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When Light Is Good and Dark Is Evil, it was held that just as darkness was the absence of light (which is accurate), so evil was the absence of good. Where there was good, therefore, evil could not stand.

Anything "sufficiently" good didn't need to be intelligent or powerful in order to protect itself because good was invincible enough just being there. Good things had "auras" of purity or goodness that could slice and dice evil or evil-aligned beings like blades, atomize them entirely or at least leave a second or third degree burn. Even the greatest threats would run off screaming like nursery girls at the mere rumor of their presence, ignoring the fact that the objects of their fear were otherwise absolutely harmless.

Often times, the more proactive heroes were unable to have such an effect due to lesser purity, which left the local priest, nun or pure child to act as a Deus ex Machina for when they get overwhelmed by the legions of darkness. Objects touched or blessed by objectively good characters could gain similar protective qualities, and religious sanctuaries were the mightiest of fortresses when evil was on your tail. This injurious side of good is becoming rare as readers and viewers learn to take Grey-and-Gray Morality for granted, but expect very strong showings in religious literature.

Note that differences of belief weren't ever an issue because it was taken for granted that the good thing or person really was good, and not just belonging to the majority faith, sometimes resulting in a rather heavy handed Aesop for characters who were from the dominant church or local equivalent.

An old and Discredited Trope, with some exceptions. It's largely been absorbed by the Smite Evil trope. It's an interesting cultural study; people no longer think that Good, itself, is invincible, but used correctly it can really kick ass! If it is used in modern works, it's usually in ones centered squarely on the Idealistic side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism, or where the baddies ARE shadows/darkness and thus are Weakened by the Light. It's often utilized alongside Only the Pure of Heart.

Sub-Trope of Supernatural Repellent. Super-Trope to Holy Burns Evil. The inverse of this trope is Allergic to Evil (for people) and Cross-Melting Aura (for holy artifacts). Might be a reason for Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth. See also Revive Kills Zombie. Contrast with Holy Hand Grenade where it is the power of Light instead of Goodness which burns; a crucial difference in a setting where Good is not equivalent to Light and where religion and purity might actually be oppressive or villainous. Also contrast Holy Is Not Safe where the intensity of the holiness will damage or consume anyone who fails to meet its rather stringent standards.


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    Anime and Manga 

  • In Dragon Ball Z: Fusion Reborn Gogeta‘s “Stardust Breaker” or “Soul Punisher” obliterates the demonic villain Janemba by literally targeting all the evil energy within him, causing Janemba to disintegrate.
    • This happens again in Dragon Ball Super: Broly, but since Broly isn’t completely evil, it just hurts him really badly.
  • Played for Laughs in High School D×D. Praying to God, or being the target of a benevolent prayer, causes demons sharp headaches. Even after becoming demons, Asia and Xenovia remain devout, and frequently forget this. Until Issei asks Archangel Michael to let them pray without the pain.
  • A secularized version is played for laughs in Slayers when Lina turns Love Freak Amelia loose on Xellos. Since Mazoku in the slayerverse feed on negative emotions the full unbridled effect of Amelia's sheer perkiness (backed up by a rather insincere-sounding Gourry and Zelgadis) is enough to completely debilitate one of the most powerful evil characters in the series.
  • In The Snow Queen (1977), the Snow Queen is burned alive when Gerda and Kai pray.
  • The character known as "The Oracle" from Spider Riders has the ability to prevent her power from being abused by those who use it. Mostly she dosen't actually hurt anyone, she just blinds them with a flash of light.
  • In the Doma Arc of Yu-Gi-Oh!, the Pharaoh defeats the Orichalcos God with the power of the goodness in his heart.

    Comic Books 
  • The page image comes from a What If? Silver Surfer story, "What if the Silver Surfer had not escaped Earth?" (v2 #22). Mephisto finally acquires Silver Surfer's soul and brings him into Hell. He then makes the mistake of slaying his physical body, realizing too late that the Surfer's soul is so good and pure that its light hurts him. Since Surfer already agreed to be in Hell forever, Mephisto will burn "until time's end".
  • In the Italian Mickey Mouse comic book story Topolino e il cavaliere senza tempo ("Mickey and the knight out of time"), Mickey meets Flagellus, a "Knight of Evil" whose sole presence causes chaos and disaster to spread around him. After turning Pluto into stone and burying Goofy, he is about to kill Mickey in a sword fight but agrees to let him live if Minnie becomes his bride... and she accepts without hesitation. As he takes her hand, he yells in pain and fades off into nothingness, because "her good is more powerful than his evil".
  • Marvel Comics' The Brood are an entire alien race that, until recently, screened out compassion by killing any of their offspring that showed potential for it. Brood can learn compassion, but having it suddenly forced on them (via psychic projection for example) will kill them.
  • Mephisto really doesn't learn. Being (possibly) Marvel's version of Satan he likes nothing more than corrupting the souls of goodly heroes by offering them deals, then claiming said souls for eternal torment. He once pulled such a deal with Black Panther, but forgot to take into account two things: 1, the deal was made not for personal gain but to aid others, making it a selfless sacrifice and thus not "corrupting" him; and 2, T'Challa's soul was already bound to the Panther Spirit, and thus the soul of every other Black Panther in history. Whereas Silver Surfer's soul merely "burned" him, that much Incorruptible Pure Pureness threatened to obliterate him until he released T'challa from the deal. All According to Plan.
  • Requiem Vampire Knight
    • Weaponized due to the Evil Versus Evil nature of the setting, with such things as holy water sprayers, tortured martyrs that generate an anti-evil field and a warhead containing an angel. Unfortunately, there are some issues, like the holy water pipeline coming directly from the Vatican, and what with all the Pedophile Priest scandals, it's not exactly holy anymore.
    • The most powerful weapon used against the good guys (lemures, the ghosts of people who died because of another's evil) is unleashed by Dracula by breaking a man's neck. With his death, the lemures can pass on, while the man's blood flows under his nose...
  • Even DC's variation of the devil isn't immune to this trope. Neron of Underworld Unleashed sought to obtain the soul of Captain Marvel, as it was the most pure of the other heroes' souls. When Captain Marvel surrendered it selflessly, its pureness burned him and he quickly returned it to him, forcing Neron to retreat.
    • It also happened again when he tried to make a deal with Wally West. Wally has to sell his love for Linda Park (if you're thinking a certain Spider-Man story, it was before that story). Neron wins it but because it was for good intentions (it was for saving people and the city), the love was still pure and Neron became nicer. It nearly kills him and he has to make another deal with Wally West to get out of this.
  • A fantastic example occurs during X-Men's Inferno Arc, when Colossus is attacked by an invading demon while in his armored form. Before the Russian mutant can mount a counterattack, the demon pulls back in agony, shrieking "Silver Shards! His soul burns to the touch!"
  • In the crossover event Our Worlds at War, Darkseid proved instrumental to the heroes’ victory. But his powers had been stripped from him, and in order to restore his full strength so he could help them, Wonder Woman had to give up a piece of her soul, placing it inside Darkseid. Naturally, when the day is won, Darkseid goes on to gloat about how his victory is complete, while Wonder Woman lost hundreds of Amazons in battle and had to give up a piece of her own soul. Looks like things suck for Diana…until Darkseid gets home and he finds himself being uncharacteristically merciful to someone. It turns out that because Wonder Woman now has a piece of her soul in Darkseid, he now has a sliver of compassion in his otherwise black heart. This causes Darkseid to scream in agony.

    Fan Works 
  • In Supergirl story Hellsister Trilogy, Mordru dies when he comes in contact with a huge mass of sacred light. It's speculated The Presence -The DCU's supreme God- was within it.
    He came in contact with The Light.
    Whether he saw a Presence within, or not, will not be known, at least on this side of the veil. For, whenever a being of his evil comes physically in contact with a force of purity that strong, there can be no resisting its power.
    In the end, the force-field might have been of some use in delaying the outcome for a fraction of a second. But only that.
    He exploded.
  • While inside Socrates' mind to fix a fault in his transmitter chip in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series, the protagonists find Socrates' dark side inside an Absurdly Bright Light. When the chip is fixed, the light gives way to reveal a colorful field, which causes the dark Socrates to scream and dissipate.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Nightmares Are Tragic, the Night Shadows are damaged by sufficiently strong love. When Luna realizes that her One True Love has finally been reborn and is threatened by Nightmare Moon she uses this to break the Night Shadow's hold on her soul and begin Fighting from the Inside to keep it from using their shared form to kill the Mane Six.
  • The Ultimate Evil: In addition to the canonical Pan'Ku Box, we're introduced a Demon Slayer who has in her arsenal several weapons that hurt demons on touch, such as magical dust and blessed daggers. However, her crucifix doesn't work on Bai Tza. When she returns in the sequel, she has coated her katana with anti-demon magic that hurt demons on touch.
  • The J-WITCH Series:
    • As the heroes search for Meridian's missing heir, Uncle concocts for her a chi spell which will hurt bad magical beings should they touch her. Once Elyon is confirmed to be the heir, she's tricked into drinking the concoction when it's mixed up with grape soda. This makes things harder for Cedric as he works to bring Elyon to Meridian. Unfortunately, this only lasts one chapter before Daolon Wong is able to figure out a counter-spell.
    • The Shadowkhan are unable to touch the Heart of Kandrakar due to its intense positive magic, becoming obliterated if they do touch it.
  • This is what kicks off the plot of Twinkling in the Dark; a massive beam of purity and happiness from the Pretty Cure nearly kills Joker, and the Bad End Kingdom need to collect Bad Energy to heal him.

    Films — Animated 
  • Chernobog in Fantasia is driven away by the forces of "the sacred".
  • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls when Sunset Shimmer gets a hold of the Element of Magic, it refuses to destroy Twilight and her human Mane Six counterparts because it recognizes her as its true owner, and the girls draw magic from the crown to defeat Sunset and undo all her spells.
  • Yellow Submarine: The Blue Meanies hate music. "They shrink at the very sound".

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Played with in The Mummy (1999), when Beni holds up a series of holy symbols hanging around his neck — accompanied by appropriate incantations — to try to find one that will fend off the titular monster. (Turns out Imphotep doesn't fear crosses or stars of David ... just cats.) One of them does still sort of work, however; Imhotep recognises "the language of the slaves", ie Hebrew, and decides Beni might be worth keeping around.
  • In Fright Night (1985), Peter Vincent brandishes a large, ornate cross at Jerry, who simply laughs at him. "You have to have faith for this to work on me," he tells Vincent. Charlie moves in with a small, simple one, but with the faith required and Jerry flinches back, until his zombie protector shows up.
  • Snow White & the Huntsman The plot is kicked off when Queen Ravenna discovers that her dark power is growing weaker because Snow White has came of age, and thus is fairer than her, and that her innocence and purity is causing Ravenna's power to wane.
  • The Devils Eye is a Ingmar Bergman film, in which a woman's virginity causes a sty in the Devil's eye, so he sends Don Juan to seduce her.

  • More than one powerful baddie in The Lord of the Rings had a vulnerability to Elvish invocations of the Valar.
    • Gollum feels pain when he comes into physical contact with the enchanted rope the Elves gave to Sam. He also can't eat the lembas bread made by the Elves; if he tries, it chokes him.
    • The Nazgûls fear running water; the power of Vala Ulmo still runs strong in Middle-Earth's waters.
    • The Silmarils of The Silmarillion burn anyone of evil heart who comes into contact with them, as they contain the trapped holy light of the lost Two Trees. This is a plot point several times — Morgoth burns his hands when he originally steals them and is forever in pain afterwards (but still covets them and wears them in his iron crown), the great wolf Carcharoth goes on a panicked rampage being burned from the inside out after swallowing one, and when the Silmarils' creator Fëanor's sons Maedhros and Maglor find that stolen Silmarils burn them, they realise that their evil deeds mean they have lost all right to them.
    • The light in the vial that Galadriel gives to Frodo, which Sam uses against Shelob? That light is the concentrated essence of one star - but that's not really a star at all, it's the last non-lost Silmaril, carried by Eärendil in the sky. And the Silmarils are made from the light of the Two Trees, and therefore the light of Ilúvatar itself. By the Transitive Property of Holiness, Sam fights Shelob with the light of God.
    • Corrupted beings such as orcs and Gollum cannot eat the Elven waybread lembas, a magical foodstuff made with corn provided by one of the Valar. If one of them does so, they instantly drop dead.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The Power of Love Harry's mother gave him is powerful enough to melt faces and make the most powerful of curses backfire. However, since the universe runs on Magic A Is Magic A, the Big Bad is able to take steps to prevent its effects against him.
    • At the climax of book five, when Voldemort succeeds in possessing Harry, he tries to goad Dumbledore into attacking Harry in hopes of killing them both at once. Harry is in so much pain that he finds himself wishing Dumbledore would do it, since it would mean he could see Sirius again - and Harry's thoughts of Sirius cause Voldemort so much agony that he never even tries the possession tactic again.
    • The Dementors can be fought off by summoning a creature made of concentrated positive emotion (love or happiness). Seeing as Dementors are embodiments of depression, they qualify as Made of Evil, and Patronuses are Made of Good (and are immune to all Dark magic).
  • In Good Omens, the demon Ligur is rather nastily killed by holy water.
  • Left Behind: In Glorious Appearing, a would-be rapist of a returned immortal Christian bursts into flames—but only after being allowed to begin the attack, and even though traditional narratives allow for less violent methods of defense, such as intangibility.
  • In the Inheritance Cycle, this is how Eragon defeats Galbatorix. The former casts a spell on the latter that causes him to feel empathy, and thus Galbatorix commits suicide, having been driven mad (well, more than he already was) from feeling the pain of the hundreds of dragons and thousands of people he slaughtered.
  • The protagonist in Sorcerer On The Rocks, Shibas Scotch, is such a bad person that being in a nice place like a clear meadow on a sunny day makes him ill.
  • In The Dresden Files,
    • The White Court of vampires is harmed if their victims express the positive emotion that is anathema to what they feed on: The lust-eating Raiths are harmed by true love, the despair-eating Skavis by true hope/optimism, and the fear-eating Malvola by true courage and bravery. Things get complicated when Thomas falls in love with his favorite "food". While Thomas wouldn't normally eat off a person who has the protection of love, he loves and wants Justine so badly, he and his inner demon try to feed off of her on instinct. Also, in a twist, if the offspring of a White Court vampire experiences their opposite emotion before they start learning how to truly 'feed', they never develop into vampires and turn human instead.
    • The Knights of the Cross, wielders of swords into which the nails from the Crucifixion have been worked, are exceptionally powerful against supernatural evils for precisely this reason. Interestingly, their swords names translate as Hope, Faith, and Love, which the Bible lists as the final things of good at the end of the world.
    • One Red Court vampire'snote  hand actually caught on fire when she touched Micheal, the "Fist of God", at a neutral grounds party. She wasn't even attacking him, just casually touching him in an attempt at mind games. Needless to say it backfired horribly for the deranged incestuous monster.
    • The Black Court, who are the basis for the classic undead Vampire, burn when in contact with holy items. Harry even used a water balloon filled with holy water on one that attacked him in his car. The creature's face partially melted.
    • Among the Angels arsenal is the opposite of Hellfire: Soulfire, the fires of creation. The ancient force that created the Universe and Reality. When used by a human, it makes magic and one's will power more real giving it a boost of incredible power, at the cost of reducing one's soul (it can grow back, just do some good-for-the-soul things). Using Soulfire-infused attacks Harry almost defeated a Skinwalker.
  • Played relatively straight in The Stand. Trashcan Man is positively frightened by his dreams of Mother Abagail (who pities him in hers, even when she can't remember him). Flagg loses all of his composure and power around the Free Zoners, even traitors like Harold and Nadine.
  • In Lord Dunsany's The Charwoman's Shadow, the false shadow is driven off by the priest and his bell.
  • When the Dragon Reborn from The Wheel of Time finally accepts his reincarnation and remembers his previous life, he seems to have gained this ability. Darkfriends can't even look at him, it burns so much. Everyone else perceives it as a bright aura, almost a warping of the air infused with light itself. It's quite possible that such abilities are part of his purpose, because the Dragon exists to fight the Dark One, over and over. Just as the Dark One's power warps the air with darkness and gives off the essence of ruin and destruction, the Dragon's power warps the air with light and gives off the essence of hope and salvation.
  • John Galt from Atlas Shrugged is supposed to be so awesome that merely talking with him and beholding his face makes any evil character very uncomfortable with all the self-deceptions that they live with. This effect is worst for the most self-deceived characters like Eugene Lawson and Jim Taggart—the latter of whom actually loses his mind when he is interrogating Galt.
  • In Demon: A Memoir, this trope is both subverted and subsequently played straight in the same scene: Clay goes into a church, hoping Lucian won’t be able to follow him on; Lucian laughs at the idea, but does comment that the prayers of people inside the church give him a headache.
  • Deconstructed in the Night Watch (Series), where the "White Blade" spell is supposed to harm only Dark Ones and "evil people". Too bad its criteria of evil is so stringent that "you'd have to spend decades meditating and subduing your passions in a Tibetan monastery for the blazing blade to spare you". A young Light One strikes some brainwashed human mercenaries with the White Blade, only seeking to destroy their weapons, but it slices them in half instead. The Light One cannot bear the brunt of his deed and self-terminates.
  • In The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Lord Foul the Despiser is the Big Bad, the God of Evil and The Anti-God, wielder and in some senses embodiment of The Power of Hate and centuries-spanning chessmaster extraordinaire, but there is one power that he cannot understand and cannot withstand. It's not Magic or Law and certainly isn't Despair - it's joy. When Covenant and Foamfollower confront him at the end of the first arc, it's Covenant's wild magic that separates Foul from his Artifact of Doom, but it's Foamfollower's good-hearted laughter in the face of annihilation that finishes him.
  • In the Jules de Grandin stories, Jules has often destroyed evil occultists with a prayer to God. Coming from the same era, Manly Wade Wellman's Silver John stories has John the Balladeer defeat evil supernatural beings with a Christian tune.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Used and subverted on Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Vampires have weaknesses to holy water, crosses, and the like, (apparently, because Christians are the ones who have done the most monster hunting). But said protection in no way extends to the people fighting against them. In fact, the blood of a Slayer is said to be particularly tasty to vampires (and, if Spike is to be believed, is a potent aphrodisiac for them as well).
  • Supernatural: Played straight, Played with, and subverted throughout the series:
    • Holy water is used to great effect (sanctified sprinkler system) and demons flinch when they hear the name "Christo".
    • Angels terrify demons, and angels can smite low-level demons easily with a touch. Moreover, in their true form, the mere sight of an angel burns the eyes out of demons and all but a special few humans. That said, angels turn out to be an example of Light Is Not Good.
    • Only a true servant of Heaven can kill the Whore of Babylon, and that servant turns out to be Dean, who has decided to say yes to Michael and probably kill half the humans on Earth.
  • Both crosses and stars of David annoy vampires in Being Human (UK).
  • A variation of the 'holiness' version appears in the Doctor Who story "The Curse of Fenric": it's not the symbol that's important, it's the bearer's faith in the good that that symbol represents. As a result, the vampire/zombie haemovores are untroubled by a priest holding up a cross, because the horrors of war have eroded the priest's faith. However, the Doctor is able to repel a mob of them by reciting all his companions' names (from Susan up through Ace), and a patriotic Soviet soldier fends off some more by holding up the hammer-and-sickle badge from his uniform!
  • On Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, the Zeo Crystal is harmful to any evil being who touches it. Supposedly, Lord Zedd lost his skin when he tried to pick it up.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Stranger defeats the Mystics from Rhun only after he invokes instinctively the Flame of Anor. He reverts them back to their wraith-like forms and banishes them to the Unseen World.
  • An proto-Sesame Street sketch, "Happy Girl Meets a Monster", features a lighthearted take on this trope. In the sketch, a happy little girl is enjoying a lovely day when a nasty monster comes along and tries to ruin her fun with magic and destruction. After doing her best to ignore the monster, the little girl finally acknowledges praising him for his evil deeds and being so good at them. The compliments are not only painful to the monster, but they cause him to (literally) shrink away, growing smaller and smaller until he's finally tiny enough for the girl to whack him with a flyswatter.

    Mythology and Religion 
  • Many, many, many tales of Catholic saints, including St. Margaret of Antioch, who was swallowed by Satan in the form of a dragon. However, her innate goodness (and the crucifix she bore) proved too much for Old Nick's saurian stomach to handle, and the dragon burst asunder. St. Margaret became the patron saint of childbirth, which should bring disturbing images to the mind of any pregnant woman.
  • Many Swedish folk tales had mythological creatures of differing degrees of malevolence who could be stopped, harmed or driven off by holy things, including prayer, the sound of church bells, drawing a cross on the ground, and in one tale casually saying "cross".
    • The scandinavian version of Trolls are especially notable for this, as they will turn to stone in sunlight and be driven off by the sound of church bells. However, it should be noted that trolls are not Always Chaotic Evil, and in some versions are just symbols of Scandinavia's pagan past, not good nor evil. In these stories, they're perfectly fine in sunlight but have withdrawn to the mountains to avoid the christian settlers.
    • The scandinavian version of the Sirens, known as a "Rå", are mean-spirited tricksters who enjoy tormenting humans and appear as beautiful women with fox tails or tree bark on their back. Their antithesis is christianity, and can be driven off by prayer, or in one story, by a man saying "in God's name" while telling who he thought was his wife that he was going to bed for the night.
  • Unicorns, who were all but invincible to fight, could be tamed and therefore conquered only by purity. It was said that the touch of a virgin maiden who was pure of heart could do the trick.
    • Which is actually a joke—-a mythical creature (a unicorn) subdued by another mythical one (a pure maiden).
  • According to exorcists, exorcism is so painful for demons that they find Hell preferable. Granted, the exorcism isn't exactly easy on the person who's possessed either.
    • This belief goes at least as far back as the writing of the New Testament: In The Four Gospels, the Incorruptible Pure Pureness of Jesus is so intolerable to demons that any people they possessed would start throwing a fit in his presence, which Jesus always put a stop to by ordering the demons to Get Out! because 1) he didn't want or need to be endorsed as the Son of God by demons, and 2) he had great compassion for the people suffering under such a state. (However, in Acts of the Apostles, some wannabe exorcists try to use the name of Jesus—and Paul—as a magic spell and are violently disabused of the idea that such a thing could be invoked frivolously.)

  • The surrealist BBC Radio Four comedy series The Burkiss Way once did an extended parody of Dracula. The naive young lawyer arrives in Transylvania to realise things are not what they seem. In fear and panic, Harker protects himself as best he can:
    I laid a semi-circle of nuns around the bed and tied an archbishop and a rural dean to each bedpost. Finally I hung Cliff Richard up over the bedhead...

    Tabletop Games 
  • Fairly standard abilities for good characters of various kinds in Dungeons & Dragons.
    • However, there are plenty of inversions. For example, a Good-aligned character trying to touch an Evil artifact suffers penalties identical to an Evil-aligned character touching a Good artifact. The same holds true for other properties, such as Law and Chaos, Fire and Cold; indeed, D&D has the trope generalized to Extreme Hurts Extreme.
    • In editions prior to 3.5, played completely straight by the 'smite evil' ability, which does what it says and can add damage to essentially any form of physical contact. In the expansions that led to 3.5, corresponding abilities for evil characters were later added.
    • Turn Undead is another relatively straightforward example, with the very presence of a good character potentially destroying inherently-evil undead creatures outright while an evil character using the same ability doesn't have any comparable effect.
  • The High Elf Everqueen in Warhammer kills demons and undead just by her presence.
    • Amazingly, it happens also in the Grimdark Warhammer 40,000: to humans, the Emperor is absolute good... And munitions filled with byproducts of the Golden Throne he's trapped on (AKA the Emperor's holy crap) can hurt demons.
    • Subverted with blanks, who also hurt daemons and warpspawn through their mere presence... and who creep out normal humans and unspeakable horror in psykers, because they have negative Warp presence, thus feeling inherently "wrong" to human senses.
  • The Merit: True Faith in White Wolf's original The World of Darkness allowed certain virtuous characters to harm evil entities by touch, deed or (at high levels) presence alone. The behavior required to match the Merit's greatest levels put them (theoretically) beyond the reach of most player characters, but - as with an game - exceptions were probably common.
    • A less literal example: one of the suggested effects of a mage's enlightenment is that drinking their blood in the quantity necessary to gain a blood point reduces the vampire to ash instantly, meaning that the purity of an enlightened soul is more damaging to a vampire than walking into the sunlight at high noon on a clear day.
    • In the New World of Darkness, a mortal with high levels of humanity and the level of virtue that implies gains bonuses in interactions with ghosts and spirits that represent a 50% increased chance of winning any social conflict (which is the primary way to subdue or eliminate such creatures).
    • Princess: The Hopeful: Certain Umbrae and Calignes make the Darkened unable to tolerate the presence of truly virtuous people, though it's less of a supernatural effect and more that interacting with the virtuous forces them to acknowledge their own corruption.
  • In Exalted, the Unconquered Sun is the cosmic embodiment of virtue. As a result, it is within his power to deem which sorts of beings in Creation and beyond count as "creatures of darkness" (usually demons, the undead, and Raksha). His chosen, the Solar Exalted, thus have access to Holy Charms that allow them to do extremely grievous damage to said creatures of darkness. This is something of a subversion, however. The Sun has authority to declare whomever he so chooses to be Creatures of Darkness without any due process. If a Lawful Good Paladin style character pissed him off sufficiently, she could be declared a Creature of Darkness no matter how many kittens she saved or old people she helped across the street. It is only the Sun's commitment and restraint that prevents him from abusing this power.note 
    • Other classes of Exalted also can deploy Holy magic, though the Solar versions tend to be the most directly potent of the bunch as usual.
    • For more detail, see the game's entry in Detect Evil.
  • The Dark Eye: Zigzagged. Demons take additional harm from priests, holy objects and grounds, but the effect is not restricted to good deities.

    Video Games 
  • Kingdom Hearts plays this very straight in the ending, where the light of the titular power destroys the game's Big Bad.
  • Giygas is defeated by way of this trope in both EarthBound Beginnings and EarthBound (1994). In the first game, he's overwhelmed by the love bound inside a song his adopted mother used to sing to him, and after he's become too powerful, it takes the combined prayers of everyone in the game universe, as well as those of the player, to defeat him once and for all.
  • In Disgaea: Hour of Darkness, optimism and love physically weaken Laharl, resulting in reduced stats in one fight when his enemy takes advantage of this.
    • Flonne's amulet is claimed to burn those of evil intent. Interestingly, of the three incidents where this is brought up, at least two are subversions; the angel Vulcanus is burned after he steals it in an attempt to get Flonne killed, whereas 'The Dark Adonis' Vyers (aka Mid-Boss) is untouched despite being a demon. While Vulcanus is clearly established as a villain, the case of Mid-Boss is noteworthy. Finally, after Laharl retrieves the amulet from a lava river, he takes pride in the fact that the amulet burns him and confirms his evilness, though whether the lava was a factor or not...
  • The Legend of Zelda, with the Master Sword, "The Blade of Evil's Bane", and the Light Arrows.
  • Kingdom of Loathing has the Bad Spelling monsters, hurt by reading the dictionary.
  • Good irritates evil in the video game of The Darkness. The Darkness refuses to manifest itself around the subway stations full of normal people, and if you try it'll complain that it finds the people too boring to attack; the Darkness is attracted to darkness, and even the metaphorical darkness of the heart is preferable to it.
  • In King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella the way to rid yourself of the villain is to shoot her with Cupid's arrow, which (probably unbeknownst to Rosella herself), kills her, as something so foul and fueled by hate cannot survive the experience of love.
  • On meeting Casavir in Neverwinter Nights 2, Neeshka remarks that paladins always make her spots itch.
  • In Alan Wake, Light Is Good and Dark Is Evil are to be taken literally. Rub those brain cells together and see what you come up with.
  • In Doom³, Hell starts leaking into our world (or Mars, in this case), causing insanity and other problems. It is suggested this is also happening in reverse, although for them it's probably not so much hurt as mildly annoy.
  • In Kirby Star Allies, Kirby is able to toss Friend Hearts at any enemy with an ability that can be copied to have them fight at his side. For the most part, trying to hit anything else with a heart will just result in it fading away, but tossing them at the final boss Void Termina will actually cause a small amount of damage to it, which is appropriate when considering it's Made of Evil.
  • In World of Warcraft, the Paladin's "Exorcism" spell was guaranteed to get a critical strike when used against a demonic or undead opponent(excluding the playable Forsaken) back in the latter parts of the Wrath of the Lich King expansion and the Cataclysm expansion.
  • The main villain of Gobliins 2, Amoniak, is defeated by drinking a goodness potion, but instead of turning him good like his two henchmen, it destroys him and he is later found in the land of the dead.

    Web Animation 
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: The Dark Eldar, who feed upon suffering, start physically falling apart in the presence of the Star Child because of his purity and "anti-negative energy", particularly when he says nice things to them.

  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • The famous instance of Torg hiding from a bunch of demons inside a literal circle of goodness. He'd taunt one of the stupider demons into trying to leap at him, and his arms would catch on fire, prompting the classic line, "I'M BURNING WITH GOODNESS AGAIN!" Possibly overlaps with Holy Burns Evil, since the ray of goodness originated from the Goddess of Goodness. Holy Burns Evil also applies to some vampires in the comic.
    • K'Z'K was (partially) destroyed by reading a book full of pictures that create peace and serenity in the viewer.
  • Black Mage in 8-Bit Theater.
    • In later comics, it turns out Fighter is the ONLY member of the party this doesn't apply to, as the other three all have negative reactions to a set of celestial weapons (although Thief and Red Mage just report uncomfortable heat and scalding, while BM bursts into flames).

    Web Original 
  • Worded a bit differently in Sailor Nothing, magical girls' usual powers can't hurt the Shadow Queen because she is their source; only Good can do it.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad!: The episode "Frannie 911" reveals that this trope is why Roger is such a Jerkass. To elaborate, his species has to let out their "bitchiness" on a regular basis, or it will turn to bile and poison them; thus, if Roger acts nice for extended periods of time, it will literally kill him.
  • A minor version from Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot: after seeing his plan to break up a band made of a few of the female Care Bears thwarted by The Power of Friendship, Grizzle comments, "This sickening display of friendship HURTS!" Trueheart asks if it isn't just the high heels he's wearing as part of his drag disguise.
  • Variation: In an episode of The Incredible Hulk (1996), Ghost Rider realises that Rick is a good kid when his hellfire doesn't hurt him.
  • In one episode of ThunderCats (1985), a robot is armed with a magic katana and sent out on a rampage. The katana's original user, a samurai, stops this by doing a Bare-Handed Blade Block which results in the robot exploding. The samurai explains that since the machines are neither good nor evil, the katana didn't know it was being misused, but after touching the samurai's skin it caught on and destroyed the robot.
  • A softer example, Doktor Frogg from League of Super Evil is shown to hate good things like rainbows and happiness. When he was sent to a Sugar Bowl, he acted like he was stuck in the deepest pits of hell.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, King Sombra feels acute pain when he tries to cross a barrier powered by the Incorruptible Pure Pureness of Princess Cadence, to the point that it severs his horn.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • Demon sorcerer Shendu cannot touch the Pan'ku Box without hurting himself, but he needs it to release his siblings. He tries a variety of methods to take it, such as having his minions grab it (the J-Team distracts them), using a staff to push it (it electrocutes him), and covering his hands with clothes (it works, but the cloth bursts into flame).
    • Later on Valmont, the human whose body Shendu is possessing, rebels against him by deliberately grabbing the box, temporarily knocking Shendu out cold.
      Shendu: You know we cannot touch it!
      Valmont: No! YOU cannot touch it! (wills his body into grabbing the box)
  • Samurai Jack's god constructed katana. Any evil that comes in contact with it is obliterated spectacularly*. It's the only thing Aku fears, having been nearly completely destroyed by it and Jack on multiple occasions. Also doesn't help that Jack himself is the embodiment of The Paragon with Incorruptible Pure Pureness to back up the sword's strength.
    • Some of the few demons who survived getting sliced by the sword were Season 3's Minions of Set, who quickly came back together the moment Jack got a hit on them. It took Jack having to summon a literal god in the form of Ra to properly defeat them.
  • One story arc in Rocky and Bullwinkle involves our heroes fighting an infestation of Pottsylvania Creepers, vicious Man Eating Plants that shrug off every attempt to kill them or trim them back. Bullwinkle eventually quips "We've tried everything except kissing those plants goodnight!", and that gives Rocky an idea; try being nice to them. It works like a charm, the Pottsylvania Creepers are so belligerent that kindness causes them to wither and die.
  • Anti-Pops from Regular Show is Brought Down to Normal when subjected to kindness and sympathy from others, as he's powered by negative emotions and destruction. Pops exploits this to defeat him by giving him a reassuring hug before flying into a nearby star, gambling that the expression of love would depower Anti-Pops and render him killable.
  • Shows up in the climax of a He-Man and the Masters of the Universe episode wherein, due to the machinations of a deal-making demon named Lokus, He-Man finds himself in the presence of the fiery Spirit of Evil. Trading He-Man's soul in exchange for letting one of Teela's friends out of his deal, the Spirit is horrified to discover that not only can't he claim his prize, He-Man's soul actually causes him intense pain when he tries. Forced to surrender his claim to the hero, SoE is not at all happy with his minion.
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee: In the Season 1 finale, Molly destroys The Chairman with just a touch thanks to her joy and positivity. Since The Chairman is made from misery, joy is pure poison for him.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Allergic To Good


Chernabog is driven back

Chernabog, the demonic god of darkness and lord of Bald Mountain, is pained and ultimately driven back into hiding by the sound of church bells and the coming light of morning, heralding the singing of Ava Maria.

How well does it match the trope?

4.67 (12 votes)

Example of:

Main / GoodHurtsEvil

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