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Playing With / Reluctant Ruler

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Basic Trope: A ruler who'd rather not rule.

  • Straight: Farm Boy Bob is chosen to be king of Tropestan, even though he doesn't want to be a king.
  • Exaggerated: Bob is made god-emperor of the world, and considers it the worst moment of his life.
  • Downplayed: Bob is chosen to be his school's student body president, and reluctantly accepts with a fair amount of angst.
  • Justified: The Tropestanians believe that since Bob doesn't want the powers of a king, he'll be less likely to abuse those powers.
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  • Inverted: Bob wants to be king of Tropestan, but is not chosen.
  • Subverted: Bob isn't terribly excited about becoming king, but once he has a taste of royal power, he decides that he likes it.
  • Double Subverted: Until The Chains of Commanding come down on him, and he decides that being in charge sucks.
  • Parodied: Bob is literally dragged kicking and screaming to the throne.
  • Zig Zagged:
    • Some parts of being a king, Bob likes: being assured food through the winter months can take stress off one's worries, for instance. Other parts, he finds not so great: he never really had to worry about personal politics on his farm.
    • Tropestan has long tradition of selecting the next ruler by sortition among the commoners. Some like Bob didn't want it; others like Alice jumped all over the chance.
  • Averted: The idea of Bob becoming a king never comes up.
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  • Enforced: ???
  • Lampshaded: "So Bob's a simple Farm Boy with no political ambitions? Of course he'll be a good king!"
  • Invoked: The Tropestanians specifically look for the guy who least wants to rule and make him their next king.
  • Exploited: When Evil Chancellor Albert sees how unhappy Bob is on the throne, he tries to talk Bob into abdicating as part of a plot to seize power.
  • Defied: When Bob learns that he is to be the next king, he high-tails it to Cloud Cuckooland and goes into hiding.
  • Discussed: "I don't trust all these guys who think they oughta be king. How about someone who doesn't want the throne? Would he be better?"
  • Conversed: "See that Farm Boy the camera cut to after everyone talked about finding the next king? Ten bucks says he'll be crowned by the final scene, and he won't be happy about it."
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  • Implied: Bob used to be a happy Farm Boy. Ever since his coronation, though, nobody has seen him smile.
  • Deconstructed: Bob's political naiveté and reluctance to use his power make it easy for the Evil Chancellor to manipulate him.
  • Reconstructed: Fortunately, the people who made Bob king also provided an advisor to teach him how to be a worthy ruler and avoid potential pitfalls.
  • Played For Drama: The pressure of having so much unwanted power puts a serious strain on Bob's health and mental stability, and he's constantly plagued with angst.
  • Played For Laughs: Bob is frequently asked for orders from his servants, lieutenants, and other officers, and he always replies with something to the effect of "I don't know, I'm not meant to be king!". Invariably, they respond as though he'd given them nothing less than ultimate wisdom. The kingdom prospers.

Back to Reluctant Ruler.

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