Son of a Whore
A character whose mother is a sex worker, most likely a Hooker with a Heart of Gold. Bonus Points if the father was one of her customers. Sometimes the character was merely raised in a brothel, without either of his/her parents working there, or being born of a Sex Slave. Expect either Wangst or angst over their origin. More common amongst Anti Heroes than others. Possible Heroic Bastard.
Don't remind him of his origin too much, because in some languages this trope name is the worst insult possible. Some could take it more calmly, however, and give the insulter a good retort; others would just smash his face in, since Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas. This is also commonly used as a Freudian Excuse to explain why a character might be rather messed up; in some works of fiction, characters whose mothers were sex workers have a high rate of becoming Serial Killers (although there's usually some other form of abuse involved as well).
For some reason, this character is almost Always Male, even though a sex worker's offspring is just as likely to be female. If the character is a Daughter of a Whore, however, there's the added baggage that she is expected to follow in her mother's footsteps, which may or may not be a Berserk Button for the character in question.
See also Single Mom Stripper.
No real life examples, please; we don't care, because it doesn't matter from a storytelling point of view. Or any other point of view, for that matter.
Anime and Manga
- In Fullmetal Alchemist, Roy Mustang's (foster) mother was revealed to be one Madame Christmas, proprietor of a brothel/pub. It's stated in one of the guidebooks that she's really his aunt, his biological parents died when he was young.
- Askeladd's mother in Vinland Saga was a Sex Slave.
- Prince Seiliez from Vampire Game. This made him The Unfavorite of his family's three adopted kids. Thing is, though, this also makes him the only legitimate heir to the throne of his country - while his mother was a whore, his father was the king.
- Yahiko Myoujin in Rurouni Kenshin. While one bad guy tries to play on his supposed shame over his origin, he defends his mother and doesn't seem ashamed at all. Quite the contrary, as Yahiko takes pride in that his mother did whatever she had to in order to raise him until it killed her (syphilis eventually did). This also works as an Establishing Character Moment.
- Seta Soujiro exemplifies this trope straight, as his mother was the mistress of a rich man. When his parents died, he was taken in by his evil stepsiblings, and It Got Worse.
- Kai of Piano No Mori fits this trope exactly. He still lives in the red light district with his mom.
- Mako "Nakama" Nakarai from Bokurano. Her Hot Mom is an ex-prostitute, now bar hostess, and she's been bullied all of her life because of this. At some point, Mako tries to get into Enjo Kosai to get the money she needs for a small goal she has, but is steered away from it.
- Ryuuji Takasu from Toradora! is the illegitimate son of a beautiful bar hostess and a Yakuza. And he was born when his mom was, as much, 16-17 years old.
- Satellizer L. Bridgette, the lead female from from Freezing.
- This is Laertes Montague's Freudian Excuse in Romeo X Juliet.
- In Osamu Tezuka's Apollo's Song, Shogo's mother is a bar hostess who often sleeps with her customers, leading to many jarring moments in his childhood.
- According to Soul Eater chapter 78, Liz and Patti are an example of both this and Parental Abandonment.
Liz: I hate the mother who abandoned Patti and me... But I guess since she was the most beautiful whore in town... I should thank her for bearing two pretty girls...
- In Bleach we have Orihime Inoue and her brother Sora, according to the latter's tale. Both their parents are also Abusive Parents.
- Rorschach in Watchmen developed a number of sexual hangups thanks to growing up around his mother's work. Well, that and being beaten and verbally abused by his mother, and bullied by other kids for being a Son of a Whore.
- About the only known instance of Rorschach showing mercy was when he refused to take revenge on his landlady for lying about him to the TV reporters. When he called her a whore she begged him not to say that in front of her children: "they... they don't know". He let the matter drop, after a short silence in which he may well have been thinking that at least she was a better mother than his.
- Blade, at least the comic version. Spending a chunk of his childhood in a whore house didn't have any lasting affects on his psyche surprisingly. He has issues, but more from having his mom, father figure, childhood friends and girlfriend all murdered by vampires as he grew up. The Tomb of Dracula actually has him console another character on her sexual insecurities.
- In the adults-only comic Betty By The Hour, Betty's son Pepito qualifies.
- John Difool, the main character in The Incal series by Moebius was born in the red light section of a soulless world-encompassing city in a dystopian future.
- Tommy Monaghan from Hitman was a son of a whore. His mother was killed by an angry john, and Tommys father.
- Brian in Monty Python's Life of Brian. He also gets the bonus points. His father is a Roman he never knew.
- Heavily implied to be the case with Bill in Kill Bill. The only person who knows his whereabouts just happens to be a pimp who apparently raises the sons of his prostitutes to become his enforcers. Totally explains the big age and appearance difference between Bill and his brother Budd as well as his penchant for getting women to do his dirty work for him. Snake Charmer indeed.
- Sonoko in Doctor Akagi.
- This is why Scott in Day of Anger is mistreated by the whole town he lives in.
- Mel Gibson's character in What Women Want was the son of a Las Vegas Show Girl of the Ostrich Feather variety, but still about the same story.
- Cheyenne in Once Upon a Time in the West.
- The title character of the 1961 Biblical epic Barabbas.
- David Wingrove's Chung Kuo has Stefan Lehmann, the son of a woman who has been a concubine to many different men
- Whoreson, obviously.
- Apropos of everything, Sir Apropos of Nothing.
- Phedre from Kushiel's Legacy describes herself as a "whore's unwanted get."
- Cosette from Les Misérables is the illegitimate daughter of Fantine and a man who abandoned her. After her birth her mother became a prostitute and Cosette never explicitly finds out her mother's story.
- Mary Brown's medieval fantasy novel Pigs Don't Fly has the rather memorable opening line "My mother was the village whore and I loved her very much." Obviously, the heroine has fewer issues with her mother's profession than most characters of this sort do.
- The protagonist of John Burdett's Bangkok novels is the son of a Thai prostitute who works her way up to becoming the madam of her own brothel. The protagonist is a cop who also works part-time as an organizer/benevolent pimp in his mother's business.
- The Protagonist in Nightfall is also a son of a whore, when asked for a Patronymic after he's caught, he replied he has none for he's no man's son.
- Richard Sharpe fits this trope exactly. In his own words on the miniseries, "I was born in a whorehouse and hope to die in the army." Total Badass.
- No. 72 of Chuck Palahniuk's Snuff thinks he's the son of porn queen Cassie Wright. Turns out it was her assistant.
- In Barrayar Sergeant Bothari reveals that his mother was a whore. Cordelia is unsurprised by this (Betan, you know), but expresses outrage when Bothari reveals that his mother used to sell him to her clients.
- Cal Leandros and his brother Niko.
- Brutus in Conn Iggulden's Emperor series. Though if memory serves, his mother became a prostitute after he was born. Still, she pretty much abandoned him in order to pursuit that career, so that ought to be pretty scarring.
- Daine, in the Wild Mage series. While her mother isn't a whore, it is implied throughout the series that she was rather loose, sexually. (Daine says at one point, "Ma had a lot of men friends" or something similar.) Daine's real sore point, however, is in her last name: Sarrasri - meaning "Sara's daughter" in Daine's home country; it's a statement that Daine's mother never married, and Daine doesn't find out who her father is until halfway through the last book. There are several quiet hints scattered throughout the earlier books, though, that Daine's father is at least a minor god. Not just anyone can get a badger god to watch over their kid, after all. It turns out that Daine's father is a god of the hunt from her home region - which rather neatly explains just why she's so filled with Wild Magic that animals see her as one of their own.
- Fergus from Outlander is one of these—raised in a brothel, unsure of which of the girls there was his mother. It's strongly implied (and shown, once) that male customers also took advantage of him, simply because he was there.
- Otto Stahl, the Anti-Hero protagonist of the WW 2 action-comedy novels by Leo Kessler.
- One of the secondary protagonists from Anne McCaffrey and S.M. Stirling's The City Who Fought describes himself as "the son of a pimp and dockside whore." His Crowning Moment of Awesome was silently disassembling one of the book's Death World raised, spartan way/TrainingFromHell trained bad guys (who had raped his love interest) in hand-to-hand combat, followed by coldly performing some... mutilations on his corpse.
- Riftwar's Jimmy The Hand. His father was the Upright Man, which Jimmy wasn't supposed to ever know, but eventually found out or figured out on his own.
- In one of the Circle of Magic books, there is a serial killer killing performers and dumping them in highly-respected places, which really causes problems because of that city's superstitions about death. It turns out the killer was the son of a whore and a noble.
- Shakur of The Sovereign Stone trilogy is this; with the addition of his mother allowing her clients to pay for his services when he was a young boy. Perhaps one of the only examples of actually pitying a bad character for a horrific background.
- Felix and Mildmay of Doctrine of Labyrinths, though technically she didn't become a prostitute until after Felix's birth. But she was a bit... free with her affections even then. Neither knows who their either of their fathers is, it never becomes a plot point despite Felix's remarkably strong magical abilities, and neither particularly cares.
- Newt from Lonesome Dove was the son of the town's 'sporting woman', Maggie.
- Bones from the Night Huntress books was the son of a prostitute, and was raised by the madam of the bordello. He grew up to adopt the profession himself, since he had no family connections for a respectable career and he turned out to be rather good at bedsport.
"Since the day I was born."
- Scarpa from The Tamuli is stated to be the child of an Arjuni whore and a Styric renegade who happens to be Zalasta, the guy running the mortal side of the bad guys.
- John the Savage in Brave New World was an outcast among his peers because he was born to a stranded outsider woman who offended the locals with her open sexual mores.
- Drefan Rahl in the Sword of Truth series.
- The protagonist of the Chinese classic Duke of Mount Deer (adapted countless times into movies and serials), Wei Xiaobao, rises through a series of misadventures from the mere son of a whore (one adaptation even shows an altar to seven men suspected of being his father) to the chief confidante and best friend to the Emperor himself.
- Molly Bolt, the protagonist of Rita Mae Brown's Rubyfruit Jungle, finds out from her adopted mother that she's the daughter of local whore during an argument:
"You ain't so fine as you think you are, and you ain't mine neither. And I don't want you now that I know what you're about. Wanna know who you are, smartypants? You're Ruby Drollinger's bastard, that's who you are. Now let's see you put your nose in the air.
"Who's Ruby Drollinger?"
"Your real mother, that's who and she was a slut, you hear me, Miss Molly? A common, dirty slut who'd lay with a dog if it shook its ass right."
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, there's a minor character named Satin who was raised in a brothel in Oldtown. It's heavily implied that he worked there, too. Robert is also stated to have scored illegitimate children with prostitutes.
- The series also has a female example in the form of Obara Sand, whose mother was also an Oldtown whore. But as she is one of the Dornish prince's brother's acknowledged bastards (and lives pretty well in the Dornish palace), she doesn't seem too bothered by it.
- Belisarius' stepson Photius started his life as this, and when he was formally adopted by Empress Theodora this aspect of his status did not in fact change.
- In Death
- Series star Eve Dallas is the Daughter of a Whore, and really lost the parent lottery all around. Her mother was an awful person who hated her, and her father was a Complete Monster who planned to sell her. Her name is a Line-of-Sight Name from the DCFS-equivalent that found her, because her progenitors (hard to call them parents) never gave her one.
- John Blue from Visions In Death. His mother was a hooker who abused him, and when he got older and refused to give him anything in her will, he responded by raping and murdering her, and then raping and murdering women who resembled his mother.
- Talos, Hunter of the One Soul and prophet of the VIII legion is in his own words, the son of a hereditary murderer and an indentured teenage prostitute. He averts most of the baggage associated with the trope, and generally shows little emotion at in relation to his paternity. However, a dream flashback shows he genuinely cared for his mother, at least as a child.
- In Iron Dawn, the villain is the son of a small-town prostitute and the heir to the throne of Egypt. Unusual in that it's the latter connection that led to his being spoiled rotten, as prostitution wasn't as demonized in ancient Egypt as today; his half-brother and chief henchman plays it straight, having been forced to work in the brothel from an early age.
- In Gone (novel) there's Sanjit, although in the one mention we've got of his mother he doesn't really seem to mind it.
- A huge theme in East of Eden is that Aron and Cal are this trope. They've been told that their mother is dead. Cal finds out the truth, but he keeps the knowledge hidden from Aron, since he know his brother wouldn't be able to take the news. In a moment of fury, he leads Aron to the brothel to meet their mother, effectively breaking him.
- The unnamed son of Belle Watling and Rhett Butler in Rhett Butler's People.
Live Action TV
- Richard Sharpe. Sgt. Harper's son might or might not count.
- Dick Whitman in Mad Men. Also known as...Don Draper.
- Barney from How I Met Your Mother. His mother wasn't a prostitute, but she was definitely a slut. When Barney was a kid and asked who his father was, she couldn't tell him because she didn't know who of the many men she had been with was his dad. So since The Price Is Right was on, she randomly pointed to Bob Barker and said "him." From then on, Barney grew up believing Bob Barker was his father. Yeah, Barney has issues.
- The most obvious being that he takes after her in that respect.
- Jin of Lost. It's unclear if he knows. But when Sun spoke to her, she made it very clear that if Jin were to ever find out his mother was alive, she wouldn't be for long.
- Patsy from Absolutely Fabulous.
- In one episode of NCIS, a serial killer's Freudian Excuse was that his mother was a prostitute. She was his first victim. When he was a teenager.
- Connor from Angel, technically. Darla was a prostitute dying of syphilis (and not the funny kind) in Colonial Virginia when The Master (not that one) turned her. Of course, by the time he was born Darla had been a mass murdering psychotic Vampire for a couple centuries, so her previous occupation probably rated low on his list of concerns.
- According to the Buffy the Vampire Slayer book Go Ask Malice, Faith's mom did some hooker work. Faith's father was not a customer. He was a convicted murderer who rotted in prison since Faith's childhood. No wonder she preferred the Mayor.
- On Dark Angel, Max compares the surrogate mothers paid by Manticore to carry her and the other X5s to term to "working girls."
- Buck Wilmington of The Magnificent Seven is entirely angst-free about it; it just makes him even fonder of prostitutes than he would be otherwise. (And god help you if you mistreat one in his presence.)
- Karen, the adopted daughter of Vietnam War vet Boonie on China Beach, is actually the daughter of KC Koloski, the base tramp back in Vietnam, and Lt. Col. Mac Miller, one of KC's main customers.
- Pops up from time to time in Criminal Minds, given the association of this trope with serial killers. Two prominent examples are Frank and The Prince of Darkness.
- Jimmy Darmody in Boardwalk Empire. Gets really squicky when you factor in that Gillian was fourteen when she had him, Nucky was the one who pimped her out, and that his father is the Commodore (who had to have been in his sixties even then. And no, you should not say a single ill word about his mother.
- La Croix's daughter Divia in Forever Knight. It's not stated explicitly, but can be inferred based on dialogue with a little knowledge of Roman customs of the time (first century AD).
- An episode of Firefly called "Heart of Gold" is about the crew protecting a brothel from a man wanting to kidnap his unborn child. As the battle is going on the "whore" gives birth. Once the man is captured she goes out to show him his son, looks him in the face, and puts the man down with one shot.
- In Being Human (UK), Hal claims he was both in a brothel and never knew which of the six prostitutes was his mother. As each of them died due to illness, violence or old age; he mourned each of them as if they were his mother.
- In Randy Travis's Three Wooden Crosses, it turns out that the preacher telling the story to his congregation is the son of the hooker who survived the crash, who read the Bible that the preacher who died gave her to him.
- OC Smith's Son of Hickory Hollow's Tramp.
- Metallica music video for Turn the page features a stripper and her daughter as the main characters. The video's Twist Ending is that she's also a whore.
- In the Dear Hunter's Acts I, II and III, the eponymous Dear Hunter was the son of one Ms. Terri, a whore, and one of her patrons.
Religion and Mythology
- Jephthah, one of the Biblical judges.
- The prophet Hosea married a prostitute, who notably did not give up her profession, making the parentage of her children dodgy at best. (For the record, God ordained the marriage to make a point about His relationship to Israel even as they "whored" themselves out to other gods.)
- The Engineer in Miss Saigon. Turns out he began his career as a pimp as a child, helping his mother find customers.
- Tam, Kim and Chris's son, come to that.
- The late Johnny Winter from Heavy Rain applies. Before his death it's implied he constantly stood up for his mom when her profession was brought up. In one of the epilogues, his mother avenges him
- Zevran's past has him raised in the brothel until sold to the Crows.
- Red Dead Redemption: John Marston and his son Jack are both this, but it doesn't have any Negative effects on either. Heck, Jack's mother is actually a pretty nice person.
- Though the accuracy of it regarding Jack is debatable, since by then, his mom and dad had settled down and she had given up the trade.
- It's still used as a taunt by the Bureau toward Marston though.
John Marston: Son of a whore.
Edgar Ross: As I recall, it is you who is the son of a whore, Marston.
- According to supplementary materials, Nero of Devil May Cry 4 is the son of a prostitute and Dante's twin brother Vergil.
- Drirr from Albion. He doesn't like to talk about his past for this reason until he gets to know the protagonist better, but that's about all it ever amounts to.
- Implied in Silent Hill: Shattered Memories, as the dressing room in the brothel has children's crayon drawings hanging on the walls. Upon examing them, Harry muses, "Everyone loves their kids."
- Bernadette in Flipside, which is ironic because her girlfriend can best be described as a nymphomaniac.
- Geilein in Garanos, who herself is a prostitute. She's not ashamed of it, and seems to genuinely enjoy her profession.
- Faye from Questionable Content has a short Freak-Out when she realizes one of her Civil-War-era ancestors was a whore, rather than Faye's preferred interpretation, that she was a pirate. (The point of commonality? A "boarded by se(a)men" joke.) Dora tries to calm her down by pointing out that "it is The Oldest Profession -- statistically, we probably all are".
- Cartman's mom is a dirty slut.
- Homer Simpson's half-brother, Herb Powell, had a mom who worked at a carnival and did things Grampa Simpson's wife never did (i.e., have sex for money). When Grampa found out that he had a son with the carnie lady, Herb was given up for adoption and Grampa moved on, marrying Homer's mom (who knew about Grampa's affair with the carnie lady) and promised Grampa never to tell Homer about it. It didn't work.
- Frank Grimes, Jr., who tried to kill Homer to avenge his father's death. When Homer expresses surprise at the fact that Grimey had a child, he replies "My father happened to like hookers, okay?"
- Joe, from Moral Orel.
- Skwisgaar Skwigelf from Metalocalypse. Sadly, his mother seems to be lacking the heart of gold.