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Forgiven, but Not Forgotten

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"The stupid neither forgive nor forget; the naïve forgive and forget; the wise forgive but do not forget."
Thomas Szasz

When it comes to forgiving one another, it can be difficult at times. Some of your good-hearted people like the Nice Guy, All-Loving Hero, and the Wide-Eyed Idealist would be always willing to let bygones be bygones, but as for the Anti-Hero, Knight Templar, and the Jerkass, not so much. Then, there are some people who actually can (or will) forgive and can still give others the cold shoulder, which is this trope.


In short, this is more of a cynical cousin of Easily Forgiven. Instead of following the adage "forgive and forget", these type of characters take the "forgive" part only. No matter how forgiving the character is, he still feels genuinely hurt by the transgressor's actions or words, which explains the harsh attitude. Maybe the character is still distrustful towards him and believes that the transgressor might do the same thing all over again; then again, this reason may be justified. Perhaps the person has a bit of a short temper and takes the little things too seriously (like having his foot being accidentally stepped on), which makes it impossible to forgive the other completely. When it comes to this trope, just because people forgive doesn't necessarily mean they will move on.

Usually, other variants would show that one character will come to sincerely apologize to the other and they will still call them out of their wrongs with responses such as "you've hurt my feelings" or "you should be sorry". They may hear that they are trying to change their ways, but is still not good enough to make them completely happy again. These kind of forgiveness are given by wary characters, and if they forgive the offender, may give out warnings of threats or other ultimatums to them should the action be repeated. As far as forgiving others and not forgetting their act goes, this is usually seen as a character still finding it difficult to truly move on, just a character having bad trust issues, or just a character being an insufferable jerk.


It's worth noting that this trope isn't always found on the cynical side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism. To put this trope positively, forgiving others doesn't mean tolerating what the other has done. One, it can be a process to heal all negative emotions that the victimizer has caused, and that the victimizer will take responsibility of never repeating his mistakes. Even so, just because the person has forgiven the other doesn't mean they have to be friends with them; he would still be satisfied to see him receive his Laser-Guided Karma for good measure.

The Atoner may not care if the forgiver is still not going easy on him, since the only thing that matters to him is that he is pardoned for his wrongs. If he does care for his approval again, though, then he will work hard to make that person happy with him again, or at least improve himself morally. If the forgiver does indeed become happy, it can be a heartwarming moment. If not, then this can make a rather complicated story, and it may lead to the implication that the character has never really forgiven them at all.


Pretty much Truth in Television, but examples are unnecessary. Compare Flippant Forgiveness (the sarcastic variant), My Fist Forgives You, and Restrained Revenge (both tropes are about getting even with the wrongdoer while forgiving him, usually physically). Contrast Rejected Apology, Reformed, but Rejected, and Heel–Face Door-Slam, which demonstrate that the character is not forgiven at all, no matter how sincere he is in his apology and turning his life around.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In A Certain Magical Index, most people who know of Accelerator's past, and especially his involvement in the Level 6 Shift project, acknowledge that he's trying to be a better person, but certainly are not about to let him forget what he's done. Accelerator doesn't expect them to; indeed, he can't forgive himself. The only person who seems to have wholeheartedly forgiven him is Last Order.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Scar was given this sort of advice from his master in regards to avoid dwelling himself in revenge too often or he will turn into a beast:
    "Enduring and forgiving are two different things. You must not forget the unjustness of society. As a human being, you must hold the event in contempt. Yet, you must endure. You must put an end to the chain of hatred!"
  • In Kotoura-san, Hiyori was uneasily forgiven for bullying Haruka and nearly getting Manabe killed and as a side effect broke Haruka in the process, although this is because Haruka can read her mind and see that she's genuinely sorry for what she's done. Also, Manabe knows Hiyori was the one responsible for the attack, and was actually shocked and suspicious when she starts hanging out with them. Haruka's grandfather also implied quite clearly he knew what Hiyori had done and, while not mistreating her, did make it clear she wasn't off the hook with him. (He made a "Haruka-land" theme park for his granddaughter, with her and friends as mascot characters. Hiyori's was locked in a burning cage.)
  • Inverted in Yureka, where Muria refuses to forgive the main trio for their past misdeed towards her, despite none of them remembering what, exactly, this actually misdeed is.
  • In Naruto, this is Naruto's attitude towards Nagato after all the harm that he's caused. After hearing of all the hardship Nagato went through which led him to being the person he was, Naruto realizes that even if he can't stop himself from hating him for what he's done, he will still forgive him, as not doing so would only perpetuate the cycle of hatred and revenge that was plaguing the world of shinobi.
  • In Aruosumente, Moeran hates Oracles because Oracle Kian, Legna's father, was somehow involved in the death of Moeran's precious teacher, and while Legna was sheltered from any consequences, Moeran was instead threatened with permanent imprisonment. Eventually, Moeran realizes that Legna has no idea what happened and seems ready to forgive him, though he's by far not ready to forget. Forgiving and forgetting Legna's ignorance is another matter.

    Comic Books 
  • In Crisis on Infinite Earths, Lady Quark does forgive Pariah for the destruction of her universe, which he never meant to do, but says that she will never forget. But it turns out Pariah wasn't responsible at all.
  • In Just a Pilgrim, by Garth Ennis, the titular character thinks about all the terrible crimes he had committed and decided that while God was going to forgive his crimes, He wasn't going to forget them. He decided that he wasn't going to let himself forget about them either, branding his face with a red-hot crucifix as a constant reminder.
  • Wonder Woman (1987): While Diana forgives Hercules and Ares she never forgets what they've done and what they are, a concept Ares understands and appreciates in his own dark way and which Herc does not understand and resents. This is probably key to why Diana and Ares get along better than Diana and Herc even though Ares is unapologetically unheroic while Herc tries his best to act as a hero.
  • Ultimate X-Men: Wolverine initially joined the X-Men as The Mole, to kill Xavier for Magneto, and then had a Heel–Face Turn. He was largely forgiven for it, but Jean kept distrusting him for it, mainly because he seduced her during the attempt.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Ancient Sins: After his redemption, Dante faces this problem with all of Equestria and his fellow teammates, but for good reason. Despite this, some of the heroes help him improve his image, but still distrust him. Subverted with the other Equestrian villains, who all incorperate into the land easily.
  • Child of the Storm has Harry, eventually, forgive his grandfather for not rescuing him from the Dursleys due to understandable concerns (including not wanting to draw attention to Harry in the first place). However, as he notes in the sequel, this is not the same as forgetting.
  • Inverted with Habia from The Lion King Adventures. He is forgiven for murdering Tama, but he himself never forgets it. Word of God states that he did eventually get over it as he grew up.
  • In The Newest Challenger, Sasuke's Chidori through the chest on Naruto. It's brought up by Naruto when Sasuke is first introduced to his friends, and while Naruto still remembers it he recalls it with a mere shrug of the shoulders, compared to the reaction of many of his friends, one of whom tried to attack the past perpetrator on the spot.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness Act I: In chapters 10-13, Apoch and Astreal brainwash Dark and Rason in an attempt to get them to fight and kill their Bad Boss Ghaldin; unfortunately, their ineptitude with mind control spells allows Ghaldin to take control of all four of them when he catches up to them, with Ghaldin electing to test Dark and Rason's power by siccing them on the gang. After the situation is resolved by Inner Moka killing Ghaldin, Dark and Rason decide to forgive the two, but Dark warns Apoch that he will personally kill her if she ever tries anything like that again.
  • Lampshaded, but at the same time subverted, in The Light that Banishes the Shadow for the Fairy Tail fandom. When a former mage of Fairy Tail points out that Yukino's excommunication from Sabertooth following her defeat in the Grand Magic Games arena brings to mind Laxus' failed takeover attempt seven years prior, Lucy defends Laxus by pointing out that half of her guildmates witnessed his role in aiding Fairy Tail in the Tenrou Island crisis, and that for the rest, the passage of time erased their resultant grudges. Lucy ends her speech by saying of Laxus' big screw-up, "although none of us have forgotten, we all have forgiven."
  • It appears in I'm still alive which belongs to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jen Carter understands that Bucky can't be held responsible for Howard's assassination, but she can't look at him without thinking about it, which creates conflict with several people. He was her best friend, after all.
  • In Worm fic Queen of the Swarm, Taylor thinks she could forgive her former best friend for betraying her and bullying her since Emma's sincerely sorry, but she cannot forget what happened.
    I doubted she could ever be my best friend again: no amount of mental gymnastics could remove the fact that it'd been her face sneering at me, taunting and abusing me. I might not be able to forget, but I could forgive, and so long as Emma could settle for being a basic friend (and control any other urges: I caught her eyeing me several times) I saw no reason why this arrangement couldn't work.
  • From the Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    Seto Kaiba: I can't believe the five of you tried to take over my company.
    Mokuba: And don't forget how they kidnapped me!
    Seto Kaiba: Yeah... that too.
    Gansley: Mr. Kaiba, please let us explain. We were just pretending to work for Pegasus!
    Seto Kaiba: I instantly forgive you. But I'm still pretty sore about that whole trying to kill me thing.
  • In the song "Of All The People" from the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf novel, the singer says in the final verse that someday he'll forgive the person who has subjected him to a past he never wanted to live, but he will never let go of what it did to him. The singer in this case is Empath, and the person that he will forgive but never forget what he did to him is Papa Smurf, his biological father.
  • It is stated in the epilogue of The Vow that Lady Lianne trusts her husband Lord Shen and has moved past his transgressions. However, she has to remember that she has imprisoned him and has to make sure that he doesn't threaten China a second time now that he's believed to be dead.
  • This is pretty much the reaction to Jorah Mormont's return to Westeros in Robb Returns, despite his exile. In the face of the threat of the Others, Robert is willing to write him a pardon and Eddard and his family are willing to set his crimes aside, but it's very clear those scars will not be fading anytime soon. It's also made clear that he is still disinherited for his crimes.
  • In Where Talent Goes To Die, Miura feels this way about the various killers, or at least the ones who were trying to graduate. She sympathizes with them to various extents, and doesn't believe they deserve to die, but does not forget that they killed at least one person and were willing to sacrifice the others in order to graduate.
  • In A Prize for Three Empires, Carol Danvers tries to forgive Rogue for stealing both her powers and memories and attempting to kill her but "she was never, a zillion times over, going to forget the terrible thing Rogue had done to her".
  • In Hiccup the Useless, after the truth behind Stoick's Fake Ultimate Hero Red Herring plot was explained to Hiccup after he tried to kill himself, Hiccup decides to stay on Berk and continue as normal for the sake of his people, though it is very clear that things aren't the same. He keeps to himself and decides that he and Astrid need to "take a break", having a very brief thing with Heather as she visits because she was uninvolved in their plot. Conversely, the Hooligans over-compensate in their attempts to make him feel wanted.
  • In the Transformers fanfic Indefinite Objects, Maggie forgave Glenn for ratting her out in the FBI cell, but she is understandably wary about telling Glenn another secret she's uncovered. Glen himself wonders if Maggie smuggled Pentagon materials in her purse.
  • In Her Inner Demons, Sci-Twi is no longer mad at the Shadowbolts for bullying her, and accepts their apology. But she makes it clear she doesn't want to be at Crystal Prep anymore, and she wants some time to herself before she can accept them back into her life again.
  • Happens twice over in Marinette Dupain-Cheng's Spite Playlist:
    • Having Become Her Own Antithesis due to Lila's Poisonous Friendship, Alya is naturally horrified upon realizing how far she went and what it cost her. While she eventually tells Lila that she forgives her, she does so well aware that her former friend doesn't really care about her, and she doesn't want to rekindle their relationship. She's only forgiving her so that she can move on with her life.
    • Similarly, Adrien bluntly informs his father that while he's forgiven him for his Parental Neglect and abuse, that doesn't mean he wants Gabriel to have any part in his life moving forward. Especially since he's going to have children of his own soon, and doesn't want to risk Gabriel hurting them the way he did his son.
  • Burning Bridges, Building Confidence: When Nino realizes how much Lila has manipulated him and the rest of their class, he immediately approaches Marinette, Cole and their Girl Posse to apologize. While Marinette is the most willing of the lot to accept his sincerity, she also makes clear that they need to see him making real effort to change before they can start forgiving what he did, and that it's going to take time to build up any trust.
  • Blackened Skies: During the first Trial, Kaede keeps critical information from her classmates. Some of this is to protect others from falling under suspicion, while other details she hides in hopes of luring the culprit into a trap. In the aftermath, some of her classmates reject her apology, calling her out for how her actions greatly complicated matters and nearly caused a mistrial. Others, like Sakura, make clear that while they understand why she did what she did, it's also made it much harder for them to trust her.
  • In Loud 10, Lisa attempts to extract the Omnitrix from Lincoln in order to claim it for her own and study it, and accidentally mutates her other siblings into aliens in the process. When everyone returns to normal, Lincoln informs Lisa that while he does somewhat forgive her, it will take awhile before he can start trusting her again.
    • Lincoln gives the same sentiments to Lynn in the next chapter after she tries to pull a similar stunt due to being envious of Lincoln being a hero.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Napoléon, Napoleon tells an angry mob to release Saliceti and di Borgo—who have repeatedly conspired to have him killed, mind you—saying that forgiving them is easy, but forgetting is impossible.
  • Underground ends with Marko awkwardly seeking to reconcile with Blacky. Taking a shot of vodka, Blacky states brusquely that he has forgiven but not forgotten. Marko doesn't seem to process the measured nature of Blacky's position as he dances away with joy. After a moment, Blacky shakes his head and smiles. It helps that they're all in heaven at this point.
  • Warrior:
    • There is this conversation from Paddy and Brendan Conlon. The former was an alcoholic abusive father who favored the latter's brother, Tommy:
      Brendan: You never had any interest in underdogs. But I was your son.
      Paddy: You are my son, Brendan.
      Brendan: Am I?
      Paddy: Yeah, you are. I'm just asking you if can find... find a little bit of space in your heart to forgive me a little bit.
      Brendan: Yeah? All right, I forgive you.
      Paddy: Okay.
      Brendan: But I do not trust you.
    • Brendan and Tommy, however, have reconciled at the end of their fight.
  • Steven tries to avert this in the film The Wisdom Of Crocodiles:
    Anna Labels: It's been a difficult day. I'm sorry. Problems at work. There's no excuse for taking it out on you. Is it alright for Saturday with Martin and Karen?
    Steven Grlscz: Sorry? Oh yes.
    Anna Labels: Good.
    Steven Grlscz: Actually can we not do this? I can't do it this quickly. Accept apologies when I'm still angry. You can't say something like that and then say sorry. Do you see?

  • The story of "The Man and the Serpent" from Aesop's Fables starts with a serpent biting a farmer's son to death, which angered the farmer, who cuts off the serpent's tail off with an axe. The serpent seeks revenge against him, stinging all of the cattle of his farm, causing a huge loss. The farmer then seeks for reconciliation with the serpent, but the serpent relents, saying that the farmer will never forget the death of his son and he won't forget the loss of his tail. The story ends with the statement "Injuries may be forgiven, but not forgotten."
  • Lucky from Survivor Dogs had been betrayed by his sister Bella because she did not speak up for him when he was banished from the pack. When he comes back, he ignores her trying to talk to him before finally forgiving her...but he never truly forgives her for what she did.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire Stannis Baratheon quotes the trope title verbatim in regards to his stormlands bannermen, who initially declared for Renly (his little brother who was after Stannis both as their legal lord and in line to the throne) only to turn around and come back to him once Renly died. He compares them to Robb Stark and Joffrey Baratheon's men, who at least stand loyally by who they believe is their rightful king.
  • In the Discworld short story "The Sea and Little Fishes", Granny Weatherwax punctuates the day's Paranoia Gambit by finishing off with a nice grandmotherly speech about forgiving trespass (in the context of having been slapped by one of the other witches who had turned hysterical by her uncharacteristic niceness, and who had insulted her earlier by asking her not to come in the first place) before returning to her regular self, effortlessly winning the Witch Trial with a magnificent (and destructive) display of fire magic applied just to light the ceremonial bonfire, and adding "...I never said nothin' about forgettin'".
  • After the Yule Ball disaster in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Parvati's a bit frosty toward Harry for several months. Harry makes note of it at the beginning of Book 5... in the end, though, Parvati becomes one of Dumbledore's Army's most loyal members.
  • In Land of the Rising Yen George Mikes says that the correct thing to do is to forgive but not forget, and what the Allies had done following World War II was forgotten but not forgiven.
  • Tris in Divergent takes a while to forgive Christina and Will for not protecting her when Peter, Drew and Al kidnapped her, molested her, and tried to throw her down a chasm. By the time she does, she realizes that she can't trust anyone in the Divergent army except for Four.
  • In The Echo Vitka does forgive the narrator for failing to stand up to bullies, but she doesn't trust him anymore and thus their deep relationship is gone.
  • In The Supervillainy Saga Diabloman is The Atoner for having killed multiple superheroes and worked for an Eldritch Abomination, an Omnicidal Maniac, as well as one Apocalypse Cult. Despite being willing to work with him to stop The End of the World as We Know It, almost all superheroes hate his guts and work with him only begrudgingly. Even people who love his partner (and protagonist), Gary Karkofsky a.k.a Merciless, have difficulty being in Diabloman's presence.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Backstage: Helsweel announces the candidates to join the primas, Sasha among them.
    Sasha: Wait, I thought I was ineligible.
    Helsweel: The leotard incident has been forgiven. [Beat] But never forgotten.
  • From the Burn Notice episode "The Hunter", Sam and Madeline had a conversation about Sam blowing up her living room in "Lesser Evil":
    Sam: Maddy, I thought we've forgotten about that.
    Madeline: Forgiveness is a process...
  • In The Big Bang Theory's final season, Leonard realizes that while his abusive mother probably doesn't actually deserve forgiveness, holding a grudge against her isn't good for his own personal well-being. So, despite fully acknowledging how awful his mother is and how she most likely will never change, Leonard decides to forgive her anyway so he can let go of the pain she had caused him and move on with his life.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: This is Angel's status with the Scoobies outside of Buffy in the third season, after he lost his soul and reverted back to his evil persona Angelus in season two. While he saves Willow from a rogue Watcher, proving he is one of the white hats once more and Angelus is gone and they begin working with him again, they never fully have the same level of trust they did with him before. After all, if he lost his soul once, there's always the chance it could happen again.
  • From The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "The Script Formerly Known As...", Philip was rather reluctant when Vivian told him to accept both Will and Hilary's apology for bringing a dismissed juror of Philip's trial to Hilary's talk show.
  • Good Luck Charlie: Teddy dumped Spencer for cheating on her and didn't forgive him for a while. However, when they started working together in a theme park, Teddy's feelings for Spencer return when they kissed as she was torn. Also, hearing that Spencer regretted for his actions and wanted another chance, Teddy forgives him and everyone around her decided to also give him another chance. Despite it, Ivy and Amy hadn't forgotten about Spencer cheating on Teddy as they did a fake breakup in order for their school to see that the latter is not a jinx.
  • Horatio Hornblower: Discussed by Dr Clive and Lt Hornblower after Captain Sawyer has Midshipman Wellard caned. Dr Clive prescribes laudanum on everything and implies it will make Wellard forget, both the pain and the injustice. Hornblower thinks Wellard won't really forgive the Captain, considering he was beaten only because of Sawyer's growing paranoia.
    Dr Clive: Nasty business, that, nasty business. But then again, boys have been beaten since history began. It would be a bad thing for the world if ever boys should cease to be beaten.
    Lt Hornblower: That may well be your medical opinion, Dr. Clive but I can see no useful purpose served by thrashing a young boy within an inch of his life.
    Dr Clive: Come, come, Mr. Hornblower. A little tincture of laudanum for the pain and all will soon be forgotten.
    Lt Hornblower: Forgotten, maybe, Dr. Clive but forgiven?
    Dr Clive: Careful, Mr. Hornblower. I've had the good fortune to serve the captain for over 15 years, and he has inspired nothing but loyalty in the men under his command.
  • ICarly: The episode "iStillPsycho" shows Nora, who was released from prison, coming to apologize to Carly and the gang for what happened in "iPyscho". Even though they rebuked her for her psychotic behavior, they immediately become in good terms with Nora. For now...
  • Lab Rats:
    • Chase did some mistakes but his family forgave him but his siblings haven't forgotten as they bring it up to him at least once, he caused a particle collared to collapse as it almost killed him along with his siblings if Leo hadn't saved them, went on a mission alone and told Sebastian about Krane then started a rebellion.
    • Bree destroyed her bionic chip in order to have a normal life but regretted it when she found out that her brothers were almost killed on a mission because she wasn't there. Although she apologized and they forgave her, Bree's actions were brought up once during a sibling argument by Chase.
  • In the Grand Finale of M*A*S*H, Margaret reopens old wounds about Charles supposedly touching his nose while in surgery; even before Margaret finishes her sentence, Charles states, "Oh, no you don't! We settled that a long time ago!"
  • Shake it Up: Rocky gets upset when "CeCe" would drag her into situation and get her into trouble, eating a giant meatball the size of the car even though the latter is a vegetarian and sneaked off to a party where she had to be a waitress. However, "CeCe" went too far during the events of Shake It Up, Up & Away as Rocky got tricked and wound up dancing on a wing off an airplane. Although she forgave her, Rocky hadn't forgotten as she brought them up to "CeCe" in Shrink it Up. However, after hearing "CeCe" reasons, Rocky fully forgives her for the events of Meatball it Up and Party it Up but sill hasn't let go of the events of Shake It Up, Up & Away as she brought up to her again in Shake It Up: Made in Japan along with mentioning it in a flashback in Remember Me. Also, after the events of Shrink it Up, Rocky tries to be more understanding and forgiving of "CeCe" but still shows to haven't forgotten, doing a application for a fine arts academy without her knowledge, getting into a game show where they do disgusting things if the contestant gets a question wrong, sneaking into a movie lot and signing up for a boot camp instead of a dance boot camp, as she brought some those events up in order to help her in Remember Me when she got amnesia. However, after "CeCe" failed to remember her, Rocky breaks down as she not only realized that she has to let go of "CeCe"'s actions but also fully forgives her for the events of Shake It Up, Up & Away, which got her to get her memory back.
  • Discussed and played with a little in the pilot of Stargate SG-1. Jack O'Neil(l)'s son Charlie died after accidentally shooting himself with Jack's sidearm before the movie, and Jack has this to say about it:
    Jack: I think, in her heart, [my ex-wife] forgave me for what happened to our kid. She just...couldn't forget.
    Daniel: And what about you?
    Jack: I'm the opposite. I'll never forgive myself. But sometimes I can forget. Sometimes.
  • Schitt's Creek: In early seasons, Alexis turned down two marriage proposals from Ted and inadvertently cheated on him with Mutt, shattering Ted's heart. He forgives her, and Alexis eventually falls in love with him. After a long road they reunite, but their relationship is informed with her feeling as though she must prove herself to him and his friends.
  • John Watson in Sherlock communicates this to his wife, Mary, after it's revealed in the worst possible way that she used to in fact be a professional assassin, since she shot Sherlock, and had lied to Watson about her entire past through all their relationship, but he has nevertheless decided to forgive her. It's understandable, since Sherlock is John's best friend.
    Watson: [during a tearful hug with Mary] All this does not mean that I'm not still basically pissed off with you. I am very pissed off, and it will come out now and then.
  • In Season 5 of Supernatural Dean forgives Sam for his role in starting the Apocalypse and, after a few episodes apart, is willing to work with him again. But it takes him most of the season to fully regain his trust in him.
  • In The Walking Dead episode "The Grove", after Carol confesses to Tyreese for killing Karen and David and offers her gun to him, Tyreese forgives her but tells her he will never forget what she did.
  • In the That '70s Show second season episode, "Halloween", Eric learned that his best friend Hyde tried to kiss Donna in the first season episode, "Ski Trip". In "Eric's Stash", a few episodes later, though inflamed by Laurie, it's revealed that Eric still resents Hyde for it to the point he blames Hyde for stealing some money from him. It was Eric's father, Red, who took the money to buy a new hot water heater.

  • Papa Roach's "Blood" pretty much deals with this trope. This line in particular:
    I will forgive, but I won't forget
    And I hope you know you've lost my respect
  • The Corrs' "Forgiven, Not Forgotten" is about a woman grieving over the loss of her lover who committed suicide. She's forgiven him for leaving her behind, but is still emotional over this.
  • Inverted in Bring Me the Horizon's "True Friends", which is about the protagonist venting about an ex-friend who betrayed him.
    I wouldn't hold my breath if I was you. 'Cos I'll forget but I'll never forgive you.
    Don't you know, don't you know? True friends stab you in the front.
  • Willie Nelson had the number one hit "Forgiving You Was Easy" (the next line is "But forgetting seems to take the longest time).

    Myths & Religion 
  • The Bible: Exodus 34:7 gives the implication that God is good, kind, compassionate, and merciful, yet this doesn't mean that He will let the guilty go unpunished for their sins.
    • In 2 Samuel, Shimei, a relative of King Saul, curses King David. After Absalom was killed by Joab, Shimei asks David to spare his life, to which David agrees. In 1 Kings, as David lies dying on his deathbed, he declares that Solomon will succeed him as king of Israel, and charges Solomon to not hold Shimei guiltless, but to properly deal with his enemies. After Solomon is crowned king, he has Shimei restricted to Jerusalem, not to cross the Brook Kidron under penalty of death. When Shimei heads to Gath to recover his slaves, Solomon has Shimei executed.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • A trademark of Dutch Mantel's booking, particularly in regards to the ever popular Heel–Face Turn. The Colon's and the Gonzales families may work together to protect CSP/WWC from the usurpers like El Maestro, La Revolucion, or invaders from independent coalitions(New Wrestling Stars and New Empire), IWA PR or Mexico(AAA, Konnan and Alberto El Patron in particular), but the Colon family will never forget that Ray Gonzales decided to make the feud with family patriarch Carlos personal by dragging his children into the business and the Gonzales family will never forget Carlito taking things beyond WWC's business when he trashed the Raytings Mini Mart. Similarly, IWA PR's roster rallied to help Savio Vega when Jeff Jarrett sought to take the company with the backing of NWA-TNA, they ultimately joined him in his invasions of WWC, but never forgot the abuses they suffered under his "My way or highway" policies.
  • The Undertaker said this to the Ministry of Darkness from their failed attempts of trying to kidnap Stephanie McMahon after they defeated The Brood at WWF Backlash 1999. Later that night, the Ministry tried to capture Stephanie, only for her limo to drive away. When Stephanie asked the driver to stop, it was revealed that the Undertaker was driving the limo.
  • A couple of years prior, when Paul Bearer was begging the Undertaker to forgive him for his betrayal, Taker had stated that betrayal is something he would never forget, but he contemplated to forgive Bearer. It was all a ruse, and Undertaker knocked Bearer on his ass and was about to perform a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown on him until Mankind saved Bearer by throwing a fireball to the Undertaker's face.

    Tabletop Games 
  • An aversion in Deathwatch: as your armor's history, you can get the option "To Forget is to Forgive. Never Forget." It grants an automatic Hatred against whichever enemy killed your armor's past owner. This being Warhammer 40,000, however, you're probably not doing it right until you have Hatred for everyone.
  • Inverted by the dwarfs in Warhammer Fantasy, whose language lacks a word for "forgiveness". To a dwarf, a matter can be settled, at which point it is promptly forgotten, but an unpaid debt or a wrong will gnaw on a dwarf his entire life. Indeed, dead dwarfs pass down any of their debts or wrongs they haven't repaid to their family or their community, with most major dwarf settlements having a communal "Book of Grudges" where every unsettled matter is remembered forever, waiting for the community's chance to pay it back in a suitably disproportionate manner.

    Video Games 
  • At the start of Assassins Creed IV, Edward usurps the life and identity of a treacherous former Assassin named Duncan Walpole. By completing Walpole's assignment he compromises the Brotherhood, violating a major tenet of the Creed. He then kills several Assassins in his brief time among the Templars. The Caribbean Brotherhood partially forgives Edward and only spare his life because Mary Read vouches for him. They appreciate his skill in battle, his possession of the Eagle Sens, and his nature as a Wild Card but do not recruit him due to the above incidents. It is only years later and much Trauma Conga Line before Edward becomes Older and Wiser and finds his place among the Brotherhood.
  • In God of War, Kratos is told that his Accidental Murder of his wife and child will be forgiven if he slays Ares, who is busy laying waste to Athens. He takes this to mean he will be able to forget and lose the Past Experience Nightmares he has had every night since. Unfortunately for him, Athena takes away this impression. As she herself says, they promised only to forgive him, as not even the gods could forget what he had done. And unfortunately for them, this led to Kratos's increasing mistrust and misgivings of the Gods, which ended up in the wholesale destruction of Olympus. This whole example acts as a Deconstruction.
  • Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem: Heroes of Light and Darkness: Katarina is confronted by Cecille, who is clearly still hurt by her betrayal at the end of the prologue in their support conversations. Katarina accepts it, and vows to work hard to earn back her trust and friendship.
  • During the Golden Ending route of Aviary Attorney Jayjay can grudgingly forgive Inspector Volerti for nearly getting an innocent man killed in order to see if Jayjay is an infamous Serial Killer, but it's clear that his opinion of the Inspector has changed. In the other routes, where there's no 'nearly', he's less sanguine.
  • In Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire, Aloth forgives one of his Abusive Parents; either his negligent, absentee mother or his domineering, violent father. Which one depends on choices made in the first game. In the case of his father, forgiven in Aloth's more morally ambiguous path, Aloth forgives him because he comes to see him as "a weak man" who tried to be a father, but simply wasn't cut out for authority.
  • Red Dead Redemption 2: John Marston had left the gang for a year and is welcomed with open arms from most of the gang. Arthur Morgan, on the other hand, is less than forgiving, disgusted that John had left the entire gang as well as Jack (whom at first John doesn't believe is his son). Eventually, Arthur starts warming up to John again after the latter is determined to get Jack back from Angelo Bronte.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, Yasu/Beatrice forgives Natsuhi for throwing him/her off the cliff, saying s/he has tormented her long enough. S/he will never forget that Natsuhi is responsible for his/her miserable life, but as long as she regrets what she did to him/her, s/he won't hold any grudge against her.
  • In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, Makoto forgives the first victim, Sayaka Maizono, an acquaintance from middle school that he had a crush on, for trying to kill someone and frame him for the crime. At the end of the trial, Makoto repeats a joke that Sayaka had told him, and in the second game, he uses Sayaka's Dying Clue of 11037 as a password, saying it came from someone who saved him. However, that doesn't mean he's forgotten what happened, as toward the end of the first game, he's baffled why Sayaka would willingly agree to stay in Hope's Peak Academy despite being desperate enough to escape to try to "graduate."

    Web Comics 
  • Zigzagged in El Goonish Shive: After Justin receives an apology from Diane for calling him a "defective male", she appears to be Easily Forgiven by him with him claiming to not remember the incident but accepting the apology. The subsequent conversation with Nanase, however, makes it clear that he does remember; he just gave her credit for maturing ... credit that would be revoked if she ever regressed.

    Web Original 
  • Shadow of the Templar has Simon beating the shit out of Jeremy and then having a highly dub-con sex with him. Also, the team never passes on an opportunity to remind everyone of Simon throwing a mug at Johnny and giving him a concussion.
  • This Is War brings you David and Robyn, who seem to have reached this after a string of encounters involving a shooting, a violent angel, and finally fighting together against a warehouse full of vampires.
  • Froge from Froghand praises Good Old Games for not having any DRM, and thus making it easy to fileshare its games, yet brings up his (alleged) rejection of his (allegedly) popular game.
    Good Old Games rejected my Good New Game for unspecified reasons despite universal praise from everybody who played it, as opposed to those two-dozen or so people who I sent copies to and didn't, those bastards. But I will admit that hosting files which make it super easy to spread is, on the whole, the thing the gaming industry needs most right now.

    Western Animation 
  • Amphibia: Anne got angry with Hop Pop for lying to her about the Calamity Box as he buried it instead of sending it to a contact of his. However, after hearing his reasons and seeing that he's really sorry for lying to her, Anne forgives Hop Pop. Although she not angry with Hop Pop anymore, Anne is having a hard time letting go because his actions really caused a strain in their relationship with one another. Anne wants to let go about what happen with the Calamity Box as she tells Hop Pop that she doesn't know what he needs to do in order to set things right between them but he encourages her to take all the time she needed, which she appreciated.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Katara seems to have this sort of attitude toward Zuko after she and the rest of Team Avatar accepted him into the team after grudgingly acknowledging his Heel–Face Turn. She only accepted Zuko on the basis that Aang needed a firebending teacher and that they did not have a choice. She also, aware of Zuko's time in the Face–Heel Revolving Door up to that point, warns them that if he makes another Face–Heel Turn, she'll kill him on the spot. She does fully forgive him at the end of the series, though.
  • The animated adaptation of Franklin: In the episode "Franklin Forgives", Franklin was advised by Bear to forgive and forget in regards of forgiving Harriet for knocking over Goldie's, Franklin's goldfish's, bowl. Franklin response was that he doesn't want to forget Goldie.
  • Justice League:
    • Hawkgirl, definitely. In fact, some members of the League do not forgive her after it revealed she was The Mole, at least for a while, and even after she saves the day after her recuperation with Dr. Fate, she is heckled by an angry mob. Even much later, she still has hundreds of detractors among the public, as seen by the hate websites aimed at her, although her teammates all do eventually. Superman was the most willing to give her a second chance (especially since a similar thing had happened to him) while it took Wonder Woman the longest—and while Wonder Woman does reach a détente, she and Hawkgirl never fully became friends again. In fact, it was very hard for Hawkgirl to forgive herself for what she did too, going on a self-imposed exile to punish herself at first, and even discarding the identity of Hawkgirl, and considering it sham.
    • Same thing goes with Superman after the events of "Legacy". The world does trust him again after about a few years since Darkseid brainwashed him, and while they do accept that Superman was brainwashed, this event was never forgotten, as Lois pointed out in "Question Authority". Superman's speech about the aforementioned Hawkgirl regarding forgiveness and second chances speaks volumes about what he himself went through.
  • Discord from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is redeemed during the third season, but the Mane Six still haven't forgotten about when he caused them to go Brainwashed and Crazy and making the World Gone Mad. Everyone other than Fluttershy being anxious around the character leads to the character betraying them all to Tirek at the end of the following season, believing that none of them saw him as a friend anyway.
    • In that same regard, Trixie ends up being forgiven by Twilight, who ends up not trusting her when her apprentice Starlight Glimmer makes friends with her during the sixth season.
    • This is a constant presence in the Equestria Girls franchise:
      • In Rainbow Rocks, the Humane Six constantly bring up former bully Sunser Shimmer's evil deeds from the first film in the form of Innocently Insensitive comments, which clearly annoys Sunset.
      • In Friendship Games, Rarity once again subtly brings up again Sunset's evil past, althrougth as a joke and with Sunset taking it better. Also, even througth the whole school has forgiven her at this point, a poster of her demon form is shown during Rainbow Dash's motivational speech when she points out they defeated evil magic beings twice (the other ones being the Dazzlings).
      • Human Twilight's rampage as Midnight Sparkle is constantly bringed up in Legend of Everfree, althrougth in a much better light than Sunset's past. In fact, aside from a brief Innocently Insensitive comment from Rarity, the only reason her rampage is ever brought up is because Twilight hasn't forgiven herself.
      • Played for Laughs in the Magical Movie Night segment "Mirror Magic", where Sunset, Twilight, and Starlight Glimmer calmy bring up their evil actions when comforting a redeemed Juniper Montage.
      • Forgotten Friendship has this as Wallflower Blush's reason for removing the school's positive memories of Sunset Shimmer. They believe her Heel–Face Turn to be a front, and even if it isn't, that all the heroic deeds Sunset has done in the past year don't erase the the times prior she spent being a terrible person.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "$pringfield":
      Homer: You know, Marge, for the first time in our marriage, I can finally look down my nose at you. You have a gambling problem!
      Marge: Hmmm, that's true. Will you forgive me?
      Homer: Oh, sure! Remember when I got caught stealing all those watches from Sears?
      Marge: Hmmm.
      Homer: Well, that's nothing, because you have a gambling problem! And remember when I let that escaped lunatic in the house 'cause he was dressed like Santa Claus?
      Marge: Hmmm.
      Homer: Well you have a gambling problem!
      Marge: Homer, when you forgive someone, you can't throw it back at them like that!
      Homer: Aw, what a gyp.
      [they kiss]
      Homer: Remember when I—
      Marge: Homer!
      Homer: Oh yeah, I forgot already.
    • "The Way We Weren't" involves a flashback to Homer and Marge meeting as kids, and Marge livid with Homer when realizing he is actually a boy who stood her up for a date. When he reveals the insane chain of events that had actually stopped Homer arriving in time, Marge calms, but is still sore about her experience, despite Homer constantly hounding her whether she's let it go afterwards.
  • The debut episode of The Hair Bear Bunch involved the bears making keeper Peevly think he had a disease that affects zookeepers and he had to take a six-month vacation. This leads to misadventures and a chase with Botch and fill-in keeper Grunch, but after all is settled, Peevly is welcomed back by his animal charges.
    Hair: So you're not sore at us for pulling that phony doctor bit, Mr. Peevly?
    Peevly: [chuckles] A Peevly always forgives... [angrily] but he never forgets!!
  • After the infamous love triangle in Daria, it takes Jane almost the entire summer, but she does learn to forgive Daria for kissing Tom behind her back, and even encourages her to give him another chance. note  She does, however, tease Daria about it through the remainder of the series.
  • Kaeloo:
  • Bojack Horseman: In season 3, Todd ends up walking out of Bojack's life after he has sex with Emily, even dropping the f-word to punctuate his anger. Come season 4, however, and Todd tells Bojack that while he's not mad, he's not ready for them to become friends again.
  • In The Lion Guard, young cub Kion forgives the phantom of Scar, who murdered his grandfather. Not because what Scar did was okay, or even because Scar apologized (he didn't), but because it's not Kion's place to judge him. That right belongs to the lions who lived alongside Scar and suffered because of him- a right they promptly exercise.
  • The Baby Looney Tunes episode "In Bugs We Trust" focuses on this. When Bugs was entrusted to get a net for their volleyball game, they were disappointed when he decides to get a bunch of useless junk for himself instead. Their response when Bugs asks them for forgiveness?
    All but Bugs: We forgive you.
    Bugs: Really?
    Lola: We forgive you, OK, Bugs? We just can't trust you anymore. Because of you, we can never play volleyball ever again.


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