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"Then she puts her head upon your shoulder

Says she'll marry you when she gets older"
Peter Cetera, "Daddy's Girl"

Children have a bit of a strange understanding as regards sexual relationships between adults. If you don't know about the intricacies of all that kind of stuff, it just seems like the husband-wife relationship is between two people who love each other a lot. Never mind what kind of love it is. Obviously, since we're talking about little kids here, the effect is usually sweet and endearing rather than creepy.

This trope is the observation of that childhood fantasy, usually but not always made in reflection on past events, as from an adult (or at least teenage) woman's perspective. Usually the character in question looks back on this attitude and laughs on it- a boatload of Squick and concern elicited from viewers if they still have this attitude and mean every word of it.

Bear in mind that a lot of the time fans take things a little too literally. The usage of this trope is more common in Japanese-themed works than in Western ones, although it does appear in the West from time to time.

Related to Brother-Sister Incest, Big Brother Worship, Big Brother Attraction, Like Parent, Like Spouse, Precocious Crush, and Wife Husbandry.

Examples of Father, I Want to Marry My Brother include:


Anime and Manga

  • Angel Sanctuary's Setsuna and his sister Sara. Carried a bit further because they actually got together.
  • Code Geass: Euphemia and Nunally talk about how they fought over who would marry their brother Lelouch when they were little girls and laugh about it. Incidentally, in the entire series, those two are the only characters Lelouch explicitly admitted loving.
    • Incidentally, since this is the royal family we're talking about, it's not unlikely that such a marriage could actually be expected to happen.
      • Though if you listen to the story that comes from the whole way through, by the next day both Euphemia and Nunnally had basically forgotten about it and thought Lelouch sitting up worrying who to pick was very amusing.
    • A flashback Shirley has about her father also sees her saying that she'll marry him when she grows up, which leads to a good-natured lecture on how Shirley will eventually meet someone she loves differently from him. She was a toddler at the time, so it's all innocent. Of course, she's reflecting on this after learning that the boy she "loves differently" is the terrorist who killed her father with a weaponized mudslide.
  • Paranoia Agent: One flashback shows how a young daughter told her dad that she wanted to marry him when she grew up. Incidentally, when this girl became a teenager, this father would install hidden cameras in her room so he can watch her undress.
    • What makes the whole thing even more crazy and horrible is how the man is no twisted monster, but genuinely loves his daughter and wants best for her, and finds his more physical feelings just as repulsive as anybody else, yet can't entirely resist them. Their phone conversation after she finds out is one of the most messed up, heartwrenching things in the whole messed up, heartwrenching series.
  • As a child, Yuna Akashi in Mahou Sensei Negima once told her mother that she wants to marry her daddy when she grew up. Her mother later died, and she's been looking after the household chores for her dad ever since. Only recently has she really started letting go, after Hilarity Ensues from her thinking her father has started dating again (he isn't).
  • In Aishiteruze Baby, Yuzuyu declares that she is going to marry Kippei when she grows up (a variation in that Kippei is an older cousin that was assigned to be her caretaker).
  • Akiha in Tsukihime would very much like to marry her brother, the adopted one. In her own route, he reciprocates her feelings.
    • The blood-related one seems to very much want to marry her, or at least has plenty of subtext to that effect. Unfortunately he's some kind of killer demon vampire thing, and also a complete lunatic, so that's sort of a one-way thing.
      • In his defense, it's more of you want your brother to love you?... WELL OKAY, I CAN DO THAT :D!! Yeah, he's not very stable.
  • In Papa to Kiss in the Dark the main character Mira says when he was a kid that his dream was to marry his 'Papa'who ends up being Mira's Uncle.
  • In Girls Saurus, Shingo's little sister wants to live as a married couple with him. They already share the same surname, after all, they'd just have to move far away and keep up the charade.
  • During a quick flashback splash page in Great Teacher Onizuka, class 3-4's resident troublemaker Miyabi remembers a moment where she declared a wish to marry her father.
  • A more serious version of this happens in Chobits when Freya, a robot, decides that her "father" (the man who built her) is her "one special person", and decides to have her memory erased rather than deal with her feelings.
  • Liz in Kamen no Maid Guy hates large-breasted women because, as a child, she wanted to marry her older brother, who humored her until she turned out to be flat chested.
  • This is treated as a central plot point in Kagihime Monogatari: Kiraha wants to love her brother...in that way. However, she recognizes the repugnance of this desire and nearly allows a villain to take her story simply because it would remove her memories of this. The other main characters are naturally a wee bit bothered to discover Kiraha is a Clingy Jealous Girl instead of a clingy jealous sister.
  • In Princess Princess, Yuujirou's family comes to visit while the princesses have to perform. Because his toddler half-brother barely knows Yuujirou and is surprised to see him in girls' clothing, he's initially terrified by him, but accepts Yuujirou at the end by calling him 'Sister'. He then announces his intention to marry 'Sister', which everyone finds awkwardly funny and cute.
  • In Sailor Moon, especially in the manga second arc, Chibiusa is in love with her father, Mamoru, up to the point where She brainwashes him as Black Lady and remains with the Black Moon simply because this way she will have Mamoru forever.
    • Technically she's in love with her father's past self, who she seems to regard as a different person (much like how she treats Usagi differently than her mother).
  • The entire premise of the Sister Princess series. More explanation: An Unlucky Everydude finds out he's related to 12 different sisters that are quite young and all wanting to marry him.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler, there's the case of Izumi's Dad. He doesn't approve of her liking Hayate, because he took his little girl's words too seriously, it seems.
    • The same seems to be able to be said about Hayate saying this to Athena, with her acting both the mother and the crush.
    • Wataru also made the same declaration to his mom when he was about Izumi's age. He grew out of it rather quickly, mostly thanks to Parental Abandonment.
    • And given how Hayate's looks are shared between Nagi's mother and father, her crush on him falls into this trope just as well.
    • And using the 'child-not-understanding-what-marriage-is' side of the issue, Nagi 'marries' Isumi in one of the title pages. This is another that seems to have fallen to the wayside with age.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia: Belarus is a complete Yandere who breaks all the fingers of the guy her brother may or may not like, breaks down a door to get to her big brother, and is shown ambushing him at several points. Oh, and did I mention Russia is a Psychopathic Manchild Yandere who is completely terrified of her?
  • A variation occurs in the manga of X 1999 when a flashback shows Kamui announce to Kotori that he will become her bride when they grow up.
  • Boku Wa Imouto Ni Koi O Suru (I'm In Love With My Little Sister) has a flashback scene where young Yori makes a ring of flowers for his twin sister Iku. The parents say it's a lovely crown but he corrects them saying it's a wedding wreath and that he'll marry Iku one day. The parents think it's cute and simply smile. This being Exactly What It Says on the Tin when they're older the siblings sneak into the church where their parents were married and exchange rings which is as close as they can get to fulfilling their childhood promise to marry each other.


Film

  • Shirley Temple example: in Poor Little Rich Girl, she played Barbara Barry, daughter of a high-powered soap magnate who was rarely home. She says she wants to marry her dad; it was treated as just something a little kid would say.
  • The 2008 film Fireproof opens with the following exchange (heavily paraphrased):

 Daughter: Can I marry Daddy?

Mother: No, because he's married to me.

D: How about when you stop being married?

M: We won't stop. Marriage lasts forever.

    • It's surprisingly sweet for being such an Anvilicious set-up of the movie's anti-divorce theme.
  • Inverted in the French musical Peau d'Ane ("Donkeyskin" in English): A king decides to marry his own grown up daughter; when she is reluctant, he asks a scholar whether that's normal. The scholar answers that it's strange because when asked whom they want to marry when they grow up, little girls always say they want to marry their dad.
  • A squicky near-miss occurs in the schlock fantasy movie Ator: The Flying Eagle. The titular hero and his sister fall in love with each other and tell their father of their intention to marry. The father then reveals that the hero was an adopted Chosen One who was sent to live with them for his own safety and he gives the kids his blessing to marry. No one in the entire village seems in any way squicked out by this in spite of the fact that the hero and his adopted sister believed themselves to be blood related, yet wanted to boink anyway.
  • Wild Strawberries a movie about an old man afraid of well, being old, has a scene where the elderly character visits an elderly friend who reads to him some of her children's keepsakes one of which is a scribbled note from a daughter saying 'when I grow up I want to marry daddy'. The lady makes a comment about how sweet and innocent it was.


Fanfiction

  • An Animorphs story involves Rachel and Jake falling in love with each other, but acknowledging that it probably can't work out with any sort of permanence. Rachel invokes this trope in her narration. "When you're seven, people think it's cute when you say you want to marry your cousin. When you're seventeen, they call you a redneck."


Literature

  • It happens in The Forsyte Saga, with Irene's son. Admittedly, it's a little weird that he actually says he wants to be her lover, but he's plainly just picked up the word as meaning romance and love and nothing more.
  • Used in a joke in Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe, where when describing how Egypt was merciful towards their conquered foes by educating them in Egyptian ways, a son asks his father to marry his sister (since Egyptian Royalty is decided by marriage to the royal woman). The father promptly thinks "You call this mercy?"
  • In The Bagthorpe Saga, Daisy is convinced that since her uncle Mr Bagthorpe is by far the wickedest man she knows, he must be responsible for 'putting the baby in Mummy's tummy'. Her grandma is alarmed and instantly sets the record straight.
  • In the book For Your Eyes Only by Joanne Rocklin, Lucy's mother is depressed because a man she thought was romantically interested in her ends up dating someone else. Lucy's twin younger brothers try to cheer their mother up by joking that they can marry her when they're older.
  • In The Locked Room in The New York Trilogy, the narrator reminisces that as a child he'd wanted to marry Fanshawe, so they could always live together.
  • Partially motivated by her fear of abandonment Ulyssandra from "The Night Angel Trilogy" proposes to her twenty year old adoptive father who she has a crush on days before her twelfth birthday.
  • The younger brother in The Scarlet Ibis you know, the one that dies tells his older brother that they'll each marry one of their parents. The older brother brushes it off as "stupid things kids say."
  • In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus tells Scout about some people who were "double first cousins," resulting when "two sisters married two brothers." This is too much for Scout to wrap her mind around, and the closest she comes is guessing that if she married her brother Jem and their friend Dill married his sister, their children would be double first cousins.
  • In The Secret Garden, Colin insists that he will wed his cousin Mary when they grow up. He even tries to force her to promise him this. When she laughs and says they can't, he reveals that he thinks it is the only way to keep her from abandoning him someday. Of course marrying a first cousin was completely acceptable socially at that time in Britain.
  • There is a late dynasty Ancient Egyptian tale in which Pharoah's son and daughter fall in love and want to marry. This being Ancient Egypt their father's only hesitation is over whether it wouldn't be politically wiser to make marriage alliances with other distinguished families.
  • The Ursula K. Le Guin short story "The Birthday of the World", from the collection of the same name, has a royal family (actually they're referred to as God) in which the eldest boy and girl siblings marry each other, in the manner of many royal dynasties of the ancient world. Ze, the only daughter, knows she is slated to marry her brother Tazu, but when she is little, she isn't overly pleased about this and expresses a desire to instead marry another of her brothers, Omimo.
  • In A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, the other little girls in Francie's neighborhood play a game where they have to whisper the name of the boy they want to marry, and the only person she can think of to say if she's ever asked is her father.
  • In the Jacqueline Wilson book Midnight, Violet remembers how as a little girl she wanted to marry her brother Will. She borders on Big Brother Attraction when she admits that she still (at age fourteen) harbours dreams of them living together.


Live-Action TV

  • In a deleted scene from the Firefly episode "Our Mrs. Reynolds," River, in one of her more...whimsical moments, asks Shepherd Book to marry her to Simon. She then stuffs a pillow under her shirt and pretends to be pregnant to justify it. Of course, she is a Cloudcuckoolander and her brother is the only one she really connects with until the end of The Movie.
  • Among the numerous incest jokes in Arrested Development there's a flashback to a magazine cover featuring Buster and his mother Lucile at a dancing competition (I think) with the headline "Why I want to marry my mother".
    • Lindsey, upon learning she's adopted, tells her mother she plans to marry Michael. He turns her down not because they grew up together and are like brother and sister, but because he doesn't like older women (though raised as twins, she's actually three years his senior).
      • That may have less to do with her being older and more of him avoiding getting together with his adopted sister
  • A Mystery Science Theater 3000 host segment finds Crow asking Mike for Servo's hand in marriage.
  • Mister Rogers' Neighborhood once featured Fred singing a song about a little boy asking to marry his mother, who in turn makes an effort to explain their relationship.
  • In one of the later seasons of Step by Step, Lily informs her father Frank that she's gay because she loves her mother Carol. He gives her a somewhat simplistic explanation of the difference between familial and romantic love and asks her if she wants to marry her mother. She tells him that she doesn't. Because she would rather marry him.
  • In one episode of Home Improvement, Mark, who was about seven at the time, refers to his mom as his "woman":

 Mark: I have a woman - Mommy.

Randy: Your mommy can't be your woman, doofus.

Tim: A lot of men pay a psychiatrist a lot of money to figure that one out.

  • In the show Brothers and Sisters Kitty mentions such a plan. During their childhood, she would pretend to marry her brother Kevin, and they would then be immediately the parents of five children just like their parents. Not quite an example since they were only playing.
  • Played With in some Taiwanese dramas. Fortunately one side is an adopted child, so the two are not related in any way.
  • Oh, Borgias. A fourteen-year-old Lucrezia tells her brother that she'll never love a husband as she loves him. The siblings then find love interests with eerie similarities to one another.


Music

  • Combined with Dual-Meaning Chorus in Steve Wariner's "I'm Already Taken". In the first two verses, the narrator tries to ask out a little blonde-haired girl and gets the title response. By the third verse, she's now the mother of their boy, who asks innocently, "mommy, will you marry me?"


Newspaper Comics

  • The Family Circus had a comic where one of the little boys said something like, "When I grow taller than Mommy, I'm gonna marry her!"


Video Games

  • In Fire Emblem 7, this shows up with Priscilla and her long lost brother Raven. At first it seems she wants him to deliver on his Childhood Marriage Promise, but as early as their first support she admits she knows they can't really be together and only wishes to stay by his side.
  • Comes up in both Persona 3 and 4. In the former, Maiko, a girl that the Main Character can Social Link with will declare her intent to marry the protagonist if he maxes her out (in the Expansion Pack her father will accuse you of pulling Wife Husbandry on purpose). In the latter, the protagonist's seven-year-old cousin will state how she wishes to marry him at the end of the game before he goes back to the city, with her father laughing it off but also not-so subtly stating that he's against such a union (Unless the player also managed to max his social link, in which case her father's objection is that she's too young. He has no problem with them getting married when she's an adult).
  • Hatsukoi the half translated visual novel Anzu fills out a marriage license and has her brother sign it when they're kids. This is the start of her route when he finds it and realizes she's treasured it for years.


Western Animation


Other

  • There's a joke in which a young boy announces to his father that when he grows up, he wants to marry Grandma. The father, aghast, replies, "You can't marry my mother!", to which the boy asks, "Then why did you marry my mother?"
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