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Never meet your heroes.

"It's like going to heaven and finding God smoking crack!"
Riley Freeman, The Boondocks

There are people we admire, even idolize; people who are everything we want to be. Even if we meet them only briefly, they have the power to change our lives. These mentors and idols teach us to use our full potential and do great things, and not only do we love them for it, we imagine nothing could ever tarnish the memory we hold of them...

...unless you're a fictional character and this trope is in play.

If you're in fiction and you look up to someone, chances are good that they're the scum of the earth. At least, they’re not what you think they are — or they were, but time has passed and the luster has faded. (This is particularly likely if the audience has just heard about them for the first time). If you're in law enforcement, you'll probably suffer the double blow of seeing their darkest secrets and being the one to put them in handcuffs. If your idol was your teacher, you'll find yourself repeating — with bitter irony — some maxim or mantra that you still hold but your mentor has since abandoned.

What makes a pedestal break varies, but it runs anywhere from a good person who abandoned their ideals or switched sides to a monster who was Evil All Along. Most of the time, the idol kept his shining image by hiding or suppressing anything damning, but sometimes the fault was in those who worshiped him and saw an overly idealized image instead of the real person. Expect them to ask, "Was It All a Lie?"

Anyone who has experienced betrayal at least once in their lives would concur that this trope is Truth in Television. In fact, this trope just may be one of, if not the single most frequently happening trope in Real Life out there; an average real life Joe will experience this far more than any fictional character you know. It doesn't always have to involve celebrities, either. It can also be the last person you'd expect (or want), like your Childhood Friends or your older brother (or sister). Affiliates whom you thought you had a close friendship with could one day all of a sudden turn on you, making you ever regret having any respect toward them at all.

When the mentor or idol is both worthy of admiration but flawed enough to make them unlikeable, that's Warts and All.

Related to Beleaguered Childhood Friend and Big Bad Friend. Compare Fallen Hero and Historical Hero Upgrade. Also compare Defiled Forever and My Girl Is Not a Slut. Contrast with Evil Mentor, who was Obviously Evil from the beginning. Not to be confused with Broken Base. Also contrast Rebuilt Pedestal, when a formerly Broken Pedestal is forgiven or exonerated. Contrast with Blind Obedience, where this usually isn't the case.

Due to the nature of the trope, there will be unmarked spoilers abound. You have been warned.


Examples:

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    Comic Strips 
  • In an early Bloom County strip, Milo searches for Betty Crocker, of all people, someone he believes represents America as it should be: pure, unspoiled, and decent. Sadly, when he finds the now-elderly founder of the company, she's the same as any other CEO, and is Only in It for the Money. (Even worse, she knows nothing about actual cooking.) Still, Milo takes small comfort at the end:
    Milo: Y'know, I came looking for the real America in Betty Crocker... and know what? I think I found her. Farewell.
    [beat panel as Betty thinks about it]
    Betty: Overhyped but basically a good broad!
    Milo: Bingo.

    Films — Animation 
  • Hoodwinked: Red Puckett is hurt when Granny's secret extreme sports life is revealed.
  • In Treasure Planet, Jim's trust in Silver is broken when he finds out that he is a pirate and the mastermind behind the ship's mutiny. Silver makes up for it in the end, though.
  • Mr. Incredible, Bob Parr, is this for Syndrome in The Incredibles. As a child, Buddy Pine starts out as Mr. Incredible's self-proclaimed biggest fan, and spends the entire opening sequence of the film trying to persuade the superhero into letting him become his sidekick, "IncrediBoy". However, he repeatedly gets on Bob's nerves until he coldly tells him, "I Work Alone." Soon after, Buddy's attempts to prove himself cost Bob his chance of apprehending one of his archenemies, and he turns the boy over to the police to take him home. This act disillusions Buddy from not just Bob, but all superheroes in general, leading him to take his frustrations out on all supers as the villainous Syndrome.
  • In Up, on arriving in Venezuela, Carl Frederickson meets his childhood hero, the explorer Charles Muntz, who has spent his life trying to capture a rare bird that lives on the plateau near Paradise Falls...and has become dangerously obsessed with his quest, to the point of killing people he even thinks are trying to get the bird back to civilization before him, and threatening Carl and Russell.
  • Planes: Skipper when Dusty learned he exaggerated his accomplishments.
  • In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, Flint becomes disillusioned to Chester V when the latter intends to make the harmless foodimals into food bars.
  • Monsters, Inc.: Waternoose becomes this to Sulley when the latter finds out the former's plans of kidnapping children to solve the energy crisis.
  • Home On The Range: Rico is this for Buck after it's revealed that he's been Alameda Slim's lackey all along.
  • Big Hero 6: Hiro idolized Professor Callaghan to the point of giving up underground robot fights to study under him at Tadashi's college. Unfortunately, Callaghan stole Hiro's microbots project for personal reasons and started a fire to cover his tracks, which resulted in Tadashi's death when he tried to save Callaghan. When confronted about this, Callaghan tells Hiro right in his face that it was Tadashi's own fault for dying. In the resulting violent (though understandable) fit of Heroic B.S.O.D. Hiro orders Baymax to destroy Callaghan. Callaghan only narrowly survives because Hiro's friends intervene.
  • In Home, Oh idolizes Captain Smek, even though the guy's an egomaniac and a complete moron and looks down on Oh for not being successfully socialized and believing in things like friendship and individuality. Tip's influence gradually helps Oh figure that Captain Smek doesn't need to be listened to.
  • In Mune: Guardian of the Moon, Glim is a huge Fangirl of all things Guardian and is quite impressed by Sohone, the new Guardian of the Sun, at first. When she finds out that he's a Jerk Jock Casanova Wannabe, she cools on him quickly.
  • In Coco, Miguel idolizes Ernesto de la Cruz, a famous singer and actor who inspired Miguel's dreams of becoming a musician, despite the rest of his family hating music after Miguel's great-great grandfather walked out on the family to pursue his dreams of stardom. Then Miguel learns Ernesto murdered his partner, Miguel's great-great grandfather Héctor, when he wanted to leave showbiz to go home to his family. Not only was de la Cruz responsible for generations of anguish and a major rift between Miguel and his family, he then proceeded to steal the credit for Héctor's songs and use them to pave his way to stardom.
  • In Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost, the gang meets famed horror writer Ben Ravencroft, who Velma is a huge fan of, and they agree to help him look for a journal that once belonged to his ancestor, Sarah Ravencroft, who Ben claims was wrongfully accused of being a witch back in the 1600s, and he believes that finding the journal will help clear her name. But by the end of the movie, Ben's true colors are revealed. He was using the gang to help him find not a journal, but a spell book that belonged to Sarah, who really was a witch, and Ben planned on using it to help him bring Sarah back from the dead so that they can rule the world together.
    • Ben gets hit with this himself after Sarah is resurrected and she decides to destroy the world rather than take it over.
  • In Frozen, after spending the entirety of the movie believing in her sister, Anna seems to have lost her faith in Elsa when in their meeting at the Ice Castle where in not only did her attempts to reconnect got completely rejeced once again but also got struck in the heart and got sicced with a giant ice monster that almost killed her. This is clearly evident by the fact that after this moment, she never tried to defend her sister for her actions (wherein she previously did when the Duke calls her a monster), even admitting to Hans that she was wrong about Elsa not hurting her during the True Love's Kiss that is said to thaw her frozen heart. And then Hans betrays her, leaves her to die, and gleefully reveals he can now kill Elsa with no negative consequences, embracing this trope to its fullest. Fortunately, Elsa and Anna save each other from him and rebuild their sisterly bond by the end of the movie.

    Music 
  • The Who's Quadrophenia brings us the Ace Face, a mod whom Jimmy, the album's protagonist, idolized during the Mod days. When he meets him later, he finds that he's sold out and is now a bell boy. The whole album is about Jimmy being let down by his idols.
  • Subject of the short TISM track "I'm A Genius":
    Heroes seem so from a far
    But if you meet 'em you'll think twice.
    Genius is different from the rest of us...
    Most of us are nice!
  • Robbie Williams' song "Strong", from his album I've Been Expecting You, was an attempt by Williams at invoking this trope and breaking the pedestal that some of his more Loony Fans had put him on, by painting his lifestyle as being less glamorous than they were imagining:
    My breath smells of a thousand fags
    And when I'm drunk I dance like my dad
    I've started to dress a bit like him
    And early morning, when I wake up
    I look like Kiss but without the make-up...
  • Mentioned in Daniel Amos's "The Incredible Shrinking Man" (from Vox Humana):
    The clergy dresses you in tights and cape
    And so the pressure's on to make no mistake
    In truth, there is no way that you won't break
    You're gonna fall
    You're much too small
  • The trope is interestingly deconstructed in Imelda May's "Human", in which the singer insists on being loved for her true self instead of being idealised:
    So come adore me, but know I'm gonna fall
    Off of this pedestal that I hope you've put me on
    And as God's above me, I swear I'll try to be
    All that you ever want and I'll be the best of me
    I wanna be your human...

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Chuck Palumbo and Billy Gunn wrestled as an ambiguously gay duo Tag Team that eventually revealed they were planning to get married and hired their stylist Rico Constantino as their wedding planner. At the last minute they revealed they were in fact heterosexual, would not be getting married and that Palumbo wouldn't be Gunn's type even if he was gay. This outraged Rico, who formed Three Minute Warning with Jamal and Rosey in revenge, and the long running Christopher Street Connection exoticos Mace Mendoza and Buff E(whose own marriage failed for different reasons).
  • Silas Young said he had as much respect for Davey Richards as he did for Samoa Joe, CM Punk and the three Ring of Honor founding fathers until he saw Richards compete in a dance off against the Hoopla Hotties on the unauthorized A Night Of Hoopla, confirming to Silas that he really was the last real man.
  • Noemi Bosques gave SHINE wrestling some much welcome publicity when the and coming boxer went to their 19th show to see Niya and La Rosa Negra. However, she quickly became disappointed by Niya's behavior and defaulted to just La Rosa Negra's corner in future visits.
  • Roman Reigns was taken in by two veteran wrestlers as part of The Shield, the some kind of insane Dean Ambrose and the calculated risk taker Seth Rollins. Many familiar with Rollin's work prior to being put underneath Vince McMahon's thumb know he had a tendency to sell out but it was initially the Big Bad Wannabe Ambrose that Reigns had the most problems getting along with. Then Rollins sold them both out to The Authority, just as he and Ambrose were starting to get along.
  • AJ Styles was The Heart of TNA, having been there since the beginning, giving his all and more to the company, getting the respect of everyone and not being an embarrassment like other wrestlers. They repeatedly paid him back and others like him by sticking them in midcard hell, forever jobbing to Over-The-Hill wrestlers and WWE rejects, and when his contract was up, they offered him a contract that would have cut 40% of his salary. He turned it down and went to NJPW and ROH and made himself the biggest name in Professional Wrestling to have never signed with WWE. Meanwhile, TNA went into a complete nosedive, being cancelled twice in two years, having most of their signature talent be signed by their biggest competitor, the aforementioned WWE, and more-or-less becoming a sinking ship. Fast forward to late 2015. TNA desperately needs publicity and a big star to help turn things around when they debut on their new channel. They contact AJ, break the bank with an offer for him, discuss storyline, merchandise, the whole enchilada. But AJ, no doubt jaded from his time with them and wishing to do what's best for his family, turned them down a few days later and went to — where else? — WWE. In this scenario, TNA has no one else to blame but themselves. If that weren't enough, TNA would then nuke the bridge into oblivion and destroy any chance of him coming back post-WWE by posting this statement on their website two days before his debut in WWE, trying to throw him under the bus and paint him as some treacherous backstabber in hopes of getting sympathy from the fans. The IWC, knowing full well how terribly AJ and other workers were treated by TNA, proceeded to put the company on blast and bash on them for trying to ruin his prosperity.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • While some Chaos Space Marines abandoned the Imperium for power, For the Evulz or simply because of spending too much time around Chaos energies, others defected (and continue to do so) because of disillusionment with the Imperium or the God-Emperor. "Death to the False Emperor!" is a common Battlecry among Chaos warbands. Among the Traitor Primarchs, Horus turned against the Emperor after becoming convinced by prophetic visions that the Emperor would lead humanity to ruin, and Lorgar worshipped the Emperor like a god until he was given a brutal, humiliating Break the Believer session that shattered his faith and led him to turn to the Chaos Gods.
      • Horus' successor as leader of his legion, Abaddon the Despoiler, is similarly disillusioned with his own Primarch, angry that he led the Traitor Legions to defeat during the Siege of Terra and failed to kill the Emperor. He renamed his legion from the Sons of Horus to the Black Legion to symbolically wipe his and their hands of Horus' very name, and after discovering Fabius Bile creating a clone of Horus, he personally destroyed said clone without hesitation or remorse, while throwing in another disavowal as he did so.
      Abaddon: [to Clone Horus] I am not your son.
    • Commander Farsight was a loyal servant of the Tau Empire before he learned that the ruling caste were actively suppressing knowledge of Chaos from the general populace and engaging in other Utopia Justifies the Means-type behaviour. Unlike the Chaos Marines, however, he didn't fight their rule, believing that the alternative (a return to the pointless and destructive civil war among his people that had ended with the Ethereal's arrival long ago) was worse, and chose self-imposed exile instead.
      • Farsight himself became one to the soldier caste of the Tau because of his defection — to his successor, Commander Shadowsun, in particular. Her first act upon receiving his position was to go to a statue of Farsight and blow it up in front of her soldiers, to demonstrate that a new regime was now in play.
    • Roboute Guilliman's faith in the Emperor was broken after he met him face to face again in Dark Imperium and realized that the Emperor never saw him or the other Primarchs as anything but tools. He now fights for the Emperor's ideals and the Imperium, and not for the Emperor.

    Theater 
  • The Phantom of the Opera: 'Farewell my fallen idol and false friend/We had such hopes but now those hopes lie shattered... Angel of Music, you deceived me/I gave you my mind blindly.' Erik goes from being a Stalker with a Crush into a full-blown wack job when he, in a convoluted Wife Husbandry plan kidnaps Christine and threatens to kill her fiance unless she agrees to marry him (Erik, that is).
  • Subverted with the protagonists' relationship in Wicked, as Elphaba and Glinda, who sing about how "People come into our lives, for a reason," genuinely feel that they have been changed for the better for knowing the other, even though Elphaba has turned her back on society, and Glinda has sold out to the love of the citizens of Oz.
    • Wicked also contains a straight example in the Wizard, beloved by all of Oz and idolized by Elphaba and Glinda, who turns out to be a con man and the Big Bad. Though the revelation takes longer for Glinda to process, she eventually accomplishes more with the knowledge than Elphaba.
  • Arthur Miller's All My Sons revolves around this trope after The Reveal.
  • Death of a Salesman: Biff, the elder of the two Loman sons, is the high school football star and pretty nearly guaranteed a full scholarship to the University of Virginia...until his Broken Pedestal moment. He gets into a scrape at school and goes to find his father, the eponymous traveling salesman, with the hope that his father can get him out of it. The result is that he discovers his father is a serial philanderer. He's so disillusioned by the fall of his idol that he ends up dropping out and throwing away his very promising future.
  • The Nerd by Larry Shue revolves around the title character ruining the professional and romantic life of the man he saved in Vietnam, to the latter's increasing exasperation. Subverted in that the Nerd is an actor who was hired by a friend of said man to make him realize his priorities.
  • In That Championship Season, four of the five players of the 1952 Pennsylvania State High School Basketball Championship winning team of Fillmore High are still relying heavily on their coach, whom most of them view as a father figure, for life advice twenty years later. However, near the end of the play, one of the players reveals that Coach's philosophy emphasising winning above all else led to the incident which caused the fifth team member to turn his back on the others, and it is becoming apparent to all of them that Coach's advice revolves entirely around pep talk platitudes which may rally a team to victory in a basketball game but leave them completely unequipped to deal with the trials and tribulations of adult life, and that he is a bigoted, bullying fraud.
  • To an extent Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr. Upon first meeting, Hamilton gushes about Burr and wanting to follow in his footsteps. By the end of the show, the two are feuding and Hamilton dies at Burr's hand.

    Visual Novels 
  • From the Ace Attorney series:
    • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, prosecutor Miles Edgeworth discovers that the man who raised him after his father's death (and taught him everything he knows about law and prosecution) is his father's killer. And also a ruthless perfectionist who'd do anything to win, but he already knew that — he was okay with it because he assumed everyone the man prosecuted was guilty.
    • In another example for Edgeworth, he finds out that Ernest Amano, who financed his studies, and whom he respected enough that he would deliver the ransom money to his son's kidnappers as a personal favor, obstructs justice by buying the haunted house in Gatewater Land so that his son won't be exposed as a murderer, and is also affiliated with the smuggling ring. The closest he gets to a pithy statement is saying in the ending that he owes him a debt of gratitude, but he must pay his debt to society.
    • Edgeworth himself is this to Phoenix Wright, who remembers when he used to be an idealistic child who wanted to be a defense attorney. After some Character Development, Edgeworth becomes his Rebuilt Pedestal and is able to support him when Phoenix has a crisis of conscience over a client who really is guilty.
    • Kristoph Gavin, the mentor of Apollo in the fourth game ends being the murderer in the first case and the Big Bad of the game. Apollo is also livid to find out that Phoenix, a former ace lawyer whom he treated with the utmost respect, gave him a fake clue to make Kristoph confess to the murder of Shadi Smith, to the point of punching him. He only comes to work for him because with Kristoph's arrest, he's out of a job.
    • Damon Gant was the well respected chief of police. It turns out that he murdered an innocent man in order to frame a serial killer and years later killed a cop who was trying to find out the truth and let someone else take the blame for it.
    • Ema also has this reaction when her sister admits to forging evidence, although it later turns out that she was blackmailed into doing so by Gant, who had arranged evidence to make it seem as though Ema accidentally killed Neil Marshall.
    • Morgan Fey for Mia and Maya, who both loved their aunt and are upset to find out that she would try to frame Maya for murder out of jealousy, so that her daughter Pearl could become Master.
    • The killer was planning to invoke this trope in the second case of Dual Destinies. The reason why Florent L'Belle didn't kill Mayor Tenma as part of the plan to frame him for murdering Alderman Kyubi was so that once Mayor Tenma was convicted and exposed as the true identity of the Amazing Nine-Tails (the hero that everyone who opposed the merger rallied around), the Amazing Nine-Tails' popularity would plummet once people realized he was also a murderer.
    • In Investigations 2, Blaise Debeste becomes this for his son Sebastian after it's revealed that he's the killer in case 4 and that he never really cared for Sebastian in the first place.
  • In Dangan Ronpa, Mondo Oowada is this for Kiyotaka Ishimaru. At first, he refuses to believe that Oowada was the murderer of Chihiro Fujisaki in the second case, but then he is forced to confront with the truth and the poor guy suffers a Heroic B.S.O.D.. What makes the whole thing more painful is that Oowada was the first real friend that he ever had, since he was never able to make friends due to his focus on studying and working on school morals.
    • This trope also turns out to be a large part of the mastermind's plan. The first killing game between the student council was revealed to the world, causing people to shocked that humanity's best and brightest turned into murderers, under Hope's Peak Academy's watch. The effect of this trope was so strong that it outright caused global anarchy. During the main story of the videogame, the mastermind is trying to invoke this trope again by holding a live broadcast of the current class's killing game.
    • Ironically, Kyoko ends up exploiting this trope to force the mastermind to stop cheating, since if the mastermind frames the survivors for murder rather than actually pushing them to do it, she'll fail to get her point across to the audience.
  • During Hatoful Boyfriend, Sakuya only seems to have any respect for his father and Doctor Iwamine Shuu, the latter of whom developed a medicine that saved the former. He's extremely defensive about criticism to either. Sakuya has been raised to think of his father as "pure", of the utmost value and to be obeyed unthinkingly. Through his route he can come to disobey, but it's in BBL that things really change. He insists privately that "I must not disrespect him (Shuu)... because that is what father told me." but is unable to ignore mounting evidence. Eventually he despises Shuu just like everybirdie else.
  • In Code:Realize, Arsene Lupin's mentor betrays the values and morals he'd taught him, instead turning to selfish crime.
    • Another example is Jimmy Aleister, who personally mentored Van Helsing in the latter's entire career to the point where both lost their families for their service. In a very ugly turn of events, he is revealed to be an irredeemably twisted criminal mastermind who killed his own family and Van Helsing's all with his own hands, purely for the sake of trying to traumatize and corrupt his student.
  • In Sunrider Mask of Arcadius, Veniczar Fontana idolized the revolutionary Arcadius for opposing the tyranny of the New Empire and joined his cause, quickly climbing through PACT’s ranks to become Arcadius’s right-hand man. But over the course of the game, Arcadius’s increasingly megalomaniacal actions and willingness to throw away the lives of his mennote  cause Fontana to become disillusioned with him, as they fly in the face of PACT’s principles. By the end of the game, Fontana is so disgusted that he stages a coup and puts a bullet in Arcadius’s head, not that it inconveniences them much. Surprisingly, this is actually Averted: Fontana knows that “Arcadius” is really a successor to the original Arcadius (who died several years earlier), and he’s disgusted with her for dragging the man’s good name through the mud.

    Web Animation 
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Agent Washington in regards to the Director of Project Freelancer. When first introduced, Washington is highly against the Director and is actively working to bring him down after seeing the horrors the Director inflicted on the Alpha AI. Season 9 then shows a younger Washington, who is highly devoted to the Director and claims the man has given him everything.
    • The same goes for Agent Carolina.
    • Another example: Caboose after Epsilon-Church's Freak Out! at the Blood Gulch Crew. All he ever wanted was to be Church's best friend. Seeing that Church only saw him as a problem he had to deal with daily really broke the poor kid.
  • Played for laughs in If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device when Karamazov meets with Torquemanda Coteaz, who's clearly his idol. Karamazov is disgusted when he finds out that Coteaz's secret tactic of victory is using barrels full of Jokaero.

    Web Comics 
  • Sluggy Freelance has an example of this when Torg finds out that Riff is working for Hereti-Corp, although as Riff mentally notes shortly afterward, he had no idea how they were using the information he was sending them. Torg ultimately forgives him by the end of the arc, noting the contrast between how he treated him with how he believed Cloney was actually Aylee.
  • In Kevin & Kell, Rudy is shocked to find out that his biological father had an affair that resulted in Rudy's nemesis Vin Vulpen being born; Kell suspected this but didn't know for certain. Lindesfarne, after learning that Professor Antlerhead falsified his research on stem cells, notes that the only authority figures who have never let her down are her father and stepmother.
  • Minmax in Goblins discovering his idol's tendencies (and the result). Go Minmax.
    Minmax: He was being a dink.
  • Happens in Juathuur...sort of. actually, Arvval stands by his principles from beginning to end. But when Faevv strays from her path, his bigotry becomes apparent and they don't really get along anymore.
  • Popsicleman idolizes Golden Age Popsicleman...until, by the use of 50,000 Placeb-O's box tops, he gets an opportunity to meet him. It turns out the predecessor is chauvinistic and always on the lookout for foreign spies, as well as having a hefty sense of entitlement.
  • Any convinces the rest of the M9 Girls in their eponymous comic to take an internship at the Professor's lab. She quickly develops a fascination with the Professor, which takes a hard hit when Any develops the ability to read emotions and more of his real intentions are revealed.
  • Reynder, a.k.a. Oosterhuis in Panthera turns out to be the Big Bad of the first story arc. Truer words were never said, Tigris.
  • In Starslip, Holiday enters her crush object Vanderbeam's mind to try and free him from an alien Lotus-Eater Machine. There, she discovers his long-harbored obsession with the long-dead Jovia and the lengths Vanderbeem is willing to go to to get her back (i.e. throw his support behind a former criminal to gain technology that might enable him to save her, knowing the criminal wants the tech to try and regain his former power). When Vanderbeam refuses to see reason, reaffirming his willingness to do whatever it took to save Jovia, Holiday simply, and sadly says "You have no idea how much of my respect you've lost. For good." Ironically, this is enough to snap Vanderbeam out of it.
  • Gunnerkrigg Court:
    • Antimony Carver learns in Chapter 31 that Surma, her mother, acted as the Court's Honey Trap to lure Reynardine into the court. When she tries to confirm this unpleasant truth ("So my mother...tricked Reynardine into thinking she loved him?"), Kat's mother tries to justify with the threat Reynardine posed if he were allowed to roam free.
    • Katerina Donlan is rather upset upon learning what the founders of the Court, where she has grown up all her life, did to Jeanne and her lover. It sure doesn't help that Diego, Kat's robot-building genius hero, came up with the horrifying plan, and did so purely out of spite and jealousy.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl has Alejandro, Paulo's original "coolness teacher," which was really just Paulo being messed with by the older kid.
  • In Pacificators, Daryl Smithson joined Platoon 113 because two of her idols (Cinna Grossul and Muneca Powell) were on the team, but on the very first day she met them, she discovered that they do not like each other, and can barely work together. She calls them out on this after she broke up a fight between them.
  • In Slightly Damned the reader is lead to believe that Sakido genuinely cares for her little brother Buwaro. While it may be that way now, it turns out she is acting as The Atoner for maiming and abandoning him 15 years ago. Her final line, recorded in a journal, really hammers home how tortured she was on that choice.
    "If you are reading this and I'm no longer around, then I've gotten what I deserved."
  • Following the media smear campaign and everything else in Sonic the Comic – Online!, Sonic has become this to the remaining Freedom Fighters and Mobius. Let's just say that, when you know the Sonicverse as a whole, it's pretty jarring to see even Amy hating Sonic; Tails is literally the only being on Mobius who still believes in him.
  • In a guest comic for Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, Jared Kowalski gushes over new arrival Chuck Norris and asks him to sign his fish... and then realizes that Norris is afraid of it (it's actually a Gyarados).
  • In El Goonish Shive, when Tedd first learns about Gerald he thinks he sounds like a Bully Hunter and ignores Nanase's attempt to dissuade him from holding that view. Later when he actually meets him he sees what Nanase was talking about and stands up to him when he antagonizes Nanase.
  • The Order of the Stick has a few.
    • In the beginning of the story, Elan positively adores Vaarsuvius, to the point where Elan dresses as a wizard to try to be like him/her. However, after Therkla, a ninja who had a crush on Elan, dies, Elan is extremely upset and Vaarsuvius simply is unconcerned about it, caring more about the danger to the world for the quest they are on. V also disintegrates Kubota without knowing what Kubota did, and accuses Elan of cheating on Haley with Therkla when he expresses sympathy for Therkla's unrequited love for him. V's cruelty causes Elan to abandon him.
    • Miko Miyazaki had a very troubled life, being orphaned at an early age and raised in a monastery. She found comfort in serving the Twelve Gods and Lord Shojo, serving him even when he became old and senile. Hinjo, Shojo's nephew, serves his uncle, the only family he has left, just as faithfully. When Shojo is revealed to have lied to them about his senility, the Gates, and working with Belkar Bitterleaf and Roy, just having found out an army of hobgoblins is on the way, Miko and Hinjo are both crushed. Hinjo reacts lawfully, by wanting to try Shojo after dealing with the hobgoblins. Miko takes a different approach, and cuts Shojo in half.
    • When Elan first meets his long-lost father Tarquin, each of them promptly goes onto the other's pedestal due to their extreme charisma and love of storytelling, and because Elan always wanted a father (Tarquin being absent from his childhood to conquer the Western Continent and raise Nale), and because Tarquin believed that Elan was the Protagonist of his story and would be the great hero to vanquish him when he is nearing the end of a very successful life. However, Tarquin's pedestal is broken when Elan realizes that the giant flames in the hills spelling out his name are actually escaped slaves nailed to the ground and lit on fire, and it's only further broken when Tarquin kills Nale and tries to kill Roy, Belkar, Durkon, and Elan's father figure Julio Scoundrél, as well as snapping Haley's arm without a second thought and trying to crash the airship Elan was on. Likewise, when Tarquin realizes that his son is not the hero of his story like Tarquin thought he was, he is very disappointed and goes to insane lengths to attempt to try to make him the hero of the story (by taking the above spoilered actions).
  • In Homestuck, Meenah Peixes was raised to become a caretaker for her people, which she saw as glorified slavery. When she learns her Alternate Universe counterpart, the Condesce, became a violent and wealthy warlord, she's thrilled. Then she learns that Condy killed and enslaved most of the alternate versions of Meenah's friends, even using Mituna Captor/The Psiioniic as a living battery for her battleship. Also, now she's an actual slave to Lord English.
  • Spacetrawler: Rickshaw Boans, founder of Interplanet Amity, is a huge inspiration to Krep. When Rickshaw returns from parts unknown, he's even more zealous than he used to be, while Krep has undergone Character Development and is no longer so gung-ho about Rickshaw's "shoot first, ask questions later, and take no prisoners" approach.
  • When Kevin Kolton in Evil Plan joins the superhero team The Company he discovers their business model is less of a peacekeeping force and more of an entertainment company. By the end of this chapter he rationalizes super villains escaping prison rather than being killed or stripped of abilities is more a matter of profit than justice.

    Web Original 
  • In the Halo ARG HUNT the TRUTH, a number of people feel this way towards the Master Chief after footage surfaces of him seemingly attacking an interspecies peace conference. The pedestal is rebuilt when it's revealed that he was actually trying to save the delegates from human-supremacist terrorists.
  • KateModern has Rupert van Helding, whose teachings are admired by so many in the Hymn of One. It's a shame he's such a hypocrite.
  • The Union Series has a Captain Evan McNeil, poster boy for much of the Colonial military. While made out to be a cheerful, war-is-an-adventure type paragon of soldiering, the hard reality recruits are confronted by is that he is truly a tired, run down man, aged beyond his years, who's spent most of his adult life being flung from one incredibly bloody conflict to the next, with only the sincere desire that someone will get lucky and put a bullet through his head to end his misery.
  • Xandra from the Neopets story The Faerie's Ruin was a powerful witch who was taken to Faerieland to study. Initially, like the rest of Neopia, she believed that the Faeries were Big Goods, but the Faeries repeatedly refused to intervene in cases where she felt they should have. Feeling betrayed and deceived, she set out to break the pedestal for everyone else. She fucking crashed Faerieland into Neopia!
  • In We Are Our Avatars, Catherine Grayson looked up to Yumiko because the latter was the type of person the former desired to be and befriended her until she took a part of Alduin's soul. Even though Catherine stole Tomes and resurrected the dead, she was horrified by the actions, calling Yumiko out in a What the Hell, Hero? speech.
  • In Worm, The Triumvirate becomes this for the superheroes of the Protectorate when they find out what they've done in the name of saving the world.
  • Sort of semi-subverted for Fantöm in the Noob franchise, as he turns out to have been Locked Out of the Loop. He still gets a hard time from some of the characters for not noticing that things were much easier for him than they should be, which meant someone was pulling strings to give him an unfair advantage) on his own.
  • At the beginning of Silver Quill's review of the Bravestarr episode "Fallen Idol," he is looking at all of the news footage centered around the Bill Cosby rape case, then talks about how Cosby was someone he looked up to when he was a kid and is pretty upset about hearing about this.
  • In the Amazon series Betas, Zuckerberg-esque entrepreneur Zack Casper is one. Protagonist Trey wants to be like Zack, whose chatroom was a haven for young Trey after the divorce of his parents, but he later discovers that Zack frequently guts Silicon Valley startups out of greed, and has no interesting in changing the world for the better.
  • In Son of the Mask, The Nostalgia Critic is saddened to learn that cuddly Big Good Santa Christ has become a bit of a sadist. Mostly to him.
  • Occasionally used comedically in Jon Era Game Grumps, since Jon was a long-time fan of Egoraptor's before they got to know each other in person.
    Jon: To think... To think I used to worship you...
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged takes the aspect of Trunks and Vegeta's dynamic from the source material and turns it Up to Eleven due to Vegeta being an even bigger Jerkass than in canon, to the point of Token Evil Teammate. And that's on top of Vegeta just being a bad dad to him (calling him a bastard, winding him when he pushes the Goku Button, giving no positive reinforcement in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, etc). Needless to say, at this point, Trunks is completely disillusioned with him. Then there's this bit:
    Trunks: Mom said that (Vegeta) was stubborn, but this is just asinine.
    Piccolo: Yeah, but at least he's not trying to kill us all again.
    Trunks: He tried to what!?
    Krillin: Jesus, Future Bulma, what the shit?
    • Trunks himself, on the other hand, is a bit of an inversion to Vegeta due to not pointing them at the right androids, there constantly being more than two androids (three if you count Cell) in the present, and the aforementioned Goku Button. As time flies, Vegeta starts slowly respecting him, if only slightly; he mentions that Trunks is at least almost as strong as he is, acknowledges when Trunks makes a remark that's Actually Pretty Funny, and after Trunks "thwarts his plans", he has this to say:
    Vegeta: Huh. This is a new feeling. Pride in someone else. (wipes some blood from his face) Unfortunately, it's overshadowed by all of this UNYIELDING RAGE!


Alternative Title(s): Never Meet Your Heroes

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