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The Good King

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"I found Aquilonia in the grip of a pig like you — one who traced his genealogy for a thousand years. The land was torn with the wars of the barons, and the people cried out under oppression and taxation. Today no Aquilonian noble dares maltreat the humblest of my subjects, and the taxes of the people are lighter than anywhere else in the world."
Conan to Amalrus, The Scarlet Citadel

The Good King is honorable, virtuous, wise, and understanding ruling The Good Kingdom. He treats his subjects with respect (no matter how seemingly unimportant they are), governs the land fairly, is a Royal Who Actually Does Something, and feels no need to flaunt his considerable power. The Good King also tends to be soft-spoken, but when he raises his voice, you’d better listen. You might mistake his kindness for weakness, but you would do well to remember that good does not always equal soft.

If the work takes place during a war, expect this king to be on the front lines and always putting The Men First. When it comes to the actual battle, the Good King tends to lead the charge and is often more formidable in combat than any of his soldiers.

Above all else, a Good King cares about his kingdom and his people and will sacrifice himself to protect them, even if that means putting Honor Before Reason.

Any work where the king has been killed by an Evil Prince, The Caligula, Evil Uncle, or Evil Chancellor will normally portray the deceased king as this, to serve as a contrast to the current evil regime. After The Good King dies, he will almost inevitably be followed by a Sketchy Successor.

Because kings are typically associated with old men, the Good King will rarely be the main character and often serve as The Mentor to the protagonist. If the protagonist is one of his children, expect him to have Papa Wolf tendencies.

May be Happily Married to The High Queen, thus forming a Ruling Couple. When a Prince Charming or Wise Prince grows up, he tends to become the Good King.

See also Hobbes Was Right.

In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes, the tropes that are equal are The High Queen, God Save Us from the Queen!, She Is the King, Iron Lady, and President Evil. The next steps down are The Evil Prince, Prince Charming, Prince Charmless, Warrior Prince, The Wise Prince, and all Princess Tropes. The next step up is The Emperor. See also Benevolent Mage Ruler if the Good King is also a spellcaster. The Benevolent Dictator is the illegitimate counterpart to The Good King. While the Benevolent Dictator was never supposed to rule and took power illegally, The Good King was, and succeeded legitimately.

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Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • The King of Midland in Berserk looks to be this, but ends up being more of a deconstruction by the end. He is kind, honorable, intelligent, and has led his country through lifetimes of warfare, and in a Decadent Court, he is willing to reward the Band of the Hawk irrespective of their common birth. As it turns out, though, Being Good Sucks — he's become so emotionally distant from his wife that she's cheating on him, he's under so much stress that it's heavily implied that his attempts to uplift Griffith are his plan to retire, and his love for his daughter has been badly warped to the point of lust. When things start going south, he snaps completely and spends the last few years of his life as The Caligula.
  • Doraemon: Nobita and the Robot Kingdom have King Atom, the former ruler of the titular kingdom - a land where humans and robots co-exists peacefully. And he's a lawful, noble monarch who treats everyone equally and is beloved by humans and robots alike. Unfortunately his compassion turns out to be his undoing - when he performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save a robot laborer, his daughter, Jeanne, takes the throne and starts becoming prejudiced towards the robots.
  • The King of the World from Dragon Ball is a minor character, but is shown to be a kind and noble ruler (and later in the story, one of the few Earthlings to figure out that normal means will just get people killed against Cell.)
  • Toma E. Fiore from Fairy Tail is the King of Fiore and is considered a good king in spite of his limited screen time. While we haven't seen much of his governing skills, the fact that Fiore overall is a peaceful nation outside of the dark guilds lends credence to his ability, and he clearly shows concern for the people as his first order of business during the Grand Magic Games after learning about the upcoming dragon attack is to evacuate the citizens and plead the wizard guilds to help battle the oncoming enemy. He's also a very personable fellow.
  • Fate/Zero: Saber, Rider, and Archer were all considered great kings in their times. Due to Deliberate Values Dissonance, they all hold themselves to vastly different standards. Saber isolated herself from her people and her emotions in order to be as effective and just as possible. Rider was the opposite, his passionate love for his people allowing him to empathize with and inspire them. They both strongly disagree with each other's method of ruling; in particular, Saber believes that she wasn't isolated enough and wants to go back in time and never become king so that someone else could do a better job. And of course, Archer is just a giant asshole who was nonetheless "good" due to Might Makes Right and Divine Right of Kings.
  • Hotohori in Fushigi Yuugi. He rules with fairness and he really is a Nice Guy. It's just too bad he got chi-blasted by Nakago, because after that, the Konan Empire started falling apart, despite Houki and Boushin's best efforts.
  • Henkyou no Roukishi Bard Loen: The newly coronated Prince Windellan Ceegals is labeled as a war hero and is active with lawmaking and charities. He's also the lover and father of the heroic Aidra Tersia and her son respectively.
  • In The Mysterious Cities of Gold, the Raja is shown to be a good and benevolent ruler, beloved by his subjects.
  • One Piece has several examples:
    • King Nefertari Cobra cares deeply about his people. When a revolution takes place within his country, he's more concerned that his subjects are unhappy than he is about his own safety. Even someone like Monkey D. Dragon deems him as such and shows displeasure on his assassination, supposedly by the hands of Sabo. Fortunately, the news of Cobra's assassination under the hands of Sabo turn out to be completely false.
    • King Neptune of Fishman Island, who used his own body to shield his subjects from an attack.
    • Wapol's father was a king that cared for his subjects and was beloved by all. His son turned out to be The Caligula.
    • Riku Dold III of Dressrosa is a really good king, who loves his country and subjects. Though his country was poor, it was thriving and the people loved him back. Then Doflamingo came and fucked everything up, making Riku Dold seem like a murderer who stole money from his citizens while slaughtering them via Frame-Up. Once the truth was revealed, however, the Dressrosan people starting trusting Riku again.
  • Rimuru Tempest from That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime is a kind and compassionate ruler to the people who live in his nation. His goal is to create a country where every race, whether they're monsters, humans, or demi-humans, can live together in peace. But do not mistake his kindness for weakness because if you hurt his people, he's willing to strike back.
  • Yona of the Dawn: Yona's father was a good man, but a bit ineffective as a king. The land withered under his rule despite his best efforts, and the best that could be said about him was that he prevented war. Of course, due to Values Dissonance, this led to the nobles deriding him as a coward. His replacement, Soo-Won, is much more effective... but he earned the throne by murdering a man who saw him as a son, and encouraged his allies to act like common bandits against his own people to force them to acknowledge him.
  • Pharaoh Atem from Yu-Gi-Oh!. In the anime and manga, he is intelligent, wise, and noble, and has a deep love for his people and friends that leads him to sacrifice himself for them, maintaining a seal on the darkness until the protagonist accidentally releases his spirit at the series beginning. He is also a graduate wise prince, as his father's sudden death and mistakes left him with a mess to sort out. His successor being sketchy is averted with Seto, who is said to have brought Egypt into a prosperous age.

    Comic Books 
  • Aquaman:
    • Arthur Curry, the eponymous hero, is also king of Atlantis and is usually a good and well-liked ruler who cares for his people.
    • Orm, Aquaman's half-brother, doesn't think highly of humanity; however, in the New 52, he's decidedly a good king whom Atlanteans seem to respect, and they speak highly of him.
  • Black Adam may be incredibly violent, brutal, and uncompromising, but there is no debating the fact that he truly cares about Kahndaq and its people and wants what's best for them.
  • In Chlorophylle, Mithron XIII is depicted as a benevolent ruler, a Reasonable Authority Figure, a very nice person, and is adored by his people. When an attempt is made on his life in Zizanion le Terrible, it is a shock for both him and the population that someone would want him dead.
  • The Incredible Hulk:
    • After becoming king of the Planet Sakaar in Planet Hulk, the Hulk actively worked to rebuild his new kingdom, maintain peace with the resident Starfish Aliens, and was more than willing to spend the rest of his life ruling Sakaar peacefully. Unfortunately it didn’t take long for Sakaar to be destroyed by an outside source.
    • Hulk in House of M, where he becomes ruler of Australia after overthrowing the mutant government there, turning it into one of the last free bastions of human society in Magneto's mutant dominated world.
  • The Krypton Chronicles miniseries, which explores the history of Krypton and Superman's lineage, has Erok, the first bethgar (a Kryptonese term roughly equivalent to "king" or "emperor") to unify the continent of Urrika, ten millennia before the birth of Superman. He created the first law and justice system which ended blood feuds, outlawed cannibalism and human sacrifice, and institutionalized the hereditary system of last names.
  • In The Mighty Thor, we have Odin, king of the Aesir. Though he can be a bit imperious or cold, he means exceptionally well and has led his people through countless struggles — which is good, when he's one of the most powerful entities in the Marvel Universe.
  • In Jack Kirby's New Gods, there's Highfather, ruler of New Genesis, a wise and kind leader who assumed the position after his wild youth and espouses a philosophy of freedom and pacifism. Notably, he tends to avoid acting as a king — he rules with a very light touch and is more of a spiritual leader who serves to interpret the Source. This is to contrast with Darkseid, who rules with an iron fist.
  • The Scrameustache: Iridia's father, the King of Sharbakan. While he can take foolish decisions, he rules with the best intentions for the good of his people.
  • King Clarkie II in Strontium Dog. While he is naïve, childish and more than a little spacey, he is also deeply committed to the welfare of his people, including mutants, and firmly anti-Kreeler. It takes a bit of effort to get him going, but once he has been prodded into action, he will always do the right thing.
  • Sub-Mariner: Namor's attitude toward the outside world tends to change Depending on the Writer but one thing is always constant; he loves Atlantis and his people and will do anything to protect them.
  • Tintin: In King Ottokar's Sceptre, King Muskar XII (aka King Ottokar XII in the Nelvana adaptation) is clearly devoted to his people, and after the Ottokar Sceptre, which signifies his right to rule, gets stolen by conspirators, he's willing to abdicate rather than try and keep power through bloodshed. Fortunately, Tintin manages to defeat the conspiracy and save his throne.
  • The Trigan Empire: The heroic and visionary Emperor Trigo is an extremely fair and just ruler of a planet-spanning empire. He's so well-loved that his experiment in retiring in favour of a republic failed and the citizens quickly wanted him back to ruling them.
  • Warlord of Mars: Doble subversion. Tardos Mors is the proud, virtuous, and benevolent Jeddak of Helium... Until Tyrant of Mars rolls out, where he turns into an Evil Overlord bent on a genocidal campaign against the polar races of Barsoom after he comes back to life. Then it's revealed that is actually a double created by an evil White Martian spirit and the real Tardos is dead.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Personality-wise, Godzilla is a Reasonable Authority Figure towards the protagonists (the Two Beings, One Body Monster X), with a classic streak of Good Is Not Soft when it comes to defending his global territory or putting a Titan who's acting out in their place.
  • A Boy, a Girl and a Dog: The Leithian Script:
    • The main characters often discuss the nature of kingship and the qualities required for being a good king, lord or leader.
    • During one of those discussions, Fingolfing, High King of Noldor, states a good king needs to make sacrifices for their people since without people there can't be any king.
      Fingolfin: "Nay, lads, do you not see that duty does bind lord no less than liege, that a king's task may require him to die, if that death may save the folk he rules? Or, if there is no people, how can there be any King?"
    • Poor parental skills aside, Elu Thingol is a very hands-off monarch whose authority is unquestioned because he lets his subjects do as they please, as long as they aren't harming each other.
    • Finrod is King of Nargothrond. He cares for his people and works hard to provide food and shelter for all of them.
    • Finarfin never wanted or expected to be crowned king, but he is very benevolent, he's willing to acknowledge his mistakes, and he tries to rule the Noldor with fairness and wisdom. His brother Fingolfin has admitted that his little brother was a better king than him.
  • In The Bridge (MLP), Godzilla Jr. may be a bit quick to the trigger if he thinks he's being attacked but has grown up to fill this role nicely for most of the Terran kaiju. While he doesn't act like he's above anyone, most neutral kaiju and the Defender faction do think of him as their leader with his allies' loyalty being earnest by selfless acts on Junior's part. Eventually the humans even christened him King of the Monsters, with his constant defense of them earning a lot of support. Cue him getting thrown into Equestria, a matriarchy where the last few kings were less than stellar, and it raises a few eyebrows. Still, he doesn't lose stride. Horde of gyaos bearing down on Canterlot? He'll take them on himself. Promising magical prodigy inspired by him having power troubles? Take her on as a pupil and guide her in a fatherly way. He still has flaws, but over time most of Equestria warms to him.
  • A Crown of Stars: Daniel, God Emperor of Avalon, is determined to be a benevolent, just ruler and he is downright committed to improve the lives of his subjects and help whoever he meets. The story begins when he meets the main characters — Shinji and Asuka — and offers his help just because he feels it is the right thing to do.
  • Child of the Storm has a few examples:
    • Odin is strict but fair, working hard to repair much of the damage his brutal father, Bor, had done (to the other realms/Asgard's relationship to them, and Asgard's society), as well as that done by the brief reign of his despotic older brother, Cul, the God of Fear (Earth had to be effectively rebooted from a back-up afterwards). He's not always the nicest monarch or the best father, but he is a just and pragmatic ruler who brought peace to the Nine Realms and maintains it, he encourages a meritocracy, and is remarkably free of Fantastic Racism — his adopted son is an unusually short Frost Giant, his chief adviser is a relatively weedy Light Elf with a strange skin disorder, and his grandson is half-human (he's also fine with Thor marrying another human, Jane, and makes pointed comments encouraging him to pop the question).
    • King Arthur Pendragon was famously an example of this, to the point where it's strongly implied that the main reason Doctor Strange, who grew up under his rule and served as his Court Physician and Court Bard is so disdainful of authority is because he feels that no leader/ruler/monarch meets the standard that Arthur set and thus none of them deserve his respect.
  • The Dark Side of the Mirror Verse: In contrast to his evil, self-centered counterpart from canon, King Tirek the Selfless is an incredibly benevolent ruler. Not only was he willing to help Equestria out whenever they needed him (though he'd had to deal with his evil brother), after the Evil Princesses were stopped and he's aided in defeating Lord Scorpan, he sends Centaurs to give Equestria a mana transfusion from his own kingdom to revitalize the country's soil and Cloud Gremlins to rebuild the pegasi cities.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: King Leo, the easy-going merlion king of Aquastria, introduced in chapter 8 of Diplomat at Large after a previous mention in Chapter 21 of the first story.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: Prince Blueblood wound up as a good ruler after taking the throne following the deaths of the three Alicorn princesses (though he always claimed to be merely acting as regent for the Princesses, and thus below them, until they returned), and is known as Blueblood the Great; for all his faults during the original Bearers' lifetime, he wound up a wise and heroic ruler after their deaths.
  • In Purple Days, after countless Groundhog Day Loops, much humiliation and humility, vast amounts of empathy and knowledge, Prince Joffrey Baratheon rises to this in the Blackworks loop, with Sansa at his side as The High Queen. They make tremendous progress improving the lives of the smallfolk, from the Royal Legions that accept all and guarantee advance strictly by merit rather than blood, to the massive trading companies and countless foundries, mills, and lumberyards they establish to inject and generate cash into and from the Crownlands. They are so successful they are universally beloved with ease and the Undying Loyalty of their armies, to the point they can withstand the rebellions of Renly, Stannis, and the false Aegon. Only Daenerys manages to crush the realm, and even then it cost her two dragons, most of her army, and all probability of anyone in Westeros willingly joining her.

    Films — Animated 
  • Barbie as the Princess and the Pauper: King Dominick is kind and understanding, and his kingdom is in such good shape that he is willing to share his wealth by marrying Princess Anneliese to save her kingdom from going bankrupt (a rather selfless act considering he probably had richer prospects with bigger dowries to choose from). At the end of the film, Dominick teams up with Julian to stop the Big Bad Preminger from escaping after Anneliese exposes his evil plans. He also doesn't think less of Erika after finding out she is actually a pauper and in fact, ends up marrying her, showing that he doesn't heed to class hierarchies.
  • Disney kings include:
    • King Stefan (Princess Aurora's father) from Sleeping Beauty is an affable fellow looking out for the well-being of his kingdom.
    • King Richard the Lionheart (a literal lion) from Robin Hood (1973). Everything gets better once he arrives and he takes the kingdom into his paws; Prince John is imprisoned and Robin Hood gets a Happily Ever After ending with Marian.
    • The Sultan in Aladdin becomes a good ruler in the end; he was always nice, but in the movie was insignificant because he had been controlled by an Evil Vizier. In the series, he develops into The Good King. He expresses, at one point, genuine surprise that there are impoverished people living in his kingdom — though his inflection indicates a compassionate concern for them.
    • The Lion King:
      • Mufasa, Simba's father and King of all animals. It says a lot that all of the animals show up for newborn Simba's presentation, even the ones that very well might end up being eaten by him or Simba. The kingdom flourishes when he is in charge, and when his ambitious evil brother overthrows him, the land and animals suffer badly.
      • The sequels show that Simba is following in his father's footsteps. During his reign, vegetation is lush and his pride and other animals thrive.
    • The emperor from Disney's Mulan was more concerned with protecting his people from the invading Huns than with his own safety.
    • King Fergus (Merida's father) from the film Brave has maintained peace among three tribes that look for an excuse to start a war.
  • The pharaoh of Joseph: King of Dreams is more benevolent than the pharaohs of The Prince of Egypt. Appointed Joseph governor of the Nile knowing he was not Egyptian.
  • The king Dymas of Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas he proves to be a good monarch, wanting his son Proteus to escape from prison as he did not believe that Sinbad would return to Syracuse. Then he accepts the prince's decision to stay in the city awaiting the arrival of the pirate. In the end Dymas apologized to Sinbad for having accused him of the theft of the Book of Peace.

    Films — Live Action 
  • In Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): After Godzilla defeats Ghidorah and reclaims his position as king, he's indicated to now be actively directing the other Titans to act in ways beneficial to the world and human civilization, such as repairing environmental damage, while prohibiting them from attacking any human populations. Notably the humans come to view him as their savior as well.
  • In the Name of the King gives us King Konreid, who appears to be a fair and just ruler, who knows much about his subjects, even things that people don't expect a king to know (e.g. how some farmers are using seaweed to fertilize their fields and harvest two crops a year). He's at the end of his life, though, which was full of many tragedies and conflicts, including the loss of his wife and son many years before. His sole heir is his nephew Duke Fallow, an incompetent jerk, who just wants the perks that come with royalty without the responsibility. When the Krug invade his kingdom, Konreid personally leads his forces into battle. When a group of farmers complain about their unprotected village being raided, Konreid stops his general from punishing them, pointing out that they have a right to express their displeasure.
    King Konreid: Wisdom is our hammer. Prudence will be our nail. When men build lives from honest toil-courage never fails.
  • The king from Jack the Giant Slayer is a decent guy. Aside from one serious blind spot — having an Evil Chancellor early in the story — he's a good leader who handles himself well, deals with his subjects fairly, and isn't above hard labor right alongside the common soldiers when necessary. He also shows remarkable restraint when dealing with Jack, refraining from trying to intimidate him once it's clear there's some chemistry between him and the Princess. He insists on fighting alongside the guards when the Giants attack and gives Elmont a "Hell no!" when asked to leave.
  • The King's Speech contrasts Albert Windsor with his partying, Nazi-sympathizing brother Edward VIII. He tries to get Edward to take his royal responsibilities seriously, knowing that if Edward fails it's going to be him who gets the crown. Edward does abdicate to marry his twice-divorced lover, and Bertie becomes George VI just in time to lead his people through World War II.
  • Kull the Conqueror: Kull, upon becoming king, immediately releases several slaves in the palace and tries to abolish slavery completely but is told he can't because the kingdom's ancient law allows it. Further, he refuses to have sex with Zareta before he's sure she's willing, as she had been the former king's sex slave and accustomed to serving that way. He also frees a priest persecuted for heresy and establishes religious tolerance, saying that people can worship whatever gods they want. All this is before Kull faces down the main villain. After he defeats her, Kull abolishes slavery anyway, ancient law be damned.
  • In Warcraft (2016), king Llane is ultimately a just and kind ruler, deciding to negotiate with orcs before going to an all-out war with them, promising Garona that he won't threaten her and giving her freedom, and ultimately performing a Heroic Sacrifice so that humans and orcs may have a chance at peace.

  • Implied to be the case with King Cole from the classic nursery rhyme. While we don't get much information about him, he is implied to have been a kind ruler and a Cool Old Guy, being described as a "merry old soul".
  • "The Cost of the Crown" by Mercedes Lackey is sung by a monarch about the burdens they have to suffer as a leader.
    Although I am the head of state
    In truth I am the least
    The true Queen knows her people fed
    before she sits to feast

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • King David and his son, Solomon, were two benevolent kings of Israel. While they certainly had flaws (David has his Uriah Gambit, and Solomon's downfall was caused by 700 wives and 300 concubines and worshiping false gods) they were both ultimately good people.
    • Josiah is also described as such in the Booksof Kings, in contrast to his father Joash.
    • Melchizedek of Salem, Jehoshaphat, Hezekiah (does reforms, and defending Jerusalem from Assyrians would count) and Josiah of Judah (does Religious reforms, and cleansing his whole kingdom and instituted Passover), Jehu of Israel (when purging the House of Ahab may be counted) and Cyrus of Persia (where he is noted for returning the Jews to their homeland).
    • Ascended Jesus Christ is the ultimate example.
  • Beowulf: The titular hero, speaking of King Scyld of the Danes, just comes out and says "he was a good king." Or, more accurately, "Þæt wæs gōd cyning," "That was [a] good king." Seamus Heaney's more literal translation has it as "That was one good king," which loses something.
  • Arthurian Legend:
    • While not the original, King Arthur is the Trope Codifier and adaptations featuring him usually portray him as this, although there is no evidence before the 11th century explicitly naming him as a king as opposed to a military leader.
    • Many of the tales also describe Uther as a good, much-beloved king as well... minus his Fatal Flaw of Lust.
  • Richard the Lionheart is usually considered the Big Good in various Robin Hood adaptations, particularly in contrast to his brother John. This is most definitely myth.
  • The titular character in The Epic of Gilgamesh undergoes a LOT of Character Development from a despised Royal Brat / The Caligula to become this trope after meeting Enkidu (though he still bragged a lot).
  • The legend behind the children's song: "Good king Wenceslas looked out, on the feast of Stephen..." Technically, he was a Prince (as in ruler of the land), not a King. He was also a real historical figure.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • In the instances where heroes survive, they are generally seen as benevolent kings. Theseus is the best example, but also Cecrops, Minos, and Aeson (though Minos became kind of an asshole when the Minotaur came onto the scene).
    • After Persephone did some renovating, the Underworld was given three judges consisting of three kings who were this in life — Rhadamanthys (the judge of the men of Asia and Lord of Elysium), Aeacus (the judge of the men of Europe and keeper of the keys to the Underworld) and Minos (the judge who casts the final, deciding vote).
  • The Thebaid: Unlike just about everyone else, King Theseus is a good guy. Despite having just returned from a tiring campaign, he welcomes refugees into his kingdom and leads the armies of Athens to force Creon to allow the widows of Argos to bury their deceased husbands properly.
  • The Book of Mormon:
    • King Benjamin from the Book of Mosiah, shown to be very much loved by his people in the time before his death. His son, Mosiah, followed in his footsteps, but when none of his sons wanted the kingdom, they established judges throughout the land instead. Briefly mentioned is Benjamin's father, also named Mosiah, who the people chose as their king.
    • Zeniff, who left in the days of Benjamin to repossess land previously owned by the Nephites, was also a righteous king. He was granted the land diplomatically by King Laman, and when Laman tried to double-cross him, his people fought only in defense. Sadly, his son Noah was not remotely good, to the point where Mosiah references him as a reason to abolish kings and appoint judges instead.

  • Pippin tries to become this after usurping his father by distributing money to the poor, giving land to the peasants, abolishing taxes, and dismantling the army. When an enemy invades his kingdom, he's forced to suspend all his reforms and is dubbed "King Pippin the Unpopular" for his trouble.
  • Appears less frequently than you might think in William Shakespeare's works:
    • Duncan in Macbeth, as well as the offstage Edward the Confessor.
    • Henry V (arguably; he conducts himself admirably during the war, but his reasons for starting it are questionable). The plot of the previous two plays (Henry IV I and II) was largely about the question of whether Hal would fulfill this trope.
    • The title character in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, before having a mental breakdown when he learns of his daughter's death (but he gets better since she's not dead).
    • In Hamlet, it's mentioned by several characters that Hamlet's late father was this. In the end, it seemed some subjects thought Hamlet himself would become this, though the truth of this is highly debatable.
    • Don Pedro, the Prince of Aragon and therefore highest royalty in Much Ado About Nothing, does a lot to sort out the various romantic misunderstandings pushed by his brother Don John.

    Tabletop Games 
  • With how much Grey-and-Gray Morality shows up in BattleTech, identifying a 'good' leader among the Inner Sphere Great Houses or Clans can be tricky. However, even with that said, Adam Steiner is recognized as one of the greatest Archons of the Lyran Commonwealth for a variety of reasons: he did not ascend to the throne by force, assigns positions based on competence and merit, despises nepotism and the idea of Armchair Military "Social Generals" in the service, and tempered his passionate nature with deep reflection and careful thoughtfulness. Because of his plain-speaking and transparent manner, he was beloved by his people and his reign saw a period of relative peace and prosperity for almost 50 years despite shadowy internal conspiracies and attacks by adventurous Clans, successfully fending off both threats. Adam proved to be one of the most popular Archons ever and remained deeply respected by both Inner Sphere and Clan factions.
  • Warhammer has the current Emperor of the Empire Karl Franz, Karl is a reasonable ruler of the Empire, and has maintained order and stability at a level which few previous Emperors were able to achieve. He's also a real Badass who'll smash your skull if you threaten his Empire.

    Web Animation 
  • Fallen Kingdom: The King was a kind, beloved ruler who often went out and mingled with his subjects.
  • RWBY: The nameless King of Vale. When a war was threatening to engulf the entire world, he took to the battlefield personally and defeated all comers. The other kings, terrified of his power, offered him their crowns. Instead, he chose to allow them to remain largely as they were before the war and only used his victory as leverage to create an Academy in each Kingdom. These Academies would train Huntsmen and Huntresses to fight the Grimm, rather than relying on armies that could easily be turned on each other. By the time of the story, the Academies still stand, and the world has entered an unprecedented era of peace. It is strongly implied that the King was one of Ozma's previous incarnations, which is why the later incarnation Ozpin was able to become headmaster of Beacon Academy at such a young age: He built it.

  • If Cale'Anon of Looking for Group isn't this already, he soon will be.
  • Despite being an otherwise Crapsack World, Oglaf has one of these in the form of "King Blowjob". He gained the throne by saving his people from an invading army, solved his new nation's financial problems, apparently restructured their society into a "peaceful fellatio-cracy", and stopped a cursed man on a violent rampage, first by offering himself and then by hiring specialists out-of-pocket to break the curse. And all through the power of really good blowjobs.

    Web Original 
  • In Achievement Hunter's "King" Let's Plays, Michael is often given the title of "The Good King", owing to the effort he put in and his concern for his subjects. This is opposed to First King Geoff, High King Ray, Mad King Ryan, and Fool King Gavin.
  • The Benevolent Overlord List.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Khasra Mallorein III of Scundia is a pretty decent and wise fellow even though he tends to also be a Deadpan Snarker and occasionally seduces and has sex with other people's wives. Gerard Aurelac of Maar Sul also becomes a good king when he's finally given the crown and the throne. Marcus Sarillius of Remon is also this whenever he isn't being manipulated by ambitious and/or villainous people.
  • Flashbacks in the Minecraft-inspired music video "The Fallen Kingdom" establish that the protagonist was The Good King. He would have died fighting to protect his kingdom, but fate left him alive.
  • Tgchan's Super Clothing Damage Adventure! No, seriously. Tgchan is a website that combines Dungeons & Dragons with Twitch Plays Pokémon, and SCDA is one of its shows. The Good King in this series is something between "Physical God" and "Demented Crazy Person", but is generally a likable guy who rules over the world with For the Lulz and For the Evulz. The fact that he gives superpowers to children, which don't kill anyone (but damage clothes, hence the title) says a lot. The fact that he's so crazy that he broke the fourth wall to the tgchan audiences years ago says even more. His first act with the current audience is to request their help in making an aspiring high-school student's dreams come true! Dawww...
  • TB Skyen has discussed this trope in depth several times, generally letting his anti-monarchist views come through. In his video on Azir, he states unequivocally that, outside of fiction, there is no good king, and Azir is certainly not one. In his short on the Burnt Ivory King, on the other hand, he does acknowledge that, despite Dark Souls II's rather negative depiction of monarchs, the Ivory King is undoubtedly a good man and great king, who put his people before himself, was first in line to defend them, and who's kindness even convinced a Child of Dark to carry on his burden once he had paid the ultimate price. However, Skyen also points out that the end result of the King's nobility was his own death. To be a truly good king, the position has to cost you everything.

    Western Animation 
  • Disney's Adventures of the Gummi Bears and Hanna-Barbera's The Smurfs (1981) run around more or less the same concept: a secret community of magical creatures whose existence is only known for a few human allies and some villains. Both shows happen in a fictional medieval kingdom and both shows have the resident King to be quite representative of this trope; gentle, benevolent, and nice with the humble servants like the local page.
  • As of the finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Fire Lord Zuko, the seeds of which were planted all the way back in the first season before his Heel–Face Turn.
    • The Earth King, too, even though he was sheltered his entire life and therefore has no idea how to actually be a king when called upon. In spite of this, he's not a bad guy and clearly wants to do the right thing by his people. Averted by his daughter in The Legend of Korra, who is a despotic tyrant who has starved her own people through greed and incompetence.
    • King Bumi of Omashu is also one. He is wise and considers the life of every one of his citizens. So when faced with a choice of either defending his city from an impressive force from the Fire Nation, where his people would certainly die, and surrendering where all would live, he picks the latter and waits until an opportune moment to take back his city. Single-handedly.
  • ChalkZone had an episode called "The Big Blow-Up", which introduced ChalkZone's long lost ruler King Mumbo Jumbo, who selflessly kept himself sealed away with the Inflatermaus swarm for 300 years. From what little screentime we are given when he awakens from his hibernation, he proves to be a very nice person and helps series protagonist Rudy re-imprison the Inflatermaus swarm.
  • King Atticus in Infinity Train. As King of Corginia (The Corgi Car), he clearly cares about his people and is a good, sweet dog who will bravely defend his friends and subjects to the bitter end. He goes to help Tulip on her journey both because she's a kid who needs help and because he wants to defeat the Steward to protect his people. He's constantly helping Tulip with her problems, gives her advice, and proves again and again to be a good friend, a good ruler, and a good dog.
    Tulip: You're a good boy.
    Atticus: I'm a good man.
  • In The Lion Guard, Simba gets a whole song about it "Good King Simba". Like in the movie, he does qualify. Kion probably does as well as of the final episode, when he marries Rani, leader of the Night Pride lions and Queen of the Tree of Life, making Kion the King.
  • The titular character of King Leonardo and His Short Subjects is the benevolent ruler of the kingdom Bongo Congo. Gangster rodent Biggy Rat and the king's black sheep brother Itchy scheme to usurp Leonardo to make the kingdom's coffers theirs for the taking, but the king's prime minister Odie Cologne thwarts them at every turn.
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks: Grand Nagus Rom is noted for continuing the social reforms started by his predecessor, upholding the rights of women and workers in the notoriously misogynistic, hyper-capitalist Ferengi Alliance. They've made so much progress under his rule they've become candidates to join The Federation.


Video Example(s):


Purple's Kingdom

When business is booming in the Purple's kingdom thanks to Blue and Green, all of the villagers head for Purple's palace to improve it and build a statue of their beloved monarch. Being amazed of the villagers hard work, Purple crowns both Blue and Green.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / ConstructionIsAwesome

Media sources: