The Karmic Equation of Evil Actions, Consequences, Morality and Mortality states that:
The Immorality of an action (I) times the Success of the action (S) equals the mortality of someone close to the evildoer (M).To put it more simply, if Alice is associated with Bob the Villain, her chances of dying increase in direct proportion to the evilness of Bob's actions and/or the closeness of their association. If he's VERY evil and they're VERY close, then she's VERY dead. But if he's very evil and she's not that close to him, or if they're very close but he's never done worse than Poke the Poodle, she'll be fine. The driving force behind this trope is that it provides karma by proxy for a villain who might otherwise be untouchable. If Bob is the main character, his Plot Armor protects him, but he still deserves his comeuppance for his deeds. Thus the penalty falls on Alice, costing him someone he cares about. If Bob is an established villain and we are seeing his Start of Darkness, we already know that he'll survive — but if his loyal bodyguard is killed by an enraged mother with a crossbow, it provides the sense of justice, albeit thwarted, that the viewers crave. Conversely, heroes tend to cast a protective force on their friends and loved ones. This is because The Hero will ALWAYS save his or her friends in the Sadistic Choice of the Friend or Idol Decision, or in the choice between power and love, or in the choice between his loved ones and just about anything. However, the equation goes both ways. Sometimes, even the most kind and loving All-Loving Hero can get downright scary when those close to them are in danger. Once you've kicked the hero's loves ones off a cliff, you can expect the hero to do things that he wouldn't even consider otherwise.
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