"You have chosen... wisely."
Greetings, Adventurers! Welcome to the Archive of Backstory and Plot Advancement! Who am I? Why, I am the Ancient Keeper
, and I take care of the place. It is my job to dust the bookshelves, change the lightbulbs, polish the Lost Technology
, and provide doddering, yet helpful exposition to any and all heroes who happen to stumble within my realm of influence. Want to find the way to the next plot point? I can point you there. Want to discover the true nature of the Government Conspiracy
threatening mankind? You'll find that information in that red book on the back shelf three rows down. Want to know the secret past of the hero's father? Look in that pile of dusty, rolled up scrolls over there. Want a copy of the blueprints containing the schematics to the villain's Unstoppable Superweapon? I have that on microfiche. Just walk this way and I'll show it to you.
Oh, before I do so, as an Ancient Keeper
, I am contractually required to ask you if you'd like to have a spot of tea with me, and then wistfully remark about how extremely lonely I am
, not having seen a single living soul for several centuries
now. How do I manage to look so good despite my advanced age
? Well, it's easy when one is an android
/ Living Relic
designed to fulfill viewer's expectations
of what an Ancient Keeper of Knowledge should look like. Also, Purpose Driven Immortality is
part of the standard benefits package. Now if you would, walk this way...mind the creaking floorboards and that stack of stone tablets with the glowing cuneiform on it......
Huh? What's that? You say I look kind of creepy and you wonder if I can be trusted? I assure you, my good man, the information I reveal to you is not only entirely accurate, but extremely helpful. I am required to provide equal assistance to all visitors regardless of importance or heroic status, even if I AM in the employ of the Big Bad
. Which I may or may not be. Also, I assure you, I do not have my own agenda and would not harm you in any way. Now if you'll just finish drinking your tea—which I assure you has not been poisoned
—I'll show you the way to the Ancient Planetarium which will reveal to you the solar system where the parts to the series' Magical MacGuffin
Oh, and please don't walk so close behind me. You're stepping on the hem of my impractically long robes. (My kind always
seems to be wearing impractically long robes.) I may just be an android with limitless time on my hands, but even I
hate having to scrub shoeprints out of my clothing...
You say the Ancient Order of Protectors
and the Threshold Guardians
tried to kill you on the way in? Well, my, my, isn't that something
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 footware.
- 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 Logans 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 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 puts this into an entirely new level by combining this 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 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, two 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 expositing 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 Urn 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, waiting for the right person to come to it. You have the option of either doing what he wishes or siding with Kolgrim's dragon cult and defiling the urn by pouring dragon blood into it. This will prompt him to attack you.
- 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 expositing about Terra to the heroes.
- 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 2 examples of this. Sensei from the Yammanuchi School keeps the secrets of Mystical Monkey Power and the Lotus Blade, and Monkey Fist has a keeper for his mansion, and 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 protecter 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 princess of Domino/Sparx.