There’s a saying around these parts: the beard maketh the man. But beards also define our favorite characters too! Try imagining a wizard without their long silvery flowing locks. Or picture a ranger without a week’s stubble shading their cheek.
In theory, growing a beard leaves the man… well, with a little fuzz on their cheek. Yet, in the worlds of dragons and witchcraft, towering castles and dark dungeons, that little bit of fuzz tells a story. Indeed, a beard is worth a thousand words.
Except, while knights and kings boast of their prowess on the battlefield, few have ever declared themselves the greatest beard grower in all of fantasy. So, as the arbiter of all-things BEARD SORCERY, we thought we’d count down through the best fantasy beards ever put to screen.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi – Star Wars (Ewan McGregor)Embed from Getty Images
Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, this legendary Jedi donned the quintessential beard. Between the two actors, the beard reflects Obi Wan’s changing character. First, as McGregor, the beard is that of the dashing hero – even if the Jedi forbid him getting the girl – it’s rugged but groomed. Later, on Guinness, it is the wizard’s beard: the sign of an old and learned master. (Side note: do the Jedi have special lightshavers?)
- Ming the Merciless – Flash Gordon (Max von Sydow)Embed from Getty Images
While you may not want to sport this legendary beard down your local bar, it’s certainly iconic. The beard tells you everything in two little tendrils: Ming is regal, refined, and… merciless. Paired with a set of eyebrows so shocking even Ming’s surprised, it’s one of the most recognizable character designs in all fantasy.
- Boromir – the Lord of the Rings (Sean Bean)Embed from Getty Images
The fallen knight; the tempted hero. In many ways, Boromir is the tragic hero central to the Fellowship of the Ring. Yet, even though he tried to take the ring, he died with valor. As such, he has the beard befitting a Captain of Gondor. Close-shaven, clean and well-cut, even in the wilds of the Misty Mountains, Boromir finds time to trim his beard.
- Rubeus Hagrid – Harry Potter (Robbie Coltrane)
If Britain were a person, Hagrid would be it. His body a mountain, his hair a mass of brambles, and his beard… simply spectacular. Living alone in a hut, this half-giant gamekeeper may need a few lessons in bodily grooming; just leave his beard alone!
- Davy Jones – Pirates of the Caribbean (Bill Nighy) Via short-biography.com Fair Use
Who doesn’t want a beard that can light a pipe? Well, be careful what you wish for. You may find yourself waking to Davy Jones’ Lovecraftian monstrosity. For having given his heart to the sea, this romantic-turned-villain is doomed to transform into a fishy nightmare. The squid-like tentacles are as gross as they are fascinating: each writhing and wriggling in synchrony.
Khal Drogo – Game of Thrones (Jason Momoa)Embed from Getty Images
The Beast from the East; the terror across the narrow sea. In his physical performance, Momoa captures the calculating savagery of this steppe Barbarian. With his beard – a mix of Van Dyke, full beard, and plaited tail – he combines regality and brutality. The final result: this is not a man you want to cross.
- Captain Jack Sparrow – Pirates of the Caribbean (Johnny Depp)Embed from Getty Images
From the moment he appears on screen, the devilish Captain Jack steals the show (as well as the ship). A twist on the Van Dyke, his beard gives the nod to the French and Caribbean influences on pirating. While the two beard braids are just pure originality. So, ya slack-jawed land-lovers, stop ya blathering and shaving and get-a-growing a misbegotten beard like ol’ Jack’s. Ya savvy.
The grizzly mutant from the Great White North is nothing without his trusty pair of mutton chops. In fact, few characters utterly optimize a beard style like Wolverine. Topped with the iconic pointed hair, the two glorious bushy chops are unmistakable. Little wonder he earned the name Wolverine.
- Tormund Giantsbane – Game of Thrones (Kristofer Hivju)Embed from Getty Images
In a flash of red, Tormund captures the wildling spirit. Though, for a man supposedly trapped behind a giant wall of ice, it’s surprisingly well-groomed. But then, Tormund is trying to capture the affections of the Big Woman. Portrayed by the very Norwegian Kristofer Hivju, you can see the Viking flash in this legendary beard.
Albus Dumbledore – Harry Potter (Richard Harris/Michael Gambon)Embed from Getty Images
As if there could be any other. Whether we’re basking in Harris’ broad white beard or Gambon’s eccentric ponytail, Dumbledore epitomizes the wizard’s beard. Aged, wizened, silvery, and majestic: it’s like a magical creature all on its own. To quote one Kingsley Shacklebolt: “Dumbledore’s got style.”