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Hobgoblin Cleric: Sir, your odd talking skull is speaking of the Perilous Path of Crushing Doom.

Redcloak: Please tell me it's actually filled with cute fuzzy bunnies, and they just named it that to be ironic.

Here it comes. The Harbinger of Death, the Ultimate Evil, It Which Devours Your Soul, Your Worst Nightmare.

...Or so it's called.

Turns out, the creature in question is just a cute animal, with a scary name but completely harmless. Upon further inquiry, you'll learn that it was named by a child, or a Trickster Archetype.

The polar opposite of Fluffy the Terrible. Also compare to Sealed Evil in a Teddy Bear. If it does have the destructive power despite the innocent appearance, it is a Killer Rabbit.

Examples of Deathbringer the Adorable include:


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  • A British TV ad from the eighties about "Natural good taste" has a guy in horrible colours with yellow and purple wallpaper, who liker The Birdie Song and has a toy poodle called Rambo.


Anime and Manga


Comic Books


Fan Fiction

  • In Oh God Not Again, this trope is averted, much to Harry's dislike. In the original timeline, he and Ginny got a rabbit, and she refused to accept his name suggestion of "Mega Ultra Flame Deathsman", instead going with a more standard "Flopsy".


Film


Literature

  • The "Incredibly Deadly Viper" from A Series of Unfortunate Events is totally harmless - the name was given to it as a practical joke, as it is instead playful and as cute as a sewer-pipe sized snake can be.
  • Hagrid's dog Fang in Harry Potter, ironically one of the only animals he tends to that isn't vicious or dangerous. Unlike, say, Fluffy the Terrible. Or Norberta?
  • And then there's Killer the Rabbit from Patricia C. Wrede's Calling on Dragons, who is anything but a Killer Rabbit.
  • In Dinotopia: Journey to Chandara, the emperor of Chandara has the imposing name of Hugo Khan. Turns out that he's a Microraptor, which is one of the smallest dinosaurs known. Even the name of the dinosaur sounds puny.
  • In the Chalion verse, the Viking-esque prince Jokol "Skullsplitter", who it turns out was given that appellation due to his talent at poetry: he makes "heads burst with his tales". (Not literally.)
  • In Louis Sachar's The Boy Who Lost His Face, Mo builds a doghouse in shop class with a sign that says Killer, hoping to get a dog to go with the house. She does, but Killer ends up being a small puppy.
  • According to Children of the Jedi, Leia named one of her aunt's pet pittins (kitten analogues) AT-AV (short for All-Terrain Attack Vehicle).
  • In the children's book series for How to Train Your Dragon, Fishlegs has a dragon named Horrorcow. It's vaguely cow-like, but not at all horrifying.
  • In one of the books in Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series, a family hears that having a dog named "Killer" will deter robbers and change the name of their aged and harmless dog from "Muffin" to "Killer".
  • The cat, "Dragon", in Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH got his name as a joke when he was a kitten, pretending to be fierce. The name became fitting when he grew up.


Live-Action TV

  • Doña Clotilde from El Chavo Del Ocho likes to adopt puppies and baptize them as "Satan" and "Lucifer". Her poor pets also have a tendency to run off, so she tries to bring them back by calling their names loudly. Add this to the fact that her neighbors doesn't always know she has a pet, and Hilarity Ensues (she's called The Witch of Apartment 71...)
  • Subverted in an episode of That's So Raven which featured a Yorkshire terrier named Monster.

 Raven: Aww, they named it Monster because it's so cute?

Chelsea: No, they named it Monster because it'll rip your arms and legs off.

  • The GIANT DEATH RAY from That Mitchell and Webb Look. It's actually an oversized barcode scanner named after its creator, Professor Death.
    • The Professor himself is something of an example: an ardent pacifist whose inventions are intended for peaceful endeavours[1], who happens to have the surname Death.
  • In Season 4 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the gang is plagued by Gachnar, a fear demon. Buffy is overzealous and breaks his giant symbol, freeing him to the revelation that he was only a couple of inches tall. After some cooing, Gachnar then gets squashed by the slayer's boot.

 Giles: Don't taunt the Fear Demon.

Xander: Why? Can it hurt me?

Giles: No, it's just tacky.

  • Same joke, way different execution occurred in Angel when Cordelia, as a princess, and to her vocal disgust, is coerced to mate with a hideous, destructive monster called the Groosalugg...until she finds out 'Groo' is only hideous by demon standards; he's actually an incredibly handsome and skilled human warrior and really quite sweet in temperament. (She still doesn't mate with him, but for different reasons.)
  • In a live action skit spoofing God of War, X-Play had Kratos's final opponent be the God of Chaos, which happened to be a cute little puppy.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Closing Time", Craig's son introduces himself to the Doctor (fluent in Baby) as Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All.


New Media


Video Games

  • Used to hilarious effect in Mercenaries 2. There's a mission that tells you to get something called the Devastator. At first, the pointer seems to lead you to a gigantic tank...but then, after you get in, the pointer shows the Devastator is a cute little scooter.
  • Ace Attorney
    • While the man himself also looks imposing, Detective Tyrell Badd is an example of this.
    • The complete fluffball Colias Palaeno whose Japanese name is Damien Hinge.
  • Pokémon's nickname function lets you have this, Fluffies, and Deathbringers that grow into their name when they evolve.
    • There is also Gorebyss, which immediately bring to mind "an abyss of gore," unless you know what it looks like. In all fairness though, it is "gorgeous," and does live in an "abyss", as in "the bottom of the sea". However, that's just a facade. Its actually very aggressive and hunts by Mind Raping its prey, shoving its extremely sharp mouth into their unconscious bodies, and sucking their fluids out. Yes its beautiful, but the name fits.
  • Captain Dread of Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. Remember that "dread" is a word with more than one meaning. Bonus points for being the only Jamaican in the series so far.
  • The mission in Brutal Legend where you meet The Killmaster, who looks suspiciously like Lemmy Kilmister from Motorhead for some reason... Anyway, the man is, in fact, a healer. And a damn good one. This whole mess with his name is Justified, however, as Killmaster intentionally chose the name to scare people off, because otherwise they would Shoot the Medic First.
  • The Fallout games have a faction known as the Followers of The Apocalypse. With a name like that, you'd expect them to be really evil or at least really metal. Instead, they're probably the setting's most altruistic and harmless factions, being essentially the post-apocalyptic Red Cross. The name stands for the fact that they seek knowledge of the Old World so that mistakes like the Great War can never be repeated again. Of course, one of their former members happens to be the founder of Caesar's Legion, though he's considered the Black Sheep of the faction.
    • In Fallout: New Vegas, there's a Super Mutant by the name of Mean Sonofabitch. He protects the slums of Westside from raiders and is a Gentle Giant at nature (though somewhat unintelligible due to having his tongue cut out by some Sociopathic Soldiers).
  • One of Rin's cats in Little Busters is named Hitler. Most of the cats are named after historical individuals, including Isoroku and Tezuka.
  • Paarthurnax in Skyrim. Admittedly, he is a dragon, but for someone who's name means "Ambition Overlord Cruelty", he's really nice. As in, Actual Pacifist levels of nice.
    • Actually, you just gave me an idea of what might happen in the DLC...Dragon language in this game deals in truths, words have power. If you voice the word "frost" you conjure it up. And if someone is called "Ambition Overlord Cruelty" that is BOUND to have a meaning!


Webcomics

  • In the Housepets universe, wolves traditionally name themselves. Babylon Garden's resident wolf has half-a-dozen kids who can't wait to name themselves. Among current suggestions are "Deathaxe" and "Space Laser".

 Miles: ...We try to put this off as long as possible.

  • This trope is named after DMFA 's "Deathbringer", an incredibly cute bubble-gum creature. While she picked out her own name, she has so far demonstrated absolutely no aggression nor offensive capabilities whatsoever. The two characters that know she exists also call her Deebs for short.
  • Casey and Andy has the PLANET DEVOURER! However, it does eat Mars. A model of Mars, not the actual planet. Later on, it proves able to chew through Satan's most powerful magical artifact. The Planet Devourer actually can devour anything... it just has to do so one dainty nibble at a time.
  • PvP features an adorable kitty cat named Scratch Fury, Destroyer of Worlds. It could be called subverted--Scratch actually wants to conquer the Earth--but he's so easily distracted by cat things that he's ultimately (mostly) harmless.
  • Flintlocke vs. The Horde has Bun'kar, the warrior bunny. Being a hunter's pet, it might become Killer Rabbit later, though. While Bun'kar, the warrior bunny, never fights, he and his hunter manage to overpower at least three characters, one of which was significantly stronger. The healer(Doc) remarks "That rabbit was dynamite."

 "Please do not nuzzle the instrument of my vengeance."


Western Animation

  • My Life as a Teenage Robot has Killgore. Name that sounds like something that would rain destruction, but actually just a cute little wind-up toy who insists he's unstoppably evil.
  • Planet Sheen: Boh-Rok, a rainbow-colored pony, was thought to be a destructive monster. Sheen manages to remove a nose hair that was bothering Boh-Rok and it turns out that he isn't as evil as the aliens thought, but rather, a cheerful, happy pony.
  • Ruby Gloom has the Doom Kitty, an otherwise normal, if intelligent and expressive, black cat.


Real Life

  • The Great Shrike-Tyrant. Sounds like some sort of Lovecraftian shark, right? Nope -- it's a cute little bird. The whole genus is called 'tyrannus' because they aggressively chase other birds out of their territories.
  • Actual shrikes are also cute little birds whose Latin name means "butcher," and they're often called "butcher birds." Why? Because they impale their prey on thorns. It sounds nastier than it is. They're really just saving bugs for later.
  • Bloodhounds are among the gentler dog breeds. They actually got their names because they are hunting dogs with the main purpose of following blood trails.
  • The ominously named Purgatorius was a small mammal that was one of the first species to emerge after the death of the dinosaurs, and the ancestor of the primates.

Notes

  1. Yes, that includes the Armored Scorpion of Death
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