Created By: superfroggy on May 17, 2010 Last Edited By: superfroggy on May 18, 2010
Troped

Bear Hug

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The standardised, FDA-approved display of affection for The Big Guy (especially if s/he is a Gentle Giant), this consists of the hugger grabbing someone -- or multiple people, if necessary -- from behind (usually) with a big, sweeping motion and pulling them close (sometimes lifting them off the ground entirely), with the hugger's arm(s) wrapped tightly around the huggee's neck and/or shoulders. Being The Big Guy is not actually required, but having a large "stage presence" (whether it stems from size or sheer charisma) helps make this more convincing.

Note that this is as much a means of displaying the character's dominance/strength as it is of showing that they're just a big ol' teddy bear, and like its cousin The Glomp, is oftentimes far from consensual; the huggee often doesn't appreciate being manhandled by somebody twice their size, and you can tell a lot about a character based on whether they give in to the hugger's crushing embrace or struggle helplessly to escape. If the hug goes on for too long, expect cries of "can't... breathe..." or something similar. Despite all this, there is often little-to-no risk of actual physical injury unless the hugger Does Not Know His Own Strength on top of being overly affectionate, in which case the odds of Amusing Injuries being inflicted vastly increase.

Can also be a rich source of Ho Yay, especially when the character's smaller, more sensitive counterpart is his most common target.

Similar to The Glomp, but with less full-body tackling and a far higher risk of asphyxiation. Unrelated to bears in general as a trope, though they can coexist in very specific circumstances. Like many tropes, can be deconstructed to horrifying effect.
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • May 13, 2010
    superfroggy
    ...Crap. I just read the article for The Glomp again, and I think I may have just reiterated that entire writeup with a slightly different word order. Any thoughts? Can it be salvaged?
  • May 13, 2010
    macroscopic
    No, this is distinct from The Glomp by the way it's treated. I'm not sure how to explain but I know that when I think of the Big Guy giving a bear hug it just isn't a glomp and vice versa. Glomping is more like tackling is part of it I guess, while a big guy does more of a grab and hold.
  • May 13, 2010
    superfroggy
    I think I see what you're saying - I guess I'll have to wait and see if any distinct examples bubble up before making judgement. (My brain doesn't seem to want to remember anything atm)
  • May 13, 2010
    Mozgwsloiku
    • What about bear hugs used for attack, ie: with an intent of causing harm? It's not very effective (as it requires a lot of strength and unless you manage to trap your opponent's arms, he will be free to pummel your face while you squeeze) but still a favourite of many Giant Mook types.
      • Troper Tales - my grandma once suffered an overenthusiastic greeting from a rather bulky friend and ended with a broken rib.
  • May 13, 2010
    Arivne
    Web Comics
  • May 13, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Comic Books:
    • In The Boys former Soviet superhero Love Sausage bearhugs Billy Butcher (in a friendly fashion) when they first meet.
    • In Marvel Comics, former Soviet Super Soldier Ursa Major (who turns into a bear) uses this as his main attack move.
  • May 13, 2010
    macroscopic
    Okay I think I got this. Both bear hugging and glomping are presented as an aggressive way of showing affection that may or may not be actually wanted. Whereas with the glomp the 'threat' to the recipient comes from the impact, with the bear hug it's the holding in place and the squeezing, particularly since it tends to be used by big, brawny types.
  • May 13, 2010
    truteal
  • May 13, 2010
    superfroggy
    Thank you, macro, I'll probably try to work that in somewhere. EDIT: Also, it seems like with The Glomp, the glomper is forcing themselves on the glompee, whereas with this, the "victim" is being forced into it... There is a difference, right? Also, The Glomp tends to be a bit more... premeditated(?), while this tends to be more innocent.

    I find it funny that I seemingly wrote this YKTTW while somehow having no idea what I was actually describing.
  • May 14, 2010
    Lullabee
    I think I've seen examples of this where the target is actually lifted off the ground. And does this apply to all situations where a character is afraid of being physically injured by the hug, or does it have to be The Big Guy? I think I could dig up an example, unless this requires a big, strong, threatening character, or any old character who is just strong enough to hug you so tightly it hurts.
  • May 14, 2010
    superfroggy
    Injury isn't requisite, though I probably focused on it a bit too much in the name of "humor".
  • May 14, 2010
    Lullabee
    • The Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel Halflife has the Doctor do this... I think:
      And with that, the Doctor bounded over and gave Fitz a huge, rib-cracking hug, lifting him clear off the ground.

    They're both fairly slim and unremarkable to look at, although, in another book, the Doctor lifts Fitz up in a rather effortless Bridal Carry, so he's kind of got that Muscles Are Meaningless/Waif Fu thing going on.

    Anyway, I think maybe if we had pictures, this would be clearer. Is the threat of physical injury that which makes it this trope, or is it that the character being hugged finds themselves encased in a wall of man, or is it that the hugger is The Big Guy? Is it just any hug that is more like manhandling (in which case, the above is an example)?
  • May 14, 2010
    superfroggy
    It doesn't have to be The Big Guy, strictly speaking, but 99% of the time it is anyways. It isn't really the threat of injury either. But your other points are basically correct.

    I'm probably going to have to rewrite this for clarity sometime soon, so further questions/suggestions would be appreciated.
  • May 14, 2010
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • A mainstay on '70s series That's My Mama.
      Mama: Aw, c'mere!
      Raj, Dwayne, and Dee-Dee: Mama! C...can't breathe!

    • The Big Guy from Mulan
  • May 14, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    If taken too far, could lead to And Call Him George.
  • May 14, 2010
    zealotglob
  • May 15, 2010
    superfroggy
    Okay, I added some stuff in to make things more intelligible. @Lullabee: "Encased by a wall of man" sounds pretty accurate, if bizarrely-phrased.
  • May 15, 2010
    randomsurfer
    @Paradisca Corbasi: do you mean Whats Happening? That's the show that had Raj, Dwayne & Dee-Dee.
  • May 17, 2010
    superfroggy
    This sort of feels like it's starting to languish here, so I'm going to wait a few days for some more examples/additions and launch it if nobody objects, so the Wiki Magic can hopefully get to work.

    EDIT: I don't seem to be able to edit the article. Anybody know what's up?
  • May 17, 2010
    superfroggy
    Yeah, I'm going to either launch or dump this within 24 hours; Examples are painfully scarce, so I'm really not sure if this is tropable.
  • May 17, 2010
    macroscopic
    Launch it. Wiki Magic will make it grow. A text search for "bear hug" has 27 results, so we can pull some examples that way.
  • May 17, 2010
    superfroggy
    Okay, I'll do that sometime tomorrow. Thanks for the advice.
  • May 18, 2010
    Amaryllis
    Hagrid does this to Harry, Ron, and Hermione a lot in Harry Potter, sometimes more than one of them at the same time.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=aq5ikd94lbpkn4z4rtm14fxn