[[quoteright:240:[[VideoGame/{{Shadowgate}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/shadowgate_ending_modded_01.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:240:And all the hero had to do was [[NintendoHard die three hundred times]].]]

->''"You do qualify to marry my daughter."''
-->-- '''Capital One commercial'''

''[[DescribeTopicHere Who shall successfully Describe Standard Hero Reward Here will win the hand of the king's only daughter.]]''

A very common reward for TheHero saving the day (such as slaying the [[DragonsPreferPrincesses dragon]]/demon/evil wizard/whatever terrorizing the kingdom) is marriage to the [[EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses princess (of the hero's choice if there are more than one)]] and being granted either half or all of the kingdom (depending on whether the sovereign already has a male heir).

Although slaying a villain is the most common deed that leads to this specific reward, it is not the only way. As long as the hero has solved a serious enough problem threatening the kingdom, he can get this Standard Hero Reward. It is not unknown for the problem being how to decide whom the princess shall marry, and for him to get it for winning TheTourney held for that purpose.

If his task involved rescuing a DamselInDistress (or ''her'' task involved rescuing a DistressedDude), the [[RescueRomance rescuee]] is the [[PrincessClassic princess]] (or [[PrinceCharming prince]]) the hero will wed.

In {{Fairy Tale}}s, the king will often be [[DudeWheresMyRespect reluctant to cough up]] the reward, particularly if he hadn't realized it would be a RagsToRoyalty situation. He will pile EngagementChallenge after Engagement Challenge -- and invariably come to a bad end if he doesn't give in eventually. The hero may get a free pass if he's already a prince, however.

On the other hand, if the hero has a love [[IWillWaitForYou whom he is trying to win back to]], this can lead to embarrassing ButThouMust situations.

Sometimes you see the wedding and the hero receiving his kingdom, but it's just enough to know this is the hero's reward.

These days, it's largely a DiscreditedTrope, due to being horribly clichéd and flying in the face of historical politics (although the princess would have [[ArrangedMarriage little choice in her husband anyway]]). But Christopher Booker has plenty to say about the [[Literature/TheSevenBasicPlots symbolic applications]] of the treasure, kingdom, and marriage combo, so don't count it out entirely -- just set it up a little better, maybe.

This actually has roots in history. In some lands, including prehistoric Greece, inheritance was passed in the female line--that is, the king's heir would be the man who married his daughter. (Why, in ''Literature/TheIliad'', Menelaus was king of Sparta through his marriage to Helen, despite the fact that Helen had living brothers.) When a foreign warlord was invited into the country to help deliver it from barbarians or the like, marriage to the king's daughter was a useful pay-off that also served to strengthen the kingdom. In general, this practice had the practical advantage of letting the king look around for the best or most useful heir, instead of trusting to the luck of the draw.

Compare AwesomeMomentOfCrowning, {{Knighting}}, HundredPercentHeroismRating, SmoochOfVictory, RescueSex, RescueRomance, OfferedTheCrown, HeroismEqualsJobQualification, HappilyEverAfter.

Contrast DudeWheresMyReward.

''[[BrickJoke Now that I hath described this trope, where art be my future bride?]]''

'''Do not put examples that are merely offering the Princess's hand, without someone doing something heroic first.'''
!!Straight Examples


* The ''Capital One'' commercial, where the hero has ''lots'' of other terms and conditions to meet before getting his package (and that's a damn ugly princess, to boot).

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* While the 80s anime ''Anime/GrimmsFairyTaleClassics'' usually played its adaptations straight, one of the last episodes used ''The Brave Little Tailor'' as a subversion - the princess was so [[{{Gonk}} hideous]] and [[AbhorrentAdmirer obnoxious]] that the story ended with him [[KeepTheReward rejecting the reward]] in favor of [[AndTheAdventureContinues seeking further adventures]] rather than getting stuck with her.
* ''Manga/MurderPrincess'' hints at a lesbian and FreakyFriday version of this trope.
* The h-anime ''Meiking'' has a variation: After rescuing the princess from bandits, protagonist Cain is given a chance to win Princess Charlotte's hand in a contest against another noble.

[[folder:Fairy Tales and Mythology]]
* In Myth/GreekMythology:
** [[Theatre/OedipusTheKing Oedipus]] saves Thebes from the Sphinx by correctly answering the RiddleOfTheSphinx. As a reward, he is given the crown of Thebes and the hand of Queen Jocasta in marriage. [[ParentalIncest It goes horribly wrong.]]
** Taken to an extreme in a myth where King Thespius promises his daughter to Heracles if the hero will hunt a lion plaguing Thespiae. Thing is, Thespius had ''fifty'' daughters, and the hunt took fifty days, so Heracles slept with a different princess each night. [[BabiesEverAfter They all wind up pregnant with his children.]] Of course, in some versions, [[IWantGrandkids that was the whole point.]]
* In the fairy tales of Creator/TheBrothersGrimm:
** "Literature/TheTwelveDancingPrincesses" plays this perfectly straight, though most them don't feature ''quite'' so many possible spouses to pick from. And usually the youngest princess is the choice--but not here; the soldier declares that since he's not young himself, he will marry the oldest. Other variants of this tale type soften things by having the youngest princess fall in love with the hero herself and saves him from being tricked into drinking a love potion by her sisters.
** "Literature/TheBraveLittleTailor" pretty much bluffs his way to the kingdom and the girl, though the princess and her father both try to wiggle out of it when they secretly learn of his low class. He gets to keep the goods with another bluff that leaves every soldier in the kingdom too afraid to do anything against him, thus leaving the king and princess with no way to get rid of him.
** In "Literature/IronHans", when the prince is revealed after he saved the kingdom at war, he asks for the princess instead of modestly waiting to be offered. The king comments on the boldness, but since he's a prince, they are agreeable.
** In "Literature/TheGoldenGoose", the youngest son gets to marry the princess because he made her laugh.
** In "Literature/TheGoldMountain", the nameless hero marries a princess and becomes King of the Gold Mountain after breaking the curse that turned her into a snake and drove everyone else from the castle. Unusually, there is no father or old King in the story to give her away.
** In "Literature/TheTwoBrothers", a princess is due to become the next maiden sacrificed to a dragon, and the king promises that the man who saves her will get her hand in marriage and be king after his death.
** In "Literature/GodfatherDeath", a king announces that whowever will heal his only daughter from her mortal sickness will get her in marriage and inherit the kingdom.
* In the fairy tales of Creator/JosephJacobs:
** "Literature/KateCrackernuts" is a [[GenderFlip gender-flipped]] variation of the "Literature/TheTwelveDancingPrincesses", where the main character agrees to watch an ailing prince over night. She discovers that his illness is created by TheFairFolk making him dance all night and she manages to haggle with his parents to increase her reward from a peck of silver to the prince himself. She even manages to score ''another'' prince for her sister out of it.
** "Literature/MollyWhuppie" having two older sisters, and the king three sons, she laid claim to three standard rewards, one for each of them.
** In "The Greek Princess and the Young Gardener", the king makes the offer, but the young gardener carries off a princess from elsewhere on his journey. At the end, his TalkingAnimal companion, a fox, demands that his head be cut off, and when it is done, becomes a prince, and indeed the brother of the princess who was carried off. The king marries his daughter to this prince, and his sister marries the young gardener.
* In the Norwegian fairy tales of Creator/AsbjornsenAndMoe:
** The Norwegian folk hero Espen Askeladd, who features in dozens of different fairy tales across the country, commonly wins "the princess and half the kingdom" as a reward for his heroic deeds.
** In "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/asbjornsenmoe/dapplegrim.html Dapplegrim]]", the king tries to wiggle out of his promise and fails.
** In "Literature/TrueAndUntrue", True is promised the princess and kingdom if he cures her.
** In "Literature/TheSevenFoals", whoever watches the king's seven foals all day will marry the princess and receive half the kingdom.
* In the fairy tales of Creatort/AndrewLang:
** In "Literature/JesperWhoHerdedTheHares", the king tries to wiggle out of it and fails.
** In "[[http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/jackbeanstalk/stories/dragontricked.html How the Dragon Was Tricked]]", the hero laid claim to the princess and kingdom after her father had been eaten by the dragon he demanded the hero bring back.
* In "Literature/TheGratefulBeasts", the king pushes DudeWheresMyRespect a little too far; his own daughter the princess argues with him until he imprisons her in a tower. However, the last task is to summon all the wolves in the kingdom, [[BewareTheNiceOnes the wolves then proceed to kill all the court]], and Ferko frees the princess, marries her, and becomes king.
* If the hero rescues a lady in the Myth/NartSagas, it's a safe bet she'll be his wife by the end of the story. It's even invoked by the townpeople in one Circassian story: who more worthy to wed the damsel than the man who endured so much hardship to save her?

* Part of the reward offered by King Harold for killing the dragon Samaritan in the ''Fanfic/CatalystVerse''. Shaw accepts the quest for the "massive amounts of gold" part of the offer and would rather dispense with the princesses altogether. [[spoiler: The princess in question turns out to be Root, and the two do get engaged. Three years later, they're living together...and still engaged.]]

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* More or less at the ending of ''Disney/{{Pocahontas}}'', where John Smith, after [[spoiler:[[TakingTheBullet throwing himself before a bullet meant for Chief Powhatan]]]], is told by Powhatan that he will always be allowed to return and be part of his tribe. Powhatan then watches on as [[TheChiefsDaughter his daughter Pocahontas]] makes out with Smith. It may not have been literal, but it was definitely implied that Powhatan allowed for Smith to ask Pocahontas' hand in marriage, [[spoiler:but as Smith leaves for medical treatment, whether or not he returns is ambiguous.]]
* It took ''two sequels'' and a ''lot'' of heroics before it finally happened, but ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' finally got to marry Jasmine in ''Disney/AladdinAndTheKingOfThieves''.
* This trope is implied to be the reason [[spoiler:Princess Genevieve's father allowed her to marry Derek the royal cobbler at the end of]] ''WesternAnimation/BarbieInTheTwelveDancingPrincesses''. It could be alternately interpreted as a GenderFlip, as the princess gets to marry the man she loves because of her heroism.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The end of ''Film/FirstKnight'' has the mortally wounded King Arthur inexplicably hand over Excalibur and rulership of Camelot to Sir Lancelot who, before then, was a roving entertainer who fought people in town squares for money. Earlier on, Arthur had knighted Lancelot for rescuing Guinevere over Lancelot's (and the Round Table Knights') protestations. So he gives his Kingdom (and his soon-to-be widow) over to somebody who he barely knows, who had fallen in love with his wife, and who has no desire or ability to rule.
* Played with in ''Film/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime'', where Prince Tus does end up in an arranged marriage to Princess Tamina, although the movie makes it clear that, as happened so often historically, the marriage was for political reasons, and not so much as a reward. Tamina agrees to the marriage mostly because her city has been invaded and conquered, and that this is the easiest and most painless way to keep the city under control. At the end of the movie [[spoiler:the ResetButton was pressed, and Dastan revealed the conspiracy to cause the invasion. Afterwards, Prince Tus proposes that Tamina marry Dastan to form a political alliance between Persia and Alamut.]]
* Jack in ''Film/JackTheGiantSlayer'' marries Isabelle at the end of the movie, although this is more a case of King Brahmwell recognizing that his daughter has chosen Jack after her arranged fiancée [[EvilChancellor Roderick]] betrayed the kingdom. Played with briefly when Brahmwell gives Jack a purse full of gold coins for saving Isabelle, and implies that he would happily give more;
-->"As a king, I can offer much in reward. As a father, I can never reward you enough."
* In large part Dennis gets this at the end of ''Film/{{Jabberwocky}}''. It's not really a happy ending for him, as he has no interest in the kingdom or the princess, preferring his chubby and disdainful peasant neighbor to the latter.
* In ''Film/{{Clash of the Titans|1981}}'', Perseus wins the right to Andromeda's hand ''twice'', first by solving her riddle and freeing Joppa from Caliban's curse (even thought the second part wasn't necessary) and second by saving her from the Kraken later (the part loosely adapted from actual mythology).
* Flipped around in ''Film/AKidInKingArthursCourt.'' The winner of the grand tournament is supposed to receive a seat at the round table and the hand of Princess Sarah. The Black Knight is declared the winner... and [[spoiler:is revealed to be Princess Sarah herself. Her father announces that "Daughter, thou hast won the right to choose," allowing her to finally marry the man she loves - the royal weapons master.]]

* Spoofed in the Literature/{{Discworld}} book ''Discworld/GuardsGuards'', where a bunch of heroes won't save Ankh-Morpork because Vetinari doesn't have a kingdom and a princess to offer as a reward.
** He does, however, have an aunt and a dog. At least one person considers it for the dog...
** Later Vimes does get a variation of this, albeit in a nontraditional way. He rescues a virgin aristocrat (old maid Sybil Ramkin) from the Dragon attacking the city and ends up marrying her. She is one of the wealthiest people in the entire city, and with their marriage, Vimes is elevated to the aristocracy. Especially amusing because Vimes doesn't want ''any'' of it, with the sole exception of Sybil herself.
*** To say nothing of what the Watch hero who actually ''defeated'' the dragon got out of the deal: [[spoiler: he '''married the dragon'''. The King was bested by Errol the swamp dragon in air-to-air combat, and turned out to be a female for whom LoveAtFirstPunch evidently applied.]]
* Invoked in Creator/MercedesLackey's ''Literature/TalesOfTheFiveHundredKingdoms'' series. The 500 kingdoms quite literally run on fairy tale tropes. In a stroke of [[GenreSavvy genre savviness]], one of the kings hires a sorcerer to "kidnap" his daughter (even though she just plays around when she's "held captive") and offers her hand to the man who rescues her. This is because he knows that the only one who can overcome the sorcerer's trials will be clever, compassionate and heroic, and thus an ideal heir for his throne.
** Averted in a later story in the same setting. The hero, starting to feel his age, deliberately seeks out a situation like this so he can retire. However, since the princess in question was only six years old, he married one of her female bodyguards instead.
* In ''Literature/SirAproposOfNothing'', the title character is offered the princess's hand for saving her and the king. But when they decide to consummate their love, Apropos finds they share [[BrotherSisterIncest peculiarly similar birthmarks]]...
* In many variants of the medieval ChivalricRomance ''Robert The Devil'', while working at a menial job at court, the hero rescues the princess and so gets to marry her. (He had deliberately taken a job beneath him, as penance for evil.)
* In the {{Chivalric Romance}}s ''King Horn'', ''Beves of Hampton'', and ''Guy of Warwick'', the heroes all win the hand of a princess by their feats. Unfortunately, Horn is in exile from the court of his true love because of a false accusation, and Beves and Guy are both seeking to win renown so that the princess he is in love with will find him worthy, despite his low birth.
* Literally phrased this way in ''Literature/TheBelgariad'': "As foretold, the Rivan King has returned. He has met our ancient foe and he has prevailed. His reward stands radiant at his side." Of course, he was [[MosesInTheBulrushes already the king to begin with]].
** Also subverted in the same series - much earlier, when said reward realizes just who the King is, it leads to a CrowningMomentOfFunny.
* The Red Cross Knight in ''Literature/TheFaerieQueene'' is rewarded Princess Una's hand in marriage after he slays the dragon... and then almost loses it when the MasterOfIllusion announces to everyone at the celebration that the hero's already slept with TheVamp.
* Literature/TheBible: King Saul offered his oldest daughter to whoever kills Goliath. David wound up marrying her sister instead, though.
* Simon of ''Literature/MemorySorrowAndThorn'' basically gets this package. It should be said, though, that he and the princess had already fallen in love with each other during the story, he was [[spoiler:[[MosesInTheBulrushes the rightful heir all along]]]], and the kingdom is [[EarnYourHappyEnding in pretty sad shape]] when he gets it.
** The princess rushes to him and suggests that they flee incognito before someone forces her to to marry someone else as a standard reward. And everyone thinks this is actually a very neat solution: Simon is the rightful heir from a long dead royal line, his new wife is the closest thing to an heir to the most recent royal line (that trashed the kingdom, so it's a bit suspect on its own), they're both heroes, and the majority of the nobility is dead anyway. In fact, other characters point out that if Simon weren't royalty all along, they'd make it up as a rumor, and the princess's involvement is nice but strictly irrelevant to his ascension to the throne.
* In Patricia [=McKillip's=] ''Literature/TheRiddleMasterTrilogy'' the hero uses his riddling skills to defeat the ghost of a dead king and win his crown, which he proceeds to keep under his bed, not knowing what else to do with it. He doesn't find out about the princess's hand until a visiting harpist tells him. First he is shocked that the king her father would do something that incredibly stupid. Then he's dismayed because even though he's a Prince his very humble and countrified court isn't at all what the princess is used to. On the other hand her brother was his roommate at the Riddle-Masters' college in Caithnard and he's always has a shine for the sister, and she seemed to like him too..
* Used at the end of Creator/GarthNix's ''Literature/{{Sabriel}}'', where the two heroes rule the Literature/OldKingdom together.
* Gender-flipped version in the story ''The Practical Princess''. A princess is blessed at birth to, among other things, be very practical. This helps when she is eventually imprisoned in a tower by her AbhorrentAdmirer. There, she finds the prince of a neighboring kingdom [[spoiler:which said AbhorrentAdmirer usurped the throne of]] and proceeds to figure out how to break the sleeping spell on him and use his very long beard to escape. The story ends with saying that because she rescued him, she got to marry him (though first she made him trim his beard).
* Subverted in Lawrence Watt-Evans' ''[[Literature/TheLegendsOfEthshar With a Single Spell]]'', in which the hero ''must'' marry the princess in order to collect his money and kingdom, despite having become betrothed to another woman while on his quest.
-->"They were probably desperate for husbands - or at least their royal father was. Surplus princesses are a major export in the Small Kingdoms."
** Lucky for him his current wife was open-minded when there was enough money on the line, so things resolved amicably with [[MarryThemAll bigamy]].
** A woman who helped him slay the dragon was permitted her share of the reward without having to marry a princess.
* Subverted in the DeconstructorFleet fantasy novel ''By the Sword''. In a talk with his advisors, the king says that "the traditional reward is half the kingdom plus the princess's hand in marriage," and he is prepared to offer this. But the advisors point out various political problems involved in dividing up the kingdom in this way, and in cancelling the ArrangedMarriage that the princess had already been set up for. The king ends up offering the reward of being the count of a small fiefdom called Ok, so small that being in charge of that dump is a very BlessedWithSuck reward. When the princess is rescued, she is quite insulted that her father was too cheap to offer the StandardHeroReward.
* Inverted in the ''Literature/EnchantedForestChronicles''. King Mendembar fights the princess (verbally) and then goes to rescue the dragon. Played straight in that they do get married at the end.
** Also, Cimorene's father ''does'' offer him half the kingdom, but Mendanbar turns it down, on the basis that he's busy enough with one kingdom as it is.
** The series further parodies this trope in the first book, in which it's mentioned that half of a kingdom and the hand of the princess is the usual reward for saving said princess from a dragon. Cimorene is initially shocked at such a large reward being posted for her "rescue", but quickly becomes very irritated since she doesn't want to be rescued and the various knights and princes that show up are disrupting her work. She eventually works out a system where she convinces the would-be rescuers to go save the other captured, more conventional princesses. She starts out with her forced fiancé, pointing out to him that no one will care which princess he saves and marries, so long as he comes back with ''someone''.
* Spoofed in ''Literature/TheDragonSlayers'' by Creator/BruceCoville. The king offers half his kingdom and his daughter's hand in marriage to whoever slays the dragon. No sooner does he give the dragon slayer his reward than it's revealed that the slayer was his own daughter, having pulled a SweetPollyOliver.
* Subverted in ''A Barrel of Laughs, a Vale of Tears''. The King promises the hand of his daughter to whoever can look at her and survive (she's so beautiful, all who look at her turn to stone). While the hero, Prince Roger, can see her without turning to stone and while she can stand near him without laughing uncontrollably (he was searching for a girl who could do so), she openly admits that she'd rather die than marry him and has fallen in love with a giant. For his part, Roger is delighted over this as he's fallen in love with the princess's lady in waiting.
* A subversion is played with in the Siobhan Parkinson novel "''4 Kids, 3 Cats, 2 Cows, 1 Witch (maybe)''". When Beverley tells her story, it seems to be a standard fairytale about a princess who has been locked away by her father because he heard a prophecy that her son would one day kill him. He set a task that was impossible to complete, stating that anyone who did complete it would earn his daughter's hand in marriage. Along comes a prince who figures out a loophole in the task and rescues the princess from her father. Once they're away from the father, the princess is revealed to know nothing about the arrangement and does not wish to marry the prince. After outsmarting him, the prince takes the princess to his mother's house where she is free to live her life. Beverley ends the story there, saying it's up to the others whether the prince and princess eventually got married or not.
* [[DeconstructedTrope Deconstructed]] in Creator/RobertAHeinlein's ''Literature/GloryRoad''. The protagonist is hired specifically to be TheHero and go on The Quest to rescue the MacGuffin from the evil bad guys, with the Queen's hand in marriage as his promised reward. The problem is that, as he discovers afterwards, the qualities necessary to be a Dashing Hero are exactly those qualities that make him terribly unsuited to be the consort of the Empress of Five Galaxies. He ends up rejecting that life and heading off to do some more heroing.
* Double-subverted in ''Literature/TheDragonHoard'': When Prince Fearless is recruiting heroes to his quest for the Dragon Hoard, his father insists on offering his daughter's hand in marriage as a prize for the hero who does the most during the quest. Fearless, who is keenly aware that his sister is a Royal Brat, tries unsuccessfully to dissuade him, and actually apologises to the "winning" hero. (Fortunately, it turns out there is a prince who loves her despite her faults, thus allowing the winner an excuse to nobly relinquish his claim.)
* In ''Cloaked'', the protagonist saves a princess's brother from a spell (turned into [[BalefulPolymorph a frog]], of course) and winds up engaged to her as a result. Meanwhile, the protagonist's female co-worker gets engaged to the brother because she was the one who actually kissed him to break the spell. Eventually, the protagonist and the co-worker break off their engagements because they are in love with each other. While the princess and her brother are confused at the idea of marriage not being the reward for such assistance (and vaguely repulsed at the idea of money being something suitable), neither of them were in love with their fiancées either and readily agree.
* In Creator/DianaWynneJones's ''Literature/HowlsMovingCastle'' series, it's a once-a-book running joke that people keep deciding to demand his daughter's hand in marriage from the King of Ingary without checking how old she is first, resulting in a hasty backdown when they discover she's still a small child.
* Played with in the ''Literature/SwordOfTruth''. Richard does get the girl and the kingdom ... [[spoiler: but he's the prince]]. Later played straight when he [[spoiler: conquers the Midlands, and later the whole world. Especially because of the Death Spell where Kahlan is only known as the Galean Queen]].
* Played with a lot in ''Literature/ChroniclesOfMagravandias''. Valraven is the emperor's most valued general and thus is rewarded with being married to Princess Varencienne, but the marriage is also for the purpose of "keep your friends close and your (potential) enemies closer."
* Played with in ''Literature/ABrothersPrice''. At first glance this trope is played straight; Jerin Whistler helps save the Princess Odelia and the book ends with him married to her and considered, in a sense, father to the whole country. A longer look shows a lot of odd layers; due to the social structure of that world he marries her and all of her sisters, he has no authority due to men having more restricted roles in this world, he was only able to marry them because his sisters and cousins helped the royal family out of a bind and because he turned out to have a royal grandfather...
* Toyed with in ''Literature/TheElenium''. After saving the Queen from a deadly curse, Sparhawk ends up marrying said Queen. His accidental marriage proposal in the process of her recovery was simply a means to an end on her part, as she had [[MayDecemberRomance been in love with him ever since she was an 8 year old girl and he was her bodyguard.]]
* In ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire,'' Lord Rickard Karstark offers the hand of his maiden daughter to whoever captures Jaime Lannister. Since his only surviving male heir is a hostage, this carries with it a decent likelihood of becoming Lord Regent of Karhold after Rickard's death. The first man to try to claim this reward is the [[PsychoForHire loathsome, sadistic mercenary]] Vargo Hoat... but Karstark is beheaded before he gets a chance to make any promises.
* Subverted and played with in ''Dragon Princess'' by S. Andrew Swann. Main character Frank is offered the hand of the princess if he can rescue her from the dragon, but it turns out to be a trap by the Royal Wizard who intends to use a Body Swap spell to steal Frank's body and marry the princess himself. Only the spell goes wrong and [[GenderBender Frank ends up in the princess's body]], the dragon ends up in the wizard's body, and the princess ends up in the ''dragon's'' body! After the dust clears [[spoiler: Frank had to kill the wizard (in his old body, so Frank could never return to it) to save the princess (in the dragon's body), while the dragon (in the wizard's body) was forced into servitude for TheFairFolk to cover his enormous gambling debt (which was why he'd kidnapped the princess in the first place). And thanks to the ExactWords of the kingdom's law, the princess is forced to marry Frank, who's in her old body.]]
* A variation of this trope appears in ''Literature/RangersApprentice,'' where in Book 4, Will is offered a prominent position as one of the Royal Scouts, which is basically equivalent to knighthood. This would give him status and, since he'll be based in/around the castle, allow him to marry Princess Cassandra, with whom he's had a fair amount of ShipTease, rather than stay as an apprentice and (since he's an orphan) social lowlife. [[spoiler: He turns it down]].

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* PlayedForDrama and nastily {{Deconstructed}} in ''Series/OnceUponATime''. The shepherd boy brought in as a last-minute swap for the deceased prince slays the dragon and saves his widowed mom's farm. Unfortunately, the kingdom is flat broke, meaning he's being ''forced'' to marry some RoyalBrat in order to secure a fat dowry for the land's empty coffers. Otherwise, the king is going to kill him and his mother if he refuses to go along with it.
** Also Inverted, and just as nastily Deconstructed, with Regina. She saves the princess Snow White, and the king is so grateful he offers to marry her. Subverted in that Regina ''doesn't want'' to marry him, as she is in love with a stable boy and the king is quite a bit older than her. [[spoiler: Her mother decides marrying the king is right for her, so [[StartOfDarkness she murders the man her daughter loves]] to force the issue.]]
* ''Series/{{Vikings}}'': Count Odo clearly hopes to win Princess Gisla's hand after successfully repelling the Viking attack on Paris, even though she had already refused his proposal once before. When he personally asks her about this, Gisla refuses to give a clear answer and only assures him that she will be deeply grateful if he indeed manages to defend the city from invaders.
* Zigzagged in the ''Series/{{Grimm}}'' episode "Maiden Quest". A crime boss has no son, so he invokes an ancient Wesen custom of his tribe: The suitor who performs a particular task (killing the boss's enemy) will marry his daughter, and become his heir. Each suitor is killed by a mysterious assailant just before pulling off the hit. At the end, we find that the daughter was killing the suitors rather than be the prize in a contest--and her father secretly knew it all along. He was [[HiddenPurposeTest hoping she'd do that]], and prove she's ruthless enough to rule the family in her own right.
* Spoofed in ''Series/TheGoodies''. Tim wins the hand of the beautiful princess, but it's only the hand. Graham gets the top half to snog with, while Bill gets the rest (the legs).

[[folder: Music]]
* The protagonist of Music/TomSmith's concept album ''The Last Hero On Earth'' is offered the hand of the princess he saves from the [[NinjaPirateZombieRobot Ninja Pirates from Dino Isle]]; the trope is [[InvokedTrope invoked]] by the queen, who says "It's a very fine Old World Tradition to give the Hero a most precious thing!" and "How this circumstance has lead to romance is a wonderfully hoary cliche..." Notably, neither member of the newly betrothed couple is all that thrilled with this decision, and the princess decides to give the hero the reward he really wants instead - a way to get back home.
* In the Czech comedy song "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4aqM_wu6Ns Jožin z bažin]]", the village head offers his daughter's hand and half of a collective farm if the protagonist can get rid of the eponymous swamp monster.
* In "Fairy Story" (which I've found recorded by Molly & the Tinker and the Brobdingnagian Bards), the hero is rewarded with the choice to sleep with one of the King's two beautiful daughters. His preference? [[spoiler: He sleeps with the King instead; after all, it is a ''fairy'' story!]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Analyzed in one edition of ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}} Fantasy''. The book mentioned that, if a king has no sons, this can be more of a cunning political maneuver than a simple romantic gesture. The reward motivates a hero to solve a major problem, the king's daughter is married off, and the successor to the throne will be a hero who has already won the respect of the people and lords by a heroic task (so a civil war isn't guaranteed to break out the moment the king dies).

[[folder:Video Games]]
* The adventure game ''VideoGame/{{Shadowgate}}'' did this, although not every version lets you see the princess at the end. Don't the developers know that EverythingsBetterWithPrincesses?
* The first ''VideoGame/DragonQuest'' game, sort of. You are offered both the kingdom and princess. You refuse the former, ButThouMust take the latter... Unless you forgot to rescue her. Oops. But that requires SequenceBreaking later by "knowing" where something is hidden without the Princess's [[ThePowerOfLove love]] acting as a homing beacon (...or something) to give you the coordinates of an item. But that's not {{canon}}. The hero is ([[WithThisHerring despite his dismal starting equipment]]) not some random commoner, but a descendant of the legendary Roto.
** This is also the "true" ending of ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII''. Cliched? Yes. But it's that or PrinceCharmless for her. [[spoiler: The hero is actually the cousin of the jackass prince that Princess Medea was supposed to marry, but nobody knew it, and the rightful heir of the kingdom Charmless hails from, although [[WhateverHappenedToTheMouse it's never shown how the succession shakes out]].]]
** Inverted in ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIV'', where Chapter 2 has you help a princess ''get out'' of this situation. The king has set up a fighting tournament where the victor gets to marry his daughter, apparently hoping to make sure [[AsskickingEqualsAuthority the next king is the biggest badass in the land]]. The princess wants nothing to do with this, so she asks Alena (the main character of the chapter and {{tomboy}} princess of a neighboring kingdom) to win the tournament, since a woman would be ineligible to marry her.
* ''VideoGame/KingsQuest'', uses this trope, but like all fairy tale tropes, they tend to [[PlayingWithATrope have some fun with it]].
** [[VideoGame/KingsQuestIQuestForTheCrown The first game]] has Graham gain the crown (but no princess since there is none).
** The [[VideoGame/KingsQuestIIRomancingTheThrone second game]] is about Graham's quest to ''find'' a suitable wife - at last once he rescues her from Hagatha. King Graham met Valanice for the first time when he entered the tower to rescue her. Within ''minutes'' the two were married. At least the FanRemake makes it so Valanice was [[MindlinkMates watching Graham all along from her enchanted coma]] so that she knew what kind of a guy he was.
** Third game? [[AvertedTrope Averts it wonderfully]]. Yes, Alexander-Gwydion manages to defeat the wizard that held him captive, escape from the pirates who got him to Daventry, and rescue the princess by slaying a dragon (all with UtilityMagic), but said princess is his long-lost ''sister.''
** Rosella and [[DistressedDude Edgar]] in [[VideoGame/KingsQuestIVThePerilsOfRosella The fourth game]] and [[VideoGame/KingsQuestVIIThePrincelessBride seventh game]] [[ZigZaggingTrope bounce this trope around like a pinball]]. First, Lolotte is all set to execute Rosella, but her [[spoiler: adopted by kidnapping and transmogrified into]] ugly, green, hunchbacked son Edgar [[PleaseSpareHimMyLiege intervenes]] to keep her from doing so, by stating he has a crush on her. After Rosella completes Lolotte's tasks, the wicked fairy pills a nasty subversion where the evil queen will marry Rosella to Edgar, which leads to a NonStandardGameOver unless you stop her. But Edgar turns out to be GoodAllAlong, and smuggles Rosella the key to escape. Rosella ends up killing Lolotte to save Genesta, Genesta changes him [[spoiler: back into his ''true'' form]] as a [[SuddenlySuitableSuitor handsome Fairy prince]], and Edgar [[InvertedTrope inverts it]] by offering ''himself'' as the StandardHeroReward. Rosella has to turn him down because she needs to save her dad, and Edgar is saddened, but understands, and that's when the fourth game ends. But come the seventh game? Edgar has gotten kidnapped, brainwashed and transformed ''again'' and is working for his wicked aunt, believing he is the King of the Trolls. In his confused and morally compromised state, he inadvertently kidnaps Rosella (with Valanice jumping in behind before the portal shuts), transforms ''her'' into a troll, and tried to pull AndNowYouMustMarryMe. Rosella is less than amused, escapes, finds out what's ''really'' going on, goes back to save ''him,'' and reunites him with his parents. ''Wisely'', Edgar asks not for marriage, but a proper courtship, which she agrees to. Both ''VideoGame/TheSilverLining'' and the Telltale Games sequels state that TheyDo.
** In ''VideoGame/KingsQuestVAbsenceMakesTheHeartGoYonder'' ends with Graham making an ally of Princess Cassima, who was held captive by he same wizard that kidnapped his family, and the ending stating that Prince Alexander gets hit with LoveAtFirstSight. The GoldenEnding ending of [[VideoGame/KingsQuestVIHeirTodayGoneTomorrow the sixth game]] does have Alexander receiving the full StandardHeroReward from Cassima's [[spoiler:resurrected]] parents (though if you fail at that aspect, he still gets to marry his TrueLove [[spoiler: while he and Cassima become King and Queen of the Land of the Green Isles]]).
* Surprisingly, by the end of ''VideoGame/LeisureSuitLarry 2'', for driving out the EvilOverlord you do get married to the village chief's daughter. The third game reveals you've also got a steady job in this chief's new company (that's ''almost'' as good as "half the kingdom"). Of course, the third game also gets you kicked out of both job and marriage rather quickly.
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaOcarinaOfTime'', there's a near-example: The MacGuffin owned by Princess Ruto is actually a sign of engagement, and her giving it to him at the end of this part of the game means he's required to marry her at some point. So though it wasn't a reward from the king, he did get a fiancée as a direct result of saving the day in this situation. And yes, she ''does'' remember seven years later.
* Surprisingly averted in ''[[VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild Breath of the Wild]]''. Zelda [[spoiler:hated Link at first, and contributed to her feelings of inferiority. While you do save her and possibly end up in a relationship, it formed naturally and through genuine love.]]
* In ''VideoGame/OracleOfTao'', appears in a lesser form. The hero does get royalty to marry, only the hero is a commoner girl (and [[CrazyHomelessPeople homeless to boot]] ), and the prince she got to marry she already knew and dated, and it wasn't really a reward in the first place, but two people deciding to marry. And the kingdom? Nope, said prince decides he's not really fit to rule, and doesn't want it, leaving the parents to continue ruling, so they use the royal money to buy a nice shack in the suburbs to raise a family.
* In the prologue of ''VideoGame/PrincessMaker 2'', the hero (the viewpoint character) isn't given the kingdom, but he does get a substantial retainer. The princess is given to him by the gods (she's not a princess from the start, but she ''is'' born in Heaven, which has to count for something) and while most people find the option to marry her squicky and pseudo-incestuous, your character can actually be young enough to be only a few years her senior.
** Princess Maker 3 plays it a bit more straight by having her be the daughter of the fairy queen.
* In ''VideoGame/LufiaIIRiseOfTheSinistrals'', Maxim can ask for the princess's hand in marriage after completing a task for a king, in what is ''meant'' to be a KeepTheReward scenario. The king will refuse, claiming that he's refusing due to the scowl on UnluckyChildhoodFriend Tia's face.
* ''VideoGame/LittleKingsStory'' sees King Corobo rewarded with many princesses after completing certain tasks - all of whom ''instantly'' marry him. Near the end of the game [[spoiler: he's served seven divorce papers and has to stick with just one true love. Who is then ''eaten by a giant rat'' while the world ends in something of a GainaxEnding. The events are usually interpreted to be just a dream of the real Corobo and the real world counterparts of the "princesses" are not royalty anyway.]]
* It is possible to subvert this in the first ''VideoGame/UnchartedWaters'' game by refusing to settle down after saving the princess and instead return to the rough seas. It doesn't allow you to actually play afterwards, however. Also, you can subvert the kingdom-to-reign part and go for the marry-the-princess only, which is [[CuttingOffTheBranches apparently canon]] in the [[VideoGame/UnchartedWatersNewHorizons sequel]].
* In ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheSandsOfTime'', the Prince and Farah fall in love without any outside intervention over their quest. [[spoiler:Then Farah dies. Then the ResetButton gets pressed, and Farah's alive again but no longer has any memories of the Prince. After the Prince defeats the FinalBoss, Farah says she owes him thanks, and the Prince grabs her and kisses her. When Farah objects, the Prince uses the [[MentalTimeTravel Dagger of Time]] to [[MundaneUtility rewind time so that Farah doesn't know she's been kissed]].]] They finally get together at the end of ''VideoGame/PrinceOfPersiaTheTwoThrones''.
* In ''VideoGame/OdinSphere'', Odin first tries to bribe Oswald with a castle, then with a castle and a magic spear... but when Oswald still proves uninterested, Odin resorts to promising Oswald his daughter Gwendolyn. This arrangement ends up working out a lot better for Gwendolyn and Oswald than it does for Odin, as not only was Oswald [[ExactWords only tasked to slay a dragon, not to give up the ring inside its stomach]] that Odin wanted, but Gwendolyn and Oswald, after some troubles, managed to legitimately fall in love with each other.
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/MyWorldMyWay''. It's a princess who wants to marry the [[PrinceCharmless hero]], and she goes on a quest to earn him, and [[spoiler:she rejects him in the end]].
* Lampshaded in the best ending of ''Kid Kool'', where the king tells you, "You want a box of jewels and a princess, don't you?" You don't get all of this if you don't beat the game fast enough; if you take too long, you won't even get the king.
* This is how ''VideoGame/EndlessFrontier'' ends: the entire world is saved thanks to Haken stopping the FinalBoss and gets Kaguya's heart. [[spoiler: And maybe a bit more...]]
* In the backstory to the first ''VideoGame/DeadlyRoomsOfDeath'' game, Beethro offers to give a discount on his (outrageous) extermination prices if King Dugan throws in a princess. The King retorts that Beethro is ugly and smells bad. Beethro shrugs. Given what he ends up going through, he probably ''earned'' a princess...
* ''VideoGame/GreatGreed'' basically plays this straight during the ending, with one exception. The King will ask you if you want to marry one of his daughters. If you agree, he'll ask you to talk to the one you want to marry. However, you don't actually have to pick one of the princesses - with enough persistence, you can actually marry anyone in the room. In addition to the princesses, this includes the elderly (female) court wizard, two male bureaucrats, the Queen, and ''even the King himself!''
* Played with in the story quest of ''VideoGame/DokaponKingdom''. Yes, there is an evil overlord causing trouble throughout the land, and, yes, several prospective heroes journey out with the end goal of defeating him and returning peace to the kingdom. However, the King is more concerned about the money being lost in the conflict, and offers his kingdom and daughter's hand in marriage to whoever has the greatest wealth after the world is saved (though, granted, the endboss does drop a lot of cash when defeated, which can help). Penny, the princess herself, cares enough about the kingdom to go along with it, [[LesYay and even doesn't mind if a female character proves to be the victor in the end.]]
* The UsefulNotes/SegaMasterSystem version of ''VideoGame/{{Rastan}}'' ends with Rastan [[SaveThePrincess saving the princess]] and being offered her hand in marriage by the king of Chamois, as well as a large amount of treasure. However, he declines it on the grounds that "she's not the person to be the wife of a thief like me."
* In ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'' {{Backstory}}, particularly for that of ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'', Lord Indoril Nerevar gets this. He starts out as a caravan guard belonging to an irrelevant minor house, but rises to unite the Chimer (later Dunmer) people and forms an EnemyMine with the rival [[OurDwarvesAreDifferent Dwemer]] in order to save Morrowind from the invading [[HornyVikings Nords]]. He marries Ayem (later the [[PhysicalGod Goddess]] Almalexia), who was a high priestess belonging to Great House Indoril. (About as close as it gets to a princess for the Chimer.) Interestingly, [[MaidenNameDebate he took Almalexia's house name of Indoril]] upon getting married.
* Deconstructed in the ending of ''VideoGame/SuperMarioOdyssey''. [[spoiler:After Mario rescues Princess Peach from Bowser, the defeated Bowser still tries to propose to her. Mario, alarmed at this, also tries to propose to her. However, because of their immaturity (they were literally shoving flowers into her face), Peach puts her foot down and rejects them both out of frustration.]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* A discussed trope in ''VisualNovel/DraKoi''. The Hero is supposed to defeat the Dragon, after which he gets his Princess. [[spoiler:The Hero at the end turns the Dragon into the Princess because he thinks the proposed story script sucks.]]

* In the WebComic ''Webcomic/NoRestForTheWicked'', the main character, November, is a princess who is [[RunawayFiancee running away from it]]. Her would-be husband (an [[GoodIsDumb apparently-kind but not-too-bright]] peasant [[FearlessFool hero]]) is currently wandering the earth looking for her.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Exiern}}'' Typhan-Knee signed on for the reward of '''''[[ExactWords A]]''''' royal hand in marriage and his weight in gold. Then he was hit with a GenderBender spell during the rescue. She has received her weight in gold but has yet to realize that the Royal hand is not going to be the Princess' -- Or that the gold will (of course) revert to the royal treasury when she marries the king.
* ''GoldenAgeOfAdventurers'' has [[http://goldenage.comicgenesis.com/d/20101205.html The Crestfall incident.]]
* Spoofed and subverted in ''Webcomic/{{Oglaf}}'', when the hero is told that his dragon-slaying quest was one of self-discovery and "The princess was you all along!" By the last panel, he's enjoying his wedding night [[YaoiGuys with the prince]].
** In another strip, a time-traveller is screwed out of this when he doesn't take into account that the QuestGiver doesn't have a RippleEffectProofMemory. Feeling sorry for him, they offer a downgraded reward of "a handjob and a hot meal".
--->'''AltText:''' [[DeconstructedTrope Reward marriages seldom work out anyway]].
* In ''Webcomic/MountainTime'', the White Knight seeks to slay the Dreadful Dragon so that he may win the hand of Princess Online Dating in marriage.

[[folder:Web Video]]
* Averted by TheNostalgiaCritic in his " Top 11 Dumbasses In Distress" video. Princess Peach's favor doesn't interest him, he wants her to appoint him a position of power instead.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* There was a Creator/WaltDisney short, ''The Brave Little Tailor'', where Mickey accidentally got the job of stopping the giant ("I killed seven with one blow!" was misheard to be about giants instead of flies), and he was offered the hand of the Princess Minnie. At least in this case, it was her idea.
* ''WesternAnimation/ConanTheAdventurer'' had a good twist on this. The king ''immediately'' reneged on his princess/future king offer when he actually met Conan. Conan, being Conan, decided to take what was his by force.
** Considering that the original Conan became king of Aquilonia by his own hand...
* ''WesternAnimation/HuckleberryHound'' was once ordered by the King to slay a dragon. The Princess was so ugly that marrying her was ''punishment'' for ''failure''. [[spoiler:The dragon took pity on Huck and offered him shelter at the cave. Huck accepted]].
* In the ''{{WesternAnimation/Droopy}}'' short, "One Droopy Knight", a king offers his daughter's hand to whoever slays the dragon terrorizing the land. Droopy almost fails in his task, but the dragon hits his TranquilFury mode.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* This did happen in Medieval Europe. One example is Raymond and Henri, two French cousins who helped in the Reconquista of the Iberian Peninsula. One was rewarded with the King of Castelle and Leon's legitimate daughter Urraca and the other his bastard daughter Teresa (which also made him Count of Portucale). Neither of them became king, although both their eldest sons did: Urraca and Raymond's son was the next King of Castelle and Leon, while Afonso, son of Henri and Teresa, fought his cousin to gain independence of his land and thus became the first King of UsefulNotes/{{Portugal}}.
* Averted in the UK after UsefulNotes/WorldWarII. Peter Townsend was a true war hero - a [[AcePilot fighter ace]] and hero of the Battle of Britain. He was madly in love with Princess Margaret, and Margaret also loved him. But Queen Elizabeth (Margaret's mother, not the current Queen) prohibited Townsend from seeing Margaret anymore because he was a divorcee. It broke the hearts of them both. Townsend called Princess Margaret his only true love until his death.
* [[http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html This]] ''Website/{{Cracked}}'' article deconstructs this trope as one of the possible reasons misogyny exists.