Literature / Winnetou

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"That was Winnetou, the Apache chief, the most glorious of Indians. His name lived in every log-cabin and at every camp-fire. Just, sagacious, true, brave to to point of audacity, guileless, a friend and protector of all who needed aid, be they red or white of hue, so he was known throughout the length and breadth of the United States and beyond their borders."
Der Sohn des Bärenjägers

Winnetou is one of the best known novels written by the German author Karl May. His heroes Old Shatterhand and Winnetou are very famous literary characters in Europe and quintessential examples of Ideal Hero and Heterosexual Life-Partners. Although May only travelled to America himself after his novels became successful, the novels are famed for their accuracy in geographic terms. All trips and journeys of the main character can be followed in an atlas. Accuracy of many other things is not to be taken for granted.

The character who is here called "Charlie" or "Old Shatterhand" previously featured in May's Orient Cycle, in which he adventured in the Middle East under the name of "Kara Ben Nemsi".

Several of the novels have film adaptations made in Germany in the sixties. The Treasure of Silver Lake was the first film of the series; it proved successful enough and spawned a film series. The movies were parodied in Der Schuh des Manitu.

The movies of this series:

  • Der Schatz im Silbersee (The Treasure of Silver Lake, 1962)
  • Winnetou I (Apache Gold, 1963)
  • Old Shatterhand (1963, produced by a different company, but with the same actors)
  • Winnetou II (Last of the Renegades, 1964)
  • Unter Geiern (Beneath Vultures, 1964) — in the latter, Winnetou was accompanied not by Old Shatterhand, but by Stewart Granger as Old Surehand.
  • Winnetou III (The Desperado Trail, 1965), in which Winnetou dies. Because of that, the following films were prequels again, the first two with Stewart Granger reprising the role of Old Surehand:
  • Der Ölprinz (The Oil Prince, 1965)
  • Old Surehand (1965). After that, Lex Barker returned for:
  • Winnetou und das Halbblut Apanatschi (Winnetou and the Half-Breed Apanatchi, 1966); then came Rod Cameron for:
  • Winnetou und sein Freund Old Firehand (Winnetou and His Friend Old Firehand, 1966); and the final one with Lex Barker:
  • Winnetou und Old Shatterhand im Tal der Toten (Winnetou and Old Shatterhand in the Valley of the Dead, 1968).

Many of the later films were co-produced in Italy and co-starred Italian actors. The success of the Kraut Western is often seen as a midwife to the birth of the Spaghetti Westerns. It also provided the spark that made the East German DEFA decide to produce a series of ideologically more correct Indianerfilme ("Indian movies") of its own. All of these starred Gojko Mitic in the lead, a Yugoslavian actor whose first part in a Western had been chief Wokadeh in Unter Geiern.

The novels the films were based on are in the public domain, and you can read the German originals here, here and here, respectively.

The Winnetou novels and film series provide examples of:

  • 100%Heroism Rating: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand.
  • Abduction Is Love: Discussed as a courting tradition among many Native American tribes. It's pointed out that many times this happened with the girl's accord.
  • Abusive Parents: Carpio's family, in general, forcing him to be someone he couldn't, and not giving a crap about his death somewhere in the wilderness.
  • The Ace: Both Winnetou and Old Shatterhand.
  • Action Duo: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand
  • Action Dad: Old Firehand. The Bear-hunter. Intschu-tschuna, Winnetou's father.
  • Action Girl: Quite a few, especially considering the time the books were written. Tahua is probably the best example in the Wild West. Ntscho-tschi, Winnetou's sister, also qualifies. And Kah-o-oto and young Ashta are not far behind. Ellen, Ribanna's daughter in an earlier version of "Old Firehand", was trained by Winnetou himself since early childhood.
  • Action Mom: Tahua, who could beat a chief in a duel, among many other accomplishments.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: People tend to make Old Shatterhand look a lot more like a hunk than he was in the novels. He is always taller in adaptations, and rarely sports a beard, or tattered clothes for that matter.
    • Inverted with Winnetou, who is never as breath-takingly drop-dead gorgeous and imposing as he is in the books. No, not even Pierre Brice. (He does come closest, but he lacks the Rapunzel Hair.)
  • Adaptational Comic Relief/Adaptational Wimp: Old Wabble in the novels Old Surehand I and III is a badass frontiersman and Indian fighter; starting out as a companion to Old Shatterhand and Winnetou, he becomes their rival and and then an outright villain who tries to kill them, making him one of May's most interesting characters. In the films Old Surehand and Der Ölprinz he is much younger and merely Old Surehand's clumsy comical sidekick.
  • Adaptational Modesty: In the novels, Winnetou appears naked in a couple of scenes (usually ones that involve swimming), but don't expect that to happen in any of the many, many adaptations (both movies and open-air theater festivals). The same goes for Old Shatterhand (and other secondary characters), but they don't get even a hint of a description, and even in Winnetou's case they are minimalistic and focused on his actions rather than his looks.
  • A Father to His Men: Intschu-tschuna, chief of the Apaches. Klekih-Petra was one on the spiritual side. Also, pretty much every honorable leader.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: Charlie goes through this once or twice.
  • After Action Patch Up: After several battles, a brief mention of patching up the wounded on both sides is made.
  • Against My Religion: Charlie's usual reason for not killing, not scalping and generally letting bad people get away with less punishment than they would probably deserve.
  • Aggressive Categorism: Done quite realistically, in that people from lots of different cultures (or even just different tribes) regard people from any other culture with hostility and scorn, or at least contemptuous indifference.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Though he is usually a very proud man, when it comes to convincing Winnetou not to go to his certain death, Charlie has no problem with getting on his knees and begging. And crying.
  • Alas, Poor Villain: Old Wabble; his final fate is so horrific that you cannot help but share Old Shatterhand's feelings on it, and be relieved at his last-moment Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Alcoholic: Rattler isn't alone among the surveyors in his propensity to drink, but in his case, his irresponsible drunken behaviour leads to truly tragic consequences for other characters (and ultimately, him).
  • All Beer Is Ale: Averted. Old Shatterhand seems to prefer Pilsner, which is a type of pale lager. Also, Porter, a type of dark beer related to stout, is mentioned at some point.
  • All Deserts Have Cacti: Averted. You can consider yourself lucky if there are cacti or other desert vegetation around, since that means water.
  • All First Person Narrators Write Like Novelists: Justified. Old Shatterhand happens to be a professional writer — among other things. Many other things.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: Charlie's colleagues from the rail-road building team. Mostly because he is young, hard-working, a non-drinkernote , and German.
  • Aloof Ally: Winnetou comes off as this whenever he joins a group without Old Shatterhand.
  • Always Someone Better: Old Shatterhand and/or Winnetou to... a lot of other people. Practically everybody else, in fact.
  • An Axe to Grind: Tomahawks are the cultural weapon for apparently all Native American tribes. Also, some of the few times Old Shatterhand is deadly in a fight happens when he uses a tomahawk (during actual battle, not a duel), due to the nature of the weapon not really lending itself much to Technical Pacifism.
  • Ancestral Weapon: The Silver Rifle, which Winnetou picks up after his father's death. Contrast with Old Shatterhand's weapons, who all fall under the It Was a Gift trope.
  • And the Adventure Continues: There is almost no finality to any of the books, they either blend one into the other, or are left open-ended, with a few mentions regarding some of the characters. Often, Winnetou and Old Shatterhand aren't even mentioned in the last pages.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Both Mister Henry and Sam Hawkens get angry over Old Shatterhand (who they both see as a surrogate son) putting himself into serious danger in what they see as a reckless manner.
  • Animal Metaphor: Old Shatterhand's inner monologue compares Winnetou to a black panther once or twice.
  • Animal Motifs: Old Shatterhand is very often compared to a fox (because of his cunning) and a bear (because of his strength). Winnetou is a less clear case, but Charlie associates him with black panthers (explicitly) and with ravens and black horses (implicitly). Their enemies always try to insult them by calling them "coyotes" (implying cowardice because they often use their cleverness instead of brute strength, though they do not exactly lack that either).
  • Apologises a Lot: Rust, the doctor-to-be Old Shatterhand and Winnetou pick up on their way in "Holy Night!"
  • The Apprentice: "Greenhorn" Charlie is one to Sam Hawkens, and later to Winnetou.
  • Apron Matron: Mother Thick in "Old Surehand".
  • Arc Symbol: The Passiflora. The cross. Interestingly, most symbols are never explained, either because the public knew them, or in order to keep the mystery even beyond the supposed ending of the novel.
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: Winnetou's place in "Winnetou's heirs": Bed, table, water jugs. Weapons and Charlie's photo on the wall.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: As he only disposed of a small sample base of words from Amerindian languages in his reference books, May would sometimes mix up words from unrelated languages when giving his Indians names or having them speak. Most laughable: Apaches speaking among themselves calling a wife with Algonquian word "squaw" (which raised Unfortunate Implications in modern day). Apache language is not even related to Algonquian languages.
  • Audience Surrogate: Charlie, in the beginning. Whoever is the youngest and most inexperienced character around later on.
  • Author Avatar: The hero of a Karl May novel is often this (many are also written in first-person narration). A common misconception in-story is that "Old Shatterhand" had acquired his nickname on the basis of great stature and physical strength (while May himself had been a small thin guy). In fact, whenever there is a description of Old Shatterhand in the text, he is described as being "average height, average build", with "hands as slender and as white as a woman's", making his strength come off as even more of a surprise. Those who know about May's conflict with the Law are also aware of how he escaped police custody. (Yes, he knocked his two guards out, while in chains.)
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Winnetou, supreme chief of all Apache tribes, and an incredible all-around badass.
  • Authority in Name Only: Mayors, sheriffs, policemen, military officers.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, once. The rest of the time, they fight side by side. Or, most likely, on physically opposite sides of a trap where they lured their enemies-of-the-week.
    • Dick Hammerdull and Pitt Holbers in "Kapitän Kaiman/Der Corsar" (an earlier story with somewhat tentative connection to the rest of the canon; it does feature Winnetou, but not Old Shatterhand).
  • Badass Beard: Old Shatterhand usually sports one when he's been far from civilisation for a while, though most adaptations (and even the novel illustrations) rarely depict him with one. Sam Hawkens, on the other hand, is practically defined by his bushy beard (and his huge beak-like nose).
  • Badass Bookworm: Charlie is very much a badass, and very, very much a bookworm.
  • Badass Family:
    • Winnetou's family, made up of himself, his wise and brave father, his beautiful and resourceful sister, his kind teacher, and eventually his blood-brother.
    • Tahua, her Badass Preacher brother I-Khvesti-Pa, and her two famous sons.
  • Badass in Distress: Winnetou and Intschu-tschuna in volume one. Old Shatterhand himself soon afterwards. They both fall under this several times more, either separately or together. Old Firehand, Old Surehand and Apanatschka, as well as their entire group of Westmen acquaintances end up like this at some point.
  • Badass Native: Winnetou. Several other secondary characters as well, with Colma Pushi standing out the most.
  • Bad Dreams: Old Shatterhand catapults himself out of sleep because of them from time to time (occasionally taking out a near-by lamp). And yes, they are always premonitory in some ways.
  • Barbarian Tribe: The Native Americans are viewed as semi-civilised in most cases, but never as malicious on their own. Individual evilness is a different issue.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Painfully averted. Just look at Judith Silberstein and the Meltons.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Played straight with young women, partly subverted with older ones. So it's usually a case of aging, occasionally with the narration pointing out she used to be a beauty in her youth.
    • One particular case is that of Tocbela in "Old Surehand". In her case, her great beauty was ruined early on by shock and madness, and she barely recovers a little sanity when she's in her forties and irrevocably changed physically. Her older sister Tahua, also a famous beauty, was also changed by the trials of her Action Girl lifestyle.
    • Comically inverted in Winnetou III 5th chapter with Señora Eulalia and Señorita Alma, wife and daughter of a poor Mexican rancher of Spanish aristocratic stock. Both are described and made fun of as dirty and disheveled.
    • Winnetou himself never suffers more than light wounds and bruises. Amusingly, the most damage he receives comes as a result of running around the forest at night, trying to spy on two enemy camps at the same time. The morning finds him rather dishevelled, scratched and full of resin. As is Old Shatterhand, for the same reasons.
  • Becoming the Boast: In a way, Old Shatterhand officially receives his nom-du-guerre a bit earlier than it would have probably been justified, mostly because Sam Hawkens needed to impress a bunch of Kiowas (though he had definitely proved himself strong enough and more than reasonably skilled, still he lacked the needed experience). He grows into it very quickly, though.
    • On a Meta level, Karl May himself might be considered this. He definitely became as moral as Old Shatterhand by the end of his life. And then there's that part about how he escaped those two police officers by knocking them out while handcuffed...
  • Befriending the Enemy: Old Shatterhand tends to acquire friends (or at least admirers) from among even his most determined enemies. See the case of Pida, son of Kiowa chief Tangua, the first and probably most bitter enemy Old Shatterhand managed to make in the Wild West. Pida, on the other hand, is treated with kindness and respect, and he returns both feelings, remaining good friends with the white man who crippled his father until they are both old and grey.
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: In-story, this is what Old Wabble thinks about Old Shatterhand. It's a major plot point during "Old Surehand".
  • Berserk Button: Played with. In certain specific circumstances, Charlie being treated in a certain way acts as a trigger for Winnetou.
    • Played straight with Bob in Der Sohn des Bärenjägers when the Bear-hunter's son's life is threatened.
  • Best Friend: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand both acknowledge each other as this, even stating at different moments that they are each other's only friend, in the "truest, most noble sense of the word".
  • Beware the Honest Ones: Old Shatterhand.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Old Shatterhand.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Sam Hawkens, Dick Hammerdull, "Aunt" Droll, and most of all, Hobble-Frank.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Winnetou.
  • Bifauxnen: Colma-Puschi. Kah-o-oto. Amscha, the Beduin.
    • Judging by Charlie's observation, when Nscho-tschi is dressed exactly as Winnetou, it would be easy for the less observant ye to mistake her for Winnetou's younger brother. However, since Winnetou himself is borderline androgynous...
  • Big Brother Mentor: Winnetou to Old Shatterhand, at least at first. They both learn various skills from the other, but Winnetou is in fact a couple of years older than Charlie.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Old Shatterhand and Winnetou, both to each other and to others.
  • Big Fancy Castle: Some are actual castles. Others are more like fortresses built straight into the mountain rock. Old Shatterhand is particularly impressed by Tattelah-Satah's "castle".
  • Big Fancy House: Conrad Werner and Martha Vogel's house. Judith Silberstein also has several.
  • Big First Choice: Charlie choosing to free Winnetou on his own is pretty much the point from which you can truly think of him as "Old Shatterhand".
  • Big Good: Tatellah-Satah in "Winnetou IV".
  • Birds of a Feather: Old Shatterhand and Winnetou.
  • Bishōnen: Winnetou. Apanatschka, the young Comanche chief. Young Eagle, who is distantly related to Winnetou.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Judith Silberstein. Not that Charlie falls for it.
  • Black and White Morality: Karl May's books in general tend to look like this. But his unshakable idealism makes him to hope for the good in everyone, even when he can't see it. Read carefully, there is a lot more grey to the characters than it seems at first.
  • Blade on a Stick: In "Satan and Iscariot", one enemy Indian tribe thinks they have finally found a weapon that Old Shatterhand hasn't mastered and challenge him to a spear duel against two of their best spear throwers at the same time. Their logic was that a spear was an uncommon weapon for a white man. Which, on one hand, at that particular point in history was sort of true. What's more, Old Shatterhand himself wasn't particularly fond of the weapon and gives them points for trying. On the other hand, everyone involved severely underestimated the lengths of Winnetou's patience when it came to teaching Old Shatterhand something that might save his life someday. According to the man himself, "Poor Winnetou went to a lot of pains to teach me how to handle [a spear]." It shows, though by the time they get to the actual duel Old Shatterhand has already employed enough psychological warfare to make it more of a formality.
  • Blasphemous Boast: Some of the bad guys are prone to this. Charlie is usually horrified. In the case Old Cursing-Dry, so is Winnetou. God never fails to punish them, usually using their own words against them.
  • Blasphemous Praise: "Even Manitou couldn't ride a better horse than this."
  • Bling-Bling-BANG!: Winnetou wields a double rifle richly ornated with silver studs.
  • Blithe Spirit: Old Shatterhand, as soon as he sets foot into the Wild West.
  • Blood Brothers: Old Shatterhand and Winnetou.
  • Blood from the Mouth: When Old Wabble is dying due to his torso being slowly crushed inside a tree, he vomits blood for a while.
    • When Winnetou is shot, the bullet hits his lung, causing an internal hemorragy and blood flows out from his mouth at the moment of his death.
  • Book Dumb: Most of the Westmen, regardless of their actual intelligence levels. Averted with Old Death, who mockingly tells Charlie that he did have a high-level education... and that he remembers amusedly what an arrogant idiot he used to be.
    • Averted with Winnetou himself, as well. While he did not go to any official schools, he and his sister were equally home-schooled by the highly-educated Klekih-Petra. As he grew older, he pretty much learned by himself, and later on Charlie served as a walking encyclopedia on whatever subject Winnetou might have wanted.
  • Born in the Saddle: Quite a few of the Native American tribes, with the Apaches and the Comanches leading the way.
  • Born Lucky: Old Shatterhand. Lampshaded by most other characters.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Invoked. Old Shatterhand's "Henry carbine" actually packs "only" twenty-five shots into a magazine that's apparently complex enough that few if any enemies who manage to get hold of the gun ever figure it out, but because that's still a lot of shots between reloads and he rarely needs to expend them all before topping it off again a number of his more superstitious adversaries — especially those who only know him by reputation — do end up convinced that the weapon is somehow magical and a straight example of the trope, and he in turn takes full advantage of that misconception quite a few times.
  • Braids, Beads and Buckskins: Played absolutely straight in the movies, with a little more variation in the books (for example, Winnetou never wears any sort of beads, feathers (even though he's a chieftain) or war paint. And he wears his hair in a type of bun.
  • Break the Haughty
  • Brownface: Frenchman Pierre Briece as Winnetou. Granted, Brice didn't need much make-up, as he has naturally bronzed skin, and Winnetou is always described as looking more like a Roman with lightly bronzed skin rather than a Native American.
  • Brutal Honesty: Old Shatterhand, when pushed. Trust us, you don't want to push. You really, really don't.
  • The Bully: Rattler. Toby Spencer.
  • Cain and Abel: Intschu-tschuna uses the Cain-Abel example to parallel the relationship between the Native Indians and the Whites. The pale-faces are cast as Cain, of course. And even the whites present at the conversation are forced to sort-of agree.
  • Canon Welding: Karl May started with serialized stories which he later reworked into books, which sometimes required altering characters, elements and the context of a scene. For instance, in the serialized stories there are two different accounts of the first meeting of Winnetou and Old Shatterhand: In his first appearance in Winnetou, der rote Gentleman he meets Old Shatterhand in a saloon, in the one that became canonic in Winnetou I, the two first met when Shatterhand was working as a surveyor for a railroad company and Winnetou and his father Intschu tschuna wanted to stop them from building a railroad through Apache territory. The scene in the saloon was then recycled in Winnetou II with Winnetou pretending he did not know Old Shatterhand because the latter was accompanied by Old Death.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Old Wabble.
  • Cataclysm Climax: In "Winnetou's Heirs", a serious earthquake solves the problem of the giant statue and the attacking alliance of enemy tribes.
  • Catch Phrase: Sam Hawkens' constant "If I'm not mistaken, hihi."
    • Old Wabble's "it's clear".
  • Celebrity Impersonator: Some poor fool thought that pretending to be Old Shatterhand is a good idea. While Old Shatterhand was in the general vicinity. Matters are settled with a classic KO delivered by the real one.
  • Chair Reveal: Done in-story by the narrator (Charlie) to other secondary characters. Always treated as funny, or a happy surprise.
  • Charity Ball: Charlie is planning a charity concert in a Dresden hotel when Winnetou comes to find him in "Satan and Ischariot". Relax, he wasn't part of the singing choir.
  • Character Overlap: "Yes, I was Old Shatterhand. Yes, I was Kara Ben Nemsi. Now, I am 'me'."
  • Chaste Hero: Winnetou and Charlie. Probably.
  • The Chief's Daughter: Nscho-tschi, daughter of Intchu-chuna, chief of the Apaches and Winnetou's younger sister. She fulfills some of the cliches while avoiding others completely: she loves Old Shatterhand once she gets to know him, but even then she would butt heads with him over certain culturally-related things (and she's more right than he is); she avoids any Damsel in Distress situation, but she is brutally killed.
  • Chase Scene: A lot. Their length in both time and space varies from minutes to months and may span continents.
  • Childhood Friends: Charlie and Carpio.
  • Chinese Laborer: In the railroad camp in "Der schwarze Mustang".
  • Chocolate of Romance: Hilariously subverted at the beginning of "Satan and Iscariot", involving Old Shatterhand incognito, a Mexican Señorita, and a beverage that is supposed to be hot (liquid) chocolate. He ends up refusing both the drink and (indirectly) the girl.
  • The Chosen One: Old Shatterhand.
  • Christmas Episode: "Holy Night!"
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Both Winnetou and Charlie. But especially Charlie, who can't seem able to help it, no matter who's involved.
  • Circling Vultures: Done with both vultures and ravens, in the desert but also in forests; in all cases, they are used to identify the presence of other people (usually alive, and at a considerable distance).
  • City Slicker: In one form or another, this is what Old Shatterhand repeatedly gets mistaken for as a plot point, even long after he's become famous in the West under that name. Mostly because he actually does buy clean new clothes and the like every so often, uses his nom du guerre only when he means to impress (and his plain old German given name otherwise), isn't above sometimes coming up with a quick fib about his identity for various reasons, and of course for all the fame attached to his name most people still simply don't know what the actual man behind it actually looks like. And what he looks like is actually not very impressive - an unassuming, average-sized, friendly and polite young man, with hands that seem to be "as delicate as a woman's" does not exactly lead a seasoned westman to believe this is Old Shatterhand, who everybody imagines to be at least a 7-feet tall mass of muscles. (He also explicitly begins his future career in the West as a "greenhorn" — using that very word — in Winnetou I.)
  • Coincidence Magnet: Old Shatterhand. Mysteries that have lasted millenias, secrets that have been buried for decades, hidden identities, faked deaths, fugitives across two or three continents, he stumbles upon all of these and more, and he solves them (mostly) without trying, because he happens to be at the right place at the right time, or do the right thing for the right person. Watching several coincidence trains-of-events converge upon him at the same time can be quite fascinating.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: What most people who fall prisoner to the Indians can expect, whether they are white or red. It's pointed out that the whites are guilty of similarly bloody and brutal treatment of their own prisoners.
    • And when it comes down to it, Old Shatterhand himself is capable of this — though he only practices psychological torture. Still cold-blooded enough not to cave at the victim's pleas, though.
  • Combat Medic: Winnetou, and occasionally Old Shatterhand.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Both Winnetou and Old Shatterhand are this, when the situation requires it.
  • Combat Referee: Winnetou, tacitly chosen whenever a duel happens, because of both his authority as high chief of the Apaches, and his unblemished reputation of honesty, even when he has to perform this task in duels where one of the participants is Charlie.
  • Coming-of-Age Story: Mostly for Old Shatterhand, but Winnetou has his own evolutional arc.
  • Commitment Issues: Old Shatterhand, according to himself, is profoundly disinterested in marriage. Eventually, somewhere between adventures, he does get married. Twice.
  • Condescending Compassion: Old Shatterhand, though mostly depending on how the reader decides to view things.
  • The Conscience: Old Shatterhand. Annoyingly so, in some cases. His friends tend to get Genre Savvy about it, in time.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Some of Old Shatterhand's choices concerning their enemies.
  • Cool Guns: Charlie's Bear-slayer and Henry Rifle paired with Winnetou's Silver Rifle.
  • Cool Horse: Both Apache chief Winnetou and his friend Old Shatterhand have a black stallion of Apache breed that are all of extraordinary quality, and they have the finest specimen. Old Shatterhand's Hatatitla and Winnetou's Ilchi are famous far and wide and only their names bring about respect. The antagonists in the movie adaptations tend to covet them and try to steal them from our noble heroes. (With no success, because the horses are trained to emphatically not let anyone else ride them. Bad things happen to those who try. And the bad things are not always treated comically. Being trampled to death by a horse is an unpleasant way to go.)
  • Cool Old Guy: Klekih-Petra. Old Death. Old Shatterhand himself, during "Winnetou's Heirs".
  • Coordinated Clothes: Old Shatterhand, Winnetou and Ntscho-tschi pull this off in the first volume.
  • Corporal Punishment: What Old Wabble's bandits and "the general" receive as punishment for their evil deeds... at first.
  • Corrupt Church: More than one, and the Christians are not exempt.
  • Creator Career Self-Deprecation: Old Shatterhand's later opinions about being a professional writer.
  • Creator Provincialism: Travelling abroad, especially in North and South America, Karl May's heroes have a tendency to meet and rub shoulders with German immigrants. Somewhat justified in that, well, there really were quite a lot of Germans seeking their fortunes abroad in that period.
  • Crisis of Faith: Klekih-Petra, in his youth. Old Surehand in the eponymous novel, as mentioned in his conversations with Old Shatterhand. And Old Shatterhand reveals that he himself had not always been exempt.
  • Crossing the Desert: So many times, in so many different directions...
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Charlie, mostly exaggerated intentionally.
  • Cultural Posturing: Yes, but not only the white men towards people of other color. It's made clear that most cultures think themselves better in some ways than everybody else.
  • Cultured Badass: Karl May presents his Avatar Old Shatterhand that way: Fluent in too many languages to number and well-versed in the cultures of people all over the world, he takes it good-naturedly when comical relief characters mock him as a "bookworm".
  • Cunning Like a Fox: The number of times Old Shatterhand gets called this, both by his friends and his enemies...
  • Cunning Linguist: Charlie knows a lot of languages, and he's as clever as a fox.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Winnetou's long, bluish-black hair and dark, velvety eyes are the most described, but other Native Americans naturally have similar features.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The main reason Old Shatterhand and Winnetou have for actively avoiding revenge is because they know there is no end to it. Of corse, the practice is more difficult than the theory. And the difference between justice and revenge is sometimes blurry.
  • The Cynic: A staple of most bad guys. Charlie is particularly disgusted by this character trait. (Especially in women.)
  • Cynicism Catalyst: Tragic events are in the past of most people in the Wild West. Some point out to Old Shatterhand that if he had lived through similar pain, he wouldn't be quite so idealist. This opinion is proven wrong when Winnetou's death pushes Charlie not towards revenge, but towards deeper spiritual development.
  • Damsel in Distress: Martha Vogel, though she's clever enough not to be much of a hindrance once Charlie gets to her.
  • Dances and Balls: Something Charlie desperately tries to avoid... not always successfully.
  • Dance of Romance: Subverted. Martha Vogel makes one last-ditch attempt at gaining Charlie's attention by inviting him to the ladies'dance during a ball. He refuses, knowing full well what the consequences will be.
  • The Dandy: Old Shatterhand is sometimes mistaken for one when he is in "civilian" clothes. Hilariousness Ensues.
  • Dangerous Terrain: The salt flats. Any cave they have to enter, on either continent. The hidden icy ravines in the short story featuring the Sami. Canyons, due to the lack of both hiding places and the possibility to see your enemies coming.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Believe it or not... Old Shatterhand. A milder case than most, but still. Don't expect him to talk about it on-page, though.
  • Dawn of the Wild West: Mostly before Charlie's time, but some of its figures are still known.
  • Deadly Dust Storm: In The Spirit of Llano Estacado one of these hits the part of the desert where Old Shatterhand was supposed to be. Winnetou, in a different location, sees the storm from afar and worries darkly about his friend.
  • Dead Man Writing: Winnetou's final will.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Old Shatterhand's preffered way of mocking people who annoy him. Not all of them catch on to the fact that they are, in fact, being laughed at.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Jonathan Melton/Small Hunter.
  • Death by Adaptation: In the film Winnetou I, Santer (who here not only murders Intschu tschuna and Nscho-tschi, but also Klekih-petra), is dead by the end of the film. In the novels he survives, reappears in Winnetou II, survives Winnetou to steal his testament, and finally dies a Karmic Death towards at the end of Winnetou III.
  • Death by Irony: In the novel Winnetou III, Santer, the murderer of Winnetou's father and sister, is crushed by the very gold that he has been after since Winnetou I.
  • Death Is Dramatic: And usually either instantaneous, or a long, drawn-out affair.
  • Deep South: The location for most of the adventures featuring Old Death and his brother Horton.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: One of Old Shatterhand's ways of making new friends.
  • Defiant Captive: Old Shatterhand, when he is not playing along. Old Wabble is a malevolent example.
  • Desert Bandits: They are called "desert vultures" in the Wild West.
  • Desert Skull: The occasional unburied remains of both people and animals are likely to show up.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: Old Shatterhand (sort of...)
  • Determinator: Old Shatterhand and Winnetou. Especially if their objective is the other one's freedom.
  • Deus ex Machina: Charlie actually has the nerve to complain about such occurences in literature. Yes, he really is a hypocrite.
  • Did I Mention It's Christmas??: Apparently, Ntscho-tschi and Intschu-tschuna's murder happens somewhere in December, as does the chase for Santer. Charlie and Winnetou's first separation happens either right around Christmas, or immediately after.
  • Dirty Coward: Quite a few of them, mostly pale-faces.
  • Dislikes the New Guy: The attitude Charlie faces from the rail-road engineering team.
  • Disney Villain Death: Averted with "the General", who does fall off a cliff, and a huge boulder falls on top of him, but who survives long enough to endure a horrible agony while the heroes are pretty much standing around helplessly, because they cannot lift the rock.
  • Distant Finale: "Winnetou's Heirs".
  • Distressed Dude: Winnetou and Intschu-tschuna falling prisoners to the Kiowas. Old Shatterhand himself more times than it's worth remembering. Winnetou himself a few times more. The whole plot of Der Sohn des Bärenjägers is based around a long-distance rescue attempt, and more characters are captured and subsequently rescued along the way.
  • Divine Intervention: Some things that happen to Charlie can only be explained this way. And he knows it, too.
  • Downer Ending: In a way, the end of the "Winnetou" trilogy is this. Yes, Santer is finally dead. But so is Winnetou, his will is destroyed, his gold is lost for good, and Charlie is pretty much an emotional mess (not that he notices it much). Of course, years later, "Winnetou's Heirs" is published and we find out that not everything is as it seems...
  • Dreadful Musician: The entire population of New Orleans around the mid-1800, apparently. Charlie is too stunned (and deafened) to properly vent his dismayed horror at the scene.
  • Dreaming of a White Christmas: In "Holy Night!", due to the heroes' party being caught up in the Rockies, they are snowed in a hide-spot during Christmas (and part of the winter).
  • Dreams of Flying: Old Shatterhand. Both literally and metaphorically.
  • Drink Order: Old Shatterhand (and every other good character that ever appears) will invariably order beer. In his case, it mostly underlines his German nationality
  • Drop the Hammer: In "Old Surehand", a blacksmith challenges the head of a gang of bandits to an unusual duel — using forging hammers. Both men are noted as being uncommonly powerful and Old Shatterhand describes it as a "fight between cyclops" (think Greek mythology giants).
  • Drugs Are Bad: Opium-addicted Old Death.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: "Aunt" Droll. Borderline case with Winnetou.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Old Shatterhand, though most of the time he is too proud to point it out to the culprits. Sometimes, Winnetou will intervene and put them in their place. Occasionally, as in "Satan and Iscariot", it's taken to hilarious extremes, both with the lack of respect and Winnetou's out-of-character reaction. Charlie decides to be amused by the first, and giddily flattered by the latter.
  • Due to the Dead: Something Charlie and Winnetou always insist on doing, even to their enemies.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Old Shatterhand lampshades this in "Winnetou's Heirs", and he is referring to everyone. Including his old-time enemies.
  • Enemy Mine: More common among individuals than groups, but the Apaches and Comanches have their moments. Winnetou and Old Shatterhand definitely make friends among the Comanches (Tevua-shohe, his son Schiba-bigc, and especially Apanatschka), the Osages (Matto-Schakko), and even the Kiowas (Tangua's own son, Pida).
  • Enraged by Idiocy: Charlie usually has a lot of patience, but even he has his limits. Standing out are his rant to Old Surehand about Old Wabble's latest bout of stupidity, his rage at Halef during a bear hunt, and his threatening another guy with a gun for not wanting to let Judith Silberstein marry an Indian chief in order to ensure their peace — and her wealth.
  • Eskimo Land: Setting of one short mystery story. (Lapland, actually.)
  • Establishing Character Moment: Winnetou's first appearance involves him being fair-minded, brave, stoic, quiet, and beautiful. It doesn't change one iota during the following 20-odd volumes. (Well, he gets a bit more open about showing his affection, but that's about it.)
    • He also gets one in the scope of one book for his first appearance in Der Schatz im Silbersee when he treats a wounded Snake Oil Salesman while fully aware the man's lying to him and is less benign than he is trying to make himself out to be. Because Winnetou can read the tracks and he is the good guy.
  • Eternally Pearly-White Teeth: Winnetou.
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Winnetou, at least as far as Old Shatterhand is concerned... And Charlie himself ends up being the subject of many men's devotion and excessive affection, if not outright want.
  • Everybody Smokes: More or less. Including Ntscho-tschi.
  • Evil Gloating: Old Wabble. The Meltons.
  • Evil Nephew: Jonathan Melton.
  • Evil Uncle: Thomas Melton.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Even when the evil ones are actually blood-related.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Seen quite a lot; sneaking up and eavesdropping on both strangers and known enemies is usually a major source of plot-relevant information in the novels. Somewhat justified in that many characters especially in the West are in fact presented as wilderness-savvy scouts and hunters who know quite well how to do just that.
  • Expecting Someone Taller: Most folks who meet Old Shatterhand for the first time. They usually expect a Goliath type, and he's... really not.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Pretty much everyone who is not a Dirty Coward, though usually death itself is avoided. Old Shatterhand is more of a Defiant to the End type if he's irritated enough, but if his attackers treat him respectfully, he responds by not insulting them. But the award on this one must go to Winnetou, who not only predicts his own death with painful clarity and makes plans for both his own burial and the fulfillment of his will, but has to face Charlie's tearful denial and despair at the news to boot.
  • Famed In-Story: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, most prominently, and people also know their horses and guns. They are respected wherever they go.
    • Occasionally subverted, at least temporarily. Not everybody appreciates having those two around, and we're not talking about the bad guys here. Winnetou and Old Shatterhand tend to steal the spotlight in whatever group they're in, and other westmen, either truly experienced or mere wanna-bes, sometimes have problems with listening to their advice, taking orders from them or accepting their merciful views in battle. It goes for both white people and native tribes, in fact some of the most interesting parts of the (unabridged) books are the ways they manage to deal with such situations. Just because they are pretty much always right does not mean they can always prevent others from doing stupid things and getting hurt while trying to make a point.
  • Family of Choice: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, choosing each other over literally everyone else, including other relatives and love interests (Charlie), and even God, sort of (Winnetou).
  • Fastest Gun in the West: Usually averted, in that the gun duels make use of rifles, there is a counting procedure and a certain number of shots that can be fired. If any of the men involved try to shoot faster than allowed, they get a bullet to the head. The only situation presented where being fastest counts is during actual battle, or during a "hands-up" situation.
  • Fat Comic Relief: Dick Hammerdull, though he does not appreciate the fat part. Occasionally "Fat Jemmy" as well, although he shows considerable competence and cunning of his own.
  • Fate Worse Than Death: Slavery, for one. Profound humiliation is a close second.
  • A Father to His Men: Intschu-tschuna. Tattelah-Satah.
  • Feet of Clay: Several pseudo-bad characters come to this conclusion about Old Shatterhand. Needless to say, they are proven wrong — by circumstances, because he would never bother trying to convince them otherwise.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Hobble Frank is initially left speechless by the fact that other characters are not interested to hear any part of his profound, hard-gained wisdom. Then he has quite a lot to say to them...
    • Dick Hammerdull does not like being called "fat". But what throws him into a blind rage is his horse being mildly insulted.
  • Females Are More Innocent: Old Shatterhand definitely used to think so — or at least he thought they should be, but first Nscho-tschi tears him a new one, and by the time he comes face to face with Judith Silberstein, he is under no such illusions.
  • The Fettered: Old Shatterhand only lets himself loose once, when Winnetou is killed (though he is hardly rational at that point). It's enough to get an idea what would happen if he did it more often.
  • Fighting for a Homeland: The Native Americans.
  • Fight Scene: Many, many, many.
  • First-Name Basis: Old Shatterhand's closest friends can call him Charlie. Winnetou takes it one step further and adapts the name to "Scharlih", which Old Shatterhand seems to be positively enamored with. The fact that the change comes at a distinctly dark and painful moment for Winnetou (after his father and sister are murdered) as well as the contextual conversation where this happens only serve to deepen the meaningful development of their relationship.
  • Flanderization: In Karl May's early serialized stories Winnetou had a distinct darker, more savage side, but at the years passed the author idealized his hero more an more until he finally became a Christ-like figure and the ultimate Noble Savage. No, make that the ultimate Noble Man.
  • Flaying Alive: Charlie gets threatened with this at least twice.
  • Flight: One of Old Shatterhand's most intimate obsessions/desires. It comes up often in his dreams and his daydreams. His love for fast horses is closely linked to this, as it's the closest he can physically get to flying. His descriptions of night rides through the desert literally read like transcendental religious experiences.
    • It takes a physical form with Young Eagle's early-type airplane in "Winnetou IV". Both Old Shatterhand and Tattelah-Satah want to fly with it.
    • Also from "Winnetou IV", Sascha Schneider's Real Life painting of Winnetou flying/ascending to Heavens is heavily featured as a plot turning point. (It often serves as a front cover for the novel as well.)
  • Flower Motifs: The Passiflora (Passion-flower) appears a lot in the Wild West stories, but the most significant instance happens in "Winnetou IV", where Old Shatterhand finds a secluded cave within Tattelah-Satah's "stone castle", overflowing with white and red Passiflora, planted there by Winnetou's own hand decades ago. The flowers form a giant white cross on a red background. The symbol of the cross, of course, was wide-spread well before Chrstianity was even a thing, and Native American tribes used it too, but Winnetou specifically chose it because it reminded him of Old Shatterhand, and he hoped to better understand his brother's faith "as the flowers grow". In Europe, the Passiflora is susually associated with "passion" (as in Christ-level of pain and suffering), "endurance" (again with the suffering, but also surviving it), the Cross, the Holy Grail, but also "strong emotion, desire" and "divine love". All these are strongly related to Winnetou, both as Charlie's dearest friend and as a demigod-like figure to his people.
    • In the Orient cycle, we also find out Old Shatterhand's favourite flower: the violet. Called the "Flower of Modesty", associated with the Virgin Mary, with Athena, Artemis and Persephone, violets are a symbol of faithfulness, a symbol of purity and protection against evil, but also of death (especially brought to the graves of innocents, such as children or those who died young). Their (quite real) curative properties were conflated until they became a cure-all for any diseases of the body or of the soul. (Also, apparently , used as an aphrodisiac and believed to represent the ultimate chemistry between lovers.) And then there is the violet's association with Sappho, the great poet of Lesbos... and "Sappho" just happened to be Charlie's nickname while he was in school.
    • Also in the Orient cycle, it's revealed that Halef's favourite flowers are roses, which symbolize love, passion, bravery, but also pride and rank.
    • The scabiosa - symbol of unfortunate love - that Martha Voegel wears in her hair during her first concert. She is in love with Old Shatterhand, but their romance is never fulfilled (by his choice).
    • The oak (generally associated with Germany) makes an appearance as acorns are planted around the grave of Klekih-Petra (who was German).
  • Flower in Her Hair: Martha Vogel chooses to wear a scabiosa (or pin-cushion flower) in her hair during her first concert. It symbolizes an "unfortunate love" (her love for Old Shatterhand). It's not made clear whether she chose that flower on purpose to give him a sign, or if Fate was mocking her before letting her know her love was truly doomed. (In either case, he does notice the flower.)
  • Folk Hero: In real life, Old Shatterhand and Winnetou are this in Germany and most of Europe.
    • In universe, Old Shatterhand and Winnetou are in the first stages of the myth-building in the Wild West.
  • Forbidden Zone: If you want to be absolutely sure that Charlie will end up in a certain place, slap this name on it. He will be onto it at the speed of light. After taking all necessary (and sometimes unnecessary) precautions, and drafting several back-up plans, of course. (He is not The Trickster of the series for nothing.)
  • Forced to Watch: In "Treasure of the Silver Lake", Charlie and some companions fall prisoners to the Utahs. They are forced to watch as other prisoners, who were hardened criminals, were brutally tortured with knives and eventually killed with dogs. They avert their eyes, but can't also cover their ears...
    • In "Satan and Iscariot", Charlie tells Emery Bothwell about one of his and Winnetou's earlier adventures, which included them and a group of travellers suffer from thirst while crossing the Llano Estacado. While weakened, they are all captured by the Comanches. While there was no current conflict, the Comanches decide to burn them at the stake anyway. They start by killing the other travellers, while Winnetou and Charlie are forced to watch. Their fury at the sight gives them the needed impulse to not only escape in an extremely bold manner, but also that they come back to take revenge — one rare exception to their usually "forgiving-your-enemies" policy. For his part, Emery is more creeped out by Charlie's calm and casual retelling of the events, which in themselves were unusually gory.
  • Foreign Correspondent: What Charlie is sent to work as in the beginning of the "Satan and Iscariot" trilogy. It happens completely off-page, before the main story begins. In a wider sense, however, most of his "travel experiences" fall under the same trope.
  • Forgetful Jones: Taken to both hilarious and tragic extremes with Carpio, Charlie's childhood friend.
  • Forging Scene: Only with a rifle instead of a sword. In the beginning of volume one, gunsmith Henry is working on what will become the Henry rifle. Greenhorn Charlie pokes his curious nose around the prototype. Later on, he receives the first Henry rifle ever made, as a gift.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Old Shatterhand is kind, not stupid. And Winnetou is even less so.
  • Forgiveness: Old Shatterhand's most annoying quality, hands down. Even Winnetou has to pretty much force him to listen to reason once (Old Wabble) or twice (Old Cursing-Dry).
  • The Four Loves: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand definitely share three out of the four (storge, philia and most of all agape). As for the eros part... books have literally been written about whether it applies to them or not. No official conclusions have been reached yet, so we'll just be letting this one at each reader's discretion.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Well, they are never all together, but: Winnetou is Melancholic, Old Shatterhand is Sanguine, Old Firehand is Choleric and Old Surehand is Phlegmatic.
  • A Friend in Need: This is generally enough to set Old Shatterhand going faster than lightning, whether that friend is Bloody Fox, Old Surehand, Apanatschka, Bob, Sam Hawkens, or Martha Vogel. He is hilariously less concerned about Winnetou, because well, it's Winnetou.
  • Friendless Background: Old Shatterhand, despite being quite friendly as a person, actually has practically no friends before coming to the West, and no one as close as Winnetou.
  • Friendly Enemy: Pida, Tangua's son.
  • Friendship Trinket: Winnetou's hair lock.
  • Friend to Bugs: Old Shatterhand oscillates between this and the occasional Bug Catching.
  • Functional Addict: Old Death.
  • The Fundamentalist: Quite a few, notably being found on all sides.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: The earthquake and waterfall-fueled flood at the end of "Winnetou IV" shake everyone up.
  • The Gambling Addict: Old Death used to be one in his youth.
  • Genius Bruiser: Old Shatterhand.
  • Gentleman Adventurer: Lord Castlepool and Sir David Lindsay.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Old Shatterhand.
  • German Dialects: A number of the people Old Shatterhand meets Out West come from Karl May's native Saxony and speak with a sometimes quite marked Saxon dialect. May also wrote a number of novels and stories set in Bavaria with people speaking Bavarian, but not in a form that made him new friends in Bavaria.
  • German Peculiarities: Karl May was a patriotic German and so some peculiarities of the day show up. For instance in a story where Winnetou visits Charlie at home in Germany, he arrives just in time for choir practice of the local male voice choir, which does an impromptu recital for him. Winnetou himself has been called "the most German of all Indians" by some people, probably in part due to his preferred drinknote . Here's a scene where he goes into a saloon:
    "I'd like a glass of beer, German beer!" said the Indian with a melodious, sonorous voice and in beautiful, fluent English. (...) He received his beer, raised the glass to the light of the window, examined it with the glance of an expert, and drank. "Well!" he told the host, smacking his tongue, "Your beer is good. The Great Manitou of the white men has taught them many arts, and brewing beer is not the least among them."
  • Get It Over With: Old Shatterhand, when threatened with death by his captors. Obviously, they never do.
  • Glory Days: In the distant past of the Native Americans.
  • Glory Hound: Old Wabble, but also quite a few leaders of various Indian tribes.
  • Glory Seeker: See above.
  • God Before Dogma: Old Shatterhand, Winnetou, and every other spiritually advanced friend they make along the way.
  • Going Native: Played straight with Klekih-Petra, Winnetou's teacher. Born in Germany, disillusioned with the world and even God, he finally settles with the Apaches, who treat him very kindly and respectfully. Even though he doesn't think the Native Americans have much of a fighting chance against the white people in the long run, he chooses to stay with them and help them as much as he can.
    • Happens to a degree to his spiritual successor, Old Shatterhand. Also a German, but much more younger, still full of optimism and wanderlust, he repeatedly refuses to stay with the Apaches permanently, despite having took to the native life Like a Duck Takes to Water.
  • Good Feels Good: Basically what the whole series runs on: our heroes help others for the sake of it and make many loyal friends along the way.
  • Gold Fever: Santer is defined by this. But he's not the only one by far — the lust for gold and all its terrible consequences are described repeatedly and in sometimes poignant detail.
  • Good Fortune from God: Old Shatterhand.
  • The Good Guys Always Win: Yep. Even when one of them dies.
  • Good Is Dumb: What a lot of villains tend to think about Winnetou and Old Shatterhand...
  • Good Is Not Dumb: ...what a lot of villains ultimately find out about Winnetou and Old Shatterhand. The hard way, of course.
  • Good Is Not Soft: You might as well guess at this point...
  • Good Is Old-Fashioned: Old Shatterhand.
  • Good Samaritan: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, but also a lot of their many friends as well. Winnetou gets to be a particularly literal example in "Der Schatz am Silbersee", when he treats a white man, seriously wounded by bandits, that he comes across along his way.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Given the sort of life he leads, the fact that Winnetou has no scars whatsoever should tell you something.
    • Old Shatterhand has several (that are discussed in-story): the wound through the throat/tongue that Winnetou gave him in the first novel. It's the sort of scar that should make him instantly recognizable by anyone who knows the story (lots of people), but since it's in such a hard to spot place (practically under his jaw) and he often sports a beard, you'd have to already suspect who you're talking to in order to even think to check for it. There is apparently also a small one on his arm from the blood-brother ritual with Winnetou, but it only shows up once, in one of the latter stories, and Winnetou still doesn't seem to have one. (Also, the account of the ritual specifically mentions that the blood-letting came from an insignificant, superficial prick of the knife, that by all rights shouldn't leave any sort of scar, especially not one recognizable after so many years). A more classic example appears when Old Shatterhand meets Sans-Ear and has to prove who he is. Sans-Ear knew the story of Charlie's encounter with a particularly angry grizzly bear who had surprised him in his sleep and had wounded him pretty badly before getting killed. Charlie promptly does a half-striptease (he has to go through three layers of nice clothing to get to skin) to provide the evidence: a scar that goes pretty much diagonally across his torso, from shoulder to the opposite hip. (He is also quick to point out that Winnetou was the one responsible for neatly putting back together what appears to have been a pretty bloody mess.) He also takes a bullet to the thigh in "Old Surehand" which presumably ended up in a new scar, but we only see the wound while it's still new.
  • Graceful Loser: Intschu-tschuna, once the situation is explained to him, holds no grudge towards Old Shatterhand for beating him in their duel.
    • Old Shatterhand himself, though he practically never loses a contest or battle (except on purpose).
  • Great Big Library of Everything: Tatellah-Satah has one, though it stays off-page.
  • Greek Fire: It never appears in-story, but apparently Winnetou had invented something like this during his youth (before the start of the series). It's implied that his name (which translates to "Burning Water" according to "The Son of the Bear-Hunter") was gained because of this. Talk about What Could Have Been...
  • Green Thumb: Old Shatterhand. Back in Germany, he grows his own garden berries and flowers.
  • Guile Hero: Old Shatterhand is a classic example. And Winnetou has quite a few shining moments as well, mostly in Charlie's absence. At least two of them are good enough to send Old Shatterhand into fits of admiration, while one is such a case of Refuge in Audacity that he can hardly believe it worked.
    • For the curious: Winnetou obtained some very sensitive war intelligence from two Comanches (who were the perpetual enemies of the Apaches), by pretending to be a Kiowa warrior. Not even Charlie can figure out how he managed to convince them of that. He eventually concludes that "Their souls must have been absent."
  • Guns Akimbo: Both Winnetou and Old Shatterhand will pull out both revolvers when faced with 6 or more enemies at a time. They rarely actually have to use them, though.
  • Gut Punch: Charlie does this occasionally.
  • Handshake Refusal: Old Shatterhand, to people he doesn't like.
  • Happily Ever After: Only applies to some of the secondary characters.
  • Happily Married: Old Shatterhand and his second wife, Klara, as shown in "Winnetou IV'. He's about 60-years old at the time, she's about 20 years younger.
  • Hard Head: Occasionally, some of Old Shatterhand's opponents turn out to be more physically resilient than he initially expected, and either take more effort to knock out, or wake up much sooner than expected...
    • Old Shatterhand himself, if one were to judge by the number of times he gets hit over the head with a heavy blunt object and only gets a fainting spell followed by a nasty headache, instead of serious brain trauma and possibly death.
  • Hard Work Fallacy: Part of Old Shatterhand's work ethic.
  • Healing Herb: Winnetou always carries a leather pouch full of these.
  • The Heart: Old Shatterhand.
  • Heavenly Blue: Done quite subtly, but Karl May associates bright blue with Heaven, and all the virtues it inspires in other people. Interestingly, Charlie practically never wears it himself.
  • Heel–Faith Turn: Several characters, not very suprisingly under Charlie's influence.
  • Held Gaze: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand. All the time.
  • Herbivores Are Friendly: Very clearly subverted. The bisons are an obvious example, but even May's beloved horses can and will hurt you.
  • Hereditary Hairstyle: Probably justified by their native culture, but Young Eagle, who is distantly related to Winnetou, wears his hair in the same fashion.
  • The Heretic: Old Wabble.
  • The Hermit: Tattelah-Satah. The Peder. Marah Durimeh.
  • Hermit Guru: Tatellah-satah
  • The Hero Dies: Winnetou.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D.: Old Shatterhand, after Winnetou dies.
  • Heroic Wannabe: Old Wabble.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: The friendship of Old Shatterhand and Winnetou is incredibly strong and they trust each other completely. Both have loved a woman very deeply, but both have lost them, so they only have one another as family which adds to the closeness. They call each other "my brother" and they always read each other's thoughts.
    • In the books, Winnetou was in love with Ribanna when he was still a teenager, and the circumstances in which he lost her were a lot more tragic. And while Old Shatterhand cared a lot for Nsho-Tchi, respected her and admired her, he wasn't in love with her. And wasn't interested in marriage with anyone at that point, anyway. So by the time they meet, and especially after Winnetou's family dies, they are each other's everything. In fact, Winnetou himself tells Old Shatterhand, shortly after the murder: "You know what I have lost. From now, you be my father and my sister. I beg of you, Scharlih."
  • Hidden Depths: Winnetou never gives you the feeling of being shallow. And yet, you would never guess how deep things can get until you read "Winnetou's Heirs"...
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Peder's hidden village. Well, they're not elves, but otherwise they probably qualify...
  • Hiding Behind Religion: Several representatives of different religions, much to Charlie's distaste.
  • High Priest: Tattelah-Satah, in a way.
  • His Own Worst Enemy: Lots of the bad guys: Rattler, Santer, Tangua, Old Wabble, "the General"...
  • Honorary Uncle: Winnetou is this to Ribanna's son/daughter (depending on what version of the book you're reading) and acts as a personal trainer to the kid.
  • Honor Before Reason: Yes. A lot of time, a given word to stay put is the only thing that holds Old Shatterhand in place, when iron chains fail to do the trick.
    • In a way, this is responsible for Winnetou's death too, since he refuses to lose his self-respect by trying to avoid his foreseen death. And it's the reason why Old Shatterhand doesn't simply knock him out and stash him somewhere safe until the danger passes — he is well aware that Winnetou would crumble morally under the guilt.
  • Hope Bringer: Old Shatterhand — explicitly so by "Winnetou IV".
  • Hope Springs Eternal: Old Shatterhand's personal philosophy.
  • Horse Jump: Hatatitla and Iltschi occasionally do this. In "Holy Night!", Old Shatterhand led an entire tribe of Upsarokas on a rather wild chase through their own camp, where he had been brought as a prisoner together with his companions. During the chase, Old Shatterhand has his hands tied behind his back and his feet tied under Hatatila's belly, making his hair-rising running around and through tents and other obstacles twice as dangerous — and that's not counting the Natives chasing him. (They pretty much trash the camp, too. Feathers and bits of cloth flying everywhere.) They jump over various objects, bushes, tree trunks, low stone walls, through a couple of small forests, and back to the camp, stopping on exactly the same spot he initially left from, while his 6oo followers skid and pant to a much less graceful abrupt stop around him.
    • In "Old Surehand", a tied-up Apanatschka gets his own Crowning Moment of Awesome when he manages a very dangerous and spectacular horse jump over Old Wabble, who is also on horseback at the time. The point of the skirmish had been to remove Old Wabble from between Apanatschka and his mother. Old Shatterhand, who had been the protagonist of an impressive horse trick himself just a bit earlier, comments that Apanatschka's jump was much more ambitious than his own had been, and he was more than a little worried for his friend, not so much for the jump itself, but for the landing afterwards, which is always the most dangerous part.
  • Horseback Heroism: Surprisingly averted, considering how important the heroes' horses are to the story. Old Shatterhand and Winnetou usually plan their Big Damn Heroes moments thoroughly and thus tend towards more subtlety.
  • Horsing Around: Played with. Hatatitla and Iltschi are very loyal and docile with their masters. Anyone else, though, is in for a world of pain and humiliation. Most Native-American-bred horses tend to be very difficult to manage even if you are familiar with their particular training routine. On the other hand, a lot of the White hunters have odd-looking, nag-ish horses that no one in their right mind would even try to steal, who prove to be dangerously capable to their owners and so plain dangerous to strangers that Old Shatterhand doesn't even try to get close to, say, Sans-Ear's mare, Tony.
  • Humans Are Flawed: No one's perfect, not even Old Shatterhand and Winnetou. Well, maybe Winnetou.
  • Humans Are Bastards: And the white men are probably the worst of the lot. And they still are worth fighting for, all of them.
  • Humble Beginnings: Old Shatterhand.
  • The Hunter: Old Shatterhand, but also every other Westman out there qualifies as a more or less skilled hunter. For the Natives, it goes without saying. Even the children and women have to do it.
  • Hunter Trapper: What a lot Westmen are. However, there are differences between doing this long-term for money (Old Firehand, The Bear-Hunter), combining this with scouting (Sam Hawkens) or simply catching food for yourself (Old Shatterhand, whose alleged trapper activities happen off-page).
  • Hurting Hero: Winnetou after losing his family. Charlie after losing Winnetou.
  • Hypocrite: A lot of the bad guys, and bad women.
    • More amusingly, especially since they disagree so rarely, whenever either Winnetou or Old Shatterhand thinks that the other one has gone a bit over-the-top with the bravery and endangered himself pointlessly, only for them to switch roles a bit later on.
  • I Can't Dance: Subverted. Charlie can dance, and very well. He just doesn't like to do it.
  • Ideal Hero: Old Shatterhand and Winnetou are honest, noble, capable, incorruptible and badass. All bandits and tramps, beware!
  • Identity Amnesia: William Ohlert.
  • Idiot Ball: Believe it or not, even Winnetou and Old Shatterhand get to hold it. Twice, even... though not in the same novel.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: "Devil's Head", part of the Climbing Climax in "Old Surehand".
    • "Devil's Pulpit" in "Winnetou's Heirs". Charlie's wife Klara mentions the trope practically verbatim. Charlie thinks it sounds "romantic". He also points out that lots of places in Germany have similar names.
  • If You Ever Do Anything to Hurt Her...: Winnetou towards Old Firehand, regarding Ribanna.
  • I Have Many Names: Charlie has a lot of these. It all starts with "Old Shatterhand", which is of course the nickname given to him by his white companions, and then this nickname got translated into pretty much every Indin dialect of every tribe he has ever encountered (or, after a while, who has ever heard of him). So we have Selki-Lata/Selkhi-Lata (Mescalero Apache), Nonpay-Klama (Shoshones), Pokai-Mu (Utah), Tave-Schala (Yuma), Nina Nonton, Ka-Ut-Skamasti, and so on. Then there are the variations of his given name, Carl, which he adapts into Charley/Charlie/Charles/Carlos, and is usually reserved for friends. (Special mention goes here to Winnetou's "Scharlih", which is the Apache's affectionate way of (mis)pronouncing Charlie.) He also uses aliases whenever he thinks the situation requires it, such as Mr. Jones, März, Mr. Beyer, Meier/Mayer, Mr. German, and in one amusing case of trying to mislead someone, Old Firefoot. Moving to South America, we have Arriquez, Tocaro, El Rastreador, El Sendador. The Orient Cycle offers even more names.
    • Adding to all that, in the US-version of Karl May's books from 1898/99, everything German was made American, and the main character is called Jack Hildreth (though he is so far removed from the original he is literally another person).
    • And in "Weihnacht!", Carl's old school friend Carpio calls him Sappho, both while they were kids and after Old Shatterhand had become a famous name in the West. And yes, it's Sappho as in the poet of Lesbos. And yes, he received the nickname because he also wrote nice poems.
    • Winnetou himself almost never uses aliases, choosing rather to not give any name rather than spin a lie, but when he follows Charlie to Africa (loooong story), he lets Charlie pick a name for him - they go with Ben Asra, Somalian/Indian prince. Other people they meet, both Arabs and white, call him Winnetou el Harbi w’Nasir, or simply "Mr. Beyer’s Indian" (Mr Beyer being Old Shatterhand).
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: It's Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, what did you expect?! And that's not even counting their friends, which include folks like Old Firehand and Old Surehand, who got those fancy names because of their uncommon skill with a gun.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Winnetou, most of all. Old Shatterhand is a close second, though it should be specified that, while he is completely immune to outside corruptible influences, his own mind is not exactly as innocent as his face would have you believe.
  • Indian Maiden: Nscho-tschi (Apache). Ribanna (Assiniboins). Kaho-o-oto (Kiowa). Tahua and Tocbela (Moqui). Ashta, both the original and her niece (Sioux).
  • Indian Summer: When Charlie and Winnetou first meet. Also, the events of "Holy Night!" start out during indian summer and end up around Christmas.
  • Infallible Narrator: Old Shatterhand (naturally). Justified by the fact that he is a writer first, and an adventure-seeking globetrotter second.
  • The Ingenue: Martha Vogel. Ingdscha. Subverted with Nscho-tschi, who is shown to be very mature in her thinking, and knowing a lot about the world despite her relative young age and limited personal experience.
  • In Harm's Way: Charlie and Winnetou's choice of lifestyle. Lampshaded with nostalgic fondness by Kaho-o-oto, in "Winnetou IV".
  • Injun Country: The setting for most of the Wild West adventures.
  • In Mysterious Ways: Occasionally, God's mysterious ways involve Old Shatterhand in some shape or form.
  • In-Series Nickname: Most of the Westmänner (Westmen) go by their colourful nicknames, not their real ones, for instance Old Shatterhand, Old Surehand, Old Firehand, Old Death, Old Wabble, Gunstick-Uncle, Earless and Tante Droll.
  • Insignia Ripoff Ritual: Tangua rips off the "medicine bag" from the throat of the unfortunate guard who happened to stand in the way of Old Shatterhand's stealthy rescue of Winnetou and Intschu-tschuna from the Kiowas. The narration is actually quite sympathetic to the poor guy's situation, despite the narrator being Old Shatterhand himself.
  • Instructional Dialogue: All the bloody time, and Old Shatterhand will be either on the giving or the receiving end, sometimes both during the same conversation.
  • Insufferable Genius: Old Shatterhand has his moments...
  • Insult of Endearment: The dreaded "greenhorn" is always the way Sam Hawkens views Old Shatterhand, no matter how experienced he becomes. He eventually becomes immune to it.
  • Interdisciplinary Sleuth: Old Shatterhand in the beginning of "Winnetou II", after one unfortunate encounter with a hurricane leaves him dirt poor in New York.
  • Intergenerational Friendship: Old Shatterhand tends to make friends with people who are either younger or older than him. Mostly older, both men and women.
  • Invincible Hero: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand come off as this, despite getting captured and/or wounded several times.
  • Invulnerable Horses: Played with. Hatatitla, Iltschi and any other named horses are never wounded or killed, while other less important horses do get shot as a more acceptable alternative to shooting their owners. Justified in the Wild West, where a good horse is valuable in more ways than one, so shooting them is not a smart option.
    • In the Orient cycle, a notable subversion seems to occur. Upon confronting a group of enemy Beduins, Charlie tells his friends to "aim for the horses", in one of his classic attempts to avoid taking human lives. Then he notices how good the bandits' horses were: "I changed my mind. Shoot the bandits." (They end up shooting the Arab's spears in two and their guns out of their hands, because, let's face it, that's much more awe-inspiring.
  • Irrational Hatred: Old Wabble's hate towards Old Shatterhand is as unexplainable as Old Shatterhand's continued mercy towards Old Wabble. The reason for all this debacle doesn't click until the very end.
  • I Should Write a Book About This: The reason you're reading these series in the first place.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Winnetou towards Ribanna choosing Old Firehand over him. Old Shatterhand towards Martha Vogel (though she loves him back, he doesn't want to tie her fate to his rather uncertain one).
  • It Was a Gift: How Old Shatterhand gets his weapons from Mr. Henry, and his horses (and occasionally his hunting clothes) from Winnetou.
  • Jerkass: Old Wabble. Santer. The Meltons.
  • Judge, Jury, and Executioner: How the Law functions in the Wild West.
  • Jumped at the Call: Charlie usually doesn't think much about acting heroically, though his natural intelligence, pragmatism, encyclopedic knowledge, and eventually his accumulating experience make sure he doesn't act stupidly heroic.
  • Just One Man: Occasionally, Winnetou and/or Old Shatterhand will drive other people (usually enemies) to utter this. You should know how it ends.
  • Justice Will Prevail: In every book, although there are some bittersweet examples.
  • Karma Houdini: In-universe, this is what enemy Indian tribes think about Old Shatterhand. It comes to a head in "Winnetou's Heirs".
  • Keep the Reward: One off-screen incident has Old Shatterhand save a rich boy from drowning. When his father tries to give him a few dollars as reward (not knowing who he is), an angry Winnetou intervenes and sets things straight. In fact, Old Shatterhand generally manages to avoid whatever rewards are thrown his way, including marriage arrangements; hilariously, he is a lot more demanding when it comes to his rights as an author.
  • Kick the Dog: Old Wabble.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Done figuratively, but also quite literally, whenever Winnetou and Old Shatterhand happen to fall prisoners to whatever enemy they have at the time. If they are tied up and laid on the ground, they will get kicked sooner or later. It's the icing on the cake of contemptuous speeches they get at the same time.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All: Hobble-Frank, at least when it comes to formal education. Carpio, when it comes to pretty much everything.
  • The Lancer: Either Winnetou or Old Shatterhand, depending on the situation and who is the acting leader at the time.
  • Land in the Saddle: Subverted. This never happens in the books. Not even once.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: All the time.
  • Last Second Showoff: Old Shatterhand enjoys doing this. A lot.
  • The Leader: Winnetou, even though Old Shatterhand's much more talkative nature might give you a different impression...
  • Legendary Weapon: Old Shatterhand's and Winnetou's weapons are reputed. Also, easier to steal than the bloody horses. Since they are not sentient (no matter what the Comanches or the Sioux would have you believe), our heroes have to get them back on their own.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: What happens if you piss off Old Shatterhand. It happens less with Winnetou, but he is actually the deadly one.
  • Like a Duck Takes to Water: Charlie to life in the Wild West. Lampshaded by Sam Hawkens using the duck-water comparison. He also compares himself to the mother hen abandoned on shore by the wayward duckling.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Old Shatterhand and Nscho-tschi, much to her chagrin. In fact, this seems to be Old Shatterhand's approach to most young, attractive women he meets. Their own feelings on the matter vary.
  • Living Legend: Old Shatterhand and Winnetou. People know the names of their horses and guns and they are respected for their sense of justice, honour, incredible fighting skills and general awesomeness.
  • The Load: Carpio. Bob constantly oscillates between this and Took a Level in Badass.
  • Locked in the Dungeon: Lots of people, including Old Shatterhand once or twice. Though the definition of "dungeon" is a bit loose here.
  • Loin Cloth: Subverted in the books. Even though the most frequently encountered tribes (Apaches, Kiowas, Comanches) all live in the South, they all wear leather pants.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: Winnetou.
  • The Lost Lenore: Ribanna for Winnetou and Old Firehand. Nscho-tschi is a much milder case for Old Shatterhand — one that surprisingly comes up more often as he gets older, rather than immediately after her death.
  • Love Epiphany: Old Shatterhand has a rather painful one about Martha Vogel. Though he has a reasonably good chance with her, he eventually gives her up without a fight — more than once.
  • Love Hurts: Especially if you decide to fall for Old Shatterhand.
  • Loves Only Gold: Santer.
  • Made of Iron: Both Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, but also Old Firehand and Old Surehand, Will Parker and a few others. Subverted with Old Wabble, who likes to think he is this, but is proven wrong by reality.
  • Malicious Slander: Rattler about Charlie.
  • Mark of Shame: Old Shatterhand does this twice in "The Black Mustang": first to the two Chinese workers who steal his and Winnetou's weapons (he cuts their long plaits, at Winnetou's suggestion), and then he reattaches those two plaits to the head of Comanche chief Tokvi-Kava. In both cases, the "victims" treat it as a great personal shame, though the Whites present are more confused by the choice of punishment.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Happens to Charlie ever so often. Sometimes he tries to ignore the implications, but mostly he knows, and most importantly, he believes.
  • Mercy Kill: Usually towards animals that are gravely wounded.
    • Tangua actually demands one from Old Shatterhand in "Winnetou's Heirs". Shatterhand refuses. Tangua considers him dishonorable for it, but you can probably guess who is right by the end...
  • Messianic Archetype: Winnetou.
  • Metallic Motifs:
    • Silver is most often associated with Winnetou (both the mystical and the badass aspects), but its connotations to treachery show up in the character of Judith Silberstein (Silverhill), a beautiful but money-hungry young woman who proves to be a surprisingly persisting and occasionally resourceful foe in "Satan and Iscariot".
    • Bronze is also often associated with Winnetou, more specifically his skin color, which is lovingly described every single time the guy makes an appearance. It underlines his resilience as well as his beauty, both exotic and classic (he's often compared to Ancient Roman statues).
    • Gold, whenever it enters the equation, comes with negative, blood-soaked connotations. It only becomes better when wielded by someone indisputably good, like Winnetou. For example, in "Holy Night!" he gifts a couple of people with golden nuggets for Christmas, and it's described as a pure gesture that doesn't seem to have any negative consequences (granted, what happens before that is pretty gruesome, and yes, it's bad because of that same gold).
    • Steel and Iron are often mentioned metaphorically, when describing people (Winnetou's incredible body) or animals (usually good horses). They always have positive connotations, related to strength, endurance, health, nerves and will.
  • Might Makes Right: White man's policy in any setting.
  • Mighty Roar: When discussing grizzly bears, the lion's roar is mentioned as being the preferable option to hear, as terrifying as it is. Apparently, a grizzly's lack of roaring is much, much worse.
  • Mighty Whitey: More so in the novels, but also included in the films.
    • Both Winnetou and Intschu-tschuna grudgingly admit the superiority of the Whites in technical and scientific matters. It's the wanton violence and encroachment on their freedoms and lands they hate and seek to repeal at all cost.
  • Mixed Ancestry: Usually with a side of Half-Breed Discrimination, but there are exceptions (see below). The one constant trait that all "half-breeds" seem to posses is a certain predisposition towards hot-headed action. It's lampshaded by Harry, Old Firehand's son, when arguing with Old Shatterhand about revenge: "If you had Indian blood in your veins, you would understand!" (Despite this, in Karl May's later works, there is a certain tendency to view extensive metisation as a possible solution to achieve lasting peace between nations.)
    • Old Surehand and Apanatschka are sons of a Moqui mother and a white (American) father. They are both highly skilled warriors, very clever and bold, and very well respected by most Westmen. Old Shatterthand and Winnetou are very fond of both of them and they remain close friends for life.
    • Old Firehand (German) and Ribanna (Assiniboin) have a son (Harry) and daughter (killed while she was still a baby). Harry is very bright and talented, despite his young age (somewhere around 16-18 years-old). Old Shatterhand is quite taken with him. (Notably, an earlier version of the story featured a girl (Ellen) instead of Harry. In that story, she was just as capable as a warrior — justified by her being Winnetou's niece, and Old Shatterhand ends up marrying her.)
    • Ik Senanda ("Evil Serpent") is the son of a white man and a Comanche woman and the grandson of Tokvi Kava ("The Black Mustang"). He is described as strong and clever, but also cruel and cunning. Though not quite cunning enough for Winnetou and Old Shatterhand. He is also suffering from severe Chronic Backstabbing Disorder, even towards his own grandfather, who seems to genuinely care for him.
    • Antonius Paper, also known as Okih-chin-cha, from "Winnetou IV". His mother was a Sioux and his father an Armenian merchant. An ugly face coupled with an even uglier character.
  • Moody Mount: A lot of the horses are this to anyone else except their true masters. Old Shatterhand and Winnetou might overcome some of them, but not all.
    • Sam Hawkens' mule Mary is a good example, and possibly the one who gave Old Shatterhand the most trouble taming her. He only managed because, well...
    Sam: Heavens, man! You are more bloody stubborn than that damn beast!
  • Moral Dilemma: Usually involving the rights of Native American tribes, though the situations are rarely black and white.
  • Mounted Combat: Extremely rarely used, and then mostly one-on-one. And they never stay mounted for long. Horses are used for speedy chases, or for hunting. Realistically, trying to shoot someone while running at full horse-speed it's a bit on the difficult side. Even Old Shatterhand has to stop and aim first.
  • Mystical White Hair: Tattelah-Satah.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Charlie is one, for a very short while.
  • Named Weapons: Old Shatterhand has two guns, one a rare, but at least theoretically not unique Henrystutzen (Henry short rifle), the other named the Bärentöter (bear-slayer). Winnetou uses the unerring Silberbüchse (silver rifle), so named because it was decorated with silver stud-nails all over. Sam Hawkens said he wanted to be buried with his rifle, the somewhat temperamental Liddy. In the movies the Silberbüchse is referenced most and the Bärentöter has very little screen time.
  • Narcissist: Old Wabble.
  • Nature Lover: Old Shatterhand and his wife Klara. It sort of goes without saying for the Native Americans, since for them Nature is very much Home, and they all speak reverently about it.
  • Near Death Clairvoyance: Klekih-Petra, lampshaded by Charlie.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Charlie, but only if they actually deserve it.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Usually involving methods of torture/killing.
  • Noble Bird of Prey: The eagle, mostly in "Winnetou IV".
  • Noble Savage: Winnetou and many other Native American characters tend to go in that direction, "Indsmen" antagonists tend to leave out the "noble" part.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: The bad guys (pick any group you like) never have much loyalty towards each other, even when they are closely blood-related.
  • Nostalgic Narrator: Old Shatterhand.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: Old Wabble.
  • Numbered Sequels: Karl May wrote four books entitled Winnetou I (full title: Winnetou. 1. Band, i. e. "Winnetou. Volume 1") to Winnetou IV (full title: Winnetou. 4. Band, i. e. "Winnetou. Volume 4"), as well as three called Old Surehand I to Old Surehand III and three called Satan und Ischariot I to Satan und Ischariot III. As Winnetou is killed in Winnetou III and Winnetou IV is very different in tone and subject from the previous three volumes (it relates of how Old Shatterhand, now in his 60s, returns to the Wild West to help erect a monument to his old companion and to oversee what happens to his legacy), the publishers retitled the fourth volume Winnetous Erben ("Winnetou's heirs") in 1914.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Old Shatterhand. Occasionally some of his friends as well.
  • Oblivious to Love: Old Shatterhand to Nscho-tschi, Martha Vogel, Ingdscha... (Though he does catch up eventually.)
  • Old Friend: Carpio in "Holy Night!"
  • Ominous Owl: Played with, in that it's not actually an owl (it's Winnetou's impeccable imitation of one) and it's definitely dangerous as it signifies an attack on a bunch of Comanches. Old Death and Old Shatterhand (who are travelling with the Comanches at the moment) are the only one who recognize the signal as potentially fatal, but their repeated warnings fall on deaf ears.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Often the case even between old friends.
  • The Only One I Trust: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Winnetou goes ballistic, you know things are bad.
  • Opening Monologue: Old Shatterhand's infamous "Greenhorn" monologue at the beginning of the "Winnetou" trilogy. (There is another one about the Native American race in the foreword, but it's the greenhorn one that most folks remember.)
  • Ornamental Weapon: Subverted. Old Shatterhand's weapons often get exactly this sort of treatment (mostly because he takes very good care of them, and thus they always appear new and shiny). However, that is most definitely not the case.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Charlie calls them "angels", Winnetou calls them "warriors"...
  • Pacifism Backfire: Usually for Old Shatterhand.
  • The Pampas: When Charlie goes to South America.
  • The Paolo: Konrad Werner is this for Old Shatterhand, and he even gets the disputed girl (Martha Vogel) to marry him.
  • Passing the Torch: Klekih-Petra passes the torch to Old Shatterhand, as Winnetou's teacher/advisor.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Winnetou's initial choice, before Old Shatterhand talks him out of it and into full-blown idealism. He does it to several other characters from both the Wild West and the Orient cycle. In fact, Charlie is generally a "bad" influence to most of his long-term companions.
  • Peace Pipe: This is a popular conclusion of many stories involving Native Americans.
    • Focused on a bit more than usual in the late novel "Winnetou's Heirs", in which the by then older main protagonist wonders how his wife, who usually doesn't smoke at all and even got him to drop the habit, will handle the experience. (With aplomb, it turns out, even though the tobacco does get to her a bit.)
    • "Satan and Iscariot": In one instance of the usual "sneaking around enemy Indian camp at night to gather info about our latest imprisoned friends", Old Shatterhand comes across some very passionate smokers. We also find out that, despite being a heavy smoker himself, he is not at all fond of the hemp they were smoking, which had an unfortunate side-effect of making him sneeze. He manages to overcome the impulse, but it certainly puts all his previous displeasure at the whole pipe-smoking thing into (hilarious) perspective...
  • Personal Effects Reveal: Charlie going through Winnetou's rooms (in a secret location different from his native pueblo) in "Winnetou's Heirs".
  • Pietà Plagiarism: Charlie holds Winnetou this way while he's dying. And all through the night that follows, without moving.
  • Platonic Declaration of Love: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, all the bloody time, and completely honest and open about it, too.
  • Platonic Life Partners: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand.
  • Please Don't Leave Me: Pretty much literally Charlie's reaction when Winnetou foreshadows his own death.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: Sam Hawkens and Uncle Gunstick in most movies. Additional characters as well.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Mostly in South America.
  • Police Are Useless: Most of the time, sadly, though Charlie does try to give them the benefit of the doubt.
    • Averted with Treskow in Old Surehand; he is (naturally) nowhere near as capable as our main heroes, but very diligent in his duties, pursuing a criminal all the way to the Rockies (from Missouri) with the protagonist group. He also shows knowledge of various relevant old criminal cases.
  • Power of Friendship: The bond between Winnetou and Old Shatterhand is strong enough to move mountains.
    • Their bond is so strong, it starts working even before they become friends, and even while, for all intents and purposes, they were actively enemies - except Old Shatterhand does everything in his not-inconsiderable power to save and protect Winnetou from whatever plans were made against him (even when said plans belonged to his good mentor Sam Hawkens, much to the westman's despair) and Winnetou, for all the wrestling and knife-induced wounds, has serious problems with letting the man simply bleed to death. It starts to get ridiculous when he literally puts himself between Old Shatterhand and a murderously angry Tangua - while Old Shatterhand was tied at the stake and couldn't defend himself properly. It's a wonder if any readers remember by that point that those two were still supposed to be enemies.
  • The Power of Love: See above, only with a small twist on the "friendship" part. A very small twist, mind you. Practically nonexistant.
  • Pragmatic Hero: You'd be surprised by some of Charlie's choices...
  • Prequel: In the way the movies were produced, Winnetou I is this. Winnetou and Old Shatterhand were shown as very good pals in The Treasure of Silver Lake, now we finally get to see how they met the first time.
    • All the stories that feature Winnetou that were chronologically written and published after the end of the trilogy, and therefore tell of adventures that happened before Winnetou's death.
  • Preacher Man: One of these appears in "Holy Night!". He's a quack and a criminal.
  • Pretty Boy: Winnetou is nearly this. The narratorial description manages to make it clear that he is visibly a badass, but other characters occasionally misjudge his lithe physique and beautiful features as "weak". Naturally, the Curb-Stomp Battle that soon follows such observations sets things straight pretty damn fast.
  • The Quiet One: Winnetou. Pierre Brice at first complained that he had so few lines compared to Lex Barker as Old Shatterhand, but soon came to realize that by acting instead of speaking and by his dramatic presence he actually made a greater impression on the audience.
  • Quintessential British Gentleman: Karl May lived at a time when wealthy British globetrotters were a common trope, so some characters of this type appear in his works. The Scotsman Lord Castlepool in "Der Schatz Im Silbersee" is obsessed with making wagers and travels through the Wild West in search of adventure, paying his guides 50 Dollars per adventure. (He can be pretty badass when it comes to it, but this aspect of his personalities was downplayed in The Film of the Book in favour of more Plucky Comic Relief characterisation.)
  • Ragtag Bunchof Misfits: All groups that tend to form around Old Shatterhand and Winnetou.
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Old Shatterhand, and eventually Winnetou.
  • Reckless Sidekick: Sam Hawkens and Dick Hammerdull might have their moments, but Old Wabble takes the cake.
  • Recovery Sequence: Usually involves Charlie recovering from some life-threatening wound/illness.
  • The Reveal: In-story, Charlie discovering Colma-Puschi's real identity. And the identity's of the two missing boys, though by that point it was obvious.
  • Rightly Self-Righteous: Old Shatterhand can come across as this. A lot.
  • The Rival: Conrad Werner versus Old Shatterhand. Old Shatterhand decides that I Want My Beloved to Be Happy, and bows out of the competition without even acknowledging his feelings to the girl.
  • Romantic Rain: Subverted hard for Old Shatterhand and Martha Vogel. After realizing that Martha had indeed kissed him in his sleep (a year before, but he's kind of slow when it comes to romance), and after Martha flees in panic, a deeply confused and conflicted Old Shatterhand runs after her, despite the huge summer storm that breaks over the city. He doesn't catch up with her, instead he is eventually forced to seek refuge under some huge linden trees when the storm turns out to be more like a second Flood. The continuous lightning making him anxious, he moves from his initial tree under another, while berating himself for being irrational, as there's no way to correctly predict a lightning strike — only for a big lightning bolt to strike and burn down the very tree he had been hiding under. Had he stayed put, he would have died. It serves as an eye-opener (what does his aching heart count against the will of God?). Suddenly feeling calm, he returns home, and gives up on Martha.
  • Sacrificial Lion: Winnetou.
  • Say My Name: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand will sometimes call each other's names — usually in joy, but there are a couple more dramatic instances. Also a staple of [[The Reveal:]] scenes for Old Shatterhand (and/or Winnetou), when someone will shout his/their name(s) in either fear or enthusiasm.
  • Save the Villain: What Old Shatterhand constantly tries to do, though he is surprisingly astute in recognizing faked remorse and shows no mercy when the situation requires it.
  • Saving the World with Art: What some folks try to do with Winnetou's statue in "Winnetou's Heirs". What Charlie manages to do using Winnetou's much more accurate picture, and his even more appropriate notebooks.
  • Scarred Equipment: A lot of the older guns seen in the series look more like clubs and dry branches than weapons. Unlike, say, Old Shatterhand new, shiny ones. [[Hilarity Ensues:]] whenever Old Shatterhand makes new friends. Or new enemies, not everyone can handle getting their asses thoroughly kicked with grace.
  • Scavengers Are Scum: Native Americans are portrayed as despising coyotes, mostly for being cowardly scavengers. Guess what one of the most common insults thrown in Winnetou and Old Shatterhand's faces is (usually when they do something clever to avoid fighting and bloodshed). Of course, one should take into account the whole Trickster symbolism associated with Old Shatterhand (he's a fox, while Winnetou tends more towards a raven).
  • Scenery Porn: Charlie gets rather descriptive when he is impressed by something. The short list includes pretty landscapes, nice horses, and Winnetou.
  • Scenic Route
  • Science Is Bad: Lots of people point out to Charlie how science and learning will screw up an honest man's head. Naturally, he disagrees.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!!: Old Shatterhand is the one most often put in this situation, but all his close friends fall under the same moral code.
  • Secret Identity: Old Shatterhand is sometimes in situations that require this.
  • Self-Insert Fic: One of the lies May tried to pass around was that he really went to America and experienced what Old Shatterhand did. Old Shatterhand is also called Charlie. Karl, Charles, Charlie — get it? At some point in the early stories, before getting his nickname, the character admits to be a German immigrant.
  • Sentient Cosmic Force: Whoever is looking out for Old Shatterhand. Jury's still out whether it's God or... the other guy.
  • Sequels
  • Settling the Frontier: Part of the plot of most Wild West cycle stories.
  • Shaming the Mob: Winnetou is the go-to character for this.
  • Shirtless Scene: Many, though Winnetou is the only one getting the flattering descriptions. Old Shatterhand himself tends to get comments along the lines of "puny weakling" whenever he undresses for a duel, but since his opponents tend to fall into the 8-feet-tall giants packed with muscles category, that doesn't really offer much real information about his own condition except, well, "smaller than them".
  • Shrouded in Myth: Kolma-Puschi, the Native warrior who belongs to no tribe and endlessly wanders the mountains and the plains. He is so mysterious, most people believe he is a spirit.
  • Signature Scene: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand riding side by side across the prairie. Or sneaking up on someone. Alternatively, Old Shatterhand knocking someone out with one punch.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Nscho-tschi. Martha Vogel.
  • Smug Snake: Santer. Old Wabble.
  • Snowed-In: Due to heavy snowfall, the good guys have to spend part of the winter in the Shoshone's hide-spot at the end of "Holy Night!"
  • Snow Means Death: In "Holy Night!", Carpio dies during a snowy Christmas night up in the Rockies.
  • Social Climber: Judith Silberstein.
  • The Soul Saver: Alternately, Old Shatterhand and Winnetou.
  • Spiteful Spit: Delivered by several villains.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Charlie and Nscho-tschi, Charlie and Martha, Charlie and Kaho-oto... though these were mostly one-sided on the girls' side, even with Martha.
  • Stay with Me Until I Die: Charlie gets to hold a lot of friends as they die, and at least one enemy.
  • Stealing the Credit: Let's see:
    • First, Charlie's lazy colleagues let him do almost all the work without giving him any credit for it and denigrating him in the process. And then, after having finished all the work after his co-workers' deaths, the railroad company pays him his previously agreed wage and not a cent more (it enrages Sam Hawkens more than it does Charlie who, by that point, has achieved a stoic disregard towards money).
    • Then Rattler claims he killed the grizzly bear instead of the "greenhorn", and tries to pin the blame of one of the men getting killed by the bear on Charlie.
    • In the later novel "Holy Night!", the Preacher steals (through a very complicated chain of events) one of Charlie's childhood poems from Germany and publishes it for his own profit (Hiding Behind Religion and fabricating a suitably "moving" story for the poem's origin, which is what particularly gets on Charlie's nerves.)
    • And there is at least one instance where someone else claims to be Old Shatterhand, but that incident happens off-page, and is quickly solved by the real Old Shatterhand, via unbeatable arguments. In his own words, "my fist to his head."
  • Stealth Insult: Old Shatterhand is very good at this.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Sir Emery Bothwell has his moments, but then again, so does Old Shatterhand.
  • Stop, or I Will Shoot!!: Old Shatterhand does this a few times, though not really expecting (or indeed getting) the hoped-for reaction. In most cases, they will keep running and usually escape. Unless, of course, it was all part of a ruse all along.
  • Storming the Castle: In "Satan and Iscariot", once or twice.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Before the confrontation with the Apaches in "Winnetou I", a rare, heavy storm falls. At that point, it's a good thing, as it wipes out the heroes' tracks. But Old Shatterhand can't help a bad feeling creeping up on him...
  • The Storyteller: Old Shatterhand. Karl May called himself "the hakawati" — the storyteller.
  • Strawberry Shorthand: Well, according to one side-story (and Karl May himself), Old Shatterhand definitely seems to like strawberries (and other sorts of berries), enough to go to the trouble of breeding a giant hybrid species in his own garden back home. Judging by an off-hand comment, part of them are used for his lemonade. On the symbolic level, though... you can't exactly call him "innocent", though he is definitely going out of his way trying to be good. "Eccentric" might be closer, but not in the classic head-in-the-clouds-can't-remember-the-time sense. (He's too pragmatic for both of those.)
  • Stubborn Mule: Mary, Sam Hawkens' mule. She is captured at the beginning of volume one, and trying to tame her almost kills Sam faster than the bison who had killed his initial horse, and takes more effort out of Old Shatterhand than the fight with the grizzly bear. The only reason he wins is because he is a very stubborn bastard himself. (He's half dead on his feet by the end, though.)
  • Suddenly Ethnicity: A mild version occurs with Old Surehand. His physical appearance doesn't exactly scream Native American, even with his long, flowing brown hair (after all, a couple of decidedly white hunters also have very long hair). But when an enemy Indian chief voices his suspicion of Old Surehand's Mixed Ancestry, a surprised Old Shatterhand takes a closer look at his friend and suddenly his silent, stoic attitude and his blazing dark eyes are starting to ring some familiar bells...
    • It happens in the opposite direction, in the same book. Apanatschka's supposedly Comanche father (the local witch-doctor, to boot), turns out to be a French Creole man named Lothaire Thibaut, a fugitive criminal and fraud.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Something Charlie can't seem to stop doing...
  • Taking Advantageof Generosity: Some of his enemies take Charlie's generosity as a sign of weakness and stupidity and overtly abuse it. Naturally, it never ends well.
  • Taking the Bullet
  • A Taste of the Lash: In "Old Surehand", "General" Douglas receives a lashing from his own partner-in-crime Old Wabble, as punishment for stealing Winnetou and Old Shatterhand's weapons. Later on, the two criminals are die-hard enemies, and Old Wabble gets the opportunity to give him a second beating.
    • Old Wabble's gang of hired outlaws receive a similar punishment earlier for trying to kill the heroes (though it's carried out using thin young shoot branches instead of whips, the principle is the same).
  • Team Dad: Winnetou.
  • Team Mom: Old Shatterhand. Killing grizzly bears one moment, then sewing an irresponsible teammate's damaged clothes (via grizzly bear cub) all through the night.
  • Telepathy: In all but name, this is how Old Shatterhand and Winnetou usually communicate.
  • There Are No Therapists: Averted. May obviously had a healthy respect for pshychiatrists — as long as they weren't quacks.
  • The Watson: Various characters fulfill the role along the narrative, giving Old Shatterhand the chance to play Sherlock Holmes. (As Winnetou proudly and silently walks away from the whole spectacle.)
  • Thirsty Desert: The (really existing) Llano Estacado is described as this in the stories and usually comes complete with at least some miscreants planning to lead travelers astray explicitly so they can die of thirst and never be heard from again.
  • Threatening Mediator: Sometimes, Old Shatterhand and Winnetou must act this way to get enemy tribes to make peace. It's pointed out that, even if it does work, they will constantly look for a way around the treaty.
  • Token Religious Teammate: (sigh) Old Shatterhand.
  • Token Wholesome: Most of the women, regardless of their race. Also, Old Shatterhand, though he does undress a couple of times for bathing purposes, but since it's never described (flatteringly or not), it still means he is the most conservative of any group.
  • Tongue Trauma: Old Shatterhand's famous knife wound through the jaw and tongue, received from Winnetou (and healed by Winnetou, too). It puts him through a long feverish delirium, eventually ending in catalepsy and nearly being buried alive. He can not speak, eat or drink for weeks, and his eventual recovery is just as long and painful.
  • Tonto Talk: Mostly subverted. There are some stereotypical words, such as "iron horse", "fire water" and "howgh", but otherwise most Native Americans speak English well-enough, or at least they speak the lingua franca of the Wild West (which is described as a mix of English, Spanish and various Indian dialects). Naturally, some of them also know the languages of neighboring tribes. Most Indians are noted as skilled orators (especially tribes' chiefs or certain "medicine men"). And then there's Winnetou, who is usually such a silent type, but turns out to be the most skilled speaker of all men, red or white or whatever color you may please. Old Shatterhand (who is no slouch in the talking department himself) is always awestruck whenever he gets to hear Winnetou speak for longer than 5 minutes. His descriptions of Winnetou's voice, vocabulary or rhetorical style can go a little overboard on occasion.
  • Tragic Bromance: If read in the context of May's entire body of work, Winnetou's death marks a deep change in Charlie, who gradually turns inwards and becomes involved in more "spiritual" adventures. This happens in the Orient Cycle, though Winnetou is mentioned in the beginning.
  • Tranquil Fury: Both Winnetou and Old Shatterhand tend to show their anger on occasion (see whenever they have to deal with Santer), but on the whole, Old Shatterhand is usually the one more cold-blooded when genuinely pissed off.
  • Trash Talk: A requisite opening of all duels in the Wild West.
  • Tree Cover: Used all the time whenever someone is sneaking around. There are the occasional subversions, in that not all trees are actually wide enough to hide a man's body, and other cover options must be found. Also useful when someone shoots at you. Most significantly, a tree saves Old Shatterhand's life in "Winnetou III", when a surprise encounter in the woods with an unseen foe leaves him a bit defenseless. Luckily, the shooter turns out to be Winnetou, and everyone makes it out unharmed.
  • Trickster Archetype: If you step back and take a really good look at Old Shatterhand, you realise he's this, especially after he grows up a bit. He's always much more clever than the people around him, he's a consummate liar with a frightfully innocent face, is a truly honest man who nevertheless is willing to occasionally use (somewhat) dishonest means to reach his goals (though usually only when lives are on the line), always favors cunningness and yes, trickery instead of brute strength, if it does come down to using brute strength he is always able to somehow defeat much more powerful adversaries, is using Obfuscating Stupidity as often as he can, mostly to obtain information, does not admit to his true identity for various reasons, and sometimes just For the Lulz. He is often accused of having made a deal with the Devil/Evil Spirit because of how things always go his way. Both friends and enemies have called him "as cunning as a fox". (On a meta level, author Karl May must have been well-acquainted to the tales of Reineke the Fox, and was something of a real-life Trickster figure himself.)
  • True Companions: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand, plus whatever friends they gathered around at any given time.
  • Try and Follow: Old Shatterhand pulls this off occasionally. With a horse and riding skills like his, it's not exactly difficult.
  • Twilight of the Old West: In "Winnetou's Heirs".
  • Verbal Tic: Most Plucky Comic Relief characters have one. Sam Hawkens' constant "If I'm not mistaken, hihi!" became a catchphrase. Old Wabble's "It's clear" comes close.
    • It's mostly overlooked, but... count how many times Old Shatterhand says or thinks "that goes without saying". Or "what happened next can not be properly described".
  • Undercover Cop Reveal: Sort of. In "Winnetou III", Thick Fred Walker is an undercover detective as well as a legitimate Westman, but Charlie sees through his cover very quickly and warns him to be more careful. Then again, Charlie himself was quickly figured out by Old Death in "Winnetou II" as a more-or-less-undercover detective in search of a couple of fugitives — but he was still rather young and unexperienced back then.
  • Underestimating Badassery: The sheer number of times someone underestimates either Winnetou or Old Shatterhand, or better yet, both...
  • Undying Loyalty: Winnetou and Old Shatterhand. Even when one of them does physically die, his loyalty continues to act from beyond the grave.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Something most bad guys are prone to, while Charlie and Winnetou strongly oppose. At one point in "Treasure of the Silver Lake", Winnetou is on the receiving end of one of these, from a particularly old and nasty enemy Indian chief.
  • Unstoppable Rage: It only happens twice in the entire series (not just the main trilogy), but Old Shatterhand can be downright frightening when truly pissed off.
  • Villain Opening Scene: In one of the side stories, "Captain Kaiman", which has Winnetou as a secondary character, but no Old Shatterhand.
  • Violence Is the Only Option: Old Wabble tends to act this way, and without a minimal amount of planning too.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: What a lot of people making a hard living in the harsh conditions of the Wild West think. And then along comes Old Shatterhand... much to everyone's despair...
  • Vision Quest: In a very abstract and metaphysical way, this is the reason why Charlie Walks The Earth. But it's never quite explicitly stated in any of the printed 30-odd volumes.
  • Volleying Insults: Ususal prelude to duels.
  • The Western: Filmed German style!
  • Walking Armory: Many characters carry a wide collection of rifles, handguns and knifes. And whips, lassos, bolas, poisoned arrows, tomahawks and other exotic weapons. And then there's the most dangerous weapon of all, mostly because usually you don't see it coming: Old Shatterhand's fist.
  • Wall of Weapons: Intschu-tschuna has a large collection of Native (possibly ancestral) weapons on the walls of his room in the pueblo that gains Old Shatterhand's admiration. In "Winnetou IV", the "receiving room" in Tattelah-Satah's castle has a collection of weapons, most of them recognizable to Old Shatterhand because they used to belong to old acquaintances of his and Winnetou's.
  • Wham Line: "Well, then. If my brother Colma-Puschi has to leave, I'm asking my sister Colma-Puschi to stay a while longer."
  • What a Piece of Junk: A lot of old weapons get this treatment, as well as a couple of less attractive horses. Naturally, in the hands of their owners, they are all worth their weight in gold.
  • When It Rains, It Pours: Justified, as this tends to happen in the arid landscapes of the Southern US.
  • White Hair, Black Heart: Old Wabble, who despite his age and his magnificent long silver hair is cruel, cynical, a shameless liar, a hypocrite, a thief, a racist and a killer.
  • White Stallion: A big no-no in the Wild West, since it makes the rider too conspicuous. Old Shatterhand has an entire inner monologue on the subject every time it crops up. He also points out the only situation where a white horse is acceptable in battle: if it's winter, and the rider also camouflages himself with a white sheet over his clothes.
    • One of these is leading the mustang herd from which Sam Hawkens wants to catch a new ride for himself. He mistakenly thinks Old Shatterhand has his eyes on the white stallion and makes fun of him for it. (It's doubly funny because the reader has already seen Old Shatterhand opinion on it, and the unfairness of it all is hilarious.) They end up catching Mary the mule, who was the stallion's second-in-command.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Tante Droll (Aunt Droll) is famous as a "Westmann" who looks like a woman (fans are still divided between those who see him as just looking a bit feminine and those who see him as an outright transvestite). Old Surehand's mother is an example of a tough lady disguising herself as a man.
  • Wild Wilderness: All over the place, especially once they get into mountainous regions.
  • Worthy Opponent: What everyone thinks of Old Shatterhand and Winnetou, no matter how much they might want to personally strangle them.
  • You Are Not Alone: Winnetou manages to do this for Charlie... some 30 years after his death. Lampshaded by other characters.
  • Your Favorite: After a hilarious fight with Old Shatterhand, Mister Henry the gunsmith makes a peace offering by inviting his former greenhorn to dinner:
    "Well, I'll make you a beer soup in the coffee machine. Isn't that your favorite? Now get going!"
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Tangua tries to avoid keeping his word of releasing the Apache prisoners by doing a very literal interpretation of his agreement with Old Shatterhand. He isn't actively trying to kill them anymore; instead, he would let them die of hunger and thirst. Fortunately, it's not a problem for more than a quarter of a page before the rest of the Apaches come back and attack.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/Winnetou