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Sins of Our Fathers
aka: Sins Of The Father

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Peter: They're responsible for this...
Adam: Parents sin, children suffer.
Heroes, "Truth and Consequences"

The act of exacting revenge upon the descendants of the one who originally did the wrong.

Why someone would target the descendants rather than the one who originally did the wrong tends to vary: the original offender may not be alive for the victim to go after and make suffer, their descendant benefitted (or still benefits) from his ancestors' crimes; the money grandfather stole allowed the father to go to medical school, which allowed the son to grow up in comfortable circumstances; therefore, son deserves to be punished for grandfather's theft, or they are physically incapable of going after the prime target due to other circumstances that prevent their revenge in their eyes (at least not without extreme consequences), so they choose to go with a more possible approach. This is especially true of villains who are immortal or undead, or many a Sealed Evil in a Can, whose hatreds can take years if not decades or centuries to fester and grow. More often than not, this form of revenge is pursued by villains rather than heroes, since targeting someone other than the person who actually committed the wrong, and who may not have anything to do with it aside from being descended from the person who did is a good way to wind up on the wrong side of the Rule of Empathy.


Frequently a Bewildering Punishment for the victim, though this trope is more likely than most to have the villain explain the offense to the victim. The villain may justify it on the grounds that the children profited by the original crime, particularly when they own something that belonged to the villain. Repeated instances of this occurring between two families in a tit-for-tat fashion may lead to a full-blown blood feud between them.

May overlap with Affair? Blame the Bastard or with particularly hostile examples of Unbalanced by Rival's Kid. Compare and contrast with Revenge by Proxy, where the target is the child or other associates in preference to the character who actually wronged them, even though that character is available, in order to make that character suffer more. The trope name comes from the ancient saying: "The sins of the fathers shall be visited upon their children." If this continues on for generations, it can overlap with Familial Foe. Also see Doesn't Trust Those Guys.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Attack on Titan: The persecution of the Eldian people is justified based on this, with Marleyan propaganda stating their ancestors were an Evil Empire that committed over a thousand years of atrocities before being defeated. The Eldians from the lands the enemy Titan Shifters come from have been raised to resent their kin that live in seclusion on Paradis, who supposedly escaped their "just punishment" by abandoning their kin and hiding within the Walls. A young Grisha Yeager decried this oppression, pointing out the unfairness of punishing subsequent generations for the crimes of people long dead. In comparison, most Eldian children are raised to believe it is their duty to atone for their ancestors' crimes by sacrificing their lives as soldiers and Warriors for Marley's war machine.
  • Blue Exorcist: Right on the nose with Rin Okumura. His father is Satan himself, and was the one responsible for the Blue Night prior to his birth and the story. However since he's the son of Satan, as indicated by the blue flames he emits, everyone wants to kill him. Downplayed a bit as barely anyone mentions the fact that his twin brother is also a son of Satan.
  • In Coffee & Cat, Kon's grandfather cheated a foreigner who asked to be served his best tea by serving him his cheapest tea instead. Apparently outraged, the foreigner left his cat, M'Lady behind, and since then Kon and his grandfather grow deathly ill whenever they're separated from M'Lady.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In the eighth Dragon Ball Z movie, Paragus and Broly lured Vegeta into an elaborate ruse in order to take revenge on him for his father's actions towards them. Fearful of Broly's power, he ordered the Saiyan child to be executed, then tried to kill Paragus for the crime of pleading for his son's life.
    • And a more notable case in Dragon Ball GT, where Baby, last of the Tuffles, a race who were exterminated by the Saiyans, seeks retribution against Goku and Vegeta as well as the inhabitants of their new home, Earth. Pan even calls him on it, pointing out the Saiyans who actually slaughtered his race are long dead; Baby responds that he doesn't care.
    • The reason that Spopovich beats the utter hell out of Hercule Satan's daughter Videl is because Hercule easily beat him in a tournament. He almost kills her, which would've been extremely detrimental to his job in the tournament, but he's too concerned with his Revenge by Proxy to care; he's only stopped from doing so by his partner Yamu, who reminds him of what they're there for and orders him to just ring-out Videl and be done with it.
    • In the Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn movie, Frieza declared he would get satisfaction against Goku, the man who previously defeated him, by killing his son Gohan. Fortunately, Frieza forgot to level grind and Gohan defeats him with ease. Horribly played straight in Dragon Ball Super, while Frieza not only Took a Level in Badass, but came THIS close to killing Gohan, by not just torturing him horriblynote , but also outright mistaking him for Goku in spite. It only took Piccolo's Heroic Sacrifice to save him from certain death.
    • Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a reboot of Paragus and Broly's story. In this case, King Vegeta exiled the toddler Broly to a Death World out of jealousy and fear of his power. 40-something years later, Paragus wants Prince Vegeta's blood and intends to use Broly to get his revenge.
    • Dragon Ball Super: Subverted in the "Granolah the Survivor Arc". Granolah intends to avenge his race, who was wiped out by the Saiyans, by killing the last living Saiyans. One of his targets happens to be son of one of the Saiyans who exterminated the Cerealians, but neither Granolah nor Goku are aware of that fact.
  • Benny Haha/Gyujirou Japan from Duel Masters who is arguably the biggest cheating douchebag in the series for using dirty and somewhat dangerous schemes and tricks to win duels hates the main character Shobu Kirifuda just because he beat him once which caused to get mad with revenge. Even since then, he became obsessed at getting revenge on Shobu and friends. Even after Shobu's apparent death at the end of the Duel Masters Star Cross manga, he refuses to let go of his vendetta and arrogantly shifted his wrath on the rest of his family by targeting little brother Katta out of spite against his Shobu and was willing to wait ten long years for that petty revenge. And to make matters worse, he holds the whole family responsible for all of his misfortunes despite being out of contact for years.
  • Fairy Tail, Brandish makes a couple of attempts to kill Lucy under the belief that the latter's mother had the former's killed for Aquarius's key. However, Aquarius reveals that this wasn't the case at all. Brandish abandons any real attempt at killing Lucy.
  • Food Wars!: Played for Laughs when Soma meets Jun Shiomi, a former underclassman of his dad. As soon as she hears he's the son of Joichiro Saiba, she punches him in the face and refuses to help him, due to the many times Joichiro force-fed her one of his "experiments". Thankfully, her adopted son Akira Hayama shows up and chastises her for this.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist:
    • Fullmetal Alchemist's plot boils down to Edward and Alphonse cleaning up a mess that their father Van Hohenheim created. They have to stop an evil man who looks just like their father. As it turns out, the man, "Father", was born of Hohenheim's blood, and used his progenitor as an Unwitting Pawn in his gambit to become immortal, consuming Hohenheim's home country of Xerxes in the process; now, he intends to go one step further with the Elric brothers' home country of Amestris, a country he designed from scratch for this very purpose, creating an alchemic circle granting him enough power to overtake "God" or the being beyond the Gate. Fortunately, Hohenheim is working to make amends for his mistakes and joins his sons in their counterattack late in the game.
    • In the 2003 anime version, things are much different. They have to stop the machinations of Dante, a spurned lover of Hohenheim of Light's. The two were lovers a long time ago, but when one of the two fell deathly ill, the other successfully transferred the soul from the dying body to another living human's. Seeing the potential of this action, both proceeded to body-snatch and effectively live forever, but as the side effects of these actions — their bodies rejecting the souls and visibly rotting, mainly — started to kick in earlier and earlier, Hohenheim eventually relented and settled with Trisha, while Dante manipulated the entire government to enable this scheme even further. This Hohenheim is also repentant, but isn't quite as effective — he makes an attempt to confront Dante over her plot, but is promptly banished beyond the gate, and spends the rest of his life on our Earth, unable to have an effect on Dante's plans any longer.
  • The title character of High School Ninja Girl, Otonashi-san starts the story on a quest revenge for her ancestor. Fortunately, she drops the whole thing after a (non-fatal) shuriken to her target's back.
  • Getter Robo Armageddon: Genki Saotome, the child of a Mad Scientist that practically destroyed the world, was almost killed by others in a fallout shelter. Thankfully, Genki's guardian, Benkei, saved them by convincing the others he was Genki's father.
  • In Great Pretender, protagonist Makoto was shunned by many prospective employers and was completely unable to make an honest living because his father had a criminal record. The only place that would employ him turned out to be a shady company hocking unlicensed "health supplements." He eventually decided that, if he was going to be treated as a criminal, he might as well become a con man for real.
  • Gundam:
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam, Char plots the deaths of the Zabi family — including youngest son Garma, his best friend from military academy — because he's convinced their father, Sovereign Degwin, murdered his father. It starts out as Revenge by Proxy, with Char killing the Zabis to make Degwin suffer, but he continues on after Degwin's death (at the hands of eldest son Gihren), pushing him into this territory.
    • It should be noted that, outside of Garma, the only Zabi Char directly killed was Kycilia, which he did more to end the Zabis' reign of terror as opposed to avenge his father. Dozle was killed by Amuro at the Battle of Solomon, Degwin was killed by Gihren's "accidental" firing of the Solar Ray, and Gihren himself was killed by Kycilia in the middle of A Bao A Qu. In that sense, Char only invoked the trope with Garma (which ironically was enough to torment Degwin, who loved Garma the most, to his grave), whereas the rest were casualties of war (Dozle) or just had it coming over their own sins (Gihren, Degwin, and Kycilia).
    • Also played with in Mobile Fighter G Gundam. Rain's father was one of the conspirators involved in the Government Conspiracy brewed by Ulube Ishikawa inside his Gambit Roulette, which more or less directly involved the destruction of the Kasshu family. This shames his daughter so much that, after learning of such things, she decides to leave her boyfriend and partner Domon Kasshu over it...and it makes the poor girl the perfect core unit for the Devil Gundam, which comes in possession of Ulube.
    • This is Rau Le Creuset's justification for nearly destroying humanity in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, as well as the source of his hatred toward Kira and Mu. To summarize, Rau hates Mu because he (Rau) is a faulty clone of his father (whose reason for creating Rau was to create a successor in his own literal image), he hates Kira because his father was the geneticist in charge of the project (which he used to fuel the Ultimate Coordinator program) and he hates everybody else because he feels humanity condoned his creation through the rampant genetic engineering of the Cosmic Era.
    • Played with and mixed with Cloning Blues in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. Rey Za Burrel goes along with Durandal's Destiny plan because he believes that he needs to atone for Rau Le Creuset's Omnicidal Maniac plans in the previous series. He thinks Rau's crimes are his crimes because both of them are clones of the same man. When Kira finally meets him, he manages to convince Rey that Rau's sins were his own and that Rey can make his own choices. Rey ultimately shoots Durandal to save Kira when he realizes that he doesn't really agree with the Destiny Plan after taking some time to actually think about it as a person rather than as Rau 2.0.
  • The source of much of the bile and bitterness between Daisuke and Clair in Heat Guy J. Clair's father killed Daisuke's father under orders from Daisuke's evil uncle.
  • In Hell Girl, Ai Enma tries to Mind Rape Tsugumi Shibata and make her send her father Hajime to Hell because he is either a descendant or the reincarnation of the cousin that betrayed her.
  • In Highschool of the Dead, Shido rigs Rei's grades because his father was being investigated by her father for political corruption. This one is a bit twisty, since Shido also hated his father, but still carried out his order.
  • Inuyasha:
  • Actually a plot point in Judge. Everyone playing the Judge game except Hiro and Hikari are the sons and daughters of those involved in the trial regarding the death of Atsuya, Hiro's brother and Hikari's boyfriend. The defendant, a drunk driver, bribed the judge and jury to get a reduced sentence. Only Rina and her mother survive for this reason — her mother refused to take the bribe.
  • Averted for drama in Kaguya-sama: Love is War. It's implied that Papa Shirogane knew all along that it was the Shinomiya Zaibatsu that stole his company, caused his wife to leave him, and reduced him to poverty. The fact that he doesn't hold Kaguya responsible for any of this, openly supports her relationship with his son, and has been nothing but respectful towards her since the day they met (barring a quick Secret Test of Character) just makes her feel even worse about how awful her own family is.
  • Master of Martial Hearts takes this concept, and covers it with badly written villains. The villains' objective is to exact revenge on Aya because her father held the first incarnation of the tournament and had their mothers Mind Raped and sold into slavery when they lost, and because her mother won said tournament and doomed the mothers to said fate.
  • Merupuri: Lei dislikes and mistrusts Airi for no other reason than that her ancestor, Princess Chrisnele, betrayed Astale to find love in the human world.
  • Fuso, the silkworm god tries to guilt trip Glenn, the Monster Girl Doctor into becoming her servant by pointing out that humans domesticated her entire race for their silk producing abilities only to abandon them when the human/monster war started. Glenn points out that while he does feel bad for them and the genetic issues they now suffer from due to selective breeding, all of that stuff happened long before he was even born.
  • In My Hero Academia, Yoarashi hates Endeavor, recognizing the kind of man he is, and extends that dislike to Todoroki when it seems to him that Todoroki is just like Endeavor. That belief and Todoroki's offense at that belief hampers them both in the second phase of the Provisional Hero License Exam to the point that it causes them both to fail.
  • Naruto:
    • Subverted when Chiyo attacks Kakashi because she confuses him for the White Fang, but stops attacking when she realizes he is the White Fang's son. Ironically, she wanted to kill the White Fang because he killed her own son; killing Kakashi might be seen as the perfect karmic retribution. Fortunately, Chiyo realizes the sins of the father are not the sins of the son. Or perhaps she figured there'd be no point as Sakumo had been dead for years by that time.
    • It's speculated in Fanon that one of the main reasons Naruto's heritage was kept a secret was because of all the enemies his father had, who would target him as a substitute (primarily Iwa). This was eventually confirmed to be true, though which enemies were never elaborated on.
    • The main reason why some of the shinobi lands are war-torn blood-soaked hellholes? Kaguya Ootsutsuki stealing and partaking of the fruit from the Chakra Tree, thus becoming a god-like figure before going mad with power. Her sons, The Sage of Six Paths along with his brother were left trying to clean up her mess (but were sabotaged via a manifestation of her will and her "third child:", Black Zetsu.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Evangeline A. K. McDowell was spurned, has the bulk of her power sealed, and ended up trapped within a Japanese Elevator School by Nagi Springfield some fifteen years ago. When ten-year-old Negi Springfield showed up to teach in the class she was attending...she was not happy. Justified by the fact that she also wants Negi for his blood, as it mitigates his dad's curse. Although she lightens up a bit when learns that Nagi is actually still alive. She even agrees to be Negi's magic trainer. And is now transferring her other feelings towards the father to the son.
    • Also, the supported theory that the Megalomesembrian Senate were responsible for launching the attack on Negi's village solely to kill Negi, because he is the son of their old foe Arika Entheofushia and Nagi Springfield.
  • In one arc of Omamori Himari, Shizuku tries to murder the last known descendant of the demon-hunter clan that had genocided her race over a century before. Said descendant was from a branch line that had renounced demon-hunting long before her birth and happened to be totally ignorant of her ancestor's crimes. Shizuku is eventually talked down before she can actually do it.
  • This seems to be a very big theme in the One Piece world. Unsurprisingly, one of the Central Themes of the series is that heredity doesn't matter and family is who you choose.
    • Ace is the son of Pirate King Gold Roger and was hunted by the World Government even before he was born in an attempt to rid the world of the bloodline. One of his captain's men, Squardo, even turns on Whitebeard after this reveal as his crew was previously wiped out by the man. Whitebeard calms Squardo down and states that it's hardly Ace's fault that his father had committed these deeds. This was a major source of Ace's angst as a child, leading him to question his existence for most of his life; in his dying moments, he outright admits to Luffy that all he ever wanted to know was whether or not he deserved to be born, just because he had the blood of a Pirate King, a "demon", in his veins.
    • Luffy suffers from this as well, due to being the son of Revolutionary Dragon. Though only Admiral Akainu seems to care. When the knowledge becomes public, Garp shrugs it off, saying Luffy's notoriety has gotten to the point it doesn't matter who he's related to. Luffy himself is so indifferent to it that he seems almost completely unaware of it at times, offhandedly mentioning it to one of his father's comrades back when it was still a secret, almost as an afterthought.
      • Luffy also gets it in the Dressrosa arc from Don Chinjao. In this case, it was Luffy's grandfather who wronged him by injuring Chinjao in such a way that he could no longer reach a treasure he coveted. Chinjao considers what happened so unforgivable that he's perfectly willing to take it out on Luffy once he realizes who Luffy is. This is completely undone when Luffy injures Chinjao in such a way that restores his ability to reach his treasure. Chinjao was so grateful that he pledged Undying Loyalty to Luffy.
    • Also during the Dressrosa arc, the female gladiator Rebecca suffers from this due to being the granddaughter of the previous, hated Dressrosa king who Doflamingo framed as a mass murderer to gain power for himself. When she entered the arena, the audience jeered and booed her. This also gets undone later, when Doflamingo's Engineered Heroics and Frame-Up of King Riku were revealed, restoring Riku and his family's reputation.
    • In spite of never partaking in the atrocities and decadence of the World Nobles, the Donquixote Family was persecuted in the town they resided in just because they had the blood of the Celestial Dragons. Since they gave up their rights as World Nobles, they were hunted down by the locals, with the matriarch eventually dying of illness. Eventually the men of the family were caught by a mob and tortured at the stake. Then, when the eldest son Doflamingo murdered his father and attempted to return to Mariejois, he was rebuffed for being the son of "traitors" and hunted down by the other World Nobles.
    • A few generations before the present, the patriarch of Wano's Kurozumi noble family tried to usurp the throne by poisoning his rivals. The plan was exposed and he was forced to commit seppuku, but rather than leaving it at that, the family was dissolved and its members hunted down, which resulted in several starts of darkness within the family members, and ultimately Kurozumi Orochi stealing the throne for real with Kaido's backup. Orochi's whole motivation for his awful reign as Shogun is to pull this trope right back on the citizens of Wano, devastating the country as payback for what they did to his family.
  • This is sort of what happens in Otoboku - Maidens Are Falling For Me: Mizuho lives in the room that his late grandfather arranged for him, when in fact, the very same room belonged to his Missing Mom during her school days and it is also the very room where his mom's devoted kohai died of exhaustion while waiting for her to return. Things ain't that grim, however, as it turns out that said kohai survived as a (rather cheerful) ghost and it is Mizuho's task to make amends to her for his mom's untimely leave 22 years ago.
  • In Penguindrum, the Takakura parents turn out to be members of a terrorist organization that bombed the Tokyo Subway 16 years before the action took place. One of the victims was a little girl named Momoka Oginome...the childhood girlfriend of Shoma and Kanba's teacher, Keiju Tabuki, and the older sister of Shoma's friend/prospect Love Interest Ringo. Shoma actually spells out the trope while revealing to Ringo what he knows about said tragic incident as well as referring to his sister Himari's almost-definitive death that follows as "a curse befalling on the punishment"; he then goes further via cutting off all contacts with Ringo, since he's so wracked with guilt and self-hate that he simply can't believe that Ringo refuses to hate him and his family for Momoka's demise. It takes Ringo quite the effort to even try convincing him otherwise and let her hang out with him and Himari.
    • Invoked again when Tabuki himself snaps, kidnaps Himari and tries to stage a cruel Hostage Situation as revenge for what happened to Momoka.
  • Pokémon: Arceus and the Jewel of Life: In the past, Arceus gave a part of his powers (the MacGuffin Title) to a human, Damon, in hopes that Damon would use it to help Damon's homeland back into prosperity. Some time later, Arceus returns to reclaim the Jewel of Life, only for Damon to seemingly betray him. In the present, when Arceus returns to exact revenge, Damon's descendant Sheena believes it's her job to return the jewel to right Damon's wrongs.
  • Ranma ½:
  • A truly atrocious example in Rave Master. Lucia, who is all of six years old, is thrown in a maximum-security prison as a precaution since his father a very well-liked person. Actually, it goes even deeper than that. He comes from a literal family of Cosmic Playthings due to one of his ancestors using Star Memory to undo the apocalypse.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: Princess Malty Melromarc and her father King Aultcray Melromarc framed Naofumi for rape and pretty much ruined his life, plus they constantly slander and hinder him. Later, Melty joins Naofumi's party for a while. When he later finds out Melty is the other princess (Aultcray's other daughter), he angrily kicks her out of the party and says he'll never trust her because she's a member of the royal family, even though Melty is ignorant of what her father and sister did to him. It takes a long time for him to see she is nothing like them and accept her again.
  • Sailor Moon's Black Moon Clan. They're both versions of this trope. They're descendants of criminals Neo-Queen Serenity banished to Nemesis rather than killing, as she does not kill humans (or human aliens) if she can avoid it. They originally wanted to move to Earth peacefully but are manipulated by Wiseman to blame Serenity and seek revenge on her and all of earth.
  • In Soul Eater, Black Star and Tsubaki try to help a village against Masamune, but the villagers hate Black Star and refuse to trust him. It turns out that Black Star's family had massacred the village in the past. Black Star declares he doesn't care what his (now deceased) family did and helps save the village anyways. He and Tsubaki leave, with the villagers still hating him.
  • Space Pirate Mito: The Galactic Patrol charges Ordinary High-School Student Aoi with Mito's crimes, which leads to a Dating Catwoman relationship with the agent sent to spy on him when she realizes he didn't know his mother is an alien, let alone a space pirate.
  • Asumi from Twin Spica gets bullied and ostracized because her father was on the development team for the Lion, which ended up crashing in a major city and causing lots of casualties which wasn't even his fault, as he was pulled off the team right before major budget cuts to the project. One of her teachers with a grudge against him even tries to get her to quit Tokyo Space School because of it.
  • Yashahime: Princess Half-Demon: Zero was rejected by Inuyasha and Sesshomaru's father. Since he is dead, she takes her anger out on Inuyasha and Sesshomaru's daughters and Sesshomaru's wife.
  • The protagonists of Yatterman Night live in the outskirts of the Yatter Kingdom thanks to the thievery of their ancestors, the Doronbo Gang. They've been effectively barred from entering, even when they're in dire need of help.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • Aleister (Amelda in the original Japanese) from Yu-Gi-Oh!, with the subversion that he actually has a point. He hates Kaiba Corp because he believes Gozaburo Kaiba was responsible for the death of his family (though it was actually Dartz, Aleister's boss) and objects to Seto and Mokuba Kaiba living comfortably off of blood-stained riches. Although the Kaiba brothers weren't responsible for the wars that Gozaburo financed (and there were genuine ones), they're certainly willing to benefit from them.
    • Semi-used in the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga. Duke Devlin/Ryuuji Otogi's father lost a Shadow Game to Solomon/Sugurokou Moto, so he makes Duke/Ryuuji battle Yugi.
    • Also played with in the anime, where Rebecca Hawkins wants to battle Yugi because her grandfather lost a game to Yugi's. In a twist, however, the whole thing is a misunderstanding on Rebecca's part. Rather than playing for the Blue-Eyes White Dragon card like she thought, they were actually playing for who would get the last of their water after they were trapped in a tomb together. The Blue-Eyes White Dragon card was a gift. Not only that, but even though Solomon was in a position to win, he actually threw the game because Rebecca's grandfather needed the water more.
    • Yami Bakura sought revenge on Pharaoh Atem because he believed Atem's father Aknamkanon (in reality, it was his father's brother Aknadin) was responsible for the slaughter of his village.
    • Yusei Fudo of Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's has definitely borne his share of suffering and guilt because of his father designing/discovering Momentum, which was responsible for Zero Reverse and all sorts of problems thereafter.

    Comic Books 
  • When Dr. Manhattan revives Eobard Thawne in The Button, he remembers being killed in Flashpoint by Batman/Thomas Wayne — and immediately goes to brutally attack his son Bruce in retaliation.
  • The backstory of the Batman foe Bane uses the 'hereditary prison' variant. The child of a foreigner who aided a failed revolution in a South American country, the as-yet-unborn Bane was sentenced to life in prison for his father's crimes. He was born and raised in the inescapable prison. Bane would get the chance to meet his father, who was revealed to be King Snake, and finally pay him back years down the line.
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe examples:
    • A Carl Barks story featured a man named Foola Zoola, who wanted revenge against Scrooge McDuck. Unable to reach the old miser, Foola Zoola decided to settle for Donald under the belief a wrongdoer's sins can be atoned by his next of kin.
    • In the fourteenth chapter of The Amazing Adventures of Fantomius-Gentleman Thief Howard Drake, descendant of Francis Drake, frames the Count of Bad Luck for kidnapping and theft and tries to frame lord Quackett as an accomplice because lord Quackett's ancestor Richard Quackett, the Mad Duke of Duckburg, made a fool of Francis Drake with the help of the count's ancestor.
  • Grimm Fairy Tales: Deconstructed. A woman named Mercy Dante witnessed the death of her parents by a contract killer and became a contract killer herself just to track him down. She has him and his daughter kidnapped and then kills her in front of him to make him know how she felt. Seven months later we learn that she is haunted by the ghost of the girl she killed ever since her father committed suicide in grief, who constantly reminds her about what she's done. It eventually drives Mercy to insanity. However, she is offered a shot at redemption...
  • Runaways:
    • The first arc of Volume 3 used this. A group of Majesdanians come looking for Karolina, hoping to prosecute her for her parents' role in starting a war between their species and the Skrulls that devastated both. The fact that Karolina had no control over any of that, and even went through with an Arranged Marriage to try and bring peace, doesn't stop them — their species is almost extinct, and they need someone to blame.
    • In Volume 1, Alex invokes this trope when threatening to kill Karolina, due to her and Molly's parents planning on betraying the others at the ceremony the team interrupted.
  • In the first issue of the first volume of DC's Star Trek series, the USS Gallant is destroyed by a Klingon ambush. William Bearclaw, the son of the captain, and Nancy Bryce, the daughter of the science officer, are serving as trainees aboard the Enterprise at the time. Bearclaw immediately blames Bryce's father for his father's death and gets into a fight with Bryce that Kirk is forced to break up. The Enterprise later discovers that there was nothing that could've been done by the Gallant, as the Klingons were using artificial wormholes to literally appear out of nowhere. Still, Bearclaw never really gets over his resentment of Bryce, especially after she begins a romance with Konom, a pacifistic Klingon defector who had been the navigator on one of the ships that destroyed the Gallant.
  • One Star Wars comic had Luke Skywalker dispatched to Jabiim to aid the Loyalists to stop the Empire. Unfortunately, when he arrived, he was almost lynched by said Loyalists when it was revealed to be the son of Anakin Skywalker. Due to how back in the Clone Wars, Anakin and the Republic was unable to drive the Separatists out of the planet and forced to abandon the Loyalists.
  • Superman:
    • General Zod is very clear that his thirst for revenge against Jor-El for thwarting and imprisoning him and his followers extends to his son as well: "You will bow down before me, Jor-El! Both you and one day, your heirs!"
    • In The Trial of Superman saga, Superman is put on trial by an alien tribunal because one of his ancestors inadvertently caused the virtual extinction of the Kryptonian race by making them biologically bound to Krypton and thus unable to leave the planet.
    • In one Superboy comic, it is revealed that one of Pa Kent's ancestors was a Hanging Judge. One of the prisoners he sentenced to death swore vengeance. Every hundred years, on the anniversary of the prisoner's execution, a male descendant of the judge suffers death by strangulation. The anniversary rolls round and this time it is Pa Kent in the firing line, and it is up to Superboy to save him.
  • While many of her fellow Teen Titans assure her otherwise, Raven has often had this problem herself. Though when your father is a demon lord, it's not so surprising if you think about that every now and then.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): After Mavis is freed from Paula she goes to get revenge by abducting Paula's toddler daughter Gerta to hand her over to the Nazis for them to kill to punish Paula for defecting. Mavis doesn't even try to attack Paula or the Nazis who blackmailed Paula into abducting and torturing her.
  • Professor Power once quoted the Trope Namer directly while explaining why he had such a mad-on for X-Factor, which at the time was composed of the original X-Men; it was far more about his feud with Xavier than it was with them.

    Fan Works 
Daredevil (2015)
  • Played with in The Sins of the Father's take on Elektra Natchios. Elektra seeks revenge against Wilson Fisk not just for having her father murdered, but for everything that he made Hugo do. As it's eventually revealed, Hugo got his business up and running by borrowing money from a loan shark who employed Fisk as an enforcer. Later, he and his business partners concocted a scheme to cheat the government out of import taxes by bribing customs officials to declare only a fraction of the cargo that came in on his ships. When Fisk began his partnerships with the Russians and Chinese, he blackmailed Hugo into smuggling Madame Gao's heroin by threatening to expose Hugo's scheme and cause a scandal that would ruin Hugo's reputation. After Fisk was exposed by Nelson & Murdock and arrested, Hugo was able to shut down the operation. But about a half-year later, Fisk (via Vanessa) tried to strongarm Hugo into resuming the smuggling, with a new satellite gang, the Enforcers, doing distribution. Rather than cooperate, Hugo decided to coerce Fisk into giving up the blackmail papers he had on him in exchange for giving him a ledger he kept of every shipment he had done for Fisk. Fisk didn't take this too well and instead hired Bullseye to kill Hugo as well as Carl Hoffman (the corrupt cop who was personally coerced by Fisk into killing his partner).

Dragon Ball

Fairy Tail

  • In the Alternate Tail Series, while Clan Garten is targeting any student or colleague of Joseph Mcgarden and putting them in a magic-induced coma, they refrain any hostilities to his granddaughter, Levy. They consider her one of their own due to sharing their blood and don't believe she should suffer for his "crimes" of leaving them. However, Levy wants nothing to do with them, due to the fact they want her to forsake both her grandfather and Fairy Tail, her Family of Choice that they dismiss as a mere company.

Fate/stay night

  • Path of the King: Some members of Kayneth's family wanted revenge on Kiritsugu for killing him and destroying his Magic Crest. They got upset when they found out Kiritsugu was already dead. Years later, when they find out Kiritsugu has a son named Shirou, they declare Shirou will pay for his father's crime and vow to destroy him.


Harry Potter

  • In one story, when Snape and McGonagall admit that their treatment of Harry (hating him and punishing him harshly for an alleged prank on Neville respectively) stem from James Potter's actions as a teenager, Harry turns it around on them by suggesting all the children of Death Eaters be imprisoned or killed since they'd most obviously be just like their parents and responsible for their actions as well.
  • Fanfic stories where Sirius Black has children often feature people giving these children a hard time for the crimes Sirius is wrongfully imprisoned for.
  • In The Rigel Black Chronicles, there was no war and Sirius Black never did go to prison. However, there are several people who resent his actions nonetheless.
    • Madam Pince bans "Rigel" from the library as a consequence of Sirius having once set fire to her Divination section.
    • Lee Jordan, whose family was driven out of the joke business by the Marauders' success, wants revenge, as well as wanting to maim Sirius' son to prevent him following in his father's footsteps.
    • Interestingly, Professor Snape averts this, albeit after a great internal struggle; his hatred is clear whenever Sirius is mentioned, but he's still able to recognise "Rigel's" skill and passion at Potion brewing and doesn't pass up the chance to teach someone who's really prepared to learn.
  • Betrayal of the Best Kind: Harry, while undercover as The Mole, needs to show his loyalty to Voldemort by torturing a captive Cho Chang (his Love Interest in the fic). He gags her and uses an obscure Egyptian spell for branding criminals as slaves. Once Cho is retrieved with a Portkey, she tells how the spell didn't hurt at all. Dumbledore remarks that the spell had adjustable pain levels in case a child had to finish his ancestor's term.
  • Alexandra Quick suffers from this after it's revealed her father is Abraham Thorn, The Enemy of the Confederation, especially in book five when she turned away from business because of her father. Doesn't help that the Confederation is less a confederation and more The Empire.

Jackie Chan Adventures

  • The Ultimate Evil:
    • Not only does Shendu pursue his canon example from the first season, but he initially becomes interested in Valerie Payne, the target of his Villainous Crush, simply because he sees her as a way to get revenge on her ancestor Lo Pei. He forgets that motive when he discovers she's his Other, though.
    • Discussed in the 14th chapter; Valmont mentions to Shendu that Valerie had better not end up in Hollowland's penitentiary because many of the criminals her late police father helped to arrest are incarcerated there and might take their revenge by hurting her. Shendu later brings this up to Valerie in order to convince her to remain in the solitary confinement wing with him.


  • Belated Battleships: San Francisco and Pennsylvania continue to hate Japan for their wartime conduct. In the former case, VADM Williams is able to make her reflect on her actions by asking her if his coming from Virginia also makes him a racist slave owner.

Kingdom Hearts

  • Kingdom Hearts 3: Final Stand: In the spin-offs set prior to the fall of Radiant Garden, it's established that the Insurgos believe that bloodlines carry certain traits; Ansem's parents were tyrants who saw everyone outside royalty as beneath them, and thus, they're obsessed with bringing down Ansem's rule because they believe that his parents' cruelty is hereditary. In Radiant, showing that she's not that different from the Insurgos, Ansem's mother, Hanako, reveals she has the same beliefs, outright telling Ansem and Rimi that Kaname should be imprisoned simply for being the son of one of the Insurgos despite the fact that Kaname saved them from his father.

Mass Effect

  • Of Sheep and Battle Chicken: A driving story element of the fanfiction is the efforts of some characters trying to live up to or move past the deeds/misdeeds of their parents. Garrus' conflict with his father is presented much more heavily than in canon, and Liara is forced to become a citizen of the Systems Alliance because the Asari government wants her to pay for her mother's crimes.
  • Uplifted: Nazi Protagonist Joachim Hoch, an ardent SS man since he was eighteen and apparently a supporter when he was younger, had his mentor and father figure Gerald Langer cover up his father's Communist ties, as well as his mother's Socialism and anti-Nazi stance. It is all unraveled in Uplifted: Intervention when he is shot in the face by his dead brother's ex-fiancee — a runaway Jewish woman. Under hard questioning by Ernst Kaltenbrunner, Langer admits the ties of his family. The result is not pretty. By Uplifted: Revolution, Joachim has spent two months in the care of the ever hospitable Gestapo.

My Hero Academia

  • In Soon I Shall Be Indestructible, Mei Hatsume initially targets Shoto Todoroki as an enemy because his mother Rei once dated her father, before breaking up and marrying Endevor. Mei believes that Rei was a gold-digger that broke her father's heart since she's unaware Rei was forced into a quirk marriage, and treats Todoroki as an enemy because of it. She eventually reacts in horror and regret when she finds out that Shoto and his siblings have been suffering abuse from Endeavor for much of their lives, and realizes that she shouldn't blame Shoto for his parents' sins.
  • Izuku in Viridescent suffers from this thanks to his father being the fearsome villain Heat Viper. He spent years suppressing his fire quirk to avoid any reminder, with the only support in his life before All-Might being his mother and the Bakugo family. When the full power of his quirk and his heritage are revealed during the Sports Festival, the general public treats him as a villain in the making, with a student at UA leaving a hate note at his desk to kill himself as an apology for Heat Viper's victims.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

  • A Diplomatic Visit:
    • The wolf packs believe in this in the case of honor crimes, demanding to punish a descendant (by forcing them to fight in what's essentially a battle to the death, without magic) if they cannot punish the original person — the only way to really end the feud is for the family line of the guilty to end, by wolf justice or the line simply dying out. Celestia, however, has refused to turn over the stallion who offended them and continues to refuse to let his descendants be taken, which has placed a strain on Equestrian-Packland relations, but the wolves won't give in, continually sneaking an extradition order for Nobleblood's latest descendant into their trade agreements (which Celestia always vetoes). Twilight, for her part, is hoping to come up with a solution that they'll accept in lieu of blood. Celestia later thinks to herself that unofficially, the wolves have since realized they'd made a mistake in calling Nobleblood's case an honor crime in the first place because now there are very few ways for them to back down from it without looking politically weak in the process.
    • Residents of the centaur and gargoyle kingdom avoid Equestria because they think the ponies will hate them for what their former prince Tirek once did to that land.
  • Pony POV Series: Nyarlathotrot, God of Tragedy and Horror, has a murderous grudge against Applejack. It is revealed that this is because many thousands of years ago, Applejack's ancestor Saint Sweetheart and her family managed to find the cure to a plague he had engineered to wipe out ponykind.
  • Vengeance of the Star: The assassins targeting Twilight kill Spike right in front of her just to make her suffer before killing her...only for her to transform into Midnight Sparkle and in retaliation kill the assassins families and force them all to watch.


  • Downplayed example in Dead Garden, with Takeru Haruno forbidding his daughter Sakura from befriending Naruto, since he blames Kushina and Minato for failing to keep the Kyuubi from escaping, causing his wife's death and leading his daughter to become the Kyuubi's container. However, this ends up preventing the already orchestrated Sakura from avoiding a friendless childhood when she dismisses Naruto's attempts to befriend her.
  • Son of the Sannin: The Uchiha Clan carried out their planned rebellion on Konoha, which resulted in the deaths of many, including Inoichi Yamanaka at the hands of Mikoto Uchiha. As a result, Ino channels her anger and hatred for her father's death on Sasuke, perceiving him as the easiest target.
  • Yet again, with a little extra help: Naruto's status as the son of the Fourth Hokage, Minato Namikaze, causes just as many — if not more — problems than his status as the Kyuubi Jinchuriki. Thanks to Butterfly of Doom, a bunch of Iwa nin (including Han, the Gobi Jinchuriki) learn of his existence and break out of prison to kill him. They attack him and his friends (many of whom are young, prominent clan heirs) while they are returning from a months-long mission. The resulting clusterfuck culminates in Naruto outing both while fighting Han. While all the protagonists survive in more-or-less one piece, the incident pushes Konoha and Iwa into a cold war that perpetuates throughout the Time Skip. In the sequel, it's revealed that in one possible timeline, tensions finally blew up and caused the Fourth Great Shinobi War.

One Piece

  • This Bites! thoroughly deconstructs the primary canon example regarding the Marines' planned execution of Ace during the Marineford Misery arc. When Sengoku announces to the world that the reason they're executing Ace is that he's Gold Roger's son, not because of any genuine crimes Ace himself has committed, Cross deftly points out on the same broadcast that they're illegally executing a man over a grudge against a guy who has been dead for twenty years, while at the same time throwing away countless lives and destabilizing the balance of the world by going to war with said man's captain, one of the four most powerful pirates on the planet. Once that's said, all of Sengoku's attempts to justify the execution ring hollow, especially after Ace makes it adamantly clear that he hates Roger and has no intention of following his footsteps.


  • In The Royal Couple, Haru ends up becoming a target of scorn due to being the daughter of Kunikazu Okumura, the Phantom Thieves' latest target as of the start of the fic. She even receives a fake calling card calling her a spoiled princess who profited off her father's misdeeds and hoping that she and her father get guillotined.


  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines: Gurkinn is a firm believer in this. When Orange League Champion Drake visits him seeking for help to become stronger, he refuses to teach him about Mega Evolution on the grounds that he has to check Drake's family tree and not find a single bad apple at least three generations back. The origin of his mindset comes due to a criminal named Tarasque, with whom he studied during his youth and eventually used Mega Evolution for evil purposes.


  • Breaking The Chains: Weiss had nothing to do with the abuse Adam encountered from the Schnee Dust Company. It was her father Jacques' fault. However, Adam doesn't care and still tries to kill Weiss just because she's a Schnee.


  • In Ultimate Sleepwalker: The New Dreams, the murderous Shiver Man is the ghost of a man trying to murder the descendants of the men who murdered him and stole his lands. He doesn't start out having a grudge against Sleepwalker, but when Sleepy interferes with his killing spree he extends his grudge to the alien.

Sonic the Hedgehog

  • Sonic X: Dark Chaos: As revealed in chapter 22, Tsali has been after Cosmo because her father Lucas made him into what he is now. Tails points out that Cosmo is not guilty of her father's crimes, but Tsali responds that she carries her father's blood, and that's enough for him.


  • In Ultimate Spider-Woman: Change With The Light, the families of Kitty Pryde and Ben Reilly are harassed by the relatives of the victims murdered by their uncle, the supervillain Jack O' Lantern. Spider-Woman, of course, isn't having it.

Steven Universe

  • Faded Blue: Steven is captured and imprisoned by the Crystal Gems because of the actions of his mother, partially because the Gems do not realize that he is actually a separate person.

Super Mario Bros.

  • Remember: Humans in the neighboring town hate the Tribe of Darkness because Merlumio, the first of the latter people, destroyed half of the town with the Dark Prognosticus he stole from the Tribe of Ancients.


  • Fates Collide: Charles-Henri Sanson and Chevalier d'Eon were wary of Weiss because she is a member of the infamous Schnee family. Marie Antoinette scolds them and says you should judge someone by their character, not their family. They apologize.
  • Imaginary Seas: Caenis hates Poseidon because he had raped her. When she finds out Percy Jackson is Poseidon's son, she tries to kill him and says she hates him just as much as his father. When Percy hears her name after fighting her and realizes just what her deal is, while he doesn't feel bad about defending himself, he does feel sympathy for her situation and what his father did to her.
  • Jaune Arc, Lord of Hunger: In "Vengeance", Adam Taurus is determined to kill Weiss (and later her older sister Winter) as retribution for all the Fantastic Racism that the Faunus have been subjected to by the Schnee Dust Company under her father's leadership. The fact that neither Weiss nor Winter have had any involvement in the decisions made by their Corrupt Corporate Executive of a father means nothing to him.
    Adam: I will have your head as recompense for your family's crimes!
  • Kimi No Na Iowa: The abyssals seek the genocide of Japan because of its past war crimes. They also want to wipe out the USA and other countries that had been involved in World War II for failing to do the former last time.
  • Lost to Dust: When Weiss attempts to shop at a weapon store, the owner Burg says that because of her father's crimes against his people, once her business is done, she is banned from the store.
  • Mass Effect: Human Revolution: As Garrus and Jensen get integrated into Hein's unit, the former gets into a heated argument with Edward Grey over the events at Shanxi. They were stopped by Hein, who pointed out that, unlike himselfnote , neither of them were actually present for the events and should put it past them.
  • Parenting is not a Varia Quality: Mainomai's bloodline is revealed to be under a Vengeance Curse cast by Hephaestus for being the issue of the god's wife Aphrodite's affair with Ares. Mainomai's partner Tyr is incensed by the unfairness of taking it out on the innocent descendant rather than the adulteress herself and manages to break the Curse.

    Films — Animation 
  • One really nasty example of a one-man vendetta is Rasputin in Anastasia who obsesses over murdering the title character, despite her having done nothing to earn his ire. Unlike other cases, he wasn't even victimised and there was no justification for his hatred. He took his anger at her father the Czar for offending him and denying him power, to an extent where he wanted to end his bloodline and annihilate the Romanov dynasty. Disproportionate Retribution at its finest.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Abominable Dr. Phibes, Phibes takes revenge on the 10 people he blames for his wife's death. He uses the Ten Plagues of Egypt as his theme, meaning that the last murder will be death of the first born, aimed at the surgeon's son rather than the surgeon.
  • Up to Eleven in Bright, where Orcs are still hated for siding with The Dark Lord 2,000 years in the past. "Once with the Dark Lord, always with the Dark Lord" is cited by one character. Subverted by the fact that the Dark Lord himself was an Elf, and Elves are wealthy and run the world, while everyone conveniently ignores that it was a heroic Orc who killed the Dark Lord.
  • In Cherry Falls, Loralee's rape at the hands of seniors 27 years ago is the reason for the bloodbath taking place now.
  • In Deewaar, the main characters, especially Vijay, are subjected to poor treatment by miners who blame their father for betraying them to the mine owner.
  • Descendants takes this to an egregious level with the children of the Disney Villains banished to an island without magic, technology, or decent food because of the actions of their parents. Before Ben became of age, and even afterwards, the population of Auradon mistreat them and never give them a chance for anything, treating them as Always Chaotic Evil while viewing themselves as Always Lawful Good.
  • A classic media portrayal of Hollywood Satanism, The Devil's Rain features an evil Satanic cult leader who is burned at the stake, but casts a spell that allows him to return centuries later to take vengeance upon the descendants of his executioners.
  • In Flowers in the Attic, the children of their newly widowed and bankrupt mother are subject to this by their hateful grandmother.
  • In The Fog, vengeful ghosts of lepers from 100 years earlier do this to the present-day descendants of their murderers.
  • In Freaky Friday (2003), Anna's teacher subjects her to unfair treatment — simply because when the teacher was younger, Anna's mother turned down a date with him.
  • GoldenEye: The crux of Janus/Alec Trevelyan/006's revenge plot against England: he seeks revenge for the betrayal of the Lienz Cossacks, a group that supported the Nazis against the Soviets during WWII. The Cossacks, believing they were under British protection near the end of the war, were instead deported to Russia, where they were executed. Trevelyan, needless to say, is pissed about this and seeks to make England pay, as these events caused his parents to kill themselves out of survivor's guilt.
  • The controversial 2016 movie Hillarys America contains quite a few accusations towards the Democratic Party (as in, the modern one) supporting slavery, hate groups, and Jim Crow laws, among other things, due to the stated and/or actual political affiliations of historic figures who did.
  • In Hook, the eponymous villain tries to get revenge against Peter Pan by corrupting his children into recognizing him as their father. In the climax, in order to goad Peter Pan into fighting him, Hook threatens to hound Peter's children and their children's children for eternity.
  • In House on Haunted Hill (1999), the vengeful ghosts arranged the guestlist for the party specifically to include the descendants of five members of Vannacutt's staff who didn't die in the long-ago fire so they could kill the descendants of the staff who tortured them decades ago. It's subverted when the last survivor in the house reveals that he's adopted, so is therefore spared this by the ghosts, although why someone who was adopted by a descendant is any less eligible to become a proxy-victim than someone who's genetically related raises still more issues about the injustice of this trope.
  • In Into the Woods, the Baker's problems all stem from his father stealing the Witch's beans. It's implied that if the Baker had gone through with abandoning his son, he would have set the stage for his son to have to go through similar circumstances.
  • Let's Go to Prison is about a guy getting the son of the judge who sent him to prison incarcerated, since the judge is dead and the guy can't exact revenge on him.
  • In Maleficent, this is why the title character curses Princess Aurora; King Stefan had betrayed her and cut off her wings in order to claim the throne.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Although most of Tony Stark's enemies are of his own making, Ivan Vanko seeks him out in Iron Man 2 to exact vengeance for Howard Stark having ruined his own father's life.
    • In Black Panther, this is one of the driving forces behind Killmonger's rampage. Killmonger wants to kill T'Challa and his family since T'Challa's father T'Chaka killed Killmonger's father N'Jobu. Likewise, he wants to murder and subjugate non-blacks as retribution for their historical crimes against black Africans.
    • Subverted in Avengers: Infinity War. Upon being told Gamora is Thanos's daughter, Thor angrily exclaims that Thanos killed his brother and moves to attack her. However, once Star-Lord quickly explains to him that Gamora was forcibly adopted by Thanos and she hates him just as much as Thor does, Thor immediately calms down and sympathizes with her instead.
    • In Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, Tony Stark himself is the "father" whose sins Spider-Man (a close friend of Tony's in this adaptation) has to deal with. Both the Vulture and Mysterio turned to villainy after Tony Stark's actions (intentionally or otherwise) screwed them over.
  • In Nicholas and Alexandra, the ending is art imitating real life from the last Tsarist family's bloody death in 1918.
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984): Freddy Krueger is targeting the children of those responsible for his murder through their dreams.
  • Scream: Poor Sidney Prescott has a bad case of this. Every single Big Bad of the movies are involved with or at least connected to her mother. In the first three movies, the main Ghostface is motivated by something that Maureen Prescott did. The fourth one is an exception, but the Big Bad still comes from her mother's side of the family.
    • In the first film, Billy Loomis's motive for wanting to kill Sidney Prescott is that her mother Maureen had an affair with Billy's father, which caused his parents to divorce and his own mother to run away. Which, obviously, is hardly something that Sidney can be held personally responsible for.
    • In the second film, Mrs. Loomis targets Sidney both to avenge her son and to get back at Maureen Prescott, with whom her husband cheated on her.
    • In the third film, Roman Bridger is Maureen's illegitimate son, born before she married Neil Prescott, who felt abandoned by her, driving him to kill her and destroy her legacy.
    • In the fourth film, Jill Roberts is Sidney's maternal cousin, the daughter of Maureen's sister, Kate.
  • In "Sharpe's Peril", Sharpe discovers that Barabbas is actually the son of the man that killed Sharpe's wife. Sharpe then tries to kill him for the sins of his father, but he is stopped by Harper. Later, Sharpe asks Barabbas for his forgiveness, which is given, and at the end, Barabbas saves Sharpe's life.
  • The Ten Commandments: Although it is his grandfather Pharoah Rameses I who orders the massacre of all Hebrew babies at the beginning of the film, it is his grandson and namesake Pharoah Rameses II that his grandfather's sin is visited through the Plague of the Death of the Firstborn, which of course includes the pharaoh's only son.
  • Alluded to in Thirteen Days — one of the several things that dog President John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert as they try to navigate the Cuban Missile Crisis is the fact that their father, Joseph P. Kennedy, was a major advocate of appeasement towards Adolf Hitler on the eve of World War II. Several officials (both military and civilian) push for a stronger response, despite the risk that it could start a nuclear war.
    Dean Atcheson: Let us hope appeasement doesn't run in families. I fear weakness does.

  • Lovecraft's contemporary, M.R. James, used this trope in his short stories "The Ash-Tree" and "The Mezzotint". In both cases, an executed criminal returns from the grave, to extinguish the family line of the person responsible for their execution.
  • Invoked by the villain in Aunt Dimity Goes West: an immigrant Polish miner sells his claim to a mine for five thousand dollars, and the wealthy buyer makes $200 million from the mine. Not only does the miner himself sabotage the mine, his great-grandson sets a bomb in the same mine, under the cabin built on the site by the still-wealthy descendants.
  • In the Avatar Series of novels in the Forgotten Realms setting, Kelemvor is the descendant of a man who was cursed for being selfish and refusing to offer a minor charity. The original curse triggered any time the man accepted payment for anything and caused him to turn into a massive were-panther and stay in that form until he killed at least one person. As a result, he died destitute and penniless. But the curse transferred to his children, and since children are born without greed, the curse inverted itself — for all of his descendants, the curse triggers any time the victim does anything charitable or gives away anything for free, forcing the rest of his line to become selfish mercenaries to avoid the effects of the curse.
  • Black Fleet Crisis: Leia and Luke are objects of suspicion by some politicians in the New Republic due to being Darth Vader's children, even with having done all they could in defeating him (plus the Empire as a whole).
  • The Book of Lord Shang advises that, if one charged with maintaining the law is to break the law, then he should receive the death penalty, and his children and grandchildren also be punished. Which would come back to bite Shang in a big way when he and his family received this very punishment, which was among the reforms that Shang himself made to Qin law after he was convicted of treason against King Huiwen of Qin. Family execution in general was known as the "Nine Exterminations," referring to the nine groups the offender's relations were categorized into (parents, grandparents, children, grandchildren, siblings and siblings-in-law, uncles, and the criminal himself) and in Ancient China, it was reserved for rebellion and treason, the worst capital offenses of the period.
  • In "Break the Door of Hell", one of the The Traveller in Black stories, Bardolus resurrects his dead mother, who tricks him into exposing himself to the same manic-depression-inducing drug she'd use to manipulate his father and drive the man to suicide. Apparently, that wasn't enough revenge for the father having forced himself on her: by her reckoning, their Child by Rape deserves the same self-destructive fate, even though nothing indicates that Bardolus ever deliberately harmed or offended her.
  • In The Children of Húrin, Morgoth exacts his revenge on Húrin for defying him by cursing his children and forcing him to watch as he slowly destroys their lives.
  • In The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness, this is the entire reason for Torak's existence. His father was a Soul-Eater, and though he tried to atone by starting the Great Fire and scattering the Soul-Eaters, the task of actually defeating them fell to Torak, who wasn't even born at the time. The World Spirit gave Torak the power to spirit walk, but made him be clanless so that no one clan would be more powerful. And it was also behind Torak's mother dying soon after she gave birth to him.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society novel Fall of Heroes, Lux explains to the youngsters that Cloak's original attack on them had been because of their dead founder who had once belonged to Cloak himself.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo:
    • The title character plans to kill his enemy Fernand's son Albert as part of his revenge, invoking the trope by name. Mercedes intercedes, taking part of the blame on herself.
    • He is forced to relent when he discovers Maximilien (the son of the man who did his best to get Edmond out of prison) is in love with Valentine (the daughter of Villefort, the man who sent Edmond to prison), and later his entire self-righteous attitude is shaken when he realizes he's caused the death of an innocent bystander (he'd been manipulating Villefort's second wife to murder Valentine for him, but on being Driven to Suicide she took her son with her), leading him to spare the last of his victims.
  • Cradle Series: The Li Grand Patriarch, an ascendant being who rose beyond the power of the world itself centuries ago, returns and explains that he is going to crush the other clans for the sins of the original patriarchs. "The sins of the father pass to his sons, as the sins of the mother pass to her daughters." However, we never get any real detail. Since Moral Myopia is a running theme, it's quite likely that the original patriarchs never did anything wrong at all. Not to mention that due to his ridiculous power and age compared to everyone else, it's like a veteran soldier striding into a kindergarten and challenging the children to duels.
  • In The Death Gate Cycle, the Sartan Alfred flatly states that he refuses to accept responsibility for the crimes his ancestors committed against the Patryns, saying that he has a hard enough time dealing with the consequences of his own sins.
  • In the Silver John story "The Desrick on Yandro", John witnesses a flock of Fearsome Critters dealing out vengeance to the grandson of Joris Yandro, who abandoned a backwoods witch named Polly Wiltse.
  • H. P. Lovecraft: "The Doom that Came to Sarnath". The city of Sarnath, shortly after its founding, destroyed a nearby city inhabited by non-human creatures. A thousand years later, as the city celebrated the anniversary of their victory, the doom came to Sarnath.
  • In The Dresden Files Harry Dresden is a young but strong wizard. Besides his own run in with breaking the Laws of Magic (killing his evil mentor in self-defense), Harry has frequently dealt with people who knew his mother Margarete LeFay Dresden. She was considered a radical by the older generation of the Council for her pushing the Council to take a more active and morally good stance in helping the world by showing just how much harm she could do by technically not breaking any laws. When Harry talks with the Captain Luccio of the Wardens, Luccio offhandedly calls Margarete a "bitch." A half-demon scion calls her a piece of work. The Lord Raith, King of the White Court of vampires, truly loathes her and seeks to kill Harry and Harry's half-blood sibling Thomas (Raith's own son) because on her death, Margarete cursed Lord Raith to never feed on people's emotions and the curse will only vanish if all her blood descendants are dead.
  • In Melinda Metz's Fingerprints, one villain's mother was murdered. The villain wants revenge, and, because the murderer has since died of unrelated causes, decides to kill her daughter instead.
  • In the novelization of Godzilla vs. Kong, one of the reasons why Madison is bullied and ostracized at school is because of her late mother's global Eco-Terrorist crimes in the previous story.
  • Harry Potter:
  • The Yelnats family in Louis Sachar's Holes is subject to a hereditary Gypsy Curse after Elya Yelnats failed to hold up his end of a bargain with a Romani woman. The protagonist Stanley Yelnats inadvertently lifts the curse by saving the woman's descendant.
  • Inheritance Cycle: Murtagh from Eragon is imprisoned by the Varden due to the crimes his father did. It's also because he grew up under the eye of their ultimate enemy, Galbatorix.
  • Journey to Chaos: Meza and his Elven Preservation Society (i.e. the Human Haters) hold the current generation of humans responsible for the Conversion War. They held the last generation responsible and they will hold the future generation responsible. That's what happens when you go to war with a Society of Immortals.
  • In Stephanie Burgis' Kat, Incorrigible tale A Tangle of Magicks, Lady Fotherington attributes Kat's behavior — on which she puts the most malicious interpretation — as stemming from her mother's wrongdoing. (She had lost out in a Love Triangle of her, Kat's mother, and Kat's father.)
  • Happens in the Legends of Dune prequels. After Abulurd Harkonnen is accused of treason following the Battle of Corrin, he is exiled to Lankiveil. It takes a very long time for the Harkonnens to return to prominence once again, as everyone remembers the shame, even though Abulurd's descendants had nothing to do with it. By the same token, Abulurd's descendants vow revenge on the descendants of Vorian Atreides, which is how their feud started.
    • Additionally, the official excuse for the enslavement of the Buddhislamics is "your ancestors chose to flee instead of helping us fight the machines". The real reason is the fear of any sort of machine, requiring the use of manual labor. However, no one wants to pay fair wages to workers, so slaves are used instead.
    • The feud is exacerbated in the follow-up trilogy, where Valya Harkonnen seemingly kills Vorian Atreides (he survives) in front of his descendant. Valya seems happy to allow let the rest of the Atreides live, especially since Vorian beseeched his descendant to let it go. Unfortunately, the manner in which Vorian is "killed" is cowardly and backhanded, only infuriating the young Atreides. So when he and Valya's little brother end up courtiers to Emperor Roderick, it's the Atreides who ends up rekindling the feud, seeking retribution for the murders of Vorian and his brother earlier.
  • Potential villain (ultimately Anti-Villain) Kal Zakath spends the early part of The Belgariad story The Malloreon trying to destroy every scion of mad king Taur Urges, after his vengeance against that man was stolen in the climax of the previous series. He gives it up when he is given proof that all of Urgas' offspring are dead, and his heir is actually the son of another man.
  • A variation of this applies in Dick King-Smith's novel The Mouse Butcher; the giant cat Great Mog's fixation on Tom Plug, the titular Mouse Butcher, is initially based on the fact that the human butcher was the one who killed Great Mog's mother and cut off his tail when he was a kitten, despite the fact that Tom wasn't even born when Great Mog suffered his original losses.
  • Oathbringer (third book of The Stormlight Archive): This is revealed to be the ultimate cause of the Forever War between humanity and the Voidbringers. The parsh were the original inhabitants of Roshar, and welcomed the human refugees who had survived after destroying their own planet. But the humans conquered Roshar for themselves, causing the parsh to turn to Odium, the God of Evil who the humans originally worshiped. The souls of ancient parsh are now the Voidbringers and are reincarnated into the bodies of modern parsh with every Desolation, when they lead the modern parsh against the humans they still hate. The modern parsh are shown to be no different than the humans, and there are many hints that despite the friction between the species, they would have been able to come to a peaceful accord if not for the Voidbringers pushing them to war.
  • This is justified in Pact, where many supernatural creatures are unable to distinguish between members of a family line, which results in the debts and the deeds of a family member being passed down through the ages. If the family is both very evil and very good at surviving long enough to procreate, as in the case of the Thorburns, then the responsibility for entire lifetimes of evil can fall upon the next heir. Blake Thorburn finds himself in this position at the start of the story.
  • In Repairman Jack book The Tomb, Kusum Bahktri seeks revenge on the descendants of the British colonial officer who'd raided a secret Indian temple to steal its gemstones, murdering Kusum's ancestors in the process. While the first member of the Westphalen lineage that Kusum eliminates was an Asshole Victim, the others he targets are a pair of harmless old ladies who have no clue where their family's wealth came from, and a seven-year-old girl who's never benefited from the fortune at all.
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, as the story progresses, more details indicate that the late parents of the Baudelaires murdered Count Olaf's parents at an opera when he was younger. The loss of his parents drove him to being the sinister and demented figure that he is now and since after the Baudelaire parents died in the fire, he has continually hunted the orphans for their fortune and tormented them as petty revenge against their parents. However, given Lemony Snicket's vague story-telling, the exact reasons and circumstances of what happened to Olaf's parents are left anonymous.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire,
    • Sansa Stark is held prisoner in King's Landing because her father tried to take the throne from King Joffrey. In reality, Joffrey is not the true heir to the throne and Lord Stark went about the wrong way trying to correct the situation. She's also physically abused whenever her brother wins a battle against Joffrey's men.
    • After Robert's Rebellion, the Targaryen children are killed/hunted because Rhaegar kidnapped Robert's betrothed, Lyanna Stark, and Aerys murdered Rickard and Brandon Stark, as well as to eliminate the threat they posed to Robert's legitimacy as king. Viseys, the oldest, was only eight years old when this all started.
    • Theon Greyjoy was taken from his home and spent most of his life as a hostage because of his father's failed rebellion against the Iron Throne.
    • Tyrion at one point muses on how he and the people of his generation are puppets dancing to the strings of their ancestors, and that in time his generation will be the puppeteers manipulating their descendants from beyond the grave.
  • In Ru Emerson's Spell Bound, Ilse is still dissatisfied when she has cursed and killed those most responsible for her mother's death. She then goes on to their children, who had no part in it.
  • In Survivor Dogs, the other dogs are afraid of Doberman's, known to them as "Fierce Dogs", because the only ones they've seen are violent and aggressive. This comes to a head when Lucky rescues a litter of Fierce Dog pups whose mother was murdered by their pack leader. Even though they're just tiny puppies that are only a few weeks old, the adults still have mixed feelings towards them and are initially afraid of them.
  • A particularly ironic variation happens in Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities where Dr. Manette was unjustly imprisoned by a pair of twin aristocrats after he went to the police about them raping a peasant girl which caused her death, and killing her husband and brother. He is unfortunately imprisoned in the brutal Bastille, which eats away at his sanity. He writes a journal describing how he got there, but due to amnesia forgets all about it once freed. Later in the book, Charles Darnay, his son-in-law, is put on trial in crazed revolutionary France. When Dr. Manette asked who testified against him, it turns out the son of one of the twins that originally imprisoned Manette, and Darnay's accusers know all about it thanks to the recovery of the doctor's journal. Ultimately, at the end of the journal, he condemns all the posterity of the twins that imprisoned him, saying "I, Alexandre Manette ...denounce to the times when all these things shall be answered for. I denounce them to Heaven and to Earth." Which means he ultimately wound up testifying against his son-in-law because of this trope. Also, Madame Defarge was the sister of the peasant girl who was raped, and wants to kill everybody in the twins' family for revenge, even Charles Darnay's young daughter.
  • The Vampire Count of Monte Cristo goes into this a little more than the main novel. Apparently, even a vampire can be sicked by collateral damage.
  • Warrior Cats: Fire And Ice reveals that the bloodthirsty Brokenstar was Yellowfang's son, the latter adding that StarClan punished her for breaking the medicine cat code (that a medicine cat is not to have a mate or kits) by letting Brokenstar live. Yellowfang's Secret, however, shows that Brokenstar's rise to leadership unchallenged was also a punishment from StarClan for driving SkyClan out, which happened several years before Yellowfang's Secret takes place.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Wells from The 100 is the son of Chancellor Jaha, leader of the dystopian Ark society who imposes an All Crimes Are Equal policy that got many people executed for their crimes (that can go from murder, to whistleblowing, to having more than one child). As a result, most of the 100 (juvenile criminals who couldn't be executed until their majority) hate Wells, as they've all been imprisoned by Jaha's police force or have seen their loved ones "floated" on his orders. A young girl who was traumatized by her parents' deaths ends up murdering him.
  • In The Adventures of Superboy episode "The Haunting of Andy McAlister", the ghosts of some wild west outlaws attempt to get revenge on Clark Kent's friend Andy because his ancestor was the sheriff who previously defeated them.
  • To date in Arrow Oliver's son, William, has been kidnapped twice by villains looking to punish his father for interfering with their criminal activity, interference which sometimes included harming or killing people important to the villain.
  • Babylon 5:
    • The Centauri start the series as the targets of this from the Narn. Later they start doing their own sins. It doesn't help that the Centauri won't admit to having occupied Narn, claiming that they were helping to uplift the Narn savages and got attacked for their trouble.
    • G'Kar has this mindset about Emperor Turhan of the Centauri Republic in "The Coming of Shadows." The Emperor's family, but not Emperor Turhan himself, was involved with mass slaughters of Narns during the Centauri occupation, stealing territories, and other atrocities. Emperor Turhan, however, has gone out of his way to appease the Narn by returning the territories and making what amends he can. Despite these actions, G'Kar cannot see the difference between the man and the family he came from and fully intended to kill the Emperor when he came to the station.
    • An episode shows a trial where a human accuses a Vree of his/her grandfather abducting the human's grandfather. Of course, the Vree have never abducted anyone. The likely candidates would have been the Streib. The Vree just happen to look like your typical Greys and fly around in flying saucers. Some material indicates that they have indeed visited Earth in the 20th century on a routine survey mission. They find the fact that this had a big impact on human culture hilarious.
  • The Barrier has an inversion between generations. An elderly woman's helpful neighbors bailed out on her after her son was arrested for a murder committed by his girlfriend while she was trying to save a minor from a rapist.
  • An episode of the original Battlestar Galactica involves a prison populated by descendants of the original criminals. None of them have proper names and are instead called "<insert crime here> <number of generation>" (e.g. Thief 10). And yes that includes things that aren't even considered criminal in 20th-century Western society (e.g. adultery). A running gag is the prisoners wondering what sort of crime starbucking is.
  • An episode of Bones reveals that one of the reasons why Booth has made service to his country and pursuit of justice his life's missions is because he is descended from John Wilkes Booth, Abraham Lincoln's assassin, a relation he hides from everyone and is ashamed of. In his mind, he hopes to wash away the mark of treason from his family.
  • CSI: One episode had the killer of the week hunting down and executing the grandsons of the men responsible for her grandparents' deaths.
  • Hilariously averted in an episode of El Chapulín Colorado where the hero got involved in the Romeo and Juliet story. Romeo asked Juliet's father if there was any way the two families could reconcile. The reply: "I can forget your grandfather killed mine. I can forget your great-grandfather killed mine. I can even forget your great-great-grandfather killed mine." What Juliet's father would never forget is that the two families root for different sport teams.
  • The Equalizer features this in a fourth and final season episode called this only with "The" as its first word, in which a mobster's small son was kidnapped by the widow of the mobster's accidental crossfire murder victims-the widow's husband and small son-from eight years earlier.
  • An episode of Forever involves an old man who seemingly dies of cancer. He turns out to be the deposed king of a fictional East European country called Urkesh. Henry later finds out that the man had an illegitimate daughter who was working as a waitress. In the end, it turns out that the old man was killed by radiation poisoning by an employee at the Urkesh consulate, who recognized him and wanted to pay him back for being tortured back in Urkesh during the days of the monarchy. He also poisons the king's widow, but Henry manages to pump her stomach in time. The killer then goes after the girl, even though the main target of his revenge is dead, and the girl didn't even know about her heritage until a few days before. During the struggle, he hears a baby crying and realizes that there is another descendant for him to kill. Luckily, he's killed before he succeeds.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • After Jaime Lannister killed Rickard Karstark's son, Rickard murders Jaime's nephews Martyn and Willem. He justifies this by saying they were Jaime's relatives, but Robb Stark executes him for it, pointing out they were innocent children.
    • The Karstarks and the Umbers betrayed the Starks. After the ones responsible have been killed, in "Dragonstone", Sansa and the others want their children to be punished as well. Jon Snow defies this and says he will not punish someone for someone else's crimes.
    • In "Eastwatch", Tormund nearly attacks Jorah Mormont when he finds out Jorah's father is Jeor, who had killed many of Tormund's people. Jon Snow defuses the situation.
    • Jon himself deals with this issue, as he is the grandson of the Mad King Aerys and the son of Prince Rhaegar, who most of the realm believes kidnapped and raped Lyanna Stark. While there are plenty of Targaryen loyalists that would happily pledge allegiance to him if the truth were to ever come out, there are just as many who would want to kill him for that same reason (as Viserys and Daenerys, Jon's uncle and aunt/lover, can attest to). It was for this reason that his uncle Eddard Stark passed him off as his illegitimate son.
  • In Haven, nearly everybody in Haven, Maine hates Duke Crocker because of his deceased father Simon. Simon (and before him, his father Roy) had the power to erase a Trouble by killing one person who had it, so he went on a killing spree of Troubled people, trying to wipe them out. Duke was completely ignorant of the Crocker ability and doesn't learn that he has inherited it or of his father's deeds until the episode "Sins of the Fathers". In Season 4, Duke's brother Wade comes into town and many people also associate him with Simon while he is completely ignorant of what Simon has done. Unfortunately, Wade eventually becomes just like Simon, and Duke is forced to kill him to defend Jennifer.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys did this a lot, especially in the earlier seasons. As in the myths, Hera is outraged by all the affairs Zeus has had and any illegitimate children that resulted, but she really takes it out on Hercules because he's the favorite son. Multiple episodes see her try to hurt him any way she can, including killing his family and threatening his friends; "Medea Culpa" even has her admit she wants Hercules to die a horrible death to teach Zeus not to father any children that aren't hers. Some of Herc's other Olympian relatives also resent Zeus favoring a half-mortal over them and treat Hercules as a scapegoat to take their anger out on.
  • Highlander deals with this in “Forgive Us Our Trespasses.” After the Jacobite Rebellion and Battle of Culloden, the British punished the Scots by killing as many Scottish male children as they could, saying it would keep them from growing up and fighting. Duncan embarks on his own rampage against British kids and ends up getting confronted on it a couple hundred years later by an immortal named Keane from the British side.
  • Homicide: Life on the Street had an episode in which the homicide investigators find that an ordinary, middle-class, family man was murdered just because his ancestor (a woman, in this case) was a notorious pre-Civil War(!) bounty hunter and lyncher of slaves who were trying to escape from the South.
  • Intergalactic: Commonworld punishes traitors' families for their crime too. It turns out this is why Rebecca kept Yann's defection to ARC secret, as otherwise she and their daughter Ash would suffer for what he did.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit:
    • An episode had a whole plot centered around this. A teenage girl is found dead and about two or three months pregnant. At first, the detectives suspect her music teacher...but then it turns out he never touched her, only let her and her boyfriend use his apartment to have sex. It's then revealed that the baby has 62% of its DNA from the mother, meaning that the father is related to her. It turns out that her boyfriend, who fathered the baby, is her half brother since her mom's boyfriend (and her biological father) is her boyfriend's father, married to another woman. He is not happy to find out about this.
    • Toyed with but ultimately averted in a later episode. The defendant is a man who, decades earlier, had been Forced to Watch as his mother was gang-raped by three KKK members. As an adult, the man had tracked down the granddaughter of one of the rapists and had intended to rape her so that her grandfather would feel what he had felt. But when he broke in to do it and actually had to look at the granddaughter, he realized that in order to do what he'd planned, he would have to hurt an innocent woman who had nothing to do with what happened to his mother (she wasn't even born yet), and he couldn't go through with it. Then he ends up accused of rape anyway because the girl's grandfather, who's still as much a racist Jerkass as he ever was, convinced her that no one would believe her if she didn't say it was rape. Unsurprisingly, it takes the police and the DA a while to sort this one out.
  • Lost: Ben intends to kill Penny Widmore because her father hired a psycho who killed Ben's daughter Alex.
  • Luke Cage (2016): Bushmaster brings a gang war against Mariah Dillard as her grandfather Buggy Stokes killed his father Quincy McIver, and years later Buggy's widow Mama Mabel killed his mother Gwen.
  • Merlin also had an episode named "Sins of the Father", where Uther's Back Story and Arthur's birth comes to light. It ain't pretty.
  • Messiah: Avenir killed the son of the man who had killed his mother in a bombing, saying people inherit the sins of their parents.
  • Million Yen Women: Shin is shown getting harassed via his fax machine because of murders his father committed and it's generally played as unfairness towards him. Later, the fact that his father is a murderer benefits Shin in the form of boosting the sales of his book because of No Such Thing As Bad Publicity, which the sender of the faxes is shown to not like at all.
  • The Outpost: The Season 3 premiere invokes this, entitled "For The Sins of Your Ancestors". As punishment for Humans' atrocities against their kind in the past, the invading Blackbloods enslave all the Humans at the Outpost.
  • In one episode of the 2000 version of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) London Gangster Sidney Crabbe, unable to target Larry Hopkirk, who he blames for his death, goes after Marty instead.
  • Sharpe: In Sharpe's Peril, Sharpe happens to run into the bastard son of his late nemesis Hakeswill, currently under arrest for a theft he didn't commit. Sharpe beats the poor guy up until Harper stops him, but in the end Hakeswill Jr. saves the day and Sharpe and Harper's lives.
  • Smallville:
    • Jonathan Kent instantly dislikes Lex Luthor solely because he is the son of Lionel Luthor, a man he detests.
    • In the episode "Hourglass," this is Harry Bollston's whole M.O. After originally being sent to prison for murdering the son of a teacher who recommended someone else for a prestigious scholarship, he gets out and starts plotting to kill the children of the jurors from his trial, including Jonathan.
    • Lionel deliberately kept his own father's history of petty crime a secret so as to avoid suffering this trope while integrating into more affluent circles.
    • Season 4 deals with the conflict between the Teagues and an evil witch named Margaret Isobel Thoreaux who is Lana's ancestor. Isobel was hired by Duccess Gertrude to find the Stones of Power but betrayed her and was burned at the stake by Gertrude as revenge. Before dying, Isobel swore revenge on Gertrude's descendants. She succeeds in getting her revenge when she kills Genevieve Teague who is a descendant of Gertrude's. This allows her spirit to finally rest in peace and leave Lana's body for good.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • The series explores this in an episode actually named "Sins of the Father". Here, Worf's late father, Mogh, is accused of treason, but only to cover up the fact Duras' powerful clan was responsible to avoid civil war. The Klingon High Council figured that since his only known relation was Worf, a Federation citizen, then Worf would be safe from any punishment this judgment would bring. Unfortunately, they underestimate how much value Worf places in his Klingon heritage, including his honor; the dishonor may have no practical implications, but that doesn't mean Worf is going to let it slide (though he eventually agrees to go along with it anyway for the greater good of the Empire).
    • Played with in the case of Duras. Worf clearly wants revenge on Duras, for Duras' father framing Worf's father for treason. He does not directly challenge him, as with Duras dead, Worf would never have the proof to regain his honor. Then Duras kills Worf's mate (and Alexander's mother) K'ehleyr...and Worf promptly shoves a bat'leth through his chest in single-combat.
    • Subverted in a later episode when Klingon Chancellor Gowron offers Worf the opportunity to execute Duras' son when the House of Duras' treachery comes to light and Worf's family honor is finally restored. Worf declines, pointing out that, unlike his grandfather, father, and aunts, he has committed no crime. Kurn promptly tried to kill him, but Worf prevents it, pointing out the boy's life is his to take or spare.
    • It is also mentioned in a couple episodes that the dishonor for certain crimes in Klingon culture is passed down for a certain number of generations. Worf actually lies about the heritage of the children of Klingon POWs that he discovered because allowing oneself to be captured shames the family for three generations, meaning that said children, and any future children they might have, would be tainted in Klingon society for their parent's perceived sins.
    • A variation also forms part of a plot arc in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Chancellor Gowron strips Worf's family honor when Worf refuses to side with the Empire against the Federation. Worf is willing to accept that because he feels that, whatever the Empire's official position, betraying his oath would be a true dishonor. Unfortunately, the fallout also affects Worf's brother Kurn, and he is not happy, asking Worf to put him out of his misery — as even in committing dishonorable suicide, Kurn claims he would find himself among other Klingons. Worf is eventually forced to have Kurn's memory modified to the point he cannot remember his own name or Worf's, and he asks a friend of their father to take Kurn into his House under a new identity.
  • Happens in the Tales from the Crypt episode "Suprise Party", with a side of Laser-Guided Karma. A man murders his father so he can inherit a house, which hosts party-goers who are eventually revealed to be the vengeful spirits of people his father had burned to death several decades ago. They'd been wanting to return the favor, but since the father is dead, they settle for getting revenge on the son instead. They even reenacted the night of their murder, just to confirm that he deserved to die for his father's crime. The son acted exactly like his father. This was adapted from the comics, the end panel is page image above.
  • In 2 Broke Girls Caroline is hated by many people because her father ran a Ponzi Scheme that cost thousands of people their life savings. While Caroline did not know about the fraud, her lavish lifestyle was funded by the stolen money.
  • Wynonna Earp: After being released from his imprisonment, Bulshaar starts hunting down the descendants of the Purgatory townsfolk who originally sold him out to Wyatt Earp.

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Christian doctrine of original sin. Thanks a lot, Adam and Eve. Arguably depicts God as the arch practitioner of this concept. Among the Christian denominations, the views of the Fall go from the doctrine of actual sin and Total Depravity to the mere corruption of the human nature.
  • In The Bible, the penalty of breaking #2 of the Ten Commandments (worshiping an idol or a false god), is that God will descend his punishment unto you, and your descendants up until the fourth generation. However on the flip side, glorifying him in a manner God finds acceptable, means blessings for a thousand generations. This was later overturned in the book of Jeremiah since it was no longer having the intended effect (people thought only descendants would be punished).
    • In stereo with Jeremiah, Ezekiel (Ezekiel, Chapter 18) also got an oracle from God condemning Israelites for saying "The fathers eat sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge," and stating that God is going to put a stop to that nonsense and make individuals take responsibility for all of their own infractions.
    • God did prohibit the execution of the wrong generation for the sins of a member of one generation, decreeing that each is to die only for their own sins. King Amaziah of Judah lays down this law when dealing with the two men that murdered his father (who had in his later years morally degenerated, but still).
    • Once, Noah...overindulged a little on the wine made from the first grapes produced after the Deluge. He got naked...and passed out. His son, Ham, noticed and decided to point and laugh before informing his brothers (who covered him up, averting their eyes all the while). When he woke up and found out, Noah blessed his two other sons...and cursed Ham's grandson, saying that those descended from him would be destined to serve those of Ham's brothers.
    • And we have David's son in 2 Samuel, conceived by Bathsheba, the wife of one of his soldiers, and pulling a Murder the Hypotenuse in the bargain. God opts to make the newborn infant waste away over 7 days to teach David a lesson. In His mercy, though, He then allowed them to have a legitimate son — Solomon, who would eventually succeed David on the throne.
    • In the Book of Exodus, if a man died with no heirs, and he had a brother, his widow was to be married off to his brother (whether she wanted to be or not), and the first son they had together would be counted as her original husband's heir, and the family line would continue. All others would be considered to belong to her new husband. This levirate marriage custom was considered to be an honor and a privilege, as well as a duty. And if a man's brother refused to marry the widow, she was permitted to spit in his face and remove his sandal in front of the entire community. He would face financial ruin and social ostracism, and all his descendants would be known as "the sons/daughters of The Unsandaled". No word on what would happen if the widow tried to refuse the levirate marriage, but since women were typically uneducated and economically dependent on the men in their lives, and besides, this was a matter of Family Honor, it most likely would not have been in her best interests to do so, either. Interestingly, when the practice is played out in the book of Ruth, it's far more formal and polite. Ruth isn't even present, and the man takes off his sandal himself and hands it to Boaz.
  • Classical Mythology: A common ancient Greek moral concept, as exhibited in several myths.
    • Tantalus was a vile murderer and cannibal, but his cursed descendants included innocent people forced to suffer for their ancestor's crimes.
    • Zeus' illegitimate children tend to suffer from this because, as he is too powerful for her to take vengeance on, Hera has to resort to making the lives of his love children and paramours a living hell to the best of her abilities.
    • The story of Pandora's Box is even more this. Pandora was sent to punish all humanity, forever, because the generation alive at the time accepted fire from Prometheus. The gods introduced old age, disease, and a variety of other nasty curses to humans, which their innocent descendants would have to suffer. Hesiod includes among those curses the existence of females, and rants about why women are an unmitigated curse to men. Nope, no misogyny here. The last of the curses was Hope, which as all that was left inside when the box was closed.
    • After Heracles died, King Eurystheus, who was still angry about Heracles being more popular than him and humiliating him with the Twelve Labors, attempted to get revenge by ordering Heracles' children wiped out. He and his men were soundly defeated. In most versions of the story, he was killed by Heracles' son Hyllus.
  • In Norse Mythology, when Loki's mischief finally crosses the line, the gods can't just kill him because of an oath of fellowship he swore with Odin in younger and happier days. There's nothing stopping them from killing his family, though, and part of his doom is that one of his sons is driven out of his mind and kills his brother, whose entrails are then used to forge the unbreakable fetters the gods use to imprison Loki.

  • Ilias has to deal with the possibility of this in Shadowhunter Peril. He is the bastard child of Oblivion (a Physical God Hero Killer who killed Kyle's father and Puriel's friend, as well as torturing and severely wounding other characters before finally being killed), and Anahita, Nicholas's mother and Bezaliel's lover. Basically when Ilias arrives nearly everyone hates him on sight, and it doesn't help he looks exactly like his father. Then it turns out that Oblivion is Not Quite Dead after all, and wants to kill Ilias too. So he's basically alone because everyone he knows either hates his guts because of his father's crimes or wants him dead. But most of them have both feelings.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech: Clan Wolverine, AKA The Not-Named Clan was annihilated by the other Clans early on due to a betrayal (the novel Betrayal of Ideals depicts it as being largely a case of jealousy for them being better in nearly every way than the other Clans, but that novel's actual canon status is dubious because it contradicts a lot of other game lore and is considered in-universe propaganda). In the present, even being suspected of being someone who's descended from Clan Wolverine is enough to trigger an attack by the Clans to wipe the person out. This was exploited during the Word of Blake Jihad, when rumors that the Word of Blake had Clan Wolverine descendents among their numbers were spread in order to convince Clan Ghost Bear to start attacking them.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade background lore has a variation on this, so much as vampire "sires" can be considered parents. In Masquerade, the Biblical Cain was punished for killing his brother Able by being turned into the first vampire. Every vampire he or his children sires both bears this curse regardless if they want it or not. As SsethTzeentach points out, the real punishment for Cain was not getting super powers, but watching generations of his own children killing each other.
    • Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines starts off with the player character almost getting executed for the crime of being turned into a vampire by your sire when the sire didn't get permission to do so.
  • Possibly subverted by the Necrons of Warhammer 40,000. Their original enemies, the Old Ones, are now more-or-less absent from the galaxy, but the Necrons don't seem to go out of their way to kill the creations of the Old Ones, and indeed seem to mostly ignore the Eldar and Orks except when they happen to run into each other.
    • It's not so much ignoring as equal-opportunity-slaughtering. The Imperium of Man is just a few thousand times bigger than the handful of Eldar craftworlds, and no one cares or likely even hears of it when they do it to the Orks.
      • It's not like the Orks to complain about an inexhaustible source of fresh battle, and they also avert this trope for the same reason, and more so: killing Orks makes them release a lot of spores, that might otherwise come out only much later, if ever. Don't expect them to thank you, though, except with More Dakka.
    • Played straight with the Eldar. By default, the soul of any Eldar who dies without their soulstone on them (or if their soulstone gets destroyed — which can happen quite easily) is automatically consumed and tortured for all eternity by Slaanesh. Why? Because their ancestors were hedonists who squicked him (her?) into existence. Although Slaanesh isn't targeting Eldar souls to punish them so much as because they taste good.
    • Played straight, and self-inflicted, on the Death Korps of Krieg. Every member of this Imperial Guard regiment is brainwashed from childhood so that their ultimate goal is to fight and die for the Imperium to atone for the crimes of their ancestors, who attempted to rebel against the Imperium over five hundred years ago.
      • Played painfully straight along with Revenge before Reason by the Dwarfs of Warhammer Fantasy, who hold grudges for as long as it takes to settle them, no matter if everyone related to the grudge is long dead. A great example being when an Empire noble hired a group of Dwarf masons to build a massive castle, and after all that hard work, paid them. The problem? He shorted them, by how much you ask...2 & 1/2 coins(which is hinted to be accidental). The grudge was written down in the Great Book, and decades later, a massive throng of dwarfs marched down to demand retribution from the Noble's descendant, who to him just seemed like a massive army that had appeared on his doorsteps demanding blood. Hilarity Ensues.
  • In Werewolf: The Apocalypse, players can choose a flaw for their characters that has them hunted for the misdeeds of an ancestor, either by one extremely long-lived being (which are a dime a dozen in the WoD) or by a line of hunters passing down the hunt over the generations. It makes a little more sense in the WoD, as werewolves can channel their ancestors' spirits.
    • Werewolf: The Forsaken has the Pure doing this to the Uratha. According to their creation myths, six of Father Wolf's children took out their aged, weakened ancestor. Three of them held back, and when everything went to pot, blamed the six for it. The Forsaken's tribes have the spirits that killed Father Wolf as their totem spirits, while the Pure have those that stayed out of it for theirs, and the Pure are very interested in holding that grudge.

  • In Carousel, Louise is bullied by the town because of her father's reputation for Domestic Abuse, his scandalous suicide, and the fact that her family is poor.
  • The Witch from Into the Woods laid a curse on the Baker's entire family forever so that they could never bear children, just because the Baker's father stole her rampion without asking. What makes it even worse is that she had originally only wanted their child, but then laid the barrenness curse on them just because she wasn't entirely satisfied.
  • Romeo and Juliet implies something like this, as the Montagues and the Capulets have been feuding because of some past event not said (some scholars tend to think it was about land), though, whatever it was took place so long ago that no one knows why anyway, though the generations still feud, which makes the titular couple Star-Crossed Lovers.
  • In the backstory of Ruddigore, the witch cursed not only Sir Rupert Murgatroyd but all his successors as Baronet of Ruddigore for his burning her.

    Video Games 
  • In Arcanum: Of Steamworks & Magick Obscura, the Isle of Despair is a prison colony that no one ever escapes from. Men and women are sent there, and the women who don't flee to the Women's Camp become property in the men's camp. As do their female children.
  • In Baldur's Gate II, Firkraag torments you partially to take revenge upon your foster father, Gorion, who injured him in a battle many years previously: Gorion died in the beginning of the first game, so he's had to settle for the second best thing. He himself admits that it wouldn't really bring him any closure or anything, but he can do it and thus he did.
  • In Season 1 of Batman: The Telltale Series, it becomes clear that the Children of Arkham’s whole deal is destroying Bruce Wayne’s life because of what Thomas Wayne did to them or their parents. Bruce can even lampshade this after being sent to Arkham himself.
    Bruce: I am so sick of everyone comparing me to my father. I'm not him! Hurting me doesn’t solve anything!
    Inmate: True, but it'll still feel good.
  • In BioShock Infinite, Daisy Fitzroy's final, most radical act is to hold the son of industrialist Jeremiah Fink hostage and threaten to kill him so that he can't turn out like his corrupt, robber-baron father; the boy is only saved when Elizabeth kills Daisy with a pair of scissors. Although the DLC "Burial at Sea" reveals that Daisy was reluctant and appalled when the Luteces suggested the idea, and that she only agreed when they convinced her that it is necessary for Elizabeth's growth to eventually take down Comstock.
  • The plot of the DLC of Bloodborne is the result of this. The scholars of Byrgenwerth invaded a Fishing Hamlet in search of the corpse of the Great One Kos (some say Kosm) washed up on its beach, and committed horrible atrocities on the corpse and the villagers For Science!. In their anger, the villagers pleaded for Kos to curse the scholars, and Kos obliged by cursing them and their metaphorical descendants the Hunters with bloodlust which would eventually drive them mad. This results in the Hunter's Nightmare swallowing up Hunters consumed entirely by their bloodlust, and Simon the Harrowed pleads with the player character to put an end to it because the Hunters cannot bear the weight of Byrgenwerth's sins forever.
    "Curse the fiends, their children too...And their children, forever true...Call to the bloodlust wherever they be..."
  • Call of Duty 4 plays with the concept and lampshades it: the Big Bad's only son is also The Dragon, so The Squad goes after him, hoping to lure his father out. They succeed... in a way. The son shoots himself rather than let himself be captured, which drives his father to capture a well-stocked nuclear silo, demanding American and British forces leave Russia immediately or else.
    Gaz: The sins of our fathers...
    Griggs: Heh. Ain't it a bitch?
  • The Darkness: While it might be prudent to hunt down the latest heir of a family curse of demonic possession from the ultimate evil itself, when most of its previous hosts have caused corruption and destruction on a global scale, none of this justifies planning to torture a host twelve times before they've awakened to their dark powers. Especially if they were raised by their torturers. The poor guy snapped on the fourth torture and killed everyone involved.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • In Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening, Beowulf lost one of his eyes in battle with Sparda at some time in the past. When Dante arrives, Beowulf recognizes him as Sparda's son by his scent and goes on a rampage. Dante takes out his other eye, and Beowulf vows revenge on him as well. Unfortunately for Beowulf, he doesn't know Sparda had two sons, and he gets killed by Vergil.
    • The anime series gives us a demon who was once Sparda's apprentice and whom Sparda abandoned before or after his Heel–Face Turn. Naturally, he wants revenge on Dante since Sparda is long dead at that time.
  • Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening:
    • Nathaniel Howe is attempting to atone for his father Arl Rendon Howe's sins. A disturbingly high amount of players opt to have him killed in retaliation for his father's crimes despite the fact that Nathaniel hasn't seen his father since he was a child. Back in Origins, the Warden can promise to exterminate Arl Howe's family for his crimes on confronting him near the end of the game, which Howe brushes off at the time.
  • Dragon Age: Origins:
    • Comes into play in the "Nature Of The Beast" quest: The werewolves' ancestors were human barbarians who were responsible for raping and killing Zathrian's children, so he set upon them a werewolf curse that continued down upon their descendants. One of the ways to convince Zathrian to break the curse is to show him how his actions are hurting victims innocent of the original crime.
    • Casteless dwarves are known as "criminals and the children of criminals" — in dwarven society, people can be stripped of their social rank and barred from all legitimate occupations for committing crimes, and their descendants will be likewise cast out of society. It goes way over the time in terms of punishment when you realize that casteless dwarves have literally no way to join or re-join a caste. The only way for a casteless family to change this is if a casteless has a child with a dwarf with a caste and the child is the same gender as the parent with a caste. Dwarven children inherit the caste of the parent with the same gender (a son will inherit his father's caste while a daughter will inherit her mother's). The casteless parent is still casteless, but his or her child and their future children will not. Aiding the Evil Prince Bhelen during the Kingmaker Scenario allows for this to change for the better.
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Budokai Tenkaichi, if you pit Freeza against Adult Gohan, you get this as their unique opening quote.
    Freeza: The sins of the father shall be passed down to the son. I will make you pay tenfold for what he did to me!
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest II: Subverted. The Dragonlords's grandson chooses to not antagonize Erdrick's grandson and helps him instead. In the Playable Epilogue, the Dragonlord's grandson says that the problem of their respective ancestors was their problem and expresses a desire to become friends with the heroes.
    • Dragon Quest V: An ancestor of Rodrigo Briscoletti sealed Bjorn the Behemoose away, but the seal is due to break... ohhh, fairly soon. And Rodrigo justifiedly fears the ancient demon will take revenge upon him and his family.
    • Dragon Quest VIII. Rhapthorne, through his various proxies, hunts down the descendants of the seven sages who sealed him in the sceptre, many of whom are quite surprised and know literally nothing about him. Admittedly this was also pragmatic since he had to kill them all to release his full power.
  • There's a quest in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion where you must prove that the father of two characters you helped in a previous quest was a thief and recover what he stole. Here's the quest on the UESP Wiki.
  • Joseph Seed, the former Big Bad of Far Cry 5, applies this trope to himself in the ending of the follow-up sequel after his son Ethan dies right in front of him. Ethan was a power-hungry man who betrayed his people to the Highwaymen out of anger towards his father for refusing to trust him with one of his mystical empowering apples, but Joseph still cared for his son, and after the Captain puts him down, a tearful Joseph carries Ethan's body away, declaring "His only fault was that he was mine." Bonus points for Joseph's actual title being "The Father".
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy X: The main antagonist of the story is literally a gigantic Sin of the Father conglomerate monstrosity.
      • First, Sin was originally created after Zanarkand lost a war against Bevelle. The ensuing destruction brought by Sin caused machina to be all but abolished and caused the descendants of everyone else to forever live in terror of Sin. This then starts the primary ruling order by the Yevon Clergy, which is based around desperately trying to atone for their sins of machina so they don't all get obliterated by Giga-Graviton ever again. This lasts for a total of 1000 years, more or less.
      • Even worse, Sin couldn't care less about the peoples' attempts to atone. Sin's only purpose is to protect Dream Zanarkand's Fayth cluster and its summoner Yu Yevon (what's left of him). The frequent attacks on Spira's population centers are meant to stunt Spira's growth as a civilization to prevent anyone from endangering the Fayth cluster.
    • Final Fantasy XIV: This is the ultimate reason the Dragonsong War continued for 1000 years. Ishgard originally started the war, by ambushing and murdering a dragon to claim the strong magic powers housed within a dragon's eyes. Nidhogg, the brother of the murdered dragon, flew into a fit of rage and retaliated along with his brood. Nidhogg continued the war up to the present day (when the Warrior of Light was able to negotiate a truce with the more peaceful/less war-happy dragons of Anyx Trine) and justified it by saying that despite the fact that 1000 years had passed (and the original perpetrators of the crime being long dead), they still will not forget what happened and, to the perspective of much-longer-lived dragons, it may as well have happened yesterday. Nidhogg and his brood also claim that man are forgetful creatures that are doomed to make the same mistakes as their ancestors. It isn't until Nidhogg is defeated for good that the war finally comes to an end and a truce is made.
      • This also presents in the Samurai job questline: Hingashi law dictates that a criminal's family and associates are just as culpable in any wrongdoings as the criminal themself. Ugetsu's murders and attempted revolution against the shogunate not only implicated his teacher Musosai, who was sentenced to committing Seppuku as recompense (but failed to do so and instead escaped to Eorzea under the alias of Kogarashi), but to his family, including his sister Kagetsu (who escaped from Kugane, herself, and took up the name of Makoto).
    • Final Fantasy XV: The protagonist is Noctis Lucis Caelum, crown prince of Lucis and 114th in the royal line. The main villain, Ardyn Izunia, seeks to exact revenge on him for the deeds of Somnus Lucis Caelum, the Founder King, and Ardyn's brother. The two had been seeking to end a scourge that plagued the land through different means, and Somnus was deemed by the gods to be the purer one, whereupon he demonized Ardyn, killed his girlfriend, and chained him up in Angelgard for millennia. Ardyn wants to end Somnus' legacy by killing off his last surviving descendant. He originally went for Noctis' father, Regis, but Bahamut's long game to be rid of the Starscourge forever involved convincing Ardyn to wait for Noctis first.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Nergal decides to have Eliwood killed after his father Elbert shanks him, screwing his plans over. It's zigzagged in that Eliwood has already become a threat in his own right and would probably have to be dealt with anyway.
      Nergal: The man who did this to me is dead. I'd like his son's death as compensation.
    • In Fire Emblem Awakening, Chrom's older sister Emmeryn is the victim of quite a bit of stigma as a result of her father waging an overzealous war against the Grimleal situated in Plegia that resulted in numerous deaths on both sides due to his lousy tactics, said war only ending when her father died. While most of said stigma is at the hands of the Ax-Crazy Gangrel, who is more interested in stoking this to gain support from Plegia's citizenry, Chrom reveals to the Avatar that she was also a victim of this from the Ylisseans as well, with some going so far as to throw rocks at her, all of this when she wasn't even ten years old.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Caspar worries about the effect that his father, the Minister of Military Affairs, had as he was a key figure in suppressing uprisings by Dagda and Brigid. He confides his worry to Shamir and Petra, residents of the respective nations. Shamir and Petra both reassure him that they wouldn't think about killing him as revenge for his father's actions. Petra later admits that she actually had considered it, since Caspar's father killed hers. She relents because she feels her friendship with Caspar is more important.
  • A more or less mistaken example makes up the majority of Five Nights at Freddy's. The Player Character of (probably) just about all of the games is Michael Afton, the eldest son of William Afton, the killer featured in the lore of the entire franchise. He looks so much like his father that the animatronics mistake him for their killer, and thus turn their desire for revenge on him. Even his own little sister.
    Michael: They didn't recognize me at first...but then they thought I was you.
  • In the first Gabriel Knight game, appropriately subtitled...Sins of the Fathers, the main antagonist wants to exact revenge on Gabriel because he comes from a family of "shadow hunters", that is, hunters of the supernatural, and one of his relatives had angered the local undead voodoo priestess.
  • Genshin Impact: Eula is descended from the Lawrence clan, a fallen noble family that is infamous and reviled for their sheer cruelty and corrupt behavior, oppressing the commonfolk during their rule of Mondstadt. Their terrible repuation has made most of Mondstadt's citizens wary and untrusting of Eula, despite having done nothing wrong unlike her ancestors.
  • Halo:
    • The Gravemind is not particularly happy about the Forerunners defeating its Flood 100,000 years ago. Humans are the heirs to the Forerunners, therefore....
      "Child of my enemy, why have you come? I offer no forgiveness. The father's sins pass to his son."
    • Halo: Silentium includes a straight example involving the Gravemind itself. The Precursors, beings so advanced that you might as well call them gods, created all sentient species millions of years ago, including Forerunners. However, they deemed Forerunners "unworthy" for unexplained reasons. The Forerunners, believing that the Precursors were planning to wipe them out (it's left ambiguous whether they actually were or not), waged a war against their creators and managed to wipe them out first...mostly. The remnant decided that if their creations wanted to cause them pain, the creators might as well return the favor: their new purpose is to cause endless pain and suffering for their creations for all eternity. The first step: allow their twisted descendants, the Flood, to wipe out the descendants of those that carried out their destruction, countless generations down the line.
  • Homeworld: The Taiidan Empire also uses this trope to wipe out the Kushan homeworld. They broke a 4000-year-old treaty forbidding the development of hyperspace engines...a treaty said descendants knew nothing about. This act so disgusted their citizens that it started a rebellion.
  • Ganondorf from The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time vows to exterminate the descendants of Link, Zelda, and the Six Sages after getting sealed into the Evil Realm in the climax of the game. In fact, his entire existence is due to this. In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword Demise's last act before being sealed in the Master Sword forever was to curse Link and Zelda's reincarnations to always face an incarnation of his hatred: Ganondorf.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Ashley's military family is looked down upon by the higher-ups because her grandfather surrendered to the turians in the First Contact War, despite the fact that he had no other options besides letting his troops starve. (The surrender marked the first and only time human territory was surrendered to aliens since first contact was only 26 years before the events of the game and humans have since mostly gotten along with aliens.) If she dies in the first game, she's hailed as a hero, removing the stigma. If she survives, then in Mass Effect 3, she's been promoted to Lieutenant Commander and second human Spectre, defying the stigma by being just that kick-ass.
    • And the Quarians in general, who suffer from racism and are repeatedly treated worse than dirt by the Citadel Government for the whole Geth Uprising that occurred 300 years earlier. Possibly justified; Asari can live over a thousand years, so many of them probably remember the Geth uprising firsthand; one NPC in the second game directly says that her spouse was killed in the war.
    • Tali references this trope after getting drunk, in response to Miranda killing her father. She had discovered her own father had gotten himself and everyone else on a research vessel killed trying to reprogram the geth, endangering the entire Migrant Fleet in the process, leading her to ask "When do we get to stop reacting to our parents and start living for ourselves?" when asked if she sees a bit of herself in Miranda's conflict with her father.
    • The player character of Mass Effect: Andromeda and his/her sibling are in a very similar situation to Ashley. Both Ryder twins had promising careers in the Alliance military until their father was caught engaging in illegal AI research and dishonorably discharged. Both twins were then quietly drummed out and found that any mention of their last name led to doors shutting in their faces. At least one of the reasons they agreed to follow their father to the Andromeda galaxy was because pretty much every other path the family had for a real future had been shut off.
  • The (incredibly amazing) main theme for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain's trailer is named Sins of the Father. However, the lyrics imply an inversion of this trope. It's not.
    Our salvation lies in the Father's sins.
    Beyond the truth,
    Let me suffer now.
  • My Child Lebensborn could almost have "Sins of Our Fathers: The Video Game" as an alternate title. A lot of the plot is about an Abandoned War Child who is stigmatized and bullied because their father was an enemy soldier and their mother is considered to have betrayed her country by being in a relationship with him. Some choices made by the player can result in the child themself asking why they are being bullied, as anything bad was done by a father they never knew.
  • Inverted in the Myst III: Exile. Saavedro attempts to visit the sins of the sons upon the father after Atrus' children nearly destroyed his home "Narayan" and then cruelly imprisoned him for 10 years alone on another Age. Saavedro reasons that with all the Lesson Ages he wrote, Atrus should have taught his sons better...and now intends to put Atrus through his own class.
    • Then inverted again in "Revelation", when Atrus acknowledges his past failings with his sons, in time for his youngest daughter Yeesha, to be kidnapped by her elder brothers. They want revenge for being imprisoned by their father, for over 20 years in separate Prison Ages, barely habitable, and completely alone.
    • Her other brother Achenar, however, actually reformed, and was trying to protect her from Sirrus, who if anything, has gone even more crazy during his incarceration.
  • Phantasy Star Online 2: During the Disc-One Final Dungeon of EPISODE 4, Mother reveals that she wants to get revenge against the Photoners for creating and abandoning her for being an imperfect clone of Xion, upon which Xiera chimes in to inform her that the Photoners have been dead for centuries. Mother, no less deterred, decides to destroy ARKS instead since they were created by the Photoners as their replacements. The heroes manage to beat some sense into her before she does anything rash, however.
  • Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon revolves around the suffering of Necrozma, which was once a radiant Pokémon that filled the Ultra Megalopolis with light. In the distant past, the people of the Megalopolis tried to exploit Necrozma's light; in the process, they damaged its body, causing it to lose its light and henceforth forever strive to take light for itself. This causes it to pose a threat to Alola, whose legendary Pokémon, Lunala and Solgaleo, are responsible for maintaining the region's light. The Ultra Recon Squad's efforts to help Necrozma provide a sharp contrast to the conflict of Lusamine with Lillie and Gladion carried over from the original Sun and Moon, as Lusamine ends up being the lesser threat.
  • In RefleX, the Raiwat invade Earth in order to get back at the Yuda clan, who fled the Raiwat homeworld centuries ago for Earth, leaving the Raiwat at the mercy of the deadly ZODIAC units.
  • In Resident Evil – Code: Veronica, Steve Burnside was imprisoned on Rockfort Island due to his father's selling of Umbrella's secrets.
  • Simultaneously invoked and inverted in Silent Hill: Homecoming. The founders of Shepherd's Glen were an offshoot of the same cult that settled Silent Hill, and began a generational ritual of sacrificing one child from each family to hold the Dark World of Silent Hill at bay from their town. The protagonist, Alex, was meant to be one of those sacrifices — but he accidentally caused his brother, his family's "true heir", to drown, and so they couldn't bring themselves to sacrifice him. This broke the ritual seal, and allowed Silent Hill to invade the town — most prominently by resurrecting the souls of Alex's sacrificed peers as hideous monsters, who seek out and slay their parents for killing them. Furthermore, Alex himself can embrace his desire for vengeance and seek to personally punish his mother and father; an act for which Silent Hill will transform him into a monstrous "Bogeyman" in what might actually be an Esoteric Happy Ending.
  • Sins of a Solar Empire has two examples. The TEC, centuries before the game takes place, exiled the precursors to the Advent from their world due to them conducting strange rituals and experiments. The Advent return to seek vengeance upon the TEC. Meanwhile, the Vasari, the alien faction, is running away from...something and their once strong, expansive empire is now being chased by something that they themselves unleashed.
  • In Star Trek Online, we see this as part of the Klingon Civil War: When descending into Klingon Limbo to find the soul of L’rell, the player and others find the soul of Chancellor Gowron. Turns out his ancestor, Aakar, being a backstabbing creep has prevented him from ascending to Sto'vo'kor. They promise to drag him to the afterlife kicking and screaming so they can fix this.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, the player is sent to a Republic prison planet that is experiencing riots and uprisings among the prison population. One of the rebelling groups is composed of descendants of prisoners. They are very angry that they are imprisoned on the planet even though they are not guilty of any crimes themselves.
  • Valkyria Chronicles: The Darcsen people are heavily discriminated against because their ancestors caused the Darcsen Calamity, an ancient apocalypse that killed countless people. Modern Darcsen have done absolutely nothing wrong, but they are still treated as little better than animals. Then it turns out that it was actually the Valkyria who caused the Calamity; they blamed the Darcsen people for their crimes and became seen as heroes and liberators themselves. Meaning that the game seems to agree with blaming children for the crimes of their ancestors, as long as you blame the right people.
  • In World of Warcraft: Cataclysm, the black dragon Wrathion makes it clear that he will not be held accountable for the crimes of Deathwing and the black dragonflight.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Manfred von Karma. Whoo boy. Gregory Edgeworth made him receive a penalty in court, the tiniest blot on his perfect record, and von Karma murdered him while he was trapped in an elevator. He then adopted Edgeworth's ten-year-old son Miles and raised him to be a ruthless prosecutor who cared only for finding defendants guilty, letting Miles believe that he was the one who'd accidentally shot Gregory Edgeworth. A few days before the statute of limitations ran out von Karma framed him for a related murder, waited until Miles was cleared, and then reaccused him of his own father's murder. And he would have gotten away with it too if it weren't for you meddling defense attorneys.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations: In case 5, Dahlia Hawthorne tries to get revenge on the dead Mia Fey for getting Dahlia the death penalty by killing her little sister Maya. It didn't go too well.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice: The concept of the sins of the father being passed down to his children is said to be deeply ingrained in Khura'inese culture. Being related to a criminal is enough to completely destroy someone's reputation. This is how Queen Ga'ran bends both the previous queen Amara and her son Nahyuta to her will, by threatening to reveal Princess Rayfa's true parentage as the youngest daughter of Amara and the reviled rebel leader Dhurke. Nahyuta himself was stripped of his royal status after Dhurke was falsely accused of Amara's (fake) assassination, and struggled desperately to become a prosecutor with the stigma of having a murderer for a father hanging over him; thus, neither he nor his mother is willing to risk Rayfa's life being ruined. The trope is name-dropped in Case 5 when Apollo asks if Nahyuta suffered "Because of the whole 'the sins of the father are visited upon his children' thing?" (emphasis included in game).
    • Case 2 from the same game: Roger Retinz was a member of Troupe Gramarye under the stage name of Mr. Reus until he was ousted by the group founder Magnifi over Retinz' reckless and irresponsible attitude toward magic. For years, Retinz nursed a grudge against the troupe. This culminated in the events of the case, where an understudy of his masquerading as the original Mr. Reus, was killed during a rehearsal and Trucy Wright was arrested for the murder. Retinz targeted Trucy, who had nothing to do with his ousting being 8 years old at the time, solely because she was the only Gramarye active since the rest of the troupe are either dead (Magnifi and Zak), missing (Thalassa) or in jail (Valant).
    • Tahrust Inmee from Case 3 faces a similar debacle thanks to a) he and his wife's affiliation with the Defiant Dragons and b) the fact that there wouldn't be any way to claim his wife committing a self-defense killing of a murderous Secret Police operative out to get her would stand up at trial with the Divination Seance showing the victim's final moments. If either one of these facts would come to light, then any scorn that they would face would also be heaped onto their unborn child. So Tahrust is Driven to Suicide in a complex gambit to bury all of this the best he can, unfortunately framing Maya Fey in the process (causing the very Miscarriage of Justice he hates so much to work in his favor).
  • In Fate/stay night, Illya von Einzbern hates Shirou and wishes to brutally kill him out of the belief that her father (Shirou's adopted father), Kiritsugu, abandoned her with her maternal family, the Einzberns, and replaced her with Shirou. Not helped that Angra Mainyu has been impersonating her mother, Irisviel, in Illya's dreams, as revenge against Kiritsugu for rejecting the power of the Holy Grail. Even after she learns that Kiritsugu has died, she vows to make up for her lost chance at revenge by making Shirou suffer in his place. In the Fate and Heaven's Feel routes, she learns that the Einzberns separated her and Kiritsugu as punishment for the latter for failing to win the previous Holy Grail War and that Kiritsugu had been attempting to return to Illya until he eventually died. As a result, she ends up forgiving the both of them and becomes a cooperative ally to Shirou, to the point of potentially heroically sacrificing herself to revive Shirou in the True End of Heaven's Feel.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, this concept is attacked, possibly as an act of social commentary and cultural criticism by the author. The reason why Satako and Satoshi Houjou are shunned and rejected are due to things their parents did. This trope becomes a major plot point in Meakashi-hen and Minagoroshi-hen.
  • In Long Live the Queen, if you discover Lucille's plot, Elodie can choose to murder her and her husband — or EVERYONE in the family, banish everyone, or feed Charlotte to a kraken. The dialogue in the latter choice makes it clear she thinks she was in on the plot. Properly Paranoid has a role in this as well since this is a very cut-throat setting with nobles and royals plotting against each other, so Elodie might just try to prevent any future retribution. Alternatively, she might have become just that evil.

  • In Ask White Pearl and Steven (almost!) anything, neither Rose nor any of the Crystal Gems understand that Steven is not actually White Diamond and thus presume that he is her and tries to poof her when they discover this. After Steven breaks his connection to her and allowing her to be free, "Pink" Pearl's first reaction after more than five thousand years of being trapped in her own body is to carry her "tormentor" who is coming down with a fever to safety, thus averting the trope in her case.
  • Bethellium: Due to Zoana looking like an infamous assassin, princess Katherine thinks that Zoana is the assassin's daughter and starts making her life miserable.
  • The Fourth: Skärva's great-grandfather committed a crime so terrible the Gods of Idenau punished him, his associates and their descendants for it. The entire Skärva family line suffers from a Hereditary Curse because of this.
  • Tarvek of Girl Genius gets hit with this hard. He may be far from innocent himself, but his family's actions are regularly held against him and have been since his childhood. Despite the fact that he is very much the White Sheep of the whole murderous backstabbing lot of them, he loses his childhood best friend after that friend is made aware of his father's reputation and was expelled from the Wulfenbach school where he would have been able to learn to be a much more ethical individual, in large part due to his lineage. (He was also spying — but all the kids were spying for their families.)
    Gil: I'm going to see to it that you are publicly flogged for a week before your execution.
    Tarvek: Fine. That's just what I'd expect from a despot's spoiled brat. After all, it doesn't matter that it was my father and his friends who did all that. I was what? Three maybe?
  • Gunnerkrigg Court: the children living in the protection of a spell bought by her suffering are fair game.
  • Kaiten Mutenmaru: As a human, Sick had nothing to do with the tyranny of his aristocratic parents over the town of Throne. However, the poverty-ridden rebels didn't care and still targeted him during their burning and loot of his entire house, even killing his commoner girlfriend for getting in their way beforehand.
  • There's a big ceremony in the offing in Lumias Kingdom and Lumia needs a dress. So some brain genius goes and hires the best seamstress in all the land to make it for her. Unfortunately, this was an incredibly stupid idea because the best seamstress around is a psychotic cannibal who has a blood grudge against Lumia's mother and any descendants thereof (oh shit) because Lumia's mother is the only person to have ever survived a fight with her. As long as she doesn't know who Lumia is, she's safe. So naturally, no one bothers to take the time to explain why she shouldn't bring up her parentage, and Lumia accidentally lets the cat outta the bag.

    Web Original 
  • In Chrysalis (Beaver Fur), the Terran — the last remaining human consciousness — cares little that the people of Xunvir who had any hand in the scouring of Earth are now long-dead and that their empire has been replaced by a republic. In his view, since the Xunvirians robbed Earth and humanity of its future, it is only fair that he repay them in kind.
  • Discussed in Overly Sarcastic Productions' Trope Talk on the subject. Red observes that vengeance isn't so much about justice as it as about people having anger (justifiable or not) and wanting an acceptable target to vent it at. If the person who actually did them wrong is unavailable and they turn their wrath onto the next best thing, or if hurting them would cause harm to an innocent party (e.g., killing them would orphan their child, who is completely blameless), this trope comes into play. This can easily cause a nasty Cycle of Vengeance, as revenge almost always ultimately hurts someone who didn't deserve it, directly or indirectly, giving them some anger they now want to vent. If it goes on long enough or is taken to an absolute extreme, this can lead to people being punished for the actions of someone who just happened to be from the same country or of the same ethnicity as them, with Red specifically citing the "Curse of Ham" from the Book of Genesis as an example.
    Red: This curse is vague and not described in further detail, but someone decided the exact nature of the curse was that Canaan’s skin got darker, and furthermore that the curse of ham was a really convenient way to morally justify slavery. "No guys, it’s not morally abhorrent for a good Christian to own a living breathing human being with a soul, it’s just a bloodline curse! Sure, you didn’t do anything to deserve this, but because one guy did thousands of years ago, you get a lifetime of agony and humiliation and I’m totally morally cool." So in short, this approach gets used to passively justify a lot of really fun atrocities because it’s a lot easier to feel good about yourself as a person if you can blame a bunch of dead guys for everyone you go out of your way to hurt.

    Western Animation 
  • Even The New Batman Adventures has one episode of this. Two-Face goes after Tim Drake for Tim's father's rebellion against Two-Face, threatening bodily harm and death, not only to get the key the boy holds but for the senior Drake's entirely reasonable in context actions.
  • The 2007 motion capture 3-D movie adaptation of Beowulf had this for the eponymous Broken Ace with his illicit affair with Grendel's mother leads to the birth of a half-demon (dragon?) golden-skinned son. When the truce between him and the female demon is broken, she sends out their son, who attacks a village in its dragon form, sparing alive a horribly burned survivor so that he would relay these exact words to the now king Beowulf: The sins of the father are visited upon the sons. It's also shown that the same thing happened with Beowulf's predecessor, who fathered Grendel, the monster who then attacked his hall, killing many of his men before Beowulf killed him.
  • The Leprechaun from Extreme Ghostbusters was imprisoned in New York by a group of magicians from Ireland, who used his gold to feed hungry immigrant children. Upon his accidental release, he went after the descendants of his captors for his gold (which they didn't have) or revenge (which he could take).
  • Gargoyles:
    • The motives behind Demona's hatred of humans become this. Even though (as Goliath pointed out) everyone even remotely responsible for the Wynn massacre has been dead for centuries, she continues to blame humans for it.
    • Inverted, however, with the Hunters; they blame Demona (and unfortunately all her kind) for what she has personally done. Played straight once Angela is among those targeted.
  • Gravity Falls: The Monster of the Week from "Northwest Mansion Mystery" turns out to be the ghost of a lumberjack who had helped build the estate the Northwests live in 150 years ago. Nathaniel Northwest, supposed founder of Gravity Falls, commissioned the future ghost, along with many other lumberjacks, to build an estate for his family with the promise of an annual grand party for rich and common folk alike. After years of hard labor that cost the lives of several workers, all the common folk found themselves denied entrance into the party. As it turns out, the removal of the trees from the mountain made the area susceptible to mudslides, killing the Lumberjack and his friends. His Dying Curse was directed at the Northwests and their descendants, as long as they refused to let the commoners in. Since the current generation of Northwests would rather hire an exorcist than just let the people in, it's less that he hates them for the sins of their ancestors, but more for the fact that they would rather keep repeating the sins instead of learning from them. When Pacifica goes on to break the curse and let the townsfolk in, the Lumberjack does nothing to stop her, and even encourages her actions as justice is more important than his revenge.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • One of the one-shot villains is a troll named Spring-Heeled Jack, who was turned to stone by a wizard named Simon Magus. After being accidentally released, he sets out to EAT the wizard's family!
    • More importantly, this is part of Shendu's plan to retake Asia after being released in the Season 1 finale; by destroying THE ENTIRE CONTINENT and annihilating most, if not all of the descendants of Lo Pei, the sacred warrior who sealed him nine centuries prior.
  • The Simpsons:
  • In the Sonic Boom episode "Unnamed Episode", it is discovered that Sticks' ancestor Jebediah Badger founded the village, but he was a greedy and corrupt oppressor. Everyone in the village shuns Sticks for it except Amy, who points out how ridiculous it is to blame someone for something their ancestors did. Sticks herself was upset because Jebediah represents everything she hates about the government. The villagers apologize after Sticks saves them from another of Eggman's schemes.
  • In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, there is an entire large set of episodes named this.
    • That was the season that dealt with Mary Jane's father, Harry's father, Peter's parents, and Felicia's father. It might have even mentioned Alistair Smythe's father. Peter's parents were found out to be spies. At first, Peter thought they were Russian spies, but they turned out to be double agents working for Nick Fury. Harry was dealing with his dad being the Green Goblin, and he became the Green Goblin for a while. Felicia's father turned out to be a Classy Cat-Burglar who had the super-soldier serum memorized and taught Felicia all he knew in being a burglar after giving her the serum.
    • And then there's Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) and his son, Richard. Kingpin's backstory involves him taking a prison sentence to avoid implicating his father in a robbery gone south, and taking his revenge later. Naturally, Richard ends up going to prison to save Kingpin, who's left wondering how long it will take for history to repeat.
    • Kingpin also killed Matt Murdock's father to keep him from spilling the beans about his toxic waste smuggling operation.
    • There's also Carnage, who's not on good terms with his "father" Venom, causing Venom's Heel–Face Turn.
  • Static Shock: Richie Foley never had his friend visit him because his father was a racist. When Virgil's sister pointed out how often Richie visited them and that Virgil never visited him, Richie had no choice but to schedule a visit and hope his father wasn't around. He wasn't so lucky. Fortunately Virgil didn't hold it against Richie and Mr. Foley eventually changed his mind.
  • Steven Universe:
    • There's a complicated case of this: Rose Quartz led the Crystal Gems in their rebellion against Homeworld to save Earth and her comrades. Much later, to give birth to Steven, Rose gave up her form and Steven inherited her gem — which no other gem did before. Now, Rose's enemies want to get back at her by punishing Steven. However, since Gems' forms are essentially projections from their gem, which Rose passed onto Steven, said enemies think Steven literally is Rose. And then it is revealed that Rose did not actually do what Homeworld hates her for in the first place (the reason It's Personal for them is because Rose supposedly shattered Pink Diamond). She did not shatter Pink Diamond...she is Pink Diamond.
    • Spinel from Steven Universe: The Movie is a straighter example: She was Pink Diamond's/Rose Quartz's "court jester" back on Homeworld who was left behind and forgotten for 6000 years and waited all that time believing that Pink would come back. When she learns via galaxy-wide broadcast that Pink started a rebellion, faked her death, and then gave up her existence to create Steven, she slams right past the Despair Event Horizon and decides to wipe out all life on Earth for it. Spinel knows Steven and Rose are two separate people unlike most antagonistic Homeworld Gems, but Spinel's grudge is against everything on Earth in general (not simply Steven) and thus it's all fair game with Rose gone.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Sins Of The Father


Lloyd Garmadon

Despite not having done anything to warrant it, everyone within Ninjago that isn't his family or friends hates Lloyd simply because his father is Lord Garmadon who regularly attacks the city.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / SinsOfOurFathers

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