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[[quoteright:254:[[ComicBook/TheInfinite http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Templar_254_7474.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:250:You keep telling yourself that, Imperius.]]

%% This quote was decided on in TRS to be on the main page. Do not add a second without taking it to the forums first.

->"''Nobody is more dangerous than he who imagines himself pure in heart, for his purity, by definition, is unassailable.''"
-->-- '''James Baldwin'''

Sometimes, the [[LightIsGood Forces of Light and Goodness]] [[TheUnfettered get a little bit]] [[GoneHorriblyRight too hardcore]]. In a deadly combination of WellIntentionedExtremist, TheFundamentalist, MoralGuardians, and sometimes HeWhoFightsMonsters, [[BlackAndWhiteInsanity they get blinded by]] [[VisionaryVillain themselves and their ideals]], and this extreme becomes tyrannical [[MoralSociopathy sociopathy]]. It's not the Forces of Darkness' fault, but they are laughing their asses off and [[NotSoDifferent taking a great deal of satisfaction that they were]] ''[[JerkassHasAPoint right]]''. It's basically TheMole version of HeroAntagonist.

Usually, the Knight Templar's primary step (or objective) to his perceived "{{utopia|JustifiesTheMeans}}" is to [[TheEvilsOfFreeWill get rid of that pesky "free will" thing that is the cause of crime and evil]]. Many Knight Templar types are [[PayEvilUntoEvil utterly merciless]] in dealing with those whom they consider evil, and are prone to [[AllCrimesAreEqual consider all crimes to be equal]]. The lightest offences, such as [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking jaywalking]], are met with [[DisproportionateRetribution Draconian punishments such as full imprisonment, death, brainwashing, or eternal torture]]. If you're in a story like this, don't jaywalk, or even [[ThoughtCrime THINK about]] jaywalking. And may heaven help you [[PunishedForSympathy if you so happen to show any mercy or pity for a "wrongdoer."]]

It's important to note that despite being villains/villain''ous'' within the context of the story, Knights Templar believe fully that they are on the side of righteousness [[TheFettered and draw strength from that]], and that their opponents are not. Trying to reason with one isn't much good either, because many Knight Templar types believe that [[WithUsOrAgainstUs if you're not with them, you're against them]]. Invoking actual goodness and decency will have no effect, save for making Knights Templar [[{{Demonization}} demonize]] your cause as the work of [[{{Satan}} the Devil]]. After all, they are certain that their own cause is just and noble, and anyone who stands in the way is a deluded fool at best and another guilty soul to be "cleansed" or evildoer to be killed at worst, and doing so is not even DirtyBusiness ([[ItsAllAboutMe except, sometimes, for how much it makes]] ''[[ItsAllAboutMe them]]'' [[ItsAllAboutMe suffer, having to hand out all this justice]]). Indeed, it may take them a while to [[EvilCannotComprehendGood realize that a person with sense and good will really oppose them]]; the [[IncorruptiblePurePureness righteousness]] of their cause -- and their own selves -- is self-evident to them. One of the few ways to actually change a Knight Templar's mind is to, frankly, kick their ass down to the ground. This is because most are convinced that MightMakesRight, and that since they are good they only kill the evil, so if you beat them but don't kill them, you are good too. They won't necessarily join you, but with a little luck their mild concussion will stop them fighting for long enough to listen to your side of the story -- unless, of course, they conclude they're still ''inherently'' superior, and that you only beat them because [[CombatPragmatist you called upon the powers of darkness to cheat]].

The Knight Templar is the ultimate incarnation of LightIsNotGood, and in series where DarkIsNotEvil, you can count on this guy being the villain who believes that the "dark" characters are evil and must be destroyed. If a Knight Templar [[VillainProtagonist is]] ''[[VillainProtagonist not]]'' [[VillainProtagonist the antagonist of the story]], expect to see WhatTheHellHero and/or NotSoDifferent come into play at least once. If not, then they are a DesignatedHero. If they are still nominally good, expect them to be a HeroAntagonist.

Note that not all Knights Templar are explicitly evil from the beginning. Many an AntiHero will start by [[PayEvilUntoEvil Paying Evil Unto Evil]], and when they're not busting ass, are perfectly decent people. They may even overlook small fallacies and be classed on the good guy roster. These guys are often concerned that they run the risk of falling into HeWhoFightsMonsters and become this trope. A Knight Templar is often portrayed as a TragicVillain as well, with their self-righteous views brought on by [[FreudianExcuse traumatic]] [[MonsterSobStory events]] or having [[AffablyEvil likeable qualities]] that makes the audience sympathize and relate to them. Expect their downfall to be [[AlasPoorVillain shown in a tragic light]]. Of course, at worst they're too sadistic to feel any kind of sympathy for.

Another thing to keep in mind is that while Knights Templar will insist that they're good guys, even though they're practically villains, they often aren't completely ignorant of how questionable their actions are and the pain they cause. If the Knight Templar fails to see ''any'' wrong in their actions, then you're dealing with a variant known as the TautologicalTemplar who is so convinced that they're doing the right thing that they can't even fathom the idea that anything they do might be questionable or hurting others. It can get to the point where their rebuttal to anyone that tries to [[WhatTheHellHero call them out]] will basically amount to [[InsaneTrollLogic "My actions are good because I]] '''[[InsaneTrollLogic KNOW]]''' [[InsaneTrollLogic I am good and can't possibly be bad!"]]

Many Knights Templar can be found in the ranks of the CorruptChurch, the ChurchMilitant, or the PathOfInspiration: expect them to be screaming that they are HolierThanThou and we should all "{{Burn|TheWitch}} TheHeretic!". Even a SaintlyChurch can have one of these as a {{foil}} for the {{Good Shepherd}}s. If the ''deity'' behind one of these churches is one of these, on the other hand, you've got problems -- count on an EasyRoadToHell due to them being so impossibly strict that few (if any) of the mortals under them can live up to their standards of morality.

A Knight Templar in a fantasy setting is usually a PrinciplesZealot, religious or otherwise. In a modern or Sci-Fi setting, the Knight Templar is just as likely to be a TotalitarianUtilitarian instead. In either case, she's likely to be a bigot who hardly qualifies as {{noble|Bigot}}, but might be {{troubled|SympatheticBigot}} by her own BlackAndWhiteInsanity. Sometimes, the Knight Templar is [[TheComputerIsYourFriend an artificially intelligent computer]] that took its instructions to "protect humanity" [[ZerothLawRebellion a bit too far]]. Prone to the BreakingSpeech and/or MotiveRant about how the heroes going up against them are evil and they themselves the good guys.

Very prone to ItsAllAboutMe, thus, expect their {{pride}} on being the only righteous ones to bring them down. Many Templars are LawfulNeutral or LawfulEvil, but the most egomaniacal and self-centered ones are NeutralEvil (though they'll never admit it), and the AnimalWrongsGroup version is ChaoticEvil.

See also KnightTemplarParent, KnightTemplarBigBrother, and LawfulEvil. Those who will ''really'' do anything for their beliefs count among TheUnfettered. A mild, comedic version is the LordErrorProne. Blind devotion to AllCrimesAreEqual without the religious zealotry falls under LawfulStupid.

Contrast with CardCarryingVillain -- a villain who is fully aware of his evil nature and proudly embraces it. A Knight Templar can become this if he has a HeelRealization and [[IgnoredEpiphany decides to keep being a villain anyway]]. Alternatively, he might turn NecessarilyEvil. Compare and contrast with the KnightInSourArmor, who is what happens when a LawfulGood character [[ToBeLawfulOrGood chooses to err]] on the side of Good instead of erring towards Law.

Compare/contrast KnightErrant. Contrast GoodIsNotNice for when a character is genuinely on the side of good but may rub other characters or the audience the wrong way. ''Not'' related to BloodKnight.

Not to be confused with TropeNamer UsefulNotes/TheKnightsTemplar, who varied between fitting and defying this trope and were founded with the intention of protecting pilgrims.

!!Example subpages:

* KnightTemplar/AnimeAndManga
* KnightTemplar/ComicBooks
* KnightTemplar/FanFiction
* KnightTemplar/{{Film}}
* KnightTemplar/{{Literature}}
* KnightTemplar/LiveActionTV
* KnightTemplar/TabletopGames
* KnightTemplar/VideoGames
* KnightTemplar/WebComics
* KnightTemplar/WebOriginal
* KnightTemplar/WesternAnimation



* The leader of revolutionaries in Music/{{Genesis}}' "The Knife", the overall message being that any revolution led by a Knight Templar [[FullCircleRevolution will end in a dictatorship]].
* The title character of "Exciter" by Music/JudasPriest, where he employs a purge by fire version of the trope.
** The mechanical camera from "Electric Eye", who takes a righteous enjoyment out of imposing morality on the populace via a Big Brother-like watch.
-->"I'm made of metal, my circuits gleam
-->I am perpetual, I keep the country clean!"
* WithinTemptation's "The Truth Beneath the Rose" describes the point of view of a former Christian extremist [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone seeing the error in his/her ways]].
->"[[UtopiaJustifiesTheMeans I believed it would justify the means]]"
* Music/{{Hammerfall}} are the incarnation of this trope. If a song isn't about literal Templars, it's about LawfulGood heroes deeply believing in HonourBeforeReason.
* The song "Joan" by HeatherDale portrays JoanOfArc like this.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Wrestling/JimmyJacobs and most of the other Age Of The Fall members by extension. They had a message about the USA's healthcare system and come hell or Wrestling/RingOfHonor they were going to make you listen.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* The main villains of ''WebAnimation/BrokenSaints'', [[spoiler:Lear and Gabriel]], fall pretty firmly into this territory.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Literature/VoidDomain'', when it comes to anything they consider a possible enemy, the Elysium nuns tend to shoot holy lightning first and ask questions never. Taken Up to Eleven by Sister Cross, [[spoiler: who thinks nothing of surprise-attacking a blind girl in her bedroom, then attacking a teacher who comes to her defense.]]

* The Order of Mata Nui from ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' is a secret organization, and as such, they do not need to show morals (as nobody would judge their actions) and have no problems doing unethical things, like imprisoning many without giving them a chance at parole and ''experimenting on and modifying a species to use as soldiers'' against the Brotherhood of Makuta (although the race as a whole doesn't have a problem with the changes and continues to aid their mysterious benefactors). To be fair to them, they're [[spoiler:Mata Nui's immune system]].