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No Badass to His Valet
"Save it for the criminals, Master Bruce."

Frozone: 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!

Archetypical tough guys and anti-heroes 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.

Sister Trope to No Hero to His Valet.


Examples:

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     Anime and Manga  

  • YuYu Hakusho: Keiko Yukimura is one of the few people who knows Yusuke Urameshi and isn't scared of him, and she doesn't even allow his attitude to affect her. As a result, she often acts as his conscience, and isn't afraid to knock him on his ass if he crosses the line.
    • Perhaps the very reason for the entire series. Yusuke's Yokai ancestor Raizen was successfully seduced during his visit to Earth centuries ago by a sexy witch doctor who had absolutely no fear of him whatsoever. She later dies giving birth to their child. When he returned to Makai, sans offspring (who remains on Earth and continues the Urameshi bloodline) his heartfelt memory of her becames his Morality Chain as Love Redeems him into a Noble Demon who refrains from eating humans (despite that being the only food his specific species can consume) , and inspires him to establish a Proud Warrior Race kingdom of fighting monks who also refrain from eating humans as well and who seek to spread that philosophy across the demon world.
    • Also from YuYu Hakusho, Kurama is pretty much the only one who can make fun of Hiei with no fear of vengeance whatsoever. Both because he knows well what Kurama can do, and because he is the closest thing Hiei has to a best friend.
  • DNA² has a romantic example, with Ami immune to the Mega Playboy's Pornomancer powers because she was Junta's Victorious Childhood Friend for the longest time before they ever activated.
  • In Bleach, Yachiru Kusajishi was not afraid of Kenpachi Zaraki even when she was a baby and he was covered in blood.
  • Similar to the Bleach example, from Fullmetal Alchemist we have Mei, who has absolutely no fear of Scar.
    • Roy Mustang is respected by all of his subordinates. But while he's usually respected by his Number Two/bodyguard Riza Hawkeye, she has no problem calling him an idiot, mocking him, calling him useless, or threatening to shoot him. This is pretty much the reason that Roy picked Riza to be his second in command.
  • In Durarara!!, the typical reaction most people have to encountering Shizuo Heiwajima is to either run away in terror or to pick a fight with him in order to (fail to) prove their badassery. Tom Tanaka's response, on the other hand, was to go, "Yeah, those guys are dicks. Want to hang out?"
  • Dragon Ball: Despite being a Muggle and The Chick, Bulma is perfectly willing to push around anyone; even Vegeta. To the point of getting him into wearing a pink shirt. Naturally, they wind up hooking up and having two children together.
  • At the beginning of the Conviction Arc in Berserk, when Guts returns to Godo's house only to find his insane lover Casca gone and goes into a rage because of it, the only one not to be intimidated by Guts is Godo, and is therefore able to deliver an effective hands-down-barrier-what-the-hell-hero lecture to him.
  • In Black Butler, Ciel is not afraid of his demon butler Sebastian, unlike pretty much everyone else, most notably Prince Soma. Likewise, Sebastian is unaffected by Ciel's 'I hate the world' aura. Elizabeth also seems to be immune to all badass auras. This becomes obvious when she places a pink bonnet on Sebastian.
  • One Piece: Shanks is one of the Four Emperors, one of the four most powerful pirates in the world, and widely feared across the seas. Yet there is one man not afraid of him. THAT MAN IS...Buggy. Despite the huge gap between their abilities, it's just like old times on the Oro Jackson as far as he's concerned.
    • Shanks, being Shanks, outright welcomes this attiutude from Buggy.
      • It may also have something to do with Shanks being a swordsman and Buggy being immune to cuts.
    • Luffy's entire crew is this to him. The world sees Luffy as a dangerous pirate with massive amounts of potential and one of the forerunners to become Pirate King. His crew sees him as their idiot captain who wouldn't last five minutes in the Grand Line, let alone the New World, without them because of his recklessness and outright stupidity.
    • Zoro is of a similar standing. To the world: an insane Blood Knight with a dangerous amount of potential who is second to one of the most powerful pirates on the Grand Line. To his crew? A complete meathead who is capable of getting lost in a straight hallway and is only marginally smarter than their reckless idiot of a captain.
  • Kyon does something like this for Haruhi Suzumiya. The latter is a Reality Warper (though she doesn't know it) and, as a result, incredibly self-centered and obnoxious. Hyper-advanced aliens and entire organizations of time-travellers/psychics are afraid to provoke her or not fulfill her every whim, lest she destroy the universe. Kyon, a stubborn but otherwise Ridiculously Average Guy, increasingly refuses to put up with Haruhi's bullshit...and it works. She actually listens to him and becomes much less of a danger to the universe thanks to his influence, partly because she has a crush on him.
  • Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle: Most people would think twice about teasing or otherwise messing with Kurogane, with good reason. The select few people who gleefully ignore his gruff (and sometimes terrifying) demeanor include Fai, Mokona, Princess Tomoyo, Amaterasu, and Yuuko Ichihara.note 

     Comic Books  

  • 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.

     Film  

  • 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.

     Literature  

  • 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.
  • Discworld: 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  

  • Buffyverse: Cordelia is probably the only person Angel can't intimidate.
  • Merlin is most definitely this to Prince Arthur in Merlin. He is almost completely immune to Arthur's royal demands and complaining, largely due to the fact that Arthur cannot intimidate him. He's also totally willing to knock the royal prat down a knotch or twenty whenever he becomes too unbearable, punishment be damned.
    • It helps that, while Arthur is a Badass Normal and Master Swordsman, Merlin could still kill him without lifting a finger. Arthur may not be aware of this, but Merlin definitely is.
    Arthur: I could take you apart with one blow.
    • There's an element of this with Gaius and Uther as well. He's one of the few who isn't afraid to call Uther out from time to time.
  • Zoe is like this with Mal in Firefly and Serenity. Having fought alongside him in the Unification War and Serenity Valley will do that to you.
    • Simon doesn't seem all that intimidated by Mal either. Nor does Book.
    • Interestingly, few of the main characters in Firefly seem to be intimidated by Jayne; that seems to be more for outsiders. To those who spend a lot of time around him, Jayne is a bit of a doofus. He just happens to be the kind of doofus who is very good at killing people.
  • House: Wilson is often impressed by House, but never intimidated by him.
    • Ditto Cuddy. "What am I supposed to be afraid of? More yelling?"
  • Dr. Cox and Dr. Kelso are like this to each other in Scrubs. While, at first, Dr. Kelso often tries to get rid of Cox or somehow get him out of his hair, he eventually says that he needs someone like Cox, a constant opposing force who will not back down, to make sure that the best decisions are made for the hospital.
  • On SeaQuest DSV, there was a fun scene where the Regulator, an apparent tough guy who has everybody either impressed and/or a little scared, has his bubble pierced when Captain Bridger, who knows him, says, "Hello, Leslie." The guy had faked his own death, but Bridger knew he was alive because at one point, he'd happened to run into him in a grocery store.
  • On The West Wing, the President's personal secretary (and Old Retainer) Mrs. Landingham is the only member of the White House staff who isn't even a little bit intimidated by him. Her replacement, Deborah Fiderer is intimidated by him at first (she screws up her job interview so badly that the President thinks it must be a prank), but eventually becomes acclimated to the point where she's able to make rather biting jokes at his expense to his face.
    • The president's "Body Man", Charlie Young, was also quite immune to the president when the Chief Executive tried to be intimidating... except when it came to Charlie's dating the president's daughter. Of course, during those occasions he wasn't dealing with the president per se; during those occasions he was dealing with a father who didn't want his daughters to date until they were comfortably in their 30s.
    • Various subordinates of the frequently bad-tempered Josh Lyman fill this role at one time or another. It's usually Donna, but communications director Lou is the one who yells at him and gets him to stand down when he's freaking out on Election Day, and Sam Seaborn marches into the lion's den to force him to back down when he's been berating his new assistant Otto. (The first two work for him, and Sam threatens Josh that he won't come work for him unless Josh chills out and takes a vacation.)

     Video Games  

  • Fire Emblem Tellius: Ike is like this to anyone he meets, though once they join the player party, people learn he really isn't that mean.
    Sothe: Stop scowling at me like that. You're making me uncomfortable.
    Nasir: It's not just you. Ike always looks like that. Don't mind him, just keep talking.
  • Chizuru Kagura, the cool-headed Miko from The King of Fighters, cannot make Iori Yagami completely bend to her will, but she can make him team-work with none other than his sworn enemy Kyo Kusanagi. Twice. And later, she is personally visited by him before XIII, promising to return her Magic Mirror and restore her stolen powers in due time.
    • Similarly, the KOF: KYO manga implies that this is the reason why Yuki and Kyo are together. Almost everyone at school feared him and can't even talk to him, but Yuki treated him like a normal person.
      Yuki: He's just a guy who gets flaming mad at times.
      Sanae: That's why everyone's afraid of him. They're just too scared to speak to him!
      Yuki: But I guess Kyo has a cute side... even when he's a bit narcissistic and his attitude is annoying...
  • In Grand Theft Auto V, nearly all of Trevor Phillips's associates are either incredibly terrified of him (Nervous Ron, Floyd) or too stupid to realise just how exploited and oppressed they are (Wade), or at the most respectful and keep a distance (Oscar). Even Michael knows not to mess with him. However, Trevor's meth cook, Chef, is a certified badass in his own right, and in his first mission, even orders Trevor about.

     Webcomics  

     Western Animation  


Nice to the WaiterServant TropesNo Hero to His Valet
My Master, Right or WrongAuthority TropesNo Hero to His Valet
The MagnificentFame and Reputation TropesNo Fame, No Wealth, No Service
Mistaken for BadassBadassPaper Tiger
The Meddling Kids Are UselessHero TropesNo Hero to His Valet
My Parents Are DeadImageSource/Comic BooksNot So Stoic

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