Created By: Sibuna on July 19, 2013 Last Edited By: Sibuna on March 16, 2015

Person Kept Secret

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
A person, who is kept a secret for some reason by someone, be it by their parents, their government, or themselves, from any age, usually birth.

During the story the heroes would discover the hiding person, or the hidden person could be the protagonist themselves, actively trying to stay hidden or trying to escape.

The person could also be an antagonist, if hidden away for being evil in some way.

Supertrope to Batman in My Basement, Madwoman in the Attic and Hidden Backup Prince. Contrast Un person, the inversion of this trope.

As this trope often deals with a Reveal, there will be Unmarked Spoilers Ahead.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Yasu from Umineko no Naku Koro ni is kept secret by different groups for different reasons. Natsuhi and Kinzo keep Yasu secret because Yasu is Kinzo's bastard child, and Natsuhi threw Yasu off a cliff. Genji and Kumasawa, on the other hand, keep Yasu's existence secret partially at Kinzo's wishes, but they keep secret even from him and Natsuhi that Yasu survived the cliff fall because they think that Kinzo might eventually fall in love with Yasu, as he did Yasu's mother, Beatrice Ushiromiya.
  • In One Piece, Portgas D. Ace's mother Rouge held him for twenty months in her womb just to make sure the public won't know \he's the son of her lover, Pirate King Gold Roger. Because of the stigma that a pirate's son will Turn Out Like His Father let alone him being the son of Roger and that the Marines, after Roger's death, started a witch-hunt of every woman ever affiliated with him, searching for the possibility of an offspring. This costs her her life.
    • As a favor of Roger himself to his rival, Vice Admiral Garp, the latter also tried to keep Ace hidden and was there when Rouge gave birth to him. Then he brought Ace to his hometown in East Blue and got Curly Dadan to raise him (along with the young Luffy) with the intention of making them Marine officers. Ace himself also tends to go by his mother's maiden surname rather than his dad's.

Film
  • In the Slasher Movie Humongous a woman named Ida was raped and kept the child born of the rape hidden away...until she dies.
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Judge Frollo actively tries to keep Quasimodo hidden from the rest of the public and makes him stay in the tower by convincing him that the world is a cruel place and he is safer in the bell tower. Of course, this only works up until the Feast Of Fools, and stories are still told about Quasimodo, making him legendary despite the fact only Frollo and the Archdeacon really knew he existed.

Literature
  • The Man in the Iron Mask in ''The Vicomte de Bragelonne'' is a twin brother of King Louis XIV, who has been kept locked away all his life so he couldn't usurp his brother's throne. Of course, he is freed and does just that in the course of the novel.

Live-Action Television
  • During the new series for Doctor Who, the titular character encounters a woman named "River Song". His relationship is a secret from him because it gets formed in his future. As the series progressed, he learned more and more about her. A pivotal reveal was that she was also a Person Kept Secret from her parents, and the Doctor was instrumental in rescuing her from her kidnappers. Her real name is Melody Pond, the daughter of Rory and Amy Pond, his first companions after meeting her for the first time.

Videogames
  • Jade Empire: The Big Bad secreted away and kept the last of the Spirit Monks hidden from the world and his siblings while he concocted a master plan that would involve using the said monk as means to achieve the title of Emperor, and ultimately, godhood and immortal life.
  • In AdventureQuest Worlds, Sepulchure, the Doom Knight and overlord of evil, kept his daughter Gravelyn secret for years, with her existence only becoming common knowledge after his death and her ascension to the throne of the Shadowscythe Empire. The reason for all this secrecy isn't known until the second part of the Doomwood saga where it's revealed that she is the Champion of Light, the only thing keeping the Realm of Darkness from destroying the world, and the reason that Sepulchure didn't kill her was out of love for both her and her mother Lynaria.

Western Animation
  • In a Treehouse of Horror episode of The Simpsons Homer & Marge keep Bart's Evil Twin Hugo hidden and locked up in the attic.
  • Gangster kingpin Riff Raff plots the heist of the Hopeless Diamond in the Underdog story arc "From Hopeless To Helpless." Riff Raff brings along a small fellow cloaked from head to ankles, with two eyeholes in the fabric. This character's purpose is described only as "just in case." He is later revealed to be Tap-Tap, a gem cutter that happens to be a doppelganger for Underdog.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Toph was this until meeting Aang. Her overprotective parents kept her locked inside the grounds of their home (although she was able to sneak out to work as a wrestler).
  • The Thomas the Tank Engine special Blue Mountain Mystery revolves around the Narrow Gauge engines keeping a lost engine, Luke, secret from the Thin Controller (due to supposedly killing another engine via an accident said engine was found and repaired as Victor, who resolved everything when he found out). How this is managed isn't quite elaborated upon, since the engines (including Luke himself) are pretty much completely reliant on workmen to function.
Community Feedback Replies: 31
  • July 19, 2013
    Earnest
    Supertrope to Hidden Backup Prince.
  • July 19, 2013
    Bisected8
    I think this might just be Un Person.
  • July 19, 2013
    Sibuna
    You're probably right. Whoops ^^' Oh well.
  • July 20, 2013
    Koveras
    Nope. Un Person is an in-universe version of Ret Gone: the character existed for some time, then retroactively declared to have never existed.

    The way I understand this, it's about people whose existence is kept secret from birth until they are finally revealed at some point (probably in the course of the story). So it's actually an inversion of Un Person.

    • The Man in the Iron Mask in The Vicomte de Bragelonne is a twin brother of King Louis XIV, who has been kept locked away all his life so he couldn't usurp his brother's throne. Of course, he is freed and does just that in the course of the novel.
  • July 20, 2013
    OlafMerchant
    Videogames

    • Jade Empire: The Big Bad secreted away and kept the last of the Spirit Monks hidden from the world and his siblings while he concocted a masterplan that would involve using the said monk as means to achieve the title of Emperor, and ultimately, godhood and immortal life.
  • July 20, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    Western Animation
    • Gangster kingpin Riff Raff plots the heist of the Hopeless Diamond in the Underdog story arc "From Hopeless To Helpless." Riff Raff brings along a small fellow cloaked from head to ankles, with two eyeholes in the fabric. This character's purpose is described only as "just in case." He is later revealed to be Tap-Tap, a gem cutter that happens to be a doppelganger for Underdog.
  • July 20, 2013
    Chabal2
    The Man In The Iron Mask: many variations believe this man was Louis XIV's secret twin, whose mask prevented anyone from seeing his resemblance, and was a prisoner in the Bastille.
  • July 20, 2013
    RandomSurfer
    Supertrope to Batman In My Basement.

  • July 20, 2013
    Sibuna
    • In ''The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, Frollo actively tries to keep Quasimodo hidden from the rest of the public and makes him stay in the tower by convincing him that the world is a cruel place and he is safer in the bell tower. Of course, this only works up until the Feast Of Fools, and stories are still told about Quasimodo, making him legendary despite the fact only Frollo and the Arch-Deacon really knew he existed.
  • July 20, 2013
    Bisected8
    • In Avatar The Last Airbender, Toph was this until meeting Aang. Her overprotective parents kept her locked inside the grounds of their home (although she was able to sneak out to work as a wrestler).
  • July 20, 2013
    Clevomon
    Yasu from Umineko No Naku Koro Ni is kept secret by different groups for different reasons. Natsuhi and Kinzo keep Yasu secret because Yasu is Kinzo's bastard child, and Natsuhi threw Yasu off a cliff. Genji and Kumasawa, on the other hand, keep Yasu's existence secret partially at Kinzo's wishes, but they keep secret even from him and Natsuhi that Yasu survived the cliff fall because they think that Kinzo might eventually fall in love with Yasu, as he did Yasu's mother, Beatrice Ushiromiya.
  • July 20, 2013
    TwoGunAngel
    In Adventure Quest Worlds, Sepulchure, the Doom Knight and overlord of evil, kept his daughter Gravelyn secret for years, with her existence only becoming common knowledge after his death and her ascension to the throne of the Shadowscythe Empire. The reason for all this secrecy isn't known until the second part of the Doomwood saga where it's revealed that she is the Champion of Light, the only thing keeping the Realm of Darkness from destroying the world, and the reason that Sepulchure didn't kill her was out of love for both her and her mother Lynaria.
  • July 20, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    ^^ That's a terrible spoilered example. The only thing I can determine from it is two characters from Umineko No Naku Koro Ni have a hidden birth.
  • July 21, 2013
    DAN004
    • In One Piece, Portgas D. Ace's mother Rouge held him for twenty months in her womb just to make sure the public won't know he's the son of her lover, Pirate King Gold Roger. Because of the stigma that a pirate's son will Turn Out Like His Father let alone him being the son of Roger and that the Marines, after Roger's death, started a witch-hunt of every woman ever affiliated with him, searching for the possibility of an offspring. This costs her her life.
      • As a favor of Roger himself to his rival, Vice Admiral Garp, the latter also tried to keep Ace hidden and was there when Rouge gave birth to him. Then he brought Ace to his hometown in East Blue and got Curly Dadan to raise him (along with the young Luffy) with the intention of making them Marine officers. Ace himself also tends to go by his mother's maiden surname rather than his dad's.
  • July 21, 2013
    Clevomon
    ^^ Please feel free to edit it, but Yasu is an example, and Yasu's existence is kind of the key spoiler for the entire series.

    EDIT: Truth be told, this may be one of those tropes best marked with MASSIVE UNMARKED SPOILERS AHEAD.
  • July 22, 2013
    Sibuna
    I agree with that. ^^ I'll unmark the spoilers that have to do with the Person Kept Secret themselves. I guess anything else can stay spoilered, unless someone else has a different idea.
  • July 22, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    It could sometimes be a spoiler trope, but I was more objecting to the example not following how we should be Handling Spoilers. And especially since the unspoiled version of the example is not friendly to non-fans.
  • July 22, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    Live Action
    • During the new series for Doctor Who, the titular character encounters a woman named "River Song". His relationship is a secret from him because it gets formed in his future. As the series progressed, he learned more and more about her. A pivotal reveal was that she was also a Person Kept Secret from her parents, and the Doctor was instrumental in rescuing her from her kidnappers. Her real name is Melody Pond, the daughter of Rory and Amy Pond, his first companions after meeting her for the first time.
  • July 22, 2013
    Sibuna
    So what do you guys think? Should this be a spoiler trope or no? Because the reveal could be a big spoiler, and yet it might not.
  • July 22, 2013
    oneuglybunny
    It seems that example posters must necessarily name the character and how that character is kept secret, and often the reason why, to avoid Zero Context Examples. There will be exceptions to these cases; however, the majority will reveal The Climax, or at least a Plot Twist. Therefore, I recommend the global warning of Unmarked Spoilers Ahead.

    Pardon me for adjusting some format errors. :)
  • July 23, 2013
    Arivne
    I agree that this trope should have an "unmarked spoilers ahead" warning.
  • July 23, 2013
    Psi001
    • The Thomas The Tank Engine special Blue Mountain Mystery revolves around the Narrow Gauge engines keeping a lost engine, Luke, secret from the Thin Controller (due to supposedly killing another engine via an accident said engine was found and repaired as Victor, who resolved everything when he found out). How this is managed isn't quite elaborated upon, since the engines (including Luke himself) are pretty much completely reliant on workmen to function.
  • July 23, 2013
    Clevomon
    @crazysamaritan

    I'm more than happy to edit it to make it more friendly, but I'm limited in what I can do. I can't use pronouns, since the character's gender, or lack thereof, is even more spoilery than the character's name. The character is introduced by name in Episode 7 out of 8 and pretty much is the solution to the series' mystery (as it is, among other genres, a mystery series). The character pretty much is the definition of the Walking Spoiler. However, if you have any suggestions for how to edit it to make it better, I'm more than happy to do what I can.
  • July 23, 2013
    Sibuna
    I'm going to unmark the spoilers, but is there anything you guys think should be kept spoilered out?
  • July 24, 2013
    Clevomon
    It's also connected to Madwoman In The Attic.
  • July 24, 2013
    DracMonster
    ^^ This is in Spoilered Rotten territory, you have an "avert your virgin eyes!" disclaimer at the bottom of the description, so you can dispense with all spoiler tags.
  • July 25, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    @Clevomon

    The pronoun "they" can also be used in the singular sense, and disguises the pronoun in English language. My biggest problem is that I cannot read spoilered text from my phone, so the example you gave was too difficult for me to parse. From a computer, I can spoil the story for myself and suggest an alternative wording. Finally reading the example shows me that only one character is hidden, when I thought it was two different characters.

    As you can see, the meat of the example, "one character kept secret by several groups, each for different reasons." Is able to be clear, and unmarked. The sub-bullets show each group that contributes to keeping the secret, while keeping why in spoilers. I would rather not have Genji and Kumasawa spoiler-tagged, but I don't know if their names are spoilers, either.

    @Drac Monster, I think the page needs a warning that spoilers may be present, but I disagree that it needs to have spoilers unmarked.
  • July 27, 2013
    Sibuna
    I took out the spoilers that deal with who the PKS is and why they were hidden, but left the ones that reveal outside information spoilered out.
  • March 14, 2015
    Gowan
    • In A Brothers Price, Jerin's grandfather Alannon was kept secret by the grandmothers ... he was a prince, although not a Hidden Backup Prince (he was not heir to the throne), and their kidnapping him from a palace under siege was not entirely legal. They were determined to keep him, even though the royal family (the one that had wiped out his branch of the family) searched for him for a long time.
  • March 14, 2015
    DAN004
    I'm sure we have a lot of tropes for a person being kept secret from the audience. Now, what are they?
  • March 16, 2015
    randomsurfer
    WWE: When the Bella Twins debuted, it was only Brie Bellla who officialy showed up. During matches when she was losing, she'd crawl under the ring and her sister Nikki would come out to finish the match.

Three days must pass before this YKTTW is Launchworthy or Discardable

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=fsc8pksiw5sd3l8xduixm2hy