Raised by Orcs
The child isn't so much raised by a pack of wolves
or even natives
(who while foreign or wild, genuinely love the child), but by their Always Chaotic Evil
equivalents. Usually the orphan is from an orc raid, and his or her adopted parent(s) took them in out of either a rare display of paternal/maternal instinct
, or to spite their human foes by twisting their children into cruel mockeries of themselves
. Their life will probably consist of Training from Hell
coupled with nihilistic life lessons, and focus on combat over social interaction
. They will be taught Might Makes Right
, that Asskicking Equals Authority
, and to worship their God of Evil
if they have one.
Of course, having not come from the Always Chaotic Evil stock, evil is not In the Blood
for them and is "all nurture
", so they're prime Heel–Face Turn
material. This can actually escalate if their foster parent(s) do love them
, and the Orc Raised adult manages a community wide turn.
While Orc is part of the trope name, the group need not be inhuman fantasy creatures
, any evil human or non-human group will do. (Also, since Our Orcs Are Different
and some variants aren't Always Chaotic Evil
, a child literally raised by orcs may not fit this trope
...) However this trope and the Heel–Face Turn
becomes much more pronounced if they're not human looking.
See also Tyke Bomb
Anime & Manga
- In Princess Tutu, it's eventually revealed that Rue / Kraehe was actually just an ordinary human child abducted by the Raven and not his real daughter.
- When he was young, Threader from The Seven Deadly Sins was kidnapped and raised as a slave by some barbarians who were more than willing to kill him if he ever stepped out of line.
- Much like the Superman example below, Goku is viewed as this trope by his fellow Saiyans, especially his brother Raditz, who is horrified to find that his baby brother is living happily among the very beings he was suppose to murder. Vegeta also shows some shades of this with Goku early on, constantly disgusted whenever Goku display human values such as mercy and honor. Both tried to make Goku recover his true nature with Raditz outright failing and Vegeta installing the pride of being a Saiyan although he could never make Goku act as brutal or as cold-hearted as a real Saiyan.
- Juuzou Suzuya from Tokyo Ghoul is a Psychopathic Manchild as a result of having been raised by a particularly evil Ghoul. Even after being rescued by CCG and trained as an Investigator, he remains prone to terrifying acts of violence and suffers from a Lack of Empathy. Once he's partnered with the kind Shinohara, he gains a surrogate father that helps him to slowly regain his humanity.
- In the DCU, Granny Goodness raises any children under her "care" to serve Darkseid loyally. Most conformed but out of the following:
- Scott Free/Mr. Miracle refused to be corrupted or break and ran off, followed by his future wife Big Barda.
- Knockout, while never good, also fled from them.
- Several surviving Kryptonian influences and Sufficiently Advanced Aliens floating around the DCU seem to think Superman is this trope, and that they should help him recover his "true nature" rather than abandon him among the unworthy, inferior, savage human race. Clark Kent has a few issues with this interpretation.
- The Lanfeust spin-off Trolls of Troy is an entire comic series following the exploits of Waha, an human female adopted by a troll. He kept her as a fresh snack but grew fond of her before the time to eat her came. He raises her as his own, eventually leading to a "what do you mean, adopted?" moment. She's the best of her class.
- Gunna Sijurvald of the Thunderbolts, imaginatively codenamed "Troll", is a half-Asgardian half-Troll girl who was raised among a pack of Trolls. Attempts to integrate Gunna into Asgardian society have failed since she sees herself as a Troll.
- Princess Aldrif Odinsdottir of Asgard was raised by the Angels of the Tenth Realm, who aren't always chaotic evil per see just think "Lawful", "Neutral" and "Evil" in any possible combination (their culture is very materialistic and deeply trenched in deals and bartering, so they don't tend to see worth in anything that cannot be assigned a price tag) — oh yeah, you might know her better as Angela.
- A very common plot in Scandinavian folk tales: the trolls steal a child and raises it for their own. Sometimes they leave a troll child with the human parents, sometimes they don't.
- In the Arabic folktale of The Ghul's Daughter, a girl comes home to find her family murdered. A ghul arrives to feast on their flesh, but doesn't harm the living girl, deciding instead to raise her and transfer some of his magic powers to her.
- Vasilissa the Beautiful spent time living with and working for Baba Yaga the witch rather than her abusive stepfamily. In most versions of the tale she learns courage and self-sufficiency, but in a few she also learns magic.
- The Japanese hero Kintaro was raised by the mountain hag Yama-Uba in a benevolent mood.
- Rapunzel was raised by a witch after her own parents gave her up so her mother could eat the witch's rampion.
- Warhammer 40,000
- The fancharacter Blue is a Tau girl (a race of idealistic space-communists) raised by Orks. Which is strange because Orks have no concept of child-rearing, being animate fungi who grow from spores and emerge fully formed from the ground. That said, Orks are entirely in it for the fun of warfare, so if the girl can fight, she's more or less okay with the Orks. They don't care so much what species you are, has much as they do if you can swing a Choppa and beat the piss out of people (Including the Orks themselves. Their economics, such as they are, are based on Ork teeth knocked out of your enemies heads)
- The alien Megamind is raised by convicts in a prison and taught right from wrong (more specifically, that right is wrong). He seems to have had a happy and emotionally healthy childhood, despite having a very limited understanding of social skills. His education is also lacking, as reflected by occasional mispronunciations of English words, the most common one being "school" (which he pronounces as "shool").
- In Blood Diamond many children are kidnapped and brainwashed by the rebels into Child Soldiers, unfortunately very much Truth in Television.
- In Captain America (1990), the Nazis kidnap an Italian child prodigy, slaughter his family, and raise him to be the perfect Nazi. He grows up to be the Red Skull.
- Conan the Barbarian (1982) shows Conan being raised as a slave after his family is murdered in a raid. As befits a hero, he not only survives, he thrives and grows into the man who will destroy the one responsible for the deaths of his family.
- Ilya Muromets, a Russian film about Russian folk hero Ilya Murometz routing of the Mongol hordes. In a twist, his wife is kidnapped and the Mongol Khan raises Ilya's son as his own. The movie very much treats his son's upbringing as this, but his innate heroism from his biological father lets him do a Heel–Face Turn.
- Tagg in The Taggerung is a textbook example: he's an otter whose father was killed by vermin, and is later raised by them. He grows to be the biggest, toughest, fastest, strongest of them all, and this being Redwall, he can't bring himself to kill an unarmed creature and he runs off. The tribe end up chasing him because a) he stole the chieftain Sawney's knife, and b) they think he killed Sawney.
- Inverted by Mr. Nutt in Unseen Academicals. He is an orc, and possibly one of the very few left; raids by humans killed off most of the orcs. Mr. Nutt was then raised by humans and Friendly Neighborhood Vampires before being sent off to Ankh-Morpork. And he definitely proves orcs aren't Always Chaotic Evil.
- PTerry seems to like inverting this trope. It's also present in Snuff; Felicity Beedle's mother was raised by goblins, and they treated her more humanely than the humans who eventually "rescued" her.
- Oliver Twist — Oliver, a member of the gentry, is orphaned and left at the mercy of cruel, greedy caretakers and ultimately London's criminal class. He manages to remain uncorrupted by their influence
- The Ilse Witch, aka Grianne Ohmsford of The Voyage of the Jerle Shannara was raised by The Morgawr and his Mwellrets following the deaths of her parents. She grows up hating everyone, including the Mwellrets; The Morgawr is the only person she respects, and it's just barely.
- Played with in many ways with the character Tahiri Veila, a Jedi Apprentice (and later Jedi Knight) from the Star Wars Expanded Universe, particularly the New Jedi Order. She actually was raised by Tusken Raiders, but this was closer to Raised by Natives since the Tuskens, their outings in the movies notwithstanding, aren't all bad. Then the Yuuzhan Vong show up, kidnap Tahiri, and attempt to brainwash her into believing she's one of them (in order to create a Force-using Vong warrior)- so she ends up with two sets of memories, in one of which she was raised by, essentially, space orcs crossed with space dark elves, as one of their own. Further complicating matters, the Vong Shapers tell her that she was one of them captured and raised by humans before beginning said brainwashing, which considering the Vong see themselves as the good guys and their enemies as Always Chaotic Evil, is basically this trope from the opposite perspective.
- She's not the only one; an Old Republic Jedi named A'Sharad Hett was also raised by the Tuskens, until he left to become a Jedi and later, Darth Krayt. A lore entry from Star Wars: The Old Republic indicates the Sand People have a habit of this, for reasons unknown to outsiders.
- Duncan, in the Stardoc series, was raised by Hsktskt.
- Scorpius on Farscape. He's the product of Scarran scientific study that involved raping Sebacean women in order to determine if any potential mixed-species offspring could be of use to the Scarran Empire. He was the lone hybrid who survived. This upbringing made him join with the Sebaceans to destroy the Scarrans.
- This did not qualify as a Heel–Face Turn as the main Sebacean culture, the Peacekeepers, are just barely the lesser of two evils compared to the Scarran Empire (the Scarrans want to utterly conquer and subjugate everyone forever in a species dictatorship while the Peacekeepers do at least sometimes allow their conquered species to maintain their own societies and get recruited). There's a reason that for most of the series, Scorpius was the Big Bad.
- Connor from Angel was kidnapped by Knight Templar villain Holtz. Who is actually human, and he would otherwise have been raised by a (good) vampire. Still, being raised by a fanatical vampire hunter in a demon dimension had a pretty clear negative effect on his stability.
- Star Trek: Voyager had Seven of Nine (formerly Annika Hansen), the child of a human couple who were exploring the Delta quadrant and anthropologically studying the Borg. Their cloak against detection failed, and the Borg assimilated them all. Later, Seven was separated from the collective and Janeway freed and "deprogrammed" her.
- Inverted on Star Trek: The Next Generation, where Worf (a Klingon) was raised by humans. Granted Klingons aren't the enemy of humanity anymore (mostly) but the principle is the same. This was played with quite effectively, with Worf often being truer to Klingon principles from having learned about them while surrounded by humans than most Klingons we meet, who are often sloppy and dishonourable from lacking this incentive to be true to their culture.
- In Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, a young Ryan Mitchell is taken by the demon Diabolico, and raised to hate his human father.
- River Song from Doctor Who was raised by the Church of Silence and trained to kill the Doctor.
- Helena from Orphan Black was raised by the abusive Prolethean cult and trained to hate and kill clones (and misinformed that she wasn't a clone herself). The Castor clones were raised by the military and trained as agents of The Baroness.
- Exalted features a few examples, but one of the standouts is Harmonious Jade, the signature Night Caste. She was raised in a cult devoted to the demon Sondok, and spent her days as an assassin who struck at enemies of the cult. And then she was chosen by the Unconquered Sun to be one of the Solar Exalted. As demons have... issues with the Unconquered Sun, Jade quickly became a target of the cult.
- Feiya, the iconic Witch for Pathfinder, is a Tian-Min (essentially a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Japanese/Chinese/Korean) woman who was raised by a coven of hags. Which, as in Dungeons & Dragons, are malevolent humanoid monsters whose culture basically revolves around Black Magic, murder, deceit and snacking on infants. As a result, her social skills are pretty awful.
- An inversion is Serena the Pious, an Orc Paladin introduced in the third expansion to Red Dragon Inn. Her backstory, essentially a Shout-Out to the iconic D&D moral dilemma of "The Paladin wipes out a tribe of orcs — but what does s/he do with the innocent orc babies left after the Always Chaotic Evil adults are dead?", is that human paladins of Korash wiped out her tribe, found her amidst the wreckage, and decided to adopt her and raise her to be a paladin of Korash in turn. She does believe in Korash's teachings, but has problems balancing them against her inherently chaotic Orc instincts, meaning her personal mechanic situation is Karma Meter to gauge just how close she's managing to stick to her faith.
- In Tomorrow The World, a 1943 problem play by James Gow and Arnaud d'Usseau, a liberal college professor in the midwestern U.S. adopts his twelve-year-old nephew who has been orphaned in Nazi Germany. The boy is given to clicking his heels, repeating Nazi propaganda lines such as "To be an American is to be a member of a mongrel race" and declaring that his father was a traitor and a coward. Typical Enfante Terrible-style mischief ensues.
- In Boktai, Sabata was kidnapped at birth by The Immortals, given a healthy dose of Dark Matter to imbue him with all their evil powers, and sent after Django. Unfortunately for them he ultimately has a Heel–Face Turn, and his dark powers (which humans can't normally use) end up coming in handy against the bad guys.
- Goblins in Dwarf Fortress always try to kidnap children of any race. If they're successful, the adults act exactly like ordinary goblins, and can be seen snatching more children and participating in raiding parties. Even more horribly, snatched dwarves will adopt goblin aesthetics and shave their beards.
- This can easily be taken to a ridiculous extent in world-gen as kidnapped children will eventually have their own children, thus "goblin" civilizations will often have their entire populations replaced by the descendants of the kidnapped other races. This isn't noticeable in Fortress Mode, because sieges only consist of goblins and possibly some dwarf squad leaders, but in Adventure mode you can often find Dark Fortresses completely devoid of goblins and the player characters themselves (who can't normally be goblins) will often be from such civilizations.
- That said, depending on the player's actions, it may be a lot better to be raised by goblins.
- Culcha (a human) in Spectral Force 3 was raised by Goblins. However, being a good but misunderstood race they were actually good parents. She views and is looked on by other goblins as a "big sister" and her Mama Bear is truly bearlike.
- The Force Unleashed had Starkiller, the son of a Jedi, raised as a Sith by Darth Vader. He's got the scars to prove it. Has the mother of all Heel Face Turns- he decides to become a Jedi and founds the Rebel Alliance, although, of course, Redemption Equals Death.
- Chrono Trigger's Magus. As a kid, he gets dumped in the middle ages via time portal only to be discovered by Ozzie. He then proceeds to impress the monsters with his magic so much that he grows up to rule over them.
- In the Skyrim mod Interesting NPCs the character Bergrisar is a Nord (Human) raised by Giants, usually hostile to any trespassers on their land.
- There is a quite literal inversion of this trope in the Warcraft universe in the form of Thrall, who is an orc who is raised by humans. Picked up by Aedelas Blackmoore (the man in charge of the Orc internment camps) Thrall was raised as a gladiator and trained to be a puppet ruler of the orcs. Ironically, Thrall escaped slavery, and eventually did go on to lead the orcs. Arguably, his unique upbringing gave him a great deal of perspective on the now generations-long conflict between the Alliance and the Horde.
- After his defense attorney father dies, Miles Edgeworth is adopted by prosecutor Manfred von Karma and raised to be one of the most vicious and effective prosecutors his district has ever known. Of course this was all part of von Karma's extended revenge against Gregory Edgeworth. He murdered him and then plotted to turn his son into a twisted mirror of everything Gregory Edgeworth stood for, and without Phoenix Wright to confuse matters he probably would have succeeded.
- One of the possible character backgrounds in Daggerfall.
- Dominic Deegan: Oracle for Hire has the character Kharnak, who fits the letter of the trope, but since in this strip orcs are a Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Native Americans he's closer to Raised by Natives in practice. He still fits under this trope as well, however, as a key part of his character is feeling out of place no matter where he goes. Though the orcs took him in, he was never really fully accepted by them because of his physical differences (humans can't eat Orc vegetables which are as tough as bark).
- Unusually inverted in the webcomic Goblins: Life Through Their Eyes, which briefly shows a group of various monsters, which includes an orc that had been part of a raid on a dwarf settlement the previous winter. During the raid he encounters the very young son of a dwarf he killed, and because he couldn't leave the child to die the orc has been taking care of him ever since. Obviously the orc isn't exactly the normal Chaotic Evil brute orcs are generally presented as. However, the hideout gets raided by a dwarf paladin named Kore, who wipes out all the monsters, including the orc as the orc begs for Kore to spare the child. Because Kore is a crazed Knight Templar, he believes that because of this trope the child will be tainted by evil and likely to sympathize with monsters, so in a major Kick the Dog moment, he kills the kid too.
- Inverted in TwoKinds: Flora is an anthropomorphic tigress who was raised by humans.
- In Glorianna, Hope is raised from infancy by the fanatical priestesses of Ojhal, only to be "rescued" by their rivals, the equally fanatical cult of Syons.
- In the The Order of the Stick tie-in book Start of Darkness, Redcloak's brother, Right-Eye, gives his daughter up to humans to raise after their whole village is forced into Xykon's army. This is after his two sons have already fallen in battle, and given the brothers' hatred of humans he was clearly desperate.
- Adora from She Ra Princess Of Power was kidnapped by Hordak as a baby and raised by the Horde, though it doesn't take much for her to do a Heel–Face Turn since for some bizarre reason Hordak didn't try to instill his Always Chaotic Evil values on his de-facto daughter, instead raising her to believe in crazy stuff like justice and honor, and lying to her that he was a just ruler and that the rebels were misguided troublemakers.
- Though he threw in some Mind Control courtesy of Shadow Weaver for good measure.
- Spike the Dragon's upbringing is a beat-for-beat inversion of this trope. He was hatched by ponies, given a focus on social interaction over combat, taught to be a peaceful, generous person, and has a direct connection to their benevolent immortal ruler. Unfortunately, continuing the inversion, it's strongly implied that a dragon's greedy tendencies are In the Blood.
- The Ottoman Empire levied a tribute of male children from their Christian subjects, in a practice called devshirme. These boys were made slaves of the Sultan, converted to Islam, and raised as Janissaries — the elite soldiers of the Ottoman Empire — or as senior civil servants. They enjoyed much more prestigious, luxurious, and exciting lives than they would have in their home villages, so modern historians tend to be very sympathetic to devshirme; but the practice was horrifying to the Balkan Christians and was in blatant violation of Islamic law, which specifies that dhimmah (singular dhimmi) — "protected people", i.e., conquered "Peoples of the Book" — may not be enslaved. The practice was abolished by the 1730s, but the damage was done; memories of "the Turkish yoke" were one of the reasons the Russians enthusiastically supported the South Slavic independence movements.
- This was done, in a manner of speaking, by both sides in North America. Native Americans captured and raised the "paleface" European settlers' children as their own; their birth parents, who viewed the natives as enemies of civilization in general as well as their own settlements (and who feared for their children's souls, since the settlers were typically staunch Protestants while the natives were mostly pagan or Roman Catholic), were eager to rescue them, although there were definitely cases of children not taking their parents up on that offer. Later, in Canada and especially the USA, Well-Intentioned Extremist types set up special boarding schools in an effort to "civilize" and thereby assimilate the natives' children into their own culture. The schools were an improvement over open warfare, but they were often abusive, always morally problematic, and not nearly as good at cultural assimilation or improving goodwill between the cultures as their founders had expected them to be. At this point the boarding schools are pretty much extinct, and both sides are free to educate their own children.
- Similarly, in Australia Aboriginal children would often be kidnapped by the Aussies to raise them as "white", often times they were snatched out from the hospitals and their mothers told they didn't survive childbirth. This still happens in some places, even though it was technically made illegal... in the 1990s.
- As a child, while fleeing Norway with his mother after his father was killed during a war for the throne, Olaf Trygvasson was taken captive by Estonian pirates. His foster-father was killed, and he was raised by the pirates as a slave and sold or traded several times. Six years later his uncle finds him there while collecting taxes, buys him, and takes him to Gardriki, where he was originally fleeing to, where he serves in the court of King Valdemar. Despite his unusual upbringing, he becomes a competent and well-liked military commander, and avenges his foster father by killing his murderer, eventually becoming King of Norway before dying fighting his rival to the throne.