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[-[[caption-width-right:350:He ''is'' afraid of the ghosts...but he still gets the job done.]]-]
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->''"The fearless are merely without fear. People who act in spite of their fear are truly brave."''
-->-- '''James A. Lafond-Lewis'''

Not all heroes are fearless. Some of them are characterized by nervousness, timidity, reluctance to go anywhere near danger -- all the hallmarks of a coward. Yet when push comes to shove, they will always be right there in the thick of the action, doing whatever it takes to accomplish their objective and get themselves and their teammates out alive.

Unlike TookALevelInBadass, these characters don't get over their fearful ways after a single moment of glory. They remain scaredy-cats and/or insecure in their regular lives despite the fact that they can kick major ass when they put their minds into it. Many of them will tell everyone to ThinkNothingOfIt, because they think the fear they felt trumps the heroism they performed. These characters may also be {{Combat Pragmatist}}s who get the job done by using brains rather than brawn when they go up against enemies that outclass them and they know they'll get killed if they just charge in and attack. Typically, his closest friends know exactly what he is capable of and know they can depend on him in crises, with a little prompting of course.

Usually, inverse of MilesGloriosus. Unlike TheSoCalledCoward, this character is not actually misunderstood and does not need to be viewed by other characters as cowardly; it is his own opinion that matters. (And the so-called coward may be perfectly confident in his own courage.) Unlike the AccidentalHero, the examples in this trope are characters that manage to get things done with their own worth, despite their fears.

Contrast the FearlessFool -- especially when it is invoked to encourage him. Prone to HeroicSelfDeprecation and FaceYourFears. See also LovableCoward.

!!Example subpages

* CowardlyLion/AnimeAndManga
* CowardlyLion/ComicBooks
* CowardlyLion/{{Literature}}
* CowardlyLion/LiveActionTV
* CowardlyLion/VideoGames
* CowardlyLion/WebComics
* CowardlyLion/WebOriginal
* CowardlyLion/WesternAnimation

!!Other examples:


[[folder:Fan Works]]
* Tojo in ''Fanfic/TheLionKingAdventures'' is a literal example.
* Hobbes is [[CharacterExaggeration exaggerated]] into this in ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries''.
* In the ''[[Literature/TheHungerGames Hunger Games]]'' fanfiction ''Fanfic/SomeSemblanceOfMeaning'', the heroine, Vale, is a [[NiceGirl kind-hearted]] ShrinkingViolet who is (understandably) terrified of going into the arena and [[ChildrenForcedToKill being forced to fight her fellow tributes to the death]]. However, when it comes to defending the people she cares about, [[BewareTheNiceOnes she is no pushover]].
* PlayedForLaughs in the ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'' fic ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/works/1326589 Impromptu Midterms.]]'' The teams are sent to eradicate a nest of Grimm cubs, and [[ButtMonkey Jaune]] ends up dragged into the middle of it. So while everyone else is fighting the cubs, they keep hearing his screams of terror...and then [[spoiler:they find him in the nest, alive and surrounded by the corpses of Grimm he just killed]].
-->'''Jaune:''' [[spoiler:What the ''hell'' took you guys so long?]]
* Agent Lapis from the ''WebOriginal/ProtectorsOfThePlotContinuum'' is fully aware that her first response to just about anything is to panic, which usually manifests as screaming in terror and diving for the nearest hiding place, and frequently [[SourSupporter believes in the worst-case scenario as far as the Duty is concerned]]. But as one unfortunate [[GodModeSue God-Mode Stu]] found out the hard way, if you hurt anybody she holds dear - or even [[FireForgedFriends anybody whom she merely works with]] - she will '''[[RoaringRampageOfRevenge END]]''' you.
* [[https://www.fimfiction.net/story/322786/unicornia Unicornia]]: Blueblood is a coward, but didn't stop him from helping the royal guard stop those terrorists at all.
* The version of Misty's Psyduck and Cynthia's Lucario (at least as a Riolu) in ''Fanfic/PokemonResetBloodlines'' are strong examples of this trope. Both are easily spooked and prefer not to fight, but will protect their trainers when push comes to shove.


[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/BarbieMariposa'', Willa may hate going into danger, but she will if it's to protect the kingdom, and she always comes through when it counts.
* The TropeNamer reappears as the star of ''WesternAnimation/LionOfOz''.
* Arlo from ''Film/TheGoodDinosaur''. A major theme of the film is accepting that it's okay to be scared, and finding the courage needed to face your fears.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* A major characteristic of the [[TropeNamer Cowardly Lion]] in ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment is cowardice]]. This doesn't prevent him from joining Scarecrow and Tin Man to rescue Dorothy when she's captured by the Wicked Witch of the West.
-->'''Cowardly Lion:''' All right, I'll go in there for Dorothy. Wicked Witch or no Wicked Witch, guards or no guards, I'll tear them apart! I may not come out alive, but I'm going in there! There's only one thing I want you fellows to do.\\
'''Tin Man and Scarecrow:''' What's that?\\
'''Cowardly Lion:''' Talk me out of it!
* Albert Lory from ''This Land Is Mine'' lives in an unnamed country under Nazi occupation and, literally, runs home to his aged mother any time there is an allied air strike. He eventually makes a HeroicSacrifice because he's more terrified of seeing his friends picked off one by one than actually dying.
* In ''Film/KingKong2005'', Bruce Baxter abandons the rescue mission, claiming that they're going to die and all but calling himself a coward. This doesn't prevent him from returning JustInTime to rescue the rescuers, in a BigDamnHeroes moment that would give Han Solo a run for his money.
* Bob from ''Drugstore Cowboy'' is pretty open about his neurosis and his reliance on drugs to keep the stresses of world away from him. The people around him are still awed by the acts of {{Magnificent Bastard}}ry he performs out of sheer panic.
* Malak in ''Film/ConanTheDestroyer''. He's constantly suggesting that he stay behind whenever the party ventures into danger, but circumstances or his own guilt always prompt him to get involved in the heroics.
* Admiral Piett in ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' have seen Vader choke imperials for their failures first hand and is visibly terrified that this might happen to him. He manages to hold himself together and isn't killed by Vader in the end.
* Unlike [[AcePilot his]] [[TheChosenOne friends]], Finn in ''Film/TheForceAwakens'' is just trying to get as far as humanly possible away from the First Order. But whenever he's actually put on the spot, after venting his dismay he doesn't hesitate to kick ass to help them out.
* [[LoveInterest Steve]] [[BadassNormal Trevor]] in ''Film/WonderWoman2017'' is normally a suave, unflappable spy in the service of the Allies during the [[UsefulNotes/WW1 Great War]], and his moxie is shown in his flashback to the job that led him to stumble onto Themiscyra. However, under the effects of the [[TruthSerum Lasso of Truth]], he reveals how truly terrified he is of the whole travesty of the war. [[spoiler: This is even evident in his HeroicSacrifice as he's clearly scared and doesn't want to die. It takes a moment for him to hype himself up but he still manages to [[GoOutWithASmile go out with a smile]] ]].
* Spencer Gilpin in ''Film/JumanjiWelcomeToTheJungle'' is a easily-scared, socially awkward nerd even when placed in the body of [[TheAce Smolder Bravestone]], where he is packed with a HeroicBuild, SuperStrength, [[SuperSpeed speed]] and [[SuperReflexes reflexes]]. Despite all these advantages, he is easily frightened and his first reaction to danger is start running. His CharacterDevelopment is learning to be braver than he originally was.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* Wade Duck in ''ComicStrip/USAcres''.
* Dan Thompson's action-strip AffectionateParody ''Webcomic/RipHaywire'' features dog companion TNT who, despite being an abject coward, is always by Rip's side.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* World Wrestling League reporter Stefano tends to shy away from wrestlers at the slightest hint they might get physical with him, panics when they start to approach him without warning even when it often turns out they don't have hostile intentions and makes no effort to fight back when attacked. This all obscures the fact that he is competent in the ring, having a successful career in IWA Puerto Rico and in fact became on third of the promotions first Trio title holders with Noel Rodriguez and Dennis Rivera, two of the wrestlers he was unreasonably afraid of.
* Ricardo Rodriguez in Wrestling/{{WWE}}. Those familiar with even his developmental FCW time would know he was a pretty good wrestler but on the main roster, his {{dirty coward}}ice and submission to Wrestling/AlbertoDelRio made him a VeryPunchableMan. When forced to wrestle Wrestling/TheBigShow though, he did a fairly good job in spite of the size differential being far against him.
* Veda Scott was initially known as a lawyer and reporter for Wrestling/RingOfHonor who was also on the bottom of Wrestling/{{SHIMMER}}'s totem pole, tending to cower near its established contenders. After she was kidnapped by SCUM though she joined the rest of the ROH locker roomed in clearing them out of ''Supercard Of Honor VII''.[[/folder]]