Main Magnificent Bastard Discussion

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10:45:40 PM Nov 29th 2017
I was wondering, is it possible for a woman to be a "magnificent bastard" as well, or is there a more gender-appropriate term for women exhibiting this trope? Apologies if I sound like a feminist, just legitimately curious.
02:03:13 PM Sep 6th 2016
Why do so many Magnificent Bastards have Pride listed as their Fatal Flaw? Isn't that usually reserved for the Smug Snake?
09:19:47 AM Sep 21st 2016
Not quite. Magnificent Bastard can be proud of his magnificence, it's just when it's Smug Snake it's seen as Pride Before a Fall While if it's Magnificent Bastard it comes of as Awesome Ego.
03:51:54 PM Jan 8th 2016
Ok, since it's YMMV i'm not going to throw out Aizen from Anime examples... yet. But let's have a quick recap about what are Magnificent Bastards. They're brilliant, they're smooth opreators, they're genre savvy, they're charismatic, they have a goal, they're audatious beyond belief. How does Aizen fit into this?
  • Brilliant. Aizen's plans and achievements seem impressive at first glance, but the reason he was dangerous was not brilliance, but badassery, he was strong enough to casually mow down captains and that's why he was a threat. His plan to burn Rukia to obtain certain Plot Device seem impressive, but it was extremely convoluted and unnessecarily complicated. Yes he faked his death, mowed down the council, and played with SS, but what did he gain by it? Nothing. Plan was to retrieve Hougyoku and he failed, he ended up getting it by different means, which he could've done from the beggining really, he caused some infighting in SS but no fatalities, and in the end his treason was revealed. Ultimately this whole mess didn't push his plans one bit forward. Where's the brilliance here?
  • Smooth operator. This guy haven't pushed his plans one step forward for 100 years. When he finally did take action his betrayal was revealed after a month. After working on a plan to execute Rukia, and playing unsuccesfull Xanatos Speed Chess he ended up gaining Plot Device by different means entirely. He conquered Hollow world not through smartness but through force, Ichimaru said that hollows wouldn't be listening to him if he wasn't such tough badass. And what did he gain by it? Except from Wonderweiss none of his hollows achieved anything if battles against SS meaning everything else was a collosal waste of time.
  • Genre Savvy. He explained his abilities to his opponents including Kyouka Suigetsu, he trusted Gin enough to reveal his weakpoint, and his complexity addiction ended up seriously screwing his plans, not to mention creating his own enemy and underestimating badassery. Those are mistakes Genre Savvy villian wouldn't make.
  • Charismatic. Well in hinamori's eyes definitely, this part is extremely YMMV, but him casually playing You Have Outlived Your Usefullness time after time certainly din't earn him any points from me.
  • Goal. Well for once something fits, he did have a goal, and went through a lot to fulfill it. But goal alone isn't enough.
  • Audacity. I don't think his actions were particulary audatious for someone who was badass enough to casually mow down captains, and he certainly succeded in none of which it really mattered as his final plan screwed up. he retained some smugness after defeat but that's it.
So while i may agree on Bastard part, where's the magnificence? being badass enough to casually mow down captains isn't enough.
03:56:41 PM Apr 15th 2015
I know these are from real life, but applied to fiction, would the items listed in the following Photoplasty page count as this trope, or another trope?

I mean, if you think about it...

Magnificent = Impressive Bastard = Dick

Any thoughts on that, anyone?
04:23:11 AM Jan 16th 2013
edited by SeptimusHeap
Oop. Put into wrong discussion page. It was for Awesome Ego.
09:19:07 PM Jul 12th 2012
edited by Aquophis
What happened to the Real Life examples page? Have we really become so caught up in our uncompromising "Never call a Real Life person a villain" policy that we can't even have examples for a villain most often painted in an affectionate light? Who on earth would be offended by an example describing, say, Napoleon Bonaparte or Alexander the Great in this way?
11:59:45 PM Jul 12th 2012
I have no idea. There is now a thread in Special Efforts dedicated to maintaining Real Life sections, but it's less about "this section has some natter/a controversial example/a stealth troper tale and we should clean it up" and more about "this is technically a villain trope, cut the real life section".
01:08:39 AM Jul 13th 2012
edited by LordGro
If you think that everyone ("one earth" at that) sees Napoleon Bonaparte and Alexander the Great in an affectionate light, you may be victim of Opinion Myopia.
02:29:12 AM Dec 6th 2012
There is an assumption this can only be villains, and so giving the label to a real person would be insulting. But Lelouch and Batman are both examples of heroic Magnificent Bastards.

So to me it's not an Insult, I'm a pretty big fan of Alexander The Great, and will proudly call him the most Magnificent Bastard of all.
01:10:49 AM Apr 30th 2013
Because Political correctness gone mad strikes another good article from this site.
08:50:16 AM Apr 30th 2013
Obviously political correctness didn't "strike the article from this site", as the article is still here. And adding Real Life examples to YMMV tropes is totally pointless. It's a wiki, not a forum.
05:41:46 PM Mar 24th 2014
Because it isn't the magnificent part that's the problem, it's the bastard part. To the Germans, Bismarck is a Guile Hero. To the French, he's an absolute SOB. And to those of us who don't have a personal stake in it, he's this trope.
03:41:28 PM Jul 20th 2014
This page, it aint a trope. Now if we were going to rewrite it into one, fine, then I could see it having no real life section.

But as is, there were people who convinced Barak Obama was the Anti Christ. I hardly see how anyone listed as a magnificent bastard on an audience reaction page is so insulting compared to what people say in national press.
07:12:59 PM Nov 8th 2011
There's been some serious abuse of this trope by many tropers, who think it's "a bastard with good qualities", when it actually means "a badass mastermind".
07:13:38 PM Nov 8th 2011
That's not to say that a Magnificent Bastard can't have good qualities, but that's nto really the point of one.
01:45:24 PM Jun 3rd 2012
Why do we take away real life that was cool to read
05:19:48 PM Sep 20th 2011
edited by Kersey475
I'm making a story idea for a children's film and I want to know if the Big Bad sounds like a Magnificent Bastard:
02:15:05 PM Nov 25th 2011
edited by caimthehero
This character does seem like a magnificent bastard but remember to have the bastard not underestimate his hero. He should see the hero as a possible unexpected force in his plans and even use the hero if possible (which based on the hero you described should be relatively easy for the bastard). And as for establishing the character moment it would be better if he didn't act surprised or angry at his mooks failure. Instead you could have him with a slight smirk asking "Really?" Showing that something unexpected happened but true to his name he will adapt and take advantage of his soon to be new piece.
05:23:16 PM Jan 29th 2012
edited by Kersey475
True. but I also want ot foreshadow his vicious feral inner nature (a la Professor Ratigan from The Great Mouse Detective) in the ECM. It's a big part of his personality and motives. In fact when his plans fail, he isn't losing his temper out of arrogance like a Smug Snake. Rather, he's aware that plans that fail will upset the planner, but when he gets upset it causes his inner monster to want to come out and he tries to restrain his inner monster using his facade of elegance and sarcasm.

I also forgot to mention that he is very Dangerously Genre Savvy and uses his Genre Savvy to create gambits that take advantage of The Power of Love. For example, one Xanatos Gambit has him ordering his minions to kidnap the princess and then he convinces the king to send the hero to rescue her. If he fails, the hero will be destroyed and won't be able to interfere with his plans plus he can eliminate the princess which will cause a Succession Crisis in The Kingdom that he can exploit. If the hero suceeds then the princess and the hero will fall in love (this causes his right-hand-man to do a Flat "What." when he tells him/her this).
03:33:18 PM Jul 18th 2014
You Know sometimes a queen is a prime minster instead so that would be easier for you.
09:53:19 AM Sep 16th 2011
Does anyone else think we need some measure of a clarifier between a Magnificent Bastard and a Manipulative Bastard? I repeatedly find entries across the wiki that state a character as unlikable in some way or another but still file them under Mag Bas.
04:45:58 PM Sep 20th 2011
I think that main difference is that the Manipulative Bastard just manipulates people personally. The Magnificent Bastard also manipulates people, but can also improvises on the fly, has traits of The Chessmaster (who is better at manipualting events), and does it all with style.
03:08:27 AM Jan 19th 2016
edited by NNinja
Manipulative Bastard is basically any character that manipulates others to achieve his/her goal. While Magnificent Bastard can and usually is Manipulative Bastard he's also a Chess Master, he controls events as well as people, at least half of the plot he's connected with is part of his plan, and above all he's got style. Some Magnificent Bastard has probably planned ahead that you would be reading this. The thing is Magnificent Bastard may be unlikable in "love to hate" way, so just because some people don't like them doesn't nessecarily eliminate them as Magnificent Bastard.
01:57:41 PM Jun 20th 2011
If a show or story manages to make a character who is a Magnificent Bastard and a Complete Monster at the same time, would they have essentially created an ultimate villain?

If that were even possible, it sounds like such a character would be able to cross the Moral Event Horizon while having a Crowning Moment of Awesome at the same time (or with the same act).
08:03:49 PM Jul 11th 2011
edited by tropetown
Not necessarily the ultimate villain, but definitely a formidable one. Basically, in order to be both a Magnificent Bastard and a Complete Monster, the character would need to be as devious/charismatic as they were monstrous, something which is extremely difficult to pull off. If the evil overshadows the magnificence, they will be a Complete Monster, but lose their Magnificent Bastard status. If the reverse happens, they will be a Magnificent Bastard, and the audience will not lose sympathy with the character as a result. This is assuming, of course, that the character meets the criteria for both, since not all Bastards do exceptionally heinous things, and not all Monsters commit villainy with flair and brilliance.
02:31:08 AM Dec 6th 2012
The Joker in The Dark Knight is exactly that.
07:22:14 PM Jun 9th 2011
I think it would be better so say that the Magnificent Bastard is rarely a Complete Monster. One can have Magnificent Bastards that are also complete monsters such as Heath Ledger's Joker, Hans Landa and M. Bison but such characters are the exception rather than the norm.
07:50:03 PM Jun 16th 2011
Nothing stopping you from editing that into the page.
01:53:56 PM May 16th 2011
Why is Magnificent Bastard a YMMV trope if it's just describing someone who is a master manipulator?
07:15:08 PM May 16th 2011
It says on the page that "one person's Magnificent Bastard can be another person's Smug Snake, Complete Monster or Villain Sue". So somebody can potentially see the Bastard as someone who fails at doing what they claim to be able to do, someone who crosses the Moral Event Horizon or someone who succeeds so many times that it breaks the Willing Suspension of Disbelief.

Take Naoya from Devil Survivor for example. (I know, it's not the best example, since Shin Megami Tensei is relatively obscure, but I digress.) He has the requirements to be a Magnificent Bastard (although he's not quite as manipulative in terms of emotions), and a lot of people like him, but other people think he's just a Jerk Ass.

And from what I understand, a master manipulator would be along the lines of a Manipulative Bastard or Chessmaster. Note that these aren't YMMV tropes. The Magnificent Bastard is both of them as well, but he's able to improvise.

09:35:09 PM May 16th 2011
10:30:27 PM May 17th 2011
Yeah, but I think other character types are more...definite?

In any case, the Magnificent Bastard is probably a YMMV trope because he shares similarities with the Smug Snake and Villain Sue (or Complete Monster, up to you), so whether a character's a Magnificent Bastard or not depends on how the viewer sees his actions and role and stuff.
05:12:59 AM May 19th 2011
The reason why this is subjective is because of the fact that mostly, it is an audience reaction cencerning whether or not that character is Magnificent from the your point of view. Basically a Magnificent Bastard is a manipulator that you personally think is magnificent.
12:36:52 AM Aug 24th 2014
Still confusing why not removed ymmv.
11:41:43 PM Apr 14th 2011

"alexander the great"

is my nomination to be the MAIN page picture, regardless of whether there should be a main page picture or not, he deserves at LEAST the real life picture slot

when the most famous generals and rulers of rome, the bible, the jews and the qu'ran and world war 2 give you special treatment, you've probably made it big time

jesus can't even do that, alexander already has

there's a lot of good examples of people, but, this man singlehandedly has written the book, rommel's book? a small CHAPTER of alexander the great's book

sun tzu? probably a fanboy of alexander himself~

alexander was brought up to be achilles in living form, taught by aristotle, survived his chessmaster father's attempt to kill him with a sword and took down the only superpower the greeks had known, and in the process, making the greeks one

he also crushed the indian armies he faced before he died at 32

this man, is, 100% magnificient bastard, you can name anyone and everyone else you want, but this guy did it younger, or better, or both, than every single one of the others, whether fictional or real

he's like a real life version of the war of the world's tripods, only microbes can take him down

and don't tell me about napoleon or genghis, just look at who alexander inspired, practically everyone except genghis, and I'll bet the mongols picked up a few of his tricks themselves by sheer rumours myths and legends ;)
12:39:18 AM Apr 15th 2011
oh, and all this with something that's known as "a weakness for alcohol"

so he had something called a handicap while doing this, one bigger than any of the other examples I saw listed, keep in mind as well that while a general like that might seem rather... meh, he DISSECTED the persian empire, he didn't go forth boldly and bravely and stupidly, he knew where to push and where to pull, and even fooled the indians

the indians, at least back then... were about as knowledgeable about the kinds of things sun tzu talks about, as the chinese back then

so he might seem kind of young brave and stupid and only good at the battlefield, you've got to remember he thought of the entire thing, AND survived in the viper's pit of macedonian aristocracy, AND beat the cultures who had cunning as their primary method of combat, through greater cunning, but not everything was preplanned, just like it says, he moved on the fly and adapted fast and then made plans based on what he learned

maybe not the most spy-like magnificient bastard, but he puts the magnificient right into the title, and he was a complete and utter bastard, one of the most direct and successful ones there ever was, fictional or real, genghis khan didn't go it alone like alexander did, he had lots of very well trained and skilled generals too
01:12:37 AM Apr 15th 2011
also I'm shocked and horrified he's not even mentioned IRL, napoleon is? rommel is? caesar is?

he's the one they learned from and were inspired by, in an entirely direct way, it originates with him if one talks about great generals and conquerers, he's the ur and inspiration to the rest, with a record like genghis' but minus the already existing stuff to make it easymode in organization that genghis had
07:17:51 PM Dec 20th 2010
I was thinking, how about a new page quote, in addition to the one that's already there? I was thinking a line from Othello "[I'll] Make the Moor thank me, love me, and reward me for making him egregiously an ass" -Iago

In my mind, that fits rather well, though it may fit under Chessmaster better.
07:29:42 AM Sep 28th 2010
edited by AlirozTheConfused
[disregard this]
07:27:55 AM Sep 7th 2010
Question. Why are we claiming that Magnificent Bastard and Complete Monster are incompatible or mostly so? Nothing in the definition of Magnificent Bastard would suggest s/he can't be a Complete Monster as well, and in fact many of the best villains are both. The Joker and Hannibal Lecter are two that come to mind offhand.
05:35:00 PM Sep 7th 2010
edited by MatthewTheRaven
There is a level of magnificence that is required for the Magnificent Bastard. Something great and Napoleon-esque about their evil that cannot be denied, even as you fight against them. A Complete Monster is inherently despicable. There is no art or grandeur to what they do - you just want them to die, preferably horribly. (Most versions of ) the Joker and Hannibal Lecter are not Complete Monsters, as there is something to be appreciated in them, if just for their vast intellects and breath-taking ability to exicute complex plots.

We've lost our understanding of magnificence since the days of Aristole. It's a shame.
08:34:50 PM Sep 20th 2010
Because a Complete Monster is shown to have crossed the Moral Event Horizon, committing some act that loses all audience sympathy and negates his Magnificent Bastard status, if he had it in the first place. Rape, for example, or shooting a kid in the head in front of his family. At least one would hope audiences wouldn't still cheer for the guy.
08:15:17 PM Sep 21st 2010
Personally, I'd say a Complete Monster can be a Magnificent Bastard, but for the reason's listed above, it's rare. Basically, for a character to qualify for both they'd have to be extremely evil and extremely awesome at the same time, and that's a hard combo to write- but it can be done. Darkseid, Emperor Palpatine, and The Dark Knight's Joker all spring to mind- but that should give you an idea of the caliber of villain neccessary to fit both tropes.

Of course, it's entirely possible for a character to be consider a Magnificent Bastard by some and a Complete Monster by others, depending on your standards of "Cool" and where you put a character's Moral Event Horizon.
09:47:21 PM Mar 3rd 2011
I agree with the above that the combination is possible, but rare. I would also postulate that another part of the reason is that, due to the 'magnificence' requirement of being a Magnificent Bastard, such characters are also frequently Karma Houdinis, which obviously tends to be very dissatisfying for the audience when applied to Complete Monsters in gross need of receiving their just desserts.
02:33:55 AM Dec 6th 2012
The Joker is the only true Complete Monster, well him and his glorified Expyies like Kefka
12:16:01 AM Jun 28th 2010
I think the trope examples could use some weeding. The MB is an unusual character that the audience responds to with awe when done correctly. Not every show/movie/book has an MB. Some try to write one in but fail. Characters like Ben Linus from LOST and Christoph Walz' character from Inglourious Basterds do not belong on the same page as characters from the George Lopez Show. We may not need to include every villain from Heroes, for that matter.
03:22:36 PM Jun 28th 2010
Lead the way.
02:39:04 PM Aug 23rd 2010
This trope always requires weeding. By all means, get out your Weed-Wacker and hack away.
09:46:56 AM Sep 16th 2011
Another unfortunate mistake is confusing a Magnificent Bastard with a Manipulative Bastard. B is required for A, but is not inherently A.

All over, I have seen manipulative characters listed as Mag Bastards, but within that very entry, they either fail to mention why he's likable or flat out say he isn't.
01:07:59 AM Jun 17th 2010
Could someone explain to me the context of the Trope Namer / page quote? ie. What book? Stupid question sorry, but I haven't seen the movie.
05:43:30 PM Jan 28th 2012
The point of that scene in Patton was that he'd actually read Rommel's book on tank battles prior to engaging him in one, presumably rendering Rommel's moves predictable.

So really the provenance of the term is quite confused in this article - and Rommel's the only example given! Rommel lost. Patton was the one fitting the descriptions given.
04:46:39 PM May 29th 2010
From the entry on Rommel from the "real life examples" list:

"Given his unambiguously heroic actions, including concealing the Judaism of Allied prisoners of war from his superiors, it's clear that we don't cheer for Erwin because he may have been a bastard but he did it with flair, we cheer because he wasn't actually a bastard at all, but a pretty swell guy."

So having done heroic things makes someone who worked for the Nazis a "pretty swell guy" now? I don't know much about Erwin Rommel, but if he was working for he Nazis, doesn't that imply by extension that he was contributing, albeit slightly and indirectly, to the harm that the Nazis did?

For what it's worth, this only caught my attention because he was the trope namer; I haven't bothered with the rest of the list, and as I mentioned I don't know much about Rommel himself. But I think the point I made is at least worth putting out there...
05:42:15 PM May 29th 2010
edited by MatthewTheRaven
Meh, he was an old school German military man. The Nazi government kind of inherited him, and he just did his job. He didn't even do it happily, as shown with his protection of Jewish PO Ws. Plus, he eventually turned on Hitler and was in on an assassination plot. So yeah, I agree. And this is from a guy who hates it when people try to rehabilitate Nazis or try to glorify evil empires because of their "bravery" or valor or those other martial values armchair fascists love to glorify (see the real life section of Villainous Valor and try not to roll your eyes so hard they fall out of your head). Erwin Rommel was a fairly decent guy working on the evil side out of simple duty and patriotism.

Keep it in.
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