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Beware the Quiet Ones

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"When one person who is hardly ever upset about something, suddenly raises their voice, the world turns upside down and seems to come to an is often the quietest lamb that can have the roar of a lion."

When most people think of The Quiet One, they may also think Extreme Doormat or Butt-Monkey alongside it. Whether they are one or not (half the time they are only seen that way), subject them to one round too many of Break the Cutie and the like, and, if it isn't preceded by a Death Glare, they will give you a 'not so quiet' moment.

Alice seems to be The Quiet One who keeps to herself. Bob sees her as an easy target and makes her his honorary Butt-Monkey to abuse. After weeks of quietly taking this, Alice snaps.

Maybe Bob pushed a certain button, maybe those anger management classes Alice used to take are starting to wear off, maybe Alice has been angry all this time, it just never showed or no one took it seriously. Maybe this is her first time dealing with anger.

No matter which reason, what comes after is the same: An unleashed raging or cold speech of epic proportions that not even the most demented character in the story would want to sit through.

This rage is almost always expressed verbally, though violence can also be included. Their verbal attack can differ from an ego-bruising "The Reason You Suck" Speech, a mentally scarring Breaking Speech or an emotional "No More Holding Back" Speech. If they are also The Stoic, they might also ask the offender "Did You Think I Can't Feel?" before ranting about all they have been put through. One might also catch a swear or two.

Another version could be when the heroes' team is in low spirits, and The Quiet One, fed up with all the sulking, throws the table (or something else) to the side and gives a Rousing Speech to their comrades.

Usually a Moment of Awesome when they are shown to finally speak up for themselves, but can change depending on the character or the setting. For instance, Take This Job and Shove It can easily cross the line into Going Postal if the quiet one completely loses it.

The main difference between Beware The Quiet Ones and its sister trope Beware the Nice Ones is while the latter is known for their kindness, the former is known for their (near) silence, though they can overlap sometimes. See also Beware the Silly Ones if they're a bit... well... strange.

Compare and contrast Tranquil Fury, where the character can range from happy or stoic, but their anger is more quiet (but still dangerous). Antonym of Boisterous Weakling.

Compare Beneath the Mask, Shrinking Violet, Let's Get Dangerous!, Loners Are Freaks. See also Rage Breaking Point.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Tetsuya of Albegas. Because he's a quiet guy, he's often belittled and seen as non-threatening. He actually knows a lot about martial arts and has beaten people to a pulp for getting on his nerves one too many times.
  • Ao Manaka in Asteroid in Love is often defined by how quiet she is since she has a reluctance to speak due to past trauma. The one time when Mikage indicates she won't mind if Ao's Childhood Friend Mira got interested in geology and switches to her side of the Japanese School ClubBackground, however, Ao responds with such anger that her Girlish Pigtails flies horizontally, and gives Mikage such big Death Glare that sends Mikage crying Tears of Fear.
  • Bertolt Hoover from Attack on Titan is a soft-spoken Extreme Doormat with absolutely dismal self-confidence. He spends much of his time lingering around the others awkwardly, and rarely offers more than a few words. He's also a highly skilled soldier, graduating 3rd in his class, and fiercely protective of the people he cares about. He also happens to be the Secret Identity of the Colossal Titan and as such a Person of Mass Destruction responsible for wiping out 20% of the human race. While remorseful over it, he's fully prepared to do whatever is necessary to accomplish his mission. Beware the quiet ones, indeed.
  • Fana in Black Clover. While she's the most quiet member of the Third Eye, she has the most sheer destructive power of them all, able to cast powerful flame spells. Under her tranquility is a mentally unstable woman with a murderous hatred for humans.
  • Decim from Death Parade. He’s an Arbiter who works as a bartender in the afterlife. He is quiet and doesn’t say anything more than what needs to be said…until the guests become aggressive towards him, at which point he will give a Death Glare and find the right words to hurt them. As per his duty, he doesn’t reveal anything about his job to them until the very end of the episode, so the guests have no idea about who this Tin Man is until after he’s made his decision about what to do with their souls. Even those who trust him aren’t safe around him - in episode 11 he makes his assistant pass out from a drink he made *right in front of her*.
  • Machinedramon from Digimon Adventure is a villainous version. Don't let his whispered monotone fool you; he's as powerful and sadistic as any of the other Dark Masters.
  • Durarara!!: Mikado Ryugamine is a great example of this trope. He may seem quiet and nice, but underneath he's quite unstable due to being a closet adrenaline junkie. He's the leader of the Dollars, for another. You do not want to tick him off.
  • Ai Enma, the titular Hell Girl is the most reserved character in the series as her job requires her to suppress her emotions to the point where it is very difficult to make her angry... God help you if you actually succeed.
  • Near-Invisible Canada from Hetalia: Axis Powers is a good example: Butt-Monkey? Check. Shrinking Violet? Yep! Giving America "The Reason You Suck" Speech? A true Moment of Awesome.
  • Tetsuya Kuroko from Kuroko's Basketball is a good example as well. Practically invisible, he doesn't really talk much and people don't notice him. But if you try to dirty the game of basketball through nasty tricks...
  • Lupin III's colleague Goemon Ishikawa XIII barely says a word... preferring meditation instead of jabber. Upset him or threaten his friends and he'll use his sword to slice your clothing off... or worse... before you can blink!!
  • Hinata in Naruto, overlapping with Beware the Nice Ones. She's one of the quietest characters of the series, mostly out of shyness, but when push comes to shove, she can push back, especially when it comes to defending her loved ones.
  • Sailor Moon examples:
    • Hotaru Tomoe/Sailor Saturn is the calmest and quietest out of shyness. She also has the ability to annihilate any life form on Earth and neighboring planets by dropping her scythe, and in the manga has verbally destroyed two girls who were trying to take her spot as Chibiusa's best friend.
    • Michiru Kaioh/Sailor Neptune is usually the calmest and quietest after Hotaru. The few times she loses her cool, however, she becomes absolutely murderous, and on one occasion she had to be kept from killing Yaten for hitting a previously unknown Berserk Button of hers, namely criticizing her choice of lipstick and stealing her spot as the school's make-up expert. Fittingly, she's Hotaru's adopted mother.
  • Shiryu from Saint Seiya is a softspoken Genius Bruiser with lots of common sense and a great devotion to his Master, his Childhood Friend, his Goddess of liege and his True Companions. He also represents the Dragon constellation and wears the Dragon Cloth... and according to Shiryu himself, the Dragon is calm and wise until those he cares for are threatened/hurt/killed/etc. in any way. Guess what happens to Shiryu whenever this happens? And even more so if either his Master or Childhood Friend are the one in danger...
  • Loid Forger aka Agent Twilight SPY×FAMILY is usually seen to be calm and withdrawn but his actions speak far louder than his words in response to acts he deems unacceptable, especially when geared towards his fake family.
  • Rinne from ViVid Strike! was a Shrinking Violet who tended to avoid attention and became the primary target for a trio of bullies at school. She tries to endure it for a few months, until they knocked her out when her grandfather was dying, keeping her from seeing him one last time. The next day she gave them a brutal yet well deserved No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.

    Comic Books 
  • Batgirl (2000): Cassandra Cain was originally mute, and after learning speech, she doesn't talk much. That's because her dad taught her to talk with her fists. Heaven help you if you get her mad.
  • Exiles:
    • Fans of Blink may not know that she was introduced on Earth-616 during the Phalanx Covenant as a very shy, introverted girl named Clarice Ferguson who was terrified of her own powers. When she finally cut loose, she killed the formerly unstoppable Phalanx unit that had been holding her and a group of other young mutants captive... at the cost of her own life. The Blink who joined the Exiles was from an alternate timeline.
    • Monet St. Croix was introduced in the same storyline, and also fit the trope. She spent most of her first issue silently studying Phalanx technology until she could identify the impostor hiding among her fellow mutant prisoners. Then she hit him with a Megaton Punch and led a breakout. Even cooler than it sounds — she appeared to be catatonic at first. Turns out this was just a super-intense state of concentration, and she'd worked everything out... look out, Phalanx.
  • The Inhumans: Black Bolt. Whenever he utters a sound, it destroys things on a major scale. That is to say, a whisper from him is on the level of a nuke.
  • Sin City: The two most dangerous characters are Miho and Kevin. She's a badass ninja and he's a cannibalistic serial killer. Neither of them ever speak a word.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The Spot used to be a Spider-Man villain known for being largely ineffectual and mouthing off. Then he got trapped in the dimension he teleports through. Now he's mute, insane... and probably one of the deadliest killers alive.
    • Spider-Man himself usually cracks jokes and makes insults while fighting bad guys. But when Spidey stops talking, it's a sign that he's really, really pissed off... and that whoever's responsible is in for a really bad time.
  • X-23: X-23 rarely spoke at all in her first appearance (NYX) and origin story, (Innocence Lost), and even after is a laconic girl who generally shuns the company of others. She's also a highly-trained assassin and one of the most dangerous killers in the main Marvel Universe. God help you if you harm one of the handfuls of people she actually cares about.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Advice and Trust: Rei is a calm, collected, soft-spoken person. During the entire battle against Zeruel, she acted in a determined but non-aggressive fashion. Then the Robeast tried to strike Shinji and Asuka. She went full-on berserker on its posterior, completed with glowing red eyes and furious snarls and growls.
  • As the title suggests, Always the Quiet Ones involves Sunset and the other Rainbooms becoming convinced that Fluttershy is really a psychotic killer.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, Boomerang is a meek Extreme Doormat who rarely speaks his mind but possesses unhealthy amounts of Undying Loyalty to the Enforcers. According to Vulture, a slight against Clash sent Boomerang into a berserk rage in which he brutally murdered the offender.
  • ... And i'll always be there for you: In this Gender Flip fic, Komi-kun has the same difficulties speaking as canon Komi Shouko. But when a group of guys are harassing Tadano-chan and, after Komi and Manbagi-kun come to save her, the leader of the boys dares to call her bland and boring, Komi suddenly releases a loud and brutal declaration of how horrible they are treating Tadano-chan and that if they don't leave he'll make sure they'll stop breathing, enough to scare the harassers away from the trio.
  • Becoming Lífþrasir:
    • Dogsbreath has rarely seen Hiccup angry, so he was rather impressed that Mildew was able to do it in less than a minute.
    • Snotlout thought it would be funny to make Ruffnut slip on ice while she was three months pregnant. Fishlegs then proceeded to have Snotlout strung up by his ankles naked. He refused to let him down until Stoick made him.
  • Brandon in Betray Me Not talks very little and only speaks up when it's really necessary like in the anime, but once his Berserk Button is pushed too hard, he'll turn into a Screaming Warrior, and if there's a gun nearby, he'll unload everything at you.
  • The Child of Love: Rei is usually tranquil, quiet and passive. Then Gendo threatened her niece, Shinji's daughter. Explosions and violence followed.
  • A Crown of Stars: Rei was always quiet, unemotional, and physically unimposing. Then she got pissed off with Asuka after a Cat Fight and destroyed a dimensional portal to prevent Shinji and Asuka from leaving their homeworld... a dimensional portal built by a god!
  • Doing It Right This Time: Rei was calm, reserved and little communicative. Then she got sent to the past, and she was feeling suitably angry. She slapped Gendo to pay him back for mistreating Shinji and several months later tore an Eldritch Abomination apart to vent her anger.
  • In It's Always The Quiet Ones, normally very good-natured Luna can be pushed too far, as Ravenclaw bullies who steal her mother's pendant and Snape, who joins in publicly verbally harassing her, find out the terrifying note  way when she invites Cthulhu to stop by the Great Hall during dinner.
  • The aptly named "Watch Out For The Quiet Ones" has it with Mike Stoker. Mike is known for being quiet, unassuming, and mostly calm natured. However, in this fic, Johnny is trying to help a female friend in a domestic violence situation. The guy is still on the scene when the paramedics are called, and he has hurt her and stabbed Johnny. They can’t get away, but they don’t see Mike sneaking closer. He knocks the guy out cold with a single punch. He does break his hand doing it, but it left an impression. All he had to do when the guy started yelling and carrying on is go stand by his bed glaring at him, with his good hand in a fist, and the guy shut up fast. Even Cap and Chet both say to remind them not to make Mike angry.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità: Japan is The Quiet One in spades. Anger him enough, and he will show his true power. Just ask Germany. Despite being a full six inches taller and being a lot more muscular, their fight was nowhere close to a Curb-Stomp Battle.
  • In fernwithys The Golden Mean we get a glimpse of this with O.C. Stand-in Paulin Gibbs (man to be the male morphling), in the sentences before his death, when he attacks Enobaria bare-handed and actually knocks her down before getting it In the Back from a nearby Gloss.
    Haymitch: His usual vacant expression is gone, and for the first time since his games, I see the boy who won. He wasn't a clever player, but when he was raised to anger, he was terrifying.
  • Her Inner Demons analyzes Sci-Twilight's One-Winged Angel transformation during climax of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games as this. Sci-Twi grew increasingly vindictive toward her classmates, to the point where she sought power to fight back, enough to become Midnight Sparkle.
  • HERZ: Rei is usually quiet, calm and non-confrontational. Then a pack of loonies tried to shoot her niece. The cleaning crew had to scrub their remains off the walls.
  • Kyril from The Night Unfurls is a reserved introvert who doesn't talk much during social situations unless he is responding to others, or during specific situations where he plays a leader figure. The potency of his Death Glares is a warning on how this guy is not to be messed with. Anyone who underestimates him in any way (preferably accompanied with a "he's Just One Man" remark) is in for a rude awakening as they get lacerated by this silent killer and his Serrated Blade of Pain. And the time where he roars? That's when he is in full berserker mode like the beasts he slew, a far cry from his typical Consummate Professional self, ramping the Gorn up to the max.
  • The One I Love Is...: Rei was a quiet, calm Emotionless Girl seldom spoke and obeyed her Commander's orders without question or hesitation. But if something or someone threatened Shinji or her relationship with him, she became hostile and even violent... especially to Asuka since Shinji was falling for her. Her relationship with Asuka became very strained and belligerent until they got a very bitter argument and a pretty virulent Cat Fight. Although that fight ended in a stalemate Asuka noted Rei was very quiet but she could be quite savage and hit hard if provoked.
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles: Aldon Rosier notes this tendency in "Rigel" and finds it fascinating.
    Underneath his lifeless facial expressions and almost insulting dismissal of anything that couldn't be diced, reduced, or boiled into unappetizing slime, Rigel was one of the most volatile things Aldon had ever encountered. Rigel Black didn't care, he didn't care, and then all of a sudden he did, and Merlin help anyone standing in his way at that moment. Rigel Black had lines, and the very instant one of his lines was crossed, his demeanor went from dormant to volcanic eruption in the space between heartbeats.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Dark Kuyumaya is very much The Stoic, rarely expressing emotion or even talking much. This hasn't stopped him from hospitalizing several bullies at Yokai Academy or going One-Man Army on a Fairy Tale squadron.
  • The Sanctuary Telepath: Janine doesn't speak much but don't let that fool you - by the time you'd start putting your plan in motion, she's already seen everything about it in your mind and taken the necessary steps. Perks of being a telepath and all.
  • Rei in The Second Try isn't a violent person. She's pretty much emotionless, very quiet, and talks little. However, threaten her niece and she’ll make you wish you’re dead.
  • Some Semblance of Meaning: Vale is usually The Quiet One and Shrinking Violet but don't piss her off.
  • The Story of Apollo, Daphne and Luca: An Italian Tragedy: Bianca may be very reserved and introverted, but is never afraid to call out Vincenzo on his selfish and oblivious behaviour with a good dose of Brutal Honesty.
  • Tales of the Undiscovered Swords: Kiriha Sadamune quietly endures the bullying his Big Brother Bully Ishida dishes out at him for a reason he had no control over until the latter shows his full Yandere colors and decides to murder the saniwa, which is when Kiriha kicks some serious ass and stops the murder attempt in one of the most graphic violence scenes in the series.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dead Poets Society: The shy and insecure Todd Anderson spends most of the film struggling to get out two full sentences and is overlooked by the school and his parents. After his best friend kills himself, the school tries to bully him (and the other boys) into pinning the blame on their favorite teacher — and he leads half the class in an outright rebellion against the headmaster.
  • Parodied in Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood. Loc Dog goes to a party and meets a shy, modest girl named Keisha. He takes her back to his truck for some alone time, but once she gets drunk and horny, she turns into a literal demon:
    Keisha: [demonic voice] Alright mothafucka let's get it on.
    Loc Dog: [Screams Like a Little Girl as he tries to get away]
    Keisha: Oh no nigga you ain't going nowhere!
  • The Drop has Bob, who though meek rarely gets rattled. And when he's given reason to fear for those he loves? Watch out.
  • Gaear Grimsrud from Fargo. He hardly ever says a thing throughout the entire movie (something lampshaded early on by Steve Buscemi) but if provoked or put in a situation where he might get caught... well, let's just say that you don't want to be near him and a gun. Or an axe for that matter... or a woodchipper.
  • In Ghostbusters (1984), Walter Peck shuts down the power to the Firehouse despite Egon's dire warnings that it would be like dropping a bomb on the city. This results in an enormous explosion and hundreds (possibly thousands) of ghosts being released back into New York all at once. Peck orders some nearby police to arrest the Ghostbusters, claiming they were directly responsible for causing the explosion. Egon completely loses it, screams "YOUR MOTHER!!" and has to be physically restrained from tearing Peck apart with his bare hands. Remember, this is Egon Spengler!
  • Don Vito Corleone from The Godfather is famously very soft-spoken, even hoarse, but an extremely menacing screen presence.
  • Green Room:
    • Amber starts off as the quietest, most reserved member of the group, but transforms into a total badass.
    • Soft-spoken club owner Darcy is the film's Big Bad.
  • The Halloween series has the recurring antagonist of Michael Myers, who never speaks in any of the movies he's in. Every rendition of Michael has always been depicted as a violent, crazed murderer who commits acts of violence on a whim. The most he will do is a Quizzical Tilt when he is curious or looking over the aftermath of his butchering, but he won't ever talk.
  • Matsu, the main character of Joshuu Sasori, has a knack for patiently and silently enduring whatever mistreatment gets thrown her way and waiting for just the right moment to unleash violent revenge on those that wronged her. This is why she is called Sasori, or "Scorpion."
  • Both Lola and her father in The Loved Ones. However, there is a major difference. Lola seems quiet and shy at first but is actually very loud and wicked once Brent is captured. Her father on the other hand seems very reserved and quiet in personality, even when doing horrible things.
  • No Name on the Bullet: John Gant's response to the Sheriff's ordering him out of town? A contemptuously bored, "Go away."
  • Office Space: Milton Waddams might only be mumbling his threats, but he'll follow through with them. Especially when he says he'll burn Initech down.
  • Scarface (1983): The Skull and Alberto don't speak much, if at all, and are merciless.
  • Star Trek Into Darkness: After Kirk died, Spock proceeds to beat the ever-living crap out of John Harrison/Khan.
  • Thor's antagonist, Loki, started as the often pushed-aside, quiet, intelligent younger brother who was given too much power at exactly the wrong time.
  • TRON: Alan T. Bradley. Meek and harmless-looking computer geek. Completely scrupulous. Won't even do his banking on company time. Establishing Character Moment? Laying out in a perfectly calm and friendly manner that the software he worked on for months (the title character) is going to completely screw two of the antagonists as soon as he compiles the last upgrade and hits "run." He also seems meek, harmless, and fatherly come the filmed sequel, but the first shot of him on-screen is showing him defending young Sam from nosy reporters with physical force if necessary. Oh, and the "Flynn Lives" thing? He's been running the whole thing under everyone's nose. In the alternate sequel of TRON 2.0, he figures out how to crash a server from the inside just by analyzing the schematics. His son has to do the actual fighting, but Awesome by Analysis? You bet.
  • Vice: This is the central theme, as introduced by the epigraph stating that quiet men plot and bide their time while others act and then strike when it is most opportune. Dick Cheney himself is presented as the quintessential example of this type of man.

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses: Azriel usually sits quietly at the edges of any social gathering, but Mother help you if you insult one of his friends or worse Mor. Azriel will come over there in the blink of an eye and physically attack you.
  • Dark Life has Pretty. Despite his name, he is not someone you want to annoy.
  • In Dr. Franklin's Island, Semi is shy and awkward, but when their first escape attempt is foiled her usually take-charge friend Miranda resorts to pleading. Semi goes berserk, biting a captor, throwing herself at an electric fence, punching and kicking and screaming until she's strapped into a straitjacket. Later, after the change, Semi and Miranda meet mentally in the "white space" where it's difficult to lie, and Semi is briefly furious seeing a Miranda who's afraid and unsure.
  • Theodore Sturgeon's short SF story "Extrapolation" was originally published under the title "Beware the Fury", as in the phrase "Beware the fury of a patient man". Wolf Reger is a brilliant but aloof and antisocial scientist/astronaut and humanity's future depends on his actions. When he is captured by alien invaders, Earth's governments all think he has turned traitor. But he manages to destroy the alien fleet single-handled without even using a weapon.
  • In the original novel The Godfather, both Vito and Michael Corleone were noted as young men for being soft-spoken, understated, and reasonable, especially in contrast to many of their Sicilian immigrant and first-generation compatriots. They go on to become in turn the most feared "Family" heads of their generations, while still rarely raising their voices above a normal speaking tone.
  • Harry Potter: Quirinus Quirrell is the nervous, mostly unnoticed, and seemingly innocent character throughout the entire novel. However, at the end, it turns out that he has been possessed by Voldemort all along and has been trying to kill Harry all through the book. However, he was probably being controlled by Voldemort by this time as he had been taken over after trying to seek him out to destroy him in his weakened state, trying to earn some respect from his friends and fellow school pupils that had laughed at him for so long.
    • And then there's Peter Pettigrew.
    • Harry himself is actually rather quiet and introverted. He's also rated as the best fighter in his class, and he won't hesitate to battle anyone who messes with his friends.
  • Sarah 'Scout' Mason of Heretical Edge is a rather tragic example. Her mother disappeared in a monster attack when she was seven and she's barely spoken since. She's also an extremely skilled Friendly Sniper with a gun that creates portals: she does things like create fences of looping bullets to deal with super fast enemies.
  • The House on the Lagoon: Quintín reads his wife Isabel's account their family history. She narrates the story of her ballet instructor's Teacher/Student Romance with her classmate; when it became public knowledge, his wife divorced him and he left town in disgrace. He deduces that Isabel herself orchestrated the reveal during a recital out of petty jealousy and worries about what she is capable of doing if she were to think he didn't love her anymore.
  • Ben from The Leonard Regime is much more reserved than most of the other characters, but provoking him is never a good idea.
  • The Long Secret: Beth Ellen is normally shy and meek, but when Zeeney, her Rich Bitch mother, wants to take her to live in Europe, she throws an epic tantrum. This is shown to be a key to the "long secret" itself, and it's revealed that Beth Ellen is the one who's been leaving the disturbing and anonymous notes that various people in town have been getting.
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy: Vin is a shy, quiet girl who rarely wastes words. By the end of Book 1, she's also probably the most dangerous Allomancer alive, and will stop at almost nothing to protect Elend and her loved ones.
  • In The Outsiders, Johnny was the most quiet and most law-abiding of the greasers but when he sees his friend Ponyboy being drowned, he stabbed and killed the attacker.
  • A Practical Guide to Evil has Eudokia, The Scribe. She's usually found in the corner with a lapdesk, quietly catching up on correspondence or whatever. She's also essentially the entire spy network for The Empire, and when it comes to not seeing her coming, she's said to be as dangerous as Assassin. A few words in the right ears at the right time, the correct paperwork filled out and verified — [redacted] was, officially, never even a little problem to have managed existing.
    “Captain Jarad,” the Webweaver said, ignoring the Duni’s spluttering as her eyes sought out the Soninke who’d been about to be chewed out by her earlier. “Congratulations, you are now a commander of the Ater city guard.”
    The young man saluted, hands shaking.
    “What is to happen to Com- former Commander Barsina?” he asked.
    Scribe met his eyes.
    “I know of no such individual.”
    A heartbeat later, an enterprising guard behind the former commander slipped a knife in the Duni’s back.
  • The Raven Tower: The Strength and Patience of the Hill is a quiet god who, thanks to Time Dissonance, often mulls over thoughts for years or generations and who rarely acts overtly. Then an enemy tribe with divine assistance attacks its people's village and kills its favourite priestess, and it immediately strikes the god dead.
  • Steapa from Bernard Cornwell's The Saxon Stories. Quiet and originally believed by the protagonist to be a half-wit, he becomes an absolute killing machine in battle.
    • And, in a more specific example, there was Steapa's complicated test of loyalty in the second book. Steapa's sworn lord, Odda the Younger, had ordered him to kill Uhtred (who had brought Odda orders from King Alfred to attack the Danes). Steapa accepts the orders without comment, stands up to face Uhtred silent and grim, then turns and kills Odda.
  • Roose Bolton from A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the most powerful lords in The North, and bannerman to the Starks of Winterfell (the "good guys" of the series). His obsessive habit of leeching himself leaves his voice very weak and whispery, so that everyone has to lean in to hear him speak during strategy conferences, and he loses the first battle he's sent to command in. Later, he betrays and personally murders his liege, King Robb, and is declared the new Lord Paramount of the North. It turns out he was working for Tywin Lannister all along and kept over half of Robb's troops sitting on their asses for the war, later sending most of them to die in a pointless fight. Even the Lannisters underestimate him; after Tywin Lannister's death and the complete anarchy that falls upon the kingdoms, Bolton may be considering declaring himself the new King in the North and seceding, since the southerners wouldn't be able to do much about it anymore. Of course, the House Symbol (a flayed man) should have been a hint. This very much contrasts with his more openly evil Bastard Bastard Ramsay.
  • Star Wars:
    • In the Legends "Thrawn Trilogy" Grand Admiral Thrawn was generally quiet and polite even towards advesaries. He rarely raised his voice even if someone really angered him, but those who ticked him off would be lucky to leave the situation alive.
  • Tortall Universe: Beka Cooper. While she's paralyzingly shy, she's very good at chasing down criminals and fighting. (She does become less shy, but rarely chatty.) She has also been known to blow up at people who have been frustrating her over a long period of time.

    Live-Action TV 

  • One of the many pieces of advice given in Bobby Pinson's One-Hit Wonder "Don't Ask Me How I Know" is "Don't pick a fight with the little guy that doesn't talk that much."

  • The Adventure Zone: Balance: Lucretia is usually the only one of the Red Robes not to speak, usually lampshaded by Merle. Despite this, she runs the Bureau of Balance, survived Cycle 65 on her own during The Stolen Century and was the one to feed the memories of The Stolen Century to Fisher.
  • Find Us Alive deconstructs this with Raddagher. She's quiet and reserved because she's isolating and overworking herself due to trauma, and her self-isolation leads to paranoia and a tendency to lash out when pressed.

    Stand Up Comedy 
  • Dane Cook had a comedy bit where he talked about heist movies invariably having that one guy on the team who is a combination of this and Psycho Party Member.
    There's always that one guy on the team too, he was a last-minute replacement. He's not one of the original gang. But one of the other guys vouches for him. 'No, no, dude... trust me, this guy's cool. He's solid and he's cool.' But he's not cool, is he? He doesn't really say anything ever, right? He just stands there, looks cool... and then at one point he might be like... 'Let's kill these bitches.'
  • George Carlin didn't think much of this trope.
    "It's the quiet ones you've got to watch." You know that one, eh? Every time you see a story about a Serial Killer on TV, what do they do? They bring on the neighbor. And the neighbor says, "Well, he was always very quiet." And someone in the room says, "It's the quiet ones you've got to watch." This sounds to me like a very dangerous assumption. I'll bet you anything that while you're watching a quiet one, a noisy one will fucking kill you! Suppose you're in a bar and one guy's sitting over the side, reading a book, not bothering anybody, and another guy is standing on the front with a machete, banging on the bar, screaming, "I'LL KILL THE NEXT MOTHERFUCKER WHO COMES IN HERE!" Who are you going to watch? You're goddamn right.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Nomine: Amidst the torture pits, battlefields and monstrous horrors of Hell, Kronos is a little old man quietly working in his office. He also might well be the biggest threat to the Symphony that exists, and is certainly one the most dangerous entities working towards mankind's ruin.
    "He doesn't rant or smash things like his peers do, but everyone who crosses his path will be the worse for it."
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Necrons are an entire army who used to lack the ability to speak wholesale (and mostly they still do), but even their most basic Gauss guns shoot what is essentially green lightning and can automatically wound on a dice roll of 6. They are also essentially Space Terminators — they just keep getting back up after you think they're dead, putting themselves back together and continuing to march on your position until you or they are utterly annihilated.
    • The Sisters of Silence, a little-seen Amazon Brigade army of the Imperium whose initiates take a vow of silence on entering the order and communicate through sign language from then on. They are still the Imperium's dedicated anti-psyker specialists, and are able to destroy Daemons with their grenades.

  • Westeros: An American Musical: Roose Bolton gets introduced as a member of the Northern army alongside Greatjon Umber, who's the most vocal of the two about having to follow the command of the teenage Robb. After Robb puts Greatjon in his place, Roose becomes just an extra member of Robb's background ensemble until a scene in which Robb gives him command of part of his army. The second song in which Roose is seen ends with him killing Robb with his own hands, an act that indicates his quietness has been hiding a much more dangerous personality all along.

    Video Games 
  • Coffee Talk Episode 2: Hibiscus and Butterfly: Riona first enters the café without introducing herself to quietly listen in on Jorji and Lucas's conversation. But when Lucas incorrectly assumes that she's being chill about the cyberbullies she encountered after posting her audition video, she enters a screaming fit and causes the second blackout at the café.
  • In Disco Elysium, Kim is eternally composed and soft-spoken, and tolerant of your often bizarre behaviour. However, push him too far and he will snap:
    • If you borrow his gun and threaten to blow your brains out with it in order to get Titus to respect you, Kim will retain composure during the event itself, but lay into you afterwards - "What in the name of hell was that supposed to be?!"
    • Expressing approval of the RCM motto because it 'puts the fear of god into the f***ts' will have Kim shut you down by saying "You are brutal, and dumb."
    There is silence in the church. He wants there to be.
    • In The Final Cut's Fascist quest, even after the unspeakable politics you have been exploring, Kim still expresses concern and compassion about your nerve-damaged face... but if you carry on insisting that your new face has made you into 'the Icebreaker', Kim will suddenly scream "Are you fucking insane?!", causing your Skills to all realise how stupid and uncool everything you just did was. Volition notes that Kim's rage is so intense it has reconditioned your brain.
    • In The Final Cut's Moralist test, screaming at the Coalition Warship Archer that she's a 'stupid whore' and then going to Kim for his approval ("*Women*, am I right?") will not get his approval. Depending on his relationship with you overall, he'll either run out of steam after the rant and apologise for the intensity of his reaction, saying he really cares about you but wishes you would stop saying awful things, or he'll contemptuously tell you that the reason you make him so mad is that being in your presence is making him become like you.
  • In the HL2 Mod Story "G-String", the main character you embody is Myo Hyori, who, like Gordon Freeman, is a complete mute, minus the occasional pained moans and so forth. As she progresses through the story, the corrupt government eventually paints her as public enemy number one, despite her fighting the very forces that bring ever more misery to the shitty world they reside in due to her constantly-growing Pyromantic powers and even slow-mo power that eventually reaches a point where she usually emits a bolt of static electricity every now and then, no bullshit. All she and her family wanted was to live in peace, and as even that was cruelly taken from her over the years, she slowly transforms into this trope over the course of the story.
  • The Doll Shop: The doll maker doesn't usually raise his voice and can be quite isolated from the other villagers, and he's the one who kidnapped and murdered the little girl prior to the events of the game.
  • After his blood oath to Ashe, Tryndamere from League of Legends seems to have become this. In "A Smoldering Coal", Sigra notes how in her initial time serving as Battlemaiden of Ashe, she felt disappointed of never seeing Tryndamere's legendary fury. He always acted as a very calm, if not bored, normal man. With nothing on his gestures or eyes that gave away his supposedly terrifying temper. That is, until they were attacked by a traitorous Warmother and her warriors. Now, the thought of one day seeing Tryndamere angry again completely terrifies her.
  • Blanc/White Heart from Neptunia is normally a stoic Sugar-and-Ice Personality with a soft-spoken voice, but she'll become a hot-headed and loud-mouth Lady Swears-a-Lot when agitated enough, while her HDD form is aggressive and tough. Then there's the fact that she also wields a giant hammer (or axe) to contrast with her petite appearance.
    • Plutia is a quiet, ditzy and pretty lazy young lady... but when she gets mad, she transforms into a sadistic Dominatrix with a spiked and electrified whip who scares even the Big Bads with her ability to dish out pain and effectively Mind Rape people.
  • Edgar Ross of the Red Dead Redemption series. He barely speaks in his few appearances in II, but once Andrew Milton kicks the bucket, Ross descends on the Van der Linde gang with an army of Pinkertons, yelling threats through a megaphone. At this point, he's clearly fed up and just wants the gang dead. And while he's more talkative in I, the beware part is still very much present.
  • While he still has his Cold Ham moments, Kazuma Kiryu from the Yakuza series is generally terse and reserved. If he ever seems to get really upset with someone, that person will soon be on the receiving end of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Fruit of Grisaia: Sakaki Yumiko may be the least social of the Mihama students, usually keeping to her books or locking herself up in her room, however she is also the last person you want to piss off. That could easily result in an outburst of violence, making her draw her signature boxcutter and brandish it menacingly.
  • Saito Hajime in Hakuouki is the quietest member of the Shinsengumi and the one who can always be depended on to follow orders scrupulously and faithfully. He's also the most lethal swordsman of the group and practices iaijutsu specifically because it allows him to end most of his fights before his opponents know they've started.
  • Katawa Shoujo has Hanako's Bad Ending. After telling Hisao to Get Out! of her room repeatedly, she explodes at him (and the player) for pitying her and treating her like The Woobie all throughout her route. It comes off as a major Player Punch.
  • Played for Laughs with Mio from Little Busters!. On the surface, she seems like a delicate, fragile Emotionless Girl. And indeed, her physical stats are quite low. But she's very intelligent and downright ruthless at times, such as when she takes advantage of every slight lapse in attention on Haruka's part during the newspaper fight and is able to hit her countless times, or when she performs an absolutely devastating take-down of Haruka's joke when they're only supposed to be performing a simple Boke and Tsukkomi Routine.
  • My Harem Heaven is Yandere Hell has Kanna who is a reserved stoic. Oh, and she's one of three selectable yanderes.
  • Kiryuu Moeka in Steins;Gate is a very socially withdrawn woman and prefers to let her text messages communicate for her instead of talking. Even when the person she's texting is literally standing right in front of her. Take a guess at what happens when you steal her phone.
  • Witches X Warlocks: Damion may be shy and anxious, but they come to Fay’s rescue on a few occasions that has Fay remarking on how unusual it is to see them so protective.

    Web Comics 
  • In El Goonish Shive, Charlotte is introverted and socially retiring, yet manages to tackle a spider-vampire about to launch a surprise attack on Diane. The creature easily tosses her away, but still.
  • MegaTokyo:
    • Yuki Sonada kind of fits this trope (more since her magical girl abilities awakened, than in her earlier appearances). That is, assuming she's not just being stereotyped as an over-emotional teenage girl.
    • So do Piro and Ping, but if pushed over the edge they can be physically violent, too.
  • Mob Psycho 100: Shigeo "Mob" Kageyama is a quiet, timid, and physically underwhelming middle-schooler. But he has incredible Psychic Powers, even though he does not want to fight. When his emotions saturate, his powers increase immensely, and the emotion he is currently feeling flows out (and if you made him angry, good luck).
    • And sometimes, if he loses consciousness, ???% comes out. This Superpowered Evil Side, the subconscious manifestation of Mob's full potential, can extract the energy around him (even his enemy's psychic energy) and possesses insanely powerful psychic powers (though it mostly comes out to protect Mob).
  • Finland from Scandinavia and the World has this moment, where he shouts Perkele 306 times after losing to Denmark in hockey. Actually, he fits the trope pretty well in general, given that he's a chronically angry Psycho Knife Nut who rarely speaks.
  • When Heaven Spits You Out: Simon Hanson is shown to be largely quiet and avoids other people, but once he gets to drinking...

    Web Original 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Asia doesn't say much and is very polite, but she will stab you with thorns if you push her too far.
  • Toto from Kittisaurus is one of the quieter and calmer cats, but he can be brutal to anything he perceives as a threat. He's attacked vacuum cleaners, and massagers, and once beat a noisy dog toy so badly he knocked its batteries out.
  • The Noob franchise has Ivy, narcoleptic and apparently not much more aware of what is going on when awake. But just try attacking one of her guildmates while turning your back to her...
  • This story from the subreddit, ProRevenge, is this trope in a nutshell.
  • SBI Rust: Piss Wizard doesn't speak whatsoever, but is extremely powerful and is not above attacking players.
  • While Travis is one of the quieter SMPLive members, he is also a little shit who lives for chaos.
  • On Strip Search, Katie Rice is absolutely the quietest person in the house, but it soon becomes clear that she's also one of the best competitors — starting when she wins two elimination challenges in a row.

    Western Animation 
  • Arthur: Fern is very quiet, but she will go all out with revenge. She managed to make Francine cry (in "Draw!"), and tricked Brain into thinking giant worms were attacking Elwood city (in "War of the Worms").
  • Droopy falls under this in several of his animated shorts. Repeatedly humiliated by his adversary, he never reacts...until it looks like he's about to lose "The Dame". Then he responds, in the same monotone as always, "You know what? That makes me mad," and can suddenly fling his enemy across the room with ease.
  • Goof Troop: PJ has occasionally gotten angry at his friend and dad, but other than that, he's quiet.
  • Hey Arnold!: In the episode "False Alarm", one of the kids, Curly, had been waiting to be the next ball monitor, but his teacher Mr. Simmons accidentally skipped him. Curly didn't take it too well. After everything blows over Helga remarks that the quiet ones should never be trusted. Curly also framed Eugene for pulling a false alarm because he'd ruined his favorite pencil.
  • Looney Tunes: The Minah Bird from the Inki cartoons. He's always just walking (and hopping) around quietly, but whenever somebody tries to hunt/chase him, things will go bad for them. Heck, in his appearance in Caveman Inki, he appears after splitting a mountain in half. And when a hungry brontosaurus still tries to pick a fight with him, he gets tied up with his own tail for his trouble.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Fluttershy is the quietest member of the mane cast, on account of being, well, shy. Then comes "The Best Night Ever". When she's avoided by the forest creatures of Canterlot... well, see for yourself. Fluttershy in "Putting Your Hoof Down." Dear Celestia... She displayed this way earlier, in "Dragonshy" and again in "Stare Master". "Dragonshy" is the episode where the fans learned that you do not mess with Fluttershy. From Season Four, "Power Ponies" demonstrates that you wouldn't like Fluttershy when she's angry.
    • Don't mess with her friends. Seriously, don't.
    • Also, Celestia help you if Big Macintosh raises his voice.
  • The Simpsons has Maggie Simpson. On the surface, she's a voiceless baby who is the youngest child and (in comparison to everyone else on the show, especially her own family) has had little to no Character Development, but has shown to be very loyal to her family and has saved them (namely Homer) on several occasions, is much more wily than she lets on and even knows how to fire a gun.
  • Kenny McCormick from South Park, normally both The Quiet One and The Unintelligible, certainly qualifies as of the "Mysterion" story arc. He says the most he ever does during these few episodes, and his Berserk Button is revealed; do NOT mess with his little sister.
  • Steven Universe features Lapis Lazuli. Barely taller than Steven, she's rather withdrawn and quiet- and also a hydrokinetic Person of Mass Destruction who can lift the entire ocean at once. Her first appearance has her calmly introducing herself to Steven — and a moment later, one-shotting Garnet with a huge hand formed out of water. Later episodes have her fusing with Jasper to drag their combined form underwater in a scene that calls to mind Dragged Off to Hell.
    • Garnet herself is the more reticent and (relatively) level-headed of the Crystal Gems, and very capable of taking charge when needed.
  • Raven from Teen Titans (2003) may be reserved, but God help you if you really piss her off by messing with her friends. It doesn't help that she's half-demon, and destined to cause The End of the World as We Know It.
    • Case in point, when Doctor Light taunts her one too many times, she unleashes so much of her demonic powers on him that she makes him go insane nearly instantly and with hardly any effort.
  • The Transformers: Prime version of Soundwave speaks using others' recorded sentences (when he speaks at all), rarely ever has a major starring role... and can bash in heads with the greatest of ease, as Airachnid can attest to. He's the second-most feared Decepticon on the Nemesis, right under Megatron himself, and with good reason. Knock Out even says "Watch out for the quiet ones" to Breakdown after Soundwave curbstomped Airachnid. Wheeljack fared slightly better against Soundwave than Airachnid did. But only slightly. To put this in more perspective, Wheeljack had an easier time against Dreadwing. Soundwave is eerily silent when he fights, too. It's kinda Creepy Awesome.
  • In Transformers: Animated, Prowl definitely qualifies for this. He's a sleek, dark ninja who doesn't really like anyone else, prefers to sit in his tree and meditate.. but when he fights, he wins, most of the time.
  • Ice Bear from We Bare Bears is the most reserved out of the three bear brothers, but he is also The Ace of the trio and wields an axe. The "Icy Nights" episodes turn Ice Bear into a bonafide action movie hero, showing just how dangerous he can be when he or the ones he loves are threatened.
  • Flora from Winx Club is sometimes thought to be a pushover because of her shy nature, hesitance to harm living things, and the nature of her powers. But time and again, she proves that nature is not so harmless, especially in Tears from the Black Willow, when the Trix hit her Berserk Button. And who wants to bet that it's messing around with her friends?


Video Example(s):


Ninja Brian

Ninja Brian never speaks, but he is deadly when he wants to be (which is always).

How well does it match the trope?

4.33 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / BewareTheQuietOnes

Media sources: