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Gentleman and a Scholar
"A-ha! A place of learning and culture!"
Sometimes, the only smart people
in a work are TV geniuses
, absent-minded professors
, insufferable geniuses
, or representatives of some other variety of "brilliant-automatically-equals-socially-awkward
". One of these may have Einstein Hair
or otherwise seriously neglect his appearance. In those works, you can expect him to be more concerned with abstract equations
or other intellectual problems than with the real human beings around him. Maybe his intellectualism is just a way of hiding his evil character
Not so with anyone who is a Gentleman and a Scholar
. He manages to be both a highly intelligent expert in his chosen field and
a pleasant, well-adjusted, and socially engaging human being, sometimes being even more
attuned to the nuances of social etiquette than many less-intelligent characters. Frequently, his emphasis is more on the humanities than on the natural sciences (he is probably fluent in dead languages
and always handy with an apropos quotation
, Saint Augustine, or Dante
), but this is not an absolute rule. Whatever his field, he is always striving to learn more, but never
allows himself to fall victim to Crippling Overspecialization
. He is always well-groomed and neatly dressed
, unless extraordinary circumstances dictate otherwise.
Sometimes, the aformentioned socially awkward intellectuals can fit this. Simply because someone is socially inept does not mean he is rude. Professor Frink and Dr. Brown would never hurt a fly.
This character may not necessarily be an actual Blue Blood
or Quintessential British Gentleman
, but his adherence to the Good Old Ways
, his graciousness as a host
, and his intelligent and erudite conversations make him seem
like one. Unlike the slightly-infantilized geniuses one may see in other works, a Gentleman And A Scholar is always mature
and maintains his composure. He is typically older, but if not, expect him to be wise beyond his years
. That maturity may or may not make him a Badass Bookworm
, but he generally tends to eschew direct physical confrontation if it can be avoided. He frequently strays into Antiquated Linguistics
, and possibly the better-done sort of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness
. His alma mater
is probably a school with a long history and Gothic towers
He is more often unwed, but if he has a family, expect him to be a benevolent patriarch
. If he goes off to war, expect him to receive a commission and become an Officer and a Gentleman
This trope is commonly seen in conjunction with Genius Book Club
(expect to see many leather-bound books
and a bust of Pallas
) and Smart People Play Chess
. May or may not smoke a pipe
. Glasses are common
, but many such characters tend to be older, so perhaps it is justified
. Shares a few characteristics with the Gentleman Snarker
, though there probably isn't much actual overlap between the two, and may
be an example of the Gentleman Snarker
. Will usually be at least a bit of a Renaissance Man
, though what makes him a gentleman and a scholar is not his diversification into multiple fields per se
, but rather his ability to maintain his dignity and be socially well-adjusted even while intensively studying an academic subject.
Note that this is not always a man
, but neither is it strictly a unisex trope
. It is possible
for a woman to be "A Lady and a Scholar", but because women were not common in academia until the 20-21st century, the archetype has not had proper time to develop an easily-recognizable Distaff Counterpart
Also see Good Is Not Dumb
. If he has magic, he's a Gentleman Wizard
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Negi Springfield from Mahou Sensei Negima! may be just a 10 year old kid, but that doesn't stop him from being a prodigious scholar in spellcasting, martial arts and language among other things as well as a kind young boy.
- Taichi Hiraga Keaton of Master Keaton.
- Several characters of Tower of God, among them Koon and Lero-Ro, but Ship Leesoo takes the cake. Not only is he able to solve the riddle that brought Koon to his knees and at several points proves himself being well-read and a keeper of great general knowledge, is also the funniest, most social and responsible characters of his batch of Regulars. Good job for someone who runs around in a purple track suit.
- Dr. Emil Lang of Robotech II The Sentinels. He was both the father of Earth based Robotechnology as well as a shrewd politician, elder statesman, and father figure. Unlike typical scientists, he gets along well with the military (especially since it consists of friends like Rick Hunter, Lisa Hayes, Gunther Reinhardt, Max and Mirya Sterling, Vince and Jean Grant). The Sentinels character design also did away with the weird all-black eyes and made him look more dignified.
- Dr. Tenma from Monster is a highly-accomplished brain surgeon and an incredibly caring and selfless man.
- Dr. Reichwein also has shades of this, and Johan comes off as this to hide his true colors.
- Maoyuu Maou Yuusha has a female example of this trope, the Demon Queen. Her fields of expertise are Anthropology and Economics and may be awkward in romantic matters, but she is a natural at social events and a master of negotiation. And yes, she is one of the good guys.
- Amadeus Seal in the Ace Attorney Investigations manga is not only a Van Koff art scholar, but is also polite, well-mannered and friendly. Or at least the member of the Gentlemen art thieves impersonating him acts like this in order to lower Edgeworth's guard- and succeeds, as Edgeworth only realizes his true identity too late.
- The Count of Monte Cristo opens with Edmond Dantes as a young, naive sailer; his transformation into the suave, educated, and urbane Count began with his meeting (in prison) the Abbe Faria, who educates him and reveals to him the location of a great treasure. Edmond made the most of both.
- Professor Digory Kirke in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia novels fits like a glove. He slightly resembles an Absent-Minded Professor at first glance, but this is probably just a thin layer of Obfuscating Stupidity. In any case, he is gracious enough to allow the Pevensie children to stay in his home, and dispenses sensible, mature advice based on keen and sound observations about human nature. It helps that he's already been to Narnia himself.
- * Elwin Ransom in the same author's Space Trilogy. The character was very loosely based on his friend J. R. R. Tolkien, who was a real-life example of this trope. Ransom (like Tolkien) is a philologist, a professor at Cambridge, and a linguist par excellence. As for the "Gentleman" part ... it wouldn't be out of line to say Ransom is a saint in the literal sense.
- Roald Dahl's Matilda is a genuinely sweet-natured kid, and never thinks of herself as superior for her brains. If she's asked anything intellectual, she will respond in a polite fashion. She really only dislikes people who are annoying or rude to her. The book carefully emphasizes this.
- Abraham Van Helsing in Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, where, despite being "one of the most advanced scientists of his day", he has nerves of steel, an open mind, a kind heart, and a wry sense of humour.
- Albert Campion. Although he usually pretends to be stupid when people meet him so they'll underestimate him.
- Scheherazade in the Arabian Nights is a Lady and A Scholar as well as being The Storyteller.
- As are many of the women in the stories she tells.
- David Malter in The Chosen. Reuven and Danny as well. Rebbe Saunders is "gentlemanly" enough but is hard to get to know. Especially for his son which is the point of the plot.
- Sostratos in Over the Wine-Dark Sea is likable and gentlemanly. He would fit this trope except he has trouble getting along with sailors. He is probably a cross between this and Intelligence Equals Isolation.
- Lord Peter Wimsey. Expert on rare books, font of obscure facts, World War I veteran who won the undying devotion of Sgt. Bunter (who becomes his valet), skillful in unarmed combat, an aristocrat with a self-deprecating sense of humor, an oenophile with an encyclopedic palate, legendary cricket player, keenly intelligent amateur detective, and (until he falls in love with Harriet Vane) definitely a ladies' man.
- In the Left Behind books, prominent politician Nicolae Jetty Carpathia is supposed to be the epitome of this, being a master of politics, linguistics, business, social sciences, and other fields, as well as being a total charmer, supernaturally eloquent speaker, and very well-cultured all-around. At least until he reveals his true nature as The Antichrist.
- Sherlock Holmes. His scholarly attributes are of Memetic Mutation proportions, but it's made extremely clear in most of his stories that he is every inch a gentleman when the situation calls for it, particularly when aiding ladies in distress. Played with in that Intelligence Equals Isolation is very definitely not averted.
- In addition, his Arch-Enemy, Professor James Moriarty. Despite being the ruthless Mastermind of the criminal underworld, Moriarty is a renowned scholar of mathematics, and those who encounter him find him to be charming and fatherly. He is even gentlemanly enough to personally offer Sherlock a chance to back down and allow Sherlock to write a letter to Watson before the final fight over Reichenbach Falls.
- Averted in the 2010 television incarnation, who is an Insufferable Genius and a Byronic Hero. His brother Mycroft - who (according to Sherlock) IS the British government, and is even more brilliant than Sherlock - appears to qualify (especially when compared to his younger sibling)— but he's a politican and so it's implied that his gentlemanly persona hides a much more pragmatic man.
- In Darkness Visible Lord Henry Lewis and William Marsh both qualify, due to having impeccable manners and an enormous breadth of knowledge. Part of the reason the book is so full of shout outs is that Lewis is the narrator, and naturally refers to everything from Mythology to Charles Dickens.
- Faramir in The Lord of the Rings. Highly intelligent and scholarly, he is also a gracious host and very pleasant individual, able to have a good and friendly conversation with various people from very different cultures and background (Frodo, Sam, Éowyn, Merry, etc...).
- Remus Lupin in Harry Potter is a good example of the trope: a mild-mannered, pleasant, scholarly figure who genuinely cares about the children under his care and is generally well-liked. The only area he doesn't fit is in terms of presentation (he's always described as very shabby, with patched robes and a dilapidated suitcase), but this is a symptom of his extreme poverty, the cause of which is beyond his own control. He's also a frickin' werewolf, which makes his fitting this trope all the more remarkable. A lot of werewolves turn their back on wizard society, but he is a loyal member of the good guys and a genuinely good man.
- Dumbledore, who remains polite and well-mannered in all situations (even to his enemies), and is a renowned scholar known to have worked with Flamel, credited with the discovery of twelve uses of dragon blood as well as known to speak Gobbledegook and Mermish.
- DCI Nightingale in Rivers of London, a fine gentlemanly old wizard of the London police service. A stark contrast to the Gene Hunt-types that are otherwise represented.
- Ben in The Leonard Regime is both the most intelligent member of the team and the most sophisticated.
- Khalid Sayeed in the Venus Prime series is both a brilliant geologist and consummate gentleman, although he's also a bit of a religious snob.
- Heinlein was fond of these, along with the Renaissance Man types. Many of his protagonists were learned and witty intellects, and when they were more rough-and-tumble types there would be Gentleman Scholar as a contrasting supporting character.
- Doc Savage is this as well as being a Genius Bruiser. He is never less than polite, no matter what the provacation, and is at ease in most social situations. Ham Brooks may fit the mould even better than Doc, as he is Havard's smartest law graduate and regularly tops the best dressed men in the USA lists.
- Jaan Vikary, perhaps the most likeable person in Dying of the Light, is one of these.
- The Professor on Gilligan's Island.
- Ducky on NCIS.
- Of course, the Pink Panther is a gentleman, a scholar and an acrobat.
- In Doctor Who, the Doctor is nice enough to most people, and will frequently give his enemies a silly amount of chances to redeem themselves. He often behaves as though he had No Social Skills, but is nonetheless charming, and, at least in most incarnations, generally polite. He's also cultured and seemingly tries to be well-dressed, but his wardrobe is at best anachronistic.
- The Doctor who probably suits this trope the most would be the Third Doctor. Always charming, suave, polite and well-dressed.
- River Song is a female example of the scholar and a gentleman: she is an academic doctor and later professor, is charming and witty, empathetic towards others like Amy Pond and can move in a variety of social situations. She is also dangerous, but unflappably so.
- Professor/Major Palmer from the series 7 episode "Hide" seems a good, human, example. Genuinely remorseful for the death and destruction he caused during WWII, and a professor of Psychology (and ghost-hunter). Dresses the part, too.
- Daniel Jackson from Stargate SG-1, at least after he got over some of the awkwardness of the early seasons.
- Rupert Giles on Buffy the Vampire Slayer is surely the epitome of this trope. As a well-spoken Englishman, he is deliberately calculated to stand out in the show's California setting. A librarian and former curator of a/possibly THE British Museum, Giles is a little awkward but mostly charming, and serves as a repository of information without which Buffy would be unable to complete her mission.
- Although, when the situation calls for it, (mainly when something seriously threatens Buffy or the other Scoobies) he can be quite violent.
- Also, his slightly awkward nature comes as a backlash to his violent teen-to-twenty-something rebellion, which left a wake of chaos, death, and destruction.
- Frasier: Frasier and Niles Crane are pompous and snooty enough to push the limits of this trope, but are still polite, scrupulous, charming, cultured, devastatingly witty, and are two of the foremost psychiatrists in Seattle with respective IQs of 129 and 156. Their mother, Hester, also qualified for this trope and was less snobbish than her sons.
- Detective Murdoch in Murdoch Mysteries is every bit a gentleman and a scholar. He is intelligent, observant, scientific and clear-headed, using methods that are advanced and unusual for his time (the 1890s). He is also a gentleman and polite to a fault. He loses his love-interest, Dr. Ogden, because he is too polite to unambiguously state his feelings to her. (He was also, for a time, smitten with, and manipulated by, Sally Pendrick but what kept him from falling completely for her was his impeccable manners.)
- Bernadette in The Big Bang Theory is a doctor in microbiology and generally very nice and sympathetic.
- Noah's Arc: Though a bit awkward compared to the rest of the cast, Chance still manages to be quite charming and educated in social etiquette (and in specific situations, very social and suave).
- In Person of Interest, Harold Finch may avoid social situations, but he is a very well-read computer genius who is incredibly polite and courteous, prefers to be well dressed whenever possible, and basically fits this trope to a 't'.
- In Chinese Paladin, Jinyuan.
- Artemus Gordon from The Wild Wild West is an eminently charming, immaculately dressed gentleman as well as a scientist, inventor, walking encyclopedia and all-around genius.
- Magnus from Sanctuary would be an example of a Lady and a Scholar, being an extremely brilliant scientist and also a genteel, charming, and witty person who is enviable to have as a guest, host, or boss.
- Both Lucentio and his servant, Tranio, in The Taming of the Shrew. At the beginning of the play, they're headed off to study at the famous University of Padua, but they get derailed by a Zany Scheme to get Lucentio a girl. Nonetheless, the fact that Lucentio is effortlessly able to impersonate a tutor, and Tranio is effortlessly able to impersonate his high-class master, shows them both to be textbook examples. (In fact, Tranio is arguably more educated than his master, being able to speak Latin and casually name-drop Ovid.)
- Professor Layton is a professor of archaeology, a master logician, and a Quintessential British Gentleman.
- Speaking with her former tutor in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess pretty well confirms that Princess Zelda is a Lady and A Scholar. The game's resident nerd Shad may also qualify for this trope, though he doesn't get quite enough screen time to prove it.
- Miles Edgeworth, most visible in Ace Attorney Investigations. Aside from the perfection fixation and being set up to be arrested for his father's murder, being raised by the von Karmas wasn't too bad for him.
- Artemus from Thief is intelligent, well-spoken, and even-tempered, making him this even among fellow Keepers.
- The first Front Mission game has Hans Goldwin, a professional hacker who finds out helpful info for anyone who needs it, and is a good friend in general.
- Kraden in every installment of the Golden Sun series, with his outgoing nature and enthusiasm for every new (or old) thing the heroes encounter. In Dark Dawn his student Rief is one as well, in a more soft-spoken and Adorkable way.
- The Spy of Team Fortress 2 is portrayed in this manner. He apparently speaks five other languages and is often the only sane member on the team.
- Sir Hammerlock of Borderlands 2. A Quintessential British Gentleman who is introduced with the subtitle "Hunter, Scholar, Gentleman" who has journeyed to Pandora to risk life and limb to study the deadly and beautiful native life. And by "life and limb" we're not talking hyperbole here; he's lost an arm and a leg to a Thresher named Old Slappy. He's been loath to go out into the field ever since that incident, though. That is until his DLC, Sir Hammerlock's Big Game Hunt, where he travels to a jungle continent along with the Vault Hunters for a hunting expedition.
- Gentlemen in Empire and Napoleon Total War are researcher units that are spawned from certain intellectusl buildings like Universities and Obervatories. You can also send them out to dual rival agents.
- Gallus Desidenius in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the deceased former Guildmaster of the Thieves Guild. Before his murder by Mercer Frey, he was a highly intelligent Gentleman Thief, scholar and linguist, who authored several books on the history of the Nightingales, Thieves Guild and Queen Barenziah, even becoming fluent in the ancient and near-forgotten language of the Snow Elves. In addition to his scholarly pursuits, his status as a Magnetic Hero allowed the Guild to gain friends and contacts across Skyrim and made one of his life-long friends after being caught breaking into his lab, having gotten distracted by the research on display.
- Being university dwellers of relatively good upbringing, Luther and Lucien of Family Man both typically fit this, though Luther can edge towards awkwardness. Lucien, however, is particularly charming. Ariana is a Rare Female Example.
- Alexander Hamilton and Nathan Hale in the The Dreamer.
- Lackadaisy: Sedgewick.
- The Oswald Chronicles: Oswald, scribe and gentlemouse.
- Phase, of the Whateley Universe. Once an heir to the largest fortune on the planet, he now copes with his mutation with aplomb, and a ruthless determination to fix himself. He speaks four modern languages, reads Latin and classical Greek and Old English, is currently working on several journal articles with a professor of world literature, and is single-handedly attacking the Reed Richards Is Useless trope across Whateley Academy.
- The Art Of Manliness is based entirely around this trope, offering readers advice on how to achieve these goals.
- Tom Sloane from Daria is one of the most clearest examples to this trope. He's intellectual, but unlike Daria and Jane, he is socially active and nice to anyone who interacts with him. This is part of the reasons why he is such a Base Breaker, he didn't fit in a world where most of the people are dumb, shallow and gullible and the few smart characters are very unstable or having their own set of flaws to compensate, however he seems conspicuously well adjusted.
- Jodie is one of the most popular girls in school with a tight social schedule, and is also among the students with the best grades, was invited to a prestigious school for the gifted and then to an interview for a complete scholarship, subverted slightly since she has mentioned in some occasions that that situation is tiring since she is seen a the ideal of the perfect african american girl and wishes to focus more on her academical goals and forget about the social part a bit.
- The Simpsons: In the episode "Lisa's Wedding", Lisa sees an alternative future that she would have a relationship with a young man who shows traits of this trope. While at first this seems to be, is immediately subverted at the end of the episode, becoming in a Jerk Ass.
- Twilight Sparkle is this most of the time in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, but tends to slip up whenever it will suit the plot.
- Professor Utonium from The Powerpuff Girls.
- In Russia, this is often called intelligentsia. This is the original, pre-Revolutionary meaning of the word, still used sometimes today. After the Revolution, many intelligents were opposed to the Soviet rule (not necessarily to Communism itself—see Leon Trotsky as an example), and the word came to mean a politically rebellious intellectual.
- "Intelligentsia" usually is applied to the econonomically insecure, well-educated formation that evolved in Russia during the late 19th century as university arose, partly due to the Russian problem of a very small middle class. Many members of the intelligentsia, especially if they could not snag a civil service position, did not have enough money to live the life of a gentleman and a scholar, and so the younger intelligentsia also became a breeding-ground for rebellious political movements pre-1917 as well. There are good reasons why many civil uprising in the 20th century started as student revolts.
- Stephen Fry. While not really an expert in any given field, he shows great interest and fascination in nearly any topic. He has been described as a Renaissance man and a national treasure of Britain. Russel Howard referred to spending time with him as "like hanging out with Google."
- Christopher Lee also almost certainly counts.
- This is, according to Confucius, the ideal state of a man, and has accordingly affected much of East Asia's cultural expectations of men. Ever wonder why there's a huge focus on study in China, Japan, Korea and other East Asian countries? Confucius. There's also elements of the Warrior Poet, as the Six Arts of the Gentlemen are Rites, Music, Archery, Charioteering, Calligraphy, and Mathematics. To a lesser extent Daoism also approves of gentlemanliness; the Chaotic to Confucianism's Lawful, if you will.
- Emilie du Châtelet may have been a female version of this: a brilliant mathematician and physicist, she was also a woman of the world who was accepted by the heavily masculine milieu of European science, managed to seduce and keep two famous men as her lovers. Some people mocked her for her dedication to science, but she was never so crude as to take the bait.
- Jack Kirby fit this trope somewhat despite his humble roots and lack of formal education past high school (something that wasn't unusual for his generation). He was kind and approachable despite one newspaper describing his appearance as that of a "foreman" on a construction yard (in comparison to StanLee's hip, smiling, flashy persona). He was a World War II veteran, was very well spoken (despite assumptions that might have come with his characteristic New York accent), and had a wide range of interests, especially regarding science, religion and mythology. His home had a vast library of books on many subjects. Kirby and his wife often graciously welcomed guests to their home, even, reportedly strangers who dropped by unnanounced. Author Ronin Ro's biography "Tales To Astonish" gives much insight into what kind of man Kirby was. There is much damning evidence that suggests that Kirby was the more talented half of the famous duo that created the Marvel Universe.
- Dorothy L. Sayers fits this trope as a Lady and a Scholar. She was one of the first women to attend Oxford, was fluent in French and Latin (not to mention in her own native English where she was known to be eloquent and more than capable of handing out gentlewomanly snarks that deflated more than a couple of egos), was a writer of some of the most well thought out mysteries of all time, a play-wright and lay-theologian, and translated into English both "The Song of Roland" and most of Dante's Divine Comedy before she died.
- Tom Hiddleston, he has a double first from Cambridge, studied acting at RADA, reads Ancient Greek and Latin, and seems to have a knack for picking up languages. He's also preposterously nice and endlessly optimistic.
- J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis were both good friends and strong proponents of this trope as they were both war veterans, scholars, and British Christian gentlemen.
- Carl Sagan was by all accounts very gracious and courteous.