History Main / BastardBastard

12th Mar '16 7:28:14 PM Eievie
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Born with the shame of unmarried parents, he is marginalized at best, reviled and banished at worst (not to mention unable to inherit), but unlike his more sympathetic counterpart, the HeroicBastard, the BastardBastard is [[ThenLetMeBeEvil not trying to rise above society's expectations]]. Instead, his ParentalAbandonment has created the ultimate FreudianExcuse. He's the JerkassWoobie who's got it in for his father, his siblings, or maybe even [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds the world.]] His issues have driven him to seek revenge, or made him vulnerable to manipulation by the forces of Evil. Generally male, although female examples are becoming more common.

This trope can be found in any society where rank or wealth can be inherited, if it also has a distinction between legitimate and illegitimate offspring—making it OlderThanDirt.

While not exactly a DiscreditedTrope, [[HeroicBastard the subversion]] is more common today. Modern audiences have [[ValuesDissonance a less stringent view toward children and wedlock]] and tend to be more accepting of a literal bastard character. While modern settings don't really make use of this trope as plenty of modern fiction deals with settings that draw inspiration from the middle ages (particularly high fantasy but plenty of other genres too) it'll continue to be relevant for as long as people want to write about aristocracies and so forth.

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Born with the shame of unmarried parents, he is marginalized at best, reviled and banished at worst (not to mention unable to inherit), but inherit)--but unlike his more sympathetic counterpart, the HeroicBastard, the BastardBastard is [[ThenLetMeBeEvil not trying to rise above society's expectations]]. Instead, his ParentalAbandonment has created the ultimate FreudianExcuse. He's the JerkassWoobie who's got it in for his father, his siblings, or maybe even [[WoobieDestroyerOfWorlds the world.]] His issues have driven him to seek revenge, or made him vulnerable to manipulation by the forces of Evil. Generally male, although female examples are becoming more common.

This trope can be found in any society where rank or wealth can be inherited, if it also has a distinction between legitimate and illegitimate offspring—making offspring--making it OlderThanDirt.

While not exactly a DiscreditedTrope, [[HeroicBastard the subversion]] is more common today. Modern audiences have [[ValuesDissonance a less stringent view toward children and wedlock]] and tend to be more accepting of a literal bastard character. While modern settings don't really make use of this trope as plenty of modern fiction deals with settings that draw inspiration from the middle ages (particularly ages--particularly high fantasy fantasy, but plenty of other genres too) it'll too--it'll continue to be relevant for as long as people want to write about aristocracies and so forth.



* ''ASongOfIceAndFire'''s LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters has many bastards, and nine last names reserved solely for the use of natural children, depending on the area of Westeros. Jon Snow, a main protagonist, is of the [[HeroicBastard heroic]] variety, but there are {{Bastard Bastard}}s out and about as well, such as Ramsay [[strike:Snow]] Bolton. [[spoiler:And also [[TheCaligula Joffrey Baratheon]], although it wasn't known for a long time, and his siblings, also bastards, seem pretty decent]]. Walder Rivers, known as "Bastard Walder", the eldest bastard of Walder [[BigScrewedUpFamily Frey]], is a tough soldier and a bit of a bastard (the two are pretty entwined in that world), but compared to some of his relatives, particularly Black Walder, he is positively noble. It is mentioned he hates being a bastard and hates anyone who isn't.
** Craster, a wildling North of the wall and [[TokenEvilTeammate uncertain ally]] of the Night's Watch, is the bastard of a Night's Watch ranger and Wildling woman from Whitetree. He is called a "kinslayer, liar, raper and craven". Craster is notorious for [[ParentalIncest marrying his daughters]] and [[spoiler:sacrifices his sons to the [[HumanoidAbomination Others]].]] However, calling him a bastard is a BerserkButton for him.

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* ''ASongOfIceAndFire'''s ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'''s LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters has many bastards, and nine last names reserved solely for the use of natural children, depending on the area of Westeros. Jon Snow, a main protagonist, is of the [[HeroicBastard heroic]] variety, but there are {{Bastard Bastard}}s out and about as well, such as Ramsay [[strike:Snow]] Bolton. [[spoiler:And also [[TheCaligula Joffrey Baratheon]], although it wasn't known for a long time, his bastardy isn't common knowledge, and his siblings, also bastards, siblings (also bastards) seem pretty decent]]. Walder Rivers, known Rivers--known as "Bastard Walder", the Walder"--the eldest bastard of Walder [[BigScrewedUpFamily Frey]], is a tough soldier and a bit of a bastard (the two are pretty entwined in that world), but bastard. But compared to some of his relatives, particularly relatives--particularly Black Walder, he is Walder--he's positively noble. It is mentioned It's mentioning that he hates being a bastard and hates anyone who isn't.
** Craster, a wildling North of the wall and [[TokenEvilTeammate uncertain ally]] of the Night's Watch, is the bastard of a Night's Watch ranger and Wildling woman from Whitetree. He is called a "kinslayer, liar, raper and craven". Craster is notorious for [[ParentalIncest marrying his daughters]] and [[spoiler:sacrifices daughters]]--and don't get started on his sons to the [[HumanoidAbomination Others]].]] sons. However, calling him a bastard is a BerserkButton for him.



** Quite generally, while a few Bastards in ASOIAF are clearly {{Bastard Bastard}}s and a few are clearly {{Heroic Bastard}}s, many are just in the background trying to make the best of their ambiguous social position - or seriously a mix of both. Ramsay Bolton engages in evil deeds, but since his father also is evil, they may arguably be what his father approved and wanted.
** Also while Bastard Bastard is listed as an "AlwaysMale" Trope, female bastards are common in ASOIAF. One, at Shield Islands, is employed by her father as a servant to her legitimate half-sisters - and when the Ironmen conquer her home and take them captive, sides with the conquerors and enjoys exchanging clothes with her sisters and forcing them to serve her. Though considering how cruelly they were described as treating her, it may be a case of just desserts. However, it can still look harsh considering some of her sisters are just children and some of them get raped while their father is ForcedToWatch.

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** Quite generally, while a few Bastards bastards in ASOIAF are clearly {{Bastard Bastard}}s and a few are clearly {{Heroic Bastard}}s, many are just in the background trying to make the best of their ambiguous social position - or position--or seriously a mix of both. Ramsay Bolton engages in evil deeds, but since his father also ASOIAF mortality is evil, they may arguably be what his father approved and wanted.
always ambiguous.
** Also while Bastard Bastard is listed as an "AlwaysMale" Trope, female bastards are common in ASOIAF. One, at Shield Islands, is employed by her father as a servant to her legitimate half-sisters - and half-sisters--and when the Ironmen conquer her home and take them captive, sides with the conquerors and enjoys exchanging clothes with her sisters and forcing them to serve her. Though considering how cruelly they were described as treating her, it may be a case of just desserts. However, it can still look harsh considering some of her sisters are just children and some of them get raped while their father is ForcedToWatch.



*** Benedict is the oldest living child of Oberon and was born fully legitimate. Then Oberon had that marriage nullified in such a way that legally it never existed. Is he now retroactively a bastard? If so, then the heir becomes ...
*** Eric, who was born to Oberon and Faiella (wife #2, but before she ''became'' wife #2) and was never officially recognized by Oberon as his child (Oberon did officially recognize a later bastard as his child), making him a questionable heir, in which case it devolves to ...

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*** Benedict is the oldest living child of Oberon and was born fully legitimate. Then Oberon had that marriage nullified in such a way that legally it never existed. Is he now retroactively a bastard? If so, then the heir becomes ...
becomes…
*** Eric, who was born to Oberon and Faiella (wife #2, but before she ''became'' wife #2) and was never officially recognized by Oberon as his child (Oberon did officially recognize a later bastard as his child), making him a questionable heir, in which case it devolves to ...to…



--> (Judges 8:30 ESV) Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives. 31And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he called his name Abimelech. 32And Gideon the son of Joash died...
--> (9:5) And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone.

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--> (Judges -->(Judges 8:30 ESV) Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives. 31And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he called his name Abimelech. 32And Gideon the son of Joash died...
--> (9:5)
died…
-->(9:5)
And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone.



* Cesare Borgia, the illegitimate son of [[UsefulNotes/ThePope Pope Alexander VI]], who crops up a lot in Machiavelli's ''ThePrince'', although a lot of what Machiavelli attributes to him was actually the work of his father...

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* Cesare Borgia, the illegitimate son of [[UsefulNotes/ThePope Pope Alexander VI]], who crops up a lot in Machiavelli's ''ThePrince'', although a lot of what Machiavelli attributes to him was actually the work of his father...father…



* [[DrJerk Dr. Gregory]] Series/{{House}}'s parents were married. . . just not to one another.

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* [[DrJerk Dr. Gregory]] Series/{{House}}'s parents were married. . . married… just not to one another.



* The series ''Series/{{Merlin 2008}}'' has [[spoiler: Morgana]] as a female partial subversion. The King has treated her as his daughter her entire life but has not told her that she actually is. When she discovers the truth it leads to a rather jarring bit of artistic license when [[spoiler: she attempts to assassinate her father and half-brother so she can claim the throne.]]

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* The series ''Series/{{Merlin 2008}}'' has [[spoiler: Morgana]] as a female partial subversion. The King has treated her as his daughter her entire life but has not told her that she actually is. ''is''. When she discovers the truth truth, it leads to a rather jarring bit of artistic license when [[spoiler: she attempts to assassinate her father and half-brother so she can claim the throne.]]



* Elias on ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' is this. As an adult, he's a cunning and slippery mob boss. As a child, he saw his mother shot to death, and ended up in foster care. He got his StartOfDarkness when he tracked down his Mafia don father, hoping to become part of the family or at least part of the organisation, only to learn that his father was the one who ordered his mother's death - and he learns it from the assassins sent to kill him too. Decades later, he gets his revenge.

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* Elias on ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' is this. As an adult, he's a cunning and slippery mob boss. As a child, he saw his mother shot to death, and ended up in foster care. He got his StartOfDarkness when he tracked down his Mafia don father, hoping to become part of the family or at least part of the organisation, only to learn that his father was the one who ordered his mother's death - and death--and he learns it from the assassins sent to kill him too. Decades later, he gets his revenge.



* Don John from ''MuchAdoAboutNothing'' is also a bastard and a villain, but since he's in a comedy instead of a tragedy, he's less effective -- albeit narrowly. If Hero had actually killed herself, he could have been as vile and [[MagnificentBastard magnificently bastardish]] as Iago from ''Othello.''
* Hagen in Creator/RichardWagner's ''[[Theatre/DerRingDesNibelungen Götterdämmerung]]'' - the son of Alberich and queen Grimhild, the mother of king Gunther. The mastermind behind everything in the last day of the tetralogy, who also does not mind murdering Siegfried and Gunther himself to lay his hands on the Ring his father made.

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* Don John from ''MuchAdoAboutNothing'' is also a bastard and a villain, but since he's in a comedy instead of a tragedy, he's less effective -- albeit effective--albeit narrowly. If Hero had actually killed herself, he could have been as vile and [[MagnificentBastard magnificently bastardish]] as Iago from ''Othello.''
* Hagen in Creator/RichardWagner's ''[[Theatre/DerRingDesNibelungen Götterdämmerung]]'' - the Götterdämmerung]]''--the son of Alberich and queen Grimhild, the mother of king Gunther. The mastermind behind everything in the last day of the tetralogy, who also does not mind murdering Siegfried and Gunther himself to lay his hands on the Ring his father made.



* [[TallDarkAndSnarky Marcello]] of ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' straddles the line between this and HeroicBastard. Born to a philandering rich guy who ''almost'' made him his heir, only to ditch him and his mother after his '''wife''' gave him a son, Marcello ''does'' work tirelessly to claw his way above the stigmata of his social station, and ''does'' manage to make a name for himself. ...Unfortunately, he does so by playing into the [[CorruptChurch corrupt factions of the]] [[SaintlyChurch Church of the Goddess]]. Eventually, he goes sailing over the MoralEventHorizon with eyes wide open by [[spoiler: assassinating the Pope and stealing his station]], robbing him of any sympathy... [[DracoInLeatherPants for most people]].

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* [[TallDarkAndSnarky Marcello]] of ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' straddles the line between this and HeroicBastard. Born to a philandering rich guy who ''almost'' made him his heir, only to ditch him and his mother after his '''wife''' gave him a son, Marcello ''does'' work tirelessly to claw his way above the stigmata of his social station, and ''does'' manage to make a name for himself. ...Unfortunately, himself… unfortunately, he does so by playing into the [[CorruptChurch corrupt factions of the]] [[SaintlyChurch Church of the Goddess]]. Eventually, he goes sailing over the MoralEventHorizon with eyes wide open by [[spoiler: assassinating the Pope and stealing his station]], robbing him of any sympathy... [[DracoInLeatherPants for most people]].



--> '''Zola''': ...and I'm allied with the ''Storm King''. A ''direct'' descendant of Andronicus [[EveryoneLooksSexierIfFrench Valois]]!

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--> '''Zola''': ...and '''Zola''': …and I'm allied with the ''Storm King''. A ''direct'' descendant of Andronicus [[EveryoneLooksSexierIfFrench Valois]]!
24th Feb '16 7:52:43 PM Prfnoff
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Added DiffLines:

* ''Theatre/MarginForError'' invokes this trope with regard to UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler, or "Mr. Schicklegruber," as Denny likes to call him:
-->"Schicklegruber, that's Adolf's ''real'' name. His mother's name. His father never gave him one, as everyone realizes intuitively."
24th Feb '16 7:49:29 PM Prfnoff
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--> ''My mother was the Queen, my father never seen, I was never meant to be''
--> ''Now I spend my time looking all around for a man who's nowhere to be found''

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--> ''My -->My mother was the Queen, my father never seen, I was never meant to be''
--> ''Now
be\\
Now
I spend my time looking all around for a man who's nowhere to be found''found



--> ''Mama gripped on to the milkman's hand''
--> ''And then she finally gave birth''

to:

--> ''Mama -->Mama gripped on to the milkman's hand''
--> ''And
hand\\
And
then she finally gave birth''birth
* The UsefulNotes/WorldWarII propaganda song "Schickelgruber" portrays UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler as this:
-->Schickelgruber! Schickelgruber!\\
You were born a child of shame.\\
You have always been a bastard,\\
Even though you changed your name.
24th Feb '16 7:46:50 PM Prfnoff
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** Siegfried, though intended as a HeroicBastard, can come across as this to audiences. He is an arrogant and rude youth who enjoys tormenting his foster-father Mime. The probably intentional anti-Semitic connotations with this don't help.
8th Feb '16 11:12:05 PM Loekman3
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* [[spoiler: [[VideoGame/GodOfWar Kratos]]]] from VideoGame/GodOfWar is ''definitely'' one of these.

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* [[spoiler: [[VideoGame/GodOfWar Kratos]]]] Kratos from VideoGame/GodOfWar the VideoGame/GodOfWarSeries is ''definitely'' born out of one of these.Zeus many affairs and both father and son are bastards in their own rights.
30th Jan '16 8:37:40 AM Willbyr
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* ''PandoraHearts'' has [[spoiler: Jack]].

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* ''PandoraHearts'' ''Manga/PandoraHearts'' has [[spoiler: Jack]].



* Towards the end of ''AyashiNoCeres'', we learn that [[spoiler: Kagami]] is this. [[spoiler: His mother was the second wife of his step father and he was her bastard child, meaning that he actually has no blood ties to the Mikage.]]

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* Towards the end of ''AyashiNoCeres'', ''Manga/AyashiNoCeres'', we learn that [[spoiler: Kagami]] is this. [[spoiler: His mother was the second wife of his step father and he was her bastard child, meaning that he actually has no blood ties to the Mikage.]]
21st Jan '16 5:42:28 AM MrThorfan64
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** Also while Bastard Bastard is listed as an "AlwaysMale" Trope, female bastards are common in ASOIAF. One, at Shield Islands, is employed by her father as a servant to her legitimate half-sisters - and when the Ironmen conquer her home and take them captive, sides with the conquerors and enjoys exchanging clothes with her sisters and forcing them to serve her. Though considering how cruelly they were described as treating her, it may be a case of just desserts.

to:

** Also while Bastard Bastard is listed as an "AlwaysMale" Trope, female bastards are common in ASOIAF. One, at Shield Islands, is employed by her father as a servant to her legitimate half-sisters - and when the Ironmen conquer her home and take them captive, sides with the conquerors and enjoys exchanging clothes with her sisters and forcing them to serve her. Though considering how cruelly they were described as treating her, it may be a case of just desserts. However, it can still look harsh considering some of her sisters are just children and some of them get raped while their father is ForcedToWatch.



** Aurane Waters, the Bastard of Driftmark (his family the Velaryons rule Driftmark). Cersei appoints him to the Small Council as Grand Admiral (Master of Ships). However when Cersei is imprisoned Aurane flees King's Landing with the new dromonds and uses them to become a pirate. There are fandom theories he has other motives, but for the time being he just looks like a greedy opportunist.
** The {{Sadist}}ic Ramsay Snow is, [[spoiler: next to Joffrey]], probably the best example ASOIAF offers. Especially notable because his father openly blames this on his 'tainted blood.' It's clear that, though Roose Bolton is cruel and vicious, he's pragmatic about it and doesn't let it affect his plans. Ramsay, however, is just a SerialKiller with a noble title and is threatening his father's own power with his wanton cruelty. He is considered by many people the most evil character in the series.
** The "Great Bastards" of Aegon IV "The Unworthy", who legitimized them all on his deathbed out of spite at his only legitimate son, Daeron II "The Good". Daemon Blackfyre tried to overthrow Daeron, and may have been persuaded into this by another of Aegon's bastards, Aegor Rivers "Bittersteel", who had a feud with his half-brother Brynden Rivers "Bloodraven". Bloodraven plays with this, being a sinister figure who used ruthless methods to oppose the Blackfyres, the descendants of Daemon, even killing Daemon and two of his sons in battle, executing another of Daemon's sons despite an offer of safe conduct, and turning the Seven Kingdoms into a Police State with his spying methods when he was Hand of the King to his Daeron's son and successor Aerys I. He was unpopular among the people and believed to be a sorcerer [[spoiler:which seems to have been true]], but seems to be one of the most morally ambiguous characters in a world full of such figures. [[spoiler:TheReveal he is the Three-Eyed Crow adds to this.]]

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** Aurane Waters, the Bastard of Driftmark (his family the Velaryons rule Driftmark). Cersei appoints him to the Small Council as Grand Admiral (Master of Ships).Ships), partially as he reminds her of [[TheLostLenore Rhaegar Targaryen]] (the Targaryens and Velaryons are distantly related and both have Valyrian blood). However when Cersei is imprisoned Aurane flees King's Landing with the new dromonds and uses them to become a pirate. There are fandom theories he has other motives, but for the time being he just looks like a greedy opportunist.
** The {{Sadist}}ic Ramsay Snow is, [[spoiler: next to Joffrey]], probably the best example ASOIAF offers. Especially notable because his father openly blames this on his 'tainted blood.' It's clear that, though Roose Bolton is cruel and vicious, he's pragmatic about it and doesn't let it affect his plans. Ramsay, however, is just a SerialKiller with a noble title and is threatening his father's own power with his wanton cruelty.cruelty, and is suspected of poisoning Roose' legitimate son Domeric so he could become heir. Ramsay hates being referred to as a bastard, and murders people who say he is. He is considered by many people the most evil character in the series.
** The "Great Bastards" of Aegon IV "The Unworthy", who legitimized them all on his deathbed out of spite at his only legitimate son, Daeron II "The Good". Daemon Blackfyre Blackfyre, bastard of Aegon and one of his Targaryen cousins, tried to overthrow Daeron, and may have been persuaded into this by another of Aegon's bastards, Aegor Rivers "Bittersteel", who had a feud with his half-brother Brynden Rivers "Bloodraven". After Daemon was killed, Aegor continued trying to seat Daemon's descendants on the Iron Throne for the rest of his life. Bloodraven plays with this, being a sinister figure who used ruthless methods to oppose the Blackfyres, the descendants of Daemon, even killing Daemon and two of his sons in battle, executing another of Daemon's sons despite an offer of safe conduct, and turning the Seven Kingdoms into a Police State with his spying methods when he was Hand of the King to his Daeron's son and successor Aerys I. He was unpopular among the people and believed to be a sorcerer [[spoiler:which seems to have been true]], but seems to be one of the most morally ambiguous characters in a world full of such figures. [[spoiler:TheReveal he is the Three-Eyed Crow adds to this.]]]]
** Cotter Pyke, a bastard Ironman and Commander of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea at the Wall comes across as a bit of a jerk but is still obedient to the Night's Watch.
** Historically there is Ronard Storm, bastard brother of Morden II Durrandon, who usurped his brother and imprisoned them, ruling the Stormlands.
5th Jan '16 9:28:56 PM TSBasilisk
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* Prince Dmitry in ''LightNovel/HeavyObject'' is knee-deep in corruption and nepotism, including being connected to the assassination of other claimants to the throne of Volga. The suspected reason is that claims of his birth mother being a "surrogate" are a lie covering up the King's indiscretion. As Volga is a matrilineal country this would leave him with no right to the crown unless he can wipe out all the legitimate heirs and make himself the only option for a continuous line.

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* Prince Dmitry in ''LightNovel/HeavyObject'' is knee-deep in corruption and nepotism, including being connected to the assassination of other claimants to the throne of Volga. The suspected reason is that claims of his birth mother being a "surrogate" are a lie covering up the King's indiscretion. As Volga is a matrilineal country this would leave him with no right to the crown unless he can wipe out all the legitimate heirs and make himself the only option for a continuous line. [[spoiler:After his death, his co-conspirators admit they were hiding DNA tests proving his illegitimacy]].
5th Jan '16 9:28:06 PM TSBasilisk
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Added DiffLines:

* Prince Dmitry in ''LightNovel/HeavyObject'' is knee-deep in corruption and nepotism, including being connected to the assassination of other claimants to the throne of Volga. The suspected reason is that claims of his birth mother being a "surrogate" are a lie covering up the King's indiscretion. As Volga is a matrilineal country this would leave him with no right to the crown unless he can wipe out all the legitimate heirs and make himself the only option for a continuous line.
1st Jan '16 5:28:55 PM nombretomado
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* [[BrokenBird Tess]] [[DarkActionGirl Mercer]] on ''{{Smallville}}'' is TheBaroness. She's a cold-blooded BrokenAce CorruptCorporateExecutive and ManipulativeBastard, [[AntiVillain and]] a WellIntentionedExtremist [[IronWoobie who takes no crap from anyone]], even after the reveal that she is [[spoiler:Lionel Luthor]]'s bastard daughter. Her [[AlternateUniverse Earth-2 counterpart]], on the other hand, who was raised by her father in the [[TheUnfavourite shadow of his legitimate children]]? She's a whiny mess of ParentalIssues, who can't decide if she wants to be DaddysLittleVillain or [[BastardUnderstudy stab him in the back]], and is in an [[VillainousIncest incestuous relationship]] with [[spoiler: her adopted brother Clark]]. Jeez. What a difference an upbringing makes.

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* [[BrokenBird Tess]] [[DarkActionGirl Mercer]] on ''{{Smallville}}'' ''Series/{{Smallville}}'' is TheBaroness. She's a cold-blooded BrokenAce CorruptCorporateExecutive and ManipulativeBastard, [[AntiVillain and]] a WellIntentionedExtremist [[IronWoobie who takes no crap from anyone]], even after the reveal that she is [[spoiler:Lionel Luthor]]'s bastard daughter. Her [[AlternateUniverse Earth-2 counterpart]], on the other hand, who was raised by her father in the [[TheUnfavourite shadow of his legitimate children]]? She's a whiny mess of ParentalIssues, who can't decide if she wants to be DaddysLittleVillain or [[BastardUnderstudy stab him in the back]], and is in an [[VillainousIncest incestuous relationship]] with [[spoiler: her adopted brother Clark]]. Jeez. What a difference an upbringing makes.
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