The Proud Elite

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

This man is of elite status, often due to heritage, wealth, or both. Most people are willing to bend over backward to please him. He is tall, fit, and good looking. He carries himself with elegance and acts with sophistication. He is highly intelligent and quite competent at his pursuits. And he knows all this.

He treats almost everyone around him with a thin veneer of polite disdain, coming off as cold, arrogant, and uncaring. He values rationality and logic and cares little for people and emotions. Kindness is beneath him.

At least on the outside. While some Proud Elites are truly that cold, hard-hearted, and arrogant, with no redeeming features, most Proud Elites have a carefully hidden warmer, kinder side. Their gentler, nicer side will generally only come out around certain people or in situations where they can pretend a disinterested or self-serving rationale for their kind actions. Occasionally, a Proud Elite is not deliberately maintaining his cold, arrogant outer persona; he unintentionally comes off that way, generally due to shyness or some other form of social awkwardness.

This character type, when set up as a romantic interest, generally appeals to the All Girls Want Bad Boys idea, in that the Proud Elite appears "bad" in his aloof arrogance, but generally has a warm heart underneath which allows him to fall in love.

Frequently used in Japanese works, although by no means exclusive to them. Japanese examples will frequently be Bishonen.

Often overlaps with Tall, Dark and Handsome, Byronic Hero, Jerk with a Heart of Gold, Magnificent Bastard, Insufferable Genius, and Tall, Dark and Snarky. Compare the Ice Queen.

Examples of The Proud Elite include:

Anime and Manga

  • Bleach
    • Kuchiki Byakuya is a noble and a Captain, and he comes across as cold and arrogant. However, he has a deeply engrained sense of honor and cares passionately for those few people who make their way into his heart.
    • Ishida Uryuu is the last Quincy, the number one student in his class, and very proud of both. That pride plus his unwillingness to appear soft can make him difficult to get along with, and although he often pretends he cares little for the rest of his group, he has always come through for them.
  • In Ouran High School Host Club, Ootori Kyoya is the brain behind the Host Club. He acts as though he cares only about the bottom line and what will benefit himself, as he feels befits the third son of the Ootori family, but he has been shown to have a well-hidden altruistic streak.
  • Sebastian Michaelis from Black Butler is a suave but aloof demon currently posing as the butler to the Earl Phantomhive. He is quite intelligent and there is very little he cannot do. Being a demon, he is one of the few examples who don't have a warmer side; he truly does care nothing for humans beyond their use as tools and food.
  • Kaoru from Virgin Love is known for two things at work: his unfriendly, brutally honest behaviour and for being extremely Bishonen. He starts to defrost a little by the end of the first story.
  • Death Note: Namikawa Reigi, the member of the Yoshuba Group who Light initially contacts, is cold, calculating, and very intelligent. He's at the top of the business world and keeps everyone around him at a reserved distance.

Comic Books

  • Batman: Bruce Wayne is handsome, and, while charming, tries to be aloof enough that he makes people think he's a bit arrogant. However, when he catches criminals as Batman, he'll get them jobs at Wayne Enterprises. Even the Ventriloquist got a second chance once on an episode of New Batman Adventures.

Fan Works


  • Mr Darcy from Pride and Prejudice is perceived as extremely arrogant and completely uncaring of those around him, to the point that even those who acknowledge his good looks and wealth dismiss him as someone not worth getting to know. However, this impression is unintentional, and he is, in actuality, a morally upright, deeply caring man who is very socially awkward, and a tiny bit of a snob.
  • A female example: Isabelle from Mortal Instruments, who has Raven Hair, Ivory Skin, is extremely cold and proud, and actively partakes in Shadowhunters' Fantastic Racism. She defrosts rather quickly, though.
  • Ian Kabra from The 39 Clues fits this trope perfectly. He's dark, described in the books as being very good-looking, and is extremely full of himself. He starts off pretty evil, but turns out to have hidden morals.

Live-Action TV

  • Simon Tam in Firefly when you first meet him looks like the spitting image of a proud elite. Of course he is an elite, and well, proud of it. But he also genuinely cares for people especially his sister. Moreover much of his demeanor is natural introversion rather then arrogance per se, a lot is from awkwardness in strange surroundings, and much is a rather inexperienced fugitive's idea of proper tradecraft.
  • Major Edrington in the Horatio Hornblower series is a reserved and stiff man and behaves in a stoical and almost mechanical way around all people whatever their rank. Part of this is diplomacy as he is forced to endure having a militarily incompetent sadist as an French Royalist ally. The closest he comes to telling him what he really thinks is when he observes that he is glad he wasn't born a commoner-while not mentioning that he is especially glad he is not ruled over by the Royalist officer.

Video Games

Web Original

  • Jacques Schnee of RWBY.