Our Kickstarter campaign has received $82,000 from 2,400 backers, well past our original goal ! TV Tropes 2.0 is coming. There is no stopping it now. We have 30 hours left. At $100K the tropes web series will also be produced. View the project here and discuss here.
Ex-schoolmaster and formerly-ex-British agent Reck in Manning Cole's A Toast to Tomorrow. After returning from a ten-day stay at a concentration camp intended to make him more willing to act as fellow former-ex-agent Tommy Hambledon's radio operator, he commented, in part:
"There was an inaccurate notice to the effect that purity of the soul is won through labour. It was displayed where we could see it while shovelling. I find I am not, by nature, a shoveller, and the notice is a lie."
In The Alien Series almost everyone around Kitty is one, especially Christopher.
Occasionally the title character of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, but he's more of an Uncontrollably Sneering Snarker, but we love him for it.
In David Eddings's Belgariad and Malloreon, it'd almost be easier to list every major character who isn't either a Card-Carrying Villain or a Deadpan Snarker. Even the Voice of the Prophecy (the speaking aspect of the cosmic force attempting to restore the universe to its original destiny) snarks it up almost every time it communicates with one of the characters.
Rayne McDonald, one of the heroes of Marianne Mancusi's Blood Coven series often dips into this:
Spider:(re: using a flamethrower-like weapon in a pressurized airplane cabin) You thought I'd use it on fire mode? Oh ye of little faith. note The weapon in question also has a freeze-ray mode. Rayne: Oh ye of little track record.
Buddenbrooks: Hanno and Kai, who "nickname" their teachers not "the spider" or "the cockatoo" as their classmates do, but rather "Herr X". Also, Hanno's geography teacher, who's a big fan of satirist Heinrich Heine, tries to be this.
In the Chalet School series, Miss Wilson has a reputation for being very sarcastic with students who get on her bad side. And that includes Joey.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has Willy Wonka, who is prone to brushing off the Golden Ticket tour group's constant questions about his crazy world with whimsical and sometimes stealthily insulting asides. When explaining the effects of Hair Toffee to the group, Spoiled Brat Veruca Salt asks "Who wants a beard, for heaven's sake?" "It would suit you very well," Mr. Wonka notes before moving on. Adaptations take this particular character trait and run with it.
Ciaphas Cain, HERO OF THE IMPERIUM, does this constantly, and often regardless of whether the target is currently attempting to kill him. About the only ones that don't receive this are beings that don't speak, such as Necrons and Tyranids (not that he doesn't try on occasion), and Inquisitors, who are in practice of a far higher rank and rarely tolerate anything resembling amusement (with the exception of Vail, who seems to grow rather fond of verbal matches with him). Vail herself also seems to possess an inclination for this trope, if her footnotes are any indication.
Flora Poste in Cold Comfort Farm is a borderline snarker, although her good breeding mostly keeps it in check.
Micheal "Mickey" Flynn from Harry Turtledove's Colonization series seems to get at least one line a section, and often rather more common (half his lines to Johnson on occasion seem to be deadpan snarks), at least in the proximity of Glen Johnson. Runners up are Glen Johnson himself, and Charles Healey. All the Americans get at least one line in, as well as a few of the Lizards (especially Atvar).
Winterbourne: If you won't flirt with me, do cease, at least, to flirt with your friend at the piano; they don't understand that sort of thing here. Not in young unmarried women. Daisy: It seems to me much more proper in young unmarried women than in old married ones.
Lewis: ‘Would it help if I wrote you a list?’ I asked sarcastically. ‘The “Ten Commandments of Venturing”, perhaps.
Marsh (on being told Wilson could stop him getting a job in London): ‘There are many other cities in the Empire,’ Marsh replied. ‘And I have never much cared for English weather.’
Spangler: ‘Well, well, old boy, you’re alive after all,’ he said, by way of a greeting.
Lewis: ‘I know, it’s a terrible disappointment for all concerned.’
Wilson: ‘Teaching this lad here?’ Wilson said, turning a critical eye on Marsh, who was as extravagantly attired as ever. His gaze lingered on Marsh’s bandaged right hand. ‘I can see that has been going very well.’
Alan Dean Foster's spinoff Dinotopia novels feature a wisecracking Protoceratops named Chaz. Bix from the main books also shows hints of this.
Samuel Vimes and Esmerelda Weatherwax, both of which are particularly Genre Savvy (and hate having to be). They are both aware of the Theory of Narrative Causality, though with Vimes it's more of an instinctive understanding.
Lord Vetinari's snark is rumored to be so caustic that Sgt. Colon lives in fear of the patrician getting sardonic on him. (Although when it did happen, he never even noticed. Subtle and clever verbal abuse is wasted on some people.)
Rincewind also has his moments; having long given up trying to use his Genre Savviness to stay out of dangerous situations, he occasionally uses it to be sarcastic about them.
Every line uttered by Salzalla in Maskerade drips with sarcasm, at least before he is revealed as the villain, and rapidly loses the plot. For instance, suggesting to Mr. Bucket that if the ballerinas did more leaps, it might save on wear and tear on ballet shoes:
"Well, their feet wouldn't be on the ground for so long, would they?" said Salzella, in the tones of one who knows for a fact that he's much more intelligent than anyone else in the room.
Pratchett himself can be quite the snarker, such as his response to someone claiming that he had ripped off Harry Potter (which came out after the novel in question):
"I, of course, used a time machine to 'get the idea' of Unseen University from Hogwarts; I don't know what Paul [Kidby, the illustrator] used in this case. Obviously he must have used something."
Benny: The Vardans? I think you'll find that your enemies tremble with mirth and cry out things like "Oh good, it's only the Vardans, thank goodness it wasn't somebody serious like the Daleks". You are, after all, the only race in history to be outwitted by the intellectual might of the Sontarans.'
Don Quixote: Deconstructed by Sancho Panza: What happens in Real Life to those who cannot say anything without being sarcastic? Why, Sancho is beaten by Don Quixote and a lot of other people. The problem is that a lot of people enjoys Sancho’s sarcasm (he is good at it) and so he feels compelled to say it, even when he is in perilous situations, like when he denied payment to a Innkeeper (Chapter XVII part I), and he mocked the entire people of the Braying Town or the highwaymen of Barcelona (Chapters XXVII and LX of the part II) The first give him a beating, the highwaymen almost kill him:
Upon this Sancho remarked, "From what I have seen here, justice is such a good thing that there is no doing without it, even among the thieves themselves."
One of the squires heard this, and raising the butt-end of his harquebuss would no doubt have broken Sancho's head with it had not Roque Guinart called out to him to hold his hand. Sancho was frightened out of his wits, and vowed not to open his lips so long as he was in the company of these people.
The unlucky wight did not speak so low but that Roque overheard him, and drawing his sword almost split his head in two, saying, "That is the way I punish impudent saucy fellows." They were all taken aback, and not one of them dared to utter a word, such deference did they pay him.
Everyone in the Doom novels. If sarcasm and smart-ass could kill monsters the invasion never would have progressed past Phobos.
Both of The Hardy Boys can be this (even when at the villain's mercy); however, while Frank definitely does have many good lines of snark, Joe is the one who is especially known for this. Just about every sentence out of his mouth when talking to the bad guys will be some of this. Both brothers are acknowledged for this in-universe, with their allies and enemies alike lampshading it.
Vlad, Kragar, and Loiosh from Steven Brust's Taltos series all fit this one. Pel in the Khaavren Romances, too.
Vern, the dragon protagonist and narrator of Karina Fabian's "Dragon Eye, P.I." books, seems to be made of fire and snark.
Most characters in Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files do this at least occasionally. Michael and Mab are probably the only two recurring characters who do not regularly indulge (even Nicodemus has his moments). Harry himself is such a memetic snarker that when he accidentally mouths off to Odin's secretaries, he claims that to not insult them to would be to impugn their reputation of incomprehensible badassery, because it's well know that Harry makes fun of all of them.
Person: "Who the hell are you?"
Harry "I the hell am Harry."
Person: "Are you always a wise-ass?"
Harry "No. Sometimes I'm asleep."
Bob and Thomas both seem to rather enjoy the snark.
"I'll tear off your ass. Literally, your actual ass."
Butcher seems to love snark in general; though there's much less of it than in The Dresden Files, there's still quite a bit of it flying around in the Codex Alera series. Most characters get their moment to shine, but the most persistent example is Doroga.
Elsabeth Soesten and Brother Hieronymus of No Good Deed... are both quick with a smart remark with one another. However while Hieronymus is generally more diplomatic with others, Elsabeth snarks at pretty much everyone. Even church officials, much to Hieronymus's horror.
Danjel in Vilhelm Moberg's The Emigrants suite manages to be a deadpan snarker and the meekest man around at the same time.
The Vicar: No one is allowed to give communion unless they are ordained.
Danjel: As far as I know, nowhere in the Bible does it say that Our Lord Jesus was ordained.
Deconstructed in Saul Bellow's Him with His Foot in His Mouth, where the narrator is, in essence, a deadpan-snark addict. He couldn't resist any opening for snide remarks and would feel guilty after the damage is done, at times with sincere apologies. The number of faux pas he committed is enormous and that eventually contributed to ruining his life.
There literally is no character in the H.I.V.E. Series who appears more than once has this. Every. Single. One. The only characters who don't, Block and Tackle, give an honest effort and come up with comments that are only moderately witty, to highlight their stupidity.
Quite a few in the Honor Harrington novels. Probably the most notable is Michael Oversteegen, who snarks at everything. When he is angry enough for Sarcasm Failure, though, whoever is on the receiving end of his anger is in for a very bad day.
Haymitch Abernathy from The Hunger Games is one of the biggest deadpan snarkers in the novel alongside Katniss and Johanna.
Gabriel: You know, there was a time when I thought we could be friends.
Will: There was a time when I thought I was a ferret, but that turned out to be the opium haze. Did you know it had that effect? 'Cause I didn't.
And there's this scene from The Clockwork Prince:
“They’re not hideous,” said Tessa.
Will blinked at her. “What?”
“Gideon and Gabriel,” said Tessa. “They’re really quite good-looking, not hideous at all.”
“I spoke,” said Will, in sepulchral tones, “of the pitch-black inner depths of their souls.”
Tessa snorted. “And what color do you suppose the inner depths of your soul are, Will Herondale?”
“Mauve,” said Will.
Jem's snarkiness comes mostly from saying something, then adding "Not really" with something humorous. He can play the trope completely straight, though.
Dame Agnes Kerr from Rumer Godden's In This House of Brede.
Jeeves, the valet from P. G. Wodehouse's novels, was famous for his incredibly diplomatic portrayals of this trope:
(when trying to convince his employer, Bertie, not to wear a specific dinner jacket) Bertie: But all the lads have asked for the name of my tailor. Jeeves: Doubtless with the aim of avoiding him, sir. Bertie: He's considered one of the best men in England! Jeeves: I do not make any judgments regarding his moral character, sir.
'Of course,' I said, 'that's enough excitement for anyone, and undoubtedly a corking reward for tramping three miles out of one's way over ploughed fields with tight boots, but don't we do anything else? ...'
Kindling Ashes: Frang delights in filling Corran's head with sarcasm, insults, and other things designed to annoy him.
The Kingdom and the Crown has several snarkers, notably Yehuda, who has it come out frequently in regards to his best friend and fellow Zealot Simeon, as well as when he speaks his mind on the Pharisees.
The Kingkiller Chronicle has Kvothe, the most gifted student in the Academy, Ruh performer, who knows the Name of the Wind and of Felurian, his mind like a blade of Ramston Steel, and his tongue to match.
Many characters from The Lord of the Rings fall into this trope occasionally. Gandalf, though, is especially snarky.
Pippin: There must be someone with intelligence in the party. Gandalf: Then you certainly will not be chosen, Peregrin Took!
Gandalf: (after Bilbo pulls his disappearing stunt at the birthday party) I'm glad to find you visible.
Gandalf: (meeting the bristling three walkers, who have mistaken him for Saruman) Well met indeed, my friends. I wish to speak with you. Will you come down, or shall I come up? (shortly later, after disarming them with barely a thought) Well met, I say again!
his cousin who borrows books and never returns them, s given a large (empty) bookcase.
the relative who never answers letters gets an elaborate gold pen and inkwell.
to a chronic borrower, an umbrella for his very own.
another relative who imagines herself the Shire's equivalent of Dear Abby is given a wastebasket.
Cousin Lobelia, who appropriated his silverware after his first disappearance (although that was never proved) gets a case of silver spoons "as a present." "The took the point, but she also took the spoons."
Interestingly used in Joan Hess's Maggody mysteries, where Arly Hanks makes innumerable sarcastic comments, yet almost no one in the county has enough brains to get the joke. Thus, she mostly has to make due with First-Person Smartass monologues except when interrogating out-of-town suspects.
While not as immediately noticable, Newt also goes into Sarcasm Mode plenty of times.
And Thomas picks it up from them.
Everyone in the Mediochre Q Seth Series, including the narrative. Mediochre himself manages to stand out even then, as does his sidekick and frequent snarking partner Charlotte. The award for most beautifully deadpan line in the series, however, goes to the presumably-magic automated voice at the entrance to the MABGov meeting chamber.
Automated Voice: Please state name now, Sir, Madam or Other.
Mediochre: Dr Mediochre Quirinius Seth.
Automated Voice: Name not recognised. Please amend and state again.
Automated Voice: Go right in, Sir. Congratulations on your musical ability.
Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series has plenty, but Archie Goodwin, Nero Wolfe's legman, is a champion.
Quayle(upon ejection from Wolfe's office by Archie): You goddamn goon. Archie: That's Goodwin. You left out the D,W,I, but I'll overlook it.
Nightrunner is FULL of this, especially when Seregil is around. And put him and Thero into one room...
Seregil: (in otter form, throwing a fish at Thero's feet) A cold fish for a cold fish!
Thero: He never can go anywhere without stealing something.
After his first transformation into an otter in front of Alec (who is a pelt hunter) he replies on latter's praise:
In light of your former profession, I'm not certain if this was a compliment or an appraisal of the worth of my pelt.
After his uncle remarks that Seregil is the living image of his late mother Seregil retorts: "Just what a man wants to hear."
Let's just say, Lynn Flewelling herself is a great snarker. And loves it.
Tybalt, King of the Cats is practically unable to be anything but this around October Daye.
Mogget, the cat-formed servant of the Abhorsens in Garth Nix's Old Kingdom series practically personifies this trope. The Disreputable Dog has her moments too.
While in the main Outlander series, Lord John Gray is an example of the Officer and a Gentleman played relatively straight, he displays some definite tendencies towards being a deadpan snarker. (Well, when he's not mooning after Jamie.) Again, to some degree in his own series as well.
Blake Thorburn, from Pact, would be one, but magicians in the Pact setting aren't allowed to lie, so he has to keep his snark mental. He's very bitter about this.
Blake: Thank you for the commentary. I’d say it was doing lots for my morale, but I’m not allowed to be sarcastic anymore."
Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series has quite a few of these. Professor Lyall is a big one though. He has to be, being Lord Maccon's beta.
The title character in Ratman's Notebooks (the source material for the Willard movies). He's so good at it that he often comes across as a satirist or an observational comedian rather than the Ed Gein-inspired criminal he is.
Keith Laumer's Retief often displays a casual snarkiness regarding the rest of the CDT and how the organization is run. He often exploits his superiors' disdain for this in order to get sent into the thick of things as a punishment. Many of the aliens or human natives encountered also get in on the act.
The Reynard Cycle: Reynard snarks so much that he engages in Witty Banter even when he is fighting for his life. It generally annoys the heck out of his enemies. When he stops doing this it's usually a very bad sign.
Athelney Jones:(talking about a Locked Room Mystery) What do you think of this, Holmes? Sholto was, on his own confession, with his brother last night. The brother died in a fit, on which Sholto walked off with the treasure? How's that? Sherlock Holmes: On which the dead man very considerately got up and locked the door on the inside.
Watson has had his own fair share of snarks, to the point that Holmes does comment on his "pawky humour."
Melinda, the main character of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, is deadpan in all aspects of life. Considering she was raped at an end-of-summer party at the age of fourteen, it's understandable. This doesn't stop her from being one of Anderson's most hilarious and likable characters.
Gerald Morris's The Squire's Tales turns many of King Arthur's knights into this. Particularly Gawain and Gaheris, Rhience, and Arthur himself when he allows himself.
Q, in the non-canon Star Trek book I, Q. "Yeah, and if that doesn't work, maybe the Easter Bunny will save us."
Mara Jade and Ben Skywalker are prone to this, but where Mara will start snarking just for the hell of it, Ben tends to save particularly nasty comments for moments when he's genuinely unhappy (although as we see in Outcast, he's not immune to random outbursts, either). And yes, both of them share the same irreverent sense of humor. Like mother, like son, really.
Ben:(after hearing about one of Luke's earlier failures, specifically the cave section in ESB) You know, it gives me hope that you screwed up so badly and so consistently as a kid, Dad.
Deadpan humor seems to be by far the most prevalent kind in the EU; nearly all named characters (and there are plenty) will throw out a snarky line at least once.
Han has a very memorable one in Destiny's Way
Han: What the Empire would have done is build a supercolossal Yuuzhan Vong-killing Battle Machine. They would have called it the Nova Colossus or the Galaxy Destructor or the Nostril of Palpatine or something equally grandiose. They would have spent billions of credits, employed thousands of contractors and subcontractors, and equipped it with the latest in death-dealing technology. And you know what would have happened? It wouldn't have worked. They'd forget to bolt down a metal plate over an access hatch leading to the main reactors, or some other mistake, and a hotshot enemy pilot would drop a bomb down there and blow the whole thing up. Now that's what the Empire would have done.
Darth Vader of all people in the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Patterns of Force. Here's the set-up: Vader has just captured protagonist Jax Pavan and his friends with the assistance of Dejah Duare. Jax and Duare have a back-and-forth about the betrayal and how much Jax has figured out about before Darth interrupts them thusly:
Darth Vader: This is all vaguely interesting and amusing, Pavan. But it has gone on long enough.
Vader is also quite the snarker in the films. When Han Solo, Leia and Chewbacca walk into an ambush on Cloud City, Vader greets them with a simple "Care to join us?"
It would basically just be shorter to list the characters who aren't. Bonus points for the X-Wing Series, in which 95% of the pilots are snarkers, and many lines of dialogue are just sarcasm from one pilot to another.
The title character of George RR Martin's Tuf Voyaging really has no emotions except for sarcasm, but he disguises it with enough Spock Speak that many of his interlocutors never realize that they've been insulted.
The unnamed debt-collector narrator of most of the "Cyclops" episode in James Joyce's Ulysses is one of the most caustic and mean-minded snarkers ever written.
Seems to be an inborn trait of the rats in The Underland Chronicles, who are also some of the few underlanders to use informal language.
Twitchtip: (when Photos-glow-glow "can't understand" boots): Allow me to translate. She said If you don't stop you incessant bable that big rat sitting in the boat next to you will rip you head off.
Ayn herself: "If you don't understand my books, you sure as Hell won't understand my voice."
Everything Douglas Adams writes is bound to have a deadpan snarker in it somewhere, but the most well known are Marvin and Arthur. Actually, apart from being fantastically and intrinsically linked to the events of the Earth blowing up (repeatedly) and wondering where the tea is, that's all Arthur does, although everyone gets in on the act at some point. Even the narrative. Constantly. Then again, it is Douglas Adams.
Richard: The teacher usually learns more than the pupils. Isn't that true? Random Professor of Cambridge: It would be hard to learn much less than my pupils without undergoing a prefrontal lobotomy.
Marvin in the aforementioned series is an all-time master of this trope. When he isn't bitching and moaning he's doing nothing but making snarky comments.
One time a student of Lovecraft's mistook the common notation Ibid for the name of some ancient Roman fellow—which to be fair it does sound like. Lovecraft loved that so much that he wrote a story called "Ibid" about such a fellow in mockery. What kind of humour would you expect from a guy who thought that the universe was a harsh, hostile place?
Elizabeth Bennet: "I give you leave to like him. You have liked many a stupider person." She gets it from her father:
"An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. From this day you must be a stranger to one of your parents. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins, and I will never see you again if you do."
Mr. Darcy is quite the snarker himself. Their mutually snarky banter is the earliest indication that the two of them are better for each other than they realize.
The aptly-named bathroom reader 1,001 Facts That Will Scare the S#*t Out of You is a collection of both disturbing statistics and an equal amount of snide remarks commenting on every single one.
(excerpt from the chapter 'And in My Spare Time, I Enjoy Dying', with boldface and italics as it appears) FACT: In boxing, a "knockout" is synonymous with cerebral concussion, which can lead to short- or long-term amnesia and confusion. Another concern is that the neurological damage is cumulative and makes the boxer increasingly vulnerable to future injury and permanent neurological trauma. Amnesia might not be a bad thing, in this case. Who wants to remember getting his ass kicked?
Lizzie's character in Spider Circus is very much this, especially when talking to Jack.
Koenig: I don't believe in "galactic empires". (snorts) The whole idea is silly, given the size of the galaxy. Buchanan: Well, the Sh'daar appear to believe in the concept, Admiral. And I doubt very much that it matters whether they agree with you on the point or not.
The Windwater Pack: The reason Ashtree says sarcasm is Zephyr's first language. Apparently an inherited trait i.e. Layla and Cian. Sequana has her moments too. As does Moira: "You want to sing? This could easily be someone's territory. Sure; let's announce our presence to all and sundry."
In The Stormlight Archive, this is literally the job of the Alethi King's Wit. Essentially, the King's Wit exists to insult people whom the king wants insulted, since it would be beneath the king's dignity to insult them himself.