Loon With A Heart Of Gold

In some stories, a person who is insane or at least eccentric may at the same time be one of the kindest and most generous characters. There may be various reasons for this: for example, such characters may preserve childlike innocence lost by the "normals", or their madness (especially if it is of religious character) may inspire them to do things that are considered "irrational" or "meaningless", like assisting a seemingly desperate cause or sacrificing oneself for the Greater Good. This trope is Older Than Print: in medieval times, it was common belief that eccentrics and weirdos were "touched by God", and many saints and blessed ones behaved in a quirky manner.

Contrast Insane Equals Violent. Not to be confused with Kindhearted Simpleton and Dumb Is Good: while these two tropes imply low intelligence, a Loon with a Heart of Gold may be smart, but quirky/unhinged.

Examples

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    Literature 
  • Marianne Engel from The Gargoyle is a clearly unhinged sculptress of gargoyles, with her madness having religious overtones (she talks to unseen apparitions in Latin, etc.). She physically and psychologically helps the main character after a crash that leaves him severely burned and crippled.
  • Emmanuel from Boris Akunin's Sister Pelagia series is a saintly mad prophet who possibly has supernatural powers and makes people whom he meets understand their flaws and change for the better.
  • Lori from Thomasina, The Cat Who Thought She Was God by Paul Gallico is an apparently crazy girl who says that she sees angels and can talk to animals. She also has a gift for healing sick animals.
  • Jenny Wren from Our Mutual Friend; interestingly, she seasons this with Deadpan Snarker.
  • Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: the sane, but extremely quirky titular heroine is literally the kindest and most pure-hearted character in the novel, making her classmates look like jerks in comparison (the protagonist even jokingly tells her that she's "running for saint").
  • Auri from The Kingkiller Chronicle is a kooky yet good-natured girl who helps out Kvothe in various ways. It is implied in The Slow Regard of Silent Things that her quirkiness and her high moral standards are interrelated: she sees all things as sapient, and believes that even a little bit of self-interest on her part would violate the laws of the world.
  • Professor Selkeem aka Axel from Molly Moon series is an unusual case, since his madness is a direct consequence of his moral qualities and self-sacrificial love. In order to protect his wife, he agreed to transport Princess Fang and her people in time, and multiple time travels shattered his mind.
  • Luna Lovegood of the Harry Potter series is a Cloud Cuckoolander and a total sweetheart.

    Movies 
  • Amélie: the eponymous heroine is a Cloud Cuckoolander with strange fantasies whose life goal is to bring people happiness (in accordance with her personality, she does it in bizarre ways).

    Tarot 
  • The Gaian Tarot, created by Joanna Powell Colbert, has such a card called the Teacher (also known as Holy Fool and Crazy Saint). According to the description, "Crazy saints speak in riddles, they tease, they laugh uproariously and act intentionally ridiculous. At the same time, they are guileless, transparent and open to a sense of wonder".

    Real Life 
  • Many saints and blessed ones were eccentric to say the least, especially by today's standards.

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