the level of authority reasonably available to a mere Air Constable. He elects to punish her with the promotion she expressly does not want. Sam Vimes agrees and points out that being fast-tracked to Watch sergeant, then after that to Lieutenant in charge of the Pegasus Service, involves lots of distasteful and nasty time-consuming fatigue duties like having to attend Watch senior officers' meetings. note 
    See where this horrible little habit of thinking for yourself and making intelligent decisions gets you, Sergeant Romanoff?

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Captain James T. Kirk of Star Trek is skilled at achieving this.
    • In Star Trek (2009) he is actually about to be kicked out for cheating on a test, but somehow he ends up on the Enterprise and tops his cheating with actually attempting a mutiny against Spock and disobeying the acting Captain's orders. Being that it was his disregard of orders that led to the defeat of the Big Bad and the saving of (almost) every planet in the Federation, one can begin to see how he actually skips all the way to the Captain's chair at the end.
      • However, the sequel shows that him continuing this sort of behavior results in him losing command of the Enterprise and being sent back to the Academy with Pike being infuriated at this (and at Kirk falsifying reports to hide his behavior. But Pike later pulls strings to make him his First Officer since he still has faith in him).
    • At the end of Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, Kirk actually experiences a subversion. After stealing the Enterprise and subsequently blowing it up in the process of stopping the Earth from being destroyed and saving the humpbacked whales from extinction, he and his bunch manage to almost completely duck the surefire court-martialing and dismissal from Starfleet. Instead, Kirk is demoted from Admiral back down to Captain, a role both he and his superiors prefer him in.
  • Played with in Spies Like Us. The two think that they're being subjected to this trope when they're caught cheating on the foreign service exams and subsequently promoted to intelligence gathering. Turns out, their superiors just want to use them as decoys so two actual agents can infiltrate. Reassignment Backfire ensues when they actually complete the mission for the original two agents.
  • Played for Laughs in Office Space. Initech hires consultants to figure out which employees to fire. When asked about his recent slacking off, Peter tells the interviewers exactly just how pointless and unsatisfying his current day job is and generally how screwed up his employer company is. He expects to be fired for this. The interviewers are so impressed by this, they put him on the fast track to promotion. Instead, two of his hardworking coworkers get laid off.
  • In Ted, Ted tells off his boss when he was disciplined for having sex with a co-worker in the back room. His boss then tells him "You're promoted." Earlier in the film, during Ted's job interview, he tells off the same guy, who then immediately hires him.
  • When Kania attempts to blackmail an undercover intelligence officer in C.K. dezerterzy, it ends up in a Threat Backfire and this. Apparently, the officer mistook the blackmail for an attempt to Bluff the Impostor.
  • In Lawrence of Arabia, when Lawrence returns from Aqaba, the British General points out that he acted without orders only to then promote him to Major.
  • In Doctor Strange (2016), Stephen steals books on astral projection from Kamar-Taj's library using his sling-ring (something he is not allowed to do). Wong (the librarian) tells the Ancient One who, rather than punishing him for this, instead introduces him to the Mirror Dimension so that he can practice more advanced magic without destroying anything.

  • The Inheritance Cycle:
    • The dwarf Orik gets a punishment in name only after he defies the Twins in rescuing Eragon and his companions from drowning, and then preventing them from reading the minds of the group as well. The Twins complain at length to Ajihad about it. Ajihad then removes Orik from the Varden's direct service, before appointing him as Eragon's personal guide. This means Orik is now exempt from the Varden's rules, but has been made Eragon's guide in a dwarven city and been given access to whatever Eragon needs (which is left intentionally vague).
      Eragon: He just placed you in a powerful position, didn't he?
      Orik: *grinning* That he did, and in such a way that the Twins can't complain about it.
    • Roran in Brisingr ends up getting both. Nasuada has him whipped for his disobeying of a direct order (from an incompetent superior, who ends up getting demoted) in order to save the lives of the men he had just been put temporarily in command of. But she gives him his own unit, which means he reports directly to Nasuada and no one else. Keep in mind he just joined the Varden not long before and has only a handful of missions under his belt.
  • Discworld:
    • Albert Spangler/Moist von Lipwig is captured for fraud and hanged... to within half an inch of his life. Vetinari then offers him the position of Postmaster, knowing that his specific skills are what is needed to get the Post Office up and running again.
    • Often happens to wizards. Mustrum Ridcully takes the point of view that a wizard who does something unwise or against instructions - and lives - has done something to add to the sum total of human knowledge, and shown commendable initiative that should be rewarded.
  • Full Disclosure: Outgoing President Ericson gives Natural Resources Secretary Mike Fong a prestigious federal judgeship after efforts to impeach him (which where began by Fong) fail. But while this is partially out of respect for Fong's good intentions, Ericson is primarily motivated by needing an example to prove to President Frenlingheusen that he isn't biased against everyone who tries to force him out of the White House, so that Frenlingheusen will take his warnings about Bannerman's bad character seriously.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: During Harry's first flying lesson, Neville Longbottom accidentally injures himself to the point of having to go to the hospital wing. The teacher forbids everyone from flying a broomstick, on the punishment of expulsion. Draco Malfoy decides to make things worse, by flying a broomstick to throw Neville's magical mnemonic device in a tree. Harry intervenes by stepping on a broom and catching the thing. But to his great horror, the stern Professor McGonagall spots him doing so, and takes him away... only to be welcomed into his house's sports team as one of the youngest players ever.
    • At the end of Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore reminds Harry and Ron that he threatened to expel them if they broke any more rules this year... but since their rule-breaking saved both the school and Dumbledore's reputation, he's happy to eat his words and instead awards points to Gryffindor.
  • Protector of the Small. At the end of Lady Knight, Kel disobeys orders and crosses the Scanran border to try and rescue her kidnapped refugee charges. When she returns, she is 'punished' for her desertion by being put in charge of a new and bigger refugee camp. This is helped by the fact that Wyldon realised that he asked too much of her by ordering her to abandon her people, particularly when she was chosen for the duty in the first place because she would care about them. (She is also given a very large budget, the military's quiet apology for leaving the first camp without enough to defend itself.)
  • From The Name of the Wind, Kvothe is a variation on this. Twice he breaks the University rules (fighting Ambrose) sufficiently to cause him to be flogged, but in the course of this, he demonstrated the skills necessary to graduate to the next level. This means he gets both the punishment and the promotion.
  • Heralds of Valdemar. Kerowyn in By the Sword has a long-term variant. When faced with an incompetent mercenary Captain who is planning a suicidal charge she breaks with her Contract – effectively exiling herself from her Company – and flees before her Captain has a change to retaliate. She clears it with the Guild and is excused, but is then only able to get a job as a tavern bouncer. Several weeks later she is jailed for attacking a drunken city guard in self-defence, but people speak up in her defence and she is released, although with no hope of continuing her job. When she comes out, she is faced with the remains of the Company who have finally caught up with her... only to be told that her leaving had prompted them to vote out their Captain and they want her as their replacement.
  • Beregond from the The Lord of the Rings books. During the siege of Minas Tirith, he deserted his post and killed the porter with the keys to the Silent Street, as well as two members of the Guard. However, he only did this to protect Faramir from a premature funeral pyre, and only slew the others because they would not listen to him and attempted to kill him first. After the crowning of King Elessar, Beregond is brought before the new King. King Elessar spares him from execution because of the circumstances but discharges Beregond from the Guard and orders him out of Minas Tirith... so that he may be reassigned to Faramir's newly-formed personal Guard in Ithilien as its captain.
  • At the end of the first book in The Guardians of Time Trilogy, Ethan expects to be expelled from the Guard for abandoning his friends for the start of the crucial battle and breaking their prime rule of non-interference with history by rescuing King Richard. Instead, it turns out that he was merely following the promptings of The Prophecy, and he is granted his wings (teleportation) – the highest honor the Guard can bestow and a sign of trust, and something he has been wanting since before the start of the book.
  • In The Wheel of Time, when Egwene is formally raised Amyrlin – for the second time – her first act is to call Silviana before her. Everyone thinks that it is to personally punish her for the punishment beatings she administered to Egwene during her capture. Egwene chides the others for thinking that of her, and instead commends Silviana for doing her duty – and later speaking out against Elaida further treatment of her – and makes her her Keeper. This goes a long way towards healing the rifts both between the Tower and rebel Aes Sedai, and the Red and other Ahjas.
  • Vorkosigan Saga:
    • Even as a newly-minted Ensign, Miles Vorkosigan has a tendency to treat his superiors as "cattle to be driven", and those above him constantly complain about his "excessive initiative" or curse him by wishing he one day commands someone "just like him". In The Vor Game, he is assigned to Imperial Security under the overall command of the one man who could possibly deal with him and sent as a subordinate on a simple intelligence-gathering mission. By the end of this mission he has all three of his prior commanding officers locked in adjacent cells in the brig while he sets about defending a strategically important wormhole nexus from an enemy invasion with a commandeered mercenary fleet among other things, or as Miles puts it: "I admit I didn't have a direct order to rescue [the Emperor], I just assumed you wanted it done. Sir." But since he did manage to save the day he ends up with a promotion and his dream job—Admiral of the mercenary fleet—as a cover for his intelligence activities.
    • Discussed in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, as ImpSec HQ is sinking into a mudhole, and people leave the building or stay at their posts:
    Simon, his teeth pressed into his lower lip, released the stress to say, "At a guess, those would be the fellows who grew up in earthquake country, Guy." And after another minute, under his breath, as the evacuation continued more sporadically, "The ones still inside, you'll want to commend. The ones outside, those are the ones I'd promote..."
  • Commander Blaine gets one of these at the beginning of The Mote in God's Eye for leading his marines in a coup de main against a rebellious planet's shield generator. If he had failed the admiral would have had no choice other than orbital bombardment, killing most of the population and dooming what remained to a slow death by starvation. In the end, Blaine's action was successful, so he was promoted and given command of a battlecruiser
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Davos was a lifelong smuggler who smuggled vital supplies into Storm's End during a siege. He's now Sir Davos Seaworth, and one of Stannis Baratheon's most trusted advisors. In this case, he got a promotion and punishment for his life of crime at the same time, by having one joint of each finger on his left hand removed. But that seems relatively lenient by the standards of Westeros, and it certainly doesn't seem to bother Davos. He'll argue with anyone who suggests it's unfair.
  • Discussed in Strata. Kin Arad sentences the perpetrators of a nuclear-disarmament-protesting plesiosaur to a remarkably mild punishment; she then all but openly congratulates them and tells them of her own even more spectacular act of rebellion. It turns out that everyone does something of the sort, and if they do it well enough they're more likely to be promoted than fired.
  • In The Shadow of Saganami Captain Aivars Terekhov deliberately set things up so that his actions leading up to the Battle of Monica and its aftermath could be disavowed and he himself made a political sacrifice. He expected to be relieved from command and his career destroyed at a minimum, with an arrest and court-martial being entirely possible. But in Storm from the Shadows he returns to the Talbott Cluster as Commodore Aivars Terekhov - and then is awarded a knighthood and the Parliamentary Medal of Valor for his actions.
  • Star Wars: The Thrawn Trilogy: Luke Skywalker has just escaped the Empire again, and Imperial commanders are known for executing subordinates for failure; even Thrawn himself had killed the last guy who let Skywalker get away. But to everyone's shock, this time Thrawn promotes the one responsible - where the previous underling had screwed up something he was trained for and tried to blame his superior officer, this one had shown good problem-solving skills (even if his solution didn't work) and took responsibility. Thrawn likes competence, as well as people who don't pass the buck.
  • Horace, apprentice knight in Ranger's Apprentice temporarily travels under the guise of a full knight in Book 3 at Halt's insistence, so as to appear more intimidating to the scruffy, half-trained warriors he comes across. After he returns home, for his role in stopping the Temujai and rescuing Cassandra, King Duncan announces that he's decided to "rectify this irregularity." He then personally knights Horace on the spot.
  • Subverted in Wings of Fire. Winter breaks all of the IceWing codes of honor when rescuing his brother Hailstorm, but his father Narwhal, who's temporarily in charge of the rankings, promotes him to the highest in the IceWing rankings, saying that he might have broken the rules but he succeeded in rescuing another IceWing and that is more important. But it turns out his real reason for promoting him was because he couldn't believably promote Hailstorm his normal position on top of the rankings right away, and his seventh birthday when the rankings would be mostly fixed was coming up soon, but he knew that putting Winter first and Hailstorm last would force them to fight to the death in the Diamond Trial when Hailstorm turned seven years old, and the more competent Hailstorm would easily win.
  • There is a book from the Xanth series where a roc who had spent centuries loyally tending to an egg that would eventually hatch into the next Simurgh, an immortal bird who oversaw all of Xanth. Despite everything she’s done to protect the egg, the roc is put on trial for a small mistake she made once. She is found guilty, and her sentence is to take care of the newly hatched chick, and her ability to fly has been enhanced beyond that of any roc, she is allowed anything she needs from anyone in Xanth so long as it is necessary for caring for the chick, and if anyone tries to hurt her, they will be sentenced to a fate worse than death. For all her hard work, she has been promoted to one of the most powerful positions in all the land!

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek
    • In Star Trek: Voyager Admiral Kathryn Janeway violates nearly 154 rules by traveling back in time and swindling the Klingons. The fact that her actions get Voyager home nearly 15 years early and, with added technology as a bonus, results in her past self getting a promotion... to Admiral, along with a nice safe desk job on Earth.
    • Discussed in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine – "The Die is Cast". See the page quote.
    • In fact, the first time this is really averted for a main character in Star Trek would have to be Michael Burnham in Star Trek: Discovery, who, in the premier, violates orders, commits insubordination, assaults her captain and finally commits mutiny by attempting to take command... and realistically gets sent to prison for life. It doesn't stick, of course.
  • M*A*S*H
    • A similar line is used in where Klinger is threatened with this. In his continued efforts of trying to get a discharge from the Army by running around in dresses, among other things, Frank, at one point, says to him, "I've warned you, that crazy stuff's not gonna wash with me! The next time I find you in a floppy hat, or a brassiere... I'll promote you!" (Ironically, Klinger was eventually promoted from Corporal to Sergeant.)
    • In another episode, Potter is upset that Mulcahy was passed up for promotion again, and tells Klinger to try to contact the Pentagon. Or at least try, as that's not exactly easy to do. Klinger manages to do it by bluffing operators and lying about his identity, causing Potter to remark, "I don't know whether to arrest you or promote you!"
    • Frank Burns goes AWOL in Tokyo at the start of Season 6, distraught over Margaret Houlihan's marriage to a different Army officer. He causes such a ruckus that the MP's arrest him and send him for psychiatric evaluation. Later, Hawkeye and B.J. learn that the charges against him have been dropped, and he's been promoted (from Major to Lt. Colonel) and reassigned to a VA hospital stateside.
  • When Garibaldi in Babylon 5 takes over his fiance's company as the new CEO/Chairman of the Board, he calls a meeting with about eight notorious troublemakers, upstarts, whistleblowers and worrywarts. One of them gets up and exclaims how none of them did anything wrong, there's no way Garibaldi can just fire them; Garibaldi instead says how he just fired the old board of directors, who were nothing but sycophantic yes-men, and this Ragtag Bunch of Misfits is the new board. Specifically, it's their job to tell him when he, or anyone else in management, is screwing up or generally acting like an ass on company time.
    • In a subversion, however...he makes it clear that if they themselves screw up...he'll eat them alive. In short, Do Wrong, Right.
  • Lucius Vorenus gets this toward the end of the first season of Rome. He gets a pretty unambiguous order from Caesar to let Pullo be punished for murder - only to ignore that order, intervene in Pullo's death-by-arena punishment and get him out alive. Caesar summons Vorenus to him when he hears of this, giving every impression of being about to punish him harshly - only to make him a Senator of Rome. Everyone in the room, except Caesar, is completely shocked.
  • The West Wing: When the White House deputy communications director Sam Seaborn gets his ass handed to him by Ainsley Hayes on a debate show, Leo, the Chief of Staff, summons Ainsley to his office. She thinks she's there to be reprimanded and starts in on a long-winding speech about how wrong that is when Leo interrupts her to offer her a job in the White House Counsel's office.
    Leo: The President likes smart people who disagree with him.
  • In Blue Bloods, Danny's supervisor Sgt. Sid Gormley shoots his mouth off at a COMPSTAT audit of his precinct when defending his detectives. This leads Frank to summon Gormley to One Police Plaza, asking him to bring his box. Gormley arrives at Frank's office thinking he's being fired, but Frank is actually promoting him to the new post of Special Assistant to the Commissioner, to replace the Chief of Department that's been vacated as a result of that guy stepping down in the fallout of a scandal from the previous season.
  • In the Vendetta season of Strike Back, after Coltrane and Mac clash over the latter's defying of orders, Coltrane tells him that he's recommending him for advancement, since "you obviously have your own ideas about how this team should be run." However, he makes it clear that this is not a Chew-Out Fake-Out—he warns him that he's finished if he ever disobeys him again.

    Video Games 
  • After disobeying orders in Rainbow Six: Vegas 2 in order to take down the Big Bad, your superior chews you out over it over the radio. He ends it by disguising a promotion as a firing.
  • The final Fighters' Guild quest in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion has you working with a disgraced former guild-member and single-handedly bringing down the Blackwood Company by assaulting their headquarters. After you report your success to the Guildmaster, she tells you that for your reckless actions, you are to be stripped of your position as her second in command... because she will be stepping down and offering you her title.
  • Mentioned at the beginning of L.A. Noire after the protagonist grabs the shotgun from his patrol car. He and his partner discuss the trope (noting that using the shotgun generally means they're either going to be fired or promoted).
  • Vulpes Inculta, a character in Fallout: New Vegas, has this as part of his backstory. During a skirmish between Caesar's Legion and a hostile tribe, Vulpes broke ranks and led a charge through a hole in the tribe's defences, captured the tribe's chieftain and forced the rest of the tribe into surrender. Vulpes' Centurion petitioned Caesar for the right to execute him for disobeying orders, but Caesar recognised Vulpes' cunning and tactical knowledge and instead had him transferred into the Frumentarii, the Legion's network of spies, where he eventually became their leader.
  • Joker from the Mass Effect series gained his position as the Normandy's pilot by hijacking it during a test-flight (after not even getting a chance to prove himself the regular way due to his disability) and demonstrating that he was a better pilot than the guy who was originally intended to fly it. If the setting wasn't so Mildly Military, he'd have probably earned himself a sentence in a military prison instead. It's implied that he almost was arrested anyway, but the Reasonable Authority Figure who was in charge of the Normandy recognized the talent and made him the helmsman.
  • In the finale of Wing Commander 2, Admiral Tolwyn chews out the player character for stealing a valuable fightercraft and going out on an unsanctioned mission to destroy the Kilrathi's headquarters in the Enigma Sector... then gives him a three-grade promotion for pulling it off.
  • Deekin Scalesinger from Neverwinter Nights: Shadows of Undrentide was a kobold who was being groomed by the white dragon Tymofarrar as the next sorcerer-chieftain of his clan, but at the first sign of battle he hid and left his clan-mates to be killed. The other kobolds naturally wanted Deekin executed for his cowardice, but Tymofarrar found the slaughter hilarious and decided that Deekin could serve him as a jester instead (a post which Deekin prefers since it has a much greater life expectancy than a chieftain).

    Western Animation 
  • Thomas & Friends:
    • In the episode, A Friend in Need, Jack worries that Ms. Jenny will be cross with him after holding up a bridge to save Thomas from falling off it (Also bending his arms as a result). However, it's this very act that gets him accepted as the newest member of The Pack.
  • The Hair Bear Bunch episode "Bridal Boo Boo" has Hair Bear concocting a plan to rid Mr. Peevly of the battleaxe that wants to marry him. Peevly assures Hair that if the plan works, he'll wipe off all Hair's demerits. But if it fails, he'll double—nay, triple them. Needless to say, thanks to Bananas the Gorilla, the plan fails.
    Hair Bear: Triple demerits?!! Sheesh!
  • The Owl House: While strictly speaking a lateral transfer to an arguably less prestigious academic track in her Wizarding School; Willow Park being switched from Abominations to Plant Magic after she was caught cheating on a project she would have otherwise failed, fled when confronted, and bodily seized her principal with giant vines to insure her co-conspirator's escape is difficult to distinguish from this.
  • Transformers: Prime: In Crossfire, Megatron departs to face off Airachnid, and forbids his new subordinate, Dreadwing, from following. When Megatron is defeated and about to be killed by the Autobots who have also been lured there, Dreadwing arrives with reinforcements and busts him out. Megatron then comments Dreadwing would "make a fine first lieutenant" when the latter apologizes for his disobedience.
  • Rugrats: One episode sees Charlotte's Beleaguered Assistant Jonathan forced to babysit the kids, and especially entertain Angelica by doing whatever she says. Jonathan, who's sick of Charlotte's shabby treatment, decides to hunt around the house to find something to use as blackmail and eventually discovers an embarrassing videotape of her wearing a mudmask and generally looking horrible. When Charlotte returns, Jonathan gloats that he's going to bring her down...only for Charlotte to be legitimately impressed by his scheming ("Finally showing some initiative!") and offer him a promotion and raise for his sneakiness, much to his surprise and delight.

    Real Life 
  • Zig-zagged with Jean de Selys Longchamp, a Belgian pilot who escaped from his home country when the Germans invaded during World War II and joined the British RAF. While returning from a mission escorting bombers, he broke away from the other planes, flew to Brussels, and strafed the headquarters of the Gestapo in Belgium, killing four Nazis. He was demoted several ranks for abandoning his post... and awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.


Video Example(s):


First Lieutenant Itami Youji

Upon his return after defeating the Flame Dragon, he is suspended from command of Recon 3 for not going with his military detachment to fight the Flame Dragon... and rewarded by the General for his bravery and actions in defeating the Flame Dragon by receiving a commendation from the Prime Minister, a title as a regional Lord of Elbe, status as a Dark Elven Chieftain, a massive chunk of Diamond, and a mission of scouting out new resources to acquire in the Special Region for Japan.

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Example of:

Main / ChestOfMedals

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