Inhumanly Beautiful Race
The Inhumanly Beautiful Race is a fictional non-human species that is always, nearly without fail, incredibly good looking. Not only are they good looking, but they tend to be described as better looking than the vast majority of humans could ever hope to be. When describing their beauty, authors tend to use terms like "inhuman", "otherworldly" and "ethereal". Depending on the author, such a species may inspire either simple chaste appreciation, or immediate and profound arousal. In extreme cases, their looks are so incredible as to act as almost a form of glamour, instantly become the center of attention (and desire) everywhere they go. While this concept can be found in all forms of media, it usually this works best in a non-visual medium. With a novel, the reader can imagine their own ideal of beauty. In a live action work, it may become a case of a subjective judgement of Informed Attractiveness. Angels and Elves almost invariably fall under this trope, and The Fair Folk are often included. Physical Gods can easily do so. In recent years, Vampires have also increasingly been portrayed as having inhuman hotness and allure, in contrast to older versions where they looked more like walking corpses. And it goes without saying for succubi. Not incubi, though, as they're usually depicted as a kind of rapist gargoyle-creature. Compare The Beautiful Elite, which is this in terms of a social class rather than a race, though not necessarily to the point of seeming inhuman. Mary Sues frequently belong to one of these. In order to make this not-subjective, examples should only be of cases where the race is described as being this In-Universe, either in the narration or by other characters.
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- In the world of ElfQuest, most humans tend to feel this way about the elves (See image, above.) It sometimes provokes humans to extreme behavior, for good or evil.
- Fan works set in Middle-earth may downplay or exaggerate the beauty of the elves. The Games of the Gods downplays it: when Rachel covers her Pointy Ears, humans accept her as an uncommonly beautiful human. Home with the Fairies exaggerates it: when Maddie first sees an elf, its "unnatural" and "inhuman" appearance overwhelms Maddie, who faints, perhaps because she is a transplant from a world that has no elves.
- In Star Wars, the Diathim from the moons of Iego are known as "angels" and Anakin describes them as "the most beautiful creatures in the universe" (relaying stories he'd heard from spacers).
- The Alteriens from the Alterien series are all very attractive from a human perspective. This is especially true of the nanotechnologically-created Alteriens (Nano Alteriens), many of whom went through a beautification process prior to being transformed into the space elf-like species. They are thought of as beautiful in either their concealment or true forms.
- The high spirits of light in the Astral Dawn series are all examples of humanity's highest ideal of beauty. In fact, despite their ability to look like anything they want, they can't look ugly because their outwardly projected appearance is a reflection of their good inner nature.
- The chieri from the Darkover series tend to awe any humans that actually see one.
- Most vampires (except the Black Court) in The Dresden Files take on good looking forms, but the White Court vampires are an embodiment of Vampires Are Sex Gods meets Inhumanly Beautiful Race. Many of the fae in The Dresden Files also are described this way.
- Elves in J. R. R. Tolkien's works are almost invariably described as being good-looking. The three best looking females in Middle-earth are all part elvish. The Valar and Maiar also count, although they cheat — their bodies are artificial and custom-made, so their beauty is limited only by imagination and how Fallen they've become.
- Elves in The Witcher series, too, though unlike in Tolkien's works, their Beauty most definitely doesn't Equal Goodness. Also, the dryads are a One-Gender Race of hot Action Girls. They can also transform human girls into one of them, which comes with a free +100 bonus to the Hotness stat.
- Elves, again, in the Arcia Chronicles are exceptionally beautiful, which is justified by their species being many times older than humans, meaning that they represent the peak of humanoid evolution (frozen in time thanks to their immortality) while humans are still getting there. On the other hand, it is also deconstructed because perfect physique and looks means that all elves (of the same gender) look the same to humans, as their physical differences are so minimal that only fellow elves can spot them. Hair/eye color and clothes are the only way mortal races can tell elves they don't know personally apart.
- Yet again, Elves in the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. Their beauty is often described as angular and delicate looking, while emitting a sense of great strength. The elves' inhuman beauty is referred to several times throughout the series and some elves go as far as to modify their appearance and attributes using magic. They are stated to be beautiful without exception and are noted as being of flawless skin, hair and figure.
- Elves again, in Lords and Ladies of the Discworld series, with a twist. Although they appear inhumanly beautiful (with emphasis on the ''inhuman''), they're really just projecting a Glamour on the inhabitants of other universes. When their glamour is removed, they are shown for what they really are: sad, pathetic deformed monsters.
- In Twilight, all the Cullens are described as being impossibly beautiful, with Edward being metaphorically referred to as a god.
- Meyer in general has a very strange obsession with physical beauty, as all vampires are damn good looking in Twilight. Depending on what they looked like as a human, they will become even more attractive after they've been turned into a vampire. The Cullens, who were already good looking as humans, became drop dead gorgeous as vampires.
- Selelvians from the Star Trek Expanded Universe. Which makes sense because they're Space Elves.
- The Veela in Harry Potter. They are beautiful women with long silver-blond hair, blue eyes, shining skin and perfect teeth. Although they have supernatural powers to seduce men and hypnotise them, so it is possible that Harry's description of them is a little exaggerated. They have one downside though: piss them off and they turn into crazy bird monsters that throw fire at you.
Arthur Weasley: And that, boys, is why you should never go for looks alone!
- The Elves in the Hollow Kingdom Trilogy are described as being much better looking than humans. Also, the difference between the beauty of elvish nobility and elvish commoners is compared in-story to the difference of an elvish commoner and a human.
- The Mermaids in the Pirates of the Caribbean are portrayed and spoken of as a heavenly beauties who will use their beauty and charm to seduce men and pull them into the depths of the ocean to eat them alive. This is clearly not always the case, as we know for sure that at least Syrena is not like that.
- The demonic Kialli in Michelle West's The Sun Sword books are inhumanly beautiful. In the same author's Chronicles of Elantra books, it is the immortal Barrani who are repeatedly described as perfect.
- In The Chronicles of Narnia, dryads and merfolk, at least from Lucy's point of view.
- Example from Sci-Fi: Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga features the Cetagandan Empire, whose ruling caste are unsurpassed masters of genetic engineering. All of the haut are amazingly, superhumanly attractive, particularly the women.
- Almost all of the major Martian races in John Carter of Mars are incredibly attractive Human Aliens (except for the very inhuman Green Martians). Lampshaded with the First Born, aka Black Martians—Carter notes that as a Civil War-era southerner he's not used to dark skin being considered attractive but even so he can't help but feel that the First Born's black skin only adds to their beauty.
- The Nobles and Dhampyrs in Vampire Hunter D tend to be inhumanly beautiful and charismatic until they reveal their monstrous side. The titular character's superhuman beauty is often described at least a page's worth in every novel.
- The 'Eletians' in the Green Rider series are often described as having an otherworldly beauty that somehow seems to bend light towards them, probably through their innate magic.
- The Melnibonéans from Michael Moorcock's Elric Saga are this. Most humans fortunately don't get to lay eyes on them very often, but Elric turns heads wherever he goes.
- The Slug-kinden in Shadows of the Apt are twelve-foot tall, pale, fat, covered in slime, and stunningly beautiful, in a terrifying way.
- Deconstructed with (what else?) A Song of Ice and Fire with the ridiculously pretty (and in-bred) Targaryen family. Incest is an acceptable Valyrian practice, after all.
- Incubi apparently fit this trope in The Necromantic Mysteries of Kyle Murchison Booth. Ivo seduces a thirtysomething-year-old virgin who normally avoids even handshakes after one meeting ("Elegy for a Demon Lover").
- The aliens in Poul Anderson's Sargasso of Lost Starships. So stunningly beautiful is Velduma that Basil Donovan finds it hard to avoid infatuation even though he knows she is both sadistic and completely mad.
Religion and Mythology
- Almost all the gods of Classical Mythology were inhumanly good looking, with the notable exception of Hephaestus.
- The Fae in Middle English mythology were known for their beauty, and unsurprisingly they were the inspiration behind Tolkien's elves.
- As were the elfs (álfar) of Norse Mythology that also served as inspiration for Tolkien's elves. According to Heimskringla, the inhabitants of Álfheim were "fairer than any other folk". It's interesting to note that the Swedes, who often top the lists of the most beautiful peoples in the world, are (according to Ynglingatal) descended from Yngvi-Freyr (another name for the vanir Freyr, who is thought to have been cognate with the beautiful aesir Baldr), king of the Light Elves. The area now consisting of the Swedish province of Bohuslän and the eastern half of the Norwegian province of Østfold were once known as Álfheim.
Live Action TV
- Doctor Who:
- The Thals are described as this in the first Monster of the Week serial, "The Daleks". While both races mutated heavily due to radiation, the Daleks, who favoured environment suits, became hideous beings, while the Thals, who favoured a combination of gradual adaptation and anti-radiation drugs, became a race of beautiful, blond-haired people. It seems that the Thal men are especially beautiful, as Susan is shocked by the beauty of the first Thal she meets, calling him 'perfect', and Barbara has something of an off-screen romance with a known Thal beauty. Of course, this relies on heavy amounts of Informed Attractiveness - they are all very good looking, but certainly not to unusual levels, and their taste in fashion is hilariously stupid.
- The Drahvin from "Galaxy 4", a race of beautiful blond female warriors, to contrast with the Rills (kind and noble creatures who look abhorrent to humans).
- Nymphs in Dungeons & Dragons are described as being so beautiful that they can make characters go blind just from seeing them.
- Elves, of course, tend to be very attractive. Even the drow (dark elves), making them prime examples of Evil Is Sexy.
- The elves from Magic The Gathering's Lorwyn set. Their caste system runs on how beautiful they are, from the lowly Faultless to the ruling-class Perfect. Those that they deem not beautiful (i.e., every other race, as well as deformed or disgraced elves) are called "eyeblights" and are frequently hunted for sport.
- In New World of Darkness:
- The whole Daeva clan from Vampire: The Requiem. In their Clan Book it is stated that they're "stronger, faster and sexier than you". Even before the embrace they are already attractive humans; after it they become inhumanly beautiful, partly because of their discipline, Majesty, that allows them to bedazzle people with their presence. The clan book does make a point of the fact that anyone who knows enough about the Daeva (including the Daeva themselves) tends to find something off about them because their beauty is artificial and they are incapable of love. One of the illustrators noted that the Daeva are essentially sex objects rather than people.
- Galateids in Promethean: The Created are, to the last, made from the bodies of the young and beautiful who were unmarred by the process of death. This makes all social interactions a breeze, at least, until the Disquiet kicks in. The main reason they undertake the Pilgrimage is that it's no use being inhumanly beautiful and alluring if everyone's going to turn on you in the end.
- Then there are the Fairest from Changeling: The Lost. Remade as lovers and playthings to the Gentry, they are beautiful to the last (though not all of them in the most conventional sense), extremely skilled at social interaction, and have a buy-in with the Contracts of Vainglory, which ramp up their beauty and influence to superhuman levels.
- The Old World of Darkness gameline Changeling The Dreaming has the sidhe. At character creation, the sidhe automatically apply two dots to their Appearance score. As Appearance automatically starts at 1 and normally is capped at 5, this means every sidhe ranges from Appearance 3 ("Hey, he's kinda cute.") to Appearance 7 ("I worship at your feet, my lady!").
- Exalted has its version of The Fair Folk - Humanoid Abominations from outside reality that can imitate humanity better than actual humans can. Fair Folk Nobles start with a minimum of three in all their stats (on a scale where 2 is average), so it's literally impossible for them to have below-average looks. Their stats also naturally cap at 7, in a setting where 4 is the natural limit for normal people and 5 for demigodsnote . And they also have access to various charms to enhance their beauty and persuasiveness up with glamour.
- This trope can also readily apply to any magical being of sufficient power. Any Exalt who raises her permanent Essence score above 5 (which generally requires being at least a century old) also raises the cap for her other stats, including Appearance, to the same level. Special mention goes to the Abyssal Exalted, who are required when they raise their Essence to either let their Appearance decay until they look like monstrous undead or raise their Appearance to superhuman levels.
- Warhammer's Elves are described as an Inhumanly Beautiful Race, especially when compared to the generally dishevelled and ugly-looking humans who inhabit most of the world. Some Vampire bloodlines also qualify (chiefly the Lahmians), though some most definitely don't (the Necrarchs).
- Eldar in Warhammer 40,000 are said to look like beautiful humans, but also that they're so graceful it's creepy.
- Uncorrupt Horus Heresy and Great Crusade era Space Marines who have not suffered great disfigurement are generally described as being beautiful to an obviously inhuman standard. This being 40k however, the idea's twisted just a little; the sheer visual difference of a Space Marine also further marks him as posthuman, and can easily veer into the Uncanny Valley. Start combining this with Chaos and things can get even weirder.
- See also Pretty Boy, which applies to the Blood Angels and pre-heresy Emperor's Children, particulary their Primarchs.
- The Eberron Campaign Setting gives us Kalashtar, a near-human psionic race—and, of course, elves. The Inspired- Evil Counterparts of the kalashtar, are in the same vein.
- In Strike Legion, the Serrans, Lamerians, and even the "baseline" humans were genetically engineered to be this way.
- Nobilis: Angels (who personify and promote beauty), and Excrucians (who are a race of Affably Evil Humanoid Abominations who desire to Ret Gone reality and return it to the Primordial Chaos they came from) are both embodiments of beauty for differing reasons-Angels are like this because Beauty is what they are and desire from others (to the exclusion of everything else), while Excrucians embody the primal majesty and unfettered elegance of alien stars.
- The Asari in Mass Effect are a feminine-seeming but technically genderless race of aliens with natural psychic and telepathic powers, that mates by close telepathic contact and can do that with every known humanoid species in the galaxy, as the genetic material is mostly taken from the mother. Despite almost universally considering each other ugly, all the other species consider Asari very attractive and as looking similar to them. It even works on Salarians, who reproduce as hives in which the vast majority of individuals are males that never have sex in their entire life, and also somehow seems to affect people who only see pictures or recordings of Asari without being near one.
- The Quarians seemed to have developed into this too, with various races finding them attractive (and a popular feature in 'Fornax'). Even Javik notes that primitive Quarians were considered attractive 50,000 years ago by his people.
- Faeling in Lusternia tend towards this. Even - especially - the Drow-esque shadow faeling, despite their ashy complexion and crimson eyes.
- The Syreen from the Star Control series are a race of Blue Skinned Space Babes, and are all inhumanly hot; they also dress very skimpily.
- The High/Blood Elves from World of Warcraft are often praised for their beauty by other characters.