Trope Workshop:Literally Fearless

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Bravery is not the absence of fear, this trope is the absence of fear. As fear is part of a functioning human being, this is often considered a disability as much as a superpower, especially when the person so-afflicted defaults to an Attack! Attack! Attack! reaction in any threatening situation, despite the level of the opposition.

A Fearless Fool may not feel fear at appropriate times, but isn't necessarily totally devoid of the feeling. An Emotionless Girl lacks more emotions than just fear. Compare What Is This Thing You Call Love?, where a robot or alien doesn't have (or at least, doesn't understand) a different emotion.


Examples of Literally Fearless include:

Comic Books

  • One story line in the late-1980s Action Comics Weekly revealed that Green Lantern was literally a Man Without Fear: the power ring had removed Hal Jordan's ability to feel fear altogether the day that he first became Green Lantern. This was quite thoroughly deconstructed during the story, and by the time the story was completed, Hal was once again able to feel a normal amount of fear.

Fan Works

  • Hanna "Action Girl" Heller, from The Secret Return of Alex Mack and the greater Teraverse in which it is set, is a genetically-engineered Super Soldier who is simply incapable of experiencing (or understanding) fear by deliberate design. She does, however, eventually learn caution and how to rationally evaluate enemies vis-à-vis her own abilities, and her inability to feel fear comes in handy as a defense against at least one psychic attack made upon her.

Literature

  • Ashok Vadal of the Saga of the Forgotten Warrior series is renowned for his lack of fear in the face of demons, wizards, and lawbreakers he faces as the greatest among Lok's Protectors of the Law. It turns out "Ashok Vadal" was magically programmed over a slave boy's real identity to spare the Vadal family embarrassment after he winds up accidentally bound to Vadal's Ancestor Blade, and his sense of fear was removed so he was more likely to die and make room for a real Vadal to bind to the blade. It didn't work, instead creating the Law's most fearsome enforcer who slaughters the heads of the clan for breaking the Law when he learns of their acts. Ashok is regularly shown to be emotionally stunted as a result.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

Tabletop Games

  • "Immunity" to fear is traditionally a class feature of the Paladin in Dungeons & Dragons. Ravenloft makes it explicit that the Paladin isn't merely in control of his fear, but totally shielded from it. Accordingly it alters the class within the setting to only have protection from supernatural fear effects (meaning a paladin is still subject to intimidation, atmosphere, etc.) since one of the victims not having fear is a Story-Breaker Power for a horror setting.

Theatre

  • The Ring of the Nibelung crosses this trope with Achievements in Ignorance when Siegfried succeeds in reforging Nothung for the very reason that he knows not fear. Literally. Never mind that Mime with all manner of skill in smithery can't do it, Siegfried can somehow do it just from having complete ignorance of the concept of fear.

Video Games

  • One line of dialog in Deus Ex allows the player character to insinuate that UNATCO's Cyborg troops have wiring to reroute their fear. If this is actually anything more than a snarky comment at a superior's expense is unclear: While they will retreat if heavily injured, their dialog for doing so suggests a tactical retreat rather than the fear most characters express, and other dialog confirms they are indeed unable to feel pain suggesting there is some metal rewiring going on.