Lord Country

In many works of fiction, the ruler of a country or piece of land will often share his surname with the land itself. There can be a few reasons—the country may have been named by the ruler after himself, or the ruler may be an outsider who took the country's name as his own to fit in. It may also simply be tradition for the current ruler to take the name of the country as a surname when he comes to power.

This practice comes from the old Western European naming convention, before the introduction of modern family names, to refer to people as "<name> of <birthplace or home>", such as Henry of York. Later in the medieval period this became known as a "territorial surname" and was used to specifically note that the person was a landowner or noble of some sort. On the other hand, the country might in fact have been named after the dynasty that rules or ruled it—the Principality of Liechtenstein, for example, is named after the ruling House of Liechtenstein ... which in turn is named after its ancestral home in Castle Liechtenstein, Austria. In fiction this can occur due to authors not having knowledge of noble houses, or the proper history behind territorial surnames. In short, it's simply easy to name the ruler of a country after the country, because it saves the writer getting into the politics of the political houses and it's easier to remember for the reader.

Compare Egopolis.

Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Code Geass, all Britannian royalty has the last name "Britannia" with some prefix, like "di Britannia" or "li Britannia".
  • Slayers: The entire Seyruunian/Saillunean royal family has names ending with "Seyruun". Amelia, for example, is Amelia Wil Tesla Seyruun.
  • In The Seven Deadly Sins, Princess Elizabeth Liones and the rest of the royal family share their surname with the name of their kingdom, Liones.
  • The Vision of Escaflowne: Van Fanel, King of Fanelia
  • In The Familiar of Zero, the princess and later queen of the country of Tristain is named Henrietta de Tristain; meaning Henrietta of Tristain.
  • The planetary senshi of Sailor Moon, when in their princess forms, are known as 'Princess (Planet)', ex: Princess Mercury, Princess Venus, Princess Uranus, etc.
  • The Imperial House of Jurai from Tenchi Muyo! all take 'Jurai' as a surname after bonding with with a tree ship, which is part of the succession laws.

    Film 

    Live Action TV 
  • Doctor Who. In "The Curse of Peladon" and its sequel story "The Monster of Peladon", the ambassador to Alpha Centauri is just called Alpha Centauri. Presumably this was done by the writers to give a Shakespearean feel to all the courtly intrigue. In "The Curse of Peladon" only, the King of Peladon is named simply "Peladon".
  • In Stargate SG-1, Master Bra'tac constantly refers to General Hammond as "Hammond of Texas". It isn't so much this trope here, though, than the Jaffa formal way of addressing a peer (Jaffa don't have family names, and use instead their places of origin). When O'Neill first talked to Bra'tac about the General, he mentioned he was from Texas, and it stuck.

    Literature 
  • In Hurog the family who rules the land Hurog lives in castle Hurog, and is called Hurog. The head of the family is called "Hurogmeten", but that's just indicating that he's the ruler.
  • In The Queen's Thief, the monarchs of the three countries (Sounis, Eddis, Attolia) are identified by the country each of them rules. They all do have individual birth names, though.
  • The Land of Oz is at first ruled by the Wizard, who calls himself Oz. We later learn that the land was already called Oz before he got there and the fact that the Wizard was also named Oz was a coincidence. The Wizard thought they had named the country after him. From the second book onward, Oz is ruled by a princess named Ozma.
  • An Omnipresent Trope in the Regency romance genre with nobles being addressed as Lord <insert locale inhabited>, due to it being Truth in Television.
  • In Will of Heaven, characters are usually referred to as whatever they're king/emperor of.
  • In the Heralds of Valdemar series, The Kingdom of Valdemar is named after its first ruler, King Valdemar. He in turn was merely Baron Valdemar in the Eastern Empire, which he fled with his people when it became too despotic. When they settled, they insisted that he crown himself and named the land after him. Whether his barony on the Empire's western border was also named Valdemar is unknown.
  • So many from A Song of Ice and Fire. Some examples:
    • The North: The Cerwyns of Cerwyn.
    • Westerlands: The Baneforts of Banefort.
    • Crownlands: The Hayfords of Hayford.
    • Iron Islands: The Blacktydes of Blacktyde.
    • Reach: The Hightowers of the High Tower.
    • Dorne: The Blackmonts of Blackmont.
    • Riverlands: The Darrys of Darry.
    • The Vale: The Redforts of Redfort.
  • In The Traitor Baru Cormorant, all the dukes and duchesses of Aurdwynn are named after their duchies to the point where the names of the duchies are used as if they were their personal names: Duke Oathsfire of Oathsfire becomes just Oathsfire, Duchess Nayauru of Nayauru becomes just Nayauru, and so on. The only exception is Duchess Tain Hu of Vultjag, who sports a first and last name but is also vastly more important to the narrator.
  • In the Terra Ignota series, King Isabel Carlos II of Spain is almost exclusively called just Spain by both the narrator and his fellow heads of state due to being the only one without any proper last name to fall back on.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Forgotten Realms setting flipflops on this with regard to the city-state of Neverwinter. According to some sources it's called that because its river never freezes (due to being heated by a nearby volcano). Other sources point to it being a truncation of "Never's Winter" after Lord Halueth Never, its earliest ruler.
  • In Traveller, the head of an Aslan clan is identified by the name of his clan. When distinguished from his clan as an individual the syllable "ko"("chief" or literally "himself") is added. That is the head of Coolclan is formally either Coolclan or Coolclanko.

    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy V, Tycoon is ruled by Alexander Highwind Tycoon and Karnak is ruled by Queen Karnak.
    • Final Fantasy VI, Edger Roni Figaro rules the kingdom of Figaro.
    • Final Fantasy IX, the royal family of Alexandria bear the name "Alexandros". Both double as foreshadowing of the kingdom's guardian Eidolon, Alexander.
    • Final Fantasy XII, Ashe's last name is Dalmasca, while her husband Rasler shares his surname Nabradia with his kingdom. Averted with the Archadian and Rozarrian Empires; the rulers of Arcadia are House Solidor and the rulers of Rozarria are House Margrace.
  • In the Ultima series, Lord British rules over Britannia. In this case the land was named after him: He united the land, then called Sosaria, under one banner and rechristened it Britannia.
  • The Legend of Zelda: A couple games (The Wind Waker, Breath of the Wild) give the royal family of Hyrule the last name Hyrule. Both are justified, as the land was once ruled and protected by the goddess Hylia, and Skyward Sword reveals that the first Zelda was Hylia's reincarnation and is implied to have resettled Hyrule with humans after the game's end.
  • The monarchs of Guardia in Chrono Trigger in the years 600 and 1000 are known only as King Guardia XXI and King Guardia XXXIII, respectively.
  • The Elder Scrolls
    • The legendary Yokudan (Precursors to the Redguards) hero and Ansei, Frandar Hunding, both plays this straight and inverts it in difference instances. To note:
      • Playing it straight, both Hunding Bay in Hammerfell and Port Hunding on the island of Stros M'Kai are named after him.
      • Also Inverted, as the "Hunding" part of his name refers to the region of Yokuda where he was born. Essentially, these places were named after him, who was already named after a different place.
    • There is actually in-universe debate over whether Reman Cyrodiil, the founder of the Second Cyrodiilic Empire, took the name of the country as his surname when he was crowned or if the country is named after him. It is likely that he took the name of the country, which was originally "Cyrod" in the language of the Ayleids.
    • As mentioned, there have been three recognized Cyrodiilic Empires in Tamriellic history. To differentiate them, they are often referred to with the name of the ruling dynasty. The first is the Alessian Empire, founded by St. Alessia "the Slave Queen". The second is the Reman Empire, founded by Reman Cyrodiil. The third is the Septim Empire, founded by Tiber Septim, and is the ruling empire during each game in the series through Oblivion. Following the events of Oblivion, the Empire is left without a Septim on the throne and goes into a steep decline. Titus Mede, a local warlord, manages to capture the Imperial Throne and establishes the Mede Dynasty. However, it isn't a true dynasty like the others and generally is not counted among them. It has largely claimed the remaining pieces of the Septim Empire.
    • The legendary Aldmeri Bold Explorer and poet, Topal the Pilot, lends his name to Tamriel's Topal Bay and the Niben River system of Cyrodiil is named after his ship. Ironically, Topal explored the Topal Bay and Niben River system by mistake. After exiting Black Marsh, while trying to get back home to Firsthold, he mistook the "jutting peninsula" of Elsweyr as the mainland sailed north into the Bay and River. Had he known that was a peninsula and sailed around it, he would have gotten home much sooner and never would have explored central Cyrodiil, his most famous accomplishment.
    • St. Veloth was the legendary Chimer mystic who led his people away from the decadence of the Summerset Isles to their new homeland in Morrowind. The mountain range separating Morrowind from Skyrim is known as the Velothi Mountains in his honor.
  • Happens a lot in the Fire Emblem series. In the Fire Emblem Elibe games, the marquesses of Lycia are referred to after the provinces they govern, such as Marquess Ostia (being Uther or Hector, depending on the game) or Marquess Pherae (Elbert & Eliwood, respectively) and Lord Pent and his wife Louise are also called Count/Countess Reglay. In the Fire Emblem Tellius games, we have Elincia Ridell Crimea, princess (later queen) of Crimea, as well as King Daein (Ashnard) and King Kilvas (Naesala).
  • Asbel and Hubert from Tales of Graces have the last name Lhant, the same name as their hometown which their family rules over, though Hubert subverts this trope after being adopted by the Oswell family and taking on their last name.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney Spirit of Justice, members of the Kingdom of Khura'in's royal family also bear the surname Khura'in.
  • In Crusader Kings II, nomadic khagans and rulers of Arabic, Turkish, Indian, Tibetan, and Han cultures (and the offscreen Emperor of China in the Jade Dragon expansion) have the country named after their dynasty, e.g. the Abbasid Empire. (If there are multiple rulers of the same tier and dynasty, the one with the most realm holdings takes priority and the others are referred to by the actual name of the title, e.g. Arabian Empire as opposed to Abbasid Empire.)

    Web Original 
  • Commander Canada and Commander Canadia from the Keegan's Truck web series.

     Web Comics 
  • Averted in Homestuck. Lord English is not the lord of England, or really even all that English to begin with. He's a space alien. Lord English (as well as his minions) are all billiards-themed gangsters, and the term "english", referring to the spin you put on the cue ball.
  • In A Magical Roommate, Aylia is properly named Aylia of Umbria because she's a member of the royal family of Umbria. However, in the other mundane world, she drops the 'of' and reluctantly uses Umbria as her surname.

    Real Life 
  • Saudi Arabia, ruled by the Saud dynasty. Really, Saudi Arabia only means "the parts of Arabia ruled by clan Al-Saud".
  • Liechtenstein, ruled by the princely House of Liechtenstein.
  • Though he formally has no surname, the British Prince William, in his military career, uses the surname Wales because he is the son of Charles, Prince of Wales. The same goes for the rest of his family. His brother is known as Captain Harry Wales.
  • As many Shakespeare plays show, this actually has some basis in reality. In the history plays, for example, monarchs address their fellow monarchs as (say) "our fair cousin Dauphin". In this case, the Dauphin is the ruler of the Dauphinois, which is traditionally ruled by the heir to France. Similarly, one might speak of the king of France simply as "France" since, by medieval understanding, the country is nothing but the entirety of land held sovereignly in fief to the king.
  • Territorial surnames are still in informal use among British Peers, but only among equals. For example, an earl may address Hugh Clayton Lowther, 8th Earl of Lonsdale, simply as "Lonsdale", but a duke (which is a higher rank) or a baron (which is a lower rank) may not. However, anyone may (and in most cases should) address or refer to a peer with a territorial designation by the title "Lord/Lady [Territory]"; thus anyone could call the Earl of Lonsdale "Lord Lonsdale," and in fact, if you are not calling him something along the lines of "the 8th Earl of Lonsdale" or at least "the Earl of Lonsdale" (which are more formal constructions), it's really the only acceptable option unless you are very close to the peer in question.
  • The family name of the Earls of Coventry is literally "Coventry."
  • Chinese dynasties before the Mongol conquest almost universally took their names from the state or fief from which the first ruler of the dynasty had arisen. For instance, the Han dynasty took its name from the state of Han (in what is now Sichuan) that its founder Liu Bei/Emperor Gaozu of Han had ruled in the aftermath of the fall of the Qin, while the Tang dynasty took is name from the fief of Tang, of which its founder Li Zhi/Emperor Gaozong of Tang had been duke under the Sui dynasty. This applied as much to the dynasties that ruled the smaller states that controlled China during its periods of division as much as the big dynasties of united China; of the various dynasties established from the Qin in 221 BCE through the Song (established 960 CE, conquered by the Mongols 1279), only one, the Chen dynasty that ruled southern China 557-589 CE (during the late Northern and Southern Dynasties era) before being gobbled up by the Sui, took its name from the personal name of the ruling family, or indeed anything other than the ruling family's "home" territory. However, when the Mongols completed their conquest and Kublai Khan decided he wanted to rule as a Chinese emperor, he did not use a territorial name, but rather the word "Yuan," whose meaning is complex but can roughly be translated "origin." Its two successor dynasties followed suit, calling themselves the Ming ("bright") and Qing ("pure") rather than use territorial designations.

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