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Monster Knight

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Monsters are, well, monsters. They're uncouth, messy, dirty, disgusting, barbaric creatures with no sense of honor. The only times they do work together will more than likely resemble something akin to a horde than anything like a professional army.

But, that's a bit too Cliché for most writers, so it's not that surprising to see many monsters that aren't mindless brutes. Monsters that are trained, with a thought for technique, tactics, strategy, valour, and (perhaps) a sense of honor that would make them seem almost respectable. A monster that's also a true warrior. They may be serving a Monster Lord, or be part of an army or similar.

This kind of character is often a Cultured Blood Knight, although they don't have to be. They're also more likely to be a Noble Demon, and thanks to the resonance the hero may have for this character, they may be found on any place on the Character Alignment scale in contrast to the usual Always Chaotic Evil treatment the characters race may receive in other works. They're often more humanoid looking as a result.


Their possibly supernatural nature gives them a higher chance of being a Magic Knight, although the magic they practice is often more of a destructive and dark nature than average.

If you have an entire army of Monster Knights, they're almost guaranteed to be a Badass Army as well.

Compare the Black Knight, Dragon Knight and Wrestling Monster.


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     Anime and Manga 
  • Berserk:
    • Nosferatu Zodd combines this with a heaping helping of Blood Knight; he's a giant, monstrous brute even in his more human-looking form and something like a horned, winged minotaur in his monstrous one, and there's nothing he loves so much as a good fight with a Worthy Opponent. He has a sense of honor and grudging respect, and he is up for the occasional Enemy Mine when the situation warrants.
    • The New Band of the Hawk is filled with these guys (making it a pretty Badass Army ). Grunbeld, Irvine, and Locus in particular demonstrate a strong sense of fair play, refrain from Kick the Dog moments, and genuinely believe themselves to be the heroes. Their leader, Griffith, tries to invoke this, but is an utter monster beneath his angelic appearance.
    • The Skull Knight is an example insofar as he is no longer human, and has more knightly trappings (barded warhorse, sword, shield, and plate mail) than most. Unlike many examples, he does not appear to actually be evil, and since the death of Flora may be the closest thing the series has to a Big Good.
  • The trainer hating Bulbasaur from the Pokémon show, whom later decides to challenge main character Ash to a battle to see if he capable of capturing it, after Ash shows it there are honorable trainers.
  • The wolf-like Tiger bandits from Monster Rancher, though the decayed state Moo's influence has brought on the world caused them to become less honorable (bandits), they avoid simply killing who they steal from even when it would be easy to do and under the right circumstance will accept duels in which they will not interfere on the behalf of their clan member until concluded. In addition there are also Centaur's band, who only joined Moo's cause because they were defeated by one of his big bad four and still reign justly in their realm otherwise, the martial artist Kato, the resurrecting guardian of the Jill village, Cinder-bird who willingly gave himself up to feed another monster who invaded due to starvation and the enlightenment seeker turned prized fighting champion, Most, who wishes to use what he learned to inspire the next generation.
  • Too many Digimon to name individually, though Leomon is a recurring example (especially in the anime) and some species literally have "Knight" in their name!
    • The Royal Knights in particular are a group of thirteen Digimon loosely based on the Knights of the Round Table. They are high-ranking protectors of the Digital World, are at the direct service of the god Yggdrasil and put a huge amount of value on honor and codes of conduct. Even individuals of a "Royal Knight species" that aren't actually part of the group, like Takato's Dukemon from Digimon Tamers, tend to behave in a very knightly manner.
    • Dorulumon from Digimon Xros Wars turns back on the Bagra Army precisely because they are not loyal to their own troops, putting them in harm's way just to preserve the general's "perfect" record. He is even more so in the comic adaptation, where it is revealed Dorulumon was the best warrior in a warrior society of other wolf monsters before taking their combat skill to the Bagra Army (he leaves the army for similar reasons and has even more guilt about his membership here, since he felt he disgraced his clan). The manga even gives Dorulumon a knight-like evolved form called JagerDorulumon.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann gives us Viral: A Beast Man with shark and cat genetics, he's got More Teeth than the Osmond Family and a vicious Slasher Smile to go with them. He also happens to be the most honorable character in the series.
  • Garyuu of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Strikers, a mute, multi-eyed humanoid insect that acts as Lutecia's knight much like Erio acts as one for Caro. He ends up being one of the first villains in the season to pull a Heel–Face Turn, saving Erio and Caro before helping them protect Mid-Childa from Lutecia's out of control insect summons.
  • The Armored Titan from Attack on Titan turns out to be one of these.
  • Komamura in Bleach is an enormous wolf man and Captain of Soul Society's 7th Division. For a long time, he was ashamed of his appearance and hid behind a helmet until it was broken and he decided to just go without it. It's eventually revealed that he and his clan were once human, but were banished to Buddhism's Animal Realm, which transformed them into animals. In the final arc, a Dangerous Forbidden Technique allows him to mostly regain his human form, but at the cost of being permanently transformed into a normal wolf once it's over.
  • Goblin Slayer features a Goblin Paladin, who is heralded as the champion to the most inhuman, degenerated and vicious races in the setting, and yet he is explicitly a Holy Knight since he worships a non-evil deity (in his case, the God of Wisdom) but is every bit as depraved as his kind.
  • In That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime it's relatively common within the Jura Tempest Alliance, as they are all monsters and are crafting a nation. Plenty are capable of fighting and quite a few fit the noble attributes nicely. Unlike most examples however, the vast majority here are truly heroic. The one that doesn't fit that is the Orc Lord and he's still a Tragic Villain who did what he did to try to save his people.

  • In Marvel Comics, the Knights of Wundagore are an entire Tribe Of Hats who have this as their hat. They're all animals evolved into humanoid creatures by the High Evolutionary.
  • No-Name, The Gladiator brood from Planet Hulk. The brood were considered an evil swarming hive who while having a parasitoid method of reproduction, took the enslavement and torture of other species way too far. No-name, however, was captured and trained as a gladiator. Then "she" teamed up with the Hulk to liberate Sakaar from the Red-king with the rest of the war bound. So No-name was not a product of her own culture but proved Brood could be honorable under the right circumstances.
  • Vampire knights in Requiem Vampire Knight are a subversion, since just like the rest of their kind, they are the worst, cruelest sociopaths in this world, finding concepts such as kindness, love and honor as completely abhorrent, though Requiem fits the trope closer than most as he display these qualities to an extent, and is viewed as an degenerate because of it. The Dystopian knights, on the other hand, play the trope straight despite their race being the embodiment of Reptiles Are Abhorrent, they do adhere to chivalry and honor even though its noted to be very out of place in this setting.

  • In Labyrinth, they meet Sir Didimus, some sort of strange dog-like knight monster astride a large regular-dog. His basic deal is standing on a bridge and declaring You Shall Not Pass!.
  • Arguably any Jedi who isn't a human could be considered this.

  • Eshonai, the Parshendi Shardbearer in Words of Radiance, fits this to a T. She's noble, a leader among her people, but still firmly opposed to the human characters for complicated reasons that can't be overcome by a simple Heel–Face Turn.
  • Tapio Haltija of The Traitor Son Cycle is an Irk - a cross between an elf and an orc gifted with extraordinary magic powers that can compel people to do his bidding. Nevertheless, he's still a trained knight and participates in physical battles and tourneys.

     Live Action TV 
  • "El Eliminati" in Buffy the Vampire Slayer were an all-male vampire order of duelists that strongly adhered to honor. Unfortunately, this means they had a hard time adapting to the modern world and have declined into being just a shadow of their former selves.
  • Power Rangers had too many of these to list. Goldar probably counts as the most well-known one, and the Knasty Knight stands out as one of the first Monsters of the Week to fit the description.

     Puppet Shows 
  • In an Imagine Spot from the Books episode of Elmo's World, Elmo is cast as a knight. When he explains to the dragon that he is a monster, the Dragon runs away in fear.

     Religion, Mythology and Folklore 
  • Most members of the Asura class worth mentioning. The Rakshasas were among the most monstrous, being multi-headed, fanged or tusked giants who preyed on mankind and were expelled from Brahma's realm after he created them on accident and was nearly devoured by them in his sleep. Yet they also studied vigorously, meditated, grew gardens and developed a sophisticated society during the time they ruled on Earth called Lanka. Ravana from the Literature/Ramayana, possibly the biggest bad guy in Hinduism, was honored for his respectable points after Rama, the avatar of the god of the universe, killed him.
    • Also featured in the same work as Ravana are creatures such as MahaBali, an Asura who aimed to conquer all of the worlds but had a respect for the arts, philosophy and holy men such that Vishnu was able to make him give up all that he conquered without resorting to violence. Jatayu the giant eagle/vulture is an example on Rama's side and used as an example when the giant monkey king Vali argues that Rama should not judge him by human morals, saying that creatures such as Vali and Jatayu display the same level of intelligence and appreciation for society and thus should be held to the same standards of fidelity and conduct.
    • There is also a passing mention to Tripurasura, a monster accidentally created by the sage Gritsamad and destroyed by Shiva. Despite his unnatural conception, Gritsamad raised Tripura as his own son and Tripura's diligent work gained him blessings from the deva Ganesh. Unfortunately this blessing caused him to grow proud and wreak havoc across various worlds, so Ganesh relented and helped Shiva, who was finding him particularly hard to get rid of. Still, his meditation on Ganesh's mantra and others qualified Tripura for salvation after death, unfortunately he returned as the demon Mahamada on Bali's order and started a religion based around himself and corrupting the established religions (luckily for all non demons, Shiva will be around to destroy him again) follows the adv
    • Hanuman is an honorable version from Hinduism. He's a size changing monkey man who is a passionately loyal retainer to his liege Rama. He take any attack on Rama as an attack on him, and when Ravana kidnaps Rama's wife it is Hanuman who is to first to take up arms.
  • The English medieval epic Bevis of Hampton follows the adventures of a knight errant. In one episode Bevis defeats a giant, rather than kill him Bevis makes the giant his squire (though it isn't specified whether the giant is ever knighted). Though largely forgotten today, the Bevis cycle was hugely popular in Europe and was translated into dozens of languages. He was especially popular in Eastern Europe where the giant was made into a centaur.
  • Some medieval texts feature werewolf knights. Generally they are Crusaders who use their lycanthropy skills on the battlefield but end up losing their human sides after they return home. Some scholars believe these stories are metaphors for what war does to soldiers.

     Tabletop Games  
  • Legion Devils in Dungeons & Dragons
    • Levistus, the Lord of The Fifth, who bills himself as the finest swordsman in the multiverse - when he's not encased in an Iceberg anyway.
    • Bel, Lord of The First, who was a general in the Blood Wars.
    • Death Knights. Duh.
    • Every once in a while the game produces a warrior troll.
    • Some of the typical 'monstrous' races are also playable races, and makes good knights. Orcs and minotaurs are common examples.
    • For all their Good-ness, some Celestial races are quite terrifying in appearance, but they can be knight either in spirit or as actual classes.
    • A number of creatures from the D&D Fight Club article series on the D&D 3.5E website fir the bill. One example is Taibo, the Ethereal Filcher Monk, who stands out since ethereal filchers usually care for little but stealing trinkets.
  • The Yu-Gi-Oh! card game has a lot of these. One example is "Zure, Knight of Dark World," a demon knight. The Flavor Text indicates he's a Noble Demon. There's also the "Beast of Talwar", who may not be as noble, but is certainly disciplined, as his Flavor Text notes that only a Master Swordsman among fiends is allowed use of the Talwar, and his art shows him Dual Wielding.
    • Any monster classed as a Beast-Warrior type has a high probability of being a Monster Knight. A good example is Wulf, Lightsworn Beast who is a Wolf Man, but is a member of a organization of holy warriors who travel through time to save those in need.
  • The Blood Dragons in Warhammer are an vampire bloodline made up of battle-obsessed knights that are honorable to a fault. They believe that only cowards feed upon the weak - the only ones that Blood Dragons will willingly feed on are powerful warriors and monsters. And as such, they wander the realm looking for stronger enemies to fight, living only for combat, the attainment of honor and the thrill of battle. Though it may seen they are the friendly sort, they are still evil as hell though fairly pragmatic since their progenitor Abhorash advised his fellow vampires that preying on the innocent would drive other people and neighboring kingdoms against them (they didn't listen and that is exactly what happened).

     Video Games  
  • In Dragon's Wake the Black Knight is actually an undead horror.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • Sparda, also known as "The Legendary Dark Knight", was an demonic warrior who stood up for humanity against his kind and singlehandedly beaten the demons back to hell. Though he has an human form that resembles his children Dante and Vergil very closely, his true form is decidedly more appropriate for this trope.
    • Nelo Angelo, whom Dante comes to respect out of all the bosses in the first game. Makes sense, considering Nelo Angelo is quite clearly his brother Vergil.
    • The Holy Knights of Fortuna in the fourth game are a Church Militant organization inspired by Sparda that underwent an Ascension ceremony to become demons themselves.
  • The Knight enemies in Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale.
  • In later games in The Legend of Zelda franchise the evil Darknuts are jackal-headed monsters under their armor.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Several forms of lesser Daedra qualify throughout the series. Most notable on the Dremora, humanoid lesser Daedra who can often be found serving Mehrunes Dagon as his Legions of Hell. They wear heavy armor and use a variety of weapons, as well as magic. They refer to themselves as the "Kyn", meaning "the people" in the Daedric language, to separate them from other lesser Daedra, who they see as mindless animals.
    • Khajiit and Argonian players who chose to use heavy armor capture the visual aspect of this trope, and given both races tendency toward Stealth (thievery, assassination, guerilla warfare), can end up playing the entire thing straight if they stick to the Combat path.
    • This is common for Orcs throughout the series, as they favor heavy armor and melee combat. Though technically a race of Mer (Elves), Orcs face prejudice similar to the Beastfolk, but are also respected as strong and honorable warriors.
    • Oblivion:
      • The Golden Saints (Aureal) and Dark Seducers (Mazken) are two forms of lesser Daedra who protect the Shivering Isles and are pledged to serve the Duke of Mania and Duchess of Dementia, respectively. There is a certain level of rivalry between the two.
      • Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order, is served by the Knights of Order, Tin Tyrant-like lesser Daedra outfitted head to toe in shiny metal armor.
  • Dark Souls has the Capra Demon, a demon that is also a dual wielding warrior.
  • Odin Sphere:
  • Gogandantess (THE GREATEST SWORDSMAN OF ALL DEMONS) from Onimusha 2: Samurai's Destiny. Despite being a pompous windbag he's also chivalrous and a Noble Demon to the point that the player character reacts with visible sadness when Gogandantess is mortally wounded in their final duel.
  • While exactly what Maximus in Might and Magic and Heroes of Might and Magic is isn't really explained, he (or they, rather, since there, like so many others, appears to be multiple incarnations of him) is a green-skinned (except his X incarnation, who is brown-orange on account of explicitly being an Ashan-type orc), has tusks, and is a Knight.
    • Might & Magic: Heores VI gives the backstory of his Ashan incarnation: When war-chief Kunyak led the rest of the orcs in a slave uprising and exodus, Maximus' ancestor chose to remain living in the human lands. Maximus earned his position of knighthood through tournament combat.
  • While not encountered in Pokémon Red and Blue, the Pokédex describes Victreebel, essentially mobile pitcher plants with eyes, as forming secret societies and executing those who trespass. In Pokémon Black and White players can come across the Musketeer trio (plus Keldeo through downloadable content), whom ended a war between humans when Pokémon were getting caught up in it and whom become indignant (and more powerful) if you employ underhanded (or evil) moves against them.
  • Undyne from Undertale, the spear-swinging, human-hating fish Lady of War in command of the royal guard. Also too honorable to attack you while you're on the phone or when you're in her house.
  • The Expansion Pack for Bloodborne, The Old Hunters, features the boss fight against Ludwig. A hunter transformed into a giant zombie centaur thing, he spends the first half of the fight screeching and trampling you like the feral beast he's become. But in the second half, he pulls out his signature weapon, the Holy Moonlight Sword. He regains some of his sanity, starts talking with a calm and silky voice, and changes his fighting style from a wild animal to a Master Swordsman. When he dies you can have one last talk with him, and if circumstances are right he passes on with his mind intact, saying he's grateful he didn't suffer such degeneration for nothing.
  • Dragon Quest IX features the Wight Knight, a formerly heroic knight of a dead kingdom who has been trapped by the spell of a Succubus. Until defeated by the player, he doesn't realize that he has been dead for ages and the kingdom that he fought for has long since passed into history.
  • Gaichu from Shadowrun Hong Kong was one of Renraku's Red Samurai before succumbing to HMHVV-K and becoming a ghoul. While this made him a pariah in Japanese society, he kept his sanity and personality intact, and still lives according to the bushido-inspired code he was raised to follow. He has even honed his swordsmanship to an even higher level than before, since ghoulhood made him even faster and stronger than he was before, but also cost him his eyesight.
  • William Marshal in Vampyr was an famous knight and an ancient vampire said to strongly adhere to chivalric honor. It's revealed that he still retains his knightly disposition as well as his faith in Christ (which is impressive considering faith is an anathema to vampires). The main protagonist himself, Jonathan E. Reid, is also supposed play the same role as Marshal's - protect Britain from the Red Queen's wrath, in one way or the other.
  • Bathe'lemy in Vampire Night was a knight in service to Comte Auguste that was turned into a vampire. He can also transform himself into a armored golem with blades in his arms.
  • Cristof Romauld, the main protagonist in Vampire: The Masquerade – Redemption. He was already an idealistic knight before becoming a vampire and he is driven during the entire game to rescue his love interest.

     Web Original  

     Western Animation  

Alternative Title(s): Monster Warrior


Example of: