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Praetorian Guard

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"These men are my bodyguards, their lives forfeit to the guarantee of my physical safety. Of their loyalty to me, there shall be no question nor doubt."
The Emperor, Warhammer 40,000, regarding the Adeptus Custodes

Whenever a story has an army, there's almost always some kind of elite group that serves as the guardians of the leader.

The Big Bad is much more likely to have a dedicated group of elite bodyguards than the story's Big Good or other equivalent-ranking good guy. This might be because the good leader often has a Kirk-like tendency to lead his soldiers into battle, even if logically it seems like a bad idea to have your leader be the first person you send into every potentially dangerous situation. Then again Rank Scales with Asskicking. The occasional exceptions form the Hero Secret Service. Another notable exception is any fictional representation of the real-life Secret Service (typically American, but also occasionally Her Majesty's). A princess may also have a solitary male bodyguard that she sometimes finds herself attracted to (and vice-versa).

In Real Life, the Praetorian Guard was a special force originally intended to serve as a Roman general's bodyguard in combat, but the term was later restricted to the elite personal guard of the Roman Emperors. As a bodyguard unit, they proved to be a miserable failure, as they soon became horribly corrupt and very frequently wound up playing kingmaker. Nine separate emperors were killed by the guard itself, and others were deserted by the guard to be overthrown or killed by others. In some cases, the Guard literally sold the Imperial office to the highest bidder, then turned on their new master when he failed to deliver on his extravagant promises. Roman Emperors began employing foreign bodyguards (mostly from Germania) to protect themselves. In other words, the early emperors of Rome had a unit of personal bodyguards whose job was to protect them from their official bodyguards.

Tend to favor Scary Impractical Armor and Bling of War. Despite their elite status, they have an unusual tendency to stand around not doing much fighting—of course, as long as their boss is keeping out of trouble, that's precisely their job.

Sometimes overlaps with Elite Mooks, Superpowered Mooks, and Amazon Brigade when they are Bodyguard Babes. If they are generally recruited from another nation, they are a Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards. If they never actually go into a fight, then it's just palette swapped normal infantry (the real Praetorian Guard were palette-swapped standard legionaries; they wore nice purple tunics). May or may not be under the control of State Sec. If they have sufficiently developed individual appearances, abilities, or characterization, they will likely serve as a (if a contender for the strongest) Quirky Miniboss Squad. When they appear as enemies in video games, they will nearly always be the most Elite Mooks available. Subsequently, the odds are good that you're near the end of the Sorting Algorithm of Evil, and the Final Boss is coming up.

If the leader or subject being guarded doesn't really need protection, they may be Bodyguarding a Badass.

This item is available in the Trope Co. catalogue.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Comic Books 
  • Marvel Comics' Black Panther has the Dora Milaje, an Amazon Brigade who have even managed to take down the Black Widow. In previous generations, they were also the king's wives, but T'Challa broke this tradition and freed the women from obligating themselves beyond protection. Too bad one of them was actually looking forward to being his wife and didn't want to take "no" for an answer.
  • Marvel also has the Shi'ar Empire's Imperial Guard who protect the Ruler. They're led by Gladiator and are made up of some of the most powerful beings in the empire. Though in the aftermath of War of Kings, Gladiator himself becomes the ruler of the empire.
  • Star Wars: Legacy has the Imperial Knights, Jedi who are loyal to the Emperor, and are decked out in red armor sans helmets (see the page pic). Given that the Emperor in this setting isn't evil, neither are his Knights, though they can tend towards the arrogant Jerkass end of the scale. Of course, the Sith seize the throne, forcing Roan Fel into exile in the first issue of the comic. They also take their duty to the extreme. They must protect the Emperor from all threats - including himself. If an Emperor falls to The Dark Side, it is their job to try and redeem him, if that fails, then they must kill him. He does, and they do the latter.
    • Also appearing in the Fate of the Jedi books, courtesy of Tahiri Veila.
    • Star Wars: Crimson Empire features some of the survivors of Palpatine's Royal Guards, who are actually seen in action rather and prove to be very deadly fighters despite (usually) not being Force-sensitive.
  • Asterix: When Asterix and Obelix are at Rome, Obelix wants to fight the Praetorian Guard thinking they are like the common legionaries that patrol the Gaul that Obelix easily defeats with his Super-Strength. Asterix quickly convinces Obelix they are Elite Mooks, and they could certainly kill Obelix because, given his Super-Strength, Obelix has never had the need to learn how to fight. The only way to take them out is to do so one at a time with stealth.
  • Red Sonja: When she became Queen of Songaria, Sonja was guarded by her all-female bodyguards, the Red Sisters. Unusually for this trope, all of these women were also princesses and the actual heirs of the throne, but they all agreed to hand it to Sonja after she helped save Songaria from invaders and they have vowed to protect her life unquestionably. Unfortunately, over the course of the Queen Sonja series, they die one by one until only one remains and Sonja opts to abdicate and leave the last survivor as queen.
  • Wonder Woman:
    • Wonder Woman (1987): The Sangtee Emperor has a set of guards seen standing silently behind them, dressed differently than the other Sangtee guards and troops. Oddly they are missing during the climactic confrontation.
    • Wonder Woman (2006): The Circle were Queen Hippolyta's loyal personal guards for centuries before faulty logic and paranoia led them to betray their queen and try to kill her newborn daughter.

    Fan Works 
  • Along Came a Spider surrounds almost all leaders with these. After failing to live up to this, the First Royal Guards are replaced as the Archon's protectors by their sister regiment.
  • Multiple in The Bridge.
    • The Night Guard currently protect Luna and Celestia, but they were originally a set of separatists who thought Princess Celestia was a tyrannical overlord and Nightmare Moon was trying to implement a republic. They promptly repented and switched sides when they found out how horribly wrong they were.
    • After his Heel–Face Turn and being forgiven by Shining Armor and Princess Cadance for using the latter as bait to ambush King Sombra, Xenilla gives a vow of protection to them and the empire with the specific duty of safeguarding the royal family and their unborn child. Comes in handy when Tempest Shadow leads Storm King's army in a surprise attack, they weren't expecting a nearly 400-foot-tall kaiju to be Princess Cadance's bodyguard.
  • Chasing Dragons:
    • After he becomes King of Westeros, Stannis replaces the defunct Kingsguard with the Royal Order of the Storm (or Stormguard for short, though the current Lord Commander hates that name). They have the exact same role and duty as the Kingsguard, just with a vastly expanded roster.
    • Once the Sunset Company take over Myr and establish a new kingdom, they eventually set up the Brotherhood of the Broken Chain to serve as bodyguards for Robert (and his family once he starts one). They're composed of a mix of knights and freed slaves, and unlike the Kingsguard or Stormguard aren't expected to serve for life or denounce having families, but are expected to protect the royal family with their lives.
  • After the Eighteenth Royal Mechanized Infantry Division is disbanded in Davion & Davion (Deceased) the lone remaining regiment takes on the job of keeping Commanding General Aleksandr Kerensky alive.
  • Just Before the Dawn features Celestia's Praetorians prominently, after the main protagonist is promoted to the unit at the start of the story.
  • J-WITCH Series: After their Heel–Face Turn at the back end of Season 1, the Enforcers are appointed to act as Elyon's honor guard in Season 2.
  • The Royal Guards and the Knights of Round are supposed to be this for Emperor Lelouch in My Mirror, Sword and Shield. The Royal Guards are filled with spoiled noble second sons and end up being wiped out in their first battle. The Knights of Round backstabbed Lelouch twice on separate occasions due to their own agendas. The only loyal and competent Praetorian Guard is Suzaku.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • The Dawn Templars are a non-villainous example, being paladins who swore to defend Celestine, the Goddess Reborn. Throughout the series, the cadre has only been in a fight once: at the climax of the Rebel Scum Arc. They are also a part of the five-thousand-men army that is sent to Thorn for a potential Big Badass Battle Sequence, which is yet to be featured.
    • According to lore, the influential Malys clan had its own household guard called the Malys Royal Guard, who were infamous for seeking out slaves to "give over to the Malys's curious appetites".
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Memorizing Gaze is the Royal Protector of the Badlands Changeling Hive, born to protect its Royal Family, and takes up that duty again when Page finally accepts her position as Queen. His triplet brothers serve a similar function for the Hivemind Body and the Sages of the Past.
  • In Purple Days, tired of the Kingsguard's incompetence and the lack of a worthy military corps, Joff establishes the Royal Guard, gathering recruits from secondborn noble scions and bastards. This gets him learned warriors with some fighting experience, but who are not proper nobility (and thus will be amenable to a merit-based promotion system, rather than Westeros' noble-led armies) and see the Guard as the perfect means to do something worthy with their lives. With continuous drilling and diligent training, the Guard and a Raider force destroy Renly's massive army with only minor losses.
  • In Queen of Shadows, whichever one of the Generals is serving as Yojimbo, their tribe serves as the bodyguards and personal attendants of the Queen.
  • In RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse, we have the Night Guard of Princess Luna. They are set apart from the regular Equestrian armies by their enchanted armor, which in addition to strength and speed boosts grants a glamor that makes them appear to have slitted eyes, tufted ears, bat wings, and fangs (Luna finds that having her Guard look really scary can be quite useful).
  • The Kompanions serve as Maledict's personal bodyguards in Sonic X: Dark Chaos, as the most elite of the Nephilim/Hell Knights. Their job is mostly ceremonial, and they spend more time guarding important diplomats and foreigners than Maledict - who doesn't need guards at all. However, Episode 75 shows that they're so skilled and well-trained that they can each individually battle Jesus himself in one-on-one combat.
  • In The Unabridged Memoirs of Darth Plagueis the Wise, Plagueis still has his Sun Guards, as per canon. Later on in the story, after Dooku manipulates his way into the Supreme Chancellorship, he reassigns the office's contingent of Senatorial Guards elsewhere, and replaces them with a handful of handpicked Jedi, whom the media dub the "Chancery Knights".
  • The Weaver Option has the Dawnbreaker Guard. Formerly defunct, the order is resurrected by the Blood Angels to create a force powerful enough to defend their Barrier Maiden.
  • Various examples can be found in Wilhuff Tarkin, Hero of the Rebellion:
    • In the present time, Tarkin has a unit of Nova Troopers, elite Stormtroopers in black armor also known as Death Troopers-that, due to Palpatine trusting Tarkin too much, are hand-picked from his pre-Empire command, the Outland Regions Security Force, allowing him to turn them to the Rebellion with ease.
      • Aside from the Death Troopers he also has the Legion Executrix, the Stormtrooper legion assigned to his personal Star Destroyer Executrix-also raised from the Outland Regions Security Force aside for a single Clonetrooper battalion (Obi-Wan's old 212th Attack Battalion).
    • In the pre-Clone Wars era, the Dark Acolyte served as this for Dooku, with Asajj Ventress serving as his personal bodyguard on at least one occasion. Ventress knows perfectly that Dooku is actually far more powerful than her, and her musings reveal that they have that job because rulers and politically important people are supposed to have bodyguards and lightsaber-wielding Force users are showy enough for the job.
    • In the same period, the governor of the Seswenna Sector had the Guard Divisions of the Outland Regions Security Force, dedicated units that are periodically rotated to other duties to maintain their edge as soldiers. During Dooku and Ventress' visit on Eriadu, one officer had a vibrosword lined with cortosis, ready to take on them if necessary.
      • Aside from the soldiers, the Seswenna governor has more subtle security to deal with assassins. They're quite efficient, and Ventress notes that the one who came close enough to a reception for her to spot him had been let arrive there just so the security could show off to her by "disappearing" him.
    • The Senate Guard gets a brief mention in Ventress' musings, and are dismissed as mere decoration.
  • Flash Sentry is promoted to Twilight Sparkle's bodyguard in What Hath Joined Together. His superior Captain Ironhoof literally recommended anypony but Flash because Flash is competition for Twilight's affection and the captain (rightfully) suspects him of having a Bodyguard Crush, but Celestia and Twilight insisted on it.
  • A Young Girl's Game of Thrones: Myrcella organizes Brienne and promising Stormlander knights into a personal cadre called the Stormguard. She makes sure that this isn't like the Kingsguard, with the roster limit set to 20 instead of 7 and no one has to set aside their inheritance to join, and also intends them to serve as military commanders in addition to bodyguards.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Praetorian Guard in Gladiator show some of the real-life unit's fickleness in regard to defending the emperor. Their captain, Quintus, is Maximus' old friend and comrade-at-arms, and privy to some of Commodus' worst behaviour — in the climactic duel, he countermands Commodus' order to Give Me a Sword, leaving the emperor to fight at a disadvantage.
  • Star Wars:
    • The Senate Guard (aka the Blue Guard) served as these for the Galactic Senate, a rare heroic example.
    • The Phantom Menace has the Naboo Palace Guard, another heroic example that are said to form the backbone of the Royal Naboo Security Forces and are seen guarding Padmé when she is a senator in Attack of the Clones.
    • The Red Guard, later the Royal Guards, serving Palpatine. Adorned in their blood-red robes, and armed with lethal "force pikes." They serve basically as set dressing for the films, doing absolutely nothing but looking scary in the background. Revenge of the Sith riffs on this by making it look like we'll finally get to see them in action, only for them to be easily smacked aside by Yoda and forgotten. As shown in Rogue One, they can also be lent to Darth Vader. Lords of the Sith and Star Wars Rebels finally show them in action with the latter having specialized force pikes and they give Ezra Bridger significant trouble, but he was lightsaber-less at the time and eventually took them down with the Force.
    • In Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and the Clone Wars animated series, General Grievous has a personal guard of MagnaGuard droids, who fight with electrostaffs and are skilled enough to fight Jedi in melee combat. Star Wars: The Clone Wars showed Dooku using them on occasion as well, and the Expanded Universe states that they were based on a previous group of Praetorian Guards from back in his days as a Kaleesh Warlord.
      • Revenge of the Sith also has the Neimoidian Royal Guards seen guarding the Separatist leaders on Mustafar. They don't appear to put up much of a fight against Vader, seeing as they appear to have been slaughtered offscreen after he seals the room. The Clone Wars, as well as Brotherhood and Poe Dameron, give them more expanded roles, however.
    • In The Last Jedi, Supreme Leader Snoke has his own red-clad bodyguards (actually called the Praetorian Guard), armed with weapons capable of shifting into multiple forms, who are elite enough to give both Rey and Kylo Ren a run for their money. They, or at least 3 early versions also appeared in The Mandalorian being sent to Moff Gideon by Brendol Hux to reinforce the Moff when Mandalorians led by Djinn and Bo-Katan were about to raid his base on the planet Mandalore, even killing Paz Vizla in battle.
    • The death of the Praetorian Guard in The Last Jedi resulted in Kylo Ren taking the Knights of Ren to be his own equivalent in The Rise of Skywalker, and they happen to be Force-sensitive, though crudely so. Meanwhile, like the Empire and the First Order, the Sith Eternal has bodyguards in red armor for Emperor Palpatine, the Sovereign Protectors.
  • The Immortals of the Persian army in 300.
    • Leonidas's 300 are themselves his "bodyguard" for the purpose of leaving Sparta with him.
  • The Lord of the Rings features a number of these. In Rohan you see the Royal Guard, recognisable by their uniform appearance including floor-length scale hauberks (a couple of speaking roles wear their uniform such as Gamling and Hama), then in Minas Tirith there are actually two kinds- the Citadel Guard who follow Denethor around and the guards of the Court of the Fountain who guard the White Tree rather than an actual person.
  • In Forbidden City Cop, each member of the Chinese emperor's personal guard is a master of a different martial arts technique, except for Ling Ling Fat ("008"), played by Stephen Chow, who earned a spot through a family legacy. He's also the only one who lives to the end of the movie.
  • The Master of the Flying Guillotine and an unnamed mook with a robotic hand and hockey mask in Violent Shit III: Infantry of Doom.
  • Equilibrium: The real leader of Libria, Dupont, has himself a group of Sweepers (designated with a green armband) protecting his office, as well as a group of bodyguards armed with katanas. They're not very effective against the hero.
  • Pow Wow Highway: Cheyenne activist Buddy is targeted by the conservative tribal chief's GOONS (Guardians Of the Oglala Nation) when he visits an Oglala Reservation. Based on an actual organization known by that acronym.
  • In The Dictator, Aladeen has an Amazon Brigade in an homage to the all-female guards of Muammar Gaddafi.
  • In Jupiter Ascending, each of the Abrasax siblings have their own Royal Guard. Balem doesn't rely on them as much as the others in favor of Mr. Greeghan and his men. Jupiter is also informed that she's entitled to a Royal Guard by law, after being legitimized.
  • In The Great Wall the Queen of the Tao Tei monsters has a protective circle of large, gorilla-like guards surrounding her at all times. When attacked, the guards spread their shield-like frills to defend the Queen from bombardment and are sturdy enough to withstand even flaming catapults.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The Kingsguard are seven knights sworn to serve for life protecting the king. Traditionally they are supposed to be great warriors and paragons of chivalry, but few actually live up to this and like the real Praetorians one of them was responsible for the death of the previous king, though unlike them it has not become a habit. Barristan Selmy is Lord Commander of the Kingsguard before he is coerced into "retiring."
    • Dothraki khals are attended by their bloodriders (e.g. Kovarro, Rakharo), but their Asskicking Leads to Leadership culture means they are Bodyguarding a Badass.
    • After Cersei crowns herself Queen Regnant, she assembles a new Queensguard consisting of undead Giant Mooks reanimated by Maester Qyburn's black alchemy, headed by an undead Gregor Clegane.
  • I, Claudius. After Caligula is assassinated (while being protected by German mercenaries, who presumably would be less open to conspiracy than Roman guards) drunken Praetorians annoyed at the imminent demise of their jobs find Claudius hiding behind a curtain and declare him Emperor almost against his wishes. Which is what happened in real life, though whether the real Claudius was as reluctant as his TV version is another question. The actual Praetorian Guard unsurprisingly play a fairly major role in the miniseries.
  • Caligula's assassination and the subsequent elevation of Claudius to Emperor play out similarly in The Caesars; sick of Caligula's tyranny in general and his embarrassing watchwords (such as "Cupid" and "Loveykins") in particular, the Praetorian Guard join an already-forming conspiracy against Caligula and carry out the actual murder. They then find a terrified Claudius hiding behind a curtain and, needing an Emperor to ensure their job security, declare him Emperor on the spot (in contrast to I, Claudius, he is portrayed as more surprised than reluctant).
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: In Numenor, there are several guard units wandering around the palace. They wear distinctive armor from other units. They respond directly to the Queen, who can invoke them whenever she needs them.
  • In the MacGyver (1985) episode "Humanity", MacGyver tangles with the K-Force, a group of Praetorian Guard still loyal to Romania's dead tyrant.
  • While they don't fully count as Praetorian Guards, Admiral Adama in the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica is occasionally followed by a group of Colonial Marine bodyguards. They don't become particularly noticeable until the second half of Season 4, though, when the Fleet is breaking apart and the Adama/Roslin leadership is barely keeping order. A rare case when a "good" character has Praetorian Guards following him.
    • Roslin also had her own personal guard, consisting of non-military personnel (they were chosen from former private security members and police officers) to avoid split loyalties between the military and the government.
    • Roslin's civilian guards are never seen again after their introduction in "Kobol's Last Gleaming"; later episodes have her and the Quorum guarded by Marines, perhaps signifying the increasing trust between Roslin and the military (which backfires on all concerned during The Mutiny).
    • When Gaeta launched his mutiny against Adama, one of the first things he did was organize a Praetorian Guard for himself.
    • Tom Zarek had one of these as well, composed of other former prisoners from the Astral Queen; they were primarily shown on the surface of Kobol, during renegade Roslin's alliance with Zarek.
  • Near the end of the second season of Primeval, Oliver Leek refers to the small army of future predators he's gathered as his "very own Praetorian Guard". Of course, as soon as they're free of his control, they promptly eat him.
  • Virtually every bad guy in the Batman (1966) live-action series had three goons who wore thematic uniforms and more often than not had their name on their shirt.
  • The Tribe:
    • Ebony's militia were a small group of ex-Locos (chaotic evil post-apunkalyptic teenage street fighters) who were loyal to Ebony and still wore the old team colors. When Ebony left the mall, she took the militia with her.
    • Billy-Boy, leader of the Jackals, was often accompanied by his own Goon Squad in Season 2.
    • As was Moz of the Mozquitoes in Season 3. The Guardian, leader of the religious cult "The Chosen," had the elite Praetorian Guard.
  • In Wild Palms, Senator Kreutzer used a group of well-dressed thugs as his Goon Squad and Secret Police. The main character witnessing them beating up a man in a restaurant, while all the other patrons ignored it, was one of the catalysts for his becoming aware that not all was as it seemed. Since Kreutzer is also a Cult Leader, he has his own paramilitary force who dress like sailors.
  • The Centauri Palace and Emperors in Babylon 5 are regularly shown being guarded by gold tunic & helmeted Imperial Palace Guards. Later episodes imply them to be more than merely glorified bodyguards but very capable soldiers and even perform covert ops and assassinations.
  • The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance: All-Maudra Mayrin, the queen of the Vapra Clan and leader of all Gelfling Clans, has her own elite guard corps, the Paladins.
  • Van Helsing (2016): After Dracula starts to impersonate the President in Season 5, she starts surrounding herself with vampire Delta Force commandos for security.

  • The song "March of the Varangian Guard" by the band Turisas is about (you guessed it) the Varangian Guard of the Byzantine Empire (see under "Real Life" below)
  • Likewise, "The Last Stand" by Sabaton is about the Papal Swiss Guard defending Pope Clement VII during the 1527 Sack of Rome.
    • Ditto their later song "The Royal Guard", about the Royal Guard of King Charles XII of Sweden and their victory against a siege force of Russians about three or four times their number at the Battle of Narva.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • The lifeguard of the kings of Judah, Cherethites and the Pelethites, first mentioned in 2 Sam 20:23. Modern research interprets them as Cretans and Philisteans.
    • The Seraphim and similar angels could be interpreted as this for God. Not that God really needs protecting though.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy: The Holy Order of the Heaven, bodyguards and private army of the Emperor (now Empress) of Abel, which includes some of the best combatants in the setting.
  • BattleTech: Every faction has a unit l ike this. In every case, cases their loyalty is first and foremost directly to their respective House Lord.
    • The Draconis Combine's Otomo do mostly bodyguard work but are trained as battlefield soldiers first.
    • The Federated Suns has the eight Regimental Combat Teams of the Davion Brigade of Guards, where the First and Heavy Guards have been closest to the Princes
    • The Capellan Confederations's Death Commandos. They have plenty of other tasks to perform as well, such as terrorism, and high-value target raids.
    • The Free Worlds League had both the Free Worlds Guards and the Knights of the Inner Sphere, of which only the Free Worlds Guards exist as of 3145.
    • The Lyran Commonwealth has the Royal Guards, who do more combat in ballrooms than on battlefields but are still competent troops.
    • The First Lord of the Star League was defended by the Royal Black Watch. The originals were wiped out by a nuclear weapon in the Aramis Coup, and the recreation destroyed by the Word of Blake.
    • The Republic of the Sphere had Stone's Brigade.
    • The Clans have their "Keshik" units, which serve this function for their Khans.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: Eberron:
    • There is the Brelish Citadel (aka Secret Service), which has four branches that represent various aspects of the trope. As the King of Breland is a good guy, this also makes them a good example of the trope. None of the branches actually report to the Brelish Parliament, instead answering only to the King himself. As representatives of the King, they can conscript any Brelish Civilians to help them, refusing is considered treason.
      • "The King's Shields" are warriors in charge of being bodyguards for the royal family and visiting foreign dignitaries.
      • "The King's Swords" are an elite offensive task force serving the king.
      • "The King's Dark Lanterns" form an intelligence/counterintelligence agency, in charge of serving the King.
      • "The King's Shadows" are in charge of missions which the King of Breland wants no official ties to.
    • Outside Breland, the leader of the Thrane, both the Queen and the Speaker of the Flame, have their own Praetorian Guard. The Queen has the Knights of Thrane, while the Speaker of the Flame has a dragonhound. A magically bred animal that resembles a 6 legged mix between a dragon and a grizzly that automatically becomes loyal to whoever is the current Speaker of the Flame. It is sentient and even the cardinals of the church give it a wide berth. Of course, since the current Speaker of the Flame is an 11-year-old girl, she treats it like a pet.
    • The head of house Thuranni has two Shadows (undeads made out of shadows) acting as his bodyguards.
    • The Undying Court of Aerenal depends on the Deathguard for protection.
  • Rocket Age: Every Martian prince needs royal guards and armies, considering the sheer likelihood of assassination. Many others Royal and Priest castes also have personal guards and sometimes even entire legions at their disposal.
  • Traveller: It's the right of High Nobles and The Emperor to maintain "Huscarles". These are different from private armies and merc bands because they have legal enforcement powers and are therefore only allowed to certain nobles, notably those who are serving as provincial governors. Their form is naturally up to the GM. The most obvious form of Huscarl band might be a large clump of muscle but a game that involves Huscarls as a Nobles personal investigative team, for instance, might be worth considering.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Most Headquarters units have the option of purchasing bodyguards, be it a cadre of hand-picked Space Marine veterans, a mob of Ork Nobz, a Chaos warlord's Chosen, the disgusting little Nurglings that carry a demonic palanquin, the Tyranids' Tyrant Guards (literally bio-engineered to be walking meat shields for important members of the swarm), the Royal Court of a Necron Overlord and their Lychguard Bodyguards, an Imperial Guard CO's Command Squad, or the lethal Incubi of the Dark Eldar (who come from outside the Kabal and are therefore unlikely to try to usurp power). In most cases, these units spend the game with their commander, but in certain armies, they can be split up to act as leaders for other squads.
    • The Adeptus Custodes, golden-armored super soldiers bearing polearms with integrated storm bolters. It's said that a member of the Adeptus Custodes is to a Space Marine as a Space Marine is to an ordinary human. Though the Custodes took to the battlefields of the Great Crusade during the Imperium's founding, since the Horus Heresy they were consigned to Holy Terra where they guard the Imperial Palace, particularly the Golden Throne and the Emperor's inert form. Since the return of Roboute Guilliman however, they've taken to the battlefield again as the pretty much the most elite faction there is within the Imperium's military.
    • Note that the Praetorian Guard mentioned in Imperial histories is not this trope, instead being a pith-helmeted, red-coated Imperial Guard regiment from the planet Praetoria.
    • The Sisters of Battle started as the Brides of the Emperor and were the personal bodyguards to Goge Vandire sometime during the Age of Apostasy. The Adeptus Custodes would later convince the head of the Brides that Vandire was corrupt and needed to die. In atonement for assisting the man who started the Age of Apostasy, they reformed themselves into the Sisters of Battle, due to the literal wording in the subsequent decree that the Ecclesiarchy (where Vandire started) could not have "men under arms".
    • When the head of the Space Wolves needs to go somewhere, he does so accompanied by the Wolf Guard. Many of those in the Wolf Guard were Lone Wolves who threw themselves at the enemy, hoping for a glorious death, and survived. To put it another way, out of an entire pack of badasses, they were the ones who survived when their allies fell, and then survived a battle against such impossible odds that they expected to die. They're exactly the sort of people you want representing the Space Wolves.
    • The Death Guard have the Deathshroud, silent warriors in hulking Terminator armour that wield huge scythes called Manreapers. They were chosen by Mortarion himself to be his most deadly bodyguards, and it is said that he is never without at least two Deathshroud within 49 paces of himself.
  • Warhammer:
    • Most factions in have one of these, usually called the "[X] Guard" and armed with a spear: The High Elf White Lions act as bodyguards to the Phoenix King, and the Maiden Guard for the Everqueen. The Reiksguard of the Empire serve as the Emperor's bodyguard. The Greatswords serve this role to Elector Counts. The Temple Guard of the Slann Mage-Lords for the Lizardmen. The Black Guard for the Dark Elf king. The Hammerers for the Dwarfs. Stormvermin for the Skaven. Tomb Guard for the Tomb Kings...
    • One sourcebook mentions an equivalent to the Varangian Guard, where wealthy merchants and aristocrats hire Norscan mercenaries as bodyguards. As most Norscans are Chaos worshippers, this is a very bad idea that only the stupidest or most pompous noble would try out. Too bad that describes the vast majority of Imperial aristocracy...

  • BIONICLE has a few examples of these:
    • Big Bad Makuta had the Manas crabs in the first year's storyline and the Rahkshi in the Mask of Light arc.
    • Roodaka and Sidorak both had troops of Kahgarak elite guards.
    • The Bohrok swarm had the Bohrok-Kal, which were deployed as soon as the swarm's Bahrag Queens were defeated with the objective of freeing them from the can they’d been sealed in. Compared to the innumerable Bohrok, there were only six Bohrok-Kal, but they had a completely different power set and full intelligence to boot.
    • Subversion: The Toa Hagah were originally bodyguards of the Makuta, but when they found out that the Makuta had become evil, they promptly did a Heel–Face Turn and stole the Makuta's Achilles' Heel, the Mask of Light.
  • Transformers:
    • The Transformers (Marvel) briefly had the Wreckers be such a guard for the team's political sponsor, Emirate Xaaron, until his untimely death.
    • Interestingly, the Decepticon Ravage was part of one such guard for the last surviving Autobot Overlord and promptly betrayed him in favor of Megatron. His Autobot counterpart Nightstalker, though, sacrificed himself for his liege.
    • Good-guy Elite Guard: Jazz, Sentinel Prime, and Blurr serving under Ultra Magnus in Transformers: Animated.
    • The Transformers: Prime series introduced rookie Smokescreen, who received his training from the Elite Guard.

    Web Comics 
  • Girl Genius: Jenka was part of the Jäger Honor Guard to Euphrosynia Heterodyne, and the fact that her mistress was (presumably) killed without her guard with her is still a sore spot for Jenka hundreds of years later. Da Boyz have not been made Agatha's personal guard officially, but they go out of their way to stay by her no matter where she goes regardless of what the rest of the Jägerkin are busy with.
  • Mob Psycho 100: The Super 5 are the upper echelon of Claw who work directly under Suzuki. They are regarded as Suzuki's most powerful enforcers and battles each of the heroes during the World Domination Arc.
  • The Order of the Stick: The Sapphire Guard are paladins serving the ruler of Azure City.
  • Tower of God: The Princesses of Jahad are a bunch of Action Girls and Ladies of War empowered by the ruler of the Tower.

    Western Animation 
  • Steven Universe: The Diamond Authority have Aquamarines, Topazes, and Agate guards in their retinues.
  • Avatar:
    • Azula of Avatar: The Last Airbender was introduced with the red-clad royal guard. However, they're not much more useful than usual, and Azula gets rid of them once her lieutenant screws up her plans.
    • Later on the Dai Li, the secret police of the Earth Kingdom, serve a similar purpose for her. Similar to the original Guard they betrayed the Earth King and enabled a coup to take control of the city of Ba Sing Se.
    • In the sequel comics, Fire Lord Zuko employed the Kyoshi Warriors as his personal bodyguards after the palace guards proved ineffective in stopping an assassination attempt.
    • A rare good version is used in the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra with the White Lotus serving in such a role for Korra as she's not yet mastered all the elements. This is dispensed with quickly, though the White Lotus does stay on to protect the world's only family of airbenders, as well as resuming their other responsibilities, such as protecting the world from dangerous criminals and promoting the public welfare.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: The Clones of Horde Prime are the most fanatically loyal of his forces, sworn to serve and protect him with their lives. Prime often appears with two attendants by his throne, guarding him.
  • In G.I. Joe, Cobra had the elite Crimson Guard who, amongst other duties, served as bodyguard to Cobra Commander.
  • The Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) series had the Foot, and then the Elite Foot who appeared from behind him, all the time, with massive straw hats. And big weapons.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Princess Celestia has a pair of grey unicorns who appear to be her throne room guards and a pair of white pegasi who guard her while she travels. The pegasi have been shown to have British Royal Guard stoicism, even when prodded by Rainbow Dash.
    • Princess Luna has her own pegasi guards, who wear black & purple armor and sport demonic bat wings.
    • Funnily enough, this is a subversion of how the trope usually goes, since the Big Good of the story has a Praetorian Guard yet none of the villains seem to. Nightmare Moon relied purely on her personal vast magical power, and Discord is a one Draconequus apocalypse on his own.
    • Queen Chrysalis has an army, but it doesn't seem to comprise any elite guards in her first appearance. In her second, however, she has two changelings sporting armor and helmets that accompany her when she attacks Zecora's hideout.


Video Example(s):


Rey & Kylo vs Praetorian Guard

In the throne room of the Supreme Leader, an unlikely alliance between light and dark unites against his fanatical guards.

How well does it match the trope?

4.38 (16 votes)

Example of:

Main / ThroneRoomThrowdown

Media sources: