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The General's Daughter

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This page is about the trope. For the film, go here.

Stinger: You've been busted, you lost your qualifications as section leader three times, put in hack twice by me, with a history of high speed passes over five air control towers, and one admiral's daughter!
Goose: (whispering to Maverick) Penny Benjamin?
Top Gun

We all know The Squad: A group of soldiers who are the best in their respective fields despite any psychological quirks. Often, the team is led by an intelligent, inspirational man, who took this Ragtag Bunch of Misfits and made them into a deadly fighting force that would risk their lives for each other in a heartbeat.

But if Colonel Badass is so good, why is he here with these jokers, and not at Headquarters or the Front Line, where a man of his talents really needs to be?

Well you see, a few years back, he got involved with a lovely young woman, whose father just happened to be his superior officer. And boy, was Daddy mad when he found him with his little girl. For this horrible transgression, he was sent to this dumping ground of a unit. Alternatively, he might have had a relationship with the wife of his commanding officer, which makes the lack of promotion still more justified.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In the Southern Cross segment of Robotech, Sean Philips is demoted for making a pass at the general's daughter (clearing the way for Dana to take command). In the novelization, it also mentions that said general's daughter was herself a captain.
  • Completely inverted with Fullmetal Alchemist. General Grumman has a granddaughter, Hawkeye, and rather than opposing a potential hook-up between her and Colonel Mustang, he is the one who suggests it. Mustang respectfully declines (sort of - he says that the suggestion is "premature"), and shortly thereafter is sent to the nation's HQ rather than away from it. And he takes Hawkeye with him, among several others.
    • This is a particularly odd example because it's unclear whether Mustang is aware of the identity of Grumman's granddaughter. Not only that, but it's implied that Hawkeye herself is unaware of her relationship to the General.

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in Universal War One. The reason why Cpt. Williamson leads a squad of 7 people is because she saved the admiral's daughter, not because she screwed her.
  • Inverted in a Bill Mauldin cartoon; an officer calls for a sergeant's daughter. The sergeant announces, "And if you don't have her back by midnight, there'll be a baseball bat waiting ... Sir."

  • The Presidio is one example, with the hero cop (a former soldier) fooling around with the daughter of the Presidio's Provost Marshal, a Colonel Badass played by Sean Connery. A invertedTrope, as he only gets in the relationship a few years after he had been courtmartialled, demoted, and drummed out of the Army by said Colonel. After Sean Connery's character beats a thug senseless using only his thumb, this trope is lampshaded when the cop remarks "Have I mentioned that my intentions towards your daughter are purely honorable?" Of course, immediately before the thug interrupted, they had been discussing that very topic.
  • Shirley Temple in Fort Apache.
  • Operation: Dumbo Drop (1995). Danny Glover's character blackmails a supply sergeant into coming on the mission by threatening to spill the beans on him sleeping with a general's wife, whom he thought was the general's daughter. For context, this is a Disney film.
  • In Avatar, hero Jake Sully meets and eventually mates with Neytiri, the daughter of the Chief of the Na'vi tribe. This gets him into some hot water when the rest of the tribe finds out.
  • In The Hallelujah Trail, Captain Paul Slater and Louise Gearhart were continually trying to get together without the knowledge of Colonel Thaddeus Gearhart (her father and his commanding officer). Captain Slater was then being sent on extended and dangerous missions by the Colonel to try and keep them apart.
  • Top Gun presents this as one of the reasons why Military Maverick Ace Pilot Pete "Maverick" Mitchell has not gotten the promotions that his flying skills would otherwise qualify him for. In the sequel, Top Gun: Maverick, she reappears, and turns out to be the love of his life — he ends up settling down with her.
  • In Battlefield Earth, Terl is assigned to Earth for some incident involving a senator's daughter.
  • In Cinema Paradiso Salvatore comes back from the army and tells Afredo this anecdote:
    At the Christmas party the lieutenant pinches a girl's ass. The girl turns around: it's the daughter of the commanding officer. The lieutenant is scared to death and says: 'Miss, if your heart is as hard as what I have just touched, I'm done for!"
  • Averted in the John Wayne western-comedy McLintock!, when hired hand Devlin ends up sharing some Belligerent Sexual Tension with McLintock's daughter Becky. Devlin is unsure if he should act upon it because McLintock is the wealthiest man in the territory and Devlin's just the "hired hand", prompting McLintock to answer, "Every so often Dev, you spell the strangest ideas. Everybody works for somebody. I work for everybody in the East United States that steps into a butcher shop for a T-Bone steak and you work for me, it's not much difference." With these words, McLintock indicates that he would not be averse to Devlin(whom he respects as a hard worker and a fine young man) and his daughter getting together. Which they do by the end of the movie.
  • In Armageddon (1998), Liv Tyler's dad isn't in the military, but he is the boss, and his group does function like the typical Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. And, of course, he's not exactly pleased to discover that Ben Affleck, his #1 employee, is dating her.
  • Margot, the daughter of General Birabeau in the 1953 movie version of the operetta The Desert Song. And only in that version.
  • The eponymous character of The General's Daughter is not a straight example, despite the title - Elizabeth tries to invoke this trope in order to discredit her father, rather than any of the men under his command.
  • Buffalo Soldiers: Actually invoked by Elwood, who hooks up with Sergeant Lee's daughter specifically to piss him off despite her warnings that he's gonna kill Elwood. He almost does so in the climax.
  • Go Tell the Spartans: Major Barker tells Captain Olivetti that no matter how long he stays in the army he’ll always be a major due to having had an affair with the wife of the General he was serving as an aide to, only for said general and the President of the United States to walk on in her giving him a blowjob.

  • In Halo: The Fall of Reach, Ensign William Lovell's record states that he had an affair with a Ms. Gerov, whom Captain Jacob Keyes, viewing Lovell's career service vitae, suspects to be the daughter of Rear Admiral Gerov. Interesting is the fact that, while Lovell turns out to be a very competent navigational officer, it is suggested that he may have made advances on her on purpose, because Lovell has gotten so shaken up from the war that he deliberately had himself demoted to be rotated anywhere but the frontlines.
  • In the second Spaceforce (2012) book, Jay is sent to investigate retired General Corusval for suspected treason and specifically ordered not to seduce his beautiful twenty-one year old daughter. He elopes with her instead, which goes as well as might be expected.
  • Discussed in Inheritance Cycle; when Murtagh repeatedly refuses to go with Eragon to see the Varden, the latter asks if he "bedded the wrong woman."
  • Persephone Lockwood in The Admiral's Daughter, though she doesn't (temporarily) ruin the naval career of Kydd in the way you might expect.
  • In J. Milton Hayes' poem The Green Eye of the Little Yellow God, Mad Carew's love for the Colonel's daughter brings about his death when she asks for the titular gem as a present.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine presents the Ferengi Rules of Acquisition, Number 112: "Never have sex with the boss's sister." One of the relaunch novels supplies the next rule, "Always have sex with the boss."
  • Played with in a episode of Star Trek: Voyager. In an Alternate Timeline in which Chakotay and Harry Kim made it back to Earth (without everyone else), an admiral wanted Harry to marry his daughter.
  • JAG: Bud's brother Mikey ends up briefly dating the daughter of the series' last JAG, Maj. Gen. Gordon Cresswell. Upon finding out, Harm gives Mikey a horrified look and asks if the younger man lost his mind.
  • In Battle Creek it's indicated during one episode that the real reason FBI Agent Milton Chamberlain was sent out from the state headquarters to run an FBI satellite office in Battle Creek is because he had an affair with his former supervisor's wife. While the affair did happen and Milt views it as a betrayal of an agent he respected, in a subversion his former boss states that the decision was made higher up the chain of command and the affair had nothing to do with it.
  • In The Bill, Detective Inspector Chris Deakin joined Sun Hill's CID when he was thrown out of the Flying Squad and forced to suffer the indignity of being disciplined by demotion because of his affair with a senior officer's wife.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In a Rifts sourcebook, one of the commanders of a mercenary company is a man who got kicked out of the military for this. In his opinion, she was well worth it.

  • Older Than Radio: Josephine, daughter of H.M.S. Pinafore's Captain Corcoran.
  • Interesting take on this in La Fille du Régiment ('Daughter of the Regiment'), who is adopted, obviously, and calls the entire 21st regiment "Papa". Once Tonio joins up, their romance is okay.

    Video Games 
  • In XIII, Four-Star Badass Carrington has this as part of his backstory (though it's with a superior officer's wife).

  • Played with in Triquetra Cats. One of the squad leaders in the Antreyki military IS the General's daughter, despite being competent as a military leader, she also tends to be a flaky party girl and she was placed there as an attempt to straighten her out.
  • Terminal Lance: "Ultimatum" has a Marine mention that a judge gave him the choice between the Corps or jail. He chose jail, but had slept with the judge's daughter...

    Real Life 
  • Invoked in Real Life by Romain Gary. His mother, though a Lithuanian Jew, loved France and moved there in 1928. She worked hard and sacrificed much to put her son through college and military academy. Graduating from the academy, due to him being a recent immigrant he was the only one who ended up as an NCO.note  Unable to tell his mother how their adopted country had treated him, he went home with a story about how he had seduced the academy commander's daughter and had to wait for the scandal to dissipate before he would get his commission. At least, that's one of the versions he presented later in life: the man was constantly reinventing his past.