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.
Also see Evil Matriarch
- 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.
- 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.
- "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.
- Zira from The Lion King II: Simba's Pride will do anything to maker her son kovu, King.
- In Egyptian Mythology after her husband Osiris was murdered by his brother Seth who became Pharaoh, Isis made sure her son Horus could claim the rule from his Evil Uncle.
- 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.
- 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.
- Paper Cuts: What the Queen Mother is trying to do.
- 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.
Real Life Examples
- 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 was King and married to 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 though 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.
- Henry VII became King because of 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.
- 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.
- 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.