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Family Extermination

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A family that gets purged, whether happening in the present (or is attempted) or in the past

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
JujuP on Jan 21st 2019 at 4:24:29 PM
Last Edited By:
JujuP on 3 hours ago
Name Space: Main
Page Type: trope

Every living creature that directly shares your bloodline is dead.
Varsuvius, The Order of the Stick

An entire family has been targeted for murder in a single attack or systematically. This massacre may be carried out by a disgruntled family member, someone with a grudge against the family or a complete stranger, and for many kind of reasons, such as Feuding Families, a way to psychologically hurt their target, a way of making their target pay for not doing what they want, a bout of serial killing, specifically wanting to end their lineage, etc.

The devastation can be limited to a set of parents and their offspring (i.e nuclear family) or target a much wider swath of lineage.

If there are any survivors, they are likely to carry a grudge, or even vengeance, against the killer(s) (if they know who they are).

Supertrope of Ruling Family Massacre, Pater Familicide. Compare Final Solution and The Purge for outright genocides.


Examples

Anime

  • In Macross Zero, Shin hates anti-United Nations groups and sympathizers because his family was assassinated by anti-UN fighters when he was young.
  • The Uchiha Clan Massacre in Naruto was done to prevent their potential uprising against the Konoha village. It was done by their own member, Uchiha Itachi, who's more loyal to the village than to his clan.

Comic Book

  • During Grant Morrison's run in DC Comics Animal Man the family of the titular character was murdered as a retaliation for his ecoactivism. It was later undone by Morrison himself.
  • The backstory of The Punisher involves his whole family being killed by gangsters.

Film

  • In The Godfather Part II, Don Ciccio orders the whole family on Antonio Andolini killed. They are all killed except for Antonio's son, Vito, who escapes to America and becomes Vito Corleone. Vito returns decades later and kills Don Ciccio.
  • Leon begins with a family being wiped out by contract killers: the only survivor is the little girl Mathilde (Natalie Portman), who finds herself being guarded by contract killer Leon, who develops a fatherly feeling for her and teaches her how to use firearms.

Literature

  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is about the murder of entire families, the Clutter family at the hands of robbers, and the Andrews family by their son Lowell.
  • In A Tale of Two Cities, Madam Defarge wants to wipe out the House St. Evremonde, including children.
  • President Snow of The Hunger Games threatens Katniss Everdeen of murdering lots of her relatives if she doesn't keep her pretended couple with Peta Mallark.

Live-Action Television

  • NCIS: Los Angeles has this as G's backstory when he remembers that the Comescu crime family wiped out his entire family as retribution for his OSS agent father assassinating the Comescu patriarch due to his Axis sympathies. It traumatized him so much that he had the memory of his mother assassinated in front of him as a child was suppressed for a long time even before he joined NCIS.
  • The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Vengeance Factor" features this twice over. A century earlier, the planet Acamar was caught up in an endless series of Blood Feuds between rival clans, one of which, the Tralesta, was nearly completely destroyed by another clan, the Lornak. The handful of survivors agreed to turn one of their own into a biologically immortal assassin so that she could hunt down every single Lornak no matter how long it took. By the time the episode takes place, the few other remaining Tralesta are all long dead, only the assassin, a mild-mannered "young" woman named Yuta, remains. While she's long since grown weary of the killing and death, the process that made her stop aging also seems to have locked in the state of grief and pain over losing her clan and she's very close to completing her mission. As she puts it to the penultimate Lornak, "I am the last of my line, but my clan will outlive yours!". Her chemistry with Riker is almost enough to convince her to give up on the vendetta, but not quite and he is forced to vaporize her before she can finish off the last survivor (an important political leader engaged in peace talks).

Theatre

  • In Macbeth, Macbeth orders the whole Macduff family to be exterminated after being told to "beware Macduff". Unfortunately, Macduff himself isn't at home when the slaughter is carried out.

Video Game

  • In Dragon Age: Origins, if the Warden makes Bhelen King of Orzammar, he launches a campaign of extermination against his rival Harrowmont's entire extended family. As of Dragon Age II, exactly one of Harrowmont's nephews has managed to escape, although he needs help to get far enough away to where King Bhelen can't get to him.
  • Possible to accomplish in Crusader Kings. In a meta-example for the second game, the Karlings (the family of Charlemagne, who exists in the 769 start) are so hated by players that Paradox Interactive used to sell a promotional t-shirt depicting a player wiping out their family tree.

Web Video

  • Everyman Hybrid: Stephanie's Dark and Troubled Past involves her coming home from school and finding her entire family not only killed by Slender Man, but dismembered and shoved into bloody garbage bags hanging from the trees. This caused her to burn down her house, with her family's corpses inside, and flee to New Jersey, where she met the EverymanHYBRID boys, and was done simply because Slender Man is possessive and wanted to hurt her. Later subverted, as it turns out her family may not have existed at all, apart from her memories.

Real Life

  • The Petit family was exterminated, apart from the father (who survived), by Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevski.
  • The Herbert Clutter family in the small farming community of Holcomb, Kansas by robbers.
  • On 1869, from August 24 to September 19, Jean-Baptiste Troppmann murdered his associate Jean Kinck, his wife Hortense and six of their seven children, the last one being with a wetnurse, becoming one of the more reviled criminals in the 1870s France before being beheaded on 1870.
  • On April 13, 2003, David Hotyat exterminated Xavier Flactif ans his family, out of jealousy.

Feedback: 60 replies

Jan 21st 2019 at 8:44:39 PM

We've got pretty much an entire page about Murder In The Family, to be honest.

Jan 21st 2019 at 8:59:17 PM

^ That's about murder among one family. Family extermination can be done by external sources, from natural disaster to planned family purge by another party (commonly done with royal families).

Jan 22nd 2019 at 3:48:30 AM

I'll wait and see what happens.

Jan 22nd 2019 at 5:25:09 AM

An example to be added, from Grant Morrison's run in DC Comics Animal Man, in which the family of the titular character was murdered as a retaliation for his ecoativism. It was later undone by Morrison himself.

Jan 22nd 2019 at 5:41:27 AM

Does this have to be "has been"? What about when it is in progress?

Jan 22nd 2019 at 10:01:57 AM

So is this just about the killing of an entire family for the purposes of, well, completely exterminating the family? I think we do have a spot for it... but we need a description that tells us... well, more than this one is, for sure.

Jan 22nd 2019 at 11:51:28 AM

  • Order Of The Stick: Vaarsuvius uses their borrowed epic magic to cast "Familicide" to wipe out an entire bloodline of black dragons, which turns out to include the dragon-blooded Draketooth clan of humans, who would otherwise have been allies of the Order.

In fact, panel 2 might provide a good page quote.

Jan 22nd 2019 at 12:11:30 PM

Bombing to offset the second hat.

Jan 22nd 2019 at 2:17:15 PM

  • changed "Exemples" to "Examples" and "there son" to "their son"

Jan 22nd 2019 at 2:23:38 PM

  • Bits to pull from to possibly expand the description:
An entire family has been targeted for murder in a single attack or systematically. This massacre may be carried out by a disgruntled family member, someone with a grudge against the family or a complete stranger. The devastation can be limited to a set of parents and their offspring or target a much wider swath of lineage.

Jan 26th 2019 at 8:56:28 PM

  • NCIS Los Angeles has this as G's backstory when he remembers that the Comescu crime family wiped out his entire family as retribution for his OSS agent father assassinating the Comescu patriarch due to his Axis sympathies.


  • In Macross Zero, Shin hates anti-United Nations groups and sympathizers because his family was assassinated by anti-UN fighters when he was young.

Jan 27th 2019 at 2:00:07 AM

  • The Uchiha Clan Massacre in Naruto was done to prevent their potential uprising against the Konoha village. It was done by their own member, Uchiha Itachi, who's more loyal to the village than to his clan.

Jan 27th 2019 at 1:31:49 PM

Comic Books

  • The backstory of The Punisher involves his whole family being killed by gangsters.

Theatre

  • In Macbeth, Macbeth orders the whole Macduff family to be exterminated after being told to "beware Macduff". Unfortunately, Macduff himself isn't at home when the slaughter is carried out.

Jan 28th 2019 at 6:08:33 PM

In A Tale Of Two Cities, Madam Defarge wants to wipe out the House St. Evrémonde, including children.

Jan 29th 2019 at 7:23:58 PM

Video game example: in Dragon Age Origins, if the Warden makes Bhelen King of Orzammar, he launches a campaign of extermination against his rival Harrowmont's entire extended family. As of Dragon Age II, exactly one of Harrowmont's nephews has managed to escape, although he needs help to get far enough away to where King Bhelen can't get to him.

Feb 2nd 2019 at 1:50:05 PM

Another real-life example is the execution of the ruling Romanov family in Russia's October Revolution, which has spawned rumors that one of the Romanovs, Anastasia, had managed to survive- despite the fame this story has garnered, however, this rumor was eventually proven false.

Feb 4th 2019 at 11:17:16 AM

^

  • As for the first point, Murder In The Family concerns only intra-familial killings; my draft also covers familicides by outside members.
  • For the second point, it also refers to ongoing familicides.
  • Finally, for the third point, you're spot on.

Feb 4th 2019 at 5:33:37 PM

In 1333, the Hōjō clan in Japan was completely wiped out.

Feb 4th 2019 at 9:12:01 PM

  • The Star Trek The Next Generation episode "The Vengeance Factor" has Riker's love interest, an Acamarian named Yuta, attempting to exterminate the Lornak family in revenge for the near-destruction of her own Tralesta clan a century prior. She kills all but one of the Lornaks, but is vaporized by Riker before she can finish off the last survivor.

Feb 5th 2019 at 12:52:48 PM

In The Godfather Part II, Don Ciccio orders the whole family on Antonio Andolini killed. They are all killed except for Antonio's son, Vito, who escapes to America and becomes Vito Corleone. Vito returns decades later and kills Don Ciccio.

Nice Job Breaking It Herod typically results from this trope.

Feb 6th 2019 at 1:42:23 PM

Not all examples have been added...

Feb 6th 2019 at 2:27:24 PM

If there is a Sole Survivor, expect the murderer to face a Genocide Backfire.

Feb 6th 2019 at 2:34:48 PM

Evremonde needs a spelling fix.

Feb 9th 2019 at 6:41:54 PM

@Juju P: OK, you answered the questions, but now you need to expand the description to include your answers.

Feb 10th 2019 at 9:50:22 AM

The draft was rogue-launched, and has been unlaunched.

Feb 10th 2019 at 1:49:10 PM

The description should be expanded to count other cases like natural disaster or accidents.

Feb 10th 2019 at 5:40:20 PM

Didn't realize that it was launched way ahead.

Feb 10th 2019 at 7:06:49 PM

Murder In The Family is an index. This trope is necessary because you can't list examples on index pages.

Feb 10th 2019 at 9:46:34 PM

The garbage text was bugging me, so I used Malady's comment to get rid of it.

Feb 11th 2019 at 12:14:44 AM

Leon begins with a family being wiped out by contract killers: the only survivor is the little girl Mathilde (Nathalie Portman), who finds herself being guarded by contract killer Léon, who develops a fatherly feeling for her and teaches her how to use firearms.

Feb 11th 2019 at 11:27:24 AM

My problem with this trope is that it is right now one step removed from People Sit On Chairs. It just describes something that happened but does not explain the dramatic implications. There is an inherent dramatic tragedy in an entire family being killed but that only gets you so far. The examples need to properly explain how this tragedy furthers the plot and/or affects the characters.

eg. The Punisher example fails to explain the extreme transformation Frank Castle experiences after his family is murdered.

Feb 11th 2019 at 1:44:09 PM

^

It might be useful to separate the wilful extermination of a family by an outside part and the sudden death of an entire family by natural means (i.e. the sinking of the ship they were in).

Feb 12th 2019 at 5:41:30 AM

I'm wondering if the gulags can placed in the RL example?

Feb 12th 2019 at 11:20:51 AM

^

Given I wanted it to be the supertrope of Ruling Family Massacre and Pater Familicide, I would only include cases where the extermination of a family was wanted.

Feb 12th 2019 at 2:33:36 PM

^^^^ That also would depend on what type of story is being told. Is there a Sole Survivor who is out for revenge? Are the deaths merely setting up the background? eg the big mansion sits empty because the entire family died on the Titanic

Are we talking about the death of the immediate family? ie father, mother, children, maybe grandparents Or a more wide spread devastation where cousins, uncles, aunts, brother-in-law, family dog are killed?

Is the protagonist a Solve Survivor, a distant relative, the perpetrator of the crime or a descendant? Maybe the protagonist is a historian or journalist trying to uncover the truth.

There is also the question of the deaths being to a single cause or attrition due to different causes over a longer period of time.

Feb 13th 2019 at 11:12:24 AM

^

The scope would be the nuclear family but could be, in some cases, extended to other relatives. For the time scope, it might be either at once or in an enough small time frame. Finally, as for the cause, it might be either one cause or a set of related causes.

Feb 14th 2019 at 2:58:08 PM

The Naruto example hasn't been added...

Feb 17th 2019 at 9:12:24 PM

Happens sometimes in Real Life gang wars involving the more hermetic, blood-relation-based organized crime groups such as the Sicilian Mafia and more recently the drug cartels of Central and South America. Simply having the same last name as an opposing faction is reason enough to be killed, especially in the "vendetta" culture of Sicily where males are often honor-bound to avenge their slain relatives. In such a culture, it makes perfect (if chilling) sense to just kill an entire family and not have to worry about vengeance being taken years down the road.

Feb 18th 2019 at 1:19:39 PM

In Con Air, Billy “Bedlam” Bedford is in prison for killing his wife’s entire family after finding her in bed with another man.

Feb 18th 2019 at 4:03:00 PM

I'd like to rewrite the description a bit, if you'd allow me.

Feb 19th 2019 at 10:36:33 AM

^

You can rewrite it, if you think it would make the meaning clearer.

Feb 20th 2019 at 6:14:04 PM

Edits done

I wanted to add "death due to natural disaster" and perhaps change the title to "Family Extinction" but I don't want to unless the draft maker okays it.

Feb 20th 2019 at 11:43:04 PM

  • Everyman Hybrid: Stephanie's Dark And Troubled Past involves her coming home from school and finding her entire family not only killed by Slender Man, but dismembered and shoved into bloody garbage bags hanging from the trees. This caused her to burn down her house, with her family's corpses inside, and flee to New Jersey, where she met the EverymanHYBRID boys, and was done simply because Slender Man is possessive and wanted to hurt her. Later subverted, as it turns out her family may not have existed at all, apart from her memories.

Feb 20th 2019 at 11:58:55 PM

The literature section in the OP has an example that cites A Song Of Ice And Fire but is clearly referring to The Hunger Games.

Feb 21st 2019 at 1:00:05 AM

There's also an example that isn't bullet-pointed.

Feb 21st 2019 at 12:59:48 PM

@4tell0life4

The extinction of a family through natural means (i.e. lack of descendents, catastrophe) might be a supertrope.

yesterday

^ Makes sense.

yesterday

Video Games:

  • Possible to accomplish in Crusader Kings. In a meta-example for the second game, the Karlings (the family of Charlemagne, who exists in the 769 start) are so hated by players that Paradox Interactive used to sell a promotional t-shirt depicting a player wiping out their family tree.

yesterday

So...you going to fix the Hunger Games / Song Of Ice And Fire hybrid there, or...?

yesterday

Literature

  • In the science fiction book Kill Ratio, strains of an engineered plague that only targets specific bloodlines are released in the UN's Headquarters on the moon. The first victims are members of a family that run a small restaurant in the lunar complex — the only survivor of the attack is a member of their kitchen staff who was of the same ethnicity as the victims, but from a different family.

20 hours ago

^^ It was my mistake, back then there wasn't either of them there...

17 hours ago

I tried to get rid of garbage text and fix a red link. The red link is still there, but at least "feud" is spelled properly now.

16 hours ago

  • A Song Of Ice And Fire has House Reyne, who rebelled against their liege lords, House Lannister. Tywin Lannister retaliated by marching on their seat of Castamere and executing everyone in it. The house's downfall is popularized in-universe in the song "The Rains of Castamere", which features as a symbol of the Lannisters' intimidation and power.
    "And so he spoke, and so he spoke That lord of Castamere, But now the rains weep o'er his hall, With not a soul to hear."

13 hours ago

11 hours ago

^^ Oh, hey, actual ASOIAF example.

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