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Literature: The School For Good And Evil
Good and Evil is a 2013 novel written by Soman Chainani.

Sophie and Agatha both grew up in the small town of Gavaldon, where, once every four years, two children over the age of twelve are kidnapped by the Head Master of the School of Good and Evil. These kidnapped children never return home, but are seen again as the main figures of fairy tales that arrive in the town after the abductions.

Sophie, who adores pink dresses and beautifying herself, has dreamed of being kidnapped all her life and ending up as a Princess trained by the School for Good. To further that end, she made it a point to befriend Agatha, the friendless girl who lived in the cemetery, as her good deed.

To Sophie's delight, she and Agatha are each kidnapped by the agents of the Head Master.

Only for Sophie's dream to turn to a nightmare, with Agatha sharing that sentiment, as Sophie is deposited in the School for Evil, and Agatha, much to her own horror, finds herself dropped off in the overly pink School for Good.


This work contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Academy of Evil: The school for Evil. Both academies, in fact, are Extranormal Institute.
  • Adult Fear: Your children are kidnapped, never to be seen again, every four years by the Head Master.
  • All Myths Are True: As Agatha and Sophie quickly discover, all of the fairy tales they've ever read are quite real, and many feature children who've been abducted from their own village.
  • And I Must Scream: Some pretty nasty fates await students who fail in either school.
  • Bald of Evil: Sophie's full hag appearance.
  • Baleful Polymorph: Students for Good who fail are turned into the wolf servants for Evil, while Evil students who fail are turned into pixie servants for Good.
  • Bare Your Midriff: One of Sophie's costume changes invokes this.
  • Batman Gambit: Sophie's effort to trick the Good side into betraying its rules by having them Attack, and on a larger scale, the Head Msster's desire to find Evil Love.
  • Beautiful All Along: The trope is cited word for word when Agatha makes this realization of herself.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Averted in Sophie's case. And a few of the Ever girls, too.
    • Fairly zig-zagged all over the place. While Never students (Evil-aligned) are rather ugly, and most Ever students (Good-aligned) are very good-looking, some of the Ever girls are classic Alpha Bitches. Zig-zagged even more when Sophie embraces being Evil and manages to turn her fellow Nevers beautiful, while making the Evers horrifically ugly.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Quickly averted when's Sophie, who every Evil student complains looks like a Good, is dumped unceremoniously in the moat. It only gets worse from there.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Tedros and Agatha. Also, given the book's ending, quite possibly the whole dynamic between Agatha and Sophie.
  • Big Bad: The Head Master, who was the Evil Brother of the legend, and only maintained the balance between Good and Evil so that he could find himself an Evil Love
  • Break the Cutie: Sophie wasn't really any more or less evil than some of the other Libbies in the Good school when she started out. But then she started getting subjected to indignity after indignity, constantly being told she's Evil, winning at Evil challenges while trying to prove she's good, having her beautiful hair axed off by The Beast, trying to win Tedros over, only to have him constantly pick Agatha during their exercises to suss out good from evil in disguise, being threatened with death by her roommates, overhearing teachers callously dismissing the very real danger she was in, and finally irredeemably losing the love of the boy she adored. It's no wonder she cracked.
  • Cats Are Mean: Agatha's cat, Reaper, enjoys hissing and spitting at Sophie, and delights in stalking the cemetery birds and biting their heads off, leaving their decapitated corpses behind.
  • The Chessmaster: Sophie, of all people, deftly maneuvers events towards the end that trick the Evers into breaking their rules, leading them to launch a preemptive Attack on the Evil Ball. Since the rules state that Good Defends and Evil Attacks, she is able to use this to return herself to her former beauty, as well as bestowing physical beauty on her Never classmates, all while transforming the Evers into hideous appearances. She is then free to claim justifiable Defense against the Evers for Attacking first.
    Sophie: We're not finished, Teddy. You and your army invaded a Ball. You and your army attacked a defenseless school. You and your army tried to kill a room full of poor students, trying to enjoy the happiest night of our lives. Which leaves another question. What happens when Good becomes Evil?
  • Dance of Romance: Sophie stages a Dark version of this between her and Agatha to convince Tedros that Agatha has betrayed him.
  • Disappeared Dad: Common for many of the fairy tale folk. Agatha's own father skipped out many years ago. Hort's father was killed by Peter Pan.
    • Tedros' father, King Arthur, died broken hearted after his wife, Guenivere, left him for Lancelot.
  • Disproportionate Retribution : The Beast forcibly cut Sophie's hair, so Sophie shoved him to his demise.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Tedros' reaction to Sophie's stripperific modifications to her outfit.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Double subverted. Early in the book, Sophie dreams of going to the School for Good and being surrounded by handsome princes, but she winds up being dropped into the School for Evil instead. It gets double-subverted when the prince she chose in her dream turns out to be the Evil headmaster.
  • Dying Declaration of Love: Sophie's "I love you" to Agatha after being impaled on the Storian
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Despite many statements that Evil cannot Love, many of the Nevers refer affectionately to their parents. Hort's most beloved possession is the pajamas his father hand made for him. And Dot sounds quite doting about her father letting her have first swing at Robin Hood.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Never students are informed in school that they should not kill unless it is absolutely necessary, lest one cease to be a proper villain and instead become a common thug. They are also told to use bullying of their henchmen only as a last resort, because a villain who cannot get a servant to do their bidding without bullying may fall victim to the henchmen bullying back. On a more direct level, many members of the Nevers feel that Sophie is taking things way too far after she begins her Sanity Slippage.
    • Sophie herself is appalled at the concept, seemingly casual to most of her Never classmates, of eating children.
  • Evil All Along: The Head Master, whom most assumed was good because Evil had been losing under his tenure of the last 200 years. But it turns out that he was just playing a long game to turn the tables on Good once and for all.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Spectacularly displayed by Sophie.
  • Evil Former Friend: According to the school's Blind Seer, this is the true hallmark of many fairy tales, that Good was betrayed by someone close to them, and treated as a prophetic view of how Sophie and Agatha's friendship will fall.
  • Evil Makes You Ugly: Played horrifyingly straight as Sophie discovers that she's grown a real wart on her chin. As her descent into Evil goes into overdrive, her final appearance is barely recognizable as human anymore.
  • Face-Heel Turn / Heel-Face Turn: Pollux and Castor caution at the beginning of the novel that this is not possible. Good cannot, they claim, become Evil, nor Evil Good. They turn out to be, thankfully, mistaken in the end.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: Sophie's effort to switch. schools, and Agaths's attempts to go home.
  • False Dichotomy: The division between good and evil, hinted at throughout the novel, but fully smashed by Sophie and Agatha by the story's end.
  • Go Through Me: Agatha tells the Head Master he'll only get Sophie, "Over My Dead Body!"
    • Earlier she'd done this with Sophie, seeing Sophie turn the tables on the Evers, she declares "Your war is with me. Let them go."
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The school's Blind Seer, and Sophie, pulling a Heel-Face Turn.
  • Intimate Healing: Sophie is brought back to life by Agatha's kiss.
  • Ironic Echo: The book opens with Sophie's father barricading her in her room so that the Head Master can't get her. Later in the book, it's her Never classmates barricading her room, so she can't get out and get them.
  • Ironic Name: Sophie means "wisdom", which she lacks seriously.
  • Kick the Dog: Quite a lot of this going on, what with there being a School for Evil. Of course, the School for Good has its share, as well.
  • The Libby: A few of the Princesses come off this way, as does Sophie to her fellow Nevers.
  • Love Makes You Evil: Not that Sophie was ever the most Good, but under the influence of Love, she goes full on Yandere.
  • Love Triangle: Sophie Loves Tedros, who loves Sophie, but he finds he truly loves Agatha, who loves Tedros, but loves Sophie too much to betray her, while Sophie truly loves Agatha....It's complicated.
  • Missing Mom: A fairy tale staple. Sophie's mother had died five years prior to the story's opening. Hester's Mom was shoved into her own oven by Hansel and Gretel.
    • Tedros' mother, Guenivere, ran off with Lancelot, leaving Tedros with serious issues.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Though it's a bit hard to tell whether Sophie is trying to kill Aggie or Tedros at certain times.
  • No Indoor Voice: Castor. Made all the more noticeable when he speaks in a hushed tone in one scene.
  • Oh Crap: Several of the students, and even a few of the teachers, have this reaction to finding out that Sophie has become a full fledged witch.
  • Protagonist Journey To Villain: Sophie was merely vain and shallow, until The Beast lopped off her golden locks with an axe. Shoving him to his death was her first truly evil action.
  • Pet the Dog: A few key moments. Sophie gets one for telling Agatha, early in the story, that while she may have befriended Aggie as part of her shallow "good deed", she had come to value their friendship far more than that. She gets another later when, hearing Hort say that if he could love, he'd love her, she refrains from kicking him out of his room.
    • The Wolves get one later on. After Hester gracefully acknowledges that her talent is no match for Agatha's, she steels herself for the punishment that the Head Master doles out to the losers. In her case, it was boiling oil. Three wolves, moved by Agatha reminding them of who they'd once been (see Baleful Polymorph) shield her from this brutal fate.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Agatha defiantly tells the Head Master that she'll only give him Sophie, "Over her dead body." The Head Master responds, "So it is written.", throwing the Storian at her like a dagger.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: After being transformed into haggard appearances, Agatha's classmates want to run away. Agatha lays into them.
    Agatha: Our towers aren't Fair and Lovely, they're Valor and Honor! That's what Good is, you stupid cowards!
  • Redemption Equals Death: Sophie, taking the Storian to her heart to save Agatha. She gets better.
  • Royal School: The school for Good teaches every girl how to be a princess, but only a few graduate into this in fairy tales afterwards. Most are children of former heroines, and already have the title. Not to mention the pink uniforms, Bright Castle-like building, or nymphs and fairies to serve everyone.

  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Agatha and Sophie each have their moments.
  • Truamatic Haircut: Involuntary and delivered by an axe.
  • Unexplained Recovery: Sophie doesn't stay dead for a full page.
  • The Unsmile: Agatha's attempts at smiling in Beautification Class leave her teacher and classmates very concerned.
  • Vague Age: We're never told how old the characters are. We know the Head Master never takes anyone under the age of 12, and are told that four years ago, Sophie (and by extension, Agatha) was too young to be taken. That means that our heroines could be anywhere between the ages of twelve and fifteen.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Sophie and Agatha are genuinely friends, but they each get furious with one another quite frequently.
  • Voluntary Shape Shifter: A skill taught by the school. Agatha's preferred form is a cockroach, while Sophie's is a pink fox.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Tedros gets one of these from Agatha full stop after he beheads a gargoyle.
  • Woman Scorned: Sophie, full stop.
  • Yandere: Sophie, towards Tedros. Hoo boy.

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