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->''"The bards were feared. They were respected, but more than that they were feared. ...If you'd pissed off some witch, then what's she gonna do, she's gonna put a curse on you... no big deal. You piss off a bard, and forget about putting a curse on you, he might put a satire on you. ''
->''"And if he was a skilful bard, he puts a satire on you, it destroys you in the eyes of your community... and if it's a particularly good bard, and he's written a particularly good satire, then three hundred years after you're dead, people are still gonna be laughing, at what a twat you were.''
-->-- '''Creator/AlanMoore'''

OlderThanFeudalism, the bard is a character within a story that acts as a poet, WanderingMinstrel, storyteller, and/or source of morale for people around them.

"The Bard" is also commonly used to refer to Creator/WilliamShakespeare. In England, anyway. In Scotland, The Bard is Creator/RobertBurns.

In medieval Gaelic and British culture (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Brittany and Cornwall) a bard was a professional poet, employed by a patron, such as a monarch or nobleman, to commemorate the patron's ancestors and to praise the patron's own activities. The word itself is loaned from Scottish Gaelic, deriving from the Proto-Celtic ''bardos'', ultimately from Proto-Indo-European, which roughly translates as "''to raise the voice; praise''."

In game cultures such as Dungeons & Dragons, the Bard is a versatile character able to both fight strategically and cast magic [[MagicMusic through the power of their songs]], suggesting them to be magicians who use the power of emotion and creativity to conjure miracles into the world.

SpoonyBard is a subtrope of this, while TheStoryteller is a supertrope. See also WanderingMinstrel.



[[folder: Fan Fic ]]

* Bumblebee and Jazz share this role in the {{Transformers}} FanFic ''FanFic/ThingsWeDontTellHumans''.
* Hurdy in ''FanFic/TheTaintedGrimoire'' is such. He tells stories and is capable of using his music to various effect in combat or support roles.
* ''FanFic/KyoshiRising'' has Sun, a WanderingMinstrel from a long line of Wandering Minstrels. He meets Kyoshi early in her journey and does his best to help her achieve her potential.


[[folder: Film ]]

* Sir Robin's Minstrels in ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'', one of whom sings "[[http://www.metrolyrics.com/brave-sir-robin-ran-away-lyrics-monty-python.html Brave Sir Robin Ran Away]]".
* Geoffrey Chaucer is a hilarious one in ''Film/AKnightsTale''


[[folder: Literature ]]

* In the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series, Beedle the Bard was known for his collection of magical fables.
* A couple of these in the {{Deryni}} works:
** Kinkellyan, chief bard to the court of Transha, plays a part in the diplomatic welcome Kelson receives in ''The Bishop's Heir''. Kelson's response [[spoiler:(joining in a traditional dance)]] to what Kinkellyan and Dhugal begin seals the deal.
** Gwydion ap Plenneth, troubadour attached to Duke Alaric Morgan's court, featured in ''Deryni Checkmate''. Aside from providing entertainment, he's quite useful in providing Morgan with public opinion feedback.
* Hraik from ''Literature/LoyalEnemies'' is a half-elf bard in one of the pubs in the city of Displacing. He's also a {{Badass}} and fiendishly intelligent, being the only person who worked out that Shelena is a werewolf with no explicit clues.
* Creator/MercedesLackey has an entire series, ''Literature/BardicVoices'', set around the conflict between the Free Bards and the Bardic Guild. Several have MagicMusic.
* The Edema Ruh from ''TheKingkillerChronicles'' seem to be a society of travelling entertainers including many bards.
* Bards feature in MercedesLackey's HeraldsOfValdemar series, though much less prominently than the Heralds.
* A bard shows up in ''Literature/TheOdyssey''. He might even be Creator/{{Homer}}'s AuthorAvatar.
* Norna-Gest, the protagonist of "Literature/TaleOfNornaGest", is an accomplished harp-player and singer who knows many ancient songs.
* It can be argued that Tom Bombadil from ''LordOfTheRings'' is indeed a bard, the figure known for singing songs that hold power over not only people, but the more ancient denizens of Middle Earth.
* In ''Literature/TheRiddleMasterTrilogy'', Deth serves this function as the High One's harpist. Yrth seems to have as well, given that he was known as the Harpist of Lungold. [[spoiler:It really shouldn't come as a surprise that they're the same person, but, well.]] There are mentions of other harpists as well, such as Tirundeth, from whom Deth got his name, but they aren't as relevant.
* In ''Literature/TheDinosaurLords'', Rob makes living this way whenever he's not "officially" hired as Dinosaur Master. He even composes some songs, and they seem to be somewhat popular with people.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''XenaWarriorPrincess'': For a while Gabrielle wanted to be a traveling bard. She also met {{Homer}}, who it turns out is called "blind" because he closes his eyes when he recites.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Historically, William Shakespeare was known for his title as "The Bard of Avon."
* Skalds were poetic members of a group associated with Viking tradition, and were highly revered for their stories, since individual vikings desired their glory to be remembered through tale and song.


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* TheBard is one of the main playable classes in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''.
** Several different variations of skald (see the real-life entry) as a class or variant have cropped up over the editions. Usually they are better at a stand-up fight than an ordinary bard but lose out on the broad skillbase, magic or both.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Leliana from the ''Franchise/DragonAge'' series used to be a traveling Bard (or rather, a spy/assassin who disguised herself as a traveling Bard -Apparently that's pretty common in Orlais). She comes with the Bard specialization and will teach it to other Rogues if her approval rating is high enough. Additionally, much of her dialogue includes stories and songs she learned during her time as a Bard. [[VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition The Inquisitor]] can ask, and Leliana will offer, to give training on being a bard: it basically amounts to DoNotDoThisCoolThing because of how dirty and conniving bard work is.
* ''TheBardsTaleTrilogy'' has a few with the MagicMusic power.
* The Bard from ''VideoGame/ShovelKnight'' will play any song from the game's soundtrack for you if you get him the music sheets. He'll also pay you 500 gold for each music sheet you bring him, which is another incentive to collect them.
* Jimmy from ''VideoGame/SouthParkTheStickOfTruth'' is a bard who uses MagicMusic.
* One party member in ''VideoGame/BaldursGateSiegeOfDragonspear'', Voghiln the Vast, is a "skald from the north who inspires his allies with epic tales".
* A Bard College existed in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', while you can join it and train your speech, you cannot learn how to play musical instruments whatsoever.
* in ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'' Bards can visit your fortress, play music (and create their own songs) dance (and choreograph their own dance forms) , tell poems (and write new ones) , and you can even play as one in Adventure Mode (and do everything the fort mode bards can do), DF also takes this UpToEleven because in DF there is also a different skill for every style of song, every single style of dancing, every single type of poem, and every single instrument, and every single style of music as well.

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* In ''Webcomic/FeyWinds'', when Prince Sidney Theodorus Cassian Merriweather Findain VIII... Just call him Sid, reveals to the main characters whose group he just joined that he's trained as a bard, they ''smash'' his lute and shove a sword into his hands.
* Elan from ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', as seen in [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0004.html this scene from early in the comic]].
* In ''Webcomic/FarOut'', [[http://kimiq.com/farout/en/2013/02/13/farout-page-24/ Chapter 1 ends with one singing about the events in it.]]
* In Homestuck, Sburb/Sgrub has 12 different classes for players that set their character arc, one of them being the bard, a counterpart to the prince class that serves to passively destroy or corrupt, while a prince actively destroys. What a bard destroys depends on it's aspect, such as [[EruditeStoner Gamzee]] [[AxCrazy Makara]], a bard of rage.