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Manly Tears in literature.


  • Near the end of Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident, the title character has his father shot with a blood capsule into Russian waters to get rid of the Mafia holding him, then sinks to his knees crying when he finds out his father has been saved.
  • Aubrey-Maturin:
    • In "The Nutmeg of Consolation", the thirteenth novel, Jack Aubrey weeps when Stephen informs him that Midshipman Reade has lost an arm.
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    • In fact, Jack weeps several times throughout the series, especially at funerals of his crew. It is established in one book that he sees it as a manly act.
  • Invoked on an epic scale in the Old French Chanson de Roland, in which, on discovering the eponymous hero's death, among the French everyone weeps, Charlemagne sheds tears and tears his beard, and twenty thousand faint away for sorrow.
  • John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos: In Fugitives of Chaos, after Amelia explains to Colin that a certain picture shows his loving parents being forced to give him up at birth as a hostage, and Colin contemplates how he has lived his entire childhood in the care of hostile strangers, Colin cries.
  • C. S. Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • The Last Battle: Tirian asserts it would be more unmanly not to weep for The End of the World as We Know It even after they reach heaven and joins Lucy in her tearful mourning for Narnia.
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    • In The Silver Chair, the narrator notes that when Eustace cried for Caspian's death, he was not crying shamelessly like a child, or trying to hide it like an adolescent boy, but had reached a level of manhood that can really mourn someone's death in a mature way.
  • Circleverse: Cold Fire: When his firefighters try to fight a fire without Ben Ladradun's help and fail, some of them dying in the process, Ben goes to see the bodies and weeps. Witnesses think it's from grief for the firefighters, when he set the fire himself as a test, and feels joy "almost too intense to bear".
  • Discworld: In Night Watch, it's mentioned that the cheerful Bawdy Song "All the Little Angels" is popularly sung after battles, but has been known to reduce old men to tears— because, Vimes observes silently, "They were remembering who they were not singing it with."
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  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe: In the Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Halflife, the Doctor cries because, due to a situation that blurred the line between Freaky Friday and Personality Swap, he experienced firsthand just how scary it is to be one of his companions, following around an incredibly brave Walking Disaster Area. He really doesn't cry often at all — it's mentioned at the beginning of the same book that no one ever saw him crying when his daughter died. He mourned, all right, but was never seen to shed so much as a single tear.
  • The night after Fortune and Cumber escape the riot of South Point in Dragoncharm, it hits them that their home has been burned to the ground and the hug each other and weep.
  • In Dune, Paul Atreides inadvertently impresses the Fremen when he cries at the funeral of a man he was forced to kill in ritual combat. Bodily fluids being as precious as they are in the desert, "giving water to the dead" is a profound gesture, indeed...
  • The Epic of Gilgamesh: Gilgamesh is the Sumerian equivalent of the manliest of Greek heroes and never cries, but his brotherly bond with Enkidu was strong enough that the latter's death drove him mad with grief.
  • Many male characters in Guy Gavriel Kay's The Fionavar Tapestry weep openly, including Loren Silvercloak, Matt Soren, Kevin, and Paul after he hangs on the summer tree.
  • Invoked in Flashman at the Charge. Flash bawls his eyes out with shock, fear and self-pity after the prince he was minding gets killed. A brother officer remarks "The most heartbreaking thing I have seen today was Flashman, the bravest of your soldiers, weeping at that dear boy's death. He would have given his own life a thousand times, I know, to bring him back." The moral, according to Flashman, is "It's all right to blubber with funk and self-pity as long as there's a gullible idiot around who'll mistake it for manly grief."
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, Lord and Lady O'More had come to America in hopes of finding their orphaned nephew. The trail had gone cold at the orphanage, and they are returning to Ireland in despair, when Angel, reversing their path, finds them, and assures them that the Uncanny Family Resemblance makes the relationship clear. Lord O'More drops in a chair to cry Manly Tears.
    Lord O'More did not hear her. He dropped in his chair, and covering his face, burst into those terrible sobs that shake and rend a strong man. Lady O'More hovered over him, weeping.
    • Later, when Freckles first hears someone call him "Mr. O'More", his eyes fill with tears.
  • Harry Potter: Harry cries during Dumbledore's funeral in Half Blood Prince and once again in front of the graves of his parents, in Deathly Hallows. In Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, there is a scene in which Harry bursts into tears on Halloween's Eve over his sadness at his son Albus's disappearance and guilt that his strained relationship with Albus probably drove him into danger.
    • In Deathly Hallows, Ron breaks down and cries after defeating the Horcrux in the locket, and also after he watches his brother Fred die.
    • Surprisingly, Harry also sees Snape break down crying twice while going through Snape's memories: once when Lily died and once when he found part of a letter she had written.
    • Dumbledore sheds a single tear when he explains his mistakes to Harry at the end of Order of the Phoenix, and sheds a couple more in Half Blood Prince when Harry says he told Minister Scrimgeour he is "Dumbledore's man through and through." In Deathly Hallows during Harry's brief sojourn in limbo between life and death, Dumbledore cries in earnest over the mistakes that he made in life, until Harry finally manages to comfort him.
    • Hagrid is also prone to this. He is often described as blubbering.
    • Sirius is implied to do this in the third book when discussing what happened the night James and Lily died.
  • Hurog: In Dragon Bones, Ward cries when he can't find his younger sister who has gone lost in a cave. When he later finds her, he also finds the skeleton of a dragon that has been bound with iron chains - in a way that Ward concludes the chains must have been driven through the dragon's flesh. That causes him to shed some tears, too.
  • A 1980 book called It Takes A Man To Cry by Steve Whalen. In this case, he's crying because six men from his fire company have died fighting a tenement fire.
  • The James Bond novels Casino Royale, Live and Let Die, Dr. No, and especially On Her Majesty's Secret Service show Bond crying after a nasty incident or in a cathartic moment:
  • From Jane Eyre : "As he turned aside his face a minute, I saw a tear slide from under the sealed eyelid, and trickle down the manly cheek."
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars: In Gods of Mars, when Contrived Coincidence has finally let one young man know that his companion is John Carter — his father.
    With a cry of pleasure he sprang toward me and threw his arms about my neck, and for a brief moment as I held my boy close to me the tears welled to my eyes and I was like to have choked after the manner of some maudlin fool—but I do not regret it, nor am I ashamed. A long life has taught me that a man may seem weak where women and children are concerned and yet be anything but a weakling in the sterner avenues of life.
  • John Rain weeps on holding his son in his arms for the first time. Seeing The Stoic Rain cry makes Midori (temporarily) reconsider not taking him back into their lives. In Requiem for an Assassin, Dox cries in a release of tension after being rescued by Rain Just in Time after days of confinement and torture.
    Dox: Oh why did it have to happen in front of you? Now you'll make fun of me for the rest of my life.
    Rain: I'm going to tell all your girlfriends, too.
  • In Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book Mowgli weeps on leaving the jungle.
    Then something began to hurt Mowgli inside him, as he had never been hurt in his life before, and he caught his breath and sobbed, and the tears ran down his face.
    "What is it? What is it?" he said. "I do not wish to leave the jungle, and I do not know what this is. Am I dying, Bagheera?"
    "No, Little Brother. That is only tears such as men use," said Bagheera. "Now I know thou art a man, and a man's cub no longer. The jungle is shut indeed to thee henceforward. Let them fall, Mowgli. They are only tears." So Mowgli sat and cried as though his heart would break; and he had never cried in all his life before.
  • In The Kalevala, Väinämöinen freezes in the ocean for eight days and nights after his magic horse that runs on water is shot down, is picked up by the thunder bird and finally dropped off into the cosmological equivalent of Hell. He breaks down and begins to cry for three days and nights. The Hag of Northland hears it from miles away and remarks that the sound is not the bawling of a child or the lament of a woman, but the wail of a bearded hero.
  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, when Legolas and Gimli find Aragorn after Boromir's death, he is weeping, and they are afraid he is mortally injured himself.
    • When Faramir is brought in from the field in The Return Of The King, men weep in the street in distress.
    • Gandalf encourages Merry, Pippin, and Sam to cry when Frodo and Bilbo are leaving Middle-Earth forever.
    • All in all, in most Middle-earth societies crying is acceptable, and there are many instances of manly men weeping.
  • In A Million Open Doors by John Barnes, the first person narrator Giraut is experiencing and invoking this:
    If anyone had ever told me, back in the Quartier des Jovents, that I would burst into tears in front of a whole crowd of people and cry like a donzelha, and not even decently cover my face - I'd have challenged him, fought him, probably insisted on a fight to first death. Here, though, when I could breathe, I just stammered out, "It's good to be home."
  • In one of the last chapters of Moby-Dick Captain Ahab sheds a single tear, which "was worth more than all the water in the ocean".
  • North and South has an amazing example of this when Thornton tearfully confesses to his mother that his marriage proposal has been rejected:
    He came round behind her, so that she could not see his looks, and, bending back her gray, stony face, he kissed it, murmuring:
    "No one loves me,—no one cares for me, but you, mother."
    He turned away and stood leaning his head against the mantelpiece, tears forcing themselves into his manly eyes.
  • In John Barnes's One for the Morning Glory, Prince Amatus weeps at Gorlias's death.
    Then he wept, passionately and deeply, the way that men weep because they are men.
  • John le Carré's The Quest for Karla: In Smiley's People, only the police superintendent who is managing Vladimir's murder investigation notices that George Smiley is crying. The superintendent recognizes it for what it is: not exactly grief, more a general weariness and futility.
  • Renegades: When Simon finds an amulet that lets him safely interact with his adopted son Max (whose powers normally knock out and De-Power anyone in his vicinity), he tears up as he hugs him.
  • Safehold: In Midst Toil and Tribulation, when the first Charisian food convoy arrives in Siddar City, Stohnar kneels in his chapel pew and cries.
  • Sandor 'the Hound' Clegane has several emotional breakdowns but his crying doesn't seem to affect his status among fans as their favorite badass in A Song of Ice and Fire. In fact the fangirls seem to like it.
  • In the third of the Spaceforce novels, Jay breaks down briefly after starting to read the unfinished field report of a murdered fellow agent. It's the only time he reacts in this way to anything.
  • In Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm novel On the Razor's Edge, Pyati weeps extravagantly over a message, and rebuked, says that Padaborn had died, what else could he do?
  • Elizabeth Kerner's Tales of Kolmar: In Song in the Silence, Lanen describes Jamie as the most manly guy she's known, but at the end he cries when Akhor/Varien sings a song he wrote at his wedding to Lanen.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • In Graham McNeill's novel Storm of Iron, Leonid cries at Vauban's funeral, not so much for the death as for the spontaneous attendance of his men. Vauban had said his men did not love him, but now he knows that to be false.
    • In Graham McNeill's Horus Heresy novel False Gods, when Horus mortally wounds Temba, Temba recovers from the Chaos taint, realizes the scale of his betrayal, and sobs. His grief is so obvious and enormous that Horus immediately kneels by him and comforts him.. Then Horus weeps. When his Mornivale persuade him to leave, Horus makes it back, and collapses. Abaddon weeps in his distress.
    • In Graham McNeill's Fulgrim, the dying Solomon foresees what the Horus Heresy will do and weeps.
    • In Dan Abnett's novel Brothers of the Snake, the Iron Snakes come from an ocean world and bring flasks of salt water with them on undertakings to perform rituals with. But when Priad returns to Ithaka:
      Salt-water ran from his eye corners. The Rite had begun. Removing his glove, Priad wiped the tears from his eye and marked the emblem of the Iron Snakes on the bulkhead. His men watched him do it.
      Sometimes the Rite was special. Sometimes, you didn't need the flask.
    • In Graham McNeill's Ultramarines novel The Killing Ground, at the end, Uriel and Pasanius both have tears streaming down their faces at the sight of their home.
    • In James Swallow's novel Deus Encarmine, Arkio, delineating his plans, is accused of indifference toward the men who had died. Tears stream down his face.
    • In Deus Sanguinius, when open conflict broke out in the chapter, Arkio weeps again, and insists that the geneseed from the other side be harvested, as they might have stood beside him had they had the choice. Later, when Arkio is dying, having regained himself, he puts a hand to Rafen's face, and is grateful to find it wet; he says he is surely condemned but begs Rafen's forgiveness.
    • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Sabbat Martyr, when the Saint appears, Gaunt realizes that he is weeping, and that he does not care.
    • At the end of The Armour of Contempt, when the Drill Sergeant Nasty salutes the troopers whom he has been abusing to make Guardsmen out of them, Dalin Criid realizes that he's a lot older than he had first thought, and feels himself tearing up. The sergeant pronounces them "proper bloody Guardsman".
    • In Only In Death, after Varl describes how Gaunt had cut ropes that were holding him and their enemies to the wall and fallen, he shows them his sword, and tears were running down his face.
    • Again in Only In Death, Hark cries when he finds Soric — and describes himself as years of sorrow bursting through.
    • Rawne pulls this off *twice* in 'Only In Death', both instances being incredibly touching.
  • H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds: It is acceptable to shed Manly Tears at the sacrifice of the battleship Thunder Child to allow the civilian ships' escape to France.
  • In Poul Anderson's "A World Called Maanerek", Wanen breaks free from the ship, rescuing Sonna — and accidentally bringing along Horlam — and then destroys it. Then he collapses, weeping so violently that Sonna is frightened. Horlam explains that turning on his former comrades was betraying everything he had believed before.


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