"Save it for the criminals, Master Bruce."
Frozone:Archetypical tough guys
You tell me where my suit is, woman!! We are talking about the greater good! Honey:
"Greater good?!" I am your WIFE! I am the greatest GOOD you're EVER gonna get!
often give off an aura of authority and attitude around them, a countenance that gives even the most courageous individuals feelings of doubt and fear; a warning to all to treat the character with caution. As a result, these characters are apt to intimidate anyone they meet into doing what they want, whether it be doing their bidding or merely just leaving them alone.
But for every intimidating loner, there's one person on whom their gruff exterior will have no effect. It could be because this person knows who they're dealing with personally, and, thus, doesn't really take their glares and threats seriously. It could also be because they're so innocent and upbeat that they don't even consider the loner's threatening exterior to be
threatening. Whatever the case, they refuse (knowingly or otherwise) to be intimidated.
to No Hero to His Valet
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Anime and Manga
- The Trope Codifier is Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's faithful retainer, friend, and one-man support system. As the man who practically raised Bruce Wayne, he is absolutely immune to Batman's intimidation, one of the few who can unflinchingly confront him to his face if need be, and is the first to deflate him when he gets too obsessive. Alfred is one of the few people Batman has complete faith in, and, in fact, he doesn't even try (or even desire to try) to control Alfred (beyond the whole butler/employer relationship they have, which is... complicated) the way he keeps absolute control over the rest of his world. Alfred Pennyworth is afraid of no one. Being a former SAS commando can do that to you.
- He is the only Batfamily member with the balls to confront Batman about his poor treatment of family members. His manipulation of Stephanie Brown, his abandonment of Cassandra Cain, his terrible fathering of Damian. Three of the most badass heroes there are, who rarely even stand up for themselves to Bruce. Alfred does it regularly. Dick Grayson is unafraid of Batman and this is pointed out in a couple of issues but even he had to 'go his own way' as Nightwing. Alfred sticks around.
- Not the only batfamily member to do this - Oracle/Barbara Gordon does as well, particularly regarding his poor treatment of Cassandra. See particularly Dylan Horrocks' run on Batgirl, particularly #47-50, and the end/aftermath of War Games. Speaking of which, prior to War Games, Dr. Leslie Thompkins took this role as well, particularly during the No Man's Land crossover.
- Since coming Back from the Dead, so is Green Lantern Hal Jordan. Which makes sense; Batman wields fear as a weapon but the Green Lanterns are all about defying it.
- Evie Hammond eventually assumes this role for V in V for Vendetta.
- Django Unchained: It's revealed that Stephen is MUCH smarter than Candie, and is more than willing to call him a dipshit when he's making a mistake.
- A lot of James Bond's former lovers.
- Paris Carver from Tomorrow Never Dies comes to mind first.
- Bond in Skyfall is one of Britain's most skilled agents and assassins. When he tells Kincade, his family's gamekeeper, to get himself out of danger before The Siege, Kincade refuses and calls him a "jumped up little shit."
- Mildly Played With though. He does seem surprised by how well James has done with a gun when testing out the ones they had; Based on his comment: "What did you say you did for a living again?", he wasn't aware of how badass James had become.
- Officer Anne Lewis plays this role for her cyborg partner in the first two RoboCop films.
- Pepper Potts vs. Tony Stark from Iron Man. Not only is she unimpressed by his wealth and power (including his shiny iron suit), she's also immune to his Pornomancer powers.
- The Sting. Floyd has this kind of relationship to his boss Doyle Lonnegan. He's unafraid to disagree with Lonnegan, and even mildly argue with him, even though he knows that Lonnegan is not reluctant to have people killed.
- At the beginning of Star Wars: A New Hope, an Imperial officer appears in one scene, where he argues with Darth Vader about taking Princess Leia prisoner and Vader listens to him. The Expanded Universe gave this guy a name and elaborated on his backstory, confirming that he was one of the few Imperial officers to ever question Vader while still being loyal, and had earned Vader's respect for this.
- And let's not forget Grand Moff Tarkin, who at one point actually commands Darth Vader to stop force-strangling an insubordinate Imperial Officer, and Vader promptly obeys. This seems to imply that Darth Vader has no actual authority on the Death Star - not even in practice, despite how easy it would be to be intimidated by him. Of course, Vader also doesn't try to use intimidation or outright violence to usurp Tarkin's position as commanding officer of the Death Star because he truly respects the man.
- Whistler is like this to Blade, though he's quite the Badass himself.
- This relationship develops between Belle and the Beast in Beauty and the Beast. Out of a whole castle full of servants who alternately cringe in terror of his rages, and try to bring him up like he's still a child, Belle is the only one who talks to him like an equal.
- Tom Bombadil shows this somewhat in The Lord of the Rings. He isn't intimidated by ghostly Barrow Wights, he isn't affected by the One Ring, and he seems complete unaware of Sauron's impending assault on Middle-earth. Even Tolkien himself didn't quite know who or what Tom was.
- In The Silmarillion, Melkor is the most powerful being ever created; of all the Valar, however, Tulkas has absolutely no fear of him, and is the only one of them who can defeat Melkor one-on-one.
- Ginny Weasley shows signs of this in Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix. Everyone else has no idea how to deal when Harry is beginning to lose his temper. Ginny coolly and calmly defuses him.
- Similarly, one of the reasons why Harry Potter keeps Luna Lovegood in such regard is that she treats him as Harry, the person, and not Harry, the hero, and always tells him the truth as she sees it.
- Reformed Gentleman Thief Moist Von Lipwig has his Love Interest Adora Bell "Spike" Dearhart. Part of the reason he was attracted to her in the first place was because she wasn't fooled by him. In his second book, he's taken up needlessly dangerous pastimes to make up for the normality of his life, while she's away on an archaeological dig; Lord Veternari notes that it seems he doesn't need to do that when his fiancée is around.
- Having grown up as Death's adopted daughter, Ysabell was utterly unintimidated BY HIS VOICE.
- His granddaughter, Susan, acts much the same way, as does his actual valet Albert. Albert is a bit of an odd case, though, in that he is terrified of death; he just doesn't find the anthropomorphic personification of it all that worrisome.
- In fairness to Albert, he's been living on about three months of life for the past 2,000 years and is now down to about ten seconds.
- According to his own words, Albert isn't afraid of death itself but the fact that once he dies all the supernatural contracts he made in life will be due for payment, and he will suffer a nameless fate in the Dungeon Dimensions.
- Spenser, Robert B. Parker's Hardboiled Detective, is intimidating to just about everyone he meets. But not Rachel Wallace, an author he worked with at one point. Nor his constant companion Susan Silverman. Of course, Spenser doesn't intimidate Hawk, either, but that's because Hawk is just as much of a badass as Spenser.
- In the Star Trek Expanded Universe, Federation President Bacco and Bajoran First Minister Asarem both have secretaries who embody this trope, as did Worf during his stretch as Klingon ambassador.
- In 1632, nearly everyone is careful of Emperor Gustav's well-known volatile temper (his valets carry around extra chairs when he's campaigning, because they know he likes to smash chairs when he's angry) and his touchy nature when it comes to insults. Julie Simms isn't intimidated at all, and even once called him a fathead to his face. And got away with it, if only because of a Tactful Translation by Alex MacKay.
- In the Conan the Barbarian story The Phoenix on the Sword, there is a scene where King Conan of Aquilonia and General Prospero are discussing the state of the kingdom. Prospero speaks to Conan as he would an old friend rather than his king, and the story even mentions the "easy familiarity" that exists between Conan and Prospero.
- Eve and Roarke are both intimidating people in the In Death series. Eve's used to bullying her way around, and Roarke is a Bad Ass who owns everything. The only people to consistently and calmly deflect their spite whenever they rage or angst are Mira and Summerset, their respective parental figures.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Cersei Lannister and her twin brother Jaime learned everything they know about how to be scary and intimidating from their father, Lord Tywin Lannister. All three of them manage to successfully brow beat and intimidate scores of other characters. But none of them scare or intimidate their younger brother, Tyrion Lannister, who always seems to know just what to say to utterly gobstop his family and cause their intimidation techniques to look like childish tantrums.
- This trope also applies to the relationship between Stannis Baratheon and Davos Seaworth. While Stannis' other subjects kiss up to him and flatter, Davos speaks honestly to Stannis even if it means telling Stannis something he doesn't want to hear. Rather than punishing Davos, Stannis promotes him to higher positions in his court.
- A milder example is Dr. Watson to Sherlock Holmes. Watson is still incredibly impressed with Holmes' deductive abilities and ruefully admits that Holmes can easily wrap him around his finger when he really wants to, but in other fields (particularly his personal life and habits), Watson will cheerfully deflect Holmes's eccentricities and imperious personality to challenge his theories, pester him into explaining his cases better, or strong-arm him into taking care of his heath, cleaning the house, being nice to other people, etc. He's also completely unfazed by Holmes's more anti-social (or downright insane) actions — simply referring to Holmes's dangerous chemical experiments as "malodorous" and responding to Holmes shooting bullets at the living-room wall in boredom with an amused remark that he thinks target practice should be "strictly an open-air pastime."
Live Action TV
- In Justice League: Doom Alfred makes this quite clear. Batman shrugs off any advice the Justice League give him on getting healed and rested after their last battle. After getting back to the cave Alfred makes it clear he won't let Batman get back to work until he has rested and healed.