Playing With / Neutrality Backlash

Basic Trope: Choosing neither side doesn't work out well for the character.
  • Straight: Alice and Bob start a war. Everyone picked a side except for Charlie. Because of this, Alice and Bob decided to ambush him.
  • Exaggerated: Alice and Bob start a war. Everyone picked a side except for Charlie. Because of this, Charlie is beaten by not only Alice and Bob, but also the rest of those who picked a side.
  • Downplayed: Alice and Bob start a war. Everyone picked a side except for Charlie. Because of this, Alice and Bob declare their hatred for Charlie.
  • Justified:
    • Alice and Bob believe that there is no middle ground, and Charlie was being insubordinate.
    • Charlie thinks that Alice and Bob are fighting for unimportant things, but Alice and Bob see it as Serious Business and are indignant on what Charlie had said.
    • Charlie outwitted both sides for his personal gain.
    • Charlie's refusal of taking sides had serious consequences for both Alice and Bob, and they hold him responsible for them.
    • Charlie had previously implied that he would help both sides without the other's knowledge, meaning he's breaking a promise to each of them by staying neutral.
    • Charlie's assistance would have been enough to tip the conflict in either side's favor. Without him, it drags on indefinitely. Alice and Bob are angry that he didn't join, even against them, because even a swift defeat would have been less devastating than the long, brutal stalemate they actually had.
    • The war was as clear-cut a case of Black and White Morality as can be found, yet Charlie stands by and does nothing while Bob and his soldiers commit heinous atrocities against Alice's people. In Alice's eyes, Charlie is an Accomplice by Inaction. In Bob's eyes, Charlie as an easy target. Either way, the victorious party will be sure to attack Charlie next.
  • Inverted:
    • Alice and Bob start a war. Everyone picked a side except for Charlie. As a result, Charlie gets rewarded for being neutral!
    • Charlie picks a side and this had severe consequences.
  • Subverted:
    • Charlie is confronted by a pissed off Alice and Bob, but they've eventually forgive him.
    • Alice and Bob both turn on Charlie- but it turns out that they've worn themselves down and depleted their resources fighting each other. Charlie, who is fresh and fully supplied, has a massive advantage...
  • Double Subverted:
    • ...except that they gave him a beatdown anyways.
    • ...but it also turns out that all that time fighting each other has made Alice and Bob really good at fighting- practice makes perfect, after all- and Charlie is either totally inexperienced or very rusty thanks to staying out of fights.
  • Parodied: Alice and Bob fight over a water bottle. As Charlie refuses to choose who should take the water bottle, Alice and Bob give him a wedgie.
  • Zig Zagged: Charlie's neutrality sometimes backfires on him, but over the course of the story, it also sometimes allows him to act as a peacemaker between Alice and Bob.
  • Averted:
    • Charlie doesn't suffer the consequences for choosing no sides.
    • Or, Charlie picks a side with no problems.
  • Enforced: The author wants to make a Space Whale Aesop that choosing no side is just as bad as siding with evil.
  • Lampshaded: "That's what you get for choosing no side, Charlie!"
  • Invoked:
    • Bob: "Say, Alice, since Charlie isn't picking a side, mind if we team up to throttle him?"
    • Bob: "I've just killed Alice. Well Charlie, it looks like you are all alone and vulnerable now. Too bad you didn't help Alice, she could have helped you not die!"
    • Alice: "I needed you and you left me to fight Bob alone! Well I'm alive and still armed, and it looks like there will be one less Dirty Coward in the world after I kill you!"
  • Exploited: Charlie has a plan to defeat Alice and Bob, but it will only work if they attack him together at a time of his choosing. Under the appropriate circumstances he goads them both into fighting and refuses to help either.
  • Defied:
    • "Seriously, I'm not gonna let you two kick my ass for being neutral. I'm gonna kick both of yours!" *beats up both Alice and Bob*
    • "Can't let me be neutral, eh?" *Shoots both Alice and Bob*
  • Discussed: "I feel sorry for anyone else who refuses to pick a side."
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed:

Back to Neutrality Backlash. Now pick a side or I'll bash your head in!
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/PlayingWith/NeutralityBacklash