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Stoic Woobie

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His life sucks, but he will never complain.

"They'll realize that beneath your unfeeling exterior is a heart that's breaking. Silently, and in more pain than any of us can possibly understand, because that's what it is to be Vulcan!"
Star Trek: Voyager, "Muse"

These characters need a hug. Badly. But don't expect them to ask for one. A subtrope of The Stoic, unlike other woobie characters, they won't cry, angst, or outwardly show how much they're suffering at all. (Internally is another story). They don't want your pity, and in a great number of cases, will deny having emotions at all. Don't be fooled. The plot has heaped complication after complication on them, and silently, internally, they're suffering. They may inadvertently show their suffering for a moment, in which case they are Not So Stoic, or they may just have Bad Dreams. If they are lucky they will find a Manic Pixie Dream Girl to comfort them and live happily ever after as a reward for their stoicism.

See also Jerkass Woobie and Iron Woobie. This character is often a Tin Man, Sugar-and-Ice Personality, Broken Bird, Emotionless Girl, Shell-Shocked Veteran, or Defrosting Ice Queen.


Polar opposite of Wangst, where a character overemotes at the most minor suffering. Compare Did You Think I Can't Feel? Also compare Mangst.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Akame from Akame ga Kill! was brainwashed into a Child Soldier that would protect the corrupt empire she lived under, killed thousands of people without question, and was separated from her beloved sister, who also underwent the exact same process she did alone. Then after she breaks her brainwashing, Akame is now hunted by her former rulers and forced to fight her own sister in a war to take down the empire who ruined her life.
  • The Hero of Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Setsuna F. Seiei, had been tricked by the bloody monster Ali Al-Saachez into murdering his own parents in the name of God. Throughout the entire series he openly shows the sadness and anger deep in him; he never laughs and almost never smiles - and the only thing that could probably heal him is Marina Ismail's song, Tomorrow.
  • Hagi (or Haji) from Blood+ is this. He's been physically abused by pretty much every opponent he's ever faced. He's been through it all: Impaled, crushed beneath rubble, almost died of blood loss when he was still human, took a blast of condensed energy, lost at least two appendages. Even all that abuse is nothing compared to the immense psychological trauma he's carried over for an entire century. Said trauma scarred him so much that he barely speaks.
  • Atem/Yami Yugi from Yu-Gi-Oh!. In his past life he was a Pharaoh who lost his father at the age of fifteen, then had to give up his life and his memories to seal himself and a great evil in the Millennium Puzzle. This plan was presumably for good until Yugi unexpectedly solved the Puzzle and freed him 3,000 years later. He never complains about his loneliness or captivity in the Puzzle, never complains about only being able to exist through Yugi, never complains about having to stop various bad guys using the other Millennium Items for bad ends and never so much as expresses his own desires about things. He comes close to despair a few times but never balks at all the responsibility he has to shoulder.
  • Yuki Nagato from Haruhi Suzumiya (who, notably, is partly an homage to the above mentioned Rei). Also woobie re-maker of world, although the remade world was considerably nicer, and she even left a reset button for the main character. For those unfamiliar, Yuki is the only member of the cast who remembers every iteration of the "Groundhog Day" Loop where Haruhi put them through the last two weeks of summer vacation over and over again. We "only" had to watch it eight times; she experienced it for subjective centuries. Since she's an Emotionless Girl, though, there's absolutely no angst shown.
  • A few examples stand out in Naruto:
    • When Itachi Uchiha was four he watched people die in a world war. As Tobi said: "For a child, war is hell." He grew up under the pressure of being the Uchiha Clan prodigy while trying to maintain peace. At the prospect of his clan causing a rebellion, he received orders to murder them to maintain peace. After that, he developed a terminal illness, and chose to make his own little brother hate him... and yet he still died with a smile on his face. Death was probably the best thing that ever happened to that guy. And later, his little brother takes his eyes and he is resurrected as a zombie. Yes, even after he's dead, the Ninja world won't give him a break!
    • Kakashi Hatake. At about age 6, father commits suicide. He only recovers normal human emotions through second traumatic loss for which he blames himself. He also happens to be the sole survivor of his original team. One of the Genin he trained defected from the village and joined a terrorist organisation. To twist the knife further, said student was very similar to Kakashi and declared that he intended to kill everyone in their village, including his remaining students and Kakashi himself. Kakashi is continually late because of visiting the grave/memorial stone of his dead teammate, for whom he feels responsible. His only moments of on-screen angsting are at the Third Hokage's funeral and a scene in which he visits the memorial after the failure to retrieve Sasuke and asks the dead Obito how much he has changed. His face when he gets to the site of Naruto and Sasuke's fight at the Valley of the End, too late again, is a study in pain and self-hatred. He later finds out that his "dead" teammate (the same one whose grave he's constantly visiting) not only survived his "fatal" accident, but is actually the Big Bad of the story. And what happened to seal Obito's turn from Wide-Eyed Idealist to Diabolical Mastermind? Witnessing from the shadows as Kakashi was forced to kill Rin, their other teammate and the girl that Obito was in love with and asked him to protect. Considering all that he has gone through, he may very well be the most emotionally broken man in the story.
    • Shikamaru Nara. First he gets to see his sensei, who is like a father figure to him, killed right before his eyes. This plays out over a coming of age arc where he recovers and gets revenge on Asuma's killers. Everything okay, right? Nope. After the Ninja Alliance arrives to help Naruto against the Madara, Obito, and the Juubi, his father Shikaku and Inoichi are killed after the Juubi launches an attack that destroys Alliance HQ. So the guy who got him over Asuma's death is now also dead. Only a day after he was forced with his team to fight and defeat a zombie Asuma. Nice. While Ino cries after learning the fate of her father, Shikamaru is stoic after a brief bit of emotion.
    • Shino Aburame, at least in the anime fillers. During the war, he comes across his Childhood Friend and Big Brother Mentor Torune. Shino then realizes that a) his brother is dead, and b) he's going to have to kill his brother a second time. By himself. We then learn that Torune joined the Foundation so that Shino could have the chance to learn The Power of Friendship. Torune asks Shino if he has made any friends. Shino makes a distressed face, then replies, "I don’t know…I’m not sure if they consider me their friend.”
  • Sousuke Sagura from Full Metal Panic!. Especially after his childhood and backstory is shown in Kyokuhoku Kara no Koe. The poor kid suffered together with his beautiful single mother in the middle of ice cold mountains in a crashed airplane (where all other passengers died), saw his mother freaking die for him before his own eyes, temporarily went mute from shock while he was taken in by the Russian army, got sent away to the KGB to be raised as a child soldier and assassin, got taken in as a child soldier for the resistance in the middle of Afghanistan, the resistance ended up losing the war anyways, and he loses a bunch of his comrades and his kindly father figure... and that's just up until he was eleven years old. He's never shown to have ever complained or wangsted about any of it, and seems to take all of it in stride. There are very, very brief moments where his eyes are described to show loneliness, as well as moments where he's shown to have Bad Dreams about his mother dying.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
    • Fate Testarossa is a Dark Magical Girl who has been put through hell by the person she loved and then left out in the dry, completely shattered. Nevertheless, she manages to get up on her feet and lead a relatively normal life. In the second season, she is trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine where said person loves her back and her Cool Big Sis is alive—and one of the reasons she can wake up from it is her realization that this reality is treating her too good. In other words, she uses the level of her own suffering to determine if the current reality is fake.
    • Also, the Lady of War Signum and other Wolkenritter from season two. Fate has been through roughly a year of abuse by her maddened mother. The Wolkenritter are implied to have been through centuries of abuse by various masters who treated them like crap and whose orders they could not disobey. Then, after they finally find a master who loves them in Hayate who treats them like humans, it turns out that The Book of Darkness, the source of their magic, is slowly killing Hayate. Thus they begin stealing Linker Cores in a desperate attempt to keep Hayate alive.
  • Bleach
    • Shinji Hirako has been through two breakdowns, one in the past and one in the present, has seen his friends turned into monsters and has at one point or another been forced to fight them, had a soul-eating abomination implated into him by the Big Bad, and has seen the person he's closest to on the brink of death twice, with the second time leaving her chopped in half at the waist - yet every time we see him after those breakdowns, he's either smiling or emotionless.
    • Ryuuken Ishida initially appears to be cold, aloof, bitter, sarcastic and hypercritical. Then it's hinted that Beneath the Mask he might be gentle and protective. Then a Whole Episode Flashback arc reveals he used to be a warm and kind personality with high hopes for the future of the quincies until Aizen's Hollowfication experiments incidentally destroyed his Arranged Marriage and he was forced to sacrifice that hope. Then it's revealed he could not fix the problem and had to stand aside while a shinigami fixed it instead. Then his wife was killed and an attempt was made on his young son's life when a folkloric quincy prophecy came true. In the current storyline, he and his son Uryuu are badly estranged because Uryuu is furious that Ryuuken refuses both to use his quincy powers AND to explain his refusal. Ryuuken has downright encouraged his son to come to the worst possible conclusions about his motivations and we still don't know exactly why. Yet not once during all this has Ryuuken complained about how his life has turned out.
  • Unsui Kongo from Eyeshield 21. Where to begin...from the day he was born he's been compared to and completely overshadowed by his brother, who's better than him in every possible way without even trying. He puts himself through Training from Hell, but no matter how hard he works he'll only be a "good" player who'll never be half as brilliant as his lazy brother. Said brother, Agon, is a total jerk to him (and to everyone else) but gets away with it because he's just THAT special. Yet despite having every reason to angst and despise Agon, he instead focuses all his energy into helping his brother live up to his full potential. On top of that, whenever someone starts to feel sorry for him, he tells them not to bother themselves with someone like him.
  • Pandora of Saint Seiya. Sweet merciful Athena, the girl's life has sucked ever since as a kid she released Hypnos and Thanatos and then she became Hades's adoptive sister, but she never ever complains.
  • Kaname Kuran from Vampire Knight. He's had just as much shit happen to him, if not more, than fellow Woobie Zero, it's just that he doesn't Wangst about it.
  • Kurama from Elfen Lied is a particularly excruciating case of this with moments of very justified Mangst.
  • Wolfwood from Trigun. The Super Soldier formula treatments he was subjected to give him a Healing Factor and also make him age at a similarly accelerated rate. He probably knows he'd never make it to forty even if his body was capable of it, so what does it matter? And he never complains about it. Ever. He has a really grim worldview and gets mad at Vash for optimism, but he doesn't seem to feel that he, personally, has a raw deal.
  • Ikuto Tsukiyomi from Shugo Chara!. . . where do we begin, oh yeah! His dad walked out on his family because he didn't want to be the leader of the family company. His mom gets sick and he and his sister have to move in with old family friends. Said sister has a major stalkerish crush on him (Not so much woobie as comic relief but still) leaves his sister to go with the family friend to find their dad. Then he gets kidnapped by the family company, his mom gets remarried to the Evil Stepfather, said strepfather forces him into a contract, he has to crush the dreams of children, etc. When all he wants is to be free! Then, later in the series, he gets brainwashed and is thrown in the company jail cell thing . . . and he always stops what he's doing to protect the people he loves . . . DAWWW! Don't you just wanna give him a hug?
  • Yoite and Miharu from Nabari no Ou fit this trope. Both are stoic and aloof, yet do their best to hide their pain from everyone around them.
  • InuYasha provides an unexpected example with Sesshoumaru. He starts as a stoic egotistical cold killer, and his whole character arc is basically a huge Break the Haughty, mostly done to him by his father. He feels like the outcast son since he inherits a sword that cannot kill, instead of getting his father's powerful sword Tessaiga that was given to his lowly half-human brother. Through his seeking of Tessaiga or just trying to get more powerful, he gets his arm chopped off, his potential love interest gets killed off, and the technique he obtains because of this can only be mastered through the death of his Morality Pet. The final straw is when he learns his sword is just a cast-off piece of Tessaiga and that this technique was meant for Inuyasha all along instead of him, a revelation so shocking that even Inuyasha's friends can't believe how cruel Sesshoumaru's father has been. Then powerless, he's attacked by the Shikon no Tama itself and is almost killed. During all this he barely shows any emotions and even less says what he's feeling out loud, to the point of Jaken emoting for him.
  • The eponymous character in Black★Rock Shooter. She seems to be crushed with the weight of the world, and depending on the incarnation, might not even be able to speak. When Black★Rock Shooter Stella BRS breaks her stoicism and say what is in her heart, it's tears-inducing.
  • Jeremy from A Cruel God Reigns is a mixture of this and the Tin Man. After he finds out his mother knew his stepfather was sexually abusing him all along, Ian doesn't believe him when he admits to the abuse, he runs away back to Boston and works as a teenaged prostitute and becomes a Functional Addict to drown out his post traumatic stress disorder, attempts to kill himself three times, and is then brought back to England by Ian to recover, Jeremy denies feeling anything toward sex, pain, love, and emotional attachment in general. He also suffers from a case of the Thousand-Yard Stare quite often. But whenever anyone brings any of this up, he denies that anything is wrong and usually yells at them that he doesn't need or deserve their sympathy or help.
  • Ryu of Kimi ni Todoke has it pretty difficult; arguably, he's had it a lot worse than any of the other main characters, being in unrequited (at least for now) love with his childhood friend and having lost his mother to a car accident when he was little: to add salt to the wound, she died whilst driving to pick him up from school. This doesn't stop him being the least outwardly emotional character in the whole series.
  • Girls und Panzer
    • Mako Reizei typically appears somewhat aloof and slightly bored, but she has a fairly difficult life. Her parents died in an accident when she was in elementary school, and the last time she spoke with her mother, they had an argument, leaving her unable to apologize. Her only remaining family is her elderly grandmother, who has collapsed several times, worrying Mako to the point at which she can't sleep well.
    • Maho Nishizumi. The entire reason why she serves as the Nishizumi heiress, which forces her to live up to her mother's expectations and often act coldly toward her younger sister Miho is so that Miho will be free to choose her own path in life. Unfortunately, her mother makes it clear that she doesn't approve of several of Miho's choices, causing her to leave tankery for a while, which was not what Maho hoped would happen. Maho seems quite distressed when her mother considers disowning Miho, especially since it would seem to void all her sacrifices.
  • Rurouni Kenshin's Aoshi started as a child soldier, became A Father to His Men but had to watch his side lose without proving themselves, passed up all his personal opportunities to stay with those who couldn't make their own lives in the new era, had to watch them die to protect him, and finally turned Death Seeker to honor them. Through it all he barely expresses anger, let alone anything else. Though he might move into Iron Woobie territory since even after his Heel–Face Turn and lots of meditating he goes back on a path of violence when he doesn't have to, albeit that one at least with noble goals .
  • Attack on Titan: Levi has experienced nearly all his closest friends and comrades killed in various cruel ways from before the beginning of the series up until now, but has kept a mostly expressionless face throughout. Mikasa would also count to a lesser degree.
  • Kishou Arima from Tokyo Ghoul. Hinted at in the Prequel Jack, and expanded upon in the Sequel :Re. Known for his stoic demeanor, his personal thoughts remain guarded and no one really understands him until his Day in the Limelight chapter. Bred as a Tyke Bomb, he was a failed Half-Human Hybrid born with enhanced physical abilities, but a significantly shortened lifespan. Though a gentle person at heart, he was forced to serve a Government Conspiracy, killing for his masters without any hope of obtaining the freedom or normal life he secretly craved. Over the 18 years he worked as an Investigator, the guilt over killing caused him to become a Death Seeker, seeing no other way to escape. He was also Secretly Dying, slowly going blind as his body broke down from accelerated aging, and forced to supervise the experiment to create his own replacement. Finally defeated by his protege, he commits suicide and confesses his secrets to Kaneki before dying in his surrogate son's arms — finally feeling he had something good to leave behind. In spite of all this, he never complains, at most offering a wistful comment about enjoying an undercover assignment as an Ordinary High-School Student. His poker face is so good, other characters and the audience alike failed to realize the full scale of just how miserable he really was the entire time.

    Comic Books 
  • Cyclops, leader of the X-Men. Even though some think he acts like a Knight Templar dick, you have to pity this guy. Starters he lost his family in a plane crash where he and his brother were the only known survivors; said brother would then be adopted and taken away from him, leaving him alone in a Crapsack of an orphanage where he was bullied by other children and tortured/experimented on by Mister Sinister. He can’t control his powers. His first two wives turned crazy and evil with one of them resurrecting and dying again. He's been Mind Raped a number of times. Yet he never complains, ever.
  • X-23. For all the hell she's put through, Laura seldom actually talks about it. This is mainly because her emotionally-abusive upbringing left her with a poor understanding of how to deal with her feelings. As a result, her main form of expression over the pain in her past is cutting herself with her claws, and when she does break down, she's prone to bouts of severe if not suicidal depression.

    Fan Works 
  • Mercury from the Inheritance Cycle fanfic series "A dance of Shadow and Light" by Ocadioan is a definite case of this. Traumatic, cruel and hellish childhood? Check. Repeated being used as the universe's chew toy? Check. Losing his few friends and loved ones one by one? Check. It is telling that as the story continues and the author's physical abuse of him lessens, the mental abuse just keeps escalating. At the end, Mercury have been wishing for and planning his own death for 400 years.
  • Monster X is portrayed this way in The Bridge. He may be an antagonist, but isn't an amoral character who's at worst a Punch-Clock Villain. Yet it seems like everything that could go wrong with his early life did, and is coming back to haunt him.

    Films — Animation 
  • Chuckles the Clown from Toy Story 3, a perpetually frowning clown doll who used to be friends with Lotso the bear and Big Baby, before they were accidentally abandoned by their owner. Chuckles was fortunate enough to be taken in by a new kid, but feels sorry for the embittered shell his former friend Lotso has become. At the end, when he sees a picture Bonnie (the girl he belongs to) drew of him, he smiles for the first time, realizing that he is indeed loved.
  • Elsa from Frozen tried to live up to the "stoic" part, mistakenly believing repressing her emotions was the only way to control her ice powers. She became this way after almost killing her little sister Anna with her powers by accident as children, and Elsa felt that severing her relationship with Anna was the only way to protect her. With years of repressed anger, guilt, fear and misery starting to boil over with the added stress of her parent's death and her own coronation, one argument with her sister is all it takes for her to red-shift to Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds territory.
  • True to his name, Stoick from How to Train Your Dragon. Throughout the first film, he keeps up appearances as the gruff, no-nonsense Chief of Berk, who is constantly frustrated by his son's actions and single-mindedly bent on destroying the dragons' nest. But as Hiccup's reputation starts to improve, we start to see the cracks in Stoick's facade, when he tries to start a real conversation with Hiccup and is beaming with excitement at the opportunity to connect with his son. He spends so much of his time being Chief that his only father-son time with Hiccup is berating him when he causes disruptions to his job, and it clearly hurts him that this is the case. After Hiccup's perceived betrayal, he curtly declares "You're not my son", but when he steps outside, one brief look of horror shows just how painful saying that was for him. How to Train Your Dragon 2 expands on this; when Hiccup was an infant, his wife, Valka, was abducted by a dragon that had invaded their home. Most likely, this explains much of Stoick's determination to destroy the dragons in the first film. You can see a profound and immediate change in Stoick's character when he sees Valka alive for the first time in 20 years. Additionally, he also reveals that he was the only survivor of a gathering of chiefs that were attacked by Drago Bludvist, the horror of his memories convincing him that there is no way to deal with Drago and that Berk must be kept under lockdown when Drago returns.
  • Inside Out: Joy's attempts to keep Riley happy in the face of all of the distress caused by the move ends up causing more damage to Riley in the long run than if Joy had just let her be honest about how she felt up front. Riley is only able to truly make peace with moving to San Fransisco (and becomes more emotionally healthy as a result) when Joy allows Sadness to have Riley finally break down crying and admit her homesickness to her parents.
  • Kung Fu Panda has Tigress in the first movie who tries to be this. She isn't completely stoic when provoked, but she definitely needs a hug and yet pushes it away harshly as she strongly believes to not show any weakness for it. She becomes more gentle and less stoic in the second movie, but it takes her until the middle of it before she even accepts showing any weakness. And she doesn't accept any gentleness towards her until movie three.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • After Wash's death in Serenity, Zoe becomes this (even in-universe, look at Kaylee's face when Zoe says Wash isn't coming). Until the Reavers arrive, and then she goes into creepy Tranquil Fury mode and engages them in hand-to-hand combat, almost getting herself killed in the process, which horrifies even Jayne with the sheer death wish of the move.
  • The burglar Marv in the Home Alone films suffers horrendous abuse at the hands of Kevin, but unlike his partner Harry, who often groans and mumbles after falling into Kevin's traps, Marv never complains and at one point in the sequel even adopts a Superman pose and bellows "NEVER!" when Kevin tauntingly asks him and Harry if they've had enough pain.
  • Sergeant Todd in Soldier was forced to spend his childhood undergoing brutal training as part of a project to become the perfect soldier. When he becomes outdated he is thrown off on a wasteland planet. He spends the movie trying to cope with his purpose in life being taken from him and has no place among normal people due to his killer instinct and total lack of social skills. When Sandra asks him what he thinks about, he reveals that it's fear and discipline, every single moment.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service:
    • Harry. He may be a very well-to-do, smooth badass who gets to wear cool suits, but let’s take a good look at what happens to him throughout the course of the movie. At the very start of the film, he loses his protégé, and instead of getting any particular sympathy from his colleagues, he’s mostly shown getting flack for “making a poor choice.” Then he tries to comfort the dead man’s family with little success, and has to deal with the widow sobbing and yelling at him. All of this is of course made worse by his guilt for having missed the grenade that killed Lancelot. Seventeen years later, the new Lancelot dies, so he loses another colleague, is reminded of his grief and failure, and if that weren’t enough, his boss is still giving him crap over “picking the wrong sort of guy” for the previous Lancelot seventeen years ago. As he puts it in the bar, he’d “had a rather emotional day.” He then is able to take Eggsy under his wing, which must give him some happiness, but shortly afterwards he goes to investigate Professor Arnold and is drugged with an unknown substance and nearly blown up for his trouble. He spends weeks in a coma, and when he finally wakes up he then almost immediately goes back to work, which is apparently his entire life, as he is never shown to have any sort of relationship outside of the Kingsmen – no friends, no family members, no significant other, nothing. Granted, none of the other Kingsmen are shown in relationships either, but Harry seems to be a bit of a misfit among them, given his progressive attitude and lack of snobbery, so he’s isolated even at work. Indeed, his best friend appears to be his deceased and stuffed pet. Then he has to deal with Eggsy failing his final test, just when he’d been so close, and his very next act is to visit the church, where Valentine’s device drives him into a killing frenzy along with everyone else, and when he comes out of it he reacts with horror to what he just did right before he dies. To top it all off, even if he didn’t know it, his boss was one of the people behind his death! Does this guy need a hug, or what?
    • His protégé Eggsy didn't fare any better, either. He lost his dad while he was still a kindergartner, and it messed up his and his mother's lives so bad that his mother had no choice but to marry a bastard like Dean who's constantly making their everyday life a living hell. He has skills and talents that could allow him to become a world-class gymnastic champion or a member of the Royal Marines, but had to let them all go because he didn't want to make his mother worry. Sure, he has a few friends, but his loyalty to them got him into trouble with police several times, and the last time he did that, he almost get jail-time that could last years. If Harry didn't show up in his life when he did, his future would be looking very grim. Even when he was offered the chance to become a Kingsman, he had to compete with most candidates who are high-class bigots who like to pick on him because of his social status. Against all odds, he still failed in the end, disappointing Harry who he came to look up to as his father-figure, just before Harry went on the mission that killed him! Even if Eggsy managed to save the day and finally become a Kingsman and give his mother a new life in the end, he would have to live with the fact that Harry would never get to see the Kingsman he become.
  • Will Kane from High Noon. He's a retired marshal who doesn't show his feelings very much. But boy, does he have it rough throughout "High Noon". All he wants to do is live in peace with his wife, but the Miller gang is coming to kill him, his wife and remaining deputies desert him, his predecessor doesn't believe him him and nobody is willing to help him (and those that want to can't because they're too young or physically unfit).

  • In Dragon Bones, Oreg shows signs of PTSD; but never complains about his fate. After hundreds of years of being enslaved to the head of the Hurog family, passed on from father to son, he knows that complaining won't help. There is only a hint of bitterness in his voice when he explains to Ward what, exactly, he is. He is Castle Hurog, a wizard did it. There's also Garranon, who cannot let anyone know that he's suffering, so he's even more stoic than Oreg.
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • It isn't ever outright stated, but Elrond's life severely sucked. His parents and his wife leave for Valinor long before he does. His twin brother, his daughter, and possibly his twin sons choose to be counted among the Men rather than the Elves; when he sails West to reunite with his wife, he knows that Arwen at least is lost to him even beyond the end of the world.
    • Galadriel didn't have it easy either. She has been fighting the Long Defeat since before the first rising of the Sun, all her family that came with her in Middle-Earth from Valinor is dead, she has been here to see all the failures of her people, and her daughter was tortured by orcs until she was so damaged she had to leave this earth to find peace. Despite all this, she is still very supportive of Aragorn in his quest to win Arwen's hand, even if her grand-daughter choosing a mortal life means she will lose her forever.
    • Faramir also qualifies. In the Houses of Healing, his mother is long dead, his brother is recently dead, his father is very recently dead (and they had a bitter parting, what with him admitting he'd rather his brother survived in his stead and all), his culture is slowly declining, they have almost no hope of success (unless a small hobbit in Mordor can throw the One Ring into Mount Doom - unlikely), he is wounded and reduced to inaction while all his remaining friends and family are away on a desperate suicide mission to try and hold Sauron's attention for a while, and he will be expected to lead the last futile defense of his people should this plan fail. He doesn't complain, and can still find it in himself to sympathize with Éowyn's predicament and smile at her.
  • X-Wing Series:
  • Araris Valerian in Codex Alera. For someone made of solid badass and Implausible Fencing Powers, he takes a ton of abuse, and he has very sympathetic motivations. Yet he's so stoic even Isana, one of the most powerful empaths in the setting, usually can't tell what he's feeling.
  • Jane Austen loves this trope:
    • Elinor Dashwood of Sense and Sensibility. She would like to complain, but she can't, as she has promised to her rival in love that she will tell no one of the engagement to Edward (whom Elinor herself loves). She takes this very seriously.
    • Fanny Price of Mansfield Park, probably the most extreme of the 3. Comes from a poor family, was adopted by her aunt and uncle, is treated like a lady's maid by her aunt, and fell in love with her cousin, who plans to marry the neighbour girl. Only when he tries to get her to marry the neighbour boy, who is a rake and plays with women's feelings, does she object.
  • Catelyn Stark of A Song of Ice and Fire. Readers see her inner turmoil, but her own son wonders if she even remembers her losses. Won't show her pain to Jaime Lannister or Jon Snow. Arguably puts on a mask as a response to expectations of stoicism from her environment, so she actually can admit when she needs a hug.
  • Precious in Push. Even though she has two children by her father, one of which has Down's Syndrome, and she is repeatedly raped by her mother as well, she rarely shows much emotion. In fact there is only one scene in the book when she truly breaks down and can't take it anymore.
  • Harry Potter: Severus Snape. It's implied that his parents weren't exactly the best, and he lived a lonely childhood where he was in love with Lily Potter, had to see her eyes on the face of the man she chose over him, note  and died thinking well in advance that the only thing he'd been living for was going to be ultimately worthless.
  • Huckleberry Finn in both The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The kid acts pretty chill about the fact that his mother is dead, his father is an abusive drunkard, and he constantly sleeps out on the streets, even when there are deranged criminals on the loose. That's because he's never known anything else.
  • Fiona Patton's The Stone Prince has that title for precisely this reason. It's about a Crown Prince who has been raised by his mother to be utterly stoic, and his life has been framed by assassination attempts, a lot of scheming, and a literal rebellion. It is not until he inherits the throne that he starts to shake off the hard, unyielding mask forced on him by duty.
  • Matt from The Power of Five, by the last book. Also Pedro, who never really complains despite being a starving street urchin who spends most of his pagetime being hunted, abused, betrayed, nearly killed on several occasions and repeatedly exhausting himself trying to use his power on grievously-injured people who often don't make it anyway.
  • In The Dresden Files book Cold Days reveals Queen Mab is one. Unlike Titania, she is governed by logic and reason. She will take the most calculated and simple path to get to her goal. That includes having to order Harry Dresden to kill her traitorous daughter. The reason she couldn't do it herself is because underneath it all, she still loves her daughter.
  • In the sixth Spell Singer novel, Cautious the Raccoon is this. Some time ago, his wife and infant children were killed in a freak storm, as such he never shows any emotion, completely calm in every situation, never seeming to care whatsoever about anything, though cares enough to help others and admitted he was excited to travel the world (even if he didn't show it). Though one scene in which Mudge the Otter told the "Funniest Joke Ever" caused even him to roll on the ground laughing He is so devoid of emotion that when the party found a magic mirror which shows what you look like if your image reflected your personality, while the other characters looked either beautiful or hideous. His reflection was unchanged, his response was pretty much "meh".
  • Wings of Fire: Glory grew up in confinement, knowing only seven other dragons for most of her life. She became the Un Favorite in the eyes of her guardians due to her race, and she was physically abused as a result. As a result, Glory developed serious boomerang bigotry. At one point, Kestrel even attempts to assassinate her over it. There's also the question of her (lack of) position in the prophecy. This is made even worse by the revelation that the prophecy was made up, and all her suffering was needless. Glory hates to show emotion, mostly because her emotions tend to literally spill all over her scales, and she usually claims that she couldn't care less.
  • An emotionless Nezumi in Broken Gate. It's clear her life has never really been happy and she only wanted to be free but that all changed when she and her older brother Ryuuji had a fight, over the latter's mistreatment. Besides roughly 100 years pragmatics and guarding the gate (reopening the which will kill her), it's no surprise she's emotionless, as, odds are, her having emotions would probably make her situation worse.
  • Dee from The Hearts We Sold suffers emotional and financial abuse at the hands of her father, and has absolutely no self-esteem, but she doesn't complain. In fact, she doesn't show much emotion at all, or discuss her home life or family with anyone. It's to the point where Gremma, her closest friend in the world, has no idea Dee's life is anything but happy and safe. Dee's stoicism comes from the fact that she had to learn how to hold back her emotions around her father, to avoid provoking him and making matters worse. Over the course of the story, Dee defrosts a bit, and begins expressing her feelings a lot more.
  • Roofshadow from Tailchaser's Song had a Friendless Background except for her brother Snufflenose. One day she came home to find her entire clan either dead or mysteriously disappeared, with the dead ones (including Snufflenose) torn to pieces. When Roofshadow went to the king and queen for help, they dismissed the incident as being caused by bears, leaving Roofshadow to sit around aimlessly until she meets Tailchaser. Later in the book, Roofshadow ends up captured alongside everyone else and almost ends up killed.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel:
    • Angel is the best example of this trope. Whether losing his son, losing his friends, brooding over his curse/vampire status, dealing with the fallout of his mistakes, disillusioned with being a champion, or pining over Buffy, he has particularly every kind of pain there is through the seasons ... but he doesn't show it. And rarely complains.
    • Giles was this in Season 2 after the death of Jenny Calendar and in Season 6 when Buffy died. It also may or not been this in Season 4 after being unemployed and going through a mid-life crisis.
    • Wesley. This was particularly prominent after being isolated exiled out of Angel's group, and then his silent descend into nihilism after losing Fred on the Angel's last season. Though he has a few iffy moments such as killing Knox and shooting a Wolfram & Hart employee.
  • Mr. Bates in Downton Abbey. He goes to jail for his insane wife, and the millisecond she finds out he's semi-happy she comes roaring over to Downton to make his life miserable. And then when she kills herself, he ends up in prison. Even in prison, he gets picked on. Everything seems to happen to Bates, and yet he never complains.
  • Simon Tam in Firefly. His sister, on the other hand, is too Ax-Crazy to be Stoic. Even so, we sometimes find out just how much she really does understand what was done to her. She's bottling up more than we ever realize, much like her brother.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: Malcolm Reed, who has been repeatedly shot, concussed, nearly frozen/suffocated to death, made to believe his entire ship had been blown up, pinned to the hull of said ship by a Romulan mine via a metal spike through the leg, almost hanged, crushed under rocks... and that's just in the first couple of seasons. And he never once complains about it, taking the attitude that as The Security Officer, it's his job to die to save the ship and her crew. Oh, Malcolm...
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Picard has a moment at the end of the now famous two-part episode "The Best of Both Worlds" that reveals him as this. He had just been rescued from the Borg who had forcibly abducted him, implanted him with cybernetic parts and made him part of their collective consciousness in order to conquer Earth. They used his knowledge and experience to kill thousands of people before he was finally rescued. At the end of the episode, Picard has almost completely physically recovered and is chatting away with his officers as if he were completely fine before they leave his office. He then undergoes an incredibly subtle Heroic BSoD. He finally gets to let some of it out in the next episode, "Family", after getting in a fight with his brother.
  • Castiel on Supernatural. He rebelled, was hunted by his brothers, saw his friends die, discovered God had abandoned the world, is caught in the middle of a Heavenly civil war, has had no discernible success in convincing his fellow angels to respect humanity, has to deal with those whiny Winchesters who expect him to be at their beck and call and do anything they ask with never a word of thanks and the closest thing he has to a friend is a hedonistic asshole of an angel who ran away during the apocalypse and left him to deal with it all on his own, then had the gall to say he was following Castiel's example. To cap it all off, he's been blown up twice. Fans would give anything to see him get that damn hug, but at this point most of them would settle for someone, anyone, showing him some genuine gratitude. And Sam denies him a hug in 'Like a Virgin', not so subtly sitting down as soon as Castiel opened his arms. Comes to a heartbreaking head in The Man Who Would Be King Castiel finally gets his gratitude from Bobby, Sam and especially Dean. Too bad it's 1. Not (knowingly) to his face and 2. Too little too late. Castiel made a deal with Crowley and chose to keep fighting alone rather than go to the Winchesters for help in order to protect them and it seemed like the best plan at the time. When this gets found out the boys are quick to judge and quicker to claim had Cas come to them for help they could have fixed it. It's clear from the conversations that follow and from Castiel's surprise at being told he's like family to them, Castiel had no idea he meant that much to them. And with the way they treated him during the season he had no reason to think it. "The Man Who Knew Too Much" finally has him snapping. Namely, in that he absorbs all the souls from Purgatory, blows up Raphael, kills Balthazar (the aforementioned hedonist), restoring Sam's memories of Hell, and at the very end, after absorbing the souls from Purgatory, declares himself the new {{God}}, saying that anyone who doesn't profess their love to him will be destroyed.
  • In the JAG episode "Each Of Us Angels" the actor normally playing Bud's brother plays a Medic who has his eye shot out and instead of accepting his fate, insists on helping the nurses aboard a hospital ship while constantly Deadpan Snarking about his eye.
  • Scully does this a lot in The X-Files, often saying "I'm fine" even when she's not. In the episode "Irresistible", after being kidnapped and almost killed by a death fetishist, Mulder non-verbally calls her on it, which leads a cute comforting moment between the two. Also one of the very rare times Scully actually cries.
  • Cameron of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles makes it quite abundantly clear that she doesn't feel emotions. This makes all the bad stuff she goes through over the course of the series even more apparent - it's quite clear that she's confused and concerned (we would say afraid, but she can't feel fear) about her conflicting programming, her inability to empathize with humans she is quite clearly concerned for, and the danger she represents to the very people she's trying to protect - especially when they hold her in scorn, suspicion, or distrust. And that's a good thing for her, too, since if she was human and could feel emotions, Cameron would probably be a gibbering, half-insane wreck due to all these issues. Cameron's issues can best be summed up by a single line she speaks to John when he asks her if she can't be "more happy." She tells him that she cannot be happy.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Eleventh Doctor has just enough quick flashes of sadness that his Cloudcuckoolander personality comes across as more of a defense mechanism than anything else. The real turning point for this is probably when Fridge Horror kicks in after "Amy's Choice" and you realize what he meant by his offhand comment about how "There's only one person who hates me as much as you do.". His immediate predecessor, while equally woobieish, was a lot more obvious about it and got downright self-indulgent a few times.
    • The Ninth Doctor is almost entirely this. He's full of PTSD and survivor's guilt about the recent war, yet he hides it all behind a stoic, Jerk with a Heart of Gold personality. Even more tragic, is that his previous incarnation, The War Doctor, ends up meeting his future selves, who together avert the genocide they thought they caused. The War Doctor knows he doesn't have to hate himself, but he also knows the Timey-Wimey Ball will make him forget everything that happened. So in other words, he knows he's going to go through a personal hell over something that never happened. And there is no avoiding it.
  • Jack Harkness of Torchwood. Being alive for over 2000 years, watching friends and lovers die is definitely not a healthy thing to live through. Not to mention being buried alive by his own brother and being murdered over and over in a butcher shop because the public think his blood has magic properties. It doesn't.
  • Jake Brockman in Season 1 of Series/Outnumbered. He suffers from bullying at school, including having his phone stolen, given severe chinse burns and is implied to be beaten up on a regular basis. Doesn't say a word the whole time, and lies to ensure his parents don't find out the truth.
  • Nick Cutter from Primeval. Where to begin? Having his wife disappear for eight years, return as a Manipulative Bastard Straw Nihilist bent on wiping all humanity from exitence and who turns his best friend against him. And just when he's found someone else to love, she's erased from existence. And then just as he's beginning to get along with her alternate self he gets shot - by his wife!
  • Leverage: Parker, despite the Woobieness being almost entirely in her Back Story. Although she hides it well by being extremely good at her job and eternally chipper, there are some serious wounds in her past. She does, however, break down in "The Future Job" when a psychic correctly deduces that her brother was hit by a car when they were young.
  • Dr. K from Power Rangers RPM. She hardly shows any emotion at all and rarely, if ever, mentions her life growing up in the government think tank named Alphabet Soup. Although she does begin showing emotion, she typically remains deadpan, even when she confesses to her Series Operators that she created and accidentally released the Venjix computer virus responsible for destroying nearly all of humanity.
  • Horatio Hornblower. Not particularly demonstrative of outward emotion (with a few exceptions, notably at the end of "The Wrong War/The Frogs and the Lobsters") but beneath the surface he's plagued by self-doubt and constantly berating himself for what he sees as his failures, despite his considerable skill and the admiration of his men.
  • Sherlock:
    • John Watson. It's abundantly obvious to the audience that he's absolutely crushed after Sherlock's apparent suicide but spends the entire series making sure to stay calm around other people. Even when he's strapped to a bomb he manages to stay perfectly steady until the danger's over. Then after Sherlock jumps off a building he shoves everyone who tries to help him away, and the audience is only allowed to see him cry in a reflection.
    • In "A Sign of Three", we have Major Sholto. A recluse, he is mentioned to get more death threats than Sherlock, and the wedding is interrupted by an elaborate plan to kill him. Still, he attempts to Face Death with Dignity until Sherlock, Mary and John manage to talk him out of it.
  • Abed Nadir, from Community. Most of the time he's stoic to the point of being called robotic, and compares himself to Data and Spock. When confronting his father for having blamed him for his mother leaving when he was six, he makes an emotional movie but doesn't show direct emotional reaction himself. When in the midst of a Christmas breakdown caused by his mother's abandonment, his grief manifests as denial, fantastic delusions of a claymation Christmas wonderland, and eventually catatonic freezing. And when he loses his best friend Troy to the cultish Air Conditioner Repair school, apparently forever, he visibly tears up but only says "Sorry I got emotional" before retreating to his room. Also one particularly bizarre episode, dealt with Troy going to lunch in a restaurant with Britta instead of hanging out with Abed in his Dreamatorium (their pretend holodeck for imaginary fun) who in turn was obviously upset. Annie realizing that Abed was subtly trying to control Troy instead of letting him do his own thing, used the Dreamatorium to alter Abed's mind to think about other people rather than himself. Which in turn she had to delve deep into Abed's subconscious (while he emulates all the other characters) she discovers that Abed was beaten up constantly in school and spent most of the time hiding in his locker, as within "his mind" his locker is shown as a prison cell where he is locked up, as being Abed is "illegal" but then again this was technically all within Annie's imagination as the Dreamatorium isn't a real holodeck, but then again, the entire episode was a complete Mind Screw so...
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gives us a few glimpses into Coulson's backstory in "The Magical Place", as well as finally revealing the truth behind his memories of recovery in Tahiti, ("It's a magical place.") which puts him firmly under this trope. Despite his stoic, Seen It All persona, he's heartbroken over the fact that he never got to say goodbye to the women he loved when he got his Death Faked for You courtesy of Nick Fury. He also recently lost his mother, his father died when he was a kid, and the sheer pain he experienced when being brought back to life ''broke'' him, to the point where he begged to be allowed to die. The memories of the procedures were replaced by memories of Tahiti in an attempt to turn him back into the man he was, but now he knows part of the truth there's no telling what it will do to his mind. Don't expect to pick up on any of this from his demeanour at the end of the episode, though.
  • Kamen Rider Agito: Ryo Ashihara, tritagonist and Kamen Rider Gills. He's subjected to Body Horror transformations that he didn't ask for, and just within the first eight episodes he's two for two on people in his social support structure abandoning him when he actually lets them in and tells them about what's happening to him - first his swim coach, and second his (ex-?)girlfriend. But for all of this, he just... stands there and takes it, accepting it like a penance. The only time he seems to let it out, if ever, is when he transforms into Kamen Rider Gills.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Michonne is a stoic Lady of War who shields her emotions from other people in order to stay strong in the zombie infested world, but when she's Not So Stoic, you can't help but feel her pain. Especially when it's revealed her entire family was killed by zombies.
    • Daryl Dixon presents as a milder version of his brother at first but is slowly shown to actually be a much kinder and useful individual, giving the audience a reason to feel bad for him for being misjudged. It is eventually revelead that he used to get beaten by his dad.

    Video Games 
  • Metal Gear Solid:
    • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater: The Boss. She lost her son on the beaches of Normandy when the Philosophers kidnapped him. She was subjected to high levels of radiation from atomic tests, was sent into space in a highly dangerous test launch of a prototype spacecraft but treated badly because she wasn't the 'official' first in space. She was seperated for years from the man she trained and was a surrogate son to her. During the seperation she was sent on a mission to kill the father of her child. The next time she met the man she trained she knew that she would have to defect and break his heart, even though the defection was a ruse planned by the US Government to get their hands on a fortune to fund their war. During the mission she is blamed for an atomic explosion caused by the insane general she was supposedly defecting to, accepting the blame to stop all-out nuclear war. She knows that she has to be killed by the man who was like a son to her, and can never reveal that she didn't betray him or her country. Finally, she would go to her grave in silence, knowing that future generations would believe her to be a monster who would have allowed the world to burn in nuclear fire. But not once did she break down or abandon the mission. "A normal person would have broken under the pressure" indeed.
    • Ocelot grew up as a child soldier after being kidnapped by The Philosophers, his best friend and mentor Big Boss gets effectively killed, His arm gets cut off as part of The Plan to revive Big Boss, He gets labelled a terrorist and traitor by everyone (even people on his own side), has hypnotherapy and nano-machines to convince The Patriots he's Liquid knowing that it will lead to his death and he has to play the bad guy to motivate Snake. All to resurrect his best friend (and crush) Big Boss, who he knew he would never get to see again as the plan would lead to his (Ocelot's) death. He suffers everyone on the entire planet Earth thinking that he's pure evil, even though he's trying to free them from The Patriots control and not once does he break down, just grimly continues playing the bad guy until his death at the hands of his best friend's son.
  • Onmyōji: Let's see what Seimei has to go through: losing his memory, having to keep peace and order for an entire city on the verge of destruction, getting blamed for disasters he doesn't remember causing with the fear of Amnesiac Dissonance on top of that, learning that the bad guy is himself, but not really, and finally having one of his friends turn on him and become the Greater-Scope Villain than the aforementioned, among other things. It's quite impressive how he remains calm and composed through all of that. Still, you definitely don't want to piss him off though.
  • Soren from Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance/Radiant Dawn fits this very well, though he sometimes borders on Jerkass Woobie territory. He comes off as being cold and unkind, and is the Greil Mercenaries' resident Spock. You'd never guess that he has a Tear Jerker past...but does he ever. Thing is, though, this past is revealed through support conversations and other bits of the story that are easy to miss, so even the player might not realize it.
  • Fire Emblem Fates:
    • Azura suffered from abuse in Nohr and Fantastic Racism in Hoshido, is cursed with powers that are vital to winning the war but slowly kill her when used, and is literally unable to tell anyone what she knows about the Greater-Scope Villain due to another curse; the result of all this has left her incredibly jaded, but she never complains and never gives up trying to help.
    • Saizo found out who was responsible for the death of his and Kaze's father, and went to go take revenge... which simply resulted in him getting his eye slashed out and almost dying. Oh, and he never told Kaze about this, so he had to suffer alone about it for years, and in their supports Kaze himself is incredibly shocked at the amount of secret suffering his brother has gone through. Then there's the fact that, depending on the route taken, he and Kaze can end up fighting each other, which counts for both of them. And yet Saizo keeps carrying on his duties, keeping his inner troubles aside...
  • In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, Ezekiel, aka Zeke, is a kind-hearted and handsome Reasonable Authority Figure who turns out to have had one Hell of a Dark and Troubled Past as Camus, the Anti-Villain from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light. He doesn't have it easy in Valentia either, due to his Trauma-Induced Amnesia and how, despite his girlfriend Tatiana's unconditional love, he was treated harshly until Emperor Rudolf put his faith in him. And he's also Forced into Evil by having Tatiana taken prisoner by Nuibaba, requiring the help of the cast to rescue her (and if she's not rescued, he will die fighting Alm and Co). Regardless, Zeke rarely if ever discusses his huge problems with Alm or Tatiana, remains stonefaced and strongwilled, and keeps going on. Pretty much the only way to truly break him is killing Tatiana off.
  • Gorath from Betrayal at Krondor: His decision to do the right and very difficult thing - trying to bring peace between two nations that have been warring since forever and fully intend to keep doing so - has cost him everything, but don't expect to ever hear anything about it from him.
  • Shinjiro Aragaki in Persona 3. Let's go over his life: First of all, he's an orphan. Second, one of his childhood friends died in a fire. Third, two years prior to the beginning of the series, he lost control of his Persona and accidentally killed a woman, orphaning her son. As a result, he left SEES and began living as an outcast. During those two years, he began taking drugs to help control his Persona. Said drugs are slowly killing him. When he learns that Ken, the boy he orphaned has joined SEES, he decides to rejoin. During that time, he tries to maintain a distance between himself and the others. He has his own Social Link with the female protagonist where it becomes painfully clear that he really is a nice guy, and he slowly falls in love with her. However, Shinjiro is certain that he doesn't have much time left and is extremely reluctant to pursue those feelings, especially since he realizes that Ken joined SEES in order to seek revenge on him. Shinjiro ultimately either dies at Takaya's hands or falls into a coma, waking up just in time to see the girl he loves die. Despite everything, he never complains or gives any indication that he's suffering.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Kaidan Alenko. He joins the Alliance Navy to do good, despite the abuse he suffered as teenager in an Alliance program, and he refuses to dwell on it. Or at least, so he says, in the conversations with him he dwells quite a lot on it, especially if your Shepard is female. It still seems to affect him, but he insists it does not:
      Kaidan: "I've put my personal demons to rest long ago."
    • Thane Krios, the Atoner who's dying of a disease. Was forced into assassin training at age 6, thus had no formal education in anything else and had to continue the job to win money for his family, his wife was killed by people trying to go after him and his son hates him for having left afterwards. Nonetheless, he remains the quiet and calm individual he is, only shedding Manly Tears when the situation warrants it.
  • Princess Zelda gets this treatment in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, which gives her a personality of The High Queen. She's suffering deeply for the tragedies inflicted on her people and her kingdom, but she doesn't dare show it because the enemy could easily exploit any perceived weakness.
  • Cyrus from Pokémon. When you get down to it, his entire motivation is his unhappiness with his own life and his failure to live up to his parents' perfect standards, to the point where he refuses to let himself feel anything—and thinks the entire world would be better off not feeling anything either. You don't hear any of this from him, or even while he's still in the game. You don't hear a whisper of his backstory until he's either run off in shame or gone into self-imposed exile (depending on version).
  • When you look at his personality, his goals, and his motive for fighting in the 2nd Maverick Wars never mind him being on the wrong side of said war, Harpuia is quite a complex, tragic character, and people love him for it.
  • Leon is this in Resident Evil. On his first day as a police officer he's forced into the middle of a Zombie Apocalypse, during which he's shot and led to believe his Love Interest died, and after he escapes he's blackmailed into working for the government lest they experiment on the young girl he and Claire were trying to save. He's sent to investigate a drug lord where he meets Manuela, an innocent girl he sets out to protect who either dies in the bad ending or is taken in by the government in the good. Oh, and his friend Krauser resents the role he was blackmailed into doing and as such becomes his enemy. Then he's sent to rescue the president's daughter, in the process getting beaten up a ridiculous amount by the bad guys, injected with a mind controlling parasite that causes him a lot of physical pain and nearly leads him to kill the Back from the Dead Love Interest, and having to watch anyone who tries to help him die. Apart from the occasional instance of Say My Name when a comrade dies you never hear him angsting over it, despite having good reason to.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VII:
      • Vincent Valentine. Let's start: he never got along with his father. We know that because said father tells Lucrecia, who accidentally killed him by experimenting too much, to apologize to his son for not being a good dad. Next, we have Vincent being employed as the girl's bodyguard. Well okay, the girl is hot, he falls in love with her. Then Vincent finds out that Lucrecia worked with and watched his father die. He's all "Whatever, I still love you", it seems like an unrequited feeling, but why is she flirting with him? Moving on: Lucrecia is in fact Hojo's assistant. Hojo is old, ugly, creepy and downright EVIL. So she sleeps with him. Vincent says that he doesn't care, as long as she's happy. Turns out, they needed a child to be conceived, to experiment on it. Remember Sephiroth? Yeah, this one. That's the child. Still being pregnant, Lucrecia falls ill and Vincent loves her too much to just watch. So he confronts both of them. Hojo kills him because he's 'noisy'. Lucrecia puts him in a tube and brings him back to life by making him the host of Chaos. And then she goes into a cave and seals herself in a Mako crystal, apologizing a lot. Vincent wakes up, discovers he's a bit different than before (no way?) and goes into rage mode. Then he closes himself in a coffin for 30 years (by the way, his body is now nearly indestructible and he never ages), saying that it's the punishment for his sin. Apparently, his sin was doing nothing, but watching the experiment. Then Cloud and co. wake him up in the basement of Shinra Manor and greet him with some great news - Lucrecia's child has become pretty homicidal and is about to destroy the world. And then, when the heroes finally kill Hojo in the game, he tells him to rest in peace. So? Want to hug him yet?
      • Cloud Strife. Lonely, alienated childhood, check. Told that he was too weak to join SOLDIER, which was his dream, check. Watched his mother killed, best friend almost killed, and childhood crush apparently mortally wounded, check. Used as a human guinea pig by Hojo, check. Is dragged across a continent by his best friend while Shinra chases them and can't do anything when they catch up and kill said best friend, check. Resulting in Trauma-Induced Amnesia, check. Manipulated into almost killing a potential love interest, twice, check. Same manipulation and a serious Mind Screw result in him giving the Big Bad the black materia, again twice, check. Watching Aerith die, check. Realizing he'd promised to be his living legacy and to never forget, and then having ''forgotten'', check. Failing to find a cure for Geostigma and coming down with it himself, check...
    • Dissidia: Final Fantasy: The Warrior of Light, the protagonist from the original Final Fantasy never falters or stops trying to do the right thing, this leads many of the other heroes to think he has no doubts (which is incorrect). He does let his woobieness show when he and the other heroes are on their way to fight Chaos, and the Warrior opens up about feeling more and more uneasy the others are regaining their memories while he is not. That of course is only the tip of the iceberg, turns out he can't remember a past because he was born during the cycles of war between Cosmos and Chaos. Having been created by Cid in a previous cycle of the conflict and abandoned by his father to fend for himself in a warzone.
  • Max Payne only wanted to live The American Dream and instead turned into a merciless Vigilante Man who carries an absurd amount of emotional baggage with him. Sadly, by the flashback events of the third game, he's washed down any prayer of finding happiness again down in a swill of whiskey and painkillers. He moves to Brazil, where has an unending supply of material comforts, but is still completely down on himself and feels out of place on top of it all. He figures he can live out his life there and, while he'll never be mentally stable again, will be able to get by until whatever kills him.
  • Michael "Iceman" Casey in the first Wing Commander installment. He rarely opens up to any other pilot aboard Tiger's Claw, and will only talk about things relevant to his job - to kill and get revenge on the Kilrathi enemies that destroyed his homeworld, Vega VII, and left him a deep, permanent scar in the heart. Cold, efficient, and calculating, some pilots even worry that he has a freon for blood.
  • Fallout: New Vegas has Craig Boone, a former member of the New California Republic's First Recon battalion. He took part in the Bitter Springs massacre, where, because of a miscommunication, the First Recon were ordered to gun down innocent civilians, including women, children, and the elderly. He was haunted by this until he met his future wife, Carla, who he loved enough for him to forget about Bitter Springs. Eventually, though, Carla was kidnapped by Caesar's Legion to be sold into slavery, and Boone was forced to Mercy Kill her. This event caused him to believe that fate was punishing him for Bitter Springs, and that it would only end upon his death. By the time the player meets him, Boone actively pushes people away because he believes that nothing except death and suffering will happen to him or those around him ever again.
  • Ib: The title character. First she's separated from her parents. Then she has to explore a dark, surreal gallery where the very paintings are out for your blood. We realise later that she's starting to hallucinate - first as a comfort mechanism... then even that turns into her seeing hanged effigies of herself around the place. Depending on your ending, her suffering ranges from seeing one of her friends die, to being so broken that she simply lies down, and doesn't get up again. And throughout the game, she never utters a word, nor does anyone point out the strenuousness of what she's dealing with (aside from Garry during one Not So Stoic moment). Have we mentioned that she's nine yet?
  • Psychonauts' Sasha Nein, a Psychonaut agent who has acquired such a high degree of self-control that the very surface of his mind is nothing but a smooth cube painted with abstract black-and-white patterns. However, he has seen some rather traumatizing things in his past, notably, how his father viewed his late mother, as a little boy.
  • Borderlands 2 has Tiny Tina as a Woobie whose stoicism manifests as cheerfulness that frequently crosses over into mania. In fact, she comes off as in denial of her tragedies, even in the midst of torturing her parents' killer to death. The one time the facade drops is when she admits that she is well aware that her good friend Roland died, despite seemingly leaving a chair for him at her gaming table.
  • Dishonored: dark protagonist Corvo Attano watches his lover the Empress killed, his daughter kidnapped and gets framed for both crimes - all in the span of half a minute. He then spends six months being jailed and tortured by the people who framed him before he can get free to start fixing things. Later on, the people he signed on with to get revenge betray him too because they can't risk him fouling up their own efforts either. In the sequel, if chosen as the player-character, he gets betrayed once again by turncoats, stripped of his arcane powers, watches his daughter be turned to stone, sees his daughter's Childhood Friend murdered in front of him and has to flee the city - all of it done by the government of his own homeland and the embittered half-sister of his lover. That's not even touching on his backstory of being a poor boy whose father died when he was young and had to make a living by self-taught fighting, or how how his newfound voice in the sequel hints to just how much hurt he carries between the events of the two games, or getting a constant running commentary on his misfortunes by his self-involved patron outer god. And yet, not once does he ever seem to actually complain to anyone about where he is or heap his inner turmoil on them - instead he busies himself hunting down all the people who wronged him and making them pay, one way or another.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Knuckles the Echidna, Despite his tough, stoic exterior and his devotion to guarding the Master Emerald, he has been shown to deeply regret the loneliness that comes from his duty and the fact that he's the Last of His Kind, and wishes he could be as free as Sonic (not that he would ever admit to envy him). The very first cutscene in his story in Sonic Adventure shows him musing over it alone, and his Image Song from Sonic Adventure 2 has lines such as "He's searching for shining. But every time he looks for the sun, he can't find it" and "Is this the way, the path I chose? Then why am I living with my heart so cold? All that I see is a storm of stones"

    Visual Novels 
  • Miles Edgeworth from the Ace Attorney series was trapped with his father in an elevator by an earthquake as a young child. After hours in the dark, he was rescued, but his father was found dead of a gunshot wound, the third man with them was falsely accused, and Edgeworth secretly blamed himself. He was taken in by the man who actually committed the murder, who raised him to be a heartless prosecutor. His adult persona is the very picture of refined self control, but earthquakes completely wreck him — he panics, often faints, and kicks himself afterward for being so 'weak.' You just want to pat him on the back and tell him it's not his fault.
  • Ange Ushiromiya from Umineko: When They Cry. The poor girl grew up in a Bad Future where one entire side of her family (including the half-brother she hero-worshipped) died, with the exception of a now Ax-Crazy aunt, who loathes and resents her for still being alive while her child died on Rokkenjima (And later it turns out it's not true, and said truth that her "crazy" aunt hid from her is FAR worse). She got sent Off to Boarding School, where she was bullied and treated like a freak, and her only remaining relative on the other side of the family is an even more Ax-Crazy aunt who actively tried to kill her. And as icing on the angst-cake, Bernkastel manipulated all of these events specifically so she could bring Ange back in time with the false hope of fixing her world and then kill her, purely to torment the aforementioned brother, himself an Iron Woobie. You wouldn't know any of this from talking to her, though; she's a Deadpan Snarker who keeps to herself and rarely shows any expression except for a vague frown.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • In the Neopets "Tale of Woe" plot, Bruno is a handsome, if gangly, young Gelert. When Mr. Krawley offers him a potion that will make him stronger, he accepts it because he is desperate to impress his love interest. Unfortunately, he was tricked as the potion came with the side effect of turning him into a grotesque monster. In the end, when an antidote is found, it does not work on him. It is assumed that this is because he's been under the effects of the potion for too long. He accepts his fate, saying that he is used to the way he looks now.

    Western Animation 
  • Teen Titans' Raven is a Deadpan Snarker and seeming Emotionless Girl, but she has to be because if she loses control of her emotions, she loses control of her demon side, and that would be bad news for the world. She doesn't really have the option of angsting about the fact that she is the daughter of Trigon, born to be an Apocalypse Maiden, and the day of his coming is near. She just tries to do what good she can do until then.
  • Samurai Jack is the epitome of Stoic. And with all the trials and near-victories he endures, who doesn't wanna buy the guy a beer? One episode even deals with him controlling the very justified emotional turmoil he experiences on a regular basis.
  • Hank Hill from King of the Hill expresses zero emotion throughout the entire series. However, he refuses to show any emotion at all because he fears that bad things will happen to him if he ever feels a moment of happiness in his life like when he seriously injured his ankle during the final game of a high school football season. As a result, Hank grows disconnected with acting normal and always seeks enjoyment in activities that nobody else enjoys. His life only gets worse due to being Surrounded by Idiots.
  • If you've never wanted to just hug a martian before you've obviously never watched Justice League, because J'onn J'onzz has it rough. He's the sole survivor of an alien attack that obliterated his entire species (including his wife and children) and has nowhere but the Watchtower to call his home, no family to speak of save for the rest of the League, and doesn't even have a secret identity to fall back on. To make matters worse, while he's very kindhearted and empathic he's also lacking in social skills, shy, and an absolute fish out of water who has trouble comprehending Earth customs, making it next to impossible for him to fit in or make friends with anyone. While he does love the rest of the League dearly and warms up to them somewhat (and they make an earnest effort to include him), he's always the odd man out and lives a very lonely life. Towards the end of the series he finally Earns His Happy Ending where he assumes a human form and ends up happily married to a woman in China.
  • Aqualad from Young Justice, big time. The "love of his life" (who was dating his best friend) dies. And then, just a little while later, he finds out that Black Manta is his father. He pretends to go over to the other side in a deal with Nightwing. His friends despise him as a traitor, he has to make morally dubious choices to maintain his cover, and could potentially Become The Mask. And just when things couldn't get any worse, he gets Mind Raped into a coma and his psyche is shattered. The only despair he shows during this is when his mind is so destroyed he's psychologically incapable of controlling his emotions.
  • Milo Murphy's Law: Milo Murphy maintains a constant air of cheery goodwill in the face of the fact that he was cursed from birth to experience misfortune in every area of his life, and has to deal on a daily basis with every element of his environment trying to kill him while his classmates studiously avoid him because the curse effects everyone in his immediate atmosphere.