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Playing With / Spare to the Throne

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Basic Trope: A younger brother or other heir that's not expected to take the throne.

  • Straight: Prince Bob is the eldest son and Queen Alice's heir. His brother Charlie is younger by a year and not expected to take on the duties, so he's not trained as well.
  • Exaggerated: Prince Bob gets all the military, diplomatic, and administrative training, but Charlie is written off as an Idle Rich. Cue one outbreak of plague that kills Bob while Charlie is out of the country partying, and now we have a drunken fratboy on the throne.
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  • Downplayed: Prince Bob may be the one expected to take the job, but Charlie is being trained as his chief adviser, so they both have a good deal of preparation.
  • Justified: Child mortality is very high, rulers tend to have short lifespans. And someone has to be available to take the job.
  • Inverted: Prince Bob is ineligible due to mental or physical infirmity or illness. Even though Bob is the eldest, he can't be in charge, so Charlie is trained for it.
  • Subverted: Prince Bob was in an "accident", and was thought dead, but returns for his throne before Charlie can be set up as a Puppet King by Bob's enemies.
  • Double Subverted: Only to be killed during the attempt to take back the throne.
  • Parodied: When Charlie returns to find the royal line wiped out, he celebrates his coronation with a kegger.
  • Zigzagged: ???
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  • Averted: Prince Bob lives a long life, sires many heirs, and Charlie becomes a respected bishop, happy to be away from politics.
  • Enforced: ???
  • Lampshaded: "I know Bob's the heir, but in case the worst happens, shouldn't Charlie be in on this, too?"
  • Invoked: Queen Alice doesn't want to have another child after having Bob, but is convinced by her advisors to have one more in case anything happens to Bob. But even after having Charlie, Queen Alice neglects her second son because she doesn't expect him to become anything.
  • Exploited: The Evil Chancellor knows that Alice is giving Prince Bob a careful education, but neglecting Prince Charlie's because he's expected to become a priest instead. Queen Alice dies and Prince Bob has an unfortunate accident. With Charlie's lack of training and experience, it leaves him vulnerable to the Chancellor's bad advice.
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  • Defied: Queen Alice is aware of the possibility that Bob might die before taking the throne and trains both her sons for the job.
  • Discussed: "We know Queen Alice has been training Prince Bob for this since he was in diapers. We know Prince Charlie isn't expected to take command because Bob's healthy, but ruling is dangerous and there needs to be a clear line of succession."
  • Conversed: ???
  • Implied: As soon as Charles was born, Queen Alice cut off all ties with her Altar Diplomacy husband, since two sons were enough.
  • Deconstructed: Charlie's lack of training and education means he's ill-equipped to handle the job and makes a series of blunders that leave the country in deep debt, vulnerable to invasion, or both.
  • Reconstructed: But Charlie is also quick to turn those mistakes to their advantage in a way that his mother and brother would never have thought of precisely because those enemies expect him to think like a prince, not the soldier or priest he trained as.
  • Played for Laughs: ???
  • Played for Drama: ???

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