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You Are Not Ready

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The Dragonborn: Surely there's more you can tell me.
Master Arngeir: There is indeed much that we know that you do not. That does not mean that you are ready to understand it.

Commonly uttered phrase by powerful — often Sufficiently Advanced — beings when lesser lifeforms (like our heroes) ask for assistance or technical support. Oftentimes, the heroes get a hold of the information or gear for themselves, and the point is proven or refuted. (If the hero keeps insisting for an answer, they may get an Armor-Piercing Response, which may prove that they're indeed not ready.)

In other situations, this can be a line uttered by either The Mentor or the Big Bad. In the former case, he is telling our young hero not to be brash and preparation is very important (though the hero will rarely listen). In the latter case, it is used as a rather hammy taunt.

Compare to Figure It Out Yourself, The World Is Not Ready. Not to be said to Nintendo.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Dragon Ball, Master Roshi panics when Yamcha and Krillin first attempt the kamehameha wave, fearing that they'd die if they released that much energy at once. Subverted when both of them pull it off flawlessly.
    Roshi: Rash child! The kamehameha wave is a dangerous weapon! You're not ready to use it!
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Narrative: The Earth Federation says this to itself after the events of Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn: psycoframes and Newtype powers are far too powerful and unpredictable to be controlled in any meaningful way. As a result, the Federation and Mineva's faction of Zeon begin actively suppressing any research into psycoframes, and destroy the few remaining examples of the technology that exist around the Earth Sphere.
  • One Piece:
    • Gecko Moria tells the Straw Hats during their battle that as they are, they will be crushed in the New World. He is not simply saying this as a villain, but from a place of experience as his own powerful crew was wiped out in the New World.
    • When Luffy tries to go up against all three Admirals at Marineford, he gets hit with this. Hard. Luffy actually seems to listen to this and realized his crew is not strong enough to survive the New World. So via a secret message, he orders them to train for the next two years.
  • Ping Pong: A variation is uttered by Kong during his first match with Peco (albeit internally):
    Kong: Nothing about you is good enough!
  • Cobalion, Terrakion, and Virizion say this to Keldeo in Pokémon: Kyurem vs. The Sword of Justice about it battling Kyurem. It tried anyway and got pummeled, then ran away when its mentors were frozen.

    Comic Books 
  • Upheld in Grimjack where some space aliens who were trying to dissect and understand a time travel watch accidentally obliterated one-quarter of a galaxy in the process.
  • Upheld with the Watchers of the Marvel Universe who originally shared their scientific knowledge with a primitive alien race. The alien race advanced to interstellar levels only to be obliterated after challenging a much more advanced civilization race to war. These events traumatized the Watchers into being non-interventionists.

    Fan Works 
  • Subverted in Chapter 62 of BlazBlue Alternative: Remnant. When Yang asks Qrow why he and her dad never told her the truth about her mother (the fact that she was a ruthless bandit leader who'd rather lie and kill than be with her family), Qrow says that it wasn't because they felt Yang wasn't ready to hear the truth. If anything, it's that they weren't ready to open up about it.
    Qrow: Yang, I'm not gonna lie and say that we were only going to tell you when we thought you were ready. To be honest, if anyone wasn't ready to talk about it, it was us.
  • Ghosts of the Past, sequel to Child of the Storm, has Bucky Barnes very bluntly deliver a speech along these lines to Ron (and to Hermione) after the two of them insist on coming with Harry to deal with vampires of the Grey Court. It's not so much a matter of raw power — they're both powerful enough — but the fact that they're not trained, and they don't have the necessary combat experience in supernatural combat ops (while Harry: (a) has been trained, (b) has got the experience, and (c) has far more raw power to bring to bear). At best, they'd be The Load, at worst, they'd be a corpse in short order — vampires are incredibly fast, strong, and vicious, and smart enough to recognise the threat of a wand. Hermione reluctantly accepts the explanation and asks if there's any other way they can help. Ron needs a little more convincing.
  • Cyril from The Good Hunter says this word-for-word as justification for not letting Hansel and Gretel join him in his ride to Denaris for investigating the slaver situation there.
  • In Soul Eater: Troubled Souls, the main part of Kid’s shadow’s argument is that it claims Kid is unfit to succeed his father’s place as guardian and ruler of the world as a Grim Reaper. Not everyone will agree with his beliefs, the shadow using Kid’s symmetry obsession as the basis, stating he is far too unique. It also claims he simply isn’t strong enough to combat any of the potential threats.
  • In The Witch of the Everfree, Celestia repeatedly telling Sunset Shimmer that she wasn't ready was one of the things which initially drove them apart; it didn't stop Sunset from continuing to research the mirror and alicornhood on her own, but it did cause her to become increasingly resentful of Celestia, as well as leading her to incidentally read some books on dark magic in the process of her research.
  • Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: Harry says this word for word to Draco in order to keep Draco from learning too much science before he's ready for it — specifically the part about disproving Draco's racism, which he's built his entire personality around. Draco actually accepts this explanation without complaint; moving too fast in magic can be extremely dangerous, so Draco's father taught him to take warnings like that seriously. Draco actually ends up mad at Harry when Harry thinks Draco is ready for something but actually isn't. The two of them gathered statistical evidence showing that magic is almost certainly inherited through genetics, and thus the decline of magic is not due to intermixing with muggles, but simply because knowledge of spells is being gradually lost. This pulls the rug out from under Draco's whole worldview.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Red decides he'll try to find as many Mega-capable Pokémon as he can to boost his chances in the Pokémon League. However, he runs into Kalos Elite Four member Siebold, who realizes what he's up to, but points out to him that there's something he struggles with and no matter if he finds Pokémon and compatible stones, he won't be able to master Mega Evolution without it.
  • In the Futurama fic Blame It on the Brain, Nibbler uses this to justify why he won't give Mom information on the quantum interface bomb, comparing it to humans giving the secret of nuclear fission to an ill-tempered racoon.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At the end of Gremlins, Mr. Wing shows up to claim Gizmo and berates the Peltzers for not following the rules of proper Mogwai care and states "You are not ready!" When he sees how much Gizmo has come to care for Billy, Mr. Wing decided Billy may be ready "one day".
  • The Last Samurai: Algren graphically illustrates that the Emperor's green conscript troops are not prepared to face the battle-hardened samurai on the field, despite superior numbers and firepower. His advice is ignored, and the predictable ensues.
  • In Men in Black, Jay (still known as James Edwards at the moment) tells Kay that he chose him so he needs to respect the skills and he doesn't want to be called any nicknames like "son" or "kid" or "sport."
    Kay: Cool, whatever you say, slick, but I need to tell you something about all your skills. As of right now, they mean precisely... (they arrive at a massive company floor teeming with aliens) dick.
  • Mortal Kombat: The Movie had Raiden tell Liu Kang he wasn't ready to face Shang Tsung. Which is quite weird, because he tells him he is ready, near the end, although we don't see anything changing in Liu Kang's character nor does he learn any new skills. It's implied that Liu not being ready was less about skills and more about being hung up on his brother's death.
  • In Mystery Men the Sphinx tells the others they are not ready to confront the Big Bad because they need training (and Ice Cream Koans.)
  • Sphere: A depressing thought to Norman.
    Beth: What's the matter, Norman?
    Norman: It's a little hard to let go of. Something that could've been... this gift? The power to make your dreams come true. We're given the greatest gift in the history of mankind. We're given this magic ball. And it says "imagine what you will and you can have it." That's an extraordinary gift, but we're so primitive we... we manifested the worst in us, because what we have inside us... is what we have inside of us, instead of the best of us. What does that say?
    Harry: We weren't ready, Norman.
    Normal: We have what's called an imagination. I mean, look what we're capable of. We can... [sighs] We're not ready.
  • Star Wars:
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, Yoda informs Luke of this when he goes to face Vader on Cloud City. Vader himself emphasizes the point that Luke is "not a Jedi yet" right before their fight, and then proves it.
    • Played even more straight with Anakin's accession to Jedi Master in Revenge of the Sith. Mace Windu knows a thing or two about ready, and Anakin is not ready. Similarly, Yoda confronted Palpatine on his own because Obi-Wan, while strong, was not yet nearly strong enough to face the Dark Lord of the Sith.
  • This is the attitude of the Autobots towards technology sharing with humans in the Transformers Film Series. They won't give us weapons to fight Decepticons with because they know we'll end up using them to kill each other, and they don't give us non-weapons technology because they know we'd find a way to weaponize it.
    Optimus Prime: We've seen your human capacity for war... we believe it would only make things worse.
    • In other words, exactly what the Autobots and Decepticons have been doing to each other for the last several million years? (Actually, this is sort of the point. Optimus likes humanity and does not want them ending up in a repeat performance of that).
    • Optimus himself has admitted the above as when one Autobot says that we (Humans) are a violent race, Optimus points out the fact that they're not that different.
    • In the sequels it turns out that the Autobots are sharing minor technologies and fighting techniques with the humans in order to combat the Decepticons, and the bureaucrats are complaining that they're not sharing enough. After the Decepticons are taken care of humanity turns their new weapons on the Autobots, just proving Optimus completely right.

  • Agatha H. and the Clockwork Princess: Early on in her warrior training, Agatha sends Zeetha into an inexplicable rage when Zeetha shows off a pair of her swords and Agatha refuses to insist on using them, figuring she'd learn she wasn't ready via comical mishap. Zeetha doesn't take this well, and pushes Agatha much harder for the rest of the day until she finally explains: In Skifander, it's a tradition to give potential warriors these swords the first time they ask, so that they learn that They Are Not Ready. Zeetha's cousin, a far more skilled warrior, had a fatal accident doing so, and that's what's upset her.
  • This trope may have originated (in Science Fiction, at least) with E. E. "Doc" Smith's Lensman series back in the late 1930s. In that series, the rise of humanity and most other intelligent life in the Milky Way galaxy is part of a master plan by the Arisians, who are about one step short of Energy Beings. The goal of the plan is the eventual overthrow of the (quite nasty) Eddorians. However, at almost every step in the process the Arisians keep the ultimate goal a secret from humanity and its allies, and avoid making their own immense power obvious to them, for fear of "creating an inferiority complex" among the species they have raised to deal with the problem. In other words, You Are Not Ready.
    • A Double Subversion occurs when Kimball Kinnison takes his advanced training. He is welcomed when he arrives at Arisia because he is ready. Then at the end of his training, when he protests that there is more to learn, Mentor compliments him on his insight but shows him that he isn't yet ready to take the next step and might not ever be.
  • The excuse used by all of Bruce Coville's aliens for why they don't swoop down and end all disease and strife on Earth. His last few books just had them as merchants who wanted stuff in return — they got peanut butter and ketchup.
  • In Vernor Vinge's novel A Deepness in the Sky, it's the humans hiding from the aliens while they wait for them to become Ready, and they are the ones who require technical assistance from the more primitive aliens.
  • In The Mallorean, Belgarath tells Garion he needs 2,000 years of study before touching weather again. considering what Garion triggered, Belgarath is entirely right to demand this.
  • Used and subverted in The Night's Dawn Trilogy. the hyper advanced aliens, the Kiint, refuse to solve humanity's "reality dysfunction" crisis, saying that each race faces it, and must find their own solution. On the plus side, they are more than willing to use their advanced technology to give humanitarian aid to those that become affected.
  • Inverted in Speaker for the Dead, where it's the humans telling the piggies that they are not ready for all the fancy human technology like spaceships and ansible communication — mostly just because the humans are afraid that the piggies will pose a threat to their superiority in space. This is a disputed policy and is one of the central conflict points of the novel.
    • Quite a large part of the motivation for this is that humanity really screwed up interacting with the last alien race they came across, and don't want to do anything that may cause this lot harm.
    • Not to mention that their entire race is a carrier of (and biologically dependent on for reproduction) a super-virus that kills humans in horrible ways. There are some very legitimate reasons to not want to let them get off-planet!
    • And the piggies also happen to be at a social level where they see no problem with massacring a rival tribe if given the chance. Humans would quite like to get them used to more peaceful and cooperative solutions before powering them up.
  • In Iain Banks' novella The State of the Art, a Culture Contact ship spends several months snooping about on Earth in 1977, before deciding not to contact us. Not so much because the Culture has any qualms about influencing the Earth — it is just that the Minds have decided to use Earth as a control group. note  A passing reference in the appendix to Consider Phlebas does suggest that Earth has been Contacted by 2110 AD, at least. Humorously in Excession, when the Culture inadvertently becomes the victim of the trope, it is played completely straight.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • In the first season episode "Deathwalker". A notorious war criminal has created a serum that gives the user immortality. Despite the heinousness of her crimes, Earth's government pardons her in return for turning over the formula. As she leaves the station, she reveals to the characters that had reacted to her in disgust the evil twist involved: every dose of the formula required killing another person of the same species. She intended to give the formula to everyone, and watch as they all fell into self-destructive chaos as a result to prove her twisted reasoning right. However, as she's leaving, a Vorlon ship appears through the jump gate and destroys the ship with her on it. When questioned about it, Ambassador Kosh says simply, "You are not ready for immortality."
      • In the tabletop game Babylon 5 Wars it turns out Deathwalker managed to jump on an escape pod, that was the object of a free-for-all among ships from the Younger Races. Ultimately a Brakiri ship managed to grab the pod and escape... Only to disappear in hyperspace, with all ambassadors getting the message "You really aren't ready for immortality".
    • Sebastian, the Inquisitor sent by Vorlons to test Delenn's resilience and spirit in "Comes the Inquisitor", replies with this to Sheridan's questions about Vorlons.
    • After the Vorlons leave the galaxy, Lyta, who had been tightly involved with them, says that it would take humans more than a million years to get ready for a visit to the Vorlon homeworld.
  • In Farscape, John is given information about wormholes. The catch? It's behind a mental lock, and the Sufficiently Advanced Aliens who gave it to him state that if he isn't capable of unlocking the information on his own, he's not smart enough to use it wisely.
  • Duncan's mentor tells him this in Highlander in the flashback in 'Finale'. Duncan wants to fight Xavier St.Cloud, but Hamza tells him to flee into the desert because he isn't experienced enough to fight Xavier yet.
  • Played with a bit in House of Anubis in Season 1, as it is not the characters themselves who were not ready to build the cup, the cup could only be built and used during a certain time on a certain date, and by a a certain person.
  • In the first episode of Mahou Sentai Magiranger, youngest sibling Kai is denied the chance to become a Magiranger by his mother because he's too reckless. After being scared witless by Wolzard and working up the courage to stand up to him to defend his older siblings anyway, he is then deemed worthy, becoming MagiRed.
  • Used word for word in Smallville by Lex Luthor in Season 8.
  • The Tollan from Stargate SG-1 refused to share their technology with Earth because of a previous experience with a less advanced race that destroyed itself and the original Tollan homeworld. Flipped around a few seasons later, when this became the refrain of SG-1 when dealing with a less advanced society (although where the Tollan wouldn't give Earth any advanced technology, the SGC is willing to share certain non-military advances in medicine and agriculture with more primitive races).
    • The Asgard have this attitude toward Earth, but notably they subvert the trope and help humanity get ready, slowly introducing their technology with careful tutelage so humans can learn to use it wisely after humanity had demonstrated its intellectual and moral potential. In the final episode, they pass on the sum total of their collected knowledge before committing collective suicide.
  • Star Trek:
    • Basically the reason the Vulcans gave for not giving humans the technology to go to Warp 5 pre-Star Trek: Enterprise. The NX-01 is the humans' Warp 5 prototype, nearly 50 years and much enmity between humans and Vulcans later.
    • Many instances in Star Trek media where the Prime Directive is invoked revolve around this trope; Starfleet crews are on occasion conflicted between moral pressure to help those in need and complying with the Federation's rules about "interfering" with less-advanced cultures. Various stories see the Federation concede to helping deal with local problems when asked but drawing the line at actively interfering with a society's long-term development, while at least one spin-off novel had characters argue that giving cultures advanced technology before they have developed it themselves will inevitably lead to the misuse of that technology.
    • Humanity gets the shaft of this yet again when encountering an unknown life form on Velara III, which not only defies human understanding of what can constitute life, but is significantly more intelligent and advanced; they tell humanity to go away and come back in a few hundred years if they want to talk.
  • An episode of Time Trax reveals the existence of a race of Human Aliens called Procardians. In Darien's native 22nd century, they have contacted Earth, and their diplomatic ship is on the way. Darien discovers that Procardians visited Earth in the late 20th century and found humans wanting (i.e. too primitive and violent). They decided to wait before coming back, only a female Procardian was accidentally left behind, prompting her mate to steal a ship and come looking for her (except he has no idea what she looks like, due to the fact that their species ages in stages instead of gradually). Darien helps him find her and sends them to his own time to await the arrival of their ship.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • After Carly Colon loses the WWC Universal Title to Abdullah the Butcher, he says Eddie Colon, who was Puerto Rican Champion at the time and wanted to have a champion vs champion match with Abdullah, was not ready. Eddie beat Abdullah anyway, leading to chants approximate of "Take that Carly!" from the crowd in attendance.
  • After winning a four way dance featuring three other tag teams by himself at Survival Of The Fittest, CM Punk demanded that Ring of Honor give him stiffer competition, at which point Hydro, one half of one of the tag teams Punk had just beaten who himself might have won the match if Punk hadn't broken up his pin fall attempt, challenged Punk to take him on in a one on one match. Unfortunately for Hydro, Punk not only gave him this response but went on to prove it. Fortunately for Hydro, Punk's rival Samoa Joe decided to give him the guidance he would need to be ready in the future.
  • This was Paul Heyman's response to an invitation to work for TNA. He was right, because as long as money mark Dixie Carter was running things, the promotion was gonna continue bringing in the wrong people — and at the rate things are going, it's highly doubtful TNA will ever be ready, let alone if it gets the chance to be ready at all.
  • What Tasha Simone had to say in regards to MsChif, when she read MsChif was coming to the PGWA to avenge a student of hers that Simone had beat down, Rebecca Raze.
  • After Kazuchika Okada had taken the pro wrestling world by surprise and New Japan by storm upon his return from his North American "excursion", Bullet Club recruited AJ Styles in 2014, who insisted that contrary to popular belief Okada was still the lost kid he met in the states, to deal with him. Styles and Bullet would have the advantage over Okada and Chaos for a year and even when Okada did decisively defeat and put Styles in his rear view mirror he was noticeably humbled by the experience.
  • After losing the World Of Stardom title, Kairi Hojo offered a handshake to new champion Meiko Satomura, who slapped her hand away, saying Hojo would have to wait.
  • Jay Lethal at first showed no respect towards Ring of Honor's newest contracted wrestler, Lio Rush, but after Rush's first match under contract, which ended up being against Lethal due to Tomohiro Ishii taking the Television Title to New Japan, Lethal said that Rush may one day become a better wrestler than him. Till then, Lethal maintained he was the best wrestler in the world and that ROH putting that year's top prospect against him proved they were out of ideas(ROH wasn't yet).
  • It was implied Shayna Baszler had tried to tell Nicole Savoy this when the latter announced her intentions to enter a 2016 catch as catch can tournament. Savoy would admit she wasn't quite ready after being eliminated by Baszler.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • Bound by Blades: Your mentor, Eldros the Wolf, says this almost word-for-word in regards to why he's forbidding you to embark on your quest to rid the world of the Ilcyon monsters. He changes his mind when one of the Ilcyon, the shapeshifting monster Gallows, infiltrates his academy to ambush you - only for you to destroy it, proving your worth.
  • Brothers in Arms: In Hell's Highway, following a mortar attack that kills Friar, badly wounds Campbell, and gives Hartsock a Career-Ending Injury, Col. Robert Sink asks Sgt. Baker on who should be promoted to replace Hartsock as 2nd Squad Leader. When Baker chooses Paddock over Corrion, the latter gets furious, and questions Baker on why he's been passed over for promotion for a fourth time. Matt then gives him an Armor-Piercing Response combined with this trope, stating that thanks to his inactions in Eindhoven that ultimately got Franky killed (in Baker's arms, no less), on top of not following the very principles he preached, he was not ready to handle commanding an entire squad of men.
  • The title phrase was actually used as a slogan in ads for the original PlayStation — though in printed ads, it was written in the more cryptic form "U R NOT E", with the E being in red.
  • Said several times to the protagonist by the Solar in Baldur's Gate II: Throne of Bhaal, in reference to their powers as the spawn of a dead god. Her entire purpose is to fix this little problem, mostly by giving lots and lots of Exposition.
  • In "Episode 0: Allocation" of Code 7, S.O.L.I. claims he's not your enemy, but doesn't really explain why. Instead, he only says that he cannot tell you the truth, for it might shatter this world. Fancy sounding bullshit, right? Or at least so it seems, until the end of "Episode 3: Backdoor".
  • Dissidia Final Fantasy: Opera Omnia
    • Cecil is on the receiving end of this while suffering from Laser-Guided Amnesia and still fighting as a Dark Knight. When he asks Kain (who remembers everything) about the "future", Kain replies that the information would be meaningless and just being told about it wouldn't restore the light he gained as a Paladin.
    • Later, Cid Raines refuses to disclose the events of Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII to Snow for the same reasons, believing that without the context of actual memories, the knowledge would be distressing and harmful. Unfortunately, this gives Eald'narche an opening to manipulate Snow by offering to tell everything. Snow ends up leaving the party to learn the truth.
  • In the Fallout series the Brotherhood of Steel was started with the idea of preserving pre-War tech as a means of salvation for humanity despite the Brotherhood's secrecy and aloofness. Overtime this was turned into a ideology that prevents outsiders from joining the Brotherhood and finding, let alone using, any pre-War tech left uncovered. This is most seen in the East Coast Brotherhood chapter as the Outcasts split from the main group when Elder Owen Lyons wanted to aid the Capital Wasteland and only returned when Elder Arthur Maxson, the descendant of founder and High Elder Roger Maxson, made changes and broker a peace agreement allowing the Brotherhood to fight at full strength again as well as improve on old tech. Maxson still believes that tech should still be hoarded to prevent abuses but is OK about some low tech being used.
  • Kratos says this to his son Atreus in God of War (PS4), after the boy bungles a hunt and displays an uncontrollable berserker rage against a dead troll.
  • After the timeline in The Journeyman Project has been altered, the entirety of First Contact with the Cyrollans is revealed to have consisted of these four words before their ship departs.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • Kingdom Hearts: Creepy guy in brown cloak: "One who knows nothing, can understand nothing..." (referring to Sora). This creepy guy is later shown to be greatly mistaken about his beliefs and knowledge.
    • Kingdom Hearts II features an arrogant old man with a thing for vague statements about your ignorance, he turns out to be wrong about many things too. The Kingdom Hearts world isn't a good place to be an enigmatic mentor.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords Visas Marr refuses to share her master Darth Nihilus's location with the Exile for this reason. Fearing they are not strong enough and would die should she allow them to face him prematurely.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel III, after Rean and his new Class VII only barely manage to scrape by against the Steel Maiden Arianrhod, her Stahlritter, and their new Aion, the Azure Siegfried (who carries the appearance and voice of supposedly dead classmate/enemy Crow Armbrust) shows up and warns them that henceforth they're going to facing off against powerful enemies, legends, and those thought to be dead, and that as they are they don't stand a chance.
  • Mass Effect:
    • As far as the other species are concerned, Humanity is not ready for a human Spectre, or a seat on the Citadel Council. By the end of the game, they have both.
    • When the Council tried to uplift the krogan before they were ready, they subsequently went on a galactic conquest, so they have their reasons. In the second game, Mordin argues that this trope is what should have happened with the krogan, allowing them to evolve culturally and technologically on their own instead of being shaped into a weapon and pointed at the rachni. "Like giving nuclear weapons to caveman."
    • The Catalyst — the controlling intelligence directing the Reapers to harvest all advanced life every fifty thousand years could have executed a synthesis of organic and synthetic life into a new framework of life. It didn’t do this because it claimed that organic life forms were “not ready”. However, when the player character — a human resurrected from brain death by cybernetic implants — finds it and talks to it, the Catalyst says “you are ready. And you may choose synthesis.”
  • Word for word one of Kung Lao's lines in Mortal Kombat X, in a match up against Kung Jin.
    Kung Lao: You provoke me?
    Kung Jin: Just want to test myself against you.
    Kung Lao: You are not ready.
  • Rather early on in Phantasy Star IV, Rune tells Chaz that at this "stage of the game" he's not ready to take on the Big Bad. Chaz, who was as yet unaware that he's being swept up into things bigger than he can grasp, is nonplussed by the statement.
  • Slight variation: In the opening cinematic for the World of Warcraft expansion The Burning Crusade the main villain (sort of) Illidan can be heard saying "You are not prepared!" at the beginning and end of the cinematic and during his pre-battle monologue (and if you are indeed not prepared, he will say it again and again...) Enough that eventually it became his memetic Catchphrase.
  • Star Control: this is the Arilou's response when the Captain asks them for more information about a mysterious extrauniversal threat. The Arilou respond that knowing certain things about this threat opens you up to getting attacked by it, so they are not going to tell humanity anything about it; humanity is safer not knowing. This is supported by one of your scientists, who does manage to figure some things out, immediately trying to destroy every scrap of his research in desperation before his body is mangled by something invisible.
    Arilou: Ignorance is your armor; your greatest defense. If I tell you more, you will be able to look where you could never look before, and while looking, you can, and will, be seen. You do not want to be seen.

  • It's plain from the start of Inverloch that the da'kor know something and were probably involved with the disappearance of the elf Kayn'dar. However, when Acheron undertakes a quest to find him, his family and friends refuse to answer direct questions. Although his brother tells their mother that she should tell Acheron, she does not, and he abides by that decision. For her part, it's because she stopped believing in the plan made by her real son, who volunteered to have his soul swapped with Kayn'dar's in an elaborate vengeance for the elves' treachery—but she also didn't want to reveal information that would endanger him.
In Sabrina Online, Tabitha (who is a few years shy of puberty at this point) asks porn star Zig Zag what sex is like — a question Zig Zag is not expecting, if the Spit Take is any clue. Zig Zag then asks Tabitha what she's seen online, and Tabitha admits she's seen almost nothing, as porn just weirds her out and she stops the videos as the actors begin to undress. Zig Zag quite reasonably concludes Tabitha isn't mature enough to have her questions answered.

    Web Original 
  • Mark Does Stuff: Mark Oshiro, completely spoiler-free, is not prepared as his fans constantly remind him. He wasn't prepared for the Twilight books, but there it took on a more somber tone. And he certainly hasn't been prepared for any of the other stuff he's been reviewing.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Old Master Jeong Jeong says this to Aang about his wanting to learn firebending. Traditionally, the Avatar learns the elements in the order of the Avatar cycle (Air-Water-Earth-Fire), so Aang wouldn't be ready to learn firebending until he mastered water and earth. Though Jeong Jeong relents, it's proven that Aang wasn't ready, as his impetuousness results in Katara getting burned.
  • In Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, Azmuth considers Ben to be this regarding the new Omnitrix he is building (He changes his mind by the end of the series, though).
  • In the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra, the Order of the White Lotus thinks of this for Korra, believing she wasn't ready to learn Airbending because of her lack of spirituality. But thanks to Katara approving of Korra learning it, they instantly agree with her.

    Experience prove both Katara and the White Lotus have a point. Korra wasn't ready to learn airbending yet. But by leaving her sheltered home and going to Republic City she matures enough to learn it.
  • In episode four of Delta State Brodie states that Phillip is not even close to taking on the Big Bad when he wants revenge after they murder Chanterelle, someone who could have had answers to his past.
  • In Episode XXXII of Samurai Jack, after Jack fails to defeat The Guardian and gain access to the time portal, we see in a Flash Forward that Jack will eventually use the portal when he's ready. Aku decided he didn't like that idea, blew up the portal and (presumably) killed the Guardian too over the 50-year Timeskip.
    The Guardian: You can't use it yet, Samurai Jack. Not yet. Not yet.
  • The Star Wars example between Luke and Yoda was parodied in Family Guy Presents: Laugh It Up, Fuzzball.
    Yoda/Carl: Y-You're not done with all your Force stuff, a-and besides, you can't fight Vader. Only an experienced Jedi could fight Vader.
    Luke/Chris: Well, why don't you go?
    Yoda/Carl: Yeah, you're probably ready to fight Vader.
  • A recurring element Super Mario World (1991) would be the heroes would try to provide some innovation to help the cavemen of Dome City. But in some episodes, they overdo it and cause a mess. For example, "The Wheel Thing". Mario introduces the wheel, but then goes ahead and begins making cars for everyone. Needless to say, the lack of driving etiquette result in a lot traffic jams, car crashes, and unhappy cavemen.
  • Steven Universe: Garnet and Pearl don't tell Steven about Homeworld because of their assumptions that he's not emotionally mature enough to process the information. It eventually comes back to bite them in the gem in "Steven's Dream"; their refusal to talk about what he assumes is Pink Diamond (but is actually Blue Diamond visiting Earth, according to Garnet) causes Steven to snap and lash out at them for keeping secrets, and go off to Korea with Greg to find out for himself... which leads to Greg getting kidnapped by Blue Diamond.

    Real Life 
  • This is the justification behind teenage driver regulations. Even though the typical teenager might have had driver's education, s/he is still too inexperienced to be given the responsibility to drive unsupervised especially at night. Unrestricted privileges are usually granted only by the time the driver turns 18-21 (depending on the country) and is generally considered more mature.
  • This is also the reason most societies have age of consent laws. Even though humans are capable of sexual reproduction from the instant they hit puberty, most societies judge pubescent early to mid teens as not having the emotional maturity and intelligence to handle the responsibility of sexual relationships and the burden of childcare.
  • The nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was put in place with this exact justification — that nations which didn't already have nuclear weapons for decades at this point in time, won't have the cultural maturity and restraint to be able to use them wisely. Owing to the fact that the nations allowed to be exempt from this treaty were primarily European or European derived nations and China, this treaty is open to controversy.
  • This is why, when young children ask where babies come from, adults either explain it in the most vague, G-rated way possible, make something up (like the stork or a cabbage patch), or outright tell them they're not ready to know and won't be til they're older.
  • This is given against humanity exploring and colonizing space. It has been argued that humans are not socially and culturally prepared to travel into outer space. This often has to do with social problems such as war, greed, pollution, prejudice, etc. But there's also the question of First Contact and whether humanity is ready to meet another sentient civilization.


Video Example(s):


With Mogwai comes much responsibility (Gremlins)

After witnessing the Gremlins catastrophe and the Peltzer's breaking the three rules, Mr. Wing decides to claim Gizmo and take him back to his home, addressing that maybe Billy, the most responsible member of the family, will be ready for it one day.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / YouAreNotReady

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