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Light is Good
Insert Ethereal Choir for added effect.

"Then God said, 'Let there be light'; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good."

It's one of the deepest ideas in our collective (un)consciousness. The Sun brings heat, makes plants grow, drives us to awaken, explore, work, create. Gods of the Sun and Moon are associated with law, arts, the mind, justice, protection, inspiration, all the things that make up the best part of being human. (And even the other nice thing about being human gets this treatment - Venus is, after all, the Morning Star.) The lightbulb coming on over one's head is the genesis of a great idea. By light we can see the world; by extension, light lets us confront evil and destroy it, both within and without ourselves.

It's the more or less obvious conclusion.

Almost every RPG does this, some more than others. (It's always the holy magic that heals, never the dark.) For characters with light-based powers with this connotation, see Light 'em Up. Holy Hand Grenade is not out of the question.

Light Is Not Good originated as a subversion of this trope. Note, however, that Good Is Not Nice can also come into play if said hero has an affinity for light, and both Light is Good and Light Is Not Good may come into play, as a Hypocrite tries to pose as a good guy by taking on the trappings suitable for the good guys. If a story wants to use Light is Good and Dark Is Not Evil at the same time, it's generally justified as both forces being necessary for a truly stable and peaceful world, with the perceived 'evil' of darkness being a misunderstanding between the sides.

Why having the sun appear is good. Also the reason White Magic is called that.

See also Holy Halo, Dark Is Evil, Shining City, and Shining Goodness.

For more chromatic inspiration, see Color-Coded for Your Convenience. For light used as one of the Elemental Powers, see Light 'em Up.

Daylight Horror and Light Is Not Good are subversions of this trope.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • In Naruto a colored chapter cover revealed that Naruto becomes yellow with shades of orange when he enters Chakra Mode, as seen here.
    • Hyuuga Hinata defies what the rest of her clan stands for.
  • Purity goes with light in Sailor Moon, and it becomes a common theme (most easily seen in the first anime's SuperS season).
  • Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn has Syam Vist, a kind old man in white robes and Banagher Links, who pilots a White Gundam known as The Unicorn that is named after a Beast of Light and Possibility
  • Angemon and Angewomon of Digimon Adventure are both angelic Digimon with golden hair who both debuted to promptly easily defeat a powerful dark Digimon with their powers of light. Angewomon takes this almost to ridiculous extremes - her partner is Hikari Yagami, whose first name translates to "''light''", and who uses the Crest of Light to make her evolve to Angewomon to begin with. Oh, and near the end of Adventure she started glowing.
  • Most of the heroes in Fullmetal Alchemist are blondes with gold eyes to boot.
    • That said, aside from the homunculus, the overwhelming majority of the villains invoke Light Is Not Good, and the only characters with anything resembling light powers are both villains.
      • Except for the Colonel, who has light-themed powers and is most definitely on the heroic side.
  • Though transforming tends to make them look more threatening in Dragon Ball Z, all the Super Saiyans, apart from the movie villain Broly, embody this with a golden hair and aura, even Vegeta by the end of the series.
  • In Tenkuu Senki Shurato, The Hero wears a white armor (Which also has a Golden Super Mode). Other characters associated with light (like Lady Vishnu) are good too.
  • While this trope was sometimes averted by the original Saint Seiya and Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas, in Saint Seiya Omega the Light Cosmo have been portrayed as a good force, opposed to Darkness Cosmo.
  • In Shinzo this trope is played straight most of the time.
  • In BTX The Hero Teppei rides a white B't Which eventually turns golden.
  • Subverted in Death Note, where the character named Light appears to be a pretty good guy at first (or at worst a Well-Intentioned Extremist) whose ideas of morality and justice are just slightly askew. However, it quickly becomes a case of Light Is Not Good as he descends into corruption and madness... as a result of believing himself to be this.
  • Most Magical Girl series play this trope straight, with the heroines wearing bright and colorful outfits, having light/purity/Love related powers.
  • Asuna, the female protagonist from Sword Art Online, wears white clothing, a stark contrast from male protagonist and Love Interest Kirito.

    Comic Books 
  • Superman is powered in part by the light of Earth's yellow sun.
  • As their Badass Creed says, Green Lantern's light is their power that the worshipers of Evil's might should beware.
    • Of course, the GLs co-exist with several groups wielding light that are not so benevolent.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Light Side in Star Wars. The Expanded Universe is a bit more relaxed with this, though. Oddly enough, nobody ever calls it the "Light Side" in the original trilogy (and not in the prequels either)... it's only ever "The Force" and "The Dark Side of the Force." The entire idea of calling it the "Light Side of the Force" most likely came from fans making the "Dark Is Evil = Light is Good" connection on their own!
  • Poltergeist. The medium Tangina says:
    Tangina: When people die, there's a wonderful light as bright as the sun. But it doesn't hurt to look into it. All the answers to all the questions that you ever want to know are inside that light. And when you walk to it, you become a part of it forever.
  • In the first The Lord of the Rings film, Arwen appears to Frodo in a flowing white gown with light radiating out from her. This is just a vision to Frodo but it symbolises that she is good and is there to help him. Though she does warn him that she could end up evil and remain like she is.
  • A bit of a no-brainer but the stars in Stardust. They shine when their hearts are full of joy and happiness although Yvaine actually uses this as a weapon against the witches.
  • Played straight in one of the very last scenes of Pan's Labyrinth, which shows the throne room from King & Queen of the Underworld as a golden place full of bright light, where Ofelia is received after she dies in the real world.
  • The 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz and Oz: The Great and Powerful play this trope straight with their respective versions of Glinda, the Good Witch of the South.

    Literature 
  • Night Watch's Light Others live and breathe this trope... though, it can be said that the series examines this trope, bends it, reshapes it, subverts it, averts it, and when all else is lost, the author throws in the towel and pretty much says that all bets are off.
  • The Light in The Dark Is Rising series of novels is good, but not nice. However, while Dark Is Evil is mostly played straight, Light occasionally is actually evil as well too, with later instalments blatantly stating that balance is better.
  • In the Wheel of Time series, the Creator and the Light.
  • In mythology and fantasy stories, light (particularly sunlight) severely impairs or even harms monsters.
  • The Child of Light (and the Prophecy of Light) in The Belgariad.
  • In The Dresden Files, sunlight is anathema to most creatures of the Nevernever, and can disrupt more negative and evil enchantments and spells. Also, the Swords of the Cross emit light that cancels out the powers of the Denarians.
    • Plus the Summer Faeries tend to be fairly benevolent whereas the Winter ones are actively sadistic, although both sides are manipulative and capable of great crimes, when you put the two Courts next to one another it is played fairly straight
  • The Armor of Light by Melissa Scott and Lisa A. Barnett.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Magic, Inc., the heroes storm Hell because light always overcomes darkness (since darkness is merely the absence of light), and they are the forces of Light, so it does not behoove them to sit around reacting to the demonic forcs.
  • Diane Duane's Young Wizards series works with this considerably, especially in the first book, although they play with it increasingly through the series and at the end of the third book have a decisive Redemption arc where it is shown that Dark Does Not Have To Be Bad. Of course, the fact that the Powers don't live within linear time means there are still loads and loads of incarnations of the Lone One running around being evil for books and books more, but they've finally given him the chance to start going home.
  • T. S. Eliot's Choruses from "The Rock"
    О Light Invisible, we praise Thee!
    Too bright for mortal vision.
  • In L. Jagi Lamplighter's Prospero Lost, Father Christmas tells Miranda, Mab and Mephisto that they can stay a while because all who serve the Light are welcome.
  • In Teresa Frohock's Miserere: An Autumn Tale, only the good guys are capable of casting the light spell.
  • In Poul Anderson's "Brave To Be A King", a beggar urges, "Alms for the love of Light!" Later two time travellers makes themselves glow to convince a king that they are heavenly messengers.
  • In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, Sunshine herself. Yolonda wisely refuses to believe evil of anyone who draws power from sunlight even though she hobnobs with a vampire.
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost, continually used, for the angels, include those that later fell.
    how chang'd
    From him, who in the happy Realms of Light
    Cloth'd with transcendent brightnes didst outshine
    Myriads though bright
  • The default in The Lord of the Rings and J. R. R. Tolkien's other words, though there's more subtlety to it than that: the Elves are associated with the cold light of the stars and later the moon, while Men are associated with the hotter, harsher light of the Sun. Tom Bombadil also notes that he remembers when 'the dark under the stars was fearless, before the Dark Lord came from Outside', so Dark is not intrinsically evil.
  • In Jennifer Crusie's Maybe This Time, Andie urges ghosts to Go Into the Light, assuring them that it's probably good, because light is.
  • The Light Casters from The Caster Chronicles.
  • In the land of Caederan, Light is one of the two "supra-elements" that surround and infuse the four elemental magics. Each element has a light aspect, which is the proper and natural use of that element. In addition, it is possible for someone to turn you into an orah, those who "live aligned with light alone," and can access the light side of each of the four elemental magics. It's mentioned specifically that fire called by an orah burns hotter and cleaner, and is much easier to prevent from running amok, as compared to fire called by an aesh.

    Live-Action TV 

    Music 
  • Implied by The Apples song Energy. ("And the world is synchronicity/and the world is made of energy/and there's a light inside of you/and there's a light inside of me...")
  • Omnipresent in songs about being yourself or standing up for oneself, in which light is your "inner self" or strength or individuality or whatever.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In the Lusitanian Mythology, the god Endovelicus was associated with light and healing, being obviously benevolent. However, the same mythology also has Neto, a sun god associated with war, and when Christianity settled in Endovelicus became identified with Lucifer.
  • Manichaean scripture spread the idea of light being good and darkness being evil, which is likely why it sometimes shows up in mainstream Christian rhetoric despite the Bible not favoring either (as in the cases of Milcom, Satan and Lucifer being bad and the shade of the lord good). However, their are many a passage in canon Christian scripture that can be taken this way if not put against the work as a whole.
    • I John 1:7—>But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
    • Job 33:28—>He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light.'
    • Psalm 18:28—>You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
    • Isaiah 50:10—>Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, trust in the name of the LORD and rely on his God.
    • John 1:4-5—> In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
    • Romans 13:12—>The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Exalted gives us The Unconquered Sun, the divine embodiment of virtue and righteousness, created by the Primordial of dickery solely because he wanted to find out what would give him purpose. And boy, did he succeed there, as the Unconquered Sun saw that the Primordials were yoking Creation about and helped lead the struggle to overthrow them. His chosen, the Solar Exalted, are supposed to be like this... save for that little Great Curse thing.
  • Sun gods in Dungeons & Dragons are generally always of a good alignment. Pelor from Greyhawk is Neutral Good, Lathander from the Forgotten Realms is Neutral Good. Amaunator, the defunct Netheril sun god, averted this trope by being Lawful Neutral, but upon being reinstated in the fourth edition (by fusing with Lathander) became Lawful Good.
    • Prior to the 4th edition, where they could be good or evil, angels and metallic dragons, who will actively attempt to aid weaker races. The 4th edition still played this straight with the good dragon god Bahamut.
  • The white color in Magic: The Gathering uses a sun for its symbol. It has by far the lion's share of cards concerning healing, protection, spells that disarm creatures or only destroy/remove creatures when they attack you, and creatures traditionally associated with good such as angels, knights in shining armor and honest soldiers. Depending on the block, white cards can just as easily make for Light Is Not Good, however.
    • In terms of characters wielding White Magic, the most famous are heroic, but there's a sufficiently large amount of paranoid Knight Templars as well. So light is pretty much neutral in this setting.
  • Both subverted and played straight with the Living Saints of Warhammer 40,000. They are shining examples of all that's good about humanity, avatars of the Immortal God-Emperor of Mankind, shining with light that causes most heretics to repent and desire to serve the Imperium, that fills the hearts of the faithful with unshakable courage and joy in serving the Emperor. Within the Imperium, almost universally accepted as unambiguously morally good, serving humanity selflessly in and out of combat and eventually sacrificing their lives for the good of the Imperium. Outside the Imperium, they're probably viewed no better than any other Imperial tool.
  • The Stellaknight archetypes' appearance and implied role in the Yu-Gi-Oh! OCG saga started in The Duelist Advent implies that they are benevolent or even heroic.

    Theater 
  • William Shakespeare's Macbeth invokes it:
    Angels are bright still, though the brightest fell;
    Though all things foul would wear the brows of grace,
    Yet grace must still look so.
  • In John Milton's Comus, the older brother invokes this to assure his younger brother:
    Virtue could see to do what Virtue would
    By her own radiant light, though sun and moon
    Were in the flat sea sunk.

    Videogames 

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • In Aelan mythology from Ustal Naror islands, good beings learn to shine.

    Western Animation 

    Other 
  • In BIONICLE, every sentient character has a dark side and light side, representing of course good and evil. These could be tapped into, to obtain either light or shadow powers, and naturally, shadow is easier to master, and makes one corrupt. To those who have light or shadow powers from the get-go, obtaining the opposite "element" can prove difficult, since the two powers tend to cancel each other out. This is a mostly late development, however. While bad guys were since early associated with darkness, the light in Bionicle was originally more ambiguous and meant to be "special" rather than "good".
  • The Transformers' god, Primus, is often referred to as the "Lord of Light", and the Matrix of Leadership is meant to "light our darkest hour."

Light 'em UpKnight In Shining TropesLight Is Not Good
Lawful GoodGoodness TropesMade of Good
Holy HaloAngelic TropesLight Is Not Good
Let's DuetImageSource/ArtLonely Funeral
Life of the PartyCharacterization TropesLike a Fish Takes to Water

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