Legacy of Service


(permanent link) added: 2011-03-31 21:23:47 sponsor: Windsong12 (last reply: 2011-04-05 04:32:01)

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Blackadder: You're fired.
Baldrick: But my lord, I've been in your family since 1532!
Blackadder: So has syphilis, now get out.

Sometimes, there are servants who do get very attached to the master family. So much that their children follow in their footsteps and continue serving the family's descendants. Hence the reason why there are servants who come from a very long line of faithfully serving their masters.

Common in anime and manga, since 'servant families' were common in Feudal Japan - some of those relationships remain today, if only symbolically, and often pop up to be played for drama, action or romance.

Such servants are very likely to stick with the master should they ever become an Impoverished Patrician, like the Old Retainer. The servants can take any form, be it a Maid, a Butler, The Igor, or the housekeeper. Keep in mind, of course, that the trope need not extend merely to servants, and that anything from lawyers or flower girls can be subject to this, too.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • Kaze no Stigma, where the first Arc is powered by the rebellion of a family of wind-ninjas who have been serving the Kannagi Clan for centuries, and have finally gotten tired of it.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: Mori is the son of a family that has served Honey-chan's family since the Warring States Era, and despite the relationship being officially dissolved, he continues to serve and protect Honey-chan with supreme loyalty.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh: The Ishtar family has been serving the Pharaoh for thousands of years, most of that living in an underground labyrinth protecting his tomb. Resentment over this is a huge part of what fuels Marik's Start Of Darkness.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Ling's bodyguards Lan Fan and Fu come from a family that has served the Royal Family for a long time.
  • The Bakers have served the Burtons for centuries in Madlax.

Comics
  • The original story for Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred Pennyworth, whose father, Jarvis, had been Thomas Wayne's butler. This particular version of Alfred was canon until Frank Miller's Batman:Year One, which established that Alfred had himself been Thomas Wayne's butler/valet, and had worked for the Wayne family since before Thomas and Martha Wayne were killed.

Film
  • Young Frankenstein: "My father worked for your father." --Igor
  • In Forrest Gump, Bubba's family has apparently been in service for at least a century. The montage which shows different generations serving seems to imply that they are serving different generations of the same family. In this case, it's treated as a bad thing, since their service originated during the time of slavery.

Literature

  • The Butler family in Artemis Fowl has been serving the Fowl family for a long time (the earliest recorded relationship between the two families dates back to the Third Crusade).
  • Afanasiy Zyukin from The Coronation is a butler in the third (I think) generation.
  • Thomas' family in The Infernal Devices is a long line of people with a touch of the Sight, which enables them to serve the Nephilim.
  • Kitty Goes to Washington features a family that has served a female vampire for centuries. It turns out they are all descended from the two children she had before she became a vampire.
  • From The Hound of the Baskervilles, John Barrymore, whose family has served the Baskervilles for generations.
  • In the Liaden Universe, the family firm of dea'Gauss have served as attorneys to Clan Korval through many generations. One of the prequels reveals that it was a dea'Gauss who did the paperwork for the founding of the Clan, centuries ago, and Korval has had them on retainer ever since.
  • The Stewards of Gondor, sort of. Being a family tasked over to watch over the throne in absence of a king, they had been waiting for the Return of the King and should have recognized Aragorn as the rightful King of Men, but Denethor has other ideas.
  • The Brands of David Eddings' Belgariad are hereditary servants to the Kings of Riva, serving as a sort of chancellor - handling the day-to-day drudge while the king makes the big decisions. So dedicated are they to their duty that upon assumign office, they abandon whatever name they had before, becoming known simply as 'Brand' (which was the name of the first one to hold the office). Similar to the Lord of the Rings example, they've spend a long time taking care of Riva and its throne while waiting for the return of the true king, but once he DOES show up, they never falter, and continue to serve faithfully. (With one notable, but quickly-corrected exception.)

Live Action TV
  • A Blackadder always seems to end up with a Baldrick as a servant or something or other regardless of his status. What's interesting about this is that we actually see the bond being formed in the first episode, something we don't usually see in other examples of this trope.
  • On The Nanny, Niles' father was the butler for Maxwell Sheffield's family before Niles himself became Maxwell's butler.

Webcomics

  • Girl Genius featured two such families:
    • Violetta is a member of a family of Smoke Knights who have served Tarvek Sturmvoraus's family for generations (her family being a somewhat lower-ranking branch of his).
    • The Von Mekkhan family has been serving the Heterodynes for generations as their Senechals, essentially family retainers who help maintain the Castle.
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