Follow TV Tropes


Light/Darkness Juxtaposition

Go To
"[God] separated the light from the dark."note 

"Where the light is brightest, the shadows are deepest."

Dark is the absence of light, and light cannot exist without dark. The dichotomy between the two has been part of human storytelling for a very long time—many Creation Myths often involve light emerging from dark, and many destruction myths involve darkness engulfing light. Light and dark also have many other symbolic means across many cultures. Thus, it is not uncommon for stories to visually, literally, or metaphorically juxtapose the two, often associating them with real-world notions (e.g. Light Is Good, Dark Is Evil) of light and dark. Shadow can be treated as more or less the same as darkness, or a mixture of both light and dark.

Because of its ubiquity, a light and dark contrast can be lent to any number of Duo Tropes. A character with Light 'em Up or Holy Hand Grenade powers can have a Foil, enemy, counterpart, or rival in a character who uses Casting a Shadow or The Sacred Darkness. A Brooding Boy, Gentle Girl duo, a Light Liege, Dark Defender one, or an Angel Devil Ship might have appropriate light and dark motifs.

It can also be used in conjunction with other contrast tropes; for example, Life/Death Juxtaposition will generally have life associated with light and death with dark. Solar and Lunar usually pairs the sun with light and the moon with dark (due to its association with night). Chinese philosophy associates this with Fire/Water Juxtaposition, where the yin is associated with dark and water, and the yang with fire and light.

Light and dark can easily be treated as opposing cosmic forces. The Balance Between Good and Evil traditionally associates light with goodness and dark with evil, although Light Is Not Good and Dark Is Not Evil are the increasingly common subversions to that. And since they are diametric opposites, when light and dark clash it is generally a Yin-Yang Clash, and when people use both it's a Yin-Yang Bomb. Alternatively, Elemental Rock-Paper-Scissors will more often than not have light defeat dark, since Light Is Good. There's a reason Darkest Hour is named so; "a light in the dark" is a phrase often used to symbolize hope—see Light Equals Hope.

This will frequently utilize Color Contrast via Color-Coded Elements, with light getting bright colors like gold and white (bonus points if it represents some sort of godly power), and dark getting deep colors like purple and black. Supertrope to Chiaroscuro, which is the contrast between light and dark used as a visual tool (also see Yellow/Purple Contrast).

A contrast between Heaven and Hell will likely have some of this mixed in, as will one between a God of Light and a God of Darkness. Cue the Sun functions as this, with the daylight symbolizing a new beginning after an arduous night. See also Nice Day, Deadly Night. The Evil Counterpart might be the "dark" version of something. Light Feminine and Dark Feminine is this trope applied to femininity. Night and Day Duo is another related trope that pairs a light-themed "day" character with a (usually) dark-themed "night" character.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • From Black Clover, Licht is the Light to Yami's Darkness, which is highlighted when they fight. Licht uses Light Magic to form light blades and move at incredible speed. Yami uses Dark Magic, which is slow to cast spells, to envelop his katana and unleash beams of darkness. Licht is a polite bishōnen who leads the Eye of the Midnight Sun, a group of terrorists who want to destroy the Clover Kingdom. Yami is a crude hunk who's the captain of the Black Bulls, a squad of social misfits who're much more moral than they seem.
  • Digimon Frontier: Twin brothers Koji and Koichi wield the Spirits of Light and Darkness, respectively. They were Separated at Birth and at first fought on opposite sides, with Koichi having been brainwashed into evil. When Koichi snaps out of it, he awakens the good forms of the Darkness Spirit and fights alongside his brother. At one point, to comfort Koichi, an angel Digimon tells him that light and darkness are siblings since there can't be one without the other.
  • Cardcaptor Sakura: The Light and Dark cards form a pair that must be sealed together. They appear as regal women and have the powers you expect; Light is a white-colored woman with black accents and Dark is the opposite.
  • In Dragon Ball Super, this is seen with Goku Black and Zamasu. Goku Black is the Evil Twin of Goku and is an evil Palette Swap of the hero, invoking Dark Is Evil with his dark colored clothing, black colored ki, and being shrouded in shadows. Zamasu on the other hand is associated with light and invokes Light Is Not Good, being the equivalent of a Fallen Angel, traversing quickly using divine light, and naming all of his attacks with either divine or light themes. And then, it's revealed they are actually the same person thanks to a very complicated Timey-Wimey Ball.
  • Haikyuu!! has this in the Meaningful Names of its two main characters in order to further contrast them. Friendly, warm Hinata (written with the kanji for "sun") is the polar opposite of cold, aloof Kageyama (written with the kanji for "shadow").
  • Kuroko's Basketball: This contrast is present in the dynamic between Kuroko and Kagami, as well as Kuroko and Aomine. Kuroko is a 'shadow' player who is nigh-invisible on the court; he focuses on supporting flashy 'light' players like Aomine and Kagami instead of making himself shown.
    Kuroko: I am a supporting actor, a shadow. But a shadow will become darker if the light is stronger and it will make the white of the light stand out. As the shadow of the main actor, I will make you, the light, the number one in Japan.
  • In the Lyrical Nanoha series, the two heroines who are originally from Earth, Nanoha and Hayate, are associated with light and darkness, respectively. Nanoha's pervasive motif is starlight (and stars in general), while Hayate is officially styled the "Queen of the Night Sky" and is the only one in the main continuity who can use elemental darkness in her magic. That said, the two of them have never been in opposition to each other, since Hayate's darkness is of the sacred sort, and do, in fact, regularly team up.
  • Moriarty the Patriot:
    • William Moriarty: the darkness of London. Sherlock Holmes: the light of hope of London. Or at least, to hear everyone in the series talk about it, that's true. Milverton says it outright, but it had been made clear long before that William believed Sherlock would illuminate the shadows in which the Moriartys work with the truth. Never mind that William is the fair blond and Sherlock is the brooding raven-haired detective. William even compares his life before and after Sherlock to a cold, dark room that turned into one filled with bright, warm fire.
    • Just as William Moriarty and Sherlock Holmes are the dark and light of London, their older brothers Albert and Mycroft have the same dynamic: Mycroft is the Secretary of State and Albert is "M" working in the shadows under him to help Britain. Albert even refers to Mycroft (and his letters) as his one ray of hope in the eternal darkness of guilt when he had isolated himself in prison.
  • Record of Ragnarok: The eighth round juxtaposes darkness and light via its two combatants — Beelzebub, the God of Darkness who fights for humanity's annihilation; Nikola Tesla, the Child of Light who fights for humanity's survival.
  • In Sword Art Online, Kirito gains this dynamic with the first two Big Bads, Heathcliff/Kayaba and Oberon/Sugou, with Kirito being Dark Is Not Evil while the villains being Light Is Not Good. Kirito is The Hero who always dresses in black, earning him the name the "Black Swordsman" and has swords named after dark themes like "Dark Repulsor" and "Night Sky Sword". Heathcliff is a paladin with his attacks including the "Holy Sword" and "Spiritual Light". Meanwhile, Sugou made himself into the King of the Fairies and the God of Alfheim Online, giving himself a divine appearance with blonde hair and ornamented with gold.
  • This is a running theme in Yu-Gi-Oh!. Duel Monsters are born of the darkness in peoples' hearts, and the stronger the light, the wider a shadow it casts. This is why those of pure heart, such as the protagonists, will have such strong monsters. Likewise, the deadliest villains the heroes face are often those who were once such people, but through some form of trauma were overwhelmed by the immense darkness harbored within them.
    • In Yu-Gi-Oh! this dynamic is seen several times in "Dawn of the Duel":
      • Pharaoh Atem is a beacon of hope and commands the light-themed Winged Dragon of Ra. Thief King Bakura is a shady thief who plunders and murders; he uses Diabound as his monster which has several darkness-based abilities such as turning invisible in shadows and walking through walls.
      • The parallel is once again seen with the Pharaoh and Zorc's guardian spirits: Hasan the Spirit of the Tablet who gives off an ethereal glow, and Akhenaden the High Priest of Darkness who serves as Zorc's minion and is able to project dark energy blasts.
      • To defeat Zorc in the Final Battle, the Pharaoh summoned the three Egyptian Gods: Obelisk, Slifer, and Ra, who fused together into Holactie the Creator of Light. He was able to smite the dark demon Zorc with one devastating light blast.
      • This is inverted with Yugi and Kaiba's ace monsters, the Dark Magician (a Spellcaster-type monster with a Dark attribute) and the Blue Eyes White Dragon (a Dragon-type with a Light attribute). In this case, the heroic Yugi wields the dark monster while the (initially) villainous Kaiba wields the light monster.
      • In the Battle City arc, Yugi and Kaiba dueled against two of Marik's minions whose names in both the Japanese and English versions were themed around light and darkness (Lumis/Mask of Light and Umbra/Mask of Darkness).

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Black and White: "Legend" is set in the far future, in "a stainless steel city of light" that's deliberately contrasted with Batman's usual milieu; one of the city's inhabitants recounts a legend about Batman which depicts him inhabiting a world of eternal night.
  • Cloak and Dagger (Marvel Comics): Cloak and Dagger are heavily associated with dark and light respectively. Cloak is a brooding dark-haired guy in black who wields a cloak of darkness, while Dagger is a perky blonde woman in white who wields daggers of Hard Light. They not only work together but need each other, as Cloak hungers for light consumption while Dagger needs to constantly expel light, meaning both of them quell each other's urges.
  • Green Lantern:
    • The Green Lantern Corps' oath tends to go something along the lines of "In brightest day, in blackest night, no evil shall escape my sight", and other oaths tend to have light/dark (or some other juxtaposition) in them as well.
    • This becomes literal in the Blackest Night saga with the White Lanterns and Black Lanterns, who also overlap with Life/Death Juxtaposition. The Black Lanterns devour the other Lanterns' light, and their leader is Nekron, who is the shadow cast by the light of life and emotion. He believes that the natural state of the universe is darkness and death. Naturally, this is countered by the White Entity, who empowers White Lanterns.
  • Shadowpact: The eponymous Shadowpact is a superhero team whose members include a man named Nightmaster, a woman with shadow powers, a man who wears a suit made of evil souls and a man who became a demon through a Deal with the Devil. Despite what appearances would have you believe, the Shadowpact are good guys. Yet they were mistaken for villains by the congregation, a superhero group of Knight Templars who wielded the power of light.
  • Superman and Batman. While neither actually wields light and darkness as their powers, this is reflected in their personalities and visuals. Superman is an optimistic super-powered alien who dresses in primary colors and is powered by the sun while Batman is a cynical antihero normal human who dresses in black and grey and primarily operates by night.

    Fan Works 
  • Dungeon Keeper Ami has the Light Gods of Good vs. Dark Gods of Evil.
  • In Queen of Blood (SirWill) the God of Light and the God of Darkness are the most powerful gods in the Fantasy Pantheon of Castlevania. Everything went to hell when the God of Light, Solin and the God of Darkness, Dracul, fought and hated each other. It's met with a lot of relief and hope that the new Goddess of Darkness, Taylor and the Goddess of Light, Dragon are perfectly willing to work together.
  • The Myth of Link & Zelda: Survivors of the Calamity. Its first installment, The Myth of Link & Zelda: Breath of the Wild, features Zelda and Calamity Ganon, with their same roles as in canon, with Calamity Ganon's dark Malice contrasting Zelda's golden light of her sealing powers. But it goes one step further. There are a grand total of four spirits that Link, Zelda, Impa, and the truly heroic Ganondorf are supposed to wield against Demise's curse. The spirits all glow brightly in different vibrant colors in contrast to the encompassing darkness of the manifestations of Demise's curse.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Epic (2013), this trope is used to emphasize the Life/Death Juxtaposition between the forest's forces of life and rot. Life is associated with daylight, growth, and bright colors, rot is associated with shadows, decay, and dark colors.
  • The Lion King (1994) contrasts the brightly-lit, beautiful Pride Lands with the Elephant Graveyard, a shadowy, miserable wasteland. Simba and Mufasa's rule is generally associated with light (eg. the Natural Spotlight when a new heir is born, the warm light that surrounds Simba when he arrives to reclaim the throne, their own red-and-gold color scheme); meanwhile, when the dark-colored Scar usurps the throne, the Pride Lands are cast in shadow.
    Simba: Everything the light touches... What about that shadowy place?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars: The two sides of the Force are the Light and the Dark. The Light side is associated with peace, defense, detachment from emotions, and selflessness, while the Dark is associated with war, offense, emotional decisions, and selfishness. Keeping the Balance Between Good and Evil is central to the franchise, and Force-sensitive characters generally fall into one or the other.
    • The original concept had the Force which was vaguely benevolent in itself, and the Dark Side of the Force as its corruption. The Light vs. Dark distinction came later, perhaps in large part due to fans and video games.

  • The Caster Chronicles: On their sixteenth birthday, in addition to learning their "true name", Casters are given the choice to turn dark or light. For the Ravenwood Family, however, there's a curse that removes the option for choice. Though not all Dark Casters turn evil, they are Anti Heroes at best and are associated with sociopathy and negativity, while Light Casters are warm, loving, and fundamentally good. Lena, in her efforts to not turn dark, ended up choosing both, gaining one eye of each Caster's color.
  • This motif is present in the relationship between Nico di Angelo and Will Solace in The Camp Half-Blood Series. Nico is the brooding son of Hades, the god of the Underworld, and has Casting a Shadow powers; Will is the warm son of Apollo, god of the sun and medicine, and is noted for his healing capabilities. They're even a Hair-Contrast Duo.
  • A Dearth of Choice: This is the theme of the second-floor boss, created by forcing a wraith ("A cursed being who has risen from beyond the grave. It despises light and all things holy") to wield a blessed sword ("animated and deadly, that inflicts holy and fire damage with each blow") and then upgrading them as a single unit. The resulting monster is known as "The Devouring Dark/The Consuming Light", with the sword taking on dual natures — black with red highlights on one side, silver with a golden glow on the other — and is immune to both necrotic and holy damage.
  • The Dresden Files
    • The main Fey Courts are those of Summer and Winter. The lead Summer Queen Titania is called the Queen of Light, while her opposite, Queen Mab, is called, among other names, the Queen of Air and Darkness. Summer is seen as a warm and inviting court. Winter is filled with darker creatures, the monsters of nightmares. That said, while Mab can be a vicious monster who would destroy a whole town if one person dared to draw a weapon against her, she is cold, calculating, and logical. If one has a good logical reason to act and she sees it is in her best interests, then she won't take issue with it. Titania is a follower of her emotions and heart. If one injures her or one she cares about for a logical reason, she won't give a shit and will seek to kill the person. Even if that injury had to happen to save the world.
    • Uriel and Anduriel. Archangel Uriel, whose name translates to "God is my Light", is one of the strongest soldiers in God's army and strategist. A cunning being who will always aim for three birds with one stone. His purview is the protection of humanity's Freewill from forces who would corrupt or lie to humans. He is also Heaven's wetwork agent. If a job needs to be done and it comes down to pushing the line of Freewill, it is his job because he knows where the line is.note  His opposite, Anduriel, is one of the Fallen who served Lucifer in the War. He holds the moniker the Master of Shadows, and the spymaster for his side. He exists in the shadow of his human host, Nicodemus Archleone, and can control it too.
  • The Licanius Trilogy Downplays this despite being a High Fantasy series. Darkness is invoked as the main motif of most antagonists, but the main characters actually use dark powers to save others. Similarly, Light Is Not Good, as the Big Bad convinces its supporters by using light as a primary motif.
  • The Lord of the Rings fairly straightforwardly associates the heroes with light and the villains with darkness, despite some instances of Light Is Not Good. The heroes are guided by Gandalf the White and aided by Galadriel, the Lady of Light, who gives Frodo a phial that can light up dark places. Meanwhile, Sauron rules over shadowy, dark Mordor and Gollum revels in the anonymity of darkness.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen has a whole mythology built on light and dark. The light is represented by the Tiste Liosan, who have light-themed powers and worship Father Light, while the dark is represented by the Tiste Andii, who have dark-themed powers and worship Mother Dark. Additionally, there are the Tiste Edur who have shadow as their hat and are considered to be unwanted bastards due to their admixture of light and dark. Mythologically speaking, Mother Dark is thought of as the primordial force that brought order and the concept of existence to what was pure chaos and nonexistence before her. She may have, depending on the In-Universe source, created light that brought justice, although the series makes the point that Father Light's justice is a harsh and unforgiving thing. Light Is Not Good and Dark Is Not Evil are out in full force in this series.
  • Saintess Summons Skeletons: Mixing [Saint] and [Necromancer] keywords produces some bizarrely contrasting skills, like a skeletal minion shining with a halo of holy power, or a pillar of holy light that heals only undead. It's taken further when she gains the [Erredian Rot], allowing all sources of holy light to spread a black, bubbling plague that consumes anything it touches (except herself and her skeletons).
  • A Song of Ice and Fire pits R'hllor, god of fire, light, and life, against the Great Other, god of cold, darkness, and death. Doubles as Fire/Ice Duo and Life/Death Juxtaposition.
  • The conflict between the Light and the Shadow is an essential part of The Wheel of Time's mythos. Light is the force of good, while the Shadow is the force of evil.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrow sets up this dynamic between Oliver Queen/Green Arrow and Damien Darhk. Darhk operates using Black Magic, empowered by blood and capable of Life Drain. To counter this Oliver is taught light magic known as "Light of the Soul", which allows Oliver to ward off darkness-based magic using goodness. Darhk's magic becomes stronger with death and fear, while Oliver's magic is empowered by hope and selflessness. This is what leads to Darhk's defeat, with Oliver rallying the entire city against Darhk, which depowers his darkness magic.
  • The Vorlons (light) and Shadows (dark) of Babylon 5 appear at first to embody this trope, before getting a little bit more complicated, eventually falling into a combination of Light Is Not Good and Jerkass Has a Point.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Cloak & Dagger (2018), based on the comic of the same name, features two superheroes: Tandy, who has Light 'em Up abilities, and Tyrone with his Casting a Shadow powers.
    • The Battle Couple of Karolina Dean and Nico Minoru from Runaways. Karolina is an alien-human hybrid who can transform into a being of light. Nico is a teenage Lady of Black Magic who dresses in dark clothing and whose powers manifest in black circles around her eyes. When Tandy and Ty from Cloak and Dagger guest starred in Runaways, Tandy even made a comparison between Nico and Karoline's dynamic with her and Ty's.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The inability Of Galadriel and Sauron to distinguish light from darkness is a recurring theme in their dynamics. Galadriel is often associated with the light, while Sauron is a Tin Tyrant nicknamed the Dark Lord. But the juxtaposition also signifies the characters' inner struggles. Galadriel is a Knight Templar struggling with her own darkness, but her hatred for Sauron pushes her to threaten Adar with the genocide of the Orcs to the point where Adar tells her that the search for Morgoth's successor should have ended in her mirror. Sauron begins his journey for penance as Halbrand. At first he aims for a Humble Goal such as becoming a blacksmith in Numenor and spent the rest of days there, but Galadriel rekindles his thirst for power and order and genuinely believes that what he wants to do is going to be good for Middle-earth. He wants to earn the forgiveness of the Valar by binding himself to Galadriel's light, while she thinks he would turn her into a tyrant. There is not a coincidence that the first Season starts with child Galadriel in the Eden-like Valinor, and ends with a shot of Sauron heading for the hellish Mordor.
  • Ressha Sentai ToQger: The ToQgers represent the light, in the form of rainbows and all their colors; while the villains are Shadows represent the darkness.
  • Shadow and Bone: Alina is the Sun Summoner, a light-using Grisha whom many believe can destroy the Shadow Fold. She is at first mentored by the Shadow Summoner General Kirigan, before the two become nemeses.
  • In Supernatural:

  • It's right in the title of John Legend's album "Darkness and Light". In the titular song, he mentions the juxtaposition along many other opposites when describing two lovers becoming one.
  • Sleeping at Last:
    • Used in "Uneven Odds" when the Parental Substitute is trying to encourage their new charge:
      You're much too young now
      So I'll write these words down:
      "Darkness exists to make light truly count."
    • "Woodwork", about the outpouring of support (light) after a tragedy (darkness):
      We only notice light
      When darkness crashes against it
      We only notice light
      Deep in the woodwork

    Myths & Religion 
  • Christianity:
    • From Book of Genesis: God creates light first, and separates it from the darkness.
    • The religion generally ascribes God and Jesus to light, and refers to Satan as the Prince of Darkness, among other things. Ironically Satan or Lucifer is depicted as a Fallen Angel of light and could thus appear to tempt humans in his bright and angelic form in order to lead them astray from God. Furthermore, many Churches tend to occasionally invoke macabre design, as a means to ward off demons and Satan.
  • In Egyptian Mythology, the sun god Amun-Ra is threatened every day by the serpent of darkness Apophis.
  • Older Than Dirt: In Hindu Mythology, Light Is Good and Dark Is Evil most of the time. Creation Myths have the world emerging as a bright golden egg out of the primordial darkness, and many gods and goddesses use light powers to vanquish evil.
  • Taoism heavily features the contrast between yin and yang (represented in the taijitu). The yinnote  is associated with passive, water, female, dark energy while the yangnote  is associated with active, fire, male, light energy.

  • Originally, the Site of Ascension in Nothing Is Sacred was a purely light-aligned mountaintop where a dragon attained enlightenment long ago. Its inner workings remained a mystery for many years until a touch of darkness was introduced to the site which provided something for the light to be contrasted against and granted those who studied the area additional information on the nature of enlightenment.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Magic: The Gathering: Of the five colors, two are this: white (represented by a sun) represents light, life, and order; black (represented by a skull) represents darkness, death, and chaos.

  • Les Misérables:
    • "Red and Black": As the students debate passion through the "colours of the world", Rebel Leader Enjolras compares red to "a world about to dawn" and black as "the night that ends at last" in succeeding lyrics.
    • "Stars" sees Javert refer to Valjean as a "fugitive in the night" and extol stars as symbols of order and light in the dark night sky.
  • Next to Normal: In "A Light in the Dark", a sole light turned on in a dark house is used as a symbol of hope for Dan and Diana repairing their strained relationship.

    Video Games 
  • Artix Entertainment games love doing this:
    • Artix von Kreiger is a Paladin who fights For Great Justice as well as a Magic Knight associated with light-based magic. In every game, there's almost always a darkness-based villain to serve as his Evil Counterpart. In DragonFable he is mirrored by Vayle the Necromantress, who has the exact same Dark and Troubled Past and being empowered by the Darkness Orb, however while Artix chose to turn away from the darkness she embraced it and walked its path. In AdventureQuest Worlds, his darkness foil comes in the form of Sepulchure the DoomKnight and his daughter Empress Gravelyn, both of whom lead the Shadowscythe which are an army of The Undead and seek to conquer and enslave.
    • In DragonFable:
      • The Hero and Sepulchure are both in possession of a legendary dragon, the dragons from the White Dragon Box (a dragon of light prophesied to save the world) and the Black Dragon Box (a dragon of darkness prophesied to destroy a world). However, the irony is the Hero acquired the dragon from the Black Dragon Box, while Sepulchure ended up with the dragon from the White Dragon Box. Nature Versus Nurture comes into play on whether the dragons would act out the prophesy.
      • A class of Legendary Weapons in the game are the dark elemental Doom Weapons and the light elemental Destiny Weapons. The player can purchase a Doom Weapon and either choose to keep it or purify it into a Destiny Weapon, with three from each side. Sepulchure is also in possession of his own Doom Weapon which is unavailable to the player.
    • AdventureQuest Worlds: In the "Doomwood Saga" it's established that each of the elements possesses champion, with Artix being one of said Champions. But in an ironic twist, it's revealed Artix is the Champion of Darkness and he was created to end the world (though he refused this destiny). Further revelations then establish that Sepulchure's daughter, Gravelyn, who stepped up as Empress of the Shadowscythe after her father's demise, is the Champion of Light. Nature Versus Nurture again arises, where both Champions defy their chosen destines and choose to go in the opposite direction, with Artix fighting for good and Gravelyn continuing her path of evil.
  • Bayonetta has the Umbra Witches representing darkness and the Lumen Sages representing light, although in this case, you're playing the side of darkness and Light Is Not Good.
  • The conflict between light and darkness is a theme throughout Child of Light, where the player character, Aurora, is a light-using young heroine opposing the forces of Umbra, Queen of the Night, who has stolen the sun, moon, and stars.
  • In the Dark Souls series, the appearance of the First Flame introduced disparity to a world of gray fog, introducing Life and Death, and Light and Dark. Gwyn the Lord of Light ushered in the Age of Fire after he and his allies defeated the Everlasting Dragons who ruled the Age of Fog. But the First Flame that ushered in the Age of Fire is fading as all flames eventually do. If it fades completely, only Dark will remain. A recurring theme in the games is whether or not to maintain Light no matter the cost, or to let it fade so that the Age of Dark can begin.
  • Destiny features Light and Darkness as two Sentient Cosmic Forces served by various alien races, and are eternally in conflict. The Light encourages cooperation, inter-reliance, and brings humanity to a new golden age by inspiring them to create incredible advanced technology. The Darkness is The Social Darwinist and all about causing adversity to purge the weak.
  • Fallen London and its sequels have the cosmic-level ideological conflict between the Judgments, the living suns who create and enforce what lesser beings like humans consider laws of nature everywhere that their light shines, including laws like "everyone who isn't a star is a lesser being", versus the Liberation of Night, who seek to extinguish the concept of light to eliminate its use as a tool of oppression. (Neither of these broad groups is cohesive.)
  • Final Fantasy: Light-themed warriors (sometimes referred to as the "Warriors of Light") opposing the darkness-themed enemies is a common theme throughout the franchise.
    • Final Fantasy has the "Warriors of Light" defeat the evil Chaos. The juxtaposition is mentioned in the opening prophecy.
      "When darkness veils the world, four Warriors of Light shall come."
    • Final Fantasy III focuses around the fabled "Warriors of Light" banding together to put a stop to the evil Cloud of Darkness. Near the end of the game, when the Warriors enter the Cloud of Darkness' own dimension, they come across the Warriors of Darkness. It's only after battling against each other that they learn that the Warriors of Darkness were the chosen fighters of this universe, who once had to save it from a Flood of Light. The two sets of Warriors have the same end goal, balance, and the Cloud of Darkness can't be beaten without both of them.
    • InFinal Fantasy XIV, you play as the Warrior of Light, chosen champion of Hydaelyn, goddess of Light, to oppose the servants of the dark god Zodiark. There's even an entire parallel world, The Void, that's the remains of a world that was swallowed by Darkness with all its inhabitants twisted into demonic Voidsent as an example of what could happen if you fail. But then in the Shadowbringers expansion, you're sent to a different parallel world facing the opposite crisis: a Flood of Light, as in Final Fantasy III. To fight that, you must switch roles and become a Warrior of Darkness.
    • In Final Fantasy XV Noctis and his party serve this function. Noctis is supposed to cleanse the world of Eos from a curse that lengthens nighttime and creates dark demons.
    • Dissidia Final Fantasy brings back the Warrior of Light from the original game, but also refers to the heroic Warriors of Cosmos as the "Warriors of Light". They aim to defeat the "Warriors of Chaos".
  • Kingdom Hearts treats light and darkness as opposing forces. Light is generally good and Darkness is generally evil, with the heroes often wielding light to vanquish the dark forces such as the Heartless. Multiple characters also compare best friends Sora (the protagonist) and Riku (the deuteragonist) to light and dark over the course of the series, usually stating afterward that you can't have one without the other.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • Generally, the heroic Zelda will be ascribed to Light (with protagonist Link often joining her in this regard), and the villainous Ganon/Ganondorf and other villains will be ascribed to Darkness. Zelda and Link can fight with light-themed offenses (eg. Zelda's Light Arrows, their respective parts of the Triforce) while Ganon and other enemies draw power from the shadows. Link has to fight his Evil Counterpart, Dark Link, on occasion.
    • The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past has the Dark World, a darker parallel counterpart to the Light World.
    • In Breath Of The Wild, Ganondorf has degenerated into a malevolent, writhing mass of shadow and chaos called Calamity Ganon, while Zelda keeps him at bay with her magic, which manifests as bright golden light.
  • Mega Man Zero sees X become associated with light — he ends up becoming an Energy Being and has a nigh-angelic appearance. One of his Four Guardians, Phantom, has shadow powers; he's also the most loyal to X, the "shadow to his light".
  • Metroid Prime 2: Echoes has light and dark as a major theme. The planet Aether has been split in two, with a Dark World copy in another dimension. Over the course of the game, Samus travels between the two dimensions encountering light and dark enemies and obtaining light and dark beam weapons (which later combine into the Annihilator Beam), light and dark suits, etc.
  • Subverted in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and the sequel, where your glowing spectral elf companion is referred to as "the Bright Lord" and the "Bright Master" and opposes Sauron or Shelob, who personify Dark Is Evil. Although he starts out well-intentioned, if Creepy Good, he gradually becomes not so different from Sauron.
    Orc you just dominated: Eh, Bright Lord, Dark Lord, same thing, really.
  • Neon White: When they first meet, Neon Yellow calls the Amnesiac Hero Neon White his "Sasuke, the darkness to my light"... and then says he was just messing around. Their color schemes and personalities still contrast one another well, though.
  • Runescape: The high-ranked gods Zaros and Seren stand out as being the only two gods to be created directly by an Elder God and are closely linked with each other. The "Empty Lord" Zaros is associated with darkness, the Power of the Void, and the Shadow Realm between life and death; while the "Queen of Harmony" Seren is a Badass Pacifist who champions life and the harmony between living things. However, Light Is Not Good and Dark Is Not Evil.
  • Sonic Adventure 2 is built on this theme as the conflict between the six playable characters. The good side consists of Sonic and his pals, Tails and Knuckles going up against the evil side consisting of Dr. Eggman and his new partners, Shadow the Hedgehog and Rouge the Bat, Evil Counterparts to Sonic and Knuckles respectively. The evil campaign is even called "Dark." The next game has Shadow and Rouge form their own faction with one of Eggman's abandoned robots, E-123 Omega, and serve as a collective Anti-Hero Team counterpart to Team Sonic, and the "Dark" moniker becomes their official team name.
  • A strange example can be found in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate: both light and darkness are evil, and in fact, the being who represents light is the one who kicks off the plot of Adventure Mode. However, they fight each other just as much as they fight the Smashers.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: the God of Light is the older brother and responsible for the creation of life, which the God of Darkness despised and set about destroying, even creating the Creatures of Grimm to achieve this. While they formed a truce by creating humanity together, Light receives the worship and adoration of humanity while humanity fears and avoids Dark. The two domains in which they dwell reflect their differences. Light lives atop a mountain, surrounded by golden plants, and is a welcoming place to visit. Dark's domain is a realm of endless darkness where fearsome Grimm roam and skeletons of humans who died lie scattered. The God of Darkness's jealousy over the God of Light's relationship with humanity leaves him vulnerable to Salem's manipulations, setting the world of Remnant on course for a tragic catastrophe.

    Web Comics 
  • Beyond the End: Uriel and Lucifer are both the darkness to Michael's light, one being his partner and the other being his brother.
  • I'm the Grim Reaper: On their first "official" meeting, Chase is in the light, while Scarlet is in the shadows, suggesting what their roles in the story might be.
  • Muted: The oppressive and stifled Severins wear dark clothes, while the more free Leroux wear pastels.
  • Vampire Girl: Levana herself in both forms: her vampire form is the darknes, while her human form is the light.

    Web Videos 
  • Night Mind: In the video about Welcome to Night Vale, Nick ended up crossing over with a morning radio host named Day Brain, or David (played by David from Midnight Marinara). While Nick specializes in dark media and analysis, David was interested in gushing about media that made him happy. They argued over Night Vale at first, but were eventually able to meet each other in the middle and realize they were not so different.

    Western Animation 
  • BIONICLE: The Mask of Light features the introduction of the Takanuva the Toa of Light to the team, which gives them the power to go up against Makuta who embodies Shadows as his element. During a Final Battle, Takanuva and Makuta fall into a pit of energized protodermis which causes them to fuse into a single being, Takutanuva, Light and Shadow combined. As the perfect balance of Light and Shadow, he was unbiased and neutral, only carrying out the will of Great Spirit. He even performed a Heroic Sacrifice to save the rest of the Toa.
  • Elena of Avalor: The Scepter of Night was created to combat the Scepter of Light. As an heirloom of the royal family, Elena becomes the current owner of the Scepter of Light, and in Season 2, Shuriki assembles the pieces of the Scepter of Night to fight her on even ground.
  • The Legend of Korra
    • The show's mythos doubles this with Order Versus Chaos. Raava, the blue and white ancient spirit of light and peace, is in constant conflict with Vaatu, the red and black spirit of darkness and chaos.
    • The finale of the arc dealing with the Raava/Vaatu conflict had Cross-Referenced Titles called "Darkness Falls" and "Light in the Dark".
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars: The light and dark side themes of the Force are exaggerated in "Ghost of Mortis". The Jedi encounter physical personifications of the Force: The Daughter represents the Light side; she is pure, kind, and gives off an ethereal glow. The Son represents the Dark side; he is selfish and corrupt, possessing red Force lightning and is Obviously Evil from his red eyes and the dark markings all over him. The Father serves as a perfect balance between the two sides and keeps both of his children under control. The planet itself also reflects this, with the daytime bringing all plants and vegetation to life, while nightfall casts a shadow across the land and everything withers and dies.
  • Tangled: The Series:
    • The Moondrop Stone is introduced as the Evil Counterpart of the movie's Sundrop Flower — while the Sundrop can heal (a property lost after the end of the movie), the Moondrop Stone creates indestructible spiky rocks that spread throughout the land in an attempt to protect itself, but if these two drops of celestial light are reunited, these rocks will disappear. Rapunzel is the holder of the Sundrop Flower while Cassandra of the holder of the Moondrop Stone.
    • Rapunzel is the long-lost princess of Corona, a kingdom associated with the sun, whereas Eugene is the long-lost prince of the Dark Kingdom, a kingdom associated with the moon.
  • Teen Titans
    • Done with Raven and Doctor Light. To date, Raven — a demon's daughter who dresses in dark colors and uses dark-themed magic — is one of the few things that the light-based supervillain is terrified of. Having been dragged into her dark dimension once before, he would rather surrender and be jailed than having to face her again.
      Dr. Light: I'd like to go to jail now, please.
    • Raven also has this dynamic with Starfire an alien who fires blasts of green light energy and overall has a more cheerful deposition than Raven.


Video Example(s):


Odin vs Bahamut

As their armies clash, the King of Waloed and the Prince of Sanbreque, the Dominant's of darkness and light respectively, do battle to inspire their men.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / LightDarknessJuxtaposition

Media sources: