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The Magnificent

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All stand up and hail His humbleness now!
"You don't need to think that much about these names from the Middle Ages... you know, like Charles the Bald, Pepin the Short... it's not like, you know, John the Ambiguous. What does that mean?"
R. Wayne Maney, historian, on medieval nicknames.

It's a staple of Medieval Fantasy that whenever a hero does something noteworthy, they get a "surname" (more properly termed an epithet or byname) out of it, like say Sir Tropesalot, Dragon Slayer. Occasionally, it even sticks as a surname and informs the history of an entire heroic legacy. Eventually, the mere act of saying their full name constitutes a Badass Boast in and of itself — or Famed In-Story when others recite it. Obviously, prone to Meaningful Name.

Then there are kings who simply append titles and qualifiers to their names to add importance to themselves without actually doing anything. Generally it's someone with Small Name, Big Ego, probably a Smug Snake, who insists you address him as Major Doctor Unnotable.

Oh, and if such a king is evil, you can expect him to be called Evil Troperlord the Butcher or such.

Historically, those names have been given by others and are often mundane things like "the fat" or "the ugly" or "the sot." When family names came to be used, these bynames often shifted into that purpose: a last name like "White" probably started as the nickname of an ancestor with pale skin or blonde hair, while people named "Smith," "Baker," "Fletcher", etc. probably had an ancestor in said profession.

Supertrope of They Call Him "Sword".

If the character's entire name is changed, by himself or someone else, see Meaningful Rename.

At least they have the excuse of resulting from something the character did; contrast Awesome McCoolname. See also Overly Long Name, Try to Fit That on a Business Card.

Compare The Adjectival Superhero, where the epithet comes first; Red Baron, where the character's epithet is more famous or important than their real name, and Spell My Name with a "The", where the character's epithet is their entire name.

Contrast Just the First Citizen, where The Emperor chooses a deliberately understated title.

Do not confuse this trope with Magnificent Bastard.


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  • A famous inversion in American advertising is the name of a character created by the U.S. Forest Service in 1944 to educate the public on the dangers of forest fires. Although the character is frequently called "Smokey the Bear", its official name is "Smokey Bear', without an article.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Since the Turks don't have family names in Altair: A Record of Battles, important figures are referred to by a nickname inspired by their achievements or distinguishing features, i.e. "Poison Zaganos" for a poison master or "Golden Eagle Mahmut" for a golden eagle tamer.
  • Chrono Crusade: Rosette's response to Azmaria when she questions if Chrono's true form is really him is to give a list of titles. "Chrono the Sinner. The Broken Horn. The Ignoble One. He has many names." However, they are rarely used after this scene (except for "Sinner", which is a major plot point).
  • Claymore has a lot of fun with this. Many of the titular warriors have such titles attributed to them. Teresa of the Faint Smile, Quick-Sword Elena, Phantom Miria, the list goes on.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, each of the homunculi have titles attached to their names: Lust the Lascivious, Wrath the Furious, Gluttony the Voracious, Envy the Jealous, Greed the Avaricious, Sloth the Indolent and Pride the Arrogant.
  • Many, many characters from Giant Robo have these kind of titles including, appropriately enough, one called "Fitzgerald the Magnificent."
  • Narumi of Heaven's Memo Pad keeps gathering different titles he's known by, such as the Gardening Club Kid, Vice-Admiral Fujishima, God Hand...
  • Negima!:
    • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
      • Evangeline A.K. McDowell has plenty of epithets that she gained through infamy: the Girl-Queen of Darkness, the Apostle of Destruction, the Tidings of Evil, the Maga Nosferatu, the Disciple of Dark Tones, the Visitation of Woe, the Queen of the Night, the Doll-master, and the Dark Evangel.
      • There's also Ala Rubra's "The Thousand Master" Nagi and "The Thousand Blades" Jack Rakan.
    • UQ Holder! has Nodoka the All-Perceiving and Yue the All-Knowing.
  • In Saint Seiya Athena's Saints are often referred to by their constellation, a recognition that not only they survived the deadly training to become a Saint but even claimed a Cloth. In the Italian dub Death Mask even flat-out says that the real name of Dokho is "Libra Gold Saint", discounting any personal name or title he had because it's just that important.
    • Among the Silver Saints, Lizard Misty is commonly referred to as The Silver Saint, even by other Silver Saint, because he slayed innumerable monsters without suffering a single wound or even a hit. Indeed, the first one to refer to him as "The Silver Saint" is Ophiuchus Shaina, the one Silver Saint objectively stronger than him, as not even her could claim to have never been struck in combat.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, every single Flame Haze and their contracted Crimson Lords as well as the Crimson Denizens go by a title which describes their special ability in general.
  • Slayers: There is a tradition where powerful mages are bestowed with 'The Color' as their title, such as "Rezo the Red Priest". Lina has 'The Pink' which embarrasses her as much as her other titles.
  • Soul Eater gives us Death the Kid. It means that he's Death's son.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann has the main character, Simon the Digger.
  • Many characters in Trigun:
    • Vash the Stampede gets points for not having a surname to obscure. His real name is just Vash. He seems to have adopted 'the Stampede,' though, since when Millie uses it at an inopportune time he cries out, "I hate it when you call me by my full name!"
    • Especially the Gung-Ho Guns, who seem to have it in their contracts. Notably, Wolfwood seems to have inherited the entire title Chapel the Evergreen, not just the epithet, by shooting Master Chapel in the back to take over his slot in the Guns. Even though Chapel seems to have been the old guy's real name.
    • Manga Wolfwood is also known as Nicholas the Punisher. Explaining somewhat why he goes by his surname.
    • Meryl and Millie's noms de guerre are nouns (their primary weapons) appended to the fronts of their names as adjectives, probably to show that they're a few classes below the powerhouses doing all the serious slugging.
  • Several examples appear in Vinland Saga. Thorkell "the Tall" and Thorfinn "Karlsefni" (Karlsefni means "man of (great) ability") are two of the most outstanding examples, and a character once known as "Iron Fist" Ketil appears in the second arc although he turns out to just be some guy with the same given name.

    Comic Books 
  • The Beano has many: Dennis the Menace, Roger the Dodger, Minnie the Minx, etc.
  • The Eternals have some very different examples among the 100 Eternals of Earth:
    • Betilakk the Interloper first appeared as a hero in The Defenders, where he was known simply as the Interloper. A later Eternals series gave him a Given Name Reveal and it's subsequently become an epithet.
    • Kalos the Destructor also crosses into Names to Run Away from Really Fast territory. Originally a follower of the Omnicidal Maniac Uranos, he was deemed beyond redemption when Uranos was imprisoned, and wasn't allowed to fully re-enter Eternal society.
    • Soule the Charred, who's been mentioned but never seen, is named as a Shout-Out to Marvel writer Charles Soule.
  • The Mickey Mouse Comic Universe has Doublejoke, who refers to himself as "The Magnificent Doublejoke". In his first appearance he did seem to deserve the nickname by arresting many of the most dangerous criminals in Mouseton with embarrassing ease and pranks... Then it was revealed they were his accomplices for an enormous heist.
  • The Mighty Thor: All of The Warriors Three; Fandral the Dashing, Hogun the Grim, and Volstagg the, uh, Voluminous.
    • Not to mention Asgard's first and greatest hero, Sigurd The Ever-Glorious. However, Sigurd's a bit of an ass, and a caption suggests a more accurate title of Sigurd The Sometimes-Glorious.
    • And, lest we forget, Balder The Brave.
  • Robin, the Boy Wonder.
  • Tales of the Jedi: Mandalore the Indomitable. Since Mandalore is a title passed down by whoever's in charge of the Mandalorians, the title tells you which Mandalore is being talked about, such as Mandalore the Ultimate, Mandalore the Preserver, Mandalore the Vindicated...

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • A Brief History of Equestria: Mimic, The Great and Powerful, Clover the Clever's student. And unlike a certain other pony with the title, she definitely deserves it, being the one to stop Talonhoof the Reviled where entire armies had failed.
  • Contractually Obligated Chaos: Played with in the fourth installment of the series, where the important guests at Prince Vince's party are announced with their strings of titles. Among others, Beetlejuice's titles include "the tethered," which corresponds to Lydia being "she who holds the leash."
  • FFS, I Believe in You: Lizalfos leaders tend to append descriptive titles to their names, such as Isolda the Terrible and Tristram the Woeful. Link is fairly surprised to hear that the old lizalfos king went by Doomsnarl the Brilliant, as in his experience lizalfos leaders usually choose monikers such as "the Bloody" or "the Hateful".
  • The Good Hunter: A Dragon with a lofty and dreaded reputation, the leading lady of Sheffield has a title with this particular format — Ancalagon the Grim.
  • The Immortal Game: Twilight eventually takes up the title of "the Godslayer" in order to serve as both a symbol of hope for the Loyalists, and of fear for the Royals. And by the end of the story, she lives up to it by killing Titan (though she's a god herself too by that point, so does it count?)
  • My Little Avengers: The Big Bad, Loki, refers to himself as "Loki The Magnificent" several times during the story. Though he probably gave himself the title as an act of arrogance, he ends up living up to it (unfortunately for the heroes).
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • The title "Kyril the Bloody" is bestowed upon the Good Hunter for his merciless and brutal actions at the Nellos Watch Tower. He puts a lampshade on this by noting internally: such a nice title.
    • Kyril P.O.V. refers to Celestine as "Celestine the Fair" during their first meeting in the remastered version.
    • One of the orc war chiefs Kyril slays has a Name To Run Away From Really Fast, named "Ozgriz the Mighty". In the remastered version, he has slain two of them with such names: "Ozgriz the Defiler" and "Thurog the Tall".
  • Nobledark Imperium: Khârn is often referred to Khârn the Oathsworn, and sometimes as the World Eaternote  in memory of an incident where he was able to single-handedly cripple a rebellious planet's military. He was not fond of the name, as he spent most of that incident in a berserk rage and he did not like how close he came to losing himself completely.
  • The Harry Potter fanfic series Of a Linear Circle gives these to the four Founders of Hogwarts, referencing both a trait they are well-known for and the area of the world they come from: Godric Gryffindor is the Guardian Fire of the South, Rowena Ravenclaw is the Shining Wisdom of the East, Helga Hufflepuff is the Golden Light of the North, and Salazar Slytherin is the Emerald Flame of the West. These titles are relevant to the plot, or at least its backstory.
  • Of Mares and Magic: Unicorns use a fairly complex system of honorifics which one formally earns under specific circumstances.
    • "The Magnificent" is awarded to top students from Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns — both Twilight and Trixie can use it; Twilight avoids it because she thinks it sounds gaudy.
    • "Great and Powerful" is held by only a single pony at a time, and is obtained by defeating the previous holder in a formal magical duel.
  • In the sidestories of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, it's revealed that Professor Oak's grandfather, Pallet Oak, was considered the greatest Pokémon Master of all time, and people even called him "Pallet the Invincible".
  • In The Pride of Sunnydale, Buffy, Angel, and Xander have to fight a Five-Man Band of Vahrall demons, four of whom have names that amount to Big Guy the Strong, except their leader who's both the smallest and simply called "The Invincible Titan". Xander's quick to note he's the most dangerous as not only is he the leader despite being the smallest and from a race that values size and powers the most, but he calls himself invincible and people take it seriously.
  • Queen of Shadows: All the past Yojimbos listed in the Histories of Eternal Shadow are given titles of some kind after their deaths.
    • Kamisori is called "The Swift", and is implied to be a Lightning Bruiser.
    • Kyouaku is known as "The Pirate King" and "The Butcher (or alternately, The Devil) of the Japanese Seas". And he prefers the latter.
  • A Thing of Vikings: Stoick the Vast, of course. Also in a few of the fictional references used as epigraphs, Hiccup is referred to as "Hiccup the Wise".
    • An epigraph shows that Astrid will gain quite a few epithets including "The Skydancer", "Freyja's Chosen" and "Sif's Blade".
    • An epigraph reveals that Stoick gains "Odin's Spear-carrier", "Stoick the Wise" and "Stoick the Law-Giver".
    • Other recurring characters include Alvin the Treacherous and Magnus the Good.
  • Under the Northern Lights:
    • The reindeer king and his companions are still known by the titles they accrued during their glory days — Mustikka the Tracker, Heikko the Humongous, Skiold the Bold, Kol the Singer, Galderhorn the Sorcerer, and King Ukko the Piercer.
    • The ancient reindeer sorcerer Wiglek is still remembered in infamy as Wiglek the Wicked.
  • Winter in Líf's Holt: Tuffnut would like to remind everyone that he is known as The Destroyer. No chicken was ever involved.
  • In With Strings Attached, Baravadans have personal names and descriptive names ("given names") rather than surnames. These names can be invented by a person or hung on them. Examples:
    • Lyndess Groundburner, except in Ta'akan everyone now derisively calls her Lyndess the Example.
    • Grunnel the Thinker (later renamed by John as "Grunnel the Wanker").
    • Brox Funny (later renamed "Brox Bugger-All").
    • As'taris Farbound (later renamed "Ass the Ass").
    • In addition, Brox jokingly renames the four after their magic ("John Kansael-carrier," etc.), lampshading the fact that she knows all about them. They aren't amused.
  • In The Wizard in the Shadows, Emrys is given the title "Sir Emrys the Valiant" — and boy, does he live up to it.

    Films — Animation 
  • How to Train Your Dragon gives us Stoick the Vast, chief of Berk. Apparently, this is custom among the vikings in this world, as the TV series introduces the leader of the Outcast tribe, Alvin the Treacherous, as well as the Ax-Crazy Dagur the Deranged, who recently took the chieftainship of the Berserker tribe from his father, Oswald the Agreeable.
  • Madagascar: "Presenting your royal highness, our illustrious King Julian the XIII, self-proclaimed lord of the lemurs, etc, etc, hooray, everybody."
  • In Moana, Moana addresses Maui as "Shapeshifter, Demigod of the Wind and Sea". Then he interrupts to add that he's also "Hero of Men", which he eventually amends to "Hero to All".
  • In Star Wars: The Clone Wars, the protocol droidette who refers to Jabba this way so often she starts running out of good adjectives! It goes from "Jabba the Wise" to "Jabba, the Omnipotent". (Like dragons in other works, this is something of a hazard of dealing with Hutts — you can't repeat the same honorific.)
  • In Turning Red, in the epilogue, Mei becomes known as the "Great Red Panda".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Hobbit: Thranduil is referred to as "The Great Elvenking."
  • Krull: "I am Ergo the magnificent. Short in stature, tall in power, narrow of purpose and wide of vision... My name is no jest, beanpole. Its all very well to have a short name when you're twenty feet tall, but small people need large names to give them weight." Rell answers, "Your actions give you weight, my friend."
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail:
    • Subverted:
      Arthur: Knights! Forward!
      [pyrotechnics galore]
      Arthur: What manner of man are you that can summon up fire without flint or tinder?
      Tim: I... am an enchanter.
      Arthur: By what name are you known?
      Tim: There are some who call me... Tim?
    • The enchanter actually had a long, impressive name, but John Cleese forgot it, so they threw it in.
    • Parodied in another scene:
      Narrator: The wise Sir Bedevere was the first to join King Arthur's knights, but other illustrious names were soon to follow: Sir Launcelot the Brave, Sir Galahad the Pure, and Sir Robin the Not-quite-so-brave-as-Sir-Launcelot...
    • And then there's the aptly named Sir Not-Appearing-In-This-Film.
  • Nicely played with in the movie version of Prince Caspian.
    Peter: High King Peter, The Magnificent.
    Susan: You probably could have left off the last bit.
    Trumpkin: [chuckling] Probably.
  • Played with by Yogurt in Spaceballs
    Lone Starr: Yogurt! Who hasn't heard of Yogurt?
    Princess Vespa: Yogurt the Wise!
    Dot Matrix: Yogurt the All-Powerful!
    Barf: Yogurt the Magnificent!
    Yogurt: Please, please, don't make a fuss. I'm just plain Yogurt.
  • The Wizard of Oz: Oz, The Great and Terrible
    Dorothy: I am Dorothy ... the small, and meek.
  • X2: X-Men United: The Incredible Nightcrawler. He hasn't particularly let it go to his head, possibly because he gained the title as a circus acrobat, but he'll still drop it in occasionally.

  • "Jake the Yeerk-Killer" from Animorphs as well as Big Jake, Fearless Leader, Jake the Mighty, Prince Jake, Jake the Ellimist's Tool, and (in the alternate timeline from Megamorphs #3) Supreme Leader.
    • And, of course, Marco's always calling Rachel "Xena: Warrior Princess".
    • Esplin 9466 is called the Abomination.
    • Elfangor is called The Beast.
    • After the war, Ax becomes Aximili "of Earth".
  • Belisarius Series:
    • Calopodius the Blind. Not particularly badass, until you learn he got the nickname by getting a direct hit with a mortar round in the face while leading a team of combat engineers in no-man's land and surviving.
    • Venandakatra the Vile, also known as "The Vile One". It is pointed out that due to his habits, Venandakatra is despised, a figure of contempt; he has no positive traits such as bravery or honesty.
  • The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant has Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and Linden Avery the Chosen.
  • The ogres of City of Devils abide by this trope when choosing their rebirth names. Ugoth the Castrator is a particularly terrifying example.
  • This is the way how Conan the Barbarian volumes get their titles, and yes, there is one novel (although not from Robert E. Howard original works) titled Conan The Magnificent, you also got Conan the Triumphant, Conan the Conqueror, Conan The Liberator, Conan the Victorious, Conan the Formidable, Conan the Champion...
  • In Stephen Hunt's The Court of the Air, King Steam arrives at court and interrupts courtiers reeling off his titles on the grounds that what is needed now is not hearing what new titles they invented to flatter him.
  • The most famous character of the Cthulhu Mythos, Great Cthulhu.
  • In Terry Pratchett's Discworld:
    • In Jingo, "71-Hour Ahmed" got his name by violating the laws of Sacred Hospitality, which require a full three days.
    • There's also Vincent The Invunerable in Soul Music, who committed suicide. By the standards of Ankh-Morpork, entering the Mended Drum and announcing that your name is Vincent the Invunerable counts as suicide...
    • Plenty of the former Kings of Ankh. There was King Ludwig the Tree (who issued royal proclamations on the need to develop a new type of frog, among other things) and King Loyala the Aaargh (whose reign lasted 1.13 seconds, from coronation to assassination).
      • Including the last king, Lorenzo the Kind, who was beheaded as a tyrant (and his portrait shows him surrounded by happy children. He was very fond of children).
    • Former Patricians of Ankh-Morpork have included Frenzied Earl Hargarth, Deranged Lord Harmoni, Nersch the Lunatic, Laughing Lord Scapula, Homicidal Lord Winder and Mad Lord Snapcase (also known as Psychoneurotic Lord Snapcase, though considered merely eccentric by some of the upper classes). The current Patrician is downright unusual in not following this trope (and also, apparently, in not being raving bonkers).
    • Lancre had Queen Griminir the Impaler. (She was also a vampire; her official portrait listed five different reigns.)
    • Then there's the whole business of Princess Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre.
    • Wizards can get the typical colour titles, but you need to be careful with those... the people who elected Ridcully the Brown as archchancellor were not right in assuming he would be a peaceful tree-hugger like Tolkien's Radagast.
      • Parodied in Equal Rites, when Mrs. Whitlow can't get stubborn stains out of a wizard's robe.
        Mrs Whitlow: Grampone the White? He'll be Grampone the Grey if he can't take better care of his laundry.
    • In The Last Hero Cohen explains that this is an essential part of sagas. "Like me. I'm Cohen the Barbarian, right? But it could be 'Cohen the Bold-hearted' or 'Cohen the Slayer of Many', or any of that class of a thing."
  • Lawrence Smith, in Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star, bills himself as "The Great Lorenzo" Smythe, "the One-Man Stock Company", "Pantomimist and Mimicry Artist Extraordinary". He actually is a very capable actor and impersonator, though down on his luck at the beginning of the story, from bad luck and bad judgment.
  • David Gemmell's Drenai series is overflowing. Captain of the Silver Axe, Deathwalker, The Silverslayer and Druss the Legend are one guy. Then there's Skilgannon the Damned, Decado the Ice Killer, Tenakha Khan, the Khan of Shadows, Ananias the Golden One. And that covers about 5 of the books.
  • In The Golden Compass, Iorek gives Lyra the epithet "Silvertongue" after she tricks the bear king.
  • In Good Omens, until The Antichrist is named, every reference to him is given as "The Adversary, Destroyer of Kings, Angel of the Bottomless Pit, Great Beast that is called Dragon, Prince of This World, Father of Lies, Spawn of Satan, and Lord of Darkness". Every. Single. One. And there are probably at least a dozen of them.
  • In Gravity Falls: Journal 3, Stanford Pines relates his encounter during his journey through the multiverse with an oracle known as Jheselbraum the Unswerving.
  • In Honor Harrington's Crown of Slaves, after Berry Zilwicki is drafted into becoming Queen of Torch, one of her advisers tells her that there have been lots of monarchs who became known as "the Great" or "the Magnificent" and other such things, but that the best of them came to be known by the rarest of sobriquets: "the Good."
  • In the Inheritance Cycle, the protagonist Eragon receives the name "Shadeslayer" after killing a Shade.
  • In the Jacob's Ladder Trilogy, Cynric is known as Cynric the Sorceress due to her creation of nanomachine colonies sufficiently advanced to invoke Clarke's Third Law.
  • John Carter of Mars: In The Gods of Mars, Issus is plentiful endowed with titles.
    By my first ancestor, but never was there so grotesque a figure in all the universe. That they should call such a one Goddess of Life Eternal, Goddess of Death, Mother of the Nearer Moon, and fifty other equally impossible titles, is quite beyond me.
  • Journey to Chaos: Fairtheora's orcish epithet is "The Lawkeeper". He is Ataidar's Royal Sentinel so it is a fitting title.
  • Journey to the West: Among Sun-Wukong's titles are "Handsome Monkey King" and "Great Sage Equal to Heaven" (the last one he bestowed upon himself).
  • The Jungle Book: Shere Khan is often nicknamed "Lungri", which means "the Lame One". He was given this nickname to reflect the circumstances of his birth, as he was born with a crippled leg.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the Pevensies each get a title during their reign as kings and queens: "Peter The Magnificent", "Susan the Gentle", "Edmund the Just", and "Lucy the Valiant."
  • A Memory Called Empire: The Teixcalaanli Galactic Superpower awards poetic epithets to its most accomplished or notable citizens, such as the Emperor's personal advisor and successor Nineteen Adze, "whose gracious presence illuminates the room like the edgeshine of a knife".
  • Moongobble and Me: Many witches and wizards have professional names, such as Fazwad the Mighty or Felicity the Finder.
  • Isaac Asimov and Janet Asimov's The Norby Chronicles: Ing likes to add adjectives to his aliases, starting with Ing the Ingrate (he's actually Gridlow in the first book). Other characters add other alliterative epithets, from mocking to respectful, such as "Ing the Incomparable" and "Ing the Intriguer".
  • In John Barnes's One for the Morning Glory, kings receive such a title posthumously. Early in the book, characters who had thought he would be King Boniface the Shrewd consider that maybe he'll turn out King Boniface the Jolly. At the end, we have a play: "The Tragical Death of King Boniface the Good."
  • Dian the Beautiful in the Pellucidar series comes by her epithet more honestly.
  • The Phantom Tollbooth has Azaz the Unabridged, king of Dictionopolis, as well as the awful Dynne, whose late grandfather was known as the dreadful Rauw.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero's Daughter, one of Prospero's sons got the name "Demonslayer."
  • Prince Roger: Roger MacClintock will become variously known as Roger the Terrible, the Mad, the Tyrant, and the Kinslayer.
  • Several heroes in the Redwall series have names like this. Some examples are Martin the Warrior and Urthstripe the Strong.
  • Seraphina has the queen who drafted a peace treaty with dragons, Lavonda the Magnificent.
  • In Slaves of Spiegel by Daniel Pinkwater, the Emperor of the gluttonous Space Pirates is referred to with more than ten different epithets in the first chapter, including "Sargon the Merciless," "Sargon the Insufferable," "Sargon the Fattest of the Fat," and "Sargon the Munchmaster."
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire many of the characters (especially knights) have nicknames and suffixes to their actual names e.g. Barristan the Bold or Duncan the Tall. Other characters' nicknames take the place of their name, such as the Imp, the Kingslayer, the Mountain That Rides, and so forth.
    • In some cases, like with Barristan the Bold, the epithet is always tacked on to avoid confusion, due to the series' utter lack of a One-Steve Limit — and the fact that, like a lot of medieval Europe, the peasantry tend not to have family names. Knights need the epithets if they have no last names, being knights in the first generation only. Ser Duncan is "the Tall" and ser Shadrich is "the Mad Mouse" because there is no other way to tell them from the other Duncans and Shadriches.
    • And, of course, irony and humor are not exempt. Consider Giant (the smallest man in the Night's Watch), Small Paul (the largest), or Lothor Apple-Eater (who in one battle killed and/or captured a large number of men belonging to a noble house that used an apple as its sigil, including a handful of minor nobles).
    • One knight proudly takes the title of Giantslayer, when in fact he killed the giant by lancing him In the Back as he was running away. A sellsword gets dubbed 'Caggo the Corpsekiller' after cutting down a king who turned out to be tied to his horse in an El Cid Ploy. Samwell Tarly is embarrassed when he's dubbed 'Sam the Slayer' after killing an Other, because he views himself as a Dirty Coward and assumes his friends are mocking him.
    • Spoofed in a Running Gag where Ser Barristan keeps calling a foreign king "Your Grace", only to be told each time that the king should be addressed as "Your Magnificence" or "Your Radiance".
    • And then there's Dany. As an exiled claimant of the Westerosi throne (the only heir left to the previous dynasty) she habitually styles herself with the titles associated with that position, which, on their own, almost qualify anybody using them for this trope. The way she collects extra titles on her Odyssey, by the end of the fifth novel she could possibly be introduced with something along the lines of "Daenerys Targaryen, First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Stormborn, Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, Princess of Dragonstone, Khaleesi of the Dothraki Sea, Queen of Meereen", occasionally jokingly shortened by fans to "Dany, Titles, Titles"
    • The Wildlings give us Tormund Giantsbane, Tall-talker, Horn-blower and Breaker of Ice; Tormund Thunderfist, Husband to Bears, the Mead-King of Ruddy Hall, Speaker to Gods and Father of Hosts.
    • The Targaryen kings get a lot of these, since it's easier to remember which Aegon you're talking about when you refer to "Aegon the Conqueror," "Aegon the Unworthy," and "Aegon the Unlikely" as opposed to "Aegon I," "Aegon IV," and "Aegon V". Other notables include Daeron the Young Dragon, Maegor the Cruel, Jaehaerys the Conciliator, Daeron the Good and Baelor the Blessed. One non-king Targaryen to get this treatment is Prince Aemon the Dragonknight.
    • The ruling Starks — first Kings in the North and later Lords of Winterfell and Lords Paramount of the North — also get this a lot, especially those with traditional names like Brandon. There are Brandon the Builder, Brandon the Shipwright, Brandon the Burner, Brandon the Ice-Eyes, and Brandon the Bad, among others. Robb Stark, the first King in the North in centuries, gets called "the Young Wolf" a lot.
    • The chieftain or leader (it's unclear what exactly he is, just that he's not a king) of the giants in Mance Rayder's army is called Mag the Mighty.
  • The title of Song of the Lioness comes from the epithet that its protagonist, Alanna of Trebond, gains. Her mage brother gives her a shield with a lioness rampant emblazoned on it beneath a glamour of their house's coat-of-arms. After she is outed as a woman and goes questing to expiate the noteriety this incurs, she uses her shield uncovered and people soon begin calling her "Alanna the Lioness", particularly after the battle to secure Prince Jonathan's place on the throne. She is often referred to simply as "the Lioness" by others in conversation throughout the books succeeding her own series. Her other usual title is "the King's Champion", a position Jon confers on her.
  • The Sword of the Stars tie-in novel "The Deacon's Tale" features the Hiver prince Chezokin the Twice-Born. The title is literal — he was reincarnated by Queen Radiant Frost (and thus born again) from the worker caste into a prince for services to the hiver imperium.
  • The royal family in Fiona Patton's Tales of the Branion Realm has plenty of these, including Atreus the Bastard who at some point outlawed marriage.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's Tolkien's Legendarium, many characters have descriptive epithets, appended by themselves or others.
    • In The Lord of the Rings:
      • Merry was granted the title Meriadoc the Magnificent when he served as Master of Buckland.
      • "For I am Saruman the Wise, Saruman Ring-maker, Saruman of Many Colours!"
      • Sauron is referred to as "The Great" by his followers. Also, before he turned evil he was known as Mairon, "The Admired".
      • Frodo (of) the Nine Fingers and Samwise the Stout-hearted (which decays to 'brave' in the films).
    • Many characters get called "Name, the Adjective" in The Silmarillion. Some of these titles are cool (Fingon the Valiant, Finrod the Faithful, Eärendil the Bright, Húrin the Steadfast, Maedhros/Galdor/Elendil the Tall), others... less so (Uldor the Accursed, Brandir the Lame...)note 
    • Then there is Túrin Turambar ("Master of doom") from The Silmarillion and The Children of Húrin. The guy gave himself a heap of titles and pseudonyms, most of them much less pleasant (The Bloodstained, The Wronged...).
    • The Valaquenta gives Sauron the alternate Sindarin name of Gorthaur the Cruel.
    • The Hobbit also had Smaug call himself "Smaug the Magnificent" and "Smaug the Golden". Bilbo addresses him as "Smaug the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities," but given what Smaug is like, that counts as flattery.
    • The ancient Kings of Gondor also took suitably cool-sounding epithets for themselves, usually in Elvish. There are kings like Romendacil ("Conqueror of the East"), Falastur ("Lord of the Sea"), and Alcarin ("The Glorious One"). The last one being somewhat ironic, as he spent so much of his reign glorifying himself that afterwards Gondor began to go downhill...
  • Vehron in The Tome of Bill has a number of these, including but not limited to: the Destroyer, the Render, the Hater of All Life and the Sun Strider. And from what we know about him, he definitely earned these names.
  • Harry Turtledove's Trantor Falls:
    • Now that he has conquered Trantor, the warlord Gilmer compares himself to luminaries such as Ammenetik the Great. He also grants himself titles such as "Emperor of the Galaxy and Lord of All".
    • Mockingly, Gilmer names Dean Sarns as "the scourge of the lecture halls".
  • Warhammer 40,000 Expanded Universe:
    • Blood Angels: In Deus Encarmine, the villain is Iskavan the Hated. When his superior refuses to help, explaining that he was The Bait and intended to die, he jeers at Iskavan for thinking his paltry victories have made him Hated. Iskavan sets out on a rampage, deciding to start with women and wounded.
    • Ciaphas Cain: Commissar Cain is known as "the Liberator" on Perlia, which he, well, liberated from an ork Waaagh!. Technically speaking, he only liberated half of it, and he had a couple of hundred people backing him up, but he's the one who ends up Famed In-Story.
    • The Emperor's Gift: Hyperion is given the epithet 'Bladebreaker' by the Space Wolves after he psychically shatters the Daemonic Black Blade of the Daemon Primarch Angron.
  • In Warrior Cats, there was an ancient WindClan leader — thought to be one of, if not the greatest, tacticians the forest has ever seen — called Graywing the Wise.
  • Goblins in the Castle: In Goblins on the Prowl, when Fauna meets and befriends a female lindling (essentially a miniature dragon), she learns her new friend is know as "Sterngrim the Awesome", which she thinks is "kind of a big name for someone your size".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Blake's 7. Servalan's full title upon seizing control of the Terran Federation is — President of the Terran Federation, Ruler of the High Council, Lord of the Inner and Outer Worlds, High Admiral of the Galactic Fleets, Lord General of the Six Armies, and Defender of the Earth. It's noticeable that she has this title at a time when the Federation is weakest.
  • Buffyverse:
    • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Glory goes a whole season being praised in this way with virtually no repetition. In fact, she realizes one of her minions is dying when the quality of his epithets declines. She even momentarily has a sad, although whether it's due to one of her most prominent servants being badly wounded or his praise being crap is up in the air.
    • Angel: Illyria. "I am Illyria, God-King of the Primordium, Shaper of Things!"
  • The Community episode "Advanced Dungeons And Dragons" does this with everyone's name. (Jeff the Liar, Britta the Needlessly Defiant, Abed the Undiagnosable, Pierce the Insensitive, and so on.) This even applies to one of their player characters.
    Annie: Hi, I'm...ew! Hector the Well-Endowed? Abed!
  • In the 1981 TV adaptation of The Day of the Triffids, Torrence turns up as Chief Executive Officer of the Emergency Council for the South-East Region of Britain. Masen, who clearly remembers him as the hoodlum who opened fire on a group of blind and unarmed people, is not impressed.
  • In the Doctor Who story "Remembrance of the Daleks" the Doctor describes himself to Davros as "The Doctor, President-elect of the High Council of Time Lords. Keeper of the legacy of Rassilon. Defender of the Laws of Time, Protector of Gallifrey." Of course, he's just being dramatic, as he runs away from any such responsibility to go with these titles.
  • In Horrible Histories' Alexander song, Alexander first upgrades his title from "the Great" to "the Greatest", then decides that's too plain, and opts for "The Living God".
  • In John Adams, Adams insists the President's dignity should have several honorary and bombastic titles or surnames, but Washington overrules him and sets it as "Mr. President and nothing more". Adams was a real bore on this subject. The Senate eventually voted him the title of "His Rotundity" as a Take That!.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire universe:
    • Game of Thrones:
      • Any claimant to the Iron Throne lays claim to the following style: X of House Y, the Number of his (or her) Name, King (or Queen) of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord (or Lady) of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm.
      • Daenerys Stormborn of House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, the Unburnt, Queen of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lady of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of Great Grass Sea, Breaker of Chains, and Mother of Dragons.
      • Lampshaded in the Honest Trailers trailer for the series, in which they refer to Westeros as being the place where everyone is "the thing of nouns."
      • Aegon I Targaryen is known as "Aegon the Conqueror" for subjugating six of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros into one realm, making him the single-most successful named conqueror in the history of the series. In the books, he's also known as "Aegon the Dragon".
      • The aforementioned title of Queen Daenerys was spoofed in the series in the scene when she and Jon meet the first time. Jon's aide Davos, after hearing the long list of Dany's titles, answers: "This is Jon. (...) The King in the North".
    • House of the Dragon:
      • King Jaehaerys I Targaryen was called "the Wise" and "the Conciliator".
      • Viserys I Targaryen, King of the Andals and the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm. He went down in history as "King Viserys the Peaceful" after his death.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series: Kahless the Unforgettable. (qeylIS lIjlaHbe'bogh vay')
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Lwaxana Troi, daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed, the Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, and Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed." She says this virtually every time she's introduced to just about anyone, whether they are impressed by her titles or not. It's implied that they're ceremonial and largely meaningless.
      Lwaxana Troi: Can you imagine that dreadful little creature talking to me like that? Doesn't he realize that I am the daughter of the Fifth House of Betazed? Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx?
      Deanna Troi: The Sacred Chalice of Rixx is an old clay pot with mold growing inside it.
    • Star Trek: Voyager.
      • From the pilot episode when Janeway meets Neelix for the first time.
        Janeway: Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation starship Voyager.
        Neelix: A very impressive title. I have no idea what it means, but it sounds very impressive.
      • All over the place in the World of Ham holoprogram The Adventures of Captain Proton. Supervillain Dr. Chaotica refers to himself as "Ruler of the Cosmos!" When the Doctor has to enter the program B'Elanna asks sarcastically if he's going as "Emperor of the Universe", whereupon the Doctor (who could teach Chaotica a thing or two in the ego department) replies that he's going to have to scale down his role in the interests of credibility — so he's playing "The President of Earth" instead. Not to mention the hero played by Tom Paris.
        [Tom Paris enters in a blaze of dramatic music]
        Chaotica: Captain Proton!
        Tom (Proton): Spaceman First Class, Protector of Earth, Scourge of Intergalactic Evil... at your service.
  • Vampires in What We Do in the Shadows (2019) often have pompous names like Mikhail the Awful, Simon the Devious, Blavglad the Exsanguinator, and Maricela, Mistress of the Night.

  • Clamavi de Profundis:
    • After defeating a demon and freeing the enslaved dwarves, Boic becomes known as Boic Bravesoul.
    • During his time as a warlord, the orc Oshrjad is referred to by the moniker Oshrjad Bonebreaker. After deserting his people's warlike ways, he becomes Oshrjad the Unchosen One.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Castle Falkenstein: Dwarven names are like this (as opposed to their personal names, given by their parents). A dwarf who does something no dwarf has done before gets a Name (epithet) indicative of their accomplishment; Rhyme, for creating magical automata, becomes Rhyme Enginemaster.
  • The Dark Eye: All of the demons and many gods have this in this setting. They aren't always clearly recognizable as good or evil by the name. The black prince of chimeras for example is a name for the god of mercenaries, while the lord of movement is the Evil Counterpart to the goddess of faithfulness and family.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Almost all Elder Evils have grandiose and fearsome titles appended to their names, chiefly describing their alien natures or the specific reasons they world is doomed if they return, such as Atropus the World Born Dead, Pandorym the Slayer of Gods, Ragnorra the Mother of Monsters, and Zargon the Returner.
    • A Dragon magazine article about naming characters pointed out that bynames were something you earned based on your deeds, and if a 1st level fighter went around calling himself "the Mighty", the usual reaction would be "Well, let's see how mighty you are."
    • Forgotten Realms: The northern tribes use a Badass Boast consisting of achievements, epithets, and anything else they think will psych an opponent out; one specifically called himsef "Dragon's Bane".
  • Eon: Parodied.
    • The wizard Maxander Guilk, otherwise known as "Maxander The Magnificent"... who, save for having some skill with Pyrotropic spells, is an incompetent bumbling bufoon, an embarassment to his father, a constant source of danger to those who lo-- uh, tolerate his presence and the only one who would ever associate the name "Maxander Guilk" with the word "Magnificent".
    • The necromancer Driobutus the Diabolical... who spends his nights writing goth-y poetry; once claimed, in a drunken stupor, to be "the most evil man in Asharia"; and whose greatest accomplishment as a necromancer was creating one zombie. He's not so much a Harmless Villain as he is mildly annoying.
  • Exalted:
    • The Dragon Blooded woman who saved the world from The Fair Folk and established the Realm came to be known exclusively as the Scarlet Empress, to the point that many modern people don't know what her actual name is.
    • The Shard Heaven's Reach has a similar example, in the form of the Exalted emperor known only as Heaven's Son, His Divine Lunar Presence.
  • Grave: Being a game designed for Dark Souls-inspired stories, not only do characters have titles, all player characters roll on a table for a title at character creation.
  • HELLAS: Worlds of Sun and Stone: Every Hero has some boastful epitat as part of their name, and once per session they can succeed at some outrageous feat that demonstrates it. For example, if you are called "Swift-Footed Attica" then you might run fast enough to catch up with a speeding car.
  • Magic: The Gathering: A single character is often represented on multiple cards, and the most common way to distinguish the different cards is to append each with a descriptive title. Nissa Revane, for instance, is represented on the cards Nissa Revane; Nissa, Worldwaker; Nissa, Vastwood Seer; Nissa, Sage Animist; Nissa, Voice of Zendikar; Nissa, Nature's Artisan; Nissa, Vital Force; Nissa, Steward of Elements; and Nissa, Genesis Mage. Some character have a simple name on their first card and only start collecting titles on reapperences, which infamously led to one player losing a tournament when they named "Borborygmos" instead of "Borborygmos, Enraged" like they intended.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • This is common practice among Chaos characters, who include such titles as Khârn the Betrayer, Abaddon the Despoiler, and Scyrak the Slaughterer.
    • All six of the Eldar Phoenix Lords have an elaborate title of this sort: Maugan Ra, the Harvester of Souls; Jain Zar, the Storm of Silence; Asurmen, the Hand of Asuryen; Karandras, the Shadow Hunter; Baharroth, the Cry of the Wind; and Fuegan, the Burning Lance.
    • The Space Wolves, being space Vikings, have these names as a matter of course, with notable figures including Njal Stormcaller (he summons storms), Ulric The Slayer (he's quite good at killing things), and Bjorn the Fell-Handed (he's a ten-thousand-year-old super-soldier living in a walking tank, and one of his hands is a giant lightning-powered claw with a built-in flamethrower).
    • The Primarchs each have a variety of nicknames associated with them such as Angron the Red Angel, Konrad Curze the Night Haunter, Leman Russ the Wolf King, and of course Horus, the Warmaster.
    • Every one of the Necron named characters has one of these titles (with a few exceptions), such as Imotekh the Stormlord, Trazyn the Infinite, Anrakyr the Traveller, and Orikan the Diviner.
    • The Ork warlord Grukk is known by a variey of titles in reference to his power, battlefield prowess, and hair-trigger temper. His most common appellation is Grukk Face-Rippa, after his favored way of killing opponents. Other titles that he's collected include Grukk the Unstoppable, Grukk Face-Eater and Grukk the Zogging Maniac.
  • Warhammer Fantasy:
    • The Ogres have "Big Names" as a game mechanic, each of which gives some kind of special ability. In-universe, these are given as remembrances of some notable thing the Ogre has done, such as Beastkiller (killed a very large and tough monster), Deathcheater (escaped seemingly certain doom), Kineater (a Tyrant who got their position by killing and eating a family member), or Mountaineater (scaled a particularly harsh mountain and ritualistically ate a rock from its summit). Then, of course, there's Tradelord Greasus Tribestealer Drakecrush Hoardmaster Goldtooth the Shockingly Obese.
    • Other florid titles include the Empire's Grand Theogonist Volkmar the Grim; the High Elf Phoenix Kings Aenarion the Defender, Caledor I the Conqueror and Caledor II the Warrior; the Orc warlord Azhag the Slaughterer; Sigvald the Magnificent, Kholek Suneater and Archaon the Everchosen of the Warriors of Chaos; and Settra the Imperishable, the greatest of the Tomb Kings, whose full list of titles runs for several paragraphs.Specifically:
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Werewolf: The Forsaken: Werewolves have the practice of deed names, or replacing part of or the whole of a werewolf's birth name with something they're well known for. This leads to names such as "Evan Heals-the-Past" or "Mephi Faster-than-Death."
  • World Tree (RPG): When two Gormoror are called the same, they keep themselves distinct by attaching a moniker after their names. This is generally either a physical descriptor (the Brown, the Grey, the Tall, etc.) or, by preference, something grandiose and bombastic.

  • In Albert Herring, when the title character is crowned King of the May, the villagers raise a toast to "Albert the Good." He parodies this in his following soliloquy:
    "Albert the Good"!
    Albert who Should!
    Who Hasn't and Wouldn't if he Could!
    Albert the Meek!
    Albert the Sheep!
    Mrs. Herring's guinea-pig!
    Mrs. Herring's tilly-pig!
    Mrs. Herring's prig!
  • Cinderella (Rodgers and Hammerstein): "His royal highness, Christopher Rupert, Windmehr Vladimir, Carl Alexander, Francois Reginald, Lancelot Herman... Gregory James"
  • In the Verdi/Boïto opera Falstaff, based on The Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff berates Bardolph and Pistol for consuming to the detriment of his paunch, which he proudly calls his kingdom. Bardolph and Pistol thereupon praise him with epithets worthy of an Adipose Rex: "Falstaff immenso!" ("Falstaff the great!") and "Enorme Falstaff!" ("Falstaff the huge!")
  • In Pippin, after Pippin is crowned king, the Leading Player dubs him "King Pippin, the Charitable" for distributing money to the poor, "King Pippin, the Just" for giving land to the peasants, and "King Pippin, the Peaceful" for abolishing taxation and the army. Then, when the threat of war forces Pippin to suspend all these reforms, he is dubbed "King Pippin the Unpopular."
  • The Taming of the Shrew:
    Katherina: They call me Katharina that do talk of me.
    Petruchio:You lie, in faith; for you are call'd plain Kate,
    And bonny Kate and sometimes Kate the curst...

    Video Games 
  • Battle for Wesnoth:
    • Delfador is known as "Delfador the Great". His origin campaign reveals that the oracles from his academy foresaw him being given the title, so when one of his greatest enemy sarcastically names him such in their final battle, Delfador claims the title, which his allies accept after he leads them to their victory.
    • Kapou'e's late father and orcish sovereign Rahul is given the title "The Black Eye". Rahul's still-alive rival Shan Taum has a lesser reputation and is known as "Shan Taum the Smug".
  • Like a number of MMOs, Champions Online has titles that can be earned for reaching certain levels, killing certain numbers and kinds of enemies, and so on.
  • Player characters in City of Heroes earn the right to choose from a list of these titles once they've reached a sufficiently high level.
  • The second game in the Civilization series bestows various titles on you at the end, which start out at "Insert Name Here The Worthless" and get progressively more positive as your score increases, with "Insert Name Here The Magnificent", appropriately, being the top one.
    • In Civilization IV, these titles were instead used for flavor on the planetary censuses, which would pop up every few dozen turns and rate nations on a particular vital statistic (such as gold in treasury or technologies earned). The highest-ranking civ would be "the Magnificent", all the way down to number eight "the Puny". Any more than eight and the lower civs just didn't place.
    • In Civilization V, rulers earn a title based on their most recently adopted social policy, such as "the Great" (Honor track) or "the Enlightened" (Rationalism track).
  • In Crusader Kings II characters can earn epithets depending on their actions, or the traits they have. These range all the way from "The Great" and "The Holy", to "The Bastard" or "The Cruel".
  • Dawn of War: Dark Crusade:
    • The Ork campaign has Gorgutz 'ead 'unter get more titles as he kills the other factions on the planet until he finishes and is known as Gorgutz 'Ead 'Unter, Rage Screamer, Blood Spilla, Death Killa, Daemon Killa, Gun Smasher, Ghost Killa.
    • Also, "Bitchslappa" from the Soulstorm expansion
    • The Chaos Champions provide such examples as Eliphas the Inheritor and Araghast the Pillager.
  • In Disgaea 3: Absence of Justice, military woman Salvatore is literally called "The Magnificent".
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • The series' lore contains the Magna-Ge, aka "Star Orphans". The Magna-Ge are et'Ada ("original spirits") who, along with their "father" Magnus (the architect of Mundus, the mortal realm), fled Mundus part way through its creation after Magnus realized that creating it would severely weaken the et'Ada and forever bind them to the world. One of these Magna-Ge is known as "Mnender-Foil the Amazing".
    • This is a common naming convention among the Nords, crossing over with Luke Nounverber. These epithets can be direct or ironic. In the Nordic naming convention, there is a difference between names with a "the" and without a "the". If there is an article, it likely means that this Nord earned his moniker personally rather than inheriting it like a family name. The absence of the article likely means it's a family name inherited from older generations. (With the founder of the bloodline liking earning it with a "the".) Skyrim, taking place in the Nordic homeland, provides many examples of both types such as Grelod the Kind (an ironic epithet for a cruel orphanage matron) and the Shatter-Shield clan (shared by the parents and children).
  • In Fable, a title is all you go as. You can purchase other titles as you go along, and townspeople will refer to you by it. Otherwise, you're a nameless hero.
  • In Granblue Fantasy, the archduke of Valtz Duchy is always referred to as Tzaka the Great.
  • At the very beginning of their personal storylines, characters in Guild Wars 2 are given titles so that voiced NPCs can address them. Humans get called "The Hero of Shaemoor," norn become "The Slayer of Issormir," and charr are promptly promoted to Legionnaire (since every character is a soldier). What asura and sylvari characters will be called is as of yet unknown.
    • Guild Wars 2 also, like many MMOs, has titles tied to the achievement system (and to achievements in the original Guild Wars).
  • Hearthstone: A wide variety of characters have names like this, such as a djinn called Zephrys the Great, an ethereal called Raza the Chained, and a dragon called Nozdormu the Timeless.
  • In Hollow Knight, one NPC is introduced as Zote the Mighty. Despite his constant boasts about being a great warrior, he's actually a pathetically weak Fake Ultimate Hero.
  • Kingdom Hearts gives us "Ansem, Seeker of Darkness", as well as "Ansem The Wise".
  • In League of Legends, all of the Champions have a epithet of some sort, all of them in varying degrees of impressiveness ("Cho'gath, the Terror of the Void", "Jax, Grandmaster at Arms", "Veigar, the Tiny Master Of Evil").
  • Mabinogi has titles you can earn by fulfilling certain conditions, such as "the Fire Arrow" and "who Seduced a Succubus"; all of which confer some sort of stat increase and/or decrease.
  • Stern the Destructor and Levi the Slasher from the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games. In their case, they're ancient Magitek programs that have taken human forms, so the descriptive titles really are a part of their actual names.
  • In Nancy Drew: White Wolf of Icicle Creek, Mystico the Magnificent is quite insistent on the "the Magnificent" part of his name.
  • In Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark, everyone's secret True Name is like this, for example "Cassanduria the Beautiful" or "Tra'axfyl the Ambitious". Your character's true name is selected from a list of 9 names, based on your character alignment.
  • Bowser gets a variant in the Paper Mario games: various titles based on "your highness", but with far less complimentary adjectives than "high". Being a gleeful Card-Carrying Villain, he likes it that way.
  • In Persona 3, the most powerful Persona of each Arcana is introduced with an appropriately awesome-sounding epithet when the player character unlocks them by mastering that Arcana's Social Link. Examples range from "Surt, the inferno god" and "Scathach, the Teacher" through "Metatron, attendant to the infinite" and "Messiah, the savior."
  • Runes of Magic: Players can get various titles from defeating boss-monsters.
  • The Sims Medieval: The title progression for Monarchs is "Lord/Lady X" for levels 1 to 5, "Lord/Lady X the Great" for levels 5 to 9, and "Lord/Lady X the Illustrious" once they reach level 10.
  • Skies of Arcadia: As Vyse does more and more awesome things, his reputation gets better, and the game actually keeps track of this. He goes from Vyse the Unimpressive to (if the player does well enough) Vyse the Legend over the course of the story. The remake drops hints that all Air Pirates take their "surnames" like this; Dyne of the Blue Storm, Gilder the Unfettered, and so on.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (2006) brings us Mephiles the Dark. This is interesting, as in a franchise that concerns creatures named after their specific species (i.e., Shadow the Hedgehog, Knuckles the Echidna, etc.), Mephiles is given a different type of "the" name, hinting that he's not a normal creature.
  • Sword of the Stars: Some of the races use this sort of naming. Morrigi have names such as "Atreus the Bloody" or "Tadc Chaac the Honey-tongued" while Zuul have "Lord Aeshma the Hungry" or "Master Kandh the Bonecrusher".
  • Tales of the Abyss:
    • All of the God-Generals have titles like this: Asch the Bloody, Legretta the Quick, Arietta the Wild, Largo the Black Lion, and Sync the Tempest. And Dist, who insists his title is "the Rose", but whom everyone else calls Dist the Reaper — except Jade, who calls him Dist the Runny.
    • Jade himself is sometimes called Jade the Necromancer
  • Total War:
    • The series allows family members to gain similar epithets, dependent on their character traits (and, indirectly, success as a leader). They range from the embarrassing ("the Cowardly" or "the Cuckold") to the admirable ("the Just", "the Kind") to the impressive ("the Brave", "the Great", "the Mighty") to the hilarious ("the Lewd", "the Queen", "the Idiot") to the downright terrifying ("the Bloody-Handed", "the Tyrant", "the Lord of Terror"). Notably, the game only ever uses the most recently acquired epithet, making it entirely possible that a general goes from "the Conqueror" to "the Mean".
    • Total War: Warhammer II: Over the course of his campaign, Imrik comes across five unique dragons with grandiose titles referring to their particular quirks — Gordinar, Champion of the Flame; Bruwor, Protector of Life; Lamoureux the Frozen Breath; Shackolot the Calamity; and Ymwrath the Eternal.
  • Undertale has The Great Papyrus, or Undyne the Undying.
  • World of Warcraft: Titles are purely cosmetic, and there's plenty of them by way of achievements.
    • Some, like "YourNameHere Jenkins" are pretty easy to get once you know how. (In this case, you have to re-enact Leeroy Jenkins' infamous charge into the Rookery). Some... Well, let's say they don't help the stereotype of a WoW player playing all day and all night for several days without bathing or even leaving the computer for more than a few minutes. Like the aptly named and almost-impossible "YourNameHere The Insane".
    • Grommash Hellscream earned the name Hellscream from his infamous Battle Cry. His son would carry it as a surname. His father, Golmash, was known as the Giantslayer thanks to his own deeds (but for some reason Hellscream is treated as his surname as well).
  • Yes, Your Grace: Noaksey the Dragonslayer has many nicknames that would qualify as a famous Hunter of Monsters, but "the Dragonslayer" is the one most used by other characters and the one that shows up in the treasury log if he becomes an ally to the Player Character.

    Web Animation 
  • The band of protectors known as the Knights of All Realms all bear titles that also relate to their Punny Names. Sir Lee, the Irritable. Lady Bugg, the Diminutive. And Sir Loin, the One who is the Fat One.

  • Aurora (2019): Gods often have one or more epithets which can be used with or substituted for their primary name. Examples include "Fairblade" for the sword-wielding city god Vash, "Lawbringer" for the draconian city god Zuurith, and "Shadow of Thunder" or "Storm of Terror" for the malicious weather god Tynan.
  • Eerie Cuties: Lupus the Wolf-Hearted
  • Get Medieval: Sir Michel L'Incroyable (Michel the Incredible), though he never actually appears in the comic. Also Sir Edward Sans-Nom (Edward the Nameless) — there is a reason for that one, but at least one other knight meets him and is confused by it.
  • Girl Genius has the Unstoppable Airman Higgs and Othar Tryggvassen, GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER!, who always spells his own title in all caps.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: Reynardine the Great does not play with dolls. Except when he does. Which is probably why he doesn't call himself Reynardine the Great anymore.
  • Looking for Group brings us Richard, Chief Warlock of the Brothers of Darkness, Lord of the Thirteen Hells, Master of the Bones, Emperor of the Black, Lord of the Undead, and Mayor of a Little Village up the Coast. He later added Lord of the Dance and, more recently, Mistress of Magma.
  • The Order of the Stick:
  • In Our Little Adventure, Angelo is referred to by his followers as "Our Beautiful Worship."
  • Schlock Mercenary offers us the defence chair of the yomingian people, Assassin Martre Flamb.
    Captain Tagon: Assassin...
    Martre Flamb: ...Martre Flamb, at your service, Captain.
    Captain Tagon: That's an interesting honorific.
    Martre Flamb: Oh, it's not honorific. I earned it.
  • Squid Row Maximillian the Painter

    Web Original 
  • Magnus of The Adventure Zone is occasionally called "the Hammer," despite wielding a battleaxe.
    • His mage teammate Taako will occasionally add ", from TV" when introducing himself. Considering how the podcast gets further Sci-Fi as it goes on, this somehow manages to make sense despite being Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Whateley Universe: Whateley Academy gets a lot of this since it's a school for superpowered teenagers.
    • New kid Buck Swift, Boy of Tomorrow! Everyone else lampshades this. Constantly.
      Thorn: No, no, no... Tomorrow is simply no good for me, I'm booked solid. What about the day after tomorrow?
    • Molly "Gateway" Harrington: all of the magical creatures she summons insist on calling her "The Summoner" and she's only just realized that she's the only one who receives this deference.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Iroh became known as the Dragon of the West because he can breathe fire.
  • While our King Julien just goes by his ordinal, most of the past Julien Kings in All Hail King Julien are referred to by titles such as this. "King Julien The Terrible" just makes a better impression than "King Julien (number)"
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog:
    • In the episode "Mega Muriel the Magnificent", the Computer gains the power to possess humans, hijacks Muriel's body, and performs dangerous stunts. While the stunts are shown on TV, the Newsman refers to him/her/it as "Mega Muriel the Magnificent".
  • Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines: "Magnificent Muttley" has the snickering sidekick of Dick Dastardly daydreaming of himself in heroic circumstances.
  • Doc McStuffins has a paper cut-out bat toy that goes by "Count Clarence the Magnificent."
  • Futurama:
    • The episode "My Three Suns" had a planet of water creatures who gave their kings titles describing their structure and consistency — "King [name] the [word meaning "wet"]". When Fry became king, he was given the title "King Fry the Solid... who drank Bont the Viscous... who drank Ungo the Moist... who guzzled Zorn the Stagnant... [cut to much later that same day] who slurped Hudge the Dewy... who enjoyed a soup composed principally of Throm the Chunky..."
    • "I am the Professor, Wise and... uh... forgetful!
    • Used for a great Brick Joke in "Jurassic Bark."
      Fry: That's why they call you "Bender the Magnificent."
      Bender: No it isn't.
      Bender: And that is why they call me Bender the Magnificent!
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983): Orko, when he was still an amazing magician on Trolla, was known as "Orko the Great". Due to Eternia's magic rules rendering his magic a joke, Man-at-Arms has a hard time believing this. However, whenever he's able to return to Trolla for stints, his true abilities shine through, showing that he really does live up to this title.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In the short "Knight-Mare Hare", Bugs Bunny travels back in time to the Middle Ages and meets a knight who introduces himself thusly:
      Knight: I, knave, am Sir O of K, Earl of Watercress, Sir Osis of the Liver, Knight of the Garter, and Baron of Wooster-cester-shister-shyster-schuster-shuster-shister-shire... shire.
      Bugs: My, he's a big one.
      • Bugs then procedes to spoof this trope by talking about some of his friends: "Duke of Ellington, Count of Basie, Earl of Hines, Cab of Calloway, Satchmo of Armstrong."
    • In "Rabbit Hood", while pretending to be Richard the Lionhearted, Bugs "grants" the Sherrif of Nottingham a list of increasingly punny and absurd titles while repeatedly pounding his hapless victim on the head with his prop scepter.
      Bugs: Arise, Sir Loin of Beef. [conk] Arise Earl of Cloves. [conk] Arise, Duke of Brittingham. [conk] Arise, Baron of Munchausen. [conk] Arise, Essense of Myrrh. [conk] Milk of Magnesia. [conk] Quarter of Ten.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Clover the Clever, one of the founders of Equestria, and his mentor (and an idol for Twilight) Starswirl the Bearded.
    • Throughout the Crystal Empire, Spike is known as "Great and Honorable Spike the Brave and Glorious" for the part he played in saving the Empire from King Sombra.
    • Gusty the Great, a legendary unicorn hero from the ancient past who brought about the end of Grogar's reign of terror.
  • In the Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM) episode "No Brainer" Snively wipes Sonic's memory and convinces him that the two are old friends, introducing himself as "Snively the Great." When the effect is reversed at the end of the episode, Sonic plays the trope literally by dubbing himself "Sonic the Magnificent."
  • In the Star vs. the Forces of Evil episode "Into the Wand", Star journeys into her own magic wand and discovers a room containing tapestries of former wand wielders, each with a plinth giving their name, an epithet, and a brief rhyme about their life. Subjects include Star's great-great grandmother Celena the Shy, Solaria the Monster-Carver, Eclipsa the Queen of Darkness, and Star's mother Moon the Undaunted.
    • "Raid the Cave" has the protagonist embrace the title that young monsters have given her, "Star the Rebel Princess", while side material reveal that her title will ultimately be "Star the Underestimated".
  • In an episode of Sushi Pack, Unagi developed a new power and christened himself "Unagi the Magnificent." Later on, he changed this to "Unagi the Terribly Magnificent."
  • In Theodore Tugboat, the larger tugs have "V-Words" to show that they are qualified to sail out on the ocean. Emily The Vigorous, George The Valiant and Foduck The Vigilant. Theodore and Hank dream of the day when they can get their own V-Words. Theodore likes the sound of being called Theodore The Valuable/Very Valuable. Hank prefers Volcano...
  • Nearly every Trollhunter in Trollhunters has one of these, including Kanjigar the Courageous, Deya the Deliverer and Unkar the Unfortunate.
  • Master Billy Quizboy, Boy Genius of The Venture Brothers whose real name is William Whalen. Even though he's middle-aged, he still retains the Boy Genius epithet partly due to the fact that he looks like a child and partly because "Master Billy Quizboy, Adult Genius" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

    Real Life 
  • Before the widespread use of family names, bynames were a pretty standard way of sorting out every Tom, Dick and Harry from every other Tom, Dick, and Harry. Everyone would have bynames — mutating perhaps according to their changes in life. Joan of Arc's mother, for instance, was known as Isabelle Romée, which may have indicated that she had gone on a pilgrimage to Rome (which was a big deal for the everyman during the dung ages; compare the Muslim honorific "hajji" for someone who has made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and which has also made its way into family names).
  • This is, unsurprisingly, Older Than Dirt, appearing virtually simultaneously with the invention of writing. The rightful Ur-Example of this, however, is (quite appropriately) King Shulgi of the Third Dynasty of Ur, who left behind a whole bibliography of poems consisting basically of lists of his increasingly audacious epithets, which are ultimately so ridiculously awesome, he ceases to seem like a braggart and just becomes awesome instead.
  • Ancient Egypt:
    • Not to be outdone by their Mesopotamian contemporaries, the Egyptian monarchs of did this as a matter of course, giving themselves ever-grander names in their five-part royal titularies which included certain fixed phrases with special names. For instance, Amenhotep III's full title was "The Horus, the strong bull who has appeared in truth; the one protected by the Two Ladiesnote  who has established laws and pacified the Two Lands; the Golden Horus, the great-of-strength one who had struck down the Asiatics; the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Nebmaatre;note  the son of Ra Amenhotep,note  Lord of Thebes." (Later in his reign it seems he gave himself an upgrade to "…Amenhotep, Divine Lord of Thebes"note ).
    • More recent historians have also given several Egyptian monarchs more typical modern epithets, particularly for monarchs of the New Kingdom:
      • Seqenenre Ta'a is often called "the Brave", largely because of his courageous exploits in his war to unify Egypt and expel the Hyksos.
      • Thutmose III, is called "the Great" or sometimes "the Conqueror" due to his wars of conquest in Nubia, Canaan, and Syria, during which he displayed great military acumen. He was also an accomplished builder and is reputed to have governed fairly and justly (by ancient Egyptian lights anyway).
      • Amenhotep III is often called "the Magnificent" because of the incredible splendor and prosperity of his reign. He built more and bigger monuments than anyone before him.
      • Akhenaten is labeled "the Heretic" or "the Heretic King" because of his religious experiment and his attacks on the traditional cult of Amun. (The ancient Egyptians themselves came to refer to him simply as "the Enemy" or "That Criminal".)
      • Tutankhamun is commonly labeled "the Boy King" because of his youth. However, this is technically inaccurate—while it's true he became king as a child (around the age of 10), he spent most of his reign as a teenager, and was about 20 when he died. As ancient Egyptian cultue reckoned manhood to start around the age of puberty, he was not really a boy by Egyptian standards for most of his reign.
      • Ramses II is commonly called "the Great", for reasons best explained on his page, though it can be summarized as "finally bringing back the glories of Thutmose III and Amenhotep III after his predecessors spent 50 years cleaning up Akhenaten's mess".
  • Vlad III, Voivode (Prince) of Wallachia, also known as Vlad Draculea (Son of Dragon) or Vlad Țepeș (the Impaler).
    • His father Vlad II was known as was known as Vlad Dracul ("Vlad the Dragon") for his membership in the Order of the Dragon, a group of knights of high noble birth loyal to King Sigismund of Hungary (future Holy Roman Emperor). Vlad III inherited his father's membership in the order.
  • NHL great Mario Lemieux had many nicknames and "The Magnificent" was one of them.
  • Ladies and gentlemen, the Kings and Queens of England (and later, Britain). In general, the English didn't number their kings and queens until the 14th century, when law clerks faced with three King Edwards in a row were forced to use ordinal numbers for the benefit of their filing systems. (This, incidentally, is why numbering begins with the first Norman king, William the Conqueror; not only were there no laws on the books predating his reign, the clerks couldn't be certain which pre-Norman kings were real and which were mythical.)note  All kings before Edward III were known in their lifetime (and indeed until the reign of Edward III) primarily by one or more bynames or sobriquets; for instance, William II was called William Rufus because of his red hair and/or ruddy complexion, his brother Henry I was called Henry Beauclerc because he was well educated (or at least reputed to be), and Henry I's grandson Henry II was called either Henry Curtmantle (because he wore a short cape) or Henry FitzEmpress (because his mother Matilda had previously been the consort of Holy Roman Emperor Henry V).
    • Pre-Conquest, bynames were common, and still tend to be used to refer to kings because (as mentioned) the numbering starts with the Conquest. The only possible exception is the first King Edmund, who lacks an accepted byname/sobriquet and so is sometimes called "Edmund I" to distinguish him from his descendant Edmund Ironside (who is never called Edmund II).
      • The most famous is Alfred the Great of Wessex. Interestingly, this was only given to him by 18th- and 19th-century historians, who seemed a bit irked that all these other European kingdoms had a native "Great" monarch, but not England. That being said, such was Alfred's reputation among the pre-Conquest English that they doubtless would have agreed.
      • Æthelræd the Unready has a negative variant, though not in the sense of "unready" as in modern English. The nickname was a pun on his Christian name, which meant "wise counsel" or "noble counsel"; the Old English word "unræd" meant "ill-counseled", so the name in full was "Wise-Counsel the Ill-Counseled." The Anglo-Saxons loved this kind of wordplay.
      • Æthelræd's son Edmund was called Edmund Ironside because of his skill and bravery in defending his realm against the Danish invasion led by...
      • Cnut the Great. Cnut (or Knud in modern Danish) beat Edmund Ironside and briefly united the crowns of England and Denmark in a North Sea empire. Noted for his wisdom as well as his military prowess, the fact that the only King of England called "Great" was a Dane was a major motivator for the aforementioned 18th-to-19th-century historians to bestow the title on Alfred (who, again, richly deserved the sobriquet but never before received it because the Anglo-Saxons only ever used bynames to distinguish monarchs with the same name and Wessex only ever had one king named Alfred).note 
      • The second-to-last pre-Conquest King, Æthelræd's younger son Edward the Confessor, was so called because (1) there had been 2 previous Kings Edwardnote  and (2) he was noted for his piety (and was eventually formally canonised in the Catholic Church, the only English or British monarch to receive that honournote ).
    • William the Conqueror was also William the Bastard. The title was both literal (his mother was his father's mistress, a tanner's daughter) and the opinion of many of his subjects, figurative — in parts of Northern England (which were subject to his Harrying of the North), he's still referred to as such.
    • Incidentally, William the Bastard Conqueror's father, Robert I, Duke of Normandy, was himself titled Robert the Magnificent.
    • Richard the Lionheart (First of His Name) is, aside from William the Conqueror, the only post-Conquest monarch to be better known by his nickname than his regnal number. Indeed, it is rare to come across a work that titles him solely as Richard I without appending 'the Lionheart', or simply calling him 'the Lionheart'.
    • King John was called "John Lackland" originally because his father Henry II left him cash as an inheritance instead of land,note  but later because he lost almost all of the English royal house's lands in France. He also got the unfortunate sobriquet "John Softsword" for supposedly being bad at fighting/commanding armies.
    • King Edward I was nicknamed "Longshanks" for being ridiculously tall for the time (standing at 6 feet 2 inches/1.88 meters)note  and "Hammer of the Scots" for his repeated and mostly successful campaigns in that country.
    • Isabella, wife of Edward II and daughter of French king Philip IV (the Fair), was nicknamed "the She-Wolf of France."
    • The Tudors have an interesting twist: In conventional English historiography, Mary I is called "Bloody Mary" for her persecutions of Protestants, while Elizabeth I had a number of positive nicknames, most famously "The Virgin Queen" (She was also called "Gloriana," "Good Queen Bess", "Fortune's Empress," and "the Queen of the Northern Seas," among others.) The Irish, however, reversed the epithets of Mary I and Elizabeth I, calling the former "Good Queen Mary" and the latter "Bloody Bess". Considering what Elizabeth's armies did to Ireland, this is not surprising.
    • The Irish gave James II the epithet Séamus an Chaca (James the Shit) for fleeing to the Continent after the Battle of the Boyne against the Williamites in 1690, abandoning his Irish supporters to their fate.
    • George III was sometimes called "Farmer George" or "George the Farmer" because of his interest in the new farming techniques developed and perfected during his reign (he even wrote a few agricultural pamphlets under the pseudonym "Ralph Robinson"). Coincidentally, "George" itself is Greek for "farmer."
    • Before he became king, George IV was nicknamed the "Prince of Whales" due to his morbid obesity.
    • Edward VII was given the derisive nickname "Edward the Caresser" as a reference to his penchant for womanising (besides his mistresses, he was known to be fond of French prostitutes), as well as a play on the byname of Edward the Confessor.
  • The Scandinavians did this a lot as well: The real-life origin of the Luke Noun Verber trope is how Scandinavian kings of old used to obtain titles like this, which would eventually go on to eclipse their birth surnames in posterity. Examples are many in range, from Bluetooth to Forkbeard to Skullsplitter.
    • The first king of Norway was known as Harald Haarfagre, or "Harald Fair-Hair". Lest you think this meant he was a Bishōnen, he used to be known as "Harald Tangle-Hair" as he'd vowed never to cut or comb his hair until he ruled the entire country. Thus the epithet symbolised that he'd succeeded in his vow.
    • A more ambiguous examples is Ivar the Boneless, whose nickname has been variously interpreted as:
      • A reference to a deformity or disability (and fairly diverse deformities, at that: there is a school of thought that the name is a mistranslation, as the Old Norse word for bone was identical to the word for leg).
      • An ironic reference to physical size and durability.
      • A reference to his agility and litheness in battle, implying that he moved as if he had no bones.
      • A euphemism for impotence.
      • A reference to snakes (his family's motif, according to some sources).
    • And then there's Ragnar Lodbrok (Meaning "Ragnar Hairy-Pants"), one of the most feared warlords of the era. Go figure.
    • Harald Hardraada — roughly translates as "Harald the Ruthless" or "Harald Hard-Ruler", although a more literal translation produces "Harald Hard Advice".
    • Strangely enough, there's also Eric the Memorable of Denmark, which no one seems to remember.
      • Simply because he was memorable doesn't mean we went ahead and did it.
    • Eric Bloodaxe of Norway. According to some sources he did not get his name because he was a great warrior who slew a lot of people in battle but because he was a fratricide (who killed his "own blood"). Too bad because the other interpretation is way cooler.
    • Another female example was Sigrid the Haughty. Mother of Olof Skötekonung (meaning, roughly, "king in his mother's womb" although it could also mean "tax-king" because he was the first king of a united Sweden and as such took taxes from both the Svear and Geat tribes )and wife of Erik the victorious and Sweyin Forkbeard (all excellent examples of this trope on their own). She is mostly remembered for burning unworthy suitors (petty kings from Norway and Russia) to death and (maybe) driving her son and second husband, the kings of Sweden and Denmark, into war with Norway after the Norwegian king struck her when she refused to convert to Christianity and marry him.
    • More recently was Christian IV, king of Denmark and Norway 1588 to 1648 (the longest of any Danish king). While he was a great builder and founded a great many cities and projects across his kingdoms (Even Oslo was rebuilt on his orders, and went by Christiania for a while), but his most common epithet, especially in Norway, is simply Christian Quarter.
  • The French also liked this trope. However, French kings didn't usually have much say over their epithets, so they're often less than flattering. We have Pepin the Short, Louis the Child, Louis the German, Louis the Fat, Charles the Bald, Charles the Simple, Louis the Sluggard, Louis the Quarreler, Louis the Spider...
    • Louis XI "the Spider" is more properly the Universal Spider, which sounds infinitely more awesome. It was probably a reference to his sly, manipulative, amoral construction of "webs" of influence. (This makes his sobriquet all the more awesome. To chivalry-minded medieval chroniclers, it was an insult. But to modern viewers, who jadedly expect and (begrudgingly) want the heads of their countries to be magnificent bastards, it's a compliment.)
    • There's also Louis XI's father, Charles VII, le Bien-Servi ("The Well-Served"). This somewhat puzzling nickname makes sense when you realize that it was under his reign that the English were finally kicked out of France, but that the actual out-kicking was perceived to have been done by people other than him (e.g. Joan of Arc).
    • However, there is also Louis XIV, "the Sun King" — because everything revolved around him.
    • Louis XIV's grandfather Henry IV is unusual in getting an unequivocally good one—le bon roi Henri ("Good King Henry"). Noted for his pragmatic approach to ending the bloody French Wars of Religion and his attention to the well-being of the common people (he famously promised that every peasant would have "a chicken in his pot every Sunday"), the people adored him and the chroniclers couldn't help but notice. His untimely death at the hands of an assassin (a Catholic fanatic trying to undo Henry's pragmatic resolution to the religious strife) cemented his image as a good and great king.
  • His Excellency, President for Life, Field Marshal Al Hadji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Seas and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa in General and Uganda in Particular.
    • "Al Hadji", at least, was legitimately earned; every Muslim who makes the pilgrimage to Mecca (the "hajj") is entitled to that title.
  • Ivan the Terrible. Ivan IV's moniker was translated into English when the older meaning of terrible, that which inspires terror, was the primary meaning. A more accurate translation to modern English would be "Ivan the Fearsome" or "Ivan the Formidable". While Ivan IV was a despot, this wasn't necessarily regarded as a bad thing in his time, and he was celebrated by Russians for uniting their country and beginning its rise to its status as a Great Power.
    • Russian Tsars also retained this tradition longer than other monarchs, until the 19th century. We have a Feodor the Blissful (as in "ignorance is bliss"), an Alexis the Most Serene, a Peter (I) the Great, an Anna the Bloody and a Catherine (II) the Great, an Alexander (I) the Blessed, an Alexander (II) the Liberator,note  and an Alexander (III) the Peacemaker. The last Tsar, Nicholas II, has no sobriquet because the Russians cannot agree on what sobriquet to use. (Nobody seems to like even the obvious one: "Nicholas the Last".)
    • This applies even earlier, during the days of the Kievan Rus' with the Grand Princes of Kiev. Vladimir I has several (the Great, the Saint, the Red Sun, the Baptist), as Rus' became Christian under his rule. His son Yaroslav was known as "the Wise" for coming up with the first Russian code of laws.
  • The Ottoman Turkish sultan who presided over the height of Ottoman power in the 16th century? Süleyman I the Magnificent. Incidentally, that's his Western epithet. In his own nation, he was known as "The Lawgiver", and supposedly, that's how he wanted to be remembered. (Also rather apropos for a monarch named Solomon.)
    • His epithet in Hungarian, the language of the people he fought a lot and dealt a Curb-Stomp Battle to? Suleiman the Great. When your arch-enemies refer to you as "the Magnificent" or "the Great", you know you did something really well.
    • Süleyman I's father Selim I had a pretty badass epithet, being known as Selim I the Grim. Apparently he was noted for a dour demeanor and a single-minded determination to conquer.
    • Some Turkish sultans suffered from bad epithets instead: Ibrahim I was "the Mad", and Selim II (Süleyman I's son and heir) was "the Sot".*
    • Mehmet II is rarely referred to as Mehmet in Turkey, but as Fatih, which is his title, meaning "the Conqueror": he conquered Constantinople –- and much else. Today, the historic center of Istanbul –- which is to say, the old city of Constantinople within the Theodosian Walls –- is known as the Fatih District of the modern mega-city. Non-Turks generally refer to him as "Mehmet the Conqueror".
    • Sultan Abdul Hamid II earned the nickname "Abdul The Butcher" and "The Red Sultan" outside of Turkey because of the massacres of 300,000 Ottoman Armenians he ordered between 1894-96.
  • A couple of centuries before Ottoman dominance, the Turks already gave us Alp Arslan, meaning "Warrior Lion".
  • An ancient Athenian statesman, Aristides, was often referred to as "The Just". One probably apocryphal story tells of an illiterate citizen who, not recognizing him, asked for –- and got! –- Aristides' help in casting a vote for Aristides to be ostracized (i.e. exiled for 10 years). The fellow's reason? "I'm simply so tired of always hearing him called 'The Just'!"
    • A rather more famous Greek ended up with the epithet "The Great". Amongst his successors were Seleucus I Nicator ("the Victor"), Ptolemy I Soter ("the Saviour"), Demetrius I Poliorcetes ("the Besieger"), Ptolemy II Keraunos ("Thunderbolt") and the rather less impressively-named Antigonus I Monophthalmus ("the One-Eyed").
      • Even less impressive would be Ptolemy II Philadelphus ("the Sister-Lover"), not to mention Ptolemy VIII Physcon ("the Pot-Belly").
      • Another Ptolemy with a less-than-fearsome sobriquet was Ptolemy XII Auletes, or "Ptolemy the Piper". Macedonian Egypt had fallen on hard times under his rule, and didn't really have any great achievements worth memorializing beyond "the guy who played his flute a lot." Better than being a BAD ruler, though.
  • There are also four Popes known as "the Great":
    • St. Leo I (440-461)
    • St. Gregory I (590-406)
    • St. Nicholas I (858-867)
    • St. John Paul II (1978-2005)
  • The full title of the Pope is:
    His Holiness Francis, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the Vatican City State, Servant of the servants of God.
  • Charlemagne, or "Charles the Great".
    • His contemporary was Rhodri Mawr, High King of Wales –- Wales being its own country at that time and not property of the English crown. Mawr roughly translates to "the Great".
  • Lorenzo de' Medici, de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic during the Renaissance, is the Trope Namer for his nickname of Lorenzo The Magnificent. He earned it by being an amazing ruler, a formidable politician that effectively ruled Italy in everything but name (something the leaders of the other Italian states openly acknowledged) and advised the Holy Roman Emperor, the King of Hungary and other important monarchs, a patron of scholars, artists, and poets, and still finding the time to become an experimental poet influential enough to impose Florentine as the language of Italian intellectuals for good (Dante and Petrarca having already started Florentine's influence).
  • In the letters that Charles V & I of the Holy Roman Empire and Spain exchanged with his rival Francis I of France, the former always signed with an absurdly long list of titles. Francis I simply signed his own as "a denizen of Paris".
  • The Douglas family. Probably the most famous member is Sir James Douglas the Black (or simply "The Black Douglas" as the English called him; to his fellow Scots he was Good Sir James), son of William Douglas the Hardy, brother of Hugh the Dull and Archibald the Tyneman (meaning "The Loser"), and father of Archibald the Grim.
  • This was a staple of Ancient Rome. Romans who would have something relatively exceptional would gain a Cognomen (a nickname) which would be added to his official name and could be inherited and mark a whole family line. Caesar possibly meant "Hairy" (inherited, as he was balding, although it might have been an ironic commentary on an ancestor's baldness). Other famous cognomen were Scipio "Africanus" (the African, after his successful African military campaign against Hannibal), Pompey "Magnus" (the Great), Sulla "Felix" (the Lucky).
    • In fact, there were a good number of Roman leaders who ended up with epithets referring major campaigns, like the aforementioned Africanus, as well as Germanicus (the German), Thrax (the Thracian), Parthicus (the Parthian), etc. Over time, it became more and more common for high-ranking Romans to claim such a epithet regardless of accuracy.
    • The earned nicknames were actually called "agnomina" (singular "agnomen"). Ones that were inherited and not earned weren't nicknames, but family names, and therefore became extended cognomina. Caesar and Cicero are both examples of cognomina that were once an ancestor's agnomen; Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, however, earned one of his own to pass down. The result of the passing down was that the names became kind of meaningless, except for an indication of good lineage.
      • At one point in Claudius the God, the emperor comments that his full name was Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus Britannicus Caesar Augustus. That was an interesting mixture of cognomina and agnomina: Drusus was an old, old title of the Claudian family (their ancestor defeated a Celtic chieftain with that name); Germanicus was a title the emperor had inherited from his father; while "Caesar" and "Augustus" had become the standard imperial cognominae. But "Britannicus" was a real agnomen: Claudius's legions had conquered a small part of southern England and the Senate had voted him the title of "conqueror of the Britons".
    • Caligula was also a nicknamenote . Caligula, as a wee little boy, used to accompany his father Germanicus in his military campaign, where the soldiers gave him the nickname we remember him by, which means "little boots" or (less literally) "Bootsie".
  • By a similar system, the old form of the Arabic name consists of:
    • A Kunya, a sort of inverse patronymic, being "Abu" (father of) or "Umm" (mother of) your eldest son (or your eldest daughter if you have no sons), used as a nickname.
      • Say a fellow with the personal name "Muhammad" gets married to a woman named "Maryam". Muhammad and Maryam then have a daughter, whom they name "Fatima". At that point, Muhammad is "Abu Fatima" and Maryam is "Umm Fatima"; they are liable to call each other that around the house, as are their close friends at intimate gatherings. If they then have a son named "Abdullah", Muhammad gets the new nickname "Abu Abdullah" and Maryam becomes "Umm Abdullah", and remain so ever afterward –- even if Abdullah dies in infancy.note 
    • Your personal name.
    • The Laqab, which concerns us here. Laqab means "appellation" in Arabic, and it's typically some kind of nickname. Like the Roman cognomen, it was often inherited; unlike the cognomen, you typically only had one, and it was not necessarily inherited. Oddly, the kunya can become a laqab and thus become hereditary.
      • Confusing matters is that sometimes a kunya structure can be adapted for a pure laqab; a common way of saying "the guy with the X" in colloquial Arabic is to say "Abu X." So if the guy has, say, a lazy eye, he might get the nickname "Abu Ain"—"the guy with the eye"; someone noted for intelligence or cleverness might be called "Abu Aql", "the guy with the brains" or more idiomatically "The Smart Guy".note  These are common in Moroccan last names, usually rendered "Bou[something]" in Latin letters (Moroccan dialect knocks off initial vowels).
    • The Nasab, a string of patronymics going back as far as you care to remember.
    • The Nisba, a second nickname indicating a place of origin, a tribe or clan, or a profession.
    • In modern times, the Laqab and Nisba are commonly used as last names by Arabic speakers, although in many countries (e.g. Egypt), it is more common to find one of the names in the Nasab used (typically, the male-line grandfather or great-grandfather of the first member of the family to record a last name).
  • The ninth century Bulgarian Khan Krum was known among Byzantine historians as "The Terrifying" for the revenge he took upon Byzantine Emperor Nikephoros I for invading Bulgaria in 811. After rejecting several attempts to negotiate and sacking the Bulgarian capital, the Byzantines were ambushed in a mountain pass on their way home. The entire invading force was nearly destroyed, the Emperor killed, and his son mortally wounded, marking only the second time in Byzantine history that an Emperor fell in battle. Krum then had the Emperor's skull lined with silver and jewels and used it as a drinking cup. The first document to mention "The Terrifying" was written some 150 years later, so you can bet the Byzantines were still scaring their children with stories about this guy long after he died.
  • Later on, eastern Roman (Byzantine) emperor Basil II conquered Bulgaria in the early 11th century after centuries of brutal warfare. One likely fictional story has it that after the Battle of Kleidion he took between 8000 to 15000 Bulgarian captives and blinded 99 of every 100, leaving each hundredth with one eye to lead his fellow captives back to the Bulgarian Tzar Samuel. Upon seeing what happened to his soldiers, Samuel had a heart attack and died. And this guy was no wimp either, he had been leading troops in battle against the Byzantine Empire his entire reign and had killed his own brother and most of his family for challenging his rule. While, as noted, the story was likely made up, it was the product of a very real and very well-earned reputation that led to Basil II becoming known as Basil Bulgaroktonos, 'the Bulgar-Slayer'. Truly, a name to run away from really fast.
  • In the 13th century there was a Swedish king who entered history as Eric the Lisp and Lame. If you're a regent and got a name like that, you know you don't let enough heads roll. Funnily, contemporary sources peg Eric as a decent man and good but unremarkable king (the few lines of the "Erikskrönika" that mention him state "he kept good counsel and chivalrous ways, and gave the farmers good years of peace"). Granted, he also had a knack for surrounding himself with competent and loyal people, such as his jarl (think "King's Hand") Birger, whose sheer levels of badassness made the title obsolete.
  • The Seventh Century Byzantine Emperor Justinian II received the epithet Rhinotmetos (the Slit-Nosed) for the audacious feat of maneuvering his way on back onto the throne after he was deposed and mutilated so that he would be barred from succession (by Byzantine law, the Emperor is a representative of God on Earth, and as a reflection of the perfection of the divine, is required to have an unblemished face).
  • The great fourteenth-century conqueror known to the west as Tamerlaine the Great was actually named 'Temur' (or 'Timur,' or...), and called himself 'Amir Temur', where Amir is just an Arabic term for a commander (or, at best, a prince). 'Timur Lang' is 'Timur the Lame', because it turns out he did all his badass feats with a deformed leg.
  • Sixth century Sassanid emperor Khusrau I has the rather unique appellation of Anushirvan, or "He of the immortal soul," due to his enlightened rule.
  • Spain made no bones about some of its genetically unfortunate Trastamara and Habsburg monarchs, such as Isabella's half brother and predecessor 'Enrique the Impotent', Juana la Loca (Joan the Mad)* and eventually, Carlos el Hechizado (Charles the Bewitched, a.k.a. Charles II). The latter was well named: his official portrait, which would have been made as flattering as possible for public consumption, looks like a cruel caricature of a mentally retarded person, something likely caused by the fact that due to the sheer amounts of inbreeding in his family (his father was also his great-uncle, his mother was also his first cousin, and that was just the tip of the iceberg), he was more inbred than the child of Brother–Sister Incest. His many incapacities, primary among them the inability to produce an heir, caused the War of the Spanish Succession.
    • Played straight with Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, a.k.a. El Cid Campeador (that is "The Lord, Master of the (Battle)field, the first coming from the Arabic and the last from the Latin). So magnificent that both friend and foe recognized his military prowess.
    • Some more of the more remarkable epithets from Spain (and the various realms that made it up): Alfonso X the Wise (or the Astrologer), Ferdinand IV the Summoned, Henry III the Infirm, Henry IV the Impotent, Urraca the Reckless, Wilfred the Hairy, Berenguer Ramon II the Fratricide, Alfons I the Troubadour, Peter III the Ceremonious, Martin the Humane, Charles III the Enlightened, Isabella II of the Sad Destiny, and Peter IV of the Little Dagger.
    • One Spanish monarch has the distinction of having two polar opposite sobriquets: Ferdinand VII, who was initially called el Deseado ("The Desired"), but ended his reign more commonly known as el Rey Felón ("The Felon King"). This is because King Ferdinand became the head of the Spanish House of Bourbon during The Napoleonic Wars, when he and his father were forced to abdicate in favor of Napoléon Bonaparte's older brother Joseph. After this episode, Ferdinand became a focal point for resistance to French rule and a symbol of Spanish nationhood both in Spain and in its overseas territories in the Americas—hence the epithet "the Desired". However, most of the people nominally backing Ferdinand were also liberal constitutionalists who hoped to set up Spain and her empire as a constitutional monarchy. Unfortunately for those people, Ferdinand was an unreconstructed old-school absolutist and imperialist, and a tremendous asshole to boot. This led his American subjects to opt for outright independence (rather than the federation/personal union that had been floated before).note  Meanwhile, his vicious authoritarianism and his sheer capriciousness led his Spanish subjects to dub him the "Felon King".
  • Bulgarian national hero Vasil Ivanov Kunchev is universally known as Vasil Levski ("Leonine") — a nickname he earned for his courage and agility in training and fighting the Ottoman turks for the Fortress of Belgrade. His revolutionary activities and ideology seeking the liberation of Bulgaria from Ottoman rule had also earned him the titles "Apostle of Freedom" and "The Deacon".
  • One really odd one is "Tahir the Ambidextrous", a one-eyed Persian rebel noble in the early days of the slow collapse of the Abbasid Caliphate.
  • And a particularly badass one — the prophet Muhammad's general, Khalid ibn al-Walid, who won more than 100 battles, was given the nickname Sayf Allah al-Maslul — The Drawn Sword of God.
  • William the Silent, the leader of the Dutch in The Eighty Years' War. He gained his nickname by remaining tactfully silent when asked about religious persecution.
  • In case of kings who also became saints, this seems to be inverted—the saint part comes first, the king part follows "the". Thus, St. Louis the King (of France), St. Stephen the King (of Hungary), etc. Not in all traditions it is so, for example, Kievan Rus' had Prince Vladimir the Saint (a.k.a. Vladimir the Red Sun), and one version of the last Russian Tsar's sobriquet is Nicholas the Saint. Another interesting exception is England, which generally identifies saint-kings by the type of saint they were; there's Edward the Martyr and Edward the Confessornote  as well as Edmund the Martyr, King of East Anglia.note  Most commentators tend to ignore the Church of England's 1660 canonisation of Charles I (what with it being a pretty blatant bit of propaganda for his newly-enthroned son), but those who recognise it tend to call him "King Charles the Martyr" rather than "Saint Charles the King".
  • All the Kings of Italy from the House of Savoy had at least one such name:
    • Victor Emmanuel II had two: the Gentleman King for not abolishing his father's constitution when he could have easily ruled as an autocrat, and the Father of the Fatherland for his role (alongside the Count of Cavour and Giuseppe Garibaldi) in unifying most of Italy in the Kingdom of Italy.
    • Umberto I was known as "The Good King" for his philanthropy (personally helping the victims of the 1872 eruption of the Vesuvius, the 1879 eruption of Mount Etna, the 1882 floods in Veneto, and the 1889 cholera outbreak in Naples), and "Grapeshot King" for supporting the violent repression of the 1898 food riots in Milan.
    • Victor Emmanuel III was called "The Soldier King" for his role in World War I and "Sciaboletta" (Little Saber) due his parents and grandparents' close blood relation giving him a height of 1.53 m (5 ft 0 in).
    • Umberto II was called "The May King" due his short reign of 34 days, most of them in May 1946.
  • The penultimate King of the Two Sicilies, Ferdinand II, was called "re bomba" (King Bomb) for his shelling of Sicilian revolutionaries with the use of warships.
  • The Austrian Habsburgs give us a few:
    • Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor 1452-93, was called "the Peaceful".
    • Ferdinand I and V of Austria and Hungary (1835-1848) was nicknamed Ferdinand der Gütige ("Ferdinand the Good" or "Ferdinand the Kindly") in German due to being (1) well-meaning by all appearances but (2) an epileptic with a hydrocephalus. After his abdication, he became known as "Gütinand der Fertige"—"Goodinand the Finished."
    • The deeply pious final Habsburg monarch, Charles I and IV of Austria-Hungary, acceded to the throne in 1916 amidst the depths of World War I and spend most of his two-year reign trying to justly end the war. For this, he was beatified and is known as "Blessed Charles" or "Charles the Blessed."
  • Pedro II, the second and last monarch of Brazil, was nicknamed "Pedro the Magnanimous" for his generous sponsorship of arts and sciences and his benevolent reign over the Empire.


Video Example(s):


Merlin the Mysterious

A magician who comes to give a magic show at Henry's school. Later, after Henry wishes for real magic powers, Merlin comes to grant his wish and reveals himself to actually be a top-class wizard.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / MagiciansAreWizards

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