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Our Elves Are Better
aka: Our Elves Are Different

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"Everything you can do elves can do better, elves are much better at everything than you."

Elves are many different things to many different people, but it's important to remember the one thing elves always are: better. Better than you, me, and even other elves. Especially other elves.

They are also quite aware of that fact and will let you know it, again and again and you won't argue about it (most of the time). After all, they've quite often been around for a lot longer than those upstart humans. The flavor of this betterness will vary across stories and authors between all-natural, magical, or just plain nasty. Some of them might even be humble and will make sure you know about it.

The reason for this goes all the way back to Papa Tolkien. His elves are Purposely Overpowered in just about every way (not only in the ways that they particularly value). He invented the modern version of Elves, who, Tolkien being a devout Christian, in his works were meant to represent what humans would be like had we remained sinless and Unfallen™. Deprived of these theological undertones, the modern image of Elves has since lost its original context.note 


It is exceedingly common for Elves to come in multiple breeds, all better than you in some way or another. Usually they'll come in an archetypal trinity, these garden varieties being:

  • High Elves: These guys are better than you, and they won't hesitate to remind you at every opportunity. They're usually physically superior in "every way that counts", which is to say they don't count others' strengths as worthwhile. They'll frequently be part of an ancient civilization/kingdom that has been in Medieval Stasis since before human speech. These guys usually favor whites, reds, blues, and imperial purples and wear super-sumptuous clothes along with delicate jewelry that make fangirls squee with envy. Rapiers, bows, and spears are favored weapons for their ground forces, with the option of sleek scimitars in settings where rapiers are too modern, and their warriors typically prioritize technique and skill over raw power. Unlike their more down-to-earth compatriots, they'll usually live in a Shining City that will invariably be cleaner than human cities. Usually very proficient with magic and producing magical items and artifacts. If these guys have any weakness at all (aside from their blind narcissism, of course), it will usually be that they are slimmer and more delicate physically than both the other types of elves and humans and dwarves, which means that while they're nearly always better magicians than humans, they are not always going to win a physical fight. Thanks largely to their longevity, these elves tend to dedicate a lot of time to perfecting their arts, crafts and skills. So everything from their poetry and cuisine to architecture and armor tends to be highly advanced, meticulously intricate and aesthetically impressive, if only by their standards. Usually the most insufferably arrogant of elves, though they may not necessarily be openly antagonistic; they're often portrayed as looking down on other races, sometimes to the degree of full-blown racism (speciesism?). This may extend to other kinds of elves; high elves are often on very poor terms with dark elves, and may be tolerant but condescending towards wood elves.
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  • Wood Elves: In tune with nature and prone to spiritual contemplation and empathy. All the same, they kick bow-y butt in combat. Generally they're magical in a druidic rather than wizardly way. They can be found in a Hidden Elf Village in a forest and/or a Tree Top Town. Wood Elves may be good-natured guardians and/or guides for the forest and for people who travel through them, while darker takes on the Wood Elves may present them as either totally apathetic to anything going on outside the forest borders, or worse, ruthless isolationists who view any non-elf in their forest as a trespasser to be hunted down and "removed". Obviously, they favor greens, browns, and flowy billowy clothes when they aren't wearing leaves. They tend to be amazing archers, but will also use knives and short swords which may not necessarily be made of metal. Sometimes they'll resemble a Magical Native American. These guys are among the least stuck up elves and are usually the ones responsible for half-elves, but they may replace Cultural Posturing with lectures on respecting nature. They also tend to be close allies with Fairies (if they, or Elves in general, are not Fae themselves), and may pattern their morality from them.
  • Dark Elves (often called Drow): Dark Elves are usually closer to The Fair Folk, except these guys are organized as cities or civilizations and bent on evil, rather than "just" operating on an alien morality. These guys will wear black leather bondage gear when they aren't wearing Spikes of Villainy, speak in the Black Speech, and kick dogs. In particular, they are often depicted as having labyrinthine, corrupt and lethal internal politics, and as having a tendency to extreme sadism, with anyone unlucky enough to be captured by them doomed to suffer extremely protracted and imaginative Cold-Blooded Torture. They may also be philosophers like their High Elf brethren, but unlike High Elves, they will espouse Darwinistic or nihilistic views on the world. They use the same weapons as the others, only their blades are serrated. Despite living in caves, they're still gorgeous. Unlike other Elves, some Dark Elves may have facial hair.

Some common varieties beyond those three include:

  • Sea Elves: Generally an aquatic equivalent to Wood Elves, though more rarely they can resemble High Elves or even Dark Elves. They tend to be physically identical to 'normal' elves, sometimes taking an exception for a discreet set of gills, webbing between their toes, or blue or green skin and hair. Sea Elves, when they aren't a more down-to-earth seafaring subset of the High Elves, live in beautiful Underwater Cities built out of coral or natural grottos. They may be able to turn into sea animals (usually dolphins) and even if they can't they'll be friendly with dolphins, sea serpents and similar creatures.
  • Snow Elves: Elves that live in cold climates, and we don't mean the ones who work for the big red guy. Relatively rare, and more elusive than even the Wood Elves. They also tend to be a little less arrogant, because the Northern/Southern wastes are too damn cold for that stuff.
  • Half-Elves: Since all elves are (or think themselves to be) more attractive than humans, they tend to be found attractive by humans. On top of that elves, despite themselves, also seem to have a habit of being drawn to humanity. as a result, members of the two races often develop intimate relations, and the results of all this canoodling are Half-Elves. These guys have half the coolness of their elf parent, but half the suck of their human side (including mortality, or worse by far, facial hair). They are usually outcasts, or if not, they have embraced one of their parentages to the exclusion of the other (usually the Elf part, because humans suck). Living in human society gives them a Angst rating on par with the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire.
  • The Fair Folk: If Wood Elves are Magical Native Americans, then these guys are The Savage Indian. Elves of this variety may be portrayed as dangerous and inscrutable creatures of magic — in which case they may overlap and share traits with Precursors, Fairies, gods, or other mythological creatures. Dwarves started out as the Dark Elf version of these. The Fair Folk are the oldest type of elves, from a period when people truly believed in a magical race of supernatural beings living on a separate dimension that would snatch up your children and livestock if not properly appeased with offerings or warded off with Cold Iron. Other cultures associated pygmies with The Fair Folk, as a sort of Witch Species. Compare The Greys (vs. Little Green Men), which fulfill the traditional sci-fi archetype of The Fair Folk vs. Fairies as misremembered Ancient Astronauts. If that is the case, you have:
  • Space Elves: Space Elves can be a straight up copy or analogue of any aforementioned variants, but In SPACE! They will usually be a Proud Scholar Race Guy to distinguish them from the stout, bearded aliens in the setting. Usually, they are also notable because their technology is either organic, crystalline, or otherwise pretty, renewable/in tune with nature and can blow your ships right out of space before you can see them. Replace a bow with a laser gun (or better yet, laser bows!) and you're in business.
  • Rock Elves: They play guitars, maybe or maybe not in Heavy Mithril style.

All elves usually share the following traits:

This subject is prone to Internet Backdraft on RPG forums. Many see elves as only enjoyed by munchkins or those who wish to see themselves as better than everyone else in every facet, yet others claim that elves are above such things. Which, really, only makes things worse-can you really claim to be above being above people?

Their lack of facial hair and spiritual inclinations point at one of two main sources of inspiration — Magical Native Americans, or Celtic history and mythology. Of course, results of mixing even these two vary wildly depending on the writer's skill. In particularly egregious cases elven society can become a Mary Sue Topia.

Compare The Fair Folk, Screw You, Elves! (when you don't believe in their betterness), Christmas Elves (for the other kind of elf), Our Fairies Are Different, Our Nymphs Are Prettier, Witch Species.

Contrast Humans Are Special.

Whatever you do, don't mention the Dwarves.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Abh from Crest of the Stars count as space elves for all intents and purposes. Pale blue hair, pointed ears (royalty only), and unearthly beauty. They live for over 200 years (but probably under 300), and would live even longer if they were not genetically programmed to die before their minds begin to degrade. The main difference between the standard is one thing: they're hiring. If a human joins their society then their children's DNA can be tweaked at birth so that they are born as Abh; if the human joins their nobility this is required because Abh have a sensory organ necessary to pilot their ships.
  • A more typical anime elf example happens in The Familiar of Zero's third season. Tiffania Westwood is a elf who helped revive Saito at the end of the second season, and became a major character in the third. She's technically a Half-Elf, but has all the common traits of a Wood Elf; she's also the cousin of Queen Henrietta, and becomes a New Transfer Student at Louise's Wizarding School.
  • The Ralgon Empire from Irresponsible Captain Tylor is a clear example of space elves (with a hint of Persian decor), although the occasional beard is seen.
  • The gigantic Zentradi from the Macross series are a combination of this, Our Orcs Are Different and Our Ogres Are Hungrier. They are effectively immortal, generally disciplined, remained in stasis in terms of technology & development, and have been retconned post-Do You Remember Love? to sport pointy ears. At the same time, the Zentradi do not shy away from physical combat, they have no concept of beauty or art, and their only observable resemblance to culture prior to meeting humans was war.
  • In Magical × Miracle, elves are alternately called Hahaze and Onburu. They have an unusually high resistance to magical spells, resulting in them being used as bodyguards for important people in the Kingdom of Viegald. They have long, pointy ears and Cute Little Fangs, and have super speed when they need it. Fern, the resident Hahaze, takes to his Elvish smugness in the form of being the Snarky Non-Human Sidekick. They live in a Hidden Elf Village in the woods where they hunt. They seem to have some Celtic influences.
  • In the Record of Lodoss War OVA, there is the following exchange between a Dark Elven bodyguard to a Dark Elven noblewoman, and a drunken human soldier, both in a Mook army:
    "Pirotess would never involve herself with a human male."
    "Eh? You saying elves are better than humans?"
    "Are you saying that we are not?"
  • The Wood Elf variant appears in Slayers; in general Elves live longer and have better magical skills, but they usually hide away and scorn humans. This is emphasized in certain cases because Elves generally align themselves with Ciefeed and his servants, the Dragons — the Dragons can have as much scorn towards humans, if not more.
  • Tenchi Muyo: War on Geminar has the Dark Elves of Shurifon. Despite their name and appearance, they are more akin to Wood Elves since they live in a huge forest and are at peace with nature. Overall they are physically more capable than anyone else on the planet barring a short period of time in the day when they are as weak as newborn kittens due to being a transplanted species from another world. The main character Kenshi is the only one who is stronger and he isn't exactly a normal human either.
  • The Drule from the Voltron universe are Drow in space. Dark skin (purple in Voltron, grey in Voltron Force), white hair, militaristic, Always Chaotic Evil, dark coloured outfits, and in Voltron Force, Lotor has a spider mech. Drule may even be a portmanteau of Drow and Rule. All that's needed is for the Drule to be a matriarchal society where males are slaves or the military, and copious pacts with dark and evil forces beyond mortal reckoning(which Haggar covers, especially in the comics).
  • The Elf Tribe from Black Clover look like humans with pointy ears. They had immense magic power greater than most humans, able to use magic stones and forbidden magics, and were worshiped as gods. As a result, humans began to fear and desire their power, slaughtering them and stealing their magic power centuries before the story. Their leader Licht suspended their souls to eventually reincarnate them in human bodies... Which Patry who had Licht's face thought. It was actually The Devil that caused the reincarnation along the massacre of the elves, as planned when he told Patry this just to have him cross the Despair Event Horizon. Then when Patry's Four-leaf clover Grimoire becomes a Five-Leaf because of crossing it, he becomes a Dark Elf!

    Card Games 
  • In Magic: The Gathering, elves are the default humanoid creature type for Green, the color of nature and tradition. Most of them qualify as High Elves or Wood Elves, but a few unusual varieties show up on some planes:
    • The elves of the plane Lorwyn deconstruct this trope. They have ram-like horns, though they can't really be compared to humanity, as Lorwyn has no humans. However, they do look down on the kithkin (i.e., hobbits). In addition, their entire society is based on physical beauty, with the most beautiful among them being worshiped as gods. In contrast to the typical nature-loving elf, they take it upon themselves to "improve" upon nature to make it more beautiful. Beings that are not beautiful -- mostly other races and disfigured elves -- are labeled "Eyeblights" and routinely exterminated.
    • But in Lorwyn's Evil Twin plane, Shadowmoor, the elves are the only race that isn't Always Chaotic Evil. In Lorwyn, the elves believed themselves to be the stewards of beauty and perfection... and in the Crapsack World of Shadowmoor, they are.
    • The biometallic plane of Mirrodin, where the line between organic life and metal got rather blurred, was home to elves that grew complex spikes and sheets of copper from their bodies.
    • While the Selesnyan elves of Ravnica are fairly standard, the Devkarin elves of the Golgari Swarm deviate from the trope standard by being dedicated necromancers obsessed with rot and death. There are also the elves of the Simic Combine, bald, largely extinct, and almost uniformly Mad Scientists, and generally disliked by the other two types. They're technically all still Wood Elves, but the Devkarin are more focused on the "death" part of the cycle of life and death, and the Simic elves get a bit... creative in their goal of preserving life.
    • By Word of God, there used to be elves living in the gothic horror-inspired plane of Innistrad, too, but they were driven to extinction by the plane's many native horrors.
    • Most of Magic's elves reject technology, because they're associated with green mana. Kaladesh's elves, on the other hand, are skilled artificers, because Wizards of the Coast concluded it was a bit boring if the place of green in every artifact set was solely based on rejecting it (a la Mirrodin, home of elves with Protection from Artifacts). Kaladeshi elves are deeply attuned to the flow of aether, and many focus on building robot animals and integrating living components like wood and vines into their machinery — Peema Outrider, for example, has a gold-and-wood steed.
    • Eldraine, a plane based on European fairytales, used to be ruled by cruel and capricious elves until humanity overthrew them and established the current realms. The elves still live in the Wilds outside of civilization, where they ride giant foxes and band together for The Wild Hunt.

    Comic Books 
  • In Amulet elves are The Empire, and they're not particularly good-looking either, since they have More Teeth than the Osmond Family and vertically-slitted eyes. They're still tall and skinny, with long hair, though.
  • Subverted in The Demon Mages: there are various types of Drow elves, which vary in skin color, hair color, and magical resistances. The snobby attitude isn't present, however.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, played with Varis is also much like a stereotypical elf, but also is stated to enjoy cities more than the forests, and never hesitates to slip in zingers against other (high) elves that look down their noses at everything else.
  • The trope is played with in ElfQuest:
    • The Wolfrider elves are Wood Elves played fairly straight; they're smaller than the (very!) primitive humans around them and only slightly more advanced. They do have supernatural powers, such as healing and the ability to shape rock and wood, but most of them only have the power to communicate telepathically (referred to as "sending") and very few are able to heal or do rock and wood-shaping. Oh, and of all the elves only the Wolfriders have facial hair due to their part-wolf ancestry.
    • The Gliders , before they all died and their spirits went to the Palace of the High Ones, and Savah, the Sun Folk's Mother of Memory, play the High Elf archetype rather more straight, although Lord Voll and Aroree are considerably less haughty than the rest of the Gliders, and Savah is far too serene to be called haughty. Justified in that they're also rather older than most of the cast — becoming smaller over generations was an adaptation to the new world, and the Gliders in particular haven't had any new children in forever when first met.
    • In a subversion of the typical half-elf, the master trickster Two-Edge is half elf and half troll. The same psychological rules generally apply though, as Two-Edge uses his cunning throughout the series to force the other characters through "games" of his devising, in an attempt to reconcile the two halves of his heritage. Interestingly, his mental and emotional troubles were not caused by prejudice towards his hybrid nature but by his mother using her psionic powers to drive him mad, in order to hide the crimes she did to his father.
    • It's not until late in the series that the reader discovers all the elves are really the descendants of Space Elves who were trapped on the planet ages ago. Their seemingly magical powers are really Psychic Powers and the Palace where their souls go after death can travel through space.
  • Suitably enough, Poison Elves subverts most of the prevailing Elf tropes. Sure, the elves are haughty and self important, but justified in that they did avert The End of the World as We Know It... back in pre-history. By the time of the events of the comics, the Elves have become just as urbanized, lazy, indolent, and outright bastards as the humans are. The protagonist doesn't much help anyone's opinion of the elves, but the author never presents any serious evidence to the contrary. Even the elves who live in enclaves are a far cry from the "Wood Elves" above, and only seem to be humans with really pointy ears.
  • Amusingly averted in Rat Queens. Hannah and Tizzie are just as shallow, amoral, alcoholic and violent as everyone else around them.
  • The Elfes et Nains series depicts five races of stereotypical Elves. The High Elves, Blue Elves, Wood Elves are certainly more moral and wise than Humans because they are closer to the world of Arran whom they consider a god in itself. However the Wood Elves are highly xenophobic toward humans. The Dark Elves are a huge subversion, as all are an immoral, murderous kind with the Big Bad of the series being a Dark Elf herself. Lastly, the Half-Elves take from their human heritage and more or less act like any Human would.

    Fan Works 
  • Aska: Averted. The entire elf race now consists of "solicitors, attorneys and the occasional insurance salesman". The elf character Motor-Oil is a bumbling wreck after losing his girlfriend. Also, his name is Motor-Oil.
  • Child of the Storm has multiple versions:
    • The Alfar of the Nine Realms are (possibly were in the case of the Svartalves — it's left ambiguous) fairly Tolkien-esque High Elves, who're biologically immortal, naturally very good looking, slimmer than humans and Asgardians, and excellent marksmen — though Clint Barton is a match for even their best. Like the rest of the Nine Realms, they've also got extremely high-end Magitek, and even more than most: they're a match for Asgard. Unlike most depictions, their morality and egotism runs the spectrum. They are — or were — divided into two tribes that ultimately differed on ideological grounds.
      • The "Light Elves" of Alfheim. Function as The Lancer to Asgard in the Nine Realms, being their most loyal allies. Particularly Tolkien-esque — In-Universe, their Prince, Faradei, was the inspiration for Legolas. One of them, Algrim (who's purple due to a rather strange skin disorder) is Odin's Chamberlain and one of his best Advisers, who helped raise Thor and Loki and now advises them too. However, they're not all good: Gravemoss, arguably the vilest member of the first book's Big-Bad Ensemble, was banished for necromancy and being a Complete Monster. He's functionally a Humanoid Abomination and permanent resident of the Uncanny Valley who regards life as being wasted on the living, and dreams of ruling over a universe of the dead.
      • The "Dark Elves" of Svartalfheim aren't, in fact, classic Dark Elves. Instead, they're a faction of the Alfar as a whole who, under their leader, Malekith the Accursed, weren't content with being second to Asgard. They felt that they should be at the top of Yggdrasil and leading/ruling the Nine Realms, which they intended to rearrange by force. Considering their power (they were more or less on par with Asgard) and that Malekith had the Aether a.k.a. the Reality Stone, they came dangerously close to succeeding, and the only way they could be stopped was by pounding Svartalfheim a.k.a. 'the Dark World' flat, resulting in a ruined Death World from orbit.
      • At least some survived, with dissidents fleeing Malekith's purges and some of Malekith's surviving supporters both escaping to other realms, primarily Earth. The former have a small but respected nation in the Nevernever (Faerie) and are noted to have evolved to become something much more like the Fae than they were originally. It's uncertain whether any of the latter are still around (or what happened to them), but Word of God has implied that Malekith is both alive and better known these days as Oberon.
    • There are also the Sidhe, the humanoid aristocracy of the Seelie (Summer) and Unseelie (Winter) Courts of Faerie, as well as independent lesser 'Wyldfae' Courts. Classic examples of The Fair Folk, they're not related to the Alfar (except for the Svartalves of Faerie, who emigrated). Instead, they were a subspecies of humanity (hinted to be the Denisovans) that entered Faerie several hundred thousand years ago, and their population is supported by/includes changelings, humans who have a fae parent. Thanks to their uniquely close relationship with magic, they're vulnerable to iron, specialise in glamour and illusions, can't lie but specialise in manipulating, and are very interested in deals based on Equivalent Exchange. They're also extremely dangerous - even the nice ones have a raging case of Blue and Orange Morality.
      • There are also House Elves, though they're indicated to be a variety of lesser Fae.
  • The God Empress of Ponykind: In The Warmistress of Equestria, the deer are Expies of the Eldar in many respects, primarily in schemes and haughtiness.
  • It's a Dangerous Business, Going Out Your Door:
    • The Pronghorn, whose horns are functionally similar to those of unicorns. The first pronghorn introduced, Niles Nigellus, is a polite, smooth-talking and well-traveled charmer who offers Dash the chance to realize one of her greatest dreams, learning how to master lighting, by guiding her through the Dreaming.
    • There's also the Deer of the Shimmerwood, who are known as aloof guardians of the forest who speak in riddles, come from an ancient civilization, and use powerful magic. As Dash puts it, "Deer are weird." The other five deer races are brought up in the sequel, many of them still having their haughtiness from before the big war with the Big Bad. The deer and ponies occasionally butt heads when the released Big Bad causes strife.
  • Played with in Power Rangers GPX, where they're the antagonists. They're not evil per se, but are very xenophobic, arrogant and the author compares their society to Imperial Japan. There are, however, genuinely nice elves, some of whom live among humans, and others who are more in the gray area. In other words, they're just as varied as Tolkien's elves, albeit more "humanized". Still, they're given something of a Doing In the Wizard treatment, but still have a mystical, if realistic, element about them.
    • However, as the story goes on, and a few rewrites were made, the trope is heavily Deconstructed. The elves' sense of their own superiority allows them to be manipulated by elven supremacist Ragnar, who overthrows the government and installs a fascistic military dictatorship bent on exterminating humanity.
  • Still Waters Series: The elves of Mundus Magicus live for several centuries and tend to have a good grasp of magic, warfare, or anything else they do, simply because they've been doing it for so long. They can be incredibly stubborn and slow to adapt at times, but they aren't stupid; if presented with good evidence against an already decided course of action, they have no problem changing their minds.
  • With Strings Attached:
    • Averted with elves in general. They're just another race of humans, not a separate species. The only “elfy” traits they share with elves from other works are that they have fine features and pointy ears. And in Ketafa they're second-class citizens and treated like crap.
    • As'taris is haughty, but not because he's an elf; he feels superior to the four because he's skahs (warrior class) and they're tirin (noncombatants).

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Na'vi from Avatar are blue-skinned, pointy-eared, lithe cat people who live in tune with nature, tame the wild beasts, have an innate link with the spirit of their world, and shoot 6-foot long arrows to impale helicopter pilots. Despite the science fiction aspects of the film, they're a lot more Wood Elf than Space Elf.
  • Deconstructed in Bright: elves are superior in every way to other races, have the highest number of Brights among them and are said to manipulate society into their favor, which lead to humans and orcs resenting them as pompous and privileged snobs. In addition, their fighting prowess, superhuman strength, speed and immortality makes them look like horror monsters rather than badass super-elves like Legolas in Lord of the Rings.
  • Prince Nuada and his kin of Hellboy II: The Golden Army are elves, but play up The Fair Folk angle a lot more, hence the folkloric names. Nuada himself is possessed of semi-psychic abilities, incredible grace and poise, and despite being half his size can run rings around Hellboy himself in combat (when Hellboy is drunk, anyway, as Red does a lot better sober).
  • The Lord of the Rings plays this trope pretty straight, although it unusually adapts Tolkien's Wood Elves into High Elves, instead of the other way around which is more common in pop culture adaptations. Perhaps because, as the director repeatedly said, he wanted to emphasize just how badass the elves were — even the less technologically advanced, more in tune with nature types.
    • The Hobbit shifts away from this somewhat. In it, Thranduil is portrayed more like a proud (or arrogant) High Elf who belittles someone of lesser stock, while in truth, the only High Elf in the region was Galadriel — although the pride of the Royal House of the Sindar would legitimately give Thrandruil reason to be proud. But by the time of the Hobbit, the only High Elves left in Middle Earth are Galadriel, Elrond, Glorfindel and the Elves in Rivendell and some in the Grey Havens. The rest in Mirkwood and Lórien are either Sindar, Silvan (the most rustic of Elves) or a combination of the two.
  • The Dark Elves from Thor: The Dark World are a combination of their namesake and Space Elves. They existed before light came to the universe and have ships and weapons that run on Magitek while maintaining their proud stature and honor.
  • The Nordic Coven in the Underworld (2003) series is a vampire bloodline with elf-like characteristics. They live in a secluded fortress, strongly resemble elves physically and have straight-up magical powers unlike anything normal vampires possess. They do avert having unnatural beauty (while most members have Mystical White Hair, their leader is a plain-looking Cool Old Guy) and lack elves' arrogance. In fact, they are extremely kind and friendly in contrast to most vampires, but with that said Beware the Nice Ones also happens to be their hat, since while pacifistic, they can kill you in a blink of an eye.

  • Alliance Elves come in several flavors, though they still vary wildly from chapter to chapter.
    • Stone Elves who tend to be The Stoic, and have control over emotions, both their own and others. Logical and emotionless, they see reason above all. All white skin with typical elf ears.
    • Elves, the generic version, differ from chapter to chapter. You have your standard Wild, High and Tribal elves, mixed in with Sand and Willow elves. Different markings, mannerisms and histories separate them. The race as a whole gets the Archery skill at half cost.
    • Dark Elves are your typical Drow-esque elven race. Always Chaotic Evil and black skin with white hair.
    • Mystic Wood Elves are more Fae than Elf but still have the Elven ears. Typically more promiscuous and are big fans of parties and revelry. MWE's for short, they also have a pair of horns and are able to resist command spells.
  • NERO elves come in six varieties:
    • Quentari, your basic High Elves
    • Wood Elves
    • Wild Elves who are a more Proud Warrior Race/Noble Savage version of Wild Elves and who have a special relationship with wolves.
    • Stone Elves who have Chalk white skin, and are usually divided into ones of two class types, Scholar or Fighter. They are also the most likely to fall into the Dark Elf stereotype.
    • Mystic Wood Elves, a hybrid between elves and satyrs/nymphs who have horns, are a race of Ethical Sluts (both reasons why they're often referred to as "the horny elves") and tend to be Trickster types.
    • Drae/Vornae. Despite looking like D&D Drow they are not Dark Elves but rather have a culture very much like samurai Japan. No one except them are quite sure about the Drae/Vornae divide as they look and generally act exactly alike except that the Vornae seem to be the higher caste.

  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth (The Lord of the Rings), being the Trope Maker for high-fantasy elves in general, often superficially looks like a subversion of this, but it is really a case of an Unbuilt Trope. His Elves are immortal and ageless, tall, beautiful, musical, highly skilled, and physically far healthier and enduring than humans. Only two are specifically mentioned to have facial hair. They even get different afterlives: Rather than dying of old age, they sail to the Halls of Mandos, and as they remain tied to the world, they may later reincarnate back to world if they wish. In spite of all this, they can be as stupid, pig-headed or flawed as any human - often even more so. Half-Human Hybrids are extremely rare, but do exist. Their various communities codified the Wood Elves / High Elves distinction. Although their kind includes Dark Elves, it has nothing to do with being evil.
  • In Spinning Silver, the Staryk are a snow/ice elf variation who live in a snowy other realm connected to-yet-apart from the "sunlit" mortal lands. They function via Exact Words and Blue and Orange Morality like most Fair Folk-style elves, but they also cannot leave their kingdom except in winter, and even then only their King and other high nobility can. They also melt when they're injured, have an aversion to heat, and can be healed with magic ice.
  • Alterien: The Alteriens are similar to elves in appearance. In addition, they have many abilities that could be perceived as magic. They can, for example, fly, teleport, time travel, manipulate energy and see possible futures.
  • Artemis Fowl: Elves, one of the main families of fairies, are pure Space Elf even though they live underground, as they carry plasma rifles and their wings are nuclear-powered. There are fat ones, sweaty ones, ones with skin problems (on those pointy ears, no less), a lot of foul mouthed ones and facial hair. The trope is still played pretty straight in that Elves (as well as all the other Fairy races) see themselves as better than humans.
  • Book of Imaginary Beings has them as the strictly fairytale kind. Elves, or alps, are tiny, mischievous beings and rarely seen by people, and cause a great deal of mischief. They steal cattle and children, lie on sleepers' breasts to cause troubled dreams, tie hair into knots and shoot tiny iron arrows that vanish into the skin without a trace and cause sudden painful stitches.
  • Dragaera has the Dragaerans. They stand an average of seven feet tall and have lifespans exceeding 1,000 years. They have slender builds and do not grow facial hair. The race was created when the Jenoine combined human stock with various animals to create various strains, which organized into Houses of the Dragaeran Empire. Some of these strains have pointed ears, though not all. Interestingly, they refer to themselves as humans and practice Fantastic Racism towards actual humans, whom they refer to as "Easterners." In some areas, they're called "elfs" and call humans "dwarfs."
  • Glen Cook's Garrett, P.I. novels
    • Dark elves don't live underground, are nihilists rather than spider fanatics, and dress like they just walked out of the medieval edition of GQ. Morley Dotes, the protagonist's sort-of-friend, fits the half-elf trope minus the low self-esteem, as he's half dark elf and has inherited several levels of badass from his elven side (multiclassing in Chick Magnet).
    • High elves stick with their image, including being bigoted against their own half-elven offspring. Seldom seen in the novels, they're a bunch of uptight snobs, albeit more middle-class than "noble".
  • Kristen Britain's Green Rider series has the Elt or Eletians, elves in all but name. They're incredibly arrogant and very conscious of how much innate magic they have compared to humans. On occasion, though, the human characters will call them on it—and on how unhelpful they can be when the fate of the world is at stake. The trope is also subverted when the villain of the first book is an Eletian gone bad.
  • In Loyal Enemies, the elves of Ash Grove are pointy-eared humanoids who can interbreed with humans. They're usually slimmer-built, stronger, more agile and longer-lived than humans and are absolutely convinced of their superiority over other races — a sentiment that said other races don't really share, calling the elves derogatively "the pointy-eared ones". Those living in Ash Grove utilize some kind of nature magic centered around an artefact known as the Staff of Fertility to make their city look like it grew naturally.
  • On the humorous side of things, Esther Friesner's Majyk By Accident series has the Welfies, which are kind of a cross between elf and fairy and are snooty enough for both. In Welfie society, males are tall and willowy with the long blond hair and the pointy ears but are expert archers and rangers. How they hide in the woods wearing sequin-encrusted pink leotards is anybody's guess. Welfie warriors (a male-only occupation) are the only tribesmen allowed to eat meat besides the elders. Welfie elders communicate only psionically. All Welfies can change their size and do so as a matter of fashion. When they're small, they live in mushrooms and housing shortages are created when tall Welfies are a la mode. Female Welfies are expected to remain subservient and "foot it fleetly upon the merry greensward, ho" whilst gathering flowers and moonbeams and generally being all pretty and stuff. Some of them resent this.
  • The Tiste of the Malazan Book of the Fallen are basically elves minus the pointy ears. As a general rule, they are taller than humans, more slender, more beautiful, long-lived and can look back on an ancient civilization. They are also a massive deconstruction, alien to the realm of the Malazan Empire and perceived as such. Also, neither Tiste people is known for any kind of crafts or archery. There are, however, half-bloods where they have interbred with humans. The particular types are:
    • Tiste Andii, the Children of Darkness, or Drow Expies. Black-skinned and white-, black- or red-haired, the Andii are a clear case of Dark Is Not Evil. If not for Anomander Rake finding causes for them to fight for, they would also probably all die of ennui, as their long lives have made them apathetic to everything. Ironically, their main group — Anomander Rake's followers — live in a floating castle, Moon's Spawn, while the remnants of Silchas Ruin's followers, the Andii of Bluerose, do live in an Underground City, but have interbred with humans so much there are only a handful of pure Andii left.
    • The Tiste Edur, the Children of Shadow, or Wood Elves. Ruthless isolationists living in forest villages in a cold northern climate and following a rigid hierarchy, having mostly forgotten their history after the disappearance of their leader, Father Shadow. They think they are better than everyone else, but are seen as barbaric by others and looked down upon by both the Andii and the Liosan. Grey-skinned and brown- or red-haired.
    • The Tiste Liosan, the Children of Light, or High Elves. That's what they think they are, but anyone who has ever encountered one agrees that Light Is Not Good and one Can't Argue with Elves. They are the most isolationist of the three Tiste peoples, living in their own realm and looking down their noses at everyone else. They are also, despite their posturing, the least effective in combat. White-skinned and silver- or gold-haired.
  • In Nine Goblins, elves are tremendous snobs. Sings To Trees, who's a less glamorous version of a wood elf (he's a friend to all living things, even the ugly ones), doesn't have much truck with the general superior attitude though, finding it hypocritical.
  • This trope gets played to its logical conclusion in A Practical Guide To Evil: The elves of Golden Bloom are technically aligned with the side of Good to such an absurd degree that they consider basically all non-heroes to be evil scum and are so xenophobic and isolationist that any human who comes close to their kingdom in the Golden Bloom is killed without warning. They are nevertheless undeniably better, with a small unit of elven troops reportedly able to slaughter battalions of conventional troops with no casualties.
    • The greater whole of the elvish race also goes against the usual trope. Rather than a small, isolated society they control a massive continent-spanning empire where interbreeding with other races is common. The Elves of the Golden Bloom used to be a part of this empire but they either left or were kicked out for being xenophobic.
  • The elves in the Riftwar saga by Raymond Feist were originally a single race, kept as slaves by the ancient Dragon Lords. When the Dragon Lords vanished, they split into four groups. The Eledhel descended from the outdoor slaves, and became fairly typical Wood Elves, complete with a Tree Top Town. The house slaves, who worked more closely with their masters, became the Moredhel, surface-dwelling Dark Elves who spend much of their time fighting each other or the other inhabitants of the world. The Eldar, who specialized in skilled or scholarly work, withdrew from the world and became High Elves. A fourth group, the Glamredhel, were driven mad by the disappearance of the Dragon Lords; the final break between the Eledhel and Moredhel came when the latter waged a war of extermination against the Glamredhel. A small group of surviving Glamredhel are found later on in the story, in a Hidden Elf Village.
  • The inhabitants of Stormhold in Neil Gaiman's Stardust, who come across as essentially amoral humans with pointed ears — particularly the male rulers, who wear the hat of being a bunch of Evil Princes.
  • Jacqueline Carey's duet of novels, The Sundering, is effectively LotR from the Big Bad's point of view. The elves aren't called elves (the name used is Ellylon) but they are in all but name. It's downplayed in that yes, the Ellyl are ageless, pretty, magical, and the favorite children of the lead Valar-expy. They are so perfect that humans have waged war on them out of envy for their gifts. They are also smug, self-righteous Knight Templars who are perfectly willing to genocide other races if they think it is their creator's will and will never admit to being wrong.
  • Elves in Kim Harrison's Urban Fantasy The Hollows novels are a large departure from the usual depiction. They look much like humans (though some crop their ears to blend in) and only live a couple of centuries as opposed to the typical near immortality. They are a little faster and stronger than humans, and while they can use magic, this is not unique to their race nor are they any better at it than any other. However, some practice what is called "wild magic," which comes from gods and is unpredictable but powerful. They pass as 'old money' humans to blend into society and maintain the remnants of feudalism. In fact, they have a lot of human blood thanks to interbreeding to try to stave off extinction due to genetic damage that causes a high infant mortality rate. They lack the connection to nature most other types of elves have, but in an interesting example of Post-Modern Magik, they are heavily invested in illegal genetic engineering technology, as they seek to repair their genome.
  • Tanya Huff's Confederation of Valor series has the Taykans, who at least physically are Space Elves (except for their technicolor hair)... but instead of being arrogant or building crystal spires, they're a race of Ethical Sluts.
  • Mercedes Lackey's SERRAted Edge series features classic versions of High Elves (tall, pointed ears, magical, immortal) who incidentally drive race cars. They must have needed a little extra badass.
  • The Obsidian Trilogy: The Elves in Mercedes Lackey's and James Mallory's series have a lifespan on average of a thousand years, which has allowed them to develop an acute eye for detail and perfect various crafts. It's also allowed them to develop a rigid form of etiquette that humans often find infuriating (a key taboo is asking questions in any form, save in times of war).
    • Lampshaded when the main character begins to get snarky about mentioning their perfection. Also, the elves don't have much magic, since they traded it for "peace and long lives".
  • The Halfblood Chronicles series by Mercedes Lackey and Andre Norton features a race of elves that are Tolkien's elves put under the badass ray. Newcomers to this world? Yep. They fled there through a portal from a magical civil war in their own world. Stronger than humans? Yep. The first thing these refugees did was to conquer the nearby human kingdoms, set themselves up as all-powerful overlords, and mindwipe all humans until they believed they'd always been slaves. Arrogant? Yep. They hate each other as much as any other race and fight one another, mostly over power. And fading from the world? Double yep. Since they're so hateful, it's hard for an elven lord to find a bride he approves of, and they're slowly breeding themselves out of existence. Despite their innate magical powers, and humans' lack of same (except for the ones with telepathy), their Half-Human Hybrids have magic twice as powerful as the elves' and telepathy.
  • Lynn Flewelling's Nightrunner series has the Aurënfaie. For all practical purposes they are elves in terms of having very long lifespans, innate aptitude for magic and an isolationist homeland. However, other than being a race of Bishōnen, they are indistinguishable from humans unless one is familiar with them. Also, rather than having a single monolithic culture, within their (fairly large) homeland they are divided into clans with very different cultural sub-groups. This is lampshaded by the Aurënfaie protagonist Seregil when another character finally figures out (based on overheard conversations) what Seregil is and is surprised.
    Seregil: You seemed to think we were all great mages or nectar-sipping fairie folk.
  • The Takisians of George R. R. Martin's Wild Cards are short, long-lived, pretty, flamboyant, posturing, smug, and have "magic" in the form of Psychic Powers and Organic Technology. Their warships even look like colorful seashells. Space Elves in all but name.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • This concept is deconstructed with the Targaryens. They are what would happen if (relatively) normal people acted like brash, arrogant High Elves.
    • Also present are the Children of the Forest, who, while certainly quite different in appearance (they're only slightly larger than children, have catlike eyes and skin patterned like deers' coats, and their hands have four fingers tipped with black claws), otherwise fit neatly into the Wood Elf mold.
    • Although in the show they're more akin to zombies, in the books the White Walkers are closer to the High Elves; mysterious mystical light-skinned creatures with long white hair. Their females can even seduce men.
  • The Melniboneans of Michael Moorcock's Elric of Melnibone saga are a mix of High Elf, Dark Elf, Decadent Empire on the Wane, and The Fair Folk, although they do bear more obvious similarities to several societies' deities — intentionally.
    • The trope is zigzagged a good deal more with the other sub-series in the Champion Eternal Cycle, with different branches/versions of the Eldren in other dimensions (including the Vadhagh, Corum's people, who are classic High Elves) shown mostly according to this trope, while still having a strong hint of The Fair Folk to them.
  • The Iftin of Andre Norton's Janus series are both Space Elves — they are (or rather, were) the original native intelligent species of the planet Janus — and Wood Elves. They were wiped out long before the arrival of human colonists, but set traps to create changelings so that their race would continue. Messing with any of the traps causes the person handling it to fall ill with the Green Sick, after which one is physically Iftin — green-skinned, pointy-eared, and bald — and carries some memories of an original Ift person, generally those memories geared toward survival skills, such as recognizing edible plants. The Janus novels play the trope straight — the traps cause the victims to become xenophobic toward their former kind; they theorize that this was at least partly intended to keep them from trying to resume their former lives.
  • Inheritance Cycle's elves are vegetarian, atheist, and possess superhuman physical strength and speed that allows them to best the most well-trained humans. They are every bit as arrogant and elitist as expected, view humans as too corruptible to be trusted with power and the dwarves as misguided zealots who, because they believe in gods, must surely be idiots who ignore all reason and logic. They are also masters of deception, and while they never actually lie, they are known for never revealing the whole truth, or saying something but meaning something different. Eragon briefly adopts their vegetarian lifestyle, but relents on it in the next book, and rejects their notions of atheism altogether. In the third book, a being that may have been one of the dwarf gods appears, implying that the elves may be entirely wrong about this. They also consider humans primitive and brutish, while they rely on innate (read: primitively instinctual) magic to beat the humans' siege engines, crossbows, and superior forging (the elf weapons are only "better" because they are imbued with spells and such.)
  • In John Ringo's Council Wars series, the Elves are both Better and different. They are a race genetically engineered as Super Soldiers in a long-ago war — ageless, superhuman in all physical characteristics, and made to look like hot pointy-eared chicks because, well, they could. They are protected by genetic copyright laws which say that no human can have their powers and appearance, and only Elves are allowed to live in Alfheim. (Ironically, Alfeim has become an overcrowded housing project because all elves crave the honor of living there, and since they don't die, the population just goes up and up. Or so our semi-reliable source says).
    • There are two variants of Elves. Most of the elves were made in North America and are tall, elegant and dignified and basically fill the High Elf role. Bast is quite a bit shorter, has a wicked sense of humor and was a prototype made in Japan and is basically a Wood Elf. Or as she puts it, she's a cheap Japanese knockoff.
  • John Ringo also made the Legacy of the Aldenata, which features the Darhel (Space Elves). Know well for their aversion of Can't Argue with Elves, by Aversion we mean genocide. (They started it!)
  • The elves featured in Andrzej Sapkowski's The Witcher series subvert many of these traits (which is made of postmodern subversion, so it would be strange if they didn't). They are long-lived, grow no facial hair, and constantly belittle humans, but they're not that better, and one can argue with them. They like to be In Tune With Nature, but having been driven by humans to barren highlands (the humans came from across the sea and did to elves what barbarians done to Rome), they had to learn human farming techniques to support their populace. They are actually Aen Sidhe — there are also Aen Elle, who have slipped into another plane at the time of Conjunction (let's call it a cosmic event many many years ago) and retained their sophisticated culture by slaughtering local humans. Now they play The Fair Folk and kidnap humans from Aen Sidhe' plane to make them their slaves.
  • Deliciously parodied in The Harvard Lampoon's Bored of the Rings, where wood elves are tacky low-lives who run tourist traps, and high elves are effectively white trash with delusions of grandeur.
  • The Dragonlance novels give us Tanis (half-elf, reject), as well as the Qualinesti (High Elves) and Silvanesti (Grey Elves), the latter of whom are arrogant and xenophobic enough to be a deconstruction of the trope (especially after their refusal to seek help from the other races, and the Qualinesti, causes their country to become magically entrapped in a horrific nightmare-made-real). Later books also introduce the Kagonesti (Wood Elves as Noble Savages). There is also Dalamaar the Dark Elf (which in Dragonlance, isn't a race so much as individual elves being exiled from the elven nations), who's just as arrogant and haughty as the other elves, but also evil.
    • Possibly a subversion, since the Elves in Dragonlance are widely regarded as dicks. However, the gods of the Good Pantheon never called the elves on their shit.
    • The Silvanesti are extremely stratified, isolationist High Elves. The Qualinesti are (slightly) more open in both senses but they are fully as civilized as the Silvanesti so they probably fall under High Elf too, just less extreme. Also for all their supposed 'betterness' the Elves sure seem to the collective Butt-Monkey of the Dragonlance setting: Qualinesti was invaded twice inside thirty years, occupied for forty years and then destroyed by a green dragon. Silvanesti was turned into a nightmare realm by a (different) green dragon, was 'protected' by a magical shield that turned out to be sucking out the liveforces of all the Elves and was then invaded and colonised by the minotaurs. Currently both Elven kingdoms are in exile led (in a satisfying bit of irony) by the part human son of the despised Tanis.
    • The Sea Elves who lived in the ruins of Istar — they combine all the sueness of normal elves with merfolk! And they can turn into dolphins, too. Sueness all around.
  • Played with in the Tomb of Horrors adventure novelization (an old D&D adventure known for frequent fatalities), where a former paladin and his partner, an elf swordsman, are contracted to help plunder the tomb. A magically-sealed door requires the sacrifice of a magic ring to open the door, and the elf passes over one that keeps the wearer comfortable in all temperatures, in lieu of someone sacrificing something more useful. The ex-paladin goes into a hilarious rant about how he'd thought all along that the elf would never sweat in the heat nor shiver in the cold because it was just another way elves are "so much better" than humans, and couldn't believe his misconception was all due to a simple trinket like that.
  • Pointed out as it would be on this wiki in The Tough Guide to Fantasyland.
  • The Elves of James Clemens' The Banned and the Banished fit most closely into the High Elf motif. But they live in a flying city supported by the Air based magic of all the people. They fly to war in similarly supported flying ships. The captains of which must be strongly magically talented to provide the lift.
  • The Bordertown books have a different type of elf — most onscreen are punked-out and rock-music-loving. However, they are all tall, slender, and silver-haired and -eyed, they are unashamedly magical, and as a race they seem to have a permanent case of incredible arrogance.
  • The Deed of Paksenarrion (a compilation of "Sheepfarmer's Daughter", "Divided Allegiance" and "Oath Of Gold") by Elizabeth Moon has elves which follow almost every piece of this trope, including dark elves.
  • The elves in Black Dogs actually consider themselves to be better, whether or not this is true, and act snooty and xenophobic as a result.
  • Subverted in Monster Hunter International, at least with the elves that live in the backcountry United States. The elves live in the Enchanted Forest, a trailer park in rural Mississippi where they stay because the government pays them to not cause any trouble with the humans, and Queen Ilrondelia fits every white trash stereotype to a sickening degree. They do have a strong innate knowledge of magic and they're one of Harbinger's biggest go-tos when dealing with strange otherworldly phenomenon, but their personality tends to grate pretty quickly. On the other hand, later books off-handedly mention that the elves who live in Europe fit the standard High Elf stereotypes more, though it's also mentioned Tolkien might have exaggerated a little about them. They're both still pretty damn high-and-mighty about themselves, however.
  • S.M. Stirling's Martians from In the Court of the Crimson Kings have everything but the pointy ears. Mostly hairless with organic technology and arrogant dismissal of humans.
  • Averted in Harry Potter: While elves have very powerful magic they are a Slave Race to wizards and are perfectly happy with this. These elves rather more closely fit the description of brownies or some of the earlier legends of kobolds, though; they're called elves, but they're not really elves as this particular trope page describes them.
  • Quantum Gravity: Elves' ears reach the tips of their heads—though they do not stick out at any notable angle. They are either immortal, or close enough to it that humans haven't noticed. They can be controlled by their True Names in any realm, and any creature can be controlled by his/her True Name there, though elves are still the most vulnerable. By human standards, everyone is a spy, at least to some extent. The pale hair/skin/eyes holds true except for shadow elves who are particularly dark at night.
  • John Varley's Gaea Trilogy doesn't have elves, but it does have Titanides, a race of alien ''centaurs'' that fit nearly every aspect of this trope, except the immortality (but they breed very fast to compensate) and long history. As the Titanides were created by Gaea to be a Mary Sue race, and Gaea is addicted to human entertainment media, it's likely that she incorporated elements of this trope into them on purpose, especially the artistry and technicolor hair.
  • The Elves of the Shannara series used to be magical and long-lived, but now have human lifespans and are no more likely to have magic or know how to use their ancestors' stuff than anyone else. As a culture they do retain a lifestyle based on respect for the Earth, which makes them the moral center of the Four Lands in some ways, but individuals range from nice to treacherous and from sensible to foolish.
  • M.A. Foster's "ler" series (The Gameplayers Of Zan in particular) shows what happens when humans try to genetically engineer elves that are better (starting from themselves) but, being that this is their first go at creating a human descendant species, they get elves that are different instead.
  • The elves of R.A. Salvatore's Demonwars saga craft weapons of incredible power, make magic items vastly beyond the ken of other races (a healing bandanna kept a centaur alive after he was crushed in a cave-in, and appear to be the only Good race to possess souls (this is implied to be false.)
  • Subverted in Will Power by A. J. Hartley. The Fair Folk turn out to have stolen all the best parts of their culture from the goblins.
  • The Marat from the Codex Alera are graceful, white-haired humanoids who are mildly telepathic and live in harmony with nature- not strictly wood-elves, but they fill the same basic niche. It's worth noting, though, that while they're presented as being morally superior to the human Alerans in some ways (notably, the Alerans keep slaves, which the Marat find abhorrent), in others they can be a remarkably savage people (cannibalism is fairly common). At the end of the day, they're not really better or worse than humans, just different.
    • Not to hear Kitai tell it. To hear her, the Alerans are foolish, blind, deaf, crass, and damnit, she wanted a horse. She's probably just ribbing Tavi, since she has little respect for anything and a marked tendency towards teasing her friends, while her father Doroga is usually respectful of Aleran ways when dealing with Alerans (though he'll show where his daughter gets the snark if he thinks something really stupid is going on).
  • In Chris Evans' Iron Elves trilogy there are the elves of The Long Watch who bond at birth with trees called Siver Oaks, some to the point where they become functionally insane and eventually lapse into catatonia. Then there are Iron Elves, who are born with black ear tips, cannot bond with trees but, unlike the elves of the Long Watch can use iron. Originally such elves were left exposed to die, where they were scooped up and recruited by the Black Monarch. There are also the Elfkynan who live on the other side of the Cahlaran Empire, look like Long Watch elves and, except for the tree bonding act like them but neither they nor the Long Watch consider them elves.
  • Robin Hobb's Elderling combine this with Lizard Folk. They're tall, slender and beautiful and before catastrophe struck lived in a civilization of Crystal Spires and Togas, but they also have scales and claws. This comes from their having been created from humans as a servant race by dragons.
  • The elves of James Barclay's Chronicles Of The Raven and Elves series come in several different flavours, but special mention must go to the Tai Gethen, an elite order of religious warriors who protect the jungles of Calaius from intruders (even though most people die within days of entering anyway). They will hunt you down like prey, only to kick your teeth through the back of your head with one foot, crush your throat with the other, and then spin around in mid air and stab you in the eye just for good measure.
  • In The Sovereign Stone trilogy, most Elves would have you believe this is the case.
    • However, most prominent Elves are either complete asshats or outright evil. As a race Elves are airy, beautiful, exceptionally polite and gracefully tall. On the other hand, their obsessive dedication to honor, politeness and tradition just serves to hide (and encourage) the incredibly vitriolic relationships between different houses, and between the Divine (spiritual leader of the race) and the Shield of the Divine (military leader) and associated houses, with the end result being that have the entire elven nation is constantly on the verge of an all out civil war.
    • Thankfully averted with Damra and Griffith (and Silwyth to a lesser extent), who are all quite nice, if somewhat aloof.
  • In Wen Spencer's Tinker, they are all beautiful — and snobs. Their society is based on a combination of Magitek and Organic Technology.
  • In Terry Pratchett and Steven Baxter's The Long Earth "elf" is the designation Lobsang gives to several subspecies apparently evolved from chimpanzees. They are slender and lightly furred, with faces (depending on which subspecies) of varying degrees of mixed features of human and chimp. One is apparently entirely bestial, another of about Neolithic level of technology, the third has the most human features and a larger braincase, despite which they are actually the least intelligent subset and are sometimes bred and used by the other elves as cattle. All can travel between the alternate Earths that make up the Long Earth and are the source of stories both of elves and more recently of The Greys.
  • Trapped on Draconica: They're called 'shadori', and have purple skin but still have the pointed ears. The most prominent example is Taurok, a soldier with greater nobility than most of the human cast and greater sword skill than anyone. Despite all this, his human subordinates think they're better than he and don't want to be lead by him.
  • Light and Dark: The Awakening of the Mage Knight: Downplayed. The elves aren't arrogant and don't look down on others, but if a human asks how they heard something or recovered so fast the elf will be quick to respond that their hearing is better and their bodies respond better to magical healing.
  • Stuart Miller in Painted In Blood: Understanding Europeans gives a description of Europe that looks rather like this trope. His reaction to it, naturally, depended on which Europeans he met at a given time; some people caused him to say Screw You, Elves!.
  • Elantrisans were, before their fall to a mysterious disease, tall, slender, beautiful and literally radiant with a monopoly on magic and lived in a city of Crystal Spires and Togas.
    • Though this is explicitly because they are regular humans who've been enhanced by some very complex magic. In fact, humans are periodically transformed into new Elantrians, and this is implied to be the main source of Elantris' inhabitants.
  • In Rebecca Lickiss' Eccentric Circles, Aelvirum is careful to point out that he's an elf, not a fairy. He explains that his current condition stems from J. R. R. Tolkien Rewriting Reality.
  • The Sithi and their cousins the Norns from the Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series are pretty archetypical elves, despite that term never being used for them. They're virtually immortalnote , powerfully magicalnote  and not overly fond of mortalsnote . They're also very alien by human standards, which seems like a combination of vast cultural differences, their long lives giving them an eerily long-term perspective, and the fact that most humans are pretty terrible at reading Sithi body language. The Sithi are a mix of High Elf and Wood Elf traits, and are generally benevolent, if isolationist; the Norns are arctic Dark Elves and extremely nasty customers — while the Sithi aren't exactly fond of humanity, the Norns think the only good human is a dead human.
  • A couple of M.C.A. Hogarth's series deconstruct elves:
    • The Eldritch of the Paradox universe don't have pointy ears, but they are very tall and thin, can live for over a thousand years, and have Psychic Powers. They're also dying out from a combination of a low birth rate a side effect of the genetic engineering that caused their longevity, they're really a Lost Colony of humans, medieval medical technology that kills many of them in childhood, and inbreeding. They are allied with the highly advanced Alliance but most of the noble Houses are too xenophobic to accept their help.
    • Elves in The Blood Ladders Trilogy are immortal not only in the sense of never aging, but they also have a Healing Factor that means most Duels to the Death among them involve chopping each other up and burning the pieces. They're also inherently magical but as they get older more and more of their magic gets tied up in maintaining their immortality, with few exceptions such as the King and Prince. And the human kingdoms drove them out centuries ago because they have a habit of enslaving humans and draining magic from them so they all live on one hidden island ruled by a bunch of petty feudal lords who are constantly warring with each other.
  • Elves in Wind and Sparks cycle combine most listed traits of High Elves and Wood Elves. Arrogant, magical, warlike, in tune with nature, closed to outsiders. Yet "better" part is averted or subverted at every opportunity.
    • Their kingdom is old, but it cannot be very old, the world was created mere thousands years ago and there are still some creatures that witnessed the process. Yet it's old enough to become a Vestigial Empire with every House plotting against others. Del'be (their king) sees the advantages of peace with humans, but the clans of professional executioners living far from the battle zone wouldn't have it.
    • Despite centuries of decline (central theme of the cycle) human magic is still superior to elvish magic. Perhaps the decline hits them just as hard.
    • They consider bows a weapon unbecoming to men. Only women are allowed to use them, which means shorter range and lighter arrows. Crossbows are OK, but their rate of fire is much lower. When humans ally with Winged Humanoids who fling javelins from high above, elves can't do anything.
    • They seem to be the ones attuned to nature like nobody else. At one point an elf demonstrates a superhuman ability to "listen" to the forest sensing events miles away. Then a Badass Normal human beats him at his own game.
    • They are being ravaged by human diseases (another Magical Native American trait), but are too arrogant to use human medical knowledge.
    • They are A Nazi by Any Other Name, but despite their claims aren't even Wicked Cultured. Not anymore at least. The coup attempt we get to see is poorly thought-out and executed. Their talent for inventive torture is an Informed Ability, they seem to only go for quantity.
    • Their ancient architecture is nice. But they don't seem to build anything new.
    • It's hinted that their conflict with human-dominated Empire started when a magic war made half the world uninhabitable, and refugees started encroaching on their lands. Since then they've been gradually losing lands.
  • The Aes Sidhe from the Mick Oberon series are basically High Elves, although in their real forms they're not overly tall, and Mick isn't that good looking. Other than that, though, he's stronger, tougher, longer-lived, more perceptive, more magical, and more pretty much everything else than humans, and never lets you forget it, either.
  • The Death Gate Cycle has several variations:
    • The Tribus elves of Arianus are essentially Dark Elves — a corrupt and decadent empire ruled by cutthroat politics and sinister magic, who rule tyrannically over the dwarves and used to do the same over the humans before the latter rebelled. However, they weren't always like this, and Prince Rees'ahn is an elf who leads a rebellion against the current regime in the hope of restoring the earlier ideals.
    • The Equilan elves of Pryan are the most human-like, being essentially Victorian English with long lifespans, pointy ears and magic, complete with the condescendingly racist attitudes towards every other culture and nation.
    • The Elmas elves of Chelestra are more of a benign version of The Fair Folk. They can be very, very odd, and most humans and dwarves have little understanding of (or patience with) their culture, but they are deeply devoted to peace and harmony and are explicitly stated to have found a level of wisdom that their cousins on the other worlds did not.
    • In an inversion of how this trope is usually played, the elves (whose magic is mostly suited to making Magitek and enchanted objects) are generally less attuned to the natural world than the humans (who instead tend towards elemental and mental magic) are: it's a great irritation for the Tribus elves that they cannot replicate the magic humans use to tame and ride dragons, while the humans of Pryan are better farmers than the Equilan elves, who have yet to master basic crop rotation and are dependent on food imports from human lands.
    • However, the race that picks up most of the "ancient, magical, arrogant and self-righteous" High Elf stereotypes aren't elves at all; this particular elven niche is filled by the human-derived Sartan, who look down on elves just as much as they do humans and dwarves.
  • Justin Gustainis' Occult Crimes Investigation Unit series: elves are dumb, lazy and short, but the fairies play this trope straight. They are an extremely beautiful race that can teleport at will to Fairyland and can fly with their butterfly wings.
  • Second Apocalypse: the Nonmen are the setting's elf-equivalent. They were present in Earwe long before humans arrived. They are impossibly beautiful, but also creepy, with utterly hairless bodies, flawless white skin, faces like porcelain dolls, and teeth that are fused together. They were cursed with immortality and a gendercide, so only adult males are left, and many of them have gone insane due to The Fog of Ages. In spite of or because of all that, individuals can be arrogant, unhinged and extraordinarily powerful.
  • The elves of The Spiderwick Chronicles draw much from of their characteristics from Victorian and Medieval fairy lore. They are long-lived, capricious, and spend their days idling and partying under their fairy mound homes. In the first series of books, the elves have Arthur Spiderwick living with them, but his time among them means he has not aged even by a day.
  • In The Elven Ways series by Jenna Rhodes, the Vaelinar (the elves of the series) are largely of the High Elf variety. The Vaelinar are members of two opposing armies of an alien race that arrived on the world of Kerith, after being hit with a magical weapon known as "The Hammer of War". These alien elves have all the physical characteristics of the High Elf sort (though they appear to be physically stronger than humans) and many possess innate magical talents. The elves have carved a prominent place in the world for several reasons — they have a monopoly on magic when the gods of Kerith removed it from the native races, they were more advanced technologically, and due to the alienness of their nature — the elves can use summon magic to coerce the gods of Kerith (something the gods of their old world were almost immune to). The only reasons they haven't conquered Kerith is their small infertile population and their desire to return their original dimension. Elven superiority goes up a notch in the final 2 books, it turns out that the Elven gods are all previously mortal elves who were powerful enough to achieve apotheosis and are more than a match for any Kerith god. This leads to a race against time to prevent an invasion by the Elves of the original Vaelinar homeworld.
  • Malediction Trilogy has faerie, who are shapeshifters, meaning they can appear perfectly beautiful or extremely horrifying, depending on their whim. They use powerful magic, are basically immortal and can travel through worlds and dimensions. They can be harmed only by iron and their only weakness is gold. And the pure faerie look at their tainted cousins (trolls trapped in human world) with contempt.
  • In The Traitor Son Cycle, the Irks are immortal shapeshifters, capable of switching between beautiful "party face" and more orc-like, horrifying "war-face". Many of them are capable of powerful magic.
  • Rogues of the Republic: Nature-loving Magitek cyborgs who might have been human once. They were a servant race of the ancients and helped maintain their machines, but now that the ancients are gone and their technology is not properly maintained, the elves try to stay away from it because the malfunctioning energy has odd effects on the crystals implanted in their bodies.
  • Sword Art Online: The nine races of Alfheim Online are essentially many flavors of elves (the name even means "Elf Home"). Plays with the superior race thing, since Alfhiem Online IS a VR Game and everyone is, in the end, just a bunch of gamers. However, there is still a lot of racial tension due to the game set least, until the rebooted version after the events of the Fairy Dance arc, which makes it practically disappear since the differences are now just essentially gaming style. See here for a quick breakdown of the different races and links to further info.
  • Averted in Everybody Loves Large Chests. The elves have an inferior military both in number and quality. Due to ability of individuals to Rank Up into a higher species, lifespans are fairly similar across the board at the lowest tiers for a sentient species.
  • My Vampire Older Sister and Zombie Little Sister has dark elves, which are a blend of the Norse dark elves and the elves from English folklore. The "better" part of this trope is subverted, as they aren't all that different from humans. Aside from a longer lifespan, their only other advantages are some minor supernatural abilities (though these can still be very effective in a fight). They can interbreed with humans to produce part-elven offspring.
  • So thoroughly averted in Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard that Magnus lampshades it multiple times. For the most part, the elves of Alfheim are very unimpressive. They're mortal, not at all graceful or particularly beautiful (Some of them are so weird looking that they're the In-Universe inspiration behind The Greys), aren't in tune with nature at all, and haven't been able to use magic for centuries. They're also every bit as prejudiced and intolerant as humans, if not more so as they can't stand things that aren't "perfect". This has made life hell for Hearthstone, who having been born deaf was seen as imperfect by his parents, which marked him as The Un-Favourite. Despite not being any better than the other races in the series, they still think they're naturally superior to everyone else for some reason, something Magnus, Hearthstone, and pretty much everyone else in the nine worlds thinks is a load of crap.
  • The wood elves from Forest of Boland Light Railway are known as Cowsies, and help the gnomes drive the goblins out of the forest. In gratitude the elves get to ride the train for free.
  • Averted in Lynn Abbey's Jerlayne, elves are nothing more than a hybrid of human and goblin (goblins look like a traditional Dark Elf, so it's easy for them to get game). They were deliberately birthed by the goblin queen to be labour (and occasionally live-stock). Elves are encouraged by their goblin masters to breed so the local ecosystem can get something to fill a niche (an elf mating with an elf leads to random creatures). Elves go into our world to scavenge junk and occasionally mate with humans (elves can only be consistently born when an elf mates with a human who has some elven ancestry), lately elves going to Earth are getting killed by muggers. As well an Elf's immortality is only a side-effect of living in another dimension, a human living there gets the same effect.
  • The alfär in The Laundry Files are advanced alternate-universe hominid descendents of gracile australopithecines, who are depicted as a cross between The Fair Folk and modern-fantasy "dark elves". Compared to humans, their evolutionary past is as more solitary hunters, leading them to have a viciously Might Makes Right society in which everybody is bound to their superiors by terrifyingly powerful geasa. They are naturally better at magic than humans, but as a result never developed beyond Middle Ages technology. They invade Earth after their homeworld suffers a magical apocalypse.
  • Inverted in Wicked. Melena gets offended when her nanny asks if her mysteriously green skinned daughter is the result of a fling with an elf. The local tree elves are incredibly dimwitted and laugh at everything, even one of their friends falling to their death from a tree.
  • The Aelfir in Edward Cox's The Relic Guild series are a bit different than most depictions of elves. They lack many of the usual elven advantages including the longevity and, outside of being typically better at magic and having pointy ears, larger eyes and triangular faces, the Aelfir are much like humans (they have the same lifespan, there are fat and large Aelfir, etc.) What makes the Aelfir superior to humans in the series is that they don't have the usual Elf disadvantages either. In the series' background, there are one million humans but scattered through 100 dimensional kingdoms - there are billions of Aelfir. Barring a few kingdoms that stick to the old ways, Aelfir also don't suffer from Medieval Stasis, and keep advancing their Magitek through laboratories and scientific research - humans actually pay top dollar to steal Aelfir trinkets. To top it off, humanity is stuck being the gate keepers to a giant labyrinth which is both a Land of One City and a Cosmic Keystone, the place has no capacity for agriculture and for the past forty years humanity only survives because of weekly food donations from an unknown Aelfir House.
  • Chronicles of the Emerged World:
    • The true elves are nowhere to be seen in the saga itself but ruled the Emerged World in the past, until the humans and gnomes came and took over. The elves left for unknown lands, and have not been seen by the people of the Emerged World since. Little is known about them as a result, but they are commonly believed to have been a perfect people and beloved by the gods, and that they ruled the Emerged World in an era of unity and peace.
    • The humans and elves, in the time during which they shared the Emerged World, mingled to create a new species, the half-elves. Little is known about them either, as the Tyrant killed nearly all of them, except that they had pointy ears, blue hair and purple eyes, that they were skilled astronomers, and that they ruled the Land of Days before the Tyrant's time.
  • In Trash of the Count's Family, Elves live in isolated villages that are usually hidden with illusion magic from most of humanity. Elves use magic by bonding with elementals, which are nature spirits. They also keep a branch of the World Tree in each village. They're noted to be extremely beautiful, magical, in tune with nature, and mostly peaceful. However, they're also tend to be incredibly frustrating, haughty, and uncooperative with anyone who isn't an elf. Dark Elves also exist, but because they exist with the darkness attribute and have to consume Dead Mana to stay alive they're ostracized and ended up even more hidden.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Minbari in Babylon 5 can be considered Space Elves. They're mysterious, long-lived, highly spiritual, physically superior, much more technologically advanced, all while having space ships that are so pretty they look like tropical fish. True, they have bones on their heads rather than pointy ears, but still. Culturewise, the Minbari are a very prominent example of a better-than-thou elder race. Minbari do not kill Minbari (except when they ditch that rule in the Minbari Civil War), Minbari do not lie (except to save another's honour or when it's really convenient), Minbari are led by noble and ancient tradition ( which almost led to massive genocide and permanently ravaging the future of the galaxy because they couldn't figure out how to stop), and their religion is ancient and wise and has a deeper understanding of the universe than any other lesser race is capable of (and was established by an Earthman in a Minbari suit — a Jesuit-trained Catholic, yet).
    • Delenn, the main representative of the Minbari on the show, also comments at one point that they do not pry into the affairs of others and are "told exactly what we need to know, and no more", just before being informed that a tabloid-like "Eye On Minbari" isn't accessible for her customized newspaper. At Sheridan's raised eyebrow, she comments that it is "sometimes good to know what your people are saying about my people. And I sometimes learn things about my own world before I am told what I need to know, and no more."
    • Minbari also have a couple of disadvantages compared to humans; high temperatures that humans would merely find incredibly uncomfortable will rapidly kill them (the Minbari homeworld is much colder than Earth).
      • Also, consuming alcohol will cause, as Lennier explains, "psychotic impulses and violent homicidal rages" (at which point Londo snatches away his drink before he can take a sip).
      • In whole, the Minbari seem something of a Deconstruction of the trope at times, showing themselves capable of extreme hypocrisy, and willingness to endanger the future of the galactic civilizations for their skewed sense of honour. The benign and sensible Minbari protagonists actually appear to be atypical members of their species. Moreover, the Minbari obsession with tradition and ceremony is regularly played for laughs during Sheridan and Delenn's courtship.
  • Vulcans in Star Trek are also rather elf-y. Pointy ears, long-lived, super strong, spiritual, and mildly telepathic, with names that make liberal use of the Pūnct'uatìon Sh'akër. The whole stoic persona is a bit unelfy, but their vegetarianism does make them pretty green. (Or perhaps that's just the copper-based blood. Which might be symbolic color-wise.)
    • In Star Trek: Enterprise, Vulcan stoicism is leavened with enough Arrogant Superiority to deposit them firmly in this trope.
    • In the 2009 film the Vulcans are on the edge of extinction. And many of them are plenty disdainful of humans.
    • In The Original Series, Vulcans have plenty of posturing and arrogance to go around; enough that Spock, while rationalizing it quite a bit, seems to very much not like that aspect of it. Also, Spock knows how to construct a bow.
    • In The Next Generation, a "Vulcanoid" people in a "Bronze Age" level of development have embraced rationality (though not to the exclusion of emotion, it seems) and, to an extent, pacifism. They also use bows and arrows.
    • In Voyager, Tuvok is revealed to have been a professor in archery science at one point. So yeah, Vulcans really do have the whole archery part of elfin-ness down.
    • On the half-elf front, we have Mr. Spock (half-Vulcan, embraced Vulcan side), who had nothing but disdain for human weaknesses like "emotion".
      • Spock also fulfills the "half-human means half-suck" rule. Vulcans are actually far more emotionally volatile than humans, and require their discipline and adherence to logic to control themselves. Logically, a human/Vulcan hybrid would experience emotions more strongly than a pure human, but less than a full Vulcan. So, being raised under Vulcan discipline and adherence to logic, as Spock enthusiastically did (choosing his "elf" side), Spock should have been LESS emotional and more logical and controlled than any pure Vulcan, ever. But no; Elves Are Better.
      • On the half-elf front we also have a character in the novels, T'Ryssa Chen, who embraced her human side so much that she got told she was working too hard at acting non-Vulcan. She also likes pretending to be an Elf rather than a Vulcan.
      • Word of God is that the author based her on an old D&D character of his. File this under "Things You Should Not Ever Do In Professional Work (and if you do, never admit to it)".
    • And the Romulans are dark elves.
    • The occasionally mentioned Rigelians are a Vulcan-like species who, according to Expanded Universe sources are a clan-based, low-technology, agrarian society, who don't suppress their emotions, but aren't aggressive or militant either. They are essentially the Wood Elves to the Vulcan's High and the Romulans Dark.
    • The movies got into this with the Ba'ku in Star Trek: Insurrection, who live an idyllic pastoral existence on a planet where the local conditions give them incredible lifespans. Ageless, smug people who live in incredibly clean medieval villages and keep talking down to the humans? All they really need is the ears. By analogy, this makes the Son'a dark elves, although instead of the "sexy evil elf" model, they're decaying husks who have aged incredibly poorly.
  • Doctor Who: The Time Lords are high elves with time machines and their ears filed down: an ancient civilization of arrogant, practically immortal, telepathic people with superhuman intelligence, agility, and senses, as well as a profound love of ritual. They are, however, generally hated. The Doctor himself has, at best, disdain, and at worse, hatred for his people in general. "Daleks, Cybermen... they're still in the nursery compared to us! Ten million years of absolute power... that's what it takes to become really corrupt!"
  • The elves on Charmed (1998) are usually short, have pointed ears, and can use magic. The sisters often talk to an elf nanny.
  • The Children of the Forest are basically the Wood Elves version in Game of Thrones. They are a race of short forest-dwellers with magical powers who have been slowly pushed out of Westeros by humans. Bran encounters one in "The Children."
  • LazyTown's Sportacus was a traditional Icelandic elf named Íþróttaálfurinn ("The Sports Elf") in the original Latibær plays. In addition to being amazingly fit and agile, he also had magical powers. To make the character more universal, he was changed into a superhero for the TV series. Although it hasn't been confirmed, it's possible he is still an elf in the TV series. His ears are always covered, he leads a very hidden life and it would certainly explain why he is able to perform such amazing feats in every episode. It's worth mentioning that he's still an elf in the TV Series dub in Iceland.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place's elves are loved by everyone, just like babies, puppies and pizza.
  • On The Outpost, the Blackbloods have the requisite pointy ears (though Talon mutilated hers as a child to avoid being as easily noticed after her village was slaughtered), have black blood, are stronger than humans, and can survive injuries that would kill a regular person.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Norse Mythology is where it all started.
    • They were more magically gifted, long lived/immortal, and very beautiful. The dwarves, in Norse the dvergar, were a subrace of elves, and commonly called svartálfar or dökkálfar (black/dark elves), who aren't believed to have been a separate race from dwarves. They even mated with humans to create Half-Human Hybrids. There were some things which didn't make it into modern times: they could also phase through walls, they lived on their own plane called Álfheimr, and they had facial hair.
    • In earlier Norse myths, the Dvergar were entirely separate from the Álfar, having sprung from Ymir's flesh as maggots. The idea they were a subset of elves was made fairly recently as far as the myths go, when Christianity was already taking hold in Scandinavia.
    • The Elves were also minor gods who held power over the lands they inhabited. Humans would hold Álfablót, where they would sacrifice animals, and sometimes slaves to the local elves for the sake of good crops. It was also possible for humans to become elves after death, like King Olaf Geirstad-Elf, and so Elves could be ancestor spirits that look after a people or household.
    • Interestingly, their early depictions were less negative than usual for The Fair Folk, being seen as largely morally ambivalent. As society Christianized, they were seen in an increasingly negative light, up to the point that they were demons in all but name.
  • Germanic Mythology has a bit of a different take
    • While the German tribes occupying present day Germany were arguably Norse, they had their own spin on the elfs (and are probably the originators of the name). The most important part of which was the fact that they had seemingly two types of elfs: the Alben and the Alpe. Both names originated for the Latin albus meaning white but they were quite different being.
    • The alp was an incubus in the traditional sense (incubo meaning "to lie upon"). While most other Norse tribes had the Mare, an always female incubus that is the source of the words for nightmare in multiple Germanic languages( nigh-mare in English, chauce-mar in French, mar-dröm in Swedish) the Germans had a few more words and creatures that caused nightmares. One of these creatures was the always male, Alp from which the German Alp-traum and of course Alp-zopf originate.(alpzoft meaning alp/elflock)
    • Beyond the Apl though the Germans also had the Alb. The Alben/Elben were deceivers and more similar to hidden/fae folk around Europe than to the Scandinavian Norse elfs. One thing of note about Alben is their king Alberich. Alberich means king of the elves and in Germany was the king of all fairies. Outside Germany the name changed to Auberon for the Franks, and Oberon when the English borrowed it. Probably the most important and relevant thing to note about him was the fact that he was a dwarf.
    • While the Scandinavian alfar were minor deities of normal stature whose ranks humans could join after death, the Germanic Alben/Elben seem to be more traditional fairies of a lesser more diminutive stature. Similar to how Alberich became the kings of the fairies by the middle ages, so too the continental Alben probably assimilated with other smaller fairies resulting in two opposing views of what an elf was. One, the tall, god like Norse elfe. The other, the diminutive, dwarf like elf that "birthed" the Christmas elves of the 19th century.
  • Celtic Mythology:
    • According to one older theory, the Precursors of Celts in Britain and Ireland were flanderized as The Fair Folk in Celtic mythology, who lived underground and were stewards of nature. (Something extremely similar happened to aboriginal cultures in Africa and elsewhere and their treatment in folktales after they got invaded, BTW.) Celtic ideas eventually cross-pollinated with the Nordic version; it could be that all of them were prehistoric references to earlier Neanderthal, aboriginal, or Basque inhabitants that had been killed off. Some people have other theories about Elves...
    • The above is less widely regarded than it used to be, however. Celtic faerie traditions match closely with other stories from around the world, so while there may be elements of the supposedly conquered precursors, there is definitely an animist tradition at work, as well. It helps that the Celts weren't the only culture that thought of The Fair Folk as chthonic: compare modern Icelandic beliefs about elves inhabiting rock formations, the Oreads and Lampades of Hellenic belief, and the South American Native tales of underworld spirits, amongst many, many other traditions.
  • The nymphs of Classical Mythology. Despite being flanderized into benevolent Horny Devils, in actual mythology they were very similar to what we think of as wood elves.
  • The Finnish word for elf, haltia (used almost exclusively in literature, both indigenous and translated) is cognate to word haltija, meaning "proprietor" or "possessor". The original haltias of Finnish mythology were proprietary or patron spirits or creatures of various places, locations, or occupations. They were considered to be semi-corporeal, very much like what Tolkien's elves would become by "fading" if they stayed in the Middle-earth instead of escaping to the Undying Lands.

    The ancestor spirit association is also present with haltia. For long it was believed that the first person to set a fire in the stove of a newly built house would become its haltia after death, looking after and protecting its occupants. Later on these spirits became mixed with the Scandinavian tomte, and became invisible, gnome-like servants of the household with no history as deceased humans, similar to the house elfs of Anglo-Saxon lore.



    Tabletop Games 
  • The standard modern version of elves may not come directly from Lord of the Rings, but rather descend indirectly from it via Dungeons & Dragons. D&D unabashedly copied Tolkien's elves and their cultures: it has high elves, wood elves, dark elves, and half-elves, and inspired decades of fantasy writing. There is a slight subversion in that D&D's elves are a foot shorter than humans, except in the Forgotten Realms setting which loves this trope.
    • The basic rules for player character races in AD&D2 established that elves and humans could interbreed, but that the offspring of half-elves could themselves only be half-elves or humans — never "true" elves again, no matter how distant the human part of their ancestry might be.
    • If elves are arrogant, then drow (evil elves banished underground) are elves squared: They regard every other race with contempt, and use arranged breeding, eugenics and infanticide to weed out any drow that is "defective" or plain not handsome enough.
      • Interestingly, at one point this was not true. The elite Drow leaders were usually cruel and barbaric, but most Drow were semi-slaves tending towards Neutral. They could be quite helpful to the party who at that time were largely assumed to be good.
      • The drow of the Forgotten Realms are also rather different. There are in fact entire (albeit small) communities of non-evil drow, mostly due to the presence of Eilistraee (a goddess who strives for her people to embrace a better, non self-destructive life)
    • The number of elven subraces (including aquatic elves, winged elves, and star elves, to name a few — eleven different races at least) has grown over the years. However, in the 4th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons, the elven race is more generally divided into Elves (wood elves), Eladrin (high elf fairy folk), and Drow (dark elves), with the more specific subraces falling under one of those categories.
    • Pre-4th Edition D&D splits the high elf archetype into two separate subraces: The noble but friendly high elves, who have a bit of wood elf flavor as well, and the regal yet arrogant gray elves, who fit the trope to a T. Both names are taken from Tolkien, though their descriptions were switched around a bit. The wood elf archetype was also split into the wood elves proper (civilized but rustic, and stronger than the average human) and the wild elves (perilous savages).
    • The Elves in Eberron come in three cultures: the corporate ones, who are generally considered to be all-around backstabbing scum with a minor trade war going on between two of the houses; the arcane ones, who are ruled by the animated bodies of their dead ancestors; and the badass Proud Warrior Race Guy elves, who may not be ethically better than you, but will gladly split you in half with a double-bladed scimitar if you point this out.
      • Interestingly, half-elves have become an established minority who are more often born to two half-elf parents than a mixed-race couple. There are even half-elf noble families. This is partly due to an early attempt by shifty elves to capitalize on the short human lifespan by marrying aristocratic humans and outliving them to inherit their estates. At this point the two races were new to each other and the elves had no idea they could actually cross-breed with the humans. Embarrassed by their children, the elves mostly ran for it. But as these first generation half-elves were usually born as heirs to noble houses, they did not end up being socially-ostracized by humans (just the opposite). Then when the Dragonmark of Storm appeared among the half-elves it was taken as a sign that they were destined to be a "race" unto themselves. An interesting aversion in Eberron is that orcs are Closer to Earth than elves, having a strong tradition of druids who saved the world from an extraplanar invasion.
      • Eberron's half-elves often believe themselves to be better than both elves and humans, to the point where the Player's Guide to Eberron quotes an excerpt from a play that appears to entirely be about half-elves and urban elves engaging in ridiculously overstated Cultural Posturing:
        Cullaris: Tell me, what virtue do we not possess?
        Mahlla: Humility?
        Cullaris: Yes, perhaps.
      • While the Drow of Eberron are jungle-dwelling tribes that hate giants and are associated with scorpions instead of spiders, whether they're evil or neutral varies from tribe to tribe. Individual Drow can be of any alignment, since Eberron is built on explicitly disavowing the Always Chaotic Evil trope.
    • Spelljammer has Space Elves — the motley collection of elves hailing from every world with an elven population. Most of which became so obnoxiously haughty that next to these groundling elves began to look nice.
    • Elves in Mystara mostly fall under the Wood Elf variant, although they make a lot more use of magic, owing to the Basic/Expert/etc system having given all elves spellcasting ability. The dark elf trope is partially averted, in that the subterranean shadow elves aren't black-skinned or Always Chaotic Evil, and are actually pretty naive if you get to know them. Too bad they're pissed at the surface elves for not telling them that the planet had recovered from a nuclear war thousands of years ago, never mind how the surface elves had no idea the shadow elves were still down there. Several elven populations on Mystara are actually well-integrated with their non-elven neighbors, particularly in Graakhalia (elves and gnolls as buds!) and on the Savage Coast.
      • Under the Basic/Expert/etc. system, half-elves don't exist on Mystara. Human/elf pairs aren't very fertile, and their descendants are either humans or elves, depending on which parent is male and which is female. Oddly, Mystaran elves and ogres have proven genetically compatible, giving rise to a hybrid race called the N'djatwa from two once-warring civilizations. Physically, they get the best of both worlds, being large but attractive and highly intelligent. Culturally... they're basically a blend of the worst aspects, and thusly they're slavers who regard other races as both servants and fodder.
      • The "there are no human/elf half-elves" thing was retconned in Dragon #178, where the land of Eusdria is home to an ever-increasing population of half-elves. They were created through the divine meddling by the Immortals Fredar and Fredara (better known to other lands as Frey and Freya), who created them in an effort to promote and increase homogeneity in the land that worshipped them. These half-elves are mostly true-breeding—half-elf plus anything else has a 65% chance of a new half-elf child—and mechanically they work like humans who trade a -5% penalty to EXP for access to elvin infravision and having a Halfling lifespan.
    • Under the original Dungeons & Dragons rules, "Elf", "Dwarf" and "Halfling" races had significant class restrictions. Elves could choose once a day whether to be a fighter or a magic user, and were subject to the weapon and armor restrictions of whatever class they chose — elves who were in fighter mode could use any weapon, wear any armor and use any shield, but if they were in magic-user mode, they couldn't use any armor (unless it was magical armor, which human magic-users could not use) and were limited to the weapons of a magic user.
    • The Ravenloft setting has High Elves in Darkon and Sithicus. The latter are more snobbish than the former, having a country of their own; the fact that the Land of Mists has only existed for ~400 years, and Sithicus for a fraction of that, means that their claims of "ancient heritage" tend to fall flat.
    • Elven lifespan seems to have been shrinking monotonically with edition, from 900-1500 years (depending on variety) in the old days to 200-300 in 4e.
    • LeShay: They are described as being to elves what elves are to men. They are a race of epic, immortal superbeings with spell-like abilities and hit-dice up the wazoo, can make you their best friend just by looking at you (hard to resist gaze attack) and can summon twin +10 Keen Brilliant Energy Bastard Swords they can wield without penalty (for those not in the know, they have a very high chance of scoring a critical hit, can ignore most kinds of armor, have ridiculous to hit and damage bonuses, and you can't kill them and take them because they are made of the elves' personal energy). They supposedly survived the death of the last universe.
    • 4th edition D&D, as personified by its default Nentir Vale setting, seems to be trying to avert this with its Eladrin/Elf/Drow triad:
      • Eladrin are the root-stock from which elves and drow sprung, but they both diverged after a violent, centuries-long civil war that has left the eladrin a Vestigial Empire in the Feywild, huddling in heavily-fortified cities that are under near-constant siege. Not just by drow, but also by the formorians, a race of evil fey giants who are horrifically ugly, insane, incredibly smart, adept with magic and possessed of various kinds of Eye Beams. The setting emphasizes how much of their old homes the eladrin have lost, and how unlikely they are to get it back, especially with all of the fey monsters they have to battle on the side... like a species of hive-minded carnivorous beetles that specializes in eating eladrin alive, so it can wear their skin as a disguise to get more prey.
      • Elves, meanwhile, are deserters, cowards and run-aways from the civil war who fled to the mortal world instead, and have since degenerated, losing a notable amount of their fey powers — eladrin can teleport more or less at will, elves just run a little quicker than humans, and elves live a century less than eladrin do.
      • Drow, meanwhile, are... basically still drow. They're Always Chaotic Evil underground-living demon-worshiping backstabbing lunatics.
    • Played straight in the alternative class rules from the canon product D&D Cyclopedia (the compilation of the Basic, Expert, Companion and Master set). Normally in the Basic system era, Elves and other demi-humans as well as Mystics get hosed as they can only reach limited levels (in the Elf's case it's Level 10) while the other classes can go up to Level 36. This was to "balance" the demi-humans' and the Mystic's abilities (like the Elf's combining Fighter and Mage abilities at once). With the alternate rules — everyone can reach Level 36. The Elf has all the Fighter abilities (but their fighting skill is now equivalent to a Cleric's) and they have access to all the Mage spells, including the Level 9 ones like Wish.
    • When introduced in ''Planescape, eladrin weren't elves but instead Chaotic Good angels who look like elves, with a vaguely Celtic theme and each eladrin subspecies being able to shapeshift into an "energy form"—usually a living mass of fire, but the one aquatic species could become a dolphin-shaped mass of golden water and another species could become a whirling mass of snow and ice. 4th edition reinvented them as the most "human" of The Fair Folk, portraying them as the dominant civilized race of [[Arcadia the Feywild]]. In 5th edition, they were brought back with that same interpretation, although now redesigned so that they physically and mentally shift through a set of season-themed subraces.
    • In D&D 5th edition, the core elven subraces in the Player's Handbook are High Elf, Wood Elf and Dark Elf. A later sourcebook, Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, added the Aquatic Elf, the Eladrin, and the Shadar-kai (a cursed race of shadowy elves from the Hades-esque Shadowfell).
    • Arkadia, a 3rd party setting for D&D 5e, uses High, Wood and Dark Elves, but reinvents them for its Heroic Bronze Age Fantasy style. Scyllaean Elves, the high elf equivalents, are refugees from the setting's equivalent of Atlantis. Oreyan Elves are basically Bronze Age wood elves, but have an "Amazonian" culture, where women are the primary hunters and warriors. Finally, the dark elf analogs, the Nyssian Elves, have an Egyptian motif, living in buried cities concealed beneath stone pyramids in a cursed desert, practicing necromancy in homage to the undead titan they worship and being led by a cabal of lich-pharaohs. Seeing sunlight is the deepest taboo possible, and any Nyssian Elf who sees the light of day is forever after exiled from their former home.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Elves are much like their D&D counterparts, with the usual isolationist forest kingdom, long lives, largely Chaotic Good natures and detached attitudes from the rest of the world, with the added change of Monochromatic Eyes that are almost all iris/pupil. During Earthfall, they mostly avoided the devastation by fleeing to Castrovel, the setting's equivalent of the planet Venus. Those who stayed behind were forced underground and eventually became the drow. As it turns out, elves who become consumed by hatred and/or evil will turn into drow. Unlike the D&D kind, who worship Lolth almost exclusively, Pathfinder are demon-worshipers who do not tolerate the worship of true deities (meta-wise, this is due to Lolth being D&D copyright and thus not usable by Pathfinder).
    • A number of distinct elven ethnicities exist separately from the main elven culture, and largely descend from groups of elves who chose not to flee to Castrovel alongside the bulk of their civilization but who were not corrupted as the drow were. These include the highly reclusive Ilverani, also called the Snowcaster elves, whose ancestors sought refuge in the far north of the world; the aquatic elves who live in seclusion beneath the oceans; the elves of the Mordant Spire, who left and returned alongside the rest of their kind but cut themselves off in the eponymous fortress-tower soon after the elves' return and now guard ancient secrets; the elves of Jinin, descended from the same group that fled underground to become the drow but split off early on, traveled east to emerge in Tian Xia and eventually forged a Lawful civilization based on the traditions of the Samurai of Minkai; the dark-skinned Mualijae wild elves whose ancestors sought refuge from Earthfall in the jungles of the Mwangi Expanse and who are in the modern day split between the Alijae, Ekujae and Kallijae tribes; and the desert elves descended from wild elves who traveled north to settle Garund's deserts.
    • Some elves, for any of a number of reasons, end up being Raised by Humans (or by halflings or gnomes or whoever else) rather than among other elves. Due to the elves' long lifespans and slow growing cycles, these elves inevitably see several generations of their caretakers, friends, siblings and rivals grow, age and die before they even reach adulthood, often harming their ability to form meaningful connections later in life. They also end up having trouble connecting to the slow-paced, long-term views and lifestyles of other elves, preventing them from truly fitting in either world, and are often referred to as the Forlorn as a result.
    • Half-elves are also common, and can have different traits depending on which kind of elf they descend from. Most half-elves are half-human, but in Starfinder it's more common for them to be half-ryphorian (ryphorian being the main humanoid natives of Triaxus, another planet in Golarion and Castrovel's solar system). They mostly live within elven or human societies, but can breed true with one another and at least one town, the port of Erages in the elven homeland of Kyonin, is majority half-elf.
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Eldar are Elves In Space! to a "T", as the term Eldar was used by J. R. R. Tolkien to describe a subset of elves. Much like other denizens of the Warhammer 40K universe (Orks, the now-defunct Squats, Necron), they are based on counterparts from the Warhammer Fantasy universe. Heirs to one of the oldest civilizations in existence, their hedonism and magical power created a Chaos God that almost destroyed their civilization and has plague the galaxy since. They even have two cousin factions: the Dark Eldar (who are dark elves Recycled In Space with the dark aspect turned Up to Eleven) and the Exodites (who are more or less planetary wood elves who prefer isolation and pastoral environments).
    • The "better" part of the trope is, however, up for debate as the Eldar are genocidal pricks (read: just like everyone else in the setting) willing to instigate wars (from behind the scenes) in which billions of humans can die to save a few thousand Eldar. The Second and Third Armageddon Wars are a perfect example of this, an Eldar farseer engineered the rise of an Ork Warboss who went on to start the two wars which claimed billions of human and ork lives because he had foreseen that if he did not then ten thousand Eldar would die. He later looked back on the act and stated that it was completely worth it. The "up for debate" part, however, is because this isn't particularly out of the ordinary for any of the factions in 40k. Doubtless the Imperium of Man would do the exact same thing if the roles were reversed, to say nothing for the unquestionably more evil sides. Other Craftworlds have been rather more cooperative when confronting a greater threat, although they will not hesitate to act if they feel threatened in any way.
    • Though not so much better in the moral sense, Eldar physiology is generally superior to that of your average human. In keeping with stereotypical elfin attributes, Eldar are extremely nimble and have faster reflexes than almost anyone else; even Space Marines can barely keep up with most of them in reaction speeds, let alone trained Aspect Warriors. Whereas psykers are comparatively rare among other races, every single Eldar possesses some degree of psychic power and the race as a whole is host to some of the most powerful psykers in the galaxy. Even after Slaanesh started to steal their souls, they can still easily live for thousands of years without any signs of aging, though this is offset by a low birth rate that further exacerbates their constantly declining population. And then there's the fact that no matter how good you are at something, be you a musician or a warrior, a painter or a pilot, any Eldar from that path has likely done it for far longer than you, has practiced it more than you and will be better than you at it. Whether or not they could do anything else is another question entirely.
    • Biologically, however, the Eldar are still aliens and share little internal anatomy with humans. Their blood crystallizes instead of scabbing, their teeth are direct outgrowths of the jaw bones, they have a complex system of hollow fibers instead of marrow and their organs do not appear to have any clear analogues with those of humans, although they do seem to have free-floating lymph nodes.
    • In general, Craftworld Eldar don't act too much like standard fantasy elves. Rather than being loose and free-spirited, they live highly disciplined and regimented lifestyles as dictated by the path they have currently chosen. Not that this is without good reason, since we've seen what happens when they are loose and free-spirited.
    • While all the Craftworld Eldar are more or less analogous to high elves, each of the main Craftworlds embody different parts of the stereotype and often blow them out of proportion in the process. Biel-Tan for example, is the most heavily militarized and xenophobic while Ulthwe is full of psykers. Other major Craftworlds include Iyanden (once considered the greatest of all surviving Craftworlds, but is now in decline), Alaitoc (which produces a lot of the societal outcasts known as Rangers due to its higly regimented lifestyle) and finally, Saim-Hann (whose warriors ride around on jetbikes and settle matters of honour among themselves through non-lethal duels). While Exodites are in some respects similar to both Alaitoc and Saim-Hann, they are generally more analogous to stereotypical wood elves in that they choose to reject most forms of technology and live in harmony with the planet they settle on.
    • As for the Dark Eldar, they're a race that make drow look like saints — their home city of Comorragh is less Valinor and more Hellraiser. Practically everything they have is decorated in Spikes of Villainy and their only goal aside from survival is to screw around and make others suffer. Dark Eldar sustain their immortality through torturing as many people as possible.
    • The Fan Nickname for them is "elfdar." Just putting that out there. Apparently they haven't read their Silmarillion.
  • Warhammer has fairly standard High, Dark, and Wood Elves (there were also Sea Elves, but they were retconned into just being the High Elves' more nautically-oriented factions). The High Elf army book goes on and on about how the High Elves are the greatest wizards, warriors, etc. etc. etc. in the world. High Elves, Dark Elves and Wood Elves are also, strictly speaking, the names humans and dwarfs use for them — the elves refer to themselves as Asur, Druchii and Asrai, respectively. They also all look more or less the same — their distinctions are by and large purely cultural.
    • The High Elves of Ulthuan (Atlantis, essentially) are notable for the structure and tone of their military, which tends to focus a lot on combined arms. And also on really, really big swords and axes, which aren't usually considered classical Elf weapons, and on heavily armored cavalry. But then, they wield their six-foot-long two-handed swords gracefully. Also, instead of the usual stereotypical rangers, they instead have Shadow Warriors, which are Ninjas really (down to the outfits).
      • The High Elves also have an unusual focus on war beasts, including dragons ridden into battle by Elven lords, giant eagles, fiery and icy phoenixes and giant white lions that can pull chariots or be ridden into battle. There are also the White Lions of Chrace, a unit of axe-wielding elves wearing lion pelts that they got from hunting down one of these lions and killing it personally. Among other things, Warhammer elves should be commended for combining elven grace with being very badass.
      • They are however quite typical examples of this trope in terms of their immense haughtiness, arrogance and firm belief in their cultural, magical and ethical superiority over everybody else, and for a long, bitter enmity with the Dwarfs that could have been easily avoided (alongside a lot of bloodshed) had the two peoples been less arrogant and proud.
      • The High Elves of Avelorn, one of the ten realms of Ulthuan and ruled by the high priestess of the Elven mother goddess, blur the line between high elves and wood elves; while culturally High Elven, they're also forest-dwelling nature-lovers, on good terms with the forest spirits that share their forested realm and noted to be very close kin of the Wood Elves proper.
    • The Wood Elves are descended from High Elven colonists who declined their King's request to return to Ulthuan and instead bunkered down in The Lost Woods of Athel Loren, are quite different from the standard Elf; they can be very cruel and capricious and generally act more like The Fair Folk, especially their king Orion and his Wild Hunt. They're also allied with the Treemen who share their forests, and with giant, intelligent hawks and eagles that they ride into battle. They also tend to act as a moral and magical middle ground between their High and Dark cousins. There is a second population of wood elves, the Eonir of Laurelorn Forest within the borders of the Empire, likewise descended from recalcitrant colonists but otherwise largely separate. As Laurelorn is a fairly "normal" magical forest instead of Athel Loren's borderline spirit world, the Eonir are much less fey than their Asrai cousins and somewhat less isolationist, engaging in trade and diplomacy with the Empire and even allowing villages to be funded within parts of their land — albeit only after a strict vetting process, granted.
    • The Dark Elves are the descendents of a faction of Chaos-worshipping High Elves who rebelled against the rest of their kind after their ruler, Malekith, attempted to crown himself king after killing his predecessor (the fact that becoming the High Elven king requires the chief elven god's say-so, and that said god was very unimpressed with Malekith's power grab, is a big part of why this coup didn't work). They were exiled from Ulthuan and settled in Naggaroth, a frozen and monster-haunted waste located where North America would be, and established a cruel civilization focused on the worship of the elven gods of war and murder, death, hedonism and the savage hunt. They're bitter enemies with the High Elves, and the two groups are constantly at war. They're feared the world over as terrifying raiders, corsairs and slavers, and have velociraptor-mounted heavy cavalry.
    • In Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, elves have the highest ability score modifiers (two positive, no negative), a base movement of 5 (as fast as your average horse), their career list lacks many of the sucky human ones like the peasant, and if you want to be a wizard you don't have to pay tuition. Of course, these fat bonuses come at the cost of one massive drawback: you're an elf and you have to play like one, in a setting where everyone is extremely racist and hostile to them and will try to take an axe or a pitchfork or a torch to them. To give you an idea of just how hated elves are in this setting, a poor sap who got on the wrong side of a Loan Shark named Bruno Ballcrusher now lives in a cell with a child molester, a serial rapist and an elf... and talks about his predicament like being with the elf is the worst part.
    • In Warhammer: Age of Sigmar, the elves — or "aelves" — were originally absent from the mortal realms, as Slaanesh ate all their souls when the original setting was destroyed, and only returned when the deified elves Tyrion, Teclis and Malerion ambushed Slaanesh and took the elves' souls back. The rechristened aelves mostly live in Azyr and Hysh, the worlds of the heavens and of light, but three new races were created from elves whose souls had been damaged by their time spent digesting in Slaanesh's gut:
      • Morathi took some of these souls and reforged them into the Khinerai and Melusai, twisted elven women with, respectively, tails and batlike wings and the lower bodies of serpents.
      • The Idoneth Deepkin descend from elven souls taken in by Teclis, who had been tainted by their time inside Slaanesh and fled to the bottom of the seas to avoid Teclis' judgement. In addition to being a Darker and Edgier version of Sea Elves, most of their children are born without souls, requiring them to raid land-dwelling peoples to steal the souls of others in order to survive.
  • Mage Knight, a now-defunct miniatures game, has the standard Three as well, played fairly straight. The High Elves are a race of Knight Templars, the Wood Elves share power with a consortium of Centaurs and other woodland critters, and the Dark Elves are vampires-in-training lumped in with the "undead faction".
  • Shadowrun: Elves average a foot or more taller than humans, with a more-than-proportional corresponding increase in arrogance. They came into being around 2011 AD, when a noticeable percentage of human mothers began, apparently at random, to give birth to dwarf and elf babies. Dwarf/elf and either/human couples give birth to only dwarf, elf or human babies; no half-races exist. Elf/elf couples breed true so long as there's enough available magic; when magic dips, they give birth to apparently human children. Thousands of years later, when magic rises again, their otherwise-human descendants give birth to elf babies. There's also a random genetic quirk that can make an elf ageless rather than the normal two-hundred plus lifespan. By 2050 AD, a handful of conspiracy-loving Immortal Elves who survived since the previous cycle of magic have organized many of their born-since-magic-returned-in-2011 brethren into full-fledged not-so-Hidden Elf Nations. Generally speaking, the elves who live in normal human society know nothing about Immortal bloodlines or previous ages of magic and are frankly annoyed that the elf-centric countries exist, because it's fuel for Fantastic Racism.
    • But it gets subverted, as the Ancient Wise Immortal Elves are actually pretty useless. They have grotesquely strong magic ability, but their leadership is decidedly suspect: being a great statesman or economist wasn't what let them survive all those eons. Tir Tairngire (Oregon) and Tir na nOg (Ireland) are both unusually repressive (even for Shadowrun!), and economic disaster areas — kept running largely by property and laborers stolen from non-elves, run for the benefit of unusually selfish (even for Shadowrun!) feuding elf leaders. They like to espouse philosophical/mythical/historical stories which they know for a fact are blatantly false in an effort to degrade the status of non-elves. In addition, a few Immortal Elves have a tendency to wreck things, usually by assuming that "magical power" is the same as "knows how to use it properly".
    • As of Shadowrun 4th edition, Tir Tairngire's elven government has effectively collapsed, and been replaced by a coalition government where the greatest influences are a charismatic ork prince, the AAA megacorp Horizon, and the Great Dragon Hestaby... who are actually bidding fair to put Tir Tairngire back together where the elves failed. You couldn't design a worse Humiliation Conga for the Immortal Elves than this, given how they feel about orks, human-run megacorps, and especially dragons.
    • As with all other metatypes, a number of distinctive variants have emerged from the main elf stock as a result of genetic variance and secondary awakening events. These are the nocturnae, also called dark elves and self-referred to as Night Ones, a European strain marked by a mild sunlight allergy, a resulting nocturnal lifestyle and short fur that would be indistinguishable from skin if not for its blue, black and violet shades; dryads, shorter and Always Female elves with an allergy to pollution; wakyambi, rare and extremely tall African elves with dark skin and rounded ears; and xapiri thëpë, a reclusive tribal people from South America with photosynthetic patches of chlorophyll-rich skin.
  • Changeling: The Dreaming: The sidhe are the closest thing the setting has to elves. They're inherently beautiful, and are considered to bear the "divine right" of rule after returning to Earth in the late '60s. This is a bit of a sore spot for some commoner fae, who spent centuries trying to fight off the tide of Banality while most of the sidhe faffed about in Arcadia.
  • Changeling: The Lost: The Fairest are in many ways the spiritual successors to the sidhe.
  • Rifts' elves come in normal (i.e.: High), Space, and Jungle, which are Wood Elves ON HERBAL STEROIDS.
  • Dragon Dice features two types of elves — there are the Coral Elves, who are equivalent to High Elves living in flying coral ships, and the Lava Elves, who are equivalent to Dark Elves living in volcanic subterranean caverns.
  • The card game Warlord put a different spin on Elves. These elves are covered in fine scales, have horns growing above their eyebrows (which are sometimes mistaken for pointy ears if their hair covers them wrong), and live only 30 years unless they use necromancy to lengthen their lives.
  • Talislanta: Averted, as the complete absence of elves in the game-setting was actually used in advertisements to promote the game.
    • Some of the numerous races in that game do look kinda elvish...
    • Our Ariane Are More Mystical and Our Muses Are Flakier than your elves could ever hope to be.
    • Ariane, Mandalans, Mirin, Muses, Phantasians, and Thaecians can all easily be called Elves with the serial number filled off. Most of them are as beautiful, magical, and spiritually superior as the best examples of elvishness.
  • In Uresia: Grave of Heaven, the author stated that every elven community was in fact a separate subrace — so you did not only had High Elves, you had Mountain High Elves, City High Elves, Wood High Elves...
  • In Tormenta, a Brazilian D&D-setting turned standalone game, not only did the elves lose their nation, Len'rienn, in a war against goblin-kin, having refused an alliance with humans, but their goddess, Gl'rienn, lost a battle against the leader of the goblin-kin army, and then went mad in frustration, bringing to the world eldritch abominations in the name of vengeance, which in turn didn't work because they killed EVERYTHING and not just goblin-kin (and didn't even strike where the goblin army was, for what matters). Then, the Tormenta invaded her own divine realm, demoting her to a minor goddess. To make matters worse, she was so terrified that she accepted protection from the minotaur god of power, Tauron — a god that demands the weak to serve him. So the elven goddess is but a sex slave, and the elves have no nation, no goddess, no pride and no love from the setting's creators. Oh, and most half-elves were born from rape in the war.
  • GURPS Banestorm: The elves of the world of Yrth were evidently much better than humans at some point in their history; they're still a little more dexterous, smart, attractive, and magically talented (and physically weaker) than humans on average, and they can be extremely long-lived, but their once-impressive culture has declined to the point that most of them live in tiny villages far from major cities, In Harmony with Nature (of course), and they're pretty much a Dying Race. The oldest elves are all brilliant but seem to have no real ambition. In this setting, "dark elves" are an aggressively paranoid cult within elf society that wants to magically expel all non-elven life from Yrth; the titular Banestorm was the fault of a group of dark elf mages trying to banish all the orcs. They ''summoned'' humanity and a bunch of other races instead.
  • Greyhawk: Very deliberately subverted in an article dealing with the elves. The author, given that he hated both the Mary Sue depiction of elves and the vicious backlash against them which often depicts elves as the Butt-Monkey of any given setting, instead depicts the elves of Greyhawk as being truly gifted and exceptional in a variety of areas... but they've never managed to parlay these talents into widespread power or even unity. When it comes to magic and nature, elves are rightly known for their amazing skills... but they've always been extremely fractured and divided, due largely to infighting among the elven gods when they were first created, which prompted the newly born elven race to split into several factions.
  • Burning Wheel: The elves go back to their Tolkien roots, with the split between wood elves and high elves being primarily reflected in the Wilderlands vs Citadel/Etharch settings. It is not, however, that difficult to move between the settings — an elf born in the Wilderlands could easily grow up in the Citadel setting. On the whole, however, they are simply better than the other stocks (Men, Dwarves, Orcs). Their main drawback is an inability to use Sorcery, instead depending on a system of magical songs that represent their closeness to nature and the world as a whole. The game does avert most of the tropes associated with dark elves, who are described in the Paths of Spite supplement and are just like normal elves except the mystical Grief the normal elves suffer from has been transmuted to Spite.
  • Talisman: The Elf of the fantasy rpg-themed board game fits mostly in line with Wood Elves, due to the special bonuses they get in Woods and Forest tiles. The "better" aspect is highly questionable, as many fans consider the Elf's special abilities to be quite underwhelming in comparison to other characters.
  • Subverted in the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks. The book Titan, which functions as an background on the world most of the gamebooks are set in, indulges this trope when discussing the elves, but in practice it emerges more as an Informed Ability considering that most of the world's great heroes and wizards tend to be human, and most of the world-shaking events are orchestrated or thwarted by humans. Statistically, most elves are decent fighters, although certainly nothing that most human adventurers can't handle. A possible justification occurs when Titan mentions that the elves have been suffering a long, slow decline since the Götterdämmerung and Apocalypse Hows that have struck the world of Titan over the centuries. As a further subversion, while the flavor text in Titan treats the elves this way, most of the elves you actually meet in the gamebooks are generally pretty nice, if occasionally suspicious of human strangers who pass through their territory.
  • Traveller:
    • The Darrians are probably the closest thing the setting has to Space Elves.
    • The Zhodani are sometimes like this.
    • The Vilani had vague similarities to the Minbari of Babylon 5, having a three caste system a reverence for Good Old Ways and a shocking ruthlessness at times. However Vilani are far more mundane. Still at their First Contact with the Terrans they looked more than a little like this trope. Until the Terrans said Screw You, Elves! in the most direct way possible.
  • The Fair Folk of Exalted are closer to Cthulhu than anything else. They want to destroy Creation, feed on dreams and emotions, and don't really understand why everyone hates them so much. Otherwise, pointy ears, called The Fair Folk, and enjoy flighty natures makes them a perfect fit for this trope.
    • This trope's name is true of the Fair Folk, at least as compared to Muggles. It's enforced by actual game mechanics: every other character (including Exalted) start with a minimum of one dot in each Attribute, before character creation begins. Fair Folk nobles, however, start with a minimum of three dots in each Attribute, so even in their worst area of physical, mental, or social ability, they will be better than is average for humans. Plus, they receive enough dots during character creation that they will begin play with multiple Attribute ratings of six dots or more, which is both superhuman and better than even Exalted can start with. And just to rub it in, they have a special Charm, "Imposition of Law," which allows them to become so expert at any one skill that they receive an automatic success on every roll with it (which only fails to apply when they go up against another being with Charms or attempt to do something that is actually physically impossible). The Fair Folk are better than you. It's the rules.
  • RuneQuest elves aren't that much better than anyone else, but they're plants.
  • In the German tabletop RPG The Dark Eye the four main elf races are "Auelf" (meadow or floodplain elf), "Waldelf" (wood elf), "Steppenelf" (prairie elf) and "Firnelf" (ice elf). They all share a very nature bound behaviour and are naturally talented with magic — they're all fully able spellcasters on top of anything else they do. They're descended from beings that "stepped out of the Light", and all of them except for the wood elves are descendants of the old High Elven civilization that built great cities, but eventually broke apart so spectacularly that modern-day elves disdain the trappings of "civilization" (including, among much else, big cities, book-learning and the worship of gods) and instead try to live In Harmony with Nature.
  • In Chronopia the Elves are slender, haughty, and long lived, viewing themselves as the rightful rulers of the world, and have a history of slavery and backstabbing to get what they want. They segregated into four houses whose views and motives tend to vary. They are willing to ally with the other races against the Devout but without the Devout they would focus on making themselves powerful again.
  • Heavily inspired by D&D as it is, 13th Age has the High Elf/Wood Elf/Dark Elf triad, literally by those names, although all three are in theory tied to the same Icon — the Queen of the Elves. They used to be united, but broke after the war with the dwarves, and even though the Queen's three-part crown is intact the three kindreds are referred to as the "Three Shards of the Crown". Drow are considered a full playable race, although their racial power being called "Cruel" may be a bit of a turn-off in some cases.
  • Elves in Kings of War are divided into two groups, regular Elves (who have both High and Wood aspects, presumably for maximum compatibility with Warhammer models) and the evil Twilight Kin. Regular Elves have the Elite rule across the board, letting them reroll one attack (in first edition) or all 1's on the attack roll (in second); Twilight Kin have Vicious instead, which does the same thing but for damage rolls instead, meaning they're roughly equal, with Elite mainly being an advantage for war machines.
  • Scarred Lands second edition, for Pathfinder and D&D 5e, has a couple of differences from the D&D norm. The elves here are around the same height as humans, and they commonly practice tattooing, regardless of race. The common elven races on Ghelspad, the primary continent, are wood elves, who are close to standard, and the dark elves (or drendali), who avert the usual depiction by tending towards neutrality rather than evil, only being called "dark" because they live underground. Half-elves in Ghelspad are rare — they're playable, but they're not a core PC race.
  • Elves are a core race in Munchkin. They're roundly made fun of and made out to be sissy cowards, but that just puts them on an even level with every other race in the game. They have a bonus to running away from combat and are able to gain levels from assisting in other players' fights.
  • Crimson Blades is a Dark Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery game inspired by Michael Moorcock's Elric Saga. In the sample setting presented, the Crimson Lands, was controlled by a once powerful race of amoral sorcerers and slavers called the Dendrelyssi, until humanity fought back. Due to their miss-use of dark magic, the world is infested with strange monstrosities and phenomena, and the Dendrelyssi are slowly dying out from the magical corruption. The Dendrelyssi very much follow the Dark Elf archetype, with the main difference is their appearance is based on Elric of Melniboné. While their prowess with weapons and spells can be surpassed by human warriors and sorcerers, they can learn to use both, and are unequal in summoning demons, elementals and the undead. They are also the best healers and surgeons around, but "Fleshcrafter" are not known for their bedside manners.
  • The elves in Fellowship are known for being graceful, long-lived, and for standing out. Their core stat is Grace, and they can tap into innate magical powers called "elder arts" and can walk safely on precarious surfaces, or even run up sheer surfaces for short distances. The elf variants available include Faeries (small Winged Humanoids who can fly, and can briefly share the power of flight with others), Merfolk (who can breathe underwater, and can use their elder arts practically indefinitely as long as they're near a body of water), Star Elves (otherworldly beings from beyond the stars with high-tech "gizmos"), and Wood Elves (forest-dwelling elves who are great at travelling through woodlands stealthily).

    Video Games 
  • Age of Wonders has both the Wood and Dark Elf variants, both of which tend to have their share of attention over the series despite the existence of up to 13 other races (as of Shadow Magic). Wood Elves are good and like Light Magic, Dark Elves are evil and like Death magic. Go figure. The "High Elves" and "Space Elves" roles are filled by the High Men/Archons and Syrons, respectively. Perhaps.
    • In Age of Wonders 3, however, the Wood Elves and Dark Elves reunified and rechristened as High Elves, acquiring both of the races' traits. Meanwhile, the Archons disappeared and the dead begin rising as the Archon Revenants.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Subverted. Elves were enslaved by humanity and are now regarded as second-class citizens. They also lost their immortality (according to legend, just being around humans made them age).
    • Although the Dalish elves seem to combine the High and Wood elf types, both living in the forest and being rather proud of themselves as the only followers of (their patchwork version of) true elvish tradition. Whether or not they are an example or subversion is a matter of debate. While many of them act hostile and superior to outsiders, they are not portrayed as being morally superior or enlightened.
    • The backstory has elves very near to the Tolkien standard, with a large empire, powerful magic spread throughout the population, and near immortality. Then stuff happened. The Dalish remnants are given a homeland by Andraste after rebelling against the Tevinter Imperium... which is wiped out again when the Chantry orders an all-out holy war when the elves refused to convert from their own pantheon.
    • In The Masked Empire, Briala discovers that the ancient elven empire was just as corrupt as the present day human empires of Tevinter and Orlais. Only the elven nobility possessed immortality, and they treated lower class elves as slaves.
    • The Awful Truth revealed near the end of Dragon Age: Inquisition is that the elven empire was not destroyed by the Tevinter Imperium. It was destroyed by the elves themselves in a civil war. If anything, the enslavement of the survivors was simply opportunism.
      • And then the Trespasser DLC twists it even further: The waking world and the Fade used to be one and the same, and the empire of ancient Elves—called the Elvhen—ruled it all. However, their so-called "gods", the Evanuris, were actually just very powerful mages and leaders who bickered among themselves as much as they ruled over the Elvhen Empire with an iron fist (see the entry for Masked Empire above). The only one keeping them in check was Mythal, who was not only the most benevolent but arguably the most powerful of the Evanuris as well, and she would often use her stabilizing influence to keep things from getting out of hand. This all changed when Mythal was murdered by the others, and one of her closest friends, both to punish the Evanuris and to prevent them from destroying the world in their greed for power, sealed the Evanuris away in the Fade and separated it from the waking world. Since the Elvhen Empire was literally built both in the Fade and the Waking World, the separation of the two had disastrous consequences, and the empire subsequently crumbled, both literally and figuratively.
  • In the tablet game Oubliette, elves are the only race that has an unlimited life span. This is important because a character ages every time they rest and if they reach half their maximum life span, there's a chance that their stats may drop whenever they rest. The closer you are to your race's life-span limit, the bigger the chance of losing stat points. Because Oubliette runs on Vancian magic, a party is going to have to rest alot in order to keep up their spells and hitpoints. For Oubliette, it's not surprisingly to eventually form your party into an all elf party, as you slowly retire characters from other races and bring in elf replacements.
  • In Warcraft, the elven races have a long and convoluted lineage. According to Word of God, they originated from a specific tribe of trolls, evolved by the magic of the Well of Eternity into the first night elves. At their pinnacle, their civilization surpassed the widespread troll tribes through mastery of both arcane and natural magic, putting them square in the middle of High and Wood Elf archetypes. Then their queen desired even more power and tried to strike a bargain with demons, which was barely thwarted at the cost of a World Sundering. The survivors split into several factions:
    • The modern night elves, or kaldorei ("children of the stars"), largely gave up on arcane magic because of fear of yet another catastrophe and decided to live in harmony with nature and study druidism from the demigod Cenarius. Their Wood Elven tendencies were shown with their giant Treant allies and heavy reliance on animals. While supposedly humble, their confidence in their chosen path became a major source of arrogance of its own over time, not helped by their immortality. Their allegiance to nature makes them a bit aloof to worldly matters; also, many Night Elves are thousands of years old and, because of their extreme age and conservatism, tend to be perceived as "haughty" by other races, and many players. Their former leader Fandral Staghelm played the arrogance card actively, but once he was ousted from power, the race has certainly mellowed out a lot and became more integrated into the Alliance. Realizing that being around Alliance sorcerers caused little harm, they even accepted back their own exiled mages, and they've lost their immortality due to the destruction of the World Tree that provided it.
    • High elves (quel'dorei, "children of noble birth"), on the other hand, were aptly named. They descend from the ancient night elf upper classes who, after the Sundering, refused to let go of arcane practices and sailed to the eastern continent, where they founded a flourishing kingdom. Unfortunately, they became dependent on a source of magical power known as the Sunwell; it was eventually corrupted by the Scourge, causing them more casualties than any other race. While some still remained high elves, many of the survivors named themselves "blood elves" (sin'dorei, "children of blood"), declared a policy of ruthless pragmatism, and even aligned themselves with the Horde when their former Alliance allies failed to come to their aid. While a few true high elves still remain here and there, they've largely vanished as a major race.
    • The nightborne from the Legion expansion, or shal'dorei, are Dark Elves played straight: an extremely isolationist race descended from an old night elf population that shielded itself from the consequences of the Sundering in the magically protected city of Suramar. Much like Dungeons & Dragons drow, they are dark-skinned, mistrusting, and Stripperiffic. They also have a bond with spiders; some of them are transformed into spider-like creatures to augment their abilities. Much like High Elves, they are also dependent on their own magical source, the Nightwell, to the point that a civil war over the rights to access it broke out.
    • Void elves or ren'dorei ("children of the void"), introduced in the space between Legion and Battle for Azeroth, are another Dark Elven race. The first technical void elf seen in-game is Alleria Windrunner, who absorbed the power of a fallen naaru, giving her the ability to change into a form with white hair and star-patterned skin. The later, playable void elves are blood and high elves who studied the Void, which led to the former group being exiled from Silvermoon, and were nearly enslaved by ethereals, but their transformation was stopped halfway through and they became blue-skinned elves with shadowy, stylized energy "wings", slender tentacles in their hair, and newfound power from being Touched by Vorlons.
    • Felbloods, harpies, satyr and naga are elven derivatives mutated through exposure to wild, demonic or Old God magic. The Naga are admitted to be based off Drow, with their leader Azshara taking inspiration from Lolth, although the males no longer look the part.
    • The Wretched and Withered are high elves or nightborne denied access to their ambient sources of magic. They are frail and gangly, and more often than not tend to go irrevocably insane. Night elves, interestingly enough, seem to be largely immune to this kind of fate; then again, they seem to construct Moonwells wherever they go rather than relying on a single concentrated source of magical energy.
    • Also trolls (ancestors of the aforementioned elves) to some extent. They aren't particularly pretty, being gangly, rawboned and pointy-nosed, with tusks and blue or green skin. They also have three toes and three fingers, including the thumb. They also aren't particularly haughty and have a tribal culture. But they have the long ears and have been cast as the Horde counterparts to elves since Warcraft II.
    • It's been argued that World of Warcraft's revamp of the draenei count as "Space Elves", what with being a Proud Scholar Race from another world and all—but they don't physically fit the elf stereotype much. (They have pointy ears, true... but they also have tails, horns, and hooves. And while the females are certainly lithe, their brothers are built like bank vaults... and are permitted not only facial hair, but catfish whiskers.)
      • The same thing is true of the night elves. The males especially are built like four brick shithouses stacked together and have often quite bushy facial hair. The females are much more slender, but still quite muscular, like Olympic athletes. High elves have also been seen with beards, just not with as bushy ones.
      • If you compare night elf males with their human counterparts, you'll notice they're actually relatively slender. It's just that the men in practically every species in the game appear to be built out of barrels. Still, the overall effect does leave night elves rather resembling the local trolls in shape, which makes sense as they're related.
  • The Warlords strategy game series have three factions of Elves named: High Elves, Wood Elves and Dark Elves. The backstory of the setting explains that they all used to be High Elves, before a Prince named Mordaine dabbled in Demon Daemon Magic. When he brought his discoveries to his people, they were promptly rejected, despite him honestly just trying to help his people. As you probably can imagine, the whole thing escalated in a rather nasty civil war, ending with the Year of the Seven Fleets, a time when they simply built seven fleets and split up, forming new colonies around the world. Most of them still exist, but one of the Dark Elf ones blew up when the Horsemen of the Apocalypse entered the world. Presumably, dabbling in Daemon summoning really was a dumb idea. And if you read through that entire Info Dump, then go get yourself a Muffin, you've earned it.
  • The Protoss of StarCraft are an excellent example of Elves In Space!, with their height, slenderness, long lives, advanced technology, beautiful architecture, endless arrogance, dogmatic split (between High and Dark Templar, no less), declining society, and the fact that they (and Jim Raynor) are the only good guys. Although the really arrogant ones tend to be Knight Templar types who give a lot of grief to the extremely humble Jesus Tassadar.
  • Slash'EM Extended allows all elves to take on any role and alignment, which was impossible in NetHack. It also has an Elf role that can be paired with a non-Elven race, enabling human, orcish or even alien or insectoid elves. Pairing the Elf role with the Elf race will grant a big multishot bonus for bows, too.
  • In The Elder Scrolls, the elves are known as the races of Mer. All descend from a Precursor race known as the Aldmer (Old or First Elves) who are said to have come to Tamriel from the lost continent of Aldmeris. The Aldmer split apart into distinct sub-races during the earliest eras of Tamriellic history, typically over religious differences. All of the races of Mer are generally humanoid in shape and appearance, but all have traits outside the normal range for humans, including unusual skin tones, Pointy Ears, mildly elongated skulls, and angular facial features. Most are known to be Long-Lived in comparison to the races of Men, with average lifespans lasting several centuries and extreme examples lasting 1000 years or more (though most of these examples have used magic to extend their lives). They also have an Immortal Procreation Clause, typically producing fewer offspring than the races of Men, and it is implied that there is a maximum number of children that any Mer woman can bear, with few having more than three. Each race of Mer believes themselves to be a Superior Species to the other races of Mer, and ALL believe themselves to be superior to the races of Men, leading to much Cultural Posturing. Additionally, each race of Mer has traits, beliefs, and practices which come across as very alien to a human observer. Ranges from being played completely straight to Downplayed, but is extant within almost every race. Below is a summary of each race of Mer arranged alphabetically, and additional details can be found in the "Races of Mer" section on the The Elder Scrolls Races of Mer sub-page.
    • The Altmer, or High Elves, hail from the Summerset Isles in the southwest of Tamriel. They are tall with golden skin and lean frames, and are the primary descendants of the Aldmer, the first race of Mer. As such, determining when Aldmer history ended and where Altmer history began is nigh impossible. Though non-Altmer scholars are loathe to admit, the truth is that Tamriel owes much of its art, science, philosophy, language and religion to the Altmer, who are also the most magically-gifted of all races. However, they are often viewed as haughty and snobbish, looking down on the other races of Mer as "degenerates" and believing the races of Men to be even worse. For centuries, they led a mighty empire known as the Aldmeri Dominion. In the late 2nd Era, their empire was crushed in a Curb-Stomp Battle by Tiber Septim and the Numidium, forcing them to join an Empire of Men by conquest for the first time in history. During the reign of the Septim Empire, they quietly bode their time and rebuilt their shattered nation. When the Septim Dynasty ended as a result of the Oblivion Crisis, the Dominion rose once again, this time led by the Thalmor of the Aldmeri Dominion.
    • The Ayleids, or Wild Elves, of Cyrodiil were close relatives of the Altmer. The broke away from the Aedra-worshiping leadership of the Summerset Isles to found their own kingdom in which they could worship other entities, primarily the Daedra. This led their mighty nation down dark paths, which included the enslavement and vile torture of the Nedes, Precursors to most of the later races of Men. When these slaves rose up in the Alessian Revolt in the 1st Era, the Ayleid kingdom was devastated. A few Ayleid lords who sided with the revolting slaves were permitted to keep their lands, but about a century later, even they were decimated when a rabidly anti-elven religious doctrine took over the Alessian Empire. What few Ayleids remained mixed into the other races of Mer, while their cultural identity, relics, and writings were destroyed wherever they could be found. The Ayleids are now considered extinct as a unique race, although unconfirmed sightings in the remote wilderness areas of Tamriel continued to occur into the 3rd Era. Like the Altmer, they had tall but lean frames with elongated skulls and angular facial features. They had a grayish skin tone darker than that of the Altmer, but still much lighter than that of the Dunmer.
    • The Bosmer, or Wood Elves, of Valenwood are the shortest race in Tamriel and possess darker reddish/brown skin than their Altmeri cousins. They are nimble and quick as a race, making for excellent scouts, thieves, and hunters. The Bosmer are considered the finest archers in all Tamriel, with it even being said that they were inventors of the bow. Their ancestors rejected the formal traditions of Aldmeri culture, splitting off to live simple lives more in tune with nature. They struck an agreement with Y'ffre, the Forest God of Valenwood and the first et'Ada to transform into the Ehlnofey, known as the Green Pact; in exchange for Y'ffre's patronage, they have sworn never to harm any plantlife in Valenwood (though they can import timber from other regions of Tamriel when necessary), and must live on an almost exclusively carnivorous diet (with a few loopholes). They have been assimilated or subjugated by every incarnation of the Aldmeri Dominion, in which they are treated as second-class citizens (at best) to the Altmer. They are led by the "Silvenar," who is a literal representation of the Bosmer people. (Changing in both body and mind to match the current state of the Bosmeri people.)
    • The Dunmer, or Dark Elves, of Morrowind were originally the Chimer, close relatives of the Altmer with pale gold skin, but were led by the prophet Veloth to become the Velothi people and worship their ancestors and Daedra rather than the Divines. They were later unified under Nerevar to create the nation of Resdaynia and become known as the Resdayn people. Early in the First Era, their alliance with the Dwemer (originally formed to defeat the invading Nords) fell apart when the Chimer learned that the Dwemer had found the Heart of Lorkhan (the dead creator god) and were planning to tap into it's power. Seeing this as blasphemy toward their gods (the Daedra), the Chimer attacked the Dwemer stronghold at Red Mountain. Exactly what happened next is recounted differently by all those involved, but the Dwemer vanished, three of Nerevar's closest allies (as well as a former ally turned enemy) became demi-gods, Nerevar died, and the Chimer became ash-skinned with glowing red eyes, and Azura (one of the Daedra they worshiped) told them that it was their fault (or Vivec's fault). Thusly, they became the Dunmer people. Most rallied around the new demi-gods, the Tribunal (Vivec, Almalexia, and Sotha Sil). Several tribes clung to the old ways in the ashy barrens of Vvardenfell and became known as the Ashlanders. For 4000 years, this was the way of life for the Dunmer. When Tiber Septim came to conquer Morrowind, Vivec allowed Morrowind to become a Voluntary Vassal and traded to the Emperor the (Dwemer-crafted, Dunmer-seized) Numidium in exchange for special privileges (such as continuing to allow slavery). After the Oblivion Crisis, in a series of events known as the "Red Year", the Ministry of Truth crashed down and Red Mountain erupted. The Argonians, a former Slave Race of the Dunmer, then came to conquer what was left of South Morrowind. Now, the Dunmer people are scattered, with many of them settling in Solstheim and Skyrim. The Dunmer possess both strong physiques and keen intellects, which make them highly adaptable and equally skilled as warriors, sorcerers, or rogues, but Dunmer tend to be grim, aloof and disdainful of other races.
    • The Dwemer, "Dwarves" or Deep Elves, of all of North Tamriel, whose civilization ("Dwemereth") once spanned from Hammerfell across Skyrim to Morrowind, where the epicenter of their culture was built in and around Red Mountain. Unlike the other races of Mer, there is no known record of their disassociation with the Aldmer, which is believed to have happened in very early Tamriellic history. They were an industrious, highly intelligent, and extremely technologically advanced people, but were also known to be cruel, arrogant, and dogmatic. Contemporary accounts describe them as "unfathomable" and "unknowable", with truly alien belief systems unlike anyone else in Tamriel. While they mostly wanted to be left alone, they came into conflict with every other race that encountered them, usually over religious differences (the Dwemer were known to be extreme atheists, refuting that any known "divine" beings were truly "gods" worth worshiping). The entire race mysteriously vanished during the 1st Era, around the time of the Battle of Red Mountain. Only the ruins of their civilization remain, though these are still protected by deadly traps and mechanical guardians, making them very dangerous places to visit. Their male fashion also appears to have included glorious beards.
    • The Falmer, or Snow Elves, had a Merethic Era empire which spanned throughout Skyrim and Solstheim, and who once had a civilization rivaling that of the Altmer. Unlike the other races of Mer elsewhere in Tamriel, they lived peacefully along side the races of Men for at least several centuries. However, an event known as the "Night of Tears" saw them slaughter and burn the Atmoran/Nord city of Saarthal. In revenge, Ysgramor recruited an army of 500 Atmorans and invaded Skyrim, nearly driving the Falmer to extinction. The survivors were taken in by their Dwemeri cousins, who enslaved and mutated them into blind, debased, and feral creatures little better than Goblins who dwell underground. A small population of unmutated Snow Elves managed to survive at a remote chantry in Skyrim, but by the 4th Era, only one unmuted (or otherwise corrupted) Snow Elve yet lives. Physically, the pre-mutation Falmer resembled the Altmer, being tall with lean frames, angular facial features, and elongated skulls. However, they had pale white skin and hair. Following the mutation, the Falmer appear as hunched-over grayish-skinned humanoids without noses (instead having long nostril slits) and skin having grown over their blind eyes.
    • The Left-Handed Elves, or Sinistral Mer, were the Elven inhabitants of Yokuda, a continent far to the wast of Tamriel. They fought a devastating war against the Yokudans (ancestors of the Redguards) that rendered them extinct. Due to being Unpersoned by the Redguards, the only unique trait still known about them is that their entire race was left-handed.
    • The Maormer, or Sea Elves, hail from Pyandonea, a jungle continent to the south of Tamriel. Legend holds that they split off from the Aldmer before the Aldmer even left Aldmeris, with the Maormer banished from and forbidden to return to Aldmeris after they attempted a rebellion. There is said to be a literal veil of mist that they cannot penetrate surrounding their former home. They have blank eyes and chameleon-like skin, can tame sea serpents, and are lead by an undying wizard named Orgnum. Throughout the 1st and 2nd Eras, they raided the coastal towns of their ancient Arch-Enemy, the Altmer.
    • The Orsimer, Orcs or Pariah Elves, hail from the Wrothgarian and Dragontail mountains on the border of High Rock and Hammerfell. The first Orcs were created when the Daedric Prince Boethiah devoured and later excreted the Aldmeri spirit Trinimac. Trinimac's remains became the Daedric Prince Malacath, while his Aldmeri followers were transformed into the Orcs. Malacath is the central figure and patron deity in Orcish religion. Most outsiders see Orcs as savages; that their lives are short and filled with violence and misery. Several times, they've attempted to form their own city/state, Orsinium, literally "Orc Town". However, Orsinium has been razed and rebuilt several times — having been razed once again in the 4th Era — leaving many Orcs to eke out a living in destitute, dilapidated "strongholds" on the edges of society. They possess strong, muscular builds and green skin. They are known for their ferocity and courage in battle, as well as their skill as armorers and smiths (especially with the rare metal Orichalcum), making them some of the finest heavy infantry on all of Nirn.
  • Arcanum Of Steam Works And Magick Obscura features typically haughty Tolkienian Elves that are long-lived, good with magic, live in trees and consider all other races "lesser". However, facing the vast expansion in the power of the humans following their industrial revolution, they have either retreated into their treetop towns or integrated into Human urban society. Since they consider themselves the oldest race in the world, some are rather annoyed at fossil finds that suggest Humans evolved first and that the Elves branched off from them later due to the influence of magic.
    • Half-Elves are also a playable race. Unlike most depictions, they're basically liked and admired by everybody (except Half-Orcs) as they're seen as lacking typical elvish arrogance.
  • The Asari in Mass Effect are a combination of space elves, blue-skinned space babes, and a monogender species. Their space elven traits come through in their immense, millennium-long lifespans, their powerful mental and biotic abilities, and their military doctrine of using small highly trained commando units that utilize their natural physical agility and the aforementioned powers to overcome their lack of brute strength. It also helps that they're incredibly hotnote . They avert the arrogance associated with elves since their Hat is "Diplomatic".
    • Averted and subverted in one respect, as the Asari can mate and reproduce with any other species, though the pairing gives rise only to Asari. This is their preferred method of reproduction, as "inbreeding" leads to unpleasant side-effects, and is consequently stigmatized.
    • Mass Effect 3 revealed the Asari to have been a special project of the Protheans, who gifted them with biotics and left a beacon on their planet. Javik is somewhat appalled to learn that instead of using the knowledge to prepare to fight the Reapers, the Asari instead just used the technology to benefit themselves and refused to do the least bit of prep against the Cthulhu robots who were waiting to kill them all.
  • The Guado from Final Fantasy X fit the "Wood Elf" archetype fairly well. They tend to be agile and slender, possessing long limbs and claw-like fingers and styling their hair in a manner that resembles plants and roots. Their capital Guadosalam sits in an underground cavern beneath the Moonflow and contains an entrance to the Farplane, a place where the living can interact with the souls of the dead. Guado have a reputation for being arrogant but are usually generous and welcoming to guests.
  • Subverted rather hard in Final Fantasy XI. The Elvaan race certainly may look the part of a classic elf race, with long bodies and pointed ears, but the resemblance ends there. They have a martial society where all the men (and presumably most of the women) are expected to have combat skills. They have little skill in magic, shown both by a lack of spellcasters amongst NPCs (in fact, the magic store acts surprised to get customers) and by the fact that their MP and INT are lower than average although they have good MND... they are more devout to Altana than any other race, and the few mages they do have are usually White Mages or Red Mages. They have little appreciation for art, with the city designed prioritizing function over form (although the palace has a fairly perfunctory opulence). But one thing they maintain to a tee is the arrogance. They view the other races (and all foreigners regardless of race) with derision, tolerating them only because of the global threat of the beastmen. That hardly prevents them from espousing their xenophobic beliefs on people. If you're not from San d'Oria, NPCs will insult your player character, claiming they don't have what it takes to stand with the Elvaan, even if you're an Elvaan yourself.
    • The Elezen from Final Fantasy XIV play this a bit straighter. However, it's only the Duskwight Elezen (basically Dark Elves) who can use offensive magic effectively, and they were actually the original Elezen race, having lived under caves for hundreds of years. The Wildwood Elezen are generally not as xenophobic, having in fact integrated with the human equivalent, but they are racist towards Duskwight Elezen, seeing them as traitors who would not fight and eventually ally with the Hyur when the time came.
  • Final Fantasy XII, on the other hand, clearly took the basic idea of elves and hammered it into the Rule of Sexy mold as fiercely as possible: the Viera are a race of magical, nigh-immortal, all-female, dark-skinned blondes with bunny ears who wear lingerie all the time. The result is a race of Ms. Fanservices.
  • Subverted, sort of, in Dwarf Fortress, which is understandable given that it's from the point of view of the dwarves — elves are arrogant and can do some nasty damage with wooden weapons, but are otherwise shown more as annoying than otherworldly or superior.
    • With the release of the new version, though, DF's elves are now famous for outnumbering their enemies "83 to one", and still losing... To make things worse, they eat their enemies' corpses.
    • The elves' cannibalism combined with their tendency to kill for minor offenses such as chopping down a tree often leads to a vicious circle that results in the elves getting out of world generation in the middle of multi-century long wars with every race they've ever come across.
    • There have been reports of badass elves killing demons (demons are leaders of goblins) and eating their corpses!
    • A few mods feature elves with metal (normally bronze or even steel). Most often this means that you end with extremely small human/dwarf/goblin civs, with a couple of gigantic elven empires dominating everything.
    • There's also Cacame Apebalded, The Immortal Onslaught, Elven King of the Dwarves, who hates elves so much that not only do dwarves respect him, they crowned him king. And his title isn't for show, either.
  • The Suikoden series arguably subverts this trope, as their elves have the arrogant, condescending attitude turned up to eleven, but never really do anything to back up their claims of superiority. Indeed, most of the elven characters available for recruitment are rather sub-par in comparison to the human characters, and with the better ones there's no compelling reason to use them over another character. In Suikoden, this is shown in the storyline, as well, when the elves' arrogant assumption of superiority and refusal to accept outside help results in their getting wiped out by the Scarlet Moon forces.
    • Played with in Suikoden IV. The elves are Not So Different from the human natives of Na-Nal: both groups are self-absorbed Jerkasses convinced that they are the ones who 'own' the island while the others are just intruders. This eventually has horrific consequences: the elves manipulate the Kooluk occupying forces into slaughtering the humans while staying safe in their Hidden Elf Village. One elf helps the heroes stop the massacre, and is promptly exiled for her trouble, while the rest of her kind pull a Karma Houdini, in sharp contrast to the original game.
    • The series non-jerk elves are a rarity overall, but it's rarer to see jerk elves that has a name and is a Star of Destiny. To wit:
      • I & II: Kirkis has enough common sense to actually know that humans are just same as them, and eventually went to become what could be 'the first non-jackass elven leader'. Sylvina wasn't exactly flaunting the elves superiority, but still too scared to trust humans or other races. She eventually tried to trust humans for the sake of her love Kirkis, and she did. Stallion is a big braggart about his speed, but he's still willing to help others and rarely flaunts on how much better elves are (speed, on the other hand...). Rubi is an odd case, he was actually exiled from the above jackass elves because Even Jackassery Has Standards, but he still remains a standoffish asshole that bemeans the weak, until he joins and got better.
      • III: Roland just instantly joins humans on get-go and was a steadfast, loyal ally to Chris until the end. Nei was raised by humans (and is a Game-Breaker with the right setup). They're both possible couples.
      • IV: The IV example above is named Selma.
      • V: Isato is a decent, good hearted elf that serves Haswar loyally without prejudices. However, his fellow elf Urda is extremely xenophobic and hates humans like every other nameless jackass elves out there.
  • In Mother 3, the Magypsies are a group of immortals with powerful magic and the friendship of the beasts of the forest. They live away from human civilization, caring little for our brief lives, and are named for the 7 modular scales in musical theory. They look like hairy men in garish drag, wave their limp wrists, shake their bums, and stretch their bass voices falsetto as they call people "dahling" or "snookums." If you're now blinking rapidly and giving off strange high-pitched yelps, you've caught on.
    • They can teach you how to use your psychic powers too. Sadly, you might not want to know how.
  • Caster of Fate/stay night almost fits the High Elf example of this trope perfectly. Pointed ears, extremely proficient in magic, originally from a ancient kingdom, and she wears mostly purple. She also wears a somewhat tight fitting dress beneath the hood and cloak she is usually seen in.
    • That said, this is only outwardly. As a Servant, she is significantly weaker than the others both by virtue of being a Caster and by some of the most powerful players being able to mitigate or straight-up No-Sell her attacks. Her Noble Phantasm, Rule Breaker, is also incredibly strong, but is a dagger and requires her to be at a disadvantageous range, meaning it's worthless most of the time. She is fully aware of this and both turtles in a nearly impregnable location and cheats by summoning Assassin (a Servant is not supposed to be able to summon another one) as a gatekeeper to deter others from trying to attack her. The only times she leaves are when everyone else has already picked each other off and there's only one other (known) Servant remaining, or when she sees an opportunity to great to pass up.
  • Bosco's Reality 2.0 character is a half-elf. Vertically. See Half-Human Hybrid for the picture...
  • Parodied in Overlord. Its elves are arrogant, self-absorbed dimwits who believe themselves to be the sole source of beauty in the world, despite having no discernible talent or ability at anything. They've been driven almost to extinction by the dwarves before the game starts, and you have the option to send them the rest of the way (though the Overlord canonically saves their pathetic hides). Their Ironic Hell in the Raising Hell Expansion Pack forces them to watch and act in a terrible play that mocks them and their Mother Goddess while celebrating their downfall.
  • Due to limited character interaction in Super Robot Wars Endless Frontier, normal elves (armed with machine guns) are mere random encounters. However, the dark elf Dorothy is the Hot Scientist who developed bullets that can break Einst crystals. She also sells the game's best accessories (...which are also the most expensive).
  • Elves in Spellforce are Wood Elves, with something rather unusual — mages focusing on ice powers. Oh, and they have unusual accents that may or may not be the result of extremely bad voice acting.
  • In Radiata Stories, the Light Elves are mostly the Wood Elf type, except they have the arrogance of the High Elf type. They're also physically between elves and fairies (they get fairy wings and flight). The Dark Elves in that game aren't much like typical Dark Elf types, and are generally less arrogant, but they are also half-elves, and half-human.
  • Heroes of Might and Magic V has Wood Elves (Sylvan) and Dark Elves (Dungeon). They used to be one, until a demon deception split them, forcing the latter to go underground. They are polar opposites, though they both have relatively powerful, but low growth creatures and have dragons as their tier 7 units.
    • The old Might and Magic 'verse had different variations, with Enroth (the setting of Might & Magic VI to VIII and Heroes of Might and Magic I to III) the most:
      • Vori/Snow Elves, the oldest known of the elven civilizations. Isolationists who lived in on an island that was only visited in one game (which represented them simply by the Rampart town that otherwise has the elves directly below), little is known of them, but supplementary material indicated the other elven civilizations on Enroth to be off-shoots, and a half-Vori elf (half-human) suggested their skin is (literally) white.
      • Elves/Wood Elves/Light Elves (all three terms were used at different points and in different contexts), a mix of the standard Wood and High Elves, but without the classic elven superiority (both in morality and in attitude), being pretty much human in those respects. Notably not subject to Perma-Shave.
      • Dark Elves, quite possibly the least Dark Elf-like dark elves in a video game ever (as a civilization), aside from a liking of dark colours for their clothes and not being subject to Perma-Shave. Their hostility with their Light Elf kin is long in the past, and nowadays they are a surface-dwelling Proud Merchant Race and by-and-large one of the most ethical groups on the continent they've settled down on.
  • The Newmen of the post-Algol Phantasy Star series are genetically-engineered elves created by humans to create a more intelligent race. Unlike other Space Elves, they're more Wutai (as revealed in Universe) than nature-loving or medieval, and they use the same kinds of weapons everyone else uses. They do, however, have their own flavor of haughtiness in Universe.
    • Their lifespan is also completely random — in the Gamecube version of Phantasy Star Online, one Newman NPC (evidently having been dwelling on this for some time, since it's not even remotely related to the mission you're on) says that she could live for another century or spontaneously die tomorrow, and there is no possible way to predict this.
  • The Nedians in Star Ocean: The Second Story are a Deconstruction. When they're first discovered, they seem fairly typical; they ruled the galaxy in a utopian society until a group of superpowerful rebels appeared out of nowhere and forced them into hiding for the good of the universe. An easily missed late game side quest reveals something quite different. Nede actually ruled the galaxy through force of arms and their own innate symbology. The "rebels" that forced them into hiding were actually bio weapons created by the Nedians themselves to stop the real rebels. Their programming was changed when their creator's daughter was killed in a terrorist attack, causing him to go mad. It wasn't even the Ten Wise Men who forced their species into hiding and they certainly didn't do it for the altruistic reasons their descendents were told. The battle with the Ten Wise Men had severely weakened their hold on the colony worlds. They destroyed Nede and fled to an artificial planet because they were terrified of what the newly liberated races of the galaxy would do if they reached Nede. The Morphus of Star Ocean: The Last Hope, at first glance, seem more like stereotypical fantasy elves in space, until you put two and two together after examining their dictionary entry and certain aspects of their own artificial planet.
  • The Elves in Tales of Symphonia are fairly standard Wood Elves, complete with a Hidden Elf Village and a smug (albeit fairly toned-down) feeling of superiority to humans and half-elves. especially half-elves. Oh, and they're aliens.
    • The Kritya from Tales of Vesperia are High Elves who live in a city of Crystal Spires and Togas and can talk with the Entelexia via Telepathy. They aren't better though; aside from all being, to some extent, Cloud Cuckoo Landers, they are just as apt to making mistakes with both the problems of the ancient past and the more recent problems coming from Krityans having made blastia. They also are incapable of fighting due to their mindsets; except Judith.
  • EverQuest plays this trope straight and helped fortify it for more modern standards when the game was released in 1999. The Elven word for "Elf" is "Dal", and the species are broken into various types found all across Norrath:
    • Feir'Dal: Wood Elves: Descendants of the original elven race created by the God of Nature, Tunare. They live in the treetop city of Kelethin in the Greater Faydark forest. Naturally (no pun intended), they are more in tune with nature, with a society consisting mainly of Druids, Rangers, Rogues (who work for the city itself,) Bards, and Warriors. They have a very friendly position towards outsiders, and get along well with Humans. They stand 5 feet tall and have a tan complexion and hair colors running the normal human gambit between black, brown, blond, and red. They typically live to be about 650-700 years old.
    • Koada'Dal: High Elves: Cousins to the Wood Elves, the High Elves live in the nearby city of Felwithe (anagram for White Elf) in the Greater Faydark forest. They stand a foot taller than the Wood Elves, have incredibly pale skin, a fair complexion, and usually have white hair, but can have shades of red or blonde as well. They are especially skilled in the magical arts, but also are devout clerics and paladins to their goddess, Tunare. They are generally good natured towards others, but are usually very arrogant towards others and think highly of themselves because of their intelligence. Only the Erudites surpass them in intellect (and look down on the High Elves in terms of arrogance because of this fact.) They typically live to be about 800 years old.
      • In EverQuest II (which takes place 500 years in the future and in an alternate timeline,) the city of Felwithe had undergone significant changes as a result of their own king being assassinated during a war with the Dark Elves. This lead the ruling council to declare that the High Elves must revert back to the original elven race they once used to be. Through the use of magic and inbreeding, the High Elves turned themselves into the Renda'Dal, or "New Elf". They grew slightly shorter and have more prominent elvish features such as longer ears and thinner faces, and shortened their lifespan to about 150 years (in order to ensure their racial survival by enforcing the need to procreate more often). They have also shunned all outside contact with other races. Even other High Elves who lived outside of the city were no longer welcome. Everyone who entered "New Tunaria" were treated as hostile.
      • Going even further, the immortal vampire Mayong Mistmoore has taken an interest in the Renda'Dal. Using some of them as subjects for experimentation in the catacombs under his own castle, another race was created. Most of the experiments resulted in the hideous disfigurement of the test subject, turning them into troglodyte creatures akin to the Morlocks. These rejected test subjects were thrown out and forced to live in the lower caves of the catacombs. Enough of them have gathered together to form their own primitive society of sorts. They wish to only be left alone and attack anyone who comes near. They have been branded as the "Myr'Dal", or "Cave Elf."
    • Teir'Dal: Dark Elves: Innoruuk, the God of Hate, was jealous of Tunare's creations, so he stole away the first king and queen of the original good natured elven race and warped and twisted them into the Dark Elves. Standing 5 feet tall, have dark blue skin, white hair, and share the same aesthetic qualities as the Wood Elves (Blue is sexy). They live in the underground city of Neriak and are faithfully devoted to Innoruuk. They are adept in the practice of magic, which also includes Necromancy. Other professions include warriors, assassins, and shadowknights. Despite being evil for the most part, there are some Dark Elves who have proven that they are not inherently evil by nature and work for the forces of good. Dark Elves typically live about 600 years old.
    • Ayr'Dal: Half Elves: Always the offspring of a human and one of the three elven races, most commonly Wood Elves. Half Elves can be good or evil, depending on who raised them. Standing 5 feet tall, Half Elves have more human features, including slightly rounded earss, facial hair, and a skin complexion ranging from any of the three parent elven races (except they're never nearly as blue as Dark Elves naturally are.) The Half Elves call themselves "Ayr'Dal", meaning "Outcast Elf", brought on by the fact that they have no racial culture or heritage to call their own. They've actually taken this lack of culture and used it as their own. They usually have a appearance to reflect their nonconformity towards society, including Mohawks, facial piercings, and a general rebellious teenager attitude towards others.
    • Although not a playable race, EverQuest II introduces the Sul'Dal. A long forgotten race of Elves who shied away from worshipping Tunare, and turned to Anashti Sul, the (now former) Goddess of Health. Anashti wished to give the gift of Eternal Life to Norrath in order to "Cure Death", and unintentionally released the undead on the planet (which the other gods did not take kindly to, and banished her to the Void as a punishment.) The Sul'Dal were granted eternal life by becoming undead. Some among the community believe that "Sul'Dal" translates into "Sand Elf", but given the connection to Anashti Sul, it is more widely believed that "Sul'Dal" translates into "Eternal Elf".
      • Living within the Sul'Dal's city of Akhet Aken are also the Rin'Dal and Ara'Dal, who are believed to be social classes in their society rather than individual races.
  • Lampshaded in Global Agenda, where they have a forum based on this trope. There's also a trailer.
  • Despite not getting much in the way of a racial backstory, the forest dwellers and woodland dwellers of Kingdom of Drakkar both qualify as elves (wood elves and half elves, respectively). However, it's subverted by the fact that most players prefer to play City Dwellers (humans), due to their better stat dice.
  • Although Elves in Mabinogi fit the typically gracile, agile, archery and magic using stereotype; they're differentiated by being a tribal, desert culture, that shares a collective consciousness.
  • Elves in Divinity II: Ego Draconis are dragon elves, just in case you didn't get their superiority from just the word "elves".
  • The elves in Divinity: Original Sin II physically match the high elf status, being tall, willowy long-lived, but are more culturally based on the wood elves. They're incredibly in tune with nature (though they do eat both meat and plants), long lived, highly intelligent, and have powerful seers capable of seeing the future. On the other hand, they're cannibals (though they only eat the dead, and only to honor them and gain their memories. Still, it doesn't prevent a lot of in-universe discrimination over the issue) and their homeland was recently destroyed. They also don't look down on other races, interestingly. That's part of the Lizard Folk's hat, instead.
  • Parodied in Kingdom of Loathing, when it's not subverted or inverted. Crimbo elves are some of the weakest mooks, and can lethally overdose on sugar buffs. But the 'Elvish' effect from attending a rock concert:
    "Your brain is full of the mannerisms and customs of the ancient Pork Elves. When you walk, your hips gyrate like those of a moxious elf. When you talk, your lips curl in a sneer like that of a mighty elf. When you think, your thoughts are as mystic as the Pork Elves' favorite food, the fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich (renowned for its mystic nature)."
  • Majesty has an unusual take on elves. While they are primarily archers and known for being light on their feet, they are also highly prone to drinking, gambling and general debauchery. Their main benefit to the kingdom is an economic one, as they significantly boost the gold output of your Marketplaces and raise revenue when they perform as bards. And they're quite androgynous-looking.
  • Rift has the more-or-less classic high elves Guardian-side and the wiry, gray-skinned, tribal Kelari Defiant-side.
  • Elves shown in Warriors of Might and Magic have dark skins, (not black), Air element and rush at you with strange battlecries when you approach. Their boss gives you a sidequest, but eventually backstab you.
  • Real-Time Strategy Game Armies Of Exigo features the Wood Elf and Dark Elf variants. The former are allied with the human Empire, providing archers, druidic Dryads, and other long-range support. The Dark Elves, on the other hand, live underground, have an alliance with the Voidwalkers and a whole host of Big Creepy-Crawlies, and are bent on reclaiming their place on the surface.
  • In Dragon Quest VIII, elves are mentioned as one of the races (along with humans and monsters) inhabiting Trian Gully. However, only one elf, Rajah is shown: she has green skin, red hair, big boobs and pointy ears.
  • Touhou Project has Elven expies in the Tengu, down to their pointy ears, their long lifespans, (though all youkai share that trait), reputation for being condescending braggarts, and their highly secluded insular society (they have troops on 24-hour watch defending Youkai Mountain, but from whom?). The only Tengu we know are reporters and a member of the aforementioned mountain defense.
    • The Lunarians are an even better example, being a concealed civilisation (on the Moon) of ungodly-powerfulnote  "eternal beings", who look down on any inhabitant of Earth as "impure". For bonus points they have insanely advanced technology (developing something similar to an Infinite Improbability Drive in the Stone Age), and claim to have invented magic and created youkai.
    • Ironically, the character who looks most like an archetypal elf, Parsee Mizuhashi, is a hashihime, the vengeful spirit of a cheated human housewife. Her Pointy Ears appear to be the result of a drawing error.
  • Elves of Dragon Pass are somewhat far from the average elf, what with being plants, but they are long lived, attuned to nature and good with a projectile weapon.
  • Christine, the heroine of Arkistas Ring, is an elf that goes to fight the Shogun's armies of minions and retrieve the titular artifact by her lonesome. She's still a Fragile Speedster, so she needs a lot of health and armor to remotely survive the later levels.
  • While Guild Wars 2 does not use the name elves, developers have confirmed that humans fill the narrative niche usually reserved for elves. They are beautiful, magical, highly civilized, have an ancient civilization, are very loud about those facts, and are in severe decline as the younger, more energetic races begin to dominate the world.
    • The Sylvari are a weird version of this, in that they're inherently magical nature heroes... but they're also straight-up Plant People, and the youngest of the Five Races, having only started existing in the 250 year Time Skip between games.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Link's original design looked rather elf-like due to his fairy-like clothes and Pointy Ears. According to Shigeru Miyamoto, this came from Peter Pan. All subsequent games show Link is a Hylian, who despite their pointy ears aren't actually elf-like, but are very much mundane humans. Occasionally the elf confusion slips into advertising, as a UK advert for Link's Awakening described Link as a "medieval elf." Don't actually call them "elves" unless you want to bring up a Fandom-Enraging Misconception.
    • That said, the series does have races similar to elves. Ocarina of Time has the Kokiri, who seem to be rather traditional examples of wood elves, complete with nature-based deity and seemingly eternal childhood. Meanwhile, the Sheikah can have lifespans of centuries and are one of the oldest races in Hyrule. They exhibit great magical prowess, as well as amazing fighting skill, spiritual knowledge, and, as of Breath of the Wild, an innate proficiency with Magitek. Any game's version of Impa is usually an adviser to the royal family and Zelda's personal bodyguard as a result. However, they do physically age like any other human race in the series, with the oldest of them looking no better than a dried-up corpse.
  • Ravenmark: Scourge of Estellion has the Cardani elves named so for the swamp where they live. No one outside the Cardani swamp is aware of their existence. They are smaller than humans, although not as small as Jackdaws, with long ears. Unlike a typical depiction of elves, these are always hungry for more... whatever. It can be living space, food, glory, etc. This constant search for more is called "fukuyoka", although no human quite understands what the concept means (and the developers don't do the best job explaining). Some parts of their culture indicate that they may be a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Japan. Some of their commanders wear samurai armor and wear tengu masks, their blade weapons look very similar to katanas and naginatas (although they're called swordstaffs), their homes also are vaguely reminiscent of Japanese architecture. On the other hands, their warriors are called Braves, which is what Native Americans called their warriors, and some of their priests look like they're wearing voodoo priest clothes and their ranged units use blowguns (this, at least, can be justified by the fact that trees don't grow in the Cardani swamp, so they have to make do with reeds). This fits the overall tendency of the game world cultures not being counterparts of just one Real Life culture. None of the other cultures, by the way, calls them "elves". Instead, they're almost universaly referred to as "rat-men". Unlike the "civilized" cultures, they don't fight in daggers (small units that can be joined with like daggers to form deuces and trines) but in swarms, so many of their tactics rely on We Have Reserves.
  • Armies Of Exigo features Wood Elves as allies of The Empire, supplying Rangers, Eagle-mounted Valkyries, and Dryads (who essentially fullfill the Druid role). The Fallen are an alliance of alien beings, giant insects, and Deep Elves—underground dwelling Dark Elves who specialise in necromancy and cold magic and want the surface world for themselves.
  • Elves are one of the three precursor races in the Tears to Tiara universe. Members from powerful lineages, like Ashtarte in Tears to Tiara 2 once went around the world teaching humans knowledge and offering wisdom and guidance.
  • Armageddon MUD both subverts this trope and plays it straight.
    • Desert Elves are Armageddon's take on Wood Elves. Where humans reign in Zalanthas' city-states, elves are the primary force in the wastes, their physiques and fiercely tribal ways allowing them to survive better than other races do. Due to Zalanthas' desert nature, its elves aren't bound to forest regions at all, neither are they more 'in tune with nature' than other people are. Despite that, they thrive in their wide open environment, and tend to be fiercely distrustful of any and all humans, as well as elves foreign to them.
    • City Elves don't apply to this trope very well at all. Humans rule in the cities they live in, and elves tend to be excluded from service in the militia, as well as being restricted from cushy jobs with wealthy nobles or merchant houses. Due to the societal exclusion, their fondness for thieving, and the xenophobia of anyone in Zalanthas, elves have developed a reputation for smuggling, thievery, and con artistry.
  • The Wild Walkers of Endless Legend are close to wood elves; prior to the start of the game, they lived in the forests, practiced the "sharing", and made heavy use of bows. On the other hand, their males have impressive beards and they have twi'lek-esque protrusions on their head above their ears. Their leader realized their world is dying from increasingly lengthy and brutal winters, and began to expand out of the forests, turning the pastoral civilization into a nation of townsbuilders of staggering industrial capacity. They still remain close to their spiritual origins, and utilize golems, physical incarnations of the power of the forest.
  • In RuneScape, elves are an enigmatic and old race, their civilization predating all records about humans. They have crystal-based technology and a clan-based society. Their empire used to encompass half of the known map, but since evil Iorwerth clan seized power centuries ago, elves have been at civil war and humans conquered their territory. Now some humans don't even believe they exist. Iorwerths' ultimate plan is to conquer the human city of Ardougne and release the Dark Lord that has been entombed there for ages.
  • In Gems of War, there are the elves of the Forest of Thorns, who are close to nature and suchlike. They're antagonists in the relevant quest-line, since they want to end the villain's threat by killing him rather than curing him (as the quest-giver wants).
  • Averted in Pillars of Eternity. The NPC and potential party member Aloth is a stereotypical superior elf — arrogant, haughty, and magical — but it turns out that his father was an abusive alcoholic who beat his wife and son and was convinced that his wife was cheating on him with a human.
    • In more general terms, Pillars of Eternity has two elf subraces. Wood Elves are long-lived, but share their culture with humans. Pale Elves live in southern polar regions and primarily worship Rymrgand, the god of entropy.
  • While it's not clear cut, in Dark Souls the bearers of the lord souls fill the same role that elves frequently do in other fantasy works.

    Visual Novels 
  • The only elf who appears on-screen in Sword Daughter is a half-elf, but descriptions of the setting's elves fit neatly into the "high elf" mold. They're innately magical and more in tune with nature than humans, and apparently quite secretive and territorial.
  • Gha'alian elves in Ebon Light are able to see better in the dark than humans, and are implied to be physically stronger and have more endurance.

    Web Comics 
  • Garnet and Gure mocks this dynamic in this strip.
  • The Elves in 8-Bit Theater are a parody of this trope. They like to think of themselves as superior, but are just as moronic, gullible, xenophobic and destructive as every other race. Possibly worse. In fact, they were responsible for oppressing the world for thousands of years with the help of evil dragons, caused at least one civilization to be incomprehensible because they had cooler stuff (namely Airships), have been exchanging atrocities with the dwarves for a long time for control of the Earth Orb, and have conquered the Giants to pillage their lands and use them as weapons. Even the Dark Elves aren't as bad as the main elves (the one we see is something of an Only Sane Man among the Dark Warriors), though given that the Dark Elves' national anthem included the refrain "We're a race of total bastards!" (before the other elves stole it) and Drizz'l stating that Thief's standing aside while his allies butchered his father while taking credit where politically advantageous practically counts as defending his father, they were simply out-bastarded.
  • Dream Catcher actually doesn't have this. The only thing Elves are better at is hearing because of their pointy ears. No large lifespan, height or anything. As far as we know.
  • Errant Story goes to great lengths to deconstruct Tolkien-esque elves. Not only do they have the conventional 'high/wood/sea/dark' elf distinctions (and then one of them gets huffy when a human points out this out after an elaborate lecture on the different groups), they have precisely the sort of snotty arrogance that typifies this trope, especially after they have spent a few centuries in hiding following the Errant Wars. But it is their treatment of half-elfs ('errants') that is most telling: they made a huge mess of things when they first encountered humans, then after this led to a bloody civil war, refused to do anything to clean up the mess except ruthlessly hunt down and kill their own hybrid descendants.
    • And the Errants only exist in the first place because for some reason it's much easier to conceive Elf-Human hybrids than pure Elf children. The war happened later one when it turned out that Errants with magical power have a tendency to suddenly go utterly insane.
  • Erfworld has the Royal Crown Coalition (get it?) made of the classic "Good Guy" fantasy races. Their elf allies are divided into: Woodsy (tall), Shady (goth), Luckless (die offscreen), Eager (Link), Schlemiel (Jewish), Altruist (nurses), Lofty (aloof), and Superfluous (emo). There's also the Tardy Elves, but we don't get to see them because they move too slowly to get to the battle in time.
    • The prequel book gives us High Elves, who... are. Then a dragon eats them.
    • Book 3 gives us the Juggle Elves, a group that has only a few elves popped as members but allows elves of all kinds to join. After the RCC abandoned their alliances with the other Elf clans many of them ended up with the Juggles.
  • Tales of the Questor have elves with a very serious problem. In their past, the race had lifespans that were marginally longer than humans and one Elf monarch wanted to stop his people from aging. So, he made a deal with a magic giant salamander for a spell that would ensure Elves never got old, which unfortunately was done by limiting Elf lifespans to 20 years (Half-Elves live a bit longer). The King tried to fix this catastrophic problem by getting a magic goblet that could give immortality to any elf drinking, which worked until it was stolen/destroyed/? (nobody remembers). As a result, Elf society collapsed with a population unable to get enough maturity and the race degenerated to a bunch of petty thieves and vagrants with nothing to live for. Naturally, when Quentyn the Questor learns of this from his new elf companion, Sam, you can bet he'll keep an eye out for that goblet in his quest.
  • The elves of Inverloch play the haughty aloof part of this trope straight. They live in a forest city like Wood Elves, but in attitude are High Elves. When some of their kind are born without magic or immortality, they are banished, and the more they're shown the more unsavory they are—it becomes clear that they're complacent, arrogant racists who view everyone else as lesser beings, leading the main characters to declare Screw You, Elves!. And the "mortality" disease is a punishment from the Spirit Realm.
  • Parodied in this Sluggy Freelance strip where elves are described as "mythological hotties who wouldn't give humanity the time of day." Mostly averted in the rest of the series, where elves are short, not particularly attractive laborers at cookie companies and Santa's workshop (though they do get some cool black ops equipment).
  • Drowtales: The elves are immortal humanoids with magic powers and a culture vaguely reminiscent of a matriarchal version of the ancient Rome. Largely as a result of the aforementioned immortality and being the only widespread species able to use magic, they're arrogant enough to consider humans and orcs dumb animals, enslave them, and use them for food, but the whole thing is as much Deliberate Values Dissonance as arrogance — for instance, food is scarce enough Beneath the Earth that they can't afford to let good meat go to waste.
    • The original elven subraces were the dark elves, also called the Dokkalfar, and the light elves, the Vanirnote . Following a magical apocalypse largely of their own doing that forced them underground, the elves evolved into the Drow, themselves divided into the black-skinned Drowolath, the rarer ash grey-skinned Drowussu (the difference comes from which of the two elven races they descend from), and the degenerate, sightless Xuile'solen, Mole Men equivalents resulting from elves failing to adapt to the underground.
    • A few unusual traits includes their immortality being conditional on being in a high-mana environment, meaning among a large number of other elves. If alone, they will begin to age and eventually die. Their ears also get more pointed as they age, as keratin is continuously laid down: young elves' ears are simple triangles, while long, sharply pointed ears are the only real sign of age in ancient elves. Also, drow skin colors change slightly depending on where they come from — Chelian drow have chocolate-brown skin, those from Mimaneid are more charcoal-grey, Nuqran drow are lighter grey and so on.
  • Heliothaumic has the Dark Elves described above in the dying country/empire of Ilthmir, which is an oppressive monarchy wrecked by civil war and ruled by a 600-year old queen. It also has these Elves breeding with humans to produce the Half-Elves, the vast majority of which live outside of Ilthmir and embrace their human side more.
  • Haru-Sari has an interesting twist on elves: They are born from human mothers or genetically engineered, and have the power of magic. They are stuck in prepubescent bodies for their entire life, and they are treated as dangerous second class citizens by the society around them. And they only live for about 30 years before their affinity for magic kills them off.
  • Ingress Adventuring Company: Toivo is an elf, and his youthful looks despite his old age and affinity with magic may be related to this.
  • Outsider features a lone human's contact with the Loroi, who are Blue-Skinned Space Elf Hotties, who happen to be locked in a genocidal war with Bugs, and have no problems with glassing planets that get in the way.
  • Averted in The Order of the Stick. Vaarsuvius spends a fair amount of time being arrogant and lecturing people in as polysyllabic a way as s/he can think of, but genuinely seems to care for people, clearly isn't always right, and recently got suckered in a big way by a trio of fiends. Furthermore, V's arrogance isn't from hir elvenhood, but more of being a very skilled wizard (the strip does often poke fun at how arcane spellcasters view themselves as invincible for their knowledge, such as Roy's father.) The only thing that comes close to this trope was V's mention about how hir noble elven metabolism is so efficient that V only has so concern hirself with such base needs as going to the bathroom every few weeks. Which frustrated anyone who wanted to know what sex V was when they arrived at a bathroom.
    • Another time was when V was making jabs at human's senses, though it was started by Belkar (the psychotic halfling ranger) and also the dwarf paladin made some mentions too (like how elves could see starlight and dwarves' night vision.) And it was in a more matter-of-fact way.
    • The drow (dark elves) are apparently played straight, although the abundance of Wangsty no-I'm-the-non-Evil-exception drow in games and game-books is poked fun at.
  • El Goonish Shive: If you're the child of a human and an immortal, you're an elf. And, to some, an abomination. This means a few things.
    • Elves are eternally young, skilled in magic, and have pointed ears. They are mostly infertile, like most real hybrid animals. They are bound by a lesser version of the immortal non-interference law: They cannot interfere unless a situation directly involves magic, or to defend against a clear and present danger to themselves or others.
    • While in theory elves are far weaker than their immortal parents, they have one major advantage: Immortals are constantly increasing in power and have to "reset" every couple centuries. Elves don't increase in power like that, and thus have true Ageless Immortality. The only elf we meet is at least four hundred years old and still both young and sane (though he uses an illusion to look older), while his immortal mother (who has refused to reset for as long as her son has been alive) is completely and utterly insane. Even other immortals avoid her like the plague.
  • The elves in Charby the Vampirate certainly think themselves better than most everything else in Kellwood. They keep to themselves in their kingdom of Eldenlon but it appears to be a mix of Cultural Posturing and Fantastic Racism considering Eldenlon would have fallen to the fairies without the intervention of the Demon King. They also have a fair number of children with dragons, even the royal children are half-elf half-dragon.
  • In Fetch Quest: Saga of the Twelve Artifacts, the elves are in danger of becoming exclusively female, thanks in part to a low birth rate and the fact that many male elves died in a great war long ago.
  • Linburger the Cyll. They were once powerful and long lived, but once Gotterdamerung hit, they became short lived as humans, and live in slums. They kept their pointed ears though.
  • Guilded Age has Sky elves, Winter elves, Shit elves (which may just be a colloquial name), and Wood elves, so far.
  • Mocked in this strip of Phil and Dixie. Phil stands by describing an elf's wonderful traits while an elf stands by berating him for being fat, insecure, ill-mannered and incapable of getting a girlfriend. Dixie gets the last laugh, however.
    • Also mocked in the infamous "Sex and D&D" strip. They're apparently all closet fetishists.
  • Parodied in WIGU when Wigu and Hugo encounter retarded Hillbilly Elves in the woods, who still believe themselves superior to humans in every way except one.
  • The Dreamland Chronicles has pleasant enough elves, except when Nastajia is being The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask (and that trope would explain her attitude).
  • Tolkienesque elves and Santa's elves mix in Balderduck's single panel strip #9
  • A number of types of elves exist, naturally, in Elf Blood:
    • The High Elves, or just plain ol' Elves, are not nature loving technophobes but more along the lines of the Holy Roman Empire with Magic. Makes sense when their ancestral home, Alfheim, is supposedly hidden somewhere in central Europe. Though the modern elves lack it, historically they retained the 'aloof' aspect of ordinary elves.
    • The Dark Elves, while not evil or even particularly bloodthirsty, were shunned for a while by the High Elves and had to work exceptionally hard to gain any respect in Alfen society. Comparisons can be drawn to European Jews at the time of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
    • The Death Elves, who are essentially Elf Blood's equivalents to dwarves. Except they're seven-foot tall grey-skinned nomad-descended brutes who can't use magic.
  • Oglaf has elves, most prominently Sandoval, the Xoan ambassador to Mistress.
  • This may have something to do with why all the characters in Elven (yes that is the name of the comic), are all elves. However, a few pages have been shown to poke fun at games like World of Warcraft.
  • My Roommate Is an Elf features an elf named Griswold interested in human culture, and living with a human in an apartment. Griswold is capable of magic and has a Healing Factor, and apparently a long life, as his roommate, Harold, will likely be long dead by the time Griswold develops his first wrinkle.
  • In Doodle Diaries, Elves are apparently drunken frat bros
  • Roxanne in Rusty and Co. is not so much — then, she was raised by humans since she was a wee little elfling. As is made clear when more typical elves appear and scorn her.
  • Fairy Dust has two main kinds of elves. Tiny elves are pathetic and frightening wrinkly little monsters that need regular consumption of fresh humanoid flesh to stay alive, and use their venom to hunt larger races. Great elves are free of tiny elves' genetic weakness and look more like one expect fantasy races to look like. Although they have no vital need for cannibalism, they are allergic to animal flesh and may choose it over vegetarism.
  • Wildlife: A'zi set out to create a race based on humans but physically superior. Commenters failed to suggest any other names, so she called them elves.
  • Barbi The Barbarienne has elves that are a cross between at least the typical High Elves and Wood Elves mentioned above and then some. Half the size of a human, ostensibly built yet admit humans have the raw strength advantage, are all raven-haired, have Punny/Narmy Names like Blinki, Queen Helokiti and Kymchi, but otherwise your standard arrogant, better-than-you Jerkasses with the bonus of psychic abilities. However said arrogance cost them an ancient war to Take Over the World against humanity they thought they had in the bag and ended up banished to a deserted island in the Caribbean or an Expy of it that they're magically confined to by an invisible barrier where they still act like the war's not over and this is just a minor setback despite humanity leaving them in the dust.

    Web Original 
  • Gaia Online has two type of elves.
  • Tales of MU plays around with this.
    • Most obviously by having dark elves who insist they're simply regular elves and it is the surface-dwelling "faint elves" who are the evil bizarro version. Half-elf Steff also both overestimates her keen elven eyesight and underestimates the nightvision of humans, on separate occasions.
    • However, one of the reasons that elves used to be discriminated against are that they're awesome, as this professor explains...
      Professor Hart: Good? Good? Ms. La Belle, elves aren't "good"... they are better. These people can run twice as fast as you can without making a sound. They can see to the farthest horizon on a starless night and they can hear the heartbeat of a mouse. They don't sweat. If they fart, you'll never hear about it. They can go into a human town and fuck everybody's wives, sons, and daughters for fifteen hours straight, they are going to live forever... and can you imagine what would happen if the brand-new emperor had stood before his people and said, "Hey, these are the people who are going to be in charge of you." Do you think the people who had just thrown off one tyrant would have just rolled over and accepted that?
    • Verging on a Deconstruction at this point, with the revelation that Elves don't even need to breathe, but if they don't engage in mortal behavior, they start losing their connection to the world and become something else entirely.
  • The trope is parodied in this piece of RPG Motivational art: "Elves. Anything you can do, they can do better."
  • Limyaael suggests any potential writers think up reasons for the clichés.
  • From what little we know of them, the Sidhe in the Whateley Universe may well have been embodiments of this before their version of The End of the World as We Know It happened. The modern-day reincarnation of one of their most powerful queens is already considered one of both the most powerful and the most beautiful students on campus before the end of her first semester, and it's been strongly hinted at that her ancient original (whose personality lives on in her head for the time being) was easily a hundred times more awesome and at some point ruled not only over her own people, but the humans living in the area as well — to say nothing of dealing with a variety of supernatural movers and shakers on at least an equal basis. (We haven't yet learned much about the 'common' Sidhe, but there have been a hint or two that the humans were second-class citizens at best back in that day. This is apparently the past of this universe's Earth.)
  • Arcana Magi features Modern Elves who work for Avalon Tech Enterprises. One Elf is on the Board of Directors. One Elf is a chemist. Another Elf was seen testing a pair of flying boots and Karl the elf invented the manaboard. Fynir Robinson is an Modern Elf Agent of Mystic Intelligence.
  • In The Dragon Wars Saga, the Haltia (it's Finnish for Elves) are grouped by affinity powers and this affects their appearance. It's also been implied that while they are very long lived they aren't immortal.
  • The Questport Chronicles has elven heroes Gawain and Ato among the members of the Fellowship.
  • U Realms Live:
    • The elves, being one of the oldest races, are essentially the leaders of the Realm, housing seven powerful kingdoms and some of the most powerful warriors and wizards, including Virgo Sunsword of the illustrious Sunsword family. The other races that even attempt to be powerful or influential, like dwarves and gnomes, appear to mimic the elves.
    • Dwelves, hybrids of dwarves and elves, on the other hand, are regularly hunted by dwarves and tend to reside in elven lands, where they are treated as equals, at least under the law.
    • Gobolfs, deformed elves with traits similar to goblins, are cowardly, asthmatic creatures that elves disdain but tend to let live.

    Web Videos 
  • The web video series Edward the Less does an extended spoof of this trope with the Round-Stander People, as epitomized by the Noble One. He is tall, handsome, proud, arrogant, loutish, and craven, with an instinctive penchant for selling out his allies in a pinch, extensive knowledge of the shockingly vicious traps with which his people have so nobly strewn their forest, no reservations about using violent coercion, and is full of tales of his many "petty, conniving, yet selfless" deeds: Soapy: "So your shooting me in the leg was actually very brave!" Noble One (gallantly): "And I would gladly do it again!" Granted, he does offer a really nice topical salve to friends he's injured once he gets his way...
  • Plain avoided in Warlock Games. The elf is useless.
  • Ben, the creator of Puffin Forest, discusses this in "My favorite classes to play in D&D" and concludes that what makes elves so simultaneously appealing and aggravating is that they just like humans, but better at everything. They have all the benefits of being very old and very young with the drawbacks of neither. To make a true pop-culture "superior" elf character, a player would need to use Mutants & Masterminds.

    Western Animation 
  • Disenchantment: Elves are a race of pointy-eared, short humanoids who spend all day making candy... to earn candy. They sing all day, and have a tendency to freak out when one of them is not happy. They're essentially a combination of Victorian fairy tale elves and Christmas elves dropped into a parody of modern High Fantasy and Heroic Fantasy.
  • The Dragon Prince: Elves have short horns and four-fingered hands along with the usual pointy ears and lithe build. They are divided into six tribes, each attuned to one of the six sources of magic — the sun, the moon, the stars, the sky, the earth and the ocean.
    • Moonshadow elves, the first ones seen, have skin in a range of human skintones and white hair, and can become invisible and extremely fast and powerful under the light of the full moon. For self-evident reasons, they are known to be fearsome assassins. Some also possess illusion-based magic, as the moon arcanum focuses on manipulating appearances and blurring the line between the real and the illusory. They also tend to have noticeable Scottish accents.
    • Sunfire elves have dark brown skin and white or russet to black hair. They appear to be a more militant culture than other elves seen. They can make blades that always remain as hot as the day they were forged and can cut through regular ones like butter, and can draw on the destructive power of fire and the sun to enter a state where they become extremely strong and powerful, but also berserk and uncontrolled. They tend to have fairly thick French accents.
    • Startouch elves have blueish-purple skin dotted with twinkling white spots resembling stars, and horns with multiple points.
    • Skywing elves have grayish skin and hair in a wide range of colors, including several shades of blue. Their horns are longer and curved, and have secondary, stubbier horns branching off from their bases. About one in ten is born with wings attached to their lower backs — the rest, if they want to fly, need to master a difficult technique that allows them to transform their arms into feathered wings.
  • In Hilda, elves are a race of pointy-eared people around two inches tall, with a culture revolving around paperwork, and are invisible to anyone who hasn't signed the proper papers.

    Real Life 
  • If we ever get good human genetic engineering, elves might be a realistic outcome. How would lots of people engineer their children, or themselves? Tall, pretty, thin, smart, and as long-lived as we can manage. The main aesthetic competition might be from designs with exaggerated sexual characteristics: manly Conan men and busty women vs. the Bishōnen androgyny of most elves.
  • In the family of ape and hominid species, humans are the elves, in a way: 'gracile' vs. 'robust' bodies, weak, neotenous, longer-lived, much swifter runners (other great apes have a slow and clumsy walk on land) and much much smarter. And we act as arrogant and snotty (not to say plain genocidal) towards them as any good elf would be to humans.
  • If our cats and dogs could communicate with us, we would appear like elves to them: extremely long living, almost eternally young, incredibly intelligent, lithe and gracile, and unearthly beautiful.
  • The Green Children of Woolpit, a brother and sister with green skin from an underground world, who spoke an unknown language, and would eat only beans. The boy died young, his sister learned English and lived a normal life-span, but was "loose" in her sexual behavior. This report was lost for centuries. Whether there was a real event at the bottom of this, or it was only a story, is debated by historians.
  • There may be a real-life condition behind the elven tales. The Williams syndrome is a chromosomal disorder on chromosome 7. Its symptoms are the classic elven features: pointy ears, long chin, wide smile, absolute pitch and increased musical talent. People suffering from this disorder are extremely outgoing, social and friendly. They have upturned noses, high cheekbones, wide smiles and pointed chins. The usual downsides are lower than average intelligence, susceptibility to diabetes and heart problems. Despite intellectual disabilities, they’re talkative, witty and tremendously charming.
  • For those who missed The Last Ship, there is elven ear cosmetic surgery available.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Our Elves Are Different, As An Elf


Terrible Writing Advice

In "Fantasy Races", Elves are impossibly smug (no matter the breed).

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / OurElvesAreBetter

Media sources:

Main / OurElvesAreBetter