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Kris: Hey, so you had a rough childhood -

Hari: *laughs* I had a great childhood. Where do you think I learned how to fight? By the time I was eight, I knew: Every fight is a fight to the death.

The Satisfied Street Rat is a character archetype common to more cynical works that has the following characteristics:

  1. Grew up in a very unforgiving environment, either orphaned or under Abusive Parents that they quickly learned to avoid.
  2. Is currently a Badass of significant caliber, often in a less-than-legal profession, with a cynical view towards life and a practical view towards combat. (Many are very fond of making their foe Talk to the Fist, oddly enough.)
  3. Is happy and even proud of their Dark and Troubled Past, believing that their trial by fire makes them superior. This may make them cocky, but they usually have the savvy and muscle to back up their arrogance.

Frequently Antiheroes. The degree to which the character is well-adjusted versus is harboring a lot of pain inside depends on the writer. See also Wrong Side of the Tracks, Neighbourhood Friendly Gangsters. As children they are more likely to have been The Artful Dodger rather than the Street Urchin, but the Dodger is more of a trickster where the Street Rat is more of a cutthroat. May have been raised by The Fagin. Those who knew the Street Rat as a more vulnerable child may see them as a case of From Nobody to Nightmare in adulthood.

Examples of Satisfied Street Rat include:

Anime & Manga


  • Hari/Caine from The Acts of Caine
  • Puli, the nine-year-old leprous gang leader in the book Nectar In A Sieve, is deeply cynical and deeply proud of how hardened he's become. (He winds up saving the heroine with his skills, although he doesn't do anything for free.)
  • Kim in the Rudyard Kipling book by that title.
  • Briar Moss of the Circle of Magic starts out like this, and opens up as time goes on. He stays tough as nails, however.
  • Both Bean and his arch-enemy, Achilles, show elements of this, having spent their early years fighting to survive on the streets. Bean is more well-adjusted and doesn't seem to dwell on it much. Achilles turned out to be a complete sociopath who just CAN'T let anyone who has ever seen him in a position of weakness live very long.
    • Part of his obsession with Bean seems to stem from just how frequently Bean has PUT HIM in positions of weakness.
  • Ferro Maljinn of The First Law. Her background went from war slave to harem mistress to murderous desert fugitive with a vendetta, but the core personality fits this trope spot on.
  • Hissune from Lord Valentine's Castle is this, played straight in the novel itself, while in the sequel it's subverted as all hell, when Lord Valentine makes him a nobleman and eventually Valentine's successor as king of Majipoor.
  • Demetrios Makropolous in "A Coffin for Demetrios" (filmed as "The Mask of Demetrios" with Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet and Zachary Scott). Demetrios goes from poor fig packer to murderer, smuggler, assassin and spy.

Tabletop Games

  • Iconic character Dai Blackthorn from GURPS is based on this archetype.

Video Games

Web Comics

  • Quain'tana of Drowtales grew up on the streets with no apparent parents and eventually rose to be one of the greatest war leaders in the worldsetting. Her first "pack" was composed of other street rats that eventually grew into a mercenary empire, but unlike other examples her lack of parental figures really takes its toll on her children.
  • Doc Worth from Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name partly fits: he has the less-than-legal job and is proud of it and his dingy place. It is unknown what his chidhood or relationship with his family were like, but they were well-off enough to pay off hi med school expenses.

Western Animation

  • Megatron of Transformers Prime wears his life as "a gladiator from the pits of Kaon" as a badge of pride despite the fact that he was a slave because of it.

Real Life

  • Truth in Television - People born and raised in the Mexico City barrio of Tepito are characteristically proud of their lifestyle.