History Main / ReluctantRuler

11th Nov '16 8:44:23 AM ChronoLegion
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* In ''[[Literature/GreatSchoolsOfDune Sisterhood of Dune]]'', the newly-created Sisterhood (precursor to the Bene Gesserit) on Rossak realizes that an heir of Emperor Salvador Corrino will become a disastrous tyrant and ruin the Imperium. They decide to secretly make Salvador sterile, so that his more competent brother Roderick would continue the imperial line. This nearly works. Unfortunately, the Sister administering the drug lets it slip to Roderick that he would make a great ruler. Unfortunately for them, Roderick has no desire to be Emperor and is fiercely loyal to his brother. He has the drug examined and the Sister arrested and interrogated. The brothers then arrive to Rossak and execute a number of Sisters, including the remaining [[MindOverMatter Sorceresses]].

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* In ''[[Literature/GreatSchoolsOfDune Sisterhood of Dune]]'', the newly-created Sisterhood (precursor to the Bene Gesserit) on Rossak realizes that an heir of Emperor Salvador Corrino will become a disastrous tyrant and ruin the Imperium. They decide to secretly make Salvador sterile, so that his more competent brother Roderick would continue the imperial line. This nearly works. Unfortunately, the Sister administering the drug lets it slip to Roderick that he would make a great ruler. Unfortunately for them, Roderick has no desire to be Emperor and is fiercely loyal to his brother. He has the drug examined and the Sister arrested and interrogated. The brothers then arrive to Rossak and execute a number of Sisters, including the remaining [[MindOverMatter Sorceresses]]. In the sequel books, Roderick finally becomes Emperor after [[spoiler:Salvador is assassinated by Josef Venport luring him to a harvesting operation and leaving him to be eaten by a SandWorm]]. Everyone, including Roderick himself, agrees that he makes a ''much'' better ruler than his brother. Later, [[CorruptCorporateExecutive Josef Venport]] himself states that only a fool wants to be Emperor. Venport himself just wants to ensure prosperity and progress, unhampered by the anti-technology fanatics and the short-sightedness of Salvador. When necessary, Roderick is even willing to abdicate the throne in favor of his teenage son Javicco, if it will save the Imperium.
9th Nov '16 1:07:03 PM LordInsane
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* In ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic IV'' we have Lord Lysander of Palaendra. After Enroth was destroyed by the Reckoning, strange portals opened to a new world called Axeoth. The survivors of the kingdom of Erathia found themselves without a nation and a ruler, as every Gryphonheart (the ruling dynasty) is believed to have been killed by the Reckoning. Seeing that no one else is willing, Lysander forms the new nation of Palaendra. He becomes such a great ruler that people offer to crown him king. He refuses, however, as, in his mind, only a true Gryphonheart can be king. He always considers himself merely a steward. However, when a man shows up claiming to be a Gryphonheart, Lysander is reluctant to hand over the throne. Not because he isn't willing, but because he doesn't trust the newcomer's claim. When Lysander ends up proving that the man is an impostor and finding out that [[spoiler:he himself is a Gryphonheart]], he reluctantly allows himself to be crowned king.

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* In ''VideoGame/HeroesOfMightAndMagic IV'' we have Lord Lysander of Palaendra. After Enroth was destroyed by the Reckoning, strange portals opened to a new world called Axeoth. The survivors of the kingdom of Erathia found themselves without a nation and a ruler, as every Gryphonheart (the ruling dynasty) is believed to have been killed by the Reckoning.Reckoning (after already being winnowed in ''III'')[[note]]''VideoGame/MightAndMagic IX'' does reveal that a Gryphonheart of sorts is around on Axeoth -- Nicolai Ironfist, son of Catherine Gryphonheart, daughter of the last Gryphonheart king -- but as he ended up in a region far away from Palaendra that neither have heard of the other it is understandable he wasn't found[[/note]]. Seeing that no one else is willing, Lysander forms the new nation of Palaendra. He becomes such a great ruler that people offer to crown him king. He refuses, however, as, in his mind, only a true Gryphonheart can be king. He always considers himself merely a steward. However, when a man shows up claiming to be a Gryphonheart, Lysander is reluctant to hand over the throne. Not because he isn't willing, but because he doesn't trust the newcomer's claim. When Lysander ends up proving that the man is an impostor and finding out that [[spoiler:he himself is a Gryphonheart]], he reluctantly allows himself to be crowned king.
5th Nov '16 8:42:08 AM mercydracyel
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20th Oct '16 9:41:20 AM Morgenthaler
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* [[IconofRebellion Sun Yat-sen]], the first President of the [[UsefulNotes/ImperialChina post-imperial]] [[TheRepublic Republic of China]], was very reluctant to rule as President due to a [[YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre feeling of inadequacy]] and thus presented the title to [[SleazyPolitician Yuan Shikai]], a prominent figure in the Chinese military that had previously worked for the pre-revolutionary Qing Dynasty. Shortly after being appointed President, Shikai ruled China [[TheGeneralissimo as an autocratic despot]], relying heavily on 'local elites' (i.e. warlords) in the various provinces to maintain order and stability. After having created a short-lived [[TheEmperor Empire with himself as Emperor,]] Shikai died in 1916, [[RevolvingDoorRevolution culminating in a]] [[BalkanizeMe balkanization of China]] into various warlord states. Sun died in 1925, both his successors - the left-leaning Wang Jingwei of the Nationalist Party, and '[[DirtyCommies Red General]]' ChiangKaiShek of the National Revolutionary Army - lacking his reluctance to rule in favour of burning senses of ambition.

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* [[IconofRebellion Sun Yat-sen]], the first President of the [[UsefulNotes/ImperialChina post-imperial]] [[TheRepublic Republic of China]], was very reluctant to rule as President due to a [[YouAreBetterThanYouThinkYouAre feeling of inadequacy]] and thus presented the title to [[SleazyPolitician Yuan Shikai]], a prominent figure in the Chinese military that had previously worked for the pre-revolutionary Qing Dynasty. Shortly after being appointed President, Shikai ruled China [[TheGeneralissimo as an autocratic despot]], relying heavily on 'local elites' (i.e. warlords) in the various provinces to maintain order and stability. After having created a short-lived [[TheEmperor Empire with himself as Emperor,]] Shikai died in 1916, [[RevolvingDoorRevolution culminating in a]] [[BalkanizeMe balkanization of China]] into various warlord states. Sun died in 1925, both his successors - the left-leaning Wang Jingwei of the Nationalist Party, and '[[DirtyCommies Red General]]' ChiangKaiShek UsefulNotes/ChiangKaiShek of the National Revolutionary Army - lacking his reluctance to rule in favour of burning senses of ambition.
19th Oct '16 2:28:58 AM Morgenthaler
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* King Zachary Hillander of the GreenRider series. He was the younger son and expected to govern Hillander Provice while his elder brother Amillton ruled, but King Amigast finally saw [[TheEvilPrince Amillton]] for what he was.

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* King Zachary Hillander of the GreenRider ''Literature/GreenRider'' series. He was the younger son and expected to govern Hillander Provice while his elder brother Amillton ruled, but King Amigast finally saw [[TheEvilPrince Amillton]] for what he was.
9th Oct '16 6:31:04 PM CalicoJack
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* Liu Bei of RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms fame, did not like the idea of titling himself as King of Shu Han as he was loyal to the (now defunct) Han Dynasty, whom he aimed to restore. His advisors, particularly the famed Zhuge Liang, advised him by taking the title of King of Shu Han, he is able to oppose the other two kingdoms better in his attempt to restore the Han dynasty
** Furthermore, Zhuge Liang reminded him that he is a Liu, the family that built the Han Dynasty to begin with, which means he had a more legitimate claim to call his Kingdom of Shu as Shu ''Han''



* In another Chinese example, Liu Bei of The Three Kingdom's fame, did not like the idea of titling himself as King of Shu Han as he was loyal to the (now defunct) Han Dynasty, whom he aimed to restore. His advisors, particularly the famed Zhuge Liang, advised him by taking the title of King of Shu Han, he is able to oppose the other two kingdoms better in his attempt to restore the Han dynasty
** Furthermore, Zhuge Liang reminded him that he is a Liu, the family that built the Han Dynasty to begin with, which means he had a more legitimate claim to call his Kingdom of Shu as Shu ''Han''

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* In another Chinese example, While Liu Bei of in the RomanceOfTheThreeKingdoms was reluctant, his historical counterpart seems to have been a subversion. The Three Kingdom's fame, man rarely served a lord long, and betrayed both Sun Quan & Liu Zhang to take Yi Province, from which he based his Shu Kingdom.
** Meanwhile, while Cao Cao is often presented in fiction as a power hungry tyrant, he never (publicly) sought to replace the Emperor. In keeping with Confucian practice, he made a good show of humility and refusing honours. However, he
did not like the idea of titling himself as King of Shu Han as continue to eventually accept them. Whether he truly was loyal to the (now defunct) Han Dynasty, whom an ambitious warlord out for what he aimed to restore. His advisors, particularly the famed Zhuge Liang, advised him by taking the title could get away with or a humble, final hero of King of Shu Han, he is able to oppose the other two kingdoms better in his attempt to restore the Han dynasty
** Furthermore, Zhuge Liang reminded him that he
is a Liu, question for the family that built the Han Dynasty to begin with, which means he had a more legitimate claim to call his Kingdom of Shu as Shu ''Han''ages.
22nd Sep '16 8:21:31 PM TheWanderer
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* Ragnar from ''Series/{{Vikings}}'' never particularly wanted to be a ruler, he mostly just wanted to be left alone to do his own thing. Other power hungry men, however, came to fear him because he was a badass warrior whose reputation attracted followers, and he was willing to go against their edicts, so they thought Ragnar might overthrow them and tried to strike first. In every case Ragnar managed to outfight or outthink them, until at the end of the second season he becomes ''King'' Ragnar. Even so, he doesn't enjoy being a ruler and says as much on several occasions. The third and fourth season of the show seem to be deconstructing the trope, as Ragnar is constantly surrounded by ambitious enemies and [[WeAreStrugglingTogether petty disputes/betrayal among his friends]], all while being burdened by TheChainsOfCommanding and [[DentedIron all the wounds he's picked up along the way]]. Yet he ''can't'' just step away from being king, because it would cause massive chaos and the ambitious people who would try to take over would likely screw up everything positive Ragnar has tried to do ''and'' kill Ragnar and his entire family.

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* Ragnar from ''Series/{{Vikings}}'' never particularly wanted to be a ruler, he mostly just wanted to be left alone to do his own thing. Other power hungry men, however, came to fear him because he was a badass warrior whose reputation attracted followers, and he was willing to go against their edicts, so they thought Ragnar might attempt to overthrow them and tried to strike first. In every case Ragnar managed to outfight or outthink them, until at the end of the second season he becomes ''King'' Ragnar. Even so, he doesn't enjoy being a ruler and says as much on several occasions. The third and fourth season of the show seem to be deconstructing the trope, as Ragnar is constantly surrounded by ambitious enemies and [[WeAreStrugglingTogether petty disputes/betrayal among his friends]], all while being burdened by TheChainsOfCommanding and TheChainsOfCommanding, undergoing some SanitySlippage, becoming [[LonelyAtTheTop intensely lonely]] as more of his old companions die or become estranged from him, and [[DentedIron increasingly suffering from all the wounds he's picked up along the way]]. Yet he ''can't'' just step away from being king, because it would cause massive chaos chaos, and the ambitious people who would try to take over would likely screw up everything positive Ragnar has tried to do ''and'' kill Ragnar and his entire family.family to make sure Ragnar and company wouldn't become a threat to their rule.
18th Aug '16 12:13:14 AM PaulA
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* Emperor Gregor from the Literature/VorkosiganSaga attempts to bunk off from being emperor during one of the early books. He's mostly scared by the history of insanity in his family though.

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* Emperor In ''Literature/TheVorGame'', Gregor from the Literature/VorkosiganSaga attempts to bunk off from being emperor during one Emperor of the early books.Barrayar. He's mostly scared by the history of insanity in his family though.
10th Aug '16 9:05:13 PM nombretomado
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* King Cinhil Haldane in ''[[{{Deryni}} The Legends of Camber]]'' trilogy. He had been a cloistered priest for many years when he was found and removed from his monastery. He was persuaded to give up his vocation and accept a wife and a crown, but he didn't like it, and he came to blame Camber for his misery. Centuries later, Prince Regent Nigel Haldane is this in prospect; he prepares for his empowering ritual with a heavy heart because he doesn't want to confront the possibility he'll become king, and he insists on postponing his coronation for a year when his nephew is reported missing.

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* King Cinhil Haldane in ''[[{{Deryni}} ''[[Literature/{{Deryni}} The Legends of Camber]]'' trilogy. He had been a cloistered priest for many years when he was found and removed from his monastery. He was persuaded to give up his vocation and accept a wife and a crown, but he didn't like it, and he came to blame Camber for his misery. Centuries later, Prince Regent Nigel Haldane is this in prospect; he prepares for his empowering ritual with a heavy heart because he doesn't want to confront the possibility he'll become king, and he insists on postponing his coronation for a year when his nephew is reported missing.
8th Aug '16 7:03:05 AM JulianLapostat
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** He also refused to serve more than two terms, starting a tradition for the office. It was made law by the 22nd amendment, ratified after Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to four terms.

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** He also refused to serve more than two terms, starting a tradition for the office. It was made law by the 22nd amendment, ratified after Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected to four terms. Incidentally, Roosevelt initially planned to follow Washington's precedent and wanted to step down after his second term but with war looming on the horizon and the rise of fascism, he decided to break tradition and seek a third, and later a fourth term.


Added DiffLines:

** In general, the Founding Fathers tried to project an image of reluctance or humility towards power and positions as a sort of tradition, as a way to hide their political ambitions and project republican virtue (in the Roman sense). Privately, all of them were fairly ambitious wheeler-dealers, and they (Jefferson and Hamilton among others) got much mileage attacking their opponents of being ambitious and grabby for power while [[SarcasmMode they, in their opinion]] that is ''totally'' objective, are pure as snow.


Added DiffLines:

* King UsefulNotes/LouisXVI was noted in his lifetime for being extremely reluctant and hesitant and seemed to not really enjoy being King, and somehow even before UsefulNotes/TheFrenchRevolution, he was constantly insecure and weak, sensitive to constant insults about how different he was from the tradition of French monarchy[[note]]He was shy and timid, where French Kings were cold and decisive, he was also monogamous and stayed faithful to his wife, which provoked a scandal among aristocrats who mocked his prudishness[[/note]]. Even when he finally called for reforms to fix a financial crisis and escalating famine, he was percieved as being reluctant to follow through on the reforms he had himself called for, while at the same time not being as repressive on the revolutionaries and his subjects as his opponents had insisted upon. Even when he planned his famous Flight to Varennes, he left the planning to his wife and fatally delayed taking action.
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