Proud Scholar Race Guy

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Because 2D chess is not challenging enough.

Jose b. Joezer used to say: "Let thy house be the meeting place of the wise;
sit gladly at their feet and drink in their words with avidity.

Our love of what is beautiful does not lead to extravagance;
our love of the things of the mind does not make us soft.

—Attributed to Pericles

While the Proud Warrior Race believes in warfare and martial honor as the pinnacle of cultural achievement, they have a counterpart in the Proud Scholar Race, who instead focus on matters of the intellect. Personality-wise, they may be aloof and detached, or quite gregarious and friendly (particularly if they're also The Empath). Either way, they have a tendency to be more intellectual, mystical or philosophical than most of the other species in the setting. This species of scholars tends to come in two flavors:

I. Scientific Race

Their societal structure is centered around science, philosophy, and the arts. Their political structure may employ a Head Scientist, Philosopher, or Poet as a leader. They aren't necessarily a Higher-Tech Species, although that often overlaps. The key is that learning is the main cornerstone to their society. These are most likely to be Perfect Pacifist People possibly protected by Psychic Powers provided they can be explained away by sufficient study of science. They may live in a City in a Bottle of some sort. Those with a more practical bent will be The Engineer.

II. Space Elves

A Closer to Earth species who focus more on the mystical, spiritual or philosophical sides of knowledge. If any species has Psychic Powers, it's these guys. Their culture tends to gravitate toward a Crystal Spires and Togas aesthetic, and their technology may share a similar feel. Unlike other species, they may hold on to beliefs in higher powers (particularly if said powers are extant Sufficiently Advanced Aliens or Energy Beings). Less sympathetic versions of the species may overlap with Scary Dogmatic Aliens of the Fundamentalist variety.

Proud Scholar Races of either stripe tend to be portrayed as more peace-loving than some other species, but they tend to be rather dangerous when provoked, using superior technology, Psychic Powers and hidden superweapons to turn their foes into dust. They won't necessarily be portrayed as nicer people - sometimes, their love of knowledge will make them sympathetic compared to the madmen running around hitting things with swords, but other times, it will make them cold, slimy and sinister compared to the honest fighters doing their duty for their country. Similarly, any non-scientists in this race (no matter how important to their society) will suffer Klingon Scientists Get No Respect—err, Vulcan Warriors Get No Respect.

This race may be friendly toward humans, or it might shun them because it detests their violent ways, or sees them as so far below them as to be insects. This species might be descended from the Precursors, or at least remember a time when they existed.

If both these and the Warrior Race are played as villainous, they basically become a split about the two terrifying sides of the Nazis — the Warriors are the mighty soldiers and strategists slaughtering and conquering, while the Scientists remain at home torturing people For Science! and for hate. For this reason, when villainous, the Scientist race may be prejudiced and regard other races as fodder for slavery and experimentation.

When heroic, the race is quite likely to resemble an idealised depiction of the academic circles of the Ancient Greeks. Expect Crystal Spires and Togas or a Mary Suetopia. They may or may not be a Higher Tech Species.

When the Proud Scholar Race and the Proud Warrior Race are in opposition or rivalry, they tend to form an Elves Versus Dwarves dynamic, with the former taking the role of the Elves. This convergant evolution may be why many scholarly races take on elf-like features like pointed ears and a humanoid appearance. They may still retain alien features such as unusual skin or hair colors, though (pale colors such as light blue are popular). Females of this sort of species tend to overlap with the Green Skinned (or often blue) Space Babe.

If they are into both learning and killing, they're a Warrior Poet Race instead. Compare Proud Merchant Race and, of course, Proud Warrior Race.

Compare Space Elves, Space Amish, and Perfect Pacifist People.

No real life examples, please; this is a trope about how characters are depicted in media, and Real Life people are far more nuanced than even the best-developed character.

Examples of Proud Scholar Race Guy include:

Anime and Manga

  • The Tuffles from Dragonball Z were a very science-driven race, and lived on the same planet as (and were ultimately overthrown by) the Saiyans, the very epitome of a Proud Warrior Race.
  • The Silver Tribe in Heroic Age is pretty much a textbook example of this. Space Elves: check. Unmatched Psychic: check. Aloof and Detached: check. Detests humans: check. Crystal Spires: check. Precursors bond: check.
  • The Abh on Crest of the Stars though, they're modified humans, but still follow the Elven archetypes.

Comic Books

  • Krypton worshiped Science, in some versions.
  • The High Ones in Elf Quest shapechanged themselves into elves, but only after becoming planetbound. Their descendants did eventually make it back into space, though, if the Jink storyline is taken as canon.
  • The Coluans from the Legion of Super-Heroes in the DC Universe.
  • The Guardians of the Universe from Green Lantern.


  • In The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, every member of the Insequent race is apparently a wizard who acquired his/her powers through milennia of specialized study. From the same series, the ur-viles are a rare evil version, though they end up switching sides.
  • The Encyclopedists from the Foundation (although, only during the first generations, turning into a normal society after that) from the Foundation series by Isaac Asimov. Being in their start devoted entirely to the Encyclopedia Galactica, ruled by a council of scientists and being all other aspects of life secondary and complementary to the Encyclopedia. The Second Foundation on the other hand qualifies.
  • The Noldorin elves from The Silmarillion started off as this, before being partially corrupted by their desire for revenge against Morgoth and becoming a Proud Warrior Race. Later, in The Lord of the Rings, Faramir laments that his people, the Gondorians, are a Proud Scholar Race who are becoming a Proud Warrior Race.
    • Interesting thought. And Faramir would then be a Proud Scholar Race Guy with a brother who is a Proud Warrior Race Guy.
    • Unusually, the Noldor actually started out as a Type I Scientific Race, most of whose achievements were Magic From Technology, including self-powered lights. It's only in comparison to everybody else in the setting that they are Space Elves.
  • The Anophelii in China Mieville's The Scar. At least, the men. The women, on the other hand...
  • The Zacathans in Andre Norton's works, who are experts in knowledge in general and history/archeology in particular.
  • The Terrismen from Mistborn.
  • The Sartan from The Death Gate Cycle.
  • The Alethi from The Stormlight Archive manage to be both a Proud Scholar Race and a Proud Warrior Race, due to their society's incredibly strict gender roles- Alethi men are Proud Warrior Race Guys, and Alethi women are Proud Scholar Race Girls (the divisions are so sharp that it's considered sinful for women to fight, or for men to even learn to read).
  • The more scientifically inclined of John Galt's followers (including Galt himself) from Atlas Shrugged combine this with Proud Merchant Race.
  • The Beetle-kinden of Collegium in Adrian Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series are type 1 and have a culturally symbiotic relationship with the Beetle-kinden of Helleron. The Moth-kinden are Type 2.
  • The Ogier from The Wheel of Time. Very big on history, arts, craftmanship, public speaking, and gardening. However, while they don't much like fighting, they're very good at it if sufficiently motivated.
  • The Betans in Vorkosigan Saga are always going on about how enlightend they are whileselling arms to everyone in sight. Their chief representative, Cordelia cannot stop talking about how barbarous Barrayarans supposedly are and how everything would be right if they would just open up and do things her way. Sometimes you just want to give them a good smack in the head.

Live-Action TV

  • The Time Lords as originally portrayed on Doctor Who. ARetcon subsequently made them wear the "decadent and self-involved" rather than "scholarly" hat. Subsequently, it varied form story to story. Fanfic tends to emphasize the more alien, aloof, scholastic side of Gallifreyan culture. Regardless, the names of the Doctor and the Master deliberately evoked higher learning. but only those two characters are really active outside Gallifrey. Then the Time War happened...
  • Vulcans in Star Trek are almost the Ur Example of the stoic, detached scholar race, including mild Psychic Powers in the form of the mind meld.
    • Vulcans are an example of both subsets of this trope. While they are usually presented as the scientific side sometimes they show a mystical aspect too. Occasionally as well they show some remainders of rather dark primeval traditions in their culture as in the episode "Amok Time" when Spock's chosen bride manipulates Kirk and Spock into fighting a Duel to the Death for her favor. That episode is probably a remainder of the time when Vulcans were a Proud Warrior Race.
    • Vulcans were once a Proud Warrior Race that had a Heel Face Turn and became a Proud Scholar Race. The Romulans were Vulcans who became disgusted at what they considered to be their kin's dishonorable rejection of their Badass heritage. Thus Romulans are a Proud Warrior Race that are cousins to a Proud Scholar Race.
  • The Ancients may have been this at various points in their history in Stargate SG-1. In the various Stargate series, we end up seeing things the Ancients did at vastly separated parts of their history, so their characterization changed accordingly.
    • Both the Asgard and the Nox, in the same Verse, have elements of this as well. The Asgard are type 1, the Nox are type 2. The Asgard are an odd example as they are named after (or, in-universe, inspired the legends of) Norse Mythology, generally much less scholarly than most.
  • The Minbari of Babylon 5 fit this trope pretty perfectly. At least as much psi potential as any other race, one of the "elder" races, on relatively good terms with the Precursors, Crystal Spires and Togas, Ape Shall Never Kill Ape (very common in Space Elves if they're not straight-up Perfect Pacifist People), and loads of Cultural Posturing and Can't Argue with Elves. Even their warrior caste members, such as Lennier, come across as pretty egg-headed.
  • Wonder Woman TV Series: In this incarnation, Paradise Island’s amazons are Type 1 because they are Perfect Pacifist People. In contrast with the Proud Warrior Race Guy from the comics, the amazons were overpowered by the Nazis in “The Feminum Mystique”. However, the Amazons easily overpower the Nazis once Wonder Woman and Wonder Girl came back to liberate the Isle.

Tabletop Games

  • The Eldar from Warhammer 40K.
  • The Darrians in Traveller.
  • Dungeons & Dragons tends to have a few scholarly peoples in its racial lineup; the elven subraces tend to lean toward the mystical end of the spectrum. The 4th edition Eladrin, in particular, embody the scholarly side of the elven archetype. Gnomes also tend to be protrayed in this fashion, whether they're illusionists and wizards, or tinkers and inventors. (The word "gnome", by the way, comes from the Greek word for "to know", and their stereotypical pointed hats may share the symbolic origin of the Wizard Hat—that is, the knowledgeable few at the top, above the uneducated masses on the bottom.)
    • Turned Up to Eleven and Deconstructed in the Eberron campaign setting. The gnomes of the nation of Zilargo are known for their intellects. In their land is the largest library (which doubles as the most respected university in the world), as well as the most respected newspaper which is distributed across the continent. Their prowess in elemental binding has made gnomes a match of the various Mega Corporations that deal in Magitek. But the Gnomes' value and thirst of knowledge is so great it has taken a dark side - spying on one's neighbors and family for secrets and blackmail is not only common, but expected. Their entire society is held together by blackmail, and because of their affinity for knowledge, Zilargo is a police state run an intelligence organization that rivals the two Mega Corporations that specialize in spying. Criminals in Zilargo are not tried or arrested, they have "accidents" or simply vanish. Similarly, it is a common saying that the gnomes do not go to war in the traditional sense - they wage their battles through information warfare and intelligence warfare.
    • Gnomes were portrayed this way in the setting-generic, late-3rd Edition sourcebook Races of Stone. Using their racial affinity for illusion magic as a springboard, the writers portrayed gnomes as having a culture based around the concept of truth and the philosophical pursuit of uncovering or obscuring it.
    • The Irda from Dragonlance are the Type II Mystical Variant. The Tinker Gnomes probably see themselves as being Type I.
    • If the Garundi humans from Pathfinder have a hat, it's this. Their various nations are typically ruled, or at least heavily influenced, by mages, scholars, and alchemists.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, most blue aligned races, as well as blue-aligned humans civilisations, fall under one of these tropes. The Vedalken are probably the most blatant example, because they don't exist outside of the Magic storyline and have no other role to fullfill.

Video Games

  • The Psilons in Master of Orion (scientists) and the Elerians from the second and third games (mystics, not found in MOO 1)
  • The Syreen from the Star Control series of games.
  • The Asari from the Mass Effect games fit the "mystic" description to a T, having superior talents at biotics.
    • The salarians in Mass Effect have a reputation as good scientists, albeit one overshadowed by their other reputation as spies. These are often the same people.
  • The Protoss from the StarCraft series are a mix between this and the Proud Warrior Race.
  • The Chozo from Metroid. They're not humanoid, but they have great powers, are possibly magical, are wise and knowedgeable, Closer to Earth (or, more accurately, Tallon IV), and are generally mystical.
    • They also fit the Scientific side of the trope: the thing is that they grew so scientifically advanced that they hit a dead end. Since science offered no more answers, they turned to mysticism to complement it.
  • The Vasudans of Free Space.
  • The Lunarians from Touhou. They see themselves as more spiritually pure than absolutely anyone else who are not Lunarians... scratch that, they believe that they are simply better, period. It's strongly hinted that Lunarians were humans who attained great spiritual height. They have expendable servitors, the Moon Rabbits. And just in case anyone is up to challenge their claim: they thwarted Youkai invasion from Gensokyo led Yukari Yakumo in the past. Yukari Yakumo is a Reality Warper.
  • The Warcraft universe has blood elves for the magic sort and gnomes (the descendants of ancient machines) and arguably goblins for tech. The draenei are somewhere in between, as they've always been magically-oriented and are implied to have picked up some degree of Magitek knowledge as well. And the tauren are both a Proud Scholar Race (of the mystic variety) and a Proud Warrior Race.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Ashpaw Longstripe from Tasakeru, though he's more than willing to step up into Badass Bookworm territory when necessary.

Western Animation