Follow TV Tropes


Tsundere / Literature

Go To

All the heavy reading in the world won't get past your little brain! Now study already!

    open/close all folders 

     Harsh (Tsun) 
  • Alia of An Outcast in Another World slowly transforms into this after she mellows out. She definitely remains on the prickly side, though.
  • Susana Cabeza de Vaca from Mount Dragon. Replace baka with pendejo and hijo de puta, make her dark-skinned, and you have a Mexican tsundere! Insanely proud of her royal heritage and her genius, she almost immediately shows dislike for the main character, who dislikes her right back, and most of the sideplot are the two slowly growing closer and closer, grudgingly respecting each other and, of course, slowly growing attracted.
  • The rose from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The book turns a tsundere flower into a commentary on the pain that love can cause so hauntingly beautiful that it will drive you insane.
  • Holly Jones from the Robert A. Heinlein short story The Menace From Earth. Generally bossy demeanor, repressed attraction to love interest which is constantly denied, with her softening at the end.
  • Ce'Nedra from David Eddings' Belgariad is apparently generally regarded by Japanese readers as one of the clearest Western examples of the trope.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Aviendha is extremely rude to Rand before they have sex in book 5, but she slowly softens towards the end.
    • Nynaeve starts out Harsh but marriage softens her to Sweet.
    • Elayne isn't, although Rand probably thinks she is due to mixed signals in a couple of letters.
    • Egwene is usually a Plucky Girl but turns into a raging Harsh type in the second half of volume 12, especially when confronted with her Love Interest.
    • Siuane is Harsh, but that's to be expected from a Spanish Iron Lady.
  • Aravis Tarkheena from C. S. Lewis's The Horse and His Boy. Her Tsundere-ness is lampshaded at the end of the book, when it's mentioned that she and Shasta/Prince Cor got married because they were so used to their Slap-Slap-Kiss that they wanted to be comfier while fighting and then making out.
  • In Sandy Mitchell's Warhammer 40,000 novel Scourge the Heretic, Keira's normally not personable manner is considerably worse toward Mordecai Horst, being blind to it herself. It doesn't help that she was raised in a Sex Is Evil cult. But when she accuses Danuld of wanting to sin with her, and he says it's obvious that he has no chance because of Mordecai, she reacts badly but later returns to question him about what he meant, and then, with obvious difficulty, attempts to temper her behavior toward Horst. (And she resolves to consult another woman in the Inquisitor's retinue about whether sex really is so evil.)
  • Adora Belle Dearheart from Terry Pratchett's Going Postal, though she's more dere-dere towards the golems with which she works at the golem trust.
  • Pregnant o'rants in the Dragon Keeper Chronicles are like this.
  • Annabeth from Percy Jackson and the Olympians is a typical tsundere character.
    • The Demigod Files basically make it canon. Annabeth's questions include, What is Percy Jackson's most annoying quality? Her response could have been taken right out of any Japanese anime, including the hilarious-to-a-troper line…
      Annabeth: He doesn't see really obvious stuff, like the way people feel, even when you're giving him hints and being totally blatant. What? No I'm not talking about anyone or anything in particular.
    • In The Demigod Files, when Beckendorf tells Percy that Annabeth likes him, his response is: "Yeah, she likes me… for target practice." Beckendorf retorts that at Camp Halfblood if a girl keeps trying to kill you it means she's into you.
    • She acts mostly tsun in the first book (The Lightning Thief) and has clear traits of both sides in The Battle of the Labyrinth (book four).
    • Clarrise takes the "fight through life" portion of this to heart, (since she's the daughter of Ares) and we only see her kind side after she saves Chris Rodriguez from the Labyrinth and attempts to nurse him back to sanity.
  • Star Wars's Mara Jade. She's a Harsh Mama Bear; baiting her is hideously risky at best, and suicidal at worst.
  • Heleth, from the Col Sec Trilogy, is a compact, quick-tempered Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette who's always bickering with or getting needled by the resident Keet (when she's not bickering with someone else). Every so often, you get the impression that she doesn't outright hate him.
  • In Twilight Dragon, Keaira Aleshire fits this trope to a T, and she doesn't just act this way towards her crush.
  • Karrin Murphy in The Dresden Files keeps calling Harry names, even beats him to a pulp on a few occasions, but mellows at the moment's notice whenever he hurts himself badly or saves her life (again). Pointing that out to her, however, is likely to earn you another beating. This only holds true for the first two books or so. Afterwards, they still bicker, but they're a lot sweeter to each other.
  • Diana from the Gone series, whenever she's around Caine.
  • Zhou Qi from Jin Yong's The Book and The Sword. While she is somewhat abrasive to anyone, with the possible exception of her father, she reserves most of her wrath for Xu Tianhong: constantly berating and insulting him in front of others, only to break down crying when she realizes that he's left out of respect for her chastity.
  • Dedicate Rosethorn from the Circle of Magic series is this with a hint of Sugar-and-Ice Personality. A particularly cute example can be found in Sandry's Book when after terrifying the four children for the first half of the book, Briar hugs her and she blushes.
    • Tris is certainly a fledgling Tsundere as well.
    • As is Jory from Cold Fire.
  • Sophie from the French novel Malheurs De Sophie seems to fit to this trope. She's always fighting with her cousin Paul, but also really loves him.
  • Yvaine from Neil Gaiman's novel, Stardust.
  • Elinor Wylie's poem "Nancy," referenced on the quotes page, seems to be addressed to a Harsh type.
  • Tenar in The Tombs of Atuan. By the time we see her again two books later, in Tehanu, she seems to have grown out of it.
  • Bridget Jones from Bridget Jones's Diary is Harsh thanks to the way she expresses herself in her diary (being annoyed.) She, however, is lovestruck with Daniel Cleaver even though she's being sarcastic to him at times.
  • Marcia Overstrand in Septimus Heap. While normally being easily irritable and bossy, she can become very caring at times of trouble.
  • Cecilia Tallis from Atonement towards Robbie. She isn't quite sure of her feelings towards him and convinces herself that she'll be happy when he leaves for medical school. Robbie himself is actually Sweet towards her, mostly playing the part of the nice guy. But then he writes her a very rude letter in a fit of passion that she accidentally reads. Ironically that helps them confirm their feelings for each other. Cecilia's younger sister Briony is a Yandere towards Robbie.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Specifically in Bluestar's Prophecy, Bluestar was seen as Harsh towards her mate Oakheart. She would lose all her patience with him and was quite snappy, especially when she was in denial about her feelings for him since she couldn't be mates with a cat from another Clan. Despite this, Bluestar geniunely loved Oakheart and since their parting, he was the only cat she ever truly loved.
    • Sandstorm is also a tsundere. She was distainful and looked down on Firestar due to his kittypet blood, but when he saves her life during a border fight, she realizes that she misunderstood Firestar and develops a strong bond and friendship with him. Sandstorm fell in love with Firestar at one point and they had a long-standing relationship. Though Sandstorm is regarded as a sharp-tonged, short-tempered, and independent she-cat and Firestar is not spared because of her feelings towards him, he still has healthy respect for her.
    • Sandstorm's daughter, Squirrelflight, became a second generation tsundere, since her mother passed her personality to her. Squirrelflight is the most fitting to this trope since in some ways, she is even worse than Sandstorm. Squirrelflight is proud, independent, incredibly impulsive, very rude and a spitfire of a warrior, making her Harsh, though she arguably had mellowed out with age. Squirrelflight's relationship with her mate Brambleclaw was that of any Main Character/Tsundere couple. She was greatly annoyed with his bossy attitude and hated him. Over the course of The New Prophecy series, Squirrelflight fell deeply in love with Brambleclaw and they got together. However, this didn't stop her from challenging him from time to time.
    • Yellowfang, the prickly medicine cat of both ShadowClan and ThunderClan. She is often characterized as grumpy and obstinate, with a tongue described as "sharp as thorns." However, she holds a surprising amount of inner compassion in her heart despite her rough exterior; her softer side was usually brought out through her relationships with Cinderpelt (her apprentice), Raggedstar (former mate), Brokenstar (son) and Firestar (who she claimed was like a son to her while on the verge of death).
    • A male example of tsundere is Crowfeather. He is usually constantly angry and foul-mouthed but had a hidden side of friendliness with his first love Feathertail and later Leafpool. Crowfeather also showed this with Tawnypelt, Brambleclaw, Squirrelflight, and Stormfur to a lesser degree, who he grew friendship bonds with eventually. However, seeing Crowfeather's nice side is very rare.
    • Fittingly, one of Crowfeather's sons took after his father as a male Tsundere. Jayfeather was very sarcastic, insensitive, and short-tempered, particularly as an apprentice, but mellowed out somewhat when older. He's not the most friendliest cat, but values loyalty and has compassion for others more than even his father. Jayfeather's softer side is more seen with his siblings and Half Moon, the cat he fell in love with.
  • Shades of Grey: Jane. She is so Tsun, the Dere throws you off the rails, but suddenly there it is.
  • Light And Dark The Awakening Of The Mageknight: Instead of the 'ultra-violent mood swinging' of the modern tsundere, Sabrina is more like the classic tsundere. Her 'civilian mask' is friendly and sweet but she's actually aloof and focused on knight training. When she develops feelings for Danny she stubbornly refuses to acknowledge them yet still shows tantalizing displays of affection.
  • Song at Dawn: Oddly enough, Estela is not this to either Arnauld or Dragonetz but to Nici, her pet. She calls him 'useless', the name she gave him means 'big idiot' and yet she is the only one to pet him, and she feeds him under the table. In the end, he's described as 'a dog that thinks he belongs with her'. In other words, Harsh.
  • Shakuntala of Belisarius Series is a wilful, charismatic princess, that is nice enough, but clearly not one whom you wish to make angry.
  • Vin from Mistborn. Being abused by Reen for most of her life in order to help her survive did… not help her emotional stability. Neither did having a Hemalurgic spike that let Ruin talk to her. But she's Harsh around the crew, and especially Elend, once she starts to warm up. Toward the end of the trilogy, she's moving toward Sweet.
  • Eugénie Danglars from The Count of Monte Cristo is a pretty extreme example, being cold, aloof, and unfriendly to her family, her friends, her acquaintances, and her fiancé(s) and even telling her father that she loves no one and nothing except her studies of music and art. Yet the second she's alone with her vocal coach/friend/lover Louise d'Armilly, she's warm, playful, and affectionate, even calling Louise things like "my sweet" and gently teasing her for being unable to close an over-packed suitcase.
  • Midori, the teenage main character of Higuchi Ichiyō's Takekurabe, is very much this towards Shinnyo (a timid and taciturn future monk). She calls him names and rants about how she doesn't want to have anything to do with him, but can't quite bring herself to admit that she has feelings for him (and she never does explicitly even at the end). It doesn't help that Shinnyo's attempts to be "nice" to her early in the story all end up being awkward and rather offensive.
  • Skeeter Traps from Chronicles Of Magic is Harsh and tends to be brash, violent, and rude most of the time; only to show her softer, more compassionate side when everyone least expects it. She also follows the tsundere way of totally denying her feelings for the boy she loves (even to herself), believing him to be an idiot. However, she is a ten year old girl trained by spies and outlaws, so maybe she should be cut some slack.
  • Journey to Chaos: Tiza has become this by the time of Looming Shadow. While generally a prickly sourpuss she's softer around her love interest, Nolien. She also calls him "Tenderfoot" as an Insult of Endearment and punches his arm when he makes her worry.
  • Eve Dallas in the In Death series is very much this, due to an astoundingly Dark and Troubled Past. However, she gives and gets Undying Loyalty with her division, and works hard to draw the very best out of relative newbies like Peabody and Trueheart. Dere moments are often caused by her husband Roarke (who was the only one to unlock an otherwise strongly repressed sexuality), and Dr. Mira's husband Dennis, who simply turns her into a big pile of deredere mush.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire gives us a rare male version: Sandor Clegane. Cuddly he most certainly isn't: he's of the titanically, emotionally screwed-up and repressed variety of Tsun thanks to his absolutely horrendous childhood. As a result, he's no stranger to using frustration and rage to lash out and kill or maim others with under a Straw Nihilist, The Stoic exterior — when not going that far, he restricts himself to extreme Brutal Honesty as a means of both caring and making a point. But, that he could still find it in himself to care about two specific others? Actually knocked him for six. Granted, he could no more express how to care healthily than fly thanks to acute lack of practice (neither Sansa nor Arya left unscathed by his worry over them—for all they both would have wound up in far worse shape without him). However, it's still both his triumph and tragedy that he could care: despite his father's best efforts to turn him into a dehumanised attack dog like his brother; the little boy who could care for his little sister is still somewhere in Sandor's built-up defences, despite everything. This has probably always made his anger and disappointment with world that much hotter, in fact. Sadly, it also added fuel to his anger at himself and others for not living up to ideals he always denied could exist.
  • Holly from Varjak Paw is implied to have a Dark and Troubled Past considering she's not even full-grown and is already a street-savvy cat. After one of her two friends, Lukas, Vanished she's grown colder and more adverse to friendship. She is mean to Varjak at first and doesn't want to admit they're becoming friends, but eventually she softens up.
  • Harrow in Gideon the Ninth. Just look at how often she calls Gideon an idiot, while becoming a flustered mess when Gideon hugs her. Deconstructed in that her treatment of Gideon has created a lot of emotional baggage between them and is a huge roadblock to Gideon trusting her. Reconstructed after they have a long, honest conversation; Harrow is still this trope, but now that their relationship is in a better place, their back-and-forth is less loaded and tense, and more affectionate.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, Daylen is a male Tsundere, but only towards Lyrah. (To everyone else, he's a Mood Swinging Jerk with a Heart of Gold.) He's initially very uncomfortable around her, getting angry and shouting at her over minor things. After many apologies (from him) and her pushing his Kindness Button, he acts “like the perfect gentleman,” opens doors for her, goes into his playful moods, and thinks about her in distinctly affectionate terms.
  • Galadriel 'El' Higgins from The Scholomance tends to be short-tempered, sarcastic, rude, and at least vaguely hostile towards the bulk of her Wizarding School classmates when she speaks to them at all. She usually treats her first actual friend aside from her mum and eventual love interest Orion Lake more or less like this, with additional screaming tirades castigating his shortfalls in self-care and self-worth. She is slightly softer with the circle of friends that wind up her core Alliance along with the freshmen she sort of adopts against her better judgment in The Last Graduate, but can be described as prickly at her best.

     Sweet (Dere) 
  • Princess Eilonwy from Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain says "Taran, I'm not speaking to you" about five times a novel, and as the last line of at least the first three.
  • In the Night World book Daughters of Darkness, Mary-Lynnette is dere dere, but when Ash is around her automatic reaction at first is to kick him in the shins. Doesn't help that he's sexist and speciesist.
  • Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. She's a good friend who is sensible and restrained a lot of the time, but DO NOT tick her off. She will show no mercy. Just ask Rita Skeeter, Draco Malfoy, Dolores Umbridge, Marietta Edgecombe or Ronald Weasley.
    • Definitely this with Ron Weasley. While the Golden Trio all have their insecurities, Ron's and Hermione's insecurities end up influencing one another, especially with how they feel with one another. Hermione often becomes annoyed or upset with Ron, yet becomes jealous when another girl shows interest in him. The sixth book definitely plays this up.
    • While not fully known (due to being post-mortem characters), this seems to be how Lily Evans was with her future husband, James Potter. Initially, she did not like him very much, thinking of him as a showoff while also not liking him because of the fights he had with her friend Severus Snape. Yet, there were some hints of this. Harry sees a memory of back when they were at Hogwarts; with James winning a Quidditch game and being tossed in the air, all while Lily looks at the spectacle rolling her eyes yet smiling as well. It would also explain how she went from disliking him in fifth year to dating in seventh year.
  • Luke Skywalker becomes a Sweet Tsundere in the Star Wars novels.
  • Mel from Crown Duel is Sweet to such an extent that Shevraeth has to resort to wooing her through anonymous letters.
  • Leafpool from the Warrior Cats series became a Sweet tsundere over time. She was originally, while an apprentice, a very meek and soft-spoken individual with a calm and controlled profile, much different from both her mother Sandstorm and sister Squirrelflight. As she got older, Leafpool became more bossy and ill-tempered, becoming a full-blown Sweet Tsundere in The Power of Three. Leafpool still is usually very gentle and kind despite a slight temper. She is both a romantic and non-romantic example. Leafpool was annoyed by her former mate Crowfeather's prickly attitude, but realized that she actually loved him when he confessed his love after saving her. The non-romantic example of this is her relationship with Jayfeather. Leafpool loves her son dearly and is protective of him, though they often got into arguments since her son had inherited Crowfeather's personality. This was especially seen when Jayfeather was her apprentice, her patience always being a short fuse with him particularly.
    • Silverstream is shown to be incredibly kind and affectionate, but she is also rebellious and spunky.
  • Aglaya from Dostoyevsky's The Idiot. Not only does the girl spend half the novel telling her love interest how stupid he is, the whole thing actually ends with a big girl fight-out over the guy. This is proto-anime writing at its best!
  • Rangi the firebender is this in The Rise of Kyoshi. While she is often seen as prickly and angry to outsiders, she is almost always sweet to Kyoshi.

  • Ogden Nash's Always Marry an April Girl Might as well be called Ode to a Tsundere.
  • Averted and Lampshaded in Another Note, the prequel novel to Death Note, as Naomi Misora warns herself against becoming a tsundere.
  • Shira in The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio. As there is a heroine like this in several of Lloyd Alexander's other novels, one gets the impression that he has something of a fondness for this trope.
  • Xanth features a few examples.
    • Princess Irene is this to Dor early in the series.
    • Dor's mother, Chameleon, actually has this as a plot point; her magic talent is that she slowly switches between a very sweet (but dumb as a brick) beautiful woman, and a very sharp tempered (but brilliant) ugly woman over the course of a month. Her husband, Bink, prefers her somewhere in the middle.
    • Tandy is very Sweet, but her magic talent is "throwing tantrums" which have the impact of a grenade going off, so when she gets mad you know it. But her husband, Smash, is an ogre and finds this adorable.
    • Threnody is Harsh to Jordan in Crewel Lye.
  • Catullus' poem 85 ("Odi et amo"), which provides the page quote, neatly distills the essence of this trope into two lines.
  • Shairn in Leigh Brackett's The Starmen of Llyrdis. At the end, she straight-up tells Trehairne that she hates him for what he's done, but then she tells him that she loves him, and asks whether he'll have her on those grounds. He realizes that they will never have a peaceful life together, but he says yes.
  • Fand in the Tales of the Fox series.
  • Swedish poet Edith Södergran seems to have acknowledged herself to be like this in a good number of poems. The poem Vierge Moderne from 1918 is an open offender in this respect.

Leaving to Tsundere already? Well, then, go and fail for not studying enough. Thank you for studying with me, a-at least.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: