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"The LORD said to her, 'Two nations are in your womb; And two peoples will be separated from your body; And one people shall be stronger than the other; And the older shall serve the younger.'"

A common Fairy Tale situation. Whenever multiple siblings are portrayed, the youngest is the hero; the older ones are either evil, incompetent, outclassed, or just boring.

In a standard story template that often goes along with this, each child in turn receives instructions from a (usually magical) source on how to make their fortune; the older two ignore the advice and suffer the consequences, while the youngest one follows it and gets a happy ending. Usually, this child is ostensibly somehow worse than his siblings — either more foolish (and thus more honest) or smaller and weaker (but cleverer). Even if he isn't, the older children are prone to believe that he is.

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The youngest daughter is often the most beautiful or otherwise most desirable. In cultures where the daughters must be married off in order of age, this can really complicate life.

However, if the older children are stepchildren or half-siblings, that usually trumps this trope; the younger children usually succeed only if they are not hostile to their half siblings. (When the children are stepsiblings, the hero is usually both the youngest and the child of the first wife... confusingly. Though easily accounted for if the stepchildren were older than the hero when the hero's parent married the stepparent.)

Also, this trope usually applies to a set of all sisters or all brothers. "Hansel and Gretel" is perhaps the best known of the many tales where children of mixed sex work well together. If there are several girls and one boy, he is the hero; if there are several boys and one girl, she is the hero.

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Indeed, in some tales, the older children do not feature as characters; their only purpose is to make the hero a youngest child.

Usually when this occurs the number of children is numerologically significant: three, seven, or occasionally twelve.

Often this carries undertones of underdog vindication, as the youngest is likely to start off life as the smallest and least experienced due to not having had the same time to grow yet. And in any setting in which inheritance occurs by primogeniture the youngest will naturally get the short end of the stick.


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Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Bleach, Szayelaporro Granz is the Octava Espada while his older brother Yylfordt is just one of (Sexta Espada) Grimmjow Jaegerjaquez's Fracción.
  • In the series finale of Code Geass the Britannian throne is inherited by Nunnally, the youngest of Charles' surviving named children.
  • Every season of Digimon follows this trope. Everyone who has a Digimon partner is either the youngest child in their family or has a younger sibling who also has (or will have) a Digimon partner. The only exceptions to this rule are Jeri’s younger brother and Thomas' younger sister. Both of them are only half-siblings, though, so they may not count. Takuya and Angie are unquestionable aversions as they both have younger siblings back in the real world who never have anything to do with the Digital World.
  • Deconstructed with the Kongo Brothers of Eyeshield 21. Although they're twins, the elder brother is completely overshadowed by his younger brother's incredible talent. As a result, the younger twin is very arrogant and treats his elder brother (and everyone else) coldly, while the elder twin's self esteem is completely crushed and feels his only purpose is to help his younger brother.
  • In Fist of the North Star: Kenshiro, the youngest of the four Hokuto brothers, ultimately becomes the official successor of the deadly 2000-year old martial art Hokuto Shinken.
  • In Get Backers, there's a group of siblings who all share a body, and the strongest among them is the youngest, Yukihiko.
  • Jewelpet Twinkle: Akari Sakura is the insecure younger sister of Monica Sakura, a popular Idol Singer, but it's Akari who gets to go on adventures in a magical land and become a powerful wizard. A later episode focusing on Monica also shows that idol life is not all it's cracked up to be.
  • In Kill la Kill, Soichiro Kiryuin's legacy to his daughter Satsuki is a bit lackluster. The experiments performed on her as a child were unable to imbue her with the power of the life fibers since she was too old when they attempted it, her kamui Junketsu (called her "wedding dress") attempts to devour her every time she wears it and strains her immensely to wear it for long, and her sword Bakuzan is able to cut life fibers but is not able to stop them from simply regenerating. His later efforts for his younger daughter Ryuko, under the guise of Isshin Matoi built up on this and are a step up in every way possible; the improved experiments made Ryuko a life fiber hybrid which gave her the power to face her mother Ragyo, and also resulted in her kamui Senketsu being made from a better process that made him safer to wear and able to synchronize with humans for greater power, and even devised a better weapon in the Scissor Blade, which instead of one blade was two that could cut from both sides simultaneously and kill life fibers without letting them regenerate.
  • In Legend of Galactic Heroes, Kaiser Friedrich IV of the Galactic Empire ascended to the throne simply because his older brothers had died as a result of a power struggle between themselves.
  • The Takamachi family in Lyrical Nanoha has eldest Kyouya, middle Miyuki, youngest Nanoha. Guess who gets mad magic skillz.
    • Triangle Heart 3: Sweet Songs Forever: Inverted, where eldest Kyouya is the one who wins. He has more training and fewer reservations about fighting than Miyuki (who only started training after her father's death, and mostly to protect Fiasse) does, and Nanoha is useless in combat, her role here as a cute Token Mini-Moe to cart around in the civilian scenes. When she does get her "mad magic skillz", she's nowhere near as impressive as her Alternate Universe Spin-Off self. That said, it's not necessarily like her older siblings don't have the skills they have in TH3. It's just that it's not their story.
  • In Million Dollar Kid, a tycoon gives one hundred million yen to each of his three sons and tells them the one who best uses the money will be his successor. What he doesn't tell is that he intends to use the test as an excuse to cast the youngest son away from the family. His disapproval of the youngest son is based on the boy's gambling addiction. The series is focused on the youngest, whose luck smiles to him whenever he risks it all.
  • My Hero Academia: Downplayed with Shoto Todoroki. He's the youngest of his siblings and the only one to manifest the Superpower Lottery Quirk his father wanted him to have. But he's only the youngest because he got that Quirk and his father would have had more children if that wasn't the case.
  • In Naruto, the Sage of Six Paths had two sons. The elder would become the ancestor of the Uchiha, the younger would become the ancestor of the Senju and possibly the Uzumaki. The Sage decided that the younger would be the one "to inherit his dream of peace." This was due to clashing philosophies. The Sage asked them what was the path to peace. The elder brother, who gained his father's 'eyes' declared power was the key. The younger brother, who gained the 'body', said love was the key. The Sage chose the younger brother as his successor for the world.
  • Zigzagged in One Piece. Of the three Boa sisters, the smallest one, Hancock, is the most beautiful; not only is she considered the World's Most Beautiful Woman In-Universe, but she even has a Devil Fruit that weaponizes her beauty, whereas her sisters consist of a Butter Face and a Brawn Hilda, both of whom have the same Devil Fruit power: to transform into a more powerful Snake People form, which makes them more monstrous. However, the trope is inverted in that Hancock is the eldest of the three sisters, whilst Marigold — the biggest and ugliest of the siblings — is the youngest.
  • Otori Kyouya from Ouran High School Host Club is the youngest of his brothers (with a sister thrown in the middle somewhere), but his father fully expects him to take over the company over his two brothers after pulling a major Big Damn Heroes moment on the old man.
  • Myrrha/Husky from +Anima has lots of older step brothers who hate him and make fun of his girly looks and 'husky' voice. Oh wait, wasn't Husky the one who was named the Crown Prince by the father all of them share?
  • Misty from Pokémon: The Series doesn't have the model-esque beauty of her older sisters, but she did get all the talent as a trainer. The other three are just content to give badges away.
  • There are three Tendo sisters in Ranma ½. Guess which one gets to be the main character love interest of Ranma? In the sense that the older two foisted the Arranged Marriage onto the youngest in milliseconds, at least. Also note despite all three of them growing up in a dojo, Akane seems to be the only one who knows martial arts...

    Ballads 
  • The song "The Bonny Swans" by Loreena McKennit, which combines this trope with a standard English Murder Ballad template. This is a version of a specific ballad called "The Twa Sisters" (Child #10) which is sometimes also known under other titles such as "The Cruel Sister". Other forms can be found elsewhere in the Child Ballads.
  • In the Child Ballad "The Cruel Brother," the knight woos the youngest daughter. (On the other hand, her brother murders her at her wedding.)
    The eldest was baith tall and fair,
    But the youngest was beyond compare.
    The midmost had a graceful mien,
    But the youngest lookd like beautie's queen.
    The knight bowd low to a' the three,
    But to the youngest he bent his knee.

    Comic Books 
  • Brave Chef Brianna: Downplayed. Brianna, her father's youngest child, is the hero of the story and the one who helps gets non-monster ingredients unbanned in Monster City but she decides she's satisfied with her own restaurant and withdraws from the competition for the right to head his empire.

    Fairy Tales 
  • "Cinderella" is a classic example (though her older sisters are stepsisters rather than blood relatives).
    • The earliest known version of the story, "Yeh-Shen", is actually an inversion, with Yeh-Shen being the elder daughter and her stepmother's daughter (her wicked half-sister) being the younger one.
    • Many Asian variants of the story follow suit by making Cinderella the elder daughter, such as the Korean Kongwi and Patjwi, the Vietnamese Tam and Cam, and the Japanese "Benizara and Kakezara."
    • One Mongolian version, Saja and Bohu toys with this trope by making Cinderella's mother and stepmother sisters. The good Saja is the daughter of the dead younger sister and the evil Bohu is the daughter of the surviving elder sister. That said, the story never divulges if Saja or Bohu is the older or younger girl (and they are cousins rather than sisters.)
    • The Grimm tale, "One Eye, Two Eyes, Three Eyes," is a rare Cinderella variant where the middle-child is the heroine. A witch has three daughters, the eldest is a cyclops and the youngest has three eyes. The middle-daughter not only has two eyes like any other mortal, but is very beautiful, and is abused by her cruel mother and sisters until she is rescued by a prince.
  • In the Grimm tale of "The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids", it's the youngest kid who manages not to get eaten by the wolf.
  • In most versions of "Beauty and the Beast", Beauty is the youngest of three sisters, the other two of whom are generally portrayed as at least somewhat materialistic, sometimes worse.
  • "The Twelve Dancing Princesses", depending on the version:
    • The earliest known version, published by the Brothers Grimm, contains a inversion. The hero, a soldier, follows the eponymous princesses through a magical landscape while wearing an invisibility cloak. Only the youngest senses that something's amiss, while the eldest keeps telling her to shut up and stop complaining. At the end, when offered a princess to marry, the soldier announces, "I'm not as young as I used to be, so I'll take the eldest."
    • In some variants, like the one collected by Andrew Lang in The Red Fairy Book and the one collected by Alexander Afanasyev in Russian Folk-Tales, the hero marries the youngest.
    • In others, the hero basically says "All your daughters have proven themselves not to be trusted. I'm not going to take any one of them!"
  • In "Puss in Boots", the main human character is the youngest son of a miller; when the miller dies, his older brothers get any property and wealth left behind, and all he's left with is the title cat... who manages to get him elevated to nobility, inheriting the castle and riches of an ogre, and married to a princess.
  • In The Lord of the Winds, a tundra village is being threatened by harsh winds, and a father with three daughters surmises that Lord Kotura of the Winds is angered and can only be appeased with a wife. He sends his eldest daughter to Lord Kotura's dwelling with very specific instructions. She ignores every single one, and then when she finally gets to Lord Kotura's dwelling, she also ignores his instructions; and in the end Lord Kotura angrily casts her out of his home to freeze to death in the snow. The winds grow stronger, and the father sends out his second daughter. Pretty much the exact same thing happens, and when the winds grow harsher once again, the father sends out his youngest daughter, who follows his and Lord Kotura's instructions to a T. Greatly pleased, Lord Kotura makes her his wife, the winds die down, and the village is saved.
  • "Hop-o'-My-Thumb" is the youngest child in the family and manages to outwit a giant and rescue his siblings.
  • In the "The Master Thief," the hero has two older brothers who do not feature in the tale; their only purpose is to make him the youngest.
  • In "East of the Sun and West of the Moon", the bear asks for the woodcutter's youngest daughter.
  • In "The Dancing Water, the Singing Apple, and the Speaking Bird", it is the youngest daughter who promises to have marvelous children and marries the king. This is the usual form of this tale, but The Brothers Grimm "The Three Little Birds" features the oldest as the heroine. (Though, of her children, it is the youngest who successfully finds and rescues her and her elder brothers.)
  • In "Bearskin", the youngest daughter agrees to marry the hero while he is filthy, hairy, and wearing a bearskin. Other variants of this type of fairy tale include "Don Giovanni de la Fortuna," "The Soldier and the Bad Man," "The Road to Hell" (where she actively cleans him up), "The Reward of Kindness," "The Devil As Partner" and "Never Wash." Some versions of the story, however, have it that it's the middle daughter who consents to be his bride.
  • In "Diamonds and Toads," the younger daughter is polite to the fairy and wins a reward.
  • In "The White Dove", a Wicked Witch gets two brothers to promise her their younger brother for their safety; then she kidnaps the younger brother and tries to destroy him with impossible tasks. When he survives and returns, the older brothers confess and insist that he be their father's heir.
  • In "Tritill, Litill, and the Birds," the two older brothers are rude to two beggars and a flock of birds and withhold their bread from them. They take shelter in an ogress' cave. The ogress forces them to clean her cave. When they fail, the ogress kills them. The youngest brother shares his food with the beggars and the birds, who later help him clean the ogress' cave. The youngest brother is spared and is rewarded with the lost princess.
  • In "Tsarevitch Ivan, the Fire Bird and the Gray Wolf", only the youngest of the three princes first stays awake to see the Firebird, and second presses on after the stone warning of dangers.
  • In "The Bird Grip" and "The Golden Bird", despite warnings, the older princes go to the merry inn, where they forget their father, and their quest. The youngest goes to the dark inn and travels on to complete the quest.
  • In "The Seven Foals", an old woman tries to lure aside the men set to watch the king's foals all day. She succeeds with the older two of three brothers, but the youngest runs by her.
  • In "Vasilissa the Beautiful", Vasilissa is the youngest sister and the only one popular with the men in town, and the Wicked Stepmother justifies rejecting all of Vasilissa's suitors on the grounds that her stepsisters are older than she is.
    Never shall the younger be wed before the older ones!
  • Utterly inverted by the "Three Billy Goats Gruff". The troll ignores the younger brothers after being told that the next eldest is larger and more filling, and the eldest is the one who's strong enough to defeat him.
  • "The Honey Princess" does this twice. The sons of a king travel to a cursed castle, where the dwarf running the place gives them three tasks to complete. If they fail, they are turned to marble. Naturally, the eldest sons are quickly turned to statues while attempting the first task. The youngest son not only completes all three tasks, but has to figure out which frozen princess ate a spoonful of honey before turning to marble. The youngest princess did.
  • The tale of "Three Mayflies", who learn that they only have one day to live. The first one decided to fly really fast, so that Death would never catch up. He got tired, stopped for a rest, and Death took him there after just 20 hours. The second one figured that if he flew backwards, he'd never age. It worked, but he was so tired that he couldn't live through the second day, and Death took him with ease. The third mayfly decided to make the most of the time he had, living 25 hours and dying with no regrets.
  • An inversion appears in the French fairy tale "Alphege, or the Green Monkey." Alphege, the son of the king's first wife, is the protagonist. When Alphege disappears, his stepmother sets up her son as the king. The younger brother is not evil though and willingly gives up his throne when Alphege returns.
  • Played with and utterly inverted in Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont's fairy tale "Prince Fatal and Prince Fortune". The titular princes are twins. Fatal, the older prince, is cursed to have all sorts of misfortunes befall him until he is twenty-five, while his younger brother Fortune is granted a perfect life until he is twenty-five. Fatal is abandoned while Fortune remains in the palace. This ends up working in Fatal's favor - Fatal learns hard work and discipline as a farmer and a soldier, while Fortune grows up selfish and spoiled. As a result, Fortune cannot defend his own kingdom when it is under attack and ends up dead, while Fatal fights bravely and wins a princess to be his wife.
  • All the Scandinavian Askeladd stories, in which the eponymous Askeladd is inevitably the youngest of three brothers and inevitably succeeds where the other two fail (or, occasionally, tries when the other two don't even bother).
  • About two-thirds of the stories collected in Italo Calvino's Italian Folktales start off like this. "There was a poor man/king/poor woman who had thee sons/three daughters. The youngest was the most beautiful/kindest/most intelligent..." Sometimes there are 12 children, but it's nearly always the youngest who has the cool adventure. An exception is "The Dragon With Seven Heads", where it's the oldest, and the other two brothers follow him after he comes to harm, in an inversion of the trope.
  • In "How the Dragon was Tricked" features two brothers. The younger brother is the protagonist and wins over the king's daughter, while the older brother gets nothing.
  • In "The Punishment of the Fairy Gangana" King Petaldo and Queen Gillette's seven children are kidnapped by Gangana and taken to the island of Bambini. The six older children misbehave, while Cadichon, the youngest, remains obedient. Cadichon is the one who becomes his father's heir after the children are rescued.
  • "The Princess on the Glass Hill" has a family whose hay is eaten every year by a mysterious spirit. His two older brothers are scared by the spirit (who brings earthquakes), but Boots not only stays calm three years in a row and keeps the hay safe, but also gets three suits of armor and three horses and is able to ride to the princess with them.
  • In the lesser-known story "Le Chevalier de Fortune" aka "The story of Belle-Belle," it is the old soldier's youngest daughter who successfully disguises her gender, becomes the king's favorite soldier, gains magical servants and riches and ultimately marries the king. Interestingly, though she's the youngest, she was also the tallest and physically the strongest, which is part of how she successfully hid her gender in the first place, unlike her daintier, older sisters.
  • In "Childe Rowland", the two older brothers fail in rescuing their sister from Elfland, and only Childe Rowland succeeds in rescuing his sister and his brothers.
  • In Boots Who Made the Princess Say 'That's a Story!', Boots is the youngest brother, and he's the one who outdoes the princess in a contest of telling tall tales and wins her hand in marriage.
  • In The Brothers Grimm's "The Golden Goose", Dummling wins the princess' hand in marriage whereas his older brothers are punished by their selfishness.
  • Inverted in the French fairy tale "Aurore and Aimée", where the older sister Aurore is good and marries a good man and the younger sister Aimée is evil and marries an evil man, though it is played straight with Fourbin (an older brother who marries Aimée and is unhappy with her) and Ingénu (a younger brother who marries Aurore and is happy with her).
  • In "The Daughter of Buk Ettemsuch," a couple leaves their seven daughters with provisions for three years. The father tells the girls to never open the door. One day, the oldest daughter announces that she wants to go to the market. The youngest daughter warns her that this violates their parents' warning. The six older sisters attack the youngest daughter. Turns out the youngest daughter was right — a witch breaks into the girls' house after the sisters buy vegetables from the market. The witch eats the six older sisters — only the youngest one escapes.
  • In The Black Thief and the Knight of the Glen, subverted. The youngest son escapes the Wicked Stepmother's power, but goes with his brothers, and it's the Black Thief they meet on the way that is the main character.
  • In Soria Moria Castle, Halvor choses the youngest princess.
  • In Jesper Who Herded the Hares, the hero, Jesper, is the youngest son.
  • In Tsarevich Petr and the Wizard, the hero, Petr, is the youngest of three.
  • "The Two Brothers", collected by The Brothers Grimm, zig-zags the trope. It's the younger of the twins who marries the princess while the elder wanders around and fails to find adventure. But the younger brother falls victim to a Wicked Witch who turns him to stone, and then the elder brother meets her and defeats her, rescuing the younger brother.
    • "The Three Princes and Their Beasts," a similar story collected by Andrew Lang, is a complete aversion: it's the eldest brother who wins the princess, and it's the middle brother who defeats the witch after the eldest and the youngest have failed.
  • Inverted in "One -eye, Two-eyes, Three-eyes" collected by The Brothers Grimm. The mistreated heroine, Two-eyes, is the middle child. It's justified as the three sisters have the numbers of eyes that their names suggest-and correspond to their order of birth. Two-eyes is the main protagonist who ends up as a princess, because she is the normal-looking one (and presumably the prettiest for that reason).
  • Subverted in a Nogai fairy tale A Golden Tree on the Side of the Moon, a Silver Tree on the Side of the Sun. The hero originally marries the khan's third and youngest daughter, but she turns out to be the main villainess and runs off with a lover, stealing all of her husband's possessions on her way. In the end, the hero marries the khan's second daughter and lives happily ever after, while his first wife and her lover eventually die in poverty.
  • "The Nine Peahens And The Golden Apples": The main character is the king's youngest son, who solves the mystery of the vanishing golden apples and gets married to the empress.
  • In the "The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship", the Fool is the youngest sibling, and he gets the princess.
  • In "How Jack Sought The Golden Apples", the youngest prince is the only one who gets the golden apples to heal his father. Though the older brothers resort to trickery to defame him, he ends up winning the princess' affections and inheriting the throne.
  • In Franz Xaver Von Schonwerth "King Goldenlocks", the youngest and most beautiful princess ends up married to the titular king.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Queen's Consort, every daughter of summer has tried wooing Elsa, but she wound up falling in love (and later marrying) with the youngest Anna.

    Film — Animation 
  • In Brother Bear, Sitka is the oldest, Denahi is the middle one, Kenai is the youngest. Guess which one is the main character.
  • Frozen:
    • Frozen:
      • Inverted. Hans is the youngest of thirteen brothers, yet he ends up being the villain. The other brothers play no role except to explain why Hans wants the throne.
      • Downplayed with sisters Anna and Elsa. The younger one is The Hero of the story, but both sisters are portrayed very sympathetically and both get happy endings.
    • Zig-zagged in Frozen II: Princess Anna ultimately ends up replacing her older sister Elsa as Queen of Arendelle, but only because Elsa decides to Abdicate the Throne, because she wants to move to the Enchanted Forest instead. The ending is Elsa's ideal, not Anna's, but both do end up happy, Anna with the chance to help her beloved community and Elsa with the chance to enjoy unbridled freedom.
  • The Good Dinosaur: Arlo is the youngest of his family and is also the runt and the hero.
  • The Little Mermaid: The heroine Ariel is the youngest of seven children.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Parodied with the two Lindberg brothers in The Apple War. They were originally three, and the older brothers would fail at everything they did, while the youngest would always succeed. After their life project went wrong they decided to commit suicide... and the two older brothers failed.
  • In It's a Wonderful Life, it initially appears to be in full force; while George stuck in a dead end job and is kept out of the army by the fact that he's deaf in one ear, his younger brother Harry gets a successful job and later goes to war and saves an entire ship of sailors, becoming acclaimed for his heroism. But the Wonderful Life reveal is that without George's having saved Harry's life when they were young, all those sailors would have drowned when the ship was sunk; and Harry, on hearing that George is in trouble, drops everything — including a meeting with President Harry Truman to congratulate him on his heroism — to run to his aid. The flashbacks also show that the only reason Harry became a success was because of the sacrifices George made. Harry only went to college because George chose to stay home and run the Savings and Loan instead of going himself and when Harry turned down a job offer from his father-in-law so he could take over for George like he promised, George made him take the job. At the very end, it's shown that Harry considers George the real successful one because of the loyalty the townspeople have towards George for everything he's done to help them.
  • Ran: Saburo, the youngest of Lord Hidetora's three sons, is more honorable than his two conniving brothers, Taro and Jiro. Unfortunately, he doesn't 'win' anything for it. Then again, Ran is supposedly a Japanese adaptation of King Lear. (See below.)
  • In Repo! The Genetic Opera, the two elder Largos are fighting to inherit GeneCo. In the end, however, it is their younger sister Amber — who initially showed no interest in the company - taking over.
  • Inverted in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves when Robin's younger half-brother reveals his identity. Robin and his father had bad blood because after his mother died, his widowed father took up with a peasant woman for companionship. Robin never forgave his father (while he was alive), for this perceived betrayal of his mother's memory even after he left the peasant woman. Robin never even knew that he had a half-brother who got left in the lurch in the process.
  • Sing Street: Discussed by Brendan in his rant, where he complains that Conor did the exact same things he did, but became a hero - whereas Brendan is a laughing stock.

    Literature 
  • In James Thurber's The 13 Clocks, the hero is a king's youngest son.
  • In The Adventures of Strong Vanya, the main character is the third and youngest son of farmer Vasili Grigorevich's third and youngest son, and he becomes Tsar.
  • Played with twice by Isaac Asimov in two separate stories. In the earlier one, a queen has triplets, causing the king a bit of consternation as to which one will have the adventures. (Things take care of themselves, however, as the last one out has the most success.) In the later, the protagonist prince is an only child, and again the king cites this trope (whereupon his wife points out he's not the one that had to give birth).
  • In both of Robin McKinley's retellings of "Beauty and the Beast", Beauty and Rose Daughter, Beauty is the youngest of three daughters. The trope is downplayed in that in both versions, the main character's elder sisters are beautiful and kind-hearted, and love her dearly; while she is the one who has the adventures, the elder sisters also get their happy endings. It's further downplayed in Beauty in that she's not technically the youngest child — just the youngest living child. The fourth sister, Mercy, died at birth.
  • Joanne Harris' Blue Eyed Boy describes a family of three sons, who are forced to wear Black for the eldest, Brown for the middle, and Blue for the youngest. Guess who's mother's favorite... However the way Harris plays with our assumptions throughout the novel means this trope is actually subverted.
  • Alyosha of The Brothers Karamazov is the youngest of the titular brothers, and is intended by Dostoevsky to be the true hero of the book. The eldest, Dmitri, is too worldly and the middle brother, Ivan, is too academic. Alyosha is the spiritual brother, also intended as a metaphor for the soul of the Russian people.
  • Done with a twist in the The Canterbury Tales: Three brothers find a treasure, and send the youngest off to get wine to celebrate. The older two plot to beat him to death when he returns, while he poisons their wine bottles. He comes back, they kill him, drink the wine and die themselves.
  • David, the boy who is being protected by the main character in J M Coetzee's The Childhood of Jesus is obsessed about what he calls "Third Brother stories". To the point that he wants to have two older brothers somehow so that he can be the youngest of three.
  • In C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia books, youngest child Lucy is the first to find Narnia, and the one who has the closest connection to Narnia and Aslan.
  • Mentioned on Terry Pratchett's Discworld, where thanks to the Law Of Narrative Causality it is now physically impossible for any youngest son embarking on a quest which has already claimed the lives of his two elder brothers to fail.
  • In the Dragonriders of Pern books, Menolly is the youngest child of the Holder of Half-Circle Sea Hold, and The Unfavorite to boot. Despite parental abuse and general mistreatment, she escapes from her unpleasant surroundings and goes on to become the Master Composer of the planet. She even gets to keep in contact with the only one of her siblings who was ever kind to her, while managing to avoid everybody who wasn't.
  • Ender's Game: Third child Ender is described as "the metal in between" his compassionate sister and sociopathic brother, making him the perfect choice for a military commander. Though, considering the trauma he endures as a result, this may not count as "winning."
  • Completely averted in the GONE series. Twins Sam Temple (older) and Caine Soren (younger) have been at odds since Book 1. Guess who wins nearly every fight? And in the last book of the series, we have Caine dying via Heroic Sacrifice while Sam survives, having a fairly happy ending with his girlfriend Astrid.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Death, in the tale of the Three Brothers in The Tales of Beedle the Bard, pretends to congratulate the three brothers for cheating death, and rewards them, with full intention of having the rewards lead them back to Death. Only the youngest brother sees through the ruse and has his reward tailored specifically to prevent Death doing this to him. The other brothers are not so lucky.
    • Ron Weasley is the youngest of six brothers and is best friend of The Hero. Notable because the other two members (Harry and Hermione) of the lead trio are only children; Ron is the only one of them to have siblings.
    • And the only Weasley child younger than Ron — as well as the only daughter — Ginny is the one who Harry falls in love with and marries.
  • Heimskringla: Even before Harald Finehair's death, his twenty-odd sons begin to fight over the succession, with Harald's favorite Erik killing four of his brothers. But it is the youngest child, Håkon, who eventually outplays Erik and inherits the kingdom.
  • Lampshaded and subverted in Diana Wynne Jones's Howl's Moving Castle, where Sophie, the heroine, is the eldest of three sisters and knows that it's her younger sister who is destined for greatness. The twist is that Sophie is actually the most magically powerful of them, and the youngest just wants to live a peaceful, happy, and mundane life.
  • In Andre Norton's Ice Crown, Clio's practice is ultimogeniture, because the older sons would have made their own way by the time the father dies.
  • In The Indian in the Cupboard series, Omri is the youngest of three, so he's naturally the one all the cool stuff happens to.
  • Little Women: Even though Jo has been dreaming of traveling and has romantic chemistry with Laurie, her youngest sister, Amy, is the one who is chosen to travel to Europe with their aunt, and is the one who ultimately marries Laurie. Of course, downplayed in that the major factor of them falling in love was that Jo rejected his proposal, which spurred him to travel out of the country to recover from the heartbreak. On his vacation, he ended up crossing paths with Amy in Europe, and they were able to become closer.
  • Zig-zagged in the Mortd'Arthur cycle. Arthur seems to be this kind of younger sibling... only it turns out that his father Ector never told him he was adopted, and from then on he never strictly regards Kay as his brother. Of Morgawse's children, the youngest legitimate son, Gareth, is the most good-natured and charming (not that it does him much good in the end), but her youngest actual child is the archetypal Bastard Bastard, Mordred.
  • In Motherland, there are references to the Biblical birth of Jacob, and the younger of the two protagonist brothers is considered to have gotten the better end of the stick as far as their inherited psychic powers go. His powers aren't better exactly, but they haven't driven him insane by the time of the story.
  • In Nano Machine, this was played straight with the underdog seventh prince, Chun Yeowun, who won the succession war to become the 24th Demonic Cult Lord, defeating all his more privileged half-siblings. Though this was averted with Yeowun's father, the previous Lord who was the older of Sword Clan brothers.
  • Orkneyinga Saga: After the death of his brother Sigurd the Powerful and the failure of his son Hallad, Jarl Rognvald decides to give Orkney to his youngest and least liked son Einar, mostly to get rid of Einar and although he expects Einar to fail as a leader (like Hallad did). Einar, who has been sent away with a single ship, not only defeats the vikings, but turns out a capable leader who rules a long time. Moreover, it is Einar who eventually avenges the killing of his father, not one of Rognvald's three older, legitimate sons.
  • Inverted in Pride and Prejudice where the youngest daughter Lydia is a Bratty Half-Pint and the least sympathetic of the Bennets. Additionally it's the two older sisters who are the protagonists and most sympathetically-portrayed. But played straight, with Georgiana Darcy, who is far kinder and sweeter than her Tsundere of an older brother, albeit downplayed due to him turning out to be a good man nevertheless and the protagonist's Love Interest. Again inverted with the Bingleys, where the eldest Charles is the nice one — and the two younger daughters Caroline and Louisa are rude and snobby.
  • Deeply subverted in Andrew Lang's "Prince Prigio", where the title prince is the oldest and the king tries to send all three of his sons off to fight a firedrake in order of their birth, only for Prigio to refuse because he doesn't believe in firedrakes and argues that his younger brother should be sent off before him.
  • In The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, because Perenelle is the youngest of seven daughters (and her mother too was a seventh daughter) she has the power to communicate with ghosts.
  • In the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage, the main protagonists are a seventh son of a seventh son, and the only daughter.
  • In Josepha Sherman's The Shining Falcon, a retelling of The Feather of Finist the Falcon, while the Fairy Tale's two sisters have been collapsed into one, it's still the younger who is the heroine.
  • In The Silmarillion, Finwë has three sons: the two eldest die in battle, the youngest doesn't and presumably remains king of the Noldor in Valinor until the end of Arda. Then again...he's barely in the story at all, being much less badass than his brothers — and being sensible enough not to rebel against the Valar and exile himself from the safest, best place in Arda.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • Daenerys Targaryen is the youngest of three children born to Aerys II to survive infancy. The oldest child, Rhaegar, showed the signs of a successful person, but he died before inheriting the throne. The middle child, Viserys, grew up in poverty and died before achieving anything worthwhile. Meanwhile, Daenerys has three dragons, an army of former slave soldiers, and an entire city under her belt, and is set to claim the Iron Throne and rule the Seven Kingdoms as queen.
    • Subverted with Renly Baratheon, the third of the Baratheon brothers. After his oldest brother King Robert dies he tries to usurp the throne from his "nephew". The second brother Stannis also claims the throne, knowing the Queen's children are illegitimate making him the rightful heir. Renly has the largest army of the competing kings and looks set to defeat Stannis. However he is killed by a shadow created by the Priestess Melisandre.
    • The backstory has Aegon V Targaryen, known as Aegon the Unlikely, as he was the fourth son of a fourth son so unlikely to become King. However when his father Maekar I Targaryen died two others were passed over in the line in favour of Aegon. Before that his older brother Aemon was offered the crown, but refused, being a Maester, and joined the Night's Watch so they couldn't be used to usurp their brother. Their father Maekar counts, being a fourth son himself.
    • Tyrion Lannister is the youngest of Tywin's three children, and is the one who inherits his shrewdness in political games the most (Cersei, despite her constant bragging, sucks at the whole thing, while Jaime, though plenty of intelligent, is clearly outclassed by Tyrion). However, because he is a dwarf, not to mention the fact that his mother died giving birth to him, he is treated as a Black Sheep by his father, who practically disinherited him since the day he was born, even though he is the person best suited to succeed him as Lord of Casterly Rock.
  • Inverted in Stardust with relatively noble oldest brother Primus and sister Una and evil youngest son Septimus, who has the added bonus of being The Seventh Son.
  • In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, Anakin Solo is often portrayed as the brightest and most talented of the Solo children. It's subverted when, thanks to Executive Meddling, he dies in the New Jedi Order. The Legacy of the Force series makes it a Double Subversion: the elder brother turns evil, and the sister becomes a warrior and slays him. Anakin continues to be held up as the only good-n'-pure Solo sibling.
  • Both played straight and subverted in The Tales of Alvin Maker series, Alvin is the seventh and youngest son. Then, Calvin gets born and is destined to be Alvin's greatest enemy, being the one to kill him. So technically, youngest child still wins.
  • Also toyed with, along with a great many other fairy tale tropes, in Mercedes Lackey's Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms: The Fairy Godmother. When the three sons of a king are sent out on a mission, the fairy godmother sets obstacles for them which only the youngest son, by virtue of his kindness and humility, passes, and so it's the youngest son who succeeds on his quest, as per the trope. However, the youngest son is only a minor character in the book, while the second son (despite being the biggest ass of the three... and punished accordingly) becomes one of the two main protagonists and ends up better off than he would have been if he'd succeeded on the original quest.
  • Double subverted in The Ugly Princess and the Wise Fool. Everyone expects Rose, the youngest of the king's three daughters, to be the most beautiful of her sisters (who were named Asphalt and Concrete despite their beauty because everyone knows that it's the third-born daughter who's always the best one and the other daughters are doomed to turn evil) but she turns out to be ugly instead, much to everyone's shock. Despite her homeliness, however, she's still the protagonist of the story who gets to go on adventures while her sisters are only minor characters.
  • Averted in Vampire Academy. Among Moroi royals, the eldest person usually acts as head of the House.
  • Stefan Salvatore in The Vampire Diaries. Unlike Damon, who was The Unfavorite since childhood, Stefan, who is the youngest child of the Salvatore family, was the favoured child by not only his father, but by EVERYONE. Although Damon was supposed to be the heir to the Salvatore inheritance because he is the eldest child, Giuseppe planned on giving the inheritance to Stefan instead of Damon, showing the strong favouritism that he had for his youngest son over his eldest son.
  • In Dan Abnett's Warhammer 40,000 Horus Heresy novel Legion, the Cabal declares they have foreseen that the Emperor's oldest and youngest sons were the most significant. They say this to the youngest sons, having deduced that Alpharius and Omegon are twins.
  • Also Thurber: The Fairy Tale spoof "The White Deer" features three brothers, of which the older two are brawny insensitive types, and the youngest a gentle romantic. The book surprisingly gives all three a fair amount of attention but still makes it clear the youngest is meant to be the most admirable.
  • Conversed in David Gemmell's White Wolf. Rabalyn, reflecting on the stories told to him as a child, notes the Genre Blindness of the kings who would send their eldest sons to their death. He decides that if he were king he'd send the youngest boy first.
  • In Hans Christian Andersen's "The Wild Swans," the youngest child (and only daughter) of twelve is the heroine. Eliza's brothers have been transformed into swans by their Wicked Stepmother so she is the one that must save them. Also notable is that the youngest brother keeps one swan's wing due to a mistake note .

    Myths & Religion 
  • Classical Mythology:
    • In the origin story of the Greek Gods, Zeus was the youngest child of Cronus and Rhea and the only one to not be eaten by Cronus (himself the youngest of Gaia and Ouranos' Titans.) He would eventually free his older siblings, overthrow Cronus, and take his place as the king of the Gods. This makes this trope Older Than Feudalism, though you can also think of this example as an inversion: when Zeus freed his siblings, they are considered to be "reborn" in the order they are released, making Zeus also the oldest, sort of. In any case, it's a Justified Trope, since the only reason Zeus didn't get swallowed like his siblings was because Rhea finally figured out how to keep that from happening.
    • Cronus was also the youngest of Gaia and Ouranos' children. First they had all the other male Titans, then all the Titanides, then Cronus.
    • Inverted with the three Gorgons. Medusa is the youngest and she's the only one who's not immortal. Or it could be Played Straight in a meta sense, considering she's also the most well-known.
  • In fact it goes all the way back to the story of Psyche and Eros, from Apuleius' The Golden Ass, in which Psyche's sisters are jealous both of her beauty and her creepy ability to be happy with a husband who won't let her see him in daylight. (Although, mind you, Psyche is not good at following basic instructions.)
  • In Philippine myth, three brothers are looking for the legendary Adarna bird. Halfway through the story, Prince Diego, the middle child, marries Princess Juana, leading more or less a normal life with her; Prince Pedro, the oldest child—who was pretty much a Manipulative Bastard towards his brothers—marries Princess Leonora and inherits his father's throne; Prince Juan, the youngest child, marries the most beautiful and enchanted of the princesses, Princess Maria, and inherits her father's kingdom.
  • The Bible:
    • A recurring thing throughout the Book of Genesis, where a heroic younger brother quarrels with their older (half-)brother(s). First there's Cain and Abel, the first siblings ever, then Ishmael and Isaacnote  and Isaac's sons Esau and Jacob.
    • Played With when we come to Jacob's sons: the ten oldest are antagonistic (at first) with Joseph, who, along with the twelfth son Benjamin, are their dad's favorites. Interestingly, while their mom was Jacob's favorite wife, the Bible only cites being "sons of Jacob's old age" as a reason for preferential treatment.
      • Joseph's own children also get blessed counter to the cultural expectation, though this is not too big of a surprise considering Jacob is the youngest. (Joseph thought Jacob was making a mistake, but Jacob knows what he's doing and even crosses his arms so that the Right Hand of Blessing goes to the younger son.)
      • It's actually kind of subverted in the long run. While Joseph and Benjamin were Jacob's favorite sons and the former was blessed to have two lineages by virtue of having two sons (Manasseh and Ephraim), they did not leave much of a mark after the destruction of Solomon's Temple. Both the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim ceased to exist after the Assyrian invasion, while the Tribe of Benjamin survived the Assyrian invasion but only as a junior partner in the Kingdom of Judah and basically disappeared after the Babylonian captivity. Meanwhile, the tribe descended from Levi, Jacob's third son, begot Moses and Aaron (and by extension the priestly class), while the tribe descended from Judah, Jacob's fourth son, was the one that all Jews today claim as their ancestor.
    • As for Judah, his eldest two sons are divinely struck down for their misdeeds, the third fades into obscurity, and finally he fathers twin boys, Perez and Zerah, with his erstwhile daughter-in-law. Zerah is technically older, as the first to get a hand out of the womb, but then Perez manages to push ahead of him (doing heel-clinging grandpa Jacob one better). Perez is the one who becomes the ancestor of Boaz and then David.
    • Amram of the Levi tribe in Egypt had three children: daughter Miriam and two sons, Aaron and Moses, four and seven years younger than Miriam, respectively. Guess who is remembered as the most badass prophet of the Old Testament. Though to be fair, all three of them hold pretty important positions in the tradition.
    • King David is also an example; he was the youngest of eight brothers, yet God had Samuel pass over all seven of his older brothers before anointing him.
      • And he was succeeded by his youngest son Solomon.
    • In the parable of the Prodigal Son, the younger son callously asks for his share of the inheritance, runs away from home to seek adventure, and squanders it all on wasteful living, only to be welcomed back with open arms when he decides to slink home. The older son is not pleased about this, but the attempt to Calling the Old Man Out backfires: Dad points out that the older son has the lion's share of the estate, so can't he be happy that his little brother came back alive? (The point of the parable, of course, is that both sons were in need of serious attitude adjustment.)
    • Jesus called a couple of pairs of brothers to be His Apostles: Andrew & Peter and James & John. Peter and John were both the younger of the two, and they were, respectively, the first Pope and the only Apostle to die of natural causes, rather than martyrdom. Also noteworthy is the fact that John was the youngest of the Apostles and that Jesus entrusted to him the care of His mother.
    • From the Apocrypha, we have the Archangels Michael and Lucifer. Lucifer was the first angel, born to the highest of glories in all Heaven. After his revolt and fall, Michael inherited his elder brother's responsibilities and place of favor in their father's angelic court.
  • The Book of Mormon has Nephi (then the youngest of four brothers) named by an angel as a future ruler over his brothers. Laman and Lemuel, the oldest and second-oldest son respectively, are not happy about this. Even younger brothers are subsequently born though.
  • Kalevipoeg's titular hero was the youngest son of Kalev.
  • The Saga of Hrolf Kraki: Elk-Frodi, Thorir Dogfoot and Bodvar Bjarki are triplets, but Bodvar is born last, and is the last to leave home. While Thorir rises to the highest position of the three, as he becomes a king, it is Bodvar who takes revenge for his father, receives the most valuable of his father's three heirlooms, and becomes the most famous of the three brothers.
  • In Russian folklore, the seventh son of a seventh son is said to have incredible magic powers and often becomes a hunter of supernatural creatures. While not explicitly the youngest child, almost all works depicting them show them show them as one.
  • In Hindu Mythology, Vasudeva and Devaki's first six sons are murdered shortly after birth in a Nice Job Breaking It, Herod!, and only the youngest two escape. Their eighth and youngest son, Krishna, is an avatar of Vishnu prophesied to defeat his Evil Uncle.

    Theatre 
  • In Icebound youngest child Ben is much more sympathetic than his selfish, grasping older siblings, and is also the only one that their mother loved. Eventually he gets sole possession of the family fortune.
  • Cordelia in King Lear is the youngest of three sisters and the only one to care about their father... but ultimately it's a subversion. She may be virtuous, but she doesn't win. Nobody does. It was played straight in an alternate ending where Cordelia survives and marries Edgar but the original ending is now more popular.
  • Rossini's La Cenerentola inverts this trope in the original Italian libretto; Cinderella mentions in passing that her sisters are her mother's daughters, making them her younger half-sisters, and herself the eldest.
  • Richard III. Zig-zagged. The title character is a Villain Protagonist who beats his two older brothers (by murdering them) but eventually loses to Henry Tudor.
  • The Taming of the Shrew by Willie "Bubba" Shakespeare also zig-zags the trope. It starts off a straight example. The youngest daughter of the family was the one who was beautiful, desired, and had beaus swarming like flies. Much of the drama comes because the other, bitchy one had to marry first. It gets more complicated as the play goes on. Note that by the end, the younger daughter basically enslaved her husband, while the older one submitted to hers. The older one is the focus and ultimately it's implied she is meant to be the more sympathetic one.

    Video Games 
  • Deconstructed in Ace Attorney with Morgan and Misty Fey. In the Fey clan, the older sister typically has more spiritual power and inherits the title of Kurain Master, while the younger sister becomes a part of the branch family. However, Misty Fey becomes an example of this trope by inheriting the Master title and beating out her big sis Morgan in pretty much everything spiritual. Morgan doesn't exactly take this in stride; she becomes intensely resentful and concocts several twisted plans to kill Misty's daughter so Morgan's own young daughter can reclaim the title of Master.
  • Deconstructed in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons; after all, it's hard for the older brother to "win" when he dies. Although the younger brother is the more victorious one because of this, his fate is only better in comparison and not particularly good, and his brother's even worse one only leaves him further saddened.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Dragon Age: Origins
      • The royal family of Orzammar has a potential subversion of this with Prince Bhelen. He coordinates the death of his oldest sibling and causes his other brother/sister to get exiled for it, all so Bhelen can become heir to his father's throne. The subversion comes in with the fact that the main character (who ironically could also be the middle sibling who got exiled) can decide to prevent him from getting the throne.
      • Played straight in the Human Noble Origin, where the younger son/daughter (the player character) gets left behind guarding the castle while father and older brother set off to war, and eventually ends up saving the world, accumulating riches and honors, and potentially marrying the king or queen as well, while the father dies and the older brother spends the whole story "missing in action"...
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition
      • The Human Inquisitor is in a similar situation to the Human Noble Warden. As the youngest child, they aren't even the spare and, if not shipped off to the Circle of Magi, is expected to join the Templars regardless of their personal feelings on the subject. Then the Breach happens and they become the most important person in Thedas.
      • Also seen in the backstory of the Orlesian civil war. Empress Celene, the current ruler, was the youngest grandchild of Emperor Judicael I. He was succeeded by his eldest son Judicael II, who expected to leave the throne to one of his twin sons, but they both died in a disease outbreak known as the Hundred Days' Cough. Their deaths led to his Despair Event Horizon and he was succeeded by his younger brother Florian, whose only child also died in the Hundred Days' Cough. When she was sixteen, Celene successfully outmaneuvered her older cousins to take the throne from Florian, thus fulfilling this trope.
  • The DS remake of Dragon Quest V gives Nera an older sister, Debora, whose very existence highlights what a wonderful young woman her younger sibling is. Everyone heaps praise on Nera, while Debora is acknowledged as beautiful, but a total pain. Notably, their father has completely given up on marrying Debora off, and his Engagement Challenge draws Nera's admirers from all over.
  • Not only is Ramza from Final Fantasy Tactics the youngest of three brothers, he's also half-brother to Zalbag and Dycedarg. And yet he is the most noble among House Beoulve. His younger sister Alma, the true youngest of the family, spends most of the plot as the Damsel in Distress, but she still rejects Bloody Angel Altima from pulling a Grand Theft Me.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • In Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War, Prince Jamka is the youngest son of King Batou of Verdane (the first nation to attack the protagonists) and joins Sigurd's army after his two brothers and his father fell under the machinations of the Lopto cult. In the manga, he becomes the king of Verdane after his father's death.
    • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, Kurthnaga was the only one left to inherent the throne of Goldoa after his oldest sibling, the heir-presumptive, was killed and the middle sibling lost her powers.
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, Sylvain became the heir to House Gautier due to being born with a Crest which his older brother Miklan lacked. Deconstructed in that Sylvain doesn't think he's won anything: Not only did this end up making Miklan jealous to the point of wanting to murder him for taking what he viewed as should have been his, Sylvain has been treated as more an object to be used for his family's honor than anything and he's been left feeling like none of the girls interested in him want him rather than the benefits of marrying nobility and bearing a "Crest baby."
  • In the Metal Gear series:
    • The series as a whole is an inversion. Solid Snake, the only one of the Les Enfant Terribles clones to have a decent ending, is either the eldest or second-born of the clones (depending on whether Liquid, his twin, was born first or not).
    • This trope was actually referenced in an optional radio conversation with Zero in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, where he notes the coincidence of Naked Snake and Major Raikov technically sharing the same name ("Ivan," Raikov's first name, is Slavic for "John" or "Jack," which is Naked Snake's name).
  • In Touhou Project, the younger sister is usually stronger than the older one, as admitted by ZUN himself.
    • In Embodiment of Scarlet Devil, the Bonus Boss is Flandre Scarlet, the younger sister of Remilia Scarlet, the Final Boss. Flandre's immense power and emotional as well as mental instability has forced Remilia to lock her in the basement for almost five hundred years.
    • In Phantasmagoria of Flower View:
      • All three Prismriver Sisters are playable. However, only Lyrica, the youngest, gets a story mode.
      • According to their backstory, there were originally four Prismriver Sisters. After their father's death, the sisters went their separate ways. However, the youngest, Layla Prismriver, created poltergeists in the form of her sisters, which are now the current Prismriver Sisters. The original four have died, but the poltergeists still exist today.
    • A fairly minor case in Mountain of Faith; Minoriko Aki is the Stage 1 boss, while her older sister Shizuha Aki serves as the midboss.
    • In Subterranean Animism, Satori Komeiji is the Stage 4 boss. Her younger sister Koishi is the Bonus Boss. Koishi herself even straight out states that her sister never really was all that good at fighting.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Downplayed in a comic-only adventure of The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan. Youngest child Scooter solves the mystery and his older brother Henry comments that he "always lucks out", but he and the rest of the older kids aren't portrayed as evil or boring, only having caught the Distress Ball (they were being suspended mid-air from the top of a stage).
  • Deconstructed in Avatar: The Last Airbender, at first Azula is Always Someone Better for Zuko; a prodigy firebender, a military strategist, and flawless manipulator. Zuko, while no slouch, isn't as good of a firebender, and his held back too much by his own sense of honor to compete in the cutthroat realm of Fire Nation politics and warfare. Eventually, Zuko even turns against his father and country on the eve of victory to aid the enemy in the war, while Azula is actually handed her father's position as leader of the Fire Nation. ..... At which point it flips. Once Azula peaks, she finds that she's driven away her friends, that she pushed away her Mom when she was young, and that her Dad doesn't love her as much as she thought, leading to a mental breakdown. Meanwhile, the hardships and failures Zuko suffered as the "loser" child have turned him into a better person who's surrounded by people who love and trust him, and they help him dethrone Azula and lead the Fire Nation into an era of peace.
  • Inverted in its Sequel Series The Legend of Korra with older brother Noatak (AKA Amon) and younger Tarrlok in which the former is far more superior in bloodbending talent than the latter.
    • Out of Aang and Katara's three kids, Tenzin is the only one who's an Airbender like his father. His older sister Kya is a Waterbender like their mother, while the eldest sibling, Bumi is a non-bender just like their uncle Sokka.note 
    • Suyin Bei Fong, the youngest daughter of Toph and younger sister of Lin, ended up filthy rich and has an entire city at her beck and call.
  • One episode of The Loud House focuses on the siblings making a bet on who can go the longest without condescending to their own habits. When the girls all lose in the end, Lincoln brags about his supposed victory and begins reading a comic book in his underwear. His celebration, however, is cut short when he forgets that Lily, the baby of the family, didn't capitulate to her habit (which was crying), causing Lincoln to lose the bet and Lily declared the winner.
  • On PB&J Otter, Baby Butter gets an entire celebration to herself when she finds a piece of jewelry Mrs. Snootie lost on the beach. Her siblings get grounded on the same day. There's also the fact that Butter rang the bell and helped Mrs. Raccoon avoid a boating accident, and that she befriended the lightning bugs that helped the Otter family get home when it was otherwise too foggy to see. For a 2-year-old, she's very resourceful.
  • While all three of The Powerpuff Girls are the same age (5), Bubbles acts like The Baby of the Bunch, though this is never confirmed in series, and if we go by the order of the theme song as well as the order in which the Professor named them Buttercup is the youngest. Still, Bubbles comes out on top at the conclusion of "Three Girls and a Monster" as well as "City of Nutsville."
  • The song "Alligator King" from Sesame Street is about alligator princes trying to cheer up their father. The last one is the one who succeeds.
  • On The Buzz on Maggie tiny maggot Bella is more talented than her sister Maggie, able to breakdance and juggle and would have landed a role in a commercial if Maggie didn't get jealous. She's also the only sibling eldest child Aldrin actually likes, he shows a good deal of Big Brother Instinct when Maggie loses her at a carnival and even Maggie breaks down and admits she likes Bella by the story's end.
  • In the Tales from the Cryptkeeper episode "The Sleeping Beauty," Prince Charmless Chuck spends most of the episode pushing around his younger (by "ten lousy seconds") twin brother Melvin. Naturally, Melvin gets the girl, and Chuck gets turned into a vampire, which means he can no longer admire himself in the mirror. "Chuck (and Melvin) and the Bean-Stalker" likewise ends well for Melvin and badly for Chuck.

    Real Life 
  • Alfred the Great was the youngest of five brothers. The oldest one predeceased their father, and the next three ruled Wessex in turn. When the fourth brother died his sons were too young to rule, so Alfred became King. He is thought of as one of England's greatest Kings and succeeded in passing on the throne to his son. His descendants still rule today.
  • Godfrey of Bouillon, given his status as second son of the Count of Buolonge, participated in the first crusade to gain his own land to rule. His older brother became the Count of Buolonge, while Godfrey took the title of King of Jerusalem.
  • Xiao Yan Yan was the youngest of three sisters. She's by far the most famous of them; she married Emperor Jingzong of Liao, became regent for her son after her husband's death, and personally led the Liao army against the Song Dynasty.

 
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Lily wins

Lily ends up winning the siblings' bet because she never cried the whole time.

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