Too Important to Walk
When you're his brideWalking is for schmucks. Luckily, some people are rich enough to employ (or compel) schmucks to do the walking for them! A character tends to travel everywhere in a sedan chair, litter or palanquin, or is otherwise propelled by the leg power of other people. This is evidence for their wealth and power, and depending on the setting can also indicate laziness, pettiness or both. If it crosses over (as it often does) with Adipose Rex, it may be implied that the king is actually unable to walk, at least not very far. May be a case of the Ermine Cape Effect if they only do it when they're trying to look regal, rather than every day. Truth in Television for a long time before cars came along, as horse-drawn carriages weren't always practical but powerful people didn't want to be seen walking around like normal people. Of course, riding in a palanquin had advantages during time periods where the central sewage system ran down the middle of the road. Rickshaws are a slightly more Boring but Practical variation still around today. Can involve a Road Trip Across The Street.
You can sit or ride;
You'll never need to walk!
You can sit or ride;
You'll never need to walk!
— Cinderella's Stepmother, Into the Woods context
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Anime & Manga
- In One Piece one of the World Nobles makes his debut sitting on the back of slave who's crawling on his hands and knees. And to show how much of a prick he is, the Noble complains how slow the slave is.
- Freeza of Dragon Ball Z makes his first few appearances in a futuristic hoverchair. He starts getting serious when he abandons the hoverchair and flies under his own power.
- In the Hayao Miyazaki film of Howl's Moving Castle, the super-sized Witch of the Waste rides around town in a sedan chair carried by two magically-created mooks. This works well until she's summoned to the palace, and the mooks cross a magical barrier disabling them... at the bottom of a huge flight of stairs.
- A guest character in an episode of Pokémon makes Ash and his friends carry him and his wife through a Pokémon preserve in a litter. Ash is not amused.
- In Astérix, chief Vitalstatistix is carried by two shield bearers. Frequent Running Gags are made of the facts that he's rather overweight and his bearers are of different heights.
- And then there's the additional Running Gag in which he falls off the shield for some reason at least once per story.
- There was one story where Vitalstatistix's shield bearers quit, and he appointed Asterix and Obelix as their replacements. Since the height difference between them is even greater than the usual shield bearers', this didn't work out so well.
- Also, whenever Cleopatra suddenly shows up some place, she's always sitting on a gigantic golden sphinx-shaped chair on wheels pulled by slaves flanked by dancers and trumpeters. She has at least once referred to one such appearance as "dropping by incognito".
- A chief of a Gallo-Roman village also has a pair of shield-bearers. When he turns his back on someone, the shield-bearers also turn so that they may leave - which leaves him facing the person he turned his back on.
- King Smurf from The Smurfs comic book story of the same name required a few Smurfs to bear his palanquin as he went from his palace to the villagers and back. It is around the time that he launched his ill-fated expedition into the forest to find the rebel Smurfs' base that he chose to lead the expedition on foot.
Films — Animation
- In Kung Fu Panda, when Po is crowned the Dragon Warrior, he is hoisted up in a jiao and carried to the Jade Palace. The liter is several sizes too small for him, and his butt breaks through almost immediately.
- In The Emperor's New Groove, Yzma is carried in a little tent on Kronk's back.
- In Cars 2, the leaders of the Lemon clans don't risk putting miles on their substandard engines, but are instead towed everywhere they go.
- Theodore is given the litter treatment by a South Pacific bush tribe in The Chipmunk Adventure. Then Alvin and Simon learn the bush tribe is going to sacrifice him.
- The diminutive mob bosses in The Triplets of Belleville are carried wedged between their bodyguards.
- The King of Fools gets carried in a sedan on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. When Quasimodo is crowned the new King, the old King is unceremoniously tossed out of his chair and Quasi dropped in his place.
- The Pied Piper makes his entrance in Shrek Forever After borne on a swarm of rats.
- In Pocahontas, the original idea for Governor Ratcliffe was that he was constantly borne aloft on a chair by Putney and Chutney, two manservants who also didn't make the cut. The reason they discarded this was simple - he was easier to animate when he just walked.
- Strange Magic: The fairy king is too important to fly, requiring a litter to carry him. He's also overweight enough that he can't fly very far.
Films — Live Action
- The Three Musketeers (1973): Constance Bonacieux ends up pressed against a sedan chair and exposing her huge... tracts of land through the window, to the delight of the man inside.
- Xerxes in 300 doesn't just have slaves to carry him, he even uses them as a staircase up to his gargantuan litter.
- One of his subordinates has one, but it's not nearly as large.
- Master Blaster in Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome is an odd version: Master piggybacks everywhere on the shoulders of Giant Mook Blaster.
- Unlike most examples of this trope, Master genuinely cares for Blaster.
- It's also like the Goblin/Ogre pairing from Warcraft in the Video Games section: Master is much smarter and more tactically adept, but Blaster has more raw brawn than Master could ever hope to posses.
- Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. has Wednesday's despot father carried across the beach on a four-mook sedan chair like this.
Wednesday: What Daddy doing now?
Crusoe: (through binoculars, sees a litter bearer stumble; Daddy whacks him with a club, and another litter bearer replaces him) Changing a tire.
- In the not-quite-a-Monty Python film Jabberwocky, the two villain-merchants are borne on litters as they talk business to each other; but they constantly move at slightly different speeds, each trying to take the lead, causing the merchants each to constantly prod their litter-bearers to keep up with the other, to the point of running — eventually spilling them both.
- In The Bank Dick, W.C. Fields talks his way into taking over the job of a falling-down-drunk movie director. Being carried around in a sedan chair is apparently one of the job perks.
- In 1776, Benjamin Franklin is carried into the Congressional Hall by two men he apparently hired from the local jail
- In 'Animal Crackers'', explorer Captain Spaulding (Groucho Marx) arrives via a sedan chair carried by African natives, just like the stage play.
- Justified in Gladiator with Lucilla, who is the previous Emperor of Rome's daughter. She is seen on the streets on a litter.
- In A Brother's Price, once he's invited to the royal palace, Jerin doesn't walk anywhere in the capital city. Justified, as a pretty boy like Jerin would certainly attract kidnappers if he walked around in public. (He does walk when he's at home, but there, his sisters know where everyone lives, and everyone knows not to mess with the Whistler clan).
- In the Elenium trilogy by David Eddings, Otha, the Emperor of Zemoch, is an immortal graced with unimaginable magic powers by his god. He's also lazy and stupid, and over the millennia of his existence has morphed into something that is described as being roughly analogous to Jabba the Hutt in appearance. Otha can't even walk; he has to be carried around on a litter by slaves.
- Seen several times in Discworld:
Vimes: It's a lovely day. I think I'll drive myself.
- In Feet of Clay, the Patrician gives Vimes a sedan chair as a wedding present, which he is obligated to use. This is something of a double insult, as Vimes both loves walking (it helps him concentrate) and hates the idea of nobility being above the common people. Naturally, the one time it's seen, Vimes tells one of the servants to get in and carries the chair himself.
- One bad guy in Redwall was a ferret so very fat he had to be carried around by non-vermin slaves on a palanquin. When the heroes came in and killed the guards, the slaves marched the palanquin into the water and came out, the ferret's last words being "I cannot svim, I cannot svim!"
- In The Horse and His Boy, Calormene nobles are carried in sedan chairs. Later, in The Silver Chair, the giantess Queen of Harfang goes hunting carried on a litter.
- Some nobles in the Gor series.
- The Star Wars Expanded Universe holds that Hutts start off relatively muscular and svelte, becoming progressively fatter and less mobile as they grow in power. At some point they stop slithering and ride repulsorlift sleds to get around.
- In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer plays with this trope through the Small Name, Big Ego version of Chanticleer the rooster from "The Tale of the Nun's Priest":
"He looked as it were a grim lion,And on his toes he roamed up and down;He deigned not to set his feet to ground..."
- In James Clavell's Shogun, all of the important female characters (and not a small number of the important male characters) traveled this way when going long distances.
- The dark Sidhe Aurelia occasionally travels by sedan chair in the Doubled Edge novels. In her case, it's because steering the slaves via magical torture produces more magical power than she's expending.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- The High Septon of Kings Landing in A Clash of Kings is said to be too fat to walk, and is carried in a litter everywhere. This backfires on him when he's caught in a bread riot.
- Both Walder Frey and Doran Martell travel by litter for health reasons - the former is ninety-one, the latter has gout.
- The litter or sedan chair is also the standard urban vehicle for members of the royal family, and their relatives the Lannisters, to move around King's Landing. Since it's impractical for more long-distance travel, they use other ways of transport outside the city: Robert Baratheon rode a horse, and Cersei preferred a gigantic carriage.
- In the Free Cities, a large, horse-carried litter is the vehicle of choice for long distance travel by the rich.
- Subverted with Viserys Targaryen, who takes pride at being carried in a wagon by the Dothraki, not realizing they are insulting him since only the people too weak to ride or walk (mostly the elderly, the wounded, infants and pregnant women) are carried this way.
- In the Myst novelisation The Book of D'ni, sedan chairs are the favored way for lords to get around the city streets. As the city is not very big and is mostly lake, everyone else walks when they're not in a boat.
- Sedan chairs are chic for nobles and royalty in The Wheel of Time, but carriages seem to be more popular as they're safer in traffic.
- The Saga of Seven Suns: Ildiran Mage-Imperator is considered too holy and important to ever allow his feet to touch the ground. Subverted in the third book after Jora'h replaces his father in the position and quickly decides the tradition is stupid and abolishes it (as Mage-Imperator, he's allowed to do things like that).
- In Belisarius Series this is used as a method to hide a refugee princess.
- In The Future Is Wild, a future species of termites has developed a specialized "porter" caste which carry members of the various other castes around on their backs.
- In Courtship Rite the planet they live on has no beasts of burden, so to travel over land people need to either walk or be carried. Fortunately there's a clan who selectively bred themselves as porters who can carry a lot.
Live Action TV
- In a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch, a nobleman is carried to the seashore in a sedan chair, gets out and is disrobed by the bearers, gets back in and is then carried into the ocean for his swim.
- In Power Rangers RPM, we see (in a flashback) that Summer (initially a Rich Bitch) forced her butler to carry her part of the way to Corinth, despite the former being a healthy teenager/young adult, and the latter an old man. She even complains that they need to stop so she can take a rest. Eventually, even she realizes how insufferable she is and starts walking on her own feet.
- T'Pau from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Amok Time" is carried to Spock's wedding in a sedan chair.
- One episode of The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest features an event called "sedan chair racing." One team shows up dressed as Iraqi soldiers and claims that they misheard it as "Saddam chair racing."
- Several wrestlers bearing the title of 'King' would make their way to the ring on a litter carried by jobbers, ranging from King Mabel to Randy Savage.
- One of the few good things to come out of WrestleMania IX was The Undertaker's entrance. He was carried to the ring in a throne on a litter borne by men in ancient Egyptian style headdresses.
- Several in Warhammer;
- Dwarf kings are fond of being carried on shields a la Vitalstatistix. Thorgrim Grudgebearer, the High King, is carried around on his throne, as tradition demands that he only be allowed to sit on his throne.
- In old editions, Slann were carried by their Praetorian Guard (before they remembered they're telekinetic and upgraded to floating thrones).
- Champions and Daemonic heralds of Nurgle in Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000 are occasionally gifted with palanquins carried by a mass of tiny Daemons called Nurglings.
- Ogre character Greasus Goldtooth is carried on the bare hands of gnoblars. Lots and lots of gnoblars. Greasus exemplifies pretty much all the rationales behind this trope, being monstrously obese, incredibly petty, massively wealthy and keen to display his status to all concerned (and bonus points for actually having a special rule called "Too rich to walk").
- In their latest armybook the Skaven have also found this trope. Now their warlords can ride to the battlefield on top of a Rat Ogre, a gigantic plague ridden Rodent of Unusual Size, or a shield carried by slaves and guarded by his personal elite. Not to mention their Grey Seers, who can ride to battle on top of a gigantic church bell wagon pushed by normal rank-and-file skaven, or their Plague Priests who replace the bell with a sphere filled with burning raw chaos stuff. This can potentially kill the unit pushing it, so only the most devoted (and insane) skaven can do it.
- Hordes have Dominar Rasheth, the Skorne warlock. Bonus points for being the non-combatant among the Proud Warrior Race Guys, screwing hoksune in several ways, and employing the malnourished, tormented, broken pachyderm-folk infants as carriers.
- In Anyone Can Whistle, Cora Hoover Hooper, the mayoress, is usually carried on a litter by four young men (her "boys"). When Hapgood arrives and turns the town toward him, the boys carry him on the litter instead, which is part of Cora's motivation to get rid of him.
- The Goblin Alchemist unit in Warcraft 3 rides an Ogre. Less laziness and more a mutually beneficial arrangement, as the ogre has melee power the goblin can never hope to achieve, while goblin can hurl his potions and give the ogre more sensible commands.
- Some Goblins do the same with Hobgoblins in World of Warcraft, such as Helix Gearbreaker and Lumbering Oaf in Deadmines, Fran and Riddoh in the Brawler's Guild, and Hoff Greasegun and Mugg in the "Battlefield Barrens" event. Helix even decides to ride players while sticking bombs on them, and after Lumbering Oaf is defeated.
- King Dedede enters the stage in Super Smash Brothers Brawl being borne on a palanquin by an army of Waddle Dees.
- In Ocarina of Time, Link is sent to rescue Ruto and the Zora's Sapphire from Jabu-Jabu's belly, but she makes him carry her throughout the whole dungeon. Players can take out their frustration with her by throwing her around like a clay pot, and she even becomes a necessary game mechanic by serving as a weight to trip switches throughout the area.
- Mondu in Black Sigil.
- In the opening scene of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, Baal is carried on a massive litter by his soldiers when he parleys with a herald.
- During the credits parade of Super Mario RPG, Valentina's float is carried by her fateful stooge, Dodo. When Dodo stops to catch his breath, Valentina Dope Slaps him.
- In Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Soma Cruz gets an attack which is this. He summons a palanquin carried by skeletons, sits in a Villainous Slouch, and then the entire vehicle causes damage to any enemy in its path while Soma gets to chill, invincible.
- The Princess from Half-Minute Hero has her retainers carry her around as she mows down her foes with her automatic crossbow. As they take damage, she slows down, making it harder for her to dodge incoming attacks.
- In Mortal Kombat Deception one of the scrapped ideas in Chess Kombat was for The King Piece Player to be carried around on a Sedan by a slave. The slave was shown to be sickly and weak explaining why The King can only move one spot across the board.
- As an Affectionate Parody of the Star Trek example, the ruler of Zoidberg's planet had a sedan chair made of a giant clamshell.
- Parodied on the Space Egypt planet — the pharaonic barge is rowed by slaves, and then walked onto land by more slaves who had apparently been underwater the entire time. When Bender becomes Pharaoh, he goes everywhere in a throne on the back of a kneeling Fry and Leela.
- Despite being constantly seated on a bench that does his walking for him, Hedonismbot occasionally gets around this way.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Fire Nation royals travel by palanquin within the capital city. Even when they're just going next door, and would rather walk. Must maintain appearances, don't you know.
- On The Fairly OddParents, the Pixies claim their ability to grant Flappy Bob's wishes comes from incredible wealth, and their ability to float is because "walking is for poor people."
- On the episode "Remy Rides Again", Remy tried to make Timmy too happy to need Fairy Godparents so he'd lose Cosmo and Wanda. To accomplish this, Remy shared with Timmy the perks of being a spoiled child. One of those perks was taking a limo from the school yard to the classroom. Remy stated walking was for poor people without wealthy friends.
- Jimmy Two-Shoes:
- In Planet Sheen, the Emperor is usually carried around by one of his Giant Mook guards when he needs to go anywhere. In his defense, the Emperor is so little (an average imperial guard can carry him in the palm of one hand) that it's probably much more practical this way.
- In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Ego Trip," Mandark created a Bad Future by stealing Dexter's Neurotomic Stabilizer and reversing its polarity. He became so obese he needed machines to transport him wherever he wanted and/or needed to go.
- Ganon rarely ventures into Hyrule himself in the animated The Legend of Zelda, because his power is stronger when he remains in his own underworld. He risks it a few times, however; in the episode "The Ringer," in which he enters a magicians' competition in disguise, he arrives on a palanquin borne by skeletons (who are also disguised, since that would be a bit of a giveaway).
- On Recess, during the occasions when King Bob of the Playground is actually seen leaving his lofty perch, he's carried about on a palanquin-like conveyance.
- In The Princess and the Po episode of Kung Fu Panda Legends Of Awesomeness, a small pig princess has servants carry her in a sedan chair, using them as Xerxes above to get in and out of it.
- Photo Finish enters Carousel Boutique on a palanquin at one point in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Green Isn't Your Color". There's just something... awesome about a pony being carried around on one of those.
- In "Magic Duel", Trixie forces Snips and Snails to drag her around on a small cart without wheels (because she finds wheels untrustworthy). She later turns the cart into a huge, lavishly decorated wagon, still without wheels, and makes the kids drag that as well.
- When Princess Celestia has to leave the palace she's often on a chariot pulled by pegasi, even though she has wings and can fly herself.
- In fact, any example of a pony riding in a vehicle (other than the steam-powered trains) fits this trope, as these vehicles are invariably pulled by other ponies. Sometimes they take turns.
- This was Played for Laughs in an episode of American Dad!. Steve and his friends were LARPing their MMORPG characters, and since Steve (or "Agathor") was the strongest out of the four of them, he was the leader. "Agathor" randomly chose not to use his muscles and demanded his friends "walk him forward", so Snot and Barry literally moved his legs in a walking motion for him.
- Trina from Grojband has her friend, Mina to carry her on piggypack when she dosen't feel like walking.
- Mike, Lu & Og: Lu frequently has her pet turtle Lancelot carry her around on his shell, much to his burden.
- In The Brothers Grunt, Poobah is carried everywhere by his servant, Ringo.
- The Betty Boop cartoon I'll Be Glad When You're Dead You Rascal You has Betty being carried a sedan chair Bimbo and Koko. When the two stop to take a breather, the chair walks by itself.
- In Steven Universe, when Steven is almost run over by Mayor Dewey's van while walking down the sidewalk:
Mayor Dewey: I'm the mayor! I'm not gonna walk anywhere!
- Lacking adequate animals to drag people around, this trope was very common among the nobility of the pre-columbian Americas. Among the Muisca, for example, it was an honor and a privilege to be carried around in the chair and litter, actually having to be granted directly by the chief of state himself.
- Also common among the elite of Ancient Egypt, as it lacked horses, camels, and even the wheel itself for a huge part of its history.
- Shieldbearers were used in Real Life, but like horned helmets and Bling of War, it was very rare, to celebrate victories and commemorate triumphs. It's basically the Ermine Cape Effect. It was also used as part of an Awesome Moment of Crowning.
- Ancient Rome: In Real Life, sedan chairs and litters could be hired by anyone who could afford the fare, and if middle class families could afford more than one or two slaves, chair-bearers were sometimes included in a household staff. When not bearing chairs, they would be employed at whatever other heavy lifting tasks the family needed.
- French general the Marquis de Saxe, who used both a sedan chair and a coach when he was not fit enough to ride, e.g. at the battle of Fontenoy, which his army won against the allied Austrians, British, Dutch and Hanoverians in 1745.
- In the Musée de l'Armée at the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris you can see a sedan chair captured at the battle of Rocroi (1643). It belonged to the gout-ridden Spanish general, the Count of Fuentes, who died upon it, riddled with wounds. The winner of the battle, the Duke of Enghien (later the "Great Condé") is said to have said: "Had I not been able to win, I would wish to have died as he did."
- During the River of Doubt expedition organized by Theodore Roosevelt, one member of the party managed to piss Roosevelt off royally by demanding that he have some of their porters carry him in a sedan chair because "Indians were made to carry priests". Roosevelt repeatedly refused the demands, both out of respect for the porters and their commander and because it was a deeply inefficient use of manpower; when the priest kept requesting anyway, Roosevelt gathered the expedition's leaders, and they en masse forced him to go back to America.
- Nepal's famous Kumari doesn't normally walk around (instead being carried), because she is supposed to be a vessel for the goddess Durga, and if she were to be injured (say, by tripping and scraping her knee) the goddess would leave her body.
- In Jewish weddings, the bride and groom are carried around in chairs during the reception. Mazel tov!
- In one variation of the traditional Chinese wedding, the bride arrives at the groom's house in a four- or eight-man covered sedan chair, and then is carried to the red carpet by her father. (If she were to trip or stumble, that would be a bad omen. Of course, if she's a hefty girl and her father isn't that robust, and were to drop her, that would be worse, wouldn't it?)
- Termite queens invoke this trope because they can't walk, due to their colossal size (in relation to the other termites). When the colony has to move her somewhere else, hundreds of them have to pick her up and push her to a new location. She can't move on her own.
- Prince George of Denmark, Queen Anne of England's husband, was too crippled with gout to walk or ride; he was carried into Westminster Abbey in a sedan chair through a side entrance for her coronation, and was carried out the same way.
- The Pope Used to be carried around during public audiences. Paul VI was the first one to stop using this privilege.
- Justin Bieber once said "Sometimes I don't feel like walking, so I make enormous people carry me around."