"It's always the quiet ones, isn't it?"
When most people think of The Quiet One, they may also think Extreme Doormat
or Butt Monkey
alongside it. Whether they are one or not (half the time they are only seen
that way), subject them to one round too many of Break the Cutie
and the like, and, if it isn't preceded by a Death Glare
, they will give you a 'not so quiet' moment.
Alice seems to be The Quiet One who keeps to herself. Bob sees her as an easy target and makes her his honorary Butt Monkey
to abuse. After weeks of quietly taking this, Alice snaps
Maybe Bob pushed a certain button
, maybe those anger management classes Alice used to take
are starting to wear off
, maybe Alice has been angry
all this time, it just never showed
or no one took it seriously. Maybe this is her first time
dealing with anger.
No matter which reason, what comes after is the same: An unleashed raging
speech of epic proportions that not even the most demented
character in the story would want to sit through.
This rage is always expressed verbally, though violence
can also be included. Their verbal attack can differ from an ego-brusing "The Reason You Suck" Speech
, a mentally scarring Breaking Speech
or an emotional "World of Cardboard" Speech
. If they are also The Stoic
, they might also ask the offender "Did You Think I Can't Feel?
" before ranting about all they have been put through. One might also catch a swear or two
Another version could be when the Five-Man Band
is in low spirits, and The Quiet One, fed up with all the sulking, throws the table (or something else) to the side
and gives a Rousing Speech
to their comrades.
Usually a Crowning Moment Of Awesome when they are shown to finally speak up
for themselves, but can change depending on the character or the setting.
The main difference between Beware The Quiet Ones and its sister trope Beware the Nice Ones
is while the latter is known for their kindness, the former is known for their (near) silence, though they can overlap sometimes.
Compare and contrast Tranquil Fury
, where the character can range from happy
, but their anger is more quiet (but still
Compare Beneath the Mask
, Shrinking Violet
, Let's Get Dangerous
. See also Rant Inducing Slight
Anime and Manga
- Fans of Blink may not know that she was introduced on Earth-616 during the Phalanx Covenant as a very shy, introverted girl named Clarice Ferguson who was terrified of her own powers. When she finally cut loose, she killed the formerly unstoppable Phalanx unit that had been holding her and a group of other young mutants captive... at the cost of her own life. The Blink who joined the Exiles was from an alternate timeline.
- Monet St. Croix was introduced in the same storyline, and also fit the trope. She spent most of her first issue silently studying Phalanx technology until she could identify the impostor hiding among her fellow mutant prisoners. Then she hit him with a Megaton Punch and led a breakout.
- Even cooler than it sounds - she appeared to be catatonic at first. Turns out this was just a super-intense state of concentration, and she'd worked everything out... look out, Phalanx.
- Cassandra Cain was originally mute, and after learning speech she doesn't talk much. That's because her dad taught her to talk with her fists. Heaven help you if you get her mad.
- The Spot used to be a Spider-man villain known for being largely ineffectual and mouthing off. Then he got trapped in the dimension he teleports through. Now he's mute, insane... and probably one of the deadliest killers alive.
- Black Bolt. Whenever he utters a sound, it destroys things on a major scale. That is to say, a whisper from him is on the level of a nuke.
- Matsu, the main character of Joshuu Sasori, has a knack for patiently and silently enduring whatever mistreatment gets thrown her way and waiting for just the right moment to unleash violent revenge on those that wronged her. This is why she is called Sasori, or "Scorpion."
- Gaear Grimsrud from Fargo. He hardly ever says a thing throughout the entire movie (something lampshaded early on by Steve Buscemi) but if provoked or put in a situation where he might get caught... well, let's just say that you don't want to be near him and a gun. Or an axe for that matter... or a woodchipper.
- In Ghostbusters Walter Peck shuts down the power to the Firehouse despite Egon's dire warnings that it would be like dropping a bomb on the city. This results in an enormous explosion and hundreds (possibly thousands) of ghosts being released back into New York all at once. Peck orders some nearby police to arrest the Ghostbusters, claiming they were directly responsible for causing the explosion. Egon completely losses it, screams "YOUR MOTHER!!" and has to be physically restrained from tearing Peck apart with his bare hands. Remember, this is Egon Spengler!
- Office Space Beware Milton. Or he'll set the building on fire.
- Thor's antagonist, Loki, started as the often pushed-aside, quiet, intelligent younger brother who was given too much power at exactly the wrong time.
- In The Outsiders, Johnny was the most quiet and most law-abiding of the greasers but when he sees his friend Ponyboy being drowned, he stabbed and killed the attacker.
- Dark Life has Pretty. Despite his name, he is not someone you want to annoy.
- Steapa from Bernard Cornwell's The Saxon Stories. Quiet and originally believed by the protagonist to be a half-wit, he becomes an absolute killing machine in battle.
Recorded and Stand-Up Comedy
- Person of Interest: Reese tends to whisper when he talks. He prefers to let his actions speak for him.
- George Carlin didn't think much of this trope.
“It’s the quiet ones you’ve got to watch.” You know that one, eh? Every time you see a story about a Serial Killer
on TV, what do they do? They bring on the neighbor. And the neighbor says, “Well, he was always very quiet”. And someone in the room says, “It’s the quiet ones you’ve got to watch”. This sounds to me like a very dangerous assumption. I’ll bet you anything that while you’re watching a quiet one, a noisy one will fucking kill you!
Suppose you’re in a bar and one guy’s sitting over the side, reading a book, not bothering anybody, and another guy is standing on the front with a machete, banging on the bar, screaming, “I’ll kill the next motherfucker who comes in here!” Who are you going to watch? You’re goddamn right.
- Saito Hajime in Hakuouki is the quietest member of the Shinsengumi and the one who can always be depended on to follow orders scrupulously and faithfully. He's also the most lethal swordsman of the group and practices iaijutsu specifically because it allows him to end most of his fights before his opponents know they've started.
- Played for Laughs with Mio from Little Busters. On the surface she seems like a delicate, fragile Emotionless Girl. And indeed, her physical stats are quite low. But she's very intelligent and downright ruthless at times, such as when she takes advantage of every slight lapse in attention on Haruka's part during the newspaper fight and is able to hit her countless times, or when she performs an absolutely devastating take-down of Haruka's joke when they're only supposed to be performing a simple Boke and Tsukkomi Routine.
- Finland from Scandinavia and the World has this moment, where he shouts Perkele 306 times after losing to Denmark in hockey.
- Yuki Sonada from MegaTokyo kind of fits this trope (more since her magical girl abilities awakened, than in her earlier appearances). That is, assuming she's not just being stereotyped as an over-emotional teenage girl.
- On Strip Search, Katie Rice is absolutely the quietest person in the house, but it soon becomes clear that she's also one of the best competitors — starting when she wins two elimination challenges in a row.
- Raven from Teen Titans may be reserved, but god help you if you really piss her off. It doesn't help that she's half-demon, and destined to cause The End of the World as We Know It.
- Flora from Winx Club is sometimes thought to be a pushover because of her shy nature, hesitance to harm living things, and the nature of her powers. But time and again, she proves that nature is not so harmless, especially in Tears from the Black Willow, when the Trix hit her Berserk Button.
- Fluttershy of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is the quietest member of the mane cast, on account of being, well, shy. Then comes "The Best Night Ever". When she's avoided by the forest creatures of Canterlot... well, see for yourself.
- Fluttershy in "Putting Your Hoof Down." Dear Celestia....
- She displayed this way earlier, in Dragonshy and again in Stare Master. Dragonshy is the episode where the fans learned that you do not mess with Fluttershy.
- Also, Celestia help you if Big Macintosh raises his voice.
- The Transformers Prime version of Soundwave speaks using others' recorded sentences (when he speaks at all), rarely ever has a major starring role... and can bash in heads with the greatest of ease, as Airachnid can attest to. He's the second-most feared Decepticon on the Nemesis, right under Megatron himself. Knock Out even says "Watch out for the quiet ones" to Breakdown after Soundwave curbstomped Airachnid.
- Wheeljack fared slightly better against Soundwave. But only slightly.
- To put this in more perspective, Wheeljack had an easier time against Dreadwing.
- Soundwave is eerily silent when he fights, too. It's kinda Creepy Awesome.
- In Transformers Animated, Prowl definitely qualifies for this. He's a sleek, dark ninja who doesn't really like anyone else, prefers to sit in his tree and meditate.. but when he fights, he wins, most of the time.