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Screw You, Elves!

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The Thalmor came to prove the supremacy of Mer over Man. The Last Dragonborn had a few strong words for them.

The Warden: Elves have strange powers.
Sten: Being easily conquered does not constitute a "power".

As Can't Argue with Elves is such a frustrating thing to many human viewers (and most viewers are human), the trope of humans telling and occasionally showing arrogant magical races exactly where to stick it is popular. If humans don't do it, the Dwarves will be happy to. For this reason humans and dwarves tend to get along much better in fiction.


Contrast: Enslaved Elves.

This trope is not pornographic; well, usually not pornographic. It also doesn't apply when the elves aren't stuck-up in the first place, or when elves fail at something but no one In-Universe rubs their nose in it.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Berserk: Guts frequently tells off Apostles who think they're a superior species just because they're powerful demons that can prey on humans with impunity. If he defeats one he will rub this in as much as possible, such as when he tortured the Baron of Koka Castle and the Slug Baron while telling them they should experience the same pain as their victims.
    • Perhaps the example that fits best is his fight with Rosine, a teenage Apostle with moth wings who inhabits the Misty Valley and rules over a swarm of children whom she abducted and turned into elves (which in this setting look more like what are usually called fairies). Rosine was an abused child and grew up loving fairy tales about elves, which became such an escapist fantasy for her that she sacrificed her parents in order to become one and create a utopia where grown-ups and humans were unwelcome. She claims that Humans Are the Real Monsters, and demonstrates Moral Myopia by having her children kill humans for her amusement but getting outraged when Guts shows up and starts killing her fake elves in return. Guts, of course, tells exactly where she can shove her sense of superiority.
    • Averted with the actual elves, who are nothing but kind and helpful, not to mention instrumental in restoring Casca's mind.
  • Inuyasha:
    • Inuyasha delivers a rather impressive one to his brother, Sesshomaru; after the latter spends two or three episodes going off on how humans and half-demons are worthless, he not only gets his arm cut off, but he is also mocked by Inuyasha on how a mere half-demon got to inherit the Tessaiga.
    • Lots of demons are condescending toward humans and half-demons. The humans Kikyo, Kagome, Miroku, and Sango, and the half-demons Inuyasha and Naraku are all ready, eager, and able to put them in their place.
  • Arlong of One Piece constantly goes on and on how great fishmen are and how inferior humans are to them. Luffy rebuts with his fists. Turned on its head several hundred chapters later, when it's revealed that Arlong's whole crusade was an attempt to pull this trope on humanity. Turns out, being naturally ten times stronger than humans doesn't matter much in a world of Charles Atlas Superpowers and regular superpowers, and the humans had actually been exploiting the fishmen.
  • At the end of Slayers TRY, the Big Bad (a composite entity of two gods and a nearly immortal dragon) argues via Mind Probe how inherently rotten the world is as a result of flaws introduced during its creation, and that the universe essentially needs a controlled reboot to flush out these flaws. As the good guys (mostly horribly guilt-ridden ancient angels, demons, and dragons) begin acquiescing to his criticism, Lina stands up to deliver an epic Kirk Summation, declaring that grand cosmic screwups, ancient atrocities, or reincarnation into a better world mean nothing to mortals like her, and how DARE they presume to ignore all the life flourishing across the world as it is today.

    Comic Books 
  • In ElfQuest when Kahvi sneers at the trolls for their ancestor's mutiny causing the High Ones to crash on the World of two Moons Picknose's reply is "Slaves have a right to rebel!" In fact this seems to be the default attitude of trolls in general.
  • In one storyline of The Flash, Wally reacts this way to the society of the 64th century, which counts "individualism" as a crime and manages to make Abra-frickin'-Kadabra look like a heroic rebel.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Happens twice in The Avengers, from the humans to the Asgardians. Firstly when Thor sees fit to abscond with Loki so he can face Asgardian justice: Iron Man and Captain America are having none of that and one brief duel later he's agreed to let them take Loki to S.H.I.E.L.D. instead. Secondly when Loki tries to pull his A God Am I antics on The Hulk. One completely one-sided supreme Hulk-flavored ass-beating later and he's left on the floor, physically and mentally in shock.
    Hulk: Puny "god"...
  • As shown in The Hobbit, the dwarves of Middle-Earth really do not like elves. And as several flashbacks make clear, this resentment is not without reason. Thorin is so disdainful of them that he very nearly refuses to wield one of the finest and mightiest blades ever forged in Middle-Earth, purely because it is of elvish make.
  • Although Plan 9 from Outer Space probably did intend its viewers to think that the alien characters were ultimately right, they come across as extremely rude and unnecessarily combative. It's oddly satisfying to see Jeff finally lose his patience with the constant belittling remarks from Eros ("Because all you of Earth are idiots") and finally smack him in his smug mouth.
    Eros: You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!
    Jeff: That's all I'm takin' from you!
  • Zigzagged in the Planet of the Apes movies, particularly the first two, which show a world fully dominated by apes, with mute, animalistic humans living in their shadow (and a Cargo Cult of bomb-worshipping mutated humans with Psychic Powers living underground like morlocks). Taylor and Brent, both regular humans from modern times, find themselves frequently exasperated by the apes' and mutants' convictions of being a Superior Species. A good example of this can be found when Taylor is tying up the disarmed Doctor Zaius, to the protests of Doctors Zira and Cornelius (chimpanzees he has befriended):
    Dr. Zira: Taylor, don't treat him that way!
    Taylor: Why not?
    Dr. Zira: It's humiliating!
    Taylor: The way you humiliated me? All of you? You led me around on a leash!
    Dr. Cornelius: That was different. We thought you were inferior.
    Taylor: Now you know better.
    • Battle for the Planet of the Apes, the final movie in the original series, ends with Zira and Cornelius' son Caesar, the hero of the movie, being called out by the human characters for his condescending and paternalistic treatment of them, showing that even the good guys can fall into that kind of thinking.
      MacDonald: If we appear to be lacking in gratitude, Caesar, what have we to be grateful for? If you mean to set us free, then free us completely.
      Caesar: What do you mean?
      MacDonald: We are not your children, Caesar!
      • To his credit, Caesar accepts the wisdom of MacDonald's words, and announces his intent for further social reforms.
  • In The Wild Hunt, a belligerent LARPer taunts the elf faction by shouting, "Elves are gay!"

    Let's Play 
  • During The Dark Id's run of Drakengard 3, which is a prequel to the series, he for once sees a point with Verdelet.
    Id: ...What? Verdelet was a dickhead, but I'm with him on the elf racism. Fuck elves. I've seen enough of those downtrodden orcs get butchered for funsies all the time. Where's the Shadow of Mordor-esque game where you're an orc assassin making elves' heads explode and punting them down ravines?

  • Beast Wars: Uprising: One story ends with a pair of humans being the Elves. After showing up to take a plot device of theirs away, the two Cybertronian presents call them out on humanity's awful treatment of Cybertronians over the centuries (in this continuity, that consists of ludicrously levels of Disproportionate Retribution, attacking all Cybertronians regardless of faction, "sterilizing" entire planets of theirs for the same reason, and hemming them into a small "pemitted" sector by the time the story starts, shooting down anyone who tries leaving). The first calls them spoiled children who've never suffered any real hardship, and the second, Rampage, calls them out on judging all Cybertronians for what happened centuries ago.

    Web Animation 
  • A hearty disdain for elves (and gnomes, albeit for entirely different reasons) is one of the running themes in the WoW machinima Oxhorn Short Shorts, in which all elves are portrayed as stereotypical hippies.

  • Thief from 8-Bit Theater is certainly pretentious enough. But all of the Light Warriors are jerks (except Fighter who's just really stupid, and possibly Red Mage as he veers into Cloudcuckoolander territory). And on this page, Thief's arrogance is gloriously shot down.
    • This strip also mocks Elven niceties, such as they are.
    • In fact, the 8-Bit Theatre setting in general: elves are all rampaging sociopaths.
      The Dragon: You're an elf. Your history is a very long love poem dedicated to bloodshed. And to yourselves.
    • Just in case you think he's exaggerating, here's another example straight from the mouths of the elves themselves:
      Dark Elf: But what I find most surprising is that you think I could ever help one of my father's murderers! [...] Why shouldn't I tip off the other Light Warriors now? Or rally the Dark Warriors against you?
      Thief: Well, technically I merely stood idly by while my friends killed him. ... and then took credit for the kill whenever it was politically convenient.
      Dark Elf: Damn. That's practically defending him under elf law.
      Thief: Like it says in our national anthem, Elfland, and Fuck You Too, "We are a race of total bastards."
  • Barbie the Barbarienne reveals humanity did this about a millennia or so ago to the elves who thought we were just big stupid short-lived oafs ripe for the conquering and got magically stranded on a deserted island for trying to do so. They still haven't learned a damn thing since then, but they're so simultaneously arrogant and incompetent that they best they've done since then is breed a god-level Elf-Imp hybrid more dangerous to them than the rest of the world and Mind Control one Pirate Girl that ended up on the same island.
  • Daughter of the Lilies: Historically, elves thought that orcs were "stupid" enough that their homelands would be an easy target for invasion. Some elves are still quite sore about the resulting military defeat.
  • DM of the Rings: In "Fire Safety", the players decide they've had enough of these stupid Elves and their stupid trees and stupid songs and stupid... dirt.
  • In this comic of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, it is described in detail how the Zorblaxians are literally the center of the universe. The Universes Pulsar Emissions, when expressed as musical tones, even spell out the Zorblazian Anthem! The Humans then spend thousands of years devoting their society to science and technology, flying Earth to Zorblax Prime with giant rocket boosters, and blasting the Zorblaxian Homeworld to oblivion with a giant laser.
  • In Dumnestor's Heroes, one of the main characters is an elf who's been turned into a human. So far, he's been pretty useless to have around, and the other characters make fun of Our Elves Are Different to his face.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Tara has had it with Voltaire once it becomes evident he's been manipulating her so she drops the respectful demeanour she had toward him and threatens him into leaving.
  • Jon from Errant Story has mocked back more than once.
  • Friendship is Dragons has two examples so far. The Red Dragon's attempt at a Breaking Speech about ponies' hypocrisy is interrupted by Dash attacking; however, the head of the Diamond Dogs delivers a blistering rant to Rarity about the stupid, smug po-nies.
  • Guilded Age: While supposed an ancient, powerful and all advanced civilization, the Sky Elves where easily cowed by Frigg after she had enough of their pretentiousness. Even Syr'Nj told them that it would be better to get in a good relationship with Gastonia before... they get diplomatic.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Nemesites tend to act condescending to humans, even Voluptua who's probably the nicest of them. Jean has no patience with this and is always quick with a sarcastic retort.
  • In Inverloch, one of the villains is trying to sever Elves from magic (which is also the source of their immortality) as revenge for them killing his father years before... and the second villain, a mage, helps the first one in what is essentially a genocide attempt because he thinks Elves are too arrogant to deserve life. Then there are the elves who were severed in the first place The severing causing them to age like humans and be unable to wield magic, most easily identified by their white hair and gold eyes were proven to have been born to elves who were strikingly bad examples of just how arrogant the elves had become, their children being born severed as a punishment to them, some of the worst cases of arrogance who were not born severed becoming so later in life. The elves thought the severing was a genetic thing, evidently, as they banished all severed elves (including children and newborns) from their cities, leaving them to make their way as best they could among humans or other severed, who evidently had their own community. This only made the problem much, much worse, as this was a clear sign that they were too arrogant at this point to be worth saving. The hero himself even gives a speech to his companions after he finds out his father was killed by an elf who broke his word to help protect his people, the Da'kor, despite a deal they had made.
  • Done in The Meek with Emperor Luca deSadar and the Ambassadors from Caris in chapter two. Caris is implied to be very proud and considers the Northern Territories inferior. When the ambassador from Caris claims that the queen cannot and will not pay reparations for the acts of her father while he was king. Luca did not take it well...
    Luca: With respect, ambassador. Your king alone did not uphold an entire country's institution of torture and murder against my people.
Then later he melts the other one's eyes. Turns out maybe your diplomatic position should be a little more accommodating when the other guy is backed by some crazy giant god-tiger and you live a world of Grey-and-Gray Morality. Luca is correct in that his people suffered greatly, but the men responsible for such atrocities are dead, and there is no evidence whatsoever that the current government of Caris had any involvement with those crimes (though that may change in the future).
  • Laurin Shattersmith in The Order of the Stick has this attitude towards elves, resenting that they live in the fertile forested area of the western continent, while humans and lizardfolk fight over scraps in the remainder of the continent, much of which is uninhabitable desert.
  • In Our Little Adventure, this attitude is copped by the entire Souballo Empire and there is a lot of racial tension on the main continent because of this.
  • In WIGU, seven-year-olds Wigu and Hugo reject the Elf Queen's prophecy and instead scare the poop out of the retarded Hillbilly Elves.

    Web Original 
  • The dwarves from Bravemule, a Dwarf Fortress Let's Play, tend to refer to everything bad (or simply non-dwarven) as "elf", even though no real elf has shown up in the story so far.
  • The Elfslayer Chronicles: What happens when a DM beats players over the head with beautiful, perfect elves (who have lots of gay sex) and evil, xenophobic, warlike humans? One player derails the whole thing by murdering a missing human prince, framing his elven lover, and getting away with it by being that damn good. In the archived discussion, not only does "Elfslayer" compare the DM's elves to the Na'avi and Christopher Paolini's elves, but another poster references this exact trope page. When the DM (and the only player who actually liked the setting) complained, "Elfslayer" pointed out that an "evil, xenophobic, warlike human" like himself would never tolerate his prince shacking up with an elf; on top of that, his mission was to serve the kingdom to the best of his ability, and the relationship becoming public knowledge would damage the kingdom's reputation, so in that case Murder Is the Best Solution.
  • "Fifteen Elvish ways to die"
  • In Tales of Ubernorden a whole bunch of elves die in "The Killing Field".
  • The punchline of this copy-pasta. It's also on the Colony Drop page.
  • This speech. From an Orc, no less.

    Western Animation 
  • Thunder Cats 2011:
    • A stockaded Lizard prisoner, Made a Slave for his thievery, defiantly bristles while explaining to young Prince Lion-O why he was scavenging the Cats' crops: They've little land and resources of their own, thanks to the Cats' expansionism and strongarming. They are habitually oppressed and enslaved by the Cats, scraping by while the Cats' kingdom of Thundera throws lavish feasts. The Cats even style themselves a Superior Species while engaging in Fantastic Racism.
    • Another wonderful moment of Screw You, Elves! occurs later in the second episode of the series. The Thundercats rush towards an army of lizards, who are wielding traditional medieval weapons, just like the cats: swords, bows, arrows, etc. The cats are dominating the battlefield... until the lizards bring giant robots, grenades, and laser guns. Even lampshaded by a lizard, who claims "To go from superior race to endangered species in one day... how ironic."
    • It continues through the entire season, as nearly every new species/settlement they encounter has deep-seated animosity against the Cats due to their self-righteousness and decadence. Except the Buddhist-like Elephants. And the Avians, but only because they're even worse in their arrogance than the Cats and hold all land-walking races in contempt. The fact that this continues after Thundera has been destroyed and most of their race killed or enslaved seems rather harsh, until we find out the whole backstory of how the Cats came to be so powerful to begin with....
  • In the Wander over Yonder episode "The Box", Sylvia chews out the Lords of Illumination for putting her and Wander through a Secret Test of Character that, due to resisting the temptation to open the box, drove Wander insane. She makes the aliens put some junk in the box, which Wander is satisfied with.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Shut Up Elves, Can Argue With Elves


Screw You Holograms!

Lister tells off an arrogant Holocrew inspecting the Red Dwarf.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / ScrewYouElves

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