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One good way to establish a character's Backstory and personality is to give them a Trophy Room or wall full of trophies and mementos of their accomplishments. It may be revealed with a camera pan in the intro (which can double nicely as Exposition thanks to newspaper clippings), as background Scenery Porn to their home, or worked into the script when another character discovers it and becomes awestruck (or fearstruck, read on). Potential owners include but are not limited to: actors, Adventurer Archaeologists, football players, hunters, officers (police and military), politicians, and high-ranking members of an Artifact Collection Agency.

If they have had an adventurous and eventful life it may become a full blown museum, taking up not just a wall or room but an entire wing of their mansion as it verges on becoming (or surpassing) a Superhero Trophy Shelf. The nature and content of the Trophy Room says a lot about the owner; it may be a modest acknowledgment of their achievements (which is not indicated anywhere else in the house), a narcissistic Shrine to Self, a creepy Egomaniac Hunter's room full of stuffed animals (and not the huggable kind), a creepier Stalker Shrine full of "trophies" won from preying on others, a selection of Battle Trophies won in combat, or a small scale Bazaar of the Bizarre full of archaeological wonders or curious kitsch.

Expect youngsters who think their parents/relatives are boring to radically reassess their assumption once they accidentally stumble upon this room.

Examples of Trophy Room include:


Comic Books

Film

  • Famously featured in the Predator franchise, most notably in the second movie: Aboard a Predator ship is a trophy rack including a Xenomorph skull from the Alien series.
  • In Ransom, Mel Gibson plays a rich airline owner with several magazine covers featuring himself (Business Week, etc.) on his wall. The villain points to them and mocks him.
  • In the Coen Brothers film The Big Lebowski, Jeffrey Lebowski (the titular "Big Lebowski") has a trophy wall displaying various awards which he and his "Little Lebowski Urban Achievers" (underprivileged youths Lebowski has sponsored) have won over the years.
  • The Incredibles
  • Inverted but serving the same purpose in Cars, with Doc Hudson leaving his three Piston Cups laying around the garage rather than proudly displayed; one is in a pile of junk parts, one has an oily rag lying on it, and the third is on a workbench, holding wrenches. He had completely left the racing world behind, and attached no importance to them anymore.

 Lightning: You have three Piston Cups! How could you have... ...Just look at those trophies!

Doc: You look. All I see is a bunch of empty cups.

    • At the end of the movie, though, Doc has made his peace with his history and there's an entire wing of the Radiator Springs Museum for his trophies, clippings and memorabilia.
  • Roland Copping's room in Frauds, where he keeps things once belonging to the subsequent victims of his little games.
  • In Beauty and the Beast, Gaston's bar is full of his game trophies among them include a bald eagle, a frog, a weasel, and supposedly Bambi's mother.
  • Highlander: Connor MacLeod's Wall of Weapons is most likely one of these, reminding him of those he faced over the centuries.
  • In Sky High, a superhero's trophy room becomes a plot point. A villain deliberately loses a fight to the superhero at the beginning of the movie, correctly anticipating that the superhero will bring a trophy from that fight back to the superhero's trophy room. The villain, who is employing a Trojan Horse strategy, is counting on this.
  • Slave Girls From Beyond Infinity has Zed who owns his very planet which he used as his personal hunting ground to hunt down any visitors. To treasure those moments he keeps a trophy room of all his victims heads are on mantles.

Literature

  • Dave of John Dies at the End has a shed in his backyard where he keeps mementos of his and John's "adventures" dealing with paranormal horrors.
  • Gilderoy Lockhart's office in Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets. What isn't portraits of himself are trophies he had taken from other people and claimed that he earned.
  • Animorphs has this with Visser Three who possesses a collection of alien torture devices, one being the Iron Maiden from Earth. In addition the Nartec a race of amphibious humans have be salvaging the wrecks at the bottom of the seafloor in the Pacific Ocean. That won't be a problem save that any human prisoners retrieved from sunken vessels are treated well as guests but then dissected alive and corpses put on displays on the human vessels as 'educational exhibits'. When the captured an alien vessel the did the same to the Yeerk controlled Hork-Bajir.

Live Action TV

  • A comical version of this would be the TV show Top Gear. After they won an Emmy, they kept the trophy in the toilet of their offices, which are little more than portable cabins. However, they prominently display a selection of vehicles from previous adventures in their studio. Notable among these (and the only one to be a permanent fixture) is the Toyota Hilux pickup truck which survived their prolonged, intense campaign to destroy it.[1] It now rests on an enormous tilted plinth behind the main platform.
  • Done on Blood Ties, with the heads of shapeshifters on a wall.
  • A recent episode of CSI New York showed the Trophy Rooms of two Neo-Nazi characters, both full of Nazi memorabilia, guns and items taken from Holocaust victims. Definitely at the creepier end of the spectrum.

Video Games

  • This is what your personal room in any house you build, or any other place you collect your stuff, in The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind inevitably turns into if you care to collect the artifacts.
  • Tomb Raider: Anniversary
    • The Croft Manor training level had a room with display cases for the ancient relics the player collected during the game. They can be examined in closeup and Lara will make an admiring comment.
    • The Wii port went one step further, with an additional trophy room with even more mementos, including big game Lara killed. Seriously nice.
    • Tomb Raider 3 also has a secret trophy room. It is filled with all of the items Lara got in her quests (and Gaiden Games), as well as the skull of the T-Rex from Tomb Raider 2.
  • Bully has Jimmy Hopkins' room become filled with mementos from all his exploits during the game, be it the main missions or side quests. Pretty much everything he accomplishes is marked with a new trophy. Jimmy can also buy a few items to add, like posters. The Bully: Scholarship Edition also adds a few new ones to the already crowded room.
  • Dragon Age: Awakening has Vigils Keep being filled with items you collect over the course of the game. Including a dragon skull and a golems armour.
  • The Captain's Cabin of Normandy SR-2 in Mass Effect 2 gets gradually filled with various trinkets and mementos as your progress through the main plot and side quests.
    • The most amusing being the Prothean Orb from the Firewalker missions. Shepard uses it as a paperweight.
  • Fable II allows you to hang the trophies of your choice on the walls of your home(s).
  • Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time features one from artifacts collected in the games. Some of them can even affect gameplay.
  • In Penny Arcade Adventures: Episode 2, Dr. Wolfington's office at the insane asylum is filled dangerous animals that have had encounters with a taxidermist, including a narwhal, multiple bears, and a rhinoceros.
  • Wrecked has this with a private island of rich dudes that hunt people.
  • There's one in the village Library across from Popola's office in Nie R, with statues of all the bosses you've killed. Taking into account some very late game and NG+ revelations, and it ends up as a Shrine to the Fallen.

Western Animation

  • On Doug, after being falsely accused of cheating, he went to Chaulkie's (All-Bluffsville Boy Football player) house to confront him, only to get shanghai'd into seeing the Trophy room of Chaulkie's big brother, and realized the young man was suffering from under intense pressure to match up to the impossible legacy.
  • In the "Dial M for Monkey" segment of Dexter's Laboratory, Huntor has a trophy room which includes the displayed heads of Marvel's Wolverine and DC's Cyborg.
  • In the Kim Possible Grand Finale "Graduation", Warhok implied that he and Warmonga have one, and planned to add Kim to it.

 Warhok: Come Warmonga, we will take this one as a trophy. She will look handsome mounted beside your Thorgoggle spine.

Real Life

  • In the military, a wall in your office with your awards, photos of you with famous people and so forth, is called an "I Love Me" wall.
  • It's common for politicians to have such a wall in their office as well.
  • Lawyers and doctors do this a lot. Judges and politicians (which are really just lawyer prestige classes), do this to an absurd extent.
  • Sports stars will often have a wall or room with their trophies, Hollywood stars, of course, have with their Oscars, etc.
  • Enthusiastic hunters are known to have rooms filled with trophy sized animals they have caught. The safari hunter of yore is pretty much where this trope comes from.

Notes

  1. It's been submerged in the ocean through an entire tide cycle, set on fire, and chained to the top of an imploding high rise.
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