Created By: Unknown Troper on January 28, 2010

Scullery Maid

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As the Grand List says, your less-developed fantasy worlds will contain no castle underlings save guards and kitchen staff. The latter, however, presents a marvelous opportunity for anyone willing to submit to a little drudgery, if she can only get herself placed as a Scullery Maid.

If she's in for infiltration, scullery maids are practically invisible. They don't get very much access to sensitive areas of the castle, it is true, but chances are someone will notice our heroine's talents and give her a promotion, or else that she'll have a knack for attracting Exact Eavesdropping. If the infiltration has some sort of assassination in mind, kitchen staff have a perfect opportunity to poison people.

If she's simply hiding out, believe me, no one suspects The Chosen One is sweating over boiling potatoes.

Even if she's basically been enslaved into such a position, the Scullery Maid will find some way to prevail.

  • In A City In Winter, the long-lost child queen takes a tip from La Résistance and takes a rather exhausting job sorting yams. Her subsequent rocketing through the ranks is heavily implied to be, quite literally, divine intervention.
  • The heroine of The Catswold Portal seems aware of this trope, but unfortunately for her, the evil queen interrogates every last member of the staff personally.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire actually plays this more or less straight with Arya.
    • Shae, on the other hand, rejects the archetype, as she actually became a whore in the first place in order to stop working in a kitchen.
  • Lessa in Dragonriders of Pern starts out as a drudge with a very overdeveloped sense of vengeance. It takes years for her to finally get a chance at her foe, though she does enact loads of scorched-earth policies in the interim.
Community Feedback Replies: 4
  • January 24, 2010
    This was popular with Konoichi. See That Other Wiki.
  • January 25, 2010
    In Monstrous Regiment, this is how the heroes get inside the castle (including the male lieutenant, who is the most enthusiastic of them all).
  • January 25, 2010
    In The Chinese Maze Murders, Dee plants a spy in one household by sending her to get a job as a temporary maid.
  • January 28, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Nanny Ogg uses this as a highly successful infiltration technique; she's at home around people, knows their names, family trees, and everyone's maladies after about half an hour and knows that nobody ever questions a little old lady being helpful, because it's a job you don't have to do and nobody cares if she doesn't get paid.