Screw You, Elves

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Now, go to the nearest guard to pay the fine for littering.

The Warden: Elves have strange powers.

Sten: Being easily conquered does not constitute a "power".
Dragon Age: Origins

As Can't Argue with Elves is such a frustrating thing to many human viewers (and Most Viewers Are Human), the trope of humans telling and occasionally showing arrogant magical races exactly where to stick it is becoming popular. If humans don't do it, the Dwarves will be happy to.

Compare Calling the Old Man Out, where parental figures are in place of elves, Shut UP, Hannibal, where it's a Manipulative Bastard, and Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?, where it's a God of Evil. Implicit in this trope is the notion that actually Humanity Is Superior.

This trope is usually not pornographic. Usually.

Examples of Screw You, Elves include:


Anime & Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Puck, of Berserk, is not only an elf of the Santa Claus variety, but also extremely annoying. When faced with his moralizing, Guts makes a habit of not only telling him exactly where to stick it, but demonstrating such with a BFS and several of his family members.
    • Guts is the king of this trope, as he'll tell any super-powered supernatural being to go fuck themselves.
  • Arlong of One Piece constantly goes on and on how great Fishmen are and how inferior humans are to them. Luffy rebuts with his fists.
    • Turned on its head several hundred chapters later, when it's revealed that Arlong's whole crusade was an attempt to pull this trope on humanity.
  • At the end of Slayers TRY, the Big Bad (a composite entity of two gods and a nearly immortal dragon) argues via Mind Probe how inherently rotten the world is as a result of flaws introduced during its creation, and that the universe essentially needs a controlled reboot to flush out these flaws. As the good guys (mostly horribly guilt-ridden ancient angels, demons, and dragons) begin acquiescing to his criticism, Lina stands up to deliver an epic Shut UP, Hannibal speech, declaring that grand cosmic screwups, ancient atrocities, or reincarnation into a better world mean nothing to mortals like her, and how DARE they presume to ignore all the life flourishing across the world as it is today.
  • The title character of Inuyasha delivers a rather impressive one to his brother, Sesshomaru; after the latter spends two or three episodes going off on how humans and half-demons are worthless, he not only gets his arm cut off, but he is also mocked by Inuyasha on how a mere half-demon got to inherit the Tessaiga.
  • In Touhou, the plot of Silent Sinner in Blue and Cage in Lunatic Runagate could be summed up as "Screw You, Lunarians!".

Comics[edit | hide]

  • In Elf Quest when Kahvi sneers at the trolls for their ancestor's mutiny causing the High Ones to crash on the World of two Moons Picknose's reply is "Slaves have a right to rebel!" In fact this seems to be the default attitude of trolls in general.
  • In one storyline of The Flash, Wally reacts this way to the society of the 64th century, which counts "individualism" as a crime and manages to make Abra-frickin'-Kadabra look like a heroic rebel.
  • Nodwick has King Zarunig doing this.
  • Aquaman in DC Comics has this in spades, the mariner races of DC Comics possess the vicious tendency of looking at humanity with venomous contempt for numerous reasons. Be it the many years of intoxication and pollution man has wrought upon the earth through their carelessness and constant wars. Or the bigoted belief that their society was the first race to tame the world, seeing the species of man as an inferior lot laying claim to what ought to rightfully belong to them. That they came first and everyone without gills or their level of civilized advancement should stand aside. It never occurs to them they could use their advanced techno-science and supposedly better way of life to present feasible solutions and distill the worlds rage. But instead preferring to sit on the sidelines and point fingers while doing absolutely nothing about problems that affect them, mostly out of fear of the surface world no less. Plus given the number of times the Atlanteans, Xebelians and most other affiliated criminal/cabal sects related to them attempted to conquer or annihilate their the planet they're own kingdom's happen to inhabit just to prove their superiority or justify their righteous anger. Resorting to violence by triggering world war rather than abate tensions on both Land and Sea. It begs the question, what makes them so perfect and superior compared to humanity?
  • Marvel Comics version of Atlantis and its prerequisite king are moreso guilty of this. Either by the hotheaded hand of Namor or a dissenting faction within his nation's care propagating their highly misanthropic xenophobia. Atlantis tends to ramble on ceaselessly about mankinds transgressions against those who truly own the world. They even have their own little cult wherein the members hide their faces in shame about Atlantis's limited dominion over the Earth, basically banking on the notion of mankind annihilating itself to pave the way for Atlantis's rise. Seems pretty superfluous since the Atlanteans of Marvel can't even survive in open air; less then 13% of their species, barring the Submariner himself, have the ability to breath on dry land. Plus more often than not, Namor and his people are the aggressors on the world stage. Instead of acting like a diplomat or a king and voicing his discontent, he'll fly off into a rage endangering lives and wrecking everything in sight on dry land. Lashing out at everyone who isn't of the sea that had next to nothing to do with the poisoning or destruction of his kingdom. Also whenever he's not the one launching tidal waves at every major nation, some other radicallist gang of zealots who hate him and the surface equally. Tend to launch terror attacks in the name of Atlantis without their homelands consent. Fanatics saying and acting as though what they are doing is for the good of Atlantis yet are willing to go against the nations knowledge or wishes to enact their own race warfare on land based neighbors.

Fanfic[edit | hide]

  • The Ranma ½ and Sailor Moon crossover fiction "No Chance For Fate" has, as one of its main goals, to subvert and deconstruct the standard Fuku Fic, Ranma, and Sailor Moon fandom tropes. One of these is Amazonian invincibility, which is so vaunted and bragged about that though amazons are human, the Amazons are practically elves themselves. One amazonian tradition, the Kiss of Death/Marriage, is a major plot point. If you're a woman and you beat an amazon, you get the Kiss. This means you have to run, as the Amazon who gave it will chase you to the ends of the earth to kill you. If you're a man and you beat an Amazon, you receive a kiss and are then married. In this fanfiction, an amazon was bested by the wife of a weak-looking man, so the amazon killed the woman and kicked the man out of the village. It turned out that the man was fairly high up in the Chinese Communist party, and came back with the Chinese army. Martial Arts does not stand up well against modern weaponry. Furthermore, the army let modern ideas sneak into the village, meaning that the formerly second-class men are now leaving or shaking up the social order. Shampoo states that the village was almost in a state of gender war when she left.
  • Another example of this comes from "Aftermath: A Story Of Blended Cliches" which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, a Ranma ½, Sailor Moon and Tenchi Muyo! crossover which hits on as many tropes and cliches as possible. In the very first chapter after returning home after a number of years the first thing Cologne tries to do is force Ranma to come to the village. Not only does Ranma refuse but she goes on to insult the entire Amazon way of life. She then gives Shampoo a wake up call by making her realize that the Amazons aren't feared or respected the world over like she was taught, but that the world barely knows they even exist and look down at them as primitive and backwards.
  • The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan fic, Ten Minutes ends with a truly epic "screw you" to the ponies: Celestia, along with thousands of ponies, are lured into the blast radius of a nuke.

Films[edit | hide]

  • The Vulcans in the JJ Abrams ReBoot of Star Trek are aloof, dedicated to logic, and quite unabashedly racist... to the point of not-so-subtly insulting Spock's human mother at his hearing to apply to the Vulcan academy. Spock refuses to take this crap. One can imagine that when he tells the elders to "Live Long and Prosper," he wasn't giving them the "traditional" Vulcan salute.
    • Heck, the book version actually describes it as a "distinctly human" gesture.
  • This is quite possibly the reason behind much of the appeal of Colonel Miles Quaritch from Avatar. Yes, he is the bad guy, and yes, he is somewhat of an asshole; his writing off an entire sapient species as beneath notice and making increasingly ruthless attempts to crush them certainly puts him squarely in both categories. But after having to sit through an entire 2.5 hours of James Cameron preaching about how the Na'vi are so superior to us humans, it was a little too easy for many viewers to enjoy seeing Quaritch open up a sizable can of whoop-ass on the heroes. Using the guns of Na'vi-owned, as it were.
  • In The Wild Hunt, a beligerent LARPer taunts the elf faction by shouting, "Elves are gay!"

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Peter F. Hamilton's Silfen from the Starflyer sequence and Void Trilogy are basically alien Elves with sandworm maws for mouths. They go the whole hog, magic-style tech, capricious personalities, unintelligible riddles, the lot. Ozzie Fernandez Isaacs has many encounters with the Silfen, and always gets at the very least annoyed with them for being so bloody obtuse.
  • Glen Cook's Garrett snarks right back when snarked at by anyone, including his best friend Morley Dotes (who is actually a half-elf, but let's not get technical...) and his regular adviser the Dead Man (who isn't an elf at all, but is a member of long-lived (sort of) race with a superiority complex definitely fits the bill).
  • Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton approach this trope. The title of the first book in the series is The Elvenbane.
  • In Lisa Papademetriou's The Wizard, The Witch And Two Girls From Jersey, the main characters are annoyed by the snooty Sylvan elves and their ridiculously long-winded poetry. By contrast, the Kiblar elves (basically Hobbits who are the Sylvan elves' servants) are humble and down-to-earth. The protagonists shame the Sylvan elves into helping them by asking if they're not as brave as the Kiblar elf who is on their quest.
  • Justified and averted in Terry Pratchett's Lords and Ladies. The elves cast a glamour to make people think they're wonderful, but if someone breaks through that then they're usually downright pissed off.
  • The Darhel in John Ringo's Posleen War Series initially fall into Can't Argue with Elves, being Corrupt Corporate Executives, however they are later argued with. Severely. As in Humanity stopped juuuuuuuust short of actually committing genocide.
    • "Just short of" meaning, it was attempted, and by the time it was discovered that there were survivors, the proverbial cooler heads had (unfortunately) prevailed.
      • For those wondering why the "unfortunately"—humanity had very good reason what with the fact that the only reason the Darhel didn't leave us to fight the Posleen ourselves was because they needed us to fight for them. And they rather hoped neither species would survive the conflict in an organized group. This is not the first time they tried either. They uplifted Atlantis for the last war, then crushed them when they revolted.
  • Salvatore's Demon Wars Saga novels: While rangers Elbrayn, Brynn Dharielle, and Ancanadavar (all elven-trained) paint a much more gushing view of the elves in this world, it becomes increasingly apparent to less-indoctrinated individuals, the reader, and even the main elven character that his people's worldview, while not evil, is still at times excessively callous, self-serving, and racist.
  • In Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher stories, Geralt mocks the leader of a band of elves that have tied him up and are about to execute him to keep him from talking, and shortly after he breaks the nose of a particularly belligerent elf woman by headbutting her. Eventually the elf sets him free and concedes that he is right, after the local goddess drops in to chide them.
    • While local dwarves stand-ins remind that the elves started to say "we, old races" only after the humanity mostly displaced them, and before that, they were less than nice to the rest themselves.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe has a lot of anti-Jedi sentiment. Even when Luke is popular, the Jedi are seen as a Corrupt Church and he's seen as unable to keep the Jedi under his control. Given that this is likely the result of Palpatine's smear campaign, this also counts as Hero with Bad Publicity.
    • Karen Traviss' Jedi are supremely overconfident, incompetent, and get killed without a qualm, mostly by Mandalorians, who are superior in every way imaginable.
      • Not quite true - most of the Jedi who appear in the Republic Commando series are pointed out as extremely capable, if overreliant upon their powers and bound up by their philosophy. Those Jedi who ARE killed are either 1. betrayed, 2. unarmed and otherwise trapped, or 3. if fought head-on, put up a huge fight and are only taken down with difficulty.
      • Hilarious in Hindsight as Traviss' portrayal of the Mandalorians quickly began to resemble 'elves' even more so than the Jedi as the series progressed. Namely through the use of Can't Argue with Elves and turning Mandalore into a Mary Suetopia.
      • Then it becomes even more confusing, when Maze, one of the less psychotic characters, calls out the Mandalorians for being a bunch of brainwashed psychopaths.
      • Amusingly, in a bit of Take That, Troy Denning has Darth Caedus kick their ass easily.
      • Now the Mandalorians are subject to this in Fate of the Jedi. The Jedi easily curbstomp Mandalorian efforts to break into the Temple, and events in the series have essentially shown the entire galaxy that Mandalorians are Complete Monsters.
    • A major plot in Timothy Zahn's Hand of Thrawn duology, the Caamas document crisis, was this trope taken to the extreme - if one considers the Caamasi to be subject to Can't Argue With Elves. The entire New Republic somehow managed to divide itself into two factions over whether to defend the Bothans or to make them pay reparations (with the Empire ready to capitalize on the inevitable civil war). Meanwhile, the few Caamasi left have their voices drowned out when they try to say, "Stop the fighting." Of course, most of the galaxy WAS using this as an excuse to pursue their own feuds, but still.
  • The Orc Marines of Mary Gentle's Grunts! do so literally; "Pass me another elf Sergeant, this one's split!'.
    • During the later stages of the book, when the Elf King has decided that buying orc guns is a good idea, the training the new Elf Marines receive gives the Orc cadre marines plenty of chances for this.

Lt. Gilmuriel: You don't like elves, do you, orc - I mean, Gunnery Sergeant?
Gunnery Sergeant Dakashnit: Me? Man, I love elf. Nothing beats roast and basted elf haunch. Unless it's breast of elf with chile peppers.

  • John Grammaticus to Slau Dha in the Horus Heresy novel "Legion":

"Fug you, you uptight Eldar bastard. Piss off and hide in whatever corner of the cosmos you deem safe."

    • The sentiment is subverted about 10 seconds later when John realizes that his boss isn't a psychic projection. He's actually standing right in front of him.
  • Robert A. Heinlein does this In Space in Starman Jones, with unicorns standing in for elves. The entire second half of the novel is a massive Take That to the "horse people" part of Gulliver's Travels: the characters encounter a horse-man tribe while lost on a distant planet, and it turns out the horse-people see themselves as much more technologically and morally advanced than the humans. They're in tune with the land, they have a complicated hierarchical court system, and they won't have the filthy humans settle on their paradise planet. In true Heinlein fashion, the main characters slaughter them and somehow come out as moral victors.
    • The centaurs enslave the first humans they meet and beat an old member of the herd to death. The conflict quickly turns violent, though off camera, as the centaurs (it's implied) attempted to enslave the whole shipload of humans. Heinlein usually has his planets inhabited, often intelligent life. And the odds are good that they'll be smarter than humans.
    • It could be argued that seeing the horse people as a "take that" of the Houyhnhnms is a bit off the mark, as they were themselves a satire of the stereotypically "perfect" culture.
    • By the time Heinlein wrote his stories, a lot of readers and literary critics often missed the satire part which was the point of Gulliver's Travels. Many still do, since most do not understand the 18th century cultural context it was painted in.
  • In the Inheritance Cycle, Murtagh, who does not agree with the elf worship prevalent in the rest of the series.
    • The third book has a number of non confrontational Screw You, Elves. Where the main character comes to disagree with certain things he learned form the elves in the previous book (vegetarianism and atheism, respectively).
    • Then comes the fourth book, where we find out that for the most part, humans are disturbed by the elves. Viewing them similarly to the Fae... The creepy Grimm Fae, not the happy Disney Fae. At least one human character mentions that he'd rather fight with Urgals than Elves. And humans generally hate Urgals.
    • There's also Rhunön, an elf introduced in the second book who pretty much hates her own race. Or at least what it has become. A big chunk of her introduction scene is her complaining about elves.
  • Harry Dresden tends to be fairly direct in telling arrogant fae (and pretty much anyone else) what he thinks of them. Then he blows something up or sets something on fire, generally. This is probably done just to throw them off guard (and take his mind off of the fact that he generally knows exactly how horrible they could make his life, or the end of same) as much as anything else, though he just can't seem to help himself sometimes (there are only so many times you can hear the 'what you don't know' speech before you snap).
  • The Andalites in Animorphs get quite a bit of this after it turns out they're not quite the benevolent saviors they first appeared to be, especially after it turns out their big plan regarding the Yeerk invasion of Earth is to let as many Yeerks as possible crowd onto the planet before frying the whole thing.
    • Best of all, every time the kids came into contact with the Andalites, they would beg for help. The whole time, the Andalites believed that the Animorphs were lying, in order to get special treatment. Naturally, Jake tells the Andalite Generals to go stick it up their asses in the most polite way possible.
    • From #38

Jake: Andalites are very fast, those snakes are faster. One move from your boys and they will die... Now we stop playing games, you're not the Andalite fleet, and I'm not going to snap a salute and say 'Yes Sir!' We deal as equals. Which, to be honest, is generous of us under the circumstances.
Gonrod: I command here. Am I clear on that?
Jake: No, sir. This is Earth. This is a human planet. We are not the Hork-Bajir, we know how you 'rescued' them. As long as you're on earth, you'll get along with us. Am I clear on that?

  • An epic one at the end of Dune against the Bene Gesserit, a centuries old order claiming to have the moral high ground even as they ruthlessly manipulate people through multiple generations of eugenics, even referring to anyone they don't consider suitable breeding stock as "animals." When The Chosen One they've been trying to create actually arrives they're caught quite off guard when he's disgusted by them and refuses to follow their script.
    • The Bene Gesserit consider anyone who cannot pass their test of humanness to be an animal. As this test is "the death-alternative test of human awareness" anyone who takes it and fails is a DEAD animal. They don't use it to decide who's suitable breeding stock (Feyd-Rautha was intended to be the mate of the girl who was supposed to be born in Paul's place, and he's no human by their standards), they use it to decide who's suitable to teach any of their skills to. (Since the test is administered only be Reverend Mothers, who have the whole range of skills, that means that anyone giving the test knows PRECISELY what they're putting the subject through and does it anyway. This is only the beginning of what they have done in their quest to produce The Chosen One.)
  • Mercedes Lackey's Obsidian Mountain Trilogy: the elves think they know everything about fighting the endarkened, having done it before. It takes the Chosen One Kellan to realize that this is all wrong because the endarkened have learned since then. He has to challenge their general to a duel to the death before they listen. But they do. And a thousand years later, they remember the lesson, and refuse to give the next Chosen One any advice to avoid repeating the mistake.
  • Both Silvanesti and Qualinesti elves are called out on their bad things in the Dragonlance novel Dragons of the Winter Night. Too bad they refuse to accept that.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

Picard: (slowly advancing on the viewscreen) Compensation? You have stolen our children away from... away from their classrooms, away from their bedrooms, and you talk about compensation? You claim to be a civilized world, and yet you have just committed an act of UTTER BARBARITY!

    • Picard is amazing at these. In the second episode of season 3, the Sheliak, a species that finds human language so inferior they insist on insanely long contracts and treaties which they constantly Rules Lawyer in their favor, are demanding that the Federation remove a lost colony from Sheliak space, or they'll annihilate it. Picard finds a loophole to exploit and takes much pleasure in leaving them on hold for a good minute and a half.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series. McCoy's attitude seemed to be very much "Screw you, Vulcans!"
      • And the Big Three confronting the Vians for their use of torture to test the mettle of "lesser" races in "The Empath".
    • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Baseball Episode "Take Me Out to the Holosuite" starts out as Screw You Elves, thanks to Sisko's rivalry with his Vulcan opposite number, but winds up more along the lines of Let's Just Laugh at You, Elves.
      • Especially in DS9, many feel that the whole of the Federation is this way, and appreciate when, say, Klingons or Ferengi tell off the Federation's representatives. Eddington in "For the Cause" rips a particularly nasty and bitter example of this trope in the form of a Hannibal Lecture once he is Revealed to be with the Maquis, too.
    • Enterprise-era Vulcans (other than T'Pol) are pretty damn arrogant, and Archer repeatedly calls them on it throughout the series.
      • Culminating in a scene in a "Home," after Soval (wrongly) blames Archer for the loss of a Vulcan crew and ship from "Impulse":

"Maybe that'd crew would still be alive if you'd been a little more helpful. ... You did everything you could to sabotage our mission. I got more help from the Andorians than I ever got from the High Command! ... This planet would be a cloud of dust right now if we listened to you!"

    • In a later episode, Soval reveals why Vulcans act they way they do towards humans. They're terrified of us. It took Vulcans 2000 years to get from nuclear power to warp drive. Humans did it in a few centuries. They're scared to imagine what we'll do next.
  • Babylon 5: "Now get the hell out of our galaxy! Both of you!"
    • Used on several occasions in Babylon 5. The highlights are Delenn shaming the Minbari Grey Council out of their non-interference policy, Sheridan similarly refusing to back down from pestering Kosh until the Vorlons give them a much needed victory against the Shadows, and of course Sheridan telling both the Vorlons and Shadows where they can stick it, ending the war by demonstrating to them that there was simply no point to it anymore now that the races they'd been manipulating had caught on to them.
    • (paraphrased) "Zog? Zog what!? Zog, yes? Zog, no? We're not going anywhere until you give us a proper answer!"
    • Sebastian the Inquisitor(AKA Jack the Ripper) gives a long session of Screw You, Elves to Delenn as part of her Training from Hell from the Vorlons.
      • Delenn gets one or two "Screw you's" back:

You are a creature who has received pain...and given pain and taken too much joy in its application.You have aspired to dreams and been disappointed...because you are not strong enough or worthy enough or right enough. So you lash out at anyone who believes they can make a difference...because it reminds you of your own failure. You have to prove they're just as bad, just as flawed as you are.

  • Doctor Who: He's not a human, but having sat through a fourteen-week Kangaroo Court devoted to stitching him up and having suffered several years of pompous Time Lord arrogance and self-righteousness before that, the Sixth Doctor isn't shy about telling the Time Lords off at the end of "Trial of a Time Lord":

The Doctor: In all my travels through time and space I have battled against evil. Against power-mad conspirators. I should have stayed here! The oldest civilization -- decadent, degenerate and rotten to the core! Power mad conspirators? Daleks, Sontarans, Cybermen -- they're still in the nursery compared to us! Ten million years of absolute power. That's what it takes to be really corrupt.

    • Basically, this is an elf telling the other elves off.
    • The Doctor spends a lot of time trying to live down his "Elfness" doing good and helping people.
      • Ten is, however, impressively arrogant himself, and gets some of these lectures on his behalf.
    • River's speech at the end of A Good Man Goes to War to the Doctor is this trope.
  • Jack O'Neill has done this a few times in Stargate SG-1, most often to the Asgard.

Daniel: Well, let's just say that Jack made a reference to Freyr's mother...

    • The Asgard must think it's funny. After all, they did name a class of starships after him (the namesake of the class got blown up, but that was another story).
      • For Space Elves, the Asgard are pretty cool with less advanced races. Thor, at least, is not only friendly with humans (particularly Jack) but also respects them. Freyr and some of the others play the trope straighter -- but when the entire race basically wills all its stuff to humanity, you get a sense of how they really felt.
    • The Nox (aka the Bad Hair Elves) are even more irritating in they NEVER get called on a 'pacifism' which relies entirely on being Sufficiently Advanced Aliens that can restore the recently dead to life and completely hide their civilization from aggressors; leaving other species to be victimized while they enjoy their virtue and avoid contact with anyone willing to use violence for self-defense against a lethal enemy.
    • The Tollan on the other hand got their comeuppance - after demonstrating the shallowness of their principles.
      • They're also unimaginative. After Anubis makes his ships immune to their ion cannons, he has them build weapons that can phase through anything in order to destroy Earth. They already had stockpiles of them. Narim initially assumes they're built as replacements for the ion cannons to defend the planet against Ha'taks. Why the hell they haven't just used them to blow up Tanith's Ha'tak and be done with it is a question that won't be answered.
    • The Ancients, oddly, do not get this, despite being a race made almost entirely of gigantic dicks.
  • On Supernatural, the angels have plans for Sam and Dean. Specifically, they've planned for Sam to get himself possessed by Lucifer and kickstart the Apocalypse (with all the civilian casualties implied therein) so that the archangel Michael, while possessing Dean, can finish Lucifer off. Dean suggests that they take their plan and shove it. It's worth noting that only the senior archangels apparently had this plan; they admit they had to appear to be preventing Lucifer's rise to avoid a rebellion by the grunts. Once it has already happened they figure everyone will fall in line in the face of the new threat, regardless of how he arose.
  • In Red Dwarf, Holoships are made out of the most capable members of the Space Corps. Creating a population of immortal, highly intelligent, nigh-indestructible holograms out of what can be stated to be amongst the best of humanity also creates a population that is incredibly arrogant. So, when a member beams over and starts making snide remarks about the crew during his analysis, Lister mocks him back, ultimately culminating with serious threats backed by a holowhip, a device that can seriously harm holograms. The observer decides that discretion is probably the better part of valour in this case.
  • The Greek gods tend to consider themselves as better than us lowly humans and as the only thing keeping humanity from dying off. Hercules and Xena tend to disagree with that.


Music[edit | hide]

Oh look down your noses at me
Hating my identity
Oh but that don't mean a damn thing you see
'Cause down here in hell everybody loves me


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The sidhe in Changeling: The Dreaming. The fact that their return from Arcadia knocked over hundreds of years of commoner fae-established rule and set up a new "divine right of kings" was not met with loving acceptance. Even after the Accordance War was settled (yes, there was a war over the sidhe), commoner groups still look at "the pointy-eared freaks" funny, and the game makes it clear that just because a sidhe has a sense of rule, that doesn't mean he or she has the sense to rule.
    • The Fairest Kith in Changeling: The Lost of the New World of Darkness. While the flavor of wonderment changes with individual seemings, the basic premise of the Fairest is that they are the fairest ones of all, and thus are egoists and manipulators by nature. For many players, a selfless, kind Fairest is actually more suspicious than one who acts like an arrogant prat.
  • While we're here, Hunter: The Reckoning and Hunter: The Vigil are both entire gamelines of telling the elves just where they can stick their magic.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In the Eberron setting you can quite easily argue with the elves. Some, like the Valaes Tairn, would like to disagree. The only problem is that you often have to beat whichever elf you argue with in single combat to prove you're right; considering the elves of the Valaes Tairn are the meanest cavalry on the planet (even more Badass than the dinosaur-riding halflings of the Talenta Plains) it could also be filed under "played straight, with added violence".
    • In the Dark Sun setting, most elves were desert nomads. "Thieving, untrustworthy bastards" was a fairly accurate description of the stereotype.
    • Happens a lot in Forgotten Realms. Of course, elves did a lot in their time, but now... Not so much. Not surprising, as most elves there are at best noble-but-xenophobic savages and at worst bitter relics of a culture that fell past the decadence stage about a thousand years ago. Myth Drannor was their last attempt to take the situation under control that left fond memories to many non-elves -- most unsavory details being forgotten.
    • In the Dragon Mech campaign setting, the moon is breaking apart and smashing into the surface. This eradicates most of the world's forests, making elves a dying, displaced race. On the other hand, dwarves are arguably the dominant race.
    • The game designers actually pulled off this trope by dethroning elves from their presumed position, in many D&D settings, as the "oldest race" or "first civilization".
      • Forgotten Realms long ago had "Creator Races" - creatures who dominated Toril before the dragons (whose rule in turn was broken by elves). It's just that most of what remained of these is not to be mentioned after a sunset. Even to the elves. Even though the elves don't sleep. And the rest is comedy relief. Of course, this also means that most elves who still kid themselves are really bad at getting the drift.
      • Spelljammer is full of ancient artifacts (up to and including the eponymous Living Ship) enough that if Elves ever claim to be first in anything, well, that's mildly amusing.
      • The Lords Of Madness supplement. Sorry, elves, but that aboleth beat you to both those titles by several billion years.
      • The Elder Evils book does the same. Most of the Cosmic Horror level entities in the book are, well, Eldritch Abominations that have existed since before the dawn of history. Except Father Llymic. The suggested background for Father Llymic in the Forgotten Realms is that it's the elves' fault that he's there. Granted, they were the ones to seal him in a can, but still...
  • In Warhammer 40,000, it tends to be less Screw You Eldar and more "Brother Janus, xenos witch, Five Rounds Rapid". The only reasons the Imperium hasn't wiped out the Eldar yet are 1) being a race of psykers, the aliens can use their foresight to protect themselves, and 2) the last time the Imperium tried to attack a craftworld directly they took catastrophic losses, including an entire Space Marine chapter.
    • On the humans's side, this can cause problems between regular Imperial citizens and the Space Marines, with many of the latter having an arrogant contempt for the former. It's not just that the Adeptus Astartes are post-human combat monsters, they also exist outside of the normal Imperial military heirarchy and are often notoriously independent.
    • In their 3rd edition backstory, this was the response of the Necrontyr, a sickly and short-lived race, to the nigh-immortal Old Ones: insane, bitter jealousy that caused a war of such scope and horror that the Warp, as a reflection of mortal souls, was transformed into a realm of nightmares. As of 5th edition, the war was started because the Necrontyr's leader needed a common enemy to unite against.
  • Also present in Warhammer Fantasy, if not to such planet-shattering extremes. Though the realms of mankind have often found common cause with Elvenkind against the likes of Chaos, many human characters aren't bothered by the fact that the arrogant elves are on their way to extinction, and "then all that remains shall be left for Man."
    • The Dwarfs had their moment four thousand years ago with the War of Vengeance (not the War of the Beard) against the High Elves, resulting in the death of the elven king, the capture of the Phoenix Crown, and the elves' retreat from their Old World colonies. Shame the conflict also left the dwarfs with a Vestigial Empire...
  • Talislanta: "What elves?"
  • Magic: The Gathering has toyed with this over the years, with a "Goblins Vs. Elves" addition, choice quotes like "You don't live in forests, you burn them!", and most recently, Lorwyn block. Though initially, the elves are played up as pointy-eared nazis (that is, they feel that beauty is everything, and nobody uglier than them has any right to live. Oh, and everyone else is uglier than them.) who never get their comeuppance, when the followup, Shadowmoor came out, they are taken from ruling the idyllic, sunlit Lorwyn waited on hand and cloven foot (they had hooves), to fending for their very survival as the only non-malevolent race in the darkness of Shadowmoor, fighting off everything that thinks they look tasty (which is pretty much everything), and cutting their own hair.
  • Traveller: Vilani were more then a bit like this despite the fact that they were only Transplanted Humans. But then the Vilani met the Terrans. And the Terrans said Screw You, Elves by demonstrating certain cultural habits notable on Planet Terra. And after that no one ever said that Earth was an Insignificant Little Blue Planet ever again.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Some Elven NPCs in Baldur's Gate have the unfortunate tendency to come off as snobbish wankers, and the player (or, in his place, many of your party members) does indeed get the option of telling them where to stick it. The game does not punish you for this.
    • Irenicus actively refers to humans as vermin. The proper way to say "screw you" to that (should you be playing a human) is to stave in his skull with Crom Faeyr.
      • Of course, Irenicus also basically refers to everyone less powerful than himself as "insects". In this game without the expansion, "less powerful than Irenicus" would encompass everyone including Elminster.
      • And when you find out just how much the elves screwed up, you and some of your party members get to tell them where to stick it.
      • Despite being an elf himself, Xan is happy (or not) to remind other elves of how doomed they are. Of course, he has this attitude towards everyone and everything...
  • Jim Raynor from StarCraft doesn't hesitate to get up in the face of Protoss Judicator Aldaris, who's mocking his offer of help in the face of a Zerg invasion, pal.
    • Although that was slightly a case of I'm Standing Right Here.
    • Other Terrans generally respond by shooting them on sight or dropping tactical nuclear weapons on their heads. They're totally justified though: the initial response of the Protoss to the Zerg onslaught was to torch Terran planets without warning.
      • Understated. The manual states that the Protoss had hated the way Terrans lived and wanted to torch them already, only to be held back by their non-interference policies. Then when the Zerg arrived, they'd intentionally wait until the only way to remove them was to burn the entire world, so they could exterminate the Terrans with a semi-clean conscience. Only Tassadar seemed to have a serious problem with this course of action.
  • In Suikoden, the elves have the worst relations with other races precisely because people react the way real-life people would to their constant condescension. This comes back to bite them in the first game, where their lack of allies results in them finding out the hard way that they are definitely not better, especially not when a small elven settlement is being attacked by an entire empire, and doesn't accept outside help.
    • It's amazing how little superior magic, culture, and physical perfection will help when you live in a forest and someone has a giant mirror that can use the power of the sun to set things on fire from hundreds of miles away.
    • Suikoden IV brings more of the same with its own group of elves, who are constantly on the verge of war with the neighboring human village, mainly because of their own pretentious posturing. The only elf in the game who's not an arrogant prick is the one who was born outside the village due to her mother being exiled for an unspecified offense (which probably involved not being obnoxious enough to the humans).
    • Suikoden V has the elves of Alseid be very vocal about disliking the "barbarous humans", which is a shame since you can't even go there. There are instances, however, that show that they also fear the humans, like in the Furo Scene where Urda seems very intimidated by Cathari's gun.
    • Every game has at least one elf who either went to live among humans or at least has an open mind about them. Kirkis in Suikoden I was the only one among his tribe who figured out allying with the Liberation Army was the only way to prevent their impending fiery deaths, Paula in IV is noticeable as an elf just because of her ears, otherwise behaving as a perfectly normal if slightly solemn girl, and Isato of V serves the human Oracle partly in order to preserve his lands, and partly just out of pure loyalty. In general, the subplots involving elves always result in one of them calling out their own kin on the stupidity of their attitude.
  • There have been no less than five elves standing as Final Boss across The Elder Scrolls series.
    • Several of which have arrogant Hannibal Lectures beforehand.
    • Given that the main continent was ruled by the Ayleids, an elven people remembered for their decadence, cruelty, and arrogance, who were thoroughly overthrown and driven off by their human slaves,The Elder Scrolls has this trope as the cornerstone of its in-game history.
    • And now in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Aldmeri Dominion, governed by the Thalmor, has taken over Summerset Isles, Valenwood, Eleswyr, is in a stalemate in Hammerfell, and has a tenuous peace (with lots of strings they got to attach) with the remnants of the Empire (it's not really a lasting peace, everyone knows it's only an interbellum). You will feel the grueling urge to kill off Thalmor goon squads roving the roads in Skyrim because of their supreme hubris and arrogance. Even other elven races, and even many of their own race, the High Elves, have a strong antipathy towards them.
      • Take note: killing any NPC in any hold who didn't provoke the attack will slap you with a rather large one thousand septim bounty for murder. Any NPC, that is, save for Thalmor. You'll still get the forty septim bounty for assault, but killing a Thalmor NPC incurs zero bounty. You can even get around this by first provoking the Thalmor into attacking you, which prompts any nearby city guards into attacking them. That's right, brutally murdering half a dozen elves in front of the city guard gets you little more than a slap on the wrist (and even that can be tossed out if you're a thane). That goes to show just how much the Thalmor are hated in Skyrim.
      • Hell, go and kill Ondolemar, the Thalmor leader in Markarth and pay the 40 Septim bounty. Upon exiting the prison you'll receive 100 gold Septims (tax deductible) and a letter of Inheritance from the Jarl, which really feels like he's thanking you for getting rid of the asshole.
  • Dwarf Fortress. Dwarves generally don't like elves, due to their strongly differing views on various ethical topics like making trophies from kills and eating sentients; sometimes they'll end up on friendly terms during world generation, but war is pretty typical in most cases. Players do not like elves because said elves are often condescending or even rude ("A hairy drunkard has come hither to once more disrespect the sanctity of life, I see"), order dwarves to limit their tree-cutting (depending on the fortress' industries and climate, this can be anywhere from easily obeyed to utterly unreasonable), and generally bring subpar goods—occasionally mixed with something useful, like elephants and bears. Dwarves in worldgen say "screw you" by slaughtering elves in combat a hundred to one (elven armor and weapons are wooden, dwarves have steel), while players get very brutally creative in their methods.
    • It's actually suggested to be on rather poor relations with the Elves, at least in 40d. According to the Elves, bringing cloth is far more important than bringing exotic animals. If your relations were very good then you'd keep getting bins and bins full of cloth.
  • Interestingly, while Mass Effect provides a quote, the game as a whole averts this. True, some of the aliens are jerks (the face of the Turian Councilor comes to mind), but there are also plenty examples of really nice ones such as the asari Liara and the quarian Tali (even Joker and Navigator Pressly likes her). Like Kaidan said, the aliens are actually quite human once you know them. Even the krogans.
    • The asari kinda-sorta fit the trope, due to their immense age and wisdom, and are held in very high regard by virtually every other species (for a couple of reasons...). As the quote page shows, however, they're not perfect.
    • The biggest Screw You, Elves comments about the asari comes from one of their own: Matriarch Aethyta, aka the bartender at Illium's Eternity lounge. She had great advice, which could have kept humans from becoming the most powerful race in the galaxy, and they "laughed the blue off [her] ass." So now she serves drinks behind a bar. She's a little bitter.
    • Though Renegade!Shepard's "When you want a problem shot, call a Turian. When you want a problem talked to death, call an Asari. When you want a new problem, call a Salarian. When you want a problem fixed, call a human" counts. Ironically, it's so ridiculously racist that the asari you can say this to will invert this trope right back at you with a Screw You Humanity!
    • Possibly the most effective example of this trope in the entire series is Shepard leaving the Destiny Ascension, ten thousand people, and the Citadel Council to die so humanity can take control of the Citadel.
    • There's also the end of the Thessia mission in Mass Effect 3, where you discover the asari were hiding a Prothean beacon on the planet for thousands of years and effectively controlling the galaxy through the advanced technology that they got from it, something they made illegal under Citadel law when the Council was first established.
  • This has already happened in Dragon Age. Elves were formerly slaves and are still heavily discriminated against. The trope is basically inverted, since Elves are treated as the "low men" and humans as the "high men" of the setting. Playing an elf gives you numerous dialogue options on the lines of "Screw You, Human!"
    • Nonetheless, exactly because of that racial discrimination, elves also tend to act unnecessarily hostile towards humans, if not all that condescending. Especially the Dalish. While they may be justified and there is a fair amount of good people among them, it can still sometimes create the desire in a player to just introduce them to his greatsword or to have a pack of werewolves come over them and wipe them out, with Velanna of Awakening being a prime example of a Dalish Jerkass.
      • The Dalish arguably act worse toward their City Elf cousins, whom they frequently see as Straw Traitors. Even the nice ones tend to berate City Elves for not caring enough about their lost heritage or the plight of their people. As a result, the harshest "Screw You, Dalish!" burns in the series generally come from City Elves as opposed to humans, such as Fenris in Dragon Age 2:

Merrill: You've probably never met a Dalish before, have you?
Fenris: I wouldn't know.
Merrill: I'm sure you'd be able to tell. Dalish aren't much like the elves in the cities.
Fenris: The smug sense of superiority does give you away.

  • A memorable moment in Tales of Phantasia happens somewhat toward the end. The uppity elves have finally agreed to accept humans in their Hidden Elf Village, but not half-elves, because they still blamed them for the debacle with the Mana Cannon a bit over a century ago.[1] The elves claimed that the halfbreeds could not be trusted, since they possessed the power of elven magic but lacked the elven values to employ it responsibly. Cless then kindly tells them to shove it, as the whole reason halfbreeds had human values was that the elves kicked them out in the first place and they had no choice but to live among humans.
  • A recurring theme in the Overlord games. Elves, being one of the "good" races serve as hero antagonists to your Evil Overlord. They're usually not all that much better than humans, serving mostly as Snark Bait for Evil Chancellor Gnarl and are usually screwed over royally throughout the games. The first game has them being enslaved by the Dwarves (with an option to ensure their extinction by choosing to save a sack of gold over the last Elven women) and the second one has most of them being enslaved by The Empire, with the remaining free elves all a bunch of annoying hippies and you later commit a Moral Event Horizon towards them by poisoning the soul of Queen Fay with your dark power, driving her insane and making her a Fallen Hero.
  • In Homeworld: Cataclysm the protagonist captain viciously scolds the Bentusi, an ancient alien race, for an attempt to run away from a galactic threat instead of helping the Kushans to fight it. Note that he did it while they were decimating his fleet for hampering their escape. Admittedly, Bentusi were generally nice guys, not at all arrogant or condescending to Kushans. They were just VERY afraid of said galactic threat and the fear embittered them.
  • The Dragon Campaign in Legend of Dragoon, in which humans waged war against the Winglies who ruled over them, was essentially this.
  • This [dead link] World of Warcraft comic.
    • There's also a SWORD that does this to the Blood Elves in World of Warcraft. To elaborate there is a rare drop in the Icecrown Citadel instances that starts a long quest chain to reforge an old weapon given to the High Elves by the dragons. At one point you have to take the sword and submerge it in the sunwell, the Blood Elves' power source. After you do so, they assume you are returning the sword to them. Their leader tries to take it off you. Except the sword decides it likes you better and sends him flying. They're furious, even more so if you're a member of the Alliance. It doesn't play out this way if you're a blood elf, of course, in which case they're eager to assist you.
  • With all the crap that elves of Shadow Bane are responsible for (they made pacts with demons, worshiped the Beast Lords, and even waged war against the All-Father, slew the Archon of Peace with Shadowbane (when ended very badly for them), created the art of Necromancy, bread minotaurs from human slaves) it's pretty easy to understand why the Temple of the Cleansing Flame wants to burn them at the stake.
  • Deconstructed in Age of Wonders. In the first game, the elves are invaded by the humans for no real reason, and are chased out of their homelands. It takes the entire second game for them to redeem themselves. In the third game, The Empire, run by humans, accuses the elves of being responsible for the demonic invasion, and initiates a genocide. As if that was not enough, whenever you play as the elves, you can expect human enemies to invoke this trope, every now and then.
  • All over Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Specifically, there are the literal elves, and there are the Fae who better embody the trope the elves of most settings fill, they are immortal in only so much as they are always reborn to replay their unchanging role within the world where as mortals stay dead, thus with the surgance of mortals into the world an entire court of fae has gone crazy and tried to wipe all mortals out to bring things back to normalcy for themselves. The game is all about The Unchosen One being brought back to life and literally giving fate the middle finger, as you kill the shit out of the evil court of fae, and on one side quest early on, can even subvert the other court of fae's natural cycle of history just for the lulz.


Web Comics[edit | hide]

  • Thief from Eight Bit Theater is certainly pretentious enough. But all of the Light Warriors are jerks (except Fighter who's just really stupid, and possibly Red Mage as he veers into Cloudcuckoolander territory). And on this page, Thief's arrogance is gloriously shot down.
    • This strip also mocks Elven niceties, such as they are.
    • In fact, the 8-Bit Theatre setting in general: elves are all rampaging sociopaths.

The Dragon: You're an elf. Your history is a very long love poem dedicated to bloodshed. And to yourselves.

  • In Dumnestor's Heroes, one of the main characters is an elf who's been turned into a human. So far, he's been pretty useless to have around, and the other characters make fun of Our Elves Are Better to his face.
  • Jon from Errant Story has mocked back more than once. And come out and said as much (well, tried to, anyway) in this strip.
    • As well as killed several elves, one of them with a shot to the stomach.
    • And when the elves arrogantly suggest using Sara as an anti-Ian weapon because "That's what they (The Ensigerum) were created for.":
  • In Inverloch, one of the villains is trying to sever Elves from magic (which is also the source of their immortality) as revenge for them killing his father years before... and the second villain, a mage, helps the first one in what is essentially a genocide attempt because he thinks Elves are too arrogant to deserve life.
    • Not to mention the elves who were severed in the first place The severing causing them to age like humans and be unable to wield magic, most easily identified by their white hair and gold eyes were proven to have been born to elves who were strikingly bad examples of just how arrogant the elves had become, their children being born severed as a punishment to them, some of the worst cases of arrogance who were not born severed becoming so later in life. The elves thought the severing was a genetic thing, evidently, as they banished all severed elves (including children and newborns) from their cities, leaving them to make their way as best they could among humans or other severed, who evidently had their own community. This only made the problem much, much worse, as this was a clear sign that they were pretty much too arrogant at this point to be worth saving. The hero himself even gives a speech that's pretty much a Let Them Die to his companions after he finds out his father was killed by an elf who broke his word to help protect his people, the Da'kor, despite a deal they had made.
  • In Order of the Stick, many wizards fulfill the "elf" part of this trope. The fact that they had to study so hard to be able to manipulate the fabric of reality makes their arrogance somewhat justified, but in the Start of Darkness prequel book, Xykon tells Dorukan, and by extension every wizard that treated him like he was a complete moron, that all their finesse won't save them in the face of overwhelming power, and energy-drains him to death.
    • Similarly, he pretty much tells a corrupted Vaarsuvius that he earned his epic power, while V didn't.
    • Redcloak has it pretty much as his main motivation, wanting to tell all player races like humans or elves and espetially all paladins, exactly where they can stick their superiority and idea that they can kill goblinoids without consequences. On a planetary scale.
  • Done in The Meek with Emperor Luca deSadar and the Ambassadors from Caris in chapter two. Caris is implied to be very proud and considers the Northern Territories inferior. When the ambassador from Caris claims that the queen cannot and will not pay reparations for the acts of her father while he was king. Luca did not take it well...

Luca: With respect, ambassador. Your king alone did not uphold an entire country's institution of torture and murder against my people.

    • Then later he melts the other one's eyes. Turns out maybe your diplomatic position should be a little more accomodating when the other guy is backed by some crazy giant god-tiger.
    • Just to clarify things here, this is a world of Grey and Grey Morality. Luca is correct in that his people suffered greatly, but the men responsible for such atrocities are dead, and there is no evidence whatsoever that the current government of Caris had any involvement with those crimes (though that may change in the future).
  • In WIGU, seven-year-olds Wigu and Hugo reject the Elf Queen's prophecy and instead scare the poop out of the retarded Hillbilly Elves.
  • DM of the Rings: In Fire Safety, the players decide they've had enough of these stupid Elves and their stupid trees and stupid songs and stupid... dirt.


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • "Fifteen Elvish ways to die"
  • The punchline of this copy-pasta. It's also on the Colony Drop page.
  • This speech. From an Orc, no less.
  • In Tales of Ubernorden a whole bunch of elves die in "The Killing Field".
  • The dwarves from Bravemule, a Dwarf Fortress Let's Play, tend to refer to everything bad (or simply non-dwarven) as "elf", even though no real elf has shown up in the story so far.
  • A hearty disdain for elves (and gnomes, albeit for entirely different reasons) is one of the running themes in the WoW machinima Oxhorn Short Shorts, in which all elves are portrayed as stereotypical hippies.
  • /tg/ loves this trope (mainly because elves are common Mary Sue fodder).
    • Elfslayer Chronicles. DM was a fangirl who tried to pass as a campaign "Avatar with yaoi" so that the party could save elven peaceful tree-hugging Mary Suetopia from a war with kingdom of barbaric paranoidal humans, who of course are greedy and homophobic, and thus hostile to working class and bishie elves respectively - or was it the other way around?.. Strangely, the party split 4:1:1 against Sue Elves. Player Characters initially worked for the Straw Kingdom, and... Quoth the chronicler - "I ruined a yaoi fangirl's fanficgame in the name of political expediency." This was right after she was told that outright DM fiat is uncool, so the resulting struggle made this whole exercise actually interesting... and amusing.

 [in D&D4] Discern Lies exists, but it just gives a massive power bonus to one's Insight to detect untruths. [...] The Dwarf brothers spent their time telling outrageous lies to mess with the person casting Discern Lies. The Bard brother had insane Charisma, high Bluff, and would make up an outrageous story, the Fighter brother had Charisma 9ish (dump stat) and no Bluff, and would confirm it. First giving a positive, then a negative, on the truthfulness of their statements. Sometimes they'd switch off. Also, they wore identical clothing. Dwarves just love making Elves suffer.

Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • In ThunderCats (2011) A stockaded Lizard prisoner, Made a Slave for his thievery, defiantly bristles while explaining to young Prince Lion-O why he was scavenging the Cats' crops: They've little land and resources of their own, thanks to the Cats' expansionism and strongarming. They are habitually oppressed and enslaved by the Cats, scraping by while the Cats' kingdom of Thundera throws lavish feasts. The Cats even style themselves a Superior Species while engaging in Fantastic Racism.
    • Made a Crowning Moment of Awesome when Lion-O listens to him and gets his father to let the Lizardman and his friend go. So not only where the Elves called out, one was actually humble enough to pay attention.
    • Another wonderful moment of Screw You, Elves occurs later in the second episode of the series. The Thundercats rush towards an army of lizards, who are wielding traditional medieval weapons, just like the cats: swords, bows, arrows, etc. The cats are dominating the battlefield... until the lizards bring giant robots, grenades, and laser guns. Even lampshaded by a lizard, who claims "To go from superior race to endangered species in one day... how ironic."
  1. and, probably, the Cruxis/Desian problem 4,000 years before that