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The Ice King

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An attractive guy or hunk who is known for being extremely cold and aloof in order to hide his softer side. (Please leave feedback to why you voted what you did.)

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
Troper321 on Jul 8th 2018 at 6:05:57 AM
Last Edited By:
Troper321 on Jul 31st 2018 at 7:24:36 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

"Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad."
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The Ice King is defined as "a man (often attractive) who is popularly known for being cold and aloof". Similar to his female counterpart the Ice Queen, the Ice King is represented by what is considered to be "cold". The Ice King archetype is often an extension of Men Are Tough. Often so, the Ice King is portrayed as having a soft interior with traits that may percieve him as weak, inferior, or even effeminate by others, especially other men. Such as being more In Touch with His Feminine Side, being the Sore Loser nerd, being geninuely caring and compassionate Nice Guy, or initially having a Pretty Boy, attitude.

Becoming the Mask, the Ice King then begins to build a wall of ice to keep others from seeing his true interior personality. Subjecting him to appear and act more harsh and cold. It is not rare for an Ice King to have a Dark and Troubled Past, or been bullied or ridiculed for his original nature. Usually by his Abusive Parents, the Big Brother Bully, the Barbaric Bully, Gang of Bullies, or other groups. This usually leaves him bitter, resentful of others, and often feeling inferior. His exterior is a shell that helps to hide his weakness and pain Beneath the Mask. He may be popularly labeled as the Tragic Hero who has a Hidden Heart of Gold underneath the Hidden Depths.

The Ice King targets specific behaviors that earns him his title: The Stoic who hides his feelings and emotions with an empty gaze that may rival that of the Tin Man; exaggerates a "Don't You Dare Pity Me!" personality to keep from looking weak or having others see him as weak; a nature of Brutal Honesty to isolate himself by being harsh to others; a Cute but Troubled life as he may appear attractive, but underneath is going through war against himself and others; Safety in Indifference, believing it's better that if they don't care or feel then they can't hurt or continue to hurt; and finally, the signature Death Glare which he is widely known for due to the cold and dangerous look in his eye being a direct reminder of why he is crowned the Ice King.

He is classified as being dangerous to love, similar to the Ice Queen, because he can't or won't love back. Women are likely to label extremely standoffish and aloof guys as Ice King's as they refuse to give into their charms and advances unlike most men. He will attract, but he will not allow himself to be wooed. He will steal hearts, but he will not return the feelings. He would be wanted as a romantic partner, but will answer, "I Work Alone". Being an Ice King is all about personality rather than a male individual having ice-powered abilities.

There are several different versions of what could classify a guy as an Ice King, such as:
  • Aloof Big Brother: He's older, smarter, and probably more attractive than his younger brother. But he's also the aloof and distant sibling.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Hot in appearance, cold in personality. He may throw his romantic other down the stairs, but this Mr. Fanservice does it out of love. Most of the time.
    • Bespectacled Bastard Boyfriend: Often known for wearing spectacles and being attractive while he dominates his partner. Often in a manner that makes the audience swoon over his controlling and cold nature.
  • Chessmaster: Calculating and strategic, he coldly manipulates events in order to achieve what he wants. People is another word for pawns to him.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: He's completely sweet, caring, and nice, so he acts extra cold, abrasive, and possibly arrogant.
  • Manipulative Bastard: If he wants you to sing, he'll make you. If he wants you to dance, he'll make you. If he wants you to sing and dance, he'll make you. You are nothing but his puppet. So expect him to coldly pull your strings.
  • Narcissist: The world revolves around him, the attention must be on him, everyone must adore him. And if they don't adore him, then they will fear him.
  • Stepford Snarker: A guy who is sarcastic, blunt, and extremely harsh with what he says. If you need someone who will coldly tell the truth without a blink of an eye, he's your man.
  • Sociopath: Cold, heartless, apathetic, and possibly a sadist. He will not let anything get in his way, including emotions.
  • Stoic Woobie: His life's hell and yet he doesn't cry. He's lost his job but he doesn't complain. It's hard to tell what he's thinking or feeling with his emotionless face. Or even if he can feel anything at all.


Not to be confused with Ice Person or Ice King from Adventure Time. Compare with Cute but Troubled, Good Is Not Nice, Real Men Hate Affection, Beneath the Mask, Dark and Troubled Past, The Stoic, Death Glare, I Work Alone, Don't You Dare Pity Me!, Becoming the Mask, Men Are Tough, Men Don't Cry, and Safety in Indifference. May overlap with Mr. Fanservice, Hunk, or Chick Magnet.


Alternative Title(s): Ice Queen

Feedback: 67 replies

Jul 8th 2018 at 6:08:13 AM

I wanted to make a separate trope for the Northic King aka the Ice King because it's more common to see an Ice Queen than an Ice King. And the page that talks about the Ice Queen focuses more on her than the Ice King.

Plus I had to reload this because I wasn't sure if others could see it. This is all being done on a mobile device so please bare with me. Thank you!

Jul 9th 2018 at 10:54:58 PM

Needs A Better Name... made me think of northern wintery rulers, ala Grim Up North crossed with Winter Royal Lady.

Jul 9th 2018 at 11:21:00 PM

Yeah, I thought this was for Lich Kings and similar.

Also, I think the term is Nordic.

Jul 10th 2018 at 12:58:42 AM

  • Blue Linked some TV Tropes page names.
  • Examples section
    • Added a line separating the Description and Examples section.
    • Added media section titles as per Media Categories.
    • Namespaced work names. Warning: failure to do this can result in being suspended from editing.
    • Italicized work names as per How To Write An Example - Emphasis For Work Names.
    • Blue Linked work names.
    • Massively re-wrote the examples to make them better English.
    • Put media sections in alphabetical order.

Jul 10th 2018 at 12:59:31 AM

I had to guess about which namespaces the works had.

I had to add a stub Laconic so I could edit the proposal (a known TV Tropes bug).

Jul 10th 2018 at 2:43:54 AM

Simply calling it Ice King would be better.

Compare Troubled But Cute.

Jul 10th 2018 at 2:46:08 AM

Simply calling it Ice King would be better.

Compare Troubled But Cute.

Jul 10th 2018 at 7:05:59 AM

Not to be confused with the Ice King, who, if anything, is the complete opposite of this.

Jul 10th 2018 at 9:51:38 AM

Based on the examples so far this just seems like The Sociopath. I think a trope that desconstructs/deals with gendered expectations of Ice Queen could be interesting, since Ice Queen subverts the expected female emotionality, whereas being The Stoic is the expectation/ideal for men. That said, most of the subtropes of Ice Queen are not at all female specific. Also, Ice Queen has nothing to do with having actual ice powers.

Jul 11th 2018 at 6:11:43 AM

Ice King would be a terrible name. It's the definition of a Bad Snowclone, no pun intended.

And frankly, the examples are somehow all over the place despite there being only three of them. One of them is a very emotional character who masks it, ones The Sociopath, and the third is The Stoic.

Jul 11th 2018 at 8:27:01 AM

^ they're outwardly icy, which is (probably) the only thing that matters here?

Jul 11th 2018 at 10:14:44 AM

It seems like a key part of the characterization of the Ice Queen would be that they're cold and aloof, but stilll desirable, on some level? The character could be male, too, I think, as long as that "object of desire" element is still in there. Not even necessarily romantic or sexual desire, for that matter — a Defrosting Ice Queen can just as easily warm up to a group of friends as a lover. But without that particular dynamic, the possibility of defrosting, then regardless of whether the character is male or female, it seems like you would just have The Stoic.

Jul 11th 2018 at 2:11:40 PM

I have to agree with everyone else here. This draft is all over the place and I'm unsure what, exactly, this trope is going for. Is having an icy personality really a trope on it's own?

Jul 14th 2018 at 1:10:04 PM

Guys thank you so much for the critiquing, I really appreciate it! Especially those who helped layer out my draft to meet the trope standards!

Looking at the trope, I can tell that it does seem all over the place and I will reedit it today. For those who helped layer out my trope such as the blue links, I could really use your assistance again once my draft is complete.

Once again, thank you! And if you all can, please give some awesome names you think the trope should have. Once again, thanks!

Jul 14th 2018 at 5:16:04 PM

  • Bleach: Byakuya Kuchiki is a Pretty Boy nobleman and famously powerful Shinigami who, in his introductory arc, dispassionately hunts down his own sister for execution and cripples Ichigo in a Single Stroke Battle when he tries to intervene. Later episodes reveal his motives and true character, show how he struggles with The Chains Of Commanding, and ultimately make him a staunch ally of the main characters, though he never quite loses the Aloof Big Brother act.

Jul 14th 2018 at 5:32:40 PM

Intastiel, thank you so much!

Jul 14th 2018 at 8:10:19 PM

This draft has been reedited! If anyone see any problems with the draft you are welcome to edit or tell me!

If you like this trope, leave a comment stating why. If you see flaws with the trope, please critique it and tell me why! I can't wait for your responses, thank you!

Jul 15th 2018 at 12:25:16 AM

  • Examples section
    • Added media section titles as per Media Categories.
    • Edited media section titles so they would display properly.
    • Put media sections in alphabetical order.

Jul 16th 2018 at 2:32:16 PM

The page has been reedited again! Is it better? Still needs work? Comment below and rate it!

Jul 16th 2018 at 2:34:07 PM

I look forward to your response!

Jul 16th 2018 at 6:40:36 PM

This description is an improvement. My biggest concern now is that the examples start with "X would be considered...". Since Tropes Are Not Arguable, the examples need to be edited to be objective.

The laconic might need work now to match the description, as this appears to be a trope about a cold and aloof "hunk" hiding his softer personality, but the laconic doesn't mention the latter part.

Jul 16th 2018 at 6:43:31 PM

Thank you! I will get on this right away

Jul 17th 2018 at 3:09:15 PM

  • My main issue is that this trope is meant as a Spear Counterpart to Ice Queen, but Ice Queen is not a trope it's a supertrope. That might be why you're having so much trouble writing the description for this trope (and why the examples vary from Aloof Big Brother to The Sociopath), as it's essentially a whole bunch of different tropes.
  • Maybe a collection of 'frosty man' tropes would be better.

Jul 17th 2018 at 5:49:09 PM

I will get right on this!

Jul 17th 2018 at 9:06:44 PM

Okay, I think I see what Clanger is getting at, but it is hard to explain. Since Ice Queen itself isn't one specific trope and has a lot of subtrope variations, making a Spear Counterpart is difficult because there's such a wide spectrum of what an "Ice King" could possibly be like. So what I think they're suggesting is to make it similar to Ice Queen and make it a supertrope of tropes like Aloof Big Brother and The Sociopath.

As for the title...I'm unsure of what would be better.

Jul 17th 2018 at 9:14:54 PM

Alright! Thank you so much!

Jul 18th 2018 at 12:57:07 PM

Checked the formatting... So we have to use this softreturn thingy to make paragraph spacee?

Jul 18th 2018 at 3:08:12 PM

Yes. It helps to make paragraphs.

Jul 18th 2018 at 4:21:48 PM

Guys, do you believe this topic should be discarded?

Jul 18th 2018 at 9:25:48 PM

Actually, as an umbrella for those other tropes I think it works fairly well. Drop the examples section (but keep the not to be confused with section) and I'd say it's ready to launch. Further tropes will come, in time.

Jul 19th 2018 at 8:24:53 AM

The name it currently has give too much vibes to it being a Spear Counterpart to The Ice Queen, which is probably the biggest problem with this trope.

I'd say to rename it to Giving The Cold Shoulder, but that is more of a unisex trope name (not to mention would be even more clever if the person was cryokinetic, which isn't always the case with this trope).

Jul 19th 2018 at 10:17:36 AM

If this is specifically about aloof men being attractive, Loners Are Freaks should be taken out, as that is about being unattractive/disliked. Evil Is Sexy, Draco In Leather Pants, and Magnificent Bastard are all YMMV tropes that relate to some of the more negative character types here (such as The Sociopath). Being emotionally closed off yet attractive is often a feature of the Bastard Boyfriend and Bespectacled Bastard Boyfriend.

Jul 19th 2018 at 10:24:09 AM

I still say that when this draft gains enough good feedback and consensus it'd be best to nuke this and take all the information to a new draft so the bombs and hats are at a clean slate and can reflect better on what people actually think of it, instead of how they felt about it before all the changes.

As for a better name...hmm. Frosty Man? Hot Man Cold Attitude? Hot Men Are Cold? (If being attractive is a necessary part of the trope of course).

Jul 19th 2018 at 2:07:58 PM

I don't necessarily see deliberately acknowledging the fact that this is a Spear Counterpart as a bad thing, but...

Ice Cold Man? Cold, Cold Man? Frost King?

Jul 19th 2018 at 2:23:08 PM

I'm really loving the feedback guys! Thank you so much! As for the name of the trope, I know, I want to change it too. And seeing you guys brainstorm for the new name is awesome! Let's figure it out together. I'm looking for a name that is like how the Ice Queen is. Not identical, but similar. It should be a name that let's tropers know that this guy rules over his cold kingdom similar to his female counterpart.

Jul 19th 2018 at 2:33:55 PM

How does the Artic King sound?

Jul 19th 2018 at 6:41:46 PM

I just thought of a title. "Winter's Groom."

Jul 19th 2018 at 8:40:17 PM

^ I know I told you it wasn't a great title on PM but I should explain more. My issue with it is that, while following a similar pattern to "Ice King" and other possibilities, it's less clear. At least to me, it brings to mind something like an elemental character who is literally, well, "Winter's Groom." It's the word Groom; it's about marriage and relationships, rather than just being a term for a man.

Winter Man? Winter King? Wintery Man?

Jul 19th 2018 at 8:43:43 PM

It seems like anything we've come up with would be less clear than Ice King already is. I mean, it is the Spear Counterpart to Ice Queen. Why dance around the issue?

Jul 19th 2018 at 9:33:39 PM

I'm staying with Ice King. That's what people call it out there.

Jul 21st 2018 at 8:03:04 AM

I was summoned here via private message. Let's see here...

First things first, the title. I'm torn between Ice King and Frosty Man, I like them both, and if the crowners weren't broken, I would have suggested making a crowner to vote on the title.

My first impulse when reading the description was to go look at Ice Queen and do a paragraph-by-paragraph comparison. Overall, I was relieved to confirm that this draft is not a tweaked copy-paste of that trope. I find it interesting that this draft mentions bullying as a potential cause of the demeanor while Ice Queen doesn't theorize potential causes. This draft needs the same disclaimer that it is Not To Be Confused With having an ice-related superpower (that would be An Ice Person).

Actually, now that I've mentioned the Not To Be Confused With issue, I just had an idea for a third, gender-neutral stub of a page titled Frosty Demeanor, it would have links to this draft (whatever this draft ends up being named) and Ice Queen, with a summary of what kind of gender-specific baggage each broad-arching trope is likely to carry. I'm not sure if such a page is a good idea, though, given that it would be a Super Trope to just two tropes that are already Super Tropes themselves.

Jul 22nd 2018 at 8:23:20 PM

Het guys! Sorry I've been gone, family issues. Anyway, I'm ready to get back to working. And I see we've gone up one for each side! Two more for hats off and we'll be tied. Anyway, first things first. I've decided to ask questions for all of you to see how the trope is. Obviously we need a new name or else it'll seem like a direct copy of the infamous Ice Queen. First question, what do you guys think of the draft? What should be added, taken out, or rewritten?

Jul 23rd 2018 at 12:03:22 AM

^ this IS a counterpart to the Ice Queen trope, the name has to show it.

Jul 23rd 2018 at 8:42:18 PM

Similarly summoned here via PM. I don't think Ice King is very clear by itself (unlike "ice queen", which is a fairly common idiom, Ice King isn't really used to describe people, making it a Bad Snowclone), and clarity is more important than spear counterpart theme naming. Coldhearted Man?

Jul 23rd 2018 at 9:59:09 PM

Ice Queen being such a common idiom, and not just the name of a trope, helps make it apparent what the intention behind Ice King is in a way that I don't think any of the other suggested names will. This isn't just a man who's cold, but specifically the male equivalent of an Ice Queen. with all the baggage that entails. I think balking over the obvious gender-flipped name will cause more confusion in the long run than it alleviates in a case like this.

Jul 23rd 2018 at 10:56:43 PM

^^ having it "Ice King" is actually clearer than "Coldhearted Man" precisely because of what ^ said. How's that for clarity?

Jul 24th 2018 at 12:53:05 AM

Yeah, looks better now.

Jerkass Facade should be mentioned somewhere.

Jul 24th 2018 at 9:47:16 AM

Looks pretty good. Second the idea that you should discard this and make a new proposal (with the same content), since there are so many bombs. I don't have strong opinions on the name, although maybe just Ice King instead of The Ice King.

The See Also list is a little redundant- if you've already mentioned a trope in the body, you don't need to list it again.

One useful distinction between this and Ice Queen is that the Ice Queen's coldness usually provokes resentment among potential paramors, while for this trope the coldness is often part of the reason the character is attractive.

Jul 24th 2018 at 10:06:38 AM

Agree, still think you should discard this one and transfer everything to a new draft because of the bombs. It's good you've been calling people in for feedback, but not every bomber posts on the draft.

Jul 24th 2018 at 11:58:51 AM

Name is still the definition of a bad snowclone and still reeks of finding a trope to fit a name rather than the other way around. Especially because Ice Queen is, as the page itself admits, fairly ill-defined and the page is only around because of the colloquial term.

Jul 24th 2018 at 9:39:26 PM

This does seem to work better as a supertrope of sorts, like Ice Queen is; it might be better to re-launch it as one, since it looked like most of the bombs were dropped in its previous incarnation as a single trope. I'd be on board with Synchronicity's suggestion of "Coldhearted Man" as a title, unless "Ice King" is a more commonly used idiom than I'm aware of.

The description looks like it has the main points covered. I've been wondering if it could be focused more, but I'm not quite sure how that would be done. It does identify quite a lot of related tropes, which might benefit from a bit more structure to clarify how all those blue links relate to the Ice King concept — say, first those related to the general persona of stoicism and emotional unavailability, then those addressing its Beneath The Mask elements (repressed emotions, a hidden softer side, the awful truth that he really IS an emotionally hollow sociopath, whatever), then pertinent aspects of the character's past (bullying, etc.), and then how other characters might interact with an Ice King.

This structural stuff isn't a major issue, but that sort of organization can be helpful in sorting out what is central to the concept and what's only occasionally associated with it. For example, the description links to four tropes about childhood abuse/bullying, that emphasizes it as a formative influence on an Ice King quite strongly, which might not be the intent.

Jul 24th 2018 at 10:48:15 PM

Ice Queen is the common idiom here. If we're trying to connect this trope with the existing one, but then bypass the obvious option, it seems more likely people won't realize this page even exists. It's one thing for a snowclone to base its name on a largely unrelated trope for the sake of a reference, but this trope is specifically a male Ice Queen. If it needs a separate page at all, that connection should be overt.

Jul 24th 2018 at 10:50:01 PM

Snowclones aren't bad unlike what Tv Tropes say.

Jul 24th 2018 at 10:57:08 PM

I don't think it is a Bad Snowclone — it's based on a commonly used phrase that exists outside of this website, and trying to write around that just because we have a page called Ice Queen based on the same phrase seems needlessly convoluted.

Jul 24th 2018 at 11:16:29 PM

Perhaps we should make a crowner?

Jul 25th 2018 at 1:36:30 PM

Good idea, in fact, how about two crowners? One to ask whether Ice King is a good snowclone or a bad snowclone, and one to collect and vote on all proposed titles.

Jul 25th 2018 at 1:41:21 PM

Smart idea; ask if the title should be changed first and then vote on possible titles if the consensus says to change the title.

Jul 27th 2018 at 3:57:56 PM

In settings with Elemental Powers, it's still not uncommon for him to be An Ice Person.

Jul 27th 2018 at 6:36:55 PM

In cases with overlap like that ^ that's Personality Powers.

Jul 28th 2018 at 9:38:47 AM

Does Ice Queen even need a spear counterpart?

Can't you just add a paragraph or two to that description to say "In the case of a male character acting this way, these may be some key differences" and then put down like "A Male Example, this character xyz etc" for any male examples?

Particularly, Ice King is currently a redirect to Ice Queen, and Ice Queen is an exampleless trope umbrella.

Just have the equivalent male trope umbrella on the same page.

Jul 30th 2018 at 9:48:41 AM

Wow, major difference in votes since I got back. Kind of sad from seeing this. But it's okay, I'm really glad I'm getting some criticism. If you guys see something in this trope you would like to change, go for it by all means! Edit it to how you see fit and I'll check back in to see if it's 👌 or 👎. But for right now, the bombs and hats gap has kind of made me sink any feelings for editing right now. So I'll check back in later.

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