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Shrine to Self
"You would never guess who lives here."
Frank Sinatra upon seeing Rudy Vallee's memorabilia room(s).

There are people who are vain, and then there's people who are vain. The latter have such a depth of narcissism that they don't just keep a mirror handy, but fill their house floor to ceiling with mirrors, self portraits (expect a few nudes), statuary, awards (if any, no matter how minor) and sundry other them-centric paraphernalia. Any pictures will likely be exclusively of themselves, or with celebrities, royalty, and politicians. It's almost unheard of for a shrine to include family pictures.

Basically, they make their home a Shrine To Self. This varies in intensity and size, some might reserve a single (and perhaps even tastefully simple) room as a "Trophy Room", while others may make hallways, wings, or even museums to themselves. Villains don't just put it in their home, but like to plaster their equipment, vehicles and Mooks in Malevolent Mugshots.

A variant is the "shrine to a former glory", made by someone who realizes they're no longer famous and doesn't like their new situation. The White-Dwarf Starlet will often fill her mansion this way. For extra tragedy, the mansion/museum will be in an advanced state of decay.

Characters encountering the shrine (or more likely, being led to it by the owner) will usually be stunned speechless, a fact their host will take to be awe rather than disbelief at their tackiness (though the onlooker might feel both to varying degrees). This serves not just as a way to characterize someone as self centered, but also as potentially having been (or still being) important, and may in fact endear them to audience/character if they play their narcissism in an affable rather than grating manner.

In the United States military and political realm an office wall with awards and pictures of the individual with famous or higher-ranking persons is known as an "I Love Me" wall. The etiquette is generally that your "I Love Me" Wall should be in a reasonably private location (like your house), not shoved into the face of all passers-by (unless you're on the Internet). In the extras on the Top Gun DVD, one of the military advisors opines that Viper's "I Love Me" wall in his house is unrealistic, because he has a wife and kids, which (in his opinion) tends to rapidly reduce the "I Love Me" Wall to an "I Love Me" corner, and finally to an "I Love Me" shoebox in the attic...

Compare Stalker Shrine, House of Broken Mirrors and Kitsch Collection. Often a Sub-Trope of Room Full of Crazy. Egopolis is basically a city or country-sized Shrine to Self.

The superhero/villain version of this is Superhero Trophy Shelf.

Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Dominica Škoda, one of the "eight heroes" from Coffin Princess Chaika, has her whole mansion filled with portraits and statues of herself, but in reality she's been dead for some time, and it's instead her dragon Fredrica who lives there while impersonating Dominica, and the portraits are so Fredrica can remember her master better.

Comics
  • A mainstay in Archie Comics, particularly Reggie Mantle, as another example of his ego.

Films — Animated
  • The Incredibles. The walls of Bob Parr's home office are plastered with news articles and other memorabilia of his superhero alter ego. However, the emotion driving this wall isn't so much vanity as an aching nostalgia.
  • Georgette from Oliver & Company has a wall of her dog show awards and ribbons, topped by a giant oil portrait of her.

Films — Live-Action
  • One patrician widow in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil had, in the words of another character, made her boudoir a shrine to herself.
  • Norma Desmond in the movie Sunset Boulevard. Her entire house is a shrine to herself and her former movie career.
  • In The Big Lebowski, The Dude gets a guided tour of Jeffrey Lebowski's.
  • In the movie Ransom, Mel Gibson plays a rich airline owner with several magazine covers featuring himself (Business Week, etc.) on his wall. Later, the villain points to them and mocks him.
  • In The Paper Chase Professor Kingsfield's office in his house has one of these, with photos of him shaking hands with Presidents and other important people and the various legal and academic awards he's won.
  • In Back to the Future II, Biff's entire casino complex is a shrine to Biff, including a video about him playing at the entrance and a large painting of himself in his office.

Literature
  • In one of Tom Clancy's novels this is associated with upper-level bureaucrats. Awards and pictures of the individual with famous or higher-ranking persons.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets:
    • Gilderoy Lockhart decorates his office with (moving) pictures of himself. In the film version, he decorates his classroom in the same manner.
    • In the same book, the titular Chamber of Secrets built by Salazar Slytherin (and intended only for himself/his heirs) has a giant statue of... you guessed it, Salazar Slytherin! Just to lay it on thick, said statue has magical properties when you refer to Slytherin as "greatest of the Hogwarts Four".
    • 12 Grimmauld Place is prominently hung with the Black family tree, portraits, and the mounted heads of former house-elves, as a Shrine to Family.
  • The villain in the Dean Koontz novel, Dragon Tears, has a serious A Godam I complex. He had every wall in his house mirrored just to admire himself.
  • Ginger, the movie star in Moving Pictures, has saved every single poster she appears on and pinned them on her wall.
  • Miss Havisham's decaying mansion in Great Expectations. All the clocks are stopped at the moment that her would-be groom betrayed her, she still wears her wedding dress as a grim reminder, and the dining room table remains set with the rotten wedding feast and cake. She proposes to have her body laid out there when she dies.
  • One Tim Dorsey novel has a washed-up rock star with a vast collection of pictures of himself and a number of real rock stars... which were hurriedly taken shortly before their security guards caught up with him and threw him out.

Live-Action TV
  • In volume 5 of Heroes Peter Petrelli's apartment is decorated only with newspaper clippings about the lives he has saved as a paramedic. More sympathetic than most though as Peter isn't doing it for vanity but to chronicle heroic actions to atone for past misdeeds and mistakes.
  • (probably) Samantha of Sex and the City commissioned a photographer to do a series of nudes of her while she's still "young and spry". When it isn't as fabtabulous as she wants, she lets herself go and buys a pizza... and when the delivery man compliments her legs (the nude was the picture facing the door) she perks up and tips him with a $20 bill.
  • Libby of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has her bedroom wall plastered with gold-framed glamour shots of herself, plus one photo of her grandma.
  • On Strangers with Candy, Flatpoint High is full of pictures of Principal Blackman, from paper towels to school jackets, and students can be seen working on art projects of him. At one point he has his secretary accompany him on the bongos while he makes an announcement, which we see being delivered from a classroom portrait with flashing eye-holes... to warn the students off joining a cult.
  • In the Doctor Who series three finale, when the Master has been ruling the world for a year, we see at least one giant statue of him, and Martha mentions he's had his face put on Mt. Rushmore.
  • One Monster of the Week in Reaper was a man who was so narcissistic that he ran a sperm donor clinic, and gave his own sperm to anyone requesting. The entire time he was on-screen, he was checking himself out in strategically placed mirrors. When off-screen, Sam and his friends were incredibly disturbed by the nude self portrait that the man was in progress with. Incidentally, several fertility doctors have actually been caught out depositing into their own bank, so to speak.
  • In Season 4 of Game of Thrones, a statue of King Joffrey depicts him standing over the corpse of a direwolf (sigil of House Stark) holding a crossbow. The audience knows that the only thing Joffrey's ever pointed his crossbow at are unarmed women, and his entire contribution to the war was starting it via the unjust execution of Eddard Stark.
  • In Red Dwarf, we have Arnold Rimmer's parting gift after he becomes the new Ace Rimmer. The rest of the team are subjected to the hideous Arnold Rimmer Experience, a theme-park ride through a gallery proclaiming how great Rimmer is, along with chibi munchkin versions of Rimmer performing a choreographed song-and-dance.

Professional Wrestling
  • Vince McMahon's office (well, the Kayfabe one, anyway), The Miz's trophy room in his house (shown during an episode of Cribs), and Michael Cole's "Cole Mine" (later it became the "Royal Cole Mine", after he was knighted as part of a storyline) are all prime examples.

Tabletop Games
  • In Traveller, Aslan warriors keep an "honors chest" of their deeds.

Video Games
  • In The Warriors video game, Chatterbox, the leader of the Hi-Hats, has a private gallery filled with self-portraits. They're all based on more famous works, the ugliest of which is a nude statue of him as a Christ figure, being crucified on a neon cross. When you discover the gallery, you're given the task of vandalizing it using a convenient supply of spray paint and sledgehammers.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Nemesis from Catacomb Abyss and its sequels likes to decorate the Catacombs of Despair with statues and paintings of himself before letting the hero in to battle his way through them. In Abyss, it seems the only purpose of both the Catacomb and Crypt of Nemesis (neither of which he lies or resides in) is to be shrines to him. In Catacomb Apocalypse, there are also depictions of him in a pharaoh's headdress. Some of these are enemies rather than decorations, and among the most dangerous in the game.
  • The whole mansion of Conroy Bumpus, in Sam & Max Hit the Road.
  • In Guild Wars, it's a way of gaining non-combat rewards in the sequel by adding titles, minipets, elite armour sets, etc. to the Hall of Monuments in the first game.
  • In World of Warcraft the Big Good Tirion Fordring does this twice. He is not a vain person, but people just worship him for his defeat of the Lich King. There is a statue of PURE GOLD in a city of MAGES who don't even normally associate with paladins. In front of his "house", he is having another statue of himself built, but at least it isn't gold this time.

Web Original

Western Animation
  • In the Bitsy Bears one-shot pilot, the villain, Bramble, spends all of her days taking Polaroids of herself.
  • Squidward Tentacles in Sponge Bob Square Pants has a shrine to himself in every room. And he painted or sculpted all of them himself. He's his own favorite, and apparently only, artistic subject. Even when confronted with a perfectly sculpted statue, he says "You got the nose all wrong!" and slaps a clay copy of his nose onto the statue, then proclaims "Now it's art!"
  • In Storm Hawks, while briefly in charge of Cyclonia, Snipe had the walls and roof of the throne chamber covered end to end in murals of himself.
  • Zapp Brannigan's boudoir in Futurama is full of pictures of himself, including a portrait of himself in the same pose as Aaron Shinkler's famous painting of John F. Kennedy. Said portrait was positioned right over his own bed, making it look like Zap was watching himself sleep...making the scene extra creepy...
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: Lucius' mansion is filled with portraits of himself.
  • One episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars had a pair of Jedi track down General Grievous' private secret base. They don't realize the significance, but there's a hall full of statues and tributes to his former (non-cyborg) self.
  • Vanity's home in The Smurfs is this, since it has nothing but paintings and sculptures of himself. In "Good Neighbor Smurf", though, Brainy changes everything in it so that it is now a shrine to himself instead of Vanity.

Real Life
  • A bevy of dictators have done this while living, just to name a few: Kim Jong Il, Saddam Hussein and Josef Stalin.
  • Michael Jackson's Neverland Valley Ranch was full of commissioned paintings of himself, many by the artist David Nordahl. (Some of these appeared in Jackson's poetry/essay book Dancing the Dream in The Nineties.) Many had him surrounded by children (cherubs in one case), one tryptch depicted him as a monarch being knighted, etc. One had his portrait alongside ones of the Mona Lisa, Albert Einstein, E.T., George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln...all of them wearing sunglasses and one sparkly white glove, just like him.


Trophy RoomSettingsSuperhero Trophy Shelf
World's Smallest ViolinImageSource/Western AnimationStar Trek: The Animated Series

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