Dork Knight

"Link is dripping with visual personality, entirely distinct from the player's actions. He's profoundly thick, almost to the edge of the special-school spectrum, but he's earnest and endearing with it. He doesn't put on the green uniform because he was destined to by the will of The Force, or whatever it is, but because his Nan was forcing him to take part in Orcarina of Time cosplay."

Meet Bob. What a guy! Bob's brave, he's determined, he's good at what he does, he's genuinely nice, and, most importantly, his moral fiber has a higher tensile strength than spider silk. Sure, he's a bit socially awkward and has a few other harmless quirks, but that's all part of his particular charm. The title can be taken as a play on Dark Knight.

In tropese, the Dork Knight is The Ace, The Cape, the Knight in Shining Armor or a similar character type infused with Adorkable, where the endearing awkwardness serves to humanize an otherwise idealized hero. (It can also work in reverse, where an established loveable dork shows unexpected courage and prowess.) See also Badass Adorable and Socially-Awkward Hero (which tend to overlap). The goofier examples of this trope may overlap with Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass. If they're good-looking and like the rest of us, they could also qualify.


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     Anime and Manga 


     Film: Animated 
  • Mickey Mouse in some of his earlier more abrasive years pre Flanderization into The Everyman (though it comes back on occasion, e.g. Runaway Brain).
  • Recent Dreamworks films have featured this, backing away from its image of using Idiot Heroes as protagonists.
    • Po from Kung Fu Panda, who is simultaneously a kung fu master and a kung fu fanboy.
    • Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon is another one. Little wonder why he's so popular with the female fanbase.
    • Sherman from Mr. Peabody & Sherman is a bookworm who saved a Damsel in Distress from marrying a Pharaoh, joined the Trojan army, and controlled a time machine. He's just like his dad.
    • "Z" from Antz (DW's first CG production) is a neurotic and pessimistic ant (this being Woody Allen, no less), who saved his entire colony.
  • Blu from Rio. He even has a "legal name" to put it that way (Tyler Gunderson).

    Film: Live Action 

  • Vince from Super Powereds. He is so stubbornly optimistic that he often brings out the best in people before they even knew it was there to be brought out.
  • Dave Malkoff from the Troubleshooters series. Mike Muldoon may also qualify.
  • Miles Vorkosigan is a tiny, hyperactive, Genius Cripple snarker with the soul of a Knight Errant and frightening levels of determination.
  • Discworld:
    • Carrot Ironfoundersson. Polite, scrupulous, charismatic, rather literal-minded, and, particularly in his first appearances, a Fish out of Water. He's a bit like the Disc's equivalent of Benton Fraser. People who meet him tend to go through a phase of realizing he believes everything he's saying, then searching for "tells" that it's a joke. They will never be certain.
    • Dorky, earnest young minister Mightily Oats gradually becomes one of these in the course of Carpe Jugulum. References to him in later books indicate that he eventually becomes a full-blown Badass Preacher.
  • Sir Gawain in the older stories of the Arthurian Cycle. He's a fierce warrior and the paragon of knightly virtue, and he has no idea how to talk to a girl.
  • The White Knight from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.
  • Ossian Bergman from "De skandalösa" by Simona Ahrnstedt is a nerdy scholar, who seems to be awkward when it comes to women. But he also seems to be a better person than his Chivalrous Pervert friend Gabriel, and in the end, he does get a woman after all.

    Live Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons 3.5 has the iconic cleric, Jozan. He's a competent fighter, spellcaster, and orator, and very morally upright, but he's also The Klutz when it comes to being sneaky or anything else dexterous. In the iconics feature novels he suffers near-permanent Crush Blush around the paladin Alhandra, as well as Gibberish of Love and grinning like an idiot whenever she praises him. In the "Creature Feature" stories, meanwhile, he's the D&D equivalent of a good little Christian boy, so saintly sweet and gentlemanly he gives the rogue Lidda sugar overdoses. Then add on a tendency to be the No Respect Guy, and yeah.

  • Shakespeare's Henry V is a fine leader and a victorious conqueror, effortlessly eloquent when rallying his troops to snatch victory from sure defeat. He is also full of awkward when trying to talk to the French princess (who doesn't speak English) and sounds like a total moron when trying to speak to her in French. This kind of depends on the actor playing Henry, but it's a common interpretation.

    Video Games 
  • Space Ace: Dexter; normally, he's The Ace, but thanks to Borf's Infanto Ray, he spends most of the game as a skinny, awkward teenager.
  • Final Fantasy IX: Steiner is not the main hero, but he is a Dork Knight at times. He leans more towards being more of an Idiot Hero.
  • Final Fantasy VII: Zack Fair is strong, handsome, loyal, determined, honorable, friendly, and all over a nice guy. He also is a serious badass and one of the strongest fighters in the series. However, as seen in Crisis Core, he's also 16-18 for most of his game and has the attention span of a hyperactive Labrador. Puppy, indeed.
  • Alistair from the Dragon Age series. On the one hand, he's brave, noble, and heroic (making him a distinct rarity in the Dragon Age verse) and approves of the player being so as well - on the other, he's a bit of a Man Child who can barely get through a sentence without slipping into bad humor and/or Buffy Speak, especially if he's talking to a woman.
  • Roy from Fire Emblem: The Sealed Sword is brave and a skilled swordsman, but he definitely has his awkward teenager moments, especially in his supports with any of his potential wives. His father Eliwood from the prequel game can fall into this sometimes, too, but to a lesser degree.
  • In Fire Emblem Awakening we have Sumia. A Submissive Badass in the battlefield, a Cute Clumsy Girl outside of it.
    • Prince Chrom, too. And his daughter Lucina (who can be mothered by Sumia) can have her moments.
    • In truth, almost every character in Awakening counts to some degree. Characters like Severa and Henry are very upfront about it, while others like Frederick and Panne require a little more digging to reach their dorky sides.
  • John in Immortal Souls looks and fights the part of a badass Nineties Anti-Hero, but he's really a softie who is a bit naive and cares about saving innocents and doing the right thing, though you do have to initially push him into it. He also gets absolutely tongue-tied talking to his Love Interest Allison and whenever the Black Witch tries flirting with him. Or when talking about Allison. Or when thinking about Allison.
  • Double H from Beyond Good & Evil, whose dorkiness is actually directly tied to his badassery: He's fanboyishly obsessed with his Badass Creed, to the point of using its name as his Battle Cry ("CARLSONNN AND PEETERSSSS!") and applying quotes from it to everything he does, regardless of the circumstances. It helps that he's also an obsessively loyal Bruiser with a Soft Center.
  • Mass Effect: Garrus Vakarian is of the Number Two/Friendly Sniper variety. He is a highly trained sniper who (1) aided in stopping a full scale assault on the galactic seat of government, (2) led a group of vigilantes on a space station that would put Mos Eisley Spaceport to shame, and (3) became the leader of a task force designated to prepare for the inevitable genocidal alien invasion. During the course of all of this, he has a bad habit of saying Innocently Insensitive things, and turns into a shy, stuttering confused mess when either making or receiving romantic/sexual advances.

    Web Animation 

  • Homestuck: John Egbert starts off as a goofy dork. He quickly grows into a badass and the team's leader, without ever becoming less of a dork.
    • On a more literal note, both Karkat and Dave are dorks, and they are knights. Bipbopbam. Dork Knights.
  • Unsounded: In life, Duane Adelier was a skilled warrior, an exceptionally competent tacit-casting mage, and responsible for training young soldiers in the ways of battle pymary. He was also a noble, slightly goofy man who held on to an idealistic view of peace between the two major religions, the castes, and the political viewpoints of his country when few held the same, and was quite fond of dramatic operas and plays. The character currently still retains most of these personality traits, however the horrific trauma of the past six years has caused an air of hopelessness with all he does due to the loss of his loved ones, the betrayal of his country, and the firm belief his soul is now damned. Nevertheless, he still retains many of his idealistic and goofy traits and his competence in a fight.

     Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Sir Archibald Wavell. A quiet unassuming man with an eccentric but likable disposition who wrote an anthology of poetry. He was also the British commander in the Mediterranean theater and under his command the Allies won their first victories, and the Italian empire was reduced to a sort of fly paper for the German army. He is a large part of the reason for Italy's persistent reputation for limited prowess in World War II.