Were they playing the same game I was?
A form of Misaimed Fandom
, when a fandom takes a controversial or downright villainous character and downplays his/her flaws, often turning him/her into an object of desire and/or a victim in the process. This can cause conflicts if the writers are not willing to retool
the character to fit this demand.
In fanfiction, they are frequently the love object of the local Mary Sue
, who uses the power of love to redeem the character
. "I can fix him"
is a commonly expressed sentiment among fans of Dracos in Leather Pants. In extreme cases, the affection these characters receive from fans can lead them to forget that they're actually still supposed to be villains
. Or, on the flip side, even the worst crossings of the Moral Event Horizon
can be rationalized, while any insult from the hero towards the villain is cast as deplorably mean. Bonus Points
if the writer's attempt to make the villain more "sympathetic" causes them to remove everything that made the character so cool/well liked in the first place.
Common reasons for this include the character being wicked in a classy
way. A physically attractive villain
is much more likely to be subject to this trope than a physically ugly one; Beauty Equals Goodness
, after all, and shallow as it may be, it seems that, for some fans, this is the case even when the character's beauty only extends to their appearance. All Girls Want Bad Boys
may be a factor with male villains getting a female fandom that views them through this lens.
Some villain archetypes, such as the Smug Snake
(because of their off-puttingly arrogant personality), female villains (because it's mostly Fangirls
who invoke this trope), and the Complete Monster
(because of the severity of their evil deeds and absence of redeemability) are rarely susceptible to this, but it can still happen.
usually plays a part in this trope; it is much easier for people to forgive and overlook the negative qualities and stress the Freudian Excuses
that form a sympathetic back-story for fictional characters than it is to do the same for people in real-life, because the actions of the fictional character have no real-world effect.
Expect also for fans to make excuses for the character not getting any comeuppance for their sins
, and, for bonus points, gloat if one of their hated
and/or villainized characters
gets the short stick instead, especially if the latter is the victim of the former.
for a term in the Harry Potter
fandom, for the mostly sympathetic Fan Fic
portrayals of Draco Malfoy, who, in Canon
, is a petty, smug
, Spoiled Brat
. (The term originated in Hurt/Comfort Fics
, where Draco was the comforter and Ron was the abuser, usually with Hermione being the victim. Not coincidentally, the Inverted Trope Ron the Death Eater
also originated from such fics.)
Disturbingly, sometimes Truth in Television
- but we won't go into that
Character tropes in danger of becoming Dracos in Leather Pants
- Affably Evil
- Aloof Big Brother
- Anti-Villain: If the "anti" part is emphasized more than the "villain".
- Awesome Ego
- Bastard Boyfriend, Bastard Girlfriend, and Bespectacled Bastard Boyfriend by design, since these types are supposed to induce Perverse Sexual Lust.
- Bishōnen villains
- Crazy Awesome or Creepy Awesome characters (if evil)
- Cry for the Devil or, rather, characters who invoke it, if the fans feel so sorry for them that they forget that they're still supposed to be evil.
- Dark and Troubled Past: because it totally justifies any of their negative attributes.
- Dark Messiah: If the fans agree with their messianic philosophies.
- Designated Villain
- Evil Is Cool
- Evil Is Hammy: If the "hammy" part is viewed as "good acting" or Narm Charm.
- Evil Is Sexy
- Evil Virtues
- Freudian Excuse: When fans tend to ignore the fact that the excuse doesn't really justify the character's actions and shift the blame to another character for the individual's actions.
- Friendly Enemy: If he is evil.
- Harmless Villain: If they are harmless in a funny way.
- Hot Guys Are Bastards
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain
- Jerkass Woobie, if the "Woobie" part is used to automatically excuse the 'Jerkass' part no matter how out of proportion (or unrelated) the one is to the other.
- Knight Templar, if the fans agree with them.
- Alternately, characters or factions dedicated to opposing or destroying the Draco are often seen by fans as this trope even if they've got plenty of good reasons for wanting to do so.
- Laughably Evil, if funny enough
- Magnificent Bastard
- No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You to Dine
- Offstage Villainy
- Progressively Prettier
- Punch Clock Villain
- Rooting for the Empire
- Self-Fanservice often accompanies this trope.
- Sissy Villain.
- Too Funny to Be Evil
- Troubled, but Cute or Broken Bird if they are evil.
- Ugly Cute if evil.
- Unintentionally Sympathetic
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid
- Villainous Valour
- Villain with Good Publicity: If the fans agree that the villain deserves their good public image.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: If the fans agree with their extremist views.
- White Hair, Black Heart
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Like Jerkass Woobie, when the "Woobie" is used to ignore the "Destroyer of Worlds" part.
- If the audience seems to have a fairly good reason for preferring the bad guy over the good guy, you may have Unintentionally Sympathetic (or Unintentionally Unsympathetic in the possible case of the hero they're against).
- When the audience embraces or admires a villain more because of his or her chutzpah and/or Break the Haughty potential than out of actual admiration, and are still perfectly fine with them receiving their ultimate defeat in the end, then it's Love to Hate.
- Rooting for the Empire is doing this while acknowledging that the villains are evil.
- Jerk Sue is when the writer does this, with a character who is revered by other character in the story despite acting like a total prick to them.