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And Now You Must Marry Me

And Now You Must Marry Me

Say I do, or Robin dies.
~ Mervin the Sheriff of Rottingham threatening to execute Robin Hood of Luxley if Maid Marian refuses during their unjust wedding.

The villain's evil plan is not always to take over the world or kill the hero. Their goal may be far more personal and sinister: he's going to force the heroine (the love interest of the main hero, or the main protagonist herself) to marry him. That depends on the story line.

This whole concept usually carries at least an implicit threat of rape when you think about it. It's an intensely personal threat to the heroine, one that plays up her femininity and vulnerability especially since the marriage is assumed to be permanent and irreversible.

If the heroine has a heroic male Love Interest as she usually does, it serves as a threat to his masculinity as well.

It also provides a convenient excuse for scenes where the villain puts the heroine in compromising positions and it can lead into all sorts of Wedding Tropes. Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace is almost mandatory.

Often, the villain is motivated by twisted affection or at least lust, but it can also just be about getting legal access to her money and property or to her title.

On the other hand, he might just be the kind of sick bastard who enjoys the idea of keeping someone trapped in a legally binding relationship that they find repulsive for the rest of their life.

Maybe the heroine herself is pretty much irrelevant, and it is really just about claiming ultimate victory over the hero by stealing his woman.

If the villain does this by kidnapping his desired bride, it is a subtrope of "I Have You Now, My Pretty". When combined with "Villainous Crush", it is also identified as "Abduction Is Love".

If he threatens someone else and offers to relent if the heroine agrees to marry him, that's the G-rated variant of the Scarpia Ultimatum. In cultures with Arranged Marriage, he might convince the heroine's parents or guardians to force her into marriage.

Evil sorcerers will use their powers to hypnotize the princess in most stories. The villain might even attempt to trick the heroine into unwittingly doing something that counts as a legally binding wedding.

Female antagonists who use this trope are much less common than male examples, and are usually portrayed a bit differently.

They are almost always motivated by a villainous crush (since Villainesses Want Heroes) and may even verge on being a really unstable Abhorrent Admirer rather than an outright villain.

For some reason, female golddiggers are more likely to rely on seduction rather than coercion. Their male victims are also much more likely to foil the villainess's plan on their own while female victims almost always have to be rescued by their male love interests.

Examples

  • Aladdin: The evil sorcerer Jafar tries to force Jasmine to marry him in Aladdin by hypnotizing her father with his Snake Staff so that he will set up an arranged marriage. It was not entirely clear why he does not just Hypnotize the Princess; her father's rather weak-willed, and Jasmine is definitely not, so this way might have just been easier. (Even the Sultan does manage to snap out of Jafar's hypnosis on his own at least once.) This example is somewhat unique in that Jafar is really using her as a way to become Sultan of Agrabah. In fact, Jafar's original plan was to simply kill both Jasmine and the Sultan once the marriage had been carried out. Though Jafar was not above creeping on Jasmine after she thought Aladdin was dead and even asks Genie to make her fall in love with him when she was being defiant.
    • In the 2019 remake of Aladdin, Jafar forces Jasmine to marry him by threatening to kill her father and Dalia just to make her suffer.
  • Beauty and the Beast: The arrogant brute Gaston uses the "Scarpia Ultimatum" version on Belle when her father Maurice is going to be committed to an insane asylum. It did not work.
  • The Little Mermaid: The sinister sea witch Ursula in a beautiful human form called Vanessa hypnotizes Prince Eric. This is partly to prevent Ariel from fulfilling her bargain of making Eric fall in love with her in three days, and partly out of spite.
  • Robin Hood: Men in Tights: The snobbish Sheriff of Rottingham (whose real name is "Mervin") threatens to execute the brave Robin of Luxley by hanging before the the eyes of the fair Maid Marian at the wedding in Prince John's Castle should she ever refused to say "I do" to him. However, the plan failed when the Merry Men along with many recruited Nottingham villagers came to the rescue and rebelled against Prince John, but that did not stop the Sheriff from taking Maid Marian hostage in one of the castle's towers and unsuccessfully attempting to break open her Everlast chastity belt in order to try to "deflower" her. This failed plan and eventual defeat by Robin Hood's hands (with the hero's sword accidently impaled him in the stomach) led the greedy Prince John's not-so pretty soothsaying witch Latrine to give the dying Sheriff a choice; either take her crafted magic pill that quickly revitalize him and marry Latrine or risk death. And he soon takes the pill and sadly become hers forever.
  • In The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina, the Mole King tries to marry Thumbelina and fails.
  • The evil penguin Drake from The Pebble and the Penguin demands that Marina choose him as a husband during the mating ritual, or go to a watery grave ("Right this way to the Drake estate / or write your epitaph!").
  • The Swan Princess: The villainous enchanter Rothbart once tried to take Princess Odette's kingdom by force, but it did not work out so well. So he kidnaps Odette and turns her into a swan every time the moon sets until she agrees to marry him and give him a legal claim to the throne. That does not really go his way either.
  • Beetlejuice: The mischievous titular ghost's ultimate goal is to marry teenaged Lydia (a move that "has Squick written all over it"), because this will apparently allow him to stay in the world of the living indefinitely.
  • Super Mario Bros.: In the Super Mario franchise, Bowser's schemes, more often than not, were made to forcibly marry Princess Peach, both to consummate his control over the Mushroom Kingdom and gain victory for the Koopa Kingdom and to be with his villainous crush.
  • Sword Art Online: Nobuyuki Sugou was in an arranged marriage with Asuna Yuuki in order to inherit her father's company. However, he was extremely deranged, sadistic and a psychopathic god-wannabe who viewed his rival Akihiko Kayaba as someone who had claimed Godhood with his virtual game. So he planned on becoming the God of his own Virtual Reality game, and arranged to have Asuna's mind be kidnapped while escaping from Kayaba's game and imprisoned in his own game(Which he put his own mind in) where she would marry him and become his queen. However, Asuna had already fallen in love with fellow gamer Kirito, so Sugou viewed Kirito as a rival and planned to kill him, while torturing and raping Asuna in order to break her into marrying her.
  • Lemony Snicket's A Serie's of Unfortunate Events: Count Olaf tries to make Violet marry him for her family's fortune, stating that if she refuses, he will kill her sister Sunny.
  • Gulliver's Travels: After exposing Gulliver as a lair and banishing him to "the island where we dare not go", General Edward intends to force Princess Mary to marry him.
  • The Breadwinner: When Idrees looks at his teacher's daughter, Parvana along with Nurullah, he asked him how old is she, because he's about to look for a wife to marry, soon. But, he told him that she's too young to marry and already made a promise to someone else. When Idrees' rejected, he told or forced Nurullah to cover herself properly but he told him to stop looking at Parvana. So, Idrees got furious when he thinks he's insulted by his teacher.

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