Shrine to Self

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

There's people who are vain, and then there's people who are vain. The latter have such a depth of narcissism that they don't just keep a mirror handy, but fill their house floor to ceiling with mirrors, self portraits (expect a few nudes), statuary, awards (if any, no matter how minor) and sundry other them-centric paraphernalia. Any pictures will likely be exclusively of themselves, or with celebrities, royalty, and politicians. It's almost unheard of for a shrine to include family pictures.

Basically, they make their home a Shrine to Self. This varies in intensity and size, some might reserve a single (and perhaps even tastefully simple) room as a "Trophy Room", while others may make hallways, wings, or even museums to themselves. Villains don't just put it in their home, but like to plaster their equipment, vehicles and Mooks in Malevolent Mugshots.

A variant is the "shrine to a former glory", made by someone who realizes they're no longer famous and doesn't like their new situation. The White Dwarf Starlet will often fill her mansion this way. For extra tragedy, the mansion/museum will be in an advanced state of decay.

Characters encountering the shrine (or more likely, being led to it by the owner) will usually be stunned speechless, a fact their host will take to be awe rather than disbelief at their tackiness (though the onlooker might feel both to varying degrees). This serves not just as a way to characterize someone as self centered, but also as potentially having been (or still being) important, and may in fact endear them to audience/character if they play their narcissism in an affable rather than grating manner.

In the United States military and political realm an office wall with awards and pictures of the individual with famous or higher-ranking persons is known as an "I Love Me" wall. The etiquette is generally that your "I Love Me" Wall should be in a reasonably private location (like your house), not shoved into the face of all passers-by (unless you're on the Internet). In the extras on the Top Gun DVD, one of the military advisers opines that Viper's "I Love Me" wall in his house is unrealistic, because he has a wife and kids, which (in his opinion) tends to rapidly reduce the "I Love Me" Wall to an "I Love Me" corner, and finally to an "I Love Me" shoebox in the attic...

Compare Stalker Shrine, House of Broken Mirrors and Kitsch Collection. Often a Sub-Trope of Room Full of Crazy. Egopolis is basically a city or country-sized Shrine to Self.

The superhero/villain version of this is Superhero Trophy Shelf.

Examples of Shrine to Self include:

Comic Books

  • A mainstay in Archie Comics, particularly Reggie Mantle, as another example of his ego.


  • One patrician widow in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil had, in the words of another character, made her boudoir a shrine to herself.
  • The Incredibles. The walls of Bob Parr's home office are plastered with news articles and other memorabilia of his superhero alter ego. However, the emotion driving this wall isn't so much vanity as an aching nostalgia.
  • Georgette from Oliver and Company has a wall of her dog show awards and ribbons, topped by a giant oil portrait of her.
  • Norma Desmond in the movie Sunset Boulevard. Her entire house is a shrine to herself and her former movie career.
  • In The Big Lebowski, The Dude gets a guided tour of Jeffrey Lebowski's.
  • In the movie Ransom, Mel Gibson plays a rich airline owner with several magazine covers featuring himself (Business Week, etc.) on his wall. Later, the villain points to them and mocks him.
  • In The Paper Chase Professor Kingsfield's office in his house has one of these, with photos of him shaking hands with Presidents and other important people and the various legal and academic awards he's won.
  • In Back to The Future II, Biff's entire casino complex is a shrine to Biff, including a video about him playing at the entrance and a large painting of himself in his office.


  • In one of Tom Clancy's novels this is associated with upper-level bureaucrats. Awards and pictures of the individual with famous or higher-ranking persons. Known as an "I love me!" wall.
  • Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets decorates his office with (moving) pictures of himself. In the film version, he decorates his classroom in the same manner.
    • In the same book, the titular Chamber of Secrets built by Salazar Slytherin (and intended only for himself/his heirs) has a giant statue of... you guessed it, Salazar Slytherin! Just to lay it on thick, said statue has magical properties when you refer to Slytherin as "greatest of the Hogwarts Four".
    • 12 Grimmauld Place is prominently hung with the Black family tree, portraits, and the mounted heads of former house-elves, as a Shrine to Family.
  • The villain in the Dean Koontz novel, Dragon Tears, has a serious A God Am I complex. He had every wall in his house mirrored just to admire himself.
  • Ginger, the movie star in Moving Pictures, has saved every single poster she appears on and pinned them on her wall.
  • Miss Havisham's decaying mansion in Great Expectations. All the clocks are stopped at the moment that Compeyson betrayed her, she still wears her wedding dress as a grim reminder, and the dining room table remains set with the rotten wedding feast and cake. She proposes to have her body laid out there when she dies.

Live-Action TV

  • In volume 5 of Heroes Peter Petrelli's apartment is decorated only with newspaper clippings about the lives he has saved as a paramedic.
  • (probably) Samantha of Sex and the City commissioned a photographer to do a series of nudes of her while she's still "young and spry". When it isn't as fabtabulous as she wants, she lets herself go and buys a pizza... and when the delivery man compliments her legs (the nude was the picture facing the door) she perks up and tips him with a $20 bill.
  • Libby of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has her bedroom wall plastered with gold-framed glamour shots of herself, plus one photo of her grandma.
  • On Strangers with Candy, Flatpoint High is full of pictures of Principal Blackman, from paper towels to school jackets, and students can be seen working on art projects of him. At one point he has his secretary accompany him on the bongos while he makes an announcement, which we see being delivered from a classroom portrait with flashing eye-holes... to warn the students off joining a cult.
  • In the Doctor Who series three finale, when the Master has been ruling the world for a year, we see at least one giant statue of him, and Martha mentions he's had his face put on Mt. Rushmore.
  • One Monster of the Week in Reaper was a man who was so narcissistic that he ran a sperm donor clinic, and gave his own sperm to anyone requesting. The entire time he was on-screen, he was checking himself out in strategically placed mirrors. When off-screen, Sam and his friends were incredibly disturbed by the nude self portrait that the man was in progress with.

Professional Wrestling

  • Vince McMahon's office (well, the Kayfabe one, anyway), The Miz's trophy room in his house (shown during an episode of Cribs), and Michael Cole's "Cole Mine" (later it became the "Royal Cole Mine", after he was knighted as part of a storyline) are all prime examples.

Tabletop Games

  • In Traveller, Aslan warriors keep an "honors chest" of their deeds.

Video Games

  • In The Warriors video game, Chatterbox, the leader of the Hi-Hats, has a private gallery filled with self-portraits. They're all based on more famous works, the ugliest of which is a nude statue of him as a Christ figure, being crucified on a neon cross. When you discover the gallery, you're given the task of vandalizing it using a convenient supply of spray paint and sledgehammers.
  • Bowser's entire set of castles has this all over the place, from the huge paintings of himself on the walls, the endless rooms of statues of himself (some of which either breathe fire or shoot laser beams), his face in the wall decorations, his face on the front door, and even giant, fire breathing statues of himself that move around and try to blow up intruders.
  • Nemesis from Catacomb 3-D and its sequels likes to decorate the Catacombs of Despair with statues and paintings of himself before letting the hero in to battle his way through them. In Abyss, it seems the only purpose of both the Catacomb and Crypt of Nemesis (neither of which he lies or resides in) is to be shrines to him. In Catacomb Apocalypse, there are also depictions of him in a pharaoh's headdress. Some of these are enemies rather than decorations, and among the most dangerous in the game.
  • The whole mansion of Conroy Bumpus, in Sam and Max Hit the Road.
  • In Guild Wars, it's a way of gaining non-combat rewards in the sequel by adding titles, minipets, elite armour sets, etc. to the Hall of Monuments in the first game.
  • Caudecus's manor in Guild Wars 2 is explored in the living world episode "The Head of the Snake" and his personal quarters have prominent flattering portraits of himself and even a mirror on the ceiling above his bed, and a secret room only he knows about is covered with massive murals of his own face.

Countess Anise: Are you kidding me? The ego on this man.
Lady Valette Wi: This is his "inner sanctum". Every time he came back from here, he was slightly more unbalanced.
Canach: How do you think the conversation with he sculptor went when he ordered these? "I need at least six reliefs of my face. No, no, bigger. Like eight feet tall. Something that really captures my essence: a catastrophically misguided, swagger-sodden plague sore."

Web Original

  • A running gag in Eddsworld is Matt's self-obsession, keeping pictures of himself in his room and feeling hurt when reminded of getting old.
  • In The Nostalgia Chick's review of Transformers, "Michael Bay"'s shelf only has three movies on it, all of which were made by him.
  • RWBY: The focus of Jacques Schnee's personal office in his home is a large painting of himself when he was younger, hung prominently above and behind his desk. It is the single brightest object in the room, immediately draws the eye, and is the first thing someone entering the room sees.

Western Animation

  • In the Bitsy Bears one-shot pilot, the villain, Bramble, spends all of her days taking Polaroids of herself.
  • Squidward Tentacles in SpongeBob SquarePants has a shrine to himself in every room
    • And painted or sculpted all of them himself. He's his own favorite, and apparently only, artistic subject. Even when confronted with a perfectly sculpted statue, he says "You got the nose all wrong!" and slaps a clay copy of his nose onto the statue, then proclaims "Now it's art!"
  • In Storm Hawks, while briefly in charge of Cyclonia, Snipe had the walls and roof of the throne chamber covered end to end in murals of himself.
  • Zapp Brannigan's boudoir in Futurama is full of pictures of himself, including a portrait of himself in the same pose as Aaron Shinkler's famous painting of John F. Kennedy.
    • Said portrait was positioned right over his own bed, making it look like Zap was watching himself sleep...making the scene extra creepy...
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: Lucius' mansion is filled with portriats of himself.

Real Life