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 I can think of no better men to serve as my bodyguard then those who rescued me from the Ye-tai and guarded me so well during all the long months at Gwailor

In The Heart Of Darkness

A character of great power or wealth has their importance underscored by having a cadre of bodyguards from a foreign land. These guards will be elite, disciplined, faintly exotic and extremely competent.

In fiction, this is usually reserved for villains. The Evil Overlord, Evil Chancellor, Evil Prince and President Evil all need foreigners to protect them because it's hard to trust your citizenry when you spend most of your day exploiting and oppressing them. Don't be surprised if they are commanded by The Dragon.

Contrary to Hollywood's portrayal, Foreign Bodyguards were historically very common, and very respected. This of course predates all the negative stereotypes associated with Private Military Contractors, when hiring mercs was a common way of raising an army; mercenaries who distinguished themselves on the battlefield stood a good chance of being offered a bodyguarding job. In their favor, a foreigner's loyalty was largely independent from domestic politics, which prevented Bodyguard Betrayal and palace revolutions; and with their exotic look and weapons, they added a welcome touch of grandiosity to a ruler's court, ceremonial and public presentation.

Whether their charge is good or evil, they'll stick to their oath of service. They are probably from a Proud Warrior Race, and might be The Remnant. Could overlap with Bodyguard Babes, if the babes are foreign. Usually does not accompany a Bodyguard Crush. A subtrope to Praetorian Guard.

Examples of Cadre of Foreign Bodyguards include:


Fan Works

Film

Literature

  • Honor Harrington:
    • The body guards for the Hereditary President of the Peoples' Republic of Haven are all from Neo Geneva.
    • Honor's armsmen hail from Grayson, prompting some ruffled feathers when she has to take armed foreign nationals onto Her Majesty's warships. Though this is technically an aversion, because Honor has dual Manticoran and Grayson citizenship (and titles).
  • In the later part of the Animorphs series, Visser Three has an elite squadron of enhanced Hork-Bajir guards called the Blue Bands due to their blue arm bands.
    • And actually, each Visser had his or her own squadron of guards, differentiated by color.
  • Artemis Fowl: the Irish hero is guarded by the Butler family, of Caucasian (as in, from the Caucasus) descent.
  • In Belisarius Series the Badass Princess Shakuntala has a unit of Kushans that were originally her captors before she convinced them in a Crowning Moment of Awesome that she was a much more honorable not to mention much prettier employer. It was assumed that anyone who was Badass enough to keep Shakuntala captive should also be able to keep her alive.
  • In Star Trek: Vanguard, the knowledge broker Chathani has several Anticans serving as her bodyguards. She mentions that Antican guards are known across the Taurus Reach for their loyalty, and thus it's implied a fully Antican detail is a status symbol.
  • The Marluk and his daughter Charissa of Tolan seem to favor black robed Moors as their personal bodyguards and chief lieutenants.

Live Action TV

  • Babylon 5: Michael Garibaldi goes on a mission to the Drazi homeworld. He meets a human friend working as a bodyguard. He tells Garibaldi that rich aliens hire human bodyguards as a status symbol.
  • In I, Claudius, one of the difficulties faced in assassinating Caligula is the large contingent of German guards he has around him. He apparently didn't trust his native-born Praetorian Guard and military officers very much (with good reason, as it turned out.)

Tabletop RPG

  • Traveller Classic, Book 4 Mercenary. One of the mercenary tickets (scenarios) was to act as bodyguards to the leaders of the planet Jokotre while they made a pilgrimage to the shrines in the holy lands.
  • In Warhammer 40000 a Dark Eldar Archon can have a cadre of xeno bodyguards for their protection, because they're not motivated by Chronic Backstabbing Disorder which is prevalent in most of the Dark Eldar.

Video Games

  • In Jagged Alliance 2 while Deidranna mainly uses We Have Reserves forced conscripts, at least one (the others may be, but they don't have names or faces) of her close bodyguards are foreign mercenaries. Of course, by the game's premise, all but a small handful of the party are foreign mercs as well.
  • The relationship between the hanar and the drell in Mass Effect is this trope on a species level. Since the hanar rescued the drell from dying out on their starved and overpopulated home planet, many drell choose to serve them in some fashion.

Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Azula, the Fire Nation princess, brings back Dai Li agents from the Earth Kingdom and they serve as her own personal elite squad of guards.

Real Life

  • Possibly the Western Trope Codifier: The Swiss Guards which protect the Pope. The silly pants may make them seem a little like Bunny Ears Lawyers, but they were a terror on the battlefield in the late 1400s to early 1500s, and retain their tradition faithfully. And while they look silly, anyone trying to do harm to His Holiness will come to realize, to their detriment, that they are highly trained military professionals--they have all completed basic training with the Swiss Army, are chosen according to exacting standards of physical fitness, and are given further training once they arrive in the Guards. And although they are most often seen with their ceremonial weapons (swords and halberds) for guard duty, this is in reality their version of the 18th-century uniforms worn by the British Royal Guards; when actually guarding the Pope, they carry the standard-issue weapons of the Swiss Army: the SIG Sauer P220 handgun, the SIG SG 550 assault rifle, and the MP5 submachine gun.
  • The Varangian Guard predate the Swiss Guards by centuries, though they are less well known today.
  • The Eastern Trope Codifier? The Circassian Guard which protects the King of Jordan.
  • The Roman emperors had the Equites singulares Augusti, a cavalary suplement to the Praetorian Guard infantry. It was primary composed of provincials who were not Roman citizens or Italians, particularly those from Batavi Germanic tribe.
  • During the Russian Civil War, the Red top brass was guarded by the Latvian Riflemen. Also, they got Chinese mercenaries -- usually converted from workers who ended up "marooned" when the empire gone down. These were also used in the guards role. which later was codified as the special unit: "The First International Legion of Red Army".
  • African mercenaries seem to be the personal choice of many dictators, notably Colonel Gaddafi of Libya, when the loyalty of their own army becomes suspect. Due to the frequent wars and disintegrating states in parts of African many of these are quite experienced and well equipped.
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