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The Navigator
"Just like math homework, except a wrong answer will strand us in Peru."

"Give me a stopwatch and a map and I'll fly the Alps in a plane with no windows."

A character who is really good at locating places and objects. This character knows their way around maps and are at giving good directions. If they are part of a Five-Man Band or a Command Roster, expect this character to double as The Smart Guy. This type of character is often found in works with a military or maritime setting. If the setting is magical or Eldritch Location, expect The Navigator to wield a Magic Map or compass. Their ability to navigate and detect might even be due to magic or a superpower in these settings.

Contrast with No Sense of Direction, a character who is incredibly bad at maps and directions.


Examples

Anime and Manga
  • Last Exile: Klaus' backseat (navigator and mechanic) in his vanship is his best friend Lavie.
  • Melfina is the navigator of the XGP in Outlaw Star by design.
  • One Piece: Nami is the navigator of the Straw Hat pirates. She's also good at drawing maps.
  • Brock is the navigator in the Pokémon anime, usually the one carrying the Town Map. Serena takes over this role in X & Y.

Films — Animation
  • Radio on The Brave Little Toaster gives himself the job of navigator, homing in on radio signals to get to the city.
  • Milo Thatch guides the team in Disney's Atlantis: The Lost Empire, as Milo is the only one who can decipher The Shepherd's Journal that details the route to Atlantis.
  • Young Max Goof is appointed "Chief Whichawayer" of the cross-country road tour of the United States by his father in A Goofy Movie. This sets up a Plot Twist when Max misuses this power to divert the tour to Los Angeles.
  • Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole: Gylfie recognizes constellations and tells Soren she thinks she could find her way by them. Later the Echidna dubs her the navigator.

Films — Live-Action
  • David, the titular navigator in Flight of the Navigator.
  • On The Hunt for Red October Mr. Kamarov was the Red October's navigator and guided the boat through the infamous Red Route One.
  • Twister has Rabbit, the guy who gets the storm chasers to where the twister is. He has a truck full of maps (rolled, not folded) and knows all the shortcuts across the Kansas countryside.
  • One of the roles of astromech droids in Star Wars is to calculate hyperspace jumps using coordinates they've stored for the ship they're plugged into.
  • Memphis Belle: Lt Phil Lowenthal, navigation officer on the titular B-17, very important in the days before electronic navigation.

Literature
  • In the Dune universe, Navigators have consumed so much spice that their bodies have deformed and they have to stay in a special tank filled with spice gas. They are able to use a limited form of prescience to safely navigate interstellar space in a starship called a heighliner.
  • Kynddelig (or Cynddylig) from Culhwch and Olwen, about whom it is said "as good a guide was he in a land which he had never seen as he was in his own".
  • Percy Jackson, because his father is the god of the sea and patron of mariners, knows exactly where he is and is able to navigate perfectly when he's on the ocean.
  • Horatio Hornblower in the pseudonymous series is a dead-on navigator. In Beat to Quarters he sails across the Pacific and makes land exactly at the bay that is his intended destination. His entire crew is amazed at their captain's pin-point accuracy.
  • Kushiel's Legacy: Azza, one of Elua's companions, is responsible for teaching navigation.

Live Action TV
  • StarTrek
  • Once Upon a Time: Killian Jones, aka Captain Hook, was brought along on his brother's ship because he didn't trust anyone else to chart their course on this particular voyage.
  • The Amazing Race:
    • Season 3: The Duphiney brothers had this as one of their biggest strengths.
    • Season 9: The Lararuses, the the only team on the season with any ability to navigate.
    • Season 10: Lyn Turk & Karlyn Harris. Their superior navigation skills gave them a needed advantage over the more physically fit teams late in the season.
    • Season 12: The father-daughter Hsu team demonstrated this by being able to deftly navigate around the closed roads in Italy, making their way to the Roadblock by back roads.
    • "Unfinished Business": Zev Glassenberg & Justin Kanew. Several times they made up huge gaps because of their ability to navigate. Twice they won legs because of this, once when they made up the hour the teams on the first flight had on them in Japan, and then when they went from 5th to 1st in Austria, including passing Flight Time & Big Easy, who were completing the Roadblock right when they showed up.
  • Sherlock has all the streets of London memorized and can predict a cab's likely path and come up with an intercept course in a matter of seconds.

Radio

Mythology & Religion
  • The Book of Mormon: Nephi takes this role during the family's voyage across the sea to the promised land.

Tabletop Games

Video Games
  • Tun Luiec in The Longest Journey is a freelance navigator looking for work in Marcuria. She is also a woman, so no captain wants her aboard his ship until April pulls some strings for her.
  • In Uncharted Waters: New Horizons, you can assign any one of your mates to the Chief Navigator position, but if this mate has the Celestial Navigation perk, it unlocks the auto-travel function of the game.
  • In Mass Effect 1 Pressly was said to be the Normandy's navigator before he became XO.
  • In The Secret of Monkey Island, Guybrush has to convince the talking Shrunken Head of a beheaded navigator, reanimated by voodoo magic, to show him the way through Monkey Island's underground cave system to reach LeChuck's ship.
  • One of the skills you can give your character in Sid Meier’s Pirates! is "Skill at Navigation" which gives you better sailing stats.

Western Animation
  • Michelangelo hilariously enough is the navigator for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) show. He's not that good at it.
  • Kit Cloudkicker in TaleSpin (pictured above) served as Baloo's navigator on the Sea Duck. One episode even had him get a trophy for it.
  • The Upsidasium arc of Rocky and Bullwinkle had Rocky steering a giant flying mountain of Upsidasium and navigating using a sextant.
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: Monterey Jack is actually a skilled navigator, pointing out constellations to navigate by, leading them at one point to an island he'd been to on one of his adventures, but finding nothing the way he described it. Then it turns out that Fat Cat had been using lightning bugs to make fake constellations and throw off the local shipping. Once that's put a stop to them, Monty is able to lead them to the actual island he was telling them about.

Real Life
  • Christopher Columbus did much of his own navigation, particularly on his first voyage.
  • Mary Patten, wife of Joshua Patten, captain of the clipper ship Neptune's Car became the ship's navigator when her husband became ill from exhaustion, due to having to perform his duties as well as the First Mate's, who was in the brig. Only 20 years old, she was able to do it, because she had studied navigation on earlier voyages as a hobby, as well as act as nurse for her husband, from Cape Horn, all the way to San Francisco. And she was pregnant the whole time.
  • Fred Noonan was known for pioneering many of Pan Am's routes to China and trained a large number of their navigators. He was eventually chosen to be Amelia Earhart's navigator on her final attempt to circumnavigate the globe.
  • Henry the Navigator, one of the first great pioneers of the Age of Discovery, planned many routes for voyages and founded a maritime school, leading to the beginning of the Portuguese Empire.

Magic MapNavigation TropesNo Sense of Direction
Nature SpiritCharacters as DeviceNazi Grandpa
TaleSpinImageSource/Western AnimationTeenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987)

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