Reasonable Authority Figure

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

The Governor: Parasitic aliens are invading Earth. And my husband is controlled by one.
Marco: Yeah. Basically, that's the story.
The Governor: Thank God. I was beginning to think something much, much worse was happening. Aliens we can fight.

Animorphs #51: "The Absolute"

Heroes like the Ignored Expert have a hard enough time dealing with idiotic peasants, but their deepest problems invariably come from the antagonistic local authorities, who are dead set on ignoring their warnings and running them out of town because it's politically expedient.

Which makes the existence of the Reasonable Authority Figure all the rarer. Fully aware that Machiavelli Was Wrong, he'll listen to those "crazy kids" when they say there's a fugitive nearby, and actually logically consider their arguments and not discard them out of hand. However, their openness to the heroes' ideas doesn't mean they'll follow Agent Mulder's crazy ideas blindly. Often, they'll ask for proof and facts rather than follow baseless accusations, but even then, they'll usually humor the heroes and go check out their theories; whether it pans out or turns into a dead end depends on how far along the story is.

Usually Lawful Good. Generally the person characters must Bring News Back to. And the chain of command that goes past the basic Command Roster. The Rebellious Rebel is motivated by loyalty to him.

Noteworthy because, if the hero does manage to convince them, can help Fighting for Survival. But they may have to Shoot the Dog as part of their position. Being in a position where you are responsible for millions and do not think that A Million Is a Statistic can be quite hard.

May present The Hero and his companions with valuable gifts before The Quest or as a reward afterward.

Of course, their position means that they can often end the story very quickly unless other obstacles intervene. Which means they usually do intervene.

  1. They're made inaccessible by the Obstructive Bureaucrat and Evil Chancellor who has it in for the heroes, trying to stop them getting an audience or outright lying to destroy their arguments and reputation. Barring this, the Reasonable Authority Figure might just be plain busy, overworked, or under-funded and might not have the time or resources to adequately solve the hero's problem as quickly as he or she would like.
  2. A young ruler (usually hereditary) may have difficulty either getting to the heroes to listen, or asserting his theoretical authority. Usually they are surrounded by manipulative "guardians" out to start pointless wars.
  3. The Reasonable Authority Figure will inevitably be displaced when a Tyrant Takes the Helm, leading to a Ten-Minute Retirement.
  4. If he is not the absolute ruler, Interservice Rivalry and Divided We Fall can be a problem even after you persuade him. Indeed, that you speak with this character may induce his rivals to regard you as an enemy, or at least to undercut you in hopes of ensuring that their favorites succeed in your place.
  5. If he needs approval from the Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering to take action, the chances that he can convince them to agree about anything are less than favorable.

A common subversion is to have this character turn out to be the Treacherous Advisor.

The type's opposite is Head-in-The-Sand Management. If male, the Reasonable Authority Figure may be The Patriarch and A Father to His Men, or Da Chief, or a Benevolent Boss. If female, the Reasonable Authority Figure may be an Iron Lady or The High Queen.

In school-type shows featuring the Sadist Teacher (or possibly a strict dean or vice-principal), it's usually the principal that fills this role. Mind you, sometimes this is just elaborate Good Cop, Bad Cop.

See also In Its Hour of Need.

Examples of Reasonable Authority Figure include:

Anime and Manga

  • Detective Ooishi from Higurashi no Naku Koro ni borderlines between this and Agent Mulder. He's always searching for clues as to the cause of the string of murders and takes any useful information, but is considered too obsessive over the topic and has been urged to step off the case a few times.
    • Of course, there are a few arcs in which he is... less than reasonable.
    • Dr. Irie might be a straighter example from the same series. Except for the whole, you know, Lolicon thing.
  • The Time-Space Administration Bureau at the start of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is a surprisingly understanding and helpful instance of The Federation. They're perfectly willing to cooperate with the heroine even though she's Just a Kid (it helps that Midchilda apparently lacks age of majority or child labor laws) and are quite understanding of the franchise's numerous Anti Villains. Lindy Harlaown is by far the most representative of this...some of the higher-ups, less so. Nanoha's Muggle parents are also quite understanding and helpful, for a Magical Girl's parents.
    • Triangle Heart 3 ~sweet songs forever~ is somewhat of a partially alternate universe, but even with that caveat, Nanoha's parents (and siblings.. and shop assistants..) are about as Muggle as a desert is wet. They just don't use magic the same way, if at all.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima has Konoemon Konoe, the principal of Mahora. All he needs is his granddaughter, a lesbian half demon Samurai, and a talking ermine to show up with a message from a ten-year-old that said ten-year-old's supergenius Chinese descendant from the future is going to use an army of robots to break The Masquerade, and he sends out for a huge shipment of weapons from the Magic World, and helps organize the student body into a Redshirt Army.
    • It helps that he's at least an amateur chessmaster himself, and, being a mage in a Crazy Awesome universe, has probably seen weirder in his day.
  • Bradley in Fullmetal Alchemist seems to be one of these, but like Palpatine, he's really a bad guy.
    • Maes Hughes is a better example.
    • Ling Yao appears to become this. To begin with he was already a Prince with the belief that the duty of a King is to serve his people and that a King is nothing without his subjects, but when he actually obtains what he needed to success to the throne, his first promise is to accept and protect each and every one of the rival clans within the Xing empire, which every generation up to then would war with each other over who will be next to inherit the throne.
    • The anime turned him into a General Ripper, but in the manga Basque Grand is without a doubt one of these, doing his best to limit his men's casualties (often by leading the charge himself) and not only accepting the surrender of Ishbal's head cleric (despite his own superior's orders to the contrary) but making sure that he gets to see Fuhrer Bradley, no matter what. It doesn't do a lot of good in the long-run, but given the circumstances Grand is being as reasonable as he can be.
  • In Yuusha-Oh GaoGaiGar, Koutarou Taiga, Yaginuma, and Rose Approval all count.
  • Mr. Colbert from The Familiar of Zero, eager to commit treason in order to help his students.
  • One Piece has Fleet Admiral Sengoku. You'd think that, being in charge of the Marines, he would be one of the most evil characters in the series - but he genuinely puts the safety of the world first. His superiors in the World Government, on the other hand...
    • We are now introduced to Prince Fukaboshi of the Neptune Army. Most people would have freaked out if they heard that their father was being held hostage inside the palace and the kidnappers started making demands (especially since said kidnappers are prophesized to destroy Fishmen Island). Fukaboshi was very calm, agreed to the demands in return of the hostages and then passed on Jimbei's message for Luffy to Zoro as part of his duty to Jimbei, whereas most people would have been "screw that" to the kidnappers.
  • In Dairugger XV, Teles was the Reasonable Authority Figure in the Galbeston Empire who wanted to end the war with The Alliance, but he didn't have the authority to do it.
  • In Full Metal Panic!? Fumoffu, the Student Council President. How reasonable is he? Well, he thinks Sōsuke's way of disposing of an unknown item in his shoelocker (i.e. detonating the entrance hall with a high-yield plastic explosive) to be perfectly reasonable. After all, anything could have been in there.
    • Though exactly how "reasonable" it is to automatically believe and trust in all of Sousuke's actions is debatable, especially among the other students.
  • In Freezing, among all the Axe Crazy of a Blood Knight third years, only the strongest among them, Chiffon Fairchild, is the one who isn't interested in beating Sattelizer into a messy pulp.
  • Both the Third Hokage, Sarutobi and the Fifth Hokage, Tsunade from Naruto, have fulfilled this role over the course of the story.
    • Other examples would be the Konoha counselors Homura and Kotetsu, as well as post timeskip Gaara.
    • Tsunade can actually be seen as a subversion. She appears to be this because of the way she's always generous to Naruto... but that's just it, she's always generous to Naruto. She sends him up against the people who are after him, consistently allows him to go after Sasuke (as well as not actually seek to eliminate Sasuke, which would be standard procedure) and refuses to place restrictions on him that would better protect him (and the Eldritch Abomination inside him) from his enemies. She chooses to do these things entirely based on her personal feelings and opinions of Naruto, which is realistically an unreasonable thing to do. Of course, there is the fact that Naruto is The Hero of the story, is marked by a prophecy to become The Messiah, and has defeated powerful enemies that nobody else could and ruined some of the plans of the major antagonists (even if admittedly he has been in mortal peril and requiring help many times), so Tsunade's trust in him is not entirely unfounded.
  • In Pokémon Special, despite the fact that White did forcibly draft Black into her talent agency by footing the enormous bill for the movie equipment he destroyed, she doesn't actually expect him to be able to pay off the entire thing. She acknowledges that he does have his own life and dreams to follow. That said, she still tries to get him to understand the world of showbiz and business a little better, and is quick to call him out whenever he ruins a potential job opportunity.
  • In the undersea horror manga 6000, Wein, the director, is initially set up as a Jerkass Obstructive Bureaucrat who ignores his engineers' warnings that the instillation isn't ready for prime time; once he's convinced there's a real danger, though, he shows himself to be remarkably Genre Savvy, immediately arranging to evacuate the entire instillation at the first possible opportunity—going so far as to avoid informing any higher-ups until everyone is safe and declaring his intention to personally take full responsibility for any objections they have to this course of action.
  • The Roman Emperor from So Ra No Wo To is never shown in the anime and is only mentioned as the guy Rio's older sister, Iliya refused to marry even if it would end the war. When episode twelve roles around Rio appears right before the final confrontation and claims that due to her recent marriage to him, the war is now over and during the ending credits she returns to the Bastion and tells them that the emperor is a pretty reasonable guy and granted her any one wish because she ended the war.

Comic Books

  • This is one way to describe the relationship between Batman and Commissioner James Gordon, who, let's face it, is really sticking his neck out as a policeman and a city official by consistently trusting in a shadowy, anonymous vigilante who dresses up as a giant bat to beat up criminals. In some versions of the story, notably Frank Miller's and the films (the first Batman and Batman Begins) this is Justified Trope, as much of the rest of Gotham's police are corrupt cops.

Fan Works

  • Enemy of My Enemy gives us two: Administrator Amanda Jennings and Shipmaster Vtan 'Arume. Helped by the fact that the latter saved the life of the former's young daughter.
  • In The Dark has Officer Shaw helping both Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys deal with Otis Darwin and his cult after they kidnapped and tried to subject Melanie Chisholm to a Human Sacrifice.
  • Astral Journey: It's Complicated has an unnamed officer trying to work on the case about the pitch accident that almost claimed Emma's life. He also gets involved with the ESP research, not to mention had to issued a warrant after Melanie escapes from a mandated stay that the hospital. To be fair on that, all he was doing is his job.


  • The president in the The Day After Tomorrow became convinced of the meteorologists' prediction of impending doom and ordered the evacuation of the southern United States, despite the protests of his Jerkass Dick Cheney lookalike Vice President, and even he comes around eventually and regrets blowing off the Meteorologist as an Agent Mulder and scorning Global Warming as a joke. Clearly, there was no ulterior message involved.
  • Disney's The Hunchback of Notre Dame had an Archdeacon to clean up the church's name after Judge Frollo's Kick the Dog moment where he contemplates killing the deformed baby Quasimodo.
  • The doctor from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, while bearing in mind that he's dealing with a load of crazy people, is very kind and agreeable with them. Unlike the evil nurse.
  • The Lion King had Mufasa.
  • The Professor from The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is an interesting variation. Peter and Susan, since they disbelieve in Lucy's stories about visiting the world of Narnia, are beginning to be a little worried about her sanity. So they bring their concerns to the Professor, and he surprises them by taking the Agent Mulder position and arguing that the story may actually be true. The more usual dynamic is for the protagonist to be playing Mulder and the authority figure to be Scully, but this dynamic is Inverted Trope here. Of course, that's probably because the Professor once visited Narnia himself (The Magician's Nephew).
  • The general in Good Morning Vietnam, as opposed to the Obstructive Bureaucrat Sergeant Major Dickerson.

Gen. Taylor: Dick, I've covered for you a lot of times 'cause I thought you were a little crazy. But you're not crazy, you're mean. And this is just radio.

  • Every authority figure in Night of the Lepus accepts that monsters are rampaging without question, and all immediately spring into action. Which is rather unreasonable in and of itself - not a single person ever stops and says "Giant Man Eating Rabbits? You can't be serious!?"
    • Maybe there'd been a Monty Python marathon in town the night before?
  • In Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2, the mayor is willing to listen to the characters about the bizarre events in his city. In the first one, Venkman gets his cooperation by appealing to his political ambition ("If we can stop this thing, you will have saved the lives of millions of registered voters"). In the sequel, when he realizes the eponymous characters have been thrown into the loony bin by his Evil Chancellor he immediately has them released and him fired respectively.
  • Senator Palpatine of Star Wars is an eminently Reasonable Authority Figure. He's on the ball in terms of senate politics in episode I and advises queen Amidala on how to shake up the senate to help Naboo. In episode II he's clued in enough to send senator Amidala to safety, and in III he's very supportive of Anakin's ambitions, all while helping lead the Republic in a war against the clearly evil Confederacy. It's thanks to his timely wisdom that the treacherous Jedi rebellion was put down so easily, and in reward the senate made him the first emperor of the Galactic Empire.
    • The web comic Darths and Droids seem to be playing this trope straighter (or at least more Neutral Good) than Star Wars did. He's actually shocked and a little horrified by Jar-jar's suggestion for him to assume emergency powers. Even Palpatine's killing of Mace Windu and order to wipe out the Jedi are due to him trying to protect the Republic while being manipulated by Anakin.
  • The detective in Bunny Lake Is Missing embodies this trope. Despite the fact that every piece of evidence suggests that Ann Lake never really had a daughter, he continues to investigate zealously because after all, if she's not crazy then a four-year-old girl is missing. And thanks to this behavior he gets possibly the most understated, British Big Damn Heroes moment in cinematic history.
  • In The Monster Squad, when most local authority figures don't take them seriously, one of the cast sends a note written in crayon to the army asking for help against the monster invasion. The army responds by sending in tanks and infantry.
  • The general in The Iron Giant attempts to understand the situation and not assume the worst when confronted with a giant alien robot. Unfortunately, the FBI agent on the scene happens to be a complete bigot, and goes out of his way just to provoke the Iron Giant into retaliation.
  • Judi Dench's portrayal of M in the James Bond films, especially with the Daniel Craig reboot. She might have problems with his methods, but once he proves himself she'll back him up.
  • Eight Legged Freaks. Nobody quite believed the stories of rampaging man-eating spiders in the far-off, isolated town. But the authorities sent in backup to investigate the screaming that resulted when a giant spider attacked the crowded radio station.
  • The CEO of RoboCop's O.C.P. seems a kindly and reasonable man, if a bit "out of it" (think Ronald Reagan). However, one of his assistants is a treacherous villain, even played by Ronny Cox, who played a similar role in Stargate SG-1 as mentioned above. Once the CEO realizes the evil of what's going on, he does what he can to stop it (to great effect in medio).
    • And kept up in the series, where he has both intent and capability to fix a lot of bad situations... as long as he finds out about it in the first place, something his cadre of corrupt execs prevents as much as possible. Diane even convinces him at one point to sneak out and see the city for himself. On the other hand, just about anyone in a position immediately below him seems to have their basic human morality surgically removed.
  • Frank Butterman, Chief of Police in Hot Fuzz. Whenever Sergent Angel suggests that an accident might have been a murder, the rest of the squad mocks the notion, however Butterman calmly listens to Angel's suspicions, and then orders the squad to treat the situation according to Angel's theory. Subverted in that Butterman is actually behind the rash of murders, with the backing of most of the town elders and leaders, and he merely goes along with Angel in order to try to make him seem irrational and less credible.
  • The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Morshower, in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is presented as being 100 percent supportive of his combined team of Autobots and military operatives. That doesn't stop the Obstructive Bureaucrat from messing things up, though.
    • In the preceding film the Secretary of Defense, when he's informed of what is happening, quite reasonably backs up the soldiers who have actually fought (and beat, let alone survived) a Decepticon attack and the teenage kid who obviously has a handle on what is happening.
      • Earlier in the movie, he demonstrates how such a figure can be authoritative while still being reasonable: when a young civilian contractor intrudes on his emergency meeting with some high-ranking officers, all the while making wild conjectures about extraterrestrial computer viruses, he ushers her out quickly and with no undue fuss, saying that he'd be glad to listen if she finds any proof, but that she needs to learn some manners if she wants to work at this level. Later, when proof is presented, he not only listens but appoints her as his advisor.
    • Let us not forget Optimus himself.
    • In the third film, the new head of NEST points out, correctly, that Sam is a civilian, and bars him from entering the base all willy-nilly like he used to. Then when he investigates what's going on and is proven right, she calmly admits she was wrong about him, without any sort of coercion or request. In fact, it's the very first thing she says to him when they meet.
  • Every layer of the US government in the classic mutant-ant movie Them!.
  • Evenlyn Salt's superior Ted Winter in Salt was at least trying to understand why Salt was acting the way she was and acted more calmly, in contast to the more rash, frantic Peabody. Winter was in fact a Russian spy, so he took Salt's side because he wanted her succeed. And in the end, when Salt was arrested, Peabody, after receiving certain information to get him to trust Salt, he lets her escape.
  • The prosecutor in My Cousin Vinny is a good-natured, by-the-book, down-home country lawyer. He's dead set on getting the kids convicted and executed, but the evidence does look pretty damning. When Vinny succeeds in knocking a big hole in the case, he immediately moves to have the case dismissed and congratulates Vinny on doing such a good job.
    • To be fair, there was no way for him to win the case at that point (the evidence pretty much exonerated the defendants). Having the case dismissed was his best move.
  • Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight fits the trope by leading the crusade against corruption in Gotham. Of course, this changes as soon as he becomes Two Face.
  • Captain Pike of the 2009 Star Trek reboot is surprisingly reasonable and willing to listen. It probably helps that he has a bit of a soft spot for Kirk.
  • SHIELD in the Iron Man movies (and presumably future movies set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe).
  • The police chief in Edward Scissorhands who, after arresting Edward, seems genuinely concerned for his wellbeing and later tries to protect him from the mob.
  • Odin and ( in a rare villainous example ) Laufey in Thor. Odin wants to avoid war with the Frost Giants and preserve their peace. Laufey was prepared to let Thor and his friends go for violating the truce and invading their nation.

Laufey: "You have no idea what you would unleash. (Beat). I do."

  • The Attorney-General in Shooter. He agrees to talk to the guy who everybody "knows" tried to kill the President on the request of a junior FBI agent, releases him instantly when confronted with evidence exonerating him, and then basically tells him to go murder the rogue intelligence operative who set the whole thing up.
  • General Berringer in WarGames, who not only turned out to be right on every significant point, but was one of the very few people in the movie who had a rational, well-thought out reason for every decision he made (even the incorrect ones).
  • Admiral Bates in Under Siege. A battleship carrying nuclear weapons is being hijacked and the only person he can talk to is a busted-out ex-SEAL who pretty much blows off any orders as polite suggestions at best. What's his response? To tell Chief Ryback that he is officially authorized to do anything he feels like doing just so long as the hijacking is defeated. He's not happy to do this, but he's more than rational enough to accept that there's very little else he can do in this situation, and experienced enough to know that you can't micromanage a battle by remote control from thousands of miles away but have to allow the on-scene commander to react to unplanned events on his own initiative.


  • Discworld's Lord Vetinari is one deep down, though for his own reasons he hides it well. Vimes also fits the trope.
  • The governor from Animorphs #51 is incredibly level-headed and good at rolling with the punches - see the page quote.
  • Dumbledore of Harry Potter fame is perhaps too easygoing when it comes to Harry, but considering the trouble he tends to attract, it pays to listen when Harry says basilisks/death eaters/trolls/whatever are mucking about.
    • Albus Dumbledore is one of the few authority figures in the Harry Potter universe who is consistently not evil and on the ball as far as what's going on, and therefore knows well enough to trust the heroes (and occasionally bail them out of school trouble when it's convenient).
    • Professor McGonagall qualifies too (appropriately, since she's Dumbledore's replacement). By the end of Book 7, all she needs from Harry is a vague assurance that he's doing something important before she's entirely willing to stage a massive battle just to give Harry the time he needs.
      • She was pretty horrid in earlier books though, doing things like blowing off Harry's warnings and ordering Harry to just shut up and accept Umbridge's detentions without hearing Harry's side of the story first. She had to learn how to be a Reasonable Authority Figure after Dumbledore died.
    • Heck, Dumbledore was probably using Legilimency on Harry anyway, so he knew when to trust Harry and when Harry was holding something back.
    • Of course, since a good deal of what's going on with Harry were either initiated by Dumbledore or things he suspected were going to happen as Harry came of age, it's not such a big deal that he believes the boy.
    • It's been hinted that Amelia Bones, the Director of Magical Law Enforcement, fell into this category which was a major reason for her possibly becoming Minister... and why Voldemort had her killed.
      • More than hinted. During Harry's Kangaroo Court in book 5 (Amelia's major on-camera scene), she's the only person on the judge's panel insistently refusing to ride the kangaroo but instead shutting down anyone and everyone, including the Minister of Magic, when they try to circumvent proper rules of evidence or courtroom procedure. She is in fact the only non-Order-of-the-Phoenix Auror we ever see to act like a responsible law enforcement officer would act by real-world standards.
  • Lord Capulet in Romeo and Juliet. He doesn't take the feud as seriously, and when Romeo crashes a party, his response is to just shrug because Romeo has a good reputation. When his younger relatives are raving about how Romeo's crashing the party, Capulet tells them to just leave Romeo alone because he's not done anything wrong.
  • Watership Down. 'The Threarah', the Chief Rabbit of the Sandleford warren, who appears to be the Obstructive Bureaucrat-type when he dismisses Fiver's warning out of hand. Holly later reveals that his reasoning was actually quite logical—most prophets are frauds, and even if they're genuine the warren would have lost more rabbits from a mass evacuation than a flood or from hunters. Tragically the oncoming disaster is more massive than The Threarah could imagine or Fiver could explain coherently.
  • Chief Wyatt Porter in the Odd Thomas novels knows quite well about Odd's psychic gifts, and consults him whenever he can (i.e. as long as he eventually has enough evidence to back him up in courts and whatnot).
  • The X Wing Series' Wedge Antilles. When Myn Donos had a Heroic BSOD, he helped cover it up. Later, when Myn fired on Lara for the destruction of Talon Squadron, and shot a torpedo at another pilot, he was taken off duty, but not actually written up, though there was a testing period while Wedge decided whether or not to do so. And when Myn realized that the fighters were going into a trap, Wedge called them off, even though he couldn't see how and they lost two in doing so.
    • Grand Admiral Thrawn is one of the bad guys (although not strictly evil) and executed a tractor beam operator for failing to catch Luke's ship—but in a later book he promoted a new tractor beam operator who had failed to catch another ship Luke was on because although the guy had failed, he'd tried new method. He also treated his second-in-command and occasional Commander Contrarian with respect.
      • The first operator was executed because he made foolish mistakes and then blatantly tried to make excuses for his failure to Thrawn's face; the second operator got promoted because he took responsibility for his actions, and explained his tactics and why they failed, both of which impressed Thrawn. This was also a bit of Magnificent Bastardry on Thrawn's part, as he knew (and Pellaeon soon realized) that showing mercy to the second operator would boost morale and make the crew even more loyal to him.
        • Even more the first operator tried to put the blame for the failure on someone else. Thrawn was not amused by that...
    • Pellaeon surely counts by the Hand of Thrawn duology, when he's basically got Thrawn's old rank, albeit commanding the forces of a much smaller Empire. He happens to Know When to Fold'Em, is protective of his people, and treats his own Commander Contrarian the way Thrawn treated him. Oh, and he's trying to make peace with the New Republic, and sees efforts by various Imperial elements to make it look like the New Republic has refused as what they are: a trick. ...Really, by that point he's not remotely one of the bad guys.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Nightbringer, the governor. Although things have gone badly under her, Barzano preempts a vote of no confidence because she seems to be the best. And she faces the troubles with equinamity and an effort to fix things.
    • The Governor of Tarsis Ultra in the second Ultramarines book is also one of these - initially more concerned with pomp and ceremony than defences, he is immediately put in his place by the Astartes and Imperial Guard commanders. Rather than (some might say predictably) becoming a sulking villian, he swallows his pride and does what he can to help, becoming a vital administrator of the supply lines, and dies, bravely fighting in a battle he wasn't trained for to set an example to the people.
    • The Ultramarines themselves are this, ruling a mini Empire, Ultramar its one of the best places to live in the Imperium, minus the whole Tyranid invasion a few hundred years ago.
    • In Dead Sky Black Sun, the Lord of the Unfleshed. True, he's a cannibalistic monster with the mind of a little child who strongly considers eating Uriel and his companions, but he's leading the Unfleshed in horrible circumstances, and has no experience with good people who are not the Unfleshed. Once Uriel persuades him, he throws all his forces into a desperate attack.
    • In The Killing Grounds, the Grey Knight Leodegarius. Despite his suspicion and insistence on the ordeals to test Uriel and Pasanius, he is willing to clear them -- even acting in a more conciliatory manner after he knows if they are tainted, it was not with their knowledge -- and deals with the planet in a straightforward and just manner.
    • Oddly enough most Governors end up as this trope, all but one named Governor in the Cain books wasn't this because that one was a genestealer. Guess the bad ones tend to be killed off.
      • One of the Cain books actually had a short blurb that implied incompetent Governors are quickly dealt with by the Officio Assassinorum.
      • Chris Roberson's Dawn of War II has a wonderfully incompetent governor.
  • In the second book of Hilari Bell's Knight And Rogue series, Michael and Fisk are surprised to find the local sheriff is willing to get their side of the story before summarily running them out of town on the say-so of an important official. Though he still makes them leave once the book's over.
  • In Sophie Kinsella's The Undomestic Goddess, Ketterman comes off as cold, severe and off-putting at first, but he is the only one to listen to Samantha and investigate the fraud perpetrated by Arnold Saville.
  • Each book in A Series of Unfortunate Events tends to have exactly one character in this position. They usually don't last very long.
    • A definite example would be Montgomery Montgomery from "The Reptile Room". The later books tend to lack this character, or have one offscreen.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's Thuvia, Maid Of Mars, Thuvia refuses to have a prince who laid hands on her arrested, despite the gravity of the crime, because it would mean war.
    • Later, the Great Jed, U-Thor. He gives Tara advice on defending herself against charges, valiantly defends his stepson A-Kor against A-Kor's own father, the jeddak, and in the end is instrumental in replacing the jeddak with A-Kor.
  • In Annals of the Black Company, the Lady may be evil, but she also fits this trope nicely. Admittedly, she does get somewhat cross with underlings who work against her, but she'll forgive (what's left of) them if she learns that the accusations were false.
  • In Charles Stross's The Atrocity Archives and sequels, Angleton may count, despite being the scariest person in the Laundry. Exercising his authority frequently falls afoul of obstacle #4, above. Oh so much.
  • Bluestar from Warrior Cats, but only sometimes. Given the information she had, she almost always made the best decision, once asking an apprentice to track down a friendly fugitive that General Ripper was definitely going to execute. Unfortunately the general was also the Evil Chancellor, so she was quite blind to his motives, despite repeat warnings from the hero.
  • Supreme Affluent Greene Reid of A Touch of Poison, who deals with a tricky situation with remarkable calm, given the circumstances (mainly, that the Widow Baker nearly poisoned him, but chooses not to, comes to him with proof of the poisoning and a full confession as to how and why she attempted such a thing in the first place).
  • King-Emperor John IV, from S.M. Stirling's novel, The Peshawar Lancers. The cannibalistic Satanist Russian Empire has bred a lineage of seeresses who can see the consequences of any possible action? Your evidence is pretty convincing. Maybe you hero-types should go do something about it.
  • The Belisarius Series features Malwa noble Damodara, who starts off reasonable in actually listening to Rana Sanga's concern that they're being played by Belisarius, and then covers up the Rajput king's failure in capturing Belisarius because he accepts that anyone would have fallen for the Batman Gambit which was used.
  • King Arthur.
  • In Josepha Sherman's The Shining Falcon, Finist. So frustrating to Ljuba.
  • Faramir counts in The Lord of the Rings. He provides assistance to Frodo and Sam once he learns of their quest (after making them sweat a bit) and shows mercy to Gollum when Frodo vouches for him (though Gollum doesn't realize it).
  • Duke Gareth in Song of the Liones was one, being strict and authoritative but at the same time, understanding and kind. Despite giving Alanna a stern lecture for beating up a boy who had ruthlessly bullied her (even breaking her arm at one point), he had supported her (even telling her privately that Ralon deserved to be thrashed) and was secretly pleased that she managed to do it on her own.
  • Sheriff Pangborn from Stephen King's The Dark Half. After the villain George Stark leaves a bloody fingerprint at a crime scene that perfectly matches local writer Thad Beaumont, Pangborn arrives to arrest Thad. But when Thad produces an ironclad alibi, Pangborn believes him and does all he can to help catch Stark. Pangborn later gets to be The Hero in Needful Things.
  • Special Agent Tilly from Changes. He turns off the recording tape during his interrogation of Harry, at Harry's request, and is willing to listen to and calmly evaluate what Harry says to him about the supernatural. He also handles himself very well during the Red Court attack.
  • Leonard Stecyk in The Pale King.
  • Artemis Butler of the web-novel Domina, despite being a gang lord.

Butler: I swear that all I want is to safeguard everyone. But this city is all I can control.

  • Marcia Overstrand, ExtraOrdinary Wizard, in Septimus Heap zig-zags this trope, varying from a Reasonable Authority Figure in e.g Darke where she immediately comes to the Palace with the other Wizards when alerted to the presence of a Darke Domaine to Not Now, Kiddo in Flyte, when she refuses to believe that Jenna has been kidnapped by her elder brother Simon Heap.
  • Bishop Peregrino in Speaker for the Dead first seems like a Bible-thumping fanatic dead-set on kicking the "infidel" Speaker out of Lusitania as soon as possible, including declaring Ender to be The Devil himself. He still has plenty of reservations, but the events of the book have Peregrino mellowing and developing a level of respect for Ender, even if he doesn't agree with his methods (such as revealing embarassing personal information to everyone instead of just to the bishop and God in confession). Additionally, Ender revealing that he was baptised as a child helps the bishop accept him into their Catholic community. He also agrees to rebel against the Starways Congress in order to save Miro.
    • He does slip up in the following book Xenocide, even though he is older and wiser (the book takes place 30 years later). After Quim's death at the "hands" of Warmaker, Valentine warns the bishop and the mayor of the impending riot the likes of which they've never seen, only for both of them to dismiss her advice. Bishop claims that his people are all good Catholics who'd never do something like that. The events of that night make him realize how wrong he'd been, and he makes all of his churchgoers build a new chapel to commemorate all those who died.

Live Action TV

  • Skinner from The X-Files really does listen to Mulder & Scully if they can back it up.
  • The new President in Stargate SG-1, with a prejudiced/misguided Evil Vice President (Kinsey).
    • Generals Hammond, O'Neill and Landry, and Colonel Caldwell from Atlantis also fit.

[Dr. Jackson has just finished giving intel about the Jaffa to SG-1 and Gen. Hammond, based on a dream]
Dr. Jackson: [surprised] So, you believe me, too?
Gen. Hammond: The things I've heard sitting in this chair…

      • The episode "Sight Unseen" has a great example where Jonas Quinn (still sort of the new guy) claims to see something no one else can (a large bug crawling around). Hammond immediately orders a lockdown and investigation into the matter.
    • It's especially evident once the President finds out about everything Kinsey has done, he shuts him up in order to listen to Dr. Weir and fires him in the same breath. In fact, the President tells him that with so much compromising evidence against him, Kinsey's lucky he's not getting shot for treason.
  • President Bartlet of The West Wing is a mild version of one of these, in that he actually listens to practical and moral reasons for his actions, rather than scheming and ignoring the facts for political gain.
  • iCarly features Principal Franklin, the principal of Carly's school. He's not strict at all, once getting Carly and her friends out of detention, and even giving Carly a reprieve when her friend hacked into the school's computer to change her grades. This may be partially explained by the fact that the principal is a big fan of Carly's webshow, and she wouldn't be able to do the show if she were spending all her time in detention.
    • It seems that he is more than aware of how sadistic the teachers are at his school, which sets him up as the one ray of hope in an otherwise miserable environment.
  • Admiral Forrest, Starfleet's CINC on Star Trek: Enterprise is just about the only instance of a consistently supportive admiral in the franchise; the standard is more like Admiral Nechayev from TNG.
    • It should be noted that Admiral Ross from Deep Space 9 also had a tendency to be fairly reasonable... In fact, he tended to be the voice of reason when Sisko began to chew scenery.
    • Speaking of DS9, Martok is among a handful of reasonable Klingon leaders seen on screen.
  • Chief Karen Vick in Psych, as well as being Da Chief, also demonstrates these traits; she puts up with Shawn's antics with a remarkable amount of restraint, considering, and treats him and his 'psychic' abilities reasonably and respectfully, although certainly not blindly.
  • Captain Stottlemeyer of Monk qualifies: he is Adrian Monk's closest friend, he rarely doubts Monk's intuition ("He's the guy."), and he even orders his officers to accommodate Monk's obsessions (one time he has officers pop all the bubbles on a piece of bubble wrap, so Monk can get on with solving the case).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: While Principal Snyder skirted on the edge of being The Dragon to the season three Big Bad (despite having shown up two seasons earlier), Sunnydale High's other two principals were both Reasonable Authority Figures. Principal Flutie meant well and tried to reach out to the students (and was eaten for his pains), and Principal Wood comes close to joining Buffy's Band of Brothers.
    • In the end he does
    • There's also Giles, of course, who was ridiculously reasonable as a Watcher when compared to Wesley (and the rest of the Watchers' Council).
  • Principal Larritate in Wizards of Waverly Place. Yes, he comes down hard on Alex but only because he feels she needs it more. Harper on the other hand gets off with a wrist slap because she's not really a problem. He also offers Alex an alternate to being suspended even though she may find the cure worse than the disease.
  • Bill Buchanan in 24, a rare boss who understands that Jack does what he has to do.
    • President David Palmer was all over this trope long before Buchanan.
  • Visitors from the corporate headquarters in New York tend to be this in the US version of The Office. David Wallace in particular is willing to take both business and human considerations into his decisions (e.g. his willingness to not go through with Jim's plan in "The Meeting").
    • As reasonable as they are, they also managed to run the company into the ground.
  • Principal Lasseter of Life with Derek is a disciplinarian, but is willing to consider more important things, such as the effect expelling Derek would have on school morale.
  • Death on Supernatural. Not that he's there to in any way help the Winchesters, or anyone for that matter, but he values order, and is in charge of keeping the cycle of life and death continuing so the chaos doesn't destroy the universe. He is incredibly fair-handed in doing this, allows completely for the events of free will to be followed to their natural conclusion, and doesn't use "destiny" as an excuse to fuck people around. This means that all the Angels and Demons out there who play havoc with the natural order, arrogantly declaring that they can do whatever they want REALLY pisses him off (particularly considering how insignificant they are in comparison to him). As a result, if the Winchesters' aims coincide with his own, he will help them out. He is also the only entity in the whole of existence who Dean actually respects. And considering his exposure to both God and the Devil, that is saying something.
  • Principal Figgins of Glee qualifies. Although irrational at times (seriously, vampires?) and a occasionally a coward under Sue, He often gives rational statements over the feud between Sue and Will.
  • Cedric Daniels from The Wire. Although McNulty sometimes sees him as an Obstructive Bureaucrat, he is a very competent and reasonable officer dedicated to quality police work.
    • For such a deathly cynical series, The Wire contains a surprising amount of these, from Howard "Bunny" Colvin, Tommy Carcetti at first, Gus Haynes, and Roland Pryzbylewski when the latter becomes a teacher.
  • Captain Roy Montgomery in Castle is incredibly tolerant of Richard Castle's presence in the unit and remarkably willing to accommodate his theories and viewpoints on the cases he and Detective Kate Beckett investigate; this is partially because of pressure from higher-ups regarding the positive press that comes from having a bestselling mystery writer base a character on one of his police detectives, but he also appears to genuinely respect Castle's abilities and like the man personally. He also acts as a father figure to his detectives, particularly Beckett.
  • District Attorney Devalos on Medium is a Reasonable Authority Figure. He always listens to Allison and thinks about what she says. Though frequently he doesn't immediately do anything with the information, it's not because he doesn't trust her. It's because he knows that there are only certain things he can use in court, and her visions aren't among them.
  • The Mexican police chief in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. A couple of American kids get in a fight in a bar, he's ready to let them off with a warning provided they call their parents. Too bad one of the kids is a wanted fugitive.
  • The last episode of Titus, "The Protector", has Christopher and the gang confront the man who molested Erin's niece in the high school washroom with intentions of "discussing" the issue with him. Principal Wells, upon hearing the evidence, proclaims he'll call the police himself...but he'll give them 15 minutes first. Admittedly, more of a Sympathetic Authority Figure than a strictly Reasonable one.
  • When the governor in the new Hawaii Five-0 is informed by McGarrett that one of her old friends, campaign supporter, and well-respected local business tycoon is the head of the local yakuza, she, upon hearing the (fairly scanty and mostly circumstantial) evidence, immediately believes him despite initially having entered the office to rip him a new one for harassing her old friend.
  • In the Doctor Who episode The Deadly Assassin, Goth insists on trying the Doctor quickly, rather than posing the next President with the choice being forgoing the usual pardon that accompanies his installment, or releasing the murderer of a beloved President—he would, no doubt, find it hard.
  • Roswell has Sheriff Jim Valenti, once he evolves from Secret-Chaser. He's willing to give Max and company the benefit of the doubt when they can't fully explain something, and actively protects them from less well meaning public servants.
  • Peter from White Collar is this, giving a nice contrast to the other main character Neal's rather looser morals.
  • On Leverage Lieutenant (promoted to Captain) Patrick Bonano often fills this role. Despite the fact that he knows what Nate and his crew are really doing, he is willing to help them and let them get away with it as much as he can, often using their assistance to solve his own cases.


  • The title character of "Good King Wenceslas" represents the Christian ideals of charity and caring for the meek.
    • Though the real Wenceslas seems to have been more pious than competent and might have been better as a cleric than a king.

Professional Wrestling

  • After years and years of the WWF being run by Lawful Evil heels like Vince McMahon and Triple H who screwed the faces at any chance, a bit of fresh air surfaced when Mick Foley became Commissioner in 2000 and actually treated everybody equally. It was a nice if brief chance of pace to watch a heel like Triple H finally get his just deserts at the hands of the man he forcefully retired no less. Still, Mick's reasonableness didn't save him from getting booed when backed into a corner by Stone Cold Steve Austin.
  • Theodore Long, long-suffering general manager of WWE's Smackdown brand, is apparently a little too reasonable for Corrupt Corporate Executive Vince McMahon's tastes; his current storyline has him being put on probation, ostensibly for being too bland and not having any major accomplishments, but implied to be more because he doesn't give special consideration to Vince's favorite wrestlers (Heels one and all, of course).
    • Case in point; Drew McIntyre ignored repeated warnings by Teddy to stop attacking an injured Matt Hardy, so Teddy stripped him of the IC title and fired him. The next week, McMahon reversed the decision, much to the dismay of Long and Kofi Kingston, who won the IC belt while McIntyre was gone.

Newspaper Comics

Tabletop Games

  • Examples from the Dungeons & Dragons campaign setting, Forgotten Realms: Alustriel of Silverymoon; Khelben Blackstaff, leader of the heroic breakoff organization from the Harpers; Piergeiron the Paladinson, one of the Lords of Waterdeep; and both the late King Azoun IV of Cormyr and his son, Azoun V. Given the scale of the setting, many, many others exist.
    • Similarly, many of the men and women who rule the nations of Eberron are reasonable. Even King Kaius III, a freakin' Lawful Evil vampire, can occupy this role, as can Keeper of the Flame Jaela Daran, King Boranel of Breland and so forth.
  • There are a few officials in Warhammer 40,000 who fit this trope, such as Ciaphas Cain, Ibram Gaunt, and a handful of their fellow officers. Unfortunately, they are very much in the minority.
    • To be fair, this is not entirely unjustified in a setting where having an open mind is practically an invitation to Chaos.
  • Paragons (people who have a high Obligation in Genius: The Transgression) radiate a sense of trustworthiness and knowledge. As a result, they get a nice bonus to social rolls when they act like this.
  • In In Nomine, the player characters are often angels reporting to Archangels. The books give directions for the GM to play these Archangels as anything from Knight Templar fanatics to Reasonable Authority Figures. Their counterparts, the Demon Princes, not so much.
  • Pretty much every authority figure in Ptolus has a reason they're in the position in the first place, are well-respected, and haven't been enveloped by the city by the spire's, ah, "intense" politics. DMs are given advice to not trot the players to these people for no reason, and to treat the encounters with gravity.

Video Games

  • Brian Midcrid from Super Robot Wars Original Generation series, sees how important the good guys are even though they are a bunch of Bunny Ears Lawyers, and usually tries to be helpful. Of course since that would be boring he is secretly overthrown by a bunch of jerkasses who hate your characters.
  • Tales of Symphonia has Mizuho's Vice-Chief Tiga. Sheena returns to the village having failed to assassinate the Chosen, gets sent to watch the party's movements, then brings them all to Mizuho, against all their customs, after the party has been declared traitors. Tiga hears her out in private, questions the party on what they intend to do, then formally allies Mizuho with them.
  • Command & Conquer: Tiberium Wars' General Granger, who still actually takes Nod seriously in the beginning, tries to prevent Boyle from annihilating an entire Yellow Zone by Ion-Cannoning Temple and tries (it could or could not be successfully, depending on player choice) to convince the player to not use the liquid T bomb of the same variety that caused the aforemention yellow zone cessation of existance.
  • In Warcraft III, Thrall, Jaina Proudmoore and Malfurion Stormrage save their respective factions and team up in order to prevent The End of the World as We Know It while everyone else is busy Dying Like Animals.
  • Mass Effect has Captain Anderson (who might not really count since he only slightly outranks the main character, though in the sequel he is either an admiral or the human Citadel Councilor, and, in either case, by far the biggest help you will get on that front), who always supports Shepard in his/her quest, even at the risk of his own reputation or career. Admiral Hackett is also one of these.
    • In Mass Effect 2, Wrex arguably becomes one, if he survives the events of the first game, as he is now the leader of Clan Urdnot, one of the most powerful krogan clans.
    • In the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC it's revealed that Admiral Hackett is the only person keeping Alliance intelligence (among others) from arresting Shepard following his/her reappearance. He's also the one who gave Commander Shepard's dogtags to Liara for her to return to the Commander, although she only reveals this if you haven't romanced her.

Liara: "Do you remember Admiral Hackett? He gave them to me, so I could return them to you. He sends his best, and hopes you're okay."

    • Arrival pretty much solidifies Hackett as this. (Note: This is in response to Shepard blowing up an entire star system by wrecking a Mass Relay.)
    • Commander Shepard him/herself if Paragon who will listen to everything his/her crew has to say and make sure everyone is treated fairly.
  • Sheriff Sarah Breaker from Alan Wake, an ordinary, level-headed, small-town sheriff who is not only explicitly against the FBI Agent Nightingale's hot-headed "shoot first, ask questions later" approach, but reasons that Alan Wake could not be (technically) behind everything weird happening with the town.

Nightingale: Sheriff Breaker, this is Agent Nightingale. I've lost contact with most of the men you assigned me. It's Wake's doing!
Breaker: Wait, are you seriously telling me that geek writer just took out my deputies?! Are you kidding? I mean, have you seen this guy? He wears a tweed jacket! Over.
Nightingale: He's the guy we're chasing! If it's not him, who, then? Bigfoot? Over.
Breaker: I don't know yet, but I'm not in the habit of jumping to conclusions. That tends to come back and bite you in the ass. Out.

  • Several Fire Emblem examples: Lord Uther in Blazing Sword, King Hayden and Pontifex Mansel in Sacred Stones, Empress Sanaki and King Caineghis in Path of Radiance… in any given game, there’s a good bet that there’ll be a reasonable monarch somewhere willing to listen to the heroes and lend them a few troops.
  • In the original Assassin's Creed, King Richard turns out to be one of these when Altaïr meets him at the end of the game and confronts him with Robert de Sable's plot to take over the Holy Land. Rather than having the Assassin killed out of hand, he listens to Altaïr's words (including his commentary that all of Richard's "best men" were working against him, to which he concedes) considers Robert's response evenly (hey, the Assassins are killing Crusader soldiers), and, confronted with two men who obviously hate each other and don't have enough proof of either of their claims, decides to let them hash out their differences with the sword. Once Altaïr wins, King Richard has an amiable chat with the Assassin, offers him a bit of advice, talks kindly of Saladin (who is busy fighting his army at that very moment) and then lets Altaïr go.
    • In the second game, both of Ezio Auditore's parents are pretty cool, and it's obvious they love each other, as well as their children. After Ezio gets involved in a street brawl and then goes to his girlfriend's house, only to get caught in her bed by her dad, the morning after, Giovanni (Ezio's father) starts off telling his son to stop being so immature and get it together... only to find himself chuckling at the fact that Ezio reminds him of himself at that age, and brushes it off. As for Ezio's mother, she's a patron of Leonardo da Vinci and goes out of her way to be kind to the lower classes. She also isn't fooled by Ezio's supposed denials of his troublemaking the night before, leading to an amusing conversation about Ezio needing to rethink his outlets.
    • Lorenzo de' Medici as well. Ezio's father has always been his friend, and Lorenzo is determined to help in any way he can to stop his city (and all of Italy) from falling into Templar hands.
  • General Leo from Final Fantasy VI, who is a good guy at heart, working for the wrong people. He stands out for being able to make decisions on his own: refusing genetic experimentation on his body, refusing to poison Doma, and fighting Kefka without hesitation. He never quite gets a chance to really talk with the heroes, though, essentially skipping the Reasonable Authority Figure phase because he's one step ahead of them when it matters.
  • Lord Harrowmont from Dragon Age Origins. This is part of what contributes to Gray and Grey Morality, considering that as the dwarf noble, he asks you say, to his face, that you did not kill your brother. If you say "yes", then he says, "I believe you." It's also likely that He actually wouldn't have had Bhelen arrested if he was crowned; he does kill Bhelen if he's crowned but Bhelen attacks first. Even if Bhelen's crowned, he kneels before him and accepts defeat.
    • Subverted when he becomes king, where he proves to be a poor and ineffectual ruler bogged down by his bigotry of the Casteless and his adherence to the crippling traditions of the dwarves. Bhelen becomes this once he's king though.
  • Grand Cleric Elthina from Dragon Age II. With the templar and the mages edging closer and closer to open conflict in the streets of Kirkwall, she's one of the only people in power trying to diffuse the situation instead of making it worse. Which is why Anders kills her. Her death destroys any hope of a peaceful resolution and Kirkwall erupts into open war, which is exactly what Anders wanted.
    • Though Your Mileage May Vary on that one. A lot of players see her instead as simply refusing to act under seemingly any circumstances even though she's pretty much the only person both sides would listen to.
      • In Dragon Age: Inquisition we find out that when the Divine ordered the Templars to not go all Knight Templar in response to the events of Dragon Age II, their response was a collective 'phhbbbbbbt!' and they simply went off on their own to fight the Mage/Templar war without Chantry sanction. Their legal justification for doing so was rooted in the fact that the Templars were originally independent of the Chantry, and that their subordination to Chantry authority was as part of a negotiated agreement... one of the terms of which being that the Chantry cannot order the Templars to abandon their original mission of policing mages. In hindsight of this, Elthina quite likely had far less actual authority over Knight-Commander Meredith in the run-up to the Mage-Templar crisis than she had official authority.
    • Viscount Marlowe Dumar was one as well, being a stabilizing figure in the otherwise unstable political climate of Kirkwall focused on making sure things don't go to hell. Eventually, he's killed by the Arishok in his takeover of the city.
    • Ser Thrask leads the moderate Templars in a secret opposition to Meredith and actively protects runaway mages from his overzealous colleagues' mistreatment. Which is why he has to be killed by a crazed mage who requests his protection and abuses his trust to get back at Hawke.
    • Knight-Captain Cullen is this for the Templars. Despite suffering incredible trauma at the hands of demons and mages from Origins, Cullen managed to calm down to being somewhat harsh but not fanatical and unreasonable. In the finale, if Hawke sided with the mages for the final conflict, Cullen will stand against the maniacal Meredith as she cries for Hawke's death and fight alongside the Champion of Kirkwall.
    • First Enchanter Orsino also, at least in comparison to the zealous Meredith and until the player learns that he dabbled in dark magic and protected a Serial Killer necromancer for the sake of research. His main concern is protecting his students and subordinates, and he'll allow Hawke to take the lead or speak their piece much more readily than Meredith will. He's still as controversial in Kirkwall as his counterpart however since it's questionable whether or not he's the more misguided one, seeing as mages are extremely dangerous, especially in Kirkwall, where the Veil is thin and anyone connected to the Fade is easily possessed.
  • Infinite Space has a few, but Kendrick Coyle of Lugovalos stands out the most for not approving Desmond's poor treatment toward non-Lugovalian-born citizens. His appearance arguably gives more positive light for Lugovalos, since before he appears in the story, Lugovalos is introduced as nothing but a tyrannical enemy.
  • Dr. Crabblesnitch from Bully can be this when he's not a Dean Bitterman. While he's generally oblivious to all the bullying that goes on in the school, he takes take action when Jimmy calls attention to Mr. Hattrick's bad behavior (accepting bribes). He does the same to Mr. Burton who is an adult bully who is also lecherous towards teenage girls. Finally, he expels Gary.
  • Ryotaro Dojima from Persona 4, the protagonist's detective uncle, probably counts.
  • Officer Kurosawa from Persona 3. As a humble police officer, he realizes something bad is happening he can't control, but where did he get all those weapons? And why was a match of the swimsuits the gang wore at Yakushima in the armor section?
    • #1 From his "allies" (most likely the military or mercenaries meaning he must be a very trusted person for them). #2 Fetish Fuel.
  • Heavy Rain's Norman Jayden acts as this to Ethan Mars as he is the only one who thinks he's not the Origami Killer. Even though the evidence matches, he finds his psychological profile and geolocalization doesn't match up.
    • If Ethan is arrested in "Under Arrest", Norman would free him.
  • Tales of the Abyss has Emperor Peony IX of Malkuth, a nice guy who genuinely wants peace between the two major nations and is willing to make concessions to get there, although his power is sometimes restricted by an offscreen Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering. It seems to help that he was raised outside the royal court - due to political intrigues, he was sent away from the capital as a child to live incognito, and there he managed to frequently sneak away from his guards and play with the commoner children, including one of your party members.
  • The King of Fallout: New Vegas serves as this, being totally devoted to helping out Freeside and willing to cooperate with the NCR if certain choices are made, though his friend Pacer is a pain in the ass for both of them.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2 has Lord Nasher, the ruler of Neverwinter. He saves you from Luskan "justice" even if you initially chose to undermine law enforcement in the city, later gives you a keep of your own to command, and eventually admits you into knighthood.
  • Ace Attorney is lacking in these, but there are a few. The Judge is easily swayed, intimidated and distracted by prosecutors and witnesses but never ignores a possibility or discrepancy that's presented, no matter how minor and occasionally has moments of incredible wisdom and courage.
    • Edgeworth becomes one after his Heel Face Turn. He takes it upon himself to play devil's advocate with Phoenix specifically to get him riled up and working at his best.
    • Klavier doesn't care about winning, only the truth. He's willing to share information and indirectly help Apollo from the get-go.
    • Ambassador Colias Paleano never once lies to, hinders, insults, annoys or ignores Edgeworth. He always gives all the help and information he can to the best of his ability. It was refreshing for both players and Edgeworth to have a genuinely helpful witness for once.
  • The Baldur's Gate series has a few, but Duke Eltan, and his right-hand man Scar, of the Flaming Fist - the de facto police force of the eponymous city - stand out, as much of the second half of the game consists of fleshing out their initial suspicions about the Iron Throne and trying to find them the evidence they need to justify bringing the law down on them. The leadership of the Order of the Radiant Heart are this in the second game, offering support to good-aligned or very persuasive player characters at several points of the game and notably responding to the party being tricked into murdering several of their knights by demanding that they hunt down those responsible for the deception. Inspector Brega clearly has a trace of this, but his role, while expanded by third party mods, is undermined by the over-the-top corruptness of the Amnish government (Magistrate Bylanna, by contrast, clearly considers herself this but flirts with the Lawful Stupid and Obstructive Bureaucrat tropes far too much to qualify). Melissan presents herself as this, and the game forces the player to go along with it even though they're unlikely to have been fooled.
  • Quaestor Verus from Baten Kaitos Origins, who serves as the Big Good of the story and works to help Sagi stop Baelheit's plans for promachination. Subverted hard; Verus is actually an unrepentently evil chessmaster who reveals himself as soon as Baelheit is dead.
  • One of the first tasks in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim is to go to Balgruuf, the local Jarl (leader of the region), to warn him about the rampaging dragon. Now, dragons have seemingly been extinct for hundreds of years. Most people don't think they exist any more. But upon hearing the firsthand account of the dragon attack, Balgruuf immediately accepts it, sends soldiers to reinforce undefended towns, and puts his guards on alert. And when it's revealed that the player is Dovahkiin, he instantly recognizes their importance and endeavors to help you in any way possible. Late in the primary storyline, if you backed him up during the civil war and protected Whiterun, he will only be slightly reluctant to agree to risk his castle and city by deliberately luring Odahviing into his castle to trap it.
    • Speaking of The Elder Scrolls, both Emperor Uriel Septim VII and High Chancellor Ocato are this. It's especially notable for Ocato, given that his predecessor, Jagar Tharn, was the exact opposite. When the emperor dies in the intro of Oblivion, Ocato does his very best to hold the Empire together. One of the first acts of the Thalmor is to assassinate him.
    • Also from The Elder Scrolls Series, Sheogorath, The Prince of Madness, of all people. In Oblivion he gets you to try and stop The End of His Realm as He Knows It. And in Skyrim He has you do therapy on the series' equivalent of Caligula. Though strict and utterly insane, he has a twisted but clear love of his people and will reward any mortal that does what he says to the letter. Which for a Daedric Prince, means quite a lot.
  • In Pokémon Black and White, Gym Leaders frequently assist with taking down Team Plasma's criminal activities throughout the plot, culminating in them helping you Storming the Castle, and keeping the Sages at bay while you hunt down N.
  • President Dylan Paradine of Strahta in Tales of Graces. He travels his country in plainclothes to gather information personally, takes the party's word over one of the more influential members of Strahta's society, and does whatever he can to help out (as long as it's within reason, of course).
  • As far as Golden Sun community leaders go, it would be easier to count those that don't cooperate unhesitatingly with the heroes or demonstrate good reasons for doing otherwise.
  • In The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind you have to be given a ceremonial title by the three great houses. The first part for all three houses is finding the reasonable authority figure so he can tell you the official processes needed and how to manipulate the less cooperative members. Vivec also qualifies, despite murdering your previous incarnation (maybe) once it is clear you are really capable or that the world really needs you he will tell the inquisition to stop hounding you, tell all the men loyal to him to help you, give you a bunch of information and answer all your questions.
  • Runescape has Sir Edmond. While he initally attempts to apprehend the citizens of West Ardougne for rioting against the mourners, he then stops when he realizes what King Lathas was intending to do, which was to kill everyone so that he can make West Ardougne into his personal garden. Averted with Sir Hugo who believes that it is a king's divine right to rule - even if that king happens to be a tyrant like King Lathas.

Web Comics

  • The U.S. military from the alternate wraith universe in Sluggy Freelance. Torg, who's somewhat Genre Savvy, is surprised to discover that a post-apocalyptic world can have a very friendly and helpful military-industrial complex.
    • The Prime counterpart of their Secretary of Defense also qualifies.
  • A PvP arc had Brent being stalked and bullied by a bike cop after he got on the latter's wrong side. When Brent and Francis go complain to the cop's supervisor, we see that he's a nice, down-to-earth and reasonable person, who promises to look into the matter. Problem solved, right? Well...not quite. Unfortunately for Brent, Francis finds the fact that said supervisor is a midget very (and offensively) amusing...
  • Baron Wulfenbach of Girl Genius runs a ruthless dictatorship. He allows his subjects to parody or even mock him in the press, and generally he only uses lethal force when the need for it becomes obvious. A very reasonable dictator.
    • Klaus is beyond reasonable. He has two rules: The devices of the Other must immediately be turned over to him for study, and nations/city-states are not allowed to go to war with each other. That's it. If he's even taxing his vassals, it's not enough that any of them as much as mentioned it so far. So the nobles are trying to dethrone Klaus mainly because he won't let them kill each other. Wherever Klaus collects his revenue he spends essentially none of it on himself and uses it only to enforce the Pax Wulfenbach and to build and maintain public roads, schools, and hospitals.
      • At one point Agatha disguises a group of rebel Jaegers as the Baron's troops to get them (and herself) past a road checkpoint. The local Spark ruler doesn't even blink an eye at this occurrence because it's a routine event for the Baron to randomly assign detachments of his own troops as 'escorts' to caravans and traders (both to keep his troops fresh and occupied, and to continually assess the state of the roads). In a world where most local nobles barely bother to pay for street patrols because who cares what happens to proles as long as the demesne doesn't burn down, Baron Wulfenbach is expending himself on widespread antipiracy and counter-bandit operations over as much territory as he can sustain simply because someone has to or else the transport network on which the economy relies goes to hell.
    • When he took hostages from the royal families to ensure that they didn't go to war with their neighbors, he didn't ignore them or abuse them. Instead he got the best nanny he could and proceeded to educate them out of being potential Royal Brats and into Royals Who Actually Do Something, his own son being among them. Also the novelization mentions that he passed an equivilent of a Civil Rights act, forbidding discrimination against constructs.
    • Klaus managed to keep power in most of Europe (mainly excluding England and the city state of Paris) in the world ruled by mad scientists. He accepts aid from Ax Crazy ex-pirate queen Bangladesh Dupree and former servants of his enemies—having them under his control is more effective and helps keep the peace, so he not only assimilated armies as casually as Genghis Khan, but made it a standard procedure and made sure it's well-known that he also offers surrendering soldiers the opportunity to join his army or take generous severance packages. He also keeps a reasonable base of young sparks and royals loyal to him (or at least completely awed and understanding it's the best place they could find), many becoming good friends with his heir, so that war won't break out once he's gone. Of course, it still did the moment he landed in a hospital, but at least with a few clear-cut factions and even possibility to salvage his empire, instead of the open-for-all war he stopped.
  • An abbot early in Get Medieval establishes the comic's lack of Medieval Morons. He shelters, clothes and feeds two marooned Human Aliens because they're in need. When a paranoid monk points out that one of them has slept in for morning mass, the abbot notes that the one who attended paid more attention than half the brothers.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja's Mayor Chuck Goodrich will listen to you if you have some kind of Planet Eris related problem. This is because as a time traveler who has to solve the problems of every parallel universe, he's probably heard it before.
  • General Tarquin from Order of the Stick, despite being, you know, a Lawful Evil man behind the man who by genre conventions should be holding at least one of them hostage and assuming they're trying to manipulate him. He recognizes that the heroic party is probably fighting a global scale threat that is as much a danger to him as to anybody else, and aids them unconditionally regardless of the philosophical differences
    • Don't forget Lord Shojo, who was quite a capable ruler of Azure City, even when he needed to fake senility to stave off assassination by ambitious rivals, and recruited the Order of the Stick behind the backs of his paladins because he realized that with their hidebound code, they could not both keep their oath and save the other gates.
      • For that matter, Shojo's nephew Hinjo, who is quite reasonable for a paladin, often taking the advice of our heroes and accepting the fact that he cannot do everything himself. Then again, no paladin is bad compared to Miko...
  • Princess Voluptua in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob is viceroy of Earth's solar system, and (apparently unlike a lot of Nemesite aristocrats) takes her job seriously and responsibly. Even Zippobic, who hates the Nemesites in general, has conceded that he respects and trusts her. When Bob reported that Earth was being attacked by lobster aliens, she promptly sent help because it was a "legitimate police call." However, when he needed her help to find a home for a baby giant, she again helped, but this time with the warning that he shouldn't count on her to help him out of messes that she and her government have nothing to do with.
  • Mr. Verres of El Goonish Shive is far more reasonable than one would expect from the head of an organization that essentially acts as The Men in Black. He has a reputation for resolving situations in a manner that tends to favor the well-being of those involved over preserving secrets, and he has earned so much respect from those serving under him, that they still often secretly report to him even when he is no longer their boss. Most dangerous plotlines occur when he is impossible to reach.
  • Schlock Mercenary has Thurl, whom even Tagon recognize as the prime source of advice. Elf was promoted after leading the rescue mission, after which designed a communication device that impressed the local Mad Scientist without being taught such things (or much of anything), but it goes like this:

Elf: Thurl, why did she give you a "yessir?" She won't even listen to me but she outranks you!
Thurl: That's the difference between personal authority and position authority.
Elf: I don't get it.
Thurl: I know. That's why you're in charge, buy you're taking orders from me at the moment.

  • Last Res0rt plays with this slightly with White Noise, Captain of the Executioners... which makes him in charge of a band of criminals.
  • The mayor in Freefall is not an example, but her intern is. Up to and including risking his employment to protect sentient life from the Gardener in the Dark program, going directly against the mayor's decisions to do so.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • The Earth King in Avatar: The Last Airbender. He even had an Evil Chancellor, Long Feng, who tried to discredit Aang and co. (among other unpleasantness). He listens to Aang and co. even though they fight their way into his throne room, and is eminently reasonable and rational when deciding their case. He eventually agrees to help plan an invasion of the Fire Nation and arrest Long Feng.
    • Chief Hakoda probably qualifies also.
    • General Iroh could qualify as well especially after he lost his son and had no more lust for conquest. He spent the remainder of his life trying to be the voice of reason for Zuko and aimed to influence his nephew from the path of darkness Iroh's evil brother and niece were on.
    • Monk Gyatso is another canidate as he was looking out for Aang's well-being as a boy while the other elder monks, fearful of a coming war, saw Aang as a small Avatar and wanted to force him to train rather then let Aang mature to be able to handle the responsibility.
  • From the children's TV series Recess, we have Principal Prickly, who, although tough on disobedience and often somewhat at odds with the main characters, has joined many an Enemy Mine or cut them a very generous amount of slack when he felt their hearts were in the right place.
    • Not to mention King Bob, the "ruler of the playground".
    • Don't forget the kids' teacher, Mrs. Grotke. Probably the antithesis of the Sadist Teacher trope.
    • Although playground monitor Ms. Finster is generally shown as a stern authority figure, she is usually portrayed as unfailingly fair and given several humanizing episodes.
    • Really, most of the adults in Recess are portrayed this way, with the exception of Smug Snake Mayor Fitzhugh. Substitute teacher Mr. E is another textbook example.
  • South Park had Chef (until they killed him off). It wasn't so much that nobody else would believe the kids, so much as he was often the only vaguely competent and intelligent adult in the entire town.
    • Of course South Park tends to be a town full of Mulders, with the kids usually playing Scully.
  • Transformers Animated has Ultra Magnus from Cybertron (who unfortunately has Sentinel Prime as his primary advisor), and Captain Fanzone from Earth. Later in the series, when Ultra Magnus is out of action and Sentinel Prime takes over, Alpha Trion fills this role.
  • Cortes in Skyland, though he often wonders why he listens to kids.
  • Principal Geraldine Waxelplax from The Fairly OddParents.
  • The Grand Councilwoman from Liloand Stitch is rather reasonable for being the head of the Galactic Federation, although like most aliens, she believes Pleakly when he tells her to spare Earth from destructions because mosquitos are endangered.
    • She's also willing to give Stitch a chance to speak for himself when he's intially introduced at Jumba's trial, rather than outright condemning him. Then at the end of the film she expresses regret at having to take Stitch in after he's shown to have calmed down and matured somewhat, and seems rather satisfied when Lilo provides a loophole as to why the Grand Councilwoman can't take Stitch.
  • Transformers Prime has Special Agent William Fowler. While he does get frustrated with the Autobots from time to time, he lets them do their thing as long as no one gets injured (besides Decepticons and MECH). And when the Autobots need something only a human can provide, Fowler will cooperate if he's available.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has Princess Celestia, who in addition to being a kind, gentle pony (willing to forgive her formerly insanely evil sister after Luna tearfully apologized), is also a ruler that isn't as stuffy and proper as one would think, as she once pulled a light-hearted prank on the Cakes to get them to loosen up during a visit from her.
    • Two episodes in particular highlight this trait for the Princess:
      • "A Bird in the Hoof", in which her reaction to Fluttershy's well-intentioned bird-napping of her pet to nurse it back to health is primarily to chide Fluttershy for not asking about the bird, a phoenix on the tail end of its rebirth/death cycle, so We Could Have Avoided All This.
      • "Lesson Zero" has Twilight Sparkle having a monumental Freak-Out because she hadn't written her weekly aesop report to Celestia. The princess shows up after Twilight's attempts to rectify the situation have wreaked chaos upon Ponyville, and is implied to given Twilight a well-earned, offscreen lecture before starting to reassure her. When her friends burst in begging Celestia to forgive Twilight, citing their not taking her feelings seriously as the cause of the problems, she takes the chance to drive the lesson home and lighten Twilight's (perceived) workload by having the others join in the reporting only when there's something to report.
    • Rarity is this for Sweetie Belle in "Ponyville Confidential." Rarity confronts Sweetie Belle upon learning that her little sister is one-third of the new local gossip columnist. Despite her anger (since a recent story had been excerpts from Rarity's diary), Rarity scolds her, uses her own going through Sweetie Belle's stuff for proof to drive home the point about personal privacy, and finish it up by questioning whether Sweetie Belle wants writing hurtful gossip to be her destiny-declaring Cutie Mark. Everypony else was either so angry they sent the fillies away rather than risk an out of line outburst or just shunned them outright.
  • The head of the monastery from The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest episode "Expedition to Khumbu". When the villains try to frame the boys for stealing an artifact from the monastery, he is ready to give them the benefit of doubt, despite the evidence against them. He then immediately turns the table on the bad guys by asking them one sensible question which they fail to answer.
  • Commander Joseph Walsh, Da Chief from Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers. He's a Benevolent Boss who does his best to protect the Rangers from the political pressure inflicted by Obstructive Bureaucrat Senator Whiner.
  • Deputy Mayor Callie Briggs from Swat Kats. Unlike the Lovable Coward Mayor and Inspector Javert-ish police chief, she realizes that Megakat City needs the titular vigilantes and serves as The Commissioner Gordon.

Real Life

  • Ur-example: King Hammurabi of Babylon, the author of one of the oldest known set of laws, the Code of Hammurabi. It was a pretty draconian code by the modern standards, that didn't recognise exceptions even in the most reasonable circumstances, or the fact that sometimes the one punished wasn't really guilty of anything - a doctor could get his hands cut off for performing an operation where the patient dies, even if the operation was the only thing giving the patient a chance, for example; or if Man A killed Man B's pregnant daughter by accident, the penalty was death for Man A's daughter. But it had two big advantages over everything that had ever come before it, neither of which can be counted on even today - it was written plainly in stone for all to see with with zero Loopholes, and it applied to everyone in the country, including Hammurabi himself.
    • Actually, Hammurabi's Code and Draconian law were regressions. Ur-Nammu, who came before Hammurabi, had an incredibly progressive legal code (for its time) - rather than an eye for an eye, it called for fines etc. It even had (some, scanty) protection for women and slaves.
  • The authors of many modern liberal democratic constitutions could be thought of as this. They were often dealing with turbulent societies and were attempting to write a set of rules that could respect individual freedoms while maintaining order. The framers of the US Constitution, the transition of Spain from fascism, and the reestablishment of an independent Japan after World War II particularly stand out, as they all required careful balance to have any hope of succeeding.
  • Julius Caesar and the good Roman Emperors.