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Wizard Beard
He can do anything with magic...except shave, apparently.

A beard, usually white, extending a good ways down, is part of the standard appearance of a Wizard Classic. The length of a beard roughly indicates his ability as a wizard, as a really long beard can often indicate someone who is beyond a "natural" lifespan.

See also Robe and Wizard Hat, and Rapunzel Hair. Compare and Contrast Beard of Barbarism, Beard of Evil (some evil wizards have this instead of a Wizard Beard.)


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Shazam: Shazam!
  • The Ancient One, mentor of Doctor Strange, has a long beard, albeit a neat one. His colleague the Aged Genghis (who is quite insane) has an odd version which is either a forked beard or a very large mustache.
  • Astérix: Druid Panoramix/Getafix sports a long white beard. He's responsible for making the magic potion that makes the village invincible.

    Folk Lore 
  • Most depictions of Merlin, natch.
  • Many deities have such beards. These include Zeus/Jupiter, Saturn/Kronos, Odin and even some depictions of capital G God. See Grandpa God.
  • Santa Claus.
  • Melchior from the Magi.

    Literature 
  • Dumbledore of Harry Potter has such a beard. Played for laughs in Goblet of Fire. Dumbledore draws an "Age Line" around the goblet to prevent any underage students entering themselves for the Triwzard Tournament. Anyone who tries, even if they've magically aged themselves up, is knocked backwards... and finds that they've suddenly grown an enormous beard. When the Weasley twins try it, Dumbledore compliments them on the quality of their beards.
  • Merlin is normally shown with such.
    • In The Sword in the Stone, his beard keeps getting tangled up or caught in doors.
    • Oddly, medieval portrayals of Merlin do not give him the beard — that came later. Merlin was only shown in early works as a youth, and in later works — like Mallory — he's a shapeshifter who takes the shape of a child, a woman, and old man, but never reveals his true form. The Merlin TV series has him as a youth, but he gets the beard when he transforms into his old self.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Gandalf, Saruman, and Círdan have such beards. Círdan is interesting because he is one of the few elves to have facial hair, and although technically not a wizard, has pretty close ties to them.
  • Phenomena: Sha-ra has this, Sherpa might have it, while no hair is ever seen on Tarkan.
  • Where's Waldo? has a recurring character called Wizard Whitebeard.
  • Some older depictions of Elminster of Shadowdale in the Dungeons & Dragons Forgotten Realms setting. Newer pictures give him a short beard.
  • Played with in the Discworld novels with Rincewind, who has a scraggly beard but is not one of nature's beard-wearers, and Ponder Stibbons, who is not able to grow one at all. They are the exceptions in a sea of proud, beardy wizards.
    • Cohen however, has a barbarian beard. It has been described as making his loincloth superfluous as far as decency was concerned.
    • Prehumous Professor of Morbid Bibliography, Professor Pelc (as opposed to the Posthumous Professor of the same. Think about it) wears a false long beard because it is expected of wizards and remains one of the few naturally, by choice unshaven wizards to be seen.
    • Professor Hix of The Department Of Post-Mortem Communications has a goatee, as is expected of his position.
    • Cutwell in Mort also lacked a beard; the narration explained that there are fashions in wizardry like everything else, and Cutwell was out of step with the one that said you had to look like an elderly alderman.
  • In Old Man Khottabych by Lazar Lagin, the titular genie's beard becomes a plot point because he can only cast magic by expending a hair from it. Meaning that if, by any misfortune, he loses his beard (or simply gets it wet), he's Brought Down to Normal. Except for one case when he was prepared for it and cast a spell to temporarily do magic with Badass Finger Snaps.
  • Lampshaded and averted in the Young Wizards series. It's pointed out that the most skilled wizards don't get the opportunity to grow long beards, since being a thorn in the side of the Big Bad tends to lead to a short life-span.
  • Sword of Truth:
    • Averted/parodied in the first book where First Wizard Zedd has no beard. Midway through the first book, Richard calls him out on this, saying that wizards are supposed to have beards, and everyone knows that. Zedd plays along, and magically grows out a long white beard... then immediately shaves it off, saying he doesn't wear a beard because they're itchy. He can't just remove it himself, because he only has Additive magic.
    • Later, it's a plot point that Richard can both grow and remove his own beard — signifying that he can use both Additive and Subtractive magic.
  • Both Fizban from Dragonlance and his Expy Zifnab from The Death Gate Cycle have these.
  • Enforced in Diana Wynne Jones' Dark Lord of Derkholm. Mr. Chesney's regulations state that very wizard leading a Pilgrim Party must wear a long beard in order to appear ancient and wise, no matter how old they really are. For this reason, women aren't allowed to be party wizards, one of the many, many complaints the locals have about the whole affair.
  • C. S. Lewis loved this trope. In The Chronicles of Narnia, Coriakin, Ramandu, old Caspian, Father Time, Father Christmas, and the Hermit of the Southern March are all described as having very long white beards. (Of course, most of them are not actual wizards).
  • Lampshaded in The Last Unicorn. When Schmendrick announces himself as a wizard he is more than once met with doubt because people expect a real wizard to have a beard. Later they meet the powerful wizard Mabruk who has the stereotypical long beard.
  • Played with in The Belgariad, where this is, like the Robe and Wizard Hat, is a point of minor contention. All the sorcerers in the series have short beards or none at all, save Ctuchik, whose ragged whiskers fit his general "decrepit corpse" look. The idea of them all having long beards is met with scorn.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Merlin on Merlin usually averts this trope, since he's a youth in the series. But it is put into play when he uses the aging spell to turn himself into "Dragoon" and the beard is definitely there.
  • Parodied hard in Wizards of Waverly Place where the senior Wizard of Wiztech has a fake beard that he surrenders to a wannabe dark wizard.

    Pinballs 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer Fantasy's wizards largely avert this trope. The most powerful wizards in the Warhammer world are either Elves (who are naturally beardless), Slann (giant frogs, so no body hair at all), daemons (mostly hairless, though it varies) or undead (and hence tend to lack not only hair but any skin to grow it from as well). The most thickly bearded race, Dwarfs, doesn't have any wizards at all. Of the remaining races with spellcasters Bretonnian wizards are all female, Skaven and Beastmen have animal heads rather than human facial features, and Ogre wizards tend to have little by way of facial hair, which leaves the human wizards of the Empire and Chaos Sorcerers as the sole candidates for Wizarding Beards. Even then beards are fashionable in the Empire in general, and most Imperial wizards tend to be no more fulsomely bearded than other Imperial citizens, with the usual exception of the wild and shamanic Amber Wizards and druidic nature-venerating Jade wizards (but that's just as much a Beard of Barbarism). The most powerful wizard in the Empire, Balthasar Gelt, probably does not have a beard, and even if he does it is sufficiently small to conceal entirely behind the golden facemask he wears at all times. In fact just about the only wizard model in the entire citadel range that embodies this trope is the Mordheim warlock special character Nicodemus.
  • Ezren, the iconic Wizard from Pathfinder, has a more trimmed version of this.
    • In the same setting, male Witches can learn a hex that lets them turn even the smallest patch of beard into one of these, or make an existing one super-long, as a side-effect of turning it into Prehensile Hair.
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons setting of "Known World" (later Mystara ) the supplement Elves of Alfheim had a elf wizard NPC sporting a very long beard (Mystara's elves can grow facial hair)just because he did heard of this trope amongts human wizards and found it way cool.

    Video Games 
  • Athos (who is over 1000) of Fire Emblem: Blazing Sword has a beard almost as tall as he is (or taller; portrait, official art, and battle sprite differ on the exact length, but it is always past the waist).
    • And Hector constantly lampshades it with his nickname for Athos, Graybeard.
  • In Little Big Adventure, to become a wizard, a (fake) long white beard is a necessary costume element along with the wizard robe and hat. Before being able to graduate, Twinsen must buy one off of a shady flying carpet salesman.
  • The archmagi (including Antonidas) in Warcraft.
    • Velen, too, although he's less "wizard" than "ancient high priest."
  • Lezaford in Final Fantasy Tactics A2.
  • The Riftwar Cycle: The Great One (read: really powerful Tsurani magician) Makala has a long white beard, in spite of the books asserting emphatically that Great Ones do not wear beards, because in Tsurani culture, only slaves are anything but clean-shaven.
  • In the game Space Station 13, there's a gamemode in which a player is selected to be a Space Wizard and cause chaos on the station. He needs a few items to be able to cast spells. Those items? A Robe And Wizard Hat and a Beard.
  • Gammel Drask of Grim Grimoire.
  • Manannan in King's Quest III.
  • Alakazam from Pokémon.
  • In the Borderlands 2 campaign "Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon's Keep", Claptrap takes the role of a mad, reclusive wizard. However, since he's a robot, he naturally has no beard until he tasks you with collecting the beards of dead dwarves and forging (yes, forging) one for him.
  • The male mage in Dragon Quest 3 is a hunched-over old man with a white beard, though it doesn't go much lower than his chest.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • Alan Moore, creator of Watchmen and other important graphic novels, has also claimed at times to practice magickal arts
  • Aubrey de Grey, immortalist. See Long for This World.
  • William Lee Golden of The Oak Ridge Boys
  • George MacDonald, influential Scottish fantasy author, was not a wizard but often wrote about them, and had a most impressive beard to show for it [1].
  • This trope may originate in a tradition for philosophers and other learned men of the ancient world to wear a beard as a symbol of their station. See Plato, Aristotle or Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate.
  • John Dee, essentially the "court magician" of Elizabeth I of England, had one.
  • Two thirds of ZZ Top (the other one, ironically named Frank Beard, has only a mustache).


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