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Be All My Sins Remembered

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Sansa: We just have to make it to Castle Black. Once we're with Jon, Ramsay won't be able to touch us.
Theon: Jon would have me killed the moment I stepped through the gate.
Sansa: I won't let him. I'll tell him the truth about Bran and Rickon.
Theon: And the truth about the farm boys I killed in their place? And the truth about Sir Rodrick who I beheaded? And the truth about Robb who I betrayed?
Sansa: When you take the Black, all your crimes are forgiven.
Theon: I don't want to be forgiven. I can't even make amends to your family for the things I've done.

Roughly translated: "I don't deserve your praise."

This trope refers to that state of mind in a hero, an Anti-Hero, or possibly a villain, in which they reflect on how they are not worthy of the adulation or acclaim or status they have received. This isn't necessarily others denouncing them, or giving them inverted praise, as in Mark Antony over Caesar's body. This is where they either think or overtly say something like, "I am not worthy" or "I've done terrible things [to get here]." They may not regret the actions themselves, but typically they regret having to take the action. The idea is that they have either forced, through circumstances or personal weakness to do terrible things. If they do regret their misdeeds and consider them unnecessary, then they might be The Atoner.

Compare No Place for Me There and The Atoner. See also Heroic Self-Deprecation, I Hate Past Me, That Man Is Dead, and Warts and All. Contrast I've Come Too Far, when the character never even redeems themselves because of this belief.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Code Geass, Suzaku almost constantly, because he has an enormous Guilt Complex. Lelouch also later on, as he does more and more morally dubious things for his cause.
  • Beelzemon from Digimon Tamers initially refuses to do a Heel–Face Turn, not because he doesn't want to, but because he sold his soul for power, went on a murderous rampage, and killed one of the heroes. Even after the Tamers forgive him and reassure him that he's one of them, he never, ever forgets what he did.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Roy Mustang hates that he's treated like a war hero for participating in a genocide, and wants to overthrow the existing military dictatorship in favour of one that will actually hold him accountable for the harm he's done. He gets the "overthrow" part, but per Word of God, he's acquitted on the grounds that he helped save the world.
  • Monster:
    • When Grimmer calls him a doctor, Tenma goes on an angsty tirade about how he is not worth the title because he killed someone. He doesn't know at the time that the person he thought he killed is still very much alive.
    • Eva also goes through a period of this when she realizes how badly she has been treating Martin (and how much worse she had been to Tenma).
  • At the end of One Piece's Dressrosa arc, we see this with secondary character Kyros. He tries to disassociate himself from his daughter Rebecca in the belief that he's protecting her from the stigma of being the child of an ill-bred criminal. As part of this, he writes Rebecca a letter detailing his sordid past to make her understand his reasons. Their subplot ends with Rebecca deciding she doesn't care about that and declaring she's the daughter of Kyros.
  • Rebuild World: Akira ends up saving Elena and Sara from bandits out of hatred for what the bandits were doing (being traumatized from having been stolen from in the past), and because he figured that he'll be their next target. Being told I Owe You My Life and thanks from the two of them makes Akira feel guilty instead of happy, knowing his impure reasoning. He decides he Must Make Amends by saving them for real in the future, which leads to him doing things like irrationally answering a Distress Call in their general area despite the protests of his Virtual Sidekick saying it's suicidal.

    Comic Books 
  • In Realm of Kings: Son of Hulk, Arcturus Rann of the Micronauts reveals that he visited Jarella's homeworld K'ai more than a thousand years ago and in a moment of extreme prejudice, massacred most of the civilization due to a perceived threat to Homeworld. This also creates a big Plot Hole and Continuity Snarl since Rann's Microverse originally existed in a separate one from Jarella's. It wasn't till recently that they merged, postdating Rann's visit by 1,000 years.

    Fan Works 
  • In Child of the Storm, at a Reformed, but Not Tamed Loki's own insistence, the "Rogues Gallery" exhibit at New York's Natural History Museum contains a replica of him as he was during the Chitauri invasion.
  • Takara Tsukuda of Despair's Last Resort takes no pride in solving the murders that take place in the resort. Considering that someone is executed every time she does so, it's not hard to see why.
  • Leviathan in Manehattan's Lone Guardian comes clean to the city via the newspaper, making it clear that she has bloodnote  on her hands due to her time serving Copy X. When asked why she's doing this when it would be easier to keep it to herself, she states that she has no desire to lie to the populace and tell them that the alien robot in their midst was harmless. For better or for worse she wants them all to have a complete picture of who she is, a notion that Buried Lede agrees with.
  • Yuma Amano, after being spared and performing a Heel–Face Turn in Marriage of Heaven and Hell, still feels guilty for the actions she had previously done to Makoto and considers herself unworthy of being forgiven.
  • In the Pony POV Series, Fluttershy actually ended up doing a lot of good as Princess Gaia/Nightmare Whisper, despite all the bad she also did. When given a celebration for the good she did (and that she was able to have the self-control to at least TRY to do good when given the power of a goddess), she outright says there's a lot of things she did she'll never forgive herself for and she doesn't blame the ponies who won't forgive her for what she's done. She accepts those that will, but she'll never forget what she's done.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • No Escape (1994): When Robbins expresses respect for Dysart and the Father in two separate instances and wonders why they don't want to escape themselves, they respond in this manner.
    The Father: I know what they think. It doesn't matter. My wife's death was no suicide.
    Dysart: No, Mr. Robbins, I won't be leaving. Thirty years ago I used my God-given talents to make a bomb...a very powerful bomb...for money. I didn't believe in the cause. Didn't even understand it. I just wanted the money. Fifty people died. Now, I'm right where I belong.

  • In The Alice Network, Eve refuses military honors (war medals, among them the Order of the British Empire), because she feels that, having betrayed Lili, she is not worthy of them. When Charlie reveals to her that she did not in fact betray Lili, she accepts the medals — in fact, she wears them to Charlie’s baby’s christening.
  • The novel All My Sins Remembered by Joe Haldeman. The hero is a spy/operative for the galactic government. The novel is a series of debriefings where he tells what he had to do in the line of duty, and how those memories are gnawing on his conscience. The true horror of it is that in each case, his actions should have served to make the universe a better place, but his sacrifices were screwed over in the name of Realpolitik, and his "debriefings" are in fact part of memory-erasure "therapy" that is reducing him to a drooling vegetable.
  • The Ciaphas Cain (HERO OF THE IMPERIUM) novels are presented as the titular Kommissar 's unofficial memoirs, in which he confesses that despite being hailed as a legendary hero of the Imperium, he was really a Dirty Coward whose feats were done by accident while trying to flee for his life, or only performed to uphold his reputation. The inquisitor editing Cain's memoirs, however, counters that Cain isn't giving himself enough credit and that true heroism is fighting on in spite of fear (which would make Cain a great hero indeed). It's further muddled by the fact that his account frequently mentions deliberately invoking the Humble Hero trope to manipulate people.
  • A major, major theme in Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. After committing cold-blooded murder and getting away with it, the protagonist finds that the love and companionship of his friends and family suddenly feel torturous to him, causing him to go to great lengths to reject their kindness and drive them away.
  • In Darkness at Noon, Rubashov is made to condemn himself this way over imaginary crimes as a last service to the Party, which insists on Black-and-White Morality.
  • Evan Walker in The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey.
    Evan: I am a shark, Cassie. A shark who dreamed he was a man.
  • In It Can't Happen Here, Doremus blames his own passivity (and that of others like him) for the ascendancy of totalitarianism in America. He expresses this sentiment in a scathing column criticizing Windrip:
    "The tyranny of this dictatorship isn't primarily the fault of Big Business, nor of the demagogues who do their dirty work. It's the fault of Doremus Jessop! Of all the contentious, respectable, lazy-minded Doremus Jessops who have let the demagogues wriggle in, without fierce enough protest ... I can blame no Aras Dilley, no Shad Ledue, no Buzz Windrip, but only my own timid soul and drowsy mind. Forgive, O Lord!"
  • The Book Ends to Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor, which take place after the story that elapses between them, make Luke into this. He actually hires an investigator to look over events and build a case against him. The investigator writes a holothriller script instead.
  • In Shadow of the Conqueror, Daylen is the first person to say that he's the least worthy person to be acclaimed as a hero, receive Lightbinding, or even to live. Not that this stops him from also struggling with his Pride.
  • Skulduggery Pleasant has some moments in here too, yet never goes too dark about it. ..Until Book 6, where he reveals he was Lord Vile.
  • The Stormlight Archive has several examples.
    • Dalinar readily admits that he was a warmonger and a tyrant in his youth, though it's rather hard to believe until we actually get flashbacks of him being the single most terrifying warrior on any given battlefield.
    • Most of the Heralds are this to some extent, since they ended the Desolations by abandoning one of their own to eternal torture, simply because they were too scared to share the torture with him. Their unique madnesses induced by their millennia-long lives tend to affect this: Nalan seems to have rationalized away the guilt (it helps that he's become The Sociopath), Ishar is utterly delusional and probably doesn't even remember what he did, and Jezrien is fairly incoherent (he remarks at one point that "it is our fault," but it's not even clear what he's talking about).
      • Shalash in particular is so consumed by guilt that she's in a permanent state of Rage Against the Reflection. When Talenel finally returns, she fully expects him to hate her, and even wants it.
    Taln: Four thousand years? Ash…
    Ash: We couldn’t continue– I… we thought…
    Taln: Ash. What a wonderful thing.
    Ash: Wonderful? We left you, Taln.
    Taln: What a gift you gave them! Time to recover, for once, between Desolations. Time to progress. They never had a chance before. But this time…yes, maybe they do.
    Ash: Taln. You can't be like this.
    Taln: A truly wonderful thing, Ash.
    Ash: You can't be like this. You have to hate me! Hate me, please.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Angel struggles with this a lot in the early seasons, denying that he's a hero when people try to praise him for what he does because he's still wracked with guilt for centuries of evil deeds as a soulless vampire and doesn't believe he can actually ever be redeemed. Eventually he gets more comfortable with being looked at and treated like a hero, mainly because he realizes that (even if he doesn't believe he deserves admiration) part of the role he's undertaken as a "Champion" for the forces of good is inspiring hope and giving others someone and something to believe in.
  • Babylon 5:
    • Londo Mollari toward the end of the series. In fact, in the twilight hours of his life, he tells two children and their nurse his pivotal but silent role in the Earth-Mimbari War and the actions he committed which had stopped a major chance for peace between the races.
    • Along the same trajectory as his sworn rival, G'kar's transformation from conniving diplomat to the major religious figure of his race by the end of the series. So much so that he exiles himself to deep space to get away from the unwanted adulation of his followers.
    • Brother Edward from "Passing Through Gethsemane", a monk who discovers he was a serial killer before his death of personality. He ends up resigning himself to his death at the hands of his victims' angry relatives in contrition. His critique of the future justice system boils down to: How can they make me a holy man, yet not let me remember the sins I need to cleanse from my soul? His superior has a more optimistic view; even if he does not know what he did, God does, and his earnest and heartfelt penitence is enough that even forgotten sins are forgiven. He takes this belief so seriously that when Brother Edward's murderer is mind-wiped and given over to his order as a novitiate, he does not shun the man he knows is a murderer, but welcomes him and helps him work towards his own redemption for his forgotten sins.
  • Being Human (UK): Mitchell actually wants his sins forgotten, because for the vampires they're a source of inspiration. Still, the spirit remains - he doesn't want acclaim and admiration when he's primarily focusing on his all-consuming guilt.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: In the controversial and stunning episode "In the Pale Moonlight", Captain Benjamin Sisko — the hero of the Dominion War, survivor of Wolf 359, designer of the Defiant, winner of the Christopher Pike Medal of Valor, and a revered religious figure for the Bajoran people — narrates a log entry in which he describes the details of how he deceived and manipulated the Romulans into switching sides in the war against the Dominion and the Cardassians and the various crimes and violations of his principles it took to accomplish it. These including lying, cheating, bribery to conceal the crimes of others, forging evidence, becoming an accessory to murder, and covering it all up. What he considers most damning of all is that he would do it all again if he had to because his guilty conscience (and the lives lost) are a small price to pay for the safety of the entire Alpha Quadrant even if a Star Fleet Officer is supposed to be better than even thinking like that. (You'd never see Kirk or Picard doing that!) The trope is subverted when, at the end of the episode, Sisko erases the log entry.
  • Captain Archer at the start of Season 4 of Star Trek: Enterprise. After a year's worth of Dirty Business in the name of saving Earth, he comes home to a hero's welcome that, in his mind, he really doesn't deserve. When he takes a break to go mountain climbing and is joined by an old flame who's newly been promoted to captain, he says that she reminds him of what he was at the start of his mission.
  • Stargate Atlantis: In an episode titled "Be All My Sins Remembered", the humans team up with their mortal enemies, the Wraith, to attack their mutual enemy, the Asurans, also known as the Pegasus Replicators. In order to do so, they create their own humanoid Replicator, whose purpose is to act as a Trojan horse of sorts, and infect them with a computer virus that causes the complete destruction of her own kind. No one on the Atlantis Expedition is particularly pleased with this outcome: they had to make a Deal with the Devil, and they completely eradicated a species by essentially using a Tyke Bomb. The fall of the Asurans and their complete genocide is met with depressed relief, rather than adulation.


  • This is a major theme of Malevolent; Arthur is saved at least twice as a result of his direct refusal to forget that he was responsible for his daughter's death.

  • The trope namer, from Hamlet "Soft you now! The fair Ophelia! — Nymph, in thy orisons be all my sins remember'd." (Act III, Scene I), said as Hamlet watches Ophelia pray while he contemplates his revenge on his father's murderer.
  • Again, inverted in Mark Antony's speech over Caesar's body, in the play Julius Caesar (Act III, Scene 2). Antony says he is not there to praise Caesar but clearly, that is exactly his intent as he recounts and condemns the seemingly self-serving and evil (but actually charitable and heroic) deeds of Caesar.
  • In Othello, the title character's closing lines (Act V, scene 2): "I pray you, in your letters, When you shall these unlucky deeds relate, Speak of me as I am; nothing extenuate, Nor set down aught in malice. Then must you speak of one that lov'd not wisely but too well; Of one not easily jealous, but being wrought, Perplex'd in the extreme."

    Video Games 
  • A major character beat for Booker DeWitt in BioShock Infinite. His past is remarkably sordid — he participated in the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 (decorated as a "War Hero" for burning Native Americans alive in their teepees), was ousted from the Pinkertons for methods even they thought were extreme, and destroyed himself with alcoholism and gambling debts so deeply that he resorted to selling his own infant daughter. Even when he's offered a deal to rescue Elizabeth and wipe away the debt, he firmly believes he's Beyond Redemption, and that all he can do with his sorry life is make penance. As the game develops, this turns out to be very important as it's the difference between him and Comstock, who was an evil, alternate self. Comstock has the same baggage, but he chose to become born-again in a way that went beyond merely relinquishing himself of his atrocities, instead justifying and glorifying them, spiraling him into becoming the megalomaniacal, uber-fundamentalist Knight Templar that creates all the problems in the story. The split is even delineated with a literal baptism — Comstock is the result of having gone through with it, while Booker balked at the last minute and chose to live his life of penance for his sins on his own.
  • In the Androids arc of Dragon Ball FighterZ, while nobody really blames the good side of Android 21 for the situation, she feels responsible for everything her Superpowered Evil Side has done, even though Evil 21 is now an Enemy Without. Good 21 feels it especially hard because she killed Android 16, who was modeled after her son.
  • Joshua Graham of Fallout: New Vegas has this mentality in the Honest Hearts DLC. When you're the co-founder of Caesar's Legion and responsible for atrocities such as rape, slavery, and torture amongst other things, you honestly do have a lot to answer for.
  • Final Fantasy:
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, General Aaron Herres described himself as the absolute worst mass murderer in the history of history for initiating Operation Enduring Victory. But he decided to leave behind a testimonial, so that what he had done will never be forgotten, and let the future generation judge his actions 'with clear vision'.
  • In Kingdom Hearts coded, the digital Sora in Jiminy's Journal is told of how Namine helped put the original's memory back together. He's all set to thank the digital Namine for this, but she insists she's unworthy of thanks because she's also the one who took them apart in the first place. Sora thanks her anyway.
  • An option in Mass Effect 3. When Liara asks how she should describe Shepard in an information package for potential future species, one possible answer is that she should simply tell the truth, both the good and the bad. Considering even the most Paragon hero has done terrible things, and the most Renegade badass has saved countless people, there's quite a bit of both to tell.
  • Solid Snake from Metal Gear Solid. He doesn't like to be called a hero. He feels he's just a killer. Summed up in this line from MGS4:
    Snake: I'm no hero. Never was. Never will be. I'm just an old killer, hired to do some wetwork.
  • In Undertale, at the end of a run where the Genocide/No Mercy route is aborted by not clearing out Hotland, Alphys becomes the ruler of the Underground because she spent all her time hiding and protecting as many monsters as she could in the True Lab. This resulted in them learning the truth behind her Determination experiments and the Amalgamates. Even though the remaining monsters hail her as a hero, she personally cannot reconcile that what she did with her experiments was any better than the atrocities committed by the Human Child.

    Visual Novels 
  • When the protagonist of Double Homework finally chooses one girl out of the four in his summer school class, he finally admits to this girl that he and Tamara caused the avalanche.
  • This is one the the defining character traits of Kageaki Minato from Full Metal Daemon Muramasa. He will constantly reinforce the point that he is not worthy of any praise and should only ever be remembered as a murderer. In fact, praising him as a hero is actually a huge Trauma Button for him, prone to setting off a nasty breakdown in him due to his massive Guilt Complex.

  • The Order of the Stick, "Also, She Needs Her Clothes Back Now":
    O-Chul: Thank you once more for all that you have done.
    Vaarsuvius: Please, do not remind me of all that I have done.
  • Elf & Warrior: Played With. Hector outright refuses to let Basri forgive him after admitting that he was just as responsible for Ajax and Safony's deaths as Rilien was.
    Basri: It wasn't your fault, Uncle Hector.
    Hector: Stop. Don't say another damn word. This is exactly why I didn't tell you sooner. I knew you'd do this. I knew you'd try to forgive me, like I didn't ruin your entire goddamn life. I don't want your forgiveness, a'right? You're supposed to hate me. Well, now you know the truth, so be normal for once and hate me!

    Web Original 
  • Kado from Tokyo Demons faces tremendous guilt for everything he's done, including becoming a tool for Touya. Half his dialogue includes apologies. Whether or not it's justified guilt is another matter.

    Western Animation 
  • Dinobot, the villain turned heroic Blood Knight of Beast Wars, says something like this on his deathbed, following a Heroic Sacrifice where he saves the human race, despite the fact that their annihilation would guarantee his ancestors the victory in the great war. He knows he's done some questionable things and has to answer for them. He tells his Maximal comrades that he should not be regarded as a hero, but that history should judge him.
    Dinobot: Tell my tale to those who ask. Tell it truly, the ill deeds along with the good, and let me be judged accordingly. The rest... is silence.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • In the episode "Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?" Princess Luna reveals that she had created a dream entity called the Tantabus to punish herself night after night "to make sure I never forgave myself for how much Equestria suffered because of me."
    • After turning good, Starlight Glimmer developed a very self-deprecating personality quirk with her past, also making her reject or dismiss the praise she does get. This gets explored in the sixth season finale "To Where and Back Again", where just being in her old village causes Starlight to shove everyone away and lie down while covering her face, despite the fact the townspeople seem to be willing to forgive her and move on. She gets over it eventually.