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"The man has carried me since I was five years old. It's my turn."
— Emperor Gregor Vorbarra (regarding Aral Vorkosigan), Cryoburn
As the Evil Chancellor is plotting to control the kingdom by usurping power, the Good Chancellor serves his kingdom or nation with utmost fervour. He follows the King's orders to the letter if the king is noble, and he tries to mitigate the suffering of his people if the king's intentions are of the bad kind. Rarely would he be seen actively opposing the King's actions, since as a Lawful Good person, he must not let ideas like rebellion or jealousy get in the way of running the kingdom in the king's name. This often does not sit well with some rebels, who see him as a moderate who must lose his head for being a supposed Yes-Man to the king they want on a pike. Unless of course the King cuts his head off first, in which case the rebels might see him as a martyr or a cautionary tale against using words against tyrants.
When meeting the heroes, he, not the king, is usually the true person who has information about the situation at hand. The king may know of the secrets, but the Chancellor knows the best answer for them.
In terms of the ranks of Authority Tropes, the tropes that are equal are The Caligula, Evil Chancellor, Standard Royal Court and Deadly Decadent Court. The next step down is The Brigadier. The next steps up are The Evil Prince, Prince Charming, Prince Charmless, Warrior Prince, The Wise Prince, and all Princess Tropes.
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Anime & Manga
- Mizuki Kamurougi from Kagerou-Nostalgia is the fiancée of Princess Mio XI and her Prime Minister in all but name. He's a cold-blooded self-admitted Manipulative Bastard who doesn't particularly care about hurting anybody's feelings and sees emotion and empathy as weaknesses, yet there's no denying that he's effective at his post, and is not only completely loyal to the Princess, but despite his protestations to the contrary, genuinely in love with her. When she dies Mizuki takes over the reins of the kingdom, and has no trouble earning the loyalty of the population.
- The kirin of The Twelve Kingdoms are ostensibly this. Subverted though due to their Stupid Good natures. Good rulers learn when to heed their kirin and when to disregard their advice because compassion alone cannot administer a nation.
- In Tsukiuta, Haru is generally this to Hajime, the "Black King", but in Rabbits Kingdom, where Hajime is the actual king of the Black Rabbits Kingdom, Haru has this role. In the White Rabbits Kingdom, however, Kai is the king, not Shun, but when Shun and Hajime are cursed together, Kai and Haru's reactions mirror each other even though Kai is the king.
- In The Basalt City Chronicles, Priest-Emperor Zaykar and the Guardian of the Crown Lord Kosgan do not get along well, at least on the surface. However, Lord Kosgan is actually utterly loyal to the Empire; his friction with the somewhat younger Priest-Emperor was originally to make sure that the Empire got a strong ruler
The Lunar Rebellion appears to set up Sunbeam Sparkle as an Evil Chancellor at first, what with her ruthless pragmatism, love of Loophole Abuse and dislike for Princess Celestia's gentler touch. However, she remains loyal to Celestia throughout the story, making her more of a Token Evil Teammate, and she becomes responsible for several of the heroes' victories.
- When Princess Celestia has urgent business in Ponyville in Green, she asks Princess Luna's Beleaguered Assistant Midnight Oil to hold down the fort as her Regent for the night. When the events of that night leave Celestia mostly de-powered, Regent Midnight Oil comes into his own as The Good Chancellor and Number Two to Princess Luna while Celestia recovers.
Films — Animated
- In The Magic Voyage, that unnamed scary pale guy lurking behind the king's throne may be an intentional subversion of the Evil Chancellor or an Aborted Arc. Either way, despite his shady appearance all he ever does is try to calm the king down and warn him not to trust Columbus, both of which are good things to say given Columbus' portrayal in the movie.
- In Aladdin: The Return of Jafar, Aladdin is promoted to Vizier in Jafar's place. It should be noted that the viewer could easily miss this point, since he spends the rest of the movie, the TV series, and the sequel just battling villains and monsters instead of governmental work.
Films — Live-Action
- The Grand Vizier in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad has taken over the running of the city since the death of the old caliph and wears a golden mask to hide a face hideously scarred by fire. He is also, however, brave, noble and wise, and a true companion to Sinbad throughout the adventure.
- General Afir in Mom and Dad Save the World. He is notable in that, while his evil boss (along with everyone else on the planet) is an idiot, he's reasonably competent and isn't all that interested in destroying the Earth.
- In The Lord of the Rings, the Stewards of Gondor have as their proudest boast that they never made themselves kings, and ruled the city strictly in the name of the King until an heir to the throne returned. Even Denethor, as crazy as he was, never tried to claim the throne.
- It is stated that Denethor was and remained The Good Chancellor, despite being almost completely overcome with grief and despair in his final days, brought on by the stress of holding together a state in decline, combined with the despair brought on by the death of his wife and oldest son, as well as Sauron's lies. Even at the very end, though, he showed himself an excellent statesman and soldier, preparing as best he could for war, though he did not hope for victory. For example, the attack against Osgiliath, portrayed in the movies as suicidal, was in fact a brilliantly timed counterattack that took advantage of the enemy's bottleneck (crossing the Anduin river) and the fact that the forces that had crossed had were forced to fan out to secure the city. The counterattack ended up buying Minas Tirith time to prepare, and time to evacuate the civilian population of the land surrounding Minas Tirith (the city itself had long since been evacuated). Perhaps most importantly, Denethor was actually stronger than Saruman, an angelic being, in that he managed to use the palantír extensively without actually being corrupted, though he was not able to control it, allowing Sauron to show him images of unassailable strength, which contributed to his despair.
- The Rivan Warders, always named Brand, are a deliberate homage to this in David Eddings's The Belgariad.
- Though he has no desire to take the throne, he refused to bow down to Aragorn.
Gandalf: Authority is not given to you to deny the return of the king, Steward.
Denethor: The rule of Gondor is mine! And no other's!
- He doesn't consider Aragorn to be the true heir though, since the Council of Gondor ruled out Isildur's line from having a right to the throne long ago. Denethor conveniently ignores that Aragorn is Anárion's heir as well, though through the female line by marriage, not a direct male-line descendant. Denethor also ignores that, without Aragorn's tenuous relation, the House of Anárion is extinct (though the Kings of Rohan are distantly related), and Aragorn, as Isildur's heir, is also the heir of Elendil, who founded both kingdoms and fathered both Isildur and Anárion, giving him by far the strongest claim to the throne of Gondor, to the point where he is the only viable candidate.
I am Steward of the House of Anárion. I will not step down to be the dotard chamberlain of an upstart. Even were his claim proved to me, still he comes but of the line of Isildur. I will not bow to such a one, last of a ragged house long bereft of lordship and dignity. [ROTK- The Pyre of Denethor]
- In the original Arabian Nights stories, Jafar, vizier to the Caliph Harun al-Rashid, is portrayed as one of these.
Romance of the Three Kingdoms has a few of these:
- Chen Gong is this to Lü Bu, always trying to give him good advice and staying loyal to him even after his death.
- Wang Yun to Emperor Xian
- Zhuge Liang to Liu Bei.
- In Interesting Times, Twoflower ends up as the Prime Minister of the Agatean Empire, replacing an evil chancellor, despite not knowing what to do. Discworld runs on narrativium (the implication is that someone who did know about it would become evil), but luckily Twoflower is Wrong Genre Savvy: he thinks he's in a heroic fantasy, not a Crapsack World satire.
- He does end up betraying his monarch, but he has a very good reason for that: if he doesn't, there is a very large risk that the world will end.
- The Enchanted Forest Chronicles: Willin the elf. He's perhaps overly fond of tradition and ceremonies—he insists on referring to the king as "Your Majesty" even in private, and his greatest pleasure is organizing elaborate formal occasions—but he's fiercely loyal and keeps the castle administration running smoothly.
- In L. Frank Baum's Land of Oz series, the Scarecrow takes up this position for Ozma.
- Kaliko was this to the Nome King for some time until Ruggedo was dethroned and Kaliko Offered the Crown in his place. He was portrayed as much more competent than his boss and consistently had the best interests of his kingdom at heart, although aside from one Pet the Dog moment towards Betsy, he was pretty neutral towards the heroes.
- In Robert E. Howard's King Kull stories, Kull's vizier Tu fits this trope, helping the mighty but savage warrior navigate the dangerous complexities of royal tradition and Valusia's Deadly Decadent Court.
A Song of Ice and Fire: This series likes to remind us that Good doesn't necessarily mean Nice. And, that being a competent ruler who's directorship proves good for the realm... might not mean being on Team Good (let alone Team Nice) for that matter, either.
Stark: What do you want from me?
Varys: I want you to serve the realm.
- Kevan Lannister is the loyal lieutenant to his ruthless brother Tywin, de facto ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. Unlike his brother, he is a good and honest man, though not very assertive, and too willing to carry out Tywin's darker commands such as burning the Riverlands. However, in A Dance with Dragons, he has to become regent and Hand for the underage King after every other viable Lannister candidate is dead, disgraced, or otherwise unavailable, and he proves to be nearly as capable as Tywin and far kinder about it. He's so good, in fact, that he might be the one man who could keep the Lannister regime from falling apart. This is why Varys has him murdered, because Varys wants the realm to keep decaying until the Targaryens can return to retake the throne.
- Ser Davos Seaworth is a loyal Hand to Stannis and an honorable man, but his lower class background means he never recieved the kind of training in politics some others of his position have had. He tries his best to advise Stannis, but he makes it clear in his point-of-view chapters that he is struggling all the way. Maester Pylos attempts to get through to him that having a noble background isn't necessarily needed to govern well, since an education can't always give a ruler common sense (citing Septon Barth as Hand of the King as an example) — and, it's hard to not agree with Pylos, considering the utter failures who, nonetheless, had good educations on paper, but who still turned out to be terrible Hands (not looking at you, Lord Otto Hightower). Davos still worries.
- In The Hedge Knight, Prince Baelor Breakspear is a straight example until he's accidentally killed in a Trial Of Seven by his brother Maekar.
- Paul Kidd's Talking Animal novel The Fangs Of Kaath, has the Grand Vizier of the Kingdom of Osra, who is seemingly the only good-hearted member of the court apart from Prince Raschid. In fact, given that the Shah is callously indifferent to his own son, the Vizier is effectively much more a father to the naive prince than his biological one. Even Raschid's love, the cynical Sandhri, is the first to defend the Vizier when Raschid suspects him of jailing her without cause. When the villains magically drive him to his death, Raschid learns he is singled out for an inheritance, but his only request is the honor of carrying his beloved friend's ashes to his tomb at the funeral.
- Just about every First Counselor or person of equivalent rank is this in the Safehold series. Largely because the rulers of Safehold's kingdoms are typically smart enough to get good people into the position and both ruler and chancellor are concerned for their kingdom's well being.
- In the Vorkosigan Saga, Lord Admiral Aral Vorkosigan was appointed Regent for five-year-old Emperor Gregor, serving loyally for fifteen years when most of his enemies thought he would make a grab for the throne. Upon Gregor's ascension to the throne, he stepped down and continued in the role as the Emperor's Prime Minister. The page quote is Gregor's explanation for why he insisted on being one of the pallbearers at Aral's funeral.
- Prime Minister Allen Summervale, Duke of Cromarty in the Honor Harrington universe. Even though the queen becomes more and more involved in politics, it is Cromarty who steers the Star Kingdom of Manticore through much of the First Havenite War. When he is killed in an assassination attempt on the queen, it puts the realm in a major crisis.
- Darien Serlast essentially runs the Kingdom of Welce in Elemental Blessings. He himself admits that he doesn't like it, but his personality will not let him put aside any burden that has been placed on his shoulders. His competency and loyalty are the reasons why the Primes are considering making him the king to resolve the Succession Crisis
The Giver: The titular Giver's role in the Community is to advise them well based on the memories he's received.
- Both Joseph and Daniel in The Bible, as well as Mordaci who replaces Haman after his downfall.
- Grimble in Myth Adventures, while engaging in power struggles with General Badaxe, has no desire to rule. He's an adversary of the protagonists primarily because the protagonists are trying to shake down the kingdom for every gold piece in the treasury and Grimble is trying to stop them.
- In Mika Waltari's The Wanderer, Suleiman the Magnificent's vizier Ibrahim seems like this, but is shown to be the sultan's only friend and politically capable. He is somewhat ruthless, but apart from the main character, so is everyone else in the book.
Live Action TV
Religion And Mythology
- Archduke Norris in Traveller.
- In one sample campaign in GURPS Arabian Nights, there is an NPC whom everyone thinks is an Evil Chancellor but is really a Good Chancellor.
- There's also a description of how to make a good vizier in the character creation section, but with a caveat that the Evil Grand Vizier is an expected trope of the genre...
- In the past of Warhammer 40,000, Malcador the Sigillite. The Emperor's right-hand man and regent when away from Terra, he is the greatest politician, administrator, and (non-Physical God) human psyker of all time, as the Emperor is the greatest everything elsenote Except for eater and drinker, where the title of greatest goes to the Emperor's son Leman Russ.
- In Rocket Age they are less common than their counterparts amongst the Martian ruling caste, but they do exist. Danny Hatfield, human prince of J'lkarine has a very loyal courtesan named Gavat who functions as one.
- In Changeling: The Lost, the Office of Vizieral Council is an Eldritch Order dedicated to this trope, whose members make a magically binding Pledge to serve their rulers faithfully as chancellors and Court Mages. However, most changeling Freeholds have a rotating group of seasonal rulers, who might be mortal enemies, and a Vizier is required to serve each one faithfully in turn...
- In Fallout 3, Scribe Rothchild can be seen as the Good Chancellor to the Lyon's Pride. He is the one who knows about the nitty gritty details of fighting the Enclave.
- Senior Council Member McClure served in most regards as this to First Citizen Lynette of Vault City in Fallout 2. He is one of the most prominent politicians of Vault City, behind only the First Citizen herself. He is also much less bigoted, and more willing to listen to reason. It is publically known that he butts heads with her repeatedly, though.
- Magistrate Lasselle in Star Ocean: Till the End of Time. He's generally a jerk, but only has the kingdom's best interests in mind.
- There are two in Chrono Trigger, but they're both kidnapped and replaced with an evil doppelganger.
- Apus Major in Dragon Quest IX. Although Zenus and Celestria are the two technical leaders of the Celestrians, they have long since disappeared. Apus Major leads the Celestrians in their stead, but fortunately he is extremely loyal to the gods and a generally fair-minded ruler.
- Although he's part of a board of directors instead of a royal court, Reeve Tuesti of Final Fantasy VII fits this role to a T. He struggles for a while between following orders and doing what's best for the people of his city and the world at large, and eventually chooses to be on the side of the good guys.
The Elder Scrolls
- The Psijic Order, a powerful Magical Society and the oldest monastic order in Tamriel, serve as advisors to the leaders of Tamriel and consider it a sacred duty which they call "seliffrnsae," meaning "grave and faithful counsel". During times of extreme turmoil, particularly when their powerful magical knowledge may be sought after by malevolent forces, the Order has been known to withdraw entirely from outside affairs, right up to making their home island disappear without a trace. Despite this typical benevolence, they have also been ignored by Tamriellic leaders. For example, Emperor Uriel V ignored their warnings and led a disastrous failed invasion of Akavir. Afterward, the Order withdrew from serving in this position and became so suspect in the eyes of the Empire that their ambassadors were barred from entering the Imperial City.
- Ocato served Emperor Uriel Septim VII, and later his bastard son Martin, as both High Chancellor of the Elder Council and as Imperial Battlemage. After the events of the Oblivion Crisis leave no Septim on the Imperial throne for the first time in centuries, Ocato took over as Potentate in accordance with the Imperial Elder Council Charter after exhausting all other alternatives. For the next ten years, Ocato successfully held the fracture Empire together. Unfortunately for the Empire, (and the rest of Tamriel in general), Ocato was so good at keeping the peace that the Thalmor had him assassinated in an attempt to destabilize the Empire and make way for the rebirth of the Aldmeri Dominion. The power of the Dominion would wax in the decades leading up to the Great War and the events of Skyrim while the power of the Third Empire would wane to the point of becoming a true Vestigial Empire.
- The Warden can become one to whomever becomes ruler of Ferelden at the end of Dragon Age: Origins.
- While he's technically the seneschal of Vigil's Keep, Varel functions as this trope in Dragon Age: Origins – Awakening. Prior to the start of the story, Varel was imprisoned by Arl Rendon Howe for attempting to counteract the worst of his lord's atrocities. When the Grey Wardens are awarded the arling of Amaranthine, he is re-appointed as seneschal and is a helpful ally.
Dragon Age II, if played from a save file that saw Alistair become Ferelden's ruler, can have Hawke encounter said sovereign in a small quest during Act 3. Also appearing in the scene is Bann Teagan, brother to the Arl of Redcliffe, who has apparently become this trope.
- By the time of Dragon Age: Inquisition, Bann Teagan has succeeded his brother and become the Arl of Redcliffe, but the Trespasser DLC indicates that he's serving as this for either of the possible rulers of Ferelden.
- The Chancellor of Figaro, in Final Fantasy VI, seems to be this in the few appearances he makes.
- Sabato from Shining the Holy Ark was the most trusted royal adviser before Evil Chancellor Rilix turned up. While still loyal to the king, who is making increasingly odd decisions, he helps/manipulates the main characters to save the kingdom.
- Chancellor Eamon from the Diablo series stayed in Tristram and tried his best to save what lives he could when the Darkening was going down. Unfortunately, the people viewed him as having some kind of hand in King Leoric being driven mad (though Lazarus was more to blame for that than anything else), resulting in his death when Leoric fell.
- Impa from The Legend of Zelda is portrayed as always looking out for the best interests of Princess Zelda and the Kingdom of Hyrule. Occasionally, she is even shown as a Parental Substitute for Zelda. Even in Skyward Sword, where Zelda is not a princess and there is no Kingdom of Hyrule, she still manages to fulfill the same role.
- Cristo/Kiryl in Dragon Quest IV / Dragon Warrior IV is completely loyal (and has a crush on his kingdom's princess, which doesn't hurt the loyalty thing one bit).
Girl Genius: Vanamonde von Mekkhan has, after taking up the mantle of seneschal to House Heterodyne from his grandfather, proven himself to be a capable administrator, organiser, spymaster and tactician, and completely devoted to the welfare of the House Heterodyne and the people of Mechanicsburg. His grandfather Carson served both Saturnus Heterodyne and Saturnus' sons Bill and Barry with similar skill and loyalty, but given the elder Heterodyne's character (not to mention Carson's youthful days as a volunteer in said elder Heterodyne's marauding horde) it's a bit unclear where on the Good-Evil axis he falls.
- In Rice Boy, the Grand Vizier of Satuar is far more intelligent, level-headed, and kinder to Rice Boy than the Prince is.
- In War Planets (AKA Shadow Raiders), the Grand Vizier of Planet Fire is a narrow-minded, obstructionist xenophobe. However, he is utterly devoted to his prince and the people of Fire. He even goes so far as to make a Heroic Sacrifice. He does make a reappearance afterwards where he tries to get them eaten by the Beast Planet, but like Chrono Trigger, it's an evil replica, not the real Vizier.
- The Rocky and Bullwinkle story centered on the Ruby Yacht of Omar Khayyam features a Grand Vizier who looks the part and schemes as much as any other, but he is in fact entirely loyal to the ruler of Jaipur and actually shows genuine concern for him. He's also not noticeably more bloodthirsty than the ruler himself, and only to the same people. (He also requires exposition about the titular Ruby Yacht early on, so maybe he's just new.)
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Hearth's Warming Eve", Twilight Sparkle and co. take part in a play about the founding of Equestria. Applejack's character is Smart Cookie, an advisor to Chancellor Puddinghead (played by Pinkie Pie) and much nicer (and more intelligent) than she is.
- Imhotep (believed to have lived between 2660 and 2600 BC), Chancellor to King Djoser of the Egyptian Third Dynasty, and was the first engineer, architect, and physician known to history by name. He was such a respected figure in Ancient Egypt he was deified and considered a god after his death, something usually reserved only to the Pharaohs. He even got a constellation note Ophiuchus the Serpent-Bearer, just north of Scorpius.. Pity about that Historical Villain Upgrade though...
- During the Cultural Revolution in China, Zhou Enlai, the Premier of the PRC and widely considered to be Mao's Number Two, used his authority to save artists, intellectuals, and ancient treasures from the bloodthirsty Red Guards. His adopted daughter getting persecuted and tortured to death by Red Guards might have partially motivated him in doing so.
- Henry VIII's Lord Chancellor Sir Thomas More might, or might not, be an example. He was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church for his refusal to ratify his king's breach with Catholicism, but he is regarded by some non-Catholics as a monster for his persecution of heretics when his king was still Catholic.
- A case can be made for Henry VIII's Secretary Thomas Cromwell and More's predecessor as Chancellor, Cardinal Wolsey — both were hated by pretty much everyone but they ran things pretty well for Henry. There's a reason Henry later regretted having Cromwell executed.
- Maio of Bari, the 'amiratus amiratorum' ('emir of emirs' or 'admiral of admirals') and Chancellor of Sicily in the 1150s, was either a Good Chancellor or an Evil Chancellor, depending on who you listen to. According to the mysterious chronicler known only as Hugo Falcandus, Maio made public speeches to the effect that if Sicily's king, William I, ordered anything barbarous or cruel, Maio would countermand the orders - making him a Good Chancellor. Amusingly, Falcandus uses these supposed speeches to illustrate that Maio was actually an Evil Chancellor, grasping after the king's power.
- The "Duke of Zhou" is practically a mythic figure out of Chinese history. He lived during the Early Zhou Dynasty and acted as steward to the imperial throne, stepping down after the emperor came of age despite his renown at court and the accepted fact that he could have usurped the throne with literally no difficulty and established his own dynasty. Confucius and nearly every Chinese historian and philosopher since have sung his praises for this expounding upon him as the perfect statesman.
- During the German recovery after World War II, West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer oversaw the "Miracle on the Rhine," basically salvaging his country's economy from the absolute wreck and ruin the Nazis left behind. The fact that he did it after the country had been sliced in half and in the face of the suspicion and enmity of most of the rest of the world only makes it more impressive.
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