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Walking is for schmucks. Luckily, some people are rich enough to employ (or compel) schmucks to do the walking for them!

A character tends to travel everywhere in a sedan chair, litter or palanquin, or is otherwise propelled by the leg power of other people. This is evidence for their wealth and power, and depending on the setting can also indicate laziness, pettiness or both. If it crosses over (as it often does) with Adipose Rex, it may be implied that the king is actually unable to walk, at least not very far.

May be a case of the Ermine Cape Effect if they only do it when they're trying to look regal, rather than every day.

Truth in Television for a long time before cars came along, as horse-drawn carriages weren't always practical but powerful people didn't want to be seen walking around like normal people. Of course, riding in a palanquin had advantages during time periods where the central sewage system ran down the middle of the road. Rickshaws are a slightly more Boring but Practical variation still around today.

Can involve a Road Trip Across the Street.

Examples of Too Important to Walk include:


Anime & Manga

  • One of One Piece's World Nobles makes his debut sitting on the back of slave who's crawling on his hands and knees. And to show what a prick he is, the Noble complains how slow it is.


Comics

  • In Asterix, chief Vitalstatistix is carried by two shield bearers. Frequent Running Gags are made of the facts that he's rather overweight and his bearers are of different heights.
    • And then there's the additional Running Gag in which he falls off the shield for some reason at least once per story.
    • There was one story where Vitalstatistix's shield bearers quit, and he appointed Asterix and Obelix as their replacements. Since the height difference between them is even greater than the usual shield bearers', this didn't work out so well.
    • Also, whenever Cleopatra suddenly shows up some place, she's always sitting on a gigantic golden sphinx-shaped chair on wheels pulled by slaves flanked by dancers and trumpeters. She has at least once referred to one such appearance as "dropping by incognito".
    • A chief of a Gallo-Roman village also has a pair of shield-bearers. When he turns his back on someone, the shield-bearers also turn so that they may leave - which leaves him facing the person he turned his back on.


Films -- Animation

  • In the Hayao Miyazaki film of Howls Moving Castle, the super-sized Witch of the Waste rides around town in a sedan chair carried by two magically-created mooks. This works well until she's summoned to the palace, and the mooks cross a magical barrier disabling them... at the bottom of a huge flight of stairs.
  • In Shrek Forever After, the Pied Piper arrives being carried by rats.
  • In Kung Fu Panda, when Po is crowned the Dragon Warrior, he is hoisted up in a jiao and carried to the Jade Palace. The liter is several sizes too small for him, and his butt breaks through almost immediately.
  • In The Emperors New Groove, Yzma is carried in a little tent on Kronk's back.
  • In Cars 2, the leaders of the Lemon clans don't risk putting miles on their substandard engines, but are instead towed everywhere they go.
  • Theodore is given the litter treatment by a South Pacific bush tribe in The Chipmunk Movie. Then Alvin and Simon learn the bush tribe is going to sacrifice him.
  • The diminutive mob bosses in The Triplets of Belleville are carried wedged between their bodyguards.
  • The King of Fools gets carried in a sedan on The Hunchback of Notre Dame. When Quasimodo is crowned the new King, the old King is unceremoniously tossed out of his chair and Quasi dropped in his place.


Films -- Live Action

  • The Three Musketeers 1973: Constance Bonacieux ends up pressed against a sedan chair and exposing her huge... tracts of land through the window, to the delight of the man inside.
  • Xerxes in Three Hundred doesn't just have slaves to carry him, he even uses them as a staircase up to his litter.
    • One of his subordinates has one, but it's not nearly as large.
  • Master Blaster in Mad Max is an odd version: Master piggybacks everywhere on the shoulders of Giant Mook Blaster.
    • Unlike most examples of this trope, Master genuinely cares for Blaster.
    • It's also like the Goblin/Ogre pairing from Warcraft in the Video Games section: Master is much smarter and more tactically adept, but Blaster has more raw brawn than Master could ever hope to posses.
  • Lt. Robin Crusoe, U.S.N. has Wednesday's despot father carried across the beach on a four-mook sedan chair like this.

 Wednesday: What Daddy doing now?

Crusoe: (through binoculars, sees a litter bearer stumble; Daddy whacks him with a club, and another litter bearer replaces him) Changing a tire.

  • In the not-quite-a-Monty Python film Jabberwocky, the two villain-merchants are borne on litters as they talk business to each other; but they constantly move at slightly different speeds, each trying to take the lead, causing the merchants each to constantly prod their litter-bearers to keep up with the other, to the point of running -- eventually spilling them both.
  • In The Bank Dick, W.C. Fields talks his way into taking over the job of a falling-down-drunk movie director. Being carried around in a sedan chair is apparently one of the job perks.


Literature

  • In the Elenium trilogy by David Eddings, Otha, the Emperor of Zemoch, is an immortal graced with unimaginable magic powers by his god. He's also lazy and stupid, and over the millennia of his existence has morphed into something that is described as being roughly analogous to Jabba the Hutt in appearance. Otha can't even walk; he has to be carried around on a litter by slaves.
  • Seen several times in Discworld:
    • In Feet of Clay, the Patrician gives Vimes a sedan chair as a wedding present, which he is obligated to use. This is something of a double insult, as Vimes both loves walking (it helps him concentrate) and hates the idea of nobility being above the common people. Naturally, the one time it's seen, Vimes tells one of the servants to get in and carries the chair himself.
    • It's mentioned in The Fifth Elephant and Thud! that the dwarf grags ride in closed palanquins, borne by trolls. Officially this is due to them being unused to, and mistrustful of, sunlight, but it also sends a clear signal about their social status.
  • One bad guy in Redwall was a ferret so very fat he had to be carried around by non-vermin slaves on a palanquin. When the heroes came in and killed the guards, the slaves marched the palanquin into the water and came out, the ferret's last words being "I cannot svim, I cannot svim!"
  • In The Horse and His Boy, Calormene nobles are carried in sedan chairs. Later, in The Silver Chair, the giantess Queen of Harfang goes hunting carried on a litter.
  • Some nobles in the Gor series.
  • The Star Wars Expanded Universe holds that Hutts start off relatively muscular and svelte, becoming progressively fatter and less mobile as they grow in power. At some point they stop slithering and ride repulsorlift sleds to get around.
    • The Phantom Menace sees trade baron Nute Gunray moving around in a throne-like chair with automated robotic spider legs.
  • In The Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer plays with this trope through the Small Name, Big Ego version of Chanticleer the rooster from "The Tale of the Nun's Priest":

 "He looked as it were a grim lion,

And on his toes he roamed up and down;

He deigned not to set his feet to ground..."

  • In James Clavell's Shogun, all of the important female characters (and not a small number of the important male characters) traveled this way when going long distances.
  • The dark Sidhe Aurelia occasionally travels by sedan chair in the Doubled Edge novels. In her case, it's because steering the slaves via magical torture produces more magical power than she's expending.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • The High Septon of Kings Landing in A Clash of Kings is said to be too fat to walk, and is carried in a litter everywhere. This backfires on him when he's caught in a bread riot.
    • Both Walder Frey and Doran Martell travel by litter for health reasons - the former is ninety-one, the latter has gout.

Live Action TV

  • In a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch, a nobleman is carried to the seashore in a sedan chair, gets out and is disrobed by the bearers, gets back in and is then carried into the ocean for his swim.
  • T'Pau from the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Amok Time" is carried to Spock's wedding in a sedan chair.
  • In Power Rangers RPM, we see (in a flashback) that Summer (initially a Rich Bitch) forced her butler to carry her part of the way to Corinth, despite the former being a healthy teenager/young adult, and the latter an old man. She even complains that they need to stop so she can take a rest. Eventually, even she realizes how insufferable she is and starts walking on her own feet.


Pro Wrestling

  • Several wrestlers bearing the title of 'King' would make their way to the ring on a litter carried by jobbers, ranging from King Mabel to Randy Savage.


Tabletop Games

  • Several in Warhammer;
    • Dwarf kings are fond of being carried on shields a la Vitalstatistix. Thorgrim Grudgebearer, the High King, is carried around on his throne, as tradition demands that he only be allowed to sit on his throne.
    • In old editions, Slann were carried by their Praetorian Guard (before they remembered they're telekinetic and upgraded to floating thrones).
    • Champions and Daemonic heralds of Nurgle in Warhammer and Warhammer 40000 are occasionally gifted with palanquins carried by a mass of tiny Daemons called Nurglings.
    • Ogre character Greasus Goldtooth rides in a palanquin carried by gnoblars. Lots and lots of gnoblars. Bonus points for actually having the rule "Too rich to walk".
    • In their latest armybook the Skaven have also found this trope. Now their warlords can ride to the battlefield on top of a Rat Ogre, a gigantic plague ridden rat or a shield carried by slaves and guarded by his personal elite. Not to mention their Grey Seers, who can ride to battle on top of a gigantic church bell wagon pushed by normal rank-and-file skaven, or their Plague Priests who replace the bell with a sphere filled with burning raw chaos stuff. This can potentially kill the unit pushing it, so only the most devoted (and insane) skaven can do it.


Theater

  • In Anyone Can Whistle, Cora Hoover Hooper, the mayoress, is usually carried on a litter by four young men (her "boys"). When Hapgood arrives and turns the town toward him, the boys carry him on the litter instead, which is part of Cora's motivation to get rid of him.


Video Games

  • The Goblin Alchemist unit in Warcraft 3 rides an Ogre. Less laziness and more a mutually beneficial arrangement, as the ogre has melee power the goblin can never hope to achieve, while goblin can hurl his potions and give the ogre more sensible commands.
  • King Dedede enters the stage in Super Smash Brothers Brawl being borne on a palanquin by an army of Waddle Dees.
  • In Ocarina of Time, Link is sent to rescue Ruto and the Zora's Sapphire from Jabu-Jabu's belly, but she makes him carry her throughout the whole dungeon. Players can take out their frustration with her by throwing her around like a clay pot, and she even becomes a necessary game mechanic by serving as a weight to trip switches throughout the area.
  • Mondu in Black Sigil.
  • In the opening scene of Diablo II: Lord of Destruction, Baal is carried on a massive litter by his soldiers when he parleys with a herald.
  • During the credits parade of Super Mario RPG, Valentina's float is carried by her fateful stooge, Dodo. When Dodo stops to catch his breath, Valentina Dope Slaps him.
  • In Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow, Soma Cruz (the reincarnation of Dracula) gets an attack which is this. He's being carried on a litter by skeletal servants, and the entire vehicle causes damage to any enemy in its path.


Western Animation

  • Futurama: As an Affectionate Parody of the Star Trek example, the ruler of Zoidberg's planet had a sedan chair made of a giant clamshell.
  • ~Avatar: The Last Airbender~: Fire Nation royals travel by palanquin within the capital city. Even when they're just going next door, and would rather walk. Must maintain appearances, don't you know.
  • On The Fairly Odd Parents, the Pixies claim their ability to grant Flappy Bob's wishes comes from incredible wealth, and their ability to float is because "walking is for poor people."
    • On the episode "Remy Rides Again", Remy tried to make Timmy too happy to need Fairy Godparents so he'd lose Cosmo and Wanda. To accomplish this, Remy shared with Timmy the perks of being a spoiled child. One of those perks was taking a limo from the school yard to the classroom. Remy stated walking was for poor people without wealthy friends.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Lucius is occasionally carried around by his Minotaurs, and in the second season opening he's seen being carried by Samy. One episode had Jez being carried into a party as well.
  • In Planet Sheen, the Emperor is usually carried around by one of his Giant Mook guards when he needs to go anywhere. In his defense, the Emperor is so little (an average imperial guard can carry him in the palm of one hand) that it's probably much more practical this way.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory episode "Ego Trip," Mandark created a Bad Future by stealing Dexter's Neurotomic Stabilizer and reversing its polarity. He became so obese he needed machines to transport him wherever he wanted and/or needed to go.
  • Ganon rarely ventures into Hyrule himself in the animated The Legend of Zelda, because his power is stronger when he remains in his own underworld. He risks it a few times, however; in the episode "The Ringer," in which he enters a magicians' competition in disguise, he arrives on a palanquin borne by skeletons (who are also disguised, since that would be a bit of a giveaway).
  • On Recess, during the occasions when King Bob of the Playground is actually seen leaving his lofty perch, he's carried about on a palanquin-like conveyance.
  • In The Princess and the Po episode of Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, a small pig princess has servants carry her in a sedan chair, using them as Xerxes above to get in and out of it.


Real Life

  • Shieldbearers were used in Real Life, but like horned helmets and Bling of War, it was very rare, to celebrate victories and commemorate triumphs. It's basically the Ermine Cape Effect.
  • Roman nobility, at least as seen in I, Claudius. In Real Life, sedan chairs and litters could be hired by anyone who could afford the fare, and if middle class families could afford more than one or two slaves, chair-bearers were sometimes included in a household staff. When not bearing chairs, they would be employed at whatever other heavy lifting tasks the family needed.
  • One French general actually had himself carried around in a sedan chair while he directed the proceedings. In his case he was lame which is not only a pretty good excuse but has a bit of awesomeness to it.
    • That may have been the Marquis de Saxe, who also used a coach when he was not fit enough to ride, e.g. at the battle of Fontenoy, which his army won against the allied Austrians, British, Dutch and Hanoverians in 1745.
  • In the Musée de l'Armée at the Hôtel des Invalides in Paris you can see a sedan chair captured at the battle of Rocroi (1643). It belonged to the gout-ridden Spanish general, the Count of Fuentes, who died upon it, riddled with wounds. The winner of the battle, the Duke of Enghien (later the "Great Condé") is said to have said: "Had I not been able to win, I would wish to have died as he did."
  • Horses. Everywhere, since 3000 BC. Universal marker of nobility. The most stylish (and obviously expensive) way to move faster and stand taller than everyone else, and keep your feet out of the mud. And hey, what's more impressive to a bunch of plebes than a thousand-pound animal that can jump over your head?
    • The hilarious exception: Colonial Argentina, where horses were ubiquitous to the point where you might see beggars asking for change from the back of a horse.
  • To be honest, one can be a little more forgiving when one remembers that until recently the streets were the only public sanitary facility. Bearing that in mind, would you walk if you could afford to hire someone to carry you?
  • During the River of Doubt expedition organized by Theodore Roosevelt, one member of the party managed to piss Roosevelt off royally by demanding that he have some of their porters carry him in a sedan chair because "Indians were made to carry priests". Roosevelt repeatedly refused the demands, both out of respect for the porters and their commander and because it was a deeply inefficent use of manpower; when the priest kept requesting anyway, Roosevelt gathered the expedition's leaders, and they en masse forced him to go back to America.
  • Nepal's famous Kumari doesn't normally walk around (instead being carried), because she is supposed to be a vessel for the goddess Durga, and if she were to be injured (say, by tripping and scraping her knee) the goddess would leave her body.
  • In Jewish weddings, the bride and groom are carried around in chairs during the reception.
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