Created By: Shrikesnest on August 19, 2012 Last Edited By: Shrikesnest on September 28, 2012
Nuked

Mere Mortal Giant Slayer

A character who is known for slaying powerful or magical creatures despite having no special powers of his own.

Name Space:
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Trope
Cousin to the Badass Normal, this is a character who inhabits a world where the average person doesn't have any kind of supernatural or magical power but magical creatures such as giants and dragons exist. You might logically expect that no sane person would dare to challenge these creatures, and in general you would be right, except...

Enter the Mere Moral Giant Slayer (or Dragon Slayer, etc.) They have the tactical acumen to figure out how to kill a creature five times their size, the strength and stamina to pull it off, and the foolish bravery to go do it. What they don't have is a spellbook full of magical powers, a closet full of enchanted gear or supernatural protection; perhaps an heirloom sword that is entwined with their destiny, but the overwhelming bulk of their victory comes from their own strength and intellect.

A staple hero of Low Fantasy stories, the audience can find the Mere Mortal Giant Slayer more relatable than other heroes. However, this naturally limits the scope of the world the story can take place in if the author is looking to avoid Fridge Logic along the lines of, "Why doesn't the hero just fly over the giant like he did the gorge?"

Examples:

  • This is how Aerin Dragon-Killer gets her name in The Hero and the Crown. She manages to kill a dragon with nothing but a dagger.
  • Many versions of the stories of King Arthur's knights have elements of this, although some are disqualified due to the explicit existence of divine protection for the knights.
  • Much of the plot of the film Dragon Heart is about the main character attempting to fake being one of these with the help of a friendly dragon.
  • The Fairy Tale The Brave Little Tailor by the brothers Grimm is about a tailor who, after killing seven flies in one blow, is mistaken to have killed seven men in a single blow. What follows is a series of misunderstandings that have him fighting giants and other mythological creatures at the behest of his king with nothing but his wits.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • August 19, 2012
    Koveras
    Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu is closely related.

    • The main character of Angel Notes earned the nickname "Gun God" by killing a gigantic Ultimate Life Form threatening the entire planet with just his gun. Everyone therefore expects him to join the hunt for more of these monsters.
  • August 19, 2012
    TBeholder
  • August 19, 2012
    jate88
    Doesn't the original version of Jack And The Bean Stalk count.
  • August 19, 2012
    Generality
    My first thought was David Versus Goliath but that seems to be tuned into very specific cases.
  • August 19, 2012
    MiinU
    I agree with TBeholder, this sounds like a different take on Badass Normal, which has them taking down mythological creatures, instead of contrasting them with other characters who're gifted with psy power/supernatural ability/and the like.
  • August 19, 2012
    Damr1990
    compare/contrastCape Busters. for when various normal individuals organize themselves to combat other special creatures(may include both mystical beasts and special humans)
  • August 19, 2012
    Shrikesnest
    I think this is distinct from Badass Normal in a way that becomes clear if you read the example list for that trope. Badass Normal is about the one member of a super-powered team who manages to keep up with the rest. This is about a character who fights super-powered foes despite having no supernatural powers themselves, often (but not always) in a setting where nobody has any supernatural powers. It's not only possible but pretty effortless to gather a dozen examples of each with zero overlap; therefore I think we can discount Badass Normal.

    Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu is trickier, but bear with me here. The Cthulhu trope is about killing a creature (like a god or spirit) that is supposed to be immortal or that doesn't even have a corporeal form to damage; especially by mundane means such as cutting it with a sword or blowing it away with a rocket launcher. That trope is much closer to this one, but I think it serves a distinct enough narrative purpose that this one could coexist with it peaceably. (In fact, I'll hazard that there are some examples in the Cthulhu trope that we could bring over to this one instead, clarifying the first without harm.)

    Cape Busters is the most worryingly similar to me... I didn't know that one existed. Still, that seems to be very specific to the superhero genre, while this one is keyed more to Low Fantasy. I'll be interested to hear more discussion on these points.

    If anyone has more examples, feel free to just edit them right into the YKTTW. We should save the comments for discussion about the proposed trope.
  • August 19, 2012
    LittleLizard
    A metaphoric example would be the AE 86 of Initial D (at least before it was upgraded). A decade old, non-modified car at the hands of a guy who just got his driving license beating GT-Rs, RX-7s and EV Os.
  • August 20, 2012
    randomsurfer
    We have a page on The Brave Little Tailor, FYI.
  • August 21, 2012
    Shrikesnest
    ^ Oh, thanks. Didn't know that.
  • August 21, 2012
    captainpat
    This does sound extremely similar to David Versus Goliath. If understanding things correctly this about reputation?
  • September 27, 2012
    Shrikesnest
    Bump
  • September 27, 2012
    MrRuano
    • Touhou's other main protagonist, Marisa Kirisame, is but a mere human who's main skill is being able to replicate the spellcards of others. Unlike her fellow protagonist, Reimu, she doesn't have any innate gifts for magic and was taught all of the basics of magic as a child by a vengeful ghost. None of this stops her from blasting some of Gensokyo's nastiest.
  • September 27, 2012
    captainpat
    Again, this is about reputation right? Because we already have David Versus Goliath.
  • September 28, 2012
    TBeholder
    ...and if it's about characterization, there's still no border between this and Badass Normal. Nor The Hunter -- isn't quite inclusive enough to say it's a supertrope, but overlaps too much.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=cuf2rvvex7hr1htyqsafc3eo&trope=DiscardedYKTTW