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Ron the Death Eater

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"Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a well-loved movie based on the wonderful book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Parents love it, children love it, heck, we even love it. That does not mean it is perfect. Our goal is to expose the dark underbelly of the story. To reveal once and for all the truth about the only real villain in the movie (and no, it is not Slugworth). It is Grandpa Joe."
— The mission statement for the website, Say NO to Grandpa Joe: Exposing the truth

The fandom's tendency to shoehorn a good canon character into being a villain or make a villain significantly more evil than in canon is Ron the Death Eater, the inverse of Draco in Leather Pants. (The term usually used for this in fanfiction is "character bashing").

This demonization of a character can be seen as a kind of deliberate Flanderization — often, in creating Ron the Death Eater, the fandom spins the character's canonical non-evil actions into evil acts, uses canonical evil actions as a justification as to why they are irredeemably evil even if the canon says otherwise, and has every possible negative trait of the character exaggerated. A measure of ruthlessness becomes complete and utter sociopathy, a tendency towards holding grudges becomes an obsessive hatred of anything they dislike, slight denseness becomes raging stupidity, etc.

This is often the result of also having a Draco in Leather Pants, but it doesn't have to be — some characters inspire this sort of portrayal on their own, either through their canonical blunders, having some flaw that makes them Unintentionally Unsympathetic, or being an obstacle to the author's One True Pairing, especially if said character is a member of the Official Couple set. In any case, Ron the Death Eater is likely to be a Card-Carrying Villain who does things For the Evulz than to have any plausible reason for switching sides.

This trend may lead to the production of Fan Works that have other characters who are canonically friends of the victim act as though they have always been an object of justified loathing, rather than going the "shocked at betrayal" approach. Or, even if these characters end up siding with the Draco in Leather Pants, they are subject to some character defamation themselves by way of "I was stupid to love him and not you".

Unlike Draco in Leather Pants, this can also be intentionally done for comedy, usually of the black variety. In works relying on this much rarer reasoning, the character in question is turned into a Jerkass (or worse), but the other characters' relationships with them aren't changed much. That way the main characters are exposed to, and thus constantly made to suffer by, a villain, and good times are had by the audience.

Named for the tendency in Harry Potter fanfics where Draco Malfoy turns good and hooks up with Hermione (or Harry) to have Ron — in Canon a decent, upstanding sort of fellow with a few faults but firmly on the side of good who happens to have a long-standing enmity with Draco — lose his mind (or have it lost for him) and often join Lord Voldemort just for a chance to kill the sainted Malfoy.

Compare Die for Our Ship or Derailing Love Interests (fans' or the creators' dissatisfaction with who the main character gets to be with romantically is the major cause of this trope), Designated Hero (the hero of a work coming off as not-so-heroic is the other major cause), The Scapegoat (when a character is blamed for an event they're not responsible for), Historical Villain Upgrade (when a work depicts a historical figure as worse than they were in real life), Dark Fic (a fan work that's deliberately Darker and Edgier than the original work and may involve characters being subjected to this trope), Rooting for the Empire (when the audience actually wants the bad guy(s) to win), Adaptational Jerkass (when an adaptation makes a character more of an asshole than they were in the original work), Adaptational Villainy (when an adaptation makes a character more evil than they were in the original work) and Face–Heel Turn (when the original source material itself turns a once good character evil). See also Accentuate the Negative, which this trope essentially does to fictional characters. A Mook Horror Show can also come into this, when a frightening or ruthless hero is portrayed through the eyes of a Mook.

Contrast Draco in Leather Pants, where an evil or mean character is interpreted by fans as being a better person than they are in canon; the two can be combined with a Perspective Flip. Darker and often more serious counterpart to the Memetic Psychopath, who is always Played for Laughs. More Interesting as a Villain occurs when the villainization of the hero is done because fans feel the character would be more interesting that way.

And last but not least, head to Paint the Hero Black if you wish to join in the madness.

NOTE: This only applies to the general fandom trend of vilifying them, not specific works which instead go under Adaptational Villainy or Adaptational Jerkass. Specific works can be noted as contributing to or codifying the trend but are not examples themselves.


Examples (sorted by the original canons' media):

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    Comic Books 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • Sally suffered this royally from the fandom for many issues after her Jerkass attitude and slap to Sonic. The reason? Sonic prioritized putting an end to Robotnik's reign of terror over settling down with Sally, and Sally saw this as "selfish".
  • Parodied In-Universe in The Unwritten, about a son of a writer who got famous after creating a series of novels very similar to Harry Potter. The first two start with fragments of those books, and the third with a fragment of Frankenstein. The first page of the fourth issue shows Harry's counterpart slaughtering Ron and Hermione's counterparts in a really terrible way, only to have it turn out on the next page that it's a Dark Fic.
  • Janet Drake (mother of Tim Drake, the third Robin) only made a handful of appearances before being killed off – while neglectful in leaving Tim home alone for months at a time, she was also consistently shown as warm and kind to him whenever she happened to be home. Fan fiction, however, near-universally portrays her as a ruthless social-climbing Ice Queen who never shows Tim affection.

    Films — Animation 
  • Buck Cluck from Chicken Little, notoriously so. The movie's writing makes him come off as neglectful and unsympathetic jerk who doesn't come to his son's aid when he needs it, and only doesn't act embarrassed about his son's very existence when Chicken does something heroic. However, the movie also makes it clear that he's never outwardly or intentionally abusive and that this is the best he can do given his circumstances, being a widower raising a paranoiac child by himself, and he does eventually see the error of his ways. An extreme Vocal Minority of people on the internet (especially critics), however, depicted him as an abusive sociopath with no redeeming qualities, sometimes labeling him one of the most evil Disney characters or even the most Abusive Parent in all of fiction, somehow beating out the likes of Judge Claude Frollo, Ragyo Kiryuin, Shou Tucker, Relius Clover, and Fire Lord Ozai for the title. The character's Disney Wiki page had an ongoing Edit War between ticked-off viewers categorizing him as the villain and adding "neglecting his son" to the list of things he likes and admins struggling to keep the page neutral.note 
  • Encanto: While Alma Madrigal isn't exactly the epitome of a good grandparent, she has a pretty damn tragic Freudian Excuse and is shown to genuinely love her family in spite of her perfectionist tendencies. And the film itself never downplays how harmful her tendencies are, with her being genuinely remorseful about it. You would not know this if your only experience with the movie was fanfiction, which tends to turn her into an outright Abusive Parent and grandparent.
  • Frozen (2013): Elsa and Anna's parents have it bad, despite dying within the first ten minutes of the film. Keeping Elsa and Anna separate was misguided but in canon they're not depicted as outright Abusive Parents. They're treated as Well Intentioned Extremists who are still Good Parents who love their daughters. The Ice Behind Bars presents Elsa's father as abusive towards Elsa even before the accident. He hates her for her powers and doubts that she is even his. After Elsa accidentally injures Anna, his treatment of her only gets worse. When Anna and her mother disappear, Elsa's father uses the chance to claim that Elsa was killed along with her sister. He locks her up and regularly tortures her until Anna rescues her years later.
  • In the Non/Disney fanvid fandom, and to a lesser extent the fanfic fandom, this is commonplace with characters like Jasmine from Aladdin, Elsa from Frozen, and Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. However, this is more-so because their designs and scenes make it easy to manipulate them into villains (with Word of God being that Esmeralda's design is outright based on prior Disney villains) than an actual dislike for the characters. For example, Jim from Treasure Planet is the designated "bad boy" in the Disney crossover fandom. He's a common 'Scoundrel' to most other male leads' 'Gentleman'.
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964): It's a common cynical claim that Santa and the other reindeer didn't actually learn to accept Rudolph for who he was, they only learned to tolerate his difference because it could be useful. However, this is Common Knowledge, as while they were unquestionably and unjustifiably jerks to poor Rudolph, they realized how wrong they acted and apologized before realizing his nose can navigate the snowstorm. Donner is also often seen as an Abusive Parent because he was at first ashamed by his son's different trait and didn't protect him from bullying, but, again, he realized his wrongdoings and apologized for them before Rudolph's ability to navigate was realized.
  • Turning Red:
    • Some detractors see Mei as a Spoiled Brat who takes her mother for granted and throws tantrums all because she wouldn't allow her to listen to the music she likes. They tend to ignore that Mei has been nothing but kind and loyal to her mom her entire life, Ming does things that would be humiliating for any child to deal with (like accusing Devon of being a predator after seeing Mei's drawings and spying on Mei while she's at school), and Mei realizes that being her true, authentic self makes her significantly happier while her family wants her to hide it away. Even before then, she never got to be herself around Ming because she didn't want to disappoint her.
    • Conversely, there are also a number of viewers who view Ming as a borderline Abusive Parent whose lack of letting Mei have any free-will is the reason she became a brat in the first placenote  and was too Easily Forgiven in the end. This also ignores the fact that Ming's controlling behavior wasn't out of malice but rather because she genuinely thought she was doing the right thing for Mei. Furthermore, the film makes it clear that Ming's in the wrong because of her overprotectiveness and that she needed to learn that she can't keep smothering her daughter. The fact that even those who don't see her as abusive genuinely found it hard to sympathize with Ming even after her whole backstory is revealed doesn't help.
  • Up: Construction worker Steve. Many fans think he deserved to be hit in the head by Carl due to the mishap with his mailbox, and blame him for causing Carl having to go to court and subsequently losing his house. What is overlooked however is the fact that Carl assaulted Steve, with him getting a gash in the head. Also Steve likely had no way of knowing how important the mailbox was for Carl.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Babylon: Many of the the fandom's more rabid Nellie/Fay shippers who resent Manny for being Nellie's primary love interest will portray Manny as being an abusive Jerkass who's extremely possessive of Nellie and wants her all to himself while only loving an idea of her. While Manny does put Nellie on a bit of a pedestal and has a borderline unhealthy devotion towards her, he's also a Nice Guy who does care about her deeply and his love for her is entirely genuine; it's made clear that he loves her for who she is and not just what she represents. Many of these shippers will also cite Manny firing Fay after news of her and Nellie's relationship spreads as evidence of him being a bad person, ignoring that he was forced to do so by the studio higher-ups and that he clearly regrets having to do it, even going so far as to apologize to Fay a couple times for it.
  • The Devil Wears Prada: Nate is far from the perfect boyfriend in the film, but even with that, the fanbase portrays him as far worse than he actually is. Most fans make him out to be an abusive jerk, when the most he does is get angry at Andy for putting her job first. They also like to ignore his more positive traits, like trying to comfort Andy when she is forced to take Emily's place in Paris. This also comes from a healthy dose of Die for Our Ship, as a lot of Miranda/Andy shippers like to play him as far more aggressive in trying to get her to quit, when in reality he is right about the job changing her, mainly because Miranda admits to trying to do just that.
  • Free Solo contains a rare example of this happening to a real-life figure in a documentary. A number of the film's detractors will portray Alex Honnold as an unrepentant sociopath and Death Seeker who doesn't care at all about his friends and family's worries. In the actual documentary, Alex is portrayed as being a little callous sometimes and while he does have a bit of a reckless disregard for his own safety, he's ultimately a good-natured but flawed man who simply has trouble understanding other people sometimes.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Following Captain America: Civil War, fanfics cropped up by the hundreds that portray either Team Cap or Team Iron Man as either perfect saints who have never done anything wrong, or horrible excuses for human beings who were out to get the other team from the start. The "Not Team Cap Friendly", "Not Steve Friendly", and "Not [other person on Team Cap] Friendly" tags are somewhat popular when searching MCU fic on Archive of Our Own, while the equivalent pro-Team Cap/anti-Team Iron Man tags are almost nonexistent in favor of fics where Ultron doesn't happen or where the whole team bands against the Accords, suggesting that the readers and writers who aren't staunchly anti-Team Cap tend to prefer the whole team together rather than outright disliking Tony or anyone who sided with him.
    • Many of these fics shows Steve willing to disregard the will of 117 countries and thinks he knows best, while disregarding that he said that he didn’t believe that oversight was impossible but that they would need safeguards and was willing to negotiate to make sure that they can get amended. They also portray Steve as irresponsible and reckless during the first chase with the Winter Soldier and he shouldn’t have gotten involved, while ignoring that Bucky who was brainwashed into his crimes had a squad after him with orders to kill on sight and that they were sent after a dangerous cyborg assassin. He was trying to protect the soldiers from Bucky as well as vice versa, he even stated that even if Bucky had been behind the bombing and was too far gone then he was the best one to bring him down and not die trying.
  • A number of backstory fics for Star Trek (2009) play out the existing villain version of this trope with Kodos from the original series. Canonically, Kodos was a particularly extreme Well-Intentioned Extremist who was trying, in his own twisted way, to save lives, and who carried incredible amounts of guilt over his actions for the rest of his life. In reboot fanfics he appears in, however, readers can expect to see him depicted as a Complete Monster who was eager for a chance to put his eugenic theories into practice (in some cases to the point of engineering the famine for this purpose), who cares only about the elimination of the unworthy and just uses the excuse of saving lives as a cover, and who actively participates in the rape and torture of children.
    • For a non-villain example there's also Jim Kirk's mother Winona Kirk, who despite barely appearing in canon is overwhelmingly portrayed in fic as neglectful and abusive to Jim and responsible for all kinds of angst and trauma in his past.
  • An appreciable chunk of critics, fans and casual viewers alike tend to paint Kevin McAllister of Home Alone as a budding sadist and psychopath on par with Jigsaw because of the creatively painful traps he lays out to thwart the Wet Bandits, who are just nonviolent cat burglars. This does, however, overlook how the two crooks are breaking into a house where they know an unattended child is staying, and they even go so far as to taunt Kevin about it when they arrive to burglarize his home ("We know that you're in there, and that you're all alone!"). By that point, the kid is well within his rights to assume they mean him harm and respond accordingly.
  • Star Wars: The "Darth Jar Jar" meme is an odd example of using Ron the Death Eater in order to invoke Draco in Leather Pants at the same time as an attempt to see the character in question Rescued from the Scrappy Heap. In canon, Jar Jar Binks is a well-meaning but Lethal Klutz who is banished on pain of death for being obnoxious. Despite getting into trouble, his bumbling inadvertently causes every positive story turn in The Phantom Menace, proving that even the seemingly useless have value. Unfortunately, said obnoxiousness created a venomous Hatedom and he became a punchline in mainstream media. Then some people started to recognize some of his influences and backstory, but came to the opposite and erroneous conclusion that Jar Jar was an evil Sith Lord manipulating even Palpatine... and therefore somehow a more worthwhile character than his canon arguably inspirational self.
  • Sky High (2005):
    • Will is rarely turned outright evil in Warren/Layla fics, but he's often portrayed as a dull or neglectful boyfriend, and such stories often begin with something to the effect of "Will and Layla dated for three weeks after the movie before Layla broke it off because he's boring." Will is usually thereafter Demoted to Extra or at most paired with a background character. When he is made a villain, he's usually turned into a jerkass who let the fame he got from defeating Royal Pain go to his head and ditched his "sidekick" friends as soon as possible, a sharp contrast from his Accomplice by Inaction characterization when something similar happened in the movie proper.
    • Steve is also a semi-common victim of this, with his canonical preoccupation with the family name twisted into outright obsession. If it's a Will/Warren fic, he usually gets the obligatory designated homophobe role, too.

  • Harry Potter, given its extreme popularity and massive fandom, has a lot of these:
    • The trope namer is Ron Weasley, in canon a loyal friend to Harry and Hermoine, but one who sometimes butts heads with them. Fanfics often attribute a number of awful traits to him, ranging from being a raging misogynist who's abusive to Hermoine to being a backstabbing False Friend to Harry, to being fanatically anti-Slytherin in stories that redeem Draco Malfoy, to, well, joining the Death Eaters.
    • Dumbledore is often portrayed as manipulative towards Harry, deliberately plotting to get him killed. Dumbledore's also often shown as being ruthlessly power-hungry, despite shunning any position of power greater than headmaster of a school. And that's not even getting into stories that show him teaming up with Voldemort.
    • Ginny Weasley is a Base-Breaking Character, with her being especially reviled by people who think Harry should have ended up with someone else. In anti-Ginny fanfics, she tends to be characterized as a shallow Gold Digger who only wants Harry for his wealth and fame. A particularly common trope is to portray her secretly drugging Harry with love potion, an idea that originated in Harry/Hermione circles as a half-serious explanation for Harry's sudden attraction to Ginny in the sixth book.
    • In fanfics that villainize both Ron and Ginny, you can expect this to be extended to their mother, Molly Weasley. She will be portrayed as a manipulative Social Climber who instigates all of Ron and Ginny's wrongdoing, arranging for Harry to befriend Ron and teaching Ginny how to brew love potions so that she can use them on Harry. Sometimes, it will be revealed that Molly herself used love potions to get Arthur and still uses them to keep him in her thrall, turning her into a character as vile as Merope Gaunt. Almost inevitably, Molly will be doing all this in cahoots with an evil Dumbledore (see above), and he will be the real mastermind behind it all.
  • This trope is Older Than Feudalism:
    • Greek heroes from The Iliad and The Odyssey often become outright villainous in Roman works (the Romans imagined themselves to be of Trojan origin).
    • Virgil and Ovid both portray the Greek heroes at Troy mostly in terms of their post-victory atrocities.
    • Medieval European writers usually knew Latin but not Greek; as a result, they tended to inherit the Romans' bias. Dante places Odysseus in the eighth circle of Hell, and both Chaucer and Shakespeare are merciless to the Greeks in their versions of Troilus and Cressida.
    • Ovid also had a marked tendency to let his beef with various Roman authority figures color his writings, especially about the gods. While all the Graeco-Roman pantheon had their moments, Ovid's stories tend to portray humanity as the long-suffering victims of Jerkass Gods. For example, Medusa before Ovid was just another monster (daughter of Phorcys and Ceto, and also had two gorgon sisters) who needed killing, but Ovid couldn't resist the opportunity to write gods torturing a hapless mortal and made up a backstory for her where she was raped by Poseidon and then victim-blamed by Athena. Ovid is also the one ancient author who consistently wrote Zeus as an explicit rapist instead of just really getting around.
    • In The Bible, Esau was a rival to his brother Jacob, but nowhere near an outright villain (and remember, Jacob tricked him out of his birthright). He even forgives Jacob when they meet again as adults.note  However, since he was considered to be the ancestor of the Edomites, enemies of the Israelites,note  he was given a Historical Villain Upgrade. According to The Talmud, he was a rapist, murderer, and he denied God. He also tried to prevent Jacob being buried with Abraham and Isaac in the Cave of the Patriarchs, claiming that as firstborn he had the right to be buried there.
  • An in-universe example in the book Penance. Dolly, one of the girls who murdered at the center of the book, is an obsessive "Creeker", a fan of two school shooters, Matty and Brian. The Creeker fandom portrays Matty and Brian's victims in as bad a light as possible, reality be damned—by all evidence these kids were perfectly nice and at worst a little insensitive sometimes, but if you only learned about the massacre through Creeker fanfic you would think they were vicious bullies who practically forced Matty and Brian to shoot them.
  • The top 3 Stuart Little subreddits are all dedicated towards hating his character, and claiming that he has done a variety of crimes.
  • Warrior Cats: Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw are frequently victims of this from rabid Ashfur fans who blame his increasing insanity in later books on them. Squirrelflight is made into a she-devil who frequently pretends to love Ashfur as petty vengeance on Brambleclaw. Brambleclaw is made a He-Man Woman Hater and Domestic Abuser who regularly beats Squirrelflight because he's the son of the original Big Bad, and thus can't be a good cat.

    Music Videos 
  • Lit, Miserable: You'll find a lot of people who genuinely think the members of Lit deserved to get Eaten Alive at the end of the video, with people calling them perverts who were objectifying and degrading Val/Pam by walking all over the more titillating parts of her body. This conveniently ignores the fact that the Giant Woman clearly seems to be letting the guys explore her body, and the fact that a closer examination of the video shows that she was in control the whole time. Conversely, they idolize Val/Pam, saying that she is rightfully punishing the guys and taking control back by eating them.

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dragonlance canon, Kender are treated as one of the better of the "good" races, with many of both the novels and the game sourcebooks spending a great deal of effort talking up their pure hearts and innocence. Statements like "Kender are the eternal children of Krynn" and how Krynn would be a darker place without them are common. However, years of experience at the tabletop of kender characters "borrowing" the wizard's spellbook and the cleric's holy symbol, all justified by their actual canon lore and characterization, has led to them becoming, in fanon, a despicable blight of inconsiderate thieves who are either brain-damaged or playing dumb. On some boards, killing Kender is considered to be Poke the Poodle-level evil at worst, as opposed to canon, where it's treated with about the same weight as murdering children. This is primarily because a Kender's more distasteful traits in canon are because they truly don't know any better and aren't actively interfering with the reader, whereas the player sitting across from you with a smug grin on his face most certainly does know what he's doing and is usually screwing the game up for you in the process. This has to lead to many a table throwing a campaign Off the Rails to start a genocidal campaign against the Kender.
  • There's a theory among Dungeons & Dragons fans that Pelor, the Greyhawk sun god who more or less embodies Light Is Good, is actually evil - depending on your version, he's either actually a god of fire, deserts, and burning, or a cover identity of Zarus, an obscure god of human supremacy. The evidence for this consists of a few artifacts with destructive aspects designed for undead-hunting, a myth where he refused to assist one of his clerics in the Cycle of Revenge, and the fact that one of his clerics was once shown casting an Evil spell (which wasn't considered Evil when said cleric was casting it). Though this is often clearly a joke, just as many people have taken it seriously.
  • More than a few people in the fandom of Brazilian tabletop RPG Ordem Paranormal consider the Ordo Realitas, an order dedicated to protecting people from paranormal monsters and evil cultists, to be worse than Kian, because they aren't willing to go to the same extremes (such as worldwide genocide) as him to stop the paranormal for good. The fans' reasoning for this is that murdering billions at once would be better in the long run than losing a number of people to paranormal entities every year - keep in mind, these same fans are often the ones quick to criticize the members of Ordo Realitas who kill/imprison cultists who have been caught doing something seemingly evil; never mind the fact that in-universe characters who have had contact with both groups pretty much unanimously have a much better opinion of the Order than of Kian's cultists, or that the people in Ordo Realitas genuinely care about each other and about innocent people.
  • The Craftworld Eldar and Tau from Warhammer 40,000 get this from fans of the Imperium sometimes. Both alien races are forces for good... in a way, but the way some fanon depictions of them go, you'd think they were even worse than the other horrors of the galaxy, like the Necrons, the Tyranids, the Orks, or even the Dark Eldar. Also, a lot of the things they blame the Eldar for, such as their view of other species as animals and willingness to sacrifice countless humans for the sake of a handful of Eldar, are things that the Imperium does too, and often in much worse ways. They just get a pass since they're humans.



    Video Games 
  • Borderlands 2 has an In-Universe example in Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon's Keep (a abridged retelling of the main story in the form of a Dungeons & Dragons-esque game). Tiny Tina makes you fight an Expy of Angel, who turns into a giant maniacal spider-woman. That's because she's pinning Roland's death on her, when in reality, Handsome Jack shot Roland from behind after Angel died in the battle, due to having her Eridium supply destroyed at her own request. Lilith and the others waste no time in calling her on this.
  • Five Nights At Freddys:
    • While he's already a bad guy (or at least as much as the animatronics in general are), Balloon Boy's dickery gets bolstered quite a bit.
    • A number of people believe the murderer William Afton and the Phone Guy to be one and the same, citing how both were security guards and how one of the former's sprites has him holding an object interpreted to be an old-fashioned phone, among other things. This has largely died down following the release of the third game, as it shows Afton met his end after Freddy Fazbear's Pizza was closed and left to rot, whereas Phone Guy died months or even years when it was still in operation, thus disproving the theory, but a number of people believed in it regardless. The theory was debunked by Scott himself.
    • Luis Cabrera, a secondary character from the Five Nights at Freddy's AR: Special Delivery unintended emails, tends to receive a variant of this. He's a co-worker of "Ness" (aka Vanny/Vanessa) who repeatedly messages her about her bizarre online behavior and Sanity Slippage, with the implication that he's also romantically interested in her, judging by his frequently complimenting her and trying to ask her out for coffee. He later ends up manipulated by her, in large part because of his feelings. Many fans understandably see his actions as "creepy" because he oversteps boundaries and keeps sending messages even when Vanessa isn't going to respond. However, a few fans exaggerate his actions as being an Abhorrent Admirer who feels entitled to Vanessa's love and attention. Reading between the lines throughout his emails shows that, while his actions do have some stalkerish implications that would make someone feel uncomfortable, it's less out of maliciousness and/or entitlement and more out of being anxiety-prone and having poor social skills. Luis is legitimately trying to reach out to a co-worker undergoing Sanity Slippage he has feelings for, it's just not the best way of going about it. He also later admits he's "probably overstepping" in later emails. It's also easy to forget that Luis is checking her search history at least partly because of his job as someone on the IT team who gets notified of "red flag" search terms.
    • Being a protagonist both known for having an implied Dark and Troubled Past and prone to morally grey actions in an IP that where almost every situation is an Ambiguous Situation has made it almost inevitable that Gregory, the Kid Hero player character of Five Nights at Freddy's: Security Breach, is sometimes interpreted in a harsher or more cynical light by some members of the fandom. While some of these are legitimate Epileptic Trees about Gregory's characterization or role in the story, there are others who exaggerate his more questionable moments as pure villainy rather than, at worst, pragmatic ruthlessness to survive. For example, while Vanny getting 'disassembled' in one ending is obviously a horrible way to go out, Gregory not only does it in self-defense but is urged by Freddy to do so. Other than his Troubling Unchildlike Behavior, Gregory is portrayed in-story as a Mouthy Kid whose darker personality traits most likely come from seemingly living on the streets and having to 'grow up' faster as a result, with no major indication as to otherwise.
  • Genshin Impact: There is a tendency to present Raiden Shogun's actions as much more harmful than they actually were and calling her an outright criminal, who Inazuma had to be saved from by the Traveler.
    • The infamous Vision Hunt Decree is often seen as a crime she has never been held accountable for. Realistically speaking, however, it was simply a new law Raiden Shogun has passed and, being the ruler of Inazuma, she had full right of doing so. It can be seen as an equivalent of gun control laws which are completely common in Real Life (just like Sakoku Decree is just a regular border control). Nobody has ever died as a direct result of the Decree, even if they refused to hand over their Vision, nor was it a threat to Inazuma's sovereignty. The only people who have been killed were the ones who formed La Résistance and tried to use military force to overrule her, causing a civil war.
    • The game made it clear that majority of Inazumans didn't care much about the Vision Hunt which is not surprising, since most people don't have Visions. This law didn't affect them, so it's hard to expect some huge social backlash against Raiden's rule. Same goes for Ei locking herself up and supposedly leaving the country without care for 500 years, since the Shogun who was put in her place was a competent substitute leader (so much that citizens generally didn't notice a difference).
    • Contrary to frequent accusations, there is no known person who has been actually "murdered" by Raiden. She is often resented for killing Kazuha's friend and (to a lesser extent) La Signora, but both these cases were fair duels and "the loser dies" rule was clearly established and agreed upon. All participants were (or at least should be) ready to face the consequences of defeat and even Kazuha himself doesn't bear a grudge against Raiden Shogun or Sara (despite what his fan portrayals would suggest).
  • OMORI:
    • In many fanfics where The aftermath of Sunny's confession that he accidentally killed Mari is explored, you can bet that it will portray Hero as losing it the most due to how he and Mari were in a (presumably) committed relationship at the time of her death. This makes this somewhat justified, but not to the extent that Hero would kill Sunny over it, especially since he's the Martial Pacifist of the friend group.
    • For some reason, fans depict Basil as an Ax-Crazy Serial Killer who's willing to kill anyone to prevent Sunny's secret from getting out, when it's...Basil we're talking about.
    • Mari, in canon, is generally a Cool Big Sis who, at her absolute worst, has a perfectionist streak that makes her Innocently Insensitive and her death is clearly a tragic accident that everyone involved deeply regrets. A common Fandom-Specific Plot, however, portrays her as an abusive Big Sister Bully whose nicer traits are a facade, with such stories implying — if not outright stating — that she deserved to die.
    • Aubrey's mother in canon probably wouldn't be winning any awards for good parenting, but her issue are being negligent and there are hints that her neglect are the result of psychiatric issues. It's not hard to find fanfics that portray her as physically or verbally abusive towards her daughter.
  • James Sunderland of Silent Hill 2 gets this a lot from certain fans. Canonically, he did perform a Mercy Kill on his wife that was in part motivated by the emotional abuse, neglect, and sexual frustration he suffered as a result of her terminal illness and mood swings, but to hear some fans go on about it, he's a murderer and monstrous sexual predator who views all women as nothing more than objects to sate his lust, as reflected by how the monsters he faces are all feminine and sexualized in appearance. What this overlooks is that James is haunted by these suggestive entities because he's consumed with guilt and self-loathing over letting his selfish feelings drive him to take Mary's life, which the malevolent forces behind Silent Hill are exploiting to torment him. Although, interestingly, the nature of the game means his true characterization is partially up to the individual player; if you obtain the "Maria" ending, then James does give in to his baser desires and effectively abandons his love for Mary by accepting Maria —what the town offers to James as an "idealized" version of his late wife— as a substitute.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Mario gets this treatment in Super Tanooki Skin 2D for wearing fur... despite said fur not coming from an animal at all.
    • Mario is seen like this by a great part of the fanbase (particularly when those two Game Theory videos came out), mostly because of Luigi (Luigi doesn't get as much screen time as him, but many people make it look like Mario mistreats and abuses his brother, when even the most cynical observer can see it's standard sibling stuff), the endless enemies he stomps (other playable characters aren't blamed), and his relationships with Daisy and Pauline (both relationships are long since dead, Odyssey even confirming Mario and Pauline as Just Friends) besides Peach. Some of these fans use a mildly OOC moment of Mario stepping on Luigi's foot in a Mario Tennis game as an example of Mario abusing his brother, but the Mario & Luigi series where he is shown to love his brother and come to his rescue various times (to name an example) is usually ignored.
    • Nintendo themselves poked fun at the concept during the Bowser Takeover event to promote Mario Party 10. One of the facts Bowser presents about himself is a description of how Super Mario Bros. "tells the tale of a WONDERFUL HERO named Bowser who hangs out with a princess and is MERCILESSLY ATTACKED by a guy in a red hat."
    • Bowser and Bowser Jr., whilst normally antagonistic, may sometimes have their more sympathetic and affable elements downplayed or even eliminated.
    • A few Toadette fans who dislike the works of Yoshizilla Rhedosaurus will often portray Dry Bowser as this.
  • Lara Croft's character in the Core Design era of the Tomb Raider games gradually changed her into becoming more snarky and morally dubious (partly due to the developers getting tired of making Tomb Raider games constantly without a break). Fans critical of Tomb Raider III depict Lara as being a cold blooded selfish killer who will happily kill anyone that gets in her way and giving no shits about anyone or anything other than the artifacts she's hunting down. Most fans will use the finale cutscene that shows Lara killing a helicopter pilot to steal his helicopter to prove their point on Lara's viciousness. While Lara does kill, she's usually attacked first (mostly from wild animals and trigger happy guards). Lara is also seen showing concern towards two people who are in clear distress (Tony's hallucinations and an Aussie soldier whose leg got eaten) and even offers helping one of them escape their predicament. Most fans tend to ignore Lara's empathetic display in those scenes.
  • Undertale:
    • Chara/The Fallen Child's portrayals in fanon may or may not be this. The game isn't shy about being ambiguous in their personality, and leaves hints for both Chara being rotten to the core or the game's narrator on all routes, who has a sense of humor and compassion.
    • Asgore sometimes suffers from this in some fanworks, being depicted as a Crazy Jealous Guy or a Stalker with a Crush towards Toriel and a far worse person than he is in general. While Asgore is not exactly morally pure (it's hard to excuse killing six children and trying to commit genocide), the game goes out of its way to depict him as a fundamentally Nice Guy who felt he had no choice. And while he does wish to get back with them, he respects their choice and is shown in the ending working for them, which implies the two of them were able to mend their relationship somewhat.
    • This of course works the other way around: Toriel is often made a bad person so Asgore can be seen as better than he actually is.

    Web Animation 
  • Helluva Boss:
    • Before The Circus confirmed that Stella did abuse Stolas and went out of her way to belittle and demean him every chance she got even before he cheated on her, she was often depicted as an abuser by Stolitz (Stolas/Blitzø) shippers instead because Stella happened to be married to Stolas. In a fit of rage, after learning that Stolas has cheated on her with a lowly imp, Stella hires Striker to assassinate Stolas. While Stella certainly was far from a saint, there was no indication at the time that Stella abused Stolas, much less was an abusive partner to him - or neglectful or abusive to their daughter, Octavia. Despite this, many "pre-Season 2" fanfictions, fan art pieces, and fan comics go out of their way to demonize Stella for "getting in the way of Stolas and Blitzø being together". One fanfiction even goes as far as to depict Stolas and Octavia teaming up to torture and murder Stella in a graphic way.
    • Stolas gets this treatment time to time, some doing so out of dislike for Stolas' toxic behavior towards Blitzo and other imps and that fact that he is an adulterer, while others do so out of disdain for his characterization in season 2. The results usually have Stolas' negative qualities turned up to eleven, with some alternate universes going as far to make him as abusive as canon Stella.
    • Blitzo also gets this treatment as much as Stolas as well, most of them doing it because of toxic behavior towards Moxxie and Millie in Season 1 and has become more of the main focus as of Season 2 that M&M fans had a problem with. An example of this put in effect is the Absolutions of Hell wrote by Rileyopal and Optimuz when they took Blitzo negative qualities being turned up to eleven, with Blitzo ending up going from respecting Millie to allowing Martha cook Millie during the Murder Family rewrite.
  • RWBY
    • Many works where Team RWBY isn't part of the primary focus has them cast in a much more disparaging light, seeing them punished for civilian casualties that didn't exist in canon or giving them In-Universe Protagonist-Centered Morality.
    • Ozpin is subjected to this more often than not. His personality is often heavily changed to make him less benevolent and well-intentioned, though how it's done depends on the genre. In more comedic works Ozpin is often made an Adaptational Jerkass and Adaptational Dumbass, being made out as the butt of numerous jokes while his canon plans are mocked relentlessly. In more drama-focused works Ozpin is given Adaptational Villainy, being made very duplicitous and monstrous in his own right, with a willingness to sacrifice anything if it means stopping Salem.

  • Rain (2010): While Gavin in the early chapters was certainly a bit of a rude, Jerkass who had trouble accepting that his childhood friend Rain is Transgender, he was still genuinely trying his best to understand Rain's situation and is struggling with his own crush on her as well. Despite this, some readers just found him to be nothing but an irredeemable Jerk with a Heart of Jerk, to the point that they even expected him to be the comic's Big Bad. After he Took a Level in Kindness, fans eventually warmed up to him.
  • Springtrap and Deliah: Predictably, Nick is this to a lot of fans. It's not uncommon for readers to claim he's being a helicopter parent and that his hostility towards Springtrap is just jealousy because a living animatronic is proving to be a better father than him. While the latter is partially true, this tends to overlook the very important fact that Nick is completely right to distrust Springtrap. Springtrap killed five children in life and he's obviously mentally unstable in the present. If anything, Nick should be more worried about him hanging around Deliah. Not to mention that, when all of his suspicions are proven correct, Springtrap threatens to murder Deliah and make Nick watch before killing him.

Alternative Title(s): Paint The Hero Black, Fanfic Character Assassination