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The Apprentice

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Obi-Wan: If you spent as much time practicing your saber techniques as you did your wit, you'd rival Master Yoda as a swordsman.
Anakin Skywalker: I thought I already did.
Obi-Wan: Only in your mind, my very young apprentice.
Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones

A character who is in training for something, usually under some kind of Mentor. Since they're still learning, they are usually not good, but if the show is long enough, they'll improve. Their teacher might even hope from the very beginning that they might be able to surpass them at some point.

If they're in a movie, they'll improve after a Training Montage. Sometimes they have a chance of falling and becoming a villain, in which their former mentor will say they were A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil.

The life goal of some apprentices is To Be a Master.

The apprentice may have Opposed Mentors.

Related to The Squire. See Student–Master Team, when an older veteran trains a younger student to follow in his/her footsteps.

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    Anime and Manga 
  • After Kyuta meets Kumatetsu in The Boy and the Beast, he becomes Kumatetsu's apprentice and trains with him until he eventually becomes a badass.
  • Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple: Kenichi. Take a guess on how much a teenager can learn about martial arts in 39 volumes and counting.
    • Bonus points for being an apprentice to multiple masters simultaneously, although they do share the same dojo.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Nanoha Takamachi is the student of Yuuno Scrya in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, but she overshadows him very quickly.
    • The Forwards (Subaru Nakajima, Teana Lanster, Erio Mondial, Caro Ru Lushe) from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS are the students of Veteran Instructor Nanoha. Other teachers are Vita, Fate Testarossa-Harlaown and Signum, but Nanoha is the main teacher, with Vita as Nanoha's assistant. In Force, they train under Nanoha again. Teana in particular holds the exclusive honor of having been apprenticed to both of the series' overarching leads, Nanoha (during her Forward training) and Fate (during her Enforcer training), — accordingly, she is the only member of any younger generation to have passed the S mage rank examination so far.
    • Team Nakajima (Vivio Takamachi, Einhard Stratos, Rio Wesley and Corona Timil) from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid are the students of their coach Nove Nakajima. Also, Einhard, Rio and Corona have three other Big Sister Mentors, respectively.
    • Miura Rinaldi from ViVid is one of Zafira's students. She also has the other three Wolkenritter as her mentors.
    • Thoma Avenir, Lily-Strosek and Isis Egret from Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force are three new students of Nanoha (with Vita as her assistant again). Thoma and Lily have also Signum and Reinforce Zwei as their Big Sister Mentors, respectively.
    • Fuka Reventon is Einhard's student in ViVid Strike!. She's also the first known person to learn the Kaiser Arts who wasn't a member of Shutra's royal family.
  • In Magic Artisan Dahlia Wilts No More Dahlia studies under her father Carlo Rossetti to become a Magic Artisan: a craftsman who builds magically-powered appliances and innovate materials imbued with magic properties. Though Dahlia has studied all her life to become a Magic Artisan, Carlo's only official apprentice is Tobias Orlando (scion of the Orlando Trading Company, who supply the Rossettis with raw ingredients) — as the only child of Carlo, Dahlia was expected to marry his apprentice Tobias in order to keep the artisan business "in the family."
  • Yahiko in Rurouni Kenshin. He does progress, although rather slowly over the course of the many volumes of the manga and accompanying TV series. At the beginning of the series, Yahiko is most useful to the heroes as a thrown weapon (it happens). At the end of the series he has become a master swordsman in his own right.
  • The main cast of Urara Meirocho are apprentice fortune tellers.
  • Vagabond: Jotaro and Iori to Musashi.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • The Apprentice, the Student, and the Charlatan (given that it's in the name) features Nova Shine, Night Apprentice of Princess Luna.
  • The Bridge has Mariner Chibi Moon becoming the pupil of Godzilla Junior to learn how to control her powers better while away from her mother who otherwise could teach her.
  • Child of the Storm:
    • Loki takes four apprentices - his nephew Harry, Hermione and the Weasley Twins - largely on a whim and teaches them the basics of wandless magic. However, the situation means that it quickly becomes a distance learning apprenticeship.
    • This is the traditional method of education by White Council Wizards and Sorcerers Supreme. Strange is unusual that he's taken only five across his very long career, four of which are known. In rough order, they are Mordo, Margaret LeFay a.k.a. Margaret Dresden, Wanda Maximoff, and in the sequel, Harry Thorson.
      • The fifth apprentice, the original, is later revealed to be Apocalypse. To say that he was a disaster would be gravely underselling it.
    • Harry Dresden becomes Wanda's apprentice at the end of Chaos Reigns.
  • Karma Circle: Judgement: Daan Yel is the apprentice to Purgatory, the personification of karma. In the past, he came into this position when he encountered Purgatory and asked to be trained in the art of delivering justice to those who escaped it, after being tortured and mutilated by an Irken soldier.
  • The Night Unfurls: The end of Chapter 4 of the original marks the beginning of Kyril recruiting for his Workshop. Sanakan and Hugh are his initial students. Later on, Lily joins after the Feoh/Ur Arc, while Soren joins after the Ansur Arc. Rigorously trained as adept Hunters far stronger than almost every living being in the land, the four of them plus their master form a nigh-unstoppable Badass Crew.
  • Secret War: Attelus Kaltos is an apprentice, mercenary assassin. This despite being far older than most apprentices are being in his mid twenties, this is due to him being recruited far older than most assassins.
  • In The Sage's Disciple, Team Caster and associates are a chain of this. Crow (the main character) is this to Caster, while Shinji is this to him.
  • In Transformers Meta, Bumblebee is a scout apprentice, along with Evac, who is a medic apprentice.


  • The Apprentice Rogue: Artamos is a apprentice black knight. This mission is his test to become a full fledged member.
  • In Children of the Black Sun, Kell, an extremely powerful and sadistic Blood-Mage, has an apprentice, Rasten. However, the relationship isn't exactly good — despite being a very powerful mage in his own right, Rasten is basically a slave to Kell, having been broken into obedience through torture. He eventually rebels.
  • Shan is kidnapped into his apprenticeship in The Chronicles of Magravandias.
  • Taran Wanderer, Book 4 in Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain. During his wanderings, Taran briefly becomes the apprentice of three different crafters.
  • In Cold Obsidian a young mortal man becomes an apprentice of the creators of his world.
  • Cradle Series:
    • Yerin was the disciple of the Sword Sage, despite Sages historically never taking disciples. Since he's dead by the time the story starts, half the people she meets assume she's telling a bald-faced lie, while the other half realize that she has to be very impressive to have been taken in by a Sage. The Sword Sage taught her everything he knew, giving her a rock-solid foundation and making her one of the strongest of her advancement level, and leaving her in an excellent position to advance when he's gone.
    • Lindon apprentices under Fisher Geisha for Soulsmithing. While at first she treats him less as an apprentice and more as a slave, once Eithan gets involved she starts teaching him for real, allowing him to improve his extremely basic knowledge in leaps and bounds. By later levels, he tends to pull out dozens of custom-made weapons in every fight just to save him a little time.
    • Eithan, technically speaking, takes both Lindon and Yerin as disciples. Yerin is rather annoyed because he doesn't do much more than drop them in the middle of a dangerous trial for months on end. Other than teach Lindon exactly one (admittedly extremely useful) technique, he doesn't teach them anything. This is because Eithan doesn't actually want disciples, he wants peers. All his efforts with them are to give them a chance to reach his level so that they can continue together.
  • The obligitory Discworld examples: Mort in Mort and Tiffany in her subseries. Would-be Assassin Jocasta Wiggs in Night Watch.
  • Corbie becomes apprenticed to Felix Harrowgate in Doctrine of Labyrinths. It does good things for him.
  • Menolly is training as an apprentice harper in Anne McCaffrey's Dragonsinger, along with numerous other characters.
  • Dreamblood Duology:
    • Nijiri is Ehiru's Gatherer-Apprentice in The Killing Moon and idolizes his teacher. He has striven to become Ehiru's apprentice ever since their first meeting. In an interesting twist, while everyone agrees that Nijiri will become a capable Gatherer, Nijiri himself only follows this path to be as close to Ehiru as possible because he is in love with Ehiru and would have chosen any path to achieve this goal.
    • In The Shadowed Sun, Hanani is apprenticed to Mni-inh in the goal to become the first female Sharer, creating a situation where she has to prove herself more than other Sharer-Apprentices and Mni-inh is scrutinized more closely due to having a female Apprentice.
  • Molly Carpenter in The Dresden Files. She's got talent in the finer details of magic, which complement her mentor whose talent lies in blowing things up who ends up learning more about the finer points of magic as a result. She stops being his apprentice after his "death" in Changes and her becoming the Winter Lady in Cold Days
  • Maggie Mulligan in Faraway Dream by Jane Flory is an apprentice milliner.
  • Girls Don't Hit: Echo becomes Joss's apprentice in the assassin trade.
  • In Hack Alley Doctor, Derrick is an apprentice mod-doc, learning under Tony. He goes from tweaking a prosthetic leg’s dampeners to saving his own mentor from multiple stab wounds.
  • Johnny Tremain in Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes starts out as an apprentice silversmith.
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell begins with Strange wishing to learn under the tutelage of Norrell.
  • In Loyal Enemies, 13-year-old Rest is apprenticed to battle mage Veres for the entirety of the book. This is mostly Played for Laughs, first when he tries to 'avenge' his master who he thinks was killed and eaten by werewolf Shelena but has to use.. creative methods due to his lack of any actual skills yet, then when he and Veres break half of Shelena's kitchen utensils while trying to teach Rest levitation. As it turns out, Rest has a history of being apprenticed to various masters and getting kicked out. Based on this Shelena questions his adequacy for becoming a mage, but both Veres and Rest, especially Rest, are adamant that this time, it's going to work out just fine.
  • A Mage's Power: Everyone who joins the Dragon's Lair mercenary company starts off with this rank. Eric is Basilard's apprentice until he proves that he can handle himself in a fight. He's technically a novice for the rest of the book but he's still learning magic from Basilard (and Dengel).
  • In the Mediochre Q Seth Series this is the standard method for education amongst the mantically-aware.
  • Nightfall (Series): Myra unwillingly becomes Prince Vladimir's protege and apprentice as he teaches her to become a better writer.
  • In The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet, Alfred and Jack later on are Mason apprentices under Tom Builder.
  • Jamie ends up as an apprentice in the Clown Division of The Pilo Family Circus. Because of the mishaps that beset the clowns, he doesn't get to perform much, but he still ends up better off than the previous apprentice...
  • The Ranger's Apprentice series, where each Ranger learns by being taught for five years by a current Ranger.
  • The protagonist of the Rivers of London series of books, Constable Peter Grant, is a fully qualified policeman as of the first book, but also an apprentice wizard indentured to Detective Chief Inspector Nightingale. There used to be a Wizarding School but the birthrate of people who could use magic dropped making it unsustainable that and most of the people who would've been able to teach magic were killed during World War II.
  • Split Heirs: Clootie trains Wulfrith as his apprentice in high wizardry.
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • Shallan is accepted as Jasnah's ward early in the first book, to be trained in scholarship. While Shallan only sought Jasnah out in order to steal her Soulcaster, she quickly finds herself enjoying the work. When Jasnah finds out, she is furious, and cuts Shallan off. But then Shallan discovers Jasnah's Soulcaster was fake all along, and convinces Jasnah to allow her to help with her real work.
    • Most of the Knights Radiant had squires. A squire is bonded to a particular Knight instead of a spren, and gains powers through the Knight. If they get too far away, they will lose their powers. This is something of an "internship" while they wait for a spren to choose them and promote them to full Knight. The Windrunners were known for having significantly more squires than normal (fitting, considering one of their Divine Attributes is leadership) while the Lightweavers never had squires for long, as they were quickly promoted.
    • The Bondsmiths, unlike other Orders, never had true squires; there are exactly three spren who can create a Bondsmith, never more, and their powers don't filter down in the same way. However, they did have assistants and apprentices who acted like squires, and often spoke the Words. This was sometimes referred to as the purest way of being Radiant, making the oath with no expectation of a reward.
  • Elena in Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms: The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey ends up apprenticed to, well, a fairy godmother. Comparatively little of the book is actually devoted to her apprenticeship, however; the plot doesn't really kick in until the job has officially been handed over to her.
  • Nabby Jones in Touchmark by Mildred Lawrence eventually becomes an apprentice pewterer.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: Apprentices, if they try doing anything interesting before completing their training, are sure to have it blow up in their faces. If they run away on an adventure though, it's sure to aid in their learning, and they will probably also be revealed as a Missing Heir.
  • In Warlocks of the Sigil, it is standard for students at the school upon adulthood or the onset of puberty to become apprentices to warlocks. Quinn happens to be Kole's apprentice.
  • In Warrior Cats, Clan kittens become apprentices at 6-months-old. They're renamed with the suffix "-paw" until they're made full-fledged warriors around six months later.
  • Ged becomes the apprentice of the mage Ogion in A Wizard of Earthsea, the first novel in Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series.
  • In World Without End, Merthin, as an apprentice carpenter, is actually much smarter and more competent than his master and Arch-Enemy Elfric.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • When Lord Mormont appoints Jon as his personal steward, Sam remarks that Jon's proximity to the Lord Commander means he is likely being groomed for leadership and command.
    • Being that this is a medieval world, Gendry is introduced as a literal apprentice to the master armourer Tobho Mott.
  • Asumu in Kamen Rider Hibiki. He doesn't get the chance to be a Rider himself until Kamen Rider Decade: when the Decade crew visit the altered Hibiki world, that world's Asumu becomes a Legacy Character.
  • Shintaro Gotou in Kamen Rider OOO becomes one to Akira Date/Kamen Rider Birth, eventually using a second Birth Buster to back Date up. Differs from the Movie War Core continuity, where Date does not appear and Gotou becomes Birth.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Elnor learned hand-to-hand combat skills from the Qowat Milat nuns. Zani, the leader of the sisterhood, informs Picard in "Absolute Candor" that Elnor had completed his training last spring, but he cannot join their order because he's a man. According to showrunner Michael Chabon, Elnor worked very hard to earn and deserve his sword.
  • Willow: Dove becomes Willow's apprentice in the art of sorcery.

    Tabletop RPG 
  • Apprenticeship is the standard way to learn magic in Ars Magica, to the point that a character's apprenticeship (15 years for the default Hermetic magus, and a good few other traditions) is incorporated into character creation. Then again, it's set in 13th-century Europe, so apprenticeship is the standard way to learn a lot of things.
  • In early editions of Dungeons & Dragons it was customary for mages/wizards to learn by becoming apprentices of established mages/wizards. A number of wizard/apprentice relationships appeared in the Forgotten Realms setting. For example, Elminster has had many apprentices over his long life span (hundreds of years).
  • In Frostgrave, the wizard has the option of taking an apprentice in the warband. Their stats are inferior but it gives you a second "main" character and caster.
  • In Warhammer 40,000 Interrogators are apprentices to Inquisitors. They are slightly more experienced than is usual for the trope; by the time you are even considered for the rank of Interrogator you have probably been serving as a Throne Agent for several decades.

  • The Mrs. Hawking play series: In the second installment Vivat Regina, Mrs. Hawking explicitly tells Mary she wants to make the girl her protege and teach her the ways of being a society avenger, in hopes that one day Mary will carry on in her place.

    Video Games 
  • Kult: Heretic Kingdoms:
    • Alita, the protagonist, is the apprentice of High Inquisitor Valkarin. Near the end of the game, Valkarin learns that Alita is one of the possible candidates to resurrect the Dead God, which he absolutely cannot allow. He reluctantly tries to kill Alita to prevent this possibility, but upon failing, acknowledges that she has Surpassed the Teacher.
    • The magical bond which can exist between masters and apprentices is used by Alita to find a certain person. Quova (who is being sought) and Percheron (whose location is known) were both apprentices of Sice Larwan, so Alita can follow the trail from Percheron up to Larwan and then down to Quova.
    • Another magician, Sollas, has his own apprentice, but the apprentice decides to make some money on the side by summoning demons for a crime boss. Alita is sent to deal with him, though he has already figured out he's in over his head.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • In Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance, Sub-Zero meets a Lin Kuei recruit named Frost who has ice powers just like him. He decides to personally tutor her but unfortunately she turns out to be evil and tries to steal the medallion that boosted his powers. It becomes too much for her and she ends up frozen by her own powers.
    • Takeda Takahashi is the apprentice to the newly reformed Hanzo aka Scorpion in Mortal Kombat X. He is also the son of Kenshi Takahashi, the telekinetic blind swordsman who debuted in Deadly Alliance. Unlike the aforementioned Frost, Takeda remains a hero throughout the story.
  • The apprentice warmage from Orcs Must Die!.
  • Luke from the Professor Layton series, though interestingly, Luke claims to be his apprentice, and Layton denies it (while letting Luke follow him around and teaching him things).
  • In the Devil Summoner: Raidou Kuzunoha games, Raidou is an apprentice detective (who does nearly all the actual detecting because the detective he's supposed to be learning from is really lazy).
  • Sakura Wars:
  • The Force-sensitive classes in Star Wars: The Old Republic take on at least one padawan/apprentice in the course of their respective storylines, because teaching the younger generation in the ways of the Force is an integral part of being a Jedi or a Sith. The Sith Inquisitor even gets two: a fallen Jedi Padawan (who strayed from the Jedi Code with no small input from the Inquisitor themselves) and an official Sith Academy acolyte.
  • Starkiller from The Force Unleashed, to the extent that Everyone Calls Him The Apprentice.

    Visual Novels 
  • Amanda from Daughter for Dessert has learned from the protagonist how to run their diner.
  • In Melody, the protagonist teaches the title character much more about music than how to play instruments; in fact, the later lessons are more about learning how to play in public (something that he has done extensively) than anything else.
  • Umineko: When They Cry has MARIA, the Apprentice Witch of Origins.


    Web Original 
  • In Awful Hospital, the Oozing Skull became one to the Crooked Spine, and Maggie was one to Magatha.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Pandora offers to help Sarah achieve a magic awakening by teaching her as an apprentice magic user.
  • In Ice Gift Rikter becomes Aimek's apprentice to learn how to build ships.
  • On Neo Pokeforum Schwarze`s group (Schwarze, N, Molly and Fry) to Janine of Fuschia City, Timber of Cinnabar Island, Silver and Ritchie of Kanto Elite Four, especially the former. The group started as rookies under training of gym leaders and Elite Four members to confront Colress and become professional and high-skilled trainers.
  • As the Luke Skywalker parody in To Boldly Flee, Luke Mochrie served as this, first to The Cinema Snob, then after Snob turned to the dark side of filmmaking, to Oancitizen.

    Western Animation 
  • Although Terry was technically Batman in Batman Beyond, he could still be considered this to Bruce Wayne. Defied in one episode where Bruce was getting treatment from the Lazarus Pit and the possibility of him becoming Batman again was brought up; Terry said firmly that he was "not wearing the Robin suit".
  • Chowder is one of these to Mung Daal; other child characters are apprenticed to other chefs.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: Uncle decides to take on an apprentice in order to pass down his Chi-magic knowledge. Rather than Jackie or Jade, who are his family members, Uncle chooses Tohru, his shopkeeper and former enemy. Tohru does go on to become a full-fledged chi-wizard of his own.
  • Brainy Smurf is this to Papa Smurf on The Smurfs; likely not the best decision Papa Smurf ever made, and at least on one occasion, he scolds Brainy and says he "has the right mind" to get a new apprentice after Brainy causes a disaster.
  • Spoofed by Trey Parker and Matt Stone in South Park and Team America: World Police
    ''If you wanna, in one day, go;
    from a beginner, to a pro;
    You need a plan; but more than that—
    You need a MONTAGE!''
  • Star Wars Rebels has Ezra Bridger as Kanan's Jedi apprentice. But, Kanan dies in the final season, so by the end of the series, Ezra never makes it past Padawan.

    Real Life 
  • Before the age of streamlined education most (if not all) professions were learned by apprenticing under a master. Children usually apprenticed under their parent until said parent was too old to work, at which point the child would take over the business. This is the origin behind such surnames as Smith, Carpenter, and many other last names that sound like jobs.
  • The apprenticeship system is still widely used for most crafts in Germany. You start as an apprentice under a master note , and become a journeyman note  afterwards, with a chance of becoming a master with enough effort and skill. Nowadays, the journeyman rank isn't named as such in most cases — once you aren't an apprentice anymore, you'll just give your profession as a title. You're still not allowed to call yourself a master, though, unless you've passed the proper exams. This old (as in: originating in medieval times) system is still very popular in Germany, despite the more streamlined education systems also existing.
  • Another modern way of life that still (at least to some extent) retains this model is the academic career. The exact details depend on when and where, but pursuing a PhD usually means you will work under a senior scholar who will ideally be as much a mentor as a boss to you. Bit less of a teacher, since by that point you should've learned enough of the theoretical side of things to qualify for the position. A degree of mobility (ie. working somewhere else than where you studied) is also seen as very favourable.

Alternative Title(s): In Training