Mother Makes You King
This is basically when someone could not have otherwise become king without their mother's efforts. It doesn't have to necessarily be a king, it can refer to a situation where your mother makes sure you have power. It could be that your mother is a political actor in her own right who plans to get you into power, scheming and murdering all other heirs and finally you become king. A woman in such a society can't be head of state, so her son becoming king is the next best thing. It could be that this is a subversion of Lineage Comes from the Father
, or a situation where the king doesn't have any sons but has a daughter.
A villainous example may be an Evil Matriarch
. Subtrope to Vicariously Ambitious
Anime and Magna
- In Fushigi Yuugi, Hotohori's mother pulled some strings to get him onto the throne. Conveniently, the real crown-prince, Tendou, had been sent away to live as a commoner, because someone made an attempt on his life.
Film - Animated
Film - Live Action
- Paper Cuts: What the Queen Mother is trying to do. Though she didn't technically kill the Emperor, she has forced him into suspended animation in an orbiting tomb.
- Stardust: After the Game Between Heirs and the Witches have killed all the sons of the King of Stormhold and due to the fact the throne of Stormhold can't pass to a Woman, Tristan, as son of Princess Una and the one who finds the ruby, becomes King.
Live Action TV
- I, Claudius claims Livia Drusilla was this to Tiberius (see below).
- How to Train Your Dragon: Excellinor the Witch, mother of Alvin the Treacherous, is able to make her son King of the Wilderwest through her scheming.
- A Song of Ice and Fire: Cersei Lannister puts her illegitimate son Joffrey in line for the Iron Throne by passing him off as King Robert's legitimate son. She then puts him on the throne by killing Robert and his bastards note , and having his best friend note imprisoned on charges of treason.
- In the TV series, while Cersei is the one who puts Joffrey in line for the throne by killing Robert and imprisoning Ned Stark, it is actually Joffrey who kills all of Robert's bastard children, out of the fear that one of them will try to claim the throne.
- Robert Baratheon partially got the Iron Throne this way, though this was a case of Grandmother makes you King, his father's mother being a Targaryen. However Robert likes to say he got it with his warhammer.
- Visenya Targaryen, one of Aegon the Conqueror's sister-wives, is suspected of this, her stepson/nephew King Aenys I dying from an illness while under her care. Her son Maegor the Cruel then became King and she became his strongest supporter. Then deconstructed, as after her death Maegor's reign begins to fall apart and he is overthrown by one of Aenys' sons.
- Queen Alicent Hightower was apparently this. Her husband Viserys I had declared his daughter Rhaenyra, only surviving child of his first marriage, his heir. However on Viserys' death Alicent persuaded her oldest son Aegon II to take the Iron Throne, leading to a civil war known as "The Dance of the Dragons". Of course, it is disputed how much of Aegon's actions were due to Alicent, considering Archmaester Glydan shows some misogynistic views.
- Under Dornish law this can happen as inheritance is gender-neutral.
- Once Upon a Time: An example of Mother makes you Queen occurs. Cora manipulates events so that Regina saves the recently widowed King's young daughter and he takes Regina as a wife. It is also revealed she killed the previous Queen in the first place.
Real Life Examples
- Long Live the Queen: Crown Princess Elodie is the heiress apparent to the throne of Nova on the death of her mother Queen Fidelia. Since Fidelia had a brother herself but became queen despite that, it's likely that Nova has gender-neutral inheritance.
- Another character takes a more active role. Elodie's aunt Lucille - Fidelia's sister-in-law - is trying to have her assassinated in order to put her own daughter on the throne.
- According to Herodotus' Histories this happened with Cyrus The Great of Persia. His Grandfather Astyages, the King of the Medes, married his daughter Mandane to Cambyses the Persian as he thought Cambyses was unlikely to rebel. Later Cyrus is able to overthrow his Grandfather, starting of the Achaemenid Empire.
- Similarly happened with Xerxes (yes the God-King from 300). His Father Darius became King and married Atossa, daughter of Cyrus. There was dispute whether Darius' oldest son from his first wife or his oldest son from Atossa should be King. Finally Demaratus the exiled Spartan King said Xerxes should be King as he was born when his Father was King and he was descended from Cyrus. However this trope had potential to further happen according to Herodotus, who says he thinks without Demaratus Xerxes would have become King due to Atossa.
- Not a direct example but Emperor Augustus became adopted son and heir of Gaius Julius Caesar due to his Mother being the daughter of Julius' Sister.
- Livia Drusilla, third wife of Augustus was accused by various historians of murdering most of Augustus' potential heirs so Tiberius, her oldest son from her first marriage, could succeed Augustus. This may be a case of Historical Villain Upgrade. In I, Claudius she does this but is a Well-Intentioned Extremist who wants to prevent further war in Rome.
- Agrippina the Younger, (this trope really does apply to that time) is thought to have poisoned her third husband Claudius so Nero, her son from her first marriage, could become Emperor and she could rule through him. Within five years Nero is thought to have become a Self-Made Orphan. The Julio-Claudians really were a Big Screwed-Up Family.
- Henry The Second of England, first King of The House of Plantagenet, became King due to his Mother Matilda, only legitimate surviving child of Henry the First of The House of Normandy. He had made her his heir, but his nephew Stephan with the help of the Barons made himself King, leading to a period of civil war in England. Matilda nearly became Queen, but it seemed the Barons wouldn't accept a woman ruler. Finally she agreed with Stephan that Henry would be his heir, which happened as Stephan died next year.
- Henry VII became King because his mother, Margaret Beaufort, was descended from an illegitimate child of John of Gaunt, the Duke of Lancaster and father to Henry IV. He confirmed his claim on the battlefield, and solidified it by marrying Elizabeth of York, uniting York and Lancaster into the House of Tudor. Of course, it was hardly a particularly valid claim, meaning Henry made sure to remove Yorkist Princes who might have threatened him.
- Lady Jane Grey's claim to the throne of England was through her mother, Lady Frances Grey, who was Henry VIII's niece through his younger sister Mary. Likewise, James VI of Scotland's claim to England was through his great-grandmother, Margaret, who was Henry VIII's elder sister, and had married the King of Scotland.
- Edward III of England's claim to the throne of France was through his mother. The Hundred Years War started because the French nobility were firm in their insistence that "Mother does not make you King."
- Salic Law in France was an attempt to subvert this, saying someone couldn't inherit through their mother.
- The tenth century Roman noblewoman Marozia engineered the enthronement of her sonnote as Pope John XI. It is not confirmed that she was the one who had her mother's alleged lover Pope John X offed to place three of her candidates ending with her kid on the throne of Saint Peter but the Roman Church of the era had that sort of reputation.
- In The Bible, as King David is near death, his son Adonijah basically declares himself king, even though it had been prophesized that another son, Solomon, would rule. Solomon's mother, Bathsheba, works with the prophet Nathan to reveal Adonijah's actions to David and get Solomon on the throne.
- Not a king exactly, but in the Book of Genesis, Rebecca tricks Isaac into giving Jacob the greater blessing that he intended to give Esau. An unusual example, since Rebecca is Esau's mother too; she just knows that Jacob is a more deserving heir.