->''"Lord Varys, I am growing strangely fond of you. I may kill you yet, but I think I'd feel sad about it."''
-->-- '''Tyrion Lannister''', ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''.

A {{Trickster}} who seems to have the element of subtlety only in specific clumps. Sometimes the spiritual cousin of the PunchClockVillain, sometimes a variation on the EnigmaticMinion or a more amenable LesCollaborateurs.

Merely seeing this guy and having a conversation with him for five minutes already cues the hero he shouldn't be trusted too much. He may even openly work for the bad guys, and say threatening things in a non-directed way. Hey, it's his job, nothing personal. And why shouldn't he enjoy what he does?

Your major safety is he likes being entertained, so sometimes will willingly subvert his bosses if he has his own agenda and help you -- or at least not hinder you. He'll get you into trouble, but he'll assure you afterwards he knew you could deal with it. He'll betray you, but he won't tell your enemies all they really need to know about you.

This is OlderThanPrint -- the archetypical example is the ''Literature/ProseEdda'''s depiction (which, for whatever it's worth, diverges markedly from that within the older ''Literature/PoeticEddas'') of the [[NorseMythology Norse god Loki]]. Much like the Lovable Traitor, it's a misconception to think of him simply as evil -- although he's not above being TheJester in the most classy way he can.

Compare ReliableTraitor, WildCard, HeelFaceRevolvingDoor and DoubleAgent.
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!!Examples:

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Xellos, fan-favorite [[spoiler:demon]] and self-proclaimed trickster priest from ''LightNovel/{{Slayers}}''. Always an amiable sort, Xellos will often manage to passively "betray" his allies by ''oops'', allowing them to die horribly, alternately help and hinder our heroes and merrily subvert the status quo to his own amusement and greater purpose - sometimes ''all in the course of one episode''.
** Of course, as a [[AlwaysChaoticEvil Mazoku]], his greater purpose is ''[[OmnicidalManiac nothing less than the complete and total destruction of the universe and everything in it, himself included]]''. At least, that's the theory...
* Nagi in ''Anime/{{Mai-HiME}}'' (less so in ''Anime/{{Mai-Otome}}'', where he is the BigBad)
* Kurodou Akabane in ''GetBackers''
* Hisoka from ''HunterXHunter''
* Ken Murata from ''KyouKaraMaou'', though he is not a villain.
* ''Franchise/LupinIII'' believes this of all women: "Betrayal is yet another of women's accessories.". The character of [[Characters/LupinIII Fujiko]] is agreed to be a traitor by the entire group, although only Lupin admits her to be loveable.
* Sergeant Major Kululu from ''KeroroGunsou''. He's technically the superior officer, but since he's so sketchy, no one wants to follow him so he's the intelligence officer.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}:
** Kabuto Yakushi is so ridiculously untrustworthy that even the villain he swore unending loyalty to claims that there's no telling what he'll pull when he's on his own. He can, and has, betrayed everybody he's ever met at least once [[AffablyEvil with a smile on his face]] and may be on his way to BigBad status at the moment.
** Itachi Uchiha. Even before [[spoiler: his true intentions were revealed.]]
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'': Gin Ichimaru. He has a blatant case of ChronicBackstabbingDisorder, and even deliberately joined [[spoiler:Aizen]] to backstab him (it looked to be the easiest way to get to him).
* Vice-Warden Hannyabal from ''Manga/OnePiece'' babbles very often that he wants Warden Magellan's position, which is a RunningGag. Everybody in Impel Down knows it, but they simply don't care. Magellan even says that he wants Hannyabal as his successor. [[spoiler:After the great outbreak in Impel Down and the TimeSkip, it's revealed Hannyabal has become the warden, and Magellan the vice-warden.]]
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[[folder:Comics]]
* The Fixer is often this for the ''{{Thunderbolts}}''. He frequently switches sides or abandons his friends to die to save his own skin. He doesn't care about money, power, revenge, altruism, duty or loyalty. He only cares about the challenge of a task, proving he's the smartest one in the room and staying alive. He will help save the world or help conquer it provided he is given an interesting technical challenge to figure out.
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[[folder:Film]]
* Valentine in ''Film/MirrorMask''. But he redeems himself completely.
* Hoggle the grumpy dwarf in ''Film/{{Labyrinth}}''.
* Inverted by D'Arcy in ''The Perils of Gwendoline in the Land of the Yik-Yak.'' Originally the traitor who led to Gwendoline getting captured by Amazons. When he tells Gwendoline he is willing to betray the Queen for her sake, she exclaims in exasperation, "You betray everybody!"
* ''Captain'' [[PiratesOfTheCaribbean Jack Sparrow]]. In the course of the first {{film}}, he ends up allied with and conspiring against every single character down to and including the monkey.
* Mac from ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheKingdomOfTheCrystalSkull''.
** "[[HeelFaceRevolvingDoor Jonesy!!]]"
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[[folder:Literature]]
* The Marquis De Carabas from ''Literature/{{Neverwhere}}'', by Creator/NeilGaiman. Though, more accurately, [[spoiler:Hunter]] is the true mole of the group, and is considerably likable. The Marquis on the other hand can be relied upon when he owes you (or your father) a favor - though he much prefers you to owe him.
* Speaking of Creator/NeilGaiman: Crowley of ''Literature/GoodOmens'', "An angel who did not so much fall as saunter vaguely downwards".
* Long John Silver (and a great many more of Stevenson's characters) in ''Literature/TreasureIsland''.
* Varys and Littlefinger in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''. As a man of low nobility and no martial prowess and a foreign commoner and eunuch respectively, they're not trusted so much as underestimated by the rulers of the Seven Kingdoms.
* Rupert of Hentzau, one of the main antagonists in ''Literature/ThePrisonerOfZenda'', will stab just about anybody - hero or villain, whichever seems most fun - in the back, with an [[AffablyEvil amiable smile]] on his face. The women of {{Ruritania}} have a collective crush on him; even the hero keeps bringing up his [[FoeYay positive qualities]].
* Dustfinger, of ''Literature/{{Inkheart}}'', betrays them about twice in the first book, yet each time, and AFTER, they trust him readily enough
* Edmund Pevensie from ''Literature/ChroniclesOfNarnia''. Although this might be due to [[http://chanatta.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/rtuk_feature_skandar_keynes_01.jpg the actor's]] enjoyable personality and [[TallDarkAndHandsome looks]], especially in the second movie.
* Arguably, Krager in DavidEddings' ''TheElenium''. He's openly and unrepentently on the side of the bad guys (he's basically TheDragon's sidekick), but he has no real loyalty to them, he just thinks they're going to win. If the heroes capture him, he'll trade information for his life, and it's always good information, so they'll accept the deal the ''next'' time they capture him. Thanks to this, he gets away with murder ([[TearJerker literally]]) [[spoiler:for the whole series, since by the time his usefulness is spent (meaning the heroes can kill him) it's obvious he's dying of liver disease.]]
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[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* [[TheBigGuy Jayne Cobb]] from ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' may have made a deal with the bad guy in the pilot episode and tries to turn [[TheMedic Simon]] and [[ChildSoldier River]] over to the Feds in "Ariel", but only out of foolish greed than genuine malice and he comes to regret the latter incident.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** Harmony, bimbo cheerleader-turned-vampire-turned-perky-executive-assistant, gets a letter of recommendation from Angel even after she betrays him. To be fair, he was counting on her doing it anyway, and she ''was'' a pretty good secretary...
*** And let's be fair, the soulless vampire probably decided to betray Angel ''after'' she saw [[spoiler: Fred, who she liked, die due to Gunn's error and Angel and Spike's unwillingness to trade Fred's life for countless others]], and latter events [[spoiler: like Angel's willingness to sacrifice his allies]] proved her right.
** Angel's lack of respect towards Merl is somewhat justifiable given that in his first appearance, Merl tricked him into killing a pregnant woman's demon guardian so that she'd be vulnerable to bounty hunters.
* Series/{{Supernatural}} has Bela, a highly-successful thief of supernatural items who has occasional run-ins with Sam and Dean. She becomes much more of a LovableRogue, however, after she willingly (if at gunpoint) gave Sam and Dean's whereabouts to a KnightTemplar hunter who wanted to kill them. Dean calls her after the two narrowly escape with their lives, and when she proves unrepentant about the affair, Dean tells her in no uncertain terms that if he ever sees her again, he'll kill her. Then he hangs up. A few minutes later, Bela calls back with an apologetic non-apology and the hunter's location as recompense.
* ''DarkAngel'''s Alec, at least before he becomes a full-on good guy, which is a gradual process.
* In the ''Series/DoctorWho'' story "The Daleks' Master Plan," the Meddling Monk makes a reappearance for a few episodes. He goes around with the heroes, then helps the Daleks in order to save his own skin. Then when the heroes show their contempt for him, he says something like "I hoped I was convincing enough to fool the Daleks, but I didn't think even you would be fooled. This destroys my faith in humanity, it really does."
* Amanda from the ''Series/{{Highlander}}'' TV series has a habit of getting Duncan Macleod into various kinds of trouble, but never so bad that it's not pretty likely he'll survive it. She really ''does'' love him, in her own twisted way, something she is reluctant to admit even to herself, but which pretty much ''everybody'' around them recognizes. Duncan's problem is that it's mutual...
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[[folder:Radio]]
* Bart Rathbone from ''AdventuresInOdyssey''. Little more than a conniving businessman, not above helping the out-and-out villains at one point, and generally the opposite of everything the show stands for. But... it's just so hard not to love the guy sometimes. (It helps that, in practice, he's generally harmless. And he did turn on the bad guys eventually, albeit for selfish reasons.)
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[[folder:Video Games]]
* Some of the members of Organization XIII in the ''KingdomHearts'' are examples, like Axel and Demyx. Axel epitomizes of this during ''Chain of Memories''.
* The Turks in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII''.
** As well as Raijin and Fujin in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII''.
* A character in ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry 3'' named literally The Jester falls in this trope before revealing himself to be [[spoiler:Arkham, the BigBad, in disguise]].
* Depending on what you do in ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'', [[spoiler:Zelos]] falls within this category.
* In ''VideoGame/TalesOfDestiny'': [[spoiler:[[SayMyName LEON! LEOOOOOOONNNN!!!!]]]]
* Saemon Havarian from ''BaldursGate II'', as {{lampshaded}} ''repeatedly'' by [[FanNickname CHARNAME]], the supporting cast, [[spoiler:the villain]], and anyone else who's ever had to deal with him ever. [[GenreSavvy If it hadn't been for the fact that sidequests equal more XP and loot]], going along with almost ''anything'' he says becomes a major point of WhoWouldBeStupidEnough.
** Also, [[spoiler: Yoshimo]].
* Jill, a Wyvern Rider in the FireEmblem series, becomes a traitor not once, but ''three times.'' First, she leaves Daein to spy on Ike in ''Path of Radiance,'' which leads to her altogether abandoning her country and joining the Crimean Army. Then, in ''Radiant Dawn'', she's fighting Crimea on Daein's side. ''Then'', it's possible to make her betray Daein and join Crimea again. Luckily, she's heroic enough (and a spectacular unit to boot) that the audience overlooks her constant flip-flopping.
** In ''Path of Radiance'', she sets two milestones. If you have her on your active team during the mission where you face her father, and they come in contact with each other, she'll switch sides. She has now become the first, and so far only, character unit to be recruitable by the enemy. The second milestone she sets? If she has a strong enough Support bond with Mist or Lethe, they can re-recruit her back to the party after her FaceHeelTurn. So not only is she amazingly conflicted and a good unit, she's damn cute too.
** Naesala, too. In ''Path of Radiance'', he basically sells Reyson into slavery--with the intention of later freeing him, but the heroes beat him to it. He then later [[spoiler:sneaks into Gritnea Tower disguised as a Daein soldier in order to save Leanne while the guards are occupied with fighting the heroes]], but ''insists'' he's still not a good guy. Come ''Radiant Dawn'', and he has betrayed the Laguz Alliance yet again, once more leading to death threats from Tibarn--but once again, he had a perfectly good reason for his actions; [[spoiler:Kilvas was subject to a Blood Pact.]] Which, when you think about it, might explain his actions in ''Path of Radiance'' as well... ([[spoiler:His time as a villain during that game starts at Chapter 13, when the heroes first cross into Begnion, and ends in Chapter 19, the last chapter before they cross into Daein. And Oliver, the slave trader he sold Reyson to, was a Begnion senator. All of his villainous actions could conceivably be traced back to his Blood Pact with Lekain.]])
* Some consider [[spoiler: Drakuru]] from ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' to be one of these. [[spoiler: Sure, he tries to zombify you against your will, but look at all the power serving the BigBad got him! Why ''wouldn't'' he want to share it with his old friend the UnwittingPawn?]] Besides, it's one of the cooler quest chains in an expansion filled with cool quest chains.
** When his true intentions are revealed he definetly fits this trope: [[spoiler: He tells you he's used you to bring the ice trolls under the sway of the Lich King, and gets transformed into a death knight as a reward. Then he thanks you for helping him and lets you go unharmed.]]
* Zevran from ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' is this HellBentForLeather doused in FetishFuel. As the assassin who just tried to murder them, it takes a long time for the rest of the party to come to trust him and initially consider the Warden ''insane'' for sparing his life and letting him join the party.
* Kanbe Kuroda of ''VideoGame/SengokuBasara'' suffers from a bad case of ChronicBackstabbingDisorder and inevitably tries to seize power for himself against Ieyasu or Mitsunari. However, he suffers from a worse case of being a CosmicPlaything and his determination to be TheStarscream despite that makes Ieyasu state that he's impossible to despise.
* [[BigBad Al]][[TheChessmaster ex]] [[MagnificentBastard from]] ''VideoGame/GoldenSun'' could count.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfVesperia'' has [[spoiler: Raven/Captain Schwann]]. Capped off when, to rescue one party member captured due to betrayal, every human party member present punches him in the gut. Later, it's revealed that said captured party member ''also'' punched him after the rescue, so as to not be left out.
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[[folder:Webcomics]]
* Veilchen the Smoke Knight from ''Webcomic/GirlGenius''. Even the Jagermonsters are impressed at his professionalism as he leaves them to die in an inescapable pit.
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[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Bender from ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''. Most of the time his "Kill all humans" isn't meant seriously. Although in "A Pharaoh to Remember" he loses the Lovable part and becomes TheQuisling (and later, [[spoiler:after he scams his way into becoming the new Pharaoh, DrunkWithPower]]).
%% * ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans''' Terra. (NoContext)
* ''WesternAnimattion/LegendOfKorra'' Oh, [[spoiler: Varrick.]] He only gets ''more'' loveable after being put in prison. Nobody seems capable of holding any bitterness towards him, and he even makes up for it with [[spoiler: a heartless war machine, Zhu Li (the battleship, not the cute assistant).]] [[spoiler: Bolin]] definitely misses him and wishes he were there to lighten the mood.
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