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In some works, a hero, possibly a Knight in Shining Armor, falls in love with a woman based solely on his perceived image of her as so perfect that he could never actually be together with her. Some knights had, indeed, fallen in love with the princess owing to hearing descriptions of her, without seeing her.
If there is class distinctions, she is of a higher societal rank than he is. She usually comes from a wealthy family and is treated as if she's the World's Most Beautiful Woman. To top it all off, even if she is spoiled she's actually a genuinely worthwhile lady. The hero is generally determined to fight to prove his worthiness of her, or to defend her honor or reputation, thus becoming The Champion to her.
One literary term for this type of character--the girl who is too perfect to be obtained--is the Princesse Lointaine.
The story is just as likely to be contemporary as historical.
Contrast Girl Next Door.
- In A Knight's Tale the peasant William falls in love with the noble lady Jocelyn.
William: Geoff, 'tis my lady.
- In Titanic Jack is told, "Ah, forget it, boyo. You're as like to have angels fly out your arse as get next to the likes of her."
- Dianne Court from Say Anything. Since she's beautiful and the valedictorian, everyone assumes that she's completely unapproachable. When Lloyd Dobler asks her out and she accepts everyone is astonished, especially Lloyd himself.
- The song "She's So High" by Tal Bachman is all about this:
She's so high, high above me. She's so lovely.
- This happens all the time in the Pendragon game. The rules actually force knights to fall in love with (develop a Passion/Amor for) women, usually higher class noblewomen of the setting. One of the most common targets was Queen Guenever (sic).
- In Love Plus, Manaka is seen as this by the other students due to her great grades, beautiful looks, amazing tennis skills, high-standing family, and overly-polite behaviour. For this reason, no-one really tries to get close to her, causing her some deal of angst and social awkwardness as she isn't sure how to make genuine friends. One background character even says at one point that it's like she lives in a totally different world to everyone else.
- In School Days (whether anime or visual novel), Kotonoha Katsura is introduced as such. Many boys crush on her but rarely if ever approach her due to her very high social status and her supposed aloofness (she's actually too shy to talk to anyone), and even Makoto was kinda "loving from afar" before he and Sekai decided to change that. In the anime, everything goes to shit for the three afterwards; in the game, the player can decide whether Kotonoha becomes Makoto's actual Love Interest or not.
- ↑ French for "faraway princess"