Follow TV Tropes

Following

Massive Numbered Siblings

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/2003_cheaper_by_the_dozen_fam-pic_3540.png
Mr and Mrs Baker and their twelve kids (discounting the dog)

Lor: I've got 13 brothers. They have their own [basketball] league.
Tino: I thought you had 14 brothers.
Lor: Huh? Oh, yeah! I forgot to count one of the Dannys.
Advertisement:

This is when a character has five or more siblings. The parents will probably be Happily Married and have usually bred like rabbits. Sometimes they are the collective root of The Clan; other times, at least some of the children are from previous relationships. Expect this to be a noisy, rowdy clan as a whole. Also, this family will probably be portrayed in a positive light.

If this trope intersects with the Badass Family trope, be very afraid. But it's more often Played for Laughs.

If the entire family consists of animals, it likely serves as a Furry Reminder (if the animals usually act human), as many animals usually give birth to litters.

For some reason, this is a popular subject for Reality TV shows — probably because this is extremely rare nowadays. In older works and stories, it sometimes just happens in passing. In the same way, older works had tropes like "the seventh son of a seventh son is always some kind of Chosen One", and this wasn't some phenomenon that's extremely rare to begin with, the way it is now.

Advertisement:

In older works, this is generally seen as something great, because in reality, most people had massive numbers of children; this trope indicated not the number of births but the lack of deaths. (One reason you had so many was that in few families did all survive.) Nowadays it's more a comedy trope. It was also common for the siblings in older works to be all-female, with their parents disappointed that they weren't getting the son they wanted no matter how often they tried. Depending on how important they are to the work, expect the siblings to have varying and distinct personalities.

See also The Clan, Big, Screwed-Up Family, and Tangled Family Tree, likely results of this kind of birthrate lasting more than one generation.

Inexplicably Identical Individuals overlaps with this. Likely to lead to a whole lot of children suffering from Middle Child Syndrome; in fiction especially it can also result in an Resentful Outnumbered Sibling. The oldest and youngest siblings will often be Practically Different Generations. See also Magical Seventh Son. An Explosive Breeder always has these; someone with Too Many Babies has them all at once.

Advertisement:


Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Animation 
  • Simple Samosa has a variation. At the end of "Meethi Masi", Samosa gets a visit from his countless number of younger cousins (among them ones named Cutie, Fruity, Pinky, Goldie, Shinky, Lucky, Happy, Harinder...), who - along with his aunt Sweetyhearty - stay the night at his house.

    Comic Books 
  • Lille Skutt in Bamse is a rabbit, and when his childhood is described we are told that he left home early because "rabbits have children often and they have many children" — his parents basically had a new litter, and Lille Skutt was the smallest of septuplets in his litter, so they were running out of space and presumably carrots. (Lille Skutt himself only has one kid, though.)
  • The Destine family from ClanDestine. At least eighteen siblings known for sure, and probably quite a few more. The parents are immortal and have been married for roughly eight hundred years, which might have something to do with it.
  • DC Comics has the Mother of Champions, a Chinese physicist whose exposure to radiation from a particle accelerator allowed her to conceive and gestate as many as 25 children in three days. These children suffered from Rapid Aging, becoming adults within two days, and were used as disposable super soldiers by the Chinese government. One comic has her standing before a graveyard filled with dozens if not hundreds of her children's bodies.
  • Disney Kingdoms: In the first issue of Figment, a brief flashback shows that Blair Mercurial/The Dreamfinder has three brothers and two sisters.
  • The entire premise of Dynamo5 from Image Comics is that the team is made up of half-siblings, the five superpowered illegitimate children of the deceased (and philandering) superhero, Captain Dynamo. The villainess Synergy also turns out to be another of Captain Dynamo's out-of-wedlock children.
  • East of West has the Kingdom of New Orleans, with its monarch John Freeman, having fifteen sons (at one point the King has to ask someone exactly how many sons he has). All named John Freeman, and known by number, though not necessarily in order of birth, since they can kill one another to "rank up."
  • The "retired" (well, sort of) Asgardian warrior Volstagg and his wife have seven children, two of which are adopted Earth boys whose parents were killed in an accident that Thor was indirectly responsible for. (They at first mistook him for Santa Claus, and he quickly became attached to them.) Well, he claimed to have eighteen children before the adoption, but he's dreadfully prone to overstatements.
  • The Ashe family of Princeless has eight kids, with seven daughters and one son. For bonus points, all of the girls have names starting with the letter 'A', and by the time of the story, all seven of them are locked up in towers waiting to be rescued by princes until Adrienne takes matters into her own hands.
  • The Snow Cat Prince: Syv has six older brothers.
  • The Guthrie Family in X-Men has 12 kids... several of whom are mutants (Sam, Paige, Jay, Melody, and Jeb). At least one of the sisters has been explicitly stated to not be a mutant, and was unhappy with it.
  • Dollicious: Ramen, the main character has seven sisters - three older and four younger.

    Comic Strips 
  • 9 Chickweed Lane: Uncle Roger lives up to his name via his eleven children, all identical white-blonde twins or triplets. No wonder he occasionally needs to take a weekend for himself to relax and give his Transparent Closet a break.
  • In Prickly City, Kevin complains about having to fill out the names of his siblings — there isn't enough paper. And he doesn't know their names.
    I'm a rabbit. My parents were rabbits! Do the math!

    Fairy Tales 
  • The Twelve Dancing Princesses were all sisters, who in some versions married twelve brothers.
  • In some versions of Beauty and the Beast, Beauty has five sisters and six brothers, of whom she is the youngest of all. Most later tellings cut out the brothers, who don't really contribute to the plot, and whittled down the number of sisters.
  • The Six Swans is about a girl trying to save her six brothers, who were transformed into swans.
    • A Norwegian variant, The Twelve Wild Ducks, is similar, only with the protagonist trying to save her twelve older brothers who were transformed into ducks.
  • Udea in the North African fairy tale "Udea and her Seven Brothers" is the eighth child and only daughter of her parents.
  • Hans Christian Andersen's Little Mermaid has five older sisters; Ariel is given six in Disney's take on the story.
  • Renzolla, the protagonist of Giambattista Basile's The Goat-faced Girl, is the youngest of twelve daughters.
  • The titular protagonist of Madame d'Aulnoy's Fortunée has six older sisters, though her adoptive peasant family only has one brother.
  • The Fairy of the Desert in Madame d'Aulnoy's The Yellow Dwarf has eleven sisters.
  • The Romanian fairy tale Stan Bolovan features a couple trying to have children, only to be rewarded with one hundred children. The children in this story survive and help defeat a dragon.
  • In The Brothers Grimm's The Godfather, the number is not given, however, "A poor man had so many children that he had already asked every one in the world to be godfather, and when still another child was born, no one else was left whom he could invite."

    Folklore 
  • In folklore, this is Aarne-Thompson type 762, otherwise known as "Woman with three hundred and sixty-five children". The stories generally go that a noblewoman is rude to a peasant woman with twins, arguing that the children can't possibly be hers because no one can possibly have two children at the same time, by one husband. The peasant responds that she hopes heaven punishes the noblewoman with as many children as there are days in the year, which leads to her giving birth to 365 children in one day. The children are all baptized, but die by the end of the day.
  • In folklore, the seventh son of a seventh son was supposed to have magical powers. So it stands to reason sorcerers might have a large family.

    Films — Animation 
  • In An American Tail, Tiger claims to have lost "eight brothers, ten sisters, and three fathers!"
  • Anastasia, in the film as in real life, had three sisters and one brother, all of whom perished in the Russian Revolution.
  • In Bambi, Thumper has five sisters, though the number changes to four in the sequel. By the end of the first film, Thumper marries and has four children.
  • Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses: As the title suggests. The protagonist, Genevieve, is the seventh.
  • In Beauty and the Beast, all of the living teacups are apparently Mrs. Potts' children, since she refers to them as Chip's "brothers and sisters" at one point. At least six others are seen; a Marvel tie-in comic, if taken as canon, says that she has twelve in all.
  • Rita from Flushed Away has about 30 younger brothers and sisters. Given that they're a family of rats, they're probably all from just two or three litters.
  • Frozen: Hans has 12 older brothers, and two of them pretended he was invisible. Having been ignored and neglected by them for so long, this is what causes him to snap and seek to rule some place else, hoping to rub it in their faces.
  • Hotel Transylvania:
    • Wayne and Wanda have one daughter named Winnie and a bunch of sons (with more on the way), two of them named Wally and Wilbur. In the sequel, Winnie claims to have 300 brothers.
    • Jonathan mentions having six brothers in the first movie. But in the sequel, only one brother and a sister show up at his wedding.
  • In the movie version of Horton Hears a Who!, The Mayor has ninety-six daughters and one son named Jojo, who all share a bathroom. He and his wife handle this pretty well, though he can only spare twelve seconds with each one during breakfast.
  • As in the original fairy tale, Disney's The Little Mermaid Ariel has six older sisters: Aquata, Andrina, Arista, Atina, Adella, and Allana.
  • Robin Hood (1973): Secondary rabbit character Skippy has many unnamed siblings.
  • In The Seventh Brother, Mr. and Mrs. Rabbit have six children — three boys and three girls.
  • In Sing, Rosita and her husband Norman have 25 piglets. Theoretically this is normal in this world of talking animals, though the babysitter that Rosita tried to hire was apparently surprised (and scared off) by the number.
  • Storks: Tulip's family turns out to consist of at least ten other children.
  • Judy Hopps from Zootopia has a whopping 275 siblings. She is a rabbit, after all.

    Music 
  • The "Kelly Family", an Irish clan with no less than twelve siblings (nine of whom were in the band) who were quite successful in Germany in The '90s.
  • The Schmitt Brothers barbershop quartet was composed of four actual brothers who had thirteen siblings.
  • Doctor Bombay in his song Doctor Boom-Bombay lists "42 cousins, I will never be alone" and later "24 brothers I can find in my home, 18 others that I really don't know, All my sisters are married and gone, 29 husbands and 32 sons". Quite the Big, Screwed-Up Family indeed, given that he also states that "My uncle's brother's sister is my mother in law. I don't know, I don't know, tell me. There's only one thing that I really know for sure, that I am, that I am, crazy."
  • Cimorelli is actually composed of six sisters. If you count their five brothers outside the group, the Cimorelli family has eleven children (Which also extends to the name of group's company, Eleven Productions, LLC).
  • Trent Reznor and his wife Mariqueen Maandig have five children as of 2020.
    • Reznor's fellow NIN member Atticus Ross is one of six siblings (and frequently does scoring work with his brother Leopold Ross), and former guitarist Richard Patrick is one of five (along with his brother Robert Patrick).
  • Céline Dion is the youngest of fourteen children.
  • Little Richard was one of twelve children.

    Myths & Religion 
  • In Classical Mythology:
    • King Priam of Troy had fifty sons and a very large (though unspecified) number of daughters.
    • Another king, Thespius, had fifty daughters, all of whom had sex with and were impregnated by Heracles in one night, resulting in fifty grandsons.
    • Danaus also had fifty daughters, forty-nine of whom were punished in Tartarus for killing their husbands, the fifty sons of their uncle Aegyptus.
    • Also, all dreams are minor gods who are siblings.
    • Just about every male god had a dozen or more kids if you count all of their illegitimate demigod offspring. However, the all-time winners have to be Oceanus and Tethys, who had 6,000 children together, evenly split between sons and daughters. They were the minor gods of every river in the world.
    • Another pair of ocean deities, Nereus and Doris, had 50 daughters and a son.
    • While not as extreme as many other examples in the mythology, Perseus and Andromeda had at least nine children.
  • The Bible allows polygamy and some men were supposed to have lived for centuries, so you can imagine this came up a lot.
    • Check out the genealogy sections in early books. One thing you may notice is that most, if not all, of them say something to the effect that a man had the next step in the line, and had sons and daughters. That's at least five right there for everyone who did that.
    • Jewish tradition says that Seth alone had 33 sons and 23 daughters.
    • After the death of Sarah (indeed, after the marriage of Isaac), Abraham went on to father six children by Keturah.
    • Famously, Jacob had twelve sons and one daughter. Granted, these were spread over four women, but one of them had the daughter and half the sons.
    • Gideon had seventy sons by an unknown number of wives/concubines. Ibzan, similarly, had 35 sons and 30 daughters.
    • Jesse had eight sons, at least at the time of the anointing of David, his youngest.
    • Speaking of David, he had at least seventeen children (the six listed as having been born in Hebron were all sons; the list of eleven may be a mixture of sons and daughters).
    • Job had seven sons and three daughters. After they died, he had seven sons and three daughters more.
  • Aztec Mythology has Coyolxauhqui, "Face Painted with Bells", and the Centzonhuitznahua, "the Four Hundred Southerners". When Coatlicue, their mother, mysteriously became pregnant without her husband and their father Mixcoatl, "Cloud Serpent", Coyolxauhqui became convinced that she had shamed them and had to be killed. Their half-baked plan went wrong when their baby brother turned out to be Huitzilopochtli, "Hummingbird of the Left". He slaughtered his brothers and sister, splitting Coyolxauhqui into pieces and turning her head into the moon, so that at least his mother could see her daughter when she looked into the sky.
  • The blind king Dhritrashtra from the Mahabharata had 100 sons and a daughter from his wife Ghandhari (made possible by semi-artificial means), plus another son conceived with a maid, 102 children in total. All but the latter get themselves killed in a bloody war of succession after cheating their cousin out of the throne.
  • Celtic Mythology: Queen Medb and her husband Ailill had seven sons and one daughter.
  • The Chinese folk tale "The Ten Brothers" features ten brothers, each with a unique power. The oldest can see to the horizon, the second can hear sounds from miles away, and so on.

    Podcasts 
  • Harmony from Sequinox has six older siblings. After the first few, her parents got used to anything that could happen raising a child.

    Poetry 
  • William Shakespeare's "Sonnet 6" urges leaving ten children behind after death.
  • There was an old woman who lived in a shoe. She had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Hart wrestling family. Wrestler Stu and his wife Helen Hart had 12 children: Smith, Bruce, Keith, Wayne, Dean, Ellie, Georgia, Bret Hart, Alison, Ross, Diana, and Owen Hart. All the boys were wrestlers except for Wayne (who was a referee) and all the girls married wrestlers.
  • The Dudleys of ECW, a family of (kayfabe) half-brothers who had the same father: Dudley, Dances With, Big Dick, Little Snot, Sign Guy, Chubby, Buh-Buh Ray, D-Von and Spike. Only the last three moved on to WWE.
  • The Von Erich Family: Family patriarch Jack Adkisson, better known as Fritz Von Erich, had six sons. The oldest, Jack Jr., suffered an electric shock in his backyard and fell into a puddle, drowning at age 6. All of the remaining sons (Kevin, David, Kerry, Mike, and Chris) wrestled, using their real given names and the Von Erich surname. Sadly, by the time their father died in 1997, Kevin was the only surviving son.
  • John Cena just squeaks in, being the second oldest of a family of five brothers.
  • Roman Reigns joined this club in a different way in 2020 when his wife gave birth to their second set of twins, giving them five kids in all.

    Radio 
  • Bleak Expectations:
    • Pip Bin and Ripely have six children, though we only ever see one, Lilly, as an adult.
    • After they marry, Harry and Pippa have over twenty children, explained (via the series' usual grasp of logic) as being a result of Victorian Science meaning a woman could conceive and give birth in a rapidly short amount of time.
    • Ripely herself has sixteen older sisters. Her mother suffered Death by Childbirth, giving birth to hexadecamumplets.
  • One of Garrison Keillor's "News from Lake Wobegon" monologues featured the the Lake Wobegon Whippets baseball team: nine brothers all born "nine months and ten minutes apart."

    Roleplay 
  • Katheryn, an NPC from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, has seven brothers (originally they were supposed to belong to her father, but a misreading of her bio led to them becoming her siblings instead). Competing with them is part of what's driven her to be so cut-throat and perfectionist.
  • In Digimon World: Infamy, just about any family of Digimon is bound to have quite a few children running around, the relationship between the Player Character and his wife having resulted in seven children, four girls, and three boys, with no plans to stop anytime soon.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The Dragon Blooded Exalted of the Realm are encouraged to have numerous children because of their hereditary power which is integral to the proper functioning of the state. Combined with their extended lifespans, it's quite possible for ten generations of the same family to be living under one roof (although their exceptional wealth ensures that it's a big roof).
  • Warhammer 40,000: The Emperor of Mankind artificially created 20 sons (the Primarchs) out of his own genetic material. If one counts the Sensei as canon, then he had many thousands of natural children on top of that. In addition, all Space Marines and Custodes are technically biologically related to either one of the Primarchs or the Emperor himself due to their bodies being infused with their patron's geneseed, and the Primarchs often refer to their associated Space Marines as their sons.

    Theatre 
  • Leaf Coneybear of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has six siblings: Marigold, Brooke, Pinecone, Landscape, Raisin, and Paul.
  • Productions of The Pirates of Penzance will often do this with Major-General Stanley's daughters, as it's the only chance to have a female chorus in the operetta. The script calls for at least four but how many appear in addition to this number is up to the director.
  • Titus Andronicus: Titus Andronicus has 26 children (25 sons, one daughter). At the start of the play, most are dead, except for five — so the trope still applies (however, by the end of the play, only eldest son Lucius is still alive).

    Toys 
  • Briar Light from Ever After High has five younger brothers and three younger sisters.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa:
    • Byakuya Togami from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc is one of either sixteen or 108 half-siblings, depending on the source.
    • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Akane Owari says she has "about seven little brothers and sisters." She isn't entirely sure about the number, since every time she gets a new stepparent, they bring along several kids. Because Akane has such a large family, she has to work multiple part-time jobs (some of which are fairly questionable) to support the kids.
  • In Highway Blossoms, Marina is the middle child of nine children. She has two younger brothers, two more younger sisters, three older brothers, and one older sister.
  • This is common in Long Live the Queen, since having an heir is considered mandatory for anyone in the nobility in order to avoid problems with succession. Nearly all of the characters have at least one sibling and some have many more; one noble is shown to have six children by two different fathers. The player character, Elodie, is one of the only characters in the entire game to not have any siblings at all, which is particularly unusual since not only is her title obviously an important one, but Elodie's father has his own titles that Elodie can't inherit since her being in line for the throne takes priority.

    Web Animation 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Chakona Space:
    • It gives us the Goldfur/Forestwalker household. 16 cubs, with another on the way.
    • Goldfur fathered 2 (Malena, Lupu), Garrek x Goldfur 2x, Garrek x Malena (Triplets!), Midnight x Forest (Twins), Forest x Midnight, Boyce x Midnight, Boyce x Forest, Kris x Katrina, Kris x Leanna, Leanna x Katrina. Since Goldendale is still living with Goldie and Forest: Dale x Lupu. (Dale x Swiftwalk on the way.) As many of the cubs don't share more than a single parent, and a few don't share any. But Goldfur and Forest are siblings, and Forest is mated to Leanna, Kris and Trina. And, thanks to a Teleporter Accident, Dale is now Goldfur's accidental twin sister.
    • Neal Foster's 2 different sets of adopted cubs. (With 6 more on the way with his companions / mates, all of which he treats as if he fathered them himself.
  • The Bright family of SCP Foundation has six children: three sons, two daughters, and a sixth sibling who was Unpersoned after becoming the new iteration of Nobody. They aren't exactly portrayed in a positive light.
  • Thalia's Musings:
    • Thalia and her eight sisters make up the Nine Muses.
    • Apollo's son and daughter-in-law, Asclepius and Epione, have nine children.
    • At the end of Volume One, Calliope gives birth to the Corybantes, identical septuplet brothers.

    Web Videos 
  • The noble de Rolo family of Critical Role had seven children, consisting of four boys and three girls. All but one — player character Percy, the third-eldest — were killed before the story began. His younger sister Cassandra is later revealed to be alive as well.
  • The Parody Commercial "Powerthirst" promises that anyone who drinks it will have 400 babies.

 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Massively Numbered Siblings, Massively Numerous Siblings, Profusely Numerous Siblings

Top

Gaggle of Noonan Siblings

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / MassiveNumberedSiblings

Media sources:

Report