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The Kindnapper
In Real Life, kidnapping is recognized as a criminal act and it is not considered nice at all to abduct someone. However, there will be that person who does just that and sees the act as a kindness to the victim. The modus operandi of the Kindnapper will vary according to the work and intended audience, but he invariably fulfills these requirements:
  1. He has kidnapped one or more people and
  2. The kidnapper's reason for having abducted said person or people, involves a belief that it is a benevolent act toward his victim(s).

Male pronouns will be used throughout this trope because the Kindnapper is traditionally a male role due to its usual associations with Abduction Is Love and Captive Date, though there are also female examples.

Expect the Kindnapper's victim(s) to be in a Gilded Cage to highlight his good intentions. The Kindnapper usually intends to woo his victim, make them a better person, make them happy, take them on a date, or even just to keep them in the Gilded Cage! Scenarios where the victim(s) come to think of their kidnapper as a benefactor go under Stockholm Syndrome. Sometimes the Kindnapper's victim(s) develop Stockholm Syndrome, but not always. the Kindnapper thinks of himself as kind and that's all that counts in order for him to count as one. The most sympathetic portrayals of this kind of kindnapping will highlight the Kindnapper's good intentions, but also make it clear that abducting people is no way to actually be kind. This type is otherwise known as The Obviously Misguided Kindnapper due to the dearth of portrayals of this type of kindnapping being portrayed as actually benevolent. Many of those that you will find in the Real Life section are of this type.

Another flavor of the Kindnapper is usually seen kidnapping someone to protect them from an immediate threat of being maimed, raped, tortured, or killed. Yes, in these cases, it actually was benevolent of him to save them from certain danger, even if it involved capturing them or transporting them against their will. However, these situations that somehow require for the endangered person to be abducted in order to successfully rescue them are highly implausible and are unlikely to occur in real life. Additionally, the fact that the kidnapping was done for the purposes of a rescue does not change the fact that the rescuee was taken away by surprise or force. This flavor of the Kindnapper is more likely to have a sympathetic portrayal. In some cases, it will be made clear that the rescuee was also a kidnap victim and he may even be called out on his actions, but you can reasonably expect this type's actions to be glossed over. Also known as The Heroic Kindnapper due to the fact that his particular brand of kindnapping is part of an act of undeniable heroism.

Compare the Well-Intentioned Extremist, who similarly uses a wide variety of questionable means in an attempt to do good on a large scale. In fact, part of his well-intentioned extremism may be kindnapping! See also Kidnapped by an Ally.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society this is one interpritation of The Puppetmaster's MO (since it hacks the cyberbrains of parents and forces them to hand over their children). Of course it got this idea from being built from part of The Major's psyche and she certainly doesn't approve...
  • In the Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney manga, Dreama Love kidnapped her young daughter Diana from Diana's abusive father and stepmother, hoping to run away with her so they could live in peace. Unfortunately, the stepmother tracked them down before they could do so and forcibly took Diana back.
  • One chapter of Franken Fran revolves around a young man who, long story short, ends up in the body of an amusement park mascot named "Nezura-san". He runs away, and befriends a little girl. Though uncomfortable about the whole thing, he at least accepts to escort her home... only to realize her stepfather is abusive, sexually abuses his stepdaughter, and is an overall asshole. So in order to protect the girl, "Nezura-san" kidnaps her and takes her away.

    Comicbooks 
  • The titular V of V for Vendetta by Alan Moore kidnaps Evey twice, and each time is meant to be for her own good. The first time is of the second type, in which he saves her from being raped and murdered by Fingermen (members of the government secret police) and takes her to his Shadow Gallery. The most notable is the second time, which is of the first kind, in which V puts her through an ordeal very much like the one he suffered, complete with torture, a Traumatic Haircut, and a threat of execution as a Secret Test of Character, which she passes. However, this is obviously meant to be horrifying to readers.
  • Silver Dagger, one of Doctor Strange's foes, is essentially a Type 1 imagining himself to be a Type 2. He once mortally injured Strange and abducted his lover Clea with the intent to "save her soul" from corruption by Strange's dark magic. (Silver Dagger is a darker sorcerer than Strange himself, but the irony is lost on him).
  • "Kind" may be a stretch, but the DCU has Kryb, a Sinestro Corps member who kidnaps the children of Green Lanterns (and murders the parents). She/He/It seems to care for the children though, carrying them around on her back and claiming to have "saved" them from their parents. Notably, a Star Sapphire who captured her claimed to detect genuine love for the children in Kryb's heart. Or nearest equivalent.

    Fan Fics 
  • Some Harry Potter fanfics feature Sirius Black becoming this to save Harry from the Dursleys. There's even one where Harry is kindnapped by Peter Pettigrew, whom Harry even forgives for the betrayal.
  • In the Rise of the Guardians fic Guardian of Light, Pitch kidnaps the main character, Helen, because she's his daughter and he believes she's better off with him than with the Guardians.
  • In the Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name fanfic Dead of Night, the Detective and Hanna are forced to kidnap rock idol Toni Ipres, after she's bitten by a werewolf and runs the risk of transforming and killing innocents if she's not locked up. Everyone, including those two, know it's a bad idea and apologize for it, but explain that things would have ended very badly if they hadn't.

    Films — Animated 
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington comes to love everything about Christmas so much that he wants to run the show himself! Of course, the one who already does run it hasn't shown signs of wanting to step down... So Jack decides to ask Lock, Shock, and Barrel to kidnap "Sandy Claws" from Christmas Town so that he's out of the way. But he clearly intends it to be a break for Santa, as evidenced by his telling Santa to consider it a vacation and a reward and sternly telling Lock, Shock, and Barrel to "see that he's comfortable" while Jack delivers the presents. However, Lock, Shock and Barrel have their own plans in mind for Santa...

    Films — Live-Action 
  • John Kramer, the Jigsaw Killer of the Saw film series, says that he kidnaps people and puts them in lethal deathtraps to teach them to appreciate their lives and help them overcome some "flaw" that he considers them to have.
  • Black Snake Moan. A man takes a woman prisoner because he believes it is his spiritual duty to heal her of her sinful ways and refuses to release her until he does so.
  • As noted below in Literature, Annie Wilkes from Misery. She finds Paul Sheldon, the main character and her favorite author, severely injured in the aftermath of a car accident, and decides to take him home with her and tend to his injuries herself since she's a trained nurse. However, the movie makes it look less like kidnapping and more like good old Annie Wilkes has just called his agent and is just having him stay in the guest room until the help she called arrives, and then Annie walks in and tells him that she never did tell anyone where he was and from that point on, it's clear that Paul is Alone with the Psycho.
  • The six of the titular brothers of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers who are bachelors at the beginning of the show are inspired to kidnap wives for themselves by the rape of the Sabine women, which they misinterpret as "sobbin' women." However, they do want to "make them sobbin' women smile" as well as end up marrying them.
  • In Darby O'Gill and the Little People, King Brian manipulates Darby's horse into knocking Darby himself down a well so that he'll go down into the leprechaun kingdom. Once Darby arrives there, King Brian doesn't intend to let him leave. The whole reason King Brian did this is because Darby has been kicked out of his house and he wants to provide Darby with a place to stay in the leprechaun kingdom instead. Note that he didn't ask Darby himself what he thought of this and the fact that Darby isn't willing, either.
  • The film version of V for Vendetta has V kidnap Evey twice just as in the original comics by Alan Moore, except with an Abduction Is Love angle to it as Evey falls in love with V over the course of the plot.
  • A Brainwashing for the Greater Good example in Drop Squad. A group of black Americans kidnaps and deprograms (brainwashes) blacks who are considered to have betrayed their race. The intent is to restore their pride in their own race (DROP stands for Deprogramming and Restoration of Pride). The movie justifies this by having the black man who's kidnapped working for a company that acts in an blatantly racist manner that would never be accepted in Real Life. Other kidnap victims include a corrupt politician and a drug dealer.
  • The protector of the Terminator Twosome in any film of the Terminator film franchise always ends up doing the second variant of kindnapping as part of protecting their assigned charge(s) from whatever Terminator has been sent back in time to kill them.
  • Tie Me Up!Tie Me Down! (Spanish: ˇÁtame!) - a 1990 Spanish dark romantic comedy written and directed by Pedro Almodóvar. Antonio Banderas is a recently released psychiatric patient who kidnaps Victoria Abril - a porn star with a on/off heroin habit - in the belief that he alone can make her happy and loved and that his destiny is to marry her and father her children.

    Literature 
  • Erik, The Phantom of the Opera, intends to make Christine his wife by any means necessary. He periodically kidnaps her and keeps her in a luxurious bedroom where she is comfortable and he gets pretty things for her. He is so nice to her that Christine shows obvious signs of Stockholm Syndrome.
  • Misery provides us with Annie Wilkes, who, upon finding Paul Sheldon, the protagonist and her favorite author, at the scene of a car accident, decides to take him home with her rather than at least attempt to call the hospital or for other emergency help. She's figured that since she's a trained nurse, she could take care of Paul herself! And she loves him, so surely he'll love her, too, once he gets to know her...
  • In the Donald E. Westlake novel Good Behavior, a millionaire hires a deprogrammer to "rescue" his daughter from the Catholic Church! (She had just taken her vows as a nun.)
  • This is the entire plot of Stolen by Lucy Christopher, with a kidnapper of the 'Obviously Misguided' variety.
  • Bard Lynell in Mercedes Lackey's Heralds of Valdemar novels kindnapped the young singer Stefen to get him off the streets before something horrible happened to him. She didn't bother to explain herself at the time, so he thought he'd been sold into slavery or worse. Later he confessed that he was grateful for her intervention.
    • Lackey uses the idea again in her urban fantasy series, where the angelic seelie elves have their reputation for stealing children because of this.
  • In Alice in Wonderland, Alice kidnaps the Duchess' baby, sure that leaving a baby with a madwoman would be akin to murder. The baby soon turns into a pig, absolving her of responsibility.
  • In Eclipse, Edward bribes Alice to confine Bella to their house and monitor her at all times while he's out hunting, because he feels she'd be "unsafe" and surely go off with Jacob (who he feels is far too dangerous, as a werewolf). How justified this reasoning is is contested.

    Live-Action TV 
  • On an episode of Law & Order, a mentally-unbalanced woman kidnaps a young girl from a neglectful mother and keeps her in a secret room in her basement. At the end of the episode the woman is acquitted of kidnapping and is planning on suing for custody of the girl.
  • Soap: Jodie's daughter Wendy is kidnapped by her mother Carol. Whether for Rule of Drama or Hollywood Law, apparently the authorities can't do anything about it "because she's her mother" DESPITE the fact that Carol sued for custody and lost prior to the kidnapping.
  • Bones: The case of the week involves a kidnapped child, who it turns out has been kidnapped by his father, who thinks his ex-wife is an unfit mother. The father changes the child's name and hair color to hide him at his cousin's house.
  • The kidnapper in The X-Files episode "Unruhe" kidnapped and lobotomized his victims to free them from the eponymous "Disquiet" (in German).
  • Criminal Minds has multiple examples of these.
    • The unsub in the episode "Today I Do". She even says to one of her victims, "I want to help you fix yourself."
    • Another episode focused on a guy who kidnapped multiple women. He treated each one of them to a romantic evening that would go well until she rejected him when they got to the bathtub part. Then things got ugly...
  • A later episode of House has House kidnapping his Jerkass amputee neighbor who suffers from chronic phantom limb pain. He straps him down, sticks his missing arm in a mirror box that creates the illusion that he has two arms again and orders him to "open" his missing hand to release the tension. It worked, and the neighbor broke down in tears thanking him.
  • Sherlock has Mycroft, who always kidnaps John Watson whenever he needs to meet with him. The most significant example is in A Study In Pink, where he's forced get into a suspicious car with no knowledge of where he's being taken, in order to meet Mycroft in an abandoned building so the latter could offer John money to spy on Sherlock, citing the reason as: "I worry about him... Constantly."
  • In an episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the Connors kidnap a little boy in order to protect him from the Terminator that is hunting for him. Sarah ends up getting quite attached to him, and vice versa.
  • Shark: One of the defendants prosecuted by Sebastian Stark claims to be one. It was a lie he tricked the child into believing.
  • The Legend Of William Tell: Will and the others take Vara from the Citadel against her will in the first episode. They're protecting her from Xax, who's one step away from arranging an accident and taking her crown, but she considers it kidnapping for at least another episode and makes several attempts to escape from them.
  • The Equalizer. A woman abducts the child of a Mafia boss out of revenge. When McCall tracks down the room where the child is being held, the kidnapper tries using the child as a Human Shield but McCall calls her bluff, pointing out from the way the room has been decorated that she loves children and Would Not Hurt A Child.

    Music 
  • Jonathan Coulton's "Skullcrusher Mountain" involves a Mad Scientist who kidnaps his lady love for a date after unsuccessfully attempting to woo her with his scientific talents.
  • "Hocus Pocus" by Gumi and Miku is about a woman who abducts a young girl to save her from her Abusive Parents, having recognized the signs from her own abused childhood. Even though the police eventually find and arrest Gumi for what she's done, she's okay with it since the investigation brings Miku's abuse to light and ensures that she'll be able to have a happy life now.

    Video Games 
  • Taro Namatame from Persona 4 kidnapped people who appear in the Midnight Channel and threw them into the TV world, having the misguided belief that it will "save" them from being killed, when in reality it was the other way around.
  • One of the most popular interpretations of the goblin babysnatchers in Dwarf Fortress. Depending on the player's treatment of dwarven children, this belief may not be unfounded.
  • The Al Bhed in Final Fantasy X were kidnapping Summoners and their guardians. While this is portrayed as being a negative thing and used as justification for the Yevon church to attack them, their kidnapping is justified because completing the pilgrimage and performing the Final Summoning will kill the summoner (if they don't die during the pilgrimage itself) and Sin will be recreated, and the Al Bhed seek to eliminate Sin for good without the Final Summoning.

    Web Original 
  • One of the theories about the Slender Man is that he kidnaps children who are going to die in an accident

    Webcomics 
  • Amical of morphE acquired a group of potential students and after their initiation exam, told them that they would have to live with him and learn magic or try to leave and see their slave collars explode around their neck. It is clear that this is not the first group of captives he has acquired and he acts very confident in believing that they will warm to him in time.

    Western Animation 
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "A Bird In The Hoof", Fluttershy kidnaps Princess Celestia's pet phoenix, thinking it to be sick and planning to nurse it back to health. It's just getting ready to regenerate.
  • In X-Men: Evolution Gambit kidnaps Rogue with her happiness or so he says in mind.
    • In an earlier episode, Blob kidnaps Jean to force her to have a date with him. He sets up a nice dinner and some music...in an abandoned warehouse where she's tied to the chair with metal bars.

    Real Life 
  • Josef Fritzl infamously lured his 18 year old daughter Elisabeth into the house cellar, where he locked her up in the bunker he had been building for several years beforehand and raped her enough times that she gave birth to seven children and had one miscarriage. He says that he kept Elisabeth down there to keep her away from the outside world and considers himself to have been a good father to the incestuous, ill-gotten family he kept down there. His descriptions of his relationship with Elisabeth and the three of their children he kept in the bunker make it seem like they were a second nuclear family for him, with Elisabeth as the wife that he brought flowers to and had consensual sex with.
  • There are several examples of parents hiring "deprogrammers" to kidnap their children from cults and religious sects with the intent to un-[[Brainwashed brainwash]] them. Unsurprisingly, this practice has been used as a source of drama in multiple works.
  • In January 2010, a group of American Baptists were caught attempting to take 33 Haitian children across the border into the Dominican republic, despite their protests and requests to be taken to their parents and relatives.
  • In March 2011, Teresa McGee kidnapped two boys she had babysat with the intention of protecting them from their father.
  • Many Native Americans had to teach their children how to hide so they wouldn't be abducted by white people and taken to boarding schools with the intention of assimilating them into white culture by way of separating them from their tribes and families and subjecting them to abuse for failing to adopt white ways.
    • There are also several accounts of the reverse, in which colonial children were taken as Replacement Goldfish for Native American family members killed in the war with the whites and forced to adopt Native American culture. However, some of the later apparently became happy with the situation and unwilling to return.
  • Edgardo Montara was forcibly removed from his Jewish family by police after he was baptized by a Catholic servant. This was in the Papal States, which did not allow non-Christians to raise a Christian child (as he was considered after baptism)-even if it was their own child.


Keep The RewardKnight In Shining TropesKnight Errant
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