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Index with a Heart of Gold

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This is about characters who are difficult to approach socially on the outside, but nice on the inside.

Sometimes this is because there is some goodness in everyone. At other times, they were only hiding that they were Good All Along.

Contrast Quirky Good, Hidden Evil. See also Subverted Innocence, which is basically the inverse example of this index in containing tropes about people who look sweet on the outside, but are truly malicious on the inside.



  • Affably Evil: A bad guy who happens to be a really nice person once you get to know them. Make no mistake, though—they'll still do evil deeds.
  • Aloof Ally: They may be aloof around their teammates, but is very reliable at the end of the day.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Angry with others' foolhardiness, but is very glad they're safe and sound.
  • Anti Anti Christ: A character who is destined to end the world, but does not want to.
  • Anti-Hero: Not a clear-cut hero, but always proves to be morally better than the villains.
  • Anti-Villain: A bad guy with noble qualities and traits, and possibly even heroic goals.
  • Ascended Demon: A demon who turns good and achieves a holy status.
  • The Atoner: A formerly-evil character trying to make up for their wrongdoings.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Their powers may be either freaky, painful, or too destructive, but they're using them for good reasons.
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  • Benevolent Monsters: Monsters who are actively nice and helpful.
  • Bruiser with a Soft Center: Even tough badass characters have a gentle side.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A quirky employee who nevertheless has their heart in the right place.
  • Chaotic Good: Not the most law-abiding person around, but not a bad person either.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: They shamelessly flirt around, but would be the first to defend their person of interest's honor.
  • Compassionate Critic: They criticizes other characters, but it's because they want to bring out their best effort.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: A Friend to All Living Things who is Not Good with People.
  • Creepy Good: Their looks might creep people out, but their heart isn't as creepy.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: They may act cruel to you, but it's for your own good.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Has a menacing appearance, but is actually much more pleasant.
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  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Given time and affection, her uncaring facade will melt to reveal her softer side.
  • Destructive Saviour: The person might be wrecking public property wherever they go, but they only do so to fight the bad guys.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Desperately needs your help but won't give up enough pride, independence, or self-control to accept it.
  • Emotional Bruiser: Tough, maybe brutish character who's surprisingly emotional.
  • Face of a Thug: Good guy who looks like a hardened criminal.
  • Fool for Love: Tough, and possibly cynical, but still a sucker for love.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Won't forget your crimes, but also won't hold them against you.
  • Friendly Ghost: Ghosts who are nice and jovial instead of actively haunting/tormenting people.
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: The kind of vampire who are friendly and only drinks human blood consensually (if they even drink human blood at all).
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: They don't like someone for certain reasons, but they would never exclude them from their friendship.
  • Gentle Giant: Everything's big about them—especially their heart.
  • Good Bad Girl: Notorious sexual reputation; benevolent, zestful interior.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Rude in person, but still does good things.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Kindhearted, altruistic, and heroic; focuses their righteous anger against villainy.
  • Grudging "Thank You": They may be grudging about it, but they are nonetheless grateful for your help.
  • Hero Antagonist: These guys may be antagonizing the actual protagonist, but they have good intentions, maybe even better than the protagonist's.
  • Heroic Neutral: Would rather mind their own business, but can be a hero if pushed enough.
  • Hero with an F in Good: Trust us, we mean it when we say that this person really tries hard to be good. They just fail a lot.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The reputedly scary guy may not be so bad in person.
  • Hidden Heart of Gold: To keep their badass reputation, they don't want others to know of their good (but less badass) deeds.
  • Hitman with a Heart: A career killer, but not an indiscriminate murderer.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: A sweet, innocent flower under the sexy persona.
  • Horrifying Hero: A good guy with (mostly) good goals who horrifies people around them by their nature/look.
  • Innocent Bigot: Prejudiced, but only because they genuinely do not know any better.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Good person doesn't realize that they're being a jerk.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: A person masks their helping hand and intent with excuses to make it look less obvious.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Cranky or rough exterior shows a kind, helpful side.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: A character who may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but their kindness outweighs it.
  • Knight In Sour Armor: A cynical character who stands up for the Good and Right, even though not entirely convinced that such things exist.
  • Loon with a Heart of Gold: A character who is kindhearted but quirky or even insane (often with the implied correlation between the two).
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: You know that one popular, rich, and mean girl in every high school? This one's not as nasty as she pretends to be.
  • Lovable Jock: That big sports guy is more warm-hearted than his domineering look would imply.
  • Lovable Rogue: Thieves and those of similar professions who are good-hearted and have limits.
  • Loving Bully: They bully someone because they secretly like them.
  • Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: This character's sinister reputation is entirely undeserved.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Has bad habits, but never lets it interfere with their heart of gold.
  • Neighborhood-Friendly Gangsters: Gangsters and mobsters who act friendly for the people in the place they settle in.
  • Necessarily Evil: An otherwise good guy who sees doing a certain evil deed as necessary for their good goal. Alternatively, they may be a bad guy instead, but nevertheless has a good goal, and they feel that their evil deeds are necessary.
  • Noble Bigot: Prejudiced, yet still a good person.
  • Noble Bigot with a Badge: This goes double when you're in a position of law enforcement.
  • Noble Demon: Kind Anti-Villain who cultivates a fearsome reputation.
  • Non-Malicious Monster: These monsters may be dangerous and destructive, but they don't actually wish any harm; they may simply have no idea that their actions endanger others.
  • Not Always Evil: That Always Chaotic Evil race right there? Not always so.
  • Pet the Dog: A kind act reveals that an outwardly mean character is tender and caring inside.
  • Pragmatic Hero: They are frighteningly prone to extreme methods. Unless you are in the way of the greater good, and if it contributes to it, they will certainly help you.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: This augmented person will surely look down on normal people, right? Wait—did they just save that Bus Full of Innocents?
  • The Proud Elite: A proud, handsome, arrogant, sophisticated, cold man who often has Hidden Depths of kindness.
  • The Quiet One: Just because they don't say much doesn't mean they don't have anything nice to say.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: They may look ragged/unpleasant and have quite some flaws, but they will do their job and work for good.
  • Reformed, but Not Tamed: Now genuinely on the side of good, but they retain characteristics or methods that they used when they were evil.
  • Reluctant Monster: Monsters who wish they don't have to be causing destruction, but circumstances forced them to.
  • Rightly Self-Righteous: They may brag and boast a lot about their goodness, but they really are as good as they claim themselves to be.
  • The Sacred Darkness: Darkness which is explicitly not a metaphor for evil.
  • Sarcastic Devotee: They may mock and show disdain towards their teammates, but they are loyal to a fault.
  • Sergeant Rock: Harsh on his subordinates and not particularly likable, but all of his men respect him.
  • Sheep in Sheep's Clothing: They're genuinely nice and lovable as they appear, despite being suspected otherwise.
  • Sheep in Wolf's Clothing: This human-turned-monster still have their human mind, enough for them to help their fellow humans.
  • Shrinking Violet: They aren't ignoring you; they're just shy.
  • The Snark Knight: A Deadpan Snarker who believes firmly and unironically in a high moral code.
  • Sour Outside, Sad Inside: A person who uses their abrasive nature to hide secret feelings of depression.
  • Sour Supporter: A pessimistic member of the group, but never abandons their friends.
  • Stern Teacher: Strict and no-nonsense, but cares more deeply than their students could expect.
  • Suffers Newbies Poorly: Not really receptive towards new users, but does warm up to them once they get to know them.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: A frosty, emotionless coating protects delicate feelings within.
  • Token Good Teammate: They may be working for the bad guys, but they're actually a good person compared to their peers.
  • Token Heroic Orc: They may come from an Always Chaotic Evil background, but they don't let it influence their choice to be good.
  • Tough Love: Acts harsh and antagonistic towards others, but does this to make them better.
  • Tsundere: A harsh exterior conceals a sweet interior.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Belittles and antagonizes their friend, but still cares for them. Can be one-sided or go both ways.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Otherwise good guys who resort to extreme methods to achieve their good goals.
  • The Wonka: An eccentric authority figure; good at heart, but hard to read because of their odd behavior.


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