Zip artful dodger

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Description: The Artful Dodger is like the Street Urchin. except that instead of being The Woobie that makes you want to take him up in your arms and care for him, he seems perfectly happy to take care of

The Artful Dodger is like the Street Urchin. except that instead of being The Woobie that makes you want to take him up in your arms and care for him, he seems perfectly happy to take care of himself. Oh, he'd let you take him home, just don't expect him (or any of your valuable possessions) to be there next morning. In Real Life. a child who lives on the streets experiences horrors most of us could not even imagine, but in some fictional works, a child on the street lives a happy-go-lucky life and practically thrives.

He is exceptionally Street Smart. and can take care of himself better than most adults, being a bit more experienced in the field. He is usually a criminal. Not the poor, innocent child who hates having to steal out of desperation, but the whip-smart trickster. The adult protagonist may feel sorry for him and try to help him at first, but it will usually turn out that the adult actually needs his help. He often has some sort of unique knowledge or skill that the protagonist needs in some circumstance, such as how to access any part of the city through the sewer system.

He'll probably start out as a pest, but he'll turn out to be one of the Hero's most powerful and stalwart allies when the chips are down. He's characterized by sarcasm, cynicism, skepticism, incredible resourcefulness, and a charming fascination with violence, but in the end he's likely to succumb to the temptation of family life with the Hero and his Girl, even if his life on the street was clearly more Awesome. He's also fairly likely to die by Taking the Bullet for the Hero. In this case, the Hero will retroactively adopt the Kid, for instance by putting his own surname on the Kid's tombstone. Can grow up to become a Satisfied Street Rat. but the Dodger is more of a trickster where archetypally the Street Rat is more of a cutthroat.

The Artful Dodger usually has some variety of The Fagin as a boss (as the original did), if he answers to someone.

Comic Books
  • The teens Torr and Tarra in Swordquest are twin orphans who survive on the streets through stealing.
  • Pistolet in The Black Coats .
  • Oliver Twist . Being the Trope Namer. The Artful Dodger is the epitome of this trope … until his boss's gambit goes awry, the police search his home and he gets deported to Australia,
  • Sherlock Holmes had a whole gang of these, called the Baker Street Irregulars, to help him search for things or people all over the city.
  • Talen in David Eddings ' Elenium/Tamuli 'verse has one of these - a street-urchin with enough talents to classify as a borderline Marty Stu (eidetic memory, incredible artistic skills, unbeatable in lockpicking and pickpocketing, highly intelligent, does complicated math in his head despite having little formal education. )
  • Parodied in Night Watch with young Nobby as the Artful Nudger (specifically a parody of Gavroche, since most of the book is a Deconstruction of Les Misйrables ). When Vimes gets sent to the past in Night Watch, he immediately hires Nobby as an informant when they cross paths, recognizing the utility of small cheeky street urchins (what with having known Nobby for most of their mutual lives).
  • Jamal from The Drifters .
  • Lyra of His Dark Materials is a rare female example. Well, she just acts like this despite having a good place to stay. Later on, when she really ends up on the street in a strange city, she finds it's not so fun.
  • Kimball O'Hara, eponymous hero of Rudyard Kipling 's Kim .
  • Beyond the Western Sea has two, Fred No-name and Ralph Toggs. note "Look at his togs, Fagin," said Charley, putting the light so close to Oliver's new jacket as nearly to set him on fire.
  • Jimmy the Hand from Raymond E Feist 's Riftwar Cycle .
  • Huckleberry Finn was pretty much this, though moreso in The Adventures of Tom Sawyer .
  • Lupus in The Roman Mysteries
  • Raych Seldon starts as this in the Foundation prequels.
  • Gavroche in Les Misйrables - but Hugo investigates the source of Gavroche's lifestyle, and its probable end. Gavroche springs from parents (the Thenardiers) who are cutthroat and depraved, but also incredibly resourceful. Hugo describes Gavroche's quick mind and high spirits, but says that though he's slipped through the cracks all his life, he's on the cusp of outgrowing the life he lives. Then, he might ally with the noble cause of the Friends of the ABC (who include a few working-class idealists in their ranks), or else, Hugo compares at least one vicious and brutal thug in M. Thenardier's gang to a grown up Gavroche.
  • Any number of Horatio Alger, Jr.. characters. His first (and arguably best) children's novel, Ragged Dick. is the archetype of Alger's street hero books.
  • Arya Stark/Cat of the Canals in A Song of Ice and Fire becomes this after she escapes to Braavos.
  • The main character of Terry Pratchett 's Dodger is both a tribute to Dicken's version and a Deconstruction of the trope.
  • Young Locke Lamora of the Gentleman Bastard series was a classic Artful Dodger despite actually living under realistically miserable conditions for a street urchin. (Seriously, The Thiefmaker's hill is awful .) He's just that happy to take others' stuff.
  • Jan from The Silver Sword is a classic example, who ends up becoming a hero by the end of the book as he saves Edek from drowning.
  • Briar of the Circle of Magic books by Tamora Pierce started out this way, he was even named Roach by the leader of his street gang. However this life is in no way romanticized, as by the start of the book he had experienced routine hunger, gang wars, physical abuse by police and other adults, had been arrested three times and was on his way to punishment labour (which it was implied he would not survive more than a couple of years) before Nico found him.
Live-Action TV
  • Doctor Who .
    • Nancy of the episode "The Empty Child" is a lesser example; although she used the clever tricks to survive which are trademark to this trope, she was anything but happy-go-lucky.
    • Adric, one of the Doctor's companions in the Classic Series, was originally intended to be an "Artful Dodger" character; Matthew Waterhouse even assumed he would have to put on a Cockney accent when auditioning for the role. However, subsequent scripts deviated from this, resulting in a character whom many fans came to regard as one of the most annoying companions in the series .
  • Boxey in Battlestar Galactica was going to become this, until the character was written out due to a lack of time for the planned development.
  • Liam in Tracy Beaker Returns . Support worker Mike Milligan collects him from the police station and runs into Tracy who just published her first book followed by this discussion:

    Mike Milligan: See, Liam, if you want to get on in life, maybe we could have a little less artful dodger and a bit more Tracy Beaker.

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