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Gentleman Wizard

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Greydon Knifeheart by Bryce Cook

"Can a magician kill a man by magic?" Lord Wellington asked Strange.
Strange frowned. He seemed to dislike the question. "I suppose a magician might," he admitted, "but a gentleman never could."

A staple in Gaslamp Fantasy and Fantasy Counterpart Cultures of a Victorian-esque society. The Gentleman Wizard is, essentially, an aristocratic blue blood who also happens to be some sort of magician, alchemist, wizard, or what have you.

If his magic is something which is passed down through blood, then it's possible he's part of a Magocracy, but he's definitely part of a Magical Society, probably with some interesting name that alludes to hermeticism or Greek Mythology. If his magic is learned however, then he tends to be close to a magical version of a Gentleman and a Scholar.

Either way, his status as a rich blue blood allows for him to get quite good at this magic stuff, since he probably has nothing better to do. Usually the skill to use magic is seen as an appropriate sort of job for a gentleman to have, similar to being a lawyer or banker. He'll also be a Sharp-Dressed Man, in dapper Victorian or Edwardian attire, possibly embellished to show off the fact that he's magical, and if he has a walking-stick it will no doubt be his wizard's staff or act as a magic focus at least once.

But even as a gentleman, such characters are usually considered to be quite strange and eccentric, even tricky and untrustworthy, no matter how polite their manner may appear to be. And as blue bloods, they might be quite proud and stuffy, looking down on the commoners and the muggles. If magic isn't particularly common then it's not unheard of for him to be The Hermit who lives in a Big Fancy House on a hill which he rarely comes out of, acting as something of an Urban Legend to the populace.

This was the original persona of Stage Magicians when they first appeared in that era. They have since relaxed as the rest of society has, and now a magician in a suit is seen as old hat (no pun intended). See also Magicians Are Wizards.

If he is British, he is most likely a Quintessential British Gentleman; if American, he might be a Southern Gentleman or Boston Brahmin. Compare Gentleman and a Scholar for the science equivalent (the two might dislike each other deeply, but you'd never be able to tell).

Contrast the Blue-Collar Warlock.


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  • The guy wearing the bowler hat with the huge umbrella from the Travellers Insurance commercials a few years ago. Dignified, prim, and proper, helping people out using his magic as he comes across them.

     Anime and Manga 
  • The Ancient Magus' Bride: Elias Ainsworth would have fit the trope for a T, if not for his purple skin and an antelope's skull for a head, and the fact that he's some sort of an exiled Fae royalty (he's still on friendly terms with Oberon and Titania), as opposed to an actual country gentleman. He's still British, though.
  • Baccano!: Most of the original alchemists appear to be something like this, except for not being aristocrats, especially Szilard and Maiza.
  • In Cardcaptor Sakura, we have Clow Reed and his reincarnation Eriol.
  • Fate/Zero: Tokiomi Tohsaka combines a fabulous red suit, a ruby-tipped magic cane and hugely destructive blasts of fire. This style is very common among Magi in the Nasuverse, where magical studies and aristocracy go hand in hand due to how the succession of Magic Crests is traditionally handled. Ironically, by playing the trope straight, he's a subversion to a good many of the other Nasuverse wizards, who are usually uncaring sociopaths underneath a veneer of class and civility, while Tokiomi is fundamentally a good, if naive, person straight through.

     Fan Works 

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The Devil Rides Out: Mocata and Richleau are both cultured, aristocratic sorts and masters of the occult.

  • Cthulhu Mythos: Randolph Carter has several ancestors who were this. He himself is more of a folklorist-researcher.
  • Dechance Chronicles: Donovan Dechance acts like a man from several decades in the past. He is unfailingly polite, chivalrous to women, and almost never loses his temper. This sometimes gets him in trouble in dealing with rougher sorts.
  • Discworld:
    • Archchancellor Ridcully is an interesting variant; a wizard who is also a gentleman, albeit a gentleman of the "bluff, hearty, boisterous, huntin'-shootin'-an'-fishin' country squire" variety rather than the "urbane, sophisticated and genteel" sort this trope is commonly associated with. The other wizards were surprised, too — they were expecting a Radagast Expy (his actual title is Ridcully the Brown) who was friend to every beast and fish and bird who'd be content to do what he as told, not a Large Ham crossbow enthusiast whose solution to every problem is shouting at it until it is solved or goes away and proved so unkillable that the Klingon Promotion way of wizards ended with him.
    • Unseen Academicals plays this up with the wizards in general (while also, oddly, giving Ridcully himself more humble origins as the son of a butcher), such as referring to "that slow handclapping and table-thumping which is the mark of appreciation amongst men of a certain age, class and girth, accompanied by cries of 'Ver', ver' well done, that man!' and 'Jolly good!'" Later, they surprise the Bledlows by making their way through a crowd with "determination, viciousness and the sugared arrogance that is the mark of every true gentleman, as in 'Oh, was that your foot? I'm so terribly sorry.'"
    • There's also Lady Lilith de Tempscire, aka Lily Weatherwax, who's a lordly, high-class witch with all the trappings of a major player at a royal court and the power behind the throne in Genua (the person on the throne is a frog). This is a sharp contrast to the other witches, who are generally country wise women who would rather not meddle in politics.
    • Discworld Wizards are generally regarded as a type of "nob" (important person, much like a noble).
  • Dragaera has Dragonlord Morrolan e'Drien, the Duke of Southmoor and Lord of Castle Black, as well as eventual imperial Court Wizard. His study of Eastern witchcraft and Elder Sorcery as well as Dragaeran sorcery have earned him the title of Wizard and he's a Person of Mass Destruction in battle, but for the most part, he is a Benevolent Mage Ruler with a firm belief in Sacred Hospitality who takes the responsibilities of his position seriously and will always help a friend in need.
  • The Dresden Files
    • Wizard Chandler aka "Steed" goes to some trouble to appear like one of these. As the personal aide to Warden Commander Anastasia Luccio, he is a trusted and powerful mage who has guarded the spirit world entrance to the White Council alone when it is usually manned by five people.
    • The current Merlin of the White Council is also one. He can be polite and witty when in the mood. He treats people, sans Harry, with respect when they meet and is a general Archmage able to hold off an Eldritch Abomination with only one-second warning and alert everyone in the trapped room to stay down via telepathy.
    • Harry himself likes to think he has the old-fashioned good manners thing going — and his chivalry is occasionally referred to by more urbane character Lara Raith as "charmingly outdated" — even if he's a Blue-Collar Warlock in practice.
  • Elemental Masters: The British Society of Mages is made up of men who are all upper class wizards. This is in contrast to the heroines, who are usually both lower class (with a few examples who are from noble lines that have fallen on hard times) and in a few cases also not British. While the Society is generally well-meaning, its members are prone to being condescending towards women and the lower classes, which means that they never react quickly enough to the threat to fix it before whomever the main character of the story does.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Dumbledore has most trappings of an old and eccentric English aristocrat, especially when he was younger (and had a very stylish looking purple suit when he was visiting Riddle at the orphanage).
    • Gilderoy Lockhart wants to be this trope, and built an extremely elaborate persona as a rich, winsome celebrity around himself.
    • Lucius Malfoy is an aristocrat of the particularly arrogant sort, with a pedigree dating back centuries, a lordly country villa, and an extremely powerful and feared reputation in politics... at least until his social standing takes a dive after Voldemort's return. In fact, a lot of wizards from the old pureblood families (or at least the rich ones) tend to fit this trope.
  • Land of Oz: The Wizard is like this, though in both film and books it's obviously an assumed persona for an old carnival ham.
  • Lord Darcy: Several minor characters (including a couple of victims). Lord John Quetzal is an interesting case, as he's a nobleman and a gentleman, but he's from the colonies (Mexico, in our version of reality), which gives him some unusual quirks.
  • The Magicians: Dean Henry Fogg makes a deliberate effort to come across this way. One character notes that his speech is so proper, it's almost as though he regretted not having a British accent.
  • The Magician's Nephew: Averted with Uncle Andrew, who thinks of himself as a gentleman but, rather than being polite and cultured, thinks it excuses him from such petty restrictions as not tricking an innocent girl into being his unwitting experimental subject. He's not that much of a magician, either, of course; he gets no respect from Jadis, the evil true Witch and true Queen, when he meets her.
    "But of course you must understand that rules of that sort, however excellent they may be for little boys — and servants — and women — and even people in general, can't possibly be expected to apply to profound students and great thinkers and sages. No, Digory. Men like me, who possess hidden wisdom, are freed from common rules just as we are cut off from common pleasures. Ours, my boy, is a high and lonely destiny."
  • Mairelon the Magician:
    • After slumming around the country discreetly disguised as a stage magician, Mairelon is revealed to be an actual wizard and a member of the aristocracy.
    • Later, former street thief Kim is taught magic and adopted by Mairelon. At one point she's assured that "a wizard can always be presented [to Society]" — apparently in this version of Regency England, having magical talent automatically allows you entry to the upper class (but does not excuse poor taste or manners).
  • New Amsterdam: Abby Irene is titled aristocracy as well as one of the few women trained and licensed in thaumaturgy in her world. She'd rather be called Doctor Garrett than Lady Abigail Irene.
  • The Paper Magician: Most magicians fit the trope, as magic is a well-respected profession in late Victorian/early Edwardian England (suitable for gentlemen), and the training is prohibitively expensive (which prevents most non-gentlemen from studying it). Emery Thane is a good example: while we don't know his parents' social status, he has a lot of money and is seen casually hanging around outside of Parliament. Unusually for this trope, female magicians seem to be as common and respected in the setting as male ones.
  • Rivers of London: DCI Nightingale; he even has the silver-tipped walking stick — and was born in 19th Century too. It's eventually established that in Nightingale's day the Folly, and its associated Boarding School Wizarding School, specialised in producing Gentleman Wizards, being something between a Smoky Gentlemen's Club and the Royal Society. The previous incarnation of the Folly was more eclectic, taking in a variety of practitioners that the later Folly would dismiss as "hedge magic", and even women!
  • Shades of Milk and Honey: Young ladies are expected to be versed in the art of glamour magic, somewhat like young ladies in Jane Austen's works are expected to be able to play the piano. As with housekeeping and other things, women do it for free to decorate their father or husband's house, while professional male glamourists can be highly paid.
  • The standard in Technomagia i smoki, since magic requires both talent and years of difficult, expensive studies, which pretty much restricts its use to higher classes. Wizards do work, but it's either academia (teaching and research) or engineering-type jobs.
  • Temps: Loric, the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Paranormal Resources, is a powerful sorcerer (or possibly a powerful psychic who finds magical trappings help focus his powers) who is also a senior civil servant in the Sir Humphrey mould. According to his Who's Who entry, he's generally accepted as coming from a distinguished family, although there's a certain amount of mystery about his origins and he stated he "had no reason to believe" he's the heir to a peerage when offered it. He had an Eton and Oxford education and is very much described as a Quintessential British Gentleman, with magic. This means that he sometimes comes across to the often working-class Temps as a bit of a pompous git, but a well-meaning one.
  • Uprooted: The Dragon is effectively a feudal lord over the Valley; while he's transparently indifferent to the villagers as people, he's completely dedicated to his responsibilities. It's later revealed that all listed wizards are de facto nobility by definition and are active in the royal court.
  • The Warrior Heir: Hastings fits this trope, being a wizard who owns a large manor house. In fact, most wizards in the series are gentlemen by wealth, though not by manners - they oppress the other magic users, among them the titular warriors, whom they force to fight duels to the death to settle wizard infighting without wizards getting killed.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Giles is a total British gentleman when you don't make him mad, uses magic although it isn't innate to him, and does use borrowed magic in season 6 to try and stop Willow.

  • Tsukiuta: Procellarum's leader, Shun Shimotsuki, known as the White Demon King. He is a Blue Blood from the most noble family in Kyoto, and he uses magic frequently and doesn't try to hide it. Yes, this is supposedly a slice of life Idol Singer series. Rival unit Six Gravity's leader Hajime would also count, except that he's still in denial of the fact that he's just as magical as Shun, if not more so.

     Tabletop Gaming 
  • Castle Falkenstein: Morrolon definitely counts; indeed, most male sorcerers in this setting do. Most female sorcerers manage to be the Lady Wizard instead.
  • Mage: The Awakening: Among the Awakened, Mastigos seems to fill this role pretty well. But only because they are deceivers and devil's advocates. Don't expect them to actually hold their part of gentlemen's agreement. The silver ladder's less overtly terrifying members tend to fall into this mold more often than not as well, due to their reliance on politics and social engineering and their philosophy's focus on mage superiority and noblesse oblige.

     Video Games 
  • Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura: Perriman Smythe and Geoffrey Tarrelond-Ashe. Potentially also the player character. Perriman is more of the genteel and slightly sheltered variety, while Geoffrey views his Black Necromancy skills as something to be played with while he decides whether or not to be bothered to go to the nice job waiting for him in Tarant.
  • Dragon Age II: Mage Hawke regains their family fortune and becomes a member of the Kirkwall nobility in the second act, though has to keep their abilities secret due to magic being illegal in Thedas. After becoming the Champion of Kirkwall, Mage Hawke is seemingly given carte blanche by the Templars and allowed to remain free, in exchange for continuing to unofficially work for the city.
  • Canas from ''Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade is a scholar turned shaman who reads books in the middle of the battlefield and, although a bit socially oblivious, is quite kind and has a passion for learning. Pent, from the same game, is Mage General of Etruria, collects books on elder magic despite it not being his field, and taught Erk everything he knows about anima.
  • Fire Emblem: Awakening: Laurent is a handsome, bespectacled, sharp-tongued young man who travels through the world and through time and space too so he can help save it. He never drops a swearing word, reacts in a rather exasperated and deadpan manner to almost everything around him, and tries to keep his cool even as he can potentially become a walking Person of Mass Destruction depending on who his father is, what he inherited from him, and other factors.
  • Master of the Wind: Don Kovak and Vec . The former is a Villain with Good Publicity, and the latter is his even more formal and gentlemanly bodyguard. They are also both competent mages. Possibly subverted, since behind the scenes they're quite villainous.
  • The original Shadow Hearts is set in 1912, with the Victorian era just dying out. The game’s antagonist is Roger Bacon ( or “Albert Simon” to use his real name) - who dresses in a dark-suit, complete with tie, white-gloves, and a top-hat. He owned a manor on London, speaks with impeccable etiquette and wears a serene smile on his face... even as he is using dark magic to rack-up a body count in the double digits within the first 10 seconds of screen introduction.

  • Autumn Bay: Vincent Whateley is a gentleman wizard who comes from old money, and is the first (human) character we see using magic.
  • El Goonish Shive: Mr. Raven is an older man who dresses well (if in a somewhat old-fashioned manner), teaches history at Moperville South High School, has a strong sense of honor, and will not allow rogue wizards to attack his school and harm his students. Oh, and he's also an elf and centuries old.
  • Gralio Park: Victor Branson is the heir to a duke and quite the young, if occasionally snarky, gentleman. The first thing we see him do is use an air spell to talk to someone. However, unlike many on this list, he also likes machines.

    Real Life 
  • Doctor John Dee, royal astrologer for Queen Elizabeth I. A wealthy academic, astrologer, (alleged) summoner of angels, and man of high society.


Video Example(s):


Gale, the Wizard of Waterdeep

Gale had it all: magic beyond measure and the favor of a goddess. Now, his only hope is redemption for a grave breach of the trust that goddess had in him...

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / GentlemanWizard

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