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Standing Between the Enemies

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Don't fight! Or, at least, put some pants on.

Right before a duel, brawl, battle, or war would start between two misled factions, the heroes arrive just in time, give a Battle-Interrupting Shout, and tell everyone to try and be friends instead. They might reveal some sinister Big Bad who manipulated them into the fight, explain to them how the Cycle of Hatred leads nowhere, or just break the ice by being heartwarmingly idealistic. The speech itself may share rhetorical devices with the Whoopi Epiphany Speech, the Kirk Summation, Shaming the Mob or a "Not So Different" Remark.

If it's a fight between two people, more than likely over a love interest, and the love interest or a side character intervenes at the wrong moment, this trope can lead to a What Have I Done moment.

A common subversion is a Shut Up, Kirk! reply from the opposing leaders, who will then start the battle anyway, or for the two belligerents to unite against the interloper trying to tell them what to do. This is often Played for Laughs.

The pacifist counterpart of the Rousing Speech.


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  • In an ad for a Snickers commercial, two opposing medieval armies are rushing at each other with the obvious intent to fight. Right when they are about to collide, they stop when they see a guy with modern clothes standing in the middle of them. He then proceeds to get them to agree that they're not really angry, but hungry.

    Anime & Manga 
  • This happened to the title characters in an episode of the 1960s The Amazing Three anime.
  • In the end of Code Geass: Akito the Exiled, Jean does this between brothers Shin (the Big Bad) and Akito (The Hero) - with Shin killing her instead of Akito. And she shoots Shin at the same time. And confesses her love before dying. He dies holding hands with her, and Akito survives.
  • Gundam:
  • Gunslinger Girl: After the terrorist Big Bad has been captured, the Italian government decides the Social Welfare Agency has outlived its usefulness and sends in the army to destroy them. Cyborg girl Claes however takes the guns off the SWA personal, walks out to the armoured personnel carriers facing the compound and calls on them not to fire. The soldiers are reluctant to shoot a little girl, so the SWA is able to surrender peacefully. The act is particularly significant as the cyborg girls were created to take advantage of the Wouldn't Hurt a Child trope to kill their enemies.
  • In the end of the first season of K, Shiro does this to the Red and Blue Kings, who are fighting - but he does it intentionally to get killed, because he's holding the body-snatching Colorless King in his mind. And to twist it even further, it makes matters worse - taking on the burden of killing a King causes the Red King's Sword of Damocles to fall, and to prevent the destruction that would cause, the Blue King has to kill him, and take on the same burden, which becomes a threat in the second season.
  • Kobayashi does this in both the anime and the manga of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid, though they are under vastly different circumstances. In the anime's finale, she gets between Tohru and her father when they come to blows over whether the latter can stay on Earth. In the manga, she and Tohru arrive in between the Chaos and Harmony factions to reveal the fact that Azad was manipulating them into killing each other.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Pikachu or Ash tend to try and calm squabbling Pokémon, though they often get hurt in the process.
    • Tired of seeing both real and clone Pokemon hurting each other, Ash tries this in Pokémon: The First Movie between Mew and Mewtwo's Beam-O-War. It does stop the battle, but he is momentarily petrified as a result.
    • In Pokémon: The Rise of Darkrai, the Legendary Pokémon Dialga and Palkia are battling over Alamos Town, putting the whole place in danger of metaphysical annihilation. Just before two of their attacks clash, Darkrai flies between them and uses its own powers to stop the attacks and temporarily freeze both of them in place.
  • In Sound of the Sky, Sorami stops a battle by playing Amazing Freaking Grace.
  • In The Vision of Escaflowne, as Van's Humongous Mecha is getting Curb Stomped by the Phlebotium-enhanced leopard twins, Merle runs out and interposes her tiny little self in front of him. The twins back off from delivering the killing stroke because she's a catgirl like them.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman gives one in Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, starting with a Big "NO!" that occupies a panel.
  • Happened at the climax of Alan Moore's D.R. & Quinch Get Drafted with the entire gang caught between the enemy Ghoyogian Army and their own Space Marines platoon with whom they're in trouble for creating a friendly fire incident with a tactical nuke. Waldo attempts one plea for sanity by stepping up to "cry out at the horror and injustice of war..." It doesn't work.
  • X-Men: Performed by Rogue a number of times, for instance she stood between Magneto and a group of trigger-happy soldiers on two occasions with the same issue-number (in both cases she was not bullet-proof), first in Uncanny X-Men #274 in the Savage Land with a S.H.I.E.L.D. and Russian squad and later in X-Men Legacy #274 in Washington, D.C., with a group of U. S. soldiers and police.
  • In the Land Of Arran series Nains, Volume 11 "Torun of the Forge" sees both Lord Brum and Redwin fight each other to the death until the little Fann gets between them, calming Brum with a severe stare and exclaiming that Redwin isn’t the real enemy.
  • Superman:
    • In The Killers of Krypton, Supergirl has just knocked Empress Gandelo down and is seriously considering to kill her to avenge her family when Krypto leaps between them. Seeing Krypto standing in harm's way, Kara gets horrified and stops herself from delivering the killing blow, reminding herself she is not a murderer.
    • In a Supergirl story, Supergirl's landlady Ida Berkowitz stands between the titular heroine and the super-villain Blackstarr, Mrs. Berkowitz's own daughter, to keep them from killing each other.
    • In The Hunt for Reactron, Nightwing stops the first fight between Flamebird and Supergirl by flying between both and calming Kara down.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Diana tries to stand between Artemis and Jason Blood when Temi shows up set on killing Jason for being a "soulless monster" on some misinformation and his transformation to protect the innocents around them from Temi's attack just further convinces her that she's right. Diana's attempt at a peaceful resolution is ineffective.

    Fan Works 

    Film - Animated 
  • In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Kiara and Kovu burst out to stop the fighting, just after it has narrowed down to a Simba vs. Zira duel to the death. Both are told to get out of the way, though Zira is less polite.
  • In the Pocahontas sequel, the titular heroine does this when it looks like the natives and the colonists are about to get into a battle. It doesn't seem to work until John Rolfe orders his side to stand down, prompting the natives to do the same.

    Film - Live-Action 
  • At the climax of Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Ace stops two mounting armies by running between them holding the sacred bat they had been about to fight over.
  • In Godzilla: Final Wars, Godzilla's son Minya and the boy who befriended him simultaneously stand between the furious Godzilla and the armies amassed to fight the beast.
  • Subverted twice in The Legend of Frenchie King. When Louise and Maria face each other in the bar, the sheriff comes in to try to stop them but trips and falls down. Later, the same women are having a Cat Fight and the sheriff tries to cut in between them; he gets punched as a result and the fight continues as if he was never there.
  • Mr Pink gets between Mr Blonde and Mr White, who are approaching each other with murderous intent, in Reservoir Dogs.
  • Star Wars Downunder. After killing the evil Darth Drongo who has been hoarding all the beer on the planet, Jedi Knight Merve Bushwacker emerges from his base brandishing a beer can, and calls on Drongo's mooks and the rebel forces to stop fighting.
    Merve: Look! Look at it! It's cold! It's frosty! It's beautiful! And you're all about to kill each other for it! Stop this madness now, ya boofheads! There is enough for everyone!
  • Subverted in Sword Of Gideon (1986). A priest throws himself between the Israeli assassination squad and their target, the terrorists who've taken sanctuary in his church. The terrorists simply fire around this convenient Human Shield.

  • The first 1632: Ring of Fire anthology contains a story entitled Between the Armies which is this trope grown to a europe-wide scale. It features Jules Mazarin, see Real Life, below.
  • At the end of American Gods, Shadow manages to stop the battle between the Old and New Gods by telling them both how they were manipulated into fighting by Mr. Wednesday and Loki so that they could gain power from the deaths of the other gods.
  • Discworld:
    • In Men at Arms, Carrot had a truly epic example when he successfully shamed two armies of trolls and dwarves. They were ready to rip each other apart until he came and basically told them that their dear old mothers would not be proud.
    • In Jingo, Vimes places himself between two armies by arresting the whole of both sides. After that, Carrot organizes a football match for them instead.
    • Brutha in Small Gods arrives alone on the beach where the armies of half a continent are expecting to fight the Omnian Divine Legion, and explains that the reasons for the war have gone. Almost subverted when one of the enemy generals explains, not unkindly, that sometimes there's just going to be a war and there's nothing anyone can do about it, certainly not by invoking "reasons" or lack thereof. Luckily Brutha has more persuasive allies.
    • In Thud!, Vimes and the Watch stand guard on a barricade between large mobs of dwarfs and trolls intend on "reenacting" Koom Valley. Of course, Vimes being Vimes, they manage to arrange things so a minimum of actual fighting is required.
  • Played with in "The Dance of the Hours", one of Giovannino Guareschi's Don Camillo stories. Things between Friendly Enemies Don Camillo and Peppone escalate quickly and both grab a bench to clobber the other with; one of Peppone's men, Smilzo, is the only one who keeps his head and tries in vain to stop Peppone until he's right between the two benches. The fight is broken up by something entirely unrelated, and Smilzo is left standing alone in the middle of the square. Then, since nobody's watching, he goes to get himself a Coca-Cola.
  • The climax of the Heralds of Valdemar book Owlsight consists of two powerfully spiritual creatures (a Valdamaran Companion, and a totemic tribal spirit) holding off their respective armies long enough for the protagonists to solve their grievance.
  • In The Hobbit, Gandalf stood between the Three Armies (Human, Elf, and Dwarf) to point out their common enemies the Goblins were approaching on Warg-Back.
  • A pretty epic one in Kadingir's second book The Lord of Zapp, when queen Laima calmly steps between her people and the invading Musdagur army and sends a telepathic speech so powerful and moving that it ends not only the war before it even started, but also a centuries old blood feud.
  • Ronnie from The Last Song stood between Marcus and Scott to stop them from fighting.
  • Near the beginning of The Malloreon, the sequel-series to David Eddings' The Belgariad, Belgarion pulls this, mostly to demonstrate how much he's grown up since the previous series. He stops a civil war in Mimbre by basically riding out between the two armies, unhorsing everyone who gets in his way, and then calling down a cataclysmic thunderstorm between them, while suggesting that anyone who wants to start fighting, can start by fighting HIM. Considering how eager Mimbrates are to go to war, nothing less would have done the trick, probably.
  • In Mockingjay, Katniss tries this to prevent a fight between Capitol loyalists and revolutionaries in District 2. She nearly succeeds, but then someone from the loyalists decides to go the Talk To The Bullet way on her. At least, the ensuing fight turns out to be shorter and less bloody than possible; rather than fight with the District 13 forces, most of the District 2 natives turned on those from the Capitol.
  • In Rob Roy, the titular character abruptly stops Frank and Rashleigh Osbaldistone's duel to the death by stepping between them and forcing them apart.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy does this once with Angel and Riley in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, saying she'd put them (well, Riley, since Angel is a vampire) in the hospital if they kept arguing and wanting to get physical.
    • Xander tries to intervene in a fight between fellow slayers Buffy and Faith, only for Faith to toss him across the room.
  • In the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Cease Fire", Trip (currently commanding Enterprise, as Archer and T'Pol are on the surface) stops the Vulcan and Andorian ships from firing on each other by parking in between them and targeting both sides, and saying that he will fire on whoever shoots first.
    • He does the same thing two seasons later in "Kir'Shara". Again, it involves Vulcan and Andorian fleets. (One internet reviewer calls this the Tucker Maneuver.) It doesn't work this time, because this time he's openly siding with the Andorians, and the Vulcans aren't willing to call off their invasion for the sake of one Earth ship.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation. Subverted in "Redemption" when Worf tries to break up a fight between Gowron and a challenger. Gowron uses the opportunity to stab his opponent while he's distracted.

    Music Video 
  • Michael Jackson does this in the video for "Beat It" (and "Weird Al" Yankovic for "Eat It") when he interrupts a brawl between two gangs and has them join together in the song's closing dance.
  • Дворник Dvornik (the Snow-Clearers) by Otava Yo is played out as a silent video comedy, set in St Petersburg in sometime pre-1914. A rather fussy and prissy woman is courted by two love-rivals, who eventually fight a duel over her. As all the bullets go horribly wide of the intended mark and slay all the snow-clearers working around her, she bravely steps between them, raises her hands to them and declares "Enough!"

  • In Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, Nadine is ready to throw down with the government agent Travers, despite everyone advising her against it. Zia tries to physically stop her, prompting a fight between the two. Just before it gets serious, Josephine steps in-between the two of them. Nadine, who has a crush on Jo, snaps out of her anger, and then finally backs off from Travers.

  • Romeo does this to Tybalt and Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, but things go awry when his interference results in Mercutio getting fatally wounded:
    Why the devil came you between us? I was hurt under your arm.

    Video Games 
  • In Devil May Cry 5 Nero does this in between Dante and Vergil at the end of the game to try to end their constant fighting and sibling rivalry once and for all. It doesn't hurt that Nero learned the latter is his father not long before this.
  • From Fire Emblem Fates: In the diverging path chapter of Fates Corrin plays this role, unsuccessfully, between Xander and Ryoma. Subverted when Corrin chooses a particular side in Birthright and Conquest, and played straight in Revelation by continuing throughout the game to stand, metaphorically and physically, between Hoshido and Nohr.
  • From Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn: Elincia tries to prevent the Begnion Army and the Laguz Alliance from fighting. It succeeds as far as averting the battle by convincing the generals of both sides to back off, but then Senator Valtome of Begnion gets so mad that she thwarted the battle that he sends his own personal troops for her head.
  • Guild Wars has this, at the end of the Gyala Hatchery mission.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic, if your Player Character chooses to spare Freyyr and give him Bacca's Blade, the party will enter the Chieftain's Hall to find Chuundar standing with his Czerka allies on one side, Freyyr and some Wookiee loyalists on the other, and Zaalbar trying to keep his brother and father from killing one another. You can't prevent the inevitable brawl, though trying will net you some light side points, but you can tip the balance in favor of one of the factions.
  • In Mitsumete Knight, in order to avoid a bloodshed, the heroine of the game, Sophia, interposes between the man she loves, the Asian (aka the player character), and her promised fiancée, Johan, as Johan, defeated in the duel for Sophia's hand, begs to be given the Coup de Grâce, and the Asian was about to oblige.
  • In Sonic Adventure, Amy stands between Sonic (or Tails) and E-102 Gamma to convince them to not fight one another, convincing all parties that Gamma is one of the good guys.

    Visual Novels 
  • In CLANNAD, Yukine stopped two gangs from fighting by revealing that her brother was Dead All Along.
  • During Miyako's storyline in Majikoi! Love Me Seriously!, in order to atone for having let things get so far out of hand while Cap was away, Yamato stops a four-way fight between Wanko, Miyako, Mayucchi, and Chris - with his body. Mayucchi reacts fast enough to pull back at the last moment, but between the other three, Yamato is very much Not OK.

  • In Oglaf, The two priests of Sithrak try to prevent a battle, reasoning that their god tortures everybody after death, so killing isn't okay. It doesn't end well.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • #409: Hinjo stands between Miko and Belkar just before she can kill him. Only two characters and not two armies, but the lines are awesome:
      Miko: You would stand between me and this murderer?
      Hinjo: I'll stand between any two murderers I wish.
    • #929: Elan attempts this by telling his Archnemesis Dad (who is trying to kill the leader of Elan's team because They Were Holding You Back) that "If you want Roy dead, you'll have to kill me first." Bone-chillingly subverted when the dad stabs his sword through Elan and into Roy, after confirming that Elan is at full health and hence will survive the blow.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Back to the Future episode "Brothers", Jules and Verne (who have been recruited by the Union and Confederate armies) end up stuck between the two front lines, hugging one another as they wait for the attack. Luckily, the troops think it's sweet. This creates enough of a pause for Doc and Marty to finish the job.
  • In the Beast Wars episode "Transmutate", Transmutate tries to stop its new friends Silverbolt and Rampage from killing each other by standing between them and holding off their missiles. It ends tragically with Transmutate exploding. Transmutate's head lasts long enough to say goodbye to its friends. This does briefly stop the violence as Rampage howls in anguish and Silverbolt convinces the other Maximals to leave him alone since "for the moment, we are brothers".
  • In The Problem Solverz episode "Breakfast Warz", the titular trio does this when Danny's mom and Professor Sugar Fish begin fighting. Horace then gives a speech about compromise, with "Pomp and Circumstance" playing in the background.
  • In a South Park episode, Jimmy and Timmy get the Bloods and Crips together for a lock-in in the gym, then stand between them while Jimmy gives a speech. It works about as well as you'd expect such a thing to work in real life. Don't worry, just like Jimmy told you, a gym lock-in always works.
    • In most other episodes, it doesn't work that well.

    Real Life 
  • The almost-battle of Casal, October 26, 1630. The Spanish and French armies (about 50 thousand soldiers put together) had already begun to exchange cannon fire when Vatican diplomat Jules Mazarin rode out between them declaring that peace had been made. It hadn't been yet, but he delayed things enough that it was made later on.
  • One of the stories about self-proclaimed U.S. Emperor Norton is the time when a crazed mob made its way to the Chinese ghetto. Norton took a knee between the angry mob, and the Chinese gathered to defend their home, and started reciting the Lord's Prayer. The rioters dispersed in shame.


Video Example(s):



Nero's determination to save his father and uncle from killing each other awakens a new level of power, enough to let him intercede.

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Main / StandingBetweenTheEnemies

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