In a group of immortals, (or very Long Lived
people) there will be at least one who is considerably older than any of the others. If most of them are 200 years old, one will be 600, or 1000. If most are 600 or 1000 years old, one will be 2000 or 3000 years old. And so on, possibly to Time Abyss
status. These are The Older Immortal
Not to be confused with Elderly Immortal
, an immortal who appears physically old, who may or may not fit this trope.
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- In the Fullmetal Alchemist manga, out of all the homunculi, Pride is the oldest and most powerful at over 300 years old.
- All the characters in Axis Powers Hetalia are old, but most are maybe a thousand. China is over four thousand and was the contemporary of several other nations who have since died.
- In Hellsing, Alucard is the original Dracula who's been around for centuries, and basically everyone else is a WWII vet or younger.
- Head Captain Yamamoto is over 2000 years old, given that in flashbacks to 1000 years ago he appeared to be in about his forties. With the exception of Captain Unohana (who was another original member of the Gotei 13 over 1000 years ago) and possibly Captains Kyouraku and Ukitake, the next-oldest shinigami only have a few centuries to their names.
- A flashback shows Kyoraku as a child. Kyoraku is at least 500 years old. Yamamoto is middle-aged in said flashback.
- Yhwach, leader of the Vandenreich, is at least a millennium old, though he was sealed away for at least 900 years of those years. Most likely he's much older than that
- Members of the Royal Guard are very likely as old as Soul Society itself. One of them even invented terms like "zanpakuto," "shikai," and "bankai."
- Baccano! has the original immortals who became immortal in 1711, and then a newer batch in 1930. Most of the 1930 ones are in an organization together, but one of the senior members of said organization is from the 1711 group.
- Later in the novels, one character is introduced who's been immortal even longer than the 1711 group; how much older she is still hasn't been revealed.
- The Lifemaker in Negima! is over two thousand years old as compared to Evangeline being around six hundred and Zect being 'a couple of centuries or so' old. Albireo's relation to this trope is a little tricky, as he's older than Evangeline, but it is unclear by how much. He claims to be "the oldest one present" when in the presence of both Evangeline and the Lifemaker, though he might have meant only his side of the conflict.
- UQ Holder, being a story about immortals, has this come up. Most immortals don't have their age listed, but we have one who is confirmed 85, while protagonist Touta and his best friend Kuroumaru (both immortal) are only 14. Evangeline is still there, though, with her age listed as 700, and the co-founder of UQ Holder is a man who is over 1400 years old.
- Normal vampires live a few hundred years in Trinity Blood. Abel and the other Crusnik (his brother Cain and sister Seth) live millennia and are apparently immortal barring violent death.
- Possible Downplayed examples in Claymore:
- Isley and most shown male Awakened (prominently his immediate inferiors in power Rigardo, Dauf and Chronos), as well as Riful, are this to the other, mostly female Awakened of various ages until they too are killed. It is implied that they've been around for more than 1,000 years.note
- Awakened beings who survive for any length of time in relation to the warriors, the most polite of whom sometimes refer to as their seniors (sempai?).
- Raftella has been #10 for an unspecified amount of time, is implied to have seen numerous generation of field warriors and shows no signs of age.
- In Tenchi Muyo!, the Trope Namer for Really 700 Years Old, it's routine for people to be hundreds of years old. A few characters are around 5,000 years old. Washu is 20,000 years old. And that's just in her current body. She's actually at least 14 billion years old. It's not an error that this exceeds the age of the universe itself.
- In Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: Brief Lives, Bernie Capax is killed in a freak accident while walking down the street in the current day while reminiscing about meeting the Marquis de Sade, talking with Freud, and the smell of Mammoths. When he meets Death he is upset because he is still not yet "done" with life, but he tries to console himself with how long he managed to last. She is unimpressed, telling him - "You lived what anybody gets, Bernie. You got a lifetime. No more. No less." Bernie's feat is shown to be genuinely unimpressive compared to some others, as it is revealed that there are around 500 beings still alive that remember the human civilizations from before the Dinosaurs, and 70 or so still around that were born before the Earth formed from gas and dust!
- DC Comics has the Guardians of the Universe, who are members of what may have been the first sentient organic species in the universe. Individual Guardians, along with their kin the Zamarons and the Controllers, are billions of years old. A bit closer to home, there's Vandal Savage, who as an immortal caveman, is the oldest living human.
- Marvel Comics has Galactus, who is the sole survivor of the previous universe that existed before the Big Bang. Also, the Elders of the Universe, each of whom is the last living member of one of the first races to evolve. Word of God is that Mr. Immortal (who is absolutely immune to death) of the Great Lakes Avengers will live to see the end of the universe, implying that he'll take Galactus's place in the next one.
- I, Eternity, a fanfiction set in The Elder Scrolls universe, follows a mind-bogglingly ancient vampire who was alive (and sometimes an active participant) in long past events from the series history, although he isn't quite as old as canon characters like Vivec.
- In Undocumented Features, the Wedge-Rat generation of Detians are around 440 by UF's "present day." Edison Bell, a contemporary of the inventors of Detianism, is over 14 million.
- Blade Trilogy:
- Eli Damaskinos from Blade II. Unlike every other vampire in the series (who look physically middle-aged or younger), Damaskinos actually looks like he's hundreds of years old.
- Blade: Trinity also has Dracula, the very first vampire.
- Highlander has Ramirez, a man so old claims that he's forgotten which culture he came from (he's originally Egyptian, posing as a Spaniard and the accent is not even explained in movie, but in the real world, it comes from Not Even Bothering with the Accent.)
- From the same movie is the Kurgan, an immortal villain about a century older than Ramirez. Was roughly three thousand years old at the time of his death.
- In the series, it's implied that however old you are the first time you "die", you're stuck looking that age. Presumably, Ramirez was in his fifties the first time.
- In Underworld Evolution, seventy-ish Derek Jacobi plays the original immortal - neither lycan nor vampire but the progenitor of both.
- The vampire Akasha in the film adaptation of Queen of the Damned. See the literature section for more information.
- In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth (The Lord of the Rings, etc) this often happens due to several long-lived and immortal races, from which the respective older ones either survive their peers or simply happen to live a among a different group whose members are younger and less powerful.
- The epitome of this in Lord of the Rings is Tom Bombadil who is called as "The Eldest" by all the races and is described as being ancient by both Gandalf and Treebeard. He even calls himself the First and the Fatherless. This implies he is the oldest living thing (possibly the very first living thing) in Middle-earth.
- In The Dark Elf Trilogy, Matron Baenre is said to be at least 2000 years old even though drow are said to have a max life of 800-1000 years - at what ultimately killed her wasn't old age, but an axe to the face.
- In The Vampire Chronicles, the eponymous Queen of the Damned is from Ancient Mesopotamia, and was married to the king of the land that would later become Egypt. After becoming a vampire and saving her husband from an assassination by making him one, they became the basis for the myth of Isis and Osiris. She also created other vampires at the time who have survived into the present day.
- Nalini Singh's Guild Hunter series has a particularly egregious example- where most Archangels are implied to be somewhere in the 1000-10,000 years margin, which is considered ancient even by immortal standards, Caliane is believed to be approximately 200,000 years old. Whether this is true or not is up for debate in-universe, but it is agreed by Caliane herself that she is much, much older than the others.
- From The Saga of Darren Shan, we have vampires who've mostly been around for a century or two, except for Paris Skyle, a vampire prince about 800 years old at the time of his death, which is said to be very old for a vampire. At the end of the series, Seba Nile becomes the oldest living vampire, being over 700 years old.
- In Succubus Blues, Georgina (the titular succubus) mentions that talking about age among Lesser Immortals is really quite gauche, but she's probably the oldest in her group of friends. Of course, the Higher Immortals are far, far older than that, since they never used to be human. Clues in her life story suggest that Georgina is probably less than two thousand, maybe 1700 or so, from the cusp between Christianity and Grecian paganism.
- In the Merry Gentry series, the Fey don't pay much attention to their ages, but Merry continues to discover that her lovers are older and older (than she thought). One of them confirmed he is over 2000 years old, and implied that he might be much, much older than that.
- Perry Rhodan does this with Atlan da Gonozal. By the time the 20th-century human protagonists get their first taste of immortality phlebotinum, he's already been stuck on Earth without a way home for ten thousand years. (There are much older characters in the series, of course...but they remain outsiders where Atlan quickly becomes and then stays one of the most important members of the core immortal True Companions.)
- In Robert A. Heinlein's works, starting with Time Enough for Love, Lazarus Long is the oldest human being by at least a thousand years. Even in a galaxy of extremely long-lived humans thanks to a combination of the Howard Foundation's applied eugenics program and medical rejuvenation therapy, he's an anomaly, not to mention an artifact, being the only living witness to Old Earth before space travel and the diaspora that seeded humankind among the stars.
- There are a few in Steven Brust's Dragaera series. Among the Easterners (i.e. humans), there is the Warlock, who's well past 250. Dragaerans can last around 3,000 years, but the youthful-looking Sorceress in Green has been in the history books for at least 20,000. And then there's Sethra Lavode, who looks Dragaeran but predates the 200,000-year-old empire...
- The Dresden Files: Vampires tend to be old, but few are seen older than twice what a wizard usually lives. Injun Joe, a mortal wizard on the Senior Council, for reference is about 300. The Red Court, for one, has its origins (and the source of the very oldest) in the Mayan Empire. Some of the more ethereal entities are even more ancient. The Fairy Queens feel like Time Abyss. Mab and Titania are said to have not exchanged words since Hastings, presumably the noted Battle of Hastings of 1066. And their mothers, Mother Summer and Mother Winter, are even older. And then there is Archangel Uriel and his Maker who have existed since before the Universe began.
- From The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, aside from all the Elders, Archons, and First Generation who are all several thousand years old the oldest human immortals are Gilgamesh and Tsagaglalal, who were among the first humans created by Prometheus.
- The Sithi and Norns from Memory, Sorrow and Thorn are, like Tolkien's elves, immortals, with even the youngest shown on-page (Sithi siblings Jiriki and Aditu) being centuries old. The Sithi are led by their eldest member, Amerasu, whom they call "First Grandmother" because of her age (milennia, at least). The Norns, by contrast, are led by Utuk'ku the Norn Queen, the oldest sapient being on the planet, who is more than twice Amerasu's age.
- Brother Anthony the minorite, an ancient Franciscan friar, from Those Who Hunt the Night. Living in secret for over 400 years when most other vampires believed the eldest living vampire to only be around 200.
- Damon Julian, Big Bad from Fevre Dream by George RR Martin is the oldest living vampire. He's so old that he has no real name, because he was born before names were invented.
- Mediochre himself in the Mediochre Q Seth Series is the oldest human being in existence, at about 400 (although Melinda Quinn is only slightly behind him at 370 or so). It looks a lot like there are no surviving entities older than him - human, undead or otherwise - although that might be thrown into doubt by the second book, where a couple of prisoners in the Stygian Secure Unit are implied to rival Mediochre for the status of oldest man in existence "depending on what you count as a man". The oldest of them is implied to be the Pied Piper. As in "of Hamlin".
- In Sergey Lukyanenko's Night Watch, the Others' aging process slows down to an immeasurable crawl after Initiation (except for children who continue to age until maturity). The most powerful Others can expect to live for millennia, and even the weakest Others can expect at least a few centuries. The head of the Moscow Night Watch is named Gesar. If we are to assume that he is the same Gesar as described in the Epic of King Gesar, then he would be at least 800 years old. The novels imply that he's even older than that, having fought the Dark Others in the time before the Grand Treaty. He is familiar with a much older Other named Rustam, who had since retreated into the Twilight. Rustam knew Merlin, one of the most powerful Others in history. Gesar's Arch-Nemesis Zabulon is also pretty old, although his age is never stated or even hinted (he's implied to be either English or Irish). While his chosen name comes from The Bible, Word of God is that the novel's Zabulon is not that guy.
Live Action TV
- Methos from Highlander: The Series. His first memory is about 5000 years ago, and he could be far older than that. Several characters point out that his history is so vast and ancient that even fellow Immortals (who mostly think of him as a myth) can't begin to assume anything about what he's like or how he thinks.
- In Forever Knight most vampires we meet are a couple hundred years old at most, but LaCroix was a Roman general who got turned by his preteen stepdaughter during the volcanic eruption at Pompeii.
- True Blood has at least three examples so far. In the second season, Godric is over 2,000 years old, and has tired of vampiric intrigue. In season three, Russell is nearly 3,000 years old and still bent on domination. In season six, Warlow is older than both of them combined, making him the oldest living being seen on the show thus far.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel The Master, the Prince of Lies, and Kakistos are all noted as so ancient that they've outgrown human features. The first two Look Like Orlock, while the last has cloven hooves instead of hands. No other vampires seen have shown any sign of happening yet, with the oldest known normal-looking vampire being Darla, at around 400. (Word of God previously stated The Master was about 600 years old, but as he had already stopped looking human when he sired Darla it has presumably been discarded.)
- Dracula, since he's not indicated to be anyone other than Vlad the Impaler, has over a century on Darla. He doesn't look animalistic but is unnaturally pale - as is Darla in Season 1. Though Dracula is a very atypical vampire who, thanks to mastery of unspecified "gypsy magic", doesn't follow the usual Buffyverse rules. (We later see Darla without her pallor, but only a) as a resurrected human, b) as a remade, newly young vampire, and c) in flashbacks, the latest of which is set in 1900 when she was under 300. All of this is consistent with the idea that she began going white in her 300s, and that this is for at least some vampires the beginning of the dehumanising process.) Of the three truly ancient vampires, the Master and the Prince of Lies were both very pale. (Kakistos, on the other hand, was positively florid, but then it's possible that different bloodlines or different individuals de-evolve differently - hence his cloven hooves.)
- The Master had inhuman features as much because Evil Makes You Ugly; he was "impressively" evil even before he became a vampire.
- At one point, The Mayor, who looks middle-aged but is roughly a century old, orders Angel to "respect your elders". Angel mocks him; Angel was turned into a vampire at age 26, but is roughly 240 years old.
- In Babylon 5, all the First Ones are immortal, and thus immeasurably old. But Lorien, the guy they all kowtow to, is the first lifeform to achieve sapience in the Milky Way galaxy. He is nothing less than THE First One, and essentially a God for atheists.
- In Being Human, few vampires seem to last more than 200 years - Mitchell was just over 100, and he was older than most of the others he met. The Old Ones, however, mostly seem to be around 400-500. Then there's Edgar Wyndham, who casually mentions being "more than a thousand", and Mr Snow, who condescendingly sneers that "These eyes have seen Pharaohs, and the son of a carpenter."
- In Being Human (Remake) Aiden is close to 260 years old which makes him a respected elder among the Boston Vampires. The 'Dutch' vampires are close to a thousand years old and are treated with utmost respect and fear by younger vampires like Aiden and Bishop. However, Mother is older than all of them and is hinted to be thousands of years old.
- Doctor Who has a lot of very old Immortals with the Time Lords and the Eternals and the Guardians and what not... but there's also the Beast, who (by his own claims, at least) pre-dates time itself.
- In Moonlight, Mick is relatively young for a vampire (he was turned shortly after World War II) and looks to be in his mid-30s. His friend Josef is well over 400 but looks to be in his 20s (the original unaired pilot had him more as an Elderly Immortal played by Rade Šerbedžija). As a rule, vampires stop aging the moment they are turned (one of the episode villains is a 200-year-old teenager who wipes the floor with Mick). However, the older a vampire is, from the moment he or she is turned, the more his or her body smells of decay (to another vampire). Coraline is nearly as old as Josef. Lance is stated by Mick to smell very old and be capable of feats that shock Mick (e.g. harmlessly jumping from a great height, not turning to ash when exposed to fire). However, he may also be about Josef's vampiric age (Lance and Coraline are supposed to be vampire siblings). The oldest stated vampire on the show is Lora, whose age is somewhere around 700. After her activities force Mick to kill her, both Mick and Josef lament the loss of so much experience (Josef also had an on-and-off thing with her for the last century).
- In Forever, Henry Morgan is about 200 years old. The mysterious caller, though, claims to be over 2000 years old. Unlike Henry, he is cynical and contemptuous of human life. According to the caller, Henry cares because he's "too young".
- In Vampire: The Masquerade and associated media there are some very old vampires around; Napoleonic vampires are seen as relative upstarts by some in the modern age. However, they live in fear of truly ancient vampires and the mythic Antediluvians, the vampires from before Noah's flood, thousands of years ago. And then there's the first vampire, Caine (yeah, that one), who managed to outlive the generation of vampires he directly created who, in turn, created the Antediluvians.
- In Warhammer 40,000, you will run across thousand-year-old Eldar relatively frequently. Then you have people like Eldrad Ulthran and Asdrubael Vect, who are old enough to have been around before the Fall.
- Space Marines are often hundreds of years old, but the Dreadnoughts can be even older. Bjorn the Fell-Handed was around when his Primarch left for the Warp.
- With all the gods and immortals running around (okay, not exactly running), you still can't beat the C'tan, who were the first beings to exist, period.
- In Traveller age-retarding drugs have been around for millennia, and some alien species are extremely long-lived. But Yaskodray is the only surviving Ancient and is hundreds of thousands of years older than any other living thing.
- We don't know the exact ages for the non-human characters in Touhou, almost all of whom are Older Than They Look, but the age range among them is from "at least sixty" to "at least 2300, probably a lot more". The oldest character in Gensokyo is usually considered by fans to be either Eirin Yagokoro or Yukari Yakumo (who will do horrible things to you if you imply she's old).
- Some Dragons from Fire Emblem Tellius can live to 1000 years, while all other laguz' lifespans are far shorter. Lehran tops that at 2000 years, and still looks like a bona fide pretty boy.
- In Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, this title belongs to either Beckett or Strauss. Neither state their ages outright, but refer to the 150+ old Prince LaCroix (who was an officer under Napoleon) as "young one".
- According to the tabletop game, Jack is just shy of 400 years old. Unlike the other two, he doesn't really act his age.
- If the real identity of the Taxi Driver from the endgame is what the Malkavian note main character thinks he is then he is older than any other living vampire (let alone those gathered in L.A.) by several thousand years
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As Portable: The Gears of Destiny reveals that the Materials are older than the already several centuries year old Reinforce and Wolkenritter, with the Book of Darkness having been created to seal them. This lets them know things that even Reinforce doesn't know, such as the fact that the Book of Darkness also contained a secret weapon called the Unbreakable Darkness... which turns out to be an even older and more powerful Humanoid Abomination than the Materials.
- Video Game/Pokémon X and Y: The character AZ is at least 3,000 years old, and is given the powers of immortality by a machine that gives eternal life.
- In the Suikoden series, the mysterious Leknaat's role in the story would imply that she's this. But she's not. Word of God is that vampire queen Sierra Mikain is well over twice as old, and and is the oldest known person in the world.
- Sword of the Stars 2: One of the Suul'ka is known as the Eldest, he is 320,000 years old and determined to be the last living thing in the universe.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, a dispute between Ankou and Jones regarding Mort's death is settled by seniority thanks to a third party, a representative of the Realm of the Dead. Ankou, being a psychopomp specializing in humans, is roughly as old as humanity itself. Unfortunately for him, Jones is older than all life on Earth.
- The oldest drow in Drowtales is likely around 900 to 1000 years old, since the drow first emerged after the exodus underground, but their parents the Dark Elves like Diva'ratrika and Ash'waren who were born on the surface are by definition much older.
- In Gargoyles, Hudson is obviously older than the rest of the Gargoyles, and Garoyles have a really long lifespan.
- Transformers: We don't even know if there's any kind of upper limit for spark lifespan, but they can survive for millions of years if they take care of themselves. Especially old protagonists tend to be Badass Grandpa / Old Soldier types. We've got Kup from Generation 1, Ratchet (and other Great War veterans) in Animated, and Jetfire from the film series. Jetfire was only showing his age due to lack of energon, but he was still established as much older than the average Cybertronian.
- And all of the above are practically children compared to Vector Prime, who was literally among the first robots to walk the face of Cybertron, and when asked his age, gives a figure of nine billion.
- In Young Justice, the Light has three immortal characters: Ra's al-Ghul, who is 600-700; Vandal Savage, who is 50,000; and Klarion, who is "ageless" according to Word of God.