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Sage Love Interest

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A Love Interest that at the same time manifests aspects of the archetypal sage, a wise man/woman, or a spiritually enlightened one; he or she may give the protagonist profound pieces of advice in between lovemaking.

This trope is actually Older Than Dirt, and in the earliest versions of it, it was almost Always Female: women were often seen as possessing some "natural wisdom" lacked by males (the "Witch" stock character in fairy tales is believed to descend from this "wise woman" archetype). Modern works feature Love Interests of both genders.

May overlap with Manic Pixie Dream Girl, when the Love Interest is both wise and quirky, and with Trickster Girlfriend. Also overlaps with Sexy Mentor and Teacher/Student Romance, when the Love Interest actively takes part in the protagonist's tutelage.

Compare Muggle–Mage Romance and Magical Girlfriend (which may occasionally overlap with this trope).


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children unusually has the other woman in a love triangle filling this role. Aerith is of course dead for two years when the film begins, but shows up as a spirit advisor to offer Cloud support and encouragement to deal with his grief. Her guidance allows him to properly mend his relationship with Tifa, and Aerith is last seen telling him "everything's alright" before she departs into the afterlife.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, Lacus Clyne is this for both Athrun (her original fiance) and Kira (her eventual boyfriend). While not a fighter like them, she has an incredibly sharp mind and knowledge of human nature way beyond her age, which allows her to successfully sort out the conflicted messes that are Athrun and Kira's respective beliefs and motivations in the second half of the series.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: Prince Dios and Akio Ohtori serve this role to Utena herself. The mysterious travelling Prince came to Utena during her Darkest Hour in her early childhood, gave her a kiss, a ring, and inspired her to become a Prince herself. In the present, the charismatic Akio Ohtori introduces himself as Anthy Himemiya's older brother and the acting School Chairman, offering her a sympathetic ear, a crash course in astronomy, and insightful advice that quickly earn him Utena's trust, admiration and covert affection. Subverted and deconstructed with both Dios and Akio, being Romantic False Leads; Dios proves himself a Fake Ultimate Hero, and it was Utena's desire to save Anthy that inspired her to become a prince. Akio, meanwhile, uses his sagely persona as just another tool in his Manipulative Bastard arsenal to better control the teenagers he uses for his jollies. Also, Dios and Akio are the same person.

    Fan Works 
  • Akiza Izinski in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Paradox is both the girlfriend and mentor to Flay Allster. She's a time traveler from a dystopian future where almost of humanity is eradicated by an artificial intelligence and a robotic army, an experienced mobile suit pilot and a battle-hardened soldier. Like the above-mentioned Lacus Clyne in her relationship with Athrun and Kira, Akiza has a deeper existentialist worldview despite coming from a post-apocalyptic future, she is able to get Flay to put herself back together after the war given that she is responsible for undoing her death in the first place.

    Films — Animation 
  • Pocahontas is portrayed as this to John Smith. She's wise beyond her years and a Friend to All Living Things who has shamanistic abilities; she challenges Smith's belief that Europeans are inherently superior to other peoples, while also teaching him to respect and appreciate nature. She helps open Smith's eyes to other viewpoints and he comes to sympathize with the Powhatan people, while simultaneously falling in mutual love with Pocahontas. She's also the only character consistently trying to keep the peace between her nation and the British - a position Smith eventually adopts too - insisting they should learn to live together in harmony and that ignorance and hatred will only lead to destruction. She's distinct from many other examples in that she's the protagonist.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Neytiri from Avatar likewise represents the "natural wisdom" (the New Age version of it), and educates Jake on the beliefs of Pandora natives.
  • Myca from The Crow is a villainous version. While she's involved with the crime-lord Top Dollar (who also happens to be her own brother), he values her more for her supernatural insight.
  • Izzy from The Fountain was a tragic example of this for her husband Tommy.
  • Naomi Schwartz from The Last Mimzy is this to her boyfriend Larry White, with her Eastern mysticism and New Agey philosophy.
  • Arwen is depicted as this to Aragorn in the film adaptations of The Lord of the Rings (which greatly expands on their romance from the book). Arwen is an elf, who are inherently close to the natural world and immortal (so she has over a thousand years worth of wisdom); she encourages Aragorn that there's still hope of defeating Sauron and that he will make a good king, as Aragorn fears he will make the same mistakes as Isildur. There are moments where she appears to come to him in dreams to guide or comfort him, even reviving him after he nearly drowns; she also persuades her father to assist Aragorn in his Darkest Hour by reforging his Ancestral Weapon. Arwen ultimately gives up her immortality to be with Aragorn and becomes his queen.
  • Olga is to Amleth in The Northman. She worships Slavic "earth-gods" and claims to have magical abilities. She has great knowledge of plants and their properties (including poisons). She's quick-witted and cunning, relying on her intelligence to protect herself and assisting Amleth with his revenge plot so that he can free her from slavery. She also gives Amleth advice and comfort when the chips are down. As Amleth is dying, he has a vision of Olga telling him he can ascend to Valhalla because she and their unborn twins are now safe, with Amleth knowing their daughter is destined to be a mighty "Maiden-King".

  • A number of Slavic fairy tales, including the Tale of Peter and Fevronia, have the archetype of the "wise maiden" who speaks in riddles, possesses supernatural powers, and eventually marries the protagonist.
  • In some stories, Merlin is in a relationship with a fey named Viviane or Nemue (in which case she's usually a separate character from The Lady Of The Lake). In some Viviane imprisons him in a rock or behind a waterfall: Merlin could leave at any time, but doing so would destroy his love for her.
  • Frigg held this role to Odin in Norse Mythology: While Odin was all-knowing, Frigg was wise and could provide her husband with advice.

  • Umberto Eco was apparently very fond of this trope:
    • Lia from Foucault's Pendulum is presented as the epitome of "natural wisdom", in contrast to the pseudo-profound concepts of the Diabolicals.
    • Hypatia from Baudolino tells Baudolino the Gnostic creation myth before they first make love, and eventually converts him to her faith.
  • The first Vampirocracy novel shows a budding relationship between main character Leon and Wicca healer Amy. The latter provides Leon with sage personal advice throughout the book.
  • In Stargirl, the titular character becomes sort of an Eccentric Mentor for the protagonist. She teaches him many things, like meditating Zen style, and has a profound impact on his life.
  • Ayla is this to Jondalar in Earth's Children. She's a skilled healer, later trains as a shaman, and has a number of skills and abilities that seem almost supernatural in origin to others, including her inventions, taming animals, incredible memory, dreaming the future, etc. (some have more mundane explanations, though others are less easy to explain); Jondalar even thought that she was a manifestation of the Great Earth Mother the first time he saw her. She often gives Jondalar advice or provides him with a different way of looking at things, which is one of the things he admires about her. Interestingly enough, Jondalar in turn helps her with areas she's less knowledgeable in, mostly around Cro-Magnon cultures and social norms (as she was raised by Neanderthals).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Charmed (1998):
    • Leo eventually becomes this. All the Charmed Ones are powerful witches and Action Girls, who do most of the fighting and saving the day. Leo is the sisters' whitelighter - a guardian angel who heals their wounds and offers guidance and encouragement. While he's introduced as Piper's love interest, he's not revealed as a whitelighter until halfway through the season and she doesn't find out his identity until the end of it.
    • Drake De'mon in Season 7 shows up specifically to be a sage figure for Phoebe, convincing her not to give up on love.
  • Lucy Cannonbury is this to DC Bobby Day in the crime drama series Paranoid. She's a Quaker (though she is never preachy about it), runs an organic cafe, and believes in natural remedies and mindfulness. She helps Bobby deal with his anxiety and encourages him to try other treatments besides medication (which in his case is exacerbating his condition).
  • Sura to Spartacus in Spartacus: Blood and Sand. She's their village's prophet who claims to receive visions and dreams foretelling the future. She often dispenses advice or words of wisdom, largely based on her visions. Although Spartacus is skeptical of the gods' existence, he always listens to Sura. This might actually have been Truth in Television, as according to Plutarch Spartacus was married a prophetess from the same tribe.
  • Aslaug is a deconstructed example to Ragnar in Vikings. She is a volva (seeress) who claims to have the power of foresight and promises to give Ragnar the many sons he was prophesied to have. This indeed comes to pass...but matters are complicated by the fact Ragnar is already married to Lagertha, who leaves him when she learns of his infidelity. Ragnar still has feelings for Lagertha and Aslaug becomes increasingly aware that Ragnar is more interested in her as the mother of his sons than as his wife. After four years their relationship deteriorates, making Aslaug miserable and she turns to alcohol to cope.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Aang is this to Katara. On his good days. Other times he's just a "goofy kid" even by his own admission.