History Main / GreyandGrayMorality

28th May '16 12:23:52 PM matteste
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** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVFinal'' is perhaps the game in the series that plays this trope the straightest. Neutral has often been ALighterShadeOfGrey in contrast the the other factions, ''Final'' on the other hand portrays neutral in a much darker light. It also goes out of its way to [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruct]] the typical Neutral ending as well.

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** ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVFinal'' ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIVApocalypse'' is perhaps the game in the series that plays this trope the straightest. Neutral has often been ALighterShadeOfGrey in contrast the the other factions, ''Final'' on the other hand portrays neutral in a much darker light. It also goes out of its way to [[DeconstructedTrope deconstruct]] the typical Neutral ending as well.
23rd May '16 6:04:15 AM PaulA
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* In ''Literature/KingBeyondTheGate'' Ananais, the whitest morally of the three protagonists, has "freed" prisoners ambushed and killed to prevent them joining the enemy again.

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* In ''Literature/KingBeyondTheGate'' ''Literature/TheKingBeyondTheGate'' Ananais, the whitest morally of the three protagonists, has "freed" prisoners ambushed and killed to prevent them joining the enemy again.
23rd May '16 6:04:00 AM PaulA
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* In ''Literature/KingBeyondTheGate'' Ananais, the whitest morally of the three protagonists, has "freed" prisoners ambushed and killed to prevent them joining the enemy again.
18th May '16 4:06:37 AM Morgenthaler
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** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]''. Although the main quest is pretty much black-and-white, the politics in Vvardenfell are very clearly Gray And Gray. House Hlaalu, for example, is open-minded but corrupted, House Telvanni is honest but elitist, House Redoran is strong but xenophobic, the Empire often ranges from oppressive to a little bit too lax, the Dunmer Temple is kind and charitable but has KnightsTemplar (the Ordinators) and is to some degree a CorruptChurch, and the three [[PhysicalGod god-kings]] to which it is devoted are respectively benevolent but pathologically dishonest, egotistically psychotic, and dead. House Dagoth are portrayed as evil, but still remain somewhat gray. At most the main quest is closer to BlackAndGrayMorality.

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** ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]''. Although the main quest is pretty much black-and-white, the politics in Vvardenfell are very clearly Gray And Gray. House Hlaalu, for example, is open-minded but corrupted, House Telvanni is honest but elitist, House Redoran is strong but xenophobic, the Empire often ranges from oppressive to a little bit too lax, the Dunmer Temple is kind and charitable but has KnightsTemplar Knights Templar (the Ordinators) and is to some degree a CorruptChurch, and the three [[PhysicalGod god-kings]] to which it is devoted are respectively benevolent but pathologically dishonest, egotistically psychotic, and dead. House Dagoth are portrayed as evil, but still remain somewhat gray. At most the main quest is closer to BlackAndGrayMorality.
18th May '16 4:05:31 AM Morgenthaler
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** The second has even more moral ambiguity. We're given the choice between the Aotou Gang, who are run by an ObviouslyEvil JerkAss but whose rank and file are shown to be likable fellows who are easily swayed; the town magistrates, who act like KnightsTemplar, but truly love their town; and the town militia, who are the working stiffs just trying to live their lives, but who are also involved with prostitution and minor drug dealing. On the other hand, Kyojiro Kagenuma really IS as insane and just plain evil as she appears to be. That she has her own ending (and it's a major KickTheDog one) is telltale.

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** The second has even more moral ambiguity. We're given the choice between the Aotou Gang, who are run by an ObviouslyEvil JerkAss but whose rank and file are shown to be likable fellows who are easily swayed; the town magistrates, who act like KnightsTemplar, the Knights Templar, but truly love their town; and the town militia, who are the working stiffs just trying to live their lives, but who are also involved with prostitution and minor drug dealing. On the other hand, Kyojiro Kagenuma really IS as insane and just plain evil as she appears to be. That she has her own ending (and it's a major KickTheDog one) is telltale.
16th May '16 11:28:58 PM TheSinful
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* Mentioned time and again in ''[[http://ficwad.com/story/247425 Eroninja]]'' that (almost) every faction is seeking to do what they think is right; whether it be for their family, their village/country, or the world as a whole. Shizune sums it up perfectly when discussing with Tsunade some of the morally shady things they've done compared to the morally shady things others have done.
-->'''Shizune''': We acted to preserve that which was important to us. Just like a village performs actions that might be viewed as wrong, but justifies them by claiming they are for the good of the many. In the end, there are no easy answers. Only those who act, and those who judge those actions based on how it affects them.
16th May '16 9:52:03 PM NightShade96
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* In Literature/ChungKuo, there is no really good side; both the Han rulers and the European rebels commit atrocities as the story progresses

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* In Literature/ChungKuo, there is no really good side; both the Han rulers and the European rebels commit atrocities as the story progressesprogresses.



* In ''Series/{{Merlin 2008}}'', the boy wizard himself and Arthur are definitely good guys. But they support a KnightTemplar king who would execute Merlin if he knew the truth, often against {{designated villain}}s with a legitimate grievance, and Merlin often makes some [[WhatTheHellHero questionable choices]] to balance his nature against his support of the king. Why? In Arthur's case, family loyalty; in Merlin's it's just BecauseDestinySaysSo ("destiny" in this case being a dragon with a fairly major grudge against Uther himself). Hence, when [[spoiler: Morgana decides to side with Morguase]], it's very hard to see it as a FaceHeelTurn, and the script doesn't really make much attempt to present it as such.

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* In ''Series/{{Merlin 2008}}'', the boy wizard himself and Arthur are definitely good guys. But guys, but they support a KnightTemplar king who would execute Merlin if he knew the truth, often against {{designated villain}}s with a legitimate grievance, and Merlin often makes some [[WhatTheHellHero questionable choices]] to balance his nature against his support of the king. Why? In Arthur's case, family loyalty; in Merlin's it's just BecauseDestinySaysSo ("destiny" in this case being a dragon with a fairly major grudge against Uther himself). Hence, when [[spoiler: Morgana decides to side with Morguase]], it's very hard to see it as a FaceHeelTurn, and the script doesn't really make much attempt to present it as such.
16th May '16 9:44:10 PM NightShade96
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* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' falls under this tropes in the later books. At first it's a pretty clear cut case of the bad guys (the Yeerks, taking over the planet parasitically) and the good guys (the Animorphs, and by extension the Andalites, who also hate the Yeerks). As time wears on, however, it's revealed that the Andalites response to the Yeerks infesting the Hork-Bajir homeworld was to release a deadly virus into the atmosphere of the planet, killing nearly all Hork-Bajir on their homeworld. If the Animorphs fail to stop the Yeerk invasion, the Andalites have plans to do exactly the same thing to Earth. As well as that, some of the Yeerks start to be portrayed as true characters, with individual motivations and emotions, instead of just a pack of slugs. Even the Taxxons, giant centipede-like creatures get some of this; they're revealed to be total slaves to their own hunger, literally unable to stop eating as long as there is food around. Then there are the Animorphs themselves; over the course of the books they morph from idealistic kids doing the best they can to a hardened guerilla force with no qualms about sacrificing the new bunch of idealistic kids in the name of winning the war. This seems to have been [[AnAesop the point of the series]].

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* ''Literature/{{Animorphs}}'' falls under this tropes in the later books. At first it's a pretty clear cut case of the bad guys (the Yeerks, taking over the planet parasitically) and the good guys (the Animorphs, and by extension the Andalites, who also hate the Yeerks). As time wears on, however, it's revealed that the Andalites Andalites' response to the Yeerks infesting the Hork-Bajir homeworld was to release a deadly virus into the atmosphere of the planet, killing nearly all Hork-Bajir on their homeworld. If the Animorphs fail to stop the Yeerk invasion, the Andalites have plans to do exactly the same thing to Earth. As well as that, some of the Yeerks start to be portrayed as true characters, with individual motivations and emotions, instead of just a pack of slugs. Even the Taxxons, giant centipede-like creatures get some of this; they're revealed to be total slaves to their own hunger, literally unable to stop eating as long as there is food around. Then there are the Animorphs themselves; over the course of the books they morph from idealistic kids doing the best they can to a hardened guerilla force with no qualms about sacrificing the new bunch of idealistic kids in the name of winning the war. This seems to have been [[AnAesop the point of the series]].



* The ''Franchise/StarWars'' [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] flies up and down the morality scale DependingOnTheWriter; most of them have pretty clear bad guys, and with Creator/TimothyZahn most of those bad guys [[WhiteAndGreyMorality aren't so bad]], but his book ''Literature/OutboundFlight'' fits here. There are a lot of major characters, but they end up falling into one of three categories: Jedi and civilians on Outbound Flight, Chiss and captives, and Darth Sidious's agent. None of those are entirely good or evil. Outbound Flight is led by Jorus C'baoth, an arrogant and domineering Master who believes himself to be the ultimate authority, and whom the others are reluctant to contradict. The main Chiss character is Thrawn, who... well, he's at his most heroic here, but [[OfficerAndAGentleman he's]] [[ShootTheDog Thrawn]]. Sidious's agent is planning to destroy Outbound Flight, but he doesn't exactly [[CardCarryingVillain cackle]] and he respects Thrawn. The few unambiguously Good characters have subplots, but in the end all they're able to do is [[HeroicSacrifice die to save]] fifty-seven out of the fifty thousand who were on Outbound Flight.

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* The ''Franchise/StarWars'' [[Franchise/StarWarsExpandedUniverse Expanded Universe]] flies up and down the morality scale DependingOnTheWriter; most of them have pretty clear bad guys, and with Creator/TimothyZahn most of those bad guys [[WhiteAndGreyMorality aren't so bad]], but his book ''Literature/OutboundFlight'' fits here. There are a lot of major characters, but they end up falling into one of three categories: Jedi and civilians on Outbound Flight, Chiss and captives, and Darth Sidious's agent. None of those are entirely good or evil. Outbound Flight is led by Jorus C'baoth, an arrogant and domineering Master who believes himself to be the ultimate authority, and whom the others are reluctant to contradict. The main Chiss character is Thrawn, who... well, he's at his most heroic here, but [[OfficerAndAGentleman he's]] [[ShootTheDog Thrawn]]. Sidious's agent is planning to destroy Outbound Flight, but he doesn't exactly [[CardCarryingVillain cackle]] and he respects Thrawn. The few unambiguously Good good characters have subplots, but in the end all they're able to do is [[HeroicSacrifice die to save]] fifty-seven out of the fifty thousand who were on Outbound Flight.



** The Starks are "heroic" because they are [[HonorBeforeReason honorable to a fault]] and prefer diplomacy over warfare. Despite this, one of their most useful bannermen is Roose Bolton, who is tolerated as a TokenEvilTeammate [[spoiler:until he finally does betray them]], and testimony from peasants in the wrong place at the wrong time show that Stark grunts do RapePillageAndBurn just as much as the Lannisters. Also, while house heir Robb Stark tries to live his life honorably, he is too easily swayed by his passions, openly violating his contracts and tossing aside loyal alliances in order to marry the woman he loved, and allowing his ambition to grow too big. What began as a quest for Northern sovereignty eventually morphed into an all-out war against Southern Westeros, [[spoiler:an ambition for which he and his men ultimately paid the price]].
** The Lannisters are "villainous" because they hire people like [[BloodKnight Gregor Clegane]], the [[PsychoForHire Bloody Mummers]] and [[spoiler:[[FaceHeelTurn later House Frey]] (whom the Lannisters [[EvenEvilHasStandards regard with some disgust]] after a bloody violation of SacredHospitality)]]. Despite this, it is mentioned several times that commoners loved Tywin, because while he might be an {{Abusive Parent|s}}, he was nevertheless an excellent ruler who gave Westeros some measure of peace and prosperity while he was [[TheGoodChancellor Hand of the King]] to [[TheCaligula Aerys "The Mad" II Targaryen]]. But he has also gain the ire of other people like House Martell for the murder of Elia and later [[spoiler:Oberyn]] Martell. Even with his ruthless but well meaning decisions, he has left the Riverlands in ruin with millions dead.

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** The Starks are "heroic" because they are [[HonorBeforeReason honorable to a fault]] and prefer diplomacy over warfare. Despite this, one of their most useful bannermen is Roose Bolton, who is tolerated as a TokenEvilTeammate [[spoiler:until he finally does betray betrays them]], and testimony from peasants in the wrong place at the wrong time show that Stark grunts do RapePillageAndBurn just as much as the Lannisters. Also, while house heir Robb Stark tries to live his life honorably, he is too easily swayed by his passions, openly violating his contracts and tossing aside loyal alliances in order to marry the woman he loved, and allowing his ambition to grow too big. What began as a quest for Northern sovereignty eventually morphed into an all-out war against Southern Westeros, [[spoiler:an ambition for which he and his men ultimately paid the price]].
** The Lannisters are "villainous" because they hire people like [[BloodKnight Gregor Clegane]], the [[PsychoForHire Bloody Mummers]] and [[spoiler:[[FaceHeelTurn later House Frey]] (whom the Lannisters [[EvenEvilHasStandards regard with some disgust]] after a bloody violation of SacredHospitality)]]. Despite this, it is mentioned several times that commoners loved Tywin, because while he might be an {{Abusive Parent|s}}, he was nevertheless an excellent ruler who gave Westeros some measure of peace and prosperity while he was [[TheGoodChancellor Hand of the King]] to [[TheCaligula Aerys "The Mad" II Targaryen]]. But he has also gain gained the ire of other people like House Martell for the murder of Elia and later [[spoiler:Oberyn]] Martell. Even with his ruthless but well meaning decisions, he has left the Riverlands in ruin with millions dead.



** [[TheSpymaster Varys]] is "villainous" because he is one of the top [[TheChessmaster chessmasters]] of the brutal civil war, who did as much as anyone to bring it about, but his claim that he genuinely cares for the realm makes him more sympathetic to some readers, especially as compared to his intellectual rival, Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, who is an outright sociopath. On the other hand, certain of his actions make it clear he's only interested in stability ''on his own terms'', as seen when he [[spoiler:kills Kevan Lannister just when he was starting to pull King's Landing back together after Cersei's reckless craziness]].

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** [[TheSpymaster Varys]] is "villainous" because he is one of the top [[TheChessmaster chessmasters]] of the brutal civil war, who did as much as anyone to bring it about, but his claim that he genuinely cares for the realm makes him more sympathetic to some readers, especially as compared to his intellectual rival, Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish, who is an outright sociopath. On the other hand, certain of his actions make it clear he's only interested in stability ''on his own terms'', as seen when he [[spoiler:kills Kevan Lannister just when he was starting to pull King's Landing back together after Cersei's reckless craziness]].
13th May '16 1:44:08 PM Apocrypha
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* The war between the Hominum Empire and the orcs in ''Literature/TheSummonerTrilogy'' is this. While the orcs may be Always Chaotic Evil who have long preyed on the humans, the Hominum Empire escalated the conflict by invading and clearing the orcs’ forests to fuel their industrial revolution, dragging the two races into a nearly-decade-long war with casualties so high, the humans have resorted to using Child Soldiers and conscripting prisoners.
** The conflict between the humans and the dwarves, as well. The humans have conquered and oppressed the dwarves for centuries, but the king has said he'd be glad to loosen the restrictions placed on the dwarves if they'd stop trying to rebel and kill his people.
11th May '16 4:16:15 AM Morgenthaler
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* The Chinese Wuxia film ''Film/Hero'' has the following tagline: "In any war there are heroes on both sides..." The movie takes place during the Chinese Warring States period, where the ruthless king of Qin attempts to forcefully unite all of China. Logically, he is attacked by assassins who want nothing more than to kill the king and stop his despotic rule. [[spoiler: At the end of the movie, it is revealed the king of Qin wanted to unite the states to stop the war and suffering plaguing the people. TheHero, also one of the assassins, was close to killing him, but allows him to live to fulfill said goal. The king, bound by law, has to execute the protagonist to make an example of him, but does so reluctantly, as TheHero was one of the few persons who understood the king.]]

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* The Chinese Wuxia film ''Film/Hero'' ''Film/{{Hero}}'' has the following tagline: "In any war there are heroes on both sides..." The movie takes place during the Chinese Warring States period, where the ruthless king of Qin attempts to forcefully unite all of China. Logically, he is attacked by assassins who want nothing more than to kill the king and stop his despotic rule. [[spoiler: At the end of the movie, it is revealed the king of Qin wanted to unite the states to stop the war and suffering plaguing the people. TheHero, also one of the assassins, was close to killing him, but allows him to live to fulfill said goal. The king, bound by law, has to execute the protagonist to make an example of him, but does so reluctantly, as TheHero was one of the few persons who understood the king.]]
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