23rd Oct: It's time for the second TV Tropes Halloween Avatar Contest, theme: cute monsters! Details and voting here.
Ulfric Stormcloak: Maybe not, but you certainly aren't the good guys.
Tullius: Perhaps you're right. But then what does that make you?
Ulfric: You just said it yourself.
Wesley: There is a line, Lilah, black and white, good and evil.
Lilah: Funny thing about black and white. You mix it together and you get grey. And it doesn't matter how much white you try and put back in, you're never gonna get anything but grey.
—Angel, "Habeas Corpses"
"Surely you wouldn't do such a thing, destroying the righteous along with the wicked. Why, you would be treating the righteous and the wicked exactly the same! Surely you wouldn't do that! Should not the Judge of all the earth do what is right?"
— Genesis 18:25 (New Living Translation)
"It was Sam's first view of a battle of Men against Men, and he did not like it much. He was glad that he could not see the dead face. He wondered what the man's name was and where he came from; and if he was really evil of heart, or what lies or threats had led him on the long march from his home; and if he would not really rather have stayed there in peace ? all in a flash of thought which was quickly driven from his mind."
Steve Arlo: There aren't evil guys and innocent guys. It's just... It's just... It's just a bunch of guys.
— Zero Effect
Fitz: “That’s make-believe. There ain't no good guys. Or bad guys. There's just guys."
— Dresden Files: Ghost Story
Nena: Taking revenge for your family?! I'm doing the same thing! Don't act like you're the only one suffering! (Louise completely demolishes her Gundam in three seconds flat) I was created for this... and forced to fight... I refuse to die like this! This isn't how I want to die! (notices she's right in front of her enemy's weapon)
Louise: (coldly) I know. I'm sure you don't want to die. But my mom and dad... WEREN'T EVEN GIVEN THE CHANCE TO SAY THAT BEFORE YOU KILLED THEM!!! (impales Nena's cockpit)
It's not always black and white but your heart always knows what's right.
Pokémon Black and White opening theme
"The battle between pretty evil and pretty good has begun."
— Trailer for The Adventures of Pluto Nash
Truth has many shades; it is not a matter of black and white, but grey.
Morgan Freeman, Bombs Away (B.O.B. song)
"It's so much easier to see the world in black and white. Grey...I don't know what to do with grey."
"When you are young, the world seems so simple and straightforward. There is right and there is wrong. In the cowboy films the goodies wear white hats and the baddies wear black. As you get older you realise the world is not so simple. There are men in grey hats."
— Mr. Merriot, By Royal Command
"I'm saying that with time you will see that things aren't so black and white."
Blune. Star Sigma Saga
"“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”
—The Monster, A Monster Calls
"The world's been hard on us, hard on him. Joel's done some terrible things. He tells me that on this journey, "you either hang onto to your morals and die or do whatever it takes to survive." I guess I'll find out."
—Ellie. The Last of Us
"It's tempting to see your enemies as evil - all of them - but there's good and evil on both sides in every war ever fought."
—Ser Jorah Mormont, Game of Thrones
...The Usurpation shouldn't be clearly interpreted as either power struggle or an act of balance, neither a horrible betrayal nor an act of justice. Why? Because we have factions endorsing all of these positions, and it would diminish their struggle to outright decide who is right and who is wrong.
The Great Curse is a convenient tool that creates this level of ambiguity. It creates the dire necessity without justifying the horrible means taken. It muddies the moral issues by creating an unknowable, external circumstance that shifts the blame around without absolving anyone.in specific. It works.
I'm not even saying this level of ambiguity can't be preserved without the Curse, just that it would have been very hard, near impossible I daresay, to maintain it throughout numerous books by different authors without this extremely useful narrative tool.
"Our enemies are never as evil as we imagine, and maybe we're never quite as good."
— Amanda Waller, Justice League Unlimited
"I don't know. I guess I picked the least shitty of two incredibly shitty sides."
— Conway, Gunpoint