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"When I thought you were dead, I lost hope. I'm telling you. But when you came back? I was ready to believe anything."—Ashley Williams, Mass Effect 3
We have two sides of a conflict - The Empire is opposed by La Résistance or just common folks they oppress, The Legions of Hell fight with Church Militants, the Galactic Conqueror is in a war with The Federation, the Multiversal Conqueror fights against the Guardian of the Multiverse, the Scary Dogmatic Aliens are opposed by The Men in Black and Space Marines. And one side has a giant advantage; they win on every front and it's only a matter of time before they utterly annihilate their enemies. This is the Darkest Hour for the weaker side, but fear not, because Hope Springs Eternal.
And then comes this guy. Hope Bringer is a living proof that one man can make a difference and even the odds. By his actions, he restores hope in the hearts of his allies and leads them into the fight and victory. He can be the Magnificent Bastard, The Chessmaster, The Ace, the Rebel Leader or the Person of Mass Destruction - whatever makes him so special, it works. He can make the two sides not only fight on equal ground again, but even reverse the situation and make the side he helps repay the other one for everything they did.
Anime and Manga
- Lelouch Lamperouge in Code Geass - before he entered the scene, the Japanese La Résistance was weak, divided and didn't had a chance to defeat Britannia's army. Zero managed to not only create a force that the oppressing army in Japan had to reckon with, but during the course of the series formed an alliance against Britannia with every single free country in the world. At the end of the series, Lelouch specifically invokes this trope - only with himself as the evil emperor and Zero (actually his ally Suzaku) as the Hope Bringer.
- Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann started with humans forced to live underground by an army of Beastmen with Humongous Mecha, who were slaughtering every single person they found on the surface. Then Kamina managed to create the Dai-Gurren Brigade, the first real La Résistance. And when he died, Simon took his place and led them to the victory over the Beastmen and their master.
- Mobile Suit Gundam - Amuro, with his Gundam, was a factor who helped balance the odds in the war between Zeon and Earth Federation. It was later retconned by saying that his Gundam wasn't the only one used in that time.
- At the end of Higurashi Kai this trope is lampshaded when Rika says that the only world when they managed to defeat Big Bad was one where Hanyuu was a real person, not a ghost. Also, Keichii did do wonders to her resolve.
- The titular hero of Naruto becomes this during The Fourth Shinobi World War, the allied shinobi forces aren't getting their arses handed to them, per say, but they're struggling and taking heavy casualties, to the Edo Tensei resurrected ninja. Along comes our protagonist, who's finished his Training From Hell, becoming even more capable and improved his relationship to the Nine-Tailed Demon Fox. He summarily uses his cloning technique to cover most of the battlefield, kick ass, save lives and Spot the Imposter. Most, if not all, of his ninja comrades definitely see him as this now. Also counts as a several big damn hero moments.
- V from V for Vendetta - nobody could ever dream of standing against the government, but apparently they forgot to tell him that.
- Used in The Incredible Hulk: Future Imperfect - La Résistance from a Bad Future uses a time machine to summon Hulk and ask him to defeat Big Bad Maestro, his evil future self. This Happens again in the Planet Hulk arc, as Hulk ends up leading a rebellion against the Red King of Sakaar.
- Not surprisingly this is part of the job description of the Blue Lanterns who literally channel the power of hope. The relatively few people who can "inspire great hope" has limited their membership quite drastically.
- Superman is pulling this trope constantly.
- Batman is perhaps the only reason anyone with an ounce of sense stays in Gotham City.
- Captain America of course. He especially became this for the fractured and extremely distrusted Marvel superhero community when he returned to life during Dark Reign.
- Captain Britain at least to the United Kingdom.
- Superheroes in general, at least when they aren't suffering from bad publicity.
- Two words: "Avengers, assemble!". The point of Endgame is that, no matter how dark and/or dangerous the situation gets, Earth, and the rest of the universe, can count on the Big Six (Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow and Hawkeye), and the hope they inspire lives on in a new legacy of heroes.
- Luke Skywalker in Star Wars. Made explicit in Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, when the repercussions of this are explored.
- Batman in The Dark Knight Trilogy.
- Neo in The Matrix
- By Spider-Man 3, Spider-Man was this for NYC.
- The protagonists of Children of Men, and specifically the young mother with her baby, are this for the entire world, as no one has given birth in nearly 20 years. Near the end of the movie they stop a shoot-out between the army and some terrorists by simply walking nearby.
- Leonidas from 300 . He does this by dying. But then, that was The Spartan Way.
- Jakob from Jakob the Liar ultimately serves as a deconstruction of the trope. Set during the 1940's during World War 2, Jakob fills his fellow Jews with hope over news that the Russians will soon liberate them from the Ghetto, telling them he got the information from his "secret radio." In truth, while the initial news is true, it eventually snow balls into him having to fabricate news to keep up the charade. This torments Jacob because his new found status puts him at risk of being arrested by German soldiers, but at the same time his lies actually give the Jews inspiration to live on and suicide rates drops.
- Paul Atreides/Muad'Dib in Frank Herbert's Dune. Or he was a cynical Manipulative Bastard who used his charisma to get primitive folk to follow him, took over the universe by threatening to destroy it and forcing a princess to marry him whom he intended from the start to treat dreadfully. Preceded by Imperial Planetologist Pardot Kynes, who gave the Fremen the idea that bringing water to Arrakis was possible in the first place.
- Olorin, aka Gandalf, is a LITERAL Hope Bringer. It's said in The Silmarillion that whenever he walks among Men or Elves, he inspires hope and courage. Unfortunately, his tendency to come to people when things are about to go wrong is often misunderstood, giving him the reputation as a "Herald of Woe." The Valar make Earendil into one of these after he completes his epic voyage to Valinor. They turn his ship into a flying boat, and he is tasked to sail the skies forever carrying the Silmaril, appearing as a star of hope to all in need of it.
- Rand al'Thor in The Wheel of Time has always had shades of this, being the Chosen One meant to stop the Dark One from destroying reality. In some ways he is also a Deconstruction because of the chaos he causes and his growing insanity/ruthlessness. The trope, however, is taken Up to Eleven following Rand's mountaintop epiphany, whereupon he enters full-on Zen Jedi Master Mode.
- Kelsier in the Mistborn books is a rather extreme example in that he set himself up as a martyr specifically to inspire hope in the downtrodden Skaa populace. He even informs the Lord Ruler at one point that he is hope.
- In the grim darkness of Warhammer 40000, the Space Marines are this to the Imperial Guard and common civilians when shit really hits the fan...unless they been called in to perform Exterminatus.
- Halo: John-117, and to a lesser extent, all the other SPARTAN-IIs. The Elites (and later the Brutes) are this for the Grunts.
- Half Life: Gordon Freeman does one better. He is seen basically as the second coming (the little bible references like Judith Mossman betraying him (Judith is the female form of Judas) don't help stopping it).
- You can become like this to many in Fallout 3.
- One quest in Fallout: New Vegas is called "Restoring Hope", and it's Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
- Some see Commander Shepard as this in Mass Effect. Paragon Shepard is an indisputable example of this trope. It helps that s/he's such an extreme Magnetic Hero.
- Marcus comes to bee seen as this in Gears of War.
- Knights of the Old Republic: Revan becomes this, then turns evil, then gets betrayed and mind wiped, then becomes this again. And then potentially sells the Republic out again.
- The Boss is this for the Saints in Saints Row 2.
- Mario is frequently seen as this. Sometimes, Princess Peach pulls this trope too.
- You are this in the Ace Combat games, which most noticeably began in Shattered Skies. The radio chatter makes it very clear that everyone thinks your appearance guarantees a victory on your side.
- From Shattered Skies as well, Yellow Squadron, more specifically Yellow 13, was this for the enemy.
- The Grey Warden is seen as one of these by most of the populace in Dragon Age. Hawke becomes this for the Fereldan refugees, then later most of the population of Kirkwall, and possibly most of the now-rebelling mages of Thedas by the end of the sequel.
- The nameless bystander inspires everyone he meets on his path to becoming a true hero in Zettai Hero Project.
- Link is frequently this in several of The Legend of Zelda games. Depending on the game, sometimes Zelda herself is too.
- Spyro in The Legend of Spyro series. The Dragons are on the verge of losing and only Ignitus has escaped Dark Cynder's clutches, and he's left in a Heroic BSOD, hiding in a cave awaiting the end. Then Spyro shows up and gradually manages to convince everyone the war can be won.
- Mega Man Zero: La Résistance is facing extermination from a tyrannical government, so the Rebel Leader decided to find the legendary hero she believes will save them all: Zero.
- In Holiday Wars, Tegan brings hope to those who have been fighting and losing the war against the Easter Bunny as can be seen in this episode.
- Pharaoh City in Lightbringer was a sort of Crapsack World, ruled by all-powerfull gand of Slavers, able to kidnap and sell anybody, including police officers and their families. And then titular character entered the scene, helped take the whole gang down and beat their leader.
- The Gungan Council has Bethany Kismet and Eden Kisori both acting for the inspiration of their respective groups of Jedi. While Beth frequently gave reason for pacifist Jedi to believe they could change the galaxy, Eden rallied more aggressive Jedi and inspired them to launch a crusade against the Sith and Empire.
- The Mane Six and Spike, who, just like the Avenger Six in the Fillm folder, went from a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, to the bringers of hope across their dimension, and now to Retired Badasses as their legacy lives on in a new team of heroes (the Young Six).
- Batman is this for the Gotham City Police Department (well, the non-corrupt parts) in Batman: The Animated Series and, later on, for the Justice League.
- Terry from Batman Beyond is also a great example to the point that in the opening after all the words showing how crapsack things are HOPE flashes onscreen.
- Sonic The Hedgehog is this to the Freedom Fighters in Sonic the Hedgehog (Sat AM).
- In the animated video for Disturbed's cover of Land Of Confusion, their Mascot, The Guy, managed to turn people, who were previously running away and hiding from evil soldiers, into an angry mob who beat the hell out of their former oppressor, attack ONZ headquarters, punish corrupted politicians and bind the Anthropomorphic Personification of Greed, who is then killed by The Guy.
- Aang from ~Avatar: The Last Airbender~