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Villainous Crush

Just fear me. Love me. Do as I say, and I shall be your slave.
Jareth the Goblin King to Sarah, Labyrinth

This trope applies whenever a villainous character has romantic and/or sexual feelings for a heroic one.

If this crush takes a turn for the perverse, this can lead to tropes like I Have You Now, My Pretty, Forceful Kiss, Bathe Her and Bring Her to Me, And Now You Must Marry Me, Scarpia Ultimatum, and Go-Go Enslavement, although none of those require a Villainous Crush. Additionally, the villain may become a Stalker with a Crush. If the crush itself is a motivating factor in their Start of Darkness, then it's Love Makes You Evil.

Conversely, this trope can be played as a humanizing factor, making the character into more of an Anti-Villain, and the love interest may act as a Morality Pet. Taken all the way, it may become Love Redeems.

If the feelings are mutual or an actual relationship develops, then it's Dating Catwoman instead. When this is purely subtextual, see Foe Romance Subtext. The specific variant when the Evil Empress captures the hero to seduce him is Villainesses Want Heroes.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Esdese of Akame ga Kiru! sees the main protagonist Tatsumi as her perfect ideal man and is blindly in love with him. The problem is she is a completely insane sadist who massacres and tortures people with glee and Tatsumi is a member of a group trying to topple the country she is a leader of.
  • Road towards Allen in D.Gray-Man. She even kisses him at one point.
  • In episode 4 of Meitantei Holmes, Professor Moriarty kidnaps Mrs. Hudson to get to Holmes, but she's so kind that he soon develops a serious crush on her himself. When the plan eventually fails, he releases her and promises never to involve her in one of his schemes again.
  • The whole deal in InuYasha would have NOT started if the thief Onigumo didn't fall in love with Kikyou, then made a Deal with the Devil that transformed him into none other than Naraku...
    • Also from the same series, Jakotsu towards Inu-Yasha himself, and Mukotsu towards Kagome.
  • Happens more than once in Sailor Moon, where villains of both genders were attracted either to Usagi (Seijuuro/Alan, Prince Diamond) or to Mamoru (Queen Beryl, Natsumi/Anne, manga!Dark Lady, anime!Fish Eye, anime!Nehelenia).
  • Vampire Hunter D. Vampire lord Count Magnus Lee desires the human girl Doris Lang, but she only has eyes for the title hero.
  • Everybody's got a crush on Elie in Rave Master, even the psycho Lucia, who stole her first kiss, leaving her in tears.
  • Rido from Vampire Knight was obsessed with his sister Juri and then subsequently with her daughter, Yuuki.
  • In Go Lion, Prince Sincline is obsessed with Princess Fala from the first time he sees her. This carries over to Voltron, where they are Prince Lotor and Princess Allura.
  • Outlaw Star: Harry towards Melfina.
  • Full Metal Panic!: Gauron towards Sousuke and Leonard towards Kaname.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ: Haman Khan seems to have one of these on Judau Ashta, while Glemmy Toto has one on Roux. In each case the "relationship" is deeply messed up and the heroic individual ends up being responsible in some way for their admirer's death.
  • From Tokyo Mew Mew, Kisshu to Ichigo.
  • Creed from Black Cat owns this trope. His crazy rampaging crush on Train is so obvious that everyone notices it... except Train.
  • This is what Neil Regan actually feels for Candy White Andree in Candy Candy. Near the end of the series we're briefly fooled into thinking this will lead to Love Redeems... but he tries to pull a Scarpia Ultimatum instead.
    • Also, Neil's sister Elisa has a brief one on Candy's second love interest Terry. He couldn't care less and humiliates her for being mean to Candy.

    Comicbooks 
  • Rather infamously in Spider-Man Sins Past, Norman Osborn took a shine to Gwen Stacy. And by that it means he impregnated her, then murdered her to get the super-fast aging children.
    • Actually, the Green Goblin didn't murder her to get the children. Remember, he didn't hunt down Gwen and kidnap her, he captured her simply because she was at Peter Parker's apartment, and wanted to use her as leverage against Spider-Man. Had Gwen been his actual target, he would have gone to her residence.
    • The Jackal's entire motivation was that he was in love with Gwen Stacy.
  • In Marvel comics, the villain Whirlwind has a huge crush on The Wasp. He even posed as her limo driver once.
  • Umar, Doctor Strange villainess and sister to Dormammu has a huge crush on The Hulk. She actually kept him as her love-slave for a while, but whether that counts as Dating Catwoman or Black Comedy Rape is debated. They've been reunited since.
  • In his short lived series in the 70s, The Joker fell in love with one Dinah Lance note . He realizes he only has two choices, force her to marry him or kill her because he won't be able focus on his crimes if he's thinking about her.
    • Also in Batman, Two-Face had a long-standing obsession with Renee Montoya.

    Fan Fic 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Ming the Merciless seemed pretty hung up on Dale Arden in Flash Gordon.
  • Mr. Barnaby (the Crooked Little Man) for Contrary Mary (or Mary Contrary, in the Disney version) in Victor Herbert's Babes in Toyland and the analogous Little Bo-Peep in March Of The Wooden Soldiers, the Laurel and Hardy version
  • Subverted in The Princess Bride. It appears that Prince Humperdinck is in love with Buttercup, but it turns out that he just wants to marry her so he can arrange for her to be killed and then use her death to justify a war with the scapegoats.
  • Dark Helmet for Princess Vespa in Spaceballs, from what you can tell in the scene where he plays with his action figures.
  • Rippner to Lisa in Red Eye.
  • Joker for Vicki Vale in Batman.
    • While we're at it, the Riddler seems to have a bit of one on Chase Meridian in Batman Forever - when he's not crushing on Bruce Wayne, that is.
  • Blue for Baby Doll in Sucker Punch.
  • Jareth to Sarah in Labyrinth. Foreshadowed in Sarah's story to Toby at the beginning: "But the Goblin King had fallen in love with the girl..." He sends her into a dreamlike state featuring a Dance of Romance between them, and at the end, he (albeit slightly ambiguously) offers her the chance to stay with him and be loved by him if she gives up her quest.
  • Tod to Marge in Mom and Dad Save the World.
  • J.D. in Heathers. After Veronica breaks up with him after he starts murdering other teenagers for fun, J.D. is still very much in love with her.
  • Schindler's List. Nazi Camp Kommandant Amon Goeth has one on Helen Hirsch, his Jewish maid. This leaves him conflicted because he believes her to be inferior to him.
  • Aldrich Killian for Pepper Potts in Iron Man 3.
  • In 12 Years a Slave, slave owner Edwin Epps has one on his slave Patsey. Word of God says he's deeply in love with her but he has an odd and very abusive way of showing it.
  • Cal has one on Rose in Titanic 1997.
  • Ned to Julie in The Next Karate Kid. He punishes her if she rejects his advances.
  • In Cabin By The Lake, Villain Protagonist Stanley seems to develop some sort of odd fixation on his victim Mallory for standing up to him and escaping him once before. When he tries to drown her once again near the end he also starts to lean in for a kiss as she's terrified out of her mind.

    Literature 
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs has a few:
    • In Thuvia, Maid of Mars. Carthoris is in love with the title character, who is also desired by the Villain, Prince Astok of Dusar.
    • At The Earths Core, in which Hooja the Sly One lusts after David Innes's beloved Dian the Beautiful.
  • The Phantom's obsessive infatuation with Christine in The Phantom of the Opera. Leads to Stockholm Syndrome on Christine's side and ends with I Want My Beloved to Be Happy on the Phantom's side. The narrator pities him more than condemns him.
  • William Hamleigh for Aliena in The Pillars of the Earth, although that's more of a Perverse Villainous Obsession variant.
  • Billy "Boil" seems to have one on the titular heroine of the Cat Royal series of books, although how much of a villain he is varies from book to book.
  • Played with in A Song of Ice and Fire with Littlefinger's affection for his childhood friend Catelyn Stark, and later on her daughter Sansa. He was an idealistic and rather adorable kid when he fell in love with Cat, but the ensuing line of events that put an end to that matter led to his moral backsliding into a schemer and a scoundrel (or as much a scoundrel a prominent public figure can be). However, it never really ended his feelings towards those ladies, and much of his development came from the offense of falling for a lady who was above his social status.
  • Burgo Fitzgerald for Glencora M'Cluskie and George for Alice Vavasor in Trollope's Can You Forgive Her?.
  • In Phoenix Rising by Ryk E. Spoor, by Aran aka Condor for Kyri.
  • Harry Potter: Snape's unrequited love for Lily Evans. Though it's somewhat debatable that he even counts as a villain, seeing as everything he's done in life after Lily's death was to protect her son, Harry Potter.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer has this trope down to a tee. When he first (canonically) falls for Buffy, he's still in total opposition to her and the Scoobies' goals, and yet is blatantly head over heels for her. Buffy's mom asks if she might have lead him on unintentionally, to which Buffy replies that she beats him up a lot. Which for Spike is pretty much the same thing.
  • Unfortunately for Kurt on Glee, David Karofsky, his main homophobic bully, has one on him, and he only finds out when he's given a Forceful Kiss.
    • Yet again to Kurt's misfortune, Season 3 introduces Sebastian Smythe, who is adamant on taking Blaine, Kurt's boyfriend, for himself.
  • On Heroes, even though he already taken her power, Sylar appears to have a creepy thing for Claire.
  • On Luther the eponymous detective has to deal with the uncomfortable fact that his closest friend and confidante, and most reliable source of help is Nietzsche Wannabe Manipulative Bastard and thorough psychopath Alice Morgan. That alone would be bad enough, but as many of Alice's lines suggest, she may well have a thing for Luther.
  • There were indications in Season Two that how Lord Zedd felt about Kimberly in Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers was not just Foe Yay subtext, especially with the episode he tried to make her his queen.
    • A filler episode of Power Rangers Ninja Storm suggests comic relief villain Choobo had one on Tori, the only female ranger on that team.
  • Murdoch Mysteries: It's implied that the young psychopath James Gillies is attracted to Detective William Murdoch after the former kisses the latter on the mouth for a full three seconds in "Midnight Train to Kingston." It has been hinted throughout the series that Gillies is gay, and it seems natural that he would be drawn to a handsome, intelligent man like Murdoch. Robert Perry, who was presumably James' boyfriend in an earlier episode, is somewhat similar to the detective in that he was also dark-haired, comely, mild-mannered and smart.
  • Smallville
    • Meteor freaks on Lana. Oh so many times. Even lampshaded once.
    Random student: Lana Lang. How original.
    • Davis Bloome on Chloe in Season 8 although it is later revealed to be part of Brainiac's programming.
    • Sometimes Tess Mercer seems to have one on Clark. It is a lot more explicit in some deleted scenes.
    Tess: You have to stop thinking me as just your boss.
    • And then there was the whole Lex / Lana mess in Seasons 5 & 6.
      • Not to mention his noticable obsession with Kara.
    • Lionel's unrequited crush on Martha which ran for most of the show.
  • Appears to be the case with Michael in Stargate Atlantis. Since Teyla was the only person to treat him nicely during his introductory episode, Michael becomes attached to her and, even after she has betrayed him repeatedly (in his own words), he still hopes he can convince her to come away with him.
  • On The Vampire Diaries, Klaus Mikaelson has one on Caroline Forbes.
    • Damon for Elena.
    • Katherine for Stefan.
  • Ares has it bad for Xena: Warrior Princess, to the point where his motivation throughout the show is to win her love.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • In Ring of Honor, Jimmy Jacobs has it bad for good guy Adam Cole. He's open-mouthed kissed Cole on at least one occasion, and taking this to an unusually meta level, has propositioned Cole for sex on Twitter.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Shadowrun adventure Harlequin's Back. In the backstory, a Horror fell in love with Queen Thayla and refused to leave her, even though his presence was destroying her land. She eventually decided to leave with him to save her people from destruction.

    Theater 
  • Judge Turpin of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street developed two of these. The first was on Sweeney's wife, Lucy Barker, which ultimately led him to kick off the plot by having Sweeney transported for life, followed by luring her to a masked ball and raping her. The second was on Sweeney and Lucy's daughter Johanna, who he adopted out of remorse for what he did to Lucy but came to desire as more than a daughter as she grew older, leading him to have her thrown into a madhouse upon learning that she planned to elope with Anthony Hope, a young sailor. Sweeney finally takes vengeance upon Turpin by luring him into his shop by claiming that Johanna has "seen the error of her ways."
  • Jud for Laurey in Oklahoma!, though how much one considers Jud to be a villain is up for debate.
  • Count Gregor for Sophia in Fools.

    Videogames 

    Webcomics 

    Web Originals 

    Western Animation 


Unrequited Tragic MaidenUnrequited Love TropesVillainesses Want Heroes
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Villainesses Want HeroesLove TropesWacky Marriage Proposal
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