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Reconcile the Bitter Foes

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Two groups have been locked in a Forever War for a long, long time. Then, a third party (like The Hero) comes along and wants something from both of them. But first, he has to play the peacemaker and stop the senseless bloodshed for them to work together with each other, and with him.

Setting the stage can vary in method: sometimes all that's needed is a Patrick Stewart Speech to invoke a Heel Realization in the groups. In more cynical works, the hero could outright demand a ceasefire and threaten to kick both sides' asses unless they throw down their weapons and talk it out. Success usually results in a very, very awkward but hopefully honest (just how awkward and honest will depend on whether Ontological Inertia factors in or not) handshake between the two leaders and a Moment of Awesome for The Hero.

Compare Young Love Versus Old Hate, which can overlap with this (cf. Romeo and Juliet) but not necessarily, Third-Party Peacekeeper, when a mutual friend tries to smooth things over, and Velvet Revolution, when a conflict that started off violently immediately winds down peacefully. Contrast Mediation Backfire.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The main character's goal in Naruto is finding a peaceful resolution to the ancient ideological conflict between two dominant ninja clans, Uchiha and Senju.
  • In the Skypiea arc of One Piece, the centuries-long war between the natives of Skypiea and the tribal Shandians finally reaches a peaceful resolution after God Eneru nearly destroys everything and is defeated by Luffy. Luffy wasn't actually trying to do this, though; it was just a consequence of his actions.
  • The war between the Tribes of Light and Shadow in Words Worth broke out over the shattering of the eponymous magical tablet and is ultimately resolved by a child descending from both Tribes, who reassembles the tablet and interprets its inscriptions.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix in the Corsica album. As the Corsican chief states (paraphrased): "Defeating the Romans is nothing special, but making two foes reconcile definitely is!"

    Fan Works 
  • Dual Destinies: After Ranma is split into twin brothers, Shampoo and Ukyo get officially engaged to each of the brothers, who then point out that they'll eventually become sister-in-laws after both couples get married. While they were bitter rivals before, both recognize that there's no reason for them have any further animosity towards each other, as they're no longer rivals.
    • Later on, both wind up reconciling with Akane after she's brought back from the dead, having been Driven to Suicide and going through literal Hell.
  • Universe Falls: In an effort to get Stan and Ford to reconcile with each other, Steven and Mabel invite both of them on a camping trip while not mentioning that the other is coming along. Both find out before they leave, leaving them rather less than thrilled by the deception.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • A large portion of The Matrix Revolutions revolves around Neo traveling to the Machine City to call for an end to the war between humans and machines, in order to allow him to stop Agent Smith from destroying both races.

  • Cradle Series: Makiel the Hound and Ozriel the Reaper, two of the Judges of the Abidan Court, have been bitter rivals for thousands of years—to the point that the rest of the Court eventually decreed they're not allowed to be in the same room together, as they're likely to destroy a planet with their "arguments." Suriel the Phoenix, however, is the healer of the Abidan, and more than anything she wants to heal this ancient wound. In the last book, Waybound, she convinces Makiel to help her rescue Ozriel from the Mad King, when his initial plan was just to wait and kill whoever survived. Makiel ends up sacrificing himself to save Ozriel, and goes to his death with a smile... because he knows that Ozriel is going to absolutely hate owing a debt that can never be paid.
  • In The Icemark Chronicles, Thirrin successfully forms an alliance between the Icemark and the vampires, despite the fact that the Vampire King and Queen have been their enemies for over a thousand years.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Thud!, it turns out that the most infamous event in the thousand-year war between dwarves and trolls started with a huge misunderstanding. The dwarves said that trolls ambushed them at Koom Valley, the trolls say the dwarves ambushed them. In reality, a sudden fog that fell over what was supposed to be a peace-talk lead to panic on both sides, and the ensuing battle was interrupted by a flash flood that wiped out everyone left. The discovery of a secret message from B'hrian Bloodaxe, former king of the dwarves, and the clumsy attempts by some extremist dwarves to cover it up leads to the truth finally coming out and the beginning of a true peace between trolls and dwarves.

    Live-Action TV 

  • In the video for Michael Jackson's song "Beat It", Michael ends the animosity (temporarily or permanently is up to interpretation) between two rival gangs through the power of dance.

  • What Saint Lin did in Embers in the Dusk with the warring lizardmen empires on Avernus, the Saurus and the Skinks, by creating a peace treaty. Their feud has been going on for longer than humanity has existed, and is said to have started shortly after the War in Heaven.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the Githyanki and Githzerai have been at each other's throats since overthrowing their Mind Flayer overlords due to disagreements over what they should do afterwards, with only temporary alliances of convenience to deal with any Mind Flayer threats to break up the constant infighting. However, Dungeon Magazine #100 introduced the Sha'sal Khou, a secret society of Githyanki and Githzerai who want to end their age-old enmity.
  • Mage: The Ascension's concluding book, Ascension, allows players the opportunity to bring a peaceful end to the conflict between the Technocracy and the Traditions, with a little help from the Void Engineer master Tychoides. At this time, the two factions are preparing their remaining forces for a battle that will probably end with one of them annihilated once and for all; however, Tychoides reveals to the players that the Marauders are planning to ambush and kill the survivors, before going on to dominate the world. Surrendering access to the Technocracy's command network, he allows the players to unite both sides against their enemy, resulting in a truce that lasts for the remainder of the Ascension event.

  • Step 3 of Hamilton's "Ten Duel Commandments" was to have each side's seconds attempt to negotiate a settlement acceptable to both sides, or set up a time and place for a Duel to the Death if one cannot be found. It get revisited at Step 8 when both participants are facing each other with pistols in hand, the last chance for both sides to agree to back down before the shooting starts.
  • Oslo relates the story of the secretive negotiations between Israeli and Palestinian representatives that laid the groundwork for the 1993 signing of the Oslo Accord. In order to get the representatives to even meet face to face, a neutral third party has to intervene. Enter Norwegian diplomat Mona Juul and her husband Terje Rød-Larsen: Norway has the all-important appearance of neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It's much easier for Mona and Terje to get their foot in the door with both sides and get the process moving than it would be for any official operating through the American or United Nations channels.

    Video Games 
  • Devil May Cry 5: Nero, refusing to lose anyone else close to him as he did Credo, plants himself right between Dante and Vergil and demands an end to their feud. When an indignant Dante storms up to him telling him to stand down, Nero backhands him so hard he goes flying and reaffirms that he won't let the two kill each other.
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, you can convince both the Great Khans and the Brotherhood of Steel, both longtime foes of the New California Republic, to support the latter at the Second Battle of Hoover Dam during quests.
  • In Fire Emblem Fates: Revelation, your goal is to end the Forever War between Hoshido and Nohr so you can fight the true enemy, Anankos.
  • In The Longest Journey, April ends the ancient war between the Alatien and the Maerum by uncovering proof that they are actually the same species worshiping the same god.
  • In Mass Effect 3, Shepard has a chance to end the war between the quarians and the geth peacefully, though there are many conditions that have to be met for this to succeed. Also, the Krogan/Salarian/Turian enmity can be mended to the point where the three races start cooperating—something deemed impossible for at least several centuries. The Turians and the Humans have the latest in species grudges, but the Turians are the most willing to help humanity out (though they have their own problems).
    • And as the Extended Cut shows, the Control and Synthesis endings both result in a lasting peace between the Reapers and the galactic life, though only in the latter is it completely voluntary (in Control, Shepard becomes the new Reaper overmind and basically forces them to obey organics).
  • In Wasteland 2, you can reconcile the warring "train tribes", the Topekans and the Atchisonians, by getting their leaders to recognize that prolonging their conflict will ultimately destroy both groups, whereas seeing past their old grudges will actually let them get the trains up and running again.
  • A major plot point in Wild ARMs 5 is to reconcile the ancient conflict between the humans and the Veruni.


    Western Animation 
  • The episode "The Great Divide" of Avatar: The Last Airbender had Aang do it with two tribes of Slobs Versus Snobs by saying that he had witnessed the birth of their conflict (since he is Really 112 Years Old), which had been twisted over the century and was in fact no more than a children's game. And once the now peaceful tribes are out of earshot, he confides to Katara and Sokka that he made the whole thing up.
    • Gone Horribly Wrong for the first Avatar, Avatar Wan when he separates Raava—the World-Spirit of Order—from Vaatu—the World-Spirit of Chaos—and thereby sets up the latter to plunge the world into a 10,000-year age of, you guessed it, chaos and darkness. To be fair, Vaatu abandoned his pride to take advantage of Wan's kindly nature and manipulate him whereas Raava was extremely condescending and dismissive of Wan, refusing to explain her motives for keeping Vaatu entrapped until after Wan had freed Vaatu.
  • Popeye mediates the battle between Lilliput and Blefescu thusly (this after Popeye captures the Blefescu king and the Lilliputian king declares victory):
    Popeye: Nobody wins! And I'm gonna steps on both of ya if ya don't shakes hands and makes peace! (They do)
  • The episode "Targets" of Young Justice (2010) had Lex Luthor do it with North and South Rhelasia, which were expies of the Koreas.


Video Example(s):


Quarian-Geth Peace

After 3 games of bitter hostilities, the Quarians & Geth actually begin to strive for peace. The Geth allow the Quarians to return to Rannoch, and the two races commit to Shepard's War against the Reapers.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / ReconcileTheBitterFoes

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