Simple-Minded Wisdom

Pinkie Pie: "The Elements of Harmony: A reference guide."
Twilight Sparkle: How did you find that?
Pinkie Pie: It was under EEEEE!

A "simple" character (particularly a servant or rural character) displays uncommon wisdom — usually much to the surprise of an arrogant main character. Creates An Aesop moment.

This would seem to derive from Cervantes' Don Quixote, where the archetypically "simple" Sancho Panza occasionally produces statements of great wisdom (although in that case the main character, Don Quixote, often fails to notice or credit that wisdom).

Dungeons & Dragons players will lecture, in great detail, that Wisdom and Intelligence are not the same thing.

Compare Dumbass Has a Point, which is what said Insufferable Genius may say after hearing the simple character's idea.

See also: Achievements in Ignorance, Too Dumb to Fool, Whoopi Epiphany Speech, Infallible Babble, Hanlon's Razor. Contrast Ditzy Genius, which is in many ways the diametric opposite of this trope, and Seemingly Profound Fool, in which other characters erroneously read wisdom into the genuinely banal observations of a bona fide fool.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Misaki Yata from K has moments of this. Particularly, late in season 2, to Saruhiko: "You're not a traitor! If you'd go this far for him, the Blue King was your King all along!" Saruhiko lampshades this when he's thinking about it just after Misaki leaves.
  • Nijimura Okuyasu from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Diamond is Unbreakable is often like this. For example, he convinces himself that Yoshihiro Kira, the ghost Stand user, doesn't actually need to breathe because if he did, in his words, "all the dead people would suck up the air and we'd all suffocate". Well, he's technically correct, right?

    Comic Books 
  • Not a perfect example, but the Rhino in Spider-Man does this occasionally, much to the surprise of other villains.
  • Obelix in Astérix. He's a bit socially awkward and only seems to have a vague idea what's going on most of the time, but because of this is able to see contradictions and strangeness in cultural behavior everyone else sees as being normal. His Catch-Phrase — "these Romans are crazy" — represents this about half of the time (the other half of the time, he is just mistaken about what the Romans are thinking).

    Comic Strips 
  • In Twisted Toyfare Theatre, Mego Spider-Man seems to totally lack his signature super-powers, but also happens to be the only person in Megoville apart from maybe Dr. Doom who has a single lick of common sense.

    Films — Animation 

  • The Scarecrow from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, both the book and movie. He wishes for a brain, yet neither he nor anyone else he's traveling with notices the discrepancy.
  • Older Than Steam: The Beast in the original literary fairy tale "Beauty and the Beast" is described as speaking with much common sense, but "never what the world calls wit." (And yes, at the end of the story, the Prince is transformed to be witty and eloquent in addition to handsome.)
  • In Alexander Pope's The Rape of the Lock, right before the incredibly epic battle over an involuntary haircut, Clarissa, probably a lower-status lady than most of the players, rebukes everyone on how it's silly to waste energy over such a trivial matter, and how good humor is a better tool than beauty or tantrums to weather the storms of life. Of course, no one listens to her.
  • Discworld:
    • Witches sometimes provide this, since they're often quite intelligent about human nature while not being very well-educated. Sometimes, they even do it to other witches. In Wyrd Sisters, after an attempt at some complicated mental magic by Granny Weatherwax fails to work on the Duchess, Nanny Ogg deals with her by hitting her over the head with a cauldron so the guards can arrest her. Maskerade has an example from someone who's not a witch; Walter Plinge is asked "if your house was on fire what would you take out?" and answers "The fire!"
    • This is one of Captain Carrot's defining traits. At the start of the Watch sequence, he really is naive to the ways of the city, arresting the head of the thieves' guild for thievery and not recognizing that his boarding house is actually a brothel, but he also takes literally Vimes' order to "throw the book at [Wonse]", while Wonse is at the edge of a three-story drop. As the books progress he wises up, but continues to act in a very simple matter. To free a golem, he puts its receipt of sale in its head, to stop a war, he suggests arresting the armies for breach of the peace. And it all works.
  • Samwise Gamgee of The Lord of the Rings has plain good hobbit-sense, even more than the other three hobbits because he's a simple gardener and not in the gentry. When forced to carry the Ring himself for a time, it naturally tempts him and chooses to do so with visions of Mordor as a beautiful garden. Sam considers it and then shakes his head because he could never manage a garden that vast on his own.
  • Horace Altman of Ranger's Apprentice has a fair bit of this. While not a Guile Hero or The Strategist like his Ranger friends, he's intelligent and sensible in his own way, and methodically thinks through problems while Will jumps from one idea to another.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Sheriff Carter, from Eureka. It's the whole point of having him as the sheriff in a town of full geniuses with too much brains and not enough sense.
  • Jack O'Neill of Stargate SG-1 often falls into this. Although he's also smarter than he lets it show.
  • Merlin from Merlin is a subversion. Everyone thinks this of him, but he's actually The Smart Guy.

     Tabletop Games 
  • As mentioned above, Dungeons & Dragons can invoke this when a character with low Intelligence has a high Wisdom score. The closest analogue for these stats are IQ vs. EQ, with Intelligence representing things like knowledge, education, and problem-solving while Wisdom is more about empathy, introspection, and the ability to read motivations in others.

    Video Games 
  • In the first Knights of the Old Republic, you get questions to see what kind of Jedi you'll be. None are "wrong", but guess which answer here leads you to become the wisdom-seeking, magelike Jedi Consular:
    There is a locked door, and you need to get to the other side. What do you do?
    1. Blast it open.
    2. Hack into the lock to get it open.
    3. Knock.
  • Final Fantasy V's protagonist, Bartz, is described in the manual as a "simple wanderer." He has some Book Dumb traits, but he also has a very uncomplicated and un-angsty outlook on saving the world. For instance, when Krile's wind drake will die if not treated with a plant that only grows in a place so dangerous no one has ever returned from it, it sends the party into a brief despair, until Bartz breaks it with these words:
    "Guess that means we'll be the first who do!"
  • Sera from Dragon Age: Inquisition occasionally makes surprisingly profound statements based on straightforward observations, stumping even the more book-smart party members. For example, when Solas badgers her one conversation too many about organizing the Red Jennies to dispose of the nobility for good:
    Sera: What, just lop off the top? What does that do, except make a new top to frig it all up?
    Solas: I... forgive me. You are right.
    • This exchange becomes even more tragic in hindsight after you learn Solas's backstory; it turns out that his actions against the elven "gods" in the distant past resulted in pretty much this.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation