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Ascended Demon

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When hell's bells ring, a demonspawn gets its wings.

"No day goes by where I am not tempted to return to my inborn nature. Zin krif haalvut se suleyk.Translation What is better? To be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?"
Paarthurnax, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim

Being Evil Sucks, though not all baddies realize this or care. What really sucks about it is that those that want to give Good Feels Good a try often find it near impossible to fully pull a Heel–Face Turn. This isn't for lack of trying, but because they're a demon, vampire, or other Always Chaotic Evil critter whose very body is Made of Evil. Kinda hard to walk into a temple and pray for forgiveness when you spontaneously combust by crossing the threshold. This is a big reason why humans turned to monsters who held onto their humanity will angst at their abysmal fate.

So, what to do? Fall in reverse, and become an Ascended Demon!

The demon looking to ascend has a few avenues to explore. The most common are to go on a literal or metaphorical quest to Find the Cure!. If their "evil nature" is biologically based, like viral vampirism or hereditary lycanthropy, finding the recipe for an ancient cure or researching a new one is one possibility. When it's mystical, getting an artifact (usually a holy relic) is another. The metaphorical route requires they try and get a benevolent god to "reformat" them into a human or even angelic body. This often requires doing lots of good deeds or having an epiphany on the nature of good. Sometimes, just getting a soul in itself is enough to earn salvation from the Nothing After Death and a Reincarnation as a non-Always Chaotic Evil being.

There's a fair chance that by refusing their evil nature they lose or dampen all of those nifty powers, though it also likely removes several exploitable weaknesses. Of course, such a feat may well do the opposite and take the "Suck" out of Blessed with Suck, and make them a top tier angel.

Though by nature the Ascended Demon will be very rarenote  it's not uncommon for there to be a mentor who has done this before and is willing to sponsor them, or more tragically, failed and wants them to succeed as a redemption by proxy. If they really are the first to pull it off, an author might invert the Last of His Kind and have the Ascended Demon redeem some or all of their peers and reveal they were Good All Along. This is especially poignant if the demons were once angels who fell. Expect an Enemy Civil War to follow as demon-kind is divided between "loyalists" and "redemptionists". In fact, just check out the Fallen Angel page; it has far more examples than this one does.

It's not all rainbows and lollipops, though. Aside from the fear of backsliding into evil, the Ascended Demon has made enemies of his former kind,note  and likely faces the distrust of the good guys at the chance they're a Falsely Reformed Villain. On the whole, Ascended Demons are a good way to avoid/avert The Usual Adversaries and change the situation that states Always Chaotic Evil races are completely irredeemable. It's usually used to provide An Aesop that everyone can earn forgiveness.

Not to be confused with ascending (descending?) to demonhood. Compare Grew Beyond Their Programming, when AIs or robots ascend to a more humanlike level of emotion and development. If faith redeems a human, see Heel–Faith Turn.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle: Sosuke Hinojiki was originally a mindless people-eating Blob Monster, which didn't stop when he gained humanoid form and intelligence. However, contact with Suzu caused him to start empathizing with others too much to see them as food. Suzu and Matsuri end up destroying the part of Sosuke he used to eat people, after which he ceases hungering and makes his purpose in life making up for those he's killed.
  • Chrono from Chrono Crusade is a demon, but he fights on the side of good, even working for a Church Militant group.
  • All the main demons in The Devil is a Part-Timer! quickly find that, once traveling to Earth and becoming human, they can live quite happy lives just going about as normal humans would. The protagonist, Satan, discovers that his charismatic personality and ability to lead make him the perfect assistant manager at the local MgRonald's, and his roommates/former generals, Ashiya and Lucifer, take time to work as house-caretaker/errand runner and token emo friend, respectively. Ironically, the only characters portrayed as actually malicious are the Corrupt Church leaders, and the Archangel Sarue, who captures and tortures Emilia for believing she has come to sympathize with the Devil once she arrived on Earth (which he was right about). Satan ends up saving her with the help of Church assassin, Crestia, and they all begrudgingly learn to get along.
  • Digimon Tamers: Impmon's From Nobody to Nightmare story turned him from a weak Small Name, Big Ego into a Badass Biker. Not just a regular biker, but one who is known as one of the Seven Great Demon Lords, Beelzebumon. And a Hero Killer as well. However, after getting his life spared by the person whose Digimon he has killed and then being brought back to the Real World by the people he just betrayed and almost killed, Impmon gets the chance to reunite and reconcile with his two partners he had left prior to the beginning of the series. With The Power of Friendship and The Power of Love, Beelzebumon changes into his Blast Mode, his true Ultimate Level.note  Beelzebumon Blast Mode has black, angel-like wings and his red eyes turn green, the same color he has as Impmon, symbolizing his ascension to a Noble Demon. Also, the same expanded lore that indicates Beelzebumon as the Demon Lord of Gluttony explicitly states Blast Mode is a form separate from anything related to the Seven Great Demon Lords, further indicating this.
  • Gabriel DropOut has Vignette, who despite being a devil is also incredibly kind and responsible in contrast to her friends Gabriel, Raphiel and Satanichia (and indeed, is the moral center of their group). Her attempts at being "evil" come across as incredibly childish and she herself enjoys doing good deeds and constantly does them. On more than one occasion she's even been shown to have a vastly more prominent divine aura than either of her angel friends.
  • Meliodas from The Seven Deadly Sins is the Demon King's son, and was once considered the biggest candidate to replace him, but during the war between the Demon Clan and all the other Clans he turned on his people and helped to seal them. Ever since, he has been living in Britannia, trying to help people if possible and watching out for any sign that the Demons may return to help stop them.
  • The Aburatori of The Zashiki Warashi of Intellectual Village is one of the most evil Youkai in existence as it represents the parents who secretly murdered their children and the rumors surrounding them. However the Aburatori in-story hated hurting children and was able to become a Kaeshigami by resisting his instincts to kill for nine years. In his new form he became a minor deity who protected children.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Fiction 
  • In Manchester Lost, A Good Omens fic, Noble Demon Crowley becomes this through The Power of Love. He reverts back in the sequel, Paradise Thwarted. Opposites attract etc.
  • In the supercrossover military fanfiction series, The Terminators: Army of Legend, Necrodusk, a high ranking "archdemon" born into series' central protagonist Alex Vaughn is awakened by a fallen comrade during a vicious Hold the Line battle that was pitting the small ten to twenty member Alpha Company against an encircling division of nearly a thousand LKA (the main antagonistic force of Volumes I and II). With Necrodusk possessing Alex, transforming him into an Eldritch Abomination, they wasted the division and held until reinforcements could arrive. With Necrodusk now awakened from his slumber, he often served as a secondary, more sinister conscience for Alex until gradually growing to befriend his host, even going so far as to reconsider his morality. One of Alex's comrades, Terrias, is slain in battle, and the duo are forced to undergo a hellish gladiatorial-style stay in the Devil's Arena. They escape, and as Satan is about to close the gateway out of Hell, Necrodusk jumps to the rescue to fend them off, allowing Alex and Terrias the time they needed to make their escape back to Earth, following with his call, "I have seen the light". When another antagonistic force, the ''Caeda'' Militia, travel to Installation 02 of the Halo array to resurrect old enemies of the Terminator Militia, Necrodusk is released from his prison, returning to his host, having abandoned his demonic ways, desiring to regain his grace. It is later discovered that he is one half of the one true Reaper, the Archangel Messorem, the other half being reincarnated into Alex, and that a prophecy states that Messorem will be reformed and brought back into Heaven to usher in the apocalypse.
  • Used in the Coven of Reformed Supernaturals series, specifically in the second story The Gathering of Supernatural Psychopaths; Cole Turner of Charmed, who was both the main villain and founding member of the Coven in the first story, is brought back to life in Gathering as a 'Goldlighter', essentially a warrior version of Whitelighters who are intended to actively fight evil rather than just advise others.

  • Dark Angel: The Ascent: Veronica is a young demoness who runs away from her family in Hell to experience what life is like on Earth. Upon arrival she becomes essentially human, at least in appearance.
  • In The Deaths of Ian Stone the Harvesters aren't really evil per se... but being extra-dimensional spirits that live off fear, and have long ago become addicted to the fear of a human facing death (and the easiest way to get that is to kill people), they are pretty close to Always Chaotic Evil. However a renegade Harvester has found an alternate power source capable of killing the other evil Harvesters... Love.
  • The villains in Dogma, Bartleby and Loki, are two fallen angels who try to do this. Unfortunately, their means of getting back into Heaven involves a mix of Loophole Abuse and exploiting a corrupt cardinal, and if successful, they'd bring about the end of the world because it exists via the principle that God is infallible, which their success would disprove. Bartleby doesn't care.
  • Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance: A variation of sorts. Johnny learns that the spirit of vengeance he harbors was actually once an angel of justice. However, it was captured and tortured in Hell, becoming the vengeful spirit it was. Johnny is able to get it to move past that and thus gaining some new capabilities, like Healing Hands.
  • In Noah, a group of demons known as the Watchers, former angels who have been cast out of Heaven and encased in stone for their transgressions, help build the ark. When it is completed and they are defending the ark from an attack by Cain's descendants, God calls them home and they shoot into the sky, becoming angels again.
  • Warm Bodies has R and the zombies who witness or hear about his loving and being loved by a human reject their zombie nature and want something different, trying to make peace with humanity. This amazingly rekindles their emotional, mental, and physical humanity, and they start to come back to life. The "makes enemies of their former kind" part kicks in when the "Bonies"— zombies who have surrendered to their cursed existence or even embraced and thus little more than black skeletons— start seeing them as food because of their return to the ranks of the living.

  • Simon R. Green's Tales from the Nightside series has Pretty Poison, an angel who fell to become a succubus and then re-ascended to angel.
  • In The Guardians, Lilith is a human-demon hybrid bound to serve Lucifer, but through The Power of Love she manages to renounce her demonic side and Ascend to full humanity.
  • According to the Ars Goetia, four of the demons listed in it — Focalor, Avnas/Amy, Marchosias, Phenex — aspire to become this, and actually delude themselves into thinking they'll succeed, after a set amount of hellish penance. Given that these demons also usually teach mankind various sciences and natural wonders when summoned, one has to wonder if there's some form of cosmic irony in play, there...
  • In the Disgaea Novels, this happens to Vyers/Midboss.
  • While operating as a sort of Noble Demon to begin with, Extirpon in The Gerosha Chronicles views himself as an ascended demon when he unlocks the other half of his Marlquaanite abilities - the ability to heal others when charging up positive energy. With negative emotional energy from others, he was only able to heal himself, and otherwise had only the power to destroy, humiliate, and undermine. His blue-purple glow effects switch over to glowing white and gold when channeling his "positive battery."
  • In Tolkien's The Silmarillion, the Maia (angel) Ossë had thrown in his lot with Melkor, but eventually repented and returned to the good side. The book doesn't make clear just "how far" he fell, since he was not one of those who fell right at the beginning during the Ainulindalë. Nevertheless, he was fighting with the demons against the angels for a while there but before there was any life to be hurt by him. Though in most ways he tried to make Arda 100% compatible with Catholicism, Tolkien explicitly disagreed with the idea that anyone could be truly irredeemable.
  • In the Young Wizards series, the Lone Power Itself eventually gets redeemed... but since as one of the Powers That Be It's outside time, Its evil iterations continue to exist and cause trouble in the series even after Its redemption.
  • A variation in The Dresden Files: Harry briefly touches and rejects a coin possessed by the Fallen Angel Lasciel, who cannot fully possess him but leaves a "shadow" in his mind to try and corrupt him into fully accepting the coin. However, while Lasciel herself is eternal, unchangeable and irredeemable, the sentient image that is left in Harry's mind is only as unchanging as the mortal brain she inhabits, and over the course of several years she changes and develops a personality of her own. She eventually comes to care for Harry so much that she performs a Heroic Sacrifice with a psychic version of Taking the Bullet. There is no record of this ever happening before because either those events were never recorded or the records were destroyed, leading to the general idea that all previous shadows have managed to tempt their hosts into fully accept the coin in such a short time that the shadow has no chance to change, but Harry is too much of a Determinator to be broken that easily.
  • Good Omens sees the demon Anthony Crowley desperately consider defecting and asking for political asylum in Heaven after offending Hell.
  • God's Demon is about a fallen Seraph seeking God's forgiveness in order to return to Heaven.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel:
    • Angel wanted to be this, and he does have some traits of it, being The Chosen One of the Powers That Be.
    • Spike arguably became this as he voluntarily chose to have his soul restored (whereas Angel's was forced upon him and always forced back in unwillingly when he loses it). The comic continuation of the series further reinforces this: vampires (apart from the ensouled Spike and Angel) are established to be Always Chaotic Evil due to a lack of a soul but after temporarily losing his own soul, Spike remains good and only does not take his soul back (initially) because he wanted to give it to someone else.
  • Not a good idea if you're a demon in Charmed. Cole tried this, and he died. Kyra also tried this, and she also died. Finally, Drake also tried this, and he was successful, for a year. Then he died (although this was part of the terms of the deal that made him human in the first place). Though, Cole's Heel–Face Revolving Door and Death Is Cheap situations make him a bit more complex. Cole tried this, and he died, and then it got really, really complicated. However, in the very end, his ascension is pretty clearly complete.
  • The Good Place has Michael attempting to become one in Season Two, in much the same way that Eleanor aimed to grow as a person throughout Season One. By the end of "Rhonda, Diana, Jake and Trent," he's certainly succeeded from a moral standpoint, though he hasn't yet been allowed to formally defect to The Good Place. In Season 3, he may actually have become better than the Good Place operators, since he's the only one who seems to care that the system has become so dysfunctional that nobody has been rated as "worthy" of the Good Place in five hundred years. Comes to completion by the end of Season 4, as he is not only allowed to enter the Good Place but he is actually put in charge.
  • Reaper had a group of demons (all Fallen Angels) who were trying to overthrow Lucifer through being nice. When they decided to stop playing the long game and just kill The Devil, Steve was the one dissenter who pointed out that it defeated the entire point. When the devil shows up and kills the entire army, Steve apparently ascended to angelhood after death, though the finale indicates that angels can be pretty ruthless when they need to be.
  • Season 3 of Supernatural introduces us to Ruby, a demon from hell who becomes an unlikely ally to the Winchesters, claiming that she remembers what it was like to be a human. This is later subverted in Season 4, however as it's revealed that she had been using them all along for personal gain. In later seasons, the demon Meg returns and winds up in an Enemy Mine situation with the Winchesters and Castiel. After developing a crush/love for Castiel, she winds up dying so they can fight another day.
    • In an indirect way is also possible in the Supernatural verse. Demons are actually human souls profoundly corrupted by their torture in Hell, and a plot point of a later season is a ritual that can purify demons. Another plot point is that normal human souls can be converted into new angels, so while it never occurs it is possible to purify a demon back into a human soul and then convert that soul into an angel.

  • The Power Metal band Rhapsody of Fire uses this trope too in their epic saga that covers a total of nine studio albums and some extended plays. Half Demon Dargor is at first loyal to the Dark Lord Akron, but upon realizing how much of a dark lord Akron really is, Dargor opposes him and saves the day in the first story arc. Then, in the second story arc, he is part of the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits and in the end he truly ascends, his body merging with an Angel's soul so that "a god of cosmic light" would "breathe upon the Earth... again".

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Abrahamic religions:
    • As Judaism has a much different understanding of demons compared to the other Abrahamic faiths, the concept of redeemed demons does not exist in it; fallen angels are not necessarily evil, and many still are considered part of the heavenly host.
    • According to traditional Christian churches, such as Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, this is an impossibility. Demons (or rather Fallen Angels) are irredeemable not because they can't be redeemed, but because they do not want to. The reason for that is that angels are purely spiritual beings of a higher intelligence, not bound by the limitations of the flesh. While humans who commit sins have the excuse of being weak and fleshy, as their emotions and bodily urges sometimes get the best of them as a consequence of original sin, angels always have an absolutely clear understanding of their actions and their consequences. Therefore, when an angel does evil, he does it only out of pure malice and selfishness, and is already past the Moral Event Horizon; he will never wish to repent because otherwise, he would not have sinned in the first place. That is not always the case in folk Christianity, however.
    • In Islam, there are two kinds of demonic entities. The first, shayāṭīn, are irredeemable, as they are Made of Evil created by Iblis and, like Islamic angels, have no free will. However, most demonic beings, including Iblis himself (probably), are ''jinn'', which do have free will, and can turn to good much like humans. In fact, according to Islamic tradition, there are many jinn who are perfectly good and pious Muslims.
  • The 17th-century Lemegeton and 19th-century Dictionnaire Infernal (both demonology books) depict Marchosias, a literal Noble Demon looking to achieve this trope. Amy, another demon featured in the Lesser Key of Solomon, the Dictionnaire Infernal, the Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, and the Munich Manual of Demonic Magic, has the identical goal. However, in both cases, the books describes their hopes to be impossible.
  • Meridiana was a succubus believed to help Sylvester II become the Pope. This claim is from De nugis curialium, a satirical work by a Walter Map, so it was most likely intended to be defamatory. However, since his time as head of the Catholic Church is best known for cracking down on Simony, promoting scientific studies, building musical instruments such as a hydrological organ, and teaching grammar, a number of his fans concluded that if Meridiana helped put him in power, she was a benevolent succubus.
  • From Buddhist traditions Hariti or Kishimojin was a demon turned goddess. She was originally a demon with one hundred children who would prey upon the children. The specifics vary by telling but in the Buddha managed to make her realize the suffering she caused and got her to change her ways. Afterwards she ate only pomegranates and became a goddess who protected children and helped mothers give birth safely.
  • In many versions of Arthurian Legend, Merlin was the son of a human woman and an incubus (a kind of demon) and would have been doomed to a life of evil if his mother had not immediately taken him to be baptized. He then of course went on to be a hero and used his magical powers for good.
  • One view of the Mexican folk saint/deity Santa Muerte is that she is a fallen angel seeking redemption.

  • The first season finale of Brimstone Valley Mall reveals that Hornblas has turned his back on Hell and is now working for Heaven... and he's here to kickstart the Reckoning.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Demons are embodiments of Black mana; while for the most part they're not interested in concepts like "redemption", one of Black's core beliefs is that anyone can be whatever they want to be. This is best illustrated in Children of the Nameless, where some of the demons under Davriel Cane's entourage are perfectly fine with finding new purpose in their lives beyond their inherent soul-stealing one.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The sourcebook Book of Exalted Deeds, about good-aligned characters, has a chapter on forgiveness. It features an orc chieftain sparing a girl's village because she had saved his life years earlier and a good-aligned illithid. The book also contains the sanctify the wicked spell, which slowly transforms an evil creature into a "sanctified" version of themselves with a good alignment and more gentle appearance; they lose most of their powers in the process but can shoot rays of holy energy.
    • Other redeemed illithids include the Spelljammer character Estriss, and obsessive Adventurer Archaeologist (Lawful Neutral with some Good tendency), and the Forgotten Realms character Sangalor of the Secrets, an outcast from his city and a priest of the Lawful Neutral god Ogma.
    • A web article has a succubus paladin named Eludecia. Here are the stats, and here is the adventure. Notably, not only does she refuse to use her "evil" powers, but as a being who is Lawful Good but Made Of Chaotic Evil she counts as every alignment at the same time, and thus suffers from both Good Hurts Evil and Allergic to Evil (and Chaos Hurts Law and Law Hurts Chaos). Being Good Sucks indeed.
    • One of the many nicknames for Planescape's Lady of Pain is "The fiend of blades", started by someone with the theory she is an ascended fiend. Given that he wasn't flayed (like people who give... less than flattering nicknames) and lived long enough to die of natural causes, this indicates there isn't really an issue with the term. (In Pages of Pain she remembered being a daughter of Akadi and Poseidon and Set's fiancé. That is, the Lady is a born Power, has the Pain sphere/domain as a gift, and would be a goddess if she didn't refuse to. However, the book's canonicity has been questioned since it was first published, and if it ever was canon at any point it's definitely no longer the case.)
    • In The Candlekeep Compendium, there is a certain Erinyes who is rescued by a gnome adventurer as a mission from a Chaotic Good deity.
    • There was a chant about the agathinon Janarr and erinyes Nalura working in mortal disguise on the Prime. They sort of just did their jobs — she tried to seduce him, he tried to turn her attitude up to celestial standards. Before they knew whom exactly they faced, both succeeded. They had to hide from their respective bosses from that point on, though.
    • Eberron: The Kalashtar all have a soul-bond to an ascended Eldritch Abomination, which works on the same general principle. Note that, due to all true immortals having Resurrective Immortality, this is the only way to get rid of an evil outsider permanently. There are always the same number of demons and devils and so on in the universe, so redeeming one (and preventing it from getting killed and reborn as evil again) is the only way to actually make a difference in the Forever War.
    • K'rand Vahlix is a general of the Risen Fiends who have fled to the various Upper Planes, organizing them into the Celestial Hosts, and is so powerful and good-aligned that he is completely unafraid of any Deep Cover Agents that might assassinate him, which is the main obstacle to most Risen Fiends associating with each other.
    • In Baldur's Gate: Descent into Avernus, it's possible to come across a chaotic good bearded devil, though his alignment change is due to brain damage and if properly healed he'll go back to being lawful evil. On a more major note, you can redeem the archdevil Zariel, though whether that makes her an arisen fiend or just a normal angel is a matter of semantics.
    • The Critical Role-inspired sourcebook Explorer's Guide to Wildemount has a section on Naviask, a powerful Balor demon who once tried to destroy the Feywild, but was transformed in a fey by the magic of Queen Titania. He now works to repair parts of the natural world that have been destroyed or corrupted.
    • A downplayed version in the third party setting Brancalonia, the local Tiefling analogue playable race, the Malebranche, aren't mortal-fiend hybrids, they're devils who underwent a ritual that strips them of most of their malevolence and power and lets them stay in the mortal world because they were sick and tired of capital E evil.
    • Nusemnee was the daughter of the evil god Zehir and a fiend (such a being would be classified as an Infernal Abomination according to the Epic Level Handbook), but after a mission to assassinate a high priest of Pelor resulted in her capture, the high priest healed and forgave her. She became intrigued by this and her association and eventual death in the completion of the high priest's mission resulted in her deification as the good-aligned goddess of redemption. Unfortunately, Zehir took issue and had her assassinated.
  • Pathfinder:
    • There's a whole race of Celestials, called the Peri, who are either Fallen Angels who managed to redeem themselves or the children thereof. They take the form of albino humans with huge wings of flames that mimic the appearance of feathers.
    • The Wrath of the Righteous Adventure Path features Arueshalae, a succubus who seduced a cleric and then entered her dying dream, only to come face-to-face with an angry Desna, the goddess the cleric had worshipped. Desna, deciding to not obliterate the demon, instead reached inside of her and basically turned her old mortal soul back on, allowing her to remember her mortal life and what it was like to have morality and empathy. This doesn't automatically turn her Good — she's Chaotic Neutral at the start of the adventure, which is still a step up from Chaotic Evil — but it gives an opening for the players to finish the job, and she herself is eager to finish her Heel–Face Turn. If a character picks the "Chance Encounter" campaign trait, her first good deed was to save said character as a child.
    • Nocticula, the demon lord of lust, succubi and assassins — Arueshalae's old boss, in fact — herself became this in the shift from the game's 1st to 2nd edition. In the process of engineering her rise to full godhood, she shifted her alignment from Chaotic Evil to Chaotic Neutral, forsook the Abyss and her demonic nature and became a deity of art and outcasts. She grants her Evangelist followers the ability to make outsiders they fight aware that they do not need to follow the path of their kind, allowing them to foster similar turns among other fiends — although they can cause Face-Heel Turns among celestials just as easily.
  • Ponyfinder: The war god Blaze used to be a demon who grew intrigued by mortals and frustrated by their seeming inability to defend or stand up for themselves, and became increasingly involved in trying to browbeat them into growing spines until their belief turned her into a deity.
  • Promethean: The Created is a variant. While not necessarily (or even usually) evil, the titular Prometheans are profoundly unnatural, to the point where their very presence poisons the land they walk and the minds of those with whom they interact. As such, their primary goal in life is to complete the Pilgrimage and be reborn as true human beings.
  • Warhammer 40,000: This is one theory in-universe for the ultimate goal of Fallen Angel Cypher, formerly of the Dark Angels Space Marines legion. On the tabletop he's been able to fight for both chaos and the emperor, and in the lore one conjecture for his cutting a path through the imperium towards holy terra is that he plans to return the Sword of his former Primarch to the Emperor as a token of forgiveness and cease to be a Fallen Angel.
  • Warhammer: Age of Sigmar: The Celestant-Prime can redeem souls from the corruption of Chaos with Ghal-Maraz, the Nurglite Chaos Lord Torglug the Despised being the first Champion of Chaos to be redeemed and added to the ranks of the Stormcast Eternals, as Tornus the Redeemed of the Hallowed Knights.
  • In Legend of the Five Rings the demon Okura no Oni affected the honor of the Lion Clan through Kitsu Okura, and at Oblivion's Gate slew her father, Akuma no Oni. She ascended to become the Guardian of Tengoku and she is now seen guarding the Gates of the Celestial Heavens.
  • In Vampire: The Masquerade the fabled state of Golconda allows a vampire to transcend just about every physical and spiritual weakness of vampirism. The Enemy Within is muzzled, blood requirement drops to almost nothing, and various caps and restrictions vanish. Tellingly, the vampire is immune to Diablerie... their soul is no longer tied to their blood/body and can't be eaten.
    • In Vampire: The Requiem the above is one of three suggested outcomes for reaching Golconda. The best one is a return to humanity. The worst one? Complete balance with the Enemy Within... which means the vampire is in perfect harmony with a remorseless gluttonous raging monster.
  • Another World of Darkness gameline with this possibility is Demon: The Fallen. The titular demons have the choice to either try to recover their lost grace by reaching zero torment (only possible with RP, no game system allows that) or spurning their newfound humanity and chance at redemption by Slowly Slipping Into Evil. Unlike Vampire, Demons who eschew use of their demonic powers and One-Winged Angel form are at a disadvantage compared to their morally laxer peers.
  • Fan gameline Leviathan: The Tempest has the School of Thunder. The titular Leviathans are Eldritch Abominations straight out of Lovecraft, Kaiju with the power of gods who rip reality a new one just by existing and Mind Rape any humans who get too close into lunatic cultists. Some Leviathans revel in their status as Gods of Evil, while others try their best to minimize the harm they do and keep their cultists under control, and still others play the benevolent tyrant and try to convince themselves that their dominion is a good thing for their cults. In contrast to all of the above, the School of Thunder are those Leviathans who devote themselves to the service of a higher power, hoping by loyal service to receive forgiveness for their nature and to be reborn as humans. And the sourcebook explicitly confirms that some of them do get their miracle and achieve humanity.
  • In the Mystic China sourcebook for the Ninjas And Superspies RPG from Palladium Books there's a literal Ascended Demon class, where as you gain levels you lose demonic traits and gain human traits until if one survives all the pitfalls the character will be reborn as a human being with only dim memories of its former life.
  • Exalted features two possible examples of this:
    • The Abyssals are Exalted by the Neverborn, who corrupted Solar shards to serve death and the Void. Thing is, underneath all that necrotic taint, there's still a glimmer of innate Solar nature. It may very well be possible for an Abyssal to seek redemption and become a Solar again... and if that happens, then they don't have to deal with that pesky Great Curse.
    • The Infernals are similarly corrupted Solars, only their shards were tinkered with by the Yozis as part of a scheme to escape from Malfeas by making Creation just as bad. Infernals don't have innate Charms as other Exalts do, but instead have a direct connection to their Yozi patrons that allows them to use their magic. There's just one problem that the Yozis didn't entirely consider — that relationship may go both ways. So, with enough time and effort, an Infernal could possibly convert one of the demonic masters of Creation to good.
      • Alternatively, Infernals using the right Heretic Charms can redesign themselves into Primordials 2.0, taking and improving the designs that the Yozis used before being ripped inside out, castrated, and imprisoned. The resulting being literally containing worlds and having multiple souls. It doesn't require the character to be good, or even define good, but it does involve long periods of spiritual meditation and reformatting one's own souls, and it's hard to get worse than being one fifth Ebon Dragon, the Cosmic Principle of Dickishness.
    • Sidereals with access to Greater Astrology Charms actually have one, An End to Darkness, that allows them to hand this out willy-nilly. If they find a demon that wants to leave the service of Hell, they can cast this Charm and transform them into a god that will serve Heaven. The only downsides are that other demons will be out for that god's blood, and the Sidereal takes a large amount of Paradox in the process.
  • Interestingly, the infamous So Bad, It's Good game World of Synnibarr has this as the origins of its "angels": they are all "devils" that decided to start helping out the mortal races instead. It actually manages to make sense in context.
  • This is possible in In Nomine, but difficult - it requires the direct intervention of an Archangel, and is very painful, and sometimes results in death for the demon trying to ascend.
  • Rifts has the Reformed Demon class from the China 2 Sourcebook. These are lesser demons who have been captured by a special brand of demon hunter, and convinced to give up their demonic ways. The process of reforming slowly turns the demon into a human, which means they are perhaps the only character class in RPG history that becomes weaker as they gain levels. However, after a certain point they gain access to Mystic Martial Arts, which compensates for their lack of demonic powers.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh!, this is implied to be the case with St. Joan, a holy warrior created by fusing the corrupted demonic angel Darklord Marie with The Forgiving Maiden.

    Video Games 
  • The player character in Baldur's Gate is eventually revealed to be (one of many) children of Bhaal, the late God of Murder. As the series goes on, both the Bhaalspawn part of you and other characters try to get you to embrace your heritage and become a proper successor to the lord of murder (even to the point of giving you a Superpowered Evil Side that drains your Reputation every time you use it.) It's up the player whether they actually do this, or fight on the side of good instead.
  • Cthulhu in Cthulhu Saves the World was initially forced into becoming this, setting out to save the world so he could later conquer it. However by the end of the game he's grown to like being a good guy.
  • The player character in Dark Messiah of Might and Magic can end up this way with one of the good-aligned endings. You lose your ability to transform into a demon and your succubus advisor, but you gain a bunch of top-tier holy gear after purifying yourself.
  • Jericho Cross in Dark Watch becomes an Ascended Vampire if he is played with good karma. By performing several good deeds like sucking out tainted blood from vampire victims, giving quick and clean deaths to infected Darkwatch members and exorcising Lazarus' victims who had their souls almost completely taken by him, Jericho unlocks several holy powers that he can wield despite being an undead himself. Taken all the way to the end, he can become human again after killing Lazarus and ending the Curse of the West.
  • Devil May Cry:
    • The "Legendary Dark Knight" Sparda was a demon who rebelled against his kind and fought for humanity, eventually fathering twin sons Dante and Vergil with a human woman named Eva.
    • Trish is a demon created by the Demon Lord Mundus in the image of Dante's mother in order to lure him into a trap where Mundus would kill him. After being shown kindness by Dante, Trish turns on her evil master and becomes Dante's partner in fighting evil.
    • Lucia, the Deuteragonist of Devil May Cry 2, discovers that she is an artificial demon created by the villain Arius. Despite this, she remains steadfast in her duty to protect humans and defeats Arius. This trope is even invoked with her Devil Trigger which resembles an angelic, dove-like creature.
  • Disgaea:
    • This has happened to Rozalin prior to the beginning of the story in Disgaea 2. Due to her nature as a being of solitude along with an attempt to start over, she attempted a reincarnation to begin again, something the Fake Zenon took advantage of to take Zenon hostage. He convinced her that she is "Rozalin", his daughter, and showered her in lavish gifts. His revenge was her not realizing she was his enemy, and to love him so much as to see him as her amazing father. Following the revelation of this and the release of her old energy as a Tyrant Overlord, Adell manages to reach her and bring her back to reason. She doesn't take it well initially, but throughout the remainder of the DLC in the franchise, she has taken to just being Rozalin, discarding her past as Zenon almost entirely, and shows strong affection for Adell.
    • Flonne has become this, as of Disgaea 4. That is to say, she was originally an angel, but in the Good (and canonical) ending of the first game, the Seraph turned her into a Fallen Angel. Not much of a punishment (or even intended to be one), since she got to stay with her friends Laharl and Etna, and her personality remains the same. By D4 she has apparently gotten a promotion, and is now an Archangel, once again serving the Seraph (and is the boss of the new Vulcanus).
    • In Disgaea 5, this is the net objective of Ultimate Demon Technique, invented by Goldion and mastered by Killia, and in post game Void. Subverted because both a noble heart and sufficient power are required to master it. This is why Zeroken can't use the high level techniques and Liezerota can't use it at all.
  • Dragalia Lost: The world's archangels used to be demons, and were meant to be Always Chaotic Evil by their creator, Xenos. However, some demons defied this purpose and chose creation and protection over destruction and ruination, the first being Metatron, who would clash with the other demons and set up an order of archangels to work with the setting's Ilian Church to protect humanity and nature, and serve the Holywyrm Elysium.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • League of Legends has an instance of this in the "High Noon Gothic" Alternate Universe regarding Senna. In this version's backstory, she was a human gunslinger who had her heart ripped out by Thresh, sending her on a path to hell and becoming a demon. However, after her husband Lucian sacrificed his soul for her, Senna was resurrected through "intervention of a higher authority", granting her the heart of a literal angel, giving her both the powers of demonic hellfire with the holy light and hope-bringing conviction of the heavens.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, a sidequest involves Link helping a demon named Batreaux who wants to become human, because he is very lonely, and people are too terrified of his appearance for him to make friends.
  • Similar to the Succubus Paladin in DnD above, in the MMORPG Mabinogi, the NPC Kristell was once a succubus, but after falling in love with the druid Tarlach, she became the priestess at Dunbarton.
  • In a rather bizarre way, Shuma-Gorath's ending in Marvel vs. Capcom 3 shows that after he defeated Galactus he was lauded as a hero by everyone on Earth and, despite how easily he could conquer it, he decided instead to become a game show host.
  • Mortal Kombat:
    • Introduced in Mortal Kombat Mythologies: Sub-Zero, Sareena was a member of Quan Chi's Amazon Brigade of female demons but was convinced to turn good after Sub-Zero spared her life. She supposedly dies helping him against Shinnok but is revealed to have survived and escapes the Netherealm using a portal Scorpion and Quan Chi had used. Shortly after regaining her human form, Sareena encountered the younger brother of the Sub-Zero she met years before. Sub-Zero granted her sanctuary with the Lin Kuei back on Earthrealm. In gratitude, Sareena pledged her loyalty to the clan, swearing to help defend it from its enemies. She returns in the rebooted timeline once again aiding the heroes in their war against Quan Chi.
    • Ashrah from Mortal Kombat: Deception is a Netherealm demon, who gets betrayed and has a Heel–Face Turn in regards to Black-and-White Morality. She comes across a sword that purifies her, every time she slays a demon with it. She becomes a Virgin in a White Dress. Her plan is to gain enough purification that the evil or taint that resided in her demonic creation no longer exists, to the point of the Netherrealm (Hell) being UNABLE to keep her presence inside, for you cannot exist in that realm without a taint on the soul. The idea is that she'll eventually be expelled out of that fiery wasteland. The problem though? She's turned a bit Knight Templar, or Ax-Crazy because of this obsession. (Granted, it's still unclear whether any of this is actually happening, or if the Kris is just an Unholy Holy Sword that's making her think killing certain targets will save her soul in order to make her into its instrument of genocide. Her ending in one of the games reveal that the Kris really works, but the rate of purification is proportional to the evilness and power of the target. Also, once the user is ascended (and safely expelled from the Netherrealm), the sword stays behind to repeat the process for another demon.)
  • Valen in Neverwinter Nights and Neeshka in Neverwinter Nights 2 can end up being good demon-blooded people if your character tries hard enough.
    • For that matter, your character can end up as one too.
    • Due to the number of times Aribeth passes through the Heel–Face Revolving Door, some of her later incarnations come across this way.
    • Persey in the Tales of Arterra mod discovers a conscience and develops into a priestess of the goddess of love by the end of the story.
  • Nexus Clash allows low-level demons who aren't on board with Evil to switch to the side of the Angels and become Redeemed. (Angels can do something similar and become Fallen). The Redeemed are extra-powerful fighters against demons, but many of their powers are paid for directly out of their Karma Meter and thus put their Redemption at risk.
  • In Pathfinder: Wrath of the Righteous, much like the tabletop version mentioned above, has Arueshalae, a demonic succubus who cast aside her evil ways after the goddess Desna forced her to experience the pain and suffering of her past victims. She still has to struggle with her innate urges constantly. Depending on how the Commander treats her, she can be fully redeemed and have her In-Universe alignment shift to Chaotic Good, or fall back to her original Chaotic Evil alignment.
  • In Persona 4 and its spinoffs, Teddie, who was formerly a Shadow just like most of the enemies in the game, gains a Persona and essentially becomes human. This also applies to the Personas of the main cast, including all of Yu's Personas besides Izanagi: all of them were originally shadows that were brought under the control of the ego. Persona 4: Arena implies that this process is reversible, and that it is only through sustained effort that a Persona can continue to exist.
  • Planescape: Torment has Fall-From-Grace, a succubus who runs a pleasant brothel of platonic prostitution. (A chaste succubus, who runs a brothel that does not sell sex, something that seems a contradiction in every way.) However, she still feels some loss from her ascension to a good-leaning Lawful Neutral cleric from a Chaotic Evil existence, hence the name. There is evidence that her "fall" is more than a little uncomfortable for her, as her race is evil incarnate in a universe where belief governs the laws of physics and 'being evil' is as much a part of their existence as 'breathing air' is for humans. Despite your party being composed of only those in true torment, Ravel claims that Grace suffers more than any of your companions. This is pretty amazing, considering how your remaining party members are tormented.
  • Invoked in Puyo Puyo, where an attack animation for the Dark Prince (who is supposed to be Satan, and is explicitly named that in the Japanese originals) has him performing a move called "Ascension" that involves him literally ascending to Heaven.
  • In Shin Megami Tensei III: Nocturne, two Goetic demons, Ose and Flauros, will be purified by Chiaki in her Boss Battle and will regain the shapes they had before they fell. Although unlike most versions of this trope, Light Is Not Good is in full effect, and Chiaki is far and away one of the more evil entities in the game by the time this happens.
  • World of Warcraft:
    • A Satyr who came to his senses and seeks redemption uses parts of his former tribe and rips out his own heart to use in a potion to save a child dying of sickness. He doesn't actually ascend though: he just turns back into a night elf.
    • In Legion, a dreadlord named Lothraxion can be found in the Paladin class hall. He was initially a part of the Burning Legion, but hated his comrades' violence and betrayed his master. He's still a massive, winged, vampire-monster with hooves, but his horns are gone and he glows brightly. He's even classified as a humanoid instead of a demon. Though, due to how demonhood works in WoW, he most likely reverted to a non-corrupted nathrezim.

  • Caliban of Narbonic, who renounces his demonic powers and becomes human. Turns out he's less motivated by virtue than by getting away from some demonic loan sharks who are after him, but once that's sorted out he seems quite happy to live as a human and gets a job at Starbucks.
  • Satan of all characters gets this in Casey and Andy (albeit temporarily). During his attempted takeover of Hell, the demon Azriel drains Satan of all her evil in an attempt to destroy her. Removing her evilness, however, just reverts Satan to her pre-fall status as an archangel, and she proceeds to kick his ass.

    Web Originals 
  • Tales of Wyre begins with the choice of whether to slay a succubus who claims to repent her sins. There is, of course, no way to know whether she's telling the truth.
  • NES Godzilla Creepypasta. At the end of the game, when all characters are brought back to life, Solomon has become this, evidenced by his red eyes becoming blue.
  • The main character of Inferno Quest, Karael, was banished from Heaven into Hell, in part, due to her belief that this was possible. She was quickly proven correct.
  • At the end of the Musical Hell review of Portal 2: The (Unauthorized) Musical, the angel Donna implies that Diva may be able to come back to Heaven someday and that the devil's greatest trick was convincing demons that the road to Hell was one-way.

    Western Animation 
  • Angel Wars: It's heavily implied this is a possibility, as Michael attempts to convince his former friend to accept forgiveness. The closest the series gets to having one of these on-screen is an imp named Que cooperating with The Seven's crew to defeat a powerful demon and getting released for good behavior, even given the option to remain on The Seven and work with its crew.
  • Disenchantment: In season 2, Luci gave up his power and immortality to save Bean and Elfo, showing that he had become a true anti-hero. Sadly, this caught up with him at the end of Season 3, where he died trying to save Bean. Despite being a demon, due to his legit care for Bean and Elfo, Luci was permitted into Heaven... much to his ire. Then got resurrected in season 4 and killed again in the penultimate episode of season 5, going back to Heaven where he had the opportunity to take over after God got killed by a brick. But instead decided to replace God's lightbulb and became an angel.
  • The desire to become one drives the plot of Hazbin Hotel: the princess of Hell, sick of losing so many of her people to the annual population purges, plans on reducing the population by reforming damned souls so that they can go to Heaven. She finally, albeit unknowingly, succeeds at the end of Season 1, as Sir Pentious's Heroic Sacrifice to protect the Hotel from Adam manages to make him qualify for Heaven (though he's just as baffled as anyone else that this happened to him).
  • Played with with Sunset Shimmer in the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls series. She's not a literal demon, but, in her role as the villain of the first film, her attempts to harness Equestrian magic in the human dimension results in her transforming into a monstrous, amoral Big Red Devil with leathery bat wings. When she's restored to normal, she tearfully renounces her villainy and pulls a Heel–Face Turn, spending the next two films as The Atoner and putting in the effort to become a good person. Her full reversal is illustrated in Friendship Games, where she again harnesses magic in an effort to combat the villain — and this time, she transforms not into a demon, but an angelic form with wings of light.
  • In Samurai Jack, because Ashi is part Aku, he was able to activate her Superpowered Evil Side and take her over. Eventually, Jack is able to pull a "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight by invoking The Power of Love, and she cast away her father's influence while retaining his entire power set... including his ability to time travel.
  • In the South Park episode "Nobody Got Cereal?", Satan is killed by ManBearPig. His Winged Soul Flies Off at Death to Heaven.
  • The French cartoon Les Contes de la Rue Broca ("The Tales of Broca Street") has an episode called "Le Gentil Petit Diable" or "The Nice Little Devil". The titular character is a young demon who prefers doing good deeds, much to the displeasure of his parents. He ends up heading to heaven where, after confirming he is indeed a good kid, he is transformed into an angel (though he retains his horns and tail, just gold-colored instead of red).


Video Example(s):


Sir Pentious' Redemption

(SPOILER WARNING) Sir Pentious tries to take out Adam with a suicide run of his Airship, but Adam vaporizes him and the ship without even realizing what was happening. Luckily, it wasn't in vain.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (24 votes)

Example of:

Main / HeroicSacrifice

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