Farm Boy

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
    Some farm boys like to dress to impress.

    A staple of fantasy adventures. Farmy McFarmboy is just an ordinary, humble young farmboy/hunter/etc. living and working in a tranquil and pastoral land until destiny (and his Obi Wan) comes knocking, normally knocking down his house or town in the process. Farmy is typically very whiny and resistant to the idea of being the Chosen One but eventually accepts the idea. Generally, he's the son of somebody important—either the Big Bad or The Dragon—or else from an ancient line of wizards or kings and raised by an aunt or uncle.

    To make things safer, any such heritage will be spoiler marked, no matter how obvious.

    Does not have to be male, but almost always is.

    One common beginning for Hero's Journey. Rural counterpart of the urban Ordinary High School Student. Very common in stories set in the past, because pre-industrialization, and for most of the history of human civilization, most people were farmers.

    This is such an old trope it's died and been reborn several times already,[1] and there are a few traditional ways for the story to pan out. Generally, the kid will either go from Rags to Riches (or even all the way to Royalty), or he'll reject the strange new world he's saved and return home to accept the Call to Agriculture.

    As David Eddings (a major user of this trope) explained in The Rivan Codex, it is a good way to explain how your fantasy world works within the context of the story. The reader learns the rules along with the main character.

    Examples of Farm Boy include:

    Anime and Manga

    • Slightly off course is Sheeta from Laputa Laputa: Castle in the Sky. She's a farmgirl who is descended from the Laputian royal family, but she already knows this when we meet her (neither we nor Pazu does, though).
    • Jack from MAR. Really a sidekick, but still a farmboy.
    • Arguably, Edward and Alphonse Elric from Fullmetal Alchemist. Their home town of Resembool is always portrayed as a farming village, although they're never shown participating. Also, their alchemy teacher Izumi Curtis is the wife of a butcher, which also lends to the rustic charm.

    Comic Books

    • Don't forget Superman, who was raised as naive farmboy Clark Kent. Last son of Krypton.
      • Inverted with Superboy, his younger clone, who went to go live with the Kents for a "proper upbringing". Superboy has quite a bit more hubris than his progenitor, though...
    • Ironically, Superman's Kingdom Come rival Magog started out a farmboy too, albeit from Iowa rather than Kansas. He blew up Kansas.

    Fan Works

    • Tobias Talltree of Clouded Sky is a farmboy before being chosen to become a Pokémon guide.


    • Star Wars (of course) has Luke—a "moisture farmer", raised by his Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. He got a reputation for being whiny, but if you look at him he longed to be someone but was very dutiful. Owen and Beru were killed when their home was blown up by Imperial Stormtroopers looking for a couple of droids. Son of Darth Vader. His wife sometimes teased him for his idealism by calling him "Farmboy".
      • Anakin Skywalker is also a farm boy, of sorts, though replace "farm" with "He's a slave" and "Son of someone important" to "Virgin birth".
      • The second-best Imperial pilot, Soontir Fel, was also a farmboy who loved to fly. He got pushed into service after stopping an Attempted Rape and offending the son of someone important, and quickly became an Ace Pilot. Unlike the other two from his 'verse, he grew up on a greener world and throughout his life he loved the soil and liked working with growing things. His clones were the same - part of an Imperial sleeper cell instead of immediately being part of the TIE fighter core, they became farmers and actually abandoned the Empire.
      • This happens quite a bit in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, since the setting is an entire galaxy and there are a lot of agrarian worlds with hot-shot wannabe heroes.
    • In an urban variant in Kung Fu Panda, Po the Panda was just a noodle vendor and cook until he was picked to be the Dragon Warrior seemingly out of the blue. Partially subverted in that his father does not object to Po accepting this destiny, just initially disappointed his son did not follow his footsteps in a calling he sincerely considers fulfilling.
    • The Matrix has Thomas A. Anderson starting off as a regular office worker - essentially the modern, urban version of the Farmboy - until fate said "Knock knock, Neo". The only things missing here are his hometown and parents getting destroyed - understandable as his "hometown" and "parents" are what he'll end up fighting against.


    • The Belgariad has (Bel)Garion the farmer's nephew. His home town was not blown up and his "aunt" Polgara turned out to be a powerful and ancient sorceress. Son of the Rivan Kings.
      • Durnik, the humble farm blacksmith of low birth, who insists that he's nobody important, turns out to be a signifigant part of the Prophecy and comes Back From the Dead to fulfill it, becoming an immortal sorcerer in the process and marrying Polgara. Too old to be a farm boy, but he otherwise seems to fit.
    • Eragon was a hunter/farmer raised by his uncle, whose home was destroyed by forces looking for the dragon egg. At one point was thought to be the Son of Morzan, a Dragon Rider who was the pupil of the Old Master Oromis before he joined Galbatorix It turns out that he was actually the son of The Obi-Wan Brom, who used to be Morzan's Lickspittle.
    • Subverted thoroughly by Elizabeth Moon in The Deed of Paksenarrion: Paks is A) a girl, and B) a sheepfarmer's daughter who is... actually the daughter of the sheepfarmer and the sheepfarmer's wife too. She gets all her power through hard slogging, not having been born to it. (The first book in the trilogy is actually called Sheepfarmer's Daughter.)
    • Rand in The Wheel of Time is a "farmer's son" who was also the reincarnation of the Dragon (not the trope, but an ancient warrior known as the Dragon), known as the Dragon Reborn. To the Aiel, Rand is He Who Comes with the Dawn and the Car'a'carn (Chief of Chiefs). To the Atha'an Miere, the Sea Folk, he is the Coramoor. His main titles are Shadowkiller (by wolves), Lord of the Morning, Prince of the Dawn, and True Defender of the Light. His birth was heralded by Gitara Moroso, Aes Sedai and Keeper of the Chronicles, who died from the sheer force of Foretelling his birth. Just in case anyone were ever to doubt how special he really is, his dead birth mother was a Rebellious Princess, whose disappearance started a war, and who may have been Not Brainwashed, and his dead birth father was a Aiel clan chieftain.
      • Rand is also an important subversion of this trope, because unlike most FarmBoys who settle into heroism and leadership quite easily, Rand, with his utter lack of political and military training, is a terrible leader. Just like you'd expect a real-life farm boy to be.
        • Rand is actually quite cunning and intelligent, and he plays the Game of Houses pretty darn well. Not to mention that he has all of Lews Therin's memories for reference. He gets advice in political matters from Elayne Trakand, and tends to leave military exploits to General Matrim Cauthon, as it isn't that he is necessarily bad at these, just that others are better. What he is terrible at is keeping his cool (and is hamstrung by some stupid weaknesses), and he is growing increasingly insane, which is a major reason he foists off ruling to stewards and mainly restricts himself to using his power and dangerous nature to keep everyone together as best he can (not terribly well, but the task is impossible), as none will work together without him, even in the face of the last battle being nigh.
          • The point is that at the beginning he was a terrible leader, due to obvious things like his utter inexperience as well as things like letting emotions sway him, etc. However, a big part of the novels is how over time he learns how to be an effective ruler and general. A combination of factors makes this plausible, for example: Lews Therin's counsel (ignoring his madness, the Lews was the greatest leader of his day), observing and receiving outright advice from Aes Sedai, gradual experience in the Game of Thrones and on the battlefield, various persons from the Age of Legends teaching him, etc. While he did make some awful decisions, by the later books he is an undeniable Magnificent Bastard; he regularly outwits the most "cunning" and feared individuals in the world with ease (often several at the same time) and is close to uniting most of the world's nations under his banner, annihilating armies in the process. Not to mention cleansing saidin. You know, the sole reason that all male wielders go insane.
    • In The Lord of the Rings, Frodo is the equivalent of a nobleman (i.e. rich enough to live a comfortable life of leisure) but Samwise Gamgee is a gardener. Unlike most Farm Boys, though, Sam does not resist being chosen, but rather forces himself into the quest when others are chosen. Son of his Gaffer.
    • Richard from Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth novels started off as a humble woodsman, before saving the Mother Confessor. He is the son of The Obi-Wan's daughter and the Big Bad, which also makes him the first War Wizard in a thousand years. He is also the first one to turn the Sword of Truth White, the Seeker of the Truth, and so on. Again, just in case you didn't know he was special. Despite all this, he insists he's a "simple woodsman."
    • Ged from A Wizard of Earthsea is a goatherd, son of a blacksmith, on a very rural island out on the edge of civilization—but the island is known for occasionally producing very powerful wizards.
    • Westley in The Princess Bride begins as a farmboy, but eventually becomes the Dread Pirate Roberts. He's not related to anyone important, though.
    • Subverted in the Vlad Taltos novel Athyra, which is told from the perspective of a smarter-than-average Teckla [serf] named Savn, who also has some skill with magic. From Savn's perspective, Vlad comes across as the Obi Wan figure, but the reader realizes this isn't the case, and indeed Savn does not have the happy destiny of the other characters on this page.
    • In Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles (and Disney's film adaptation of the second book, The Black Cauldron), a young boy, profession assistant pig-keeper, ran headlong into adventures (and a thornbush) when Hen Wen, his oracular charge, ran away from Arawn's new lieutenant the Horned King. Special bonus points must be awarded as he is often called Farm Boy (or, more often, pig-boy) in a derogatory way.
      • Son of nobody. He was found as a baby nearby a violent battle where nobody survived, so he was without rank or heritage, something which his foster-father took as a sign that he was the chosen child.
    • Discworld:
      • Carrot Ironfoundersson of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch in fits this trope in every way, save that he's a miner's son rather than a farmer's son (and a dwarf, albeit two meters tall).
      • Subverted with Tomjon, apparent heir to Lancre and supposed son of King Verence I. Given to a troupe of actors to raise (mostly because that's how these stories are supposed to go, but also so that, if this whole king thing doesn't work out, he'll at least learn a useful trade) he was raised to be his father's son. Turns out that if you raise a king as an actor, he'll mostly turn out to be an actor.
      • Mort wasn't even much good at being a Farm Boy, yet a stint as the Grim Reaper-In-Training left him in a position to become a Duke. Not for very long, unfortunately.
    • Jesus, a carpenter who goes on to be a famous rabbi, messiah, and martyr. Son of God/a very major prophet/a nice dude.
      • His ancestor David is possibly the Ur Example, making this trope at least Older Than Feudalism. Played with in that instead being the last scion from a lost royal line, he is the founder of the lost royal line.
    • Tavi of Calderon, an orphan raised by his aunt and uncle, powerless in a world where Everyone Is a Super. As he grows up, saves the world repeatedly, and generally attracts attention by being very awesome, people begin to notice strange things about him. Such as how the mentally disabled slave owned by his uncle looks rather like legendary swordsman Araris Valerian behind the coward's brand on his face, and is uncannily good with a sword. Or how Tavi just happens to look a lot like Princeps Gaius Septimus, who was killed in battle assassinated under cover of a battle near Tavi's home shortly before he was born. Or how First Lord Gaius Sextus, Septimus's father, put Tavi through the Academy as his personal aide. Or how his bodyguard when he ends up Captain of a Legion is a brilliant, scarred swordsman named Araris... Yeah, "Tavi" is short for "Gaius Octavian."
    • Gilbert Markham, the hero of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall:

    "Well! - an honest and industrious farmer is one of the most useful members of society; and if I devote my talents to the cultivation of my farm, and the improvement of agriculture in general, I shall thereby benefit, not only my own immediate connections and dependants, but, in some degree, mankind at large:- hence I shall not have lived in vain." With such reflections as these I was endeavouring to console myself, as I plodded home from the fields, one cold, damp, cloudy evening towards the close of October.

    • Flinx from the Humanx Commonwealth novels was an urban variant, bought at a slave auction and grudgingly raised by the irascible Mother Mastiff in Drallar, the Wretched Hive capital of a rustic colony-world called Moth. He's the product of an illegal eugenics experiment that left him Cursed with Awesome Psychic Powers and the only Class A mind capable of activating a Lost Technology's galaxy-saving defense mechanism.
    • Bria in The Last Dove. She is raised in a rural village where she is mocked for not being able to Change. Then she finds out that she's Queen Vasi's daughter

    Live-Action TV


    Gillian: Don't tell me; you're from outer space
    Kirk: No, I'm from Iowa. I only work in outer space.

    • For that matter, Jean-Luc Picard grew up on his family's vineyard, although he shed himself of this trope as soon as he was old enough to enlist as a Starfleet cadet.
    • Mad Men: Not a hero, nor a boy, but the idea of the trope is invoked by Bert Cooper upon the death of the secretary Miss Blankenship:

    Cooper: She was born in 1898 in a barn. She died on the 37th floor of a skyscraper. She's an astronaut.


    Video Games

    • In The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, Link was a goatherd before he was pulled into a world of Triforces, shadow demons, and the neverending battle of good vs. evil. Link is possibly descended (or at least reincarnated) from the previous Links.
      • Other game's Links come close. Though not farmers, they often live a fairly simple life before something draws them into the adventure. Only the cartoon and direct sequels start out with a seasoned adventurer.
    • The main character of Baldur's Gate is an ordinary person living in a library fortress with their adoptive father. However, being the Child of Bhaal, the late god of murder, doesn't really allow a person to refuse The Call.
    • The Hero of Fable starts out as a farmboy, and then the whole village gets torched. The son of one of the most famous heroines around. Is also called Farmboy by the Rival and her brother.
    • Turned on its end by Harvest Moon. Pete (or whatever you want to call him), the protagonist, is a farmboy because that's his Call.
    • The hero of the Summoner game.
    • Lucas in Mother 3.
    • Played with in Valkyria Chronicles in that Welkin acts like a farmboy without actually being one. He also accepts the call without any serious objections. Of course his home-nation has a universal conscription law on its books so he's probably used to the idea of having to enlist if there's an invasion.
    • Dink Smallwood is a pig farmer who dreams about becoming a knight. His heritage is deliberately left wide open for the Fanon to explore.
    • The hero/heroine of Dungeon Siege starts as you guessed it, a humble farmer.
    • Etrian Odyssey III has the Farmer class, which is supposed to be the weakest physically, but with plenty of skills useful for explorers to have handy.
    • Alex from Lunar: Silver Star for the Sega CD, and later other platforms, is a boy who lives in a small farm community. He gets to fulfill his dreams of going on adventures and becoming a Dragonmaster just like his hero, Dyne.
    • Evan in Maple Story. Just a normal boy living in a pig farm until he had a dream meeting a dragon. Guess what happens to him when he woke up from his dream...
    • Hilbert from Last Scenario, except for the bit about being reluctant and whiny; he always wanted to be one and Jumped At the Call when he was told at the beginning of the story that he was the descendant of a legendary hero. Which, as it happens, is exactly what they were hoping for.
    • In a slight subversion of this trope, in the Canon ending for Wing Commander 3, Blair goes off to be a farmboy. It doesn't take as he's recalled to active duty at the start of Wing Commander 4, now being a bitter, lonely man.
    • Constantly reminded of, Stahn of Tales of Destiny from a little village in Lienea is taken for a dolt and doesn't get complimented very well by anyone except for the priestess Philia.
    • The Colonist origin for Commander Shepard of Mass Effect is more or less this, in comparison to Spacer and Earthborn. It implies that Shepard grew up in a backwater human colony which conveniently got the Doomed Hometown treatment.

    Web Comics

    Web Originals

    • Hilde Becker from Opening Move is a naive baker girl from a rural seaside town. She gets smooth-talked into joining the army by a weird rabbit-thing with wings and five ears. Whether or not she's related to anyone important is still unknown.
    • Arnie Harvey from Wisconsin, ordinary chubby kid whose family owns a dairy farm in Wisconsin. Until he gets superpowers in the Whateley Universe. He gets superstrength and superspeed. At the time of his story "Triple Threat" he is considered a campus supervillain.
    • Oscar Pine from RWBY, at least until the late Professor Ozpin reincarnates into him.

    Western Animation

    • Megan from the original My Little Pony cartoon. Not the daughter of anyone important (her parents don't ever come up, actually), but she definitely fits.
      • Speaking of ponies, two of the bearers of the Elements of Harmony grew up on farms. Applejack tried to leave as a kid but ultimately returned, feeling the family farm was her destiny. Nowadays she seems to run it, and while she has helped save the world twice shows no intention of ever giving up being a farmer. Pinkie Pie, on the other hand, happily turned away from the farm when she realised her destiny lay elsewhere, a destiny that as mentioned included saving the world twice, but mostly bringing parties and laughter to other ponies. Of course, Pinkie claims the farm was so boring that they grew rocks and that her parents were the pony equivalent of Amish... so we don't know how much of this is true.

    Real Life

    • Zhu Yuanzhang: youngest son of a peasant, whose home town was wiped out by a flood when he was sixteen and who went on to found the Ming dynasty by way of the Red Turban secret society (and murdering their previous leader).
    • Mao Zedong was born a peasant's son, rising to become dictator of Red China aged 56.
    • Richard Bong, the top US Ace Pilot of all time (he got to 40 kills before being pulled from combat) was raised on a farm.
      • He died while testing a P-80 Shooting Star on 6 August 1945. In some cases, his death shared the next day's front page with the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.
    • Alvin York, famous American soldier in World War I, was from a farming family and was born in a two-room log cabin near Pall Mall, Tennessee. In 1941, they made a movie about him.
    • Abraham Lincoln also grew up in the backwoods.
    • Former WWE and UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar grew up in South Dakota.
    • Audie Murphy was a poor farm boy from Texas. At one point he even lived in a place called Farmersville.
    1. (well, who better to keep a horse in good condition than a farmer?)