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TV Tropes Monday: Succession Crisis


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There comes a time in the life of any government that the baton must be past to a new leader, except that somebody drops the baton, or is shot on the way to delivering it, or the baton gets lost, or the metaphor gets stretched beyond the breaking point. When that happens you have a Succession Crisis. While the trope applies primarily to monarchies, it can also to any apply to any government in a time of transition of power.

The key to this trope is legitimacy, the belief that the person taking power or claiming said power has the lawful right to do so. If the legitimacy of the new ruler or candidate is successfully questioned then  you entered a Succession Crisis.  Life for the common citizen may continue, for awhile anyway. Finding a way to resolve the crisis means solving the legitimacy problem because while a new ruler can take power by force, that doesn’t mean that the crisis is over. On the contrary, once ceremony is thrown out the window, anybody can claim the throne and you have yourself a merry little civil war and/or outright invasion, sometimes both.



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