Created By: Twilord on November 28, 2011 Last Edited By: BooleanEarth on January 18, 2012

Old World Immortal

The tendency in fiction for characters who are immortal to have come from Europe

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
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 Great Britain. Those who aren't tend to be from Eire.

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 many weak accents.

This may be explained by the large number of inhibitants of America who acknowledge themselves as being descended from one of the two islands. It could easily be some bizzare form of wish fullfillment for them that someone who knew their great grandfather in their early twenties may still be alive and kicking.

Ofcourse in more recent works it could be related to the fact that the celtic and saxon 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 already speak English makes for both an easy handwave solution and makes it all the more impressive when the immortal in question knows a multitude of langauges due to their longevity.

Of course it doesn't really count as this if the setting for the story is on one of the islands. This is more about the general prevalance of immortal characters from them when characters from virtually any country would make about as much sense.


Live Action Television
  • From the Buffyverse we have atleast Angel, and Spike.
    • Averted with Darla, who despite having being sired from a British woman is 'born as a vampire' (so to speak) in America.
  • Sanctuary gives us Helen, John, James, and Adam.

Comic Books

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

Cartoon
  • Macbeth and Demona from Gargoyles are Scottish. Though Demona isn't human.
Community Feedback Replies: 30
  • November 28, 2011
    DaibhidC
    Comic books
  • November 28, 2011
    ladygem
    the various MacLeods in the Highlander franchise are Scottish.

  • November 28, 2011
    dyson88
    Macbeth and Demona from Gargoyles are Scottish, although Demona isn't human.
  • November 28, 2011
    Bisected8
    Just to point out; The Republic of Ireland has only existed for less than a century (being created in 1916, recognised in 1922 and not fully independant from the UK until 1949) so I doubt many immortals would come from there. Just "Ireland" or better yet "Eire" would probably be more accurate (and less political).
  • November 28, 2011
    ladygem
    I don't want to edit the main post for something pretty trivial, but Highlander was a movie before it was anything else, and using [ = text = ] (without the spaces) will get rid of the pesky red text.
  • November 28, 2011
    c0ry
    To incorporate examples from elsewhere in Europe and to simplify the name, I would suggest Old World Immortal as a title.
  • November 28, 2011
    PaulA
    I support "Old World Immortal".
  • November 28, 2011
    RainKrystal
    ^ Old World Immortal is a good name.
  • November 28, 2011
    lamoxlamae
    I also support the rename to Old World Immortal.

    Literature
    • Varney The Vampire drifts around Italy and England.
    • Dracula is Transylvanian, but takes to England extremely well.
    • Anne Rice's vampires generally fall under this trope
      • Lestat is French
      • Thorne is Norse and his friend Marius is Roman
      • Averted by Akasha and Enkil, the mother and father of vampire-kind: they are both African.
  • November 28, 2011
    Micah
    Darla first emigrated to the New World as a Muggle and was sired in Virginia, so she seems like a pretty questionable example to me.
  • November 29, 2011
    Twilord
    "Old World Immortal" is a great name int terms of convience, however I'd do want to make a point before expanding the scope. The reason I suggested this as a trope was because myself and a friend of mine (doing Na No Wri Mo) where specifically talking about how many immortals are from the islands in question. I could rework it to be more general, but does it not seem more 'proper' for that to be create as a new recommend trope? I'll glady give up on this and start that one (or let someone else, such as c0ry, start it).

    Also, good point Bisected8, I'll change it to Eire because that seem to encompass the most time. There is the other issue on the British half about beings predating the 'unification' of the United Kingdom though. Any thoughts on that side of things?

    Also fair point on Darla, Micah. I was thinking mostly about her fitting the impression though at the time of writing. Wondering now if it'd make more sense to remove her or just make a note about it. I suppose by the terms of Buffyverse vampirism that means Darla (the vampire) was 'born' in America regardless of the previous life of the Muggle who's body the demon took.
  • November 29, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    Hob Gadling from The Sandman was originally English.
  • November 29, 2011
    Falco
  • November 29, 2011
    Ekuran
  • November 29, 2011
    Falco
    "The Isles" doesn't bring to mind GB and Ireland for most people I bet...
  • November 29, 2011
    lamoxlamae
    @Twilord: I am all for expanding and keeping this post under the new name. If you try to keep them both, the English/Irish immortals thread becomes The Same But More Specific to Old World Immortal. It's going to have to be one or the other, and as a rule of thumb the more encompassing one always comes first as it can be divided later once the page has gotten mega huge.

    I'm saying to keep this thread as the working information can be easily expanded to the rest of Europe. In the USA where you live will generally determine where your european ancestors came from and which areas of Europe you tend to associate with more by extension because different areas were settled by different countries. Also, some countries get the "European mystique/refinement" thing. Transylvania, Romania, Italy and Norway all seem to be nailed by this in various forms and fashions.

    Also, once the trope takes off more (and it will as this is super common) you can always go back with your friend and count all the English/Irish examples. This gives you your information and we get a nifty trope on European Immortals.
  • November 30, 2011
    HumanaUox
    How about "Forever Live The King/Queen"?

    Since Doctor Who is British Telly, most Aliens Speaking English do so with British accents. This includes the Time Lords, who can live for thousands of years, providing they keep reincarnating.
  • November 30, 2011
    Bisected8
    I also support Old World Immortal.
  • November 30, 2011
    ZombieMonster
    I also support [Old World Immortal]. Also, you should add Carlisle Cullen from Twilight to the list.
  • November 30, 2011
    fulltimeD
    As an American, I get the "The Isles" reference. But I am not a typical American. Then again, neither are most tropers.
  • December 1, 2011
    fulltimeD
    Old World Immortal is good though, though I'd suggest expanding the trope to cover not just Anglophone old world countries but the whole old world itself. Like how all Vampires in True Blood seem to be European, though not exclusively Anglophone.
  • December 1, 2011
    Twilord
    Thanks lamoxlamae. Since I am new here I gladly will gladly conform to your superior understanding of how this place works. *Bows teasingly, but gratefully.*

    Though I didn't mean to imply before I needed the information, merely worrying about the nature of this being a specific subtrope (thats the word right?) of the one that should come first. I really want to help/contribute because I adore this site, but this is my first time attempting to do so.

    As a side note, thank you for taking the time to clarify for the newbie. I owe you one. Two if you wouldn't mind helping me with the process of reforming the piece. (I won't lie, I am still struggling to fully wrap my head around the processes involved here. Sorry.)
  • December 1, 2011
    Aidenn0
    It could be "If your immortal isn't English they're Celtic" since that's a less controversial divide than British/Irish. Old World Immortal works, but discounts the dominance of a certain archipelago in the source of immortals.
  • December 18, 2011
    PaulA
    Has the title of this thread always had "Immortal" misspelled and I only just noticed, or is that a recent change?
  • December 18, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    ^Recent change.
  • December 18, 2011
    Bisected8
    It seems that someone going by "morenohijazo" changed it....
  • December 18, 2011
    BooleanEarth
    Well, someone named Boolean Earth fixed it :)
  • January 17, 2012
    PaulA
    • War For The Oaks averts it to the extent that one of the elves who plays a significant role in the plot is stated to have been born in America. Most of the rest of the elves are immigrants from Europe (and born before America existed), however.
  • January 17, 2012
    chicagomel
    If we're going all Europe, all the main vampires from Forever Knight. Nick was from modern-day Belgium(Brabant),La Croix was Roman, and Janette was French.
  • January 18, 2012
    SharleeD
    • Subverted on Dark Shadows, in which Barnabas Collins sounds British but is actually colonial-era American.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=hcpx6l5lz9x9n7q9oa93hb71