Heroic Lineage

Cabbage: Listen, my son. The men of our family have been legendary heroes for generations.
Cucumber: ...but you're not a—
Cabbage: SO IT SKIPS A GENERATION HERE AND THERE!

Got a good Ancestral Weapon? Got a cherished family recipe for whoop-ass? There's only one thing to make this heroic picture complete: at least one sword-wielding, name-taking hero in your family tree. Maybe more. No wonder you've got a thing about saving people — it's In the Blood.

Maybe not as shiny as full-on Divine Parentage,note  but it certainly explains that Orphan's Plot Trinket.

Makes a great surprise if there's a Luke, I Am Your Father moment in store.

In short, a character is a descendant of a famous hero, regardless of if he knows it or not, or how strong the blood is. Compare Tell Me About My Father, where the character loves to think about his dead/absentee parents as heroes, regardless of the truth. Compare Single Line of Descent where apparently there's only one person per generation who carries the gene.

Almost guaranteed to inherit an Ancestral Weapon at some point.

Subtrope of Famous Ancestor. Generally found or at least claimed among those with Blue Blood, although they may not initially know about it.

Inverse of In the Blood, which is where the character has a Villainous Lineage.

Examples:

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     Anime and Manga 
  • Naruto:
    • Not only is Naruto the son of the Fourth Hokage, he's also a descendent of the legendary Sage of the Six Paths through his mother Kushina's clan, the Uzumaki (whose members inherit incredibly strong recuperative powers and a lengthy lifespan).
    • Other characters descended from the Sage through the Uzumaki are Karin and Pain/Nagato.
    • The Sage, through his two sons, is also the ancestor of the two founding clans of the Hidden Leaf Village; the Uchiha (whose members include Sasuke, Itachi, Madara, and Tobi/Obito), and the Senju (whose members include the First, Second, and Fifth Hokages). Tsunade was partly chosen to be Fifth Hokage precisely because she was the granddaughter of the First. Early on, she's less than thrilled with the notion herself, as it just means she's from a lineage of people who got themselves killed in battle.
    • The Sage's twin brother also had descendents of his own; the Hyuuga clan (whose members include Hinata and Neji), and Toneri, the Big Bad of the canon tenth film.
  • The Joestars and the Zepelli of Jojos Bizarre Adventure.
  • The Asuno family of Mobile Suit Gundam AGE have three generations of badass Gundam pilots: Flit (the first-gen) contributed in the creation of his own Gundam, became an Ace Pilot at age fourteen, grew up to command the entire military, and STILL kicked all kinds of ass in his sixties. Asemu (the second-gen) may have lacked the Psychic Powers that his father and son had, but that did not stop him from becoming a SUPAH PAIROTTO. And Kio (the third-gen) possesses truly insane levels of Psychic Powers, arguably more than even the strongest among the enemies.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha ViVid has Einhart Stratos, the descendant of Hegemon Claus Ingvalt, a Warrior Prince from the Ancient Belka era who is always depicted as an extraordinary hero whenever he appears in legends. Besides inheriting his silver hair and mismatched eyes, she also inherited his Genetic Memory, which causes her no small amount of angst as the strongest of these memories is his greatest failure of not saving his beloved Olivie.
  • Dragon Ball
    • Goku started a lineage with his first son, Gohan, and then Goten, both who are heroes in their own right. This extents to his granddaughter, Pan.
    • As far as Earthlings are concerned, Videl and Pan come from the heroic lineage of Mr. Satan.
    • How 'heroic' is Vegeta is questionable, but he made a lineage with Trunks, his future counterpart, and Bra.
      • Piccolo sort of invokes that trope, when giving a pep talk to Goten and Trunks after they get their ass kicked by Boo the first time.
  • Luffy from One Piece plays with this. Luffy's grandfather, Garp, is a well-known marine hero who nearly cornered Gold Roger several times. At the same time his father, Dragon, is the most wanted criminal in the world trying to overthrow the government. Among fans, Dragon counts as a hero given that the the government is corrupted and run by Jerkasses.
  • Played with Pokťmon: I Choose You!. Verity is the daughter of the great and powerful Sinnoh champion Cynthia. She however doesn't share her mother's amazing Pokémon battling skills and feels in her mother's shadow. Despite this, she still ends up on an adventure in I Choose You and meets several legendary Pokémon.
  • The Kinniku family in Manga/Kinnikuman and Kinnikuman Nisei/Ultimate Muscle are heroes, and also royalty. Other families worth noting are the Robin and Terry families, both having several generations of heroes.

     Comic Books 
  • Hellblazer - The Constantine family tree is an example. The lineage is known in history as Laughing Magicians; mortals who exist only to bluff, trick, and humiliate gods. This family existed just after the creation of gods and existence. Though not always seen as heroic, many of the family makes up a great Magnificent Bastard. Not to mention saving the world countless times.
  • Subverted with the Inferior Five, who are the children of various Captain Ersatzes of DC heroes— and utterly incompetent.
  • In Mark Waid's Flash run, he had a story arc called "Chain Lightning", which featured the Flash family (Wally West, Jesse Quick, Max Mercury and Max Mercury) travelling into the future to rally all future Flashes against a man called Cobalt Blue, AKA Malcolm Thawne. It is specifically said that all future Flashes, John Fox aside, are descendants of either Barry Allen or Wally West, not any of the other speedsters.
  • The Clan Pyre in X-Men: Phoenix Ė Legacy of Fire were directly descended from the Phoenix Force and are capable of using its power through an Ancestral Weapon passed from generation to generation. Their hereditary power is so great that even dead remains can be used by other people to channel its energy and use the sword's powers, such as the Shadow King who is revealed to be using the skull of Jena's mother to wield the Phoenix Sword.
  • The entire concept behind The Phantom is that the title is passed from father to son through generations, inspiring the legend that the Phantom is immortal.
  • In Watchmen the Silk Spectre is a title held first by Sally Jupiter and then by her daughter Laurie.

     Fan Work 
  • Blood and Honor: Sanguis's mother earned a name for herself in the last war, made Darth and found widespread respect among her fellow Imperials. Sanguis is very proud of this and tries to follow in her mother's footsteps.
  • All of the heroes of the Next-Gen Fic Kingdom Hearts New Epic The First, being the sons and daughters of Sora, Riku and Kairi. It also apparently fits Deputy Mayor Sarasho, who had a war hero father, though his father was far less well received.
  • In The Ultimate Evil, the plot of Jackie Chan Adventures has an addition in the form of Valerie Payne, who turns out to be a descendant of Lo Pei.
  • The TV version of Mike Stoker is portrayed as a descendant of Bram Stoker and the latest of the family's vampire hunters in the paranormal Emergency! fic Mike Stoker's Dracula. He isn't happy with his ancestor because although the book was written as fiction, Mike feels it made people too aware of vampires. He ends up having to stop a female vampire from turning Johnny, and does so by blasting her with water from the Ward La France's tank, which he had blessed earlier in the day, turning it into a high powered blast of holy water.
  • Flash Sentry has one in The Bridge, being from the Sentry family which includes many legendary and heroic royal guards and police officers. Flash worries he's failing at living up the legacy, but it is shown his heart is in the right place for being focused on helping others.

     Film - Animated 
  • The current run of the DC Animated Universe present a series of movies following the adventures of Damian Wayne, the biological son of Batman and the current Robin.
  • The Incredibles deconstructs this trope as the film is about a family of Superheroes and the problems that this can bring into the family, especially to the children.

     Film - Live Action 
  • From Star Wars, the Skywalkers are a classic example with Luke following in the footsteps of his Jedi Knight father, Anakin, and wielding an Ancestral Weapon to fight the Empire. In the Legends continuity, he would eventually father many more heroic Skywalkers. His mother, Padme Amidala, was also a hero in her own right, fighting to save the people of Naboo from Trade Federation control, occasionally going on missions for the Republic in the Clone Wars and being a founding member of the group that becomes the Rebel Alliance. Her daughter Leia takes after her, becoming a key member of the Rebel Alliance, one of the founders of the New Republic and general of the Resistance. Unfortunately, Leia's son preferred to follow in Darth Vaderís footstepsÖ
  • Assassin's Creed (2016): The Assassin heritage of Callum Lynch includes Aguilar de Nerha and his mother, Mary Lynch, who both suffered greatly to keep the Apple of Eden out of Templar hands. Among the holograms that induct him into the Assassin Brotherhood, one of them appears to be Arno Dorian.
  • Played for Laughs in Sky High (2005) as the main character is the —apparently normal— son of the two most powerful superheroes in the world.
  • In The Phantom, the protagonist is the latest in a long line of heroes, and has a subplot about encountering the same villain who killed his father.
  • In Watchmen, the Silk Spectre is a title held first by Sally Jupiter and then by her daughter Laurie.

     Literature  

  • The Lord of the Rings
    • A classical example with Aragorn, whose lineage is certifiably heroic going back about 70 generations, and originates from the three 'fathers' of both Elves and Men. On a minor note, Eowyn also argues that she's entitled to fight because of this trope.
    • Aragorn is also descended from Melian the Maia (an angelic being similar to a demigod) giving him Elvish, Human and Divine descent.
    • On the other hand, Aragorn's human lineage originates in the people who made Sauron their high priest and who were so evil the powers that be tried to Kill Them All by sinking half of Middle-Earth. His elvish lineage traces from the Noldor, who betrayed the Valar, murdered their family to steal their ships and either followed Feanor into evil or hid themselves away and did nothing to stop Morgoth's rampage.
  • Harry Potter
    • So deeply-ingrained is this trope that, for years, legions of Harry Potter fans saturated the Internet with theories that Harry was the descendant of Godric Gryffindor ... this, despite how the series' prevailing Aesop is that people should never be judged by their ancestry or background. It didn't help that his enemy Lord Voldemort had Villainous Lineage, being a descendant of Salazar Slytherin.
    • As it turns out, Harry is the last living descendant of Ignotus Peverell, the noblest and cleverest of the three Peverell brothers... which, frankly, makes Harry the closest thing the three deathly hallows have to a proper heir.
    • His own parents were also members of the Order of the Phoenix, who defied Voldemort himself three times.
  • Historia Regum Britanniae chronicles what happens to a splinter group of survivors from The Trojan War, which eventually settles in Britain. The name of the hero is Brutus, whose name eventually became the name for the Britons.
  • In Dune, House Atreides claims lineage from King Agamemnon of Argos (or Mycenae, depending on the source), who fought in The Trojan War. This claim originally belongs to the Titan Agamemnon (not his real name) and taken up by his son Vorian Atreides, whose last name is derived from "Atreidae", the collective name for the descendants of King Atreus, Agamemnon's father (who was anything but heroic).
  • The Saga of the Volsungs traces the history of the eponymous heroic clan over four generations. They are all descendants of one Sigi, who was possibly a son of Odin.
  • In Ragnar Lodbrok and His Sons, the orphan Kraka discovers that she is the daughter of Sigurd the Volsung and Brynhild the Valkyrie.
  • In Warrior Cats, almost all of the point of view characters in the main series are the descendants of the living legend Firestar, the first hero of the series.
  • Deltora Quest, all kings and queens of Deltora are descendants of King Adin, a blacksmith who united the Seven Tribes to drive back the Shadow Lord's army. Searching for the King Endon's child was a part of the main quest in the first series. It's Lief, Dain was actually a Grade 3 Ol spy for the Shadow Lord.
  • All the Abhorsens are of the same bloodline, so both Sabriel and Lirael of the Old Kingdom series are descendants of heroes.
  • In The Dresden Files, Knights of the Cross tend to be descended from heroes and kings. Their predecessors were heroes and kings - the Swords of the Cross (which choose their wielders) were originally named Excalibur, Durandal and Kusanagi.
  • The Wagner family of The Last Superhero have ostensibly (history is not noticeably different than our own) been influencing the history of the United States since its founding. The protagonists of the book are John Utticus Wagner II, his father Orville, and his grandfather, John.
  • Tobias in Animorphs finds out that he's the son of the Andalite war hero Elfangor, who is also the dying alien who gave the kids the morphing technology.

     Live-Action TV  

  • Delenn in Babylon 5 is a descendant of Valen . In this case it almost verges on Divine Parentage.
  • When Merlin (2008) finally meets his father, he finds out he was a Dragon Lord.
  • Super Sentai has used this more than once:
    • In Gosei Sentai Dairanger, Lin (the present-day Hou-Ouranger) is descended from the Dai tribe, and Ryou (the present-day Ryuranger) is of more direct lineage: He's the son of the original Ryuranger.
    • The present-day Kakurangers from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger are each descended from their respective predecessors, who sealed away the Youkai Army Corps long ago.
    • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Power Rangers Samurai feature samurai whose families have fought the monsters for generations; the Red Ranger from the Shiba clan and the others from the clan's retainers. When a friend of the Red Ranger wishes to join them as the Sixth Ranger, much is made of the fact that he is self-taught and has no such lineage.
  • Saban's Masked Rider, a Power Rangers spiritual spin-off, starred Prince Dex of the planet Edenoi, the latest in a long line of Masked Riders, with the powers passed down the royal family for generations. The audience is introduced to his ten predecessors in "The Invasion of Leawood".
  • Mel in Tracker finds out that she's part of a line of human/Cirronian hybrids created to protect the series' Doomsday Weapon.

     Roleplay  

  • There is no GATE; we did not fight there
    • The Rhavenfell family, even considering the fact that it has only existed for around five decades, is definitely this.
      • First, we have the Grandfather of the protagonist, and the first to carry the name Rhavenfell. He slayed Thokar the Ravenous, an Earth Dragon that killed 90 MILLION, about 4/5 of the current total population of the empire. Then he built a city atop its corpse.
      • Second, there is the father of the protagonist. Currently one of the greatest warriors in all the empire, and responsible for the death blow against Jhin, the last of the Tyrants, one of Hardy's most powerful beasts. The Tyrant lived to kill Lords and Kings, enslaving the very spirits of the wind and storm.

     Tabletop Games  

     Video Games  

  • Fire Emblem
  • Susano from Ōkami is a descendant of the legendary hero Nagi. His resentment and later acceptance of his ancestor has a major impact on the plot of the first half of the game.
  • The hero you can name yourself in Lufia & The Fortress of Doom is the descendant of Maxim, the hero who originally sealed the four Big Bads. This tradition is continued in Lufia: The Legend Returns with Wain, who is also descended from Maxim.
  • The Legend of Zelda
    • Link and Zelda are usually not the same exact people in each game, but different incarnations from different time periods. Along with Ganondorf, all three are bound to one another as eternal bearers of the Triforce pieces that they embody.
    • All of the Zeldas are blood descendants of the Zelda from Skyward Sword, who was a reincarnation of the Goddess Hylia.
    • The Links are not necessarily blood-related but are said to share the "Spirit of the Hero" and are at least a spiritual lineage of heroes. Only the Links from A Link to the Past and Twilight Princess are explicitly stated to carry a special bloodline, and according to the Hyrule Historia guidebook, the only confirmed relation between Links is that Link from Twilight Princess is a descendant of the Hero of Time from Ocarina of Time.
    • The Wind Waker gets special mention because it deliberately subverted the trope, revealing that its Link was not related to the Hero of Time's bloodline at all. Many of the powers that be doubt that he can save the day for precisely this reason, and Link proves them wrong. Zelda retains her lineage through the normal chain of succession. However the fact that she herself is unaware she carries that lineage is the surprise.
    • The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild has a variant with Link, in that while he is not clearly either a descendant or reincarnation of a previous Hero, he is descended from a line of Hylian knights. Yunobo is a more straightforward example, being a descendant of the Goron Champion, Daruk.
  • Dragon Quest I had you play as the descendant of the legendary hero Loto. Dragon Quest II had you play as the descendants of the first game's hero. Dragon Quest III had you play as Loto, who was himself the descendant of another hero. Somewhat subverted in Dragon Quest V, where the legendary hero is actually a descendant of the main character, who marries a descendant of the last legendary hero.
  • A great part of Assassin's Creed covers the reliving of genetic memories of the ancestors of the bartender Desmond Miles, these being members of the ancient brotherhood of the Assassins: Altaïr, Ezio Auditore, and Haytham and Connor Kenway. Haythan being the only exception, as he's a Templar.
  • Shiki Tohno in Tsukihime is a last descendant of Nanaya household, a lineage of pure-blooded humans (read: "weakest species in the setting"), who trained their bodies and honed their skills enough to fight most supernatural threats, be it Demons, vampires, or what have you.
  • In Fable it is implied that all heroes are descended from the first Archon.
  • A Mysterious Informant with this news kicks off the plot of Last Scenario. Actually a rare subversion. She was lying. Which leads to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and Tearjerker when the supposed ancestor himself is executed, and with his last words acknowledges the heroes as the true "descendants" of his heroic spirit.
  • ICO is the descendant of Wander, protagonist of Shadow of the Colossus. Though Wander's fame is debatable, and the one sign of the lineage (the horns) is more of a curse than a blessing for Ico.
  • Rarely mentioned, but all the humans of Gensokyo (that didn't stumble from The Outside, anyway) are descendants of brave people who defeated the youkai to settle there.
  • The Belmont clan from Castlevania, always out to hunt the night. Most of the series' protagonists so far have been Belmonts. The Belnades/Fernandez clan get to do their share of vampire-butt-kicking over the years as well.
  • In Dragon Ball Online, all Saiyan hybrid Player Characters were confirmed to be descendants of Goku, or Vegeta. Similarly, all Majins were descended from Fat Buu.
  • In Dragon Age II, the Legacy DLC reveals that the protagonist's deceased father, Malcolm Hawke, was once tasked with fortifying the seals of an Ancient Grey Warden fortress. Because this required his blood in order to do so, this meant that any member of his lineage became keyed as the only ones capable of wielding "The Hawke's Key"; making them capable of either reinforcing or unlocking the seals containing Corypheus.
  • Jak and Daxter: Jak's father is "the great warrior" Damas. Through him, he is a descendant of the historical founder of Haven City, Mar.
  • Warcraft
    • Sir Anduin Lothar, one of the greatest human heroes was the last descendant of the Arathi royal bloodline which founded the first human empire on Azeroth. Sir Lothar took advantage of this to convince the High Elves to join the Alliance since the High Elves were indebted to the Arathi.
    • It's fairly common for Blizzard to retcon established characters into being related to another famous character. Falstad Dragonreaver was introduced in the novel Day of the Dragon as a capable fighter, but otherwise as a dwarf of no great importance. It later turns out that "Dragonreaver" is just a nickname, his actual last name is Wildhammer, making related to the great dwarf Kurdran Wildhammer, as well as the leader of the Wildhammer Clan. The elven ranger Veressa Windrunner was introduced in the same book, and later installments reveal that "Windrunner" was the last name of the Warcraft II hero Alleria, and they along with their sister Sylvanas are a trio of famous rangers. Danath was originally just a well established mercenary captain in Stromgarde, but World of Warcraft reveals that he's the nephew of the king of Stromgarde, Thoras Trollbane and the rightful heir to the kingdom. The orc Broxigar was introduced without a last name in the War of the Ancients trilogy, and he makes no mention of having any family and is even said to be lonely. Despite that, in the MMORPG he's said to have been the brother of Memetic Badass Saurfang.
  • This is a gameplay mechanic in Massive Chalice: the demon-fighting heroes and heroines are supposed to retire at some point, settle down and get children who will inherit some of their heroic abilities and continue the fight. Since each new generation is slightly stronger than their parents, this is required to check the ever-increasing demon threat.
  • In Ni no Kuni, Esther is the daughter of the great sage Rashaad, a legendary mage known for his many heroic deeds. Actually, every playable character is the son or daughter of a Great Sage: Oliver is Alicia's son, Esther is Rashaad's daughter, and Swaine is the son of the mage-emperor of Hamelin. In the PS3 version, you eventually also get Swaine's brother Marcassin, who shares the same lineage.
  • Kult: Heretic Kingdoms: Alita, the protagonist, is a distant descendant of Arkor, the hero who killed God. That lineage is important, because only descendants of Arkor can interact with the magic of the very powerful sword he used. Various people have tried to control the bloodline, and Alita herself grew up in a dungeon (pending ritual sacrifice) because of her heritage.
  • It has been lightly implied that id Software protagonists William "BJ" Blazkowicz, the nameless space marine colloquially known as "Doomguy", and Commander Keen share some kind of parental lineage to each other (made most evident in the Wolfenstein RPG for iPhones where BJ faces down a demon named the "Harbinger of Doom", who looks exactly like the Cyberdemon from Doom except with his arm and leg intact, which BJ proceeds to blow off during their battle and the Harbinger of Doom swears eternal vengeance against the descendants of Blazkowicz, presumably alluding to his eventual showdown with Doomguy).

     Webcomic  

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Jaune's father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all heroes. However, Jaune has not been raised for combat, and dearly wishes he could live up to his ancestral reputation.

     Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: In Book 3, Zuko learns that Roku was his mother's grandfather, making him a direct descendant of the Avatar, which makes his constant struggle between right and wrong a symbolism of his two great-grandfathers's rivalry. He's both the son of the Fire Lord Ozai and the great-grandchild of the Avatar. He choses to follow the Avatar in the end and repairs the damage caused by the Fire Nation as its new Fire Lord.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: In the movie, it's revealed that Nigel's dad was the legendary operative Numbuh Zero. Also, in the Series Finale, it's revealed that his mom was also in the organization.
  • The Samurai Jack episode "Birth of Evil" shows that Jack's father was no slouch himself, having defeated and imprisoned Aku as a young man.
  • Terry McGuillis in Batman Beyond is the son of Bruce Wayne, the original Batman, though not exactly by the traditional means.
  • Episode "Time Out of Vengeance" of Batman: The Brave and the Bold shows that been Batman is a quite literal Heroic Lineage since Prehistory.
  • In Defenders of the Earth, the heroes Flash Gordon, The Phantom, Mandrake and Lothar are each depicted with a son or daughter preparing to become part of their heroic legacy. (So is the Big Bad, only not so much with the heroic part.)
  • In Phantom 2040, the protagonist learns that he is part of a heroic lineage that has been passed down from father to son from generations; his aunt, who raised him after his father was killed in action, didn't tell him about it because she was afraid he would Turn Out Like His Father.

     Real Life  

  • There are descendants of Jon Sobieski in America. One is a movie star: Leelee Sobieski.
  • Christopher Lee could trace his ancestry all the way back to Charlemagne himself, and was actually a spy in World War II alongside Ian Fleming. On the set of The Lord of the Rings, he didn't mind telling Peter Jackson just how a stabbed person would die.
  • The Heraklidae, the kings of Sparta, claimed to be descendants of Heracles himself.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HeroicLineage