A story where a man scores with a woman because the man had raised the woman when she was a child. She looked up to the man, thought of him as a parent or beloved uncle, a guardian, counted on him to be there when she needs him, etc. In the more extreme cases she might have even vowed to marry him when she grew up.
Then, when She Is All Grown Up
, the girl often decides she is in love with the man, or vice versa.
Nothing is ever said about how inappropriate, and even creepy
, this is in current society. If the man was a real parent, this would be incest, but of course they're Not Blood Relatives
. Often, the story tries to excuse
the man's behavior by claiming
that he resisted the idea of a relationship but it's the girl who convinced him. Advanced cases can have him trying to play The Matchmaker
with her and men her own age despite his Matchmaker Crush
; he may even be Oblivious to Love
because of it. This makes it less
creepy, in that he didn't plan it in advance, and it is what she wants as well.
A source of Values Dissonance
in older works, because it used to be common practice for noblemen to marry younger women from friendly families, so this trope would have occurred a lot both in fiction and real life. Even in modern times, some people argue that this is not a problem as long as the former child is now an adult and able to properly consent.
Known in Japan (and for a while on this wiki) as the Hikaru Genji Plan, after the main character in The Tale of Genji
, who kidnapped a young girl from a life of poverty for the purpose of marrying her once she grew up. The current name is a pun, as Husbandry is the act of raising something (animal husbandry, plant husbandry, etc.), and also contains the word Husband.
This is by definition a subtrope of May-December Romance
or in supernatural settings Mayfly-December Romance
, but not every
romance with a significant age gap falls under this. Compare Pygmalion Plot
, Jail Bait Wait
, Teacher/Student Romance
, Parental Incest
and Incest Is Relative
. See also Father, I Want to Marry My Brother
Note: A child simply meeting an adult and then them moving on to a romantic relationship when both are adults is not this trope. It is not for teacher/student relationships that become romantic. The adult must actually raise the child as their legal guardian.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- One of the outright weirdest examples of this trope happened in a Silver Age issue of Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane. You see, Superman is turned into a baby by some Red Kryptonite, and Lois tries to raise him so that when he reverts to his real age, he'll want to marry her — and so does Lana Lang. In the end, their plans work...but not as intended, since the Superman in question was from an alternate universe, and he ends up returning home and marrying his universe's Lois and Lana.
- Worse than that, both women used post-hypnotic suggestion to influence baby Supes! Read excerpts here and here.
- Oh but wait it gets creepier and rapier (and child rapier), because, you see, this is not the only time this happened. Two issues later (and remember we're still back in the Silver Age—a time of innocence and happy comics free from smut and violence), Lois Lane used a time machine to travel back to ancient Krypton to steal Kal-El's father for herself◊ so SHE COULD BE HIS MOTHER. Wait don't shudder yet there's more: after she finally remembered that Krypton would explode someday, she decided to leave and restore the timeline to normal with her time pod...but not before stopping over at a baby Kal-El's house so she can open mouth kiss him. Repeatedly. Jor-El, rightly knowing a psychopath when he sees one, stuffed the loon in a Phantom Zone crystal and she ended up being saved by a future Superman on Earth, who in defiance of everything Back to the Future taught us remembered her. Because the Silver Age, that's why.
- According to rabid anti-fans of Magneto, he apparently did this to Rogue in the Age of Apocalypse, as they initially had a surrogate father-daughter relationship when he mentored her after she accidentally permanently absorbed the powers and part of the psyche of his own secretly long-lost biological daughter Polaris , who was even older than her.
- It happens in Lex Luthor: Man of Steel when Lex Luthor creates the superheroine Hope to serve as his own private Superman as well as concubine. He sacrifices her to discredit Superman.
- Lex Luthor does this a lot. The Lex Luthor of the Pocket Universe created a protoplasmic Supergirl with the appearance of Lana Lang. While he doesn't end up with her, she clearly adores him sexually and eventually ends up with his alternate universe double.
- In Captain Atom, the hero's daughter, Margaret, begins a relationship with Jeff Goslin, her godfather. Not her father, but the implications are the same. The subtext, incidentally, was that she really did have romantic feelings for her father, and was (barely) sublimating them by dating Goslin, who was her father's best friend in addition to being her godfather.
- In American Vampire, Jim Books' god-daughter Abilena fell in love with him. Jim always thought of her as a daughter and never realized she saw him as something other than a father figure until the night she gave him a passionate kiss.
- A certain large subsection of InuYasha fans are infamous for shipping together Sesshomaru and Rin. The adult Sesshomaru becomes six-year-old Rin's guardian after saving her life, and serves as her provider, protector, and primary authority figure for a period of anywhere from a year to three years. By the end of the series she has gone to live in Kaede's household, but Sesshomaru continues to visit and provide for her and Rin clearly worships him, making the ship a definite case of this trope.
- Similarly, a certain segment of the X-Men fandom does the same for the Age of Apocalypse versions of Sabretooth and Blink.
- Apparently there is a camp of fanfiction writers for Fate/stay night that use this angle on Archer and Rin.
- Specifically, these fanfics follow on (sort of) from the "Childcare is War/Together with House Husband" doujins where Archer is summoned by the Tohsaka sisters (Sakura and Rin) prior to the fourth war.
- Neji and Hinata from Naruto are sometimes portrayed like this in fanwork, since Neji has become Hinata's protector and guardian in canon. Due to the fact that there is only a year difference between them, many fans actually make Hinata little in a lot of fanfiction and fanart, with Neji taking care of her, before the romance happens. Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth did not help stop this interpretation.
- Axis Powers Hetalia fics have several of these.
- The Spain/Romano pairing. Romano used to be under Spain's care as a kid, with Spain doting on him and Romano getting jealous whenever Spain paid more attention to his brother than to him. In modern times, Spain's still very affectionate towards the grown-up Romano, and Romano still has his Tsundere streak. They're not quite an Official Couple, but the subtext is definitely there.
- The America/England pairing, actually called the "Reverse Hikaru Genji Plan" in Japanese fandom, is a more complicated example: England and America used to be in a happy big brother-little brother relationship. Then America grew up, decided he didn't want that kind of relationship with England anymore, and broke away from him. It's implied that the two still care about each other after that event, but that the nature of their affections has changed, with England going from Parental Substitute to blushing Tsundere and America from adoring little brother to an equal who enjoys riling England up. Not an Official Couple either, but the subtext is heavy.
- While they haven't had half the subtext these two other couple had (at least in the strips), a potential relationship between France and Seychelles could certainly be seen as an example. The Gakuen Hetalia game (written by and illustrated by Himaruya himself) shows a younger France playing with a child Seychelles in a beach as he helps raise her and then bringing her to the High School A.U. where the "story" sets in, and one of the game's endings has him hugging a blushing Seychelles and being snarked at by her.
- Often in fanon, France is portrayed this way towards young Canada too.
- J-fen seems to be fond of equaling the Japanese colonization of the Taiwanese islands with Japan raising his younger sister Taiwan as a prospect wife.
- There are several China/Japan works (mostly in the Japanese fandom) where Japan is the "wife" being husbanded. This is of course an extension of China being portrayed as the big brother who raised the other Asian countries. However, when China is shipped with other Asian nations, he is rarely shipped with them being portrayed as children. It looks like that's a special "privilege" reserved for Japan.
- Any nation who was ever responsible for raising a nation in their childhood falls into this. Currently in fandom, England's the biggest bait for this. Having had the largest empire in history, and having the most ex-colonies appearing in the series, it's not that hard to put him in this position. Evidence: The Commonwealth of Nations. America/England was already explained in detail above. There are tags on the Kink Meme (the section where they organize the fills) just for England and his Commonwealth. On dA, some memes include a "Draw England as a pimp with his colonies" section.
- This is also the portrayal used by Turkey fans, in regards to the Turkey/Greece or Turkey/Hungary pairings.
- And one or two Egypt/Greece fanworks, but not half as strongly.
- Lenore and Ragamuffin from Lenore the Cute Little Dead Girl are prone to this, mostly due to the fact that he takes care of her, being her guardian and friend at the same time. Even though she's often paired with him when she's a child, because Lenore can't practically grow up physically. Still, there are instances when fans make Lenore older just to avoid any Squick.
- Star Wars: both the Qui-Gon/Obi-Wan and Obi-Wan/Anakin slash pairing. In fairness, the last two are described as "equals" and "closer than brothers, closer than lovers" in the Star Wars Expanded Universe and Clone Wars series but...still. note
- Flippy and Flaky from the Happy Tree Friends are really often prone to this, especially their human, anime versions. Many times, Flaky is drawn as a little girl, while Flippy is a mature guy who takes care of her. They are sometimes portrayed in romantic situations even when Flaky is little.
- Some Gorillaz fanwriters have this happen between Noodle and either Murdoc or 2D (or, very occasionally, Russel). A less-squicky-than-usual variation in the fic A Man Out Of Time involved, thanks to time travel, Noodle meeting and falling in love with Murdoc's sixteen-year-old self, then using another time jump to allow her thirty-six-year-old self to come back to Kong and meet the forty-year-old Murdoc.
- Legolas By Laura: Legolas adopts the eponymous Laura as his sister, or daughter, or something - it's unclear - when she's a baby. Ten years later, he rescues her from orcs, and agrees to "be her boyfriend". Even though she's still ten. The So Bad, It's Good quality of the fic suggests that either it's a Troll Fic or the author was also ten, and the Beige Prose makes it far less squicky and more funny than it sounds.
- In the Oneiroi Series (an Order of the Stick fanfiction series), Xykon practically raised Tiasal/Deirdre, and he has this weird thing going on where he's almost but not quite started a sexual relationship with her. Unlike the other examples, he never exactly planned on it and she's the only one who's actually interested in the sex, but he uses it to manipulate her. (And Word of God says that he gets enjoyment out of it despite being a walking skeleton because it gives him a power trip.) The trope is also inverted with Deirdre as she actually forces her father (who also practically raised her after a while) into sleeping with her. And she's implied to be planning on doing the same to her uncle (who raised her while her dad didn't), and Word of God says that she wants to do it to all the men who were involved in raising her. She has issues.
- Mao and C.C.'s relationship is explored in-depth in Code Geass: Mao of the Deliverance, with plenty of backstory and flashback, including the implication that C.C. had sex with him when he became a teenager, increasing his Yandere Fanboy treatment of her Up to Eleven.
- Inverted and most likely played for squick in the Twilight fanfic Seven, when Jacob proceeds to strip Renesmee (who looks eighteen but is only seven, thus the title), and she is both frightened and unwilling.
- Defied in the story Resisting Devotion where Claire (who has just turned eighteen in the story) rejects Quil after he rather stupidly tells her he had imprinted on her and wanted her since she was a toddler. Claire angrily declares they're over and she can't forgive him. Plus, Claire is also a lesbian.
- There are a few My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfics that pairs Twilight Sparkle and Spike, as well as Twilight and Celestia, her own mentor/ruler/sun goddess. Discordlestia fics themselves sometimes depict Discord as Celestia's own mentor who did this to her as well - or vice-versa.
- This is the plot of The Bow by Kim Ki-duk. The main character is an old man, who lives in seclusion on a boat with a 16 year old girl, whom he found at an early age. It is agreed that they will marry when she turns 17. The girl trusts him absolutely, up to the point when she meets a young boy, who plans to take her away from the old man. The old man eventually marries her, but after the ceremony he rides with her on another boat, then makes her go to sleep by playing a song and jumps into the water happily, drowning himself. The girl wakes up at the bigger ship with a spontaneous orgasm. She acts like she has an intercourse with a man, and it ends with blood on her crotch. She rides off with the boy.
- The Professional (or) Leon: Natalie Portman's 13-year-old character Matilda asks a hitman named Leon to train her to be an assassin, to avenge her younger brother killed by a crooked cop and his henchmen. He reluctantly takes her under his wing and she grows to have sexual feelings for him, which he never returns (as it's his policy as a professional assassin never to complicate his life with women and children and she's both) , but she does confess her love to him as he does. Leon goes from being teacher and protector to a love interest for the young girl. Averted by the ending.
- Happens in the French movie Le Bossu (a.k.a. On Guard), with the girl having fallen in love with her guardian and him initially resisting. It still fails not to seem creepy, mostly because he became her unofficial adoptive father sometime when she was one year old, and she went with unnerving speed from regarding him as "Papa" to thinking of him as "husband on the hoof" once she learned he wasn't any blood relation.
- In the latest adaptation (Le Bossu was originally a swashbuckling novel, as mentioned below), Lagardère (2003), he marries her widowed mother instead.
- Part of Holly Golightly's backstory in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Holly marries Doc Golightly when she is thirteen, with the implication that young Holly was a rural Street Urchin and it was simplier for him to marry her than adopt her.
- There are overtones of this in the 1989 Canadian film Cold Comfort (not to be confused with the better-known Cold Comfort Farm). Floyd, who lives in a remote rural cabin, tries to set up traveling salesman Stephen with his innocent-but-willing eighteen-year-old daughter Dolores. Complicating this situation is that Floyd is a mood-swinging psychotic who himself has lustful feelings for Dolores. He has her do a strip-tease for Stephen, then nearly kills him for looking at her topless, then calmly praises her "perfect" breasts. It all goes downhill from there.
- Inverted in Merlin's Shop of Mystical Wonders, when a man accidentally turns himself into a baby, and his wife is left to raise him.
- The movie/play Gigi is about an adolescent girl raised to be a wealthy man's ideal mistress (not wife, just mistress), but he ends up falling in love with her and marrying her.
- Inverted in the 2009 movie Orphan- the titular character is actually a thirty-something year old adult who tries to come on to her legal guardians, and kills them when they refuse.
- Narrowly averted at the end of An American in Paris.
- The film (and presumably the literature it's based on) Portrait of Jennie does an odd variation on this when an artist meets a mysterious, too-young girl. Jennie promises him that they are meant to be together and that she will grow up for him... and does. Very quickly. Of course, she's already dead. Despite this description, it's a beautiful film.
- In Hideo Gosha's Kai (桨), a man buys up the pre-teen daughter of a poor family and has her trained as a geisha. In the following years, she develops romantic feelings for him.
- This sort of thing happens a lot in Hollywood films—The main characters are an older, middle aged (but still handsome) man and a very young girl whom the man feels very protective of, leading the audience to think that their relationship might end up being like a father and daughter. But since the film producers felt the need to shoehorn in a romance, the old man and young girl shack up by the end leading to Squick. (Examples of this can be seen in the movies Halloween 3 and Looker.)
- Definitely invoked in Georgy Girl, where family friend banker Leamington has watched the spirited Georgy grow from child to woman, and makes her the outrageous (by today's standards) offer to be his mistress. By the time she's finally willing to give in it's to become his wife — in order to keep the baby's she's been tending. It's implied that by now their promise is in form only, neither looks satisfied after the ceremony.
- A slightly different version occurs in Great Balls of Fire, where it's suggested that Jerry Lee wanted to marry Myra to raise her (and train her in wifely obedience before she'd be old enough to "Get Ideas").
- In Park Chan Wook's Thirst, Tae-ju is adopted by Mrs. Ra with the intention of raising her as a wife for her son. The protagonist Sang-hyeon becomes her lover, alleviating the misery of her loveless marriage and the slave-like relationship she has to both her husband and foster mother. Then he turns her into a vampire.
- Downplayed in Bicentennial Man. After Andrew the android helps to raise Amanda, she develops romantic feelings for him, but he's oblivious to her advances (not to mention that he doesn't even look human yet), so she marries someone else. Then he comes back after a century or so and falls in love with her identical granddaughter Portia.
- In Womb a woman gives birth to the clone of her dead boyfriend, raises him like a son, and eventually has sex with him.
- In Legacy: A Mormon Journey Eliza tell the gentleman who's trying to court her that she's sworn to marry Jacob because he was like a father to her when she had no one. He's the kindest man she knows. The gentleman tells her that marriage is a great reward for kindness.
- In the horror film Embryo, Rock Hudson plays a scientist who experiments on a female fetus, accelerating its growth until it's a beautiful and accomplished young woman, at which point they have sex. The young woman then discovers that her body will soon disintegrate due to Rapid Aging, kicking off the "horror" part of the movie. The movie ends with the woman dying of old age while at the same time giving birth to the child she conceived with the scientist.
- Older Than Print: The Tale of Genji: (Genji Monogatari) from Japan. Hikaru Genji raises the 10 year old girl Murasaki to be his wife.
- Years later when Genji 'adopts' another girl, Tamakazura the daughter of his best friend, he tells Murasaki that it is perfectly harmless and platonic, he is being a father to the girl since hers can't be, etc. To which she replies dryly that as she recalls their relationship began in much the same way and has, if she is not mistaken, become anything but platonic and paternal!
- Paul Féval's swashbuckler novel Le Bossu ("The Hunchback"). Rather on the creepy side, since the knight of Lagardère also raised Aurore when she was a child. Surprisingly, it hardly raises an eyebrow from anyone (political intrigues excepted) that they do love each other and get married in the end. Well, this is one of those older works, written in 1858.
- To be fair, he did miss a few crucial years of her development, having left her as a child in a convent while he was chasing the bad guys across half of Europe, only to find a beautiful young lady when he came back. A beautiful young lady who (as described in long, loving detail by her mother) happened to be a (slightly) more feminine version of her father, the infamously gorgeous Philippe de Nevers, whom Lagardere had been very, very fond of. And perhaps not entirely in a platonic way, either, since during their first visit to Philippe's grave Aurore muses about how deeply Lagardere loved this noble man she did not know - and how he will never love her quite as much. Granted, all this probably adds more to the creepy factor, rather than taking away from it, but, for what it's worth, the issue is sort of discussed... just not from a modern point of view.
- And if you go by the book, rather than the movies (where he is played by much older actors), Lagardere is barely an adult himself, being around 18 years-old when he finds himself acting as a father figure, and he never purposefully raises Aurore with the intent of marrying her later on — on the contrary,he is constantly trying to keep his feelings in check and distance himself from Aurore without actually hurting her. All in all, he's doing some rather fancy footwork to ensure both her honor and her happiness are preserved, and also that no one manages to kill her in the meantime. Oh, and that she does not kill her own mother because of him. It actually takes some heavy duty convincing from Aurore to accept her as his fiancee.
- The legendary King Cophetua had no interest in women until he fell in love with a beggar child and decided to raise her to be his queen. This story is best known through Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem "The Beggar Maid."
- Averted in the early 19th century novel Belinda. Clarence Hervey raises Virginia St. Pierre and gives her an education a la Rousseau's Emile. Then, after some particularly contrived coincidences, he figures out that she is incredibly insipid, due to his teaching, and instead falls for the titular Belinda.
- Subverted in Charles Dickens' Bleak House; while really grateful to him, the heroine essentially tells her guardian that she loves him as a daughter and not as a wife.
- Anthony Trollope's The Way We Live Now plays this realistically and tragically: Roger's love for Hetta (who has the added bonus of being his cousin) is portrayed as more pitiable than creepy. She isn't into it, though.
- In Henry James's first novel, Watch and Ward (1878), Roger Lawrence is 29, wealthy, and unsuccessful at love. He decides to adopt 12-year-old Nora Lambert after her father commits suicide as a result of Roger's refusing him $100. Roger plans to raise Nora to be the perfect wife. Years later, Nora has romantic entanglements with two other men and rejects Roger's proposal, feeling duped by the whole arrangement. Roger eventually rescues her from a bad situation, and a grateful Nora marries him.
- In the novel (and anime, and films) Daddy-Long-Legs, the main character Judy ends up marrying her patron. At least in the novel, Judy's interaction with the titular Daddy-Long-Legs ( aka the eccentric millionaire Jervis Pendelton, her roommate Julia's uncle) is limited to the letters she send to him, so they don't really have an actual relationship until she meets him in person (not realizing he's her patron) and they begin a romance. On the other hand, he does occasionally abuse his authority as her patron to interfere with her relationships with other young men, particularly her best friend Sallie's older brother, Jimmie McBride.
- Also, to be fair, Judy's about eighteen when the story starts, so it's more 'paying for her to go to college' than raising her on his part.
- In Chapter Fourteen of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a bit of backstory (about the enslavement of the Winged Monkeys) mentions this trope. In the past, the Sorceress Gayelette in the North (implied to be someone other than the Good Witch of the North that Dorothy met, but the latter only gets a name in adaptations and second-party continuations) couldn't find a suitable husband, so she picked an attractive little boy and had him raised to be her ideal husband.
- The story "The Education of Betty" from L. M. Montgomery's Further Chronicles of Avonlea. Best friends fight over girl. The one who marries her quickly dies, so the other becomes a sort of unofficial godfather to his best friend's daughter. He falls in love with her, but knows how inappropriate it is, so he tries fixing her up with his nephew. She'll have nothing of it, and marries him anyway.
- Also appears in the titular short story from The Doctor's Sweetheart and Other Stories. Doctor John is thirty when he first meets the eight year old Marcella, and "[h]e had the most to do with bringing her up..." and "Marcella was one of those girls who develop early...at fifteen, she was a woman, loving, beautiful, and spirited." The Doctor realizes he loves her, but vows not to put himself forward as a suitor, given her age and inexperience; but it's too late and she already loves him, anyway, so: "...one day, just a month before her sixteenth birthday, the two came hand in hand to Miss Sara and me...and told us simply that they had plighted their troth to each other." Of course her legal guardian uncle interferes and takes her away; but she comes back to marry the doctor when she is twenty-one, as she had promised.
- In Junichiro Tanizaki's Naomi, Joji tries this with the fifteen-year-old of the title, rationalizing that it gives him time to scope out his potential bride.
- In G. K. Chesterton's story "The Vanishing of Vaudrey", this is Vaudrey's motivation for adopting Sybil Rye. She's horrified when he proposes to her, and her refusal is what motivates him to plot the revenge that leads to his own death.
- In P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories, Roderick Spode and Madeline Basset come close to this sort of relationship, although Spode was merely a friend of her family's, and not her actual guardian. Of course, we're not supposed to like either of them, so the inherent squick, though subtle, is likely deliberate.
- The plan of the Duke in James Thurber's The 13 Clocks, having kidnapped the Princess Saralinda as child and raised her. He's under a curse, but on her birthday, he will be able to force her to marry him.
- This was Humbert Humbert's motivation for marrying Charlotte in Lolita. Of course, he wasn't really planning to wait that long... And didn't have to, thanks to Charlotte's fortunately timed death.
- Taken even further when it's revealed that he was planning on impregnating Lolita so that by the time she's aged beyond his interest, he will already have the next Lolita.
- Robert A. Heinlein did this a lot:
- Time For The Stars ends with the spacefaring Tom Bartlett returning to earth to marry his great-grandniece, whom he's been in telepathic contact with since she was a toddler. What's more, she's descended from Tom's identical twin brother, so in genetic terms Tom is marrying his own great-granddaughter.
- In Time Enough for Love, Lazarus Long (under an assumed identity) adopts a young girl named Dora on a pioneer planet after her parents die in a fire. She discovers who he really is and upon reaching her majority, knowing he's only been waiting for that to move on, she asks him for Someone to Remember Him By. This makes him apoplectic until he realizes that she is very much serious. In his own words he coolly calculates that he can afford to spend the time to make his adopted daughter's 'pitifully short life' happy and marries her. She winds up being the greatest love of his life.
- In The Door into Summer, a thirty-year-old man, and an eleven-year-old girl who thinks of him as an uncle, use cryogenics to "even things out": he goes into the deep freeze first, for thirty years, while she waits ten years, then goes in for twenty years, so eventually they both come out and he's still thirty and she's twenty-one.
- A series of '70s spy/mystery stories had Jeff Pride become the guardian for Anglo-Japanese Cherry Kobayashi when she was six. The stories are set somewhere between ten and twelve years later, she's grown to be very beautiful and sexy, and he's horrified at her romantic feelings toward him. One of the funnier parts is his outrage when told that the counsellor at her school approves of her intentions because he's not blood-related. The series ends with the situation unresolved.
- The Thorn Birds. It's the sole plot of the book. Especially awkward since the man in question is a Catholic priest. Father Ralph first meets Meggie Cleary when she's just nine years old, and is an integral part of her life for the next ten years. After she grows up and marries another man, they reunite and have a brief, torrid affair which results in the birth of a son, Dane. When confessing to his superior, Father Ralph even admits that if he had met Meggie as an adult, the affair would never have happened; it's specifically because he had known her from a child onward that he developed feelings for her.
- The second book in the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant nearly goes there - Covenant's daughter (from his rape of Lena in the first book), Elena, repeatedly makes advances at him; he refuses, because... well... squick.
- In Sidney Sheldon's Master of the Game, as a child Kate MacGregor vows to marry David Blackwell (who is about twenty years older than her); as her father died while she was a baby, he's one of the few adult men in her life and by far the nicest to her. She eventually succeeds at this plan once she's an adult, even though he does all he can to discourage it.
- In P. C. Hodgell's Chronicles of the Kencyrath, villain Gerridon takes in the abandoned Jame at age seven with the express plan of bringing her up to be his replacement bride and replacement sorceress. Unfortunately for him, his retainers subvert his brainwashing intentions ... Made somewhat more squicky by the fact that Jame's mother is Gerridon's sister, Jamethiel and that Gerridon sent her there explicitly to ensure the birth of his future bride. Of course, Jamethiel is also Gerridon's wife... the Kencyrath have no problems with incest. In fact, due to their magically robust genes, incest is a good way to create more powerful children.
- The novel Fire and Hemlock has a variation: while Tom is not involved in raising Polly per se, he is her moral support when her parents aren't there for her. She befriends him at age eleven or so and when they discuss what she should call him, she suggests "Uncle Tom." It also stresses the angle that she is the insistent partner, writing what amounts to a self-insert romance novel about them as a tween, while he tries to distance himself by dating a woman his age.
- The oldest and most elaborate printed version of Beauty and the Beast, written in 1740 by Villeneuve, uses a gender-reversal of this as one of its many subplots. The Beast, once restored, recounts how he was tended in boyhood by his nurse, an evil fairy in disguise, but as he grew older she began to treat him less like her charge and more as a lover, hoping to seduce him into marriage. His growing refusal of this lead to his enchantment by the spurned fairy.
- What Augon Hunnamek had planned for Jessamin in Infanta. As Jessamin turned out to be the mortal avatar of a sea-demon called The Serpent who Devours, that didn't turn out well.
- In David Eddings's Elenium, the queen Ehlana browbeats her protector, Sparhawk, who practically raised her, into marrying her in the third book. Sparhawk seems to realize the inappropriateness of it, as he tries to back out of it several times and feels guilty about it when she's kidnapped in the Tamuli to get at him, but she outranks him, and overrules his objections.
- There's actually a line of dialogue about how she's carrying a Prince Consort coronet for him "around with her like a coil of fishing line."
- Their daughter, age 6, tells her father who she's going to marry; as she's the incarnation of a god, if the prospective husband disagrees, he better have started running right then.
- Later there's the conversation mother and daughter have about it: "Mother started setting traps for my father when she was about my age." Ehlana protests, her daughter says, "Didn't you?" and she admits, "Well, yes, but it's not nice to talk about it.
- Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar series has a major villain, Hulda, who uses this as her means of ascending to power. She poses as a nursemaid to Princess Elspeth of Valdemar, intending to corrupt her and become the power behind the throne when she grows up (never mind that the Companions would never have Chosen her in that state, and only a Herald can be Monarch). When that plan fails, she does the same with Prince Ancar of Hardorn — becoming his lover in the process — and succeeds in having him usurp his father's throne. It is later revealed that she did all this as an agent of the Eastern Empire.
- He doesn't raise her, but Drizzt Do'Urden from the The Dark Elf Trilogy clearly thinks of the human girl Catti-brie, whom he met when she was about ten, as something like a little sister. However, as she grows up, she seems to have fallen for him, and he doesn't even notice until she's already involved with someone else... at which point, with some more overt hinting from her, he finds himself very attracted to her. Some years later, they finally connect.
- Even more Squicky than a normal Hikaru Genji Plan, on the other hand, is Drizzt's relationship with his sister (though they are actual siblings). She seemed taken with him from the time he was an infant, and did most of the work in raising him. At his graduation from the warriors' academy, he is repulsed by the drug-fueled demon orgy and leaves. His sister follows him, and tries to seduce him. He is about as repulsed as ever, thankfully... kee-rist, drow are messed up.
- In Anne McCaffrey's Damia, the titular character falls in love with Afra, her mother's best friend and advisor, who is twenty four years older than she is and literally helped raise her from the day she was born. At first you may think it's sweet... and then, about a week after you've read the book, you think about it, and the eeeeeeeeewwwwww hits ya right in the face.
- Twice in the same series: In the prequel Pegasus books, Tirla marries Sascha (thirty-something) on her sixteenth birthday, or pretty much the instant she was legally allowed to. Although he hadn't raised her since birth, he had taken on a protective, father-figure role in her life since she was about age twelve.
- Robin McKinley has so many May December Romances that it was inevitable that a few would fit this category. Notably Aerin/Tor, and Rosie/Narl from Spindle's End, but the most straightforward example of this trope is in "Touk's House", a modification of the Rapunzel story. After a woodcutter steals herbs from a witch's garden, the witch Maugie requests a baby girl in exchange. But in this case, it's so she can raise a wife for her half-troll son. (Who is, yes, around, older, and helping to raise the child.) Needless to say, Erana's not too happy when she grows up and figures it out. But it works anyway.
- A Song of Ice and Fire
- Daenerys was intended to be married to her older brother, her only family, but he sells her to a warlord instead.
- Jorah, who became a sort of father figure and protector, seemed to be hoping it would work out this way.
- It's strongly implied that Petyr Baelish is doing this to Sansa Stark. He has her pass as his bastard daughter and has requested a kiss on the mouth from her when they were alone. It's also implied that Sansa is acting as a Replacement Goldfish for her mother, who looked just like Sansa and whom Petyr loved.
- Craster the wildling simply breeds his own harem, marrying all of his daughters and killing his infant sons to remain unopposed.
- Being set in a relatively realistic medieval world, some of the minor characters are married couples where one partner or the other is severely younger than the other one. These are generally political rather than romantic relationships, and generally the older partner is supposed to wait quite a while until the younger one has grown up, but there is still quite a bit of Deliberate Values Dissonance to the whole thing. One of the Lannisters is literally married to an infant, which he has to help raise, which leads to some very Black Comedy when he dies, leading to some people in universe commenting how the girl is now the only one in the Kingdom to be widowed before she was weaned.
- The villain in Sandra Brown's novel Fat Tuesday. And after his bride figured out just how crooked he was, he threatened to replace her with her little sister.
- In the alternate history novel Fortune's Stroke by Eric Flint and David Drake, Rome's spymaster has to bully an Indian Empress into marrying the great warrior assassin who raised her and trained her, even though they both want it.
- But is it really? She still had an actual father on the scene until she was an older teenager.
- In Cold Copper Tears, thirty-plus Garrett teams up with street kid Maya, whom he'd saved from her stepfather's molestation as a young girl. Now eighteen, she repeatedly declares her intention to marry him. They do hook up, but she eventually married someone else because Garrett was too immature about commitment. Not as creepy as most, as he was never actually her guardian and she always saw him as more hero than parent.
- When Sarek appears on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Picard mentions in passing that he had attended "your son's wedding" some two decades earlier. So...whom did Spock marry? The EU novels come to the rescue: Spock married Saavik, to whom he had been a surrogate parent.
- Oddly enough, in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Saavik briefly played a nuturing role to the (young but rapidly aging) Spock, including mention of the fact that he is going through Pon Farr. Since that is a case of Mate or Die, she may have taken the logical (if to us, squicky) choice.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series novel "The Vulcan Academy Murders", Dr. Daniel Corrigan, a middle-aged human doctor, has had a highly successful partnership with the Vulcan healer Sorel, and has become something of a favored uncle to Sorel's daughter T'Mir. Years later, when T'Mir returns from several years studying xenobiology at Starfleet Academy, she and Corrigan become bond-mates. Subverted in that 1) Corrigan underwent an experimental neural treatment that he and Sorel pioneered that would extend his life-span, and 2) he hadn't allowed himself to consider T'Mir as a life-mate or wife, until she proposed to him.
- In the first book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, Count Olaf tries to marry his young ward Violet. He didn't use a "position of trust", though — he tried to force her so he can inherit her and her siblings' money.
- In S.L. Viehl's Stardoc series, this turns out to be exactly why Grey Veil created Cherijo in the first place.
- An odd version occurs in Kushiel's Dart: Anafiel Delaunay adopts two children and believes that both will eventually come to see him as a father/mentor figure. Both of them, however, fall in love with him, and one of them eventually finds the courage to make a move.
- The Obsidian Trilogy: Played somewhat worryingly straight in Mercedes Lackey's and James Mallory's series. The human Wild Mage Idalia and the elven warrior/Dragon Mage Jermayan are in love. Elves, however, marry for life, and only once, and like most elves, Jermayan's people can live for much longer than the healthiest human. After they reconcile themselves to this, Idalia dies as part of a price for a powerful spell she cast. Then the queen of the elves has a child...and the child has most of Idalia's features; apparently reincarnation is something elves believe in. He notes that now they're both elves, "eighteen years is not so long to wait".
- Happens via time travel in The Time Traveler's Wife in a Stable Time Loop: When the unwitting Time Traveler Henry meets Clare for the first time, she immediately starts a relationship with him and eventually marries him. Only after this does he begin to time travel to various points in Clare's childhood, causing her to fall in love with him over time until they meet as adults.
- Daisy Ashford's Victorian classic The Young Visiters lightly touches on this; the middle-aged Mr. Salteena is fond of having young women come visit him so that he may present them to proper society; he proposes to his latest female friend, Ethel, only to have her turn him down, all done in genteel form of course. His heartbreak is tempered by Ethel's new gentleman friend getting him a peerage.
- In the Twilight series, male werewolves sometimes "imprint" (a sort of one-way soulmate-recognition thing) on girls while the girls are still toddlers or even infants (as Jacob does on Bella's baby daughter Nessie). In such cases, the male werewolf becomes a sort of uncle/older brother figure, or even a father figure, to the child, and it's assumed that of course she'll want to marry him once she's of age. To quote the series, "why would she say no?" It's also discussed how sad it is that the relevant werewolf is going to have to wait fourteen years to have sex with his adopted daughter.
"You never saw a real parent so jazzed to play whatever stupid kiddie sport their rugrat could think up. I'd seen Quil play peekaboo for an hour straight without getting bored. [...] Though I did think it sucked that he had a good fourteen years of monk-i-tude ahead of him until Claire was his age." Making things convenient for Jacob, "Nessie" will age faster than Claire.
- Something akin to this happens in Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson. The main character, Jane, had an imaginary friend named Michael when she was eight. He was much older than her, and it's established that he doesn't know how he came to exist, just that he takes care of children by being their imaginary friend and has been doing this for quite some time now. As the story progresses, they eventually meet again when Jane grows up and fall in love. Toward the end Michael gives up his immortality to be with Jane. A bit disturbing, considering Michael is, in all probability, extremely old.
- The disturbing aspect of this is the entire point of the Fyodor Dostoevsky short story "A Christmas Tree and a Wedding." Made even worse because the real motives of the older man are to get at the girl's finances, with him mentally calculating how much interest her bank balance will accumulate in the years before she comes of age.
- In The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, that is the future Totsky originally planned for Nastassya Filippovna and one of the reasons she feels herself unworthy of Prince Myshkin's love.
- Though it was actually Mistress Husbandry in this case. And it didn't remain a plan. Though it's not explicitly stated, it's clearly understood that Nastassya was either coerced or manipulated into becoming his kept woman when she was 16, which situation went on for a few years until she couldn't take it anymore. This can lead to Fridge Horror when you realize all her unbalanced and self-harming behavior, as well as her total lack of self-esteem, can very well be attributed to the trauma of being a sexual abuse victim, which remains unacknowledged and untreated due to Values Dissonance.
- In Emily of New Moon and its sequels, by L.M. Montgomery, this is what Dean Priest plans for Emily. Yes, he saves her life the first time they meet. Yes, he's the only adult who understands Emily and she's the only person (other than her now-dead father) who was ever his real friend. But he's old enough to be her father, and at their first meeting he's saying things like "Your life belongs to me, now," and "I'll wait for you," and "One day I'll teach you all about lovers' talk." In the third book they actually get engaged, but Emily breaks it off. Eventually Dean is able to be reconciled to her as a friend.
- A boatman tried this in one of the short stories from the book Cuentos de Angustias y Paisajes, the girl who called him dad, she apparently drowned. However, it was noted she was an excellent swimmer and a man she seemed to fancy disappeared around the same time.
- In the antebellum book series Elsie Dinsmore, Elsie's father's best friend complains frequently that he and Elsie aren't closer in age, because she'd be the perfect bride. He starts saying this when she's SEVEN, right after she's been encouraged to call him her Uncle Edward. She marries him as soon as she hits 21, and the entire family rejoices. Her father had her quite young, so Edward Travilla is only about 16 years older than she is, but since he begins talking about wanting to marry her when she's a small child, and remains a huge influence in her life (taking her side against her insanely controlling father, trying to break things up with her first love), it's never not creepy.
- In Jane Austen's Emma, the titular character falls in love with her sister's brother-in-law, who has been something like a real elder brother to her since childhood. He even remarks to her that he has been in love with her ever since she was thirteen at least. Not quite as overt as other examples, since there was no intent and both parties had no idea they were in love until Emma had a presumed suitor, but still mildly squicky to modern readers.
- In the modern-era remake Clueless, this character is replaced by Cher's "ex-stepbrother" (his mother was married to then divorced from her father), who is two or three years older than Cher. This cuts down on the squick considerably.
- More the clearly the case with Fanny and Edmund in Mansfield Park, though Edmund is only 7 years older than Fanny he is her only true friend and plays a very great role in forming her mind and character.
- In the Tudor/Elizabethan period novels by Mercedes Lackey and Roberta Gellis, the elven warrior Denoriel is Elizabeth Tudor's destined protector starting several years before her birth. When Elizabeth is 14, Denoriel (and his sister Aleneil) deal with Elizabeth's awakening sexuality by getting her into Denoriel's bed. To be fair, in that era a 14 year old female was old enough to be a mother, and Denoriel was a "safer" lover than some of the humans who were sniffing around the third in line to the throne. But this doesn't stop Denoriel from being simultaneously aroused and squicked by the idea.
- Spider Robinson wrote a short story, "Soul Search"(featured in the anthology Time Travelers Strictly Cash) which asked what happens when you have a universe with both reincarnation and cryogenics. At the end, when one character dies, the man who loves her tracks down the baby she was reincarnated as and adopts her, intending to marry her in eighteen years.
- Her plan had been this as well, but a bit more sinister version: cryogenics comes in because she was going to kill the three children she'd determined had the highest chance of being her late husband's new form, in hopes of the soul returning to the frozen, now-healed body. When her life is eventually threatened by a lab accident, the people working for her - the man mentioned above included - allow her to die. However, he'd determined that a soul grows in maturity with each life, so it's with the hope that she's better in her next life that he prepares to enact the Hikaru Genji plan.
- Marius, the ancient Roman Vampire from Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, encounters a female vampire named Eudoxia who does this with a young mortal who she eventually plans to turn into a vampire companion, and urges Marius to do the same. Once he finds Amadeo (later known as Armand), he does.
- Don't forget about Claudia (though perhaps to a lesser extent) as it's implied that she and Louis (one of her 'vampire fathers') have romantic feelings for each other, which is a source of squick when you remember that Claudia has the body of a six year old and Louis was in his twenties when he became a vampire.
- Frankenstein's parents are a semi-example. His mother was the daughter of his father's best friend, and he adopted her after said friend died.
- And in a strange variation of Wife-Husbandry in the same novel, Elizabeth was adopted by Victor's parents in the hopes that she'd marry Victor when they grew up. So this isn't so much adopting a child to marry her yourself, but adopting a child so she'll marry her brother.
- In Maggie Furey's Aurian books, Aurian is raised by her deceased father's friend Forral, from the age of seven to around eleven, complete with Aurian claiming that "I'm not going to marry a prince, I'm going to marry you." When Forral leaves after injuring her during their sword training, Aurian goes on to study magic at the Mage's Academy and becomes the Archmage's protégé. When Forral later returns, they both find themselves attracted to each other, and eventually after much angsting they consummate their love. It helps (or just makes it worse) that Aurian is a mage and thus immortal.
- Far worse is the Archmage Miathan's perverse lust for Aurian once she "matures" upon the return of Forral into her life. While he's been raising her to be a loyal ally, he gradually goes from benevolent father to attempted rapist.
- In Peace Like a River, Jape Waltzer's "daughter" is really a girl he bought off some guy in Utah. He freely admits that he's "raising himself a wife", apparently planning to marry her when she's a bit older. However, Davy absconds with her (presumably with her consent) before this happens.
- In the Rendezvous with Rama sequels by Gentry Lee, Nicole des Jardins's daughter Simone Wakefield's life pretty much is this trope. The man she chose to marry at fourteen, Michael O'Toole, is not only fairly old (in his sixties if memory serves), but also her stepfather for all intents and purposes. He helped deliver Simone at birth, actively raised her and her siblings, and fathered Simone's half-brothers with Nicole. Granted the Wakefield/O'Toole family were not exactly suffering an embarrassment of riches in the human gene pool, but still. Squick.
- In Child of Darkness by V. C. Andrews, Celeste is adopted by a wealthy woman whose father-in-law has fallen for Celeste, and wants to marry her when she is a little older or at least convince her to have a child with him so the child can inherit the family's money. They drug and rape her when it becomes clear their little scheme isn't going to work.
- In Malevil, Emmanuel is torn on his precise relationship with fourteen year old Evelyne. He is trying to raise her as best he can, for her sake and the future of mankind after World War III, but he realizes that their relationship is not entirely adopted father/daughter and borders on paedophilia. He recognizes his Dirty Old Man habits and understands that if Evelyne grows to be beautiful then he has most likely raised a bride for himself.
- In Edith Wharton's novel Summer, Lawyer Royall takes in Charity when she is 5 and then drunkenly enters her room in an attempt at starting a sexual relationship when she turns 17. He continues to make advances, proposing to her twice.
- The world of Dragonlance has a race of Lizard Folk called "draconians", all of whom are the result of the eggs of good dragons being stolen and subjected to evil magics which transform what's inside of them; instead of baby dragons hatching from them, multiple draconians hatch from a single egg. Draconians were created to be reliable soldiers for the Big Bad of the story. However, only male draconians were ever hatched. Eventually, after thirty-some years pass in The Verse, readers learn that eggs containing female draconians do exist; they were never hatched because there was concern that if draconians reproduced, then they would become too numerous to control. The adult male draconians embark on a quest to find the female eggs and hatch them, in an effort to keep their race from dying out one by one. They succeed, and find themselves in the position of raising twenty baby females to adulthood. No matter who these females conceive children with, it will end up being somebody who remembers them as babies.
- The world of A Brother's Price has a huge deficit of men. Few are conceived, fewer are born, so monogamy is not only impractical but totally unheard of. When a man marries, he marries all the sisters of a family - sisters who are themselves the children of several sisters married to one man. Not all of the sisters will be of age, and the husband is expected to raise and dote on his child brides just as he would with the children he fathers on their older sisters.
- In the Belisarius Series, this takes place between Empress Shakuntala and her mentor Raghunath Rao, into whose care her father gave her when she was 10. She is very much the pursuer, and although Rao returns her feelings, he is entirely aware of how inapprpriate they are, and goes to great lengths to try to dissuade her. Like Ehlana and Sparhawk above, she outranks him, and overrides his objections.
- 1632 has a mix between this and Perfectly Arranged Marriage. Princess Kristina of Sweden (9) and Prince Ulrik of Denmark (28) were set up in an Arranged Marriage. Subsequently, Ulrik became Kristina's guardian, and the two have been quite fond of each other (Kristina being Wise Beyond Her Years helped). Here, the romantic relationship (or expectation of one) came before the adult became the child's guardian. Also played with in that in most cases of Wife Husbandry, the older male is the dominant one in the relationship, where here, Kristina is already bossing Ulrik around. Still, at least life with Kristina will never be boring.
- One Miss Marple short story, "The Herb of Death", features an older man in love with his ward. When she doesn't return his affection, he murders her rather than letting her marry another man.
- At the beginning of "The Whip," a novel by Catherine Cookson, Emma is a seven-year-old orphan. She first meets the Parson as her traveling companion, already an adult, destined for the same town. By the epilogue, they have died within days of each other, after having married and raised three children together.
- In "Skrut" ("Скрут") by Maryna and Serhiy Dyachenko (in Russian) this is the main villain's backstory. The horrible spider monster used to be a knight who saved a little girl on a battlefield, and decided to raise her to become his wife. When she grew up she rejected him as a husband because she only could see him as a father. Betrayed by his beloved, the knight turned into a monster.
- Lampshaded in The Dresden Files. Harry rejects Molly because he's known her since she was a child.
Live Action TV
- A gender inversion occurred on Angel, between Connor and Cordelia; later lampshaded in the comics with Connor's line about "My first time was with a woman who changed my diapers?!" (Though she didn't actually raise him.)
- Also lampshaded in the series:
: She's practically your mother. There should be a play
- It is partially averted when it is later revealed, that Cordelia had died/ascended and not been resurrected/returned as they thought. It was actually an ancient Lovecraftian terror inhabiting Cordelia's body. This doesn't keep it from being any less creepy, but it's not Cordy's fault.
- If you think about it, eventually inverted on Farscape: In the time-travel episode "Kansas", 16-year-old John Crichton loses his virginity to Chiana, and gets his memory of the event muddled. Years later, he meets her for, from her point of view, the first time and rather quickly takes her as a little sister or occasionally even daughter figure, which works really well to her benefit, considering he has little reason to trust her at their first meeting otherwise. Yeah.
- One sided version: In the Murder, She Wrote episode A Murderous Muse, the manager Byron has been pressuring his student Leslie to marry him, the twist is that she isn't quite 18 yet and Byron has raised her like a father since she was 8 years old.
- In Carnivàle, Jonesy was a surrogate father/uncle figure to Sofie when she joined the troupe at a young age, and by the time the series is set (where she is around 18 or 19) it's quite clear he has feelings for her.
- Taken: Mary Crawford and her 'Uncle Chet' (i.e. Dr. Wakeman, her father's coworker) develop feelings for each other while she is still a teenager. Years later, they meet again and begin a romantic relationship.
- An episode of Criminal Minds focused on a family whose tradition it was to "make wives" for their sons. They would do so by having the boy pick a girl he liked and then the whole family would abduct her and murder her parents. Aw, bonding.
- The episode "Hope" took the most disturbing elements of this trope and distiled them into the creepiest possible form. The unsub kidnapped a little girl he became obessed with and waited for her to grow up.
- Played with and ultimately subverted in regards to River Song from Doctor Who. She's been adventuring with the Doctor her whole life and she's admitted that that's what led her to love him. It's working in reverse, too; the Doctor is young right now compared to River and as they're adventuring together, he's begun falling in love with her. Strictly speaking, she probably doesn't remember their real first meeting, because she was a newborn and the Doctor was initially unaware of who she was. From the Doctor's perspective, he first met her as an adult.
- The Twilight Zone episode "The Fugitive" features an alien king who has disguised himself as an old man on earth, where he uses his powers to entertain children. He is close friends with a little girl but is eventually discovered by his people, who want him back. He says he knows it would be thousands of years before he could leave the job. He eventually returns to his planet to be king, but takes the little girl with him, where the epilogue heavily implies the little girl might eventually become a queen.
- Gender-inversion on Parks and Recreation: Tammy One, the terrifying tax auditor first wife of Ron Swanson. She delivered him as a teenage candy-striper, she apparently played no small part in his rearing, and taught him at school. This is a particularly strong form in that she actually intended to marry him the whole time.
- Gender-inversion again in The Originals. The current Big Bad of the series, Marcel, was adopted by the hybrid vampire Klaus when he was a human child in the 1800s, and was raised by both him and Klaus' sister Rebekah. Years later, Rebekah and Marcel fall in love with each other, much to Klaus' displeasure. It's heavily implied that he and Rebekah still have a thing for each other.
- In the Star Trek episode Requiem for Methuselah the Immortal Mr. Flint has created and educated a female android to become his mate. Unfortunately her hormones first start moving for Kirk. Even more unfortunately the powerful conflict between her new desires and her long standing filial love for Flint kills her.
- Once Upon a Time in Wonderland as Gender Flipped. Amara took Jafar in as a child, raised him, trained him… then they make out when he's older. Slightly lessened due to the fact that Jafar has a new actor when he's older, while Amara still has the same actress, and so she appears to not have aged at all. Which is possibly intentional, and implies she uses some magic to stay young.
- Father Brown: In "The Prize of General Gerard", the General had adopted a young Chinese girl named Jia-Li. As she matured, Gerard's nephew Edward (whose mother had married Gerard after his father's death) had fallen in love with her, but Gerard made it quite clear that he planned to take Jia-Li as his mistress, her own desires be damned, and further planned to have Edward committed to keep him away from her. Considering that Jia-Li ended up murdering Gerald, one may safely assume that the attraction was one-sided. Oh, and Gerard had also killed Edward's father and married his mother. What a sweet guy.
- A very weird case from Mystery Science Theater 3000. Joel, creator of the Bots, has always been the father figure to them. Except in Wild Rebels, where he and Gypsy have a few romantic moments, such as Joel cheering her up when she's depressed (even if he almost suffocates so he can talk to her clearly) and giving her a serenade later on.
- Older Than Print: King Conchobar of Ulster intends to pull this off with Deirdre in Deirdre of the Sorrows, but Deirdre falls for Naoise before he can make his move.
- Gender-swapped in the myth of Persephone and Adonis. Aphrodite once entrusted Persephone with a mortal boy, Adonis. Persephone raised him, but when he came of age she fell in love with him and refused to give him back to Aphrodite. Finally Zeus decided that Adonis will spent one third of each year with Persephone, one third with Aphrodite and one where he wishes.
- In Ezekiel 16:8, God Himself uses this as a metaphor for how His relationship with the Israelites was supposed to work out.
- Subverted in the Book of Esther. Mordacai doesn't marry Esther, even though he's supposed to as a kinsman redeemer. She marries King Xerxes instead.
- The Rite of Ordination/Holy Orders Sacrament for Catholicism is placed in the same category as Matrimony. Where the ideal of Matrimony is to devote yourself to a single partner, the ideal of Holy Orders is to devote yourself to the Church and Christ and to be celibate. Taking the Rite is often described, not surprisingly, as marrying the Church or marrying Christ himself. The only real exception to the rule is that Permanent Deacons, in certain circumstances, can remarry if they are widowers (perhaps having been left as a single parent) or, occasionally, a man can become a Deacon and keep his wife. Anyone higher ranked than that can't take a partner (this is partially in place to avoid Nepotism. Ideally, devotion must be given to all people equally or at least to the members of the Church).
- Judge Turpin tries to pull this with his ward Johanna Barker in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, since she reminds him so much of her mother Lucy, whom he had a major lust for and eventually raped. It doesn't work because Johanna hates him and seeks to elope with Anthony the sailor. When Turpin finds this out, he is furious enough to have Johanna thrown into a madhouse, where she is eventually rescued by Anthony. And her real father, the title character, eventually catches up to Judge Turpin and takes very bloody revenge upon him.
- In Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, Ko-Ko attempts to marry his ward, Yum-Yum, though by the end he's paired off with Katisha, a woman closer to his age.
- It's hinted that Katisha had also tried to do this with the much younger Nanki-Poo.
- They do it again in Iolanthe, where the Lord Chancellor eventually convinces himself that he can marry his ward Phyllis. He doesn't get to, though.
- The weird version, deliberately contrasting with the authors' other "straight" examples. The Chancellor is portrayed as a sympathetic rather than manipulative figure and didn't actually raise Phyllis. Being the legal guardian for orphans in the region is part of his government position. Even his self-stated "susceptibility" to teenage girls ends up justified, as in the back of his mind he's never forgotten his apparent teenage wife who died a quarter-century earlier.
- And in The Pirates of Penzance (notice a trend here?), Frederic's onetime nursemaid Ruth, who is the only woman he has seen in 13 years, convinces him that she is a beautiful woman, and that he should marry her. This plan falls apart the second he sees a group of girls his own age.
- In H.M.S. Pinafore, little Buttercup, the captain's nursemaid, ends up marrying him.
- Used in Molière's comedies School for Wives and School for Husbands, where in both cases a male character has a female ward they plan to marry — this doesn't end up working in either case, as the girls confront their patrons and earn their freedoms. By the way, in School for Wives, the man's definition of "perfect" is "as idiot as possible".
- Ironically, while the would-be husbands are the butt of the comedy in both plays, Molière himself did end up marrying a girl who had been a young member of his theatre company, and was rumoured to be the daughter of his long-term mistress (scholars now think she was probably her niece). They even played the lead roles in the first public performance of School for Wives.
- This plot is lampshaded and averted in Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, as while Jack/Ernest has his excessively pretty ward Cecily being raised in the countryside like male characters in similar comedies, he is not interested in a romantic relationship with her. His best friend, however, is.
- In Beaumarchais' play The Barber of Seville (and the operas based on it, of which Rossini's is the most famous), Doctor Bartholo plots to marry his ward Rosine (Bartolo and Rosina in Rossini). Count Almaviva and Figaro foil the plot.
- In this case, it's implied that it's just because she has been left a large dowry by her natural family and he wants to keep it for himself. When he realises the man she eloped with is very rich and will let him keep it, he's contented.
- The plot to Arthur Miller's A View From the Bridge. However, Eddie Carbone cannot admit to himself or anyone else that he has romantic feelings towards Catherine, his wife's sister's daughter. Every time someone hints he might have "too much love" for Catherine, he says he isn't that kind of person. Tragedy results.
- Done in A Little Night Music, but partially averted. A paraphrased line: "Just imagine, a few years ago, you were Uncle Frederick. And now, you're Darling Frederick." *Giggle* *Cue squirming and uncomfortable audience.* The girl discovered that it was just a crush and Frederic discovered his true love in a former mistress. His 18-year-old ex-wife ran off with his son, who was the same age.)
- In the 17th-century play The London Cuckolds, one of the title characters has a girl raised in the country to be so much of an idiot that she'll believe just about anything anyone tells her (except that she does know trees don't have rats on them), and when he brings her to town to be his wife, Hilarity Ensues (no, really). Initially he doesn't plan to consummate the marriage, telling her instead her "wifely duties" are to guard his nightcap in full armor, but the two main characters of the play end up interfering with that plan.
- Arnolphe plans this for his ward Agnès in Molière's L'Ecole des femmes.
- In The Lion in Winter, Henry has raised Alais with the intention of making her his daughter-in-law, though she becomes his mistress in the meantime. When he decides to disown his sons, he then plans to annul his marriage to Eleanor, make Alais queen and have sons by her instead.
- Bakumatsu Renka Karyuu Kenshi Den. Heroine Shizuki Rin is adopted by male lead Iori, who was in love with Rin's mother.
- The Princess Maker series of video games have this trope as a possible ending if you develop a close enough relationship with the girl you raise from age 10 on (the youngest you can make the "father" in a later version of the game is 16). It should be noted that this is generally frowned upon in game and, depending on which guardian spirit you have, she will also frown on it but still approve because they're not blood related. The only requirement is that the girl have max relationship with her "father" and not have promised to marry anyone else (since those marriages takes priority over this one). The girl herself can have any non-marriage profession ending, including being queen through her own abilities rather than through marriage.
- In Soul Nomad & the World Eaters, Hawthorne is revealed to be a serial perpetrator of raising, sexually abusing and 'disposing of' female children, his daughter Tricia being the latest victim. Although he is killed before this happens in the normal storyline, in the Demon Path, he succeeds and breaks her utterly. The Nereids' plan for Penn is similar to this since due to their status as a One-Gender Race they need a male from another race in order to breed.
- The Nereids' plan is slightly less squicky since its clear that they care dearly about him as a person and not just as breeding stock. With this example, Penn is in for an... interesting life.
- It's quite possible in The Sims 2. Basically, it involves taking a child-Sim away from its parents, and sending it to live in the same house as an adult Sim, who from then on takes care of it and acts as a surrogate parent. When the child grows to be an adult, the relationship score should be high enough for them to fall in love and marry.
- In the sequel it's easier, since you can have children not related to you from the get-go.
- A gender-reversed variant in Chrono Trigger - talking to the right people reveals that caveman Kino was found as a child by Nubile Savage Ayla, who raised him. They end up marrying after the credits. Ayla's somewhere in her twenties at the time, Kino in his late teens.
- In Crisis Core, the Final Fantasy VII prequel, one of the little girl NPCs in the slums apparently wants this relationship with her uncle. If you bother the conversation a little further, you find out that it's just from her point of view, sure, but the girl's uncle is DON CORNEO, the notorious mobster and pervert from the original game. He also apparently laughed and patted her head or something similar when she told him she wanted to marry him. Not only is he ugly as sin, he's well-known for being a creeper and morally impossible. So...
- In the Soul Series, Setsuka realized she was in love with her mentor and father figure after he succumbed to the injuries sustained in a fight with Mitsurugi.
- The protagonist Rex Raglen can fall under this in Agarest Senki if you get the True Ending. He can get every single woman who's not part of his ancestor's harem and all of them raised him up.
- Leonis from Agarest Senki Zero also fall under this. Most of the women he can romance has raised him as a baby. (He even considers Alice as his surrogative mother and Mimel as his older sister)
- Inverted in Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn. Micaiah found Sothe as a child and raised him but due to her long lifespan, she looks younger than Sothe in the current game. However, they are so far ahead of everyone else as a canon couple that they start out with max support for each other. You HAVE to go out of your way to make them not end marrying each other.
- In Koei's renderizations of the Sengoku Era of Japan (Samurai Warriors,Kassen, etc), Hideyoshi Toyotomi is constantly courting Oda Oichi, a girl 11 years younger than he is. She always rejects him and even calls him a persistantly annoying monkey in the Samurai Warriors series. She later marries the young pretty boy lord Nagamasa Azai and has a daughter who is later known as Lady Yodo. After Nagamasa is killed in a battle against Oichi's brother Nobunaga, Hideyoshi helps raise the young Yodo and she eventually becomes his concubine, producing a son name Toyotomi Hideyori. Hideyoshi is more than 30 years older than Yodo. Yeah... couldn't get the girl so went for brain-washing the daughter huh? Nice!
- In Harvest Moon 64, Elli's potential suitor was Jeff, the baker, who had at least a supporting role in parenting her (presumably, Ellen, her grandmother, was dominant).
- Higurashi no Naku Koro ni has Irie, the closest thing Satoko has to a (non-abusive) guardian, say that he wants to marry Satoko when she grows up. He may have been joking, though.
- In Umineko no Naku Koro ni, it's revealed that Kinzo had this relationship with his daughter, Beatrice II, because he deluded himself into thinking that she was the reincarnation of her mother and his beloved mistress, Beatrice Castiglioni. Unfortunately for him, she doesn't return his feelings...even though Kinzo has a child with her.
- In Daily Grind between Howlett and Jolene. Even with as many mitigating circumstances thrown in as one can possibly imagine, it is still creepy. A
man serpent of Howlett's obvious moral qualities ought to have rejected Jolene's advances rather than declare that reaching a certain chronological age magically makes her able to make her own decision. Of course, their relationship is completely non-sexual, and Howlett is only five years older than Jolene, but even Howlett seems creeped out a bit by the whole thing. He just hasn't figured out how to defuse it without someone getting hurt.
- Mandy and Grim in Grim Tales from Down Below. While Mandy never exactly looked up to him, Grim was a major part of her childhood. He used to treat her like his snarky niece, then several years later, he married her.
- The Dr. Steve/Oasis relationship from Sluggy Freelance has a few overtones of this. After raising Oasis to adulthood and taking control of her brain, Steve's plans include having her give him firsthand accounts of a lesbian date and wearing skimpy clothes while she serves him food.
- Gunnerkrigg Court: At least two of the people Jones dated were people she helped raise from childhood.
- A rather unusually creepy example in Gargoyles, where Goliath's clone Thailog creates clones of the other Manhattan Clan's gargoyles as his family... including one to be his concubine. And he designed her mixing DNA from Demona (Goliath's Psycho Ex-Wife) and Elisa Maza (the human protagonist and Goliath's current Love Interest).
- U.S. private religious correction/sanitary institution Hephzibah House is speculated to be matching up inmates/students to associates upon or after their release. Maybe also because they have no other other places to go to and no practical professional skills.
- Filmmaker Woody Allen and Soon-Yi, the adopted daughter of his then-girlfriend Mia Farrow. Cue massive amount of speculation and squick in the media.
- U.S. President Grover Cleveland took a major role in raising his goddaughter Frances after her father died. During his administration, rumors abounded that the bachelor president was going to marry Frances' mother. Those rumors turned out to be a generation off.
- Adolf Hitler's alleged relationship with his own half-niece, Angelika Maria "Geli" Raubal, led to a massive underground conspiracy theory after her demise under suspicious circumstances. In some versions of the story, she had become less enamoured with him due to his interest in politics superseding time spent with her.
- Catherine the Great's ninth lover Alexander Lanskoy was a rare inversion. He had been raised in the Palace together with Catherine's illegitimate son (as well as her future twelfth lover, Zubov). When Lanskoy died at 26, Catherine (then 51) wrote to a friend: "I thought I was going to die with grief; I had raised this young man, he was gentle, obedient and grateful, and I had counted on him for support in my later years..."
- The notorious Chinese pirate Ching Shih took over the pirating business after her husband died, and then married her adopted son Cheung Po Tsai (modern Pinyin: Zhang Baozai). Supposedly, Cheung Po Tsai was also the lover of both Ching Shih and her husband after they adopted him at the age of 15.
- René Angélil and Céline Dion met when she was 12 and he was 38, married, and had a son who was her age. He became her manager, divorced his first wife and married someone else, divorced his second wife, and started dating Celine when she was 19 and he was 45. They were married 7 years later. Despite this trope being squicky, they have three kids and appear to be Happily Married.
- Due to the infamous one-child policy in China, and the accompanying widespread infanticide of infant girls, there are now people who do this so their sons can have wives. It's pervasive enough that there are now detectives whose entire careers are dedicated to finding people's daughters and bringing them back... just as there are people who make livings kidnapping and selling girls for wives.
- Adult male baboons sometimes abduct subadult females from their mothers and raise them apart from the troop, as a safer alternative to fighting over potential mates. The male grooms and guards his captive like a protective father while he awaits her reproductive maturity.
- John "Johnny Appleseed" Chapman apparently attempted this.
- WB Yeats did a subverted version of this trope. In his younger days he pined after Maude Gonne, who spurned him and married an abusive monster named John MacBride. After John MacBride's death Maude still refused Yeats' offers of marriage, so he finally proposed to Iseult Gonne, Maude's illegitimate daughter, who was born before her marriage to MacBride (he was 52 and she was 23). She turned him down, but apparently they became good friends and Yeats was something of a father figure to her.
- Something like this happened in the Bloomsbury Group. Vanessa Bell (sister of Virginia Woolf) had a daughter, Angelica, with Scottish painter Duncan Grant, her lover at the time. Present at the birth (aside from Vanessa's husband!) was Grant's lover David Garnett, who afterwards wrote to a friend, "I think of marrying it. When she is 20, I shall be 46 – will it be scandalous?". When Angelica Bell was in her early twenties, she did marry Garnett, who had remained a close friend of her parents.
- Female spiders of certain species prefer to mate with males they are already familiar with. Some particular orb weaver males will find an immature female and move in next door, so to speak, in an attempt to pull this off.
- Chinese man Deng Jianguo married his goddaughter Huang Ziqi. The writer of the article asks "What is the ethics?"
- The poet Michael Field was actually two women writing under one pseudonym. Edith Cooper was both the legal ward and niece of Katherine Bradley. It's widely believed that the two became lovers when Cooper was in her late teens. They spent the rest of their lives together.
- Averted in similar cases when a gay couple, who differ significantly in age, opt for legal adoption of the younger by the elder as their only means of becoming a family under law. While it might look like this trope to the uninformed, such couples' romantic relationships generally pre-date the legal fiction of a "parental" one.
- George Takei once said "If you can't find a good man, raise one." This is a joke referencing the fact that his husband, Brad Altman, is 17 years his junior. However, they do not fit the trope in real life.
- The writer Thomas Day adopted two girls from an orphanage with the intent that he would raise them on Rousseauean principles so that one of them would grow up to be the "perfect wife". Unsurprisingly, it didn't work out for him. (He was a friend of Richard Edgeworth, father of Maria Edgeworth, the author of Belinda, so it seems likely he was an inspiration for Clarence Hervey.)
- Speaking of Rousseau, he was taken in by Françoise-Louise de Warens when he was 15 and she was 29; he thought of her as his maman, but they became lovers when he was 20.
- Philippe de Mezieres' "Letter to Richard II" contains a section on why this practice is a great idea. Richard married Isabel, the daughter of Charles VI of France, in 1396 when he was 29 and she was six — an unusually young age even for a medieval bride. The main goal was to end the war with France (and, perhaps, because Richard was still grieving his first wife), a decision that was extremely unpopular with the nobility. At any rate, Richard was deposed and murdered before Isabel was old enough to consummate the marriage.
- The country singer Randy Travis was discovered as a teenager by a promoter who became his legal guardian, and when rumors came up that he was gay, she married him.
- The second wife of famous Polish astronomer, merchant and one-time Mayor of Gdansk Jan Hevelius, Katharina Elisabeth Koopman, was a daughter of his neighbor Nicholas Koopman and 36 years his younger. Fascinated by the astronomy, she became Hevelius' student, and eventually grew infatuated with her teacher, finally marrying him after his first wife died. She was sixteen at the time, Hevelius more than fifty, but for all indications they were pretty Happily Married, jointly practicing astronomy and managing Hevelius' family brewing business.