Template:Worthy Opponent

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Worthy Opponent

"I regret that we meet in this way. You and I are of a kind. In a different reality, I could have called you friend."

The equal and opposite enemy to the hero, who, save for the tragic circumstances of his life, upbringing, political ideology, or financial situation, might have been the hero's best friend. Unfortunately, though, he must be the hero's opposition. Evenly matched, with a sense of honor that allows the hero to trust him about a select few things, and an honest respect for the hero, the Worthy Opponent also fights to the same standards of fairness as the hero; he will not shoot you In the Back, and may even prevent someone else from doing so; in military situations, he will obey The Laws and Customs of War. The Worthy Opponent will also do things like negotiate honestly or allow the wounded hero to escape to fight another day. He will invariably even the terms of a fight when he possesses a clear advantage, often being unwilling to fight an unarmed foe (either discarding his weapon or allowing the protagonist to reclaim his own), and waiting until an unconscious enemy has woken and can engage in an honorable Duel to the Death, because they must settle things like gentlemen. He may not dispatch the wounded hero even when the hero tells him to Get It Over With. Sometimes found in the role of The Dragon, but is almost never the Big Bad. If he's a commander, he may be A Father to His Men; indeed, his men may prove a sticking point with the Big Bad. Assassins, manhunters, and various wandering duelists frequently invoke this trope, often choosing their profession to engage in a test of skill by Hunting the Most Dangerous Game. Such characters rarely share the same values as their employers and are often disparaged for fighting fair or letting the hero go out of respect.

Read more...