Follow TV Tropes


Even Evil Has Loved Ones / Literature

Go To

Examples of Even Evil Has Loved Ones in literature.

  • In The Affix, "Bloody" Carlos Sanchez is established early on as easily the most volatile and destructive villain in the Big Bad Ensemble. He's aided by two of his younger brothers. They're killed by two of the other Big Bads in separate incidents. This sends Carlos into such a shock that he does a Heel–Face Turn, abandoning all interest in the Affix and only seeking revenge. Then in The Well of Moments, Bartlett's assassin brother wants to know why he disappeared during the Affix incident, and believes Jasmine played a part in it. She didn't, but she knows the truth and exploited it by pushing a fake story that he went underground.
  • Advertisement:
  • Joe Keller of Arthur Miller's All My Sons is a warm, likable, friendly fellow who genuinely loves his son and his wife. He also deliberately sold defective parts to the Air Force that got 21 pilots killed and framed his partner for it. Eventually, his justifications get broken down and he kills himself offstage at the end of the show.
  • Animorphs:
    • Visser One is pushing for a slow, secret conquest of Earth instead of the violent conflict Visser Three favors. An open war could result in the death of billions, and that might include the two children she gave birth to through a previous human host.
    • There's also David, who betrays the team in part because they failed to save his parents from the Yeerks. He initially plans to ransom the Escafil device in exchange for their safe return.
    • In The Alien, a minor Yeerk agrees to help Ax assassinate Visser Three because the Visser's Kandrona rationing allowed the death of another Yeerk whom he was close to.
  • Advertisement:
  • American Dirt: Javier is the boss of one of the most dangerous and deadliest cartels in Mexico, but he loves his teenage daughter Marta from the bottom of his heart. Lydia struggles to come to terms with this, as after he slaughters her entire family, it's hard to think of him as anything but a monster. We later learn that said slaughter was ordered because the article Lydia's husband published led to Marta killing herself out of shame and horror for what her father had done.
  • Arc of Fire: Wyre is absolutely devastated at Kyrian's death. Myrren notes with surprise that she really did love him.
  • Narses, a Magnificent Bastard Anti-Villain in the Belisarius Series, is this way toward Ajutasutra, the Indian secret agent that he considers a son substitute.
  • In "Bluebeard's Wife" by Ursula Vernon, Bluebeard's murders are only discovered after his death, leaving his surviving wife struggling to comprehend how she could have been Happily Married to such a man.
    He had apparently been a very evil man, but not actually a bad one.
  • Advertisement:
  • Pavel Rusanov from Cancer Ward is a KGB official who takes twisted pleasure in using his position to terrorise almost everyone around him, and also has a genuinely loving relationship with his daughter Aviette and his wife of twenty years, Kata.
  • The trope is exploited in the Cherub Series. The villains may be serious criminals, but they are usually otherwise just regular people that have family and friends who they care about. Cherubs will befriend their target's children, giving them an excuse to get close to, and sometimes eventually befriend, the target themselves (while planting bugs in their house, gathering evidence about their crimes, and attempting to bring them to justice).
  • The Courtship of Princess Leia: Gethzerion offers the Nightsisters' children as hostages as proof of their willingness to work with Zsinj. General Melvar asks how he can trust they will value the lives of their children since they previously admitted their own lives held no value to them. She replied that "No mother could be so evil." Whether or not you believe her is another issue entirely.
  • Daniel Hawthorne Novels: Doubly subverted in The Word is Murder. The villain seems like a doting Family Man, but, during his Motive Rant, claims to feel no true affection for his wife and children. However, barely a sentence later, he says that he'll do anything he can to protect his eldest son from experiencing the same kind of disillusionment and heartbreak that he experienced when he tried to be an actor.
  • The Mafia don in Dean Koontz's Darkfall is almost a parody of this trope; he is a professional murderer, openly calling Dawson and Rebecca "freaks" for their incorruptibility, but he is absolutely heartbroken that some hellborn monsters have killed his "doggies".
  • Eldred Jonas and Coral Thorin, villains from The Dark Tower novel Wizard and Glass, have a genuine love for one another that parallels the love affair between the hero and his true love.
  • Mr. Murdstone, abusive stepfather of the title character of David Copperfield, was genuinely saddened when his first wife and son, David's mother and half-brother, die.
  • The Behemoth in Devils Cape is a super strong, brutal murderer, but when he finds the dead body of his friend Hector Hell, he is furious and comes bursting out into the ongoing battle seeking revenge. There's also Scion, Hector's killer, who despite working for his uncle and the Robber Baron as an enforcer, helps the heroes stop the Cirque d'Obscurite when his uncle goes against the one thing Scion demanded as his price - that his uncle leaves his brother and father out of everything.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Lord Raith instills this into his children to make them easier to control, but it kinda backfires on him when his eldest and most powerful daughter found out that he didn't actually give a damn about them himself.
    • Warden Morgan, who is portrayed as an antagonist for the first few books but sacrifices himself to save his true love — and the reputation of the White Council.
    • Mab and Titania, on the other hand, turn this into Even Neutral But Scary Psycho Fae Queens Have Loved Ones. Titania hasn't forgiven Harry for killing her daughter Aurora — though she knows it was necessary. And Mab cannot bring herself to kill her own daughter Maeve for the same good reason.
    • Harry's scary fairy godmother, the Leanansidhe regards evil as an aesthetic choice but she clearly loves her godchild, in her own Nietzschean way, and probably loved his mother too. Molly's nickname for her teacher, Auntie Lea, suggests that Molly realizes Lea loves her too.
    • Nicodemus and Tessa both care about their daughter Deirdre (though Nicodemus expresses it very creepily) in spite of their collaboration with fallen angels and centuries of evil deeds. In Skin Game Tessa tries to foil Nicodemus' plan because she knows it will require Deirdre's death, and Nicodemus loses it when Harry taunts him about how he killed his own daughter to complete the plan. Afterwards, the long estranged Nicodemus and Tessa apparently have a reconciliation where they, united in grief, try to work through it together by burning their enemy's family alive. They are still very evil.
      • Also the fact that Nicodemus saved Tessa from life as a child sex slave, because Lartessa's father's business went under, and he sold her to the temple of Isis to be used as a tribute, and would have died as a sex slave if Nicodemus had not shown up to save her. They are evil, and they are dysfunctional, but it is completely understandable, especially their unwillingness to trust God, or gods. Its quite possible they believe they are saving the world.
  • In the Farseer Trilogy, Prince Regal genuinely loved his mother Queen Desire and it's partly because he blames his father for her death that he is willing to do whatever it takes to wrest the throne away from his older half-brothers, Chivalry and Verity.
  • The Fire-Us Trilogy sees the man who caused a near-total extinction of everyone in America (and very probably the entire rest of the world) sport a genuine love for his wife and two sons as the only redeeming part of his otherwise total evil.
  • In Gentleman Bastard, while Capa Barsavi is a ruthless crime kingpin and perfectly willing to torture subordinates to death or throw them to sharks, the death of his daughter Nazca sends him into shocked grief. And Capa Raza/The Grey King is even more ruthless, but his Roaring Rampage of Revenge is motivated by the loss of his family.
  • Caine Soren from the GONE has no problem throwing innocent children off cliffs, but he gets outright murderous when anyone (or mostly Drake) hurts or even insults Diana, who he has stated twice to love and care about. In fact, all the Coates kids have something or someone capable of humanizing them... Except Drake, that kid became a part of Jumping Off the Slippery Slope a long time ago and is proud of it.
  • An odd version in Good Omens: Although it's everything they've supposedly been working toward for millennia, Crowley (a demon) and Aziraphale (an angel) decide to go up against Heaven and Hell together to prevent the Apocalypse because they've gotten fond of Earth and humanity after six thousand years and they'd rather not have it completely destroyed in a blaze of hellfire and divine glory.
  • The Han Solo Trilogy: Durga, though a ruthless crime boss like most Hutts, does genuinely love his parent Aruk, to the point that he keeps its extent a secret (most of their kind would see this as unseemly, if his affection were ever shown greater than his desire for self-gain). He's distraught when Aruk is killed, and hunts down the murderers. It's subverted with Jabba, who though fond of his aunt Jiliac doesn't let this get in the way of his ambitions.
  • The Harry Potter series:
    • The Draco/Lucius/Narcissa Malfoy family has no morally positive traits (well Draco has a select few), save for that they genuinely love each other, culminating when Narcissa Malfoy lies to Voldemort to save her son and gets away with it. In fact, since that lie ultimately resulted in Voldemort's death, the Malfoy family was pardoned for their crimes.
    • In Snape's case, his love for Lily is strong enough to provoke a Heel–Face Turn (albeit of the Nominal Hero variety) before the books even start.
    • A more minor example, but the Carrow siblings seem to actually care about each other despite being thoroughly horrible people.
  • A Harvest of War: Rhona Thyll is actually kinda sweet around her lover (and subaltern) Penda Mortimer.
  • Albrecht Detweiler, the Big Bad of the Honor Harrington novels, is Happily Married to his wife, and is very close to his sons (who are also his lieutenants and his clones).
    • In addition to caring for his family, he's also A Father to His Men.
      • Uncompromising Honor reveals that he insisted on being on the last Houdini evacuation flight from Mesa, because he knew that so many people would be left behind. As a result, he and his wife don't make it out, and commit suicide by nuclear detonation. Their sons are devastated by the news, and their grief drives them to carry out the Beowulf Strike.
    • The end of Torch of Freedom produced plenty of this for the villains. They count themselves lucky that they and their families weren't in Green Pines when the nukes went off, but many people they knew were. Collin Detweiler mentions taking his children to a memorial service. That said, Green Pines itself was a genuine act of terrorism, which the heroes condemn as well.
      • A more extreme example is when Albrecht comforts Aldona Anisimovna after informing her that her mentor, Isabel Bardesano, was killed when would-be defector Jack McBryde took out the Gamma Center (and he WAS working with the heroes).
  • The Hunger Games:
    • In the first book, there's Cato's grief-stricken reaction to the death of his district partner Clove.
    • Invoked by Johanna Mason in Mockingjay when she points out that if they hold a final Hunger Games with children of the people who held power in the old regime, President Snow's granddaughter will be eligible for the reaping.
  • In Joe Golem and the Drowning City by Mignola and Golden, Father(?) and Son(?) Tentaclemonster.
  • Legacy of the Dragokin: The Kthonian knights think of everyone else as worms to be squished but consider each other family. Their leader is Kthonia's daughter and her desire to free her is as much a daughter's love as it is a villain's Evil Plan.
  • Mary and Henry Crawford in Mansfield Park are self-centered, avaricious, and see nothing wrong with playing games with people's hearts or wishing someone dead so the inheritance will go to the brother they like better. But they do have genuine familial affection for each other.
  • 'Big Billy', a Dumb Muscle from The Mental State, is not exactly evil, but certainly has no problem following the orders of evil people. However, this is mostly because the villain who bosses him around the most is his own brother, Little Mickey. He also has a daughter that he is quite protective of.
  • Thaddeus Valentine from Mortal Engines has his daughter Katherine who he truly loves and cares about. When she throws herself on Valentine's sword to protect Hester, he is heartbroken and dies cradling her body as London blows up.
  • In The Mortal Instruments, the Big Bad Valentine seems to actually care about Jace. That doesn't stop him from killing Jace. He is sad afterwards and tried to keep Jace from forcing him to, though. He also seems to care for Clary, Jocelyn, Sebastian/Jonathan and Luke in his own twisted way.
  • Nightfall (Series): Prince Vladimir loves Armida and Tristan to the point that he is willing to sacrifice himself for them when the Resistance traps them all in the cave.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Luke Castellan seemed very reluctant to hurt his former best friends (and possible love interest(s)) Thalia and Annabeth, even offering them to join the Titans with him. Throughout the series, he tends to tell his mooks to kill them all except Thalia and/or Annabeth, showing he possibly still cares for them.
    • And this is what leads him in the end to question his villainy and defy the Big Bad when he realizes he accidentally hurt Annabeth, leading him to be the one to save the world in the end. Redemption Equals Death.
  • Redwall:
    • Sawney Rath in Taggerung did seem to start out genuinely liking his adopted/stolen son Tagg. Then Tagg went and messed everything up by being of a good species, and Sawney tried to have him killed, and things went downhill just a tad.
    • Ferahgo in Salamandastron, openly announces that if he finds out his son Klitch is in on the plots against his life, Klitch will be allowed to live "because he's my son".
    • In The Sable Quean, a stoat named Gliv distracts Zwilt long enough to spare Vilaya from making sure she's dead, then nurses her back to health. Not out of respect or devotion to Vilaya, but because Zwilt used Gliv's mate Lugg as live bait to kill a giant eel, then utters A Rare Sentence for a Redwall villain: "I loved him". Sure, Vilaya kills Gliv once she's healed, and ends up killed by her own adder venom knife, but it's the thought that counts. Vilaya herself does not take the murder of her rat handmaiden Dirva (by Zwilt) well at all, hugging herself and muttering that This Cannot Be!.
  • Horris Quaiche from Alastair Reynolds' Revelation Space goes from Lovable Rogue to insane religious leader and dictator, but he genuinely loved his tragically deceased lover (whose death triggered his descent into madness in the first place).
  • Schooled in Magic: Aurelius has a daughter who he put into stasis to save her life. Her magic overwhelmed her and he'd been unable to find a cure. He's devastated after she dies.
  • Sherlock Holmes:
    • In The Hound of the Baskervilles, Watson sees Selden's sister weep openly when he's killed by the Hound, noting that it is a very bad man indeed who loses the love of female relatives. Note that the villain dies hated by both the women he'd seduced.
    • Subverted in another, where the daughter of a murdered man doesn't hesitate in telling the police that she blesses the hand of whoever killed her Domestic Abuser father.
  • The Silerian Trilogy: Kiloran's one redeeming quality seems to be the fact he cares about his son, swearing revenge on Tansen after he kills him.
  • Very common in A Song of Ice and Fire; many villains are saved from being truly despicable by their love for their families. In fact it's quicker to list the subversions/aversions/inversions:
    • The Late Lord Frey is a bastard to everyone, but anyone who dares to mess with his children or grandchildren had best be prepared to suffer... and it's this reflex which caused him to cross the Moral Event Horizon. Robb Stark insulting his daughter led to the Freys switching sides and a massacre of the Stark forces known as the Red Wedding. Yet this turns out to come right back around at him because revenge for the Red Wedding ends up killing more of Frey's family then the war ever did. It's also possible that this is more about preoccupation with family honor than any real affection because when Catelyn tries to take his grandson Aegon the jester hostage in exchange for Robb," a son for a son", Lord Frey lets Aegon die because he's not of any particular use.
    • Subverted with Roose Bolton and his bastard son Ramsay; they're close because they're both very nasty men, although even they have at least some attachment to certain people. Roose cared enough about his trueborn son to warn him not to see Ramsay and only refrained from punishing Ramsay for killing him due to the taboo against kinslaying. Ramsay may have let his manservant Reek die, but his obsession with making a helpless captive into another Reek speaks volumes.
    • Double subverted with Cersei Lannister, whose main motivation besides the sheer lure of power is the desire to protect her children since it was prophecised that they would die before her. There are many indications that Cersei is genuinely so deeply dedicated to her children that she fears seeing them die more than she fears dying herself. Unfortunately, her psychopathic idea of what's best for them, and her fawning on her even more psychopathic eldest son, is disastrous for the entire kingdom.
    • Both subverted and played straight with Tywin Lannister. Tywin is borderline abusive to all three of his children in varying ways but genuinely close to his brother Kevan and sister Genna. Genna says it best:
      Genna: How could I not love him.... That is not to say that I approved of everything he did or much enjoyed the company of the man he became, but every little girl needs a big brother to protect her, and Tywin was big even when he was little.
    • In fact, how much various Lannisters love their family members is a pretty reliable barometer for how redeemable they're going to be. Most readers are willing to forgive Jaime and Tyrion for whatever they get up to, because they genuinely and very much love each other Myrcella, and Tommen, and at least try to do right by the other members of the family as well. Tywin's close enough to Joanna and Kevan that we at least feel a little something when he dies. Cersei almost becomes sympathetic early on when she's trying to protect her children from being killed as abominations (since they're the product of brother/sister incest), but then she turns on Tyrion... and Jaime... and Kevan... and Tommen... and, well, oh dear... no one's going to be feeling too much sympathy for her any time soon.
    • Averted with Gregor Clegane, who straight-up murdered most of his family (father, little sister, and at least two wives), earning him the undying hatred of his younger brother Sandor. Inverted with Sandor himself, whose hatred of Gregor is part of what makes him such a compelling character.
      • Sandor does play this straight-ish with his Morality Pet Sansa Stark. Although he kicks her several times, Sandor protects Sansa and treats her with more compassion than he ever shows anyone else.
    • Joffrey is a vicious Royal Brat, but he seems to love his father Robert though he's unaware he's not really Robert's son. His cruelty is partly a misguided attempt to earn his father's approval.
  • In Star Trek: Enterprise Relaunch, Admiral Valdore cares little for the appalling loss of life in the war of aggression he's waging. Indeed, despite some slight disquietude he shows little restraint in using near-genocidal tactics against Coridan. However, his love for his wife and children is always shown as completely genuine and admirable.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: In Life Debt, ISB agent Romwell Krass lost his family to a New Republic attack on the secret prison where he was assigned, which accidentally destroyed the houses nearby where they lived. He later attacks some New Republic personnel in a drunken rage over this.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • The Old Republic: Deceived is about Darth Malgus and his servant Eleena being in love with each other; other Sith think this makes him weak. Rogue Jedi Aryn Leneer, whose father figure he killed, eventually has an opportunity to kill Eleena, hurting Malgus like he hurt her. She ultimately spares her, whereupon Malgus spares Aryn. Then he kills Eleena himself, because she is his greatest weakness.
    • Touched on and subverted with Ysanne Isard, Director of Imperial Intelligence and Big Bad of Michael A. Stackpole's entries in the X-Wing Series. In Isard's Revenge, she reveals that she was in love with the Emperor. Corran Horn believes she was in love with his political power, not the man himself.
    • Natasi Daala and Grand Moff Tarkin, despite the fact that when they met he was old enough to be her father (and already married, but to a woman he didn't care about).
    • In Wraith Squadron some of the Wraiths kill an officer about to shoot them, and ask the surviving officer for the code. When she's threatened she gives it up. "Sakira. It was his daughter's name."
    • The EU takes this trope further with Boba Fett. Aside from his father (mentioned in the Film section), he also has his ex-wife, daughter, and granddaughter, all of whom he deeply loved. In fact he became a bounty hunter partly because of this trope. He had tried to be a family man on Concord Dawn, working in law enforcement, but it all fell apart when Boba's commanding officer raped his wife, causing the enraged Boba to murder the man out of revenge. This promptly led to his family falling apart, as his crime caused him to be exiled from Concord Dawn, his wife to divorce from him after bitter arguments, and his daughter blamed him for it all, demolishing their relationship. He eventually manages to forge a relationship with his granddaughter though.
    • Black Fleet Crisis:
      • Despite being an irredeemable asshole in every other respect, Nil Spaar demonstrates genuine affection for his first consort, even going so far as to order her chambers kept forever unoccupied in her memory.
      • Later, he is also heartbroken and enraged after the Wookies kill many unborn children of his (not actually knowing what they are), vowing revenge on them.
  • The Stranger Beside Me: Ted Bundy is one of the most prolific serial killers in US history, but he's genuinely fond of his late grandfather.
  • Sunlight Gardener and Morgan Sloat in The Talisman genuinely love their sons. However, Sunlight's child is a psychopath in one world and a mutated freak in the other and Morgan Sloat's twinner's son died years ago. He does not care about Sloat's son at all.
  • Lucifer's anger at Turnus for killing Pallas in The Vagina Ass of Lucifer Niggerbastard.
    • Sack's loyalty to Lucifer.
  • Victor Dashkov from Vampire Academy is a ruthless villain but turns out to have a close relationship with his half-brother Robert Doru. They are each other's only real loved-one.
  • The protagonist of the series is a kid named Jake. First the idea of being a supervillain seemed like fun, but when it costs him his family, he decides that becoming the greatest supervillain in the world is the only way to get them back, or else the only way to exact revenge.
  • Villains by Necessity: Valerie, easily the evilest person in the entire party, lost her family and entire people to brutal slaughter by the Verdant Company, which is one reason she hates Fenwick so much.
  • Walker's Crossing: Mr. Sheldon is The Corruptor to a pack of Hate Sink Neo-Nazis, but he's pretty warm toward his wife and children.
  • In John C. Wright's War of the Dreaming, a number of the main heroes are very distant descendants of main villain Azrael de Gray; he mostly prefers to not kill them. Enslaving them in an And I Must Scream situation is a perfect alternative, though.
  • Tigerstar, the Big Bad of Warrior Cats had a mate and kits. So did his brutal, Blood Knight mentor Thistleclaw, and the eventually villainous Antpelt (minus the kits for him).


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: