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Shrine to Self

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Squidward may not know art... but he knows what he likes.

"You would never guess who lives here."
Frank Sinatra upon seeing Rudy Vallee's memorabilia room(s)

There are people who are vain, and then there's people who are vain. The latter have such a depth of narcissism that they don't just keep a mirror handy, but fill their house floor to ceiling with mirrors (But how else can I catch all my expressions?), portraits of themselves, self portraits (expect a few nudes), statuary, awards (if any, no matter how minor) and sundry other them-centric paraphernalia. Any pictures will likely be exclusively of themselves, or with celebrities, royalty, and politicians. It's almost unheard of for a shrine to include family pictures, although a Family Portrait of Characterization might consist of shrines of all the family members, casting the entire family as narcissistic.

Basically, they make their home a Shrine To Self. This varies in intensity and size, some might reserve a single (and perhaps even tastefully simple) room as a "Trophy Room", while others may make hallways, wings, or even museums to themselves. Villains don't just put it in their home, but like to plaster their equipment, vehicles and Mooks in Malevolent Mugshots.

A variant is the "shrine to a former glory", made by someone who realizes they're no longer famous and doesn't like their new situation. The White-Dwarf Starlet will often fill her mansion this way. For extra tragedy, the mansion/museum will be in an advanced state of decay.

Characters encountering the shrine (or more likely, being led to it by the owner) will usually be stunned speechless, a fact their host will take to be awe rather than disbelief at their tackiness (though the onlooker might feel both to varying degrees). This serves not just as a way to characterize someone as self centered, but also as potentially having been (or still being) important, and may in fact endear them to audience/character if they play their narcissism in an affable rather than grating manner.

In the United States military and political realm an office wall with awards and pictures of the individual with famous or higher-ranking persons is known as an "I Love Me" wall. The etiquette is generally that your "I Love Me" Wall should be in a reasonably private location (like your house), not shoved into the face of all passers-by (unless you're on the Internet). In the extras on the Top Gun DVD, one of the military advisors opines that Viper's "I Love Me" wall in his house is unrealistic, because he has a wife and kids, which (in his opinion) tends to rapidly reduce the "I Love Me" Wall to an "I Love Me" corner, and finally to an "I Love Me" shoebox in the attic...

Compare Stalker Shrine, House of Broken Mirrors and Kitsch Collection. Often a Sub-Trope of Room Full of Crazy. Egopolis is basically a city or country-sized Shrine To Self.

The superhero/villain version of this is Superhero Trophy Shelf.


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    Comic Books 
  • A mainstay in Archie Comics, particularly Reggie Mantle, as another example of his ego.
  • Judge Dredd: In the aftermath of Necropolis, it is discovered that the supervillain Judge Death ordered a museum exposition built to celebrate his achievements. Presumably so he could worship himself, as he had ordered the entire city to be executed.
  • A variant version appeared in the Silver Age Superman comics. Superman has a room dedicated to every one of his friends at the Daily Planet, including Clark Kent. However, this was actually a subversion as the "shrine" wasn't so much for bragging purposes as for concealing his secret identity from anyone who managed to get into the Fortress of Solitude.
  • Discussed in Watchmen. Laurie visits her mother Sally, the original Silk Spectre, at her new apartment, and notices her mom has kept various memorabilia from her superhero days. Laurie is disgusted when that includes unauthorized pornographic comics ("Tijuana bibles"), but Sally simply replies that there's nothing wrong with keeping reminders of when she was a sex symbol.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Cars, the luxury container Lightning McQueen travels in is full of trophies and gadgets of himself.
  • Played With in Encanto. Isabela's room has topiary versions of herself striking various poses, presumably conjured up to practice her powers. During her "I Am Becoming" Song about how much she hates having to act perfect all the time, she uses her vines to destroy one of them.
  • The Incredibles: The walls of Bob Parr's home office are plastered with news articles and other memorabilia of his superhero alter ego. However, the emotion driving this wall isn't so much vanity as an aching nostalgia.
  • Georgette from Oliver & Company has a wall of her dog show awards and ribbons, topped by a giant oil portrait of her.
  • The Mad Scientist in Rankin/Bass Productions Willy McBean and his Magic Machine plans to make himself the world's most famous person by traveling back in time and discovering everything that mattered. With The Discovery of Fire he runs into a problem as written history hasn't started yet, so he tells the cavemen to paint his image on the side of a cave leading Mankind out of the Darkness. They don't see the point as they'd rather paint sabertooth tigers (which are in style that year).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • One patrician widow in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil had, in the words of another character, made her boudoir a shrine to herself.
  • Norma Desmond in the movie Sunset Boulevard. Her entire house is a shrine to herself and her former movie career.
  • In The Big Lebowski, The Dude gets a guided tour of Jeffrey Lebowski's.
  • In the movie Ransom, Mel Gibson plays a rich airline owner with several magazine covers featuring himself (Business Week, etc.) on his wall. Later, the villain points to them and mocks him.
  • In The Paper Chase Professor Kingsfield's office in his house has one of these, with photos of him shaking hands with Presidents and other important people and the various legal and academic awards he's won.
  • Back to the Future Part II: In 1985-A, Biff has turned the Hill Valley courthouse into a casino/hotel, which serves as a shrine to Biff, including a video about him playing at the entrance and a large painting of himself in his office.
    Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Biff Tannen Museum! Dedicated to Hill Valley's #1 citizen, and America's greatest living folk hero, the one and only Biff Tannen! Of course we've all heard the legend, but who is the man? Inside you will learn how Biff Tannen became one of the richest and most powerful men in America. Learn the amazing history of the Tannen family, starting with his great-grandfather Buford "Mad Dog" Tannen, fastest gun in the West. See Biff's humble beginnings and how a trip to the racetrack on his 21st birthday made him a millionaire overnight. (newspaper appears, headlined "Hill Valley Man Wins Big At Races") Share in the excitement of a fabulous winning streak that earned him the nickname "the Luckiest Man on Earth!" (A series of spinning newspapers go by with headlines like "BIFF WINS AGAIN," and "Biff Tannen: Luckiest Man on Earth") Learn how Biff parlayed that lucky winning streak into the vast empire called BiffCo. Discover how in 1979, Biff successfully lobbied to legalize gambling and turned Hill Valley's dilapidated courthouse into a beautiful casino-hotel!
    Biff Tannen (insert): I just want to say one thing: God Bless America.
    Announcer: Meet the women who shared in his passion as he searched for true love. And relive Biff's happiest moment as in 1973, he realized his life long romantic dream by marrying his high school sweetheart, Lorraine Baines McFly! (cut to footage of said wedding)
    Reporter: How does it feel, Mr. Tannen?
    Biff Tannen: Third time's a charm. (lecherously kisses Lorraine)
  • In White Chicks, one of the agents asks a female reporter out on a date, claiming to be a basketball player. In fact, the real player (played by Terry Crews) is on a date with his partner (who's in drag). The agent "borrows" the basketball player's luxury car and keys to his home. When they get to the house, though, the reporter asks why there are pictures of someone buff (clearly not the agent) on all the walls. The agent claims that it's his coach, whom he reveres so much.
  • In Silent Movie, Burt Reynolds seems to have a giant portrait of himself on his house, to show all who lives there.
  • In Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, a famed zombie killer, has a very large portrait of herself slaying a zombie in a manner similar to the Archangel Michael or St. George.
  • This, naturally, turns up a few times among James Bond villains:
    • In The Living Daylights, renegade US arms dealer Brad Whitaker has had waxwork figures of himself dressed as various military leaders dotted around his mansion. Including one of himself as Adolf Hitler. Needless to say, his visitor from the USSR is visibly impressed by this.
    • Elliot Carver in Tomorrow Never Dies has enough posters of himself prominently displayed in the various offices of his media empire to make your average Soviet dictator feel a bit embarrassed. Naturally, Bond gets a few good quips in at his expense on the subject and destroys several of them in creative ways.

  • In one of Tom Clancy's novels this is associated with upper-level bureaucrats. Awards and pictures of the individual with famous or higher-ranking persons.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Gilderoy Lockhart decorates his office with (moving) pictures of himself. In the film version, he decorates his classroom in the same manner. This includes a portrait of himself painting a portrait...of himself.
    • In the same book, the titular Chamber of Secrets built by Salazar Slytherin (and intended only for himself/his heirs) has a giant statue of... you guessed it, Salazar Slytherin! Just to lay it on thick, said statue has magical properties when you refer to Slytherin as "greatest of the Hogwarts Four".
    • 12 Grimmauld Place is prominently hung with the Black family tree, portraits, and the mounted heads of former house-elves, as a Shrine to Family.
  • The villain in the Dean Koontz novel, Dragon Tears, has a serious A God Am I complex. He had every wall in his house mirrored just to admire himself.
  • Ginger, the movie star in Moving Pictures, has saved every single poster she appears on and pinned them on her wall.
  • Miss Havisham's decaying mansion in Great Expectations. All the clocks are stopped at the moment that her would-be groom betrayed her, she still wears her wedding dress as a grim reminder, and the dining room table remains set with the rotten wedding feast and cake. She proposes to have her body laid out there when she dies.
  • One Tim Dorsey novel has a washed-up rock star with a vast collection of pictures of himself and a number of real rock stars... which were hurriedly taken shortly before their security guards caught up with him and threw him out.
  • Zeus' Cabin in the Percy Jackson series, ostensibly a place for his demigod children to live during their stay there, isn't much of a dwelling to live in. It's more of a modern day temple to him that they can make cramped room to sleep in at the margins.
  • It's mentioned in Ptolemy's Gate, the final book of The Bartimaeus Trilogy, that Quentin Makepeace has one of these. However, we don't actually get to see it because when we get to the point in the story where it's visited, he's changed it into a place for a magical experiment, a twisted one that is key to the book's climax.
  • Dominica Škoda, one of the "eight heroes" from Coffin Princess Chaika, has her whole mansion filled with portraits and statues of herself. In reality, she's been dead for some time, and it's instead her dragon Fredrica who lives there while impersonating Dominica, and the portraits are so Fredrica can remember her master better.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In volume 5 of Heroes Peter Petrelli's apartment is decorated only with newspaper clippings about the lives he has saved as a paramedic. More sympathetic than most though as Peter isn't doing it for vanity but to chronicle heroic actions to atone for past misdeeds and mistakes.
  • (probably) Samantha of Sex and the City commissioned a photographer to do a series of nudes of her while she's still "young and spry". When it isn't as fabtabulous as she wants, she lets herself go and buys a pizza... and when the delivery man compliments her legs (the nude was the picture facing the door) she perks up and tips him with a $20 bill.
  • Libby of Sabrina the Teenage Witch has her bedroom wall plastered with gold-framed glamour shots of herself, plus one photo of her grandma.
  • On Strangers with Candy, Flatpoint High is full of pictures of Principal Blackman, from paper towels to school jackets, and students can be seen working on art projects of him. At one point he has his secretary accompany him on the bongos while he makes an announcement, which we see being delivered from a classroom portrait with flashing eye-holes... to warn the students off joining a cult.
  • In the Doctor Who series three finale, when the Master has been ruling the world for a year, we see at least one giant statue of him, and Martha mentions he's had his face put on Mt. Rushmore.
  • One Monster of the Week in Reaper was a man who was so narcissistic that he ran a sperm donor clinic, and gave his own sperm to anyone requesting. The entire time he was on-screen, he was checking himself out in strategically placed mirrors. When off-screen, Sam and his friends were incredibly disturbed by the nude self portrait that the man was in progress with. Incidentally, several fertility doctors have actually been caught out depositing into their own bank, so to speak.
  • In Season 4 of Game of Thrones, a statue of King Joffrey depicts him standing over the corpse of a direwolf (sigil of House Stark) holding a crossbow. The audience knows that the only thing Joffrey's ever pointed his crossbow at are unarmed women, and his entire contribution to the war was starting it via the unjust execution of Eddard Stark.
  • In Red Dwarf, we have Arnold Rimmer's parting gift after he becomes the new Ace Rimmer. The rest of the team are subjected to the hideous Arnold Rimmer Experience, a theme-park ride through a gallery proclaiming how great Rimmer is, along with chibi munchkin versions of Rimmer performing a choreographed song-and-dance.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • This backfires on Dr. Lewis Zimmerman, who puts his own face on the Emergency Medical Hologram Mark One. After numerous complaints of their No Social Skills, he's forced to create upgraded models (with different faces), while the Mark One is reprogrammed for hazardous waste disposal duties.
      Zimmerman: Do you know how humiliating it is to have 675 Mark Ones out there, scrubbing plasma conduits, all with my face?"
    • In "Future's End'', our heroes end up in Los Angeles in 1996. While snooping in the office of Corrupt Corporate Executive Henry Starling, Janeway makes note of his "I Love Me" wall, which includes a picture of Starling shaking hands with Richard Nixon.
  • Parodied in a Saturday Night Live sketch, with Darrell Hammond as Al Gore. Al takes the audience through his trophy room, which includes his Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth, his Grammy for the audiobook version of AIT, his Adult Video Award for the XXX-rated adaptation of AIT, and other awards.
    "Now this is my 'World's Greatest Dad' coffee mug. I got it for being the world's greatest dad. Now, they sell almost exact replicas of this mug in airport gift shops, but this one's the genuine article."
  • Luke Cage (2016): Piranha Jones has a little shrine made of photos of him shaking hands with famous Democratic politicians.
  • The Jeffersons: George Jefferson has a near death experience which causes him to decide to write his autobiography, but later a facetious suggestion by his naighbor Tom Willis cause him to decide instead to create an autobiographical Museum detailing his life story. The museum ends in up being a big failure due to his pompous overestimation about how much the public is interested in knowing more about him.
  • In A Touch of Cloth, DI Jack Cloth and DC Anne Oldman is searching the "eerie Stock Footage and prop warehouse", when they happen upon what appears to be a Stalker Shrine dedicated to TV-actor Todd Carty of EastEnders fame. Oldman asks out loud what kind of sick person put together such a thing, when suddenly:
    Todd Carty: Oi! What are you doin' in my lockup?
    Cloth: So this is your lockup?
    Todd: Yeah, I store chains, art... my scrapbook here.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Vince McMahon's office (well, the Kayfabe one, anyway), The Miz's trophy room in his house (shown during an episode of Cribs), and Michael Cole's "Cole Mine" (later it became the "Royal Cole Mine", after he was knighted as part of a storyline) are all prime examples.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Traveller, Aslan warriors keep an "honors chest" of their deeds.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Vhane Kyharc, the Dark Eldar Archon of the Black Myriad, is noted for being a narcissist even among the Dark Eldar. To wit: Every Trueborn (naturally-born) member of his Kabal has their face surgically modified into his, while the Half-born (vat-grown) wear masks of his face, and he once released a virus on a planet that turned every living creature's face into a copy of his own.

    Theme Parks 
  • In the former Disaster! attraction at Universal Studios Florida, the first pre-show room was filled with pictures, awards, and prized possessions of the fictitious Frank Kincaid, owner of the "Disaster Studios".

    Video Games 
  • In the original Wolfenstein 3-D, the Final Boss is Hitler himself in Powered Armor, and the final level has walls covered with paintings of Der Fuher's own mustachioed face. So while this version of Hitler is far more formidable a fighter than the real one was, his vanity seems very historically accurate.
  • In The Warriors video game, Chatterbox, the leader of the Hi-Hats, has a private gallery filled with self-portraits. They're all based on more famous works, the ugliest of which is a nude statue of him as a Christ figure, being crucified on a neon cross. When you discover the gallery, you're given the task of vandalizing it using a convenient supply of spray paint and sledgehammers.
  • Gladiator: Sword of Vengeance: The main villain, Counsular Arruntius, erects a giant statue of himself in the middle of the colosseum after taking over the throne and ruling Rome with an iron fist. He even threatens to have anyone who damaged his precious statue killed in a cutscene.
  • The Legend of Tian-ding: "Piggy" Wang, the first boss, is a member of the Les Collaborateurs who enriches himself by extorting wealth from civilians and overcharging rent from the locals, with the game highlighting his greed by revealing he had a golden, thirty-foot statue of himself in his mansion.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
  • Nemesis from Catacomb Abyss and its sequels likes to decorate the Catacombs of Despair with statues and paintings of himself before letting the hero in to battle his way through them. In Abyss, it seems the only purpose of both the Catacomb and Crypt of Nemesis (neither of which he lies or resides in) is to be shrines to him. In Catacomb Apocalypse, there are also depictions of him in a pharaoh's headdress. Some of these are enemies rather than decorations, and among the most dangerous in the game.
  • The whole mansion of Conroy Bumpus, in Sam & Max Hit the Road.
  • In Guild Wars, it's a way of gaining non-combat rewards in the sequel by adding titles, minipets, elite armour sets, etc. to the Hall of Monuments in the first game.
  • In World of Warcraft the Big Good Tirion Fordring does this twice. He is not a vain person, but people just worship him for his defeat of the Lich King. There is a statue of PURE GOLD in a city of MAGES who don't even normally associate with paladins. In front of his "house", he is having another statue of himself built, but at least it isn't gold this time.
  • Henry Hatsworth in the Puzzling Adventure: Weasleby's lair has this in spades. The entire place is littered with busts and portraits bearing his likeness. The eponymous Quintessential British Gentleman claims that Weasleby's state is not what he expected but that the brigand's taste in decoration is "as questionable as [he] thought".
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: Dr.Eggman is very fond of this trope. He likes to make huge statues and robots that look like him, and even makes a likeness of his face on the Death Egg.

    Web Animation 
  • A running gag in Eddsworld is Matt's self-obsession, keeping pictures of himself in his room and feeling hurt when reminded of getting old.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • In the Bitsy Bears one-shot pilot, the villain, Bramble, spends all of her days taking Polaroids of herself.
  • Squidward Tentacles in SpongeBob SquarePants has a shrine to himself in every room. And he painted or sculpted all of them himself. He's his own favorite, and apparently only, artistic subject. Even when confronted with a perfectly sculpted statue, he says "You got the nose all wrong!" and slaps a clay copy of his nose onto the statue, then proclaims "Now it's art!"
  • In Storm Hawks, while briefly in charge of Cyclonia, Snipe had the walls and roof of the throne chamber covered end to end in murals of himself.
  • Zapp Brannigan's boudoir in Futurama is full of pictures of himself, including a portrait of himself in the same pose as Aaron Shinkler's famous painting of John F. Kennedy. Said portrait was positioned right over his own bed, making it look like Zap was watching himself sleep... making the scene extra creepy...
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes: Lucius' mansion is filled with portraits of himself.
  • One episode of Star Wars: The Clone Wars had a pair of Jedi track down General Grievous' private secret base. They don't realize the significance, but there's a hall full of statues and tributes to his former (non-cyborg) self.
  • Vanity's home in The Smurfs is this, since it has nothing but paintings and sculptures of himself. In "Good Neighbor Smurf", though, Brainy changes everything in it so that it is now a shrine to himself instead of Vanity.
  • Mr. Burns' office and mansion in The Simpsons is full of paintings and sculptures of himself, sometimes depicting himself as a heroic character from history. As the series progresses, these become Flanderized to highlight his evil, including a painting of Burns sitting on a throne of skulls, or one of him as Francisco de Goya's famous painting Saturn Devouring His Son.
  • Harley Quinn (2019): Maxie Zeus' mansion is full of statues of himself, all nude with their junk on full display.
  • On Daria, Tiffany has photos of herself up in her room. Even among the Fashion Club, she really doesn't have any interests other than her looks.

    Real Life 
  • A bevy of dictators have done this while living, just to name a few: Kim Jong Il, Saddam Hussein and Josef Stalin.
  • Michael Jackson's Neverland Valley Ranch was full of commissioned paintings of himself, many by the artist David Nordahl. (Some of these appeared in Jackson's poetry/essay book Dancing the Dream in The '90s.) Many had him surrounded by children (cherubs in one case), one tryptch depicted him as a monarch being knighted, etc. One had his portrait alongside ones of the Mona Lisa, Albert Einstein, E.T., George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln... all of them wearing sunglasses and one sparkly white glove, just like him.