"The best of all would be the strongest student, yes? Wisest? Most learned in the ways of the Force? Best of all, Dooku would be! Our greatest student! Our greatest failure."
Most bad guys don't start out bad
. People can turn
for many reasons, and it can happen to anyone, even those with the humblest
beginnings. But those who turn their backs on their teachers, their traditions, or fellow followers of their calling have a conspicuous tendency to also be the best and brightest at what they do.
There is some logic to this; it makes sense that the people who willingly break away from cohesive groups would tend to be particularly self assured, and in any case a premier pupil or top general who walks out on their side will attract much more attention than a lower level traitor. However, there are also more dramatic
reasons for this tendency. A traitor who is more formidable than their former associates poses a much more credible threat than one who is less so, and the more valuable a person's contributions to a cause, the greater the pathos in their betrayal.
A Top Tier Traitor
is likely to possess The Gift
. If the group they left is the one to which the protagonist belongs, they are likely to be an Evil Counterpart.
- Count Dooku, as described in the page quote. Anakin Skywalker also becomes this when he betrays the Jedi Order, having the greatest affinity with the Force of any Jedi, and besting Count Dooku in combat.
- Lucifer, according to Christian tradition, was the greatest and fairest of the angels before his fall.
- In the Wind on Fire trilogy, the Master was the most powerful of the Singer People, who possess Functional Magic but live strictly ascetic lifestyles. When he left, he used his powers to create an entire nation dedicated to his glory.
- In Samurai Champloo, Shoryu, the 'street killer' was the sword instructor Zuikou's greatest pupil, until he studied Shaolin kung fu in China and used the skills he brought back to kill another pupil. To fellow members of his dojo, Jin also appears to be this.