"They find the closest enemy and try to cut them up with swords. Madness. Just madness. Just so there can be something to carve on the cathedrals and put in children's stories."From the crucible of battle are heroes born, in defeating the villainous enemy there is glory to be had, and that makes it all worthwhile. At least, that's what the Glory Seeker believes. Usually some sort of military officer, but not necessarily so, he can be a crusading knight charging heedlessly into the fray, a lone desperado out to make a name for himself, a Bounty Hunter going after the toughtest targets. He may or may not enjoy the spoils of war, he may or may not believe in what he's fighting for, he may be a coward who is all talk or a Blood Knight who revels in the slaughter, but the defining trait of the Glory Seeker is that he craves the adoration of the masses and respect of his peers — and hates most of all not being respected. He might grow disillusioned after a while, or he might never learn. If met out of combat, may appear to be the Miles Gloriosus, but actual danger will reveal the truth. Will sometimes say Think Nothing of It if he really didn't earn it — but don't count on it. Frequently found with In Harm's Way. Loves Famed In-Story, and finds What You Are in the Dark and Secret Test of Character particularly hard. Proud Warrior Race Guy is almost always a Glory Seeker. Super Trope of Glory Hound. However, there is an important distinction between the two: A Glory Seeker would happily get themselves killed in pursuit of glory, while a Glory Hound would happily get countless others killed in pursuit of glory, often with no remorse, bonus points for stealing the glory that others have legitimately earned, disproportionate retribution on those opposing their plans, or engaging in chronic backstabbing disorder. If the Glory Seeker has cohorts or helpers with them, they'll either be Easily Impressed individuals who give the Glory Seeker a constant supply of praise, or Deadpan Snarkers who keep the Glory Seeker down to Earth by constantly mocking their boasting. Compare Martyrdom Culture (where this considered a noble calling), Team Prima Donna, Fame Through Infamy. Contrast "Well Done, Son!" Guy, who wants one person's praise.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Naruto is like this, at least initially. He's a lonely boy, and he wants to become Hokage so the rest of the townsfolk will respect him.
- Asuka in most Neon Genesis Evangelion continuities, often to the detriment of her own safety.
- Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam's Jerid Messa, who joined the Titans in order to become famous Ace Pilot.
- Before Jerid, there was, like, 90% of the Principality of Zeon in Mobile Suit Gundam. Most of these pilots, soldiers and commanders were nothing more than Glory Seekers who sought to one-up their actual Ace Pilots so they could be the heroes. However, this ended up ruining their chances for victory. The earliest you see this is in the very first episode.
- America of Axis Powers Hetalia is this, in all of his Jerk Ass, Love Freak glory.
Chalkboard: France- back me up. England- back me up. Russia- back me up.
America: ...Any questions?
Russia: Uh, I have one. What will you be doing?
America: That's actually a very good question, Russia! I'll be the hero, of course!
- Itsuki of The Rising of the Shield Hero is constantly seeking praise in some form, most overtly when he falls into despair after the Spirit Turtle incident. Raphtalia was enraged when she discovered Itsuki was purposefully holding back during fights so that he could jump in and save his companions the instant they were in danger.
- In Astro City, Altar Boy's motive for becoming a hero is that superheroes are respected. He got wiser.
- In The Lute Player this is how the king came to be captured.
at last the king grew restless. He longed to go out into the world, to try his strength in battle against some enemy and to win all kinds of honour and glory.
- Indiana Jones
- In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Indy goes after the Sankara Stones because he believes they will bring him "Fortune and Glory".
- The danger of this mantra is the moral of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In a Literal Cliffhanger, Indy holds onto Elsa Schneider as she desperately reaches for the Holy Grail she dropped moments earlier. Unwilling to give Indy her free hand and save herself, Elsa falls to her death when the glove on her other hand slips off. Indy finds himself in the exact situation and tries to get the grail too, but his father convinces him to “let it go.” Indy’s willingness to pass up the “fortune and glory” saves his life while Elsa’s obsession with obtaining the grail for her personal glory kills her.
- Every one in The Iliad. The only exceptions being non-combatants.
- Don Quixote
- In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 novel Deus Sanguinius, Mephiston Mind Probes Rafen and finds he was once concerned only with his own glory.
- Taran in The Chronicles of Prydain starts out as this, to an embarrassing degree.
- Kate Daniels - In the first book, Curran thinks that Kate is one of these, as she's not content with the pat explanation wrapping the case up. He thinks she's just trying to come up with another bad guy because she likes playing in the big leagues with everyone listening to her.
- Boromir in The Lord of the Rings is this, and it is one of the reason he succumb to the Ring's temptation.
- Harry Potter - Many people who have no idea what kind of life Harry lived before coming to Hogwarts (or even some of the stuff that came after) tend to think he is one of these. Some (like Snape) think he is a bullying troublemaker like his father; some (such as the Ministry, the Daily Prophet and a number of citizens) think that he just wants glory and is an attention seeker. Some of his classmates even thought he was the heir of Slytherin, once. The truth is largely the opposite, as living with the Dursleys and a lot of the stuff he dealt with in the Wizarding World actually made him very humble and quiet (until he continued to grow in self-confidence and ability).
- Vows and Honor - Tarma and Kethry become this somewhat unwillingly in Mercedes Lackey's books. The justification is that they must restore the reputation of Tarma's all-but-annihilated Hawk Clan if they want to attract quality people to join them (and not just the losers and misfits no other clan wants).
- Marco in Animorphs, to a point. Mainly, he does want to save his mother, but he also talks repeatedly about being famous by the end of the war.
- Robert E. Howard's Kull
Atlantis made my name accursed when I went to seek fame and fortune among the cities of the world.
- Ragnar Lodbrok and His Sons is a medieval saga about a clan of Viking warlords, all of them being excessive Glory Seekers.
- Sir Randolph Mays in Venus Prime.
- Kydd when he becomes an officer, much like his hero, Lord Nelson.
- Every single character at the start of All Quiet on the Western Front (including Kantorek, the schoolmaster, who should be old enough to know better).
- Nathan the Strigoi from Vampire Academy has the ambition to kill Lissa and extinguish the Drogomir clan. It seems the Strigoi keep track of such things and the act would win him glory points.
- Journey to Chaos: Tiza's working towards a reputation and lifestyle focused around the fame she will receive for defeating dreaded monsters and escorting V.I.P.s. Thus, she can't stand the grunt work novice mercenaries typically get.
- The Divine Comedy, specifically Inferno:
- Pier della Vigna is the first character that needs to be tempted by worldly fame to tell his life story, an ironic reality considering that Pier represents the souls who threw away their Earthly lives away by suicide. Pier uses his brief time to insist that he never committed treason or embezzlement and that he was only accused of such thing by those consumed by envy.
- Brunetto Latini goes to the extreme of lecturing Dante on how he should live his life despite having suffered his way into the seventh circle. Turns out Latini is so single-mindedly focused on the need to live through the greatness of one's poetry that he can't notice his own fiery doom.
- The giant Antaeus is quick to obey the whims of Dante as soon as the latter promises to bring the giant's name back to prominence on Earth, not even offering a comment or request regarding the chains and ice that confine him so tightly.
Live Action TV
- An episode of Space: Above and Beyond involves a brother of one of the main characters enlist to fight the Chigs. He gets assigned to the unit headed by a known Glory Seeker. Needless to say, the episode doesn't end well.
- In Orange Is the New Black, Sister Ingalls is in jail for indulging these tendencies, and was excommunicated for it.
- Every DragonForce song ever. There's even a Drinking Game where you take a shot every time the singer says "glory" or "glorious".
- Manowar style themselves to be Horny Vikings, so naturally their songs usually feature bloody battles and tons of glory.
- HammerFall's song "Glory to the Brave", as well as a number of others, given that their gimmick is that they pretend to be Templars.
- The third verse of the Pink Floyd song "Paranoid Eyes," from The Final Cut shows the aftermath of being one:
You believed in their stories of fame, fortune, and gloryNow you're lost in the haze of alcohol-soft middle ageThe great pie in the sky turned out to be miles too highNow you hide, hide, hideBehind brown and mild eyes
- There's the Glory Seeker Magic: The Gathering card, he's apparently eager to be in the fray of battle.
- Warhammer 40,000
- Space Marines love this trope: they both tell the stories of their predecessors, and seek to be Famed In-Story themselves.
- Imperial Guard Commissars, as propaganda officers, have this as part of their job: Being led by a hero, real or not, improves the troops' morale. Of course, that doesn't stop some Commissars from being Glory Hounds themselves...
- Chaos Space Marines are a villainous example of this trope; every Chaos Marine strives for recognition and glory in the eyes of the Chaos Gods, because when you serve Chaos, you either earn daemonhood, die trying, or succumb to the mutating influence of the Warp.
- King Cailan Theirin from Dragon Age: Origins. Utterly convinced that the Darkspawn invasion is his opportunity to carve out his place in legend, driving back the tide of evil alongside the Grey Wardens like in the songs of old. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to realize exactly where the world lies on the Sliding Scaleof Idealism Vs Cynicism. Though he might have managed it, albeit by the skin of his teeth, if his second-in-command hadn't chosen that exact moment to betray him, leave with his army, and leave his king for dead. Tough break, huh?
- To be fair, the second-in-command begged Cailan not to take part in the battle or, at least, not on the front lines. Cailan wouldn't hear of it, though. It's possible the second-in-command only wanted to get rid of the Wardens.
- Zeri from Valkyria Chronicles II seeks glory of heroic proportions, because he believes that if he does attain it, people would lighten up on their prejudice against the Darcsen.
- The player character in the web game Clash of the Dragons. He's very proud of his Heroic Lineage, and intends for his own story to be every bit as epic as his ancestor's. Despite fumbling a bit on the inside, he always manages to act in the most generically heroic way possible. The first chapter has him gleefully engaging in Ham-to-Ham Combat against a villain with similar motivations, and the finishing blow of another fight involved an unnecessary flip and ended with him walking into the sunset without a word to the crowd who was watching.
- Axton the Commando of Borderlands 2, whose glory-seeking ways eventually forced him to go AWOL and get divorced from his CO. It's also the reason why he became a Vault Hunter.
- In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, after returning to Renais and seeing what has become of it under Orson's rule, Prince Ephraim realizes his rash decisions at the start of the war with Grado were less about protecting Renais and more about his own thirst for glory. When he's crowned King, he resolves to overcome this.
- It is one of the motivations of The Night of the Rabbit's Big Bad Great Zaroff, he just wants the attention of an audience.
- Soul Calibur II: Yun Seong greatly admires Hwang and wants to be seen as his equal. So much so, that he challenged Hwang to a duel. However, Hwang realized Yun Seong's true motivation and refused to accept, believing it was childish of him. Despite this, Yun Seong remained undaunted to make Hwang acknowledge his talents somehow and eventually learned he had once gone in search of Soul Edge, but had returned empty handed. Thus, he believed that if he could succeed where Hwang had seemingly failed, he'd have no choice but to accept him as an equal... not knowing the truth of the matternote
- The Elder Scrolls
- In Morrowind, Edwinna Elbert, Stewardess of the Ald-Ruhn Mages Guild Hall, studies the Lost Technology of the extinct Dwemer. During one of her quests, you can find a unique book which gives insights into Dwemer technology. If you show it to her, she implies that a major reason she studies the Dwemer is because she wants to build Dwemer centurions as she believes it will make her famous.
- A common motivation amongst members of the Companions in Skyrim. Fitting, since they are the Fighter's Guild local equivalent in a land of fantasy Horny Vikings. One of the junior Companions, a Dunmer bladesman named Athis will even quote you Indiana Jones' fortune and glory line as his motivation for why he signed up. It's also why Aela the Huntress wants to get involved in the Civil War; not because she cares who ends up on the throne of the High King, but because battles are being fought and glory is being won while she sits around the Companions meadhall of Jorrvaskr not getting a share of it because the Companions kind of sort of not the leader Kodlak Whitemane has forbidden the Companions to get involved. Skjor also has elements of this which gets him killed when he charges in alone ahead of you and Aela into a Silver Hand encampment and gets killed by their leader, Krev the Skinner.
- Throughout Spec Ops: The Line, it becomes clear that Martin Walker gradually descends into something of this in his desire to save the people of Dubai, even if it means putting his own men In Harm's Way. Which ultimately goes to show how far he's fallen, even to the point of distorting reality and justifying the atrocities he's committed. In his desire to become a badass hero like he wanted, he gets his men killed and dooms the people of Dubai. Depending on the ending, he either ends his own life, allows himself to face justice, or falls further into madness.]]
- The Aristocrat from Hero Oh Hero is perfectly willing to take on some bandits troubling a town. However, after defeating one he's very quick to demand that they build a statue of him in the middle of town and even quicker to anger when it's pointed out that Burk is still fighting the bandit's (much more dangerous, acid spitting pig) mount.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: Emil spells this out as his reason to go on the expedition, as he considers it a means of showing the world just how talented he is and is expecting to come back a famous hero.
- In JourneyQuest, Glorion seems to feel that anything that could potentially end in increasing his own glory is worthy of being done. He seems to feel anything he can describe as being done bravely qualifies.
- Armsmaster of Worm is this, being primarily interested in advancing his own career as a superhero instead of looking after his assigned Super Team. Later, he crosses the line into full-on Glory Hound when he sabotages the hero/villain truce against Leviathan for a shot at personal glory.
- Alvin (as well his female counterpart, Brittany) from Alvin and the Chipmunks. Some of his plans are attempts at getting more famous or grabbing attention.
- Zuko from Avatar: The Last Airbender is a tragic example. He is attempting to hunt down and capture Aang, the titular Avatar, in the hopes of gaining the glory to restore his honor and his father's love.
- A lot of famous explorers, mountaineers, and participants in similar recreations might qualify.
- Some famous military units seek out these kind of people.
- Many others, howeever, actively discourage this sort of thing; the line between this trope and Glory Hound can be awfully fine, and Glory Hounds tend not to make good soldiers.