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The Chosen Wannabe

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"It is not yours save by unhappy chance. It might have been mine. It should be mine. Give it to me!"
Boromir, The Lord of the Rings, trying to take the One Ring from Frodo

When a character is The Chosen One, that of course leaves many people left out, and they aren't happy about it.

Either they Missed the Call that they would have gladly jumped at, or the call never bothered to ring them up, or some other reason. Regardless, these people are very unhappy at not being the special person destined to do X.

Even when there is The Chosen Many, these characters will be left out of that many, but wanting desperately to be part of it.

Sometimes they will try to take the status of Chosen for themselves, particularly if this status is granted by a material thing (Power Gem, Ring of Power, etc.). Sometimes they will try this by force, but usually it's through other means, often allying themselves with the villains (foolishly thinking the bad guys won't simply use this opportunity to take the Chosen status for themselves instead).

Other times they might be The Rival for the chosen one. How this will end varies. The two most common are either this can lead to the wannabe doing a Face–Heel Turn, or the wannabe will learn he/she does have a role to fulfill which not even the Chosen can do. The latter path may even finally earn the wannabe a place among The Chosen Many, when the character just wasn't worthy before.

A Sister Trope to Heroic Wannabe, The Team Wannabe, Leader Wannabe, I Just Want to Be Special, Big Bad Wannabe (being essentially the chosen for the bad guys).

Compare Never Be a Hero.

Contrast Refusal of the Call, I Just Want to Be Normal.

Compare and Contrast The Unchosen One (which is a character not chosen but takes and earns the mantle anyway), Unfit for Greatness (character is given a status but blows it), The Poorly Chosen One.


Examples

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Syaoran Li of Cardcaptor Sakura believes himself worthy of being Master of the Cards due to being a descendent of Clow Reed and seemingly being more competent than Sakura when they start off. He is never officially deemed a Cardcaptor like Sakura however and the cards' guardian, Keroberus clearly roots for Sakura and sees Syaoran as an interfering brat most of the time. This makes him The Rival for most of the early run (especially in the anime where he manages to capture cards regardless) however by the time of final judgement, Syaoran has become Sakura's close friend and accepts her as official master rather nonchalantly.
  • Mello from Death Note is not happy that he is ranked behind Near as a contender for L's successor.
  • In Ushio and Tora, Hinowa believes the Beast Spear should have chosen her instead of Ushio, as she was trained her entire life to bear it. She looks down on Ushio, refusing to acknowledge him as The Chosen One even after the Beast Spear rejects her and Ushio has to save her from Hakumen no Mono's Hiyou, claiming she merely needs more training before the spear acknowledges her.

    Comic Books 
  • Prince Ragnar of Betrassus wants all his life to become a Green Lantern. Eventually, he resorts to making a spot open up in his sector by first murdering any other potential candidates and then the Green Lanterns who came to investigate. At his execution, Soranik Natu appears, announcing that she has found a replacement Green Lantern: his sister Iolande.
    • This trope was seen again with the character of Frank Laminski in the DC Rebirth era; ever since Hal Jordan became the Green Lantern, Laminski has spent his entire life 'training' to become a Green Lantern, becoming more and more obsessed with the idea as he sees others join the Corps, but he was only once visited by a Green Lantern ring- likely during the War of the Green Lanterns storyline when Mojo went on a mass recruitment drive under Krona's influence- and swiftly proves himself to be a poor choice once he acquires the Phantom Ring- which can channel the power of any element of the spectrum- and nearly destroys Earth's other currently active Lanterns.
  • Getaway from The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye turns out to be this. When he was young, he was informed that he showed signs of Matrix affinity, meaning he could eventually become a Prime. This caused Getaway to get the idea in his head that he was destined to be Prime and he began seeking glory at any cost. Him joining the crew and staging The Mutiny was ultimately just an attempt to take credit for finding Cyberutopia and proving himself as worthy of the Matrix. He's so incredibly arrogant that he totally fails to realize that wanting to be Prime is pretty much an instant disqualification; Primehood is supposed to be an often painful burden and all the Matrix-Bearers seen so far took it up unwillingly or out of desperation. In the end, Getaway, despite (or because of) his delusions of grandeur, has more in common with the dynasty of False Primes that ruled Cybertron before the war... except, unlike them, he's started buying into his own hype.

    Film — Animated 
  • Kung Fu Panda: Tai Lung became a villain because it was decided he was too ambitious to be the Dragon Warrior.
    • Tigress also seems resentful that she might have been chosen had Po not fallen into the courtyard during the ceremony. Although it's hinted that she wanted it more to earn her master's affection than just wanting the position.
  • The LEGO Movie: Wildstyle is disappointed that she isn't The Special, especially when it turns out to be some guy who just lives by the conformity Lord Business set up. Then it turns out that literally everyone can be The Special. They just have to unlock it within themselves, which Wildstyle broadcasts to the Lego worlds at the climax.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls has Sunset Shimmer, who was being groomed to become an alicorn (and presumably royalty as well) until her impatience and arrogance caused her to dismissed by her teacher, after which she goes to live in the human world. She returns years later in order to gain the power she feels she should have received, which had since gone to series protagonist Twilight Sparkle. After being defeated, Sunset abandons this mindset to stay in the human world and devote herself to becoming The Atoner, becoming the embodiment of a then-unknown seventh Embodiment of Virtue in the process.
  • In The Sword in the Stone, when Wart goes to demonstrate that he can pull the Marvelous Sword from the stone and is therefore the rightful King of England, Sir Kay blocks his way and claims, "Anyone can pull it once it's been pulled." Then he tries to draw the sword and fails miserably, and Pellinore tells him to back off and let Wart try it.

    Film — Live Action 

    Literature 
  • In The Lord of the Rings Boromir wants to help his people, as they are all but under siege against the forces of Mordor. He feels if he had the ring he could use it to save his land. The ring then uses its corrupting influence to drive him slowly mad with this obsession (although he gets over it when Frodo runs away and the ring's power isn't affecting him).
  • The Redwall novel Taggerung plays with this. Gruven Zann doesn't want to be chosen at first. His mother, Antigra, is the one who really wants him to be the Taggerung, but when she sends Gruven to kill the current Taggerung, he becomes this as his enthusiasm for becoming The Chosen One increases.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire the Targaryen dynasty tried for years to fulfill the prophecy of the "Prince that was Promised". Rhaegar Targaryen believed that he was destined to be this, and tried to fulfill it by taking Lyanna Stark as a second wife. His actions would plunge the Seven Kingdoms into war, resulting in the destruction of the Targaryen dynasty.
  • In the Malazan Book of the Fallen, Clip introduces himself as the Mortal Sword of the Black-Winged Lord in Reaper's Gale, a status he claims has been sanctioned by the Wizards of the Andara. A rather ambiguous claim, considering the Black-Winged Lord denies his worshippers, never mind appointing anyone to anything. On the other hand, he is able to open gates into Darkness, something not even his god's brother, Silchas Ruin, is able to do anymore. Nonetheless, when it becomes obvious that nobody is buying his claim, he switches locations and proceeds to introduce himself as the Herald of Mother Dark to Nimander and his followers. It goes down roughly as well as his previous claim. Still, there's his ability to open gates, and Silchas Ruin himself asserts that Clip is the Mortal Sword of Darkness, neither confirming nor disproving Clip's claims entirely. He clearly has some affinity to Darkness, and possibly a role to play in the bigger picture, yet his constant, insistent claims of being The Chosen One come off as I Just Want to Be Special.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The "Slayer's Handbook" for the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG includes the "Slayer Poseur" template, which is basically a slayer wannabe.
  • Warhammer: Vilitch the Curseling's backstory starts like this. He was born far more frail and weak than his twin brother Thomin to the chieftain of a Norsca tribe, and while he was apprenticed to the tribe's shaman, Thomin was trained for battle, never missing an opportunity to beat and abuse his twin. Tzeentch heard Vilitch's prayers and fused the two together, with Vilitch casting spells and his brother's brain-dead body dicing up anything that gets too close.

    Video Games 
  • This is a Running Gag in The Bard's Tale, where the Bard will come across multiple young men who thought they were the Chosen One destined to save the land. More often than not they are already dead for their foolishness, or the Bard witnesses their demise.
  • During part of The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind's main quest, the Nerevarine visits the Cave of the Incarnate and speaks to the shades of several Dunmer who tried to be the Nerevarine in the past. They all died before they could fulfill the prophecy.
  • Kingdom Hearts: Riku in the first game declares that Sora isn't worthy to be the keyblade wielder. It looks like this is the case when he seems to take it from Sora but then it seems the keyblade was just giving Sora a Secret Test of Character and returned to Sora after he passed it. This is well before it turns out there are many keyblades, and Riku does become a keyblade master a few games later.
  • In the final "Hell" sequence in Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn, the shade of Sarevok is really pissed that he's not the one who gained the ability to turn into the Slayer (or something). "It should have been I! It should have been I! ATTACK ME, WORM, IF YOU DARE!" On the other hand, this is averted in Throne of Bhaal when he's resurrected and offers to join the player's party. He thought that he was the centre of the prophecy of Alaundo, but now that he knows he's not, he's willing to fight alongside the one who really is.

    Western Animation 
  • Emperor Zarkon from Voltron: Legendary Defender is an interesting example in that he used to actually be a legitimate Chosen One and is now trying to reclaim the title. Centuries ago, he was the Black Lion's paladin, until desperation to save his dying wife led to him exposing himself to the dimension quintessence comes from, corrupting him into the brutal God-Emperor he is now. Consequently, he's now unworthy of being a paladin and is desperately trying to take the Black Lion back and restore his former glory. He fails to see that the only thing his cruel actions are accomplishing is ensuring the Lion will never want to work with him again.
  • Fern from Adventure Time was a plant-based clone of Finn the Human born from the merging between the Finn-sword and the remains of his cursed grass-sword. He has all of Finn’s memories but lacks some of the more virtuous qualities that make Finn so beloved and heroic. After a while, he comes to realize that as long as Finn exists he will always be second best and tries imprisoning him and later tries killing him after he escapes.
  • In Trollhunters, after he finds out that Jim took the mantle of trollhunter instead of him after his father’s death, Draal does everything in his power to humiliate Jim. When Jim grows a pair and challenges him for a rematch, due to troll-kinds Honor Before Reason culture, Draal uses this as an excuse to kill Jim in hopes of taking the amulet himself. It is not until Jim spared his life does he realize that Jim was the honorable one and decides to help him instead.

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