Homeless King
The leader of a city's castoffs.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-03-03 12:37:29 sponsor: Earnest (last reply: 2012-12-03 17:56:49)

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Suggested alternate titles: King of the Homeless, The Beggar King.

This character is the leader or even "king" of all the homeless, indigent, and castoffs in a city. Either by dint of age, respect, or obstinate madness he has authority over the homeless. The king may be a crime boss type, a mayor who keeps their society running, or an actual king who holds court. Regardless of how much wealth he has, he always stays purposefully poor and in a homeless lifestyle.

More often than not Muggles in the know will respect him and even ask him for help or Wisdom from the Gutter, assuming he doesn't have a higher education equivalent knowledge. Usually these guys are also suffering a mental illness that makes them a Cloud Cuckoo Lander. However, an especially beloved king (it helps if they aren't violent) may have their delusion humored by a whole city.

See also/compare The Fagin and Wasteland Elder. For a normal king who is now homeless, see Fallen Princess. This trope is almost Always Male, hence the use of masculine pronouns.


Examples:

Anime and Manga
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex Chief Aramaki's missing brother turns out to be one in an episode near the end of the first season. He's arrested on trumped up charges to get at his brother. In the second season he has a cameo in order to give Kuze somebody to explain his plan to.

Comic Books
  • TMNT had The Garbageman, a hideous and ruthless villain who dreams of ruling a garbage kingdom with the homeless as his slaves. After he was defeated The Professor (so named because he used to be a university professor) became a good and wise leader to the homeless and gave a valuable Aesop on recycling.
  • One Hellraiser comic has a literal Homeless King, holdingncourt in the sewers.
  • One story in The Goon has the term "hobo jungle" taken literally, with the hoboes looking like Amazonian natives. Their king is a long-haired guitar player.

Film
  • Newsies has Jack Kelly of one part of New York and another boy of another part.
  • (Please Confirm) Perry in The Fisher King counts. When we first see him we get the impression he protects tribes of homeless against anti-bum vigilantes, and may well be held in the role of some kind of leader.
  • In Army Of Darkness, Ash meets Duke Henry, the leader of a band of poor townfolk who were banished from the King's castle. Ash quickly reminds him just how much his supposed status is worth:
    Duke Henry: You Sir, are not one of my vassals... who are you?
    Ash: Who wants to know?
    Duke Henry: I am Henry the Red. Duke of Shale, Lord of the Northlands and leader of its peoples.
    Ash: Well hello Mister Fancypants. Well, I've got news for you pal, you ain't leadin' but two things, right now: Jack and shit... and Jack left town.

Literature
  • Thieves' World series. Moruth the Beggar King was the leader of the beggars in the Downwind section of Sanctuary.
  • Discworld has Queen Molly, head of the Beggar's Guild.
  • Neverwhere has one who rules a kingdom inside a subway car.
  • Bloodsucking Fiends has a Homeless King inSan Francisco, very clearly modeled on Emperor Norton of the same city.
  • Koba is the leader of Echo's homeless in Labyrinths of Echo.
  • Thieves' World series. Moruth the Beggar King was the leader of the beggars in the Downwind section of Sanctuary.
  • In Reliquary, Mephisto is the leader of a large community of homeless living in the tunnels under Manhattan. Pendergast and D'Agosta seek his help in navigating the tunnels and finding the den of the Wrinklers.
  • There's the Beggar King of Nadsokor from the The Elric Saga. A whole city where everyone has the kind of defects that characterize the worst of the lumpenproletariat beggars, and the story is about their king stealing Elric's imperial jewels.

Live-Action TV
  • Babylon 5: Byron, leader of the rogue telepaths on the titular space station.
  • The novel The King of Schnorrers involves a character who is the leader of professional beggars in London.
  • Clopin in The Hunchback of Notre Dame is something along the lines of a beggar king.
  • The Doctor Who two-parter "Daleks In Manhattan"/Evolution of the Daleks" features a Depression-era Hooverville in New York City, where the de facto leader of the homeless is a wise man named Solomon.

Musical
  • In The Threepenny Opera, Peachum is the head of London's Beggar's Guild and is referred to at least once as the Beggar King/King of the Beggars.

Web Comics
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja has Archibald, the King of the Hobos, who wears half of a Campbell's Soup can as a crown. He may have actually done some ruling as a hobo king, but that was before he befriended a mummy, became immortal, went on adventures, and became mayor of Cumberland.
  • Johnny Saturn features a literally underground society that functions surprisingly well, and while they have some main members, John Underhall is pretty much their king.

Video Games

Web Games


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