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Family Extermination

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

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

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

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

Supertrope of Ruling Family Massacre, Pater Familicide. Compare Final Solution and The Purge for outright genocides. This can be the ultimate goal of a Familial Foe.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Kurta clan in Hunter × Hunter were exterminated by the Phantom Troupe for their eyes' unique red color which gives them tremendous value on the black market; naturally, this led Sole Survivor Kurapika to swear revenge against both the Troupe and the underground collectors who bought the eyes.
  • Magical Girl Spec-Ops Asuka has Asuka Ootori, a well-known anti-Disas magical girl soldier whose family was murdered by Disas creatures in order to get her to stop hunting them. Needless to say, this backfired and it turns into a crusade against the Disas.
  • In Macross Zero, Shin hates anti-United Nations groups and sympathizers because his family was assassinated by anti-UN fighters when he was young.
  • The Uchiha Clan Massacre in Naruto was done to prevent their potential uprising against the Konoha village. It was done by their own member, Uchiha Itachi, who's more loyal to the village than to his clan.
  • Henrietta's backstory in Gunslinger Girl has her being the sole survivor of a massacre when masked men storm her apartment and kill her parents and siblings and left her nearly dead after brutally assaulting her. The Social Welfare Agency adopts her after hearing that she wanted to commit suicide due to the trauma.
  • In One Piece, This is the World Government's M.O when it comes to Gold Roger since he was such an infamous pirate that influenced the Great Pirate Era. As such they try to find any traces of his bloodline or loved ones and snuff them out just to send a message to pirates around the world. This ended up including Roger's then newborn son, Ace, as they were so paranoid they instantly targeted him for death. Ace's mother had to actually hold in her pregnancy with him to fly under the radar of the Marines before giving birth to him. Years later, they ultimately succeed when Ace takes a fatal hit to protect Luffy from Akainu's lava powers and dies.

    Comic Books 
  • During Grant Morrison's run in DC Comics' Animal Man the family of the titular character was murdered as a retaliation for his eco-activism. It was later undone by Morrison themselves.
  • The backstory of The Punisher involves the Castle family being killed by gangsters. Unfortunately for the underworld, there was a Sole Survivor.
  • Batman's parents were murdered by a criminal; Depending on the Writer, this is either an example of this — i.e deliberate targeting of the Waynes — or just a tragedy of them being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Either way, again unfortunately for the (DC) underworld, there was a Sole Survivor.
  • One X-Men story-arc had a group of Shi'ar decide to wipe out the entire Grey family due to the association between Jean Grey and the Phoenix Force. Jean was dead at the time, so the only two survivors were Rachel and Nate (who was Not Quite Dead at the time). Rachel took her revenge, killing the main assassin behind it. She doesn't kill the man who recommended it (and actually saves his life, albeit after giving serious consideration to letting him get eaten), instead opting to share her grief and pain with him, leaving him shell-shocked.
  • Geoff Johns' opening arc for Justice Society of America focused on immortal villain Vandal Savage orchestrating the murders of entire superhero families in order to stop the hero identities from being passed on through the generations. By the first issue, he's already wiped out the last remaining blood relatives for patriotic heroes such as Mr. America, Minute-Man, and General Glory. He has the Neo-Nazi team the Fourth Reich attempt to murder everyone at the Heywood Family reunion (the Heywoods being descendants of Commander Steel). Only a handful of kids and Nate Heywood survive, with the events ironically leading to Nate's transformation into Citizen Steel. Meanwhile, a new Mr. America, one who was friends with the previous version and with no blood relation to the original or his family, takes up the mantel showing Savage's plan was never going to fully succeed.
  • During Post-Crisis Supergirl's book, supervillain Reactron murdered Supergirl's father, and then attempted to murder her and her family systematically and doggedly, until he finally managed to wipe her mother and her whole race out. Kara and her cousin were the only survivors.

    Fan Works 
  • At age nine Neo from re:Bound (RWBY) was forced to kill an entire family in their sleep.
  • In Infinity Train: Boiling Point: After Persephone Brae was raped by Alador Blight, due to him being brainwashed by his wife Odalia, Persephone asked Prometheus Urodela to murder every single member of the family in revenge. All that's left are the parents and their children.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Godfather Part II, Don Ciccio orders the whole family of Antonio Andolini killed. They are all killed except for Antonio's son, Vito, who escapes to America and becomes Vito Corleone. Vito returns decades later and kills Don Ciccio.
  • The Professional begins with a family being wiped out by Ax-Crazy Norman Stansfield (the father was in bed with corrupt cops and DEA agents involved with the drug trade and tried to rip them off): the only survivor is the little girl Mathilda Lando (Natalie Portman), who finds herself being guarded by contract killer Leon (Jean Reno), who develops a fatherly feeling for her and teaches her how to use firearms.
  • The Punisher (2004): Frank Castle's backstory is even more dramatic compared to the comics: His entire family is exterminated during a family reunion, not only his wife and children.
  • In Con Air, Billy "Bedlam" Bedford is in prison for killing his wife's entire family after finding her in bed with another man. He even shot the dog.
  • In The Boondock Saints, the "Sick Mob Man" carries out one of these.
    Rocco: This guy takes out a whole family... wife, kids, everyone... like he's ordering fucking pizza.
  • In Return of Count Yorga, Yorga becomes smitten with a girl named Cynthia and wants her to willingly accept him and become a vampire. To do so, he sends his brides to her household and has them feed on the entire family save her (Though Cynthia's sister, Helen, is turned and becomes a bride) then having Cynthia brought to his manor where he claims she was in a car accident that killed her family. Over the course of the movie, however, she slowly starts to regain her memory.
  • Dr. Philip Decker from Nightbreed is a Serial Killer who is obsessed with exterminating the human race. His Establishing Character Moment shows him breaking into a family's home to kill them all, and later scenes indicate that targeting "breeders" is his modus operandi.
  • Shocker: Horace Pinker targets the family of the police detective who has been investigating his murders, and also because the same detective previously adopted Pinker's biological son Jonathan (Pinker had killed his own wife as well), killing almost his entire adoptive family in front of him.

  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is about the murder of entire families, the Clutter family at the hands of robbers, and the Andrews family by their son Lowell.
  • In A Tale of Two Cities, Madam Defarge wants to wipe out the House St. Evremonde, including children.
  • President Snow of The Hunger Games threatens Katniss Everdeen of murdering lots of her relatives if she doesn't keep her pretended couple with Peeta Mallark.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has House Reyne and House Tarbeck, who rebelled against their liege lords, House Lannister. Tywin Lannister retaliated by marching on their respective seats of power. Tywin first attacked the Tarbecks at Tarbeck Hall, and after defeating them, he had all the men of the family beheaded, before burning down Tarbeck Hall, with the family matriarch, Lady Ellyn trapped inside. The Reynes and their retainers, meanwhile, attempted to seek protection from the Lannister army in their keep, Castamere, which was a large underground castle, carved out from an old mineshaft. But instead of besieging the keep, Tywin instead had a nearby river redirected to that it would flood the keep, and blocked all exits to prevent any escape. The latter house's downfall is popularized in-universe in the song "The Rains of Castamere", which features as a symbol of the Lannisters' intimidation and power.
    "And so he spoke, and so he spoke, that lord of Castamere. But now the rains weep o'er his hall, With not a soul to hear."
  • In the science fiction book Kill Ratio, strains of an engineered plague that only targets specific bloodlines are released in the United Nations' headquarters on the moon. The first victims of the plague are members of an Arabian family that run a small French restaurant in the lunar complex. The only survivor of the attack is a member of their kitchen staff who married into the family — an anthropologist who studies the mysterious deaths notes that the survivor is Kabyle.
  • In The Pearls of Lutra, there is the Lutra otter clan that got exterminated (except for a Sole Survivor) because of the beautiful pink pearls they owned that the Big Bad wanted for his crown. He never got the pearls anyway, and Martin the Warrior (the Second) shouted the name of Lutra when killing him.
  • In the Malloreon, emperor 'Zakath vows to wipe out the entire bloodline of Murgo king Taur Urgas after a scheme of the latter's got his fiancee executed. The only way to stop him from killing the surviving prince Urgit is revealing that the Queen cheated on Urgas with a Drasnian emissary, and the reason he was the surviving "son" was the mental advantage of being the only one not Royally Screwed Up.
  • One of the most horrifying episodes of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is this, the climax of the Grangerford/Shepherdson feud. It's a Roaring Rampage of Romance set off by the Elopement of Harvey Shepardson and Sophia Grangerford. By the end, all of the men (and teenage boys) of the family who has taken Huck in are dead, along with many of their relatives and at least some of the other side.
  • The Book of Lord Shang advocates this as a punishment for magistrates and police who break the law.

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

  • "Bad Bad Things" by Andrew Jackson Jihad is about a man bragging about how he killed someone's family and is now going to kill them too.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In ''Godbound the "Sever the Line" power from the Fertility word renders the target sterile and does damage (which if they are ordinary humans will likely kill them) to all descendants up to the fifth generation. The user may choose to spare particular descendants.

  • In Macbeth, Macbeth orders the whole Macduff family to be exterminated after being told to "beware Macduff". Unfortunately, Macduff himself isn't at home when the slaughter is carried out, and even more unfortunately, Macduff hits the criteria of No Man of Woman Born due to being born via C-section. Sure enough, Macduff is the one to kill him in the final battle.

    Video Games 
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, if the Warden makes Bhelen King of Orzammar, he launches a campaign of extermination against his rival Harrowmont's entire extended family. As of Dragon Age II, exactly one of Harrowmont's nephews has managed to escape, although he needs help to get far enough away to where King Bhelen can't get to him.
  • Possible to accomplish in Crusader Kings. In a meta-example for the second game, the Karlings (the family of Charlemagne, who exists in the 769 start) are so hated by players that Paradox Interactive used to sell a promotional t-shirt depicting a player wiping out their family tree.
  • The King of Fighters: In the backstory, Goenitz, one of the "8 Heads of Orochi", visited a fellow member, Gaidel, to ask him for his aid in resurrecting Orochi. Gaidel refused, saying that he chose to live free with his family. Disappointed by his non-cooperation, Goenitz induced "Riot of the Blood" on Gaidel's daughter Leona, who proceeded to murder her family and relatives. The sheer trauma she got after she went back to normal left her with amnesia.
  • The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion really likes this trope:
    • One Dark Brotherhood quest sees the player character given a contract to wipe out an entire family line. The first target is the clan matriarch, who believes the player to be a courier that will deliver birthday presents to her children—so she's prepared a detailed list of their locations and schedules. The player even has the opportunity to mock the kids about how much their mother bled before killing them, too.note 
    • This is Big Bad Mankor Camoran's plot for the game: he murders Emperor Uriel Septim and his three sons, which means that there is no one to wear the Amulet of Kings, a magical artifact that was granted to the first Empress of Tamriel by the dragon god Akatosh. The Amulet is a Cosmic Keystone that needs to be worn by someone of royal blood to keep the Dragonfires, magical flames that protect Tamriel from evil creatures known as Daedra, burning. It turns out that Camoran struck a bargain with Mehrunes Dagon, the Daedric Prince of Destruction: if he removed the Dragonfires from the equation and allowed Dagon to invade the physical realm, he'd take Camoran, his children, and their followers to "paradise." The player character's main quest involves finding the emperor's illegitimate son and elevating him to the throne, preventing Mehrunes Dagon from destroying all of creation.
    • The quest given by Mephala, the Daedric Prince of Plotting and Schemes (it's not for nothing she's also called "Webspinner"), has the player invoke this trope. Two families that share a single village have their roots in conflict, but have maintained peace among themselves — and Mephala can't have that. The player must kill the patriarchs of both clans, then steal an item belonging to them and leave them at the opposite crime scene, framing the members of the opposing family for the murders. When the bodies are discovered, any chance at pacifism goes out the window, and the members of the clans brutally murder each other in the streets until only one survivor remains.
  • Galaxy Angel sees this in the first game, as exiled prince Eonia fires an orbital barrage that kills all but Shiva (who spends most of the following events on board the Elsior). Eonia was exiled because he wanted to use Lost Technology to expand the empire.
  • Clockwerk, the Big Bad of the Sly Cooper series, has this as his overall goal. A massive owl that's thousands of years old, he so despises the Cooper family that he's gradually replaced his entire body with cybernetic parts just so he can keep tormenting them across the centuries. He's spent his immortal life trying to wipe out every single one of the raccoon thieves (succeeding in a few cases, including Sly's father), and it's eventually revealed that the combination of his determination to massacre them and the sheer hatred in his heart have made him functionally immortal—he wants to kill the Coopers so badly that he can't die until he does.

    Web Comics 
  • Kaiten Mutenmaru: The rebels decided to exterminate the Solitude family, not caring that Sick was a child with no connection to the tyranny of Pain and Yamai over the town. Although they apparently succeeded in killing Pain and Yamai, Sick survived with the help of Anne and turned into a monster seeking revenge for their atrocities.
  • The Order of the Stick: Vaarsuvius uses their borrowed epic magic to cast "familicide" to wipe out an entire bloodline of black dragons, on the basis that since the current one attacked them to avenge the death of her child, someone else from the family would try to avenge her death unless V wiped them all out in one fell swoop. The victims turns out to include the dragon-blooded Draketooth clan of humans, who would otherwise have been allies (if uneasy) of the Order.
  • This is the short-term goal of Mysto Majora Kijadhimov, the Big Bad of the roleplays of White Dark Life — specifically, she seeks to exterminate the Belnades family to undo a protective spell they cast on the Vatican, so that she can proceed with her longer-term goal of completely eradicating the Abrahamic religions in order to secure the security and prosperity of the old Slavic faiths and their followers. note 
  • In the backstory of Dragon Sanctuary, the Kiatas were all attacked and killed by Big Bad Ghalena's followers to prevent another chosen Kiata from being born. Only Merno and Utero (who were unchosen) were spared, but Merno's brother Kie (the current Chosen Kiata) was not.
    Merno: The zealots got fearless. They wiped out whole cities in Su'un. Massacred Slayers by the hundreds. Then...they — I used to have so many cousins, aunts, and uncles. My grandparents, my mother. My father was they’d have someone to give Kie's head.

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

    Real Life 
  • The Petit family was exterminated, apart from the father (who survived), by Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevski, who came to burglarize the Petits' house and then, after raping the mother and her two daughters, set fire to the building.
    • Averted in the end. The father, William Petit, remarried years later and had a son with his second wife.
  • Herbert Clutter, a wealthy farmer residing in Holcomb, Kansas, was murdered, along with his wife, Bonnie, and his two younger children, Nancy and Kenyon, by the recently paroled Richard Eugene "Dick" Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, who wanted to rob the safe they thought was there. Hickock and Smith were hanged in 1965 and were the last to be executed in Kansas since. It inspired Truman Capote in writing In Cold Blood.
  • In 1869, from August 24 to September 19, Jean-Baptiste Troppmann murdered his associate, Jean Kinck; his wife, Hortense, and six of their seven children, the last one being with a wet nurse. Troppmann became one of the more reviled criminals in 1870s France before being beheaded in 1870.
  • On January 1873, in Lyons' suburbs, Jules Seringer, a sailor, killed his mother, his stepfather, and his half-sister. He was beheaded in August 1873.
  • The postman Jean Mano thought living under the same roof as his in-laws was unbearable. On April 10th, 1872, he killed his father-in-law, his mother-in-law, his wife, and their two daughters with a pickaxe, sparing the lives of his two sons. Sentenced to life imprisonment in March 1873 in Bordeaux, he was judged a second time in Agen next June. His death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and he died at the New Caledonia penal colony 29 years later.
  • On April 13, 2003, David Hotyat exterminated Xavier Flactif and his family, out of jealousy because Flactif was wealthier than Hotyat.
  • This happens sometimes in gang wars involving the more hermetic, blood-relation-based organized crime groups such as the Sicilian Mafia and, more recently, the drug cartels of Central and South America. Simply having the same last name as an opposing faction is reason enough to be killed, especially in the "vendetta" culture of Sicily, where males are often honor-bound to avenge their slain relatives. In such a culture, it makes perfect (if chilling) sense to just kill an entire family and not have to worry about vengeance being taken years down the road.
  • In 2016, in Pike County, Ohio, four members of the Wagner family murdered eight members of the Rhoden family, possibly over child custody.
  • In 1987, an arsonist who was never identified attempted this on the late Tom Petty and his family by setting their house on fire. No one was killed this time, but a guest was injured.
  • On Christmas Eve 1985, far-right fanatic David Lewis Rice, murdered Charles Goldmark, his wife Annie and their two sons 12-year-old Derek and 10-year-old Colin, believing Goldmark was a Jewish leader of a Communist conspiracy to take over America.


Video Example(s):


Usual Suspects- Soze's Rampage

How Keyser Soze makes his reputation

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Example of:

Main / FamilyExtermination

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Main / FamilyExtermination