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  • In Anno Dracula, Christina Light, the former Princess Casamassima, (in Seven Days in Mayhem and One Thousand Monsters, originally from Henry James) is characterised as this. She appears to be a genuine revolutionary who sincerely rejected her title, but other characters have the distinct feeling that her view is really more that people shouldn't do what she says because she's a princess — they should do what she says simply because she's Christina Light.
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  • The heroic characters' creed in Atlas Shrugged is "I swear — by my life and my love of it — that I will never live for the sake of another man nor ask another man to live for mine" — meaning, while they exempt themselves from the responsibility of caring about or helping others (which they frequently do anyway), they assert no one has the right to exploit others for personal gain, or obtain anything for themselves by force, fraud, or coercion. This is their definition of "selfishness" (independence + honesty).
  • Torak from The Belgariad. It's pointed out at least once that his brutal, almost sadistic actions make perfect sense if one accepts his premise that he's the sole reason the universe exists. He originally stole the Orb of Aldur because it was inconceivable that such a powerful magical gemstone could belong to anyone but him. Then he killed half of mankind in a catastrophic seismic upheaval with said Orb when the forces of everyone else came to take it back. A lot of bad things can happen when the one espousing this viewpoint is a God of Evil.
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  • In Children of the Black Sun, Brekan is completely self-centred, but thinks that he's self-sacrificing, long-suffering, and unappreciated. He goes on about his efforts on behalf of other people, but his motivation is never just "it would make them happy" — it's about how they'll be grateful and he'll seem important. If anyone points out that his efforts have had negative, stupid repercussions for the group, his only response is bitterness that he didn't get the outcome he wanted and that people are "as usual" all against him for no reason.
  • The works of Agatha Christie:
    • Heather Babcock from The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side is a non-villainous example of this. She isn't mean, and actually goes out of her way to do nice things for other people, like rescuing Miss Marple after a nasty fall or taking in a homeless family. However, she is incapable of recognizing that her actions affect other people or that what something means to her might not be the same for other people involved. The primary example of this was that when she got sick, she didn't recognize that the doctor's instructions to "Stay in bed and don't go out to meet people" might not have been just for her benefit...
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    • In And Then There Were None, Anthony Marston embodies this trope, seeing a hit-and-run accident which caused the death of two young children merely in the light of losing his driver's license.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia:
    • In The Magician's Nephew, Empress Jadis, the Big Bad, relates how, when she lost the planet-wide civil war to her sister, she refused to accept defeat and spoke The Deplorable Word to wipe out all life on her planet. She justifies her actions thus:
      Jadis: I was the queen. They were all my people. What else were they there for but to do my will? ... You must learn, child, that what would be wrong for you or for any of the common people is not wrong in a great queen such as I. The weight of the world is on our shoulders. We must be freed from all rules. Ours is a high and lonely destiny.
    • Uncle Andrew most certainly would count as well. He makes his first appearance by tricking Polly into being teleported to another world which, by his own admittance, he knows absolutely nothing about, and then starts guilting Diggory into going there as well. At one point, he launches into an explanation of his experiments and is annoyed when Diggory shows concern first that Andrew didn't obey his godmother's wishes and destroy the magic powder and then over the guinea pigs used for the initial experiments (which Uncle Andrew said exploded like "little bombs"). In fact, he even says that it was fine that he killed a number of helpless animals, because "that was what they were for!" When Diggory continues to ask about where Polly went, Uncle Andrew replies "How you go on about that! As if it mattered!" When Diggory asks why Andrew didn't just send himself to this other world to see what it was like, he outright states that he doesn't want to put himself in danger. And when Diggory is afraid to send himself to an unknown place, Uncle Andrew reminds him that Polly could be starving or drowning or being killed by wild animals. By this point, Diggory wishes he were tall enough to punch his uncle. Later, an explicate parallel is drawn between Andrew and Jadis. Oh, and when they're all in Narnia, all Uncle Andrew thinks about is his own safety (willing to abandon his own nephew, Polly and a cabbie to get home) and how he can profit from the place. When Diggory asks if Narnia might hold something that would cure his mother, Andrew rudely replies that it's not a pharmacy.
  • In Colony, Charles Perry Gordon tricks Eddie O'Hare into taking his role on the generation ship Willflower, claiming to Eddie that he wants to enjoy the money he recently won at the casino while Eddie takes his role on the ship. In reality, Gordon intends to stage a mugging and get Eddie arrested at a point when it’s too late for Gordon to join the crew himself, allowing him to set up his perceived ‘ideal society’ on Earth, when he could have done something less violent and all Eddie asked of him in turn was to set aside a bit of money to support Eddie’s mother.
  • In Sarah A. Hoyt's Darkship Thieves, Thena's father. At one point, Thena makes a plan to escape him that centers on the key fact that he will regard losing control of her as no different from her death.
  • Mercedes Lackey's Diana Tregarde: The Big Bad of Jinx High understands the magical law of karma ... specifically, she understands that when others do wrong, it leaves them open for her to harm them. The idea that she might be subject to this same law doesn't even occur to her. In her defense, she's actually not entirely subject to it: her body-switching magic has allowed her to let the karmic consequences land on someone else's head while she escapes scot-free, several times. One of the saddest things about the series coming to an unplanned and abrupt halt after Jinx High is that her ultimate escape at the end and its consequences (notably, that Diana Tregarde has entirely unknown to her actually killed an innocent person in the villainess's stead) are never, ever addressed.
  • Discworld
    • In Terry Pratchett's Making Money, Pucci Lavish. It would be inaccurate to say that she confesses that her family sold all the gold in the vaults of the Royal Bank — "confessing" implies admitting to doing wrong. She's considerably closer to bragging.
    • Tiffany Aching of The Wee Free Men is a heroic example. The Fair Folk kidnapped her obnoxious baby brother and are invading her country, and now It's Personal. It's hinted that "turning selfishness into a weapon" like this is a major source of power for witches: whatever they claim as theirs, do not mess with it.
    • Christine, Agnes's Foil in Maskerade is this combined with Brainless Beauty; she literally pays no attention to things that aren't about her. Agnes tests this by saying "And my father is the Emperor of Klatch and my mother is a small tray of raspberry puddings!"
    • The trendy modern witch Letice Earwig is so self-absorbed that Fae Glamour, which works by preying on human insecurities, doesn't affect her at all. Other characters are able to overcome it with Heroic Willpower; Miss Earwig doesn't even notice it.
  • Evie O'Neill's Fatal Flaw in Libba Bray's Diviners series. Evie is a self-absorbed glory hound who frequently puts fame above the feelings and desires of her friends.
  • Family Skeleton Mysteries: The killer in book 3. Roxanne Beale's younger sister Doreen was cyberbullied by the Devil's Divas for so long she committed suicide. Roxanne's parents blamed her for letting it happen because she was supposed to meet Doreen the night she killed herself but was late. Then, a few years later, one of the Divas goes to Roxanne and admits her guilt in Doreen's death. But throughout all this, Roxanne doesn't actually care her sister is dead. She's angry because of how Doreen's suicide interrupted her first attempt at completing her dissertation, prolonging it and causing her to go through multiple advisers before reaching the deadline. As Roxanne goes on her Motive Rant, Georgia is disgusted at how Roxanne seems only annoyed about what Doreen's suicide did to her. It reaches the point that she holds the Thackerys at gunpoint to make absolutely sure she finally completes her project on time.
  • Christian Grey from the Fifty Shades of Grey books comes across as this. He's a very selfish lover, particularly to his subs, and only cares about his own pleasure, often ignoring discomfort about certain aspects during 'scenes'. Even things that he seems to do for the sake of other people, like sending food supplies to Darfur, is all done because he used to go hungry as a toddler. He is the one in control of his life, and of those closely associated with him, including his subs and eventual wife, Anastasia Steele. His pleasure, his job, his personal life, is what he focuses on first and foremost.
  • The Point in Flatland sits content in the 0th dimension thinking about himself. Indeed, he is unable to comprehend there may be something besides himself because zero-dimensional space consists of only a point.
  • In Andre Norton's Forerunner Foray, Yasa, from a feline-evolved race, is totally self-absorbed albeit very practical about it.
  • The Fountainhead likewise condemns "second-handers", which includes people who put concern for others before themselves and Manipulative Bastards and Corrupt Corporate Executives who exploit others or use force, fraud, or coercion for personal benefit; the protagonist claims the latter aren't "selfish" by his definition of the word.
  • In Aaron Allston's Galatea in 2-D, Kevin. Out to ruin Donna and Roger's lives out of envy. Laughs at the way his first discovery of Art Initiates Life killed a bunch of painted men. Taunts his Mook Red with the possibility of letting his beloved Penny die and makes him beg, repeatedly, before he saves her. Instead of just killing his opponents, locks them up somewhere with monsters that will kill them if they close their eyes — preventing Roger from using his powers but ensuring they will die of sleep deprivation. Takes advantage of a truce flag to try to kill Roger. Sees a random piece of good art, checks the name so that he knows who to ruin. And when the heroes have attacked him all out, he demands that Roger explain something he did — Roger owes him it, for this attack.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Great Divorce, a damned soul manages to convince himself that he has made great sacrifices for his wife, because he once let her use the last stamp to mail a letter when he wanted to mail a letter, too.
  • Daisy, Tom, and Jordan from The Great Gatsby, to the point where Daisy accidentally kills Tom's mistress and Tom's solution is to let Daisy's Love Martyr Gatsby take the fall, manipulate his mistress' husband into killing Gatsby, and leave all this unpleasantness behind them. Jordan would have viewed the spoilered bits as light entertainment.
    • This trope is the theme of the book. During Gatsby's funeral, Nick is disgusted to see that only one person shows up. Gatsby spent a lot of money throwing lavish parties, which a lot of people attended and enjoyed, yet only one cared enough to show up. A particularly nasty bit had one of Gatsby's regular guests call up the mansion. Upon hearing about the funeral and being asked if he would attend, the guest casually states that he might, but he wasn't even aware that Gatsby had died and just wanted to ask if he could get a pair of shoes that he'd left over there.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Voldemort complains that his Death Eaters lack loyalty to him, but he has none to them, making Draco try to assassinate Dumbledore despite because of the pain his danger causes his parents, and murdering Snape for power. He's a narcissistic, sociopathic dictator and doesn't care about any of his Death Eaters.
    • There's also a little character named Lockhart who had ... a big ego. His idea of a Defense Against the Dark Arts test contained only questions like "What is Gilderoy Lockhart's favorite color?" and "When is Gilderoy Lockhart's birthday, and what would his ideal gift be?"
    • Barty Crouch, Jr. boasts that he and he alone was faithful to Voldemort. Apparently Bellatrix, who was proclaiming her loyalty to Voldemort while Crouch, Jr. was begging innocence, doesn't exist in his little world. Crouch, Jr. also seems to take for granted his mother and Winky's pity for him.
    • There's also Cormac McLaggen, the self-absorbed Jerk Jock whom Hermione briefly dates in Book 6.
    • Also, Dudley, Petunia, Marge, and Vernon Dursley. Of the four, Dudley is the only one who becomes less self-centered by the series' end.
      • Petunia would have too, at least in the movie, except the important moment ended up being a deleted scene.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    • Betelgeusians can be a bit like this. In Mostly Harmless, Ford refers to making a "great personal sacrifice" - he lost a pair of shoes. And they were really nice shoes, and they were his.
      Arthur: I think we have different value systems.
      Ford: Mine's better.
    • Zaphod.
      Trillian: Can we leave your ego out of this? This is important.
      Zaphod: Hey, if there's anything more important than my ego around here, I want it caught and shot now.
      • To put a finer point on it: One book introduces a torture device called the Total Perspective Vortex, which drives the victim insane by showing them just how tiny and insignificant they are compared to the rest of existence. Zaphod walks away from it just fine because, as he sees it, what it showed him was that the universe really does revolve around him. On the other hand, at the moment he was in a miniature Universe designed to completely envelop him, so the fully-functional Vortex did work perfectly—in the worst way imaginable.
  • In Honor Harrington, a subordinate muses on Aristocrats Are Evil poster-boy Pavel Young as she betrays him:
    No one else was quite real to Pavel Young. That was especially true for women, but it applied to everyone else around him, as well. He lived in a universe of cardboard cutouts, of human-shaped things provided solely for his use. He had no sense of them as people who might resent him — or, indeed, who had any right to resent him — and he was too busy doing things to them to even consider what they might do to him if they got the chance.
  • Griffin in The Invisible Man thinks only about what he can get from others using his invisibility — up to wanting to establish a reign of terror just because (he thinks) he can — and gets enraged at anyone making things difficult for him, even though they usually have some reasonable cause for questioning or trying to stop him. Dr. Kemp, the hero of the story, explicitly says that "he is mad, he is pure selfishness" after hearing him tell his story from his own point of view.
  • Patrick Hockstetter in Stephen King's IT. Despite being the minion to the sadistic bully, Henry Bowers, Patrick Hockstetter is so profoundly psychopathic that he murders his own baby brother by suffocating him with a pillow because he suspected that maybe... JUST MAYBE... he could be as real as him. In his solipsistic world view, only his mind exists and everything else around him are just realistic facsimiles, and thus are merely tools to amuse him at will, however he is just SANE enough to know that bringing too much attention on himself will get him locked up in the Mental Institution (one of his few real fears) and contents himself with horrifically torturing pets and animals by locking them up in a broken refrigerator in the junkyard to watch them slowly die, among them an adorable puppy he kidnapped from a nearby family. Ironically, the chapter devoted to him is merely a dozen or so pages long before his utterly gruesome yet well deserved Karmic Death at the hands of the titular Monster Clown. It's even called "The Death of Patrick Hockstetter".
  • The gentleman with the thistle-down hair in Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. He is convinced he is a great friend of Stephen Black, a man he loves deeply... completely oblivious to the fact that Black is terrified of him. As a Fisher King, he has turned his land into a sad and dismal place, a derelict manor on a windswept moor surrounded by a dark leafless wood, with the remains of ancient battles rotting outside. The fairy inhabitants spend their time in endless balls, they have "idled away their days in pointless pleasures and in celebrations of past cruelties." Fittingly enough, he ends up dying at Stephen Black's hands, for what he thought was a favor.
    The gentleman looked doubtful. Any reasoning that did not contain a reference to himself was always difficult for him to follow.
  • Peter S. Beagle's The Last Unicorn. King Haggard, in a unnerving variation of this trope.
    • Unicorns as well, although not to quite such a disturbing degree as Haggard. They're explicitly stated to be sort of vain, because they're incredibly beautiful, extremely magical, and fully aware of both those facts. However, they don't actually do anything to anyone on this ground.
  • Also criticized by British statesman Lord Chesterfield in Letters to His Son: "People of an ordinary, low education, when they happen to fail into good company, imagine themselves the only object of its attention; if the company whispers, it is, to be sure, concerning them; if they laugh, it is at them; and if anything ambiguous, that by the most forced interpretation can be applied to them, happens to be said, they are convinced that it was meant at them; upon which they grow out of countenance first, and then angry." (letter 186)
  • Earlier books in the Llama Llama series in particular are about Llama Llama causing drama because he wants his Mama's attention. As he gets older, he starts to grow out of it.
  • Although movie adaptations have portrayed Lolita this way, it's actually Humbert Humbert. Sometimes this is Played for Laughs; when a potential landlord's house burns down, Humbert is only annoyed that he won't have a chance with the man's pretty daughters. And other times it's not — Humbert thinks that he loves Lolita and waxes lyrical about her beauty, yet has barely a thought about how he's destroying her childhood until the end of the book. It never occurs to Humbert that he might forget his sexual desires out of love, and her reaction to him molesting her every night and controlling all aspects of her life is regarded as bratty teenage behaviour instead of an abuse victim lashing out in the only way she can.
  • Marvel's Spider-Man: Hostile Takeover: Michael Bingham is the center of his own world and wants to be the center of everyone else's. He has this trope so bad he only considers caring about other people when they are nice to him, and thinks nothing of them when they die.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere: An Autumn Tale, Catarina interprets everything Lucian does as a slight to her, regarding it as treachery for him to escape after she had tortured him and had him crippled for life.
  • Monster of the Month Club: Many of the monsters are rather self-centered. Icicle in particular is very egotistical, borrowing Rilla's things without asking and basically acting as if he's King of the Attic.
  • The Moomins: The father of the Moomin family is one of these. It is most evident in the two books where he's a reasonably main character (The Exploits of Moominpappa and Moominpappa at Sea), but it turns up in the other books as well.
  • The Neverending Story: This is Bastian's fatal flaw and the reason why most of his wishes in Fantastica go horribly wrong. Because he starts out as a Loser Protagonist, he wishes for strength, good looks, favorable opinions, to be feared and so forth. Even when Bastian wishes for good things to happen for others, it's always about secretly getting something he wants, or increasing his own appearance of benevolence. The story even points out that the motive behind doing a good turn for someone is as important as the good turn itself. It takes all of Bastian's selfish wishes going wrong to show him how low he has sunk after morally wounding Atreyu and later seeing what becomes of the other humans who went down similar selfish paths and became trapped and mindless in Fantastica. Bastian's last remaining wish breaks this cycle for him, because it's a wish to love someone other than himself and thus put another person first before his own wants.
  • In John Hemry's Paul Sinclair novel A Just Determination, Sinclair's first impression of Garcia is this, but while the ship is underway, Garcia is furious while investigating a death, and Sinclair deduces that it could not reflect on Garcia personally so he must be care about something besides himself.
  • The Phantom of the Opera: Arguably, everyone in the original book by Gaston Leroux, except Christine, the Persian and Madam Valerious:
    • Raoul: After Christine murmurs: “Poor Erik!”
      At first, he thought he must be mistaken. To begin with, he was persuaded that, if any one was to be pitied, it was he, Raoul. It would have been quite natural if she had said, "Poor Raoul," after what had happened between them. But, shaking her head, she repeated: "Poor Erik!" What had this Erik to do with Christine's sighs and why was she pitying Erik when Raoul was so unhappy?
    • Erik, After his Love Redeems scene, meets the Daroga, who asks him (repeatedly) about the murder of Count Philippe:
      "Daroga, don't talk to me ... about Count Philippe ... ""I have not come here ... to talk about Count Philippe ... but to tell you that ... I am going ... to die..."
    • Mme. Giry:
      "Mme. Giry. You know me well enough, sir; I'm the mother of little Giry, little Meg, what!"
      This was said in so rough and solemn a tone that, for a moment, M. Richard was impressed. He looked at Mme. Giry, in her faded shawl, her worn shoes, her old taffeta dress and dingy bonnet. It was quite evident from the manager's attitude, that he either did not know or could not remember having met Mme. Giry, nor even little Giry, nor even "little Meg!" But Mme. Giry's pride was so great that the celebrated box-keeper imagined that everybody knew her
    • Moncharmin: Excerpt from the (exceptionally long) "Memories of a Manager":
      "A grievous accident spoiled the little party which MM. Debienne and Poligny gave to celebrate their retirement. I was in the manager's office, when Mercier, the acting-manager, suddenly came darting in. He seemed half mad and told me that the body of a scene-shifter had been found hanging in the third cellar under the stage, between a farm-house and a scene from the Roi de Lahore. I shouted: " 'Come and cut him down!'
  • Olivia Goldsmith's novels are packed with such characters.
    • The First Wives Club has each of the ex-husband truly selfish and miserable men with Gil arrested after he beats his wife upon finding her having an affair with a black man (he's a racist as well as a scumbag) and thinks he's the hurt party.
      • Aaron cheats on wife Elise, steals money from the trust fund for his mentally ill daughter and plans to push his partner out of their ad agency...and is struck by the "betrayal" when the partner pulls the coup on him. A big moment is the board concerned over Aaron overspending their cash on things like lavish hotel suites for weeks on end. When Aaron snaps "don't tell me how to spend my money," he's reminded it's "our money."
      • Aaron's son Chris gives him a sharp "The Reason You Suck" Speech on his behavior, including how Chris has long been The Unfavorite to his older brother. When Aaron smugly says that as soon as "my name is off the door," Chris is also fired from the agency, Chris reminds his dad that as long as he's there, their name will always be on the door.
    • As a story set in Hollywood, Flavor of the Month has scores of examples.
      • Lila is a truly selfish woman determined to be an acting star and not caring who she crushes to get ahead. She doesn't love her supposed fiance and just using him to further her career.
      • Lila's mother, Theresa, outdoes her in terms of selfishness. The big turn of the book is when Lila is shot and found to have a penis. Theresa reveals she could never raise a boy so just had surgery to raise Lila as a girl. It's why she never wanted her to be an actress as she knew if she got famous, someone would discover her secret...and Theresa worried how that would affect her, not Lila. When Lila succumbs to her wounds, Theresa can still only think how the scandal will shake her reputation in Hollywood.
    • Book of the Month has Gerald Ochs, who fancies himself a great author but has to rely on stealing the profits of real authors to beef up his sale numbers. He writes a book based on a scandal involving his uncle and it drives the man to kill himself. Gerald's father tears into him for this...and Gerald can only think how the publicity over his uncle's death can help the sales. He does have a Heel Realization later in the book that drives him to take his wasted life.
      • Pam is a truly selfish editor who refuses to credit anyone with success and blames everyone else for her own fall from the top.
      • Daniel poses as the sole author of the book her and wife Judith wrote but the fame goes to his head and he truly believes he alone wrote it, throwing away his marriage for the success to come...which bites him when the book flops.
    • Each of the husbands in Young Wives can count but Frank is the worst. When his wife, Michelle, discovers the man is a drug dealer, he hits her and demands she keep quiet. Later, he says that if Michelle doesn't testify on his behalf, he'll claim she was involved in his operations, not caring this means their kids grow up with both their parents in jail as long as he remains in control.
  • Pigeon Series: This sort of thinking is possibly the Pigeon's most defining characteristic and generally what drives his behavior, especially things such as complaining about not appearing in the title of The Duckling Gets a Cookie? and slipping himself into the Elephant & Piggie titles.
  • In The Pilgrim's Regress: Mr. Sensible, for all his affability, is quite self-absorbed. Fridge Horror sets in when reading his line about hoping for mechanical servants and/or "a race of peons who will be psychologically incapable of [revolt]", and realizing he'd fit right in in Stepford.
  • In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Mrs. Bennet and Lydia Bennet suffer from this; while Mrs. Bennet is perceptive enough to note that without husbands her daughters face a lifetime of ruin upon the death of their father, her primary concern seems mainly to be self-involved whining about how this will affect her. Similarly, her favourite daughter Lydia (who takes after her mother in many ways), on running away with Wickham, writes a giggly letter expressing how much fun she's having and what a laugh it'll be to be married to Wickham without any concern for the fact that she might be putting her family's fortunes at risk through her actions. Mr Bennet suffers from this too: his failure to keep his wife and younger daughters' behaviour in check puts Lizzy and Jane's romantic prospects in jeopardy, and creates a bit of a monster in Lydia. Also, he fails to even try to marry Mary off to Mr Collins, even though she is plainly suited to him (lampshaded in the 90s BBC adaptation and recent film), and would secure his wife's future.
  • The Princess Diaries: Though generally kind-hearted, Mia slips into this from time to time. A notable example is in Princess on the Brink, in which Mia tries to keep her boyfriend Michael from building a robot that could save thousands, if not millions, of lives just because she couldn't stand the idea of being parted from him for a year. Multiple characters call her out.
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, Jack Frost only cares about himself making it big, not his goblins.
  • Emperor Ublaz Mad Eyes from Redwall is under the impression that it's perfectly reasonable to slaughter dozens of innocents and even as a last resort threatening to tear an Abbey to the ground. Just to get himself a pink pearl to finish decorating his crown.
  • The eponymous character in Oscar Wilde's short story "The Remarkable Rocket".
    "What right have you to be happy? You should be thinking about others. In fact, you should be thinking about me. I am always thinking about myself, and I expect everybody else to do the same. That is what is called sympathy. It is a beautiful virtue, and I possess it in a high degree."
  • In The Saga of Darren Shan, Darren's childhood friend Steve Leonard- known as "Steve Leopard"- is constantly convinced that Darren deliberately tried to kill him with the poisonous spider Madame Octa, and subsequently got himself turned into a vampire, just to show Steve up, regardless of how often Darren insists that he only became a vampire to get the cure for Madam Octa's poison to save Steve.
  • In Scavenger Alliance, this and Never My Fault are Hannah's mantra. She will take whatever course of action serves her best, regardless of who might be hurt, and has no idea why anyone would expect her to do otherwise. Even more blatant early in Scavenger Blood, when Hannah knows that Blaze has to go and help find a missing hunting party, but still thinks she should stop and listen to Hannah's whining about her self-inflicted problems first.
  • In Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, Marianne Dashwood is deeply self-absorbed, considering her feelings (whether positive or negative) absolutely irrepressible and in the process disregarding common politeness and the feelings of others; when circumstances force Elinor to confess that she too has been unhappy, Marianne breaks down in Tears of Remorse, forcing Elinor to comfort her again, and continues to wallow in her own unhappiness - with added guilt, now - rather than provide emotional support for Elinor. It takes near-death to smarten her up. Granted, she's a teenager, but it's a major contrast with Elinor, who's 19 and displays more responsibility and consideration for others than many people much older than her.
  • In The Shahnameh, Goshtasp is willing to send his son Esfandiar to his death to stay king. Unfortunately the prince takes after his father in this regard. Esfandiar is willing to dishonor Rostam to become king, even after all Rostam has done for Iran. Esfandiar is decidedly the more honorable of the two though.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: A number of villains have shades of this. In particular, Rosemary Hershey from the book Sweet Revenge is all about this trope! She doesn't want to share with anyone, she hires ugly people just to make herself look beautiful, and when things go wrong (and they do) she blames Isabelle Flanders and everyone except herself. She caused the deaths of three people to ruin Isabelle and take everything Isabelle held dear, including her fiance Bobby Harcourt. She displayed no remorse for those deaths. However, it turns out later that she blocked out a number of details related to the deaths, and once she remembers them, they stay in her mind, causing her to lose sleep and wreck up her precious ego and sanity. When Bobby makes moves to divorce her (another blow to her), at one point she calls him demanding to know why he didn't turn on her security system on his way out of her house. Bobby points out "Why is it always about you and what you want?"
  • In Skulduggery Pleasant, there's Fletcher Renn, albeit one of the more pleasant and likeable examples once Character Development takes hold. The fact that he's the last living Teleporter means that the plot of the third book is more or less dependent on him, and also that every major power in the magical world desperately wants him to work for them. This feeds his ego pretty strongly, but it's toned down in his later appearances.
    • It's implied most Teleporters are like this, probably because the advanced techniques of Teleporting are only possible if a Teleporter accepts the premise that their powers don't move them through space, but they stand still and their powers allow them to move the world, in essence, the Universe revolves around them. Fletcher has no problem with this concept.
    • Skulduggery and Valkyrie definitely have shades of this, usually in a warmly arrogant fashion that's Played for Laughs. However, it's treated more seriously as time goes by, such as when Valkyrie dumps her boyfriend partially because she didn't think he was as important as her, and this narcissism is one of Darquesse's defining traits. Meanwhile, it's suggested that Skulduggery is actually subverting this trope, using it as a shield to hide from the fact that he utterly loathes himself and the things he's done.
  • Very prevalent in A Song of Ice and Fire. Moral Myopia is so very common, its no surprise at all to meet its extreme expression quite regularly.
    • The most prominent examples in the main series itself come from the Lannister family:
      • Cersei is one of the most self-absorbed characters in the books, as she blithely destroys nearly everyone else's lives (even those she says she loves) to keep her position as queen.
      • Her darling spawn, Joffrey, isn't far behind her; when he becomes king he feels he can do just about anything he wants to, and everyone is him to torture if he wishes to, as well.
      • Jaime subverts this in later books; he used to only care about fighting and being with his sister, but he starts growing depth when he cannot avoid witnessing the totality of the mess building around him first-hand (which his previous self-serving inaction helped contribute to, too).
      • While nowhere near as bad as Cersei by any measure you care to use, Tyrion still indulges in self-centred wallowing (and occasional lashing out) from time to time — especially when deeply in his cups and suffering acutely from the latest heap of misery to dump itself on his head. However, when less in pain, he's generally the most empathic Lannister when it comes to none-Lannisters, aside from his uncle Kevan.
      • Tywin very much practices this at all times: he believes in upholding his family's name and legacy (in short, what he deems those to be) over (and despite) what his children think about it. They should (nay, will) do everything as he commands — or else. As you can guess — the family is both messed-up and messes up on many, many levels because of their various takes on this trope and the resulting feedback.
    • Renly, though charming, is also self-centered. He tries to take the crown from his older brother because he thinks he would make the best and more popular king, even it means dividing the Baratheon forces which could be used in the war against the Lannisters at a time when numbers could make all the difference in winning King's Landing. That trying to jump the queue of succession like this could also very likely lead to the death of his brother, Stannis, (and a whole lot of other people) doesn't seem to bother him all that much.
    • Viserys Targaryen, despite being in no position of power whatsoever, still treats everyone like complete dirt and still thinks everything should go his way, despite it not having done so for years. His rudeness and inflated sense of his own worth grates on just about everybody he comes in contact with.
    • Theon Greyjoy is nearly in Viserys' boat for grating inconsequentialness: getting him to consider the needs of others is uphill work. He uses his relationships with women as if they're disposable toys fit only for his fleeting sexual amusement, for one thing. It... doesn't go well. He has many explanations for his attitude, but, they really don't excuse his both deliberate and accidentally hurtful actions towards others.
    • Historically, very few people before or since can beat the self-centeredness of Aegon "the Unworthy" Targaryen, the major cause of the Blackfyre Rebellion(s). Just about everything he did was for shiggles on the YOLO principle. And, it caused havoc that is still being felt in the body politic of the Seven Kingdoms, almost a century later.
    • In a broader sense, most of the nobles of Westeros don't spare a thought to the millions of smallfolk whose lives are in their hands, so long as they and their legacies come out on top.
  • Crell Moset in the Star Trek Novel Verse. A doctor who performs unethical medical experiments throughout his career with the Cardassian military, he consistently places his own emotional desires above any and all other concerns. He refuses to recognise the pain of others if it serves his intellectual curiosity or contributes to the advance of his scientific reputation. He even seems to believe that the inhabitants of a planet his people were occupying were selfish for taking back their world before he could finish his work there.
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith:
    • The novelization gives Count Dooku this characterization. He views all beings in two categories: assets and threats. Everyone who is not of use to him falls into the latter category.
    • In the same novelization, part of the reason Anakin Skywalker killed Padmé Amidala, his wife, was because he refused to see her actions, and Obi-Wan Kenobi stowing away in her ship, as anything but an attack on him. Waking up in the suit, he realizes that he was thinking with this trope. But it's far too late to turn back; even he knows he's jumped off and down the slippery slope.
      You killed her because, finally, when you could have saved her, when you could have gone away with her, when you could have been thinking about her, you were thinking about yourself...
      It is in this blazing moment that you finally understand the trap of The Dark Side, the final cruelty of the Sith
      Because now your self is all you will ever have.
  • Sword of Truth: Objectivist hero Richard Rahl becomes like this about mid-way through the series, all while apparently wearing a massive set of irony blinders.
  • A Tale of Two Cities: Marquis St. Evrémonde runs over a peasant girl with his carriage, and his only concern is that the incident may have "damaged" his horses (not injured, but damaged).
  • In C. S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces, the king. Curses even the gods when he does not get his way, punishes at whim, attacks slaves randomly — ignores Psyche until she is to be sacrificed, and then jeers at the very notion that this is a loss to Orual, her Parental Substitute, when it's obviously a loss only to him..
  • Several in the Tortall Universe.
    • Song of the Lioness: Duke Roger has no real affection for anyone else, resents his young cousin Jon for getting born and thus making Roger not the heir to the throne anymore, and hates the gods for not acknowledging him. Never any indication that he thinks he would be a better king; he just wants it because he deserves it.
    • Ozorne of The Immortals just thinks that his people should worship him and not any silly gods which actually exist and get rather tetchy about blasphemy.
    • In a Character Development instance, Aly has shades of this at the beginning of the Trickster's Duet — she wants to spy because she'd be so good at it, and it would be fun and exciting. When Kyprioth kidnaps her for her talents, she sobers up about what the job really requires and the impact it has on La Résistance.
    • The antagonists of all three Beka Cooper books.
      • In the first you have Crookshank, a fence and slumlord who is not satisfied with his considerable wealth and has whole crews of miners murdered (repeatedly) to keep his precious fire opals secret; he thinks nothing of exploiting poor unemployed folk and cares more about the opals and slight to his pride than his own grandson. The Shadow Snake's motivation boils down to "my neighbors have nice things and I deserve them more."
      • Pearl in Bloodhound almost ruins the whole nation's economy by dumping tons of counterfeits into the moneystream so she can hoard all the silver for herself, will murder anyone who becomes slightly a liability even if they were friends, and has no empathy for anyone (except dogs).
      • And in Mastiff, a massive conspiracy to usurp the King and Queen by kidnapping and abusing the child prince is launched by a bunch of mages who object to a sales tax.
  • Apollo from The Trials of Apollo is the very definition of this, as well as at least two of his children. Their reaction to finding out their father is now mortal and will have to complete several dangerous tasks to return to godly status is to ask if this will affect their existence or special abilities. And Apollo is proud of them for it.
    Apollo: It warmed my heart that my children had the right priorities: their skills, their images, their views on YouTube.
  • In Jack Vance's works, the villains do this more often than not, often in eloquent, even florid, language. They tend to be extremely self-righteous. (When they aren't this trope, they tend to display Moral Myopia.)
  • Vietnam: An Epic Tragedy by Max Hastings. From the introduction:
    The authors of all the authoritative works about the conflict are American or French. More than a few of the former write as if it was their own nation's story. Yet this was predominantly an Asian tragedy, upon which a US nightmare was overlaid: around forty Vietnamese perished for every American.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • In Dan Abnett's Eisenhorn novel Malleus, Cherubael sets up an elaborate plan to get Eisenhorn to free him. It involves the death of several innocents, including some that Eisenhorn has to kill in self-defense. When Eisenhorn reimprisons him, Cherubael laments the gross injustice of it.
    • In Sandy Mitchell's Ciaphas Cain novel The Traitor's Hand, a daemon kills a trooper in front of Cain and talks of how she will transform the planet into a warp gate to allow daemons to run wild. When, with the help of Jurgen's "blank" abilities, Cain goes to kill her, she objects: "It's not fair!"
      • The villain of Duty Calls turns out to be like this. He actually complains that, in the face of a tyranid attack, when he shot some civilians for trying to get their children onto his escape vessel, the others "got quite abusive". Cain observes that this must have been distressing for him, and he appreciates the sympathy.
    • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel First Only, Flense attacks Gaunt for killing his father, but his complaints are that he, personally, lost his estate and family name, and had to rise up in the world like any common trooper.
    • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Ultramarines novel Nightbringer, Taloun complains to the Space Marine Uriel that he has lost thousands of man-hours of production owing to bombs. Uriel wonders how many men he had lost, and whether he cared.
    • This is 40k. Those men only mattered to the Imperium inasmuch as they work for its defense; the loss of a million men is considered a good trade if it will keep a manufacturing planet for one more day. The loss of 20 men at one factory is irrelevant next to the loss of the thousands of man-hours of munitions they would have built.
    • In Graham McNeill's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Fulgrim, Braxton is enraged that the primarch keeps him waiting, because keeping people waiting is what he does to other people, to demonstrate his superior status. Keep in mind he's thinking this about a Primarch, one of the gene-sons of the Emperor Himself, who is essentially a Physical God.
  • Warrior Cats: Hawkfrost, since it seems his main motivation in trying to rule the forest, is the fact that he believes that he, and only he, is capable of leading the Clans properly, also how he constantly addresses the crowd at Gatherings, even though he has no right to.
  • Word of God states that this is the one unifying characteristic of the Dark One and all his followers in The Wheel of Time.
    • Padan Fain, the more aloof of the not-quite-evil individual Aes Sedai and Wise Ones, and many of the nobility, native or Seanchan, whether or not they're actually Darkfriends, also qualify, in varying ways. It's a pretty big theme in the books that when a character has power, they generally think either that they deserve to be treated like a god, or at least that their solution to the world's problems is certainly the best/only reasonable one.
  • In E. D. Baker's The Wide-Awake Princess novel Unlocking the Curse, teh main characters are on a quest to find a dwarf who wanders the name and curses anyone who thwarts him, often quite reasonably, into a Baleful Polymorph.
  • In The Witchlands, this is Merik's Fatal Flaw. He's convinced that the navy, the country and the people of Nubrevna are doomed without him and only him sitting on the throne will save the nation from utter destruction wrought by his sister. The reality is... less dramatic.
  • A staple of many characters in P. G. Wodehouse novels, particularly the friends and family of Bertie Wooster. Even the more sympathetic characters can fall into it from time to time — the distinction, generally speaking, is that the sympathetic characters can occasionally be made to see reason (before or after the disaster is complete), while the unsympathetic ones never bother to listen to anything that isn't 100% to their liking.
  • Henry VIII in Wolf Hall, mixed with a big dollop of Never My Fault. Although he can show affection, statesmanship, and piety, at the core he's a selfish and capricious being who only cares about how his own feelings. After he orders Thomas Cromwell to get Anne Boleyn executed, Henry brings out a play he's written and shows it around to people at every opportunity.
    "A tragedy... my own story."


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