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Throwing Down the Gauntlet

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They are titans, they are the true and indisputable masters of the universe, the lords of creation, and they are unhappy with us. They speak, and theirs is a voice that shatters mountains. "WHO. ARE. YOU?"
The captain's lips draw back over his teeth in a mirthless grin as he plants his fists on his hips, throws back his head, thrusts out his jaw. "Who wants to know?"
Steven Utley, Upstart

Anybody can get into a fight, but it takes someone very confident, very desperate, or very pissed off to stand up and demand that someone fight them. And it takes a badass to do it with style.

This is Throwing Down the Gauntlet — so named for the medieval practice of literally throwing down one's actual gauntlet before the person one wanted to challenge, making it both Truth in Television and Older Than Print. It can take any number of forms, depending on the character and the reason for the challenge. It may include a Badass Boast or Badass Creed, a list of the reasons the challenger has for beating the challenged down, and a detailed description of the ways in which the challenged is now doomed. It might be a "No More Holding Back" Speech in which the challenger explains himself and how he's reached this point. It might be a calculated effort to goad the challenged into accepting the contest and fighting their hardest, either in order to test them or just because the challenger likes a good fight.

Whatever the form, Throwing Down the Gauntlet is the act of challenging someone to a fight or some other competition, preferably in the most badass way possible. This could result in a Duel to the Death, Ten Paces and Turn, Wizards Duel (if both are wizards, of course) or pretty much any type of fight that has rules involved.

If this involves actually throwing a glove of some sort on the ground, the challenge is accepted by picking it up. In some cases, this may overlap with the Glove Slap, as traditionally the glove was used to slap the challenged twice upon the chest before being thrown down (although this is mostly forgotten now).

When the recipient of the challenge is a parent, mentor, or other authority figure, this is Calling the Old Man Out. If the one being challenged is vastly above the challenger's level and fully capable of squashing him like a bug, it may resemble Smite Me, O Mighty Smiter. If the character is particularly angry, they may say "Prepare to Die". If the character does it every time they begin a fight, it's In the Name of the Moon. If the challenge was unintended, it's Fumbling the Gauntlet. When the gauntlet is a microphone and the challenger is implicitly challenging anyone to respond to what they've just said, it's a Mic Drop.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Happens a lot in Ranma ˝. Once, the "gauntlet" was a moist fish cake from a bowl of noodles.
  • Kamina of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann is fond of doing this.
  • Naruto Uzumaki does this to Sasuke Uchiha and the Kyubi no Yoko in the latest arcs of Naruto.
  • L delivers a televised challenge to Kira in Death Note.
  • In Chrono Crusade, Aion does this to Chrono after he's blown away by Joshua using one of Rosette's guns.
    Aion: I'm disappointed. All these years and you haven't learned a thing. Get up! How long are you going to stay dead? Rise and awaken your legion! Prepare to attack your enemy! Strike him down! Kill him! Your enemy is here. He's standing right before you. Kill me now... or you'll lose everything you care about, forever.
  • Alucard to Luke Valentine, in Hellsing. Between the imagery and Crispin Freeman's voice acting, the scene approaches nightmare.
  • Mamoru does this once in GaoGaiGar, just after saving the GGG bridge crew from being mind-controlled by the Ear and Nail Primevals. Bonus points for doing it in the middle of a Dynamic Entry / Big Damn Heroes moment as well.
    Mamoru: Fight me, Primevals!
  • In the manga Tough Kiichi Miyazawa drops fifty million yen in the middle of a Dojo to make sure he gets his practice in.
  • In Code Geass: Nightmare of Nunnally, General Darlton takes off one of his gloves and throws it at Suzaku's feet to challenge him to a duel.
  • Kyo Kara Maoh!:
    • Immediately after the lead Yuuri becomes accidentally engaged to Wolfram by way of slap, Wolfram knocks a bunch of cutlery to the floor in a rage, and Yuuri kneeling to pick it up provokes a malevolent chuckle of victory: he just formally agreed to an honor duel.
    • Rather later, Yuuri gets suckered by this again, this time by a girl who's challenging him for Wolfram. Bonus points for his accidental pointing of a spork at her, which turns out to be local code for 'I have stolen your lover.' Wolfram is touched. Yuuri is frazzled.
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, Beatrice does this at one point by throwing Ronove's white glove at Erika's face while being pursued by Laser Blade-wielding girls in Church Militant uniforms. And that's just the lead-up to the actual duel scene.
  • Happens on a regular basis in the Yu-Gi-Oh! franchise, given that competition using a card game is a Serious Business. (In fact, the dub name of the second episode of the original series is "The Gauntlet is Thrown", emphasizing this Trope, although that specific episode was kind of a subversion, because the "challenge" could better be described as blackmail.)
  • Wakamatsu attempted to invoke this towards Seo in chapter 14/episode 6 of Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun. However, instead of throwing a pair of mittens in front of Seo, he gave them as if they were a gift, so Seo thought Wakamatsu was just too shy to give them properly.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero, Motoyasu delivers a direct challenge to Naofumi after the first wave of monsters is defeated, having learned that Naofumi had been using the slave Raphtalia to fight his battles for him.

    Comic Books 
  • ElfQuest:
    • After causing his rival Cutter incalculable grief and hardship, Rayek challenges him to a fight to settle their differences, despite knowing full well that Cutter will beat the living crap out of him. It turns out that there's method in Rayek's madness. Rayek knows that Cutter's rage will only keep on festering if he doesn't let all of it out, so Rayek refuses to concede until Cutter is one blow away from killing him.
    • There was also the Rayek's original challenge to Cutter (via a carved stick).
  • In one story, Deadpool wants to fight Wolverine, who is disgusted with Wilson's methods. The Merc with the Mouth responds by Shoryukening Shadowcat, and dancing happily when Logan pops his claws.
  • In Noob, someone does this to Gaea. While gauntlets are common in the setting, the character who did it does not wear any gauntlets, so someone else wonders where the gauntlet came from upon witnessing the scene.

    Fan Works 
  • In Child of the Storm reveals that in the back-story, Doctor Strange did this to the entire White Council, the top 1% of Wandless Wizards worldwide, more or less all of whom have Person of Mass Destruction power levels (though mostly just the Wardens really focus on combat magic), and the seven person leading Senior Council verge on the Physical God category. Considering his justly earned reputation as The Dreaded, they didn't pick it up.
  • In the fanfic When a Pony Calls, Soren (not the character from the show) challenges Twilight in a duel, in order to expose her as a changeling. This was after going insane.
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero Wataru gives one to Kyon by causing what it seemed like an earthquake and a simple "Kyon! Face me!" who arguably everyone in the school could hear.
  • In Fate Revelation Online Saber takes Ilya's place in the Tiger Dojo, where she is extremely embarrassed at having to wear bloomers. In the second Dojo she challenges Taiga to a duel and brings out Excalibur. The following Lion Dojo showed Saber as Master and Taiga in bloomers.
  • In the backstory of Project Riribirth (which is detailed in an audio drama prequel), a monstrous enemy seizes Riri and threatens to kill her while shouting for Tony Stark to reveal himself and face him in combat.
  • It happens in Kim Possible fanfiction RONMAN THE BARBARIAN!. After spending a month getting to know each other, on a date one night, Ronman does this as a means to challenge Kimila to a rematch. Kimila considers it romantic.
  • In The Vampire of Steel, the Scoobies are facing an army of vampires and demons led by a Kryptonian super-vampire when Supergirl stops fighting to demand a "Personal Combat Challenge" with the leader Zol-Am, throwing in a "If you're too scared to fight me, I'll understand" line for good measure. When Zol-Am -a military man- points out that kind of duel can only be made by one soldier to another, Supergirl reveals she just enlisted.
  • The Mountain and the Wolf: Wulfrik the Wanderer being the main character, this is inevitable. Tyrion occasionally wonders if his every word is calculated to start a fight, even among his allies.
    • During the Battle of Winterfell, he insults a White Walker into breaking formation, just so he can beat it and then wear it as a decoration. He also insults the Night King into fighting him rather than killing Bran (although Arya still gets the kill).
    • During the siege of King's Landing, he regularly rides up to the walls of King's Landing to taunt individual defenders into attacking him, only to effortlessly slaughter them (and mockingly mentioning this to the next victim).
    • When Daenerys finally sics Drogon on him, not only does he not back down, he gets back up and taunts Drogon into coming back to finish the job. It doesn't take either.
    • He returns yet again at the council where Grey Worm announces his final decision to sail for Naath to reveal Missandei is still alive, demanding that all of Westeros unite to fight him and that Grey Worm join them.
    • While fighting dark elves and Tomb King armies, he's shown to focus enemy leaders' attention on himself via crude insults (like defacing a Nehekharan mural) so they can't use their powers to help their troops.
  • In crossover Mythos Effect, Captain Victus does this to his rival Captain Kleitos after one insult too many.
  • In The Apprentice, the Student, and the Charlatan, Nova to Silverblood, Steelshod to Nova.
  • My Huntsman Academia:
    • Izuku gives one combined with Bring It to Cardin Winchester while staring down Team CRDL, Izuku makes them all question their chances with him when he hangs a giant "if" over whether or not they can beat him by showing off One For All: Full Cowl.
      Cardin: Not one of them, not even that second year bitch, has the right to look down on me. I'm not going to accept it from the old bastard, I'm definitely not going to accept it from them! They are going to know that if they keep getting in our way or belittling us that we can and will beat that little shrimp into a pulp! They can't protect him behind their skirts every single second of the day! Deku, over there, won't say a word as thanks for not pounding him into the dirt every single second of the day from here on out!
      Izuku: If you can pound me into the dirt, that is.
      Cardin: Right, if... [stops and stares at Izuku] Want to repeat that, Deku?
      Izuku: [activates One For All: Full Cowl] I said if, Cardin. If you can beat me. If you can win this fight... I'm just going to make it clear here and now though; that's a mighty big if you're working with there, Cardin.
    • After offering a scathing critique of Cardin's motives for picking this fight, Izuku challenges him to a one-on-one spar under the condition that Cardin stop his bullying and blatant disregard for what it means to be a Huntsman if Cardin loses.
      Izuku: So yeah, Cardin... we're going to fight man-to-man. We're going to fight in front of Port... and then when I'm done with you, I expect you to stop. You won't hurt or harass my friends or anyone else ever again. You understand?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played straight in Fort Apache: Captain York spends half the movie trying to explain to Colonel Thursday that he needs to respect the Apache better. When Thursday derisively slams one last suggestion back in York's face, accusing him of "cowardice," York has enough and throws down his glove at Thursday's feet, demanding satisfaction. Thursday pointedly refuses (the battle is about to start), tells a soldier to pick up the glove and return it to York before relieving York of his command and sending him back with the supply wagons. Thursday's subsequent death in battle prevents York from pursuing the matter further.
  • The Perfect Weapon (1991): Jeff needs information regarding a suspect from a mook at the nearby gym - his solution? Challenge him, and his two sidekicks, to a full-contact fight, with no protective gear!
  • In Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Megatron challenges Optimus to come and fight him as he sits on what is left of the Lincoln Memorial.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Aragorn calls for Sauron to meet him in battle at the gates of Mordor "that justice be done upon him." He's bluffing (Legolas helpfully informs us that it's a diversion), yet the effect is undiminished.
  • In The Princess Bride, Inigo Montoya goes for what has arguably become the most iconic example of this trope ever, when he found Count Rugen at the climax of the film.
  • The Joker calls Batman out via a TV broadcast in Batman (1989).
    The Joker: You heard it folks, twenty million. And there will be entertainment. The big dukeroo. With me in one corner, and in the other corner...the man who has brought real terror to Gotham City: Batman. Do you hear me? Just the two of us, mano a mano. Now I have taken off my makeup. Let's see if you can take off yours.
  • The Joker does something similar in The Dark Knight.
  • Kill Bill has The Bride calling out O-Ren Ishii, the first of the Deadly Vipers, at the House of Blue Leaves using her Catchphrase. In Japanese.
  • In Scaramouche, when the National Assembly's noble delegates are reducing the numbers of the common delegates by challenging them to duels and killing them, Moreau is challenged several times by persistent nobles who want to improve his horrendously ugly face (an example of Hollywood Homely too) by slapping him with a glove.
  • Subverted in Robin Hood: Men in Tights when the Sheriff of Nottingham challenges Robin Hood to a fight... "mano a mano, man to man, Just You and Me and My GUARDS!!" the last line being a shouted call for his many, many plate-armored guards to come in and surround the hero. Hilarity Ensues, of course.
    • It was parodied less than a minute prior, when the sheriff slaps Robin in the face with his glove and throws it down as a challenge. Robin responds by taking a metal gauntlet and smashing the Sheriff in the face while saying "I accept" (Bugs Bunny did it first).
  • Spoofed at the end of Beauty and the Beast. When Cogsworth and Lumiere are returned to their human forms, they squabble over who told whom so, and Lumiere slaps Cogsworth across the face with a glove.
  • In T-34, Standartenführer Klaus Jäger graciously challenges the Soviet crew to a one-on-one tank duel at the climax of final battle, even going through the trouble of exposing himself out of his tank hatch to physically remove one of gloves to throw it down. The protagonists agree, but requests for some time to gather their wounded and prepare.
    Nikolay: Five minutes, Nikolaus!
  • In The Neverending Story, Atreyu does this to G'mork:
    Atreyu: If we're about to die anyway, I'd rather die fighting! Come for me, G'mork! I am Atreyu!
  • In the finale of Commando, John Matrix gets Bennett to release his daughter by appealing to his inner Psycho Knife Nut and challenging him to a Knife Fight.
    Matrix: You don't want to pull the trigger, you want to put the knife in me and look me in the eye and see what's going on in there when you turn it. That's what you want to do, right? Come on, let the girl go. Just you and me. Don't deprive yourself of the pleasure. Come on, Bennett, let's party.
    Bennett: I can beat you. I don't need the girl. Haha, I don't need the gun! I'M GONNA KILL YOU NOW!!
  • In Hook, Peter tries to leave with his kids (whom Hook captured to bring him there), but Hook has no intention of letting his Worthy Opponent walk about without a final showdown. When Peter looks like he's ignoring him, Hook throws down a gauntlet he can't walk away from... a threat to his kids.
    Hook: Peter! I swear to you, wherever you go, wherever you are, I vow there will always be daggers bearing those signs saying "Hook"! They will be flung at the doors of your children's children's children, do you hear me?
  • Played for Laughs in Fight Club when Tyler gives the members the task of going out into the street, starting a fight with a perfect stranger, and then losing. Cut to scenes of members being Jerk Asses to people for no good reason like tripping them, shoving them, and spraying a priest with a hose while goofy music plays.
    Narrator: Now this is not as easy as it sounds. Most people, normal people, will do just about anything to avoid a fight.
  • In Outlaw King, Black Douglas does this on Robert the Bruce's behalf when he encounters Edward's army coming up to Loudoun Hill, actually throwing down his king's glove and telling the English that they'll have their fight there the next day.

  • In Prince Caspian, Peter delivers a formal challenge to King Miraz, in which he establishes his credentials as High King, lists the crimes for which he plans to hold Miraz accountable, declares his intention to "prove upon your Lordship's body" Caspian's rightful claim to the throne, and concludes by giving the year as the first year of Caspian's reign as though his victory is a forgone conclusion. This is at least in part to make the challenge so outrageous that Miraz has to accept.
  • Fingolfin of The Silmarillion, one of the many, many tragic heroes in Tolkien's massive Backstory, challenged Morgoth to personal combat at the gates of Hell:
    His hopeless challenge dauntless cried
    Fingolfin there: "Come, open wide,
    dark king, your ghastly brazen doors!
    Come forth, whom earth and heaven abhors!
    Come forth, O monstrous craven lord,
    and fight with thine own hand and sword,
    thou wielder of hosts of banded thralls,
    thou tyrant leaguered with strong walls,
    thou foe of Gods and elvish race!
    I wait thee here. Come! Show thy face!
  • In Deryni Rising, Charissa literally throws down a mailed gauntlet to interrupt Kelson's coronation and challenge him for the throne of Gwynedd.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • After being accused of treason, the villain of the novel Flag in Exile challenges his accuser to a trial by combat, reasoning that if his accuser can use ancient laws to accuse him, he can use them to defend himself. He also assumed that Honor Harrington was a novice with no real skill at the swords that were the traditional weapon of choice for such duels. He was very, very wrong.
    • Also done in the preceding novel Field of Dishonor where Manticoran societies dueling practices were both the instigation of the big bad's plot to kill Honor and the final resolution where she gets him on the field. Much like the Flag in Exile example, people who end up across a dueling field from her tend to wind up leaving the field in a body bag.
  • Done in a non-badass way in The L-Shaped Room, set in the '50s: the protagonist gets pregnant after a one night stand, and although she refuses the father's offer to marry her, he still feels guilty and wants to help. After helping her get back in contact with her "boyfriend," the father deliberately provokes a fight so that the boyfriend can beat him up and, having taken his beating, feels absolved of all guilt or responsibility in the pregnancy.
  • Mandorallen formally challenges another Mimbrate knight in The Malloreon, who insulted Mandorallen's Asturian friend. After a lengthy insinuation of the other's parentage, he makes the challenge by throwing his gauntlet... into the challenged knight's face. And then proceeds to humiliate and thoroughly defeat him.
  • In the Codex Alera series, this involves challenging the offender to what is called a "juris macto"—essentially a Duel to the Death. Its not terribly complicated, simply by having the challenger confront and declare the name of the person they wish to duel, naming their offenses, then declaring that "May the crows feast on the unjust!"
    • Juris macto comes up often—something like ten times per book. 80% of these are just threats, and somebody backs down before the formal challenge. 10% of the time, the crows do indeed feast on the unjust. The remaining 10%, Tavi or his kin are doing something or other overly clever.
  • Ciaphas Cain HERO OF THE IMPERIUM challenges another Commissar to a duel over an insult to Colonel Kasteen. The other Commissar chooses to apologize instead after watching Cain fight a Chaos Space Marine in hand to hand combat.
  • In A Practical Guide to Evil, Catherine, while on a party of the Winter court in Arcadia, steals another guest's armored glove and proceeds to rile up and then challenge the party's host to a duel in an elaborate plan to kill him and become his daughter (it makes more sense in context).
  • In Michael Crichton's novel Timeline, there is a segment 33 hours, 12 minutes, and 51 seconds into the plot where Sir Guy literally throws down a gauntlet of mail to challenge Chris, the witless woobie made of steel, to a duel, mostly because Chris seems like someone fun to stab in the gut with a gigantic spear made of wood. Being witless, Chris doesn't get it and picks the gauntlet up, so accepting a challenge to a duel given by a gigantic man capable of swinging a very large sword effortlessly.
  • The title character does this a couple times in The Dresden Files. In White Night, he marches straight into the lair of the White Court and challenges a couple of their members to a Duel to the Death, and he repeats it with the Red Court in Changes.
  • Subverted in Ranger's Apprentice. Deparnieux, who rules by fear and feels that Horace is a challenger to his authority in the area, attempts to provoke the latter into a fight. Horace stays calm, but Deparnieux manages to twist his words anyway. He rears back, plucks a glove off his belt, and swings it towards Horace's face...and then Halt skewers the glove with an arrow from halfway across the room and pins it to a pillar.
    • Later on, another knight does this to Deparnieux. It doesn't end well.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "The Best of Both Worlds, Part 2", after stomping out the rest of Starfleet, the Borg are on their way to finish off Earth. They are intercepted by the Enterprise, a ship they nearly destroyed and whose captain they kidnapped. The ship arrives with the sole purpose of daring the Borg to attack them.
      Locutus: There are no terms. Surrender your vessel and escort us to [Earth]. If you attempt to intervene... we will destroy you.
      Captain William Riker: Well then... take your best shot, Locutus, because we're about to intervene.
    • Naturally, for a race that prides itself on warrior honor, the Klingons have at least three different ways of doing this shown in the series:
      • Smacking or punching another Klingon in the face is usually a sign of dominance and will not result in anything worse than a punch to the face in return, but smacking him with the back of the hand is a challenge to a duel to the death. Captain Sisko found this out in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Apocalypse Rising"; thankfully for him the recipient was Worf, while training them to infiltrate Klingon territory. Aware of Sisko's mistake, Worf didn't accept.
      • Taking one's dagger and plunging it into a table between oneself and another Klingon is another challenge to a duel to the death, as seen in the DS9 episode "Sons and Daughters". Luckily for Alexander Rozenkho, who knew damn well what he was doing, the recipient of the challenge, also Worf, declined to kill him.
      • Finally, a challenge can be done simply by telling the other Klingon, often times challenging his fitness to lead other warriors. Worf got involved in this twice, once as part of a gambit to reignite the fire for combat in Martok, and another to kill Gowron, leader of the Klingons, and install Martok in his place. Riker also pulls this off in the TNG episode "A Matter of Honor", which ends non-fatally.
  • This is fairly commonplace on BBC's Merlin and has, in fact, been the driving force behind several episode plots. Usually the issue addressed is Arthur's Honor Before Reason attitude. In many cases, it literally involves throwing down a gauntlet.
  • In an episode of Crownies, Richard does this to Tatum by pulling off a pair of imaginary gloves.
  • In the Babylon 5 episode "Knives", a disgraced noble challenges Londo Mollari to a duel by stabbing a kutari (a Centauri shortsword) into a table and announcing his intentions in no uncertain terms. Mollari (who is familiar with this type of challenge) accepts by pulling the sword out. It's not so much general Centauri tradition, but specifically that of the unit which both of them served in.
  • Riley and Jonesy the hockey players from Letterkenny have a tendency to do this whenever they cross paths with Wayne and Daryl, though the latter two usually convince them not to or just make them so mad that they leave. In "Hockey Players" they do throw down baseballs gloves to show they mean business. They also mention this being done on their behalf by a family member or first date after somebody insults them, and they're not too keen on actually going through with it.
  • Blake's 7: Used for a Visual Pun in "Power". When Avon challenges the leader of a primitive tribe, he uses as his choice of weapon an actual gauntlet... which he then uses to pick up a live heliofusion rod and disintegrate the other guy's sword.

    Myths & Religion 
  • One of the Arthurian L Egend stories involves the Green Knight challenging any of Arthur's knights to chop of his head and, one year hence, return to have his own head chopped off. In some versions, only Gawain was brave enough to answer the challenge. In others, Arthur himself stepped up to the plate, but Gawain begged to do it instead because he didn't want to risk his king coming to harm.
  • There's also an Irish version of the Green Knight tale with Cúchullain.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • When Larry Zbyszko outed himself as a Starscream Deceptive Disciple, this was Bruno Sammartino's response after coming to terms with it.
  • TNA has a gimmick based around this called "Open Fight Night", where anyone can throw an open challenge to anyone and that challenge must be accepted.
  • Jazz did this at a Ring Of Glory show when she saw usual Trinity had turned down a booking to watch as a fan. Trinity had planned for this and sent Radiant Rain in her place.
  • As a subtrope of Shameless Fanservice Girl: Josh Matthews interviewed Nidia on the March 6, 2003 WWE SmackDown. In re the announcement that Nidia, Torrie Wilson and Stacy Keibler would all be appearing at the Girls Gone Wild: Live From Spring Break PPV, Nidia challenged Torrie to a "Body Contest" (to see who looks better naked.) Nidia then flashed her breasts to Josh, though nothing was actually shown.note 
  • During a Pro Wrestling Revolution inter gender Tag Team match pitting Sarah Stock and Pistolero against Cheerleader Melissa and Grappler III, Stock made the actual stripping and tossing down motion even though she wasn't actually wearing one to show she wasn't going to tag out to Pistolero and didn't want Grappler to tag Melissa, to put a stop to their games.
  • Dementia D'Rose threw her knife in the dirt when she and Aja Perera issued a challenge to LOUIS tag team champions Nina Monet and Pandora, in reference to the fact Pandora wears a mask to ring and D'Rose wasn't trying to use props to look scary.
  • When "El Rey de la Lucha Libre" Chicky Starr announced his retirement in 2015, Jerry Lawler demanded that Starr accept one last match against him to determine who the true king of pro wrestling was.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In The Dark Crystal, after the death of the Skeksis Emperor, SkekSil the Chamberlin seizes the scepter in order to claim the throne, only to be challenged to a ritual contest for it by SkekUng the General; the penalty for refusing or losing this challenge is death or worse. Despite the rather serious consequences, the rules are rather simple: both take turns using incredibly heavy swords to try to shatter a large gemstone, and the first to successfully shatter it wins; but each is only allowed three tries. (The fact that it is covered with hundreds of chips and scratches attests to the numerous power struggles in their history; nonetheless, this time, SkekUng is successful, but he spares SkekSil, choosing to simply strip him of his robes and exile him from the palace.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Bound to happen in BattleTech when there are Kuritans, Clanners, or (some of the more honorable) Mercenaries around. To the Clans this is known as a "Trial of Grievance", and is one of the most common Trials: It is usually fought to Victory by First Blood unless the grievance is particularly grievous, as the Clans despise waste and want to keep deaths and maimings from personal honour duels to a minimum.
  • Pops up in Pathfinder; most obviously with the Cavalier's "challenge" ability, but the Paladin's "smite evil" and the Inquisitor's "judgement" are also forms of gaining mechanical benefits for Throwing Down The Gauntlet. The first two are made against specific target, while judgment is more generally directed at any and all of the inquisitor's current opponents.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Common in all armies due to the Rule of Cool and World of Ham being such important parts of the setting. And because so many evil armies run on Klingon Promotion (and others on Proud Warrior Race), challenges between commanders are commonplace.
    • Painfully subverted in one case: An Eldar craftworld was under attack by a Tyranid Hive Fleet, so they sacrificed one of their finest commanders to bring forth the Avatar of Khaine, a giant demigod of molten metal. The Avatar took up its sword and delivered a challenge to the Swarmlord (the 'nid commanding the ground troops)... who continuously ignored the Avatar and giving it an Undignified Death by instead sending half a dozen Carnifexes to bumrush it.
  • Warhammer Fantasy: Happens for the same reasons as in 40K. The Chaos character Wulfrik the Wanderer is actually specially designed for this. He drunkenly boasted of his martial exploits at a feast, and the gods cursed him to live up to his boast of being the greatest warrior alive by sending him on quests to kill particularly dangerous foes, and gave him the gift of tongues so he could deliver his challenges (in the form of the crudest, least-subtle sarcasms he can come up with) in the target's own language, making it completely unavoidable. He also got a flying teleporting longship so he could track his prey anywhere, and eventually realized that he was Cursed with Awesome, having obtained more fame and wealth through the curse than if he'd remained a mere clan warrior.
    Face me if you dare, stunted whelp, or do you lack even an Elven maid's courage? I thought the Sons of Grungni were great warriors, but perhaps you are no true Dwarf. Indeed, maybe you are instead some breed of bearded goblin, though in truth, I have seen a finer beard on a Troll's back-side.

  • "And a brand new knight-errant with banners unfurled/hurls down the gauntlet to thee!" Yes, it's done by Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha: he slams down his glove on the stage when the Knight of the Mirrors insults his lady, and provokes Don Quixote's rage.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac:
    • Subverted with Cyrano: when he challenges someone to a fight it is not only in the most badass way possible, but the most Jerkass way possible too:
    • Act I Scene IV: Cyrano challenges the whole pit of the Burgundy Theater collectively! Of course he is a badass, but this is more because he is a Jerkass that decided to interrupt the play.
      Cyrano::... I order silence, all!
      And challenge the whole pit collectively!
      I write your names!—Approach, young heroes, here!
      Each in his turn! I cry the numbers out!
      Now which of you will come to ope the lists?
      You, Sir? No! You? No! The first duellist
      Shall be dispatched by me with honors due!
      Let all who long for death hold up their hands!
      [a silence]
      Modest? You fear to see my naked blade?
      Not one name?—Not one hand?—Good, I proceed!
    • Later, Cyrano challenges... if that is the word... Viscount de Valvert
    Cyrano: [with grimaces of pain] It must be moved—it's getting stiff, I vow,
    This comes of leaving it in idleness!
    The Viscount: What ails you?
    Cyrano: The cramp! cramp in my sword!
    The Viscount: [drawing his sword] Good!
  • For an idea of how old this trope is, it was already being parodied in Richard II. Bolingbroke and Mowbray play it straight early on, but in Act IV: Fitzwalter and Aumerle have it out over Aumerle's supposed conspiring and challenge each other, then Hotspur, who just likes to fight, throws his gage down, and suddenly everyone's gloves are on the floor. Aumerle even has to ask someone to lend him a third.

    Video Games 
  • In the introductory battle to Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (which replicates the final battle of Castlevania: Rondo of Blood), Richter throws down a challenge to Dracula, shouting out all the reasons why the vampire lord is unfit to rule the world. Dracula responds by throwing down his wine glass and a hearty "Have at you!" and the battle begins.
  • In the beginning of Assassin's Creed, Altaïr makes the prideful error of challenging Robert de Sable openly before attempting to assassinate him. Naturally, he gets his ass handed to him. He does it again in the endgame, and has to fight his entire personal guard.
  • In King's Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow, Alexander literally throws down a gauntlet specifically designed to challenge Death before the Lord of the Dead. This makes it a cross of this trope and Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?.
  • In Dragon Age II, this is an actual ability that the Rogue class can use with the Duelist specialization, which draws a single selected enemy to the rogue. Upgrades to this ability make the enemy so enraged that he attacks recklessly and has reduced chance to hit. Coupled with the Parry combat mode, and the selected enemy has a roughly -50% chance to hit, before factoring in all the other defensive advantages of being a Rogue, such as high cunning and other passive abilities that reduce chance-to-hit.
  • Throughout Final Fantasy, the Provoke ability functions as this. Usually explained as either insulting a target or daring them to come fight the user, it results in the target either being compelled or much more likely to attack the challenger.
  • In Dark Souls, when using the Grave Lord's spell you place a marker that show up in three random people's worlds. While the gave sign persists much stronger than normal phantoms spawn and you steal half of a player's soul amount when they die. But if ANY or maybe even ALL of them find where you hid the sign and feel like having vengeance...
    • There is also an item in the game specifically meant for this, the Red Sign Soapstone. It has infinite uses and its only purpose is to leave a sign on the ground others can touch if they wish to challenge you.
  • In the Infocom game Arthur: the Quest for Excalibur, the endgame involves getting to a literal gauntlet so you can go out and hit the usurper King Lot with it. If you don't have the gauntlet you'll never get to him, but with it the guards will recognize your legitimate challenge and let you pass.
  • In Octopath Traveler, Olberic the Warrior can challenge most NPCs to a one-on-one duel. If he wins, the NPC will be temporarily incapacitated and will move out of the way of whatever they were obstructing. H'aanit's Provoke works similarly, except she sets her captured animal companions upon the foe instead, and doesn't do any fighting herself.
  • In Persona 5 Royal, if Joker builds up a strong enough Justice confidant, Goro Akechi issues a challenge to Joker by taking off his glove and throwing it down.
  • Near the end of Inazuma arc in Genshin Impact, The Traveler confronts the agent who's responsible for the unrest across the land. The agent mocks The Traveler and reminds them that they're a nobody and a wanted criminal at that. Recounting all the atrocities done through the agent's manipulation, The Traveler then challenges her to a Duel Before the Throne, where status does not matter, and the loser is instantly executed. This is particularly notable as the challenge is one of the few times the Traveler is given voiced dialogue.
  • In the Yakuza series, whenever a character rips off their clothes it's considered an official challenge that the opponent answers by ripping off their clothes in return.


    Western Animation 
  • In one The Simpsons episode, Homer sees the glove-slap in a movie and starts using it in real life to get whatever he wants. This goes really well until he tries it on a Southern Gentleman — who accepts his offer of a duel.
    • Later in the episode, he runs away after being challenged to a duel by Jimmy Carter.
  • The "formal duel" episode of Tom and Jerry starts with Jerry stealing a glove and slapping Tom with it. When he tries it again after all the botched duels, Tom just snatches the glove and chases Jerry around with it.
  • In the second episode of The Legend of Tarzan, Tarzan challenges a rhinoceros by throwing mud in its face in a very gauntlet-like manner.
  • Avenger Penguins Big Bad Doom does this in the first season finale.
  • This happened in a big way in an episode of Teen Titans. Apparently, a Tameranian has the right to wrest a monarch's power away from him or her by making a public challenge and winning (so long as no-one gives the challenger help). After Blackfire assumed the throne, Starfire did just that, and won after a rather epic fight. (She later abdicated the throne, however, passing it to her childhood guardian.)
  • Happens at least Once an Episode (with a few exceptions) on Xiaolin Showdown, which makes sense, as the name of the series is the mystical challenge that is made in order to take a Shen Gong Wu from another warrior. (Note that while all Showdowns tend to be dangerous, not all of them involve fighting your opponent directly; the show is very creative, having them take the form of everything from gladiator-style swordplay to ice hockey.)
  • Bugs Bunny:
    • In "Hare Trimmed", Yosemite Sam first insults Bugs by slapping Bugs with a leather glove. Bugs responds by slapping Sam with a brick-filled glove before giving Sam the gun for the duel.
    • Bugs does this to the giant in "Jack Wabbit and the Beanstalk" as well.
  • In the Popeye cartoon "Duel To The Finish" (which despite its title is not violent at all) starts out with Olive trying to make Popeye jealous by wooing Wimpy through the main route to his heart: his stomach. When Popeye hears Olive kiss Wimpy, he challenges Wimpy to a duel. Wimpy selects an eating duel. Olive slaves over a stove while Popeye looks like he's losing to Wimpy hands down. That is, until Olive says she just can't cook another thing. Wimpy concedes defeat.
    Popeye: Olive, the next time ya wants to makes me jealous, gives me some notice so I can diets fer it! (groan)
  • The Daffy Duck and Porky Pig cartoon Porky Pig's Feat. does this hilariously. Hotel manager: "You have insult me! We meet on the field of honor!" (slaps Daffy with glove) Daffy:"You have insult me! We meet on the field on onion!" (slaps manager with glove loaded with a horseshoe)
  • Happened a lot in Celebrity Deathmatch, due to the nature of the plot, Nick and Johnny often showing it via footage before the actual fight. One notable example, the match between Steve Austin and his evil boss Vince McMahon
    Stone Cold: ...So I stunned McMahon's sorry ass. And that's the bottom line.
    Vince: [storms in, angry] Stone Cold, who the hell do you think you are? You dare to disparage ME? You're nothing but a foul-mouthed, beer-swilling sonuvabitch!
    Stone Cold: Hell Vince, I appreciate the compliments, and right after I finish this beverage, I'm gonna knock that damn toupee off that stupid little head of yours and shove it right up...
    Vince: HA! You impudent fool! Your physicality is no match for my superior mental acumen! That's why I'm the boss and I'll prove it in the ring!
    Stone Cold: Oh yeah? Well listen up, you silly bastard, I'll do ya one better, we ain't gonna do this in any old wrestling ring, we're gonna do this in a Deathmatch ring!
    Vince: You're on!
    [scene shifts away from flashback]
    Johnny Gomez: As Stone Cold said, Nick, sometimes life's little problems can only be solved here in our humble arena.
  • In the Star Wars Rebels episode "Droids in Distress", ISB Agent Kallus challenges Zeb to a bo-rifle duel.
    Kallus: You, Lasat! FACE ME!
  • Super 4: Literal example, several times, in "A Colossal Challenge", to defy the Baron by throwing a gauntlet at his head. After the third or fourth times, he just shakes his head in annoyance.

    Real Life 
  • Contrary to popular perception, you do not slap someone across the face with your glove when you challenge them- you slap them twice lightly across the chest with it then throw it down.
    • And the slap isn't actually the challenge - it's the provocation for the slappee to challenge you. Being struck was the one insult which could only result in a duel.
  • England's last legal occurrence of this was in 1818, in the famous case of Ashford v Thornton. Thornton was tried for murdering Ashford's sister and, after proving an alibi, was acquitted. Ashford was talked into demanding a private murder retrial. However, there was an ancient, very rare option for the defendant in such cases. The defendant (barring certain exceptions, which didn't apply here), could demand a trial by combat. Thompson demanded such a trial, throwing down a gauntlet having been brought to him, and Ashford backed down. The law was changed to make trials by combat (and private apeals) formally illegal.
  • When hockey players prepare to brawl, they quite literally throw down the gauntlet — namely, stripping off their gloves and throwing them to the ice. Fighting with gloves on is a separate penalty. Those gloves are sturdier than they look, you can tear skin open with them once they're cold enough. That and removing the helmet are the only official rules on fighting, though there are a lot of unwritten ones. It's not uncommon for a faceoff to be completely ignored when two players are ready to go at it.
  • In Japan, striking your sword's scabbard, wittingly or accidentally, against someone else's was a challenge for a duel to the death.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Just Fight Me Already


Come for me, Gmork!

Atreyu decides to fight Gmork, telling him that he is the warrior he seeks.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThrowingDownTheGauntlet

Media sources: