Good Versus Good


(permanent link) added: 2010-05-17 04:42:17 sponsor: Xzenu (last reply: 2010-06-21 10:06:01)

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There's a huge conflict going on. It's the force of great heroes who are trying to defend everything they hold dear against the other force of great heroes who are trying to defend everything they hold dear against the first force of great heroes... Hey, wait a minute!

This is not Gray and Gray Morality, it is Good Versus Good: The opposite of Evil Versus Evil, with Gray and Grey Morality in the middle between these two polar opposites.

Why? Well. Maybe it's just a misunderstanding. Maybe they are on some very important quest or guard duty and can't take any chances with trusting each other. Maybe they have people to protect, and conflicting interests that can't seem to be resolved. Or something. Maybe they will eventually find out that Rousseau Was Right and live happily together ever after, but then again maybe they won't.

Going against the traditional Black and White Morality narrative of a good protagonist versus a evil antagonist, a Good Versus Good plot can be narrated in three different ways:

  1. Both sides can be considered protagonists, with the story giving room for both perspectives.
  2. Neither side is the protagonists: The protagonist might sympathize with both sides and try to negotiate either a peace or a unified front against a common enemy.
  3. One side is the protagonist, while the other side makes a sympathetic Hero Antagonist

Please note that in a large scale conflict, the three tropes Good Versus Good, Gray and Gray Morality and Evil Versus Evil does NOT necessarily exclude each other. The same large scale conflict can feature both hero versus hero and villain versus villain. What is needed for Good Versus Good to come into effect is that the heroes on both sides are indeed real heroes. This kind of mixed cases are sometimes caused by My Country, Right or Wrong, where the heroes on both sides just want to protect their people rather then pondering the politics of what country to blame for the war getting started in the first place.

Also please note that this trope is subjective, requiring a viewer/reader to consider both sides "the good guys". For the same reason: No Real Life examples, please.

Examples

Anime
  • Princess Mononoke is a prime example, with both sides being genuinely sympathetic and both leaders being directed by their feeling of responsibility for the welfare of their people.
  • Legend of Galactic Heroes (text below)

Comics
  • In JLA-Avengers the two groups were fighting against each other because they were both told by outsiders that the other group was evil, and if the other team collected the Plot Coupons first they would destroy the other.
  • X-men vs. the Avengers (text below)

Film

Manga

Video Games
  • World of Warcraft can be seen this way, with very good and honorable forces within both the Alliance and the Horde. Of course, the game is ALSO a case of Evil Versus Evil, with various disgusting tendencies existing in both factions.

Literature
  • Honor Harrington (text below)
  • Hell's Gate (text below)

Live-Action TV
  • The Unification War in Firefly can be seen in this way, if you take into the account that the Alliance (depicted as grey at best) is seen trough the eyes of very bitter individuals. Both sides were fighting for good, both committed various acts of evil in the name of good (Alliance had apple bombs, Browncoats had vicious torture methods and that's just a small sample), and both sides could be called "good". One wanted freedom, the other wanted safety.
  • LOST can be seen this way, with several sides in many conflicts having very good reasons for what they are doing, and the horrors committed by each side runnin
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