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A Pupil of Mine Until He Turned to Evil

Darth Vader: "When I left you I was but the learner; now I am the Master."
Obi-Wan Kenobi: "Only a master of evil, Darth."

A mentor once had a student, who used to be a good person, and perhaps the mentor's most promising and skilled student ever. That student had a flaw; a seed of villainy that needed a trigger. Usually, it was arrogance about his/her skills, or impatience at not being taught the final skills that the mentor had yet to teach. Then the student became a villain.

Sometimes the mentor is The Protagonist and will have to take the student down in the story. More often, the protagonist is another student the mentor takes on. If that's the case then the other student is the Mentor's New Hope.

Compare Deceptive Disciple (when the student was evil the whole time, just pretending not to be), Fallen Hero, Merlin and Nimue, and The Paragon Always Rebels.

Do not put examples unless it was clearly stated the pupil was good beforehand. If it turns out the pupil wasn't, that's Deceptive Disciple.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • In Alice 19th, Darva was originally Master Lotsuan's disciple.
  • In Soul Eater, Asura was Shinigami's apprentice and as it turns out, son until he went insane and threatened to destroy the world, and had to be sealed away.
  • Naruto
    • Orochimaru was the Third Hokage's student, considered the village's best ninja when he was in Konoha and 'good' enough to cry when Dan died. Then got fed up with things and left for his various evil deeds. The Third Hokage notes that he always suspected something was amiss about Orochimaru, so it's unclear when exactly he turned evil, even if he was evil before he left the village (around the time the Third Hokage chose Minato for the position of Fourth Hokage largely because Orochimaru was untrustworthy.)
    • There's also Sasuke, Kakashi's former student who abandoned the Leaf Village to train with Orochimaru, and then goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge once that's done. At one point he even allies himself with Akatsuki. He appears to have made something of a Heel-Face Turn after talking with Hashirama, although is true motives are implied to be more sinister than he's currently letting on.
    • There's also Nagato, also known as Pain, a former apprentice of Jiraiya. More of a Well-Intentioned Extremist, but he still qualifies because he puts such a heavy emphasis on the "extremist" part. Especially since his 'good intention' is to invent a chakra nuke and use it so that everyone will be too afraid to go to war for a few generations.
    • Danzo could also be considered sort of an example, as he used to be a student of the 2nd Hokage. While not strictly evil as he thinks his actions are what's best for the village, he's pretty much constantly doing morally questionable things and getting involved in Dirty Business.
    • Then there's Obito, who became Tobi, the leader of Akatsuki and The Dragon to Madara Uchiha. Like Orochimaru and Nagato, he played a big role in the death of his former teacher. However, unlike most examples of this trope, his teacher never even knew that he had turned evil, or that he was even alive.
  • Enchu for Chief Page in Muhyo And Roji, who also taught Muhyo.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist pulls a variation, in that Homunculus kind of mentored Slave #23 from the day he gave him his name...but recognized Van Hohenheim as 'his father.' Given his entire identity is later molded around the fatherly role, this concept is clearly significant to him.
    • Thus Hohenheim's part in the finale manages to combine The Obi-Wan role here with Calling the Old Man Out. And Ed gets to be the third party and be 'the lead' when they off his big brother.
    • The first anime played with the trope in that Ed's master Izumi Curtis had trained with an old woman named Dante, who turned out to be the villain.
  • In Dragon Ball, the Turtle Hermit states that the Crane Hermit used to be a fellow student of the mighty Mutaito, who underwent a Face-Heel Turn after seeing the might of Piccolo Daimao, having apparently decided that Being Good Sucks.
  • In episode 10 of Samurai Champloo, the gang meets up with a friendly monk who turns out to have been a former martial arts teacher who once taught Shoryuu, the villain of the episode. He had encouraged Shoryuu to travel and hone his skills, but this went horribly wrong, when after learning an amazing technique, Shoryuu became obsessed with proving his greatness by challenging and killing any martial artist he could find.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: The trope title is almost a word-for-word utterance by Old Man Okina after fully realizing that his most beloved disciple, Aoshi, has fallen entirely to the dark side— and is in league with Makoto Shishio, to boot. Specifically, he ask Kenshin to put an end to Aoshi's life. However, in a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming that also defies Broken Pedestal on Misao's part, Kenshin refuses to do it, he believes that Aoshi still possess a trace of goodness in his heart. A few hard knocks later, Aoshi realizes the errors of his way.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: After his Freak Out, Kaiser Ryo Marufuji defeated his old mentor and stole one of those dangerous forbidden decks, but the sad part is Sameshima incorrectly thought he was in there somewhere.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars
    • Named for a line in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, about how Obi-Wan describes Darth Vader.
      Luke Skywalker: How did my father die?
      Obi-Wan Kenobi: A young Jedi named Darth Vader, who was a pupil of mine until he turned to evil, helped the Empire hunt down and destroy the Jedi Knights. He betrayed and murdered your father.
    • Mirrored in the prequel trilogy with Dooku, who was Yoda's pupil before his Face-Heel Turn.
  • Betelgeuse in the movie Beetlejuice, worked for afterlife case worker Juno before he became a "freelance bio-exorcist."
  • Clu from TRON: Legacy. He took Flynn's original programming for him too far, and warped it. The comic Betrayal, however, indicates that he probably wasn't all that good to begin with, and Flynn was just too distracted by the pressures of his life in the analog world to notice until it was much too late.
  • Inverted in Bill And Ted's Bogus Journey, where it is Rufus's old teacher, De Nomolos, who turns to evil.
    • Somewhat undercut when the audience learns that De Nomolous was Rufus's old gym teacher.
  • In X-Men: First Class, the mutants all train together as part a CIA team to fight Sebastian Shaw, but Angel Salvadore decides to join the Hellfire Club shortly after she is recruited by the program. At the end of the film, Magneto and Mystique, after defeating Shaw, form the Brotherhood and become the new Big Bads, turning against Charles Xavier, whose ideas about mutant-human relations differ from the ones they have.
  • The plot of The Hunted involves Tommy Lee Jones's character being asked to hunt down his former pupil, played by Benicio Del Toro, who has gone rogue.
  • The Vietnamese gangster in Big Stan was The Master's star pupil.
  • Tommy Gunn from Rocky V, who starts out as Rocky's loyal protege, but becomes bitter when the public sees him as Rocky's puppet, and joins with a sleazy promoter instead.

  • Sauron, the principle antagonist of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings trilogy, was a Maia in the First Age under the tutelage of the Vala Aulë the Smith, and went by the name Mairon, before Melkor the Morgoth corrupted him to his cause and made him his lieutenant. When Morgoth was defeated, Sauron essentially became self-employed and sought to dominate Middle-Earth himself.
  • Galbatorix and the rest of The Forsworn for the other dragon riders (Oromis, Vrael) in the Inheritance Cycle.
  • Nuihc for Chiun from The Destroyer.
  • A startling number of Luke Skywalker's Jedi students, in the Star Wars Expanded Universe, end up eventually falling to the Dark Side. He's able to bring some of them back. Brakiss intended to be a Deceptive Disciple, but Luke believed he could be turned; Brakiss started Becoming the Mask until Luke put him through a test which horrified him and caused him to flee. Luke always believed that Brakiss could be redeemed, and in The New Rebellion parts written from Brakiss's point of view suggest that he'd like that, but it's not to be.
  • Inverted in The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel. William Shakespeare was a pupil of John Dee (the Big Bad of the series) but turned to good. Or at least, turned to an ally of the Flamels. How good this makes him is not that clear.
  • The Darklord Lorthas, former student of High Wizard Aemon in Boundary's Fall. He's still not entirely bad.
  • Ishak for Alanna from the third Song of the Lioness book. However, he never actually got a chance to do much evil, because his first attempt got him killed by the same sword he was trying to use to kill Alanna.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played word-for-word straight by Jarrod in Power Rangers Jungle Fury. Rio, his counterpart in Juken Sentai Gekiranger, follows roughly the same path, but there is no single trigger that causes him to switch: he simply becomes dissatisfied with the progress he's making under the good guys.
    • Gekiranger also had the three Kenma, precursor villains who turned on the founder of Beast Fist after their leader learned he was the *second* choice for successor. This led to the Kensei sealing them away until Rio and Mele let them out.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • Forgotten Realms setting. Elminster isn't really into it, but he taught a lot of wizards in his years, and the main requirement was the talent, not moral qualities — it's Mystra's priorities and not that her own avatars never were downright villainous. So... Sammaster — though after being "certified" by Mystra and before fully going nuts. The Shadowsil — became an evil archmage, worked in late Sammaster's little club, virgin sacrifices and all that. Raerlin — the guy has a dubious achievement of saying "Death has come for you at last, Old Mage" twice: once while alive, once as a lich. And so on, and on.
  • Horus in Warhammer 40,000 used to be the most trusted Primarch of the God Emperor, who treated him like a son. Then Horus gets corrupted by Chaos and leads a rebellion that results in trillions dead, the Emperor in a coma, and the future of the Imperium in peril.

    Video Games 
  • According to the manual for the original Banjo-Kazooie, Gruntilda the witch was a student of Mumbo-Jumbo's until she turned evil... and to pay him back, she turned his head into a skull-shaped metal mask. It seems to have been Ret Conned, though, with Grunty's Revenge (which takes place in the past) has Mumbo Jumbo as an up-and-coming shaman without a pupil... and a face that's still skull-shaped.
  • In the backstory of the first Fire Emblem game, Gharnef was once a pupil of Gotoh, the White Sage. However, when Gotoh passed the legendary magic tome Aura on to his other pupil Miloah because Gharnef, while a good man, lacked compassion, he was overcome by jealousy and stole the Darksphere, a cursed artifact that twisted him into the cruel Evil Sorcerer seen in the game proper.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap: Said by Ezlo about Vaati, who "became enchanted by the wickedness in the hearts of men."
  • Vargas in Final Fantasy VI, kills his father and master out of the belief that he favored Sabin.
  • Demolitions expert Peter Stillman confesses to giving rise to Metal Gear Solid 2's Mad Bomber, Fatman. Stillman poured all of his knowledge into his surrogate son, unaware that Fatman was an obsessive fame-seeker whose infamy would put the Unabomber to shame.
    "I didn't teach him the most important thing I had to tell him. There are some things you have to pass on. The trick is to know which one. Right... All I taught him were skills. And now I have to stop him from using it to destroy us all."
  • In Tekken, Feng Wei, whose design is actually based on evil kung fu villains of the 70's wuxia flicks.
  • Uther Lightbringer and Arthas Menethil in Warcraft III were much like Obi-Wan and Anakin.
  • Bob Page to Morgan Everett in the Deus Ex series.
  • Legend of Legaia
    • Songi is this to Master Zopu and a Rival Turned Evil to Gala. Zopu and Maya both state that Songi was a good child, but his pride and anger at always being second best to Gala caused his decent unto evil.
    • Kazan's former pupil was the swordsman Rauss. The latter was gradually corrupted by the Ultimate Fang into a Blood Knight, and his desire to fight his former master led him to a Face-Heel Turn ending with the master killing his former pupil.
  • The Naughty Sorceress of Kingdom of Loathing can be found in Fernswarthy's ethics class. He wasn't that nice a guy, but she wasn't that good a student either.


    Western Animation 
  • Fukushima from the Kim Possible episode "Exchange" was a student of the Yamanuchi Ninja School. He turned out to betray the school and helped Monkey Fist obtain a powerful weapon. It's not really explored why he did so, either he was already paid by Monkey Fist, or he only turned after Ron came to Japan. He could have felt insulted that Ron received honors that according to him should not be given to "outsiders". Or else he became jealous of Yori's shows of affection for Ron.
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the Dungeon Master revealed that Venger was a former pupil. In the unaired series finale Venger is revealed to be Dungeon Master's son.
  • Transformers Animated. While never really elaborated on, Lockdown was once a pupil of Yoketron's. At some point, he abandoned the Cyber-Ninja dojo - only to return, sometime after Prowl joined, to make off with the dojo's protoforms and to kill Yoketron. Oilslick may also apply for this trope, but with the lack on information on his past, it's debatable.
  • Ewoks. The second season episode ''The First Apprentice" features Zarrak, who was master Logray's first apprentice before he turned to the dark side.

Please Shoot the MessengerBetrayal TropesThe Quisling
The ApprenticeIndex of Pupils and ProtégésBastard Understudy
Pungeon MasterCharacters as DeviceQuickly Demoted Leader
The PunishmentVillainsPure Is Not Good
Punched Across the RoomMartial Arts MovieRival Turned Evil
The Obi-WanImageSource/Star WarsPutting on the Reich
Protagonist Journey to VillainHeel Face IndexReforged into a Minion
Properly ParanoidExample as a ThesisQuickly Demoted Leader

alternative title(s): Pupil Turned Evil
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