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->''"The bards were feared. They were respected, but more than that they were feared. ...If you'd pissed off some witch, then what's she gonna do, she's gonna put a curse on you... no big deal. You piss off a bard, and forget about putting a curse on you, he might put a satire on you. ''
->''"And if he was a skilful bard, he puts a satire on you, it destroys you in the eyes of your community... and if it's a particularly good bard, and he's written a particularly good satire, then three hundred years after you're dead, people are still gonna be laughing, at what a twat you were."''
-->-- '''Creator/AlanMoore'''

OlderThanFeudalism, the bard is a character within a story that acts as a poet, WanderingMinstrel, storyteller, and/or source of morale for people around them.

"The Bard" is also commonly used to refer to Creator/WilliamShakespeare. In England, anyway. In Scotland, The Bard is Creator/RobertBurns.

In medieval Gaelic and British culture (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Brittany and Cornwall) a bard was a professional poet, employed by a patron, such as a monarch or nobleman, to commemorate the patron's ancestors and to praise the patron's own activities. The word itself is loaned from Scottish Gaelic, deriving from the Proto-Celtic ''bardos'', ultimately from Proto-Indo-European, which roughly translates as "''to raise the voice; praise''."

In game cultures such as Dungeons & Dragons, the Bard is a versatile character able to both fight strategically and cast magic [[MagicMusic through the power of their songs]], suggesting them to be magicians who use the power of emotion and creativity to conjure miracles into the world.

TheStoryteller is a supertrope. See also WanderingMinstrel.



[[folder: Fan Fic ]]

* In ''Ghosts of the Past'', sequel to ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'', Taliesin [[spoiler: a.k.a. Doctor Strange]] is revealed to have been the part-time Court Bard for Camelot. Yes, ''that'' Camelot. He was also the Court Physician and an exceptionally powerful wizard (by his own account, he was second only to Merlin and Morgana), having mastered MagicMusic, and after he'd trained up a couple of successors, went wandering, to learn more magic. When he came back, he found that Arthur had died at Camlann, Merlin had vanished, and Camelot was collapsing around his ears, something he still blames himself for.
* Bumblebee and Jazz share this role in the ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' FanFic ''FanFic/ThingsWeDontTellHumans''.
* Hurdy in ''FanFic/TheTaintedGrimoire'' is such. He tells stories and is capable of using his music to various effect in combat or support roles.
* ''FanFic/KyoshiRising'' has Sun, a WanderingMinstrel from a long line of Wandering Minstrels. He meets Kyoshi early in her journey and does his best to help her achieve her potential.


[[folder: Film ]]

* Sir Robin's Minstrels in ''Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail'', one of whom sings "[[http://www.metrolyrics.com/brave-sir-robin-ran-away-lyrics-monty-python.html Brave Sir Robin Ran Away]]".
* Geoffrey Chaucer is a hilarious one in ''Film/AKnightsTale''.


[[folder: Literature ]]

* In the ''Literature/HarryPotter'' series, Beedle the Bard was known for his collection of magical fables.
* Literature/APracticalGuideToEvil has [[HeroAntagonist Almorava of Symra]], [[BewareTheSillyOnes The Wandering Bard]]. An Ashuran hero who joins The Lone Swordsman's party before the rebellion begins in southern Callow. Ridiculously dressed, constantly throwing back enough alcohol to kill a herd of livestock and a less-than-competent musician and singer, The Bard at first appears to be little more than comic relief. The jury's still out on how much of her silliness is an act, but there's certainly more to Almorava of Symra than meets the eye. She has the [[GenreSavvy Genre Savvy]] that is the hallmark of her profession, with an understanding of the workings of fate rivaled only by the [[TheBlackKnight Black]] [[MagnificentBastard Knight]]. She has a tendency to appear (literally) whenever anything particularly plot-relevant is going on; no matter how much violence is directed her way she always manages to escape just in time; she seems to know intimate details of events she should be far too young to have witnessed and if nothing else, her liver must be superhuman. [[spoiler: The epilogue of Book 2 reveals that The Wandering Bard is actually some kind of body-hopping immortal entity that has lived since long before elves arrived on Calernia. The precise nature of this entity is still mysterious but it seems to always exist as a storytelling-based Name and although it switches bodies and identities it retains all of it's memories. It's also apparently scary enough to bully the [[OurElvesAreBetter Forever King]]. At the conclusion of Book 2 Almorava of Symra dies (apparently of alcohol poisoning) and the name passes on to a new host named Aoede of Nicae.]]
* A couple of these in the ''Literature/{{Deryni}}'' works:
** Kinkellyan, chief bard to the court of Transha, plays a part in the diplomatic welcome Kelson receives in ''The Bishop's Heir''. Kelson's response [[spoiler:(joining in a traditional dance)]] to what Kinkellyan and Dhugal begin seals the deal.
** Gwydion ap Plenneth, troubadour attached to Duke Alaric Morgan's court, featured in ''Deryni Checkmate''. Aside from providing entertainment, he's quite useful in providing Morgan with public opinion feedback.
* Hraik from ''Literature/LoyalEnemies'' is a half-elf bard in one of the pubs in the city of Displacing. He's also a badass and fiendishly intelligent, being the only person who worked out that Shelena is a werewolf with no explicit clues.
* Creator/MercedesLackey has an entire series, ''Literature/BardicVoices'', set around the conflict between the Free Bards and the Bardic Guild. Several have MagicMusic.
* The Edema Ruh from ''Literature/TheKingkillerChronicles'' seem to be a society of travelling entertainers including many bards.
* Bards feature in Creator/MercedesLackey's ''Literature/HeraldsOfValdemar'' series, though much less prominently than the Heralds.
* A bard shows up in ''Literature/TheOdyssey''. He might even be Creator/{{Homer}}'s AuthorAvatar.
* Norna-Gest, the protagonist of "Literature/TaleOfNornaGest", is an accomplished harp-player and singer who knows many ancient songs.
* It can be argued that Tom Bombadil from ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' is indeed a bard, the figure known for singing songs that hold power over not only people, but the more ancient denizens of Middle Earth.
* In ''Literature/TheRiddleMasterTrilogy'', Deth serves this function as the High One's harpist. Yrth seems to have as well, given that he was known as the Harpist of Lungold. [[spoiler:It really shouldn't come as a surprise that they're the same person, but, well.]] There are mentions of other harpists as well, such as Tirundeth, from whom Deth got his name, but they aren't as relevant.
* In ''Literature/TheDinosaurLords'', Rob makes living this way whenever he's not "officially" hired as Dinosaur Master. He even composes some songs, and they seem to be somewhat popular with people.
* ''Literature/TheWheelOfTime'' has both Bards, who are the traditional court performers, and Gleemen, who are WanderingMinstrel types.


[[folder: Live Action TV ]]

* ''Series/XenaWarriorPrincess'': For a while Gabrielle wanted to be a traveling bard. She also met Creator/{{Homer}}, who it turns out is called "blind" because he closes his eyes when he recites.


[[folder: Tabletop Games ]]

* TheBard is one of the main playable classes in ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''.
** The Bard is joined by the very similar Skald in ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'', though the Skald is more combative and their songs cause berserk rage rather than the bonuses a bard provides.
** Several different variations of skald (see the real-life entry) as a class or variant have cropped up over the editions of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''. Usually they are better at a stand-up fight than an ordinary bard but lose out on the broad skillbase, magic or both.
* ''TabletopGame/ChangelingTheDreaming'' makes Bard a court position. There are no classes in Changeling, so it's not a class, though some kiths are more likely to fit the role.
* The Fianna tribe in ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' are often the bards of their race, as are werewolves born under the "galliard auspice," meaning under a gibbous moon.


[[folder: Video Games ]]

* Leliana from the ''Franchise/DragonAge'' series used to be a traveling Bard (or rather, a spy/assassin who disguised herself as a traveling Bard -Apparently that's pretty common in Orlais). She comes with the Bard specialization and will teach it to other Rogues if her approval rating is high enough. Additionally, much of her dialogue includes stories and songs she learned during her time as a Bard. [[VideoGame/DragonAgeInquisition The Inquisitor]] can ask, and Leliana will offer, to give training on being a bard: it basically amounts to DoNotAttempt because of how dirty and conniving bard work is.
* Dandelion from ''Franchise/TheWitcher'' series is a bard famous for his songs and storytelling ability, and a close friend of [[TheProtagonist Geralt of Rivia]]. In the [[VideoGame/TheWitcher2 second]] and [[VideoGame/TheWitcher3 third]] games he serves as the {{narrator}}, and the character entries in Geralt's [[EncyclopediaExposita journal]] were written by him.
* ''VideoGame/TheBardsTaleTrilogy'' has a few with the MagicMusic power.
* The Bard from ''VideoGame/ShovelKnight'' will play any song from the game's soundtrack for you if you get him the music sheets. He'll also pay you 500 gold for each music sheet you bring him, which is another incentive to collect them.
* Jimmy from ''VideoGame/SouthParkTheStickOfTruth'' is a bard who uses MagicMusic.
* One party member in ''VideoGame/BaldursGateSiegeOfDragonspear'', Voghiln the Vast, is a "skald from the north who inspires his allies with epic tales".
* A Bard College existed in ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', while you can join it and train your speech, you cannot learn how to play musical instruments whatsoever.
* in ''VideoGame/DwarfFortress'' Bards can visit your fortress, play music (and create their own songs) dance (and choreograph their own dance forms) , tell poems (and write new ones) , and you can even play as one in Adventure Mode (and do everything the fort mode bards can do), DF also takes this UpToEleven because in DF there is also a different skill for every style of song, every single style of dancing, every single type of poem, and every single instrument, and every single style of music as well.
* ''VideoGame/SunsetOverdrive'' has them as part of one of the quests. Yeah you heard right, quest, as in {{LARP}}.
* While ''VideoGame/BravelyDefault'' calls the [[JobSystem Job]] "Performer" (or Superstar if you perfer the original translation), the idea of a party member who buffs and debuffs through singing is still a major part of it. Amusingly, the male costume is an ElvisImpersonator outfit, and the female costume is a Playboy Bunny uniform.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild'' has Kass, a Rito who wanders the world with his accordion and will recite poems to Link, which are hints on how to reveal hidden shrines in the area. [[spoiler: His reason for doing so was due to his teacher's final request, who wanted to aid Link in the future when he woke up from his resurrection years later.]]
* The Jester from ''VideoGame/DarkestDungeon'' fulfills this role in the FantasyCharacterClasses line-up, being a MagicMusic user who buffs and stress heals his allies with his lute. While he isn't a storyteller or very poetic, he also stress heals his teammates with a few good jokes and laughs. Unless he crossed the DespairEventHorizon, of course.

[[folder: Webcomics ]]

* In ''Webcomic/FeyWinds'', when Prince Sidney Theodorus Cassian Merriweather Findain VIII... Just call him Sid, reveals to the main characters whose group he just joined that he's trained as a bard, they ''smash'' his lute and shove a sword into his hands.
* Elan from ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', as seen in [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0004.html this scene from early in the comic.]]
* In ''Webcomic/FarOut'', [[http://kimiq.com/farout/en/2013/02/13/farout-page-24/ Chapter 1 ends with one singing about the events in it.]]
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', Sburb/Sgrub has 12 different classes for players that set their character arc, one of them being the bard, a counterpart to the prince class that serves to passively destroy or corrupt, while a prince actively destroys. What a bard destroys depends on it's aspect, such as [[EruditeStoner Gamzee]] [[AxCrazy Makara]], a bard of rage.
* In ''WebComic/StandStillStaySilent'', the job of skald had been revived and is considered an academic job, which consists of being a keeper of knowledge alongside being a keeper of stories. In the Keuruu military base in Finland, the desk jobs are shown to be held by skalds, while Torbjörn Västerström's job as one consisted of copying old books.


[[folder: Real Life ]]

* Historically, Creator/WilliamShakespeare was known for his title as "The Bard of Avon."
* Skalds were poetic members of a group associated with Viking tradition, and were highly revered for their stories, since individual vikings desired their glory to be remembered through tale and song.
* Homer of ''Literature/TheIliad'' and ''Literature/TheOdyssey'' has been portrayed as a blind bard. The classical era certainly had an extensive oral poetic tradition.
* Numerous Greek and Roman poets and writers were portrayed this way, especially as they were romanticized in the early modern era. True to the page quote, the tales they told fed into later high culture, art, music, occultism, pop culture, fantasy, and sci-fi, coloring the opinion of later peoples because of how the something was portrayed by classic writers. For a (simplified) example, Ba'al and Beelzebub started as terms for a punic deity, but Rome won the war and now Ba'al almost certainly represents something wicked when used in fiction.