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Broken Pedestal
Never meet your heroes.

"It's like going to heaven and finding God smoking crack!"
Riley Freeman, The Boondocks

There are people who we idolize, and who change us forever. These mentors and idols teach us to use our full potential and do great things, and we love them for this. We will be forever loving of them; without them, we would be nothing.

And if you're a TV character, chances are high that they are the scum of the earth, or at least have come to be by the time you meet them again—especially if the audience has just heard about them for the first time. If you're in law enforcement, you can count not only on being forced to learn of their darkest secrets, but also on being the one who has to arrest them. Expect them to have abandoned their ideals, switched sides, or been Evil All Along.

The hero is likely to recite one of the mentor's or idol's old quotes to show how far they have fallen or highlight their hypocrisy.

When the mentor or idol is actually worthy of the admiration, but is flawed enough to make them unlikeable, that's Warts and All.

Related to Beleaguered Childhood Friend and Big Bad Friend. Compare Fallen Hero. Contrast with Evil Mentor, who was Obviously Evil from the beginning. Not to be confused with Broken Base. Also contrast Rebuilt Pedestal, when a formerly Broken Pedestal is forgiven or exonerated. Contrast with Blind Obedience, where this usually isn't the case.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Zaied from Full Metal Panic! is a mild version of this. Not that Sousuke really worshipped him or felt so eternally grateful to him...but Zaied was a respected memory to Sousuke of an honorable, dead comrade of the past. Needless to say, any feeling of goodwill on Sousuke's part completely vanishes when he realizes that Zaied decided to team up with Gauron and kill a bunch of his current comrades. Let's face it - Zaied's alliance with Gauron was enough to piss Sousuke off to the point where he thinks absolutely nothing of killing Zaied, and is afterwards never shown to ever think about the guy again.
  • An indirect example: In the Sakura Taisen TV series, Kohran idolizes the inventor of the kohbu armor, whom she knows only by reputation and from the notes and plans he left behind. When she discovers that he switched sides long ago and now leads the demonic forces against which she and the other Hanagumi fight, she undergoes a crisis of faith.
  • Sara Werec of Soukou No Strain learns that her beloved brother has gone insane, defected and killed her friends. (Pithy statement: "Only you can do what you've decided to do. If you feel that way, there's nothing you can't do.")
  • Zelgadis from Slayers looked up to his guardian and great-grandfather Rezo, a powerful spellcaster, as the epitome of good, nobility and selflessness. He even allows himself to be turned into a monstrous chimera (part human, part golem, part demon) in order to be stronger and more able to further Rezo's cause. Understandably, Zel is quite bitter when he finds out that everything Rezo was doing, up to and including his experiment on Zelgadis, was intended only to find a cure for his blindness. What Rezo failed to realize is that his blindness is a seal. By opening his eyes a fragment of Ruby-Eyed Shabranigdo awoke, destroyed his body, and nearly destroyed the world.
  • Master Asia is Domon's broken pedestal in Mobile Fighter G Gundam. He eventually turns out to be a Well-Intentioned Extremist who dies seeing the error of his ways—but at the same time, his death from this is ensured that it won't be in vain.
  • Naruto revealed that Itachi's massacre of the Uchiha clan happened with the approval of Konoha's elders, the end result of the village's fear and suspicion of the Uchiha clan ever since Madara's one-man rebellion when he was denied the position of 1st Hokage. However, this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the Uchihas really were planning a coup. It's also worth noting that while the Third Hokage knew the truth behind the massacre, he did try to prevent it from happening.
    • An interesting example is Naruto toward the Fourth Hokage. In the first chapter Naruto admits to having a deep respect for the Fourth due to his actions and abilities. He never shows any change in attitude towards the man until actually meeting him, at which point Naruto promptly punches him while yelling about how tough his life was thanks to the sealing.
    • In the second Shippuden movie Shinnou turns out to be one for Amaru. Amaru is quite shocked, but separates the person who taught her medicine and served as an inspiration to save lives and the person who is the Big Bad.
    • In the Six-Tails arc, Utakata has one in his master, whom he killed as he tried to extract the Six-Tailed Beast. It's played with as Utakata hears that his master did it for his own good, but Utakata refuses to believe it until it's finally subverted when Utakata realizes, with Naruto's help, that his master wanted to help him. In the same arc, there's also Shiranami for Hotaru.
    • Chapter 599. The look on Kakashi's face once he realizes just who Tobi is is heart wrenching, especially considering that Obito was remembered as a hero of Konoha and was the one who inspired Kakashi to consider bonds with comrades most important. The fact that Kakashi spent years trying to live up to Obito's loyalty and kindhearted nature, to the point of emulating his personality and mannerisms as a memorial to him, just makes it worse and drives the knife in even deeper than it already was.
  • At the start of Monster, Tenma greatly looks up to his boss and seems to view him as a father figure. Said boss exploits his surgical skills for media publicity, plays political games that get one of Tenma's patients killed, and screws Tenma's career over for daring to defy him.
    • Nine years later, Tenma still tells his patients about that young boy he's so proud to have saved. Yeah...
  • Its implied in episode 20 of Code Geass R2, and confirmed in the subsequent episode, that Empress Marianne is Lelouch's broken pedestal, by virtue of being complicit in her husband's Assimilation Plot and abandoning Lelouch and Nunnally for years, among other things. She's certainly quite the Magnificent Bitch and Lady Macbeth, instead of the borderline Purity Sue that Lulu thought she was.
  • In Genesis Climber Mospeada (a.k.a. Robotech's Invid Invasion saga), Stig ("Scott") Bernard's mentor and hero, Major Johnathan ("Colonel Johnathan Wolff") has sold out to the Inbit, running a free town of would-be rebels while leading the most serious ones into certain death. He does experience Redemption Through Death by the end of the episode.
  • The Robotech example gets subverted in Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles. There we see Marcus Rush, Marlene's little brother who wants to avenge their (presumed for Scott) deaths. When he meets Scott, he is overjoyed and regards him with high respect...until he finds out about Ariel, at which point he goes berserk. The subversion is that Ariel IS a friend, even if she is Invid.
  • Subverted in Hamtaro. Laura finds out that her favorite pop singer, Glitter, is a sharp-tongued Yandere who tried to steal her crush Travis, but at the end of the episode, she writes in her diary saying that she feels sorry for her.
  • Azusa to Yui in K-On! is a mild example because her worship doesn't turn to hate like every other case here, but it still fits: she's inspired to join the Light Music Club after their performance in the high school entrance ceremony, admiring especially the frontwoman (whose little sister is a friend of hers). As it turns out, she knows more about musical theory than Yui (who really doesn't know one iota of it) and is absolutely appalled to see that she spends 90% of her time in the club slacking off rather than actually, you know, rehearsing or training. In the end, it's Azu-nyan who snaps at Yui when she screws up horribly at their school festival performance. And all of this in one manga volume.
  • In Zatch Bell!, when under Zofis's control, it seems like Koko is this for Sherry.
  • One Piece - Dr. Hogback for Tony Tony Chopper, as Chopper realizes that he was doing research on zombies, and enabling Moria to create an army of beings that should not naturally be alive. Hogback also admits that he was in medicine for the money and he doesn't particularly care what Chopper thinks of him (although he does point out that he plans to kill Chopper and reanimate his corpse with a shadow so that he can serve the doctor he admired).
    • Vice Admiral Vergo for the marines of G-5, who admired him for taking command of marines who couldn't fit in anywhere else, until it turned out that he was working as The Mole for Donquixote Doflamingo and was responsible for the children being kidnapped.
    • Caesar Clown for Brownbeard, who pretty much worships the ground he walks on after he saved him and his crew, only to find out that he doesn't return the respect in the slightest and only treats them as expendable forces.
  • Kyoshiro to Towa no Sora has Ayanokouji Kazuya, the presumed deceased older brother of the main lead, Ayanokouji Kyoushirou. Kazuya was originally portrayed as Kyoushirou's, unsurpassable better: the handsome, intelligent, diligent scientist who sacrificed himself in an attempt to prevent a lab accident involving the release of the Absolute Angels from destroying the world. Toward the end of the series, Kyoshiro and Kuu find out that Kazuya engineered the accident with the intent on wiping out all life on the planet so that he could be alone in his utopia with his beloved, the most powerful of the Absolute Angels. Also, he survived the first explosion and is more than willing to try it again.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's has the Lieze sisters and Gil Graham for Chrono, though they were less evil and more of the Well-Intentioned Extremist types. Naturally, he's the one who figured out their scheme and arrested them.
    • Graham could very well be one for Hayate, too, but we don't know if she knows the truth about him. Granted too, he still did a lot that was respectable, accepted he was in error and got off with just resigning his TSAB post.
    • After being rescued, by the titular character in the first episode of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS, Subaru had admired Nanoha almost to the point of worship and was genuinely happy that she has been given the opportunity to work with her idol. When Nanoha shot down her partner and friend mercilessly during training as punishment for insubordination and afterwards removed said partner from combat readiness during an operation she was visibly upset. The trope gets subverted after she learns why Nanoha acted the way she did: she was looking out for her trainees' well being by planning their training regimens step by step to avoid the necessity of Training from Hell, something that Subaru's partner constantly subjects herself into as Nanoha herself suffered almost career ending injuries when she was younger because of overtraining. After this, Subaru's admiration for Nanoha returned and possibly intensified even more.
  • Detective Conan loves to apply this trope to murderers and victims. The best example comes when Conan Edogawa, during the "3K's of Osaka" storyline, realizes that his idol, the famous European soccer player Ray Curtis, is the murderer of the week. Not only that, but the rumors about his heroin addiction were, in fact, true.
    • Ran goes through this twice. First, the karate champion she idolizes is Taking the Heat for his girlfriend, the true murderer. Later, she not only finds out that her favorite school teacher also was the killer of the week, but has to actually reveal the truth, making said episode a massive Tear Jerker.
    • Another instance involves a woman who worked at a pastry shop and was kind to Ayumi...who had lured her downstairs neighbor under her window and dropped a flower pot on her head. Ayumi didn't want to believe she could have done it, and was broken-hearted when it turned out she did.
    • It happened again when the Detective Boys investigated a case of "self-defense" by a man Mitsuhiko idolized and discovered it was actually premeditated murder.
  • Yoki for Shio in Waq Waq, as he turns out to be working for the villains. He's actually a bit of a Well-Intentioned Extremist Fake Defector, but his plan to kill an innocent red-blooded girl to permanently end the tyranny of the red-blooded "kami" is quite disturbing to Shio.
  • Rio Kurotori for Biko, and to a lesser degree, Muhyo and Yoichi in Muhyo And Roji, although Biko seems to forgive her after she defects from Ark.
  • Gilbert Durandal in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny. Just...everything about him qualifies. As ZAFT's Glorious Leader and an apparent moderate he was idolised by his own followers and much of the world. And then we find out that he's a Well-Intentioned Extremist who aims to make the world a better place by imposing a genetic determinist utopia. In the end, much of his fleet switches sides after this gets outed.
  • Alder to Trip in the Pokémon anime.
    • Charmander. Completely oblivious to the fact that his Jerkass of a trainer abandoned him because he was weak, waited for the day for that trainer to return, even through a fierce storm (which would be fatal to Charmander, had it not been for Ash and friends).
      • Similarly, Shamus for Tepig. After the pedestal is crushed and he suffers a brief Heroic BSOD, Tepig evolves into Pignite in a Heroic Resolve.
    • A major plot point in Pokémon: Lucario and the Mystery of Mew is that Lucario believed that the Knight of Aura that he looked up to, Sir Aaron, abandoned Cameron Palace in its time of need. It was not helped by the fact that, the last time Lucario saw him, Sir Aaron sealed Lucario inside of a staff seemingly for no reason at all. However, Lucario would later learn that Sir Aaron in fact did save the kingdom by sacrificing himself, and he sealed Lucario because he didn't want the Pokémon to follow him and do the same thing.
  • Captain Sosuke Aizen to everyone in Bleach, especially to his lieutenant, Momo Hinamori.
    • With Tousen with both his long-time friend Komamura and his vice captain Hisagi. The two are especially shocked to learn that he was motivated by the desire for revenge for his friend's death since he saw that revenge as justice and saw a peaceful life with her dead and her murderer unpunished by the Central 46 as evil.
    • In the anime-only Zanpakuto Unknown Tales arc, Koga for Muramasa, who betrays him after being freed from his seal.
    • Soifon regarded Yoruichi this way after her defection though, truthfully, it had more to do with abandoning her than breaking the law. What's worse, Yoruichi never offers her an explanation for it. Emotionally spent and, having lost the will to fight, Soi Fon submitted to her former master, in the end. According the Official Bootleg, they've since reconciled their differences and their bond is as strong as ever.
  • The mysterious prince that inspires Utena so much in Revolutionary Girl Utena is...not so princely.
  • Kanata of Uragiri wa Boku no Namae wo Shitteiru is Yuki's childhood friend who grew up with him in the orphanage. Yuki considers him to be like an older brother figure and looks up to him. However, as it turns out, Kanata is actually the Big Bad Reiga who tried to kill Yuki's friends numerous times.
  • Season 1 of Baki the Grappler has Baki looking up to his absent father and constantly training and fighting to follow in his footsteps...and then when he finally appears, it turns out he hospitalizes Hanayama, kills the Yasha ape and presents its severed head to Baki, beats and humiliates Gaiya, mercilessly beats on Baki when the fight finally occurs even when he's knocked unconscious, kills Emi when she finally comes around to protect her son, then beats up all of Baki's friends before leaving Japan. He didn't just break the pedestal, he pulverized it.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds, Crow idolizes the Legendary D-Wheeler, the first person to escape from Satellite, until he finds out that he is really Rex Godwin, the tyrant fostering the poverty and discrimination in Satellite.
  • Happens more subtly for the eponymous character of Saki toward her Cool Big Sis Teru. Kindly Cool Big Sis who played Mahjong with you in the past? The shining genius of Mahjong world? The person you want to acknowledge your Mahjong skill? Not so much after she disowns you in front of the public and you figured out that she's a massive Jerk Ass. The blow is somewhat dampened by Saki's girlfriend Nodoka being on her side all the time.
    • Another pedestal is smashed in its gaiden series Saki Achiga-hen. Arata really idolized Akado Harue and was greatly disappointed when the latter stopped playing mahjong after a crushing defeat in a very important match (cross-checking with Saki reveals that she lost to Sukoya). Arata decided not to join the club Harue was teaching at because she didn't want to see Harue playing with kids, but playing as a pro. However, the pedestal is quickly rebuilt (and the parties involved make amends) when Harue become the coach to team Achiga, and Arata joins it after learning that Harue's resolve has been renewed.
  • Eureka Seven has Renton learning not too long into the series that his idol Holland is not quite what he imagined him to be. Holland beating Renton repeatedly and essentially using him as a physical outlet for his frustrations may have had something to do with that...Their relationship gets a lot better though, after Holland gets a heavy dose of Character Development.
  • In Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu's been inspired since childhood by Sternbild's first superhero, Mr. Legend, to dedicate his life to saving others. Guess who fell into alcoholism and domestic abuse after losing his powers and career? Kotetsu is told about arrests being setup and the loss of power. Only the audience see the worst of it through a flashback revealing that the ex-greatest hero in Stern Bild was killed in self-defence by his son, Yuri Petrov aka Lunatic.
  • In Fruits Basket, when Arisa Uotani was in junior high, she deeply admired the "Red Butterfly", a legendary gang leader. When she learned that she lived nearby, Arisa was eager to find her. When she finally did, she discovered that the tough Red Butterfly, Kyouko Honda had turned into a Doting Parent. She wasn't happy, but she eventually warmed up to her, especially after Kyouko helped her quit her gang, who weren't about to let her leave.
  • In Saint Beast, Lucifer was a mentor to Judas and Luca who were crestfallen when he was banished to hell for defying Zeus. Zeus is also subject to this considering that as a god he has no shortage of angels who worship and idolize him. Being as horrible as he is, there are also many who become disillusioned with him, such as Lucifer, Gabriel, and the protagonists.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: One of Batou's idols was a former boxer and a silver-medalist in the Paralympics. He had the skill to easily take the gold, but he threw the fight. It's not like his life had been devastated by that decision he made, as he still lived a comfortable life. Batou find out that he's actually a very decent man, someone actually worthy of looking up to. However, he had lost his way and started spying on the country just to earn a little extra cash. Batou didn't take this revelation very lightly...
  • Guts has the misfortune of having gone through two of these in Berserk, both of whom betrayed him in unforgivable fashion. The first was his adoptive father Gambino, who first taught him how to fight as a wee little boy, but who had him raped by one of his men and eventually got drunk and tried to murder him, both acts of which were done out of hatred for him born from blaming him for the death of his lover Sys, itself born from the superstitious belief that a child taken from a corpse is bad luck. The other was Griffith, who refined Guts' fighting skills and made him an able battle commander, but who was also a Manipulative Bastard who became obsessed with him over time, which would lead to him falling apart when Guts left the Hawks, growing to hate him during his year of torture, and finally hitting his Despair Event Horizon upon learning Guts was in a relationship with Casca, his Number Two, and were discussing the possibility of leaving him behind, which would set off the events of the Eclipse in which Griffith betrayed and sacrificed everyone he'd led to the Godhand to become their fifth member, Femto — and then went on to personally betray Guts further with what he did to Casca right in front of him.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, when Vegeta and Bulma's future son Trunks goes back in time to warn Goku about the androids who devastated his timeline and murdered all of the Z-Fighters, he's very eager to meet his father who died when he was baby. Later, when he finally gets a chance to meet Vegeta and fight by his side, he realizes that his father is actually a vicious Blood Knight who didn't really care that much about Bulma or his infant son and would have let them die in a plane crash had Trunks not rescued them. And that's before Vegeta makes it clear that he's perfectly willing to let Cell ascend to his perfect form to have a stronger opponent, regardless of the risk that Cell would destroy the world if he got too powerful. This is what actually pushed Trunks into blasting his father and nearly killing him. Thankfully, in part due to Trunks's influence, Vegeta eventually becomes a nicer person and a better father.
  • In Märchen Awakens Romance, Galian is this to Nanashi. The former leader of the thief guild Luberia erases Nanashi's memories of him and joins the Chess Pieces.
  • A Cruel God Reigns: Greg for Ian. Ian near idol worshiped his father, and you feel really bad for the poor guy when he finds out that his father was beating and raping his step-brother. Especially considering this revelation leads to Ian's massive My God, What Have I Done? moment.
  • May Chang from Fullmetal Alchemist, imagines Edward Elric to be a tall, handsome, princely figure, and spends half of her time daydreaming about him. When she actually meets him and finds that Ed's a short, snarker with a bad temper, she just about flips her lid, accusing Ed of toying with her heart.
  • This happens to Nanami from Kamisama Kiss when she finds out the Idol Singer she has a crush on, Kurama, is something of Jerk Ass, and later, isn't really human.
  • Poor Sugi of Girl Friends, in her Day in the Limelight chapter, had a most awkward reunion with her idolized former elementary school teacher and first crush when the latter molested her while she was commuting on a train, completely shattering her rose-tinted memories of him. Tamamin had a good laugh at her expense when she told her abut it.
  • In Girls und Panzer, Miho has this with her older sister Maho for a brief time. In the prequel manga Little Army, Miho is upset to learn that Maho once fired on an enemy flag tank (whose being disabled is an Instant-Win Condition) that was going to save one of her team's tanks that fell off a cliff, especially when she not only admits to it, but coldly brushes Miho off. After Miho summons the nerve to ask her mother whether this was necessary, her sister goes up to her, apologizes for her aloof behavior and tells Miho to find her own way of tankery; the last scene of the chapter also indicates that Maho is trying as hard as she is to be a good Nishizumi heiress so that Miho can live the way she wishes. The incident, however, did cause Miho to question the Nishizumi style's philosophy of winning regardless of the cost, and inspired her to seek out her own way of tankery.
  • Reiner Braun from Attack on Titan is admired and highly respected by others, as well as being the Team Dad to his comrades. Eren in particular looks up to him, as the person who taught him the value of honor and duty. Then, it's revealed that he's the Armored Titan that destroyed the inner gate of Wall Maria and doomed roughly 20% of the human population to a horrible death.
    • The military itself could be considered this to many young soldiers, due to the massive corruption and We Have Reserves attitude. The Military Police in particular are a far cry from the protectors of the kingdom the more naive new recruits might have thought.
  • In The Mutineer arc of the second Legend of Galactic Heroes Gaiden series, First Officer Lieutenant Bertram was idolised by the crew of the destroyer Hameln II for being the role model of common-born soldiers. However, when crisis struck the destroyer, he was revealed to be selfish person willing to throw the Hameln II into certain doom just to preserve his name as an "honourable Imperial officer". The crew members were so disappointed with him upon that revelation that they decided to join the Chief Navigator Reinhard von Lohengramm (then Müsel) and start a mutiny to wrest back control of the ship. Eventually however, Bertram had a Heel Realization and redeemed himself with a Heroic Sacrifice.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, Eita Tanaka greatly admired Margery Daw for her strength and coolness, doing everything he could to assist her in battle. One day, Margery, in a fit of Unstoppable Rage, blew up Eita's girlfriend Ogata with a stray energy blast without even noticing. Although Margery quickly brought Ogata back to life and Ogata has no memory of this, Eita was traumatized for life. He broke off ties with Margery and never wants to see her again.
  • In Ratman, the Hero Organization fits this at first, since some of its members like Ankaiser are jerks who care more for fame and fortune than about actually helping people. As the series progresses, they ultimately prove to be well intentioned and decent, if not perfect, people. The real Broken Pedestal is Shiningman who Shuuto long idolized as the perfect hero but turned out to be anything but.
  • In Tenchi Muyo!, Tenchi suffers this towards his mother. For years, Tenchi believed his mother, Kiyone, was this sweet and kind-hearted woman. Then, years after her death, he finally gets Noboyuki and Katsuhito to tell him what happened to her. They tell this tail of all the adventurous things she did, getting wilder and fantastical... then, they can't go through with it anymore and tell Tenchi the truth - what they just told her was from a script, a script she willed them to say, that Kiyone was a massive practical joker and that she died in her sleep beside Tenchi at the age of 487. What's worse, he's come to realize that those memories of the kind-hearted woman? Were that of Rea, Noboyuki's secretary/possible second girlfriend while he was still married. Tenchi is clearly pissed off at these revelations.
  • Matsuda in Death Note is very fond of Light. After he finds out Light is Kira, he ends up crying and shooting him. Several times.

    Comic Books 
  • The Chief (Niles Caulder) of the Doom Patrol. Turns out that, believing that greatness comes from overcoming tragedy, he engineered the accidents that gave the original Doom Patrol their powers. He eventually tried to take his plan global before he was finally stopped. He's supposedly reformed since then, but let's hope the Patrol is Genre Savvy and keeps an eye on him.

    Half of them are, half of them are just as nuts as he is, at least one fell in with a better crew, all of them follow the Manipulative Bastard even though they know full well he's a Manipulative Bastard. At least other, non-Doom Patrol, superheroes are always visibly put out of sorts when Caulder's around.
  • In The DCU, Henri Ducard, the man who taught Batman the art of manhunting, ultimately turns out to be a money-grubbing mercenary with no real interest in justice.
    • It had been established that Ducard was always an amoral mercenary, even when he was educating Bruce Wayne in the art of manhunting. Not every one of Bruce's teachers were also his heroes. He chose to learn from the best, not the noblest.
    • Whereas in Batman Begins, he turns out to be an elitist Knight Templar who doesn't mind destroying cities because they are corrupt.
  • Space Usagi: Usagi's mentor, who happens to be his slain lord's brother and the current lord's uncle, is actually the one who hired the ninjas that killed his lord in the first place. He's also kidnapped his nephew to mind probe the location of the royal treasury. In a separate story, the person who killed Usagi's own father was someone that both of them respected and admired. Both stories lead to an inevitable showdown.
  • Subverted in Preacher: Jesse Custer's father figure (past the age of 5) who taught him how to fight, shoot, and grow up was Jody, the Corrupt Hick who ruined his life and killed his father. But he knew this the entire time, and eventually paid him back for it by choking him to death with his bare hands instead of using the "Word of God". His last words to Jessie before his murder at Jesse's hands "Proud o' you boy".
  • Sinestro was once considered to be the greatest Green Lantern to have ever existed and was a mentor to Hal Jordan. But eventually, it came out that Sinestro was a tyrant on his homeworld and was exiled, becoming an enemy to the Corps (especially Hal). This trope is invoked a lot when they go head to head.
  • Antos Wyrick is probably going to become this for Jarael in Knights of the Old Republic. While Jarael believed in him as a great man, he's actually a murderous psychopath who views his students only as ways to advance his own agenda.
  • Xavier is Cyclops' broken pedestal in X-Men. Since learning of Xavier's various misuses of his telepathic powers to rewrite Scott's memories and cover up old shame, Cyclops has had great difficulty dealing with Xavier's betrayal.
    • It eventually culminated with Cyclops financially seizing control of the Xavier Institute and kicking Professor Xavier out of his own home.
  • In Ms. Tree, Dan Green worshipped his older brother Victor who went MIA during The Vietnam War. Dan ultimately undertook a mission to Vietnam attempting to locate his brother's body, only to discover that Victor was still alive and living as a crimelord.
  • Lex Luthor especially in modern continuity has gone through two major cycles of this first as a Corrupt Corporate Executive and second as President Evil. In the former case, Lex was a hero to the city that employed half of Metropolis and kept his criminal activities hidden until clone degeneration affected his second body triggering a rampage. The second time, Lex rose to even greater heights as the rebuilder of Metropolis and Gotham (in the public's eyes) who won presidency as the darkhorse third party candidate and helped save the world from Imperiex, only to go crazy from Kryptonite injections as he prepared to use all his resources and goodwill to take down Superman once and for all.
  • Eddie Bloomberg aka Kid Devil idolized Blue Devil and wanted to be a hero just like him. When he made the Deal with the Devil that turned him into the superpowered Kid Devil, said Devil Neron stated that Eddie's soul would belong to him if his trust in Blue Devil was ever broken. After the deal was made, Neron told Eddie that Blue Devil had made a deal with Neron for movie stardom that accidentally (on Blue Devil's part) claimed the life of Eddie's aunt Marla. When Eddie confronted Blue Devil about it and Blue Devil confirmed it, Eddie resigned himself to becoming Neron's slave because he would never trust Blue Devil again.
  • Superboy-Prime up gave his home family and friends to save the Multiverse during the Crisis. He then was imprisoned in a pocket dimension to make sure he survived the reconstruction of creation. How is he repayed? He has to watch his heros get corrupted for years. How does he react? Not well.
  • Around the time Spider-Man finally officially joined The Avengers, Tony Stark became something of a mentor to Peter. The two gravitated to each other, being the only members of the team at the time who were scientifically minded, and after the infamous The Other storyline, Tony even designed Peter a new Spider-Man armor much like his own. This "mentorship" culminated during Civil War when Tony essentially made Peter his Number Two on the Pro Registration side. Eventually, their friendship completely dissolved when Peter learned the extremes Tony was resorting to during the event.
    • Speaking of Spidey, the entire run of Superior Spider-Man is this, watching various heroes and villains just being utterly gobsmacked by this much more vicious Spidey, not knowing that Dr. Octopus had taken over Peter's body and has no idea how Spidey truly operates.
  • Fidel Castro became this for Rius, after the latter became disappointed with the state of things in Cuba after half a century of revolution.
  • In Death Of The Family, the Batfamily is unhappy with Batman for keeping at least one secret from them. In fact, Joker could be counting on this trope to sabotage his enemies.
    • That was his motive, to figuratively cause the death of the Bat-family by breaking their trust in each other.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man, Spidey looked up to the Ultimates and had Tony Stark and Nick Fury ready to train him at a moment's notice. However, Captain America wasn't as forgiving and tore down the webslinger claiming he wasn't ready to be a hero. He, then, proceeds to save Cap from a sniper's bullet, beat down the Sinister Six and take down Norman Osborn before succumbing to his wounds.
  • In the crossover between Spider-Man and Batman, we learn that Carnage is a massive fanboy towards The Joker. However, that all goes down the pot when Carnage grows tired of Joker's theatrics and the Joker just absolutely hates Carnage's idea of murdering people.

    Fanworks 
  • In the Tamers Forever Series, this happens to Takeru in the eyes of the Tamers once they find out he plans to allow Takato to die in order to prevent Daemon from aquiring the power of God.
  • Hobbes initially idolized Socrates in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, but after suffering a Humiliation Conga at his hands (in an uncharacteristic fit of rage), he loses all his respect and finds him as annoying as the rest of the cast.
  • In Red Witch's Tangled Web series for Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers, the entire team has one of these about Commander Walsh and Dr. Negata when they find out the full extent of what went on at Wolf Den, including vivisection of the Artificial Humans and forced deathmatches (with visiting Senators encouraged to gamble on the results).
  • In Faith And Doubt, Twilight suffers one towards Celestia thanks to the end of A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1. However, as Celestia points out, Twilight had been losing faith in her for some time, citing several examples from the series. It turns into a What the Hell, Hero? moment when Twilight reveals it was when Celestia proved willing to put her in danger to save her hateful, Omnicidal Maniac of a sister.
  • Summer Days And Evening Flames: Sergeant Shared Justice, or "Sherry," was the closest thing to a mother figure Iron Bulwark had in his early days after joining the guard. When Iron learns that Sherry was responsible for the a gang war that got dozens of officers under his command murdered, he's beyond appalled.
  • In White Devil of the Moon, this turns out to be the the Sailor Senshi's thoughts on Princess Serenity: they had thought of her as a martyr-like figure, representing the values of Love and Justice. Then her reincarnation, Nanoha Takamachi, comes along and reveals that their princess was a lazy and incompetent child who shirked her responsibilities to keep going to the Earth who ultimately killed herself when her beloved died, possibly dooming those who did survive the Dark Kingdom's attack. Interestingly, while Luna does see it as that, she also sees it as a chance for a better queen to rise up once Nanoha takes up her responsibilities.
  • Many Harry Potter fics do this for Hermione towards authority figures but Harry Potter and the Three Rules does this far sooner than most. After saving her from the troll by slitting it's throat, Harry's given two months detention, docked 50 points, and told he'll be expelled if he's caught with a knife again. Made even worse by Snape punishing him further for having his potions knife on him almost immediately after potions class.
  • Hivefled; Gamzee is at first overjoyed to discover his own ancestor, the Grand Highblood, is taking him as a personal apprentice. That doesn't last long.
  • In Story Of The Century, the pedestal Light has been on becomes broken when it's found out that he really is Kira and had been all along. It's also implied that the task force loses a lot of trust and respect for L too, given everything he did throughout the investigation. L ends up Dying Alone by the end, mostly by choice.
    Erin: Forget trust and respect, I don't even know how they stand you after what you've done to them.
    • In the sequel, this is what triggers Mello's Face-Heel Turn. It can be inferred that Near has undergone a similar reaction since he found out about L's death around the same time, but he takes on his title anyway and so far hasn't shown signs of being explicitly evil. Dickish and creepy, though? Definitely.
  • In Diaries Of A Madman, Celestia and particularly Luna's reputations take a severe hit over the course of the story, as various events and scandals catch up with them. It is suggested that Luna is trying to drag her sister down with her as well.
  • In The Masks We Wear, Prince Zuko learns that General Iroh and the Order of the White Lotus want him to 'redeem' the Fire Nation by helping the Avatar overthrow his father and become a puppet Fire Lord in all but name. It does not end well.
  • System Restore: Hinata struggles with this after it comes out that Komaeda, whom he considered an easygoing and helpful friend, was secretly planning to murder somebody at Togami's party. This is made worse by how he isn't able to get any closure, due to how Komaeda ended up being the first victim, meaning he never got a chance to explain himself.
    • The second chapter has a double-whammy of this. Togami's hit hard when he realizes that Pekoyama, whom he saw as one of his most dependable allies, let Kuzuryuu play Twilight Syndrome and set into motion the second murder. Before he can properly recover from that, everyone gets blindsided by the second murderer's identity.
  • Mito is this for Tsunade in Eroninja. Tsunade always imagined her grandmother to be a Proper Lady, but when she's resurrected Tsunade learns that Mito only acted as this after her husband died to keep the nobles and council happy. In reality she's a Hard-Drinking Party Girl.
  • In Mega Man Reawakened, Robert admired Wily and his work until he turned evil.
  • In For His Own Sake, Naru's career advisor believes that she's hard-working and dedicated enough to become a fantastic teacher and contribute a lot to society. Needless to say, she's stunned when Naru randomly assaults a man for teasing his wife — and outright refuses to apologize, blaming the victim even after learning the full situation.

    Film - Animated 
  • The animated film Hoodwinked: Red Puckett is hurt when Granny's secret extreme sports life is revealed.
  • In Treasure Planet, Jim's trust in Silver is broken when he finds out that he is a pirate and the mastermind behind the ship's mutiny. Silver makes up for it in the end, though.
  • Mr. Incredible, Bob Parr, is this for Syndrome in The Incredibles. As a child, Buddy Pine starts out as Mr. Incredible's self-proclaimed biggest fan, and spends the entire opening sequence of the film trying to persuade the superhero into letting him become his sidekick, "IncrediBoy". However, he repeatedly gets on Bob's nerves until he coldly tells him, "I Work Alone." Soon after, Buddy's attempts to prove himself cost Bob his chance of apprehending one of his archenemies, and he turns the boy over to the police to bring him home. This act disillusions Buddy from not just Bob, but all superheroes in general, leading him to take his frustrations out on all supers as the villainous Syndrome.
  • In Up, on arriving in Venezuela, Carl Frederickson meets his childhood hero, the explorer Charles Muntz, who has spent his life trying to capture a rare bird that lives on the plateau near Paradise Falls...and has become dangerously obsessed with his quest, to the point of killing people he even thinks are trying to get the bird back to civilization before him, and threatening Carl and Russell.
  • Planes: Skipper when Dusty learned he exaggerated his accomplishments.
  • In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Flint becomes disillusioned to Chester V when the latter intends to make the harmless foodimals into food bars.

    Film - Live Action 
  • As everyone knows in Star Wars, Luke Skywalker grows up wondering what happened to his father Anakin but his foster parents only tell him vaguely that he had been a pilot of a civilian ship and died during the Clone Wars. Obi-Wan Kenobi meets Luke and tells him that Anakin was once his apprentice and one of the most noble and powerful Jedi he had ever known and that he was also skilled as a fighter pilot. Anakin was a war hero who was the very best at what he did, he could fight on sea, air, or land, even in space, and was known as the hero with no fear, his father was someone to be admired. Luke wonders aloud how such a great hero could have died and Obi-Wan tells him that his father was betrayed and killed by the Empire's dark enforcer Darth Vader during the Clone Wars and this causes Luke to hate Vader, even moreso when Vader eventually kills Obi-Wan too. However, Vader eventually reveals the truth to Luke, his real name is Anakin and thus he was Luke's father, the Empire's ruthless enforcer of terror and fear Galaxy-wide Darth Vader is Luke's father. Needless to say, he doesn't take this very well.
  • In Star Trek, Zefram Cochrane is revered as a visionary, the man who invented warp drive and ushered humanity into the stars. In person, he's an alcoholic and depressed man whose only motivation is his own self-benefit. As he puts it: "You wanna know what my vision is? Dollar signs. Money. I didn't build this ship to usher in a new era for humanity. You think I wanna go to the stars? I don't even like to fly! I take trains!" Unlike most examples of this trope, the crew doesn't actually seem that disappointed, or at the very least they hide it well. Ultimately, first contact turns Cochrane into the man that the crew remembers.
    • The idea behind their lack of disappointment is probably that by the 24th Century, humanity is a much more enlightened race than now, and thus are more capable of accepting the idea that their heroes and idols aren't what they expected them to be. Riker puts it well when he quotes Cochrane from a future speech where he says "Don't try to be a great man, just be a man, and let history make its own judgments."
  • Dr. Paul Ruth of Scanners. Turns out he's responsible for the entire Bizarre Baby Boom, he unethically tested ephemerol on his pregnant wife, and severed all connections with his two sons, the older one ending up in an insanity ward at one point until he later became a psychopathic terrorist leader, while his younger son was sent out into the world as a drifter and monitored regularly until he might find use for him.
  • Nicholas Angel relates such a story about his uncle in Hot Fuzz.
    Nicholas Angel: I don't remember a time when I didn't want to be a police officer...apart from the summer of 1979 when I wanted to be Kermit the Frog. It all started with my Uncle Derek. He was a Sergeant in the Met. He bought me a police pedal car when I was five. I rode around in it every second I was awake - arresting kids twice my size for littering and spitting. I got beaten up a lot when I was young, but it didn't stop me. I wanted to be like Uncle Derek.
    Danny Butterman: He sounds like a good bloke.
    Nicholas Angel: Actually, he was arrested for selling drugs to students.
    Danny Butterman: What a cunt...
    Nicholas Angel: Probably bought the pedal car with the proceeds. Needless to say, I never went near it again. I just let it rust. But I never lost the profound sense of right and wrong I felt at the wheel of that pedal car. I had to prove to myself that the Law could be proper and righteous and for the good of humankind. It was from that moment that I was destined to be a police officer.
    • If you look carefully when Nicholas is packing up for Sandford, you can even see him taking a picture of a child in a pedalcar off his noticeboard.
  • Gordon Gekko from Wall Street to Bud Fox. Thankfully, Bud gets even.
  • Baines (who was not an actual historical character, at least not in the way he is portrayed) in Malcolm X helps Malcolm to turn his life around, but is later shown to have motives much less pure than Malcolm's.
  • In The Rocketeer, Jenny Blake greatly admires film star Neville Sinclair until she finds out he's a creep and a Nazi spy.
  • In Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, Optimus reunites with his mentor Sentinel Prime, who was believed to have been lost in Cybertron's final battles. Optimus, with all due respect, offers Sentinel back the Matrix of Leadership, but Sentinel declines, saying that Optimus knows more about the human world than he does. It's later revealed that Sentinel has sided with Megatron, compromising the beliefs he taught Optimus in order to ensure the survival of the Cybertronian race. Optimus, after recovering from his shock, battles Sentinel, eventually executing him with (the now dead) Megatron's fusion shotgun.
  • Sean to Mark in The Social Network. Mark admires Sean's power and ideas but his faith wavered when he finds out about Sean's arrest for partying and doing drugs with under-aged interns.
  • In the 1980 John Ritter movie Hero at Large, Steve Nichols becomes a national hero for foiling a robbery while dressed as Captain Avenger. But when a reporter announces that the last robbery he foiled was staged, specifically to make him look like a hero, the crowd turns on him.
  • Senior narcotics officer Alonzo Harris to rookie cop Jake Hoyt in Training Day.
  • In The Innkeepers, Claire is a huge fan of former sitcom star Leanne, and is incredibly disappointed when Leanne makes her feel like a loser for not doing anything with her life. They warm up to each other, though.
  • The Dark Knight Rises: Robin John Blake is an idealistic young cop, whom Commisioner Gordon quickly promotes to Detective, seeing something of himself in Blake. Blake looks up both to Gordon (for being an honest cop who cleaned up the department) and Batman (whose identity he figures out pretty quickly). However, he ends up being disappointed in both: at Batman for his Refusal of the Call, and at Gordon after finding out that Gordon lied about Harvey Dent.
    • Harvey Dent become this to the entire population when Bane exposes his rampage eight years ago. With the White Knight's reputation in the gutter, it doesn't take long for the population to start, in Joker's own words, "losing their minds" as they simply gives up on everything and starts riots when Bane encourage them to do so.
  • In The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford we see that Ford just wanted to be like his idol Jesse, but Jesse and basically everybody treats him like dirt throughout the entire movie leading him to murder Jesse in order to become famous.
  • In Iron Man 2, Whiplash sets out to invoke this trope among the public regarding Iron Man.
  • Randy Robinson in The Wrestler is this to his daughter, Stephanie. After disappointing her by missing out on his promise to have dinner with her, is abandoned by her for the final time with no chance of forgiveness, which leads to his final journey to self-destruction.
  • In Eraser, John Kruger is a US Marshall working for Witness Security and is the best at what he does, learning everything he knows from his mentor Robert DeGuerin, who turns out to be one of the key figures behind the conspiracy to sell top-secret Magnetic Weapons to The Mafiya.
  • The World's End: Gary in the eyes of Andy.
  • In Cloud Atlas, Zachry and his people worship a goddess called Sonmi. It comes as a shock to him to learn that Sonmi in fact was a human being.
  • In Trick Or Treat, Eddie, the protagonist was a fanboy of the film's Big Bad, Sammi Curr, who gradually shows his true colors over the film. When Eddie tries to break off contact with him, we get this gem.
    You got to be loyal to your heroes...they can turn on you.
  • In A Pure Formality, the inspector is a huge fan of the French author Onoff. His admiration comes to an end when he meets the author, accused of murder, in person in his office.
  • Happens in Snowpiercer, when the hero learns that his elderly mentor actually was The Mole.

    Literature 
  • Animorphs
    • For Jake, at least:
    Jake: "It's all your fault! I used to see you as a hero, Elfangor. A leader. But the truth is you just couldn't see another way out! You sentenced us to hardship and pain and suffering. We were just kids! You made us question every value we had ever learned! You had no right to heap that weight on us, huge and impossible. You used us!"
    • Andalites in general for all of the kids.
  • The Dresden Files: Ebenezar McCoy took Harry in after he used magic to kill his evil mentor, and taught Harry all about how magic comes from human life, and how using it to kill perverts its very purpose. Which makes it all very ironic when McCoy turns out to be the Blackstaff, the one member of the White Council allowed to use magic to kill. In fact, the very reason Harry was paired with McCoy was so that someone could take him out if it happened again.
    • Subverted in that he's not terribly happy about it, and dislikes the role. Harry still doesn't take it very well.
    • He mostly gets used to it. Eventually.
  • The Fault in Our Stars: Both Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace love and are obsessed with the book An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten. Augustus uses his one wish to take Hazel to meet Van Houten in Amsterdam. Unfortunately He turns out to the a total cynical Jerkass, not the wise and poetic writer they'd imagined him to be when they read the book.
  • Harry Potter
  • The dad in The Night of the Hunter, who is hanged for robbing a bank around the beginning. And Uncle Bertie, who for all his talk of being there to help, is uselessly drunk the moment something bad happens. And Harry Powell, although we learn he's a Serial Killer before his fans do. And, if you look carefully, you can see that Rachel Cooper is too proud of her parenting skills to realize that her foster-children are in dire need of attention lest they go crazy.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: While nothing decisive is explicitly revealed, it is hinted in the last two books that the much-revered Baudelaire parents were involved in the murder of Olaf's parents.
  • In The Secret History, Julian Morrow's students look upon him as a divinity. By the end of the book, however, Richard sees his characteristic warmth and kindness as a mask for his essential lack of concern for his students or insight into their lives.
  • The main character is this for a whole lot of people in The Death of the Vazir Mukhtar, as he seems to have made a complete Face-Heel Turn from writing an incisive social satire to seemingly becoming one of the characters he has satirised. He realizes this too, though it's technically all rather more complex than that.
  • The Vorkosigan Saga features several of these, as Miles' generation encounters the fallout of some really horrible things done of the previous generation. Major examples include Miles and Elena learning about Sergeant Bothari's mental instability and the atrocities he committed while working for Admiral Vorrutyer in Warrior's Apprentice, and Emperor Gregor's depression and self-destructive behavior in The Vor Game when he first learns that his father Prince Serg wasn't the hero Barrayaran history makes him out to be, but rather whose death in a botched invasion was the best thing that could have happened to Barrayar.
    • The series also features a major inversion. Mark had been made to believe in his parents'note  alleged tyranny. (His father is undeservedly known far and wide as "The Butcher of Komarr.") Then he meets Aral and Cordelia and they're kind, loving, genuinely good people rather than what he's been led to expect. Because he'd built so much of his identity on opposing their supposed evil, the shattering effect on his worldview is just as severe as if the trope had been played straight.
  • In the early Sweep books, Morgan looks up to Selene Belltower after she discovers she's a witch, admiring her power, her reputation, even the way she makes her own essential oils (for spell ingredients). Then Morgan discovers what Selene really wants from her...
  • Subverted in The High King, the final book of the Chronicles of Prydain, when Taran is horrified by Prince King Gwydion inviting him to share in the treasures of Annuvin. Luckily, a tiny Glamour Failure is enough to make Taran quickly realize that it's not really Gwydion but Arawn Death-Lord in disguise.
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea: After spending all the novel swimming in Stockholm Syndrome for Captain Nemo, Aronnax has seen him crossing the Moral Event Horizon by a terrible Kick the Dog moment. And yet...
    I returned to the saloon, fearing and yet hoping to see Captain Nemo, wishing and yet not wishing to see him. What could I have said to him? Could I hide the involuntary horror with which he inspired me? No. It was better that I should not meet him face to face; better to forget him. And yet—
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Played as straight as an arrow with Henry "Hank" Jellicoe, owner of Global Securities. In Game Over, the Vigilantes and the Big Five, particularly Charles Martin, look up to Hank and think he's the best there is. Cross Roads ends up having them lose their respect for the guy, and Charles was just upset that his friend could possibly pull a Face-Heel Turn. Deja Vu goes further and makes it clear that Hank was Evil All Along, and that it's only now that the disguise has worn thin, and nobody can deny it any longer.
  • Jason Black to Hayleigh Griffin in Fat. Hayleigh is harbouring a massive crush on Jason, based on tv interviews, his music and magazines for teenage girls. Jeremy arranges for them to meet while she's in the hospital. Unfortunately, Jason is coked up to the eyeballs the entire time and hasn't washed in at least a week. This freaks Hayleigh out somewhat, but is actually the turning point for her, as getting over her crush on Jason is what triggers her recovery.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, Daenerys Targaryen suffers this when she learns from Barristan Selmy that the stories of her father being "the Mad King" weren't just lies. In a similar vein, Cersei Lannister's view of her father Tywin was broken when she found a dead prostitute in his bed. She had always believed her father was above sleeping with prostitutes, and desperately grasps at alternative explanations for her presence.
  • Minor, but present in The Mark of Athena, of the Heroes of Olympus series. Hazel, who looked up to Jason as a fair and capable leader, is enraged when he votes against rescuing her kidnapped brother Nico because he thought his behaviour suspicious. Everything is soon settled.
    • Later in that same book Jason and Piper encounter Hercules, who seems a decent guy at first, but soon turns out to be a world-class jerk. Piper calls him out on it. Hercules' pedestal has in fact been crumbling since The Titan's Curse when Percy realized that Hercules was the one who betrayed Zoe Nightshade and ruined her life.
  • Happens often in Warrior Cats, especially where Tigerstar is concerned.
    • In the first book, Into the Wild, the main character Fireheart puts Tigerclaw/Tigerstar on a pedestal. Then he finds out that Tigerclaw is a team-killing psycho, and they become arch enemies.
    • In the Tigerstar and Sasha manga Spin-Off, Sasha is in love with Tigerstar until she finds out about his evil actions.
    • In the Omen of the Stars arc, all of the Dark Forest apprentices except Breezepelt and Redwillow eventually have this when they realize how evil the Dark Forest is.
  • In Seven Days in May, Colonel Martin "Jiggs" Casey is a Marine who finds out that his CO, General James Scott, is heading a conspiracy to initiate a Military Coup and overthrow the President. In The Film of the Book, Casey also gets a nice Shut Up, Hannibal! moment when General Scott demands "Are you familiar with who Judas was?" when his part of the conspiracy is unmasked:
    "Yes, I know who Judas was. He was a man I worked for and admired until he disgraced the four stars on his uniform."
  • In Protector of the Small, King Jonathan breaks his pedestal for Keladry when he accedes to Lord Wyldon's demand that she be admitted as a probationary page, despite the fact that there was no such provision attached to the law allowing girls to train for knighthood when it was signed ten years ago.note  It gets worse when she learns that he stopped his daughter from becoming a page, making Keladry one of the few female Tortallan characters who never loves King Jon. (Later she comes to understand the political necessity of such decisions, but that doesn't mean she likes it.)
  • The House of Night: For both Zoey and Aphrodite with regards to Neferet.
  • Averted thus far in Ciaphas Cain. Cain's actions continue to make him a galactic hero, despite each of them being motivated by cowardice and self-preservation. The only people who ever saw through it are an Inquisitor, who doesn't mind, and possibly a commissar cadet who dies anyway.

    Live-Action TV 
  • CSI: Crime Scene Investigation has one of these for almost every member of the team:
    • Sara's best friend, a prosecuting attorney, is confined to a wheelchair — ostensibly shot by an unknown man who killed her husband. When Sara reopens the investigation, she learns that there was no intruder — her friend was the one who shot her husband. (Sara doesn't quite use the stock dialogue, but does point out the hypocrisy the attorney has been demonstrating in her demands for justice.)
    • Catherine discovered that the cop who inspired her to become a CSI rather than a stripper had planted evidence in a homicide investigation. (Pithy statement: "Good evidence doesn't need help.") She points out that he threw away his integrity, which is the thing that he himself taught her that you can never give up.
    • Warrick's mentor lost it after the murder of his daughter and assaulted the suspect, who turned out to be innocent. (Pithy statement: "An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind.")
    • Oddly enough, the trope was subverted in this show as well. The episode revolved around the murder of a psychic; one of Brass's buddies, on the verge of retirement, showed up saying that he had been consulting the psychic regarding a cold case he has been pursuing, and that his suspect murdered the psychic to stop her from providing the location of the body. The suspicion is raised that the old cop is trying to frame his suspect, but he turns out to be completely legit.
    • CSI: NY gets in on the action as well, although they play around with it a little. Flack's mentor and friend is found to have tampered with a crime scene in order to protect his son, who was present when the murder took place. The mentor is arrested, but Mac is the one driving the investigation; Flack is pissed to have to go after a friend and remains bitter about the incident for some time.
  • Jack Bauer, on 24 has seen this happen with two of his mentors; Christopher Henderson, who brought him into CTU, first turns out to be embezzling assets seized by the government and later becomes the point-man for a conspiracy that kills an ex-president and several of his best friends.
    • James Hellar, the Secretary of Defence, is probably the show's first Benevolent Boss and someone that Jack admits he "looked up to like a father". The pedestal gets broken over the course of three seasons as Hellar fails to live up to Jack's high standards: he obtains evidence against the President Evil but tries to use it for political leverage, he leaves Jack to rot in a Chinese prison for two years, and generally treats him like a mindless disposable resource. His remarks on Jack being "a curse" to everyone around him are particularly harsh, if more than a little true. There's the minor complication of Jack being in a relationship with Hellar's daughter...
    • No one on 24 can ever manage to retain their original loyalties throughout a season. Including Bauer himself.
  • Subversion: Former Special agent Mike Franks, NCIS, mentor of Agent Gibbs. Something of a jackass, but a Jerk with a Heart of Gold, though a very small heart of gold and a HUGE jerk. Some of Gibbs's more notable mannerisms came from him, but the main difference is he retired, Gibbs didn't (not permanently, anyway).
  • Life On Mars: Gene's never-before-mentioned mentor turns up. The inevitable ensues.
  • Happens retroactively in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Pegasus". The eponymous starship was Riker's first post-Academy assignment. The ship's former captain (now an admiral) was conducting illegal cloaking-device experiments until the crew mutinied. Riker defended his captain, and helped cover up the truth later. When said admiral comes back to retrieve said device, Riker admits that, given a second chance, he would have joined the mutineers instead (a claim he gets to fulfill in spirit later on).
    Riker: I wasn't a hero, and neither were you! What you did was wrong, and I was wrong to support you, but I was too young and too stupid to realize it! You were the captain; I was the ensign. I was just following orders.
  • In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, we get Admiral Leyton, whom Sisko admired... until he tries to usurp power and declare martial law.
    • Then we learn that Odo had not always placed justice first and 3 innocent Bajorans were executed as a result.
    • And Admiral Ross works with section 31!
    • And in "Valiant", Nog meets Red Squad, the elite Cadet group from Starfleet (whom he adored) and they are stubborn, hubris-filled and intolerant, and get themselves killed, with Nog, Jake and some girl barely escaping.
    • Sisko gets to play the role himself once, to the audience. The entire episode uses a Framing Device of a log over the past week or so. During this week, he lied, broke laws, and was an accessory to murder in his quest to bring the Romulans into the Dominion War on the side of the Federation.
    • An in-universe example, Kor (one of the Original Klingons) joins Worf and General Martok on a raid in Dominion space. He is able to captivate the crew with tales of fighting the Federation. However, during the battle with the Dominion, when command falls to Kor, he believes he is fighting the Federation with his long-deceased friend Kang. This nearly destroys the ship.
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Goren doesn't find it especially hard to believe that his FBI profiler mentor might also be the Serial Killer who kidnapped his partner. The twist reveals the killer is actually the profiler's daughter, who washed out of the FBI and wants to disprove her father's theory that women can't be Serial Killers (let's just say he couldn't leave the shop talk at work and she liked to use his recordings of people being tortured as a test for prospective high school boyfriends before getting intimate with them) in a desperate bid to get his attention. Needless to say, it worked.
    • Then, in a later episode, said mentor helps Goren's archnemesis kill his younger brother, and then kills her himself, in order to become closer to Goren. Goren doesn't understand it either.
  • In Chuck, Casey's mentor comes back and is a Fulcrum agent.
    • Also, Chuck's old college girlfriend turned out to not only be a spy, but also a Fulcrum agent. In all honesty it seems like everyone in any way connected to Chuck is involved with Fulcrum in some way...
    • Not exactly. Nowhere in the episode is it stated that Ty Bennett was working for Fulcrum, and he is instead set up as having instead been working independently and forming his own mercenary/terrorist organization. It's revealed in a later episode in which Casey is reunited with his former commanding officer—another Broken Pedestal who is now working for the Ring—that Bennett was actually working directly with or for him.
    • Daniel Shaw makes for one huge Broken Pedestal. Set up as Chuck's mentor in using the Intersect, and a great spy and everything Chuck was aspiring to become once accepting his destiny as a hero (YMMV how well this was played). Then he gets manipulated, broken, and turned by the Ring to become one of the most dangerous villains in the entire series. Only Quinn in the fifth season came close to hurting the team as deeply and personally as Shaw did.
  • In Bones, Brennan's old professor, whom she had and currently was dating, was an expert witness for the opposing side of the case she was working on. To specify, he's not doing it in service of the truth, which Brennan would respect him for but because he's being paid to do it. Then he implies, on the stand, that she's not an objective researcher even though he and the scientific community recognize Brennan as the best and most objective in her field. He is also outright lying, since he had previously called Brennan's case irrefutable, meaning everything he said about other possibilities was wrong and he knew it. In the end she dumps him via a What the Hell, Hero? moment.
    Brennan: This one isn't about winning a pasta dinner or showing up your former student. It's about putting two people away who murdered a 19-year-old girl.
    Michael [the professor]: Tempe, you can't personalize the work.
    Brennan: Do you remember in Central America standing in a mass grave being guarded by soldiers? We knew that they were probably the same soldiers who had killed the people we were digging up. I was just a student. I was scared. I turned to you and I asked, "What do we do?"
    Michael: That was a different place and a radically different context.
    Brennan: You said, "We tell the truth. We do not flinch." You flinched, Michael.
    • Also Brennan's brother, who left her shortly after their parents were forced to flee their past. They reconcile later.
  • Scrubs does this a lot, usually JD reversing one of Dr Cox's pieces of wisdom back on him. Though Cox was a dick from day one.
    • Subverted, however, in the episode My Fallen Idol, where JD convinces himself that he's furious and disgusted with Cox for being a hypocrite about the advice he gave JD in the previous episode "My Lunch" after accidentally killing three patients, and then coming in to work stinking drunk the next day. However, JD gradually realizes that he actually doesn't care about what Cox did at all, and in fact admires the fact that even after years as a doctor, a patient's death could still affect Cox that deeply — he was just terrified over the idea of his tough, unshakable mentor being so badly shaken, and was using the things he did as an excuse to avoid him.
  • In a sketch on Little Britain, Sebastian (in love with his boss, the Prime Minister) is asked to destroy some secret papers which reveal that the Prime Minister reneged on a disarmament pact. Sebastian obeys, but sadly whispers "I thought you were perfect ..."
  • Dexter's gone through a lot of these. He idolises his foster father Harry, adhering rigidly to the "Code of Harry" when he kills, only targeting criminals who've escaped justice, and never taking risks of being caught. Then, in Season 1, he finds out Harry knew Dexter's biological father was alive and kept the info from him, and destroyed the file on Dexter's Harmful to Minors moment. If that's not enough, in Season 2, Dexter decides to abandon the Code — or at least shift it to suit his means — when he finds out that Harry likely killed himself because he couldn't stand what he'd made Dexter into. He also had an intimate relationship with Dexter's birth mother, which was directly responsible for her murder.
    • In season 6, Dexter meets the man who inspired him to be a serial killer - the Tooth Fairy, a man who ripped the teeth out of his victims, and once dumped a fresh body on a District Attorneys lawn and sill managed to elude capture. He's become an abusive, drunk old pervert waiting to die in a retirement home. Granted, its not like we'd expect much more from a serial killer, but the impact it has on Dexter certainly shows elements of Broken Pedestal. Also, he apparently only dumped the body cause he was drunk and lazy - he got away by pure stupid luck.
  • In Wire in the Blood, an old colleague of Tony Hill's returns and proceeds to attempt, apparently out of pure bitterness over his failures in life, to turn Tony and DI Fielding against each other.
  • In Nip/Tuck, Sean's old teacher, Dr. Grayson, shows up as a pathetic alcoholic performing underground surgery on transsexuals in a filthy apartment.
  • In a 30 Rock episode, Liz met her idol, a 1970s-era female comedy writer, discovering that she is now a lonely failure and that there's a reason she could only find work in the '70s.
  • The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien:
    Conan: Tell us about this scene. This is a fight scene?
    Dean the Foley artist: Yes. This is between two principal characters, Chris Meloni and James Brolin. Chris Meloni just found out that James Brolin, who is his mentor, actually killed someone.
    Conan: They always do. Mentors always disappoint, just as you've disappointed me today.
  • Monk: Though not quite a mentor, a child actress from Monk's childhood favorite TV show the only TV show he ever watched and the only thing that made him happy as a child ("'The Cooper Clan' was my other family. Heck, the Coopers were my family, my family was my other family") wrote a tell-all memoir about her very sordid life and the lives of her costars. There wasn't enough Brain Bleach to help Monk after reading it...
  • In season 3, episode 8 of BBC's Robin Hood series, Robin's mentor appears, having agreed to help Prince John fake out the people of Nottingham with a lifelike wax dummy of King Richard, pretending that he's died. His reason for treason falls to Never Remove a Blood Knight From The Battlefield. He is taken off active duty because Richard believes he's gotten too old, but is given the prestigious position of guarding the crown jewels. Despite his age, he nearly bests Robin when they fight, but is unprepared for the guerrilla tactics Robin has developed in his absence.
  • Variant: On Top Gear, when James May and Richard Hammond get to drive their childhood dream vehicles (a Lambourgini Countach and a Vincent Black Shadow motorbike, respectively), they find that the real things are harder to drive and less comfortable than they had imagined.
    May: And [the Countach] looked so good on the poster. In fact, I wish it had stayed there. I'm absolutely gutted. But you know it's not the car's fault; it's mine. I've broken the Golden Rule: You never, ever meet your childhood heroes. ...Stick with the memories. They're just better.
  • A minor version appears in the Doctor Who episode "The Shakespeare Code". The Doctor and Martha Jones attend the premiere performance of "Love's Labours Lost" and Shakespeare himself appears on the stage at the end. The Doctor is initially thrilled at the prospect of meeting the greatest writer in the English language—until he acts boorishly in front of the audience. Somewhat amused, Martha quips to the Doctor, "You should never meet your idols."
    • It gets even worse when he starts (quite unsuccessfully) hitting on her.
    • Played with in terms of Rose's affection for her dad, Pete. Since he died when she was a baby, he was built up by Jackie as being the perfect father- so when she travels back in time to his death, only to find that her parents were having marital problems, Pete was failing as a businessman and liked flirting with other women, she was upset. However, in the end, he proved to still be a good man; incredibly devoted to his wife and daughter, and willing to sacrifice his life to save others.
    • The Doctor breaks his own pedestal in regards to Amy Pond, by telling her how he truly views himself; not as a hero, but a vain mad man who's willing to put the people he loves in danger.
    • Matthew Waterhouse makes no big secret about the fact that his first day working with his hero Tom Baker was quite unpleasant.
    • The Doctor to Jack, and in turn Jack to Torchwood, both when the admirer finds out that the Doctor/Jack isn't the omniscient hero they thought he was.
    • The Doctor goes through this when he meets Omega, one of the first Time Lords who apparently died giving the Time Lords the power source of time travel. Omega survived and is trying to drain away the Time Lord's power, driven mad by millennia of isolation.
    • At the end of audio drama "Zagreus" the Doctor says this has happened with all his Time Lord heroes, Omega, Borusa, Morbius and Rassilon.
  • A strange inversion occurs in Farscape. Scorpius, the Big Bad who puts a lot of value on patience and planning, makes a big deal about the intelligence and cunning of John Crichton, his archnemesis, and sees him as a Worthy Opponent. Imagine the sheer disappointment when circumstances force Scorpius to become part of Crichton's crew, and he realises that all of Crichton's victories come from Indy Ploys so frelling insane that he makes Indiana Jones look like The Chessmaster.
    • Played a bit straighter in other situations, usually involving the Peacekeepers:
      • Captain Durka was a legendary figure among the Peacekeepers, and his ship, Zelbenion, was rightly feared throughout the Uncharted Territories. Then it's eventually learned that Durka was actually a coward and probably psychotic as well, faking his own death and surrendering to the Nebari when they attacked his ship.
      • A later episode has Sub-Officer Dacon, a legendary Peacekeeper officer who sacrificed his life to safely end an assault on a monastery filled with nothing but women and children. When the crew gets accidentally sent back in time to this event, turns out Dacon is just a cook. He is a decent person though, and it turns out his commanding officer was the real hero of legend, so there's that.
  • Shawn and Gus from Psych see a bounty hunter (played by Hercules) bringing in a thug in the prologue of "Bounty Hunters" (season 2 episode 9), and immediately decide he's the coolest thing on the planet. Then he turns his head and winks at them, taking a level in awesome, and the Hero Worship begins in earnest. Years later (i.e. later that same episode) they meet him again and it turns out he's a complete douche, the "wink" was just a tic, and he even tries to kill Shawn and Gus near the end of the episode.
  • The episode "Fallen Idol" of Mash. Hawkeye has to leave the O.R., due to a hangover. This breaks the pedestal Radar (and, according to Radar, many others as well) has put Hawkeye on. Hawkeye, on the other hand, does not want to have the stress of being someone's idol. (Just in this episode; normally, Hawkeye would not mind).
  • Gilmore Girls: Rory Gilmore's worst nightmare is meeting CNN's Christiana Amanpour and finding out she's stupid.
  • Victorious has Ryder Daniels, who has a reputation of taking girls under his wing...only to use them for class projects to help him get a good grade and then ditch them without any prior notice.
  • In an episode of the 80s Mission: Impossible revival, Russell Acker - one of the founders of the Impossible Missions Force and creator of the latex mixture used for the IMF trademark masks - has started killing women and built a frame by getting caught on tape while wearing a Jim Phelps mask.
  • Subverted in the Babylon 5 episode "Atonement". Delenn is afraid that her pedestal will be broken when Lennier finds out her darkest secret. However, Lennier accepts her Warts and All.
  • Castle has quite a few of these:
    • The detective who taught Beckett everything she knew though she did chase his killer to Los Angeles
    • Castle's old school friend who inspired him to be a writer.
    • The cast of Nebula 9 (a Star Trek clone), specifically Captain Max Rennard and Lieutenant Chloe, for Beckett. She used to love the show (which only lasted 12 episodes) despite the cheesy premise, over-the-top acting, and awful-looking aliens and cosplayed as Lieutenant Chloe. Then, while investigating a murder at a 'con, Beckett meets the actors playing them. Rennard's actor is a pompous Jerk Ass and a washed-out actor who can't get a decent role and seems to think he really is Captain Rennard. Besides acting the "Nebula 9 Experience" to ridiculous extent, he tries to pick up any woman in the vicinity. Chloe's actress is a bitch who hates being type-casted because of the show and turns out to be the killer, trying to prevent the revival. Despite this, Beckett resolves not to let her affect her memories of the show. After all, her idols were the characters, not the actors playing them.
  • Alex goes through this on Family Ties when he discovers that his Uncle Ned, who he idolized, is an alcoholic. And then he hit Alex.
  • In the Korean Series The City Hunter, Kim Jong Shik, Young Joo's father, turns out to have been part of a group who engineered the deaths of 20 special forces soldiers in order to further his political career, as well as hid a drunk driving vehicular homicide. Young Joo, an idealistic detective, doesn't take it well.
  • Supernatural - God himself. Castiel, a steadily descending angel spends most of season five looking for his father for guidance on how to prevent the apocalypse, only to discover that God just doesn't give a damn about any of them anymore, has effectively left them alone to get on with it, and doesn't care whether the apocalypse happens or not. This does not have a good effect on Castiel.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Buffy has moments like this with Giles, although she usually eventually gets over them. Until she doesn't.
    Buffy: Yep. I thought you were a grownup. Now, it turns out that you're a person.
    Giles: Most grownups are.
  • In the Community episode "Mixology Certification" Troy experiences one towards Jeff and Britta. After he's spent all night listening to their advice on growing up only to learn they've also spent all night bickering over the same bar under the mistaken impression that it's two different places:
    I just spent the last two years thinking you guys knew more than me about life, and I just found out that you guys are just as dumb as me.
    • Their response?
      Britta: ...Duh-doy.
      Jeff: Yeah, duh-doy.
  • On Heroes, Hiro grew up being told of the legendary samurai warrior Takezo Kensei and his incredible battles against evil. When he actually travels back to the past and meets him, however, he discovers that the great Takezo Kensei is actually a Dirty Coward Con Man. And then he gets back to the present day and it gets worse: Kensei, who is still alive in the 21st century, is the season's Big Bad.
  • A Cool Teacher arrives in My So-Called Life who challenges and inspires the students, but after a few days he's carted off by the cops for some skeletons in his closet.
  • Burn Notice has Tom Card to Michael, who turns out to have been responsible for the whole Michael's woes.
  • One episode of The Commish features Scali's friend who is working in Drugs' Department - an upright man who also spends his free time training children to refuse drugs. When he is murdered, Scali swears to bring whoever did it to justice. Turns out the murderer s were his own kids, whom he had beaten regularly for the slightest mishap, along with his wife. Ouch.
  • From Merlin, Arthur is a huge "Well Done, Son" Guy who's basically spent his entire life having it hammered into him that whatever he does, his father Uther does it better. After about three years of ruling as king, he gets a chance to contact Uther from the otheworld, who immediately reams him out on all the"stupid" decisions he's made to bring equality to the land. Arthur's heartbroken, and accidentally let's Uther's spirit free, who proceeds to wreck the Round Table, attack Percival with an ax, and attempt to set Guinevere on fire. Arthur's in denial for a lot of this, but he finally breaks and realizes just how terrible a man his father was.
  • ER did an arc about Drs. Benton and Carter being taken under the wing of the illustrious Dr. Vucelich, the only doctor at County General to have never lost a patient. This is because he's a slimy cheat who drops every patient he knows is going to die from his care ahead of time.
  • Walter White from Breaking Bad has progressively become this more and more for his protege and partner-in-crime, Jesse, over the course of his slide into evil, as Jesse becomes more and more troubled and guilt-ridden over his actions and what Walter orders him to do. It seems to reach a head after Walt's rationalization over a child's murder and seeing through his manipulations. But it has finally culminated in him figuring out that Walter had Brock poisoned.
  • Played with on Frasier; after discovering that his mentor and Roz are having a relationship, Frasier believes he's experiencing this (and it's not helped by the fact that he saw his mentor wearing nothing but Roz's robe) but he comes to realize that it's actually jealousy that Roz has become attracted to someone very similar to him whilst having never demonstrated any kind of attraction towards him.
    Roz: Frasier, did you ever stop to think there may be something special about not being picked?"
    Frasier: Roz, that didn't work when I was cut from pee-wee football, it's not gonna work now.

    Multiple Media 
  • Sort of semi-subverted for Fantöm in the Noob franchise, as he turns out to have been Locked Out of the Loop, but still gets a hard time from some of the characters for not noticing that things were much easier for him than they should be on his own.

    Music 
  • The Who's Quadrophenia brings us the Ace Face, a mod whom Jimmy, the album's protagonist, idolized during the Mod days. When he meets him later, he finds that he's sold out and is now a bell boy. The whole album is about Jimmy being let down by his idols.

    Theatre 
  • The Phantom of the Opera: 'Farewell my fallen idol and false friend/We had such hopes but now those hopes lie shattered...Angel of Music, you deceived me/I gave you my mind blindly.' Erik goes from being a Stalker with a Crush into a full-blown wack job when he, in a convoluted Wife Husbandry plan kidnaps Christine and threatens to kill her fiance unless she agrees to marry him (Erik, that is).
  • Subverted with the protagonists' relationship in Wicked, as Elphaba and Glinda, who sing about how "People come into our lives, for a reason," genuinely feel that they have been changed for the better for knowing the other, even though Elphaba has turned her back on society, and Glinda has sold out to the love of the citizens of Oz.
    • Wicked also contains a straight example in the Wizard, beloved by all of Oz and idolized by Elphaba and Glinda, who turns out to be a con man and the Big Bad. Though the revelation takes longer for Glinda to process, she eventually accomplishes more with the knowledge than Elphaba.
  • Arthur Miller's All My Sons revolves around this trope after The Reveal.
  • Death of a Salesman: Biff, the elder of the two Loman sons, is the high school football star and pretty nearly guaranteed a full scholarship to the University of Virginia...until his Broken Pedestal moment. He gets into a scrape at school and goes to find his father, the eponymous traveling salesman, with the hope that his father can get him out of it. The result is that he discovers his father is a serial philanderer. He's so disillusioned by the fall of his idol that he ends up dropping out and throwing away his very promising future.
  • The Nerd by Larry Shue.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed: Your mentor Al Mualim turns out to have been sending you on missions the entire time to distract you from his plot to use a mythical object to mind control all of the assassins, his allies.
    • In Assassin's Creed III, Connor eventually learns that George Washington and not Charles Lee was behind the razing of his village Kanatahséton and thus the death of his mother — and just ordered a new attack on it, to exterminate his people and salt the earth. Although Connor isn't fooled by how thick Haytham lays on the disdain, Connor's relationship with Washington never really recovers even after he prevents the attack by killing off Washington's messengers.
  • Sanchez of Suikoden is an excellent example. A part of your army since the very beginning, it eventually turns out he was a spy working for the enemy the entire time, and when the Empire is close to losing he gets desperate and fatally injures your army's chief strategist. The icing on the cake and what makes the situation relevant is that your faction ultimately decides that the newly-formed government could not withstand the scandal of one of its founding members turning out to be a traitor the entire time, and he lives out the rest of his life peacefully under a secret house arrest. Publicly speaking, his image as a hero is never tarnished.
    • A subtle hint is provided since the castle is founded: if you took the time to look at the massive tablet that has the 108 stars and people's names, you'll notice he's not on the list. You'll also notice he is the only one living in the castle who's not on the list.
  • Tales of the Abyss has this happening at least twice.
    • Van Grants for Luke, Tear and Guy, Legretta for Tear, possibly Ingobert for his daughter Natalia; the two ultimately reconcile after the truth comes to light, but Guy suggests that they can't necessarily go back to the way they were before.
      • Interestingly enough, Legretta, in a final letter read after her death, mentions feeling concerned that her student Tear saw her as an ideal, and hopes that Tear will follow her own path, a rare case in which the character on the broken pedestal attempts to dispel the admirer's notions.
    • Tales of Symphonia: Dawn of the New World has Richter Abend. Poor, poor, Emil.
  • Palaxius in Atelier Iris 2.
  • You can actually point out that Aribeth in Neverwinter Nights has done this to your player as part of convincing her to come back from the dark side.
  • Played to the hilt in Jade Empire, where Master Li tries to take over the Jade Empire by torturing and siphoning the power of the newly-corrupted Water Dragon for his own, after using you to remove the previous ruler...upon whose success he immediately kills you. You get better.
    • Also, The Emperor for his daughter, Sun Lian/Silk Fox. Even the revelation that Master Li is the Big Bad and the root cause of the plan to usurp the Water Dragon's power does not absolve him in his daughter's eyes.
    • Master Li is not only the Broken Pedestal for the Player Character but also for Dawn Star, especially when she finds out he's her father who doesn't give a shit.
  • Happened in Castlevania: Order of Ecclesia. Turns out Barlowe is a Dracula worshipper and uses the organization and Shanoa as a tool to revive Dracula. Depending on how the game is played, Shanoa may end up following him blindly (and dying in vain), or wises up and performs a Rage Against the Mentor.
  • Frimelda Lotice in Final Fantasy Tactics A2 had this happen to her. She was revered as a powerful Blademaster, and fought alongside her friend Luc Sudarc in many battles. She, however, didn't know that Luc was hugely jealous of her, as he just wanted to surpass her but couldn't no matter how much he trained. So, he poisoned her, sentencing her to wander Ivalice as a pink zombie...until Luso and the gang rescue her. They return her to human form with the help of a special potion, and to return the favor, she joins Luso's clan. And she's cute, to boot.
  • Arc The Lad 3. The main character becomes a Hunter because one saved his life when he was young. He later finds that Hunter working for the Big Bad.
  • Played with in Persona 4. After a major character is seemingly Killed Off for Real, the protagonist's surrogate father figure, a by-the-book and thoroughly incorruptible policeman, runs off apparently to kill the man thought responsible; this is part of a Batman Gambit on the part of the writers to induce the player to kill the suspect when given the opportunity, which is a one-way ticket to the Bad Ending. Later on, after having some time to chill out (like the player characters) he was able to see that the evidence surrounding him just didn't fit and wanted to just get some more info from him.
  • Played for Laughs with Fourth Wall Observer Raiho in Raidou Kuzunoha vs. The Soulless Army. Raiho was originally a Jack Frost who profoundly admired Raidou and wished to become Raidou the Fifteenth, fusing himself with a Bancho uniform to create Raiho. The funny part? Raiho defines Small Name, Big Ego, and promptly forgets his fanboying of Raidou, realizing he's so much cooler now.
  • True Crime: New York City had Terry Higgins, a cop who helped Marcus from slipping off the slope; he is presumably dead early on. It was revealed he was The Mole and was quite corrupt despite how Marcus saw him. Marcus will either kill him immediately if his ethics are less than questionable or attempt to arrest him but Terry dying.
  • Subverted in Metal Gear Solid 3, in which we are initially led to believed that Naked Snake's mentor, The Boss, had defected to the Soviet Union. It turns out that the defection was a ruse to gain Volgin's trust and acquired the Philosophers' Legacy, but after Volgin framed The Boss for the destruction of Sokolov's Research Facility, alerting her presence to Khrushchev, the U.S. sent Snake to kill her and cover up her involvement. This essentially shifts the target of his broken bedestal moment from his mentor to his government. Increases even further in later games when it is revealed that the U.S. government fully intended to have Snake kill off The Boss from the very beginning regardless.
  • In the Fire Emblem series, this applies to (in Path of Radiance) Most of the Begnion senators, and (in Radiant Dawn) The god that most of the populace worshiped.
  • Disgaea 3 has Super Hero Aurum, beloved by humans (and some demons) and idolized by Almaz. By the end of the game, you discover that he has gone out of his way to make Mao into the most horrible villain imaginable, trying to manipulate him into attacking the human world, simply out of boredom from having no "worthy" opponents. And when this fails thanks to the Power of Friendship, even the demons of the party call him out for his blatantly villainous actions, with Mao declaring cowardly Almaz a far more superior hero than Aurum.
  • Captian Qwark in Ratchet & Clank Although he performs a Heel-Face Turn by the third game.
  • In Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Republic hero Carth Onasi was scarred when his mentor and idol, Saul Karath, turned out to be working for the Sith. He retains a deep mistrust of all Jedi, and the revelation that the player character is the amnesiac Darth Revan, former commander of the Sith rebellion doesn't help matters.
    • Mission's quest involves finding out her brother deliberately left her behind when he left Taris.
  • A Sith Warrior in Star Wars: The Old Republic invokes this trope when recruiting Jaesa. Jaesa is a gifted, but inexperienced Padawan who can "see" the true nature of others. Her master and Darth Baras (your handler) have a long-running feud. when confronting the old Jedi, you can force Jaesa to "see" her master has been hopelessly warped by his grudge, causing her to abandon him, and serve you instead. It is up to you if you want to keep her inclinations to the Light Side, or Break the Cutie by twisting her into a very psychotic verion of The Dark Side, however.
  • In The World Ends with You, Neku is a total CAT fanboy. Later on, he discovers that Mr. Hanekoma, a guy who's been real helpful to him, is the elusive CAT, and starts fanboying even harder. Then, in the final week, Neku discovers a lot of clues that suggest that CAT is the Composer, and goes through a textbook case of denial, then losing faith in CAT as they approach the Composer's chamber. Only, as Kitaniji tells him, Hanekoma is not the Composer. The very end of the game, plus the Secret Reports, however, tell you that he's still not someone to trust, albeit better intentioned than Kitaniji or Joshua.
  • In Viewtiful Joe, Captain Blue turns out to be one for Joe, after he reveals himself as the Big Bad.
    • However, After Blue has a Heel-Face Turn it seems Joe regains respect for him again.
  • Grandia II takes this trope to the extreme, making the player think that the Church of Granas has a plan to stop the resurrection of Valmar and the arrival of the Day of Darkness. As it turns out, Granas is actually dead, the Church knew this all along, and the Pope actually wants to resurrect Valmar to become the new God. In addition to that, Granas and Valmar weren't actually gods, but really powerful scientists. The Divine Sword is actually a sword-shaped spacecraft, and Valmar's legion of darkness is actually a robot army.
    • Averted with Granas himself though. Whatever his nature his ideals were genuine and the only thing he was guilty of was coddling his followers far too much, stagnating independant human development (why bother innovating if your god can conjure starships out of thin air?). In the end, he died sacrificing himself to save his people.
  • In Baldur's Gate II, Jahiera has this in regards to the Harpers during her personal quest. First, Galvarey, the regional Harper leader in Athkatla turns out to be an opportunistic Smug Snake who wants to use charname in his bid for power. Jahiera is understandably dismayed by this, especially since the other Harpers, who are unaware of Galvarey's intent, consider the incident an act of treason on her part and a murder on your part. Once that is cleared up, she discovers that Dermin, her old mentor, was actually in on Galvarey's plot, and is just as much of a Smug Snake as he was. Needless to say, the whole affair shook Jahiera to her core.
  • In Guild Wars Nightfall, Varesh Osha is seen by many as an ideal ruler of her nation. Turns out she's a batshit insane worshipper of the resident Eldritch Abomination.
  • In Pokemon Mystery Dungeon Explorers of Sky, Wigglytuff's beginnings as an explorer are revealed. As a child, he met Armaldo in a deep forest. Armaldo told the then-Igglybuff that he was a retired explorer, and they went on lots of missions and found lots of treasure. Igglybuff idolised Armaldo and everything was going perfectly well...until Armaldo got arrested. He was a wanted criminal, not an explorer. Igglybuff almost had a mental breakdown and refused to believe that Armaldo was bad, even as he was being led away in custody. Whether they met again after Armaldo got out of prison is unknown.
    ** And subverted. Armaldo really did care for Igglybuff and was curious to see how far he'd go as an explorer. Armaldo comforted Igglybuff and told him to continue exploring for him. And he promised to explore with him again once he did his time.
  • Present in Pokémon Black and White with N finding out that he's nothing but a brainwashed child soldier and that his father Ghestis is intent on banning Pokemon use so Team Plasma can "liberate" them all and use their power to conquer Unova.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Jacob Taylor's father, Ronald, vanished 10 years ago. When they receive a message and go to the unhabited planet to save them, turns out that after his ship crashed and the captain died, Ronald forced the lower crew members to eat the planet's toxic food, which caused their minds to degrade, while they tried to fix a beacon to call for aid. Female crew members were assigned to officers, like pets. A year later, the beacon was ready, but Ronald figured the report would look bad and wanted to stay. He then had the other officers killed. Gradually the degraded males started to rebel, becoming "hunters" as even in a decayed state they knew things weren't right. Ronald held out for ten years, until his supplies ran low and he called for aid. Needless to say, Jacob was utterly disgusted and would've killed his old man, if not for the fact he "wasn't worth pulling the trigger". If your Shepard is a renegade, you can suggest Jacob to give his father a weapon with one bullet. If you pick the neutral option, he will get killed by his own men.
    • And then there is Rael'Zorah, Tali's father and a part of the Admiralty Board. Her father is found dead on the ship and Tali was accused of treason. When she find out what happened, it turns out Rael'Zorah was willingly endangering his own crew's lives to create a measure to control the Geth much to her horror.
    • A few people, most prominently Ashley/Kaiden (even more hardhitting if they were your love interest in Mass Effect), consider Shepard to be one since s/he's working with Cerberus, a terrorist organization in Mass Effect 2.
    • This is also brought up in a news story:
    Newscaster: Emotions at Shepard's alleged survival are mixed. While some are overjoyed to see her/him return, others believe her/his false death was a betrayal.
    • Even before that, in the first game, you can make Shepard into one for Conrad Verner.
    • Through the first and second games, the Protheans have been regarded as a race of very advanced and powerful, but benign Benevolent Precursors. Then in the third game, we meet Javik, the last Prothean warrior, and find out that the Protheans were actually a highly imperialistic society who conquered anyone they encountered and integrated them into their empire as "subservient races." Liara in particular is quite disappointed, once implies that they were monsters, and comes to consider her earlier writings on them as foolishly naive.
      Liara: You're a Prothean! You were supposed to have all the answers!
      • Given more time, she changes her stance a little, no longer feeling betrayed and able to think of them more objectively.
    • Liara gets another one when she finds out her own government has maintained their technological superiority by hiding a Prothean Beacon from the rest of the galaxy, in defiance of Citadel laws.
    • Cerberus becomes one for Miranda at the end of 2 and in 3.
  • Cloud got hit by this in Final Fantasy VII. As a teenager, he dreamed of joining the elite SOLDIER unit like his idol, the great warrior Sephiroth. When Cloud finally gets to go on a mission with Sephiroth, finding out that Sephiroth wasn't as noble as Cloud thought he was is the least of our hero's disappointments.
  • Veronica's mentor Elijah in Fallout: New Vegas, you are told about how he wants to know more about the outside world and how the Brotherhood Of Steel should be working to help the others. Then you find out about what he has done over the events of Dead Money where he used you to do his dirty bidding along with 3 others.
    • One resident of Megaton in Fallout 3 put the Enclave on a pedestal based entirely on their radio propaganda. When they actually show up, they rapidly break their own pedestal.
  • First Enchanter Orsino in Dragon Age II can become this to Bethany if she joins the Circle. If Hawke takes the side of the templars during the endgame battle sequence, they can get Orsino to admit that he protected the serial killer responsible for turning their mother into a Frankenstein bride. In the mage endgame, Orsino only mentions Quentin offhandedly and we don't see how either Hawke sibling reacts.
    • The "Legacy" DLC turns Malcolm Hawke into one with The Reveal that he was a Blood Mage. Probably the most sympathetic example of this trope ever since he did it to seal away a powerful evil, was forced to do it with a threat to his lover, and he made sure his mage child(ren) knew of the dangers associated with it. Malcolm was ashamed of his past and hoped his family would never learn of it. His children still don't take the news very well but understand why he did it.
    • The Grey Wardens can become this to Carver if he joined them, after learning that Warden-Commander Larius gave the order to blackmail Malcolm Hawke into performing Blood Magic, because they threatened to kill Leandra if he refused. Particularly as Leandra was pregnant with his older sibling at the time.
  • In the Dragon Age: Origins DLC "Soldier's Peak", Sophia Dryden becomes this (posthumously) to her descendant Levi Dryden. While her goal of opposing a tyrant was admirable, she still resorted to Blood Magic and demon summoning when the chips were down and suffered the consequences.
  • In Corpse Party Ayumi greatly respects Naho Saenoki, an occult expert despite just being in high school. She is disheartened when Naho reveals that she died in Tenjin Elementary and in Chapter 5 laments that they could have been friends. Shortly after that, however, she finds out that the instructions for the Sachiko charm (which is what trapped them in Tenjin Elementary in the first place) that she found on Naho's blog were faulty...And Naho knew this. Ayumi calls her out on it. Naho doesn't really care and insults "occult freaks"...until Ayumi reveals that after Naho succumbed to The Darkening, she killed her beloved mentor, Kou Kibiki. She doesn't take this revelation well.
  • Subverted in Vandal Hearts 2 were the resident messiah figure, St. Nirvath, is revealed to have been a mass murderer and glory seeker, causing a crisis of faith in one of the characters. It turns out that while Nirvath is guilty of wiping out a large portion of humanity, he did so in order to save the remainder from a devastating disease and was convinced that history would remember him as a criminal and not as a saviour no matter how necessary his actions were.
  • In Wild AR Ms 5, Dean worships and tries to emulate the famous golem hunter Nightburn. When it turns out he's The Quisling for the Veruni, his pedestal shatters.
  • Red of Solatorobo gets a Fangirl in the Duel Ship fights. When she finds out that Red is ordered around by his 13-year-old younger sister, she declares him extremely uncool. When she tries to beat Red in a battle later to find closure, he ends up on a Rebuilt Pedestal and she declares her fangirlish love for him again. This does not please her newly acquired male fanbase.
  • Dr. Eggman looked up to his grandfather, Professor Gerald Robotnik. However, after Professor Gerald tried to exterminate humanity in Sonic Adventure 2, narrowly averted by teaming up with Sonic, Eggman doesn't think of him nearly as highly anymore.
  • In Injustice: Gods Among Us, Regime Shazam, still a kid here, looked up to Regime Superman, even going along with his ideas of a better world. However, after witnessing Superman murdering Lex Luthor, learning people now hate him and finding out that he plans to wipe out Metropolis and Gotham City before marching over to the brighter universe and taking it over, Shazam calls it quits. Sadly, Regime Superman kills him before he can bail. However, it does inspire another to do so: Regime Flash.
  • La Noire has Cole Phelps, a hero from World War II and a cop who has solved tons of tough cases while sticking within the boundaries of his duties. He goes from patrolman all the way to Vice and the entire department is singing praises for him. However, Phelps was caught having an affair, causing everyone who held praises for him to hating his guts while he got demoted to Arson duty.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, prosecutor Miles Edgeworth discovers that the man who raised him after his father's death (and taught him everything he knows about law and prosecution) is his father's killer. And also a ruthless perfectionist who'd do anything to win, but he already knew that.
    • In another example for Edgeworth, he finds out that Ernest Amano, who financed his studies, and whom he respected enough that he would deliver the ransom money to his son's kidnappers as a personal favor, obstructs justice by buying the haunted house in Gatewater Land so that his son won't be exposed as a murderer, and is also affiliated with the smuggling ring. The closest he gets to a pithy statement is saying in the ending that he owes him a debt of gratitude, but he must pay his debt to society.
    • Kristoph Gavin, the mentor of Apollo in the fourth game ends being the murderer in the first case and the Big Bad of the game. Apollo is also livid to find out that Phoenix, a former ace lawyer whom he treated with the utmost respect, gave him a fake clue to make Kristoph confess to the murder of Shadi Smith, to the point of punching him. He only comes to work for him because with Kristoph's arrest, he's out of a job.
    • Damon Gant was the well respected chief of police. It turns out that He murdered an innocent man in order to frame a serial killer and years later killed a cop who was trying to find out the truth and let someone else take the blame for it.
    • Ema also has this reaction when her sister admits to forging evidence, although it later turns out that she was blackmailed into doing so by Gant, who had arranged evidence to make it seem as though Ema accidentally killed Neil Marshall.
    • Morgan Fey for Mia and Maya, who both loved their aunt and are upset to find out that she would try to frame Maya for murder out of jealousy, so that her daughter Pearl could become Master.
    • The killer was planning to invoke this trope in the second case of Dual Destinies. The reason why Florent L'Belle didn't kill Mayor Tenma as part of the plan to frame him for murdering Alderman Kyubi was so that once Mayor Tenma was convicted and exposed as the true identity of the Amazing Nine-Tails (the hero that everyone who opposed the merger rallied around), the Amazing Nine-Tail's popularity would plummet once people realized he was also a murderer.
  • In Danganronpa, Mondo Oowada is this for Kiyotaka Ishimaru. At first, he refuses to believe that Oowada was the murderer of Chihiro Fujisaki in the second case, but then he is forced to confront with the truth and the poor guy suffers a Heroic BSOD. What makes the whole thing more painful is that Oowada was the first real friend that he ever had, since he was never able to make friends due to his focus on studying and working on school morals.

    Webcomics 
  • Sluggy Freelance has an example of this when Torg finds out that Riff is working for Hereti-Corp, although as Riff mentally notes shortly afterward, he had no idea how they were using the information he was sending them. Torg ultimately forgives him by the end of the arc, noting the contrast between how he treated him with how he believed Cloney was actually Aylee.
  • In Kevin & Kell, Rudy is shocked to find out that his biological father had an affair that resulted in Rudy's nemesis Vin Vulpen being born; Kell suspected this but didn't know for certain. Lindesfarne, after learning that Professor Antlerhead falsified his research on stem cells, notes that the only authority figures who have never let her down are her father and stepmother.
  • Minmax in Goblins discovering his idol's tendencies (and the result). Go Minmax.
  • Happens in Juathuur...sort of. actually, Arvval stands by his principles from beginning to end. But when Faevv strays from her path, his bigotry becomes apparent and they don't really get along anymore.
  • Popsicleman idolizes Golden Age Popsicleman...until, by the use of 50,000 Placeb-O's box tops, he gets an opportunity to meet him. It turns out the predecessor is chauvinistic and always on the lookout for foreign spies, as well as having a hefty sense of entitlement.
  • Reynder, a.k.a. Oosterhuis in Panthera turns out to be the Big Bad of the first story arc. Truer words were never said, Tigris.
  • In Starslip, Holiday enters her crush object Vanderbeam's mind to try and free him from an alien Lotus-Eater Machine. There, she discovers his long-harbored obession with the long-dead Jovia and the lengths Vanderbeem is willing to go to to get her back (i.e. throw his support behind a former criminal to gain technology that might enable him to save her, knowing the criminal wants the tech to try and regain his former power). When Vanderbeam refuses to see reason, reaffirming his willingness to do whatever it took to save Jovia, Holiday simply, and sadly says "You have no idea how much of my respect you've lost. For good." Ironically, this is enough to snap Vanderbeam out of it.
  • Antimony Carver of Gunnerkrigg Court learnt in Chapter 31 that Surma, her mother, acted as the Court's Honey Trap to lure Reynardine into the court. When she tries to confirm this unpleasant truth ("So my mother...tricked Reynardine into thinking she loved him?"), Kat's mother tries to justify with the threat Reynardine posed if he were allowed to roam free.
    • Katerina Donlan is rather upset upon learning what the founders of the Court, where she has grown up all her life, did to Jeanne and her lover. It sure doesn't help that Diego, Kat's robot-building genius hero, came up with the horrifying plan, and did so purely out of spite and jealousy.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl has Alejandro, Paulo's original "coolness teacher," which was really just Paulo being messed with by the older kid.
  • In Pacificators, Daryl Smithson joined Platoon 113 because two of her idols (Cinna Grossul and Muneca Powell) were on the team, but on the very first day she met them, she discovered that they do not like each other, and can barely work together. She calls them out on this after she broke up a fight between them.
  • In Slightly Damned the reader is lead to believe that Sakido genuinely cares for her little brother Buwaro. While it may be that way now, it turns out she is acting as The Atoner for maiming and abandoning him 15 years ago. Her final line, recorded in a journal, really hammers home how tortured she was on that choice.
    "If you are reading this and I'm no longer around, then I've gotten what I deserved."
  • Following the media smear campaign and everything else in Sonic The Comic Online, Sonic has became this to the remaining Freedom Fighters and Mobius. Let's just say that, when you know the Sonicverse as a whole, it's pretty jarring to see even Amy hating Sonic only Tails still belives in Sonic.
  • In a guest comic for Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, Jared Kowalski gushes over new arrival Chuck Norris and asks him to sign his fish... and then realizes that Norris is afraid of it (it's actually a Gyarados).
  • In El Goonish Shive, when Tedd first learns about Gerald he thinks he sounds like a Bully Hunter and ignores Nanase's attempt to dissuade him from holding that view. Later when he actually meets him he sees what Nanase was talking about and stands up to him when he antagonizes Nanase.

    Web Original 
  • KateModern has Rupert van Helding, whose teachings are admired by so many in the Hymn of One. It's a shame he's such a hypocrite.
  • The Union Series has a Captain Evan Mc Neil, poster boy for much of the Colonial military. While made out to be a cheerful, war-is-an-adventure type paragon of soldiering, the hard reality recruits are confronted by is that he is truly a tired, run down man, aged beyond his years, who's spent most of his adult life being flung from one incredibly bloody conflict to the next, with only the sincere desire that someone will get lucky and put a bullet through his head to end his misery.
  • Red vs. Blue has Agent Washington in regards to the Director of Project Freelancer. When first introduced, Washington is highly against the Director and is actively working to bring him down after seeing the horrors the Director inflicted on the Alpha AI. Season 9 then shows a younger Washington, who is highly devoted to the Director and claims the man has given him everything.
    • The same goes for Agent Carolina.
  • Xandra from the Neopets story The Faerie's Ruin was a powerful witch who was taken to Faerieland to study. Initially, like the rest of Neopia, she believed that the Faeries were Big Goods, but the Faeries repeatedly refused to intervene in cases where she felt they should have. Feeling betrayed and deceived, she set out to break the pedestal for everyone else. She fucking crashed Faerieland into Neopia!
  • This trope is given an interesting dimension in the Pony POV Series. Ace flyer Spitfire has a breakdown over how her team, the Wonderbolts, are useless when they actually try to help out and be heroes (a deconstruction of their poor track record in the FiM series itself). This is then reconstructed when Dash refuses to accept Spitfire's claims of being a Broken Pedestal, pointing out how they still inspire others to be heroes.
  • In We Are Our Avatars, Catherine Grayson looked up to Yumiko because the latter was the type of person the former desired to be and befriended her until she took a part of Alduin's soul. Even though Catherine stole Tomes and resurrected the dead, she was horrified by the actions, callng Yumiko out in a What the Hell, Hero? speech.
  • In Worm, The Triumvirate becomes this for the superheroes of the Protectorate when they find out what they've done in the name of saving the world.

    Western Animation 
  • In Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures, Race Bannon's old mentor (and boss) is revealed to have been working for Dr. Zin.
  • Bravestarr did this in the simply-titled episode "Fallen Idol". A bit unusually, while Bravestarr is shocked to hear that his mentor Jingles Morgan is wanted for murder, he doesn't seem to doubt the truth of it at any point. (Then again, the evidence against Jingles is pretty overwhelming. The victim was his opponent in a martial arts tournament, who he killed in an arena in front of hundreds of witnesses.) Upon his arrest, and Bravestarr's attempts to understand why, Morgan pauses to show how far he is down the Moral Event Horizon by saying "I never asked to be your 'hero'".
  • One Saturday morning cartoon special about the 10 Commandments. In the "Thou shalt not worship false idols" segment, the dumber of the kids finds himself among crumbling statues of sports and rock-and-roll idols, although exactly why these kinds of idols aren't good (other than "not being God") isn't explored or has been lost to memory.
  • Batman: The Animated Series does this to some extent in the episode, "Beware the Gray Ghost". The eponymous character (voiced by Adam West) was the hero of an in-universe TV show that Bruce Wayne loved as a child, and an inspiration to the latter's own vigilantism. The actor, although not mean, is a bitter old man who has suffered from longterm unemployment, and briefly grows to hate his old role. Batman is quite disappointed when this Reality Ensues, but once it turns out that rediscovering the past is vital to solving a crime, the actor fortunately rediscovers his passion, aids Batman on his quest, and the episode ends on a very high note.
    • Also, "Baby Doll" is a rare example where a character feels this about herself. The villain, Mary Dahl, is a deformed actress who could never get any roles except as the baby in a sitcom. She goes mad and kidnaps the cast of the show, attempting to recreate the one situation in which she was happy. Eventually, when Batman tries to stop her, she initially resists, but eventually breaks down after realizing what she's become.
  • Men In Black: The Animated Series: Kay's mentor Alpha betrays him and the MIB after merging with some alien technology that allows him to combine with anything.
  • On The Venture Bros., Brock Samson's mentor Colonel Hunter Gathers is thought to have gone rogue and Brock is sent on a mission to hunt him down and kill him. Brock is disgusted to find that his mentor, who insisted on never killing women or children, apparently killed the woman he'd slept with the night before (she turns out not to be dead, but Brock doesn't know that). In the end, we see that his mentor ran off to get a perfectly innocent sex change, and the morals he passed down to Brock invalidated the now-female mentor as a target. Though as it turns out in season 4, he really did go rogue...but he wanted to do things his own way rather than following OSI's strict policies. And with the Season 4 finale, it appears that Colonel Gathers is the new commander of OSI, letting him come full circle.
    • Season 3 showed flashbacks where Dr. Jonas Venture Sr. was either a complete Jerk Ass or just too naive to realize the damage he was inflicting on his son due to his womanizing and seeming disregard for human life.
  • The Boondocks: "The Story of Gangstalicious" is all about this, as Riley finds out quickly that his idol isn't exactly what he made himself out to be. Amongst other things...
  • Hey Arnold!:
    • The eponymous character tracked down his favorite author only to find that she'd become mean and surly because of years of writer's block. His insistence that she was still his favorite author, despite how terribly she treated him before and during the interview for his school report, is the catalyst for her future change of heart and eventual return to writing.
    • Eugene turned bad when he found out the actor from his favorite TV show wasn't anything like the character he plays. The same episode also subverts it when the actor saves Eugene and Arnold from falling to their deaths, at great personal risk. As a result, it becomes a case of Warts and All, since Eugene realizes that for all his flaws, the actor is still a fundamentally good person.
    • Then there was the time Phoebe found out her favorite singer, Ronnie Matthews, was a lip-synching hack.
  • The Simpsons has an episode where Lisa learns that Springfield's founder Jebediah Springfield, contrary to his rugged frontier hero image, was actually a bloodthirsty pirate who once attempted to kill George Washington. Though initially dedicated to revealing the truth to the town, she changes her mind since she didn't want to take away the inspiring (fake) image people had of Springfield.
  • Family Guy does this with Stewie's love of fictional kids show Jolly Farm. He goes to London only to find out Jolly Farm isn't real, Pengrove Pig is a pervert in a suit and Mother Maggie hates children and speaks with a Cockney accent.
  • In Ed, Edd n Eddy, Eddy's brother was respected by most of the other kids (except for Kevin, who fears him for obvious reasons), but when he finally shows up in The Movie, they lose that respect when he beats up his own brother, For the Evulz, and Double D, just for calling him out.
  • Daria has Tommy Sherman in the episode "The Misery Chick," who disappoints and disgusts everyone who meets him, even Kevin Thompson who idolizes him. As soon as he's killed in an accident, Kevin forgets all about his problems with Tommy's character.
  • The Legend of Korra: The Equalists, specifically the Lieutenant, to Amon. Amon preached equality and removed the Bending of people to achieve it. Amon was revealed to be a Waterbender, and that shook the support from his cause. When the lieutenant finds out, he smashes his equalist mask, and attacks Amon, calling him a traitor, and screaming that they all had trusted him.
    • In the Book 2 premiere, Korra hasn't had a good opinion of her father since she learned he was one of the people behind the compound along with his exile from the Northern Water Tribe, and the fact he is treating her like a child.
    • But later on, Korra swears off loyalty to Unalaq once it's revealed he not only fixed her father's trial to send Tonraq to prison and also to appear "merciful", but also caused Tonraq to be banished so that he could become chief of the Northern Water Tribe.
  • Motor City: Mike did not take it well finding out that Kane, who was his adoptive father, was evil.
  • The Justice League Unlimited episode "Clash" revolves around the entire Justice League (and in particular, Superman) becoming this to Captain Marvel, culminating in him giving them an epic mix of What the Hell, Hero? and "The Reason You Suck" Speech by the end as he becomes disenchanted with the team and leaves them.
  • Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! has four cases of this, only one of which was never rebuilt— that one being Master Zan towards Antauri.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: When Ahsoka was framed for multiple murders, terrorism and sedition, the Jedi Council abandoned her and made no effort to conduct their own investigation, and the Senate Court were more than happy to sentence her to death. Anakin and Padmé were the only ones to support her in all what she went through, and even after it's discovered that she was innocent, and she was offered back to the Jedi Council with a promotion, the damage was already done. Her faith in the Council was shattered and she leaves them completely.
  • In the Superman: The Animated Series episode "Brave New Metropolis", the authors specifically wrote Jimmy Olsen as having this relationship to Superman after he goes Knight Templar following Lois Lane's death.
  • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker: Batgirl knows Harley Quinn is a Psycho Supporter for Poison Ivy and The Joker, but she thinks Harley Wouldn't Hurt a Child and is very disappointed when she discovers Joker Junior.
    Batgirl: How could you help Joker do it, Harley?
    Harley Quinn: Okay, so he roughed the kid up a little. But I'll make it right.
    Batgirl: Yeah, you're Mother of the Stinkin' Year!
  • Sofia the First: Princess Amber used to have a crush on Prince Hugo until she saw him cheating during a failed attempt to keep Sofia from entering Royal Prep's Derby Racing Team.
  • Transformers Prime has this between Megatron and Orion Pax in the beginning of season 2. Millennia ago, they were both heroic until Orion Pax's becoming Optimus Prime caused Megatronus' jealousy to lead him to becoming the villainous Megatron. When Optimus loses his memory, Megatron quickly resumes the master-pupil relationship for as long as he can until Orion starts figuring out that Megatronus isn't quite as noble as he remembers.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, Cree was formerly Numbuh Five's mentor, her Cool Big Sis (literally and figuratively) and one of the best operatives of all time. As you might expect, then, the fact that she turned traitor made her one of the worst examples of this Trope, becoming the Cain to Numbuh Five's Abel in the process. (To make it worse, if Operation: M.A.U.R.I.C.E.) is any indication, Cree seems more than willing to reconcile with her sister, but only on her terms; she seemed overjoyed when Abby briefly seemed to be willing to join her. Fortunately, Abby's other idol convinced her otherwise.)
  • In Rocket Power, Otto learns that his favorite skateboarding action hero movie star is coming to town to film another one of his movies. But is stunned to learn that the kid is a huge Jerkass who doesn't know how to skateboard, has all his stunts done by a (female) double, and rudely rejects Otto's request for an autograph.
  • In Book 2 of Avatar: The Last Airbender , Zuko is suddenly exposed to the horrors of what his beloved Fire Nation is actually doing to the world. He shoves it aside for a while, though, and helps Azula defeat Aang so he can return to the Fire Nation, where he's welcomed back by their father, Fire Lord Ozai and almost goes completely back to his old self, until Azula and Ozai plot to incinerate the entire Earth Kingdom, and he can no longer deny he's on the wrong side of the war.
  • In Danny Phantom, Danielle, Valerie and Jack lose admiration, loyalty and respect for Vlad once they see his true colors by the end of the series.


Breaking Out the BossDrama TropesCaper Rationalization
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alternative title(s): Never Meet Your Heroes
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