And Now You Must Marry Me

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
No, Bowser...just no.

The villain's Evil Plan isn't just to take over the world, or to kill the hero. His goal is far more personal and sinister – he's going to force the heroine to marry him.

This is often a G-rated version of Rape as Drama – in fact, the whole concept usually carries at least an implicit threat of rape when you think about it. (This can be a common source of Fridge Horror for adults looking back on the many, many beloved works aimed at children that use the trope.) 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 TropesSpeak 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, property, or 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. Or maybe the heroine herself is pretty much irrelevant, and it's really just about claiming ultimate victory over the hero by stealing his woman.

If the villain does this by kidnapping his desired bride, it's a subtrope of I Have You Now, My Pretty; when combined with Villainous Crush, it's also 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. The villain might even attempt to trick the heroine into unwittingly doing something that counts as a legally binding wedding. (The Shotgun Wedding, where a third party forces the couple to marry, is only an example of this trope if one of them planned the whole thing.)

Female antagonists who use this trope are much less common than male examples, and are usually portrayed a bit differently. They're 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 Gold Diggers are more likely to rely on seduction rather than coercion. Their male victims are also much more likely to foil the villainess' plan on their own, while female victims almost always have to be rescued by their male love interests.

There is even a trope for the special Big Damn Heroes moment when it prevents this kind of marriage: Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace.

Related tropes: Villainous Crush; I Have You Now, My Pretty; Disposable Woman; Damsel in Distress; Hypnotize the Princess; The Baby Trap; Mad Love; Abhorrent Admirer; Abduction Is Love; Save the Princess. Often Truth in Television—in fact this one's a very old real-world practice—but it's way more depressing in Real Life.

No real life examples, please; Please limit any Real Life examples to ones in the history books.

Examples of And Now You Must Marry Me include:

Anime and Manga

  • In Sailor Moon, Queen Beryl's obsession with Endymion/Mamoru is her motivation for almost everything she does, though by the end of the Dark Kingdom arc she's rather expanded her villain goals. This is most evident in the manga, where her unrequited love for Endymion and jealousy of Princess Serenity is what drew Metallia to her in the first place.
  • In Speed Grapher, Kagura is forced to marry Suitengu after her mother dies, giving him control of the family fortune.
  • Played for Laughs in Princess Tutu, where the ballet instructor will threaten his students that they will have to marry him if they fail their task.
  • Prince Lotor's main goal in GoLion, the Americanized Voltron, and all the sequel series, aside from taking over the galaxy, is to get Princess Allura to marry him.
  • In Shinzo, the Reptile King Ryuma (one of the seven Enterran generals) decides to do this to Yakumo to prove his superiority over her.
  • In Infinite Stratos, Ichika saves Laura's life. Being Ichika, he doesn't think much of it. She, however, doesn't so much melt as go up like a torch, saves his life, then sticks her tongue down his throat and declares him her wife.

Comic Books


  • Humperdinck tries to do this to Buttercup in The Princess Bride, because he needs a popular queen to murder so that he can pin the crime on a neighboring country and use it as a pretext for war. She was initially willing, but only because she believed her Love Interest was dead; when he returned, Humperdinck turned it into a Scarpia Ultimatum.
  • The Sheriff of Nottingham tries to do this to Maid Marian in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, and even tries to rape her during the ceremony as Robin and crew are beating down the door.
    • Many, many versions of the Robin Hood legend have the Sheriff or some other villain trying to do this to Marian.
  • Jafar tries to force Jasmine to marry him in Aladdin by hypnotizing her father so that he'll set up an Arranged Marriage. It's not entirely clear why he doesn't 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.)
  • In Beauty and the Beast, Gaston uses the Scarpia Ultimatum version on Belle when her father is going to be committed to an insane asylum.
  • In Shrek, Lord Farquaad winds up attempting one of these in order to become king.
  • Big Trouble in Little China. David Lo Pan originally wants to marry and sacrifice Miao Yin so he can become solid again. Eventually he decides to marry both Miao Yin and Gracie Law, sacrifice Gracie instead and live out his Earthly pleasures with Miao Yin.
  • Beetlejuice. The 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.
  • The Spanish Main involves a Dutch captain turned pirate king who discovers that the ship they're...procuring...has the bride-to-be of the Spanish governor. He marries her to get back at the governor for putting him in prison.
  • In The Adventures Of Tom Thumb And Thumbelina the Mole King tries to marry Thumbelina and fails.
  • Flash Gordon. Emperor Ming forces Dale Arden to agree to marry him by promising to spare the lives of Prince Barin and Hans Zarkov if she does.
  • Didn't make it into the final version of the film, but this trope was very heavy in one scene that was cut from The Lion King. Scar was going to attempt to force Nala to marry him [1]. Later, a similar scene found its way into the Broadway version.
  • Prince Froglip plotted to marry the princess Irene to subject the humans to goblin rule in The Princess and the Goblin.


  • This happens in the first A Series of Unfortunate Events book (as well as the Film of the Book), in which Count Olaf tries to marry Violet. Bizarrely, even though the series is aimed at kids, even though Olaf is clearly a Gold Digger, and even though Violet is underage and Olaf is her much older legal guardian, the possibility of rape is actually more explicit than usual, with Violet imagining what it would be like to sleep beside Olaf and Olaf at one point declaring that they were “off to have our wedding night.”
  • In the Incarnations of Immortality book Being A Green Mother, Natasha rescues Orb from a forced marriage to Satan, where he is using a magic song to destroy her will, embodying this trope. Then, Natasha courts Orb through several Rescue Romance scenes. She falls in love with him for this, his handsome appearance, gentle demeanor and his lovely singing, and agrees to marry him. Then comes The Reveal...
  • The Scarpia Ultimatum is used for this in The Phantom of the Opera. It's an unusually sympathetic version, though—it's pretty explicit that Erik has no intention of raping Christine (the man seems to think of wives as pets or accessories that one takes on walks and buys pretty things for, rather than as sexual partners), and he actually calls the whole thing off himself.
  • In J.R.R. Tolkien's "Tale of Beren and Luthien" (from The Silmarillion), Celegorm imprisons the heroine with the intent of marrying her, wanting to advance his political power in Beleriand. Fortunately, Luthien manages to escape with some assistance from his dog.
  • It is part of Celimus' plan to take over the world in Fiona McIntosh's Quickening Trilogy. He first sends the hero to ask the princess of the neighboring country's hand in marriage, but also sends mercenaries to kill the king so she has no choice but to marry him, since her country is too weak and she's too young for a war. Of course, the main character falls in love with her, but he only manages to save her in the nick of time between her marriage and the wedding night, due to a rather annoying curse.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Sansa is at first thrilled about her betrothal to Prince Joffrey, but it quickly turns into this trope when it becomes clear the Lannisters intend to hold her to the bargain even after Joffrey has her father executed in front of her. Wide-Eyed Idealist though she is, Sansa is very much aware of the Marital Rape License and what it means for her situation.
    • She gets out of marrying Joffrey once they realize Margaery Tyrell is a better political they marry her off to Joffrey's uglier uncle Tyrion instead. Fortunately, Tyrion is a much nicer guy than his nephew, and refrains from raping her on their wedding night. And currently it seems like Sansa might fall victim to this trope yet again, this time with Littlefinger.
      • In the most recent book, A Dance with Dragons, it's mentioned that Littlefinger's first attempt to do this happened when Sansa was eleven.
    • Also done to Jeyne Poole, who was forced to masquerade as Arya Stark and marry Ramsay Snow, so as to more firmly establish the Bolton claim to the North.
      • And Ramsay did the same thing to Lady Hornwood before that.
  • In the Brother Cadfael novel The Virgin in the Ice, a young heiress fights off the Big Bad, knowing that if he succeeds in raping her she will be forced to marry him and her life and fortune will be in his hands.
  • The heroes (sort of) of the Deryni novels pull this one—in The Bishop's Heir, the rebel princess is kidnapped, held captive, and then told she must marry protagonist King Kelson (so that her claim to lands will be once again joined to his royal line). He tells her he wants her to agree "willingly", but it's made clear to the user that he will apply Mind Rape if necessary. She's killed instants after saying her vows, so the issue of sex is never dealt with.
    • It's presented as the only way to end a protracted and bloody civil war, which continues in the following book until all possible rival heirs are dead.

Live-Action TV

  • Lord Zedd suddenly decided he wanted to marry Kimberly in one episode of Power Rangers, leading to a completely failed attempt to hypnotize her.
    • And by failed, we mean that Kimberly uses her acting lessons to give a truly Rita-worthy performance that scares the hell out of the bad guys, buying the others time to rescue her.
  • In the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a demon threatens to kill everyone in Sunnydale and make Dawn his “queen.”

Anya: I've seen some of these underworld child bride deals, they never end well. Well, maybe once.

  • Robin Hood starts with Marian leading Guy of Gisbourne on for information, but Guy ends up developing this for her which actually culminates in her death.
  • The 1960's Batman
    • "Marsha Queen of Diamonds/Marsha Scheme of Diamonds": Marsha blackmails Batman into marrying her or Robin will be her prisoner forever.
    • "King Tut’s Coup/Batman’s Waterloo": King Tut kidnaps socialite Lisa Carson to make her Queen of the Nile.
    • Green Ice/Deep Freeze": Mr. Freeze kidnaps beauty queen Miss Iceland with this purpose in mind.
    • "Enter Batgirl, Exit Penguin": The Penguin does the same to Barbara Gordon with the belief that his new father-in-law Commissioner Gordon will grant him immunity to arrest.
  • An episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine called "The House of Quark" has the Klingon Grilka kidnap Quark and force him to marry her at knifepoint. This is a relatively sympathetic version, as Grilka's only doing it to maneuver her family out of a political crisis that was partly Quark's fault in the first place. It quickly turns into a more equal partnership, with Quark using his cunning and financial skills to help her resolve the situation, and afterward she gladly divorces him and they part on good terms.
  • In Tinsel, Kwame Mensah gets Telema Duke to marry him by holding his testimony—the only chance for her on-again/off-again lover, Soji Bankole, to escape a Murder One conviction—to ransom.
  • A strange version occurs in Farscape. John is, unfortunately, the only male able to give a princess healthy children and she must marry in order to become Empress. John is fully prepared to let her down gently, but the current Empress gives him a choice: marry her daughter, or let Scorpius play with his brain.

Newspaper Comics

  • Happens all the time in various versions of Flash Gordon, with Ming the Merciless trying to make Dale Arden marry him.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • Classical Mythology: Not exactly a villain (especially compared to his relatives) but Hades the Greek god of the underworld kidnapped Persephone to be his wife, persuading her to bind herself to the underworld by eating the food of the dead.

Professional Wrestling

  • The Undertaker tried to force Stephanie McMahon to marry him when he was leader of the Ministry of Darkness, after capturing her. Stone Cold Steve Austin rescued her though.
  • Kane forced Lita to marry him after Matt Hardy lost his match with Kane. Lita marrying Kane was the stipulation if Hardy lost. Unlike his Kayfabe brother, he actually succeeded in forcing Lita to marry him, though she dumped him for Edge a few months later, and the storyline was retconned after Matt Hardy came back.

Tabletop Games


  • Shakespeare does it more than once:
    • In The Taming of the Shrew, Petruchio forces Katherine into an arranged marriage by telling her father that she had agreed to marry him but they had made a bargain that she would pretend to hate him around other people. Her father buys it, taking the idea that characters in comedies are always gullible Up to Eleven.
    • In Alls Well That Ends Well, Helena, a lovestruck commoner woman, saves the king's life and is granted a boon. She asks to marry the snobby nobleman Bertram, and the king orders him to go along with it against his will. In this case Helena isn't actually a villain at all, as (a) Arranged Marriage was pretty normal at the time the play was written, and (b) Bertram manages to be such a massive tool that it's pretty much impossible to feel sorry for him; if anything most people pity Helena for having such bad taste.

Video Games

  • In the Super Mario series, Bowser's schemes, more often than not, were made to forcibly marry Princess Peach, both to consummate his control over the Mushroom Kingdom and to be with his Villainous Crush. This goes horribly right in Super Paper Mario.
  • Celes has to agree to marry Setzer to get the party access to an airship in Final Fantasy VI.
    • Or rather, she makes a wager on a coin toss: Heads they get his ship, tails she marries him. When he loses and realizes she's using a coin with two heads he's so impressed he joins the party.
  • Seymour forces Yuna to marry him in Final Fantasy X, though the implications of it are ignored (partially since he's dead. But then again, he was alive when he proposed to her in the first place). It gets worse when you consider that his reason for doing so is to be used as the basis for her Final Aeon, thereby becoming the next Sin and destroying the world For the Evulz.
  • LeChuck is always trying to do this to Elaine Marley in the Monkey Island games.
  • In the The Legend of Zelda Four Swords, Vaati's plan to take over Hyrule starts with him kidnapping Zelda to make her his bride.
  • Dragon Quest VII plays with this in Verdham, where this creates a Love Dodecahedron: Linda agrees to an Arranged Marriage with Iwan, the son of the richest man in town, in order to clear her late parents' debt to him. However, while Iwan loves Linda, Linda loves Pepe, who works as one of Borlock's gardeners. Interestingly, Borlock is shown to be a Reasonable Authority Figure who is completely unaware of the Dodecahedron, and it's outright stated that if made aware of the situation, he would probably cancel the marriage and find some other way of dealing with the debt. Unfortunately, that's not what happens.
  • King's Quest has a few examples:
  • In Castle Crashers, the leader of the Coneheads is attempting to marry the Green Princess against her will when you show up.

Web Comics

Web Original

After I kidnap the beautiful princess, we will be married immediately in a quiet civil ceremony, not a lavish spectacle in three weeks' time during which the final phase of my plan will be carried out.
If the beautiful princess that I capture says "I'll never marry you! Never, do you hear me, NEVER!!!", I will say "Oh well" and kill her.

Western Animation

  • 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!")
  • Gorgeous Gal in the Woody Woodpecker cartoon "A Fine Feathered Frenzy." She places a newspaper ad saying she's looking for a husband. Woody calls her and instantly gets turned on by her lovely voice, but when he meets her it turns out she's a featherless crow five times his size and three times his age. Although Woody's no longer interested, Gorgeous has fallen madly in love with him. Hilarity Ensues. After a long chase, she manages to trap him on a submarine with a priest who actually succeeds in marrying them despite Woody's protests. Gorgeous sails off with Woody for their honeymoon.
  • The Ice King in Adventure Time is a rather bizarrely sympathetic character despite having this trope as pretty much his entire motivation. It's not like he's in love with his target—in fact he doesn't seem to really care which princess he marries as long as he can marry one. He seems to just genuinely want to be Happily Married, and he's apparently completely unable to comprehend that kidnapping or hypnotizing a random princess and marrying her against her will is not a way to achieve that.
  • Ganon once tried using a mind control necklace to marry Zelda in The Legend of Zelda cartoon.
  • King Koopa tried to do this to Princess Toadstool on The Super Mario Bros Super Show once. It didn't work out too well.
  • In the first Futurama series finale, "The Devil's Hands are Idle Playthings," after the Robot Devil is forced to swap hands with Fry, he pulls off a complex Gambit Roulette in order to obtain Leela's marriage. Fry, out of concern for Leela, agrees to return the Robot Devil's hands—and since that was his real goal all along, the Robot Devil calls off the marriage.
  • In X-Men, Bella Donna forces Gambit to agree to marry her by threatening his family in the Thieves' Guild. With the X-Men's help, the threat gets annulled, so Gambit is able to walk away.
  • In the very first Popeye cartoon, Bluto demands this from Olive when he kidnaps her.
  • The plot of an evil imp in one episode of The Smurfs, where Smurfette is given a pair of magical dancing shoes in exchange for being married to him. Fortunately, Papa Smurf saves Smurfette from this predicament by causing the dancing shoes to appear on the imp.
  • In Superman the Animated Series, Lady Maxima, alien ruler of Alermac, selects Superman as her mate after he defeats her in a fight. Superman tells her point blank that she can't just force someone into marriage; her response is to use her alien tech to knock him out and drag him back to her home planet. Fortunately, a citizen uprising derails her marriage plans.
  • In two episodes of Codename: Kids Next Door King Sandy tries to force Number 3 to marry him.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: Then there's one-shot villain Little Acorn in the episode "Puppet Bride", who falls in love with Jenny at first sight and tries to force her to become his bride.