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Child of Forbidden Love

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"Their two worlds were never meant to meet, and I was a product of a love that never should have been."
Arthur Curry, Aquaman (2018)

A child conceived between two parents drawn by Forbidden Love. The added passion and excitement of the situation makes the child "special", at least in the eyes of one or both parents, because this is the "reward" for consummating with the person they truly wanted to.

In older societies, this was referred to as a "love child", since Arranged Marriages were the norm, and actually being in love with one's spouse was a luxury and not a right. Given the way society has changed, this is starting to become a Discredited Trope, and the term love child has started to change in meaning (to a planned baby of a couple truly in love).

If one (or both) has other children (such as with a proper spouse), the child of the forbidden love will typically be shown Parental Favoritism. However, they can also become The Unfavorite if the relationship goes south or if one parent needs to cover up what happened. This may cause antagonism between the siblings.

The nature of the trope usually makes the child illegitimate.

See also X Meets Y, when the term "love child" is used to describe a mix of two different things. May overlap with Warring Natures, Child of Two Worlds and Half-Breed Discrimination.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Reiner Braun in Attack on Titan was told that he was this by his mother, Karina. As she is an Eldian and his father being a Marleyan, and since unions between the two races were forbidden by the laws of Marley because Eldians were "the children of the Devil", they had to be separated. It was because of this, Reiner trained hard to become a warrior cadet to inherited one of the Nine Titan powers so he could reunite his parents and be a happy family together. Subverted when it's later revealed that Reiner's father actually wants nothing to do with him or his mother as he already has another family. It's also even implied that Karina is just using her son to get back at her former lover for leaving her.
  • Minor character Mirna of Blue Ramun is the child of an unnamed Blue Ramun tribe member and an unnamed citizen of the Silkdeep Empire. Relationships between the two ethnic groups are legally forbidden by the Silkdeep Empire because they produce children like Mirna, who have a weakened version of their Blue parent's magically curative blood and are seen as diluting the purity of the Blue Tribe. These children are easy targets for the Garicalege (a gang that traffics in the stolen blood of the Blue Tribe) because of their tenuous legal status — a even if the parents hid their relationship and the resulting half-blooded child, they couldn't report their child's disappearance without also reporting the crime of that child's existence. When Mirna is introduced she (and her friends Varie, Sharif, and Rosa) has been held captive by the Garicalege since infancy, with the implication being that her parents willingly gave her to a gang that would harvest her blood to sell on the black market rather than risk having their relationship discovered.
  • In The Legend of Zelda, Link is Zelda's older half-brother from a romance the previous Queen Zelda had prior to being married. He's half-elf, which only adds to the "forbidden" aspect as elves are looked down upon by humans. Queen Zelda sent Link away for fear that her husband would kill him. Link grew up thinking he was a common orphan boy.
  • One Piece: In the past, Princess Scarlet faked her death so that she could be with her lover, Kyros, who's a former criminal and thus won't have the public hounding them; together, they conceived a child, Rebecca, whom the two (especially Kyros) really dote on. Played with in that, in the end, it's revealed that people in her kingdom knew all along that the two are together and they're mostly okay with them (and Rebecca).
  • Tweeny Witches: Lennon is the product of an illegal relationship between a human and a witch.

    Comic Books 
  • Gleam, the protagonist of the first Dragon Age comic book, is the daughter of a mage and a Templar — the Templar Order being the mages' watchdogs and executioners, intimate relationships between them and their charges are among the most taboo things in Thedas.
  • Young Avengers: Hulkling of the was borne out of a forbidden love affair between Captain Marvel and the Skrull princess Anelle. Since his parents' races are at war, he's also a Child of Two Worlds.

    Fan Works 
  • Cassie, from Edward Or Ford's Gravity Falls Unexpected Fan Fiction AU, is this as the daughter of Dipper and Mabel. Guess why.
  • Bowser Jr in the two-shot My Pain, My Thrill is the Half-Human Hybrid child of Princess Peach and King Bowser. His parents are the rulers of two enemy kingdoms. Peach and Bowser are in a Secret Relationship that must remain secret, at least for now, due to political reasons.
  • Blind Courage:
    • According to the Gerudo creation myth, their patron goddess is one of these. She was the child of two godly Starcrossed Lovers, Hylia and Demise. The Golden Goddess' forbade the two from being together but took pity on their innocent baby. Din raised her and then sent her to the desert, where she became the Goddess of the Sand.
    • Baby's parents are the leader of the Gerudo and the heir of Hyrulean royal family. The two have been at war for centuries.
  • In Warriors: The Power of Three (Rewrite/AU), the Three are the product of two medicine cats from separate Clans falling in love. Such a relationship breaks two rules of the Clans. This is why Leafpool decided on a Family Relationship Switcheroo with her sister.
  • Madavi and Smador's children, Amani and Rauni, from Freedom's Limits, as most humans view an Orc and a human having an intimate relationship as utterly repulsive (Orcs are far more accepting about it).

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Braveheart, Queen Isabella brags to a voiceless and deathly ill King Longshanks that she is pregnant not by his son, but by William Wallace, whom she truly loves. She makes it explicitly clear that she intends for Wallace's line to be the one that inherits the throne.
  • In the Downton Abbey movie, Violet can't understand why Robert's cousin, Lady Maud, is determined to leave her estate to her humble servant girl Lucy instead of leaving it to Robert and keeping the money and house in the Crawley family. It turns out Lucy is Lady Maud's secret daughter, the result of a ten-year affair with a servant after Maud was widowed.
  • The two main characters of The Jade Faced Assassin are twins Separated at Birth and the result of a forbidden love affair between a warrior and the youngest daughter of a powerful martial arts clan. Their parents died early in the film, and while the two children gets picked up by their aunts, the older aunt decide the best way to restore honor to the family is by having the twins raised into adulthood, and force them to fight each other to the death to decide whom shall be a worthy successor.
  • Saratoga Trunk: Clio Dulaine is the illegitimate child of a New Orleans aristocrat and his mistress; her mother was chased out of New Orleans by the legitimate Dulaines after a Gun Struggle resulted in Mr. Dulaine's death. She comes back to the city bent on revenge, determined to wreak as much havoc and draw as much social embarrassment on the legitimate Dulaines as she can.
  • Luke and Leia of Star Wars are the children of Anakin Skywalker and Padmé Amidala, who married each other in secret due to Anakin being a Jedi, who are forbidden to have romantic attachments under the old Republic. Anakin's love for his wife is what caused his Start of Darkness, and his love for his son is what causes his return to the Light.
  • Stealing Heaven: Astrolabe, son of Abelard and Héloïse due to their illicit affair.
  • Where Hands Touch: Leyna is this, as she's the result of her German mother's relationship with a black African soldier in the French service when they occupied the Rhineland, something that was condemned. Then her own baby with Lutz also counts, as their relationship is in fact illegal.
  • Fast Color: Bo's mother tried to stop her being with Ellis. They carried on anyway and had Ruth.
  • Ophelia: Ophelia's daughter with Hamlet, as they were forced to keep their romance (then marriage) a secret because of her common-born status. Sadly, Hamlet never gets to see her.

  • The Beast Player: Elin is the product of a forbidden union between an Ahlyo woman and a non-Ahlyo man. The stigma is so intense that the results of such unions are called Akun Meh Chai, meaning "devil-bitten child".
  • In the Warrior Cats series, there are two types of forbidden relationships: medicine cats taking a mate, and inter-Clan relationships. Nevertheless, there are several characters who were the result of such relationships. For the most part, the parents are thrilled (or, sometimes, at least one of them is, while the other worries about what will happen in the future). There are also a few cases where the father isn't told until later (by their own children).
  • In the Sherlock Holmes story "The Adventure of the Priory School", the person responsible for kidnapping the Duke's son is his secretary, who is the Duke's love child from a girl he could not marry and who had died in childbirth. Since the Duke couldn't punish the boy without thinking of his lost love, the kid grew up into criminal habits, especially once he learned he'd never inherit the title or fortune.
  • Discussed but not actually present in Sense and Sensibility. Colonel Brandon's backstory is that he had been in love with his cousin Eliza, who was forced to marry his older brother. Years later, he found her living on the streets, and she asked him to look after her daughter, who had been fathered by some man she'd been with after her husband died. The daughter is not Colonel Brandon's child, but a few characters believe that she is and that this trope is the reason. He elects not to correct them about it, to protect Eliza's memory, though he does confide the whole story to Elinor.
  • Night World:
    • Jez Redfern was the result of a union between a human woman and a lamia man, which is forbidden by Night World law. Her parents were actually murdered because of this and they nearly killed Jez too. Her parents didn't intend to have children and didn't even realize it was possible for a human and lamia to conceive a child together.
    • Lupe's parents were a werewolf and a human, who like Jez's parents broke one of the Night World's most serious laws by being together. Lupe's human father was killed, while she and her mother were rescued and sheltered by Thierry, which is partly why she has Undying Loyalty to him. Lupe appears pretty comfortable about her 'half-breed' status, openly telling Hannah Snow about it, though she is still grieved by what happened to her father.
  • Hoshi from Hoshi and the Red City Circuit is the product of an illegal mating between two Operators who had somehow escaped sterilization. Her parents were killed for their crime.
  • In The Merlin Trilogy Merlin is this, as he was born from the love story between Niniane and Ambrosius. Arthur himself is one due to Adaptational Consent turning his parents' relationship into a consensual affair.
  • Comedian Trevor Noah directly invokes this trope in titling his autobiography Born A Crime—referring to how he was born the son of a white man and black woman in Apartheid South Africa.
  • Percy Jackson in Camp Half-Blood Series His father Poseidon had sworn a very solemn oath not to have demigod children due to a prophecy. But Poseidon met and fell in love with Sally Jackson and Percy happened.
  • Hayy ibn Yaqzan offers this as a possible backstory for Hayy. His mother was a princess whose brother forbade her from marrying because he found no one worthy of her. She married in secret and became pregnant. When Hayy was born, she put him in an ark and set him adrift to hide him from her brother.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Outrageous Okona," the Expies of Romeo and Juliet are expecting a child. She tells her father that the eponymous Okona is the father because she's afraid of starting a war between their planets.
  • Game of Thrones: Jon Snow is the product of a secret affair between Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen. After his mother died in childbirth, he was raised by Lyanna's brother Eddard, who pretended to be his father in order to protect him from anyone who wished to wipe out the last remaining Targaryens.
  • Charmed (1998):
    • The series used this to bring in a previously unknown fourth sister after the oldest was killed off. The sisters' mother had an affair with her Whitelighter after her marriage fell apart, which was strictly forbidden, as second daughter Piper knew all too well. The resulting pregnancy was covered up and the baby given up for adoption for fear that the rest of the family would be punished by association. Amazingly enough, this was not an Ass Pull; Paige was introduced at the start of Season 4, while the affair that resulted in her conception was revealed back in Season 2.
    • Averted with Piper's own half-Whitelighter children, who are not examples because their parents' relationship was no longer forbidden by the time they were born.
    • A Season 8 episode featured another Witch-Whitelighter hybrid named Simon Marks, who is notably a year older than Paige. It is implied that Whitelighter-Witches were more common than anyone thought, but they were forced to keep their existence hidden until Paige was needed to recreate the Power of Three.
  • Carnival Row: Philo is the love child of a Faerie and human. This kind of relationship is condemned by most humans.
  • Cursed: Nimue was born due to her parents' affair. Her father was despised for supposedly betraying his people (so associating with him was tabooed); her mother was engaged to someone else.
  • Noughts & Crosses: Callum and Sephy's baby, as the result of their illicit relationship.
  • A French Village: Kurt and Lucienne's child, due to him being a soldier in the German occupation, while she's French (people view such relationships very dimly).
  • Nancy Drew (2019) The series's big twist is Nancy is actually the daughter of Ryan Hudson and Lucy Sable, teenage lovers whose romance was destroyed by Ryan's classist father.

  • "Love Child", by The Supremes, in which the singer has felt the stigma of being a "love child" all her life, and doesn't want to go all the way with the man she's addressing out of fear of conceiving another love child.

    Myths & Religion 
  • Arthurian Legend:
    • One version of the mythos has Gawain born from a love affair between Arthur's adoptive siblings (they were too young to wed at the time, and gave the baby to a passing warrior with a medallion to prove his identity). When he shows up at Arthur's court, he is given multiple quests before Arthur publicly recognizes him as his nephew and heir.
    • Sir Mordred is born in most traditions of a love affair between Arthur and his half-sister Morgan le Fay.
    • Galahad is often said to be the result of Lancelot and Elaine having a tryst (as they weren't married, that was forbidden by the mores of the time). However, in some versions Lancelot is enchanted into thinking she's Guinevere, making Galahad a result of magical rape by fraud.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Battletech storyline, Kitsune Kurita is the secret son of Victor Steiner-Davion, the golden boy of the Federated Commonwealth's ruling family, and Omiko Kurita, daughter of the ruling house of the Draconis Combine. Years after his birth and his mother's assassination, his induction as a Knight of the Republic of the Sphere involves his revealing his true parentage to all attending... none the least surprised being Victor himself. In the aftermath, several reactionary Draconis conspirators committed ritual suicide after learning their prospective puppet ruler was "tainted" by the blood of their historical arch-enemy, and their counterpart hardliners in the Federated Suns painted Omiko as a Kurita harlot who seduced gallant Victor. As for Victor himself? He was just glad some tangible legacy of his lost love endured.

    Video Games 
  • In the Devil May Cry series, a demon named Sparda "wakes up to justice", as the game itself calls it when he falls in love with a human woman named Eva. He would later go on to betray demonkind and free humanity from their tyranny. The protagonist of the series is one of their children, Dante.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins tells you he is the love child of King Maric and a female servant. This is a big plot point later on as he has the right to take the throne. The prequel novels make it clear that the truth was more complicated; Maric really was his father, but the Elven Grey Warden mage Fiona was his real mother. She asked Maric to lie about it since being the child of any of those carries considerable social stigma. The woman he claimed was the mother was just a random woman who died in childbirth that he never met. Alistair never learns the truth.
      • Wynne, a senior enchanter in the Circle of Magi who can become a companion, eventually reveals in party banter with Alistair that she has a son who was taken from her at birth, as Circle mages are not supposed to have children. The tie-in novel Asunder introduces her now-grown son, Rhys, and he and his mother struggle to form a relationship before she dies. It's also been confirmed by the developers that Rhys was fathered by Greagoir, the Knight-Commander of the Fereldan Circle of Magi.
      • While doing quests in the dwarven realm of Orzammar, the Warden can meet Zerlinda, a young mother from a good family who is reduced to begging to support her infant - the product of her forbidden romance with a casteless dwarf. Because of the way dwarven society is structured, things would have been all right if she'd had a daughter because the baby would have inherited her position in society; but since the child is a boy, her lover abandoned them and, when she wouldn't give up the child, her parents threw them out. The Warden can improve her situation either by arranging for her to receive charity from the local church, convincing her to take the child and move above ground, or persuading her father to let her bring the baby home.
    • In Dragon Age II, player character Hawke's family history hinges around this trope. Between what is revealed in the game itself and what can be learned from The World of Thedas, Hawke's parents Malcolm and Leandra met when he was a mercenary and she was a young noblewoman engaged to another man. After she got pregnant, they married secretly, and ultimately she was disowned by her parents. Hawke was born a few months later, and then their twin siblings Carver and Bethany a few years after that.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, this is the history of Fairbanks, a good man in the Emerald Graves who can be recruited as an agent for the Inquisition. His mother was a noblewoman, who fell in love with a soldier in the service of her father's archenemy. The soldier was killed, and the noblewoman's father threw his pregnant daughter out of the house; she died in childbirth, but Fairbanks survived thanks to the efforts of the woman who assisted with the birth. On his deathbed, the noble regretted his actions and bequeathed his fortune to his daughter (not knowing she had already died) and her offspring. An optional side quest allows the Inquisitor to find the proof of Fairbanks's lineage and restore him to his inheritance.
  • Soulcalibur V introduces Xiba, a Suspiciously Similar Substitute for one of the protagonists of the previous games, Kilik. The suspicious similarity is later revealed to be because he's Kilik's son, fathered with his Love Interest from the previous games, Xianghua. The two lovers consummated their love and then Kilik disappeared, never knowing he'd fathered a son. When Xianghua went home, she was at first rejected by her family for giving birth to some unknown person's bastard son, but she and her betrothed husband made special arrangements to see that Xiba was protected and that Xianghua could visit him every once in a while.
  • The canonically male Player Character of the original Knights of the Old Republic and his companion Bastila Shan married and had a son — in secret because they were both members of the Jedi Order and were not allowed to even think of falling in love with each other. Their son, however, wasn't Force-sensitive and continued the Shan bloodline, which produced several powerful Jedi, like the Grand Master Satele seen in Star Wars: The Old Republic.
  • A Very Long Rope to the Top of the Sky: Ivy and Mint are the children of a couple who was prosecuted for being Somnian and Lunarian.
  • Bayonetta: The title character is the result of a forbidden union between the Umbra Witch Rosa and the Lumen Sage Balder. Her mother eternally imprisoned and her father exiled, she was forbidden from learning the dark arts of her mother's people.
  • Guilty Gear has the appropriately named Sin Kiske, the human/Gear hybrid son of Ky and Dizzy. Given the fact that Ky had been made a king and Dizzy was put in suspended animation to protect her life, Sin spends a good chunk of his childhood being raised by his maternal grandfather Sol.
  • My Child Lebensborn: One of the first things revealed by looking into the child's origins is that they were the product of a loving and consensual relationship. This isn't a given at the beginning of the game, as the child is an Abandoned War Child. However, the latter still means that their mother was a woman from an occupied country, while their father was a soldier from Nazi Germany, so there are plenty of people who see the child as the product of something that shouldn't have happened. This includes the child's parents, who have both moved on and want to pretend the child doesn't exist.

    Visual Novels 
  • Daughter for Dessert:
    • The protagonist's and Amanda's baby in the "good" Amanda ending.
    • Amanda herself counts, as the daughter of a hot dog vendor and a daughter of an old money family who disapproved of her having anything to do with someone outside her own class.
  • In Double Homework, the protagonist can impregnate both Johanna and Tamara in the epilogue.