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I Have No Son: Literature

  • The first murder victim in Catherine Aird's The Religious Body is a nun in her forties who converted to Catholicism and entered the convent at eighteen-and-a-half. The police have to visit her mother in person to inform her of her daughter's death, because they can't get her to acknowledge that she had a daughter long enough to get to her via telephone.
  • This is the main character aspect of Barty Crouch, Jr. in Harry Potter. Though in this case it's less "went into a career his father didn't like" and more "joined a fascist dark wizard cult and helped torture two dark-wizard catchers (who were also parents) into incurable insanity".
    • The movie version subverts this. Barty Crouch Jr. was ratted out by Igor Karkaroff in the middle of the latter's trial, which he was observing. He tried to walk out before he could be ousted, but his accuser was too quick, and Mad Eye Moody managed to subdue him. He was dragged before his father, and eagerly greeted him, but Crouch Sr. looked on him with disappointment and dismissed him.
    Barty Crouch Jr.: Hello father! (sticks out tongue and retracts it like a snake)
    Barty Crouch Sr.: (looks at Jr. in disappointment) You are no son of mine.
    • Also Sirius Black, who was disowned by his parents and burnt off the family tree after he ran away. This is his family's standard procedure - a relative who lent him some money to get by got the same treatment, as did his cousin Andromeda when she married a Muggle-born.
  • In Arrows Of The Queen by Mercedes Lackey, a traditional note is sent to Talia's home after she arrives in the capital and discovers she is to be one of the Heralds of Valdemar. Talia ran away after hearing she would be married off at thirteen, dishonoring her family. The letter receives the reply, "Sensholding has no daughter Talia," triggering an opportunity for some angst and subsequent Character Development.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Han Solo says this to his son Jacen after the latter turns to the Dark Side.
  • The Dragonlance series does this twice with the elven king. First he disowns his daughter, (and declares he has no daughter when someone tries to talk to him about it), and later he does the same with his younger son. (This time there's a line that goes along the lines of "He made a gesture as if to indicate that he had only one child now").
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Tywin tells his son Tyrion: "You are not my son," while dying, murdered by Tyrion.
    • Earlier, Tywin disowns his other son Jaime when he refuses to go along with Tywin's plans and quit the Kingsguard. Tywin's not exactly Father of the Year material.
      • Ironically enough, another character states that Tyrion is Tywin's only true son, due to their extremely manipulative natures.
      • Tywin refuses to speak with her for a very long time after she makes this observation.
    • Randyll Tarly threatened to arrange a hunting "accident" for his fat and bookish son Sam if Sam didn't join the Night's Watch (thus forfeiting his inheritance). After Sam did so, Randyll didn't spare him a second thought.
  • This was actually the title of an early-1970s-vintage Doonesbury paperback; it quoted the punchline of one of the included strips, an exclamation by "Marvelous Mark" Slackmeyer's father.
  • This happened to Courtney Thane in Quills Window. It is not until late in the book, however, that we find out what the cause of estrangement was.
  • In the Vorkosigan Saga, General Count Piotr Vorkosigan has no grandson, because Miles was born handicapped. Physical deformities are reviled on Barrayar, and Piotr sees Miles as a mutant. He refuses to allow a deformed boy to become Count Vorkosigan, tried to kill the boy at least once (three times if you count when he attempted to have the Uterine Replicator dumped), and forbids Aral and Cordelia from using his name as Miles's given name, as is Barrayaran tradition. Miles (who would have been Piotr Miles) is renamed Miles Naismith, and gets the last laugh - growing up to become not only Lord Vorkosigan, but a soldier, spy, and the first Imperial Auditor in the Vorkosigan family.
    • If it had been possible for Piotr to disinherit Miles directly, he would have done so, but he could only disinherit Aral, and Piotr was not quite angry enough to disown his only living child. Disinheriting his sole blood heir also required the consent of of the Emperor, or in this case the Emperor's Regent... who happened to be his sole blood heir. (Having pointed this fact out to his father, Aral notes that if Piotr wants his permission then he can have it, which rather took the wind out of the old man's sails.) As it was, though, he threw Aral and Cordelia out of his homes and stripped Aral of his incomes from Vorkosigan district; they did not even begin to reconcile until Miles was five.
  • In Sense and Sensibility, Mrs. Ferrars first disowns her eldest son Edward when he refuses to break off his engagement to the eminently unsuitable Lucy Steele; later she disowns her younger son Robert when he steals Lucy's affections away from Edward and marries her himself! She eventually is persuaded to accept them both back into the family, but never restores to Edward the inheritance that she took from him and conferred upon Robert.
  • Played with in Airman. The villain arranges for the protagonist, Conor, to hear his father declaring "I no longer have a son". Conor believes that his father has disowned him, but his father said it because he believed Conor to be dead.
  • The sibling variant occurs in New Frontier, soon after Captain Calhoun discovers that his Manipulative Bastard little brother has contrived to get him into a Duel to the Death. All the more powerful for its calm, flat delivery.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost, when Miranda appeals to Theo on the grounds his brother is poisoned and dying, Theo says he has no brother.
  • In Gone with the Wind, middle daughter Suellen has been brow-beating her dementia-stricken father into signing a document proclaiming his loyalty to the Union, thus enabling the family to receive restitution for loss of property. This would be a major affront to any hard-core Southerner, but Suellen is taking advantage of her father's weak mind in order to accomplish this. However, just as he's about to sign the papers, she slips up, revealing what they are. This is enough to snap her father out of his dementia, confront her over what she's done and declare, "You're no daughter of mine!" before storming out.
  • Legacy of the Force: after Jacen tortured to death Boba Fett's daughter, Han Solo tells him he is no longer his son. Later, he will state that Dath Caedus is not Jacen Solo, in the "That Man Is Dead" sense.
  • Done twice in Warrior Cats:
    • Rainflower renames her son Crookedkit and disowns him after he badly breaks his jaw, because she can't see past his disfigured face.
    • When it is revealed to Crowfeather that Lionblaze, Hollyleaf, and Jayfeather are his (illegitamite) kits, he refuses to believe it, saying in front of the whole Gathering that his only son is Breezepelt.
    • Make that thrice. Yellowfang and Raggedstar encounter the father of the latter and Scorchwind: a kittypet named Hal. When they tell them this, he rejects anything having to do with mating with a wild cat.
  • In Gene Stratton Porter's Freckles, his grandfather's attitude. When he gets a letter telling him that his disobedient son and his wife are dead, leaving an infant grandson, he files the letter away. Nothing is done until he dies and his other son finds the letter.
  • In Stephen King's short story "Word Processor of the Gods", the protagonist discovers a typewriter which makes everything typed on it come true. He then erases his son from existence with it, and thinks "I have no son". The narration then states: "How many times had he heard that melodramatic phrase in bad novels?"
  • Inverted in the Horus Heresy novel "Know No Fear", when the primarch Lorgar responds to an invocation of his father, the Emperor, with a whisper of "I am an orphan".
  • In Seanan McGuire's October Daye novel A Local Habitation, Sylvester says his only blood relatives are his daughter and niece; Toby starts to object, and he says he has no brother. (And after what the brother did to his wife, and daughter, and Toby, no wonder.)
  • In one Cicada short story about a young woman in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, when the woman's long-distance relationship with a Canadian man comes to light, her own brother, Alam, says "Your sin is beyond measure, Ayesha. I have no sister," when she is set to be stoned to death. Even considering the Values Dissonance at play, it's quite shocking because he was shown to be a Nice Guy compared to their other brother, who was quite a Jerkass.

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