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Boisterous Bruiser / Literature

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  • Classic Chinese literature is in love with this trope, probably because the description of a Boisterous Bruiser is a perfect foil to the equally common gentleman scholar archetype:
  • A Song of Ice and Fire features a good number of them:
    • King Robert Baratheon doesn't let his political responsibilities get in the way of his appetite for drinking, eating, fighting, and screwing. Though he jests and shouts constantly, he is actually a deeply unhappy man. It turns out Boisterous Bruisers make great generals, but terrible kings.
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    • "The Greatjon", Lord Jon Umber is a giant of a man with a loud and boisterous attitude. When two of his fingers are bitten off by Robb's direwolf, he laughs and becomes Robb's loudest supporter. His son "Smalljon" Umber also qualifies, as do his uncles Mors and Hother. This trope is essentially his family's hat.
    • Tormund Giantsbane, an incredibly stocky old veteran who spins tales as tall as they are ribald, and still kicks ass alongside the younger raiders.
    • Strong Belwas, a boisterous pit fighter who thoroughly enjoys boasting of Strong Belwas's prowess at maximum volume while gorging himself on liver and onions. He's doubly awesome for being a eunuch - even taking his bollocks from him can't dampen his spirits!
    • Thoros of Myr, in the days when he was friends with Robert, said that he became a red priest because it was harder to spot wine spills on red clothes. He was also known for setting his sword on fire and giving as good as he got in melees. This is a priest we're talking about.
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    • Aeron Greyjoy used to be one, an Ironborn (i.e. pseudo-Viking) raider who loved to drink and party and liked to boast that no man could piss longer or farther than him. At the time of the series, he has changed into a dour, humorless religious fanatic. It is suggested that he was sexually abused by his brother Euron, and both his previous recklessness and current fanaticism both stem from his attempts to cope with this trauma.
  • Aubrey-Maturin: Jack Aubrey is a big, normally cheerful guy who likes food, pretty women, and making dreadful puns. However, as a captain in the British navy during the Napoleonic Wars, he has to work within the system more than is usual for this trope.
  • The eponymous Villain Protagonist of The Luck of Barry Lyndon is sort of a deconstruction of the trope, as the novel is a pastiche of 18th century novels, which means that Barry could be thought of as "what Tom Jones would be like if he was evil". Barry pursued social advancement through underhanded means (including becoming a Sociopathic Soldier, a cardsharper, and police spy) but describes himself at his prime as being the toast of society and generous and open-hearted, with the flaw of being unable to resist the charm of a beautiful woman. Even assuming this is true, Barry is also a wife-beater and serial adulterer who squandered his wife's fortune and at the time he narrates, is in debtor's prison and in seriously bad health as a result of his earlier hedonism.
  • Antillar Maximus of Codex Alera, the bastard son of a High Lord and a loud, cheerful Handsome Lech capable of throwing around huge amounts of magic... or just punching you into the next country. Though as it happens, there's a darker reason for his party animal antics: his stepmother sees him as a threat to his half-brother Crassus, and has been trying to kill him for years. He doesn't think he'll live to reach middle age.
    • Cool Old Guy Doroga is an exceptionally snarky version of this trope, being loud and cheerful while devastating his foes with an enormous hammer.
  • Conan the Barbarian, at least in Robert E. Howard's original short stories.
  • Death Star gunnery chief Tenn Graneet is this before Despayre and Alderaan — then the guilt sets in.
  • Gunner's Mate Dennis Silva of USS Walker fits this to a T in Taylor Anderson's Destroyermen series.
  • Discworld
    • Nanny Ogg might very well be a female version of the trope. She's friends with just about everyone in Lancre, drinks like a fish with hardly a hangover, and is also quite strong and tough.
    • Archchancellor Mustrum Ridcully is a straightforward example, with his overbearing outgoing-ness and love for sports and hunting.
    • Monstrous Regiment's Sergeant Jackrum. Also a female example, as it turns out...
    • The Nac Mac Feegle, an entire race of six inch high drinking, fighting, stealing, drinking-and-fighting, and drinking-and-fighting-and-stealing fairies. Who are nigh indestructible and strong enough to lift a human. In fact, the Feegle method for "snafflin' coobeasties" (stealing cows) involves four Feegles picking it up and walking off with it, and the only reason it takes four of them is that they can't get the cows to balance on one leg.
  • Tazendra from the Khaavren Romances series. As a Porthos expy, she's a consumate warrior who wears her heart on her sleeve and is never happier than when in battle beside her comrades.
  • Rider aka Alexander the Great from Fate/Zero novel. Aside from taking books from the local library and walking slowly away ("I am not a thief, I refuse to run"), shoving his Master around all the time, wanting to purchase a couple of stealth bombers for his world conquest, and considering Bill Clinton (the incumbent U.S. president during Fourth Grail War) to be a Worthy Opponent. He also attempts to rally most of the heroes to his banner. Even more blatant in the animaqted version of the novel, where his bruiser looks and demeanor are aken Up to Eleven.
  • In the Flashman series, Flashman's father Buckley is kind of a darker take on this. As detailed in the spin-off novel Black Ajax and in the main series, Buckley was born into new money and made his name as a Blood Knight war hero (he was nicknamed "Mad Buck") before hitting it off with the movers and shakers in high society and like his son, had a continuing taste for booze and wenches. Along the way, he lost much of his fortune through bad investments, and from Flashman's narration seems to have become a kind of sour, bad tempered man. Fairly early in the Flashman books, his alcoholism got so bad that he ended up with Delirium tremens and was placed in an asylum and is forgotten by his son. While there, Buckley enjoys smuggled liquor and the occasional prostitute on the sly, but is mostly a drunken wreck whose only real consolation is that his son has become successful and (he thinks) a genuine hero. Flashman also runs into plenty of examples in his army career, but usually hates them because he thinks that their gung-ho attitude endangers him.
  • Forgotten Realms (Starlight and Shadows) trilogy by Elaine Cunningham gives us "genial ship's captain with a taste for recreational mayhem", pirate Hrolf 'the Unruly',.
  • Rocky, talking gorilla, best friend of J!m and rock and roller in Go, Mutants!.
  • Prince Fencewallker of Tailchaser's Song is described as being "Full of rough good humor, and an affection for sudden, surprising shoves that sent companions tumbling."
  • In the Tales of the Fox series by Harry Turtledove, Gerin's companion Van is a loud, lusty giant of a man who loves a good fight and sings joyful war songs in battle, has endless tall tales of his traveling days (some of them true, maybe), wears gilded armor that often gets him mistaken for a visiting war god, and he's also a player.
  • Alexandre-Benoît Bérurier in the French police series San-Antonio is another textbook example.
  • Alcibiades, from Plato's Symposium. As far as can be known from the sources regarding his character and actions, he was a real life example of the trope as well.
  • Firebead in George MacDonald Fraser's The Pyrates is a (semi-)villainous example. He hates honest men, honest work and civilization; he loves whoring, drinking and fighting. And setting his beard on fire.
  • Queen in The Thin Red Line is a big, fun-loving guy, but he is also a darker version of the trope since a lot of the laughs he elicits are due to Black Comedy.
  • Porthos in the The Three Musketeers series. He gets progressively Flanderized in each book to fit the trope even moreso.
  • Viridovix from The Videssos Cycle: a Celtic chieftain before his entrance to Videssos, he's a charming man, a strong warrior, enjoys battle, and carries one of the two primary Macguffins of the series, and in many respects is a rival to the protagonist.
  • King Arthur's cousin Culhwch in The Warlord Chronicles is a textbook example of this trope. Bernard Cornwell seems to think Boisterous Bruisers make good sidekicks. He's not wrong. Also, Owain from the first book is a much less moral and more mercenary example.
    • On the subject of Arthur, in any given work featuring him and his usual cronies, his nephew Gawain is fairly likely to fit the trope. In works set early in Arthur's reign, Gawain is generally the greatest of Arthur's knights, and even in later periods when another knight surpasses him in skill or piety or some other quality, he's usually still the strongest.
  • Squire Western of The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling is one of these, a boisterous guy who likes booze and bloody roast beef and loves to crack dirty jokes. Played in the A&E version by BRIAN BLESSED himself.
  • Lord Raoul from Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small is a good example of this, although his intellectual prowess is sharper than a number of examples listed.
  • Treasure Island has two: Long John Silver (Arr!) and Squire Trelawney.
  • Emmett Cullen from Twilight could count — he's definitely The Big Guy of the family, literally and figuratively, and he's an all around jovial and jolly guy to be around.
  • Subverted by Big Tom from the Warlock of Gramarye series by Christopher Stasheff: while he appears to embody this trope, it turns out that he is in fact highly educated and possesses a doctorate in theology.
  • Alex Kilgour, the title character's wisecracking heavy-worlder right-hand man from Sten. It's even pointed out in the books that he was known on their Mantis (Special Forces) team as a 'brightener.'
  • Bahorel, one of the revolutionary group Les Amis de l'ABC, from Les Misérables.
  • The Unknown Soldier has Sergeant Hietanen, who is also the All-Loving Hero and The Heart of Band of Brothers, and Corporal Rokka, the Team Dad and The Mentor of the younger soldiers.
  • The Crimson Shadow: Oliver is one, though unlike most examples, he's a little guy (a halfling, actually). He's always ready with a joke, loves to fight, and boasts often of his exploits. A lot of the last are doubtful, but he really does have genuine skill with sword-fighting, having trained at an elite school in his homeland, and gives Luthien a number of tips.


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