Character A is in servitude to character B, but doesn't want freedom
, and is Not Brainwashed
. There are four types of this:
- Beloved Servant: A is appreciated and rewarded by B and stays loyal because of this, however they still either cannot leave or cannot imagine leaving. Can overlap with Property of Love and/or Undying Loyalty.
- Cringing Bootlick: A is treated like dirt by B, but is still loyal, due to a debt of gratitude, masochism, hope for reciprocation on B's part (e.g. The Igor, The Renfield, Love Martyr, Mad Love, Sycophantic Servant), suffers from Stockholm Syndrome, or simply doesn't know any better.
- Cultural Values Dissonance: A belongs to a species whose Hat is Happiness in Slavery, they both belong to a culture with a Fantastic Caste System, or they need to have a Master for some reason.
- Slavery Is the Lesser Evil: A finds slavery better than any condition he can find in freedom, either easily or at all.
Compare Subordinate Excuse
, which is similar, but without the slavery. If the masters are vampires, the willing subordinates are often Vampire Vannabes
. Also note that this can technically be applied to any Mon
series where the mons are intelligent.
Compare Freedom from Choice
. Contrast Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil
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Anime and Manga
- Adam Susan of V for Vendetta proudly declares himself a slave to the Fate computer.
- Despite all he does to them, the people of Apokolips fanatically worship Darkseid. From his lowest of Lowlies to his highest Elites, all would gladly lay down their lives for the Lord of Apokolips. Darkseid's goal is to make everyone in existence follow suit by harnessing the Anti-Life Equation.
- When Orion deposed Darkseid in Kingdom Come, he was forced to become a tyrant much like his father because the lowlies simply couldn't handle freedom. Even the ultimate agent of freedom, Mr Miracle, was having a hard time getting them to grasp the concept.
- The Nerbs in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog. According to the Encyclopedia, they actually preferred the rigidity of Eggman's rule, and willingly joined the Dark Egg Legion.
- Shinji And Warhammer 40 K: Rei trusts her life to "pilot Ikari" (Shinji). Literally...her whole life: she identifies him, directly, as the definition of the word "happiness".
- To his utter horror, more and more of Shinji's followers have taken this ideology regarding him, that anything he desires is good to seek, period, because of who is desiring it.
- In a sadly deleted Danny Phantom fic 'Behind the Eyes' Danny was this for Vlad. Poor Woobie.
- In Travels Through Azeroth And Outland, the peons are an example of this.
- In Those Who Fight Monsters, Vanitas, with a mixture of Break the Cutie tactics and Break Them by Talking, is able to convince Aqua that she is best off being his slave.
- It is very common in Touhou doujinshi for Miyako Yoshika to be very happy in her servitude to Kaku Seiga who, in return, treats her "cute underling" well. This being Touhou, their relationship has been portrayed in all manner of ways, but most commonly romantic... which lends to this trope a fair amount of squick, given that Yoshika is dead and Seiga was the necromancer who raised her... That said, they are still portrayed as a rather cute couple, in a morbid kinda way, and there's typically a lot of rigid hugs, cuddling and reattaching lost limbs.
- It should be noted that, within the fandom, a question that sometimes comes up is whether Seiga might have commanded Yoshika to be happy in slavery/love Seiga or not (and also whether this would be considered merciful, given the alternative, or her crossing the Moral Event Horizon). Given that she is a cheerful, friendly, Affably Evil person, it is not entirely unlikely that she would've done something like that but it seldom makes it into fan made material anyway.
- In Opening Dangerous Gates, any Bleach character who is summoned is filled with an urge to protect and serve Lucy. While most are not happy with this, Rangiku embraces it and calls her "Master", though she does briefly question why she is feeling this way. Harribel later privately muses that she would prefer to serve Lucy over Aizen.
- As many The Familiar of Zero stories have this played straight as they avert it, depending on how Darker and Edgier they are. In Jus Primae Noctis we get this from Siesta, who says she's fine being property as long as she's Saito's property. Since she chose to enter his service it seems genuine, but it still squicks Saito a bit. It goes From Bad to Worse when Henrietta expresses her desire to marry him, and Tabitha and Louise both express willingness to surrender their names and serve him like commoners.
- This trope is the reason the Demon Empire was able to stop slave rebellions in Sonic X: Dark Chaos; they take pains to treat their slaves well and many of them worship Maledict as their god anyway. Unless they fall into the hands of Beelzebub, that is.
- In Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles, all women except aunt Petunia are this. Hermione even talks about cleaning the kitchen, although God literally puts the food on the table and provides lots of other miracles on request. It must be assumed the women like tidying up, as no reason is given as to why they can't pray for removal of the dirty dishes.
- In Maleficent fanfics, this trope is sometimes played for drama, as Maleficent of course wants to set Diaval free after her problems are resolved and his life-debt repaid, and he takes this as her sending him away and is deeply hurt that she would discard him.
- In Sekirei? Is that some new species of little sister? and it's sequel, Akitsu is overjoyed to be Naruto's and Xanna's slave. Initially it's because she was well beyond the Despair Event Horizon (due to being a scrapped number and unable to get an Ashikabi) and was simply happy that someone wanted her; later, it's due to how well Naruto and Xanna treat her. Notably, when the two conquer a backwater planet to set up their empire, everyone else coming with them is kept in suspended animation until technology reaches a certain level; Akitsu on the other hand begs to be let out the moment they secure their rule, despite knowing that no time would pass at all to her.
- The slaves in Jezebel are awfully cheerful. Of course, this is pretty much the only way Hollywood dared depict slavery in 1938 - even though, by that point, slavery had been illegal for over 70 years.
- Jodie Foster's underage prostitute character Iris in Taxi Driver.
- The major twist in Manderlay is that, after abolition, the plantation slaves held to Mam's Law on their own, even after her death (i.e. the length of the movie and obviously after), rather than take their chances in the outside world. The other twist is that Mam didn't write Mam's Law; her head slave did.
- Cypher from The Matrix is perfectly willing to accept slavery, so long as he's not aware of it.
- Star Wars:
- Chewbacca with his "life debt" to Han Solo. It helps that Han mostly treats him as a partner.
- The expanded universe shows an unexpected amount of alien races really WERE happier with the Empire than the Republic. And the remnants of the Empire, Ysanne Isard especially, use this to their advantage quite a bit.
- The Droids: "We don't serve any of their kind around here." The novelization takes this scene a bit further. The bartender says "I only stock for organics, not (very distastefully) mechanicals." C-3P0 assures Luke "That's okay Master. I don't require lubrication at the moment anyway." Of course, even the Droids have their limits. Restraining bolts force the issue of loyalty, and memory wipes are at most a step away from Mind Rape.
- The two native races of Utapau are a "cultural" example— the short, humble Utai willingly submit themselves to the rule of the tall, long-lived, near human Pau'ans. There is no animosity between them, and the arrangement suits both species pretty well; the Utai are naturally hardy and well-suited for a work-heavy lifestyle, while the Pau'ans are highly intelligent and have great leadership skills. In all likelihood, they'd probably be much worse off without each other, and they trust each other so much that the Utai even allow themselves to be represented in government by a Pau'an.
- The Twi'Leks are a "lesser of all evils" example. Most of the ones seen off of their homeworld either sold themselves into slavery or are descendants of those that did. Working as a dancing girl for a Hutt is still better than being on their home planet.
- Blade Trilogy: A variation. Vampire familiars are happy to be the property of their evil masters, either for protection, power or in the hopes of being turned themselves. For example, a hidden Mole in Blade II is actually working for the enemy the entire time, stating that their victory is inevitable, and when the time comes, "I'd rather be a pet than cattle."
- In the relatively pro-slavery 1940 movie Santa Fe Trail, slaves are freed by a gang of evil abolitionists, and when the troops arrive to take them back to their owners, they thank them, saying that if this is freedom they don't want any of it.
- Heavily subverted in Gods and Generals; a female house slave is shown to be loyal to the family that own her, and they in return treat her very well (for a slave). By the end of the film, she decides she wants to be free anyway, and not because of any mistreatment by her masters... the basic point being that even the best possible scenario for a slave's life still pretty much sucks.
- In CSA: The Confederate States of America, Confederate propaganda attempts to paint the slaves in this light. For example, a commercial plays advertising "Contrari", a drug that more or less dopes slaves into compliance. It's pretty obvious that the trope isn't applying in their reality, however.
- Mammy in Gone with the Wind. There are a few other slaves who fit this trope as well.
- Lukey in The Horse Soldiers was completely loyal and faithful to her owner Miss Hannah.
- Django Unchained:
- Stephen, Candie's head house slave, is fiercely devoted to serving him. This is partly due to loyalty to the Candie family, and partly because Stephen is in a very high position of power in Candie's service.
- Candie's Dark Mistress Sheba also seems perfectly happy with essentially being a more distinguished sex slave.
- Diaval the raven-man servant to Maleficent in a "beloved servant" case. Sixteen years together has a way of turning servitude into a bickering friendship, and while he repays his debt to her by saving her life, he appears to have no plans on leaving.
- Programs in the TRON universe are a Servant Race to their human creators, but most are very happy to serve their Users and consider their service as central to their existence. It's the villains who chafe under this and seek liberation from human rule.
- The slave girl Morgiana from Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, regarded by many to be the true hero of the story. Not so much happy as she is content with her situation, she shows Undying Loyalty both to her first master Cassim, and then to Cassim's brother Ali Baba, who inherits all of Cassim's property, including Morgiana, after Cassim is murdered by the Forty Thieves. Several times, Morgiana cleverly protects Ali Baba and his family from the bandits' attempts at murder, until the climax where she kills the disguised bandit leader. At the end, Ali Baba grants her freedom and betrothes her to his son.
- The Bartimaeus Trilogy has two types of this. Bartimaeus and Ptolemy, Ptolemy being the master who proves to Bartimaeus that they're equals and later lets himself die to save him. Also Nathaniel and Bart, after constant sparing and proclaiming their hatred for each other, at the end of the trilogy...though neither of them would say it outright. The care coming from Nat, unknowingly, doing what Ptolemy did by letting him go when he was going to die.
- And then there's the darker type in the prequel The Ring of Solomom with Khaba and Ammet. It's a mystery why Ammet even likes Khaba let alone 'loves' him. He's called 'Khaba the Cruel' for a reason.
- Played straight in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with the Oompa-Loompas, who gladly do all of the physical labor (which is at least intended to be safe) in Willy Wonka's famous chocolate factory and get his products tested on them before they have any idea what the products do, in exchange for housing and all of the cacao beans and chocolate they can eat. On the other hand, not only are cacao beans their absolute most favorite food, their homeland is explicitly described as a terrible place where they tried and failed to avoid being eaten by the dozens by a variety of giant predators by living in the trees, and living off a diet that primarily consisted of mashed caterpillars, bark and beetles. Still, this book is chock-full of Unfortunate Implications about immigrants who can't be protected by any laws because they are completely beholden to the person who brought them into the country illegally.
- Haydee from The Count of Monte Cristo is completely in love with her master the Count. Apart from the obvious problems modern readers have with slavery, some of the Count's comments about her before her love is revealed make him seem like a monster.
- Near the end it's made clear that the Count apparently never took advantage of her, being still too tied with his feelings to his lost love, and only made the comments to appear like an eccentric foreigner and to avoid inconvenient questions of why a man of his status doesn't get involved with women; yes, keeping a sex slave was a more acceptable explanation than the assumption of homosexuality or impotence. Unless a man was a priest (though, they did sometimes have mistresses), a widower within a certain time frame, or medically incapable, it was expected during that time period that they were involved with some woman or women. If not, people wondered why and wouldn't buy 'yeah, I'm just not interested in anyone at this point in time'.
- Ali is also an example, although he isn't in love with the Count like Haydee is.
- Both are pretty clear examples of the first type of this trope, because while Monte Cristo makes demeaning comments about them in front of other characters in order to keep up his reputation as a ruthless genius, the scenes where no outsiders are around make it quite clear that he actually cares for and respects Ali and Haydee a great deal, and treats them exceedingly well, even offering them their unconditional freedom basically whenever they want it.
- Note that Haydee, unlike most slaves, has no real life to return to. Her father was deposed and murdered, her mother died of grief, and her service to the Count enables her to take revenge on the man who betrayed her family and provides her with incredible luxury.
- Subverted with Oreg in Dragon Bones. He comes to like and respect his new master Ward, and in once instance clings to Ward's leg when he is summoned after they'd been separated for a long time. However, this seeming display of affection is because the magic that binds him to Ward makes him suffer terribly when they're apart. When he eventually behaves in a happy and content way, this is because he has come to trust Ward to do the right thing - and the right thing is to kill Oreg, something which only his master can do. A straight example is Bastilla who seems to enjoy being a slave. Oreg mentions that he could break the magical bond, but only if the slave really, really wanted it. He comments that this is not the case. Of course, with the magical Mind Rape that is possible in the setting, it is hard to tell whether someone is genuinely happy or just manipulated into believing it.
- Sam in Uncle Tom's Cabin. Note that, despite the modern use of his name, Uncle Tom does not fit this trope — he's a faithful servant and can find happiness in the worst of places, but his dearest hope is to be free one day.
- According to Victor Hugo in his novel The Man Who Laughs, the British fit this trope for accepting to be ruled by a king again after the death of Cromwell. (Hugo's real targets are the French, for refusing to fight to preserve the Second Republic and accepting the rule of Napoleon III. He really hated Napoleon III.)
- Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island has Neb, a former southern slave who is totally devoted to the man who freed him, although Verne explicitly states that he is more like a loyal butler than a slave.
- Firs, the old footman and former serf of the Ranevskaya family in Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, continues to work for the family after the abolition of serfdom and even denounces the emancipation as the worst evil that could have possibly befallen Russia's serfs. More generally, it is itself practically a trope of late nineteenth century Russian literature to depict the serfs as having been better off before emancipation. Chekhov again features wonderful examples in his short story "Peasants."
- Considering how much life has always sucked for the Russian poor, right up to the present day, it can be argued that "freedom" (especially the kind where the State says you're free, but...) does not offer much practical benefit.
- All of Scarlett's house slaves come back to work for her after the war in Gone with the Wind (OK, so that's only four of more than a hundred - the cotton pickers chose a better life, poverty and hiding for the most part, instead). In fact, this is shown with many of the slaves owned by the white characters—one of whom is explicitly stated to have scorned the notion of his freedom. This attitude is no doubt helped by the fact that these people are all portrayed as "good" slave owners who would never dream of mistreating their slaves—no beatings, rapes, breaking up of families, hence the slaves preference to remain with them in comfort rather than the uncertainty of the outside world.
- Lucky in Waiting for Godot. Probably.
- Most of the dragons in the Temeraire series, especially in Europe. Even after Temeraire visits China, realizes there's another way to live besides being under the control of humans, and becomes intent upon crusading for dragon-lib he still adores his position and his captain.
- A more extreme example could be found in Levitas. Rather than being cared for like many of his comrade dragons, he's neglected and abused by Captain Rankin but still remains lovingly loyal. His death is the biggest Tear Jerker of the first book and Temeraire later brings it up in support of his ideas.
- Arguably justified with the alien Tasch-Ter-Man in the German SF series Perry Rhodan. They're naturally eager to take orders from others because having to make their own decisions uses up some of their limited lifetime supply of a particular hormone and running out of it kills them.
- Played horribly straight with Gottfried in Gravity's Rainbow, who is so happy as a Nazi commander's sex slave that he volunteers to pilot the suicide rocket 00000 and crashes it into a full cinema, killing hundreds and, by extent, the reader as well.
- Countless characters appearing in erotic fiction...
- In the Apprentice Adept series, many Proton serfs will try to extend their tenure by entering The Great Game, despite the fact that they're basically virtual slaves (their sole right is to terminate their own serf contract and leave the planet with nothing) who live at the sufferance of their "employer" Citizens (who are only barred from killing a serf without cause or permanently injuring them) and a serf's contract payout would let them live out their lives comfortably elsewhere in the galaxy. The prize at the end is full Citizenship, but many just hope to get to the later rounds, which offer tenure extensions.
- Harry Turtledove wrote a short story about a primitive alien society that oppressed one tribe for some ancient crime committed by one member, binding them with many arbitrary rules. But when humans arrive and attempt to free them, the tribe's members refuse. It turns out having to keep all those complicated rules selects for greater intelligence; the tribe is smarter than humans and content with its lot, given the consequences.
- Diana Wynne Jones uses this a lot in her books, so often it's notable when a main character isn't ignorantly letting him or herself be exploited by someone they care for deeply, whether it be by family, lovers or friends.
- Needs to be pointed out that these characters are generally not ecstatically happy before they notice they're being exploited and when they do they tend to break free. A particular subversion to this trope is The Homeward Bounders. Joris, one of the main characters, is a slave, an obsessed fan boy who cannot shut up about how awesome and God-like his master is, and is really concerned about behaving like a proper slave. He could model for this trope until he has a meltdown and reveals that he hates being a slave, and I mean really fragging hates it, not because anyone is mean to him but just because it sucks. And then he finds out his owners are just waiting 'til he's old enough to legally be freed. So it works out okay.
- Of course, there's a reason he's a fanboy. His master is a really cool guy.
- While the Draka series is full of first-generation, newly-caught serfs who deeply resent their slavery (having been born free), many serfs born into and raised in serfdom actually enjoy the security of their lives. Some "new-caughts" like Solange in Under the Yoke also completely break down mentally, becoming co-dependent wrecks. Of course, given that the Draka ruthlessly exterminate any serf who shows signs of open rebellion, the ability to resign oneself to slavery is an evolutionary survival characteristic in the serf gene pool. Later on, the Draka perfect human genetic engineering and simply rewire their serfs' brains so that they all love slavery and can't psychologically function as free individuals.
- In The Wheel of Time series, gai'shain are an example of this. Or rather a subversion, as they see the servitude as an obligation (the technical term is toh) to their captors and know that they will be released after a year and a day. Refusing to accept their role would just dishonor them, obligating them to serve even longer.
- Damane, channelers who are leashed by the a'dam, are also often like this. The Seanchan treat them like dogs, and believe that it's a just and necessary thing for the good of the world. The vast majority of damane believe it, too.
- The Seanchan also keep many non-damane slaves. Some are chattel, but there are also slaves who serve in honored positions (somewhat like the real-life Roman examples below). It is possible for a slave belonging to the royal family to give a free nobleman orders. Naturally, this type of highly-privileged slavery produces some fairly contented slaves, although there are also some who prefer freedom.
- In Steven Saylor's Roma Sub Rosa series, main character Gordianus has an Egyptian slave named Bethesda who is more than happy to serve as his mistress until he decides to free her and marry her.
- In David Eddings' The Tamuli, an entire race (the Atans) is enslaved. It's described as standardized and really mostly inconsequential slavery - the Atans are the Tamul infantry, and they're pretty damn good at it. The explanation for the slavery: the Atans kept trying to kill each other, and about the only time the Tamuls ever exercise their "mastery" of the Atans is to order them to stop fighting amongst themselves. And the Atans? They like it that way, seeing as how they're a Proud Warrior Race.
- Seeing as the Atans consider themselves honour-bound to kill anyone who insults them by, among other things, letting his shadow touch them, their self-imposed slavery might just be the only thing keeping the Atans from exterminating either themselves or every other race, whichever happened first. Quite possibly the Proudest and dumbest Warrior Race in all of literature...
- Well, the Orks of Warhammer 40,000, who have been known to kill each other in arguments over whose shadow is longer, are about as bad.
- But then, Orks aren't so much a Proud Warrior Race as they are a "me like choppin' stuff" race, so...
- An interesting variation shows up with the Nadraks in the Belgariad. Nadrak women are defined as property—but they take great pride in the prices they are able to command (especially since they get to keep a portion of it), and retain the right to choose when, if, and with whom they have sex (a right they usually back up with a pair of very sharp knives). Considering the way women are treated in other parts of the world, the arrangement isn't all that bad.
- Originally this was going to be closer to the trope, according to the Rivan Codex, but then Eddings actually started writing. The instant he created a female Nadrak character, the entire dynamic changed for what even he admits is the better.
- Polgara, disguised as a Nadrak woman, has a certain amount of trouble comprehending her exact status. Though technically 'property' she is in fact perfectly free to go wherever and do whatever she likes as long as she has a good dinner ready for her master at every evening.
- Mord-Sith to any Lord Rahl, from the Sword of Truth series, due to brutal brainwashing from a young age, which includes being forced to kill their fathers. They still stick around even after Richard freed them (deciding that someone who would do that is worth following), and some were happier than most after he gave them more... freedom. Also, those touched by a Confessor-they literally have no desire except to serve them, for the rest of their lives.
- Golems, have a mixed attitude to this. They continue to bring buckets of water from a well until everything is flooded if no one tells them to stop (arguably they do this as an act of rebellion: they aren't expected to think, and so they don't). Feet of Clay revolved around a group of golems creating a golem king to lead them to freedom - then selling him, because a golem must have a master. Those that are freed continue to work all the time, except for periodic holy days were they rest, because they're not tools. One golem upon death elected to remain in the eternal desert rather than travel it to another destination as most people do, considering an empty plain with nothing to do and no orders to follow freedom.
- Also deconstructed by the slaves of Discworld's Ancient-Greece-like nation of Ephebe, where a slave has much better living and working conditions than a poor free man. In fact, the only reason Ephebean slaves want to buy their freedom is so they can have to option of owning slaves of their own.
- Ephebian law protects the slave's living conditions as property law. No man is allowed to harm his property. So even if a free man is reduced to eating his own leather shoes, he is still required by law to ensure that his slave is well fed and kept in good living conditions.
- Used again in Discworld (but rather more seriously) in Interesting Times, with the worryingly obedient people of the Agatean Empire (the China/Japan analogue). The masters don't need whips; they have something worse.
- Discworld Igors are an odd... something... of this trope. They are at their happiest when they have a properly insane "Marthter" to serve (and occasionally shower with spittle when attempting to pronounce words with lots of sibilants), yet have absolutely no compunction about legging it out the back door with the glassware to seek alternative employment a minute or two before the pitchfork-and-torch-bearing mob breaks down the front door. An Igor must serve, but who they serve seems to be largely irrelevant.
- The Igor in Carpe Jugulum is unhappy because his new masters don't want spider nets all over their place and are, all in all, much too modern to be proper vampires. He is very attached to his old master, a more traditional vampire, whose shoes he used to lick clean, despite not feeling worthy to do so, as he explains to Nanny Ogg.
- Gaspode the Wonder Dog is torn between his street-mutt independence and a nagging doggy compulsion to serve a master. He is well aware of this inborn streak of servility in canines, to the point of using it (and his gift of human speech) as a weapon against hostile dogs: "SIT!"
- Sergeant Angua (a werewolf) compares her relationship with her commanding officer and boyfriend Captain Carrot to that between a dog and her master, and not in a negative sense. Make of that what you will - but remember that Carrot doesn't share this view.
- Vimes is an odd example of this, too. Everyone seems to consider Vimes to be a servant/slave to someone or something, but nobody can agree on what. Vimes considers himself to be a servant of the law, and wouldn't have it any other way. Many others consider him to be a slave to Vetinari; in several books he's called "Vetinari's terrier" and parallels are outright drawn between Angua's situation and Vimes's; Angua even says, "It's all right. Sooner or later, we're all someone's dog." He wavers back and forth on whether the description is accurate, but regardless of whether it is or not, his own stubborn bloody-mindedness won't let him change his actual behavior.
- Leonard da Quirm has been kept prisoner by Vetinari for years and has only been allowed out on three occasions since that was revealed, with the third arguably being a delay of locking him up until he finished another project. As far as he's concerned, his prison is a comfortable, well-equipped, rent-free workshop where he can dabble in whatever matter comes to mind without being disturbed by anyone other than the Patrician.
- Properly speaking, that's precisely what it is, and not a prison at all. Leonard even walks right out of it without any difficulty on one occasion when he needed to (with considerably greater ease than the Patrician, who has to think precisely what the traps are going to be on the particular day and time he's passing through). It would seem the security measures (meant to keep the potentially very dangerous things Leonard invents from falling into just anyone's hands) were one of the very few specific tasks he's carried out in the job.
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Daenerys abolishes slavery in the cities she'd conquered, and is shocked to find many of the ex-slaves trying to sell themselves back to the trader ships for sale elsewhere. It's explained that most of them are skilled or educated and would be treated well, while the city is now full of starving people and at risk of becoming a Wretched Hive. The Unsullied also have difficulty with the idea of not serving anyone and keep working for her, although they do appreciate the benefits of semi-freedom. Like being allowed to have their own names.
- Penny, a dwarf girl who fears 'big people' - and not without reason, seems more content when she and Tyrion are (well-treated) slaves than when she had to fend for herself. She is very reluctant to escape when Tyrion orchestrates an opportunity, and eventually he resorts to simply ordering her about, promising that if they both survive he'll sell her again to a kind master if she wants. Tyrion, for his part, reflects that the life of a slave is little different to that of one of his former servants.
- Wildling "marriage" has shades of this. Wildling men "steal" their blushing brides from wherever they were living before (typically their parents' household or home village), but at least one wildling woman puts this forward as a good thing, because only a man bold and clever enough to do so would be worthy of her. When a southland "kneeler" points out that such a man might turn out to be abusive, she says that if that turned out to be the case, she'd simply stab him in his sleep. Beyond the Wall, she says, mothers teach their daughters that a man can have an unhappy wife, or a knife, but not both.
- Tedla, of Carolyn Ives Gilman's Halfway Human, recognizes itsnote enslavement as cruel and unjust, but is unsure that it wants to be free — the prospect of being responsible for its own self and decisions (something Tedla has never known) is very scary.
- House Elves in the Harry Potter series, who appear to be a whole Slave Race that are like this. They are magically obligated to obey their masters in all things, even to the point of harming themselves. Some are well treated by their masters, others are horribly abused. Still it appears that the vast majority of elves find the idea of being freed distasteful (they compare it to being fired). Even Dobby, who loves his freedom, still wants to work and will only accept enough pay to prove that he's free. Nonetheless, even being magically bound to their master, they can still feel resentment towards their master if they are ill-treated. Because Sirius constantly insulted Kreacher, he creatively interpreted his "OUT!" command to get out of the house and eventually betrayed him.
- Hermione does not take well at finding out Hogwarts employs unpaid house elves, and so starts a small organization, Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare, but it fails to get anywhere because the elves don't want to be involved. Her opinion is that they like slavery because they're uneducated and brainwashed, when the real answer appears to be because of their Blue and Orange Morality (i.e., they like working, it's being mistreated that they hate). She later has a talk with Dumbledore offscreen that establishes the straight facts, but she still advocates for house elves to be treated well in slavery, which is proven right when Kreacher betrays his master Sirius because he mistreated him.
- Crops up in The Legacy Trilogy written by William H. Keith (under the pen name Ian Douglas). Humanity discovers a Lost Colony of the Ahn/Ah'nu who were once Ancient Astronauts and who still have a population of human slaves. The humans are all rather docile and react badly when test groups are brought back to Earth and given independence. Turns out there have been several thousand years of selective breeding going on since all the slaves with the intelligence and independence to escape have done so and live on their own colonies away from the very centralized Ahn.
- While Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell's Stephen Black is not a slave per se, he is a servant. When the gentleman with the thistle-down hair begins his plan to free him, Stephen isn't very happy at all.
- You'd probably be very hard pressed to find a butler who's happy to have his life stolen away from him and replaced by a world populated by cruel and capricious Fae.
- And yet by the end of the book he refers to his time in England as captivity and goes off to rule a nation of Faeries (they get better), of course the gentleman did have 10 years to influence him, and all the enchantments didn't help.
- In summary, Stephen did not like being a servant, but did like his master and understandably considered the 'freedom' offered by the Gentleman worse.
- In The Egyptian, Sinuhe's slave Kaptah says he can't leave his master because he considers Sinuhe to be too naive and idealistic to survive on his own. It helps that Sinuhe treats him fairly well by the standards of the time the book is set in.
- This is considered unusual, but not unheard of, whenever someone in the Animorphs series finds out about the Yeerks. The Taxxons in particular deliberately joined up en masse in the hopes that being controlled would help restrain their Horror Hunger. (It didn't work—they're still compelled to eat anything edible in sight, including the intestines of their former allies. Depressing, not to mention disgusting, but you can see why they tried.)
- This is also the case with voluntary human hosts and, more mildly, the Yeerk Peace Movement, which advocates for cooperation with one's host. Some of the characters distrust the Peace Movement, viewing it as just a milder invasion, but Cassie is sympathetic to it and at one point even volunteers to host the friendly Yeerk Aftran.
- Joel Chandler Harris, the original author of the "Uncle Remus" stories, romanticized plantation life in the stories, with Remus portrayed as a stereotypical (for the time) "happy slave." But then, these were Harris' subjective memories of his own childhood, so Uncle Remus' characterization is forgivable. Besides, it's Brer Rabbit and the other animal characters that everyone remembers.
- Subverted in Herman Melville's Benito Cereno. Captain Delano thinks that the slaves are content, but in fact they have revolted and taken over the ship. If not for his own prejudices this would be obvious to him.
- In Alastair Reynolds' The Prefect, some of the Demarchist space colonies in the Glitter Belt are "Voluntary Tyrannies," where the citizens freely give up many rights and freedoms for protection and guidance. The inhabitants feel freer when they don't have to think for themselves. Perhaps justified, in that these arrangements are indeed voluntary; they were founded by a small minority of people who think this way, and people who disagree are supposed to be free to leave. Subverted, in that the only one we actually see much of has Gone Horribly Wrong, which is a persistent problem with the Tyrannies. The people in this particular habitat aren't so happy any more, but can't escape.
- Virtually all victims of the White Court vampires in The Dresden Files end up this way. Thomas and his girlfriend/primary food source Justine are the most prominent example, with the tragic twist that their love becomes physically harmful to Thomas.
- And Butcher never lets it become very sexy, or when it starts to, he usually yanks aside the curtain and makes sure everybody gets to see the nasty underlying reality at a key moment.
- Victims of the Red Court also tend to stick around vampires by choice. In the case of the Reds, it is because their saliva is a narcotic that is effective within moments of contact and also highly addictive.
- Speaking of Jim Butcher, Codex Alera contains a device called a "discipline collar," which binds someone to the will of a specific master. Obeying orders provides sexual pleasure, and disobeying them provides horrendous pain. Nobody in the series can resist the control for longer than a few minutes unless they've got two collars from different masters, and one character who spent several years collared remarks that after a while you start to only scream on the inside, even begging for orders to obey. This is portrayed as significantly less sexy than many writers would portray it.
- Jim Butcher writes that way, even when magic is flying and vampires are loose and furies are being bound, reality is never very far away. See his treatment of the lovely Lara Raith at the end of Turn Coat, which is almost a slap in the face at the whole 'sexy vampire' trope. Jim Butcher often writes fantasy-come-true as a nightmare in disguise.
- However, Bob the skull seems to be pretty happy being enslaved to Dresden. (Considering his previous masters have not only treated him worse, but that his master's personality atomatically will warp Bob's own personality, so serving an evil master turns him into someone he really doesn't want to be.) And the Little Folk basically declare themselves Dresden's personal army and houskeepers after he frees them, refering to him as "Lord". (And even though he does pay them in pizza, he never bothers to make them aware how simple it would be for them to acquire the stuff themselves.) This is largely explained as fairies and abstract spirits being unable to think outside a system of feudal obedience, and having little to no concept of morality in the human sense in general. Still, it is interesting that Dresden also isn't squicked by this subservience, and will bribe Bob with temporary freedom or threaten him with the loss of entertainment privileges without any twinge of conscience.
- Although in fairness to Dresden Bob's idea of a good time is to go out into the world, possess some people and manipulate them into a shameless orgy. So perhaps he's justified with keeping him on a tight leash. He also seems on friendly terms with Dresden and receives - or often demands - payment in return for helping out. Generally in the form of romance novels or mischief. Keeping in mind that his personality changes depending on the wizard who possesses him - and he has expressed dislike for the evil creature he can become under evil wizards - it's difficult to argue he's a slave in anything but the most technical sense.
- In Duumvirate, good (as in competence, not as in morality) masters have their servants get to this state quickly.
- The androids in Argo have no rights but are (mostly) programmed without any more than a rough resemblance of emotions, so they don't mind being used as slaves at all.
- In Poul Anderson's Dominic Flandry series, Flandry rescues an alien who becomes his slave. When a new tax (or some such) makes it inconvenient for Flandry to own a slave, Chives reluctantly accepts manumission but remains Flandry's valet.
- The capped in The Tripods series because they are under mind control. When that breaks down they are less happy...
- Belisarius Series:
- Holker is this to Belisarius. Justified in that Belisarius was from a civilization where slaves had at least some rights and Holker expected to be sold in a place where slaves had none. Also justified in that Belisarius wanted him as an honored scribe instead of the beast-of-burden he had been intended as, gave him a cause to serve, and promised him freedom.
- Similarly the Kushans captured at the Battle of Anatha are rather amenable to Belisarius' service partly because they were treated as slaves before anyway and partly because they sort of consider it fair play now that they have surrendered.
- Rana Sanga has a Pathan Scarily Competent Tracker who when captured by Sanga in a duel requested that he be Sanga's slave instead of being sold, because he considered that if he had to be a slave he wanted to be a slave to a badass. Pathan are like that you know.
- The idea is discussed in My Name Is Red.
- In the Indian novel The White Tiger: The whole 'Rooster Coop' analogy explains the phenomenon of how 80% of Indians are in a way servants who simply cannot not obey their masters (the other 20%).
- In the Star Trek: Mirror Universe novellas, Mirror!Janeway and Mirror!Christine Vale are both loyal to the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance. Vale even gets a speech about how the savagery of the Terran Empire is evidence her people shouldn't be allowed freedom, apparently not noticing that the Alliance is hardly an improvement.
- In The Foundation, The Mule (a mutant that can control minds) is capable of inducing this on any person he encounters, but he tends to do it on his most capable enemies, to be able to make use of their abilities without fearing their rebelling. When a member of the Second Foundation breaks The Mule's control over one of his generals, who comes from the First Foundation, he notes that the general is not happy with having being kept enslaved to The Mule's will.
- In Poul Anderson's "Time Lagag", Elva convinces Bors that she's this — he's willing to take her back to her native planet, where her husband died in an attack he ordered.
- In Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm novel On The Razor's Edge, Podiin is told by Gidula that he will free him, and Podiin begs and grovels to stay. He is mentally retarded and can cope with orders or with a very structured environment.
- Shoggoths in Bloom, a Lovecraft Lite novelette by Elizabeth Bear. In 1938 an African-American college professor investigates the shoggoth populating reefs off the coasts of Maine. Rather than suffering a horrible death, the shoggoth contact the professor telepathically — after the decline of the Old Ones they find themselves without a master, and so offer their service to him. This puts the professor in a quandary — the shoggoth would make the perfect weapon against the rising tide of fascism in Europe, but is he morally right to enslave them again? In the end he tells the shoggoth they must learn to be free, and leaves to France to enlist in the army.
- Udinaas in Malazan Book of the Fallen is an example of the fourth kind. Being a slave among the Tiste Edur means he has food, shelter, mostly fair treatment and also the company of other people from his home country among the other slaves. Being free would mean having none of these things, as due to his home country's system of hereditary debt he's in so far he'd have to sell himself into slavery with far worse conditions just to pay off a sliver of his father's or grandfather's debt, probably on a trader galley, too, again, and he hates the sea with a passion.
- In Vampire Academy, the dhampirs sacrifice their lives and livelihood for the sake of protecting Moroi, and few give any of it a second thought. Non-angsty dhampirs are refreshing, but this one's a bit on the other extreme.
- Wormtongue becames Type II to Saruman in [[Return of the King]], after Gandalf removes Saruman from the Order. That is, until he snaps.
Live Action TV
- "Number Seven" in series 3 of Being Human left his job and family to become a live-in blood donor for vampires, complete with leather bondage suit. He even does this knowing full well he will eventually die from it.
- The Ood in Doctor Who seem a race of these at first. Then it turns out it's due to alien lobotomy in a factory, and when some of the Ood get their consciousness back, they are very angry.
- Geoffrey in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, despite often being treated little better than a slave by the other characters, has said several times he likes his job and is proud of doing it well.
"I have known freedom. Didn't like the health plan."
- Of course, he occasionally shows dissent, like the time Will tricked him into believing he'd won the lottery and the very first thing he does is quit with a huge show of jumping around in ecstasy.
- In a Season 3 episode of Gilligan's Island Gilligan rescues a native girl from drowning and she becomes his slave out of gratitude and she is way too happy about it. For example, when Mr. Howell wins her services from Gilligan she immediately drops to her knees and bows to him without a second thought. Throw in the fact that the native girl is played by a very attractive actress and you start to wonder...
- Dorota, Blair's nanny/maid/sidekick on Gossip Girl.
- The slave in the second Hercules: The Legendary Journeys episode (actually TV movie).
- An episode of History Bites set in the Roman Empire had a "channel" where a stand-up comedian (Ron Pardo) mentioned in his set that he was a recently-freed slave and sarcastically thanked his former master.
- I Dream of Jeannie features a willing slave entity to whom liberation means the freedom not to be a literal genie, but to serve of her master as she sees fit. (Jeannie is, in fact an exteme case, as she falls in love with her master. He tries to set her free shortly after meeting her, but she won't allow it, returning to her bottle simply so he can find it and open it again.)
- Lauren in Lost Girl is never actually called a slave, although she does refer to herself as the Ash's "property." She generally seems quite happy with her lot in life, although she is sometimes commanded to do things she doesn't want to. It should be noted that, because of her medical expertise, and the fact that she is the slave to the leader of the light fae, she actually enjoys a great deal of prestige and influence within the fae community. Nevertheless, she clearly is a slave, and clearly is reasonably happy with that fact. Although it seems that she is likely to be substantially less happy under the new Ash. The Ash in season 1 also never openly referred to Lauren as a slave, the one in season 2 however refers to Lauren as "chattel" and his property, both of which infuriate Bo.
- Possibly being deconstructed in late season 2 when we find out that she actually joined the Ash to keep her girlfriend alive and to have a chance at curing the girlfriend's mysterious ailment, and it's later revealed that the Ash ordered her cursed to obtain Lauren as his slave in the first place. She also later admits to Bo that the five years she spent as slave have been rather bleak for her; and considering how reserved she is, that probably means horrible.
- Most Fae think that Kenzi also falls into this category since they consider her to be Bo's property. It does not cross their minds that Bo considers Kenzi to be an equal.
- In an early episode of M*A*S*H Hawkeye frees a young Korean girl who was basically sold to an Army officer who was passing through the 4077th, with the intention of freeing her to go back home. However she felt this would bring shame to her family and that she was Hawkeye's property now.
- Observer, in the later seasons of MST3K. Despite his omnipotence and his ability to do practically anything with his mind, he remains Pearl's subservient and browbeaten lackey. (His fear of her and total lack of self-esteem apparently keeps him from seeking his own fortune elsewhere.)
- How can you mention Observer and not TV's Frank, who puts the D and M in BDSM?
- Kryten from Red Dwarf. Although Lister helps him "Break his programming" to some extent, by the sixth series, he still shows love for housework.
- Several slave characters on Rome. Many of the central characters have a body slave who is completely loyal to them in every way, and would probably stick around even if given their freedom. Servilia's body slave kills herself when her mistress does, Atia is constantly crying in Merula's arms, and Posca never seems to long for freedom while he's Caesar's slave. He is also seen weeping bitterly when his master dies. Even after being freed, he stays around, serving Antony for as long as he can. One could also argue that Eirene fits the trope, since even after Pullo frees her and kills her fiancé she agrees to marry him, presumably because she feels she has little other choice. She does however grow to love him later. Another slave who doesn't seem too bothered by her place in life is Gaia, although she gets to boss the other slaves around, so she functions more as a slave overseer than a slave.
- On The Shield, the relationships Vic Mackey has with his subordinates within the Strike Team often ventures into this trope's territory. Shane, Ronnie, and Lem are shown to be weak-willed individuals with low self-esteem at best and crippling need for a fatherly figure to tell them what to do at worst, allowing them to better serve Vic as his minions.
- An episode of Star Trek: Voyager had Janeway's recreation of Leonardo da Vinci removed from the holodeck and "employed" by an alien tyrant who gave him the freedom to work on whatever he desired, on the understanding that his creations would be turned over to the tyrant. When Janeway arrives to rescue Leonardo, he responds that "if this is a cage, it is a cage of gold!" Justified: to an artist of the Italian Renaissance, employment with a patron who gives you unlimited resources and freedom to create would have been hitting the jackpot.
- Meanwhile, in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Vic Fontaine was a self-aware hologram who was programmed to enjoy his life, sing and make people's life better. Unlike The Doctor and many other self-aware holograms, he doesn't give a crap about any rights he might have because he's fine with the way things are, "living" the high-life in 1960's Las Vegas that's as real as he is (they also leave his program running 26 hours a day, unless he wants to turn off, which can't be overridden). Whether this is morally right or not isn't commented in on the show itself, but it's a hot topic among fans. (The ones who don't hate Vic's guts, anyway)
- Farscape has Pilot, an alien who is physically bonded to the living ship Moya. Pilot literally cannot be separated from Moya for very long without dying and he is generally treated as little better than a slave by the crew. Still, he considers himself fortunate and is happy to live that way.
Pilot: When one of my species is bonded to a Leviathan, we give our lives to the service of others. Ship first - then those who travel aboard her.
John: No matter what those aboard do to you?
Pilot: My species is incapable of spaceflight on our own. If we wish to journey beyond our home planet, this is the trade-off we make for the chance to see the galaxy. I consider it a perfectly equitable arrangement.
- In Game of Thrones Danaerys abolishes slavery in Mereen, and a man comes to her asking to be allowed to sell himself back to his old master. He explains that he was a tutor to the man's children and was treated very well, while he's begging and living on the streets now, and was abused by younger men when he went to one of the houses she created for freed slaves. He also comments that his is far from a unique case. Disturbed, she grants him the right to make a contract with his old master for a year. Selmy warns the masters will take advantage of this, but no one even brings up employment, rather than slavery (even temporarily).
- Legend of the Seeker: Everyone subject to Confession turns into a completely devoted slave of the Confessor.
- Spartacus: Blood and Sand: Nasir is upset when he is freed by Spartacus's men, saying that as a house slave he had position and respect over his fellow slaves. Agron convinces him that freedom is better than material comfort.
- In WHO dunnit, Butler has this for his employer, Victoria. Justified, as he is secretly her father, and treasures her as his only surviving link to her late mother.
- Older Than Feudalism: The Bible contains instructions for freeing some slaves after seven years. Naturally, there is the case where the slave wants to remain, and the procedure for this is also described — if the slave wishes, just pierce the ear, and he remains with you for life. (Given the ambiguous nature of ancient slavery, this may occasionally have happened, though the Bible doesn't record any specific examples.)
- Jacob gave himself to his relative Laban to work for him for seven years, his only payment being marrying his daughter Rachle at the end of those years. To Jacob though, they only felt like a few days because of his love for her. Unfortunately, Laban pulls a switcheroo on the wedding, and gets Jacob married to his older daughter Leah instead. Thus Jacob ends up having to work another seven years for Rachel.
- Joseph, while in Egypt, was still technically a slave, but did excellent enough that his master Potiphar put him in charge of nearly everything in his house. Unfortunately, there then was a little issue with his wife...
- The problem is that back in the day slaves had to be slaves because they had no other means to support themselves. Slaves for life generally didn’t get this status because they loved their masters so much, but because they didn’t really have a choice.
- Some religions preach that submission and obedience to God is good and leads to happiness. Islam is perhaps most well-known for this. The word "Islam" comes from the root word "S-L-M", the word for peace, "salam" is derived from it. The common Arabic name Abdallah/Abdullah means "servant of God" or "slave of God".
- Christianity also has these themes, with Jesus described as coming to Earth as a servant, and new testament verses such as "Only fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things he has done for you." 1 Samuel 12:24 ESV
- The "Slave Mentality" disadvantage in GURPS is this, to the point of the character needing to make a self-control roll to do anything of their own initiative, up to and including eating.
- Warhammer 40,000 actually has one straight "beloved servant" example among the brutal aversions: the Chapter Serfs of the Space Marine chapters. Chapter Serfs are an integral part of a Chapter, filling all roles that aren't impossible for anyone other than a Space Marine to fill, and they do so far better than their counterparts outside the Space Marines. They are treated accordingly by their masters, considered full members of the Chapter Cult, and their lifestyle is superior to that of all but the richest people in the Imperium. Chapter Serfs are often made up of those who aspired to become Astartes, but failed along the way before even joining the Neophyte rank (scouts in most chapters, Blood Claws in Space Wolves), so they're likely chosen as a sort of consolation prize, as well as to ensure that only those who would dedicate a lifetime to the Chapter would serve it.
- Some Ruinous Powers servants are type two. Highly visible with low ranking Slaaneshi cultists and pretty much every follower of Nurgle. Servants of Khorne also look eager to spill blood and collect skulls for their god, but this might go to type one, since Khorne often generously rewards successful warriors.
- The "Submission" Derangement in Promethean: The Created causes the Promethean, whenever circumstances overwhelm him, to obey the commands of whoever happens to have the strongest will in the area. This can include anything up to killing his own allies (the only exception is suicidal orders; this derangement doesn't override self-preservation). And if nobody is giving orders, he'll just stand there.
- In many editions of Dungeons & Dragons, dryads are depicted as lonely woodland fey resembling beautiful women, who sometimes enspell handsome men into becoming their companions. Such a victim becomes a Sex Slave, but... they rarely ever complain about it.
- Princess Yoyo's relationship with Palpaleos in Bahamut Lagoon is an example of the first type, to the degree that after Yoyo is rescued from his captivity, he defects to the rebellion to be with her.
- Taro, Adell's little brother from Disgaea 2 has no objections when the demon princess Rozalin labels him her "slave," and is stuck with the title of "Rozy's Slave" for the entirety of the game. Then again, she is pretty cute.
- In Arcanum, Gar, a mostly human man who looks like an orc sold himself into slavery, so he would no longer be a burden to his parents. He was bought by H.T. Parnell (a P.T. Barnum type) and lives at his sideshow as "Gar, the World's Smartest Orc." Gar is resigned to his lot in life, though, as due to the world's prejudice against orcs, he doesn't really see any chance for improvement.
- And if you go through the quest to obtain his freedom, and then release him from your own command (either immediately, or by removing him from the group), he returns to Parnell's. Admittedly this is part of the game's programming (every party member will eventually return to where you found them, if removed from the group), but it's interesting nonetheless.
- The Shapers in Geneforge think the serviles are like this as a species. Small rebellions are dismissed as "acting out." Large rebellions are countered by mass slaughter.
- To be fair, most individual serviles are perfectly content to be slaves, given that they were engineered to be a Servant Race. As are many servant minds and some of the more fanatic humans the Shapers employ.
- In the first game, the three main factions of Serviles are the ones that want to take their freedom through revolution (and you don't really blame them). The sect that wants to be free but more or less 'earn' it. The last sect worships your people as gods and in bad endings end up as cannon fodder willingly for their worship.
- Clover, a potential slave you can purchase in Fallout 3. It's explicitly lampshaded, when her former owner notes that she 'loves whoever is holding her leash.'
- Played with during the Pitt expansion. You encounter a slave who isn't miserable like everyone else in the Pitt. He states that he isn't happy he's a slave and wishes he was free, but since that probably won't happen he's decided to just be obedient and try to be as happy as possible.
- Glottis of Grim Fandango is a Spirit of the Land, who has "one purpose" - to drive, or be a mechanic, and will die if he does not fulfill it. He's perfectly fine with his induced obsession, though.
- The Doog of Star Control 3, who, once bought away from the Ploxis at an inflated price, will continue to work for nothing and give you all their resources (evidenced by the 'higher production' and their statements of you being a good master). As their name implies, they are uplifted canines and predisposed towards a pack-like mentality, seeing their owners as the alphas. From the same game, the K'tang Kattori may also qualify, simply because though they believe themselves leaders of the Hegemonic Crux, they're too dumb to realise every other race in the Crux knows how to push their buttons to get them to do exactly what they want.The player character can do this as well, but pushing the buttons to make them angry and attack you leads to much funnier rants.
- In the Mass Effect 2, you have a minor sidequest to convince a corporation to purchase an indentured servant's "contract." The slave and her "agent" both agree that, while not preferable to freedom, her tenure of slavery would grant an end to her debt and provide a sterling reference on her resume. In fairness, the "indentured servitude" is not necessarily slavery - she still has rights under the terms of the contract (such as sufficient food, accomodation, sapient rights etc), and Illium, the anarcho-capitalist paradise, will break its "no rules" rule to enforce them.
- The character of Thane mention how his species, the lizard-like Drell, were rescued from extinction via overpopulation by the jellyfish-like Hanar. As thanks, the Drell willingly serve the needs of any Hanar out of gratitude. Thane even gets offended when Commander Shepard says that sounds unfair, explaining that any Drell can choose not to serve, but few do, and those who do refuse are looked down on by their fellow Drell.
- It's implied in Dragon Age II that this is what elven slaves are like in the Tevinter Imperium via brainwashing. Fenris explains that a slave would not generally think to run simply because they do not know any better; his first escape was an accidental separation during a battle. If you choose to give him back to Danarius, his memories of Hawke and everyone else are erased, returning him to this obediant state.
- One girl who you liberate from slavers asks you if you're her master now. If you take her on, she'll become a housekeeper at your estate.
- Fenris' sister also plays this straight going so far as to betray Fenris in exchange for an apprenticeship under Danarius. If she is allowed to live, she tells Fenris that freedom without power was no blessing at all and that Fenris got the better end of the deal with the power his lyrium tattoos gave him.
- Also applies with the Qunari and their Saarebas mages, who if they believe in the Qunari religion would rather die than be free.
- In the first Knights of the Old Republic, Zaalbar pledges life-debt to you. If you're a REAL bastard you can kill his dad, and force him to kill his best friend - only the latter will send him into a suicidal rage. HK-47 also doesn't mind being your property - you keep him properly maintained, and your penchant for attracting trouble lets him indulge his Ax-Crazy programming and he is utterly delighted to find out you're the one who built him in the first place!
- The second game takes this to Squicktastic levels, especially with Visas Marr, whose greeting line is "My life for yours." Most of the party has been blackmailed, bullied, broken, or conned into coming along. The only thing holding the mess together is the low-level Mind Rape that Exile (and/or Kreia) has on them. Still, even after finding this out, none of them really minds it. Whether this is because they come to follow Exile on their own accord and their own reasons (as Disciple suggests), or their minds and wills are too ensnared by the Exile's Force Bonds for them to be able to leave is entirely up to interpretation.
- This was further Lampshaded in the magnificent Brotherhood of Shadow mod for the first game. Channa Mae was so enthralled with Revan that she turned her back on everything, even her own concept of self, to become Revan's aide/assassin/secret apprentice. Even after discovering all this, she does not regret her time as Shadow. A parallel is Solomon who gave up his identity and sense of self to avenge to loss of his Padawan, Channa Mae. The Brotherhood itself also took its pride in destroying all sense of self, acting only as an extension of the will of the Sith King, of which their grandmaster was the last.
- World of Warcraft, perhaps unsurprisingly. In the Monster Guide, the entry for the succubus stated how its not uncommon for a warlock's succubus to fall madly in love with their master. This however, can also be disadvantageous, as they subsequently become insanely jealous when their master deals with someone of the opposite gender.
- Planescape: Torment has a few interesting takes on this. At least three of the joinable party members: Ignus, Dak'kon and Morte are revealed to effectively be 'slaves' of The Nameless One and are unwilling to leave: Ignus is Ax-Crazy and can only remember him as 'his old master' despite how much the two have changed over time. Dak'kon is bound by a sworn life-debt he cannot repay because The Nameless One is immortal, and the fact that the latter does not know of it does nothing to alleviate said debt. Dak'kon literally cannot disobey any order given to him, no matter how unspeakably full of Video Game Cruelty Potential. Finally, there's Morte: No matter how badly he has been treated by some of The Nameless One's prior incarnations — and he's been treated pretty badly — it's nothing compared to the alternative, namely, the massive guilt he'd incur were he ever to leave: The Nameless One's condition is implied to be his fault because he gave him false information while he was still alive. Even more screwed up when you consider that Avellone himself has said that "there is no evidence for this other than Morte's suspicion." Planescape canon is that petitioners can never remember anything from life; it's very possible that Morte is completely wrong. He was in Hell for a horrible crime he could not remember committing and would never feel closure for and then met a psychologically abusive man with the Mark of Torment mentioned below. Now that's an epic guilt-trap.
- This, of course, comes in addition to the fact that the Mark of Torment essentially forces slavery on the tormented souls that get attracted to The Nameless One.
- Played with in Loved. You play as a small, catlike creature that is given commands by your 'master'. Disobeying the commands makes the environment more colorful, but makes the landscape and enemies harder to understand and have less detail, making a metaphor that doing what you want provides happiness, but sacrifices the well-defined borders of your cage. Your master also becomes upset, asking why you disobeyed them, when they loved you. On the other hand, obeying their commands gives better detail and understanding to your environment, but your environment has absolutely no color, and your master still treats you like a pet, but treats you well.
- The Minions of Overlord will gladly sacrifice themselves for you as long as you lead their race to world domination.
- Togainu no Chi: Kau to Arbitro.
- It could be argued that the Pikmin have this kind of relationship with Captain Olimar and Louie. While it was more of a case of mutual co-operation for survival in the first game, the two Hocotatians are using the little plant people solely for capitalistic recovery (and, later, gain) in the second. In spite of that, there's never any sort of dissension within the Pikmin ranks, and, if 'Ai no Uta' is anything to go by, they're perfectly willing give their lives for their master(s). Of course, being on the bottom of the food chain of their planet's ecosystem gives reason to believe that they're likely happy for any help they can get...
- In Destroy All Humans!, you get the ability to brainwash people into being your loyal and loving servants.
- Enslaved: Odyssey to the West has Monkey eventually developing this sort of relationship with Trip, going as far as to request that she keep his slave headband active even when she offers to turn it off.
- Ghirahim out of The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword entire goal is to revive his master and resume acting literally as his weapon, even at the cost of his physical form.
- This is a central concept to Pokémon — though the anime often has abusive trainers that the Pokémon serve because they've been caught and have no choice, for the most part in the games Trainer and Pokémon always get along well. Even among the villainous teams some of them get along fine with their Pokémon, either because they treat them well or because the Pokémon adapts to enjoy the villainy they're used to commit. Black and White explores this in depth, some members of Team Plasma who are Well Intentioned Extremists unaware their leader is evil release their Pokémon as ordered near the end of the game, and are confused when the Pokémon don't want to leave them because they've grown attached to their trainer. This can also be subverted, however — in many games traded Pokémon will not obey your commands without proper Gym Badges, implying you have to earn their loyalty and respect.
- In Dragon's Dogma, the Pawns are definitely this trope. They have extrmely limited emotion and free will and are only fulfilled when they're serving under an Arisen. Pawns who have lost their Arisen will either hang around where their Arisen was last seen, like lost puppies, or worse turn homicidal out of grief. Notably, hanging around their Arisen will eventually lead the pawn to gain emotions and free will, but even these "liberated" pawns still retain traces of their master/servant relationship with their Arisen.
- Subtly averted in Shin Megami Tensei. Demons can be controlled, depending on the technique, to People Puppet degrees. They won't ever leave you, but that doesn't mean they like you. The National Defense Divinities in IV outright hate their summoners and are relieved beyond measure at their own destruction.
- Daphnis in Tears To Tiara 2 is quite happy being and growing up as a slave. He is quite well treated and gets to protect the person he loves.
- In Star Wars: The Old Republic, your first companion as a Sith Warrior is Vette, a young Twi'lek woman who is also a slave, complete with shock collar, having been captured tomb raiding on the Sith homeworld. You can, if you want, immediately remove the collar as soon as she asks, but your character actually says "It is not freedom, though." If you then treat her well, she's quite happy to tag along with you, even as she remains your slave (apparently for legal reasons). If you're male and have removed the collar, you can romance her, and towards the end she notes she kept the collar and has some ideas for its use—though in fairness this doesn't mean she'll be the one wearing it.
- In Blindsprings Tamaura seems quite happy serving the fairies. It seems her status is something like indentured servitude in exchange for protection. She's very annoyed when someone "frees" her against her will. Justified as her duties seem to mainly consist of living in a magical forest and taking care of the creatures there.
- When Jillian in Erfworld is confronted about being under Wanda's control, she responds, "You don't understand. How could you?" When pressed for an explanation of what there is to "understand," she blurts out, "I... like it."
- This appears to be the default attutide of anyone who isn't a ruler, caster, or warlord in Erfworld. In the text updates, Parson gets Squicked by the flirting of the cute Archons when he realizes they don't even understand the concept of a 'volunteer'. Every unit under his command would do anything he asks, including have sex with him (which a female caster seems to consider SOP for male warlords with archons). Justified since the world is governed by the rules of a Table Top Game, where units always obey your orders. But here Parson walks among those 'units', who have feelings and personality, but still blindly follow orders and like it...
- The whole thing is unclear. The archons confronting Jullian definitely don't think it's normal to like being mind controlled, and the caster Parson was talking to about the whole rape thing seemed to be witholding her disapproval—good thing too, since it turned out the idea squicked Parson out. And while Parson comments that the archons seem to have no will of their own, this is only a paragraph after the archons mention that Charlie usually left them to their own discretion when dealing with clients. Note Jaclyn, who had a habit of telling her clients about active spells, despite the fact that "they haven't paid for spell security."
- In Amazoness!, the Amazons' female slaves seem to enjoy their captivity and Belandi is even outright rebellious against Pantariste. Then again, this is set during a time where they wouldn't be treated much better in a non-Amazonian free area. In fact, the patriarchal tribes would likely subject them to forced pregnancy on top of treating them like slaves, regardless of official status.
- DDG has Zip heading down the Stockholm Syndrome route at breakneck speed. Compare Netta's declaration of slave ownership with Zip's reaction in this strip.
- The Jägerkin from Girl Genius would certainly seem to qualify in their adoration of and devotion to their Heterodyne masters. So much so that they refer to one who has forsworn his loyalty to the House of Heterodyne as "no longer a Jäger." They will also obey someone who has married into the family, if only for the fact that they respect that one of the family is in love. But they DO have their limits, as Lucrezia demonstrated. Possibly justified if, as seems not unlikely, the Jägers were created by the Heterodynes (from willing volunteers). The Jägers (and most constructs in the series) need (in a context that is not fully known) to serve Baron Wulfenbach in the interim between Heterodynes. Though the book does imply that the reason the Jaegers needed to serve the Baron is that if they didn't, he'd probably have to kill them. (Klaus has no problem employing monsters, but he doesn't let them run around free). On top of that, virtually every city in Europa other than Mechanicsburg hates the Jaegers, due to centuries of oppression by Ax-Crazy Heterodynes. Serving Wulfenbach also grants the Jaegers his protection from the torches and pitchforks.
- The people of Mechanicsburg likely count too. Being minions is in the bloodline, and as Carson says, "People here are desperate for a new Heterodyne. Any new Heterodyne."
- The Geisterdamen also qualify; they're hardwired to obey the Other's voice, and spent twenty years in her absence tirelessly working to bring her back.
- In Freefall, Florence and Helix enter into a discussion while Florence repairs some part of the ship before it first takes off. Florence relates a story of a feudal Japanese servant whose master beat him and treated him severely, and another feudal lord saw how dedicated the servant was, offering him a place in his manor, where he would be treated fairly. The servant declined, stating that he found his life harsh, but it was necessary, and proved how strong a person he was.
- Terinu eventually finds out that his race, the Ferin, were uplifted to be the servants cum power sources for the Varn Dominion, and as such were designed to find service pleasurable.
- To a lesser extent this trope is also found among the Vulpine, where the "Commoner" class have no say in government and are not permitted to own land. Subverted slightly in that Commoners aren't bound to a Farm Lord, and have the option of gaining social status by joining the military and/or marrying up.
- TwoKinds Kathrin has a wonderful life by slave standards and is happy with her lot in life (until recent plot lines have caused her to question this).
- Liriel from Drowtales after entering Ariel's service. As Ariel is not nearly authoritarian enough to keep her in line, she's more of a freeloader than a slave. Not to mention that she's really the result of a Fusion Dance between the Val'Sharess and her slave, and once Diva'ratrika gains control she seems to stopped being considered a slave at all.
- There's also Vaelia. Ariel released her when she saved her life, but this didn't prevent her from continuing to protect Ariel and follow her orders, and calling her "Lady-child." Since Ariel saved her from the gladiator pit, she considers her life to be Ariel's property, no matter what, large due to wanting to atone for the mistakes of her past.
- Domain Tnemrot - Two of the main characters are gladiator slaves, who fight in an arena to the death on a daily basis. Both of them are only okay with this because they love their owner, a small girl who views both of them as the closest thing to parents she has. The two slaves are planning to escape from slavery, but they plan to take their owner with them when they go. Their current plan for escape involves murdering the girl's father to ensure no one comes after her
- The golem-robots in Gunnerkrigg Court consider activity the best thing in life, so working for humans is its own reward to them.
- In Dragon Mango, the goblins, forced to work until they pay off their debt, don't want to return home. People are pleased to see them, here; the clothing is more comfortable; and their king will be cruel to them.
- In Jack Central's boytoy Plato was a slave most of his life, and his last two owners treated him fairly well but by that point he knew no other life. On his deathbed he asked God if any angels needed a slave and he ended up with Central.
- In Questionable Content, some robots don't petition for more freedom and rights since they realize that freedom comes with responsibility. However any AI can become a citizen and be granted full civil rights.
- In Tales of MU, Two, the liberated golem girl, has to be protected from this trope by her friends.
- One of the nicer Family Unfriendly Aesops of internet hypnofetish art. (While this may seem like a breach of the "Not Brainwashed" clause, most of the actual brainwashing is simply to get them into this trope).
- One example in particular (which will not be linked to) had Character A attempt to hypnotise Character B, not into becoming a slave, but into hypnotising and enslaving Character A.
- Chakona Space gives us Leanna, a very unhappy ex-sex slave commenting how wonderful it might have been to have lived on one of the worlds filled with honored servants. Interestingly, after being freed, shi is still stuck in "cultural Values Dissonance" territory, thanks to slave conditioning. Fortunately she found a "master" who hates slavery.
- Cracked has speculated that if the Internet ever reached sentience and took over the world, people would view it as a Benevolent AI Invasion and actively turn on anyone who tried to destroy it. The reason is because the human race has become so overly-reliant on the Internet for information, entertainment and communication, how would it be any different from how it was before?
- Transformers: Young, proud Starscream corrects a tactical mistake Megatron makes. He gets punched in the wing. He insists that he can't possibly be to blame for some other seeker's screw-up on the last scouting trip. He gets locked in the brig. He disobeys direct orders to fall back so that he can complete a mission successfully. Doesn't matter, Megatron hates insubordination. He nearly scratches out his optics when Megatron compliments precious, perfect Soundwave. Take this pattern and repeat it for 9 million years and what you get is a vindictive, backstabbing soldier who says that only fools fall for Megatron's Evil Overlord brainwashing, yet admits with a straight face that he wouldn't see the point in living if he wasn't Megatron's Dragon.
Skyfire: Are you... happier being a warrior than a scientist, Starscream?
Starscream: Oh, yes. It's far more exciting...
- There are numerous explanations as to this.
- Lugnut, though it's less slavery and more willing servitude. He has no ambitions or goals outside of serving the grand and GLORIOUS Megatron.
- Stimpy of Ren and Stimpy.
- The main cast of Thomas the Tank Engine would find much common ground with the golems of the Discworld in their devotion to being 'Really Useful'; they were created with a clearly defined purpose in life and wouldn't really know what to do with free will if they had any. Being consistently treated with respect and kindness and only being reproved when they are genuinely at fault probably helps.
- Sort of... if you count "Wage Slavery." In the first episode of Futurama, Fry spends almost the whole episode fleeing from Leela who is trying to force him to be a delivery boy. At the end of the episode, when Leela finally gives up and removes her own career chip, he is happy to get a job as a delivery boy!. Also in the same episode, Leela's own boss likes the job he has to do, whether he likes it or not!
- Being a space package delivery boy is a bit up from delivering pizza...
- Parodied on The Boondocks with Uncle Ruckus' warped re-telling of the story of Catcher Freeman, who was a slave in the American South.
- On ReBoot, Megabyte infected many of Mainframe's citizens to serve as his soldiers in his attempts to take over Mainframe and invade the Super Computer. When Megabyte was defeated and his slaves freed, it turns out that some of the binomes enjoyed being under Megabyte's control since they relished causing havoc and terrorizing other Mainframers. These "Neo Virals" are very bitter because of Megabyte's defeat, and when their boss returns to Mainframe they eagerly surrender themselves to his control.
- During an episode of Superman: The Animated Series, Supes tosses a beaten and broken Darkseid at the mercy of the oppressed residents of Apokolips. Expecting them to be happy to be free, they instead pick Darkseid up, carrying him off to recover. Darkseid's response?
I am many things, Kal-El, but here, I am God.
- Of course, in the Justice League episode "Twilight" when Darkseid appeals to the League to help save Apokolips from Braniac, Superman is willing to let Darkseid AND those who didn't finish him off when they could ALL perish at Braniac's hands (because he knew Darkseid was playing the others in the League with the plea for help). Darkseid also wanted to get close enough to Brainiac so his intelligence could be used to solve the Anti-Life Equation and assimilate New Genesis.