Books and movies are never really kind to rich people. From Smaug to Gordon Gecko, the super rich have a tendency to be cast as greedy villains. However, there are several exceptions to this rule. Just as in real life, not all fictional rich people are SOBs with personality issues. Here are some rich characters in fictional universes that you can actually look up to:
Yes, Batman is rich in his out-of-costume life. He was born into a wealthy family and inherited his fortune upon his parents’ untimely death. Just because Batman was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, that doesn’t mean he’s pompous, spoiled or overtly greedy. This is quite unlike most other rich characters in comic books. Batman is a compassionate person driven by a strong sense of justice to do right for the 99 percent. Many comic book fans will say without a moment’s hesitation that Batman is the ultimate hero. You may not need money to be a hero, but it helps (Batmobiles don’t come cheap). However, the point is not to let your money go to your head.
Tony Stark/Iron Man
As far as the filthy rich go, Tony Stark a.k.a. Iron Man, is certainly one of the most notable ones. Like Batman, Stark was born into money too. Stark’s father was a scientist who made his fortune as an innovative industrialist during the WWII days. Like his father, Tony is a keenly intelligent person. He is a well-respected scientist, despite his notorious ways. Tony inherits father’s company and makes it a global brand with his ingenuity. Of course, he invents the iron suit, which becomes world famous later for different reasons. Tony Start may not come out as the squeaky clean hero that Batman is, but he is an excellent example of a rich guy doing good selflessly.
From the hit BBC show Downton Abbey, Mary Crawley first appears as a typical spoiled, rich brat born into English aristocracy. As she grows older, Mary learns from her mistakes and matures. From her parents, she is supposed to inherit a sizeable estate that could value into billions in modern money. This is according to an estimate Forbes actually did for fictional characters. Unfortunately, Mary is not male, and the patriarchal English law says the inheritance must go to a male heir. Following her first husband’s death, her claim to the family money is in serious jeopardy. That does not stop Mary from modernizing the Abbey and managing everyday affairs so the estate doesn’t fall into disrepair.
Lara Croft may have the title of “Lady,” but she is unlike any English aristocrat you might meet. Her very sizeable fortune does not keep this globetrotting heroine grounded. Lara is famous for traveling the world, uncovering mysteries, and saving ancient artifacts from the forces of evil. She is a world-class acrobat and her shooting skills are unrivaled. Money is not what defines Lara Croft, however, it’s her remarkable strength in spirit. That’s why she is one of the best rich people to look up to.
Another great fictional rich person that everyone can idolize without qualms—Tyrion Lannister. However, now that he is in exile for murdering his father and allegedly poisoning his nephew, his claim to the Lannister fortune is all but gone.