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Bodyguard Legacy

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It is a simple fact of life that in some roles protection is essential. In spite of the many benefits of authority and/or importance, one universal downside is that it tends to attract the attention of those who mean you harm. In short, you need bodyguards. But the question that had troubled many throughout the centuries is how can you ensure that your protectors are both capable and loyal?

You could form an elite unit of the strongest soldiers supposedly loyal only to you, turn your defence over to skilled foreign warriors unlikely to be swayed by local politics, or simply go for gorgeous but deadly women. However, some end up deciding that it's an occupation best kept in the family.

The Bodyguard Legacy is when protecting a position (or individual) is a responsibility handled by members of the same family, generation after generation, with the children of the previous bodyguard inheriting the mantle (and quite often training for the position their entire lives). The reasons for this tradition can vary greatly. It might be linked to Family Honour, it might be due to the feeling of a debt they owe, or it might simply be that the first one was so good at the job that it was made their official legacy.

Instilling the importance of the role from a young age can help ensure the bodyguards won't betray their liege, though exceptions do exist.

A Sub-Trope of Legacy of Service, which also involves the responsibilities of serving being passed down through a family, only specifically focusing on protection rather than more general employment.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Dance in the Vampire Bund: The Werewolves, known collectively as the Earth Clan, traditionally serve the vampire royal families. They have pledged their eternal loyalty to the ruling vampire queen particularly heroine Mina Tepes and have been in her service for entire generations. They act as her bodyguards and special forces.
  • Good Luck Girl!: Nadeshiko Adenokouji and her butler Shinobu have this relationship going back generations, with each member of Shinobu's family assigned to a given member of the Adenokouji, Shinobu ending up with Nadeshiko since childhood. He's also tasked with eliminating threats behind her back to ensure her safety.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Lan Fan and her grandfather, Fu, come from a family of royal bodyguards that serve Ling Yao's.
  • Ouran High School Host Club: The Morinozuka family is sworn to protect the Haninozuka family (whether it's necessary). As such, host Takashi Morinozuka acts as Mitsukuni "Hani" Haninozuka's bodyguard and overall big brother figure (even though Hani is older than anyone else in the club as well as probably the strongest fighter in the setting).

    Fan Works 
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Chapter 6 of the sequel Picking Up the Pieces reveals that in each Changeling hive, there is a family who is bred to protect the Changelings' Royal Family, the Sages of the Past and the Hivemind Body. Each generation, the current Royal Protector (the designated bodyguard for the current Queen) fathers a set of triplets, the oldest of whom becomes the next Royal Protector, while his brothers become the Sage's Protector and the Hivemind Protector, respectively.

  • Artemis Fowl: The Butler family have been raising their children to become Battle Butlers and bodyguards in service to the Fowl family ever since Virgil Butler was hired as a bodyguard, servant, and cook by Lord Hugo de Fole in the middle ages. Some in-universe etymologists theorise that the word "butler" came to mean "chief servant" specifically because of the relationship between their families.
  • The Belgariad: Barak is already a mighty Alorn warrior, but he is also the Mighty Bear of prophecy who will physically turn into a bear when Garion's life is in danger. His son Unrak turns out to have inherited this trait, making him the protector of Garion's son, Geran.
  • The Elenium: Sparhawk is a mighty magical knight and his family is the hereditary champion of the Throne of Elenia. When he marries the current Queen, Ehlana (or rather, she marries him) he becomes the Prince Consort but still maintains his role as Knight Protector. Since he and Ehlana will have no children other than Danae, he is also the last male Sparhawk, but it is strongly implied that his squire Khalad will be knighted and take over the role of Knight Protector.
  • The Heirs of Alexandria: An ancient blood debt binds the members of the Icelandic Clann Harald to guard and teach the Hohenstauffen heirs and potential heirs. The first book in the series opens with Erik Hakkonsen renewing the family vow and becoming Manfred's bodyguard.
  • The Locked Tomb: Ortus Nigenad has nominally succeeded his late father as Cavalier Primary to the ruling Necromancers of the Ninth House. This proves to be a problem as unlike his father, he's a poet with no skill or taste for combat. In Gideon the Ninth, he runs away when called to active duty and is hastily replaced with the protagonist.
  • New Jedi Order: Defied. After Chewbacca's death, some of his family step up to assume his Life Debt to Han Solo (and by extension, Leia, Luke, and the Solo children). Han refuses them since he's still raw from Chewie's death and doesn't want anyone else, especially Wookiees of Chewie's own family, dying because of him.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: During the reign of House Targaryen, seven Darklyns served in the elite Kingsguard, far more than any other family. They were so proud of this fact that they displayed seven white shields, the symbol of the Kingsguard, on their coat of arms. This was before King Aerys II decided to execute their entire family for rising in rebellion and taking him prisoner.
  • The Thrawn Trilogy: The Noghri serve the Galactic Empire as Over-the-Top Secret commandos and bodyguards to repay Darth Vader for saving them from extinction after a Clone Wars-era starship crash poisoned their homeworld Honoghr's environment. Vader later gave the Noghris' reins over to Grand Admiral Thrawn. After Leia Organa Solo, whom a Noghri recognized by her scent as Vader's daughter, proves that the Empire has only been pretending to decontaminate the planet, they switch their allegiance to her and her brother Luke.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Pair of Kings: As revealed in "The Evil King", the Makoola family has worked to protect the Kings of Kinkow ever since the first Twin Kings. It being Mason's ancestor who stopped King Kalakai from killing his good-hearted brother King Malakai when, during a duel, they fell into his quarters and Kalakai attempted to deliver the killing blow to his vulnerable brother.

    Video Games 
  • Arcana Heart: Both Koinumaru and Inuwaka clan of dog ninjas try to select and train retainers for the Millennium Guardian, Kamui Tokinomiya. The former clan was able to send Konoha to be a retainer for Kamui, Nazuna, and Akane coming from the latter clan to try to be Kamui's retainers as well.
  • Assassin's Creed Origins: Bayek is the last of a long line of Medjay, a group of elite warriors who served as a peace-keeping police force of sorts, protecting Egypt and her people, answering to the Pharaoh. Bayek inherited the role of Medjay from his father Sabu and intended to train his own son, Khemu, to continue the tradition. However, both Sabu and Khemu are killed as a result of tragic betrayals instigated by power-hungry royals. Over the course of the story, Bayek has largely disavowed his oath of protection to the ruling class, but there is an arcing mission that requires him to carry out objectives for Cleopatra and help her get to a hostile location safely. Bayek's need for vengeance and justice for his family and the betrayal by the very leaders he swore to protect leads to the creation of the Hidden Ones, precursors to the Assassin's Brotherhood, a guild that serves more generally as protectors of the common man from the elite rule. Many Assassins are also born and raised in the Brotherhood.
  • Fire Emblem: Three Houses: House Vestra of the Adrestrian Empire has no domain but instead serves the royal House Hresvelg as guardians and advisors, and Hubert von Vestra, retainer to Edelgard von Hresvelg, is no different. He mentions constantly having to thwart more subtle threats to his liege's life.
  • Final Fantasy XV: The eldest sons of House Amicitia are raised to be "Shield of the King", the head of the royal bodyguard. Within the party, Gladiolus Amicitia serves this role for his childhood friend Prince Noctis; his father Clarus has the same relationship with the King and also serves on the royal council.
  • League of Legends: The Crownguards are a long line of personal guards to the emperor of Demacia, the latest two being Garen and Lux. Garen plays the role straighter being a high-ranking official in the Demacian military and Emperor Jarvan IV's close friend since youth.
  • Senran Kagura: The Goshin Clan mainly exists to look over the Reincarnation Orb, which is the "sealed" form of Kagura. "Naraku" is the name given to the person who is tasked to look over the Reincarnation Orb once Kagura reawakens and recovers the Orb once Kagura inevitably exhausts her body to the point of self-destruction.

  • Girl Genius: The Valois clan has at least one "cadet branch" that is expected to serve as bodyguards to the main branch. Violetta is one such bodyguard, and she's introduced protecting her cousin Tarvek.
  • Winx Club: In the comics, the nymphs of Domino are all tasked to keep an eye on the Great Dragon's physical form in the Royal Palace. This way, its power levels are kept stable and the universe doesn't collapse, Since this is a life-long endeavor, new nymph recruits are hand-picked, tested, and trained by the senior members.
    Western Animation 
  • Twistedly played straight and subverted in The Owl House: The Golden Guard is introduced in Season 2 as Emperor Belos' right-hand man and bodyguard. Shortly after his introduction, Belos refers to the Golden Guard as his nephew, with the implication that the previous Golden Guards also had some familial connection to Belos. Later in Season 2, it is revealed that the Golden Guard, and all the other Golden Guards that came before him were neither the Emperor's nephew nor other members of his extended family. Instead, they were the Expendable Clone of the same person: Belos' brother, Caleb. It is further revealed that Belos tried to play this trope straight with the Golden Guard, but each version of the Golden Guard ended up betraying the Emperor when confronted with Belos' evil.