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Prince Charming Wannabe

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"You know, Belle, there's not a girl in town who wouldn't love to be in your shoes. This is the day your dreams come true!"

A Wrong Genre Savvy Hopeless Suitor who fantasizes that he's the Prince Charming or Knight in Shining Armor who will effortlessly sweep the heroine off her feet and rescue her from a life of dullness and/or misery...all the while ignoring or completely oblivious to the fact that the girl wants absolutely nothing to do with him.

Why can't he see that? Because he's either an egotistical hypocrite long overdue for a Heel Realization or he was Born in the Wrong Century and his ideas of what it takes to woo and win the girl are outdated and insulting. Contrary to what he thinks, she is not Playing Hard to Get and she's not flattered by the fact that I Love You Because I Can't Control You. Nevertheless, he insists he's the answer to all her dreams and hopes and desperately wants her to let him whisk her away to live Happily Ever After, unable to see that he's not a welcome Prince Charming, but an unwelcome Stalker with a Crush.

Motivations: Lust and Pride.

This trope is similar to the more cynical ways to play a Dogged Nice Guy; both tropes are about well-meaning, sincere love interests with wrongheaded ideas about what constitutes romance and how their object of affection actually wants to be treated. Compare with Casanova Wannabe and Small Name, Big Ego who exaggerate their skills with the ladies and have an over-inflated ego respectively. May overlap with Entitled to Have You if the character thinks their "gentlemanly" behavior necessitates reciprocation.

Not to be confused with Prince Charmless, which refers to literal princes.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The Boarding School Juliet Scott (loosely based on the character Paris) isn't as abusive as most examples of the trope, but his attachment to cultural traditions constantly blinds him to the real desires of his "lady". For example, he frequently starts pointless brawls so he can "protect her honor" and builds a luxurious tent for her on a camping trip supposed to let the students experience nature. Juliet appreciates the spirit in which these deeds are meant, but (unsuccessfully) tries to tell him that she's not made of glass.
  • Played for comedy, Kyonosuke Kaoru is this for Yukiji Katsura in Hayate the Combat Butler. She actually seems fond of him, but he seems to think he needs to sweep her off her feet which causes her to reject his advances.
  • The unnamed classmate of Relena's from the first two episodes of Mobile Suit Gundam Wing. He has a crush on her, although she doesn't seem to feel the same way about him, and his asshattery earns him a fencing epee right through his mask, courtesy of Heero.
  • Tatewaki Kuno from Ranma . Both of the girls he obsesses over can't stand him and clobber him every chance they get.

  • Played with in Fables with the character of Prince Charming himself; he genuinely is very good at starting the relationship he wants but he's very bad at maintaining it. He has been married to Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella, and in every case, the woman fell head over heels for him (and he reciprocated passionately, if unsustainably) only to divorce him when he seduced some other woman who had taken his fancy. By the time of the main story, his long-term failings are well-known (to himself as well as potential partners,) so both he and any girl he seduces treat it as short-term. Interestingly, this ability to start things but not sustain them carries over into non-romantic pursuits as well; his campaign to charm people into electing him mayor is extremely successful, but he's completely out of his depth when it comes to the actual work of running Fabletown.

    Films — Animated 
  • Gaston from Disney's Beauty and the Beast thinks he's the hero, and that Beast (Jerk with a Heart of Gold) is a monster who wants to get his claws on Belle. But in the end, it is clear that the opposite was true.
    Gaston: You know, Belle, there's not a girl in town who wouldn't love to be in your shoes. This is the day your dreams come true!
    • In the stage version, he even has a song called "Me", extolling his greatness and how lucky she is to be the object of his affections. (This is in addition to "Gaston" from the film, where the rest of the town extols his virtues, although his plans to marry Belle only come up in the reprise.)
    • And as egotistical as he is at the start of it, he gets worse later on in the movie when he goes into full-on Yandere mode threatening to throw her father into the asylum if Belle won't marry him and trying to kill the Beast who he feels is an obstacle to what he sees as his. Asshole indeed.
  • Frozen (2013): Anna thinks Prince Hans is the knight in shining armor she thinks he supposedly is as they're the Spare to the Throne in their respective kingdoms and were shunned by their older siblings. Hans is actually a two-timing, power-hungry man who ends up being Anna's Evil Counterpart, showing what she could have been had she sought attention while selfishly forsaking all relationships. Having realized the jerk Hans turned out to be, Anna moves on with Kristoff, an ice harvester with a Hidden Heart of Gold despite his gruff exterior.
  • Hal from Megamind thinks that Roxanne will automatically swoon into his arms after he gains superhero powers and shows them off to her. When she doesn't and displays an interest in another man instead, he snaps and becomes a full-blown villain.
  • Shrek:
    • The Big Bad of the first film, Lord Farquaad, hopes to marry and swoon Princess Fiona but is ultimately a power-hungry egomaniac who simply seeks to become king. Princess Fiona, for her part, is already in love with Shrek.
    • Monsieur Hood attempts to "save" Princess Fiona from Shrek, despite their relationship developing into a romantic one. Fiona attacks Hood and his men in revenge.
    • Ironically enough, Prince Charming himself in Shrek 2. While he does have the looks of a Prince Charming, his personality is anything but, although his motives behind his mask were completely different.
  • Roland from Strange Magic who'd might be able to pull off an Elvis-flavored version of Prince Charming except for the girl he's trying to woo was the girl he cheated on right before their wedding, meaning she's not having any of it.
  • Jean-Bob from The Swan Princess, albeit because he thinks he's a Frog Prince who needs a kiss to turn back to his non-existent human state.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Biff Tannen from the Back to the Future trilogy seriously has the hots for Lorraine, Marty's mom, seen especially when they're still teenagers in 1955. While it's clear that the feelings themselves are genuine — Biff even insists that he's going to marry her someday — he primarily expresses them in the form of sexual harassment (such as lifting Lorraine's skirt up and trying to grope her) and isn't willing to take no for answer, making him very much an Abhorrent Admirer to her. In some timelines, he takes it to horrific extremes, such as trying to rape her while drunk or murdering her husband and marrying her, then becoming an abusive spouse and stepfather to her and her kids.
  • Avenant from Beauty and the Beast (1946), who was the inspiration for Disney's Gaston in their own Beauty and the Beast adaptation.

  • Atlas Shrugged: The wealthy Jim Taggart loves promoting how he heroically raised Cherryl from the slums by marrying her... while psychologically abusing her until he drives her to suicide. He likes the fantasy, but he likes the power he gets from harming others just as much.
  • A Brother's Price: Genderswapped, because gender roles in general are given a thorough Stereotype Flip. Kij Porter thinks she can have Jerin eating out of her hand, but... he can't stand her. It doesn't help that she insults his family and condescends to him. She kidnaps him later.
  • Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Book 1 (Dealing With Dragons) features Therandil, who is an odd example. He knows Cimorene doesn't want to marry him, and he doesn't want to marry her either. But they're still supposed to be in an Arranged Marriage, so he continues pursuing her out of a sense of honor and duty even after she runs away from home to be a dragon's captive princess. Cimorene gets rid of him in the end by having him rescue a different dragon's captive princess.
  • The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott has Lord Arlington, who finally experiences a Heel Realization long after causing the heroine plenty of grief with his unwelcome advances and repeated marriage proposals.
  • Ivanhoe: Brian de Bois-Guilbert just can't seem to wrap his head around the fact that "Marry me, and I'll save your life; refuse, and I'll let you die" is something villains, not heroes, do.
  • Mansfield Park: Henry Crawford, self-affirmed Ladykiller in Love...who runs away with the already-married cousin of the girl he considers himself engaged to (regardless of said girl's thoughts on the matter).
    Henry: I will make her very happy, Mary; happier than she has ever yet been herself, or ever seen anybody else. ...Yes, Mary, my Fanny will feel a difference indeed: a daily, hourly difference, in the behavior of every being who approaches her; and it will be the completion of my happiness to know that I am the doer of it, that I am the person to give the consequence so justly her due. Now she is dependent, helpless, friendless, neglected, forgotten.
  • Pride and Prejudice: Mr. Collins, though his motivation is less knight-errant than greatest village parson ever, to the great Lady Catherine de Bourgh.
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall: Walter Hargrave.
    "By all means, leave him! cried he earnestly; But not alone! Helen! Let me protect you!"
    "Never! While heaven spares my reason," replied I, snatching away the hand he had presumed to seize and press between his own. But he was in for it now; he had fairly broken the barrier: he was completely roused, and determined to hazard all for victory."
    "I must not be denied!" exclaimed he, vehemently; and seizing both my hands, he held them very tight, but dropped upon his knee, and looked up in my face with a half-imploring, half-imperious gaze. "You have no reason now: you are flying in the face of heaven's decrees. God has designed me to be your comfort and protector - I feel it, I know it as certainly as if a voice from heaven declared, 'Ye twain shall be one flesh' - and you spurn me from you -"
    "Let me go, Mr. Hargrave!, said I, sternly. But he only tightened his grasp."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ground Floor: Harvard is convinced that Jenny will eventually realize that she is truly in love with him, ignoring the fact that she only sees him as a friend and that everyone is genuinely put off by his attempts at wooing her.
  • Noah's Arc: Millionaire rapper Baby Gat is this to Noah, trying to rescue him from his "mundane" life.

  • Jonathan Coulton's "The Princess Who Saved Herself":
    Princess: Hello?
    Philip: Hey, beautiful. Prince Philip.
    Princess: Oh, hi... Philip.
    Philip: Yeah, we met at the ball. I was the handsome one. I was wearing a...
    Princess: Hey, Philip. Tell me if this sounds like a phone hanging up. (hangs up)
    Philip: Yeah, it totally does! Hello?
  • Shania Twain's "That Don't Impress Me Much," in which a guy tries to woo her with his good looks, his intelligence, and his flashy car, but not only is that not what she's looking for in a relationship (she's looking for an emotional connection), it's implied he's a mansplaining, vain, car-obsessed control freak.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Frankie My Dear", an imaginary Prince Charming is left at the home to be adopted, but falls in love with Frankie and tries to woo her. Unfortunately, he has to compete with Mac, Bloo, and a pizza boy, all of whom have a crush on her as well. They all crash Frankie's dinner date with her actual boyfriend who turns out to be a jerk.
  • Zap Brannigan in Futurama fancies himself a brave heroic ladies man, but anyone who's ever spent time with him knows he's a flabby, wimpy, whiny, repulsive, misogynistic, sexual predator who treats women as objects at best. Unfortunately, the universe is a very very big place so the vast majority of people genuinely do believe he's as heroic a Prince Charming as he fancies himself, most notably Leela who's suckered in enough to sleep with him which haunts her for the remainder of the series. Pretty much the only woman he actually seemed to genuinely care about and treat with respect was Leela's mother, and even then he's driven her away with his disgusting lack of ethics within one episode.
  • Parodied in The Best Night Ever of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic when Rarity, after an entire season of telling herself Prince Blueblood was her One True Love Prince Charming, meets him and finds he's a boorish rich jerk. However she's the one who sticks to him like glue while he basically has no interest in her whatsoever outside of feeling entitled to admiration, and it's her vapid interest in him that puts her on the receiving end of slapstick and his dickish behavior while he basically just goes about his business at the gala. He was certainly no prince charming, but it's Rarity rather than he who wanted him to be one, and the second she's learned her lesson and storms off, they never see each other again.
  • Sir Brad Starlight in Wander over Yonder. He gets Wander and Sylvia to back him on a quest to rescue "his" princess from a dragon he claims is pulling the And Now You Must Marry Me gambit on her, but when they get to the wedding it quickly becomes clear that it's wholly consensual, and Brad invented the story because he's Not Good with Rejection. The princess urges him to accept the situation and become her friend, but he tries to kidnap her instead. He subsequently blames Wander for the whole thing and never really learns his lesson, although "The Hot Shot" implies an eventual redemption for him beyond the series as he finds a less conventional princess and The Stinger depicts them Happily Married with several children.