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Orc Raised by Elves

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Orc Raised by Elves is the opposite of Raised by Orcs. In that trope, someone who is from a good group is raised by villains; this is the opposite, a member of a bad or Always Chaotic Evil group being raised by a good or Always Lawful Good group. This trope, like the other one, gets into the nurture/nature issue. Sometimes, the "orc" will turn out good, thanks to their upbringing, but at other occasions, being evil is hereditary. Sometimes the raised orc will confront members of his biological race. Interesting stuff will happen, like the raised orc thinking they're enemies, or potential friends, or wondering why he looks more similar to them than the ones who raised him.


Compare with The Farmer and the Viper, which sometimes overlaps, although that's more generally about evil characters being incapable of reciprocating kindness. See also Raised by Humans, Nature Versus Nurture, and of course Elves Versus Dwarves.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Black Clover, despite being a devil from the underworld, Liebe himself has a hatred for his own race due to their constant torment and abuse of him in the underworld for having no magic, and was later taken in and raised by Licita when he came to the human world. Although he claims that all devils including himself are scum, Asta points out that Liebe is different, inferring that his inability to kill Asta is because of his compassion, which comes from the maternal love he received from Licita.
  • Kakarot from Dragon Ball was a Saiyan (a savage and ultraviolent warrior race known for eliminating the populations of entire planets for profit) who came to Earth as a baby and was found by Son Gohan, an Old Master martial artist. As a result of brain trauma from falling headfirst onto a rock and being raised by the kind Son Gohan, the baby grew up to be a loving and cheerful child, renamed by Gohan as Son Goku.
    • Slightly retconned in recent years. Kakarot's parents are written as being Saiyans with better dispositions, so he was naturally inclined towards being a nicer Saiyan than most— growing up with Gohan merely amplified his kind nature.
    • This also applies to Piccolo Jr., whose interactions with the innocent Son Gohan (Goku's son, not grandfather) led to him abandoning his psychopathic & vengeful ways to the point that he even willingly assists in babysitting Gohan's daughter in Dragon Ball Super and sacrificing himself to keep the Black Star Dragon Balls from being restored in Dragon Ball GT.
  • in YuYu Hakusho, there's Kurama, a reincarnation of a silver-haired fox demon that born into a human child called Shuichi Minamino. He only planned to stay in his human body until he recovered enough power to return to his old ways, but the loving cares of his human mother formed emotional bonds between them. He was at the point of wanting to save her life when she was ill at the start of the series. First appearing as a possible enemy, when he saw the efforts of Yusuke for saving him and his mother at cost of his own life, Kurama decides to join to his side without hesitation, and later convince demon Hiei to do the same.

    Comic Books 
  • In the New Gods series, Orion is this, being part of an experiment/peace deal that also included Raised by Orcs. Scott Free was the son of one of the benevolent deities and was given to be raised by the Evil Overlord Darkseid. Darkseid's son, Orion, was raised in his place. Both of them grow up to be heroes, Orion's rage was given a positive outlet and he became one of New Genesis greatest champions, while Darkseid was not able to stunt Scott Free's underlying nature or crush his hope no matter how much torture he underwent, and he eventually escaped to Earth where he became Mister Miracle (in the process costing Darkseid one of his strongest minions, Big Barda, who fell in love with Scott and escaped with him).
  • The eponymous character Hellboy, a demon considered as the Antichrist, who was found by humans as a baby to be later raised to become an All-American Hero.
  • Damian Wayne, biological son of Batman/Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul, was raised by his mother and trained by the League of Assassins as a killer at early age. Without knowing a word of his existence, Damian appears in his 10s in Wayne's house as a ruthless and violent kid left there by Talia to disrupt Batman's work. With his mentorship as well as Dick Grayson's (who would become the new Batman when Bruce temporarily died), Damian made a Heel–Face Turn and eventually became the new Robin, being like an Anti-Hero version of this Kid Sidekick.
  • Loki from The Mighty Thor was a Frost Giant raised by Odin after (apparently) killing his father Laufey. Loki attempts to conquer and destroy Asgard and in general the universe. He also hates his own race, especially his Abusive Parent (who Loki has also killed, twice).
  • Subverted/deconstructed in Rom vs. Transformers: Shining Armor; the Space Knights think they've done this by raising Stardrive, a young Transformer they rescued from a destroyed ship, but in truth they haven't done anything of the sort. Their only real contact with Transformers has been peripheral reports of collateral damage caused by the Great War and the Decepticons attacking organic worlds for resources. Rom is legitimately shocked and disturbed when he realizes that the "evil killer robots" he's been hearing horror stories about his whole life are actually just normal people who happen to be sentient machines. The rest of the Space Knights are even slower to accept the fact that the Autobots are generally good people trying to stop the Decepticons. This all causes Stardrive to suffer not just from discrimination in the Space Knight ranks, but also from extreme self-loathing.
  • Ethan Edwards/Virtue, a Superman expy in the Marvel Comics universe, is a Skrull sent to Earth when Galactus was due to consume the Skrull throneworld and raised by a kindly Iowa couple.

    Fan Works 
  • Raphael in Heroes in the Shadows is the biological son of the Shredder. Recognizing the kind of horrors being raised by someone like the Shredder could bring about, Yoshi takes his son and flees with him to America along with Tang Shen, Miwa, and Leonardo. He was raised as a member of the Hamato Clan.
  • A minor character in the Knights of the Old Republic Game Mod Brotherhood of Shadow: Solomon's Revenge is a Mandalorian orphan who was taken in by Coruscanti elite, and signed on the smuggling ship Orion to explore the universe and learn more about the culture of his birth. As a result, he's an incredibly odd combination of Gentleman Adventurer and Proud Warrior Race Guy.

  • Lilo & Stitch: Experiment 626, a living creature who is capable of creating untold chaos, was exiled to an asteroid, but he managed to escape and crash into Earth, on a Hawaiian island to be specific. Mistaken for a dog and placed in an animal shelter, he is soon adopted by a young woman named Nani and her rambunctious younger sister, Lilo. Soon, Lilo has named him "Stitch", and with time he forms emotional bonds with her to the point of protecting Lilo from other menaces, like the Mad Scientist who created him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • This is interestingly presented in Thor. Loki had always felt different among his fellow Asgardians, but he never realized he was a Frost Giant because a Glamour had disguised his true appearance. When he discovers the truth, he's furious because while Odin did love him, Loki was nonetheless meant to be a political pawn in Odin's attempt to create lasting peace between Jötunheim and Asgard note . Loki then strikes a deal with the Giants which would allow them to invade Asgard — but Loki despises the Jötnar and, in a twisted way of proving his loyalty to Asgard, had planned to wipe out his own species.
    • His eponymous show features small moments like Loki mentioning an Asgardian proverb, singing an Asgardian song, or smashing his cup while calling for another, all of which demonstrate how he continues to carry his adoptive culture with him.

  • Veil in Outcast of Redwall is a vermin (and thus Always Chaotic Evil) raised by the Abbey Dwellers (generally Always Lawful Good) and is presented as definitely leaning toward evil, but ultimately makes a Heroic Sacrifice. It may be implied that the Abbey Dwellers made him morally ambiguous by treating him with suspicion since childhood, but since vermin are generally Always Chaotic Evil in the series, maybe not.
  • Mr. Nutt in the Discworld novel Unseen Academicals actually is an orc and was raised by humans and Friendly Neighborhood Vampires. He's a stand-up guy, although in this case, it's questionable whether orcs actually were Always Chaotic Evil to begin with.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: A direwolf is a close relative of the wolf, but larger and stronger. Direwolves are extinct south of the Wall, as they are a very large and dangerous predator, and people have probably hunted them out. Robb Stark found a dead female direwolf with a litter of six pups on the path between Winterfell and the holdfast where Gared was executed, these direwolves were raised by the members of House Stark and become mascots and companions of every member of the family. Also, a grey direwolf in a white field is the sigil of House Stark.
  • Storm from Survivor Dogs is a Fierce Dog who was taken in by the Wild Pack after her biological mother was murdered. She was raised by Gentle Giant Martha. Storm brings up the issue of Nature Versus Nurture. She still has Fierce Dog instincts, such as her love of fighting as a pup and the time she tore a dog's jaw off in a fight, but she's also on the "good guys" side and tries her best to fight her violent tendencies.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien himself pondered whether orcs were redeemable. His conclusion was that it wasn't very likely, as whatever Morgoth did to them had condemned the whole species to an existence of constant pain and fear, which even a "good" upbringing could not undo.
  • Sarah Zellaby of InCryptid is one of the only non-sociopathic Johrlac (also known as "cuckoos" for their Backstory Invader powers), who was raised by the only other non-evil Johrlac, Angela, and her husband Martin, a Friendly Zombie (and frequently spent summers with her human cousins, children of Angela's adopted human daughter). So she's an Orc Raised by a Token Heroic Orc.note 

    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek:
    • Worf of Star Trek: The Next Generation is a Klingon (who were the villains in Star Trek: The Original Series and only slowly later became allies of the Federation) raised by humans.
    • They tried this with a Jem'Hadar baby in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, but the Founders had genetically engineered them to hate all non-Founders, and the attempt to raise him like Worf failed.
    • Odo in Deep Space Nine is also an example, having been raised by Bajorans while being a Founder.
    • In addition, Cardassian orphans left on Bajor after the Occupation have been adopted and raised by Bajorans. One such boy grew up with a serious case of self-loathing.
  • There's a Stargate Atlantis episode where a wraith girl was raised by humans. She genuinely tries, is distraught by her need to feed, and desperately injects the untried Wraith retrovirus that would theoretically make her human (she'd been feeding because her adopted father's serum didn't work). This, unfortunately, only magnifies the Iratus Bug aspects of the Wraith heritage, having exactly the opposite effect and turning her into a rampaging monster.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • Forgotten Realms:
      • One elven mage managed to raise a good red dragon (using magic to suppress his genetic evil tendencies). Sadly, "a red dragon who never knew greed or malice" matched a Curse Escape Clause to a magic prison holding a trio of very powerful fiends.
      • Drizzt Do'Urden, a drow. Although technically an "adult" when he makes it to the surface, he is adopted by Bruenor Battlehammer, a dwarf, and taught to be a productive member of society.
    • In fifth edition's Volo's Guide to Monsters, players are given the option to select a monster race such as orcs, goblins, gnolls, etc. Being raised by elves (or another friendly race) is one of the exampled reasonings as to why one from a monster race would be helping a group that likely attacks their kind.
    • On Mystara Elves of Alfheim have captured a large number of Orcs after a failed Orc invasion. They were initially considered making them slaves but when the majority rejected the idea as appalling, they decided to just let Orcs go. The Orcs however asked permission to stay and take various jobs. Over the few generations, Alfheim Orcs have gone completely native and their descendants are raised in Elven culture, with Elves considering them a part of their society and defending from outsiders who don't know better.
  • Red Dragon Inn: The 3rd set includes Serena the Pious, an Orc Paladin who was spared and raised by The Order who slayed her village because she was such a cute baby. Her righteous upbringing mostly holds her Orcish temper at bay, but carousing in a tavern isn't exacly condusive to that...and sometimes there arre benefits to being just a little bit mean. Where she stands on her Piety Meter strengthens or weakens several of her helpful and harmful abilities.

    Video Games 
  • Dwarf Fortress:
    • Cacame Awemedinade, a legendary character in the Dwarf Fortress community, is considered perhaps the mightiest king of the dwarves... despite being an elf. While adopted later than most examples at age 7, he considers himself no less of a true dwarf, as evidenced by his immense hatred of other elves. His reputation as a paragon of dorfiness is enough that even other elves and goblins have sworn fealty to him, and not even demons can best his axedwarfship.
    • A general example, members of various civilizations can move to others during worldgen, and in more recent versions human civilizations tend to have a thriving minority of goblins among them. Just as human, elven, or dwarven captives go on to fit right into goblin civilization, goblin populations in non-goblin civilizations act no different from others of their newfound culture, making their description as innately evil a case of The Artifact.
  • In Fall from Heaven, one leader of the Clan of Embers, Sheelba, has this as her backstory. She was adopted as a war orphan by a Bannor soldier who had just lost his own daughter, and was bound with a Geas by a mage to be obedient, which eventually became her name. However, the spell never worked (what actually made her civilized was being treated like a normal girl), and when she overhears her father drunkenly admitting that he still doesn't see her as his daughter (which may not be the truth; he may have only said it to avoid getting branded an orc sympathizer), she runs away and joins the Clan.
  • Mass Effect: The fluff makes mention of some groups of vorcha who were raised by asari. The vorcha, while not Always Chaotic Evil, are looked down upon as violent, thuggish brutes by most of the galaxy and most of them don't do anything to help that perception. The diplomatic asari tried to prove that this wasn't inherent in the species by raising some newborn vorcha themselves. These vorcha did indeed turn out to be very stable and productive members of society, proving the asari's point, and these vorcha even attempted to found their own colony of "civilized" vorcha... unfortunately, thanks to their twenty-year lifespans, their reproductive rate outstripped the rate at which their descendants could be educated and "civilized".
  • Deadeye in Orcs Must Die! Unchained is an orc/elf hybrid who was raised by elves as one of their own. She was unfortunately driven into exile when she was accused of the murder of her adoptive parent, becoming an outlaw. Temper is a minotaur raised by Dwarves, though unlike Deadeye his upbringing was largely positive.
  • Thrall the orc from Warcraft is an interesting case. He was found as an infant after the orcs' defeat in Warcraft II and adopted by the human Aedelas Blackmoore, overseer of the internment camps holding most of the surviving orcs. While this meant Thrall grew up free of orcish influence, Blackmoore was hardly a good role model, as his whole scheme was first to train Thrall as a gladiator slave (hence the name), then to use Thrall to lead an orcish army that could overthrow Lordaeron and put Blackmoore in power. Instead Thrall escaped from Blackmoore, linked up with some orcish holdouts, rediscovered the orcs' benign shamanistic heritage, liberated his people from the humans' internment camps, killed Blackmoore, and went on to become the Warchief of a revitalized and redeemed Horde.

    Web Original 
  • Sandwich Stoutaxe (yes, really), a drow baby who was found in a basket by a dwarf (who thought it contained sandwiches) and later became a paladin of the dwarf god Moradin. She avoids My Species Doth Protest Too Much because she considers herself a dwarf.

    Western Animation 
  • Spike the Dragon in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic was reared as a hatchling by ponies. As an adolescent, he sees the Great Dragon Migration and goes on a quest to learn more about his own kind, where he quickly finds that he prefers to live among ponies. Later episodes further emphasize his pony-like character compared to other dragons, but he forges ties with the Dragon Lord and eventually becomes Equestria's official Friendship Ambassador to the Dragon Lands. Then he goes through puberty.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): Originally raised as a member of the Hamato Clan, Oroku Saki/Shredder turned on his adopted family as soon as he found out that he was actually the heir of their Evil Counterpart the Foot Clan, taking special care to target Hamato Yoshi/Splinter, the man he called his brother, for years over a girl they both liked.