Follow TV Tropes


Everyone Is Related

Go To

Evelyn: [about a telenovela] So, you see that stripper? She used to be a nun and she's pregnant with the butcher's baby, but she doesn't know that the butcher is her second cousin.
Wilhelmina: A story as old as time.

In some stories, it's not enough for The Hero and villain to be Long Lost Siblings separated at birth. It's not enough for the protagonist to find out that the villain they have chased down with intense hatred is also the one who sired them, and thus they are linked by fate. Every main character is secretly related, and everyone they have even incidental contact with is a far removed cousin or uncle. If nothing else, The Dragon is secretly The Lancer's adoptive parent, and the White Magician Girl went to the same monastery as the dread summoner who now threatens all of existence. For one reason or another, everyone of even marginal importance to the story secretly has some kind of connection to each other, to be revealed only at the moment of greatest dramatic impact (possibly because the writers hadn't thought of it until just now). In particularly silly cases, you can gauge a character's rising importance in the story by the fact that they are suddenly revealed to have been related to someone else in the plot all along.

Very common in Soap Operas, which hinge on dramatic twists. You can't really blame them for eventually running out of reasonable ones and going back to the family well. Also common in particularly Mind Screwy and plot-heavy video games and long-running dramatic television series. Modern incarnations are often a deconstruction, but not always. The presence of (fertile) immortals can easily lead to this, especially if the immortality is itself heritable.

Often Truth in Television when dealing with a feudal society. Those stories tend to revolve around royalty and nobility, who were intermarried so heavily that it's entirely plausible for every scheming duke and brave baron to be someone's uncle or cousin. This is possibly where the trope originates. Also true for humanity in general: recent studies indicate that the most recent common ancestor of all humans alive today may have lived as recently as three or four thousand years ago, while in most groups where immigration isn't the primary method of population growth, it is inevitable that this has happened much more recently. The way populations work, someone ends up either leaving a lot of descendants, or the family line dies out within a few generations. So if a person living now can trace their ancestry back to, say, Charlemagne, that means inevitably hundreds of thousands, and probably millions, of other people living today can do the same thing, which means they are all distant cousins. It is assumed some 30% of all Central Europeans descend from Charlemagne in one way or another.

This is not to say Charlemagne was an immense fornicator. He had only ten legitimate and illegitimate children. But they all survived to adult age, married and procreated. Usually a pedigree of a foreparent either collapses within six generations, or surviving that, his or her genes will spread and multiply immensely, like those of Charlemagne.

Compare You All Share My Story and Tangled Family Tree.

A Sub-Trope of One Degree of Separation. For the non-familial version, see Everyone Went to School Together.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Almost every single character from the Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki! OVA is related in some vague way. Of the show's huge cast, there are probably only about three characters that aren't a part of that tree: Tenchi's two school-mates, and Doctor Clay.
  • Alright, Negima! Magister Negi Magi. The whole thing deserves spoilers: Negi and Asuna are related by blood, and Negi's dad's group has ties to Asuna, Konoka, Evangeline, Takamichi, and the Headmaster. Konoka's bodyguard/love interest Setsuna is the sempai of now-villainous Tsukuyomi. Chao is a time traveling descendent of Negi's, and helped create Chachamaru with Hakase. Zazie's Evil Twin sister is an underling of one of the Big Bad's alliesnote , Yuuna's mom was revealed to be a mage, and Misora was in on magic to begin with, as was Mana.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler seems to have everyone related by convoluted means. Given that it's an Unwanted Harem..
    • Only Ayumu Nishizawa has escaped this fate so far. Either going to the same school or related... or both.
  • Ever try to make a Cardcaptor Sakura family tree? If they ain't related, they're dating...or they're related AND dating.
  • RahXephon has pretty much the entire case being related in some way or other.
    • And it makes things particularly confusing by having most of the characters be either lying or ignorant about their real relationships!
  • In I'm Gonna Be an Angel! all the main characters and even villains turned out to be connected to each other in some way: starting with Yuusuke and Noelle, Yuusuke is in love with Natsumi who is obsessing over her dead brother Fuyuki. Fuyuki is really Raphael, who a teacher and a lover of Mikael, who in turn is a part of Noelle, who as you know, is in love with Yuusuke. Mikael, Noelle and Silky are parts of one angel soul, which makes something akin to siblings. Eros, Muse and Dispell are Silky's toys, living because of her power. And there's Noelle's family where no one is really evenblood-related.
  • Naruto:
    • Most of the important characters are revealed to be a part of the same family line or have the same ancestors by Part II of the series. The most important is of course the fact that the Uzumaki Clan is an offshoot of the Senju Clan, who in turn is a sister clan of the Uchiha Clan; both of them are descended from the children of the Sage of the Six Paths, the legendary founder of the ninja arts. This thus makes Naruto not only related to the Uchiha (and his best frenemy, Sasuke), but the First and Second Hokage as well.
    • Naruto is not the only Uzumaki left: Nagato and Karin are also descended from the clan even if they don't carry the surname anymore. Also Tsunade, whose grandfather married Mito Uzumaki before settling down to create Konoha with Madara Uchiha. In fact, Mito was the first host of the Nine Tails, being chosen specifically because she's an Uzumaki, and actually lived long enough to personally meet with and give advice to her successor, Naruto's mother Kushina.
    • The final arc gives more uncovered relationships: The Sage, Hagoromo was one of the twin sons of Kaguya, the first person (actually a celestial alien) who was able to control chakra. He inherited his mother's Rinnegan, while his brother, Hamura, inherited her Byakugan which he passed down to his descendants, the Hyuga Clan. In short, Naruto is also distantly related to his eventual wife, Hinata.
  • The main protagonist of Bleach is revealed to be related to many other characters that he have met before the reveal, though most of them are revealed only in the final arc.
    • The Quincies and Wandenreich are all related to each other, because they carry the blood of the Great Emperor, Yhwach.
    • Why can't the Wandenreich hurt Ichigo? Because he's also a Quincy, and not just some random Quincy either. His mother, Masaki, is a first cousin of Ryuken Ishida, Uryu's father. Ichigo and Uryu are revealed to be second cousins hundreds of chapters after their initial meeting. And it's deliberate; their respective fathers know this, but they neglect to tell their sons.
    • "Kurosaki" is Masaki's surname even before her marriage. Specifically, she didn't shed her surname when she married Isshin Shiba and gave birth to her children, Ichigo, Karin, and Yuzu. Are there other people who have the surname "Shiba"? Yeah. Needless to say, this takes Rukia and Byakuya's comments about Ichigo reminding them of Kaien to a different light.
    • All beaten by this particularly nice statement: Yhwach is the son of the Soul Kingnote . That alone should tell you the extent on how messed up the Bleach universe is, with everyone trying to kill their relatives here and there.
  • Sailor Moon. Played for Laughs in a small sub-plot in the fourth season. There's an entire family of ball-type Lemures. Actually Fridge Horror when you realize what the Lemures really are, and what that means.
  • Angel Sanctuary: A-yup. Not only is the main couple a case of Brother–Sister Incest, but every first-generation angel in heaven and demon in hell was born from from the flesh of Adam Kadamon. Meaning, in other words, that all of them are immediately related. Could explain a lot.
  • Takes a bit of a dark twist in Attack on Titan. Everyone is related... in large part because only people of that bloodline were vulnerable to the royal family's mind control abilities, and so they had non-vulnerable other populations, such as Asians and the Ackerman family, actively persecuted and hunted down.
  • Parodied in the Haikyuu!! spin-off gag manga Haikyuu-Bu!! in the Wakutani focus chapter where not only does Nakashima's large family come to watch their practice match, but so do members from their rival teams who are shockingly revealed to also be related to Wakutani in some way; Tanaka (or someone that suspiciously looks like him, anyways) is Nakashima's grandfather's brother's daughter's husband from Brazil, someone on the team is related to Iwaizumi's mother's sister's husband's high school friend's father's brother, and another member is related to Ushijima's maternal grandfather's cousin's reincarnated sister's friend from a parallel world. Kawatabi is dumbfounded by the increasingly absurd "relations", retorting that they're basically strangers at this point.
  • In Flip Flappers, Almost everyone in the series is related in some way. For starters: Yayaka, Cocona's childhood friend, is part of Asclepius, the organization Flip Flap opposes. Mimi is Cocona's mom and Papika's old friend. Dr. Salt turns out to be the husband of Mimi, making him Cocona's estranged father. Cocona's grandma is a surveillance robot built by Asclepius, which is led by Salt's insane father. The Amorphous pieces are actually shards of Mimi, so since Toto, Yuyu, and Nyunyu were created from the pieces, they're Cocona's artificial "siblings". The only people completely unrelated to this family tree are Sayuri, Hidaka, and Bu-chan.

    Comic Books 
  • Between the Summers family, the House of Magnus and to a lesser extent the Darkholme family, the Marvel Universe can feel like this.
    • The Summers Family is by far the most extensive though: Corsair (father to Cyclops, Havok and Vulcan), Katherine Summers (wife of Corsair, mother of Cyclops, Havok and Vulcan), Cyclops, Havok, Vulcan, Nate Grey (alternate reality version of Cable (sorta) and clone of Jean Grey and Cyclops), Jean Grey (wife of Cyclops), Madelyne Pryor (clone of Jean Grey and wife of Cyclops), Cable (son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor), Jenskot (wife of Cable), Tyler Summers (son of Cable and Jenskot), Stryfe (clone of Cable, adoptive son of Apocalypse), Hope Summers (adoptive daughter of Cable), Rachel Grey (alternate reality daughter of Jean Grey and Cyclops), and Ruby Summers (future daughter of Emma Frost and Cyclops). Adam X may or may not be the half brother of Cyclops, Havok and Vulcan (though he was intended to be, it was never confirmed in the comics).
  • Wonder Woman's recurring cast can start to feel this way, partially due to the inherently inbred nature of the Greek Gods, partially because new writers can't help but try to tie new characters to older characters, and partially because every writer seems to want to use different, often conflicting, bits of the original myths and occasionally confirm that Hippolyta still has her original mythological parentage (making her Ares' daughter), or hint that Wonder Woman is Hercules or Ares' daughter. Other examples are how later writers had Wonder Girl Cassie Sandsmark learn that Zeus is her father, or how Donna started out as an orphan adopted by Hippolyta before subsequent attempts to rewrite her connection to the family caused an infamous Continuity Snarl.

    Fan Works 
  • Perhaps this should be its own trope "Wold Newtonism." For example, we know that Sherlock Holmes' family seat, Mycroft Hall, is in Norfolk. As all the county gentry are more-or-less related, we may assume that Sherlock and Mycroft were related to Lord Peter Wimsey. And we know that Sherlock & Mycroft had French relatives; perhaps BELGIAN ones? Perhaps that's why Hercule stayed in England after the war—he had English relatives?
  • Though The Lion King (1994) films use this trope to a lesser extent, forming important plot points, fans have taken this to the extreme due to the films featuring one pride split in two. It's not hard to find a fanfiction where Nala and Simba are cousins, Nuka is Scar's son, or Zira is Sarabi's second half-cousin once-removed:
    • The Future of Our Past contains a lot of this due to lion prides predominantly consisting of related lioness'. For example, Zira is Scar's daughter and Simba's first cousin, which makes her own cubs even closer to Simba's daughter Kiara then in canon. Most of the comic cubs are also related to Simba.
    • Nala: My Father's Madness depicts Nala, Nuka, and Vitani as all being Scar's children, which tangles up the family tree a lot.
  • In Across The Stars, Kim and Shego are revealed to be cousins. An alternative to being sisters (or half-sisters) as many fanfic writers often do.
  • Brought up in Daphne Greengrass and the Boy Who Lived due to the interconnected nature of pure-blood families. At one point, Ginny explicitly asks if the Weasleys are related to Daphne's family in any way- Daphne is dating Harry and Ginny in this fic- but Daphne assures her that she already checked their family trees, and while there is some overlap, their nearest shared relative is from nine generations back, so it's not worth worrying about.
  • Dear Old Dad has the premise that every member of the Phantom Thieves sans Joker, Morgana, and Ryuji are all Heroic Bastard half-siblings through their father Masayoshi Shido, who raped or coerced their mothers for sex. Even then, Ryuji is also their half-sibling as the only legitimate child before his mother divorced Shido, and Joker is in a relationship with all of his human teammates.
  • Ageless: Ryou and Kyoshi were practically everything a husband and wife was in all but an official ceremony, having had their own kids who would then on go on to help populate Kyoshi Island, one their descendants being Suki. Much later on after Kyoshi's death, Ryou found love again with an Earth Kingdom Girl, having gotten her pregnant with intentions of marrying her after he returns from a war, only to find out that she ended up with a rich lord. Wanting her to be happy, she left her and their child to there own devices, their descendants being Toph, Lin, Suyin and her various kids.
  • The Disney crossover one-shot Fairytales has almost all Disney princesses being related to one another. For example, Snow White is Aurora's grandmother and Aurora is an ancestor of Cinderella.
  • Warriors' usage of this is deconstructed in Little Fires. The Clans don't allow taking outsiders as mates, which eventually led to them becoming inbred. Most ThunderClan cats are related to one another enough to the point where most look a lot alike. This has started to lead to higher death rate amongst kits.
  • Child of the Storm has a major case of this; to make a long story short, everyone is related to Harry, and if they aren't they're related/connected to someone who is. COTS was the first fan work to get its own Tangled Family Tree page for a reason. This is an at least marginally justified example, as In-Universe Doctor Strange has been manipulating events for eons to arrange ever closer connections to provide a united front against Thanos (and this version came from a time when kinship groups were a major basis for alliances)... though Word of God has admitted that it got out of hand early on.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • An unusual variation: Kevin Smith's Askewniverse movies include a member of the Hicks family in every movie; in either a main, supporting, or cameo role. The character is always played by Brian O'Halloran.
  • Crazy, Stupid, Love: Sort of. The main character's friend meets a girl in a bar that made him want to be monogamous who's the main character's daughter, and the woman the main character met in the bar is his children's teacher.
  • Star Wars is often accused of this, as seemingly every major character is revealed to be related or connected to one other in some way as the movies go on. It started with the dramatic, well-received reveal that Vader was Luke's father, followed up in the next movie with the not-as-well-received reveal that Luke's possible Love Interest was actually his sister. The prequels continued the trend by establishing, among other things, that the lovable droids from the first trilogy were actually friends and companions to Anakin and Obi-Wan. Finally, the sequels had both the main character and villain be descended from major characters from the previous films.
  • Spoofed in Hot Shots!.
    Topper: I don't think we've met.
    Kent: Kent Gregory. Excuse me if I don't shake the hand of a certain hot-shot whose father caused the death of someone who was very special to me, Dominic "Mailman" Farnham.
    Topper: You mean...
    Kent: Yes. Dominic Farnham was my father. I was his love child.
    Topper: It was a hunting accident.
    Kent: Accident, my deep-blue eyes. It was reckless, irresponsible flying, and you know it.
    Washout: This is an incredible coincidence, but the hunter who mistakenly killed your father was Henry Pfaffenbach, my father. I feel terrible. *holds a family picture with Mailman's head stuffed like a deer's on the wall in the background*
    Kowalski: Isn't this Henry Alva Pfaffenbach? My mother was a Pfaffenbach.
    Pilot extra: Not... Doreen Pfaffenbach? From Minnesota?
    Kowalski: Yeah.
    Pilot extra: Then we're cousins! We used to spend our summers in Eagle River.
    All the other extras: EAGLE RIVER?

  • Rick Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus:
    • Jason and Thalia have the same mother, as well as being kids of the same god (Jupiter/Zeus respectively) but in different aspects.
    • Hazel is Nico's sister and Frank turns out to be a descendant of Poseidon, so Percy and Tyson adopt him as their brother.
    • Leo is related to Sammy Valdez, Hazel's boyfriend from back during World War 2—specifically, he is Sammy's great-grandson.
    • Heracles & Chrysaor to Jason and Percy. They try to kill each other.
    • As Percy notes in Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, "you don't want to think too hard about who you're related to in the Greek myths. It'll drive you crazy." This comes after he admits that another of Poseidon's children (and thus one of Percy's half-siblings) is Krysomallos, the flying ram with golden fleece who saved Phrixus (and tried to save Helle) and in turn allowed Phrixus to skin him and sacrifice him to the gods, with his skin becoming the legendary Golden Fleece. Which means Percy is, as he puts it, "related to a sheepskin rug."
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth (The Lord of the Rings, etc.) has many related protagonists by virtue of them mostly being from various prominent families or ruling dynasties. But there aren't really any cases of 'surprise-relatives' (which this trope seems to be about). Well, except perhaps Túrin getting told that his wife is actually his grown-up and amnesiac baby sister, but the reader knows that from the start. This is most apparent in the First Age, where all the main Elves and Men are descended from the three 'fathers' of their respective races (Ingwë, Finwë and Elwë/Elu Thingol for the Elves, and Bëor, Marach and Haldad for the Men), and there is much intermarriage between the descendents, which eventually leads to the birth of Elrond and Elros, who are descended from all of them simultaneously. This trope becomes less apparent in the Second and Third Ages, as the First Age thinned the cast a bit.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Most of the wizarding families are related in one way or another, mostly for being a very small population and community, coupled in addition with pureblood inter-marrying of cousins.
    • The Black Family Tree in Book 5 reveals the extent of this trope among wizards. Most pureblood wizarding families in Great Britain are related through their connections to the House of Black:
      • The Bulstrode, Burke, Crabbe, Crouch, Flint, Gamp, Lestrange, Longbottom, Macmillan, Malfoy, Potter, Prewett, Rosier, Weasley, and Yaxley are the pure-blood families confirmed to have married into the House. Notice how many of them have been introduced to the readers beforehand. The Flint, in particular, had its member, Ursula, be one of the two latest common ancestors of all Black members and their descendants born after 1876. Marcus Flint, that shady Slytherin Quidditch captain during Harry's first three years, turns out to be related to almost everyone.
      • Sirius is first cousin to the Black Sisters: Bellatrix married the Lestranges, Narcissa the Malfoys, and White Sheep Andromeda married a Muggleborn, Ted Tonks. Narcissa is Draco's mother, while Andromeda is Tonks' mother.
      • Both of Sirius' parents, Orion and Walburga, had the surname Black even before they married; they were second cousins.
      • The Weasley siblings (Bill, Charlie, Percy, Fred, George, Ron, and Ginny) are third cousins of Sirius, Bellatrix, Andromeda, and Narcissa, as they share two great-great-grandparents: Phineas Nigellus Black (Hogwarts' least popular Headmaster) and Ursula Flint. By extension, this would make the Weasley siblings third cousins once removed of Draco and Tonks.
      • Molly's uncle, Ignatius Prewett married Lucretia. Lucretia was not only Sirius' aunt, but also Arthur Weasley's second cousin.
      • By the epilogue, the House of Black officially marry into the Peverell family when Ginny (granddaughter of Cedrella Black) marries Harry (descendant of Ignotus Peverell).
      • Also from the epilogue, it is revealed that Victoire Weasley is dating Teddy Lupin, her fourth cousin once removed.
    • Book 7 reveals that the Dumbledore family used to live in Godric's Hollow, the Potters' ancestral home. Dumbledore was friends with Gellert Grindelwald, whose great aunt, Bathilda Bagshot, author of History of Magic, lived in Godric's Hollow. Bathilda herself was a neighbour of the Potters and often visited Harry when he was a baby. What's more, Godric's Hollow is not only Godric Gryffindor's birthplace (the village was named after him) but also the resting place of Ignotus Peverell, creator of the Invisibility Cloak. As the cloak is passed parent to child, it's likely that Ignotus' descendants never left the village throughout the centuries, despite their changing surname, up to Harry's time.
    • As it turns out, Lily Potter was not only Snape's ex-best friend but also his childhood friend, having grown up with him in Spinner's End. Aunt Petunia also knows Snape; he is the "awful boy" she describes in Book 5, not James, as the fanbase assumed.
    • Harry is a descendant of Ignotus Peverell, one of the three Peverell brothers who received the Deathly Hallows. Another Peverell brother is a distant ancestor of Tom Riddle/Voldemort, which means that Harry and Voldemort are themselves cousins, several times removed.
    • By the end of the story the Power Trio are all Weasleys by marriage or blood, with fraternal and legal connections to the Delacour, Lupin, and Tonks families.
  • In any book after the first in any Piers Anthony series, EVERY CHARACTER EVER. Even, like, the robots and stuff. He'll find a way.
    • Except for the Virtual Mode series, which tended to have characters come and go as they crossed through the various universes. Although given the species of several of the characters, any kind of more-than-friendship relationship between them would end up being...interesting...
    • The featured Incarnations in Incarnations of Immortality all turn out to be related by the end of the series. Greatly assisted by the fact that they're very long-lived by virtue of their Offices, and the existence of a literal Fate playing a centuries-long chess game against the Devil. Niobe (Incarnation of Fate) is the mother of Orb (Incarnation of Nature), who's married to Parry (Incarnation of Evil). Orb is the mother of Orlene (Incarnation of Good), whose father was Mym (Incarnation of War). Orlene had a significant but doomed relationship with Norton (Incarnation of Time). Luna, another of Niobe's granddaughters, has a more successful relationship with Zane (Incarnation of Death). Kerena (Incarnation of Night) is a distant ancestor of Orlene's dead husband, and there's a very strong hint that her sister Katherine is a distant ancestor of Niobe, thus also of Orb, Luna, and Orlene.
  • Dune. When Jessica and Paul are on the run from the Harkonnens, Paul drops a bombshell: "We're Harkonnens."
    • God-Emperor of Dune: Almost everyone is related to Leto though the Ghanima/Farad'n line, then continued and taken up even more in Heretics of Dune and Chapterhouse: Dune where almost everyone are Atreides from the Siona/Idaho line, including the entire Bene Gesserit sisterhood, many of the Honored Matres such as Murbella and others throughout the Imperium and in the Scattering. Plus on a personal level, Odrade being the daughter of Teg.
  • The main premise of The 39 Clues book series is groups of people, all members of the vast Cahill family, vying to find the secret of the family's fame and power.
  • In the H.I.V.E. Series, just about everyone is one of two families that have a distinct possibility to be linked:
    • Xiu Mei is the wife of Wu Zhang and the mother of Wing, as well as the programmer ("mother") of Overlord. In addition to referring to Xiu Mei as his mother, Overlord refers to H.I.V.E.mind as his brother because they share a code base, and vice versa. H.I.V.E.mind's programmer/"father" is Professor Theodore Pike. Overlord has fourteen known sons, including Zero, the twelve other clones introduced in book eight, and Otto. Otto was raised by Mrs. McCreedy along with Tom and Penny. Otto seems on track to marry Laura, whose parents are Mary and Andrew Brand, and whose younger brother, Dougie, will likely be an Alpha as well once he is older. Shelby is also a likely candidate to enter the family via Wing.
    • Nathaniel "The Architect" Nero and his wife, whose name remains unknown, are the parents of Maximilian Nero. Nero was at some point married or at least very romantically close to Elena, who was the sister of Peitor and Anastasia Furan. Raven, born around the time Elena died, was described by Nero as "hauntingly familiar" upon their meeting, a phrase always used to describe someone whose relative is a known member of the cast.
    • Additionally, after book one, most important characters introduced tend to be related to a character who is already in the cast, including Diabolus Darkdoom, Xiu Mei, Cypher, Lucy Dexter, Number One himself, and Anastasia and Peitor Furan.
  • In the Outlander series, characters are revealed to be related even though they were born two centuries apart.
  • In the Warrior Cats series, considering that each clan has its own Tangled Family Tree, and that cats inside one clan are not allowed to mate with cats from other clans (though some still do), it is not surprising that after a few generations of mating with each other, almost everyone is related to one another inside any given clan, except for newcomers.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love, protagonist Lazarus Long is the oldest living human being, having survived over 2,300 years thanks to an abnormally long natural lifespan and the technology of human rejuvenation. It is statistically estimated that, if you claim any ancestry at all from the Howard Families (humans who took part in a breeding program designed to improve longevity), there's an 80+ percent chance that you're his descendant, and the novel makes something of a Running Gag about everyone Lazarus meets telling him how closely related they are (fifth generation descendent of his eighth wife, etc.). This even extends outside the Families, as he's had uncounted unregistered children over the centuries and at one point relates a story about meeting a pair of slave twins whom he suspects of being his great-to-the-nth grandchildren.
  • The medieval epic poem Parzival by Wolfram von Eschenbach lives this trope. The titular hero Parzival turns out to be closely or distantly related to just about every person he meets in the course of his adventures. This is generally interpreted as Wolfram telling his readers that all of mankind is one big family, even across national and religious divides - Parzival has an elder half-brother, Feirefis, who is a Muslim (although at the end of the story he becomes a Christian) and has black-and-white piebald skin, being the son of a white father and a black mother. For the time of the Crusades, when it was written, this was a quite unusual message of tolerance.
  • In Great Expectations, Estella turns out to be the child of two characters Pip has had random encounters with: Abel Magwitch and Molly. In addition, the man who left Mrs. Havisham at the altar turns out to be the second escaped criminal that Pip saw when he first met Magwitch.
  • In Fort Hope, protagonist Greg is related to half of the cast. The book does start off with his trying to get to know his family, after all. Towards the end of the book, it is revealed that Emma is related to the other half of the cast, including her longtime best friend and the book's big bad.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, most of the main characters are aristocrats whose families have been intermarrying for centuries. To give a non-exhaustive list of examples:
    • Robert Baratheon's Arch-Enemy, Rhaegar Targaryen, was his second cousin. Robert's grandmother was a younger sister of Jaehaerys II, who was Rhaegar's grandfather. Incidentally, the reason why Robert is able to reign on the Iron Throne (and why Stannis and Renly have a claim later on) is because his grandmother is a Targaryen. Even before this, the Baratheons as a whole are a cadet branch of the Targaryens, descended from a bastard brother of Aegon I.
    • The Starks have distant cousins in the Vale, like the Royces. The Karstarks were also founded as their cadet branch, by a man called Karlon Stark.
    • Supposedly, half of the noble houses in the Reach, including the Tyrells, Tarlys, Redwynes, Florents, and Oakhearts, can trace their ancestry via Garth Greenhand.
    • The Freys, on account of being a very large house, have familial and political relations with nearly everyone. From the present day alone, they have exchanged spouses with literally dozens of houses from the Crownlands, North, Reach, Stormlands, Vale, and Westerlands, in addition to their native Riverlands.
    • Since they conquered Westeros, the Targaryens have occasionally assimilated themselves by marrying into local houses, despite preferring endogamous relations. In early years, they were especially fond of marrying Velaryons (the mother of Aegon I and his sisters was a Velaryon). Daenerys is at least part-Arryn, Blackwood, Dayne, Martell, and Massey, in addition to Velaryon and Rogare (a Lyseni house). A Targaryen princess in turn married into the Martells, hence why Quentyn falsely thinks that he can tame dragons simply because he has Targaryen blood.
    • Even before they meet at the Wall, Samwell Tarly is already related by marriage to Stannis Baratheon through his wife, Selyse Florent, who is Sam's first cousin once removed. This means that Shireen is his second cousin.
    • Jorah Mormont is still legally an uncle by marriage to Margaery Tyrell and her siblings, since their mother, Alerie Hightower, is an older sister of Jorah's wife Lynesse.
  • Anybody with the name Bek, Beck or Begg in Michael Moorcock's work is a member of the huge and sprawling Von Bek aristocratic lineage, which exists across multiple universes and many male members of which are alternate versions of Elric of Melniboné. This sometimes extended to renaming characters in 1990s and 2000s reissues of his early work as a form of Canon Welding.
  • In Tailchaser's Song all cats are descended from the Two, Harar Goldeneye and Fela Skydancer, who were created by Meercat Allmother Herself.
  • Virtually a Running Gag in the multi-generational novels of Edward Rutherfurd: between marriages, affairs, one-night stands and the occasional adoption or imposture, the various bloodlines his works follow from one era to another inevitably wind up with some kind of marital and/or genetic connection, even if tracing those ties requires jumping between books (e.g. Sarum's Masons to London's Carpenters) and/or across thousands of years of history. And the characters, however ancient or modern, almost never have a clue that it's so, due to familial forgetfulness or surnames that evolve over the centuries.
  • Kalima is related to Caterina who is dating Aleksandr. Kalima and Caterina's other cousin is getting married to Keira's older brother. Fay and Doe are related to Caterina and Kalima through a distant ancestor who was a Champion of Erica. Erica is the Aunt of Kieran and Seraphine. Kieran is dating Kalima. This all occurs in the first book of ''Sekhmet
  • A downplayed example in Super Powereds, but Alice learns that two of her professors are actually her maternal uncles. She then also learns that one of the most infamous villains in the world is her paternal uncle. And due to an earlier reveal that Vince's adopted father is that same villain, she also learns that Vince is her cousin (not by blood, but by that point it hardly matters to anyone involved). She even lampshades it by asking one of her uncles if there any more secret family members she ought to know about.
  • In the Green Hills series, most of the people of Llwyncudd are related to each other, often by several routes.
    Ben: There's a family resemblance between you, me, and everyone else native to Llwyncudd. I wouldn't use that as hard evidence as to your parentage.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Nirvana in Fire: As with most aristocracies, most of the main characters are related somehow. The Grand Empress, the current Emperor's grandmother, is pretty much the great grandmother to everyone in Lin Shu's generation.
  • Game of Thrones: However unlikely it sounds, Podrick Payne is related to the King's Justice Ser Ilyn Payne, the royal executioner; they happen to be distant cousins.
  • Heroes is another example. With each season, more familial bonds spring up between main characters that originally lived on completely different continents. Then again, powers are genetic, so it's a convenient way to introduce a new character with powers by saying they're a relative.
  • As mentioned in the trope, most Soap Operas tend toward this eventually. If nothing else, it's an inevitable consequence of the constant marriage and divorce of everyone in the show.
  • Lost has had a few. Jack and Claire are half-siblings. We had met Widmore, Eloise, and Daniel in seasons 2, 3, and 4, respectively, but it wasn't till season 5 that we found out Widmore and Eloise are Daniel's parents.
    • Which makes Penny Daniel's half-sister, and Desmond and Daniel- who were already good friends- brothers-in-law.
    • Hilariously enough, this means that if Jack and Kate's marriage had worked out, they could have gotten custody of Aaron legally.
    • Interesting variation: Jacob and his supposed arch-nemesis being brothers all along comes out as a shocking twist, but unlike the above examples they were perfectly aware of their relation and simply chose not to tell anybody.
  • In The Pretender, Jarod has an evil long-lost older brother Kyle and a sister Emily. His archnemesis Ms. Parker has an evil long lost-twin brother who was separated at birth Mr. Lyle. Ms. Parker and Mr. Lyle's mother Catherine has a son named Ethan with Jarod, Kyle and Emily's father Charles. Mr. Parker the supposed father of Ms. Parker and Mr. Lyle turns out to be sterile and thus not their father. Their actual father is Mr. Raines, who is the long-lost brother of Mr. Parker but who was raised in foster care. Mr. Raines and his wife Edna also have a daughter named Annie. Mr. Lyle and his supposed father (but actually his uncle) have both slept with Brigitte and it isn't clear who her baby's daddy is. Oh, and Jarod also has a clone.
  • Most of the characters in It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Frank originally thought was the father of twins Dennis and Dee. Turns out their mother Barbara had also been sleeping with another guy named Bruce but she dumped him because she thought Bruce was poor (he wasn't). Charlie discovers that Frank may be his biological father when Frank reconnects with Charlie's mother Bonnie via Facebook and Charlie who doesn't know who his dad is realizes Frank and Bonnie slept together roughly 30 years ago. Frank swears that Bonnie was a tramp and aborted the baby but Bonnie swears that Charlie survived the abortion. Later in a scheme to get back Frank's money that Barbara left Bruce upon her death Frank and Dee (his legal daughter) pretend to be engaged in an elaborate scheme to trick Bruce out of the money...they even go so far as to marry. Frank later also has a same sex marriage with roommate (and possible son) Charlie. Dee becomes the mistress of Bill Ponderossa...the brother of her twin brother's wife. Mac isn't really related to any of the characters but he has slept with Dennis mom. Also Mac's ex-girlfriend Carmen the tranny is the biological father of the baby Dee gives birth to.
  • On Once Upon a Time, it turns out that Henry Mills is Rumpelstiltskin's paternal grandson, the maternal grandson of Snow White and Prince Charming, and the adopted son of Snow White's stepmother. The kid is surprisingly well-adjusted to these facts.
    • And then we find out that Peter Pan is his great-grandfather. And the Wicked Witch of the West is Regina's half-sister.
    • And The Snow Queen is Emma's foster-mother... wait, does this make her Elsa and Anna's cousin?
      • foster cousins, yes.
    • The Mills sect of the family is largely secluded from the rest of the family being that none of the mills are actually biologically related to the Rumple-Charming Dynasty. Zelena and Regina aren't even full siblings and used to be pretty estranged and Henry is adopted. Even through marriage most of their ties are severed being that King Leopold is dead. This doesn't change their relationship dynamics though.
  • Revenge (2011):
    • It is eventually revealed that Charlotte, daughter of Victoria and Conrad Grayson, was fathered by David Clarke, making her Emily's paternal half-sister. Given Emily's marriage to Daniel, this results in both of Charlotte's half-siblings becoming her in-laws. Also, due to the identity swap between Emily Thorne and Amanda Clarke, Fauxmanda becomes the legal sister of Charlotte, daughter of Kara and David and wife of Jack. Emily is also made godmother to Fauxmanda and Jack's son Carl.
    • Complicating things further, in Season 3 it is revealed that Conrad's first wife, Stevie Grayson, is the biological mother of Jack Porter, Emily's childhood friend and love interest- making Conrad Jack's ex-stepfather.
    • It is also revealed in Season 2 that David Clarke's apparent murderer was married to Emily's mother Kara, making him Emily's stepfather- who is subsequently killed by Emily's eventual fiance Aiden.
  • The Third Day: All the protagonists are related. Sam and Helen are husband and wife, meaning she's the mother of his son Nathaniel and her daughters are also his. And, making this trope even more evident, Helen delivers Jess's baby — which is the result of having slept with Sam, so she delivers her daughters' half-sister.
  • Taken to an absurd degree in Dark (2017) when the four main families (the Tiedemanns, the Dopplers, the Kahnwalds and the Nielsens), are not only revealed to be related to each other, they are also simultaneously each others' ancestors and descendants thanks to a copious helping of Temporal Paradox and other Time Travel Tropes in play. The only characters unrelated are Regina, Katharina, Peter and Bernadette. Consequently, they are the only characters who don't get Ret-Gone when the four families are wiped off the timestream.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • According to The Bible, all humans are descendants of one man and one woman.
  • Greek mythology tends to include complex genealogies for almost every god, goddess, monster, king, hero and villain mentioned. Mostly connected to each other.
    • For example, Theseus and most of his early foes were all said to be sons of Poseidon.
    • Penelope was a paternal first cousin of Helen and Clytaemnestra. Making their respective husbands Odysseus, Menelaus and Agamemnon kinsmen. And so on. The few figures not related to anybody else tend to be either insignificant or our knowledge of their legend is mostly fragmentary.
    • Agamemnon and Menelaos were brothers, and great-grandchildren of Zeus, who was the brother of Poseidon. Oh, and Helen was the daughter of Zeus, so a not all-that-distant blood relative of her husband and a first cousin of Theseus.
    • Heracles is the great-grandson of Perseus. They also have the same father, Zeus.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Kitsune: Of Foxes and Fools, the kitsune have genealogies as complex as you'd expect to see in classical pantheons. Playable characters include Ako-chan and two of her daughters, Sharmarali and April, and grandkits Akira and Cori. And the threesome of Saski, Sareiko, and Hayako and their progeny Kenji, Seiki, Ai & Midori.

    Video Games 
  • In Digimon Story: Cyber Sleuth, the protagonist, Arata, Nokia, Yuuko, and Yuugo were the five children that were the participants of the first EDEN beta test that ended up with them discovering a portal to the Digital World and left traumatized by the events that transpired in them which led to Yuugo becoming patient zero of EDEN syndrome, which forced the scientists to wipe off their memories to hide the horrible incident. Coincidentally, they all meet together in person in their late teens with half of them meeting in the very same place they entered the Digital World, none the wiser of what happened back then.
  • In Tekken, most of the main characters are Mishimas. Jin is Kazuya's son, who is Hehachi's son who is Jinpachi's son. Lee is Kazuya's adopted brother and, in T6, we learn that Lars is Heihachi's illegitimate half-Swedish, half-Japanese son. Meanwhile, Jin's mother Jun turns out to be Asuka's aunt (her brother is Asuka's father).
  • Final Fantasy VIII springs to mind almost immediately.
    • Three quarters of the way through the game, it turns out that many of the characters lived in the same orphanage as children and then forgot about it; one of the side effects of the Applied Phlebotinum the game's magic system revolves around happens to be memory loss. And Edea, who appears to be the Big Bad but is in fact just the Big Bad's mind-controlled Dragon happens to have run said orphanage, and is the wife of the headmaster of Balamb Garden, the military school most of the main cast attends in the present day... which was established (by Edea) to fight Sorceresses like Edea.
    • To make it a lot more (relatively speaking) plausible, many of the mercenaries from Gardens were recruited from the said orphanage. The one character who didn't have any earlier ties with the rest of the cast isn't from a Garden. That being said, her mother did know and date the main character's father... Thankfully (her being the Love Interest) the possibility they are in fact half-siblings as result is ruled out.
  • In Haunting Ground, Riccardo is Fiona's uncle, and Lorenzo is Fiona's grandparent.
  • No More Heroes:
    • Almost every character important to the plot ends up being related to Travis Touchdown. He reveals before the Rank 4 fight that his parents are dead. The real Rank 1 holder, Dark Star, claims to be his actual father, and certainly knows enough to rekindle Travis's memories of watching his parents get killed. However, Jeane, who kills Dark Star before the match takes place, points out that he saw his parents die, so Dark Star can't be his father. Jeane should know too, as she was dating Travis just to get close enough to Travis's parents to kill them. She only wanted to do this because she's Travis's half-sister (yes, Squick), and wanted revenge on Travis's father for abandoning her family and causing her mother's death. Travis's rival, Henry, is also his twin brother, making Sylvia, Travis's love interest, his sister-in-law, and her daughter, Jeane, his niece. Don't think about it too hard.
    • Later games throw a wrinkle into the above, as Henry and Sylvia divorce after NMH1 while Travis and Sylvia get a Relationship Upgrade in 2. Turns out that the little girl we saw in The Stinger of the first game is Travis's, not Henry's, and the couple had another kid on top of that, a boy named Hunter.
  • In the normal ending of Chrono Trigger, it's revealed that several people you met throughout the ages are all part of Marle's bloodline, including one of the last surviving humans from the Bad Future and fellow party member Ayla. And another, far less serious ending reveals that Frog married into Marle's family as well — though it's implied this is only true for this particular ending/timeline.
  • 12Riven: Boss is Narumi's adoptive father, Myuu and Mei are twin sister and brother, Narumi is their older sister, Maina is a physical manifestation of part of Narumi's consciousness, is dating Ohtemachi, who once dated Narumi. Chisato and Omega are Psi-Clones created from Myuu and Mei's DNA, Yuyu is the daughter of a friend of the Maina family, Renmaru is Myuu's childhood friend (boyfriend by the end of the game)... Yeah, practically every character is related in some way.
  • The Fire Emblem series is notorious for this, but the most notable one is Genealogy of the Holy War where, thanks to the "second generation" mechanic, with proper breeding the entire army really can be composed of various siblings and cousins and cousins' cousins, etc. Which can be paired together.
  • Odin Sphere: Of the main characters, Gwendolyn marries Oswald, Cornelius and Velvet are lovers, and Mercedes has a thing for Ingway. Of course, Velvet and Ingway are twin siblings, and Gwendolyn is their half-sister on their father's side. As if that wasn't enough, it turns out that Cornelius had a long-lost first cousin... Oswald. Who was adopted by a fairy noble who happens to be the first cousin of Mercedes. Part of the fun in Odin Sphere is figuring out the ridiculous family trees.
  • Metal Gear. METAL GEAR. It is made of this trope. It started out reasonable, but as time went on and prequels began introducing various characters's parents and so on, it quickly turned into a very matted family tree. In most cases the relationships are adoptive and the romantic relationships are non-incestuous about seventy percent of the time, so it mostly just leads to a lot of Fridge Horror for Shippers who work out that, say, Big Boss and Ocelot both have the same mother (spiritual for Big Boss, biological for Ocelot), that Solid Snake is technically Raiden's uncle and Gray Fox's brother, that Otacon's mother had been in love with and implicitly bonked Solid Snake's "grandmother", or that shipping Big Boss/Roy Campbell projects a pretty skeevy dimension onto the canon pairing of Solid Snake/Meryl.
  • To a degree, BlazBlue. Ragna and Jin/Hakumen are brothers, and their little sister Saya is the Imperator of NOL. In their childhood, they were all raised in an orphanage by Celica A. Mercury, the sister of Nine (aka Konoe A. Mercury) of the Six Heroes. Jubei (also of the Six Heroes) is Nine's husband, with their union producing Kokonoe, which means that, technically speaking, Ragna, Jin, and Saya are Kokonoe's foster cousins. Additionally, Jubei's genetic template was used to create the Kaka clan, from which Taokaka hails. On Jin's side, he was adopted into the Kisaragi family (one of the Duodecim, the twelve noble houses descended from the first twelve humans to master Ars Magus during the Dark War) and shares a brother-sister relationship with his love interest, Tsubaki (of the Yayoi family, another one of the Duodecim). At least three of the Murakumo Units (Nu, Lambda, and Noel/Mu) are clones of Saya. And then there's the Clover family. The less said about them, the better.
  • BlazBlue's spiritual predecessor, Guilty Gear, dabbles in this a bit as well.
    • Sol (back in the days when he still went by the name of Frederick) was Aria's lover, Aria being heavily implied as Justice's true identity before she was converted into a Commander Gear (further supported by Valentine, a clone of Aria introduced in GG2: Overture, and finally confirmed in Xrd -REVELATOR-). Dizzy is Justice's daughter and, if Accent Core Plus and Overture are any indication, she eventually marries Ky. They have a son named Sin. If you subscribe to the theory that Sol is Dizzy's father (which is suggested at multiple points throughout the series, especially in -REVELATOR-), Sin is essentially all of the main characters rolled into one.
    • Furthermore, the Valentine seen in Overture turns out to be the first of several Valentines, who begin showing up in the Xrd installments. Though they technically have a "mother" in the Universal Will (a robot-like "informational organism" that has taken on human form under the guise of a woman named Ariels), they are assumed to also be clones of Aria, as both Elphelt and Jack-O' greatly resemble her, with the latter sharing some of Aria's memories much like the original. Spoilers!  The genetic link between the Valentines and Aria/Justice's family tree is briefly called to attention late in the -REVELATOR- story when the heroes attempt to rescue Elphelt from Ariels; Elphelt asks if Jack-O' is her mother and Jack-O' replies that it's complicated.
  • Lost Odyssey:
    • The entire playable cast (almost) is related in some way, shape, or form. Kaim, Seth, Ming, Sarah, AND Gongora are all immortals, and all have the same origin story. What's more, Kaim and Sarah are married, and Cooke and Mack are their grandchildren, Seth is Sed's MOTHER, Janson and Ming are Love Interests, and end up married at the end. Finally, Tolten is... just Tolten.
    • This isn't even counting the myriad Love Interests for Kaim in 1000 Years of Dreams. We can assume some of the other immortals probably had similar short-lived (by their standards) relationships in the past and ALSO have descendants we don't know about. It's entirely likely that after 1000 years the immortals (and their more 'direct' relations) have a very extended family indeed.
  • While it's not directly revealed in the game itself, the script notes for Heroes of Might and Magic IV reveal that the protagonists of three of the campaigns, Waerjak, Gauldoth Half-dead, and Lysander are brothers meaning they are all Gryphonhearts.
  • Encouraged for Muslim rulers in Crusader Kings III. Because Muslim rulers and their vassals practice polygyny, they tend to have large families with many children. Unlike with most other religions, a Muslim family has a -20 opinion penalty with their overlord's family if they're not in a marriage alliance by having one of their children married or betrothed to one of the overlord's children. If you have multiple vassals from the same clan you only need one marriage to satisfy all of them, luckily.
  • The Neverhood: Everyone present in the game is related, excepts for animals and robots. Klaymen and Klogg are brothers (due to both being created by Hoborg), Hoborg is their father (due to being their creator), and Willie Trombone is their cousin (by virtue of his father Ottoborg being Hoborg's brother).
  • The Council has several characters revealed to be related in the last two episodes. Big Bad Mortimer turns out to be the father of protagonist Luis, his mother Sarah (making her his sister), his Love Interest Emily and her twin sister Emma. Sir Gregory Holm is Mortimer's brother, and von Wölner is Holm's son, making them Luis' uncle and cousin respectively. Mortimer and Holm are also the direct offspring of none other than Jesus, who may show up in the final episode.
  • As a plot point in Later Alligator, nearly everyone you encounter is related to Pat, who spends the game fretting that someone called a hit out on him, and you're tasked with figuring out who would hire a Professional Killer and why. To underscore this, Pat's mother "Lovely" Maria is creating a family tree, which you contribute to by collecting the other characters' photographs as rewards for completing their minigames.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed: Four of the six founders of the City turn out to all be related to Noah and Mio in one way or another. Matthew and Na'el, the founders of House Vandham and House Doyle, are their great-grandchildren. Glimmer, the founder of House Rhodes, is Mio's sister (and Rex's daughter with Pyra, while Mio is his daughter with Nia). Linka, the founder of House Cassini, is Mio's cousin (and daughter of Zeke and Pandoria). On the other side of things, Nikol, the founder of House Ortiz, is Shulk's son with Fiora, while Panacea, the founder of House Reid, is the daughter of Reyn and Sharla, and also Nikol's cousin. And that's just the connections that are confirmed. There are multiple other characters who are theorized to be related to each other; when you're trapped in a Teenage Wasteland where everyone is born from Uterine Replicators, no one considers asking who is related to who.

    Visual Novels 
  • 12 out of the 18 characters Umineko: When They Cry starts out with are direct family of each other whether by blood or by marriage. Then again, most of the story takes place during a family conference. (The other 6 characters are five of the family head's servants, and a friend of his.) As for the characters who show up later (and there are a lot), a number of them are Meta characters, two characters are based on characters from a previous work, and a number of characters are really one person going under different identities.
  • Basically every present-day character in Fate/stay night, although you can somewhat include many of the Servants as well. Where to begin. Shirou is schoolmates with Rin, Sakura, and Shinji. Shinji's younger sister is Sakura, whose real older sister is Rin. Shirou's adoptive father Kiritsugu is Illyasviel's biological father. Kirei was Rin's father's apprentice, and Caren is his estranged daughter. Rin's, Shinji's and Illya's ancestors were all partners who started the Holy Grail War together. Shirou's only friends at school are Issei and Shinji, who both happen to be the school's cool kids (as a side note, Issei has an old rivalry with Rin and Shinji has a crush on her), while Shinji is Rider's temporary Master and Issei lives with and is soul brothers with Kuzuki, Caster's Master. Shirou's Servant, Saber, was Kiritsugu's Servant previously, during which time she met and was proposed to by Gilgamesh, who was originally Rin's father's Servant. Shirou was formerly in the Archery club with Shinji, Sakura, and Ayako, and Ayako happens to be Rin's old, close friend. Taiga is simultaneously Shirou's neighbor, childhood friend, guardian, homeroom teacher, and former club adviser, and her grandfather is an old acquaintance of Kiritsugu who lets Shirou do his bike maintenance. And I shouldn't even need to mention Archer actually is Shirou, should I? And that's just the characters important enough to get face time and ignoring the relations to characters in Nasu's other works.
  • Infinity series: In Ever17, Hokuto and Sara are Tsugumi and Takeshi's children. You is the mother of her clone. You and Coco's father worked together in Lemu and are the reason both are there. And may have designed Sora and are therefore her "father" in a sense. Sara and You went to the same high school. But Kaburaki is just some guy. Unless, as some believe, he and the older You had a relationship of some sort going.
  • In Kara no Shoujo it doesn't seem this way at first, but once you have the full story it becomes clear how much this applies. Both serial killers were set in motion by the serial killer who got Reiji's wife. The second one knew Toko as a little girl and is not unlike her brother. He also killed another person who could be considered his sister, Mizuhara. Mizuhara's mother is one of the Mamiya family. Mamiya Shinzo was Misa's lover, and Misa was Rokushiki Makoto's sister. Rokushiki's fiancee was Stella's older sister, and Stella's family raised both Shinji and Toko for some time. This is not taking into account the stuff you know from the start like how everyone went to school together or still goes to school together and whatnot.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney really liked this trope. Apollo is the half-brother of Trucy Enigmar/Gramarye/Wright, who was adopted by Phoenix Wright. Their mother Thalassa was married to Zak, who was accused of killing her father Magnifi Gramarye. This accounts for pretty much all the main characters besides Kristoph and Klavier... who are brothers.
    • Oh, and don't let us get started on the Feys. Mia, Maya, Pearl, Morgan, Elise Deauxnim, serial killer Dahlia Hawthorne (who was coincidentally jailed by aforementioned Mia), her identical twin Iris (who was Phoenix Wright's girlfriend in university while posing as Dahlia)... Pretty much all females who appear in more than one case in the first three games, save Maggey, Lotta, Oldbag, and Adrian, can be safely assumed to be a Fey. Turns out even Bikini is one. And those who are not Feys are sure to have some kind of connection to them. Especially bad with Phoenix, whose life seems to have been determined by the Fey Clan ever since loooong before he knew that it even existed.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice takes this even further. The royalty of the Kingdom of Khura'in are distant relatives to the Fey Clan, as both are descended from the Holy Mother. Going into specific cases, Nahyuta Sahdmadhi is the son of the rebel leader Dhurke Sahdmadhi and the former queen Amara Sigatar Khura'in, Princess Rayfa Padma Khura'in is his sister, and she is effectively adopted by the current queen Ga'ran Sigatar Khura'in and Justice Minister Inga Karkhuul Khura'in. Apollo's biological father Jove Justice died in the fire that supposedly killed Amara, and he was taken in by Dhurke for a time.

  • Girl Genius: The marriage of Agatha's parents - Bill Heterodyne and Lucrezia Mongfish - means Agatha is related in some way to a large chunk of the cast. Lampshaded when the beans are spilled on her parentage by one character who realizes he and Agatha are cousins now. The Precursor Heroes duo that everyone in Europe tells their kids bedtime stories about are Agatha's dad and uncle. The setting's Big Bad dubbed "the Other" is Agatha's mother, secretly. The fake Heterodyne heir Zola is ironically Agatha's cousin, but on the Mongfish side. Those in the main cast who aren't related to Agatha by blood are at least related to an old friend of her parents.
  • Homestuck: When it's not by blood, it's by adoption. The trolls take this more literally than most due to the way their Bizarre Alien Reproduction works..
  • In Kevin & Kell, many of the characters marry into the Dewclaw or Kindle families (Fiona's mother remarried to Kell's brother Ralph, and her father married Kevin's sister Danielle, which technically makes her Rudy's cousin), thus becoming related to the main characters, or are revealed to be related to them somehow (Corrie turns out to be Ralph's daughter, and a minor character, Wendell, is one of Dorothy's over 240 grandchildren). Some of the fans have even come up with a name for the phenomenon, "Dewclaw assimilation". Lampshaded when Angelique's attempt to dispose of a problematic tiger customer fails because he turns out to be Rhonda's Uncle Phil:
    Phil: But ... she didn't know we were related!
    Rhonda: Yeah, you'd think she'd know this town better than that.
  • As shown on L's Empire's official family tree, the entire main cast and quite a few members of the supporting cast are related (depending on whether or not you include Dark Star's possession of Dimentio).
  • xkcd: "Family Reunion" opines that all gatherings are family reunions because all living creatures are descened from a single common ancestor; Randall Munroe is at most a 35th cousin with every human at the depicted gathering, a seventeen thousandth cousin with the pet cat, and a fifty billionth cousin with the houseplant.

    Web Original 
  • The Gungan Council calls its family trees a "Family Wreath." This is usually due to massive families like the Draclau, Marzullos, and Decuirs having new family members every other day, and then those members marrying non-family members. It doesn't take much effort to be related to every single character on the site by just marrying one person.
  • Sam & Mickey's "Family Reunion" documents a period when all their main female characters seem related to each other. Barbie's estranged father, George, reveals that a month earlier, he married a Bratz doll named Charo. Barbie's enemy, Yasmin, identifies Charo as her mama, which makes Yasmin Barbie's stepsister (and the step-aunt of Barbie's and Ken's illegitimate daughters), much to Barbie's displeasure. As revenge for uniting their families without telling them right away, Barbie and Yasmin work together to break up George and Charo.
  • The "Pooh's Adventures" videos are the absolute worst offender of this trope. Every other human character that Winnie the Pooh interacts with is a cousin of Christopher Robin, every bear character is a cousin of Winnie the Pooh, etc.

    Western Animation 
  • An Exaggerated Trope with Uncle Grandpa, as he is somehow everyone in the world's magical uncle and grandpa.
  • The Fanon that Wander from Wander over Yonder is secretly related to one or more of his enemies is parodied in the episode "The Legend", where one of the kids claims that "the hero of legend" is related to all his enemies, including Lord Hater (his father), Lord Dominator (his sister), and even Sourdough the Evil Sandwich (his cousin).

    Real Life 
  • Common in Iceland, which has a small, almost completely genetically homogeneous population that has lived in geographic isolation for over a millennium. It's not unheard of to start dating an erstwhile complete stranger, and then encounter them at a reunion of extended family. This high level of national endogamy makes Iceland very interesting to genetic researchers. It's gotten to the point where there's actually an app in Iceland that allows people to check if they're closely related before they start dating.
  • Common also in Finland, which has been a genetic isolate for a millennium. It is not uncommon for people sharing the same surname but assuming they are not related to each other, to find out they are ninth or tenth cousins. The Finnish gene pool has likewise been used in genetic research.
  • Also Japan has this, to the point where very rare genetical diseases such as Xeroderma Pigmentosum are between 10 and up to 1000 times more likely to be among Japanese. The thing that a lot of Japanese culture revolves around a strong sense of "us and them" is but one reason why Japanese don't exactly marry outsiders that often.
  • The Cohen haplotype. All male Jews who belong in the Kohanim (the priestly class) share a common ancestor who lived some 3,200 years ago in the Near East. The Bible knows him by the name of Aaron. The Kohanim are in theory only the male-line descendants of Aaron. A recent genetic study indicates that 50% of all Cohens have the same Y Chromosome—and the Y chromosome is preserved from father to son generation after generation. If the rule had been perfectly followed, we would expect 100%, but over 3200 years we expect there to be some accidents (some lying about being Kohanim, unfaithful spouses, perhaps adoption), so a 50% rate is surprisingly high.
  • The human species as a whole has relatively little genetic variation, as the result of a "bottleneck" where the population decreased to very low numbers about 70,000 years ago. In fact, all living humans are descended from "Adam" who lived about 60,000 to 90,000 years ago, meaning that we are all related, albeit distantly in most cases. In fact, all individuals of all species on Earth, from bacteria to sequoias to fruit flies to humans, is related through the Latest Common Ancestor
  • South Korea has about the longest table of affinities in the world; it also has about the most complete genealogical database in the world. Also, one of the requirements for a marriage license is that both partners must do a genealogical search to be sure that they aren't too closely related. It is not uncommon for couples to be surprised. It used to be worse; it took a Korean Supreme Court decision to change it. Couples were living in unwedded bliss because they could not legally be married.
  • In the year 2012, a California student named Bridge Anne D'Avignon completed a genealogical project that, by tracing both paternal and maternal lines, proved that forty-two of the forty-three men to become president of the United States of America are descended from King John of England. The only exception is Martin Van Buren.
  • The royal families of World War I were all related to each other. Because Queen Victoria and Prince Albert married their children into many different monarchies (and their grandchildren later married into other monarchies as well), their descendants included: the King of England, the Kaiser of Germany, the Tsarina of Russia, the Queen of Greece, the Queen of Norway, the Crown Princess of Sweden, the Queen of Spain, and the Queen of Romania. The Norwegian throne was created in 1905, and a Danish prince was chosen to be King, so they were related to the Danish royal family as well. The rulers of Austria-Hungary were related to the Spanish rulers: Francis II was the child of a Spanish princess, and Franz Joseph I of Austria (Franz Ferdinand's father) was the grandson of Francis II. Austria-Hungary was also related to Italy: Franz Joseph was from the house of Habsburg-Lorraine, and so was Maria Theresa of Austria, who was the great-grandmother of Victor Emmanuel III. The King of Serbia was married to Princess Zorka of Montenegro, whose sister married Victor Emmanuel III, connecting Serbia to the family as well. Franz Joseph married Empress Elizabeth of Austria, whose niece married Albert I of Belgium (in addition, her grandfather was an exiled king of Portugal). Ferdinand I of Romania was the son of a Portuguese princess, and Ferdinand I of Bulgaria was from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the same as King George V of England. Even the minor countries where involved: the de facto Albanian king was descended from Romanian and Dutch royalty, and the reigning Grand Duchess of Luxembourg was, again, descended from the Portuguese monarchy. The mother of the King of Montenegro was the aunt of a woman who married an Italian prince. For Liechtenstein, the Ruling Prince's sister married Arnulf of Bavaria, whose uncle was King Otto of Greece (and Otto's grandson was the King who married one of Victoria's grandchildren); Arnulf of Bavaria was also the Stewart Pretender to the British throne. Aside from the obvious exceptions (either not part of Europe or with no monarchy), the Ottoman Empire may be the only exception: there is a claim that they were related to the Habsburgs through the Byzantine Empire , and despite the fact that the Ottoman Sultans preferred to marry normal women rather than foreign princesses, a legend states that one spouse was related to Napoleon, whose wife was from the House of Habsburg. World War I could be described as the nastiest family quarrel ever.
    • The Spanish Habsburg line itself was this in spades, given their penchant for cousins marrying each other and uncles marrying nieces, occasionally interbreeding with the Austrian Habsburgs. This finally culminated in Carlos II, last of the line. There had been so much inbreeding in the family over generations that his parents (already blood uncle and niece) produced a child that was more genetically homozygous than that of a child born of two siblings.
    • Queen Victoria's grandson, King George V of England, quietly did away with the "royal" requirement for his children's marriage partners altogether, as after World War One, there were few European royal families still standing, and all that remained were closely related. Queen Elizabeth did happen to marry another royal, Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (themselves distant cousins), in 1947, but they were a love match who happened to both be royals, rather than either of them specifically seeking to marry another royal.
  • This is not an uncommon phenomenon in small towns and villages, especially in rural areas. Aside from the occasional blow-in, most residents will generally be related by marriage, at least.
  • The island of Tristan da Cunha is the most remote inhabited community in the world, located over 2000 km from, well, anywhere else (nearest neighbours are South Africa and St. Helena). There is a present-day population of 297 residents, who all carry one of the eight last names of the original eight men and seven women who first settled on the island through the 19th and early 20th century. That is, the entire population of the island is thought to be descended from 15 people (though it seems every now and then someone would go abroad and pick up a wife or husband while away, it is actually illegal to immigrate to the island, meaning little genetic variance in the immediate future).
  • Every cheetah in the world is closely related to each other. It is believed that the species experienced a major near-extinction bottleneck a few thousand years in the past that only left a very small group alive and able to reproduce, often through sibling pairings. The genetic abnormalities resulting from generations of incest is one of the main concerns for the long-term survival of cheetahs as a species.


Video Example(s):


Leif Does the Plantar Dance

Leif demonstrates to Andrias and Barrel a dance she had developed to entrance creatures...which turns out to be the Plantar Family Hunting Dance, revealing that Leif is actually a distant ancestor of Hop Pop, Sprig, and Polly.

How well does it match the trope?

4.93 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / CallBack

Media sources: