open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Slayers NEXT has Auntie Aqua, a wizened old lady and avatar of the Water Dragon King who guards the secrets of the Clair Bible.
- Lilith from Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito.
- At the end of the first season of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Aoi, AKA The Laughing Man, turns down Aramaki's offer to join Section 9 so he can remain sort of one of these for a massive, mainly automated library, that still keeps printed books. Given his age and the advanced medicine of time, he could quite likely stay in that position for well over a century, if he wanted.
- In Magi-Nation, the Orothean (uh, he's a merman) Blu guards the Archive, just as his father did, and his father before him, and so on until, apparently, the beginning of time.
- In the video game, the main character comes and opens up Blu's Archive and discovers a pair of magic boots. Needless to say, Blu was pretty disappointed to learn his family spent ten generations guarding footwear.
- The Keeper of Primus in Marvel's The Transformers comic series.
- The Nuptialverse has the appropriately-titled Keeper, an ancient Alicorn tasked with recording everything that's ever happened, ever. She's so old, she doesn't even remember her real name or where she came from.
- Queen of All Oni has Nameless, a giant feathered serpent who's watched over the evils sealed in the Vault of Endless Night under Mexico City since before the conquistadors arrived.
- Diaries of a Madman has one in Athena, who guards a vast collection of the world's knowledge in her library within a Portal Book.
- The Contractually Obligated Chaos series has the Fairy Godfather, an extremely old ghost with Inexplicably Awesome powers who is also the keeper of a lot of ancient knowledge. He even has the lost pages of the Voynich Manuscript and can read the weird writing in them.
- In the film version of Ĉon Flux, an Ancient Keeper guards the DNA archive floating above the city.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 example, from the episode Space Mutiny. The heroes stumble into the villain's headquarters and discover the creepy, Roddy MacDowell-like old man who guards the people whom Kalgan has put "on ice."
- Box from the film version of Logan's Run. He doesn't so much help visitors though as much as freeze them and turn them into foodstuffs. He's long since forgotten for whom the food was intended. Obviously.
- The old Crusader in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: "You have chosen...wisely."
- Vox 114 of the remake of The Time Machine might qualify.
- Aughra serves this purpose to some extent in The Dark Crystal.
- The Guardian of the Dragon in the Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Mechanicum.
- Isaac, the guardian of the cemetery of forgotten books, in The Shadow Of The Wind and The Angel's Game
- In The Sword of Truth, there are a few of these scattered around the world, often by the wizards from the Great War. The Dream Caster's Wise Man (a hereditary position) and his last-second replacement; (his granddaughter, slightly averting this trope) are a good example: they keep one of the "Central Sites", a scattering of library/bomb-shelter/safehouse/crypt things.
- The Blademasters in the Old World are an unusually not-frail example. They qualify because they kept the keys to the knowledge of how to unlock the titular Sword of Truth's "memory", allowing the user to Take a Level in Badass from the acquired skills of previous users, the knowledge of how to enter the Dance Of Death, and the history to allow Richard to break through the Barrier between the Old World and the New.
- Midnight from Warrior Cats is a helpful badger who can speak in cat language. She seems to have an infinite amount of knowledge, and she always shows up to inform the heroes of the next plot point. Also, she's been around since the dawn of time.
Live Action TV
- Perhaps the creepiest example occurs in the Twilight Zone episode "Elegy." Three marooned astronauts stumble upon a world where people seem frozen in time. An Ancient Keeper shows up and reveals that it's actually a giant cemetery. He then takes pains to ensure that the three astronauts become its next occupants.
- The librarian Mr. Atoz in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "All Our Yesterdays". He offered to help the Enterprise landing party go back in time the way the rest of the planetary population had. (Note: "Atoz" was a joking reference to "A to Z", a logical name for a librarian.)
- The creators of Battlestar Galactica suggest that Brother Cavil resembles this trope, especially during "Rapture" where he's prepared to kill D'Anna, and later box her entire line, in order to preserve the identities of the Final Five. We later discover that this is literally true in "No Exit".
- Merlin has the Fisher King himself being the keeper in his castle, and asking for a Mercy Kill when he has transmitted his knowledge.
- "Frozen Rainbow" by Saxon is about a man who guards the eponymous frozen rainbow which holds the power of life. He will have to do that for a while longer, since according to the song's last verse, "The secret of the rainbow will never be revealed."
- 343 Guilty Spark from Halo. OK, he is trying to harm you (along with the rest of the galaxy), but he's in line with the other bits of this trope.
- In all fairness, he assumed you knew what you were doing the first time, and after that he's just following what he's programmed to do... up until the third game, anyway.
- HarmoKnight takes the Ancient Keeper trope Up to Eleven by combining it with Living MacGuffin, Royal Blood, and Damsel in Distress. Princess Ariana is all four. She is the only one who knows all about the magic staff, so the 4 heroes are trying to reach her as fast as they can, but then she gets kidnapped by the Big Bad, who was also after her.
- Knights of the Old Republic loved this. There are no less than four of these in the game: a droid, a hologram, a sentient AI, and a tribe of living Precursors.
- Bioware in general likes the trope. There's also the Prothean VI, Vigil, in Mass Effect, and the Guardian of the Sacred Ashes in Dragon Age: Origins - the latter owing more than a little inspiration to the old Crusader in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
- KOTOR's sort-of sequel Star Wars: The Old Republic has legions of these. Good luck bumping into less than a half dozen, especially in certain class stories.
- Ergo from Anarchy Online manages this despite for all the world looking like a floating head and nothing more. Mind you, that's just the local interface for a massive computer network spanning the entire dimensional region you're in and who is also well over 30,000 years old.
- Impa and Sheik in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time are somewhat ancient keepers. Impa is first met as a kid, explaining she is of the Sheikah race, a race dedicated to serving the royal family. She informs you of Kakariko Village and Death Mountain, as well as teaching you Zelda's Lullaby, an ancient royal family song, before disappearing with use of a Deku Nut. Ironically, Sheik later does almost exactly the same, being a Sheikah who informs Link of the ancient temples, before vanishing with a Deku Nut.
- Chrono Trigger: The three gurus—they were Zeal's advisers, and inadvertently became Ancient Keepers when they got time-displaced.
- Dark Souls has Frampt and Kaathe, the two primordial serpents. They're ancient beings that are very knowledgeable on the world's ancient history, who guide the player on two different paths regarding the fate of the First Flame. That said, their trustworthiness is very suspect.
- Analogue: A Hate Story has the AIs *Hyun-ae and *Mute who assist you in accessing the logs of the ancient generation ship. Having experienced the ship's final days firsthand, they can also provide further clarification on the information contained in the logs - although being of opposite viewpoints regarding the ship's feudalistic patriarchal society, their interpretations can vary wildly from one another. Especially given that *Hyun-ae is actually a memory imprint of a Fish Out of Temporal Water girl who snapped and switched off the ship's life support systems - *Mute knows what she did and hates her for it, but she becomes sympathetic to her if you can show her what drove her over the edge.
- With the minor quirk of being a stationary computer and not an android, and the fact that you have to get back stolen memory crystals to repair him before you can actually talk to him, the Oracle/ Melian in Might and Magic VI fits quite well, as a really ancient being who provides key plot-advancing information. He actually mentions that he'd prefer a bit more active a role (he is definitely not on the side of the bad guys), but the damage caused by his memory crystals being stolen means he's for the time being limited to providing information and access to a (very dangerous) place where the heroes can find tools they'll need for the final battle.
- The Guardian of the Temple of Sacred Ashes in Dragon Age: Origins was one of Andraste's first followers, and thus, incredibly old. He acts as the protector of the urn, allowing only truly humble and penitent worshipers to visit it. The Warden is the first potential one in centuries. If the Warden completes the trials of the Gauntlet, they can approach the Urn containing the ashes of the prophet Andraste. However, the Guardian will attack the Warden if they defile it with dragon's blood per the wishes of the Ax-Crazy dragon cult.
- The Inquisitor meets Ancient Keepers of a different sort in Dragon Age: Inquisition when they visit the Temple of Mythal, which is guarded by incredibly old elves who protect the temple and its Well of Sorrows from all who would take it for themselves.
- Garland in Final Fantasy IX. He's the ancient Artificial Human caretaker of the planet Terra, whose original inhabitants died out after creating him to ensure their souls would be reborn on another planet. He's a bit more active in the plot than most examples, but his on-screen actions are mostly limited to providing exposition about Terra to the heroes.
- The Greybeards, Arngeir in particular, serve this role for the Dragonborn in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. To varying extents, Esbern of the Blades and Kodlak Whitemane of the Companions are also contenders for this trope.
- Phix in Wapsi Square, keeper of the Bibliothiki (a kind of archetypal library presumably containing every book ever written) is a female sphinx.
- In Rice Boy, there was an unnamed six-armed guy in the library of Seen. He pretty much lived in the library, and was almost done reading every book there.
- The Arachnaseus from Sluggy Freelance's "That Which Redeems" arc fills this role.
- The desert library in Avatar: The Last Airbender has a huge Spirit Owl as its keeper.
- Frostbite in Danny Phantom where he keeps the ancient Infi-Map.
- Kim Possible has two examples of this. Sensei from the Yammanuchi School keeps the secrets of Mystical Monkey Power and the Lotus Blade. Monkey Fist has a keeper for his mansion, who deals with similar secrets as Sensei.
- Dungeonmaster from the animated Dungeons and Dragons.
- Kuzco and Malina run into the Royal Chalice Keeper in the The Emperor's New School who has apparently been guarding a bunch of chalices (including a very important one) for a thousand years. He's very deprived of human interaction and is quite stumped when Kuzco (somehow) beats his "Choose wisely" on the first pick...
- Malina: "We've got to find the Chalice of Eternal Power!"Royal Chalice Keeper: "Very well... 'tis one of these!" *displays entire table filled with chalices*Kuzco: "Yeah, thanks for narrowing it down."Royal Chalice Keeper: "Take your time and choose wisely..."Kuzco: *picks up the chalice right in front of him after thinking for half a second* "Gooot it! Let's go." *''leaves*Royal Chalice Keeper: "Wait! You didn't take your time! Come back! Please don't leave me... my next coffee break isn't until October."
- Daphne/Dafne from Winx Club, Bloom's dead sister, a nymph and protector of the Dragon Fire, appears to Bloom in her dreams, speaking to her about discovering her past and telling her about her trials and that she's a princess of Domino/Sparx.