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"Aah! Fuck, I admit it! I want to protect her! I don't want to lose her!! I don't even want to think about the possibility of losing her!! I will face anything in order to protect this dream of mine!!"
Accelerator in regard to Last Order, A Certain Magical Index

A protectorate is a specific person, place, or thing, or set thereof, which our hero is responsible for defending.

Ideal Heroes, capes, and other such good guys just do not attack other people without provocation, not even if those other people are Card Carrying Villains. Good guys simply do not do preemptive strikes; that's left for Well Intentioned Extremists, Anti Heroes, and bad guys. See Villains Act, Heroes React.

The good guys have to wait until the bad guys do something bad. And, since the good guys are usually closer to human than deity on the sliding scale of superpower, A Million is a Statistic still applies. (It may apply less, but it does still apply.) But if the bad guys attack something that the good guys are responsible for—from mandate, from their morality code, or because they truly love them—then the good guys can move in to smack down the bad guys. (It can also justify breaking out of prison or captivity, to ensure the protection is done.)

The protectorate might be general innocent people in the vicinity, or family and friends, or the city or country or planet the hero lives in. Only threatening this justifies violence and interference on the part of the hero. This is what makes a Protectorate.

The villains rarely get the notion of redirecting their energies against less inflammatory targets—or if they do, we never hear about it. Again and again, the villain just has to attack the one thing over which main character has shown they will kick butt.

In Tabletop Games, this is often referred to as "the hook" and there are numerous suggested ones for each scenario.

Specific kinds of protectorates:

Some archetypical heroes, especially the wandering kind, will adopt people they've just met as protectorates, much to the dismay of whatever villain was harassing them. This sort of protectorate can be temporary—the hero will defend the person to the death and then never think of him again once he leaves town. But it isn't always; this method of developing protectorates can lead to a hero getting a new Side Kick. Especially tenacious heroes might even take their duty past the grave and become ghostly Guardian Entities.

See Declaration of Protection for the act of declaring your intentions, and Bodyguard Crush for one of the outcomes thereof. Compare The Caretaker. If the protector is a badass and the one protected is a child, they may form a Badass and Child Duo.


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    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Most DC heroes have a home city they pay special attention to protecting. The Flash has Keystone and/or Central City, Green Arrow has Star City, Nightwing has Blüdhaven, etc.
  • New York is the protectorate of the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man put together.
    • With Hell's Kitchen as a smaller protectorate under the eye of Daredevil. And with The Avengers based out of New York as well, let's just say that it's pretty well covered in the Marvelverse.
    • Every superhero who knows the Fantastic Four has also declared a protectorate on the Richards children, Franklin and Valeria. Mess with them, and you'll have the entire FF, plus all their friends, breaking your door in.
    • Doom even put Valeria under his protection after helping give birth to her and naming her, so if you mess with her, Doom will come after you. Also, Doom is known to be a tyrant who rules Latveria with an iron fist, but God help any other villain who harms its citizenry.
  • "I am The Batman. This is my city. At night it belongs to me."
  • The entire Earth, especially Metropolis, is this to Superman. Cause trouble there and he'll take you out, even if he has to die to do it. And if you touch the Kents, the Leaguers, or the staff of the Daily Planet, kiss all your chances of succeeding in your Evil Plan goodbye.
  • The Mighty Thor: Thor considers all of the Nine Realms he's not so fond of the Tenth Realm, for very good reason, particularly Midgard, particularly Broxton, Oklahoma, to be under his protection. Harm it at your peril. And may the sweet and fluffy Lord help you if you hurt Jane Foster or the Avengers.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Diana has sworn to protect the human race, but especially the innocents and she is not kind to those who would harm children.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Io takes on Lyta, the child of Circe and Ares, as her ward/protectorate; she is devastated when Ares easily defeats her and takes Lyta.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, San after fusing with Vivienne Graham takes his duty of caring for his new sister and teaching her to fend for herself to heart. Later in the story, Manda as an egg and then as an infant becomes a Protectorate to both Viv and San.
  • Beyond Heroes: Of Sunshine and Red Lyrium gives this role to Bethany Hawke, who here is the Inquisitor. With both of her brothers unavailable for various reasons, Varric effectively decides that it's up to him to keep her as safe and as sane as he possibly can. The difficulty of such a task is the reason that the story was originally titled Varric Tethras and the Continual Nervous Breakdown.
  • In The Bridge, the agreement between the six displaced kaiju and Equestria's leadership is the six will protect Equestria from rogue kaiju attacks while Mothra and Twilight Sparkle work out a way to send all the kaiju back to Terra. Because rogue kaiju would be keen to seek out high magic concentrations, the six are stationed in said spots. In particular Anguirus and later a reformed Destroyah protect Ponyville, Rodan protects Cloudsdale and Appleloosa, and Godzilla Junior guards Canterlot and the diarchs. Later on, after he drops the villain act, Xenilla earnestly becomes the protector of the Crystal Empire and specifically the royal family, traveling with them wherever they go.
  • In Child of the Storm, Harry makes it very clear that two of his friends, both of whom he barely knows (and one of whom was The Rival/The Resenter until about ten minutes beforehand), are under his protection. He states very emphatically that if the Disir hurt them, they'd better kill him, because it doesn't matter if it takes him thousands of years, he will see them burn. The Disir back off. He does this repeatedly for anyone he thinks needs him to protect them. Harry himself would have been the recipient of this trope from his cousin Jean Gray if Sinister hadn't interfered, and is an indirect recipient of a spell meant for this purpose by his godmother Wanda/Scarlet Witch that literally bent probability in his favor to ensure that powerful individuals would be drawn to doing this trope for him.
  • Seen a few times in the Contractually Obligated Chaos series. Lydia continues to be this for Beetlejuice (and it's only gotten stronger since their marriage). Lady Delphine and Hugo regard the city of New Orleans this way. Prince Vince, as ruler of the Neitherworld, considers his entire kingdom to be this, and the Fairy Godfather tends to be very displeased whenever anyone who might reasonably be considered to be under his protection is threatened in any way.
  • Dangan Ronpa: Assassinating Friendship: Most of the unwilling participants in this Alternate Universe Fic have a body count, with three exceptions: Kuzuryuu Fuyuhiko, Celestia Ludenberg, and the Four Dark Devas of Destruction. Each of them was brought into the game because their respective protectors — Pekoyama Peko, Madarai Isshiki, and Tanaka Gundam — would be distracted by their absence. Monokuma also accounts for their presence with the Bodyguard Perk: while There Can Be Only One survivor of the Deadly Game, if a bodyguard survives alongside their charge, then both will be allowed to live.
  • Earth's Alien History:
    • During the Reaper War, the coalition between the Harvesters and the Vinn take up the mantle of protecting worlds which can't rely on aid from the various power blocs. Post-war, most of these worlds organize themselves as the Shield Alliance, wherein the Harvesters and Vinn continue to provide primary defense for all the members.
    • After the Klingons and Romulans drive the Collector off of Knowhere, the former take over management of the station. And while technically under their control, it's given total autonomy, with a ruling board put together from members drawn from its populace.
    • After the Turian Hierarchy collapses due to the destruction of Palavan and other planets during the Reaper War, the newly formed Asari Empire absorbs their remaining worlds, bringing them under their authority and protection.
    • After the Klingon Empire collapses following its second civil war, the Klingon Republic that emerges from the territories led by Azetbur become a TeTO protectorate.
  • In the Elemental Chess Trilogy, Riza is formally designated this by the members of her assigned protection detail, who collectively refer to themselves as "the queen's men."
  • In Hope for the Heartless, the Horned King saves the life of his prisoner Avalina several times. Realizing how much she means to him, he eventually swears to himself to keep her safe.
  • Izuku in It Takes a Child to Teach a Village is on the receiving end from an entire slum due to being a tutor there. According to the boy himself, getting an education in the slum is hard enough that a free tutor is considered the most valuable resource around. When Izuku realizes Katsuki is following him, he panics and insists the other boy has to leave right now. The inhabitants of the slum know Katsuki bullied Izuku and they will kill him for it.
  • In Memento Vivere, a Final Fantasy X fanfiction, everyone is Braska’s Guardian.
  • In the Star Trek fanfic Once Upon a Farmhouse, the young James Kirk makes Spock his protectorate.
  • The Private Diary of Elizabeth Quatermain: Elizabeth Quatermain is a cross between this and Morality Pet for Gentleman Thief Skinner.
  • The Red Dragon's Saber: Shortly after being summoned, Artoria Pendragon declares Issei Hyoudou and Asia Argento to be under her protection.
  • In Say It Thrice and its prequel, it's eventually explained that Lydia was a lot younger than Betelgeuse thought she was when he tried to force her to marry him in the movie. When he discovers that he almost married a twelve-year-old, he's horrified, since even he Wouldn't Hurt a Child. Ultimately, she becomes this to him as his way of making it up to her, although neither of them expected to gain a close friendship from the arrangement.
  • In Skyhold Academy, the eponymous school is eventually declared to be exactly this by the Grey Wardens, with the Divine in agreement.
  • In Transformers Meta, Ratchet and Hound are protectorates to Evac and Bumblebee respectively.
    • Bumblebee is a sort of an unofficial protectorate for Gridlock as well.

    Films — Animation 
  • As revealed in Balto II: Wolf Quest, Balto hates it when his children are threatened.
  • In Despicable Me, the three orphans he adopts end up earning Gru's protective instinct, even if he didn't intend it that way. Early on, he fries a carnie's booth because the guy didn't give Agnes the unicorn she won on a technicality; at the climax, he goes One-Man Army on Vector when he kidnaps the girls.
    Gru: Listen to me, you little punk. When I get in there, you are in for a world of pain!
  • Hercules's protectorate is his Love Interest Megara. Touching her is an invitation to get knocked into next weekend.
  • The Lion King (1994): Mess with his family, his friends, or his homeland, and you'll get a lot of attention from Simba that you won't like.
  • In Monsters, Inc., Sulley ends up finding one of these in Boo. When she's kidnapped, he ends up tearing into the lair and turning against his boss/old friend Waternoose, who was partially involved.
  • It doesn't matter if you are a giant man-eating bug; if you make a move toward Vanellope, Wreck-It Ralph will take you out.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Avengers, the whole world is this to the eponymous team, but especially to Thor:
    Loki: I remember a shadow, living in the shade of your greatness. I remember you tossing me into an abyss. I, who was and should be king!
    Thor: So you take the world I love as recompense for your imagined slights? No! The Earth is under my protection, Loki!
  • In Back to the Future, we have the following:
    • Marty is rather Hot-Blooded to begin with, but he will absolutely put you on his "target" list if you mess with his family or his best friend Doc. He attacks or otherwise gets in Biff's way multiple times to protect his mother and father. His protectiveness of Doc, which gets a bit more attention, leads him to risk consequences to the time stream and punch out feared gunman Buford Tannen.
    • Doc, while being more patient, will not tolerate anyone messing with his present/future wife Clara or his best friend Marty. When Buford makes a rape threat against her and then shoves her to the ground when she kicks him, Doc ferociously struggles with and then breaks free of Buford's gang. Later, he stays on a moving locomotive to coax her safely into the DeLorean. His Papa Wolf instinct towards Marty begins with him drawing terrorists' fire and continues through his risking damage to the time stream to save Marty's future family and threatening Buford with a rifle to save Marty from hanging.
    • George starts the series as a shy, non-confrontational man who gets pushed around by everyone. The turning point in his character occurs when he sees Biff try to rape Lorraine and then shove her to the ground. Enraged, George punches him out.
  • Godzilla vs. Kong: Jia, the last of the Iwi tribe whom Kong once protected, is a Protectorate to both Kong and Dr. Ilene Andrews. She's the only human Kong explicitly trusts and Kong gets pissed when she's threatened, whilst Dr. Andrews took Jia in after her family died.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Trying to hurt Frodo in front of Sam is a good way to get reminded why you should Beware the Nice Ones.
    • The same thing goes in reverse, to a lesser degree because Frodo is the physically weaker and more pacifistic member of the pair. However, he threatened Gollum with Sting if he didn't let Sam go.
    • Protecting Gondor is Boromir's major goal throughout his screen time. Unfortunately, the Ring takes advantage of this, leading to him attacking Frodo to lay hands on it.
  • In Red Tails, Colonel Bullard lays it down for his men when they protest their restrictive orders to stay with the heavies if the enemy fighters try to flee. It's also based on the Real Life exploits of the Tuskeegee Airmen, an all-black squadron of American fighter pilots in World War II who were tasked with protecting American bombers from the Luftwaffe at all costs.
    Colonel Bullard: We count our victories by the bombers we get to their targets, by the husbands we return to their wives, by the fathers we give back to their children. To the last minute, to the last man, we fight. We fight!
  • In the first installment of the Spider-Man Trilogy, New York City is shown to be this not only for Spidey himself but also for many of its citizens. When the Green Goblin endangers Spidey while he's trying to rescue a bunch of kids, an entire mob of angry New Yorkers comes to his aid.
  • In Superman: The Movie, Superman's protectorate is, again, the whole world, but more specifically certain people, like Lois Lane.
  • X-Men: First Class: Charles views protecting his adoptive sister Raven/Mystique as this, but she ultimately finds it suffocating.

  • In 20 Years After, D'Artagnan is given the highly unusual task of protecting young King Louis from an angry mob that is going to access the king's own bedroom.
  • In The Affix, the gem drags Matt's friends into the fray thanks to its nasty effects on causality. Even his stalker ex, whom he hates, is pulled in, and he feels an obligation to protect her too. As he discovers his status as keeper of the Affix doesn't even fully protect himself, it only increases his determination to get them out of harm's way.
  • In A Brother's Price, men are very rare and thus protected by their sisters and later their wives. Jerin Whistler is a bit careless with flaunting his beauty, as everyone knows not to mess with his sisters. That is, everyone except the villains, who are, true to the trope, stupid enough to antagonize the large, and well-armed Whistler clan.
  • In Book #23 of Animorphs, Tobias morphs a mother rabbit and defends her young from other hawks...after he killed and ate her. We never hear about the rabbits after that book, and it's unclear what exactly his reasoning was for doing that.
  • In Dragon Bones, the title of "Hurogmeten" means "Guardian of Dragons." The problem is that there haven't been dragons in Hurog land for a long time. The latest heir of the title, Ward, doesn't let that keep him from protecting just about everyone around him. First his siblings (from their abusive father), then an escaped slave, and finally the bones of the last, long-dead dragon. He has a very protective personality, which also motivates him to slay bandits who were just about to rape a girl.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Harry Dresden is a general protector of the weak, meek, and those who need a place to go for protection from injustice. Lara Raith, a centuries-old succubus, quickly realizes the fugitive Donald Morgan, Harry's old parole officer who would have killed him without much guilt on the matter, fell into this category; she knew Harry was likely stashing him somewhere. This all started when he was sixteen years old and his actions led to a young man being killed by a supernatural monster that was stalking Harry just because it could.
      No, it wasn't. But the world wasn't a fair place, was it? And I had more reason to know it than most people twice my age. The world wasn't nice, and it wasn't fair. People who didn't deserve it suffered and died every single day.
      So what? So somebody ought to do something about it.
    • Harry has also established himself as a fierce and destructive protector of his daughter Maggie. When she was targeted in a plot to kill him, despite only learning of her existence at most 96 hours beforehand, he turned the plot against the Red Court of Vampires and destroyed the entire court.
      Michael: Things did not turn out well for the last monster who raised his hand against your child. Or any of his friends. Or associates. Or anyone who worked for him. Or for most of the people he knew.
      Michael: Whether or not that was your intention, you did establish a rather effective precedental message to the various predators should they ever learn of her relationship with you.
    • Ebenezer McCoy is a protector of Harry. As Harry's second mentor, after Harry killed his first evil one, he loves Harry deeply and tries to keep him safe when Wizarding politics would result in him either dead or having to work for the evil Fae Queen Mab, Queen of Winter. In the fifth book, after an enemy of Harry's escapes to his home base and Ebenezer knows he is planning some revenge, Ebenezer doesn't give him a chance. Ebenezer uses magic to drop an old Soviet satellite onto the enemy's mansion, killing him and many of his closest retainers.
    • Baron "Gentleman" John Marcone, Lord of the criminal underworld of Chicago, is fiercely protective of children in his domain. Criminals may profit from pretty much every vice except ones involving children. Push drugs on children? He kills you. Use kids to sell or be mules? He kills you. Kidnap children? He'll help Harry Dresden, an enemy, take you down. This all stems from one child who was caught in the cross-hairs years ago in a bad hit attempt against him.
    • Guardian Angels play with this idea. On one hand, they are soldiers of God ordained to guard particular areas on Earth or in the whole of Reality. They are powerful and dangerous forces that Fallen Angels and their hosts don't ever try to directly fight. Any supernatural threat that comes against their domain can be stopped swiftly and efficiently, but throw a mortal threat against them and they do nothing. While they will guard, for instance, the home of a retired Knight of the Cross from a supernatural threat, they must also protect Free Will and respect the free choice made by any mortal. So, as much as they may want to stop a stupid kid from torching the retired Knight's home, their hands are tied.
    • Seeing that glaring loophole for what Angels are allowed to do and not do, the newest Winter Lady Molly Carpenter is going to buy a home down the street from her mortal family's and fill it with elite Sidhe soldiers to stop any mortal threat that dares to come after her family. She is also not telling them this or about her new position as Winter Lady.
  • In the Elenium trilogy, the sovereigns of Elenia are traditionally this for the members of the Sparhawk family. For several generations, the current King has appointed the Sparhawk of his generation to serve as King's Champion. This changed slightly in the most recent generation as of the start of the trilogy; King Aldreas instead assigned Sir Sparhawk to serve as champion to his single-digit-aged daughter, Princess Ehlana. Instead of regarding the appointment as an insult and leaving (as expected), Sparhawk took his duties extremely seriously and overtook the whole of Ehlana's protection, education, and training for her eventual rule. This led to his banishment, but the trilogy opens with him returning from exile to serve as Queen's Champion, as Ehlana is now on the throne. He still takes his duties extremely seriously.
  • The Emperor's Gift: One of the first things Logan Grimnar does when he meets the Grey Knights and Inquisitors sent to Armageddon is make it explicitly clear that the guardsmen and civilians there are under his protection, and that he will brook no purges of them after the battle is over. When the Inquisition initiates a purge anyway, it sets the stage for the war between the Space Wolves and the Imperium's State Sec.
  • In Forbidden, due to parental abandonment and neglect, teenage Maya and Lochan have been Promoted To Parents for their three younger siblings, Kit, Tiffin, and Willa, of whom they are fiercely protective.
    "If anything terrible has happened to that child, I will die — I know it."
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Harry is this when Dumbledore defends him from Voldemort, beyond question.
  • In the Honor Harrington series, a star nation known as the Protectorate of Grayson features prominently starting with the second novel. Originally a Cult Colony, Grayson's hereditary ruler is known as the Protector, who is both the head of state and the formal head of the Church. While the Protector does not protect the planet single-handedly, his role as leader means that much of the military forces that do protect Grayson answer to him.
  • The Stormlight Archive: Kaladin ends up acting like this in regards to anyone he is in a position to help. For most of the books, this means his bridge crew.
    Gaz: What are they to you? Why do you even care?
    Kaladin: They're my men.
  • In The Murderbot Diaries, Murderbot takes threats against its human clients very seriously and very personally.
    "Maybe these clients had been terrible and abusive, maybe they had deserved it. I didn’t care. Nobody was touching my humans."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The A-Team:
    • The titular team make their living protecting the oppressed, and they will still help a victim if their need is sufficient, even if they can't pay.
    • With the A-Team being a family in all but blood, it is not wise to harm any of them while the others can learn about it.
  • The Adventures of Superman: Superman will never let anyone hurt Lois, Perry, or Jimmy.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Dawn was pretty much created to fill this role for most of the main characters, though Spike fits the trope as strictly defined, as Buffy specifically asks him to protect her.
  • In Doctor Who, touching any of the Doctor's companions is a bad idea of suicidal proportions. The Doctor also considers himself the protector of Earth.
    The Doctor: By the ancient rights of combat, I forbid you to scavenge here for the rest of time. And when you go back to the stars and tell others of this planet, when you tell them of its riches, its people, its potential, when you talk of the Earth, then make sure that you tell them this... IT IS DEFENDED!
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series, touch Kirk's ship or his crew — especially Spock or McCoy — and you'd better retreat for the Delta Quadrant.
  • Both Supergirl and J'onn J'onzz/Martian Manhunter in the same episode of Supergirl (2015) make the declaration that Earth is now their home and under their protection, and woe betide any that threaten it.
  • Supernatural:
    • Sam and Dean Winchester recursively have this relationship with each other—if you hurt one, be prepared for the other to fuck you up.
    • Once Castiel decides to join the Winchester team, he essentially devotes himself to them and their safety. He rebels against Heaven for them, nearly kills himself taking them back in time to save their parents, and in season six, he starts a war in Heaven to keep them (and the rest of humanity) safe. Even when he secretly starts working with Crowley to open Purgatory, he does it with the intent to save them from another Apocalypse, and prioritizes their needs over his own multiple times, taking time out of commanding an army to answer their prayers and making tactical sacrifices to protect them. In one episode, he states that he considers himself their guardian. The only time he's ever really stopped trying to protect them was when he succeeded in opening Purgatory and briefly with mad with the power of the souls, and even then he would have just left them alone if they hadn't kept trying to kill him. He's died for them twice.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Two of the Paladin Oaths in Dungeons & Dragons Fifth Edition relate to this; the Oath of Devotion is a Declaration of Protection that extends to the weak, downtrodden, and destitute, while the Oath of the Ancients is a dedication to preserving nature and the natural order of the world. An Oath of Vengeance can be a Darker and Edgier form of this side not only are you going to protect others from the things that would harm them, but if something does harm the protected then it is that Paladin's sworn duty to wreak almighty vengeance in the name of the harmed party.
  • Planescape; The Lady of Pain does this for Sigil, her presence keeping divine powers from using the City of Doors for their own purposes. While her method of enforcement is often cruel (some offenders are flayed alive, others are imprisoned in an eternal maze) she is regarded as Necessarily Evil, as control over Sigil and its multitude of portals would give someone near-limitless influence.
  • From the Ravenloft campaign, Strahd Von Zarovich, the Lawful Evil Darklord of Barovia. While known to be a tyrant who, as a vampire, feeds on his own subjects, God help any other evil being who harms one of them. While part of this is because his subjects are his food supply, he does still feel a twinge of responsibility for their safety.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Lion El'Jonson, Primarch of the Dark Angels, views the entire human species as his, and his main drive is the protection of people against the (many, many) hostile forces of the galaxy. In practical terms, however, this currently takes the form of the Lion's Protectorate, a small but steadily growing number of human planets in Imperium Nihilus that have fallen under the protection of the Lion and his renewed but slow-to-grow Dark Angels Legion.

    Video Games 
  • You can do this to city-states in Civilization, typically for a reward or to keep your enemies from getting them.
  • Crash Bandicoot rescues people on a regular basis without it affecting his dopey attitude. He acts borderline serious when villains start to threaten Coco, however.
  • Dark Parables:
    • Jack, in the sixth installment, seems to regard the Fairytale Detective as this. She's the only ally he's got left, after an incident ten years earlier, and he has a number of Big Damn Heroes moments in which he defends her.
    • Prince Ross, in the eighth installment, grows similarly protective of her throughout the adventure.
  • In the Detectives United series, it gradually becomes clear that Agent Brown regards his partners this way. He will not put up with anyone or anything posing a threat to Anna Gray or James Blackthorne (especially James, for whom he has Big Brother Instinct). In the series to date, the things from which he's protected or rescued at least one of them include a deadly fire, a malevolent child ghost, mind control, and his own Evil Twin brother.
  • Dragon Age II:
    • As the official Champion of Kirkwall, Hawke regards that city-state as being explicitly this. In the Mark of the Assassin DLC, s/he can say as much to Tallis when the elf tries to explain that her religion would give Hawke purpose.
    Hawke: I have purpose. I protect Kirkwall.
    • Depending on player choices, both the Warden and the Inquisitor can also take this attitude regarding their companions, the world, and/or their Love Interests.
    • The Grey Wardens have a form of this as their purpose for existing, since their duty is to defend all living things from the threat of the darkspawn - by any means necessary.
  • The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
    • The Companions guild treat the entirety of Skyrim, particularly Whiterun hold, as being under their protection. They are also fiercely protective of one another.
    • Housecarls are a deliberate invocation of this trope. The primary function of a housecarl is to loyally defend the life, property, and loved ones of the person to whom they are pledged. The Jarl of each hold has one, and the Dovahkiin is assigned one every time they are declared thane of a hold where they can own a house.
  • The titular hero of ICO makes it his mission to guide Yorda through the perilous castle and protect her from the shadows that stalk them.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Sora puts everyone he's close to high on the list of things to protect, but none more so than his best friends Riku and Kairi.
    • Also, Riku has this for Kairi hard in the first game, and it leads him down the path to the dark side and puts him in conflict with his childhood friend Sora. Riku eventually pulls a Heel–Face Turn and adds him to his protectorate, as seen several times throughout most games after Kingdom Hearts II- but especially in Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days and Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance].
    • By the time Dream Drop Distance rolls around, it's more or less confirmed that, while Riku obviously still has a desire to protect all of his friends, the one he's dedicated to protecting the most is Sora.
      Beat: I just... wanna protect the one person who matters.
      Riku: I know the feeling.
    • From Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep, Terra and Aqua treat Ventus like a little brother and are fiercely protective of him. Terra was willing to fight his master to the death if meant protecting Ven.
  • In The Legend of Zelda, Link - as bearer of the Triforce of Courage - has a natural instinct to protect others, especially those weaker than himself. In most installments, his main protectorate is Princess Zelda.
    • In Wind Waker, he leaps to defend and rescue his little sister Aryll.
    • In Twilight Princess, he extends this to the people of Ordon Village (especially the kids) and Midna.
  • The Pokémon Gardevoir will do anything to protect its trainer, even sacrifice its own life or create a black hole.
  • Within the Sonic the Hedgehog games, Knuckles is the guardian of Angel Island and the Master Emerald that keeps it floating in the sky. Adaptations and spin-off games usually have Knuckles retain this role, but not always.
  • In Stellaris, a powerful star nation might take a much smaller and weaker nation under their protection - this counts their planets towards the victory counter and provides the greater empire an Influence bonus. Sometimes it's simple Gunboat Diplomacy, sometimes the smaller one actively seeks out protection and approaches the larger nation themselves. Given enough time, the smaller nation may eventually be absorbed into the larger nation - this is usually the case with uplifted primitive species.
    • A Protectorate that reaches their overlord's Technology Levels is upgraded to "Vassal" status, instead of providing extra Influence their ship unit cap is partially diverted to their liege and the military they do have is obliged to participate in their wars.
    • The third type of subject empire available to player empires, the Tributary, is the exception to this trope as overlords aren't obliged to defend tributaries. Though it's usually recommended to add an Independence Guarantee to reduce the opinion penalty of forcing someone to hand over a quarter of their income.
    • The Guarantee Independence treaty is a lesser version that comes at the more powerful empire's expense with no benefit but building trust with the less powerful empire.
    • Fallen Empires always attempt to subjugate the rest of the galaxy when they Awaken, but most of them won't bother to defend their subjects if attacked. The exception are Benevolent Interventionists and their "Signatories", though on the downside, Signatories cannot start wars at all.
  • The Walking Dead (Telltale):
    • Clementine to Lee in Season 1, big time. It extends to a lot of other characters, such as Kenny and the members of the cabin survivor group once they warm up to her.
    • After his birth, Alvin Jr.'s safety is everyone's number one concern, especially Kenny and Clementine's. In Season 3, Clem makes his wellbeing her reason for living; and this is continued in Season 4, with Clem stating that she will protect AJ with her life no matter what.

    Visual Novels 
  • Enju Ueno in Nightshade is considered a symbol of peace by her village, since she was born from the union of two formerly warring clans after peace was reached. Because of this, she has never been allowed on a mission despite her aspirations to be a shinobi. When she finally does get to go on a mission, she ends up in several real life-or-death situations and is woefully unprepared because she's spent her whole life being protected by other people. This is directly addressed in Hanzo's route; Enju dedicates herself to her training because she knows that if she wants to stay alive, she has to rely on her own strength.

  • Like in the cartoon, Betelgeuse grows to regard Lydia this way in Cobweb and Stripes.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Mr. Raven watches over Moperville South high school and its students, especially those he considers his favorites (those with high magic potential).
  • Nodwick: Piffany is the protectorate of Yeagar, Artax, and Nodwick.
  • In Pixie and Brutus, Brutus quickly realizes that Pixie doesn't have the size or strength to take care of herself in a fight, so he takes on the responsibility of protecting her and teaching her to protect herself. In some strips, he protects her innocence by making sure she doesn't find out about things like the nastier aspects of war and R-rated horror films.
  • In Stand Still, Stay Silent, the two crew members that are not The Immune to the four who are. This stands double for the one who is actually a civilian stowaway, as the actual members have standing orders to do their best to keep him alive.

    Western Animation 
  • Threatening or insulting Lydia is the single fastest way to get on Beetlejuice's bad side.
  • In Ben 10, Ben's protectorates are his family and the earth itself. Hurt either, and you'll get reminded how a human boy has become the single most known enforcer of law and order in the galaxy.
  • The Captain Planet and the Planeteers show features a whole lot of protectorates.
    • Obviously, the Earth is one to the 7 main characters (the Captain and Gaia included).
    • Speaking of the Planet-team, they're effectively a family and all one another's protectorates. Mess with the team as a whole and you'll have to deal with Captain Planet and/or Gaia. Mess with either of the latter two, and the Planeteers will make sure you don't get away with it. Don't think you're getting off easy if you attack just one or two members (especially youngest member Ma-Ti) either; you'll just get the remaining Planeteers on your doorstep for a rescue mission, with whatever damage to your lair that involves.
    • Hoggish Greedly has one in his son, Junior. When Junior was poisoned by one of his schemes, he did something unprecedented: cooperating with the team to bring in Captain Planet.
    • In one futuristic episode, MAL (Dr. Blight's AI sidekick) gets one in his mistress's daughter, Betsi. He goes as far as to try to pull a Heroic Sacrifice for her sake. And after Captain Planet saves everyone, MAL promises Betsi to help her reform her mother.
  • The seven teen heroes in Class of the Titans will stop at nothing to protect their schoolmates, their families, or humanity in general; most of all, though, they will do just about anything to protect each other.
  • In Gargoyles, Goliath's clan traditionally protected Castle Wyvern. When they later find themselves in present-day New York, they eventually declare the city to be their protectorate. As Hudson puts it, "a gargoyle can no more stop protecting the castle than breathing the air." Indeed, having a protectorate of some sort is deeply ingrained in gargoyle culture, possibly even biology, and is observed in other clans worldwide: Griff took it upon himself to protect British fighter pilots during the Blitz, a clan of Japanese gargoyles protects a village, and a clan in Guatemala protects the local rainforest.
  • In Hercules: The Animated Series, Hercules watches over his school and its students, particularly Icarus and Cassandra.
  • Kaeloo: Kaeloo will be absolutely furious if you hurt Quack Quack, which unfortunately happens at least Once an Episode.
  • Pickle and Peanut: Pickle is a nice guy but strongly dislikes anyone who will hurt Peanut. He dumps his girlfriend after she steals his headband and calls him a loser.
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • If you mess with any member of the gang, the others will not be pleased.
    • Special mention goes to a Pup episode, "The Computer Walks Among Us", in which the villain tried to frame Velma. Just before he's hauled off to justice, Shaggy and Scooby basically lampshade this trope as follows:
      Culprit: And I would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for her friends and... that... that puppy!
      Shaggy: Like, that's right! Because if you mess with Velma...
      Scooby: You mess with us!


Video Example(s):


The Wolf and Kuro

Sekiro was sworn to protect him, as his kidnapping is the main catalyst of the game's conflict.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / Protectorate

Media sources: