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Playing With / Too Important to Walk

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Basic Trope: A rich or important person is borne on the shoulders of his underlings.

  • Straight: King Gotalotabux is usually seen travelling in a sedan chair carried by his bearers Shanks and Pony.
  • Exaggerated: His culture believes that the feet of a monarch should never touch the ground; even royal children are carried wherever they go from birth, and never learn to walk.
  • Downplayed: The king uses his sedan chair for state occasions only.
  • Justified:
    • Adipose Rex — the king has lived off the fat of the land to such excess that he physically can't bear his own weight.
    • The king is disabled, and a wheelchair just doesn't have sufficient gravitas.
    • The streets are filthy and too small for a carriage, and even riding a horse would mess up the Requisite Royal Regalia.
    • It's a sign of status- both "I'm too important to walk like mere peasants" and "I am rich enough to pay servants to carry me, and powerful enough to command men."
  • Inverted: Manpower is so cheap that anyone with even a bit of money can afford to be carried around, and because it's a status symbol they do so. With all the middle classes doing it, the elite consider it a tacky example of Conspicuous Consumption and walk around on foot.
    • Their culture puts such an emphasis on strength that it is considered an utter humiliation to be carried about in that way. The bearers gain some prestige from their labor.
  • Subverted:
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  • Double Subverted: ...but that was just a Secret Test of Character. Once the king's revealed his true identity, he and the assistant switch back.
  • Parodied:
  • Zig Zagged: Some of the aristocracy like travelling by litter in some circumstances, but there are plenty of other transport options and the inconveniencies are occasionally lampshaded. One POV character is a litter-bearer (who acts as First-Person Peripheral Narrator), and he hates his job.
  • Averted: No foot-powered transportation is present.
  • Enforced: A wealthy person literally carried on the shoulders of his minions is an apt metaphor for the point the author wants to make about the lifestyle of the rich depending on the labour of the poor.
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  • Implied: The shoes of the dead king don't bear any sign of wear and his body is found with several servants among scrap.
  • Invoked: The king is Modest Royalty by nature, but reluctantly accepts that his subjects expect him to put on a show for public appearances.
  • Exploited: The king puts a Decoy Leader in the litter and travels behind as a King Incognito to watch for threats and see what the public really think of him.
  • Defied: "No, Lord Evilchancellor, I hate travelling in that thing. Today I'm going to walk around as one of the people."
  • Discussed: "I bet that snooty king turns up in a nice dry covered litter while his underlings tread through the horseshit for him."
  • Conversed: "Why do I have to ride a horse? All the kings in the stories get carried around by their servants, that sounds like fun!"
  • Deconstructed: Gotalotabux tries out travelling by litter for a few days, but finds it slow, bumpy and inconvenient compared to riding a horse.
  • Reconstructed: With properly trained bearers the litter is more convenient than a carriage and quicker to prepare than a horse, and allows him to travel in some privacy and out of the elements.
  • Played For Laughs: The bearers are exaggeratedly Dumb Muscle, and are treated like horses — tied up in stables overnight, fed from nosebags tied around their necks, swapped for fresh bearers when they're worn out...
  • Played For Drama: When Gotalotabux is cornered by an angry mob, his trusted bearers say "Screw This, I'm Outta Here!", and leave him sprawled on the ground, lame and helpless, to the mercy of the Torches and Pitchforks.

Litter-bearers! Carry me back to Too Important to Walk!

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