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Magnificent Bastard Discussion Archive
JJ Moses: I have an idea. Why don't we have a TV Tropes vote (or something..) for the best Magnificent Bastard, and then make a picture with a picture of all of the chooses in the top places. Just so we can get some sort of picture on here.
\fleb: yli cut this image right after it was nominated for Made of Win, presumably because it's incomprehensible if you're not familiar with at least one of the Bastards it's a composite of.

Man Without A Body: I'm familiar with one or two, and it's still incomprehensible.

Smokie: The picture of now is awesome enough.

Man Without A Body: The "This is a picture your favourite example" one? If so, thanks. I made it.

C Trombley: If someone doesn't give a big speech about how it helps the article and is totally not whining that some argumentation happened, I'm going to delete the current picture before the end of the day.

Ethereal Mutation: I'm actually curious what the sources are. The ones I recognize:

Hat = Eric Cartman?
Body = General Rommel? Seems fitting, since this trope seems inspired by that particular quote.
Hands = It seemed like Gendo from Neon Genesis Evangelion at first glance because I remembered the pose from the Scary Shiny Glasses page, doesn't quite line up.

fleb: Hands are Lelouch from Code Geass, but that and Cartman were the only ones I recognized.
And... that picture must stay. It must.

Gentlemens Dame 883: I thought the eyes were Lelouch's Geasses, while the arms were Gendo's. Not lining up can be explained by scaling issues. Where's the mouth and that... golden thing around the shoulders... come from?

Inkblot: How about we just make an animated GIF of all the most oft-cited examples?
Clendy82: I'd like to recommend temporarily suspending Ocelot and the rest of the Metal Gear Solid examples until the authorities determine who among them (if any) managed to survive the Thirty Xanatos Pileup.


Introbulus: I'm tacking GLaDOS onto the list. I'd also add Hal, since he was a damned awesome force of evil in 2001, but I personally don't know enough about him to make a proper attribution.

Black Humor: I don't think either GLaDOS or Hal are Magnificent Bastards. They don't make the kind of plans Magnificent Bastards do, and Glados at least is really too childish to be one.
Zabet:In case anyone's wondering, I moved my edit on Derren Brown because I realised that he's so far failed to bring empires to their knees and so doesn't really qualify as magnificent. But when he does, he's going back in.

cg12345: Would either Andrew Ryan or Frank Fontaine, from BioShock count? Ryan gets this speech (WARNING!! Spoiler like you can't imagine!) just before you kill him, which is pretty damn magnificent. And he did build himself his own Art Deco Utopia under the sea. On the other hand, Fontaine turns out to have been manipulating you for half the game with the "Would you kindly..." key word. He fails pretty hard at the end of the game, though.
Jorgan: I'm wondering if Septimus of Stardust qualifies. In the first scene alone, he pushes his brother out a window while the latter was having a moment of profound reflection. He then does such things as attempt to poison both of his surviving brothers ( though he only succeeds with one) and use his soothsayer's runes to expose the man as a traitor, then kill him and pocket said runes for later use. I could go into a full account of his exploits, but it would take way too long.
Stm177: I put all the examples into categories although ones from Shakespeare could arguably be in theatre rather than literature.
Scifantasy: OK, there are now two different claims to the origin of this name...one is Smallville, the other is Patton. Now, I know which one I'll believe, but...shouldn't someone more familiar with the entry sort that out? I Seven Seals: I don't think anyone's disputing that Patton is the origin of the phrase. It's Television Without Pity who indirectly turned it into a trope name by calling Lionel Luthor that. That is, TWoP is the direct origin of the trope name, while Patton is the ultimate origin. If this isn't clear, the entry could be amended along these lines.

Egak: Amendment made.

Jordan: I think Odysseus might be an even older example- there is a story about how he frames for treason someone who forced him to go to war and he gets the guy executed and of course his behavior with the Cyclops is pretty clever/cruel. I believe he also thought up the Trojan Horse idea.

Scrounge: This is about where the name comes from. There's no doubt that the Magnificent Bastard is as old as time itself.

Reynard: Would Naraku from the ~~Anime~~ series "InuYasha" count? He's as Machiavellian as they come — he could probably give Karl Rove a few pointers — and, like Rove, I doubt that he'll ever pay, karmically or otherwise, for his crimes.
  • Ogre Prodigy: My opinion is that Naraku qualified in Sango's debut episode (Wherein he was both the Evil Chancellor AND the Good King that the Evil Chancellor was manipulating), but that I never felt that, after that, he really qualified, especially given that he revealed his deception to the protagonists the episode after he pulled it off.

Medinoc: Does Darth Sidious count ? His plans and manipulations are clever enough both to become Emperor and turn Anakin to the The Dark Side... And he can mow down three Jedi masters in a mere seconds.

Medinoc: And I forgot the eponymous Bastard Operator From Hell (BOFH)..

Mister Six: Removed a conversation regarding the graphic that might spoil some viewers' TV watching.

Ununnilium: That gif is distracting, and doesn't really make sense — why does a guy in a gas mask represent Magificent Bastardy?

Cassius335: Because that's The Master. When the end of Season 2 makes it stateside, it'll make sense... but when it does, "your hearts will break".

Fast Eddie: Animated gifs make the entry hard to read. That's the "distracting" comment above. Here it is on a jump jump.

Where does Ash of the Evil Dead films fit in? I'm thinking Magnificent Bastard, Made of Iron, or Badass? All three? '

Were Josh Peck Prince: Ronaldo Rump and his cousin deserve a mention here as does Limburger really. He's not only a fat, smelly plutarkian disguised as a human, he's also a genius with a high volcabulary and pretty much is the most Magnificent Bastard in the Biker Mice universe. Also I think that Nukus from Beetleborgs Metalix should be added into the live action section.

Zephid: Put up a picture of Grand Admiral Thrawn. It's too bad I couldn't find one of similar quality that has him with a Psychotic Smirk. If the picture isn't appropriate or gets in the way, go ahead and remove it.

Scrounge: Can't believe Megatron from Beast Wars wasn't on the page already.

Anomaly Apologist: In a similar vein, how come nobody's mentioned Revolver Ocelot from Metal Gear Solid? I'd say he's as Magnificent as they come. (If all else fails, I'll find the tips on style and templates and try to write it myself.)

Ununnilium: Taking out:
  • While not necessarily an example Bill on NewsRadio has on at least one occasion exclaimed "I've read your book you Magnificent Bastard" to Dave.

...because that's a straight-up Patton reference.

Also, I don't think Black Mage counts. He isn't really that good at planning or tricking people into doing his bidding. He's a bastard, but not really magnificent.

Also also, I think the quote would do better without the last four sentences. Awesome stuff, tho.

Also also also, taking out the quotes from the Superman Returns entry, since they don't seem to illustrate any bastardery:
Lex: Do you know the story of Prometheus?
(His female aide begins to respond.)
Lex: (interrupts) No, of course you don't.
and
Lex: (trilling) Krrrrryptonite!

DomaDoma: Someone put a massive barrage of spoilers for Deathly Hallows at the top of the page. Have deleted it.

Tanto: Um, no. Those are not spoilers.

DomaDoma: Possibly only spoilerific if you've already read it, fair point.


Mister Six: That quote is almost the definition of tl;dr. Can it not be chopped down a bit?
H. Torrance Griffin: Were Miles Vorkosigan from Lois Bujold's work not as benevolent as all get out (and often more reliant on brilliant improvisation than a Master Plan), he would be a card carrying example. The man gained effective control over an prison camp with his charisma and knack for headgames alone, and at seventeen ended up master of an interstellar mercenary warfleet without even intending to.
Charred Knight: Moved Nellie Lovett, and Gaston to Manipulative Bastard because neither had the grandiose schemes, or successes necessary for this trope. All Nellie did was lie to Sweeney, and Gaston roused a mob to kill the beast. Also moved Nale discussion to here at BEST he is a spoof of the Magnificent Bastard, like it was mentioned later, he is a stupid idiot, who looks good because Elan is an idiot as well. Xykon would be the series Magnificent Bastard, but I will wait for someone who has read the Prequel novel so they can add him, as I have only read the webcomic. I am also fixing the bt from Grim Grimoire, it confused the hell out of me when I saw it under Nellie Lovett.

* Nale of The Order of the Stick'' oozes the trope, even when he isn't doing something particularly villainous. His greatest effort at bastardery involved mass murder, kidnapping, framing his twin brother Elan and impersonating him in order to infiltrate the titular band and kill them one by one, all in the name of revenge. Also, his girlfriend is an evil incarnation of illicit sex. Yeah, he's just that good.

How is Bun-Bun from Sluggy Freelance not in here yet? A bunny with a switchblade who recently defeated an entire pantheon of holiday-personifications, culminating with a duel unto death with Santa Clause, and I for one was still rooting for him when he got tossed out of the space-time continuum. And then clawed his way back in by sheer force of will and fury. <i>Twice.</i> Actually, he belongs in the Badass category, too.

Divine Virus: I think by definition, no heroic sociopath can be a magnificent bastard. Heroic Sociopaths are too black and white with their morality. They are on the black side. Magnificent Bastards are supposed to violate that line. I have not read Sluggy Freelance, and so I am going only by second hand information here, but from everything I have heard about bun-bun, which is considerable, I really don't think he qualifies. What you just described is a badass, it seems to me, not a magnificent bastard. And it doesn't matter so much if you are still rooting for him, as much as if other characters still are, I believe.

  • Hmm, given- Bun-bun definitely starts out as an Heroic Sociopath. However I haven't found anything in your definitions that says that Heroic Sociopath and Magnificent Bastard are mutually exclusive. To the contrary, this page says that a Magnificent Bastard may incorporate elements of the Heroic Sociopath. I'm not sure quite where you're pointing with the black-and-white morality argument... morality from whose point of view? The viewers', the other characters', or the bastard's? Sorry, I shouldn't get into an argument about relativism- but I'd argue that the rabbit himself is morally neutral, falling more under the heading of Force of Nature than acting with a consistently malevolent intent. I'm not going to make a serious push for Bun-bun's inclusion in the page, since it looks like you've just gone through a major pruning and my original suggestion was made when Reynardine from G'krigg Court was still included. I am going to argue that since his introduction, Bun-bun has evolved from a mere Heroic Sociopath to a character fitting of the title Magnificent Bastard. As for other characters' reactions, see here: http://www.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=060120
    • I think Bun-Bun qualifies during the "Holiday Wars" and "Oceans Unmoving" arcs, and a few other times when he's got some big goal he's aiming for. Most of the time he's a little too apathetic and unmotivated to be a Magnificent Bastard, but when he needs to be he takes on the role with gusto.

That Other 1 Dude: I don't see what that second part from Haruhi has to do with this, as Haruhi isn't doing anything. Really, I don't think she qualifies as she never really does anything like what happened with the computer club again.

Chhared Knight: I forgot to mention that I deleted it a while ago because getting a computer does not equal conquering nations which is what a Magnificent Bastard does.

Alright, I think this trope has gotten a bit out of hand. It seems like any likeable jerkass who occasionally gets his way is being called a Magnificent Bastard. But there is so much more to it then that. Though I am not familiar with most of these examples, few of the ones I am familiar with are actually Magnificent Bastards in my honest opinion. Of the ones I am familiar with, they seem only like quasi- examples. Now, Magnificent Bastard is probably my favorite trope, so it is significant to me that he gets fair representation. So I am just going to go through all the ones I am familiar with that I object to, and explain why.

Haruhi. Her appearance in this article was actually the last straw for me. She simply does not belong here. Her forcing the president of the computer club into a compromising position is nothing ingenious. Hell, it is a trope in itself that has been used repeatedly from American Beauty to Fight Club to being subverted in Apt Pupil, which was written 13 years ago. Thirteen years ago it was already being subverted. Haruhi wasn?t skillful about it. Like most things she accomplishes, (such as the ?Day of Saggitarius? rematch later mentioned) she accomplished it through sheer Genki energy, surprise, and having the rest of the SOS brigade scrambling to cover her ass for her. She is about as subtle as a prostate exam. Sure, she has what some would construe as self-confidence (I would call it more conceit), and she does always go after what she wants, but her manner is all wrong, and she has no style. If the Magnificent Bastard ??doesn't just dance to the beat of a different drummer, he bribes our drummer to play all his favorites? ? then Haruhi just yells at our drummer until he is bullied into playing her favorites, forgetting the whole ??he has more fun sitting down and watching us stumble over the unfamiliar steps? part. And none of her peers looks upon her and approves. I mean, does anyone in the series actually like or respect her as a person? I can?t imagine anyone whom she abused thinking of her as magnificent for what she did, and that is the key aspect of the Magnificent Bastard. That even his victims recognize his magnificence.

Dr. Cox & Dr. Kelso: Dr. Cox is just too much of a nice guy. I consider him more of a hospital equivalent of a Zen Survivor crossed with a jerkass. His chronic inability to rise in the ranks at all, as he desires, and the fact that his is kept is check by Kelso by default should disqualify him, as well as the fact that he actually has minimal self-confidence, as frequently shown during his scenes that don?t take place in the hospital. Not to mention how he is easy prey and chew toy to any sassy woman with a backbone (his ex-wife is far more a magnificent Bastard then he, and I wouldn?t say she qualified either). Now, it is true that I have only seen the first season and half the second, plus one or two random episodes from late in the series, I have seen nothing to indicate Magnificent Bastardhood. Kelso? again, I just see him as a jerkass, but a jerkass with good PR. So what if he can keep Cox in check, it really isn?t that hard considering Cox?s tendency towards self-sabotage.

Alex deLarge: Alex is nothing more then an average juvenile delinquent, swept alone by life. The entire point of the film is how Alex just becomes more and more a Clockwork man, and less and less a real human being. He is to me so utterly and clearly not a magnificent bastard that I am having trouble arguing against it-it seems self-evident that he isn?t. If someone could give my an argument as to why he is, then I could do a better job showing you why he isn?t.

Agent Smith: Just another likeable jerk-ass. So he is snarky, big whup. And sure, it is easy to upstage people when you were touched by voltrons (or in this case, The One) and got the power to turn assimilate parts of reality by turning them into you. Give someone a superpower far greater then that of anyone else in the series and you shouldn?t be surprised when he starts upstaging everyone. Again, he was just a (semi) likeable jerkass a nigh omnipotent superpower.

Hannibal: I just want to point out a typeo. Manhunter is listed as both corroding and confirming him as a Magnificent Bastard. I haven?t seen that movie, so I don?t know which one is accurate. Actually, I am a little (only a little) skeptical about him being a magnificent bastard, but I am not sure? I will have to think it over.

The Operative: He had zeal and absolute conviction, but he was a total law-and-order nut. He saw himself as a monster. He didn?t like himself, he had no self-confidence, instead he had faith in the Alliance (poor misguided fool). In no way is he playing outside the rules to one-up people because he enjoys doing so. This is another one which seems really self-evident as NOT being a magnificent bastard. The Magnificent Bastard ??defies being hero or villain, good or evil, friend or enemy. He doesn't play that game, because he's too busy making us play his.? Well, the Operative is clearly always the enemy, and he himself professes to be evil, and not in an ?Evil is Good? kind of way. He is direct, blunt, and as subtle as a tactical nuclear strike.

Head Alien: I could see him as being a Magnificent Bastard? if he wasn?t a walking clique with a sub-par IQ who is respected by no one. Oh, he is defiantly a Chessmaster. I will give him that. And he attempts a number of Xanatos Roulette. And he is damn cocky. But he is the ?republic serial villain? that Ozymandus was not. Not even the robot he made respected him. He verged on being a butt-monkey or chew toy at times. Again, in no way did he defy ?being hero or villain, good or evil, friend or enemy.? He was always clearly the villiam, evil (a very incompetent evil at that) and an enemy. Worse, Magnificent Bastards are supposed to excel at breaking the rules, ignoring them complete, or, best yet, violating them in ways we didn?t know possible. Yet repeatedly Head Alien is shown to be utterly powerless when the heroes get a random burst of Genre-savyness. Plus, as mentioned above, the Magnificent Bastard is supposed to have ?inhuman charisma.? I suppose Head Alien literally does have ?inhuman charisma? insofar as he is not human. But he is far, far less charismatic then any human, instead of far, far more.

Sam Starfall: Sam is a clear cut Trickster. Simple. There is a difference between being a Trickster, and a Magnificent Bastard. Some Tricksters can be Magnificent Bastards, but by stereotype there are not, and Sam is your stereotypical trickster. Since the line between the two can be very fine in many ways, here is a clear indication. People can?t help but respect the Magnificent Bastard. When a Magnificent Bastard succeeds ??deep down in a dark little corner of our hearts, we can't help but admire that he not only pulled it off, he did it with style.? Sam lacks both Style, and ANY admiration (except possibly Helix, who doesn?t count). Most people think Sam is pond scum, at best. And, like Head Alien, to say Sam has inhuman charisma would be a literally true insult.

Dominic Deegan: I disagree that Dominic is even ?Sometimes a bit like this? possibly barring ?Snowsong? (which never happened). Dominic is just a Chestmaster, who uses his precognition to pull of Xanatos Roulettes. He isn?t a bastard, and he isn?t magnificent. He is clearly the hero, and a good guy, even if he does at times seem to enjoy manipulating people. Again, this seems largely self-evident to me.

Varys: It has been a while since I read ?Storm of Swords,? but I don?t remember him doing anything that would make him be a Magnificent Bastard. His spy network is really, really impressive, don?t get me wrong, but I don?t remember him doing anything ingeniously dastardly. I mean, with Littlefinger, my jaw literally dropped when I realized what he did. A few times. With Varys, this never really happened. He might become one later, but I don?t believe he is one yet. Especially because I?ve yet to really see him play ?outside? the game, or to make the game his game. Same with Tyrion. I mean, I have nothing against Tyrion, he is one of my favorite characters in the series, but I can?t recall him ever really doing anything that qualifies. Remember the quote about Snape at the top? To me, when you here about what a Magnificent Bastard did (or almost did if they failed by a hair margin) you should have to preface it with ?I am no making this up.? If you ask me, that just doesn?t happen with Tyrion. Magnificent Bastards are supposed to be selfish. They see what they want and take it. At the very least, if Tyrion was a Magnificent Bastard, then he would have bedded Sansa on their wedding night. Tyrion was a clever politician, with a cunning and shrewd mind, but, ultimately, he doesn?t have the right motivation, the right modus operandi (not enough absolute self-confident and inhuman charisma), and is too much of a nice guy.

Odysseus: He may seem like a Magnificent Bastard to our modern way of thinking, but he really wasn?t. I could write a long essay as to why, but the clearest, briefest, most unequivocal reason was because he is so very, very wrapped up in playing by the rules. He bends them. A LOT. But he is ultimately bound by them. He wants his tIme (tee-mae) and arÍte, just like every Greek hero. He might be the smartest of the lot, but still not a Magnificent Bastard by a long shot. The book hinges on the concept of Recognition. People recognizing Odysseus. Ultimately, on recognizing him to be a hero. More so, to show how the old generation is more heroic then the current. The Odyssey could be seen as just one big explanation as to how Odysseus is clearly a good guy and a hero, and not evil or a villain. Damn, that was a bad explanation. I really can?t explain it briefly I guess. If someone would care to make individual examples I can try to explain why they don?t make him a Magnificent Bastard.

There are a lot more who I am skeptical about, but I don?t remember well enough or I haven?t read/watched the appropriate media, and just don?t sound like one from their description. So lets start with these guys for now.

Uknown Troper: I'd agree to this. A few other examples I could think of:

Edmund Blackadder: Is an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist and a Chew Toy. And the audience knows it. While certain members of the family has had moments of it, they end up with the short end of the stick about half the time, or get out on a non-magnificent cop out through a last-ditch Hilarity Ensues plot. And the final blackadder episode — a magnificent way to go, yes, but not the way of the magnificent bastard.

Kangaxx the demi-lich: Played the world's most obvious Xanatos Gambit on you — and lost. Even in his One-Winged Angel form. Considering how he's a several thousand year old lich and got his skull kicked by a twenty-year old adventurer because of a botched You Have Outlived Your Usefulness moment, he was just stupid.

The Joker: Too much of an insane Psycho for Hire. He makes a good plan occasionally, but he's too chaotic to be a good Magnificent Bastard.

Kefka: See above. Sure, he was *funny* — but none of his plans go much beyond 'kill everything for shits and giggles'.

Sephiroth: "My life is a lie, wah, wah, wah!" Enough said. Just the flashback scene alone is enough to disqualify him, later acts nonwithstanding.

Kuja: See above.

Half the Real Life examples, if not all of them. Even Bismarck, who was a brilliant political maneuverer by anyone's standards, was hardly what I'd refer to as 'larger than life'.

Charred Knight: Its much harder to be a real-life trope example than it is to make one. To make a Magnificent Bastard all you have to do is to have someone do something stupid. Take the Song of Fire and Ice series, the Stark family have some dumbasses in the family, you're simply not going to find a Sansa in real life. As for the rest I would have kept Sephiroth since he was an able manipulator of Cloud by lying to him, he was stylish as hell, and his background is supposed to flesh out his reasons for doing what he is doing. I would also keep the Oddysseus beause he is generally the man you think of when you think of Magnificent Bastards. I would delete Kelso, and Cox. I would also delete Tyrion and Tywin just for the whole whore thing. Tyrion gets a whore called Shae, and Tywin makes fun of Tyrion for the whore thing, neither are what Magnificent Bastards do.

Stargate525: I think you're being a bit ham-handed. Honestly, your standards of bastardry seem way too high.

ILP: There are quite a few examples that refer to Machiavelli. I'm rephrasing them since they aren't correct to do so: Machiavelli's 'principles' (at least the ones related to so-called Machiavellism) included that the only actions that should be taken are ones that meaningfully affect the objective and evil actions should be justified by an outcome of greater good. Manipulating others into carrying out your plans for amusement or personal gain is not based on Machiavelli's writings (which were realist in nature) but rather are some sort of philosophy in their own right. At a stretch, they might be some kind of deconstruction of Machiavellism.


Fast Eddie: Pulled this very long extract from a YKKTW discussion that was being used as an opening quote for some reason. Good rule of thumb: If you have to scroll for a full screen to get to the beginning of the actual article, you're doing it wrong.

As far as I'm concerned, Snape just isn't Magnificent. I mean, if he was? It would have unfolded that he secretly manipulated Dumbledore to kill himself, faked his death, guilt-tripped Harry into getting himself killed via bogus memories, and reappeared just as Voldemort was celebrating to Avara Kedavra his butt to Hell. Then he would have coolly regarded Harry's corpse and spat "it was fun while it lasted, Potter" from the side of his mouth, only to proceed to recycle Harry's corpse into potion ingredients, use an improved version of the Polyjuice Potion to permanently take Harry's shape, and return as a hero to make mad, passionate love to Ginny, Hermione and Luna all three at once while secretly putting forth his plans to conquer the world.
Magnificent Bastards are implausibly over the top. That's the whole point.

Man Without A Body: On the other hand, the new quote has very little to do with the trope. Maybe I'd get it if I'd played Kingdom Hearts, but you can't rely on familiarity unless you're giving the most iconic example ever.

Citizen: I'd rather it go back up. It's a great quote, and it really isn't that long, especially shrunk like that. Even with the supposedly most-common resolution, come on. And the new quotes just can't compare.

Clendy82: I've really got to agree. I think that that quote really enshrines everything that is pure and good about magnificent basterdry. It's Harry Potter, so just about everyone visiting the trope will at least understand the context. Plus, it's simply impossible to read it without laughing a little bit, shaking your head, and saying, "Man, that's just...magnificent."
Kimiko Muffin: I feel the need to point out that Grand Admiral Thrawn ... well ... First, there was the casually-breaking-promises thing he did, i.e. with Mara; if I was a Magnificent Bastard, rather than just breaking the promises, I would've also convinced her that the "altered version of the deal" was what she'd wanted in the first place. It also seemed to me that, when dealing with reasons for doing things that contradicted Cold Military Might, he couldn't figure things out worth a damn — the whole deal with Leia and the Noghri practically worshipping her because she's Vader's daughter; he dies, never realizing WHY (or at least how the Noghri found out he was stringing them along) — and when Bel Iblis reconciled with Mon Mothma and took command of the situation during the battle over Coruscant, Thrawn's explanation for the change of command to someone more competent was "maybe they had to wake him up".

I suppose in his defense, he there wasn't a plausible reason he could have known about either of those events (first of all, I can't quite remember if he actually knew Leia was Vader's daughter), but if we're going by the Must Be Implausibly Over The Top standards established by Karellen, Thrawn would've taken one look at the Wookiee hairs and instantly realized what was up and had 90% of the Noghri wiped out, scaring the rest into submission. Then, during the showdown on Wayland when C'Baoth was getting out of control, he would've remotely (from Bilbringi) activated a special anti-Jedi security system, killing everyone in the throne room, and then he would've conquered the rest of the New Republic Rebellion in another grand masterstroke plan, cloned Luke, Leia, C'Baoth, and Mara, and raised the clones and Leia's children as his own personal Force-weilders. And probably along the line cultivated Pellaeon to be his successor and not be such a Watson.

Zephid: The problem is by Karellen's criteria, no one objectively qualifies as a Magnificent Bastard. The sort of character Karellen describes destroys Willing Suspension of Disbelief. The entry, as I've understood it, is more for the stylistic Chessmaster played over the top or larger than life, but not so over the top that the antics become boderline Mary Sue. You have to compare what the Magnificent Bastard is doing compared to other characters in the same work. What's "over the top" in a story about a banana republic on the edge of civil war is not the same as "over the top" in a continent-spanning (or global) political thriller. Saying that Thrawn should have seen certain things coming is much like saying Light shouldn't have trusted Mikami as much as he did, since Mikami was an idiot. A candidate for Magnificent Bastard shouldn't be evaluated by the mistakes that might have been his undoing; he should be evaluated by what he had to do to get into a position where people would want to undo him.

Chuckg: For the record, not only did Thrawn have no idea that Luke and Leia were Vader's children (seeing as how that knowledge was so closely held even the Emperor's Hand had no idea), but the parts where the Noghri were worshipping her were never done anywhere he could find about it.
Fast Eddie: Time to chop this one up by page-per-medium. Meirona: and more than time to remove a buttload of examples that don't fit except when the Fan Dumb is concerned.

Large Blunt Object: Cut a lot of irrelevant plot summary wank; this is for examples of Magnificent Bastards, not for knowing how the whole novel goes. Also, if they're "not quite a Magnificent Bastard", they're not a Magnificent Bastard.
Zephid: If you're looking for the Shakespeare examples, I've moved them to Theater where they belong. Also removed:
  • The Stormhold royal family in Neil Gaiman's Stardust apparently consists almost entirely of Magnificent Bastards. The Evil Prince Septimus is the most magnificent of the lot (despite being the youngest), but from what his father says, he was an even bigger bastard in his day.
Family of Evil Princes actually. Their manipulations don't come close to 90% of everything else on the page. ...and now it's back again. Or maybe I just forgot to delete it the first time. Yeah, that sounds right.
KJMackley: Why was Darkseid from DC comics cut? When I put it in I didn't think anyone could possibly argue with that.

Lord Seth: I can see there were many cuts, but there's no reason listed here for cutting out the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney examples, and I think they're great examples. I put them back.

Marikina: Does Thanos from the Marvel Universe count? The post-The Infinity Gauntlet characterization of the character seem to fit the trope, even moreso than Darkseid.


Charred Knight: Deleted this because this is a trope about people trying to take over the FUCKING WORLD! Its not funny guys who like. This is one of the reasons why I want this trope deleted.


Marikina: Given L's revelation of his true motives for pursuing cases in the Death Note one-shot, does that make him less good enough to be considered fit for this trope?
KJMackley: With the debate on what a Magnificent Bastard is on YTTW, I figured the best thing to do is to start rewording the description, which I just did. I hope it made things clearer, I think what has made this page so complicated is that the description was fairly arbitrary "defies good and evil, hero or villain" and "Goes beyond playing the game, he doesn't dance to the beat of different drummer, he bribes the drummer" and stuff like that made this seem like any interesting villain or anti-hero fits as a Magnificent Bastard. If you don't like it, feel free to reword again.


Sikon: Putin? Seriously? I removed that one until someone justifies it.
Large Blunt Object: Without wishing in any way to be abrasive or deride the efforts of my fellow tropers, this page has over a few days changed from a rather ambiguous description to a nonsensical abomination which pays only the loosest respect to grammar or content. Reverted, will attempt to refine.

Zephid: I wish you could have kept "gloriously labyrinthine nature" as I loved that phrase, but all in all I have to say this entry is leagues above its former self, both before the intense discussion surrounding this debate and the place-holder that was filled in after.

Charred Knight: The page was decided as a group that it was to vague to serve any real purpose. It was a mess that was nothing more than just insert your favorite character. It had no definition other than well nothing. The current form is much more strict since it makes an actual trope. As a group we decided on a new definition that entailed

  1. A combination of The Chessmaster and Manipulative Bastard
  2. A Character that takes action and drives the plot
  3. A Character that suceeds

Charred Knight: Large Blunt Object if you can't abide by the wishes of the people here, than I suggest you leave. I maybe a Jerkass but I still respect the wishes of my fellow people here, something I suggest you learn.

Charred Knight: Oh and before you reply I would like you to think about the following things. Just to remind you the person who came up with the defenition was Zephid, my idea was an over the top The Chessmaster, I only changed my vote when Zephid came up the defention we used

  1. What is Magnificent Bastard in a clean precise definition, not something vague which is why we AS A GROUP decided to change it
  2. Why don't you like the current Magnificent Bastard in a clear reason (you not liking it is not a reason)
  3. Why the opinion of one man is more important than a group

Charred Knight: As you can see by the bold the important thing is that you understand that this decision was made as a group of several people, while the two main creators of this trope was Zephid and KJ Mackley, several people made their opinions known, and we discussed them in a civil manner.

Ultimatecalibur: Charred Knight while it is true that Large Blunt Object did in fact revert the page without consent, it must be noted that we have yet to reach a consensus on which definition (Some Sort Of Troper's, Zephid's, or even a third) is the one we want to go with.

Charred Knight: Then discuss it like a normal person. Don't just say "screw everyone else it's my way or the highway"

Large Blunt Object: You don't need to post your name three times in a row. Yeah, hi, I did actually read the discussion above and in YKTTW, took both into account before I edited, and I haven't even come close to changing the definition of the Bastard; I just did my best to rephrase a rather poorly written article, taking into account everyone's views of the Bastard while. (And I didn't change the examples because there are billions of them and I needed sleep). This is not Wikipedia, and if the only argument you can come up for the page being changed is "we agreed on this beforehand", rather than anything to do with the quality of the page, I'm going to go ahead and ignore you. Zephid, the chap whose opinion you just said you respected, has said my version is "leagues ahead" of the previous two, and without giving any good reason you straight reverted it, "villain" and all?

I really like unknown troper 63.168.30.144's suggestion on YKTTW, and will be including parts of that in my next rewrite of the page, along with "gloriously labyrinthine," because it is a good phrase.

I've found getting into a "discussion" with you is completely futile, and have no shame in not wanting to dick around trying to work out what the hell your point is or why I should care. Since you've been ignoring everyone on that YKTTW and acting unilaterally anyway, really not interested in what you have to say on the matter.

Charred Knight: Since the only thing we can agree on is that we hate each other, neither respects the other's opinion, let's try not to get into an argument with each other because it would do no good.
Charred Knight: A brief review of the Magnificent Bastard debacle of May 2008 Since Magnificent Bastard was so vague, basically everyone started adding their favorite villan, or character to the page. The result is that the page had no cohesion at all, characters who where Jerkasses where included with The Chessmaster. Since the definition was so vague, we couldn't remove characters so we decided to change it, the problem quickly became obvious when we couldn't agree on any since it would remove a favorite character. The end result is that we couldn't agree on a redefinition, after several days the stress had began to take its toll on the group's sanity and we simply rewrote the first one to remove all the Jerkasses. Something that could have easily been done with a lot less hassle, and we wouldn't have wasted days on it. A lesson to be learned

Eponymous Kid: If it helps, I'm sorry. Not that I think we really accomplished anything, but whatever.
Ultimatecailbur: Could people please avoid putting the pretty whole plot/back story of a game for as why a character is a Magnificent Bastard, and try to explain why the character is one without going through every event in the game.
Cronosonic: Would one suppose that Master Albert from the Mega Man ZX games would count as a Magnificent Bastard? He fits the criteria. To summarise, after getting the world's highest possible position, and building all those Model Ws, he began seeding certain individuals of the general public with his own DNA for the sake of starting his little "Game of Destiny", which was all just a ploy so he could sit back and watch countless innocents get slaughtered by those feeding the Model Ws (such as Prometheus, Pandora, Serpent and the rival Mega Men), despite a couple of Mega Men trying to stop them. He got away with this for 200 years without anyone suspecting him (Not even Magnifcent Bastards like Light Yagami got away with their plans for that long), except for possibly Thomas, who couldn't do anything anyway. He even took advantage of Prometheus and Pandora's attempt to kill him, faking his own death and watching as those two unintentionally provided the final food for the Model Ws. Once he was ready, he simply announced that he was the winner of his own game by default, and tried to reset the world with himself as its god. It was a Xanatos Roulette that, for all intents and purposes, ALMOST succeeded, had not his great-great-great granddaughter (Ashe) or his backup body-turned good guy (Grey, he was freed purely by chance) shown up with Model A. He just simply got a fatal dose of Murphy's Law right at the end. And even then, he doesn't throw any tantrum or scream/evil laugh at his defeat, he merely acknowledges his defeat and delivers one of the finest lines even spoken in the series. Now that's magnificent.

Though, I do have to wonder if Master Thomas was even MORE of a Magnificent Bastard than Albert. In the hidden ending, he reveals that he simply helped the heroes (Simply by making the defeat of Albert an official mission) for the sake of making Albert kick the bucket so Thomas could start his own scheme to reset the world, and even recruited the four rival Mega Men. It's possible that he planned Albert's demise from the beginning, thus manipulating the entire heroic cast into doing exactly what he planned. Which would make this one a Xanatos Roulette that even Light Yagami would quite possibly be jealous of, considering both of them enacted over a span of 200 years. This would also provide the first example of a Xanatos Roulette being designed to destroy ANOTHER Xanatos Roulette, to my knowledge. That, is truely magnificent.

—-

StruckingFuggle: Does Ed Wuncler (likely The Second) from The Boondocks count? Every time I see the episode 'The Itis', I think of this trope. He really wants to develop Meadowlark Park, but the property values are too high and there's too much public love for that part of the neighborhood. So what did he do? He played Grandad Freeman up into wanting to own a Soul Food joint, selling food that's completely awful yet frighteningly addictive. In time the restaurant made him a lot of money, but the addictions of the customers began to be like a drug habit, and property values plummet as it becomes a 'bad neighborhood'. In the end, when the lawsuits come, he and his powerful lawyer guy settle for a pittance, and he closes the restaurant. The episode ends with him walking out, seeing the Wuncler Co 'under development' signs cropped up around the park, and smirking.
Zephid: Dewey Novak from Eureka Seven - Magnificent?

Also, perhaps the main entry should have a note about adding new entries to the list, telling people who want to to put their example either on this page for discussion or on some entirely different page. Since it's so subjective and we want to erase as much subjectivity with this page as possible, that might not be a bad idea.

Lord Seth: At the least, it should provide a clear, concise list of the requirements for a Magnificent Bastard. It's pretty unclear, listing things a Magnificent Bastard may have, but not really giving a specific set of criteria. (even something like "they should fulfill 4 of these 5 requirements" would be something)


HeartBurn Kid: Vince McMahon: Yea or nay? IRL, he's basically turned the entire North American Professional Wrestling industry into his own private feifdom, alternately uplifting the wrestlers he likes, and crushing the careers of those he hates. In Kayfabe, he's pretty much the same, only even more blatant, and practically gets away with murder.

The Stray: You know, I second this vote...he turned a legit outcry into a successful Kayfabe persona and created a virtual monopoly on the whole Professional Wrestling franchise. He's also an excellent Heel, so even when you're hating him, you have to admit he has style. He really does fit the trope.
Latw PIAT: Kazoundo Gouda? He is a Manipulative Bastard in extreme, gets away many, many times, almost escapes and Kills the main character's Love Interest, a peace-loving revolutionary. He has the attitude, the looks, the lines, the ability to make you hate him and yet love what he does. Everything is going exatly as planned up until the very last episode, and even when things fail, he just changes his plan accordingly.
cg12345: Hee. I like the "Tim Curry" at the end of the page, but it should probably by cut.
The Stray: I was curious...since this trope is so subjective and includes elements of other tropes, should this be transformed into an index of Magnificent Bastard-type tropes?

Cassius335: That's... an interesting idea.
Dausuul: Okay, I'm sorry, but what the heck is Henry Higgins from "My Fair Lady" doing on this page? Higgins is nowhere near Magnificent enough, nor Bastardly enough, to qualify. Removing him.

Eponymous Kid: Okay, everyone, please stop pretending that this trope has rules or parameters or anything. It doesn't. Because every attempt at giving it an actual definition has failed, I'm in favor of a rename to Every Character You Like And Why Theyre Cool.

Dausuul: Fair enough, I will grant that there are no clearly defined rules or parameters for this; but that doesn't mean every character somebody likes is a Magnificent Bastard. It's more of an "I know it when I see it" type of thing. Community consensus seems to be the best way anyone has yet come up with to resolve the question of whether a given character is an MB or not, and since community consensus is the whole point of Wikis, we might as well stick with that. Therefore, I put it to the community that Henry Higgins is not a Magnificent Bastard, as I do not see anything that he does being particularly magnificent, and he's more obnoxious and inconsiderate than truly bastardly. Does anyone argue for his inclusion?

Lord Seth: Why was the Light Yagami example removed?

Zephid: Now I'm intrigued. Eponymous Kid, disdain for Subjective Tropes aside, you actually think Henry Higgins is a Magnificent Bastard? I mean, he was played by Rex Harrison, and he does have a British accent...
KJMackley: I was thinking (several weeks after the fact) that it might be a good idea for posterity to provide a simple list of the things talked about in the rewrite discussion. About the closest thing we were coming to was that the Magnificent Bastard was so damn good at so many forms of villainy tropes that everyone, including the heroes (and viewers), are left in awe and respect for their abilities. The best reference point is Pattons opinion of Rommel, 'that this one man can defeat me if I do not perform at my absolute best.' The Chessmaster and Manipulative Bastard are close relatives.

That definition is pretty much what the page says now, but what killed the YKTTW discussion wasn't the definition debate, but the argument over the language used. People were hung over fun (but obscure) lines like "gloriously labyrinth" and "defies good or evil, hero or villain." Obviously people are still mistaking the Magnificent Bastard for a Likeable Bastard, like Henry Higgins.


Charred Knight: everyone say with me THIS IS NOT LIKEABLEBASTARDS I am not posting the ones I deleted here, I won't even dignify them with one. A suggestion, if the story is primarly a comedy it probably doesn't have a Magnificent Bastard.


Charred Knight: Deleted Ozai since he only loses brute force on screen, and his one action of manipulation in the backstory was using his murder of his father to take over during Iroh's depression. I get the impression if Azula didn't suffer from Character Derailment in the last few episodes thenshe would have just taken over.
  • Unbelievably, Dear Old Dad tops her late in season three by casually giving her his old job as Fire Lord, as he's now promoted himself to Phoenix Lord, King of the World. I think it's safe to declare Ozai Magnificent Bastard incarnate right about now.
  • Adding it back. How is it not magnificent? I don't care what you think Azula should've done, how is it not magnificent?
— Splatter, who really needs to make a page.


Unknown Troper who wishes to remain anonymous: Deleted the section on Bismark. Finding a war pretext was done by a lot of people in those days, Napoleon III wanted a fight, and Prussia declared war on Austria (if with a pretext).


KJMackley: Man this page seems to need a lot of maintenance to even barely stay coherent. I have a suggestion, and was tempted to do it without getting the okay, but I wanted to avoid being fillet alive. Right now the description goes two quotes, one from Patton and one from Spider-Man TAS. Then an opening line, followed by the first full paragraph detailing what the Bastard's personality is. The second paragraph essentially says, "Sometimes sympathetic, but not Affably Evil. Sometimes a bastard, but rarely Rapes The Dog." The third paragraph explains that the bastard is not just an impressive villain. It is more then just a Chess Master or Manipulative Bastard who pulled off a Xanatos Gambit. The fourth paragraph is the same thing. The fifth paragraph says what the dangers to losing their magnificence are. The sixth is the name origins.

The first thing to change is the Spider-Man quote, it is more descriptive of a Xanatos Gambit then of the Magnificent Bastard. Even with the (strangely) deleted line by Fisk, "That's why I'm the Kingpin." If someone has a better fiction based quote for the top then I encourage suggestions. I consider Darkseid to be a near universal depiction of the bastard, so I'll suggest his last line to Superman in the animated series, "I am many things, Kal-El. But here, I am God."

The opening line and first paragraph remain the same. Then the largest overhaul is simply streamlining the second through fourth paragraphs into one paragraph. Instead of quoting so many villain tropes, restrict it to maybe four or five and have a redirect saying that the bastard combines the best and most popular Villain and Anti-Hero tropes. Keep in the line that most villains (and the viewer favorites) can only desperately hope to become a bastard. The bastard is implausably over-the-top.

Then delete the fifth paragraph, because those are all risks to any good character. If you noticed, nothing about the description has changed, and the meat of the description, the first paragraph, is kept intact and unchanged.
Dausuul: Removed Gaius Baltar for not being Magnificent, and Nathan Petrelli for not being a Bastard (Nathan was established in the very first episode as a classic Jerk with a Heart of Gold). Linderman is dubious but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

And I agree with KJ Mackley's proposal to tighten up the entry.
Bring The Noise: Seconded
Dausuul: On the topic of new quotes to replace the Spider-Man one, here are some possibilities:

"Oh, I'm afraid the deflector shield will be quite operational when your friends arrive..." —Emperor Palpatine, Return of the Jedi

"Mr. Garibaldi, on a scale of one to ten... just how stupid do you think I am?" —Alfred Bester, Babylon 5
Dausuul: Following is an update along the lines of what KJ Mackley proposed (examples section not included). I didn't quite manage to condense paragraphs 2-4 into one, but I cut out a lot of the excess and repetition. I also changed the opening line, which I felt to be grossly misleading—after all, one of the few things that seems clear about the Magnificent Bastard is that he is definitely a bad guy, so saying that he "defies such definitions as hero or villain" doesn't make sense. He is a villain, just not your run-of-the-mill Evil Overlord.

Objections, criticisms, suggestions? If no one has any complaints, I'll put this in tomorrow morning.
"That's a nice painting. I now know how to kill you all." - Grand Admiral Thrawn, a Magnificent Bastard from the Star Wars Expandeliviverse.

Patton: "Rommel, you Magnificent Bastard, I read your book!"
-Patton

Littlefinger: "I did warn you not to trust me, you know."
-A Game of Thrones

There's a certain type of villain that transcends ordinary villainy. Love him or loathe him, you have to admire him. And at the end of the day, there's only one thing we can call him... a Magnificent Bastard.

The Magnificent Bastard is intelligent, charismatic, capable, supremely competent, and always in control. He's a devious liar playing everyone for his own selfish ends, but he goes about it with such breathtaking skill and panache that you can't help but be impressed. Above all else, what defines a Magnificent Bastard is his ability to evoke not just amazement, but grudging admiration, from friend, foe and audience alike.

Every villain wants to be one of these (and all fans want their favorite villains to be one), but few succeed. To be one, you must be both truly Magnificent and truly a Bastard. Being a Big Bad who once convincingly pulled off a Xanatos Gambit doesn't necessarily make you a Magnificent Bastard; nor does being a hugely acclaimed Chessmaster supreme who kicked a dog once. If there's the slightest hint of doubt as to whether a character is a Magnificent Bastard, he isn't. Neither can one Crowning Moment Of Awesome be enough. A Magnificent Bastard has been wearing that crown the whole time.

The Magnificent Bastard combines many of the most popular Anti-Hero and Villain tropes. He frequently has traits of the Chessmaster, the Enigmatic Minion, the Heroic Sociopath, the Humphrey, the Loveable Rogue, the Manipulative Bastard, the Puss in Boots and the Wild Card, but is never as simple and easy to define as any of these.

The Trope Namer is the film Patton, from a quote by the titular general regarding his opponent: "Rommel, you magnificent bastard." The term was popularized on the Television Without Pity boards as the nickname for Lionel Luthor of Smallville, a fine fictional example of the trope.


Charred Knight: Deleted Miles Edgeworth for obvious reasons, it gives no reason, and Miles Edgeworth is just a really good attorney. He doesn't come up with elaborae plans, he doesn't manipulate someone he just finds people guilty or innocent in later games.


KJMackley: Personally, I think the current description is far, far superior to the prior one. It just isn't as much of an eye sore. The main reason is I believe human psychology says that we don't ever read things in detail, we just skim over a sentence to get the general impression of it. Considering the length of the prior description, people were likely just reading the first few lines and thinking, "I'm not sure what this character is, but they sound awesome!!"
Dausuul: Made a couple more tweaks.

I don't think we really need to state that his opponents have to be at their absolute best to beat him; that's true of pretty much every major villain. If a villain doesn't stretch the heroes to the limits of their abilities, whatever those abilities may be, he's not doing his job. Also, Magnificent Bastards can and do lose control of the situation - otherwise they could never be beaten, and they do get beaten from time to time. The important thing is that he doesn't lose control except when beaten.

More generally, I think we need to limit the amount of time we spend saying "The Magnificent Bastard is not X or Y or Z." As the trope itself says, every fan wants his or her favorite villain to be a Magnificent Bastard, and will stretch the definition as far as necessary in order to justify including said villain. I think this page will always require periodic weeding; let's just accept that and not go overboard writing caveats that don't do any good.

Eponymous Kid: Oh, how I wish that would ever work. I still support a revamp/rewrite/redefinition, and I'm still willing to sift through every last wick and change it myself if necessary, which I really feel it is.

I think Thrawn gets cut a little too much slack; He's a Villain Sue, whose lines are all "cool" and every action he takes is "revolutionary". He's one of the only aliens in the Imperial Fleet, because he's that cool. He also "allows" people to call him by a "more human" name. Can't Argue with Elves, it seems... I think the picture needs to be changed (maybe for one of, I don't know, Lionel Luthor? The caption doesn't seem to really mean much of anything, either...
Qit el-Remel: Who the heck removed Mara from the Empire Trilogy from this page?

Dausuul: I wasn't the one who removed her, but I'm very doubtful that Mara belongs on this page. It's been a while since I read the books, so I'll accept her Magnificence for the sake of argument, but I challenge her claim to Bastardry - as the page itself says, just kicking the dog once or twice is not sufficient to make you a Bastard. You have to be an actual villain. Mara does some questionable things, but she isn't villainous.

Qit el-Remel: Okay...looks like she's been moved to the "Queenly Mask" page, which is arguably more appropriate.

Wanders Nowhere: Any and all references to Dracula seem to have been cut without explanation. Why is that? Because he dies a lot? He's one of the most iconic villains of English literature and world pop culture and performs some major Bastardry both in Stoker's original novel AND in most of his pop cultural osmosis appearances (even Castlevania). I don't think it's much of a stretch to throw him in. What're your thoughts?

Dausuul: Iconic does not equal Magnificent. Sauron and Darth Vader are iconic villains too, but neither is a Magnificent Bastard. What's your case for Dracula's Magnificence? Assuming we're talking about Dracula from the novel, he seems borderline to me... his turning Mina into a catspaw could qualify him, if he had only done a better job of keeping the heroes from finding out so quickly.


The Ninth Doctor: In the smallville example, it names Lionel Luther, "as discussed above." There is no longer an explanation above. The Ninth Doctor: Never mind. I'm an idiot. I see it now.
Eponymous Kid: Deleted Jarlaxle, because... who? Look, I realize there's No Such Thing As Notability, but original characters, really?

And if he's not an original character, kindly mention what series he's from when you add him under Loveable Rogue, which is what he is, from the description.

Oh, and also deleted Darkseid because... He's an impressive character, to be sure, but he's also universally hated and feared.
Wanders Nowhere: I'd made a pretty damn good case for the Count, I'd thought, but it's been deleted, so I'll re-summarise ;p. Here it comes: "He's Dracula". That's all I should have to say ;p but okay, here goes.

Seems to me the defining characteristics of a Magnificant Bastard are A) Charisma B) from A, tendency for the audience to identify with them / root for them even while they're kicking a puppy field goal, C) penchant for epic, jawdropping Xanatos Gambits D) being completely unrepentant. Dracula has all of the above in his original incarnation and most of his subsequent appearances.

I mean, to compare, Sauron is a giant floating eyeball (nixes A), his armies lose almost every major battle, and he's duped by the Send-an-innocuous-Hobbit-under-his-radar ploy through the entire story, so of course he's not a Mag Bas. Vader is more intimidating than charismatic, he repents in the end, and the prequel trilogy Anakin-Wangst killed his chances of being counted anyway.

But Dracula? He's capable of playing the perfect gentleman host while sucking the life out of you right under your nose, he attempts an extremely well-planned Gambit to conquer England in the original book that is only foiled because of a completely contrived chain of coincidences that pulled Van Helsing into the plot. He preys on innocent young virgins and unleashes them as voracious, voluptuous sexual predators all while remaining mockingly out of reach. And that's just the original book. Let's not go into how many times he's pulled a Hijacked by Ganon on any villain trying to usurp or replace him in Castlevania. And even then, the real reason I consider him Magnificent is because as a character he is almost singlehandedly responsible for elevating the image of the vampire from a ghoul-like animated corpse preying on diseased medieval peasant villages to the elegant, gothic nobleman with a sinister secret. He's the star of more movies than any other character except Sherlock Holmes for a reason. It's not just being 'iconic', it's how he got that way; because he's the epitome of the charismatic, repellant-but-seductive arch-villain. There wouldn't have ever been a Hellsing or a Vt M or a Vampire Chronicles or a Buffy or a Twilight or an Underworld if Count Dracula hadn't put the fear of sexy vampire death into those uptight Victorians so god damn well and if Bela Lugosi hadn't sent those 1930s audiences shivering with the same. Drac's a few steps below the Devil Himself in terms of Magnificence in my book, and that's that.

Charred Knight: if you can identify/root for SATAN himself, than you have problems. Also your basing Dracula's inclusion on his entire histroy and not just his original novel. The Dracula in Castlevania, and the Dracula in Brahm Stoker's version are completely different, and you are still confusing Magnificent Bastard with Iconic Character. The impact Dracula had on entertainment has nothing to do with if his a MB or not, all that matters is if the Dracula IN Braham Stoker's version can count, and by your own definition he can't you don't identify, or root for Dracula in that version, he has no tragic lost, or deep regret, Alucard from Hellsing is more relatable. The only time Dracula comes off as a Magnificent Bastard is the Castlevania version, where he forsakes God, because he lost his love, and becomes a Vampire so he can curse god for all eternity.


Meltemi: I added Talleyrand, but I'm beginning to question it after reading the back-and-forth about the fundamental definitions back here. Do you think he better fits here, or if he should be transferred over to Manipulative Bastard? I don't think a mere "manipulative" qualifies his unusual resilience and acts, but...
Large Blunt Object: That image is crap and doesn't get the trope across at all. Also, the person who cut the (slightly better) Thrawn image didn't bother to put the image link on discussion for posterity, so here it is.

Eponymous Kid: Sorry, that was me. The picture just didn't mean anything (and the accompanying caption was... ugh). Everything I've seen of Thrawn makes hims seem much more a Villain Sue ("He's so revolutionary! He's not mean to his subordinates! He's the only alien officer in the Empire, because he's that cool! He allows us comparatively pathetic humans to call him by a name we find less frightening than his true name!")

Is there a picture of Lex Luthor in a Slouch of Villainy somewhere that we could use?

Large Blunt Object: Given the amount of squabbling over this trope and the difficulty in an agreed-upon definition or character that fits it perfectly, I think having a picture (or any other quotes, beside the origin one) would be a very bad idea. The Thrawn image was only "slightly better" because it the teensiest bit of dignity, rather than being, at a glance, a ridiculous fish-eyed nutter emoting ":D!!" as hard as possible. Seriously, what the fuck?

Charred Knight: My thoughts exactly, possibly the worse picture of Lelouch I have ever seen. A picture of him dressed as a cat would have been better. Of course we could go for the laughs. Thanos in his helicopter http://www.the-isb.com/?p=76 Thanos being arrested (remember to remove the u in JPG, I didn't want to have it show up here. http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i198/RaikouTheLightning/copthanos9yk.jpug

Zephid: I put up the Thrawn picture...months ago, I guess...mostly because of that teensiest bit of dignity. To me he looked sinister but also collected and calm in it, and I thought the dark colors were a nice contrast. That and the parallels between the design for his character and Erwin Rommel. To be honest, I'm surprised it lasted this long.

I wasn't responsible for the caption. Always thought it was a little too much.


Redkun: "Please note: just because a character is a bastard you find magnificent doesn't mean they qualify as examples."

Wow. I get what this person is trying to say but talk about undermining the title. When did this article officially become Serious Business?

Wanders Nowhere: Totally with you there, mate. I'll take the risk of tweakin' the main body a little, though - 'never loses control' seems a little extreme. Some Magnificents lose control of the situation repeatedly, but are very good at having a backup plan, or just thinking on their feet and adapting to setbacks. I don't think it's that they never lose, just that they're better at handling it (and turning it to their advantage) than the 'NOOO! HOW CAN THIS BE?!?!' type of villain.


Dausuul: I like Wanders Nowhere's updates. I tightened up the wording some. I also removed the "just because a character is a bastard you find magnificent doesn't mean they qualify as examples" bit; quite apart from the Serious Business vibe, it's totally unhelpful.

Also, I took Jeeves off the examples list. I mean, really... Jeeves?
Charred Knight: For the love of god this trope shouldn't be this hard to figure out. A Magnificent Bastard is someone who tricks people to get what he wants, and its usually something completely evil. House is just a really smart Jerkass.

  • House from House M.D. fits this description in every possible way...except that in the end of the episode he finally has to give a sh*t about some person (or persons) because he's a doctor, and doctors are supposed to help people. This editor would describe him as Douchebag Neutral.

Dausuul: Aaaand here we go again...

  • Ardneh, in Fred Saberhagen's Empire of the East is a rare altogether heroic, even saintly example of this trope.

There is no such thing as a saintly Magnificent Bastard. Magnificent Bastards are by definition villains. See the very first sentence. And even setting that aside, merely executing a successful Xanatos Gambit doesn't make you Magnificent. (Although I'm now thinking we need a heroic equivalent.)

Richard AK: Fair enough, although, to be clear, we're not talking just one Xanatos Gambit here; there's no question Ardneh fulfills the magnificent criterion in spades. But do we then need a heroic equivalent? Isn't it sufficiently uncommon for a good guy to so completely outwit and outmaneuver the bad guys, and to do it with such style and panache that even the bad guys kind of have to admire the hero for it that it is not its own trope? Rather, wouldn't it be reasonable to list such examples as inversions of this trope?
TheNinthDoctorAfter reading through this discussion page, it seems like there are omnipresent problems with both the definition of Magnificent Bastard and the examples. It seems like everyone knows what a Magnificent Bastard is, but can't define it well enough to keep magnificent non-bastards and the non-magnificent bastards and even the non-magnificent non-bastards out. So why not just avoid this ontological difficulty? There are two characters that we know have to be Magnificent Bastards. Pommel and Lionel Luther (and a quick aside: if Pommel gets the quote at the top, then the pic should be Lionel.) When watching Smallville, do you grin as you suddenly realize what awesome thing Lionel has done, that is clearly going to make the protagonists life extremely more difficult? Yes. In Phoenix Wright, do you experience this same feeling when watching Dalia Hawthorne? No. She's just as manipulative, but you're not rooting for her, even if you do extremely admire her manipulations. When you see the Dark Knight, does the entire theatre applaud the Joker's escape from prison, which involves several Xanatos gambits to even get in prison in the first place, uses a childlike mental patient as an explosive device, and kills several very likeable very innocent police officers in the process (and ends up causing both the physical death of the female lead and the mental and spiritual death of one of the male leads)? Yes. The reaction to TDK Joker and Lionel Luther is the same. And so forth and so on.

Charred Knight: If you're rooting for the Joker to prove that Humans Are Bastards than you missed the point of the movie. Did I enjoy the Joker? yes, did I want the Joker to kill Batman, and cause Gotham to descend into a living hell? Absolutly not, why the hell would I applaud a monster? The whole point of the movie was that the Joker was wrong, the inner goodness of men prevailed and the Joker lost. The murderers didn't kill the innocent people, and the innocent people didn't kill the murderers. The Joker may have corrupted Dent, but he couldn't corrupt Batman.
Dausuul: Okay, who keeps putting up the GIANT SHAKESPEARE QUOTE at the top of this page? I love Shakespeare as much as the next guy (in fact, probably more than the next guy, since I've been in productions of several Shakespeare plays), but if you're going to put a freakin' wall of text in the quote section, it ought to be something awesome. Deleting it.

Ophicius: Removed:
  • The Seventh Doctor, a Chessmaster of the highest order, sometimes slipped into this trope as well.

  • In light of the revelations in the seventh, final book of Harry Potter, Albus Dumbledore and his kind-eyed bastardry make Voldemort's single-minded villainy look small.

For the last time, to be a Magnificent Bastard one must be a bad guy. I've put a note to that effect in the article.

Raekuul SOMETIMES, BOLD INFLATION IS THE ONLY WAY TO GET THE POINT ACROSS!
I've edited this:
  • This is actually not Character Derailment, as the one flaw in his plan was overlooking the fact that the body had a tiny brain.
to read that this is a justified trope, because turning a Magnificent Bastard into a stupid, brutish monster is still Character Derailment even if the writer offers a plausible explanation within the story.
Selasphorus: It seems to me there's a fair deal of Misaimed Fandom going on regarding some of the entries that don't qualify. Subjective as this trope is, there seems to be a specific definition we're going for here (and often missing, but getting closer). But it can be really hard to argue with someone that the character they gleefully fetishize is in no way magnificent. Just an observation on just why this might be so difficult to pin down.

Richard AK: I apologize for repeating myself, but it does seem to me that one does sometimes see a good guy so successfully and brilliantly manipulate events, and with such style and panache, that even the bad guys sort of have to admire them for it. In other words, good guys who are magnificent, even if they are not bastards, and clearly such cases do relate to this trope in some way. So should we have a heroic version of this trope? Or are such examples few enough in number that we should list them under this trope as inversions?

Eponymous Kid: It's just that everyone tries to make their favorite character qualify in the description. I removed one example that only said that "the way [the character] dispatches his enemies is a joy to watch", which is all well and good, but not exactly the point of the article. Especially since it was the title character and the primary protagonist.

And, while I honestly love Eyeshield 21 a great deal more than the next guy, Hiruma (an intentionally over-the-top Jerk Ass and ace strategist with some Troubled, but Cute qualities) doesn't count for a number of reasons, but the idea that he is mind-blowingly awe-inspiring because he can "count cards in his head", which I believe is the way everyone who counts cards operates, is just ridiculous... I Already removed the example, but come on, people...

And a decent chunk of these guys belong more in Loveable Rogue or Smug Snake (Blackadder? Seriously?)

Dausuul: To Richard AK, I've added a suggestion for a good guy version in YKTTW, under the name Master Of Audacity. It's not as common as the Magnificent Bastard, but I think it's common enough to deserve its own trope. And the Magnificent Bastard page is too clogged up with examples already.

Karellen: Okay, um, I think we can all agree that in some ways, this whole trope is kind of a mess now, if only because everybody seems to think that their favourite villain / hero isn't cool unless he counts as one. So I started a threat in the forums about, basically, what a Magnificent Bastard actually is. (I think it might be easier to write about it there, and it doesn't clutter up things here excessively.) So, please join in:

http://tvtropes.org/phpbb3/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=1212


Dausuul: Cross-posted from Karellen's thread above, a poll to try to come up with a "canonical" list of Magnificent Bastards, which we can use as guidance in working out a definition: http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/353662

Charred Knight: Answered the poll

Darth Howie: Answered the poll.


Darth Howie: I'm new at this, so I added three examples today: Noah Cross from Chinatown, Harry Lime from The Third Man and Oberyn Martell from A Song of Ice and Fire. I'm pretty sure they all qualify, but I'll remove them if a few people disagree. ASOIAF is knee deep in this trope, but I think the only character who out-bastards the Red Viper is Littlefinger.


Dausuul: Darth, welcome to Tv Troping! You should be forewarned that this particular trope tends to go through massive upheavals every so often, and it's in the throes of one now (see Karellen's thread), so the definition is probably about to change. Not saying you shouldn't submit examples, but they may not last long in this particular case.
Charred Knight: I rewrote the code Geass entry because it was stupid, annoying, and inaccurate, we don't need a list of his deeds, just a general feel of why his one.
Redkun: When is Aizen Sousuke going to become It Was His Sled?
Genji: Would Kuja count? He manipulates an entire empire by tempting its ruler with power, destroys villages while quoting from the universe's equivalent of Romeo and Juliet, and manipulates your party time and time again. But two things make him worthy in my opinion. For one thing, he always has a backup plan. Evil empire not working out? No prob, he just kills its ruler, nukes the town while absorbing the souls of its people, and tries another method to get a summon. When that doesn't work, he draws inspiration from a creature that attacked him in Trance and tries to obtain that power. But the kicker is that he succeeds. He gets the ultimate power, kills his old master, burns his home planet to cinders, and goes so far as to kill your entire party along with him... temporarily. Depending on your interpretation of Necron, he may have even succeeded in getting you to destroy it.

Sure, the strange outfit and his change of heart at the end may reduce his Magnificent Bastardry some, but I think he at least deserves consideration.

Redkun: Kuja is my favourite Final Fantasy villain... but I dunno. While he's a superb manipulator and schemer, I think he lacks that one big "Holy crap, that was impressive" moment that all Magnificent Bastards have. He's better than a Smug Snake, but I don't think he's a Magnificent Bastard either.

Genji: I see your point. I considered Kuja mostly because of how calm he is no matter what the situation and the fact that he never seems to face any major stepbacks. Even when fighting you, he gets the last laugh... twice.

Redkun: Well, when his plan to possess Alexander failed he seemed pretty panicked; kidnapping Eiko seemed like a "last resort" kind of thing. It's worth reiterating that Kuja is my favourite Final Fantasy villain, but you can be an awesome villain without being a Magnificent Bastard: a concept lost on most people as they rush to include their favourite villain on this list.


<random troper>: What about Anton Chigurh of No Country for Old Men He's not really a Chessmaster type, but there's just something about the sheer audacity of what he does and the fact he gets away with it that IMO qualifies him for Magnificant Bastardy.

Redkun: If you have to say, "Well, he's not X but I still think he's a Magnificent Bastard" then it doesn't fit. Magnificent Bastards have the whole package.

This Troper thinks that, given the revolution on this page, the birth of Moral Event Horizon and the specific definition used for Complete Monster, Magnificent Bastard is no longer restricted to Chessmasters. Any villain who is audacious and awesome qualifies.

Racha: Why Cromwell? I'm not saying this only as a descendant of his (a fact I keep extremely quiet, especially amongst my Irish friends), but as an interested query. Is it simply that getting rid of a king is seen as such an extreme thing to do? Romanticism aside, Charles I was a dreadful ruler and really quite appalling man, preferring the entire country to be ripped apart by civil war rather than step down. It wasn't Cromwell's idea to execute Charles-he was only the third person to sign the warrant- and he wasn't made Lord Protector until 1653 (four years after the execution). Yes, I'll grant his Irish policy was awful, but the worst atrocities were committed by other generals once he had gone back to England. As mentioned above, Magnificent Bastards have to be evil. He was many things but I am not completely convinced he was evil. More of a Knight Templar, perhaps?

Man Without A Body: I'd say that he was evil, but not magnificent. It's hard to be a badass when you're banning the theatre and Christmas. Of course, I'm Irish, so my opinion of him may be affected by national bias. Hooray for Charles II!

Mullon: Does Jade Curtiss from Tales of the Abyss count? He has a good number of these traits but I'm confused on whether or not being evil is a must. A lot of people say he is, but isn't really villainous.

Darth Howie: Jade might be a borderline sociopath, but he's on your side, playable and against the main antagonist for pretty much the entire game so he definitely wouldn't qualify. He's a great Deadpan Snarker and a bit of an Anti-Hero, but because he's a hero he can't qualify for this.

Mullon: Hmm...we need a good version of this trope.

Redkun: It's been tried before. The problem is that some Magnificent Bastards blur the line between protagonist and antagonist: take the top example on the page, Lelouch from Code Geass, for example. No-one would deny that he is a Magnificent Bastard but at the same time he's a protagonist throughout.

Unknown Troper: People who count as "the good guys" in terms of plot positioning (not just protagonists, but people who are fighting against the Evil Overlord, for instance) can still be Magnificent Bastards. The key is that they still have to be Bastards as well as magnificent. Jade qualifies; thus, the Necromancer is a Magnificent Bastard.
Austin: I don't think Chzo should be on this list, and the admiration for him is unfounded too. For one thing, he's a Cosmic Horror. Beating them generally isn't part of the plan, especially in a game where the good guys have no special powers. For another, the fact that he COULD see the past, present and future simultaneously means that thinking of a plan would be pretty easy, as opposed to characters who can think of plans without being omniscient. Finally, not everything happened as part of his plan. Ben Croshaw stated in his commentary that The Tall Man was originally supposed to be the bridge, but he didn't like that and the creation of DeFoe was purely his doing. For another, Trilby was meant to be the new Prince, but the actions of Lenkmann, (acting on his own) prevented that. So really, Chzo got what he wanted, but all things considered, it's not that impressive.

Marikina: I'm not sure that Ali Al Saachez from Gundam 00 fits the trope. The only thing seemingly keeping him from being solely a Complete Monster is fan wanking of his numerous CMOAs. The Blood Knight and Psycho for Hire aspects of the character make him too content and willing at being The Dragon, his win-loss record doesn't quite measure up, and he's not much of a planner.
  • Enchanter468: Given that I do my best to avoid Fan Wank, that's kind of insulting. As far as Ali is concerned, I was operating under the first definition of Magnificent Bastard that I saw, which stated that being the Big Bad wasn't necessary, so I didn't think Ali's status as a Psycho for Hire was problematic. As for the win-loss record, the issue is that for 95% of villains in Gundam shows, Failure Is the Only Option. So, no matter what Ali/Char/Rau does, he still has to lose (Rau got pretty damn close, though). Specifically, Ali would have killed Setsuna in episode 22 were it not for the activation of the Trans-Am system, and would have done the same earlier on (episode 15) were it not for Nena Trinity intervening. As for the CMOAs, I was operating under the assumption that a Magnificent Bastard is...well...magnificent, and the CMOA is the TV Tropes manifestation of that. Concerning the debate between Complete Monster and Magnificent Bastard, it's quite difficult to make that call. As I understand it, both of those are subjective tropes, which was why I thought both could be valid at the same time (Ali is an MB for some and a CM for others). The issue for me was that a Complete Monster is a villain you loathe, with nothing cool about them whatsoever. Despite Ali doing quite a few Complete Monster-ish things, there's still something cool about him (again, the CMOAs come into play here), so I didn't feel it was quite right to place him only as a Complete Monster. I apologize if I bothered anyone, but please understand that there was thought behind it, rather than just "wanking" to one's favorite character.
    • Marikina: While the definition states that the character doesn't have to be a Big Bad, it does state that he is likely to be a Wild Card or The Starscream, suggesting some sense of ambition within the character, something I just don't see in Ali; as I've said, precisely because he's so much aBloody Psycho, he's genuinely content to be someone's underling, which I don't see any decent MB doing. And while CMOAs certainly denote a MB's magnificence, the examples you used (the Ireland/Middle Eastern campaigns, killing the 2/3rd's of the Trinitys and mocking the survivor) are more of an indication of monstrosity than magnificence (hence fanwanking). And as I've said, he isn't much into planning. Hell, if you need any further proof of what he really is, just look at the first thing he's done since coming back this season (although his parting remark would probably have his fans claiming otherwise).
      • Enchanter468: You know, I'm really not trying to annoy you here (on the other hand, I might have just misread your post). Anyway, now having seen Season 2, I agree that Ali is The Dragon, due to his lack of ambition. The problem I have with the CMoAs being indicators of monstrosity is that while they certainly are deplorable acts, it seems that there's a certain disconnect, where people will count some truly horrible things as being awesome when done by fictional characters. The Joker (the Dark Knight version anyway) does plenty of horrible things, and basically uses the Moral Event Horizon as a jump-rope, but many of his thoroughly twisted acts (breaking Harvey Dent's mind, inserting a bomb into somebody's stomach and blowing them up, putting a pencil through an eyeball, etc.) are regarded as Crowning Moments (and not just by me). Likewise, Xykon from The Order of the Stick has the interesting trait of most of his CMoAs being Rape The Dog moments, which are certainly indicators of monstrosity. Heck, somehow, even Johann from Monster gets what are referred to as Crowning Moments of Terror, and he's the picture on the Complete Monster page. This sort of disconnect is also why I have trouble calling Ali a Draco in Leather Pants as well (are fans downplaying his acts of evil or do they like them in an Evil Is Cool way?). Anyway, I guess this is just a long explanation of what I said earlier. I agree, as of Season 2, that Ali is not a Magnificent Bastard, and again, I hope I didn't upset you in any way (we're all here to have fun, after all).

Man Without A Body: Put up a picture to which I think everyone will agree. Also removed the Chinatown example, because that character is a Complete Monster, and not magnificent at all.


Removed: Otto from A Fish Called Wanda (because as the entry specifies, he's a moron); several psychotic murderers from Pratchett books (simply killing a bunch of people and being a general nasty person is not sufficient) and John Constantine, because he's the protagonist.

I have sincere doubts about Nudar from Futurama (because he isn't all that manipulative, he's just an idiot who mind-controls Bender, and the rest of the crew/planet is getting the Idiot Ball); Admiral Thrawn (because come on, his so-called "crowning moment" is not executing a minion who failed him? That's akin to doing nothing) and Dr. Doom (because I don't recall him ever really manipulating or Xanatossing anything, he's more like a brute force guy; plus he always loses).

—Spark9


Dausuul: You know, given the recent revision to the definition, we might want to do a massive cleanup on the examples section (for instance, it is now established that Palpatine, despite being cool and evil, is not a Magnificent Bastard). Anyone for purging the examples and starting fresh?


Cypherpunks: Would Hans Gruber from "Die Hard" count? He's unfortunately defeated within a single movie by an extremely bad-ass protagonist, but he's entrenched in my memory as the bad guy I was rooting for to win. He deserved it. He had both a good plan and the ability to cope when things went wrong. And a suitably evil getaway plan: kill all the hostages after all.


Zephid: Now I haven't been to this page in a while, but I was wondering if anyone could enlighten me on where the new definition of Magnificent Bastard came from.


Kato86: I'd like to throw in more Gundam characters. Ari is a difficult topic. But he was at least able to manipulate a government and an enterprise. It's not that I like him, but he comes close to the trope. Maybe after season 2 we can decide whether he fits or not. Also I wonder why Char isn't here? What are the objections against him? And Rau Le Creuset is pretty fitting, imo. At least he nearly reaches his goal of eradicating humanity by playing two fractions againsts each other. He might have lacks, but he has pretty much points for a place among the M Bs. Your opinions?


Janitor: moving this natter out of the article:
  • Oliver Cromwell. Killed the Irish like they were going out of season, established an oppressive military dictatorship with heavy hints of theocracy, built a really impressive army then never had a chance to use it, then died and pretty much everything he built fell just to pieces. But walk past his statue at the House of Commons, and you'll see something in those eyes that'll make you want to kill a Stuart for God and Country. And he was so bad they had to hang him after he died.
    • Not true. A Magnificant Bastard does not become a failure.
      • Given that he didn't fail when he was alive how was he a failure? The Protectorate he built was at its strongest just before his sudden demise (people were finally getting used to the new regime and its direction). He rose from simple Gentry stock, was a man who had never used a sword until he was over 40 and as late as 1641 was a relatively unknown MP. And yet he became the greatest soldier of the realm and the Head of State by 1653 and was the most powerful man in the realm for years before that. He gained complete control over Britain and Ireland (something no King had been able to achieve) and restored England's (yes, this was no partnership but a domination) reputation abroad as powerful. Despite being vilified by the restored monarchy even his enemies who regarded him as the most evil man who ever lived(such as the Earl of Clarendon) praised his wisdom, industriousness, bravery and ability, and his reputation was exaggerated as the greatest English hero ever in the 19th century. Failure? His Puritan revolution may not have succeeded but his successes and posthumous reputation, good and ill, are too expansive to be anything but a Magnificent Bastard. England may not have followed his vision but no-one ever forgot what he'd achieved. The Glorious Revolution, and thus modern Britain, was shaped by his reign in many ways. Really the fact that everything went to hell for the republic and everyone fell out and lost control after he died is more proof of just how magnificent he was. The victorious parliamentarians had always been hated, only their army kept them in power, Cromwell widened support a little and still proved that only he was able to hold the fractious lot together as they failed pretty damn swiftly once he was in the ground.


Dausuul: Zephid, the new definition came out of a long, long thread - which seems to have expired now, the link up above is broken - debating the precise nature of the trope. (The Magnificent Bastard is Serious Business, after all.) We ended up going with the new definition because it was concrete and specific; it is now possible to make a cogent argument for why character X is, or is not, a Magnificent Bastard, instead of going round and round about whether s/he is sufficiently Magnificent or not quite Bastardly enough. Also, we did a poll (http://www.misterpoll.com/polls/353662) with a list of possible candidates, in an effort to create a "canonical" list of M Bs who would serve as defining examples for the trope. The winners, based on the ratio of yes/no responses, were:

  • Lionel Luthor (18/2)
  • Hannibal Lecter (20/5)
  • The Master (12/4)
  • Littlefinger (9/3)
  • Heath Ledger Joker (20/7)

I'm just curious but, how is Rommel really a Magnificent Bastard? I know he was a brilliant military commander, but that's all he is. He was loyal to Hitler to the end, never played politics, and was considered and honourable man by everyone, including his bitter enemies. So where, exactly, does he fit this trope? (aside from the quote, which really isn't enough if you ask me) I say this also as grounds to remove most of the other generals from the list, as most of them didn't have political motives and for the most part were honourable men. They don't fit.
Vampire Buddha: Removed this, because it is be definition impossible to have more than one Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
The Magnificent Bastard will usually get several Crowning Moments of Awesome.


Nornagest: Yanked the following.

* Bernard Law Montgomery: Two words sum up the approach of the British commander: clarity and organisation. He was a master of planning, out foxing even the Desert Fox, the original Magnificent Bastard Rommel. Laying out elaborate ambushes using deception at every turn, going so far as to create fake armies for scouts to stumble over and have fake maps fall into enemy hands, he devistated the German army in North Africa. And unlike many other Magnificent Bastards, he kept his men alive in the process, always thinking on how best to minimize loses while maximizing gains. He planned the D-Day invasion while convincing the Germans the main assault would come from Italy by crashing a plane (not personally) into the sea with fake documents in it detailing the supposed Allied plan. Not only that he also personally reshaped the 9th Army, making a standard in physical fitness mandatory for every soldier from the rank of Brigadier down. He groomed the commander of the 1st Canadian army and was instrumental in its creation. And really, any guy that can send Rommel's army running is a guy you've got to give some props to. At the end of the war he was properly styled: Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein, KG, GCB, DSO, PC. Not bad for the son of a priest who was almost expelled from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, for setting another cadet on fire with a poker. (They were having a fight or something, details are sketchy)
** This troper sees the magnificent side, but where's the bastardliness?
** His huge ego and, frankly, dickish tendencies make him some kind of bastard. The Yanks hated him, especially Patton, a feeling he reciprocated. He even chewed out Eisenhower on a number of occasions. His subordinates hated him because of the mind games he'd play on them, usually as part of his 'training methods', but the rank and files troops all loved him. The only people he didn't treat like dirt or lesser beings were his troops, and Winston Churchill. More of a magnificent arsehole than bastard per say, but so magnificent he deserves a mention
** A famed story exists about a meting between Winston Churchill, King George the VI, and Monty. Churchill himself claimed it to be true and although Churchill had an... interesting... sense of humor, it does shine some light on Montgomery's huge, HUGE ego. The three were meeting in 1944, Monty was an arse and demanded more control over D-Day arguing Eisenhower, like all Americans, entered the war late and so shouldn't be listened to. Churchill and George, strong supporters of the American role in D-Day had to put up with this until he threw a temper tantrum, accused them or working for the Germans, and left. Apparent as Monty was being driven away from the meeting in a staff car Churchill turned to King George and exclaimed "You know, sometimes I think he's after my job." to which the king replied "Thank God! I thought he was after mine!"
** This troper disagrees that Monty was a Magnificent Bastard considering that he was responsible for Operation Market Garden, which if you can't remember was a massive failure. Not only that but Monty's stubbornness and refusal to alter his plans was responsible for making several operations more difficult then they had to be.
** A commander who never ever fought a battle without having massive-to-overwhelming material superiority on his side and, despite this, led his troops to major debacles such as operation Goodwood or above-mentioned Market Garden does not deserve a mention on this page. Basic competence in one's job is not equal to magnificience.
** The man who defeated Rommel, planned Normandy and won North Africa, took a defeated, desperate, army and turned it into a war machine that steam rolled the Nazis again and again, and did so without wasting his men or resources. A man even his enemies respected. Anyone who can take England from the cusp of final defeat and Begin the 'Beginning of the End' for Nazi Germany deserve a mention. Market Garden, it should be noted, damn near worked, and its flaws and execution cannot be lain on Monty's shoulders alone. And Operation Goodwood actually was a success, according to Omar Bradley and many other commanders present at the battle.
*** Any idiot could have defeated Rommel at that point - one needed to be literally Too Dumb to Live to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in these circumstances. Rommel's army fate was completely and irrevocably sealed by ever-growing numerical and material superiority of Allies, as well as by failure of Axis logistics in North Africa that became inevitable after the success of operation Pedestal. Also, "cusp of final defeat"? By autumn of 1942 the war was already decided. After the failure of summer offensive on Eastern Front, there was no hope for Axis in general, and after the failure to take out Malta, there was no hope for them to keep their holdings in North Africa for long in particular. Also, "without wasting his men or resources"? Like, read something about the above-mentioned operations Market Garden and Goodwood. The latter of which was most certainly not a success, whatever generals that promised a breakthrough might have said when this breakthrough was not achieved (again), despite enormous concentration and expenditure of resources. And there is also the litte fact, that Montgomery's campaigns tended to devolve in slow, undecisive battles of attrition (just look at Sicilia, Italy and Normandy), and if anyone at all managed to achieve a crucial success on the theater, that always were his American neighbors.

The obvious controversy puts his magnificence in question, and I see no evidence that he was a bastard in the sense of this page. This page is for villains, though frequently classy and charismatic ones. Montgomery was a general of the Western Allies, the least totalitarian side of that war (although every major power in WWII got pretty authoritarian), and has no credible evidence of war crimes or even dirty tricks to his name that I'm aware of. He wasn't a villain. He might have been an egotistical prick, and probably was, but that's not enough. I could have just removed all the natter, but it would have grown back. Better to take the whole example out.

Operation Fortitude (the business with the false D-Day orders) was pretty badass, though.


Marikina: Removed Michael Scofield from Prison Break. His Chronic Hero Syndrome prevents him from truly fulfilling the "bastard" half of the trope, no matter how ruthless he becomes.


Charred Knight: Several times I have seen references to Belkar being a Magnificent Bastard, his not, he has just stopped being Chaotic Stupid, A Magnificent Bastard is someone who is the main person comming up with huge plans that use Xanatos Gambit, and Batman Gambit to get what they want. Belkar has decided that it might be in his best interest to not be a retard who kills every passerby he meets because it pisses of his teammates. In other words all that has happened is that the writer has stopped using Rule Of Funny to make excuses for why the rest of the group who are generally good would hang out with a Chaotic Evil psycopath. Belkar is probably not going to use Roy's resurrection to gain ultimate powerl, ascend to Godhood, and then kill off the rest of the group.

Magnificent Bastard is not villain who is not retarded, and I would like people to think before adding examples.


So It Begins: Oh-kayyy, the main page's picture is now funny, but it is not a good example. Any ideas for something more... apropos?

Spark9: prune time again. Removed the sheriff from Robin Hood (just a big bully), Darth Vader (per the poll, and Angstakin), Going Postal (protagonist != MB), Tywin and Euron from ASOIAF (per poll, and Euron is again mostly a bully), Woundwort (another bully who just isn't manipulative), The Mule (it's easy to manipulate stuff if you're a psychic), Spike (per poll), all of the Greek Pantheon (because they're a bunch of teenagers), Gill (because if "he's a bit of" then that means he's not), Cartman (immature bully and buffoon), Mario (wtf??), some guys who wrote a computer virus (hacking != MB), a railroad guy that pulled one great trick once (neither manipulative nor a bastard), the guy who designed Diplomacy, and Nixon (mainly known for his failures).

Dausuul: Removed the following for being boring, distracting, and unnecessary:

Note that even if the character is female, we still call her a 'magnificent bastard', not a 'magnificent bitch.' Partly because we're trying to comply with equal opportunity laws, and typically when someone is objectionable, because it's usually a man, we call them a bastard. Calling someone a bastard has a well-known connotation; calling a woman a bitch is usually not as negative or forceful a characterization.


Polymphus: I put a note on the page questioning to that effect, but is Vetinari really a magnificent bastard or is he a chessmaster? He's cold, logical, methodical and actually has a motive rant to the effect of "the people in this city are like gears, and all it takes is one speck of grit to throw them off". Is that isn't chessmaster I don't know what is.

I'd also like to put forward Reacher Gilt as a real example of a magnificent bastard. This topic's so damn controversial though I half expect it to be deleted by tommorrow. He really does fit the trope perfectly in the whole "evil, charismatic, cunning arsehole" thing.

Dausuul: Vetinari is undeniably a Chessmaster, but that's a prerequisite for being a Magnificent Bastard. The question is whether he can work effectively on his own, without the governing structures of Ankh-Morpork to back him up. I haven't read nearly as many Discworld novels as other people, so I'll leave it to them to answer, though I suspsect the answer is yes.


Lord Incompetent: Would somebody please tell me exactly why Thrawn was removed from the article? A picture of him used to be the page's picture, for crying out loud!

Stranger: I think it's because many people see him as a Villain Sue.


Raekuul: Galaxia from Sailor Moon; Mere Chessmaster, or Magnificent Bastard?

Mere Chessmaster most likely. I haven't heard of many who consider her magnificent.


Dausuul: Removed Spike (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) from the list. He's awesome and I love him, but he is in no way a Magnificent Bastard.

Stranger: I'd say that in his debut season, he totally was. He turned on both the Annointed One and Angelus without them suspecting it, and in the latter he even did it while pretending to still be crippled. And he was the only one who escaped the season finale with no physical or mental harm done to him (at least until Drusilla dumped him afterwards) How does he not qualify?

Dausuul: It's not enough to be a treacherous Karma Houdini. Magnificent Bastardy requires that one be a Chessmaster (albeit an unconventional one), and Spike isn't even close. If Spike had secretly engineered Buffy sleeping with Angel to turn him evil, then arranged for Willow to find the disk with the spell to restore Angel's soul, and coordinated everything so that Buffy had to kill Angel right after he got his soul back, all in order to break her spirit and allow him (Spike) to rack up a third Slayer kill, then he would have been a Magnificent Bastard.

Stranger: Chessmaster seems to be the highest standard for Magnificent Bastards but as I said bellow, a Magnificent Bastard usually gets what they want through manipulation and knowing exactly how to reach their goal. And sometimes that doesn't require being an absolute chessmaster. That's why people like Axel (Kingdom Hearts) and Spike are on this trope and are refered to as Magnificent Bastard by other tropes.

And I said Spike escaped without harm done to him in the season finale. It wasn't exactly a Karma Houdini since afterwards, Dru broke up with him and he had to drink away his problems.


Lord Seth: A while above someone said an important requirement to be a Magnificent Bastard is for the character to win, at least to a certain extent. Sure, Light got killed in the end, but he did manage to kill L and while Iago got arrested at the end of Othello, but still had manipulated Othello successfully into killing his wife. Should that be mentioned as a requirement?

Yeah, it should be adressed that the Magnificent Bastard is usually a villain who wins at his own game. They don't have to completely win in the end all the time (or else they're in danger of becoming a Villain Sue) but they have to usually get what they want by knowing exactly how to get it.

Charred Knight: I think at some point they have to get pretty far in their master plan, and do it by defeating the heroes. That will at least get rid of people adding "Likeable assholes" like Haruhi and Dr. House.


Puny Pony: I removed the Eve Online example. It did not fit the description.

—- KMN:Would Alex Wilder from the Runaways count?

—- Aquillion: Can this page please have a real picture? I don't care what it is, but the duck or the insert villain here is basically just an inside joke, the equivalent of Thread Mode spilling into the image itself. Most readers do not give a damn about how much we argued over the picture, and putting a joke-image there places our own talk-page and edit-war arguments above the actual topic in importance. If nobody can agree on an image, just don't put an image, but please no ducks, INSERT MAGNIFICENT BASTARD HERE, or other inside jokes.

Charred Knight: We made joke pictures because we could never agree on a picture do to how subjective it is.

Twin Bird: I'm wondering, would Good Kat and Slevin count? Not because they're not magnificent, but because they're kind of the heroes of the film, and do have softer sides, even though they're...well...horrible, horrible people. Too good?


Dausuul: Removed Colonel Sherburn of Huckleberry Finn. Cool, yes. Heroic Sociopath, quite possibly. Magnificent Bastard, not even a little bit. Also removed 1984's Big Brother, who might (if he exists) be a Chessmaster but is in no way a Magnificent Bastard.

Also, to Stranger: The whole point of the new definition of the MB was to have clear and definite requirements which a character must meet in order to qualify. One of those requirements is "Chessmaster." It's not a "highest standard," it's part of what the Magnificent Bastard is. The trope you're thinking of is Manipulative Bastard. (I will add that in the poll we ran a while back, Spike was voted "not a Magnificent Bastard" by almost two to one.)

And for the question of an image... how about a pic of Lionel Luthor, who is after all the Trope Namer?

Stranger: With Spike, I was under the impression he was because there have been tropes that apparently misdefined this trope (as usual) and called him Magnificent Bastard. It's even on Spikeification for pete's sake! Also, not everyone on the page are absolute chessmasters. Like the Joker, who is Crazy Awesome and "makes things up as he goes along" but is no less a Magnificent Bastard. (Also, that poll had just as many people undecided on Spike. Same with characters like Randall Flagg and Little Finger, who are usually refered to alot as Magnificent Bastards..)

And the picture should be either Lionel Luthor who is the Trope Namer, or David Xanatos who planned an ''entire Trope Index!
Zephid: Quotes were creeping back into the main page. Edited two of them out (leaving the Patton quote) and made a Quotes Wiki page for them.
Man Without A Body: Will someone please tell me why this image was removed? It privileged no fandom over any other, and it does pretty much the same thing as the little "no pictures, please", only while also being rather funny. It was removed without any explanation, so if nobody objects, I'd like to put it back up soon.

Redkun: Because when it comes to this trope, no-one can agree on anything? Not even the Rule of Funny? TV Tropin' is Serious Business, after all.

Man Without A Body: That's why we don't have any specific example pictured. If we can't agree on anything, surely we can agree on nothing, and this is a picture of nothing. But as I have yet to hear a convincing argument, I'm putting it back.


Redkun: This will probably cause a big stink because that Patton quote has been up there for months, but I really don't like it for one reason: it tells you nothing. All it does is name-drop the trope title. At least the Bison quote is both awesome and funny.
BRPXQZME: The Magnificent Bastard often wears some sort of Impractically Fancy Outfit (and now I always imagine any Magnificent Bastard wearing Manfred von Karma's magnificent duds), but it is by no means necessary. Besides, he'd only do that if he wanted you to suspect anything, right? Well, I was wondering if anyone else noticed that or thinks that way. It'd be worth mentioning if someone else can put their finger on the correlation and compose the message with enough snark for inclusion in the entry.
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