Zeus gets an epic one at the beginning of Book 8, daring the other gods to defy him
Come, try me, immortals, so all of you can learn.
Hang a great golden cable down from the heavens
lay hold of it, all you gods, all goddesses too:
you can never drag me down from sky to earth,
not Zeus, the highest, mightiest king of kings,
not even if you worked yourselves to death.
But whenever I'd set my mind to drag you up,
in deadly earnest, I'd hoist you all with ease,
you and the earth, you and the sea, all together,
then loop that golden cable round a horn of Olympus,
bind it fast and leave the whole world dangling in mid-air—
that is how far I tower over the gods, I tower over men.
Beowulf (the epic poem) contains several Badass Boasts (somewhat more elaborate, though less catchy than the movie version), most prominently when the title character several times announces his will to fight Grendel, a beast with the strength of 30 men that has been attacking the Danes for seven years. (He later fulfills his boasts when he kills Grendel by ripping his arm off with his bare hands.)
"When it comes to fighting, I count myself
as dangerous any day as Grendel.
So it won't be be a cutting edge I wield
to mow him down, easily as I might.
He has no idea of the arts of war,
of shield or sword-play, although he does possess
a wild strength. No weapons, therefore,
for either this night: unarmed he shall face me
if face me he dares."
It should be noted that in Anglo-Saxon England this was a standard part of etiquette; a good man was not a man who did not boast, but rather a man who lived up to his boasts.
In The Bible David gets a kickass boast when he's squared off against Goliath. First Samuel 17:45-47
"Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied. This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD's, and he will give you into our hands."
Satan, in Isaiah 14:13:
"I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north."
Samson gets one in Judges 15:16
"Then Samson said, "With a ass's jawbone I have made asses of them. With a ass's jawbone I have killed a thousand men."
Fëanor: "Then turning to the herald he cried: 'Say this to Manwë Sûlimo, High King of Arda: if Fëanor cannot overthrow Morgoth, at least he delays not to assail him, and sits not idle in grief. And it may be that Eru has set in me a fire greater than thou knowest. Such hurt at the least will I do to the Foe of the Valar that even the mighty in the Ring of Doom shall wonder to hear it. Yea, in the end they shall follow me. Farewell!'"
Note that this is made even MORE badass by the next line which is something like. "And so powerful was the force of his voice that even Eönwë, herald of the High-King bowed as one full answered." Basically Fëanor's boast was so badass that the herald of a GOD (who is also a small-g god himself) went "Alright then...I'll just go now."
The Challenge of Fingolfin.
Come, open wide,dark king, your ghastly brazen doors! Come forth, whom earth and heaven abhors! Come forth, O monstrous craven lord,and fight with thine own hand and sword,thou wielder of hosts of banded thralls,thou tyrant leaguered with strong walls,thou foe of Gods and elvish race! I wait thee here. Come! Show thy face!
Bear in mind he's talking to LOTR's equivalent of Satan.
Bilbo: "I come from under the hill, and under the hills and over the hills my paths led. And through the air. I am he that walks unseen. I am the clue finder, the web-cutter, the stinging fly. I was chosen for the lucky number. I am he that buries his friends alive and drowns them and draws them alive again from the water. I came from the end of a bag, but no bag went over me."
And then subverted when part of his boast ("I am barrel-rider") sets Smaug off on a killing spree against an innocent town, leaving Bilbo to curse himself. Granted, this also results in Smaug's death.
Smaug responds with a boast so badass that it effectively shapes our cultural mindset of how exactly a fantasy dragon should act, appear, and function.
Smaug: "I kill where I wish and none dare resist. I laid low the warriors of old and their like is not in the world today. Then I was but young and tender. Now I am old and strong, strong, strong... ... My armor is like tenfold shields, my teeth are swords, my claws spears, the shock of my tail a thunderbolt, my wings a hurricane, and my breath death!"
Galadriel: "And now at last it comes. You will give me the Ring freely! In place of the Dark Lord you will set up a Queen. And I shall not be dark, but beautiful and terrible as the Morning and the Night! Fair as the Sea and the Sun and the Snow upon the Mountain! Dreadful as the Storm and the Lightning! Stronger than the foundations of the earth. All shall love me and despair!"
Gandalf in Fellowship of the Ring:
Gandalf: "You cannot pass. I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass."
Aragorn in The Two Towers has been chasing a band of Orcs who've taken Merry and Pippin all through the Wold and he is in no mood to be obstructed.
Aragorn: "I am Aragorn son of Arathorn, and am called Elessar the Elfstone, Dunadain. The heir of Isildur Elendil's son of Gondor. Here is the Sword that was Broken and is forged again! Will you aid me, or thwart me? Choose swiftly!"
The Uruk-hai at the storming of Helm's Deep in The Two Towers:
Aragorn: "No enemy has yet taken the Hornburg. Depart, or not one of you will be spared. Not one will be left alive to take backtidings to the North. You do not know your peril."
Éowyn in Return of the King:
Éowyn: "But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn am I, Éomund's daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone, if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him."
Faramir supplies one for Aragorn in Return of the King.
Faramir: "Here is Aragorn son of Arathorn, chieftain of the Dúnedain of Arnor, Captain of the Host of the West, bearer of the Star of the North, wielder of the Sword Reforged, victorious in battle, whose hands bring healing, the Elfstone, Elessar of the line of Valandil, Isildur's son, Elendil's son of Númenor."
Peter begins his challenge to Miraz by listing his credentials: "Peter, by the gift of Aslan, by election, by prescription, and by conquest, High King over all Kings in Narnia, Emperor of the Lone Islands and Lord of Cair Paravel, Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Lion."
To drive the point home, he does the same at the end of the message when he names his brother Edmund as his messenger: "...our well-beloved and royal brother Edmund, sometime King under us in Narnia, Duke of Lantern Waste and Count of the Western March, Knight of the Noble Order of the Table."
He has also, at this point, come out on top in a fight with a werewolf whose ownBadass Boast used to provide one of the trope's past page quotes.
Wer-Wolf: "I'm hunger. I'm thirst. Where I bite, I hold till I die, and even after death they must cut out my mouthful from my enemy's body and bury it with me. I can fast a hundred years and not die. I can lie a hundred nights on the ice and not freeze. I can drink a river of blood and not burst. Show me your enemies."
The title character is fond of doing this, which would probably count as a subversion, or at least a humorous use of the trope, considering that Bartimaeus isn't exactly a typicalBadass.
He's actually cut off once, I forget who by...
Bartimaeus: ... I have spoken with Solomon—
Other demon: Who hasn't? I mean, he got around.
And Nathaniel... well, he tries, bless him, at the end of the third book. It falls flat though, as Nouda, the demon he threatens, doesn't really hear what he's saying, and only turns when Nathaniel shoots him with Gladstone's Staff.
"I am Nathaniel! I am your master! I am your death!"
Jaime Lannister: "There are no men like me. There is only me." Short and sweet.
Balon Greyjoy chastises his son for displaying soft, mainland ways: I am Balon Greyjoy, King of the Iron Islands, son of salt and iron, Lord Reaper of Pike. I pay the iron price.
Euron Crow's Eye, to his brother Aeron Damphair: "Godless? Why, Aeron, I am the godliest man ever to raise sail! You serve one god, Damphair, but I have served ten thousand. From Ib to Asshai, when men see my sails, they pray."
Daenerys Targaryen: "And I am Daenerys Stormborn, Daenerys of House Targaryen, of the blood of Aegon the Conqueror and Maegor the Cruel and old Valyria before them. I am the dragon's daughter, and I swear to you, these men will die screaming."
Daenerys also proves to be excellent at subtlety when she inverts this: "I am only a young girl and know little of the ways of war, but we have heard Astapor is starving. Let King Cleon feed his people before he leads them out to battle." Keep in mind that at this time, she was leading a huge army and had sacked and/or defeated three city-states (Astapor among them).
Tywin Lannister often had "The Rains of Castamere" played to remind people that he was one of the most dangerous people in the seven kingdoms. The song itself is a subversion. It depicts Lord Reyne claiming to be able to defy House Lannister, and being utterly crushed by Tywin.
Most mottos of the major houses also fit. "We Do Not Sow" (Greyjoy), "Hear Me Roar" (Lannister), "Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken" (Martell) to a lesser degree "High As Honor" (Arryn). House Stark's "Winter is coming" also fits, meaning not only that the season is coming, but that the Starks who live in one of the places worst affected by Winter will not flee and face the fact of darker days arriving. In the TV series, Robb uses it in a different sense:
"Tell Lord Tywin that Winter is coming for him."
The Brotherhood Without Banners sentences Sandor Clegane to Trial by Combat. They finish by reciting the Lord of Light's prayer, "The night is dark and full of terrors." Sandor retorts, "This cave is dark too, but I'm the terror here!"
Dueling examples come from the siege of Storm's End.
King Stannis: Do you take me for an utter fool, ser? I have twenty thousand men. You are besieged by land and sea. Why would I choose single combat when my eventual victory is certain? I give you fair warning. If you force me to take my castle by storm, you may expect no mercy. I will hang you for traitors, every one of you.
Ser Cortnay: As the gods will it. Bring on your storm, my lord—and recall, if you do, the name of this castle.
Shannara, "The Wishsong of Shannara": "I am Garet Jax, the Weapons Master. And I have never lost a battle."
Apparently used in all duels for leadership among the northern barbarian tribes in the Forgotten Realms setting, with each combatant's herald reciting a list of his accomplishments. When Wulfgar challenges Heafstaag for leadership of the Tribe of Elk, his list, as a man not yet twenty compared to an experienced barbarian chieftain, is quite short, but he has a trump card that evens the scales:
"I am Wulfgar, Dragon's Bane!"
Subverted in Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "Ozymandias": all the remains of a statue is the legs, the head, and the inscription: "My name is Ozymandias, king of kings / Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!" The subversion comes from the fact that Ozymadius's empire is now empty desert, and his triumphant statue is nothing but a ruin. All that is left of his mighty works is a boast. Of course, given that Ozymandias is actually Rameses II, greatest of Pharaohs and the only one scholars still knew the name of until the Rosetta Stone was decoded, it's a lot more fun in hindsight. Turns out those works were a hell of a lot more expansive than was imagined.
Odysseus does this to Polyphemos in The Odyssey...and similar to Bilbo's example above it comes back to bite him since by revealing his true name to the blinded cyclops in the end he basically draws the wrath of the latter's father Poseidon a map.
In Journey to the West, every character begins every fight with a boast like this. Typically it is a poem, each one unique and more elaborate than the last.
In Roger Zelazny's Jack of Shadows, the eponymous character spouts off with this (literally true) gem: "I am Jack of Shadows! Shadowjack the Thief! I was beheaded in Igles and rose again in the Dung Pits of Glyve. I duped the lord of High Dudgeon in his keep and took his prize and pride. I am the prisoner in the jewel. I am the breaker of the Compact. I drank the blood of a vampire and ate a stone. So beware, all those who love the Lord of Bats or loathe me, for I have named myself Jack of Shadows!"
"Come one, come all, I'm waitin', "I'll flay yer carcass bare, "So every place I go they'll say "Ahoy, you bold corsaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiir!"
Torak, the insane maimed god of the Angarak race in The Belgariad, offers up his version of events in his holy book. He begins with:
"Hear me, ye Angaraks, for I am Torak, Lord of Lords and King of Kings. Bow before my Name and worship me with prayers and with sacrifices, for I am your God and I have dominion over all the realms of the Angaraks. And great shall be my wrath if ye displease me. I was before the world was made. I shall be after the mountains crumble into sand, the seas dwindle to stagnant pools, and the world shrivels and is no more. For I was before time and shall be after."
And then after offering a heavily slanted version of historical events, in which he portrays himself as the one sane and decent guy in the universe, the god who instigated the creation of the world, who got half his face burned off to keep humans from being killed, He finishes with
"Hear me, ye peoples, and fear me. Bow down before me and worship me. For I am Torak, forever King of Kings, Lord of Lords, and God alone to this world which I have caused to be."
Fred Saberhagen's Book of Swords has a "Song of Swords", in which each of the twelve divinely forged Swords has its powers either described or alluded to. Shieldbreaker, which flawlessly defends its wielder and destroys any other weapon, even the otherwise indestructible Swords, at a touch and is only rarely ever drawn without tragic consequences, has this as its verse in the Song.
"I shatter Swords and splinter spears; None stands to Shieldbreaker. My point's the fount of orphan's tears, My edge the widowmaker."
In Legend, Badass Grandpa Druss introduces himself to the poorly disciplined officers of the hopelessly overmatched garrison by flipping over the bar, punching a man clear across the room, and then introducing himself:
"I am Druss. Sometimes called Captain of the Axe. In Ventria they call me Druss the Sender. In Vagria I am merely the Axeman. To the Nadir I am Deathwalker. In Lentria I am the Silver Slayer. But who are you? You dung-eating lumps of offal! Who the hell are you? I have a mind to set an example today. I have a mind to cut the fat from this ill-fated fortress."
From White Wolf, said to a young Skilgannon by his father:
"We are what we are, my boy, and wolves is what we are."
Yawgmoth in the novels gives a nice two-page-long one when he finally appears. The first paragraph where he reflects on his less powerful days gives you an idea:
"No shadow shows itself to those eyes, for I am the city's sun and moon and morning star. I am her every lamp. Even my own shadow hides from me, turned traitor by the ache of darkness for light. I am Yawgmoth."
Also from MTG, Toshi Umezawa of the hyozan ("iceberg") Reckoners, who promise tenfold vengeance at minimum, leaves this little note for the killers of an oath-brother.
The iceberg travels upstream. Choking it off at its source. The river runs dry, dead and forsaken, yet the iceberg endures. The river has made a terrible mistake, and the hyozan now rises to destroy it. We will kill you. We will burn your fields, steal your treasure, destroy your house, and enslave your children. We will murder your spouse, poison your pets, and desecrate the graves of your ancestors. We will do all this, and the only way to avoid it is if we never find you. We have already found you.
In 1632, from a placard left by the Americans after they dealt with a few mercenaries:
This area is now under the protection of the UMWA. If you try to harm or rob anybody we will kill you. There will be no further warning. We will not negotiate. We will not arrest you. You will simply be dead. We guarantee it. Go ahead. Try us.
Nyarlathotep's parting words to Randolph Carter in H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath: "Hei! Aa-shanta 'nygh! You are off! Send back earth's gods to their haunts on unknown Kadath, and pray to all space that you may never meet me in my thousand other forms. Farewell, Randolph Carter, and beware; for I am Nyarlathotep, the Crawling Chaos."
"I'm Captain Trenchard! The Dagger of the Sea! I've sailed the Straits of Darkness on Midwinter's Day! My ship's the Raptor and I've taken her into the Seven Lower Hells, drunk ale with Kahooli and sailed home again! My mother was a sea dragon, my father was lightning and I dance a sailor's jig on my victim's skulls! I fought with the war god and kissed death herself. Men tremble at my shadow and women swoon at my name and no one lives who can call me liar!"
The panserbjorne (armored bears), Iorek and Iofur, in The Golden Compass/Northern Lights start their duel to the death with a ritualized series of proclamations: mostly what they'll do if they win, but also to show off their badassery to the other bears.
"My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk."
Injun Joe gets one too, when he tells the skinwalker exactly what he's going to do with him. And then proves it, in spectacularly awesome fashion.
Harry may not have said it, but he realized what other people were thinking: "They were dealing with something far more dangerous than me, Harry Dresden, who's battered old Volkswagon was currently in the city impound. They were dealing with the potential dark lord nightmare warlock they'd been busy fearing since I turned sixteen. They were dealing with the wizard who had faced the Heirs of Kemmler riding a zombie dinosaur, and emerged victorious from a fight that had flattened Morgan and Captain Luccio before they had even reached it. They were dealing with the man who had dropped a challenge to the entire Senior Council, and who had then actually showed, apparently willing to fight - on the shores of an entirely too creepy island in the middle of a freshwater sea."
From Dead Beat: "I've got a Fallen Angel tripping all over herself to give me more power. Queen Mab has asked me to take the mantle of Winter Knight twice now. I've read Kemmler's book. I know how the Darkhallow works. And I know how to turn necromancy against the Black Court. So once again, let me be perfectly clear. If anything happens to Murphy and I even think you had a hand in it, fuck right and wrong. If you touch her, I'm declaring war on you. Personally. I'm picking up every weapon I can get. And I'm using them to kill you. Horribly." He then makes the enemy he's talking to say "I understand", and then orders her to get out of his town. The best part of this boast? It is taken completely seriously; the enemy in question has not reappeared since hearing it.
In Changes Harry makes a simple boast to Mab: that she is the least of the evils that are offering him the power he needs to battle the Red Court, and she needs to decide quickly whether she wants him on her team. This is Mab, Queen of Air and Darkness herself.
A few chapters later, we have Murphy (who has temporarily taken up the holy katana Fidelacchius) stare down no less than fourteen Physical Gods. What comes next was not exactly her Badass Boast, but rather the Almighty God Himself or one of the Archangels speaking through her. Does not at all detract from the badassery.
"False gods! Pretenders! Usurpers of truth! Destroyers of faith, of families, of lives, of children! For your crimes against the Mayans, against the peoples of the world, now will you answer! Your time has come! Face judgment Almighty!"
The entire epilogue of Ghost Story involves Harry discovering Mab kept him alive to serve as her Knight, and is summed up as him telling her "Yeah, I'll work for you, but on my terms. Deal with it."
At the end of Cold Days, Harry (now Winter Knight) has threatened to kill the immortal Winter Queen Mab with a gun (It Makes Sense in Context). She pulls the gun from him and points it his head. His response? He turns to Demonreach (a Genius Loci of tremendous power) and tells him "If she tries anything, lock her up below." Her response (after she backs down)? "Finally! A Winter Knight worth the trouble."
Harry enters the battlefield where the entirety of the Winter and Summer Courts of the Fae are fighting, and has to charge the sections where the most magic is being thrown around. Around him, his allies and enemies let out choruses of really kickass warcries. His? "I don't believe in Faeries!" The best part? Not believing in (or knowing about) the Fae reduces their strength in the material world - meaning that Harry gave a Badass Boast that metaphysically weakened his enemies. Like. A. BOSS.
After fighting the Ghouls in the flashback in White Night, he leaves one alive so it can carry his warning back to the rest of the Ghouls, that there would be no mercy for their kind from Harry. He tells it that if they ever try their gambit again, he'll kill every single ghoul that exists.
"Lasciel doesn't live here anymore." Boy was Nicodemus surprised.
"The Fallen have no power over me." This is after four consecutive books in which at least one of the Fallen, Lasciel, has been doing her best to corrupt him.
Ebenezer threatening Lara in Turn Coat. He told her that if she touched Harry again, after she'd slapped him to make it look like they were more antagonistic towards one another than they were, he'd make sure that there wouldn't be anything left of her to bury but her shoes. A short while later, when he thinks that she's trying to set herself up to be with Harry alone (to kill him, as Ebenezer believes), he only needs to extend and clench a fist to lift her into the air and paralyze her. This is a man who dropped a Soviet satellite on a Red Court vampire who had threatened Harry. Harry even observes that Lara is embarrassed and enraged that not only did Ebenezer make her appear weak, but did so while proving that he could follow through on his boast in a heatbeat should he so desire.
"The end is nigh!" Wizard Peabody
Harry thought that Lara was boasting about her seduction skills, but after getting a kiss to fuel one of his spells in a pinch, he had to admit that it wasn't boasting. Minutes later, he threatened her to destroy her if she ever tried a gambit like the one they'd just survived. He also asked for some Listerine.
When Harry is challenged by the Red Cap, he basically tells him to "Ask the Red Court how that turns out. Oh, wait..."
Possibly the most awesome in the entire series: Butters, wielding Fidelacchius, formerly a katana, now a Lightsaber of the Lord says, "Mister, where I come from, there is no try!" And, for added awesomeness, he says it to the face of Nicodemus Archleone, described by Harry himself as the most personally dangerous opponent he's ever faced. And Harry isn't a powerless 5'3'' nerdy Jewish Morgue Technician in his mid 40's.
"No one would believe Walter Plinge. Even Walter Plinge gets confused about the things Walter Plinge sees. Even his mother was afraid he might have murdered people. People could accept just about anything of a Walter Plinge." (trapdoor opens beside Salzella.)
A pointy hat appeared slowly, followed by the rest of Granny Weatherwax, with her arms folded. She glared at Salzella as the floor clicked into place. Her foot stopped tapping on the boards.
Salzella: "Well, well, Lady Esmerelda, eh?"
Granny: "I'm stoppin' bein' a lady, Mr Salzella."
(glances up at the pointy hat)
Salzella: "So you are a witch instead?"
Granny: "Yes, indeed."
Salzella: "A bad witch, no doubt?"
Interesting Times averts this, where the tomb of the founder of the Agatean Empire says nothing about his accomplishments, but simply his name, One Sun Mirror. The reason being that it was unthinkable that anyone could be standing in that place and not know who he was. And if you could be standing in that place and not know who he was...then no boast could be worth making, because everything he had accomplished would have had to be gone.
"You don't even have your weapon." "I am the weapon."
"I'm the seeker." It's one of those ones that you had to be there.
Much more obviously "I'm the Bringer of Death." He scares a school of sorcery into silence by saying it. Wearing a collar that makes him unable to do magic AND allows his handler to control him with her mind. He then tells them that if they do anything that breaks his rules, he'll kill them all, personally. (Things that break his rules include abusing him, their prisoner, or the Sorceress who hunted him down on account of him, teaching him slowly so as to prevent him from getting back to Kahlan, or any of a number of actually reasonable requests.) Otherwise, they'll have a pleasant and cordial relationship. The meekest of them could evaporate him.
Zedd was known as the "Wind of Death". He likes to remind people.
Nicci likes to remind people that she's Death's Mistress. Named by friends and foes alike.
In Väinö Linna's war novel The Unknown Soldier, Lieutenant Koskela, who usually behaves in a very correct and prudent way, yells while drunk: ''Koskela Suomesta! Syö rautaa ja paskantaa kettinkiä!" (Koskela from Finland! Eats iron and shits out chain!)
In Matt Farrer's Warhammer 40,000 short story "After Desh'ea" (in the Horus HeresyTales of Heresy), when Angron comes out of the room with Kharn, Kharn reels off a Badass Boast of Angron's exploits and tells the War Hounds to salute him.
"Father Alzaga said," Louisa astonished the room by raising her voice, and by her evident knowledge of Spanish which she had concealed till this moment, "that this night he will pray for the soul of the Tippoo Sultan, because the Tippoo Sultan slew many Englishmen."
Till now Sharpe had been embarrassed in describing his career, but the priest's scorn touched his soldier's pride. "And I killed the Tippoo Sultan."
"You did?" Father Borellas's voice was sharp with disbelief.
"In the water gate's tunnel at Seringapatam."
"He had no bodyguard?" Vivar asked.
"Six men," Sharpe said. "His picked warriors." He looked from face to face, knowing he need say no more.
In Cross And Poppy,Retired Badass the Duke of Taunton – late Major, the Intelligence Corps – gets several (though he's not alone in that). Notably,
"It's a curious thing, how an evil fate seems always to pursue those who attempt mischief against anyone under my protection. I could refer you to several persons in Iraq and Afghanistan who learnt that lesson, but, as it happens, they can't pass that lesson on, because, as it happens, they all ended up quite dead."
And then there's his comment to a miscreant in a Bar Brawl who's supine … with the pointy end of a chair-leg on his throat, and the Duke leaning lightly on it:
"You haven't much brain, you know. I, personally, should be happy to demonstrate – although you'd be in no position to profit by the experience – by smearing it all over the walls or the floor, but that should annoy Teddy and further interrupt everyone's dinner. No, don't wriggle: if I slip and put any weight at all on this chair, well, the hyoid is a delicate bone, and the throat's a sensitive thing, and I'm the only one here capable of performing a field tracheotomy … and I'd be disinclined to bother, really. Now. I am going to let you up. You are going to move very slowly. The Chief Constable, assisted as necessary by the County Police Commissioner, is going to handle you after that. You, and that disgusting little shit there, and the contemptible waste of carbon on the floor, all three."
Followed immediately, when said miscreant calls him "you", with, "You call me 'Your Grace', God damn you."
Queen Elizabeth Winton of Honor Harrington shows why her nickname is Soul of Steel:
"I make no promises of easy triumphs, because there will be no easy triumphs. I promise you only the truth, and the truth is that the price we will ultimately pay will be even higher than the one we've already paid. That the cost of the battle which waits for us will be sacrifice, loss, backbreaking toil, blood, and grief. But I also promise you this one more thing. I promise you victory. For seventy-plus T-years, the Star Empire has lived under sentence of death, yet we're still here. And we will still be here when the smoke finally clears. However long it takes, whatever sacrifice it entails, wherever the battle takes us, and no matter what foe we may face, we will triumph, and those who have wrought such destruction and suffering upon us, who have butchered our civilians, who have attacked us from the shadows like assassins, will discover to their infinite regret that in the defense of our homes, our families, and our children, we can be just as merciless as them."
A simpler one from her own father, referencing, of all things, the Three Little Pigs:
King Roger Winton: I will build my house of steel.
A more humorous one from Shadow of Saganami.
Abigail Hearns: Marines are adaptable. They improvise to overcome obstacles. Just treat itnote "It" being remembering not to call Hearns "milady" while aboard a Manticoran ship like something minor, like storming a dug-in ceramacrete bunker with nothing but a butter knife clenched between your manly teeth.
Mateo Gutierrez: Ha! What kind of wuss Marine needs a butter knife to take one miserable bunker? That's what God gave us teeth and fingernails for!
From Shadow of Freedom.
Brigadier Yucel: Here's my terms. You stay the hell off this planet. You put one shuttle down here, one frigging Marine, and I start shooting prisoners. I've got over thirty thousand of them in the stadium. ... I can kill every fucking person in that stadium in five minutes flat, and if you try any shit like landing on this planet, I swear to God I will!
Commodore Sir Aivars Terekov: Why is it that people like you always think you're more ruthless than people like me?note A few seconds later, a missile ordered by Terekov takes out Yucel's headquarters.
"I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me.
Aurra Sing: Fear me, Jedi! I am Aurra Sing, Nashtah, scourge of your kind! I haunt your darkest dreams! I drink Jedi blood; I nest in their guts! Your nightmares now have a name, hierophant, and that name is Aurra Sing!
In the X-Wing Series, Lara Notsil accesses the files of a corrupt colonel running an illicit side business. She then sends the files to the proper authorities, as the anonymous slicer "White Lancer". She begins her message as follows:
I am the unseen, the unknowable, the unstoppable. No computer can stand before me. gates open for me. back doors are revealed to me. knowledge willingly spools itself out for my inspection. i am the jedi of the electronic world.
"I am Runya Sulemar. Come with me to the razor's edge. We'll choose our fates with another dance, striding the river red."
In Shadows Linger, the Black Company is the most elite Badass Army in the land, who the Big Bad uses to root out various rebel insurgents. After a successful (and bloody) mission, when a stunned rebel sympathizer asks who they are, Croaker simply replies
"We're the Black Company."
In Treasure Island, Jim Hawkins, caught by the pirates and facing death, delivers one.
"Let the worst come to the worst, it's little I care. I've seen too many die since I fell in with you. But there's a thing or two I have to tell you," I said, and by this time I was quite excited; "and the first is this: here you are, in a bad way—ship lost, treasure lost, men lost, your whole business gone to wreck; and if you want to know who did it—it was I! I was in the apple barrel the night we sighted land, and I heard you, John, and you, Dick Johnson, and Hands, who is now at the bottom of the sea, and told every word you said before the hour was out. And as for the schooner, it was I who cut her cable, and it was I that killed the men you had aboard of her, and it was I who brought her where you'll never see her more, not one of you. The laugh's on my side; I've had the top of this business from the first; I no more fear you than I fear a fly."
RCN's Commander Daniel Leary — ironically, in a quiet conversation with a friend — said, "Every Alliance spacer ... knows that no matter how many ships they have, they've always got to expect us to go for their throats. Deep in their hearts, they're afraid and they know we aren't. We're the RCN."
from the otherwise obscure The Ring of the Slave Prince comes a great line which basically summarizes the book and have the bonus of being completely true:
A lot of characters in American Gods have at least one (considering what many of the characters are — it's right there in the title — this shouldn't be surprising). Wednesday's got a few, notably his listing of the charms he knows (and how he got them) and the scene where he follows through on a promise to tell the protagonist his name.
"I told you I would tell you my names. This is what they call me. I'm called Glad-of-War, Grim, Raider, and Third. I am One-Eyed. I am called Highest, and True-Guesser. I am Grimnir, and I am the Hooded One. I am All-Father, and I am Gondlir Wand-Bearer. I have as many names as there are winds, as many titles as there are ways to die. My ravens are Huginn and Muninn, Thought and Memory; my wolves are Freki and Geri; my horse is the gallows."
"Horus [acknowledging his identity], I am the falcon of the morning, the hawk of the afternoon. I am the sun, as you are, and I know the True Name of Ra. My mother told me [he's gone a little crazy]"
"I'm King of the Keelboatmen, King of the Rivers! I'm a ring-tailed screamer from the old Mississippi! I can out-run, out-shoot, out-brag, and out-fight any man on the rivers! WHOOP! I've got the best crew and the fastest boat on all the rivers, and my muscles are as rusty as an old hinge! WHOOP! So come and see what you can do about it!"
"My name is Mike Fink, boys, and I'm the meanest lowdown son of an alligator that ever bit off the head of a buffalo! I eat growed men's ears for breakfast and bear's ears for supper, and when I'm thirsty I can drink enough to stop Niagara from falling. When I piss folks get on flatboats and float downstream for fifty mile, and when I fart the Frenchmen catch the air in bottles and sell it for perfume."
Unprofessional? Us? Sir. Might I with due respect remind you that Mister Vandemar and myself burned down the City of Troy? We brought the Black Plague to Flanders. We have assassinated a dozen kings, five popes, half a hundred heroes and two accredited gods. Our last commission before this was the torturing to death of an entire monastery in sixteenth century Tuscany. We are utterly professional.
In The First Law trilogy, both Logen and Fenris the Feared boast before fighting in a duel to death.
"Who comes to give greeting to the Chieftainess? Who would taste her kiss, whereof the fruit is death? I, the Woodpecker, I, the Slaughterer, I the Swiftfooted! I, Umslopogaas, of the tribe of the Maquilisini, of the people of Amazulu, a captain of the regiment of the Nkomabakosi: I, Umslopogaas, the son of Indabazimbi, the son of Arpi the son of Mosilikaatze, I of the royal blood of T'Chaka, I of the King's House, I the Ringed Man, I the Induna, I call to them as a buck calls, I challenge them, I await them."
The Scarecrow in Scarecrow, while handcuffed and locked into a guillotine:
We are the legions of Hellwell, damned The banished ones of fallen flame We are the race undone by man So man we curse-forget his name!
This world was ours before the gods In days before the race of men And when the men and gods have gone This world will then be ours again
The mountains fall, the seas dry out The moons will vanish from the sky The Bridge of Gold will one day fall And all that breathes must one day die
But we of Hellwell will prevail When fail the gods, when fail the men The legions of the damned die not We wait, we wait, to rise again!
Yama has one as well:
Yama: "Fallen or no, the real death dwells in my eyes."
Sam's from the end of Chapter 1:
"I shall tear these stars from out the heavens," he stated, "and hurl them in the faces of the gods, if this be necessary. I shall blaspheme in every Temple throughout the land. I shall take lives as a fisherman takes fish, by the net, if this be necessary. I shall mount me again up to the Celestial City, though every step be a flame or a naked sword and the way be guarded by tigers. One day will the gods look down from Heaven and see me upon the stair, bringing them the gift they fear most. That day will the new Yuga begin.
Of course The Wheel of Time has a number of examples. To kick it off: "I am the Dragon Reborn." The Dragon is prophesied to break the world and save the world, to bleed so it may live and fight the Shadow for all time, and is a Male Channeler. The last Dragon locked Satan in the underworld, killed thousands if not millions of enemies personally, and when the Dark One's final counterstroke drove him mad, he killed his entire family of powerful Channllers, earning the title Kinslayer. In one last, crushing moment of sanity, he realized what he'd done, and erupted a volcano ten times larger than the tallest mountain out of nowhere as his funeral pyre. His armies' last acts of madness cataclysmically destroyed the world, bringing it from a 20th-century technological analog to a society that was barely back up to the level of the renaissance, with magic, three thousand years later. HE. HAS. RETURNED.
Rand: Do you believe that I could kill you? Right here, right now, without using a sword or the Power? Do you believe that if I simply willed it, the Pattern would bend around me and stop your heart? By... coincidence?
More than one of course. Rand's rather gentle reminder of his status to Cadsuane:
Rand: "I show you respect. Perhaps it would be appropriate for you to return it. If you wish, you may call me Rand Sedai. I am, so far as I know, the only male Aes Sedai still alive who was properly raised but who never turned to the Shadow."
Not just Rand
Lan "I am al'Lan Mandragoran, Lord of the Seven Towers, Defender of the Wall of First Fires, Bearer of the Sword of the Thousand Lakes! I was once named Aan'allein, but I reject that title, for I am alone no more. Fear me, Shadow! Fear me and know. I have returned for what is mine. I may be a king without a land. But I am still a king!"
The Aiel get one too:
Till shade is gone, till water is gone;
Into the Shadow with teeth bared;
Screaming defiance with the last breath;
To spit in Sightblinder's eye on the last day.
And in the last book, Demandred (the Shadow's commanding general and a man only slightly less of a badass than the original Dragon, who feels that he could and should have been the Dragon himself) gets a great one that goes on for several paragraphs:
Demandred "You are to deliver a message for me, Aes Sedai, to Lews Therin. The one who calls himself the Dragon Reborn. Tell him that I have come to slay him, and in so doing, I will claim the world. I will take what originally should have been mine. Tell him that. Tell him you have seen me, and describe me to him. He will know me.
"Just as the people here awaited him with prophecy, just as they showered him with glory, the people of my land awaited me. I have fulfilled their prophecies. He is false, and I am true. Tell him I will finally have satisfaction. He is to come, so that we may face one another. If he does not, I will slaughter and destroy. I will seize his people. I will enslave his children. I will take his women for my own. One by one I will break, destroy, or dominate everything that he has loved. The only way for him to avoid this is for him to come and face me.
"Tell him this, little Aes Sedai. Tell him that an old friend awaits. I am Bao the Wyld. He Who Is Owned Only By The Land. The dragonslayer."
A variation can be found in the fourth Harry Potter. It's different since the one making the boast is not making it about himself. In it, Imposter Moody is describing the Instant DeathBulletSpell that is Avada Kedavra.
Moody: Ah yes, Avada Kedavra...the last and worst of the Unforgivable Curses. It's not nice...not pretty...and there is no blocking it. Only one person in all of history has ever survived it, and he's sitting right in front of me.
Arguably subverted by the fact that Harry's survival had nothing to do with his badassery (he was, after all, an infant) and everything to do with the badassery of his mother.
Dumbledore had a few in the fifth book when the Minster as well as a few more were talking about arresting Dumbledore. His best:
"Well—it's just that you seem to be laboring under the delusion that i am going to—what is the phrase? 'Come quietly.' I am afraid I am not going to come quietly at all, Cornelius. I have absolutely no intention of being sent to Azkaban. I could break out, of course—but what a waste of time, and frankly, I can think of a whole host of things I would rather be doing."
The Midnight Mayor by Kate Griffin has a nice example (if somewhat spoileriffic and incomprehensible unless you've read A Madness of Angels, the book it's a sequel to):
"I was the apprentice of Robert James Bakker. I'm sure you've heard of him. I am a sorcerer. I was there when Bakker died. We... made it happen. I too have met death, and did not have to peel the bones away from my chest to survive the encounter. I am also, and incidentally, the Midnight Mayor, the blue electric angels, the fire in the wire, the song in the telephones, and we are having a bad week. Be smart; fear us."
"The only man to ever beat me was Araris Valerian. You're not Araris Valerian."
Subverted in the final battle of the first book, when he says it to Fade, a seemingly harmless, mentally deficient slave. It turns out that Fade IS Araris Valerian.
"I beat Nasuag at Ludus." This followed a list of fights and wars he'd won against impossible odds. This was the one that left the biggest impression on the listener. Ludus is like chess. Tavi is just that badass.
The mass Water-Sendings of Kalarus, the Vord Queen, and lastly Tavi. Tavi's pulled double-duty as a cover for a rescue operation.
The Lost Hero: Jason Grace and Porphyrion have a boasting contest. Porphyrion states that he will kill Zeus, marry Hera or if she didn't like that feed her to the Earth, grow invincible by the hour, and was already strong enough to reduce Jason to a greasy spot. What did Jason have to top that.
"I'm the son of Jupiter. I'm a child of Rome, consul to demi-gods, praetor of the First Legion. I slew the Trojan sea monster. I toppled the Black Throne of Kronos, and destroyed the Titan Krios with my own hands. And now I am going to destroy you, Porphyrion, and feed you to your own wolves."
Percy to Polybotes, “You. Me. To the finish.”
Percy: Twelfth Legion. FULMINATA. Which then shot out a thousand blasts of lightning that basically annihilated the Giants entire center line due to Percy's willpower. BAD ASS.
Robert E. Howard's characters get some good ones, on occasion, when they're not too busy simply making good on the death threat implied by their mere presence.
From "The Hour of the Dragon", Conan's response to being shanghaied onto a slave galley manned by Kushite warriors he used to lead years ago:
Conan bounded up on the bridge and stood poised above the upturned black faces, ax lifted, black mane blown in the wind. "Who am I?" he yelled. "Look, you dogs! Look, Ajonga, Yasunga, Laranga! Who am I?" And from the waist rose a shout that swelled to a mighty roar: "Amra! It is Amra! The Lion has returned!"
"By this axe I rule! This is my sceptre! I have struggled and sweated to be the puppet king you wished me to be — to king it your way. Now I use mine own way! If you will not fight, you shall obey! Laws that are just shall stand; laws that have outlived their times I shall shatter as I shattered that one! I am king!"
Young Wizards: Roshaun attempts this a few times in Wizard's Holiday... and actually succeeds in Wizards At War. (He really came into his element then.) "So stand by, lackey..."
"I walked this land when the T'lan Imass were but children. I have commanded armies a hundred thousand strong. I have spread the fire of my wrath across entire continents, and sat alone upon tall thrones. Do you grasp the meaning of this?"
He gets countered with: "Yes, you never learn." But, it's still awesome, particular as he retorts that the speaker has indeed failed to grasp the meaning, that Kallor is extremely effective in war, and is proven correct later on.
And then there are all of Anomandaris Dragnipurake's titles: Knight of High House Dark, Lord of Moon's Spawn, Son of Darkness, Blacksword...
John Taylor of Simon R. Green's Nightside books practically uses the Badass Boast as his Weapon of Choice. From the very beginning it's been more or less the case that even John himself cannot tell when he is bluffing. Needless to say, the badassBoast isn't John's only weapon, just his preferred one. John prefers not to make the kind of mistakes you can't undo by saying you're sorry.
"And I'm John Taylor, and you wouldn't believe the shit I've seen. So bring it on."
In A Dirty Job, a little old Chinese lady gives the main character a look when he snatches an eggplant away from her. Gods alone know what she was really thinking, but here's what our hero got from that look:
"O White Devil, you do not want to purloin that purple fruit, for I have four thousand years of ancestors and civilization on you; my grandparents built the railroads and dug the silver mines, and my parents survived the earthquake, the fire, and a society that outlawed even being Chinese; I am mother to a dozen, grandmother to a hundred, and great-grandmother to a legion; I have birthed babies and washed the dead; I am history and suffering and wisdom; I am a Buddha and a dragon; so get your fucking hand off my eggplant before you lose it."
Caine: "He who lives by the sword can die by my knife."
Blade of Tyshalle:
Caine: "Rule Number One: You fuck with me, you die. No questions, no exceptions, no second chances."
Caine: "THEY TOLD YOU I WOULD DIE DOWN THERE! I TOLD YOU I'D BE BACK!"
Caine Black Knife:
Caine: *to a band of Black Knife ogrillo hunters, after killing one of their number in single combat* "Did anybody not UNDERSTAND what just happened here? Does anybody need it EXPLAINED? This place is MINE. You can go anywhere you want, but you can't come HERE. For you here is DEATH. Here is PAIN. He died EASY. You will die HARD. You will die SCREAMING. Your bitches will HOWL. Your pups will STARVE. I will FEED YOU YOUR FUTURE."
Later, "I told you I'd feed you your future. Did you think I'd make you eat it raw?"
Solomon Kane may say it in a more understated manner than most boasts, but...
"It hath been my duty in times past to ease various evil men of their lives."
Skeeter Jackson, of Time Scout, finds himself fighting for his life in the Roman Arena against a favorite who's won 100+ matches. An odd thought makes him laugh, startling the Roman, so he pushes his advantage by breaking into a Mongolian war song.
The Gentleman Bastard Sequence has a few. One of the best is from Jean Tannen while drugged to the eyeballs in the temple of the goddess of death. Keep in mind he is twelve at the time:
"I saw my parents burn to death. I saw my cats burn to death. Do you know the sound a cat makes when it burns? I watched and could do nothing. Do you know where to stab a man, to bring death now, or death in a minute, or death in an hour? I do. Lingering death? Two or three days of pain? I can give that too. Ha! Death the Transition? We're old friends!"
Then there are Locke's, when Calo, Galdo, and Bug are killed and their home destroyed:
"I promise you a death-offering, brothers. I promise you an offering that will make the gods take notice. An offering that will make the shades of all the Dukes and Capas of Camorr feel like paupers. An offering in blood and gold and fire. This I swear by Aza Guilla who gathers us, and by Perelandro who sheltered us, and by the Crooked Warden who places his finger on the scale when our souls are weighed. This I swear to Chains, who kept us safe. I beg forgiveness that I failed to do the same."
... and when threatening a prisoner:
"But now, now I'll be a murderer once again. I will set myself to slay until every last Grey King's man is gone. You hear me, cocksucker? I will have the Bondsmage, and I will have the Grey King, and if all the powers of Camorr and Karthain and Hell itself oppose me, it will be nothing - nothing but a longer trail of corpses between me and your master."
A curious inverted example from the Lensman sequence. A hostile Lyrianian telepath has just had her mind turned inside out by Karen Kinnison, one of Civilization's few third-stage intellects outside of the Arisians. Karen's mother Clarissa, unaware of what has just transpired, describes Karen as one of the four dearest, sweetest girls you could ever hope to meet. Because Clarissa is Karen's mother, and viewed as obviously more dangerous and experienced by the Lyranians (though Karen is actually the more powerful), she's subsequently afforded a great deal more respect. Karen's boast is more to the point - she describes what her mother would do in her shoes, none of which is pretty or even survivable, and then adds "But she's always sorry afterwards - she even insists on coming to the funerals and paying all the expenses."
In his essay "In the Land of the Euro-Weenies", P.J. O'Rourke hears one too many snide comments about the U.S. and goes off on a tear:
"We're the baddest-assed sons of bitches that ever jogged in Reeboks. We're three-quarters grizzly bear and two-thirds car wreck and descended from a stock market crash on our mother's side. You take your Germany, France, and Spain, roll them all together, and it wouldn't give us room to park our cars. We're the big boys, Jack, the original, giant, economy-sized, new and improved butt kickers of all time. When we snort coke in Houston, people lose their hats in Cap d'Antibes. And we've got an American Express card credit limit higher than your piss-ant metric numbers go..."
Variants on the Robin Hood story are full of these—unsurprisingly, because it's about a bunch of romantic outcasts who pride themselves on their valiance and shooting ability. Just look at Howard Pyle's version, The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood:
' ... stand thou where thou art, or else, by the bright brow of Saint Aelfrida, I will show thee right good Nottingham play with a clothyard shaft betwixt thy ribs."
"Now," quoth the stranger, "I will tan thy hide till it be as many colors as a beggar's cloak, if thou darest so much as touch a string of that same bow that thou holdest in thy hands."
"Thou pratest like an ass," said Robin, "for I could send this shaft clean through thy proud heart before a curtal friar could say grace over a roast goose at Michaelmastide."
In Stray Souls by Kate Griffin, Rhys comes pretty close:
"I'm a druid very nearly of the first circle," he hissed. "I was almost the leader of my peers, practically the chosen one. I didn't quite summon the essence of the waterways from beneath the city streets, nearly brought forth the glory of the heavens, was almost on time for a conversation with the whispering dryads of the thousand and one lamp posts, and was only a few words away from sealing up the nether gate across the rotting railway tracks. You should maybe fear me, perhaps."
Tamas:The age of kings is dead, Adamat, and I have killed it.
A line so badass they put it on the cover of the book.
Tamas:My son lies at death's door. My wife is long dead, and many of my friends have joined her. I have nothing left to inspire compassion in me. I will meet Ipille's forces at the Gates of Wasal. I will shove them back. I will route them into Kez and burn my way to Ipille's door. I will confront Kresimir and I will teach him about justice.
Lord Foul: "Do not prolong this unpleasantness. You know you cannot stand against me. In my own name I am wholly your superior. And I possess the Illearth Stone. I can blast the moon in its course, compel the oldest dead from their deep graves, spread ruin at my whim. Without effort I can tear every fiber of your being from its moor and scatter the wreck of your soul across the heavens."
North from Of Fear and Faith gets to make one of these in the last chapter of the first set, during the climactic battle with the demon Fear.
"Don’t try to intimidate me, monster! I am North Avalon, beloved son and steadfast soldier of the Most High God! And I will not back down!"
Master of the Mountain: I do not recall how many men I have killed to be where I am now, but I would hazard a guess at 25.
Master of the Mountain: I mentioned that I had killed 25 men to attain my position. The man who asked me [if he would be willing to work for the Old Ones] was number 25.
Quoth Silver Degan, in Douglas Hulick's Sworn In Steel: "I am Silver Degan, and I am of the Azaar. I've left smoldering villages and salted fields in my wake, trampling entire tribes in the dust of my passing. Soldiers curse and widows weep at the sound of my name. What are the threats of back-alley princes and their dagger-wielding thugs to me?"