Created By: Katsuhagi on January 29, 2017 Last Edited By: Katsuhagi on February 17, 2017
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Familial Body Snatcher

A Body Snatcher who only possesses members of their own family and/or descendants

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A type of Body Snatcher who uses Grand Theft Me and Body Surf who possesses their own family members and descendants. This may be because of a restriction on their power, often attributed to Genetic Memory or needing a close blood match, or preference since it allows them to keep resources and property through the generations, which may justify a Single Line of Descent. Since this process typically overwrites or suppresses the body's original consciousness, effectively killing the host, it's usually portrayed as Immortality Immorality.

These body snatchers will usually stick to one gender as their targets of possession, though taking any available body regardless of gender is not unheard of.

Compare My Grandson Myself, where an immortal or long lived character pretends to be their own descendant.
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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ceres and eventually her long-deceased husband Mikagi from Ayashi no Ceres - she can only "reincarnate" in her descendants because of their tennyo blood (though the reincarnation is at first treated more like a form of possession).
  • Arba in Magi Labyrinth of Magic is introduced using the body of Ren Gyokuen as a vessel, having previously possessed her mother and awakening after Gyouken gave birth to her two eldest sons. After Gyouken's body is killed she jumps to her daughter, Ren Hakuei, after attempting to take over her son Hakuryuu first, showing that while she prefers the females she is capable of taking over the males if need be.
  • Giriko from Soul Eater would use his skills as an Enchanter to implant his own memories into his own children, granting him a form of immortality until Arachne resurfaced. After spending thirty generations doing this, bottling up his murderous tendencies in-hiding, it has not helped his temperament.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!: Capsule Monsters, Alex Brisbane is a direct descendant of Alexander the Great and ends up possessed by his soul as a result.

    Film 
  • Being John Malkovich: The portal that leads into John Malkovich's head was made by a distant relative of his and designed to select members of that family as hosts.

    Literature 
  • In the Chalion series, Earl Horseriver is a descendant of the last Hallowed King and host to his soul thanks to a spell to keep him going to fight the invasion five hundred years ago by transferring his consciousness sequentially into each of his male blood heirs.
  • In the Dune series by Frank Herbert, "Abominations" whose Genetic Memory of their ancestors was awoken when they were still in the womb are at risk of this, shown by Alia in Children of Dune when she starts being influenced by the memories and ego of her grandfather, Baron Harkonnen. While the series makes it clear it's not his actual spirit the effect is very much the same.
  • In Give Her Hell by Donald Wollheim, the narrator makes a Deal with the Devil to avoid charges, including horrible abuse of his family. One of the conditions is for him to live another life from the start through reincarnation... and only on his deathbed does the devil reveal that he is limited, among other things, by this trope, so the narrator is going to relive his daughter's life and by extension the abuse he inflicted on her.
  • In the Known Space series, Jan Corben did this with series of clone daughters, via brain transplant. Each time she would assume the clone's identity, "inherit" all her stuff, and the identity attached to the old body would "die in a tragic accident". She survived for a timespan of 20, maybe 30 generations that way before suffering a genuine tragic accident.
  • In the Mage Winds trilogy of the Heralds of Valdemar series, Big Bad Ma'ar is discovered to have been possessing the bodies of his descendants to prolong his own existence.
  • The villain of Jinx High has survived since before the American Revolution via Grand Theft Me, but can only possess a blood descendant. Or at least a blood relative. The end of the novel strongly implies she was able to jump back to the current host's mother, a previous host body. She's tried moving into the bodies of non-relatives, and they've all died.
  • A variant in Nightside: the long-dead Merlin Satanspawn can be called up through his last living descendant Alex Morrisey, which causes Morrisey to vanish and Merlin to appear in the flesh. Alex finds the experience quite traumatic, and it's implied that he takes Merlin's place in death while Merlin is manifested.
  • In the Stephen King short story "Gramma", an eleven year old boy has to stay at home with his dying grandmother. His grandmother is a witch and after she dies her spirit possesses him.
  • The Thing on the Doorstep by H.P. Lovecraft is based on this concept: A man's wife is, in fact, his father-in-law, who now has designs to retake a male body.
  • Toyed with in Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga books. The standard method of life-extension is clearly immoral; it involves raising a clone to adulthood and then transplanting your brain into their body (killing them in the process). However, the main characters' discussions about stopping this practice are less moralising; the general consensus seems to be that the right response is to develop a more direct form of longevity treatment (which would probably be safer as well as less ethically horrific).
  • In The Worm Ouroboros, King Gorice of Witchland is actually an immortal spirit that possesses its son every time a body dies.

    Video Games 
  • Flemeth in Dragon Age is stated to use her daughters for this after her body succumbs to the ravages of age. Her latest daughter Morrigan requests in an optional sidequest that you hunt her down before she can pull this on her, not that it sticks since she shows up in the next two games. Complicating matters is that Yavana, another of Flemeth's daughters introduced in The Silent Grove, refers to Flemeth's possession as "a gift" but this isn't elaborated on. Dragon Age: Inquisition also adds a huge level of irony when Flemeth's true nature is revealed, since Flemeth has become one with the Elven Goddess Mythal, whose domain is motherhood.
  • In Psychonauts, Fred Bonaparte is a direct descendant of Napoleon Bonaparte and allegedly becomes possessed by his ancestor's Genetic Memory, and the game is ambiguous as to whether this is actually true or simply a delusion of Fred's.
  • Miang from Xenogears is able to possess any woman descended from her, which given that the world is a Lost Colony and humanity was born from her after Deus created her, this means all of them (with the exception of Emeralda, whose status as an Artificial Human means her DNA, if she even has it, isn't from Miang). She has gone through an average of one body a decade for 10,000 years. It's also shown that the woman's original personality remains intact even after the possession, as a previous host Karen Wong, Fei's mother was able to re-emerge after Miang abandoned the body moments prior to the host's death. She also possessed identical twin sisters on at least one occasion.

    Webcomics 
  • In Girl Genius, Lucrezia Mongfish/The Other's two known successful instances of Brain Uploading into a living person (as opposed to a Clank) have been in her own relatives, mainly her daughter Agatha and her niece Zola. Whether she's actually limited to her own relatives hasn't been clarified, but it's known all previous attempts with non-relatives were failures. It's also been strongly implied that Agatha was conceived specifically as a backup in case anything happened to the original Lucrezia.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Batman Beyond episode "Out of the Past" Ra's al Ghul was badly injured during his final battle with Batman and the Lazarus Pit couldn't heal him. His body hijacking machine could only imprint his memories on a "close genetic match", so he stole the body of his daughter Talia. More recent advances allow him to possess anyone, so he wants to hijack Bruce Wayne's body. The episode is a Whole Plot Reference to the aforementioned The Thing on the Doorstep.
Community Feedback Replies: 12
  • January 29, 2017
    NateTheGreat
    In the Batman Beyond episode "Out of the Past" Ra's al Ghul was badly injured during his final battle with Batman and the Lazarus Pit couldn't heal him. His body hijacking machine could only imprint his memories on a "close genetic match", so he stole the body of his daughter Talia. More recent advances allow him to possess anyone, so he wants to hijack Bruce Wayne's body.
  • February 3, 2017
    Leporidae
    Anime & Manga

    • Ceres and eventually her long-deceased husband Mikagi from Ayashi No Ceres - she can only "reincarnate" in her descendants because of their tennyo blood (though the reincarnation is at first treated more like a form of possession).
  • February 3, 2017
    intastiel
    • A variant in Nightside: the long-dead Merlin Satanspawn can be called up through his last living descendant Alex Morrisey, which causes Morrisey to vanish and Merlin to appear in the flesh. Alex finds the experience quite traumatic, and it's implied that he takes Merlin's place in death while Merlin is manifested.
  • February 3, 2017
    LondonKdS
    In The Worm Ouroboros, King Gorice the n of Witchland is an immortal spirit (well, until the end of the story) that possesses its son every time a body dies.
  • February 9, 2017
    Antigone3
    The villain of Jinx High has survived since before the American Revolution via Grand Theft Me, but can only possess a blood descendant. Or at least a blood relative. The end of the novel strongly implies she was able to jump back to the current host's mother, a previous host body. She's tried moving into the bodies of non-relatives, and they've all died.
  • February 9, 2017
    Malady
    This is a Requirement Trope?

    So this one from Grand Theft Me wouldn't work?

    The Thing On The Doorstep is based on this concept: A man's wife is, in fact, his father-in-law, who now has designs to retake a male body.
  • February 9, 2017
    Katsuhagi
    Maybe it should be broadened to "prefers" since later on it's mentioned that this can be because of a restriction but not necessarily?
  • February 9, 2017
    Generality
    • Being John Malkovich: The portal that leads into John Malkovich's head was made by a distant relative of his and designed to select members of that family as hosts.
  • February 10, 2017
    Omeganian
    In "Give Her Hell" by Donald Wollheim, the narrator makes a Deal With The Devil to avoid charges, including horrible abuse of his family. One of the conditions is for him to live another life from the start through reincarnation... and only on his deathbed does the devil reveal that he is limited, among other things, by this trope, so the narrator is going to relive his daughter's life.
  • February 10, 2017
    Malady
    Foldering is possible, so swap out the A Cs for it?

    Grand Theft Me-ing a clone doesn't count, right?

    NVM, the Known Space example shows it does... From Immortality Immorality, and other related pages have examples too, just search Clone...:

    Toyed with in Lois Mc Master Bujold's Vorkosigan books. The standard method of life-extension is clearly immoral; it involves raising a clone to adulthood and then transplanting your brain into their body (killing them in the process). However, the main characters' discussions about stopping this practice are less moralising; the general consensus seems to be that the right response is to develop a more direct form of longevity treatment (which would probably be safer as well as less ethically horrific).
  • February 17, 2017
    InformalFallacies
    Giriko from Soul Eater would use his skills as an Enchanter to implant his own memories into his own children, granting him a form of immortality until Arachne resurfaced. After spending thirty generations doing this, bottling up his murderous tendencies in-hiding, it has not helped his temperament.
  • February 17, 2017
    JoeG
    • In the Stephen King short story "Gramma", an eleven year old boy has to stay at home with his dying grandmother. His grandmother is a witch and after she dies her spirit possesses him.
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