Created By: Yora on March 29, 2012 Last Edited By: DAN004 on February 3, 2015
Troped

Betrayal By Inaction

A kind of betrayal when the betrayer doesn\'t do anything. Just turning around and leaving their allies to their fate.

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Trope
DAN 004 wuz ere takin over ur druft


Betrayal comes in all kinds of forms, even turning their backs on former allies and walking away, without having to lift a finger.

Sometimes is part of an Uriah Gambit, when the traitor specifically created the situation in which their former ally would need their help. Other times it is the result of a Fair Weather Friend. Bodyguard Betrayal often happens this way.

The phrase associated with this trope is "left in the lurch".

Compare Murder by Inaction and Cavalry Betrayal. Contrast with Screw This, I'm Outta Here!, when the deserters are merely trying to save their own hides but gain nothing from their allies' defeat (i.e betrayal is not their intention as in this trope). Contrast also Failure-to-Save Murder when they did try to save, but failed.

WARNING: Examples may contain spoilers.


Examples

Comic Books
  • At the end of Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt, Thor Girl, having transformed into an energy being, returns to her home galaxy after growing disgusted with humanity's inability to work together and deciding that Earth doesn't deserve her protection.

Film
  • In Braveheart, at the Battle of Falkirk, Lochlan and Mornay show up with their soldiers on the Scottish side, but once the battle has started and it's their time to charge, they simply turn around and leave the battlefield, hoping the Scottish army will be destroyed by the English.
  • Justified in the famous ending of Gone with the Wind. Scarlett had always been a manipulative bitch, but at some point Rhett has enough and simply walks away from her, her problems no longer being his concern.
  • The Wild Geese. The president of an African country is overthrown by a military coup. A businessman hires a group of mercenaries to rescue him in order to use him as a bargaining chip to extract concessions from the new regime. After the president is rescued the regime agrees to the concessions and the businessman orders the plane sent to pick up the mercenaries to leave them behind so they can be slaughtered by the regime's forces. The mercenaries spend the rest of the movie trying to escape.
  • The Running Man. Earlier in the movie Killian insulted his bodyguard by asking him "Steroids make you deaf?" At the end when Richards confronts Killian, Killian expects his bodyguard to protect him. The bodyguard says "I got to score some steroids" and walks away, leaving Killian to his justly deserved fate.
  • In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Thranduil does not come to the dwarves' defense against Smaug or help the refugees of Erebor. Years later, this is still a sore spot for Thorin.
  • The Emperor's New Groove: While helping Kuzco back to the palace, Pacha falls through a bridge and lays dangling and calling for help. Rather than helping him up, Kuzco decides to leave him there and continue on; he was going to betray Pacha anyway and lock him in a dungeon, and this seemed easier. Unfortunately for Kuzco, he fall through moments later, leaving him in the same predicament, and the two are forced to work together to save themselves.
  • In Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo is assigned the job of sneaking into a Vietnamese camp and confirming whether or not Prisoners of War are present. When he finds an entire POW camp where several soldiers (including his old friend and mentor) are being held captive, he takes it upon himself to lead a revolt. However, when he and the escapees reach the chopper meant to extract them, the bureaucrat in charge of the mission orders the chopper to leave without them. The look on Rambo's face as the chopper flies away speaks volumes of the level of betrayal he felt.
  • In Frozen, Hans leaves Anna to die when she had been expecting that he could perform an Act of True Love to save her.
  • Secondhand Lions: When Mae brings Stan to the McCann farm in an effort to try and turn Walter against Garth and Hub and find their money, Stan takes him off for a "man-to-man talk". Mae just turns away while Stan takes her son behind the barn and tries to beat information out of him. A later conversation indicates she was aware of his abusive tendencies already.
  • During the last days of Krypton in the Superman II movie, General Zod and his cronies are on trial for high treason. Zod calls for Jor-El to speak on his behalf, but Jor-El says nothing and ambles away. Zod is at first aghast then furious as he's banished to the Phantom Zone. Later, once he and his cronies escape the Zone and come to Earth, Zod has one huge ax to grind with Jor-El's sole living heir, Kal-El, who's known on Earth as Superman.

Literature
  • The Oathbreakers in The Lord of the Rings were cursed by Isildur when they ignored his call to join his army to fight against Sauron, even though they had pledged allegiance to him.
  • In The Way of Kings, Sadeas betrays Dalinar by having his army retreat halfway though a battle and take their bridges with them, stranding Dalinar's army on a plateau with a swarm of Parshendi reinforcements on the way.
  • Serpine is deserted by the White Cleaver this way at the end of the first Skulduggery Pleasant book.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's novel Friday. "Uncle" Jim Prufit shows up to take Friday to Boss' farm. When they arrive she's attacked by an enemy ambush and Prufit doesn't warn her, he simply watches while they take her. She learns later that Prufit is The Mole.
  • In the second Warrior Cats novel, Fireheart's suspicions about Tigerclaw being a traitor are confirmed when, during a battle, Fireheart is pinned down by Leopardfur, who is trying to kill him. He calls to Tigerclaw for help, but Tigerclaw ignores him and just stands there watching it happen.
  • The Stormlight Archive
    • In The Way of Kings, Highprince Sadeas betrays Dalinar by having his army retreat halfway though a battle and take their bridges with them, stranding Dalinar's army on a plateau with a swarm of Parshendi reinforcements on the way.
    • In the ancient backstory, humanity's greatest defenders, the Knights Radiant, en masse abandoned their Shardplate and Shardblades and walked away in an event called the Recreance. This sparked a still-ongoing war over the abandoned and now much less powerful Shards, and effectively killed the spren who powered their gear and abilities and who were bonded to the Radiants by the strength of the Knights' oaths.
  • In Shadow Puppets (a book in the Ender's Game series), former ally Suriyawong becomes The Dragon for Achilles, who seeks to conquer the world. Suriyawong knows that Achilles has killed those who gave him help, so he always frames his aid as just giving his boss the tools to solve his own problems, such as a knife to escape his captors. When Achilles is finally confronted by his rival Bean, who's pulled a gun on him, Achilles calls for Suri to save him. Suriyawong just gives him a knife then leaves, having fulfilled his plan to betray Achilles at the very moment he needed help.
  • In The State Councillor, Erast Fandorin seems to make a deal with the Big Bad, where they both agree to not interfere with each other. However, Fandorin knows something that could save the villain's life and, by not revealing it to him, betrays their deal and has him killed indirectly.

Live-Action TV
  • In Babylon 5, Lennier finds Sheridan trapped behind a containment door in a corridor filling with toxic smoke, but as he reaches for the switch to open it, he instead turns around and leaves, as with Sheridan dead, he would be once again the closest person to Deelen.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Becoming, Pt 2.", though they were only temporary allies when they fought Angelus together, once Spike gets Dru back, he shrugs and leaves Buffy to potentially get killed by Angelus.
  • Team Weston from Burn Notice has pulled this, or made it appear that they pulled this, a number of times on the various Villains of the Week. In one of the more notable cases, Sam and Jesse befriended a mafia lieutenant, convinced the guy that he had to kill his boss before the boss killed him, and that they'd help him with their "private army". They hired about a dozen intimidating looking guys, and accompanied the lieutenant to confront his boss. As soon as the lieutenant announced his intentions complete with some Evil Gloating, they all just walked away, leaving the guy by himself with his pissed off boss and the boss' armed bodyguards. You can probably guess how that turned out.
    Michael Weston: [narrating] Military leaders since the city-states of early Greece have known that a tried and tested method for getting rid of a dangerous adversary is to provoke him into attacking another powerful enemy. Provide an ambitious adversary with the backing of a seemingly invincible army, and he's bound to go after even his toughest rivals. Making sure your adversary is eliminated then becomes about pulling that backing once he's declared war on his rival. When it's too late for him to take it all back.

Video Games
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, the Battle of Ostagar is planned to have King Cailan and the bulk of the army, including a vanguard of Grey Wardens, lure the darkspawn horde into a narrow chasm, at which point his general, Teyrn Loghain, would attack with a second army from the back, trapping the darkspawn between them. But when the signal comes, Loghain simply orders a retreat and returns with his men to the capital, leaving the king, his army, and every Grey Warden with them to die at the hands of the darkspawn. He was against the whole plan from the beginning, but since he considered the king unfit to rule the country, he didn't object to it too much.
  • In StarCraft:
    • Part of Mengsk's Uriah Gambit, when he sends Kerrigan to keep a Protoss force from destroying a hive of Zerg, which he wishes to use for his own purpose. Once the Protoss are destroyed, he immediately orders all ships to retreat, leaving Kerrigan on the ground with the Zerg and not responding to her requests for evac. It didn't turn out too well for him in the long run.
    • The intro cinematic for Brood War has a huge battlecruiser sitting there without participating in the battle against the Zerg, finally leaving under the Death Glare of the Marine who's about to be overrun.
    • One level ends where Stukov and Duran are guarding your flanks as you try to capture Raynor and Mengsk. At the end of the level, the capture is interrupted by a massive Zerg swarm. Stukov tells Duran to move his troops in there immediately, but Duran claims he's not seeing anything, even suggesting Stukov's sensors are off, ending the call with the usual static and "you're breaking up" as Raynor and Mensk escape. Stukov isn't fooled for a second, realizing Duran was a Zerg traitor all along.
  • In Baldur's Gate II, a group of mercenary mages approaches the heroes, telling them that really don't like working for Baron Ployer, and that for a modest price they will not show up for his protection when they are going to confront him.
  • Dawn of War:
    • Sindri's last sacrifice to the Chaos gods is his master Lord Bale which he leaves when Bale is surrounded by the Blood Ravens.
    • In Winter Assault, this happens whichever faction you're fighting as in the penultimate level. Both sides consist of two factions nominally allied with each other, and whichever faction you're playing as at the end goes through the gate towards the Titan, leaving the other one fighting off orks and Chaos/humans and Eldar (though if Chaos wins, the orks turn on each other as well).
    • In II: Eliphas, the Obviously Evil Treacherous Advisor to Araghast, allows him to die at the hands of the Blood Ravens when he refuses to open a portal.

Western Animation
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • In season 2, Magnificent Bastards Long Feng and Azula form an alliance to capture Aang and gain control of the Earth Kingdom, with neither of them having any intention to share the prize. But when Long Feng orders the Dai Li to take Azula into custody, they don't move a muscle, waiting to see which one of them is more worthy to have their loyalty.
    • We learn in the third season that Fire Lord Sozin and Avatar Roku were lifelong friends until they grew apart when Sozin revealed that he wanted to conquer the rest of the world in order to forcibly "share" the Fire Nation's prosperity and technological advances. After being forbidden from doing this by Roku, the two didn't talk for many years until the volcano on Roku's home island had a sudden, titanic eruption, and Sozin, who was in a nearby boat, came to help the evacuation. When Roku was poisoned and weakened by the volcanic gas, Sozin realized that if Roku died he could move ahead with his conquest plans after all, and promptly left his friend to die.
  • Subverted in one Batman: The Animated Series episode, where the daughter of a crime lord is shouting to her father for help as she dangles from a ledge. He goes away, her head drops... and then the lifesaver on a rope he'd gone to grab drops down.

Real Life
  • Alexander Selkirk, the man who inspired the story of Robinson Crusoe, had a heated argument with the captain of the ship he was traveling on and said he would rather stay on an island and wait for another ship to pick him up then to continue the journey with the captain. But none of the other sailors wanted to come with him and when he was brought to the beach of an island, he got second thoughts and shouted to the boat to come back and pick him up again. Which they didn't.

Community Feedback Replies: 73
  • March 29, 2012
    Bisected8
    Often done by a Fair Weather Friend.

    Also, for a name; Backstab By Backturn, The Turncoat Turns Away or Bye Bye Betrayal (custum titled to "Bye, Bye" Betrayal)?
  • March 29, 2012
    cygnavamp
  • March 29, 2012
    chicagomel
    Angel in flashback in 'Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?' may count, but I'm not positive. He was still in his reclusive phase then, and he left the hotel full of people to the Thessulac demon.
  • March 29, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
  • March 29, 2012
    dalek955
    • In The Way of Kings, Sadeas betrays Dalinar by having his army retreat halfway though a battle and take their bridges with them, stranding Dalinar's army on a plateau with a swarm of Parshendi reinforcements on the way.
    • Serpine is deserted by the White Cleaver this way at the end of the first Skulduggery Pleasant book.
  • March 30, 2012
    Leaper
    Glad you realize you need a better title. The quote is misleading too; I don't see how it has much to do with the trope.
  • March 30, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    Smoke does this to Professor Sludge in Bunnykill 5 after injecting Dust with Psycho Serum.
  • March 30, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • The Wild Geese. The president of an African country is overthrown by a military coup. A businessman hires a group of mercenaries to rescue him in order to use him as a bargaining chip to extract concessions from the new regime. After the president is rescued the regime agrees to the concessions and the businessman orders the plane sent to pick up the mercenaries to leave them behind so they can be slaughtered by the regime's forces. The mercenaries spend the rest of the movie trying to escape.
  • March 30, 2012
    NoRyu
    • In the movie Dungeon & Dragon 2, the lich who serve the Big Bad. As the heroes arrive to defy the Big Bad, he orders the lich to defeat them. The lich turns to him, says "no", adds "I stayed with you only to see your face when I would say that" and leaves.
  • March 31, 2012
    Arivne
    Film
    • The Running Man. Earlier in the movie Killian insulted his bodyguard by asking him "Steroids make you deaf?" At the end when Richards confronts Killian, Killian expects his bodyguard to protect him. The bodyguard says "I got to score some steroids" and walks away, leaving Killian to his justly deserved fate.
  • March 31, 2012
    randomsurfer
    Seen It A Million Times in Professional Wrestling where one member of a tag team will leave the other to his fate in the ring, used to tease or cement a Face Heel Turn (or more rarely a Heel Face Turn).
  • April 1, 2012
    Arivne
    Literature
    • Robert Heinlein's novel Friday. "Uncle" Jim Prufit shows up to take Friday to Boss' farm. When they arrive she's attacked by an enemy ambush and Prufit doesn't warn her, he simply watches while they take her. She learns later that Prufit is The Mole.
  • April 1, 2012
    Yora
    In Baldur's Gate II, a group of mercenary mages approaches the heroes, telling them that really don't like working for Baron Ployer, and that for a modest price they will not show up for his protection when they are going to confront him.
  • April 1, 2012
    DmM
  • April 1, 2012
    NightNymph
    Though they were only temporary allies when they fought Angelus together, once Spike gets Dru back, he shrugs and leaves Buffy to potentially get killed by Angelus in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode "Becoming, Pt 2."
  • June 1, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.

    In The Hobbit An Unexpected Journey, Thranduil does not come to the dwarves' defense against Smaug or help the refugees of Erebor. Years later, this is still a sore spot for Thorin.
  • June 1, 2014
    Chabal2
    • Subverted in one Batman The Animated Series episode, where the daughter of a crime lord is shouting to her father for help as she dangles from a ledge. He goes away, her head drops... and then the lifesaver on a rope he'd gone to grab drops down.
    • The intro cinematic for Brood War has a huge battlecruiser sitting there without participating in the battle against the Zerg, finally leaving under the Death Glare of the Marine who's about to be overrun.

  • June 2, 2014
    DAN004
    Relared to Murder By Inaction
  • June 2, 2014
    robbulldog
    Toy Story 3, Lotso could just reach over and push the button to stop the conveyor belt taking the toys to the incinerator...but doesn't.
  • June 4, 2014
    Dawnwing
    Literature:

    • In the second Warrior Cats novel, Fireheart's suspicions about Tigerclaw being a traitor are confirmed when, during a battle, Fireheart is pinned down by Leopardfur, who is trying to kill him. He calls to Tigerclaw for help, but Tigerclaw ignores him and just stands there watching it happen.
  • June 4, 2014
    DAN004
  • June 4, 2014
    Statzkeen
    Since it references Uriah Gambit, it should be mentioned that in The Bible this is how David made sure Uriah died - by ordering the rest of his outfit to perform this trope.

    Also, I'd argue that rather than a Justified example, GWTT is not an example of all; cheating is betrayal, but ending a relationship and stating you don't care anymore is not.
  • June 5, 2014
    TheWanderer
    • Team Weston from Burn Notice has pulled this, or made it appear that they pulled this, a number of times on the various Villains of the Week. In one of the more notable cases, Sam and Jesse befriended a mafia lieutenant, convinced the guy that he had to kill his boss before the boss killed him, and that they'd help him with their "private army". They hired about a dozen intimidating looking guys, and accompanied the lieutenant to confront his boss. As soon as the lieutenant announced his intentions complete with some Evil Gloating, they all just walked away, leaving the guy by himself with his pissed off boss and the boss' armed bodyguards. You can probably guess how that turned out.
      Michael Weston: [narrating] Military leaders since the city-states of early Greece have known that a tried and tested method for getting rid of a dangerous adversary is to provoke him into attacking another powerful enemy. Provide an ambitious adversary with the backing of a seemingly invincible army, and he's bound to go after even his toughest rivals. Making sure your adversary is eliminated then becomes about pulling that backing once he's declared war on his rival. When it's too late for him to take it all back.
  • June 5, 2014
    Chabal2
    Dawn Of War: Sindri's last sacrifice to the Chaos gods is his master Lord Bale which he leaves when Bale is surrounded by the Blood Ravens.
    • In Winter Assault, this happens whichever faction you're fighting as in the penultimate level. Both sides consist of two factions nominally allied with each other, and whichever faction you're playing as at the end goes through the gate towards the Titan, leaving the other one fighting off orks and Chaos/humans and Eldar (though if Chaos wins, the orks turn on each other as well).
    • In II: Eliphas, the Obviously Evil Treacherous Advisor to Araghast, allows him to die at the hands of the Blood Ravens when he refuses to open a portal.
    • Starcraft: In Brood War, one level ends where Stukov and Duran are guarding your flanks as you try to capture Raynor and Mengsk. At the end of the level, the capture is interrupted by a massive Zerg swarm. Stukov tells Duran to move his troops in there immediately, but Duran claims he's not seeing anything, even suggesting Stukov's sensors are off, ending the call with the usual static and "you're breaking up" as Raynor and Mensk escape. Stukov isn't fooled for a second, realizing Duran was a Zerg traitor all along.
    • Eric: For a good part of the book, Rincewind thinks he actually has gained magic powers (a demon lord was doing it for him). Naturally, once Rincewind and Eric find themselves in Hell his teleportation doesn't work anymore.
  • June 5, 2014
    TonyG
    The Emperors New Groove: While helping Kuzco back to the palace, Pacha falls through a bridge and lays dangling and calling for help. Rather than helping him up, Kuzco decides to leave him there and continue on; he was going to betray Pacha anyway and lock him in a dungeon, and this seemed easier. Unfortunately for Kuzco, he fall through moments later, leaving him in the same predicament, and the two are forced to work together to save themselves.
  • June 5, 2014
    randomsurfer
    In Professional Wrestling ofentimes a Tag Team will break up by one member leaving the other to fend for themselves in a match; when one tries to tag the other in, the other one will pull their hand back, or jump off the ring apron and leave.

    Seen it a dozen times, can't think of a specific example.
  • June 10, 2014
    TheWanderer
  • June 10, 2014
    KyleJacobs
    Sister trope to Cavalry Betrayal.
  • June 10, 2014
    TheWanderer
  • June 10, 2014
    DAN004
  • June 11, 2014
    Arivne
    • Corrected spelling (shoting, devestating, betrayls, Lenier, Sherridan x2).
    • Examples section formatting
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Blue Linked media section title(s).
    • Namespaced and italicized work name(s).
    • Changed "find" to "finds".
    • Blue Linked (Magnificent Bastards).
    • Moved Real Life section to end of Examples.
  • June 11, 2014
    NemuruMaeNi
    There is a problem of sense-strictness of "not doing anything", or literal meanings of "walk away". Those still are conscious undertakings and they aren't that easy to distinguish from "doing what someone was expecting you to do".

    Passivated Loyalty. They were thought of as loyal. Maybe they've presented themselves as loyal. Maybe they've really been loyal even. But not at this crucial moment, when it turns out that passivation has eaten through their loyalty and brushed off them themselves, leaving them not particularly proactive.

    Either way, are devastating or even just bad consequences a must for this trope? Is malice required? Does the act of inaction have to be intended as means of hurting?
  • June 11, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Comic Books
    • At the end of Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt, Thor Girl, having transformed into an energy being, returns to her home galaxy after growing disgusted with humanity's inability to work together and deciding that Earth doesn't deserve her protection.
  • June 12, 2014
    dalek955
    • In the ancient backstory of The Stormlight Archive, humanity's greatest defenders, the Knights Radiant, en masse abandoned their Shardplate and Shardblades and walked away in an event called the Recreance. This sparked a still-ongoing war over the abandoned and now much less powerful Shards, and effectively killed the spren who powered their gear and abilities and who were bonded to the Radiants by the strength of the Knights' oaths.
  • June 19, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Maybe Betray And Walk Away would be a better name. The current one sounds as though it could be a person talking to a grieving person, maybe something else.
  • June 19, 2014
    Paradisesnake
    Like DAN004 said (^x18), Murder By Inaction should be mentioned somewhere in the description.

    I also second his proposal (^x15), Betrayal By Inaction, for the title.
  • June 19, 2014
    Tuckerscreator
    • In Shadow Puppets, a sequel to Enders Game, former ally Suriyawong becomes The Dragon for Achilles, who seeks to conquer the world. Suriyawong knows that Achilles does not like to receive help, so he always frames his aid as just giving his boss the tools to solve his own problems. When Achilles is finally confronted by his rival Bean, who's pulled a gun on him, Achilles calls for Suri to save him. Suriyawong just gives him a knife then leaves, having fulfilled his plan to betray Achilles at the very moment he needed help.
  • July 2, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • July 2, 2014
    DAN004
  • July 3, 2014
    Arivne
  • July 3, 2014
    KingZeal
    • In Rambo: First Blood Part II, Rambo is assigned the job of sneaking into a Vietnamese camp and confirming whether or not Prisoners of War are present. When he finds an entire POW camp where several soldiers (including his old friend and mentor) are being held captive, he takes it upon himself to lead a revolt. However, when he and the escapees reach the chopper meant to extract them, the bureaucrat in charge of the mission orders the chopper to leave without them. The look on Rambo's face as the chopper flies away speaks volumes of the level of betrayal he felt.
  • July 3, 2014
    hbi2k
  • July 3, 2014
    KingZeal
    I like Betrayal By Inaction.

    For Added Allitive Appeal, what about something like Betrayal By Bystanding?
  • July 3, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Not sure "bystanding" is a proper word. Wasn't it "standing by"?
  • December 2, 2014
    HeroGal2347
    In Frozen, Hans leaves Anna to die when she had been expecting that he could perform an Act Of True Love to save her.
  • December 2, 2014
    DAN004
    May I grab this? Or maybe Hero Gal?
  • December 3, 2014
    hbi2k
    ^^ Sort of a weird circular chicken-and-egg example. Turns out he couldn't save her because he doesn't actually love her. If he cared enough that he wanted to save her, maybe he could have.
  • December 16, 2014
    Koveras
    • In The State Councillor, Erast Fandorin seems to make a deal with the Big Bad, where they both agree to not interfere with each other. However, Fandorin knows something that could save the villain's life and, by not revealing it to him, betrays their deal and has him killed indirectly.
  • December 16, 2014
    dalek955
    The Way of Kings is part of the Stormlight Archives, their examples shouldn't be separate.
  • December 16, 2014
    crazysamaritan
    Draft looks very good. I went and made some tweaks:

    Pro Wrestling
    • In Professional Wrestling ofentimes a Tag Team will break up by one member leaving the other to fend for themselves in a match; when one tries to tag the other in, the other one will pull their hand back, or jump off the ring apron and leave.
  • December 16, 2014
    TheWanderer
    We really need to get rid of that quote. Maybe the following one instead?

    Long Feng: Now comes the part where I double-cross you. Dai Li, arrest the Fire Nation Princess. [The Dai Li agents don't move] I said, arrest her. What is wrong with you?
    Azula: It's because they haven't made up their minds. They're waiting to see how this is going to end.
    Long Feng: What are you talking about?
    Azula: The fact is, they don't know which one of us is going to be sitting on that throne and which one is going to be bowing down. But I know. And you know. [Azula sits on the Earth King's throne] Well?
  • December 16, 2014
    hbi2k
    ^ It's a little long and not very to-the-point. This trope is in that quote, but it's not what that quote is about.
  • December 16, 2014
    TheWanderer
    If it's helpful the quote I suggested could probably be pruned down further to just the first 2 lines.

    Otherwise maybe the old proverb about how evil triumphs when good men do nothing? It's a bit of a stretch too, though. Just can't remember any good quotes directly on the subject at the moment.
  • January 1, 2015
    DAN004
    Bump
  • January 1, 2015
    troacctid
    Compare and contrast Leonine Contract, where instead of walking away, they exploit your helplessness to strike a lopsided bargain with you.
  • January 2, 2015
    TwoGunAngel
    How about Left In The Lurch for a trope name? It's the common term for betraying someone by abandoning them and leaving them to their fate when they could have done something to help the person involved.
  • January 2, 2015
    DAN004
    Where did you get that from?
  • January 2, 2015
    Tallens
    • Secondhand Lions: When Mae brings Stan to the McCann farm in an effort to try and turn Walter against Garth and Hub and find their money, Stan takes him off for a "man-to-man talk". Mae just turns away while Stan takes her son behind the barn and tries to beat information out of him. A later conversation indicates she was aware of his abusive tendencies already.
  • January 2, 2015
    randomsurfer
  • January 3, 2015
    DAN004
    I guess Left In The Lurch can be a redirect.
  • January 3, 2015
    TwoGunAngel
    Fair enough.
  • January 5, 2015
    Ominae
    Not sure on this.

    • In Iron Man 3, the Vice President was warned of a terror plot on Air Force One. But when asked by his aide, he tells him that things are fine.
  • January 5, 2015
    DAN004
    ^ I'm sure we have other cases of "betrayal by lying" out there.
  • January 6, 2015
    ginsengaddict
    I like the current title - it works well with Murder By Inaction - that was one of my contributions.
  • January 25, 2015
    DAN004
    Final bump.

    Indices?
  • January 25, 2015
    StrixObscuro
    ^ I'm assuming there is a betrayal index that this could be added to?
  • January 25, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    Film
    • During the last days of Krypton in the Superman II movie, General Zod and his cronies are on trial for high treason. Zod calls for Jor-El to speak on his behalf, but Jor-El says nothing and ambles away. Zod is at first aghast then furious as he's banished to the Phantom Zone. Later, once he and his cronies escape the Zone and come to Earth, Zod has one huge ax to grind with Jor-El's sole living heir, Kal-El, who's known on Earth as Superman.
  • January 25, 2015
    Arivne
    ^ In the original Superman II movie (1980) Jor-El doesn't appear at all (watch the scene here).

    Jor-El appears at the beginning of the original Superman movie (1978) but General Zod doesn't ask him to speak on his behalf. He says that the vote must be unanimous, threatens Jor-El if he finds them guilty and asks him to join him in his conspiracy (as seen here).

    Are you thinking of a later alternate version, such as the Richard Donner cut?

    In any event Jor-El's act is not a betrayal: Zod and his accomplices weren't his allies and he was acting as the Council's prosecutor in the case against them.
  • January 26, 2015
    oneuglybunny
    ^ That's right; I'd foolishly shuffled the two films together. It seemed like a fit at the time: Jor-El, being played by Marlon Brando, remains patently silent and balefully turns away, driving Zod to desperate fervency. Clearly, I've gotten my facts in backwards. Begging the Sponsor's pardon, strike this non-example as unsuitable.
  • January 27, 2015
    nielas
    • On Gotham Det. Jim Gordon runs afoul of mob boss Don Falcone. Falcone sends his henchman Victor Zsasz to collect Gordon for a "chat". Gordon figures that Zsasz will not do anything while they are in a precinct full of cops but Zsasz simply walks in and yells that he wants Gordon. All the cops but one leave the building rather than to protect Gordon and fight Zsasz. Gordon survives but the incident destroys any remaining illusions he might have about the integrity of the Gotham Police Department.
  • February 2, 2015
    TomWalpertac2
    Jokes:
    • The Lone Ranger is on the run from a band of hostile Indians and runs into Tonto.
      Lone Ranger: "Looks like we're surrounded by a hostile tribe. How do we get out of this one, Tanto?"
      Tonto: "What's this we business, White Man?"
  • February 3, 2015
    Arivne
    ^ That's "Tonto".
  • February 3, 2015
    robinjohnson
    [edit: never mind, the example I gave was Murder By Inaction and listed there.]
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