Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / Love Ruins the Realm

Go To

Basic Trope: A ruler's romantic choices have disastrous consequences for his realm and everybody in it.

  • Straight: Prince Bob is arranged to marry Princess Alice, but instead he breaks off the arrangement and marries a plucky peasant girl named Cara. Alice's family are insulted, and diplomacy between the kingdoms suffers.
  • Exaggerated: Prince Bob is told that literally every single living thing on the planet will be exterminated if he does not go through with the arranged marriage, and despite knowing this he breaks it off to follow his heart instead.
  • Advertisement:
  • Downplayed: Prince Bob causes a constitutional crisis with his choice of bride, but with Cara's moral support he manages to mend fences and avoid any long-term problems.
  • Justified:
    • It's a hereditary monarchy, the King is the state, and who he chooses to be his wife and the mother of his heir has enormous implications for the future of his kingdom. Marrying for love is frankly selfish; that's simply part of the price of wearing a crown.
    • Bob isn't really in love with Cara, he just loves the thrilling escape from his stuffy palace life that she represents. Choosing her represents his unwillingness to take his rule seriously.
  • Inverted:
    • Prince Bob caves and marries Princess Alice; they hate each other, and both pine for their lost true loves. The hostility at court, numerous public affairs on both sides, and lack of an heir cause far more problems than a merely unpropitious marriage to a commoner would have.
    • Advertisement:
    • Prince Bob marries Cara instead of Princess Alice, and in spite of everyone's fears this turns out to be the best possible thing he could have done. Marrying a peasant girl makes the Royal Family immensely popular with the masses, causing an Anti-Monarchy Uprising to lose support and collapse before a rebellion could ever begin. Cara's practical experience makes her a vital addition to a court full of useless aristocrats. While Princess Alice's Kingdom does declare war on Prince Bob's Kingdom, both sides failed to account for the latter realm's superior battle tactics and as a result the former realm gets defeated and fully annexed. Cara's connection to the lower classes also allow her to recognize the need for reforms which keep the kingdom from stagnating.
  • Subverted: Prince Bob later discovers that the peasant girl he fell for IS Princess Alice; she ran away and lived as a peasant adventurer to avoid her arranged marriage with Bob, but You Can't Fight Fate.
  • Advertisement:
  • Double Subverted: They get married and live happily together as King and Queen, but the realm suffers because they delegate too much of the actual running of the realm to the Evil Chancellor.
  • Parodied: The whole royal family are actually Allergic to Love (stupid inbreeding), and medically advised to avoid it at all costs. That nosebleed Bob gets when he sees Cars? That's a serious medical condition.
  • Zig Zagged: The whole story is a Betty and Veronica Love Triangle pitting obedience to tradition, duty and national interest against The Power of Love, and exploring both the difficulties and compromises of Bob and Alice's loveless marriage, and his rose-coloured love-from-afar of Cara.
  • Averted: Bob passes up an arranged marriage for love. It's frowned upon by his family, but never presented as a serious problem by the narrative, just an example of his unconventionality.
  • Enforced: It's a story for children in a culture where Arranged Marriage is the norm, and the writers want to reinforce why it's the best way of doing things.
  • Lampshaded:
    Private Edmund: "The Ceasefire is over?! But I wanted to go home! I miss my family!! The Trenches suck and I'm tired of getting shot at!"
    Private Fredric: "Well you can blame the Royal Family for this. Our oh-so-wise Prince broke his end of the Peace Treaty by marrying a peasant girl instead of Princess Alice. So that means it's back to war."
    Private Edmund: "I too am in love ... but I can't see my wife because I got conscripted to fight in Prince Bob's dumb wars."
    Private Fredric: "Do you know what I love? Not having Trench Foot."
  • Invoked: Cara is a Honey Pot sent by agents who want to incite war between Bob and Alice's nations.
  • Exploited: Anti-Monarchist Rebels are trying to wedge a rift between Bob and Alice in the hopes that it can cause a costly war and make the people desperate enough to revolt.
  • Defied: Bob's father, The King, told his children that if they married for love they would be automatically disinherited. Thus Prince Bob marries Cara, but his younger brother Prince Boris marries Alice and goes ahead of Bob in line for the Throne.
  • Discussed: "The King had a new son; I bet ten shillings he grows up to start a war by running away with a poor girl."
  • Conversed: ???
  • Implied: King Gerry mentions separately that his mother was a peasant, that his father the late King Bob "married poorly and caused a war", that his kingdom is at war with a neighboring realm ruled by "a Bitter and Cruel Queen who was rejected once and who hated my bloodline ever since", and that he distrusts all love and romance "because it only ever causes hardship". If you put the pieces together, then King Gerry is distrustful of love because his father married a peasant girl and caused a war by breaking a betrothal with a Princess.
  • Deconstructed: The historical opinion that Queen Cara brought down Bob's dynasty is just an academic example of Yoko Oh No; in reality Bob's rule was plagued with problems before and after he married, and people simply fixated their dissatisfaction on an outsider they could easily scapegoat.
  • Reconstructed: It turns out that while Cara wasn't the cause of most of the problems people blame her for, she did make things go From Bad to Worse because of the horrible advice she gave Bob when he tried to address the causes of said problems.

Back to Love Ruins the Realm

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: