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Threatening Mediator

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"You have two options. Wait until I leave and try to murder Abigail ... but then I'll come back. I'll slay every lice-ridden peasant, anything that moves and can't climb a tree. Or you can try to live honorable lives, clear your conscience, and start again. The choice is yours."
Geralt of Rivia, The Witcher

This trope is when a character threatens other characters to get along with each other (the conflicting characters can be either friends, allies, or siblings). This is to prove that resolving the conflict between the characters in a peaceful manner isn't going to work for the mediator, and that playing the role of the Dark Shepherd will.

The conflicting characters will eventually realize that the mediator means it in carrying out his threat and they quickly reconcile. Sometimes, this trope can work too easily when the quarreling characters put aside their differences by teaming up against him.

Characters who play this trope are usually authority figures, particularly a parent who can resolve the fighting between their children with their warnings of punishments. Expect the Team Dad to use this trope on his teammates when they quarrel. It could be one tactic of a Third-Party Peacekeeper. Pretty much Truth in Television.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • "Gothouther-sama" does this for the hosts of Lucky Channel in episode 23 of Lucky Star after Shiraishi had destroyed the set in a fit of Unstoppable Rage the previous episode.
  • One Piece:
    • Near the closing of the Marineford War, Shanks and his Red Hair Pirates show up in Marineford and then threaten the Whitebeard Pirates and the Marines into ending their battle, declaring that anyone who still wants to fight will have to fight against his side. And then the war promptly stops, with Shanks taking Whitebeard and Ace's corpses to be given a proper burial. It works because while the Marines won the war against Whitebeard, they certainly did not come out unscathed and were in no position to immediately fight another Emperor-caliber crew, especially since the surviving Whitebeard Pirates would've joined the fight instead of fleeing in this scenario. And Fleet Admiral Sengoku is well aware of this.
    • Shanks does it again at the end of the Wano Country arc, where he pins down Admiral Ryokugyu using nothing but his Conqueror's haki from all the way outside of Wano's borders, and asks him if the Worst Generation scares him so bad that he would try to kill them while they're still recuperating from the Onigashima War. Ryokugyu wisely decides to leave Wano at once.
  • Pok√©mon: The Series:
    • Ash's Bulbasaur is sent to Professor Oak's lab while several Pokémon are busy fighting each other. Bulbasaur quickly finds that a good Solar Beam attack is an effective way to establish a truce.
    • When Corphish and Torchic have a big fight with each other and fire Bubble Beam and Ember indiscriminately in every direction, the others try to stop them peacefully, but with no avail. Grovyle, who's chilling on a tree the entire time, finally takes notice of it when he's disturbed by the commotion, and he quickly ends the fight by splitting the ground with Leaf Blade and scares them to stop.

    Comic Books 
  • The Authority has been known to end various border disputes by parking the Carrier in disputed airspace and threatening to annihilate both sides.
  • In Rising Stars, Poet travels to Jerusalem to intervene after learning that fellow Special Laurel Darkhaven, whose telekinetic abilities caused her to get snatched up by the government to serve as an assassin, has grown so disgusted with the region's constant warfare that she's plotting to use her powers to blow up the Dome of the Rock and the Wailing Wall.
    "If the children won't play nice with their toys, you take them away."

    Fan Works 
  • A Case Study in the Sturdiness of the Rookie 9: Faced with the boisterous Naruto and Kiba as two of his students, Asuma decides to deal with their bickering by having Ino repeatedly use her clan's mind-hopping jutsus to keep them in line. This works for a while, as both boys grow absolutely terrified of her... but eventually comes back to haunt them, as that fear leads to Kiba having a Moment of Weakness that lets Orochimaru's Cursed Seal take root in his body, because he's just that desperate to get away from Ino.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: A variation when the Wolf interrupts the scene in the series where Jon protests Grey Worm executing Lannister prisoners, just as they're about to fight (as they loathe him more than each other, but he's simply too dangerous for them to handle). The Wolf starts executing the prisoners himself, but in so needlessly brutal a fashion that Grey Worm ends up calling off the slaughter out of disgust.
  • Peace Forged in Fire:
    • A Klingon Obstructive Bureaucrat refuses to clear Praetor Velal of the Romulan Star Empire to enter orbit over Khitomer because he won't tell him what the Romulans are doing there. Morgan t'Thavrau, one of Velal's opposite numbers from the Romulan Republic, threatens to get the Klingon High Council involved unless Khitomer Control complies.
    • Velal tries to leave the talks after the faked Republic attack on an Imperial ship. Jaleh Khoroushi's response is to fire her phaser into the air and scream at him to sit down so he'll stay put long enough for her to look at the evidence.

    Film — Animated 
  • Played for Laughs in the first Ice Age film. One brief scene with the traveling "herd" is suggestive of a family on a long and boring car trip, with Sid and Roshan as the kids starting a fight in the backseat and Manny as the annoyed father with the classic retort of "I don't care who started it, I'll finish it!"

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In Angel and the Badman, the Quaker settlement had built a community dam to provide irrigation water, but the family whose property it was located on went bankrupt and sold it to rancher Frederick Carson, who refused to continue supplying water. The Quakers prayed for Carson, but Quirt Evans' solution is to ride over to Carson's ranch and use veiled threats, backed up by his notoriety as a gunslinger, to talk Carson down. He then brings Carson over to meet the Worths and they hit it off, with Mrs. Worth even treating a nasty boil on Carson's neck.

  • The Belgariad:
    • In the prequel Polgara the Sorceress, Polgara endeavors to end the absurdly-long-running Arendish Civil War. This proves to be incredibly difficult, and at one point, she resorts to threatening to destroy all three warring factions and install herself as the "Empress of Arendia" if they don't behave.
    • Garion bullies two armies into putting down their weapons early in The Malloreon. And then he bullies the two leaders into accepting his compromise to end their conflict.
  • Matthew Swift: London has many opposing faction that Matthew has to deal with. Good doesn't equal nice in his case, so his efforts can very easily slide towards stop or I'll burn you until nothing but a shadow on the wall remains.
  • Rihannsu:
    • In The Romulan Way, Arrhae deals with two lower-ranked servants who are at odds over their son and daughter being in a relationship by threatening to sell both children to another house halfway across the planet.
    • In Honor Blade, the neutral Lalairu agree to host a diplomatic summit between the Federation and the Romulan Empire aboard their city-ship Mascrar. The Lalairu are militant about maintaining their reputation as neutral intermediaries and threaten to destroy any ship that disrupts the negotiations regardless of affiliation, to which both sides agree. They carry out the threat when the Romulans attack the Federation-allied Romulan ship ChR Bloodwing, joining with the Starfleet ships to rout the enemy vessels.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On The Blacklist, the Courier facilitates negotiations between parties with a very simple rule: if either party in a negotiation tries to screw the other one over, he kills both of them.
  • In the series finale of Farscape , Crichton threatens to destroy EVERYONE if the Peacekeepers and Scarrans refuse to make peace.
  • In one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will and Carlton were bickering because the girl Will likes kisses Carlton in front of him. Philip tells the two that they either settle their differences or he will do it himself.
  • A Running Gag on Kaamelott is Arthur trying to mediate conflicts in a more enlightened, nonviolent way, and still having to fall back on violent methods (that don't work out anyway). His father-in-law Léodagan vocally disapproves of such wishy-washy methods, suggesting sending all parties involved to the galleys/the chopping block (while they're still standing there).
    • The main people responsible are Guethenoc and Roparzh, a pair of peasants who loathe each other and are constantly dragging each other in front of Arthur for some minor complaint (when they aren't poisoning each other's livestock or insulting each others' lack of ability in the agriculutral domain).

  • The title character in Annie makes her entrance this way, breaking up a fight between the other orphans by threatening them with her fists. This effectively establishes both her scrappy toughness and her status as the Team Mom of the orphanage.
  • In Oklahoma!, when the number "The Farmer and the Cowman" breaks up into a feud between the two groups, Aunt Eller intervenes and holds the ensemble at gunpoint to finish the number through to the Aesop.
  • The Prince of Verona catches Tybalt and Benvolio among others talking trash with unsheathed swords in the public square in Act I Scene i of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. The Prince commands them to stand down, then warns all combatants that any more swordplay in public will result in loss of titles, demoting them to peasants; it's super effective.

    Video Games 
  • In Elsword, whenever Elsword and Aisha start to butt heads with each other, Rena, who's usually nice, becomes so angry at the two that they're reduced into cowering in terror.
  • This is actually the general Renegade approach to solving third-party conflicts in the Mass Effect series:
    • In Mass Effect 2, the Renegade resolution to post-Loyalty Mission clashes between teammates is basically browbeating them into cooperation in the face of the upcoming Suicide Mission.
    • In the Renegade Golden Path ending of the Geth-Quarian War in Mass Effect 3, Renegade Shepard threatens the quarians that if they don't cut it out and stop attacking the geth, s/he's not going to pull their asses out of the fire this time because s/he's sick of their stupidity. Contrast with Paragon Shepard, who is reduced to begging them to stop.
  • TIE Fighter: The second battle, the Sepan Civil War, starts this way, with the Imperial battle group the player is part of being sent to forcefully end the civil war in the system between the Dimok and Ripoblus. This eventually ends with both sides declaring war on the Empire, only to end up losing and having their system pacified anyway - a sort of Mediation Backfire - backfire.
  • The Witcher: In Act I, siding with Hot Witch Abigail against the peasants who want to Burn the Witch! results in Geralt threatening to come back and slaughter the whole village if they kill her after he leaves.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, a confrontation between a possessed Kiyotaka Ishimaru and Hifumi Yamada that is clearly about to come to blows is stopped cold by a single glare from Sakura Oogami. Clearly, both teacher's pets and hopeless otakus know not to get on the wrong side of the Ultimate Martial Artist. Unfortunately, that only works while she's awake and around, as is fatally found out later.

  • In Girl Genius, Baron Wulfenbach imposes this on the entirety of Europa with his Pax Transylvania, the motto of which translates as "Don't make me come over there."

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad! has an episode where Stan and Hayley's bickering causes Francine to take this role and demand that they spend time together pleasantly or so help her, she will cut their pretty faces.
  • The Al Brodax Popeye cartoon "Popeye's Travels" is obviously based on Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels." During the battle between Lilliput and Blefuscu, Popeye captures Blefuscu's king. When the king of Lilliput starts celebrating, Popeye angrily grabs him, too:
    Popeye: Nobody wins. And I'm gonna steps on both of ya if ya don't shakes hands and makes peace! (The two kings do)
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016) episode, "Largo", has Blossom and Buttercup arguing with each other for a majority of the episode, while Bubbles is investigating a rain cloud making everyone in Townsville depressed except her and her sisters. After discovering that the eponymous character is the cause of all this because his fellow component Allegro split from him because they can't stand each other, she tries to get the four of them to reconcile with each other with a tea party in order to stop the rain cloud. However, when everyone is still fighting each other, she reaches her Rage Breaking Point and basically forces the four of them to apologize.
    Bubbles: (angry) ENOUGH! (blows Blossom and Buttercup into one side of a fence and Allegro and Largo into the other) You just want to fight, huh?! (to Blossom and Buttercup) I listened to each of you whine and complain! "Bubbles, she did it. Bubbles, tell her to apologize. Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles!"
    Allegro: (annoyed) Allegro never complained to you about-
    Bubbles: (angrier) (to Allegro) I wasn't FINISHED YET! (throws the party table down) Now, we're going to have a tea party, (throws Blossom and Buttercup to the table) and we're going to have a nice time, (throws Allegro and Largo to the table) because you're all going to apologize to each other, RIGHT NOW! Or do I have to get mad?!
  • In The Venture Bros., when Hank and Dean bicker during a long rocket flight.
    Hank and Dean: He started it!
    Dr. Venture: No, I started it years ago in a moment of passion, and I'll end it the same way, right here, in front of Brock, H.E.L.P.eR., and God!


Video Example(s):


Quirt Evans handles Carson

A group of Quaker farmsteads had built a community irrigation dam on one family's property, but that family was then bought out by rancher Frederick Carson, who chose to keep all the water to himself. Notorious gunslinger and bandit Quirt Evans (played by John Wayne), who has befriended the Worth family after they saved his life, decides to fix the problem his way: he rides over to Carson's ranch, tells him to let the water flow, backing it up by simply telling Carson his name and letting his imagination do the rest. He then brings Carson over to meet the Worths to smooth things over more permanently.

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