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"I do not wish to volunteer."

"No one was asking you to."

Rincewind wagged a weary finger. "Oh, but they will, sir..." He sighed. "And then I'll run away, and probably hide in a crate somewhere that'll be loaded onto the flying machine in any case."

"Will you?"

"Probably, sir. Or there'll be a whole string of accidents that end up causing the same thing. Trust me, sir. I know how my life works. So I thought I'd better cut through the whole tedious business and come along and tell you I don't wish to volunteer."

"I think you've left out a logical step somewhere," said the Patrician.

"No, sir. It's very simple. I'm volunteering. I just don't wish to.
—Reluctant hero Rincewind the wizzard, in Terry Pratchett 's The Last Hero.

There are many ways a character can respond to the Call to Adventure. If he's thrilled about it, and excited, he's Jumped At the Call. If he ignores it, or tries to continue living as though The Call never came, he's Refused the Call.

And then there's the hero who isn't happy about being called, but doesn't believe that he can avoid it, either. For whatever reason, his reaction isn't "Yay! Adventure!" or "Leave me alone. I'm not doing it." His reaction is "I can't talk you into picking someone else, can I? I'm gonna have to do this thing, aren't I? Well, let's get it over with." He's Resigned to the Call.

Sometimes, this is the only appropriate response — to jump at the call would indicate that he wasn't really fit to be The Chosen One in the first place. In other cases, it's a fault. It all depends on where on the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism the work is. It's also the most common response to a Refused the Call / You Can't Fight Fate combination or to The Call Knows Where You Live.

If someone who is Resigned To The Call ever does attempt to actually move up to Refusing the Call, expect it to be a Ten-Minute Retirement before they change their mind or their conscience makes them go back, usually just in time for a Big Damn Heroes moment.

If someone who is Resigned To The Call is one of a party who otherwise embraces the Call, it's a toss-up whether the next trope to come into play will be The Complainer Is Always Wrong, or Only Sane Man.

Someone who is continually resigned to Calls and taking it badly can become a Knight in Sour Armor.

Examples of Resigned to the Call include:

Anime and Manga

  • While he did initially try to Refuse The Call, Shinji from Neon Genesis Evangelion mostly falls into this category. While he hates being a pilot and the constant stress of battle he continues to take his Evangelion into battle, and both of his efforts to stop being a pilot wind up being Ten Minute Retirements.
  • Sosuke Sagara of Full Metal Panic is an odd example. He doesn't mind going into battle and fighting dastardly foes in a Humongous Mecha, really. After all, it's his job, and 'bout the only thing he's good at, having grown up a Child Soldier. However, he DOES mind being assigned to the ONLY robot in the unit which is powered by Hot Bloodedness. He frequently declares that a system so uncertain that you can only use it when your 'emotions peak' is way too unreliable to be a decent weapon, but is rather more like magic — and he's a SOLDIER, not a WIZARD! And yet, he's the only one who can use the system at ALL, so even though he'd much rather just use a bog-standard Real Robot, every time a Lambda Drive-equipped enemy shows up, he's got no choice but to climb into his Super Robot and take them on, grumbling all the way.
  • Keima Katsuragi basically just want to be left alone with his games, but he already signed the contract that make his head explode should he fail to accomplish (he think that it is contract for a new game). So he sucked up at his job, and made good success of it. It also helps that he grows to care for the girls which contain the Weiss, because the Weiss will severely affect the girls in some way and will be reborn as the girls first child.
  • Kyoko Koizumi in Twentieth Century Boys. She ends up involved in the whole "friend" conspiracy completely by accident, and repeatedly attempts (and fails) to go back to her normal life. Eventually she just gives in and rolls with it.
  • Rin Natsuki of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 thought Nozomi was nuts when she was chosen to be the next Pretty Cure, telling her "Thanks, but no thanks." When one of Nightmare's men arrive, Rin panics and tries to find Nozomi and tell her to stop being a Cure. When she refuses and gets in over her head, Rin's resigned to save her best friend, despite how scared she is, and become Cure Rouge.
  • Usagi Tsukino goes through this during the first half of the Filler Episode storyline in Sailor Moon R. After being resurrected following the fight with Queen Beryl, she's content as a normal school girl until the storyline's Big Bads show up, forcing Luna to restore her memories and powers. Despite this, she's completely hesitant on being Sailor Moon, causing her powers to futz up before blinking out completely. It isn't until she encounters Queen Serenity once more that she's Resigned to the Call.
  • In Saiyuki the fact that Sanzo is ACTUALLY DOING WHAT THE GODS WANT HIM TO in going on this quest, and even goes along with who they insist he bring along with limited grumbling seems severely out of character... until you get some backstory and realize his duty as a Sanzo priest was all that kept him from falling completely apart at a certain point in his life, and he also made a deal with the three aspects to do what they want while they search for the lost scripture he's been trying to recover for the greater part of his life. Then it makes more sense that he would be resigned to the call.


  • Dick Grayson falls under this trope. He honestly doesn't think he's cut out to be Batman, but he does it nonetheless.


  • The Wizard of Oz gives us Dorothy and Toto. They did want to see if there was a more interesting life than their mundane home in Kansas, but they never really wanted to end up in Oz. See if The Call cared. And other than the whole being trapped indoors during a tornado thing, they sure didn't seem to have much in the way of a warning. Still, once in Oz, what were they to do?
  • Kung Pow! Enter the Fist has its own rather idiotic take on this in the beginning, although it mutates into a Jumped At the Call when Chosen One becomes obsessed with finding Betty's weakness.
  • The main character of Cellular is this. He actively acknowledges how far in over his head he is, and he does attempt to get police help in the beginning, but acknowledges that if nobody better fit to handle the situation will step up, then he has no choice but to do so himself.
  • In the movie Hero, Dustin Hoffman's character is a misanthropic, cynical petty crook, constantly declaring that everyone is out for themselves and no one else. Then a plane crashes right in front of his car, and a boy begs him to save his father; he looks around for a fireman, or anyone else, but there's no one else to turn to, so he goes into the burning wreck and rescues each person he comes across in turn — grumbling the whole time about his brand-new shoes. At the end of the film, with his son at the zoo, someone falls into the bear enclosure; he yells, "call the zookeeper!" a few times before reluctantly heading off to the rescue, grumbling, "watch my shoes."
  • Chandler Jarrell in The Golden Child is a specialist in finding missing children, but also a profound skeptic. When he is told that the titular Golden Child has been kidnapped, he's willing to consider it as just another job, and gets very annoyed when people keep bringing up supernatural stuff like that he's the Chosen One, or that the child is to be sacrificed to The Legions of Hell to bring about The End of the World as We Know It. Unfortunately, he keeps getting his face rubbed in these things until he grudgingly starts to believe.


  • Stationery Voyagers has Arnold "Pextel" Rubblindo. In his particular predicament, he is now a ghost trapped inside a cartridge that is inserted into a six-foot-tall robot that is shaped like a mechanical pencil. While this does make him a slave of his new "creators," the Xyliens, at least they're a (mostly) benign group of Men In Black types. He doesn't particularly like being owned by them, but he at least gets his wish to be an astronaut, even if he is trapped in a faux-immortal state without the benefit of a true nervous system. On the same token, his "life" would be rather useless if he continued to defy the call — the Xylien Edge Skidder Division would simply come after him and put his S-chip in a freezer.
  • By The Last Hero, Rincewind has become Genre Savvy enough to know when he's likely to be drafted for the Disc's first space flight, and grudgingly volunteers in order to save himself time trying to hide from The Call.
  • Jonah in The Bible is an example of Resigned To The Call coming after he Refused the Call and got a dose of You Can't Fight Fate. By the time the big fish spit him out, his attitude had changed from "I am NOT going to Ninevah!" to "I guess I'm going to Ninevah."
    • And what about Moses? His response to the Lord Our God is a) Why me? b) what do I say when they ask Who sent me? c) You know they're not going believe me. d) I'm a lousy public speaker. Until God looses his temper and tells him to stop whining and don't keep his brother Aaron waiting!
  • (Bel)Garion, the main Chosen One of David Eddings' Belgariad is Resigned To The Call; he spends roughly 4 1/2 of the five books asking "Why me?". C'Nedra also spends a fair bit of books 4 and 5 Resigned To The Call, giving recruiting speeches and leading the army because, according to the Prophecy, she must in order for Belgarion to have a chance to win.
  • Morgon of The Riddle Master of Hed is very much not happy about the ambiguous, threatening prophecies that have been ascribed to him and only grudgingly agrees after almost being murdered a few times to try and figure some of this stuff out.
  • In Kingdom Keepers, the keepers aren't to enthusiastic about their new mission, especially Maybeck and Charlene. However, since they cross over every time they fall asleep, there's little they can do except go with it.
  • Aislinn in the Wicked Lovely series. She realizes that she has no choice about being a faery, but she makes clear that she will only do it on her own terms.
  • In Tolkien's Farmer Giles of Ham, Giles doesn't really want to go dragon-hunting, but he knows he will eventually have to and can't keep making excuses for ever.
  • Elric often complains about his fate as the Eternal Champion, but feels helpless to avoid it.
  • The Three in Warrior Cats feel this way about being The Chosen Ones several times, but Dovewing more than the other two.

Live Action TV

  • On average this seems to be the attitude of the Oceanic Six returning to the Island on Lost, especially Hurley. The clearest exception is Sayid, who had to be dragged in handcuffs.
  • Arguably the attitude of one Buffy Summers throughout the majority of the series. She tries to refuse the Call at various points, especially at the beginning, and the hope she feels when other Slayers start showing up is just heartbreaking when it becomes clear that she can't just step down and let the new Slayer take over. She also implies, at various points, that the job itself is pretty cool — her objections to it are based in the masquerade killing any chance of her ever having a normal relationship — or in some cases any relationship (count her exes, folks: Angel (vampire); Riley Finn (super soldier); and Spike (vampire) and a string of normal men) and the fact that "retirement" means her dying. Also, the Call keeps dragging her friends and family into the mix, which she really objects to. Plus, that by age 18, she's one of the oldest slayers ever (by the end of the series when she is in her early 20's, she's probably the oldest slayer in history)
    • In the episode where she has Spike tell her about how he killed two previous slayers, he argues this trope is what really ends up killing slayers; they may start out fighting for survival, then fight to protect other people, but eventually they accept their destiny (and the extremely short life-span involved) and end up becoming death seekers. Once that happens, it's only a matter of time until some vampire or demon gets in a lucky shot.


Video Games

  • Shadow Hearts: Yuri doesn't particularly want to go on an epic quest or anything, but that damn voice in his head won't leave him alone, so he's just going along with it until the Character Development kicks in.
  • Final Fantasy VIII gives us Squall Leonhart, a mercenary who gets involved in the adventure because it's his job, and stays involved partly to protect his girlfriend and partly because he's not given a lot of choice about it. He's even specifically hired by the government of Esthar to go fight the Final Boss.
  • Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid had become this. While he's very hesitant in the first Solid game, by the fourth it's become a family squabble.
  • In Dragon Age Origins, this is the most common attitude taken by the Grey Wardens and their companions, especially Alistair.
    • Though Alistair did Jump at the Call to become a Grey Warden — it's the bits after Ostagar that he's more cynical about.
    • Some volunteer readily and don't take 'no' for an answer (Leliana, Wynne, Oghren.) The ones who are more resigned to it:
      • Morrigan, railroaded into what might be an extended Escort Mission, though at that early stage no one is sure who is the escort.
      • Sten, locked in a tiny cage with nothing left to live for.
      • Zevran, after his failed assassination and the expectation of capital reprisal from his bosses. Subversion; he'd taken the job with a deathwish in the first place, expecting failure.
      • Shale could be a borderline example; though not really opposed to joining, resigned to pretty much anything due to lack of direction.
  • Garrus in Mass Effect 2 tags along more because he likes Shepard than anything else, and tends to snark about it.
  • In Transformers: War for Cybertron, Optimus shows shades of this after Zeta Prime is killed, forcing him to take up the mantle of the last Prime.

Web Comics

  • Ciem offers us Candi Levens. She has resigned herself to the fact all along that she must take up superheroics. But the Call decides to punish her anyway.
  • Pretty much everyone in Homestuck doesn't really care about the game. Of course given that they had no choice in the matter, it's pretty much a huge case of You Can't Fight Fate
  • In The Adventures of Shan Shan, Shan Shan tries to put it off.

Web Originals

  • Most of the original characters in JLA Watchtower/DC Nation fit this trope quite well. Those who don't Jumped At the Call
    • Corrine "Merlynne" Bertrand is the product of a prophesy thousands of years old. Her family was off-the-rails crazy, with a mother who perpetuated unbelievable levels of abuse to try and "protect" her children, and a father who was into Black Magic and the occasional summoning of an Eldritch Abomination now and then. After an accidental manifestation of her abilities destroys the family home and a few family members, Corrine runs away, embraces Christianity (which fulfilled part of the prophesy on her family), and was found by Dr. Fate, who helped her control her magic. She remarks frequently that it's a wonder she's anything resembling sane. As much as she would like NOT to be a Chosen One, she realizes one of her insane family members could always assume that mantle if she doesn't.
    • Caleb and Amelia Zukov are descendants of the succubus Chantelle (from Hellblazer). Caleb accidentally put his sister into a coma, and learning to use his magic was the best chance he had to revive her. By the time he did manage to wake Amelia up, he was already a former member of the JSA and current member of the Outsiders. When Amelia woke up, she only went along with the Outsiders to be close to her brother. After falling out with them, she had enough of a thirst for adventure to get in with a revival of The Elite.
    • Tara "Green Shield" Strong was a pharmaceutical chemistry student who was diagnosed with a rare, terminal neurological disorder. She experimented on herself only so that her research would support her family, sparing them the horrendous medical bills her conditions would eventually lead to. The bad news was that her boss stole her work. The good news is that her plan to inject herself with the chemical and use her own body as a smoking gun not only retarded the progression of her illness, but granted her enhanced strength and durability. After literally stumbling into the middle of an attack on Clan Arrow by Cheshire, she took the offer to train with them because she still, on some level, believes that she will die soon.
    • Aurora "Fauna" Andersen was a Granola Girl activist, and raised as an Actual Pacifist, even supporting a movement to make superhero work illegal...until she led a protest outside of LexCorp HQ. For reasons she can only speculate on, she was kidnapped by Luthor's thugs and subjected to medical torture that left her with animal-based shapeshifting abilities, along with some pretty nasty side effects. After escaping, she got a job at Black Canary's flower shop, and was literally recruited into the Titans on a phone call. Even though it betrayed her upbringing, Fauna threw her lot in with the capes because the alternative was a life constantly running from Lex Luthor.

Real Life

  • How many in the military look on the various hardships or inconveniences they might find themselves enduring (deployments away from family, the sometimes harsh lifestyle, dubious chow hall food, and the occasional draconian or misguided policy from higher up). A viewpoint expressed with the acronym BOHICA (Bend Over, Here It Comes Again)
  • Pope Benedict XVI had planned on retiring for a while before he was elected Pope. He also admits to having prayed to God "Please don't do this to me!"
  • Kim Il Sung supposedly preferred being a military man over a political leader, at least according to the Soviet Diplomats who had to convince him to take up leadership because he was the closest thing to a Communist leader in Korea following the Japanese occupation.