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Playing With / Man in the Iron Mask

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Basic Trope: A character is held prisoner by another, because the former threatens the later by their very existence.

  • Straight:
    • When the Necromancer usurped King William's throne, he had King William locked in a tower, so that he could later use his Royal Blood in magic.
    • Princess Zuleika has her infant nephew imprisoned in a tower and lets out that he died and she is now queen.
    • When twin princes Ivan and Peter are born, King Alexander fears that the common belief that the firstborn twin is the younger, conceived second, will cause a Succession Crisis; he has the secondborn Peter raised as a Hidden Backup Prince — until Peter revolts, and is imprisoned, even though the knowledge of his existence did indeed lead many to conclude he's the rightful heir.
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  • Exaggerated: The Necromancer tracks down anyone with Royal Blood and imprisons them all.
  • Downplayed:
    • King William imprisons his brother's daughter, but allows people to see her.
    • All characters with Royal Blood in seven degrees of relationship to the king must keep his officials informed of where they live, and of an intended journey outside their home county, which the officials can veto.
  • Justified:
    • In a Fisher King land, his murder would be dangerous.
    • The Necromancer may be evil, but he won't kill his only brother.
    • The coronation involves an oath, magically enforced, that she had no hand in the nephew's death; by keeping him alive, she is using Exact Words.
    • The Necromancer's power comes from William, so he would need William alive.
    • William is the Soul Jar for the Necromancer, killing William would be the same as committing suicide.
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    • The Evil Sorceress Olga put a curse on Peter's life, such that anyone who ends it violently will die of a loathsome disease within a week.
    • Certain nobles, who used to have the right to elect the king, gather, claim the right has not lapsed, and elect Robert king in place of Richard, the son of the last king. Richard imprisons Robert so that the nobles can't just elect a new candidate.
  • Inverted:
    • After he squelches a rebellion, King William has the boy they claimed was his grandnephew kept prisoner at his castle, because he was too young to understand what the rebels meant but was too dangerous to let loose, and also so he can produce him alive if anyone claims to be him.
    • The King is unable to slay the Necromancer, so he does the next best thing and locks him away where the Necromancer can do no harm.
    • King Alexander has his secondborn son Peter exiled, so that his ignorance of the kingdom will mean no one will accept him.
  • Subverted:
    • Rumors spread about a prisoner in a tower, but investigating finds that actually, the Necromancer has his younger brother, an alchemist, there, because the brother hates intrusion into his study and work.
    • A man is kept in a mask in a tower, but on breaking him out, the heroes discover he was actually an insignificant servant who stumbled on some secret knowledge; the mask was the warden's attempt, by melodrama, to make his own role look more impressive.
  • Double Subverted:
    • Except that the Necromancer has no brother; he had used magic on the king's mind and body to convince him that they were brothers, and he was an alchemist.
    • The knowledge is of how to find the rightful heir.
  • Parodied: The rightful heir to the throne is kept in his suite as much as possible because he's batty. Every now and again he screams for help from the window, but anyone who goes to help him finds he has forgotten it already.
  • Zig Zagged: The Necromancer may be on the throne, and the King may be imprisoned, but it's unclear which of them is truly in charge, because people freely come and go from the prison.
  • Averted: The Necromancer kills King William instead of imprisoning him.
  • Enforced: ???
  • Lampshaded: ???
  • Invoked: ???
  • Exploited: The Reverse Mole tracks down the king and rescues him.
  • Defied: The Necromancer kills the king rather than risk a rescue.
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???

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