Large and in Charge

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/bowser-large-and-in-charge_1913.png

"I'm da biggest, so I'm da boss!"
Ork Warboss, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

The tendency to visually depict leaders of an organization as large, physically intimidating people. This could be because people are more likely to follow orders from a big guy than a small one (because of the physically intimidating height). Exactly what flavor of "big" he (or she) will be depends chiefly on the character's personality, or sometimes species. He could be morbidly obese to symbolize his greed and decadence, but could instead be a towering seven-foot-tall man.

This is abundant in video games since these guys need to be able to make impressive bosses as well and players like big targets. Even when they have magic or machines for fighting, they still tend to be pretty big. Note that tall villains are not necessarily muscular or good at fighting, and in that case will usually have to rely on some shorter Mooks with Stout Strength.

Because Evil Is Bigger, this is more prevalent among villains. This applies to most of the brutish types of Always Chaotic Evil fantasy races, like Orcs, Hobgoblins, and some of the many, many types of trolls. Races which get Stronger with Age will tend to justify this either as the biggest individuals being Older and Wiser, or only very tough and resourceful ones reach old age. Thus, this trope most commonly applies to villains but there are also some heroic characters that are Large and in Charge.

Related to Authority Equals Asskicking (or, perhaps, Asskicking Equals Authority). Also see Hitler Cam, the camera effect that you can use to accentuate height. Contrast The Napoleon (when he's in a leadership position).

Sometimes found in real life- in the modern world, elected leaders are generally of average or greater height. However, this is rarely taken to the kind of extremes found in video games.

Can be found in art, especially B.C periods. The most prominent example is Egyptian art; almost all periods of European art before the Renaissance too. This makes sense, as people tend to pay more attention to bigger figures.

Contrast Mister Big (ironically) and The Napoleon. Adipose Rex is the trope for fat kings.


Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Big Bads of each One Piece arc are often unnaturally large, despite mostly being human.
    • Also Edward Newgate, Whitebeard, is a very large man, easily dwarfing some of his lieutenants who are themselves quite large.
    • All of the Shichibukai are impossibly tall, except for Mihawk and Boa Hancock, who are just unusually tall (198cm and 191cm). Kuma and Moria are almost seven freaking meters tall.
      • It seems to be genetic for the ten foot tall Doflamingo, as his late brother was only a few inches shorter than he was, and assuming his height was proportionate as a child, his parents were similar. All four were former World Nobles.
    • Occasionally played with. Rob Lucci was the most powerful of CP9, but was merely tall, standing around 6'7" and relatively slim (in human form). While this would be huge in the real world, two of his subordinates, Fukurou and Kumadori, utterly dwarf him in both height and mass, and only slightly taller than Nico Robin. Then he uses his Devil Fruit power, and becomes a gigantic bloody leopard.
    • An interesting twist on this is Buggy. While not the largest by far, he is a toweringly lanky figure. However, when he is defeated and separated from his crew, portions of his arms, legs, neck and torso were stolen, reducing him to a chibi-version of himself standing at barely 3 feet tall. However, the moment he is reunited with his crew he finds his missing body parts and resumes his more imposing form.
    • And there's the 3 Admirals.
    • Averted with the Straw Hats. Luffy is the third shortest; only barely taller than Nami and the shortest, Chopper, can become much larger than Luffy.
    • Also averted with Blackbeard; while he is a huge man, a little over eleven feet tall, there are bigger members of his crew, many of them actual giants, including Vasco Shot, who towers over him at 22 feet. And that's not even getting started on San Juan Wolf, who looks to be as tall as the Sears Tower.
  • Lordgenome from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, who's at least seven feet tall and densely muscular. Even more so with Thymilph the Crasher, first among his four generals and literal 800 Pound Gorilla.
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure takes this to truly ridiculous extremes. Everybody in the entire series is approximately human-scaled or smaller, except for the Queen of the Garden of Light, who could dance with an average Gundam, and her opposite number Jaaku King, who is about the same height as her but has no legs (so a "complete" Jaaku King would be even bigger). They take it Up to Eleven during the Grand Finale of the sequel where they appear half as tall as Earth. The Big Bads from several spin-offs are also very large. Let's see:
    • Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star has a Akudaikan who has a similar height as Jaaku King. Gohyan, the real Big Bad, transforms from a small fry-villain into a large humanoid being, but he's only taller than average humans, but most of the other villains can grow taller or transform into something large.
    • Yes! Pretty Cure 5 and its sequel have Desparaia and the Director. Both of them are not very large, but taller than average humans. However, their employees have (forced) large One-Winged Angel forms, except Bunbee and their dragons Kawarino and Anacondy with their basic transformations.
      • Kawarino's basic transformation is the only one that makes the Nightmare employee several times bigger and can be compared with the forced One-Winged Angel transformations of the other employees. He can even grow larger when he absorbs the black cards that have the power to transform the employees into One Winged Angels. It should be noted that Kawarino is the Dragon-in-Chief and he is the most evil character and biggest threat in the first Yes! 5 season.
    • Fresh Pretty Cure! has Moebius who is taller than average humans. It turns out that he's a supercomputer and he's connected with all of Labyrinth. He also projects giant holograms in the form of his "head".
    • HeartCatch Pretty Cure! has Dune who appears as a teenager. After getting his powers back, he becomes an adult again. His One-Winged Angel form is as tall as Earth.
    • Suite Pretty Cure ♪ has Noise, a gigantic dragon-like bird. Subverted, as he shrinks when he reaches his final form. Being only taller than average humans.
    • Smile Pretty Cure! has Pierrot, a gigantic Monster Clown. His second form has the same height, but his final form is several times larger than Earth!
    • Doki Doki Pretty Cure has King Jikochuu who is much taller than the towers of Trump Kingdom, so he's about the same height as Jaaku King. Makes you wonder how he gets a daughter who appears younger than the heroines.
  • Emperor Charles zi Britannia from Code Geass.
    • Bismark Waldstein, the leader of the Knights of the Round and the Emperor's personal bodyguard. Not only is he about as tall as Charles, but his Ace Custom is twice as tall as the average Knightmare Frame. He even wields a BFS on foot at one point!
    • Nunnally vi Britannia, Jiang Lihua, and Kaguya Sumeragi, the leaders of the new, peaceful world after the end of the series, are quite the opposite - a very clear way of showing how they differ from their predecessors.
  • Bleach:
    • The captain of the seventh division is Sajin Komamura, an anthropomorphic wolf. At 9'5" (288cm or 2.87m) tall, he towers over everyone in his division. He's even taller than the other captains.
    • The captain of the eleventh division is Kenpachi Zaraki. At 6'8" (202cm or 2.03m) tall, he dwarfs anyone else in his division. The only captain bigger than him is Komamura.
    • Yhwach, The Emperor of the Vandenreich, is a huge man whose very presence dominants the other Quincies. He's so tall he can Neck Lift Kenpachi Zaraki right off the ground.
  • While most leaders in Naruto are normal sized (the Third Hokage was even kinda short since he was an old man and the Tsuchikage is a freaking midget), all of the Raikage (save for the 2nd and Darui are freaking giant.
    • To give you a breakdown: 1st Raikage was 210cm (6'11"), 2nd was 184cm (little over 6') 3rd was 205cm (about 6'9"), 4th was 198cm (6'6") and the 5th (Darui) is 176.5cm (almost 5'10")
    • Played straight as well with Gamabunta, the chief toad of Mount Myouboku. He's easily the largest toad of the lot; his size rivals even the larger Tailed Beasts.
  • In Fist of the North Star, about every thug gang leader is for some reason three times larger (officially, by about 4 to 12cm) than your average normal human, and demonstrate physical prowess like crushing heads with their bare hands. This reaches truly ridiculous proportions with the Prison Chief Wigür (height not given, probably three stories) who dwarves even Raoh (who in turn dwarves about every peasant/soldier/thug, and even the hero Kenshiro) (roughly two stories, or 210cm).
    • Averted with that one prisoner in Cassandra who is the size of a skyscraper: his one scene has him taking orders from a normal-sized criminal who convinced him they're brothers.
  • Used initially in Yuusha-Oh GaoGaiGar. Of all the fully combined mecha, the titular one is the largest. ChoRyuJin combines two robots to approach his size, Big Volfogg uses two support units and is still smaller, and even Big Guy Goldymarg towers over all the others but is still smaller than GGG. Subverted by Sixth Ranger Soldat J, whose mecha is a warship which transforms into the gargantuan King J-Der, dwarfing all the other heroes. Subverted again in FINAL by Goldymarg, who, after his destruction in Osaka, has his AI built into the star-destroying Goldion Crusher.
  • Done comically in School Rumble with the manga institutions Chief Editor being ridiculously large. So much in fact that he shakes hands with one of the charicters using only the tip of his finger.
  • Transformers:
    • Very evident in Transformers Victory, on both sides. Star Saber is the biggest of the regularly appearing Autobots, and is also the Supreme Commander. Deathsaurus is even bigger, standing twice as tall as the average Transformers, and naturally enough is the Decepticon Emperor of Destruction.
    • Also evident in Transformers: Super-God Masterforce after the Godmasters appear. Ginrai has the biggest Autobot Transtector, and so Metalhawk hands command of the Earth Autobots over to him. Mega and Giga jointly command the Decepticons under Devil Z's leadership, and they can combine their Transtectors to form Overlord, who is even larger than Ginrai. To cap it off, Devil Z eventually combines with BlackZarak, who is bigger still.
    • However, this trope reached its ultimate expression in Transformers Headmasters with Fortress Maximus and Scorponok. Both gain leadership over their respective factions, and both are roughly the size of a large building.
  • Dragon Ball
    • Definitely inverted with Vegeta who is the Prince of Saiyans... and he is 5'4". Frieza is shorter than most his subordinates (except for Guildo) in the first form you see him in, and his final, most powerful form is his second-smallest. Cell is tall and muscular (and he did have henchmen in form of his Cell Jrs. who are MUCH smaller than him), but then you get to Buu... Kid Buu is very much like his name, a small bundle of destruction.
    • If you count the heroes as a group, it is also subverted. Goku is only average height, although he tends to be drawn a little taller in the anime. The tallest is Piccolo followed by Tien. As an adult, Gohan is taller than his father.
    • Babidi is also a complete inversion. He is short, probably the shortest character in the entire series (yes the kids included). He is also weak, depending on his magic to enslaved powerful warriors to serve him.
    • General Red was a total inversion and hated every moment of it. Of course, once Officer Black took over the Red Ribbon army the trope straightened itself out.
    • Also subverted with Captain Ginyu, while big, was in the middle in terms on the Ginyu force with Recoome about a head taller than him and Burter outright towering over him.
    • Played straight with Demon King Piccolo who was roughly eight feet tall, making him one of the largest characters in the series. Also done with Frieza's father King Cold who was around fifteen feet tall, resembling Frieza's monstrous 2nd form except even bigger.
  • This trope is taken Up to Eleven with the Raven in Princess Tutu. He's so large that his wings blacken the sky when he's overhead and when his feet touch the ground, a single claw is large enough for a teenage girl to hug. Of course, he's also pretty much a symbol of evil in the series, so he's nearly always depicted in abstract—glowing red eyes in the sky, a huge foot stepping down onto the ground, etc.
  • Eyeshield 21 subverts this with the Hakushuu Dinosaurs, as team captain Marco is quite scared of the massive Gaou, creating the impression that Gaou is leading the team. But Gaou has nothing but respect for Marco and no desire to challenge his authority, meaning Marco is really in charge.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The two tallest characters shown in the series are Zeon dictator Gihren Zabi, and his enormous and heavily scarred brother, Dozle, who serves as a Vice-Admiral and commander of Solomon Base. Both are hulking men, with broadshouldered builds, with Dozle being in the running for tallest man in the franchise as a whole and also making his brother look thin by comparison. Dozle's backstory indicates that his custom Zaku (which was never seen in the anime) had a chest that bulged out somewhat compared to the standard model, to make room for a cockpit he can actually fit into.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: putting aside the fact that all Zentraedi are giants when compared to humans, Breetai is unusually tall for a Zentraedi and is the commander of the Zentraedi forces in the solar system. Bodolza towers over even him and is the Supreme Commander of the entire Zentraedi armada.
  • Inverted with Meliodas in The Seven Deadly Sins. He is the leader of the Seven Deadly Sins but he is the shortest member (5' feet, 152 cm). Even King is taller than him (5'5" feet, 162 cm). Of course it's difficult to being this trope when one of his subordinates is Diane (30' feet, 914 cm).
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, the mysterious leader of Aogiri both plays this straight and subverts it. She's a King Incognito, and actually a tiny young woman easily mistaken for a child due to being so short. In their Kakuja form, however, they tower over everyone and are large enough to swallow a grown man whole.
  • In Brave Exkaiser, Dino Geist, the leader of the Geisters is absolutely gigantic. His already pretty dang big Humongous Mecha minions only come up to his ankles.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman's foe The Joker, standing at 6-foot-5, tends to tower over his victims, adversaries, and even most of his henchmen. However, he is also seriously underweight and tends to be useless in a fight without some kind of weapon in his hands. Of course, if you make him really, really mad... His size is greatly a matter of Depending on the Artist though. Batman, a 6 ft 2 (without his cowl) and is often much either taller or at face-to-face height with him.
  • The Spider-Man villain the Big Man is a very tall and powerfully built man with a very intimidating voice, but subverts this because in reality, he's Frederick Foswell, a reporter for the Daily Bugle, a small, meek individual who uses a padded suit, a mask, and a voice modifier to better look and sound the part of a criminal mastermind. In the comics, his daughter Janice later pulled the same trick as the Big Man. In The Spectacular Spider-Man Animated Adaptation, the Big Man is ostensibly revealed as Evil Albino and Villain with Good Publicity, Tombstone, a tall, powerfully built man with an intimidating voice.
  • In the Supergirl story arc Red Daughter Of Krypton, Supergirl fought a genocidal alien race species called Diasporans. Their leader was the biggest and strongest of them.
  • Geoffrey Wilder from Runaways.
  • Negation subverts this somewhat with third-tier villain Komptin, whose first appearance in the flesh shows him to be half-human height and rotund, as opposed to the huge, looming figure on the communications screen.
  • Averted in Image Comics' WildC.A.T.S. - Jacob Marlowe (Lord Emp) is the multi-millionaire financier as well as the team leader. He's also shown to be rather far below average height. (Four feet tall wouldn't be far off, though with scales being what they are in comics, it's sometimes hard to say.)
  • For a heroic female example, look no further than "Ma" Hunkel of the Justice Society of America. She may be in her '80s, but she's still pretty huge and capable of kicking your ass (and then baking you cookies). Even more so back in her heyday, when she ran around as a superhero, the Red Tornado.
  • Subverted in Fables: The Adversary appears to be a huge, armored warrior, but the real Adversary is little old Geppetto, and the nominal Emperor the public sees is his literal puppet.
  • In the Star Wars: Legacy comic, Darth Krayt, leader of the One Sith, follows Darth Vader's legacy of being large and imposing thanks to the Vong growths in his body and armor. Many of his subordinates are tall and muscular in themselves, but he stands out even among them.
    • Subverted in Legacy War when he finally learns how to rid himself of the growths and he drops back down to normal human size. A trade made willingly, coming as it does with a more than equal growth in his force power and the removal of the time limit the growths place on his life span.
  • Darkseid towers over the other New Gods. It goes even farther than that. New Genesis and Apokolips are BILLIONS of times bigger than Earth. The Boom-Tubes actually shrink him when he visits Earth. At his regular size, he could hold Earth in his hand. So, among titanic beings, he's still the biggest.
  • In The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Sherlock Holmes's portly older brother Mycroft is the head of British Intelligence, known as M. (This is but one example of common theories about the character.)
  • Among the Xenomorphs in Alien, the queen is much larger than the drones and warriors she spawns. However in the comic Aliens: Rogue, a Mad Scientist uses genetic engineering to create a tame "king" xenomorph even larger and heavier than the queen, whom he hopes will usurp the queens position and rid the world of the xenomorph threat forever. Surprisingly, instead of a Curb-Stomp Battle, the queen defeats the king by using her intelligence and speed to dodge its attacks and slowly wear it down until it has no strength left to defend itself.
  • Shakara: Warlord Skulka of the Xorn Empire seems to tower over all his subjects.

    Fan Works 
  • Tsuruya's father in Kyon: Big Damn Hero is explicitly mentioned as being larger than his daughter's bodyguard, who's large as it is. He's also in charge of the largest Yakuza group in the story.
  • Eden in The Tainted Grimoire is a massive Bangaa. He is also the Lord of Camoa and one of the members of the Coronet.
  • The Pony POV Series, in addition to the Princesses (obviously) also has the dragon queen Tiamat, who is so big that she blots out the sun when at full height, and she also managed to single-handedly end the Dragon-Hooviet War, just by showing up.
  • Fluttershy's mom, Barricade, from Mothers. She's captain of the royal Pegasus guard, nearly twice as large as her daughter, and a Large Ham to boot.
  • Tales of the Emperasque takes it Up to Eleven: the God-Emperor of Mankind was an example in canon, but now this psychic powerhouse has a body of seventy-feet long, fifty-feet tall Tarrasque.
  • In Eugenesis, we hear Nightbeat's thoughts on pre-Earth Optimus Prime: Large and blocky, a proud staple of Golden Age Cybertronian engineering. However this means by modern (meaning 2012) standards he's woefully fuel-inefficient.
  • Warbound Widow has Gamzee Makara who after his molt is now over fourteen feet tall and holds the title of Grand Highblood. Word of God confirmed he's now the largest troll in the Empire.

    Films — Animation 
  • Mufasa from The Lion King, as would be expected from a pride of lions.
  • In The Book of Life, Chakal, the king of the bandits, is a giant compared to his men.
  • Spoofed in Victor & Hugo - Bunglers in Crime. The titular brothers' boss, Mr. Big is a mouse in a huge human suit designed to MAKE him seem big and intimidating.
  • In Strange Magic, The Bog King is the tallest of the goblins he rules over. This also applies to a lesser degree to the fairies and elves, with the taller elves ruling over the shorter elves.
  • In The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars, the Martian appliances are lead by a "Supreme Commander" who is a 50-foot refrigerator. He lampshades this trope when an appliance asks why they should vote for him in the next election.
    Martian Appliance: Supreme Commander, why should you get my vote?
    Supreme Commander: Because I'm BIGGER than any of you!
  • In the straight-to-DVD sequel Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Iago says (in reference to Jafar) "He's large... and IN CHARGE!" This qualifies with Jafar in both regular and Genie forms.
  • Celestia and Luna in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls seem to be normal-statured as humans, and have been rather drastically demoted. Being adults around Teenagers does still have them taller than most of the cast whom they are still in a position of authority over.
  • Storks: Hunter, the CEO of the stork company is taller than the rest of the storks.
  • In Zootopia, Chief Bogo plays this trope straight, but Mr. Big inverts it.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Star Wars films:
    • Darth Vader is by far the tallest human in the series, played by the 6'7" (2.0 m) David Prowse. He would have been even taller had Prowse and the 7'3" (2.2 m) Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) not mutually agreed on which parts they would play.
    • In the prequels, Boss Nass of the Gungans and Archduke Poggle of the Geonosians. (Boss Nass is an Ankura, a subspecies of Gungan with a different body structure than most of them.) Lampshaded by George Lucas in the director's commentary.
    • Jabba the Hutt. And, in the Expanded Universe, all other Hutts, as well. (Hutts, in fact, consider girth to be a sign of strength and power, and consider small Hutts to be weak and less worthy.)
    • Ironically subverted with Emperor Palpatine, the main villain, who has the appearance of a frail old man.
    • The Force Awakens gives us Kylo Ren, played by the 6'4" Adam Driver. The leading villains are all over six feet tall, and Snoke, who's already 7' tall, goes the extra mile by communicating via giant, room-filling hologram.
  • Sauron's humanoid form, as depicted in the opening minutes of The Lord of the Rings, towers over humans, elves, and orcs, although he's still not as big as a troll.
  • The Persian "God-King" Xerxes in 300 is huge to non-human proportions. According to 300: Rise of an Empire, this is because he has become literally godlike prior to the events of the films as a result of a Deal with the Devil.
  • The President in The Fifth Element, a Bald Black Leader Guy played by the massive Tommy "Tiny" Lister.
  • The President in Idiocracy, used to illustrate America's idiocy in that it would elect a professional wrestler (and porn star) to the highest political office.
  • Almost subverted with the Transformers Film Series.
    • In the first movie, Optimus Prime is by far the largest Autobot (at 28 feet tall), however Megatron (at 33 feet tall) is according to Word of God, not the largest Decepticon in the movie. Blackout (the helicopter) apparently was (he was 35 feet tall), but due to the way the camera angles are set up, Megatron appears to be the biggest Decepticon and thus, the biggest Transformer in the entire film.
    • The sequel plays this a little more straight. With Megatron reduced to The Dragon status due to the new Big Bad, The Fallen, who despite being much less massive in appearance, is actually taller at 41 feet tall.
  • BRIAN BLESSED as Prince Vultan in Flash Gordon. He gets a lot of regal roles because of this trope.
  • Lord Humungus in The Road Warrior is the masked behemoth leading a band in the wastelands.
  • Shade from Dark Life is the leader of the Seablite gang, and is described as being enormous.
  • The Hunger Games: President Coriolanus Snow, in the film. Being played by 6"4" Donald Sutherland will do that to a character.
  • In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, S.H.I.E.L.D. is led by Samuel L. Jackson (6' 2½"\1,89 m). The Avengers kinda fit, even if Chris Evans (Captain America) is shorter than both Chris Hemsworth (Thor) and Paul Bettany (Vision).
  • One reason Ben Affleck was cast as Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is because he's taller than the already big Henry Cavill, and once Affleck bulked up, the Dark Knight seems massive even next to Superman. Given Batman will lead the Justice League, the "in charge" also fits (even if the Aquaman, Jason Momoa, is slightly taller).
  • Alien: The Xenomorph foot soldiers or "drones" are already significantly larger than their hosts (usually humans), but the Queen Xenomorph who creates all the others is about the size of a T. Rex.
  • Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem: The Predalien hybrid towers over the human-spawned Xenomorphs given that its host was the already large Predator. Though it's implied that the Predalien is a young Queen (given her depositing alien embryos in any human she can get her hands on) who would ultimately have grown even larger than a human-spawned one.

    Gamebooks 
  • In the Lone Wolf series, the squad leaders of the evil Giak battalions are huge Lizardfolks called Gourgaz. They double as Giant Mooks if you have the bad luck of tussling with one.

    Literature 
  • Ward of Hurog is large, and as his father dies at the beginning of the book, in charge of castle Hurog. He is likened to an ox at the beginning of the duology, later on it is mentioned that average men are about the height of his shoulders. It's inherited, some of his ancestors, including his father were just as tall, but unlike them, Ward is a Gentle Giant.
  • In Animorphs the hero and team leader Jake is a minor example of this. He's just a kid, but he's a kid built with a football player's stocky physique and is both the tallest and strongest member of his team. In a later book set in the future, Jake's adult body is described as having a 'Schwarzenegger-esque' build.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld novel Men at Arms subverts this. With the leader of a savage dog pack purported to be menacing, lethal, and incredibly dangerous, you come to assume he's going to be one big dog, but it turns out that he's actually a small poodle that wets himself near constantly and is more than a little insane. He remains incredibly dangerous.
    • Played with in the case of Captain Carrot plays. He's 6'6 and has the approximate body shape of his namesake due to his hugely developed musculature. He's neither the leader of the watch nor the ruler of the city, but he has to actively work to not be any of those things, since most people obey him unthinkingly.
    • Amongst others are Mustrum Ridcully (Archchancellor of UU, and apparently quite a big man), Hughton Ridcully (Mustrum's brother, and chief priest of Blind Io, and consequently the whole religious organisation in the city), Harry King (one of the biggest employers in the city, and apparently also a big man), the brothers Upright (run all the stagecoaches in the city, and again, big men, and in this case pretty portly as well). Perhaps surprisingly averted with the trolls, there's nothing to suggest that the most powerful trolls in the city (Chrysoprase and Mister Shine) are considered big by their standards.
    • Among the Nac Mac Feegle, the war chief's title is "Big Man".
  • Damon Knight's short story "The Handler" is centered around a subversion of this trope; the Big Man at a party is just a puppet controlled by the despised pathetic little man crammed inside his chest.
  • In Brave New World the lower castes are deliberately stunted with alcohol and conditioned to associate size with authority. Bernard Marx has a massive inferiority complex because he's an alpha but for some reason (many suspect accidental alcohol administration) he's as short as many gammas.
  • Although it's not the reason, in the novel 1632, the union leader Mike Stearns ends up being the leader (for quite awhile) of the newly formed nation. When Gretchen (a downtimer from 1632) first encounters him, she remarks "He could have broken (evil leader) in half"
  • Alanon of the Sword of Shannara is over seven feet tall, and the leader of the heroes.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Most myrddraal are human sized or slightly taller. Shaidar Haran, the most powerful member of that race (and possible avatar of the Big Bad) is almost half again as big. This is explicitly noted by the Forsaken when they first meet Haran.
    • Rand al'Thor, the Chosen One, is tall.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Dead Sky Black Sun, Uriel thinks that the largest of the monstrous Unfleshed facing them is the leader and so tries to fight a duel with him, to keep them off. Then, their real — and much larger — leader shows up. (Fortunately, while a hideous cannabalistic monster, he's also a Reasonable Authority Figure, and he thinks there's something strange about Uriel to be considered.)
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, King Robert Baratheon is described as "towering over lesser men" and being muscled like a woman's fantasy when he was in his prime. This is justified by the fact that he won his crown by fighting. Other examples include Gregor Clegane, a monstrously huge knight who leads a troop of soldiers on particularly vicious missions, and the Titan's Bastard, a giant of a sellsword who leads a mercenary company.
  • Togrul in the Conqueror books is khan of the Kerait tribe, and also the biggest, fattest person in all Mongolia. Genghis Khan himself is also rather tall.
  • Ciaphas Cain has been stated to be one of the tallest in most groups (at least two meters). And he's the Commissar, which means not only is he In Charge, he has the option to shoot anyone who disagrees. (He still has to do what the Commissariat and the Inquisition say, though.)
  • Tigerstar of Warrior Cats is described as a very large and muscular cat with very long, hooked claws. Inverted with Scourge of BloodClan, who is so tiny that most characters wonder what the heck he's doing sitting next to Bone, who is enormous (and Scourge's Dragon). Scourge quickly proves that his small size gives him speed and agility, which coupled with his ruthlessness make him one of the most lethal combatants in the series.
  • Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings stood at 6'6', which was considered very tall for Men at the end of the Third Age. As a rule of thumb within the book, Men who lead a company are also its tallest members: Boromir, Faramir, Eomer, and Theoden before he became bent with age, and others. Gandalf (who admittedly only looks like a Man) was also the tallest member of the Fellowship while he led it.
    • Men of Númenor were noted for generally being taller than typical Men, and their height was often indicative of their personal power and social standing. Elendil (regarded as the greatest Man of his age) was about 8 feet tall.
    • Another Tolkien example is the Great Goblin from The Hobbit.
    • Bullroarer Took was a military leader of sorts, and widely known to be so large he could ride a horse. Considering that he was a Hobbit, this is very impressive indeed.
    • Height as a measure of power and standing was also typical among the Elves. Thingol, King of Doriath in The Silmarillion, is said to be the tallest of all the Children of Ilúvatar, though his exact height is never given. Also among the tallest elves are Turgon, King of Gondolin, and Maedhros (called The Tall), eldest son of Fëanor. Galadriel is said to be the tallest elf-woman, equal with Celeborn.
  • Gilgamesh in The Epic of Gilgamesh.
  • In Watership Down, the largest rabbit is almost always the leader of their warren. General Woundwort, for instance, is described as approaching the size of a hare and is immensely strong. The protagonists end up being an exception, with the average-sized Hazel being the Chief Rabbit. In fact, Woundwort assumes Bigwig to be the chief because of his size, and is disturbed when it turns out he isn't — Bigwig is at this point successfully fighting him off. He assumed the chief rabbit was even bigger.
  • In the House of the Keys to the Kingdom, this is pretty much universal. The Trustees and their higher-up servants are especially tall, usually about 7-9 feet. When a worker is demoted in Grim Tuesday, she shrinks about an inch.
  • In The New Jedi Order, the Yuuzhan Vong are physically much larger than humans. Most notable was Supreme Overlord Shimrra, ruler of the Yuuzhan Vong, and was huge even for a Yuuzhan Vong.
  • Alderman Foodbotham, one-time Lord Mayor of Bradford in the Peter Simple newspaper column, was invariably described as weighing 25 stone (350 pounds).
  • In Hard Times, Josiah Bounderby, factory owner, is shaped like a balloon, and as Stephen puts it, "as large and loud as a Hummobee".
  • In the Rod Albright Alien Adventures, the monster Smorkus Flinders is the leader of his race by dint of his size. The monsters have difficulty understanding any other form of hierarchy.
  • The Master Captain in Robert Reed's Great Ship universe is a massive woman, courtesy of her huge amounts of implants which she uses to interface with the Great Ship
  • In the last Mistborn novel, Hero of Ages, Vin deliberately and knowingly exploits the this trope by blatantly inverting it against koloss. "Barely five feet tall," she shocks entire koloss armies by jumping up and smacking down the biggest koloss she can find, typically in the range of nine to ten feet in height and proportionally bulky and muscular. Her "pet" koloss states that she is "big inside" as a rationalization of how such a small person can literally scare entire armies of brutes into submission.
  • Glen Cook's The Black Company series subverts and plays this trope straight. Character descriptions are minimal, but Croaker is described as being a big man. Likewise, Silent, the most competent of the Company mages is also universally portrayed as being tall. By contrast, Goblin and One-Eye are referred to as "runts," (especially by Croaker) and prefer not to be in charge (mostly so they can waste their time feuding with each other or distilling alcohol). Sleepy subverts this trope, as she is very intelligent and competent, but also very short.
  • In Queen Zixi of Ix, the lord high general of Noland starts off short and fat, and when this is pointed out by the king, he wishes he were 10 feet tall. Unfortunately, he's wearing the magic cloak when he does this, and instantly gets his wish fulfilled. The king promptly dubs him the lord very high general.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Hagrid explains that the easiest way to identify the "gurg", or chief, of a giant tribe is to look for the biggest, ugliest, and laziest one.
  • In the Paradox Trilogy, Reaper has a reputation as the most fearsome of the three xith'cal tribe leaders. He's also enormous, towering over all other xith'cal, which are already big by human standards.
  • Justified with Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: While he isn't suggested to be particularly tall/physically imposing in most illustrations and adaptations, he towers over his entire workforce: a race of Little People who come up to his knee at most in the book! Adaptations usually have them at the stature of real life little people instead, but he's still the tallest.
  • In Alien in a Small Town, the leaders of Jannite society are their breeding matriarchs, who are essentially living mountains.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Angel's a pretty big guy. Good thing he's on our side! ...
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Adam. George Hertzberg is huge, even having a few inches on Marc Blucas.
  • The Doctor Who and Blackadder kings played by BRIAN BLESSED.
  • In Doctor Who, Cyber Controllers tend to be larger than normal Cybermen, and Emperor Daleks tower over normal Daleks. Except when said Emperor is Davros. Even then he wears casing to made himself seem bigger in Rememberance of the Daleks.
  • In Farscape all Scarrans were larger than most other bipedal races, but Emperor Staleek did appear appreciably larger still. Oddly enough, and despite his brutality on occasion, he also appeared to one of the more intelligent and reasonable Scarrans that we saw as well, so one would guess his size was not as much of a factor in actually choosing him as leader, but still was apparent.
  • In Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson, generally considered the lead presenter, is 6'5". This is especially apparent when compared to 5'7" co-presenter Richard Hammond. Clarkson regularly mocks Hammond for being short, and exploits his height by placing things (mainly cars on the "Cool Wall") out of Hammonds reach.
  • King Uther fits into this in 'Merlin''. Anthony Head is kind of tall anyway, and the royal outfit and his usual intimidating scowl adds to it.

    Music 
  • Subverted in KISS, whose lead singer and brains of the band Paul Stanley is of fairly average height, while his number-three man, bassist Gene Simmons, is the most physically imposing thanks to his thick metal armor and stilettoed platform shoes. Actually double-subverted if you think about it, because with his instantly recognizable "kabuki lizard" face, Simmons is undoubtedly The Face Of The Band.
  • Also subverted by Shagrath, the lead singer of Dimmu Borgir, who, while not the scrawniest member of the band, looks puny compared to guitarist Silenoz.

    Pinballs 
[[folder:Pinball]]
  • The Kingpin in Capcom's unreleased Kingpin is noticeably larger and brawnier than his lieutenants.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Vince McMahon, the man behind restling/WWE, stands at six-foot-two and weighs about 250 pounds, pretty average by wrestling standards but gigantic compared to the other members of his family and his various assorted corporate cronies. And he wears a padded suit to make himself look even larger.
  • The Nexus. Wade Barrett may not have been the largest man in that nine-man group, but he was definitely near the top of the list.
  • Played with in TNA's Aces & Eights. The Dragon of the team (and de facto leader in many of the brawls) was early on revealed to be the massive (6'7", 291 pounds) Drew Hankinson, a.k.a. "Director of Chaos" or "D.O.C." (pronounced like the monosyllabic slang term for a doctor). He was the first member of the gang to be publicly unmasked, and thus embodied the entire group for a number of months. Since then, however, as several other members of Aces & Eights have been revealed, D.O.C. is no longer very prominent and now basically fills the role of Dumb Muscle.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 models from the "Headquarters" section of the Codices tend to be noticeably larger than rank-and-file figures, the better to accommodate details like the Bling of War. Alternatively, a model's status can be measured by the size of his pauldrons.
    • Justified by the Orks' biology - not only do greenskins never stop growing, but successful or aspiring bosses will actually bulk up and grow even faster. Exemplified in Warlord Ghazghkull, the self-proclaimed Prophet of the Waaagh!, who's nearly twenty feet tall. This all makes it very easy for Orks to tell who their superiors and underlings are, leading them to comment that humans' military hierarchy is confusing since we're "all 'bout da same size" and therefore must waste valuable time arguing over who's in charge (though some have wised up to the fact that those in charge have the nicest hats).
    • In The Beast Arises, the titular Beast is noted to be possible the largest Ork Warboss ever seen. The Astartes sized orks standing near him look like small children in comparison.
      • Behold, Deffboss. He was supposed to be the sole survivor of the original batch of Orks, millions of years ago, and have kept fighting and growing ever since. Currently, he's the size of a planet, with a whole Ork ecosystem living in his body, who built fortifications as his armor.
    • Tyranid Synapse creatures tend to be much bigger than the rest of the swarm, though it should be noted that not every large Tyranid is necessarily a Synapse creature. Imperial policy on the matter is to "shoot the big ones!" and hope that it helps.
    • Space Marines start out with a foot or two on regular humans, and due to their genetic modification will slowly but continuously grow throughout their lives. Their commanders are usually at least eight feet tall, the Primarchs of old were even bigger, and the Emperor Himself was reputably as immense as you'd expect a Physical God to be. Chaos Space Marines follow the same scheme, and Warlords who ascend to Daemon Princedom grow to be the size of Dreadnoughts.
    • Abaddon the Despoiler, leader of the Black Legion is described as being a giant even for Chaos Space Marine, the artwork not always reflecting this, but is dwarfed by the Daemon Princes in his ranks.
  • Warhammer: Orcs, Ogres, and Daemons. Orcs for the same reason as in 40K, Greater Daemons are the stronger leaders of the Lesser Daemons, and Ogres because when you're really big, you have to listen to the guy who's really, really big
    • There are only two real "ranks": Grots and Bosses. A Grot is anything smaller than you, and is to be kicked and abused at your leisure; a Boss is anything bigger than you, and is to be feared and respected.
  • Many monsters in Dungeons & Dragons grow in size as they increase in levels. This is especially evident with the dragons, who through their lives grow from a Pint-Sized Powerhouse to an ancient wyrm the size of a big cargo plane.
    • Also, one of the third edition supplements included a Large and larger size only feat called Large and in Charge. It added knockback to the user's attacks of opportunity, allowing it to abuse Instant Death Radius, though it naturally required a high Strength score to be effective.
    • On a smaller scale, the race known as dark creepers in the 1st and 2nd Editions, and dark ones in the 3rd, are the size of Halflings, except the leader of each community, called a dark stalker; they're human-sized.
    • This is always the case with myconids, a subterranean race of fungus-men. Myconid range from 1 to 7 HD, and are about one food tall per HD; there is only one 7 HD myconid in a community, and that one is the king.
  • The "rulers" of the Slivers in Magic: The Gathering are much larger than even their largest subordinates—specifically, all three have 7 power and 7 toughness, while the largest Sliver (aside from a variant designed to sabotage opposing Sliver decks) has 4 and 4. In real life terms, they would also be physically larger; the Queen is dozens of feet long, the Overlord a mashup from at least four other Slivers, and the Legion actually being a Hive Mind spread out among many Sliver bodies.
    • The green Phyrexian faction is led by Vorinclex. It really fits his personality.

    Toys 

    Video Games 
  • Bowser, the Koopa King from Super Mario Bros.. One of the Punis even says so in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
    • Wario (CEO of a video game company) and Donkey Kong (informal leader of the Kong Klan of primates) fit the bill, too.
    • Princess Peach also counts, being taller than Luigi in recent games.
    • Donkey Kong's Arch-Enemy King K.Rool is this depending on the game, sometimes he's the largest enemy, and sometimes there are bosses bigger than him.
  • Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda. Especially when he goes One-Winged Angel and becomes Ganon. But even in his human form, he's officially listed at seven and a half feet tall.
    • The Moblins from the same series almost always have their ranks sorted by size.
    • Goron Chieftains are also typically distinguishable by their size. However, in several games a colossal Goron will appear who is not in charge and apparently has no distinctive rank.
    • The two rulers of the twilight realm seen in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess are rather tall, the main difference being that Midna is a Statuesque Stunner while Zant is a Noodle person.
    • Demon King Demise in The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword in his humanoid form, by far the largest non-monster type enemy in the game and possibly the entire series.
  • Invoked in Stacking. Small characters are children or adults with low social status, while large dolls tend to be wealthy. The Big Bad is The Baron, the largest doll, while the protagonist, Charlie Blackmore, is the smallest doll.
  • Gorath from Betrayal at Krondor is chieftain of a major clan, and is tall and broad-shouldered even by dark elf standards. Though it's notable that, having taken the position at age twelve, he was put in charge before he became large.
  • King Dedede from Kirby. Kirby's height has been given as eight inches, which would make King Dedede about as large as an actual penguin. When scaled up along with Kirby in Super Smash Bros., however, he is appropriately large.
  • In Dissidia: Final Fantasy, Golbez is much taller than most of the other characters, even though he's not really a villain at all, to the point that even though Cecil was scaled up to be the largest of the heroes note , he looks small enough beside Golbez (helped along by their many scenes together) that people mistake him for being one of the smaller characters in the game. Chaos himself is this trope.
    • In the original game he was also an exemplary of the "ridiculously over-sized enemy battle art" trope seen commonly in early RPGs, spanning the full height of the screen.
    • Chaos outright dwarfs any of the playable characters, except for Feral Chaos in the sequel, with even Goblez and the two characters around his size, Exdeath and Garland, being around foot shorter than him.
  • Metroid has Ridley. While he might not lead the Space Pirates (the games never cleared up his exact position), he's Samus' Arch-Enemy and obviously much bigger than she is.
    • He still answers to Mother Brain who towers over the both of them. In fact, pretty much all of Samus' archenemies are the biggest baddies in the games bar Kraid.
    • And then you get to Super Metroid, where Kraid turns out to be one of the biggest monsters in the series, standing several stories tall!
  • World of Warcraft bosses usually have bigger models than the players, even if the boss is of the same race. This is due in part to Story And Gameplay Segregation. Bigger bosses make it more manageable for big parties to fight them. Faction and other leaders also tend to be unusually large, and they can double as bosses for the opposing faction. Also present in Warcraft III, with heroes being huge in comparison to normal units, and high-level variants of monsters towering over even the largest map structures
    • In World of Warcraft, size tends to equal power in all terms. In Loch Modan, you'll meet level 17 ogres that are about eight feet tall. In the Blade's Edge Mountains, you'll meet level 67 ogres that are closer to twenty feet tall!
    • Speaking of ogres, a good in-universe rule of thumb is that the ogre in charge of a clan will be the largest. This is because ogre leadership is decided by which ogre is strongest, and larger ogres tend to be stronger.
    • Not to mention the hunter Shrinky Dink effect when taming a pet for a reverse application of the trope. The quickest way to make a five story tall elite dinosaur smaller than your mount? Bring it over to our side!
    • Most high power temporary damage buffs increase the size of the player tremendously, played to its most powerful form in boss mind control spells: Mind Controlled Players tend to double, triple or even quadruple in size, and their stats scale insanely high until the mind control is broken.
    • They also do this with some important NPCs. Tirion Fordring in Icecrown Citadel, for example, is substantially taller than the other humans in the room.
    • This isn't all Gameplay and Story Segregation; several leaders are mentioned in story as being unusually large for members of their race; Thrall, Fandral Staghelm, and Cairne Bloodhoof are all noted for standing a head or so higher than the average (already rather large) orc, night elf, and tauren respectively. Though sometimes the segregation's still in place, Tirion's specifically noted to be a fairly average sized man in the novel that introduces him, for instance.
    • Another weird instance is Tyrande. The female Night Elf player model stands a few inches shorter than a male. Tyrande is nearly twice the height of the normal-sized Night Elf women standing near her.
    • The Lich King, who towers over you at the start of the Death Knight starting zone, no matter what race you picked.
      • Noth The Plaguebringer, despite having a normal human male shape and model, looks to stand nearly 9 feet tall. A normal human male NPC standing next to him looks to only be about waist height compared to him.
    • Prophet Velen is canonically tall and thin by draenic standards (and draenei are rather tall to begin with). His unique model accurately reflects this.
  • Fire Emblem has many, many of these.
    • The trend began with Prince and later Emperor Hardin from the third game (New Mystery of the Emblem). Hardin already was a rather tall man when he was Marth's Number Two, but became even bigger when he took over while Brainwashed and Crazy.
    • King Zephiel from the 6th (''). His sprite strongly resembles a General, but is even bigger and the BFS he wields doesn't help matters.
    • The Laguz Kings, Ashnard, and arguably Ike (in Radiant Dawn) from the 9th and 10th games are all this.
    • Played very, very straight by Emperor Walhart of Valm from Fire Emblem Awakening, who is by far the largest of the enemies one faces. King Gangrel pf Plegia is also pretty tall, but he's not as bulky as Walhart is so he does't look that huge compared to him.
      • Subverted by Prince and later Exalt Chrom from Ylisse, who is a fairly tall guy but nowhere in the league of Walhart.
    • Fire Emblem Fates has King Sumeragi of Hoshido and King Garon of Nohr, both very imposing and large leaders. Their sons and heirs, the Warrior Princes Ryoma and Xander, are also pretty tall and badass.
  • Odin Sphere takes this to a ridiculous extent. Several of the 'important' characters, like Odin and his main general, are basically giants, despite ostensibly being the same race as the human-sized Valkyrie protagonist. The extra odd part is that three of the human sized characters are Odin's children; despite the fact that he's about 4 times taller then them, despite being hunched over, and at least 10 times more massive.
  • In City of Heroes and Villains, Lord of War Hro'Dtohz and Master At Arms U'Kon Gr'ai are several times larger than a typical Rikti.
    • The creatures of the Devouring Earth get progressively larger with rank, then make a huge leap to their creator Hamidon, who has taken the form of mile-wide giant amoeba.
    • Most of the Rularuu bosses are maybe twice human size. Rularuu himself (leader of the group) is explicitly stated to be over 100 feet in height.
    • Similarly, the small Hydra forces are man sized. They get bigger.
  • Dracula in the Castlevania series is usually (with a couple of notable exceptions) about twice the height of the protagonist when confronted, requiring the Belmont hero to jump in order to whip him in the face. This may be a Shout-Out to the original novel, in which one of the Count's unused but mentioned powers is to "grow and become small".
    • While most of his second forms are of the One-Winged Angel variety, his second form in the arcade game Haunted Castle is to become so large that only his head fits onscreen.
  • Subverted in No One Lives Forever 2 where the Big (literally) boss of French mime villains actually was a midget on a unicycle.
  • Colonel Volgin from Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
  • Mass Effect plays this fairly straight with the humanoid geth variants; the larger the geth, the tougher it is and the higher-ranking it is. Geth Primes are generally the nastiest thing you can fight on two legs. Also averted with Saren Arterius. He is much shorter than his fellow Turians who usually go over seven feet, being only about as tall as the human protagonist. Of course he compensates this with purely muscle-based width and personality powerful enough to fill a large room.
    • Mass Effect 2 reveals that the Geth are actually several hundred programs in one sentient mobile platform. The bigger the mobile platform, the more programs contained within, and therefore, the smarter the individual mobile platform. They also become smarter when more programs are clustered together, hence why Primes buff units near them.
      • Subverted by Legion, who is the smartest individual Geth platform thus far, having over a thousand programs in it. It's only the size a standard Geth Trooper. However it was specifically designed to be that way so the Geth could have an effective single agent.
    • In the DLC "Lair of the Shadow Broker", the eponymous Shadow Broker is a member of the Yahg species. He towers over nearly all the characters in the series so far, and is equally broad. The confrontation with him starts with him performing an epic Slouch of Villainy behind his desk that disguises his true height; when things get serious, he pushes away from the desk and stands up... and up... while Shepard's party looks on.
    • The third game reveals that Harbinger, the Reaper semi-encountered in the second, is in fact the oldest, largest, and most powerful Reaper, and is also their leader (excluding the Catalyst).
  • In Aquaria, every single boss is at least 3 times as big as Naija, the protagonist. Most are a lot bigger. It's also carried to its logical conclusion— the [humanoid] Final Boss, The Creator, is so gigantic that his eye is almost as big as Naija herself.
  • Mega Man X 4 includes General, the...er...General of the Repliforce, who towers over everyone else. He's as tall as a house.
  • In the Mega Man games, Dr. Wily's one-time robot pawn King towers over most Robot Masters.
  • Mondo Agency: The President is tremendous.
  • Captain Syrup in the first two Wario Land games was an Aversion of this trope, but the BigBads in the later games from Wario Land 3 and onwards certain fit this profile (especially Rudy the Clown and the Shake King)
  • Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Sengoku Basara is a towering guy comparable to a gorilla. Obviously, he is one of the more ruthless leaders of the game.
  • In Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, the opponents are at least twice as tall as Little Mac (they don't call him little for nothing).
    • The Wii version tones down the height advantage that opponents have over Mac, but they don't tone down the weight advantage. Mac weighs in at 107 pounds. Glass Joe, his first opponent, weighs in at 110 lbs. Von Kaiser, his second opponent, weighs in at 144 lbs, and Disco Kid, his third opponent, weighs in a 210 lbs! In real life, that's several weight classes apart! Then there's King Hippo, who's weight and height are listed as "???".
  • In the old Amiga platformer Shadow of the Beast, most bosses (and some mooks) were large, but the final boss? All you see of him is his foot, and his club-wielding hand that tries to crush you. You defeat him by repeatedly punching his big toe.
  • Dong Zhuo (Fat Bastard tyrant king) and Meng Huo (hulking Nanman tribal leader) from the Dynasty Warriors series.
  • Halo:
    • Brute Chieftains tend towards this, in large part because the small ones tend to be overthrown and killed. There's a reason humanity calls the entire species Brutes, after all. Tartarus in Halo 2, who's the Chieftain of his entire species, stands at about a head taller than the other Brutes (who already average about 9'00"/274 cm), making them look outright skinny in comparison.
    • In Halo Wars, there's Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee, who easily dwarfs his fellow Elites. That's saying something when 7'4" (225 cm) is considered short for your species. Halo: Ghosts of Onyx also has Imperial Admiral Xytan Jar 'Wattinree, who's roughly 11'6" (3.5 meters), though Word of God leaves it ambiguous as to how much of that is simply visual trickery.
    • The Didact, the military leader of the Forerunners, is probably one of the largest character in the entire Haloverse. In fact, Forerunner society in general seems to run like this, with individuals acquiring new mutations that make them even larger as they advance in rank; Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting's father, a fairly high-ranking Forerunner, was about 4 meters (aka roughly 13'1") tall.
    • In general, the Covenant military has Elites and Brutes in charge of the smaller species like Grunts and Jackals; the even bigger Hunters, though still subordinate to Elites and Brutes, also seem to be put into a commanding role, though they tend to be a Bad Boss should any allies happen to be in their way (re: stomping on/smacking them away for being in the way).
  • Shao Kahn and Onaga from Mortal Kombat are among the top villains of the series, and both tower over the normal characters. Though Kahn's not as big as Kintaro or Motaro.
  • In Devil May Cry, Mundus, the demon king, is by far the largest demon Dante has to face.
    • Hardly. DAH SAVYAH is at least twice his height, the Leviathan is so large that Dante can spend an entire stage running around its innards, while Echidna and the building demon in DMC 2 could give him a run for his money.
  • It's no wonder that Chieftain from Elite Beat Agents is the lead character in the hard difficulty, being impressively tall and everything.
  • In Drakan: The Ancients' Gate, Arohk lampshades this on the way to optional boss Snotmaw's territory: "Since he's a chieftain, I'm guessing he's a very large wartok. Their system of government isn't particularly complex."
  • Taranis from Infinite Space, who is the current Emperor of Lugovalos.
  • Ninety-Nine Nights has King Ppakk the Third, who is many times larger than the other members of his species.
  • Garland's One-Winged Angel form in Wanderers from Ys / The Oath in Felghana.
  • Warhammer Online's redesign of the city sieges pits boss NPCs against each other. The Warlords are twice the size of a normal player (despite being characters that, in the original tabletop game, were normal man-sized), whereas the King NPCs are both roughly three to four times the height of a normal man. including the Emperor Karl Franz, who is very much a normal human. Still, it helps to a) justify his one-on-one fight with the monstrously huge and mutated Daemon Prince Tchar'Zanek and b) pick him out as a target...
  • In Painkiller, most of the mooks are roughly man-sized. Then you go up against your first boss - whose foot you can mistake for a small building.
  • In Dragonshard, the Captains are much larger than the rest of their squads.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Redd White is the CEO of Bluecorp, and a pretty big guy. This is supposedly because the episode he appears in was originally going to be at the beginning of the game, and that the creator wanted the first villain of the game to be "tough".
    • Manfred von Karma (The Dreaded prosecutor) and Damon Gant (Da Chief) are both similar in size to White.
  • A slight subversion in Ratchet & Clank: The Big Bad and final boss, Chairman Drek, is very small, but uses a big machine in the final boss fight. Also subverted in the second game of the series - the final boss is a little pet...turned gigantic.
  • In Titan Quest the special monsters tends to be bigger than the other soldiers, while the hero-monsters are even larger. This is expecially evident with the Satyrs, Jackal-men, Croc-men and Dragonians.
  • All of the bosses in RuneScape's God Wars Dungeon are like that. The race of birdmen is led by a giant birdman, different from the others due to having his arms attached to the wings (possibly to aid in moving them). The general morass of goblins, ogres and such greenskin is led by a member of the nearly-extinct Ourg race, looking like a typical giant orc. The evil god's demons are led by a large demon, too. Only Saradomin's forces are led by an angelic being instead of a giant, not that much larger than a human. She's a member of an extinct race too, though.
  • Bitores Mendez in Resident Evil 4 is chief of Pueblo, and the average person only comes up to the bottom of his sternum. Inverted with Ramon Salazar, the adult castellan who is the size of a pre-teen child. Who then straightens it back by fusing himself and his bodyguard to a gigantic man-eater plant.
  • Sword of the Stars:
    • Tarka males go from "scaly monkey" to "scaly ape" after the Change, which also enables them to enter the highest echelons of power.
    • Hiver Princes can vary in size depending slightly on their mother, but most of them are intended to do battle for a princess' favour and tend to be larger and more powerful than warriors.
    • Liir never stop growing, so their elders can be positively huge. The extreme of this are the Suul'ka, Great Elders who are larger than Leviathans.
  • The major villain of Pirates of the Caribbean Online, Jolly Roger, is about 10 feet tall. Aside from some walking trees on a remote island, he is easily the largest opponent in the game.
  • Ugh-Zan III, the Final Boss of Serious Sam: The First Encounter. While the biggest enemy you've faced so far is 50ft tall at the very most, his height is 330 feet. And he's just as bulky as he is tall.
  • The boss in Minubeat is four times as big as the enemies you've faced up to this point, as well as significantly creepier and looking like a cybernetic face rather than a square.
  • Orlok The Eternal is the field commander for the Hierarchy in Universe at War, and he's about 5 stories tall.
  • Gears of War has General RAAM. At least 9 feet tall, he towers over the already big main characters. Averted in multiplayer, where his skin is downsized to the height of a normal Drone for Competitive Balance.
  • The Overlord is over twice the height of his impish minions, being human (or at least close enough). There's also King Melvin of the halflings, an extreme case of Adipose Rex.
  • Most of the Qunari in the Dragon Age series are already pretty big guys, standing seven or eight feet tall and being built like a bull (except for human and elven converts, of course). Their military leader the Arishok is even larger and more muscular, with larger horns as well.
    • The comic Those Who Speak proves that this is likely just a coincidence, however, and size alone is not the only deciding factor in who is Arishok. Your old companion Sten becomes the new Arishok after the death of the one in Dragon Age II, and while he's large compared to a human, he's not large for his race and is completely hornless.
  • Played straight in Pokémon Black and White by Team Plasma. "King" N is five foot eleven (1.8 meters), putting him One Head Taller than the player characters, albeit slender in build. His father Ghetsis tops six and a half feet (2 meters even)... and going by the fact that he apparently wears forty pounds of metal on his neck for the entire first game, he is probably not lightly built.
  • OFF: Though all the guardians (even Japhet, though not at first) follow this somewhat, Enoch's by far the most noticeable, as he somewhat resembles a rounder, much fatter, and much bigger Elsen, who'll get enormous when he's actually serious.
  • Played straight and heroically in two of three cases for Final Fantasy XIV 's Grand Companies, and definitely averted for the third. The leaders of Limsa Lominsa's Maelstrom, Merlwyb Bloefhiswyn, and Ul'dah's Immortal Flames, Raubahn are a Roegadyn and a heavily scarred giant of a Hyur, respectively. The Gridanian Twin Adders' leader, Kan-E-Senna, on the other hand is a diminutive Padjal who, while nowhere near as short as a Lalafell, would barely even come up to the waist of either of her fellow leaders.
  • Subverted in Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. While Optimus Prime and Megatron are larger than most other playable characters, not only does the game contain giant characters that Kaiju size, but also some enemies on both sides such as Leapers, Titans, Destroyers that are much bigger than they are, plus on the Autobot side, Grimlock who most characters are only knee height to.
  • Nosferatu The Wrath Of Malachi: The Count is nearly twice as tall as his minions.
  • Saints Row IV has Zinyak, an alien creature over double the size of his minions.
  • King Asgore from Undertale is ruler of the monsters, and easily the biggest and tallest character in the game.
  • This is standard for the court cards in Hand of Fate, ranging from the Jack of Dust, who is slightly taller than other bandits, to the King of Scales, a dragonic dinosaur who is four time bigger than normal lizardmen (who are themselves somewhat bigger than humans).
  • In Armello, the King. It's not clear exactly how large he is, but he's at least head and shoulders over any of the heroes, including those of Bear Clan, despite being hunched in a Primal Stance.

    Web Comics 
  • Barry Heterodyne, Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, Master Payne and the Jäger Generals from Girl Genius. The Master of Paris tops all of them, assuming that's all really his physical body. (The man is very oddly proportioned.)
  • Last Res0rt takes this to its logically ridiculous extremes by making the Vaeo Family 7-foot-tall lizards compared to the rest of the cast, and then TOP that by introducing Veled (head of the Celigan Military), who measures just under 10 feet tall. In fact, the main subversion is Jigsaw Forte herself: she's the smallest Executioner of the four. The other executioners are a reasonably sized human, a large lion-like centaur, and an alien creature commonly mistaken for a Horse.
  • Fa'Lina from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures is head of SAIA, and towers over most of the cast. However this is her smaller form, as Clan leaders are shown to be "naturally" much larger.
  • Homestuck:
    • Skaia Battleground is based on a chess game, except both Kings are mutated humanoids the size of mountains, each wielding a scepter the size of a building. Their enormous size comes from the scepter; when the White King gives up his scepter, he shrinks to the size of a largish humanoid.
    • Also, Lord English, the leader of The Felt. He's not the size of a mountain, but he's at least ten feet tall.
  • King Adelaide of the Basitin from TwoKinds. Basitins are generally between 5ft and 5ft6in. Adelaide is about 8ft.
  • Harky in Guilded Age is huge, and leader of the trolls in the World's Rebellion. Penk also gets larger when he becomes an avatar of Tectonicus and takes leadership of the Champions.

    Web Original 
  • Speaking of World of Warcraft, Scourge chat logs spawned the phrase "Wyrms before worms". If you click a link under "Store", you'll see there are shirts and mugs with an illustration. Because "phylumism is hilarious".
  • Averted with Doctor Steel: While he was head of the Army Of Toy Soldiers and had his sights set on world domination, he was rather small of stature in real life.
  • Diamanda Hagan rules over an entire nation with an murderous iron and religiously tolerant fist. All six foot two of her. Especially notable in her crossover with Brad Jones where she towers over him.

    Western Animation 
  • Optimus Prime and Megatron from Transformers, with the exception of the gestalts and a few very big Transformers like Tidal Wave or Metroplex.
    • Particularly jarring in Beast Wars, after Optimus Primal carries the spark of the original Optimus and his body mutates as a result. He gains several "traditional" transformer-style attributes, and he towers, being about half the size of the original Autobots and about double the size of the Maximals, including Rhinox, who turns into a rhino.
    • Earlier seasons offered a subversion- Dinobot was head and shoulders taller than Optimus Primal, and Rhinox was equally as large if not larger. Late season two, Rampage is much larger than Megatron, who really doesn't need size to be scary... it just helps.
    • Ditto for Ultra Magnus, especially in Transformers Animated. The same series has a similar subversion to Beast Wars in that the leader of both the main Decepticon and Autobot cast have a leader who is only the second largest, being smaller than the The Big Guy and The Brute of the group.
    • Unicron is the size of a small planet.
    • Primus is the robot mode of Cybertron.
    • Very apparent in Beast Machines - the Vehicon generals are each about twice the size of their respective drones.
    • Predaking of Transformers Prime is only kept from being this by being so intimidating that Megatron pulls the plug on the project that would have created more Predacons. Once he does finally get subordinates, though, he's noticibly larger than them.
  • Goliath from Gargoyles is the largest gargoyle in his clan (though Hudson and Broadway come close), and its leader as well. However, his hand-picked successor, Brooklyn, is the second-shortest of them.
  • Vilgax from Ben 10.
  • The Highbreed in Ben 10: Alien Force tower over their DNAlien lackies, and the ruling class rivals King Kong. Subverted when they select a new ruler at the end of the arc, though; he's younger and slightly shorter than the average Highbreed.
  • The Tallest of Invader Zim are Exactly What It Says on the Tin, because on Irk, height makes might. As the average adult Irken is the size of a human child, this is specially reinforced. And in the first episode, they are seen handing out invasion assignments based on physical height. Ending with sending the shortest applicant to the "home of the slaughtering rat people", after not sending an earlier applicant there because he looked taller. (That earlier applicant instead went to the planet that housed the universe's comfiest couch.) Zim himself is just about as small as this last applicant.
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • Both Secret Societies were created and run by Gorilla Grodd. The name says it all, really.
    • And of course, Darkseid. Rules Apokolips with an iron fist, and towers over almost every other character in the DCAU.
  • In Samurai Jack, Aku is the tyrannical ruler of the dystopian world; as a shapeshifter, his size varies, but he's always a giant who towers over his minions. (And usually anyone else.) Inverted, however, with the Scottsman's clan, where everybody is a big, hulking muscleman except the guy in charge, the Elder.
  • In the straight-to-DVD sequel Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Iago says (in reference to Jafar) "He's large... and IN CHARGE!"
  • Fire Lord Ozai from Avatar: The Last Airbender cuts a rather impressive figure, as does King Bumi.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Princess Celestia. Not only taller than all but the largest of her subjects by at least one time and a half, she has a monstrously large wingspan and a horn much larger than than any other unicorn. To a lesser extent, the same also goes for her younger sister Luna, who is effectively the second-in-command of Equestria and for Princess Cadence, current ruler of the Crystal Empire. And when Twilight Sparkle earned her wings and coronation, she grew slightly taller.
    • Shining Armor, captain of the Royal Guard and later Prince-by-Marriage stands modestly taller than the generic guardstallions, who are already larger than the generic stallion body.
    • Queen Chrysalis is about the same size as Celestia and towers over her (admittedly tiny) children. This is biologically accurate for a hive insect queen, though she is very thin for this.
    • Discord changes his size frequently but is normally massive compared to the ponies. He is a Reality Warper, commanding everything around him to his will, but doesn't technically have any official authority.
    • King Sombra walks right into this trope with his smoke form (which makes him the biggest bad guy on the show), and his pony form is also about the same size as Celestia.
    • Chief Thunderhooves, the leader of the buffalo tribe, is a giant even compared to the other buffalo (who are in turn MUCH larger than the ponies).
    • Lord Tirek starts out small and frail, but increases in size and power as he drains the magic from ponies, ultimately growing to Kaiju size.
  • BigWeld from Robots is the biggest Robot in the movie aside from the BigBad.
  • Bloth, the main villain from The Pirates of Dark Water is the largest human in the show.
  • Seems to be the case with the Worms in Men in Black; the few leaders we see are several times the size of the Worm Guys regulars. "I am large and in charge" is even a favorite phrase of the Worm King when he's learning English. The Bug Queen counters this by saying she's larger!
  • In Aladdin: The Series, the ruler of the Al-Muddies is a giant, far bigger than his human-size subjects; however, that is not the only reason they made him their leader, as he himself says, when Aladdin tries to outsmart him.
  • On The Smurfs, the swamp-dwelling, toadlike Wart-Mongers are ruled by King Bullrush; while larger Wart Mongers than him are seen occasionally, he's bigger than the average one. (And he certainly has the most volatile temper.)
  • In Legend Of Korra Vaatu is this trope in the second book. Zaheer averts it, he is a regular sized man but Ghazan and especially P'li do fit this trope, since they are taller than him.
  • This seems to be common among the Gems of Steven Universe. Rose Quartz was the former leader of the Crystal Gems and expansive in all directions, her replacement Garnet is also considerably taller and larger than any of the others though she's small for a fusion and her components, Ruby and Sapphire, are about Steven's size. Jasper, the highest ranking member of the Homeworld Gems thus seen in season 1, matches her in height and is very broad shouldered and muscular, while the low-caste Peridot and Rubies are about three feet tall. This is later revealed to be part of the Gem Homeworld's Fantastic Caste System- Quartz gems like Jasper and Rose (and like Amethyst could have been) are large and tall, and they're a Super Soldier caste of warrior leaders. Later, it's revealed the Homeworld leaders are a group of Diamonds who take this trope to the extreme by being the size of the Crystal Gems' largest fusions.

Alternative Title(s): Literally Big Bad

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/LargeAndInCharge