Hello everyone. My name is the Electro Queen, or EQ as my subjects refer to me as, and this is my first time posting a question on this website.


My question (well, questions actually, I’ve got more than one) is primarily centred around morality and partly around royalty. It’s mainly for a mini plot that’s part of this huge fantasy story I’m currently writing. It’s quite big for a mini plot though, so to help make answering the questions easier, here’s the abridged version of said plot:



Story takes place in kingdom full of Pyro Mages. Queen of kingdom gives birth to two baby boys at roughly the same time as each other. King nurtures firstborn into being a selfish, heartless and merciless king just like he currently is. Second son gets constantly ignored by everyone except his mother who eventually divorces the king and steps down from her position as queen. Second son grows up to be a depressed, resentful man thanks in no small part to his mother’s absence from most of his life, his brother’s constant belittling and boastfulness and his father’s unsupportive and abusive attitude towards him. Second son marries a beautiful woman who gives birth to a beautiful baby girl but she dies during the birthing process. Firstborn son also marries a beautiful woman (who’s only doing so to get her and her family out of poverty) who gives birth to a baby boy seven 8 years after the other son’s wife gave birth to her child and died. The resentful brother formulates a plan to train and groom his daughter into a merciless, assassin-like killer that’ll kill the current king in the middle of the night while he drugs the 10-year-old prince to sleep, sneaks him out of the kingdom and once he becomes king, deliver the child back to the kingdom and trick everyone into thinking he had saved him from a kidnapper. The plan goes wrong however, and the daughter fails to kill the king due to the queen’s interference and the second born son is caught before he can make his way out of the kingdom with the prince. The second born son tries to kill the king in a last-ditch-effort by throwing a dagger at him but the queen jumps in the way to save both the son and her husband. The daughter of the second born son is imprisoned deep in the kingdom’s darkest dungeon and the king explains to her that the reason he hasn’t killed her for treason and murder (she didn’t kill the king, but she did kill the soldiers guarding him and his wife’s bedroom) is because he can’t bring himself to end the life of his brother’s only child and he’s perfectly willing to forgive her crimes and release her if she’s willing to hear him out. The girl has been so thoroughly corrupted by his father’s teachings however, and her belief that the firstborn son is pure evil is so strong that she refuses to believe or even pay attention to anything he says (the fact that the king’s guards shot her father to death with several arrows doesn’t help either).



Ok so… that was a lot to go through, even for a shorthand version. I skipped over several bits of the mini plot that I didn’t think were important to bring up but everything you just read were more or less the only things you needed to know in order to answer my questions. Speaking of which, here they are in order of most important to least important:



Q1: So the daughter of the second born son was trained from the age of six for 10 years by her father to be a merciless, cold-blooded killer conditioned into believing that the current king was a spiteful, selfish man who’s oppressive rule over the kingdom held everyone back from living their lives and achieving their full potential. She accepted everything she was told without question, never got the chance to develop her own views or opinions on anything in her life and genuinely believed that she was doing a good thing by killing the current king and that killing anyone else who impeded that goal was ultimately for the greater good (she felt bad about killing the king’s guards but was under the impression that that was a necessary evil). This girl, simply put, was not allowed to live a life one would describe as satisfying or fulfilling. Now one of the main themes of my story is redemption and many other supposedly evil characters in the plot get the chance to make up for their past crimes and join the side of good by the end of their arcs. Given everything I’ve just told you about the second son’s daughter, is the idea of her getting redeemed believable? I know this is a fictional world home to magical beings and creatures where real-life laws and politics don’t hold nearly as much importance, but I don’t want to write another one of those woke TV show characters where one of the female antagonists gets redeemed and forgiven for their crimes despite doing things that anyone with half a brain would find unforgivable (E.G. the Diamonds from Steven Universe or Reva from Kenobi).



Q2: So the kingdom’s previous king and queen had two sons and the firstborn son is obviously the prince but before he becomes the new king, what would the younger brother be known as? Is there a title for that? Can there be two princes? When the older son has a child what does that make the younger son? What does that make his daughter as well actually?



Q3: So like I said before the younger brother’s plan is to have his daughter kill the current king in the middle of the night while he sneaks the son out of the kingdom. Theoretically speaking, if the plan actually did work as intended, would the right to rule the kingdom go to the younger brother or the older brother’s wife? Like, what’s valued higher here, birthright or status?

Looking forward to being a part of this amazing website :)
 

pmmg

Istar
Howdy Queen, Welcome here.



Q1: Given everything I’ve just told you about the second son’s daughter, is the idea of her getting redeemed believable?

Yes, anyone can be redeemed. Exposure to those she hates would almost certainly soften her over time...unless they really are baddies. I am not sure how you would handle the aspect of punished for her crimes. She can be redeemed and still imprisoned. But...the current monarch may have a lot to say about that. Maybe she is treated as if insane.



Q2: So the kingdom’s previous king and queen had two sons and the firstborn son is obviously the prince but before he becomes the new king, what would the younger brother be known as? Is there a title for that? Can there be two princes? When the older son has a child what does that make the younger son? What does that make his daughter as well actually?

First born--Prince and heir. Second born: Prince. Child of first and second born: Prince and Princess (Different if the child is of a Princess and not a Prince).

Assuming, of course, British monarchy.

From Duchess to Viscount (Vis-what?): A Complete Guide to British Royal Titles

Q3: So like I said before the younger brother’s plan is to have his daughter kill the current king in the middle of the night while he sneaks the son out of the kingdom. Theoretically speaking, if the plan actually did work as intended, would the right to rule the kingdom go to the younger brother or the older brother’s wife? Like, what’s valued higher here, birthright or status?


Again, assuming a typical line of succession, the first born son of the King would become King. The second brother would be in line for succession if all the children of the current king perished.

But...King frequently goes to whoever can take and hold the title. So, a wise uncle with lots of supporters might just become King, and the child can disappear somewhere from history.


My Opinion: Dude needs to stop plotting, and just kill the King himself. He's too cowardly to take the throne. Daughter will get it after she kills everyone else.
 
pmmg



Thanks so much for not only an in-depth response but also a quick response. I’ll unpack one by one



“Yes, anyone can be redeemed.”



God, I wish this mentality rang true everywhere in the real world.



“Exposure to those she hates would almost certainly soften her over time...unless they really are baddies.”



Actually, her ability to heal and accept those she used to believe was evil comes from her interactions with other supposedly evil people who have all been wronged and looked down upon by others in her life. The long and short of it is, 7 years after she’s broken out of prison by another manipulative son of a bi*ch who also wants to use her Pyro Magic for his own personal gain (this is a trait all of the irredeemable villains in my story share), she slowly learns that the Fire Kingdom is no longer the corrupt world her father made it out to be, the current King really did keep his word to grow and mature into a kind and caring ruler and even the prince has grown up to be a compassionate and honest individual. This causes her to break down and realise that her father robbed her of a true life and makes her change allegiances. Obviously she still has a lot of healing to do and messed-up stuff to unlearn but she’s accepted back into her kingdom by everyone and given the chance to live a proper life surrounded by people who actually care about her.



As for your point about exposing herself to those she was conditioned to hate. It was really only the king she ever had any beef with. She did also have no respect for the royal army, but that’s only because she was conditioned into believing that they were corrupted by the king’s selfish and tyrannical way of thinking.



“I am not sure how you would handle the aspect of punished for her crimes. She can be redeemed and still imprisoned. But...the current monarch may have a lot to say about that. Maybe she is treated as if insane.”



Yeah. I kinda realised whilst waiting for a response that having her be imprisoned in a dungeon in the Fire Kingdom is stupid since a major part of her redemption arc is that she doesn’t learn about the positive changes made to her home until 7 years later and I’m sure the Prince (who’s only 10 years old when his mother died and wouldn’t really take all to well at the revelation that his cousin tried to murder his father for being a terrible king and his Uncle actually murdered his mother) would no doubt have questions about the sudden disappearance of his cousin. I’m gonna change the story a bit and say that she’s taken to a special kind of prison outside of the kingdom and the king lies to his son and tells him that his cousin and uncle were killed the same night as his mother was (or maybe just his mother and uncle were killed and his cousin is possibly still alive and they’re looking for her). If the girl wasn’t the daughter of the king’s brother, she’d be killed on the spot for her crime but he can’t bring himself to do that. He also doesn’t know how to free her from her father’s influence and knows that, the moment she breaks out of her chains, she’s just gonna throw her life away trying to kill him again and avenge her father (so yeah I guess from the perspective of the people around her she is a tad bit insane).



“First born--Prince and heir. Second born: Prince. Child of first and second born: Prince and Princess (Different if the child is of a Princess and not a Prince).”



“Assuming, of course, British monarchy.”



Got it. Thanks for clearing that up for me I don’t know much about royal terminology lol! Also yeah, I am basing the Fire Kingdom’s royalty system off of British Monarchy.





“Again, assuming a typical line of succession, the first born son of the King would become King. The second brother would be in line for succession if all the children of the current king perished.”



Nice.



“But...King frequently goes to whoever can take and hold the title. So, a wise uncle with lots of supporters might just become King, and the child can disappear somewhere from history.”





“My Opinion: Dude needs to stop plotting, and just kill the King himself. He's too cowardly to take the throne. Daughter will get it after she kills everyone else.”



Yeah, that’s the second biggest issue I’m currently facing with this mini plot. It really doesn’t make a lot of sense for the second brother to need to get rid of the prince if he’s already gonna be king. I actually got the inspiration for this mini story from both Lion King films (does anyone even remember Simba’s Pride? Way better sequel than the slop Disney churns out nowadays) and on the TV Tropes headscratchers page for the first movie, someone brought up the question of how necessary it was for Scar to kill both Mufusa and Simba. The best answer I got was that Scar wanted to maximise his time on the throne since once he’s old enough, Simba would take over and undo all of Scar’s rules. I don’t know if any monarchy system works like this in real-life but if it does I guess that’s the problem automatically solved. I’m actually going to change the bit about the story where the second brother sneaks the prince out of the kingdom to stage a fake rescue mission that’ll boost his image into him selling him off as a slave to an outlawed clan of warrior. Yeah, the simpler solution would be to just kill both the king and the prince but despite how much of a colossal asshole the second brother is, even he doesn’t feel comfortable killing or having his daughter kill a ten-year-old child. To address your last point though, yes. If the plan actually did succeed. The second brother’s daughter would get the throne after his time as king was over.
 

pmmg

Istar
It is not at all uncommon for someone usurping the throne to kill all possible claimants. The son of the previous king often does not live long when a new king is enthroned.
 
It is not at all uncommon for someone usurping the throne to kill all possible claimants. The son of the previous king often does not live long when a new king is enthroned.
I meant a system where a king dies and the brother takes over as ruler until the son of the deceased king is old enough to take over. Does something like that exist in real life anywhere?
 

pmmg

Istar
Yes, that also happens. Generally, the brother is considered a regent/steward until the boy comes of age. Its also common for a steward to forget the boy and just kind of become king while everyone forgets there was another.
 
Yes, that also happens. Generally, the brother is considered a regent/steward until the boy comes of age. Its also common for a steward to forget the boy and just kind of become king while everyone forgets there was another.
Sorry for the late reply. Had a busy evening.

So I guess now that I know that this kind of system exists in RL, I know have a good enough explanation as to why the second brother’s plan is as convoluted as it is. The reason he needs to get the prince out of the picture is because he wants to maximise his and his daughter’s time on the throne.

Thanks so much for all the help you’ve given me. 😀
 

ThinkerX

Myth Weaver
Worth pointing out: it is more than possible the second born prince might be arbitrarily posted as Regent or Governor of some distant province or newly conquered nation - not because the King is enamored of the prince, but simply to get him 'out of the way.' Likewise, he could be given command of an army and told to annex some neighboring fief.
 

Queshire

Auror
"Woke"? Hah.... well, my first piece of advice would probably be to avoid trying to bring in that culture war nonsense in your first post on a new site.

That said, honestly the average fantasy protagonist likely has a larger body count than some palace guards so that's hardly irredeemable.

The question about terms was already answered so to move onto the question about inheritance. They can come in various forms and it should be no surprise that things can get really complicated really quickly when the crown is at stake. That said, you don't have to worry about most of that. Placing someone with the blood of the royal family above someone who simply married into it is common enough (So going to the younger brother or older brother's son before going to the older brother's wife.) Similarly favoring the direct heir of the king over the king's sibling is common enough as well. (So older brother's son before the younger brother.)

As for the Lion King... well, I'd say that the movie answered that by itself, eh? If Scar actually managed to kill off Simba then Simba wouldn't be able to return fully grown and overthrow Scar's rule. A living claimant can serve as a rallying point for a ruler's political opponent. The same can be true if they're just a puppet controlled by a steward. It could also complicate things when it comes to who in the next generation gets the throne. While the younger brother might not think things through now I imagine that when he's old and grey he'd prefer his own descendants to take the throne after him.
 

Devor

Fiery Keeper of the Hat
Moderator
The second born son tries to kill the king in a last-ditch-effort by throwing a dagger at him but the queen jumps in the way to save both the son and her husband.

This feels like a common, very cinematic scene. But a thrown dagger just wouldn't be fatal. It's not weighted right. And if she jumped in front of it, the spin would be off so she'd most likely miss the blade all together. You'd need something more like a tomahawk or a spear to get a fatal blow from a thrown weapon. Knives and daggers are mostly thrown for a diversion.


Q1: Given everything I’ve just told you about the second son’s daughter, is the idea of her getting redeemed believable?

Sure. So far her "evil" comes from her upbringing, her crimes are against armed soldiers while she sees herself at war, and she's already showing some compassion for those she killed. She hasn't killed civilians. A redemption arc shouldn't be a problem.


Q2: So the kingdom’s previous king and queen had two sons and the firstborn son is obviously the prince but before he becomes the new king, what would the younger brother be known as? Is there a title for that? Can there be two princes? When the older son has a child what does that make the younger son? What does that make his daughter as well actually?

Usually they would both be considered princes. Historically there are different systems and terms, but what I'm seeing a lot of lately in fantasy works is the title "crown prince" for the one who's set to inherit the throne.



Q3: So like I said before the younger brother’s plan is to have his daughter kill the current king in the middle of the night while he sneaks the son out of the kingdom. Theoretically speaking, if the plan actually did work as intended, would the right to rule the kingdom go to the younger brother or the older brother’s wife? Like, what’s valued higher here, birthright or status?

That depends on the system (different countries and different time periods had different rules), but I would have thought it went to the king's 8-year old son, with the mother filling in until he turns of age.
 
Worth pointing out: it is more than possible the second born prince might be arbitrarily posted as Regent or Governor of some distant province or newly conquered nation - not because the King is enamored of the prince, but simply to get him 'out of the way.' Likewise, he could be given command of an army and told to annex some neighboring fief.

Interesting. That’s actually a really unique plot point I could look into for this story thx for the tip.
 
Queshire



"Woke"? “Hah.... well, my first piece of advice would probably be to avoid trying to bring in that culture war nonsense in your first post on a new site.”



I’m not planning on shoving cultural nonsense like that into my story and the only reason I brought it up was because I don’t want to write a story that an Anti-SJW person would accuse of falling into that category. I promise not to even mention the word again in future posts though.



“That said, honestly the average fantasy protagonist likely has a larger body count than some palace guards so that's hardly irredeemable.”



Actually the main heroes of my story don’t kill anyone that isn’t a mindless monster but I understand what you mean by that.



Thanks for the insight :)



Also just throwing this out. It just dawned on me now that a major point of this mini plot involves a 16 year old teenager knocking down (not necessarily killing just immobilising) a fairly buff (like 2 pack buff) 43 year old man and like, how the hell do I make that seem even slightly believable? Would a well-angled kick to the face hurt someone like that?
 
I think you've had the questions answered. One thing I did notice was:
She accepted everything she was told without question, never got the chance to develop her own views or opinions on anything in her life and genuinely believed that she was doing a good thing by killing the current king and that killing anyone else who impeded that goal was ultimately for the greater good (she felt bad about killing the king’s guards but was under the impression that that was a necessary evil). This girl, simply put, was not allowed to live a life one would describe as satisfying or fulfilling.
This sounds very one-dimensional to me and like the bad brother also thinks of himself as the bad guy. You can both train your daughter to be an assassin and be a loving father. Children tend to believe what their parents teach them, especially if that's their main source of education (so assuming no public schools, no tv etc). But that doesn't mean the father needs to be a hand-wringing, evil overlord with minions he kicks. You can still go hunting with your kid or play games with them, or read them bedtime stories, and train them to kill someone. It's not one or the other. If anything, it would be stronger if the father - daughter bond was strong. Just tell the kid they're destined for greatness and that they'll save the nation when they kill the king.

That actually sounds very satisfying and fulfilling (assuming you're okay with the killing part of course, but it's fantasy). There are plenty of stories where this is actually the whole plot. Rebel needs to overthrow evil emperor. Everyone was rooting for Luke Skywalker, even though he's doing precisely what your kid assassin is doing.

Of course, you can frame it however you like. But most often it makes the strongest story if everyone in it believes they are the good guys.
 
Devor

“This feels like a common, very cinematic scene. But a thrown dagger just wouldn't be fatal. It's not weighted right. And if she jumped in front of it, the spin would be off so she'd most likely miss the blade all together. You'd need something more like a tomahawk or a spear to get a fatal blow from a thrown weapon. Knives and daggers are mostly thrown for a diversion.”

I was gonna have him do the thing all fictional knife throwers do where they essentially treat the knife like an arrow and yeet it in a completely straight arc. Still though, rethinking that scene to be more realistic might not be a bad idea so thanks for the insight.
 
Prince of Spires



“This sounds very one-dimensional to me and like the bad brother also thinks of himself as the bad guy. You can both train your daughter to be an assassin and be a loving father. Children tend to believe what their parents teach them, especially if that's their main source of education (so assuming no public schools, no tv etc). But that doesn't mean the father needs to be a hand-wringing, evil overlord with minions he kicks. You can still go hunting with your kid or play games with them, or read them bedtime stories, and train them to kill someone. It's not one or the other. If anything, it would be stronger if the father - daughter bond was strong. Just tell the kid they're destined for greatness and that they'll save the nation when they kill the king.”



“Of course, you can frame it however you like. But most often it makes the strongest story if everyone in it believes they are the good guys.”



Given how poorly worded the question was, I can definitely see why you’d think that the second brother and his daughter are the ‘bad’ guys of this mini plot. I am taking the ‘bad guys from our perspective thinking they’re good from their perspective’ thing where the second brother is convinced that his brother has been so thoroughly tainted by his father’s vile upbringing that any and all chances of him changing his ways and maturing into a better king is impossible. He genuinely believes that he’d make for a much better king and that he can undo the corrupt legacy left behind by his forefathers. The reason why the second brother is ‘evil’ while the daughter is considered ‘redeemable’ is because regardless of how right the brother thinks he is or how good of a thing killing the king actually is, he robbed his and his deceased wife’s daughter of the chance to live an actual life and no one has the right to morph an innocent 6 year old child into a subservient assassin just to achieve their visions. Did he share fond memories of spending time with his daughter during her training? Yes. Did they mean more to him than what she could do for him? Nope! The daughter loved him unconditionally though, and that’s why she wants nothing but revenge when she learns of his death (the turning point for her arc comes when her entire world view gets flipped on its head).



“Everyone was rooting for Luke Skywalker, even though he's doing precisely what your kid assassin is doing.”



I suppose this is a somewhat fair comparison to make, but Luke Skywalker was the objective hero of the story and his father and the emperor were the objective villains. My story asks the reader “Is it a good thing to kill the king and change the Fire Kingdom to free those stuck in poverty, or is it a bad thing because the plan involves selling off an innocent 10 year old child as a slave, killing several innocent people that are loyal to the king and robbing a 6 year old girl of her ability to make her own choices in life?”.
 

pmmg

Istar
Also just throwing this out. It just dawned on me now that a major point of this mini plot involves a 16 year old teenager knocking down (not necessarily killing just immobilising) a fairly buff (like 2 pack buff) 43 year old man and like, how the hell do I make that seem even slightly believable? Would a well-angled kick to the face hurt someone like that?

In combat, strange things can happen. Its not likely they would do it but not impossible. Maybe they get hold of a rock or a bottle and head blow them. And maybe the man is fighting to subdue not really win.
 
In combat, strange things can happen. Its not likely they would do it but not impossible. Maybe they get hold of a rock or a bottle and head blow them. And maybe the man is fighting to subdue not really win.

Ok. I’ll just do the whole ‘outspeeds their attacks and tires them out by tricking them into using their most taxing techniques” shtick you see in movies like Mulan or Kung Fu Pang.
 

ThinkerX

Myth Weaver
Also just throwing this out. It just dawned on me now that a major point of this mini plot involves a 16 year old teenager knocking down (not necessarily killing just immobilising) a fairly buff (like 2 pack buff) 43 year old man and like, how the hell do I make that seem even slightly believable? Would a well-angled kick to the face hurt someone like that?
I have a scene something like this in 'Empire: Capital.' In that case, the male antagonist was drunk. Seriously drunk, to the point where the lady in question (barely trained in basic dodges and thrusts) was able to trip him. Then again, he was trying to grapple/grope her, not kill. Had he been sober, this would not have worked.
 
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