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The Paragon

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Superman doesn't overshadow others; he inspires them to look up.
"They can be a great people, Kal-El; they wish to be. They only lack the light to show the way. For this reason above all, their capacity for good, I have sent them you… my only son."
Jor-El, Superman: The Movie

A character who lives to help others, but in a way that shows those people how to help themselves. This character does not believe in Holding Out for a Hero. A Paragon is The Hero. This character's ultimate goal is that one day, when the people need a hero, they can be the heroes themselves.

Lest this Aesop break in the telling (a person with superpowers telling Muggles how to live their lives?), the understanding Paragon will emphasize that each person must strive to goodness within their abilities.

A common form of this is a hero helping a town, and at the end, the people are inspired by this character's courage, and help fight off the Big Bad.

If The Paragon works under the Big Good and decides he could do a better job, beware The Paragon Always Rebels.

Values Dissonance can turn The Paragon into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold or a Designated Hero. Usually a Small Steps Hero, and justified that doing individual acts of kindness makes the world a better place overall.

As protagonists, paragons usually aren't written with much nuance and Character Development, but more than make up for it by inducing much character development in other characters, from their less paragon-y associates to (former) antagonists.

They are often the Invincible Hero, who are the only Hero Type capable of solving certain problems due to them being role models and having superior abilities.

See also: The Greater Scope Paragon, which is how they are depicted in some stories.

Usually are archetypes or straight examples of one of following types of Heroes: Ideal Hero, The Cape, Captain Patriotic, Fixer Sue, Inspirational Martyr, A Protagonist Shall Lead Them, The Paladin, The Real Heroes, The Ace, Following in Their Rescuer's Footsteps. Messiah Creep can make a character become this over time.

Compare The Redeemer. Contrast Anti-Role Model, Never Be a Hero, The Corrupter. See also Artifact of Hope.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Subverted with Griffith in Berserk. He's introduced as a very charismatic person and he seems to be a very good example of this in how he raises up the members of the Band of the Hawk. In particular, in his first meeting with Casca, he gave her a sword to kill her attempted rapist, and he helps transform Guts from a brute into a thoughtful soldier. However, he ultimately seems to only view others as pawns and in his epic Face–Heel Turn during the Eclipse, he betrays the people he previously motivated in the most horrific way possible.
  • Everyone around Asta in Black Clover can't help but follow his example and put 100% of every waking moment into becoming a better person. Most notably, he's this to all the Black Bulls, even his own captain Yami, who by following his example, went from being by far the worst Magic Knight squad in history into being the second most decorated in one year. He's even this to other squads, some of their captains, most of the enemies that try to fight him, and his own greatest rival Yuno, who all become much stronger and more heroic by trying to be just like him. Even Zora notes that Asta is the one closest to what he considers to be the ideal Magic Knight.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Touma Kamijou seems to have an unconscious gift for turning the people around him into heroes. Most people he defeats or saves eventually become inspired to do the right thing, using him as an example.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Kyojuro Rengoku the Flame Hashira is ultimately the example of what a brave, committed Demon Slayer really is, unabashedly a hero in a series with more grim or more comedic characters than him; after the Mugen Train several key points across following arcs are used to show how many fellow Hashira he has inspired in some way or form, even those stronger than Kyojuro commend how focused and successful he was in actually saving people than just scoring kills against demons, the latter which is something many slayers prioritize since they consider killing demons as saving others in retrospect anyway. Kyojuro expressed his heroics always in a way to show others it can be done too, never putting himself on a pedestal, his duty was to be a pathway to elevate others to his level and above to have as many demon slayers available to help others in need. It is no coincidence Tanjiro bonds with Kyojuro so easily and his presence lingers over Tanjiro's growth as a character through much of the series, the ideals of saving first moreso than killing demons and that the many can become stronger together are also shared by Tanjiro.
  • Ironically, Vegeta wants to invoke this towards the end of the Dragon Ball manga. When Goku suggests that Gotenks or Gohan could come and help them kill Buu, Vegeta tells him that it's now humanity's turn to shoulder some responsibility and has all humans share their energy with Goku so he can blast Buu with an enormous ki attack.
    • Also averted, as Goku attempts twice to do this — once with Gohan during the Cell Saga and again with Goten and Trunks during the Buu Saga — but both times fail as those Goku chooses just don't have the fighting drive he does. This is why he recruits Uub at the end.
    • Averted again with aforementioned ki attack. A majority of the human population don't even know who Goku is and don't know about any of his exploits despite him saving the world countless times, due to his efforts to keep a low profile. All they know is that some disembodied voice is asking them to give up their energy, and when they raise their hands and feel said energy draining away, naturally they get scared and assume said voice is malevolent. It's only when the Fake Ultimate Hero Hercule/Mr.Satan asks them to do it that they comply.
  • Fate/Zero: Rider gives a speech about this to Saber and Archer as they debate which of them was the greatest king. Saber defines true kingship as nobly sacrificing everything to protect one's subjects and accuses Rider of being merely a tyrant. Rider, though he admits she may be right, counters that Saber was never really a leader and ultimately a failure as a king, though Berserker would disagree with that assessment in his dying breaths. He explains to them that he pursued glory not just for its own sake but in order to inspire greatness in all those who followed him. He then dramatically ends the debate by revealing that his ultimate power is to summon the spirit of everyone to ever be inspired by him, an army of thousands of Heroic Spirits. By the end of the war, though he's ultimately killed by Archer, who proves to be mightier than even that army, Rider's friend Waver Velvet changes from a cowardly wimp to a true man thanks to his influence. In later works, it is revealed that Waver grew up to be a magic teacher who has a gift for bringing out his students' full magical potential, meaning he's become a paragon himself, though a grumpy one.
  • Nanoha Takamachi from the Lyrical Nanoha series is rarely the focus character in any of the shows named after her, but is almost always the catalyst of character development in antagonists and side characters whom she inspires to be better. She is perhaps best known for befriending several Anti-Villain characters, and showing them that there are better alternatives. In the third season and after, she becomes an instructor in magical combat, as she has come to the conclusion that the way she can help the most people is to pass on the skills and knowledge that she has acquired.
  • Medaka Kurokami from Medaka Box. Medaka denies it of course. Later, it is implied that she may have dropped her paragonic tendencies.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • All Might fits and explores this trope: He decided that the only way to make society better was to make them see something that they could believe in and hold on to. By the time of the story, he is revered far and wide as the Symbol of Peace, able to inspire people to become better with nothing but a smile. Unfortunately, not only has he inspired fanatics such as Stain, but after he's forced to retire due to finally expending his powers, it leads to a new era for supervillains and criminals to come crawling out of the woodworks and unite.
    • The fact that All Might saw this potential in Midoriya is precisely why he was chosen as his successor. Midoriya even chose the hero name "Deku" because it sounds like "you can do it" in Japanese. Some of his most prominent examples include inspiring All Might to act even when exhausted, Todoroki to deal with his father issues and visit his mother again, Endeavor to become The Atoner after realizing how all that he's done has hurt his family, Iida to put aside his revenge and focus on saving people, Kota to believe in heroes, Todoroki and Yoarashi to put aside their personal grudges to do what's right, Eri to see herself as a blessing and not a curse, Gentle Criminal to regain his wish to help people as a hero and Lady Nagant to remember her own idealism and belief in true heroes. While still a downplayed example because he's a rookie, he's already gotten plenty of his classmates to follow him, and Aizawa himself notes Midoriya is a large influence on his classmates. As of the Tartarus Escapees Arc, he's essentially the leader of the heroic resistance against All for One, who explicitly identifies Izuku as the main obstacle to his plans.
  • Yukino Yukinoshita from My Youth Romantic Comedy Is Wrong, as I Expected definitely fits. She founded the Service Club to help others and make better people out of them by facing their issues. While she's Brutally Honest and distrustful towards others, she's still the Big Good in the series, being also the one who conciles emotional understanding and logic.
  • The eponymous lead of Naruto seems to specialize in taking evil, psychotic, apathetic, or otherwise less-than-heroic characters and talking to them or beating them up until they decide to become heroes like Naruto. The only person who seems immune to it is Sasuke. Until the second to last chapter.
  • One Piece: The Revolutionary Army seem to follow that kind of philosophy. Rather than solving the problems of the people, they help and support people in a way so they can win their own battles.
  • In Sailor Moon, Minako/Sailor Venus initially takes this role in both the manga/Crystal and the live action:
    • In the manga and Crystal she hides the fact she's around and instead opts to teach the others through the Sailor V Game and give Usagi a pep-talk (also through the Sailor V Game) the moment she's feeling down, only entering the battle personally the moment there's no other choice. Even then, for a while she still tries to show the others how to act so they'll be better heroes.
      • The manga shows that she's still doing it with Sailor Moon, taking her out superheroing as her sidekick.
      • In the manga she tends to present to the other Guardians as an invincible role model and hide her many, many problems. This not only takes a toll on her sanity and ties her self-esteem to her role as a superhero, in the Dream Arc it leads Rei, Ami, and Makoto to take the Outers as role models because they see her as too good.
    • In the live action she enters the frame earlier but tends to teach more to the others, especially Rei, as a consequence of being terminally ill and not having the luxury to watch from afar, especially as she needs to train Rei as her successor.
  • Kamina from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, while widely recognized as a hero, mostly sought to bring out the heroism in other people. Having self-confidence rather than relying on a hero is actually a major theme in the series.
    • Ironically, he is also somewhat of a subversion. He did not believe in himself all that much. However, he did believe in Simon and recognized his potential far before anyone else have. Seeing Simon's potential was what gave Kamina the assurance of being so confident, which in turn, allowed Simon to be more confident and bring out both of his potential.
    • Indeed, it gets obvious that while Kamina was a paragon to both Simon and the whole Dai-Gurren Brigade, Simon was just as much of a paragon to Kamina, both relying on each other's support to be able to do good. Kamina's death later on was one of the main reasons Simon learned to become a true hero, stating that he still lives on in his heart. Kamina did, in fact, put up most of the show in front of Simon to inspire him to true heroism.
  • Hakuoro in Utawarerumono. His opposite number actually gets sort of pissed at him for teaching the people all sorts of things and rapidly advancing their civilization, the logic being that it will create more conflicts. Inventions shared: Agriculture, steel production, teaching people to lead their own countries, medicine, modern chemistry, etc. Note, shared. He teaches people to make these things for themselves.
  • Welcome to Demon School! Iruma-kun: Iruma Suzuki is a 14-year old boy sold by his shitty, lazy parents to an elder demon who wants to raise Iruma as his grandson. Iruma is a kind, selfless to the point of near-self injury as he was conditioned by his parents to never refuse requests asked of him. But this universal kindness and empathy for others are foreign things in the Demon World, where demons only have empathy for those they truly care about, after that their own well-being takes priority. As a result, he ends up changing those around him, first his two friends Asmodeus and Clara, and later others in his class of misfit demons, sequestered away from the general population of other first-years, into kindner, better versions of themselves. Asmodeus started the story as an arrogant, prideful young man who attacks Iruma for upstaging him at the entry ceremony. Clara is a hyperactive girl who overwhelms most anyone she meets and prior to Iruma, was used only for her magical ability to recreate anything she had seen before. Iruma helps them temper these negative qualities and refocus them into bettering themselves. Even when he is put into an Evil Cycle-like state,note , he isn't selfish or cruel. He looks at the horrible classroom his fellow misfits learn in and demands better accomedations, inspirining and pushing his classmates into attaining a classroom that had been sealed away for hundreds of years. Even when given augean task of collecting signatures from every faculty member in three days in order to claim it, he inspires his friends by stating, in the end, if they truly are misfits, it is fitting they have the most unique classroom of all.

  • Charity (Bouguereau): Implied. Charity embodies the eponymous Christian virtue. As such, she is meant to inspire the viewer and the children in her care that we ought to be selfless and always willing to help those who are powerless to help themselves.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 
  • Mr Fixit: Greg Veder, better known as the Unknown Parahuman, is famous throughout the parahuman community for his desire to help as many people as possible by attending every Endbringer battle since he triggerednote . He only ever does Search and Rescue, but he never stops until he physically collapses from hunger or exhaustion. Besides being as respected as the Triumverate by capes, every parahuman agrees: If the Unknown Parahuman comes to help, you're going to be just fine. Most notably, he's inspired at least one villain to become a heronote  and many more parahumans to aid in the aftermath of Endbringer battles, even if they don't attend the actual fight.
  • Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!: Izuku Midoriya, being the equivalent of Superman in this story, is obviously destined to become this. During the entry exam, the teachers watching comment on how his urge to help other people quickly becomes contagious and inspires the other students to do the same.
    Principal Nedzu: Midoriya-kun was the first one to make a habit of protecting people. In this society, good deeds like that become infectious when performed by someone who knows what they're doing, so from watching him, people started to think 'If someone as strong as him thinks that this is more important, then I should do it, too!' They start following his example, and they, in turn, inspire more people to protect their fellow man. Then those people inspire more people to inspire more people to inspire more people-well, you get where I'm going with this.
  • Deconstructed in A Rabbit Among Wolves. Jaune manages to reform the Vale branch of the White Fang into more of a freedom fighting organization, and becomes beloved across Vale's faunus. However, while he is a genuinely decent guy, he has no real interest in the cause of Faunus: because he accidentally killed Adam Taurus, he was forced to join the Fang and reform them to prove to society he wasn't a monster. To his frustration, each success just leads him to be irrevocably tied to his movement, to the point where if he were to quit, the White Fang could slip back into its old violent ways
  • The White Wolf of Westeros: Geralt is a simple man with simple morals given his background and history. He'd never think of himself as a paragon. But just by being himself, he pushes others to be better, stronger and more driven to do good rather than just what's easy. As O'Dimm points out, just by being there has saved lives, altered destinies, and ensured honorable men could continue the good fight.
  • The protagonist of With This Ring tries hard to be this. Despite having the knowledge, personal power, and freedom to dramatically uplift humanity into the space age, he really wants humanity to develop its own technologies and social structures that they can replicate and maintain without him. It's a slow process, but he has succeeded in a few things, such as getting Captain Cold's ice guns and Baroness von Gunther's purple healing ray into the hands of industry leaders capable of studying and mass-producing them.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In both the The Dark Knight Trilogy and Superman movies, this is the heroes' goal. (Although in The Dark Knight, Bruce expresses disapproval of the groups of men who dress like Batman in groups, A. because they often get hurt or killed, and B. because they use guns.)
  • Gleahan and the Knaves of Industry: Zig-Zagged. Gleahan acts as a Decon-Recon Switch, rushing into things that he knows are right and by doing so getting himself into danger. However, once everyone (especially Mark) is on the same page as him, they're generally on board with his quest. However however, toward the end Gleahan gets pretty ruthless as he carries out the final stages of his quest.
  • Kick-Ass is a straight example, his "Reason You Suck" Speech going viral on YouTube and ending up ultimately being responsible for the rise in costumed vigilantism and costumed villainy.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America is of course this. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he gets on the PA system to inform SHIELD that the organization has been corrupted by HYDRA from the very start and call them to action.
      Computer Tech: ...I'm sorry, sir. I'm not gonna launch those ships. Captain's orders.
      Rumlow: [draws gun] Move away from your station!
      Agent 13: [as she and everyone else draw their guns] Like he said, Captain's orders.
    • However, this video from Overly Sarcastic Productions argues that Captain America in Captain America: Civil War is a deconstruction as the ones on his side are following him because he's "Captain goddamn America", but the ones on the opposite side are opposing him because he's "Captain goddamn America" and thus realize there's no point trying to convince or persuade him otherwise because they're certain he believes he's doing the right thing, and thus their only point of action is trying to stop him using brute force.
    • From Avengers: Age of Ultron, we have The Vision. Born to be Ultron's ultimate body, he nevertheless remained calm after his awakening, and explained that he is not the Avengers' enemies. They were right to distrust him at first, but he instantly gained their trust by casually handing Mjölnir to Thor.
  • Spider-Man Trilogy: Though he doesn't set out with this as a goal, Spider-Man tends to succeed at this at least Once Per Movie, typically with nearby New Yorkers not known for their friendliness working together to save his life or even fending off some rather nasty villains.

  • The Dresden Files:
    • Harry Dresden develops into this. Starting off the series as a loner who is one of the strongest wizards in his generation, as he does many more great, awesome, and necessary things to protect those who are his friends and allies, he gains a reputation among the younger generation of wizards and those with magical talent who don't have strength enough to be permitted into the White Council. Harry fights for the little guy. He fights for the single person against the darkest of odds and gravest of consequences. In the third book, Grave Peril, when it came to a choice to sacrifice the life of the woman he loves to stop a war from starting against vampires, he chose to save the woman he loves. After some vampires kill weak magical practitioners, driving them to commit suicide, he personally challenges the murderers in the court of vampires, and then establishes a group to train the weak magical users so they can band together and protect each other if a warden of the White Council is delayed from coming to help them. The young wardens of the White Council look up to him and respect him deeply.
    • Michael Carpenter, modern-day Knight in Shining Armor has elements of this. He lives his life humbly, but always strives to do the right and good thing. He takes his mission to save, not vanquish but rather save and redeem, the mortal hosts of thirty fallen angels seriously. If one surrenders to him and gives up the coin, even if it smells like an I Surrender, Suckers ploy, Michael will stop his assault and accept the surrender. In the fifteenth book, Michael even offers Nicodemus Archleone a sincere chance to repent. For reference, Nicodemus is a self-admitted sociopath and unrepentant villain, responsible for countless amounts of pain, death, and destruction for 2,000 years. And Michael sincerely offers him a second chance and calls him "brother." Whenever Harry needs moral support or advice, Michael is always the first one he turns to. Whether it's a gentle What the Hell, Hero? or an inspiring Patrick Stewart Speech, Michael always knows what to say to help Harry out of a funk.
      • However, this trope is deconstructed in that, because he's such a great guy, characters will keep secrets from him because they can't bear his disappointment. Never mind that he would always forgive them.
      • In Skin Game, the Archangel Uriel willingly grants his Grace to Michael Carpenter, knowing that if he is attacked in the meantime, he can die, and if Michael misuses his power, Uriel will Fall. Simply to save the souls of Nicodemus's Mooks. Michael manages to get through a heist with four Fallen Angels and their wielders, two mercenaries who will do almost anything for money, and the guy who advertises himself as "Goodman Grey, Monster for Hire" (he's actually on the side of good, but Michael didn't know that) and returns with Uriel's Grace untainted.
  • The Virgin Mary saves souls in The Divine Comedy not by forcing them to be good, but by showing them her paradisiacal happiness and her mastery of the Seven Heavenly Virtues. In this work, Mary is presented by art throughout Purgatory as the cure for the Seven Deadly Sins and Mary herself allows Dante to travel through Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise so he understand the importance of accepting God's love.
  • Doc Thunder in Al Ewing's Gods of Manhattan is America's Greatest Hero, a super-strong, super-smart, super-kind champion that's half Golden Age Superman, half Doc Savage, who's protected New York City for over half a century specifically with the intention of being a role model to others. Justified in that he has very good reasons for hating fascism, and by extension its belief that humanity is a witless, amoral herd to be ruled by strength without mercy. Not to mention he's in a bisexual polyamorous relationship, meaning he and his closest loved ones would have no place under such a society. Plus, an inspired, well-intentioned citizenry actively makes his job easier, such as at the end of the book where he gets them to clear out of Grand Central Station in advance of a battle and go around the city warning others to stay away.
  • In the H.I.V.E. Series, HIVEmind grows to fill this role, eventually sacrificing himself so that Otto can kill Overlord and get home safely.
    H.I.V.E.mind: You are as strong as you wish to be.
  • The Istari in The Lord of the Rings were meant to be Paragons: "It was afterwards said that they came out of the far West and were messengers sent to contest the power of Sauron, and to unite all those who had the will to resist him; but they were forbidden to match his power with power, or to seek to dominate Elves or Men by force and fear." In the end, only Gandalf truly fulfilled this role. However, letters Tolkien wrote towards the end of his life claim the two Blue Wizards were stirring up rebellions against Sauron in the East, which prevented his forces outnumbering those fighting him. And other notes of Tolkien imply Radagast was sent to protect the nature of Middle-Earth.
  • Superman in The Reckoners Trilogy. Note that Superman doesn't actually exist in this universe. But in a world where every superhuman is, without exception, a sociopathic mass-murderer, some people still carry around his S symbol under the firm belief that some day, heroes will come. It's the closest thing to a religion left.
    • In Mitosis, the short story that takes between the first and second books, David Charleston and the rest of the Reckoners become this for the people of Newcago. He's in a tough spot near the end, but the regular people band together and start to use the titular villain's Weaksauce Weakness against him.
  • Many of Tamora Pierce's Tortall heroines are this, particularly Alanna from Song of the Lioness. She even says in the third book, Woman Who Rides Like A Man, something to the effect of "If I waited for things to change, they never would have," as an explanation for why people should work for change. Her success inspires numerous girls in and out of Tortall, and her Badass Normal successor Keladry from Protector of the Small inspires even more.
  • Wedge Antilles is this for Star Wars Legends. If he disobeys orders from his superiors, you can take it for granted that these superiors were wrong, either morally or militarily (or both). If he resigns his commission to go after an enemy that the New Republic won't allow him to, you can trust that the enemy needed to be taken out. If there's a war on, he will pick the right side (though not necessarily start out there) even if it means creating the right side himself. To top it all, he's A Father to His Men, loyal to a fault to his friends, a devoted family man, and dedicated to the principles of the Rebellion and New Republic (sometimes more than they are themselves). It's hard to find a more consistent moral anchor in the Star Wars universe.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Doctor of Doctor Who is this. Beings from across time and space look up to and admire the Doctor as a hero, and countless people have become heroes because of his influence, whether being a Small Steps Hero or stepping up to defend their world. In one story, River Song broadcasts a message saying that the Doctor needs help, and a million, million responses come back offering their support.
  • Game of Thrones: Ned Stark's memory serves as this to many characters even after his death, lasting well into Season 4. All his children in various ways try to live up to his teachings and example, while the North thoroughly adores him. Even the Lords of the Vale, who knew him as a young man when he fostered with Jon Arryn, know him well. Even Jaime Lannister, who did not get along with him at all, resolves to try and redeem his honor by tasking Brienne with safeguarding Ned Stark's daughter Sansa with "Oathkeeper", a sword Tywin re-purposed from "Ice":
    Jaime: You'll be protecting Ned Stark's daughter with his own sword.
  • In the Grand Finale of Lucifer (2016) the title character becomes this by choosing to return to Hell and help damned souls deal with their sins so they can be worthy of going to Heaven.
  • In Once Upon a Time, Emma's dubious about Henry calling her The Chosen One, but she is racking up an impressive record inspiring the cowed townsfolk into standing up for themselves and making their own "happy endings."
  • In The Twilight Zone (2002) episode "Azoth the Avenger Is a Friend of Mine", the hero Azoth the Avenger encourages a boy to be brave enough to stand up to his abusive father, instead of relying on him to solve all his problems.
  • In The X-Files, the sinister group of shady conspiracies called "the Syndicate" views Fox Mulder as the Paragon of an ever-growing movement of conspiracy theorists-slash-whistleblowers (whose members also include characters like Max Fenig and The Lone Gunmen). In fact, the main reason why they don't just shoot Mulder is the fear a dead paragon would become an Inspirational Martyr to rally all the Tinfoil Hat-wearing nutjobs to start digging everywhere and eventually to discover their existence. Ironically, Mulder himself is hardly aware of this special status until well into the series.

  • The other swordswoman from Heather Dale's song, "One of Us".
  • Eminem's persona (as the "Eminem" character in the rapper's triune of alter-egos) edged towards this starting from The Eminem Show with songs like "Sing For The Moment" and "Stimulate" in which he positioned himself as the voice of the struggling youth giving them the strength to survive, before blossoming into it in The New '10s with songs like "Not Afraid" and "Guts Over Fear" in which he asked any of his fans going though a hard time to use the compassion they feel for him to give themselves the strength to deal with their own problems.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • The three main Abrahamic Faiths, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, have great prophets (or the literal son of God in Christianity's case) that are seen as examples of faith, piety and morality that all the faithful should strive to emulate.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, The Unconquered Sun functions as the Paragon of all Virtues, and exists as an ideal for all other beings to strive towards. Interestingly, his creation as The Paragon was intended by the Dragon's Shadow as an instrument of evil; his ultimate Virtue allowed the Dragon's ultimate evil to have something to define itself against, and his endeavors for people to emulate him gave the Dragon the opportunity to be against lots of people at once. This didn't work out well for the Dragon.
  • Anyone reaching and holding Humanity value of 10 in the Old World of Darkness setting by default is this, as their sin threshold is 'selfish thoughts'.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: While all of the titular Hopeful can fit this trope, it specifically describes the Graces. Their Calling is to serve as leaders and exemplars, and they replenish their Wisps by convincing others to act on virtuous impulses.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse has local Superman Expy and all around boy scout Legacy. Many of his cards are about buffing his fellow heroes with his sheer inspirational Paragon-ness.
  • Even Warhammer 40,000 has one in Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels. Though his brother Horus was put in command of all the Imperium's forces, as Horus lay dying, he remarked "Sanguinius. It should have been him. He has the vision and strength to carry us to victory, and the wisdom to rule once victory is won. For all his aloof coolness, he alone has the Emperor's soul in his blood. Each of us carries part of our father within us, whether it is his hunger for battle, his psychic talent or his determination to succeed. Sanguinius holds it all. It should have been his."

    Video Games 
  • Depending on the ending, you turn out to be this kind of guy in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal. In the good ending, it is specifically mentioned that you'll end up spawning a host of imitators.
  • Garlot (Gulcasa)'s usual messianic behavior verges on this at certain points of Blaze Union, especially when the mission of the day involves lecturing some sense into the local townspeople (as in the battlefield "Waves in the Grain") or a despairing teammate. This is a kind of inverse Cerebus RetconYggdra Union demonstrates that all of his allies and the citizens he winds up ruling are all willing to follow his example and take up arms for him and Bronquia in times of need in the most depressing way possible; Blaze Union is just going back to explain how this came about.
  • Makoto Naegi in the Danganronpa series. Putting aside his intelligence, insane willpower and speech-making abilities, he's extremely good at bringing allies over to his side by understanding the things that make them tick through simple listening, by allowing himself to be relied on and unpretentiously helping people move past their pain and insecurity and instead towards a hope-filled path. It's for these reasons that by the end of the first game he's earned the title of "Ultimate Hope".
  • In Dragon Age, Dwarves that distinguish themselves with truly awesome deeds and/or inventions are literally called Paragons. Revered as "Living Ancestors" (the Dwarves worship their ancestors instead of gods and regard Paragons as such whether or not they are actually dead), the Paragons are meant to serve as examples for Dwarven society to follow. The most recent Paragon Branka, for example, earned her status by inventing smokeless fuel which burned hotter and cleaner, simultaneously boosting production and reducing things like black lung. The Paragon Caridin earned his rank by building the Anvil of the Void, the key to creating Golems. The Paragon Aeducan made the hard call of cutting off Orzammar from the rest of the Deep Roads when the First Blight threatened annihilation while all the Deshyrs argued over whose thaigs to save. To gain the allegiance of the Dwarves, you have to get one of these Paragons to help you settle the Succession Crisis over Orzammar's throne. At the end of the game provided you are playing as a Dwarf and didn't sacrifice yourself to slay the Archdemon, you become a Paragon. If you sacrificed yourself, you become a Paragon posthumously.
  • Though he does not talk much in Dissidia Final Fantasy, The Warrior of Light is this to the other warriors. It's even the name of his fighting style.
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening, Emmeryn fulfills this role when she throws herself off the cliff in Chapter 9, inspiring much of the Plegian army to desert from King Gangrel's plan to destroy Ylisse.
    • Another example would be the ancient Hero King Marth, enough so that one thousand years since his original adventures, his name was able to inspire the shattered remnants of humanity in the Bad Future that Lucina and company came from.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses has Professor Byleth Eisner, aka the player character. Due to the games multiple routes, we are able to see how Byleth is able to inspire whichever of the titular Three Houses they choose to teach. This is especially apparent in the Blue Lions route post Time Skip, as Byleth spends most of the route pulling Dimitri from his suicidal depression and helping him become a Hero King of the United Fodlan.
  • The Guild Wars expansion, Nightfall, adds the Paragon profession- more often than not, the Paragon is used less for the martial skills and more for their party-wide buffs, so it could be argued that the Paragon uses his speech to inspire his allies to be the best they can be.
  • Link in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword is called such by the Greater-Scope Villain in the final battle. He certainly inspired Groose's better nature.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Commander Shepard can fit this trope depending on some choices made. Actions and dialogue choices include as much you resolving the situation as prompting others to get out and make a difference on their own. News reports after particular Paragon events often report how your influence has inspired those you met to do the right thing. Other examples include Captain Anderson and (for a krogan) Urdnot Wrex.
    • Wrex is noteworthy in that he had attempted to be a Paragon long in the past, but gave up. He tried to guide his people towards a path of rebuilding and reclaiming their world, but his own father tried to kill him for it. If he lives through the first game, Shepard's paragon-ism inspires him to try again. Wrex establishes himself as a progressive clan leader with immense influence over the other clans. Notably, this was due to Shepard's example restoring his hope in making another attempt to save his people. If Shepard honestly assists him in the third game, Wrex (along with Bakara) become the paragon leaders for all the krogan and are on the path to leading the species into a new golden age.
    • It's worth noting that the game's morality system literally refers to this particular style of action as "Paragon". (Actions taken from a less idealistic mindset are called "Renegade".)
    • Every Pathfinder in Mass Effect: Andromeda is urged to become this, to set an example with a first step that the rest of the Initiative will follow. It's even truer for Ryder considering they are the only ones establishing colonies and first contacts, and if none of the original made it, the new Pathfinders will learned as they go... the way Ryder did before them.
  • Deconstructed in Metal Gear. The Boss' ideas for the world are grossly misinterpreted by her successor, resulting in conflict that led to the dawn of War Economy.
  • Amaterasu of Ōkami. She, as the Matron God of Nippon, can bestow all sorts of blessings upon the world, such as slicing obstacles in half (up to and including boulders blocking roads) and revitalizing dead flora. Very often, she (and by extension, the player) employs her powers in a way that makes it look as though the ones actually achieving her feats are mortals, in order to give them the initiative and confidence to keep striving for the greater good of the land and to praise the gods. This does backfire at least once, namely with Susano, a rather incompetent warrior that misinterprets Amaterasu's help as mockery from the Gods for his laziness and uneffectiveness
  • Persona: The player protagonists in Persona 3, Persona 4, and Persona 5 are these, to the point where the entire Social Link/Confidant system revolves around them serving as a guide for their friends and allies.
  • Vyse, The Hero from Skies of Arcadia, fits this trope so well that he may as well just marry it. He pretty much convinces everyone in the entire world to fight against Lord Galcian and Valua by the end of the game. Seriously, Gondor Calls for Aid taken to it's greatest extreme, and he doesn't really "call" as much as "everyone turns up and asks if they can help out".
  • Hamil in Tears to Tiara 2. His Aura plan is to revive all lost and suppressed knowledge and share and spread them far and wide. His empire will be peaceful and rich not by loot, conquest, and military force, but by abundance in agriculture, industry, and trade.
  • In Tin Star (Choice of Games), in the epilogue, your actions and personal Karma Meter will influence the character and actions of the people you met during your time in Lander County. This means if you consistently acted with honor, upheld the law and maintained public order, people around you will take the lesson to heart; you can even get a character canonized as a saint for their virtues.
  • The Avatar in the Ultima games. Becoming the paragon of the Eight Virtues is explicitly the plot of Ultima IV.
  • The Prophet/Medivh in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. His entire goal was to help the Horde, Alliance, and night elves stand against the Burning Legion without needing the aid of a Guardian.
    • In the manual, it also says the tauren are trying to provide an example for the no-longer demon-possessed orcs, so as to avoid their falling back into corruption.
    • Though since the world is ending around them and yet the Horde and Alliance are fighting more than ever, it becomes a little odd that the Prophet hasn't shown up again to knock some sense into them.
  • Turning the main character into this is the end goal in Zettai Hero Project. Starting off as a spineless bystander, he ends up helping the people help themselves and inspiring the entire world into not giving up hope against the Final Boss. As an aside note, he was actually a Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass BEFORE he got the belt, having protected his little sister at the age of 8 by being a meat shield from a cannibal/rapist/killer. The only reason he seems spineless is because of a HORRIBLE home life that basically snuffed his Heroic Spirit down to a tiny ember.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Ruby inspires others with her optimistic idealism and refusal to succumb to despair and pain. Blake calls her the embodiment of purity, and tells Ruby that she has rekindled Blake's lost faith in fighting for a better world. Ruby's belief that leaders must not fail their teams inspires Jaune to stand up to Cardin's bullying; her self-recrimination over Qrow's life-threatening injuries and danger she's dragged her friends into prompts Jaune to reveal they're inspired by her courage. This is deconstructed, though - Professor Ozpin privately discusses with Oscar how possessing a remarkable, unquantifiable ability to inspire others even in the darkest times is a terrible burden to carry and the Atlas Arc explores what this burden is doing to her internally. Her total failure to save Penny and protect the relics at the end of Volume 8 pushes her to her limit, and Volume 9 being a nonstop Trauma Conga Line finally pushes her past the Despair Event Horizon. She ultimately reconstructs this after a talk with the Blacksmith and examining a memory of her mother, realizing she doesn't have to be perfect to inspire others.

  • The Gods of Arr-Kelaan: Mike. When the passengers from the Traveler woke up, Mike come to the conclusion that he was a superhero. He gave that up when he realized that he was causing Holding Out for a Hero and set up an order of paladins.
  • I Don't Want This Kind of Hero: Young Jeong is a dark example. She tries to inspire Naga to be more devoted to being a hero... and reacts badly when she realizes he's content as he is now, because as far as she's concerned, he should be like her and abandon his entire humanity so that he can focus solely on being the perfect hero. It's evident that she's shoving her own ideals onto others without any regard for their actual desires.
  • In Jupiter-Men, Jupiter-Man is Jupiter City's first-ever superhero and a force for good who defended Prime from extradimensional threats while also finding time to stop mundane crime. Nathan's and Quintin's impressions of Jupiter-Man characterize the man as kind and altruistic, the type of person who wouldn't abandon people when they needed him. This is also deconstructed, as Daejung's example inspires Quintin to try and follow in his footsteps, only for it to backfire spectacularly as Quintin has neither the experience, the breadth of powers, or the resources to be an effective Triple Shifter.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Durkon's mother Sigdi. Throughout her life, she's been shown to be a kind, honorable and selfless individual. Even through she was retired and crippled with one arm, she managed to save another dwarf from falling to his death. And when five miners she doesn't even know turn up dead after a tragic mining accident with no family to claim their bodies, she volunteers a large treasure given to her by her squad in order to raise them from the dead and spare them the Fate Worse than Death of serving in Hel's domain, becoming True Companions in the process.
    • O-Chul, one of the paladins of the Sapphire Guard. The fact that he is able to survive being tortured for weeks inspires prisoners to stay strong instead of giving up. In the prequel book "How the Paladin Got His Scar," he is able to stop a massive race war basically just by being polite to everyone he meets, and letting an insane paladin beat him up while he gives a speech.
      O-Chul: A lot of people are going to get hurt tomorrow. All we can do is stand in the way of that and say, "Not them. Me. If you need to hurt someone, hurt me."

    Western Animation 
  • The first episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold has Blue Beetle become this for a race of aliens, who have been rescued by other Beetles in the past but always find themselves under someone's thumb the instant their hero leaves.
  • Legend of Korra: Korra's actions over the course of the series have inspired her teammates and other allies to follow her example of making the world a better place. This came across strongly by the end of Book 3: Korra is severely injured after fighting Zaheer, but Tenzin is inspired to have the new Air Nation follow her example. In the years that followed, people came to see that the Avatar is more than just a hero—she is an ideal, inspiring other heroes to come out of the woodwork, some good, and some bad in the case of Kuvira.
  • Princess Cadance does this for the Crystal Ponies in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, who were too thoroughly broken by King Sombra's tyranny to resist him. After recovering the crystal heart, she offers it to them and rallies them to use it's power to defeat Sombra once and for all.
    Princess Cadance: The crystal heart has returned! Use the light and love within you to ensure that King Sombra does not!
  • Steven Universe has Rose Quartz, who led the rebellion against the Homeworld to save the Earth. In regards to her followers, she helped Pearl, a member of a Servant Race, to become more than just what she was meant to be. "The Answer" reveals that she was also this to Garnet: she gave Ruby and Sapphire a place to be themselves as a fusion and also accepted their fusion, stating that how they felt was more important than how she felt about it. This though borders deconstruction later, when it's revealed that she was this just for her fellow Gems. Up until she met Greg, she thought of humans the way we think of puppies.

    Real Life 
  • Exceptional teachers can instill a thirst for knowledge in their students, which can lead them to succeed in their endeavors.
    • Martial Arts teachers, which aren't McDojo teachers, especially for Eastern Martial Arts, make it a point to also teach values to their students, as well as harden their bodies and teach them self defense. One of the points of Eastern Martial Arts, especially Kung Fu, is to reach a human's maximum potential, after all.
  • Good Parents act like this to raise good, moral children, assuming the child isn't born with the wrong kind of mindset for this.


Video Example(s):


Cham Syndulla

Due to his leadership skills as leader of the Free Ryloth Movement that fought against the tyranny of the Separatists during The Clone Wars, the Twi'Leks view him as a more of a leader than Ryloths' Senator Orn Free Taa.

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Main / TheParagon

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