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Became Their Own Antithesis

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"It's funny. It seems like yesterday Arcturus was the idealistic rebel crusader. Now he's the law and we're the criminals."
Jim Raynor, StarCraft

After Character Development, some people regress into a vulnerable state. Others go from evil to good, good to evil, or just become better or worse without changing sides. Or they turn into a fragile, highly poetic and a bit irrational version of themselves.

Another group of people tends to reject everything that seemed to define their identity for the viewer, their appearance, their values, their main quirk, and their general attitude towards The Hero, Save the World, and Black-and-White Morality. Then they manage to become a negative picture of themselves, the complete antithesis for what they formerly were known. This is this trope.

The trope is mostly used to make a Face–Heel Turn more dramatic, using The Dark Side Will Make You Forget, but it can also serve the other way around to prove how much someone can better himself when under the influence of Good.

It is, of course, often closely related to Shadow Archetype and The Corrupter (they delight in this, mostly when it is a case of Corrupt the Cutie). It rarely prompts "What Have I Become?" or "I Have Seen the Light", the change often being too subtle to be noticed before it is completed. Expect some surprising Out-of-Character Alert. Also, this is sometimes tightly linked with Morality Dial and Mirror Morality Machine for examples where a heel/face and face/heel transformation (along with this trope) are exerted by artificial means by a third party.

See also Used to Be a Sweet Kid, He Who Fights Monsters, Ascended Demon, Fallen Angel, Fallen Hero, Start of Darkness, The Horseshoe Effect, The Paragon Always Rebels, and Full-Circle Revolution. Compare and contrast Hourglass Plot and Perspective Reversal, with which this can sometimes overlap, when two opposite characters are becoming this trope.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ai no Kusabi has Riki pretty much doing a complete 180 in personality by the end after trying so hard to remain the same.
  • Chapter 123 of Attack on Titan makes it clear that this has happened to Eren Yeager. He joined the Survey Corps so that he could stop the Titans from killing everybody. Now, one four-year Time Skip and a good deal of Sanity Slippage later, Eren is so fed up with what the Marleyans and the rest of the world outside Paradis Island, which he and everyone else initially thought was all that remained of humanity, have been doing to his people that he decides to unleash every Titan within the Walls of Paradis to destroy all humanity outside the island.
  • In the end of Code Geass Suzaku Kururugi dons the mask and identity of Zero, the revolutionary leader he had spent most of the show trying to stop.
  • Jeremy and Ian from A Cruel God Reigns: Jeremy believes love is only anger, much like his stepfather, Greg and all the things Greg did to him. Ian realizes that, like his father, he likes to see Jeremy in pain, even though he doesn't want him to be hurt. Both are also examples of He Who Fights Monsters.
  • Death Note:
    • Light Yagami of Death Note is an interesting example that plays the reverse. He starts out as an apathetic and bored teenager who is prone to temptation and purpose. When he gains the Death Note, he becomes a petty, egotistical, manipulative, vindictive, lying murderer with a God complex who believes Murder Is the Best Solution, including eventually planning to apply it to the lazy and unproductive! However, when he has to surrender the Death Note as part of a long Xanatos Gambit and thus lose his memories, he becomes an honorable, highly empathic, idealistic teen who believes in the inherent goodness of man though with a greater sense of maturity before he got the Death Note.
    • Oddly enough, this seems to apply to Misa as well, which is why a number of fans speculate the Death Note's power has drastic and degenerative effects on the user's personality. Misa as the Second Kira is a morbid, amoral Genius Ditz with a frightening Ax-Crazy Yandere streak. Without the Death Note, however, she's a lot more innocent, genuinely ditzy, and generally seems to be a nice person who is alarmed by violence.
    • It is averted with Mikami, however; he is insane before he gets hold of the Death Note. He just got much worse afterwards.
  • Played for Laughs and downplayed in The Demon Girl Next Door. As the series progresses and Yuko grows into her role as a demon, her attitudes slowly shift and she starts to warm to things she would have never considered before her awakening. Many of the aspects of Yuko's demonic awakening really bothered her at first—over time she either stopped caring about them, or even embraced them and ran with it, but she's far from becoming truly villainous.
    • When her mother told Yuko it would be up to her to master her powers of darkness to break the curse on their family, she felt weirded out enough to exclaim, "But doesn't that make me the bad guy?" While she reluctantly starts down the dark path out of a desire to help her family (and not being hungry all the time), it's not long before Yuko is proudly calling herself a villain without reservations. However, deep down she's still a good person at heart. Mostly. But she'll never admit it.
    • Her official demon name "Shadow Mistress Yuko" and the nickname it spawned, Shamiko; at first she thought the former was corny, and the latter was a Berserk Button. Now she even signs her schoolwork with the former, and practically everyone calls her by the latter. It's gotten to the point where she barely even recognizes her original name.
    • When her little sister Ryoko praised Yuko for taking initiative towards becoming the ruler of the forces of darkness by training to fight Magical Girl Momo, Yuko questioned that she'd ever be a leader of anything. By volume 4, she's calling herself the "Queen of Darkness," demonstrates an impressive feat of leadership skill by coordinating her entire network of friends and associates into action on short notice, and is looking for anyone else with useful skills, talents, or connections to bring into her circle.
    • Her Crisis Management form and the Stripperiffic outfit that comes with it initially embarrassed her to no end and she refused to use it in public unless it was a life-or-death matter. By volume 5, Yuko's using her transformation practically anytime it might be helpful: in gym class, while taking tests, climbing multiple flights of stairs, and so on. It still embarrasses her, but not enough to deter her from using it around other people, and she no longer cares much if anyone sees her in it.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Gohan falls into this during the Cell Games. Compare Gohan before he unlocks Super Saiyan 2 and after. Before SS2 - a humble, soft-hearted Martial Pacifist who makes it clear on more than one occasion that he doesn't like to hurt people, not even truly evil monsters like Cell. After SS2 - an arrogant, borderline sadistic, revenge-driven Smug Super who eagerly beats Cell within an inch of his life and even deliberately prolongs the Curb-Stomp Battle just because he wanted Cell to suffer as much as possible before he died. Thankfully, he breaks out of it, but only after his actions backfire horribly, resulting in his father's death.
  • In Eureka Seven Ao, it happened to the former protagonists Renton and Eureka, as both saviors of the world who supported the Scub Coral are no longer on good terms with it and planned to destroy the Scub due to the disaster the Scub causes to humanity via attracting Secrets and on a personal level, the loss of their infant daughter due to high levels of Trapar emitted by Scub Coral, and endangering Ao's survival if leaving the Scub to keep time travelling to his world.
  • In GTO: The Early Years, Saejima is one of the toughest, baddest delinquents around, often fighting with cops. In the sequel Great Teacher Onizuka, he's become a cop. Downplayed though, since he's very much a Corrupt Cop and mostly cares about the power his position brings him.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Battle Tendency: Kars, in a physical rather than a moral sense. At the start of part 2, he's a Pillar Man whose only weaknesses are sunlight and Hamon. By the end, not only is he immune to sunlight, but he's immune to Hamon and can use it himself, with far more power than any human wielder, thanks to becoming the Ultimate Life Form.
  • Precia Testarossa of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is shown in flashbacks to be a Doting Parent to her daughter. This is in contrast to the current Precia, who is an Abusive Parent that literally whips her daughter at the slightest provocation. This is one of the reasons why Fate still loves her despite all the suffering she receives, as she remembers a time when she used to be kind. Unfortunately for Fate, the reason for this change is because Fate is a failed attempt to revive Precia's dead daughter, and she's unwilling to treat a clone like Fate as a second daughter.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny, this is what ends up coloring Shinn Asuka's later characterization. He wants to become strong enough to prevent tragedies like the one that took his family. However, between being manipulated by his teammate Rey and ZAFT Chairman Durandal, his inability to temper his rage and various failures ends up transforming him into the type of person that caused the types of incidents in the first place. He... doesn't take it well when he's told this.
  • Naruto:
    • Obito, a.k.a. Tobi. That's why his identity is such a shock to Kakashi; the young, kind-hearted, idealistic Obito develops into somebody who is apparently perfectly willing to kill thousands to maintain those ideals through rewriting a Crapsack World reality. Naruto eventually makes him understand this and change for the better.
    • Kakashi Hatake had his personality changed during the Third Ninja World War. Before then, he made it a principle to prioritize objectives over saving lives. Then his friend Obito Uchiha, who called him out on this, seemingly died, and Kakashi became a fatherly mentor who will always try to save people even if it's hopeless. He also became more amiable, as before the war, he was kind of an arrogant asshole who took for granted people if they were beneath him.
  • Oz Vessalius of PandoraHearts begins the series as a depressed cynic Stepford Smiler whose abuse victim past left him unwilling to have sincere faith in anything for fear of suffering more emotional damage at perceived inevitable letdowns, causing everyone who loves him deep stress and worry for his wellbeing. By the end of the series, Oz is acknowledged as having become someone who embodies hope and faith and is the leader of the faction counteracting Oswald's and Jack's efforts to write off the present world as a worthless one that should rightfully end or be Ret Gone'd out of existence. For double points, Oz was created to be the tool that would end that world.
  • Stardust Telepath: Yuu Akeuchi claims to possess the power of "forehead telepathy", which means she can reads minds via Headbutt of Love. She uses this alleged power to help Umika Konohoshi — who is so shy she can't even work up the courage to speak to another person — out of her shell. However, once Umika does start coming out of her shell, Yuu angsts about the fact that she subconsciously wants Umika to stay an Elective Mute so she can continue to rely on Yuu as her Living Emotional Crutch.
  • Tokyo Ghoul:
    • Ken Kaneki starts out as a kind, gentle young man and an Extreme Doormat who doesn't like to hurt others. The hardships he suffers as a result of becoming half-Ghoul, along with his ordeal at Yamori's hands, cause him to become a brutal, ruthless Anti-Hero with a Pay Evil unto Evil mentality.
    • In Tokyo Ghoul: Re, this happens to Seidou Takizawa as a result of a Face–Monster Turn. He goes from an idealistic young Investigator, to an Ax-Crazy Ghoul that gleefully slaughters humans without a second thought. He explains to a pair of Red Shirts that if you become a monster, you don't have to be afraid of them anymore.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman:
    • Batman Vampire: By the final book, Crimson Mist, Batman has succumbed to his vampire nature, going from a noble hero and a major practitioner of Thou Shalt Not Kill to a monster who eagerly kills his Rogues Gallery for their blood. Gordon even acknowledges it, citing it to Alfred as proof that the Batman they knew is gone.
    • Regular Batman stories deal with this trope when Batman is faced with a much deadlier enemy, usually the Joker, whose very existence is proving to be too chaotic. Batman refuses to cross any lines out of fear of becoming this trope, knowing that his crusade will effectively go up in smoke the moment he takes a life.
    • In Knight Terrors it is revealed that The Joker himself is afraid that this will happen to him should the Batman die, as his nightmare shows him reduced to becoming a pencil-pusher for Wayne Enterprises and apathetically refusing the chance to go after a seemingly-returned Batman.
  • In Dastardly & Muttley, by-the-book hero pilot Dick Atcherly slowly degrades into literal mustache-twirling Cartoonish Supervillainy and the competent, stoic Ladette Zabarnowski into a cowardly Screaming Woman after exposure to Unstabilium 239, or putting it another way, they become Dastardly and Zilly from Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines. Basically, a normal Air Force squad turns into literal caricatures of themselves.
  • Doctor Who: Four Doctors has Ten, Eleven, and Twelve exposed to a Time War device that changes reality through a single decision of anyone in range - Ten sees himself leave Wilf to die in the radiation-flooded chamber and giving into the persona of the Time Lord Victorious, Eleven catches himself living in the dying reality of 22 April 2011 and ignoring the death of the universe as long as he can have his peace with River, and Twelve finds himself a crazy hermit who refused to forgive Clara for "betraying" him and is secretly the madman who arranged it all to begin with. The machine was also used on the Ninth Doctor - however, it failed to find a point in time where he was any less noble than at his best.
    • It happens again in the Time Lord Victorious event, in which Ten, fresh off the disastrous events at Mars, decides he's quite done with everyone around him dying and sets off into the Dark Times to straight-up alter the Universe and destroy death itself at its source, consequences be damned. And if he has to make a deal or two with the Daleks, incinerate one or two civilizations and behave just a little bit like the Master... well, it's all for a good cause in the end, isn't it?
  • The Incredible Hulk: For years, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross viewed the Hulk as a menace and relentlessly pursued him, even though the Hulk's only desire was to be left alone. When the Intelligencia offers Ross the chance to resurrect his daughter Betty and help him "save" America, Ross becomes the Red Hulk, who is easily a more active threat to America and the rest of the world than the green Hulk. Ross ultimately ends up being pursued across the U.S just as he did Banner and is viewed as the menace he always insisted the Hulk was.
  • Quite funnily, Kid Paddle's hero fears aliens would tamper with his brain, suspecting his father to want it. He fears he would be turned into a Glurge Addict, a thought that appalls him.
  • As a Decon-Recon Switch of the Dark and Silver ages of comic books, Kingdom Come features a lot of this. Most blatantly, while an aging Bruce Wayne claims to have made Gotham a sanctuary of peace thanks to Big Brother Is Watching You tactics, Superman admonishes him for, "Turning all of Gotham into a superstitious, cowardly lot." For a more positive example, textbook '90s Anti-Hero and Captain Ersatz of Cable, Magog, comes to abhor violence and is stated to become a pacifist in the novelization due to the War Is Hell themes of the story.
  • New Warriors: The team was formed with the premise of tackling issues that other superhero teams like the Avengers and the Fantastic Four wouldn't touch. In issue #51 of the original series, Night Thrasher expresses concern that the Warriors are following in the footsteps of the various teams they were supposed to be different from.
    "Lots of members, diverse powers, fancy headquarters, unlimited budget... Are we becoming like them in other ways as well? So busy talking about what they should do to help the world instead of acting on it? Are going to become a part of the very system we always said we were going to fight to change?
  • Throughout the third series of Runaways, Nico Minoru, who had previously fought to avoid turning out like her dark-magician parents, increasingly embraces her heritage as a dark-magic user to make her life easier. After she employs Mind Rape on Klara in the final arc, Molly, whose own parents were enthusiastic mind-rapists, accuses Nico of acting like one of the Pride.
  • Match started out as a prideful clever manipulative "improved" clone of Superboy who claimed to have no desires beyond obeying his masters despite obviously caring about appearances and hating Superboy's inferior way of talking and acting. He reappeared in Teen Titans having gone through serious Clone Degeneration which stripped him of his additional powers and wrecked his mental facilities to the point that he was a generic Bizarro clone. It also turned his hair from pale blonde to black like Kon-El's for some reason.
  • The very pitch for Sun Devils was that the series would follow the progression of the main character, Rik Sunn, from a man devoted entirely to peace to a man devoted entirely to war. By the time of the Fully Absorbed Finale, "The Last Sun Devil" (published in Superman Vol 2 #86), when Rik is confronted by the notion that his Arch-Nemesis, Karvus Khun, is now a feeble old man who is no danger to anyone and can't even remember him at all, the former pacifist kills both himself and Khun in a fit of despair.
  • One of Lex Luthor's most defining traits is his hatred for Superman on account of Superman being an alien and sees himself as being a human underdog against a god-like alien. But as the years went by, Luthor's hatred of Superman and his own egotism have reached the irrational point where he's not against empowering himself with god-like alien abilities, including become an Orange Lantern, attaining the Zone Child's power, and being transformed by Perpetua into Apex Lex. Rather glaringly during the Justice/Doom War where he's engaged in a brawl with Superman and declares that Superman doesn't understand humanity because he's not even human, Apex Lex's very DNA and biology had been so altered that he no longer looked human himself.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW): Splinter starts down this path after taking over the Foot, starting with his killing Shredder; starting out as a Martial Pacifist who refuses to kill no matter what, Splinter begins Slowly Slipping Into Evil and making increasingly questionable and ruthless decisions, climaxing when he plans to turn orphans into Child Soldiers for the Foot. Mikey calls him out on it, declaring that Splinter is turning into everything that he taught the Turtles to fight against.
  • This is a big part of what makes Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Last Ronin so tragic. After years of mounting trauma caused by the loss of his old home, the success of the Foot Clan, and the deaths of his family and friends, former goofball party animal Michelangelo has completely shed his carefree attitude and become a dead-serious vigilante who can only crack a wry joke at best.
  • This is what happened with Cecily Bain, star of Vampire: The Masquerade: Winter's Teeth, as she's a Brujah former Anarch and punk girl who now works as an enforcer for the Camarilla. Most Anarchs are not happy with her.
  • Transformers: Dark Cybertron: Megatron realizes this has happened to him when he's talking to Bumblebee. He'd orginally started out as a peaceful advocate for social justice and equal rights, but after being arrested and beaten while in police custody he'd turned into a tyrant who was even worse than the old regime he'd rebelled against. Realizing this caused him to perform a Heel–Face Turn and join the Autobots.
  • X-Men: The Krakoan Age: Story wise, Moira MacTaggert went from a human who was helping the mutants because it was the right thing to do to a mutant villain who sided with the anti-mutant forces of Orchis.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Amenaza (Bleach & Naruto): After dying and becoming a Hollow, Naruto goes from being an All-Loving Hero to a cynical, self-centered and Ax-Crazy Villain Protagonist bent upon making everyone pay for his past suffering.
  • Avengers: Infinite Wars (Marvel Cinematic Universe & Star Wars): Anakin Skywalker feels that this has happened to him when he learns about the control chips in the clones. Considering the similarities to the transmitter that was used to stop him escaping when he was a slave as a child, Anakin feels as though he is essentially acting as a slaver himself, even though he didn't know about them when he became a general.
  • Child of the Storm: Harry starts as a relatively innocent, calm but warm-hearted, and impulsive All-Loving Hero who trusts his friends without second thought. While he's not without realism or snark at his often bizarre circumstances, he's a relatively open book and a gentle person. After the first arc of the sequel, he's cautious, temperamental and coldly stoic, and much more opaque, being secretive and manipulative, and a fantastic Consummate Liar, a dissonantly bitter cynic, a Knight in Sour Armor who's Resigned to the Call and deeply traumatised. It's more than once lamented, including by Harry himself, that he used to be as sweet and innocent as Clark Kent himself. While he mellows out with time and therapy, he matures into a philosophical Knight of Faith and nuanced Knight in Shining Armor, a textbook Fiery Stoic, he remains a calculating, secretive, and ruthless figure who's lost much of his effortless trust and tends to do what is necessary rather than what is strictly right.
    • However, he's not a complete example, as one thing that stays constant is his boundless capacity for love. Unfortunately, as he is entirely aware, while it can be his salvation, it can just as easily be the opposite.
  • Children of Time (Doctor Who & Sherlock Holmes): Sherlock himself in The Dying Detective (not to be confused with "The Adventure of the Dying Detective", a canonical story), thanks in part to the machinations of Professor Moriarty. It should be noted, however, that Holmes wanted to Jump Off the Slippery Slope in order to avoid emotional pain. Thus, the emotional, compassionate, loving Holmes becomes the emotionless, cruel, uncaring Moriarty.
  • This happens so often in Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail that it might as well be part of the Central Theme.
    • Chloe Cerise is an interesting example because in her case, it happens twice:
      • The first time happens when she enters the Train: she first enters it as an insecure and deeply troubled girl with severe self-esteem and confidence issues. By the end of Act 1, she's grown into a confident and independent girl who, while still looking for a purpose in her life, won't take anybody's crap about telling her what she should do. She also goes from hating everything about Pokémon, to at least being willing to consider a potential Starter.
      • The second time happens when her actions are examined after Parker's rampage: Before then, she was seen as a meek, innocent girl who would one day take on her father's mantle, but wasn't really seen as a jerk or anything unless you were duped by Sara. After Parker basically destroys Vermillion City and everybody in it in her name, this changes so that people see her as a spiteful, petty little brat who ran away when nobody read her mind regarding what she wanted, and she was so deeply angry about everything that she was willing to stay on a supernatural train so she can make everyone who wronged her beg for her forgiveness, which led to Parker's rampage in the first place.
    • Goh Fujihachi was a confident and idealistic research fellow who was, admittedly, incredibly obssessed with finding Mew but was ultimately a nice, if oblivious, person. After Chloe gets on the Train, his idealism and optimism take a deep dive, turning him from a Nice Guy to a Jerkass who's willing to out Ash and Trip's romance just to try and stop being hurt. Things only get worse for him after his nightmare therapy, as he's forced to confront his issues in such a way that not only does he want nothing to do with Pokémon, but he even loses the will to live, being sent to a suicide ward in order to try to avoid him from taking his own life.
    • Ash Ketchum is the same All-Loving Hero he's always been, and while not without issues, he always wore a smile on his face. Once the Blame Game gets to him, he develops such a heavy Guilt Complex that he becomes a Byronic Hero who believes It's All My Fault, when really, he's arguably better than most people in this story.
    • Parker Cerise was Chloe's younger brother that, despite his anger issues, was an honestly nice kid who only wanted to do the right thing. Once he gets the power of the Unown in his hands, he slips so damn hard he cracks the ground on impact: not only becoming a Barbaric Bully that's even worse than all of Chloe's classmates combined, but whose Roaring Rampage of Revenge renders everything everybody did for Chloe completely worthless, as his entire family are reduced to social pariahs because of his actions, and his sheer refusal to admit his fault and sheer delight in calling everybody else out eventually turns him into a Persona Non Grata for Vermillion City, as that seems to be the only way to stop him from fucking things up any further.
    • Sara Dyktalis was practically the queen of Chloe's school, having everybody right under her finger and having so much confidence it leaked from her every move. Act 2 practically leaves her with nothing: her biological family, her social status, her social and academic future, the few friends she had, nothing. Not even her confidence, as she's been reduced to a nervous wreck thanks to Parker's rampage.
    • Hop is pretty much the male Chloe; before the Train, he has severe self-esteem and confidence issues, feeling like he'll always be stuck under his brother's shadow. After he gets on the Train, all of his issues are basically gone, and he's allowed to rest easy and enjoy the simplicities of life. Of course, this is less because of actual development and more because he's been brainwashed into a piece of a ritual that will destroy the Apex.
  • Plus Five to Charisma (Encanto & Dungeons & Dragons): had this happen twice over in the Backstory. In the distant past, an adventuring party took over managing a land that they'd liberated from tyrants; over time, however, power and paranoia twisted them into tyrants themselves. They created a powerful army of Warforged in the name of "keeping everyone safe". Two of their number broke ranks and fled with their children, only for their former allies to pursue, intend on stealing the pair's children away and enslaving them. These two dissenters were Alma and Pedro, and when the latter sacrificed themselves to protect their family, the grief-stricken Alma went on to effectively force her children and theirs to serve "the greater good" of Encanto, becoming just as much of a Control Freak as both the tyrants they'd once helped overturn and their former party had become.

Death Note

  • Fade:
    • L. In his attempts to stop Kira from killing him and ruling the world, he becomes Kira. His own inability to realize this is one of the main sources of conflict in the story.
    • When Ryuzaki tells Light what L's plans are for Kira, Light is disgusted. Light despises the idea of being kept as a pet and being subservient to L sounds like a nightmare to him. His crush/obsession with L and the emotional torture of being L's captive turns Light into exactly that.

Disney Animated Canon

  • A Country of Wolves is a Western AU of Frozen where Elsie Maddox was part of a gang with Hank van der Meer, who always styled himself as rebelling against the upper class by stealing from the rich. However, after Elsie is left for dead during a train robbery, when she tracks Hank down she finds that he has set himself up as mayor of a mining town and acts as though he liberated them from corrupt landowners and is their new benevolent ruler, when in reality he's just as bad as the people he drove out and kills anyone who objects to his policies.

Harry Potter

  • The Darkness Series has this happen to Harry himself, as they are gradually corrupted by Voldemort's influence.


  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): San, the former left head of Ghidorah who was ripped off of the main body by Godzilla and survives beyond the body's later death at Boston. When he was part of Ghidorah, he was the least evil of the three heads, though he still happily took part in their campaign to kill Godzilla, exterminate humanity with extreme prejudice, and conquer and destroy the Earth; and he was constantly beat down and abused by the other heads (his "elder brothers"). After San fuses himself to Vivienne Graham and after his character development, he's now the less charitable half of the new multi-minded Titan that he and Vivienne have formed, he's willingly on Godzilla's side as a subordinate, he's going even more out of his way to protect humans and minimize human casualties than even Mothra would (although that's due to Vivienne's influence over the new Titan body, whereas San doesn't really care much for individual human lives unless they're people who've given him and his sister cause to help them); and Vivienne (his new "sister" who is technically billions of years younger than San) is a kind and nurturing influence on him.

The Loud House

  • Flowing Star: Assuming Lincoln's story is similar to his canon self from Season 1, he used to be a cheerful, idealistic, generous yet selfish boy who always did plans that backfired on him but always tried to make up for, but he did something that resulted in him becoming an apathetic, cynical closed but selfless boy who is despised by other people in the town.

Miraculous Ladybug

My Hero Academia

  • Given the Fandom-Specific Plot of Midoriya Izuku becoming a villain after being rejected by All Might, this trope happens often:
    • Apotheosis: Izuku went from a hero fanboy who idolized All Might to a supervillain that despises the current hero society, and All Might in particular.
    • Mastermind: Strategist for Hire: Once a hero fanboy with dreams of becoming a Pro Hero, Izuku's inability to find a regular job due to prejudice against his Quirklessness drives him to become the titular Villain, Mastermind.
    • Nemesis has Izuku trade his dreams of becoming a Pro Hero for becoming Katsuki's personal nemesis. Just like how Katsuki tore him down with his Barbaric Bullying, Mischief is intent upon destroying Katsuki's hopes and dreams by ensuring the two of them are permanently linked in the public eye and that everyone knows Katsuki created his own villain.
  • In Karma in Retrograde, Touya was an aspiring hero student with dreams of making it big and rescuing his siblings and mother from Endeavor's influence. He also hoped to prove that he wasn't a useless weakling and to surpass his father someday. But somewhere along the way, he turned down the path of villainy and became the serial killer Dabi. He's an extremely powerful villain who permanently scarred Izuku, gleefully participates in mass murder, and actively plots to tear down society as part of the League of Villains. Touya's disconnect with his future self's actions is a huge source of angst and confusion for him.
  • In When Reason Fails, the Celestial demihumans as a species have this as a problem. At their base, they are intelligent, focused, confident, charismatic and with a tendency to be kind and empathetic. However, after suffering any trauma, no matter how small, their virtues flip into Flaws. Kindness flips into cruelty, patience into rage, and so on.

My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic

  • Played for Laughs in My Little Pony: Totally Legit Recap: After pulling the zombie prank on Rainbow Dash to get back at her/teach her lesson for her earlier actions and the even bigger crime of acting out of character, she calls them out on their hypocrisy, pointing out that not only have they sunk to her level, but were acting out of character themselves! Cue horrifying realization.

My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!

  • Catarina Claes MUST DIE!: In her previous life, Henrietta was a heavily bullied girl who deeply identified with the story of Fortune Lover, empathizing with how Maria and Keith suffered and despising the nobles who bullied them. As Henrietta, however, her hatred of Catarina drives her to adopt all of the worst traits of those very same bullies, hellbent on torturing, tormenting, and killing a girl who has done absolutely nothing to deserve any of the cruelties she's intent on inflicting upon her, while ignoring every sign that this reality isn't exactly like Fortune Lover in that Catarina Claes is genuinely kind.


  • Echoes (Kagaseo): Kazama (an alternate-reality counterpart of Naruto) and Sasuke effectively wind up switching roles, as Kazama loses his faith in Konohagakure and his friends while Sasuke becomes The Atoner.

Odd Squad

  • Subverted in Ships Ahoy!. Oprah refuses to join Odd Squad because she is of the belief that every agent who is employed with the organization is haughty, stuck-up, and braggadocious, and they don't know about working hard to get what you want in life. Despite her repeated refusals, O'Donahue keeps pushing and keeps asking her, and eventually she agrees after exposing Olga as a thief and realizing that being an agent can be fun. However, once she becomes an agent, she finds that not every agent is egotistical and doesn't grow a giant ego herself.


  • Relic of the Future: In the new timeline created by Jaune traveling back in time, Blake's alternate self at first acts as a Morality Pet to Adam during their youth and the White Fang's early days, keeping his worst impulses in check. Then her father Ghira is unlawfully murdered in Atlesian custody by a rogue officer, and it sends Blake spiraling down a darker path than her original self. Combine that with how the ripple effects of adult Jaune's presence have put Adam on a lighter path, and the two Faunus end up swapping roles, with Adam being the one keeping Blake in check as she becomes increasingly murderous and radicalized.

A Song of Ice and Fire

  • Purple Days: Becoming a Groundhog Peggy Sue causes this to happen to Joffrey Baratheon. After being completely broken by his repeated failures and (often delightfully unpleasant) deaths in the earlier loop iterations, and after gaining a mentor in Ned Stark of all people once he gradually starts recovering, Joffrey resolves to take advantage of his effective immortality and the chances it affords him in order to better himself. After a subjective century or two in the loop, Joffrey has transformed from a cowardly, spoiled, inept, sheltered, classist, incompetent, witless, sociopathic brat with a cruel streak the width of King's Landing; into a fiercely brave, disciplined, multi-skilled, multi-learned, worldly, experienced, strategic, penitent, kind and personable soul, who comes to value almost everyone around him except for Jaime, Cersei and Littlefinger, and who is hellbent on saving all of Planetos from the encroaching Long Night once and for all.

Star Wars

  • A Single Decision: The CIS was formed by Separatists in an attempt to escape the concept of a big, centralized government so that systems could rule themselves... only for many Separatist commanders to turn around and agree to consolidate all their powers together and nationalize every asset that can help them win the war.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

  • TMNT: Secrets of the Sewers: As revealed in chapter 23, Oroku Saki began as an honorable Nice Guy who defied orders during a mission to rescue Tang Shen from a yakuza group, stating that he can't let innocent people suffer and is disgusted by the yakuza treating human life as "something to be bartered and sold." Come the present day, as the Shredder, Saki's become everything he's hated about the yakuza and more, allowing Stockman to perform inhumane experiments on humans and mutants alike, including children, to amass an army for himself.

    Films — Animation 
  • Denahi from Brother Bear starts off as a kind and loving older brother to Kenai, but after the oldest brother Sitka is killed by a mother bear, he gradually becomes more and more aloof, and finally, when Kenai successfully kills said mother bear, only to be turned into one himself, he ends up turning into a hostile, vengeful, feral animal consumed by intense grief and rage, now caring only about him trying to avenge the supposed death of his remaining brother Kenai at the hands of the bear Kenai himself got turned into, even trying to kill other bears like Koda just so that Denahi can finally have his revenge. At the end of the film, Sitka was able to stop Denahi from killing Kenai and Koda by turning the former back into a human at the last minute, thus allowing Denahi to perform a Heel–Face Turn, and goes back to the kind and loving brother he was once before, while Kenai then goes on to remain a bear permanently so that he can be the new older brother to Koda to make up for killing the cub's mother.
  • Frozen: Played with and subverted. Queen Elsa has spent most of her life repressed and trying hard to control herself, particularly her magical ice powers, wanting to defy the Wicked Witch trope. After losing her temper and shooting ice at her sister during a ball, she runs away to the North Mountain, as an Endless Winter falls upon the land, and sings what appears to be a Then Let Me Be Evil song about she'll now "let the storm rage" and "the cold never bothered me anyway." When her sister reaches Elsa's new ice palace to ask her to undo the spell on the kingdom, Elsa reveals she had no idea that the entire kingdom had been affected, and that the Endless Winter was a result of Power Incontinence. Incidentally, an earlier version of the script had Elsa being a completely straight example, but having realised they'd created an Unintentionally Sympathetic Tragic Villain the writers decided to roll with it and did a rewrite.
  • An alternate variation of this was created for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part for Rex Dangervest, otherwise known as an alternate version of Emmett Brickowski himself. The Emmett we all know and love was a sweet, naive, and otherwise sensitive guy who always looked on the bright side of things, even when life was at its worst, but tended to get picked on by the residents of Bricksburg/Apocalypseburg for not toughening up. Unfortunately for them, after he gets stuck under the dryer trying to rescue his kidnapped friends, he does just that, becoming a hardened and tough criminal mastermind who nearly destroys all of reality by manipulating his younger self into causing "Ourmomageddon".
  • On the topic of Disney films, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The queen is extremely vain, with a fair voice and decent looks. In her jealousy of Snow White, though, she ultimately brews a potion that turns her into an old hag with a croaky voice, and she never returns to her original form before dying.
  • Spider Man Across The Spiderverse: Miguel O'Hara posits that every iteration of Spider-Man/Woman/etc. has to go through the motions of failing to save certain people and if they try to break the trend, they'll throw their universe out of whack. Miles immediately refutes this belief, as it means they're just going to let people die even if the potential to save them still exists. He even goes that extra mile by asking Peter Parker if he would have let Uncle Ben die if he was told to, to which Peter sadly states that Uncle Ben's death has always been Spider-Man's starting point. Basically, Peter Parker and all of his variants have gone from blaming themselves for the deaths of their Uncle Ben equivalents to deluding themselves with the belief that letting him die was the right decision, thereby forsaking the aesop that "with great power comes great responsibility".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Citizen Kane: Kane begins with a declaration of principles, championing the Inquirer and himself as a tireless seeker of truth and justice and the defender of "the common man", until he slowly becomes a power-hungry controller of information who wants the common man to love him but who has none to give back, exemplified when he loudly proclaims that the people will think "what I tell them to think."
  • I Am Michael is a biopic about the openly gay and antireligious activist Michael Glatze who later became a straight Christian pastor that advocates for gays to change their ways.
  • General Miller's acceptance of defeat in In the Loop, even though he is never a particularly likable character, is still a tearjerker moment, when, after taking on the most vicious spin doctors and politicians for months, he must finally support the very war he has been fighting to prevent. ("Go f*ck yourself, Frodo.")
  • Ian Malcolm in The Lost World: Jurassic Park was willing to risk his life to save the Bull Tyrannosaurus from being gunned down in San Diego despite his own disapproval of John Hammond and InGen cloning the dinosaurs in the first place in Jurassic Park. However by the events of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom he is now uncaring towards the dinosaurs plight and is advocating against rescuing the dinosaurs on Isla Nublar from an erupting volcano.
  • The Matrix: Agent Smith unfavorably compares humanity to a virus in the first film, then gains the power to clone himself by overwriting the "code" of other people plugged into the Matrix in the second... very much like a virus overwriting the DNA of cells. His glasses also change from the square agent glasses to a pair that resembles the capsid of a virus.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Loki attempted to murder all Jotunns and take over the Earth, craved the Asgardian throne and power granted by the Tesseract, tried to kill Thor twice, refused to admit he did anything wrong, rejected Odin as his father, and gave in to the Avengers when he realized he was losing. The same person helped rescue the citizens of Asgard from Hela, stopped caring about the Asgardian throne, tossed the Tesseract aside as if it was nothing, tried to save Thor thrice, publicly apologized for past misdeeds in a play he wrote, proudly called himself Odinson, and attacked Thanos knowing that he hardly stood a chance.
    • In Captain America: Civil War, the Pro-Regulation team supported government supervision to prevent collateral damage, yet War Machine was accidentally hit by their own fellow Pro-Reg teammate, due to said teammate being distracted by their emotions, the same reason Captain America wasn't able to properly defuse Crossbones in the beginning. Not to mention the Pro-Reg team causing a bit of collateral damage when trying to contain the Anti-Reg team in the airport.
    • In Avengers: Infinity War, Bruce Banner wears the Hulkbuster armor, an armor that was specifically designed to take him down in his Hulk form (albeit because he wants to contribute to the current fight and for various reasons the Hulk isn't coming out right now).
  • Oz the Great and Powerful has Theodora's Character Development as one of the main points of the movie and its attacks on Oz's selfishness. Due to his actions, poor Theodora ends up going from The Cutie to a disappointed and resentful Naïve Everygirl to (briefly) a bitter Woman Scorned who is a bit too focused on her problems to The Wicked Witch Of The West.
  • Spider-Man Trilogy: Peter Parker, the awkward but cute and relatively devoted suitor and hero from the first two parts of the trilogy, briefly becomes a confident and manipulative egotist after bonding with an evil symbiote in Spider-Man 3.
  • Star Wars:
  • Sarah Connor nearly does this in Terminator 2: Judgment Day, when she ruthlessly attempts to assassinate Miles Dyson, the man most directly responsible for the creation of Skynet, to the point of marching into his house in a manner very reminiscent of the Terminators themselves; if it hadn't been for the chance involvement of Dyson's son drawing his attention at the moment Sarah fired, she would have killed an innocent man who wasn't deliberately guilty of anything.
  • In That Thing You Do! the band breaks up because lead singer Jimmy Mattingly objects to Record Producer Mr. White's decision that their second album will consist entirely of covers. The "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue reveals that Jimmy formed a new band that signed with Mr. White's company, put out three gold records, and now works as a record producer in Los Angeles.
  • Transformers: In the first three films, Optimus Prime is the Autobot who argues most strongly for humankind's potential and chastises Ironhide for even suggesting that the Autobots be allowed to kill humans. Optimus was even willing to leave Bumblebee in Sector-7's custody because staging a rescue could potentially harm humans. However, by Transformers: Age of Extinction, the Autobots are being hunted by a rogue CIA faction named Cemetery Wind who are killing Transformers and selling their parts for money. This results in Optimus becoming incredibly cynical towards humans, swearing to kill the man in charge of this corrupt operation (which he does) and even contemplated leaving Earth to let humanity fend for themselves. In the end, Optimus does regain some faith in humans after his new human allies risk their lives to save him.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: The once effervescent and idealistic Xavier we saw in X-Men: First Class has crumbled into a heap of melancholia and cynicism after 1963. His telepathy, which he had been at ease with since he was 12 years old, has suddenly become a heavy burden that he avoids using at all costs. Charles' social drinking has deteriorated into alcoholism, and he gives up on other activities that he used to enjoy, such as teaching, scientific research, and womanizing, in favour of a self-imposed exile from everything that exists beyond his mansion. Xavier has more or less reduced himself into a Manchild who is completely dependent on Hank when in the other movies, various mutants rely on the paternal telepath for emotional support. Even the way he dresses has changed dramatically; the impeccable suits that define Professor X's style have been replaced by a gaudy paisley shirt paired with a brown leather jacket, or if he's feeling especially lazy, just an undershirt with jeans. Charles has also neglected his grooming, which makes him look like a confused hippie or a hobo instead of a well-adjusted, upper-class academic.

  • This is probably Older Than Feudalism, and at least Older Than Print as an apocryphal legend (perhaps inspired from a reference to Nebuchadnezzar in the Book Of Isaiahnote ), says that Lucifer was originally the most beautiful of the angels of God and was called "son of the morning" until he began to want godlike power/supremacy over humans, fell prey to Pride, was banished out of Heaven and became Satan.
  • Pierre Dubois' La Grande Encyclopédie des Elfes, Tome 1 gives the example of a Scottish goddess of winter whom he claims was at first a cheerful and juvenile goddess of spring who witnessed an accident that harmed her beloved country and became cold as stone as a result, finally turning into an Anti-Villain Noble Demon blue-green-skinned goddess of suffering and ice with a sweeter side. Though said goddess is also a mother goddess, it is likely he made that up.

  • Jeff Higgins, in the 1632 series starts off as a sweet, quiet, nerdy, small-town kid. A few years of trying to keep his loved ones alive in the depths of the Thirty Years' War turns him into a tough-as-nails, gun-toting, constantly suspicious enforcer.
    Rebecca: I can remember when you were a trusting and innocent sort of person, Jeff.
    Jeff: Yeah, sure, so can I. Wasn't all that long ago, either, if you measure it in years and months.
  • The later books in Codex Alera reveal that Lord Aquitaine, who had previously been a candidate for Big Bad, first started his schemes to topple the First Lord out of disgust for the scheming nobles that made Alera a Crapsack World and murdered Princeps Septimus, who was a close friend of his. He intended to become First Lord so he could avenge his friend and keep the schemers in line with an iron fist rather than concession and compromise, but he ends up becoming just another schemer, albeit one with some redeeming qualities. In the end, he gets a case of Death Equals Redemption, having held the Alerans and their allies together for long enough for Octavian to return.
  • Date A Live: Origami had an intense hatred for Spirits, seeing them all as evil and destructive monsters. This stemmed from her parents being killed by a Spirit when she was still a child. She eventually accepts a deal to become a Spirit, to gain enough power to fight them. She then makes a deal with another Spirit to travel into the past and kill the Spirit who murdered her parents. However, she accidentally kills her parents with a stray attack - she was the Spirit who had originally done this. Finally, her shock at realizing the truth causes her to enter her Inverse Form, becoming exactly what she hated all along.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation Series:
    • "The Mayors": Discussed by the Actionist (political) Party; Sermak believes that Mayor Hardin and his firebrand defence of Terminus up until the First Seldon Crisis means that he would've wholeheartedly supported their policies during the Second Seldon Crisis, but the intervening thirty years has made him a coward. However, Mayor Hardin is actually doing the same sort of underhanded manipulation of his enemies and public opinion that he did during the First Crisis.
    • "Search by the Mule": The introduction of Lt General Han Pritcher of the Union of Worlds (formerly Captain Pritcher of the Foundation) is a lengthy contrast between the man he is now and the man he had been before his Conversion. He used to be a staunch democrat, working for the Foundation as an intelligence operative while also dedicated to removing the authoritarian rulers from power for a more democratic process. After the Mule came and conquered the Foundation, he even volunteered for a Suicide Mission to kill the warlord. However, now the Mule is his beloved dictator, but without the conditioning, he'd kill the Mule in hatred. He tries to consider how he might even dislike the Mule, but his loyalty and love are so complete that the mere thought of going against the Mule's wishes sickens him. He briefly becomes himself again during the Mexican Stand Off between Bail Channis and the Mule at the climax of the story when Bail undoes the brainwashing, but it doesn't last and Pritcher is turned into the Mule's servant once again.
    • Prelude to Foundation: The Mycogenian society claims to be descendants of Spacers (specifically the Aurorans, from The Robots of Dawn). Aurorans pictured their planet as one with full social mobility, gender equality, and a Free-Love Future. The Mycogenians, however, have a strict Fantastic Caste System, the women take the place of the Lost Technology robots, and the society is implied to be very restrictive sexually.
  • Terry Dean in A Fraction Of The Whole is as a child an extremely promising sportsman, but has a slightly psychotic obsession with fairness. His brother Martin uses this to manipulate Terry into attacking Martin's bullies, which results in Terry being stabbed in the leg and being unable to play sports. Frustrated, he turns to petty crimes which gradually turn worse, and he ends up making headlines as he goes on a killing spree against famous sportsmen in any way guilty of cheating. He then seemingly dies in a fire but turns up again decades later, near the end of the book, as the morbidly obese kingpin of a crime syndicate.
  • Frozen Tie-In Novel A Frozen Heart plays this straight with Prince Hans. Growing up with an abusive family headed by an Evil Overlord king, he dreamed of becoming a more benevolent ruler than his father. By the end of the book, though, he's become the villain seen in the film, the kind of person he hated, being willing to manipulate and almost kill innocent people who could have helped him.
  • Happens in The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making with the Big Bad: first Mallow, then Marquess.
  • The House of Night:
    • Stevie Rae became a more aggressive, impulsive, and slightly misanthropic undead after being The Cutie for most of the series. Unlike most of the initially heroic examples, it however contributed to improve her character, after she healed from her new aggressive nature, and to make her an independent, always heroic, and more self-controlled person.
    • Probably an unintentional example, but Erik Night went all the way from a confident, open-minded, and self-sacrificing young man who is asked out by his slightly possessive ex-girlfriend to a self-centered, I-mostly-don't-care-about-the-good-versus-evil-thing, self-doubting, and possessive boyfriend who doesn't want to try to understand his newer girlfriend and shows off his newest girlfriend, the Evil Twin of the first girlfriend who Took a Level in Kindness and treats the heroine well, understanding the problems his being possessive can cause. This is treated as an example of Jerkass All Along.
    • It is difficult to say whether Neferet's warm, easy to trust, and maternal nature has changed since she became a priestess, or if it was a mask since long ago. She is revealed in Betrayed as a ruthless and manipulative figure towards Aphrodite and Zoey. In a similar way, a Big Bad's reputation underwent this, to the great surprise of Zoey and her friends. It is never revealed whether he actually was a case of this.
  • The Inquisitor Cycle is a Dark Fantasy Alternate Timeline where Jesus became The Antichrist and changed the course of Christianity forever as a ruthless God-Emperor, directly contradicting His real-life equivalent who "did not come to be served, but to serve". Instead of dying for mankind's sins on the cross, He instead went into an Unstoppable Rage from His betrayal and broke free. He nearly exterminated the Jews for their role in it before conquering the Roman Empire, then proceeded to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence and left Saint Peter in charge of The Empire. In the present day, Christianity is much bleaker than its real-world equivalent as the teachings of mercy and forgiveness have been replaced with violence and terror, Pay Evil unto Evil in place of Turn the Other Cheek.
  • In the Laura Caxton series, this fate befalls Jameson Ackerly, once Caxton's mentor in hunting vampires, in the novel Vampire Zero after Ackerly lets himself be transformed into a vampire to stop a small army of revived vampires; throughout the novel, Ackerly uses his own prior knowledge of vampires to subvert Laura's attempts to hunt him, while his twisted psyche drives him to try and hunt his own family.
  • This is downplayed with the antagonist in Mansfield Park. Mary Crawford starts in Jane Austen's Mansfield Park as a somewhat vain gold-digger, who is nonetheless a loyal friend and had some kind of elegance about her which prompted much Draco in Leather Pants, while the heroine Fanny Price starts the book as a passive and judgemental extreme doormat who lacks self-confidence, prompting much Ron the Death Eater. In the end, Mary Crawford shows what remains of her initial state, and borders on Stupid Evil, having become genuinely interested in Edmund and a False Friend to Fanny. This is, as often, mirrored by a Hourglass Plot, as the initially defenseless Fanny shows more confident and useful traits, and gets what Mary Crawford wanted.
  • Taori, the mother of the main character Satori in My Vampire Older Sister and Zombie Little Sister. She used to be an advocate for the rights of Archenemies (supernatural beings) and divorced her husband after she learned that he was part of the Bright Cross (an organisation that persecutes Archenemies). However, her husband later ended up marrying an Archenemy, Lilith. Taori developed an absolute hatred for Lilith, seeing her as the one responsible for destroying her family. She had her body remodeled to become the ultimate hunter of Archenemies, and set out to kill Lilith... which, if she succeeded, would of course destroy her family.
  • Nightside: Dr. Fell, a villain from The Good, the Bad, and the Uncanny, started out as one of the Nightside's rogue vicars: preachers who come to the notorious Wretched Hive to save its sinners. Lampshaded by John, whose narrative points out that when religious idealists go bad, they tend to go really bad.
  • The Star Trek novel Crossover sees Admiral Leonard McCoy join the Enterprise-D when attempting to negotiate with the Romulan Senate to arrange for a group of captured Unificationists to be released into Federation custody, as the captured Unificationists include Spock (although the Romulans are unaware that they have Spock). After McCoy becomes frustrated with Picard's apparent hesitation and unwillingness to take decisive action, he officially takes command of the Enterprise and tries to negotiate directly with the colony governor that captured the Unificationists rather than through the Senate, but this results in the colony governor realising that he has Spock in custody, as the possibility of interrogating Spock offers far more benefits than any deal he could make with the Federation. Faced with this revelation, McCoy retreats to Ten-Forward, bitterly musing that he has become the kind of admiral he always hated when he was on the Enterprise, the admiral who steps in and takes over thinking he knows everything only to reveal that he actually has no idea and ends up making the situation worse.
  • In Star Wars Legends, it is downplayed with Jacen Solo, a compassionate and self-doubting young Jedi who seemed to be very generous to his family, was turned into a Sith because he thought he could use the power of the Sith without corruption. When his extremism got the better of him, he became a ruthless and inflexible Sith Lord who killed his aunt, and he only began to regain his previous characteristics when he feared for his daughter and questioned his lack of empathy, self-centered behavior, and uncontrolled outbursts of anger.
  • In The Stormlight Archive, Dalinar Kholin did this before the events of the series. As we see in Oathbringer, Dalinar as the Blackthorn was a downright monster, actively seeking out war, reasons to kill, and reasons to fight and not caring for politics in the least. The Dalinar we see in the series is a far more respectable man, who fights when he needs to but tries to find a peaceful solution, and gets a lot more involved in politics. Though this of course lets people of his Blood Knight country start thinking he's gone soft.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Legendarium:
    • Morgoth. Initially Melkor, "He Who Arises in Might", the mightiest and most able of the Valar (demi-gods/angels), he descends into madness and becomes "Morgoth", "black enemy of the World". He leeches so much of his original power into Middle Earth in order to assert his dominance over the land (that is what enables him to breed orcs and twist good things into evil) that he also winds up being the physically and magically weakest of the Valar.
    • When Sauron was first tempted by Morgoth, the Satanic Archetype archangelic creature who tries to become The Corrupter, he was a slightly weaker angel-like being whose goal was to repair Middle-Earth in the most efficient way possible. He craved order and efficiency so much that he followed Morgoth's chaotic destructive path because he thought the power would make him wiser, became a Control Freak less evil than his master only because he tried to serve him, then lost his last bit of sense of duty, and turned into an Evil Overlord whose lands slowly fall into ruin and chaos.
    • Tolkien seemed to be fond of antithesism, especially pertaining to power and how it corrupts its wielder into a dark mirror of himself. Case in point: the Nazgûls, once-glorious kings who were swayed by The Rings, now slaves to evil.
      • This is also why both Gandalf and Galadriel adamantly refuse to take the One Ring for themselves. They both acknowledge that with its power, they could quite possibly defeat Sauron permanently, but in the process would become just as bad as he was, if not worse.
  • This is Graendal's Backstory in The Wheel of Time — originally, she was the most selfless and ascetic person in the world, but at some point, she became fed up when nobody else was able to live up to her standards, and so she turned to The Dark Side and became the extravagant hedonist we all know.
  • Worm: Taylor begins the story as a passive girl who gets bullied every day, and likes heroes. After she gets powers, she joins a group of villains to spy on them, only to definitely join forces later, fights the heroes multiple times, becomes more proactive and ruthless and ends up essentially bullying the villain so badly it lets others kill it.

    Live-Action TV 
  • This happens to Jack in the 8th season of 24 when he snaps and goes on his Roaring Rampage of Revenge. While he previously averted Revenge Before Reason (while he's never been above revenge, he always had standards regarding it, only targeting the person who actually wronged him and never doing so if it would compromise the greater good), now he even ends up killing some of the head antagonist's accomplices just for being associated with them despite having nothing to do with the actual crime he's seeking revenge for. Just one season prior he chastises Tony for using the death of his loved ones as an excuse for causing mayhem to carry out his own selfish goals, and winds up doing the same thing after his own love interest is killed, being willing to start World War III if it means killing the mastermind behind it. Thankfully, thanks to a much-needed verbal smackdown from Chloe he finally calms down.
  • Paul Abrahamian in US Season 19 of Big Brother. Throughout Season 18, when he first played, he railed against the Vets, especially James and Nicole, for getting production-granted boons that aided them in the game at the expense of the newcomers and for how many players would willingly be their minions and not play the game for themselves. Now that he's the Creator's Pet returning player and getting all the benefits his sitcom arch nemeses (along with the advantage of hands down the stupidest group of people to ever be cast for the show) the previous year got, he's just fine with all of it, and bragging about how awesome he is.
  • Walter in Breaking Bad goes from being a meek chemistry teacher and loving family man to a ruthless murdering gangster after he is diagnosed with terminal cancer and starts cooking meth to provide for his family. What is truly frightening is that his wife doesn't even notice the profound change in his character until he carefully explains to her how much of a monster he has truly become.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • This happens to Willow when she becomes Dark Willow (from Plucky Girl and The Cutie to Accentuate the Negative and The Baroness). It also happened to her alternate vampire self.
    • Buffyverse vampires tend to revel in their human selves' repressed / disapproved-of traits, since they no longer have a soul to keep their dark side in check. The hedonistic and ultimately forgettable layabout Liam became Mad Artist Angelus, one of the franchise's biggest examples of The Dreaded. William the Bloody-Awful poet became William the Bloody / Spike, a football-hooligan-style Blood Knight. Wishverse-Willow (who would still have been a Shrinking Violet as a human like her counterpart in the regular universe since the timeline only diverged when Buffy moved/didn't move to Sunnydale) turned into a corset-wearing Depraved Bisexual. Drusilla, a chaste psychic girl who possessed 'pure innocence', became a kinky and sadistic Mad Oraclealthough she'd already been driven mad by Angelus when he turned her. Jesse is another example of a vampire that revealed his repressed traits, deriding his human self as an "excruciating loser".
  • The Twelfth Doctor of Doctor Who temporarily becomes this in two storylines.
    • In the final stretch of Series 9, between the events of "Face the Raven" and "Heaven Sent", he is betrayed by both Ashildr and his own people, Trapped in Another World, and subjected to Cold-Blooded Torture — suffering that he goes through completely alone because his beloved companion and Living Emotional Crutch Clara Oswald is Killed Off for Real in a Senseless Sacrifice and he has no access to his TARDIS. Driven to Madness, the result is that in the finale "Hell Bent" a man who is usually desperate to avoid embodying Beware the Superman becomes The Unfettered, willing to harm others and risk the destruction of time itself for nothing more than the chance to bring Clara back from the grave and give her a nice SAFE life — exactly what Clara demanded him not to do, but then she had no idea he'd be tormented to the point his grief and rage would be too much to overcome and too big an obstacle for What the Hell, Hero? speeches to undo. But he eventually has a Heel Realization, and with the help of Mind Rape regains his sanity and moral compass, leaving him sadder and wiser, a selfless healer once more.
    • In the Monks Trilogy three-parter of Series 10, a season in which the value he places on each and every sentient life is a major theme, he fights tooth and nail to stop the Reality Warper Monks from enslaving humanity in "The Pyramid at the End of the World", but You Can't Thwart Stage One and the planet falls when his companion Bill allows them to conquer so he can get his eyesight back and escape a lab rigged to explode. Six months later in "The Lie of the Land", he has become the Monks' Propaganda Machine, helping keep humanity Brainwashed and under a deadly Police State...and his companions are desperate to find out what made him change. Nothing; he was faking it to draw out his companions and make sure that they weren't affected by the Monks' influence before he took steps to drive the Monks off Earth.
  • Hemlock Grove: Roman utterly despises his manipulative mother Olivia and did everything possible to distance himself from her, but he ends up becoming a remorseless, selfish predator quite like her with just as little regard for human life or collateral damage.
  • Highlander:
    • It happened to Knight in Shining Armor Duncan after the dark Quickening, and to the warlord Darius after a light Quickening.
    • The guy Duncan got it from was described as "pretty much a saint" - until he beheaded one too many evil Immortals.
  • Kamen Rider Ex-Aid: Taiga goes from gentle doctor to self-centered Jerkass through the run of the series' prequel, Kamen Rider Snipe: Episode Zero.
  • Legend of the Seeker:
    • Cara is revealed to have been a vulnerable little girl who could easily be manipulated, was very emotional, and couldn't bear the thought of letting a little fish suffer. Her vulnerability to manipulation and her impulsive nature lead to her becoming a collected Noble Demon working as a Torture Technician. Later on, this is averted, as she regained part of her old personality and became a heroine while remaining extreme and stoic.
    • This is hinted to have also happened to Nicci. She was at first an Innocent Bigot and a Wide-Eyed Idealist. After a traumatic event, she began to Accentuate the Negative greatly and became a Well-Intentioned Extremist who mostly responded to problems with careful chessmastering and unimpressed killing.
  • Merlin (2008):
    • Morgana was at first a confident, brave, and always compassionate young woman, who didn't judge any differences between magicians and non-magicians. After she discovers she has magical powers and would thus be hunted by Uther and shunned in Camelot, she becomes insecure and paranoid. Her feelings of isolation and lack of self-worth make her more self-focused. She slowly begins seeing everyone in Camelot as an enemy and reinterprets her relationships with them. After a betrayal, she begins to feel justified in her fear and considers all non-magic users in Camelot as worthless and cruel enemies who deserve to die. She then uses her insight into their inner lives to trap them, manipulate their minds, and ruin their romantic plotlines.
      Arthur: What happened to you, Morgana? I thought we were friends.
      Morgana: As did I.
    • Though an unwilling example, Sir Lancelot at first appeared as a generous and loyal knight with an inconspicuous but significant lack of self-confidence, leading to his Heroic Sacrifice. He's brought back as a shade by Morgana and is forced to integrate the personality she wants. This makes him behave cruelly, act as a traitor, and finally, display overconfident Handsome Lech and Manipulative Bastard behaviours towards his New Old Flame Guinevere.
    • One of the points of the show is to introduce an impulsive, kind-hearted, and clumsy teenage servant, a self-conscious Shrinking Violet, the aforementioned straightforward lady, and a slightly immature prince, and to turn them into a wise, ruthless, and unforgiving trickster mentor, a High Queen with a hint of Pride and a Good Is Not Soft approach on things, a much more complex and doubtful Well-Intentioned Extremist, and a Good King.
    • King Uther begins the show as a regal, arrogant, powerful, indomitable ruler, and ends as a crippled, frail, mentally shattered shadow of his former self.
  • Originally, The Mighty Ducks was about how Coach Bombay turned a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits known as "District 5" into a hockey team called the "Mighty Ducks" and taught them how to have fun playing hockey — especially against the Hawks, a powerhouse team led by a win-at-all-costs coach. Now, in the sequel series The Mighty Ducks: Game Changers, the Ducks are the powerhouse team led by a win-at-all-costs coach. Conversely, the once-powerful Hawks are now the joke team that District 5 was.
    • Because the highly competitive Ducks cut Evan Morrow, his mother Alex started a new Ragtag Bunch of Misfits team that would focus more on fun than winning. In a case of History Repeats, this startup team has gone from a glorified joke to a surprisingly competent squad on a winning streak, just like the original Ducks. Unfortunately, as of "Change on the Fly", the thrill of winning has turned Alex into a control freak and a borderline Drill Sergeant Nasty, just like the current coach of the Ducks.
  • Mr. Robot: Angela Moss's initial goal is to get revenge for the deaths of her mother and Elliot's father, E Corp employees whose terminal leukemia was caused by radiation from the structurally unsound power plant they worked at. By season three, she's become one of the very Corrupt Corporate Executives she once devoted her life to taking down, abused Elliot and even helps orchestrate a terrorist attack that leads to the deaths of over 4,000 innocent low-level E Corp employees.
  • Smallville:
    • The young Clark Kent became a shadow of himself whenever he was exposed to red kryptonite, or any product that could alter his personality. It was sometimes hinted by Martha to be a case of True Self revealed or "all inhibitions removed", which would mean that Clark mainly spent the first four seasons of Smallville tempted to blast Lex against a wall while cheating on poor Lana, all while quite conspicuously ruining his reputation and throwing money by the windows.
    • The same happened to Conner Kent, briefly.
    • Just as briefly, it happened to Lana Lang who went from a shy and polite girl to an uncivil attention seeker for an episode after smelling strange spores.
    • This seems to have happened to Tess Mercer, who was seen in flashbacks as an innocent, soft, optimistic, and vulnerable young woman when she met Oliver. Cut to her being a Well-Intentioned Extremist, who can fight with almost everyone without superpowers, candidate to being the Big Bad, and fully believing that Humans Are the Real Monsters.
  • The overarching plot for the first four seasons of Supernatural. Sam Winchester starts out as a college student who abandoned his hunting family to live a normal life and be a lawyer. Even when his fiance is killed and his dark destiny and powers are slowly revealed, he remains an empathetic, kind-hearted heroic character whose greatest fear is "going darkside". Then his brother sells his soul and later dies. Poor grief-stricken Sam, who had previously started being more ruthless as a response to his brother's impending death, snaps and turns to doing demon blood, using his powers and allying with demons in an effort to hunt down the demon that killed his brother. His blind quest for revenge leads him to inadvertently start The End of the World as We Know It. The corruption doesn't stick though and Sam spends the next season being The Atoner.
  • In That '70s Show, Jackie dislikes the fact that Fez chose to be with Crazy Caroline instead. When he rejects her love confession, Jackie ends up being exactly like Caroline, hurting Fez out of sadistic fun.
  • It happens to Boris in Young Dracula. From The Cutie and The Comically Serious with "Well Done, Son" Guy and Rebellious Rebel tendencies to a handsome devil and The Charmer who becomes an Antagonistic Offspring. Bonus points for actually using a mirror.

  • During the course of Pink Floyd's The Wall, Pink sinks further and further into isolation and goes mad, the fragmented parts eventually metastasizing into the ultimate embodiment of all his negative emotions, which take the form of a fascist dictator — the same kind of evil that originally killed his father and established the very first brick in his emotional Wall.
  • "Death or Glory" from The Clash's album London Calling is about, erm... how even the most diligent of punks eventually sell out.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • The Bible: King Saul, after having been anointed and crowned the king over Israel, vows to be a just ruler and a morally pure and upright king, and vows to be a leading example of a man who will do his best to wholeheartedly obey God concerning his reign over the Israeli kingdom. This changes, though, when he repeatedly disobeys God when it comes to how God wanted him to fight Israel's enemies, especially when he fights against the Amalekites, one of Israel's main enemies, whom God told him to conquer and kill their king so that Israel would no longer have to worry about them as an enemy anymore. Saul instead spares the life of their king and takes some of his servants as prisoners of war, and some of their livestock animals, like their sheep and cattle, for Israel, effectively disobeying God's command. He does this because he believed it would be wiser and better to spare their king and spare some of their people for what he thought were reasonable intents and purposes that would benefit Israel much better than the way God wanted him to do it. God then sends the prophet Samuel, one of his trusted and wisest advisors, to him to let him know that God wants him fired from his position as king and replaced with a new king. After this happens, he essentially becomes indifferent towards obeying or listening to God (or obeying or listening to anyone who speaks for God); he becomes an antagonist towards many of the people of Israel, (including and especially to his future replacement as king, David, who also becomes his son-in-law at one point from David marrying one of his daughters) and anyone he sees as a threat to his position as king; and he goes on to allow the rest of his life and his reign to become characterized by murder, jealousy, and hatred for anyone who opposes him in any way.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Chigusa Nagayo and Lioness Asuka, started in All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling as bullied rookies routinely crushed by bigger and or nastier heels, toughening up from the experience and meeting to form the most successful women's Tag Team of all time, in the Crush Gals, who became the top faces and role models to arenas full of cheering little girls. Then they turned twenty-five and were forced into retirement not long afterwards. Nagayo kept her spirits up, forming her own promotion in GAEA and forming a partnership with WCW to help "old" retired wrestlers and rookies to the sport alike. Asuka was more bitter, forming the Super Star Unit for the purpose of taking over GAEA and putting out all the hopeful rookies who were filling the arenas with cheering young girls.
  • Chris Hero and Kevin Steen entered into Ring of Honor lore as an angry wrestler wishing to destroy it on the behalf of CZW and a wrestler who saw it as a safe haven to flee from CZW. By 2012, Steen was part of the SCUM Stable, which wished to destroy the whole wrestling industry, starting with ROH and in 2013, Hero claimed to represent everything the promotion stood for.
  • Carly had no interest in the pro wrestling business and only worked as a cameraman in the Puerto Rican version of the World Wrestling Council to help his dad through a tough time in business. Unfortunately for him, Ray González was out to destroy his father and the company, and learning Carly was a son of a founder, decided to beat him up to make a point. This led Carly to train in pro wrestling in order to defeat González and rid WWC of La Familia Mileno. Come 2015, Ray González has (supposedly) retired from pro wrestling and opened a mini market that his son helps out with. Carly, not done with González, storms into the store and attacks Ray González Jr, causing Jr to train in pro wrestling to avenge himself and his father against Carly and La Revolucion he had allied with.
  • Kane in the Attitude Era was an Anti-Hero who opposed the McMahon-Helmsley faction alongside other top faces such as The Rock, Chris Jericho, and The Undertaker. What gave him extra impetus to fight them was the fact that his former best friend X-Pac, who was part of the faction, betrayed him and stole his girlfriend during that time. Fast forward over a decade or so later... Kane joins The Authority as "Corporate Kane" and becomes the kind of corporate heel that he had once opposed as a popular face back in the old days.
  • Discussed by John Cena in an interview with Chris Van Vliet in regards to planning his Face–Heel Turn after losing the first match against The Rock. The plan was for his heel character to be the complete opposite of his face character and hates everything his previous character stood for (Traditonal Ring Gear over Street Clothes, being flaky, trecherous, and disrespectful over Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect, etc.).
  • The Rock: While he's been a Corporate heel before, The Rock's 2024 Bloodline heel character shows Rock coming full circle as a Corrupt Corporate Executive and putting behind his popular Anti-Hero persona who once opposed corrupt authority figures like Mr. McMahon. Where he particularly takes a page out of Vince's book is when he starts talking about how, as a board member of TKO, he's the boss of Seth Rollins and that The Rock can and will use his executive power to take away Seth's world title if Rollins doesn't fall in line.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Dungeons & Dragons 2nd Edition, a Blackguard is Prestige Class that is an Evil Counterpart of a Paladin; many were originally actual Paladins before they committed some unforgivable crime, even getting class bonuses if that was their previous class.
  • Exalted: Deathlords. Once, they were glorious Solar Exalts who ruled Creation and shining paragons of everything that is good (mostly). Now, they are ghosts of said Solars, serve the embodiment of nihilism, and seek to plunge everything into absolute nothingness. Parallels to Nazguls are noted.
  • In Nomine: This is what happens when an angel Falls. It's not enough for an angel to just be an asshole (there are plenty of loyal angels who are right jerks), they have to completely betray the heavenly principles of their Host. The reverse can happen as well, with a demon who wants to be selfless fundamentally rejecting every aspect of the self-destructive spiral their Band is in
    • Seraphim believe in complete honesty and hate to distort reality by lying. Baelseraphs don't just tell, but live lies; learning the truth can cause them Dissonance.
    • Cherubim are guardians who bond with and protect a person. Djinn reject the idea of helping or needing anyone and deny their protective nature by abusing their charges without technically harming them.
    • Ofanim are beings of energy, activity, and motion. Calabim have given up on moving in any way, being uncaring and downright lazy unless it's time to hurt things, and with little ambition to be more than thugs, their pent-up energy is instead projected outward, destroying things around the demon.
    • Elohim are the judges of Heaven who distance themselves from emotion so that they may be without bias. A Habbalah is all bias, ignoring evidence to the point where they don't even realize that they're demons.
    • Kyriotates take many bodies on Earth so as to live lives from as many points of view as possible and genuinely care about the mortals whose bodies they borrow, to the point where they suffer Dissonance if they leave a living host worse off than when they entered. Shedim are too self-centered to do the same, and instead selfishly steal and use up single bodies at a time.
    • Mercurians genuinely love humanity as the greatest of God's creations and are much closer to them than most angels. Impudites can only see humanity's value as a resource; a valuable one, perhaps, but still as objects instead of equals.
    • Lilim having a Heel–Face Turn are downplayed, presumably because they were born a demon Band and because their creator, Lilith, is an immortal human who always had good and evil in her nature; Lilim are beguiling tempters who draw people into destructive deals, while Bright Lilim keep their pledges, but use them to help people better themselves.
  • Princess: The Hopeful: The Twilight Queens have become this. They were only able to survive the collapse of the Kingdoms with major compromises to their Beliefs, turning them into essentially the opposite of their true selves.
    • The Queen of Cups presided over a cosmopolitan port city that welcomed diverse guests, and her philosophy encouraged her Nobles to be themselves and to learn about the world around them. When she became the Queen of Tears, her focus shifted inward to protecting Alhambra at all costs, which she did by completely isolating it from the rest of the world. Alhambra's culture is now completely stagnant and utterly convinced of its own superiority with no interest in the rest of the world except to exploit it, and the Nobles of Tears are expected to march in lockstep with the Queen's views.
    • The Queen of Wands believed in the virtues of labor and hard work to fix problems instead of taking the easy route and lashing out. When she turned into the Queen of Storms, she became all about lashing out with zero care about the world left in the aftermath of her battle against the Darkness.
    • The Queen of Pentacles believed in keeping a clear and unbiased mind and to remember that sometimes, Necessary Evil really is necessary. Whatever happened to turn her into the Queen of Mirrors, it's calcified her idealism into the Perfect Solution Fallacy; the Queen of Mirrors believes that if you can't hold to an impossible ideal and save the world perfectly by yourself, then you weren't trying hard enough and are a failure.
    • If the Queen of Clubs had become a Twilight Queen, she'd become the Queen of Poppies. And while Clubs believes in simple living and harmony with nature, Poppies believes in complete hedonism and harmony with the Darkness.
    • Diamonds is all about enlightenment and learning, but if she'd fallen, the Queen of Mists would believe in keeping secrets to protect people. Though this is averted in that it's not the Queen herself; it's her familiar, who killed her and now pretends to be her.
    • The Queen of Hearts is a Benevolent Mage Ruler who seeks to set up social institutions and networks so that her Nobility always have help at hand. The Queen of Petals, after losing her kingdom and Nobles, instead wanders the world playing Kyubey to hopeful young kids, giving them a modicum of power, and then throwing them straight into the deep end with no real help and lying to them about their chances, resulting in most of them dying.
    • The Queen of Spades is pretty much the definition of Chaotic Good, emphasizing individuality and good humor. If she hadn't been trapped in the Dreamlands, she would have become the Hive Mind Queen of Chords, who wants everyone to be assimilated into her so no one has to be sad, instead of addressing the true cause of their problems.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The primarch Horus was the Emperor's favorite son, who was to be the greatest of all Space Marines. When he fell to Chaos, he attacked everything he'd held dear, including the God-Emperor.
    • An even stronger example is Lorgar Aurelian. Lorgar was the only Primarch to view the Emperor as an infallible deity and preferred diplomacy over violence, which lead to the other Primarchs viewing Lorgar as a weakling. Lorgar ends up becoming the architect of the most brutal rebellion in the history of the Imperium, slaughtering several planets in the Ultramar star system alone (for strategic reasons, but mostly out of spite) and corrupting the aforementioned Horus.
    • Mortarion was the Primarch who despised Psykers and hated tyrants, due to his adopted father having been a tyrranical necromancer. Under Nurgle's sway, he became a tyrranical Psyker himself, ultimately no different than the monster he spent his youth trying to overthrow.
    • It's also a depressingly common trajectory for Inquisitors. It can be summed up in these steps:
      1. New Inquisitor starts as an Acolyte, and is the closest thing one can find to a Wide-Eyed Idealist in this setting, believing in never touching alien or daemonic weaponry, always doing the right thing, that they'll always be able to save a lot of people. In other words, they're a Puritan Inquisitor.
      2. They'll see a Radical Inquisitor, which they consider to be no better than a Heretic. They'll probably shoot the Radical, and more than likely, they'll be justified.
      3. The constant atrocities, Exterminatus, and other such horrible things begin to get to the Inquisitor, and they feel as if they should do anything to save the Imperium because there has to be a better way.
      4. The formerly Puritan inquisitor becomes a Radical and is then (possibly) shot by a Puritan. Or worse, and there's plenty of fates like that cause it's Warhammer 40K.
  • Warhammer: The Chaos Dwarfs are what the Dwarfs fear they might become if they abandon all they hold most dear: tradition, honour, technological conservatism, isolation from other races, and suspicion of magic. The Dwarfs kill Greenskins on sight and abhor slavery, the Chaos Dwarfs enslave Greenskins and use them as Cannon Fodder Battle Thralls for their armies; the Dwarfs distrust any technology untested by centuries of careful tinkering and testing in a workshop, while the Chaos Dwarfs whack any horrible invention into mass production the moment they believe it will benefit them; the Dwarfs are content to just defend their holds and rarely act as aggressors against other peoples, while the Chaos Dwarfs have a deep-seated psychological need to cruelly conquer and dominate others. The Chaos Dwarfs do not see it that way, thinking they have grown far beyond the limitations of their hypocritical kin.

  • William Shakespeare:
    • In Macbeth, the eponymous character turns into The Caligula, after being a loyal general who proved himself to be heroic and have qualms about his wife's plan to take power. He slowly loses all moral scruples, while his wife, who pushed him to ruthlessly betray his king, feels deep remorse and is Driven to Suicide.
    • Timon in Timon of Athens begins the play as a wealthy man famous for his goodwill and lavish generosity. His convictions are put to the test when he discovers he's unwittingly driven himself into debt, and he calls upon his friends to pay him back for his prior generosity. They all refuse on flimsy pretenses, and Timon spends the rest of the play embracing full-on misanthropy and raging against the wickedness of the world.
  • In the French play Topaze, the eponymous character starts off as a naive, idealistic, and honest schoolteacher who is fired from his job and recruited by people involved in a con scheme, who believe his truthful nature will convince people to fall for it. Fast forward ten years or so, and Topaze is now a hardened con artist, even manipulating his former boss to leave his position. The end shows him attempting to convert his old colleague from the school, and it is left ambiguous whether the other teacher will fall down the same path.
  • The title character of Hamilton goes from an idealistic, eager revolutionary soldier and scholar to a bitter, calculating politician who learns to play the game and, if necessary, throw others under the bus to get what he wants. This eventually comes to a head when Jefferson accuses Hamilton of betraying Lafayette after the latter argues against helping France in their revolution; however, Hamilton does not have his Heel Realization until his son Phillip is killed in a duel defending Hamilton's honor.

    Video Games 
  • BioShock:
    • Andrew Ryan of BioShock. He built Rapture in an attempt to create a free-market paradise where the world's greatest entrepreneurs, scientists, and artists could live free of government regulation, taxation, and censorship. Yet both the flaws in his society, the actions of Frank Fontaine and the invention of ADAM have slowly morphed him into a brutal fascist dictator by assassinating dissenters, instituting curfews and executions, nationalizing Fontaine's business, and finally using pheromones to Mind Control Rapture's mutated populace, in short not only becoming a "Big Government" much worse than the one he founded Rapture to get away from but even destroying free will, the one thing he considers that truly "separates a man from a slave".
    • Implied with Sophia Lamb from BioShock 2. She was probably kinder and more compassionate before becoming what she was at the end of the second game.
  • The Boyfriend To Death duology has this with Ren. In the first game, he's Strade's vulnerable and docile manservant, but the second, taking place a few years later, has Ren as far more independent and aggressive. By the time he's 47 years old in The Price of Flesh, Ren has gone from the bottom to the top of the human trafficking totem pole — happily participating in the same system that once victimized him.
  • Diablo:
    • King Leoric from Diablo (1997) went from a righteous, noble king and father, to a bloody-handed madman and eventual undead abomination by the time that Diablo and his Evil Chancellor Lazarus got through with him.
    • Leoric's granddaughter is forced into this in Diablo III. She tries to help the heroes save the world in the third act of the game, only to get backstabbed by her own mother and devoured by Diablo himself. What is left of her spirit after being driven insane by Diablo's pure evil seeks revenge on everyone, and tries to break the spine of the universe to destroy everything.
    • Diablo IV: Over millennia of betrayal, torture, and narcissitic supply, Inarius goes from a peacemaker seeking an end to the Eternal Conflict to a Knight Templar who manipulates his cult so he alone can return to Heaven.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Jyggalag, the Daedric Prince of Order, was feared by the other Daedric Princes for his growing power. They came together and cursed him, literally and deliberately invoking this trope by turning him into Sheogorath, the Daedric Prince of Madness. The main quest of Oblivion's Shivering Isles expansion is Jyggalag finding a way to escape this.
  • The Eastern Brotherhood of Steel as of Fallout 4. Owyn Lyons lived in self-imposed exile in the Capital Wasteland for refusing to follow the Western Brotherhood's self-destructive policies. After his death, his daughter Sarah tried to continue his teachings until she died in battle a few years later. Once Maxson took over, the Lyons' teachings were lost and the Brotherhood became much like the Mojave chapter but without the NCR to curbstomp them. It seems the inevitable fate of any Brotherhood chapter is to either turn tyrannical or be destroyed by their beliefs. Ironically enough, if you were to pinpoint a Powered Armor and Vertibird-using dictatorial military institution that flew around advocating human supremacy, who would you be describing? The Brotherhood, or the Enclave?
  • Emiya Shirou from Fate/stay night is a Wide-Eyed Idealist who wants to be a Hero and protect everyone, and he only wants to do what seems to be right. His future self from another reality, the Anti-Hero Archer, on the other hand, is a cynic who hates being a Heroic Spirit, says that it is a curse and a goal Shirou should not pursue, wants to kill him, and is willing to use rather ambiguous methods to reach his self-destructing goal.
    • Shirou aspires to become a hero and has thought to follow Kiritsugu's ideal of sacrificing the few to save the many. In Heaven's Feel, he must choose to either kill Sakura or risk the lives of hundreds of innocents. He chooses to abandon his ideal and follow his selfish desire to protect Sakura, even though he knows it's a betrayal of his very self.
  • God of War: Kratos's development between the Greek and Norse eras. Greek-Pantheon Kratos was a raging berserker bent on getting revenge on the Olympians even as his actions devastated the world and even caused some of the problems he was bent on getting revenge for; his opening of Pandora's Box, for example, allowed the evils within to possess the Olympians and exaggerate their faults to the point where they became outright villains. After a good hard Heel Realization in the climax of III, he moves to Midgard and becomes bent on not repeating his mistakes with his son Atreus, attempting to deescalate situations whenever possible and keeping violence as a last resort. And after some counseling from the Norns, he's able to fully develop as The Atoner, to the point where Faye has a prophetic mural depicting him as a benevolent deity and beloved leader of the Nine Realms, the exact opposite of the Ghost of Sparta he once was and something that moves him to Manly Tears.
  • Lord Dearche of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's Portable games is a villain to Anti-Hero example. In the first game, she was an Omnicidal Maniac Big Bad who was trying to reduce everything to nothingness. By the end of the second game, however, not only has she saved countless worlds by stopping the rampage of that game's Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds but in the epilogue, it's shown that she's actively and successfully reversing the decay of the dying planet of Eltria. Mind you, as a Card-Carrying Villain, she tends to get angry when someone points out the Heel–Face Turn.
  • Mega Man:
    • The Dark Elf from Mega Man Zero was originally the Mother Elf, created as the cure to the Maverick Virus. Under Weil's control, however, it became corrupted and used to brainwash Reploids into servitude, effectively becoming a virus in and of itself.
    • In the original draft of the story, X was also supposed to turn into a Knight Templar and Well-Intentioned Extremist from fatigue after centuries of ruling Neo Arcadia, only for the draft to be thrown out when it was considered too extreme.
    • Mega Man 11 reveals that Dr. Wily initially wanted to use his Double Gear system to create heroes out of robots, and the rejection of the project led to him becoming consumed with jealousy and resentment towards Light until he became the megalomaniacal Mad Scientist out for World Domination he is today.
    • Sigma from Mega Man X was originally the dutiful leader of the Maverick Hunters, until he was infected by the Zero Virus and became a living virus himself, corrupting reploids and waging war against the Maverick Hunters and the humans they're sworn to protect. Conversely, Zero was originally an Ax-Crazy war machine created to continue the feud between Light and Wily, but after his battle with Sigma ended up joining the Maverick Hunters, becoming close friends and allies with X, and ultimately becoming the savior of the world in the next series (ironically fulfilling Light's original intent).
  • Metal Gear:
    • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty sees the Metal Gear RAY invented as the ultimate anti-Metal Gear weapon, designed to bring an end to their proliferation and use in warfare. By the time Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance happens, however, the design specs and blueprints for RAY have themselves proliferated, so that anyone who wants to use one (and has the millions necessary) can do so. The first boss of the latter game is a Metal Gear RAY being used by a private military contractor. What was intended as the ultimate answer to the latest really big gun is now just a really big gun itself.
    • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: In Peace Walker, Huey Emmerich courageously defied his boss, refusing to work for a deluded megalomaniac who thought he could do no wrong, and survived an attempt on his life in the process. In The Phantom Pain, Huey's become the deluded megalomaniac, abandoning his wife to die when she tries to defy him. All the courage and integrity he showed in Peace Walker is gone by the time of The Phantom Pain.
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Miles Edgeworth was the son of a defense attorney and idolized his father as a child, but fifteen years of Manfred von Karma's tutelage turned him into a ruthless prosecutor who hated criminals and their attorneys equally. Phoenix Wright changed the whole course of his life just to meet Edgeworth and try to shake him out of what he had become. He succeeded, though Edgeworth stays a prosecutor.
  • This slowly happens to the prince in Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, when the side effects of the sands of time corrupt him.
  • Shaundi from Saints Row starts off as a fun-loving, hedonistic hippy-esque girl, if still a gangster. A game later, she has turned into the most serious, angriest, and most bloodthirsty member of the Saints. It's mentioned that this happened because the Saints became famous and due to her new job as the star of her own tv show, Shaundi didn't have time to get stoned anymorenote . Saints Row IV highlights this by making companions out of both the original Shaundi and a version of herself circa her debut in Saints Row 2, helpfully labeled as "Fun Shaundi".
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice has the Buddhist monks of Senpou Temple. In trying to seek immortality for themselves by experimenting on hundreds of children instead of accepting the impermanence of life, the monks became monsters whose appearances became as rotten as their desires, their emaciated, mummified bodies being overrun with horrifying vermin like centipedes. Sekiro can find a man-made hole where multiple statues of Buddha, still in pristine condition, were discarded by the monks like trash, symbolizing their utter rejection of Buddha.
  • The Sims:
  • This can be a possible outcome in Streets of Rage during co-op play. If both players reach Mr. X, he'll ask if they're willing to become his right-hand man. If both players can't agree to a decision, then they fight to the death with the winner either accepting Mr. X's offer (which sends the player back two levels since it was a trap) or refuse the offer and fight him. Refusing the offer and defeating Mr. X shows the player becoming the new crime lord in Mr. X's place and thus they have become the very thing they were fighting against.
  • StarCraft:
    • Arcturus Mengsk from StarCraft, who provides this page's quote, went from a Rebel leader to The Emperor and eventually one of the Big Bads. Although if you read between the lines, that's what he had in mind from the start.
    • His lieutenant, Sarah Kerrigan, manages to do it twice. She starts out as a good and idealistic character, only to get infested by Zerg and left for dead by her own leader, turning her into an Sociopathic, backstabbing Magnificent Bitch who quickly becomes the most evil villain of the franchise. Then StarCraft II gets her partially turned back to normal, and she becomes a heroic Dark Messiah Noble Demon, in contrast with Arcturus' Villain with Good Publicity.
  • Darth Thanaton, the Big Bad of the Sith Inquisitor storyline in Star Wars: The Old Republic. It's shown in the tie-in comics that much like the Player Character, he was a former slave who during his time as a Sith apprentice resented his peers of higher social standing for their poor treatment of him and attempts to "keep him in his place" despite the fact that he was just as loyal to The Empire as they were. But as a Sith Lord and member of the Dark Council, Thanaton became rich and greedy, taking it upon himself to keep lower Sith in their place. By the time you meet him in the game, he's become just like the Sith who treated him like trash when he was an apprentice, with an Inferiority Superiority Complex to boot.
  • Warcraft Expanded Universe:
    • In Warcraft III, Prince Arthas went from a noble, heroic paladin to a Knight Templar to an all-out evil Death Knight seeking to Take Over the World. By Rise/Wrath of the Lich King, he has become the titular Lich King and rules over the Frozen Hordes.
    • In World of Warcraft, Sylvannas Windrunner leads a rebel undead faction called the Forsaken against Arthas, despising him for putting her in her undead state and uniting them under the shared suffering of their condition. After Arthas' death in Wrath of the Lich King, however, she gains control of some renegade Val'kyr she uses to raise more Forsaken in Cataclysm, becoming exactly what she hated so much in Arthas. Though her new-found attitude is partially justified in a short story set between the two expansions, where she sees a vision of what would become of her spirit and the remaining Forsaken should she ever end (what's left of) her life.
    • Likewise, Arthas' girlfriend, Jaina Proudmoore, used to be one of the biggest promoters of peace between the Horde and the Alliance due to their teamwork at Mt. Hyjal to drive away Archimonde, enough that she would see her warmongering father dead for peace even if she grieves about it. Then the Horde, now under Garrosh Hellscream, willy-nilly nuked her home, Theramore. After that, every reasonings were lost to Jaina, she became a warmonger that wants the Horde destroyed for her own vengeance, even citing that her father was right. Many people comment that she just became a warmonger blinded by hatred, just like her father.

  • It's been stated in Homestuck that Sburb players who are especially resistant to their roles within the game will sometimes act as though they're an opposite class or aspect. This is seen to happen with Rose, who despite being a Seer of Light decides to fly around breaking things with dark magic and winds up going grimdark and blacking out their session.
  • Invoked in The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, "The Common Hood": When Wonderella encounters a thief who's Just Like Robin Hood, instead of fighting him, she leads him to become famous and successful so that he ends up being the rich person who thinks that Digital Piracy Is Evil.
  • Yumi's Cells: When Yumi is unhappy with herself, notably when she starts to get indecisive about breaking up with Babi, her Cells sometimes turn into their complete opposites. Love Cell becomes Anger Incarnate and makes it impossible to date properly, Fashion Cell becomes a Fashion Terrorist that makes her wear very frumpy clothes, and Cheapskate Cell becomes a Giving Tree that spends money like it grows on trees.

    Web Videos 
  • Dream SMP: Before the L'Manburg Elections, Quackity believed that there was good in everyone and many of his actions were driven by a desire for justice and fairness. This ends up being a stark contrast to him while in his "Las Nevadas" arc, where his Trauma Conga Line drove him to become "The House That Always Wins" who doesn't fight fairly to get ahead, and "stopped seeing the good in people" altogether.
  • In "Fall of the Simpsons", Super Eyepatch Wolf explains his reason for The Simpsons infamous Seasonal Rot: in its heyday, it was a vicious mockery of kitschy sitcoms, and it preferred nuanced characters and structured jokes over caricatures and cheap gags. But around the Turn of the Millennium, staff changes turned it into the mediocre sitcoms of the 1980s that it satired.
  • Ultra Fast Pony parodies the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic example by having Discord magically invert the main cast's defining vices rather than their virtues. The greedy mobster Applejack becomes kind and generous; The Gadfly Pinkie Pie becomes quiet and serious; the annoyingly codependent Rainbow Dash just wants to be left alone; the wannabe slavedriver Fluttershy suddenly loves serving others; the BDSM-obsessed Rarity becomes ludicrously safety-conscious. We Want Our Jerk Back! is in full effect, as Twilight notices that these new personalities are somehow even bigger jerks than before.

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: In the intervening years between Acts I and II, several of the characters have found themselves becoming the very people they struggled against.
    • Jayce is becoming the very sort of politicking, backroom-dealing councilor that nearly got him banished for his experiments in the first place.
    • Marcus, whose overzealous approach to cleaning up the Undercity ultimately helped get Grayson killed, has become the new Grayson: a chief of police who looks the other way, keeps his troops in check when it comes to the underworld, and has an understanding with Zaunite leadership. The only difference is that his is not an arrangement of choice.
    • Vi was a leader figure to her little gang and the adoptive daughter of the man who basically ran the Lanes, making her as close to an insider in Zaun's slums as one can get. And of course, she despised and wanted to fight the Enforcers. She returns to Zaun helping an Enforcer and is hunted by the new Don of Zaun.
    • After Silco has replaced Vander as the head of Zaun's underground, he's forced to keep the peace between Zaun and Piltover, if through shadier methods than Vander used. He rages at Jinx over the indiscriminate killing of Enforcers and the mess it will bring, a stark contrast to his brutal murder of Grayson and her squad in Act I, though he at least had a man on the inside for that.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: For most of the series, Princess Azula is depicted as a cold and calculating strategist, tactician, and manipulator in contrast to her hotheaded brother Zuko. This is best demonstrated in their first on-screen battle where Azula uses Zuko's insecurities and desperation for their father's love against him. During the finale, the two have a duel for the Fire Lord crown. However, Zuko has undergone character development that allows him to be more focused in battle while Azula is suffering a mental breakdown after being betrayed by Mai and Ty Lee and her father has refused to allow her to join him on his mission to burn down the Earth Kingdom. This makes her attacks sloppy and predictable. Worse, during the aforementioned first battle, Azula mockingly claimed that the only reason Ozai would bring Zuko back to the Fire Nation was to lock him up where Zuko couldn't embarrass him. By the end of the series, Azula ends up in a mental asylum.
  • In the episode "Joker's Favor" from Batman: The Animated Series, Charlie Collins begins the episode being an Everyman Ungrateful Bastard that becomes a Miles Gloriosus when feeling unappreciated he indulges at Mugging the Monster and Holding Out for a Hero. In the end, he becomes an Action Survivor Bully Hunter that really appreciates his life.
  • While Harvey Dent in Beware the Batman is far from a good person, he is against all caped and costumed freaks and demands Batman's arrest to Gordon in his debut, stating that no one is allowed to break the law. By the end of the series, his witch hunt against Batman has turned him into a horribly disfigured and increasingly insane criminal who chides Gordon for being a boy scout.
  • In Codename: Kids Next Door, Cree Lincoln went from hero of the KND to kid-hating-teenager, becoming the embodiment of what she had despised and fought against while still on the team. And it would seem she isn't the only one; the whole reason operatives are subjected to Laser-Guided Amnesia and mandatory retirement upon turning thirteen is because so many of them have turned traitor. It's also a case of Create Your Own Villain, since the main reason so many operatives go rogue is because they refuse to have the memories of their entire childhood forcibly ripped out. Which also includes what a large number of them consider the best years of their lives, being a member of the KND, along with the many adventures and friends they had as operatives.
  • In Dexter's Laboratory episode "Dexter's Assistant", thanks to Dexter's need for an assistant to test his new invention, he turns Dee Dee into an Insufferable Genius (who even proved to be more intelligent than Dexter!) via a brain transplant.
  • The short film Fuelled is about a Crusading Widow so desperate to hunt down the robber that killed her husband that, when her car runs out of gas while tracking him down, she tries robbing a gas station, accidentally setting the place on fire and killing an attendant in the process.
  • In Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Razer begins the series as an angry, vengeful Red Lantern. He ends the series as a potential Blue Lantern, as his hope and belief that he could be reunited with Aya drew a Blue Power Ring to him.
  • In the Justice League episode "Patriot Act", Wade Eiling, a General Ripper who thinks metahumans are inherently dangerous, takes a Super Serum that turns him into a hulking monster so he can take on the League. Adding to the irony, the team that faces him consists entirely of Badass Normals (they're a version of the Seven Soldiers of Victory).
  • It is discussed in the animated series of Kid Paddle. The child hero imagines it can happen by surgery, turning his brain around. He becomes terrified at the idea that his sister and his father would do this to him. It is a nice metaphor of his impression that they do not like him, and that there is not a thing they accept in him. They actually care more, but it is made clear that he and they have almost nothing in common.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • It happened to Fluttershy and Princess Luna when they failed to (or felt that they failed to) use their special gifts. Cue to the Cutie Mark Failure theory amongst the fandom.
    • In the two-parter "The Return of Harmony Part 1" and "The Return of Harmony Part 2", Discord corrupts all the Mane Six through a combination of verbal trickery and mind control, until they all invert the virtues they formerly embodied. Applejack lies all the time; Rarity becomes greedy, Fluttershy becomes cruel, Rainbow Dash abandons her friends, and Pinkie Pie alternates between over-seriousness and laughing at other's misfortune. Twilight (who embodies the esoteric "magic", and in this series friendship is magic) loses all faith in her friends and in friendship itself.
  • South Park:
    • "Splatty Tomato" has Heidi Turner reflect on her past where she started off as a kind, caring, naive, and healthy girl before becoming a bitter, resentful, bigoted, and fat Jerkass as her relationship with Eric Cartman continues. This leads to her Heel Realization and eventual decision to break up with Cartman.
    • Randy Marsh also has this Dilemma. In Season 22 he fancied himself as a simple weed farmer with integrity and fought against corrupt big businesses. In Season 23, he becomes just as unethical as those types of businesses, if not more so.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In Seasons One and Two, Star Butterfly was firmly against the idea of becoming queen and having to accept responsibility, to the point that she nearly mauled an innocent mermaid she knew by name to get out of being queen. Come season four, when given a vision that her destiny is to destroy the realm of magic to stop Mina and save the monsters, Star reluctantly decides to do it because it's the only solution as opposed to waiting out the apocalypse in a tavern, though it will mean she and Marco will be separated forever, and Glossaryck will die again.
  • Peridot in Steven Universe starts as a cold, calculating force who couldn't care less about anything not in her job description as "technician for an evil empire". Her appearance on Earth was a genuine threat to the Crystal Gems. Then she gets stranded on Earth and loses all her tools, forcing her to learn about the world and understand the people around her. By the time she realizes her bosses can be wrong, cutting off her last reason for following orders, she's become an over-the-top, Constantly Curious Large Ham who, at the very least, cares for the Crystal Gems.
    Rebecca Sugar: She's excited by the infinite potential of everything and fascinated by her own capacity to care because those things had been a total blind spot for her.
  • Tangled: The Series: Cassandra went from a loyal friend to Rapunzel who wanted nothing more than to become a royal guard to defend the kingdom to a traitor who cared about no one but themselves and destroyed Corona in a fit of rage.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): The Shredder comes to New York when he discovers Yoshi has been training ninjas. He mocks and belittles his rival when he finds out Yoshi himself is now a rat and his ninja clan is a bunch of mutant turtles he considers his adopted sons. Shredder also actively hates and ignores all the Fantasy Kitchen Sink occurrences happening in New York. Flash forward a few seasons, he's replaced all his low-level Mooks with robots based on Kraang technology and mutated all his high-level apprentices, generals, and adopted daughter. He's become the Token Human of the Foot Clan, which has turned into a dark version of Turtle and Kraang weirdness-only to eventually use mutagen on himself to hasten his near-death recovery, the consequences of which result in a giant monster of a mutant named Super Shredder. Karai lampshades it, declaring that Shredder has become everything he hates.
  • Totally Spies! features a town in which rebellious teenagers are turned into docile, serious, and polite young people via Brainwashing. When they are healed, Clover is displeased by the result on her Love Interest Todd, who goes from prim and proper Knight in Shining Armor to self-serving musician and Handsome Lech.
  • Blackarachnia from Transformers: Animated initially wants to remove her technorganic half, all while trying to get revenge on the Autobots who accidentally left her behind on a spider-infested alien planet, resulting in her mutation, but eventually goes off the deep end when she deliberately kidnaps Wasp and forcibly mutates him into Waspinator as a desperate final attempt to create a cure to permanently remove her technorganic half once and for all, not caring about Wasp's well-being, and treating him like a mere tool instead of a "friend" to him. Had there been a Season 4, Blackarachnia would've went on to create her own army of technorganic mutants to get revenge on all non-technorganic Transformers.
  • Transformers: Prime: Megatron of all people comes to a Heel Realization that he became this centuries ago after being tortured by Unicron in the "Predacons Rising" film. He was born a slave, forced to fight for his life in gladiatorial games. He formed the Decepticons to liberate the subjugated masses of Cybertron. Eons later, he's a tyrant ruling with an iron fist, treating his own soldiers as expendable.


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Jreg portrays a left-wing YouTuber humbly asking for support to defeat capitalism until they grow into a very successful libertarian.

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