Created By: Trotzky on June 12, 2011 Last Edited By: Trotzky on July 30, 2012

Legitimancy

Magical ability to spot the Chosen One.

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"Legitimancy" is a portmanteau of "legitimate" = one true king and "mancy" = fortune-telling: the magical ability to recognize the one true king and convince others.

  • LOTR: Gandalf told everybody that Aragorn is King of Gondor and they believed him.
  • Subverted in Disc World, Carrot refuses to be Tyrant because Mr. Vimes would go spare.
  • Star Wars: Yoda don't believe that Luke is worthy of Jedi training until Obi Wan's ghost explains the prophecy.
  • Zig-Zagged in Harry Potter: the Prophecy said either Harry or Neville would be the Messiah. Dumbledore made his millions by insisting that Harry is the Christ-child. Books 1-6 showed Harry being the Awesome one. Bk7 showed Neville being the Awesome one. After the books were over, JKR did interviews and Word of God asserts that Harry is the Awesome one.
  • Rose of Street Fighter, thanks in part to being a spiritually aware Fortune Teller. According to her, Ryu is The Fool, the one person who can defeat Bison for good, but only at a specific time. As that time has yet to come, Rose sees it fit that she help guide the wandering warrior along his destined path while preventing him and other allies from prematurely fighting Bison.
Community Feedback Replies: 36
  • June 13, 2011
    Valentine
    That's not what legitimate means, but the name is still very clever and suitable.

    Discworld and Harry Potter aren't examples though. There's nobody in the Discworld example who has any magical means of telling that Carrot is the heir to the throne.

    Harry Potter is hailed as the Chosen One because Voldemort was defeated when he tried to kill him at age one. Before Dumbledore told Harry the whole thing, Dumbledore was the only one who knew the full prophecy (and Voldemort and Snape were the only additional people who even knew part of the prophecy). Dumbledore merely recognised that when Voldemort marked Harry at age one he made the prophecy about Harry - unless logic is a magical power, he didn't have any mystical way of determining that Harry was the Chosen One.
  • June 13, 2011
    Topazan
    Besides which, the Discworld example is a little bit confused as currently written. Nobby turned down the throne out of fear of Commander Vimes, not Carrot. Carrot doesn't want to be king because he believes he can serve the city better as a watchman than a king. 'Tyrant' is the title of the Ephebian executive, and the title of the non-royal leader of Ankh-Morpork is 'Patrician'.
  • June 13, 2011
    FhnuZoag
    Well, the ur-trope is King Arthur and the whole deal with Merlin and that sword...
  • June 13, 2011
    Antigone3
    Garion from the Belgariad may be an example. Polgara doesn't need sorcery to know Garion is heir to Riva's throne, because she's been raising the heirs for centuries. For everyone else, Garion being able to touch the Orb of Aldur without dying and then taking Riva's sword off the wall is a one-two punch of "He's your King".
  • June 14, 2011
    Trotzky
    The trope should include artefacts which everybody knows respond to the Chosen one: Arthur's sword in the stone, Orb of Aldur. Lia fail the original Stone of Scone would scream when the true king sat on it. Ark of the Covenant kills non-Levites who touch it.

    Sword In The Stone is specifically artefacts which recognize The Chosen One. It Would it be simpler to change Sword in the Stone to "artefact OR person that recognizes etc." and then add these examples to that trope.
  • June 14, 2011
    Spark9
    I don't like the name. While in Ancient Greek, the -mancy suffix may mean "fortune telling", in contemporary English most people don't know that, and it instead means "magic". For example, "pyromancy" is generally understood to mean "magic using fire" and not "fortune telling with fire". Furthermore, as stated above, it's not what "legitimate" means, either.

    So while the name may be a clever pun, I think it's too obfuscatory to be a good trope name.
  • June 14, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    In The Wheel Of Time, some of the minor characters have the Talent of seeing Ta'veren, who are essentially The Chosen One to various degree.
  • June 14, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    ^^ Wait. It's a pun? The spelling is so close to "Legitimacy", that I thought it was using that word. If the spelling is that close, it's not a good name.
  • June 14, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Good trope. Bad name. Needs A Better Description
  • June 14, 2011
    jatay3
    Gandalf might not be an example. He knew Aragorn because he had been raised in Rivendell and Gandalf often visited there.
  • June 16, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    The Bene Geserit and their spice-fueled powers, as used in their search for the Kwisatz Haderach. While the sisterhood has been breeding people to create this superbeing for a very long time, and they have a subset of bloodines in which they concentrate their search, they must still test the humanity of likely specimens. Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam tests Paul Atreides in this fashion early in Dune.
  • June 16, 2011
    Jackalyn
    In Wheel Of Time There is a Talent for detecting Tar'aven, it manifests as a golden glow surrounding them.
  • June 17, 2011
    acrobox
    jiraiya of naruto was chosen to choose and train the chosen one. Initially Nagato, then Minato and finally Naruto
  • June 17, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
  • June 17, 2011
    Kamino
    In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion Emperor Uriel Septim VII recognises the Player Character as the one he saw in his dreams and immediately trusts him or her. Despite the fact that they meet in prison and the Player Character is an inmate.
  • June 17, 2011
    LobsterMagnus
    John the Baptist did also immediately recognize that Jesus is the Messiah, if I am not mistaken.
  • June 19, 2011
    Trotzky
    How about the trope name "Behold The Lamb Of God" to refer to John the Baptist's proclamation? John, 1 29.

  • June 19, 2011
    Auxdarastrix
    Lamb of God is too specific to one mythology to be a trope name, and people will think it only has something to do with Divine Parentage. Behold The Chosen One might work.
  • June 19, 2011
    Octagon8
    Video Games
    • Zawu from Last Scenario seems to have this ability. Actually, she just pretends to.
  • June 19, 2011
    Hadashi
    Literature
  • June 19, 2011
    Trotzky
    Are we happy with Behold The Chosen One?
    • Gandalf counts. He is so old that he has probably met everyone of Isildur's blood-line. There must have been something to show that of all the clan, Aragorn was the Chosen One. Gandalf convinces everyone in Gondor except Denethor and Boromir.
      • The trope definition is "recognize the Chosen One and convince others". Should we drop the "convince others" bit?
  • June 19, 2011
    TBeholder
    change the name, but let's reuse this later, since heir-spotting is a legitimate (heh) trope on its own.
  • June 19, 2011
    randomsurfer
    IMO Behold The Chosen One could mean something like the beginning of The Lion King where Simba is presented to the rest of the animals. It's not a big discovery, just a ceremony.
  • June 19, 2011
    Grug

    I like the pun in the title, but agree it needs improvement. Maybe "Destiny Detector".
  • June 30, 2011
    TBeholder
    Destiny Detector sounds good.
  • June 30, 2011
    hevendor717
    ^ No, because that sounds like events in general rather than a special "chosen" individual.
  • July 1, 2011
    Andygal
  • July 1, 2011
    Aielyn
    I think this one needs to make use of a Trope Namer that just about everyone will recognise - so basically, Star Wars, The Bible, etc. Sensing The Skywalker? Messiah Detector?
  • July 1, 2011
    Trotzky
    Messiah Ometer? I Spy Chosen One? Kwizats Detector references Dune and don't fit the new rules.
  • July 1, 2011
    X2X
    Rose of Street Fighter, thanks in part to being a spiritually aware Fortune Teller. According to her, Ryu is The Fool, the one person who can defeat Bison for good, but only at a specific time. As that time has yet to come, Rose sees it fit that she help guide the wandering warrior along his destined path while preventing him and other allies from prematurely fighting Bison.
  • July 1, 2011
    Generality
    This was the entire point of the sword in the stone.
  • July 1, 2011
    Trotzky
    Indeed, but Sword In The Stone is specifically an artefact that recognizes the Chosen One. This Trope is a person who recognies the Chosen One.

    Upthread, I suggested expanding the definition of SITS to include people.
  • July 30, 2012
    TBeholder
    • Forgotten Realms has Siamorphe, the goddess of nobility and Divine Right. Her priests have 'Divine Bloodline' spell detecting noble lineage. The limitation is how long no one held the title in question (one century/level).
  • July 30, 2012
    Earnest
    This skill can be a really useful part of being The Chooser Of The One.
  • July 30, 2012
    CobraPrime
    Gandalf doesn't count. He knows Aragorn is the chosen one coz Elrond told him so. Elrond raised Aragorn and knew his lineage, not Gandalf. By the time Aragorn and Gandalf first met, Aragorn had already been told his lineage... By Elrond. Elrond tells Aragorn his lineage (Kept secret at the behest of his mother) in 2951. Aragon meets Gandalf for the first time in 2956. Secondly, this isn't some "skill" or ability. Elrond knows damn well Aragon is who is based on evidence: Aragorn resembles Elendil, whom Elrond met (No even counting how Aragorn's entire race descends from Elrond's own brother). He met Aragorn's mom and dad, and there was a literal army of rangers who could testify to Arathorn (ergo, Aragorn's) descent as leader of the Dunedain and therefore heir of Isildur. And that's not even counting that they arrived with the shards of Narsil.

    The Star Wars example is also wrong. Obi-Wan's ghost does not mention the prophecy. He merely shoots down Yoda's arguments.
    Yoda: Ahh... father. Powerful Jedi was he. Powerful Jedi.
    Luke: [suspcious] Oh, come on! How can you know my father? You don't even know who I am. Oh, I don't even know what I'm doing here! We're wasting our time!
    Yoda: [Looking away from Luke] I cannot teach him. The boy has no patience.
    Obi-Wan: [voice-over] He will learn patience.
    Yoda: Much anger in him... like his father.
    Obi-Wan: [voice] Was I any different when you taught me?
  • July 30, 2012
    Jhimmibhob
    Refine the definition how we will, the title is too damned good to lose.

    The big, obvious Biblical example is Samuel's picking out and anointing of Saul, then young David. In at least one Gospel, John the Baptist appears to recognise and announce Jesus as the Messiah (though not in all the accounts).

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