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Tranquil Fury

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"Astfgl had passed through the earlier stage of fury and was now in that calm lagoon of rage where the voice is steady, the manner is measured and polite, and only a faint trace of spittle at the corner of the mouth betrays the inner inferno."
Eric
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There may come a time when going berserk simply does not work. Or perhaps that burning rage is being outweighed and tempered by ice cold hate. In either case, many people choose to turn to Tranquil Fury. This state of mind allows much whoop-ass to be uncanned without undue stress. When the time comes for the showdown between the Hero and the Big Bad, do not expect to see furious angry rage. Instead, expect The Hero (or Anti-Hero)'s face to be serenely, eerily calm. They will not appear to be even slightly put out with the villain but that won't stop them from trying to hack the villain to hundreds of tiny pieces. A defeat by someone in the grip of Tranquil Fury is likely to be more comprehensive than others, as the job will be done in a properly thorough fashion.

This is different from The Quiet One and The Stoic. The character in the grip of Tranquil Fury isn't necessarily an emotional cripple, and in day to day life they may be perfectly normal and happy. What defines Tranquil Fury is the tendency to become deadly serious when it gets deadly serious.

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Tranquil Fury is often preceded by the phrase "I didn't want to have to do this" or something similar. A loose real-life equivalent would be the concept of mushin. Typically, a Meditation Powerup invokes or results in such a state.

Compare Don't Make Me Destroy You; Bored with Insanity; Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass; Rage Breaking Point; and Heroic Safe Mode.

Contrast: Berserker Tears, Unstoppable Rage. Compare and contrast Dissonant Serenity and Beware the Quiet Ones. These characters often use Creepy Monotone, Death Glare, and Slasher Smile. When Good Is Not Soft, the most brutal examples of its wrath will often take this form.


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Examples:

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    Music 
  • Scottish traditional song Jock O'Braidosly, which describes a Scottish poacher who is ambushed and fatally wounded by a party of English foresters while sleeping in the forest. Leaping to his feet, he props himself against a tree, calmly strings his bow and proceeds to kill six, driving away a single grievously wounded survivor.
  • Phil Collins's song "In The Air Tonight", by Word of God, is about the singer confronting a cheating spouse. The slow, ominous music and steely delivery of a musical "The Reason You Suck" Speech slowly build as the singer calmly and coldly explains that even a stoic feels the pain of having their heart broken. The thing coming in the air? The singer's Rage Breaking Point, arriving with that famous drum riff.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Akebono is almost a Perpetual Smiler. Almost. He does get angry sometimes, but it's almost never above this level.
  • Bryan Danielson's first feud with Homicide. Cide had a million gruesome threats for Danielson, Danielson had a very long death glare.
  • After Bullet Club's attack on ROH itself on the 2016 Global Wars Tour, Jay Lethal's pursuit of the group was marked by this, in contrast to his usual scenery chewing ways. He did frequently lose his temper after the group forcibly shaved him bald, but returned to tranquility when he finally got Adam Cole in the ring, until Cole's taunting cause him to lose his temper again, anyway.
  • WWE NXT has Johnny Gargano, after his former tag team partner Tommaso Ciampa cost him his NXT career. Words cannot describe how furious Gargano was with his one-time best friend, and he made sure to show it to Ciampa, stalking him and attacking him until Ciampa requested a match (that would be stipulated as unsanctioned) to finally deal with him. However, when the match came around, in deep contrast to how he had been acting the previous few weeks, Gargano was oddly calm, laser-focused on finally defeating Ciampa, with only a very harsh Death Glare to show how angry he really was.

    Radio 
  • In The Men from the Ministry, after Mr. Lamb accidentally buys thousand pounds worth of light Stilton cheese, Sir Gregory is pretty much this.
    Sir Gregory: (completely calm) Lamb, in all my years in the public service I have never encountered such asinine incompetence...
    Lamb: Don't try to hide it Sir Gregory, you're cross.
    Sir Gregory: Cross? Cross? I'll murder you! I'll shake you 'til the sawdust runs out of your ears!

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • One of Patton Oswalt's bits described a time in the 80s when he was opening for a stage magician and the venue owner stiffing both of them for part of their fees. Oswalt all but described the trope word for word. But the punchline...
    Let's review: what invoked the wrath of the wizard? Five dollars.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Legend Of Drizzt: Drizzt Do'Urden normally does an Unstoppable Rage when he's pressed enough; he calls that mindset The Hunter. But he also has a "level 2" variant, referred to as the Warrior Incarnate, that's much more Tranquil Fury. He's only ever entered that once, and then only when he thought all his friends had been killed at the same time.
  • The berserkers of the Crab Clan in Legend of the Five Rings were originally portrayed as this, but are occasionally Flanderized into the normal, Unstoppable Rage kind of berserkers.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons D&D 4th Edition, a Paragon Path for the rage-focused Barbarian class called "Calm Fury" is available in the supplement "Primal Power," allowing them to use some of their most powerful abilities while not explicitly raging. According to the flavour text, "You now attain the furious clarity on the far side of rage".
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • Space Marines and Eldar deliberately try to enter this state rather than "hot" fury. Given what they know about Chaos, justified trope. Tau are also normally calm during battle unless their Berserk Button gets pushed.
    • Dark Eldar Incubi (which are the 40k version of the Executioners mentioned below) also have this. In the Rogue Trader RPG, Dark Eldar players with the "Incubus Initiate" alternative career rank can buy a talent that lets them attain a state of Tranquil Fury, allowing them to enter frenzy without suffering the normal drawback of being unable to do anything but Attack! Attack! Attack!.
  • Warhammer:
    • This is the whole point of the Executioners in the Dark Elf army. While all dark elves love their blood lust, with most enjoying inflicting as much pain as possible, Executioners prefer to hone their skills in being able to kill whoever and whatever is in their way with a single precise swipe with their beloved draiches (which can either be a BFS or a big battle ax).
  • In Exalted the Lunar charm Relentless Lunar Fury, a key warrior-type technique that enables a keyword on other Lunar charms, specifically suggests tranquil fury as one of the ways to portray the effect.
  • In Vampire: The Requiem, vampiric frenzy is normally an animalistic Unstoppable Rage, but some members of the decorum-obsessed Sotoha bloodline practice a technique that allows them to retain their composure. One member, engaged in a prolonged vendetta, is rumoured to have been in constant, carefully controlled frenzy for decades.
  • Pathfinder has the urban barbarian, an archetype for the barbarian class with a vastly different rage ability called controlled rage : it imparts no penalty to AC and doesn't restrict the use of Dexterity-, Intelligence- or Charisma-based skills, doesn't grant any bonus to Will saves and instead of giving a static bonus to Strength and Constitution, it lets the character distribute a bonus between Strength, Dexterity and Constitution at the start of a controlled rage. In short, instead of going full berserk, the urban barbarian remains in control but gets lower benefits overall.

    Theatre 
  • Older Than Steam. Shakespeare's Henry V has the eponymous character's reaction to the tennis balls.
  • Anthony Hopkins's portrayal of Othello in the BBC TV show, during the climax, was mostly like this.
  • In Peter Shaffer's "Black Comedy", Shaffer even writes this into the stage directions. The main character has surreptitiously borrowed his neighbor's very expensive furniture to impress a guest, but then there is a power outage and the neighbor comes home unexpectedly, prompting the lead to scramble about replacing the furniture while his girlfriend stalls the neighbor. At some point, the lead accidentally drops a priceless sculpture at his neighbor's feet — and the neighbor, who finally figures out what's going on, simply says to the lead, "I think I'm going to have to smash you." On top of this, the stage directions say that he is speaking "in the quiet voice of the very, very dangerous."

    Webcomics 
  • In The Order of the Stick prequel book Start of Darkness, the lich Xykon discovers that he no longer has a sense of taste after attempting to chug a cup of truly horrendous coffee. What follows next is a terrifying example of this trope that demonstrates the gulf between the mortal Xykon and the undead version, as he coldly murders a waitress he had earlier described as very attractive. When Right-Eye gets angry, Xykon throws him against the wall and begins strangling him to death. Redcloak is only able to prevent Xykon from killing them both with a desperate bluff, though he still throws both goblins through a nearby window before announcing that he is now in charge. During the entire encounter, Xykon never once raises his voice.
    Pathetic little green worm. I ought to pop your sickeningly warm head off of your disgusting fluid-filled sack of organs.
  • In Girl Genius, Airman Axel "The Unstoppable" Higgs slides into this state after Zola stabs Zeetha. Every panel showing him afterwards depicts him with this look of pure yet tempered and determined fury on his face as he relentlessly pursues and fights her.
    • After beating Vole using Unstoppable Rage, Gil points out that his father feels like this all the time, which means the baron lives in tranquil fury all the time he doesn't spend in non-tranquil fury.
  • Homestuck's Doc Scratch is cool, calm, collected and an excellent host...until you break his clocks. Then he's cool, calm, collected, an excellent host, and perfectly capable of a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
  • The Bully's Bully: The unnamed young heroine seems to go into this mode while deciding what action to take against the first bully she faces. The action she takes after all else fails? A beatdown.
  • Dragon Ball Multiverse: Son Gohan. Especially when his daughter is killed and he can't do a thing about it.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Luke defeats his opponent (who he was initially planning to lose to) with only a slightly furrowed brow and Scary Shiny Glasses to indicate his anger at his opponent's insult at the beginning of the match.
  • The Gamer: Thanks to Gamer's Mind, on the few occasions we've seen Han Jee-Han really angry, he's been creepily calm. It's always been in response to people from the Abyss thinking they could hurt either the helpless or someone he personally cares about (or, on one occasion, both at once) with impunity. Still, seeing as he was actively considering cold-blooded murder on two separate occasions when faced with Abyss-based human traffickers, the fact that this comes so easily for him is starting to become a serious worry for both him and his friends.
  • Betelgeuse gets this way in Cobweb and Stripes when a mook who's after him starts chasing Lydia instead. Instead of his usual Large Ham tendencies, the poltergeist goes stone-cold calm. The mook quickly learns the hard way why you should not mess with Betelgeuse's Protectorate.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Sigrun is all around a quite loud person, which usually results in her yelling when she's mad. However, if she's really mad, she'll greatly tone down overall instead.

    Web Original 
  • In Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, parts of "Slipping" sound like this before he takes out the gun, as does the lyric "It's gonna be bloody/Head up Billy buddy", sung with eerie calm.
    • "Brand New Day", especially the first verse. Just...guh.
  • In The Salvation War: Armageddon?, the Soldiers in the PLFH (particularly Aeanas) experience this when they come across the demonic merchants who sell human children as delicacies:
    "Aeanas stared at the scene with cold fury. He did not angrily demand that they throw caution to the wind and charge in to save the children, a hot-blooded rage that blinded its victim to common sense would have called for that. Instead, stone-faced, he watched the merchant empty his wagon, pack up his other trinkets, and be off down the rutted dirt road. So did Cassidy and McElroy. There would be a time for vengeance, a time when debts like this one would be paid, but this was not it. Three humans attacking 300 baldricks with edged weapons was simply a way to die. Or be thrown back in the lava streams."
    • In Pantheocide, Lemuel has a moment of "cold fury that he had not known for millennia" when he finds that Onniel has beaten one of his servants unconscious for obeying him over her, culminating in her getting publicly repudiated.
    • "Yahweh had gone beyond raving anger. He was now possessed by a cold, deadly determination to destroy the opposition to him that had so suddenly and unexpectedly erupted."
  • Linkara getting angry is shouting and speaking in an immature tone. Lewis Lovhaug getting angry is deathly cold and collected. As Justice League: Cry for Justice, Holy Terror, and Youngblood #10 found the hard way, you don't push him to that point.
  • Ink City saw Optimus Prime go into this when Trevor kidnapped Aisling. Trevor's insistence on blatantly lying about her presence reminded him all too much of the Decepticons, causing him to very calmly and methodically tear Goodchild's compound apart.
  • In a retrospective video of the worst movies he's ever reviewed as The Nostalgia Critic, one can practically taste the rage that Doug Walker is barely containing when he's talking about the number one pick (through most of it, anyway).
    • This is very much on display at the end of his review of Blues Brothers 2000, in which he rants, in a restrained tone, about how bad it is, compared to the original Blues Brothers.
      Critic: Movie, I'm not angry. Yes, I am. I'm furious, but there's something I'm even more, and that's... disappointed. I'm disappointed in you, movie. The same people that brought us a comedy classic, an icon, something they make statues of, has eighteen years to put together a follow-up, and this is what we get? May God rape you with a pickup truck. Slowly. With vengeance.
  • Cecil, the mellow-voiced host of Welcome to Night Vale, never raises his voice when he's angry. Instead, his voice gets even more clipped, hollow, and intense, as he articulates his fury through perfectly-enunciated syllables that fall like lead bricks of doom upon the listener.
  • In Worm, Taylor enters this state when she believes Alexandria killed one of her friends. She coldly murders Alexandria and Tagg in retaliation.
  • Achievement Hunter
    • Ryan Haywood was once pranked into changing his gamertag from BM Vagabond to GiveMeYourMilk. Upon re-entering the office, his first sentence is "You guys are all fucked, you know that? The other AH guys are absolutely freaking out at how calm he is.
      Ryan: The kind of hell that I'm going to rain down on you...it's just not even...you don't even know. None of you understand. Like, I'm fine with no work being done in this office for weeks because of this.
    • Geoff in "Build a Tower" combines tranquil fury with Unstoppable Rage to scary effect. Recovering from a head cold and really not in the mood for any trolling, Michael and Gavin both pushed him too far first resulting in Unstoppable Rage and a vicious pummeling - Michael to his character in-game, Gavin in real life - then followed up with this. The first time was just for a warning, but after the second instance, he spent the rest of the video speaking in an enraged whisper that left everyone scared.
  • Shadow of the Templar: Simon falls into this when Jeremy's kidnapped near the end of the third book. It's really freaky. Sandra, who's narrating, notes how strange it is...and how scared of/intimidated by Simon the rest of the team is.
  • Sketchbook from Don't Hug Me I'm Scared doesn't change their expression or have much of a noticeable reaction to anything. That doesn't mean they don't feel anything though. They seem to get mad when Red Guy insults them.
    Sketchbook: Now take a look at my hair! I use my hair to express myself!
    Red Guy: (flatly) That sounds really boring.
    (beat)
    Sketchbook: (with a hint of anger in their voice) I use my hair to express myself.
  • Isabel Lovelace of Wolf 359 sounds almost bored when angry. Her voice gets thick and quiet and terrifying.
  • Whateley Universe: Dr. Diabolik (Leonides Daibliku), when his children were the target of protestors and media outlets, he called each one of them up, at their homes, at their workplaces, on their mobiles... and calmly, politely, and non-threateningly explained to them that while he sympathized with them, attacking children over such a thing was a decidedly cowardly act. After that, the protestors just... went away.
  • The Last Podcast on the Left describes Richard "the Iceman" Kuklinski in these terms. Kuklinski is described as never raising his voice. The only sign that he was actually angry was a clicking noise he would make with his mouth. Marcus claimed that if you heard this sound, violence, and very probably death, was coming your way. A clip from his first documentary featuring this sound is played to demonstrate, and explained by Kuklinski being angered by a question the interviewer asked and realizing law enforcement officials were listening in.
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Gohan hits this when he enters Super-Duper Saiyannote  form. His voice is filled with collected anger and the only time he ever raises his voice is when he shouts out "HA!" firing a Kamehameha. He doesn't talk normal until Cell performs his Rage Quit.
  • The Music Video Show has this in the sixth season finale where the host is speaking for a fake funeral for Jake Paul. He is very deadpan during his speech but the anger towards his targets are very clear he is pissed off, to the point where he swears, a first time this has happened.

    Real Life 
  • Audie Murphy, who would be considered the real-life inspiration for Captain America had the comic not come first, describes this in his memoirs To Hell and Back. Having just returned from an assault in which he had captured a machine gun, killing two Germans and wounding a third, he was joined by his best friend, Lattie Tipton. Tipton was then gunned down by machine gun fire from Germans who were pretending to surrender. Murphy thus began a one-hour, single-man assault on their position. Nineteen Germans, in a house, supported by machine guns. He killed six, wounded two, and captured the rest.
    "I remember the experience as I do a nightmare. A demon seems to have entered my body. My brain is coldly alert and logical. I do not think of the danger to myself. My whole being is concentrated on killing."
  • Basketball legend Bill Russell. On the court his demeanour was stoic, composed and cool. His actions and playing style on the other hand were very physical, aggressive, domineering and at times violent. All of his Celtic teammates believed that Russell was channeling the anger he felt at being the subject of relentless racism. It probably worked for him, with his 5 mvp's and 11 championship rings.
  • In Finnish language, this is called valkoinen raivo ("white rage") opposed to musta raivo ("black rage") on Roaring Rampage of Revenge. A person experiencing white rage is described to be completely calm, rational and in one's senses yet able to kill people like squashing bugs. German soldiers in WWII were horrified on Finnish completely ruthless attitude on war and towards the enemy. One of the reasons why partisan warfare failed at Finnish front was that the Finns simply hunted down each and every partisan and killed them without mercy while leaving the Soviet civilians intact.
  • On January 27, 1967, astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were killed when a fire broke out in the cockpit during a routine test on the launch pad. The Monday after the fire, Flight Director Gene Kranz called everyone at Mission Control in for a meeting and gave everyone the biggest ass-chewing that they had ever experienced. The speech he gave that day became known as the Kranz Dictum:
    "Spaceflight will never tolerate carelessness, incapacity, and neglect. Somewhere, somehow, we screwed up. It could have been in design, build, or test. Whatever it was, we should have caught it. We were too gung ho about the schedule and we locked out all of the problems we saw each day in our work. Every element of the program was in trouble and so were we. The simulators were not working, Mission Control was behind in virtually every area, and the flight and test procedures changed daily. Nothing we did had any shelf life. Not one of us stood up and said, 'Dammit, stop!' I don't know what Thompson's committee will find as the cause, but I know what I find. We are the cause! We were not ready! We did not do our job. We were rolling the dice, hoping that things would come together by launch day, when in our hearts we knew it would take a miracle. We were pushing the schedule and betting that the Cape would slip before we did. From this day forward, Flight Control will be known by two words: 'Tough' and 'Competent.' Tough means we are forever accountable for what we do or what we fail to do. We will never again compromise our responsibilities. Every time we walk into Mission Control we will know what we stand for. Competent means we will never take anything for granted. We will never be found short in our knowledge and in our skills. Mission Control will be perfect. When you leave this meeting today you will go to your office and the first thing you will do there is to write 'Tough and Competent' on your blackboards. It will never be erased. Each day when you enter the room these words will remind you of the price paid by Grissom, White, and Chaffee. These words are the price of admission to the ranks of Mission Control."
  • A customer was denied a refund at a T-Mobile store in London, England. Hilarity ensues. At one point during the rampage, the man calmly picks up a fire extinguisher and begins to casually spray the extinguisher's contents around the room. As he does this, to quote the reporter, "the guy is so calm, it's like he's spraying for bugs."
  • Lieutenant General David Morrison, Chief of Army for the Australian Army, released this video on the Army's official YouTube channel in June of 2013, after he began an investigation of several emails demeaning to women being sent from Army accounts. His tone and expression throughout present a textbook example of this trope in action. It's three minutes long and he only blinks twice.
  • Several punks, looking for a cheap thrill, decided it would be entertaining to shoot a random dog. Little did they know, this dog belonged to former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell, who pursued them in a 40 mile chase. Listen to the audio of his communication with law enforcement. Despite being CLEARLY pissed, and chasing them at speeds of up to 110 mph, he sounds like he's out for a Sunday drive.
  • In a television interview in Uganda with a transgender rights activist named Pepe Julian Onziema, you can see that Pepe is holding a lot of restraint with his anger during the hour long interview which was filled with offensive language towards gays and transgender people. People were astounded by how he could maintain his calm composure in spite of this. In fact the only time that Pepe actually shows anger is when he angrily leaves the interview for a few minutes because of the appearance of another guest who was infamously intolerant towards homosexuals and transgender people.
  • Texas sportscaster Dale Hansen has developed a reputation online for delivering cutting diatribes without ever losing his cool, but one of his coldest was when Donald Trump suggested that NFL players who knelt during the playing of the national anthem (to protest discrimination against African-Americans in the American criminal justice system) should all be fired. In the "Hansen Unplugged" segment that he delivered later, Hansen never raises his voice, loses his grandfatherly tone, or even changes his calm expression, but it's clear that Trump's statements have really struck a nerve in him.
    "Donald Trump has said he supports a peaceful protest because it's an American's right… But not this protest, and there's the problem: The opinion that any protest you don't agree with is a protest that should be stopped. Martin Luther King should have marched across a different bridge. Young, black Americans should have gone to a different college and found a different lunch counter. And college kids in the 60's had no right to protest an immoral war. I served in the military during the Vietnam War... and my foot hurt, too. But I served anyway. My best friend in high school was killed in Vietnam. Carroll Meir will be 18 years old forever, and he did not die so that you can decide who is a patriot and who loves America more."
  • The (in)famous Wild West figure Wyatt Earp was interviewed numerous times about his experiences in and observations of shootouts and gunfights, and noted that this trope was a trait of those who tended to survive them.
    The most important lesson I learned from those proficient gunfighters was the winner of a gunplay usually was the man who took his time. The second was that, if I hoped to live long on the frontier, I would shun flashy trick-shooting—grandstand play—as I would poison.

    When I say that I learned to take my time in a gunfight, I do not wish to be misunderstood, for the time to be taken was only that split fraction of a second that means the difference between deadly accuracy with a sixgun and a miss. It is hard to make this clear to a man who has never been in a gunfight. Perhaps I can best describe such time taking as going into action with the greatest speed of which a man’s muscles are capable, but mentally unflustered by an urge to hurry or the need for complicated nervous and muscular actions which trick-shooting involves. Mentally deliberate, but muscularly faster than thought, is what I mean.

    In all my life as a frontier police officer, I did not know a really proficient gunfighter who had anything but contempt for the gun-fanner, or the man who literally shot from the hip.
  • When Uma Thurman was asked about her opinion on the Harvey Weinstein allegations, she responded with a very icy serenity that just barely masked her volcanic rage.


Alternative Title(s): Cold Anger

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