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Blue Blood

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The duties of nobility. Titled nobility at the foreground, untitled nobility at the background.

"They are no members of the common throng;
They are all noblemen, who have gone wrong."

The hereditary nobility, who were the ruling and military elite in the Middle Ages and the perceived elite afterwards. Whether or not they have a sovereign whom they are subordinate to, these characters have commoners who are subordinate to them. Their position is hereditary, often legally enforced, although occasionally simply socially accepted to the same effect.

Usually, the longer the family and its heritage have been known the better. In some periods and countries, it can carry the taint of being not quite noble yet if only one's parents were ennobled. Thus, nobles are often quite proud of the length of their lineage, which makes them the natural foil of the Self-Made Man. For the same reason young aristocrats are often quite powerless in the hands of The Patriarch who rules the family, making the threat of Passed-Over Inheritance quite powerful.

While there are often gradations in rank between them, the common trait of aristocrats is that, unlike the monarch, they are surrounded by their equals and if there is no monarch some form of power-sharing will be in effect with plenty of intrigue. Prone to Moral Myopia, Blue Bloods often regard only their class as important, which often leads to Aristocrats Are Evil. Insults between aristocrats result in Throwing Down the Gauntlet, or the Glove Slap, and a Duel to the Death, but an insult from a commoner results in the aristocrat's servants thrashing him, and an insult to a commoner hardly counts anyway (as a consequence, they are prone to underestimating the Powder Keg Crowd and setting it off).

Their effectiveness is frequently inversely related to their civilization. Dark Ages nobility often features Rank Scales with Asskicking, and the Middle Ages nobility will feature the Knight in Shining Armor and The Tourney, but a highly refined and civilized culture will feature an inordinate number of Upper Class Twits (though an Officer and a Gentleman is also possible) if not indeed decadent courtiers.

Normal feature of the Standard Royal Court and Decadent Court. Endemic in Historical Fiction, High Fantasy, and Feudal Future. Oddly enough, often characters who have been Made a Slave have former nobility as their Back Story. The Officer and a Gentleman is also often a Blue Blood, particularly if the noble code emphasizes the duties and responsibilities that come with noble birth. Even in peacetime, they may regard readiness for war a duty; hence, The Tourney. As with Royalty, the Ermine Cape Effect can apply, so many should be expected to wear extremely fancy clothes if possible. If culturally foreign from their subjects, can be a Foreign Ruling Class. Related character tropes are the Evil Chancellor, Gentleman Snarker, Regent for Life, Royal Brat, Upper-Class Twit, Proper Lady, Silk Hiding Steel, and Grande Dame.

Since the duty of the nobility in the Middle Ages was warfare, the sons of the nobility traditionally chose a military career. Even today sons of old noble families are over-represented in most military academies around the world. The word cadet for an officer trainee stems from French, meaning "younger": the eldest son inherited the manor and estate, and the younger sons went to military academies;note  for a prime example of this, both Napoleon and The Duke of Wellington were younger sons of minor nobles (Napoleon was a second son, Wellington a third son). Tragically, since in the past the military education was begun at a very early age (7 to 11 years old), the nobility has also produced a lot of Kid Samurai, but also a lot of Child Soldiers. Today the old noble families are very likely to produce an Officer and a Gentleman.

The phrase ("blue blood") is a literal translation of the Spanish sangre azul. The idea, originating in medieval times, was that common folk would have to work outside all day, and would thus develop tans. The wealthy, on the other hand, could spend all day inside, which would keep their skin pale (as they were fair-skinned Europeans). This would make their wrist veins with 'blue' blood easily visible, hence the term. It's also been suggested that the term is race-based, since the pale-skinned European Spanish wanted to distinguish themselves from the darker-skinned "Moors". Yet another idea on the term's origin, which is erroneous but included here due to the likelihood of the reader encountering it in the context of nobility, is that crustaceans such as lobster literally have blue bloodnote  and have always been very expensive. Thus, being able to afford these blue-blooded creatures would require considerable wealth, which usually meant noble station.note  Another explanation could be that lobsters are heavily armoured — as a Knight in Shining Armor would be.

Super-Trope of Impoverished Patrician, Knight in Shining Armor, Remittance Man, Noble Fugitive, Aristocrats Are Evil and Officer and a Gentleman. Compare Royal Blood, Idle Rich, Old Money, Gentleman Snarker, and the upper echelons of the Fantastic Caste System (as well as real ones, like the traditional castes of India).

Not to be confused with blood that's literally blue; Black Blood or Alien Blood would cover that. Neither should it be confused with the television series Blue Bloods, although the title is a pun on this idiom.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Attack on Titan has the Royal Government of Humanity, who live behind Wall Sina far removed from the threat of the Titans. Later revelations imply that the members are the most direct descendants of Ymir Fritz, the Progenitor Titan power wielder, and thus are the only ones capable of using the Coordinate Titan power to its full extent. Zeke Yeager, the Shifter behind the Beast Titan, is also the son of a Royal Family member and because of it he is shown to possess exclusive abilities, like turning other Eldians into Titans and controlling them.
  • We see a huge variety of these in Berserk, from King to Viscount. More often than not, they don't do too well or last too long, mostly if they get in Griffith's way.
  • Black Butler has this all over the place, both bad (such as Alois Trancy in the anime and Baron Kelvin in the manga) and good (well, to a point) examples, such as Elizabeth Middleford and, of course, Ciel Phantomhive himself. Lampshaded by Sieglinde while trying to convince Ciel to make Sebastian let up on her 'proper lady' training and he refuses.
    Sieglinde: "What colour is your blood?!"
    Ciel: "It's red."
  • Black Clover: In the Clover Kingdom there are nobles, just below royals in the social hierarchy, who tend to have large amounts of magical power and often look down on commoners. They make up most of the Magic Knights, especially the more prestigious squads.
  • Bleach:
    • Soul Society is split into commoners and nobility. Commoners are humans who died in the living world then entered Soul Society and live in an assigned district of the Rukongai. Nobles, on the other hand are those souls actually born in Soul Society. They tend to live in Seireitei and are significantly more likely to display officer-level shinigami power than commoners. There's also a major/minor nobility distinction, with older, more gifted families commanding greater authority. In the past, it used to be unheard of for the shinigami ranks to be made up of anything but nobility. Since Yamamoto reorganised the shinigami academy, however, more Shinigami have Rukongai origins and commoners have even occasionally made captain. There's still a stigma to common origins, however, and for at least one shinigami (Renji) the noble-versus-commoner issue was something he took personally.
    • The Quincy clan has a de facto nobility based on a "pure blood" vs. "mixed blood" distinction. Pure blood families like the Ishidas have mixed blood families as foot soldiers and servants, and traditionally the two do not intermarry.
  • The Ardley Clan and their cadet branch, the Leagans in Candy♡Candy, as well as Terry Grandchester, the son of the British duke of Grandchester.
  • Code Geass possesses a good number of nobles. Most of them are Britannian, but we get to see a few former Japanese families and the Chinese elites at times.
  • Dragon Ball: Trunks is the son of Bulma, the heiress of Capsule Corps, and Vegeta, the Prince of all Saiyans. Same with Bulla.
  • Class struggles (of the Star-Crossed Lovers variety) are fairly important in The Familiar of Zero, in which the nobility is largely (but not entirely) defined by being able to use magic.
  • The Armstrong Family from Fullmetal Alchemist have estates all over the nation, a legacy running back centuries and have entire families that have been in their service for generations. They're also a pack of Boisterous Bruisers and are, with one exception, all amazingly friendly. NOW WITNESS THE ARISTOCRATIC REFINEMENT THAT HAS BEEN PASSED DOWN THE ARMSTRONG LINE FOR GENERATIONS!!!
  • Randoll from Future GPX Cyber Formula, as he’s from a noble Austrian family and is himself a Marquis. He's also a very skilled racer, but he can be a Royal Brat when at his worst.
  • Austria from Hetalia: Axis Powers. Liechtenstein also has shades of this in part due to being a Principality, not to mention being named after her ruling royals.
  • Hello! Sandybell: Marc is the son of the Countess of Wellington. Unfortunately, due to his idiotic fatheer squandering all their money, the Wellingtons are left destitute, and his father forces him to marry a woman he hates to survive.
  • The Laustins of Isabelle of Paris are a stuck-up lot, who look down on the commoners of France for being impoverished. They want their daughter to marry rich, because they accumulated their wealth through being landlords and want to preserve that honour. However, all three of their children reject their bigotry and treat commoners like equals.
  • Both played straight and referenced in Kaze to Ki no Uta. At one point Serge, in his Inner Monologue, remarks that he imagined Gilbert's blood would be blue. Interestingly, although many of the characters in KazeKi are blue bloods, Gilbert is not really one of them, so it's not entirely clear what exactly Serge (who is himself a Viscount) was alluding to here.
  • In the infamous Hentai La Blue Girl, we have an example that is both literal and figurative. The protagonist, Miko, is the daughter of King Seikima and Queen Maria, and next in line for the throne. Because she is half-demon, when she uses her powers, her blood is literally blue. (However, she blushes red, like anyone with normal-colored blood would.)
  • Lady!!: Mary mentions that Charlotte Spencer is descended from an English noble despite being American, which makes Madeleine propose she marry Thomas. Mary is disgusted by the idea.
  • Little Prince Cedie has its titular character for being the grandson of the Earl of Dorincourt.
  • The central protagonists and antagonists of Maiden Rose are all aristocrats from varying countries. Taki is the shinka of the Emperor and from the first of the Eight Branch Families, Katsuragi is from the second of the Eight Branch Families, Theodora is a Eurotean princess, and Klaus' family is nobility before the Western Alliance conquers their country.
  • All over the place in Mobile Suit Gundam Wing and are, with exceptions *coughRelenacough*, the antagonists.
    • Mobile Suit Gundam F91 also had an aristocratic family (the Ronahs) as the antagonists. This is at the heart of the Ronahs' belief system: that certain people are simply better than others, and it is the rightful place of the aristocracy to rule over the commoners. Though one does wonder what this says about them that their patriarch purchased their noble title, rather than inheriting it.
  • The Celestial Dragon World Nobles of One Piece are the Aristocrats Are Evil version of this quite heavily, having been given absolute freedom to do whatever they please to everyone beneath them (who is EVERYONE, even in this world where Asskicking Leads to Leadership is the norm), so they abuse this freedom to the hilt. One decides on a whim to take a random guy's fiancée to be his own concubine, then shoots the guy when he protests.
    • The Dressrosa arc explains the Celestial Dragons a bit. The World Government was originally founded by twenty kingdoms, whose royal families were then invited to live in Mariejois, the capital of the World Government. Nineteen of the royal houses were soon replaced by other, lesser nobles, such as the Riku family replacing the Donquixote family in Dressrosa. The only family who refused was the Nefertari family of Alabasta, who actually count more as The Beautiful Elite than Aristocrats Are Evil. Yes, this means that Vivi and Cobra are technically World Nobles.
    • There is only one exception to their nigh-unlimited freedom: no World Noble can ever permanently leave Mariejois and completely abandon their life as a Celestial Dragon, lest they be dubbed as "traitors", Which is why Donquixote Doflamingo was unable to rejoin the World Nobles after his father took his family out of Mariejois to live a normal life — much to his ire.
  • Remy: Nobody's Girl: Remy is revealed to be this as she's the long lost daughter of the Mulligans, a British aristocratic family, who was kidnapped at birth.
  • Used literally in Seiketsu no Hagurama. The Gadgeteer Genius prince is one of a group of people with blue blood at war with the red-blooded people. Part of the manga involves him discovering his machines being used to eradicate the remaining red-blooded refugees by his father.
  • The Nobles from Vampire Hunter D are a truly different breed from commoners and have followed entirely different cultural conventions for thousands of years. Despite their decline, they command technology and magic far beyond what is available to ordinary people, and some have managed to cling to their lands and status despite being universally reviled and feared thanks to this. Oh, and they are all vampires, of course.
  • In the Wild Fang series, Mikhail is both rich and very well connected.
  • The Nobles in Wolf's Rain. They may not have a monarch, but they do have ridiculously overpowered technology to compensate.
  • Voltes V: Prince Heinel mentions that Katherine Rii is from a noble family, and supplementary material reveals that they had ties to the Boazanian aristocracy as well.

  • The old Earl of Squanderfield in William Hogarth's Marriage A-la-Mode is fiercely proud of his aristocratic heritage (he has coronets put on everything from his chairs to his crutches to his dogs!), and points to his family tree literally growing out of William the Conqueror as he makes the case to a Nouveau Riche alderman that he should engage his daughter to the Earl's son.

  • In the Child Ballad "The Famous Flower of Serving Men", the heroine was a lady before her husband was murdered and she resorted to Sweet Polly Oliver and a Fallen-on-Hard-Times Job.
    My father was as brave a lord
    As ever Europe did afford;
    My mother was a lady bright,
    My husband was a valiant knight.
    And I my self a lady gay,
    Bedeckt with gorgious rich array;
    The bravest lady in the land
    Had not more pleasures to command.
  • In the Child Ballad Young Beichan, some variants note his high birth before recounting his imprisonment.

    Comic Books 
  • The DCU:
    • Kal-El, aka Clark Kent aka Superman is a scion of the House of El, a noble family of scientists who in most continuities had much wealth, power, and influence over all of Krypton. Of course, it didn't stop all of Krypton from disbelieving Jor-El's prediction that Krypton would nuke itself. By extension, Clark's cousin Kara and son Jon are also a part of this family, and Superman's clone Conner Kent was made an honorary member of the family by Superman. All three of them wear the Superman S, which is generally explained as being the House of El's family crest. Of course, given Krypton's destruction, all members of Superman's family live like normal everyday people on Earth. Pre-Crisis story The Krypton Chronicles reveals Erok-El, the first member of the lineage, ruled over the continent of Urrika ten millennia ago.
    • Batman:
      • Bruce Wayne, aka Batman, as well. Unlike Supes, he lives like it. His family is basically responsible for building Gotham City. In fact, Bob Kane chose the name "Wayne" after an American Revolutionary soldier, Anthony Wayne (some writers suggest Bruce is an actual descendant), making him the closest to nobility you can get in the States.
      • Thomas Elliot (Hush) and Oswald Cobblepot's (The Penguin) families once occupied a similar place in Gotham's social elite until they became Impoverished Patricians.
      • The Kane family, Bruce's relatives on his mother's side, are another example, though they tend to live relatively modestly compared to him.
    • Oliver Queen, aka Green Arrow, is a member of the prominent Queen family from Star City, even serving as its mayor at one point.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics): Amy Rose was born into a noble house, but her parents renounced their wealth to instead focus on helping the poor.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In Belle-Belle, the heroine is a nobleman's daughter. When the king orders every family of noble blood to fight for him or pay a high tax, she opts for Sweet Polly Oliver to deliver them. (So did her sisters. They couldn't pull it off.)
  • In Catskin, the heroine is the daughter of a gentleman, and marries a young lord.
  • The folktale of "The Lambton Worm" is a myth about the history of a real-world aristocratic family.
  • In Tattercoats, she is the granddaughter of a great nobleman.

    Fan Works 
  • Blood and Honor: Purebloods can trace their descent from the high priests of the ancient Sith race, and Sanguis is no exception. Her storied heritage is brought up occasionally and she has a family estate, complete with servants, on the Imperial homeworld of Dromund Kaas. Several other Sith encountered over the course of the story mention being familiar with her house.
  • Child of the Storm has Harry as a prime example, much to his discomfort. Aside from the Potter bloodline (which is notable enough), there's also the fact that his dad was a mortally incarnated Thor, meaning that he doesn't just have Royal Blood, but Divine Parentage, descending from the House of Odin. As he discovers, even his mother's side of the family isn't immune - the Grey family were middling nobility for the most part, but one member was Lady Jane Grey a.k.a. 'The Nine Days Queen'. There's even a faint suspicion that there's some fragmentary relationship to the House of El (though per Word of God, if there is one, it's been diluted to the point of homeopathy). While he likes the family, Harry mostly finds the rest of it excruciatingly embarrassing.
  • One More Time, a Honor Harrington fanfic, has quite a few nobles, from the obvious Manticorian ones (Admirals Harrrington, Gold Peak (aka Michelle Henke) and Hemphill (despite Sonja being Baroness Low Delhi, she still uses her pre-Baroness last name), to a bunch of Havenite ones from Elvana, including Grand Duchess Shannon Foraker, who's aunt is the Queen of Elvana. Cue lots of awkward scenes, because of a lack of communication from certain people about certain things.
  • Red Fire, Red Planet:
    • The main Klingon Defense Force protagonist averts this, given he's not even a Klingon. Brokosh is a Lethean mercenary and didn't find out that Ba'woV, daughter of N'Gara, of the House of Chel'toK was a noblewoman until after they'd started dating. However, Chel'toK, while still a Great House, is pretty minor: Their only holding of note is a nearly depleted section of asteroid belt, and while they do have a House Fleet, it consists of two Birds-of-Prey and an ancient D7 battlecruiser.
    • General K'Bor, son of QulDun, of the House of J'mpok plays it straight. He's one of the "old guard" Klingons and the uncle of J'mpok, the current chancellor.
  • Morgaiah t'Thavrau is confirmed to be of noble birth in "Flaihhsam s'Spahkh". She's the grand-niece of a Romulan senator, which in the Roman-style Hereditary Republic that makes up the Romulan Star Empire makes her a member of a noble house's cadet branch.
  • Oversaturated World: Oversaturation: Prince Blueblood's royal petition that's supported by other nobles, is sufficiently problematic that Princess Celestia must deal with being the head of state instead of dealing with a magical problem that she, due to Dramatic Irony, doesn't realize could destroy her universe.
  • The Palaververse: Referenced when talking about how royal Cadenza looks:
    She couldn’t have appeared much more royal absent sticking a syringe into herself and drawing out pure blue.
  • Little Hands, Big Attitude: Blaze is the last descendant of the Royal House of Sol, but this doesn't do her any good as the land her family was rulling was reduced down to a lave and ash-filled wasteland before she was born. She grew up orphaned in the ruins scavanging for food. Despite this, she still tries her best to maintain the elegant manners and poise of royalty, she is aware of a fair bit of her lands history (courtesy of the caretaker she had when she was really young), and in the new world she shows an interest in history and politics. Despite her backstory, she remains a Princess Classic. She doesn't really advertise her royal heritage - as it's not relevant to anything - but she doesn't hesitate to admit it when directly asked.

    Film — Animation 

    Film — Live Action 
  • The head vampire from Blade II has literal blue blood, even though he is not a pureblood vampire, the true aristocracy of the vampire race.
  • The Exception:
    • Colonel Sigurd von Ilsemann, Wilhelm's personal assistant, is from an aristocratic background like most German ranking officers were then.
    • Brandt is also related to the Ludendorffs, another example, on his mother's side (Erich von Ludendorff was one of the generals who led the Germans during the first world war).
  • While James Bond is hinted as being this in the films (such as in On Her Majesty's Secret Service). Skyfall reveals that he's the son of Scottish nobility, owning a large if rather dilapidated estate.
  • Rather daringly, Letters from Iwo Jima portrayed the aristocratic Japanese commanders Tadamichi Kuribayashi and Baron Takeichi Nishi as deeply sympathetic characters.
  • The Music Room: Roy, a product of the hereditary Bengal aristocracy. Near the end of the movie he cites "Blood! The blood in my veins!" as the reason why he is still perceived as an aristocrat despite being an Impoverished Patrician while Mahim is still a Nouveau Riche grasper.
  • Of the children at Chartham Place in No Kidding, Hassam and Suleiman are Middle Eastern princes, while Priscilla is the daughter of an Earl.
  • A major plot point of the movie Penelope (2006) is that the title character's curse can only be broken when a blue-blood declares he loves her. She ends up breaking the curse by stating that she loves herself the way she is, curse and all. Both heartwarming and amusing, as you find out that the man she loves and who presented himself as a blue-blood was actually lying, and when she begs him to just say he loves her and that he doesn't have to talk to her after that, he sadly responds that he can't, but not for the reasons she thinks (i.e. he finds her ugly due to the curse giving her a pig's nose, which actually isn't that bad)).
  • In Robin Hood (1991), Sir Robert/Robin is a Saxon noble, the Earl of Huntingdon, while Baron Daguerre and Sir Miles are Norman nobles.
  • Appears to be literally true in Stardust, when Lamia slits Primus's throat, his blood is clearly dark blue.
  • Wolves: Cayden is soon identified as being from "one of the old lines", meaning he's a pure-bred werewolf. After generations of mingling, they're becoming rare.

  • Jane Austen's works. Unlike the Regency Romance, while all of her characters are blue-bloods, only a handful have titles. Baronets, mostly, although Darcy is related to an earl who does not appear in the work.
    • A notable example as Darcy's name is clearly ripped off from the D'Arcy family, a genuine family of earls who, in the real world, had run out of male heirs about a century earlier; and his first name, Fitzwilliam, suggests strongly that his uncle is the Earl Fitzwilliam, a hugely famous and powerful man at the time. So much for No Celebrities Were Harmed...
    • Also interesting, particularly in Sense and Sensibility and Pride and Prejudice, is the tension (Truth in Television at the time) between the blue-blooded gentry who had somehow had their traditional incomes diverted away from them by being unable to inherit, or by their becoming worthless, and the rising commoner merchants (like Mrs. Bennet's family) who were often richer than them, but traditionally unacceptable as members of the blue-blooded clique.
    • In Northanger Abbey, the narrator, explaining why Catherine had not fallen in love before seventeen, lists several reasons. One is that there was no lord in the neighborhood, or even a baronet.
    • In Love and Freindship, the narrator's mother's father was a Scotch Peer and her husband was the son of a baronet. Parodied with her cousins Gustavus and Philander, whose fathers were probably a corset-maker and a bricklayer, but insist that as their mothers never married them, it doesn't count.
  • Various families in Patricia A. McKillip's The Bell at Sealey Head. Because Raven Sproule is courting Gwyneth Blair, a merchant's daughter, Gwyneth rather suspects the Sproules are Impoverished Patricians.
  • In Blindfold, the colony of Atlas is ruled by a number of feudal rulers (with no central authority) who are descended from the officers of the original colony ship. Several additional ships have arrived since then, but that did nothing to affect the feudal social structure, as the arrivals simply assimilated into the commoners.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs's heroes and heroines are Blue Bloods when not actually of Royal Blood — though this does cover upper-class Americans as well as titled characters, and the characters (and readers) may not be aware of it. Villains and other characters may also have it.
    Nor do I understand, sir, what objections you may have to me — I am of a very old and noble family.
  • In Avram Davidson's "The Case of the Mother-in-Law of Pearl", Prince von Vlox, in his behavior and his references to the family's history (e.g., calling Paracelsus "Theo"), displays "an arrogance that transcended mere snobbery."
  • In Kerry Greenwood's The Castlemaine Murders, the Honourable Miss Phryne Fisher's sister Eliza plays the disdainful Upper-Class Twit trope straight in the early part of the book — only to subvert the trope after Eliza finally tells Phryne why she was sent to Australia (she was acting out because of how unhappy she was).
  • In Andre Norton's Catseye, Tikil is a luxury port, catering to the wealthy high-born who vacation there. Kyger's animal shop is one such store.
  • In Dorothy Gilman's The Clairvoyant Countess Madame Karitska is technically a countess. Given that she was a small child when her family escaped the Russian Revolution, it doesn't mean much to her.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "The Devil in Iron", Octavia's Back Story.
    Octavia sprang up, her white fists clenched, her eyes blazing and her figure quivering with outraged anger.
    "You would force me to play the trollop with this barbarian?" she exclaimed. "I will not! I am no market-block slut to smirk and ogle at a steppes robber. I am the daughter of a Nemedian lord—"
    "You were of the Nemedian nobility before my riders carried you off," returned Jehungir cynically. "Now you are merely a slave who will do as she is bid."
  • In Stephen Hunt's The Court of the Air and The Rise of the Iron Moon, Quartershift nobility were massacred by the authorities in the Back Story.
  • In Darkness Visible the narrator is Lord Henry Lewis, the 6th Earl of Gloucester.
  • Deus Ex: Icarus Effect: Lucius describes himself as a "scion of blue bloods from the old country" in the book's prologue.
  • Virtually all of the major and minor characters in the Deryni works are in this class. The better ones treat members of the lowers orders (such as Revan in the Legends of Camber and Heirs of Camber and Morgan's pagan swordsmith Ferris from the story "Trial") quite well. The rest, well, see Aristocrats Are Evil.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld. Particularly in Feet of Clay, where the Dragon King of Arms meticulously traces noble lines and deplores how he must produce coats-of-arms for the low-born, and in the Tiffany Aching books, where the baron's son Roland, after a stint as a Royal Brat, is the only boy that Tiffany can talk to because all the rest are afraid to talk to a witch.
  • Frank Herbert's Dune:
    • The original novel appears to indicate that nobles are somehow better than regular folk. The Bene Gesserit are only shown caring about noble bloodlines in their quest to create a perfect being, most likely because of the generations of manipulation by the Bene Gesserit, while the commoners don't have as well kept records of their genetic history, making them less useful for their plans.
    • The prequel novels reveal that the Atreides were not originally nobility (Vorian Atreides being created in a lab by his cymek father and marrying a barmaid) and do not show when they were first granted the title.
  • In the Eddie LaCrosse series, Eddie is officially Baron Edward LaCrosse of Arentia, and an old friend of the king, but he lives in self-imposed exile after a monumental mistake. He's certainly not living a noble lifestyle, but he doesn't quite fit the normal pattern of an Impoverished Patrician, because it's deliberate and he doesn't really regret it — but at the same time, he's not a Defector from Decadence, since it wasn't decadence that led him to leave. (And King Phil is a nice guy anyway.) Most of the time, his background is irrelevant enough that it never comes up.
  • In The Edge, the hereditary aristocracy are actually called bluebloods to distinguish them from the nobility, the bluebloods who have already earned their titles.
  • Isaac Asimov's "The Encyclopedists": The first interaction Terminus has with Anacreon after the latter has declared themselves independent from the Empire is from Anselm haut Rodric. He's an envoy of the nobility, and the narrative emphasizes that "haut" indicates his rank.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, Angel is a blue-blooded American with "ancestors reaching back to Plymouth Rock, and across the sea for generations before that." Freckles himself turns out to be the grandson of a nobleman. Though it gets less play, McLean was the son of a prosperous Scottish shipbuilder, though he made himself in the lumber trade.
  • In Victoria Forester's The Girl Who Could Fly, Conrad's parents gave him "good breeding" and regarded it as more than enough — he could not expect any attention from them after getting that.
  • Hugh, Viscount Trimingham, in The Go-Between. He is intelligent and likeable, though disfigured by a war wound, and takes his responsibilities to his tenants seriously. Much good it does him.
  • Purebloods fulfill this role in the Harry Potter series. Although the wizarding world lacks royalty or titles, most pureblood families enjoy a disproportionate amount of wealth, power, and influence. Most also have an aristocratic disdain for not-so-pure-blooded wizards and especially for muggles.
  • In Honor Harrington, the Star Kingdom of Manticore has a noble class that was mostly descended from the first wave of colonists. However, they also create new peerages for exceptionally distinguished commoners, such as the protagonist herself.
    • Most Manticoran nobles (including the royal family) are driven by a strong sense of noblesse oblige, and recognize that an inherited title doesn't make them automatically better that commoners; those that don'tnote  tend to dive headlong into Aristocrats Are Evil territory.
    • An interesting case with the titular character, who holds noble titles in two star nations. She is first granted the title of Steadholder Harrington on the planet Grayson for helping to protect it from Masadan Church Militants. Since she's a Manticoran citizen, the Queen chooses to grant her the "equivalent" title of Countess Harrington (although without any holdings). After Honor is captured and presumed dead for several years, the Manticoran title passes to her first cousin Devon, while her Grayson title is given to her baby sister Faith. When Honor returns alive, her Grayson title is returned, but the Queen chooses not to deprive Devon of his Earldom (despite the fact that he never wanted the title in the first place) and instead grants Honor the higher title of Duchess, with holdings this time. Also, for reference, the Grayson title of Steadholder can actually be considered higher than even a Manticoran Duke, since the Grayson society is much more feudal than Manticoran.
    • The Legislaturalists in the (pre-Committee) People's Republic of Haven are also, effectively, this. The PRH government is so corrupt and entrenched that high-ranking military titles are only given to members of Legislaturalist families. Of course, they are the first to go when the Committee of Public Safety takes over.
  • Pops up a lot in Jeeves and Wooster, since Bertie and most of his friends are Upper Class Twits. Notably, Aunt Agatha's dread of any blight on the family name forces Bertie to go to New York to prevent his cousin's marrying into vaudeville, besides putting him through any number of attempts to settle him down with a nice girl from a noble family and turn him into a useful member of society. Both of which things he avoids like the plague.
  • Journey to Chaos:
    • As the heir to the Noble Heleti family, one of the Four Pillars of Ataidar, Nolien's blood is very blue indeed. He turns up his nose at the bad table manners in the guild mess hall and is the only one following a chivalric code instead of one more grungy and mercenary.
    • Siron is the scion of Esrah, another Pillar, and strives to be a Knight in Shining Armor because that is his duty as a noble. At his best he is dashingly and at worst he is frigidly polite.
    • Norej Darwoss is the son of a minor baron and thus considers himself better than his fellow humans and especially beastfolk. His older brother and his father are likewise.
  • In Stephanie Burgis's Kat, Incorrigible series, the Guardians. And all of Society of course. Kat and her family are on the lower margins of acceptable.
  • The Kharkanas Trilogy: In contrast to the main series, The Malazan Book of the Fallen, where there was much focus on the lower ranks of society and barely any nobility, the prequel deals mostly with the noble families of the Tiste, with most point of view characters being from one or another noble house.
  • Kindling Ashes: Corran is the youngest son of the noble Dunesdale family. This causes problems in his relationship with Tilda because his dad doesn't want him marrying a commoner.
  • In Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter, the lord and his son.
  • In Bess Streeter Aldrich's A Lantern in her Hand, the (dead) father had been an aristocrat who married beneath himself in Ireland.
  • Randall Garrett's Lord Darcy stories
  • Patricia C. Wrede's Mairelon the Magician and The Magician's Ward — also set in an alternate Regency England, although the main character comes from a much lower social stratum.
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Michael O'Halloran, Minturn, having gotten control of his sons after his wife made them into Royal Brats, knows it will be a long slog, but has hopes because they are "handsome little chaps with fine bodies and good ancestry".
  • M. K. Wren's The Phoenix Legacy, set in a Feudal Future.
  • In G. K. Chesterton's The Return of Don Quixote, various noblemen are signficant characters; the hero Michael Herne falls in love with the Honourable Rosamund Severne. At the climax, he reveals that her family really are Smiths, with no claim to the title, though it breaks his heart. Later, he learns that she has changed her name to "Miss Smith" — and promptly goes in search of her.
    • His play Magic takes place at a Duke's house.
    • In the Father Brown story "The Mistake of the Machine", the story turns on an assumption that Lord Falconroy must come from an old family; in fact, he holds a newly created title and has — a rather interesting past.
  • In one of the oldest surviving Robin Hood tales, Robin carefully inquires of the sorrowful knight whether he was a newly created one, finding out he is of Blue Blood before he helps him. Robin himself is a yeoman then and for centuries after, but in the Elizabethan to Victorian times, he became, often, a disinherited earl. Maid Marian, likewise for centuries a shepherdess, also became a frequent noblewoman then. In the 20th century, Robin went back to yeoman, for a Rags to Riches rise, but Marian still is often noble.
  • In Scaramouche, there are several nobles, most notably Marquis de La Tour d'Azyr and the Comtesse de Plougastel.
  • Baroness Orczy's The Scarlet Pimpernel
    It was to be seen every day, for those aristos were such fools! They were traitors to the people of course, all of them, men, women, and children, who happened to be descendants of the great men who since the Crusades had made the glory of France: her old NOBLESSE. Their ancestors had oppressed the people, had crushed them under the scarlet heels of their dainty buckled shoes, and now the people had become the rulers of France and crushed their former masters—not beneath their heel, for they went shoeless mostly in these days — but a more effectual weight, the knife of the guillotine.
  • Several characters in The Sea Hawk.
  • Sharpe meets a few. Among the more notable, obviously, is the Duke of Wellington, Sharpe's commander.
    • Others range from Peter D'Alembord — a classic Cultured Warrior and first-class infantry officer — to the Prince of Orange, whose incompetence as a commander is such that Sharpe personally shoots him half-way through a battle in order to reduce the slaughter.
  • In The Shattered Kingdoms, bloodline is highly important to Norlander culture. Being told that her family does not in fact have the (patrilineal) ancestry they thought, and that their posting to the Shadar was actually just the Emperor's way of exiling them while letting them save face, has a significant impact on Frea, the main villain of the first book. She was hoping her results would be sufficiently impressive that she would be summoned to the heart of the empire and given power, but due to her "impure" blood, that won't happen no matter how well she does. This motivates her to switch plans from a triumphant return to an invasion/coup.
  • Ossertine from Skate the Thief is a proper Lady of Black Magic descended from a heroic Knight in Shining Armor who believes in maintaining decorum and looks down on the lower class, chastising her elderly friend Belamy for taking in the title character from the street.
  • Most of the main characters in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire are members of the nobility. The details vary: we have members of very old and powerful houses such as Starks and Lannisters, petty knights and barely-even nobles like the Cleganes, personally ennobled commoners like Davos Seaworth and everything in between.
  • Caroline Stevermer and Patricia C. Wrede's Sorcery and Cecelia, set in an alternate Regency England where there is a Royal Society of Wizards.
  • In the Spaceforce (2012) novels, the powerful Taysan Empire is ruled by an absolute monarch with the backup of Imperial and Noble Castes. And one of the series' main characters, Jez, is a rare surviving member of the nobility of her homeworld, who governed the planet before her whole species was overthrown in a genocidal civil war.
  • The Stormlight Archive:
    • Countries that follow the Vorin religion (which nearly all the main characters belong to) divide people into two distinct classes: Darkeyes have black, brown, dark green, and other normal eye colors, while lighteyes have bright blue, green, grey, and other eye colors, so bright that they almost seem to glow in the right light. Supposedly, these light eyes mark them as closer to the Almighty and destined to rule over the lesser classes. Their religion explicitly grants lighteyes more Glory, an inherent property meaning that they don't have to work as hard to gain the Almighty's favor. Legend has it that a darkeyes can become a lighteyes by capturing one of the incredibly rare Shardblades, but that hasn't happened in living memory.
    • Dalinar's visions imply that the original lighteyes were just random soldiers who stole the Shardblades abandoned by the Knights Radiant when they disbanded, meaning the whole system is little more than Asskicking Leads to Leadership from centuries ago.
    • Several darkeyed characters are repeatedly surprised to discover that most lighteyes aren't really rich nobles. Most of them are rather middle-class, having to work for a living just like darkeyes. Of course, the Vorin ranking system means that higher ranks get paid more than lower ranks, so even the poorest lighteyes is going to get more than a high-ranking darkeyes for the same work.
  • Lord Boscastle in the Strangers And Brothers series is a REAL aristocrat, who can dismiss a mere Tudor parvenu with "I simply don't KNOW him." But he is all the more ready to befriend the likes of Roy Calvert; the gap between people he Knows and those he doesn't is so cavernous that it renders all other distinctions insignificant.
  • Ellen Kusher's Swordspoint and The Privilege of the Sword.
  • Lady Muriel Orme in Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno.
  • Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities.
    It took four men, all four ablaze with gorgeous decoration, and the Chief of them unable to exist with fewer than two gold watches in his pocket, emulative of the noble and chaste fashion set by Monseigneur, to conduct the happy chocolate to Monseigneur's lips. One lacquey carried the chocolate-pot into the sacred presence; a second, milled and frothed the chocolate with the little instrument he bore for that function; a third, presented the favoured napkin; a fourth (he of the two gold watches), poured the chocolate out. It was impossible for Monseigneur to dispense with one of these attendants on the chocolate and hold his high place under the admiring Heavens. Deep would have been the blot upon his escutcheon if his chocolate had been ignobly waited on by only three men; he must have died of two.
  • Pretty much all the protagonists in Tales of the Branion Realm — the ones that aren't are either royalty or end up raised to the nobility.
  • In Poul Anderson's Technic History, the earlier phase of the Terran Empire (depicted in The People of the Wind) has a society where nobles are expected to justify their position by working for God and Empire. By the era of Dominic Flandry, hereditary idle aristocrats dominate, and it is noted that it is harder to become a knight than a peer.
  • In Ryuunosuke Akiyama's A Terribly Dangerous Coat, Kapori i Luran, and his father, Kapori i Imaro, appear to belong to the most important family in Rukimara City.
  • In Poul Anderson's "Time Lag", Elva's husband is the Freeholder, which position has both the authority and duty to pass judgment. Elva can represent him partly because her own family holds a similar position. At the end, she learns her son holds the position , having survived the attack.
  • In Poul Anderson's Time Patrol story "Delenda Est", Deidre — she has an estate she can bring Everard and Van Sarawak to when making their imprisonment less onerous.
  • Maria Mercedes de Dio de Alva in Victoria is descended from one of the oldest, most respected noble bloodlines of Spain. After being rescued from pirates, she becomes protagonist John Rumford's live-in maid.
  • The Village Tales novels feature the Duke of Taunton and his family and extended family, most of them titled; and his Heterosexual Life-Partner HH the Nawab of Hubli; and a fair few others. Dukes, marquesses, viscounts, earls, Scots Lords of Parliament, barons, Scots lairds, Senators of the College of Justice, baronets, knights, courtesy titles — including a Scots "Master"; post-nominals everywhere; even a Nawab. And Professor Lacy may have been given a mere Life Peerage, but she's a Lacy all the same. And with all that, the real heroes are all working-class, all the same.
  • The Vor in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, though they themselves claim they are a military caste, and not an aristocracy (which is exactly what aristocracy was in the Middle Ages). Most other people treat them like aristocrats.
  • Warhammer 40,000 often features them.
    • Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel use it repeatedly.
      • In First & Only and Ghostmaker, the Jantine Patricians and Volpone Bluebloods are quite scornful of the Ghosts.
      • In Necropolis, the hive's constitution is carefully written to divvy up power between the nobles so that there is no sovereign. And where, when the Ghosts are investigating their assigned and wretched quarters, they consider that the Volpone Bluebloods probably have nicer rooms.
      • In Sabbat Martyr they confront officials who don't let them use their flamer, because they are not of high enough birth.
      • There is a semi-sensible reason behind that last one though. On the planet in question, water is expecially scarce. Setting everything on fire may get out of hand. Of course, this being a full blown war...
    • Sandy Mitchell's Scourge the Heretic features such a stratified noble society that even an Inquisitor's agent does not realize how rude he has to be; a local explains that politeness will be interpreted as low status.
    • In Dan Abnett's Horus Rising, the Luna Wolves are scorned by various other Space Marines as base-born.
    • In William King's Space Wolf novel Grey Hunters, Trainor explains that he is an officer because he was born in one of the high clans. (He found fighting Chaos forces rather a shock after such conflicts as his planets had had before.)
    • In Mike Lee's Horus Heresy novel Fallen Angels, the representatives of the rebels are almost all nobles who have lost power and wealth because of the Imperium's control of their planet.
      • In Matt Farrer's "After Desh'ea" (in Tales of the Heresy), the "high-riders" which Angron holds in (justified) contempt, the targets of his Gladiator Revolt
    • In Ben Counter's Soul Drinkers novel Chapter War, Lord Sovelin Falken. At one point, he throws his weight around, pointing out that the governor is his great-aunt — but that's because he has vital information, and he has to use anything he can to get it through.
  • Like so much else in The Wheel of Time, just about every shade of this trope is present in one nation or another. Amongst the main characters, Moiraine, Elayne, Faile, Talmanes, Rand of house Mantear by virtue of his mother, Tigraine, the former daughter-heir, and eventually even Mat, Prince of Ravens and Perrin Goldeneyes, Lord of the Two Rivers as Steward for the Dragon Reborn.
    • There are examples of true badasses such as the Queens of Andor, many of whom lead troops both historically and contemporaneously. In the Last Battle, Elayne even gets an assist with a sword, despite having the One Power.
    • There are also examples of worthless, scheming layabouts, such as Tairens and Cairhenians.
  • The Wicked Years:
    • Elphaba and Nessarose's mother was a blue blood, but she ended up living in poverty after marrying a preacher (admittedly, she had thought Frex would end up wealthier than he did).
    • Glinda is this but, as Madame Morrible points out, not to the degree that Glinda likes to flaunt. Glinda only has "good blood" on one side of her family, and it's not considered particularly high-ranking at that. Glinda's middle-range but pretends she's more blue blood than she actually is. In the end, however, it doesn't matter as Glinda ends up queen of Oz in-all-but name by the end of the first book.
  • Susan Dexter's The Wind-Witch revolves about a widowed noblewoman's efforts to work her husband's estate for A Year and a Day — which will give her a claim to the land.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Bridgerton, a Regency romance, features several sons and daughters of the English peerage. The titular family are the widow and children of a viscount, the first season's love interest is a duke, and the second season's love interest is related to an earl. All this makes for tons of period dresses, sweeping shots of country estates, and lots of politicking as the families navigate the London season.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor has been implied to be high-born or even aristocratic on occasion, although he's never outright admitted this. Indeed, in the EU he comes from one of the oldest Houses on Gallifrey.
    • In "The Masque of Mandragora", the Duke and his uncle the Count. There are also a fair number in the Feudal Future serials.
    • "Planet of the Dead" has the thrill-seeking cat burglar Lady Christina de Souza as guest companion.
  • Downton Abbey provides a huge variety of examples from the British peerage; Earls (Lord Grantham himself), Marquesses (Shrimpie Flintshire), Dukes and Duchesses (the Duke of Crowborough and the Duchess of Yeovil), Baronets (Sir John Bullock), Viscounts (Anthony Foyle), Esquires (Matthew Crawley) and even King George V in the 2013 Christmas Special.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • The majority of characters are some form of nobility, from ancient and powerful houses like the Starks and Lannisters to recently promoted ones like the Seaworths and Cleganes.
    • Despite initially appearing as a commoner, Talisa Maegyr is actually of noble birth from Volantis.
  • Star Trek:
    • More subtly, but Commander Spock from Star Trek: The Original Series. Not only is his father a very respected diplomat, but his extended family owns a great deal of land and includes T'Pau, one of the most influential people on Vulcan.
    • Worf comes from an ancient, extremely high-profile family that automatically places him at the centre of rather a lot of Klingon intrigue (and enable no end of episode plots). Most of the other named Klingons in the series are also aristocrats.
    • Pointedly averted with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's General Martok. He was actually born a commoner and clawed his way Up Through the Ranks by Klingon Promotion (and this was despite being blacklisted by Kor for his low birth). Presumably his noble rank is by marriage (or merit) rather then birth.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: The rich Vorhees family is one of America's oldest families, with roots straight from the first Dutch settlers.
  • You (2018): In the fourth season, Joe finds himself dragged into an elite London social circle. Several members are kids of noblemen, which helps characterize them:
    • Rhys was a troubled young man before he learned his father was a duke. He cleaned up his act after that and became a politician.
    • Malcolm, the son of a viscount, is proud of his "royal-adjacent" family and sneers at the plebeians who resent them.
    • The sweet nature of Lady Phoebenote  sticks out among her snobby friend group.

    Play-by-Post Games 
  • No less than five Masters in Fate/Nuovo Guerra are of blue blood.
  • Fire Emblem on Forums: Many, many, many player characters and non-player characters are royalty or nobility. Justified, considering the usual High Fantasy setting of these roleplays; the number of games that aren't set in High Fantasy settings can be counted on one hand and even those have Blue Blood characters most of the time.

  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson's "Lady Clara Vere de Vere"
    Trust me, Clara Vere de Vere,
    From yon blue heavens above us bent
    The gardener Adam and his wife
    Smile at the claims of long descent.
    Howe'er it be, it seems to me,
    'Tis only noble to be good.
    Kind hearts are more than coronets,
    And simple faith than Norman blood.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Anima: Beyond Fantasy allows to choose as one advantage to be Blue Blood (and this in turn gives stuff such as money, gear, and the possibility of purchasing rare equipment.)
  • The noble Houses of Changeling: The Dreaming. There's a streak of heritage involved, but ultimately the Houses rule changeling society because they've established themselves as rulers, by fair means and foul (which is not to say they haven't been seriously challenged at various times). PCs can be nobles by buying dots in the Title background; however, it only grants social status, and actually holding land requires a separate background.
  • Most civilizations in Warhammer are dominated by aristocrats of some form, though there are a few particularly noteworthy examples:
    • The Empire's provinces are ruled by "elector counts", who elect from among themselves new Emperors. The position descends from the tribal chieftains who joined with Sigmar Heldenhammer in the Empire's founding, and is hereditary from father to son — in practice, dividing the Empire between a collection of extremely powerful dynasties.
    • The Kingdom of Bretonnia is divided into numerous dukedoms, which are further divided into fiefs administered by "Knights of the Realm" subservient to their liege. The importance of bluebloods is a key aspect of Bretonnian culture, as all of these knights are born members of the nobility, and only true-blooded Bretonnian men of noble descent can win the favor of the Lady of the Lake and become the superhuman Grail Knights.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • As mentioned in the above literature section, the Imperium of Man has quite a few nobles. The highborn (as they are called) are the governing classes for many Imperial worlds - some of them good at their job, others not so much.
    • Despite the remarkable simplicity of ork social structures (the stronger you are, the bigger you get, the more orks you lead), they have nobility of a sort: nobs, the biggest, baddest orks short of the warboss himself (the name is a loanword from nobility, but they pronounce it as "knob").
  • Wolsung: Steam Pulp Fantasy assumes that all player characters are Blue Blood.

  • Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto has Cesare Borgia, from a powerful noble family but illegitimate — his father's refusal to let that stop his ambitions for Cesare and his siblings was shocking for the time, and that and the fact that they were foreign (Spanish in Italy) make up large part of the reason for the Historical Villain Upgrade that's typical of their appearances in fiction, and averted here. This play contrasts Cesare with his classmate, Giovanni de'Medici, who comes from a family that's rich and powerful but not noble.
  • Spoofed in Finian's Rainbow:
    Finian: Don't you realize, lad, Sharon is from quality stock? Why, her whole family tree for generations back consists of nothin' but ancestors.
    Woody: We've been descendin' a long time, too.
    Finian: Ah, but how long? Sharon's grandparents go back to the dawn of history. Blue-blooded amebas they were, with a dauntless ambition. Up they came through the paleozoic slime — from ameba to tadpole, from tadpole to daffodil, from daffodil to dromedary, and from dromedary to McLonergan. That's the background Sharon comes from — so get along with your luggage, lad, you haven't a chance.
  • In Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, Lady Augusta Bracknell has a very acute sense of who is a blue blood and who isn't. She refuses to let her daughter Gwendolyn marry Jack Worthing when she discovers that he was adopted by his upper-crust guardian, who found him as a baby in a handbag at the train station.
  • Marat/Sade: Literally referenced during the depiction of the execution of King Louis the XVI. After the king is "guillotined", one of the members of the Greek Chorus pours a bucket of blue paint to represent his blood.
  • In Of Thee I Sing, President Wintergreen gets the United States into international difficulties with France when its ambassador discovers that Diana Devereaux (who was to have been the President's wife if he hadn't met Mary Turner) is the illegitimate daughter of the illegitimate son of the illegitimate nephew of Napoleon.
  • Gilbert and Sullivan:
    • In The Pirates of Penzance, the pirates, having surrendered, are treated leniently because they are revealed to be actually noblemen. Though this serves as little more than a Twist Ending, deleted material Gilbert had planned for the finale included a more extensive satire about the House of Peers.
    • Pooh-Bah in The Mikado:
      I am, in point of fact, a particularly haughty and exclusive person, of pre-Adamite ancestral descent. You will understand this when I tell you that I can trace my ancestry back to a protoplasmal atomic globule. Consequently, my family pride is something inconceivable. I can't help it. I was born sneering. But I struggle hard to overcome this defect. I mortify my pride continually. When all the great officers of state resigned in a body, because they were too proud to serve under an ex-tailor, did I not unhesitantly accept all their posts at once?
    • This is also a plot point in H.M.S. Pinafore.
    • This trope is invoked and parodied throughout Iolanthe, where the self-confessedly mostly brainless yet immensely wealthy, powerful, and refined members of the House of Peers find their marriage proposals to the beautiful commoner Phyllis scorned, and their legislative powers subverted by supernatural fairies.

    Video Games 
  • Bully: The Preppy social circle all come from old money. They're the last social circle the main character can take over.
  • Dragon Age: Origins has got a hierarchical system of nobility loosely based on that of England, with Teyrns (Dukes), Arls (Earls), and Banns (Barons) in that order of status. Dwarves have also their own caste system, where the members of upmost caste are either ridiculously rich or belong to a noble family. (And then there's Paragons, but let's not go there...)
    • Interestingly enough, the Banns are technically just a noble(wo)man who has a number of freeholds sworn to it. The peasants are free to chose whoever they want to be their Bann and can change allegiance whenever they want, which can lead to age long feuds between family's of Banns, ex-Banns and aspiring Banns. Most people just goes with the same lord as their parents did, as his castle and soldiers are usually the closest, any threatens of what said soldiers might do if their Lord don't get enough votes are left unsaid.
    • The icon for the Human Noble origin is a drop of blue blood with a crown over it, since they are the younger child of a Teyrn.
  • Dragon Quest V has Romana Briscoletti. Unlike her husband, she is actually from noble birth and so Rodrigo did the Engagement Challenge to win her hand, though she was already in love with him.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, this is Subverted by the Imga, a minor race of intelligent "ape men" native to the forests of Valenwood. Every Imga bears some kind of noble title (Baron, Duke, Earl, etc.) which they use when addressing their idols, the Altmer (High Elves). However, as there are no land-owning Imga, and their usage of the titles is presented as being similar to a Cargo Cult.
  • Archadia of Final Fantasy XII is very based around hierarchy. Besides the noble houses, which can mix this with Royal Blood, there's also the Gentry, who tend to look down on commoners. There's also an intermediate class, which tend to behave fairly close to trope too.
  • If the lord in Fire Emblem doesn't have Royal Blood, they'll be nobility. Examples include Sigurd, Roy, Eliwood, Hector, Lyn, and eventually Ike. Though this doesn't apply to every lord, there's a helpful rule of thumb for most of them: blue hair = blue blood.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, Jusis and Laura have noble blood in them (though Jusis only has half of it when he reveals that his dad slept with a commoner woman). Rean in comparison is adopted though it turns out that his dad was a commoner who was elevated into a noble by the emperor. Said dad is also on a crusade to get rid of the nobility system in the empire.
  • Referred to by name in Nosferatu: The Wrath of Malachi. Apparently the ritual sacrifices have to be aristocrats.
  • Mystics in SaGa Frontier both in the aristocratic sense and the literal sense.
  • There are two prominent examples in the Soul Series — Lady Isabella "Ivy" Valentine is the daughter of the Earl and Countess Valentine, and her stages nearly always feature her enormous family house. The other example is Frenchman Raphael Sorel, whose title is not specified, but he is noted to be a noble.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, Alderaan is in a terrible mess due to the untimely death of the Queen and her heir, plunging the planet into a free-for-all civil war among about a half-dozen houses of these. The main issue is that the rather crazy head of House Ulgo has usurped the crown, declared the planet's independence, and started destroying the other noble houses. Seeing as about half the surviving houses support the Republic (including House Organa), whereas the Empire is backing their rivals House Thul (who started as merchants and earned their lands and titles), the planet becomes a miniature version of the whole galactic war.
    • The Sith Warrior is stated to be the scion of a prestigious family of Sith. The fact that they come from a high class background is why Vemrin, their rival on Korriban and a former slave who had to climb his way to the top, hates them.
    • In contrast, the Sith Inquisitor is a former slave and their rival, Ffon, is from a prestigious family and receives preferential treatment. However, the Inquisitor is also the last descendant of Lord Kallig, once a powerful Sith lord with his own well-known lineage.


    Web Original 
  • Open Blue features several nobles as ship officers or flag officers.
  • Rats SMP: El the "Diplo-rat" of the group hails from a family of "aristo-rats" who own three alleyways and two garbage bins, one of which she inherited at birth. However, she has since left that life behind because she thought it wasn't right for her family to treat commoner rats poorly and leave them to go hungry.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: Caitlyn is the heir of the esteemed Kiramman family, being bound to the noble traditions exemplified by her mother and the city council. Fittingly she even has blue hair and blue eyes.
  • The Critic's sister was once set up to attend a debutante ball with a young gentleman who, due to generations of inbreeding, was mildly retarded and possessed of literal blue blood. This has actually happened, as in the case of the "Blue Fugates".
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The show features a Prince called Prince Blueblood. Rarity is smitten with him, but in the season finale for Season 1 she actually meets him and finds he is a Royal Brat.
    • By contrast, Twilight Sparkle and her brother, Shining Armor, earned their way into the top tier of Equestrian nobility with Twilight being the personal protege of Princess Celestia and Shining being Captain of the Royal Guard, the Prince Consort of Princess Cadence and Co-Governor of the Crystal Empire. By the end of Season 3, Twilight becomes an Alicorn Princess.
  • In Thunder Cats 2011, Tygra, Happily Adopted member of the Thunderian royal family, is given all aristocratic privileges, and is even the beneficiary of King Claudus' Parental Favoritism, but is not in line for the throne due to a lack of Royal Blood.

    Real Life 
  • The nobility in the Real Life is usually divided into untitled nobility (i.e. noblemen whose status implies servant status to either a superior noble or to state), including gentlemen, esquires, knights and baronets, and titled nobility, also known as "peerage", i.e. land-owning nobility. Those would be barons, earls, viscounts, marquesses, counts and princes. The highest ranks of the nobility, such as Dukes, Grand Princes and Grand Dukes, would imply Royal Blood instead of just Blue Blood.
  • In the Middle Ages, nobility implied exemption from taxes — and the duty to serve as a soldier. That is due to the Feudal system. There were no standing armies, but the soldiers (knights and men-at-arms) were expected to train on their own and acquire their own armour and weapons. Exemption from taxes implied that the nobleman would spend all his income on weapons, gear and practising martial skills. Usually the core of the feudal army would be supplemented either by mercenaries or conscripted commoners (arriere-ban).
  • Depending on the country, the nobility would consist of 1% (France) up to 20% (Hungary) of the populace. The greater the likelihood of the state being involved in warfare, the more noblemen there would also be.
  • Even today, the British nobility/gentry is heavily involved in the military, particularly the Royal Navy, leading to the old joke about Army vs. Navy rugby matches: "Why are the Army jerseys red? So the blood doesn't show. Why are the Navy jerseys blue? Same reason."
  • The United States, being a republic founded on Enlightenment values of formal equality before the law and born from a settler society with fluid social boundaries and a hearty disdain for old ways, nevertheless has developed some distinctive aristocratic groups. They are generally regionally defined; for example:
    • The most famous type of blue blood is the Boston Brahmin, a loose association of wealthy old Protestant (mostly Calvinist) families around New England, with roots in the earliest English settlers; the Cabots and the Lowells are among the most famous. Many people mistake the Kennedys as Boston Brahmins, but they are comparatively Nouveau Riche and Catholic to boot.
    • Another noted group are the First Families of Virginia, who similarly descended from that colony's original settlers. Unlike the Boston Brahmins, these families are historically Episcopalian.
    • In the late 19th century, the Georgia-born New York socialite Ward McAllister declared that there were only 400 fashionable people in the city. While his list was suspect (being unusually heavy with relatively recent arrivals and Confederate sympathizers), the families of the "the Four Hundred" are generally recognized today as some of the most elite families in New York. Particularly prominent set are a number of Dutch families, most of whom trace their ancestries back to the 17th century; the most recognizable of these are probably the Vanderbilts (who were poor farmers on Staten Island until the early 19th century, when family patriarch Cornelius founded his steamboat empire) and the Roosevelts, who had been prominent in New York politics from the 1690s onward.


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Alternative Title(s): Aristocrat


Execution of the Aristocrats

The inmates of Charenton act out the executions of the aristocrats and the King by guillotine, following the French Revolution, as part of their bathhouse play.

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5 (4 votes)

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Main / PublicExecution

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