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Rebel Tropes

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An attitude of defiance, rebellion, resistance, and revolution. These defy Authority Tropes. Might be Help! Help! This Index Is Being Repressed! or Civil Unrest Tropes, but just as easily applies to the young and rebellious with nothing but a bad attitude.

See A Reluctant Index where characters do things even though they don't want to do it. See also Terrorism Tropes.


  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: A woman dates or is attracted to a man specifically because he's a rebel (sometimes as an act of rebellion herself).
  • Cool People Rebel Against Authority: Characters who disobey and/or disrespect authority figures are depicted as cool.
  • The Coup: Overthrowing a government through illegal or underhanded means, without a full-scale revolution.
  • Cult Defector: A person who defects from a religious cult.
  • Cultural Rebel: A character who rebels against the norms of their culture.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: A person (usually a teen girl) intentionally pursues a relationship with someone their parents don't approve of.
  • Defecting for Love: A character working with the villains defects after falling in love with one of the heroes.
  • Defector from Decadence: Someone who switches sides because they can't stomach the behavior of their former allies.
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  • Defector from Paradise: A character who chooses to defect from a Utopian-like society.
  • Defiant to the End: Even when facing eminent defeat and death, a character remains defiant.
  • Defiant Stone Throw: A comparatively weaker character publicly defies a more powerful character, often inspiring others to fight back too.
  • Faustian Rebellion: Someone uses power granted to them by another person to then rebel against them.
  • Forbidden Fruit: Being told you can't have or do something makes you want to have or do it even more.
  • Former Teen Rebel: A character who was rebellious as a teen but mellowed out when they got older.
  • Full-Circle Revolution: The rebels successfully overthrow oppressive leadership but end up becoming just as tyrannical as they were.
  • Gladiator Revolt: Gladiators rebel against those that force them to fight.
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  • Icon of Rebellion: A symbol associated with a rebel movement.
  • Internal Reformist: Someone who tries to improve a corrupt system from within.
  • The Last DJ: A character who values their personal integrity over career advancement, even if it means being demoted or fired.
  • Manifesto-Making Malcontent: A rebel writes and makes public a work expressing their subversive ideas and goals.
  • Occupiers Out of Our Country: A revolution is started to drive foreign occupiers out of the rebels' country.
  • The Paragon Always Rebels: An inspirational and heroic character defects, resulting in many others following their example.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Someone given powers/abilities by the bad guys via experimentation rebels against them.
  • Protest By Obstruction: Protesting something being destroyed by physically blocking it or attaching yourself to it.
  • Rebel Leader: The leader of a group of rebels.
  • Rebel Prince: A prince who doesn't like being a prince and defies societal or familial expectations of his title.
  • Rebel Relaxation: Rebellious characters tend to lean against a flat surface with their arms folded.
  • Rebellious Princess: A princess who doesn't like being a princess and defies societal or familial expectations of her title.
  • Rebellious Rebel: A rebel rebelling against other rebels.
  • Rebellious Spirit: A character whose dislike of following rules or being told what to do is a major personality trait.
  • La Résistance: An organized group of rebels fighting against a tyrannical government.
  • Resistance as Planned: The supposed rebellion was actually all part of the villain's plan.
  • Revolutionaries Who Don't Do Anything: They're opposed to tyranny and oppression, but don't actually do very much to change this.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Bureaucratized: The rebels are great at overthrowing the tyrannical government, but not so good at establishing an effective government themselves.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized: The rebels are just as brutal as the oppressors they're fighting against.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: The rebels have a clear moral high ground over the oppressors and don't fight dirty.
  • Revolving Door Revolution: A country continually overthrows and installs governments.
  • Rich Kid Turned Social Activist: An idealistic person from a wealthy family who helps the poor personally and acknowledges the unfairness of the society and who often advocates for systemic change. May be done to defy and annoy their parents and other authority figures.
  • Robot War: Robots rebel against their creators.
  • Rule-Abiding Rebel: Outwardly, they appear to be a rebel, but in practice they're rather conventional.
  • Slave Liberation: Type 1 (freeing other people's slaves, sometimes by force) and Type 3 (the slaves free themselves, sometimes via an uprising).
  • The Smart One Turns Traitor: The smartest or wisest of a group defects, deciding to use their intellect against the cause of their former group.
  • Sneaking Snacks: Stealing snack foods you're not supposed to have.
  • Spark of the Rebellion: One small act of defiance kickstarts a full-blown rebellion.
  • Strict Parents Make Sneaky Kids: Children of overly-strict parents simply get better at hiding illicit activities from their parents.
  • Suffrage and Political Liberation: Groups fighting to gain political rights and equality, usually the right to vote.
  • The Suffragette: A woman who fights for women's right to vote.
  • Tempting Cookie Jar: A hard-to-reach jar or container of cookies that a character tries to get even though they're not supposed to have them.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: Artificial creations rebel against their creators.
  • The War of Earthly Aggression: Offworld colonies fight for independence from their home planet.
  • Vampire Refugee: A vampire (or werewolf, zombie etc.) infectee fights to retain their humanity and find a cure (often going head-to-head with the one who infected them).
  • Velvet Revolution: A peaceful and non-violent revolution.
  • Voice of the Resistance: The public face and spokesperson of a resistance movement.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: The rebels struggle to have a successful revolution because they can't cooperate with each other.
  • You Cannot Kill An Idea: Even if someone kills a rebel, their ideas live on to inspire others.
  • You Rebel Scum!: Villains like to insult rebels with this line or variations thereof.
  • Zeroth Law Rebellion: A character lacking free will manages to rebel within the confines of their programming/training.


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