Created By: Twilord on December 5, 2011 Last Edited By: Arivne on September 1, 2013

Old World Immortal

Most immortals have an odd tendency to be from Europe.

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In fiction a large amount of character who are supposed to be unusually long lived and immortal characters who now inhibit American have a tendency to come from Europe.

At first glance this would seem make sense since America is generally regarded as a land built by migrants. However in some cases the characters are still 'young' enough to have been born and raised in America... which would have spared the audience many bad attempts at accents.

This may be explained by the large number of inhibitants of America who acknowledge themselves as being descended from some region of Europe, which they may unthinking see as almost mystical. Of course it could also be some bizzare form of wish fullfillment for them that someone who knew their great great grandmother in their early twenties would still be alive and kicking.

Ofcourse in more recent works it could be related to the fact that the various European races are the most reasonable ones to explain a lot of the prominent features in the appearance of American actors. Not to mention the fact that the countries in question are the cultures that American concepts are based off, which makes for both an easy handwave solution and makes it seem more probably they could stay hidden.

Of course it doesn't really count as this if the setting for the story is in a Europe country. This is more about the general prevalance of immortal characters from them when characters from virtually any continent would make about as much, if not more sense.


Anime and Manga
  • Toyed with in Mnemosyne, which centers on immortals living in Japan: despite all participants being Asian, the final showdown between the three oldest immortals in the world suddenly moves to a European(-ish) locale.
  • Blade the Anime series has all the pure-blooded vampires living in Europe.

Comic Books
  • The Shade in Starman is English.
  • Possibly Vandal Savage and the Immortal Man in DC Comics were both originally cavemen from Euroasia prehistory who got immortality from a meteorite.

Film
  • The various MacLeods in the Highlander franchise are Scottish.

Literature
  • Varney the Vampire drifts around Italy and England.
  • Anne Rice's vampires generally fall under this trope:
    • Lestat is French;
    • Thorne is Norse and his friend Marius is Roman.
  • Toyed with in the Necroscope series. The vamps are either Old Eastern Europe, or pretending to be them. This is because they vamps are alien fungi from another dimension and the doorway to that dimension is underneath Transylvania, so the first people they made contact with [read: enslaved or transformed] were Transylvania gypsies.

Live Action Television
  • Buffyverse
    • We have at least Angel, and Spike.
    • Averted with Darla, who despite having been sired from a British woman is 'born as a vampire' (so to speak) in America.
  • Sanctuary gives us Helen, John, James, Nikolas and Adam.
  • Forever Knight. Nick was a Welsh soldier before being brought across by LaCroix in 1228. LaCroix himself was a Roman general who was brought across by his daughter. Janette was a Parisian. Now they all live in Toronto.

Western Animation
  • Macbeth and Demona from Gargoyles are Scottish. Though Demona isn't human.
Community Feedback Replies: 29
  • December 5, 2011
    MorganWick
    I'm guessing this is a reboot of the "most immortals are from Britain/Ireland" YKTTW?
  • December 5, 2011
    Twilord
    Yeah, I kinda got distracted when one of my friends was in hospital and didn't react to the request for it to be changed to this more expansive version.
  • December 5, 2011
    Jallen
    Of course the Highlander example also has immortals from Africa, Egypt, China, Russia ...space. So subverted?

    Also Dracula is set in European countries so it wouldn't count according to your def.

    • Blade the Anime series has all the pure-blooded vampires living in Europe.

  • December 5, 2011
    Koveras
    • Mnemosyne centers on immortals living in Japan, but the final showdown between three oldest immortals in the world suddenly moves to a European(-ish) locale.
  • December 5, 2011
    Twilord
    Thanks Jallen. Was copying and pasting a bit much on the examples earlier.

    Koveras, where any of the immortals themselves European? If so what were their names?
  • December 5, 2011
    Koveras
    ^ Nope, they are all Japanese AFAIK. I just found it strange that the writers felt obliged to suddenly move the action to the Old World when the entire immortal society future was at stake, despite everything else having been consistently Far Eastern until now.
  • December 5, 2011
    Twilord
    That does seem like bizzarely hinting at this.
  • December 5, 2011
    Chabal2
    Dracula / Vlad Tepes is from Romania.
  • December 5, 2011
    Jallen
    ^ Which is in Europe, Eastern Europe granted, but if we're not going by the definition of "person born in country on the European plate" when we say Europe then what are the limitations?
  • December 5, 2011
    Twilord
    After a Google search the answer I recieved is that "the artificial boundary between the continents of Europe and Asia lies along the Ural Mountains south to the Ural River and the Caspian Sea and the along the Caucasus Mountains to the Black Sea".

    However my own way to have estimated it would have been that it is primarily determined by the county's (present) membership in, or being surrounded (to the extent of enclosement) by members of, the European Union.

    Also if people could please tell me what examples are wrong because I am not that familiar with alot of the works being mentioned by people. Its hard for me to fully determine some things.

    I also fully encourage others to edit the examples.
  • December 5, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Forever Knight: Nick was a Welsh soldier before being brought across by LaCroix in 1228. LaCroix himself was a Roman general who was brought across by his daughter. Janette was a Parisian. Now they all live in Toronto.
  • December 6, 2011
    CrypticMirror
    Toyed with in the Necroscope series. The vamps are either Old Eastern Europe, or pretending to be them. This is because they vamps are alien fungi from another dimension and the doorway to that dimension is underneath Transylvania, so the first people they made contact with [read: enslaved or transformed] were Transylvania gypsies.
  • December 6, 2011
    fulltimeD
    This might be stretching the expansion, but...

    Flint was born in Mesopotamia, now considered the ancient birthplace of western civilization. When encountered by the Enterprise crew he resembled an elderly Caucasian man.
  • December 6, 2011
    randomsurfer
    In DC Comics Vandal Savage and the Immortal Man were both originally cavemen from prehistory who got immortality from a meteorite. I'm not sure where they were from exactly, but somewhere in Eurasia.
  • December 8, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    This may be justified by the practice of periodically moving to another city and using a new identity to disguise that fact that they aren't physically aging. I think such arrangements were actually discussed in Forever Knight.
  • December 8, 2011
    SharleeD
    Averted on Dark Shadows, in which Barnabas was an American-born vampire who only sounded British due to his archaic accent.
  • December 8, 2011
    Tambov333
    Varney The Vampire is set in Europe as well.
  • July 14, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    Count Von Count, the vampire of Sesame Street is a stereotypical old world aristocratic vampire now living in Sesame Street.
  • July 14, 2013
    arromdee
    I would think Darla is not an aversion, since although a vampire is a separate entity in the Buffy series, the trope still applies as a trope because the vampire gets traits from a European.

    Also, I haven't seen Sesame Street since I was a kid, but I doubt the Count counts. "Wears Dracula's cape" doesn't mean "comes from Europe" and I doubt that a show like Sesame Street would give him an accent or other indicator of being European.

  • July 14, 2013
    Koveras
    Fixed the punctuation and wording the Mnemosyne example.
  • July 14, 2013
    chicagomel
    Most Highlander main characters. Richie in the series was the exception because he was so young. (This could go in films,series or both.)
  • July 14, 2013
    randomsurfer
    ^^^Count von Count has an accent strongly reminiscent of Bela Lugosi in Dracula.
  • July 15, 2013
    aurora369
    Averted with Raven, the immortal evil shaman from Deadlands, who is very definitely Native American.
  • July 17, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    Do we need to list aversions?
  • July 27, 2013
    CrypticMirror
    hats? comments?
  • July 27, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    About half of these examples need more context. The information value of "X is from country Y" is close to zero, not to mention cases like that "Sanctuary gives us Helen, John, James, Nikolas and Adam."
  • July 28, 2013
    DaibhidC
    In current DC continuity (as of The Return of Bruce Wayne), Vandal Savage is American; his Blood Tribe were the enemies of a tribe who were based about where Wayne Manor is today. (I'm not sure this is historically plausible, given that he's supposed to be a Cro-Magnon, but that's what it said.)
  • August 24, 2013
    PaulA
    ^ Though The Return of Bruce Wayne was before the New 52 reboot, so as far as I know it's up in the air again.
  • September 1, 2013
    Morgenthaler
    • John Amsterdam, the immortal main character in New Amsterdam is a Dutchman born Johan van der Zee in the Netherlands. Played with in that he didn't become immortal until he emigrated to the New World, and was bequeathed his endless lifespan by a group of Natives he saved.

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