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Reflexive Remark of Reverence

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Deeply religious characters are passionate about their beliefs to the point of feeling that they have to bless the name of their religious figure whenever their name is dropped in conversation, no matter what. If they hear the name, they might interrupt with a phrase to honor them or do a gesture to show their respect. The longer and more exaggerated, the better.

This might sometimes be an annoyance to others around them, who might desperately try to weave their words around that name, but sometimes fail miserably when they end up saying it anyway. It's also a nuisance if this distracts them from something important, especially if the character insists on interrupting every namedrop to get on the good side of their faith.

This trope doesn't necessarily have to be about characters honoring a religious figure, however it is Truth in Television for some religions; choosing to use formalities for a person that a character admires is another version of this. It might not even be for a character; it could be for an object, a great power, or something similar.

Contrast Overly Long Name and I Have Many Names. See also Verbal Tic and Phrase Catcher.


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    Fan Works 
  • Harry Potter and the Natural 20: Milo never says or even thinks the name of his home city, Myra, without adding -City of Light! City of Magic! Though this has less to do with religious awe than magically-enforced copyright.
  • In A.A. Pessimal's Discworld fics, mentions of the late Granny Weatherwax are answered by the chorus from all Witches present, of mayhersoulhavemercyonthegods.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Carry On... Follow That Camel!, the Southern Asian army that is ruled by the Arabian sheikh always bow in worship whenever the Islamist prophet Astafali is name-dropped. When the French Legion kidnap one of the sheikh's wives, he bellows in a fit of rage that the enemy is committing sins against the teachings of Astafali, making his army bow to the floor in respect to the prophet, much to the sheikh's annoyance when he was hoping for them to stop the soldiers from running away.
  • In the movie Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, the Wachati and Wachutu tribes always bow in respect whenever they hear "Shikaka" (the name of the sacred bat they worship, who is also the missing animal Ace needs to find). After Ace finds the bat, he takes advantage of this to stop a battle by running between both sides with the bat held aloft while shouting its name at the top of his lungs; both tribes immediately genuflect, ending the battle before anyone is killed.
  • In The Princess Diaries and its sequel, this is done by people in Genovia for Mia's deceased father, King Rupert - "King Rupert! May he rest in peace!" - even by the child princesses at Mia's bachelorette/slumber party!
  • Hot Fuzz:
    • Every adult in the Sandford Neighbourhood Watch Alliance when "the Greater Good" is mentioned. Starts off as a sort of joke about how the woman who runs the local pub is an eedjit who just tends to repeat the last thing anyone says. Then it gets much less funny when the villains repeat it in a Creepy Monotone whenever anyone says it.
    • There's also the conversation with Motor Mouth florist Leslie Tiller, who hastily adds "God rest him/her/them" after mentioning any of the murder victims.
  • Hot Tub Time Machine: Whenever one of the crew mentions a certain character's ex-girlfriend (The One That Got Away), they immediately say, in hushed, reverent tones, "Great White Buffalo."
  • In Scrooge (1970), Marley's Ghost bows whenever he says "Lucifer."

  • Robert A. Heinlein's novella "The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag": The Bird is an evil bird-like deity and the Sons of the Bird are its human-appearing offspring. Whenever anyone says a religious catchphrase associated with the Bird (such as "The Bird is cruel" or "In the Beginning there was the Bird"), all Sons of the Bird present cover their faces with their hands. One of the protagonists accidentally makes a Son of the Bird reveal his true nature by saying "The Bird is cruel".
  • The Horse and His Boy:
    • The "Arabian Nights" Days empire of Calormen believes that their ruler, the Tisroc, is descended from their Ethnic God Tash and therefore appends every reference to the Tisroc with "...may he live forever." Discussed when one character pointedly refuses to oblige, even on pain of blasphemy:
      Bree: Why should I talk slaves' and fools' talk? I don't want him to live forever, and I know he's not going to...
    • Discussed by the Tisroc himself; his son makes an oblique reference to his own son someday ruling Calormen, which the Tisroc dryly notes will never happen if he does in fact live forever.
  • Discworld:
    • When the witch Magrat Garlick mentions the name of her deceased mentor, Goodie Whemper, the other witches always hastily add "may she rest in peace" (often spelled out as "maysherestinpeace").
    • An actual deity also gets this treatment (albeit nonverbally) in Small Gods, where almost every mention of the great god Om comes with the character speaking doing the "holy horns" gesture.
  • Ciaphas Cain:
    • In the novel Duty Calls, both the Sororitas characters and the Gavarronean militia automatically make the sign of the Aquila whenever the Emperor is mentioned.
    • In the novella "Old Soldiers Never Die", the 597th Valhallan is working with a Tallarn regiment. Cain is familiar enough with Tallarn customs by this point in his career to deliver a "Throne be praised" and Aquila sign at the same moment the Tallarn colonel does.
  • A Practical Guide to Evil (inverted): Whenever someone mentions Dread Empress Triumphant, every Praesi present presses a knuckle to their forehead and says "may she never return." This is explained as the closest Praesi ever come to prayer.
  • In Stranger in a Strange Land, as a sign of their Pantheism, Valentine Michael Smith and his flock use the interjections "you are God" and "I am God".
  • Harry Turtledove's Worldwar series has the alien race bow their heads anytime their emperor is mentioned. Even the one member who defected to the human side.
  • Safehold: The first novel in the series establishes that any reasonably-devout Safeholdian, when the Archangels are mentioned, touches the fingertips of their right hand to their heart and lips. Weber tends to leave this gesture out of the later novels, possibly to reflect the growing emphasis in the Church of Charis on a direct relationship with God (and less emphasis on the Archangels as intermediaries). It's apparently still customary outside Charis; in book 5, one of the Rakurai agents thinks Charis clearly deserves what's about to happen because an ordinary Charisian doesn't make this gesture.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Planet of the Spiders", whenever anyone mentions the Giant Spiders' head of state the Great One, all Spiders present chant "ALL PRAISE TO THE GREAT ONE".
  • The Crusade episode "The Rules of the Game" has the Lorkans making a gesture across their chests every time their deity the Most Holy is mentioned.
  • In Hero Corp season 3, the evil cultists never pronounce Hypnos's name outside of ceremonies. Every time John says it, they throw their heads down.
  • Satirically used in The Colbert Report, where an ongoing bit is that Stephen is terrified of Islamic terrorism. As a result (despite being Catholic), he follows up every mention of Islam by calling it "a great and true religion", and never mentions the prophet Muhammad without adding "blessings and peace be upon him".
  • The Goldbergs: Barry's group of friends is known as the Jenkintown Posse, usually abbreviated as JTP. Whenever Barry calls them the JTP, the others immediately chant back "JTP!". Anyone else joining the chant is called out for not being a member. One time, the group got so mad at Barry that they refused to chant back.

  • In Welcome to Night Vale, once it becomes a fixture on the local school board, every time the Glow Cloud is mentioned at least one person will immediately follow up with "All hail the Glow Cloud" or "All hail."

  • Some productions of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado will have cast members bow reverently whenever the Mikado is mentioned.
  • In the theatrical adaptation of Peter And The Starcatcher, any character who feels any loyalty at all to the British Empire feels compelled to stand, salute, and shout "God save her!" whenever Queen Victoria's name is mentioned. This is indirectly Lampshaded by Black Stache while he's interrogating Lord Aster and Captain Scott; he tests their responses to various phrases, all of which refer in some way to Victoria, and then throws out "banana". The two men jump up and shout "GOD SAVE H-" before realizing it was a trick.

    Video Games 
  • The Token Religious Teammate Sebastian Vael in Dragon Age II tends to refer to Thedas's Crystal Dragon Jesus Andraste as "Blessed Andraste" or "Blessed Andraste, Bride of The Maker" whenever he mentions her.
  • In Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun, Nod characters react to Kane's name with "Kane lives in Death!" - though in subsequent games this is dropped due to Kane living.
    • In fact, it's treated as a CMOA, as during a major meeting, he suddenly appears on a screen and yells "KANE LIVES!" He times it to be right after the chant, too.
  • Sam & Max: The Devil's Playhouse: In "They Stole Max's Brain!", everyone in the alternate reality where Sammun-Mak has taken over the world (except Max and the mole-men) can't help but finish the traditional chants praising Sammun-Mak when they hear them. Max actually exploits this in the final puzzle to get Sam to finish off Sammun-Mak in a duel.
    Sammun-Mak is handsome! Sammun-Mak is cute!
    When we think of Sammun-Mak, we give a big salute!

    Sammun-Mak is mighty! Sammun-Mak is grand!
    The greatness of Lord Sammun-Mak is more than we can stand!

    Visual Novels 
  • A number of Khura'inese characters in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice do this for the Holy Mother, given that the country of Khura'in is deeply religious. Nahyuta Sahdmadhi, who delays the start of trials to pray for the souls of victims and delivers "sermons" mid-trial, (although they usually double as insults to the defense,) must be given special recognition.

    Web Animation 
  • In Bravest Warriors, the minions of the interdimensional villain the Aeon Worm repeat "Never Doubt the Worm" when it is brought up.

    Web Original 
  • SCP Foundation, SCP-3140 ("Botanical Warfare"). One of the enemies of the Daevites has a long-range viewing device called the Holy Rays Tube, which has strong religious significance to them. Whenever one of them mentions the term "Holy Rays Tube", they immediately say or write the phrase "praise the Elemental Holies" afterwards.

    Real Life 
  • In Christianity:
    • Some Christians will bow when the name of Jesus is mentioned. A Catholic will respond with a bow of the head, and High Church Anglicans will fully bow, especially in the context of celebrating communion.
    • Many Christians, particularly Catholic and Orthodox Christians, will reflexively make the Sign of the Cross when the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are mentioned.
    • Want to find the Catholic (or Anglican/Episcopalian) in the room? Say "May the Lord be with you," and listen for the reflexive response of "and also with you" or "and with your spirit".
  • There are also Jewish honorifics that people can use to reflect upon any Jewish person they find notable.
  • In Islam:
    • One of the most well-known figures in Islam is The Prophet Muhammad. People are expected to say "peace be upon him" immediately after mentioning him. In some cases, this rule applies to writing, as well, and the benediction customarily appears in text, occasionally shortened to "PBUH". As a result, some Arab keyboards have a button specifically for "peace be upon him."
    • Older prophets, angels and scholars also have specific honorifics, or durood.
  • It's not uncommon for someone to say something like "God rest his/her soul" when speaking of a close friend or loved one who has died.
  • Filyani might follow up whichever name they use for the Dark Mother with "I shield my eyes" or something similar.
  • At least some stories of Louis XVI's "Flight to Varennes" during The French Revolution have it that the king's identity was confirmed beyond doubt when one of the townspeople of Varennes, who had previously served at Louis' court, instinctively dropped to one knee when he saw the king. Realizing the jig was up, the king stopped insisting he was a just a servant and it was just a coincidence that he looked like the drawing on that assignat and admitted that he was in fact the king.