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This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Gus: Pulled out ...
(You could perhaps argue that Duckman petted the dog in episodes in which he remembered his late wife; however, there was usually a quick subversion as he would remember some really perverted/amoral aspect of their relationship to balance the tender part.)
... as it is a parabombed example of what the trope isn't.


Paul A: I don't think that the Galatea example is an example of this trope: giving the villain a happy family moment as a contrast with their usual behaviour is a different thing from giving the villain a happy family moment to show that they're not that bad really.

"So, what you're saying is that I write poetry because underneath my mean, callous, heartless exterior, I really just want to be loved. Is that right? ... Well, you're completely wrong. I just write poetry to throw my mean, callous, heartless exterior into sharp relief."


Keenath: I rolled back your change, Andyzero; Petting the Dog doesn't tell us that a villain is a Noble Demon (an antihero who wants to be evil but ends up doing good despite himself); it tells us that he's not a Villain even though he's an antagonist.

For example, Lt. Philip Gerard in The Fugitive is not evil. He honestly thinks he's chasing a murderer. The fact is that Dr. Kimble is our hero and the police officer is mistaken. A scene with Lt. Gerard petting the dog lets us know that he's a good guy who is persistent in his pursuit of a (supposed) murderer, and lets us know that he's not a Knight Templar.

Similarly, as mentioned in the page explanation, Captain Smoker on One Piece is a thoroughly decent and likable man who just happens to be on the wrong side of the law from the Straw Hat pirates. And while a lot of the Marine Captains are evil men who abuse their position (they are portrayed more as Yakuza-with-legitimacy than military officers), Smoker gets several pet-the-dogs so we know he's a different sort of character from the usual run of Marine jerks.

Contrast that to the Operative from Serenity, who is a cold-blooded murderer. Even though he has governmental permission to do so, he's an evil man, and he admits as much himself.


Eran of Arcadia: If you want proof that only in fiction does this show that the villain is "not so bad", consider that Adolph Hitler was a big dog lover. Perhaps it should be listed as a real life subversion?

Phartman: I guess it could, but attempting to conquer Europe and ordering the deaths of millions of innocent people has a way of invalidating anything nice one could ever do afterwards. To me, the fact that Adolf Hitler liked dogs and children (so long as they weren't Semitic or Slavic) only sharpens the horror of his crimes, rather than mitigating them.


That Other 1 Dude: That picture is way oversized.

Fly: I came, I agreed, I shrunk it.


Etrangere
  • Also played straight in Azumanga Daioh with Sakaki, a Huge Schoolgirl with a weak spot for cute things. Well, almost straight, since cats don't react to her very well.
because Sakaki is not a villain so it doesn't really apply.

Fly: You could make an argument for Sakaki being a dog petter, since, in her first appearance, she appears cold and detached, and her weakness for cute things is the first indication we get that she's a warm person who just happens to be very shy. I don't really think it's a clear enough example to qualify, though.


Puck: What happened to the polar bear picture?
Charred Knight: deleted due to some confusion. The person who lead the attack was Durotan, who did it under orders from Blackhand. Also the person who lead the Orcs into Demonic corruption was Guldan who tricked the Orcs into drinking Mannorath's blood, stating that it would make them stronger (it did but it also made them crazy). Grom was just one of the first orcs to drink Mannorath's blood. To be fair he did horrible things but the change was natural, Grom felt that by abandoning their warrior ways they have led the orcs to ruin.

  • Especially jarring because the novel set before LOTC, Rise of the Horde, has Grom Hellscream leading the slaughter against hundreds upon hundreds of innocents, children included, and then leading his people into the corruptive influence of demons. Twice! Draco in Leather Pants might be appropiate for this guy...