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Large and in Charge

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"I'm da biggest so I'm da boss!"
Ork Warboss, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War

The tendency to visually depict leaders of an organization as large, physically intimidating people. This could be because people are more likely to follow orders from a big guy than a small one (because of the physically intimidating height). Exactly what flavor of "big" he (or she) will be depends chiefly on the character's personality, or sometimes species. He could be an Adipose Rex to symbolize his greed and decadence, but could instead be a towering seven-foot-tall man.

This is abundant in video games since these guys need to be able to make impressive bosses as well and players like big targets. Even when they have magic or machines for fighting, they still tend to be pretty big. Note that tall villains are not necessarily muscular or good at fighting, and in that case will usually have to rely on some shorter Mooks with Stout Strength.


Because Evil Is Bigger, this is more prevalent among villains. This applies to most of the brutish types of Always Chaotic Evil fantasy races, like orcs, hobgoblins, and some of the many, many types of trolls. Races which get Stronger with Age will tend to justify this either as the biggest individuals being Older and Wiser, or only very tough and resourceful ones reach old age. Thus, this trope most commonly applies to villains but there are also some heroic characters that qualify.

Related to Authority Equals Asskicking (or, perhaps, Asskicking Equals Authority). Also see Hitler Cam, the camera effect that you can use to accentuate height. Contrast The Napoleon (when he's in a leadership position).

Sometimes found in real life — in the modern world, elected leaders are generally of average or greater height. However, this is rarely taken to the kind of extremes found in video games. Also common in the animal kingdom, where in species such as lions, the largest males become the alphas of their prides/packs.


Can be found in art, especially B.C periods. The most prominent example is Egyptian art; almost all periods of European art before the Renaissance too. This makes sense, as people tend to pay more attention to bigger figures.

Contrast Mister Big (ironically) and The Napoleon. Adipose Rex is the trope for fat kings.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • The captain of the seventh division is Sajin Komamura, an anthropomorphic wolf. At 9'5" (288cm or 2.87m) tall, he towers over everyone in his division. He's even taller than the other captains.
    • The captain of the eleventh division is Kenpachi Zaraki. At 6'8" (202cm or 2.03m) tall, he dwarfs anyone else in his division. The only captain bigger than him is Komamura.
    • Yhwach, The Emperor of the Vandenreich, is a huge man whose very presence dominants the other Quincies. He's so tall he can Neck Lift Kenpachi Zaraki right off the ground.
  • In Brave Exkaiser, Dino Geist, the leader of the Geisters is absolutely gigantic. His already pretty dang big Humongous Mecha minions only come up to his ankles.
  • Emperor Charles zi Britannia from Code Geass.
    • Bismark Waldstein, the leader of the Knights of the Round and the Emperor's personal bodyguard. Not only is he about as tall as Charles, but his Ace Custom is twice as tall as the average Knightmare Frame. He even wields a BFS on foot at one point!
    • Nunnally vi Britannia, Jiang Lihua, and Kaguya Sumeragi, the leaders of the new, peaceful world after the end of the series, are quite the opposite — a very clear way of showing how they differ from their predecessors.
  • In Delicious in Dungeon, human knight Laios is the leader of the party, and while not unnaturally large by any means, is indeed very tall, towering over every other adventurer introduced so far and even most humanoid monsters.
  • D.Gray-Man:
    • Special Inspector Lvellie from Central is a man whose primary trait is his bossiness. He towers at 195 cm (6' 5") which helps to enforce his orders. Chief officer Komui Lee is almost as tall (193cm (6' 4")) but even if he has a high ranking position tends to be rather soft. He also has less large shoulders. Inverted with Bak Chang who suffers from being short while being the Asian branch chief.
    • Among the general exorcists three are of normal size but the other two are very tall individuals. Cross Marian is 195cm and General Socalo culminates as the tallest human in the series with 205 cm.
    • On the villain side, the patriarch of the Noah family is huge and rotund at 220 cm (7'3"). This is a disguise. His human form is still tall, though, at 188 cm (6'2").
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Definitely inverted with Vegeta who is the Prince of Saiyans... and he is 5'4". Frieza is shorter than most his subordinates (except for Guildo) in the first form you see him in, and his final, most powerful form is his second-smallest. Cell is tall and muscular (and he did have henchmen in form of his Cell Jrs. who are MUCH smaller than him), but then you get to Buu... Kid Buu is very much like his name, a small bundle of destruction.
    • If you count the heroes as a group, it is also subverted. Goku is only average height, although he tends to be drawn a little taller in the anime. The tallest is Piccolo followed by Tien. As an adult, Gohan is taller than his father.
    • Babidi is also a complete inversion. He is short, probably the shortest character in the entire series (yes the kids included). He is also weak, depending on his magic to enslaved powerful warriors to serve him.
    • General Red was a total inversion and hated every moment of it. Of course, once Officer Black took over the Red Ribbon army the trope straightened itself out.
    • Also subverted with Captain Ginyu, while big, was in the middle in terms on the Ginyu force with Recoome about a head taller than him and Burter outright towering over him.
    • Played straight with Demon King Piccolo who was roughly eight feet tall, making him one of the largest characters in the series. Also done with Frieza's father King Cold who was around fifteen feet tall, resembling Frieza's monstrous second form except even bigger.
  • Eyeshield 21 subverts this with the Hakushuu Dinosaurs, as team captain Marco is quite scared of the massive Gaou, creating the impression that Gaou is leading the team. But Gaou has nothing but respect for Marco and no desire to challenge his authority, meaning Marco is really in charge.
  • In Fist of the North Star, about every thug gang leader is for some reason three times larger (officially, by about 4 to 12cm) than your average normal human, and demonstrate physical prowess like crushing heads with their bare hands. This reaches truly ridiculous proportions with the Prison Chief Uighür (height not given, probably three stories) who dwarves even Raoh (who in turn dwarves about every peasant/soldier/thug, and even the hero Kenshiro) (roughly two stories, or 210cm). Averted with that one prisoner in Cassandra who is the size of a skyscraper: his one scene has him taking orders from a normal-sized criminal who convinced him they're brothers.
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure takes this to truly ridiculous extremes. Everybody in the entire series is approximately human-scaled or smaller, except for the Queen of the Garden of Light, who could dance with an average Gundam, and her opposite number Jaaku King, who is about the same height as her but has no legs (so a "complete" Jaaku King would be even bigger). They take it Up to Eleven during the Grand Finale of the sequel where they appear half as tall as Earth. The Big Bads from several spin-offs are also very large. Let's see:
    • Futari wa Pretty Cure Splash★Star has a Akudaikan who has a similar height as Jaaku King. Gohyan, the real Big Bad, transforms from a small fry-villain into a large humanoid being, but he's only taller than average humans, but most of the other villains can grow taller or transform into something large.
  • Used initially in Yuusha-Oh GaoGaiGar. Of all the fully combined mecha, the titular one is the largest. ChoRyuJin combines two robots to approach his size, Big Volfogg uses two support units and is still smaller, and even Big Guy Goldymarg towers over all the others but is still smaller than GGG. Subverted by Sixth Ranger Soldat J, whose mecha is a warship which transforms into the gargantuan King J-Der, dwarfing all the other heroes. Subverted again in FINAL by Goldymarg, who, after his destruction in Osaka, has his AI built into the star-destroying Goldion Crusher.
    • Yes! Pretty Cure 5 and its sequel have Desparaia and the Director. Both of them are not very large, but taller than average humans. However, their employees have (forced) large One-Winged Angel forms, except Bunbee and their dragons Kawarino and Anacondy with their basic transformations.
      • Kawarino's basic transformation is the only one that makes the Nightmare employee several times bigger and can be compared with the forced One-Winged Angel transformations of the other employees. He can even grow larger when he absorbs the black cards that have the power to transform the employees into One Winged Angels. It should be noted that Kawarino is the Dragon-in-Chief and he is the most evil character and biggest threat in the first Yes! 5 season.
    • Fresh Pretty Cure! has Moebius who is taller than average humans. It turns out that he's a supercomputer and he's connected with all of Labyrinth. He also projects giant holograms in the form of his "head".
    • HeartCatch Pretty Cure! has Dune who appears as a teenager. After getting his powers back, he becomes an adult again. His One-Winged Angel form is as tall as Earth.
    • Suite Pretty Cure ♪ has Noise, a gigantic dragon-like bird. Subverted, as he shrinks when he reaches his final form. Being only taller than average humans.
    • Smile Pretty Cure! has Pierrot, a gigantic Monster Clown. His second form has the same height, but his final form is several times larger than Earth!
    • Doki Doki Pretty Cure has King Jikochuu who is much taller than the towers of Trump Kingdom, so he's about the same height as Jaaku King. Makes you wonder how he gets a daughter who appears younger than the heroines.
  • Risotto Nero from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind is the head of an elite squadron of Stand-using mafia assassins, and towers over his subordinates 195 cm (6'5") tall. Before the release of an art book that gave this statistic, he was estimated at 202 cm, a height on par with the Pillar Men.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam: The two tallest characters shown in the series are Zeon dictator Gihren Zabi, and his enormous and heavily scarred brother, Dozle, who serves as a Vice-Admiral and commander of Solomon Base. Both are hulking men, with broadshouldered builds, with Dozle being in the running for tallest man in the franchise as a whole and also making his brother look thin by comparison. Dozle's backstory indicates that his custom Zaku (which was never seen in the anime) had a chest that bulged out somewhat compared to the standard model, to make room for a cockpit he can actually fit into.
  • While most leaders in Naruto are normal sized (the Third Hokage was even kinda short since he was an old man and the Tsuchikage is a freaking midget), all of the Raikage (save for the 2nd and Darui are freaking giant.
    • To give you a breakdown: 1st Raikage was 210cm (6'11"), 2nd was 184cm (little over 6') 3rd was 205cm (about 6'9"), 4th was 198cm (6'6") and the 5th (Darui) is 176.5cm (almost 5'10"). So even the "short" 2nd and 5th Raikage are still big men.
    • Played straight as well with Gamabunta, the chief toad of Mount Myouboku. He's easily the largest toad of the lot; his size rivals even the larger Tailed Beasts.
  • The Big Bads of each One Piece arc are often unnaturally large, despite mostly being human.
    • Also Edward Newgate, Whitebeard, is a very large man, easily dwarfing some of his lieutenants who are themselves quite large.
    • The other non-Shanks Emperors (Shanks himself is only about as tall as his crew, who are all relatively normal-looking), once shown, proved to follow this trope as well: Kaido is huge enough for many to theorize he has giant blood or simply isn't human in the first place, and Big Mom was bigger than some adults at five years old and only continued to grow from them, being monstrously huge and just generally monstrous today. In fact, she's only barely shorter than the smallest adult giants, meaning she's probably the upper limit for how tall a "human" can be in One Piece.
    • All of the Shichibukai are impossibly tall, except for Mihawk and Boa Hancock, who are just unusually tall (198cm and 191cm). Kuma and Moria are almost seven freaking meters tall.
      • It seems to be genetic for the ten foot tall Doflamingo, as his late brother was only a few inches shorter than he was, and assuming his height was proportionate as a child, his parents were similar. All four were former World Nobles.
    • Occasionally played with. Rob Lucci was the most powerful of CP9, but was merely tall, standing around 6'7" and relatively slim (in human form). While this would be huge in the real world, two of his subordinates, Fukurou and Kumadori, utterly dwarf him in both height and mass, and only slightly taller than Nico Robin. Then he uses his Devil Fruit power, and becomes a gigantic bloody leopard.
    • An interesting twist on this is Buggy. While not the largest by far, he is a toweringly lanky figure. However, when he is defeated and separated from his crew, portions of his arms, legs, neck and torso were stolen, reducing him to a chibi-version of himself standing at barely 3 feet tall. However, the moment he is reunited with his crew he finds his missing body parts and resumes his more imposing form.
      • Buggy invokes this after becoming a Warlord: he detaches his arms and legs and spreads them about as far out as they can go, then wears a large black cloak over all the empty space left between, leaving an impression of being far bigger than he truly is.
    • And there's the 3 Admirals, who are impossibly tall by human standards while keeping the same proportion, generally being a lot more human-looking than any of the other giant bosses in the series (though also a bit smaller, considering they tend to top out at three meters or so).
    • Averted with the Straw Hats. Luffy is the third shortest; only barely taller than Nami and the shortest, Chopper, can become much larger than Luffy.
    • Also averted with Blackbeard; while he is a huge man, a little over eleven feet tall, there are bigger members of his crew, including Vasco Shot, who towers over him at 22 feet. And that's not even getting started on San Juan Wolf, who looks to be as tall as the Sears Tower and as a giant among giants is the largest humanoid character in the series.
  • This trope is taken Up to Eleven with the Raven in Princess Tutu. He's so large that his wings blacken the sky when he's overhead and when his feet touch the ground, a single claw is large enough for a teenage girl to hug. Of course, he's also pretty much a symbol of evil in the series, so he's nearly always depicted in abstract — glowing red eyes in the sky, a huge foot stepping down onto the ground, etc.
  • In Ranking of Kings, the Captain of the Order of the Underworld is bigger than his already tall subordinates in the order. Naturally he is their leader as well as seemingly the strongest; his strength isn't of the mindless brute variety however, as he and the order act like reasonable soldiers.
  • Done comically in School Rumble with the manga institutions Chief Editor being ridiculously large. So much in fact that he shakes hands with one of the characters using only the tip of his finger.
  • Super Dimension Fortress Macross: putting aside the fact that all Zentraedi are giants when compared to humans, Breetai is unusually tall for a Zentraedi and is the commander of the Zentraedi forces in the solar system. Bodolza towers over even him and is the Supreme Commander of the entire Zentraedi armada.
  • Inverted with Meliodas in The Seven Deadly Sins. He is the leader of the Seven Deadly Sins but he is the shortest member (5' feet, 152 cm). Even King is taller than him (5'5" feet, 162 cm). Of course it's difficult to being this trope when one of his subordinates is Diane (30' feet, 914 cm).
  • Lordgenome from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, who's at least seven feet tall and densely muscular. Even more so with Thymilph the Crasher, first among his four generals and literal 800 Pound Gorilla.
  • In Tokyo Ghoul, the mysterious leader of Aogiri both plays this straight and subverts it. She's a King Incognito, and actually a tiny young woman easily mistaken for a child due to being so short. In their Kakuja form, however, they tower over everyone and are large enough to swallow a grown man whole.
  • Transformers:
    • Very evident in Transformers Victory, on both sides. Star Saber is the biggest of the regularly appearing Autobots, and is also the Supreme Commander. Deathsaurus is even bigger, standing twice as tall as the average Transformers, and naturally enough is the Decepticon Emperor of Destruction.
    • Evident in Transformers: Super-God Masterforce after the Godmasters appear. Ginrai has the biggest Autobot Transtector, and so Metalhawk hands command of the Earth Autobots over to him. Mega and Giga jointly command the Decepticons under Devil Z's leadership, and they can combine their Transtectors to form Overlord, who is even larger than Ginrai. To cap it off, Devil Z eventually combines with BlackZarak, who is bigger still.
    • This trope reached its ultimate expression in Transformers: ★Headmasters with Fortress Maximus and Scorponok. Both gain leadership over their respective factions, and both are roughly the size of a large building.

    Asian Animation 
  • Noonbory, the titular hero of Noonbory and the Super 7 is the leader of the Super Sensors, and the tallest of them all.

    Comic Books 
  • Alien: Among the Xenomorphs, the queen is much larger than the drones and warriors she spawns. However in the comic Aliens: Rogue, a Mad Scientist uses genetic engineering to create a tame "king" xenomorph even larger and heavier than the queen, whom he hopes will usurp the queens position and rid the world of the xenomorph threat forever. Surprisingly, instead of a Curb-Stomp Battle, the queen defeats the king by using her intelligence and speed to dodge its attacks and slowly wear it down until it has no strength left to defend itself.
  • The DCU:
    • Batman: The Joker, standing at 6-foot-5, tends to tower over his victims, adversaries, and even most of his henchmen. However, he is also seriously underweight and tends to be useless in a fight without some kind of weapon in his hands. Of course, if you make him really, really mad... His size is greatly a matter of Depending on the Artist though. Batman, a 6 ft 2 (without his cowl) and is often much either taller or at face-to-face height with him.
    • New Gods: Darkseid towers over the other New Gods. It goes even farther than that. New Genesis and Apokolips are billions of times bigger than Earth. The Boom-Tubes actually shrink him when he visits Earth. At his regular size, he could hold Earth in his hand. So, among titanic beings, he's still the biggest.
    • Suicide Squad: She's more of an Anti-Hero (or possibly an Anti-Villain), but Amanda Waller qualifies. She may not be tall, but she's still physically imposing. Her force of personality is equal to her size, too, and is one of the few who can stand toe-to-toe with Batman.
    • Supergirl: In Red Daughter of Krypton, Supergirl fights a genocidal alien race species called Diasporans. Their leader is the biggest and strongest of them.
    • Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons: Zeus, as Top God, is a giant in comparison to the other Olympians. The other male Olympians are also shown as taller than their female counterparts.
  • Fables: Subverted. The Adversary appears to be a huge, armored warrior, but the real Adversary is little old Geppetto, and the nominal Emperor the public sees is his literal puppet.
  • Justice Society of America: "Ma" Hunkel may be in her '80s, but she's still pretty huge and capable of kicking your ass (and then baking you cookies). Even more so back in her heyday, when she ran around as a superhero, the Red Tornado.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Sherlock Holmes' portly older brother Mycroft is the head of British Intelligence, where he is known as M. (This is but one example of common theories about the character.)
  • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past: Upon arrival in the Dark World, Link is confronted by three thieves and their "boss," a huge cyclops Hinox. They make trouble by questioning Link about a fairy they're hunting.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Kingpin is an intimidatingly tall and heavyset man. At first you might make the mistake of thinking he is just morbidly obese, but don’t be fooled, that weight is pure muscle.
    • The Magnificent Ms. Marvel: King Maliq Zeer towers above every other member of his species and rules them with an iron fist.
    • Spider-Man: The Big Man is a very tall and powerfully built man with a very intimidating voice, but subverts this because in reality, he's Frederick Foswell, a reporter for the Daily Bugle, a small, meek individual who uses a padded suit, a mask, and a voice modifier to better look and sound the part of a criminal mastermind. In the comics, his daughter Janice later pulled the same trick as the Big Man. In The Spectacular Spider-Man, the Big Man is ostensibly revealed as a Villain with Good Publicity, Tombstone, a tall, powerfully built man with an intimidating voice.
  • Negation subverts this somewhat with third-tier villain Komptin, whose first appearance in the flesh shows him to be half-human height and rotund, as opposed to the huge, looming figure on the communications screen.
  • Shakara: Warlord Skulka of the Xorn Empire seems to tower over all his subjects.
  • Star Wars: Legacy: Darth Krayt, leader of the One Sith, follows Darth Vader's legacy of being large and imposing thanks to the Vong growths in his body and armor. Many of his subordinates are tall and muscular in themselves, but he stands out even among them. Subverted in Legacy War when he finally learns how to rid himself of the growths and he drops back down to normal human size. A trade made willingly, coming as it does with a more than equal growth in his force power and the removal of the time limit the growths place on his life span.
  • The Transformers (Marvel) notably had some difficulty with this when word came down that the new faction leaders were Scorponok and Fortress Maximus, both of whom turn into entire fortress playsets that are regularly referred to as cities and should therefore be dozens of times bigger than their subordinates (and Fort Max's toy is double the size of Scorponok's on top of that). Consequently, the two of them had their city modes never appear in the comics, and Fort Max was shrunk down considerably, though he was still about twice the height of his troops.
  • Wild C.A.T.s (WildStorm): Averted. Jacob Marlowe (Lord Emp) is the multi-millionaire financier as well as the team leader. He's also shown to be rather far below average height. (Four feet tall wouldn't be far off, though with scales being what they are in comics, it's sometimes hard to say.)

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): In this Godzilla MonsterVerse fanfiction, the Many's Hive Queen which is Keizer Ghidorah positively towers above the Many's Mind Hives, including the Elite Mook MaNi/Elder Brother which is partly made of Ghidorah's detached right head.

  • Scourge chat logs spawned the phrase "Wyrms before worms". If you click a link under "Store", you'll see there are shirts and mugs with an illustration. Because "phylumism is hilarious".
  • Tsuruya's father in Kyon: Big Damn Hero is explicitly mentioned as being larger than his daughter's bodyguard, who's large as it is. He's also in charge of the largest Yakuza group in the story.
  • The Tainted Grimoire: Eden is a massive Bangaa. He is also the Lord of Camoa and one of the members of the Coronet.
  • The Pony POV Series, in addition to the Princesses (obviously) also has the dragon queen Tiamat, who is so big that she blots out the sun when at full height, and she also managed to single-handedly end the Dragon-Hooviet War, just by showing up.
  • Fluttershy's mom, Barricade, from Mothers. She's captain of the royal Pegasus guard, nearly twice as large as her daughter, and a Large Ham to boot.
  • Tales of the Emperasque takes it Up to Eleven: the God-Emperor of Mankind was an example in canon, but now this psychic powerhouse has a body of seventy-feet long, fifty-feet tall Tarrasque.
  • In Eugenesis, we hear Nightbeat's thoughts on pre-Earth Optimus Prime: Large and blocky, a proud staple of Golden Age Cybertronian engineering. However this means by modern (meaning 2012) standards he's woefully fuel-inefficient.
  • Warbound Widow has Gamzee Makara who after his molt is now over fourteen feet tall and holds the title of Grand Highblood. Word of God confirmed he's now the largest troll in the Empire.
  • Dimensional Wars:
    • Many of the "Bradanksas" are known to be born with the genetic power to become size-shifters with the capability to grow gigantic at will. However, it's more that their entire family have served the people of Moebius and their family has members who have influenced it's history that makes these giants really fit to rule. Other giant characters, like Dr. Ophelia Daniel for instance, merely works in the "Bad Egg Unit" as a research engineer and doesn't really use her super-size to do anything more than to perform villainous acts and defend herself.
    • Griefan Nathaniel Bradanska comes out of the first "Great Dimensional War" as a war hero to the Moebian side, and eventually goes on to become the 'baron' of the New Order faction. Grief will get mad at his underlings, but he saves all his gigantic ferocity on his foes as he leads by example up front and rampages through his enemies ranks, (with adequate air support and artillery support that is.)
  • The Bridge: Zigzagged. Princess Celestia is the largest of the Equestrians, towering over the normal ponies and being a full head taller than the next largest, Princess Luna. On the Mutations and Defender kaiju factions however, it gets vague. The grown up Godzilla Junior is the largest of the Defender faction and one of its co-leaders, but it's not by much; and his co-leader Mothra Lea is much smaller and lighter. In his unicorn based Equestrian body he is still the heaviest and most massive, but now Mothra Lea is taller due to her gaining a Changeling queen body. Meanwhile it's averted entirely with the Mutations as in both their true forms and Equestrian forms of pegasus and unicorn respectively, second-in-command Destroyah is larger than group leader Xenilla.
  • Black Wings, Black Sails: In the canon of the Temeraire series, it is mentioned briefly that William Laurence is broad-shouldered, otherwise reasonably built from his time as a fighting captain, and maybe around average height or so. In this story, Laurence is apparently taller, more imposing, and much stronger from his life of piracy than how he comes across in the original series, easily able to shove through a deck full of sailors and aviators fighting to hold him back. He even knocks out Dayes with a single punch.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: There is a very prevalent running theme in the canon material of the leaders of species and societies being much larger — usually taller, specifically — than their subjects. This extends to the Packleaders, who tend to be larger than the other wolves; Twilight at one point thinks that they're what she'd expect the dire wolves of legend to be like. The Alpha of the Packlands is even bigger, being at least as tall as Celestia.
  • FFS, I Believe in You:
    • In life, King Doomsnarl was colossal, far larger than regular lizalfos get.
    • In the sequel, the Mormaer Uisdean is the largest and strongest zora in Zola Province, where he rules uncontested. Notably, however, he still doesn't match the immense size and strength of King Dorephan.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: The Return of Jafar: Iago says (in reference to Jafar) "He's large... and IN CHARGE!" This qualifies with Jafar in both regular and genie forms.
  • In The Book of Life, Chakal, the king of the bandits, is a giant compared to his men.
  • Brave: The Prince in the legend who became Mor'du tried to invoke this trope when he wanted to be sole heir instead of the kingdom being divided equally among him and his brothers. Compared to his brothers, the Prince was simply enormous.
  • In The Brave Little Toaster Goes to Mars, the Martian appliances are lead by a "Supreme Commander" who is a 50-foot refrigerator. He lampshades this trope when an appliance asks why they should vote for him in the next election.
    Martian Appliance: Supreme Commander, why should you get my vote?
    Supreme Commander: Because I'm BIGGER than any of you!
  • DC Animated Movie Universe: Exaggerated with Darkseid. While he is normally portrayed as very tall even for his race, this version is a literal giant who is the size of a small building, far bigger than any of his minions or any other hero.
  • Mufasa from The Lion King (1994), as would be expected from a pride of lions.
  • My Little Pony: Equestria Girls: Celestia and Luna seem to be normal-statured as humans, and have been rather drastically demoted. Being adults around Teenagers does still have them taller than most of the cast whom they are still in a position of authority over.
  • Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: In the second film, the villains are a Big, Thin, Short Trio headed by Lord Japper, who falls under the "big" category. Or so the film leads you to think. Counsoler the gecko, the "short" member of the trio, was actually the one leading Lord Japper the whole time.
  • Robots: Bigweld is the biggest robot in the movie aside from the Big Bad.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: All incarnations of the Kingpin are huge but special mention has to be made of his appearance in the movie, which sees him heavily stylized in the manner of Bill Sienkiewicz's take on the character.
  • Storks: Hunter, the CEO of the stork company is taller than the rest of the storks.
  • In Strange Magic, The Bog King is the tallest of the goblins he rules over. This also applies to a lesser degree to the fairies and elves, with the taller elves ruling over the shorter elves.
  • Spoofed in Victor & Hugo — Bunglers in Crime. The titular brothers' boss, Mr. Big is a mouse in a huge human suit designed to MAKE him seem big and intimidating.
  • Zootopia: Large animals, especially carnivores, are usually the ones in authority. The police force is mostly made up of large mammals, Da Chief is a massive cape buffalo and the mayor is a towering lion. Inverted by Mister Big, the Don of the Tundratown mafia and one of the most feared criminals in the city. Judy assumes one of the massive polar bears is the boss, only to learn it’s the tiny arctic shrew the biggest one is carrying in his paws.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Persian "God-King" Xerxes in 300 is huge to non-human proportions. According to 300: Rise of an Empire, this is because he has become literally godlike prior to the events of the films.
  • Alien: The Xenomorph foot soldiers or "drones" are already significantly larger than their hosts (usually humans), but the Queen Xenomorph who creates all the others is about the size of a T. rex.
  • Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem: The Predalien hybrid towers over the human-spawned Xenomorphs given that its host was the already large Predator. Though it's implied that the Predalien is a young Queen (given her depositing alien embryos in any human she can get her hands on) who would ultimately have grown even larger than a human-spawned one.
  • DC Extended Universe:
    • One reason Ben Affleck was cast as Batman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is because he's taller than the already big Henry Cavill, and once Affleck bulked up, the Dark Knight seems massive even next to Superman. Given Batman will lead the Justice League, the "in charge" also fits (even if Aquaman, Jason Momoa, is slightly taller).
    • In Justice League, Steppenwolf is a literal giant, being roughly eight feet tall and towering over his Parademons (all of whom are over six foot themselves).
  • Deep Blue Sea: There are three genetically enhanced sharks in the film: two first-generation 20 foot ones, and a second-generation 45 foot one. Guess which one bosses the other two around, and is the last of the sharks to go down?
  • The President in The Fifth Element, a Bald Black Leader Guy played by the massive Tommy "Tiny" Lister.
  • Godzilla: This trope is a given when Kaiju form teams and alliances. Examples include Godzilla towering over Mothra and Rodan; taken Up to Eleven with Magita the king of the Trilopods; and in the MonsterVerse, King Ghidorah in the MonsterVerse towering over Godzilla and other kaiju and becoming The Usurper to Godzilla's dominance over the other kaiju, and the Alpha Skullcrawler likewise being larger than the others of its kind.
  • The Hobbit:
    • King Thrandui is played by the 6'5" Creator/Pace, and towers over pretty much everyone else including his subordinates.
    • Azog towers over the other orcs at the Battle of Azanulbizar. Azog's son Bolg, who is subservient to him but still commands his own army, actually rivals him in height. All of Azog's lieutenants are noticeably taller than regular orcs.
    • The Master of Lake-Town, both in terms of his girth and by virtue of being played by the extremely tall Stephen Fry.
    • In the first film, William is the largest of the three trolls (11 feet tall) and functions as the leader. There's also of course the Great Goblin like in the book, who in this version is nearly the size of a troll.
  • Howl (2015): Scar, the leader of the werewolf pack is distinctly bigger and more muscular in build than the rest of the werewolves in the film. Once he's dead, the remaining three werewolves have amongst their number one notable female werewolf who seems to have superiority over the other two.
  • The Hunger Games: President Coriolanus Snow. Being played by 6"4" Donald Sutherland will do that to a character.
  • The President in Idiocracy, used to illustrate America's idiocy in that it would elect a professional wrestler (and porn star) to the highest political office.
  • Independence Day: Resurgence: The Harvester Queen is much larger than its pint-sized drones, to the point one of its "hands" is the size of a bus the Queen pursues.
  • Jurassic World:
    • Hoskins has a very high rank within InGen as head of security operations, which is not an inconsiderable leadership position given the sheer size of the company. As for being large, he's played by the 6 ft. 3.5 in. Vincent D'Onofrio.
    • The Indominus rex effectively, when she communicates with and takes over the Velociraptor pack (the Indominus is about the size of a T. rex).
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:
    • Sauron's humanoid form, as depicted in the Distant Prologue, towers over humans, elves, and orcs, although he's still not as big as a troll.
    • Durin's Bane, the balrog of Moria, is a twenty-foot tall demon of shadow and flame. The goblins and trolls it rules are almost as terrified of it as the heroes are.
  • In Princess of Mars, Tal Hajus, supreme leader of the Tharks, is noticeably larger and fatter than any of his subjects; he invokes Adipose Rex and this trope in equal measures.
  • Lord Humungus in The Road Warrior is the masked behemoth leading a band in the wastelands.
  • In The Santa Clause, the Christmas Elves are all played by child actors, save Santa Claus' second-in-command, Bernard, who was played by a then-teenage David Krumholtz. Naturally, this meant that he was at least One Head Taller than the others.
  • In Space Jam, the cigar-chomping Swackhammer is both a scheming executive and a Mean Boss to his relatively tiny minions; when they are later asked why they follow him, all they can manage is that they do because he's "bigger"... At which (having just almost won a basketball game with talents and abilities they still possess) they realize that "bigger" is relative. ("Bigger than we used to be...")
  • In the Star Wars films:
    • Darth Vader is by far the tallest human in the series, played by the 6'6" (2.0 m) David Prowse. He would have been even taller had Prowse and the 7'2" (2.2 m) Peter Mayhew (Chewbacca) not mutually agreed on which parts they would play. Inverted by the heroes: the leader who gets the most screen time, Princess Leia Organa, is a diminutive 5'1. Their tallest member (Chewbacca) has no leadership position.
    • In the prequels, Boss Nass of the Gungans. (Boss Nass is an Ankura, a subspecies of Gungan with a different body structure than most of them.) Lampshaded by George Lucas in the director's commentary.
    • The Separatists follow this in the prequels too. Count Dooku is played by the 6'4 Christopher Lee, while General Grievous is over seven feet tall. Even Non-Action Guy Nute Gunray is 6'3, which is somewhat above average for his species.
    • Jabba the Hutt. And, in the Expanded Universe, all other Hutts, as well. (Hutts, in fact, consider girth to be a sign of strength and power, and consider small Hutts to be weak and less worthy.)
    • Ironically subverted with Emperor Palpatine, the main villain, who has the appearance of a frail old man.
    • The Force Awakens gives us Kylo Ren, played by the 6'3, heavily-built Adam Driver. His bulkiness is emphasized in a Shirtless Scene in The Last Jedi, and he tends to tower over his men. The leading villains are all over six feet tall (Pryde at 6'2, Phasma at 6'3, and Hux at 6'1), and Snoke, who's already 7'2 tall, goes the extra mile by communicating via giant, room-filling hologram. The villains besides Kylo are all pretty skinny, though.
  • Almost subverted with the Transformers Film Series.
    • In the first movie, Optimus Prime is by far the largest Autobot (at 28 feet tall), however Megatron (at 33 feet tall) is according to Word of God, not the largest Decepticon in the movie. Blackout (the helicopter) apparently was (he was 35 feet tall), but due to the way the camera angles are set up, Megatron appears to be the biggest Decepticon and thus, the biggest Transformer in the entire film.
    • The sequel plays this a little more straight. With Megatron reduced to The Dragon status due to the new Big Bad, The Fallen, who despite being much less massive in appearance, is actually taller at 41 feet tall.

  • In the Lone Wolf series, the squad leaders of the evil Giak battalions are huge Lizardfolks called Gourgaz. They double as Giant Mooks if you have the bad luck of tussling with one.

  • Although it's not the reason, in the novel 1632, the union leader Mike Stearns ends up being the leader (for quite awhile) of the newly formed nation. When Gretchen (a downtimer from 1632) first encounters him, she remarks "He could have broken (evil leader) in half".
  • In Alien in a Small Town, the leaders of Jannite society are their breeding matriarchs, who are essentially living mountains.
  • In Animorphs the hero and team leader Jake is a minor example of this. He's just a kid, but he's a kid built with a football player's stocky physique and is both the tallest and strongest member of his team. In a later book set in the future, Jake's adult body is described as having a 'Schwarzenegger-esque' build.
  • Glen Cook's The Black Company series subverts and plays this trope straight. Character descriptions are minimal, but Croaker is described as being a big man. Likewise, Silent, the most competent of the Company mages is also universally portrayed as being tall. By contrast, Goblin and One-Eye are referred to as "runts," (especially by Croaker) and prefer not to be in charge (mostly so they can waste their time feuding with each other or distilling alcohol). Sleepy subverts this trope, as she is very intelligent and competent, but also very short.
  • In Brave New World the lower castes are deliberately stunted with alcohol and conditioned to associate size with authority. Bernard Marx has a massive inferiority complex because he's an alpha but for some reason (many suspect accidental alcohol administration) he's as short as many gammas.
  • Justified with Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: While he isn't suggested to be particularly tall/physically imposing in most illustrations and adaptations, he towers over his entire workforce: a race of Little People who come up to his knee at most in the book! Adaptations usually have them at the stature of real life little people instead, but he's still the tallest.
  • Ciaphas Cain has been stated to be one of the tallest in most groups (at least two meters). And he's the Commissar, which means not only is he In Charge, he has the option to shoot anyone who disagrees. (He still has to do what the Commissariat and the Inquisition say, though.)
  • Togrul in the Conqueror books is khan of the Kerait tribe, and also the biggest, fattest person in all Mongolia. Genghis Khan himself is also rather tall.
  • Shade from Dark Life is the leader of the Seablite gang, and is described as being enormous.
  • In The Saga of Darren Shan, this is expected of Vampire Princes, to the point where The Smart Guy Kurda Smahlt almost lost the vote because he doesn't have "muscles the size of bowling balls". Even Paris Skyle, 800 years old, is like that. But then Darren, a child, becomes a Prince in Kurda's place, being an even bigger exception.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • The novel Men at Arms subverts this. With the leader of a savage dog pack purported to be menacing, lethal, and incredibly dangerous, you come to assume he's going to be one big dog, but it turns out that he's actually a small poodle that wets himself near constantly and is more than a little insane. He remains incredibly dangerous.
    • Played with in the case of Captain Carrot plays. He's 6'6 and has the approximate body shape of his namesake due to his hugely developed musculature. He's neither the leader of the watch nor the ruler of the city, but he has to actively work to not be any of those things, since most people obey him unthinkingly.
    • Amongst others are Mustrum Ridcully (Archchancellor of UU, and apparently quite a big man), Hughton Ridcully (Mustrum's brother, and chief priest of Blind Io, and consequently the whole religious organisation in the city), Harry King (one of the biggest employers in the city, and apparently also a big man), the brothers Upright (run all the stagecoaches in the city, and again, big men, and in this case pretty portly as well). Perhaps surprisingly averted with the trolls, there's nothing to suggest that the most powerful trolls in the city (Chrysoprase and Mister Shine) are considered big by their standards.
    • Among the Nac Mac Feegle, the war chief's title is "Big Man".
  • The Dresden Files: After Toot-Toot founds a pixie militia to do business with Harry Dresden, he triples in size over the course of a few books. This puts him at 18 inches tall, towering over his six-inch-tall comrades.
  • Patriarch Bergsten from The Elenium is a massive Thalasian priest who uses his loud voice, huge form and threats with his battle axe to rein in his drunken king and his subordinates. Justified in that he was a former Church Knight who took up the cloth. Subverted, though, in that, despite his bellicose introduction, he is a patriarch of the Church, and helps a man who committed a mercy killing recover from his guilt at the action.
  • The Estuary: Mayor Jack Thornton is often thought of as "The fat man" by people who don't know him and is a brave, firm, and commanding presence.
  • Duke Abel Marnhull of Grent's Fall was tall, but the Bladecleaver towered over him. Word of God says they were 6'0" and 6'9", respectively.
  • The Master Captain in Robert Reed's Great Ship universe is a massive woman, courtesy of her huge amounts of implants which she uses to interface with the Great Ship
  • Damon Knight's short story "The Handler" is centered around a subversion of this trope; the Big Man at a party is just a puppet controlled by the despised pathetic little man crammed inside his chest.
  • In Hard Times, Josiah Bounderby, factory owner, is shaped like a balloon, and as Stephen puts it, "as large and loud as a Hummobee".
  • Harry Potter:
    • Earlier in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry mentions that Dudley is the leader of his gang by virtue of being the biggest, strongest, and dumbest of the lot of them.
    • Olympe Maxime is the headmistress of Beauxbatons Academy of Magic is twice as tall as an average human, which naturally happens when being a Half Giant.
    • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Hagrid explains that the easiest way to identify the "gurg", or chief, of a giant tribe is to look for the biggest, ugliest, and laziest one.
  • Heavy Weather by Bruce Sterling: Jerry, the leader of the Storm Troupers, is a bodybuilder. He thinks that if he's physically larger than the others, they will be more likely to just do what he says and not waste his time by asking for explanations.
  • Ward of Hurog is large, and as his father dies at the beginning of the book, in charge of castle Hurog. He is likened to an ox at the beginning of the duology, later on it is mentioned that average men are about the height of his shoulders. It's inherited, some of his ancestors, including his father were just as tall, but unlike them, Ward is a Gentle Giant.
  • It All Started With Columbus notes that George Washington being "a very tall man" made it hard for the presidents following him to measure up to him.
  • In the House of the Keys to the Kingdom, this is pretty much universal. The Trustees and their higher-up servants are especially tall, usually about 7-9 feet. When a worker is demoted in Grim Tuesday, she shrinks about an inch.
  • Aragorn from The Lord of the Rings stood at 6'6', which was considered very tall for Men at the end of the Third Age. As a rule of thumb within the book, Men who lead a company are also its tallest members: Boromir, Faramir, Eomer, and Theoden before he became bent with age, and others. Gandalf (who admittedly only looks like a Man) was also the tallest member of the Fellowship while he led it.
    • Men of Númenor were noted for generally being taller than typical Men, and their height was often indicative of their personal power and social standing. Elendil (regarded as the greatest Man of his age) was about 8 feet tall.
    • Another Tolkien example is the Great Goblin from The Hobbit.
    • Bullroarer Took was a military leader of sorts, and widely known to be so large he could ride a horse. Considering that he was a Hobbit, this is very impressive indeed.
    • Height as a measure of power and standing was also typical among the Elves. Thingol, King of Doriath in The Silmarillion, is said to be the tallest of all the Children of Ilúvatar, though his exact height is never given. Also among the tallest elves are Turgon, King of Gondolin, and Maedhros (called The Tall), eldest son of Fëanor. Galadriel is said to be the tallest elf-woman, equal with Celeborn.
  • In the last Mistborn novel, Hero of Ages, Vin deliberately and knowingly exploits the this trope by blatantly inverting it against koloss. "Barely five feet tall," she shocks entire koloss armies by jumping up and smacking down the biggest koloss she can find, typically in the range of nine to ten feet in height and proportionally bulky and muscular. Her "pet" koloss states that she is "big inside" as a rationalization of how such a small person can literally scare entire armies of brutes into submission.
  • In the New Jedi Order, the Yuuzhan Vong are physically much larger than humans. Most notable was Supreme Overlord Shimrra, ruler of the Yuuzhan Vong, and was huge even for a Yuuzhan Vong.
  • In the Paradox Trilogy, Reaper has a reputation as the most fearsome of the three xith'cal tribe leaders. He's also enormous, towering over all other xith'cal, which are already big by human standards.
  • Alderman Foodbotham, one-time Lord Mayor of Bradford in the Peter Simple newspaper column, was invariably described as weighing 25 stone (350 pounds).
  • In Queen Zixi of Ix, the lord high general of Noland starts off short and fat, and when this is pointed out by the king, he wishes he were 10 feet tall. Unfortunately, he's wearing the magic cloak when he does this, and instantly gets his wish fulfilled. The king promptly dubs him the lord very high general.
  • In the Rod Allbright Alien Adventures, the monster Smorkus Flinders is the leader of his race by dint of his size. The monsters have difficulty understanding any other form of hierarchy.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, King Robert Baratheon is described as "towering over lesser men" at 6'6, and being muscled like a woman's fantasy when he was in his prime. This is justified by the fact that he won his crown by fighting. His brothers Renly and Stannis, both lords and claimants to the kingship, are also very tall and fit, though nowhere near as muscular as he was in his prime. Other examples include Gregor Clegane, a monstrously huge knight who leads a troop of soldiers on particularly vicious missions, Tywin Lannister, who is noted to be quite tall as part of his general No Historical Figures Were Harmed take on Edward I "Longshanks", and the Titan's Bastard, a giant of a sellsword who leads a mercenary company.
  • The Stormlight Archive: The Alethi are tall in general, but Kaladin is tall even by their standards. Among the bridge squad he leads, he is the tallest, except for the seven-foot Horneater named Rock. Even then, Rock only has a couple inches on him.
  • Alanon of the Sword of Shannara is over seven feet tall, and the leader of the heroes.
  • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Dead Sky Black Sun, Uriel thinks that the largest of the monstrous Unfleshed facing them is the leader and so tries to fight a duel with him, to keep them off. Then, their real — and much larger — leader shows up. (Fortunately, while a hideous cannabalistic monster, he's also a Reasonable Authority Figure, and he thinks there's something strange about Uriel to be considered.)
  • Tigerstar of Warrior Cats is described as a very large and muscular cat with very long, hooked claws. Inverted with Scourge of BloodClan, who is so tiny that most characters wonder what the heck he's doing sitting next to Bone, who is enormous (and Scourge's Dragon). Scourge quickly proves that his small size gives him speed and agility, which coupled with his ruthlessness make him one of the most lethal combatants in the series.
  • In Watership Down, the largest rabbit is almost always the leader of their warren. General Woundwort, for instance, is described as approaching the size of a hare and is immensely strong. The protagonists end up being an exception, with the average-sized Hazel being the Chief Rabbit. In fact, Woundwort assumes Bigwig to be the chief because of his size, and is disturbed when it turns out he isn't — Bigwig is at this point successfully fighting him off. He assumed the chief rabbit was even bigger.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Most myrddraal are human sized or slightly taller. Shaidar Haran, the most powerful member of that race (and possible avatar of the Big Bad) is almost half again as big. This is explicitly noted by the Forsaken when they first meet Haran.
    • Rand al'Thor, The Chosen One and ruler of more nations than are worth counting, is a whopping 7 feet 7 inches tall, and the reincarnation of a man of similar height. Combined with his fancy clothes and carefully-trained royal demeanor, he has no trouble dominating a room.

    Live-Action TV 


By Series:

  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Adam. George Hertzberg is huge, even having a few inches on Marc Blucas.
  • Doctor Who: Cyber-Controllers tend to be larger than normal Cybermen, and Emperor Daleks tower over normal Daleks. Except when said Emperor is Davros. Even then he wears casing to made himself seem bigger in Rememberance of the Daleks.
  • In Farscape all Scarrans were larger than most other bipedal races, but Emperor Staleek did appear appreciably larger still. Oddly enough, and despite his brutality on occasion, he also appeared to one of the more intelligent and reasonable Scarrans that we saw as well, so one would guess his size was not as much of a factor in actually choosing him as leader, but still was apparent.
  • Firefly has 6’2 Nathan Fillion as Malcolm Reynolds, and Mal’s boots probably make him a bit taller still. Mal can be very intimidating when he’s in an angry mood and is a fairly capable, pragmatic fighter. Of course, he still looks small next to Adam Baldwin’s Jayne but only because Adam is more muscular and brawny.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Drogon is the most aggressive and dominant of the three dragons, and notably bullies his two smaller siblings over food. He already has a growth spurt by Season 4 compared to his siblings, but gets MUCH bigger comparatively as the other two were kept locked up (and thus didn't grow as much).
    • Lord Yohn Royce is big and bearish in stature, and in charge of the second most powerful family in the Vale.
    • Malko is the captain of his ship, and is played by the massive and intimidating Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.
    • A recurring trait among the Wildlings, which examples including Tormund (possibly justified in his case by what happened with the giant), Styr, and the Lord of Bones who are clearly larger and burlier than their fellow Wildlings.
    • Xaro Xoan Daxos is 6"6 and towers over every other character. He ultimately outdoes the rest of the Thirteen in Qarth and becomes King of Qarth when the others are all assassinated.
    • The Greatjon is a 6'5 1/2" Boisterous Bruiser who is the head of a noble house in the North.
    • Tywin is 6'3" and is usually both the tallest and most intimidating person in any room he's in, unless it's The Mountain he's talking to.
  • In Jake and the Fatman, J.L. McCabe is the L.A. District Attorney, extremely overweight, and very definitely the boss. When he talks, everyone listens.
  • King Uther fits into this in Merlin. Anthony Head is kind of tall anyway, and the royal outfit and his usual intimidating scowl adds to it.
  • Supernatural:
    • Lucifer when he's possessing his his true vessel, Sam (who is 6'4").
    • In "Folsom Prison Blues", both Sam and Dean have cellmates who are larger than they are.
      Dean: I call top bunk!
      [Dean's cellmate smirks and places his things on the top bunk]
      Dean: Okay.
  • Many Big Bads in Super Sentai and Power Rangers are very large and wide. Since most of them are portrayed using People in Rubber Suits, these suits allow for very little movement for the suit actor involved. Some of these villains are so large, they can't even move by practical effects only, resulting in not taking an active part in fighting against the Rangers, until the final arc. Whenever the latter type of villain does fight the Rangers directly, he or she usually gains a One-Winged Angel form that is much smaller, to allow for better fight scenes. Examples include:
    • Daimaou from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger is a large demonic being clad in black robes who appears as the Big Bad in the final arc of the series. He is adapted into the third season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers as Master Vile, who only takes over as Big Bad for a short while, but is portrayed as more threatening than Lord Zedd.
    • Dark Specter, the Big Bad from Power Rangers in Space is naturally giant, described as being "the size of a planet" by one of his underlings. He is the mastermind behind the villains from all the previous seasons.
    • Leader Tau Zant from Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger, who falls in the category of immovable villains. He is a large centipede like warlord.
    • Crime Minister Yogoshimacritein is the true Big Bad of Engine Sentai Goonger and easily one head taller than most other cast members. His suit is used for the final form of the Big Bad Venjix in Power Rangers RPM.
    • Averted in Ressha Sentai Toqger. The Big Bad is Emperor Z, who is the only human faced villain in a cast of large suited villains. In fact, the largest member of the villains is a child, who is not very evil at all.
  • In Top Gear, Jeremy Clarkson, generally considered the lead presenter, is 6'5". This is especially apparent when compared to 5'7" co-presenter Richard Hammond. Clarkson regularly mocks Hammond for being short, and exploits his height by placing things (mainly cars on the "Cool Wall") out of Hammonds reach.

  • Subverted in KISS, whose lead singer and brains of the band Paul Stanley is of fairly average height, while his number-three man, bassist Gene Simmons, is the most physically imposing thanks to his thick metal armor and stilettoed platform shoes. Actually double-subverted if you think about it, because with his instantly recognizable "kabuki lizard" face, Simmons is undoubtedly the Face of the Band.
  • An even bigger subversion was Nirvana, whose leader Kurt Cobain was all of 5'9" (1.76 m). The other two members were the 6'0"/1.83 m Dave Grohl and the band's physical Big Guy, the 6'7"/2.01 m Krist Novoselic.
  • Also subverted by Shagrath, the lead singer of Dimmu Borgir, who, while not the scrawniest member of the band, looks puny compared to guitarist Silenoz.
  • Played straight with the late Pete Steele. Frontman and Face of the Band of Type O Negative who stood at a towering 6 foot 8.


  • In episode three of Mystery Show, a former student of Hans Jordi paints a vivid picture of Hans at 6-foot-6 and the no-nonsense way he ran the kitchen.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Vince McMahon, the man behind WWE, stands at six-foot-two and weighs about 250 pounds, pretty average by wrestling standards but gigantic compared to the other members of his family and his various assorted corporate cronies, except for his son-in-law Triple H. And he wears a padded suit to make himself look even larger.
  • The Nexus. Wade Barrett may not have been the largest man in that nine-man group, but he was definitely near the top of the list.
  • Played with in TNA's Aces & Eights. The Dragon of the team (and de facto leader in many of the brawls) was early on revealed to be the massive (6'7", 291 pounds) Drew Hankinson, a.k.a. "Director of Chaos" or "D.O.C." (pronounced like the monosyllabic slang term for a doctor). He was the first member of the gang to be publicly unmasked, and thus embodied the entire group for a number of months. However, as several other members of Aces & Eights were revealed, D.O.C. basically filled the role of Dumb Muscle.

  • Exploited in Embers in the Dusk with Saar Handerson, a particularly tall Astartes, who isn't actually in charge, but is often used as bait for Ork Warbosses who believe he must be.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Chess, where the King is usually the tallest piece on the board.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Many monsters grow in size as they increase in levels. This is especially evident with the dragons, who through their lives grow from a Pint-Sized Powerhouse to an ancient wyrm the size of a big cargo plane.
    • A third edition supplement includes a Large and larger size only feat called Large and In Charge. It adds knockback to the user's attacks of opportunity, allowing it to abuse "Instant Death" Radius, though it naturally required a high Strength score to be effective.
    • On a smaller scale, the race known as dark creepers in the 1st and 2nd Editions, and dark ones in the 3rd, are the size of Halflings, except the leader of each community, called a dark stalker; they're human-sized.
    • This is always the case with myconids, a subterranean race of fungus-men. Myconid range from 1 to 7 HD, and are about one foot tall per HD; there is only one 7 HD myconid in a community, and that one is the king.
    • This about sums up hill giant political philosophy — if you're big, you can boss about tinier things. Consequently, hill giants figure they've got free rein to rob and kill smaller humanoids, while their tribes are ruled by the tallest and fattest individuals who can still walk independently and all hill giants defer to the other, taller and mightier strains of giantkind.
    • Ulitharids tower over the common illithids they rule over, typically standing between seven and eight feet in height to the illithids' more human heights.
  • Exalted: The size of a disease god is directly proportional to the virulence, deadliness and spread of the sickness they oversee. Gods of chickenpox or head colds are often little more than five feet high, gods of smallpox, the plague or cholera stand tall and strong, and the gods of the Great Contagion are said to have towered over buildings.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The "rulers" of the Slivers are much larger than even their largest subordinates — specifically, all three have 7 power and 7 toughness, while the largest Sliver (aside from a variant designed to sabotage opposing Sliver decks) has 4 and 4. In real life terms, they would also be physically larger; the Queen is dozens of feet long, the Overlord a mashup from at least four other Slivers, and the Legion actually being a Hive Mind spread out among many Sliver bodies.
    • The green Phyrexian faction is led by Vorinclex. It really fits his personality.
  • Warhammer 40,000 models from the "Headquarters" section of the Codices tend to be noticeably larger than rank-and-file figures, the better to accommodate details like the Bling of War. Alternatively, a model's status can be measured by the size of his pauldrons.
    • Justified by the Orks' biology — not only do greenskins never stop growing, but successful or aspiring bosses will actually bulk up and grow even faster (helped by the species's power of Clap Your Hands If You Believe, which makes their expectation of physically imposing leaders into a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy). Exemplified in Warlord Ghazghkull, the self-proclaimed Prophet of the Waaagh!, who's nearly twenty feet tall. This all makes it very easy for Orks to tell who their superiors and underlings are, leading them to comment that humans' military hierarchy is confusing since we're "all 'bout da same size" and therefore must waste valuable time arguing over who's in charge (though some have wised up to the fact that those in charge have the nicest hats).
      • In The Beast Arises, the titular Beast is noted to be possible the largest Ork Warboss ever seen, a towering 10 stories tall. The Astartes sized orks standing near him look like small children in comparison. In The Last Son of Dorn novel in Chapters 17-18, one of the Prime Orks, on that was known as The Beast, as a big as a small Gargant, approximately 22 metres (75 feet) tall, and wielded a Vibro-Mace the size of a Space Marine. The worst part is that The Beast was six giant Warbosses that could pull the Orks, a mass of football hooligans, into a functioning army that used moons to bombard planets by sheer force of charisma, intelligence, and force.
      • Behold, /tg/'s Deffboss. He was supposed to be the sole survivor of the original batch of Orks, millions of years ago, and has kept fighting and growing ever since. Currently, he's the size of a planet, with a whole Ork ecosystem living in his body, who built fortifications as his armor.
    • Tyranid Synapse creatures tend to be much bigger than the rest of the swarm, though it should be noted that not every large Tyranid is necessarily a Synapse creature. Imperial policy on the matter is to "shoot the big ones!" and hope that it helps.
    • Space Marines start out with a foot or two on regular humans, and due to their genetic modification will slowly but continuously grow throughout their lives. Their commanders are usually at least eight feet tall, the Primarchs of old were even bigger, and the Emperor Himself was reputably as immense as you'd expect a Physical God to be. Chaos Space Marines follow the same scheme, and Warlords who ascend to Daemon Princedom grow to be the size of Dreadnoughts.
    • Abaddon the Despoiler, leader of the Black Legion is described as being a giant even for Chaos Space Marine, the artwork not always reflecting this, but is dwarfed by the Daemon Princes in his ranks.
    • Thanks to several millennia of cumulative augmentation, Belisarius Cawl, Archmagos Dominus of the Adeptus Mechanicus, is positively monstrous in size, dwarfing even Primarchs and comparable only to some of the larger walkers and Carnifex-type beasts. He's not quite in charge of all the Adeptus Mechanicus (he's too much of a radical to get that particular position), but he's quite close.
  • Warhammer: Orcs, Ogres, and Daemons. Orcs for the same reason as in 40K, Greater Daemons are the stronger leaders of the Lesser Daemons, and Ogres because when you're really big, you have to listen to the guy who's really, really big
    • There are only two real "ranks": Grots and Bosses. A Grot is anything smaller than you, and is to be kicked and abused at your leisure; a Boss is anything bigger than you, and is to be feared and respected.
  • Several "boss" monsters in Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • El Shaddoll Construct is the most powerful Shaddoll, and the orchestrator of The Corruption that created the other Shaddoll. As its card shows, it is titanic in size, making El Shaddoll Winda seem the size of a mouse.
    • Archfiend Emperor, the First Lord of Horror is gigantic too, making the Archfiend Soldier and Archfiend General at its feet look minute by comparison.


    Video Games 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Redd White is the CEO of Bluecorp, and a pretty big guy. This is supposedly because the episode he appears in was originally going to be at the beginning of the game, and that the creator wanted the first villain of the game to be "tough".
    • Manfred von Karma (The Dreaded prosecutor) and Damon Gant (Da Chief) are both similar in size to White.
  • In Aquaria, every single boss is at least 3 times as big as Naija, the protagonist. Most are a lot bigger. It's also carried to its logical conclusion — the [humanoid] Final Boss, The Creator, is so gigantic that his eye is almost as big as Naija herself. With one exception, which also happens to be annoyingly fast and hard to hit.
  • In Armello, the King. It's not clear exactly how large he is, but he's at least head and shoulders over any of the heroes, including those of Bear Clan, despite being hunched in a Primal Stance. One good clue about his size is the artwork of his personal sword, Pride's Edge: Just the sword itself is bigger than one of the King's Guards who serve him.
  • Betrayal at Krondor: Gorath is the chieftain of a major clan, and is tall and broad-shouldered even by dark elf standards. Though it's notable that, having taken the position at age twelve, he was put in charge before he became large.
  • Bug Fables, being set in a world of intelligent bugs, uses this due to the Truth in Television with real-life Insect Queens. Queen Elizant II of the Ant Kingdom and Queen Bianca of the Bee Kingdom are much larger than their soldier and civilian subjects, while Queen Layra II of the Termite Kingdom is so massive that she has to have caretakers carry her around (though her husband Hector IV is shorter than average). The Wasp King, in contrast, is a bit shorter than the other wasps, but it turns out he's not only not the real ruler, he's not even a wasp. The actual Queen of the Wasp Kingdom, Vanessa II, is a straight example of this trope.
  • Dracula in the Castlevania series is usually (with a couple of notable exceptions) about twice the height of the protagonist when confronted, requiring the Belmont hero to jump in order to whip him in the face. This may be a Shout-Out to the original novel, in which one of the Count's unused but mentioned powers is to "grow and become small".
    • While most of his second forms are of the One-Winged Angel variety, his second form in the arcade game Haunted Castle is to become so large that only his head fits onscreen.
  • In City of Heroes and Villains, Lord of War Hro'Dtohz and Master At Arms U'Kon Gr'ai are several times larger than a typical Rikti.
    • The creatures of the Devouring Earth get progressively larger with rank, then make a huge leap to their creator Hamidon, who has taken the form of mile-wide giant amoeba.
    • Most of the Rularuu bosses are maybe twice human size. Rularuu himself (leader of the group) is explicitly stated to be over 100 feet in height.
    • Similarly, the small Hydra forces are man sized. They get bigger.
  • Death Stranding: Higgs is the tallest human character in the game, one of the main antagonists and the leader of Homo Demens. During a cutscene where Sam gets to Edge Knot City, Higgs can lift him up with one hand by his jaw, with Sam only being able to dangle his feet in the air uselessly. Troy Baker, who potrays Higgs, is 1,91 m (6,3 feet) tall.
  • In Devil May Cry, Mundus, the demon king, is one of the largest demons Dante has to face.
  • In Dissidia Final Fantasy, Golbez is much taller than most of the other characters, even though he's not really a villain at all, to the point that even though Cecil was scaled up to be the largest of the heroes note , he looks small enough beside Golbez (helped along by their many scenes together) that people mistake him for being one of the smaller characters in the game. Chaos himself is this trope.
    • In the original game he was also an exemplary of the "ridiculously over-sized enemy battle art" trope seen commonly in early RPGs, spanning the full height of the screen.
    • Chaos outright dwarfs any of the playable characters, except for Feral Chaos in the sequel, with even Goblez and the two characters around his size, Exdeath and Garland, being around foot shorter than him.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Most of the Qunari are already pretty big guys, standing seven or eight feet tall and being built like a bull (except for human and elven converts, of course). Their military leader, the Arishok, is even larger and more muscular, with larger horns as well.
    • The comic Those Who Speak proves that this is likely just a coincidence, however, and size alone is not the only deciding factor in who is Arishok. Your old companion Sten becomes the new Arishok after the death of the one in Dragon Age II, and while he's large compared to a human, he's not large for his race and is completely hornless.
    • The Elder One, Big Bad of the third game, is something like nine feet tall, and casually lifts the Inquisitor one-handed in his first appearance — even if the Inquisitor is Vashoth / "Qunari".
  • In Dragonshard, the Captains are much larger than the rest of their squads.
  • Dragon Quest IV: Estark is pretty freaking enormous when you encounter him, it makes all too much sense why his minions would want to reawaken him.
  • In Drakan: The Ancients' Gate, Arohk lampshades this on the way to optional boss Snotmaw's territory: "Since he's a chieftain, I'm guessing he's a very large wartok. Their system of government isn't particularly complex."
  • Dong Zhuo (Fat Bastard tyrant king) and Meng Huo (hulking Nanman tribal leader) from the Dynasty Warriors series.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The ancient Atmoran (proto-Nord) hero Ysgramor is implied to be this. (When his spirit is met in Sovngarde in Skyrim, he's at least eight feet tall, much taller than even the tallest playable races.) Other sources indicate that this may have been the case for all Atmorans, with their average height being much taller than modern men.
    • Tsun, the old Nordic god of "trials against adversity" and shield-thane of Shor, now serves to test warrior spirits for their worthiness to enter Shor's Hall of Valor in Sovngarde. He stands at least a full head taller than even the tallest mortals and judges the worthiness of these spirits by battling them in single combat.
    • In the Yokudan/Redguard pantheon, this is the case for Ruptga. Also known as the "Tall Papa", he is a massive being, said to be large enough to place the stars in the sky by hand, and is also the chief deity of the Yokudan pantheon.
    • Umaril the Unfeathered was an Ayleid sorcerer-king who ruled the Ayleid Empire at the time of the Alessian Revolt. He claims that his father was the "God of the World-River" from the previous kalpa, or cycle of time, making him a Half Ayleid Hybrid. Depictions have him at nearly twice the height of Pelinal Whitestrake during their battle. When he returns, he is noticeably taller than the Aurorans, who themselves were already quite tall.
  • It's no wonder that Chieftain from Elite Beat Agents is the lead character in the hard difficulty, being impressively tall and everything.
  • Played straight and heroically in two of three cases for Final Fantasy XIV 's Grand Companies, and definitely averted for the third. The leaders of Limsa Lominsa's Maelstrom, Merlwyb Bloefhiswyn,note  and Ul'dah's Immortal Flames, Raubahn are a Roegadyn and a heavily scarred giant of a Hyur, respectively. The Gridanian Twin Adders' leader, Kan-E-Senna, on the other hand is a diminutive Padjal who, while nowhere near as short as a Lalafell, would barely even come up to the waist of either of her fellow leaders.
    • You actually interact with a decent number of people who are of average height for their species and also in charge in some way. However, almost without exceptionnote , when it comes time to actually fight these people they will go all One-Winged Angel on you and become at minium twice the size they were before.
  • Fire Emblem has many, many of these.
    • The trend began with Prince and later Emperor Hardin from the third game (New Mystery of the Emblem). Hardin already was a rather tall man when he was Marth's Number Two, but became even bigger when he took over while Brainwashed and Crazy.
    • King Zephiel from the 6th. His sprite strongly resembles a General, but is even bigger and the BFS he wields doesn't help matters.
    • Hector from the seventh becomes this after the end of the game. He's noticeably bulkier than Eliwood and is mentioned to have more combat prowess than his best friend, and he becomes the Marquess of Ostia, which effectively makes him the leader of all of Lycia. Even in the sixth game, he goes down swinging.
    • The Laguz Kings, Ashnard, and arguably Ike (in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn) originally from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance are all this.
    • Played very, very straight by Emperor Walhart of Valm from Fire Emblem Awakening, who is by far the largest of the enemies one faces. King Gangrel of Plegia is also pretty tall, but he's not as bulky as Walhart is so he doesn't look that huge compared to him.
      • Downplayed by Prince and later Exalt Chrom from Ylisse, who is a fairly tall guy but nowhere in the league of Walhart.
    • Fire Emblem Fates has King Sumeragi of Hoshido and King Garon of Nohr, both very imposing and large leaders. Their sons and heirs, the Warrior Princes Ryoma and Xander, are also pretty tall and badass.
      • Xander's son Siegbert is shown in the Heirs of Fate DLC to be almost as tall as his father, despite still being a teenager, so he could easily be even bigger by the time he takes over Nohr. He's also one of the more powerful second-gen characters without needing a whole lot of setup.
  • Gears of War has General RAAM. At least 9 feet tall, he towers over the already big main characters. Averted in multiplayer, where his skin is downsized to the height of a normal Drone for Competitive Balance.
  • Halo:
    • Brute Chieftains tend towards this, in large part because the small ones tend to be overthrown and killed. There's a reason humanity calls the entire species Brutes, after all. Tartarus in Halo 2, who's the Chieftain of his entire species, stands at about a head taller than the other Brutes (who already average about 9'00"/274 cm), making them look outright skinny in comparison.
    • In Halo Wars, there's Arbiter Ripa 'Moramee, who easily dwarfs his fellow Elites. That's saying something when 7'4" (225 cm) is considered short for your species. Halo: Ghosts of Onyx also has Imperial Admiral Xytan Jar 'Wattinree, who's roughly 11'6" (3.5 meters), though Word of God leaves it ambiguous as to how much of that is simply visual trickery.
    • The Didact, the military leader of the Forerunners, is probably one of the largest character in the entire Haloverse. In fact, Forerunner society in general seems to run like this, with individuals acquiring new mutations that make them even larger as they advance in rank; Bornstellar Makes Eternal Lasting's father, a fairly high-ranking Forerunner, was about 4 meters (aka roughly 13'1") tall.
    • In general, the Covenant military has Elites and Brutes in charge of the smaller species like Grunts and Jackals; the even bigger Hunters, though still subordinate to Elites and Brutes, also seem to be put into a commanding role, though they tend to be a Bad Boss should any allies happen to be in their way (re: stomping on/smacking them away for being in the way).
  • This is standard for the court cards in Hand of Fate, ranging from the Jack of Dust, who is slightly taller than other bandits, to the King of Scales, a dragonic dinosaur who is four time bigger than normal lizardmen (who are themselves somewhat bigger than humans).
  • Kirby: King Dedede. Kirby's height has been given as eight inches, which would make King Dedede about as large as an actual penguin. When scaled up along with Kirby in Super Smash Bros., however, he is appropriately large.
  • The Legend of Spyro:
  • The Legend of Zelda: There's a very marked tendency for the leaders of groups, nations or species to be a lot bigger than their followers.
    • Ganondorf, the king of the Gerudo in Ocarina of Time and of various evil forces in other games, is especially when he goes One-Winged Angel and becomes the giant Pig Man Ganon, but even in his human form he's officially listed at seven and a half feet tall.
    • Among Ganondorf's followers, Moblins almost always have their ranks sorted by size. Likewise, King Bulblin is larger than any of the Bulblins following him.
    • Goron chieftains are also typically distinguishable by their size. However, in several games a colossal Goron appears who is not in charge and apparently has no distinctive rank.
    • The two rulers of the twilight realm seen in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess are very tall, the main difference being that Midna is a Statuesque Stunner, while Zant is a noodle person.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: The Demon King Demise is, in his humanoid form, by far the largest non-monster type enemy in the game and possibly the entire series.
    • Since The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, it has been a tradition for the Zora Kings to be portrayed as massive and rotund compared to their more human-sized and -proportioned subjects. King Dorephan, from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, is downright elephantine in sheer girth. Even other royal Zora characters, such as Queen Rutela from Twilight Princess and Prince Sidon from Breath of the Wild, are portrayed as significantly taller than humans if not to the same extent as the King — Sidon, for instance, is nearly three times Link's height.
    • Two of the named Kings of Hyrule, King Daphnes in The Wind Waker and King Rhoam in Breath of the Wild, are portrayed as very large, bulky men far beyond the sizes normal among Hylians. King Daphnes is a towering bear of a man around twice the height and three times the girth of most grown Hylians in the game, while King Rhoam is large enough that he would probably be able to lift his daughter Zelda in one hand.
  • Mass Effect plays this fairly straight with the humanoid geth variants; the larger the geth, the tougher it is and the higher-ranking it is. Geth Primes are generally the nastiest thing you can fight on two legs. Also averted with Saren Arterius. He is much shorter than his fellow Turians who usually go over seven feet, being only about as tall as the human protagonist. Of course he compensates this with purely muscle-based width and personality powerful enough to fill a large room.
    • Mass Effect 2 reveals that the Geth are actually several hundred programs in one sentient mobile platform. The bigger the mobile platform, the more programs contained within, and therefore, the smarter the individual mobile platform. They also become smarter when more programs are clustered together, hence why Primes buff units near them.
      • Subverted by Legion, who is the smartest individual Geth platform thus far, having over a thousand programs in it. It's only the size a standard Geth Trooper. However it was specifically designed to be that way so the Geth could have an effective single agent.
    • In the DLC "Lair of the Shadow Broker", the eponymous Shadow Broker is a member of the Yahg species. He towers over nearly all the characters in the series so far, and is equally broad. The confrontation with him starts with him performing an epic Slouch of Villainy behind his desk that disguises his true height; when things get serious, he pushes away from the desk and stands up... and up... while Shepard's party looks on.
    • The third game reveals that Harbinger, the Reaper semi-encountered in the second, is in fact the oldest, largest, and most powerful Reaper, and is also their leader (excluding the Catalyst).
  • Mega Man:
    • Mega Man X4 includes General, of the Repliforce, who towers over everyone else. He's as tall as a house.
    • Dr. Wily's one-time robot pawn King towers over most Robot Masters.
    • Mega Man ZX includes Serpent, who is the head of Slither Inc. (a private security force) and is the largest Reploid in the game.
  • Metroid has Ridley. While he might not lead the Space Pirates (the games never cleared up his exact position), he's Samus' Arch-Enemy and obviously much bigger than she is.
    • He still answers to Mother Brain who towers over the both of them. In fact, pretty much all of Samus' archenemies are the biggest baddies in the games bar Kraid.
    • And then you get to Super Metroid, where Kraid turns out to be one of the biggest monsters in the series, standing several stories tall!
  • In Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!!, the opponents are at least twice as tall as Little Mac (they don't call him little for nothing). The Wii version tones down the height advantage that opponents have over Mac, but they don't tone down the weight advantage. Mac weighs in at 107 pounds. Glass Joe, his first opponent, weighs in at 110 lbs. Von Kaiser, his second opponent, weighs in at 144 lbs, and Disco Kid, his third opponent, weighs in a 210 lbs! In real life, that's several weight classes apart! Then there's King Hippo, who's weight and height are listed as "???".
  • The boss in Minubeat is four times as big as the enemies you've faced up to this point, as well as significantly creepier and looking like a cybernetic face rather than a square.
  • Mondo Agency: The President is tremendous.
  • Shao Kahn and Onaga from Mortal Kombat are among the top villains of the series, and both tower over the normal characters. Though Kahn's not as big as Kintaro or Motaro.
  • Ninety-Nine Nights has King Ppakk the Third, who is many times larger than the other members of his species.
  • Subverted in No One Lives Forever 2 where the Big (literally) boss of French mime villains actually was a midget on a unicycle.
  • Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi: The Count is nearly twice as tall as his minions.
  • Odin Sphere takes this to a ridiculous extent. Several of the 'important' characters, like Odin and his main general, are basically giants, despite ostensibly being the same race as the human-sized Valkyrie protagonist. The extra odd part is that three of the human sized characters are Odin's children; despite the fact that he's about 4 times taller then them, despite being hunched over, and at least 10 times more massive.
  • OFF: Though all the guardians (even Japhet, though not at first) follow this somewhat, Enoch's by far the most noticeable, as he somewhat resembles a rounder, much fatter, and much bigger Elsen, who'll get enormous when he's actually serious.
  • The Overlord is over twice the height of his impish minions, being human (or at least close enough). There's also King Melvin of the halflings, an extreme case of Adipose Rex.
  • In Painkiller, most of the mooks are roughly man-sized. Then you go up against your first boss — whose foot you can mistake for a small building.
  • The major villain of Pirates Of The Caribbean Isles Of War, Jolly Roger, is about 10 feet tall. Aside from some walking trees on a remote island, he is easily the largest opponent in the game.
  • Pokémon:
    • Played straight in Pokémon Black and White by Team Plasma. "King" N is five foot eleven (1.8 meters), putting him One Head Taller than the player characters, albeit slender in build. His father Ghetsis tops six and a half feet (2 meters even)... and going by the fact that he apparently wears forty pounds of metal on his neck for the entire first game, he is probably not lightly built.
    • Totem Pokemon of Pokémon Sun and Moon are Pokemon that are 3 or 4 times larger then most of their given species due to being bathed in the energy that leaks out of the Ultra Wormholes. They serve a similar function as Gym Leaders of previous games in that they're the boss battles of the Island Challenge. In addition to fighting them, you also have to fight against a lackey that the totem can call in, creating a 2 on 1 battle.
  • A slight subversion in Ratchet & Clank (2002): The Big Bad and final boss, Chairman Drek, is very small, but uses a big machine in the final boss fight. Also subverted in the second game of the series — the final boss is a little pet...turned gigantic.
  • Bitores Mendez in Resident Evil 4 is chief of Pueblo, and the average person only comes up to the bottom of his sternum. Inverted with Ramon Salazar, the adult castellan who is the size of a pre-teen child. Who then straightens it back by fusing himself and his bodyguard to a gigantic man-eater plant.
  • All of the bosses in RuneScape's God Wars Dungeon are like that. The race of birdmen is led by a giant birdman, different from the others due to having his arms attached to the wings (possibly to aid in moving them). The general morass of goblins, ogres and such greenskin is led by a member of the nearly-extinct Ourg race, looking like a typical giant orc. The evil god's demons are led by a large demon, too. Only Saradomin's forces are led by an angelic being instead of a giant, not that much larger than a human. She's a member of an extinct race too, though.
  • The Boss in Saints Row 2 is taller than almost every other person in the game by default; the only person taller is Maero. Gets really noticeable if you put The Boss in heels as well. Less noticeable in Saints Row The Third, as the other Saint's are now almost the same height, but according to their mugshot, they are 6ft2 (1,88m) tall, even the female protagonist.
    • Saints Row IV has Zinyak, an alien creature over double the size of his minions.
  • Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Sengoku Basara is a towering guy comparable to a gorilla. Obviously, he is one of the more ruthless leaders of the game.
  • Ugh-Zan III, the Final Boss of Serious Sam: The First Encounter. While the biggest enemy you've faced so far is 50ft tall at the very most, his height is 330 feet. And he's just as bulky as he is tall.
  • In the old Amiga platformer Shadow of the Beast, most bosses (and some mooks) were large, but the final boss? All you see of him is his foot, and his club-wielding hand that tries to crush you. You defeat him by repeatedly punching his big toe.
  • Stacking: Invoked. Small characters are children or adults with low social status, while large dolls tend to be wealthy. The Big Bad is The Baron, the largest doll, while the protagonist, Charlie Blackmore, is the smallest doll.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Bowser, the Koopa King. One of the Punis even says so in Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door.
    • Wario (CEO of a video game company) and Donkey Kong (informal leader of the Kong Klan of primates) fit the bill, too.
    • Princess Peach also counts, being taller than Luigi in recent games.
    • Donkey Kong's Arch-Enemy King K.Rool is this depending on the game, sometimes he's the largest enemy, and sometimes there are bosses bigger than him.
    • King Bob-omb is the largest of the Bob-ombs.
  • Sword of the Stars:
    • Tarka males go from "scaly monkey" to "scaly ape" after the Change, which also enables them to enter the highest echelons of power.
    • Hiver Princes can vary in size depending slightly on their mother, but most of them are intended to do battle for a princess' favour and tend to be larger and more powerful than warriors.
    • Liir never stop growing, so their elders can be positively huge. The extreme of this are the Suul'ka, Great Elders who are larger than Leviathans.
  • In Titan Quest the special monsters tends to be bigger than the other soldiers, while the hero-monsters are even larger. This is especially evident with the Satyrs, Jackal-men, Croc-men and Dragonians.
  • Subverted in Transformers: War for Cybertron and Transformers: Fall of Cybertron. While Optimus Prime and Megatron are larger than most other playable characters, not only does the game contain giant characters that Kaiju size, but also some enemies on both sides such as Leapers, Titans, Destroyers that are much bigger than they are, plus on the Autobot side, Grimlock who most characters are only knee height to.
  • King Asgore from Undertale is ruler of the monsters, and easily the biggest and tallest character in the game.
  • Orlok The Eternal is the field commander for the Hierarchy in Universe at War, and he's about 5 stories tall.
  • Warhammer Online's redesign of the city sieges pits boss NPCs against each other. The Warlords are twice the size of a normal player (despite being characters that, in the original tabletop game, were normal man-sized), whereas the King NPCs are both roughly three to four times the height of a normal man. including the Emperor Karl Franz, who is very much a normal human. Still, it helps to a) justify his one-on-one fight with the monstrously huge and mutated Daemon Prince Tchar'Zanek and b) pick him out as a target...
  • Captain Syrup in the first two Wario Land games was an aversion of this trope, but the Big Bads in the later games from Wario Land 3 and onwards certain fit this profile (especially Rudy the Clown and the Shake King)
  • World of Warcraft bosses usually have bigger models than the players, even if the boss is of the same race. This is due in part to Gameplay and Story Segregation. Bigger bosses make it more manageable for big parties to fight them. Faction and other leaders also tend to be unusually large, and they can double as bosses for the opposing faction. Also present in Warcraft III, with heroes being huge in comparison to normal units, and high-level variants of monsters towering over even the largest map structures
    • In World of Warcraft, size tends to equal power in all terms. In Loch Modan, you'll meet level 17 ogres that are about eight feet tall. In the Blade's Edge Mountains, you'll meet level 67 ogres that are closer to twenty feet tall!
    • Speaking of ogres, a good in-universe rule of thumb is that the ogre in charge of a clan will be the largest. This is because ogre leadership is decided by which ogre is strongest, and larger ogres tend to be stronger.
    • Not to mention the hunter Shrinky Dink effect when taming a pet for a reverse application of the trope. The quickest way to make a five story tall elite dinosaur smaller than your mount? Bring it over to our side!
    • Most high power temporary damage buffs increase the size of the player tremendously, played to its most powerful form in boss mind control spells: Mind Controlled Players tend to double, triple or even quadruple in size, and their stats scale insanely high until the mind control is broken.
    • They also do this with some important NPCs. Tirion Fordring in Icecrown Citadel, for example, is substantially taller than the other humans in the room.
    • This isn't all Gameplay and Story Segregation; several leaders are mentioned in story as being unusually large for members of their race; Thrall, Fandral Staghelm, and Cairne Bloodhoof are all noted for standing a head or so higher than the average (already rather large) orc, night elf, and tauren respectively. Though sometimes the segregation's still in place, Tirion's specifically noted to be a fairly average sized man in the novel that introduces him, for instance.
    • Another weird instance is Tyrande. The female Night Elf player model stands a few inches shorter than a male. Tyrande is nearly twice the height of the normal-sized Night Elf women standing near her.
    • The Lich King, who towers over you at the start of the Death Knight starting zone, no matter what race you picked.
      • Noth The Plaguebringer, despite having a normal human male shape and model, looks to stand nearly 9 feet tall. A normal human male NPC standing next to him looks to only be about waist height compared to him.
    • Prophet Velen is canonically tall and thin by draenic standards (and draenei are rather tall to begin with). His unique model accurately reflects this.
  • Garland's One-Winged Angel form in Ys: The Oath in Felghana.

  • Fa'Lina from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures is head of SAIA, and towers over most of the cast. However this is her smaller form, as Clan leaders are shown to be "naturally" much larger.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Assistant Director Leifeld is a massive muscled man who regularly hits the gym and is the superior to the head of the office of Paranormal Affairs.
  • Barry Heterodyne, Baron Klaus Wulfenbach, Master Payne and the Jäger Generals from Girl Genius. The Master of Paris tops all of them, assuming that's all really his physical body. (The man is very oddly proportioned.) Albia dwarfs all of them, but her height is ... variable.
  • Harky in Guilded Age is huge, and leader of the trolls in the World's Rebellion. Penk also gets larger when he becomes an avatar of Tectonicus and takes leadership of the Champions.
  • Homestuck:
    • Skaia Battleground is based on a chess game, except both Kings are mutated humanoids the size of mountains, each wielding a scepter the size of a building. Their enormous size comes from the scepter; when the White King gives up his scepter, he shrinks to the size of a largish humanoid.
    • Also, Lord English, the leader of The Felt. He's not the size of a mountain, but he's at least ten feet tall.
  • Last Res0rt takes this to its logically ridiculous extremes by making the Vaeo Family 7-foot-tall lizards compared to the rest of the cast, and then TOP that by introducing Veled (head of the Celigan Military), who measures just under 10 feet tall. In fact, the main subversion is Jigsaw Forte herself: she's the smallest Executioner of the four. The other executioners are a reasonably sized human, a large lion-like centaur, and an alien creature commonly mistaken for a Horse.
  • In Nebula, Sun is leader of the solar system, and is several orders of magnitude larger than the planets. Standing on level ground, they barely even come up to his knees.
  • The Order of the Stick features an attempt at invoking this trope. The Empress of Blood from the fifth story arc would naturally be larger than her subjects due to being a dragon, but latched onto the idea that more powerful dragons are bigger and so started seeking a means to get bigger. Unfortunately, she's misunderstood why dragons get bigger, becoming a morbidly obese Fat Idiot that is actually a Puppet King for her advisor General Tarquin and his teammates.
  • Slightly Damned: Iratu is the largest earth demon aroundspoilers  (Which is saying something!) and he is a General for the army of hell, it's shown in this Q&A that hell explicitly operates on Klingon Promotion and that his immense size and strength allowed him to rank up rather quickly.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Admiral Olsen, the man in charge of the Øresund military base, is on the heavyset side.
  • King Adelaide of the Basitin from TwoKinds. Basitins are generally between 5ft and 5ft6in. Adelaide is about 8ft.
  • Unsounded:
    • General Bell is the highest-ranking official in the Peaceguard and dwarfs most people. He's also part of the council of four that makes policy decisions for Cresce.
    • "Vampire", the leader of a group of Aldish rebels is a couple meters taller than any other human yet introduced. He's a few centuries old due to his relationship to the Dammakhert and has spent the time growing.
  • Weak Hero:
    • Unlike many of the other fighters in the series, the appropriately nicknamed Big Ben's prowess in fighting is readily seen in his large, stocky frame. When others discuss Ben as the designated king of Eunjang, their image of him often has him towering over them.
    • Myles, the former head of Hyeongshin High, is one of the few other characters who avert Muscles Are Meaningless by having a big, stocky frame that lets him tower over others. He's even more intimidating with the hoodie and hat that constantly frames his face in shadow.
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Betelgeuse is a giant manticore and in charge of the village in Betel's Forest. Fahrin can transform into a large bat dragon and is leader of the Darkness Clan.

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    Western Animation 
  • In Aladdin: The Series, the ruler of the Al-Muddies is a giant, far bigger than his human-size subjects; however, that is not the only reason they made him their leader, as he himself says, when Aladdin tries to outsmart him.
  • Fire Lord Ozai from Avatar: The Last Airbender cuts a rather impressive figure, as does King Bumi.
  • Vilgax from Ben 10 is much larger than his standard robot drones, and more often than not his organic allies such as Sixsix.
  • The Highbreed in Ben 10: Alien Force tower over their DNAlien lackies, and the ruling class rivals King Kong. Subverted when they select a new ruler at the end of the arc, though; he's younger and slightly shorter than the average Highbreed.
  • Goliath from Gargoyles is the largest gargoyle in his clan (though Hudson and Broadway come close), and its leader as well. However, his hand-picked successor, Brooklyn, is the second-shortest of them.
  • Godzilla: The Series: Among the giant mutant termites, the queen is significantly larger than the other termites.
  • Gravity Falls: Leaderaur, leader of the manotaurs is a 30 foot towering beast.
  • The Inspector has the Commissioner, who towers over his subordinates and has the roaring voice to reflect his authority.
  • The Tallest of Invader Zim are Exactly What It Says on the Tin, because on Irk, height makes might. As the average adult Irken is the size of a human child, this is specially reinforced. And in the first episode, they are seen handing out invasion assignments based on physical height. Ending with sending the shortest applicant to the "home of the slaughtering rat people", after not sending an earlier applicant there because he looked taller. (That earlier applicant instead went to the planet that housed the universe's comfiest couch.) Zim himself is just about as small as this last applicant.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: All of Shendu's siblings are universally bigger than humans (who they enslave in a Rewriting Reality episode). They vary in size from shorter than Shendu to larger; but when Shendu's reduced to a disembodied spirit in Season 2, this makes Shendu smaller than all his siblings and they all make it very, very clear that they are his bosses (since he lost any equality privileges when he left them to rot in their prison). This is inverted with Po Kong, ironically, who is so lazy she is the least bossy demon despite being the largest by far. Averted by Shendu's son Drago until the Series Finale, where Drago's Power-Up transforms him into a form larger than his three lackeys and the heroes, roughly the same size as Shendu's body (who fights Drago in an Enemy Mine bid).
  • Justice League Unlimited:
  • In The Legend of Korra Vaatu is this trope in the second book. Zaheer averts it, he is a regular sized man but Ghazan and especially P'li do fit this trope, since they are taller than him.
  • M.A.S.K.: Miles Mayhem is the most heavyset member of the Nebulous Evil Organisation VENOM and their leader.
  • Seems to be the case with the Worms in Men in Black: The Series; the few leaders we see are several times the size of the Worm Guys regulars. "I am large and in charge" is even a favorite phrase of the Worm King when he's learning English. The Bug Queen counters this by saying she's larger!
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: There is a very prevalent running theme in the show of the leaders of species and societies being much larger — usually taller, specifically — than their subjects.
    • Princess Celestia is taller than all but the largest of her subjects by at least one time and a half, has a monstrously large wingspan and a horn much larger than any other unicorn. To a lesser extent, the same also goes for her younger sister Luna, who is effectively the second-in-command of Equestria and about a head shorter than Celestia, and for Princess Cadence, current ruler of the Crystal Empire. When Twilight Sparkle earned her wings and coronation, she also grew slightly taller. In the series finale, set years in the future, Twilight has become Equestria's new ruler and grows as tall as Celestia.
    • Princess Luna's Superpowered Evil Side, Nightmare Moon, stands as tall as Celestia. This is the form in which she attempted to overthrow her sister as ruler of ponykind, and the one in which she rules Equestria in an alternate timeline in "The Cutie Re-Mark".
    • Shining Armor, captain of the Royal Guard and later Prince-by-Marriage of the Crystal Empire, stands modestly taller than the generic guardstallions, who are already larger than the generic stallion body.
    • Queen Chrysalis is about the same size as Celestia and towers over her pony-sized brood. This is biologically accurate for a hive insect queen, though she is very thin for this. In "To Where and Back Again", when Thorax takes over leadership of the changelings from Chrysalis, he magically grows to match her in height, although he's somewhat bulkier. Further, at the end "To Change a Changeling", Pharynx transforms into a form that's shorter than Thorax but taller than all the other changelings, symbolizing his new position as a secondary authority in the hive.
    • King Sombra walks right into this trope with his smoke form (which makes him the biggest bad guy on the show), and his pony form is also about the same size as Celestia. This is particularly noticeable in "The Cutie Re-Mark", where he towers over his crystal pony slaves.
    • Chief Thunderhooves, the leader of the buffalo tribe, is a giant even compared to the other buffalo (who are in turn MUCH larger than the ponies).
    • In "Gauntlet of Fire", Dragon Lord Torch is far and away the largest dragon in the show. Inverted at the end of the episode, where he steps down in favor of his daughter Ember, who is the second-smallest dragon seen on-screen.
    • While most Kirin are the same size as regular ponies, their leader Rain Shine has the same height and build as Princess Celestia and towers over them.
  • Bloth, the main villain from The Pirates of Dark Water is the largest human in the show.
  • Non-villainous example: Jet from Ready Jet Go! is the leader of his group, and is the tallest. However, due to the show having zero sense of scale, he can sometimes appear to be the same height as Sean and Sydney.
  • In Samurai Jack, Aku is the tyrannical ruler of the dystopian world; as a shapeshifter, his size varies, but he's always a giant who towers over his minions. (And usually anyone else.) Inverted, however, with the Scottsman's clan, where everybody is a big, hulking muscleman except the guy in charge, the Elder.
  • The 2018 reboot of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • Hordak (founder and leader of the Horde) is among the tallest characters in the show. The top of Catra's head only reaches the middle of his chest. Season 4 reveals that his genetic progenitor, Horde Prime, is just as tall as he is.
    • Among the Princess Alliance, Queen Angella is comparable in height to Hordak and at least a head taller than all the princesses on her side save She-Ra herself. Her successor, Glimmer, averts this by being noticeably shorter than any of her allies save Frosta.
  • On The Smurfs, the swamp-dwelling, toadlike Wart-Mongers are ruled by King Bullrush; while larger Wart Mongers than him are seen occasionally, he's bigger than the average one. (And he certainly has the most volatile temper.)
  • This seems to be common among the Gems of Steven Universe.
    • Rose Quartz was the former leader of the Crystal Gems who led a rebel army six thousand years ago, and was the biggest of the modern Crystal Gems at eight feet tall and is a Big Beautiful Woman. Even more so when she is revealed to be Pink Diamond herself. Her replacement Garnet is also the tallest of the remaining Crystal Gems at around 7 and a half feet.
    • For Homeworld Gems, this tends to be played straight with few exceptions. Rubies are low caste and are quite short. Perfect Warrior Jasper stands around the same height as Garnet and is broad shouldered, while her underling Peridot is around four feet. Averted with Sapphire and Aquamarine, who are pint-sized despite being high caste, and of Pearl-class gems who are around six feet tall despite being of the lowest possible caste.
    • Played very straight with the Great Diamond Authority, who are absolutely massive. Even Pink Diamond, who is considered exceptionally small compared to the rest of her family, is roughly 12 feet tall, while the oldest and biggest member, White Diamond, is almost a hundred feet tall.
  • In Transformers, the leaders of the main factions are almost always taller than most of their subordinates. In addition to making them stick out, this also serves to make sure their toys are more expensive and have more features, since they can be sold at a higher price point. That said, there's usually a few characters who will tower over even them, such as Combining Mecha or the occasional cityformer. (Rule of thumb: if a guy is just the tallest person in a group shot, he's usually the leader; if he's a giant towering over the battlefield, he usually isn't.)
    • Optimus and Megatron in The Transformers were initially the tallest characters on either side, with Optimus being about double the height of the Autobot cars and Megatron being one head taller than his second-in-command Starscream (though by the end of the first season, both had been surpassed by Skyfire, the Dinobots, and Devastator). It's suggested that this may be enforced; when Hot Rod took the Matrix in The Transformers: The Movie, he grew to twice his original height and even picked up a trailer in the exchange.
    • Since they form the torso and head, leaders of "Scramble City"-style combiner teams are naturally bigger than their teammates, who form the limbs.
    • Particularly jarring in Beast Wars, after Optimus Primal carries the spark of the original Optimus and his body mutates as a result. He gains several "traditional" transformer-style attributes, and he towers, being about half the size of the original Autobots and about double the size of the Maximals, including Rhinox, who turns into a rhino.
      • Earlier seasons offered a subversion- Dinobot was head and shoulders taller than Optimus Primal, and Rhinox was equally as large if not larger. Late Season 2, Rampage is much larger than Megatron, who really doesn't need size to be scary... it just helps.
    • Ditto for Ultra Magnus, especially in Transformers: Animated. The same series has a similar subversion to Beast Wars in that the leader of both the main Decepticon and Autobot cast have a leader who is only the second largest, being smaller than the The Big Guy and The Brute of the group.
    • Unicron is the size of a small planet.
    • Primus is the robot mode of Cybertron.
    • Very apparent in Beast Machines — the Vehicon generals are each about twice the size of their respective drones.
    • Predaking of Transformers: Prime is only kept from being this by being so intimidating that Megatron pulls the plug on the project that would have created more Predacons. Once he does finally get subordinates, though, he's noticeably larger than them.
  • Wakfu:
    • Mandale is the father and boss of the Taurs, and the largest of them all. Except maybe the unseen mother.
    • Rushu is the largest of all the Shushus, but his true form is actually human-sized.
    • Daihitsu, the Iop King and the Sacrier King are all large, tall and imposing. Averted by the Enutrof King, who's comically small.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Literally Big Bad


The Immensity

Grom The Paunch leads a giant Greenskin army on the merit of being the biggest Goblin there ever was.

How well does it match the trope?

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Example of:

Main / LargeAndInCharge

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