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Glory Seeker

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"They find the closest enemy and try to cut them up with swords. Madness. Just madness. Just so there can be something to carve on the cathedrals and put in children's stories."
Lord General Xarius on the Space Marines, Warhammer 40,000

In the crucible of battle are heroes born, in defeating the villainous enemy is glory had, and that makes it all worthwhile. At least, that's what the Glory Seeker believes.

Usually some sort of military officer, but not necessarily so, he can be a crusading knight charging heedlessly into the fray, a lone desperado out to make a name for himself, a Bounty Hunter going after the toughest targets. He may or may not enjoy the spoils of war, he may or may not believe in what he's fighting for, he may be a coward who is all talk or a Blood Knight who revels in the slaughter, but the defining trait of the Glory Seeker is that he craves the adoration of the masses and respect of his peers — and hates most of all not being respected. He might grow disillusioned after a while, or he might never learn. If met out of combat, may appear to be the Miles Gloriosus, but actual danger will reveal the truth.

Will sometimes say Think Nothing of It if he really didn't earn it — but don't count on it. Frequently found with In Harm's Way. Loves Famed in Story, and finds What You Are in the Dark and Secret Test of Character particularly hard.

Proud Warrior Race Guy is almost always a Glory Seeker.

Super-Trope of Glory Hound. However, there is an important distinction between the two: A Glory Seeker would happily get themselves killed in pursuit of glory, while a Glory Hound would happily get countless others killed in pursuit of glory, often with no remorse, bonus points for stealing the glory that others have legitimately earned, disproportionate retribution on those opposing their plans, or engaging in chronic backstabbing disorder.

If the Glory Seeker has cohorts or helpers with them, they'll either be Easily Impressed individuals who give the Glory Seeker a constant supply of praise or Deadpan Snarkers who keep the Glory Seeker down to Earth by constantly mocking their boasting.

Compare Martyrdom Culture (where this considered a noble calling), Team Prima Donna, Fame Through Infamy.

Contrast "Well Done, Son" Guy, who wants one person's praise.

Not to be confused with Glorious Death.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam's Jerid Messa, who joined the Titans in order to become a famous Ace Pilot.
    • Before Jerid, there was, like, 90% of the Principality of Zeon in Mobile Suit Gundam. Most of these pilots, soldiers, and commanders were nothing more than Glory Seekers who sought to one-up their actual Ace Pilots so they could be the heroes. However, this ended up ruining their chances for victory. The earliest you see this is in the very first episode.
  • America of Hetalia: Axis Powers is this, in all of his Jerkass, Love Freak glory.
    Chalkboard: France- back me up. England- back me up. Russia- back me up.
    America: ...Any questions?
    Russia: Uh, I have one. What will you be doing?
    America: That's actually a very good question, Russia! I'll be the hero, of course!
    • Prussia, too. He does refer to himself with "The Awesome" as a title.
      Prussia: He will be the tasty snack before my world-domination meal. This so-called 'army' Austria has put together would make my grandmother laugh like this: ha ha ha! You've grown soft, and now is the time for Prussia to RISE LIKE A MAGIC JACK IN THE BOX!
  • Naruto's title character is like this, at least initially. He's a lonely boy, and he wants to become Hokage so the rest of the townsfolk will respect him.
  • Asuka in most Neon Genesis Evangelion continuities, often to the detriment of her own safety.
  • Rebuild World: The hunter Katsuya has two general motivations: To save everyone he can, and to gain recognition. The latter is spurred on by the bullying he receives from Old Soldier hunters like Shirakabe (whose criticism is often valid), also wanting young hunters as a whole to prove themselves. These two motivations cause Katsuya to be a Failure Hero in a vicious cycle: Katsuya charges into battle, gets too preoccupied saving everyone he just got into danger to deal with the danger, multiple die, he gets more Survivor Guilt from The Chains of Commanding, and the Arm Chair Military bureaucrats praise him instead of correcting his incompetence so he can be their Propaganda Hero. Meanwhile the Humble Hero Akira gets recognition from aforementioned veteran hunters making Katsuya The Resenter who disbelieves anything Akira says.
  • Itsuki of The Rising of the Shield Hero is constantly seeking praise in some form, most overtly when he falls into despair after the Spirit Turtle incident. Raphtalia was enraged when she discovered Itsuki was purposefully holding back during fights so that he could jump in and save his companions the instant they were in danger.

    Comic Books 
  • In Astro City, Altar Boy's motive for becoming a hero is that superheroes are respected. He got wiser.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Lute Player this is how the king came to be captured.
    at last the king grew restless. He longed to go out into the world, to try his strength in battle against some enemy and to win all kinds of honour and glory.

    Fan Works 
  • SAPR: Penny of all people falls into this trope, with a consistent wish of hers being to be loved and adored by a cheering crowd in everything from music to combat.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Indiana Jones
    • In Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Indy goes after the Sankara Stones because he believes they will bring him "Fortune and Glory".
    • The danger of this mantra is the moral of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. In a Literal Cliffhanger, Indy holds onto Elsa Schneider as she desperately reaches for the Holy Grail she dropped moments earlier. Unwilling to give Indy her free hand and save herself, Elsa falls to her death when the glove on her other hand slips off. Indy finds himself in the exact situation and tries to get the grail too, but his father convinces him to “let it go.” Indy’s willingness to pass up the “fortune and glory” saves his life while Elsa’s obsession with obtaining the grail for her personal glory kills her.

  • Everyone in The Iliad, the only exceptions being non-combatants. It's most emphatically Achilles' motivation, as he's consciously traded a chance at a long, peaceful life and being forgotten after death, for one where he will die young in the Trojan War but be famous forever.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40,000 novel Deus Sanguinius, Mephiston Mind Probes Rafen and finds he was once concerned only with his own glory.
  • Taran in The Chronicles of Prydain starts out as this, to an embarrassing degree.
  • Kate Daniels - In the first book, Curran thinks that Kate is one of these, as she's not content with the pat explanation wrapping the case up. He thinks she's just trying to come up with another bad guy because she likes playing in the big leagues with everyone listening to her.
  • Boromir in The Lord of the Rings is this, and it is one of the reasons he succumbs to the Ring's temptation.
  • Brunhilde in Sparrow And Bright comes from a society that prizes stories. They believe that tales of your life will allow your memory to live so your spirit can join the ancestors in the sky. Even death is welcome if it is in battle against a great foe or during a magnificent adventure.
  • Harry Potter - Many people who have no idea what kind of life Harry lived before coming to Hogwarts (or even some of the stuff that came after) tend to think he is one of these. Some (like Snape) think he is a bullying troublemaker like his father; some (such as the Ministry, the Daily Prophet, and a number of citizens) think that he just wants glory and is an attention seeker. Some of his classmates even thought he was the heir of Slytherin, once. The truth is largely the opposite, as living with the Dursleys and a lot of the stuff he dealt with in the Wizarding World actually made him very humble and quiet (until he continued to grow in self-confidence and ability).
  • Vows and Honor - Tarma and Kethry become this somewhat unwillingly in Mercedes Lackey's books. The justification is that they must restore the reputation of Tarma's all-but-annihilated Hawk Clan if they want to attract quality people to join them (and not just the losers and misfits no other clan wants).
  • Marco in Animorphs, to a point. Mainly, he does want to save his mother, but he also talks repeatedly about being famous by the end of the war.
  • Robert E. Howard's Kull
    Atlantis made my name accursed when I went to seek fame and fortune among the cities of the world.
  • Ragnar Lodbrok and His Sons is a medieval saga about a clan of Viking warlords, all of them being excessive Glory Seekers.
  • Sir Randolph Mays in Venus Prime.
  • Kydd when he becomes an officer, much like his hero, Lord Nelson.
    • Near the end of Tenacious, Kydd worries that he might be more of a reckless Glory Hound when one of the men under his command blames him for the death of a friend during the Siege of Acre. Luckily, he's soon heartened by the admiration expressed for him in the letter the dead man wrote to his wife.
  • Every single character at the start of All Quiet on the Western Front (including Kantorek, the schoolmaster, who should be old enough to know better).
  • Nathan the Strigoi from Vampire Academy has the ambition to kill Lissa and extinguish the Drogomir clan. It seems the Strigoi keep track of such things and the act would win him glory points.
  • Journey to Chaos: Tiza's working towards a reputation and lifestyle focused around the fame she will receive for defeating dreaded monsters and escorting V.I.P.s. Thus, she can't stand the grunt work novice mercenaries typically get.
  • The Divine Comedy, specifically Inferno:
    • Pier della Vigna is the first character that needs to be tempted by worldly fame to tell his life story, an ironic reality considering that Pier represents the souls who threw away their Earthly lives away by suicide. Pier uses his brief time to insist that he never committed treason or embezzlement and that he was only accused of such things by those consumed by envy.
    • Brunetto Latini goes to the extreme of lecturing Dante on how he should live his life despite having suffered his way into the seventh circle. Turns out Latini is so single-mindedly focused on the need to live through the greatness of one's poetry that he can't notice his own fiery doom.
    • The giant Antaeus is quick to obey the whims of Dante as soon as the latter promises to bring the giant's name back to prominence on Earth, not even offering a comment or request regarding the chains and ice that confine him so tightly.
  • In St. Augustine's Confessions, the teachers of Hippo had no appetite for love or truth, but instead educated their students only to bring them fame and honor in the theatre or the circus or some other place of status. St. Augustine has no respect for this approach to life, calling it a search for shame and death of the spirit.
  • Wonder Woman: Warbringer: Jason wants to start a huge war and bring back the time of heroes, just so he can get glory on the battlefield.
  • Armsmaster of Worm is this, being primarily interested in advancing his own career as a superhero instead of looking after his assigned Super Team. Later, he crosses the line into full-on Glory Hound when he sabotages the hero/villain truce against Leviathan for a shot at personal glory.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: The Proud Warrior Race Guy Sontarans have a definite streak of this. In "The Poison Sky", they would rather get blown up than surrender and let the Doctor win. In fact, getting blown up with the Doctor is even better, as they think that would be an utterly glorious death.
  • In Orange Is the New Black, Sister Ingalls is in jail for indulging these tendencies, and was excommunicated for it.
  • An episode of Space: Above and Beyond involves a brother of one of the main characters enlist to fight the Chigs. He gets assigned to the unit headed by a known Glory Seeker. Needless to say, the episode doesn't end well.

  • Every DragonForce song ever. There's even a Drinking Game where you take a shot every time the singer says "glory" or "glorious".
  • Manowar style themselves to be Horny Vikings, so naturally their songs usually feature bloody battles and tons of glory.
  • HammerFall's song "Glory to the Brave", as well as a number of others, given that their gimmick is that they pretend to be Templars.
  • The third verse of the Pink Floyd song "Paranoid Eyes," from The Final Cut shows the aftermath of being one:
    You believed in their stories of fame, fortune, and glory
    Now you're lost in the haze of alcohol-soft middle age
    The great pie in the sky turned out to be miles too high
    Now you hide, hide, hide
    Behind brown and mild eyes

    Tabletop Games 
  • Unblooded Clan Warriors from Battletech tend to fall into this trope. All Warriors want to undergo the Trial of Bloodright and earn the surname of their ancestor, but there are only twenty-five Bloodnames available at any time, one is only freed up when its holder dies, Clan Warriors are grown in batches of one hundred (who all share the same ancestor) and forcibly retire if not Blooded at thirty-five, and challenging a Bloodnamed for their surname is explicitly forbidden. Winning dramatic battles or duels, preferably with the odds against you, is one of the quickest ways to get noticed over your sibkin and end up with a good spot on the waiting list. Therefore, Unblooded have a tendency to be rash and risk-prone even by Clan Warrior standards, and tend to get worse the older they get without becoming Blooded.
  • There's the Glory Seeker Magic: The Gathering card, he's apparently eager to be in the fray of battle.
  • Warhammer 40,000
    • Space Marines love this trope: they both tell the stories of their predecessors and seek to be Famed in Story themselves.
    • Imperial Guard Commissars, as propaganda officers, have this as part of their job: Being led by a hero, real or not, improves the troops' morale. Of course, that doesn't stop some Commissars from being Glory Hounds themselves...
    • Chaos Space Marines are a villainous example of this trope; every Chaos Marine strives for recognition and glory in the eyes of the Chaos Gods, because when you serve Chaos, you either earn daemonhood, die trying, or succumb to the mutating influence of the Warp.
    • Warmaster Horus was this personified. No, really: all the Primarchs embodied some aspect of the Emperor and inherited one of his traits, and Horus' trait was his thirst for glory. It caused a lot of friction between Horus and the rest of his brothers and eventually Horus didn't even want to share glory with his daddy...

  • In Pippin, Pippin takes after his Miles Gloriosus half-brother and becomes a glory-seeking warrior, but it doesn't take long for him to become disillusioned.
  • The eponymous character of Ajax, and it doesn't end well for him.

    Video Games 
  • King Cailan Theirin from Dragon Age: Origins. Utterly convinced that the Darkspawn invasion is his opportunity to carve out his place in legend, driving back the tide of evil alongside the Grey Wardens like in the songs of old. Unfortunately, he doesn't seem to realize exactly where the world lies on the Sliding Scaleof Idealism Vs Cynicism. Though he might have managed it, albeit by the skin of his teeth, if his second-in-command hadn't chosen that exact moment to betray him, leave with his army, and leave his king for dead. Tough break, huh?
    • To be fair, the second-in-command begged Cailan not to take part in the battle or, at least, not on the front lines. Cailan wouldn't hear of it, though. It's possible the second-in-command only wanted to get rid of the Wardens.
  • Zeri from Valkyria Chronicles II seeks glory of heroic proportions, because he believes that if he does attain it, people would lighten up on their prejudice against the Darcsen.
  • The player character in the web game Clash of the Dragons. He's very proud of his Heroic Lineage, and intends for his own story to be every bit as epic as his ancestor's. Despite fumbling a bit on the inside, he always manages to act in the most generically heroic way possible. The first chapter has him gleefully engaging in Ham-to-Ham Combat against a villain with similar motivations, and the finishing blow of another fight involved an unnecessary flip and ended with him walking into the sunset without a word to the crowd who was watching.
  • Axton the Commando of Borderlands 2, whose glory-seeking ways eventually forced him to go AWOL and get divorced from his CO. It's also the reason why he became a Vault Hunter.
  • In Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones, after returning to Renais and seeing what has become of it under Orson's rule, Prince Ephraim realizes his rash decisions at the start of the war with Grado were less about protecting Renais and more about his own thirst for glory. When he's crowned King, he resolves to overcome this.
  • It is one of the motivations of The Night of the Rabbit's Big Bad Great Zaroff, he just wants the attention of an audience.
  • Soul Calibur II: Yun Seong greatly admires Hwang and wants to be seen as his equal. So much so, that he challenged Hwang to a duel. However, Hwang realized Yun Seong's true motivation and refused to accept, believing it was childish of him. Despite this, Yun Seong remained undaunted to make Hwang acknowledge his talents somehow and eventually learned he had once gone in search of Soul Edge but had returned empty-handed. Thus, he believed that if he could succeed where Hwang had seemingly failed, he'd have no choice but to accept him as an equal... not knowing the truth of the matternote 
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • In Morrowind, Edwinna Elbert, Stewardess of the Ald-Ruhn Mages Guild Hall, studies the Lost Technology of the extinct Dwemer. During one of her quests, you can find a unique book that gives insights into Dwemer technology. If you show it to her, she implies that a major reason she studies the Dwemer is that she wants to build Dwemer centurions as she believes it will make her famous.
    • A common motivation amongst members of the Companions in Skyrim. Fitting, since they are the Fighter's Guild local equivalent in a land of fantasy Horny Vikings. One of the junior Companions, a Dunmer bladesman named Athis will even quote you Indiana Jones' fortune and glory line as his motivation for why he signed up. It's also why Aela the Huntress wants to get involved in the Civil War; not because she cares who ends up on the throne of the High King, but because battles are being fought and glory is being won while she sits around the Companions meadhall of Jorrvaskr not getting a share of it because the Companions kind of sort of not the leader Kodlak Whitemane has forbidden the Companions to get involved. Skjor also has elements of this which gets him killed when he charges in alone ahead of you and Aela into a Silver Hand encampment and gets killed by their leader, Krev the Skinner.
  • Throughout Spec Ops: The Line, it becomes clear that Martin Walker gradually descends into something of this in his desire to save the people of Dubai, even if it means putting his own men In Harm's Way. Which ultimately goes to show how far he's fallen, even to the point of distorting reality and justifying the atrocities he's committed. In his desire to become a badass hero like he wanted, he gets his men killed and dooms the people of Dubai. Depending on the ending, he either ends his own life, allows himself to face justice, or falls further into madness.
  • Ashe from Mega Man ZX Advent became a Hunter because she wants to be remembered in history as one of the greatest to ever live in order to make up for the fact she herself doesn't even know where she came from. When she becomes a Mega Man, she sees it as the perfect opportunity to be both a hero to the masses and confirm that place in history. Atlas and Prometheus aren't very impressed, however, and see her as a child just "playing" at being a hero while in reality she's no better than them.
  • Mass Effect: Andromeda: One question, actually called "The Glory Seekers", revolves around a bunch of angaran resistance fighters who've taken to martyring themselves by throwing themselves at the heaviest kett targets they can find (angara believe in reincarnation). Ryder is asked to talk some of them down, and finds one having cold feet before he can attack.
  • Mortal Kombat: Kung Lao has been depicted as this ever since Mortal Kombat: Shaolin Monks reimagined him as being motivated to outshine Liu Kang and bring glory to his family's name. How obnoxious Lao is about this varies Depending on the Writer.

  • The Aristocrat from Hero Oh Hero is perfectly willing to take on some bandits troubling a town. However, after defeating one he's very quick to demand that they build a statue of him in the middle of town and even quicker to anger when it's pointed out that Burk is still fighting the bandit's (much more dangerous, acid-spitting pig) mount.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Emil spells this out as his reason to go on the expedition, as he considers it a means of showing the world just how talented he is and is expecting to come back a famous hero.
  • Unsounded: Captain Hetr thinks himself a glorious man worthy of deep respect who will be written about in schoolbooks and wants a "good death".

    Web Original 
  • In JourneyQuest, Glorion seems to feel that anything that could potentially end in increasing his own glory is worthy of being done. He seems to feel anything he can describe as being done bravely qualifies.
  • Stanislaw Poniatowski of the "Crownless Eagle" series by Mahu will stop at nothing to make sure his name is forever remembered. In his quest for eternal glory he nearly starts a civil war in the Commonwealth Republic and slaughters thousands in the British Isles before being finally stopped at London

    Western Animation 
  • Alvin (as well his female counterpart, Brittany) from Alvin and the Chipmunks. Some of his plans are attempts at getting more famous or grabbing attention.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Prince Zuko is a tragic example. He is attempting to hunt down and capture Aang, the titular Avatar, in the hopes of gaining the glory to restore his honor, return to his homeland he was banished from, and gain his father's love.
    • On the other end of the spectrum is Admiral Zhao, who makes Zuko's sympathetic motivations stand out even more. Zhao is only interested in seeing that his name makes the history books and is intent on denying Zuko his chance and rubbing it in his face to make it happen. His attempt to conquer the Northern Water Tribe and kill the Moon Spirit are also motivated by his quest for personal glory.
  • Harley Quinn (2019): After she leaves the Joker, most of Harley's actions in Season 1 are for the sake of seeking praise and recognition for her villainy, be it from the public, fellow supervillains, or superheroes.

    Real Life 
  • A lot of famous explorers, mountaineers, and participants in similar recreations might qualify.
  • Some famous military units seek out these kind of people.
    • Many others, however, actively discourage this sort of thing; the line between this trope and Glory Hound can be awfully fine, and Glory Hounds tend not to make good soldiers.