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Even Evil Can Be Loved

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"Your father wasn't the love of my life.
You were. From the second you came out
and looked at me with that furrowed brow,
I loved all of you, Dandy. Even the madness."

This is an inversion of sorts of Even Evil Has Loved Ones: the villain is humanized (i.e. becomes painted more grey than black), or at least demystified in case the feeling is not mutual, not by them worrying about others' well-being, but by others worrying about theirs.

This other character is usually (but certainly not always) a fundamentally decent individual, often a family member, a former friend or student, or even just an honorable underling who is on speaking terms with the heroes. Where the heroes usually just want the bad guy dead (the All-Loving Hero notwithstanding), this character will often acknowledge the latter's villainy (unlike in in the case of Mama Didn't Raise No Criminal) but, depending on their affiliation, either sees it as Necessarily Evil or wants instead to redeem the villain. Either way, the internal conflict between their morals and their attachment to the villain mirrors their conflict of interests with the good guys who start off without such second thoughts.

Protected by a Child and Villainous Friendship are specific subtropes, although the latter is also a subtrope of Even Evil Has Loved Ones. If even this character gives up on the villain, it is a telltale sign that the latter has crossed the Moral Event Horizon. Alternatively, killing or irreparably harming the supporter is a good way to show that villain has (or already had) crossed it, even if the supporter doesn't give up on them. For when the character who loves them is not virtuous, but equally evil instead, it's the subtropes Unholy Matrimony and Psycho Supporter that apply. Compare also Save the Villain, which may stem from this just as well as from the plain Chronic Hero Syndrome or Sympathy for the Devil. This trope is to Morality Pet what Licked by the Dog is to Pet the Dog.

Heavily overlaps with Criminal Found Family.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In AKIRA, Tetsuo spends most of the first half of the comic being vilified. Even his friends are fairly quick to turn against him (to be fair, he kinda deserves almost all of it, especially after killing one of them). And then Kaori shows up during the second half, and suddenly Tetsuo doesn't seem so Satanic. While he's even less so in the movie, this is still established by having Kaori as his girlfriend from the start, and Kaneda not giving up on him just yet, even when they face off.
  • Cross Ange has Prince Julio. His younger sister Ange gets mad at Embryo for killing him, despite all the terrible things Julio has done - including trying to hang Ange. Probably because Embryo ended up being even worse than him.
  • Death Note: Light is adored by Misa, though this is arguably part of a Villainous Friendship. Otherwise, his family love him dearly (though they don't know he is Kira).
  • Dragon Ball Super: Broly
    • Despite being an abusive father, the new version of Broly deeply cares about Paragus, and flies into an Unstoppable Rage when he's killed. Tragically, Paragus did truly love his son in the past, but after getting stranded on Vampa became an angry, bitter man. Throughout the film, Paragus' desire for revenge conflicts with his desire to keep Broly alive, and he goes back and forth from demanding his son fight harder, to worry for Broly's safety.
    • Frieza of all people is revealed to have a warm relationship with his nanny and implied mother figure Berryblue, who's the only person that he has no problems with teasing him about and bringing up his insecurities. She's shown to be fond of her master, and in turn she's the closest anyone has come to Frieza caring about them.
  • The title character's mission in Enma (no, not Hell Girl) mission is to punish evildoers across time and space by pulling out their entire skeleton, minus as many bones as there were people who still loved them. One tyrant who was working thousands of slaves to death building the Tower of Babel had a single finger bone left when it turned out he was still loved by his son, for whose sake he built that tower in the first place.
  • Dewey Novak, the Big Bad of Eureka Seven, is hands-down the most evil and unsympathetic character in the entire series, yet Holland, who's both his brother and his nemesis, still loves him because they were family. When Dewey dies, Holland is one of the only non-villainous characters who mourns him and laments his madness.
  • Fairy Tail: Makarov loves, or at the very least still has faith in, his wayward son Ivan (who he exiled from the guild for recklessly endangering his comrades) and his grandson Laxus (who he banished for similar reasons, though only in the latter case do we see him break down in tears over it). The difference is that Laxus sees the error in his ways and returns those feelings, while Ivan seems to find the idea that Makarov has faith in him disgusting, a fact Laxus calls his old man out on.
    Laxus: Hurts, huh? After everything you've done, the old geezer still managed to have a little faith in you...'cause you're his son.
  • Lyrical Nanoha:
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid: Even with his abandonment and stubborn nature, it's shown that Kanna cares deeply about her father and wants to have a more healthy relationship with him. Just anything else but the status-quo might do, but the guy is immovable.
  • William of Moriarty the Patriot is a serial mass murderer, and his subordinates' deep and boundless affection for him nearly ruins his entire plan. One of his brothers loves him so much he agrees to care for the entire world in William's absence, and the other loves him so much he goes to prison to attempt to spare his reputation. Even Sherlock Holmes, William's greatest rival and antagonist, cares for William so much he jumps off the Tower Bridge after him hoping to save his life.
  • Naruto:
    • While he is ultimately redeemed at the end of the series, for the time Sasuke spent as the villain rival to Naruto, his former teammates still cared about him and was devoted to bringing him back home.
    • This is also the case for Orochimaru but rather than his former teammates, it was his former teacher that still cared for him and wished things would have turned out differently for his student instead of having to fight him to protect everyone else he cared about.
  • My Hero Academia: Despite all the terrible crimes he's committed as Dabi and the fact that he seeks to destroy their family in the name of revenge, none of the Todorokis can move past their love for him, still viewing him as his previous identity of Toya Todoroki. Ultimately, despite the many issues they still need to work through, they come together in order to save Toya, not stop him.
  • Tribe Nine: This trope is Kazuki's motivation for everything he does in the series — he still values his friendship with Ojiro, and wishes to save him from himself. This persistence pays off in the finale, where the non-fatal Heroic Sacrifice he performs ends up triggering Ojiro's Heel–Face Turn.

    Comic Books 
  • Dark Times: Jennir killing Dezono Qua causes him to have a bounty placed on his head by the man's vengeful family, despite the fact that Qua was a murderous cannibal scumbag.
  • The first recounting of the origins of Marvel Comics' Doctor Doom is told by Boris, the faithful servant of the Von Doom family who served as surrogate father to young Victor Von Doom after his family was slain by an arrogant aristocrat. Boris sees Doom as the champion of Baltic gypsies, after turning medieval Latveria into a showpiece of Europe. Latverians are shown heartily supporting Doom as well.
  • New Gods
  • During DC's One Year Later event, several minor Batman villains were killed off, one of them a mutated biologist named Orca. During the storyline, it's revealed that Orca was married to a normal human, who's interviewed by the police regarding the circumstances around her death. While a little humor is taken from the relationship (the man remarking that he had a thing for big women), the pain of loss is treated seriously.
  • Superboy-Prime: Averted. When Superboy-Prime finally comes home, he is shocked to discover that his parents and girlfriend read Infinite Crisis, Sinestro Corps War, Countdown to Final Crisis, and Final Crisis - Legion of 3 Worlds, and are now terrified of him. It is implied that he killed Laurie Lemmon and his parents let him live with them out of fear. While he becomes more possessive and controlling of his parents, he still wants them to love him. However, it is clear that all the love they had for him has been replaced by fear. This is best shown in Adventure Comics #4, when Superboy-Prime demands that his parents take him to Jet's Comics, as it was a matter of life and death. They do as he commands, and along the way his father, Jerry Kent, begs Prime not to hurt them. Prime asks why in the world they would think that he would hurt them. His father points out what he had done to Laurie, to which Prime responds that he had done it because she didn't like him anymore. Prime then asks Naomi, his mother, if she loves him, to which she replies that she is terrified of him. Upon arriving at Jet's Comics, Prime tells Naomi he loves her, apparently ignoring her previous comment. When Prime leaves the car, Naomi tells Jerry to drive away, to anywhere. Jerry refuses, pointing out that he would just find them like he did last time.
  • Teen Titans: Deconstruction as this trope causes nothing but grief for Roy and Lian Harper because of Cheshire, Roy's ex-girlfriend and Lian's mom. Roy fell in love with Cheshire while he was investigating her for the C.B.I., leaving her because he couldn't bring himself to turn her in. Neither of them knew at the time she was pregnant with their daughter. Roy and Lian both love Cheshire to varying degrees, but it's a very strained type of love because she's an unrepentant psychopath and responsible for destroying an entire country with a nuclear weapon because she felt like it. So they know Cheshire's a horrible person, but she's still Lian's mom and Roy doesn't want Lian to endure having a mother who'll spend the rest of her life locked away in prison (though father and daughter both know she deserves it). The worst part is the mounting evidence Cheshire doesn't love either of them and manipulates their emotions to keep them under her control.
  • In The Umbrella Academy, most of the siblings who fight Vanya take the opportunity to insult her...Except for Diego, who insists until the end that he loves her and he's sure she doesn't really want to do what she is doing.
  • There have been a few X-Men stories in which a young Kitty Pryde gets to know Magneto a bit better and humanizes him as a result, during the time period in which he tries to serve as headmaster to the Xavier school in respect of Charles' last wishes.
  • Wonder Woman Vol 1: Hypnota's twin sister still loves them even though they've turned to using their mental powers to brainwash people into subservient slaves and sell them to the Empire of Saturn to help the Empire prepare for their invasion of Earth. It doesn't help that the brain damage and paranoia that turned Hypnota villainous were caused by their sister accidentally shooting them in the head, which Hypnota does not believe was an accident.

    Fan Works 
  • A Friend Indeed:
    Harry: Yes, I helped to rid the world of evil, but even evil people have families and friends who did nothing wrong, people who will miss those who died yesterday when all the Death Eaters died. Those are the ones I'm concerned about.
  • He Never Told You: In spite of Simon murdering Tuba, mistreating Hazel, becoming insane and trying to kill Grace, and even still trying to kill her after she saved his life, Grace was still horrified and heartbroken by his death. The reason Grace seeks out The Cat to talk with her was because she is the only other person on the train that would care about his death.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: While Yeardley Lobelia is a misogynist bully in the story, it would be extreme to call him evil. Rather he an unpleasant bully taking out his issue on someone else. His little sister still cares about him deeply, calling Ash to ask if her brother is a bad guy after he locks himself in his room to cry. However, his sister appears to be in the dark about his bad behavior. After the trial, where his little sister learns of his treatment of Chloe, she becomes scared that he'll start harming her because she's a girl and refuses to hold his hand. However, when Yeardley was taken hostage with Class 5-E, his little sister shows that she still very most loves him, and he regains her trust when Yeardley sacrifices himself to save her from Ms. Turner.
  • In Kara of Rokyn, Lex Luthor's family mourns his death, even though he had just attempted to murder them on the grounds of "betraying him" (i. e., not supporting his murderous goals), and his wife Ardora remembers that he used his scientific acumen to improve her subjects' lives before he let his hatred towards Superman consume him again.
  • The And Then There Were None fanfic "Nightmares" deconstructs the Asshole Victim archetype Justice Wargrave was looking for. After Vera and Lombard escape the island, they learn that everyone who was on the island had someone who cared about them and vice-versa, be it a girlfriend (Marston), a son (the Rogers), close friends (General Macarthur), or an older person they were providing for (Armstrong and Blore).
  • Mastermind: Rise of Anarchy: Whilst acknowledging that both of them are members of the League of Villains, Rei Todoroki is fully supportive of Touya and Shouto, her two sons, due to them finding a supportive family within the League. Rei also acknowledges how crazy she sounds.
  • In the Tenchi Muyo! one-shot No Need for School Day, Mayuka builds a headstone for her "mother"(creator) Yuzuha at the Masaki shrine and visits it every day, despite knowing that Yuzuha was a hateful, jealous, bitter demoness who treated her horribly.
  • In the Fate/Grand Order fanfic The Queen's Sins, the Proper Human History version of Morgan was a ruthless woman that plotted to take the throne away from her sister Artoria, and she is willing to fight her own children for siding against her. Her sons Agravain and Gaheris loathe her, while Gawain and Mordred want nothing to do with her. Despite all this, her daughter Gareth still sees Morgan as her mother that loved her. Gareth admits to Barghest that part of the reason she wants to help Lostbelt Morgan is because its the closest chance she has to speaking with her version of her mother.
  • Temporal Anomaly: This is the reason why One couldn't bring herself to kill the rest of the Intoners (sans Zero); despite how clearly they've been Slowly Slipping Into Evil and causing all sorts of havoc, she loved her sisters too much to put them down herself and had to rely on Zero to do the job.

    Film — Animation 
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: The Prowler is a ruthless enforcer for Kingpin, but he has Miles, a nephew who loves him and looks up to him, and a brother who, in spite of their estrangement, still wishes him well. Even after Miles finds out the truth, he's still utterly devastated by his death, especially since he died because he refused to kill him. Likewise, his brother finds his corpse in an alley, still in full supervillain costume, and begins crying. The epilogue shows Miles and his father painting a memorial mural for him, with the words, "Rest in Power," showing that despite becoming aware of his worst acts, they still love him very much.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In the 1966 Batman: The Movie, the Penguin uses a dehydration machine to temporarily turn a group of minions into powder (so as to be rehydrated later to attack Batman). As the powdered remains are collected for transport, the Penguin takes pains to tell his mooks to be careful because "every one of them has a mother" (which actually makes their later implied deaths during a later fight scene a little disturbing).
  • Vogel, the Nazi war criminal in The Debt, is married to a nurse at his office, who is horrified when told that her husband has had a heart attack.
  • Falling Down: When the gangbangers' car crashes and they are killed or injured, their friend Angie (who is implied to be the girlfriend of one of them) races up to the scene, crying.
  • Downplayed with Padmé in the Star Wars prequels, who is the only one still loving Anakin and believing in his goodness after his fall to The Dark Side — too bad she doesn't stick around to influence the Rebels, and the only person she expresses her belief to (Obi-Wan) already views Anakin as irredeemable. Luke from the original trilogy would count, but he never even knew his father, so his desire to redeem him in Episode VI stems more from him being an all-round good guy and falls under a "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight.
    • In the sequel trilogy, Kylo Ren (formerly Ben Solo) is still deeply loved by his parents Han and Leia, and Han even gives his life trying to reach out to his son. In The Last Jedi, his uncle Luke encourages Leia not to give up on him, and even Rey grows to empathize and care for him, to the point that she actively tries to reach out and encourage the light she still senses in him.
  • Loki in Thor. Despite everything that happened with his brother Thor, his parents and his friends still love and care for him. It's eventually a combination of his parents forgiveness and, in a subversion, Thor deciding that even though he still loves his brother Loki is probably never going to stop trying to betray him, that actually makes him complete his Heel–Face Turn in Thor: Ragnarok.
  • In The Fly (1986), Seth's unwitting Slow Transformation into a Half-Human Hybrid after a Teleporter Accident involves a Split-Personality Takeover and initially manifests itself in ways that give him a Drunk with Power feeling. As a result, he grows increasingly selfish and nasty towards his lover Veronica, especially once she starts pointing out that he didn't act this way before he teleported himself so his invention must have had something to do with it, and finally tosses her (almost literally) out of her apartment. However, her love for him never flags because she knows that he's sick. When he finally reestablishes contact with her after a month, having realized what's actually happening to him and reclaimed his better self, she becomes a faithful Living Emotional Crutch to him even though he's now The Grotesque — until he sends her away because he knows that his mind will eventually fully succumb to the instincts of an insect and he will be dangerous to her. Alas, he learns afterward that she's pregnant and doesn't intend to keep the child, and goes on to kidnap her before she can have an abortion, and maims her ex-lover when he comes to rescue her. Even then she still sees good in him and wants to help him with his last-ditch plan to save himself. Too bad it involves Romantic Fusion. In the end, after she's rescued from this fate while Seth is turned into a twisted Clipped-Wing Angel for his trouble, she's still reluctant to fulfill his request to end his misery by blowing his head off with a shotgun. But she does.

  • In The Belgariad, Torak is an evil god who seeks to rule the world through a religion that practices human sacrifice. But even after everything he's done, his father UL still loves him. So do his brothers, Aldur and the other gods, and his "mother", the Universe, for that matter. When Torak dies, all lights in the universe briefly go out, and then UL and the other gods sadly gather around him to mourn his death and bring his body to a proper place to bury him. It's eventually revealed that he wasn't always like that.
  • The western novels of William Johnstone and J.A. Johnstone show this quite often. Quite a few Hate Sink outlaws and killers have brothers, parents, or cousins who hold them in high regard and generally come looking for revenge. Pete McLaren in Those Jensen Boys: Twelve Dead Men. Is a good example. He's a murderous Young Gun with practically no regard for anyone around him. Nonetheless, the local Hooker with a Heart of Gold thinks the world of him and Pete's execution for murder sends his outlaw brother on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge.
  • Mercy Thompson features Les Heuter and his father, senator Benedict Heuter. Les is a scumbag Serial Killer and Serial Rapist who preys on innocent people and is thoroughly guiltless over his crimes and there isn't any indication that Les cares about his father. Yet, his father still genuinely loves him enough to help him try and get away with said crimes via good lawyers and had a breakdown after he was killed.
  • In the October Daye novel, An Artificial Night after October kills Blind Michael, both his wife, Acacia and youngest daughter mourn his death at least briefly. He was abusive to both of them and they both agree that he had it coming but they still remember the years before his descent into evil and will always remember those memories even if he wasn't like that anymore.
  • Subverted in Wings of Fire. Darkstalker only appears lovable to his girlfriend because he's been brainwashing her to ignore his manipulations and abuse. The future- true- version of him is exactly as sadistic in daily life as you would expect of a genocidal torturer.
  • Aldo Rakan from Reflections of Eterna starts off a relatively likable individual but soon reveals himself as a utterly repulsive and power-hungry bastard who single-handedly brings about more evil and harm than any other villain in the series. Only his Best Friend Robert and his grandmother Mathilda, both fundamentally decent and honorable people, seem to harbor any sort of good will towards him at that point, despite realizing how morally bankrupt the guy has become.
  • In the Sherlock Holmes novel The Hound of the Baskervilles, the escaped Serial Killer Selden is still loved by his older sister Elisa. Upon seeing Elisa's completely heartbroken reaction after Selden is accidentally killed by the Hound, Watson comments, "Evil indeed is the man who has not one woman to mourn him." Although Watson doesn't make the connection explicit, this tells us something about the villain of the novel, whose death at the end is mourned by nobody; the one woman who might have been expected to mourn him seems positively glad he's gone and in fact helped to bring about his death.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Tywin Lannister is a grim, cold man responsible for widespread death and destruction throughout the series. In spite of that though, he's still loved by both his brother, Kevan, and his sister, Genna. Tyrion — his son who despises him — has a very sobering moment when he realizes that the man who has abused him all his life is as beloved by his brother as much as Tyrion loves his own brother, Jaime. In Genna's case, Tywin was apparently a protective brother.
    • Stannis Baratheon is another grim, cold man. The readers see him most often through the eyes of Davos, who is a good guy, and fiercely loyal to Stannis. Davos is a reformed criminal, who was granted a respectable position in the service of Stannis. Stannis seems to respect him, despite his shady past and lowly origins. Davos is willing to overlook many of Stannis' genuine faults in gratitude for this respect.
  • The final book of The Zodiac Series, Thirteen Rising, reveals that Ophiuchus and Aquarius were romantically involved before the former's initial death. In the present day, Aquarius, while well-intentioned, also destroys several planets, manipulates everyone for his own ends, and is willing to kill Ophiuchus again to open the portal to Earth (which he is well aware of)...and yet Ophiuchus still loves him, enough to outright lie about his identity to protect him even after changing sides.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The page quote from American Horror Story: Freak Show is about Psychopathic Manchild, Dandy Mott. Throughout the season, he's shown to be a modern version of being Royally Screwed Up, which contributes to him becoming an Ax-Crazy murderer. Yet despite it all, his mother Gloria loves him, murderous intents and all. She even goes so far as to instead of doing a thing about his murders, cover them up. Tragically, his mother's love wasn't enough to stop him from killing her.
  • In Angel, the title character clearly cares deeply about Darla, who is evil for most of her time on the show. While Angelus didn't seem capable of loving her while he was evil, Angel continually tries to help and support Darla when she's human again and later when she's pregnant. He is distraught when she is bitten by Drusilla and when she stakes herself, despite her being evil during the latter event.
  • In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, a still-entirely-soulless Spike was partially humanized in season 5 by Dawn developing first a crush on him and then a brotherly Odd Friendship with him when she realizes he's smitten with her big sister. She frequently affirms that she thinks he's cool, is generally the only Scooby who openly likes his company, and is horrified when he is severely injured and tortured by the season Big Bad in order to protect her. This demonstration of his Noble Demon side also helps plant the seeds for this trope in his relationship with Buffy, as she sees how loyal and dedicated he really is for someone he cares about and starts treating him with a degree of trust and respect despite knowing that he's still a monster.
  • In the third season finale of The Flash (2014), Savitar/Future Flash is shocked to realize that even after all he's done, Iris is still willing to support and be there for him as long as he comes back to Team Flash, even touching his face not an hour after he tried to kill her. However, he ultimately decides that he can't stand to live in a world where Iris and his past self will live happily together when he couldn't get Iris in the future, and so decides to splice himself across time and space.
  • The Midsomer Murders episode "The House in the Woods" is driven by this trope. A murderer is shielded by his twin brother, who bitterly complains that the murderer was "born wrong" and can't help being what he is. He even Took The Heat and served his brother's prison sentence for killing a police officer, then doesn't defend himself against further murder charges that his brother frames him for. For his pains, the murderer tries to garrote him as soon as he stops being a useful scapegoat.
  • In Narcos, Pablo Escobar is sincerely loved by his family. And at first he is also loved by many poor Colombians for his generosity and various charitable deeds.
  • On NCIS, this trope is instrumental in Ziva's He Who Fights Monsters breakdown and subsequent departure from NCIS. At the start of her time on the series, she assassinated her brother, Ari, after he had gone rogue and joined a terrorist organization. Eight years later, she returns to Israel and runs into Ari's fiance, who still sees him as the boy next door she loved, and holds resentment towards Ziva. Dina reminds Ziva of Ari's humanity, and Ziva is hit with the Fridge Horror that everyone she has ever assassinated working with Mossad and NCIS was loved by someone. And reminds her that she loved Ari, as her brother, once upon a time. No amount of insistence from Tony that she was right to take him out, because he wouldn't have stopped hurting people, is enough to pull her out of her Heroic B So D, and she decides to leave law enforcement and discover who she was before being turned into a Tyke Bomb by her father.

  • The Bible:
    • In the Biblical Book of Judges, the Song of Deborah has an interesting example when, amidst celebrating the evil general Sisera's defeat and death, Deborah imagines Sisera's mother anxiously waiting for her son to return from battle. The contrast is reversed again when someone consoles Sisera's mother that her son is probably just late because of all the Israelite women he and his men are raping.
    • The Book of Romans plays it more straight by saying this is true of God's love for sinful people: "But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
    • And, of course, the Book of John famously contains this verse, about how much God loves everyone, both good and bad:
      John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Exalted, the Abyssal Exalted are the earthly vessels of undead Eldritch Abominations' Suicidal Cosmic Temper Tantrum, granted power through the trapped, debased essence of Solar Exaltations — except each has a Lunar Exalted somewhere in the world who is the bonded mate of the Solar Exalted they were supposed to be, and whose love is one of the few positive things that they can experience free from their masters' corruption.
  • Vampire: The Requiem has this as an optional mechanic: a vampire in regular contact with a human who genuinely loves them can more easily resist the Sanity Slippage and occasional Unstoppable Rage that the Damaged Souls of the undead are susceptible to. Those humans usually aren't aware that some vampires are mentally incapable of reciprocating.

  • King Lear: When Edmund realizes that both Goneril and Regan loved him (or at least as close to love as they could get), he resolves to save Cordelia's life. Unfortunately, her death already happened.

    Video Games 
  • In the Divine Divinity series:
    • In Divinity: Original Sin, Icara the White Witch reveals to the Source Hunters that the game's apparent Big Bad, the Conduit, is her own estranged sister Leandra. Icara blames herself for the Conduit's Start of Darkness and begs the Source Hunters to find the means of restoring their long-severed Psychic Link so she can attempt to redeem her.
    • Divinity: Original Sin II: Dallis's second in command, White Magister Reimond, is a Psycho Supporter, a vicious racist, and a literally frothing-at-the-mouth Sadist, but his cousin thinks he's a stand-up fellow and offers to refer the player character for a job. Her young son, however, wants nothing to do with Reimond.
  • In Double Homework, Dennis’s dad didn’t hate him; he just wanted to raise his son in is image of what a man should be. He vows to avenge Dennis, and honors the protagonist’s request not to contact him or his friends ever again because of his (supposed) friendship with Dennis.
  • Dragon Age: Inquisition: The player character can fall in love with Solas, who is later revealed to be the Greater-Scope Villain responsible for not just the events of the game, but almost every problem plaguing the world of Thedas (albeit unintentionally in both cases). In the DLC story, Trespasser, he reveals that he plans to lead an army of Elven rebels to destroy the Fade which he himself created, even though he knows that this will kill most non-Elves. The Player Character can choose to say that she still loves him and wants to save him from himself, or she can even offer to throw away everything she believes to join him.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim DLC "Dawnguard", Serana the Friendly Neighbourhood Vampire does her best to humanize her father, the omnicidal vampire lord Harkon. Her tragedy is that even she realizes that the parent she had once loved has long been consumed by his hunger for power, and there is ultimately no way of redeeming him.
  • In Fable, the Hero can be a Card-Carrying Villain with Horns of Villainy and a miasma of flies, but if he marries a villager and doesn't mistreat them, they'll be vocally "thrilled with [their] man from the Guild", even while the neighbours run screaming from the sight of him.
  • Galaxy Angel: In the third game, Eternal Lovers, even after discovering that Wein was a Valfasq and was only manipulating her for his own ends, Lushati can't help but cry for him after he sacrifices himself for her sake. It's heavily implied that Wein too developed genuine affection for her during the time he pretended to be her brother, leading him to disobey his superiors when they ordered her execution.
  • Hero King Quest: Peacemaker Prologue: When the party opens up Princess Spidervenom's prison, the latter admits that she held out hope that her mother would have a change of heart and save her. Unfortunately, Dark Lord Spidergland is a selfish ruler who has no intention of saving her daughter, since she has the potential to take the throne.
  • In Kings Quest (2015), Hagetha's nature as an Anti-Villain is cemented by the reveal that she was the original princess locked away in the tower, waiting for someone to rescue her. As time passed, nobody came for her, her looks faded and overuse of potions to maintain her beauty turned her into a hagged reptilian creature, so in her desperation Hagetha began tricking other princesses into getting trapped in the tower with her in the hopes that someone would come to rescue them all. Graham is able to redeem her by sympathising with her plight and using his love for her to break the spell trapping her there.
  • Morinth from Mass Effect 2 is an Ardat-Yakshi, an asari with a rare genetic defect that means they kill their mates when they meld minds with them. Rather than spend her life cloistered away with the rest of her kind, Morinth fled across the galaxy and became an unrepentant Serial Killer. She grew addicted to the rush of killing, and each melding made her stronger. She was so bad that her own mother, Samara, became a justicar and dedicated her life to finding and killing her. Yet when Samara finally does kill Morinth, she mourns her death, grieving that she was forced to kill the "bravest and smartest" of her daughters.
  • Several times in Mass Effect: Andromeda, it's possible to find e-mails to enemies from loved ones (a group of terrorists being asked by their loved ones just what the hell's made them desert La Résistance, mooks trying to compose e-mails to their buddies they left behind when they got exiled, a krogan henchman being told his old boss is perfectly willing to give him his job back if he stops working for an Ax-Crazy asari). Usually, these e-mails are found after Ryder has killed them.
  • In Mother 3 Fassad is a traitorous jerk who frequently abuses the captured monkey Salsa to do his bidding and enforces The Empire's tyranny. After Fassad's death, the player's can find his house in which a mouse is residing. The mouse says the man who lived in the house may have been hated by most people, but was a very dear friend who cared for him and states he's anxiously waiting his friend's return (unknowing of Fassad's death). Itoi says he added this to show everyone, no matter how awful, is loved by someone.
  • Sho from Persona 4: Arena Ultimax's actions are partly motivated by wanting to Avenge The Villain, Shuji Ikutsuki, his adoptive father, no matter how much he won't admit it. Ikutsuki, for his part, discarded him like trash after discovering Sho was useless for his purposes, and never once displays any sort of real affection for him.
    Sho: I already know that he was a goddamn bastard... so what!? It doesn't matter! He was all that I had in the world!
  • Sibling example in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Trials and Tribulations with Dahlia and Iris. Iris genuinely loves Dahlia, despite the fact that Dahlia is The Sociopath, that she more than once asked her to help in her criminal activities, and in the end only thought of her as a backstabber. Iris knows the kind of person Dahlia is (or rather, was, since was convicted for murder in the first case of the game and later executed before returning as a spirit in the final case) but pities her, wishing that their father had dropped the both of them off at Hazakura Temple when they were young instead of just Iris so Dahlia too would have found a mother figure in Sister Bikini to replace their power-hungry mother who never really loved them — she believes that if Dahlia had been treated with any modicum of love growing up, she wouldn't have become so cruel, callous, and vindictive. She tells Phoenix that Dahlia was always strong, independent, and never once complained about her lot in life.
  • Cyrus from Pokemon Platinum seems like a pretty cut-and-dry insufferable genius Nietzsche Wannabe. Until after you've finally defeated him, and you meet an old man who bemoans having not intervened in his brilliant grandson's childhood, instead simply standing by, silent, as the boy's parents pressured him into being absolutely perfect, demanding unrealistic expectations be met, and ultimately drove a once-happy child into a life of resentment and misanthropy. It's pretty obvious who the old man is talking about, and it is gut-wrenching to hear.
  • The final mission of Red Dead Redemption involves Edgar Ross being hunted down by Jack Marston in revenge for him killing his father, John. During this mission, the player learns Ross' whereabouts by interrogating Ross' loving wife and his brother. Both of them end up showing off a slightly more humanizing side to Ross, that he never shows on his own, and even inadvertently reveal that he's similar to John in certain ways.
  • Sacred Earth - Alternative: In the flashback cutscenes, Konoe knows that she's hated by her sister and major antagonist, Kagura, but seeks to reconcile with her. Unfortunately, it's implied the reconciliation failed and Konoe's party had to kill her, leading to Konoe destroying the world in a mad attempt to bring Kagura and their family back.
  • In Vampyr (2018), Seymour Fishburn is a sociopathic Serial Killer and one of the most despicable characters met in the game - he is one of the few potential victims whose death actually improves the district rather than make it worse - yet, the only people capable of loving him is his own mother Stella. Sadly, she is also deeply burdened by the fact he is a monster and is unable to turn him over to the police because he is still her son.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon ends with Ichiban confronting the main antagonist Ryo Aoki AKA, his former ward Masato Arakawa at the coin lockers where their stories began. Aoki, having suffered a brutal Humiliation Conga and undergoing a massive Villainous Breakdown bares his heart out to Ichiban as he laments that all the power he pursued meant nothing since he still feels as if no one truly cared for him as he prepares to blow his own brains out. Ichiban shoots back that Aoki was always surrounded by family who loved him unconditionally, which includes Ichiban himself, declaring that no matter how far he he fell they were always there for him, culminating in him declaring that he still sees him as a brother and tearfully begging to not have to watch his own brother die.

    Web Comics 
  • Dark Pegasus is one of the principal villains in the Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures universe, having started a Zombie Apocalypse to rule the world (which failed). Heroic Daniel Ti'Fiona was prepared to battle Dark Pegasus to the death, when his girlfriend Lorenda and her mother Kria intervened. Lorenda concedes that Dark Pegasus has an Evil Plan or two, but no more so than any other demon. Lorenda knows him as Uncle Aliph, a decent and honorable patriarch of the Soulstealer family.
  • I'm the Grim Reaper: Liam never stops loving Ana, not even after he finds out she’d killed her own son.
    • This could be interpreted as the case with Scarlet and Chase as well; despite being objectively terrible people, they’re the most important people to each other.
  • Elan in The Order of the Stick has an exceptional amount of empathy for his evil twin brother Nale, despite Nale being an unrepentant Card-Carrying Villain with almost no redeeming qualities who repeatedly threatens Elan's and his friends' lives. That they were Separated at Birth, with Nale raised by their Faux Affably Evil megalomaniac nutcase of a father, makes Elan question whether they would have grown up in each other's roles if their positions had been reversed (and he makes the connection about why growing up he'd sometimes find his mom alone in her room crying about a "lost nail"). When Nale is murdered in front of him, Elan is devastated. In fact, Nale's only redeeming quality is his surprisingly sincere relationship with the succubus Sabine who was originally sent to him to guide him into deeper evil, but genuinely fell in love with him. When Nale is murdered, Sabine's reaction is unbridled vengeful fury!
  • Yug in TV Tropes The Webcomic does his best to convince Report and the others that his brother Dab, the main antagonist of the Original Arc, is not beyond redemption and is still a good person inside. He is ultimately proven wrong, however.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Azula, despite all of her evil actions, was still loved by her mother Ursa. Azula continually tries to deny this, claiming Ursa only ever thought of her as a monster, but the subconscious knowledge that her mother really did love her in spite of her behavior winds up being a major factor in Azula's descent into madness. In later comics, Zuko is willing to try to make amends; but given Azula's mental state isn't stable enough to try to reciprocate, much less Zuko handling the issue very poorly the first time around; the two got driven further apart. Zuko comes to terms with the fact that Azula is hurting inside, and that he cannot change her, but it's his responsibility to be there for her when she's ready to get her life back together.
  • Subverted in the Batman Beyond episode "Ascension". Big Bad Derek Powers' son Paxton initially seems concerned for his father's health and safety. Paxton later reveals that he purposely set up the protest by the Verdeza activists in order to expose his father as Blight. He then hired Batman to search for Blight pretending to plan to help him when he was actually intent on killing Blight and taking control of the company for himself.
    • However, it's also played straight in a much more subtle way with Derek Powers' personal assistant, who is visibly upset at seeing her boss unhinged and in hiding. The comic book tie-in even had her become a supervillain, Vendetta, to take revenge for his fate.
  • The Darkwing Duck episode "Time and Punishment" shows two examples, with varying results:
    • Despite Darkwing having become ruthless as a vigilante (to the point where he's all but directly stated to have a massive body count), Gosalyn still tries to reach and redeem him, believing that on some level he's still her father. His love for her keeps her relatively safe (though he does throw her in prison after she pushes him a bit too hard), but doesn't much affect the way he treats others.
    • To a somewhat lesser degree, Darkwarrior's version of Launchpad still cares about him. He's clearly regretful that his former friend threw him out and when Darkwarrior softens upon seeing Gosalyn, he seems hopeful that things can go back to normal. However, he's (understandably) less trusting than Gosalyn that it's possible to reach whatever's left of Darkwing and knocks him out to protect her from him.
  • Spildit is a more passive case in The Dreamstone. She doesn't so much defend the Urpneys as seem naive to the extent of their villainous actions, viewing them more as naughty playmates, and aiding them whenever they aren't up to no good, a stark contrast to the rest of the Land of Dreams, who abhor anything that serves Zordrak (willingly or not). Since Frizz and Nug are more recessive Slave Mooks, they don't seem to bother Spildit's company. Sgt Blob however sometimes uses this to dupe Spildit into helping with schemes.
  • The Legend of Korra: Asami understandably tries to disown her father, Hiroshi, after he is revealed as an Equalist and turns on her for siding with the Avatar, but deep down she still loves him because and is ultimately able to forgive him for his crimes. Tragically, however, she only fully admits this to herself just before he dies saving her life, leaving them unable to truly reconnect and make amends.
  • Bat-Bat implores this of the Cow in the Bakshi Mighty Mouse episode "Night of the Bat-Bat." The Cow acquiesces.
  • Steven Universe: Pink Diamond of the Diamond Authority is an unusual example of a villain humanized by the love of other villains and antagonists. While very little has been revealed as of this post, we DO know that her court adored her, her sister Diamonds loved her, and even Rose Quartz (who shattered her) shows deep regret for her actions. The writers give as much weight and legitimacy to her mourners' grief as they do for Rose's own loved ones, making this yet another point of contrast between the two. Subverted as she is the person everyone thinks shattered her and was Good All Along (though her family and subjects don't know that).
  • Regular Show: This trope leads to the defeat of Anti-Pops. Despite all the evil he's committed, deep down Pops still loves him because they're brothers and nothing will change that. Anti-Pops' powers are based entirely on destruction and misery, so positive emotions like kindness and love cause him to be Brought Down to Normal. Thus, all it takes to destroy him forever is Pops hugging and reassuring him, followed by hurling both himself and the weakened Anti-Pops into a nearby star.
  • All over the place in She-Ra and the Princesses of Power. Even the cases where both participants are in the Horde, generally one is either a Minion with an F in Evil or a Token Good Teammate. Most of them hit serious problems, invariably because of Catra.
    • Adora still clearly cares about Catra, even as Catra continues down her spiral, continually offering her second chances even after Catra tries to kill her. It's a major "oh shit" moment when Adora finally concludes that trying to redeem Catra is just wasting her time and dulling her edge, and it takes Catra trying to end the world to push Adora that far, and even then Adora cannot bring herself to hate Catra and ultimately does love her in spite of everything. Adora understands that she cannot change Catra, but she will be there for her when she's ready to get her life together.
    • Catra is also the object of Scorpia's affections, although since Scorpia is kind of a pushover, she ultimately ends up as more of an enabler. Catra burns this bridge too, when she backstabs Entrapta, has her thrown on a transport to Beast Island, and threatens Scorpia to keep her quiet about it; you can actually see Scorpia's heart being ripped out when it happens.
    • True Neutral science nerd Entrapta (who's on the Horde's side, but mostly indifferent to their actual plans) and Big Bad Hordak become extremely close. Both characters show surprising vulnerability around each other in season 3. Hordak sees lights flash behind Entrapta when she talks about the beauty of imperfection (a sensitive topic for Hordak, being a flawed clone); Entrapta works the First One word for "loved" into an upgrade she makes to Hordak's life support armor. Catra secretly has Entrapta exiled to Beast Island and lies to Hordak about it, telling him that Entrapta defected to the Princess Alliance. When Hordak discovers that this was a lie, he goes ballistic and attacks Catra with his arm cannon, destroying large swaths of the Fright Zone in the process.
  • Mr. Burns in The Simpsons is a thoroughly irredeemable Bad Boss and Corrupt Corporate Executive, whose only humanizing trait is that he has the Undying Loyalty of his assistant Smithers.
  • Tangled: The Series: In Season 3, Rapunzel still clearly cares about her ex-best friend Cassandra, even as Cassandra continues down her spiral, continually offering her second chances even after Cassandra tries to kill her.
  • Percy — a blatantly good guy (if a sometimes misguided one) — tends to have this sort of relationship with Diesel 10 and his Quirky Miniboss Squad in later episodes of Thomas & Friends, while the other engines generally loathe them to the point of Fantastic Racism. It only gets exploited in "Day Of The Diesels" though they show their gratitude when he helps out Sidney in "The Missing Christmas Tree Decorations".
  • Flug from Villainous is a Card-Carrying Villain and Mad Scientist who loves what he does, that being spreading mayhem and evil through his inventions, but his pride and joy is the genetically-engineered bear 5.0.5., who couldn't hurt a fly; he treats him with boundless kindness and dotes on him constantly, and 5.0.5. loves him just as much.


Video Example(s):


Jonathan "Jojo" Joestar

Dio Brando (the Big Bad) ambushes his adoptive brother Jonathan Joestar (the main protagonist) on his honeymoon with the intention to claim his body (as Dio's body was destroyed in their previous battle) after his hatred for him has twisted so far around it has become Villain Respect, believing no one else would be worthy.<br>He mortally wounds Jonathan and latches onto him with his prehensile veins, but Jonathan uses the last of his strength to grab Dio's head and hold him close to keep him in place, and Dio can only beg his foe to let him go while promising him immortality... and then he realises that Jonathan is already dead (with a smile) and is genuinely affected by Jonathan's death. Even though he does indeed behead Jonathan's body and attach his own head to it afterwards, he sounds like he's about to cry when he realises that Jonathan is actually dead.<br>Jonathan's last words prove that Dio's newly found brotherly love, in spite of everything, was returned, embracing his Arch-Enemy and adoptive brother as he kicked the bucket.

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Main / TheHeroDies

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