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Pintsized Powerhouse / Literature

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  • Discworld:
    • The smaller races (such as the Nac Mac Feegle and the Dwarves) are explicitly stronger than humans because all the same amount of physical strength is focused into a smaller body. In case you haven't been introduced to the Feegle, they're literally six inches tall, and four of them can steal a cow, one to each hoof. And they fight dirty.
    • And then there are the Clan from The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, who, within about the first two pages, disable a highwayman by running up his pantlegs. Oh, and then they tie his shoelaces together. And Darktan is just plain badass.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Erm, Ginny Weasley.
      George: "Yeah, size is no guarantee of power. Look at Ginny."
      Harry: What d'you mean?"
      George: "You've never been on the receiving end of one of her Bat-Bogey Hexes, have you?"
    • Professor Flitwick, who was stated to have been a dueling champion and who personally took out Dolohov, Remus Lupin's killer.
    • Dobby. Being a house elf, he's about three feet tall, but push him far enough, and he can use magic capable of knocking a dark wizard with Lucius Malfoy's skills off his feet.
    • Harry himself is repeatedly described as small and scrawny, and in the films is played by the 5'5' Daniel Radcliffe.
    • Amusingly, Snape may well fit in here. He's mentioned to be shorter than Sirius, who is 5'9.5' according to his file in Deathly Hallows Part 1.
  • In A Harvest of War the Thyll cousins, Guinevere and especially Rhona have no qualms about fighting opponents three times their size, with some success. The latter has to use a poison ring, though.
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  • The Gallivespians in His Dark Materials are a few inches high, but they have poisonous barbs on their heels that make them deadly in a fight. You do not want to mess with one.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • Reepicheep and his relatives, though they teamed up sometimes as well. A common tactic involved slashing various tendons and then, when the taller opponent fell, a quick slash across the throat.
    • Trumpkin and Nikibrik, the two dwarfs in Prince Caspian, were both skilled fighters, especially the former.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • The Gruffs from Small Favor, the tenth book, are troll-slaying goatmen from the fairy tales. After the five-foot tall first wave is defeated, their seven-foot tall older brothers take over - when they fail, the big brother that comes next is twenty feet tall - but the Eldest Gruff, most powerful of them all, whose coming shakes the earth and swats a fallen angel without effort? Five foot two, tops, with a limp. And if he didn't take a liking to our hero, Harry clearly wouldn't have stood a chance against him.
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    • Murphy (5 feet even, looks like a cheerleader, and took down an ogre with a chainsaw). The page quote is about her, with the subtext being that the Fists of God were debating recruiting her. She's done a pretty good job of establishing it as a potential second career and, hey, she is out of a job. Rebound career from cop to Knight of the Cross isn't that bad. Unfortunately, Nicodemus points out it was a one-time deal.
    • Ivy (who is twelve and capable of holding off eight fallen angels at once). Possibly a subversion, in that her Badassness is entirely due to her comprehensive knowledge of magic. Physically, she's no more powerful than any other girl (which is one reason she has a very Badass Normal mercenary to guard her).
    • The Red King, who is slightly over five feet and is quite possibly the single most badass vampire in the world, with the only possible exceptions being the Kings of the other two courts at full power or rather, he was.
    • Compared to all of his enemies, Harry (and other Wizards) count as this. He regularly takes on things at the very least half his (admittedly greater-than-average) height again.
  • Everybody Loves Large Chests:
    • One of the main cast is a 120 cm (4ft) gnome who regularly kills things much larger than herself.
  • The Legend of Drizzt:
    • In this corner, Drizzt, a 5'4 slender elf with a borderline babyface. In that corner, Wulfgar, a hulk of a man closer to seven feet than six, weathered and scarred, whose legs are nearly as thick as Drizzt's torso. Guess who is more dangerous in a fight. (A hint: one has been fighting for about twenty years, and is weathered and scarred. One has been fighting just as often for about sixty years, and isn't...)
    • And then there's also Triel Baenre, daughter and successor of Old Matron Baenre, the Big Bad in many of the novels. While elves are not physically imposing to begin with and dark elves are even considerably shorter, Triel is frequently described as being exceptionally short even by the standards of other dark elves, which puts her, as effective queen of the most powerful nation of an Always Chaotic Evil race, at a height of about 4'7, or 1,45m. In contrast, her younger sister Quenthel is always described as very tall and muscular, but never has attempted to gain a Klingon Promotion.
  • In the Warlock of Gramarye series, the Wee Folk are to be feared, Puck especially. And dwarfish Brom O'Berin can outfight nearly any man in Gramarye.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • Treecats. Small, six-limbed aboreals, who look all cute and furry. However, they live on a world with a gravity of 1.6G, and have two definitions for enemies: those properly dealt with and those that are still alive. Add to that their reaction times and the fact that they have six limbs, each with surgically sharp claws, and there's a reason they've been compared to "berserking buzzsaws" when in battle rage. And they're telepathic; as in, able to sense minds carrying threats.
      A human being in good condition and with really good martial art skills had at least a fair chance against a treecat in a fight, simply because of the size disparity. But it wouldn't be easy and the human would certainly come out of it badly injured.
    • Manticore's advances in miniaturization during their Lensman Arms Race with Haven, combined with Grayson's super-efficient nuclear fission reactors, allow them to create a new generation of LACs (light attack craft) that punch far above their weight and can take down larger ships with swarm tactics.
  • Isaac Asimov's The Complete Adventures of Lucky Starr: John Bigman Jones is only five-two and one hundred and twenty pounds, but routinely wins fistfights against men who are foolish enough to underestimate him. He's frequently compared to a bantam fighter, and is implied to be the equal or better to Lucky in strength.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
  • Darius Just, in Isaac Asimov's Murder at the ABA.
  • Humans, in the Prince Roger series, are a good 3 feet shorter than the 9-foot tall native sentients of Marduk. Their powerhouse-ness comes from their advanced tactics and technology.
  • Warrior Cats has Scourge, who is a very tiny cat often mistaken for an apprentice. He's also the leader of a group of stray cats known as BloodClan. Why? Because he can kill as easily as he breathes; his small size makes him extremely quick, and he's attached sharpened dog's teeth to his claws, making them that much more deadly.
  • Time Scout: Ann Vin Mulhaney, Sven Bailey, and Margo Smith are all petite and incredibly deadly.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Yoko Akia. She is 4 feet 8 inches (1.46304 metres) tall, she weighs 90 pounds (40.82 kilograms), and just about everything about her is tiny. She can flatten just about anybody in a fight and her fellow Sisters and Vigilantes call her "the 90-pound stick of dynamite"!
  • Jeremiah in Someone Else's War may be the youngest and tiniest child soldier in his squad, but he is also the most lethal in combat, partially because his enemies cannot in good conscience bring themselves to kill a child.
  • Played for the maximum possible amount of creepy in Alastair Reynolds' Century Rain with the Neotenous Infantry, better known as the War Babies. The Slashers, the spacefaring faction of humanity, have already engineered themselves for childlike bodies to make space travel easier, but the War Babies are childlike bodies specifically engineered to be lethal killing machines that ordinary human beings cannot bring themselves to shoot. The ones encountered in the novel are senescing due to (for them) extreme old age, so they look like children until you see their faces. They rack up quite a body count over the course of the story.
  • Adventure Hunters: Lisa is sixteen and strong enough to knock down stone walls. The older and bigger Artorius delegates all the heavy-lifting to her.
  • Vin in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy. It's noted that pewter's gift of Super Strength is additive, not multiplicative, so where the average Pewterarm is maybe twice as strong as he ought to be, Vin is about five or six times as strong.
  • Dime Novel hero Nick Carter is only 5'4, but is strong enough to "lift a horse with ease...while a heavy man is seated in the saddle....he can place four packs of playing cards together, and tear them in halves between his thumbs and fingers."
  • Rihannsu: Khre'Riov Ael t'Rllaillieu is described in her first appearance as being quite a small woman, certainly much shorter and less bulky than Captain Jim Kirk. However, being Romulan, she's stronger than the average human, and she's highly trained in hand-to-hand combat—one fight scene in My Enemy, My Ally has Kirk catch sight of her taking down a man half-again her size with ease.
  • Vampire Academy:
    • Janine Hathaway is shorter than her daughter at around five feet. She is also a famous Strigoi-killer and packs a mean punch.
    • Angeline (Dawes) of the Keepers is described by Rose as "short, even for a dhampir, but her whole body was packed with strength." She is also an experienced brawler.
  • Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games: In the movie, being played by the relatively short Josh Hutcherson. In the books he's taller than Katniss.
  • The Minyard twins from the All For The Game series. Both "five foot even" but are still powerful players on their college Exy team, a sport known for being violent and exhausting.
    • Andrew in particular, to the point where even people accustomed to violence and strength find him intimidating. Matt is 6'4" and has an eight pack and he's still afraid of Andrew.
  • The silent protagonist of Ogden Nash's poem "The Adventures of Isabel" probably fits. (Nash doesn't specify age, but seeing as the character - who is based on his daughter - eats a zwieback, one can assume she's a child.)
  • The Witchlands:
    • Vaness is a petite woman who once brought an entire mountain down on her enemies' heads.
    • Owl is a young girl with a pet mountain bat and the ability to cause earthquakes.
  • The Conquerors Saga: Radu observes with some amusement how Lada, always the fiercest fighter in the room, is also always the shortest—her men mention it occasionally too. She's also an incredibly skilled fighter who, amongst another things, took down a trained assassin by herself when she was twelve and has since become the sultan's personal bodyguard, become proficient in cannon firing, and launched a guerrilla war.
  • In The Dark Profit Saga, Gorm Ingerson is your typical dwarf, shorter than a human or an elf, although taller than a goblin and about the same size as an average gnome (although those vary in size greatly, depending on the clan). He's pretty stocky, though, and is good with an axe-and-shield combo. Gorm also happens to be The Berserker, and when he flies into a rage, there's no stopping him. During the climax, he curb-stomps an ogre several times his size without getting hit once and then proceeds to attack an entire battalion of mercs. Kaitha is the only one who recognizes Gorm's rage for what it is, remembering the stories about a famous berserker nicknamed Pyrebeard, and casually tells her party members that the ogre should've run when he had the chance.
  • In Savage Divinity, Sumila can put enough force behind her strikes to launch opponents, crush stone, and rend metal despite her below average size.
  • The One Who Eats Monsters: Ryn may be slender and short, built more for stealth than brawling, but she's superhumanly strong, able to easily punch through metal and stone
  • Suyodhana from the Sandokan series is stated to be very short-and when he fought the much larger and incredibly strong Tremal Naik one-on-one he not only gave him such a beating that the next time they meet Tremal Naik sends Sandokan forward, but he did it while holding back against an enemy trying to kill him (Suyodhana had decided Tremal Naik did not deserve a quick death).


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