Killing with Kindness
The Sociopath or non-human tries to help, with disastrous effects
Needs Examples

(permanent link) added: 2013-02-09 00:25:11 sponsor: bulmabriefs144 (last reply: 2013-03-04 06:10:23)

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So you have a story where you have The Sociopath, Eldritch Abomination, Starfish Alien, or Golem going around creating mayhem everywhere. But gradually their horrifying acts don't have the same effect on viewers. How do you keep them creeping out the audience? Make them not completely insane or selfish.

They want to help those around them, even though supposedly people with a general Lack of Empathy only think of themselves. This is wrong, right? Well, no. It's actually Truth in Television to a certain extent, as there's such a thing as Collective Narcissism, that is, one sees one's own group of friends and family as a direct extension of oneself. Given that this is Through the Eyes of Madness, the definition of what helps others may be potentially very weird, and said friends may not agree with it.

Contrast with Poisonous Friend who actively knows they are doing the wrong thing, this is about people who due to a strange moral code, actually believe they are helping.


Example:

  • In Doctor Who episode the Empty Child a swarm of medical nanobots are set loose in Blitz-era London, and fulfill their programming by healing the sick and resurrecting the dead... unfortunately, they don't have a very good idea of how human biology works, so they end up mutating any humans they come across into gas mask-wearing zombies.
    • In another episode, called The Girl Who Waited, Amy gets stuck in a resort under quarantine with robots who are inoculating people against disease (unfortunately, their antidotes are set for creatures other than human) telling them "this is a kindness."
  • The Good Witch has a few examples. She turns people into clothing, to help out her mom's store. To give her "sister" a new friend, she transforms a guy into a little girl, and his girlfriend into clothing. It's even sort of romantic, in a sick way, since he's always wearing his girlfriend.
  • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dobby's attempts to protect Harry cause Harry to be badly injured and almost expelled. While Dobby is by no means evil, his ideas of what constitutes help are definitely out there.
  • In Jade Empire, The Black Whirlwind tells a story about how he happened upon two men arguing over which of them would marry a woman. He decided to resolve the dispute by cutting the woman in half with his axes and telling the men they could each have a piece of her corpse.
  • The reason a priest's corpse was found with a piece of paper in his mouth at the beginning of Feet of Clay: he was found dying by a golem, who tried to fix him the golem way, by inserting a scrap of paper with sacred words in his head.
  • This is essentially what drives Love Freak and Mad Doctor Fran Madaraki, helping people by, for example, turning one into a giant bug or switching two lovers' genders around and seeing nothing wrong with it.
  • A non-human version of this exists in Rune Soldier Louie. Louie makes a cheap golem to guard his friend's money, but because he's a third-rate idiot sorcerer who prefers his fists to spellcraft, it doesn't appear to understand commands. "So I'm a bumbling fool, okay?!" The golem hears a command, and decides the best way to protect the treasure is to throw in a bubbling pool.
  • Team Fortress 2's Pyro is feared by friend and for alike for his horrifying cruelty, but in his own deranged mind he's innocently skipping through a Sugar Bowl world spreading rainbows and joy.
  • Harry Dresden's fairy godmother spent several books wanting to protect him by turning him into one of her Hell Hounds.
    • Mab isn't much better. She invited him to a "birthday party" that quickly degenerated into a bloodbath.
  • The Skin Lizards in Digger intend to skin the heroine and tattoo her hide. It eventually becomes apparent this is their way of being kind, as according to their beliefs this would allow her to live forever. Digger eventually allows them to do this to Ed, who has died, because she has no means to get him back to the surface.
  • In an episode of The Simpsons Lisa talks a temporarily destitute Mr. Burns into reinventing himself by helping the environment through recyling. He ends up "recycling" all the fish in the sea into Li'l Lisa Slurry, which she is horrified by. "You're an evil old man and when you're trying to be good you're even more evil!"
  • In The Magician's Nephew some talking animals, who have never seen a human before, try to help Uncle Andrew who has fainted. They decide he must be a tree which has inadvertantly become uprooted, so they bury his roots back in the ground and water him. There is some discussion beforehand as to whether his legs are his roots or his hair is; fortunately for him the leg contingent wins the argument.

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