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Lo, praise of the prowess of people-kings

of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,

we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!

People ought to remember The Hero. His heroic deeds, particularly a Heroic Sacrifice, should be commemorated in story, song, and art.

And what's more, they frequently do, and they frequently are.

Not always -- being forgotten is one threat of What You Are in the Dark -- but often. Some, indeed, become a Living Legend. The heroes can encourage themselves with the thought of getting it, they can inspire themselves with the examples they have heard of, they can actually receive it, they can be embarrassed by it, or it can be a convenient source of legends to be true.

May be regarded as Due to the Dead.

Shrouded in Myth can stem from Famed in Story, through Gossip Evolution, but it can also be Infallible Babble, and usually is unless we have direct access to the events being told. The Magnificent results when the hero gets a byname describing his deed; Badass Boast, when he can reel it off himself.

Contrast The Greatest Story Never Told and Dude, Where's My Respect?. Indeed, this may lead up that, as the character learns that fame is fickle, or that the good opinion of people of good character is better than the opinions of the crowd.

Heroes in love with In Harm's Way often long for this as well. Conversely, heroes seeking out Home, Sweet Home may dislike it and actively avoid it because it interferes with getting and staying home.

Note that the Cool Sword, Cool Horse, castles, battlefields, etc. can also be Famed in Story. It's a contributing factor to coolness.

Super-Trope of News Travels Fast.

Examples of Famed in Story include:


Anime & Manga

  • Kenshiro never hesitates in saying he follows the path laid by those before him when about to instill an asskicking on someone. Specifically, Rei, Toki and Raoh will always be shown.
  • Kamina is never forgotten by Simon, his friends or the remaining entire human race.
  • All of Ala Rubra in Mahou Sensei Negima!, but especially Negi's father, Nagi Springfield. Heck, one of the background shots in the Ostia festival shows that there's at least one movie that details their exploits.
    • Negi himself is getting to this point in the Magic World under the guise of "Nagi", because of his resemblance to his father, and because he goes and fights in a massive Tournament.
  • The title character of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha had achieved this by the time of the A's to StrikerS supplementary manga, with tales about her reaching legendary status, with all that it entails.
  • Quant, a Ranker from Tower of God, who only appeared in person in one story arc where he revealed himself as rather buffoonish and a manchild, must be one of the most popular characters in the Tower since his face is on nearly everything from public service announcement posters over chocolate bars to strength measuring devices.
  • Kogoro Mouri of Detective Conan has gotten the reputation of a Great Detective after one season on the strength of Conan Edogawa's behind-the-scenes work and is often recognized by face or name by those around him. Frequently, when Kogoro's name and/or vocation enters conversation, it will provoke reactions of shock in the (not-yet-known-to-be-a) murderer (and/or others with something to hide). Although Kogoro almost never notices, Conan usually does—and this is often his first clue that something is amiss.
  • Lina Inverse goes beyond world-reknowned in Slayers. In the anime she finds out several of the epithets people know her by, which she's none-too-pleased with as they make her sound more like a blood-crazed psychopath than a great and wise mistress of arcane forces (to be fair, they're more accurate than her own self-image). One that particularly irks her is "Dragon Spooker", because supposedly dragons will step aside and let her pass mid-rampage rather than risk dealing with her. Then, later, a dragon in the middle of a town-destroying rampage catches a glimpse of her face and tries to nonchalantly make an escape....
  • In Chrono Crusade, Mary Magdalene (not the Biblical character, but an orphan named after her) is a Posthumous Character who is very well-known among the Church Militant exorcists for her legendary holy powers and graceful demeanor, and is brought up enough that her name is practically an Arc Word.
  • The Straw Hat Pirates become increasingly famous as the story goes on, eventually hitting the point where the mere mention of their names strikes fear into most pirates, criminals, and citizens. Bounties serve the general story purpose of making sure that all of the setting's pirates are well-known.
  • The Fairy Tail Guild in the country of Fiore. They pride themselves on being one of the most known guilds around.
  • In Saint Beast, everyone in heaven knows of Judas, even if they've never seen him. He basically requires no introduction whenever he meets someone new.
  • In Berserk, the Band of the Hawk became Midland's national heroes through their efforts in the One Hundred Years' War against the Tudor Empire. After their banishment and eventual demise during the Eclipse, which was deemed as a mysterious disappearance by the populace, the people never forgot their actions and only hoped for the Hawks to return to save their kingdom from a new threat.


Fanfiction

 Beltorey: This incident is going to spread like wildfire, and whether for better or worse, this small [1] eight-person clan is now officially on the map.


Films -- Live-Action

 Norrington: You are without a doubt the worst pirate I have ever heard of.

Jack Sparrow: But you have heard of me.

  • The Mystery Team was once a well-respected and popular part of their town.


Literature

  • In JRR Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings, they hear the tales of Beren and Luthien at Rivendell. Frodo and Sam discuss, on the way, whether they would get such a story, and they are deeply moved when they are rescued from Mount Doom and actually get to hear "Nine-fingered Frodo and the Ring of Doom".
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40000 Blood Angels novel Red Fury, Rafen looks at the carvings about the tomb, recounting the deeds of a Blood Angel who had actually entombed Sanguinius's body; it inspires him to carry on. Later, Turkio considers how he, a mere line-brother, will not be remembered in stories, but still carries on.
  • In Lee Lightner's Warhammer 40000 Space Wolf novel Wolf's Honour, the skald, Morgrim, attends all that happens to recount it in song. When Mikal realizes he overheard him talking to his unconscious superior, he angrily demands to know how Morgrim will tell it; Morgrim declares that he will say that a hero paid his respect to his lord before battle, and Mikal refuses to believe it, thinking Morgrim will remember him as a failure. Morgrim assures him that his lord had felt the same way on many an occasion.
  • Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain[2] finds his story being told (inaccurately) all over the place.
  • Beowulf
  • In Terry Pratchett's The Last Hero, the heroes' motivation is that their attack on the gods will be remembered; they even drag along a minstrel to be sure of it. And in the end, the minstrel gets them to save the gods by pointing out if they destroy the gods -- and the world -- no-one will be around to remember. And then he recounts the story in song.
    • Oh, it's better than that: he invents heavy metal.
    • Dave Likely is known throughout the city in Unseen Academicals. Though at the end, the Game disowns fame for how you play.
  • In the Warhammer 40000 Horus Heresy books, the Legions are accompanied by remembrancers to ensure this. Well, until Horus massacres them.
  • In Jim Butcher's Dresden Files novel Dead Beat, Luccio gives this as a reason to insist on Harry's becoming a warden; he's fought more evils than many wizards much older than him, and it's known. In later books, Harry notes that he thinks of it as part Shrouded in Myth, because he remembers how close some of the things were. He doesn't seem to realise that only just raising a zombie Tyrannosaurus Rex is still a nigh-on Godly feat.
    • Harry is also The Dreaded to various supernatural baddies. At one point a Red Court Vampire who also happens to be one of the Court's most deadly and skilled assassins turns and runs screaming at the sight of Harry.
      • Harry manages to go from a relative unknown in the first book to being recognized on sight by more and more people after only a few books. It helps that there's generally a gap of about 6 months to a year between each book, which is plenty of time for word to spread.
  • Gotrek brings Felix along in the stories that bear their names so that his final end might be memorialized in song.
  • In Wen Spencer's Endless Blue, Hardin tells Mikhail that immortality is when people know your name millennia after your death. Mikhail later threatens to eradicate all record of him if he does something.
  • In The Belgariad, the heroes exploit this: although they were careful to never mention the thief or what he stole by name for a time, they get all the minstrels to start telling certain stories. This creates such a clamor that the bad guy can't pick them out of the crowd.
  • A major theme of Ben Counter's Daemon World. The narrator recounts legends rather than tell the straight story of anything. (Partly because that way contradictions can be introduced.)
  • In Henry Zhou's Warhammer 40000 novel The Emperor's Mercy, Imperial Guardsmen are surrounded by Chaos forces and are fighting on, despite dying of hunger and disease. Roth tells Celemine that they had no choice but to stay with them. The commander hears and instantly wants to fight a last charge: they can get them to their ship and hold off the enemy -- and that way, they can be remembered. (They are. In fact, their eighteen minutes defense of the ship is immortalized in a mural on Terra.)
  • Mercedes Lackey's By the Sword starts with the teen protagonist Kerowyn going on a rescue mission alone to save her brother's fiancee. By mid-book "Kerowyn's Ride" has become a popular song. Three-quarters of the way through everyone she meets seems to know it... and half of them cannot sing.
    • Kero gets off lucky compared to Kethry (her grandmother) and Tarma (her teacher). They had to deal with several, many of which were composed and consciously embellished (motivated by mere money? nonsense!) by one particularly irritating minstrel with a fixation on the latter.
  • Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor has several references to the pulpy, facts-optional dramas created around Luke Skywalker, one of which is plot-important. Luke does not appreciate these and the impressions that they give about him.
    • In Starfighters of Adumar, Wedge Antilles and Red Flight are sent to Adumar purely because they're famous pilots. In this case, at least, the pilot-happy culture did know what they'd actually done.
  • Professor McGonagall rightly predicted that Harry Potter would "be famous. I wouldn't be surprised if today was named Harry Potter Day. There won't be a child in our world who doesn't know his name."
  • In John C. Wright's The Golden Age, The Phoenix Exultant, and The Golden Transcedence, "Deeds of renown without peer" are Phaethon's great desire, and Arc Words.
  • Quantum Gravity: Zal is a rock star. He's also known for trying to bring together the elves and the demons, but for those who know it's more Infamous In Story.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts story "In Remembrance", after taking Thuro out on a patrol rather farther than they should have, the Ghosts make much of his recognizing an ambush and fixing a flamer on the field. Thuro then goes on to commerate them in a statue; the story is framed as an interview about that, his most famous work.
  • In John Hemry's Against All Enemies, Paul Sinclair is told that his superior officer is intimidated by him, owing to his reputation for Incorruptible Pure Pureness.
  • In John C. Wright's Fugitives of Chaos, Grendel talks of how Hesiod wrote of his mother and is not surprised that Amelia is shy about meeting her, her being famous and all.
  • In The Princess Series, the stories of the main characters (Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella) are as well known in their world as they are in ours. Played with as the versions of the story that are most well known are the Lighter and Softer Disney versions while what really happened is closer to the Darker and Edgier Grimm Brothers versions.
  • Patrick McLanahan from Dale Brown books experiences both this and The Greatest Story Never Told. While he is recognised as a hero for such events as the counterattack against the American Holocaust, there are also many of his world-saving missions that the public will never know about until he's dead if not years after due to being black ops.
  • In Connie Willis's All Clear, the men working at making Hitler think that Calais is the attack point are given instructions after D-Day after the observation that the rest of the army will get credit; they will be covered up.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Red Nails", Valeria "of the Red Brotherhood, whose deeds are celebrated in song and ballad wherever seafarers gather."
    • Conan the Barbarian himself is hardly immune to this.
      • The very first Conan story written, "The Phoenix on the Sword," opens with an epigraph from an in-universe historical text called The Nemedian Chronicles, which reads in part, "Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet."
      • In The Hour of the Dragon, he makes good use of his reputation from his days as a corsair.
  • David Gemmell's heroes usually become famous when songs are written about their deeds. Druss, Waylander, the Earl of Bronze and the Thirteen are remembered long after they are dead.
    • Ulric's big regret about Druss's death is that he will be cast as the villain of the stories that will be written about the siege. He did not know that his champion put poison on his sword and would have never allowed it but history will not remember it that way.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin's The Wizard of Earthsea is explicitly described as being about him when he was young and not famed in story; in it, a friend declares he will make a song so his deeds will be rememember, but either he didn't or the song was lost. However, by The Farthest Shore, Ged is indeed famed.
  • In Jasper Fforde's The Eyre Affair, Achron's motive.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • "The Rains of Castamere"
    • "A one-armed smith killed the king of giants? There will be songs written about this!"
    • Jamie "The Kingslayer" Lannister is famous throughout Westeros for killing Aerys "The Mad King" Targaryen, for being incredibly good-looking, and for being the best swordsman in the kingdom. He finds it rather annoying.
  • In the Codex Alera, Aldrick ex Gladius often serves as The Dragon for whichever character is currently in control, and not as a clear antagonist on his own, but he is legendary throughout Alera for his famed skill with the sword. His duel with Araris Valerian, also legendary because of his skill, is still being talked about fifteen years later.


Live-Action TV

  • As shown in semi-fictional form in Band of Brothers, Ronald Speirs used his reputation as a cold-blooded killer to his advantage. This was explicitly pointed out by Speirs to Lipton. In both the show and in real life, no-one is quite sure if he really was that much a stone-cold killer. On the other hand, given the stuff he is actually known to have done (his Crowning Moment of Awesome being his run straight through a German occupied village... and then back) his rep really didn't need extra padding.
  • On Heroes, when Hiro has to leave Yaeko and return to the present, she promises to tell people everywhere of his brave acts as Kensei so that the little boy Hiro will have lots of fantastic bedtime stories.
  • In the Doctor Who episode "Forest of the Dead", the Tenth Doctor is trying to rescue some humans who are stuck in a library being claimed by a colony of aliens. They don't care about the humans, and are going to kill them just to get them out of the way. The Doctor tells them "I'm the Doctor, and you're in the biggest library in the Universe. Look me up." They back off immediately.
    • Appears erratically throughout the series. He does, after all, hop through space and time and isn't actually universally known.
    • This trope backfires SPECTACULARLY on the Doctor during series 5 and 6. As a result of throwing his weight around, the Doctor has become Famed in Story as a Technical Pacifist One-Man Army who survived the Time War by wiping out his own people along with the other guys and generally seems to like playing God with the universe while being somewhat/completely bonkers -- and the bad guys respond by not waiting around for the Doctor to "fall from the sky and tear down [their] world" and taking the fight to him instead, putting the Doctor's closest friends (and sometimes the whole rest of the universe) in the crosshairs as well. In the end, the Doctor has to fake his own death and go back to being anonymous in order to continue operating.
  • Star Trek's Klingons love immortalizing their great heroes in song; for example, Kahless.
    • Klingons being Klingons, they tend to shout "This day will be remembered in song!" at the drop of a hat. One gets the impression that they probably say it after a particularly good meal.
  • Moya's crew in Farscape has built up quite a few impressive exploits as a result of being chased all over the galaxy by bad guys. As a result, word has gotten around, though the stories are a bit... exaggerated, in some respects.
    • First, in "Suns and Lovers":

 Borlik: You know, I heard he destroyed a Peacekeeper Gammak Base, murdered an entire Nebari battalion, even laid waste to a Shadow Depository. The guy was a devil: he raped and pillaged, he popped eyeballs--

Crichton: Whoa-whoa! Where do they get these stories? Let's set the facts straight. First off, there was no raping, very little pillaging, and Frau Blucher popped all the eyeballs.

    • And again in "Scratch and Sniff":

 Raxil: Two guns? I mean... I thought you were the Great Crichton & D'Argo! I mean... you blew up a shadow depository! I thought you'd bring pelshfer charges! And a plasma bomb! And a really big gunship! BUT NO! YOU BRING NOTHING! YOU BRING TWO LITTLE WEAPONS THAT WOULDN'T KILL A NIKNIK!

D'Argo: (hesitantly) You... have heard of us?

Raxil: Yeah. I've heard stories. But obviously they aren't worth a bucket of dren!

  • By the end of the series, Stargate SG-1 has made the entirety of Earth's forces both famed and feared throughout the Milky Way Galaxy.
  • Same thing happens in Stargate Atlantis.
  • Suits has a subversion. An opposing lawyer fully expects Harvey to know him by reputation even though he usually practices in another city. However, Harvey never actually heard of him. Turns out the guy is so good that none of Harvey's lawyer friends and colleagues are willing to talk about the brutal trouncing he gave them in the courtroom.
  • In Highlander the Series, Duncan MacLeod is a legend in his home village of Glen Finnan. "He came back from the grave, took up his father's sword and slew the Viking". Duncan has to do it all over again, though, because when he killed Kanwulf the first time, he was a newborn immortal and didn't know he had to take his opponent's head.
    • Naturally, there are a ton of stories floating around about Methos, which enables the fake Methos in "The Messenger" to do his thing.


Poetry

 The painful warrior famoused for fight,

After a thousand victories once foiled,

Is from the book of honour razed quite,

And all the rest forgot for which he toiled:

 "When can their glory fade?

O the wild charge they made!"

Theater

 Go, ye heroes, go to glory —

Though ye die in combat gory,

Ye shall live in song and story!


Video Games

  • This is one of the defining features of Dragon Age 2. Since it takes place over several years, your exploits are talked about quite frequently.
  • This is true of Mario in most incarnations where he can talk to people, but especially so in the RPGs.
  • Averted in Brutal Legend. In the end, protagonist Eddie Riggs doesn't get fame, glory or even credit for the things he did. He wouldn't have it any other way.
    • He's a roadie. That's kind of his job.
  • If Shepard had chosen to save the council in Mass Effect, there will be an advertisement for a movie of his/her heroics in the Battle of the Citadel in the sequel.
    • Though this is also subverted, as some of Shepard's greatest achievements, namely his/her victory over the Collectors and Reapers in Mass Effect 2 is unknown to just about everyone, though Shepard is still well known and respected/feared by just about everyone anyway, as they are still acknowledged as a humongously huge badass.
  • In Assassin's Creed II, bards will sing about your exploits to you, and if you are notorious, wanted posters with your name and (obscured) face start appearing, while town yellers will start denouncing you. During multiplayer, you can sometimes hear the town yellers mentioning your single-player character.
    • During the last Lair of Romulus in Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood (Basilica di San Pietro), while you're trailing the target cardinal, a group of other cardinals can be overheard discussing you:

 Cardinal #1: His name is Ezio Auditore.

Cardinal #2: Who?

Cardinal #1: The Assassin. Killed the Banker. They say he walks the halls of il Vaticano ("the Vatican"), with no one able to stop him.

    • By 1524, legends about Ezio's skills have spread as far as China.
  • In Half-Life 2, many if not most members of the resistance know of you and your exploits.
    • Especially the Vortigaunts, who consider Gordon Freeman to be their own personal Moses and call him "the Free Man."
  • Master Chief Petty Officer John-117 is this in Halo. Many of his fellow soldiers are well aware of his abilities, senior officers are willing to take risks based on his assessment, and he does get remembered as the saviour of humanity in the ads leading up to Halo 3. Even the Covenant are also aware of him, as "the demon" that destroyed one of their holy relics.
  • Metroid. Many characters know of Samus Aran's exploits. In Prime 3, many Federation soldiers are starstruck when you talk to them. And that's not even getting into the Space Pirates' immense fear of her.
  • Zero is well-known as a Maverick Hunter even a hundred years after he went missing, and the reactions of who he meets differ depend on which side of the war they're on, with the Resistance and Ciel viewing him as their resurrected savior, and Neo Arcadia viewing him as a Fallen Hero who now works for terrorists.
  • Professor Layton, even though he is no detective.
  • Fallout: New Vegas: Get enough status with the NCR, and they'll laud your awesomeness whenever you show up. Many other factions do the same. Quite a few other people recognize your sheer badassery; after freeing Raoul (requiring you to cut a swath through a dozen supermutants) he says "When a supermutant tells you to do something, you do it. Well, maybe you don't..."


Web Comics


Web Original

  • This is invoked by Open Blue. Adding "Extra Information", basically rumors surrounding your character, is part of the character profile template.
  • The Outcasts of Tasakeru will be "whispered of as legends" in the future, up to 150 years or more after the events of the story.


Western Animation

  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Many of the characters are famous in-universe. Aang, as the avatar, is the most obvious. His fame is a mixed blessing; people either greatly respect him or want to kill him. All members of the Fire Nation royalty are famous: Zuko for being the disgraced prince, and Iroh for being The Dragon of the West.
  • Danny Phantom, of said show, becomes famous. His powers become well-known in the Ghost Zone, and despite initial skepticism, in the human world as well. Earlier in the show he is more infamous, believed to be evil, although by the end of the show he is hailed as a defender of the world.
  • Ben Tennyson's identity as a superhero is revealed in the first episode of Ben 10: Ultimate Alien by an investigating fanboy and he has mixed feelings about it: on the one hand, he's the idol of millions of young people and kids, but on the other hand he's hounded by a TV pundit who tries to convince everyone he's a threat (even though the guy's pretty ineffectual and has to resort to a Killer Robot like most of Ben's foes). Eventually the adoration wears thin as he can't even enjoy a smoothie break with his team without being mobbed by fans, not to mention the strain it puts on his relationship with his girlfriend.

Notes

  1. The official number then
  2. HERO OF THE IMPERIUM!
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