Created By: MacronNotes on March 24, 2013 Last Edited By: MacronNotes on June 27, 2013
Troped

The Navigator

A character who's good with navigation and maps in general.

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Trope
A character who is really good at locating places and objects. This character knows their way around maps and are at giving good directions. If they are part of a Five-Man Band or a Command Roster, expect this character to double as The Smart Guy. This type of character is often found in works with a military or maritime setting. If the setting has a magical setting or Eldritch Location, expect The Navigator to wield a Magic Map or compass. Their ability to navigate and detect might even be due to magic or a superpower in these settings.

Contrast with No Sense of Direction, a character who is incredibly bad at maps and directions.

Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Last Exile: Klaus' backseat (navigator and mechanic) in his vanship is his best friend Lavie.
  • Melfina is the navigator of the XGP in Outlaw Star by design.
  • One Piece: Nami is the navigator of the Straw Hat pirates. She's also good at drawing maps.
  • Brock is the navigator in the Pokémon anime, usually the one carrying the Town Map.

Film - Animated
  • Radio on The Brave Little Toaster gives himself the job of navigator, honing in on radio signals to get to the city.
  • Milo Thatch guides the team in Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, as Milo is the only one who can decipher The Shepherd's Journal that details the route to Atlantis.
  • Young Max Goof is appointed "Chief Whichawayer" of the cross-country road tour of the United States by his father in A Goofy Movie. This sets up a Plot Twist when Max misuses this power to divert the tour to Los Angeles.

Film - Live Action
  • David, the titular navigator in Flight of the Navigator.
  • On The Hunt for Red October Mr. Kamarov was the Red October's navigator and guided the boat through the infamous Red Route One.
  • Twister has Rabbit, the guy who gets the storm chasers to where the twister is. He has a truck full of maps (rolled, not folded) and knows all the shortcuts across the Kansas countryside.

Literature
  • In the Dune universe, Navigators have consumed so much spice that their bodies have deformed and they have to stay in a special tank filled with spice gas. They are able to use a limited form of prescience to safely navigate interstellar space in a starship called a heighliner.
  • Kynddelig (or Cynddylig) from Culhwch and Olwen, about whom it is said "as good a guide was he in a land which he had never seen as he was in his own".

Live Action TV

Video Games
  • Tun Luiec in The Longest Journey is a freelance navigator looking for work in Marcuria. She is also a woman, so no captain wants her aboard his ship until April pulls some strings for her.
  • In Uncharted Waters: New Horizons, you can assign any one of your mates to the Chief Navigator position, but if this mate has the Celestial Navigation perk, it unlocks the auto-travel function of the game.
  • In Mass Effect Pressly was said to be the Normandy's navigator before he became XO.
  • In The Secret of Monkey Island, Guybrush has to convince the talking head of a beheaded navigator, reanimated by voodoo magic, to show him the way through Monkey Island's underground cave system to reach Le Chuck's ship.

Western Animation

Real Life
  • Christopher Columbus did much of his own navigation, particularly on his first voyage.
  • Mary Patten, wife of Joshua Patten, captain of the clipper ship Neptune's Car became the ship's navigator when her husband became ill from exhaustion, due to having to perform his duties as well as the First Mate's, who was in the brig. Only 20 years old, she was able to do it, because she had studied navigation on earlier voyages as a hobby, as well as act as nurse for her husband, from Cape Horn, all the way to San Francisco. And she was pregnant the whole time.
  • Fred Noonan was known for pioneering many of Pan Am's routes to China and trained a large number of their navigators. He was eventually chosen to be Amelia Earhart's navigator on her final attempt to circumnavigate the globe.
Community Feedback Replies: 33
  • March 24, 2013
    Quag15
    Are Real Life examples allowed?
  • March 24, 2013
    DunDun
    To help with the description:

    Expect this character to double as The Smart Guy in a Five Man Band. If the setting has a magical setting or Eldritch Location, expect The Navigator to wield a Magic Map or Compass.

    Compare and contrast Mission Control, for when The Navigator is not in the field.

    For Examples: Are only people "good with maps and directions" this trope or do people with mysterious detecting powers also count?

    From Once Upon A Time, we have Ruby, who is a werewolf and has found Ella's heart and Belle (when she went missing).
  • March 24, 2013
    Space_Harpoon
    hmm.. I can't think of many film examples except for war movies with a designated navigator, like in Memphis Belle. Still, I don't see why this shouldn't be a character trope, especially if you have more examples to back it up
  • March 24, 2013
    MacronNotes
    ^^^ I don't think they would hurt.

    ^^ As for the examples... maybe we can broaden it. Although I thought we had a trope for that ability.

    ^ Yep, this trope is often seen in military or maritime settings.

  • March 24, 2013
    Aokage
    Anime
    • One Piece. Nami is the navigator of the Straw Hat pirates. She's also good at drawing maps.
  • March 24, 2013
    FantasyLiver
    In Guardians of Ga'hoole: Legends of the Guardians, Gylfee is the Navigator of the group.
  • March 24, 2013
    TonyG
    Radio on The Brave Little Toaster gives himself the job of navigator, honing in on radio signals to get to the city.
  • March 25, 2013
    Koveras
    • In Uncharted Waters: New Horizons, you can assign any one of your mates to the Chief Navigator position, but if this mate has with the Celestial Navigation perk, it unlocks the auto-travel function of the game.
  • March 26, 2013
    chicagomel
    Real Life: Prince Henry The Navigator? I don't recall any details on him though.
  • March 26, 2013
    Koveras
    @OP: I corrected the grammar in my own example. Also, have a hat.
  • March 27, 2013
    Chernoskill
    In the Dune universe, Navigators have consumed so much spice that their bodies have deformed and they have to stay in a special tank filled with spice gas. They are able to use a limited form of prescience to safely navigate interstellar space in a starship called a heighliner.
  • April 4, 2013
    Tallens
    • On The Hunt For Red October Mr. Kamarov (I believe) was the Red October's navigator and guided the boat through the infamous Red Route One.
  • April 17, 2013
    Tallens
    • Kit Cloudkicker in Tale Spin served as Baloo's navigator on the Sea Duck. One episode even had him get a trophy for it.
  • April 17, 2013
    DouglasFir
  • April 18, 2013
    acrobox
    • Brock is the Navigator in the Pokemon Anime, usually the one carrying the Town Map
    • Melfina is the Navigator of the XGP in Outlaw Star by design
    • Michelangelo hilariously enough is the Navigator for the 2012 Ninja Turtles show. He's not that good at it.
  • April 19, 2013
    Tallens
  • April 20, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Film Animated
    • Milo Thatch guides the team in Disney's Atlantis The Lost Empire, as Milo is the only one who can decipher The Shepherd's Journal that details the route to Atlantis.
    • Young Max Goof is appointed "Chief Whichawayer" of the cross-country road tour of the United States by his father in A Goofy Movie. This sets up a Plot Twist when Max misuses this power to divert the tour to Los Angeles.
  • April 20, 2013
    Tallens
    • Twister has Rabbit, the guy who gets the storm chasers to where the twister is. He has a truck full of maps (rolled, not folded) and knows all the shortcuts across the Kansas countryside.
  • April 27, 2013
    Tallens
    Bump
  • May 1, 2013
    Tallens
    Macron, you still put there?
  • May 1, 2013
    Koveras
    This needs a couple of example updates and more hats.
  • May 1, 2013
    MacronNotes
    I'm still here. I was kinda the past couple of weeks. I'll add the examples now.
  • May 1, 2013
    Tallens
    Missed the Tale Spin one.
  • May 2, 2013
    Tallens
    I've confirmed that Red October's navigator was Kamarov. And I was thinking more of the film version rather than the book.
  • May 13, 2013
    Tallens
    Bump
  • May 18, 2013
    Tallens
    • Last Exile: Klaus' backseat (navigator and mechanic) in his vanship is his best friend Lavie.
  • May 18, 2013
    Omeganian
    Kynddelig (or Cynddylig) from Culhwch and Olwen, about whom it is said "as good a guide was he in a land which he had never seen as he was in his own".
  • June 4, 2013
    Tallens
    Was there ever a decision on Real Life examples?

    Real Life:
    • Fred Noonan was known for pioneering many of Pan Am's routes to China and trained a large number of their navigators. He was eventually chosen to be Amelia Earhart's navigator on her final attempt to circumnavigate the globe.
  • June 11, 2013
    Tallens
    • in Mass Effect Pressly was said to be the Normandy's navigator before he became XO.
  • June 18, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • As the lead sled dog, Steele was supposed to guide the team safely from Nenana to Nome, Alaska. When Steele fails, Balto replaces him. His task is impeded by the vengeful Steele obfuscating Balto's directional markings.
  • June 26, 2013
    Tallens
    • Christopher Columbus did much of his own navigation, particularly on his first voyage.

    • Mary Patten, wife of Joshua Patten, captain of the clipper ship Neptune's Car became the ship's navigator when her husband became ill from exhaustion, due to having to perform his duties as well as the First Mate's, who was in the brig. Only 20 years old, she was able to do it, because she had studied navigation on earlier voyages as a hobby, as well as act as nurse for her husband, from Cape Horn, all the way to San Francisco. And she was pregnant the whole time.
  • June 27, 2013
    Chernoskill
    Videogames

    • In The Secret Of Monkey Island, Guybrush has to convince the talking head of a beheaded navigator, reanimated by voodoo magic, to show him the way through Monkey Island's underground cave system to reach Le Chuck's ship.
  • June 27, 2013
    Koveras
    • Tun Luiec in The Longest Journey is a freelance navigator looking for work in Marcuria. She is also a woman, so no captain wants her aboard his ship until April pulls some strings for her.

    And Just Launch It Already.
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