12:08:54 AM May 2nd 2011
This appears to be shoehorning in something other than the trope: it's not a case of a powerful character forgetting they get to set the rules.
- The case of the whipping boy. In order to teach spoiled princes to behave, they had to be punished when they did wrong. However, it is a crime for anyone to lay their hands on the prince. Therefore (and here is royal logic at it's finest) they take a peasant boy from somewhere, and make him the whipping boy, punishing HIM whenever the prince does wrong. Now, if they were a good kid, the idea of someone else getting hurt every time they misbehaved would make you behave. However, the kind of prince that needs a whipping boy isn't going to care. What should have been a lesson teaching that others suffer if you do wrong, instead teaches that you'll never suffer the consequences of your actions.