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Puppet King

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"The planet is being taken over by the Federation, but we don't want to come in here and use our muscle, you know what I mean? That ain't subtle. So what we do is we help one guy take over the planet. He pulls the strings, and then we pull his."
Jim Kirk, Star Trek: The Original Series, "A Piece of the Action" note 

When the nominal leader of a nation — most commonly some form of royalty — is secretly a figurehead controlled by other elements, whether inside or outside the government. Usually the real power will be a Regent for Life, a scheming consort, a Government Conspiracy, a Dragon-in-Chief, or a particularly skillful Evil Chancellor. On paper, the general populace will think that the nominal ruler is really the one in charge, but it could very well be an Open Secret to anyone who closely observes the political sphere.

As for what the actual monarch thinks of all this, they may be trying desperately to get power back, may be content with the status quo as "the way things are meant to be", may be too busy having fun to care, or in some extreme cases may not even know themself the extent to which they're being played. In some cases, this will be built right into the system of government, though only the highest officials will know that. Often the protagonists will help open the Puppet King's eyes and help him take his government back.

This trope could backfire on the puppeteers if they pick the wrong person for the job. A puppet who turns out to be The Chessmaster or a Magnificent Bastard and gets a Reassignment Backfire can seize power for real, turning on his would-be controllers with a vengeance.

Does not apply to cases like most modern-day monarchies, where the true power lies in elected officials while the monarch is a ceremonial role whose only real job is spreading goodwill. The government has to at least make a show that the ruler is calling the shots to qualify for this trope. Has nothing to do with the Teen Titans villain Puppet King, who is an Evil Sorcerer with the body of a literal puppet, or puppets that play the part of kings in Puppet Shows, or King Friday XIII from Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Also not to be confused with Puppeteer Parasite or People Puppets.

Compare Shadow Dictator, Behind Every Great Man, and Decoy Leader. Apparently Powerless Puppetmaster and The Puppet Cuts His Strings are subversions. A usually more mundane example may be a Clueless Boss. See also Our Presidents Are Different and Puppet State.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The Child Emperor in Akame ga Kill!, who is so deceived by his advisor, Minister Honest's, lies about the state of the empire that by the end of the series he pilots a Giant Mecha in an attempt to quash the rebel threat, and is ultimately decapitated after he fails to put down the revolution.
  • In Attack on Titan, it turns out that King Fritz, who initially appears as a stern, decadent king, is in fact just a senile figurehead who would give Trevor Slattery a run for his money. The real king is Rod Reiss, Krista/Historia's father.
  • In The Bride of Adarshan, Alec realizes that this is what the nobles are trying to turn him into when his brother, the actual king, falls ill and someone has to temporarily become his replacement. As a prince and therefore someone in a position of authority, but as someone who has no actual supporters or influence, he'd be the perfect pawn.
  • Code Geass has the Tianzi or "Child of Heaven", who technically is supposed to be the leader of the Chinese Federation and the heir to the old imperial tradition... but in practice, the current one is a Shrinking Violet pre-teen who's kept away from her people by her council, the High Eunuchs, who rule the country as they wish. However, not everything is lost: Tianzi has a Knight in Shining Armor-like protector in her bodyguard, the very badass Li Xingke, who holds Undying Loyalty for her after she spared his life and has decided to give her the power she needs to help China and the world.
    • Comes up again in the finale where Schneizel has set himself up as supporting Nunnally as the future Empress of Britannia over her brother Lelouch. Though it's in part a play on Lelouch's Big Brother Instinct as well as shocking him with the fact Nunnally actually survived an incident a little over a month ago that he thought killed her, it's also setting up Schneizel to be the power behind the throne. Of course, Lelouch's confrontation with Nunnally in the Grand Finale shows Nunnally is much stronger than anyone thought and likely would have resisted it. That said, being stuck in a wheelchair would have greatly impeded her attempts to be a proper Empress if Schneizel wanted to control her.
  • Führer King Bradley from Fullmetal Alchemist and he knows it. He is the Homunculus Wrath and only the figurehead to the real leader, Father. For his entire life, he served Father's will and had very little freedom of his own. It is why he cherished his wife, as it was the ONLY thing he willingly chose with that very freedom he had.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist (2003), Bradley is the Homunculus Pride and is controlled by Dante in her never-ending use of the Amestris military as a tool of despair to make people create Philosopher's Stones. However, since Dante couldn't care less about day-to-day issues of the nation, Bradley has a lot more autonomy in this version than his original counterpart and seems to take an inordinate amount of, well, pride in his own leadership.
  • Quite common in the various Gundam series.
    • The first Mobile Suit Gundam series had this. By the time the action rolls, Sovereign Degwin Zabi's power over Zeon was heavily diminished due to his old age and his son and heir Gihren's manipulation. And it gets worse after Degwin's youngest son, Garma, dies; the old man's thrown across the Despair Event Horizon, Gihren plots more and more, and then...
    • This was also used in further Universal Century installments, specially in the case of one Mineva Lao Zabi. She's a seven-year-old girl and the last descendant of the Zabis, but the one truly in command is her tutor and the governor of the Axis, a Dark Action Girl known as Haman Kahn.
    • According to other sources, Haman Kahn herself was this close to play the trope straight at age sixteen, after her father and former leader Maharajah died and she was appointed as the Axis governor by the Zeon military, hoping she'd be easy to control. She was NOT.
    • The Earth Alliance in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED and Mobile Suit Gundam Seed Destiny is made up of several of the world's most powerful nations, including The Atlantic Federation, Eurasia, and other major power blocs in Easa Asia, Africa, and South America. Yet despite that, the agenda is really being controlled by Blue Cosmos, and several other major anti-Coordinator lobby groups, headed first by Murata Azrael and later by his successor, Lord Djibril. It's Blue Cosmos who pulls the strings; the Earth Alliance just follows along.
    • Other Gundam examples include Queen Maria of the brutal Zanscare Empire, who is on the whole a very kind and decent woman who is painfully aware of her lack of real power. Mobile Suit Gundam Wing had Duke Dermail attempt to make Relena Peacecraft into one of these when he gave her the title "Queen of the World", but she went and turned that into a truly authoritative position and ended up reforming the Rommefeller Foundation into a benevolent pacifistic state.
  • In the 2015 anime/manga of The Heroic Legend of Arslan, for all intent and purpose, King Innocentius's brother the Prime Minister and High Priest Bodin are far more active and respected within the Lusitanian ranks. Innocentius himself is very gullible and easily manipulated, essentially approving whatever they want to do.
  • Ophis, the official leader of Chaos Brigade is this in High School D×D.
  • In Himenospia, Himeno uses her wasp-like brainwashing powers to take over her hometown after her infected mother and classmates are all killed by the police. She tries to be a reasonable ruler and make a utopic nation but is outplayed and manipulated by practically everyone else in the story. In particular, Nagisa, her bully-turned-friend who suggested the creation of Himenospia in the first place, was for the previous 50 years actually a fellow wasp queen dead-set on luring and killing the American queen Serena.
  • In Macross Delta, the current King of Windemere is just a child, having ascended to the throne following his father's passing. As such, all the real power is held by Chancellor Roid. Unlike being just left on the throne like other examples, the King is in fact the Wind Singer, whom Roid uses to further his own agenda by manipulating him into using his power to take control of those who are under the effect of Var Syndrome.
  • In The Mysterious Cities of Gold, Ambrosius drugs the Raja into obedience, effectively becoming the country's ruler in the shadow.
  • In Naruto it was eventually revealed that Yagura, the Fourth Mizukage and ruler of the Village Hidden in the Mist, was mind-controlled by someone who claimed to be Madara Uchiha. The extent to which he was aware of his control is unknown. After what's shown of Yagura's true personality, however, it can be assumed that he was probably under complete and utter control of Tobi.
  • Rebuild World: The Modern Lion Steel Corporation was formed when a hunter, Lawrence, found an Artificial Intelligence Robot Maid Alice sealed away, who was The Remnant of the Precursors company, and Lawrence acted as a proxy for Alice rebuilding the company in the modern era. Lawrence crewed the ranks of the corporation through his massive number of offspring, who ended up forming a Cyberpunk equivalent to a Decadent Court jockeying for influence.
  • One Piece:
    • Kurozumi Orochi technically holds the title of Shogun, but the ruler of Wano has always been Kaido. It's supposed to be a Villain Team-Up, but it's all but assured that without Kaido's power backing him, up Orochi would have been overthrown. When Kaido decides to enslave all of Wano and turn the entire country into a weapons factory, he beheads Orochi —showing that the vile snake never had a place in Kaido's operations.
    • Following the Wano Arc, it appears that Buggy has set up a new organization that hunts members of the Navy with Hawk-Eye Mihawk and Sir Crocodile serving under him... but in actuality, Mihawk and Crocodile are calling the shots, and Buggy's henchmen and the Navy were just Comically Missing the Point. Mihawk convinces Crocodile to just go with it, as Buggy can serve as their figurehead while being targeted by their enemies. It's actually subverted in the end. While Crocodile and Mihawk are Buggy's superiors on paper, Buggy still is the one who everyone else in the organization recognizes as the boss and he isn't the total pushover that Crocodile and Mihawk assumed he was. When Buggy disregards Crocodile's and Mihawk's demands by sending the organization into the race for the One Piece with a charismatic speech, there really isn't anything Crocodile or Mihawk can do to stop it (Other than continue beating Buggy up, of course).
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs:
    • Princess Hertrude of the Principality of Fanoss, and her sister Hertrauda, are merely puppets for the War Hawk Government Conspiracy of Earl Garrett and The Black Knight, who rewrote the Principality's history to meet their ends. The situation ultimately moves towards Hertrude, after their defeat, serving as Dutchess under the vassalship and close supervision of the Kingdom of Holfort.
    • In the Alternate Timeline Marie Route, the Fanoss situation develops differently. After The Black Knight's death, Garrett launches a coup and Civil War for the throne to use Hertrauda as The Scapegoat, being stopped by Leon in the nick of time, with Leon swearing to protect Hertrauda at Hertrude's Last Request, working together to rebel against Holfort.
  • The Twelve Kingdoms: Youko Nakajima/Queen Sekishi realizes she is on her way to becoming this sometime after her coronation because the court ministers had become accustomed to power over the long absence of a monarch, and use her inexperience to easily keep her from making any significant decisions. So she goes incognito to learn about her own country. This leads to her becoming involved in a rebellion against the corrupt portion of her government, which in turn results in her taking direct control of the army, thus solving that little problem.
  • Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle:
    • Ragreed Forus attempts to become this. He takes part in an attempted coup to take over the New Kingdom, with the help of the Heiburg Republic. As a surviving noble of the Old Empire, he would ostensibly become emperor of a resurgent Old Empire while in reality being a puppet of the Heiburg Republic. Ragreed is fully aware of this but doesn't care, thinking that it's fine as long as he gets the privileges of being emperor.
    • Raffi, the queen of Atismata, spends much of the series being lead around by Prime Minister Nulph and the four great noble houses. Volume 16 shows that she's fully aware of this and despairs at how little purpose she has in life. Fugil offers to solidify her rule using the power of the Ruins and she accepts, but this trope is still in effect because now she's depending on Fugil rather than the kingdom's political factions. While their interests align for the time being, it's obvious that Raffi's good fortune will be lost if Fugil betrays her or if the protagonists weaken the power of the Ruins.

    Comic Books 
  • Vic the Veep in The Boys is the Lethally Stupid Vice President of the United States who's entirely bought out by the Evil, Inc. Vought, who spend the majority of the series planning to assassinate the President for a hostile takeover of the country. Vic's idiocy ends up doing the job for them, but his reign is thankfully short-lived due to Homelander's coup.
  • Dungeon Twilight: Early in the series, Herbert separates himself from the Dark Entity. Fayez Ul-Rahman, the leader of the assassin's clan, take advantage of this by being the strongest faction but leaves Herbert as the Great Khan to avoid infighting and pretend to renew his loyalty in public. He makes it clear to Herbert and his daughter that he is in charge and Herbert'll be nothing more than a figurehead.
  • The comic book series Fables has a literal puppet emperor. Gepetto, who's still playing humble woodcarver, is actually in charge.
  • Fantastic Four: Latveria has a Prime Minister (and by implication therefore he's got to have a cabinet of some kind), but since DOOM is the unquestioned lord and master of Latveria, the Prime Minister's job is basically to deal with all the boring fiddly day-to-day details of ruling a country that DOOM can't be bothered with. Exactly how these Prime Ministers get the job is unclear, but they can be replaced (or replaced) whenever Doom feels like it.
  • Sleepless: Lord Helder is the "second son of a lord's third daughter" with no real power and he's desperate to gain any shred of authority he can — first by courting his cousin Crown Princess Rellen, and then by marrying Lady Poppy when King Surno tells him to give up pursuing Rellen. Helder realizes that he and Poppy would be behind any potential children of Rellen's in the line of succession, but he's smart enough to realize that Poppy is the only member of the court to have gained Rellen's trust and confidence. On their wedding night, he tells Poppy that her influence over Rellen means they could rule Harbeny from the shadows.
  • In Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics), Elias just can't help but be controlled by someone. The first time, it was Geoffry St. John, who tried to make it so that he and his Secret Service was a much better choice than Sonic and the Freedom Fighters. Second time, Elias' own father Max attempted to be this way, refusing to give up the past.
  • Star Wars: Darth Vader: Queen Trios makes it clear that while she might be Darth Vader's puppet, she's still the absolute ruler of her world and she's entirely willing to follow Vader's methods of asserting her authority. Vader had massacred the previous royal family and left her in charge because a ruler unprepared for the position is easier to control. Trios ends up doing the same with the Sole Survivor of a family of rebel ore-barons, and looks to Vader for approval of her action. In one scene she even reprimands Vader for undermining her authority in front of her subjects, a point Vader concedes.
  • The V for Vendetta comic had a puppet dictator. Originally he was a strong, visionary leader (and of course an evil fascist), but over the course of the story, he slowly withdraws from actually running the country, and though he remains an important public symbol and figurehead, leaving one of his ministers to basically assume real control of the government.

    Fan Works 


  • In Black Sky, this is the reason why Erica Lanza refuses to run for Vongola Decimo Boss; while they have the proper bloodline to qualify, they're fully aware that they would become this for Xanxus. Interestingly, while they wouldn't actually mind letting the other run things behind the scenes, they're concerned about setting a precedent for "unfit" heirs being taken over by more competent subordinates.
  • Cycles Upon Cycles: The members of the Citadel Council are reduced to this by their respective governments after their botched negotiations lead to a brief war with the Koprulu Alliance, wherein the Council forces are curbstomped and the Batarians are almost wiped out by the Zerg. The member nations of the Council take more control over international politics, leaving the Councilors themselves as little more than figureheads.
  • The Victorious/iCarly/Sam & Cat fic series "More Moons than Our Eyes Can Recount and Store" reveals that Sam is essentially this for Dice's company; since Dice is a minor he can't legally own his company himself, so initially his mother was the legal head of the company, but Dice has since signed legal authority over to Sam.
  • Lost in Camelot has Bo claim that Uther is this for her; fae tradition automatically makes Bo the ruler of Camelot as the first fae to take up residence in that territory, but while Bo is willing to defend the kingdom from other fae, since she doesn't want to actually rule anyone she claims to more benevolent fae that she just lets Uther think he's still in charge, essentially claiming that Uther deals with the boring parts of ruling a kingdom for her.
  • In A Man of Iron, Tywin Lannister idly entertains the notion of a Warden of the North being loyal to the Lannisters, as seen when he lets Antony Stark take residence in the Westerlands and become his bannerman. Of course, Antony is far down the succession line, but a man can dream... With the Civil War looming on the horizon and Jon Snow's adoption by Antony, Tywin feels no qualms about wiping the entire Stark family out and introducing Jon as new Lord of Winterfell. He reasons it would keep the Northern lords happy — Jon being from the Stark bloodline - while giving the bastard the opportunity to avenge himself from Catelyn Stark's scorn by supplanting her children.
  • Toonatopia: The Animation Initiation: King SpongeBob is really just a figurehead for Plankton, who is pretending to be his own long-lost nicer twin cousin in order to manipulate him.


  • In the Neomorphs series, after the Visser rebuilds the Yeerk Empire into the New Yeerk Order, the Council of Thirteen offers him the position of Emperor. The Visser turns them down, sticking to his military title, simultaneously reducing the Emperor (and the rest of the Council) to figureheads, who at best are planetary governors of the Yeerk homeworld. Later on in the series, it's shown they're pissed about this, and the new Emperor (the Visser's twin) is gathering forces to retake control from him.


Code Geass

Harry Potter

  • Dominus Mundi : The King of Kings: Back when the Atlantean Empire still existed, there were a few cases when power rested in the hands of the Mother of Sovereignty (a dowager of sorts), the Divine Sovereign being more of a puppet to his mother than an actual ruler.
  • The Parselmouth of Gryffindor: Cornelius Fudge is a mere figurehead, with Hermione as the power behind the ministerial chair, through his constantly asking for her advice because he has no idea how to deal with any sorts of responsibilities.

Jackie Chan Adventures

  • Queen of Shadows plays with this a little. While the line of Queens are the ultimate authority of the Shadowkhan Empire, most administrative power lies in the hands of the Circle of Generals, though the reigning Queen can override them at any time. Also, any attempt to try and actively reduce the Queen into an actually powerless figurehead (like Jirobo has been trying to do) is seen as something only lowly humans would try to do.

Merlin (2008)

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

A Song of Ice and Fire

  • Chasing Dragons: The Norvoshi Government in Exile formed by the pragmatic faction after the reactionaries' coup is technically led by the priest known as the Voice of Noom, but Chief Archivist Mycan Banderis quickly reduces him to a figurehead and sets himself up as Chief Minister.
  • In The Raven's Plan, after the rebelling slaves and the Second Sons take over Mereen, Daario appoints Hizdahr zo Loraq as ruler of the city. Hizdahr quickly realizes that Daario will be the one really in charge, with him just as a figurehead.
  • Summer Crowns: As Warden of the North, the crippled and drug-addled Brandon Stark becomes this to the Three Regents (Roose Bolton, William Dustin, and Rodrik Ryswell), who do their best to tarnish his image so that they can eventually take direct control.


  • I Woke Up As a Dungeon, Now What?: King Medyrsjn of Central rules a desolate kingdom flanked by two much more powerful Empires, either of whom will have him assassinated the instant he shows signs of standing up to them or favoring their rival. His day-to-day survival is dependent on his ability to never outright endorse or refuse any offer from either empire, and to maintain the facade of dissolution and gluttony that makes him appear non-threatening.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Sultan in Disney's Aladdin is completely under the control of Grand Vizier Jafar, thanks in large part to a Hypno Ray staff. Late in the film, Jafar uses his magic to turn him into a literal puppet king, Iago operating him like a marionette and quipping "Puppet ruler wanna cracker?"
  • Ark: Empress Cathabel of the Storrians, whose title is just in name only, for every single authority of leadership has been delegated to her treacherous advisor, Vizier Baramanda, who's manipulating the Empress into giving him full control over the planet.
  • In Barbie as the Island Princess, this is the plan of Queen Arianna. She has raised and trained her daughter Princess Luciana to be the perfect wife for Prince Antonio and to always obey her mother. She plans to drug Antonio and the rest of the royal family after the wedding, so they will sleep forever and eventually die, and states her intentions to rule through her daughter:
    Arianna: And who will rule the kingdom? Luciana, the new queen! And who rules Luciana?
  • In BIONICLE 3: Web of Shadows, Roodaka wants to set up Vakama as one, having brainwashed him into submission to help her get rid of the true king Sidorak, who is a borderline puppet ruler himself, obliviously following Roodaka's manipulation but still outranking her as the leader of the Visorak horde. Once Sidorak is dealt with, Vakama goes back to being the hero he once was and uses his authority to simply dismiss the Visorak horde before Roodaka could take command. Roodaka still gets the last laugh — all her plotting was aimed at freeing her own master Makuta from his crystal prison, which Vakama inadvertently helps her do even as a good guy.
  • The Emperor's New Groove: It is implied that Emperor Kuzco's narcissistic/self-absorbed behavior was due to Yzma's influence when growing up, meaning she most likely attempted to control Kuzco while on the throne. Unfortunately for her, this backfires, resulting in wanting to directly take the throne for herself by murdering him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Blazing Saddles: Played for laughs. The Governor is a childish idiot who regularly ignores his duties to fool around with his Sexy Secretary, and his cabinet appears to be comprised solely of Yes Men. The attorney general, Hedley Lamarr, effectively rules the state because the Governor will sign anything put in front of him. However, on the rare occasions the Governor decides he wants to get something done, Hedley can't openly defy him and has to subvert his will behind the scenes.
  • Averted in Jackboots on Whitehall as the King of England is thrown in the Tower of London by the Those Wacky Nazis. This is despite the fact that's he's already a puppet king.
    The King: You fools! Don't you know I'm ¾ German?
  • In the James Bond movie Licence to Kill, not only does the drug lord Franz Sanchez have the president of Isthmus (quite literally Panama in all but name) Hector Lopez on his payroll, but in one scene reveals that he cut the president's pay in half just to get his attention, and when the president confronts Sanchez, Sanchez writes a check for the correct amount while saying, "You were awfully quiet when I got arrested. Remember, you are only President...for Life."
  • The Last Emperor: Pu Yi as the ruler of Manchukuo under Imperial Japan's watch.
  • Star Wars:
    • Emperor Palpatine was originally intended to be this, with Darth Vader ultimately taking the reins by the end of the trilogy, but when Palpatine finally appeared in Return of the Jedi, this idea had been changed. (And probably even earlier than that: in The Empire Strikes Back, Emperor Palpatine's transmission to Vader onboard the Executor strongly implied that the Emperor was a force user.)
    • The novelization of the original Star Wars film, which actually preceded the film's release, specifies that Palpatine was a wealthy merchant turned Senator and made Emperor by a junta of warlords who were the true power in the Empire. In The Empire Strikes Back, an early script has Vader speaking not to the Emperor, but to his Vizier, Sate Pestage.
    • Subverted in the prequels - the Jedi believed Palpatine was a Puppet Chancellor for Darth Sidious. Turns out Palpatine actually was Sidious. This was explored further in the novelization, but Mace Windu briefly alludes to it in Revenge of the Sith.
    • Played straight with Snoke. The Rise of Skywalker revealed he was a homunculus created by the Sith Eternal, ruling the First Order in the Emperor's stead.
  • In Storm Over Asia, the Evil Colonialist British occupiers discover that a local Mongolian herder is a descendant of Genghis Khan. They set him up as a Puppet King. He eventually rebels and leads an army against the British.
  • The Three Musketeers (1973) / The Three Musketeers (1993): The King of France is a puppet to Cardinal Richelieu.
  • Tora! Tora! Tora!: Emperor Hirohito is described as being quite opposed to the alliance with Germany and war with America. It also doesn't matter what his opinion of the matter is, as the Cabinet holds all the real power in the government and allow him to attend meetings as a formality.


By Author:

  • Isaac Asimov's works:
    • The Empire Novels' Pebble in the Sky: The High Minister, leader of the Society of Ancients, is a pawn in the schemes of his own Secretary. The High Minister is, in theory, an absolute dictator with the power to dismiss Secretary Balkis and assign the post to someone else. However, they rely on Balkis for just about everything related to their job.
      It was the High Minister, of course, who had the semblance of power; the Secretary who had the reality. And in the privacy of the High Minister's office that circumstance was quite plain.
      For the High Minister was pettishly puzzled and the Secretary coolly indifferent.
    • Foundation Series:
      • "The Psychohistorians": The Emperor isn't named, because they're unable to directly affect the plot. Chief Commissioner Linge Chen, of the Commission of Public Safety, is the true power behind the throne. This has to be explained to Gaal Dornick, because he's from a backwater planet, and initially assumed he could rely on a hearing with the Emperor to escape unjust political imprisonment.
      • "The Mayors": King Lepold of Anacreon, whose government is really controlled by his Evil Uncle, Prince Regent Wienis. By the end of the story, he's puppeted by the Foundation, instead, as they control the Divine Right of Kings.

By Title:

  • Queen Victoria is in thrall to the title character in Anno Dracula until her Heroic Sacrifice. It serves as an interesting analysis of this trope. In a legal and political sense, Dracula is merely Royal Consort, a position that comes with absolutely no actual authority or any special loyalty from the British people. Without influence over Victoria all of Britain turns on him.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: The archduke of Ehrenfest has a complicated relationship with this trope:
    • Up to the scene in which archduke's identity is revealed, he was letting his maternal uncle and mother get away with various dubious activities. He spends part of the aforementioned scene announcing that he's putting his uncle and mother under arrest because they have become more trouble than they're worth. It later turns out that one of the archduke's cousin's children was reluctant to become a retainer in the archduke's household because he considered him to be essentially a puppet to his mother.
    • After her arrest, many of the archduke's mother's allies are persuaded that the archduke is being manipulated by the man who's closer to being his Cloudcuckoolander's Minder and Hypercompetent Sidekick in reality.
  • Bazil Broketail:
    • Thrembode attempted to make the prince of Marneri into this, since he's a brain-damaged and easily manipulated fool, so he can be a pawn of Padmasa after becoming king. However, this is thwarted by the witches, who arrange some "accident" for him.
    • The people of Kraheen worship Ajoth Gol Dib like a messiah, Kraheen armies fight in his name, and yet he holds no real power. He is just a religious figurehead, used by Padmasa to control the locals.
  • Conan the Barbarian: In Robert E. Howard's "The Scarlet Citadel", the villains want to replace Conan with one; Conan scorns them for needing an excuse.
  • In the The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids story Marksmanship-526 and the Secret Society Stratagem, we meet "the Prince of the House", the boyish Nice Guy Dimension Lord of the Prime Universe. The Three's internal monologues suggests that the "House" in question is rather less benign than he is, and are the real power.
  • Dark Shores: Urcon is a dreaded tyrant of Arinoquia, ruling with an iron fist and brutal force. When he is defeated, it turns out he is a frail old man and the actual ruler was one Ashok.
  • Days of Infamy, a Harry Turtledove alternate timeline series, features Japan invading Hawaii following the Pearl Harbor attack. Mirroring the establishment of the puppet emperor Puyi of Manchukuo the Japanese military places a local noble with a dubious pedigree as the new King of Hawaii.
  • In Destroyermen, the Empire of New Britain Isles (located where Hawaii would be on our Earth) is officially ruled by Governor-Emperor Gerald McDonald. However, in reality, the Empire is run by the Honorable New Britain Company, which primarily makes it money by enslaving women. Not only do the Company higher-ups control much of the navy, but they enforce their control by the presence of their equivalent of The Political Officer on each ship, who are, officially, only observers. Except no captain would dare disobey for fear of reprisals and Kangaroo Courts. Furthermore, the Company higher-ups appear to be in league with the Holy Dominion (mainly located in Mexico) and are paving way for a Dom invasion. Only with the help of The Alliance, the Empire manages to throw off the Company yoke and join the Alliance against the Dominion and the Grik. Gerald McDonald once again rules the Empire (until he's assassinated by his own people, and his teenage daughter Rebecca Anne McDonald becomes the Governor-Empress. Unlike her father, she's ruthless and completely dedicated to the Alliance cause).
  • Discworld:
    • Guards! Guards! the goal of the Elucidated Brethren is to set up one of these with themselves holding the reins. The idea is that they will get a chap with the usual characteristics (noble, not too bright, does what he's told), have him seemingly slay a dragon they summoned (and subsequently banish), and reap the rewards. Unfortunately the dragon turns out to be Not Quite Dead, and then things get interesting...
    • According to Unseen University's Bursar, all of the Archchancellors are supposed to be this. Seeing almost all of them get killed off by Klingon Promotion before doing anything important, the only thing they needed to do was sign papers. That all came to an end when Mustrum Ridcully was put in charge... along with the Bursar's sanity.
    • In Pyramids Pteppic becomes King of Djelibeybi with plans to modernize, only to discover he has doesn't even have the power to pick his lunch. High Priest Dios knows exactly what the king should be doing and what decisions he should be making, so he announces the king's commands and everyone nervously ignores Pteppic protesting that he said the exact opposite. He ends up rescuing someone he sentenced to death from his own dungeons and fleeing the country.
  • Gilthas from Dragonlance looks like this (in fact, he was derisively nicknamed "the Puppet King"), controlled by the Dark Knights and a succession of Quisling Evil Chancellors, but he's actually one of the secret leaders of the resistance against his own rule, and his wife is the military leader of said resistance. Needless to say, the ones who thought they had him under control were not happy about this.
  • In Mercedes Lackey's Dragon Jousters series the two sets of royalty in the opposing kingdoms are under the control of the same group of evil magicians determined to keep the war going to they can harvest the life energy of the slain soldiers.
  • The White Vampire Court in The Dresden Files, Lara controlling her father, the King, after the book Blood Rites.
  • In Dune, Emperor Corrino is the absolute ruler of the known universe, but he needs to heed the demands of the Spacing Guild, without them the galaxy will be completely isolated from each other. The Guild demands for the Emperor to kill Paul Atreides, or else Paul will stop the flow of spice in Arrakis which everyone depends on.
  • The Elminster Series: Belaur, the oldest prince of Athalantar, hires many mages to help him secure the throne. However, they're the ones truly in charge afterward, though he doesn't seem to care, being far more interested in drinking and bedding beautiful women.
  • The Fifth Season: Yumenes in theory has an Emperor, but in practice he's little more than an expensive ornament. The bureaucrats—particularly those who control the earthquake-manipulating orogenes—are the ones who really run the show.
  • Garrett, P.I. has a Puppet Kingpin in Chodo Contague, who suffers a debilitating stroke in Dread Brass Shadows. His co-Dragons take over the Outfit for a time by putting words in his mouth; when his daughter Belinda figures it out, she ousts them from power and exploits her comatose father in the same way. (The Dead Man's hinted the current situation may be more complex, but nothing's come of that in the last few books.)
  • Gentleman Bastard: The Bondsmages of Karthain are casual Super Supremacists who make a sport out of throwing the city-state's elections; unknown to the general population, the political parties are functionally indistinguishable except for which Bondsmage faction is manipulating them. Gives a whole new meaning to "political theatre".
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows:
    • We have a Puppet Minister of Magic, Pius Thicknesse, who is being controlled by Yaxley via the Imperius Curse, who in turn answers to Lord Voldemort. In the movie version, Thicknesse seems to be an active Death Eater himself rather than just a pawn, though the hierarchy of him-Yaxley-Voldemort is otherwise intact.
    • In the same book, we have the Death Eater Severus Snape serving as the new Headmaster of Hogwarts, acting as Voldemort's representative at the school in the wake of his rise to power; though in his case, he turns out to have been loyal to Dumbledore all along.
  • This is the ultimate fate of Rassendyll in KJ Charles's Perspective Flip romance novel The Henchmen of Zenda. The now-Queen Flavia is the one who actually knows about politics and governing, and also the one who actually cares about doing a good job, so she's the one running the show even though there's a King. Once she has what she needs from Rassendyll-posing-as-Elphberg, namely the title of Queen Regnant and heirs, he conveniently develops a mysterious illness, although Detchard, the protagonist, has no way of knowing whether it was really murder or just a coincidence.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: The President of the Galactic Empire has no actual power, and exists to distract the public from the real leaders. The Emperor is even more useless, being kept in suspended animation for the last ten thousand years so they can still call it an empirenote . The galaxy is really "ruled" by the decisions of a delusional old man in a hut who refuses to believe in anything he doesn't experience empirically.
  • In Inheritance Cycle, the Varden Elders try to turn Nasuada into this, but they're blindsided by Eragon pulling an Exact Words on them (they demanded he swear an oath of loyalty, he swore his loyalty to Nasuada, not to the Varden).
  • In the Presence of Mine Enemies: After Buckliger is deposed in a coup, it's pretty blatant that the new official chief of state is a nonentity who is acting as the mouthpiece for the SS.
  • N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy: In theory, the Hundred Thousand Kingdoms are jointly ruled by the Nobles Consortium and the Church of Itempas, with the Arameri family as "advisors". In practice, the Arameri dynasty are ruthless and absolute rulers, their will enforced by four enslaved gods, and everyone knows it.
  • In Sinclair Lewis' It Can't Happen Here, Buzz Windrip is a puppet dictator, with his right-hand man Lee Saranson really pulling the strings. Saranson's lust for power drives him to exile Windrip after an aborted assassination attempt.
  • The Locked Tomb: Gideon the Ninth: Harrow's parents. Quite literally. While they're still the rulers of Drearburh in name, Harrow controls them and everything else in practice. She's been coming up with increasingly elaborate vows (of silence, fasting, etc) for them for years to explain why they never speak or appear anywhere that's not a public event. Harrow started this con to avoid meeting a similar fate—when her parents died, she was only ten, and she knew that if word got out, she would end up somebody's vassal in fact if not name. (Something similar happened to the Fourth House; due to their Barons' tendency to die gloriously and young in battle and leave their titles to literal fetuses, they're more or less an appendage of the more politically influential Fifth House.)
  • Magic20: In Off to Be the Wizard, the late King Stephen and his son King Arthur are this to Merlin. When Jimmy first came to Medieval England (like most time-traveling hackers, he got caught updating his bank account balance), he decided that he would become the mythical Merlin and insists that everyone calls him that. He heads to London and convinces King Stephen to rename the city "Camelot" and his son "Arthur" (born Eustace). Eventually, "Merlin" becomes the de facto ruler of "Camelot", with the King always going along with his "suggestions". "Merlin" builds a new palace of pure gold and commissions a large statue of him, Stephen, and Arthur, with "Merlin" looking more dominant of the three. After Jimmy's defeat by the other wizards, they tell Arthur that he's now free of "Merlin"'s tyranny, only for Arthur to look at him in confusion and ask what he should do now. Since he's never been a true ruler in his life, he has absolutely zero experience in ruling his kingdom.
  • In The Mental State, Commissioner Viceman, a notoriously right-wing official, suddenly starts making a lot of liberal changes to the state prison system. Unbeknownst to his colleagues and even the inmates themselves, his reason for doing this is because he is secretly being blackmailed by one of his own prisoners, Zack State. Once he has the dirt on Viceman, Zack essentially serves as the supreme authority in prison, despite his fellow inmates only ever speculating about just how much he is really responsible for.
  • Discussed in the fourth Noob novel. Töne Förk is the rightful heir to the Coalition's leadership, but performed a Heel–Face Turn to avoid getting captured and possibly killed by the men of Lorth Kordigän, who took over the Coalition by force. When they meet again, Lorth Kordigän attempts to spin his defection into him abandoning his people. Töne replies that even if Lorth Kordigän had left him alive and let him take his rightful position, he would have probably done everything he could to make him into this trope.
  • The Obsidian Chronicles: The Dukes of Manfort. In reality the Dragon Society runs the city and has for centuries, controlling the Dukes through having their chief advisors be senior members.
  • In Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Emperors Shao and Xian are this. Shan is the puppet of Dong Zhuo, while Xian is the puppet, initially, of Dong Zhuo, but ultimately of Cao Cao. In Wei, Cao Fang, Cao Mao, and Cao Huan end up as puppets of the Simas.
  • Safehold: On paper, Grand Vicar Erek XVII of the Church of God Awaiting is the absolute ruler of the temple lands and leader of the dominant (and, at the start of the series, only) church on Safehold. In practice, he's so controlled by the Vicars known as the Group of Four that it's a common joke that he demonstrates his independence from his Chancellor by picking what shoes to wear in the morning. The only thing he is ever shown actually doing in the first nine books is delivering a traditional annual State of the Faith address to the senior clergy, which the Group of Four wrote for him. He's so ineffective that when a coup places Robair Duchairn in the Grand Vicar's throne at the end of book 9, the author couldn't be bothered to mention what happened to the official holder of that position, only the fate of the puppetmasters.
  • In La Saga de los Confines, by Liliana Bodoc, Molitzmós is a nobleman of The Lords of the Sun who, out of ambition and revenge, betrays all his people and helps the Sideresians, the army of Misaianes The Son of Death, conquer the whole kingdom. He is named king, but he is simply a symbolic figure without any power, Molitzmós is not happy with this and begins to plot to subvert this situation.
  • The Saga of Seven Suns: Literally built into the Terran Hansa Charter. The Great King is a monarch who acts as the Hansa's public face and is a focus for loyalty, but the Hansa Chairman (a career politician publicly seen as the king's assistant) is the one really calling the shots behind the scenes, and the king has no influence over policy.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire has a lot of this due to its focus on the politics of Westerosi nobility.
    • Subverted by Joffrey. He is installed as one of these, but unfortunately, he is still officially the king, and consequently if he gives an incredibly stupid order in public, and indeed he does so several times, they can't just countermand him. However, once his grandfather, Tywin Lannister, comes to King's Landing, Joffrey plays this far straighter.
    • Young King Tommen is a puppet for his mother, the Queen Regent Cersei. She actively discourages him from developing a backbone by making him beat his whipping boy when he tries to argue with her. Unfortunately, Tommen is betrothed to Queen Margaery from the rival House Tyrell, leading to both Cersei and Margaery seeking to exert control over Tommen.
    • Robert Arryn is nominally Lord Paramount of the Vale but is young, sickly, and childish. The real power is with his mother Lysa. Then later, and more prominently, this power falls into the hands of his stepfather, Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish.
    • If Littlefinger's drunken ramblings are to be believed, he is grooming Sansa Stark, who he is posing as his illegitimate daughter Alayne Stone, to be this for the North, the Vale, and the Riverlands — and possibly even all of Westeros, if his plan is indeed to covertly take over the whole continent using their combined might.
    • The Princes of Pentos and Lorath are the symbolic leaders of their respective cities, but in both cases are figureheads, with both cities' magisters holding the real power. This is especially true in Pentos, where Princes tend to become human sacrifices when the city falls on hard times.
    • In the backstory given in Fire & Blood, Aegon III was essentially one of these during his regency, with any attempt to make an actual decision shot down by the unbelievably slimy Unwin Peake. Eventually, Peake decided to just cut out the middle man and take over himself, by which point Aegon grew a spine. Once he turned sixteen, Aegon made clear he was definitively done being anyone's puppet, and told his regents to go forth and multiply.
  • Star Wars Legends: In the young readers novella series The Glove of Darth Vader, the Empire is nominally headed by Trioculous, who claims to be Emperor Palpatine's illegitimate son. In actuality, Trioculous is an incompetent buffoon being used as a figurehead by the Central Committee of Grand Moffs, chaired by Grand Moff Hissa, who is himself an Unwitting Pawn of the Prophets of the Dark Side.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, Alethkar was multiple nations until it was united by Gavilar. Unfortunately he was killed, a lot of the people currently ruling parts of Alethkar used to rule nations in their own right, and his son Elhokar doesn't have nearly the strength of will his father did. As a result, he's fairly ineffective. In the second book, Gavilar's brother Dalinar starts trying to make the king more of a uniting figure. But between Dalinar's forceful personality and Elohkar's indecision and general lack of competence, even people who like Dalinar think it just makes the king look like his puppet.
  • The Sunne in Splendour: Henry VI is weak-willed and mentally ill, and he is controlled by either his wife or whatever powerful courtier is near him. But when the Earl of Warwick, puts the teenage Edward IV on the throne, he expects Edward to be a puppet and is very wrong.
  • Emperor Sarabian starts The Tamuli as one of these. He has the prestige and the perks, but his Vast Bureaucracy appropriated all the power generations ago. By the end of the trilogy, his new Elene friends help him take his power back. To maintain this charade, the bureaucrats have tried to make the imperial bloodline as stupid as possible. While the Emperor has many wives the only one who can legally bear an heir to the throne is selected by the bureaucrats based on their stupidity. If the current Emperor or heir shows too much intelligence or initiative, they're assassinated.
  • The King of France in The Three Musketeers is a puppet to Cardinal Richelieu.
  • Time Out of Time: Tristan acts as the keeper of the market for Balor (who Glamours himself into his "Animal Tamer" disguise) in the absence of the Filidh.
  • Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • The Lord of the Rings: King Théoden of Rohan was effectively turned into one puppet until Gandalf snapped him out of it. In the movies, this was due to literal Mind Control, while in the books Evil Chancellor Wormtongue was "just" a very Manipulative Bastard who used mundane means and the king's advancing age to get actual control of the government handed over to him.
    • The Fall of Númenor: Sauron is taken to Númenor as a prisoner, but before long he has become Ar-Pharazôn's chief advisor, and he takes even less time to become the real power behind the throne. All he need do is whisper 'Great kings must have their will' in Ar-Pharazôn's ear, and the king will do whatever Sauron wants, convinced that he is doing his will instead of Sauron's.
  • The Tough Guide to Fantasyland: One variety of bad king is being controlled by the Dark Lord mentally, along with their elite soldiers.
  • In the Towers Trilogy, Farrow is ostensibly run by the hereditary leader Alden Kian-Farrow. In reality, he is addicted to drugs provided to him by the caster Ahrent Altaigh, who makes all the actual decisions.
  • Dunevon, the four-year-old king of the Copper Isles in the Trickster's Duet. Rubinyan and Imajane are his regents and take the opportunity to be even more tyrannical than their father was. Later, kill him so Rubinyan can just take the throne outright. This is defied on the raka side — after Sarai elopes, Dove takes her place in their plans but makes it very clear that she is not going to be one of these.
  • Victoria: Bill Kraft refuses to become the governor of Maine and de facto leader of Victoria. But since Bill thinks of himself as a Prussian, his friends contact the last heir of the House of Hohenzollern, the Kaiser, who orders Bill to become the Governor. So, in a book where New England secedes from the rest of the United States, their chosen leader answers to a foreign monarch.
  • War of the Worlds: Global Dispatches: in the story "Foreign Devils", The Guangxu Emperor starts out as this. Officially, he is the leader of China but in reality, prince Tuan has all the power because of his many allies and formidable army. The Martian invasion, which cripples Tuan’s army, provides the emperor with a chance to finally take back power however.
  • Warbreaker: God-King Susebron is an example of one who knows and accepts his own role as a symbol and his priests' role as the actual administrators — at least, until his young wife Siri convinces him otherwise.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • This is what the rebel Aes Sedai faction intend when they summon Egwene Al'Vere to become their version of the Amyrlin Seat. Because she is so young and not even completely trained, they assume they will have no trouble pushing her to any aim they have in mind, while presenting the image of a united group. What they don't consider is that she has unbreakable Heroic Willpower and wholly takes Siuan's lessons in political maneuvering to heart, so within a book or so she has them dancing on her strings and becomes the strongest Amyrlin in centuries.
    • Rahvin the Forsaken installs himself as Queen Morgase's consort under an alias and reduces her to a puppet through mind-control magic.
    • Also, the Sharan monarchs secretly have always been controlled by the Ayyad Magical Society, who publicly present themselves as servants to the throne.
    • The kings of Amadicia are effectively figureheads, as the Children of the Light Church Militant organization eclipses them in political and military power.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Parodied in the Angel episode "Smile Time", where the creator of a kid's puppet show is a human being controlled by the literal demonic puppets that act in the show.
  • In Babylon 5, we see a succession of Emperors from the Centauri Republic. The monarchs are often powerless to elicit any positive change, even when their intentions are good. Taken to extremes in the case of the Regent and then Londo Mollari once he becomes Emperor. Both men have a Drakh "Keeper" surgically implanted in their bodies, controlling their movements and speech, once the Drakh covertly take over Centauri Prime.
    Luc: (skeptical) Are you really the Emperor?
    Emperor Mollari II: I sometimes ask myself the same thing.
    • Cartagia was intended to be a Puppet Emperor for Lord Refa and his conspiracy. It... Didn't really work out (Or maybe it did while Refa was alive. He didn't actually appear in the series until after Refa was assassinated).
  • The head of Global Dynamics on Eureka is apparently assumed to be this for the Department of Defense. In season 4, this is subtly hinted at being the reason Fargo landed the job in the altered timeline.
  • In the Farscape three-parter, "Look at the Princess", both the Peacekeepers and the Scarrans are conspiring to put a ruler amenable to their interests on the throne of a neo-feudal planet.
    • There's also Dominar Rygel XVI, a literal puppet king.
      Rygel: I'm nobody's puppet!
  • Game of Thrones:
    • King Tommen Baratheon, but unlike the books, TV!Tommen is a bit older (about 13 or so) and we see things from his perspective, allowing a deconstruction of this trope. He is young, naive, naturally passive, and the only parties who could teach him to rule on his own want to control him for their own reasons; as a result, he is very easily manipulated. Furthermore, he has no desire to become a dictator like his late brother Joffrey. Instead, he goes in the exact opposite direction and lets himself be controlled by literally everyone around him: his grandfather Tywin, his mother Cersei, his Small Council (who don't even bother telling him when they hold their meetings) and his wife Margaery — all of whom use Tommen to further their own agendas. Later, the religious leader, the High Sparrow, swoops in and wins him over to the Faith Militant's cause, which ruins everything the Small Council had planned. Anyone can pick up a puppet's strings if they're left lying around, after all comes to a head when Cersei prevents Tommen from going to the sept where her trial is to be held and she murders nearly everyone in the previous sentence by blowing it up, explaining why she and Tommen were conspicuously absent. Tommen sees the destruction of the sept from his bedroom window and walks off the ledge. Whether he was distraught at the loss of his wife and faith or realized how powerless he was amid the machinations of those around him, his act of suicide was the one decision that was entirely of his own accord.
    • Robert Baratheon lets himself become one almost voluntarily since it turns out he hates the trouble of ruling. Instead, he largely leaves governing to his small council while he eats, drinks, whores, and hunts.
    • Subverted by King Joffrey Baratheon, who is installed by Cersei as one but his Stupid Evil tendencies mean he goes spectacularly off-script at the end of "Baelor" and leaves his puppetmasters powerless. During their respective tenures as Hand of the King, Tyrion invests no effort to make Joffrey into this trope because he realizes the futility of it and just does things without Joffrey knowing, while Tywin does as he pleases because he can intimidate Joffrey into not interfering. In Season 3 however, Margaery endears herself to Joffrey by playing to his sadistic side and using Obfuscating Stupidity to keep him from realizing she's manipulating him. Cersei disapproves of it, but Tywin is amused by it and lets it happen since at least finally someone is learning to control him. Even in Season 1, Renly and Littlefinger both try to set Joffrey up as a temporary puppet to Ned Stark, only for Ned's Honor to unravel their plans.
    • While Mace Tyrell is officially the Lord of House Tyrell, Lord Paramount of the Reach, and Warden of the South, it's clear that the real brains of the family is Mace's sharp-witted mother Lady Olenna. In fact, she is the one whom male lords like Tywin address as their equal while the middle-aged Mace is seen with all the relevance of a child. It's also implied that she was running things even when her husband Luthor was alive.
    • Robin Arryn is nominally Lord Paramount of the Vale, but he is young and childish, so the real power is his in the hands of his smothering mother Lysa and later his stepfather Petyr Baelish. In the final episode, with both Lysa and Baelish deceased and Robin now fully-grown, it appears he will finally become a dutiful leader in his own right.
    • With the death of Sansa's father, her mother and her brother Robb, her younger brothers being presumed dead, her sister missing, and her second-oldest brother being illegitimate and sworn to the Watch, the Lannisters plan to use her name to take the North by marrying her to Tyrion Lannister.
    • Though not explicitly stated, this is the apparent reason Bran is elected King of the [s]Seven[/s] Six Kingdoms. Beyond the rhetoric of a convict, the nobles apart from the Starks see Bran 'the Broken' as a physically sterile, mentally disabled figurehead. Due to his powers of clairvoyance, he is shown to be disconnected from the world and barely has an agenda of his own, leaving the nobles of Westeros with a fortune-telling machine that can show them exactly what they need to do to get what they want, and take all the credit for it. The joke's on them, though, as Bran's egalitarian objectives mean appointing commoners to the Small Council and slowly equalizing the balance of power between the nobles and commoners.
  • Parodied in The Goodies Rule — OK? with the Goodies setting up a literal puppet government using the cast of The Sooty Show. Unfortunately things soon get out of hand, culminating in Chequers being demolished by a giant Dougal and Zebedee. At the end democracy is restored, only for a credits gag to reveal the politicians are puppets being controlled by the Goodies, who in turn are puppets controlled by series producer Jim Franklin.
  • House of the Dragon: When King Viserys' health starts to fail, his wife Queen Alicent takes on a more active role in governing alongside her father/Viserys' chancellor Otto. And when Viserys becomes too infirm to rule at all, Alicent and Otto essentially rule the kingdom "in his name" but simply follow their own agendas. And while Alicent was content to step aside and let her friend and Viserys' legitimate heir Rhaenyra claim the throne when the time came, Otto wasn't willing to let go of the power he spent decades building, so he orchestrates a coup against Rhaenyra to crown his bumbling teenage grandson Aegon solely out of male primogeniture, and once Alicent gets onboard with this plan as well, they clearly intend to use Aegon as a front to continue ruling.
  • I, Claudius. The senators decide to play along with Caligula's delusion that he's a god, thinking that a mad emperor will mean they will have the real power. They discover otherwise, to their cost.
  • Kamen Rider Build: Prime Minister Masakuni Mido ends up as one to Namba Industries. The moment he refuses to do what they say, their CEO has him assassinated.
  • Leverage has Damien Moreau practically run San Lorenzo, at one point ordering the changing of the banking laws of the country to save himself money, with Ribera as his figurehead. When the team manage to steal the rigged election from them both they convince Ribera to turn on Moreau in exchange for a comfortable and peaceful retirement.
  • Arthur is seriously flirting with this territory in Merlin due to the constant influence of and his desire to not tick off Agravaine.
  • In My Name Is Earl, Darnell is in Witness Protection for refusal to kill one of these. The puppet king in question was a child, and Darnell secret agent Harry Munroe couldn't bring himself to harm a child.
  • Power Rangers Zeo: After King Mondo is defeated, leaving the Machine Empire without a ruler, Rita and Zedd create the robot Louie Kaboom, and have him usurp the throne so they can secretly control the empire through him. The plan fails however when Goldar and Rito lose the remote, allowing Louie to go rogue.
  • Rome:
    • Using this trope, Octavian tricks Cicero into making him consul, suggesting that he wants the title out of vanity and that, being so young, he would require Cicero's constant guidance. He quickly demonstrates otherwise by marching his legionnaires into the Senate.
    • Invoked by Cleopatra, who refers to herself as a Puppet Queen in order to present a submissive face to Julius Caesar so it will be in his interest to support her taking the throne, which her brother (a Royal Brat who is too arrogant to accept the reality that Egypt is a vassal state of Rome) currently holds. However, she has no intention of staying that way. She has a child with Caesar and plots with Marc Antony to have her son inherit the Roman Empire
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Original Series:
      • "A Piece of the Action" provides the page quote. The crew find themselves on a planet of gangsters who are constantly fighting one another, and Guile Hero Kirk offers to set up someone as a puppet leader of The Federation, which he pretends is The Syndicate, in order to bring peace to the world.
      • In "Patterns of Force", what happens when a Starfleet historian ignores history and tries to bring back the Nazis for a Planet of Hats? He ends up giving drugged speeches for an Evil Chancellor.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
      • During the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, they had an occupational government with Bajorans serving as puppet rulers. When the Cardassians left Bajor, the surviving collaborators largely left with them, and were soon after exiled from Bajor.
      • When Cardassia joins the Dominion, they at first install the ambitious Gul Dukat as their puppet ruler, even though he and Weyoun - the Founders' toady-in-chief - try to maintain the illusion that Dukat is not a puppet ruler. When Dukat loses his sanity and is captured by the Federation, the Dominion installs dull yes-man Damar as leader of the Cardassian Union; he ends up being a puppet controlled by Weyoun. When Damar sees how far Cardassia has fallen under his "leadership," he decides that enough is enough and declares rebellion against the Dominion; the Dominion soon replaces him with another puppet, Legate Broca, who remains unquestioningly loyal to the Founders even when he's about to be executed after the Cardassian Fleet defects.
  • The White Queen: King Henry VI's brief return to the English throne finds him staring vacantly and barely able to talk, while Lord Warwick runs the country.
  • Emperor Lao Tzu from Xena: Warrior Princess is an almost literal example. When his health deteriorated, his wife Lao Ma (who was also Xena's former mentor/possible lover during her time in China) placed him in a magically-induced coma and proceeded to rule in his name, undoing his tyrannical rule but letting him take credit for the good deeds she accomplished. What makes this almost literal is that she would prop him up in the palace gardens once a month to assure people that he wasn't dead.
  • Yes, Minister: The transition of Jim Hacker from MP to PM is one of these, with the civil service hoping to find a replacement for the outgoing PM who isn't controversial or decisive in any way, but will let them get on with what they see as their job (namely, running the country rather than the politicians). They seize upon Jim, and for the most part Sir Humphrey manages to keep Jim following the policies he wants... usually.

  • Magazine's song "Motorcade" seems to be about such a leader:
    The man at the centre of the motorcade/Has learned to tie his boots

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted features Regent Fokuf, the only person to sit on the throne of the Realm since the Scarlet Empress disappeared — the main reason being that everyone wanted a witless fool who could easily be bent to their whims. Fokuf basically spends his days rubber-stamping documents and wanking to the Immaculate Texts, and it's stated that if the Scarlet Empress returns, she'll likely destroy him for the insult of daring to sit on her throne.
  • In Pathfinder, the land of Numeria is ruled by the barbarian king Kevoth-Kul, known as the Black Sovereign. In truth, however, he spends most of his time in a hedonistic drug-addled haze, with the Technic League (the ones supplying the drugs) being the real power. It's something of an open secret, but to say so is to invite a quick death. The Iron Gods adventure path for First Edition gives the PCs the opportunity to break the League's power and help Kevoth-Kul escape his addictions and reclaim true authority. When Second Edition updated the setting to incorporate the events of the 1E adventure paths, this option was confirmed as canon.
  • The Star Wars: Roleplaying Game. Following Emperor Palpatine's death at the Battle of Endor, the Galactic Empire is in total disarray. For the next two years the Rebels, who are now the New Republic, sweep through Imperial territory getting closer and closer to the capital Coruscant. In the midst of this Imperial Admiral Oxtroe realizes that the war is lost and tries to negotiate with the Rebels a compromise that keeps some of the Empire in place. Her plan is to place Palpatine's grand-niece on the throne. However, she's only 11 years old. She would be nothing more than a powerless figurehead (see constitutional monarch) while the New Republic leadership would run the government, including any military forces. Before the negotiations could take place however, Oxtroe is assassinated, possible by an agent of Grand Admiral Thrawn.

  • In Pacific Overtures, the Emperor of Japan, when the real power was wielded by the Shogun, is literally played by a Bunraku puppet. The musical employs this trope to ingenious means toward the end when a full-bodied actor literally emerges from the puppet as the Emperor grows out of this trope and commands the superior power.

    Video Games 
  • Alundra 2 has a literal example, as Baron Diaz took over Varuna Kingdom and replaced the King with a wooden puppet.
  • Annventure of a Lifetime: The Mysterious Figure/Ego Koibito becomes an Evil Overlord in-training who launches a takeover of Blackwater Country and builds an entire Egopolis with her name and color motif plastered everywhere. But she only got her power as a result of a Deal with the Devil, and the devil in question, Tyrannia, orders her around and is clearly the true driving force of the takeover. When the Figure fails to defeat Ann, instead regaining her memories, Tyrannia unceremoniously offs her for failing to uphold the deal to kill Ann.
  • Ar tonelico II: Melody of Metafalica's Cloche is officially the Holy Maiden of the Grand Bell, leading the people of Metafalss in the War Against the Goddess Frelia. In truth, she starts as an isolated young woman closely monitored by the Grand Bell's upper crust, especially Alfman Uranous.
  • Jin and Ragna's sister Saya, now the Imperator of the NOL, in BlazBlue: Continuum Shift has been turned into this by Terumi. It wouldn't be the first time he's mind raped somebody into pulling a Face–Heel Turn. In BlazBlue: Chronophantasma, it is subverted by Saya, who is revealed to be possessed by Hades Izanami, the Goddess of Death, and she had been playing Terumi and Relius the entire time. She later backstabs them after they became useless to her. Then in BlazBlue: Central Fiction, it is Double Subverted, as Hades is revealed as a Literal Split Personality of Saya, and Terumi and Relius use her to run NOL while they manipulate in secret, though she still has a level of autonomy and seems perfectly fine with her position.
  • Subverted in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 2, Premier Alexander Romanov was installed as the Premier of USSR by the US and Allies to make him one of these. Unfortunately, he's actually anything but and immediately use his newfound power to amass and rearm the Soviet military to invade the US itself.
  • In the Crusader Kings series, rulers who have vassals that are too powerful can be reduced to this. Most players will attempt to avoid such situations if they are the rulers; if they are said vassals, to encourage and capitalize on it.
  • In Cyberpunk 2077, V discovers a conspiracy in which somebody has been brainwashing Night City's new mayor Jefferson Peralez and his wife, implanting them with Fake Memories and altering their personalities with the apparent intent of... making them better politicians. The player never does discover who's responsible, and has the option of letting them go unopposed or warning Jefferson. If they go with the former, he becomes even more of a Reasonable Authority Figure and declares war on homelessness, but in the latter he becomes consumed by paranoia in an attempt to invoke The Puppet Cuts His Strings.
  • In Deus Ex, U.S. President Philip Mead is a figurehead for MJ12, deferring to Walton Simons on government policy according to in-game newspapers. It's also hinted most of his predecessors were this for the Illuminati for at least a century.
  • Disgaea Dimension 2: The Krichevskoy Group, feeling that Laharl is unfit to be Overlord, decide to use their loyal knight, Barbara, to not only oust him from the throne, but then become this, allowing them to rule the Netherworld through her. Barbara doesn't mind it, but the Fall of Overlord Laharl ending shows how badly this backfires; since Barbara was conditioned her entire life to follow others' orders, the inability to think for herself becomes quickly apparent, and within a small timeframe her group is ousted, causing the Netherworld to fall back into a state of anarchy.
  • The villain's plot in Dishonored is based around the conspirators who murdered the Empress of Dunwall turning Emily, her daughter, into one of these so that the Lord Regent can rule in her stead. Then, when they're all dealt with by Corvo, by the Loyalists. Hell, the DLCs for the game are based upon preventing this from happening as well, only in that case it's due to a Grand Theft Me plot.
  • Dragon Age:
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, if Alistair becomes King while not hardened he becomes this. The person with true power can be Anora if they are convinced to get married, the Warden if they become the Chancellor or Arl Eamon. He doesn't seem to care.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the three individuals vying for the throne of Orlais are the sitting Empress Celene, her cousin Duke Gaspard, and the elven spymaster Briala. Since elves normally can't pursue politics, the closest you can come to having Briala rule is by letting Celene get assassinated, installing Gaspard as Emperor, and blackmailing him into letting Briala order him around behind the scenes.
  • Dragon Quest V: King Korol is the leader of Order of Zugzwang, but Ladja is the one who is really calling the shots. When Korol is defeated by the heroes, Ladja appears to tell him he is nothing but a pawn who has outlived his usefulness and execute him.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Throughout the series and backstory, this is what the position "King of Morrowind" has been ever since Morrowind's vassalization into the Empire under Tiber Septim. Septim was convinced by his Dunmeri General, Symmachus, to spare the young Barenziah, the sole survivor of her influential Dunmeri family after the Imperial Legion sacked Mournhold, for this reason. She would be placed in foster care until she came of age and then would be installed Queen of Morrowind, a figurehead ruler who would appease the Dunmer and look out for Imperial interests. The Tribunal Temple and Great Houses held any and all real power as far as the Dunmer people were concerned, while the position of "King" (or Queen) was an Imperial convention they had no need or respect for. Come Morrowind's Tribunal expansion, Manipulative Bastard and renowned Chessmaster Hlaalu Helseth (Barenziah's son) takes over as King and plans to change that...
    • In the series' backstory, once the madness of Emperor Pelagius the Mad became too publicly apparent, he was declared unfit to rule, institutionalized, and his wife, Katariah, was made Empress Regent to rule in his place. Pelagius was Emperor in name only from that point until his death. Imperial history books as much as admits that Katariah was the de-facto ruler even before that point (one even suggests that having someone competent to actually keep things running was the entire point of Pelagius' father arranging the marriage), and the Regency mostly marked the point when even the pretense of Pelagius being in charge couldn't be maintained.
    • In Skyrim, High Queen Elisif the Fair is jarl of Haafingar and nominally the ruler of the province of Skyrim. In practice, the ongoing civil war means that General Tulius of the Imperial Legion is in charge of the loyal part of the province, and Elisif's inexperience means she defers to her late husband's circle of advisors when it comes to ruling her province. For example, upon hearing a complaint of mysterious happenings in a spooky cave, Elisif orders a full legion of soldiers to investigate, before her Steward, Falk Firebeard, suggests a more "tempered" approach, which Elisif immediately endorses before declaring the matter settled. Should the Stormcloaks win the Skyrim Civil War and Ulfric becomes High King, Elisif will remain jarl, stuck serving the very man who killed her husband.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy II has Emperor Mateus, the ruler of Palamecia. The novelization of the game implies that he and all of the previous Emperors of Palamecia were the puppet kings of Satan. This ends up backfiring when Mateus dies and proceeds to take over Hell.
    • Played with in Final Fantasy IV. Cecil and the party think this is what's going on in the kingdom of Baron, with the king being manipulated by Golbez, the new leader of the Red Wings armada, in order to steal all the crystals with the kingdom's military strength. However, the real king of Baron has been dead since before the game even started, and has been replaced by Cagnazzo, the Fiend of Water, who is under Golbez's command.
    • The Empire attempt to do this with the female lead Princess Ashe in Final Fantasy XII. Let's just say that the Empire give up on this plan real fast.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, we have Sultana Nanamo Ul Namo, the young Lalafell ruler of Ul'dah. Despite being the ruler, the real power goes to the Syndicate, a gathering of people in which she is part of, comprised of Royalists, who side with her and ruling by her hand, and the Monetarists, who seek to line their pockets with Gil through power. Nanamo gets incredibly fed up when the majority Monetarists reject the refuges from Doma that she decides to Abdicate the Throne and dissolve the monarchy, turning Ul'dah into a republic. The plan gets derailed when the Monetarist Lalafell Teleji Adaleji learns of this plan and attempts to assassinate her. When she recovers, she's still ruler, but fellow Monetarist Lolorito, who learned of Teleji's plan and prevented her assassination, gave her all of Teleji's assets along with some of his own so she could have some power.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem Gaiden, Lima IV may sit on the Zofian throne, but it's his Evil Chancellor Desaix who holds all the real power. The story proper begins when Desaix dispenses with all pretense and has Lima IV assassinated.
    • King Mordred of Etruria in Fire Emblem: The Binding Blade was once The Good King, but fell into a deep depression after the murder of his son. As a result, High Chancellor Roartz and Nobleman Lord Arcard take advantage of this to control the country behind his back and side with Bern during the war.
    • Empress Sanaki of Begnion in Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance was intended as one of these by the senators, and made Empress when she was only 5. She's well aware of how corrupt the people really running the country are, but is powerless to do anything about it herself. Unfortunately for them though, she's a lot smarter than they anticipated and manages to lead Ike and co. into exposing the senate's laguz slave trade, and joins the army that eventually dethrones the senate in Radiant Dawn.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Ionius IX is nominally the head of the Adrestian Empire, but the lords of the other Imperial noble houses take advantage of his declining health and advanced age, and conduct a shadow campaign to steal all of his power and influence. After Edelgard journeys to the capital to succeed her father as Emperor, her first act in her new position is to have all of the corrupt lords deposed and arrested, putting the seat of power back in the hands of House Hresvelg. A Black Eagles-aligned Byleth can personally witness this.
    • Done twice over in Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes. When Thales launches a surprise attack on Edelgard after her defeat at Arianrhod in Dimitri's story route, he places a powerful mind-control spell on her and puts Duke Aegir in charge as the regent of The Empire under the pretense of Edelgard recovering from a serious injury and being unable to perform her duties as emperor, with Thales directly telling Ludwig he expects him to fail. Later, the duke uses this literally during the battle of Ailell when he parades around a still-brainwashed Edelgard to force those still loyal to her to defend him from the Kingdom, Alliance, and Church armies, expecting her presence alone to boost the Imperial army's flagging morale.
  • In Half-Life 2, the alleged Big Bad, Dr. Wallace Breen, is actually a figurehead for the Combine Advisors, who are the true Big Bad, having chosen him as their puppet, making Breen a Big Bad Wannabe.
  • In Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Shadow of Death, Sandro forms an alliance with an ambitious but foolish necromancer named Finneas Vilmar. He acts as Finneas' top advisor and helps him secure the throne of Deyja so he can rule it in secret. Sandro even refers to Finneas as his puppet king in his narration. In the end of the last campaign "Specter of Power" Finneas cuts his strings by tricking Sandro into attacking an innocent Deyjan lord and Sandro is imprisoned by the angry Deyjan court.
  • Horizon Zero Dawn: The Carja Sundom is split between two factions (the Sun and Shadow Carja) after the previous king went crazy and started up mass human sacrifices, promptly being overthrown and murdered by his second-oldest son Avad. The Shadow Carja refuses to acknowledge Avad's claim to the throne and are led by his younger brother Itaman... who is about six years old and obviously has barely any idea what's even going on. The real leaders of the Shadow Carja are the Sun-Priests and their enforcer Helis, who smuggled Itaman away from the Sundom capital during the coup and have set up shop in a nearby summer palace. Itaman's duties amount to looking regal and letting the Priests to speak on his behalf anytime something of note is happening. Eventually, Itaman's mother (who never approved of any this), defects to the Sun Carja and takes Itaman with her, robbing the Sun-Priests of their last vestige of legitimacy.
  • Multiple schemes in King of the Castle involve the nobles trying to reduce the King to a powerless figurehead who answers to their every command.
    • The Propaganda scheme involves the Barons of the March rallying the people behind their charismatic claimant, and if they reach the third stage, they can vote to either depose the King in a coup or provoke a civil war and offer emergency "assistance" that becomes permanent, rendering the King's title purely ceremonial until their death.
    • The goal of the Possession scheme is for the Counts of the East to make the ruler a Meatpuppet King by summoning one of two demons to possess them, forcing them to do the East's bidding on behalf of their claimant until they are no longer needed and quietly murdered.
    • One possible outcome for the Monopoly scheme, in which the Patricians of the Coast privatise the entire kingdom by buying it out from under the King, involves the King being allowed to keep the throne, but only as a corporate mascot for the Patricians, who hold the true reins of power.
    • The Doppelganger scheme, which is available to multiple regions, revolves around finding a lookalike for the King, whom they lure into a trap in which the ruler is murdered and replaced with the double. The double, a peasant from the scheming region, has no real power and immediately abdicates in favour of the region's claimant (after which they are quickly murdered).
    • The Intimidation scheme, to which multiple regions have access, entails bribing or Blackmailing the Palace watch into either swearing loyalty to the region's claimant or stepping down in favour of soldiers more loyal to the region. For the final stage of their scheme, they can vote to either assassinate the King with the Watch's co-operation or simply threaten to do so unless the King obeys their every request (an arrangement that lasts until the King dies in a hunting "accident").
    • The goal of the Subterfuge scheme, which can be pursued by multiple factions, is to undermine the reputation of the King's inner circle and force them to resign in favour of nobles from the scheming region. If the scheme reaches its third stage, the nobles can vote to either order the King to abdicate or turn them into a meaningless figurehead who only does as the new inner circle commands.
    • If one of the regions succeeds in getting their claimant onto the throne, continuing the Dynasty reveals that the nobles from that region - whichever it may be - are hoping that they will make all the important decisions while the King just does as they're told, and they begin making backup plans immediately just in case they decide the King can't be relied upon to be a mindless puppet.
  • King Dedede provides the Kirby series a quite literal example. While Kirby's Dream Land 2, Kirby's Dream Land 3, and Kirby 64: The Crystal Shards all have the King possessed, Kirby's Epic Yarn and Kirby: Triple Deluxe takes it one step further by having the games' Big Bad & Dragon using him as a puppet via Marionette strings.
  • The Mongols use this in Medieval II: Total War. When the Golden Horde rolls in from the east, you'll find stack after stack of elite horse archers and heavy cavalry led by Dreaded Four Star Badasses... but the actual Khan and Khanzada are pathetic nobles with little to no command skill. This makes wiping out the Mongols by killing their nobles all the more difficult since if you kill this Puppet Khan, the title will eventually pass to a more qualified ruler, who then gets the boost to command afforded by being the faction's leader.
  • Mega Man Zero 3: Copy X Mark II is this for Dr. Weil, a fact everyone from the Resistance to even Harpuia is aware of except for Copy X himself. Copy X repeatedly insists that Dr. Weil and Omega are loyal followers all on the basis the former brought him back to life and makes him commander of Neo Arcadia's armed forces, not once realizing Dr. Weil was always using him to simply gain power and force aside any competitors such as the Four Guardians. In the end, Weil sets up Copy X Mk. II to die fighting Zero and abandons him completely, with X himself having to spell it out to the copy who, in a rage, tries to go One-Winged Angel, only to hammer in the final nail of the coffin himself by triggering a self-destruct put inside his body. Weil then legally assumes control of Neo Arcadia and puts all the blame on Zero and the Resistance, with no checks and balances on his power as anyone else is either dead, stripped of their power, or completely in his pocket.
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater had Volgin intending to place Brezhnev and Kosygin in the place of Khrushchev so he could manipulate them behind the scenes. On a related note, it is implied in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty that every single President of the United States since William Taft was used as Puppet Kings by the Patriots (in the case of the early formation, the Philosophers.).
  • The Nameless Mod: The nominal leader of Planet Deus Ex is Despot, but ultimate authority actually lies with an entity of which most civilians — and officials — aren't even aware.
  • In the final mission of The Outer Worlds, in an anti-Board path provided you have sufficiently high speech skills you can convince Chairman Rockwell, head of the Board, into being your personal lackey, with the epilogues stating that he ends up enforcing the protagonist's will upon the rest of the Board.
  • Pokémon:
    • In Pokémon Black and White, N was officially the leader of Team Plasma, a group of Well-Intentioned Extremists who intended to separate Pokémon from humans under the belief that the latter group abuses Pokémon, but his advisor Ghetsis was secretly manipulating N and by extension the entirety of Team Plasma so he could take over the planet by being the only one allowed to own Pokémon.
    • In Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon, Ghetsis attempts to do this again with Giovanni, though he doesn't get as far with this plan as he did with N.
  • The King of Enrich from Shining the Holy Ark is being controlled by his Evil Chancellor (via evil spirits) into reviving her race of people.
  • Shovel Knight: King Knight was the first knight to join the forces of the Enchantress, who allowed him to usurp the throne of Pridemoor Keep and take over the kingdom on her behalf.
  • In the backstory of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Mandalore the Lesser, the previous leader of the Mandalorians, was a pawn installed by Imperial Intelligence to ensure that the Mandalorians allied with the Sith during the Great Galactic War. He was eventually killed and replaced by a non-puppet leader, but their alliance with the Sith remained in place, even after the old Mandalore's puppet status was revealed.
  • Suikoden IV: After the Kooluk Empire takes over Razril, they set up Snowe Vingerhut with a false title and duties that keep him away from his homeland so that he doesn't see its decline firsthand. Thanks to their manipulations, along with those by his father, Snowe sincerely doesn't realize what's going on, taking everything at face value and believing that the bargains they struck with the empire were all for the best.
  • The Subspace Emissary mode in Super Smash Bros. Brawl eventually reveals that Master Hand (the Big Bad of the previous games) is literally being puppeteered by new villain Tabuu. Ganondorf (the only other villain still standing at that point) immediately turns on him with this revelation, only to be stricken down effortlessly by Tabuu's Off Waves.
  • Implied in Undertale in the ending where you kill all of the bosses except Papyrus. He and Sans note in the final phone call that while Papyrus acts as a figurehead and encourages the people, Sans is handling all the paperwork behind the scenes.
  • In Valkyria Chronicles, Princess Cordelia starts out firmly under the thumb of her regent, Prime Minister Borg. Changing her breakfast menu is the first decision she made in sixteen years of life (probably half a joke), but she becomes more independent by the end of the game.
  • Blackhand from Warcraft: Orcs and Humans and Rise of the Horde is the warchief of the Horde, but the real power is between the hands of Gul'dan and the Shadow Council. Blackhand himself knows it but doesn't care as long as everybody thinks he is the most powerful orc around.
  • In Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus it's revealed that Hitler himself is still alive but by this point, he's an utterly senile and incontinent old man secluded in a secret base on Venus. It's abundantly clear he hasn't had any real power in decades, with people like General "Deathshead" and Frau Engel ruling in his stead.

    Visual Novels 
  • BAD END THEATER: The Underling is the smallest, weakest, and most easily manipulated member of the demons. In one of the endings, the other demons bully and peer pressure the Underling into killing the Overlord and becoming their new leader.

  • The Dementia of Magic chapter "The Royal Prisoner" reveals this to be the fate of Queen Breznial. She's fully aware of it and angry at her situation, but since she's powerless, all she can do is try and escape on her own.
  • Drowtales:
    • Played with in the Vloz'ress clan. Kharla'ggen has the mind of a child and is mostly just content to play with her dolls, and when Sene'kha, the woman holding the leash, dies everyone starts to scramble to gain control of her, but Kiel'ndia has other ideas. It's also been indicated that Kharla may have desires of her own.
    • Ironically enough their greatest enemy, the Kyorl'solenurn, may be very similar to them in that regard. Shimi'lande is eventually revealed to answer to a council of Judicators who briefly discuss replacing her before deciding against it. This becomes much more obvious in chapter 42, title "Schism" when Shimi'lande is assassinated, and it's heavily implied it was the Judicators themselves, specifically Judicator Kyuusei, who were behind it.
      • And her successor defies this trope - by pretending to play nice and turning her eyes away from The Chessmaster Judicators, Snadhya'rune sends her assassins after the Judicators first, giving her ample time to consolidate power. Unfortunately, with the Kyorls quickly transitioning from an oligarchy of academics to an actual theocratic dictatorship (plus the constant assassination attempts now focused solely on her), she quickly loses herself and resorts to genocide.
  • In Glorianna, the senile King Arven is manipulated by his brother Vasgor. And Duke Thanaktos is literally a zombie puppet, controlled by the wizard Zorko.
  • Grrlpower: Galytn is "managed" by Deus, the head of Machina Industries, but officially ruled by King Indinge Junior, who is presumably fairly okay with having immense wealth and no responsibilities whatsoever. (He may be motivated by his father, the late King Indinge Senior, who refused Deus' offer, hence why he's late.)
  • Latchkey Kingdom: After the Duke of the "new Angelonian territory" of Laglands died shortly after the birth of his heir and there was nothing suspicious about that at all, the Duchess remarried another Angelonian noble, this time one with a much more hands-off approach to ruling a conquered kingdom.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • Lord Shojo is an insane old man who listens only to Mr. Scruffy, his cat. He really cultivates the image so that people don't kill him — if you're being manipulated, there's no point in killing you.
    • The Empress of Blood is expected to be this. As it turns out the rulers of the Empires of Blood, Sweat, and Tears are all puppet rulers each controlled by two members of Tarquin's old adventuring party. They absorb countries one by one while pretending to protect them from the other empires. To stop anyone realizing the pairs exchange members, they depose the figurehead, and they rename the countries on a regular basis.
  • Unsounded: Sharteshane's king was put on the throne by Lord Beadman, and is controlled by him.

    Web Original 
  • Dan The Man: Stage 5 introduces the King, who is lazy, oblivious, barely wears any clothes and spends most of the time partying all day. When the fact that his castle has some enslaved Peasants forced to run on a deadly treadmill came to public, he is thought to be the one responsible for it. All of the actual ruling was done by the Advisor and his team of Corrupt Corporate Executives.
  • King Jeffrey from Dragomir's Diary is known for his stunningly amoral decisions and general stupidity. Yet as his time as a king draws to a close it becomes apparent that he's not fully in control of himself, and the true mastermind behind his idiocy may, in fact, be the player who controls the video game he inhabits.
  • Dream SMP: It is an open secret that all of the known monarchs ruling the Greater Dream SMP faction have little to no actual political power, with Dream acting as The Man Behind the Man. This comes to an end once Dream is imprisoned, allowing the current monarch Eret to turn the faction into a force for good.
  • Mahu: In "Second Chance" there are many within the colonies and the royal army who believe prince Arius is just a puppet to his mentor and previously court mage Mr. Storm. Neither the mage nor prince Arius cares much about these rumors though.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: King Andrias may appear to be the ruler of Newtopia, (And by extension, the entire titular country), but we see him taking orders from mysterious entity midway through the second season. In the third season, this entity is revealed to be The Core, a Mind Hive of Amphibia's past rulers and greatest scholars uploaded into a massive computer. The king just happens to be a frontman for the Core.
  • Avatar:
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
      • The Earth King was so completely controlled by Evil Chancellor Long Feng and his Dai Li that he didn't even know he wasn't really in control of the Earth Kingdom until the heroes helped set things straight.
      • In the finale, Fire Lord Ozai grants his position to his daughter Azula, right before turning it into a puppet position by naming himself Phoenix King. This comes as a slap in the face to Azula and exacerbates a Villainous Breakdown that's been brewing for a while.
    • In Season 4 of The Legend of Korra, averting this trope is part of the reason why Kuvira usurps the United Republic-backed Prince Wu and crowns herself Emperor of the above-mentioned Earth Kingdom (which she renames "Earth Empire"). After Kuvira's defeat, Wu decides to abolish the monarchy altogether and let the people of the Earth Kingdom choose their new leaders.
  • Word of God reveals for Invader Zim that it is in fact the Control Brains who make all the important decisions of the Irken Empire, not the Almighty Tallest. Considering how lazy and incompetent the two can be, this is no surprise.
  • In Legends of Chima, Cragger is the ruler of the gators, however his sister Crooler uses the pollen from Persuader Plants to make him do whatever she tells him.
  • Played for Laughs in OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes, which has a puppet company owner. Lord Boxman nominally handles Boxmore's manufacturing and sales of robots, but his investors have far more pull over him. Naturally, any time he overdoes attacking his rivals when left to his own devices, he's threatened to be fired. Unsurprisingly, this eventually happens, as Darrell is designated as his successor until he comes back with Professor Venomous to reclaim the company.
  • In Rick and Morty episode 'The Tales From The Citadel', this was revealed to be the original plan of the Shadow Council of Ricks to orchestrate the election, let a Morty take over so that the Citadel appears progressive, while the Council rules from the shadows like they always did. Evil Morty had other plans, though.
  • In Steven Universe, the Diamonds are presumed by the lower-ranking Gems to rule the Gem Empire equally, but in truth, this is not the case. Pink Diamond spent millennia begging her sisters for her own planet to colonize. When they finally decided to do so, they gave her the Earth. Pink assumed that the planet was uninhabited. But when she discovered that it was already brimming with life, she wanted to cease Gem operations on the planet and leave, but her sisters wouldn't allow it. Pink tried her hardest to gain approval to shut down the Earth colony, but the only result was that her sisters took control of the colony while leaving her as a puppet to her oblivious subjects. Finally fed up, Pink decided to stage her murder and lead a rebellion against her sisters.

    Real Life 
  • One argument in favor of constitutional monarchies like The British Royal Family is that, with such a ceremonial ruler taking the place occupied by presidents in other countries, there can be no room for a dictator. While this optimistic viewpoint ignores the historical examples listed below, constitutional monarchies have historically proven resistant to revolution and despotism, though in cases they aren't as the dictator's first move is of course to abolish the monarchy and establish a "republic". Moreover, in circumstances where there is no coup or a risk of one, there's some evidence to show that constitutional monarchs, who are as a rule painfully aware of their puppet status, tend to favor more democratic solutions (waiting until the next scheduled election or calling an early election) to power disputes among the elected governments than elected presidents in parliamentary systems.

    The corollary to this is that when constitutional monarchs learn their lessons poorly and are not painfully aware of the lack of democratic legitimacy, they tend to use their extensive constitutional reserve powers to disastrous results. A large part of why Greece doesn't have a monarchy anymore is because their last king, Constantine II, would often delay elections, appoint minority governments of the right-wing parties he supported rather than the majority party, and attempt to block the appointment of anyone he didn't like to the defense ministry. This ultimately resulted in a coup against him in order to establish a dictatorship that could get things done at least. Even when democracy was restored, the Greek people confirmed the establishment of a republic in a plebiscite, basically because they didn't trust Constantinenote  to stick to the script and let the politicians do the governing.
  • Theodosius III of the Byzantine Empire was a tax collector who was installed as emperor by the rebelling Opsikion theme in yet another Military Coup towards the end of the Twenty Years Anarchy. Some historians have claimed that he was selected simply for having an "imperial" name and most agree that he was a puppet of Opsikion. Two years later he was deposed by Leo III, who allowed him to retire as a monk.
  • John Baliol was made King of Scotland by King Edward of England after the death of the past king's heir, Margaret of Norway. Edward quickly turned King John into his puppet, and took every opportunity to make sure people knew about it. After a few too many humiliations, John attempted to rebel against Edward, and was locked away in the Tower of London after his defeat. This ultimately led to what would be called the Wars of Scottish Independence. The Scots never forgave Baliol for his long years as Edward's puppet, and to this day remember him as "Toom Tabard" (which translates from Scots almost literally as "Empty Suit" and means pretty much that).
  • Victor Emmanuel III of Italy (r. 1900-1946) was this to Benito Mussolini following the National Fascist Party's so-called March on Rome in 1922. After having been coerced to appoint Mussolini as his Prime Minister, ol' Vic was bereft of any real authority for most of his remaining rule and acted as a powerless figurehead while accepting the crowns of the nations of Ethiopia (following Italy's invasion in 1935) and Albania (in 1939). When Italy was invaded by Allied troops in 1943, Victor Emmanuel III finally began to see the writing on the wall and authorized a coup against the Fascist regime and subsequently negotiated an armistice with the Allies (though fighting in Italy would nonetheless remain fierce for the next few years due to the large number of German troops already stationed there supporting the so-called Italian Social Republic puppet state). Despite having done these things, Victor Emmanuel III remained a notorious figure even after the war, with his association with the Fascist regime playing a huge role in Italy's decision to abolish its monarchy via referendum in 1946. This may or not had to do with a large number of members of the former anti-Nazi Resistance as well as the Italian Parliament being pro-democratic communists and liberal republicans, both which saw the King as an obstacle to change and associated with Mussolini's illegal colonialist wars.
    • Mussolini himself became the puppet after Italy ousted him and switched sides. Adolf Hitler had to rescue him from confinement and made him the nominal leader of German-controlled Northern Italy, with Mussolini fully aware that his former fanboy had Surpassed the Teacher.
  • Romanian King Mihai I was also a real-life example of this. Following the forced abdication of his father Carol II via a military coup in 1940, Mihai I was more or less manipulated by the quasi-fascist General Ion Antonescu for a substantial portion of his reign despite the monarch having literal control of the entire Romanian Army and the sole authority to appoint the Prime Minister. However, when the war started going badly for Romania and Soviet troops were preparing to invade, Mihai I eventually did use some of his royal authority to overthrow Antonescu and depose his pro-Nazi regime. Following the strife, Mihai I remained the Head of State for post-war Romania until 1947, when communists deposed him in a coup due to a personal request from Joseph Stalin himself.
  • The Emperor of Japan might have had some real authority in the first century or two after the country's consolidation, but for most of Japanese history, the position has existed as a figurehead. By the Heian Period power was consolidated in clans like the Fujiwara thanks to strategic marriages into the imperial dynasty, allowing them to rule as regents — there was even a term, kampaku, for the regent of an adult emperor. With the rise of the samurai, the shoguns ran the country while the emperor generally sat around being a descendent of Amaterasu, which caused confusion with Europeans who visited and mistook the shogun for an emperor and the Emperor for a pope. The Meiji Restoration that followed the shogunate allegedly reinstated the Emperor as head of state, but a clique of oligarchs and later military leaders continued to make the decisions. This lack of real executive power is partially why, after World War II, occupation forces allowed the Emperor to stick around after making a "turns out I'm not a god after all" speech (the other reason was the presumptuous belief that the Japanese national psyche couldn't survive the loss of its figurehead emperor). Emperor Hirohito got off easy, but prime minister Hideki Tojo wasn't as lucky.
    • In fact, throughout its history, the Emperor was said to only really have power from the reforms of the Meiji Restoration to the nation's defeat in WWII. Prior to this, the Shogun, the top military figure in Japan, was the true power behind the nation. The Japanese people were so used to this situation, that the post-WWII military governor of Japan, U.S. Army General MacArthur was often referred to by the Japanese people affectionately as Shogun MacArthur. Allowing the Emperor to remain on the figurehead throne and being the top military commander was all the requirements MacArthur needed.
  • This was the point behind the Gunpowder Plot. The plotters planned to kill King James and instate his daughter, Elizabeth, as a Puppet queen.
  • The last few Frankish kings of the Merovingian dynasty gradually did less and less and were increasingly under the control of their majordomos (Mayor of the Palace). Over time, the power of the majordomo became more public (one, Charles Martel, became a national hero for beating back the Muslims at Tours), and since the post of majordomo was hereditary, eventually a majordomo (Charles Martel's son Pépin the Short) got The Pope's permission to get rid of the Merovingian king and become King of the Franks in his own right.
  • The July Monarchy in France was supposed to be a constitutional monarchy on the British model, with a powerful Prime Minister, but Louis-Philippe wanted to reign without these Parliamentary fetters (especially with talented orators like Guizot or Thiers around), so for most of his reign, he had puppet Prime Ministers: Marshals Soult, Gérard and Mortier were respected by all parties, but they had little interest in politics and the King could actually govern through them while pretending to remain within the constitutional boundaries.
  • This can happen in countries with republican systems of government as well.
    • One favorite tactic of many military dictatorships in Latin America, including Panama's Manuel Noriega, was to install a civilian President in office to act as the official head of state. But of course in actuality said dictators were the ones calling the shots, and most everyone knew it. (In Noriega's case one of these puppet Presidents actually tried to use his official and legal authority over the military to fire him. It didn't go very well.)
    • Communist government often have very elaborate, officially "non-hierarchical" constitutional systems that do not formally concentrate much power in official leadership positions. In practice, this often means that most official leadership positions are meaningless figureheads, while some other guy actually holds all the power.
      • Deng Xiaoping was never president of China; his long reign as "de facto ruler" (which lasted sometime from the late 1970s until his death in 1997) actually overlapped with that of several presidents, who held limited power.
      • Subverted in China since 1993. The President of China, under the Chinese constitution, is designed to be a ceremonial post with no administrative powers, akin to a constitutional monarch, officially they aren't even Commander-in-Chief like even weak European presidencies are. However, in 1993, Jiang Zemin, who was General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission (which is to say, Commander-in-Chief), was appointed President without relinquishing his other posts. His successors have all inherited each of his three posts, and the presidency is now tied pretty strongly to the roles of party leader and supreme military commander, although legally they are three distinct positions that just happen to be held by the same individual, making the President of China de facto very powerful indeed despite being de jure a powerless figurehead.
      • Most leaders of the USSR were not president or prime minister, either. In fact, the Soviet Union only had a President since 1990, right before it broke apart. Some leaders held the office that was technically the "head of state" position, sometimes they didn't.
      • Kim Il-sung was the only person to ever serve as president of North Korea, and the office was retired upon his death. His son and grandson have held different executive positions, but the duties of head of state are usually assigned to a figurehead. The flexibility of amending the governmental dynamics ensures the stable rule of the Workers' Party of Korea.
    • This is widely believed to have been the set-up with Dimitry Medvedev, President of the Russian Federation from 2008-2012. At the time, the Russian constitution limited all presidents to two consecutive four-year terms, but not two total terms as with the United States. So any president could return to office as long as they just sat out for a term. And when Vladimir Putin was about to be term-limited, he and his supporters ran Medvedev for President. Once in office, Medvedev immediately appointed Putin as his Prime Minister. Putin returned to the Presidency in 2012, and he picked Medvedev to be his Prime Minister.
      • A joke explaining the Russian constitution: "There will be a president and a prime minister. One will have no power, and the other will be Vladimir Putin."
    • In accordance with the 1979 constitution, the Islamic Republic of Iran has separate heads of state and government: the elected President and the unelected Supreme Leader. In practice, the President functions more like a Mouth of Sauron chancellor than a typical republican president and is completely subordinate to the Supreme Leader (who functions more in line with say, a Sultan) and his council of clerics who are given veto power over all of his decisions. Candidates cannot even run without the Supreme Leader's approval. What division of powers do actually exist in the Islamic Republic? The split between the Supreme Leader's authority and the authority of the leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a military organization separate from the regular army that's responsible for "protecting the Islamic Republic system" from enemies external and internal as opposed to defending the country itself. In practice, that means they execute foreign policy (e.g. the military interventions in Lebanon and Syria) and are in charge of suppressing internal dissent.
    • Even in the US government, it's not uncommon for presidents to appoint a well-known politician or public figure to a cabinet or administrative position, without giving them any real power. One well-known example: Richard Nixon appointed William Rogers (formerly Dwight Eisenhower's Attorney General) as his Secretary of State, but delegated actual foreign policy to his National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger. (Kissinger officially got the job of Secretary of State in 1973, and uniquely remained National Security Advisor until Gerald Ford gave that job to Brent Scowcroft in 1975, while keeping Kissinger at State).
    • Despite the President (Head of State) of India technically being superior to the Prime Minister (Head of Government), in practice the position is more of a ceremonial role as it is limited in authority compared to its subordinate. In the country, it is the Prime Minister, not the President, who exercises executive powers, with the President acting on the advice of the ministers.
    • In several other nations, mainly Parliamentary Republics, not limited to the aforementioned India, the President has limited executive powers, with the true power falling into the hands of the Head of Government (e.g. Prime Minister or Federal Chancellor). Examples include Germany, Armenia, Hungary, Iraq, Ethiopia, and Singapore.
      • In the case of Armenia, it used to be that the position of Prime Minister was mainly a ceremonial figurehead, until 2018. Armen Sarkissian was appointed Armenia’s President by former Prime Minister Serge Sargsyan, who was President for eight years before overseeing constitutional amendments which transferred the power of the President to the Prime Minister and then appointed himself Prime Minister to get around term limits. This didn’t sit well with the public, who forced Sargsyan to resign in a Velvet Revolution; but even with a new public-approved Prime Minister, the constitutional amendment was never changed and the position of President is more like an ambassador.
      • Some republics previously used to have a parliamentary system before having them converted to a presidential one (similar to the US, where the Head of State and Head of Government are the same person). Robert Mugabe was Zimbabwe's first prime minister for seven years before he took over the presidency in 1987 and made it into an executive post. Similarly, Turkey's President used to only be ceremonial until Recep Tayyip Erdoğan endorsed a referendum which had the prime ministership abolished in 2018.note 
    • The Somoza family held Nicaragua as their personal estate for four decades, and the Somoza patriarch always ruled the country as 'Head of the National Guard', aka the head of the Nicarguan Army. While Anastasio Sr. Luis and Anastasio Jr. all held the office of President at times, many times there was a figurehead President who either took orders from the Somozas or was out of office in no time. Once a handpicked puppet actually stood up for himself (just after he "won" an incredibly rigged election) — he was out of office not a year after that. When Luis was President (and his brother head of the national guard) some even said that Luis was nothing but a puppet.
    • Ever since the 6th Republic of South Korea started in 1988, the high-profile individuals in the judicial branch of the government, specifically the prosecutors unofficially hold the biggest political authority in South Korea. This is because all elections in South Korea often harbor so many forms of corruption that the presecutors express the final advices about the punishments that the corrupt government bureaucrats, lawmakers, and mayors receive in front of the judges. This political environment de-facto creates a much weaker president, the one with the actual executive authority of the country. On the the hand, even South Koreans often joke about how private law firms are more powerful than the government.
      • Speaking of South Korea, the first female president Geun-hye Park also became the first to be removed from office after it was revealed in 2016 that she was being manipulated by a cult leader named Soon-sil Choi, with Choi masterminding governmental policy and decision-making during Park's administration. The entire country fell into panic, Park was arrested and sentenced to over 30 years in prison before being pardoned by her successor President Moon in 2021, and Choi was arrested and sentenced to 23 years. To make matters worse, rumors abound that Choi wasn't the only one.
    • Cristina Kirchner is the leader of the Peronist party in Argentina, and she has a big number of supporters, but the authoritarian tendencies of her government, the many cases of embezzlement and the economic failures while trying to apply outdated ideologies made her greatly unpopular and divisive. She left government in 2015, and could run again in 2019. It was unclear if she could win the election, so instead of trying it she ran as vice-president under an obscure politician, Alberto Fernández, who pretended to be moderate. Once in government, she led everything from the government's day-to-day activities, even if still formally being the vice president.
  • This can happen in the private sector too. For example, the legal owner of four casinos in Las Vegas was a man named Allen Glick. But they were really run by Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal on behalf of The Mafia.
  • If the video Rules for Rulers is to be believed, everyone in position of authority is ultimately a puppet to their own Key Supporters. Displease these Key Supporters, and they will see that you be replaced.
  • Subverted by Faustin Soulouque President of Haiti from 1847 to 1849, and then Emperor from 1849 to 1859. An ex-slave who'd risen to become a general in the Haitian military, Soulouque was made President by a group of elites who thought he'd be an easily manipulated fool. He immediately turned the tables on his backers, ruthlessly crushing his opponents and taking full power for himself. Soulouque's grip on the country became so strong that he revived Haiti's defunct monarchy and had himself crowned Emperor. Going so far as to create an entire Haitian aristocracy, Emperor Faustin reigned for a decade before he was overthrown due to his repeated failed attempts to conquer the Dominican Republic.
  • In the waning years of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, the last king of Goguryeo was this trope. Famed general Yeon Gaesomun caught wind that King Yeongnyu was plotting against him and responded by launching a coup in 642 that slaughtered Yeongnyu and his men. He then put Yeongnyu's nephew Bojang on the throne as a puppet to lend his military dictatorship a veneer of legitimacy. Goguryeo only remained successful in its subsequent wars against Tang dynasty China while Yeon was in charge; after his death in 666, Bojang was powerless and the kingdom fell apart when Silla and Tang forces invaded.
  • This happened like clockwork at the tail end of every Vietnamese dynasty - the Emperor would either be a debauched tyrant or puppet held up by whoever's actually in power. The only bloodless transitions of power occurred when Empress Lý Chiêu Hoàng (daughter of a Puppet King who was "encouraged" to kill himself) married Trần Cảnh when they were both 7, making him the first Emperor of Trần Dynasty and downgrading her from a full Empress (the only one to have inherited the throne in Vietnamese history) to Empress Consort, and when Emperor Bảo Đại of the Nguyễn Dynasty ceded power to the communists. This is not a bug but a feature of the system, enabling revolutions to spring up because the emperor/dynasty has lost the Mandate of Heaven (permission to rule) from their behavior.
    • Subverted three times, however, during the French colonization. Emperors Thành Thái, Duy Tân, and Hàm Nghi - commonly referred to as "the three patriotic Emperors" - were explicitly chosen to be puppet kings. On the throne, they turned around and inconvenienced the French at every turn, culminating in involving themselves in revolutions. All three were exiled.
    • Duy Tân's transformation was probably the most dramatic of all. He was chosen among Thành Thái's sons to be emperor by the French administration because when they did a headcount, the seven-year-old then-Prince was missing... as he was under a bed looking for an escaped cricket, and seemed "shy and dim-witted". They couldn't have been more wrong. The eight-year-old boy transformed almost overnight and started involving himself in courtly matters, which only got worse as he grew into his teens and was put in contact with the anti-colonialist mandarin Trần Cao Vân and other revolutionaries. At least once, the regent council had to invoke the time-honored tradition of tattling to his mom (the Empress Dowager) so she could persuade him not to take explicitly anti-French actions.
  • This could even happen to a non-royal leader in a monarchy. Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Liz Truss, was widely seen as a puppet to the Chancellornote  Jeremy Hunt. By way of background, Truss represented a hard right, small-state, American-style right-libertarian wing of the Conservative party which is the minority among MP's. Immediately after getting elected she tried to institute a wide range of incredibly unpopular policies, most notably a massive tax cut for the highest earners in the middle of record inflation and a cost of living crisis.note  The public protested, the media savaged her and MP's revolted. After a month of chaos, Truss fired her original Chancellor, ideological ally, close friend and neighbour Kwasi Kwarteng and replaced him with Hunt, who comes from the more traditionally aristocratic/plutocratic wing of the party. Hunt proceeded to purge the Cabinet of Truss' allies and reversed all her stated policies without a word of protest from her, essentially pulling off a bloodless coup. It's generally assumed that she was only been allowed to keep the title of Prime Minister partially to act as a political heat sink and partially as a sop to Tory party rules. Truss could only stand this for so long, however, and stepped down as PM fairly soon after sacking Kwarteng in favour of Hunt; a snap Conservative leadership election was held shortly thereafter, resulting in the installation of Rishi Sunak as PM. Meanwhile, Truss gets to live with the profoundly strange legacy of being both the Prime Minister with the shortest-ever tenure at just 49 days—but within which 49 days Elizabeth II died and Charles III took the throne.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Puppet Queen


Queen of the Machine Empire

Amazon Killer becomes the new Queen of Machine Empire Black Magma, only to learn that's not the same as being its ruler.

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Main / PuppetKing

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