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In many stories involving royalty (but particularly movies) there is a scene where someone is standing in a crowd of people. As part of a Crowning Moment of Awesome, and sometimes preceding an Awesome Moment of Crowning, the camera pulls back, and the entire crowd kneels before the character, moving in a pleasingly symmetrical wave as they do so. The character, who may have appeared minor seconds before, becomes the focus of the scene. This is usually because of two circumstances: either the character is a king, princess or someone else who should normally be knelt to, but in an unexpected situation; or the character is someone who would not normally be knelt to, but unexpectedly is.
In the first instance, the character is a King Incognito who has just thrown off his disguise. In the second, the actual king may have humbled himself and bowed to the lowly hero who has just saved the kingdom. By courtesy, everyone else is forced to imitate the king and go along with it. Commonly in this case, an antagonist will also be forced to kneel to the hero, whom they have recently insulted.
This trope is a very sharp contrast to Kneel Before Zod.
Anime & Manga
- The Twelve Kingdoms has the moment when the main character Youko (who, for complicated reasons has been joining rebels that are theoretically rebelling against her) mounts her ki'rin (thus revealing herself as Empress) and the ENTIRE ARMY falls on its knees.
- In Fushigi Yuugi, when Miaka agrees to be the Priestess of Suzaku, she is amazed that everyone bowed to her.
- They also bow to Mayo in the 3rd OVA, to her surprise.
- King Nefeltari Cobra in One Piece does this to thank the Straw Hat Pirates for saving Alabasta Kingdom and his daughter Vivi.
- In the first Sailor Moon anime, Neptune and Uranus do this after they fight Moon together one last time to prove how strong she is, and she still manages to defeat them.
- When Tohru from Fruits Basket manages to calm a transformed Kyo down and bring him back to the Sohma state in her arms and in his cat form, Kazuma is so impressed that he kneels in front of her to show his respects.
- In the Grimm's Fairy Tale Classics version of Snow White and Rose Red, after the Dwarf's death and the Bear Prince's release from the spell, the girls kneel when they find out that their friend Bear is the Prince of the realm. Then, he kneels before them to thank them for their help and shelter. And then he gives Snow White a Love Confession.
- When Toshihiko "All Might" Yagi from My Hero Academia promises to Midoriya's Yamato Nadeshiko mother Inko that he'll make her son the strongest hero and a worthy successor to his powers and his position, he kneels in front of her to show how serious he is.
- In Princess Tutu, Mytho (who has recovered all of his memories and has all but become Prince Siegfried) does this towards none other than an Ahiru who, having given him his last heart shard alias the pendant that allowed her to have a human alter ego and turn herself into Princess Tutu, is now back forever to being a duck....
- In Peter Jackson's Return of the King film, the just crowned Aragorn and Arwen kneel before the hobbits. All Minas Tirith immediately follows suit, the music swells, and as the camera pulls back, we see the four hobbits, standing in a mass of royalty and nobility... and they're the tallest ones there.
- In Ever After, Danielle walks into the throne room, and everyone kneels, as the Wicked Stepmother turns in rising horror...
- In most versions of Robin Hood, this occurs when King Richard reveals himself to the Merry Men.
- Parodied (of course) in The Court Jester, when the identity of the true king is revealed in a thoroughly embarrassing manner.
- In The Princess Bride, Buttercup is the object of a mass kneel twice, though one was All Just a Dream, and one old crone does not kneel to protest her throwing away true love.
- At the end of The Chronicles of Riddick, the title character receives this treatment from the entire Necromonger army after killing the Lord Marshal. The reason: you keep what you kill.
- In Star Wars: The Phantom Menace, Queen Amidala kneels before Boss Nass to ask for his support. Everyone in her party follows suit. Nass being who he is, he first laughs and then agrees to help her.
- A Knight's Tale involves an interesting non-literally-kneeling variation where Edward, the Black Prince of Wales, surprises the crowd by throwing off his cloak, frees William from the stocks and knights him in front of the crowd that was only moments before pelting William with rotten vegetables, all the while proclaiming that William is a man to be honored. Thus, the scene contains both variations all at once.
- In JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, Aragorn bows to Frodo and Sam at Cormallen during the honoring of the Ring-bearers. Aragorn also has Frodo and Gandalf bring him the crown as part of his coronation, to symbolize that it's only through Gandalf's wisdom and Frodo's courage that Aragorn has a crown to wear or a kingdom to rule. However, Frodo and Sam consider themselves loyal subjects of the King, Pippin is a knight, and Merry is a squire of Rohan.
- Trickster's Queen by Tamora Pierce: At the climax of the novel, everyone in the Balitang house kneels before Dove, the prophecied queen.
- In the first book of Percy Jackson and The Olympians series, Percy is just the new guy at Camp Half-Blood. When the campers start up a game of Capture The Flag, most of the enemy team gang up on him, since he's inexperienced. Percy stumbles into a nearby creek, and suddenly feels a surge of power, and fights them off, but is then set upon by a hellhound, who is quickly shot down by Percy's teammates. Poseidon then claims him as his son, which then causes everyone to kneel down in respect. (in some people, grudging respect.)
Chiron: Stormbringer. Earthshaker. Lord of Horses. Hail, Perseus Jackson, Son of the Sea God.
- And then in the final book, The Last Olympian, Percy gets an honor guard as he exits Olympus.
- At Play in the Fields of the Lord: The local Indians kneel before their messiah, the god Kisu, who happens to be the local Anti-Hero.
- Happens to the Lord Rahl in the Sword of Truth; it's called a Devotion. It doubles as a protection from Dream Walkers, if it's done earnestly. Also done at Devotion Squares in the People's Palace, symbolically to the Lord Rahl, when he isn't present. May also have some calming psychoactive effects when done for extended periods of time in those Devotion Squares.
- When Richard and Nathan Rahl switch off being the Lord Rahl so as to maintain the Bond that protects their people from Dream Walkers, this ensues repeatedly.
Live Action Television
- In the ninth season of Smallville Clark is subject to the second variety, ironically provoked by Major Zod.
- Game of Thrones: "KING IN THE NORTH!"
Religion and Mythology
- The Ramayana: After the war against Ravana's forces is won and Sita is rescued, Rama calls his generals to his throne to receive reward for their bravery. However, when Hanuman walks towards the throne, Rama breaks in tears and tells him that no treasure in existence is valuable enough to reward Hanuman for his deeds.
- In Legend of the Five Rings, a subversion of this occurs which is a crucial event in the history of the Emerald Empire. Shiba, a kami and divine son of the Sun and Moon, revealed his true identity to the people of Gisei Toshi. Instead of them paying their respects to him, Shiba himself knelt before their leader Isawa. This show of humility procured their help in defending the fledgling empire.
- World of Warcraft has a removed quest where players who obtain the Corrupted Ashbringer can go to the Scarlet Monastery, and the previously hostile Scarlet Crusaders bow to them and offer their loyalty. Scarlet Commander Mograine does the same, until his father's spirit comes out of the sword and kills him for betraying and murdering him.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: "It is our honor to serve you...Avatar Roku."
- In Mulan, The Emperor of China bows to Mulan herself after she defeats the Huns. As pictured above, the crowd hastily bows with him, and so does the slimy Obstructive Bureaucrat. Again, the music swells. Must feel pretty good for someone who has gone through the whole movie fearing and feeling she's not good enough.
- Happens in Kung Fu Panda twice. Once in a dream sequence at the beginning of the movie in which Po dreams he's such a legendary warrior that the greatest warriors in China, the Furious Five, bow in respect to him. Also happens in the endgame, when Po defeats the Big Bad and the Furious Five actually do bow to him and call him a Master.
- The Kniefall von Warschau (Warsaw Genuflection) from 1970. During a state visit to Poland, then-West Germany Chancellor Willy Brandt knelt in front of a monument of the victims of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising from 1943, as a gesture of penance and humility for the utter crap that they went through at the hands of Nazi Germany.
- During a visit to the former Seodaemun Prison (where Imperial Japan locked up, tortured and killed Korean liberation activists) in Seoul on August 2015, former Japanese PM Yukio Hatoyama knelt in front of a memorial stone as an expression of apology for Japanese war crimes in World War II.
- The Japanese boyband idol Junnosuke Taguchi (a member of KAT-TUN) knelt in front of a police station after being arrested over marijuana possession (Japanese drug laws are MUCH more severe than those in the West)