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Bald of Authority

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Nothing says "God King" quite like a smooth head.
Across works, bald people, in the rare times they even appear in a work, will often occupy a leadership position. Perhaps it's because bald people seem wiser than their full-head-of-hair-having counterparts, making them naturally come off as a Reasonable Authority Figure. Or, and this would especially be the case when Asskicking Leads to Leadership, maybe it's due to baldness being perceived as inherently tough, with bald people naturally embodying the kind of resilience and fortitude desired from an effective leader.

Most likely this is just art imitating reality, given that older people tend to occupy positions of authority in society (due to having more experience) and older people (men in particular) are more likely to be bald than younger people. It also seems likely to have come from, in part, the practice of pharoahs to shave their head bald when they ascended the throne. Even still, there are quite a few fictional leaders across genders and ages that are bald because of this trope.

Whatever the reason, the proof is in the examples: if they show up in a work and there's a group, team, or organization to be led, a bald character will often be The Leader of it. And by bald, we do mean bald: no "balding" or partial baldies here, complete chrome domes, only.

This can apply to any kind of leader, whether they are a leader of an entire country, a battalion, a precinct, or are the head manager of a home goods store. What matters is not just the formal position they occupy in a group or organization, but also that they are treated by those around them as the main person to defer to for leadership, direction, agenda setting, and commands. Bald leaders who have Authority in Name Only are subversions of this trope. And remember: leaders can be morally and ethically good, evil, neutral, and everything in-between; this trope can and often does overlap with Bald of Evil.

For bald characters who don't necessarily lead a group, but use their wisdom and enlightenment to provide guidance and advice in a more Mentor Archetype way, see Bald Mystic. For headwear that serves a similar purpose, see Hat of Authority.

No Real Life Examples, Please!, as this is a characterization trope.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Joker in AKIRA is bald, black, huge, and the leader of the motorcycle gang known as The Clowns. It's not exactly a democracy, but it still works.
  • Attack on Titan:
    • Dot Pixis is the completely bald commander responsible for the entire Southern territory within Wall Rose. Despite his eccentric personality, he's one of the few people willing to listen to Eren instead of killing him on the spot after Eren transforms publicly for the first time.
    • Keith Shadis is the bald instructor of the Southern Branch of the Trainee Corps and former commander of the Survey Corps. Despite his stint as commander ending disastrously, no one seems to hold it against him besides Hange, who criticizes his defeatist attitude.
  • Black Cat: Nizer Bruckheimer is the bald leader of Chronos' Cerberus commando team.
  • Bleach:
    • Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto is the late Captain of the First Squad and Captain-Commander of the Thirteen Court Guard Squads and the uncontested most powerful person in Soul Society, having gotten his position centuries ago by simply destroying all rival factions. His baldness is in part justified by his old age, as in his younger days, he did have hair. But even then, it was styled such that the top of his head was completely bald with the hair only growing on the sides.
    • Ichibe Hyosube is the bald leader of Squad 0, also known as the Royal Guard, which is tasked with protecting the Soul King, the Royal Palace, and the Royal Family. He was the one who gave everything related to shinigami and Soul Society its names. In line with his position as an authority figure, he has the power to manipulate and control people and objects once he learns their true name.
  • BNA: Brand New Animal: Barbara Rose is the wise and intelligent mayor of Anima City. She appears as a bald woman most of the time; this is because she's really a naked mole-rat, a completely hairless type of animal.
  • Crows: Hana is bald and The Leader of his faction the Hana Gumi and later, the Whole SUZURAN as its first Boss. He is the best fighter in the group, cementing his position through Rank Scales with Asskicking.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Basque Grand is the bald, Brigadier General during the Ishval War. He's shown to be a Reasonable Authority Figure, killing the former Brigadier General Fessler and taking his spot when it became clear Fessler was a General Ripper who didn't care about the high deaths of his own men and was about to call for the slaughter of surrendering Ishvallan civilians.
  • Gamaran: In the sequel series Shura, Ise Ramon is the bald leader of the Genkai Tenpei, a team of natural born martial artists serving the Bakufu and trained in exotic fighting styles, and easily one of the strongest fighters in the setting.
  • Kengan Ashura: Gen Shikano is the bald CEO of Gandai, a smaller company under the sprawling umbrella that is the Kengan Association. This also overlaps somewhat with Bald Head of Toughness, as Gen is a former Kengan fighter himself, given the epithet "The Good Fight Making Machine."
  • Nana: Yasu shaves his head completely bald after going Prematurely Bald and is The Leader of the Black Stones, handling almost all of the business decisions the band makes. He is shown to be the most responsible and level headed of the group. This not only doubles as Delinquent Hair given the band's punk rock aesthetic, but helps to further emphasize Yasu as a Foil for Takumi, the Jerk with a Heart of Jerk leader of rival band Trapnest, who has long black hair.
  • Sword Art Online: Agil is tall, bald, black and has a goatee. He's one of Kirito's trusted friends while trapped in Sword Art Online and fights as well as he looks with a large battle-axe. In real-life, he owns a bar. He was once the de-facto leader of a group of tank players who fought on the front lines separate from the Aincrad Liberation Squad and Dragon Knights Brigade, in the earlier days of SAO.
  • Tales of Wedding Rings: Marse's father, the Emperor of Giseras, is the bald, stern, uncompromising leader of the mightiest nation in the world of Arnulus.

    Card Games 
  • Teferi, from Magic: The Gathering. His baldness only becomes clear during Time Spiral; previously, his hairstyle was unknown due to his hat.

    Comic Books 
  • In the comic series Stormwatch, bald white guy Henry Bendix is technically the leader, but for the most part, field commander and bald black guy Jackson King (Battalion) calls the shots. He takes over for Bendix as Weatherman, too.
  • Across most Superman works, his Arch-Nemesis Lex Luthor is almost universally a bald, highly intelligent Villain with Good Publicity. In fact, be it coincidence or deliberate, his hair is often a measure of his morality — Lex Luthors like the one from Superman: Earth One and La Résistance member from Superman Vol 2 #21 are good guys and have heads full of hair, while Lex from Smallville lost his hair at the beginning of his Start of Darkness. He is also the CEO of his own company, Lexcorp, and in many versions, practically has half of Metropolis under his control, as he has built many of the establishments, and countless citizens work for him whether they know it or not. He also was briefly President of the United States.
  • Ultimate Marvel: Ultimate Nick Fury, who was explicitly based off of Samuel L. Jackson with his permission, and played by him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (Fury is white and has hair in mainstream continuity, although a version of Samuel L. Jackson's Fury was later introduced as his son.) Fittingly, the artists started depicting him with a shaved head around the same time that he became the leader of The Ultimates; in his first appearance in Ultimate X-Men, when he was still a S.H.I.E.L.D. field agent, he had a fade haircut.note 
  • The Walking Dead: Alpha is the bald, female leader of the Whisperers, the main faction that Rick and his crew face off against after the time skip. She is portrayed in part as a Reasonable Authority Figure in comparison to her followers who are much more bloodthirsty and willing to kill on sight.
  • X-Men: Charles Xavier is a Chrome Dome Psi and the original founder and first leader of the eponymous group. As the leader of the X-men and the headmaster of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, he's idealistic, empathetic, paternalistic, and a perennial Mentor Archetype to every student. Depending on the adaptation, how he became bald changes, but most describe it as a consequence of him developing his abilities as a teenager.

    Films — Animated 
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Grand Councilwoman is the level-headed leader of the United Galactic Federation who has no hair on her head, seemingly in part because she is an alien.
  • The Sponge Bob Square Pants Movie: King Neptune, ruler of the entire ocean,note  is completely bald... and completely in denial of it, claiming despite all evidence to the contrary that he just has a slightly thinning bald spot. It's heavily implied that this is the main reason he's so upset about his crown being stolen, and wears a paper bag over his head until he gets it back.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Austin Powers: Dr. Evil is a parody of James Bond villains and is similar in terms of appearance of the often depicted as bald, frequent Bond antagonist, Blofeld.
  • Black Hawk Down: Bald Captain Mike Steele leads a Ranger rifle company.
  • Doctor Strange (2016): Overlapping with Bald Mystic due to her supernatural abilities and role as Mentor Archetype to Stephen Strange, The Ancient One is depicted as the completely bald leader of Masters of the Mystic Arts in the film.
  • End of Watch: The police captain is bald and seems to be a very respected Reasonable Authority Figure. Taylor, a lower ranked officer and one of the two leads, is a bit of a fanboy.
  • Exodus: Gods and Kings: Pharaoh Ramses II is completely bald, as was custom for pharaohs at the time, and has a major god complex, thinking and acting as if he was the true sole authority in Ancient Egypt.
  • Excalibur: Downplayed. The bald Sir Leondegrance, played by Patrick Stewart, gets his shot to pull Excalibur from the stone and become king at the start of the film and fails. Arthur successfully tries afterwards. While everyone debates whether or not to make Arthur king, Leondegrance immediately pledges his allegiance to Arthur. However overwhelmed by the fighting, Arthur falls into a deep sleep. When he awakens, Leondegrance is king, but Arthur soon replaces him after he helps Leondegrance in battle and marries his daughter Guinevere.
  • The Fifth Element: The President of the Federated Territories is both bald and black, played by former wrestler Tom 'Tiny' Lister.
  • In the James Bond films, SPECTRE leader Ernst Stavro Blofeld is portrayed as chrome-domed in You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and For Your Eyes Only overlapping with Bald of Evil. In all other films where this character shows up, this trope is averted.
  • In Land of the Dead, a big, bald, black zombie leads the other zombies to march on Fiddler's Green.
  • The Last Samurai: Katsumoto is the bald leader of the Samurai and also their strongest warrior, who personally leads them into every battle.
  • The Matrix: Morpheus is the bald, captain of the ship "The Nebuchadnezzar", a ship named after King Nebuchadnezzar II of the Neo-Babylonian empire, who is considered the empire's greatest leader, underscoring how great of a leader Morpheus is. Morpheus's great leadership comes primarily from his wisdom, spirituality, and unwavering faith in Neo being "The One".
  • Primal: Supervising Marshal John Ringer is the black bald leader of an elite U.S. Marshal team, escorting an extremely high-risk prisoner back to the U.S. He has a 'take no shit' attitude and immediately clashes with Great White Hunter Frank Walsh; a civilian who refuses to respect his authority.
  • The Rock: General Hummel, the leader of the terrorists holding tourists hostage at Alcatraz and threatening to launch deadly nerve gas into San Francisco, is bald. He also subverts Bald of Evil, as Hummel is at worst an Anti-Villain, who is firmly unwilling to kill innocent people and is bluffing about using the gas.
  • Star Trek: Nemesis: The leader of the Reman rebels, and later the Romulan empire is Praetor Shinzon, a clone of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, one of the franchise's primary Reasonable Authority Figures who also sports a Bald of Authority. Shinzon is shown to be completely bald, having been artificially born and experiencing accelerated development.
  • The Ten Commandments (1956): Pharaoh Rameses is shaved bald, as was his father Sethi, when he ascends to the throne as a symbol of his rank (as the son of the still-living Pharaoh, Rameses has a shaved head but sports a ponytail in back).
  • Underworld (2003): Vidar is the bald leader of the Nordic Coven. Notably, he is the only bald vampire among his coven, where everyone else was blonde or silver-haired.

  • The Guild of Specialists: Master Aa is the Large and in Charge bald leader of the Sujing Quantou, a Chinese military order.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Ajihad, who has a beard but no hair, is the leader of the Vardan.
  • Mai-HiME Destiny: Rei Kanzaki, Reito's older brother, is the principal of Fuuka Academy and his baldness is his most defining characteristic.
  • Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov's The Norby Chronicles: Admiral Boris Yobo is head of Space Command, which puts him in charge of Space Academy, where Space Cadet Jeff Wells is in training. Initially it appeared that Fargo had left the service, but the first book reveals that he'd actually become a secret agent working with Yobo to discover the secret identity of the first book's villain. So aside from being the highest-ranked person that we meet in the Solar Federation, he takes a personal interest in the Wells family and is directly responsible for Jeff having enough credits to purchase Norby in the first place. The novels tend to describe him as the descendant of African kings, emphasizing his skin-tone and leadership skills at the same time. His baldness is emphasized in Norby and the Court Jester because the planet Izz insists on everyone wearing braids, and since his natural baldness prevents him from having any other hair, he has to grow a mustache and braid that instead.
  • Record of Grancrest War: Captain Gluck is completely bald. This overlaps with Bald Head of Toughness as he has the ability to turn his entire body into metal, which gives him Super Toughness.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • We have Lord of the Westerlands and Hand of the King to Aerys Tywin Lannister who use to have long curly locks like his children and grandchildren. When at the first sign of hairloss Tywin ordered his barber to shave his head.
    • Janos Slynt Commander of the City Watch has a shiny scalp.
    • Ser Jeor Mormont who was the head of his house and is now Lord Commander of the Nights Watch lost most of his hair except for his impressive beard.
    • Lord of Horn Hill Randyll Tarly who doubles as Baldof Evil due to being an Abusive Parent.
    • Lord of Dragonstone Stannis Baratheon who has no hair on top of his head.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Adventures of Sinbad's second season, Rongar, who had been bald and black all along, was revealed to be a prince (technically, exiled ex-prince) in his home realm.
  • Babylon 5: The Centauri emperor Turhan is bald and is characterized as a Reasonable Authority Figure, having dedicated his life and reign as emperor in fixing the damage his family and the Centauri has inflicted, with his last act being a public apology for those crimes. This is emphasized by his character not wearing the traditional Centauri peacock wig, which is used to denote power and status, instead laying his bald head bare.
  • Black Sails:
    • Played with. Gates is the most senior member of the crew and serves as the Walrus's Quartermaster, i.e. the elected representative of the crew's interests for practicality, understanding of the crew's needs; he'd arguably be the better choice for The Captain. However, he is not and he remains deeply loyal to Captain Flint, while still acting as a check on Flint's authority.
  • The Book of Boba Fett: Five years after being thrown into the Sarlacc Pit in Return of the Jedi, the completely bald, former bounty hunter Boba Fett seizes control of Jabba the Hutt's criminal empire and becomes Daimyo of Tatooine.
  • The Call of Warr: Inverted. Gravesite is The Captain of a unit of soldiers and is initially depicted as a wise commander with long, flowing hair. However, when he has his position usurped by Prince, it is revealed that his hair is just a wig and he is actually bald underneath. So while Gravestite was technically always bald, his baldness is mostly associated with the loss of authority in the show and the wig is associated with having authority, to the extent that when Prince becomes the new leader, he starts wearing the wig.
  • In Chuck, "Big Mike" Tucker is the bald, black manager of the Buy More—though he's really more of a figurehead as he's about as interested in doing any work as the rest of the staff (i.e. not very) and so it's Chuck who ends up doing most of the actual leading, in between saving the world, or the series of evil assistant managers.
  • Heroes: The President is black and bald. He is played by Michael Dorn.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Captain Cragen was the completely bald police chief that led the eponymous Special Victims Unit. He later retires and appoints the very much not bald Olivia Benson as the new head of the unit.
  • Outlander: Dougal MacKenzie, the War Chieftain, is the only bald Highlander in the fighting force of Clan MacKenzie. In addition to being in charge of the fighting men, he serves as the right-hand of and enforcer for his brother, Colum, the Clan's Laird, going where Colum's disabled legs don't allow him to travel, imbued with full authority to act in the best interest of the Clan.
  • NUMB3RS: Even though he is mainly Don's second-in-command, David Sinclair does become leader of the team on several occasions, particularly when Don was injured in "The Fifth Man".
  • Oz: Simon Adebisi is a bald thug who initially is just another member of the Homeboys. However, after the two previous leaders are killed, Adebisi takes over via Asskicking Leads to Leadership and quickly becomes The Dreaded thanks to being a brutal psychopath. He eventually manages to take over Em City through sheer cunning, in exchange for preventing any deaths from happening within the cell block.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Jean Luc Picard is one of the most iconic examples of the trope as the bald, diplomatic, compassionate, captain of the Enterprise-D. It is indicated that he has undergone male-pattern baldness somewhere in his late-twenties to early-thirties as he is depicted with hair in his younger years as an Ensign, when he was much more brash and arrogant. His present baldness helps to underscore how he has grown considerably Older and Wiser over the years.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Starting with season 4 of the series Captain Benjamin Lafayette Sisko is very much this when he also goes completely bald.note 
  • Stargate SG-1: George Hammond is the stern, but accommodating Major General that issues orders down to the main crew in this series and is completely bald.
  • Total Recall 2070: Da Chief Martin Ehrenthal, both bald and black, is the head of the local division of the CPB. He's an incredibly competent administrator, not afraid to stand up to any Consortium representative or someone from the Assessor's Office trying to browbeat him or his agents to back away from their investigations.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In the 1970s and 80s, the bald, black "Evil Genius" Lightning Hernandez was the unofficial leader of all the rudos on the Dominican Republic television program "International Wrestling", making this overlap with Bald of Evil.

  • The King and I: Invoked. The King's original Broadway actor, Yul Brynner, had his head shaved at the makeup artist's recommendation. Brynner carried this trope on into the movie, and bald kings are featured in several of the revivals for the musical and adaptations in other mediums.

    Video Games 
  • Arcana Famiglia: Dante is the bald director of the Arcana Famiglia, a group tasked with protecting the island of Regalo. He's also the head of intelligence for the group due to his ability to alter memories. His leadership role is invoked by the arcana he controls and derives power from: The Emperor, which in traditional tarot symbolizes wisdom and is the ruler of the world.
  • Castlevania: Lords of Shadow: Roland de Ronceval is a Fake Ultimate Hero who believes himself to be The Chosen One to defeat Dracula. Naturally, he was a Paladin of the Brotherhood of Light, for which he shaves his head bald, and commander of the greatest army ever brought to destroy Dracula.
  • Kane from Command & Conquer is the bald, charismatic leader of the Nod faction.
  • Destiny: Zavala is a bald, well respected Vanguard commander who leads the City's standing forces and is portrayed as a Reasonable Authority Figure, acknowledging and rewarding the Guardians who complete missions for the Vanguard.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Shartan, the leader of the elves that aided Andraste in her rebellion against the Tevinter Imperium in the franchise's lore. His Temple of Sacred Ashes spirit appears bald, and in Inquisition the player can find some murals that depict him as bald, as well as codices that imply he modeled himself off of ancient elvhen freedom-fighting folk heroes who also had bald heads. Likely the legacy of Fen'Harel, or Solas.
    • Clarel de Chanson is the bald Warden-Commander of Orlais who appears in the Adamant Fortress missions in Dragon Age: Inquisition. She's a deconstruction of The Unfettered nature of most Wardens, with a single-minded determination to oppose the Blight, even if that means sacrificing her subordinates to summon demons to fight them.
  • The Elder Scrolls: Emperor Uriel Septim VII, a Reasonable Authority Figure and Big Good throughout the series, has a shiny bald head in his Daggerfall appearance.
  • Elevator Action EX: Guy is the main player character's bald boss who directs the spies, as well as a playable character himself.
  • Final Fantasy X: Cid is bald, The Captain of his own airship, and the leader of the Al Bhed ethnic minority group. In the sequel, Final Fantasy X-2 when Yuna, Rikku, and Payne become the captains of their own airship, Cid becomes a Leader Wannabe once let aboard, barking orders as if he was in charge again.
  • Fire Emblem Fates: Fuga is the wise, serious chief of the Wind Tribe who has no hair on his head (save for his eyebrows).
  • Fire Fight: Your Commanding Officer in the military airplane shooter is bald.
  • Grand Summoners: Ganan has no hair on his head and is the Reigard branch guildmaster.
  • Guild Wars: King Jalis Ironhammer of Deldrimor is the completely bald king of the dwarves who is characterized as being patient, thoughtful, and wise and a Reasonable Authority Figure.
  • Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number: The Colonel is the bald, commanding officer (later Lieutenant General) of an elite spec-ops unit called the "Ghost Wolves", and is depicted as caring deeply for the members of his unit.
  • In Overwatch Doomfist is a leader of the terrorist group Talon. He is not only bald and charismatic, but is a dedicated brawler.
  • Persona 5:
    • The Big Bad of the main game, Masayoshi Shido is a dark take on this, combining it with Bald of Evil. He's a politician who's running to become the next prime minister of Japan so he can rule the country with an iron fist and shape it to fit his distorted vision. He believes he and he alone is the only one with the will capable of steering Japan in the right direction and is willing to cheat, lie, and kill his way to ensure power. He also will abuse his power to ruin the lives of anyone he perceives as challenging his authority and will to do what he pleases as he pleases, something Joker (and the player) learns immediately as Shido is the one who fabricated a false assault charge against Joker when Joker tried to keep Shido from sexually assaulting a woman in the street. Put simply, he's a proto-authoritarian leader in need of the position to fully exercise the authority he believes is his right. Ironically, Shido is just an Unwitting Pawn for the Greater-Scope Villain who's really pulling the strings that put the game in motion.
    • The egg-head shaped Principal Kobayakawa is a subversion, since despite being the one in charge of the school, he's a lower ranked member of the Antisocial Force that's trying to get Shido elected, and as such he takes his orders from the SIU Director, who's taking his orders from Shido. Naturally, when Kobayakawa fails to uncover the identity of the Phantom Thieves who very obviously started at his school, Shido shows just how little authority Kobayakawa has by having him killed.
  • Queen at Arms: Played with since Berin, while bald, is only the Assistant-Commander. That said, he's a Hypercompetent Sidekick to Commander Bryce, who in contrast, is a General Ripper and exhibits possible signs of dementia, making Berin the actual Reasonable Authority Figure between the two.
  • Radiata Stories: Dynas is the head of the Radiata Knights and his cue ball is as shiny as his helmet.
  • Splinter Cell: Double Agent has Emile Dufraisne, the bald leader of the JBA.
  • Star Wars Jedi: Survivor shows Cere Junda has shaven her head since the last game, and is overseeing the reconstruction of a Jedi archive in a secure location.
  • In the Xenosaga games, "Representative Helmer", the leader of Second Miltia, is both bald and black.

  • Roy in The Order of the Stick is black in a family of bald men and the leader of his team, although he's a bit more hammy and much more snarky than usual examples of this trope. The King of Nowhere also qualifies, from what we see of him in a flashback panel (which is among the reasons Roy was confused with him at one point).

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Ismail is a bald, black man who becomes the captain of the Black Guard of Vanna.
  • The fan-made Star Trek video Prelude to Axanar has Admiral Marcus Ramirez, Chief of Starfleet. He's bald, black, and fearless against the Klingon Empire.

    Western Animation 
  • BattleTech: The bald Aleksandr Kerensky was the greatest general of the Star League Defense Forces and remains one of the most beloved figures in the entire universe, whose Undying Loyalty to the Star League led him to buck the rules if it meant doing what he believed was just and right.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Numbuh One is a completely bald child and the leader of the Sector V branch of the eponymous Kids Next Door, an international organization of kids that combats adult tyranny and villainy. He is the most level-headed of the group (apart from his Properly Paranoid and Conspiracy Theorist ways) and has a will of titanium when it comes to taking on the grown-ups. His baldness was actually caused by the group's arch rivals, the Delightful Children from Down the Lane, in a Noodle Incident.
  • Rugrats: Save for a few strands of hair, Tommy Pickles is completely bald and the de facto leader when he and the rest of the babies go on adventures in the show, often deciding what the plan is for each episode. He's also shown to be the bravest of the group, being the first to charge into the unknown or stand up against Angelica, who often bullies them. His baldness is justified, as he's a literal baby who has yet to fully grow hair, but it remains noteworthy since he's the only one (until his younger brother Dill is born) of the kids to be bald.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Bald Black Leader Guy, Bald Authority Figure


Arresting the HMKG Commander

Two Russian spooks overlook the fact that the funnily-dressed man they're to arrest/abduct/coerce has an actual military unit - His Majesty The King's Guard - at his beck and call.

How well does it match the trope?

4.5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / MuggingTheMonster

Media sources: