His life sucks, but he will never complain.
"They'll realize that beneath your unfeeling exterior is a heart that's breaking. Silently, and in more pain than any of us can possibly understand, because that's what it is to be Vulcan!"
These characters need a hug. Badly. But don't expect them to ask for one
. A subtrope of The Stoic
, unlike other woobie
characters, they won't cry, angst, or outwardly show how much they're suffering at all. (Internally is another story). They don't want your pity
, and in a great number of cases, will deny having emotions at all
. Don't be fooled. The plot has heaped complication after complication on them, and silently, internally, they're suffering. They may inadvertently show their suffering for a moment, in which case they are Not So Stoic
, or they may just have Bad Dreams
. If they are lucky they will find a Manic Pixie Dream Girl
to comfort them and live happily ever after as a reward for their stoicism.
See also Jerkass Woobie
and Iron Woobie
. This character is often a Tin Man
, Broken Bird
, Emotionless Girl
, Shell-Shocked Veteran
, or Defrosting Ice Queen
Polar opposite of Wangst
, where a character overemotes at the most minor suffering. Compare Did You Think I Can't Feel?
Also compare Mangst
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Anime & Manga
- Pictured above: Killy from Blame!, especially near the end when it is clear his mission is finally taking a toll on his nigh indestructible body.
- Hei and Yin from Darker Than Black are rather woobieish once their backstories come out. Hei was dragged into a war as a child while trying to protect his little sister, who he had to watch turn into a sociopathic killing machine. He was then (apparently) betrayed by the only other person he trusted, leaving him the sole survivor of his team, lost and alone with his sister's powers, no idea what happened to her, and the Syndicate holding a gun to his head to make sure he stays working as their assassin. Yin is an Emotionless Girl due to Mind Rape, is blind, and lost both her parents in tragic circumstances. Her father died in a plane crash, and shortly afterward, she realized her mother and piano tutor were in love and tried to run away; her mother had to sacrifice herself to save her from an oncoming truck after Little Yin ran into the road, and Yin holds herself responsible for this. No wonder Hei's a shell-shocked stoic.
- The Hero of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Setsuna F. Seiei, had been tricked by the bloody monster Ali Al-Saachez into murdering his own parents in the name of God. Throughout the entire series he openly shows the sadness and anger deep in him; he never laughs and almost never smiles - and the only thing that could probably heal him is Marina Ismail's song, Tomorrow.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion:
- Yuki Nagato from Suzumiya Haruhi (who, notably, is partly an homage to the above mentioned Rei). Also woobie re-maker of world, although the remade world was considerably nicer, and she even left a reset button for the main character. For those unfamiliar, Yuki is the only member of the cast who remembers every iteration of the "Groundhog Day" Loop where Haruhi put them through the last two weeks of summer vacation over and over again. We "only" had to watch it eight times; she experienced it for subjective centuries. Since she's an Emotionless Girl, though, there's absolutely no angst shown.
- Serial Experiments Lain: The eponymous Lain, who may look like an Emotionless Girl but... well, isn't.
- Fullmetal Alchemist:
- Many characters who were involved in the Ishval campaign, particularly Scar, Riza Hawkeye and Roy Mustang.
- Lust in the 2003 anime version.
- A few examples stand out in Naruto:
- When Itachi Uchiha was four he watched people die in a world war. As Tobi said: "For a child, war is hell." He grew up under the pressure of being the Uchiha Clan prodigy while trying to maintain peace. At the prospect of his clan causing a rebellion, he received orders to murder them to maintain peace. After that, he developed a terminal illness, and chose to make his own little brother hate him... and yet he still died with a smile on his face. Death was probably the best thing that ever happened to that guy. And later, his little brother takes his eyes and he is resurrected as a zombie. Yes, even after he's dead, the Ninja world won't give him a break!
- Kakashi Hatake. At about age 6, father commits suicide. He only recovers normal human emotions through second traumatic loss for which he blames himself. He also happens to be the sole survivor of his original team. One of the Genin he trained defected from the village and joined a terrorist organisation. To twist the knife further, said student was very similar to Kakashi and declared that he intended to kill everyone in their village, including his remaining students and Kakashi himself. Kakashi is continually late because of visiting the grave/memorial stone of his dead teammate, for whom he feels responsible. His only moments of on-screen angsting are at the Third Hokage's funeral and a scene in which he visits the memorial after the failure to retrieve Sasuke and asks the dead Obito how much he has changed. His face when he gets to the site of Naruto and Sasuke's fight at the Valley of the End, too late again, is a study in pain and self-hatred. He later finds out that his "dead" teammate (the same one whose grave he's constantly visiting) not only survived his "fatal" accident, but is actually the Big Bad of the story. And what happened to seal Obito's turn from Wide-Eyed Idealist to Diabolical Mastermind? Witnessing from the shadows as Kakashi was forced to kill Rin, their other teammate and the girl that Obito was in love with and asked him to protect. Considering all that he has gone through, he may very well be the most emotionally broken man in the story.
- Shikamaru Nara. First he gets to see his sensei, who is like a father figure to him, killed right before his eyes. This plays out over a coming of age arc where he recovers and gets revenge on Asuma's killers. Everything okay, right? Nope. After the Ninja Alliance arrives to help Naruto against the Madara, Obito, and the Juubi, his father Shikaku and Inoichi are killed after the Juubi launches an attack that destroys Alliance HQ. So the guy who got him over Asuma's death is now also dead. Only a day after he was forced with his team to fight and defeat a zombie Asuma. Nice. While Ino cries after learning the fate of her father, Shikamaru is stoic after a brief bit of emotion.
- Shino Aburame, at least in the anime fillers. During the war, he comes across his Childhood Friend and Big Brother Mentor Torune. Shino then realizes that a) his brother is dead, and b) he's going to have to kill his brother a second time. By himself. We then learn that Torune joined the Foundation so that Shino could have the chance to learn The Power of Friendship. Torune asks Shino if he has made any friends. Shino makes a distressed face, then replies, "I don’t know…I’m not sure if they consider me their friend.”
- Sousuke Sagura from Full Metal Panic!. Especially after his childhood and backstory is shown in Kyokuhoku Kara no Koe. The poor kid suffered together with his beautiful single mother in the middle of ice cold mountains in a crashed airplane (where all other passengers died), saw his mother freaking die for him before his own eyes, temporarily went mute from shock while he was taken in by the Russian army, got sent away to the KGB to be raised as a child soldier and assassin, got taken in as a child soldier for the resistance in the middle of Afghanistan, the resistance ended up losing the war anyways, and he loses a bunch of his comrades and his kindly father figure... and that's just up until he was eleven years old. He's never shown to have ever complained or wangsted about any of it, and seems to take all of it in stride. There are very, very brief moments where his eyes are described to show loneliness, as well as moments where he's shown to have Bad Dreams about his mother dying. All of this contributes to him being regarded as a Badass and a Woobie.
- Any sympathetic character, particularly Ichise in Texhnolyze. These characters show less emotion on average than a two-by-four, but damn are they ever hurting.
- Fruits Basket:
- Rin Sohma has been through LOTS of shit in her life, but once she meets the sweet and gentle Tohru, she despises herself for even wanting to cry on her shoulder.
- An earlier example would be Hatori. Under that sand-dry demeanor is a deeply scarred heart.
- Lyrical Nanoha:
- Fate Testarossa is a Dark Magical Girl who has been put through hell by the person she loved and then left out in the dry, completely shattered. Nevertheless, she manages to get up on her feet and lead a relatively normal life. In the second season, she is trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine where said person loves her back and her Cool Big Sis is alive—and one of the reasons she can wake up from it is her realization that this reality is treating her too good. In other words, she uses the level of her own suffering to determine if the current reality is fake.
- Also, the Lady of War Signum and other Wolkenritter from season two. Fate has been through roughly a year of abuse by her maddened mother. The Wolkenritter are implied to have been through centuries of abuse by various masters who treated them like crap and whose orders they could not disobey.
- Keith Anyan from Toward the Terra hits this trope hard when he's at his most vulnerable. And then he tries to commit genocide.
- Shinji Hirako has been through two breakdowns, one in the past and one in the present, has seen his friends turned into monsters and has at one point or another been forced to fight them, had a soul-eating abomination implated into him by the Big Bad, and has seen the person he's closest to on the brink of death twice, with the second time leaving her chopped in half at the waist - yet every time we see him after those breakdowns, he's either smiling or emotionless.
- Ryuuken Ishida initially appears to be cold, aloof, bitter, sarcastic and hypercritical. Then it's hinted that Beneath the Mask he might be gentle and protective. Then a Whole Episode Flashback arc reveals he used to be a warm and kind personality with high hopes for the future of the quincies until Aizen's Hollowfication experiments incidentally destroyed his Arranged Marriage and he was forced to sacrifice that hope. Then it's revealed he could not fix the problem and had to stand aside while a shinigami fixed it instead. Then his wife was killed and an attempt was made on his young son's life when a folkloric quincy prophecy came true. In the current storyline, he and his son Uryuu are badly estranged because Uryuu is furious that Ryuuken refuses both to use his quincy powers AND to explain his refusal. Ryuuken has downright encouraged his son to come to the worst possible conclusions about his motivations and we still don't know exactly why. Yet not once during all this has Ryuuken complained about how his life has turned out.
- Unsui Kongo from Eyeshield 21. Where to begin...
- From the day he was born he's been compared to and completely overshadowed by his brother, who's better than him in every possible way without even trying.
- He puts himself through Training from Hell, but no matter how hard he works he'll only be a "good" player who'll never be half as brilliant as his lazy brother.
- Said brother, Agon, is a total jerk to him (and to everyone else) but gets away with it because he's just THAT special.
- Yet despite having every reason to angst and despise Agon, he instead focuses all his energy into helping his brother live up to his full potential. On top of that, whenever someone starts to feel sorry for him, he tells them not to bother themselves with someone like him.
- Pandora of Saint Seiya. Sweet merciful Athena, the girl's life has sucked ever since as a kid she released Hypnos and Thanatos and then she became Hades's adoptive sister, but she never ever complains.
- Kaname Kuran from Vampire Knight. He's had just as much shit happen to him, if not more, than fellow Woobie Zero, it's just that he doesn't Wangst about it.
- Kurama from Elfen Lied is a particularly excruciating case of this with moments of very justified Mangst.
- Wolfwood from Trigun. The Super Soldier formula treatments he was subjected to give him a Healing Factor and also make him age at a similarly accelerated rate. He probably knows he'd never make it to forty even if his body was capable of it, so what does it matter? And he never complains about it. Ever. He has a really grim worldview and gets mad at Vash for optimism, but he doesn't seem to feel that he, personally, has a raw deal.
- Ikuto Tsukiyomi from Shugo Chara!. . . where do we begin, oh yeah! His dad walked out on his family because he didn't want to be the leader of the family company. His mom gets sick and he and his sister have to move in with old family friends. Said sister has a major stalkerish crush on him (Not so much woobie as comic relief but still) leaves his sister to go with the family friend to find their dad. Then he gets kidnapped by the family company, his mom gets remarried to the Evil Stepfather, said strepfather forces him into a contract, he has to crush the dreams of children, etc. When all he wants is to be free! Then, later in the series, he gets brainwashed and is thrown in the company jail cell thing . . . and he always stops what he's doing to protect the people he loves . . . DAWWW! Don't you just wanna give him a hug?
- Yoite and Miharu from Nabari No Ou fit this trope. Both are stoic and aloof, yet do their best to hide their pain from everyone around them.
- InuYasha provides an unexpected example with Sesshoumaru. He starts as a stoic egotistical cold killer, and his whole character arc is basically a huge Break the Haughty, mostly done to him by his father. He feels like the outcast son since he inherits a sword that cannot kill, instead of getting his father's powerful sword Tessaiga that was given to his lowly half-human brother. Through his seeking of Tessaiga or just trying to get more powerful, he gets his arm chopped off, his potential love interest gets killed off, and the technique he obtains because of this can only be mastered through the death of his Morality Pet. The final straw is when he learns his sword is just a cast-off piece of Tessaiga and that this technique was meant for Inuyasha all along instead of him, a revelation so shocking that even Inuyasha's friends can't believe how cruel Sesshoumaru's father has been. Then powerless, he's attacked by the Shikon no Tama itself and is almost killed. During all this he barely shows any emotions and even less says what he's feeling out loud, to the point of Jaken emoting for him.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica has Homura Akemi, who also crosses the line as an Iron Woobie who has been through a lot.
- Tekkaman Blade D-boy. Other than for convenience, there IS a reason why he pretend to be amnesiac.
- Both Ritsuka and Soubi from Loveless could qualify when you look at their backgrounds, though Soubi is arguably more of a Stepford Smiler than legitimately stoic.
- Jeremy from A Cruel God Reigns is a mixture of this and the Tin Man. After he finds out his mother knew his stepfather was sexually abusing him all along, Ian doesn't believe him when he admits to the abuse, he runs away back to Boston and works as a teenaged prostitute and becomes a Functional Addict to drown out his post traumatic stress disorder, attempts to kill himself three times, and is then brought back to England by Ian to recover, Jeremy denies feeling anything toward sex, pain, love, and emotional attachment in general. He also suffers from a case of the Thousand-Yard Stare quite often. But whenever anyone brings any of this up, he denies that anything is wrong and usually yells at them that he doesn't need or deserve their sympathy or help.
- Ryu of Kimi ni Todoke has it pretty difficult; arguably, he's had it a lot worse than any of the other main characters, being in unrequited (at least for now) love with his childhood friend and having lost his mother to a car accident when he was little: to add salt to the wound, she died whilst driving to pick him up from school. This doesn't stop him being the least outwardly emotional character in the whole series.
- Girls und Panzer
- Mako Reizei typically appears somewhat aloof and slightly bored, but she has a fairly difficult life. Her parents died in an accident when she was in elementary school, and the last time she spoke with her mother, they had an argument, leaving her unable to apologize. Her only remaining family is her elderly grandmother, who has collapsed several times, worrying Mako to the point at which she can't sleep well.
- Maho Nishizumi. The entire reason why she serves as the Nishizumi heiress, which forces her to live up to her mother's expectations and often act coldly toward her younger sister Miho is so that Miho will be free to choose her own path in life. Unfortunately, her mother makes it clear that she doesn't approve of several of Miho's choices, causing her to leave tankery for a while, which was not what Maho hoped would happen. Maho seems quite distressed when her mother considers disowning Miho, especially since it would seem to void all her sacrifices.
- Cyclops, leader of the X-Men. Even though some think he acts like a Knight Templar dick, you have to pity this guy. Starters he lost his family in a plane crash where he and his brother were the only known survivors; said brother would then be adopted and taken away from him, leaving him alone in a Crapsack of an orphanage where he was bullied by other children and tortured/experimented on by Mister Sinister. He can’t control his powers. His first two wives turned crazy and evil with one of them resurrecting and dying again. He's been Mind Raped a number of times. Yet he never complains, ever.
- Batman. First his parents are killed before his eyes, and then his sidekick and ward, Jason Todd, is brutally killed by none other than the Joker. But Batman never complains- If he did, he wouldn't be Batman.
- X-23. For all the hell she's put through, Laura seldom actually talks about it. This is mainly because her emotionally-abusive upbringing left her with a poor understanding of how to deal with her feelings. As a result, her main form of expression over the pain in her past is cutting herself with her claws, and when she does break down, she's prone to bouts of severe if not suicidal depression.
- Many Digimon Tamers fanfics that focus on Rika and Renamon prior to the former's defrosting tend to depict the latter as this, usually with one or two Not So Stoic moments (like silently crying when no one's looking).
- My Little Castlevania gives us Aeon, a time traveler who seems emotionless at first until the other characters scrutinize his oddly dry behavior more closely.
- Mercury from the Inheritance Cycle fanfic series "A dance of Shadow and Light" by Ocadioan is a definite case of this. Traumatic, cruel and hellish childhood? Check. Repeated being used as the universe's chew toy? Check. Losing his few friends and loved ones one by one? Check. It is telling that as the story continues and the author's physical abuse of him lessens, the mental abuse just keeps escalating. At the end, Mercury have been wishing for and planning his own death for 400 years.
- Monster X is portrayed this way in The Bridge. He may be an antagonist, but isn't an amoral character who's at worst a Punch Clock Villain. Yet it seems like everything that could go wrong with his early life did, and is coming back to haunt him.
Films — Animation
- Chuckles the Clown from Toy Story 3, a perpetually frowning clown doll who used to be friends with Lotso the bear and Big Baby, before they were accidentally abandoned by their owner. Chuckles was fortunate enough to be taken in by a new kid, but feels sorry for the embittered shell his former friend Lotso has become. At the end, when he sees a picture Bonnie (the girl he belongs to) drew of him, he smiles for the first time, realizing that he is indeed loved.
- Elsa from Frozen tried to live up to the "stoic" part, mistakenly believing repressing her emotions was the only way to control her ice powers. She became this way after almost killing her little sister Anna with her powers by accident as children, and Elsa felt that severing her relationship with Anna was the only way to protect her. With years of repressed anger, guilt, fear and misery starting to boil over with the added stress of her parent's death and her own coronation, one argument with her sister is all it takes for her to red-shift to Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds territory.
- True to his name, Stoick from How to Train Your Dragon. Throughout the first film, he keeps up appearances as the gruff, no-nonsense Chief of Berk, who is constantly frustrated by his son's actions and single-mindedly bent on destroying the dragons' nest. But as Hiccup's reputation starts to improve, we start to see the cracks in Stoick's facade, when he tries to start a real conversation with Hiccup and is beaming with excitement at the opportunity to connect with his son. He spends so much of his time being Chief that his only father-son time with Hiccup is berating him when he causes disruptions to his job, and it clearly hurts him that this is the case. After Hiccup's perceived betrayal, he curtly declares "You're not my son", but when he steps outside, one brief look of horror shows just how painful saying that was for him.
- How to Train Your Dragon 2 expands on this; when Hiccup was an infant, his wife, Valka, was abducted by a dragon that had invaded their home. Most likely, this explains much of Stoick's determination to destroy the dragons in the first film. You can see a profound and immediate change in Stoick's character when he sees Valka alive for the first time in 20 years. Additionally, he also reveals that he was the only survivor of a gathering of chiefs that were attacked by Drago Bludvist, the horror of his memories convincing him that there is no way to deal with Drago and that Berk must be kept under lockdown when Drago returns.
Films — Live Action
- Star Trek:
- both versions of Spock, in which they both bear witness to the destruction of their homeworld.
- Meanwhile, in the sequel, Dr. Carol Marcus. She discovers that her father is at the head of a conspiracy to start a galactic scale war, is transporter-kidnapped by him so she can't stand in the way of his attempt to murder the entire crew of a Federation ship (which she is forced to watch helplessly from his side), has her leg broken by Khan, and then watches him brutally murder her father. She holds up remarkably well given what she goes through.
- After Wash's death in Serenity, Zoe becomes this (even in-universe, look at Kaylee's face when Zoe says Wash isn't coming). Until the Reavers arrive, and then she goes into creepy Tranquil Fury mode and engages them in hand-to-hand combat, almost getting herself killed in the process, which horrifies even Jayne with the sheer death wish of the move.
- Aicha in Fighter. Despite everything, she tries to keep her traditional place in the family.
- Princess Leia Organa in Star Wars, who despite watching her home planet blown up in front of her very eyes, felt that there is no time for her own sorrows.
- Most of the sympathetic characters in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. Intelligence work is portrayed as both physically dangerous and emotionally exhausting, but the secretive nature of everything they do requires spies to keep their sorrows to themselves. Peter Guillam and Jim Prideaux may be the Stoic Woobie kings.
- K in the Men In Black films. It is directly addressed in the third movie but really it is present in the first two films.
- The burglar Marv in the Home Alone films suffers horrendous abuse at the hands of Kevin, but unlike his partner Harry, who often groans and mumbles after falling into Kevin's traps, Marv never complains and at one point in the sequel even adopts a Superman pose and bellows "NEVER!" when Kevin tauntingly asks him and Harry if they've had enough pain.
- Sergeant Todd in Soldier was forced to spend his childhood undergoing brutal training as part of a project to become the perfect soldier. When he becomes outdated he is thrown off on a wasteland planet. He spends the movie trying to cope with his purpose in life being taken from him and has no place among normal people due to his killer instinct and total lack of social skills. When Sandra asks him what he thinks about, he reveals that it's fear and discipline, every single moment.
- As noted below, Elinor in the film version(s) of Sense and Sensibility, made all the worse because she is the only person who knows that Lucy is secretly engaged to Edward, the man who Elinor loves.
- In Dragon Bones, Oreg shows signs of PTSD; but never complains about his fate. After hundreds of years of being enslaved to the head of the Hurog family, passed on from father to son, he knows that complaining won't help. There is only a hint of bitterness in his voice when he explains to Ward what, exactly, he is. He is Castle Hurog, a wizard did it. There's also Garranon, who cannot let anyone know that he's suffering, so he's even more stoic than Oreg.
- The Lord of the Rings:
- Aragorn. Family? Dead. The culture of his birthright? Declining steeply. Hope of success? Virtually zero. Chances of marrying his true love? As low as previous, because his success would itself be bride-price. Complaints? None.
- The hobbits are also written this way, always keeping a cheerful face for everyone despite the fact that they are all in way over their heads.
- It isn't ever outright stated, but Elrond's life severely sucked. His parents and his wife leave for Valinor long before he does. His twin brother, his daughter, and possibly his twin sons choose to be counted among the Men rather than the Elves; when he sails West to reunite with his wife, he knows that Arwen at least is lost to him even beyond the end of the world.
- Galadriel didn't have it easy either. She has been fighting the Long Defeat since before the first rising of the Sun, all her family that came with her in Middle-Earth from Valinor is dead, she has been here to see all the failures of her people, and her daughter was tortured by orcs until she was so damaged she had to leave this earth to find peace. Despite all this, she is still very supportive of Aragorn in his quest to win Arwen's hand, even if her grand-daughter choosing a mortal life means she will lose her forever.
- Faramir also qualifies. In the Houses of Healing, his mother is long dead, his brother is recently dead, his father is very recently dead (and they had a bitter parting, what with him admitting he'd rather his brother survived in his stead and all), his culture is slowly declining, they have almost no hope of success (unless a small hobbit in Mordor can throw the One Ring into Mount Doom - unlikely), he is wounded and reduced to inaction while all his remaining friends and family are away on a desperate suicide mission to try and hold Sauron's attention for a while, and he will be expected to lead the last futile defense of his people should this plan fail. He doesn't complain, and can still find it in himself to sympathize with Éowyn's predicament and smile at her.
- Tycho Celchu. For all that's happened to him, he's incredibly stoic, reserved, and insanely patient.
- Wedge Antilles, for that matter. Pirates killed his parents when he was sixteen or seventeen. Imperials killed his girlfriend only a few years later. In both cases, and in plenty after that, he "luckily" survived. But he takes care to only express feelings of anger and helplessness when there's no one there to see - he takes being a Reasonable Authority Figure seriously. Must be part of the reason he and Tycho get on so well - they've both been hurt terribly, they've both had to pick up and keep going and have healed, more or less, even if there are scars.
- Tycho's wife, Winter also qualifies. She keeps her emotions very tightly under control most of the time, leading some in-universe (as well as some fans) to see her as an ice queen, but underneath it all, she is a caring person, she just has to keep her emotions tightly under control after her home planet (Alderaan) was destroyed because thanks to her eidetic memory she remembers every single detail of what she lost.
- Mammon Hoole becomes this in Galaxy of Fear after The Reveal in Army of Terror.
- Araris Valerian in Codex Alera. For someone made of solid Bad Ass and Implausible Fencing Powers, he takes a ton of abuse, and he has very sympathetic motivations. Yet he's so stoic even Isana, one of the most powerful empaths in the setting, usually can't tell what he's feeling.
- Jane Austen loves this trope:
- Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility. She would like to complain, but she can't, as she has promised to her rival in love that she will tell no one of the engagement to Edward (whom Elinor herself loves). She takes this very seriously.
- Fanny Price of Mansfield Park, probably the most extreme of the 3. Comes from a poor family, was adopted by her aunt and uncle, is treated like a lady's maid by her aunt, and fell in love with her cousin, who plans to marry the neighbour girl. Only when he tries to get her to marry the neighbour boy, who is a rake and plays with women's feelings, does she object.
- David, from Edmond Hamilton's "He That Hath Wings." Until the end, anyway. Ruth so wasn't worth it...
- Catelyn Stark of A Song of Ice and Fire. Readers see her inner turmoil, but her own son wonders if she even remembers her losses. Won't show her pain to Jaime Lannister or Jon Snow. Arguably puts on a mask as a response to expectations of stoicism from her environment, so she actually can admit when she needs a hug.
- Davos Seaworth has lost 3 sons, been nearly burnt and drowned simultaneously, and then come within a hair's breadth of losing his head- all for Stannis's cause, and yet he isn't exactly vocal about his troubles.
- Brienne qualifies as well.
- Elphaba in Wicked. Due to her skin's acidic reaction to water, she can't even allow herself to cry, because it would burn her.
- Precious in Push. Even though she has two children by her father, one of which has Down's Syndrome, and she is repeatedly raped by her mother as well, she rarely shows much emotion. In fact there is only one scene in the book when she truly breaks down and can't take it anymore.
- Harry Potter:
- Severus Snape is a combination of this trope and Jerkass Woobie. Think about it. Since young, it's implies that his parents weren't exactly the best, and he lived a lonely childhood where he was in love with Lily Potter, had to see her eyes on the face of the man she chose over him, note and died thinking well in advance that the only thing he'd been living for was going to be ultimately worthless.
- Also Luna Lovegood, who always manages to stay cheerful and happy in spite of being the main target of bullying along with Neville.
- Huckleberry Finn in both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The kid acts pretty chill about the fact that his mother is dead, his father is an abusive drunkard, and he constantly sleeps out on the streets, even when there are deranged criminals on the loose. That's because he's never known anything else.
- Fiona Patton's The Stone Prince has that title for precisely this reason. It's about a Crown Prince who has been raised by his mother to be utterly stoic, and his life has been framed by assassination attempts, a lot of scheming, and a literal rebellion. It is not until he inherits the throne that he starts to shake off the hard, unyielding mask forced on him by duty.
- Matt from The Power of Five, by the last book. Also Pedro, who never really complains despite being a starving street urchin who spends most of his pagetime being hunted, abused, betrayed, nearly killed on several occasions and repeatedly exhausting himself trying to use his power on grievously-injured people who often don't make it anyway.
- In The Dresden Files book Cold Days reveals Queen Mab is one. Unlike Titania, she is governed by logic and reason. She will take the most calculated and simple path to get to her goal. That includes having to order Harry Dresden to kill her traitorous daughter. The reason she couldn't do it herself is because underneath it all, she still loves her daughter.
- In the sixth Spell Singer novel, Cautious the Raccoon is this. Some time ago, his wife and infant children were killed in a freak storm, as such he never shows any emotion, completely calm in every situation, never seeming to care whatsoever about anything, though cares enough to help others and admitted he was excited to travel the world (even if he didn't show it). Though one scene in which Mudge the Otter told the "Funniest Joke Ever" caused even him to roll on the ground laughing He is so devoid of emotion that when the party found a magic mirror which shows what you look like if your image reflected your personality, while the other characters looked either beautiful or hideous. His reflection was unchanged, his response was pretty much "meh".
Live Action TV
- Mr. Bates in Downton Abbey. He goes to jail for his insane wife, and the millisecond she finds out he's semi-happy she comes roaring over to Downton to make his life miserable. And then when she kills herself, he ends up in prison. Even in prison, he gets picked on. Everything seems to happen to Bates, and yet he never complains.
- Simon Tam in Firefly. His sister, on the other hand, is too Ax-Crazy to be Stoic. Even so, we sometimes find out just how much she really does understand what was done to her. She's bottling up more than we ever realize, much like her brother.
- Olivia Dunham in Fringe. She's a tough FBI agent; she's not allowed to cry. That, and she cares about other people's feelings too much to dump her own on them.
- Star Trek: Enterprise: Malcolm Reed, who has been repeatedly shot, concussed, nearly frozen/suffocated to death, made to believe his entire ship had been blown up, pinned to the hull of said ship by a Romulan mine via a metal spike through the leg, almost hanged, crushed under rocks... and that's just in the first couple of seasons. And he never once complains about it, taking the attitude that as The Security Officer, it's his job to die to save the ship and her crew. Oh, Malcolm...
- Star Trek: The Original Series:
- Spock. Raised on planet where everyone emotionally tormented him, had major Daddy Issues, torn about his relationships with the only people who treat him decently. He can't even express this turmoil, because that would be human and weak.
- Believe it or not, Kirk had his moments. He is hinted in "The Conscience of the King" to have a case of Survivor Guilt over being spared during a mass execution.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: Picard has a moment at the end of the now famous two-part episode "The Best of Both Worlds" that reveals him as this. He had just been rescued from the Borg who had forcibly abducted him, implanted him with cybernetic parts and made him part of their collective consciousness in order to conquer Earth. They used his knowledge and experience to kill thousands of people before he was finally rescued. At the end of the episode, Picard has almost completely physically recovered and is chatting away with his officers as if he were completely fine before they leave his office. He then undergoes an incredibly subtle Heroic BSOD. He finally gets to let some of it out in the next episode, "Family", after getting in a fight with his brother.
- Criminal Minds:
- After season five and the Reaper arc? Half the fanbase and nearly all the main characters want to tuck Aaron Hotchner (and his son) up in blankets somewhere and shoot anyone who tries to drag them back out. Despite having been abused as a child, almost blown up (suffering hearing damage as well as having to treat a friend as she lay dying in the immediate aftermath), being psychologically tortured and later stabbed nine times by the Reaper, he rarely ever does more than wince and/or collapse, and almost never raises his voice. The only time he ever loses it is when the Reaper kidnaps his ex-wife and forces him to listen to her murder, before threatening to kill his son.
- Reid, anyone? Crazy mom, disappeared dad, shot, blown up, captured, tortured, bullied, and addicted to dilaudid. NEVER COMPLAINS.
- Castiel on Supernatural. He rebelled, was hunted by his brothers, saw his friends die, discovered God had abandoned the world, is caught in the middle of a Heavenly civil war, has had no discernible success in convincing his fellow angels to respect humanity, has to deal with those whiny Winchesters who expect him to be at their beck and call and do anything they ask with never a word of thanks and the closest thing he has to a friend is a hedonistic asshole of an angel who ran away during the apocalypse and left him to deal with it all on his own, then had the gall to say he was following Castiel's example. To cap it all off, he's been blown up twice. Fans would give anything to see him get that damn hug, but at this point most of them would settle for someone, anyone, showing him some genuine gratitude. And Sam denies him a hug in 'Like a Virgin', not so subtly sitting down as soon as Castiel opened his arms.
- Comes to a heartbreaking head in The Man Who Would Be King Castiel finally gets his gratitude from Bobby, Sam and especially Dean. Too bad it's 1. Not (knowingly) to his face and 2. Too little too late. Castiel made a deal with Crowley and chose to keep fighting alone rather than go to the Winchesters for help in order to protect them and it seemed like the best plan at the time. When this gets found out the boys are quick to judge and quicker to claim had Cas come to them for help they could have fixed it. It's clear from the conversations that follow and from Castiel's surprise at being told he's like family to them, Castiel had no idea he meant that much to them. And with the way they treated him during the season he had no reason to think it.
- In the Jag episode Each Of Us Angels the actor normally playing Bud's brother plays a Medic who has his eye shot out and instead of accepting his fate, insists on helping the nurses aboard a hospital ship while constantly Deadpan Snarking about his eye.
- Scully does this a lot in The X-Files, often saying "I'm fine" even when she's not. In the episode "Irresistible", after being kidnapped and almost killed by a death fetishist, Mulder non-verbally calls her on it, which leads a cute comforting moment between the two. Also one of the very rare times Scully actually cries.
- Cameron of The Sarah Connor Chronicles makes it quite abundantly clear that she doesn't feel emotions. This makes all the bad stuff she goes through over the course of the series even more apparent - it's quite clear that she's confused and concerned (we would say afraid, but she can't feel fear) about her conflicting programming, her inability to empathize with humans she is quite clearly concerned for, and the danger she represents to the very people she's trying to protect - especially when they hold her in scorn, suspicion, or distrust. And that's a good thing for her, too, since if she was human and could feel emotions, Cameron would probably be a gibbering, half-insane wreck due to all these issues. Cameron's issues can best be summed up by a single line she speaks to John when he asks her if she can't be "more happy." She tells him that she cannot be happy.
- Doctor Who:
- The Fifth Doctor after the death of Adric.
- The Eleventh Doctor, like his predecessor the Tenth, has just enough quick flashes of sadness that his Cloudcuckoolander personality comes across as more of a defense mechanism than anything else. The real turning point for this is probably when Fridge Horror kicks in after "Amy's Choice" and you realize what he meant by his offhand comment about how "There's only one person who hates me as much as you do.". His immediate predecessor, while equally woobieish, was a lot more obvious about it and got downright self-indulgent a few times.
- River Song, who tends to hide her feelings behind flirting and badassery, and whenever she's asked something she doesn't like, claims "Spoilers!"
- The Ninth Doctor is almost entirely this. He's full of PTSD and survivor's guilt about the recent war, yet he hides it all behind a stoic, Jerk with a Heart of Gold personality.
- Even more tragic, is that his previous incarnation, The War Doctor, ends up meeting his future selves, who together avert the genocide they thought they caused. The War Doctor knows he doesn't have to hate himself, but he also knows the Timey-Wimey Ball will make him forget everything that happened. So in other words, he knows he's going to go through a personal hell over something that never happened. And there is no avoiding it.
- Jack Harkness of Torchwood. Being alive for over 2000 years, watching friends and lovers die is definitely not a healthy thing to live through. Not to mention being buried alive by his own brother and being murdered over and over in a butcher shop because the public think his blood has magic properties. It doesn't.
- Jake Brockman in Season 1 of Out Numbered. He suffers from bullying at school, including having his phone stolen, given severe chinse burns and is implied to be beaten up on a regular basis. Doesn't say a word the whole time, and lies to ensure his parents don't find out the truth.
- Nick Cutter from Primeval. Where to begin? Having his wife disappear for eight years, return as a Manipulative Bastard Nietzsche Wannabe bent on wiping all humanity from exitence and who turns his best friend against him. And just when he's found someone else to love, she's erased from existence. And then just as he's beginning to get along with her alternate self he gets shot - by his wife!
- Parker, despite the Woobieness being almost entirely in her Back Story. Although she hides it well by being extremely good at her job and eternally chipper, there are some serious wounds in her past. She does, however, break down in "The Future Job" when a psychic correctly deduces that her brother was hit by a car when they were young.
- It's implied that Eliot is this, too, but he's too damn stoic for even the audience to be sure.
- Degrassi The Next Generation: Liberty, particularly right after JT's death.
- Dr. K from Power Rangers RPM. She hardly shows any emotion at all and rarely, if ever, mentions her life growing up in the government think tank named Alphabet Soup. Although she does begin showing emotion, she typically remains deadpan, even when she confesses to her Series Operators that she created and accidentally released the Venjix computer virus responsible for destroying nearly all of humanity.
- Horatio Hornblower. Not particularly demonstrative of outward emotion (with a few exceptions, notably at the end of "The Wrong War/The Frogs and the Lobsters") but beneath the surface he's plagued by self-doubt and constantly berating himself for what he sees as his failures, despite his considerable skill and the admiration of his men.
- John Watson. It's abundantly obvious to the audience that he's absolutely crushed after Sherlock's apparent suicide but spends the entire series making sure to stay calm around other people. Even when he's strapped to a bomb he manages to stay perfectly steady until the danger's over. Then after Sherlock jumps off a building he shoves everyone who tries to help him away, and the audience is only allowed to see him cry in a reflection.
- And then in "A Sign of Three", we have Major Sholto. A recluse, he is mentioned to get more death threats than Sherlock, and the wedding is interrupted by an elaborate plan to kill him. Still, he attempts to Face Death with Dignity until Sherlock, Mary and John manage to talk him out of it.
- Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of the young Stephen Hawking in Hawking is a mild example. He does show positive emotions at times - enthusiasm for science and affection for his girlfriend - and is Adorkable then, but throughout most of the film he's quite stoic about the fact that he's been diagnosed with a degenerative neurological illness and may not live to complete his doctorate. This arguably makes the few moments he does break down all the more heartbreaking.
- Abed Nadir, from Community. Most of the time he's stoic to the point of being called robotic, and compares himself to Data and Spock. When confronting his father for having blamed him for his mother leaving when he was six, he makes an emotional movie but doesn't show direct emotional reaction himself. When in the midst of a Christmas breakdown caused by his mother's abandonment, his grief manifests as denial, fantastic delusions of a claymation Christmas wonderland, and eventually catatonic freezing. And when he loses his best friend Troy to the cultish Air Conditioner Repair school, apparently forever, he visibly tears up but only says "Sorry I got emotional" before retreating to his room.
- Also one particularly bizarre episode, dealt with Troy going to lunch in a restaurant with Britta instead of hanging out with Abed in his Dreamatorium (their pretend holodeck for imaginary fun) who in turn was obviously upset. Annie realizing that Abed was subtly trying to control Troy instead of letting him do his own thing, used the Dreamatorium to alter Abed's mind to think about other people rather than himself. Which in turn she had to delve deep into Abed's subconscious (while he emulates all the other characters) she discovers that Abed was beaten up constantly in school and spent most of the time hiding in his locker, as within "his mind" his locker is shown as a prison cell where he is locked up, as being Abed is "illegal" but then again this was technically all within Annie's imagination as the Dreamatorium isn't a real holodeck, but then again, the entire episode was a complete Mind Screw so...
- Gibbs and Ziva from NCIS. Gibbs, who is the resident stoic, lost his wife and eight-year-old daughter to a drive by shooting. Ziva was held captive by terrorists, tortured, and who knows what else for four months between seasons 6 and 7. As of the tenth season, she has lost her entire family - mother, father, younger sister, older brother - and yet whenever anyone asks her how she's doing, she always insists that she's fine.
- Cristina from Grey's Anatomy. Considering what type of show it is, it's not surprising, but she seems to be one of the few people who isn't whining all the time.
- Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gives us a few glimpses into Coulson's backstory in The Magical Place, as well as finally revealing the truth behind his memories of recovery in Tahiti, ("It's a magical place.") which puts him firmly under this trope. Despite his stoic, Seen It All persona, he's heartbroken over the fact that he never got to say goodbye to the women he loved when he got his Death Faked for You courtesy of Nick Fury. He also recently lost his mother, his father died when he was a kid, and the sheer pain he experienced when being brought back to life ''broke'' him, to the point where he begged to be allowed to die. The memories of the procedures were replaced by memories of Tahiti in an attempt to turn him back into the man he was, but now he knows part of the truth there's no telling what it will do to his mind. Don't expect to pick up on any of this from his demeanour at the end of the episode, though.
- Kamen Rider Agito: Ryo Ashihara, tritagonist and Kamen Rider Gills. He's subjected to Body Horror transformations that he didn't ask for, and just within the first eight episodes he's two for two on people in his social support structure abandoning him when he actually lets them in and tells them about what's happening to him - first his swim coach, and second his (ex-?)girlfriend. But for all of this, he just... stands there and takes it, accepting it like a penance. The only time he seems to let it out, if ever, is when he transforms into Kamen Rider Gills.
- Metal Gear Solid:
- The majority of the cast, who wait until their "I'm dying" speech before they angst, and invariably reveal an insane amount of misery in their backstories before passing away.
- In 3, The Boss. She lost her son on the beaches of Normandy when the Philosophers kidnapped him. She was subjected to high levels of radiation from atomic tests, was sent into space in a highly dangerous test launch of a prototype spacecraft but treated badly because she wasn't the 'official' first in space. She was seperated for years from the man she trained and was a surrogate son to her. During the seperation she was sent on a mission to kill the father of her child. The next time she met the man she trained she knew that she would have to defect and break his heart, even though the defection was a ruse planned by the US Government to get their hands on a fortune to fund their war. During the mission she is blamed for an atomic explosion caused by the insane general she was supposedly defecting to, accepting the blame to stop all-out nuclear war. She knows that she has to be killed by the man who was like a son to her, and can never reveal that she didn't betray him or her country. Finally, she would go to her grave in silence, knowing that future generations would believe her to be a monster who would have allowed the world to burn in nuclear fire. But not once did she break down or abandon the mission. "A normal person would have broken under the pressure" indeed.
- Ocelot, is this too. He grew up as a child soldier after being kidnapped by The Philosophers, his best friend and mentor Big Boss gets effectively killed, His arm gets cut off as part of The Plan to revive Big Boss, He gets labelled a terrorist and traitor by everyone (even people on his own side), has hypnotherapy and nano-machines to convince The Patriots he's Liquid knowing that it will lead to his death and he has to play the bad guy to motivate Snake. All to resurrect his best friend (and crush) Big Boss, who he knew he would never get to see again as the plan would lead to his (Ocelot's) death. He suffers everyone on the entire planet Earth thinking that he's pure evil, even though he's trying to free them from The Patriots control and not once does he break down, just grimly continues playing the bad guy until his death at the hands of his best friend's son.
- Miles Edgeworth from the Ace Attorney series was trapped in an elevator by an earthquake as a young child. Long story short, his defense attorney father ended up dead and Edgeworth blamed himself, while the man who actually killed his father raised Edgeworth like his own kid so he could shape Edgeworth into a heartless prosecutor like himself as further revenge on Edgeworth's dad. Mostly he acts cold and distant and in control, but his little freakouts over earthquakes can make a person want to pat his back and tell him everything is alright.
- Setsumi in Narcissu, although she becomes slightly less stoic as the story progresses.
- Soren from Fire Emblem Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn fits this very well, though he sometimes borders on Jerkass Woobie territory. He comes off as being cold and unkind, and is the Greil Mercenaries' resident Spock. You'd never guess that he has a Tear Jerker past...but does he ever. Thing is, though, this past is revealed through support conversations and other bits of the story that are easy to miss, so even the player might not realize it.
- Gorath from Betrayal at Krondor: His decision to do the right and very difficult thing - trying to bring peace between two nations that have been warring since forever and fully intend to keep doing so - has cost him everything, but don't expect to ever hear anything about it from him.
- Blackiris in True Remembrance. This is a major plot point.
- Shinjiro Aragaki in Persona 3. Let's go over his life: First of all, he's an orphan. Second, one of his childhood friends died in a fire. Third, two years prior to the beginning of the series, he lost control of his Persona and accidentally killed a woman, orphaning her son. As a result, he left SEES and began living as an outcast. During those two years, he began taking drugs to help control his Persona. Said drugs are slowly killing him. When he learns that Ken, the boy he orphaned has joined SEES, he decides to rejoin. During that time, he tries to maintain a distance between himself and the others. He has his own Social Link with the female protagonist where it becomes painfully clear that he really is a nice guy, and he slowly falls in love with her. However, Shinjiro is certain that he doesn't have much time left and is extremely reluctant to pursue those feelings, especially since he realizes that Ken joined SEES in order to seek revenge on him. Shinjiro ultimately either dies at Takaya's hands or falls into a coma, waking up just in time to see the girl he loves die. Despite everything, he never complains or gives any indication that he's suffering.
- Joshua in The World Ends with You. It might not seem that way, but after the stinger ending, it's hard to see him as anything but.
- Atsuki Saijo/Saijou from Lux-Pain, particularly after finding out what happened to his family and yet, still use his stoic mask to hide it.
- Mass Effect has several of them:
- Dragon Age: Origins:
- It is entirely possible to interpret the Grey Warden as this. Even more so since the Warden's facial expression is rarely ever anything but The Stoic. One notable exception occurs in the Human Noble Origin after finding the Warden's murdered nephew and sister-in-law.
- Also one of the possible interpretations of Hawke from Dragon Age II, if he/she isn't a Sad Clown.
- Frederica Bernkastel of the When They Cry series goes through the ordeal of being murdered by her closest friends over and over. Once she's escaped that fate, an old enemy comes to torment her again, dragging her into a similar situation. She's obviously completely broken, but manages to hide it behind an Emotionless Girl facade. Subverted. She's a twisted psychopath, and the "old enemy" is in fact her just-as-nuts girlfriend; they've been setting up the fake rivalry to mess with everyone's heads.
- Ange Ushiromiya from Umineko no Naku Koro ni. The poor girl grew up in a Bad Future where one entire side of her family (including the half-brother she hero-worshipped) died, with the exception of a now Ax-Crazy aunt, who loathes and resents her for still being alive while her child died on Rokkenjima (And later it turns out it's not true, and said truth that her "crazy" aunt hid from her is FAR worse). She got sent Off to Boarding School, where she was bullied and treated like a freak, and her only remaining relative on the other side of the family is an even more Ax-Crazy aunt who actively tried to kill her. And as icing on the angst-cake, Bernkastel manipulated all of these events specifically so she could bring Ange back in time with the false hope of fixing her world and then kill her, purely to torment the aforementioned brother, himself an Iron Woobie. You wouldn't know any of this from talking to her, though; she's a Deadpan Snarker who keeps to herself and rarely shows any expression except for a vague frown.
- RWBY's Blake Belladonna is the gruff, cynical Deadpan Snarker of the eponymous team, and has a habit of rebuffing people who try to befriend her (i.e. Ruby Rose, Yang Xiao Long and Sun Wukong). Her near unflappable, anti-social personality possibly stems from her painful past. She was born a Faunus, a Little Bit Beastly race of people who face a great deal of discrimination from other humans. She was born a member of the White Fang, a Faunus rights activist organization, and watched the White Fang turn into a violent, chaotic terrorists who used force to get what they wanted from people, and couldn't bear to be part of such an immoral group. She left the place she was born and all the people that had been with her for her whole life. She spends pretty much the entirety of Volume 2 in a prolonged Heroic BSOD, from closing herself off from her team and brooding over the events of Volume 1's finale, to working herself half to death trying to track down Torchwick who was using the White Fang for his own ends, to hating herself for running away from the White Fang. She desperately needs emotional support from the people around her, but she refuses to let anyone get that close to her.
- In Cuanta Vida, Sniper's been suffering a lot lately...
- The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!: As The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask, Princess Voluptua tries to keep her fears and pains to herself. She always comes across in public looking very strong, but her thought bubbles, as well as her facial expressions when she thinks no one is looking, show her personal vulnerabilities.
- Susan of El Goonish Shive seems to fit quite well. She rarely shows any emotion or talks about her problems despite the fact that both she and her mother have been rather messed up after her parents went through a nasty divorce because her dad was cheating. On top of that, Susan discovered the cheating by walking in on her dad at a rather young age. And if that wasn't bad enough she had to kill a very human-like monster at the age of 14.
- Aradia Megido is far more traumatized than her demeanor indicates. Starting with being dead, which is only the beginning of her tribulations.
- Also, Dave, Rose, and Davesprite, who are all variations on The Stoic and have all gone through more hardship than any thirteen-year-old ever should have to. It's most obvious when Mom and Bro die and Rose and Dave try as hard as they can to keep it together.
- Teen Titans' Raven, in spades. She is a Deadpan Snarker and seeming Emotionless Girl, but she has to be because if she loses control of her emotions, she loses control of her demon side, and that would be bad news for the world. She doesn't really have the option of angsting about the fact that she is the daughter of Trigon, born to be an Apocalypse Maiden, and the day of his coming is near. She just tries to do what good she can do until then.
- Samurai Jack is the epitome of Stoic. And with all the trials and near-victories he endures, who doesn't wanna buy the guy a beer? One episode even deals with him controlling the very justified emotional turmoil he experiences on a regular basis.
- Deadpan Snarker Noah from Total Drama World Tour definitely qualifies, he gets severely injured in almost every episode he appears in, has a HUGE family in which he's the youngest kid, is generally ignored and made fun of, and yet never complains about it.
- Ferb comes off this way any time you get the feeling he's sad.
Hey, Ferb, where's Vanessa
She left me for someone else.
- Optimus Prime in Transformers Prime doesn't show a lot of emotion and he has had a lot of bad stuff happen to him.
- Aqualad from Young Justice, big time. The "love of his life" (who was dating his best friend) dies. And then, just a little while later, he finds out that Black Manta is his father. He pretends to go over to the other side in a deal with Nightwing. His friends despise him as a traitor, he has to make morally dubious choices to maintain his cover, and could potentially Become The Mask. And just when things couldn't get any worse, he gets Mind Raped into a coma and his psyche is shattered. The only despair he shows during this is when his mind is so destroyed he's psychologically incapable of controlling his emotions.
- The original "Behind Blue Eyes" by The Who is a textbook example. Not to be confused with Limp Bizkit's infamous cover version, which is a prime example of gratuitous Wangst, instead.