->''"The only person with whom I felt any kinship with died three hundred years before the birth of Christ. Alexander of Macedonia, or Alexander the Great, as you know him. His vision of a united world... well, it was unprecedented. I wanted...'' needed ''to match his accomplishments, and so I resolved to apply antiquity's teaching to our world,'' today. ''And so began my path to conquest. Conquest not of men, but of the evils that beset them."''
-->-- '''Adrian Veidt''', ''Film/{{Watchmen}}''

[[WideEyedIdealist Youthful idealism]] can be a beautiful thing. There are few things audiences love more than the idea of a gifted [[TeenGenius teenager]] (or sometimes simply a young adult) who can see what is wrong with the world and, after initially feeling [[SamaritanSyndrome overwhelmed and powerless]] in the face of a CrapsackWorld, deciding that they need to do something about it.

In some cases, he/she may obtain or be born with some [[SuperpowerLottery special power]] to help them achieve their goal. Whether they do or not, the key difference between the Young Conqueror and TheHero is that instead of [[TheyFightCrime fighting crime]] on a case by case basis or having to face an already existing BigBad, they have a much bigger vision and will try to TakeOverTheWorld in a belief that UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans. However, if these ideas are already a quick way for ''adult'' characters to go merrily JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope, being a young, frustrated rebel, complete with the standard [[YouthIsWastedOnTheDumb emotional immaturity and sometimes flat-out childish fantasies]] you would expect out of someone this age only makes things worse. Consequently, they often end up as a WellIntentionedExtremist type of AntiHero, or even a(n) ([[AntiVillain Anti]])VillainProtagonist.

In addition to differing from the typical hero in vision - or ends - they will also differ in the means used. In contrast to the IdiotHero, the Young Conqueror will have a strong dose of IntelligenceEqualsIsolation, which may cause them to be [[InsufferableGenius quite prideful]]. And instead of a typical hero who reacts to the EvilPlan of the BigBad and fights with brawn, they are a GuileHero who uses brains to come up with their own schemes, often being either TheChessmaster, ManipulativeBastard, MagnificentBastard, MaryTzu, or all of the above, capable of cooking up ThePlan just as good as or possibly ''better'' than your standard BigBad. As such, they are often ''inversions'' of TheVillainMakesThePlot, which is one of the main reasons why these characters are so unique and interesting.

If they're targeted by bullies, expect them to later gloat [[WhosLaughingNow Who's Laughing Now?]], though when they realize the extent of the damage they have caused, they are especially prone to wondering MyGodWhatHaveIDone and going through a HeroicBSOD and/or HeelRealization, assuming their {{Ubermensch}} mentality cracks enough to let them see it. These characters often [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption die young]], seemingly "burned out" by their own genius, though a Young Conqueror who lives to adulthood can either continue down their path to AntiVillain status (or sometimes simply become the BigBad, deluded by their own idealism), or they can become a {{mentor}} who issues {{Jacob Marley Warning}}s to other youngsters in their former position.

In a way a variant of RagsToRiches. A milder and hopefully less bloody version found in the commercial rather than politico-military sphere is the SelfMadeMan.

When the Young Conqueror is done with his conquests, he may settle down to being TheEmperor.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/DeathNote'': all of the four main characters have the mental qualifications to be this, but only Light is idealistic and ruthless enough to follow this route.
* ''Franchise/CodeGeass'': Lelouch vi Britannia, insofaras wanting to take down the Holy Britannian Empire.
* ''{{Manga/Monster}}'': a story where the main villain, Johan, has all the qualifications, but rather than changing the world, wants to destroy it, just because he can. Unlike ForTheEvulz types who want to watch the world burn, he doesn't seem to get much satisfaction out of the horrible things he does: ''he'' just wants to set it on fire. And is ''very'' good at it.
* ''{{Manga/Naruto}}'' has Pein/Nagato, who learned ninjutsu in his youth with his TrueCompanions and afterwards started a group with them to create a better world and was given the Rinnegan. After being forced to kill his best friend, he commits [[RoaringRampageOfRevenge bloody vengeance]] on his betrayers and plans to create a super-weapon that will scare the other villages into stopping all war.
* ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes'': Reinhard von Lohengramm is a textbook example. Luckily he has Kircheis to watch his back, both physically and morally.
* ''{{Manga/Akumetsu}}''. He acts like a goofy IdiotHero, but he is actually ''very'' cunning and resourceful. He is also much more physical than other examples of this trope.
* The protagonist of ''Manga/LostBrain''.
* The backstory of ''Manga/ToLoveRu'' seems to say Lala's father is one of these on a [[GalacticConqueror galactic scale]].
* [[Manga/YuYuHakusho Shinobu Sensui]], [[EvilCounterpart in contrast to]] [[IdiotHero Yusuke Urameshi]]. Is a pretty brutal KnightTemplar as a Spirit Detective and wants to KillAllHumans as a villain- seeing as his idealistic [[BlackAndWhiteMorality black-and-white worldview]] did a 180 since he was on the side of good (pre- FaceHeelTurn he thought all humans were good and all demons were evil, as the BigBad he thinks [[MisanthropeSupreme the opposite]]).
* There seem to be [[AbsurdlyPowerfulStudentCouncil a few]] [[BrokenAce characters]] in ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'' who seem to fit this... but not the eponymous Utena, who is just rebellious on a personal level.
* ''Anime/StarDriver'' has the Glittering Crux as an organization led by these, though for now the only one to have shown definite proof of belonging here is Kanako, a teenager who plays the Stock Market like a fiddle (and who is an Olympic level boxer... as well as a ''[[TheTease damn hot chick]]'').
* Griffith from ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'' in the Golden Age arc, before he became a [[DemonLordsAndArchdevils demonic god]].
* Katsuhiko Jinnai of ''Anime/ElHazardTheMagnificentWorld''. A zany LargeHam who borders on LaughingMad, but under his command the Bugrom steam-rolled the kingdoms of El-Hazard and where only stopped when the heroes got their own super weapon working and subverting the super weapon that Jinnai had acquired. His latter performances are less impressive, but by this point the Bugrom army has been more or less reduced to a squad of seven.
* Prince Arslan of ''Anime/TheHeroicLegendOfArslan'' is literally this, raising an army to retake his kingdom's capital city at the age of 14.

* Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias from ''ComicBook/{{Watchmen}}'' who is an Alexander fanboy that wants to conquer the evils of mankind, he also built a business empire from scratch and pushed his body and mind to perfection.
* Tony Stark before becoming ''ComicBook/IronMan'' was a business version of this; he was also a drunken playboy. In ''ComicBook/CivilWar'' he gets back on the conquering horse.
* Hunter Rose aka ''ComicBook/{{Grendel}}'', genius writer by day and hitman by night, takes control of a criminal empire spanning from Atlanta to Montreal with NYC at the center.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'', [[spoiler:Alex Wilder]]'s plan is to play [[spoiler:his]] team and the Pride against each other so that the Pride doesn't fall apart from infighting, thus allowing them to complete their plan to remake the entire world into a supposed paradise. And [[spoiler:he]] nearly succeeds at it, and [[spoiler:he]]'s not even old enough to drive.

[[folder:Fan Fiction]]
* ''Fanfic/ShinjiAndWarhammer40K'' elevates Shinji to this trope.
* The protagonist Prometheus in [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/7893756/1/The_Chronicles_of_Utopia_Volume_II The Chronicles of Utopia Volume II]] is an idealistic conqueror who liberates the lands ruled by the Mad Overking Ivid before creating his own enlightened empire based on more light-driven principles.
* In ''FanFic/HarryPotterAndTheMethodsOfRationality'', Harry is very much this trope, and can't really understand why no one's tried to take over the magical world with a working knowledge of scientific principles in the past.
* In ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'', Harry has all the hallmarks of this, with various characters noting that he could either be the next [[TheHero Captain America]] or the next [[WellIntentionedExtremist Magneto]], with more than enough motivation to turn into the latter. In Chapter 61, he recognises this after a MotiveRant and is prevented from tipping over the edge by his friends. When he cools down, he finds that his potential to be this trope absolutely terrifying.

* The title character of the film ''Film/CharlieBartlett''.
* Michael Corleone in ''Film/TheGodfather'' starts off as a young war hero reluctantly pushed into the mafia world by his family, but discovers that he has an aptitude for the business and becomes a Don by age 35.
* Not that young (he's supposed to be 30, but Creator/AlPacino was actually quite a bit older as well) but Tony Montana from ''Film/{{Scarface 1983}}'' climbs to the top of the drug dealing community almost as fast. [[spoiler:He falls.]]
* Howard Hughes in ''Film/TheAviator'' conquers the film and aviation industries, world aviation records, Creator/CateBlanchett and Creator/KateBeckinsale but never his fear of germs.

* ''Franchise/{{Dune}}'': [[MessianicArchetype Kwisatz Haderachs]] Paul Atreides and GodEmperor [[DarkMessiah Leto Atreides]]. Probably TropeCodifier.
* Jake from ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' grows into this over three years of leading a guerrilla strike force.
* In ''Literature/HarryPotter'', Voldemort, Dumbledore, and Grindelwald are hinted to have been this, for a start.
* Jorg in ''Literature/ThePrinceOfThorns'' series fits this trope well.
** [[spoiler:"Fifteen! I'd hardly be fifteen and rousting villages. By the time fifteen came around, I'd be King."]]
* Peter Wiggin in ''Literature/EndersGame''. The ''Literature/EndersShadow'' series details his rise to power as Hegemon of Earth.
* Thomas Cale in the ''Literature/LeftHandOfGod'' seems to be evolving into one of these.
* The ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' series has had a few of these, many of them {{Deconstruction}}s, fitting [[DeconstructorFleet the nature of the series]].
** One such figure that a number of characters admire is a past Targaryen King, Daeron I, who is known by the moniker "The Young Dragon" and managed to do what all the Targaryens (even those with huge dragons at their disposal) had failed to do: conquer the Kingdom of Dorne. [[CynicalMentor An older and more cynical character]] points out that trying to actually hold Dorne, however, took up an ungodly amount of resources and resulted in many casualties, since the Dornish ''prefer'' insurgency anyway. The Dornish killed the governor Daeron had installed and a rebellion started almost instantly. The Young Dragon died along with 40,000 men trying to quash it. A later Daeron peacefully brought Dorne into the kingdom through political marriage, and it's kept there largely by leaving them to govern their own affairs whenever possible.
** Daenerys Targaryen shows herself rather adept at conquest, completely destroying [[spoiler: Slaver's Bay and the slave trade. However, she quickly learns that while she may have a knack for conquest, actually ruling these places whose societies she upended is a far greater challenge.]]
** [[spoiler:Robb Stark emerges as an excellent general who wins every battle that he fights, but loses the war, due partially to a lack of political skill and partially to letting idealism and HonorBeforeReason get in the way.]]
* The trope, specifically in the example of Alexander the Great, is harshly criticized in ''Jonathan Wild'' by Henry Fielding. Wild, a historical figure who controlled London crime in the mid 17th century is presented as a great admirer of Alexander, and this admiration is because Alexander was a murderer, thief, and rapist, but since the RapePillageAndBurn was on a grand scale, people think of him as a hero. Wild hopes that in his own small way, he can become a sufficiently powerful criminal that he will be thought of as a Great Man.
* In ''Literature/TheCountOfMonteCristo'', Luigi Vampa, a celebrated bandit, is analogized to one of these, because he's achieved power and celebrity and is not yet 30. Vampa may be aware of the comparison, since he likes to read Julius Caesar for fun.
* The ''backstory'' of Mackenzie Calhoun from ''Literature/StarTrekNewFrontier''.
* The ''Literature/TalesOfTheBranionRealm'' historical fantasy series features an entire royal family prone to this. Starting with the kingdom's founder in the backstory, who made a pact with a god and used its power to conquer the realm -- since she reigned for 63 years, she must have been pretty young to start with.
* An example is noted in the backstory of ''Literature/TheStormlightArchive'' - the Sunmaker, a semi-legendary [[ProudWarriorRaceGuy Alethi]] king who began his conquests in his late teens and became one of the most revered leaders in Alethkar's history.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'':
** Robb Stark, the "Young Wolf". Neither Tywin Lannister, nor his father Eddard think he is up to the task but Varys notes to Eddard that boys like him have become conquerors before. He quickly proves himself one of the most skilled battle commanders in the series.
** Theon Greyjoy wishes he were this, but he falls flat.
** Daenerys intends to conquer Westeros, which she regards as her birthright. She struggles at first, since she has no transportation, only a handful of followers and three helpless, infant dragons. After gaining the Unsullied she becomes a genuine threat and has her start by conquering Slavers Bay, sacking one slaver city, forcing another to surrender and causing the largest in the region to yield to her. A DeconstructedTrope, as she has left two cities in worse conditions than they were before she got there. Her refusal to listen to her advisers has also resulted in problems arising in Meereen. However, unlike most examples, Daenerys is willing to learn from her mistakes and take responsibility for her actions.
* The title character in the Korean serial [[TheEpic epic]] ''Jumong''.

* Darth Revan in ''VideoGame/KnightsOfTheOldRepublic''. Revan was a Jedi prodigy whose peerless strategy won the Mandalorian War for the Republic, and nearly won the Jedi Civil War [[FaceHeelTurn for the Sith]]. S/he built up quite the EvilEmpire before being betrayed in the traditional Sith manner, and is respected and/or feared throughout the Galaxy. All of this [[spoiler: judging by his/her unmasked appearance in the game]] before about twenty-five to thirty. The fact that Revan was [[spoiler: young enough to be accepted into the Academy post-mind-wipe]] supports that he/she is fairly young, too. While the Sith do have something like a PhilosophersStone, even his/her non-Jedi contemporaries speaking of past campaigns generally fall into the same age category.
* The player´s character in ''VideoGame/OverlordII'' is a very dark version of this trope.
* The PlayerCharacter in ''VideoGame/FableIII'' can be played as a Young Conqueror, following in the footsteps of their same-gender parent (the PlayerCharacter of ''VideoGame/FableII'') who rose from a broke orphan raised by Gypsies to become Monarch of Albion, largely though shrewd Real Estate purchases.
* In the ''VideoGame/DynastyWarriors'' game, Sun Ce (see below) always plays this trope to the hilt. His personal campaign usually details how, if he had avoided his historic early death, he would have gone on to unite China himself.
** Meanwhile, in ''VideoGame/SamuraiWarriors'', Masamune Date tends to play this role - young, brash, respectless, immensely talented and ambitious. Interestingly, the historical Masamune Date was both closer to, and further from, this ideal.
* In ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'', Masamune plays much the same role, only he's actually got the charisma to make taking over the country achievable. Ieyasu is a more humble and idealistic example who's more interested in making the country a better place than just lording it over everyone else.
* In ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', Caesar (and presumably Joshua Graham) of Caesar's Legion was once this, having founded the Legion at around 21, though he's in his fifties by the time you meet him.
** The Courier has the option of going this route, with the help of Yes Man.
* Gulcasa in ''VideoGame/YggdraUnion'' and ''VideoGame/BlazeUnion'', though rather than having the standard prideful {{Ubermensch}} personality he's a MessianicArchetype driven by [[BrokenHero PTSD]]. He becomes emperor of Bronquia at age 17, deems continental conquest to be the most efficient way to destroy societal prejudice, and [[CuttingOffTheBranches in the canon end of the games]] dies at age 20 after ruining his health and losing all of his loved ones to his own wars. In ''VideoGame/YggdraUnison'', where it's possible for him to succeed, he settles down as a benevolent world leader [[TheExtremistWasRight after making his ideals reality]].
* Prince Maximilian from ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'', an ambitious 29 year old imperial general.
* Lincoln Clay, the protagonist of ''VideoGame/MafiaIII''. Lincoln is a Vietnam veteran who uses his Special Forces training to destroy a criminal empire and take over an entire city at the age of 23. He has three fairly powerful lieutenants backing him up, but he does most of the work himself.

* ''Webcomic/{{Oglaf}}'': Played for laughs when a little princess is given an army for her birthday, which she then uses to go on a campaign of conquest against a candy factory. Then her army is besieged by the forces belonging to a different princess, and she starts wishing for an assassin on her next birthday.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* In general this was much more common in ancient times, when the sons of aristocracy would often receive their military training through [[ChildSoldier direct battlefield experience at ages younger than what we would consider the norm for adulthood.]] This often went hand-in-hand with AsskickingEqualsAuthority.
* The [[UrExample earliest inarguable example of whom we have any record]][[note]][[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sargon_of_Akkad Sargon the Great of Akkad]] may have qualified, but he is so far back in history we cannot determine with any certainty how old he was when he conquered his empire other than saying he was at least young-ish.[[/note]] is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thutmose_III Thutmose III]], Pharaoh of Egypt (reigned [[OlderThanDirt 1479 BCE-1425 BCE]]), ran the Egyptian Army during his joint reign with his stepmother/aunt Hatshepsut as soon as he was of age (some time in his mid-teens, apparently). After Hatshepsut died, the Canaanite city-state of Kadesh tried to take advantage of the transition and the new Pharaoh's youth (Thutmose was only 21) to swipe some territory they had lost to Egypt; instead, Thutmose crushed them, and then began a massive campaign of conquest that saw Egypt build an empire stretching from Syria to Nubia. During his campaigns, Thutmose proved himself a tactical and strategic genius, and modern military historians often compare him to UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte. Unlike many young conquerors, however, Thutmose lived long enough to enjoy the conquest; he lived to the age of 55 (which was not remarkably old even in those days [[note]]UsefulNotes/RamsesII, Thutmose's successor a mere 150 years later, and probably the pharaoh most like Thutmose in temperament, lived to be about 90[[/note]] but was still old enough back then) and had more or less full control of the country for over thirty of them.
* [[Literature/TheBible King David]] fought and conquered a number of Israel's neighbors, many of them while he was young (starting with when he was working for Saul). He took Jerusalem--a target the Hebrews had long desired but never been able to conquer--before he was 30, and kept going from there.
* UsefulNotes/AlexanderTheGreat: He became a military commander at the age of 16, became king and began his conquest of the known world at the age of 20, and died emotionally and physically burned out at age 32 with his plans completely unfinished with no successor to leave them to.
** In something of a variant of this, Alexander was in fact being groomed to be a conqueror by his father who was a MagnificentBastard in his own right.
* Xiang Yu, "Hegemon-King of Western Chu", who basically ended the [[UsefulNotes/DynastiesFromShangToQing Qin Dynasty]] and ''tried'' to set up a dynasty of his own...but he pissed off everyone and quickly found himself fighting his former friend Liu Bang, whom he had exiled to the wasteland of Han...which proved to be the perfect place for Liu Bang to organize an army against Xiang Yu. Xiang Yu did all of this by his 31st birthday--he killed himself around then because his army was obliterated by the Han forces and he had nowhere to run or call home.
* During the Three Kingdoms Era of China, Sun Ce - founder of the Kingdom of Wu - fits this trope. He was known as the 'Little Conqueror' because of it - taking control of the prestigious Sun-family after the death of his famed father, Sun Jian, when he was barely out of his teens - and with skill and courage, seizing vast quantities of land. (Sadly, at the age of 25, he died young as well. So it goes...) His "Little Conqueror" nickname was something of a tribute to Xiang Yu (who also died young, although Xiang Yu was ''also'' famous for being a giant.)
* UsefulNotes/GenghisKhan came to be this going from being a NobleFugitive, nearly alone on the [[{{Deathworld}} steppes]] with his [[EvenBadMenLoveTheirMamas mother]] to being TheScourgeOfGod.
* UsefulNotes/HenryV of England. He decisively defeated the French at Agincourt and came further than any other English monarch in conquering France. Unfortunately for him, he died just two years after the Treaty of Troyes was signed, in his thirties, of dysentery, with all his long-term plans left unfulfilled and the English throne left to his infant son, the later Theatre/HenryVI.
* Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II earned the title Fatih ('The Conqueror' in Turkish) at age 19 by taking the ancient Byzantine capital of Constantinople, which had resisted several previous sieges in spite constant decay of the Byzantine Empire's power over the centuries and increasing number and potency of neighbouring threats. Given that he inherited most of the Balkans and about half of Anatolia, while Constantinople was a half-abandoned LandOfOneCity at this point, this was not objectively ''[[CurbStompBattle quite]]'' as impressive as it sounds. That said, Mehmed did go on to do a bunch of conquering after that (completing the Ottoman conquest of Anatolia and taking even more of the Balkans), much of it before he turned 30, so the trope still applies.
* [[UsefulNotes/NotableSwedishMonarchs Charles XII of Sweden]] (also known as [[UsefulNotes/CarolusRex Carolus Rex]]. Ascending the throne at 15, Denmark-Norway, Poland-Saxony, and Russia formed an alliance against Sweden to take advantage of his youth. Charles surprised everybody by holding his own and then outright invading and conquering the first two members of the alliance, winning an outnumbered victory against the Russians (and almost killing UsefulNotes/PeterTheGreat) in the process. He got greedy fighting in Russia, however, and was beaten decisively at Poltava.
** He was even nicknamed "the [[UsefulNotes/AlexanderTheGreat Alexander]] of the North".
* UsefulNotes/NapoleonBonaparte (borderline: he wasn't a teen anymore, but he became a general at 24, and was only 30 when named First Consul of France; he waited until the ripe old age of 35 to declare himself Emperor Napoleon I).
* EvaristeGalois... for the world of mathematics at least.
* {{Glorious Leader}}s seem to always ''pretend'' to follow this trope even if they've never fought a war in their entire lives. As modern warfare is too bureaucratized for this, this image becomes something like MilesGloriosus.