A character who accompanies the other characters with the stated purpose to document, chronicle, compose songs, or otherwise immortalize the adventures that they have.
Their motivation for this may vary from trying to make a name as a famous storyteller
, through insatiable curiosity, to coercion by other characters. It may also simply be their job. In Heroic Fantasy
, the chronicler is often a Bard
, a Wandering Minstrel
, a scholar, etc. Professional journalists fall under the Tagalong Reporter
The chronicler's relationship with other characters can also vary: they might be The Load
, a Non-Action Guy
, or be of limited use as The Social Expert
. But they can also be or develop into a full-fledged adventurer and peer to the other characters. The key part is what motivates them to go on the adventure
in the first place—namely, the desire to tell others about it later on.
Sometimes overlaps with Narrator All Along
and In Defence Of Story Telling
. Out of universe, it can be a manifestation of Most Writers Are Writers
and Write What You Know
Supertrope to Tagalong Reporter
. Compare I Should Write a Book About This
, The Storyteller
, and First-Person Peripheral Narrator
. If this character is a Fourth Wall Observer
, then he's an All-Knowing Singing Narrator
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Anime and Manga
- In the anime adaptation of Tears to Tiara, Taliesin joins Arthur and Co. after they prove themselves to him, and then serves as a rather competent Spoony Bard, whose skills with the sword match Arthur and whose discovery and usage of Song Of Creation is pivotal in proceeding to the Very Definitely Final Dungeon for the finale.
Film — Live-Action
- In A Knight's Tale, William Thatcher and his sidekick, Roland, come across the naked and penniless Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer accompanies them to their next joust, and delivers a lengthy (if fictional) reading of Thatcher's pedigree to allow him to enter the competition.
- In Unforgiven, English Bob has a dime novelist following him around chronicling his exploits for the folks back east. When Bob is thrown out of town by sheriff Little Bill, the novelist chooses to stay in order to write about him instead.
- Parodied in Monty Python and the Holy Grail with Sir Robin's minstrels, who follow him around and make up impromptu songs about him. However, since his a chronic coward, their task often proves quite difficult.
- Gilbert of Glockenspur carries quills and parchments galore like a Medieval serial Tweeter in Dragonheart as he chronicles the heroics of Knight Errant Sir Bowen and his Enemy Mine dragon, Draco.
- BIONICLE plays this in the earlier arcs with Takua, whose job literally is being the Chronicler. Although he plays a role as a major protagonist, this role is still somewhat relegated to side-character since he is a mere villager. The Mask of Light movie plays with this further when he and Jaller were called the heralds of the seventh Toa, and the switching of responsibilities between who is the herald between the Chronicler and the Captain of the Guard. This ultimately comes to an end when Takua puts on the Mask of Light and becomes the Seventh Toa. From this point on, he is no longer referred to as the Chronicler.
- Hahli took on this role briefly to accompany Takanuva. However, soon after she too became a Toa, and the Chronicler title was assigned to Kopeke. So far, he hasn't done any tagging-along.
- Dandelion the Bard is Geralt's best friend and more or less personal chronicler in The Witcher novel series.
- In The Wheel of Time, after running into Rand and the others, Loial continues to follow them around at least in part so he can gather material for the book he plans to write about the time of the Dragon Reborn. Of course, given the many main characters and diverging plotlines he quickly loses track of key groups and has a lot of catching up to do whenever they meet.
- The Horus Heresy novels mention that the Legiones Astartes were accompanied by remembrancers, scribes whose duty was to write down the battle reports chronicle the legions' conquests. Some of the books feature them quite prominently.
- Played With in the Gotrek & Felix novels: Felix is one of the two main characters but he is also a bard trying to keep up with and sing about the adventures of the dwarf Gotrek, who is trying to find something that can kill him.
- In The Last Hero, the Silver Horde abducts a minstrel to follow them as they assault the Gods, so he can create a saga about their glorious deaths. He is unnamed through the entire tale, and ends calling himself "The Singer".
- Red Country has the infamous mercenary Cosca encountered by a dime novelist, in a Shout-Out to Unforgiven (the novel is a Fantasy Western). As in the film, the novelist gets caught up in his subject's nasty behavior although unlike the film, the novelist here eventually has enough and kills Cosca, and at the end of the book, is about to start chronicling a famous Mountain Man who has been built up as a larger-than-life hero throughout the book.
- In Mountains Beyond Mountains, the author, Tracy Kidder, met Paul Farmer early in the novel and wrote about things that happened during his time with Farmer.
- In the novel Prince Ombra by Roderick MacLeish, the forces of Good fight the forces of Evil every generation or so, and every Eternal Hero has a "Rememberer", whose job it is to tell the story afterward.
- In Mercedes Lackey's Vows and Honor series, Tarma and Kethry have a bard called Leslac following them around, who keeps, ahem, "embellishing" the details of their adventures, much to their irritation.
- Lampshaded and Played for Laughs in Forward the Mage. The book is ostensibly put together by the Alfredae, chronicling lice who live in the hair of the protagonist Shelyid. They are frequently disdainful of everyone else and extremely snobbish, die quite frequently causing shifts in how they narrate, and complement their own narrative with other sources (which they often think are untrustworthy and biased). They are very much an Unreliable Narrator, but so is everyone else.
- Dr. Watson chronicles the cases of Sherlock Holmes in-universe, even though he is not a professional writer from the start.
- Matthew in The Last Temptation of Christ. Subverted in that most of what Matthew writes down was dictated to him by an angel.
- This is usually the role of the bard class in Dungeons & Dragons player parties.
- Members of the Great Society of the Trouping Jays in Ehdrigohr are this, since their mission is to compose and perform songs that inspire others and they often join groups of warriors (e.g. the Crows) on their travels.
- In Warhammer 40,000, this was the purpose of Remembrancers during the Great Crusade.
- The bard Iolo FitzOwen was one of the mainstays of the Ultima series, although he could first be recruited into the Avatar's party in Ultima IV. In the same game, however, the Avatar could be a bard himself (combining both roles), in which case Iolo never joined him.
- In the first Neverwinter Nights expansion pack Shadows of Undrentide, you can recruit a kobold bard named Deekin Scalesinger as a henchman. The second expansion Hordes of the Underdark reveals that Deekin wrote a book about your character's exploits in Undrentide, leading to both him and your character becoming minor celebrities in the realms.
- Dandelion reprises his role as Geralt's chronicler in The Witcher video game adaptation.
- Downplayed in A Dance with Rogues with Pia, a bard who joins the Princess on her travels (particularly in part two) mainly to protect her—but her professional pride still shines through from time to time, such as when she suddenly starts composing a song after a Boss Battle to immortalize their victories.
- Leliana in Dragon Age: Origins is ultimately revealed to have been a bard before becoming a nun. Of course, in this setting, bards are just as much assassins/burglars for hire as they are Wandering Minstrels, so she is definitely not The Chick.
- Varric Tethras from Dragon Age II and Dragon Age: Inquisition is both The Spymaster and The Storyteller; he talks for a living as well as to entertain. In II, he provides the Framing Device, having turned the controversial events around Hawke into a world-famous tale.
- After the intro missions of Romancing Sa Ga 3, you stumble upon a Minstrel in a bar, who recites a poem and proclaims that he feels that you inspire him to write a new one, joining your party.
- Jiminy Cricket from Kingdom Hearts. He's tasked by King Mickey to find Sora and record his journey. In the second game, not only he records your journey, he also gives you a hint of where to go/what to do in a world. Being an actual cricket, he mostly hides in Sora's hoodie.
- Perjour from RuneScape chronicled everything he saw, heard or thought in a book he was magically bound to before his death.
- Jaine from MeatShield joined Dhur in order to chronicle his exploits, basically as a school project for the bardic conservatory she was attending. In a twist, she's easily the smartest character in the party, and quite useful in a fight as well.
- This is Wren's job in JourneyQuest. In a slight variation, she is tasked with following the questing party rather than actually joining it; indeed rule number one is observation only, and no interfering with the story.