Sour Supporter

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

He's joined The Hero to save the day. If The Hero appealed for a group of characters to join him (a group of which he was likely the oldest or the leader, or both), he argued against it and was the last to join, but he did, and he will work quite hard, perhaps more than anyone else on the team. He is likely to be one of the most skilled and useful members and may even overlap with the Cynical Mentor. He may even make a Heroic Sacrifice.

But if so, he will regard it as Senseless Sacrifice. Grumpy Bear that he is, he makes no bones about considering The Hero's plan futile, and may join only because his friends are, and anything else is also futile. Possibly even only because it's his only way to avoid Dying Alone. Often the oldest member of the group, and prone to Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids. (Though not often so gloomy as to be The Eeyore.)

In lulls in the action, he may explicitly observe that they are all going to die. Indeed, he may be the Sarcastic Devotee, though he is capable of making this observation only once or twice, or not at all.

In very hard cases, tragically, he may decide that the effort is not worth it and leave. He may even encounter the Villain and have a Face Heel Turn, but this is uncommon. Usually he's no worse than the "Disney Anti Hero" on the Sliding Scale of Anti-Heroes.

May contrast with Least Is First as his Foil, but more often is a Foil for The Hero.

Contrast Divided We Fall. Compare The Resenter, who actively resents the hero. Can be a Knight in Sour Armor.

Examples of Sour Supporter include:

Anime and Manga


  • Star Wars: Han Solo
  • Warlock from Live Free or Die Hard.
  • McCoy from Star Trek is this, particularly towards Kirk. He's known to be a grouch and Deadpan Snarker, but he's loyal to Kirk, sneaking him aboard the Enterprise and arguing with Spock after the latter had marooned Kirk on an icy planet.
  • Sucker Punch plays with this in the character of Sweet Pea. She plays the part of Sour Supporter perfectly, even going so far as to Opt Out at one point. The trope play comes in when she rejoins the team and ends up the only survivor by way of the rest of the team's Heroic Sacrifices, which "redeems" her of her sourness.
  • In the film 1776 (and musical, both of which are Truth in Television to some extent), John Dickinson refuses to sign the Declaration of Independence, instead choosing to join the militia and fight for independence even though he believes the effort will fail.


  • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel Death Or Glory, when discussing difficulties getting through a mountain range, the guide Sandy Kolfax says it hardly matters since they will all die before they get there, and later Cain catches him drinking and he professes that it does not matter, as they will all die. But he does lead them. To the mountains, even. Where he dies.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Dead Sky Black Sun, when Uriel urges a group of Space Marines and two Imperial Guardsmen to help him, Vaanes, the leader of the group, was the last to agree, with the observation that he knew Uriel would be trouble. After they leave, he carefully ensures that Uriel knows they could all die. He finally decides that Uriel's plans can not work and that honour is not good enough to die for.
  • In CS Lewis's The Silver Chair, Puddleglum professes, every step of the way, that they are certainly doomed to failure and death. His notion of cheering the children up is to tell them that they don't have to worry about something because they are likely to die first.
    • Puddleglum is also said to be unusually optimistic and cheerful for a Marshwiggle - just imagine what the others would be like!
    • In Prince Caspian, Trumpkin argues against sending someone to look for Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, but when the decision goes against him, volunteers to go, because he has given his advice and now he must take orders.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Zacharias Smith, while a member of the DA, seems never to speak unless he is berating Harry's methods. Continues even after this supreme put-down:

"As if Expelliarmus is going to work on Voldemort."
"I've used it on him."

    • Of course, Smith turns out to be a Dirty Coward when the chips are down...
    • Aberforth Dumbledore is almost the complete opposite of his brother. At one point, he basically says that Voldemort's already won and anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. It doesn't stop him from coming to the trio's aid when they need it, offering his pub as a meeting place for the Order, and courageously fighting in and surviving the Battle of Hogwarts.
  • Many of Rand Al Thor's supporters in the Wheel of Time behave like this. The man is the Chosen One (of several prophecies and groups) but none of his disparate groups of supporters trust the other ones, and many regard him as nothing more than a loaded cannon they need to further their own ends while regarding him as an idiot who messes everything up that they need to step carefully around. To be fair Rand is pretty insane by this point, and can act idiotically, but he is a lot more competent than they give him credit for and were it not for the prevalence of this trope he would have managed to do a lot more by now.
  • Grantaire in Les Misérables.
  • In CS Lewis's That Hideous Strength, the skeptic MacPhee is a valued member of the good guys' team, with the observation that he would be invaluable if they lost—but they don't know what he'll do if they win.
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Master Mind of Mars, Gor Hajus laughs at the quest Ulysses Paxton proposes, after rousing him from a Faux Death; if he supports him until it's done, it will be forever. He still helps him, however, since even that's better than the Faux Death.
  • In John Barnes's One for the Morning Glory, they hear a ballad that ends with a young woman prisoner to the goblins, and since it's true, and they know it, they discuss rescuing her. Gorlias is as enthusiatic as any, and characters object: he's the oldest, he should be gravely warning them against it and talking of its dangers. Gorlias proceeds to discuss its dangers in a portentous tone, as if he had warned them off, but on the trip itself, he's perfectly cheerful.
  • Marco from Animorphs was this at first.

Live Action TV

Spike: (after a less than encouraging pep talk) Well, not exactly the St. Crispins's Day Speech, was it?
Giles: We few, we happy few...
Spike: We band of buggered.

Video Games

  • Kratos from Tales of Symphonia. In more ways than one, as you eventually learn.
  • Victor Niguel in Trauma Center - a rather unpleasant chap, but works hard to find a vaccine for GUILT.
  • Magus in Chrono Trigger, if you let him join you.
  • Sonya Shulen near the end of the first Suikoden, after a very hard boss fight against her. If you allow her to join, she repeatedly states that she does so in order to get the pleasure of seeing you die.
    • Though after the final war, if you DO ever speak to her, it sounds like she got better and sees you in a more positive way.
    • Also Flik. He's at first REALLY pissed that you got his lover Odessa killed. But he joins you anyway, and his mindset is like "Let's see if you're worthy of replacing Odessa." It wasn't until Gremio's tragic death that he starts letting off with you and eventually develops further until he's the series' Ensemble Darkhorse.
  • Archer from Fate/stay night; you get the feeling he only helps Shirou because his contract with Rin forces him to. As "Unlimited Blade Works" reveals, this is both utterly true but also an extreme simplification of Archer's true motives.
  • Cid in Final Fantasy VII joins the party only because you took and crashed his plane and constantly complains about the other party members. However, he does end up commanding the Highwind airship crew for the player and even is promoted to party leader at one point.
    • He does undergo Character Development to become a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Plus he has awesome theme music.
    • He calls the party numbskulls, but states that he likes the idea of fighting Shinra. That, and that he doesn't see a reason to hang around Rocket Town anymore, are the only reasons he joins.
  • Xan, the clinically depressed enchanter in Baldur's Gate. He is very vocal about how your quest is futile, but he helps you anyway, presumably because he sees everything else in the world as equally pointless.
  • Nick in Left 4 Dead 2 fits this trope to a T. He sees Coach as a moron and finds Ellis so incredibly naive and stupid that he won't care if Ellis gets left behind. He also constantly complains about everything, between mud from the swamps and flooding from a storm. Despite all this, Nick stays with the group because being alone would get him killed by the zombies.
  • Morrigan from Dragon Age, and Shale the DLC character.
  • Any companion with enough rivalry in Dragon Age II. Some will consistently begrudge the player's support of mages or templars, and Isabella won't believe she returned The Artifact she originally stole.
  • Clive Handforth from LittleBigPlanet 2.
  • Subject 16 in Assassin's Creed: Revelations. He's rude to Desmond, borderline mocks Lucy's death and seems to be plotting some sort of Grand Theft Me. And then he pulls a Heroic Sacrifice and saves Desmond from deletion.
    • The second one is somewhat justified in that Clay knew that Lucy was actually a Templar agent all along.

Web Comics

  • Rocky the rogue from Our Little Adventure didn't really want to join the group, but he frequently does give them his best.

Western Animation

  • Kirby from The Brave Little Toaster certainly didn't keep his objections to himself when the group set out to find the master.

"I just know I'm gonna regret this..."

  • Sokka from Avatar: The Last Airbender may count, even though he was there from the start. He's cynical, thinks Aang could be a Fire Nation spy, and initially objected to going on this journey, but by the end of the series, through Character Development, he becomes a great leader and warrior.
    • Lampshaded at one point when Sokka complains that apparently the rest of the team has decided he is the "Plan Guy" and he always has to be the one to come up with something to save the day. Toph points out that he's also "the Complaining Guy", but Sokka says he is actually OK with filling that role.
    • Katara also becomes this at the start of the second half of Book 3 when Zuko joins the Gaang; understandably, she's not happy since he's tried to capture and/or kill them for a while and betrayed Aang and Katara the one time she let her guard down. She makes it vocal that she isn't happy Zuko is there (even when he saves them from Azula) and it's only when Zuko aids her in finding her mother's killer that she finally trusts him.
  • Stork from Storm Hawks. He's very cynical, but has a calm acceptance of everything that happens.
  • Rattrap from Beast Wars is cynical, sarcastic, complains about every plan, responds to every negative turn of events with "We're All Gonna Die", and starts out incredibly reluctant to put his life on the line. Nevertheless, he's never seriously considered abandoning his friends, even jumping into the fray to try and rescue even Dinobot.
  • Lance of Sym-Bionic Titan often falls victim to a two to one vote.
    • Specifically, in Under the three moons after saying he doesn't want to go to the school dance, Ilana and Octus make him go anyway. The same thing happened in the matter of whether he brought a date or not.
    • In A family crisis, after the trio get a distress call from Soloman, Lance brushes it off and asks for more cake. Ilana and Octus, however, think they should save him anyway even though they agree with Lance that Soloman's a jerk and doesn't deserve saving.

"How is it that everyone agrees with me, but we're still doing this?"

  • In the first few episodes of Recess, Vince was this. This faded, and was given to Spinelli on a few occasions.