Xiahou Dun is most famous for his loyalty to his lord, Cao Cao. His most famous incident in the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms occurs during Cao Cao's war against Lu Bu, another rival warlord, in 198 AD. Xiahou Dun is selected to lead the vanguard of the assault. During his charge, one of Lu Bu's officers, Cao Xiu, shoots Xiahou Dun through the eye. Rather than collapse in pain, Xiahou Dun exclaims: "Blood of my mother, blood of my father! I cannot throw this away!" He then proceeds to rip the arrow out of his eye, and swallow his own eyeball. This accomplished, he impales Cao Xiu with a spear. However, he is then forced into retreat.
Xiahou Dun would continue to loyally serve Cao Cao throughout his life. When Cao Cao died in 220 AD, his successor Cao Pi appointed Xiahou Dun the Supreme General of the entire Wei army. However, Xiahou Dun did not long outlast his master, and would also die in 220. He was posthumously honored with the title "Marquis Zhong".
In video games
Xiahou Dun is mostly known from his game appearances in Koei's Romance of the Three Kingdoms and Dynasty Warriors franchises. Appearing as one of the default officers for the Wei kingdom since the first incarnation of the Dynasty Warriors series, he is consistently one of its more popular characters. His appearance is generally defined by his eyepatch and large scimitar and his character by a fierce, unwavering loyalty to Cao Cao. Some games highlight a rivalry with Shu general Guan Yu.
Level 5 was accused of blatantly plagiarizing Xiahou Dun's design for their character Zegram in the game Rogue Galaxy.