"Love doesn't lead to the dark side. Passion can lead to rage and fear, and can be controlled, but passion is not the same thing as love. Controlling your passions while being in love, that's what they should teach you to beware, but love itself will save you, not condemn you."
Love is a potent force. The Power of Love
is not just a tangible universal constant, but oddly enough, it's also an emotion that is amazingly inimical to a rational
life: it can make you crazy
or very, very dumb
. It can also make an otherwise normal, moral Nice Guy
/ Nice Girl
turn into a Stalker with a Crush
, because Love Makes You Evil
Despite all these obvious reasons to avoid any and all romantic entanglements, Love is very nearly as (or more!
) addictive than The Dark Side
. These two forces interact very curiously, Love can just as easily lead a Knight in Shining Armor
into the Dark Side, as it can drag the most committed
villain kicking and screaming
into being redeemed.
Whether they're a Fallen Hero
who starts Dating Catwoman
, a Professional Killer
who fell In Love with the Mark
, or the Necessarily Evil
who gains a Morality Pet
that gives him something to live for, love tends to corrode evil like lemon on popcorn (and it tastes so good!)
even if it frightens at first
. By and large, Love tends to subvert rather than aid evil, Unholy Matrimony
not withstanding. If it isn't Heroic Resolve
it's Heroic Willpower
, making even the most soul corrupting evil as weak as a Sickeningly Sweet
Some characters consciously invoke it in order to try to invoke Single Woman Seeks Good Man
— or its Gender Flip
Beware Redemption Equals Death
but they may decide it's worth the price and Go Out with a Smile
. Alternately, a spurned evil genius is that much more likely of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope
and Nuke 'em
. If the villain manages to hold on to enough of their evil (or love), they become an Anti-Villain
. Sometimes, this comes about when the villain ends up Becoming the Mask
, the love she gets so freely sorely tempting her to change sides and do a Heel-Face Turn
It's worth mentioning that this is what the Love Martyr
wants to happen, as does the Monster Fangirl
and many shippers
who put Draco in Leather Pants
. In Real Life
, this attitude often leads people to the Jerry Springer
show; "But he really loves me! Those bruises will heal!" On the other hand, it may very well be the hero who bruises the baddie
, channeling the power of love through violence and thus bringing redemption.
If the redeemer dies, it's possible their memory and lessons they taught their beloved will stick. On the other hand, the deceased could have been simply holding back the person's evil
and they now revert with a vengeance. There's also the possibility that instead of curing them
, love may very well never change
the intended beneficiary.
It should be noted that romantic
love isn't the only type of love that can redeem someone. Familial and Platonic Love are both capable of this.
open/close all folders
- In Aquaman, the post-Brightest Day origins of Mera, Aquaman's wife. Once the princess of Xebel, an ancient penal colony of outcasts and rebels from Atlantis, she was born, bred an raised as a tool to find, infiltrate and destroy Atlantis from within, starting with the then current king. While feigning closeness to Orin, however, she started to get real feelings for him, eventually defecting from Xebel and becoming a powerful heroine on her own.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW): It is the love of her friends that saves the Second Nightmare Moon.
- In Invincible, the love of his family ultimately changes Omni-man for the better, though he spends a long time in denial. Other Viltrumites start falling for this too when they become emotionally attached to the humans with whom they are siring a new generation of Viltrumite hybrids.
- In Nexus Sundra Peale was sent to Ylum to spy on Nexus. She fell in love with him almost immediately and left the spy game behind her—putting her at odds with her ex-boss (and, it's implied, ex-lover) Ursula for the rest of the series.
- In Crystar, Crystal Warrior, Lavour had spent the whole series hanging off of Moltar's arm because she saw him as a ticket to power; but in the last issue, when Moltar finally finds his conscience and stands up to the evil Zardeth, Lavour realizes that she has come to actually love him and stands by him. With his dying breath, Zardeth punishes them by transforming Moltar from a magma man back into a normal human being, but still leaving Lavour as a burning hot magma woman. The two will never be able to touch again.
- In The Sun Soul, Misty's fight against Team Rocket goes from a quest for revenge against the former teammates that tried to kill her to an outright Heel-Face Turn because of love for/from Ash.
- In the Oneiroi Series, Redcloak's love for Vaarsuvius and Tiasal makes him Heel-Face Turn where even the death of his brother couldn't. To a lesser extent, Vaarsuvius's love for him smoothed out the edges and made her considerably less on the evil side of neutrality. With any luck, love for her family will redeem Tiasal before she goes too far down a dark road...
- At the end of The Public Life of Sweetie Belle, Silver Spoon has one of these when Sweetie Belle is arrested for the murder of Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara's foals (though it was actually Blossom, Sweetie's own Foal. Diamond Tiara is yelling at Sweetie Belle, only for Silver Spoon to fly into a rage and blame DT for teaching their children to hate Rarity's family, which she believes is what caused their deaths. In the sequel, Broken Blossom she stops Diamond Tiara from attempting to murder Blossom, and when Diamond Tiara tortures Blossom, only for Blossom to break free and kill her, Silver Spoon reveals to Sweetie Belle that she regrets the way she and Diamond Tiara treated her as fillies, and blames her self for her foal's death.
- The MLP fanfiction series from 'Masterof Nintendo' seems to like this trope. Particularly where the OC Rick is concerned. At first, he was FAR from willing to change his insane and chaotic ways, but after a whole season living with Twilight Sparkle, he began to warm up to the place. It's when Discord corrupts Twi does Rick make a heel face turn and decides to use his powers for the greater good. Later, a top ranking demon falls for Pinkie, and rebels against the devil just to be with her.
- In The Legend of Spyro: A New Dawn every major villain who makes a Heel-Face Turn does so due to love for someone else. Cyros' love for her Parental Substitute Kage snaps her out of her being Drunk on the Dark Side and her love for her brother Pyrus finishes the job. She then takes an attack meant for Spyro and Cynder, causing Deadlock to have a My God, What Have I Done? reaction and snap out of her own insanity out of love for her children. Finally, the Nagas' love and loyalty towards Deadlock triggers their mass Heel-Face Turn as well. The Big Bad General Grendel subverts this trope by murdering his lover in cold blood as a intentional Foil for Deadlock and Cyros.
- Fluttercruel in the Pony POV Series, of the Parental Love variety. She is technically Fluttershy's and Discord's daughter, or at least considered such by herself and Fluttershy, despite that they're Sharing a Body. At first she behaved like Discorded!Fluttershy, but Fluttershy's maternal love ultimately turns her into a much better pony.
- Subverted with Discord. Neither Celestia's romantic love for him nor Shady's maternal love were capable of redeeming him.
- Nictis, the Changeling Infiltrator in Without A Hive. At first, Spark Wheel is just a convenient source of affection for Nictis' cover identity of "Meadow Song" to harvest. As the years pass, Nictis increasingly ''becomes'' Meadow Song, to the point of falling in love with Spark Wheel. Meadow Song's friendship and love for Spark Wheel causes Nictis to adopt Pony values, becoming by Pony standards basically "good" (and by Changeling standards essentially an insane traitor).
- The author of the Facing The Future Series seemed to feel that the reason Desiree went bad because she was spurned. She eventually finds redeeeming love in Sidney Poindexter.
- In Mega Man Reawakened, Tron and Robert's love prompts Tron to turn good.
- In Mega Man: Defender of the Human Race, ProtoMan is forced to kill Mega Man via the Mad Grinder, and seems helpless to do so due to Wily's override command. But memories of his brother, Nomad, and Mega Man never doubting that he loves ProtoMan enable him to turn his back on Wily, saving his brother's life and the world.
- In Those Gilded Chains We Wear, due to a complicated series of events involving an Unbreakable Vow, Hermione is put in charge of Bellatrix LeStrange's house arrest. Hermione's compassion and eventual romantic love gradually breaks down Bellatrix's preconceived notions about muggleborns and causes her Heel-Face Turn.
Film — Animation
- Beast from Disney's Beauty and the Beast is cursed to look horrible by an enchantress. He doesn't get the respect of Belle until he starts acting kinder to her and the others, and ultimately their love is what breaks the curse on him.
- The villain in Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation is turned from being an entity of pure evil into a human after he realized what he felt for a human girl.
- In Hercules, Broken Bird Megara worked for the villain for two-thirds of the movie and only changed her ways out of love for Hercules, eventually even sacrificing her life for him (don't worry, she comes Back from the Dead).
- Interestingly, the movie has that this was subverted in her backstory - she sold herself to Hades and her former lover promptly ran off with another girl.
- In addition to Becoming the Mask, in The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Kovu is redeemed by his love for Kiara.
- The title character in Megamind made a Heel-Face Turn after falling in love with his former rival's love interest, Roxanne. It was because he made the turn that she fell for him.
- In Tangled, Flynn's attraction to Rapunzel leads him to abandon his Greed, try to make things right with his old partners he betrayed, and face imprisonment and execution because of his desperate fears of what Gothel is doing to Rapunzel. And finally to die rather than let Gothel get Rapunzel's promise to stay prisoner if she can save him. Fortunately, he gets better.
- Ken in Toy Story 3 pulls a Heel-Face Turn after falling in love with Barbie.
- In Frozen, Queen Elsa's familial love for her sister, Anna, helps her make her Heel-Face Turn and end the Endless Winter that she started.
Film — Live Action
- Pirates of the Caribbean:
- In a slightly roundabout way; it's pretty much a given that Will's love for Elizabeth is what leads him to accept his new duties of ferrying the souls of the dead on the Flying Dutchman. This frees the crew from the corruption that Jones had caused with his actions and they also seem to lose their mindless bloodlust.
- Angelica attempts to do this for Blackbeard. But he's a bad man.
- Mandatory Star Wars examples:
- Darth Vader, after a tense scene where he balances the death of his only son against his long-held dreams of power, makes his choice, abandons everything he has worked for, and sends the Emperor hurling down the Death Star reactor shaft. He then dies, redeemed. Ironically, love both redeemed and corrupted him, as he joined The Dark Side because of his love for his wife, whom he had prophetic dreams of death about. Too bad about the Prophecy Twist.
- Leia's love for her brother redeems him in Dark Empire. While Jacen gets stuck with a Heel Face Door Slam, there are hints that his love for Tenel Ka and Allana redeems him. Making this trope obligatory for the Skywalker family.
- In Fate of the Jedi, Luke's son Ben, has a Sith Apprentice girlfriend. Jaina's response:
- In the classic Beatles animated film, Yellow Submarine, the group is able to free Pepperland from the Blue Meanies. However, they immediately offer to forgive the Meanies if they join together in peace. True to the spirit of the times, the Meanies sincerely accept the offer and everyone celebrates with the music of the band.
- In Unforgiven, William Munny (Clint Eastwood), known in his youth as an infamous gunfighter, murderer and bandit, has since retired having forsworn his criminal ways through the influence of his late wife.
- In Salt, thanks to her husband's genuine love, Evelyn Salt had no intention of carrying out Orlov's orders. In fact, all her actions, including faking the Russian Prime Minister's death, was to save her husband.
- If The Deaths of Ian Stone is any indication, love can even redeem Eldritch Abominations—or love for a human can, at least.
- The way Bill Murray gets out of the time loop in Groundhog Day.
- In the original, silent The Thief Of Bagdad 1924, the thief magically gets into the palace and falls in love with the princess, leaving without taking more than a token. Then he disguises himself as a prince and tries to win her, and gives that up because it's lying. He is in despair until receiving the advice to become a prince to win her. He then sets out to win her properly.
- In the James Bond movie Moonraker, the giant mook Jaws is redeemed after falling in love: the realization that Drax's plan to exterminate anyone not fitting the image of his "master race" would include tiny, glasses-wearing Dolly is what prompts him into his Heel-Face Turn.
- Hades in Wrath of the Titans, finally putting Everybody Hates Hades to rest.
- Played with in Looper. Old Joe thinks this is what happened to him. While this is true to a certain extent, he's nowhere near as good as he'd like to think: love didn't redeem him so much as it turned him from an amoral thug into a Well-Intentioned Extremist.
- Bronislav from Tiger Bay murders his ex-lover and kidnaps the only witness, 11-year-old Gillie. An Intergenerational Friendship develops, and in the final scene he saves Gillie from drowning, even though this allows the Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist to capture him.
- In Cirque Du Soleil Journey Of Man, The Everyman hero desires romantic love so much that he makes a Deal with the Devil for material gain, believing that he can use it to possess love. He gets the material goods, becoming rich and well-read — but the poor soul forgets why he wanted them to begin with and sees them as an end in itself, not a means to an end. Thus, he becomes chilly and aloof, and his life becomes completely devoid of love until a Vagabond Girl and her friends reach out to him with an offer of friendship. This expression of selfless, platonic love moves him so much that he remembers his youthful ideals...becoming a human embodiment of unconditional love, and a guide to others, in the process.
- In the Harry Potter series, it's revealed in Deathly Hallows that Snape did his Heel-Face Turn out of love for Lily. Although he never stopped being a Jerk Ass.
- A milder but still very impressive example in the same book occurs when Narcissa Malfoy lies to Voldemort about Harry's death, thus protecting him, as her only remaining motivation is her love for Draco. It eventually leads to the Malfoy family being pardoned for their crimes.
- This is the defining trope of Harry Potter. If a character truly loves another, then they become at least somewhat sympathetic. Inversely, all of the characters who don't love are pure evil. There are very few exceptions to this rule in the series, but the most glaring one is Bellatrix Lestrange, who has a very powerful obsessive love for her master, Lord Voldemort, but is still quite evil, without a single sympathetic moment to her name.
- In Piers Anthony's Apprentice Adept series, the evil Tania falls in love with the protagonist Bane and has a Heel-Face Turn (and a serious personality change), though she ends marrying someone else as Bane is already married.
- This trope is a biggie in the 18th-century novel Pamela by Samuel Richardson, a book that intended to be about proper conduct. A young waiting-maid's mistress dies, and so the household is given over to her son, Mr. B, who quickly sets his sights on Pamela's "virtue." She manages to refuse his advances despite his hostile behavior and attempts to full-out rape her, and eventually decides to quit and return home. Only the carriage meant to take her home kidnaps her to one of Mr. B's other estates, where she is held prisoner with her virtue as the ransom. She endures more of his advances, until finally Mr. B reads the letters she's been writing detailing her imprisonment and just then realizes what a terrible human being he's been. He lets her go, but Pamela realizes she's in love and accepts his marriage proposal. And suddenly Mr. B has been supporting an illegitimate child all this time, so he's really a good guy, honest!
- In Tad Williams' Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series, Rebellious Princess Miriamele attempts to invoke this trope to bring her father, Unwitting Pawn Elias, back from the brink of releasing the Sealed Evil in a Can Storm King. It doesn't work, but after the summoning is interrupted by Simon and Camaris, he regains enough sanity to beg her to kill him. She does, saving the world.
- In the Dragonlance Legends trilogy, priestess Crysania believes that she can pull this off for dark wizard Raistlin. The actual redemption comes at the last second, in the form of Raistlin's estranged twin brother.
- This is heavily implied in the case of Richard and Alec's departure in The Privilege of the Sword.
- In White Fang, without actually redeeming himself as he retains his wolf instincs, White Fang becomes much less wild and violent after being adopted by Scott, the only master he grows to love.
- In the Sword of Truth series, both Denna and Nicci are redeemed by their love for Richard Rahl. Neither of them actually gets to be with him, as he was already with Kahlan, but Denna died shortly afterwards and Nicci clearly stated that I Want My Beloved to Be Happy.
- Many fans of Tales of the Frog Princess by E. D. Baker theorize that this happened to Garrid. When you think about it, it actually makes sense. Pre-Li'l: Cold, cunning, a liar, and something of a Jerkass. Post-Li'l: Funny, relaxed, Friendly Neighborhood Vampire, very helpful ally to have around. Depending on your view, he could also have qualified as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold all along— it just took Garrid falling for Li'l for it to show.
- In Death: Eve and Roarke certainly experience this from their relationship.
- Played With on an ongoing basis in The Dresden Files - love can save a White Court Vampire before their first feeding, but once their demon has asserted itself, love is merely dangerous. Harry tries to invoke this for Molly Carpenter, his apprentice. He tries to avert the romantic aspect of that as much as possible (for obvious, squicky reasons), but seems to have failed as of Ghost Stories.
- Turns out that it was true for Charity Carpenter as well, redeemed by her love for her husband.
- Averted for Shadowman, Susan Rodriguez, and the Denarians.
- Turns out that the Knights of the Cross exist to fulfill this trope, turning the hosts of the Denarians against their Fallen Angel. One of their swords is even named "The Sword of Love". Yeeesh. Don't think that they wont work with the occasional wizard who knows how to deliver the alternative for great justice.
- Trapped on Draconica: Two examples:
- Two more examples in the sequel, Legacy of the Dragokin:
- Zarracka becomes reluctantly heroic after meeting her nephew Benji
- The man that became Kthonia's husband was a Death Seeker and therefore Too Kinky to Torture. Eventually she fell for him and mellowed out.
- Crime and Punishment: Raskolnikov is on his way to redemption at the end of the novel, thanks to his relationship with Sofia.
- One of the most prominent themes in The Bible, with the Great Commandment in the New Testament being as love for God and love for your neighbor meaning ultimate redemption.
- In The Phantom of Manhattan (a sequel to The Phantom of the Opera), Erik, the titular Phantom, realizes that his love for his son Pierre is a greater one than what he has for Christine, and when it is reciprocated he makes a full Heel Face Turn.
- This is a common theme in Francine Rivers’ novels, especially The Mark of the Lion trilogy and—as you’d expect—Redeeming Love.
- In Simon R. Green's book Hex In The City, a man called Sinner (who has been rejected by both Heaven and Hell, and as such must walk the earth eternally) and his succubus soulmate Pretty Poison are being attacked, and Sinner shields her with his body. As his body is being chipped away, piece by piece, by the constant attacks, Pretty Poison comprehends the notions of self-sacrifice and love, and instead moves to shield him with her own body. Cue a pillar of light that transforms her to her pre-Fall angelic state,and both are forgiven and raised to Heaven."Come with me, to Paradise," said the angel to the man called Sinner. "For you have been found worthy, as have I."
- The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey uses this trope when dealing with Evan Walker, who is a Silencer, who basically roams the countryside shooting people until he falls in love with Cassie.
- This happens to Dime Novel villain Zanoni the Woman Wizard. Arch-Enemy Dr Quartz once kidnapped Nick Carter and brainwashed him into thinking that he was an invalid married to Zanoni. Nick's kind treatment of Zanoni made her fall in love with him and reform.
- The Japanned Box, a non-Sherlock Holmes short story by Arthur Conan Doyle, recounts a tutor's discovery of his employer's dark secret. In his past, the lord was a drunk and a hellion, until his since-deceased wife inspired him to reform. The titular box contains a phonograph recording of her last words, begging him not to lapse into his old ways of drinking and hell-raising. Determined to hold himself to his promise and unable to abide being pitied, the man regularly locks himself away and listens to the recording. By the time of the story his mania for secrecy leaves his servants speculating wildly about the mysterious woman's voice they keep hearing.
Live Action TV
- Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. There's a reason he's the Trope Namer for Friendly Neighborhood Vampire.
- In a Real Life example from Survivor, Jonny Fairplay was recently invited back onto the show for its latest season, Fans vs. Favorites. Fans who remember Fairplay from the season he previously appeared on, Pearl Islands, remember him as a deplorable bastard who went so far as to lie about his grandmother's death to win an immunity challenge. During Fans vs. Favorites, however, he was noticeably subdued, mentioning his girlfriend and his unborn child several times, and then getting himself voted off the island so that he could return and be with them.
- In Battlestar Galactica, Athena was supposed to seduce Helo into impregnating her so her race could get their hands on a human/cylon hybrid. However, she switches allegiances when she realizes that she had fallen in love with him. Caprica-Six starts a movement to change the Cylon plan because she's in love with Dr. Baltar.
- In The Plan, we see that the titular plan of the Cylons unraveled because so many of them fell in love with humans and switched sides.
- Doctor Who:
- This trope is supposedly what caused the Ninth Doctor to not be totally depressed/suicidal/batshit insane after the Time War because he met Rose.
- It is because of how strong Amy and Rory love each other that Rory is able to come back to life with his soul and overcomes his impulses to kill. A bit too late for Amy, but she too gets better.
- It runs in the family. River Song is redeemed from being a purely heartless and brainwashed killer by love.
- Damon Salvatore becomes less of a villain around the time he begins to fall in love with Elena.
- Kamen Rider has a few examples:
- In Kamen Rider Double, Ryu Terui loses his craze for vengeance partly because of his love for Akiko.
- Kamen Rider Ryuki's Ren/Knight claims that his fiancée is the reason he gave up his previous life of delinquency and petty crime. He ultimately enters the Rider War to save her.
- In Kamen Rider Decade, Natsumi's influence over Tsukasa is a major reason why he ultimately stops being the Destroyer of Worlds.
- In Kamen Rider OOO Ankh is ultimately redeemed through his friendships with Eiji (who appears to love him in a True Companions way) and Hina (who has grown to love him as much as her brother, whose body Ankh was possessing.) This allows him to sacrifice himself by giving his last Medal for Eiji to defeat Maki.
- Psych has one in Season 2, Episode 11: "There's Something About Mira", though it's a major part of the plot: Mira's fiancée, Jann, was a con man whose job was to romance Mira and have her marry him on a beach, then leave her at the altar while he and his partner robbed her family's winery. Unfortunately, Jann actually fell in love with Mira and couldn't go through with the plan, and doubly unfortunately, that leads to a Heel Face Door Slam...or something close to it.
- Subverted on American Horror Story: Murder House. Tate is a total sociopath who has done terrible things. Then he falls in love with Violet and begins to turn around. However, when Violet finds out about the terrible things he's done she dumps him and the finally remorseful Tate is left alone. That ends up being his punishment for his behavior.
- On Orphan Black, Delphine's love for Cosima leads her to betray the Neolutionists.
- Rosie from Wizards of Waverly Place.
- A human recruited to be a demon keeps his humanity by being reminded of his love for his mother.
- For the most part, this series shows that demons' efforts to become good will be rejected by both sides. The most glaring example is Cole, though he's a double-subverted case. Initially his love for Phoebe leads him to do good, but the evil side never stopped trying to drag him back, and eventually that ends with Phoebe ending their relationship, in spite of still loving him. Cole goes mad, eventually resulting in his death; only in the tie-in comics is their relationship mended, Cole understanding that he was never right for Phoebe. So, in the end, love did redeem him.
- Subversion 1: A Darklighter named Alex was assigned to kill a human named Daisy who was a future Whitelighter. Instead, he fell in love with her…but she rejected him when she found out what he was, and Leo also intervened, refusing to believe that any Darklighter was capable of love.
- Subversion 2: Drazi, a demon of hatred, fell in love with a human. Cupid redirected that human to love someone else, and Drazi retaliated by stealing Cupid's magic ring and using it to spread hatred instead of love.
- Once Upon a Time Tying into the overall theme of true love is the most powerful magic of all, this applies to both Regina and Rumpelstiltskin. Both of them have a certain amount of Love Makes You Evil as well.
- Regina's love for her son Henry, and desire to be loved by him, is what lead to her redeeming herself.
- The same motivations for Rumpelstiltskin for Belle and his son Neal.
- Subverted for Jimmy Jacobs, leading to The Age of the Fall angle in Ring of Honor. Jimmy fell madly in love with his manager, Lacey; after she eventually came around and told him that she loved him too, he crossed the Despair Event Horizon when he realized that her love didn't redeem him, or make him feel any less hollow, or magically turn him into a better person. Quite dark and heavy stuff, if you think about it.
- Exalted gives us the Abyssals, the result of what happens when Solar Exaltations are corrupted to serve the cause of death by the Neverborn. There's just one small problem — those Solar shards still have bonded Lunar mates. And where an Abyssal usually picks up Resonance from engaging in "lively" activities (e.g., siring children, having sex with the living), they accrue none of it if they're with their Lunar mate. Oh, and since the Neverborn stripped out the Great Curse to make way for Resonance, if the Lunar manages to actually redeem the Abyssal back into being a Solar... they now have no psychological limitations that would directly drive them towards being nanners. Good show, dead gods.
- Return of the Scarlet Empress also suggests that the Yozis will run into a similar problem with their corrupted Solars, the Infernals. Once their work gets underway, odds are likely that quite a few of them are going to rediscover their bond with the Lunars and turn their back on the Reclamation.
- Two Pathfinder adventure paths exist, so far, that include romanceable, redeemable monster NPCS.
- Magic: The Gathering: During the "Nemesis" storyline, Belbe - a Phyrexian built to resemble a murdered elf - turns from them and becomes heroic due to her relationship with Ertai, a recurring character and former Weatherlight crew member, leading to Redemption Equals Death when the father of the elf in question kills her. And how does Ertai react to his girlfriend moving to the side of the angels? He defects to Phyrexia pretty much immediately after her death.
- Knights of the Old Republic contains both straight and subverted examples:
- A male protagonist can redeem Bastila more easily if they've fallen in love during the game. However, if you fail, she tells you that her feelings for you helped to hasten her fall to the Dark Side. However, if the male protagonist chooses to go Dark Side then him and Dark Side Bastila go on to become a happy little Sith couple, thus subverting the trope again.
- Meanwhile, if a female protagonist turns to the Dark Side, Carth attempts to offer her a Last-Second Chance. The official version of the game subverts the trope at this point, as the PC can't be redeemed through Carth's love and the player's only options are to have the PC kill him herself or to allow Bastila to cut him down. A third option cut from the official release, however, would have allowed the PC to be redeemed.
- This is also (in a more subdued manner, due to cuts fueled by Executive Meddling) shown in the sequel with Atton and the female Exile, if she's Light-Sided. Of course, if she's not Light-Sided...
- The sequel also contains Visas, who starts as a Sith apprentice and ends up abandoning her Sith ideology if the player is light-side. This is an example of the Power of Friendship if the player is female, though.
- Jolee's backstory subverts this trope. All the same, though, he maintains that love will save you, not condemn you; it's unrestrained passion that is dangerous.
- Neverwinter Nights contains an example near the end with Aribeth. That scene is so similar to the one mentioned in the Knights of the Old Republic section that it seems like they just rewrote some of the dialogue to make it make sense in the Star Wars context, in addition to recycling the character.
- Neverwinter Nights 2 has something like this with Neeshka if a male player has enough Influence with her in the ending sequence of the main campaign.
- And in Mask of the Betrayer, love is the primary thing that gives people the strength to challenge the monsterous injustice of the Wall of the Faithless.
- And the cut conclusion for Bishop's romance arc.
- Subverted in A Dance with Rogues if the Princess romances Vico. He begins to treat her much nicer then and looks after her, but remains the same bloodthirsty killer as before and doesn't change his beliefs or ways.
- Jaffar in Fire Emblem 7 was a heartless killer until he met Plucky Girl Nino. His newfound ability to feel led him to rescue her from assassins and (if they get enough support conversations) eventually fall in love with her.
“How in blazes did you get me to... love you? If you're trying to make a new man of me, it's... working.”
- One of the protagonist's love interests in Baldur's Gate II is Viconia DeVir who, being a drow, has an evil alignment. However, a non-evil protagonist can eventually convince her to change her alignment to True Neutral in Throne of Bhaal.
- Averted in Breath of Fire IV. The Big Bad, Fou-lu, is beginning to nurse a soft spot for the girl that took care of him when he's injured. The girl, Mami, tried holding off soldiers from the Empire that are hunting Fou-lu just so he can escape, and gets captured herself. She's later used as a Sacrificial Lamb for the Nightmare Fueled Carronade, aimed at Fou-lu himself. Even before the cannon was fired at him, Fou-lu feels compelled to Kill 'em All more than ever...
- Super Robot Wars Original Generation give Wodan Ymir Sanger Zonvolt's clone redemption in this manner. He originally was given the mission of protecting "Magus" as a way of tethering his persona and keeping him under control, but when he actually fell hard for her, his creator, Lemon, more or less told him to follow his own will and do what he thought was right. As a result, he does a Heel-Face Turn, joins up with Sanger, and together kick an EPIC amount of ass, with Wodan dying, but having the eternal respect of Sanger, the woman he loved protected (and Sanger taking up the mission to do so in Wodan's place per dying request), and he got to die as his own person, not just an enslaved construct.
- Zevran Arainai in Dragon Age: Origins.
- But subverted for Morrigan. She sees this trope coming and backpedals desperately to stay a bitch.
- The sequel viciously subverts this with Anders. As his sanity slips away and Vengeance corrupts him further and further, he pleads with Hawke to help him find the ingredients to create a potion that will separate him from his demon side. It turns out that the ingredients are actually components for a bomb, and Hawke's love has made him/her an unwitting accomplice rather than his redeemer. The same thing happens whether or not you romance him, but it hurts a lot more when it telegraphs and then snatches away this trope.
- Jack/Subject Zero in Mass Effect. Golly, Bioware loves this one.
- There's also Thane Krios, although he was aware of this trope before he meets Shepard, with his wife, who dies. Although it can be presented to him again, if a female Shepard decides to romance him.
- Virgil from Xenosaga. What makes this interesting is that the person that made him have a case of Love Hurts (Febronia) is also the one that redeems him.
- Count Bleck/Blumiere in Super Paper Mario actually ends up saving the world more or less thanks to this. After being reunited with his true love that he previously thought was dead, he pulls a Heel-Face Turn that is powerful enough to recharge the Pure Hearts and break the Final Boss's invincibility.
- In the DS remake of Dragon Quest IV, beating the boss at the end of the Bonus Dungeon for the first time allows the player to obtain a Yggdrasill flower, which is used to resurrect Rose, the Big Bad's girlfriend. Bringing her to where Psaro was will not only cause him to revert back to his normal self after a nice flashback, but he will join your party.
- Implied to be the reason why Richard Ames allowed Nastasha Romanenko to live through the operation as well as supply evidence against the Patriots in Metal Gear Solid 2's in-game novel: In the Darkness of Shadow Moses: The Unofficial Truth. Suffice to say, he also ended up paying for it dearly for it in the game when the Patriots decided to off him during the Big Shell Incident.
- A probably platonic example may be found in the Ace Attorney series with Phoenix and Edgeworth. Phoenix's devotion to and faith in Edgeworth is what prompts the latter's Heel-Face Turn.
- Played straight and subverted in Red Dead Redemption, as John Marston's love for his family ultimately leads him to evacuate his wife and son while the army guns him down, knowing that they won't be safe until it's over. Subverted in that Jack was corrupted by the time he spent with John, using the lessons he learned to become a man like his father, exactly what John died trying to prevent.
- In Radiant Historia, the true ending of the game has the Big Bad Heiss finally accepting his place as the Sacrifice to spare Stocke, whom he truly loved as a nephew, the same fate.
- In Dark Souls Eingyi was a nasty little joker, and is implied to be the reason why the swamp below Blighttown is poisonous. However, after meeting the Fair Lady and her saving his life at the expense of her own health, he happily resigned himself to serving the Ill Girl faithfully and carrying her eggs for her.
- In Quest for Glory IV, the Big Bad is Katrina, a mysterious young woman who is the very first character you meet in the game. Towards the end of the game she is revealed to be an extremely powerful wizard and vampire known as the Dark Master, who seeks to release the Dark One, Avoozl, and throughout the game she slowly attempts to seduce the Hero into helping her. However you eventually learn that she truly fell in love with the Hero, and she ultimately sacrifices her life to protect him when Ad Avis attempts to kill him.
- In Borderlands 2, Krieg the Psycho's motivation for joining the Vault Hunters? The sane side of him is in love with Maya, and thinks that she might be able to, one day, help him at like a normal person again, instead of a rampaging lunatic who constantly screams about riding bicycles made of meat.
Now tell her "thank you". Tell her that because of her, we might actually one day be able to act like a normal person
(threateningly) I POWDERED MY COCKATIEL FOR THE RIBCAGE SLAUGHTER!
, then Maya smiles at him.) Good!Krieg:
(understandably surprised and delighted at the same time) Heh... Close enough.
- Back to the Future: When Marty and Doc return to 1986 at the end of the game, Edna Strickland and Kid Tannen are happily married and have changed for the better.
- Sacred: One of the Player Characters is a Dark Elf warrior who sets out with a bunch of mates to capture a sacrifice. They end up taking a Wood Elf (also a Player Character) prisoner, but as they're carting her back to her grisly fate, the Dark Elf ends up developing a bit of affection towards his newfound captive. He eventually betrays his comrades and sets her free, before becoming a full-blown Defector from Decadence.
- In the Resident Evil series it's implied Ada's meeting with Leon (and her feelings for him) are what changed her from a spy who works for the highest bidder to a full-blown Anti-Hero.
Ada: Something about the meeting with Leon changed me...
- Inverted and then played straight in Fate/stay night. Sakura, the heroine of Heaven's Feel, is possessed by the Bigger Bad when her confusion over Shirou returning her feelings makes her vulnerable to its influence. Played straight in that she gets better because Shirou and even her sister don't abandon her.
- Kohaku in Tsukihime when you finally find out how messed up she is and then get the chance at her path. She almost lampshades it at the end of Hisui's route where she notes rather calmly that if Shiki hadn't confused the behavior of her in the past for Hisui now and given her back the ribbon she would have called off her plan.
- In Yo-Jin-Bo, Ittosai is slowly redeemed by your love for him if you choose his path.
- The (unknown) kidnapper is one of the potential love interests in Nicole, and if you end up taking his route, he'll be wracked with guilt over his actions and one step away from being Driven to Suicide. Nicole convinces him to turn himself in order to atone for what he's done. In all other endings, he's a Smug Snake when he reveals himself.
- Tyrna can try this one on Loric in Sword Daughter, believing that he's not too far gone to be turned onto the right path. It ends badly.
- In the final part of Demonology 101 Isaac Jenner agrees to give up on what has been up until then his driving motivation, namely killing his older brother Gabriel in order to become the head of the Jenner family, as part of a deal with The Hero to save the life of Madeline, a demon whom he has fallen in love with. He keeps his promise, and does not bother the protagonists again (though he is still evil enough to get married on labor day weekend).
- Of all comics, Sinfest took this route with Fuschia, one of the Devil's "Booth Babes", as falling for Criminy has made being evil considerably less fun for her. She asks him to re-read a story that's been altered to feature her redemption.◊
- Arthur, King of Time and Space gives a glimpse of this in the science fiction arc when one strip follows Morgan down the years in her plots to tear Arthur's kingship apart. She eventually realizes that Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere genuinely love each other too much to be jealous at the love triangle, and asks herself, "I wonder what that's like?" Realizing that such love exists, and wanting it, will ultimately redeem her and bring her to join the Round Table.
- Vriska in Homestuck got this in her conversations with John.
- In The Order of the Stick, Haley's a complicated example. She was already Chaotic-Good— ish, as she put it, in obedience to her mother's Last Request. But meeting Elan, she found, made her able to be a better person.
- Supervillainess Sahar in the Whateley Universe. She has a psychic ability to - once she's seduced a Psi - get so close that she can learn to copy that Psi's best 'knacks'. This makes her a ruthless femme fatale, until she falls in love with a mark, Zenith. She doesn't know how to handle that. So it takes a different kind of love - friendship - to get her to finish her Heel-Face Turn. And she gets Zenith back.
- In Survival of the Fittest, John Rizzolo pulls a Heel-Face Turn when the lover he's been after the whole time, Emma Babineux, kisses him. Cruelly subverted when Rizzolo reveals he was just using that as a way to get Emma in a vulnerable position, and proceeds to stab her and then shoot her in the head.
- Played rather straight in A Very Potter Musical with Voldemort and Quirrell, but when it comes to Draco, it may qualify as a Zig-Zagging Trope.
- My Immortal has Enoby travel back in time to seduce Voldemort in order to invoke this trope. Subverted when she gets Satan and Hedwig back together.
- "Follow That Bird" was the review that changed The Nostalgia Critic from a bigoted Straw Critic who hated everything, to a messed up manchild who would like nothing more than movies to give him pleasure for once.
- One of the two big bads of The Delta State begins to develop feelings for Philip early in the series. It evolves from that to her intentionally not spotting him when she and Sven are looking for them, to her full on taking a shot for him and joining their side. Unfortunately it's pretty short-lived.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Mai, out of love for Zuko, aids his and Sokka's escape from the Boiling Rock. She even tells Azula that she loves Zuko more than she fears her. When Azula tries to kill her for that defiance, Ty Lee blocks Azula's chi out of love for Mai. Both end up prisoners, but their platonic and romantic love outweighing their fear of her spelled the beginning of the end for Avatar's favorite Magnificent Bastard. Oh dear God(s), was it ever.
- To a lesser extent, Kevin Levin from Ben 10: Alien Force. According to his character profile on Cartoon Network's new MMO, Fusionfall, his fondness for Gwen is keeping him in check.
- Gargoyles' David Xanatos started his lengthy path to redemption (or at least relative neutrality) after admitting his love for Fox.
- His love of his and Fox's son Alexander also plays a part; after Goliath saves his son from Oberon, he becomes determined to repay the gargoyles for their help. While Goliath isn't willing to fully forgive or forget everything Xanatos has done up to that point, he is willing to give Xanatos the benefit of the doubt because knows first-hand that having a child can change a person for the better.
- The Venture Bros.: Word of God has stated that The Monarch and Dr. Girlfriend are meant to be a subversion - they are still irredeemably evil even if they do have a loving, functional relationship. The fandom, however, tends to ignore their Moral Event Horizon moments and assume that this trope is in effect. It helps that said moments are usually absolutely hilarious.
- The basic moral of Despicable Me.
- ReBoot. Matrix's love for AndrAIa is really the only thing that kept him from becoming a complete psychopath during the Time Skip in the games. Shes also the only person that can reliably get him to calm down when his short temper gets the better of him.
- In the series finale of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, the Omnicidal Maniac Spider-Carnage regains his sanity for a brief moment when he meets the Uncle Ben of another alternate universe (all of the alternate universes have critical differences in Peter's life, in this one the big difference is that Ben didn't die). Sadly, the Carnage symbiote's grip on his mind is too strong, so he throws himself into another dimension separate from all others to keep his bomb from destroying all reality.
- Although not "evil", Kimmy The Cheerleader in Sym-Bionic Titan was at first an Alpha Bitch and quite mean to Ilana. She was trying to persuade Newton to do her homework for her, but when he convinced her she's not as shallow or dumb as she thinks she is, she falls in love with him and ends up becoming his girlfriend. She starts to get along with Lance and Ilana after that as well.
- Aladdin: The Series:
- The Lilo & Stitch: The Series episode "Angel" features Stitch falling in love with the titular experiment, except that she's using him to get to the other reformed experiments to turn them evil again. In the however, she's touched by Stitch's devotion and goes against Gantu. Though she's taken away at the end of the episode, in the end, she's rescued in the Grand Finale, along with the other experiments that were captured by Gantu.