Follow TV Tropes

Following

Familial Cannibalism Surprise

Go To

"Don't you even know about America?" I asked.
"Not really," she answered. "Although I have heard it said that over there the witches are able to make the grown-ups eat their own children." [...]
"But how could they possibly make them eat their own children?" I asked.
"By turning them into hot-dogs," she said. "That wouldn't be too difficult for a clever witch."

You have bent your enemy to your will. As a show of obedience, he is now hosting you at a lavish feast in your honor. Only too late do you begin to wonder where your son is, and what exactly what is in the stew...

A Sub-Trope of I Ate WHAT?! and I'm a Humanitarian, and usually also Revenge Is a Dish Best Served.


Examples:

Comic Books

  • The Punisher:
    • Psycho for Hire Barracuda recounts how an African warlord once killed his brother and had him cooked up to test his mercenaries' reactions. They all started vomiting as soon as they learned what they were eating... except Barracuda, who asked for seconds.
    • A Triad leader is unimpressed with Nicky Cavella's threats (he keeps eating during the meeting), saying he has three grown sons to take over the business even if Nicky has him killed. Nicky tells him he's eating one of them, before gunning down the other two standing behind him.
  • In The Sandman Fiddler's Green relates a version of Little Red Riding Hood in which the wolf carved up Granny and poured her blood into a wine bottle, then tricked Red into having a bite and a drink before killing her as well.

Fan Works

  • In the oneshot Cinderella Dark Fic Consumed, Cinderella enacts revenge on her abusive step-mother and step-sisters in this manner. She orders Anastasia to be assassinated, gets her fed to her mother and sister, then frames them for murder and cannibalism.

Folklore

  • The Juniper Tree, a fairy tale by The Brothers Grimm, tells of a Wicked Stepmother who kills her stepson, then cuts him up and serves him as a stew to her husband / the child's father.
  • Some versions of Little Red Riding Hood, see The Sandman above.

Film

Literature

  • Some of the oldest examples come from The Histories of Herodotus, which contain at least two instances involving the Medes. Of these, the more famous comes from Herodotus' (completely fictional, by the way, though Herodotus probably didn't invent it himself) Origin Story for Cyrus the Great. To summarize considerably, Cyrus' maternal grandfather, King Astyages of the Medes, had ordered one of his generals, Harpagus, to kill the newborn Cyrus (as he had had an omen that Cyrus would supplant or overthrow him). Harpagus didn't have the heart, and long story short Astyages finds out ten years later that Cyrus is still alive. This was Harpagus' punishment for his failure (from A.D. Godley's 1920 translation):
    But when Harpagus’ son came, Astyages cut his throat and tearing him limb from limb roasted some and boiled some of the flesh, and the work being finished kept all in readiness. So when it came to the hour for dinner and Harpagus was present among the rest of the guests, dishes of sheeps’ flesh were set before Astyages and the others, but Harpagus was served with the flesh of his own son, all but the head and hands and feet, which lay apart covered up in a basket. And when Harpagus seemed to have eaten his fill, Astyages asked him, “Are you pleased with your meal, Harpagus?” “Exceeding well pleased,” Harpagus answered. Then those whose business it was brought him in the covered basket the head and hands and feet of his son, and they stood before Harpagus and bade him uncover and take of them what he would. Harpagus did so; he uncovered and saw what was left of his son: this he saw, but he mastered himself and was not dismayed. Astyages asked him, “Know you what beast’s flesh you have eaten?” “Yea,” he said, “I know, and all that the king does is pleasing to me.” With that answer he took the rest of the flesh and went to his house, purposing then, as I suppose, to collect and bury all.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • The legendary Rat Cook is said to have served a prince to his father, over an unknown slight by the King.
    • In more recent times, it is implied that Lord Wyman Manderly served three Frey's as pies at the wedding of Ramsay Bolton.
  • In The Witches, Roald Dahl mentions offhandedly that American witches have been known to transmogrify children into hot dogs and feed them to unsuspecting parents.

Live-Action TV

  • In Game of Thrones Arya Stark kills and feeds Walder Frey's sons to him, instead of Lord Manderly being the one to do it.
  • In Gotham, Oswald Cobblepot kills his father, Elijah's stepchildren then feeds them to their mother before killing her. They were using him as a servant and had poisoned his father.
  • CSI: This may be stretching the definition of filial, but in the "Last Supper", the murderer cuts up the Victim of the Week, cooks him, and serves him to the contestants on a cooking show as a palate test. The victim had raped and murdered her sister together with his 'frat brother', who is one of the contestants. The butchering and cooking scene is an obvious tip of the hat to Titus Andronicus.

Mythology

  • Classical Mythology makes this Older Than Feudalism:
    • When King Atreus of Mycenae learns that his brother Thyestes has committed adultery with Atreus's wife Aerope, he kills Thyestes' sons and has them cooked and served to their father. When Thyestes has finished his meal, Atreus reveals the truth and shows him the children's hand and feet. Then he banishes Thyestes from Mycenae for eating human flesh. This got Atreus's own bloodline cursed, resulting in, but not ending with, the Trojan War.
    • According to Greek Mythology, king Tereus raped his wife's sister, cut out her tongue, and held her captive until she managed to smuggle out a message to her sister. The sister killed their son and fed him to Tereus. Titus Andronicus borrows heavily from the story.
    • Classical Mythology inverted this when Kronos, wanting to eat his children so they couldn't overthrow him, unknowingly ate a rock disguised as the baby Zeus.
  • Norse Mythology: After King Atli has killed Gunnar and Hogni, the brothers of his wife Gudrun, he offers he will make it up to his wife by holding a funeral feast for the brothers. Gudrun cuts the throats of the two small sons she has with Atli and serves their roasted hearts to their father, together with wine mixed with the children's blood in drinking cups made from their skulls (Poetic Edda, Prose Edda, Volsunga Saga).

Theatre

  • In Titus Andronicus, as revenge for the rape and mutilation of his daughter, Titus kills the sons of Tamora, Queen of the Goths, bakes them into pies and then tricks her into eating them.

Western Animation

  • In the South Park episode "Scott Tenorman Must Die", Cartman kills Scott's parents, cooks them into chili and tricks him into eating it, mocking him in an homage of Titus Andronicus.
  • A Robot Chicken sketch has a vengeful fish killing a man's wife and serving her to him.

Top