Real Parent

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Trope · Genre
Related: kidfic, crossover, AU, Adoption Fic, Darcy Lewis is Tony Stark's Daughter, Blair's Father, Severitus (trope)
See Also:
Tropes · Slash Tropes · Tropes by Fandom
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Real Parent stories revolve around the discovery that a parent of a character, usually his or her father, is actually someone unexpected. This is a common theme in romantic novels, soap opera etc., and a staple of fanfic, especially crossovers. These discoveries can lead to wealth, cause problems, or both. These stories almost always involve illegitimacy, with possible attached social stigma, but in fanfic that is rarely the focus of the story. A good example with multiple stories is the Darcy Lewis is Tony Stark's Daughter trope.

A related trope is the Adoption Fic in which a canon orphan is adopted by different parents.

Canon Uses of this Trope

Spoiler alert!

  • Tanya Huff's Blood books revolve around the adventures of Henry Fitzroy, the vampire illegitimate son of Henry VIII.
  • Richard Castle's real father is revealed to be Jackson Hunt (or at least a person using that name), a spy and assassin.
  • In CSI Catherine Willows finds out that Sam Braun is her father while investigating a case in which he is a suspect.
  • In Doctor Who the identity of River Song's real parents is a major plot point. Unusually, she is aware of the situation before they are.
  • In Girl Genius Agatha Clay first learns that her real father is Bill Heterodyne, an adventurer and genius inventor, later that her mother may be The Other, one of the series Big Bads.
  • In the film The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) the main character is an amnesic pregnant accident victim whose identity cannot be traced. When her memory eventually starts to emerge, several years later, the identity of the child's father turns out to be an extremely important plot point.
  • The plot of Men in Black II to a large part revolves around the nature of the real parents of an apparently minor character.
  • NCIS Season 15 ends with a reversal of the trope as one of the characters learns he has been a father for several years.
  • Most characters in the Percy Jackson series are demigods, the child of a human and a god, bought up as human. This usually comes as a surprise, as does the identity of the responsible deity.
  • In Sanctuary Ashley's father is John Druitt, Jack the Ripper
  • Star Wars - "I am your father, Luke..." (and "there is another")
  • In Superman Returns Lois Lane's child Jason White is actually Superman's son.
  • in Watchmen the younger Silk Spectre eventually learns that she is The Comedian's illegitimate daughter.
  • X-Men's Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are the illegitimate children of Magneto in most comics versions.

Fan Works

More complete and non-crossover works needed


  • Bridges by Tassos; "After the collapse of Sunnydale, Jack gets a call about a woman he knew over twenty years ago...and the son he didn't know he had." (Stargate SG-1 crossover, 2004)
  • My Daughter... The What? by sevangel; "A year after Joyce Summer's death, Buffy comes across a letter that changes her life. With Dawn as her sidekick, she heads to New York City to find her birth father. Will the Stabler's accept the slayer and how does Dawn fit in?" (Law and Order: SVU crossover, 2006-7)

Gilmore Girls


  • Holding Onto Nothing by Allison Way; Taylor Hanson discovers that not only was he adopted, but there's a good reason why the boy he just met looks just like him.

Harry Potter

  • My Son the Wizard by savya398; "The summer after Harry's first year at Hogwarts a startling revelation is made that opens Harry up to an entirely new world. It changes his life in a way he never imagined. Now he has a family and all the craziness that comes with. After all when you're the son of Tony Stark, the one and only Iron Man, life is bound to be interesting." (Iron Man crossover, 2014-15, WIP)


Phineas and Ferb