Formerly Perished Predecessor Position
This job posting requires someone always be at the helm, and death is no excuse. Whenever the current office holder dies a new one is put in the post post haste. They may be The Chosen One
, one among The Chosen Many
, a royal heir
(immediate or distant) or even just someone who read the daylies in the paper and meets the minimum qualifications (though they probably didn't get the whole story). Frequently it's something that needs to be filled, like a Legacy Character
, or a position of authority / leadership. For any given kingdom there's generally an Heir Presumptive even when the current occupant of the throne is too young to have produced an heir of the body. It also applies to lower ranking nobility in feudal settings.
One common feature of this trope (though not universal) is that the replacement is either destined or at least apt to get the job, but is neither formally trained for it nor spends any significant time with the predecessor and their organization. There are cases where they get trained openly or in secret, sometimes as a "plan C" should the planned successor die or be unavailable, but a lot of the time The Call
is completely unexpected by all involved.
If magic is involved the powers can only be held by one Person at a time, and conversely they must always
be held by a person at any given time. So the mystic power, Ring of Power
or what have you leaves the deceased and manifests brightly in the successor (usually calling attention to themselves by the forces of evil). Even if there's thousands of such characters operating at any one time, there is probably an upper limit on how many can be active at a time and an identical succession method. If it's only one person Reincarnation
may be involved.
Compare You Kill It, You Bought It
. See also Someone Has to Do It
Anime and Manga
- Bleach: Hisagi technically qualifies, given that he takes over the leadership duties of Squad 9 after his captain / mentor, Tousen, defects from Soul Society. Following Tousen's death, during the FKT arc, it is likely that Hisagi continues to serve as Interm Captain of the division.
- There is one Green Lantern for every sector of space in the galaxy, totaling 3600. After being rebuilt following the Hal/Parallax incident they doubled it to 7200 so Lanterns had backup/partners in their sectors.
- The Empire Strikes Back:
Piett steps forward, as the admiral moves away, slightly confused, touching his throat as it begins to constrict painfully.
Piett: Yes, my lord.
Make ready to land out troops beyond the energy shield and deploy the fleet so that nothing gets off that system. You Are in Command Now
Piett: Thank you, Lord Vader.
Piett's pleasure about his unexpected promotion is not an unmixed emotion. He glances warily at the struggling Admiral Ozzel who, with a final choke, stumbles and falls in a lifeless heap before him.
- In the Deryni novels, Camber had to abandon his vocation (he was a deacon and planned to be a priest when his elder brother(s) died of a fever) to marry and inherit the family earldom, and Liam-Lajos was noted as a bit undertrained for a Deryni, though this wasn't that surprising since his uncle and his elder brother died in quick succession before him.
- In the last book of the Dragon Jousters series by Mercedes Lackey, the final battle is settled by the Heroic Sacrifice of the Chosen of Seft, who lets his deity run all his power through the Chosen's mortal body. Before "leaving", Seft arranges for another character to take up the role.
- The Lucifuge in Hunter: The Vigil operate like this. Each one is chosen from birth but their powers only activate when an older Lucifuge member dies.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender there's two examples. There must always be an Avatar, and they reincarnate. Word of God is that each nation has the same number of Benders, but the populations vary. Because of this the smalles nation, the Air Nomads, were all benders.
- Harry Truman had to be told about the atomic bomb after FDR died at Warm Springs, and he was thought by some to be woefully unprepared to be President.