Created By: DrakeClawfang on January 17, 2013 Last Edited By: DrakeClawfang on January 28, 2013
Troped

Lord Country

the ruler of a country shares their name with the country's name

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In many works of fiction, the ruler of a country or piece of land will often share their surname with the land itself. There can be a few reasons -- the country may have been named by the ruler after themselves, or the ruler may be an outsider who took the country's name as their own to fit in. It may also simply be tradition for the current ruler to take the name of the country as a surname when they come to power.

This practice comes from the old naming conventioin to refer to nobility as "<name> of <birthplace>", such as Henry of York. This was known as a "territorial surname" and was used to specifically note that the person was a landowner or noble of some sort. In fiction this can occur due to authors not having knowledge of noble houses, or the proper history behind territorial surnames. In short, it's simply easy to name the ruler of a country after the country, it saves the writer getting into the politics of the political houses and it's easier to remember for the reader.

Compare Egopolis.

Examples

Anime

  • Code Geass, all Britannian royalty has the last name "Britannia" with some prefix, like "di Britannia" or "li Britannia".
  • In Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta is named after his planet

Film

  • The Wicker Man: Both the 1973 original, and 2006 remake have these; the former being Lord Summersisle, the latter being Sister Summersisle.

Literature

  • In The Queen's Thief, the monarchs of the three countries (Sounis, Eddis, Attolia) are referred to by the country they rule. Although they all do have individual names they were born with.
  • The Land of Oz is at first ruled by the Wizard, who calls himself Oz. We later learn that the land was already called Oz before he got there and the fact that the Wizard was also named Oz was a coincidence. The Wizard thought they had named the country after him. From the 2nd book onward, Oz is ruled by a princess named Ozma.

Tabletop Games:

  • The Forgotten Realms setting flipflops on this with regards to the city-state of Neverwinter. According to some sources it's called that because its river never freezes (due to being heated by a nearby volcano). Other sources point to it being a truncation of "Never's Winter" after Lord Halueth Never, its earliest ruler.
  • In Traveller the head of an Aslan clan is referred to by the name of his clan. When distinguished from his clan as an individual the syllable "ko"("chief" or literally "himself") is added. That is the head of Coolclan is formally either Coolclan or Coolclanko.

Video Games

  • Final Fantasy V, Tycoon is ruled by Alexander Highwind Tycoon and Karnak is ruled by Queen Karnak.
  • Final Fantasy VI, Edger Roni Figaro rules the kingdom of Figaro.
  • Final Fantasy IX, the royal family of Alexandria bear the name "Alexandros". Both double as foreshadowing of the kingdom's guardian Eidolon, Alexander.
  • Final Fantasy XII, Ashe's last name is Dalmasca. Subverted with the Archadian emperors, who are of House Solidor and use that as their surnames, never using Archadia or any permutation of the name.
  • Ultima, Lord British rules over Britannia. In this case the land was named after him, he united the land, then called Sosaria, under one banner and rechristened it Britannia.
  • The Legend of Zelda, a couple games give the royal family of Hyrule the last name Hyrule. Both are justified, as the land was once ruled and protected by the goddess Hylia, and Skyward Sword reveals the first Zelda was Hylia's reincarnation and is implied to have resettled Hyrule with humans after the game's end.
  • The monarchs of Guardia in Chrono Trigger in 600 AD and 1000 AD are known only as King Guardia XXI and King Guardia XXXIII respectively.
  • The Empire in The Elder Scrolls is sometimes called the Septim Empire after the surname of its royal family through Oblivion. This is mainly to distinguish it from two previous Empires in the setting.

Web Original

  • Commander Canada and Commander Canadia from the Keegan's Truck web series.

Real Life

  • Saudi Arabia, ruled by the Saud dynasty
  • Liechtenstein, ruled by Princes Liechtenstein.
  • Though he formally has no surname, the British Prince William, in his military career, uses the surname Wales because he is the Prince of Wales. The same goes for the rest of his family. His brother is known as Captain Harry Wales.
Community Feedback Replies: 35
  • January 17, 2013
    StarSword
    Tabletop Games:
    • The Forgotten Realms setting flipflops on this with regards to the city-state of Neverwinter. According to some sources it's called that because its river never freezes (due to being heated by a nearby volcano). Other sources point to it being a truncation of "Never's Winter" after Lord Halueth Never, its earliest ruler.
  • January 17, 2013
    StarSword
    Video Games:
    • The Empire in The Elder Scrolls is sometimes called the Septim Empire after the surname of its royal family through Oblivion. This is mainly to distinguish it from two previous Empires in the setting.
  • January 17, 2013
    Desertopa
    I thought we already had a trope for this, but I can't find a sign of it.

    • The monarchs of Guardia in Chrono Trigger in 600 AD and 1000 AD are known only as King Guardia XXI and King Guardia XXXIII respectively. The royal family of Zeal likewise bears Zeal as a surname. In both cases it's unclear whether the country or the family name came first.
  • January 18, 2013
    aurora369
    I already tried to YKTTW it as "House Whatever of Whateveritania". Some examples from there:

    • Code Geass: all Britannian royalty has the last name "Britannia" with some prefix, like "di Britannia" or "li Britannia".
    • Real Life: Saudi Arabia, ruled by the Saud dynasty, and Liechtenstein, ruled by Princes Liechtenstein.
  • January 18, 2013
    Arivne
    ^^ @Desertopa: This was proposed on YKTTW not too long ago. That may be what you're remembering.
  • January 18, 2013
    Chabal2
    In Dragon Ball Z, Vegeta is named after his planet.
  • January 18, 2013
    aurora369
    Well, actually the current-day monarch of Liechtenstein is a prince. "Princes" is a plural of "prince", not a misspelling of "princess".
  • January 18, 2013
    lexicon
    Are we sure these are last (family) names and not just so-and-so of such-and-such a place? Back in the old times they used to call people by their places. In the Young Royals Prince Henry (Henry VIII), Duke of York, was referred to as York and Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was referred to as Salisbury.
  • January 18, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    ^^ apologies

    ^ That would be noted under a Real life section, but in many fantasy games I'd wager it isn't stated if the same convention is used in the game's world - the Ultima example runs precisely contrary in fact. But thanks for bringing it up, it's been added with a bit of rewording.
  • January 18, 2013
    aurora369
    In real life only the two examples I posted are really family names.
  • January 18, 2013
    shiro_okami
    • In The Queens Thief, the monarchs of the three countries (Sounis, Eddis, Attolia) are referred to by the country they rule. Although they all do have individual names they were born with.
  • January 18, 2013
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Film
    • The Wicker Man: Both the 1973 original, and 2006 remake have these; the former being Lord Summersisle, the latter being Sister Summersisle.
  • January 18, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    thanks, added.

    Anyone got ideas to improve the trope description?
  • January 19, 2013
    randomsurfer
    The Land Of Oz is at first ruled by the Wizard, who calls himself Oz. We later learn that the land was already called Oz before he got there and the fact that the Wizard was also named Oz was a coincidence. The Wizard thought they had named the country after him. From the 2nd book onward, Oz is ruled by a princess named Ozma.
  • January 20, 2013
    aurora369
    Somebody please do something with the Liechtenstein example. I've already explained the error.
  • January 20, 2013
    StarSword
    ^Fix it yourself. That's allowed.
  • January 20, 2013
    acrobox
    Anime Example

    • In Naruto Konohamaru is the grandson of the leader of Konohagakure. This is a bit lost in translation in English. The location is directly translated to The Village Hidden in the Leaves, or shortened to Hidden Leaf Village or The Leaf instead of Konoha. The character's name is left untranslated instead of calling him 'Leafy' or something similar.

    Videogame example

    • Fire Emblem Tellius did this with a few of its nobles such as Queen Elincia Ridell Crimea the ruler of Crimea.

  • January 20, 2013
    nitrokitty
    ^ Note on the Fire Emblem example, the royal family is referred to as King/Queen Crimea, but their family name is Ridell.
  • January 20, 2013
    acrobox
    ^ Elinica's surname is actually Crimea, the other nobles are just called King/Queen "Nation" but that's just a title, not their actual name. Such as Sanaki Kirsch Altina sometimes referred to as Empress Begnion.
  • January 21, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    added Oz. Fire Emblem, so, what is to be said?
  • January 23, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    Bump
  • January 23, 2013
    lexicon
    Real Life

    • Though he formally has no surname, the British Prince William, in his military career, uses the surname Wales because he is the Prince of Wales. The same goes for the rest of his family. His brother is known as Captain Harry Wales.
  • January 23, 2013
    aurora369
    The Slayers: the Seyruunian (or Saillunean, if you wish) royal family is this. Amelia, for example, is Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun.
  • January 24, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    That would be Manga, then?
  • January 24, 2013
    DracMonster
  • January 24, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    I like it, but it sounds like Fisher Kingdom
  • January 24, 2013
    NESBoy
    Commander Canada and Commander Canadia from the Keegan's Truck web series.
  • January 25, 2013
    jatay3
    In Traveller the head of an Aslan clan is referred to by the name of his clan. When distinguished from his clan as an individual the syllable "ko"("chief" or literally "himself") is added. That is the head of Coolclan is formally either Coolclan or Coolclanko.
  • January 25, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    Adding. Just need some hats now, if people think it's ready.
  • January 25, 2013
    Desertopa
    I think it's tropable, and it's got enough examples, but the description is a bit barebones.
  • January 26, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    Any suggestions to improve it are welcome
  • January 26, 2013
    Desertopa
    I'd expand the "for whatever reason" into an introduction to some possible reasons, both in-story and meta, for the use of the trope. Maybe the family named the country after themselves. Maybe a foreign conqueror took the new surname to seem less like an outsider. Maybe the writer doesn't want to encourage the audience to bother themselves with questions about dynasties or house politics which will never be addressed in the story. Maybe the author isn't familiar with the concept of house or territorial surnames, and so gave the monarch the same name as the country as a sort of filler name(there are a lot of video game examples, and the emperor of Japan has never had a surname of any kind, at least as long as historians have been keeping track, as there's only ever been one imperial family of Japan. The imperial family is sometimes known as the Yamato Dynasty, Yamato being both an ancient name for Japan, and the name of the dominant ethnic group, which might lead authors to style fictional royal families in the same way.)
  • January 26, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    right, thanks
  • January 28, 2013
    DrakeClawfang
    bump, one more hat, anyone? :)

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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=q7n58pf1894kvpmtx7n4ihi0&trope=LordCountry