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Genial Giraffe

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This giraffe puts his height to good use.
Image by Penny Redshaw. Used with permission.

"The Giraffe took the horse's head and led him along on the most level parts of the road towards the railway station, and two or three chaps went along to help get the sick man into the train. "
Henry Lawson
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When giraffes appear in fiction, they're often nice and heroic. There are quite a few reasons for this, although it may mainly be based on their appearance. Their bright golden fur and recognizable spot pattern looks appealing, and their Long Necks are often seen as comical. Their tall bodies, long eyelashes, and short, rounded horns give them a Gentle Giant appearance.

It helps that real giraffes actually are fairly passive. They aren't very territorial, but very social. Giraffes do fight, with their horns and long necks, but they're more well known for striding gracefully across the savanna. Also, it's rare for them to attack humans. As a result, fictional giraffes tend to be gentle, caring characters rather than fighters.

It also helps that giraffes are ungulates, a group of hoofed mammals that also includes deer, pigs, and other animals that often have good reputations.

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Subtrope of Herbivores Are Friendly. Compare The Marvelous Deer, and Honorable Elephant (an animal that giraffes are often seen with).


Examples:

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    Advertising 
  • Geoffrey the Giraffe was the mascot of Toys "R" Us, a (now defunct) big box toy store chain. He was a fun-loving Friend to All Children.

    Film - Animated 

    Literature 
  • The Giraffe in Roald Dahl's The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me is one of the protagonists, who uses his stretchy neck to help the animals in their window-cleaning business.
  • In the Legend Of The Animal Healer series, The Heroine's spirit animal is a giraffe. It's later revealed that the bond she has with Jemmy (a giraffe who lives near her house) is what gave her the power to heal.
  • Bravelands: Giraffes are introduced when Fearless the lion is on the hunt for a hyena that raided his baboon troop's territory. They act friendly (though are also kind of condescending). It's played more straight in a Sky-centric chapter, where Sky's little cousin Moon plays happily near giraffes, and one giraffe happily tells Sky that they don't mind Moon playing near them as long as he doesn't trip them.
  • Animorphs: In the first of the Choose Your Own Adventure-esque Alternamorphs books, your protagonist's battle morph of choice is a giraffe, meaning you are the heroic giraffe of the story.
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    Religion 
  • In Muslim tradition, it's the giraffe, not the lion, who is considered the queen of the beasts, due to its delicate nature.
  • Sort of retroactively applied to Chinese Mythology and Japanese Mythology: the Qilin, a mythical beast associated with peace, has been equated to the giraffe by Chinese explorers, and to this day the Japanese/Korean word for "giraffe" ("kirin"/"girin") is also their equivalent to this creature.

    Video Games 
  • Giraffes are among the many friendly animals found in Snapimals. They can often be seen strutting around cheerfully, giving animals rides, or even letting cheetahs do high dives from their heads!
  • In World of Warcraft, giraffes that roam Barrens (and have antelope-like horns) are among the friendlier Beast-type creatures, as they don't attack the players unless the players attack first.
  • Animal Crossing subverts this with Gracie, who is rather condescending and stuck-up.

    Webcomics 
  • Nurse Shortnick from Sparklecare is an anthropomorphic giraffe, and one of the few friendly staff members at Sparklecare Hospital. In the one scene of the comic she has appeared in thus far, she is shown taking good care of Kid Dies, a young patient. In the spinoff "Barry's Notes" videos, she states that she is friends with everyone.
  • All the giraffes to appear in 21st Century Fox so far, most notably Cecil, Beth, and Barb.

    Web Original 
  • Motivating Giraffe is a series of inspirational cartoons featuring an optimistic, kindhearted giraffe.
  • "Giwaffe and Cwow" from Ukinojoe's Great: The Show 9 - Forgiveness stars a friendly giraffe with Elmuh Fudd Syndwome who talks to a crow, apologizes for eating the tree where the crow used to live, and befriends it.

    Western Animation 
  • 64 Zoo Lane has probably one of the most triumphant examples with Georgina the giraffe, who tells heartwarming tales to a girl named Lucy and basically acts like her friend/mother figure.
  • The Lion Guard:
    • Shingo is a friendly but naive young giraffe.
    • Twiga is a minor recurring giraffe character who Beshte describes as kind, and who is frequently seen among the other friendly animals.
  • In the Silly Symphonies short, "Elmer Elephant", the titular character befriends Joe Giraffe, an elderly giraffe who wears several collars. The elderly giraffe empathizes with Elmer for being teased by the other animals, as they used to tease him as well. He and the pelicans also assist Elmer in putting out a fire that breaks out at Tillie Tiger's house.
  • Ingrid from My Gym Partner's a Monkey is a Huge Schoolgirl whose head is out of the screen about 90% of the time and is shown to be a very sweet person. She forms a Big Guy, Little Guy friendship with Lupe the toucan.
  • Nina from Camp Lazlo, who is an extremely adorkable geek and probably the friendliest of the Squirrel Scouts to the Bean Scouts, especially Clam.
  • One episode of The Wild Thornberrys has a giraffe which was seen as a hero by a herd of animals since he watches out for predators due to his long neck. He turns out to be a selfish jerk who briefly abandons the herd to look for more leaves to eat and doesn't bother to thank Eliza when she watches his back while he drinks. He does have a Jerkass Realization near the end, just in time to save Eliza and Darwin from a lioness.

    Other 
  • In Marshall Rosenberg's NVC (Non-Violent Communication), he uses two animal archetypes to describe two forms of communication. The Jackal communicates through various forms of violence (verbal and nonverbal, primitive and sublime), disregarding his own and other people's actual needs. The Giraffe is thoughtful and compassionate, carefully examines her own and other people's needs, and rejects violent forms of communication while remaining assertive.

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