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Battle Chant

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Prior to a major engagement on the battlefield (or, in more modern settings, a sports game), The Leader or The Hero riles his troops (or team) with a stirring speech (but not always).

Suddenly, the troops (or team) burst into a chant, usually repeating the name of their glorious leader, their motto, or, if they happen to be particularly religious, their God. Alternatively, they may repeat a phrase or a single word (e.g. 'Victory!') over and over again, building in speed and volume as they continue to psyche themselves up for the upcoming battle.

Another variation occurs when the troops in question sing a battle chant as they march into the field of battle (or are preparing to defend themselves behind walls, forts, or other barriers), accompanied by horns, drums or bagpipes. Soldiers without musical instruments may substitute with shield bashing or shooting into the air.

Related to Battle Cry and Rousing Speech. Compare Crowd Chant, Crowd Song, Music for Courage and Sound Off.

Not to be confused with the recurring ability in the Final Fantasy games.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Outlaw Star, Ctarl-Ctarl Space Marines do this all the time.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam, starting with Episode 16, the opening credits show Gihren Zabi at Garma Zabi's funeral leading the Zeon soldiers in the chant "Hail Zeon!"

  • In Red Cliff Cao Cao's troops are dying of typhoid. Then, in a rare, villainous example of this trope, he gives a rallying speech to his men, who gather around him and together with the rest of his troops begin chanting 'Victory!' over and over again.
  • The Last Starfighter. When Ambassador Enduran gives a pep talk to the personnel of the Starfighter base, he concludes by saying "Victory or death!". They all start chanting "Victory or death!" in unison.
  • A non-military version appears in Meatballs. The Camp North Star summer camp is losing badly to their rivals Camp Mohawk. Head Counsellor Tripper Harrison gives the Camp North Star members a rousing speech including the slogan "it just doesn't matter", and by the end they're all chanting it.
  • When star Rollerball player Jonathan E scores the winning goal in the final game, despite rules changes meant to destroy him, the crowd begins chanting his name in a building crescendo. This portends a social revolution in which the corporate masters lose control of their formerly docile populace.
  • The Lord of the Rings
    • In The Return of the King, just before the Battle of the Pelennor Fields, Théoden gives his "arise, arise, riders of Théoden". The entire army begins then chanting "Death" over and over (even Merry chants it).
      • In the book, the "Death" chant appears only at the end of the chapter, just before the corsairs' ships arrive.
    • Also done by the Uruk-Hai in The Two Towers at the battle of Helm's Gate. This was a Throw It In moment inspired by the bored extras doing it between takes.
  • The Columbia-Tristar production of Peter Pan from 2003 has the scene where Pan finds Tinkerbell lying dead. The Darling children and the Lost Boys had been captured by Captain Hook. Hook had told them that Pan is dead, and they had no choice but to join Hook's crew, or walk the plank. With the heroic morale at its nadir, Pan's "I do believe in fairies" then belies Hook's claim, and puts fresh heart into the children to resist Hook. With the repetition of the mantra "I do believe in fairies! I do, I do!", Pan's passion and conviction became so strong that the Lost Boys took up the chant, then the Darling children joined them, then other children in London joined as well, eventually spreading to Hook's own pirate crew. This results in Tinkerbell coming back to life.
  • 2001: A Space Odyssey subverts this with the hominids. When Moonwatcher's group first encounters another group at the waterhole, the two groups shriek and howl at each other until Moonwatcher's group retreats. Soon after, Moonwatcher's group has contact with the monolith. When the two groups meet again at the waterhole, the second group makes a cacophany, while Moonwatcher's group is silent. The second group mistakes this for weakness, and their leader charges. Moonwatcher easily clubs his foe to death, causing the second group to quail and retreat. Silence, in this case, proved more unnerving than bluster.
  • The battle chants of the Zulu warriors in Zulu (which also include shield bashing) before the final battle; perhaps the full-throated rendition of the song Men of Harlech (made in response to the Zulu chants) by the Welsh soldiers could fit as well.
  • Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome has the "Two Men Enter, One Man Leaves!" chant whenenver two men enter the arena/ring.
  • The Mighty Ducks: "Quack! Quack! Quack! Quack!"
  • In Avengers: Infinity War, before T'challa leads the Wakandan troops into battle against Thanos's forces, they all chant "Yibambe!"note . It's also the main part of the "Chant" TV-spot.
  • In Alexander, the Greek pikemen chant "Pezhetairoi" ("Foot Companions"), the term for their kind of units, as they march in phalanx formation akin to "one-two-three-four" so they all step in unison.

  • In The Song of Roland, Roland is fond of shouting "Pagans are wrong and Christians are right!" That's one way to do it...
  • In the Star Wars Legends, Republic Commando Series the Mandalorians and the Clone Troopers had the chant "Dha Werda Verda", which was accompanied by a ritual dance based on the Māori haka.
  • In Cyrano de Bergerac the Gacony Cadets have a chant/song they do for Christian to demonstrate their togetherness.
  • The Ciaphas Cain novel The Traitor's Hand parodies the Khornites' catchphrase by having someone (mainly Cain) snark back at them whenever they show up (e.g. "Harriers for the Cup!", "Well, he can't have mine" "I'm getting really sick of hearing that"). Also played straight when Cain finds himself (accidentally) leading a squad of men into battle against the heretics and his presence so buoys their morale that they start chanting "Cain! Cain! Cain!" as they go. Cain even theorises that the similarity of the chant to the name of the Khornite's own god may have confused the World Eater Berserker they come across next.
  • In The Rangers Apprentice, the Emperor of Nihon-Ja has the Kikori chanting "Isho ni!" as heir chant.
  • The Icemark Chronicles has "OUT! Out! Out! OUT! Out! Out! OUT! Out! Out!" which is chanted by the people of the Icemark to invaders.
  • In Guardians Of Gahoole Great Gray owl Twilight is fond of these. He’s always singing battle chants as the chaw is fighting.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who, series 6 introduces us to the Headless Monks. During the season finale, they begin chanting their "battle chant" as they close in on the Doctor and Co.
  • The Klingons sing this in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Soldiers of the Empire".
  • In 24: Redemption Child Soldiers are persuaded that an opposition leader (whom they have trussed up in front of them) isn't human and therefore can be killed by making the kids chant "kill the cockroach!"
  • In Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Miri", at one point, the Long-Lived children get together and start chanting the word "Bonk" repeatedly (as in "Bonk on the head") as an indication of what they plan to do to the Enterprise crew who have beamed down to their planet.
  • In Battlestar Galactica (2003), Admiral Adama leads the troops in a chant of "So say we all!" in one episode.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The dwarf Tyrion Lannister shows a surprising ability to inspire the Mountain Clans in "Baelor" and Lannister soldiers in "Blackwater". They respond with the cry of "Halfman!"
    • The Smalljon uses a pretty impressive one to rally the Bolton infantry before personally leading them into battle.
      Smalljon: Who owns the North?!
      Bolton soldiers: We do!
      Smalljon: WHO OWNS THE NORTH!?
      Bolton soldiers: WE DO!
      Smalljon: SHOW ME!
  • The 100. Prior to the assault on Mount Weather, the Grounders and Sky People repeatedly chant the phrase "Jus drein jus daun". Translated from the Grounders' language, it means "Blood must have blood".
  • Series/Lexx The Hymn of the Brunnen-G 'Yo-Way-Yo' is only ever used in such a context, as it means 'Victory or Death' and is used as part of a Last Stand
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: After Adar's Rousing Speech, the Orcs start to march chanting "Nampat Udûn!" in Black Speech.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000 has quite a few (to the point of that they're practically the catchphrases for some factions). The most well known comes from the Chaos forces, more specifically Khorne's worshippers: "Blood for the Blood God! Skulls for the Skull Throne!"
  • Magic: The Gathering has the Battle Hymn card, which provides an interesting variation of this trope.

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


The Ride of the Rohirrim

"Arise! Arise, Riders of Theoden! Spears shall be shaken,swords shall be splintered! A sword day...a red day...ere the sun rises! Ride now!...Ride now!...Ride! Ride to ruin and the world's ending! Death! "Death!" Death! "Death!" DEATH! "Death!" Forth, Eorlingas!!”

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