Follow TV Tropes


Defector from Decadence

Go To
Pouring one out for his dignity.
"In all my travellings throughout the universe I have battled against evil, against power-mad conspirators. I should have stayed here! The oldest civilisation: decadent, degenerate, and rotten to the core!"
The Sixth Doctor, Doctor Who, "The Ultimate Foe"

A character who joins either the protagonists or antagonists not so much because he agrees with all their ideas but because he can no longer tolerate the actions of his old group. This is usually because their methods are too extreme, immoral, or unethical. They feel disgusted and they decide to take a stand.

Another major example is when the qualities he admired in his allies are lost by them. Proud Warrior Race Guys sometimes defect if they feel their race talks a good talk but have become hypocritical cowardly jerks. So My Species Doth Protest Too Much, and even if they don't, the character Doth Protest Too Much. (Expect him to invoke the Good Old Ways as a defense for his own behavior. Sometimes attacked by others from his society on the grounds that Good Is Old-Fashioned.)

Sometimes this character is the Rebellious Princess if this trope is the reason the princess ran away. May also be the Black Sheep or White Sheep. If the character is defecting from the antagonists (or at least from a group whose goals or methods are less than admirable), perhaps because they are a Guilt-Ridden Accomplice, expect the former cronies to become All of the Other Reindeer. Even a person from the worst side can become disgusted, such as the case of Nazis who tried to kill Hitler in 1944.

Compare Rebellious Rebel, Resign in Protest. Beware that one is not Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves with a Heel–Face Door-Slam, though. Particularly likely to happen if a character finds out that they were The Only Believer in whatever cause or system has become so decadent and corrupt. See also Evil Virtues and Mr. Vice Guy. Compare Rage Within the Machine and Cult Defector. A group of these may form an Outcast Refuge where they can live away from the "decadence" of the main group.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bleach:
    • Yoshino Soma is this towards the Bounts in the first Filler arc.
    • Souken Ishida spent years trying to convince the Soul Reapers that it was necessary for the Quincies and Soul Reapers to learn how to work together, but he could never make the Soul Reapers listen. He also taught Uryuu not to hate the Soul Reapers for their past massacre of the Quincies because the Quincies had been in the wrong. Quilge states to Ichigo that Souken and the Vandenreich were very aware of each other and that Souken completely rejected the Vandenreich's ways and methods. However, he refuses to clarify the subject any further and tries to bait Ichigo by dangling in front of him the truth that he's hiding important information about the Ishida family's history with the Vandenreich.
  • In Chrono Crusade, Chrono betrayed the Sinners after Aion ordered him to kill Mary Magdalene, the girl he fell in love with. In the manga version when he first betrays Aion he hopes to go to the Magdalene Order not because he believes in their religion so much as he desperately needs their help to save someone he cared about from possession but fails to reach them in time. Both versions have him eventually joining the Order much later.
  • Code Geass:
    • This is basically Lelouch's story from the moment he gets the cold shoulder from his father regarding the death of his mother Marianne and the crippling of his sister Nunnally. The subsequent exile to Japan, and invasion of said country only cements his desire to obliterate the Britannian Empire and deliver cold vengeance to his father.
    • Kallen could also be considered one for her rejection of her noble Britannian lineage in favor of Japan and her biological Japanese mother as well as her brother Naoto, who died fighting the Britannian occupation.
  • In Doraemon: Nobita in the Wan-Nyan Spacetime Odyssey, Nekojara's henchwoman Sharmee betrays him when it's revealed Nekojara intends to hijack the Noradium supply for himself and abandon the entire population of the Wan-Nyan Country to their deaths.
  • D.Gray-Man:
    • In Chapter 205, Allen, having become disgusted with the methods of the higher-ups, has left the Order in order to find a better way to fight the Earl.
    • Kanda and Johnny have also become this to find the above person.
  • Durarara!!:
    • Kadota, Walker, and Erica used to be part of the Blue Square gang. Then the gang's leader (Izumi Ran) kidnapped a rival gang leader's girlfriend, tortured her, and sent a runner over to Kadota to ask him if he wanted to join in on the "fun" they were planning to have with her. Kadota and his buddies decided they weren't part of the Blue Squares anymore. In fact, they decided that there wasn't going to be any Blue Squares anymore. Molotov Cocktails were involved.
    • Later in the series, Izaya (under a pseudonym) incites a number of Dollars members to take two of Chikage's girlfriends hostage in retaliation for recent attacks by his gang (which were, themselves, retaliation for attacks misattributed to the Dollars). When Shizuo catches wind of this, he goes apeshit in classic Shizuo fashion before leaving the gang for good.
  • Dominic in Eureka Seven, specially after learning exactly how Anemone became Cute and Psycho.
  • In the anime/manga of The Heroic Legend of Arslan:
    • In a story of Gray-and-Grey Morality, the defection of men such as Kharlan, Zandeh and Sam to serve Silvermask is treated as such. Their justification is that Hilmes is the original heir to the throne until his uncle Andragoras murdered his father and seized kingship after. To them, aiding Silvermask and the Lusitanians is less of being The Quisling and engineering Rightful King Returns. However, Arslan and his fraction has different ideas.
    • Jaswant's departure from the Shindurian court to serve Arslan can count as this, as long as Pars and Shinduria are not at war. Jaswant loves his country but does not wish to serve its current king. He also maintains that he is not loyal to the Pars royal family but to Arslan as a person first.
  • In Magi: Labyrinth of Magic, Hakuryuu is presented as a Nice Guy, a contrast to the rest of the war-mongering and brutal Kou empire's royalty (excluding his sister Hakuei) and asks Sinbad for his assistance to stop them. Subverted in that he doesn't care about what Kou empire does or doesn't do. He only wants to kill his mother for murdering his father and two brothers and is willing to shatter the Kou empire to do it. Which ironically makes him worse than any of his siblings.
  • Treize Khushrenada from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing, who defects from OZ when they embrace the idea of the unmanned Mobile Dolls and thus lose the qualities that Treize joined them to promote. Treize eventually reverses this when he takes them back over.
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam:
    • This is how Emma Sheen joined the AEUG, although she actually DID agree with the AEUG's ideas because they represent the ideas she THOUGHT she was fighting for with the Titans. After the murder of Kamille's mother and being shown the colony gassing the Titans carried out before the series began, she realizes the Titans are massive assholes who only want to keep an iron grip on their power who only claim to be just defenders of peace.
    • Captain Bright also defects from the Federation forces to captain the AEUG's flagship. In fact, it's implied a fair number of the AEUG's forces are former Federation personnel who likewise defected... and a few of them took their ships with them.
  • My Bride is a Mermaid: When Akeno discovers that Yoshiuo only wanted her to break up Nagasumi and Sun so he could have his way with Sun, she turns on him.
  • One Piece:
    • Luffy's childhood friend and blood brother Sabo was this. Even though his parents were nobles, he was aware and grew disgusted at how selfish and arrogant they could get, not to mention the entire nobility of the island crossing the Moral Event Horizon by trying to burn off a rubbish pile, which includes numerous villagers. He thus decides to run away by building a simple raft and start off his life as a pirate. Too bad he got in the way of a World Noble and his raft was destroyed by the explosion. On the other hand, the timeskip revealed that he had actually survived and is now with Dragon's Revolutionaries, meaning that his desire to leave the nobility has come to fruition.
    • Fleet Admiral Sengoku became General Inspector Sengoku because he was getting old and didn't want to deal with the World Government anymore, which he realized was truly corrupt when they were willing to cover up a mass breakout of Level 6 criminals from Impel Down from the public because it would reflect badly on them. Garp likewise ditched because of Ace's death. Aokiji also left after Akainu became Fleet Admiral.
    • The only reason Nico Robin survived the Buster Call that wiped out the island of Ohara and everyone on it was that Marine Vice-Admiral Jaguar D. Saul objected to the slaughter of unarmed civilians and defected, pulling a Heroic Sacrifice so Robin could escape.
    • Doflamingo's father was a Tenryuubito until he decided to renounce the title to "live like real people". Note that his son did not take after him. Also note that the family outright went to hell after the defection.
    • Sanji is the only child in the family who chooses to be a pirate and a chef instead of living as a prince and taking part in his family's activities, though it's played with since technically, being a pirate is more decadent. Had he not had empathy in the first place, he certainly wouldn't have made that choice.
    • Chiffon and Praline of the Charlotte Family both abandon Big Mom to her fate, flee their home with the Fire Tank and Sun Pirates, and independently work towards helping the Straw Hats escape Totto Land, for the same reason: they love their respective husbands more than they fear their mother.
    • Saint Mjosgard also pulled a Heel–Face Turn, but unlike Doflamingo's father, he didn't renounce his position as a World Noble. This means that, since he's still considered above the law, he can assault other World Nobles with impunity, as he won't have an Admiral sent after him in retaliation, which is shown at the Reverie where he clubs Saint Charlos over the head with a mace to stop him from enslaving Princess Shirahoshi.
  • While Fujimaru from Snow White and Seven Dwarfs was Trapped in Villainy to begin with, he finally gains the strength to desert the government after meeting Takeru (simultaneously giving up his 'comfortable' life by becoming a fugitive in a post-apocalyptic Tokyo where only government employees are granted luxuries). Amusingly, despite the fact that Takeru actually wanted Fujimaru to join up with him, Fujimaru attempts to ditch both sides at the precise moment of his defection.
  • Ralph in Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry goes to the Deague before the series because, it turns out, the Union created Strains by stealing technology from a race of eternal children and then vivisecting them to study their Psychic Powers and use them to make Mimics. Later on, Ralph backstabs the Deague too, and Medlock, in desperation, runs to the Union because she's appalled by him.
  • Trapped in a Dating Sim: The World of Otome Games is Tough for Mobs:

    Audio Plays 
  • In Starboard the hero Reginald Barrington begins as a Duke of the xenophobic and oppressive Kingdom of Man, but quickly defects and joins an outlaw ship following an attempt on his life.

    Comic Books 
  • Big Bang Comics: The Sphinx comes from an Alternate Universe where Ancient Egypt conquered the entire world; becoming a technologically advanced empire of evil that eliminated all dissent. The man who would become the Sphinx was a member of the scientific branch of the military and assigned to new worlds for conquest by bridging the dimensional planes. He used the transdimensional equipment to escape to Earth-A and destroyed all records of his experiments to prevent the Memphian Regime from trailing him.
  • Civil War (2006): Spider-Man is initially pro-registration to the extent that he unmasks himself on national television. However, when he discovers that the non-registered supers the pro-registration faction are capturing are then banished to a specially made prison in the Negative Zone without even a trial, he promptly defects to Captain America's side.
  • Cossacks: At the beginning of the story, protagonist Karlis (a 17th century Lithuanian Hussar) has enough of both the bloody battles he's forced to take part to and Sigismond (his brutal and ruthless Polish commander). He decides to desert and goes native in a Ukrainian Cossack settlement, where people really don't like to serve in the armies of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.
  • Hans Von Hammer becomes this at the end of Enemy Ace: War of Heaven. When he discovers the truth about the death camps, he immediately leads his men in surrendering to the Allies, although he does destroy the prototype jets first.
  • In one version of the Freedom Fighters, the last survivor of Krypton landed in Nazi Germany and became Overman. Overman steamrolled the Allies and defeated Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters, leading to the Nazis ruling the United States. However, Overman grew increasingly horrified and became disenchanted with the Nazis, leaving for space. His absence gave the Freedom Fighters a chance to return.
  • In DC's O.S.S. stories in G.I. Combat, the ninja Kana defected to aid American forces after his parents were executed by the Imperial government for opposing the war and associating with foreigners. At his insistence, Kana only worked in the Pacific against Japanese interests, where he faced suspicion and hatred from USMC grunts who believed him to be a double agent.
  • In Gotham City Garage, Kara Gordon worked as a computer technician overseeing Lex Luthor's mind-control devices which kept his city's inhabitants under control, but she hated the job, the enclosed city and especially Lex Luthor. Then she nearly got assassinated because she saved a man's life. So she manages to run away and joins Natasha Irons' rebel faction.
  • Hunter's Hellcats: In Our Fighting Forces #119, the Hellcats are parachuted into Berlin to extract a Nazi general and his daughter who wish to defect: the general feeling that he can longer stomach the actions of the Nazi high command.
  • Ka-Zar: Kevin Plunder was born to prestigious British nobility but abandoned his lordly title and holdings to live in the Savage Land.
  • The Knights of the Old Republic comics have a Proud Warrior Race Guy example: Rohlan Dyre joins the main characters' group believing that the Mandalorians are using unusually underhanded ways to goad the Galactic Republic into a fight.
  • Legends of Baldur's Gate: Krydle the thief is the son of Coran, a member of the Parliament of Peers, but he hated politics and inequality too much to live that life. Ironically, Coran was originally a thief himself. They remain estranged.
  • In Mass Effect: Redemption: Feron turns out to have been one of the Shadow Broker's agents, but he decided to help Liara recover Shepard's body because the Shadow Broker intended to sell the corpse to the Collectors, whom Feron despises.
  • Misfit City: Black Mary is ultimately revealed to be this. She was once a woman from Newburyport Massachusetts who married a fur trader named John Gray. However, when she found out he was willing to go through with orders from his company to wipe out Native American tribes and ransack their villages to get their fur and pelts, she ran off in his ship and became a pirate.
  • The Runaways start out living under the care of their obscenely wealthy parents. After discovering that money and prosperity are based on the Human Sacrifice of children, they abandon them to be homeless rather than continue to benefit from it.
  • Superman:
    • The Daxamites, in addition to gaining powers similar to Superman and Supergirl under a yellow sun but with a fatal weakness to lead instead of Kryptonite, also happen to be viciously xenophobic. Future Green Lantern Sodam Yat was unique in that he wanted to go out into space. One day an alien named Tessog crash-landed on Daxam and the two quickly became friends. When Sodam's parents found out, they killed Tessog and brainwashed their own son into thinking Tessog was evil. Sodam only remembered what really happened after seeing his friend's stuffed and preserved corpse in a museum. He was so pissed off that he repaired Tessog's ship and vowed to leave Daxam forever. Then the Green Lantern ring found him. Sodam would only return to Daxam after learning from his mother (who had fled using Tessog's ship) that the Sinestro Corps invaded it. And even then he demanded that she give thanks to Tessog for providing her a means of escape. Because Sodam Yat is a Green Lantern and a hero through and through he still ended up making an apparent Heroic Sacrifice to save the planet.
    • Lar Gand/Valor (also known as Mon-El) is yet another Daxamite and member of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Although his backstory on Daxam wasn't nearly as traumatic, he pretty much became a fugitive for wanting to — and escaping — Daxam to travel the stars.
    • Laurel Gand, Mon-El's cousin and Legionnaire. She was indoctrinated into the Daxamites' xenophobic teachings since birth and sent to be a Sixth Ranger Traitor for her people's planned genocide against humans, but saw the light and fought back against them.
    • The Daxamite Wonder Woman gave the name Julia in Volume 2 refuses to even use a Daxamite language, instead using English when she finally breaks her silence following her torture by the Sangtee Empire. She was captured trying to free Sangtee slaves, helps Diana's revolutionaries complete the job, then travels the universe helping innocents, never returning to Daxam.
  • Teen Titans: M'gann M'orzz/Miss Martian. She's a White Martian who began disguising herself as a Green Martian and became a hero. Her "White Martian" side is more of a Superpowered Evil Side nowadays.
  • Thomas Valiant decided that he wanted to be a true hero, unlike the other heroes who were either interested in being worshipped or being celebrities.
  • In Tragg and the Sky Gods, Keera, the first officer of the Yargonian invaders, keeps musing about how the men of her race have lost all nobility, and how noble the savage Tragg is.
  • In IDW's Transformers Ongoing, Bumblebee convinces Thundercracker to do this. Thundercracker had already quit the Decepticons by this point, but this convinced him to become an ally of the Autobots. Several years later he'd go on to formally join the Autobots. In the following years, Megatron, Soundwave, and Skywarp would also leave the Decepticon cause, the former two to join the Autobots and the latter to join GI Joe of all things.
  • Wonder Woman (1987):
    • Following Darkseid's attack, Hermes refuses to quit Earth like the other Olympians and eventually joins Diana's (mostly mortal) supporting cast. At first, it's pretty clear he's trying to have his cake and eat it too, zooming around and using his remaining powers to dazzle and bribe the Puny Earthlings into worshiping him, but he eventually undergoes some pretty brutal Break the Haughty moments and starts losing his powers entirely.
    • Sakritt left the Dominators and their culture behind long before she was enslaved by the kreel, she even adopted her own name despite the Dominator stance of No Need for Names and talks about her people disparagingly on occasion with no desire to return to them.
  • X-Wing Rogue Squadron: This, and maybe a touch of Defeat Means Friendship, is why Baron Soontir Fel left the Empire and joined Rogue Squadron. The page image is of him standing aloof and disgusted in a orgiastic celebration for a victory that he does not believe merited the name. Of course, the fact that he married Wedge Antilles' sister probably helped the switch along, too.

    Fan Works 
  • Code Prime (Code Geass & Transformers): This happens a bit in the climax of R1:
    • Suzaku and Dreadwing join the Autobots and Black Knights following the SAZ Massacre, unable to stomach the atrocities committed by the Decepticons and Britannia any longer.
    • In response to the above, Lloyd and Cecile defect as well to help Suzaku, though in Lloyd's case, it's mostly to keep working on the Lancelot.
    • Monica, Nonette, and Gino choose to break away from Britannia during the Black Rebellion, out of disgust at Britannia's actions, and loyalty to their friends.
    • After the Black Rebellion, Cornelia and Euphemia join the Autobots and Black Knights.
    • At the start of the final arc of R2, the Vehicon ST-3V3/Steve turns on the Decepticons after having reflected on his life choices like Lelouch told him to do while having him under Geass at the start of the story. He defects, helping the captive Odysseus, Carine, and Laila escape in the process, and joins the Autobots.
    • During the climx of R2, Steeljaw, Thundercracker, Skye-Byte and Slipstream all turn on Megatron when they learn about Neo-Ragnarok and help the Autobots fight him in the Final Battle. And while Steeljaw has his own agenda and Slipstream flees the first chance she gets, the other two stay genuine in their attentions and seem to join the Autobots after Megatron's death.
  • J-WITCH Series (Jackie Chan Adventures & W.I.T.C.H.): Has an example from its backstory: the four strongest members of Shendu's dragon army grew weary of their master's oppressive ways, but they continued serving him until Xin Jing begged them to help China's suffering people. They then joined her in fighting against him, eventually sacrificing themselves to create the Heart of Kandrakar, which Lo Pei used to seal Shendu in stone.
  • The (Questionable) Burdens of Leadership of a Troll Emperor (Naruto & Stargate SG-1): the Ascended Oma who has come to support Naruto and Xanna over her fellow Ascended/Ancients as the latter are more concerned with punishing anyone who violates their law of non-interference than with solving the problems they created. This becomes even more apparent when the other Ancients try to forcibly descend her for revealing to the Tok'ra that the Ascended could have crushed the Goa'uld at any time but would rather stick to their policy of non-interference.
  • In the Magical Girl Crisis Crossover Shattered Skies: The Morning Lights, Sailor Iron Mouse surrenders and begs the heroes for asylum when they infiltrate Dead End's palace. She explains that Joker is omnicidal enough that it triggers a fit of Even Evil Has Standards in her, and she's sick of being Dead End's Butt-Monkey. She gets her asylum, all right, but she in no way stops being a Butt-Monkey.
  • The Weaver Option (Warhammer 40,000 & Worm): Wei Cao is the daughter of the recently ascendant Governor Cao of Wuhan, who is as corrupt as a human can be without falling to Chaos. Wei's siblings promptly turn on each other with flagrant assassination attempts in order to become sole heir of the Governorship and their father all but endorses the bloodbath. Wei decides that joining the Guard under Taylor and going to fight xenos horrors is safer than staying on Wuhan, even if it means losing her luxuries. While she later ascends to a position of authority, her taste for decadence is notably tempered thanks to Taylor.


  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Tejada is one of Alan Jonah's more affable eco-terrorist mercenaries, and Mariko is a rogue Monarch scientist who agreed with Emma Russell about setting the Titans loose, got her colleagues killed by aiding Behemoth's escape, and has since had nowhere to go but to Jonah. As the fic goes on, Mariko is horrified and revolted at the mercenaries' inhumane and barbaric treatment of the captive Vivienne-San hybrid, and Tejada becomes disillusioned with her boss once her friends' bodies start dropping and Jonah continues keeping them in the dark. Ultimately, they both end up turning traitor to Jonah, and after being rescued by Monarch, neither has any problem helping Monarch to understand what's going on, to understand how to handle the new hybrid Titan without any collateral damage occurring, and to combat the monsters unleashed by Jonah's experiments.

Invader Zim

  • Re: My Hostage, Not Yours: At the end of the story, Skoodge, having come to realize that the Tallest have been trying to have him killed, goes rogue from the Empire and leaves with the freed Resisty fighters after the Valkians are defeated.

Lyrical Nanoha

  • Game Theory has an original character who loathes her planet's oligarchical political system, and enlisted in the TSAB at the first opportunity.

My Little Pony

  • Changelings, Changelings, Everywhere: Almost the entire Changeling race fled to Ponyville and pretended to be a Pony, Pegasus, or Unicorn because they were tired of their race's wicked ways. When it's realized everypony in town is secretly a Changeling, one of them wonders if ponies even exist.

One Piece

  • One Piece: Parallel Works: Yuki-Rin ran away from her Tenryuubito parents so she could follow her dreams of becoming a pirate, and because she thought the lifestyle of the Nobles was cruel.
  • This Bites!:
    • In the face of the World Government's undeniable corruption, over the course of the story, Cross convinces Smoker, Tashigi, Hina, T-Bone, Jonathan, and Tsuru, as well as the Marines directly loyal to each of them, to form an organization known eventually as the New World Masons, an alliance with several pirate crews aimed at bringing down the government and creating something better in its place. During the Marineford Misery arc, this hits a breaking point as Hina and T-Bone and their men openly revolt against the forces trying to enforce Ace's execution. And in the aftermath, Smoker and Tashigi are able to convince the Impel Down staff to join the Masons, on the grounds that trying to execute Ace just for being Roger's son (instead of his actual crimes) spits in the face of what they believe in, while T-Bone recruits Momonga and Tsuru recruits Koby and Helemppo, who then recruit Garp, all of whom had their faith in the Marines shattered by the war.
    • After Gecko Moria is defeated and the shadows he stole returned to their rightful owners, a group of afflicted Marines — disgusted by the revelation that the World Government knew about Moria's crimes and did nothing to stop him — abandon the Navy and pledge loyalty to the new pirate sanctuary of Skelter Bite that Lola sets up after taking over and repurposing Thriller Bark.
    • A large number of News Coos eventually get so tired of being used to spread the World Government's propaganda that they begin secretly organizing to quit in mass and help Apoo (one of the aforementioned Masons) set up an independent and more truthful news agency.
    • Also during Marineford, X. Drake proves to be so disgusted by the World Government's handling of Ace's execution (on top of all the other crimes previously exposed) that when the Supernovas arrive to act as The Cavalry, he willingly exposes himself as a Marine spy and then quits the Corps for real, declaring that no one else will ever dictate justice to him ever again.

Star Wars

  • Double Agent Vader: Lorth Needa became The Mole for the Rebellion after the Empire destroyed Alderaan because it was his wife's homeworld and she lost her whole family. When his cover's blown, Vader pretends to kill him so that he and his family can flee to a Rebellion base.


  • A New World portrays Kaguya, Eirin, and Reisen as this, all having tired of Lunarian pretensions to being some sort of superior beings. Having forsaken Lunarian authority, Eientei, their palace, is marked as an important target for the invading Lunarian forces, who want them back to increase the invasion's legitimacy.
  • A Triangle in the Stars has Peridot, whom Stan and Ford meet in Chapter Twenty-Three. Unlike Canon Peridot, she's always had doubts about whether she belonged to and in Homeworld, and disliked what her species did regularly. It's Downplayed, however, in that she goes along with her new crewmates because she's curious about them and Earth, and is rather happy helping them.
  • Tashigi in Blood Man Luffy joins the Straw Hats after Alabasta out of disgust for how Smoker was acting, including demonizing the Straw Hats despite them being The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything.
  • Chasing Dragons:
    • Septon Jonothor eventually breaks with the Great Sept, unwilling to keep enforcing dogma over what he views as basic morality. Other septons in Essos soon follow his lead, creating a schism in the Faith.
    • The group of Ironborn under Harras Harlaw grow disgusted with Balon's leadership (especially the restoration of thralldom), so they not only leave the Iron Islands but side with the Iron Throne against his rebellion.
  • Code Geass: Cornelia of the Defection has the titular character herself join Lelouch's side as per the premise of the fic both because of his relations to her idol Marianne, and because her ideology conflicts with Britannia.
  • crawlersout: Unaware of her past with the Dursleys (and her past in general), Tom Riddle comes to the conclusion that (Fem!)Harry is this. Harry comes from Old Money and a rather influential pureblood family in Britain (the Potters). However, while rich, she has a job and has absolutely no contact with her blood family, and when interacting with those of similar backgrounds such as the Washingtons, he sees that she is every bit as disgusted with the decadence — she just hides it better and puts up with it for his sake. In reality, it's averted, as Harry was never a part of this class of society to begin with, having grown up in an abusive, middle-class household, and then spending her school years with working-class, yet loving Weasleys.
  • Earth's Alien History:
    • The Asari Diaspora which begins after the Mekon War is partly a result of progressive Asari getting sick of the stagnation brought about by the ruling conservative-minded Matriarchs, and leaving the Republics for more open-minded polities.
    • During the Five Galaxies War, the Tymbrimi and Tytlal defect from the Five Galaxies to the Terran Treaty Organization because they're disgusted by the small-mindedness of the other Galactics.
  • The Night Unfurls: The remastered version of this fanfic introduces Black Dog members that cannot tolerate with Vault and his ambitions to build a Sex Empire, in contrast with the original version depicting the Black Dogs as Always Chaotic Evil. They include Boris, Fredrick, Oliver, and Soren, who is not a Black Dog member in the original, and is not an apprentice of Kyril yet as of now.
  • In Nine Minutes, after facing a military tribunal for showing the Straw Hats mercy for saving Alabasta, Tashigi defects from the Marines, realizing that the higher-ups only cared about making an example of someone for the Marines' failure to stop the Straw Hat pirates. Upon joining the Straw Hats, Tashigi is given a higher bounty than even Sanji.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Dark Kuyumaya was once one of Fairy Tale's top agents, but when he discovered their anti-human agenda and their plans to destroy Yokai Academy for supporting monster/human coexistence, he ditched them.
  • SAPR,
    • Blake Belladonna leaves the White Fang because of her differing moral convictions much like she does in canon RWBY, but unlike there she gets wrapped up in an Atlesian penal soldier scheme to avoid jail time, and as she works alongside the Atlesian Huntress team RSPT and interacts with the people of the northern kingdom she finds in Atlas everything that she thought she had in the White Fang and more. So she decides to enlist in their military full time as soon as the terms of her conscription are fulfilled. The chapter "Prologue II: Scattered Points of Light" sees her graduating from Atlas Academy and becoming a specialist in the military.
    • In that same story Gilda Swiftwind eventually decides that the White Fang isn't worth fighting for either, but unlike Blake, she instead goes and pledges her service to House Belladonna.
  • In To Make A Better Hero, All-Might, finding himself disillusioned by other heroes' desire for fame and prestige, becomes a leader of a group of villains that target false heroes. When he meets Izuku Midoriya, he becomes impressed at the sight of a Quirkless boy with genuine kindness and desire to help others, and imbeds All-For-One into the boy to make a true hero that will outshine the others.
  • In the Bleach story White both Bazz B and Giselle plan on defecting to Hueco Mundo because they realize they're nothing more than disposable pawns.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic Worlds Apart, when Buffy tells Wesley that the Council can consider themselves closed if the Scoobies can’t ask them for help in curing Angel of a fatal poison, Wesley decides to quit from the Council himself, refusing to associate himself with men like his father and Quentin Travers who would basically torture a teenage girl in the name of an abstract test and would let his closest friend die just because Angel isn’t human.
  • In Legacy (DocSuess), Peter denouncing his inheritance as the heir of Stark Industries and ends up applying his engineering skills as a mechanic in Queens.
  • In Three Strikes, some of the Erusean soldiers defect to join Avril’s group of refugees because their fellow countrymen are trying to kill said refugees or have connections to the refugees and therefore are also targets for execution themselves.

    Films — Animation 
  • Mirage in The Incredibles defects from Syndrome due to him not valuing her life when Mr. Incredible threatened to kill her. She helps the Incredibles escape and make it back to Metroville to confront Syndrome and the Omnidroid v.10, thereby playing a significant part in his downfall.
  • Moses in The Prince of Egypt left the palace after learning that the slaves were his own people, and that the Pharaoh had ordered the murder of Hebrew children.
  • Jacob Holland in The Sea Beast does this for his loyalty to the crown — everyone under the crown, including the Inevitable — when he decides that his days of monster hunting are over. He risks a sure position as Crow's succeeding captain and his son figure, as well as favor with the King and Queen, for making a point to spare the Red Bluster's life. We never learn what becomes of his relationship with Crow or the rest of the crew of the Inevitable, but it is clear his relationship with the royals is long dried up.
  • Dr. Noah and Shua in Sky Blue both left Ecoban — Noah in protest at its environmental impact, and Shua because he was framed for a murder. Jay becomes one over the course of the film, and Cade does at the very end.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Shaw Brothers have numerous examples in their list of Wuxia films, to display Even Evil Has Standards for a former villain to pull a Heel–Face Turn. For instance, the Number Two to the main villain of Masked Avengers quits the Masked Gang, after realizing his former boss is cruel enough to have an innocent woman gang-raped For the Evulz. The Young Vagabond has a similar example with the Drunken Tiger, an ex-assassin who betrays his former partner, Centipede, after Centipede himself rapes an innocent woman while his underlings have the woman restrained. Abbot of Shaolin on the other hand had Master Pai Mei's female acolyte ditching him after witnessing Pai Mei pulling a Klingon Promotion on the former Wu Tang leader.
  • Isabella, the French princess in Braveheart. While it's true she never actually participated in the English atrocities in Scotland, she is nominally loyal to King Edward at first (he is her father-in-law, after all); after gradually becoming disillusioned with the motives of Edward and his allies, she begins to clandestinely aid the Scottish rebels, and ultimately bears William Wallace's illegitimate child (which was Artistic License – History but never mind).
  • In Captain Marvel (2019), Mar-Vell is the only sympathetic Kree we encounter in the film, seeking the Tesseract to provide a means of the Skrulls escaping from her people who are intent on committing genocide on the rather helpless shapeshifters. Upon hearing the truth, Carol does the same.
  • In Condorman, although Natalia is primarily a Defector from Commie Land, it's implied that her actual reasons for doing so are based more on this trope, as her boss Krokov is a Jerkass.
  • Walter Matthau has this to say to the protagonist of A Face in the Crowd. It's the nudge she needs to abandon her client, the "Demagogue in Denim":
    "Marcia, you're the locker room where he eases up after the fight — win or lose. You're the shock absorber for collisions with ex-wives, models, new wives, and assorted tramps. You're the little wheel without which the express called 'Lonesome Rhodes' plunges off the track and leaps to destruction."
  • Free State of Jones: Newton Knight, who leads Jones County in rebellion against the Confederacy along with a number of other disillusioned Confederate deserters.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): The eco-terrorist Emma Russell during the last half of the movie. She deserts her previous alliance in favor of siding with the heroes for two specific reasons. (1) She's horrified that Jonah and his mooks are going to happily sit back while letting King Ghidorah exterminate humanity entirely and wreak even more destruction on the Earth's biosphere than we would've, seeing as she just wanted a massive population cull and an ecological utopia for the survivors. And (2) Jonah and his men won't lift a finger to help her once it's her child instead of everybody else's children who's in mortal peril of being killed by a Titan.
  • By the end of Green Room, neo-Nazi mook Gabe ends up siding with Pat and Amber—the last two survivors of the group of protagonists—and helps them escape from the danger, as he had to spend a whole night witnessing the full extent of Darcy and the skinheads' evildoing and simply doesn't want to go to prison for being involved.
  • Headless Horseman: Candy, who decides that she has had had enough of Wormwood's murdering ways and helps the teens escape on the proviso that they take her with them. It is also revealed that she is the only person in town who is not a descendant of Calvin Montgomery.
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Cressida and her team deserted the capital to join the rebels.
    Plutarch: She was one of the most up-and-coming documentors in the capital.
    Cressida: Until I up and left.
  • The Last Drop: Voller and his men have had it with being used as cannon fodder by sadistic senior officers and are trying to grab what they can and Run for the Border.
  • Nothing but Trouble: Chief Dennis Valkenheiser is shown to object somewhat to his J.P. grandfather's severe punishments of even non-criminals. He eventually decides to resign and take a job offer from the rich Brazilian brother and sister by helping them escape.
  • In Rogue (2020), Pata confesses that he knows so much about Zalaam and his terrorist cell affiliated with al-Shabaab because he used to be one of them and recounts how the terrorists murdered his family and children in retaliation after he left the militant group.
  • Star Wars:
    • In the prequel trilogy, Count Dooku left the Jedi because he felt the organization had decayed and were not taking seriously his warnings that the Sith were still around. It transpired that this was a lie, as he had in fact fallen to the Dark Side and joined the Sith before openly leaving the Jedi Order.
    • The Force Awakens: One of the main characters, Finn, is a Stormtrooper who was Forced into Evil by being kidnapped and raised to be a fanatical soldier, but unlike others, he hated what they wanted him to be and do and so deserted the first chance he got.
    • General Hux leaks information to the Republic in The Rise of Skywalker, not out of sympathy for the Republic, but because, in their own words, they want Kylo Ren to lose.
  • Jetfire in the second live-action Transformers film.
    • Also Wheelie, due to a combination of being more scared of Mikaela than he was of Megatron, and being physically aroused by her. Who isn't?
  • Triple Threat (2019): Payu and Long Fei abandoned the mercenaries Devereaux and Collins when they figured out that their mission was less than humanitarian.
  • In WarCraft, Alodi suggests that Khadgar has run away from Kirin Tor because he could see decadence growing within it, even if he couldn't really name what didn't feel right.
  • In The Wind That Shakes the Barley, a Scottish soldier of Irish parentage pulls a Mook–Face Turn and joins the IRA after witnessing the brutal treatment of the Irish by the British state; a particularly twisted Secret Test of Character, a brutal interrogation session, and the planned execution of a number of captured rebels are what pushes him over the edge.

  • In Alas, Babylon, Randy's brother Mark mentions a Russian general who defected to the U.S. after realizing that his government was prepared to begin a nuclear World War despite the certainty of mutually assured destruction. Mark even calls the general a patriot, since his defection was only because he wanted to prevent his country from foolishly destroying itself.
  • Geronima "Hero" de Vera of America Is Not the Heart, who grew up as part of the landed, privileged, petty-oligarch de Vera family in the Ilocos region of the northern Philippines, but who left the shadow of privilege during Martial Law to join a rebel movement fighting the dictatorship of then-Philippine president Ferdinand Marcos (who, being Ilocano himself, was not only staunchly supported by the de Vera clan as a whole, but is actually distantly related to them by marriage).
  • In the Battletech novel Exodus Road, Proud Warrior Race Guy Trent defects from his Clan when he feels it's been tainted by political intrigue. This helps set off a chain of events that leads to the utter destruction of the Smoke Jaguar Clan.
  • Aldir inThe Beginning After the End, One of the Asuras, Aldir defects from Kezess's service completely as Kezess's corruption and selfishness lead the Asura astray. After being ordered by Kezess to use the world eater technique to prevent Agrona from summoning the Legacy though the attempt failed but destroyed Elenoir completely driving the elves to near extinction. Aldir was forced to use the technique to prevent his clan from being purged from the great eight but he was extremely hesitant to use the technique in the first place. After seeing millions of lives that should have been saved by the Asuras yet were sacrificed coldly by Kezess Indrath, he suffers from My God, What Have I Done? then Seris Vritra confronts him and calls him out for the genocide he committed under Kezess's orders but emphasize how Agrona Vritra and Kezess Indrath are two beings no better than each other also informs him of Arthur Leywin's survival in Alacrya. He decides to rebel completely against by sparing the lances he was ordered to kill then sending them to the Djinn sanctuary to intercept another asura Taci was send to purge the resistance. Later he departs Epheotus completely to Dicathen after being banished from his clan under his request but killed soilders he trained send by Kezess to discredit Aldir in front of the Asuras but he was not alone in departing. There is also another Asura Wren who share the same opinion about Kezess Indrath and was never loyal to him.
  • In the Belisarius Series, there's Kungas and his Kushan squad, another group of Kushan troops captured by Belisarius, and finally Damodara, Rana Sanga, and his entire Rajput and Ye-tai army.
  • In the Book of Exodus, Moses was saved from the Egyptian pharaoh's culling of the Hebrews and was adopted into the pharaoh's family. As an adult, after seeing the abuse the Hebrews suffered as slaves, he fled from Egypt and settled down with his own people before carrying out God's will and liberating the Hebrews from slavery.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Alex and some others leave the Cloak Society. So did the original founder of the Rangers.
  • Codex Alera: Fidelias initially turns traitor against Gaius Sextus when he believes that the First Lord is too weak and it's better that the strong Lord Aquitaine be in position to seize the throne rather than allow The Empire to fall apart in civil war and foreign invasion. When he learns that Tavi is the rightful heir and a hell of a lot better person than either Lord or Lady Aquitaine, he dumps them.
  • The Elric Saga: Prince Elric of Melniboné, the titular Anti-Hero and one of the incarnations of the Eternal Champion in Michael Moorcock's fantasy universe. In his case, Elric is ruler of a callous, sadistic, and decadent empire, populated by a whole race infamous for being callous, sadistic, and decadent slavers (although we get to meet a few Melniboneans who are not malicious and underhanded, most notably Elric's fiancée and the pragmatic dragonriders). Elric, himself a powerful sorcerer but wracked by un-Melnibonean sentiments like 'morals' and 'compassion', had grown so weary with his people's banal wickedness that he left Imrryr The Dreaming City in order to learn of better ways to live, but later returned with a fleet of human warships to destroy it, razing the last remnant of a once proud and ancient civilization.
  • Empire of the East: Chup leaves behind the treachery and decadence of the eastern empire.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: Eliana used to be part of Empirical machine mainly because doing so helped keep her family safe. It takes a combination of finding out that the Empire is run and headed by angels and learning about her heritage and powers that she decides to join the rebel group Red Crown.
  • In the Erebus Sequence, some nobles in Demesne don't think much of the way it's run. Stephania Prospero, in particular, defies her mother and supports attempts at reform. At the end of the second book, she has to flee but doesn't think she'll miss the place much.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's The Fall Of Numenor: As most of Númenorean society spirals down into imperialism, colonialism, warmongering, wealth-hoarding, racism, hedonism and Morgoth-worship, the Númenoreans who remained faithful to Eru and the Valar, therefore refusing to have any part in their countrymen's corruption and barbarism, leave their island gradually. Elendil, together with his family and their following, are the last sane Númenoreans to sail out while the King's Men doom their nation to oblivion, and they arrive in the Middle-Earth where they found the realms of Arnor and Gondor seen in The Lord of the Rings.
  • Fengshen Yanyi: as King Zhou of Shang grows more decadent, amoral and cruel, more of his loyal ministers and generals start to leave his ranks, going as far as betraying their former liege, notable examples include Huang Feihu (his wife and sister died because of King Zhou and Daji), Su Hu (was already forced to let his daughter Daji became a concubine for King Zhou), the Chao Brothers (were Genre Savvy enough to realize how screwed the Shang were) and many more. A big exception is Hu Sheng: after losing his generals to the forces of Xiqi he express a genuine desire to join them and even sent them a letter, but right after that he's visited by the powerful Holy Mother Huoling, who turns the tide of the battle to such an extent he actually changes his mind. When she's slain, he tries to join the Zhou again, but Jiang Ziya, remembering his trickery, states that he's too untrustworthy and has him executed.
  • The Firebird Trilogy:
    • Firebird: Firebird, who requested asylum from the Federacy as protest against her homeworld of Netaia killing massive amounts of Verohan civilians and rendering Veroh uninhabitable.
    • Crown of Fire: Terza Shirak, who left the Shuhr primarily to save the life of her daughter, but also because she had never fully agreed with their callousness towards human life.
  • Antain of The Girl Who Drank the Moon is born into the elite families of the Protectorate who maintain their wealth by charging tariffs on the Road, the only safe passage in or out. After witnessing the trauma of separating an infant from her mother for sacrifice in the woods, he refuses to participate further and quits to become a carpenter.
  • Raamo, Neric, and Genaa in the Green-Sky Trilogy. Neric already checked out mentally and was looking for allies. Raamo steadfastly refuses to believe he's above and apart from other Kindar, and while Neric had doubts about Genaa, she turned out to be more like her exiled father than anyone suspected. The whole thing turned out to be a whopper of a Batman Gambit on behalf of High Priestess D'ol Falla, who was looking for a way to atone for some horrible mistakes she made in her youth. The only ones who could set things right were those who could taste power and walk away from it.
  • Heralds of Valdemar:
    • Captain Alberich of Karse presents an arguable subversion. Although he was deeply troubled by the corruption of his homeland's ruling theocracy, its practice of letting bandits run free in the borderlands to provide cover for raids against the demon-riders to the north, and the not-so-occasional burning of those with 'witch-powers', he did not defect to Valdemar so much as get shanghaied by one of the "White Demons" the place was known for. But once he saw the truth of things for himself, he devoted his life to protecting the real good guys.
    • OTOH, he was only snatched after he was beaten and locked in a shed, which was then set on fire by his own forces on the order of a prelate after his own less-than-controlled "witch-powers" allowed him to rescue a Karsite hamlet from a nasty bandit raid.
  • The History of the Runestaff: Dorian Hawkmoon, the Duke of Köln, another incarnation of the Eternal Champion, finds an unlikely ally in his fight for freedom in the Granbretanic aristocrat d'Averc. d'Averc is fond of affecting the appearance of a decadent effete courtier and hypochondriac to the point of cliché. However, there is every indication that it's just for show, and that d'Averc is quite tough, strong and shrewd, not to mention a superb swordsman and duelist and a Deadpan Snarker (and secret romantic). Although cheerfully untroubled by moral considerations, d'Averc is not as utterly amoral (nor borderline insane) as most of his fellow Granbretans. In fact, he seems disgusted at the decadence and violence of the tyrannical Granbretan Dark Empire, and defects to help Hawkmoon and Count Brass.
  • In Book 19 of the Honor Harrington series, Damien Harahap (AKA Firebrand) is captured by the Grand Alliance. He decides to come clean and fully cooperate with them, realizing that he was nothing more than a tool to the Mesans. Things go even more fully in this direction when he ends up being adopted by a treecat named Clean Killer (who was originally assigned to Harahap to kill him if necessary). Now (after feeling Clean Killer's pain at losing his sister during the Yawata Strike) Harahap fully embraces the Alliance and resolves to destroy the Mesan Alignment by any means necessary.
  • The Hunger Games trilogy depicts the overthrow of a ridiculously lavish Capitol by the rebellion of the twelve districts it rules and exploits. Plus one. Involved in the rebellion are a handful of former Capitol citizens including one of the titular Deadly Game's best Gamemakers and a camera crew who use their skills to make rebel propaganda shots.
  • Captain Marko Ramius in The Hunt for Red October had become disgusted with the USSR's political system, as his wife died from a botched medical procedure, and the physician was not reprimanded because he was the relative of a ranking Party member. He was also disturbed by the destructive potential of the titular ship, "a ship which had but one use", as he puts it.
  • N. K. Jemisin's Inheritance Trilogy: The heroine's mother Kinneth abdicated her position as heiress to the Arameri clan to marry a backwater baron. As absolute rulers of a global empire, enforced by the power of four enslaved gods, theirs is a depraved Decadent Court like none other; after Kinneth's death, the heroine has to investigate what induced her to leave — and what sort of person she was like before.
  • Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter of Mars: In Chessmen of Mars, the ancient I-Gos is perpetually praising his days. So thorough is his admiration that he changes his loyalties on realizing who is The Hero.
    Then I did not fully realize the cowardice of my jeddak, or the bravery of you and the girl. I am an old man from another age and I love courage. At first I resented the girl's attack upon me, but later I came to see the bravery of it and it won my admiration, as have all her acts. She feared not O-tar, she feared not me, she feared not all the warriors of Manator. And you! Blood of a million sires! How you fight! I am sorry that I exposed you at The Fields of Jetan. I am sorry that I dragged the girl Tara back to O-Tar. I would make amends. I would be your friend. Here is my sword at your feet.
  • The Legend of Drizzt:
    • Lead character Drizzt Do'urden is one of the few Drow to forsake their society and live to tell about it. He became increasingly disillusioned with his race after witnessing one atrocity after another. After his mother murders his father Zaknafein to appease Lolth, just because Drizzt refused to murder a child, then has the audacity to offer Drizzt Zak's old job, and treat it like a prize Drizzt finally snaps, and says Screw This, I'm Outta Here.
    • Drizzt's father Zaknafein was just as disgusted but never made the choice to leave, or even seem to have considered it an option. Drow are raised on tales of how terribly the surface world is after all, and even Drizzt only went there because it was the only place he didn't think his family would follow.
  • In Mr. Revere and I, a number of redcoats desert the English army due to inhumane treatment, including A Taste of the Lash. Mr. Revere helps them by giving them American clothes, an American-style haircut, and a new name and occupation.
  • In the Myst books, Atrus and his group happen across Terahnee, a land of seemingly infinite plenty, led by wise descendants of the survivors of the fall of D'ni. One such descendant, because of the kindness shown him by the invisible, horrifically-treated underclasses when he grew sick, eventually leads the first steps towards a rebellion.
  • In the Night Watch (Series) series, two of the Dark Others, Edgar and Arina, left the Day Watch, not really because of goodness, but due to a combination of growing tired of the constant maneuvering of Light and Dark against each other, and due to both of them hating Zabulon, the head of the Day Watch.
  • In the short story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" by Ursula K. Le Guin, it's mentioned that there are people who will simply leave the utopian city without a word, on account of it being Powered by a Forsaken Child, because it is believed that once the child is shown kindness, their society will fall apart.
  • In Put the Sepia On, the detective is a defector from The Corporation that runs the city, having left them to fight for the little guy, albeit for a price. It's that kind of story.
  • Perillus in Marcus Pitcaithly's The Realm of Albion has renounced his Roman citizenship after witnessing a massacre in Spain.
  • The Sarantine Mosaic: Pertennius Eubulus, the court historian, considers Empress Alixana to be little better than a sex worker due to her past as an actress and a dancer, and is equally disgusted with Emperor Valerius II for marrying her. He writes overheated fictional accounts of her depravity and ultimately murders Valerius when the opportunity presents itself.
  • In Diane Duane's Star Trek novels about the Romulans/Rihannsu, a Romulan commander named Ael doesn't quite defect, but she does make an alliance with James T. Kirk (and by extension the Federation) to prevent some truly evil actions on the part of the formerly-honorable, now-corrupt government of the Romulan Empire. She never does fully defect, but she becomes a close confidant and ally of Kirk, and it's implied that there's something more nascent between them, more than just friendship or Kirk's signature skirt-chasing.
  • In Star Trek: Vanguard, the Tholians are under threat from Abusive Precursors (and Scary Dogmatic Aliens) the Shedai. Tholian officer Nezrene gets fed up with the Ruling Conclave’s inability to put aside their xenophobia and seek alliance with outsiders. She knows that to stand against the Shedai, Tholia requires the aid of its neighbours and should co-operate peacefully. She and Ezthene, who has come to a similar understanding, leave the Tholian Assembly as fugitives in order to join up with the Federation at Vanguard Station.
  • In the Star Trek: Mirror Universe story "The Mirror-Scaled Serpent", mirror!Seska is a member of the Terran Rebellion and fervent in her disapproval of the Alliance. She believes the Cardassians should rule the quadrant, but they shouldn't have allied with Klingons to do it.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Blade Squadron:
      • Rebel pilot Braylen Stramm is a former Imperial officer who defected after growing tired of orders that revolved around oppressing local defenseless populations.
      • Besides Graneet, there were some TIE pilots who decided late into the novel to defect to the Rebel Alliance. Some had to stay behind to ensure that they escaped. They would have been killed by Vader for it had he not been forced to return to the Death Star to stop the Rebel forces from attacking the thermal exhaust port.
    • The novel Death Star reveals that the Imperial gunner (Tenn Graneet) who kept saying "standing by" had become a Rebel sympathizer after having a mental breakdown over obliterating Alderaan; the laser was charged the whole time, and he was just trying to distract Tarkin long enough in the hopes that the Rebels somehow manage to stop the Death Star.
    • Some supplementary materials, including the Rogue Squadron series, revealed that two Imperials defected to the Rebels' side, Tycho Celchu and Kasan Moor. Both were TIE pilots prior to defection, and both characters' motivations for defecting were largely because they are Alderaanian, meaning that they weren't too happy with the Empire for blowing up their homeworld.
    • A few of the more famous individuals throughout the series have also been former Imperials who left for various reasons, including Han Solo (court-martialed due to rescuing Chewbacca from a slave operation) and Kyle Katarn (defected when he learned the Empire was responsible for his father's death).
  • In Uprooted, The Dragon was entirely entangled in the shallow intrigues of the court until meeting the witch Raven, who protected the borders of the kingdom against the The Wood. she's taken by the Wood and is used to make a corrupted Heart Tree. After he finds and Mercy Kills her, he realizes how big a threat the Wood actually is and takes on the role of protector, eschewing the court to the point where he refuses to step foot in the place.
  • Villains by Necessity: Sir Pryse, in the guise of the black knight Blackmail, joins the "villains" when Mizzamir's Knight Templar vision of "good" becomes apparent with Mizzamir, it is implied, having transformed Sir Pryse's brother into a horse.
  • In The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, the title character is a Baron from the largest samurai clan in Japan, but dislikes their backward thinking and prefers to work as a watchmaker in London.
  • In Poul Anderson's "A World Called Maanerek", Horlam. He admits that in watching for deviance, he had not been watched himself.
  • In Worm, following the events of Echidna, twenty or thirty superheroes leave the Protectorate altogether, realizing that it is controlled by a Nebulous Evil Organization. This is inverted by the Villain Protagonist, who subsequently joins the Protectorate in hopes of keeping it afloat.
  • Xandri Corelel: Karrckchak, a planet in the Starsystems Alliance, contains several Zechak refugee settlements. One Zechak works as a greengrocer in Trade Town.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Andromeda:
    • Gaheris Rhade in "The Unconquerable Man" begins the episode by betraying the All Systems Commonwealth to help his people attempt a conquest, but then spends the next several years trying to restore the Commonwealth once he sees that his people are too self-centered and obsessed with in-fighting to really make a go of a galactic empire.
    Our people were meant to be living gods. Warrior poets who roamed the stars bringing civilization. Not cowards and bullies who prey on the weak and kill each other for sport. I never imagined they'd prove themselves so inferior. I didn't betray our people. They betrayed themselves.
    • Rhade is a double example; the reason he originally betrayed the Commonwealth to the Nietzscheans is that he believed the Commonwealth's treaty with the Magog showed that the Commonwealth was too weak and decadent to defend its people. Said treaty also handed over a number of Nietzschean worlds to the Magog. They were not happy.
    • Telemachus Rhade (the genetic reincarnation of his ancestor Gaheris for bonus points) is essentially the living embodiment of this trope.
  • Babylon 5
    • Vir Cotto working in secret to protect Narn refugees during the Centauri occupation, along with his general spoken distaste for the decadence, power games, and atrocities associated with the Centauri Republic at the time, and the influence of the Shadows (and concern for Londo for getting caught up in all this).
  • In Battlestar Galactica 1980, Starbuck and a Cylon (nicknamed Cy by Starbuck) are forced to work together in order to survive after a shipwreck. As they interact and become closer, Starbuck asks Cy just what exactly the Cylon Empire intends to do once they win. Cy is at a loss and admits that he was never questioned or told about that, simply being told to do what the leaders said. Thus he decides that the slaughter of humans has no justification after all and sides with Starbuck, eventually sacrificing himself so that Starbuck can escape a Cylon patrol.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Riley Finn. He was initially completely loyal to the Initiative, but as he uncovered more and more of its corruption, particularly after Professor Walsh attempted to kill Buffy in a Death Trap, he began to desire to leave. When the Initiative captured Oz, a werewolf, and conducted inhumane experiments on him even after he reverted to human form, that was the straw that broke the camel's back; he promptly turned his back on them in favor of the Scoobies and helped Buffy and co. break Oz out.
    • Buffy never really cares about what the Watchers' Council has to say about how she does things. During Season 3, she gets particularly disgusted when their Cruciamentum test results in the Axe-Crazy vampire they captured to test her breaks loose and kidnaps her mom, and when they refuse to help her save Angel after he is poisoned simply for being a vampire, that was the straw that broke the camel's back.
  • Charité at War: After his return from the front and becoming aware of the eugenics programme, Otto has for long rejected Nazi propaganda, but his boyfriend Martin getting arrested is the last straw for him — he deserts and goes into hiding.
  • Charmed: Billie thought she was this when Christy turned her against the Charmed Ones.
  • In The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, skekGra the Conquerer turned away from the evil Skeksis, being branded Heretic, all for the sake of saving Thra, and reuniting with his other half, UrGoh the Wanderer. As a result, he lives in exile with UrGoh in a mountain in a desert. It's not as glamorous as how he lived in the castle, but it's more inviting.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor might have left their home planet, Gallifrey, for this reason. The page quote shows that even if they hadn't, they should have. Portrayals of the Time Lords have differed quite a lot Depending on the Writer but all the early portrayals showed a Sterile Crystal Spires and Togas society that had decided not to interfere with the universe. Later portrayals (like "The Deadly Assassin") showed/Retconned Gallifrey into a decadent Crapsack World ruled by an arrogant elite. "The Invasion of Time" even showed that a band of defectors lived in a BBC Quarry just outside the Time Lords' Citadel.
    • In "The End of Time", the Tenth Doctor flat-out admits that he chooses to remember all that was good about his people and tries to ignore all the terrible, terrible things the Time Lords did — and plotted to do — when they went to war with the Daleks. When Rassilon and his followers almost escape the Time War with a plan to rip apart the Time Vortex itself and achieve godhood, the poor Doctor is forced to face just how fatally flawed his kind were once again.
  • In Farscape Aeryn Sun does this trope in an interesting way: her throwing in her lot with Moya's crew was involuntary (the Peacekeepers were going to kill her as having been irreversibly corrupted), but after having John's humanity rub off on her, she begins to see all of the cruelty and horribleness of the Peacekeeper way of life. By the time she's around Peacekeepers again, it's clear she no longer agrees with them in the slightest.
  • Firefly has Simon, a pampered heir who never questioned the Alliance's wisdom, or had any reason to...until he received a distress call from his beloved sister, who they were torturing for the Greater Good (tm). So he committed his life and fortune to breaking her out, and then they went to live on a tin can with a bunch of outlaws so she would be safe. But Simon is content because he did the right thing.
  • First Wave has Joshua, one of the key Gua military leaders. However, in his first appearance, he reveals that he seriously doubts his people's chance of success despite their advanced technology and the ease with which Gua operatives are able to infiltrate humanity. One episode consisting mostly of flashbacks involves a Gua council deciding whether or not to start the Alien Invasion. Joshua is the only one arguing against it, claiming that, if every 117th human is The Determinator like Cade Foster (the protagonist), the invasion is doomed to fail or, at best, to be a Pyrrhic Victory. He also reveals that his people used to be peaceful until another race conquered them. They toughed up, threw off their oppressors, appropriated their technology, and named themselves "Gua" ("power to overcome" in their language). He argued that if one out of 117 humans had "Gua", then they would suffer the same fate as their former oppressors.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Osha refuses to return to the Wildlings, and when she speaks of her former people generally speaks of them with disgust, displaying little to no love of them or their ways.
    • The Hound has enough of the Lannisters and leaves them in "Blackwater".
    • Barristan Selmy is one, though he was also one after taking Robert's pardon after the Rebellion.
  • The Good Place: Glenn the demon flees the offices of the Bad Place to tell the Soul Squad about the traitor in their midst. When they ask why he would help them, he says he used to believe humans really were evil and deserved the torture he and his fellow demons were administering, but he's started to think this may not be true. He wants to find out the results of the experiment, but he can't if Shaun wrecks it. Also, Shaun's a really bad boss and Glenn's sick of being abused by him.
  • Joe from Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger was originally an elite within the Space Empire Zangyack before he left to become GokaiBlue after his superior orders him to kill innocent children. Joe's senior officer and close friend, Sid Barmick also does this after the incident above and was the one who encouraged him to get away from Zangyack. Too bad for him he was captured and turned into Barizorg, his memories were erased and programmed to serve only the emperor and his son.
  • The Mole Beastman from Kamen Rider Amazon decided to pull a Heel–Face Turn because his old bosses are firm supporters of You Have Failed Me and pretty much his only options with them were A) be brutally torn to shreds by Amazon or B) return to base and die horribly at the hands of the Big Bad. What clinched it was that Amazon actually took pity on him and saved him from execution, convincing him being a good guy was the better choice.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Downplayed with Adar and the Orcs who follow him. At some point before the show, Adar got tired to watch Sauron sacrificing his "children" for his experiments, and forms a new faction. The Orcs are still an Always Chaotic Evil race, but their only goal is to create a home for themselves rather then take over the world or cause mindless destruction like their former masters. They do fight the heroic faction in order to fulfill their goals.
  • One Victim of the Week on NCIS is a young man who left his family of rich snobs to join the Marines. His own family had him killed to keep him from converting their Fiction 500 company into a non-profit charity.
  • Nikita: After realizing the lengths to which his partner, Amanda, would go to to satisfy her vendetta against Nikita, Ari Tasarov turns himself in in order to secure protection for himself and his loved ones, and to deny Amanda crucial leverage.
  • Stargate SG-1,
    • Teal'c, resident Proud Warrior Race Guy went so far as to kill his own squad of elite troops while performing his Heel–Face Turn in the first episode of the series. Teal'c has gone as far as killing himself from alternate worlds without batting an eye.
    • Tomin starts to doubt the Ori late in Season 10 and finally performs a Heel–Face Turn in "Ark of Truth".
  • Star Trek:
    • Worf might be an aversion — while he makes himself an exemplar of how he views Klingon honor, he never turns on the Klingon race for not living up to his romantic views. (He's not above some kingmaking (twice!) for the good of the Empire.)
    • The Next Generation episode "Face of the Enemy" features former Starfleet Ensign Stefan DeSeve, who plays this trope straight-up twice (the second time, he realized the grass wasn't so green on the other side after all and defected back).
    • In the Next Generation episode "The Defector", there's a subversion. A Romulan admiral defects to the Enterprise because he believes his government is preparing to start a war with the Federation, which he recognizes would be pointless and self-destructive. It turns out the special information he was offering Starfleet was false. The Romulan Empire wanted to trick Starfleet into taking an aggressive stance against them, and they wanted to test the Admiral's loyalty, all part of an elaborate plan. The Enterprise narrowly escapes, but the Admiral, despondent to learn his "defection" was all in vain, commits suicide.
    • What Garak becomes after Dukat invites the Dominion to take control of Cardassia. Believing the Dominion does not have Cardassia's best interests at heart, he throws in his lot with the Federation and combines efforts with Kira and Damar to organize La Résistance. He knows it will destroy the Cardassia he loves (although even he was shocked by just how thoroughly the old Cardassia was destroyed) but he does it anyway.
    • Odo, despite not knowing his people until the third season, manages to pull this off well. His attitudes about law and order are shared by his people, but they built an empire based on this and keep trying to get him to defect throughout the show.
    • In the DS9 episode "Duet", a Cardassian who was a file clerk at a "labor camp" during the occupation of Bajor had himself surgically altered to look like the camp's former commander, then allows himself to be arrested by the Bajorans. His intention was to be put on trial for war crimes, even knowing he would certainly be executed, in order to force Cardassia to acknowledge the atrocities it committed during the occupation.
      Major Kira: Why are you doing this?!
      Aamin Marritza: For Cardassia! Cardassia will only survive if it stands before Bajor and admits the truth! My trial will force Cardassia to admit its guilt. And we're guilty, all of us! My death is necessary!
    • As you might well infer from the above, Marritza isn't entirely motivated by a desire to force his fellow Cardassians to confront what was done in their name; he's suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and Survivor Guilt and is clearly suicidal.
    • The Mirror Universe Spock in Star Trek: The Original Series is persuaded to turn against The Empire when Kirk argues that it is illogical to serve an institution that (by Mirror-Spock's own statement) is doomed to fall.
    • Weyoun 6 attempts to defect to the Federation from the Dominion.
    • Voyager encountered a group of Klingons descended from a sect that viewed the Klingon Empire as irredeemably corrupt. They set a course for the Delta Quadrant and never looked back.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • In The Bible, the Roman citizen Saul Of Tarsus completes a Heel–Face Turn and far from being a persecutor of those who knew Jesus and testify to his mission, he actually becomes the first Christian convert. As St Paul, he wrote Letters concerning his newfound faith and why it's important to him. in the letters to the Corinthians and the Romans, St Paul stresses the moral dimension of being a Christian and catalogues lists of sins and moral failings which he finds personally most repugnant. Placed in historical context, it is clear the Roman citizen is denouncing and distancing himself from the decadence of the Roman Empire. note 

  • In the Kingdom Hearts-inspired Interstitial: Actual Play, Larxene clearly didn't like being part of the Organization and happily betrays them when given the chance. Edith easily picks up on the fact that such a betrayal is a long time coming.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • A fairly common method both for bringing about a Heel–Face Turn and breaking up a villainous stable.
    • The most famous of these defectors was arguably Batista. For more than two years, he was The Brute in Evolution, a faction on Monday Night Raw that also consisted of Hunter Hearst Helmsley (a.k.a. Triple H), Ric Flair, and Randy Orton. After Orton was expelled from the group in the summer of 2004, however, Batista began to have second thoughts about being a member of Evolution. He kept a low profile at first, though, ostensibly remaining an ally of Helmsley and Flair while privately expressing disgust at their methods. It wasn't until he won the Royal Rumble Match in January 2005 and was presented with an opportunity to challenge Helmsley for his World Heavyweight Championship that Batista realized that the moment for defection had come. After pretending to sign a contract that would have moved him to SmackDown! to challenge John "Bradshaw" Layfield for the WWE Championship, Batista revealed that he would stay on Raw by powerbombing Triple H and challenging him for his championship at WrestleMania. This marked Batista's official exit from Evolution — and the beginning of his highly successful singles career.
    • And, in a reverse example in TNA, Flair himself turned his back on his group Fortune in early 2011 after the other members turned face and declared war on Hulk Hogan's faction, Immortal, with which Fortune had been closely affiliated up to that time; Flair officially declared his allegiance to Immortal, becoming a mentor to Matt Hardy.
    • Kelly Kelly (who wasn't really a heel, but was essentially acting as one at the time) experienced a similar change of heart in the summer of 2007 on ECW On SciFi. She had gained notoriety on the program over the past year with her "Extreme Expose," a combination dance/burlesque routine that definitely put the "Extreme" in ECW. Early in 2007, the act became a three-woman show when Layla El and Brooke Adams joined Kelly in her performances. The girls at first simply entertained the crowds in between matches, but soon they found themselves unofficial cheerleaders for The Miz, who had recently been drafted to the promotion from SmackDown! One night Miz's opponent was Balls Mahoney, and Kelly realized that she had become smitten with him. She began to show sympathy for Mahoney, as well as resentment toward The Miz and Layla and Brooke for bullying him. She tried to quit Extreme Expose (her own creation!) but quickly found out that she couldn't because Miz owned all three girls' contracts. In the end, The Miz cut his ties with Extreme Expose to become John Morrison's tag-team partner, Brooke left WWE only to be reborn as "Miss Tessmacher" (Eric Bischoff's Sexy Secretary in TNA), and Kelly and Layla became bitter enemies for the rest of their stay in ECW and later on Smackdown.
    • Justin Gabriel and Heath Slater did this twice — leaving The Nexus for The Corre, then disbanding The Corre — and STILL managed to stay heels in the process.

  • Equestria Chronicles: Flapper Jack's special talent is protecting ponies... and the guard he's in grows increasingly corrupt and abusive.
  • In The Gamer's Alliance, Omaroch wants to do something else with his life other than just randomly killing people as other demons do. This leads him to enter the Land of the Living and he eventually falls in love with a human cleric, leaving his old life behind and siding with humans against his kin.

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Gurps Traveller Interstellar Wars the populations of conquered Vilani worlds did this en masse. They felt little connection to the Vilani Imperium and some(like the Khimishargu Vilani) were even rebels. The Terran Confederation, by contrast, treated them well. Thus they borrowed Terran ideas, intermarried with Terrans, and even fought for the Terran Confederation against the Imperium.
  • The Scorpion Clan from Legend of the Five Rings is the Token Evil Teammate of all other Samurai in existence, quite happily accepting the title of "Underhand of the Emperor", and thus, get a few of these. Being Master of Illusion mastermind shinobi who hold the concept of Magnificent Bastard as an ideal to achieve, these are mostly savvy normal Scorpions who have every intention of going back to decadence after backstabbing at their leisure.
  • In Magic: The Gathering:
    • Sorin Markov despises the other vampires of Innistrad because they take pleasure in killing and eating people. Worse, many of them treat it as an act of indulgence as opposed to survival. The rest of the vampires hate him in turn because he created the guardian angel Avacyn, the greatest obstacle in their conquest of the humans of Innistrad. Only a few of the vampires realize that Sorin did this for their sake too since the overly indulgent vampires would drive humans to extinction if left unchecked (dooming the vampires to starvation).
    • Urabrask is a praetor from New Phyrexia, essentially a nightmarish faction of cybernetic assimilatory undead. Stoked by red mana, he already felt empathy towards the assimilated Mirrans, but Elesh Norn's destruction of his domain was the final catalyst for him to rebel and lead a revolution against New Phyrexia.
  • In Rifts, Free Quebec defects from the Coalition States partly because they disagree with the Coalition's policies of enforced illiteracy, no free press, and entrenched bureaucracy (Free Quebec does have the last, they just like to pretend they have free elections). Interestingly, they also felt that the oppressive Coalition was too tolerant in other matters, such as mutant humans and psychics.
  • In Rocket Age the only creator-approved way of playing a Nazi character is playing as a deserter of some sort.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The Craftworld Eldar and Exodites are an example of this on a massive scale: millions of Eldar, disgusted by the unrestrained decadence, hedonism, and perversion of the majority of their race, left their society, some to live aboard gigantic spacecraft called Craftworlds, some to live on unsettled wilderness planets. They now live painfully repressed lives, focusing their lives on one Path at a time while in constant denial of their baser urges. However, they turned out to have the right idea when the remaining Eldar's hedonism Squicked a Chaos god into existence, complete with star-eating Negative Space Wedgie and species-wide Mind Rape that pushed the Eldar to the brink of extinction.
    • In the novels, the Soul Drinkers Space Marine chapter are Defectors from the Imperium. They still worship the Emperor, but believe that the Obstructive Bureaucrats, Corrupt Church Militant, and cowed people make a mockery of His intentions. They rebel, but just barely avoid falling to Chaos.
    • Every now and then a Dark Eldar grows weary of the figurative and literal backstabbing, hedonism, and soul-devouring villainy of his/her kind and joins a Craftworld.
    • The Farsight Enclaves broke away from the Tau Empire when Commander Farsight discovered that the Ethereals were covering up the existence of the Warp and daemons, as it conflicted with their own secular agenda. Farsight believed that this ran counter to the Greater Good.
  • There's buckets of this in World of Darkness games, both Old and New — largely due to the tendency for supernatural creatures/people to squabble amongst themselves like crazy. Prime examples include:
    • Mage: The Ascension.
      • The Sons of Ether/Technocracy split: Sons Of Ether are basically people who think that science should stay awesome, and the Technocracy wanted the Etherites to follow the instruction manual. Eventually, the Technocracy decided to teach the Etherites a lesson and used Clap Your Hands If You Believe to "disprove" the existence of the ether; this backfired, driving the outraged Sons of Ether to join the Traditions.
      • Similarly, the Virtual Adepts, reality hackers who left after the Technocracy had Alan Turing killed for his crimethink tendencies.
    • Vampire: The Masquerade:
      • Both the Sabbat and the Anarchs started out this way.
      • Adonai of the Salubri inverted the trope, breaking from the Salubri (who opted out of vampiric decadence altogether) and joining the Sabbat to get his revenge on the Tremere. The result was the Salubri antitribu.
      • In Vampire: The Masquerade, any vampire that doesn't align with the bulk of their clan's political affiliation is considered antitribu - what counts as defecting to or from decadence depends heavily on the individual's point of view.
      • An especially interesting case is Clan Lasombra. The bulk of Clan Lasombra are members of the Sabbat, and consider Camarilla-affiliated Lasombra to be the antitribu. The Camarilla Lasombra consider themselves to be the clan proper, and will take any indication that they aren't extremely poorly.
      • Among the Lasombra, Giangaleazzo is a choice example. It took him a while to come around to the Sabbat when they were first formed, but eventually, he became the devout and dedicated Archbishop of Milan. That is, until he saw the sect as increasingly using doctrine and dogma to justify their own debauched and murderous attitudes. At the big Sabbat party of the year, Giangaleazzo burned the only original copy of the founding doctrine of the sect, lit his villa on fire with all the partiers still inside, and promptly defected to the Camarilla.
    • The Forsaken/Pure split in Werewolf: The Forsaken and all the other tribes' views of the Get Of Fenris in Werewolf: The Apocalypse.
      • The Stargazer tribe seceded from the Garou Nation and joined the Asian Beast Courts in an attempt to regain their lost power and lands.
      • The Werewolf: the Apocalypse story collection had a short story featuring a redeemed Black Spiral Dancer gone ronin.
      • Uktena (the totem spirit of the Uktena tribe) was once a servant of the original balance-Wyrm. When the Wyrm went insane, Uktena promptly defected to the Wyld.

  • Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto portrays Cesare Borgia, of all people, as this. It takes place when he's 16 years old and in school, and he dreams of reforming Italy and the church. He dreams of being the kind of new Caesar that Dante imagined in the Paradiso.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: It's clear that De Guiche is considered No True Gascon because he can no longer tolerate the opinions and actions of the Gascons. De Guiche sees the rather obvious truth that their Martyrdom Culture is self-destructive and De Guiche is willing to compromise to get power, joins the Decadent Court as another courtesan and wants to show his wealth. The point is that De Guiche still exhibits the jerkass traits of being a Gascon and even when he makes something of his life (he is appointed Marshal of Grammont in the Distant Finale) he still feels Lonely at the Top.
  • Not that she was entirely a part of the decadence to begin with, but Elphaba does this in Wicked; after dreaming of becoming an assistant to the Wizard for most of her life, she turns down the opportunity, along with the future of wealth, power and esteem that comes with it, because she finds out he was the one behind the very anti-Animal policies she had come to protest.

    Video Games 
  • In Ace Attorney Investigations 2, Edgeworth quits as a prosecutor when he realizes that former Chief Prosecutor Blaise Debeste isn't interested in finding out the truth but just closing the case as quickly as possible, so he can continue investigating as an aide to a defence attorney instead of being threatened with redundancy.
  • Leonhardt, Agarest Senki's first generation protagonist is one of these — he switches sides to the more peaceful natives during an invasion when one of his fellow generals moves to kill a defenseless elven child.
  • Mish from Amea refuses to go through with a process that would do away with the pain and suffering in his life because it would turn him into a slave of the Master. He ends up paying very dearly for it.
  • Baldur's Gate II: Solaufein is a drow, therefore he's expected to be ruthless, powerthirsty, bloody and merciless, other than a worshiper of the evil spider-goddess Llolth. He's not. He's secretly a worshiper of the chaotic good goddess Eilistraee, and he's growing uncomfortable of the drow society. When you are tasked to kill him, you can instead help him to hide and fake his murder. He will later return and help you in your quest, even if he acknowledges that he doesn't know your motives, in spite of the drow evilness.
  • Lyude from Baten Kaitos. First exiled to an embassy for speaking out against a planned massacre of a village controlled by The Empire, he defects to the hero party when the empire attacks the island he was sent to under false pretenses of protecting the empire from the other kingdom's non-existent imminent assault.
  • Gorath from Betrayal at Krondor, though he's less a defector and more someone whom the self-destructive ways of his people compel to use methods to protect them that are seen as traitorous by most of his kind - except for those who share his views, but don't nearly have the guts to act on them.
  • Edea Lee from Bravely Default does this. She used to believe Anticrystalism was good for the world until she was sent on her first mission where she finds out quickly that her superiors are... a little bit too twisted in the head.
  • Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3:
    • Player Character Yuri used to be a close friend and comrade of Makarov, the world's greatest terrorist. He started having second thoughts as the Ultranationalists became increasingly insane. Came to a head right before the infamous "No Russian" mission — he tried to stop the massacre and Makarov shot him in the gut for it. He's now the only person in the world who hates Makarov more than Price.
      Yuri: I was a soldier of Russia. Not a taker of innocent lives.
    • Makarov is an inversion. He defected from the Ultranationalists after they took power because their rule was too soft, which is not how their original leader and his personal mentor Imran Zakhaev had conceived their party, even though they use his death as the basis for their rise to power.
  • In the Castlevania series, Alucard, Dracula's half-vampire son, turns on his father because of his vendetta against humanity. It's particularly poignant because Dracula targets humanity for destruction because of his wife being burned as a witch, and Alucard is just as heartbroken as Dracula is for his mother's murder, but Alucard still refuses to victimize humanity for it and sees his father's actions as irredeemable.
  • Corruption of Laetitia: Riliane realizes that Marian is really a selfish power-monger when he steals Celeste's power, causing her to join the party if Celeste spares her. She can also turn on Celeste if the latter does something too cruel, like killing a child hostage.
  • In Detroit: Become Human, numerous androids become Deviants over the course of the game due to Markus' influence. By the chapter "Freedom March", androids are coming to Jericho in floods, and even ignoring their masters to join the March. Depending on how high their Software Instability is by the end of the game, Connor has the option to join the resistance as well. This is a much truer example of this trope, considering that Connor's primary goal is to hunt down deviants himself.
  • In the backstory of Devil May Cry, Sparda, one of the highest-placed leaders of the demons and himself the most powerful devil, turned against his own kind and saved humanity from extinction after he "woke up to justice." Many years later, he would father the games' protagonist Dante and the Evil Twin Vergil.
  • Diablo III enjoys this trope:
    • Tyrael does this to the Angiris Council after a loud argument regarding his actions in the prequel (namely saving humanity from certain doom.) He strips off his armor and falls from the High Heavens to Sanctuary. He eventually rejoins them, though as a mortal.
    • Subverted with Kormac the Templar. He was taken in as a criminal by the Order, magically and physically tortured until his memories were repressed, and told he had been redeemed at their hands. This trope is set up when he finds out he was actually an honest soldier of Westmarch and the whole "redeemed criminal" stuff was a facade. However, he stays faithful to the order and vows to clean it of those responsible.
    • Deconstructed (?) with Kormac's former templar brother Jondar. He had a similar revelation at some point, but it left him heartbroken and in a mentally weakened state. Then he was discovered by — and persuaded to join — the demonic Coven.
    • How did the Demon Hunters get the ability to make Assassin Magitek traps? In Diablo II, there was Natalya, an Assassin NPC you can meet. After the events of the second game, it turned out that the Assassins were so fixated on hunting down renegade mages that almost all of them missed the far more important demon invasion of Sanctuary and did nothing in the battle for Mount Arreat. Natalya became disgusted with them and became a Demon Hunter to atone.
  • Dragon Age:
    • Part of the backstory of the mabari hounds are they were bred by the Magisters of the Tevinter Imperium and added to their armies. When they came to the lands that would become Ferelden, the Mabari defected and chose to side with the "barbarian" ancestors of the Fereldans, remaining at their side for over a thousand years.
    • As a bard Leliana was... what's the word? Vicious. Very, very vicious. About her only scruple was to give those she killed a clean death, everything else was fair game. After her betrayal she goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, then performs a genuine Heel–Face Turn, joins the chantry and later the Seekers, jumps at the chance to aid the Warden and becomes the de facto leader of the Inquisition, potentially ending up as Thedas' equivalent of the Pope.
    • Some of the Templars in Dragon Age II start questioning their loyalty as Meredith's measures grow more brutal. By the third act, there's a joint mage-templar conspiracy to oust her and get the Circle back on track. Unfortunately, one of them is more interested in revenge on the player character.
    • Dragon Age: Inquisition:
      • Dorian Pavus, a former mage from Tevinter who despises the falseness and depravity of his people and wishes to reform the Imperium. He defected to help the Inquisition deal with the Venatori, a faction of Tevinter mages under the rule of the Big Bad. While he doesn't practice blood magic, he does practice Necromancy, which is decidedly less controversial in the setting.
      • Cassandra Pentaghast leaves the Seekers of Truth once she feels that their desire for order is becoming more important than the desire for justice and serving the people.
      • Events of Dragon Age II had Cullen do some soul-searching in between games and realize just how much the Templar Order had abandoned its original ideals, and he along with them. This resulted in him leaving the order to join the Inquisition.
      • Depending on your choices, Iron Bull can become this, abandoning the Qun because the Chargers are more important to him.
      • Blackwall works alone, away from other Grey Wardens, ostensibly because of his high moral standards, whereas most Wardens have a "whatever works" approach to fighting darkspawn. While he does believe Wardens should aspire to be more moral and heroic, the real reason is that he's not really a Warden, but a criminal on the run who assumed the identity of his dead would-be recruiter.
      • Solas is an elven hermit apostate who avoids both the city elves and the Dalish, fond of pointing out flaws and inaccuracies in Dalish beliefs, in particular holding a much less rose-colored view of the ancient elven culture of Arlathan. Of course he knows better: he was there. Originally he was an elven god who rose against the other elven gods in the name of the common folk.
      • The Inquisitor can also be this depending on your dialogue choices. For example, the Dalish Inquisitor can agree with Solas' dismissive views of contemporary Dalish culture. The Qunari Inquisitor's parents were Tal-Vashoth, defectors from the Qun who raised their child away from its restrictions.
      • One of the reasons the Inquisition swells in ranks so rapidly, absorbing misfits and outcasts who denounce their former allegiances as corrupt and/or inefficient, in favor of the one organization that is at least doing something against the current threat.
  • Dragon Quest:
    • Dragon Quest V: Maria couldn't stand what the Order of Zugzwang was doing, so she was thrown into slavery. She and her brother orchestrate an escape which the Hero and Prince Harry become a part of.
    • A sizable chunk of Hargon's forces defect to the Builder over the course of Dragon Quest Builders 2, some out of genuine altruism, others for pragmatic issues. Kind of hard to keep loyalty when the edict you enforce makes it hard for your own forces to eat.
  • Dyztopia: Post-Human RPG:
    • Tsukasa was once a member of the Church of the Vessel, but became disillusioned with their greed and contempt for the poor.
    • Most of the party consists of former Zetacorp employees or Hunters who were either betrayed by the company or grew sick of the company's tyrannical rule over Zeta. This includes Akira, Crow, Kiyota, Eliza, Detritus, Fredek, Genesis, Lunez, and Kael.
    • Chase is the daughter of Prime Minister Morgalia, a pro-occupation politician who uses her connections with Zetacorp to fill her own pockets, ensuring the family gets to live in luxury. However, Chase doesn't think her family's riches is worth making the rest of Vulcanite suffer, so she joins an anti-occupation movement. After Morgalia executes everyone in that movement except for Chase, Chase leaves for Pon Pon and eventually joins Akira's resistance against Zetacorp.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • Morrowind:
      • Out of the members of the Tribunal, Sotha Sil wielded his divinity lightly and was the least concerned with the affairs of mortals, spending much of his time withdrawn from the world in the seclusion of his Clockwork City. Vivec and Almalexia (at least until they were cut off from the source of their divine powers) instead chose to live and work among their people, offering guidance and protection. If asked, Vivec will speculate that Sotha Sil may not even notice his godhood is gone once the Nerevarine permanently severs their ties to divinity.
      • The Dissident Priests are heretics to the Tribunal Temple, disputing several points of dogma (though this appears to have been partly a response to being persecuted for questioning Temple policy, which isn't exactly heresy even if the Temple called it that). The Tribunal Temple also persecutes the Nerevarine Cult as heretics (technically they are, just not really of the Temple, seeing as they developed in parallel in response to the same event and from the same source religion. It's actually the Temple who made the most radical changes of dogma, the Nerevarine Cult just explained away the new gods as false gods and added in a messiah figure). Both of those change towards the end of the main quest, with the Dissident Priests acknowledged as having had a point with much of what they said and the Nerevarine Cult recognised as being right about the messiah figure thing, both by one of the gods of the Tribunal himself.
      • In the backstory, St. Veloth, the legendary Chimer mystic and Dunmeri ancestor-hero, was born into a noble Aldmeri family in the Summerset Isles. However, he viewed his homeland with disdain as he believed Aldmeri society was founded on ambition, greed, and decadence. This, added to the visions he received from the "Good" Daedra, led to the Velothi dissident movement and eventually, their exodus to Morrowind.
    • Imperial characters in The Elder Scrolls Online, who can join any of the three competing alliances. They are described as 'outcasts' from Cyrodiil who have turned against the Daedra-worshipping majority of their race and would conceivably aid any alliance in order to 'free' their brethren from Molag Bal's influence.
  • Elohim Eternal: The Babel Code: Ruthia's mother, Anne, is a Kenoman who left her planet. She describes Kenoma as a stratified society that abuses its advanced technology and experiments on the less fortunate.
  • A player pulled this massively in EVE Online. Having gotten tired of Band of Brother's "Stop Having Fun" Guys mentality, one of BoB's directors defected to Goonswarm, stealing over 20 billion in assets from BoB and dissolving the BoB alliance.
  • Fallout
    • In Fallout 2, Dr. Henry was an Enclave scientist who wanted to cure mutants instead of killing them outright. Because the leadership disagreed with this sentiment he ended up leaving, and meeting The Chosen One shortly before he wiped them out. He returns in New Vegas, and can be convinced by the Courier to take up his Enclave armor for One Last Job.
    • In Fallout 3, there is a group that broke away from the Brotherhood of Steel because they believe that the leader is Going Native. They call themselves the Brotherhood Outcasts. This came from the fact that the Brotherhood of Steel inside Fallout 3 is actually a sect of the entire Brotherhood of Steel - their original mission was about advanced technology and preserving it, though the leader of the group became more heroic in his intentions and went out helping others, against the rather haughty technological-obsessions of the rest of the group. The Brotherhood Outcasts stayed loyal to their original mission.
    • Fallout: New Vegas,
      • It's possible for Veronica to decide to leave the Brotherhood and attempt to join the Followers of the Apocalypse once she's convinced that the Brotherhood are too set in their ways. This results in a group of Brotherhood Paladins wiping out a Followers outpost and attempting to kill Veronica for potentially spreading knowledge to outsiders.
      • New Vegas also has Bitter-Root and Manny Vargas, who both used to be members of The Great Khans, before joining First Recon, the elite sniper battalion of the New California Republic, the Khan's Arch-Enemy. Though they differ, is that Bitter-Root hates the Kahns and was only one of them by birth, whereas Manny still remains on friendly terms with them, even faking sick to get out of a battle with his former comrades.
      • There's also Ulysses, who was formerly an elite warrior fighting for Ceaser's Legion before he became disillusioned with The Legion.
    • Fallout 4:
      • Nick Valentine is a Synth but has absolutely no love for the Institute because they casually threw him out like garbage one day or so he thinks. He does not like it if you decide to side with them.
      • Dr. Virgil was a former Institute scientist who left after growing disgusted at how all the tests with FEV have provided nothing beneficial and only produced Super Mutants who are simply tossed aside. He now lives in the Glowing Sea, having turned himself into a Super Mutant in order to survive.
      • Downplayed with Strong. Unlike previous Super Mutant companions like Fawkes and Marcus, or the aforementioned Virgil, he retains his taste for human flesh and is the only companion who will express approval at randomly murdering civilians. He is also quite dumb. At the same time, however, he keeps his murderous tendencies in check, only lashing out if fighting alongside the Sole Survivor or if attacked. He can even be left in a settlement without the Sole Survivor's supervision, and he won't ever attack the settlers, and can even perform mundane tasks in the settlement (although he'll be bored out of his gourd and complain about it).
      • There's also Robert Joseph MacCready, a former member of the Gunners until he got tired of their ruthless and indiscriminate killings of anyone in their way and left to become a freelance mercenary.
      • There's also a random encounter in the game, where one can meet a former member of the Brotherhood of Steel, who left after they regressed from Elder Lyons' attempts to make them into a force for good, back into their more... morally gray roots. The player can hire him as an armor merchant for their settlements.
  • Final Fantasy
    • Final Fantasy VI.
      • Celes defected from The Empire because she knew that Kefka was going to poison Doma and joins The Returners.
      • Sabin might be another example if you consider his departure from Figaro in disgust of the succession rites for the throne.
    • Final Fantasy VII
      • Cloud could count, as he used to be a member of SOLDIER until Sephiroth burned down his hometown, although the fact that he technically was never really a SOLDIER to begin with due to false memories does muddy things somewhat.
      • Sephiroth seriously considers this in Crisis Core, just before he heads to Nibelheim...
  • In the Fire Emblem series:
    • Fire Emblem in general has two recurring archetypes that fit this- titled the Lorenz (male) and the Minerva (female), referring to enemy generals (or other high ranking persons such as royalty) who defect to the good guys forces out of disgust at their home nation.
    • In Fire Emblem: Thracia 776, Salem, the series' first playable dark magic user, is a defector from the very-evil Loptous Sect.
    • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade:
      • Legault leaves the Black Fang (and looting its "base" at the Dragon's Gate on his way out) because he was sick of its continued fall in corruption and ruthlessness.
      • Heath defects to your side after disobeying orders to slaughter innocent civilians.
    • Fire Emblem: The Sacred Stones:
    • In Fire Emblem: Radiant Dawn, the player alternately plays with Micaiah's and Ike's army. Several members of Micaiah's army can join Ike's out of disgust at Daein being made a pawn of Begnion, depleting Micaiah's army of some of her much-needed decent units. While Jill's recruitment can only occur when the player makes Haar talk to her, Zihark can pull a Face–Heel Turn during Chapter 3-6, if he has a Bond Support with either Mordecai or Lethe (who are the bosses of this chapter, assuming they're still alive) and they manage to talk to him...
    • In Fire Emblem: Three Houses, this can happen in either direction depending on which camp Byleth is aligned with at the end of Chapter 11.
      • If you're Church-aligned, you can convince the Black Eagles other than Edelgard and Hubert to defect from the Empire to the Church/Kingdom/Alliance rather than fight in a war of conquest.
      • If you're Empire-aligned, you can convince Church members Hanneman, Manuela, Alois, and Shamir to abandon the Corrupt Church and side with you. Certain devout students such as Mercedes and Marianne can also abandon the Church due to disgust with the direction Rhea is taking it.
  • God of War: Ascension: Orkos initially obeyed the Furies without question, but when he saw the injustice in their enforcing Kratos' bond to Ares, he turned on them and helped Kratos break free of said bond.
  • Katalina from Granblue Fantasy. She was a former Knight of the Erste Empire and was assigned as Lyria's Guardian. But after seeing the experiments being conducted by the Empire to make Lyria a Person of Mass Destruction, Katalina escaped with her, setting the game's plot into motion.
  • The Great Gaias:
    • Arthur Greyhem, Vandar Rowan, Arman Gill, and Gerald Swordhand are all Validian officers who defected after realizing Maultor lied about the elves and hid the existence of other deities.
    • Generals Agrippa and Chauser always had misgivings about Validus's leadership, but when they see the Gauf capturing Wein, who they see as the ideal officer, they lead their forces to save the party and enact a coup. Afterwards, they have Validus formally align themselves with Greyhem.
  • In Halo, a splinter movement forms amongst the Elites when one realizes that the Prophets have been feeding them lies since the very beginning of the Covenant's reign on most of the known galaxy. Though the nascent 'heretic' group is ultimately shattered by the then-Arbiter, the whole thing later comes to a boiling point when Elites are ejected from the Covenant and the Brutes were given their place at the head of the Covenant's military. One group of seperatists then ally with humanity against the remaining Covenant loyalist forces.
  • Hogwarts Legacy:
    • Ominus Gaunt is a relative of Voldemort himself, and their entire family is a bunch of Evil Sorcerers that torture muggles for fun. Ominus was the White Sheep, and his own parents tortured him for it causing him to cut ties with them and be a vocal opponent of Black Magic as a whole.
    • Lodgok was a goblin and the brother of the Big Bad who disagreed with the violent ways of the supremacist group Ranrok's Loyalists and helps the Player Character put an end to them.
    • Animal Lover Poppy Sweeting comes from a family of poachers, and dedicated her life to protecting magical beasts in an attempt to atone for her parents' crimes.
  • Injustice: Gods Among Us: Injustice-verse Shazam follows his world's Superman out of his admiration, despite Kal's ever-darkening methods. But when Kal declares his attempt to raze Gotham and Metropolis in order to set an example after Lex's betrayal and then invade the original 'verse, Shazam puts his foot down. He gets his brains burned out by Kal's heat vision for his trouble. This final atrocity is enough to make Injustice-verse Flash turn his back on the group.
  • In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Roxas, finally fed up with the Organization, basically goes "SCREW THIS PLACE!" and leaves. It's not easy, because they do not accept resignations, but he still manages it, beating up anything and anyone in his way as he does so.
  • Canderous Ordo in Knights of the Old Republic abandons his mercenary ways and goes off adventuring with the player because he believes that the player will give him a chance to make the Mandalorians into a proud and honorable people again, instead of the mercenaries and thugs that now inhabit the galaxy.
  • League of Legends
    • Annie is the child of the leaders of the Grey Order — a group who broke off from Noxus because of its evil and want to study dark magic.
    • Riven also broke away from Noxus after they used chemical weaponry to kill both the enemy regiment and her own instead of allowing them to face in battle so the stronger army would come out victorious.
  • Matsumoto from The Legend of Tian-ding, who initially serves the Japanese imperialists overseeing Taiwan and acts like an Inspector Javert trying to arrest Tian-ding, defects after his superior, General Shimada, orders him to massacre a village of unarmed civilians, deciding he could no longer follow Shimada's imperialistic ideologies. Firstly by evacuating the village behind his boss' back, and later saving Tian-ding from a firing squad before helping the hero clear his name.
  • Mass Effect.
    • Messed with by Legion in Mass Effect 2. It at first looks like they are setting it up as a defector from the evil geth civilization until it reveals that it is actually part of the larger geth civilization and the Reaper-worshiping geth from the first game are the defectors, or "heretics".
    • Later played straight in the Paragon ending when Miranda tenders her resignation to Cerberus (to the Illusive Man's face, if you bring her to the final boss).
    • Wrex in the first game, similar to Canderous above.
    • In Mass Effect 3, your war assets have a folder dedicated exclusively to "Ex-Cerberus" personnel disgusted with the Illusive Man's new tactics. Jacob can be found protecting a team of scientists who realized something was wrong when their colleagues began mysteriously disappearing. The Rebellion Pack makes "Cerberus Defectors" a whole multiplayer class.
    • Quite a bit of this ends up happening in the third game just by virtue of the Reaper invasion putting most people's priorities into perspective. If you cure the genophage for real, the salarian dalatrass who asked you to sabotage it withdraws salarian military support out of spite. The STG and salarian military then tell her and their other politicians to stick it up their cloacas and support you anyway, not willing to sacrifice the future of their species over a politician's petty grudge. In general, a lot more people seem willing to put their selfishness on the back burner if it means there's a chance they'll survive to next Christmas.
  • Villainous example in Max Payne 3, where supplementary material reveals that paramilitary leader Neves used to be a cop but quit because he wasn't making a difference against the criminals.
  • Mega Man X:
    • Volt Kraken from Mega Man X5 resigned from the Maverick Hunters because he was starting to disagree with what they were doing, especially after the death of his friend Launch Octopus from Mega Man X, devoting himself to energy research as a more "peaceful" lifestyle. By the time X and Zero meet him again in the game, they witness Volt Kraken turn Maverick due to the effects of the Sigma Virus and are forced to kill him.
    • Axl from Mega Man X7 was this as well. He was originally a member of the Red Alert vigilante faction, but left the group, anticipating fully that they'll attempt to force him to return, and eventually defected to the Maverick Hunters, because they had changed for the worse. It's later revealed that the reason why they changed for the worse was because of Sigma, AKA The Professor (but you probably saw that one coming).
  • Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater,
    • Eva claims this trope as her reason for abandoning the United States and going over to the Soviets. When she became a code breaker for the NSA, she realized she'd been carefully manipulated by propaganda her entire life. This is a complete and utter lie, as we find out much later.
    • Similarly, The Boss claims that her main reason for defecting to the Soviet Union from her backstory was due to the decadence of her government. Despite this, the defection was still faked.
    • The game as a whole is the story of how Snake himself does this after earning the title of Big Boss, going from an idealistic and loyal U.S operative to a hardened, self-serving mercenary after seeing the way the U.S government used and discarded his mentor who despite being a loyal soldier to the end, was still ordered to be killed by her beloved disciple and written as a traitor in the history books.
  • In Minecraft: Story Mode, has a few:
    • Ivor was once part of the Order of the Stone and fought with them against the Enderdragon. However, due to them abusing the command block to defeat the Enderdragon and then lying to the world about their fight made him mad at them. This led him to unleash the Wither Storm to expose them.
    • In general, it would seem the Order of the Stone disbanded because of this.
    • Both Harper and Otto were at odds with their fellow Old Builders because of their abuse of power and their trickery. This caused Harper to abandon them and Otto to betray them in favor of Jesse and the Order. By the end of Episode 8, after exposing the Old Builders' lies, Jesse also convinced the other teams and even the gladiators to do this as well.
  • The backstory of the Myst games, particularly the tie-in novel The Book of D'ni, reveals that the entire D'ni race is one of these. When their original homeworld was dying, most of the population moved to the Age of Tehranee, a decadent world of perfect climate and boundless space. A small part of them, however, went to another world, D'ni (or Earth), where they would live underground and be forced to eke out a living through advanced engineering abilities. The purpose of this was, similar to the Amish movement, to prevent decadence from rotting society, and it failed: the exact same kind of sedentarity and elitism that plagued Tehranee also crept into D'ni society, and ultimately caused the downfall of both civilizations. At some time in the series of the games, Atrus builds a new Age, Releeshahn, for the D'ni survivors, and founds a new society meant to address these issues by introducing such policies as social equality.
  • Lawful Neutral wizard Sand from Neverwinter Nights 2 explains that he left the Hosttower at Luskan for Neverwinter when they asked him to do things "even he wasn't willing to do".
  • The Pale Beyond: Applies to the Temperence's kennel master, Ingrid Cordell, who the crew members call "Lady". She grew up as part of the nobility and ultimately became a Member of Parliament, yet was unhappy with the stuffiness of her spoiled life and the arrogance of her peers. She abandoned it for a simple life as a kennel master, preferring the company of dogs to people.
  • Rune Factory Frontier has Kross, a former soldier of the Sechs Empire (the antagonists in the original Rune Factory) who discarded his original name of Weber and deserted, settling in Trampoli Village as a farmer and carpenter.
  • Sorcha does this in the last level of the Pyro campaign in Sacrifice. It doesn't do her any good.
  • Saints Row (2022): Neenah and Kevin defect from Los Panteros and the Idols respectively after deciding they can no longer stand for the actions of their gangs. Neenah becomes sick of how Sergio runs Los Panteros and tells him off when a Panteros raid threatens Kevin and Eli's lives — Kevin realizes the Idols are Tautological Templars who don't care at all about anyone outside of themselves (and also feels very guilty about failing to notify the protagonist and Neenah that the Idols were planning on attacking the museum), and ultimately parts with them when one of The Collective tries to get him to kill his friends. Both go on to help the protagonist create the 3rd Street Saints after these events.
  • Prince Enrique of Valua, from Skies of Arcadia, is a literal Defector From Decadence. As his title states, he's next in line for the throne of the kingdom of Valua. He spends the early game an apparently minor NPC, telling his mother that crushing the poor, the weak, and the foreign under her heel just because she's in charge of an empire is just asking for trouble. The empress blows him off as young and idealistic and remains cartoonishly convinced that unmitigated conquest is the only way to run an empire, even as it proves to be her downfall. Mid-game, Enrique decides to take matters into his own hands and joins up with Vyse and co.
  • Tassadar from Starcraft disobeys orders from the Conclave to completely obliterate the Terrans to stop the spread of the Zerg. He eventually comes to believe that the Conclave is too old, rigid, and arrogant to be able to rule the Protoss effectively.
  • In Star Wars: The Old Republic, one of the targets of the Bounty Hunter storyline is Jicoln Cadera, a Mandalorian who led a rebellion against the current Mandalore because he revered Canderous and believed that the Mandalorians should side with the Republic and Jedi like he did rather than become the Sith's private army. By the time of the game, his rebellion's been crushed and he's reduced to being a bitter old survivalist in Taris hunted down by other Mandos.
  • Exemplified by Folka Albark of the Super Robot Wars series. Because he starts disagreeing with his race's way of life, he defects to the protagonist's side and tries to find out a new meaning of life for his race, which culminates in kicking the asses of his entire brethren.
  • Orlok the Eternal from Universe at War: Earth Assault is headed for this during the campaign mode, but he's killed off in an anticlimactic and meaningless fashion that invalidates everything he did before he can really follow through.
  • Between Seasons 2 and 3 of The Walking Dead, Clementine joins the New Frontier. However, she was eventually exiled for stealing medicine and has AJ separated from her. This experience leads her to hate the New Frontier, in particular David García, and she has no problem killing their members.
  • Warcraft
    • The Night Elves are an odd example, in that the decadent ones (high/blood elves) are the defectors when they lost the civil war. Several blood elf NPCs themselves then demonstrate this trope as defecting from their decadent and power-mad society, most notably one researcher permanently exiled from the blood elves who now lives with the tauren in Thousand Needles.
    • Eitrigg left the Always Chaotic Evil Horde after it became convinced that they were not living up to the Proud Warrior Race Guy traditions. Having his sons die via a Uriah Gambit was the last straw. He returns after Thrall convinces him that the New Horde is better.
    • The Argent Dawn separated from the Scarlet Crusade after their Knight Templar tendencies worsened.
    • The Scryers defected from Kael'Thas' army after it became apparent that the prince had gone Drunk with Power.
  • Warframe:
    • The Steel Meridian syndicate are a group of Grineer guerrilla fighters who are dedicated to protecting the innocents getting chewed up in the larger-scale conflicts.
    • The Perrin Sequence syndicate are former Corpus scientists and traders who seek peaceful business opportunities rather than war-profiteering. Ironically, Steel Meridian and the Perrin Sequence hate one another, likely due to being Grineer and Corpus.
    • According to Darvo (a Corpus merchant who regularly trades with Tenno), occasionally the Grineer cloning process will make "mistakes" that create soldiers who are not hardcoded into following the Twin Sisters. These defectors are usually executed, but sometimes they manage to escape—this is where Steel Meridian came from. One of these "mistakes" is Clem, a friendly Grineer soldier who works for Darvo that the player saves and helps out in a series of sidequests.
    • Another group of "mistakes" from the Grineer cloning process is the self-named Kavor, Grineer defectors who decided to leave after being unable to stomach the numerous atrocities the Grineer commit on a daily basis. While capable of defending themselves in their Defection Mission, it's heavily implied they suffer from a nasty case of shell shock, due to the aforementioned atrocities. As a result, they have declined invites to join Steel Meridian, instead looking to take their own path where they won't need to fight.
    • Another set of Grineer defectors are Kahl's Garrison. Though they are more a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits including Grineer, Ostron, Solaris, Corpus, and (Infested) Orokin, the bulk of the Garrison consists of rescued victims of Narmer brainwashing, most of whom were abandoned by their superiors and understandably hold a grudge over not being rescued by said superiors. Kahl himself provides a terse yet scathing indictment of the Grineer Queens and Vay Hek, pointing out how they did not bother to help save even a single captured trooper in the three years that Narmer was in power.
  • In We Happy Few, you play as Arthur Hastings, a man who refuses to take his Joy and becomes a "Downer", looking for an escape from Wellington Wells. One of the later DLC stories also sees Victoria Byng, daughter of a government official, trying to stop the distribution of Joy.
  • Ralgha "Hobbes" nar Hhallas in Wing Commander. Hobbes was the Kilrathi pilot who joined the Terran Confederation (Human) side. Later it is revealed that he actually was a Manchurian Agent for the Kilrathi Empire.
  • Wolfenstein:
    • In Wolfenstein: The New Order, one of BJ's allies in the Kreisau Circle is Klaus Kreutz, a former Nazi who had been a loyal member of the regime, up until the birth of his son. Unfortunately, his son was born with a clubbed foot and was thus killed by the Nazis, along with his wife for trying to resist, which soured Klaus to the regime and led him to join the resistance.
    • Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus has another ex-Nazi join the resistance: Sigrun Engel, the daughter of Obergruppenführer Irene Engel. Frau Engel had long been abusive towards her daughter: mocking her weight and eating habits, reading her secret diary, generally being a cruel bitch to her, and later in the game talking candidly on a TV show about how she was going to have her daughter executed for falling below her obscene standards. Not long after her introduction, Sigrun lashes out at her mother and defects to the resistance.
  • World of Warcraft
    • The Draenei, a faction of the Eredar who weren't corrupted by Sargeras, and fled after being branded as traitors, eventually joining The Alliance.
    • In Warlords of Draenor, the Shadowmoon Exiles are former members of the Shadowmoon Clan that refuse to follow Ner'zhuls actions, when he plans to use the Dark Stars power to raise undead.
    • Several members of the Iron Horde join up with the Alliance/Horde after Gul'dan takes over as they want nothing to do with what he's up to.

  • Lien Lei of E Depth Angel hated his father (and the rest of his family) so much, that although he was still in charge of part of his father's company, he didn't care about getting approval for anything. This is part of what allowed him to finally go along with Angel's plan to "save the cyborgs' humanity". He even devoted large amounts of funding toward it, though his devotion for the program may have been for totally different reasons.
  • Homestuck:
  • Secret of Keychain of Creation is a deathknight gone rogue... sorta. She's restricted but has found ways of getting around it. Vulnerable to the occasional resonance blowout, however.

    Web Original 
  • An Examination of Extra-Universal Systems of Government:
    • Francisco Citoyen is the first defector of the Guantanamo Regime (the Government in Exile of a fascist regime that controlled this timeline's America) after becoming very doubtful of the Butler regime's propagandist teachings and how the Butler regime treated those that defy his rule. Francisco escaped by planning a prison break and allowing some 150 prisoners to flee into Cuban soil.
    • Margaret Pemberton is a defector from the American Union in which she protested against corruption in the Sovereignist Party and their silence on the Population Transfers.
    • Dr. Sarkar fled the Union of Bharat (and their entire dimension) after he learned that his superiors were planning on enacting a Final Solution against all non-South Asian people on not just their Earth, but across The Multiverse, by means of forcing him to create a Synthetic Plague to target specific genetics.
  • Keeper from Deviant leaves the Grims, a gang, out of distaste for how they treated her daughter — selling her to a gang of human traffickers. After retrieving her kid, Keeper becomes an ally of the vigilante group Cerberus.
  • In The Falcon Cannot Hear, Dwight Eisenhower is a top general of the fascist Whites, seeing them as a necessary evil to keep the country united. But after learning of their Final Solution of their black population, he defects to the American Soviet Republic... and takes several thousand soldiers with him. Plus, after he exposes the Whites' crimes, the entirety of their New England territories defect to the Continental Congress.
  • A couple of examples in Reds!: A Revolutionary Timeline, surrounding the socialist revolution:
    • George S. Patton (who got converted to socialism during a much bloodier World War 1) is ordered to attack the Bonus Army after General MacArthur's military Junta seizes control from the newly-elected communist party. Instead, he defects with his entire unit and takes commands of the first units of the new US Red Army.
    • John F. Kennedy becomes an avowed socialist as a way of rebelling against his bourgeois family and his controlling father in particular, forming a secret society of local leftist students at his prestigious boarding school, and distributing socialist literature amongst the broader student body. When the revolution happens, Kennedy quickly raises his secret socialist society to work as a local militia, and backed by his fellow students he overthrows the headmaster, and takes control of the local area. Following the victory of the revolution, Kennedy journeys back to the Kennedy Massachusetts estate to confront his father, only to discover that his family, like many other members of the American elite, has evacuated to join Douglas MacArthur's exile government in Cuba. This event inspires Kennedy to decisively distance himself from his family, as he discards his American name and instead adopts the Gaelic version of it, Sean Cinnéide, which becomes his nom de guerre, and later, full legal name.
  • Dark General Cobalt in Sailor Nothing, although he needed magical aid to get there.

    Web Videos 
  • Film Brain does this in Kickassia and aids in the rebellion because The Nostalgia Critic accidentally killed Santa Christ.
  • Rats SMP: In spite of being from rat nobility, El left her life as an "aristo-rat" behind because she thought it wasn't right for her family to treat commoner rats poorly and leave them to go hungry.
  • In SMPEarth, Wisp leaves Business Bay because he sees Tommy as incompetent and thinks he picks too many battles.

    Western Animation 
  • Lemongrab 2 from Adventure Time. By the time of the episode "Too Old", the original Lemongrab had become mad (well, madder) with power, putting Shock Collars on the Lemon Children and almost eating his brother alive. When Lemongrab imprisons Finn and Bubblegum for wanting to take Lemonhope (the most normal of the Lemon Children) to Candy Kingdom for education, Lemongrab 2 starts rebelling, first by freeing them, then by releasing the Lemon Children from their collars. Before Lemongrab finishes eating him, Lemongrab 2 asks Lemonhope to go with Bubblegum and become successful for the sake of the other Lemon Children.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has multiple defectors from the imperialist Fire Nation:
    • Jeong Jeong became a recluse after seeing what the Fire Nation had become.
    • Iroh didn't officially defect from the Fire Nation until Book 2, but he'd essentially switched sides about five years before the start of the series.
    • Zuko finally decides to officially defect after witnessing his father plan to burn down the entire Earth Kingdom during Sozin's Comet.
  • Exo Squad,
    • Marsala is a Neosapien who fought for the Exofleet against the second Neosapien rebellion. This is especially noteworthy because he was one of the leaders of the first one.
    • He even goes on a Motive Rant when they thought he switched sides on his views about how humans treat Neosapiens. It turns out all of it was true, but he still believes the two races can get along, plus Phaeton's regime intends to commit genocide, which Marsala despises. (And speaking of Phaeton, he's the one who sold out Marsala to Exofleet during the first rebellion.)
  • Inverted by Shego, Dragon to the Mad Scientist main villain from Kim Possible, who actually used to be part of a superhero team (made up of her siblings) before she got sick of their relentless smiling, cheesy good deeds and overdosing on all the superhero cliches. By all accounts, she is much happier as a Dark Action Girl, though she does still care about them. Just don't remind her that she does.
  • Several characters from Motorcity, including Mike, a former cadet to the show's Big Bad, his La Résistance members Dutch and Julie (though partial in her case given that she's the aforementioned Big Bad's daughter and acts as an insider), and Jacob, formerly a renowned scientist. All, along with many possible others, escaped the dictatorship of Detroit Deluxe to the city below: the original, but much grimier Motor City.
  • Star Wars Rebels: After spending some time as a mole, Agent Kallus, who would not have been a candidate for "Imperial most likely to have a Heel–Face Turn" when he was first introduced, finally leaves the Empire and formally joins the Rebels in the Season 3 finale after his cover was blown.
  • In Steven Universe, we learned that Pink Diamond, one of the elites of the Gem Race was one. After sneaking down to Earth's surface when it was in the midst of becoming her colony, she learned that the process of creating new Gems takes away the planet's ability to form its unique organic life. When her attempts to convince her fellow Diamonds to end the colonization were dismissed, she donned the false identity of a rebellious Rose Quartz to scare the gems. Pink eventually expanded her cause to allow gems to be free from the restricting caste system. Her revolution ended when she faked her own shattering by her Rose Quartz identity, believing the Diamonds will abandon Earth as a lost cause. They do, but not before unleashing a devastating wave to wipe out whatever Gems were left on Earth's surface.
  • On Thundarr the Barbarian, Ariel was the stepdaughter of the wizard Sabian, holds the title of "princess" from an undefined source, and is herself a quite formidable sorceress. By all the standards of their world, she should be part of the ruling elite, not riding around on a horse with a barbarian and a Mok playing heroine to the unwashed masses.
  • Transformers:
    • Beast Wars:
      • Dinobot thought Megatron stranded him on an abandoned planet and defected in the first episode. In the second season, after realizing everything was going according to Megatron's plan, Dinobot returned to Megatron's side... Only to defect again once he realized what the full scope of Megatron's ambitions really was. alos because Dinobot didn't want to kill Rattrap.
      • Played for Laughs in the final episode of Beast Wars. Waspinator finally had enough and quit the Predacons. His fellow Predacons blow him to pieces yet again before he could finish.
    • The Transformers:
      • Skyfire was revived after being frozen in the Arctic and joined the Decepticons, not because he knew who they were, but because his best friend was one... Then he realized his best friend had become evil since he was frozen. Oops.
      • Blitzwing does this in the five-part Season 3 opener, after seeing his fellow Decepticons manipulated by the Quintessons and how psychotic Megatron had become as Galvatron.
    • Transformers: Prime:
      • Starscream attempts this, but it's scuppered by Arcee trying to murder him and make it look like she killed him as he was attempting to escape custody. Though given that it's Starscream, it's questionable just how honest his attempt really was.
      • Later, Dreadwing defies this trope, after learning of Starscream's reviving his brother's corpse as a Terrorcon, and Megatron covering it up, he does deliver a useful relic to the Autobots, but he refuses to join Optimus Prime, delivering this line:
        "Betraying my kind is not the same as accepting yours."
  • In the W.I.T.C.H. TV series, Raythor does a Heel–Face Turn after he realizes that his lord, Phobos has no honor.


Video Example(s):



Prior the start of the series, Mira was just an average Vestal citizen, viewing the Bakugan nothing more than unintelligent pets. However, this all changed one day, when she heard Hydranoid speaking while her father conducted painful experiments on him. No longer willing to participate in the enslavement of another sapient species, she formed the Bakugan Resistance to fight for their freedom.

How well does it match the trope?

4.83 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / DefectorFromDecadence

Media sources: