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I think I've found what it is I don't like about Fable: it's inherently fascist. "Heroism", rather than a quality anyone can exhibit, is reduced to some kind of biological thing unique to a single genetic line of handsome white people.
Yahtzee on Fable 3, Zero Punctuation

Got a good Ancestral Weapon? Got a cherished family recipe for whoop-ass? There's only one thing to make this heroic picture complete: at least one sword-wielding, name-taking hero in your family tree. Maybe more. No wonder you've got a thing about saving people -- it's In the Blood.

Maybe not as shiny as full-on Divine Parentage,[1] but it certainly explains that Orphan's Plot Trinket.

Makes a great surprise if there's a Luke, I Am Your Father moment in store.

In short, a character is a descendant of a famous hero, regardless of if he knows it or not, or how strong the blood is. Compare Tell Me About My Father, where the character loves to think about his dead/absentee parents as heroes, regardless of the truth.

Examples of Heroic Lineage include:
  • The Lord of the Rings has the classical example with Aragorn, whose lineage is certifiably heroic going back about 70 generations.
    • Eowyn argues that she's entitled to fight because of this trope.
  • Lords from Fire Emblem as a whole universally qualify. The 4th game makes this an actual game mechanic: characters who are descendants of one of the Twelve Crusaders or the Dark God Loputousu recieve boosts to their growth rates, weapon levels, and can even use their respective ancestor's Ancestral Weapon in certain conditions.
  • Star Wars: Luke Skywalker and a lot of his descendants in the Expanded Universe.
    • Made into an actual game mechanic in the Saga Edition tabletop game with the Legacy Destiny, where your normal Destiny[2] is replaced with a family line that grants you a special ability (usually, getting a Critical Success more-or-less when you really need one).
  • Susano from Okami is a descendant of the legendary hero Nagi. His resentment and later acceptance of his ancestor has a major impact on the plot of the first half of the game.
  • The hero you can name yourself in Lufia and The Fortress of Doom is the descendant of Maxim, the hero who originally sealed the four Big Bads. This tradition is continued in The Legend Returns with Wain, who is also descended from Maxim.
  • Link and Zelda from the 'Zelda series are not a single characters, but recurring characters who appear throughout the series:
    • All of the Zeldas are blood descendants of the Zelda from The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword, who was a reincarnation of the Goddess Hylia.
    • The Links are not necessarily blood related but are said to share the "Spirit of the Hero" and are at least a spiritual lineage of heroes. Only the Links from The Legend of Zelda a Link To T He Past and The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess are explicitly stated to carry a special bloodline and according to the Hyrule Historia guidebook, the only confirmed relation between Links is that Link from Twilight Princess is a descendant of the Hero of Time from Ocarina of Time.
      • Then The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker Subverted Trope it, revealing that this Link was not related to the Hero of Time's bloodline at all. Many of the powers that be doubt that he can save the day for precisely this reason, and Link proves them wrong.
  • The first Dragon Quest I game had you play as the descendant of the legendary hero Loto. The second had you play as the descendants of the first game's hero. The third had you play as Loto, who was himself the descendant of another hero. Somewhat subverted in the fifth, where the legendary hero is actually a descendant of the main character, who marries a descendant of the last legendary hero.
  • Legend of the Five Rings RPG, famous ancestors can be bought as merits at character creation. Each of them gives some merits (and sometimes drawbacks) depending of what he was famous for.
  • In Assassin's Creed, Desmond Miles is a bartender reliving the genetic memories of his ancestor Altaïr.
    • And later learns to be an Assassin from another of his ancestors, Ezio Auditore.
  • Shiki Tohno in Tsukihime is a last descendant of Nanaya household, a lineage of pure-blooded humans (read: "weakest species in the setting"), who trained their bodies and honed their skills enough to fight most supernatural threats, be it Demons, vampires, or what have you.
  • So deeply-ingrained is this trope that, for years, legions of Harry Potter fans saturated the Internet with theories that Harry was the descendant of Godric Gryffindor ... this, despite how the series' prevailing Aesop is that people should never be judged by their ancestry or background.
    • And in the end, Harry turns out to be the last descendant of Ignotus Peverell, the youngest brother who, according to legend, defeated Death and won his Invisibility Cloak.
  • In Fable it is implied that all heroes are descended from the first Archon.
  • Historia Regum Britanniae chronicles what happens to a splinter group of survivors from the Trojan War, which eventually settles in Britain. The name of the hero is Brutus, whose name eventually became the name for the Britons.
  • A Mysterious Informant with this news kicks off the plot of Last Scenario. Actually a rare subversion. She was lying.
    • Which leads to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming and Tear Jerker when the supposed ancestor himself is executed, and with his last words acknowledges the heroes as the true "descendants" of his heroic spirit.
  • Deltora Quest, all kings and queens of Deltora are descendants of King Adin, a blacksmith who united the Seven Tribes to drive back the Shadow Lord's army. Searching for the King Endon's child was a part of the main quest in the first series. It's Lief, Dain was actually a Grade 3 Ol spy for the Shadow Lord.
  • Ico is the descendant of Wander, protagonist of Shadow of the Colossus. Though Wander's fame is debatable, and the one sign of the lineage (the horns) is more of a curse than a blessing for Ico.
  • All the Abhorsens are of the same bloodline, so both Sabriel and Lirael of The Old Kingdom are descendants of heroes.
  • Rarely mentioned, but all the humans of Gensokyo (that didn't stumble from The Outside, anyway) are descendants of brave people who defeated the youkai to settle there.
  • In Dune, House Atreides claims lineage from King Agamemnon of Argos (or Mycenae, depending on the source), who fought in the Trojan War. This claim originally belongs to the Titan Agamemnon (not his real name) and taken up by his son Vorian Atreides, whose last name is derived from "Atreidae", the collective name for the descendants of King Atreus, Agamemnon's father.
  • Delenn in Babylon 5 is a descendant of Valen . In this case it almost verges on Divine Parentage.
  • In Naruto, not only is the titular character descended from the Yondaime Hokage and the Sage of Six Paths, but is the most recent in a line of mentor-pupil relationships including Kakashi, Jaraiya, and the second through fourth Hokage.
    • To be more exact, he is pretty closely related to the original Sage of Six Paths (as a descendant), Fourth Hokage (as a descendant), the whole of Uzumaki clan (whose Bloodline Limit enhances their stamina and lifespan pretty noticeably, as evident with Kushina and also Naruto), and distantly related to First, Second, and Fifth Hokages (Senju and Uzumaki were originally branch families descendent from Sage of Six Paths). So much for being able to achieve things without having a Bloodline Limit.
  • Nearly every single one of the trolls in Homestuck has a famous, badass Ancestor.
  • Super Sentai has used this more than once:
    • In Gosei Sentai Dairanger, Lin (the present-day Hou-Ouranger) is descended from the Dai tribe, and Ryou (the present-day Ryuranger) is of more direct lineage: He's the son of the original Ryuranger.
    • The present-day Kakurangers from Ninja Sentai Kakuranger are each descended from their respective predecessors, who sealed away the Youkai Army Corps long ago.
    • Samurai Sentai Shinkenger (and Power Rangers Samurai) features samurai whose families have fought the monsters for generations; the Red Ranger from the Shiba clan and the others from the clan's retainers. When a friend of the Red Ranger wishes to join them as the Sixth Ranger, much is made of the fact that he is self-taught and has no such lineage.
  • The Joestars, the Zepelli and, to a lesser extent, the Speedwagons of Jo Jos Bizarre Adventure
  • The Belmont clan from Castlevania, always out to hunt the night.
  • According to his father Cabbage, Cucumber of Cucumber Quest is of a heroic lineage. When Cucumber tries to point out that Cabbage is not a hero, his father says that "it skips a generation here and there."
  • There are decendants of Jon Sobieski in America. One is a movie star: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leelee_Sobieski.
  • The Saga of the Volsungs traces the history of the eponymous heroic clan over four generations. They are all descendants of one Sigi, who was possibly a son of Odin.
  • In Ragnar Lodbrok and His Sons, the orphan Kraka discovers that she is the daughter of Sigurd the Volsung and Brynhild the Valkyrie.
  • In Warrior Cats, almost all of the point of view characters in the main series are the descendents of the living legend Firestar, the first hero of the series.
  • Most of the noble families of A Song of Ice and Fire trace their lineage from some legendary hero.

Notes

  1. Then again, many heroes did have Divine Parentage back in the day, so this could be a two-for-one special.
  2. Something like Destruction, Creation, Redemption, Prevention, Sacrifice, etc