Until the latter half of the 20th century, it was generally accepted that openly bearing your father's or culture's good name as a badge of honor was perfectly acceptable behavior, as it showed filial loyalty to one's roots
. Not only was "Son of Y" basically your surname in ancient times, but Patronymic
surnames are also where many modern last names come from ("Jacobson
Tariq" and "González
", for example).
This is exceptionally true amongst Proud Warrior Race Guy
societies in Real Life
, such as the Samurai of Japan and the Knights of Europe, who by custom formally stated their names followed by father, clan and lineage out of respect for the foes before battling to the death.
Expect any Proud Warrior Race Guy (or Gal) who enacts this trope to be The Stoic
and admirably honorable
person who is loyal to the traditions of his or her culture. They might even be the Heir to the Throne
of said culture.
An increasingly common Variant B
is a character who bears the name of his father and culture as a badge of pride, despite being an outcast from said culture. Bastards and children of (often wrongfully) dishonored parents are of this variant.
Note that My Name Is Inigo Montoya
is almost always crossed with this trope, as one would more often than not want the subject of his vengeance to quake in terror knowing
just whom they have wronged and who is about to take their lives.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- In Code Geass R2, Lelouch has he makes his way to the Sword of Akasha, Lelouch says, "I am Lelouch Vi Britannia, son of the late Empress Marianne, the prince who was abandoned by his Empire!"
- Dragon Ball Z:
- "I Am Vegeta, Prince of Saiyajin Warrior Race!!"
- In Fusion Reborn, the Great Saiyaman reintroduces himself to the resurrected Frieza as "Son of Goku, guardian of all that is good - Gohan."
- Being born a "filthy half-human bastard", bullied and ridiculed by other werewolves since childhood, does not stop Fiery Red Head Riza Wildman of Monster Princess from proudly announcing herself before battle as "Riza Wildman, Daughter of the Werewolf Warrior Borg Wildman!!"
- Vinland Saga: "I am Thorfinn, son of Thors"
- Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind:
- "I am Nausicaa, child of King Jhil!"
- And later, "I am Ohma, son of Nausicaa, warrior, arbitrator and judge."
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- "Connor, Duncan and Colin Macleod of the Clan Macleod" all bear their Highlander heritage with pride, despite the fact that the first two are cast out from their families for being demons and the third being an adopted Briton.
- In the Mortal Kombat movie:
Liu Kang: "I am Liu Kang, descendant of Kung Lao. I challenge you to Mortal Kombat. Do you accept, or yield?"
- "My father was Charles Kingsleigh. He had a vision that stretched halfway around the world, and nothing ever stopped him! I'm his daughter -- I'm Alice Kingsleigh!"
- In Avatar, in a moment when Jake needs to be very respectful, he addresses Tsu'tey as "Tsu'tey te Rongloa Atey'itan" — "Tsu'tey of the Rongloa family, son of Ateyo". Also parodied earlier when Jake introduces himself as "a warrior of the Jarhead clan." He and Colonel Quaritch had a good laugh about that later.
- The Thief of Bagdad has Abu the thief, son of Abu the thief. (Which is sort of a Bilingual Bonus, as "Abu" means "father of". So he's saying that he's the son of his father.)
- The Lord of the Rings.
Legolas: This is no mere ranger. He is Aragorn, son of Arathorn. You owe him your allegiance.
- Almost everyone in the trilogy gets referred to in this way at some point. We have Gimli, son of Glóin, Haleth, son of Háma, Éomer, son of Éomund, etc.
- Played straight in Thor with Thor Odinson (or "Son of Odin"). Parodied with Agent Phil, Son of Coul.
- With slight variation, in Return of the Jedi: Luke: Never. I'll never turn to the Dark Side. You've failed, your highness. I am a Jedi, like my father before me.
- In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, the Vulcan high priestess, T'Lar, addresses Ambassador Sarek as "child of Skon, child of Solkar". When she asks for the keeper of Spock's katra, McCoy responds, "McCoy, Leonard H., son of David."
- Moses does this several times in The Ten Commandments. "I am Moses, son of Amram and Yoshabel".
- TRON: Legacy: "I'm not a Program. My name is Sam Flynn!" Queue a Mass "Oh, Crap!" from every Program in range.
- In The 13th Warrior, Antonio Banderas' character introduces himself as "Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan Ibn Al Abbas Ibn Rashid Ibn Hamad," where "Ibn" means "son of". The Norsemen he's talking to conclude his name is "Eben".
- Even though his family have become dispossessed outcasts in the Klingon Empire due to his conflicting loyalties to the Federation, the first Klingon in Starfleet still calls himself "Worf, son of Mogh". YouTube
- As Lieutenant Worf was named after his grandfather (Kirk and McCoy's lawyer in Star Trek VI), Worf's father's name would have been "Mogh, son of Worf".
- Worf's own son Alexander uses his adopted grandparents' human surname, as Alexander Rozhenko, even when serving aboard a Klingon ship. Then again, he was raised by them and is 1/4 human — not to mention he is thoroughly poxed off with his dad for being an absentee father.
- This becomes a plot point in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Sons and Daughters". After a number of other Klingons introduce themselves as x son/daughter of y, Alexander gives his name as Alexander Rozhenko. Martok notices this and asks you he is the son of, only for Alexander to refuse to say as "My honor will be my own". Its used to show just how bad Worf's relationship with his son is.
- Klingon females always introduce himself as "daughter of <father's name>", never "daughter of <mother's name>", implying that male heritage is more important (same as human patronymics).
- In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
- "I am Tyr Anasazi of Kodiak Pride, out of Victoria by Barbarosa."
- Unlike the typical examples, the Nietzscheans always mention their mothers along with their fathers, as both genetic lines are important to them.
- In one episode, an interested Nietzschean woman asks which Barbarosa was his father, as there were at least two. Given how important genetic heritage is for Nietzscheans, it makes sense that a woman interested in a man would want to know his bloodline.
- In Babylon 5:
Ivanova: "This is the White Star Fleet. Negative on surrender...we will not stand down."
Earthforce Captain: "Who is this? Identify yourself."
Ivanova: "Who am I? I am Susan Ivanova, Commander, daughter of Andrei and Sophie Ivanov. I am the right hand of vengeance... and the boot that is going to kick your sorry ass all the way back to Earth, sweetheart! I am Death incarnate... and the last living thing that you are ever going to see. God sent me."
- Parodied in Monty Python's Flying Circus with 'Njorl's Saga' in which the narrator spends so much time explaining the family relationships of the characters that the story never starts.
- Parodied on season 2 of Saturday Night Live in a sketch parodying the scene in Roots where Kunta Kinte is whipped for not accepting the slave name Toby: John Belushi played an African captive insisting while being whipped: "I am Bop Shoo Wop, son of Sha Na Na, grandson of the great holy man, Shboom Shboom!"
- A fake trailer for a "retelling" of Jesus Christ's life (allegedly with Sylvester Stallone as Jesus), by French comedians Les Inconnus, had this dialogue:
Who are you? Stallone!Jesus: Christ, Jesus Christ
. Son of God. Pontius Pilate:
Pilate, Pontius Pilate, Son of— Stallone!Jesus:
- Made fun of on the satirical show Mock the Week in the 'Scenes we'd like to see' segement 'Things you wouldn't hear in a fantasy movie'
- Alex in Nikita, before shooting her former pimp, who'd been trying to make her admit her real identity on camera so he could collect The Mafiya bounty on her head: "I am Alexandra Udinov, daughter of Nikolai Udinov, and this is your reward."
- Game of Thrones. Tyrion Lannister, trying to impress upon a particularly dim-witted prison guard that he's got the money to bribe him, introduces himself as "Tyrion, son of Tywin" (Tywin Lannister being the richest and most powerful lord in the Seven Kingdoms). Later on Tyrion is introducing the leaders of the hill tribes to his father in this way. When Tyrion gets to the mercenary Bronn he pauses, and Bronn interjects with "You wouldn't know him."
- In Stargate Atlantis, Teyla first introduces herself as "Teyla Emmagan, daughter of Tagan". Her father's name is later revealed to be Torren, suggesting that "daughter of Tagan" is a matronymic.
- In a variation, the tok'ra in Stargate SG-1 introduce themselves as "X, host of Y".
- In the Community episode Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, the voiceover calls Jeff "Jeff the Liar, son of William the Barely Known".
- Lorne and his cousin in Angel demonstrate the clan/tribe surname variation, they're Krevlorneswrath and Landokmar of the Deathwok Clan.
- In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., in a Continuity Nod, Sif greets Agent Coulson as "Phil, Son of Coul".
- On Arrow, Nyssa always introduces herself as "Nyssa, daughter of Ra's Al-Ghul, Heir to the Demon".
- One episode of QI discussed the Icelandic use of this practice, and listed what all of the panelist's names would be if they used their father's name with the "-son".
- According to the 3rd Edition Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting the inhabitants of Unther use patronymics in place of surnames.
- Practically overlaps with Badass Creed and possibly Catch Phrase in Disgaea 2: Cursed Memories — "I am Rozalin, the only daughter of Overlord Zenon!"
- Final Fantasy VII: I am Nanaki son of Seto... I am afraid of nothing... it's all right, all right. I'm Nanaki, the son of brave Seto... I'm not afraid of Sephiroth..."
- In Luminous Arc 2, the first time Roland meet Queen Sophia. "I am Roland, son of Sir Steven."
- In the Castlevania: The Dracula X Chronicles redub of Symphony of the Night, Dracula refers to Richter as "Belmont, son of Belmont".
- In Warcraft III: "I am Thrall, son of Durotan, Warchief of the Horde."
- Altaïr's full name in Assassin's Creed I is Altaïr ibn-La'Ahad, meaning "Flying One, son of Nobody". Which is strange as his father's name is revealed in a later game.
- In Mass Effect, quarian names follower a similar line, though based on their ship as opposed to their parents. Tali'Zorah is, for example, Tali'Zorah nar Rayya when Shepard first meets her, which effectively is "Tali, of the family Zorah, passenger of the Rayya.", and later, when she is renamed to Tali'Zorah vas Normandy, this effectively translates as "Tali, of the family Zorah, crew of the Normandy." Since the difference between a passenger (One who is provided for by their ship) and crew (one who provides and contributes to their ship) exists, the identifiers of Vas and Nar are important. Other translations for Nar can be "Child of" and for Vas can be "Citizen of" or "Contributor of". She is also identified as Tali'Zorah vas Neema during Mass Effect 2.
- A less dramatic example is everyone's least favourite reporter, Khalisah bint Sinah al-Jilani. "bint" is Arabic and means "daughter", meaning that she is Khalisah, daughter of Sinah, of the Jilani household. note
- Orcs in The Elder Scrolls series commonly use the patronymic prefixes gro- (for males) and prefix gra- (for females). So Agronak gro-Malog is Agronak son of Malog.
- Star Trek Online has a variant with Captain Koren, CO of the Klingon Defense Force flagship IKS Bortasqu'. In her appearance in "Sphere of Influence" she introduces herself as "Koren, daughter of Grilka", referring to her mother rather than either her biological father J'nek or her stepfather Worf. Her mother Grilka is one of the only female heads of a Klingon noble house in the Empire's history (watch DS9: "The House of Quark" for the full explanation).
- In Dynasty Warriors 5, Guan Ping often introduces himself as "Guan Ping, son of Guan Yu," to signify that he's still living under the God of War's shadows. His dream stage in Warriors Orochi seeks to defy this by having him, along with Gracia and Cao Pi, challenge their fathers and prove themselves worthy of their own name.
- In 8, Wen Yang repeatedly introduces himself as "Wen Yang, son of Wen Qin", until his father dies and, realizing he wasn't particularly worthy of his respect, he makes a Heel-Face Turn.
- Subverted in No Rest for the Wicked, where Jack says, "I'd tell you "Jack, son of..." ...but my dad made me swear never t' let on I'm his."
- In The Order of the Stick, Belkar kills a kobold tracker named Yikyik, and later meets his son, who says: "I am Yokyok, son of Yikyik. You Killed My Father. Prepare to Die."
- "I am Miko Myazaki, samurai of the Sapphire Guard, loyal vassal of Lord Shojo, daughter of Eyko and Paladin of the Twelve Gods of the South."
- Girl Genius "I am Zeetha, Daughter of Chump! Yes, I know what it means in your language."
- As it happens, according to Word of God, it would be more correct to say, "Zeetha, daughter of Klaus Wulfenbach, and rightful heir to the Empire of Europa." Not that she knows this as yet.
- Parodied in DM of the Rings.
Aragorn (son of Arathorn): Hail to the king, baby! Aragorn, son of Anduril, is back!
DM: Anduril is the name of your sword, dumbass.
- The main character of Tales of the Questor is Quentyn, son of Quinn. His father is generally named simply "Quinn". Though the sci-fi spinoff Quentyn Quinn, Space Ranger seems to imply that Quinn becomes a surname (like many real life Patronymics) sometime in the next 700 years.
- Tales of MU gives us Dee, who is incredibly proud of her lineage, traced matrilineally back quite far, which is understandable given the culture form which she hails. To mispronounce the name of, or insult one of her foremothers is to commit a grave offense to her. The early prequel chapter given to her offers a look at just how far back her lineage goes.
Delia Daella was the daughter of Daella Degra, who was the daughter of Degra Daura, who was the daughter of Daura Duala, who was the daughter of Duala Deneira, who was the daughter of Deneira Deshalla, who was the daughter of Deshalla Duquesna, who was the daughter of Duquesna Desiera, who was the daughter of Desiera Docia, who was the daughter of Docia Demara, who was the daughter of Demara Della, who was the daughter of Della Dolora, who was the daughter of Dolora Delissa, who was the daughter of Delissa Deliza, who was the daughter of Deliza Dasera, who was the daughter of Dasera Dasera, who was the daughter of Dasera Decatia, who was the daughter of Decatia Delia, who was the daughter of Delia Deshara, who was the daughter of Deshara Denala, who was the daughter of Denala d’Wyr… an unbroken chain of first daughters that went as far back as had ever been reckoned.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender "My name is Zuko! Son of Ursa and Fire Lord Ozai! Prince of the Fire Nation, and heir to the throne!" (of course he was in the middle of a land the Fire Nation had been waging war upon for a century)
- In the Fantastic Four cartoon, Thor introduces himself as "Thor, Son of Odin." Thing answers, "Son of Odin, eh? Thou has ticked off Ben Grimm, son of Mr. and Mrs. Grimm!"
- Many family names in many languages actually come from such patronymics: Johnson or Ivanov (as in "John's Son" in both cases), for example.
- Which becomes entertaining when you meet a John Johnson Jr.
- Or are told by a baby-names website that "Jackson" means "Son of Jack," and that "Jack" is "Short for Jackson."
- Or, if you speak Russian, Ivan Ivanovich Ivanov (See below for Slavic naming conventions).
- Every Armenian surname translates to "Son of-" whatever the name may be.
- O'Brien comes from Ó Briain and means "Descendant of Brian." If you want an example of an Irish name that does follow the "son of..." pattern, try McMahon (Irish form Mac Mathuna).
- And then there's also the female forms, both married and unmarried. For an unmarried woman, it would change from Ó Dubhda, for example, to Ní Dhubhda, or from Mac Mathuna to Nic Mhathuna, meaning "daughter of the grandson/female descendant of Dubh" and "daughter of the son of the bear," respectively. And if she married into that name, it'd be Uí Dhubhda (wife of the grandson/descendant of Dubh) and Mhic Mhathuna (wife of the son of the bear), repectively.
- Most, if not all, Spanish surnames ending in '-ez' or '-az' come from patronymics: Sánchez (son of Sancho), Rodríguez (son of Rodrigo), Fernández (son of Fernando), Díaz (son of Diego), etcetera. El Cid, for instance, was Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, son of Diego Laínez and father of Diego Rodríguez.
- Exceptions are some Latin American surnames like Chávez and Cortez, that are actually derived from Spanish surnames Chaves (Medieval Spanish for "Keys") and Cortés ("Polite").
- The Portuguese equivalents end in '-es' and '-as'.
- Iceland is the only land in the western world where people commonly don't have surnames, with some few exceptions, mostly for foreigners. To tell each other apart, people add X, son of Y or daughter of Y ("-son" and "-dóttir," respectively) to their names. It's however not a surname and people address each other and are listed in phone books by their given names.
- And addressing someone by their patronym or matronym is culturally insensitive. The president should be called Ólafur, Ólafur Ragnar, or Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, never just Grímsson. The former president should be called Vigdís or Vigdís Finnbogadóttir, never just Finnbogadóttir.
- In Russia, patronymics are still parts of names, like middle names in English.
- In fact, the polite way of addressing someone is in the form of "name patronymic" with the surname omitted (unless the person is being introduced, in which case it's either in the "name patronymic surname" format or as "surname name patronymic" which is what all official forms require).
- Unlike in Iceland, you can address a Russian by patronymic alone. But it's a highly familiar form of address, implying closeness, so if you call a barely-known Russian by patronymic alone, you'll be stared at.
- "Dracula", Vlad III's nickname and the inspiration for Bram Stoker's infamous vampire, means "son of the dragon".note
- The "dragon" in question was his actual father Vlad II Dracul, i.e. the 'Dragon' or 'Last Dragon' as he was one of the last members of the Order of the Dragon.
- Modern Romanian has the patronymic ending '-escu'.
- In Jewish Torah services and certain blessings, people will be called by "[Hebrew Name], (female)bat/(male)ben [Name of Father]". Traditionally, converts called to the Torah give their parents' names as Abraham and Sarah, the first ancestors of the Jewish people.
- Just to make this complicated though, this is reversed if someone is sick, then they are prayed for as the child of their mother.
- Originally, it was exclusively male, but after the Romans came through, that was ... not feasible. When you have a reasonable fraction of the population born to single mothers, rules like that just have to go. However, they haven't totally given up the male-line issues. For example, you're Jewish if your mother's Jewish, but you inherit your Biblical tribal affiliation from your father.
- As mentioned above, Arabic names also get this treatment, with "ibn" or "bin" used for sons and "bint" used for daughters.
- Historical example; circa 600 BC, thousands of landless Greek soldiers became soldiers for hire in the Egyptian army. Some graffiti found at the Abu Simbel temples in Egypt reads, "Archon, son of Amoibichos, and Ax, son of Nobody, wrote me."
- The notorious terrorist Carlos the Jackal's real name is Ilyich Ramírez Sánchez. That translates into "son of Elijah, son of Ramiro, son of Sancho." Now whose son he is? His father (José Altagarcia Ramírez-Navas) and his mother (Elba Maria Sánchez), and he and his brothers were named after Vladimir Lenin.
- Ancient Rome had a naming convention known as filiation, in which an individual's full name included the name of his father, his grandfather, and (sometimes) the voting tribe he belonged to. Considering that most Roman males drew from a very shallow pool of first names, this could help distinguish a man on official records from his identically-named third cousin.
- The "Mac" in Scottish and Irish surnames means son.
- The stupidly huge inscription of Ashurnasirpal II contains "son of Tukulti-Ninurta, the great king, the mighty king, king of Assyria, the son of Adad-nirari, the great king, the mighty king of Assyria".
- In a variant, Chinese names can contain 2 or 3 characters. The first is the surname, and the second (if of three) can be a "generation name", which all children of a given generation of that family share, the third character being the personal name. So if the Li family has children, and the generation name is 光 (Guāng), the children would be Li Guangfoo, Li Guangbar, Li Guangbaz, etc.
- Ditto in Korea, although there is an increasing tendency to ignore naming conventions as of 21st century.
- A slight tweak are the "Fitz" names, which originally meant "son of" (it's a Norman variation of the French word fils) but was later appropriated to mean "illegitimate son of." (This use came into play after most of the larger families, such as the Fitzgeralds of Ireland, were founded, so no, there wasn't some Gerald who was sleeping around a ton; on the other hand, someone named FitzRoy is almost certainly a descendant of an illegitimate child of a king, very probably Charles II.)
- Ancient Greeks used patronymics, many of which evolved into common Greek surnames of today. To an ancient Greek, a patronymic was an important sign of legitimacy and identity; illegitimate children were not referred to by their patronymic (the best a bastard son could hope for is something similar to the example of "Themistokles, called son of Neokles", as in Herodotus. Less polite is the poet Metagenes, who refers to another man as "that bastard-thing of Kallias").