-> ''"... We can let our hero have all kinds of adventures, buckle all kinds of swashes. I merely submit that he ought to do so in a world which... makes sense. The more it does, the more the reader will enjoy -- and the more he will come back for more."''
-->-- '''Creator/PoulAnderson''', ''On Thud and Blunder'' (1978)

"[[{{Spoonerism}} Thud and Blunder]]" is a term used to describe a certain style of HeroicFantasy. It focuses heavily on personal combat and often relies on {{deus ex machina}}s and other {{asspull}}s popping up for the hero whenever things are getting sticky -- an ally discovered among the other galley slaves, a powerful artifact is activated at just the right moment, a plucky slave girl [[HeroicSacrifice throws herself]] in front of the big bad's mighty sword stroke that would ordinarily cleave the hero in twain; stuff like that.

The name comes from an essay called [[http://www.sfwa.org/2005/01/on-thud-and-blunder/ "On Thud and Blunder"]] written in 1978 by Science Fiction[=/=]fantasy author Creator/PoulAnderson, a play on "Blood and Thunder," one of the nicknames of the SwordAndSorcery genre. He did '''not''' use it in a complimentary way, but it has since then come to be adopted as vaguely affectionate term when used by people who [[GuiltyPleasures acknowledge the shortfalls of the type but still enjoy it]], while remaining a completely derogatory term to those who dislike the type.

Hallmarks of the Thud-and-Blunder story include [[FlatCharacter sacrificing characterization]] and dialogue in favor of a roller-coaster plot and extremely PurpleProse; AnachronismStew by the gallon; and lots and lots of RuleOfCool. It looks substantial but is mostly fluff; it can be fun, but it is not satisfying for very long; and it tends to be a polarizing thing.

The hero of a Thud-and-Blunder story is not an intellectual. He may be quite intelligent, but he prefers to take [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer the simple way]] through any problem: his [[MurderIsTheBestSolution solution]] [[ViolenceIsTheOnlyOption to most]] [[WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer situations]] is:
# Hit it with his [[{{BFS}} mighty]] [[CoolSword sword]] or other huge [[AnAxeToGrind implement]] [[DropTheHammer of]] [[CarryABigStick destruction]].
# Ride it down under the trampling hooves of his great steel-shod [[CoolHorse warhorse]].
# Kill it some other way.

He will almost always be a BarbarianHero and everything he does is [[RatedMForManly rated "M", (for "manly")]]; he is always MadeOfIron, while his opponents tend to all be MadeOfPlasticine; all his battles are [[CurbstompBattle incredibly one-sided]], unless his capture is necessary to advance the plot. His clothing is virtually always a {{loincloth}}.

The villain is most often an EvilOverlord or EvilSorcerer, or the two combined into one, the SorcerousOverlord. The priests of a ReligionOfEvil are also a popular choice. For a change of scene, the villain may be a villainess: a DragonLady, a VainSorceress or or an [[GodSaveUsFromTheQueen an evil Queen or Empress]].

In terms of secondary and minor characters, expect to find at least one DistressedDamsel, plucky slave girl, or Amazon wandering about. If the hero has a companion, he will most likely be a LoveableRogue, a deposed prince, or an ex-[[GladiatorGames gladiator]] or [[SlaveGalley galley slave]]. You can also pretty much bet that an ArtifactOfDoom (or possibly, some SealedEvilInACan) of some sort will make an appearance. There will certainly be lots of EvilMinions running around for the hero to kill; the most common types are EliteMooks or a HenchmenRace; there may also be a PraetorianGuard or {{giant mook}}s.

Many of the post-Creator/RobertEHoward ''Conan'' stories are Thud and Blunder done decently; ''Literature/TheEyeOfArgon'' is an excellent example of Thud and Blunder done SoBadItsGood.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'''s first arc is how a SuperRobot anime would do this trope.
* Averted in ''Manga/{{Berserk}}''. Guts is a BarbarianHero who can eat monsters and small armies for breakfast, and can take punishment that would kill other humans many times over, but he is probably never going to defeat the BigBad or gain any real redemption, because [[YouCantFightFate causality says otherwise.]]
* ''Manga/FistOfTheNorthStar'' is the post-apocalyptic martial arts version of this, with a heavily-muscled, [[WalkingShirtlessScene frequently shirtless]] hero WalkingTheEarth and making mooks explode by the gallon of blood.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/RedSonja'': Takes what she wants and hacks it pieces if she can't have it. Also something about revenge, possibly.
* ''ComicBook/TheWarlord'' is a PlanetaryRomance about an Air Force officer who crashes into a HollowWorld where he becomes its greatest hero largely through his prowess with the sword.
* The comic ''ComicBook/GrooTheWanderer'' parodies the Thud-and-Blunder genre unmercifully. Groo himself is not only not an intellectual, he's [[IdiotHero flat-out stupid]].
* Depending on how you look at it, either subverted, averted, or deconstructed in "PlanetHulk", seeing as every time he just goes and smashes things it actually ends up being kind of pointless, even when he's no worse than where he was -- whereas when he acts intelligently, or works to save people without killing, things go really well.
* A lot of 1970s' ''ComicBook/TheMightyThor'' comics, to boot.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* The Swedish gaming-mag comic strip ''Birger Barbaren'' also parodies the genre, but in the opposite way from ''Groo''. The eponymous main character -- you cannot call him a hero -- is a selfish, lecherous, beer-loving fat slob of a barbarian warrior, who also happens to be really smart in crude, tricksterish way.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
%%* ''Film/HawkTheSlayer''
%%* ''Film/YorTheHunterFromTheFuture''
* ''{{Film/Deathstalker}}'', in particular the first and [[Film/DeathstalkerIVMatchOfTheTitans fourth installments]]. [[Film/DeathstalkerAndTheWarriorsFromHell The third]]... sorta-kinda. [[Film/DeathstalkerIIDuelOfTheTitans Part II]]? [[AffectionateParody Naaah]].
* ''Film/TheScorpionKing'' starring Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson has it all: a villainous sorcerer (who turns out to be a sorcer''ess'', ''and'' who pulls a [[HeelFaceTurn heel/face turn]]); an evil Emperor; not one, but two lovable rogue sidekicks; an [[EliteMooks elite mook]]; and a final DeusExMachina to save the day.
* ''Film/TheBeastmaster'' is another Thud and Blunder flick, from the loinclothed hero down to the EvilSorcerer antagonist. The hero's various animal companions have more charisma and, in the case of his weasel rogue duo, more intelligence than the hero.
* ''Film/TheBarbarians'': not one but ''two'' [[TestosteronePoisoning muscular, action packed]], [[BarbarianHero barbarian heroes]], with [[SwordFight swords fights]] and magic aplenty.

* Pretty much any adaptation or expansions of Robert Howard's ''Franchise/ConanTheBarbarian''. The actual original stories always tried to avoid this and only rarely failed at it.
* ''Literature/TheEyeOfArgon'' is widely regarded as the absolute nadir of the genre, with all the elements of this trope amplified beyond any literary sanity. This doesn't keep it form being entertaining in its own right, though.
* ''Literature/JohnCarterOfMars'' is, like Conan, a partial example. The heroic types are mighty-thewed [[MasterSwordsman Master Swordsmen]] who rescue damsels and explore strange lands, and [[PurpleProse the prose gets almost ultraviolet at times]], but it's notable that they're often intelligent (or at least cunning) and as willing to solve their problems with brains or running like hell as they are to carve their way through them with swords. Indeed, at least two major heroes (Carthoris and Ulysses Paxton) are [[ScienceHero Science Heroes]] as well as sword-fighters.
* The ''Literature/{{Gor}}'' series is a subversion; the first book is a loving homage to John Carter, but as early as the second, Tarl Cabot is punished for his ThudAndBlunder approach with enslavement, not for the last time. He becomes more of a GuileHero, and very few books contain no combat at all, even in the climax. Also, the prose may be purple, but the text is dense with what could only be called "Anthropology Porn", going well beyond ShownTheirWork and into AuthorAppeal. There's also a big undercurrent of male dominance and female submission which gets more and more blatant as the series goes on, to the point of spawning its own BDSM subculture.
%%* ''Literature/{{Redwall}}'' is arguably ThudAndBlunder [[WhatDoYouMeanItsForKids For Kids.]]
* Diana Wynne Jones's ''Literature/TheToughGuideToFantasyland'', one of the BooksOnTrope, discusses some of the Thud and Blunder tropes as well as things found in other fantasy genres. In particular, barbarians and evil overlords make several appearances.
* The ''Literature/BaldursGate'' novelisations by Philip Athans reduce the original story to Thud and Blunder as much as they can, sacrificing plot in favor of action and actual action in favor of {{gorn}}.
* Cohen the Barbarian and his Silver Horde from the Literature/{{Discworld}} series are best described as an [[AffectionateParody Affectionate]] DeconstructiveParody of the trope, the deconstructive elements being most prominent in ''Discworld/TheLastHero''.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In TabletopRPG such as ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'', campaigns that focus heavily on DungeonCrawling tend to have a Thud-and-Blunder feel, as whatever plot exists is [[ExcusePlot mostly an excuse]] to kill things and take their stuff.
* ''Barbarians Of Lemuria'' actually aims for a style of play emulating ThudAndBlunder stories, with fast-paced game mechanics, and things like heroism Points enabling the players to pull a DeusExMachina during play.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'' can be played in more than one way, but the game mechanics tends to incline the player to the Thud-and-Blunder style, since warrior skills are the easiest to raise UpToEleven and the general atmosphere of the setting suggests you to be a BarbarianHero.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The swordsman Yeagar in the webcomic ''Webcomic/{{Nodwick}}'' is pretty much a typical thud-and-blunder fighter. The only real difference is that he tends to hit things with Nodwick at least as often as he does with his sword. The series itself is somewhat of an aversion of this trope -- while Yeagar himself is content to approach any problem with violence, it rarely actually has much of an impact on the plot; actually resolving anything significant pretty much always hinges on (in order of frequency) Nodwick's common sense, Artax's intelligence, or Piffany's general good nature. Yeagar's job is more to keep the others alive long enough to use their various traits.
* ''Webcomic/DarthsAndDroids'' has a lot of fun with this view on ''Franchise/StarWars'':
-->'''Palpatine:''' [[http://www.darthsanddroids.net/episodes/0441.html Do not trust anything he may say.]]\\
'''Obi-Wan:''' Oh, don't worry. We're good at ignoring things opponents are trying to tell us during fights.
* ''Webcomic/AmericanBarbarian'' is a nice homage to the genre, complete with a Creator/JackKirby-esque art style.

%%[[folder:Western Animation]]
%%* ''WesternAnimation/ThundarrTheBarbarian''
%%* ''WesternAnimation/HeManAndTheMastersOfTheUniverse1983'', at least aesthetically.