Created By: Goldfritha on November 24, 2012 Last Edited By: Goldfritha on January 6, 2013
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The Marvelous Deer

A magical deer

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Deer, being wild animals, can easily be magical and mysterious while still being hard to reach for humans.

Marvelous deer are often the quarry in hunts. Catching them may be another matter, especially since the marvelous deer tends to be a lone animal; herds of marvelous deer are impractical for maintaining the marvelness. It can lead to Follow the White Rabbit.

For the deer to be white -- or golden -- is common.

Contrast Bambification.

Examples

Anime & Manga
  • In Nichijou Principal Shinonome battles a deer in hand-to-hoof combat, in a sequence which may be symbolic, mystic or just Yuuko's imagination. It's certainly a numinous moment.

Ballads
  • In some variants of The Famous Flower of Serving Men, the king is hunting and led off by a milk-white hind.
    Oh the hind she broke, the hind she flew
    The hind she trampled the brambles through
    First she'd mount and then she'd sound
    Sometimes before, sometimes behind
  • In A Lyttle Gest of Robin Hood, Little John uses the tale of one -- which, he claims, is green -- to lure the sheriff into the woods.

Fairy Tales
  • In The King Who Would Be Stronger Than Fate, he finds the hermit who tells him his daughter's fate while hunting.
    In the course of the beat his dogs disturbed a beautiful snow-white stag, and directly he saw it the king determined that he would have it at any cost. So he put the spurs to his horse, and followed it as hard as he could gallop.
  • In Brother and Sister, Brother is transformed to a white stag, and the king discovers that he can talk and lives with his (still human) sister in the woods.
  • In The Brother Grimms' The Two Brothers, one brother, having rescued a princess from the dragon and married her, goes hunting and is lured into danger by a deer.

Fanfic

Film

Literature
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, they are hunting a stag that grants wishes when they stumble back out of the wardrobe.
  • In Kate Seredy's The White Stag, it leads them onward at various times.
  • Harry Potter's patronous is a stag, to symbolism his father's animal form and that he's still watching over him. The seventh book also prominently features a mysterious silver doe that leads Harry to the Sword of Gryffindor. Its actually Snape's patronous, and represents Lily, the woman he loved.
  • James Thurber's The White Deer. Its nature is central to the story.
  • In the Dragonlance novel Dragons of Autumn Twilight, the Forestmaster is a sentient, majestic deer that charges the Heroes of the Lance to travel to Xak Tsaroth to retrieve the Disks of Mishakal, an ancient artifact that could help bring back Krynn's gods.
  • In P.N.Elrod's 'His Father's Son', a mystical boy character who entered a dreamworld-like setting and communicated with a white stag as a spirit guide.
  • In the Magic Tree House, Merlin is able to turn into a stag.

Mythology & Legend
  • One of the Twelve Labors of Heracles was that he had to capture- alive and unharmed- the Golden Hind sacred to the goddess Artemis.
  • According to a tale, legendary Japanese warrior Tadakatsu Honda managed to escape his enemies and safely cross a river thanks to a deer. Since that day, he put antlers on his helmet as a sign of respect for all deers.
  • Saint Patrick and his clerics were going to a hostile king's court, and prayed for protection. The ambushers saw them all as deer. (Which is why the prayer is known as "The Deer's Cry.")
  • This trope applies to Santa's reindeer, at least in those versions of holiday folklore that attribute their flight to their own innate abilities (as opposed to Santa's magic, to eating magic grain, etc). Any child who's stayed awake on Christmas Eve listening for their arrival can testify that they're both mysterious and elusive.

Tabletop RPG
  • Dungeons & Dragons module IM3 The Best of Intentions. During the Olympic Trials, the Immortal PCs compete in an event called "The Wild Hunt". They must chase and kill a great white hart twice as large as a normal deer. The hart is actually another Immortal in deer form.
  • Shadowrun. Shasta deer live on the slopes of Mount Shasta in California. They have some connection with local nature spirits and appear to have latent magical abilities similar to those of spirits.
  • Warhammer's Wood Elves are essentially The Fair Folk, and their leaders have the option of riding Great Stags, which they see as being Nature Spirits in animal form.

Videogames
  • The King of Dragon Pass has a recurring event where a hunter from another clan has tracked a white stag to your lands and wants your permission to hunt it.
  • Deerling and Sawsbuck from Pokémon Black and White seem to be based off this concept, being the only Pokemon that change forms with the seasons. Sawsbucks antlers particularly are marvelous as they're tree branches with leaves that grow and die throughout the year.
    • There's also Stantler, from Gen II. It's said to be able to hypnotize and psychologically affect people and Pokemon with its antlers,which give the illusion of two large eyes in the center of each side.
  • Hircine, the god of hunting in the Elder Scrolls universe, has a white stag as one of his avatars in Skyrim. Hunting the stag is necessary if the Dovahkiin wants to earn Hircine's favor.
  • In Neverwinter Nights expansion pack Shadows of Undrentide, one of the side-quests involves hunting the Shadow Hart, a magical deer with teleportation powers.
  • In Assassin's Creed III, Connor can accept a quest to hunt a unique deer. According to the huntmaster, several hunters have tried and failed to bring it down before, and they all swear it's got some mysterious power that makes it Immune to Bullets.
  • In Mabinogi, the deer of Corrib Valley are a minor example. They give you herbs (including the exceedingly rare White Herbs) in exchange for mushrooms.

Webcomics
  • In Tales of the Questor, Quentyn is urged to be true to himself by a white stag, and receives a mark of favor.

Community Feedback Replies: 41
  • November 24, 2012
    KTera
    • The King Of Dragon Pass has a recurring event where a hunter from another clan has tracked a white stag to your lands and wants your permission to hunt it.
  • November 24, 2012
    acrobox
    • Snow White And The Huntsman approach a marvelous deer deep in the forest that seems to be some kind of nature spirite.
    • Deerling and Sawsbuck from Pokemon Black And White seem to be based off this concept, being the only Pokemon that change forms with the seasons. Sawsbucks antlers particularly are marvelous as they're tree branches with leaves that grow and die throughout the year.
    • There are several powerful shots of Bambi and his father in the movie.
    • Harry Potter: his animal avatar is a stag
  • November 24, 2012
    Prfnoff
    We may have this as Bambification. (Which is a pretty silly title, I think.)
  • November 25, 2012
    Arivne
    Bambification appears to be "Deer are sweet and innocent", not "Deer are mysterious and magical".

    Tabletop RPG
    • Dungeons And Dragons module IM3 The Best of Intentions. During the Olympic Trials, the Immortal PCs compete in an event called "The Wild Hunt". They must chase and kill a great white hart twice as large as a normal deer. The hart is actually another Immortal in deer form.
    • Shadowrun. Shasta deer live on the slopes of Mount Shasta in California. They have some connection with local nature spirits and appear to have latent magical abilities similar to those of spirits.
  • November 25, 2012
    acrobox
    Bambification has a subsection for "deer are mysterious and magical" under "older less narmful versions of this trope"

    i'd say either Split that section off into its own trope and call it Marvelous Deer, or do some editing on the Bambification page
  • November 25, 2012
    Astaroth
    • Hircine, the god of hunting in the Elder Scrolls universe, has a white stag as one of his avatars in Skyrim. Hunting the stag is necessary if the Dovahkiin wants to earn Hircine's favor.

    • In Neverwinter Nights expansion pack Shadows of Undrentide, one of the side-quests involves hunting the Shadow Hart, a magical deer with teleportation powers.
  • November 25, 2012
    Generality
    We have two tropes each for owls and wolves, depending on their context, so there's precedent for splitting deer.
  • November 25, 2012
    Goldfritha
    I also note that the subsection is not for "mysterious and magical" but merely "deer that aren't bambified."
  • November 25, 2012
    ArcadesSabboth
  • November 25, 2012
    Dacilriel
    Can you be a little more specific in defining the trope? Is this deer that are mystical/magical? Is it deer that are portrayed as badass? Is it just any deer that's not Bambified?

    I'd also like to see something in the description about why deer are significant/popular choices for magical/badass portrayals. (They have solar and lunar associations, they are sacred to gods in several pantheons, they're popular in heraldry.)
  • November 25, 2012
    acrobox
    the subsection in Bambification may not be explicitly mysterious and magical but a lot of the examples people are putting here are duplicates. I think its implied if not stated.

    The first paragraph of Bambification that talks about non-Bambified majestic deer could just be cut and pasted as the description for this trope
  • November 26, 2012
    m8e
    Where does The Great White Stag from Animals Of Farthing Wood fit in?
  • November 26, 2012
    Chernoskill
    • In the Dragonlance novel Dragons of Autumn Twilight, the Forestmaster is a sentient, majestic deer that charges the Heroes of the Lance to travel to Xak Tsaroth to retrieve the Disks of Mishakal, an ancient artifact that could help bring back Krynn's gods.
  • November 26, 2012
    Desertopa
    It's a worthwhile trope, but I think it could use a better description. Note that Wikipedia has an article on White Stag which has information we could use as a jumping point.
  • November 26, 2012
    CobraPrime
    Description could use a bit of work.
  • November 26, 2012
    DracMonster
    Can we call this Deer God Thats Magical? Please????

    Just kidding, maybe Divine Deer or Spiritual Stag? (It's almost always a stag for them big majestic horns.)

    Not sure if these count, but:

  • November 26, 2012
    SKJAM
    • Kinda sorta-- in The Defenders #33, Chondu the Mystic's mind is transferred into the body of a fawn. From the outside it sure looks like a deer with magical powers (and evil eyes.)
  • November 26, 2012
    Goldfritha
    What are you talking about, Dacilriel? It is explicitly described as magical and mysterious deer. It says nothing about badass. Or being everything that is not Bambifiction.
  • November 26, 2012
    Goldfritha
    Those associations spring from the magical one, not vice versa.
  • November 26, 2012
    Goldfritha
    Which paragraph in Bambification are you talking of? I don't see one that's even suitable, let alone preferable.
  • November 26, 2012
    Robotech_Master
  • November 27, 2012
    ArcadesSabboth
    The page image should be potholed to the source. Where's it from?
  • November 27, 2012
    acrobox
    @ Goldfritha - the paragraph I was talking about (cut and pasted)

    "There's something about deer.

    Perhaps it's because they are the most common large animal one is likely to run into if one goes out in the wild. Perhaps the buck's antlers reminds us of a king's crown. Perhaps it's just because they were (and still are in many places) a staple of humanity's diet in the Northern Hemisphere and therefore became a key figure in folklore (Carnivore Confusion is nothing new). In any case, in older fiction, deer are often employed as a symbol of nature in general and forests in specific. All well and good. "

    references subliminal associations of antlers and crowns, deer in folklore, deer as nature and forest spirits
  • November 27, 2012
    acrobox
    it then goes on to say the Bambification is a Flanderization and cutesified version of this.

    I say add to and edit this first paragraph and it could easily be for The Marvelous Deer
  • November 27, 2012
    MetaFour
  • November 28, 2012
    Goldfritha
    Except that this is not about deer as nature and forest spirits.
  • November 28, 2012
    lexicon
    Bambification is about the deer being innocent, not majestic. It's first paragraph should be cut because it doesn't need to go on about what it's not, and it should be pasted here.

    Some of these examples could use some work. "There are several powerful shots of Bambi and his father in the movie," doesn't make link to the movie or make it clear how it's an example. It should say that Bambi's father is the Great Prince of the forest who guards the woodland creatures from the dangers of hunters. "Harry Potter: his animal avatar is a stag," needs to say that the avatar is in the form of a Patronus, where he casts a charm that evokes a partially-tangible, positive energy force that acts as a defence against otherwise unbeatable Dark creatures like Dementors. "James Thurber's The White Deer," is a Zero Context Example.

    • In Quest For Glory the hero followed the white stag to its resting place. It led him to the Dryad who was a spirit of nature. If the player attempts to harm the stag the Dryad will turn him into whatever he attacked, invoking a Game Over.
  • November 28, 2012
    Desertopa
    The page image is from Tales Of The Questor.
  • November 29, 2012
    Goldfritha
    Whether the first paragraph is suitable for Bambification is a different matter from whether it's suitable for here -- which it isn't.
  • November 29, 2012
    Lumpenprole
    Mythology: One of the Twelve Labors of Heracles was that he had to capture- alive and unharmed- the Golden Hind sacred to the goddess Artemis.
  • November 29, 2012
    chicagomel
    P.N.Elrod's book 'His Father's Son' had a mystical boy character who entered a dreamworld-like setting and communicated with a white stag as a spirit guide.

    What's the folklore folder? Myth and Legend? Merlin was often said to be able to turn into a stag in the Arthurian legends...shows up quite prominently in the Magic Tree House books for example.

    re Pokemon, there's also Stantler, from Gen II. It's said to be able to hypnotize and psychologically affect people and Pokemon with its antlers,which give the illusion of two large eyes in the center of each side.
  • December 8, 2012
    johnnye
  • December 9, 2012
    Onitatsu
    According to a tale, legendary Japanese warrior Tadakatsu Honda managed to escape his enemies and safely cross a river thanks to a deer. Since that day, he put antlers on his helmet as a sign of respect for all deers.
  • December 28, 2012
    SKJAM
    • In Nichijou Principal Shinonome battles a deer in hand-to-hoof combat, in a sequence which may be symbolic, mystic or just Yuuko's imagination. It's certainly a numinous moment.
  • December 28, 2012
    SharleeD
    Santa's reindeer surely qualify for this trope.
  • December 28, 2012
    Tallens
    • The large stag in Fantasia 2000 that awakens the Sprite of Spring at the end of winter, and then revives and comforts her after the Firebird wreaks havoc on the forest.
  • December 29, 2012
    lexicon
    I'm not sure if the OP is working on this anymore but I'd like to state that as well known as it is you would have to explain how Santa's reindeer qualify as marvelous. I'd be willing to work on this if the OP isn't going to.
  • December 29, 2012
    SharleeD
    • This trope applies to Santa's reindeer, at least in those versions of holiday folklore that attribute their flight to their own innate abilities (as opposed to Santa's magic, to eating magic grain, etc). Any child who's stayed awake on Christmas Eve listening for their arrival can testify that they're both mysterious and elusive.
  • December 29, 2012
    CompletelyDifferent
    A bit of an adittion to the Harry Potter point;

    • Harry Potter's patronous is a stag, to symbolism his father's animal form and that he's still watching over him. The seventh book also prominently features a mysterious silver doe that leads Harry to the Sword of Gryffindor. Its actually Snape's patronous, and represents Lily, the woman he loved.
  • December 29, 2012
    Astaroth
    • In Assassins Creed III, Connor can accept a quest to hunt a unique deer. According to the huntmaster, several hunters have tried and failed to bring it down before, and they all swear it's got some mysterious power that makes it Immune To Bullets.
  • December 29, 2012
    dalek955
    • In Mabinogi, the deer of Corrib Valley are a minor example. They give you herbs (including the exceedingly rare White Herbs) in exchange for mushrooms.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=gtv1m6ejhrujk1jlj4kmjkne&trope=TheMarvelousDeer