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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.]]

%% 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]] [[GoneHorriblyRight get 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 Knight Templars are explicitly evil. Many an AntiHero will PayEvilUntoEvil, 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.

Many Knight Templars can be found in the ranks of the CorruptChurch, ChurchMilitant, or 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 completely believes that he is [[AlwaysChaoticEvil bad]]. 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 TheKnightsTemplar, who varied between fitting and defying this trope.

!!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 will end in a dictatorship.
* The title character of "Exciter" by Music/JudasPriest, where he employs a purge by fire version of the trope.
* 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.

* Most of the world's great religious teachers have identified "righteousness gone postal" as a major source of suffering and often the prophesied end of the religion and/or world. One example, from Matthew: ''12:43 When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. :44 Then it says, 'I will return to the house I left.' When it arrives, it finds the house unoccupied, swept clean and put in order. :45 Then it goes and takes with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first. That is how it will be with this wicked generation.''
* The Order of Mata Nui from ''Franchise/{{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]].