From towering keeps to rugged wildlands, no man is complete without their beard. Indeed, the way a man wields his razor tells you much of his character - whether they’re a noble lord or gritty ranger.
Little wonder fantasy is replete with such legendary beards. Who can forget the comforting grey of Gandalf or the immaculate moustache of the swashbuckling Zorro? The beard maketh the man.
But what are the most iconic facial hairstyles in fantasy? Here’s our definitive list.
Iconic characters: Think of Gandalf, with his grey and unruly beard that commands respect, or the pristine fluffy white beard of Dumbledore – as was once remarked, “Dumbledore’s got style.”
How does it look: Full and flowing, the wizard’s beard is a sight to behold.
Why it’s epic: Grown over long hours hunched over books, it speaks of wisdom, power, and sheer badass-ry. No epic magic user is complete with the beard that tumbles down their robes.
Iconic characters: Aragorn, before his kingly days, sported such a beard. And who can mistake GOT’s Bronn with his rugged mustache and goatee for anything less than a cunning sellsword.
How does it look: Varied in styles, the ranger’s beard is cut short around the chin and mouth.
Why it’s epic: Long nights tracking with no warmth but the campfire, the ranger is the epitome of a hardened hero. And he’s got the beard to match. Kept trimmed and practical, the ranger’s beard lets you know this isn’t the hero you want; this is the hero you need.
The Kung Fu Warrior
Iconic characters: Ming the Merciless – from Flash Gordon – is one of the most famous examples. But many martial art experts have grown this classic beard.
How does it look: The mustache and beard are grown long to form three tendrils. The beard can be plaited for extra effect.
Why it’s epic: This distinctive look is most often fashioned by characters of East Asian descent. It demonstrates a commitment to duty, honor, and precision. It can vary from short tendrils to much longer, being akin to a wizard’s beard. And, of course, the longer the beard, the greater the mastery.
Iconic characters: When Aragorn shed the ranger and became the king, he grew the beard to match. Others like Ned Stark or Khal Drogo in GOTs may not be King’s, but they are great leaders of men – and have the beards to prove it.
How does it look: Full-bodied and well-groomed, the King’s beard is regality incarnate. Shorter than a wizard’s beard, it demands your allegiance and loyalty. If a king wears a crown on his head, he wears a beard on his chin.
Why it’s epic: It’s no mistake that the King’s beard is so thick and luscious; that it commands the face as the King commands their kingdom. This beard is the ultimate mark of manhood. And with variations like Khal Drogo’s braided tail, it’s not without a few exotic twists.
Iconic characters: Neither Capitain Sparrow or any of the swashbuckling Three Musketeers would be complete without their fabulous Van Dyke beards to stroke in victory.
How does it look: The Swashbuckler or Van Dyke includes any combination of goatee and mustache. However, opt for a twirled mustache and pointed goatee for that ultimate debonaire effect.
Why it’s epic: With a cape, feathered hat, and swift sword hand, the swashbuckler tells of a man who knows how to dote on damsels and fend off rogues. It’s the perfect cross of rough with smooth – every maiden’s dream.