Created By: Ekuran on October 8, 2011 Last Edited By: Ekuran on November 12, 2011
Troped

Supernatural Elite

The nobles, royals, and/or generally upper-class supernatural.

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Trope
Supernatural Royals, Supernatural Nobles, Supernatural Aristocracy, Authority Equals Magic, Magic Equals Authority, I Have Powers I Make The Rules.

The ruling class are monstrous/supernatural. The literal Blue Bloods, if you will.

This is nominally about supernatural creatures who have their own upper class (who are very likely to be more powerful than the lower-class supernaturals), but it can include characters who happen to be both supernatural and upper-class, characters who are supernatural because they're upper-class, or characters who are upper-class because they're supernatural. Due to the proud tradition of Asskicking Equals Authority and Authority Equals Asskicking, all four possibilities are likely to be true. Their lower-class subjects can be supernatural, "normal", or a mix of the two.

In some ways, the martial skills of feudal aristocracies (who were often the only skilled fighters at the time) could be compared to the supernatural skills of these elites. There's probably some element of Social Darwinism at work here.

Some ancient cultures believed this to be Truth in Television (or at least the subjects were supposed to believe that), e.g. concerning the Pharaoh of Egypt.

The Super Trope of Vampire Monarch, Demon Lords and Archdevils, Celestial Paragons and Archangels, and Hive Queen(s) may or not be an example, depending on how they control their underlings. Compare the Monster Lord, who is always part of this upper class. A Monster Knight may also be part of it.

Vampires Are Rich is a Sister Trope (if not a sub trope).

See also The Magocracy, The Necrocracy.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Bleach, all residents of Seireitei (lit: "The Court of Pure Souls") count as this. It's where all the privileged souls reside in the afterlife. That includes government officials, shinigami, nobles, vassals, peacekeeping forces, and others. Every other soul either resides in Rukongai (lit: "Wandering Soul City") or suffers a Fate Worse Than Death elsewhere.
  • In The Twelve Kingdoms, the elites are immortal, can speak any language, and the kings and queens are so strong that killing demons is child's play to them.

Literature
  • The Red and White Courts of vampires in The Dresden Files both appear to operate on an aristocracy-based system, particularly the Red, and the two Faerie Courts have monarchies and nobles.
  • This appears in the Deryni works, and King Kelson Haldane in particular holds that his arcane powers, which he distinguishes from those of Deryni in general, are a manifestation of divine favour, signifying his right to rule. He says as much during an archiepiscopal tribunal investigating Duncan McLain's marriage:
"Deryni are not the only ones to have this power, Bishop Arilan....We Haldanes can tell when a man is lying. It is a power of our sacred kingship."

Live-Action TV
  • Supernatural has the alphas, who are also the first of their kinds.
  • In True Blood, the vampires operate on a feudal system. A Vampire King/Queen claims a territory and appoints sheriffs to administer it for him/her. Usually the most powerful and/or oldest vampire becomes the monarch, however, the position can be reached if a vampire is politically connected with the Authority who seem to be a governing council above the monarchies.
  • Vampire Diaries has the Originals, who seem to be the original vampire family. They're the strongest vampires around and can compel lesser vampires to do their bidding. They cannot be killed with standard anti-vampire methods. They're mostly unknown among younger vampires since the Original Klaus hunted down the rest of his family and put them into a suspended state.
  • Doctor Who, "State of Decay." The Three Who Rule are vampires, feeding off the peasants whom they rule.
  • Angel: in the rushed series finale Angel et al. go up against the Circle of the Black Thorn, who are supernatural rulers/elite.

Video Games
  • In Darkstalkers, the house of Aensland is the ruling family for all of Makai.
  • Nippon Ichi games have this to varying degrees in their games. Laharl is a prince, generally respected within his castle. Zetta, who has to regain the kingdom he accidentally destroyed, earns varying levels of respect and obedience from his vassals. None of which from vegetables, who thought they were an autonomous collective.
  • In the obscure PS2-game [[Deception Kagero: Deception 2, humans are basically second-class to a nobility consisting of 'Timenoids' - blue-skinned immortals. As the player, you are initially a slave to the Timenoids, but eventually, you must decide whether to help them brutally suppress an emerging human uprising, help La Résistance destroy the Timenoid elite, or just Kill 'em All.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 42
  • October 8, 2011
    cityofmist
    The Red and White Courts of vampires in The Dresden Files both appear to operate on an aristocracy-based system, particularly the Red, and the two Faerie Courts have monarchies.
  • October 8, 2011
    KingZeal
    • Bleach: All residents of Seireitei (lit: "The Court of Pure Souls") count as this. It's where all the privileged souls reside in the afterlife. That includes government officials, shinigami, nobles, vassals, peacekeeping forces, and others. Every other soul either resides in Rukongai (lit: "Wandering Soul City") or suffers a Fate Worse Than Death elsewhere.
  • October 8, 2011
    wanderlustwarrior
    • Supernatural has the alphas, who are also the first of their kinds.

    • In Darkstalkers, the house of Aensland is the ruling family for all of Makai.

    • Nippon Ichi games have this to varying degrees in their games. Laharl is a prince, generally respected within his castle. Zetta, who has to regain the kingdom he accidentally destroyed, earns varying levels of respect and obedience from his vassals. None of which from vegetables, who thought they were an autonomous collective.
  • October 8, 2011
    Damr1990
    Supertrope of Vampire Monarch, may or not be the Hive Queen depening on how they control their underlings
  • October 8, 2011
    nielas
    • In True Blood the vampires operated on a feudal system. A Vampire King/Queen claims a territory and appoints sheriffs to administer it for him/her. Usually the most powerful and/or oldest vampire becomes the monarch however, the position can be reached if a vampire is politically connected with the Authority who seem to be a governing council above the monarchies.
    • Vampire Diaries has the Originals who seem to be the original vampire family. They are the strongest vampires around and can compel lesser vampires to do their bidding. They cannot be killed with standard anti-vampire methods. They are mostly unknown among younger vampires since the Original Klaus hunted down the rest of his family and put them into a suspended state

  • October 9, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    Is this strictly vampires and such? If not, may I suggest this appears in the Deryni works? King Kelson Haldane in particular holds that his arcane powers, which he distinguishes from those of Deryni in general, are a manifestation of divine favour, signifying his right to rule. He says as much during an archepiscopal tribunal investigating Duncan McLain's marriage:
    "Deryni are not the only ones to have this power, Bishop Arilan....We Haldanes can tell when a man is lying. It is a power of our sacred kingship."
  • October 9, 2011
    MoG2
    This sounds like "everyone in the upper class IS supernatural".
  • October 9, 2011
    Damr1990
  • October 9, 2011
    dalek955
  • October 9, 2011
    PaulA
    The examples so far seem to be confused about whether the trope is "supernatural creatures have their own upper class", "characters who happen to be both supernatural and upper-class", "characters who are supernatural because they're upper-class", or "characters who are upper-class because they're supernatural".

    Could we have a clarification?
  • October 10, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    ^ I think these things are intertwined, in the tradition of Asskicking Equals Authority and Authority Equals Asskicking. People who have power do the ruling. Of course this can have Unfortunate Implications; the Festillic kings and some of their nobility thought themselves more human than ordinary humans and exercised a tyrannical sway over Gwynedd.

    This trope's description definitely needs a thorough revision.
  • October 10, 2011
    Ekuran
    ^^It was originally meant for "supernatural creatures who have their own upper class", but I can see Trope Decay coming in a mile away if we keep it like that, so I'll expand it to include your ideas on what this meant.
  • October 10, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    Thanks, I'm flattered.

    Of course, it does seem a bit unlikely that supernaturally powerful beings would take to democracy. Power corrupts and all that.
  • October 10, 2011
    LobsterMagnus
    The trope description should perhaps mention that some ancient cultures believed this to be Truth In Television (or at least the subjects were supposed to believe that), e.g. concerning the Pharao of Egypt.
  • October 10, 2011
    Damr1990
  • October 11, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    ^ Very true.
  • October 11, 2011
    Tiiba
    In The Twelve Kingdoms, the elites are immortal, can speak any language, and the kings and queens are so strong that killing demons is child's play to them.
  • October 13, 2011
    Mozgwsloiku
  • October 13, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    ^ Yes, and/or Magic Equals Authority. The Festils and many of their courtiers certainly felt that way; Imre and Ariella were shown displaying their auras openly at a court function. Voldemort and his Death Eaters felt the same regarding muggles and muggle-born wizards/witches.
  • October 13, 2011
    TechUnadept
    See also The Magocracy
  • October 14, 2011
    surgoshan
    Why not Magic Elite Muggle Underclass if you want to differentiate that the elite have magic powers and the norms don't.
  • October 15, 2011
    Ekuran
    Because it's both that and it's about the ruling members of a supernatural race who may all have magic.
  • October 15, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Angel: in the rushed finale Angel et al. go up against the Circle of the Black Thorn, who are rulers/elite of the supernatural world.
  • October 15, 2011
    SomeSortOfTroper
    ^^ Well those are, pretty strongly, different tropes. "supernatural creatures tend towards old world feudal structures" =/= "in a society, the supernatural beings rules as the aristocracy".
  • October 15, 2011
    Ekuran
    It's about rulers who are supernatural, regardless of the subjects being supernatural or not. I originally pegged this down as the supernatural rulers of a supernatural race, but then I thought these elites could rule a mix of "normals" and supernaturals, or just "normals". If I left it as is, this would probably fall into Trope Decay, and the concepts are interrelated enough that I think they only need to be Internal Sub Tropes rather than full-fledged tropes themselves.
  • October 15, 2011
    bradpara
    What would you say about a Science Fiction version of this where the Ruling elite are transhumans blessed with cybernetics, genetic modifcations, nanotechnology, psionics or some combination of the above.
  • October 15, 2011
    Ekuran
    That...could be a Sci-Fi counterpart.

    Huh. I thought we had a trope for something like that. It just reeks of the common Cyber Punk Aesop about the dangers of sucking less.
  • October 15, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    This could be a supertrope, with splits under it. That said, I think it's often difficult to say which came first, in a chicken-and-egg way.
  • October 15, 2011
    RavenWilder
    How about we keep the description simple: the ruling class in a society (human or otherwise) has access to supernatural powers that most of the population do not? The way it's worded now is kinda confusing.
  • October 16, 2011
    Ekuran
    Most of the population could be supernatural (that was the original meaning of this trope), supernaturalless, or a mix. All that matters is that supernaturals are in or completely make up the upper-class.
  • October 16, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Doctor Who, "State of Decay." The Three Who Rule are vampires, feeding off the peasants whom they rule.
  • October 17, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    I think we might draw a link between the martial skills of feudal aristocracies and the supernatural skills of these elites; they do seem analogous in these situations. It needn't be much, just a phrase or a single sentence.
  • October 19, 2011
    SomeSortOfTroper
    Look the fact is that something like The Magocracy is nothing like the vampire courts in The Dresden Files. There's a different story telling role or thematic device. What you say you started with...that's not a trope to me. You've added a couple of concepts together "supernatural + aristocracy" but that doesn't make a new trope.

    I can imagine a trope about portraying the supernatural world as using old class or feudal systems which the writer uses because they are meant to be rather ancient or dog-eats-dog in their politics. That's different from "the supers get to rule".
  • October 20, 2011
    Ekuran
    ^(Supernatural) power equals authority. Or, I Have Supernatural Powers, Therefore I Get To Make The Rules.
  • October 20, 2011
    MiinU

    Western animation

  • October 21, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    ^^Yes, exactly. This describes that group of people and functions as a supertrope to The Magocracy and The Necrocracy.
  • October 23, 2011
    SomeSortOfTroper
    Shorten it a bit: I Have Powers, I Make The Rules.
  • October 23, 2011
    MiinU
    @Ekuran - recommend edit for Avatar example, redirect to Red Baron for Iroh's ephitet.

    ^^^see above.
  • October 23, 2011
    Afrael
    Not sure if related, but Darkover might have this (see also the Magocracy entry there).
  • October 26, 2011
    BlackDragon
    In the obscure PS 2-game Kagero: Deception 2, humans are basically second-class to a nobility consisting of 'Timenoids' - blue-skinned immortals. As the player, you are initially a slave to the Timenoids, but eventually, you must decide whether to help them brutally suppress an emerging human uprising, help La Resistance destroy the Timenoid elite, or just Kill Em All.
  • October 26, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Vampires Are Rich is a Sister Trope (if not a sub trope).
  • October 31, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    I think this one is Ready For Launch.
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