: "It's a genetic abnormality which resulted when you went back in time and performed certain actions which made you your own grandfather." Fry
: "I did do the nasty in the past-y!"
Simply put, a Stable Time Loop
where one is his own ancestor. Of course, this implies an Identical Grandson
, and an Ontological Paradox
which results in a quarter of one's DNA being created from out of nowhere.
The trope namer is not an example, however. The song I'm My Own Grandpa
by Lonzo and Oscar in 1947 is about how the singer's character became his own step
-grandfather through complicated marriages
. This trope is about being one's own biological
If they're just pretending to be their grandchild, then that's My Grandson Myself
. See also Kid from the Future
, for more time-travel and offspring-related hijinks, and Time Travel Romance
, which could also lead to this trope.
See also Grandfather Paradox
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Anime / Manga
- Pierrot Bolneze in Yakitate!! Japan was abandoned at a circus as an infant, but by Kazuma Azuma's history-changing Taima Ja-pan, he goes back to his childhood and ends up saving his mother from Death by Childbirth. When Pierrot comes back to current time, both his parents are alive in this timeline. In this version of reality, he became a clown and was named Pierrot because his parents were so impressed with their old butler, the adult Pierrot from the future who was abandoned and raised in a circus.
- Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle - oh my, oh my, OH MY!! Following Cloney and C!Sakura's Heroic Sacrifice, they re-incarnate in the past, meet, marry and then comes the WHAM moment of the story, when they become the parents of R!Syaoran, as the reader drops brain dead at this point. Then it only gets worse as more logic is thrown of the window...
- Played with, but averted, with the Marvel Comics villains Kang the Conqueror and Doctor Doom. Kang, the Ur Example of the Conqueror From The Future, was for some time believed to be a future version of Doom, and the two worked together (and double-crossed each other) on many occasions, culminating in the Secret Wars maxiseries, in which Doom had Kang disintegrated by Ultron (he got better with the help of a Reality Warper). Later, however, it was revealed that Kang wasn't really Doom's future incarnation. He was actually either Mister Fantastic's father or distant cousin or some such thing (it's confusing).
- What complicates it is that Reed Richards' father and Kang are both named Nathaniel Richards, but are completely separate people. We think.
- That can be explained by the Nathaniel Richards, who is Kang, is named in honor of the creator of the utopian society on Earth he originated from, Reed Richards' father: Nathaniel Richards...who is also a time-traveler.
- Kang is a bit of a mess. There is another character, more or less a good guy, who's a future version of Kang, and there turns out to be a rather large group of Kangs, from different points of their own timeline or from paralleled realities, that cooperate and occasionally congregate for various purposes, then there's a larger group of Kang-analogs that are clearly Kang but have different faces, different genders, different species...
- It is supposed to be impossible in the Marvel universe to become our own ancestor because you can't actually travel into your own past. If you try, you end up in what will already become a different universe than the one you left (for example, Rachel Summers tried to avert the future she came from, only to eventually find out she had arrived in a different timeline).
- In X-Factor, the longstanding question of Shatterstar's relationship with Longshot was finally resolved. Due to a mystical battle, Shatterstar got blasted back to his native dimension Mojoworld, but in the past. The Spineless One scientist Arize used genetic material taken from Shatterstar to create Longshot. At a relative future point in Mojoworld's timeline, Longshot will father a child with the human mutant Dazzler. This child will be Shatterstar. The infant will then be taken even further into the future, to be raised to become a gladiator and leading the life that includes his own involvement in the creation of his "father" and arranging his own upbringing. And we thought Cable and Rachel Summers had messed up origin stories!
- Alan Moore's "Chronocops" strip for 2000 AD sees the time cop narrator arresting his partner, who attempted to marry his own grandmother as a young woman after he suffered a mental breakdown. The narrator himself ends up retiring from the Time Police after this and marries his partner's grandmother himself. His (now former) partner says that he's going to kill him when he gets out of jail.
- DC One Million has the series antagonist Solaris, an evil artificial intelligence, sending a computer virus back to the 20th century, which is stopped by the Justice League by building a supercomputer to contain it, thus leading to the events that caused the rise of Solaris in the 853rd century in the first place.
- Referenced in Kyon Big Damn Hero, with Kyon recalling someone saying he looked identical to his grandfather at that age. Given how much time-traveling he does...
- The Inuyasha fandom has a fan theory that Kagome is her own great-great-great...grandmother.
- The title villain of Terminator is the most famous western case, as its travels back in time resulted in it "fathering" its own master Skynet.
- Technically, it could be said that it simply caused Skynet to develop sooner rather than being the cause of its existence altogether.
- Timerider The Adventure Of Lyle Swann, where the hero went back in time and became his own great-grandfather.
- Marty McFly spends most of Back to the Future avoiding becoming his own father. He succeeds, but instead becomes his own namesake.
- This is subverted in part III where it's revealed that Marty did have a relative with his name on his father's side.
- Spoofed in Detention. "Ione is pregnant with herself?"
- Chuck Palahniuk's novel Rant - many of the major characters repeatedly go back in time to become their father, grandfather, great-grandfather, etc. with the theory that this eventually allows for an ascent into godhood via killing yourself since things without beginning have no end.
- Not only that, the main character himself is his own
father father and grandfather entire line of male ancestors. Lots of time travel needed for that.
- Played to the extreme in the Robert A. Heinlein story —All You Zombies—, about a man who was both of his own parents. He was born a female, but was really a hermaphrodite and lost his female parts after giving birth. Then he went back in time and had sex with himself, in an attempt to save herself from that man who knocked her up and left her, then kidnapped his baby self, went back in time, and dropped it off at an orphanage. Every single significant character in the story turns out to be that one individual.
- Lampshaded when the song "I'm My Own Grandpa" comes on the jukebox; he becomes angry and unplugs it.
- "By His Bootstraps" is an example by the same author of the "milder" version described above.
- Time Enough for Love has a blurb on the back cover that claims this trope occurs, but it couldn't have happened in the novel, nor could it have happened off-stage, since Lazarus's arrival date in the past was after his own birth, quite intentionally (and Maureen is already pregnant with a younger sibling of Lazarus when he arrives). The blurb-writer got a few other details of the book wrong, and probably was working from a grossly simplified synopsis.
- In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox's father is Zaphod Beeblebrox II, his grandfather is Zaphod Beeblebrox III, etc. When asked why, he says it was an accident involving a time machine and a prophylactic. His great-grandfather takes to referring to him as "Zaphod Beeblebrox the Nothingth" as an insult because of it. Though The Hitchhiker's Guide does state that becoming one's own grandparent through time travel is nothing that a significantly well-adjusted family can't deal with.
- The Man Who Folded Himself, Dan is his own mother and father. How this is possible when time travel to the past forks into an alternate reality is unclear.
- In a book called "The Mirror", a young woman switches bodies/eras with her grandmother, and then lives her life (in other words, she is the one who has the great romance with the grandfather, who is thought by the family to be psychic, who gives birth to her mother...). At the beginning /end of the book, she dies as her grandmother, while her grandmother then lives the rest of her life.
- Spider Robinson's "Have You Heard The One..." features a visit to Callahans Crosstime Saloon by a time-traveling salesman, whose plans are foiled by Philip Jose Farmer's daughter Josie, who mentions that she "thinks she's going to grow up to be Mom."
- The first edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets has Dumbledore stating that Voldemort is the "last living ancestor" of Salazar Slytherin. Among those who realized what that actually means (in context, it's easy to miss), there was some wild speculation, especially since the sequel introduces time travel, although that would be a llloooot of tedious hourglass-turning. Of course, it was simply a mix up with "descendant". Some people use "ancestor" in a sense that includes "descendant", but it's best not to for clarity's sake.
- Possibly to prevent things like this, the movie implies that a Time-Turner can't take you back more than 24 hours at a time.
- Robert Silverberg's time-travel novel Up the Line has a character who is trying to sleep with all his female ancestors, except his mother (as he puts it, "I draw the line at abominations"). He's careful not to father any children, he is just seeking to cuckold all of his male ancestors (except his father because sleeping with his own mom would be sick).
Live Action TV
- Achron: The alien Grekim are able to pull this off in gameplay (see here for directions how). It has little practical use though, so it doesn't happen often.
- Digimon Tamers: Brave Tamer establishes that a combination of this and Timey-Wimey Ball to Mind Screw levels resulted in the birth of Millenniumon: far in his future as ZeedMillenniumon he released Apocalymon, whose presence came to cause the existence of the Dark Masters. One of the Dark Masters was Mugendramon, who after his appparent death merged with a Chimairamon to form Millenniumon, who would go on to do horrible things, become ZeedMillenniumon, et cetera.
- Oracle Of Tao has a version of this that doesn't involve time travel, but rather a God in Human Form situation, where God impregnates her mother, even though God turns out to be her true form. There are so many things wrong with this.
- Irregular Webcomic!: Adam and Jamie from MythBusters attempt to do this. They screw it up, becoming each other's grandfather, and therefore their own great-great-grandfathers. Which, incidentally does prove that this trope can happen, which was the whole reason they attempted this in the first place. Myth confirmed!
- Wicked Powered: Taken to its natural extreme. The main character was sent back in time twice (once as a woman and once as a man). He arrived in the same time on both occasions. The two instances met, fell in love, got married, and conceived a child. Take a guess as to who this child was. Oh. And the 'aunt' he was living with was actually his pet monkey. And apparently, being your own parents makes you immortal. Or something.
- Homestuck has the most bizarre form yet. John, in the present, finds a cloning station which is locked on to four people: his Nanna, Jade's Grandpa, Rose's Mom, and Dave's Bro. He clones all four of them, using paradox slime. The slime from Nanna and Grandpa is mixed together, as is the slime from Mom and Bro. From the Grandpa/Grandma slime, clones of John and Jade are created, as are Rose and Dave from Mom/Bro slime. The part where it gets weird though, is when these clone babies are sent back in time, to become the regular them.
- It gets worse: Four "pure" clones babies are also created ... and sent back to become Nanna, Grandpa, Mom and Bro in the first place.
- It gets much worse. Since John could be considered as "fathering" all the kids AND guardians, (since he did actually physically push the button and create them) John is... his own (second?) father, his grandfather, his half-sister's father, and her great-grandfather, his own great-grandfather, and his father-in-law + his own grandfather-in-law, if he does marry Rose. That's not counting the implications if you consider his being a "father" to Rose, Dave, Mom and Bro, which just makes it all the more convoluted.
- This also happened with the trolls, with Karkat performing John's role. In this case, owing to the fact that troll parentage sure is weird, he also created the trolls' famous ancestors, who are actually their decendants. The fact that he was the one who cloned them in the first place means that, by some definitions of parent, he is their collective father.
- And now, in the Alpha Universe, the kids and their guardians switch places, but presumably keep their old biology. Don't ask what that does to everyone's relations.
- A well-known example is the Futurama episode, "Roswell That Ends Well", where Fry unwittingly becomes his own grandfather by the direct expedient of doing, as he puts it, "the nasty in the past-y". Surprisingly, this actually became a major plot point in some later episodes.
- To clarify, Fry meets his grandfather, Enos, in 1947 Roswell and becomes so afraid of getting him killed (and thus not existing) that he winds up causing him to die. Later, Fry (still perplexed that he is alive) comforts the woman he believes to be his grandmother. She drunkenly propositions him, and Fry deduces that since he's still alive after accidentally killing Enos, she must not really be his grandmother. His logic is faulty.
- This trope is why Fry's the only one capable of saving the universe and also explains why Fry not going into the future in "Anthology of Interest" causes the universe to self-destruct. By not getting frozen, he couldn't end up becoming his own grandfather, and thus caused a major paradox. And by being his own grandfather, he lacks a certain brain wave making him immune to psychic forms of attack, leaving him the only one able to stop the Brainspawn from destroying the universe.
- In an episode of Xiaolin Showdown, Dojo warns Omi that by using the Sands of Time, "You can end up becoming your own grandpa."
- Averted on Count Duckula, in which the character only claims he's his own father, grandfather, etc. He really means that each time he comes back from the dead, he remembers nothing and is effectively reborn with a fresh personality.
- Fairly OddParents has an example. In the Crash Nebula episode, Wanda says that there is an episode where Crash discovers he's his own great grandfather after traveling through time.
- Family Guy has Stewie taking the place of his ancestor Leonardo da Vinci when he is killed by Bertram and managing to pass his own genes down before freezing himself and taking The Slow Path back.
- In the I Am Weasel episode "My Friend, the Smart Banana", Weasel and the banana have an intellectual discussion and conclude that if you travel faster than the speed of light, you become your own grandmother.